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Asaba's Birth Story

A while ago, I wrote a post all about my fears about giving birth a second time after a not-so-straightforward birth with Ava. In all honesty, I was really worried about how this birth would be. Not only did I have the memories of a slightly chaotic, long, and panic-filled labour fresh in my mind but also I'm in a foreign country and. at this point, I was 6 days overdue - one day before I was meant to go in to be induced. But this birth was so perfect. Yes, it hurt but it left me feeling positive and competent in my own abilities. And so grateful to everyone who had been involved.

It all started around 8am. Ava and I had been segregated to a separate room as we were both battling colds and Isaac didn't want to be infected as he didn't want to have to take extra time off work before the baby arrived. On that day, I woke up with what I instantly identified as contractions. It was an ache that spread across my hips and lower back before snaking round my lower belly. They were moderately painful (although I wouldn't have said so at the time!) and coming every 10-15 minutes. So, I picked up the phone and called Isaac from the other room and told him 'the baby is coming today'.

As the morning progressed, so did the contractions and by 11am, they were coming every 5 minutes. So, we got the last few things together and made our way to the hospital. When we arrived, we went up to the labour ward and they gave me a 30 minute CTG to monitor the baby's heartrate and the frequency of contractions. Annoyingly, the contractions started to slow down once we arrived so we were sent to the waiting room to wait to be seen by a nurse for a scan and physical examination. 

A few cups of coffee later, we were called through to the room to be seen by the nurse. By this stage, the contractions had slowed down to every 15 minutes and, after a fairly painful physical examination, I was told that I was 2cm dilated. They said I could either go home and wait until labour starts to progress or stay in as I was meant to come in the following day to be induced anyway. I chose to go home.

And, of course, it was then that the contractions started to pick up again.

Over the next few hours, I ate a lot of toast. I had a bath. And then I lay on the sofa in a towel and cried as the contractions got more intense. I must have been lying there for about an hour powering through each contraction as Isaac was preparing daal and chapatis in the kitchen and Ava was watching Peppa Pig in the other room. They both kept coming in and out. One offering his hand for me to squeeze. The other saying 'awh mimi' and stroking my leg. I knew that we had to get back to the hospital else I would be giving birth on the living room floor but Isaac was still trying to finish cooking. With each contraction, I was growing more and more impatient (read: filled with murderous rage) and started shouting orders at him as he ran around the house trying to locate lids for bottles and other random items. Eventually, we reached the car (but only after I literally stood screaming on the staircase mid-contraction as the neighbour's kid watched me from their front door - awks) and the contractions were so intense that by the time we reached the labour ward at around 6.30pm, I couldn't even speak to the nurse and just thrust my Mutterpass (the German maternity notes book) at Isaac so he could explain. 

We were taken through to the same room we had been in earlier for the CTG and they told me I was 8cm dilated. I then proceeded to beg for drugs in both English and German. I even told Isaac to make sure they gave me drugs. The nurse then offered me an infusion. I didn't know what it was but anything to reduce the pain was good by me. So, she put the drip into my hand and gave me the pain relief. It helped a bit but the contractions were so strong. 

We stayed in that room for probably about 2 hours or even less before I felt like I had to start pushing. Isaac was by my side and Ava was in her pushchair watching Peppa Pig on my phone but they were asked to go behind a screen as the nurse examined me again. I was fully dilated.

She then told Isaac that he should go with Ava to the waiting room as they were going to take me through to a different room to give birth. He tried to protest and the nurse asked me what I wanted to do but, in the end, it was insisted upon that Ava wasn't there during the actual birth. Looking back, I was scared by the prospect of labouring without Isaac with me but it was the right decision not to have Ava in the room as her being there would have distracted me from focusing on just birthing the child and I would have felt uncomfortable knowing that she was seeing all the bleeding and everything.

They brought me a wheelchair and helped me to hobble over to it and, at that moment, my waters broke. It felt like a water balloon popping but inside of me. I was then carted through to the delivery room where I lay on a bed (on my side, grasping a pillow) with the same nurse alongside me.

I remember feeling really scared as we arrived at the delivery room. All of my fears from my first birth came to the surface and, without Isaac there, I was afraid of how I would manage. But the nurse was amazing. She reassured me that she wouldn't leave my side even for a second and that the worst of it was over. She told me everything I needed to hear and really made me feel like I could manage - even by myself.

The contractions were coming faster now but they didn't feel as bad as they did before - maybe because I was focused on pushing. With each contraction, I could feel the baby moving down (something I never felt with Ava as we didn't get to this stage without intervention). We must have been in that room for just ten minutes before another nurse was called. I insisted on remaining on my side so they held one of my legs in the air with each contraction. Soon enough, they said they could see the baby's head. At this very moment, Isaac appeared and explained he had left Ava with another woman in the waiting room for a few minutes whilst he came in to check on me. Little did he know that the baby was actually coming right at that moment. He was with me for ten minutes and, in that time, the baby was born.

After just 45 minutes (at the very most) of pushing, Asaba Lawrence Musinguzi entered the world at 9.15pm weighing 7lb 4oz. He was placed on my chest and, I must admit, I had a bit of a happy cry. Ava was soon brought in to meet her little brother and she seemed to instantly take to him. She kept trying to reach down to cuddle him and saying 'baby!' over and over.

Honestly, it was exactly the birth I would have wanted and I feel like it has dispelled so many of my fears and hang-ups that my first birth left me with. 

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