…..the one I fantasized about writing for so long, and now I really am going to write it. It’s day 10 of Liv’s life, and everything is going better than expected, especially if you consider that she was born by caesarian section in the end…

One thing I’ve noticed is that your story changes in your own head when you hear the versions of other people who were there. Everyone experienced it in their own way, and I know that my experience and Denny’s experience were completely different. You also forget so quickly how it really felt. It’s amazing how this tiny little girl can just make you forget it all. So much love is indescribable.

But let’s start at the beginning… I’ll warn you now: this is going to be a VERY long story. You’re also allowed to skip it, and go straight to the photos. 😉

30 June 2015. It’s my due date. Not a lot of people knew that, because I wanted to avoid the questions about whether the baby had arrived yet towards the end. I’m focussing on 14 July, so if baby comes any earlier than that, then it’s all good. Well, that’s what I thought anyway. In spite of my best attempts to not focus on June 30th, it really is The Day. My body was restless from week 38, so somehow I’d gotten the idea that she may come earlier. But, no. I do feel great. The day before yesterday I cycled 49km, and I would have no problem with being pregnant for another 2 weeks, but I’m so afraid of having to be induced. If someone could promise me I’ll have the baby before 14 July, then I’d be just fine… but you don’t get to have that certainty. It’s making me unsure, and that makes me mad, because I know that statistically, most babies are born in week 41, and I still have plenty of time. I don’t want a vaginal examination if I can avoid it, and I also want to avoid having my membranes stripped until there really is no other option. What I want most of all is for my baby girl to start things herself, but oh my – this it making me grumpy!

On Friday (3 July) I can no longer resist, and I ask the midwife to check internally whether anything is happening. And, hallelujah! My cervix is ripe (step 1), which means all those Braxton Hicks contractions are doing something! I go into the weekend feeling relieved. I once again have faith that this baby won’t stay inside until 42 weeks, and i’ll be able to have the home water birth I am planning and hoping for.

And yet, it still can’t start soon enough for me. 🙂 Three weeks ago I hung loads of cards up in the (open) kitchen, where the birth tub will be placed, each one containing a motivational phrase. Positive thoughts! Things like: “I’m ready for this, I’m letting go” and “I can do this! I can do this! I can do this!” I read them every day, and they’re already giving me strength, even though I thought I would really only use them during labour.

On Saturday 4 July I go to bed on time, and do something I never usually do: I ask my mother (who has passed away) aloud whether she can do something to get this labour started. Worth a try, right? That night I wake up – for the second time – at 4am, to go to the toilet, which is pretty normal the last few weeks! Only this time something is different, because when I stand up, I lose some fluid. Once on the toilet I see (or rather smell) immediately that it’s amniotic fluid. Because it’s just a little bit, I think it’s probably a small tear high up in the membrane. Not really broken waters, just a leak. Hmmm… what now? Officially this does count as broken waters, and that means that contractions have to start within 24hours, and if they don’t I’ll be induced after all. Maybe I should just pretend I didn’t see it? Someone who knows less about birth would probably not even realize… I go back to bed, but I’m having Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions, and unlike during the last few weeks, they’re coming pretty regularly. At 5am I get out of bed because I can’t sleep any more. I download a contraction timing app, and time the BH to get a clearer idea of what’s happening. They’re lasting one minute, and coming every 2 to 4 minutes. That looks good. 🙂 When I go to the toilet I lose more fluid, and I manage to collect a sample. Now I have ‘proof’, but I’m still wondering whether to keep this information to myself, although I know Denny would not approve. I am hopeful that it’s slowly starting now. They’re not really getting stronger, but they’re not going away either. At 8:30 I wake Denny, and from that moment the BH fade away. I’m not impressed! I discuss with Denny what I should do, and he thinks we should call the midwife, and maybe he’s right.

