A star player with two mommies | Caesarean Rotterdam

I first saw Patricia and Marcella at the information evening at the Maasstad Hospital in Rotterdam. It was Patricia in particular that showed interest and at that moment I didn’t know that they were going to have a baby together, they could of course just have been 2 friends that went to the information evening together. Not long afterwards Patricia e-mailed me that she and her partner were interested in a birth report. I still didn’t know for sure whether her partner was a man or a woman and you can’t just presume one way or the otherJ. Not long afterwards, in December 2012, we had a first appointment at their home to get acquainted as I had a photo shoot in the area.

First the dog had to be locked up, but then it was safe to go in ;-). It was immediately clear that they are both big fans of Walt Disney, items all over the living room confirmed this. Patricia’s partner indeed turned out to be a woman: Marcella. Now the only question that remained was who was actually pregnant. Neither had a clearly visible pregnant belly so I hoped more would become apparent during the conversation. They left me in the dark for a little while longer and I was happy when I found out that it was Marcella that was pregnant. Later Marcella said: “You kept looking at our stomachs.” Haha, it was true, I was really searching and Marcella had a very modest stomach.

They had been trying to get pregnant for 2.5 years and this hadn’t gone without a fight. They were only successful by the 12th time. All those years they had kept it a secret from their surroundings, so the surprise was even greater for everyone when they finally managed. It was Marcella that had rambling ovaries as they put it and Patricia just saw it as “scary” to be pregnant and to have to give birth. So the choice had soon been made. The pregnancy had gone smoothly up to that point; she hadn’t been bothered by anything. We discussed all the details of a birth report. And Patricia and Marcella were keen to do it. The calculated date was March 17th 2013.

In January Patricia called me saying that Marcella had been admitted to the hospital due to bleeding. At that point she was 30 weeks pregnant. It turned out the placenta was lying in front of the birth canal and that would she probably have a caesarean. She had to maintain absolute rest from that point onwards. Something that’s easier said than done for Marcella 🙂 . Up to that point she had continued to work normally (in catering) and sitting still wasn’t so easy for her. Especially because she didn’t feel sick. Apart from the bleeding she still felt very well. We agreed that we would wait and see how things developed and whether I would be allowed to be present at the caesarean should it come to that.

A day before I got back from holiday I had received another e-mail. Patricia wrote: “I’m in the hospital with Marcella for the third time. Again she has blood loss, but now also pain in her stomach. The doctor still has to come by, so at this point we don’t know how things are going to go.” All in all very strenuous and quite a scare every time the bleeding took place! At that point the caesarean was planned for March 5th and we had to wait and see whether I’d be allowed to be present. Mid February we unfortunately found out that it would not be permitted. Patricia was very disappointed. The gynaecologist was OK with it, but the anaesthesiologist wasn’t L. Because I had taken photographs in the Maasstad Hospital before I decided to take a chance and e-mail the gynaecologist I knew to see if she could help us out. Patricia and Marcella had waited so long for this miracle and wanted pictures so badly that it was worth a try. I received an incredibly kind reply that she and her colleague thought it was fine and that they would do their utmost best to get me into the OR. That day I would have to be there well on time and her colleague would do the caesarean. We had to wait and see what the anaesthesiologist would say about it. “The problem” is that the Maasstad Hospital is a training hospital and that there could also be co-assistants and interns present. If there’s also a photographer present it is often said that it becomes too crowded. So we had to wait and see until the day itself and hope that it would be allowed. Personally I already thought it was great that they were willing to try from the gynaecology department. Fingers crossed basically!

On Sunday March 3rd I get a message from Patricia in the morning: “Marcella started bleeding again last night and now we’re in the hospital. The caesarean might be moved up after all. We have to wait to see what the doctor wants.” Later that morning at 10:15 I get another message that the doctor will come by later to announce whether the caesarean will take place this afternoon or whether they will wait and see how it goes. I’m going to tidy up this afternoon and build some IKEA things together with my boyfriend, so I decide to get started with this anyway while still in my garbs. If the doctor decides later that it will take place this afternoon then I still have time to shower etc. and then go there. Besides that it also remains to be seen who is on duty, because there are gynaecologists that are aware of my potential attendance and if it’s someone else then the chance that I’m even allowed to join, will be small…

I get stuck into tidying up and the DIY and I don’t hear anything else in the morning. No news is good news I keep thinking. At 13:20 I get another message, saying that they have the gynaecologist that I know, which is good news! And that they’ll know more at 3 pm. I decide to continue a little longer, as the end of the mess is almost in sight. If I make sure that I shower at 2 pm etc. then I’ll still be ready in time for the phone call.

