I was simply made for this | Birth Photography
The introductory meeting with Maaike and Kevin was a meeting where a lot of tears flow. Tears of happiness, but a lot of them. 🙂 Maaike followed my own story of trying to get pregnant, and after a long journey herself, she is finally pregnant. She’s still so overwhelmed by how amazing that is, that she keeps welling up, because she just can’t believe she’s going to get to experience it all herself. I can empathise so strongly with her, that I cry too. Kevin mostly just grins – he’s used to this. 😉
No matter what, they’re looking forward to this! In the following months we stay in touch via email, and Maaike feels that the months should just fly past so that she has her baby in her arms as quickly as possible. She and Kevin know whether they’re having a boy or a girl, but they haven’t told anyone that they know. By doing this there’s a much smaller chance that they’ll say something by accident, and no chance that anyone will try to worm the information out of them. A smart move. 🙂
One day after her due date, in the afternoon my phone rings. It’s 15:30, and it’s Maaike calling: “I think it’s starting.” Contractions are still irregular, she tells me, and it’s been restless for a while, but she thinks this really is it. Woohoo! Exciting! Now it just has to keep going. I get everything ready, and an hour later we have contact again via What’sApp. The contractions are coming around every 4 minutes, but sometimes there’s a little more time between them. I suggest that she takes a walk with Kevin and see what happens. She tells me she’ll do that.
At 18:00 I ask whether anything has changed. She says, not really, but they do hurt more, so she’s going to take a shower now. That is a difference, feeling more pain, but she hadn’t yet thought of it that way. One hour later, after her shower, the contractions are shorter, but so are the breaks in between them. She was planning to call her midwife after the shower, but now she’s having doubts again. There’s still not much regularity. I suggest that rest may help. Adrenaline can hinder the production of oxytocin, and that’s what you need to get labour going (which is why labour so often starts at night, when you’re totally at rest).
I have my own doubts about whether it will keep going tonight, or whether we’ll still be waiting tomorrow morning. Just to be on the safe side, I go to bed early. At 20:50 I send her an app saying that I’m going to bed. She replies that the midwife is with her, and that the contractions are sometimes coming quite fast. At 21:10 she tells me she’s dilated to 4/5cm! “The midwife is now checking someone else. At 22:00 she’ll break my waters, if that hasn’t happened yet.” Maaike wants to have her baby in the hospital, so I ask whether they’ll be breaking her waters at the hospital, or at home. “Probably here, so that there’s a better chance labour will progress.” This last sentence is what makes me think it’s still too early to head out there. If the midwife hasn’t sent her to the hospital yet, then the contractions won’t be regular enough yet. I’m seriously debating what to do, and discuss it with Maaike. She says the midwife will be back in 20 minutes. We decide to be in touch again at 22:00, and I try to get a little sleep before then.
That doesn’t really work out though… she sends me a message at 21:45, “There will be plenty of contractions at the hospital. 😉 I’ll call you when we leave. Not much longer I think.” I decide not to wait any more, and get out of bed now. When they go to the hospital, I want to go too, and we’ll see what happens from there. The first app I receive after that, surprises me though, since it’s exactly 8 minutes later: “Nearly 8cm! We’re going to the hospital!”
Luckily I’m ready to go, and jump straight into the car. I am once again amazed by how different births can be. She’s calmly sending me messages, and in the meantime she’s dilated to 8cm?!
I arrive at the hospital at 22:30, at the same time as the post-natal nurse. Maaike is at the counter. If I didn’t know she was in labour, I wouldn’t have seen it by looking at her. She’s absolutely radiant, and Kevin also looks radiant, standing next to her. “Oh, a contraction.” She leans over the counter to breathe the contraction away, and smiles at me again, “This is going quickly isn’t it?! I’m simply made to do this.” That’s for sure!
All of us, including the midwife, walk to the room allocated. She gets the room with the tub, and Kevin immediately starts filling it. At 22:45 she gets in the tub. Kevin comes and sits next to her with his coffee, but he is soon chased away, “your coffee stinks!”. Maaike is dealing with the contractions so well. In between them she has a huge smile on her face. It can be like this too… A short while later, at 23:05, she’s fully dilated. Her waters haven’t broken yet, and as long as it’s not necessary, the midwife will leave it. It’s the first time that Maaike says of a contraction, “God, this hurts!”
Maaike gets out of the bath, and the birthing stool is prepared, since that’s where she likes to give birth, if possible. As long as she doesn’t have to lie down, because then her pelvis really hurts. She deals with contractions on the stool, while Kevin applies counter-pressure to her back. After about 20 minutes the midwife suggests breaking her waters. This is done on the bed at 23:20, and Kevin’s facial expression is priceless. He has a very expressive face! After breaking the waters Maaike gets back on the birthing stool and then everything happens at once: a contraction, vomiting, you name is. “Oh my God, everything at once!” She also has more of an urge to push, but since she’s been on the birthing stool for some time now, the midwife suggests that she gets on her hands and knees on the bed. It’s 23:45. It looks like this baby will be born on 21st of March after all. 🙂 Maaike is now calling out that she feels like she’s breaking, and Kevin asks the midwife whether she sees anything yet. But we’re not that far yet.
At 00:16 Maaike gets back on the birthing stool, and then suddenly everything goes very quickly. Slowly some hair appears, and Kevin moves from his position behind Maaike to be able to see it. He can’t believe his eyes. Kevin leans to one side to look between Maaike’s legs. His face is full of disbelief, while the head is already completely out. At that moment Maaike pushes with all her might, and at 00:34 their baby is born! She catches him herself, and it’s a boy! She can’t believe it, and is completely overwhelmed. She says, “I thought I would cry,” but she just stares at her baby in disbelief. And then Kevin says proudly, “This is Ronin.” What a lovely name for a beautiful boy. Welcome Ronin!
A few minutes later Maaike gets up, like it’s nothing and, and gets into the bed with Ronin, where Kevin cuts the cord once it’s finished pulsing. The placenta hasn’t arrived yet, so Ronin is offered the breast, and he knows exactly what to do. I see Kevin look at Maaike, and he obviously knows her well… she’s becoming emotional now. She recently dreamed that breastfeeding didn’t work out, but it looks like she won’t have to worry about that. Ronin nurses well, and a short while later the placenta is born.
What a beautiful birth! And when it turns out that Maaike doesn’t even have a tiny tear of any kind, it looks like she is indeed simply made to do this. 🙂 They are enjoying being a family of three, and Ronin nurses at both breasts. We leave them to enjoy this time together, and while I talk to the midwife, Maaike starts to sing. It’s a song straight from her heart, and we immediately stop talking. I have tears in my eyes – there is so much love in this room. Maaike tells us that she also sang this song for him during her pregnancy. After this beautiful moment, Ronin has some skin-to-skin time with his papa. One and a half hour after his birth he is weighed and checked over. He weighs 3550g, and all his checks are good. With his tongue sticking out, and a smiling Maaike watching, Kevin dresses Ronin. I take the last family photos, and say goodbye to an ecstatically happy mother and father. I will see them soon again for the newborn shoot, where I’ll also get to admire Ronin again!
Wanneer Ronin 10 dagen oud is, zie ik hem weer voor zijn newbornshoot. Hij wil niets missen, maar is zo’n heerlijk rustig mannetje! Schatje ♥