At 12:00 Hendrikje, the midwife, arrives. She does a test, and it is indeed amniotic fluid. That means I have until 4am to get contractions going. Hendrikje knows exactly what I want, so she says, “We’re going to do everything we can to get your contractions going in time.” Her suggestion is to ‘do a good stripping’. She does so, while Denny sits beside me with wide eyes, hahaha! Almost immediately, contractions start up. They’re not hard to cope with. I’m sure it’ll all take a long time, but I’m ready for it!

I talk to Denny, and we decide that he should go and do some shopping now. We want to make sure that everyone who joins us during this process will have enough to eat. 🙂 I can cope well with the contractions now, and I expect that it’ll stay that way for a while yet, so there will be plenty of time to get the tub and everything else ready later. Denny can do the shopping now, then do the cooking, and then we’ll see what happens next. While he’s away, the contractions increase in strength, but they’re still manageable.

At 15:00 Denny is just back, and Egon, a friend of his, is at the door. I tell them to talk in the passage, because I need to concentrate. Every time I have a contraction, I crouch next to the couch or hang over the kitchen counter. Pfff… this is already getting intense. Already…. In between the contractions I’m curious to know what they’re talking about so I join in the conversation. 🙂 Egon and Kim will, in theory, be with us tonight or tomorrow when the baby is born (they will come when I can start pushing), but Egon needs to pick up family from the airport at 4am. He asks when I think the baby will be born. Haha! If only I knew that. 😉 I tell him that the average length labour for a first time mom is 12 hours from the start, and I am sure it’s really started now. So in theory she could arrive by 3am … which would mean that they will not be able to be there. But it could also take muuuuuch longer (shorter doesn’t even occur to me), so we’ll see.

When Egon leaves I feel like the contractions intensify. I tell Denny he better get the tub ready, and everything else, and then he can start cooking. Denny immediately starts setting up the tub, but while he’s busy the contractions continue to intensify. Yikes, I’m finding them painful, how is that possible? Am I such a wimp? I need Denny with every single contraction. He has to apply pressure to my back, or I can hardly breathe through the contraction. I try to think positive, and look at all the cards hanging up , but I’m struggling to understand why this is already so hard. Denny is doing his very best in between contractions to get everything ready: pump up the tub, bring the mattress downstairs, put water in the tub etc. I can see it’s stressing him, because every time he starts something he has to come and push in my back again. When the water is running into the tub, I ask him to call Hendrikje, because I want to know whether I can get into the tub yet. I could really use the pain relief right now!

If you get into the tub too soon, it can cause contractions to stop, so I want to know for sure whether I can get in, and that I’m dilated enough. We’ve basically agreed to do as few internal exams as possible, and I’ve told her in advance that when she does check I don’t want to be told how far I am. Hendrikje is at our house soon after the phone call. I have no idea what the time is. She looks at me and says, “You can get into the tub.” I ask whether she wants to first check internally, but she says it’s not necessary (wonderful!) because she could just tell I was far enough by looking at me. Getting into that tub is heavenly!! The warm water feels so good on my back and my belly, and the tub is so big that I can almost swim in it. I don’t understand how it’s possible that people don’t want this during labour, and I say so. Man, o man, that feels good! The contractions stay away for a while, but I don’t mind. I am concerned they won’t come back, or that I got into the tub too soon after all (let it go, Marry. Let it go!) Hendrikje says I don’t have anything to worry about, and sure enough they start coming again regularly again after a short break. I am really in the mood for the ice cream Denny brought from the shop – Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough! It’s been ages since I ate that! Delicious! However, after a few spoonful’s the contractions start to come much closer together, and I have to put my ice cream to one side. They’re intense! I am so frustrated by hard they are to get through. I wanted labour to be be calm and peaceful. One of the phrases hanging in my kitchen reads ‘the birth of my baby is calm and peaceful’, but I’m nowhere near calm or peaceful! Quite the opposite! I’m getting upset about this and say so a few times. “This isn’t calm and peaceful. It’s hell!’ Of course, Denny doesn’t get any time to cook, because he cannot leave my side for even a second.

