Hello hello – I have again been missing in action for a few weeks buuuut for a very good reason this time I would say 😉 I became a mom! Time to catch up and tell you about my delivery and how the first 6 weeks with a newborn baby have been.
Sooo quick rewind to my last baby post: I was then 4 weeks before my expected due date and counting down the days. In the end, I didn’t make it to full term – he was actually 3 days early. Here’s how that day went:
Saturday 5 February
It was a normal Saturday – we woke up, had coffee on the couch and took it easy. I sent a bump picture to my uncle Daniel saying the baby did not arrive yet, but here’s a picture while he is waiting. And in our friends Whatsapp group, asked them when they thought he would arrive. That evening, we just stayed home and had pizza for dinner.
Just as we were finishing, I started having cramps in my belly. It was a new sensation, nothing like I had felt before during this pregnancy. I joked to Vitto that this were either contractions or I had to go to the bathroom soon. It felt a bit like menstrual cramps. It seemed like these cramps were coming and going, so I decided to time them on my phone for a while. Turned out I got them every 5ish minutes for about a minute, which indicates this are indeed contractions, and already very regularly, so time to call the midwife!
She asked a few questions but since it’s our first baby, I had no idea what to expect to she came over straight away and checked my dilation. Turns out I was already about 5cm dilated. If I already wanted to go to the hospital or wait a bit longer, she asked. Again, I told her I have no idea how fast this might go but since I was already 5cm dilated after 2 hours of contractions, it might be a good idea to go to the hospital. Better safe than sorry, right? So she called them, and told them we were coming and to get my room ready (I wanted to give birth in the bathtub).
We waited a bit longer at our house before going because they could only receive us at 11.30 and the hospital was literally 10 min by car. It was one of those stormy, rainy nights in Amsterdam, and Vittorio was not in the best mood since Inter Milan lost the derby against Milan that night :-P. Our midwife gave us a lift to the hospital and guided us to the room. What I noticed immediately was how warm it was in that room. Now I realise it’s to ensure the baby experiences less of a temperature shock when leaving the womb. Anyway, we settled in and I went straight for the bathtub to ease the contractions (who were already getting quite intense).
Between 12 and 2, I spent the first half in the bath puffing away contractions while the baby was being monitored. But then the midwife told me that my and the baby’s heart rate was increasing, and that could be of the warm water but she asked me to get out of the tub for a while just to be sure. I then went on the bed on hands and knees (I read that is a more natural position than lying on your back). Not gonna lie, those contractions were damn painful and only increasing. Somewhere closer to 2AM the pain was realllllly getting intense and the midwife asked if I wanted to change position. I said I had no idea which position would make it less painful, at this point. She suggested the birthing chair (which is basically a chair with a hole in it). Shortly after, the pushing phase started. So I never made it into the bathtub anymore.
Now let me tell you – this was the single most painful experience of my life. Every few minutes there was a new contraction and I had to push as much as I could during it. A minute never lasted as long as during labour. I was literally screaming, but the midwife told me this didn’t help, and I was just wasting my energy. When I thought I couldn’t do it anymore, I felt his head was about to pop out. And from then, 2 more pushes and it was over. I was apparently lucky my pushing phase only lasted 30 min, because it is quite normal to have it last 1-2h for the first baby. Respect to the mamas who had to endure this!
They immediately put him on my chest and I won’t say the pain was forgotten – but you are so high on adrenaline that you just don’t feel it anymore. I expected him to be all slimy and with a white-grey layer on him but he wasn’t – he was just perfect and with a normal skin colour. I really enjoyed the skin-on-skin contact they gave us, and I just looked at him and caressed him for the next 2 hours. They brought us a tray with food (sandwiches, fruit, yoghurt,…) and after I ate something and showered, we could go home!
Now for non-Dutchies, let me explain this a bit: in the Netherlands, you don’t go to the hospital to give birth if you have a normal pregnancy without any complications. You go to a “birthing centre”. If everything goes well with the delivery, you can go home usually 3-4h hours later. Different to other countries, you get “Kraamzorg” in the Netherlands, which means that there is a caretaker coming to your house for the next 8 days to take care of you and the baby and support you and explain everything to you in your own safe home environment. At first, I also thought this was strange, but now I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Ok, more about this Kraamzorg and our first weeks in my next blog! Let me just start by saying that this child does not take after me at all – he is an absolute dream of a baby!
See you next time!