How different can a second birth be? | Homebirth Delft

Thuisbevalling Delft

In September I photographed my fourth birth story. It was my first birth out of Zeeland and I was quite anxious. When Martijn called me for the first time, the contractions sounded quite serious, and without a doubt I jumped in my car!  When I arrived  the midwife just left and there was no dilatation at all. It was the beginning of a very long labor that was supposed to be at home, but in the end, ended up in hospital.

Over 24 hours later, Hidde was born. I slept on the couch, talked to Martijn, massaged Wendy’s back, talk some courage into her, got some food and drinks, slept on 2 chairs in a hospital after the epidural got in and of course made pictures! You can find the whole story about Hidde here: https://fermontfotografie.nlen/birthphotography-delft

I was therefore really excited when I got an app from Wendy last year from Wendy, saying she was pregnant again and really wanted me to be there. How cool is that, being invited to also do the birth of their second baby! Unfortunately this pregnancy turned into a miscarriage and it took 8 months for Wendy to fall pregnant again. It started off as a twin pregnancy. At the first ultrasound Wendy and Martijn heard 2 heartbeats. The ultrasound after that there was only one heartbeat left. This is called vanishing twin. One of the two just disappears. Sometimes you don’t even know as you get your first ultrasound at 10 weeks.

Anyway, when she sends me an app she’s really excited that the baby is doing well and she wants to set in stone that I will be there again in December. Because we already know each other we don’t need an intake 🙂 Wendy tells me really clear how nice it was last time that I was present and that she’s really happy I’ll be there again this time around. I’m really looking forward to it as well. I’m also looking forward to seeing Hidde again, I’m so curious what kind of fellow he turned out to be!

Because last time it took a really long time before any dilatation was obtained, and it really was progressing after the epidural was placed, I really don’t assume this baby will just fall out! There are no guaranties of course but in theory it will not be the first thing that comes to mind. Wendy is a little anxious about this delivery as well because of previous experiences.

Wendy’s due date is on December 3rd and Hidde was born at 40 weeks and 1 day, but 3 as well as 4 December nothing happens. Storm is being predicted in the Netherlands and I ask Wendy if she can keep the little one in for just a little bit longer 😉 Just as with Hidde’s birth, they don’t know the gender of the baby, a surprise birth! On Thursday December 5th she visits the midwife and if nothing will happen this weekend, they will try to strip her on Tuesday if possible. She will be 41 weeks pregnant then.

But all that is not necessary because on Sunday I’m getting a message from Wendy. I’m already in bed, it’s just past 11 pm. She writes me that it’s rumbling a little but that it draws to her backside more and more so this could possibly be it! Now second baby’s will tend to do as if they will be on their way but change their mind so I write Wendy that if the midwife confirms she’s in labor, she has to call me back. I know she really wants me there so if something weird happens, I’m sure she will call me.

I fall asleep but wake up regularly. When i suddenly wake up at 4 am and realize I haven’t been called yet, I assume it’s false alarm. I know it won’t be that long anymore before the real labor will begin am., because obviously something is happening. I fall asleep again up until my phone wakes me up! It’s Martijn and he says “the midwife says you should come.” I’m curious of course and ask how far Wendy is dilated and if I have to hurry up or take it easy. Martijn asks the midwife and answers, “you just have to come!” I’m immediately straight up in my bed because this answer usually isn’t a good sign. I know Wendy wants to go to hospital so when I ask if I have to go to hospital straight away and the answer is just a plain “no”, I know enough. She’s very far along already! I’m not going to miss it am I? How can this be? I really can’t wrap my head around what has happened these past few hours because Wendy and Martijn aren’t the kind of people that would call last minute.

There’s no time to think about things. My clothes were already laid out, I brush my teeth and meanwhile my boyfriend Denny woke up and makes me a sandwich, so sweet! 10 minutes later I run out the door with my breakfast and jump right in the car. I send Martijn an app to ask if he can keep me updated and he will. I’m a little afraid I won’t make it in time. It’s a 90-minute drive to Delft which is ok but not when they are head over heels heading to the hospital which is a 10 minute drive from their home… I’m about to cry!

When I’m almost there, I really start to feel I might be in time, I haven’t heard anything yet. I still recognize everything and park my car right in front of their door. I’m shaking all over. The door is being opened already. There’s a woman and I don’t even introduce myself because I am  overwhelmed  by what I hear… “you’re too late, the baby was born 30 minutes ago!. You can’t help it, it all went so fast . They are upstairs please come in”. In a daze I walk upstairs, I know my way around here. It is 6.45 am and I realize that with the birth of Hidde, I arrived at around the same time. (when I check Hidde’s story later on, I see it’s exactly the same time, weird right?) There’s only one big difference: I don’t have to wait another 24 hours but… I missed it!

I walk into the bedroom and there’s Wendy. She doesn’t look like she just gave birth at all! There’s someone really busy taking pictures (luckily!). It turns out to be a student midwife who just did the delivery and tells me that the nurse took pictures during the delivery as well. I am happy to hear they at least have something to look back on. Wendy is really proud and says: “she’s here already!” Ohw it’s a girl! I congratulate them both and ask what her name is. Her name is Guusje <3 Really fun because a very good friend of mine has the same name!