While all this is happening, the music is playing. I’ve chosen not to play the hypnobirthing CD. I don’t really see my cervix opening ‘like a flower’, and the voice on the CD we got at our course really works on my nerves. I am listening to the music that’s always played at my yoga classes, and I am really enjoying it. The numbers which are usually played at the start and end of a class, when the focus is on relaxing fully, are particularly effective for me. In the meantime the contractions come and go. They’re so intense, and they hurt so much. I’m very restless in the tub, and can’t be without the pressure Denny is providing in my back for even a second. I have zero concept of how much time is passing. I open my eyes briefly, and the whole room seems to spin. Is this the next phase? Can it go so fast? This isn’t possible, surely. I’m going to have to keep doing this for hours yet, but I don’t think I can. I say, “I don’t think I can do this.” At the same time I think of that card hanging in the kitchen, which reads, “I can do this! I can do this! I can do this!” Why am I then saying that I can’t? Oh, another contraction! *%&$@#! I hear Denny encouraging me, helping to remind me of everything we learned at hypnobirthing. It’s good to hear his voice, and have him close to me. If he does something else for just a couple of minutes, I need to have him close to me again. I always knew having your partner close was important, but now it’s so true!

Hendrikje asks whether I’m feeling any urge to push, or feeling the baby descend. Already?!?!? What time is it? I feel nothing other than very intense contractions. She asks me to get out of the tub so that she can do a vaginal check. I’m ok with that, but I don’t want to know how far I am. She does the exam and only says, “You’re not as far as I thought.” I don’t know what she thought. I only know that I don’t have to push, so I’m definitely not at 10cm (afterwards I heard that it was 18:15, and I was at 6cm). Hendrikje says, “I want you to stay out of the tub for a little while, and ground yourself.” I follow her advice, and outside of the tub I hang onto Denny in every way imaginable, but I can’t do this any more! The contractions are so painful, and how many more hours will I have to do this for?! I cannot keep this up! The fact that I’m thinking and saying this frustrates me. Why can’t I do this?! I shouldn’t think so much, I’m making myself crazy, but I can’t do this!

Hendrikje wants to check again. I really don’t care either way, but something has to happen now, because dear friends, I can’t keep this up! She does an internal exam again while I’m twisting and turning on the couch. I hear her call out, “Marry, you’re at 9cm! 9 centimeters!” It doesn’t really sink in. It just hurts so much! As if from far away I hear Hendrikje again “Marry, look at me. Look at me! You’re at 9cm, you’re nearly there!” Slowly it sinks in that I’m nearly there. I’m nearly there. “May I get back in the tub?” Yes, I may!

This time the tub doesn’t provide the relief I’m hoping for. Holy cow, the contractions hurt! And why am I not feeling any urge to push? Why can’t I feel her descending, or turning? OMG, another contraction! I can’t puff any more! I’m so nauseous! Someone says my breaths in should be shorter, and my breaths out should be slower. It helps a little, but I stay nauseous. “I need a bowl! And the water needs to be warmer!”

More warm water is added, and it feels great! It feels so good on my back, I want more. More warm water! More! Someone makes the suggestion of using a hot water bottle, and one is found. In the tub, a hot water bottle is put against my back, which is wonderful. (I think the post partum nurse, Jolanda, has done this for me. She’s here already!) The contractions keep coming and between contractions the pain in my belly and back doesn’t really lessen. It’s so strange, because I only feel it under my belly. The contractions don’t come and go like I expected. It’s a constant pain in my lower belly which gets 100x worse during a contraction. “I can’t keep doing this!”