Naturally it doesn’t work out that way…

Just past 2 pm Patricia sends me a message that it’s going to happen now and that I have to come, but that they’re not going to wait for me. It still remains to be seen whether the anaesthesiologist is OK with it, but considering they’re still operating at the moment, it’s still not clear. So no more time to have a shower. My boyfriend quickly makes me a few sandwiches, I change, and less than 10 minutes later I’m in the car, un-showered – sorry everyone –  to get to Rotterdam as quickly as possible! On the way I call Patricia. She tells me than in principle she is scheduled to go in at 4 pm, but if the operation is done sooner that she’ll go sooner too. My expected time of arrival is 15:30 at that point so I take a small sigh of relief.

In fact I arrive in the car park of the Maasstad Hospital at precisely 15:30. If you’ve been there before then you know that you still have to walk quite a bit. But I still have half an hour so it should work out. I already make sure that I have my camera ready and I walk out of the car park. In the mean time I check my phone and to my horror see a message from 2 minutes ago: “They’re coming to get us, we’re going to the OR”. Shit! With all my excess baggage I start running. It must look incredibly clumsy, a small suitcase on wheels, a large camera around my neck and a backpack full of lenses. I soon find out that condition isn’t what it used to be so I run, walk, run, as fast as I can to the delivery rooms!

Once there I can hardly express myself, I’m completely out of breath. I manage to get out the words: Marcella. Patricia. Caesarean. Doctor K. Luckily there’s someone who gets what I mean and starts calling for me and as it turns out: I’m allowed to be present and I’m still on time!

I throw my things down right there, take everything that I need with me and follow this lady. I first go to the maternity ward where there’s someone who will go with me to the OR. We first go to recovery where I still manage to see Marcella first. She’s very nervous, but happy that it’s finally going to take place. Patricia has to say goodbye to her, we’ll see her again later in the OR. We going to get changed into our nice blue outfits and we’re then taken to the room where their baby will be examined. From here you can look through a window into the OR where Marcella will arrive later and first get an epidural. Then we’re allowed to go inside.

We make a bit of small talk and Patricia can hardly believe that she’ll be a mother soon. She is however happy that it’s finally taking place because the bleeding every time was very strenuous. You’re also so powerless she tells, even though Marcella remained calm every time. While we’re standing there chatting Marcella comes into the OR. You can see that she’s very nervous. The epidural is done quickly and smoothly and right afterwards we’re allowed to go in. Patricia goes to sit next to Marcella and I stay on the other side to take pictures.

This is the 4th time that I’m documenting a caesarean and I know what’s going to happen. I’m ready for it. 5 minutes after we went in, a beautiful boy is born! Patricia and Marcella get a brief moment to see him as he’s lifted over the blue curtain and then he’s taken to the room next door to be checked over. Marcella’s in tears and Patricia goes to see how their son is doing. He’s doing extremely well and he’s very calm! Straight afterwards Patricia is allowed to take him to Marcella. Marcella’s tears keep flowing and he’s placed lovingly by her. He’s given the name Kyano. Because everything’s going well he’s allowed to stay lying with his mother, a beautiful moment!

Just after that Marcella becomes very nauseous and for a moment it looks like she’s going to be sick. Kyano and Patricia go ahead to the department where Marcella will also go to later. Upon arriving in the room Kyano is allowed to lie with his mother skin-on-skin. He turns out to be a natural at breast feeding, because even though this isn’t the mother that’s going to feed him, he manages to find her breasts flawlessly time and time again. No matter what we do, he crawls over every time. Really quite special! By the time Marcella arrives Patricia is covered in red suction spots from Kyano 🙂 .

It’s a special moment when Patricia again brings Kyano to Marcella. Again many tears from Marcella of happiness, tension and relief that it’s all in the past. And he’s so beautiful! The three of them enjoy it to the fullest! And now Kyano can finally feed for real, which also goes right first time 🙂 . Marcella is very tired though and still gets waves of nausea.

Kyano is dressed by Patricia who does this with the utmost concentration and succeeds quite well indeed. Naturally he’s dressed in style with a Pluto bodysuit! Right after that the proud grandpas and grandmas and even great grandpa arrive. Everyone comes admire Kyano. As a true Feyenoord fan, Patricia has selected a Feyenoord birth card and I’m going to take a photo for it, the day that Feyenoord won the match 3-0 and upon arriving home it turns out that the last picture that I took of Kyano is 3000. Coincidence?

In any case 3 is a nice number; Patricia and Marcella can confirm this now that they’re with the three of them: Enjoy!