Between contractions Debbie tells me the different people who are praying for us. I negotiate my way through morning traffic and I’m equally touched by the support, and frustrated at the slowness of the journey.
There are not too many birth stories out there from a dad’s perspective so I decided to share my side of this momentous event. I want to celebrate the strength of my warrior wife as she brought our little boy into the world. I hope to find the words to cherish the beginning of this highly anticipated season in our life.
Our due date was the 28th September but realising the low chance of the birth actually happening on that day we were out at the mall. We laughed about the old wives tales of how to speed up the process while at the same hoping they would work. D downed a glass of pineapple juice and we bought some raspberry leaf tea.
Two days later the first contractions started. The excitement was tangible as we started timing each one and I ran around the house ensuring everything was prepared. The excitement soon turned to disappointment as the contractions slowed, it was false labour Esti (our midwife) told us over the phone.
The contractions continued as we went to bed that night, silently hoping they would increase in frequency while at the same time wanting to get some sleep. I awoke at about 2am to find D surfing another contraction wave. She told me that she hadn’t slept and was worried about being too tired for the rest of the process. I encouraged her while attaching the TENS machine to her back. The next couple of hours we timed each contraction and became frustrated that they weren’t getting closer together.
When we phoned Esti, she advised D to take a bath and stop timing. The water helped relieve some of the pain and allowed D to relax to a small degree. During this time I entertained myself by killing bed bugs, fun times. After the 45 minute bath we started timing the contractions again and suddenly they were two and a half minutes apart! After I spoke to Esti again we were packing the car and on the road at 6.30am, just in time for morning rush hour.
D lay in the back of the car while I started to stress about the forty minute journey to the birth house. D’s waters broke as we went over the first speed bump. Twenty minutes later she tells me that she wants to push. The traffic was moving so very slowly; I passed an accident, a break down and road works. I breathed slowly and deeply, praying for us to arrive quickly and safely.
Finally we got to the birth house. 7.30am, an hour after we left. Esti checked how D was doing and the look on her face said it all. It was all happening so fast that the back-up midwife ended up being a surprised practice manager. Afterwards, she told us it had been a privilege and she’d been proudly showing photos of the baby. We had planned for a water birth but there wasn’t enough time to fill it right up. D got on her knees in the bath and I sat on the birth stool facing her, wiping her brow and keeping her hydrated. I was glad to have a task to focus on. It was easy to speak encouraging words over her as I watched how amazingly well she was doing. With each push came a determined face, and then came the splashing sound of our baby in Esti’s hands. 8.01am, thirty minutes after we arrived. Relief overwhelmed us as our boy was passed to Debbie and we gazed at his perfect little face (even if he did have a cone-head). I was then given the beautiful task of cutting the cord to detach our boy into this new world. He was handed to me and in my adrenaline seeping, surreal state I had no idea what to do with him. But I was patiently shown how to hold him and then encouraged to speak to him. I struggled for words as I tried to convey what he meant to us.
The rest of the day we spent with our eyes fixed on our beautiful creation as we tried to process the wonder of what happened. We were served a delicious breakfast and lunch before we headed home in the afternoon.
Upon our arrival home in Sosh we discovered that our landlady was meeting with some other grandmothers in the neighbourhood. An eclectic sound of celebration proclaimed our boy’s arrival as I carried him out of the car. It reminded me of the bible verse that we had chosen for our baby beforehand:
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands” Isaiah 55:12
So here I am today, six weeks later, feeling more confident and trying to savour each day with our little star. I am thankful for all the support we had through the pregnancy from friends and family and the terrific job Esti did. Each day I learn to love my child more and more as I gain a new insight into how our Father God sees his children. Beloved and cherished.