Birth | Welcoming Adeline Bryant | Pretoria Birth Photographer
“I never regret anything. Because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end.” – Drew Barrymore
Anirike Bryant became a Mom on 18 October 2018 when she gave birth to her baby girl, Adi. Despite a small mishap that knocked her planning off course, this brave and beautiful woman knows she got everything she wanted in her new family of three. This is their story.
“I knew, from the moment I saw the plus sign on my pregnancy test, that I wanted nothing other than to have my baby completely naturally, completely unmedicated. I didn’t want to go under the knife, I didn’t want to be bed-bound for hours after birth, I wanted to deliver her and take a shower and then spend all the time in the world with her, skin-to-skin. I wanted to breathe this precious soul out of my body, I wanted to feel every surge, every ounce of pressure, I wanted to feel the pain as I brought my beautiful baby girl into this world.
Things don’t always go according to plan, but my birth was still beautiful in its own way…
I spent months preparing for my birth. Early on in my pregnancy I came across Hypnobirthing and after ordering a book, and reading up on it, I knew this was for me! I bought the candles, downloaded the music, spent hours a day focused on my breathing, my baby, my body and drifting into a relaxed state… I was prepared for the birth and for the process!
On the morning of the 17th of October I woke up and went to the loo, where I noticed I had passed my mucus plug. I was so excited! I decided to keep it to myself, though as I stood a high chance of false labour – it was my first pregnancy, and with a girl, not to mention I was a week early! I spent the day preparing my bag, watching Netflix and sleeping. My husband was home with me because, as Murphy would have it, he was struggling through a stomach bug. Not the ideal time but such is life.
At 17h40 that afternoon an intense period pain feeling woke me from a nap. Yes! It was time! I told my husband and he ran me a bath. I was relaxed and ready for this baby! My contractions were very slow and took a number of hours.
At around 24h30 they were strong enough for me to call my Doula.
The Doula arrived soon after and at around 02h00 the next morning we decided it was time to make our way through to Genesis Maternity Clinic. I contacted Sam to let her know we were on our way. When we arrived, my midwife checked my cervix and noted that I had only dilated 2cm. My heart sank, I had been struggling through painful contractions for the last 4 hours and I had only dilated 2cm?! Time to put my Hypnobirthing into practice. We lit candles, dimmed the lights, played my music and I focused… I focused on every contraction, breathing and squatting through them.
I had the most amazing birthing team. My Doula gave me massages when I needed and Sam, the most talented photographer, spoke so beautifully about keeping focus and the amazing reward in the end. My husband was my strength!
At 6cm my midwife broke my water. It was only then that the pressure came. It was an unbelievable feeling. I felt so strong and empowered. I wanted to do this! I was ready!
At 8cm the pressure became too intense for me and the urge to push was insane. I admit, for those last 2cm Hypnobirthing went out the window! I could no longer hear the music or smell the relaxing aromas of the candles, all I could do was focus and picture this baby leaving my body.
I was struggling to push, which meant that little Adi had to be assisted with suction. Within what felt like seconds, and one last, hard push, my Adi baby was earth-bound!
They lay her on my chest and I was in complete awe! It’s an emotion I cannot possibly describe to anyone. There was a moment of complete euphoria and bliss. I looked at my husband, my strength, and fell completely, utterly, deeply in love with him all over again!
“YES,” I thought, “I did it!
Just as I wanted! Completely unmedicated!” I was so proud of myself that I had the strength to do what I had just done. It was an empowering feeling. As they were cleaning me up, they gave Adi to my husband and the midwife came to me. She said, “Darling, unfortunately, when Adi came out, she had both fists clenched next to her ears. You suffered 4th degree tears and need to go in to surgery.”
I had to be sedated, medicated, stitched and ended up being bed bound for the first 9 hours of Adi’s life. I was utterly disappointed. But, it was all worth it! I had a healthy baby girl, weighing in at a whopping 3.7kg, with beautiful red hair and the sweetest cry and she was relying on her Mommy to get fixed and report back for feeding duty. To be quite honest, it was the surgery that was a complete blur, and I only have faint memories of it.
I had my baby, completely unmedicated, the way I had always wanted. I felt every surge and every ounce of pressure, the way I had always wanted. I had taken a shower, although hours later, the way I had always wanted, and, being bed-bound didn’t stop me from spending hours with baby Adi on my chest, skin-to-skin, the way I had always wanted. In the end, it was the birth I had always pictured, with a few added extras here and there!
Adeline and Mike, your little Adi’s birth have changed me forever, and for that I will always love you!
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Why was I so desperate to have a natural birth?
Yes, it would have been a most empowering experience for me and yes my next one will be a VBAC, but was it really that important in the bigger scheme of things? At the end of it all we got what we set out to achieve – a human being that we could guide and mould and set free into the world for her to make her own impact. Maybe that trauma she and I both endured in getting her Earthside happened exactly how it was supposed to. That’s birth and even more so parenting – you set off on a course with big plans and that’s great, but there has to be flexibility and acceptance in changing course depending on whatever life (or your kid) throws at you.
After a minute or so we heard your first loud cry. It was glorious and we could finally breathe. Sr Lotter brought you to us and our hearts melted, my boy. You were beautiful. We checked for 10 fingers and 10 toes and we couldn’t stop looking at you. The happiest moment of our lives. You were born at 11:33 weighing 3.49kg and measuring 53cm.