Hendrikje wants to check me again. 9,5cm. 9,5cm?! How is that possible?! It should be 10 by now! She asks me to push with the next contraction to see whether that lip can be pushed away. I push, but I can immediately feel that pushing is not going to do anything. Thanks to practising with the Epi-No I know how it should feel, and this doesn’t feel right. I can’t feel anything. I’m pushing into nothing. Why can’t I feel her head?! I’m at the end of my tether. How long will I have to keep doing this?! The puffing and breathing is going less and less well. I’m groaning and screaming while everyone around me tells me to breath. “It’s not helping!” It makes no difference what I do! I can feel that nothing is happening, and no matter how much I breathe, puff, scream, or even relax my bottom half it doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t do anything! Help me! To make everything worse, I have to vomit, but my nose is blocked. “I can’t breathe!” The tears run down my cheeks. “Oh no, there’s another contraction coming!” I have no idea what to do with myself: while I’m vomiting a contraction is also coming, and I can only cry. How awful, how horrible! Where is that 10cm?!

I get back into the tub, but things just go from bad to worse. I’m not completely with it any more. Breathing through contractions just isn’t working, and I keep saying, “This isn’t working, this isn’t working!” Someone (Hendrikje?) asks me what I want. Oh, that’s a good question. For the first time I realise that I would then have to go to the hospital, and then what? They’re only going to do things I don’t want… Oh no, another contraction!!

This isn’t working, but I don’t want to go to the hospital either. But then, what?! Eventually Hendrikje says, “We’ll give it another half an hour and then we’ll make a decision. We’ll do everything we can, and get you in as many positions as possible.” I get out of the tub and we try every labouring position imaginable. I try to focus on breathing again and I notice that Denny and Hendrikje encourgae that, and are ‘happier’ with me. I still feel like it make no difference at all what I do, but I try my best so that I know for sure, no matter what happens, I tried everything. I hang onto Denny in every way possible, I sit on the ball, on the ground, in the tub, out of the tub. We do everything, and it’s all hellish. How long have I been doing this?! I notice that Denny and Hendrikje are saying less. Because I’m breathing properly now? I am not feeling good at all, I need coaching. “Say something guys! I can’t do this alone!”

Hendrikje checks me again. No change. Oh no!! I can’t get into a car like this?! How can I do that?! I don’t want to get into my tiny Ford Ka, it’s not possible! I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it!

(Later I hear that I was dilated to 9cm at 19:45, and at 22:00 the decision was made to go to the hospital. More than 2 hours of trying to deal with contractions at 9cm, and in retrospect I understand why it was so hard.It all went so fast. I took 5 hours to get to 9cm, and then stayed there for more than 2 hours. That’s a long time…)

There’s a lot happening around me, but I can only concentrate on the contractions, the F*****G contractions that just keep coming! I am dressed, but I don’t know by whom. I understand we’ll go in Lobke’s car. Good. I want Denny with me, so I don’t want him driving, and I don’t want to go in my little Ford Ka. Another contraction…. can they stop now please?! Or do something?! I don’t cooperate much with getting dressed, I’m not really responding to reason right now, but the contractions, the contractions!

Finally I have my clothes on, and when I’m on my way to the door I suddenly think: I need to poop! I say it aloud, and see in everyone’s face that they’re all thinking: the urge to push! “No, I don’t need to push, I really need to poop.” I can feel that she hasn’t descended, and this doesn’t feel like an urge to push at all. I need the toilet. So I go, but nothing happens, and the need to go disappears again. Before another contraction can come I walk to the car. I think that there are probably neighbours looking out right now, and the whole neighbourhood will know in no time that I’m in labour, which I really didn’t want… but at this moment I couldn’t care less! There’s a contraction coming… I throw myself onto the back seat and scream. I don’t care who hears me, I just want to scream and wait until the contraction is over, so that’s what I do… I hear Denny say that I need to pull my legs in. I think he wants to come and sit next to me in the back. I want that too, but I don’t want to pull my legs in. Everything hurts. I feel him pushing my legs, but I don’t cooperate. Then I hear him say angrily, “Marry, you need to pull your legs in NOW, because I can’t close the door!” I listen, because the door has to be closed before we can start driving, and we have to start driving now. Lobke is busy with her navigation. That’s not necessary! Denny knows the way, just drive, drive! I hear Denny say it too, and I’m so glad he’s there, and that he’s my husband, and the father of our little girl. Oh no, another contraction, drive, drive drive!

