The reunion | Birth photography Rotterdam


Geboortereportage Rotterdam

Daan was “my” fifth baby. The fifth birth I attended, in September 2011. Since then I’ve stayed in touch with his parents, Ilona and Maurice, via Facebook and had some contact every now and then. It was great to hear this year that Ilona was pregnant with their second child!

The pregnancy with Daan was a difficult one. Ilona had high blood pressure and towards the end was retaining a lot of fluid. She was induced at 37 weeks and 2 days (and had Daan 2 days later). During this pregnancy she was – once again with high blood pressure – better prepared for what was coming.

Initially Ilona and Maurice really wanted to come and visit, with Daan. We knew each other already of course, but it would be nice to see each other again. Unfortunately Ilona developed pelvis issues early in the pregnancy and had to take things very easy. So our appointment did not happen and instead we decided to catch up on the phone. And that we did during the summer – a lovely, cozy chat! It was clear that Ilona would once again be induced because of high blood pressure, but she was hoping to reach 37 weeks. The official due date was the 12th of September. This time Daan would come and see his brother straight after the birth, along with the grandparents and a very good friend, so that I could also take photos of all of them.

From 35 weeks, Ilona was carefully monitored by the doctors. Fortunately she made it to 37 weeks! Now it was a question of seeing how things were going from day to day. She needed to go to the hospital regularly so that the baby could be monitored, her urine could be checked for protein and bloods could be taken. She said she was feeling much better than she felt at the same stage with Daan, even though it wasn’t a picture perfect pregnancy. Less fluid retention and this time she knew what was coming.

Finally they decided to start induction on the 29th of August, at 38 weeks pregnant. We stay in touch regularly via WhatsApp and Ilona is hoping, becuase she’s already been feeling some Braxton Hicks, that they’ll be able to start things off by breaking her waters. Unfortunately that’s not possible, so to get the induction started the doctors insert a little balloon to dilate her cervix. It falls out by itself during the course of the evening and the next day they will take a look at how to progress further.

On August 30th they take another look. I understand from Ilona that she did have contractions during the night, but they haven’t kept going. She once again hoped that they could break her waters, but once again a balloon is placed. After a few hours it falls out again and she is dilated to 3cm and they can break her waters. Yay! 🙂

The last time Ilona couldn’t cope with the speed and intensity of the contractions, so this time they decide to place an epidural, before increasing the medication in the IV. I decide to start driving once the epidural has been placed. With a second child things can go quickly and I’d rather be there, waiting, than on the couch at home with the chance that I miss everything! At 16:00 the epidural is in place and I get into the car.

At 17:30 I’m in Rotterdam and Maurice comes downstairs to fetch me. In the lift he tells me that they have the same nurse as 3 years ago! Wonderful! “A kind of reunion,” says Maurice. “A good title for the blog.” It definitely is, so that’s something I don’t have to think about. 😉

When I go into the room Ilone is lying on the bed. She looks good, the epidural is working. I’m just in time for her latest check. She is dilated to 4cm and they’re going to increase the IV rate a little. We have a chat and catch up and I take photos of the beautiful flowers in the room (which she received from Daan), the blue sweets lying ready, Daan’s t-shirt also ready to be put to use (it reads “Big Brother Daan”) and her sandals (she can no longer get any other shoes on due to the fluid retention. What a difference with the last time, with Daan. Like this, giving birth seems to be a pleasure! 🙂

At 18:35 Ilona is asked to lie on her side and also asked, “Are you still doing ok?” The answer comes with a smile: “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Um, you mean having a baby! 🙂 Ilona keeps saying how different this is to Daan’s birth and it definitely is! We keep chatting and every now and then the blood pressure cuff automatically does its job, the IV makes its little buzzing noise and the baby’s heartbeat thuds through the room. The nurse pops in occasionally to chat, because it’s just so welcoming and cosy in here!

