Doing it differently the second time around | Birth Photography Breda

Geboortefotografie Breda

A little more than 2 years ago I photographed the birth of Daan, so it was lovely when I heard last summer that Lieke was pregnant with their second child, and that she and Richard wanted me to be there once again. It’s always special to photograph the birth of a child, but it’s extra special when you’re invited to the birth of the next child too!

Daan was born after an induction at 42 weeks. He didn’t want to come out on his own, even though Lieke did everything she could to get him to come out. Because the induction she ended up with an epidural so that she could cope with the extremely intense and relentless contractions. Daan weighed 4460g – not a small baby. Thanks to this experience, Lieke was more nervous about giving birth now, and was really hoping things would go differently this time. She had already decided that no matter what else happened, she only wanted to go to 41 weeks this time, rather than waiting until 42. The plan was to start on time with reflexology, in the hope that this would help labour to get started naturally.

We chatted a few times during the pregnancy, which goes very differently to the pregnancy with Daan. It’s a hard pregnancy, which demands a lot from Lieke. From 30 weeks onwards she can’t do much, and that’s not easy with a toddler in the house. Meeting up just isn’t an option, but luckily we know each other already. To make things worse, Lieke gets sick at 38 weeks, and not just a little sick – she’s admitted to hospital. It turns out to be a bad flu virus, and all she can do is wait it out. This isn’t making things any easier.

When her due date of April 13th comes and goes, Lieke is not happy. She is so done being pregnant. She just wants their little girl to be born! She has an appointment with the gynaecologist on 14 April, and has decided that she wants to be induced before the weekend (which causes me a bit of stress, since I’m already expecting 2 babies that week…). When she’s back from the gynaecologist we chat on the phone, and she says he’s advised her to wait until Sunday night. On Sunday night they will insert a balloon to start dilations, and then on Monday morning they will break her waters. If it turns out on Sunday evening that the balloon is not necessary, then Lieke and Richard can come back on Monday so that her waters can be broken. This decision is to my advantage when it comes to planning, so I’m happy with it, and Lieke is also satisfied. There is a date, and who knows what could happen between now and then…

On Wednesday 15 April there’s a spark of hope, because she definitely loses her mucous plug, which didn’t happen with Daan. Unfortunately the hope doesn’t last long, because at her midwife appointment the next day her cervix is found to be tightly closed, and stripping her membranes is not an option. And then Sunday 19 April approaches… That morning she sends me a message saying that she’s terribly grumpy, because she’s really not looking forward to what’s coming, and I’m the only person she still wants to exchange message with. 😉 I send her a message full of positive thoughts, and try to encourage her.

When they get to the hospital in the evening the balloon is placed, because it’s not yet possible to break her waters without the balloon. The next morning, Monday 20 April, Lieke lets me know that the balloon fell out at around 3am, and she is now dilated to 2 or 3 centimetres. Her membranes will be ruptured a little before 9am, and Lieke and Richard have asked to be given an hour to see whether Lieke’s body will start the contractions on its own. But nothing happens in that hours, so at 10am the IV is started. This time they’ve insisted that the level of medication be increased very slowly, so that Lieke is not overwhelmed by the contractions like the last time. The motto of the day is: slowly! And see if her body picks it up by itself.

I ask once again, emphatically, to be called as soon as there are any contractions worth mentioning. I know that Lieke and Richard are still thinking about that first birth, but this one can go so differently, and I’d be so upset if I was too late. I don’t need to know how many centimeters she is – once it starts, I’ll start driving.

Richard phones me at 13:00. He sounds a bit doubtful. The contractions have started, but they haven’t checked her dilation yet. He lets me decide what I want to do. I tell him I’m going to heads their way now, no matter what. I take a few books along, just in case I end up waiting for a long time, but I don’t think I will. I leave my home at 13:20. Richard sends me a message saying that the contractions are now intense, and are coming every 2 minutes, so I’m glad I’m in the car already.

When I’m approximately halfway I get another message. It’s 13:45. “Hi Marry. She’s at 5cm now. It’s going well, but nowhere near 10cm yet.” I know better – from 5cm to 10cm can suddenly go very quickly, so luckily I’ll be there in about 45 minutes. It’s also lovely weather to be born today!

