Sunday, October 01, 2006

Adam's birth

October, 1982.
Auckland, NZ.

(Written by the neighbour, who was the support person at the birth. Submitted by Michelle - Adam's mother).

It was a stormy night. My husband thought that our neighbour's baby would come that night 'male intuition'. I hoped it would be. I was getting quite nervous and excited myself. It was quite frustrating at times trying to console a fed-up preggy lady. There was not much I could do.

It seemed like an age ago that my neighbours said that they would like to have their baby at home and would I feel willing and able to be the support lady - she who's listened and read but never conceived. It was a scary exciting honour. One which didn't feel too real initially, too far away and then there were complications in that Adam was breech and it seemed as though the home birth was not going to be possible. My prattling about at least it will be good to have a decision made one way or the other - maybe inwardly hoping it would have to be at the hospital. But it isn't going to be and I'm very glad.

Adam John was born at 8.05am Saturday. Earlier that morning just after 4am Gary rang to say that this was really it this time. Surprising how calm and awake I felt. Into the shower, out into clothes and over next door to find lights on, Kate asleep and Michelle hugging herself in a warm deep bath. Castor oil had rather drastically done the trick at last. Checked up I had the phone numbers I needed and sat to await my orders. As contractions came, Gary and I massaged Michelle's back down through the water. Michelle asking if I'd ever seen a nuddy pregnant lady before, big stretched taut tummy. I left the bathroom to make the big bed ready for after delivery and Michelle's nauseous innards proved too much again. The midwife was still on her way. As we helped Michelle out of the bath and into a nightie, light was starting to tinge the sky. in the playroom / delivery room a fire cheerfully crackled and warmed the room. 27 month old Kate slept on in the next room. This was very useful. To date Michelle was breathing beautifully through her contractions. The midwife arrived and I helped her up with all her bags, boxes of instruments, and linen. It took two trips each. She quietly set up her gear while inquiring how things were progressing and then checked Michelle's pulse, and blood pressure and listened for the feotal heartbeat. THEN the 1st internal to see how things were going. The cervix had dilated only 5cm. Disbelief and dismay showed on Michelle's face. Lots of encouragement was needed now.
Gary and I were massaging with contractions. It was much lighter now outside, quite lovely. 7 o'clock and Kate awakes sleepy, bemused and wide eyed at Mummy on her delivery bed. We decided at this stage Gary was better with Kate and Michelle with me - just until she woke up more. Contractions were longer and more intense now. Gary was getting anxious so I grabbed a pile of books and headed into the lounge with Kate. The midwife rejoined Michelle and stayed with her. From here things obviously moved more quickly. Kate and I read stories while the breathing from the other room became deeper and closer together. The midwife came out to ring the doctor as Michelle was 8-9cm dilated.
Kate and I had a big cuddle and talked about Mummy's need to concentrate very hard on her breathing to help the baby be born and I showed her what I meant. Minutes, even seconds later, the midwife was back on the phone saying to the doctor "it's all go", Michelle sounded frantic and near the end of her tether. Things quietened down and Gary called for Kate and I to go in. Kate was wide eyed in my arms. The midwife had her hand resting on Michelle's fully stretched vagina and I realised the black hairiness underneath it was the baby's head. I felt calm and accepting of what was about to come. Katie was in need of gentle reassuring and we started to tell her that the baby was coming. She remained quiet and calm in my arms. No mirror, out we both went to grab the mirror so Michelle and Gary (who was at Michelle's head) could see the baby arrive. And he did - a calm serene beautiful head followed in a shoosh of liquid by a perfectly complete body. As the midwife gently lifted him onto Michelle I saq dangly balls. "It's a boy". Hugs, tears and kisses all round. Gary and Michelle looked so proud of their son. Kate was reunited with Dad. A quiet peaceful happy time. Contractions continued and a large thick blood filled placenta rolled out to be examined and bowled for later planting under the big Kauri tree. Adam came into the world in such a hurry that Michelle had a tear that needed stitching. The doctor arrived in time to deal with this. I resumed my role of drink provider and watched all the wind up checks and weighing. It was over and contrary to Michelle's comments, a short safe delivery. We were all well prepared (including Kate). I felt a real sense of calm and strength throughout. I never seemed to doubt things would go well and I tried to pass some of those feelings to Michelle. Kate was reassured by my explanations of what was going on and took the whole birth in her stride amazingly well. She gradually warmed to the reality or a baby brother as the day went by. Gary was.... indescribably quiet, patient, caring. It was lovely to see a family united in birth, to see Gary's pride in Michelle and Kate, and his new son Adam.

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