Birth | Welcoming Michané Duvenage | Pretoria Birth Photographer
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this. I can take the next thing that comes along.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Sometimes pushing our fears aside and trusting that everything will go the way it is meant to is hard. So it was when Megan realised that her baby may be too big for the natural birth she so desperately wanted. But she persevered in faith, and received the gift of a healthy little girl, just as she had dreamed…
“Mechané’s birth changed my life. It showed me what birth should be, and why we need natural birth.
My mind was made up as soon as I got a positive pregnancy test on the 9th of June 2018.
I never looked for a midwife or water birth, but I think God placed her right on my path. My heart needed this birth more than I knew. I wanted to deliver this baby naturally and I got just that.
At 37 weeks my midwife told me my baby was 3.7kg.
My first thought was, “No, this can’t be.” My first born was 3.3kg and all I was seeing is this big baby I have to push out, which was very stressful.
At 39 weeks, I started getting a few contractions – they weren’t painful, just uncomfortable, and 8 minutes apart. Luckily we had an appointment with my midwife the next morning, because when we got there I was already at 3cm! She did a stretch and sweep, then my husband and I went for a walk. It was getting painful, but still not so bad. We walked through a mall for about 3 hours before I got tired and we went home. I could not sleep that night, with contractions 6 minutes apart.
The next morning, I thought my water broke, so I sent my midwife a message and she replied with “See you at 8”. When I got there she said, “You don’t look like you’re in labour.”
But when she did an internal examination, surprise! I was 7cm dilated. The next thing I knew, my water really did break. I contacted Sam, then stood talking with my mom and husband all the while rolling my hips side to side to ease the pain a bit. The pain was getting worse, but I bounced on a birthing ball, still talking and smiling and breathing through all my contractions, reading affirmations and reminding myself that I can do this. I’m strong and will not give up. I keep thinking, “This is what I want. I want to do this for myself and for my mom.”
With my previous birth, I had to choose who could go in with me when I had my c-section.
My mom was there for everything throughout my pregnancy, but didn’t get to see me have my first baby. I wanted her there with this one. So I pushed on, with every contraction getting worse. Finally, it was time to go into the water. It was heavenly and instantly soothing. I still talked and smiled, but I think my smiles were my coping mechanism because I was really stressed, desperately hoping I would be able to do this.
When I was told we were at the worst part, I just smiled and said “OK, good. Then I can do it.” But my goodness, when it came to pushing, I thought it was the end for me. I just kept listening to my midwife and my body. I was having to breathe through the contractions now, but I kept telling myself, “This feeling is just a muscle contracting, and it doesn’t have to hurt. Each contraction is bringing you closer to meeting her. You were made to do this.”
With my husband on the left and my mom on the right, finally my midwife said, “Let’s push out a baby.”
I was relieved and scared at the same time. If I started to panic, I knew my muscles would start to tighten up and work against each other, so I had to stay in a peaceful state of mind. The contractions were closer to each other now, but I kept reading the affirmations on the wall and thinking “Each contraction is bringing me closer to my baby.” My midwife was there next to me and when a contraction came she told me when to push. She read the affirmations for me to motivate me to continue and one in particular stood out: “I can do all things through Christ that gives me strength.” This pushed me a bit further.
At one point my mom left the room and the moment she did, I had the biggest contractions I had yet. I knew that was it. I could not speak, but I made a sound to let her know that she must come back. My mom ran back and that’s when my little girl’s head came out. I remember my mom asking me if I wanted to catch her, but I knew I couldn’t. I just held their hands and pushed. Her head was out and her one shoulder, but the other shoulder got stuck. My midwife kept telling me to push, and I started to panic, because she wouldn’t budge. But then she came into the world! I started crying and looked at my husband and at my mom like, “I did it!”
I did it my way.
I birthed my baby the way I wanted. I can’t believe I doubted my ability to do this. My husband cut the cord and everyone was guessing her weight because she was so big. To me she was so tiny. She weighed a good 4.15kg and was 53cm.
Daddy went and lay with her on the bed while my midwife helped me out of the tub. I joined them on the bed and not too long after I breast fed her. The moment her big brother saw her, I felt complete. It was everything I wanted.”
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“I have been delaying writing my birth story. It has taken me a while to process the events from that day, and the days and few weeks following, and to be okay with not writing a ‘perfect’ story with perfect English. I truly hope that being real about the latter, and that which follows, will make at least one other mom out there, facing a similar experience, feel less alone in having had a ‘good but not perfect’ birth
I have had the privilege to work with many wonderful doulas and I would like to say thank you! Thank you not only for your servant heart but also for what you are doing for woman. In a place of vulnerability you aid us in being strong, in a place of insecurities you reassure, in a place of fear you speak hope!