'It was a Friday afternoon when I first felt some abdominal pains. It felt most like normal menstrual pain and, even though I was 41+ weeks pregnant, I didn’t think too much of it. I had heard many stories of women who had endless pre-contractions, so I presumed that this was what I was feeling. So it was just a regular afternoon, with some waves of pain once in a while. When evening fell, my partner asked me to help hang a coat rack in the hallway. I was trying my best to level the coat rack, but the pain was getting so fierce that I had to get back to the couch. It was only then that I thought ‘hey, maybe I should start timing these waves of pain and see if there’s a rhythm.’ And so there was. The surges came every ten minutes and they started getting more painful. It surprised me that I was still feeling quite good in between the surges. When the pain was gone, I was still able to do things around the house, like cook a meal, for instance.
By 10 pm, my partner was outside walking the dog, when all of a sudden, my water broke. I then realized that things were getting serious, and these were no longer pre-contractions. My baby was coming! I asked my partner to read the instructions from the midwife. We concluded that it was too early to call her; the amniotic fluid was transparent, the surges came every seven minutes or so, and there were no complications of any sort. But the surges were getting heavier and it was getting more difficult to find a good position to take them in. I applied the breathing exercises and visualization I had learnt during the hypnobirthing course and focused on relaxing my body in between the surges. It was tough but I was handling it, and I had full confidence in my body. Around midnight we read the instructions of the midwife again. The contractions were coming every four to five minutes now, but according to the paper, it was still too early to call. So I kept telling myself: this is just the beginning, things will get much more painful. I can handle this; my body is built to do this.
By 3 am I was bent into a window frame to take in a surge, when all of a sudden, I felt the urgent need to push with my surge. Perhaps now we were allowed to call the midwife? When we called her, she came to our house immediately. Still my partner warned me: don’t be disappointed if you have only a few centimeters of dilation. But the midwife told me that I already had 8 cm and that it was too late to go to the hospital! At this point my partner stressed out: we planned to go to the hospital! What if things would go wrong, and there was no medical assistance? I, on the other hand, felt quite relieved that I didn’t have to hoist myself into a car and move to a completely new environment. I still had full confidence that all was going well and that my body was made to deliver this baby. So, while I was hanging from a pile of moving boxes, taking in more surges, the midwife and my partner turned our living room into a delivery room. They took away the carpet and the side tables and covered the couch with plastic sheets. Ready for our baby to be born.
The next hour was a challenge. The surges were very intense, and sometimes I felt the urge to push, but my body wasn’t ready to deliver yet; I did not have enough dilation. I focused on the visualization of the opening rose and tried to relax my pelvic floor as much as possible. My partner helped me with my breathing, and I felt much support from the midwife who kept telling me how powerful I was.
Finally, the midwife told me I was ready to start pushing. This was hard work, but I was glad that I was able to do something with my surges. I still don’t know where I got all this power from; I was exhausted but felt like I could single handedly move a mountain. After 50 minutes of pushing, snarling and growling, there she was… our little Marie. The most beautiful little human being we had ever seen. It was 5am on a Saturday morning, and outside the sun was rising. Early birds began to sing their songs, and in our living room there was a serene silence. I was exhausted, but intensely happy. It was over. We did it. She was here, our tiny Marie, in perfect health. In our own living room.'
Jans and her partner joined the HypnoBirthing course April 2020 in Amsterdam