Birth | Eliyah’s surprise Birth | Pretoria Birth Photographer

“Joy is not the result of getting what you want; it is the way to get what you want. In the deepest sense, joy is what you want.” – Alan Cohen

Having had no choice but to deliver her first two children via c-section, her third child was the last chance Mercia had to experience a natural birth – and it went swimmingly.

“I got my amazing VBA2C – vaginal birth after two caesareans – on the 14th of January 2019!

Both my first and second babies were born via c-section, in both cases because I didn’t have any other choice. Neither situation was ideal, and after the second Caesar in 2015, it felt like my body was broken.

We got pregnant again without planning it and started seeing Yolande as our midwife. She immediately made my husband feel at ease, especially when we ended up without a back-up gynae.
We had seen Yolande on the 5th of January, and everything was so high and closed, she guessed we would only deliver closer to the end of the month. I had only finished work on the 10th and had my son’s birthday party over the weekend. I banked on having a week or two to prepare so nothing was washed, packed or sorted. By the time my water broke on the 14th of January, I hadn’t even bought everything we needed for birth!

My water broke at about 1am and my contractions started shortly afterwards.

They lasted between 25-30 seconds with intervals of 1.5 – 3min. They stayed consistent. I called Yolande at about 5am and again at 6am, after measuring them for an hour. I ended up only getting to Yolande at 10am! I packed what we needed and our friend who watched our other boys, washed the clothes while I was in labour.
I was 2cm dilated at 10am with constant contractions. We went walking through Menlyn and even climbed a few stairs, to help me along and to get the last of the things we needed. We had lunch – I didn’t really eat much. I had to go to the loo and my contractions picked up a notch or two after that, so we headed back to Yolande.

At about 2.30pm I was at 4cm and the contractions were definitely picking up. It was still too early for the bath, so we went for a walk around the block. My contractions became more intense and my hubby’s poor arms started shaking from counter pressure! When we came back at about 4pm it was time for the bath. Man, that water makes such a difference!
I slowly progressed with contractions getting really intense. My birth affirmations really helped, along with focusing on relaxing my hands, jaw and shoulders during contractions.
The last bit was taking longer due to a lip on my cervix that didn’t move so quickly. It was seriously intense so it’s a bit vague. I do remember it was hard to find a good position to push in. I was somehow scared of this part and it didn’t help me at all.

I moved from my back to hands and knees, gripping the bath mat.

It helped so much that Yolande gave me a point to push towards. This last part was weird. There was a point in the contractions where it was too sore to push, but then suddenly, pushing made it better, almost taking the pain away.
When my baby started crowning, I didn’t recognise his head as his head! It was soft and squishy – I expected it to be hard. It was difficult getting past that point. It’s no joke and neither was the ring of fire. I could somehow feel him being on the brink. The hardest part was the area about his ears. Then his head was out, and I continued by pushing his shoulders out. I didn’t really wait for a contraction and I think this is where I tore. He came out covered in vernix – a white baby feeling like a stick of butter! He buttered me up enough that I went slipping and sliding in the bath! He took a minute to breathe and get the fluid out, and then he cried the most beautiful cry.

We waited for the placenta and cut the cord when it stopped pulsating. Daddy took Eliyah while Yolande helped me rinse off and get out. She stitched me up – 3 external stitches and 2 internal ones. We rested a bit before his brothers got to meet him –

I found out today that they heard his first cry!

He latched like a dream, although I did need help getting there. He’s my third baby and the first one I actually got it right with! Once I was up and dressed, I fed Eliyah again and we went home. I loved waking up in our own bed!

Natural birth is a completely different experience to a c-section. The recovery so far has been a breeze and really not sore like my c-sections were.I am eternally grateful to Yolande and Estuné for their assistance. I can’t describe how magical the moment was when I realised that my body really isn’t broken and that it was doing what it should be doing! We were made to do this and there is amazing strength in all of us!”

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