The drive is truly hellish. Denny is sitting backwards to support me as well as he can, but I can’t do anything any more. I kick wildly with my legs, against anything I can. Are we there yet? How long is this taking? If only we’d called an ambulance, then we could take the short cut. It’s ridiculous that the nearest hospital here is so far away! Oh no, another contraction!

After a drive which lasts an eternity we finally arrive in Goes. Someone fetches a wheelchair for me. So bizarre that I’m the one now being wheeled in. I wonder who is working tonight. Oh, they’ll probably all think, “great, a hysterical birth photographer.”

We go to the biggest delivery room in the hospital in Goes, which I always thought I would like, but now I have no interest in where they bring me. The only thing I want right now is a c-section! I know I don’t want an IV with meds to strengthen the contractions, and an epidural. Our little girl won’t cope with that, and my contractions are strong, that’s not the problem. I’m going to beg for a c-section. That’s what I’m going to do!

I’m put on a bed, and all kinds of things are said and done around me. I still don’t know what to do with myself and I just scream “I CAN’T DO THIS ANY MORE!! It has to stop! I want an epidural!” And I scream and yell the contractions away. Hendrikje wants to check me one more time. I have to be on my back. I DON’T want to lie on my back. I DON’T want to be checked. Take me to the OR!

Hendrikje checks again, but nothing has changed. Exactly what I thought. My care is handed over to the midwife on duty, and you can guess what she wants to do: another internal check. I’m furious. “Hendrikje just checked me! Ask her!” Something is said about protocols etc. I can only swear. “F*ck the protocol.” They check me again, and she agrees with Hendrikje’s findings, so I’m handed over to the gynaecologist. When she says she wants to check me I think I’m going to lose it! And all this time someone is constantly changing the settings on the bed – does that really have to be done now?! (later I’m told that I was twisting and moving around so much that I kept pushing on the buttons which controlled the bed. Apparently they tried everything to get me lower down in the bed, away from the buttons, but I wouldn’t listen. So it’s me who keeps moving the bed, haha!)

Somewhere around this time (or earlier) my waters are broken. A flood of warm water runs between my legs, and it just makes me angry. It’s not going to help anyway. 🙁 I cry and cry and cry.

Once the gynaecologist has done the internal check she tells us the plan. I’m getting a c-section. Yes! Let’s go to the OR NOW (later I see in Lobke’s photos that this is a breaking point for Denny, and he starts to cry. I can’t keep the tears from coming when I see this, and it’s a good thing I was so out of it when I was lying there!) I know it’s not possible to go immediately. All kinds of things need to be done first. An IV is inserted, a catheter too, I get dressed in a OR gown, Denny has to fill out forms. I mention a few times that my blood pressure is very low (I’m so worried that the epidural will make me faint because my blood pressure is so low, because I’ve seen it happen a number of times.)

When everything is done, we finally go the OR. I’ve had medication to stop the contractions, but it’s having no effect. They just keep coming. Stop now, please, please!

When we get to the OR I need to move from the bed I’m lying on, to the narrow OR bed. Everyone I love and trust is gone. They’re getting changed. I have to lie on my back, but another contraction is coming and I can’t deal with it on my back. I turn onto my side, but everyone starts pulling at me “Ma’am, you can’t do that! You’ll fall off! Lie on your back!” While trying to deal with the contraction I am now also fighting all the people trying to put me on my back. “I wont fall off! I just need to deal with this contraction!” Nobody listens. The contractions subsides, and I’m asked loads of questions – I’ve already answered these! I repeat that I have very low blood pressure. I hear someone say that I’ve been given medication to stop the contractions, but that’s it’s not working, so they need to do the epidural quickly. Thank God. That’s what I wanted to hear!

