Birth | Lieke Pienaar | Centurion HypnoBirthing Birth Photographer
Our HypnoBirthing story:
Lieke Pienaar – Messenger of God; Angel
2VBAC – Homebirth
Born Monday, 30 November 2020, 20:39
At the beginning of lockdown, whilst tandem nursing my toddlers we found out that we were expecting our third baby. It was a difficult time, emotionally, but I knew she was God sent, and I started praying extremely hard about this birth, as after my last VBAC, I was terrified of going through that kind of pain again.
I read the book Supernatural Childbirth, and spent more time praying and meditating about this pregnancy and birth.
I have never been afraid of pain before, and knew that birth was not supposed to be the painful, unpleasant experience that has been engraved in our minds.
Halfway through my pregnancy, I learnt that my birth with Thea was never as unmedicated as I believed, and I immediately moved healthcare providers, as I realised that I had previously been kept safe by God, under some seriously disturbing circumstances.
I was referred to Sr. Sarah and Sr. Elrika from Great Expectations Midwives, who instantly encouraged a homebirth. Knowing they had amazing backup at Genesis Maternity Clinic. After seeing their calm nature and hearing their words,
“The less we do, the better,”
I chose them as my midwives.
I wanted Aliki to be my doula again; she has always been amazing and supportive, and in the process became my friend.
Tamryn from Shakti Births contacted me about doing a HypnoBirthing course. I was equipped with so much information and tools to use for our birthing day. I continued to practise what I had learnt in my HypnoBirthing course until the very the end. My mind, as well as my body were ready and well prepared.
I had lots of practice surges in my third trimester and from 39 weeks I started getting some stronger surges during the night, which would fade during day time. Every day I hoped that they would stay and things would get going, but I remained patient with my body.
I started losing pieces of my uterine seal one Sunday. On Monday, the 30th of November, at 40 weeks and 4 days, I woke up at 07:00 after a quiet, restful night. I felt the faintest surge starting, but I didn’t want to get too excited, in case they faded again. Bouncing on the birth ball and some exercised helped to get baby in a good position. I saw my midwife at 09:30 for our weekly check-up and mentioned to her about the surges.
We had not done a single internal and had no clue whether I was dilated or not, and we wanted to keep it that way. Sarah said she would probably see me later, but as we left and by the time we got home, the surges had completely faded.
Around lunchtime, I bounced on the ball a little, got myself into a relaxed state, just as a learned in the HypnoBirthing course, and decided to lie down and rest with the children.
At some point I got woken up by a surge.
I jumped up and started cleaning the house a little, breathing through them easily using the HypnoBirthing-breathing techniques during and between surges. I tried to time them, but they just were not forming a pattern, and some times I was even doubtful that something was happening.
Round about 16:00 I bathed the kids, and after trying not to do too much, I could feel myself spinning out of control – pain starting – and at that point I asked my husband to come home. I updated my midwife. She told me to let her know when I needed her. I also asked my doula and photographer to come and help me, but it was as if my body realised that I was struggling, and the surges eased off. They were never the same intensity throughout.
My surges were 8 to 10 minutes apart, and as soon as I managed to breathe and calm myself down, I would notice pressure – I had to focus – but not pain.
By 17:00 my husband had arrived, and shortly after him my doula, Aliki. The kids were playing with daddy. I switched some pretty lights on, to create a beautiful atmosphere, and we had music playing in the background.
The surges were coming; I could now focus again and breathed through them.
Aliki applied pressure to my back and suggested some positions to help my body and baby, which we kept up throughout. I reminded myself that what I was feeling was pressure and not pain. We laughed and chatted, and I was still often doubting whether I was in labour.
The children were coming in and out of the room, playing with the kittens, showing me things, hubby checked in often with hugs and kisses while also busy with the house and children. I used some visualisation techniques from HypnoBirthing and kept myself in a happy space, as I had realised from what I had learnt in my preparation, and now throughout the day, how important the role of oxytocin was in this labour process.
Aliki kept timing surges; they got to about 2 – 4 minutes apart, intensity and duration still varying – my body was being so good to me. At around 18:30 Aliki suggested we phone the midwife, Sarah, to come. Sarah wanted us to wait a little longer because I was still very calm. I told Aliki she would miss it, so she screen grabbed an image of the surge times and sent it to Sarah. Sarah let us know at 19:40 that she and a back-up midwife were on their way. My mom and sister was notified to come, as well.
I had completely lost sense of time.
As I started feeling warm, I got into a shower to cool off and to ease some of the pressure on my back. I really needed the birth pool that my midwife had to bring, but there was no sign of her.
Getting out of the shower, the surges kept coming every 2 – 4 minutes, but I just couldn’t find a comfortable position anymore. Aliki reminded me to keep to my HypnoBirthing breathing, she assured me that it would make a tremendous difference. I realised she was right, so I shifted my focus again. I started feeling tired, and after finding positions on the floor too uncomfortable, I went to lie on the bed, turned on my side, and put a pillow between my legs.
My husband saw that I was struggling, so he got onto the bed, behind me and started doing light-touch massage and putting pressure on my back while I continued to breathe.
The midwives arrived at 20:26 (2 hours later) and started unpacking the bath. At that point, I heard a popping sound and felt the warm sensation of my water releasing where I lay. I told the midwife that my baby was coming, as I felt the urge to push and there was just no time to set up and get into the bath. They monitored baby’s heartbeat; she was really happy.
My other children entered the room with all the commotion and then everyone stepped back and gave me some space.
Two long, strong surges came with the urge to push and bear down.
I could bear down a couple of times during the surge, together with the birth breathing I had learnt in the HypnoBirthing. I vocalised and used my breath to help me and reminded myself not to hold back, for at this stage it would increase the pain and delay my baby moving down. No one coached my pushing. The burning sensation of her head coming out, only lasted a few seconds. Her head came out and her shoulder hit me on the perineum on the way out. I had another powerful surge, bearing down a few more times with each birth breath, and out slipped the perfect little baby girl. The midwife handed her to me right away. She was born about 15 minutes after the midwives arrived, at 20:39. I was so happy and relieved, talking to baby.
My husband and I admired this little vernix-covered baby as she took her first breaths. Our other children came closer to welcome our new little person.
Lieke – meaning Angel.
I birthed the placenta calmly with help from the midwife; no one rushed us.
The midwives checked me – no tearing or stitches. No internals. No complications.
Completely unmedicated. Undisturbed. In the comfort of our own home.
I was disappointed about the birth pool, but God intervened. It was completely out of my control, but I felt safe. I kept my focus on my body and birthing my baby.
It was an amazing journey, experience and birth. A birth so unpredictable, but it was incredible and what God had intended for our birth to be.
We are truly blessed. ❤️
Make sure to read some more home birth stories here
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At 19:55 I am trying to stall labour and Christel says that they will video call hubby because he won’t make it in time. I’m trying my best to not push… feeling the urge to bear down is uncontrollable. I don’t lift my head at all, concentrating and steadying myself with one hand on the bath floor.
I started losing ‘the head game’ as the pain in my back became very overwhelming and I started vomiting. If it hadn’t been for Sam who came as birth photographer but jumped in as doula to direct my husband, I think my husband would have run away at this point.
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