What defines you as being strong?

Being the 6th of November today (yesterday); marks my little Rainbow Monkey’s 8-monthday! As I counted down the minutes and seconds to mark the “exact” time he was in my arms; I couldn’t help but not just reflect on our birth experience but also on how far I’ve come as a woman and what I had to go through on that day and the days leading up.

Mr. Bear wasn’t even on the same continent as me. We were in different time zones for that matter. Bunny was with a family member and I was pacing the empty house, (literally barely any furniture in it) stopping to breathe with each sporadic contraction. It was my one dread, regarding the birth of Monkey that I knew I’d have to do by myself without my pillar of strength next to me.

Here’s our story and how I’ve come to realize just how strong I actually am as a woman:

We’ve been waiting, not so patiently for Monkey to make his debut into this world. I was in pro-dormal labour for 2 weeks and had tried every non-medical way to get induced to meet this young man. Everything from eating the hottest curry ever, to long walks, bouncing on the ball and even had 2 sweeps done by my midwife. But just like his mother, he was stubborn. And during those 2 weeks, he had taught me the true meaning of patience. “Oh how I hope he is coming… I wish he comes while Mr. Bear is visiting us in South Africa… I think he is on his way… Maybe today is the day…;” those were my thoughts every morning and with every small contraction during each day…

On Saturday, 5 March, I woke up with not much change from the past 2 weeks. Slight contractions, period pain, lower back ache and every other single “sign” that Google says “you’re in labour…” I saw my midwife again that afternoon who did yet another internal and said I had dilated slightly more than the previous time, but was still at roughly 1cm. We decided on doing another sweep as I was exactly 40 weeks by this day. And so back home I went with the “I hope it works” thought.

Early evening my pain became more than the previous times after those sweeps were done. Some contractions even took my breath away and made me stop talking. Mr. Bear even said I sound more “in pain”. The annoying part though was that the contractions were still so irregular that I thought it’s just because of the sweep done earlier. I decided to take the “prescribed” bath to see if it will ease the pain, but it didn’t. I then decided to take 2 panado’s, but also didn’t have any effect on me.

I got into bed at about 22:30, still the contractions were irregular and I’d tell myself “Ok, give it another 30 min” and “Let’s see what happens in the next half an hour”. And by 00:22 Mr. Bear got the This is it, Love. It has begun-call.

My doula arrived first and my midwife soon after. The pool was started being filled while I was pacing the room going through each contraction, thinking to myself “this feeling I know, I had it with Bunny too”.

We did the first internal at 1:35 am and I was relieved when my midwife confirmed that I definitely had progressed since she last saw me this afternoon and I was indeed in labour. Thank the pope!! I was ordered to walk around, go up and down the stairs, bounce on the ball and everything else to open up my pelvis even more. Having a tight muscle in your lower back apparently doesn’t help this cause. At 3:40 am, another internal.

*Note the midwife doesn’t give figures of dilation and all internals are done due to change in my behaviour, expression and/or contractions.

Just after this one, I was allowed to get into the pool as contractions were intense!

“RELIEF! PAIN-FREE! OMG, I CAN STAY HERE FOREVER!” was all I thought…. for a while at least and still definitely better than outside the pool. 4:45 am another internal with another at 6:25 am at which point my waters were broken for me and I was ordered back into the pool. At 6:45 am I told them, baby is coming, I need to start pushing…. At which point my doula started Skyping Mr. Bear so that he could experience the birth as much as possible. (Poor guy was supposed to handle a meeting.)

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“Baby is coming very soon”

7:04 am my last internal (while in the pool) “Baby is coming very soon” was all I remember being told… 7:14 am I got to feel the head and by 7:15 am I had pushed Monkey completely out and he was safely above water and in my arms and my heart had doubled in size. With my wonderful Mr. Bear just on the other side of the phone, our youngest prince in my arms, and the other one not too far away, I felt full of love and complete.

