Fresh48 | Liam Prozesky | Pretoria Fresh 48 Photographer
“Tenacity is not about avoiding being overwhelmed but being indomitable in the face of the overwhelming odds of your venture’s failure.” – Andy Dunn
Liam was born to the Prozesky family after years of trying, and a tragic miscarriage. He is their miracle baby. Below is his mother’s welcome letter to Liam and a few images we took at their Fresh48 session.
“A letter to our son, Liam.
My boy, you are our rainbow baby. After years of trying we finally conceived naturally in August 2018. We just couldn’t believe it! However, that little baba wasn’t to be and at our 8 weeks ultrasound Dr Dehanschutter confirmed that our baby hadn’t grown beyond 5.5 weeks and there was no heartbeat. Your little brother or sister… Papa was convinced it was a girl.
Mama had to go for a D&C early October. We were heartbroken, but we tried hard to cling to the silver lining that we had actually managed to fall pregnant, a miracle in itself. We were so blessed, because a few weeks later we conceived you, our rainbow baba. On 17 December we found out we were expecting again – the best Christmas present ever. We chose to keep the magical news to ourselves and only told your grandparents on Valentine’s Day, just after your 12 week scan.
It was incredibly tough to keep the news a secret.
When we did tell your grandparents, they were elated and there were lots of happy tears!
We have to start the story a week before you were born my sweet boy, Liam. You see, I would start my maternity leave on 5 August – a week to relax. I had an appointment with Dr Dehanschutter to check your heart rate at 37 weeks, and it was fine. Then it was Mama’s turn. Sr Koen checked my blood pressure which she thought was a bit high. This was confirmed by the doctor when she came back from rounds. I was told to go home and get all my bags as I needed to be admitted. That, my boy, is how my long-awaited maternity leave began. Papa came back from work early to take me to the hospital. We had to quickly put everything in the bags as I hadn’t finished packing (everything was still spread out on the bed in true Mama “organised chaos” style).
Once I was admitted I had to start collecting my wee in a big bottle over the course of the next 24 hours. We received the results after two nights in hospital. There was protein in my wee but not enough to diagnose me with preeclampsia. I did have hypertension and was put on high blood pressure medication and had to stay another night. Now, it was always Mama and Papa’s plan that you be delivered naturally. We even went for hypnobirthing classes and did a lot of preparation – I meditated every night. However, when I was diagnosed with hypertension Dr Dehanschutter said that my pregnancy was too high risk and you had to be delivered no later than 38 weeks by C-section. I already had gestational diabetes, which is diabetes caused by pregnancy. Something about the placenta affecting the insulin my body would normally produce, which means that you had to be Earthside between 38 and 39 weeks. If you did not come naturally, we were planning to induce your delivery.
Dr Dehanschutter booked our C-section for 13 August.
It was way too risky for an induction at this stage, but the doctor undertook to support me if you came by yourself naturally before the 13th. Mama spent three nights in hospital and was discharged on 8 August. I went for my nails that day and booked a hair appointment on Women’s Day. Papa and Mama went to have a Greek feast at Prosopa after our hair appointments. That night we took (what we didn’t know would be the last) photos of my pregnant belly. On 10 August I went to visit Aunty Nurma for some acupuncture to try induce your delivery naturally. She stuck all sorts of needles in me for the protocol and gave me advice for acupressure points that Papa could massage to help.
That day I was very tired and just wanted to rest. Maybe my body knew what was in store for us over the next 24 hours. Papa made Mama the egg plant parmesano recipe that we received at the hypnobirthing classes and I bounced on my yoga ball whilst he cooked. This recipe is renowned for bringing in labour. The meal was delicious. Papa gave Mama a massage on the acupressure points, then we settled in to watch some TV. We both fell asleep on the couches downstairs, but at 00:30 I woke up and we went upstairs to sleep.
Papa was already in bed and I was faffing in your nursery,
you see, the Chinese money plant needed water. While I was in the guest bathroom watering the plant, my waters broke. Luckily Mama was in the bathroom and close to a toilet as I noticed the gush of fluid. I was trying to sit on the toilet, dropped my phone and gave Papa a fright. Papa asked me what happened, and I told him my waters broke. It was about 00:50. We had to make our way to the hospital so I could be put on antibiotics (in addition to the other risks, I was also a Group Strep B carrier), but first we both showered and had to re-pack the hospital bags. I had unpacked the bags when I got back from the hospital so that I could organize everything neatly.
Papa let Tessa know what was happening so she could take care of your furry siblings – Tessa told us afterwards that she couldn’t go back to sleep from excitement. We made our way to the hospital and two songs played en route. The first, Take Me to Church by Hozier, and then Push It by Salt & Pepper. We couldn’t believe it, and just laughed. “That’s exactly what you’re about to do,” Papa commented. It was a good moment.
When we got to the hospital at 02:15, the midwives confirmed I was in labour and that I was nicely effaced, but only 1cm dilated. They recommended that we get some sleep and set up a mattress on the floor for Papa. At 06:30 the midwife checked me again and said that I only dilated to 2cm so she did a quick stretch. It was very sore! The sisters changed shift and Sr Christine was on duty. We were so happy! Sr Christine gave me an enema at about 07:00 and that, combined with the stretch, really progressed my contractions which up until that point weren’t at all painful. Sr Christine ran me a bath and I climbed into the tub to labour. Dr Dehanschutter came to greet us, which was a huge comfort.
At about 09:00 this sudden urge came upon me – I was ready to push.
Sr Christine confirmed I was 8cm dilated but had a small cervical lip. The midwives got me ready on the bed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t deliver in the tub because I was a high risk mom.
From there things happened very quickly. The midwives first had to help me reduce the cervical lip. Then I was fully dilated and ready push! Baby, your head was very skew and wasn’t straightening. The delivery was about 1hr45mins. The whole time we listened to my hypnobirthing meditation. After a while of pushing we could finally see your head crowning – I’ll never forget that moment – and then your long, pink body. Sr Lotter immediately jumped in to help you because you were in distress (it was touch and go towards the end of your delivery – if you hadn’t come when you did, Dr Dehanschutter was going to perform an emergency C-section).
After a minute or so we heard your first loud cry. It was glorious and we could finally breathe. I delivered the placenta, which was very healthy despite all of my risks. But all of a sudden, I started bleeding a lot – you could hear the blood gushing everywhere. Doctor had everything under control and once I had stopped bleeding, she stitched me up. 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.
Just like that, my boy, we were a family.”
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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.
“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