The pregnancy didn’t go without its hiccups and I finally went on maternity leave on 13 October 2006. The Caesar was booked for 1 November and I wanted to spend as much time with Matthew as I could before Joshua arrived.
Exactly a week after I had gone on maternity leave I had my first show. We had gone swimming at the local pool with Matthew and I hadn’t done that much swimming I thought. We joked that I would go into labour that night. Gosh never were truer words spoken! That night at 6pm I started feeling period-like/gastric pains that would come and go. I lay down on the bed and monitored it. They were regular pains and would start slowly, peak to where it was so sore I couldn’t speak then it would go away. At 9:30pm we decided best I go to the hospital for a checkup.
When we got there the nurse in the labour ward hooked me up to a foetal monitor and left Dh and I in a labour room for observation. After what seemed like ages the nurse saw that I was having irregular contractions. She phoned my gynae who wanted me to stay in hospital but I said that I was fine and wanted to go home. My mind was on Matthew. The weekend went by with a few more shows but nothing else. The contractions seemed to have stopped.
On Monday morning (23 October 2006) at about 7:30am I got a call from my gynae INSISTING that I come in immediately as he had seen the foetal chart and was rather concerned. I went in and he suggested that we have the Caesar the following day (Tuesday) as he was going away on a conference the following week and he felt that baby was going to come soon.
So off we went home to pack the final few things into my hospital bag. That night Riaan painted a beautiful rainbow on my tummy. It was very ironic because Joshua brings so much colour and light into a room when he smiles. Joshua would be born at Parklands, same hospital as Matthew was. The only thing different was the gynae. Matthew’s gynae was Dr Alan Strang and Joshua’s gynae was Dr Timothy Berios. I was 36 weeks, going onto 37 weeks pregnant.
The next morning (Tuesday, 24 October 2006) off Riaan and I went to hospital for the Caesar which was scheduled for … p.m. Same procedure as before, we strolled to the theatre and waited our turn, were shown into a theatre room and introduced to everyone. It was a different theatre this time. They seemed to take a bit longer to get things organized this time.
I positioned myself sitting on the edge of the narrow bed again and Riaan knelt down in front of me, facing me and holding both my hands in his. They started the procedure of the epidural. I didn’t think it would be as painful this time but it was! It is the most horrible feeling and I cried my way through it. Riaan kept asking if I was okay and I couldn’t speak, I just looked at him with tears in my eyes.
Eventually that horrible part was over with and I lay down on the bed. I could feel an intense wave of nausea sweep through my body and the nurses gave me oxygen. I hate having a mask over my face but tolerated it. I spoke myself through the nausea and the feeling of being “strapped down” and not in control of things. I knew that if I wanted to have a different birth experience and enjoy Joshua’s birth then I need to talk myself through it.
By this time the gynae had come in with his assistant. We chatted a bit and he did the tests to see if I was numb enough and then he started cutting. I had given Riaan strict instructions to take as many photos as he could because afterwards I wanted to see exactly how it was done! Riaan was very excited and told me what was happening each step of the way and of course I kept asking how it was going. I was very excited.
Riaan started getting even more excited and kept saying “here he comes”! I was so impatient I couldn’t wait. Then they lifted Joshua out, he took a deep breath and started crying… oh my word… what sweet sweet music to my ears!!!!!!! Tears just poured down my face. I was sooo full of pride and joy and elation and all those good feelings. They took him to the little bed next to me and checked all his vitals. His agpar was 9/10 then 10/10. Wonderful!!
The paediatrician and nurse swaddled Joshua and gave him to me and I held him in my arms and just sobbed with joy and love. He was absolutely beautiful. Riaan held him for a while and also took pictures. Riaan then went with the nurses to take Joshua to the nursery for his bath and weighing. Joshua weighed 3.770kgs and was 51cm long.
I stayed in the theatre while my gynae cleaned and stitched me up. I was on such an immediate high. Even in the recovery room while I shivered as an after effect from the anaesthetic I chatted and joked with the nurse who had been assigned to monitor me. I felt on top of the world!!!!!!
Back in the ward I waited for what seemed like ages for Riaan to come visit me. I was growing so impatient wondering what was taking him so long in the nursery when eventually I heard footsteps and he appeared around the corner pushing a little bed with my baby marshmallow inside it! Sjoe could this day get any better?! I held Joshua and tried to latch him. I battled to latch him and he also battled so we left it for a while. I didn’t have any help again.
After Joshua was taken back to the nursery so that I could rest I lay on my bed holding Riaan’s hand and I drifted off to a light sleep. I was so happy. Riaan’s parents came to visit that afternoon. They brought Matthew, Rudi and Jessica. Joshua was allowed to be brought through for sibling/grandparent visiting hour so everyone got a chance to hold him.
The next day a sister from the nursery came to chat to me out of the blue. She told me that Joshua seemed to be having a bit of breathing difficulty and that they would have to admit him to NICU. I was in total shock and burst into tears. I phoned Riaan to come straight away and he did. Joshua was taken to NICU and monitored for his breathing. He had to have antibiotics and was put onto Rocephin antibiotics – same as Matthew was.
Joshua remained in the NICU for the duration of my hospital stay and was allowed to come home with me. I expressed breastmilk and we fed him that through a bottle as we couldn’t latch him and no-one would help. Nevertheless I bottle-fed Joshua as I wanted him to eat something.
When we were discharged Joshua had lost weight and weighed 3.42 kgs. He was so small and cute. The first two weeks he didn’t feed well and didn’t pick up much weight but after about 3 weeks he just thrived.
It took me two weeks to recover from the Caesar physically.
All in all this was a totally different birth experience for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.