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Safe and sound

(What I did not know and only found out afterwards was this: At 1:35 am I was only 2 cm dilated and I had only moved to 4cm by the time they broke my waters for me. Due to everything progressing (contraction wise, etc, the only thing that stalled baby to come, was my waters, and thus the reason they broke it). By 7:04 am I was 5 cm and progressed the last 5 cm within 10 min.

I wouldn’t change anything about our birthing experience and couldn’t be more ecstatic about the way it happened. Thank you to my wonderful Mr. Bear who suffered with me through this pregnancy, my caring team of caregivers who were always available to help me, KvdM and LB, Bunny who tried his best to help when mommy’s tummy was sore as well as my lovely friends and family.

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Monkey, few hours old

 

Monkey born on 6 March 2016 at 7:15 am
Head circumference: 34cm
Length: 53cm
Weight: 3.06kg

Looking back at this experience and the few months prior, I have realized how strong I am. I think most women often underestimate their own strength, especially when they are right in the middle of the difficulty.

Yes, the birthing part was relatively easy. But emotionally, I was a wreck. I had, yet again, suffered from HG while pregnant with Monkey. For just over 2 and a half months, I was without Mr. Bear having to juggle selling and packing up home to emigrate; support Bunny (a lot) as he had to start at a new school; all this while being in my last trimester. I was drained, yet I had to stay strong; for my boys and for Mr. Bear.

So whether you are going through something that feels overwhelming at the moment or you have just come out of the dark tunnel; stand still for a moment and realize how far you’ve come and how strong you actually are. Yes, it might not have gone according to how you had wanted it, but in the end, it has made you stronger!

To all those mommies who didn’t get the birth they wanted/planned; to those that tried to breastfeed, but couldn’t; to you ladies who’ve had to say goodbye forever to someone way too soon or never even got to hold your little one; to those who are fighting cancer or other illnesses with everything they’ve got; to those who will never have a child of their own; no matter what your circumstance is, no matter how the day feels like today, you will come out of it stronger than ever before, even if it doesn’t go the exact way you wanted it.

And yes, my story might not seem like a big deal to some of you and someone else’s story might seem effortless to me; one thing that I have realized is that you are never put in a situation that you will not be able to conquer, for you. Not your friend’s or a family member’s, stranger’s next to you or anyone else’s.

It is YOUR story. It is YOUR life. It is YOUR mountain to climb. It is YOUR tunnel to come out of. And when you’ve done that; then YOU are stronger as a being and that is the ultimate definition of how strong you are.

Don’t ever forget it!

*What event in your life has made you stronger than before?*

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14 thoughts on “What defines you as being strong?

  1. This is so poignant. I was literally remembering my birth experience. Though mine was way different from yours. I am fascinated with the concept of water birth. A pity they don’t allow here it in Doha.

    Yes indeed our diffifculties are tailor- made for us. An oft repeating verse in the Holy Quran is ‘On no soul shall be placed a burden that it cannot bear’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful story. You are one fine strong woman.
    I was gasping when I was reading your story & looking at your birth photos..pool birth..at home..w/o your Hubby..I respect you.
    Giving birth to my daughter was harder than I thought too. As much as I wanted a normal birth, she just didn’t turn.I was induced for 3 days w/o progress and eventually her heartbeat dropped and I was rushed for emergency C-Section..Giving birth in Kuwait was something that marked my life.
    I applaud you for sharing this powerful story.
    Mothers are powerful, and only a true mother can see it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow what an inspirational post! I remember you telling me that you had given birth to Monkey without your husband in the country the first time I met you, and I was so impressed by how you handled that – it’s something I could never do. But this was even before I knew about your back story and everything else that had gone on. You’re a super strong lady and I know that writing about your experience in this way will inspire other mummies and mummies to be that are going through similar things. Really enjoyed reading this!

    Polly xx

    Liked by 1 person

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