At 19:00 the baby shows the first dip. In other words, his heartbeat dips low enough that it’s better that Ilona turns over and lies on her other side. It doesn’t go much better on that side and Ilona is less chatty now. The contractions are coming faster now and the feeling of pressure is building. She needs to concentrate on the contractions now. The baby isn’t liking Ilona lying on her other side either, so she lies on her back once again and and the IV is turned down a bit, so that the contractions slow down a little. It’s now 19:25. Apparently the baby has never liked it much when Ilona lay on her side, so maybe that explains it. 🙂 They check her now and she’s dilated to 7cm, so that’s going well, although maybe a little too fast! They do a brief scan to check how baby is lying. He’s not in a bad position, but it’s also not an ideal position and it’s now a question of wait and see how baby is going to turn from here. Now that the IV has been turned down, the contractions ease up a bit and Ilona can chat again and the baby seems to be coping better. There are some worries and tears from Ilona, but she talks about them and she’s quickly comforted and her worries are eased. The baby is doing well and they’re keeping a close eye on her! She says, “With Daan’s birth I was very busy with myself, but now I’m just worried about the baby. I want things to go well with him.” In the meantime, Maurice gets the baby clothes ready so that they’ll be nice and warm when baby arrives.

The midwife takes a look every 2 hours, unless something changes. It’s now nearly Daan’s bedtime, so Ilona and Maurice phone him (he’s at his grandparents’ home) to say goodnight. Daan cries a lot on the phone, because he misses him mommy. Ilona can’t stop her own tears, but hopefully Daan will soon be able to come and meet his new baby brother. I hope so! According to the monitors, baby is coping really well now, so the IV gets turned up a bit at 20:45 and Ilona is asked to lie on her side again, because this will help the baby to descend in the right position. Immediately she mentions feeling pressure and raised intensity of contractions. She really needs to puff them away now and Maurice immediately steps up to support her. The feeling of pressure quickly intensifies and we press the bell, so that someone can come and check. Our instincts were right, becuase when she’s checked Ilona is found to be dilated to 10cm! There is no more chatting now and Ilona apologises for this to the hospital staff. “I can’t talk during a contraction, I’m sorry.” I immediately remember Daan’s birth, when she also apologised so much. No apologies necessary – just concentrate on the contractions! And she does!

A little later the doctor’s assistant comes in (the midwife is busy at the moment) and when she checks, she says that Ilona can push. It’s not quite 21:30 and suddenly everything is going really quickly! After just 4 pushes, he’s here! From chatting happily, to a bit of pressure and now a baby! His umbilical cord was wrapped around his head, which explains the dips in his heartrate during labour. Wow! It’s 21:32 and a beautiful boy is born!  ♥

We had talked about it the whole evening – would he look like Daan? But no, the first impression is that he doesn’t. Just like Daan, he’s covered in vernix and he’s crying just as hard! But he’s a lot slimmer and taller – he has his father’s build. He is called Kas. Kas is sweet!

The placenta arrives shortly afterwards and it’s a special one. It’s made up of 2 pieces – a ‘placenta bilobata’. Maurice is already standing in the hallway phoning the proud big brother, so that he can come and visit as quickly as possible! Ilona admires Kan and then he’s weighed and measured. He weighs exactly 10g more than his brother. 🙂 3370g. After that, he can try to breastfeed and it goes well! Then it’s time for the midwife to check him over and Maurice can dress him. Kas finds it all rather exhausting and falls asleep while Maurice is dressing him.

After a short while Daan arrives with all his grandparents. Maurice fetches him in the hallway and he’s very enthusiastic and has his little gift ready! And then it’s time… with huge eyes and his mouth open, he stares at his little brother. “This is your little brother, Daan. His name is Kas.” He looks at his mother, surprised and doesn’t seem to know what to think. He’s so sweet! It’s all very exciting and a bit scary, so Maurice takes Kas so that Daan can have a cuddle with his mommy.

Maurice then goes to fetch the proud grandparents and once they’ve been Ilona’s good friend comes in to admire Kas. There is champagne and Kas has another drink of mommy’s milk and I take photos of everything. I finish up with some photos of Kas on his own and of Ilona, Maurice and Kas. Daan has gone home by now, since it really was bedtime for the little big brother!  ♥

Dear Ilona and Maurice – heartfelt congratulations on the birth of your second little miracle and I wish you much happiness together!

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