I start taking pictures and they tell me the birth story in the meantime. The contractions got started slowly after my app but weren’t regular or one on top of the other. When they came 5 minutes apart for a while, Wendy and Martijn decided to call the midwife. She was in hospital and because they were supposed to go there anyway, they decided to head over and see if anything had happened already. Wendy’s mom was being called (ohw darn it was Wendy’s mom downstairs and I didn’t even congratulate her!) to watch Hidde. He also woke up for a little bit just before Wendy and Martijn left for the hospital. He had been very  restless for the past couple of weeks and woke up in the middle of the night and crawled right up to Wendy’s belly, so sweet! Around 3 they arrived in hospital but the contractions slowed down. When she was examined internally it turned out there was no dilatation at all so it seemed like a false start so they felt there was no reason to call me then. (if she only had 2 cm I surely was coming over). There also was no reason to stay in hospital so Wendy and Martijn went back home. They came home at 3.22 and at 3.45 Wendy’s mother headed back home. She was barely gone and all of a sudden, out of the blue there were severe contractions every other minute, but they just learned nothing was happening so they didn’t feel they needed to call again. Martijn finally makes the decision, only an hour after they arrived home, he calls the midwife who arrives very shortly after. Wendy is 6 cm dialated at that time! The midwife knows it will go very quickly now, because 90 minutes ago nothing was happening. I’m being called. They try to postpone breaking her water to get more time, but that didn’t help!

I know the rest of the story. How can this go so very differently? With the first one they intended to deliver at home and it turned out to be a hospital birth after a 24 hour labor and now they were planning to go to hospital and this lady was born at home in just 3,5 hours. It’s so unpredictable, but hey.. I am really really bummed!

I take as many pictures as I can. Guusje is a real girly girl and I don’t think she looks like Hidde. She’s smaller and more fragile. She latches and drinks very well at the breast. Wendy nursed Hidde for a long time as well and it looked like she produced whipped cream! It seems like this will turn out just fine as well  Martijn is calling family in the meantime to tell them their daughter (!) is already born. I think nobody can believe it! Guusje isn’t nowhere near ready nursing so she is offered the other breast, which she gladly takes. It’s such a pretty sight to see Wendy and Martijn enjoy this so much. 15 minutes later it doesn’t look like Guusje will let go very soon so Wendy unlatches her so Martijn can hold his daughter too for the first time! Not long after that, Wendy stands next to him! Such a big difference compared to the first birth! Because of the necklace she’s wearing (that never comes of really), her hair up do and a lace slip dress you might think she just comes home from a party!

Martijn can’t wait anymore, it’s 7.30 am now and he’s going to wake up Hidde. So typical that he’s been up nights in a row and now, all through the birth and with all these people in the house, he slept through it all! I’m so curious how he will react.

A few minutes later I see a sleepy little boy standing in the hallway. So nice to see him again! Hidde thinks differently! He’s a little nervous about all these people in the house he doesn’t know. I really understand. He’s coming in with a sleepy and grumpy face. Like he’s thinking: “what is going on here people?” he’s clearly overwhelmed. His mama gets his first big hug and then his eyes turn to his little sister and don’t leave her anymore. It’s a big riddle what he’s thinking because the grumpy sleepy look in his eyes stays but he keeps looking at his sister. He’s keeping a close eye on her all the time. Touching his sister or even holding her is one bridge too far for him, he’s not ready for that.

In the meanwhile the midwife comes back to check up on Guusje on the bed. Martijn plays with Hidde a little bit, but if they come too close to Guusje, he wants to step away from her a little bit further. He has to get used to the fact that he’s a big brother now. During the checkup Wendy’s mom comes up to meet little Guusje. A nice surprise for Hidde. Oh what is that little guy thinking? Woken up by his dad and all of a sudden a house full of visitors and grandpa’s and grandma’s and a new little sister!

Guusje is ok with everything and is being weighed and weighs 3.600 grams which is less than Hidde. She even looks smaller so that’s could be right. After she’s being weighed proud grandma van hold her granddaughter. She must have had a lot of patience downstairs! The nurse is back in the room as well and is getting Guusje dressed while Martijn goes downstairs with Hidde for a while. Guusjes temperature isn’t high enough yet so she’s being put to bed with a few warm water bottles to get warmer.

When I come downstairs Martijn is playing with Hidde. Right after, grandma comes down to get Hidde dressed and to put on his “big brother” medal. He really doesn’t want anything to do with that and rips it off his clothing. He’d much rather play in his kitchenette so I play with him  for a little while. I’m getting a backed egg with pepper, salt, mustard and ketchup. I’m getting it all! Wendy is taking a shower and when I hear she’s ready we all go upstairs. Hidde takes a run for it to the nursery and he’s really curious now. He reaches into the bed and says  “aai aai” which means caress in Dutch. So sweet!

De nurse takes Guusjes temperature again which is a little better now. It’s time for opening presents for Wendy as well as Hidde. I take some pictures of Guusje in the meantime and some of Hidde and Guusje. He really wants to hold her now and reaches into the air with his little arms. It’s so adorable to see them together.

Right after, Martijns parents come in, nice to see them again too! It’s all so cozy and familiar. I take some pretty pics of the proud grandparents and we talk some. Wendy is suffering from some after pains and I think it’s a good idea if she gets some rest now because the day starts again. It’s too bad I missed it and I will always be bummed about that. Births are not to predict or to plan, how much you would like to and I am glad I was able to take these pretty pictures anyway. And if there ever comes a third… I‘ll jump right in my car after the first message or beep!

Dear Martijn, Wendy and Hidde: enjoy your pretty little daughter/sister!

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