Dear Baby Zone Editor,
I joined your mailing list just before conception and have been a great fan ever since, you always seem to know just what type of information I'm looking for that specific week. I've recommended your page to a few of my fellow South African new mommies and mommies-to-be and they are just as impressed. Here is my story...
My pregnancy was blissful, I really had nothing to complain about. No morning sickness, no aches and pains and, other than the hot summer days, I was not uncomfortable either. My baby was due on the 20th of February 2002 and I was longing to hold my little blessing. Little did I know I didn’t have that long to wait…
On the 12th of February I went to see my gynecologist for a check-up. He assured me that everything was going well and that my baby (at this stage we still didn’t want to know the sex) was ready to be born. At first I understood this to mean that Baby would be born healthy around the 20th of February. Then he added that he thought I should book into the clinic that afternoon and they would induce labor the following morning.
Talk about serious shock, this was definitely not what I had expected to hear. Even though I couldn’t wait for my baby to be born I was overwhelmed by emotion. Was I ready to be a mom?
I found myself crying on the way home. Not once during my entire pregnancy had the thought of induction even passed my mind. I was going to be one of those for whom everything would go smoothly and naturally. My husband must have thought I was going slightly crazy; nonetheless he was my hero through it all and my pillar of strength.
Unsure what to expect, I didn’t get much sleep in the clinic that night. The sister who had booked me came over around midnight to give me the induction, and kindly explained the whole procedure beforehand, which helped me relax a little. She also checked on me every 15 minutes to make sure I was coping with all the unknowns.
At 5:30 a.m., they wheeled me to the labor ward, and my husband arrived an hour later. Although the contractions had been coming on rather strongly from 2:00 a.m., they weren't as painful as I expected.
My doctor came to check on me at 8:15 a.m., and I had only dilated 2 cm. He suggested that the sister break my waters and call him back an hour or two later when I had dilated further. My waters were broken, which was slightly uncomfortable and, again, something I hadn't expected. At 11:00 a.m. my doctor was called in, as my contractions were very strong and a few minutes apart, however I had only dilated to 3 cm.
This is where everything started going out of control and emotions got a little high. The doctor and nurses tried three times to bring my cervix down. This pain far outweighed the contractions and the breaking of my water, I can’t explain how uncomfortable and painful that was.
By 1:00 p.m. I had dilated no further. The decision was made to give me an epidural and do a Caesarian section. This definitely didn’t fall into my plan of the "simple natural birth."
I burst into tears again as my husband and I waited in the hallway while the sisters got everything organised to wheel me to the theatre. I remember telling my husband that I wanted to go home, and him saying there was no way we were going without our baby and that he knew I could do this. He promised to be by my side the whole way and that within the next couple of minutes I would be able to hold the baby I had been longing for.
The anesthesiologist was wonderful, the epidural was a breeze and he stood by my side during the procedure explaining what was happening as everything progressed. At 2:03 p.m. I heard those all-important words: "Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Potgieter, you have a healthy baby girl." These words, surrounded by a little wail from our daughter, triggered another flood of emotion.
When I turned to my husband and saw the tears in his eyes, I knew our lives had been changed forever on this special day, and for the good. All pain and uncertainty were forgotten. It was definitely worth it! In an instant, I had become Mommy to our beautiful little girl, Brittannie, and today (almost a year later) we can’t picture life without her.
Now that Brittannie is almost a year old I thought it was time to send my thanks to you for all your support, information and guidelines. Even though you didn't know what an important part you played in South Africa, it is GREATLY appreciated.
KEEP UP THE EXCELLENT WORK!
Regards, Carol-Anne Potgieter