Saturday 20th, 2018. Due date.

My mom and aunt got here at 9 in the morning. We went shopping downtown until I was so tired, we took the tram back. We had pizzas and had a good night sleep. Before going to sleep I talked to the baby telling him I was ready, that we were all ready for him!

Sunday 21st, 2018

I woke up around 8 feeling wet. I went to the bathroom and it seemed like I lost my mucus plug. I was not sure if my water broke so I called the midwife. She said to put a pad and see if more was coming and watch out for contractions. We had breakfast and decided to go for a walk to the park because it was a beautiful day outside (very rare in Amsterdam). Joe went to the coffee shop to do some work. I was feeling contractions already and I started timing them on my phone. I sat at the playground with tieta Encarna while Ramona and iaia played. My contractions were getting closer and stronger (every 3 minutes lasting about 30 seconds). I asked Joe to call the midwife and decided to walk back home, having to stop walking this time every time a contraction came.

I layed in bed and Olijf, the midwife, came 15 min after. She asked me how I was doing, I showed her the contractions records and decided to check me to see how dilated I was. It was around 12:00 and I was 4 cm dilated! We decided it was time to go. Contractions were regular and getting more intense. She called the Bevalcentrum (the birth center next to the hospital, our first choice) and said there was a room (without a birthing bath, but that was ok). We said bye to Ramona who was eating lunch with iaia, took the car seat and our bags and and drove with the midwife.

She walked us to our room, the nurse asked if we needed anything. I asked for a birthing ball and some lemonade. They left us alone. I kept working on my contractions, now I needed to focus everytime one came. I sat on the ball, in the shower for a while, we walked up and down the hall, … Feeling these stronger contractions brought all the memories of my last labor back and I started thinking how hard it was but I kept reminding myself that I was strong and that that was not pain, just me opening to receive my baby!

At 4 pm the midwife came to check how I was doing. I told her that the contractions were getting much harder to deal with and she asked me if I wanted to be checked. I was 6 cm dilated but the head was not engaged yet. The midwife propose to break the waters to speed it up a little bit and so we did. I layed in bed and while she broke my water she was saying, “some people is like a explosion”, but for me it was more like a fountain with a lot of water, a lot!

A complication happened. There was meconium, or poop, in the water (just like with Ramona…) That meant my labor was not able to be handled by my midwife anymore and I had to be transferred to the hospital! The good thing is the hospital was at the end of the hall. So we took our stuff and they took me with a wheelchair to a hospital room. The doctor was introduced to me, as well as the new nurses. My midwife made sure the transition was smooth and then left. I was sad and a little bit confused/scared. I was wondering why that happened again and I was scared that things could get more complicated. I told them I was feeling weak and they brought me stuff for me to eat and drink (bread with butter and cheese, very Dutch, and an energy drink) which felt so good!!

I had to be monitored more closely now. They used two bands to monitor my contractions and the baby’s heartbeat. The good thing is that they were wireless so I could still move freely. We kept working on the contractions together with Joe. He would massage and put pressure on my lower back while I will rock on the birthing ball, breathe and moan. I went in the shower again. The hot pressurized water on my back felt really good for a while. The contractions were getting harder to manage and I was getting a little bit discouraged, especially when I started feeling the urge to push but they checked and told me I was 9 cm dilated, so I should try to not push yet! The same happened with Ramona, and it was the worst feeling!! Trying to breath through the contractions but then feeling a big urge to push and knowing I shouldn’t! I tried different positions (on hands and knees, on the birthing ball, on the birthing stool, laying on my side in bed…) but the pain was getting in my head. I couldn’t stop thinking “I don’t know what I am doing” “What can I do to make this better?” “This is so painful!” “People are crazy to be doing this! This is so hard!! And intense!!”.

Meanwhile, I felt like I hadn’t peed for a while and it hurt after the contractions in that area so the doctor decided to put a catheter to see if my bladder was too full and try to empty it but nothing came out. Also, the monitor for the baby’s heartbeat was reading my heartbeat instead so they told me they had to attach a different kind of monitor to the baby’s head to be able to make sure he was fine! All this felt a little bit overwhelming to me but at the same time I tried to remind myself that they were doing the best to help me and the baby!

At some point, the doctor said that if I felt the urge to push again I could push a little bit but try to still breath to the contractions. So the pushing stage started. It didn’t feel as good as I remember it felt with Ramona, to start pushing. The baby’s head was putting a lot of pressure on my tailbone and I couldn’t find a very comfortable position. I tried the birthing stool again but it didn’t feel right to me. So I ended up pushing mostly in bed, on my side. The baby was bigger than Ramona so the pushing stage was not as short as I anticipated either. I don’t know how long it took but it felt like a lot of work!

The doctor and nurse where very good at guiding me on how to push or just breath the baby out at the end, when the baby was already crowning and that helped a lot and prevented tearing. I remember they were saying how this was a bigger baby and how sometimes big babies, when the head is out, it still takes some time to take the shoulders out and that I should be ready to move to a different position if they told me so. Anticipating the shoulders getting stuck, they asked me “Do you feel you could move to your hands and knees now?” And I told them I was feeling a contraction coming so they said after the contraction then. But after pushing through that last contraction my baby was out! So big and beautiful and perfect! They put him on my chest, but there was so much water still coming out and around him, they dried him up a little bit, he started crying and I snuggled him in my chest! I was so happy and relieved and amazed that he was there already! Joe was next to me, the 3 of us crying tears of joy!

After that, they massaged my belly and they gave me some hormone shots to help the placenta come out, they checked if I needed any stitches (no stitches this time either!) and then they let us alone for a while! Galileo was alert and tried to nurse shortly after birth.

He pooped on me, and he was full of poop everywhere, because he had pooped inside too (and he is still pooping all the time!!) so the nurse tried to clean him a little bit and put a diaper on him. They brought me some more food and drinks. Afterwards I called the nurse because I wanted to go pee. She helped me stand and go take a shower. She checked the baby while I was showering, she weighed him, gave him vitamin K and got him dressed. We then snuggled a little bit more and started to get ready to go home!

After 3 hours of giving birth we were going home with our healthy baby in the maxi cosi, in a taxi, on a rainy Amsterdam night. We got to our apartment, waking up my mom and my aunt who couldn’t believe we were already back, and Ramona, who woke up when she heard his brother crying while we were changing his diaper. She came to our room and met his baby brother! It was such a tender moment, you could read her amusement and excitement in her face! She was immediately gentle and loving with him, like she knew what to do from the beginning! Within minutes, she was trying to teach Galileo new things: “Galileo, curtains! Galileo, look, a pillow!” Such a good big sister!

What a day! January 21st, 2018, the day Galileo made us a happy family of 4!