Birth | Welcome baby Daniel de Jager | Pretoria Birth Photographer
“In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity” – Lauren Daigle (You Say)
Jolene and Martin welcomed their first child to the world after almost two full days of labour. Little Daniël gave his mom a run for her money, but she pushed through with the loving support of Martin her husband, and with the strength of their combined faith in God. In the end, their newborn son was the perfect blessing she knew he would be.
“I still remember the joy and utter disbelief the day the test showed that I was pregnant. Never did we expect that it would happen within 6 months of being married –
we were over the moon!
As any first-time mother does, I researched everything I could concerning pregnancy: the types of birth, how to prepare for contractions, how the baby was developing on a weekly basis and so on. This is how I was introduced to a whole new way of birthing – supernatural childbirth, which is the process of giving natural birth with minimum to no pain. Pain is not the focus of supernatural childbirth. Instead, the focus is the joy, freedom and healing a mother experiences during the birthing process because of the cross of Jesus Christ.
I got really excited about this new method and my journey with God and the supernatural childbirth started.
We decided on a natural water birth with no pain medication and believed and trusted that the birth would be beautiful and painless. I did prepare myself for pain and a long delivery, but my focus was to trust in God, pray, pray and pray some more and allow our son to make his entrance into the world as he wanted. That was very important to us. We chose to use a midwife to help us through the pregnancy and birth, and to give birth at their birth house in Pretoria.
I loved being pregnant – it was a beautiful and easy pregnancy. We were prepared in every way possible and very excited when the first contractions started at 40 weeks and 2 days. Finally, everything we prayed for and dreamed about during the pregnancy was happening.
At 1.30am on Friday, 6 July, I embraced and welcomed every contraction just as I prepared. The contractions got more intense as the day went by and were very strong by the evening. Not quite ready for labour yet, I went to bed at around 11pm hoping I could sleep while my husband, Martin, was packing and repacking my hospital bags. Martin felt that something was wrong and started praying fervently that either the contractions would stop or that I would go into labour.
A peace came over us and we went to bed.
Moments later my water broke! Rather than being able to head to the birthing house, we had to time each contraction until they were 60 – 80 seconds long and 5 minutes apart. I never quite got there. My contractions only got to around 48 seconds and the timing between them changed the whole time.
Our friend and birth photographer, Sam, came over to our house at around 3am to help me . She motivated me to do some exercises to help the labour along as the surges kept getting stronger. My husband kept timing the contractions and praying as the pain increased and the contractions failed to reach the desired time.
At 9am on Saturday morning we decided to go to the birthing house, hoping my midwife could somehow get me to go into labour sooner, without medication. When we arrived, the midwife examined me and announced that I was 5cm dilated. She told me that I would likely be in labour for another 5 – 8 hours. I was really unhappy about that as I had been awake for two days, was having severe back pains, and had water pouring out of me with each contraction. She told us that she would examine me again in three hours and that it takes an hour to dilate 1cm.
We took this time to rest, eat and try to gain strength.
I sat on a medicine ball, bounced a bit and then tried to sleep while sitting on it with my head resting on a table. By now all my clothes were wet and I was already wearing my husband’s pants.
The time arrived for the next check-up. The results were not what we wanted to hear! I had dilated only one more centimetre in three hours, putting me on 6cm. My body was working harder to get the baby out and he was also pushing, unfortunately with his head hitting a wall. This caused swelling to the head which is normal, but it meant he needed to break through.
The midwife advised us to give it two more hours and then make a call. For the first hour I took yet another warm bath. They also gave me a drip that kept my energy levels up. For the second hour we walked around the garden. We prayed and did everything we could to help me dilate wide enough for our son to be born. It was intense!
The midwife tested me again and reported that I was still at 6cm. Nothing had happened! She gave my husband and I time to discuss our options and choose what to do. We were dead tired and I was wet and cold. We also started fearing for our baby’s health and even his life.
The reality hit us! The one thing that we never planned for was staring us in the face – emergency C section.
We do not have medical aid, so during the pregnancy we got our paperwork ready for the state hospital should something go wrong. Never did we imagine this would become a reality. Our hearts shattered into a million pieces, but I had no choice. Our baby’s head was swelling, and soon it would be dangerous.
My midwife phoned the ambulance and they escorted me to the hospital. She arranged everything with the doctor on call. When I got there the doctor came to examine me. He told me that he was busy with another C section and would attend to me once he was done. The pain was excruciating!
I could no longer sit, stand or lie down and actually just gave up.
My husband also had a really tough day. He had not slept and saw everything that I was going through. He feared for our son. After a five-hour wait and lots of pain and tears, they finally came to fetch me for the C section. At that stage I was just happy to get it over and done with.
Our beautiful baby boy, Daniël, was born on 7 July at approximately 9pm. I only got to see him about three hours after he was born. Although my birth did not go as planned, I would go through it again to have the joy of being a mommy.”
JOLENE, you inspire me daily!
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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.