A fast home birth, in the end! | Birth photography Zeeland

During the night of 5 and 6 June, I check my phone when I wake up to nurse my daughter. I have a message from Hein, Kim’s husband. Kim is pregnant with their second child, and her due date was 4 June. The last few weeks of the pregnancy were rough, and I know she can’t wait until the baby arrives! Hein writes that her waters broke at 00:15, and that the midwife has been, but Kim’s not having contractions yet. It’s now 4:15, and I send a reply to ask how things are going. He replies that things seem to be picking up no. They are about to phone Kim’s mother, so that someone is around to look after their son Mitch when he wakes up. They intend to have a home birth, and it’s helpful to have someone there for Mitch. We agree that Hein will phone me if necessary, and I settle back down in bed.

When I wake in the morning, I haven’t been called. I send another message asking how things are going. Mitch replies that something is happening. There are contractions, but they’re very irregular. They have to call the midwife when the contractions are coming every 5 minutes, but that’s not yet the case. I suggest they go for a walk, and see if that helps to get things going. Unfortunately the opposite seems to be true: they go for a walk, and the contractions disappear completely. It’s now 10:30 and Kim is going to try and sleep. She didn’t get any sleep during the night.

However, that sleep still doesn’t happen, because a short while later things start to happen again, although contractions are still irregular. Hein and I exchange a few messages. I’m ready to leave, but before I do labour needs to be well established. At 14:23 he sends a message saying: “the midwife hasn’t been, but she’s had a few contractions which she’s really had to puff through; they’re a lot more intense.” I reply that if they get very intense, I’ll head out. If it’s a false alarm I can go home again, since it’s not far away. 2 minutes later, at 14:25, Hein phones me and says, “can you come?”

I don’t have to hear anything else. I get in the car, and I’m there at 15:00.

Kim is on the toilet, and doesn’t want to get off. The midwife is there too, and is getting everything ready. Kim is already dilated to 6cm: it’s really started. It’s been a long, slow run-up, but from one moment to the next it suddenly got serious. Kim says she’s very nauseous, and Hein gets a bucket in case she needs to throw up. It doesn’t happen, but a short while later Kim says she feels like she’s going to faint. She comes off the toilet, and the midwife helps her to lie down, with her feet in the air. The bucket is next to her. She feels awful, and then on top of it all she gets a contraction. It’s incredible how she copes with it; if she hadn’t said that she had a contraction, you wouldn’t have known.

After she is feeling a little better (as far as that’s possible while in labour), she walks towards the bed, but then she changes her mind and wants to go back to the toilet. That position just works best for her. When she’s sitting there again, we clearly hear the contractions change – she’s pushing. The midwife says that she really does need to head towards the bed now. It’s 15:30, and Kim walks to the bed on autopilot. She’s staring into space. Hein is sitting next to her on the bed, and the midwife asks her whether she’s not worrying too much. “No, I just want the baby out.” She’s fully dilated, and can push. She’s feeling very hot. It’s warm in the room, because it’s beautiful weather outside. She doesn’t want a cold facecloth. She’s really just switching off, and focussing on doing whatever it takes to get the baby out.

She’s doing an amazing job, because before long we can see the head! Hein is holding one of her legs, and not looking towards the baby, but concentrating on Kim. Then the midwife says, “Look, Kim, look! You can take your baby!” And sure enough, there he is! At 15:57 a lovely big boy is born! Kim catches him herself – a beautiful moment. Although he is born at 40weeks, 2 days, he’s covered in vernix! He has a very thick cord, and it looks like he was very happy in her belly. He also has something special – an extra little finger. It’s attached to another finger, by a little piece of skin. You can hardly call it a finger really, but it does have a little nail.

This beautiful little boy is named Tom! When the cord has finished pulsing, Hein cuts it, and soon the placenta is born. The cord is not only thick, but also very long!

When Tom has had cuddles with his mama, it’s time to cuddle with papa! They phone the proud grandparents, where Mitch is. They’re very curious about his reaction. He;s going through a ‘no!’ phase, so we’ll see… 😉

In the meantime Tom is doing his best to open his eyes, because he obviously would like to see his daddy. Unfortunately he first has to be weighed and checked, and he’s not in the mood for that! He cries loudly as soon as he’s taken out of his warm blanket. He’s also gotten rid of his first load of sticky meconium in his blanket. 😉

He weighs a solid 4kgs, and is 56cm long! But his mama and papa aren’t short, so that’s not really a surprise. All his checks are good, and the paediatrician can look at his extra finger later. Even though it’s hot in the bedroom, Tom is not warm, and needs to be warmed up. While Kim has a shower, I take some photos of him, and then he’s put in the cradle until his mama and papa are back. He was rooting enthusiastically with papa, so he’s gone to make him a bottle.

His first bottle is given to him by his mama, and he enjoys it. When he’s done, Mitch is at the door. He comes upstairs with Hein to see his new brother. He’s very impressed, and doesn’t mention the word ‘no’ at all. He looks from his brother, to his parents, and every now and then he sneaks a peek at me. He carefully touches Tom’s hand. It’s so adorable! After a few minutes he’s had enough, and it’s time for the proud grandparents to come in. Tom gets a big kiss from his grandmother, and his grandfather gets a chance at a cuddle when grandmother goes downstairs to fetch a gift – a home made diaper cake!

Because Tom’s temperature is still a bit low, he’s put back in the cradle with a couple of hot water bottles, but not before his grandmother has had a cuddle. They have a quick cuddle, and then Tom curls up in his cradle for a nap.

Dear Kim and Hein, I wish you much happiness as a family of four!

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