Birth Stories

My Birth Story

I was 19 years, 11 months when I had our first baby… 2nd year nursing student. Still a teenager, still growing and getting to know myself… And here I was, a mother to a beautiful baby girl…

The pregnancy wasn’t easy, I had mixed emotions. I was scared. I felt I that disappointed my parents. But I had amazing support from my boyfriend, Jeremy (now my husband), my parents and friends. I was booked to give birth in my home town, Oudtshoorn. But the day before I was about to travel there, at 34 weeks pregnant, I went into labour. I obviously had no idea what was happening. Felt period-like pains since the previous evening. I actually didn’t sleep that night. I read a book, got up the next morning and got ready and went to class. My friends surprised me with a baby shower after class and then I took the bus back to my hostel room, which was on the grounds of one of the government hospitals in Cape Town. I Took 2 pain tablets and went to sleep.

Now, every night after work, Jeremy would pop in, bring me some snacks and then go home. This afternoon, before he came from work, when I got up, my water broke. I was shocked and scared. Washed and waited for him to come. Both of us were just clueless lol. He quickly went home to change and I waited for him in one of my friends’ room. When Jeremy came back, we decided to go over to the hospital’s labour ward, just to find out what’s happening. When we arrived there, we explained to the nurse that I attended my antenatal visits privately, because I was lucky to have medical aid, so I didn’t have my clinic card with me. She didn’t listen to anything I was saying. I will never forget her face or her words when she told me ” Sies, you’re a nursing student and you’re pregnant. Go into that room and pee so I can test your urine.” All this while the room was full of other people and everyone staring at me. I felt so ashamed. Jeremy was still trying to reason with her, when I turned around and walked out. He tried to pull me back and I told him I won’t allow her to talk to me like that.

We left and my aunt and uncle came and took us to Jan S Marais hospital. The moment I walked in through those doors everyone was nice. The receptionist, the nurses, the obstetrician, everyone.

I don’t remember much of the labour and birth. They gave me Antinox for the pain. I was on the bed the entire time, CTG straps around me. I can’t remember anyone telling me when I was fully dilated or asking me to push. I found out afterwards that I had an episiotomy and a forceps delivery… And she weighed 2.4kg. I do remember she was in the nursery most of the time and they would just bring her to me to breastfeed.

Jerene is now 20 years old. My parents and grandparents helped raise her and for that we will always be very grateful.

7 years later, at 27years old, married and now a midwife, I had our 2nd baby. This time the pregnancy was easier, because it was planned. It didn’t come without a few hiccups though. The previous year I had an ectopic pregnancy. Early on in the pregnancy I was admitted to hospital with Hyperemesis Gravidarum and when I was 12 weeks pregnant with Jaidan, we were in a horrific car accident. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt badly and the rest of my pregnancy continued without any complications.

I had a wonderful gynaecologist, but the day I went into labour, he was on leave and his backup was busy with his own clients the entire day. This time I could remember everything. I was allowed to move around freely. I could use the birthing ball and was allowed to eat during labour. My husband was with me throughout my labour and birth. A 3rd obstetrician eventually arrived when I was fully dilated. I literally gave two pushes and Jaidan was born. I had a tear that needed to be sutured and soon afterwards the doctor left. The nursing staff continued to monitor myself and baby. This time around I kept my baby with me and could breastfeed on demand.

My 2nd pregnancy and birth were totally different to the first. I was emotionally and mentally stronger and because I was a midwife myself, I had more insight to what was happening to my body and what I wanted for my birth.

I believe that my own birth experiences shaped me into the midwife I am today.

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