I have to sit upright. For the first time I look at the clock. It’s 5 to 12 at night. That late?! How long have I been dealing with contractions at 9cm dilated?! They explain what’s going to happen. “I know what’s going to happen, I’ve seen and photographed it often. I know what I have to do. JUST PUT IN THE EPIDURAL!!” Oh no, another contraction… I want to lean on the woman in front of me, but she keeps pushing me back towards the table. “Please, I just want to lean on you!” I feel like nobody is listening to me. Then I hear that once this contraction is gone they’ll put in the epidural, and this will be the last contraction I’ll feel. They put in the epidural, and another contraction comes. “You said I wouldn’t feel any more contractions!!!” But then I feel a warmth streaming from above, down into my legs. What an amazing feeling… I think it must be like this to be a heroin addict. THIS feeling I will never forget, it’s heavenly! Finally, the contractions stop. Such peace…

I’m completely prepped for surgery, and suddenly Denny is standing at my shoulder. “Hi sweetie.” He looks so worried. I smile at him: “I’m fine now, she’ll be here in 10 minutes. I know exactly what they’re going to do” I’m talking nineteen to the dozen, and I mention multiple times that I’ve photographed 99 births, but that I’ve never seen a mother as hysterical as I was. I just keep babbling (I later hear from Denny that I was boasting about my photos, about having trained Lobke, that my photos are hanging in the maternity section of the hospital etc. Luckily I can’t remember this any more. 🙂 ) It gives me great peace that I know exactly what they are doing, so I know what’s happening on the other side of the curtain. I ask whether I can watch them pull her out of my belly, but it’s not allowed. 🙁 I’m too tired, and too far gone to protest. She’ll be here soon, and that’s all that counts. Denny looks over the curtain a few times, and I keep an eye on him, because I’m not sure he can deal with that, but he says he’s fine.

They push on my belly to get her out. I can feel them pushing, but it doesn’t hurt. Pain is relative anyway, after today. I’ll be so glad to see her! And then the moment finally arrives… There she is! The curtain is lowered, and she’s dangling on the hand of the gynaecologist. I can see that she’s pooped in the amniotic fluid, so she wasn’t having any fun in there either towards the end. The umbilical cord is really thick – oh no, they won’t let it finish pulsing before cutting it, and I can forget using that tie instead of a plastic clip now. 🙁 She’s not crying, and the gynaecologist says, “We’re taking her straight to the paediatrician now.” I’m not worried right away, but I am very annoyed that I’m lying here and now have no idea what’s happening. I ask a number of times, “please can someone look through the window and tell me whether she’s crying?!” but nobody answers. Dammit, all I want to know is whether she’s crying! I’m lying there worrying, but then Hendrikje comes in – the sweetheart – “She’s doing great. The paediatrician is checking her, but she’s lovely and pink, and letting her voice be heard.”

I am ecstatic! I ask whether they have a ‘heat pipe” so that she can lie with me in a little while. Luckily they say she can! Wonderful! And then they come back with our little girl! There she is!! I can’t believe this is our child. They lay her down with me, and I feel such intense love. I look at Denny joyfully, and even though I can’t see his mouth I can see love, joy and relief in his eyes. Can a person ever be happier than at this moment?! For me, this is the happiest I have ever been!

We’re asked what her name is, but we don’t know yet. We have 3 days to think about it. We have 3 names, and we want to see what suits her best. The options are Liv, Pip and Fee (pronounced Fay). When discussing it beforehand we thought that Liv would probably fit best if she had a darker skin tone, Pip was more suitable for a lighter coloured skin, and Fee would be nice no matter what, but it was the one name that would not be pronounced correctly in Enlish speaking coutries, because people would say ‘Fie’ when they saw it written down. We’re just going to look at her a lot, until we’ve decided what fits. Denny mentions that he had to give them a name for on the hospital card, and he just picked Liv for now. I also think she’s a Liv, but we’ll make a final decision later.