I step into the room at 14:30. Lieke is standing next to the bed (and tells me later she got that tip from me at Daan’s birth, and now wanted to use it to allow gravity to help. Super!). I can immediately see that the contractions are very strong. She’s coping with them, but it’s not easy. She says she can’t keep it up for much longer. This can mean 2 things: the IV is at a higher setting than she can cope with, or she’s (nearly) fully dilated. Because I’ve only just arrived, it’s hard for me to judge which it may be. A short while later the midwife comes in. An hour ago she did a vaginal exam, so she says she doesn’t need to do one again now, but if Lieke wants to know how far she is, then she’ll take a look. Lieke wants to know! She lies on the bed and 5 minutes later we know – she’s at 9cm! She can hardly believe it, and just says, “Thank you! I wouldn’t have been able to keep it up for much longer!” It gives her new energy, and almost immediately afterwards she starts feeling the urge to push. Her whole body just wants the baby to come out now!

Nothing is ready yet in the room, so the midwife quickly pages someone and gets everything set up as quickly as possible. She’s also a bit surprised. 🙂 Richard is trying to coach Lieke to deal with these last contractions as calmly as possible. She’s not as calm as she was any more, and she’s squeezing Richard’s hands to a pulp! In the meantime everything is being set up at high speed, and then Lieke can start to push with the contractions. It all goes so quickly! I’m glad I’m there already! The pushing doesn’t even take 10 minutes, because at 14:51, a beautiful baby girl is born!! Wow!

Lieke’s face is filled with disbelief – she did it! So quickly, and without an epidural! It seems like it doesn’t sink in initially. Richard is standing looking at his 2 girls with a proud grin on his face. When Daan was born Lieke said: he’s so big. His hands are so big. But this time she keeps saying: you’re so dirty! 🙂 Baby is covered in vernix, and a little blood because Lieke tore a bit. She is named Roos. <3

Shortly afterwards Richard cuts the cord. Now Lieke can cuddle her daughter properly. She is so proud, they both are, and they should be. They did so well! Blood is also being taken out of the cord for stem cell donation. So great that they’re doing this. (

Then Roos is weighed. If she’s ‘too heavy’ she’ll need to have her blood glucose levels checked, but it’s not necessary! She weighs a lot less than her big brother. 😉 4090g. Then she is put to her mama’s breast, and she knows exactly what to do with it (again, in contract to her brother). She latches well, and starts to drink. She;s already got some nutrients in her belly! Afterwards it’s time to cuddle with daddy, skin-to-skin.

Now Lieke can phone the proud grandparents, who probably won’t believe that their granddaughter has already been born – and that turns out to be true! I can hear the enthusiastic grandmother on the phone. 🙂 Then it’s Richard’s turn to phone, and Roos can go back to her mama while Richard calls the other grandparents, who are of course just as enthusiastic! They immediately head for the hospital, with Daan of course!

Lieke goes for a shower, and Richard dresses Roos (he hasn’t forgotten how). They really want to head to the birth home, so that Richard can stay the night. When Daan was born that wasn’t allowed, and now it looks like it may once again not be possible because Lieke has lost a liter of blood. But she feels great, and manages to convince the doctor she’s doing fine. Wonderful, because then Richard can stay with them tonight. Everything really is different this time, in such a good way! The grandparents arrive before we’ve moved, so they need to wait patiently until Lieke, Richard and Roos are settled in the birth home.

Richard goes and fetches Daan first. He has 3 beautiful roses with him, and great t-shirt, and he’s so excited! It’s so nice to see children again when they’re bigger. He’s so sweet! I’ve seldom seen such a sweet reaction from a 2 year old. Roos gets non-stop kisses from Daan. Not for a long time, because he is of course still a 2 year old, 😉 but he is totally enamoured with her! When Daan has had plenty of time to get to know her, it’s time for the grandparents. Always a special moment!! There is champagne again, and ‘beschuit’ with ‘muisjes’, and the party is complete.

Dear Richard, Lieke and Daan, and grandparents: I wish you much joy with Roos!

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