She’s lying so sweetly with me, and it feels so good to have her in my arms. Finally, my stubborn girl. 🙂 Unfortunately I slowly realise I’m becoming unwell. Shit, my blood pressure. I’m getting nauseous. I say aloud that I’m not feeling well, and somebody takes our baby from me. In my birth plan it specifally states that we do not give permission for her to be separated from me, but I don’t have the strength to say anything. And it’s also nice for her to be with Denny for while. I know he’ll enjoy it, and she couldn’t be in better hands. I don’t protest. I feel too sick. I get a quick kiss, and then they’re gone. Pfff… I feel awful. I realise I can move my toes again, and I can feel some pain in my belly. Someone says that the diaphram is difficult to anaesthetise, so that’s why I can possibly feel some pain.

Slowly I start to feel better. I want to go downstairs! “When can I go downstairs?” I ask a number of times, but I don’t get a clear answer. They need to fill in all kinds of forms first. Pfff… hpspital rules are stupid, I just want to go to my daughter, because I’m missing the first hours of her life! “Please may I go downstairs?” Finally, at 2am I am fetched. Lobke has come too, and it’s good to see her!

She says the baby is very alert, and is getting Denny’s whole chest wet, trying to latch. Oh, that’s great! She can go straight to the breast! I was so afraid she’d be asleep. I realise that I’m a little stoned from the morphine pump. Or I’m just really tired? It’ll be a combination of the two… Lobke asks me whether I want her help fixing my hair a little (I asked her beforehand to make sure I looked a little presentable during the birth. That makes me laugh now, because… who cares?!) She doesn’t have to fix my hair, it is what it is. I dealt with contractions at 9cm dilated for 5 hours – that messes up your hair. 😉 We’re nearly at the room, and there they are! She’s so beautiful! Denny brings her to me, and she’s pooped on his hand. Lovely sticky meconium. She’s really warm, so I know he’s done his best cudling her. 🙂 And I can see her opening and closing her mouth like a goldfish, so I can put her to my breast immediately, and it goes perfectly! It’s a heavenly moment. A baby at my breast. My OWN baby, and my own breast! Wow!

I’m too stoned to cry, but I am so intensely happy. It doesn’t feel real yet, but I think I’m really a mama now. I have a baby at any rate. 🙂 She’s drinking well at my breast, while I try to keep focussing on her, because that morphine pump is knocking me out a bit (maybe I should press it a little less often…).

Lobke asks me if there are any specific photos I want. I suddenly realise that we won’t have any photos of her newborn/ reflex checks, because none of that happens if you have a c-section. Such a pity. What did she weigh anyway?! Denny says she weighs 3590g. I want to keep her skin to skin with me for as long as possible, so I can’t really think of any photos we could do. Luckily Lobke suggests taking a photo of how she fitted in my womb. Oh yes! “Do you dare to hold her like that, Denny?” He says he does, and then does it like he’s done it many times before. Lobke takes beautiful photos of this moment, and I enjoy it intensely.

Then some photos of the 3 of us (but please do brush my hair for these ones, Lobke…) and then she leaves. My little baby is still lying skin-to-skin with me, until it’s time to dress her. Denny dresses her, and then she comes back to me. This is an extra special day for Denny. Not only has he become a father again, but exactly16 years ago he did too. Our baby was born at 00:16, on the 16th birthday of Denny’s daughter, Bo!

It’s now 5am, and at 7 they’ll come by again to do checks. We’re both going to try and get a little sleep. I keep out little girl close to me, because if I put her in her cradle I won’t be able to get her out again by myself, and also: I want to enjoy every single one of these first hours with her outside my belly.

We fall asleep together, and I’m the happiest woman on earth.♥

P.S. This story is so long already that I’ll write our reflections on the birth separately. Next blog. 🙂