"It’s my first baby, and how will my body give birth to such a big baby?" | Bonnie's birth story
A beautiful birth story of Bonnie which starts with a strong connection between her and her parents before she was even born. Great examples of how her mom identified her own HypnoBirthing tools that served her best. How she didn't give in when hearing her baby is bigger than average. How she dealt with early times of pandemic when we knew nothing really. And how all of that didn't make a change on her determination to experience a beautiful home birth with amazing team she had with her: her partner and her midwife.
Thank you Sofie for sharing it with us <3
How the journey started..
About three years ago, my husband Michel and I decided to sell our hotel restaurant, all we knew, all what belonged to us, and travel to South America. How long we would be travelling, we didn’t know. The future was uncertain and what we would find would be the unknown. ‘Let’s just go where the wind will take us!’ I had said to Michel.
We shipped our car, transformed into a camping-car, to South America and started at the most southern point, Tierra del Fuego - the land of fire. We slowly moved north, with Alaska as our final destination.
We drove through endless empty pampa’s, into mighty rocky mountains, and followed the glacial rivers back to the low lands. We felt the sand in the desert, saw the blue of the ocean, and shivered in the ice cold nights. We traveled high into the mountains, surrendered to the fierce wind, warmth of the sun and our sweating bodies.
We traveled slowly, and slowly, over time, we began to feel space; a space for a little being.
We were sleeping on a deserted beach, the air was still. Then the first big drops began to fall. The wind picked up, dark clouds gathered from the north, while the first lightening shot over the ocean. And there - carried by the storm, Bonnie was created.
With little Bonnie in my belly, we traveled through wind and rain, sunshine and heat. She was with us all the way north. Every call of a bird, every voice, every soft song was shared with her. She could feel the beauty of the earth.
Then the world changed in March 2020. We reached the United States where the pandemic broke loose. People were panicking, running, flying home. And instead of giving birth in Canada, we flew back to Amsterdam.
So, suddenly we found ourselves back in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam, and I was 23 weeks pregnant.
The journey through the Americas had made us go with the flow. We had no fear and I knew everything would be alright. I had learned to let the wind of changes direct our lives, but in the city everything felt different. I felt I needed to organize the future. I needed a home, a midwife, a crib for my baby.
"It’s my first baby, and how will my body give birth to such a big baby?"
In week 24 we had our “20-week-ultrasound”. The echoscopist in Amsterdam then saw Bonnie had quite a big belly. They first thought of pregnancy diabetes, but after a test it wasn’t the case: Bonnie was just big.
Then I started my HypnoBirthing class with Kasia. We choose the one to one class, and Kasia came to our apartment every week. We felt very much at ease with her. We were hoping to have a home birth. After our first class I was so delighted that I was even looking forward to giving birth.
We did an extra ultrasound, and Bonnie still was above average. The midwife advised us - in case Bonnie wouldn’t come by herself around due date - not to wait until week 42, but rather be induced in week 41 because of her size. And we agreed on starting with membrane sweeps from week 39 on.
Suddenly my whole idea of giving birth changed. My happiness after the first HypnoBirthing class disappeared, and was replaced by fearful thoughts..
"It’s my first baby, and how will my body give birth to such a big baby?"
"What happens if I can’t do it?"
"The hospital seemed suddenly a scary place."
"What about my preparations?"
"Will I feel comfortable in the hospital?"
"Will I be able to relax as much as possible?"
But Kasia comforted me the following weeks, and told me about a possible solution to prepare my body for giving birth: acupuncture.
Shifting from being scared to making a plan
So while Bonnie was nicely growing fatter and fatter, I started with acupuncture sessions in week 38.
My first membrane sweep was planned a few days later, on the 8th of July in week 39, and surprisingly I was already 1 cm dilated, so my midwife could already do a membrane sweep. But she told me it probably wouldn’t do anything. And indeed, nothing happened.
But I began to feel excited, my body was indeed preparing for the birth, and I practiced visualizing opening my body.
I had an acupuncture session before the second membrane sweep, and apparently was already 2 cm dilated. I was thrilled! It felt I had these 2cm already ‘for free’. But nothing happened after the second membrane sweep.
And nothing happened in the days to come.
Then Michel didn’t feel well (runny nose and sore throat) and due date was coming closer and closer, and because of all the Corona rules, I became very scared: "What if we had to go to the hospital and they wouldn’t let him in?"
On top of that I had hemorrhoids, and that also scared the hell out of me: "If I have them now, what would happen during labor?"
During those two days I cried in bed, feeling sorry for myself about the hemorrhoids, and mostly wishing my baby not to come as long as Michel wasn’t feeling well.
But, thankfully Michel felt better after two days.
A day when Bonnie was born: the due date
Another membrane sweep was planned a couple of days later, on the 15th of July. Due date.
Around 11 o’clock that morning I suddenly felt something, something very gentle. Coming and going. Tiny, tiny little cramps. Michel was at home and I excitedly told him I felt something!
Lotte, my midwife called to check how I was, and how Michel was doing. I was so relieved to tell her that Michel was doing well, and that I thought something was going on.
She told me it could possibly mean labor had started, but she also said it could go away. And if so, she asked whether I still wanted to have the planned membrane sweep. “Yes!” I answered. I was absolutely ready to give birth; my belly was feeling very heavy, and I wanted Bonnie to come into the world!
Using what we already have when we need it the most
During our trip we drove through Baja California, Mexico. There we had the opportunity to cuddle with whales. With four other people on a small boat, we went into the Laguna where female whale come every year to give birth. They stay there for a while, and when the baby is big enough to swim they travel all the way back to Alaska. Mother and baby whale just love to be caressed by humans, so they swim close to the boat and wait to be touched. Their skin is amazingly soft, the look in their eyes so tranquil and full of trust. Their calmness is absolutely mesmerizing. The memory of this trip continued to stay with me very lively.
A moment later we saw the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen. The world became silent, and I felt a deep sense of peace.
Whenever I listened to the affirmations and the rainbow relaxation, I visualized this rainbow again. The thought of the giant whales made me feel very calm; the warm water, their soft skin and the profound sense of their gentleness.
On this very day where I felt small surges I visualized this rainbow again, and the whales. It made me feel very calm and confident.
When you know this is 'it'..
Around 4 pm Lotte called and I told her I still felt surges, a bit stronger already then that morning. She said she would come at 6 pm.
When she came I was laying on my side on my bed, and the surges felt more clearly now, still not painful and not very regularly, but rather fast coming and going. She checked on me and felt I was 3 cm dilated, but the cervix was already flat. But, she also told me I was still way too awake and chatty, and that it would probably really start later at night.
The moment she said it, I had a long and more painful surge.
Then she left, but as soon as she closed the door behind her, the surges became way more heavier. Michel asked me if I wanted to eat something, but I didn’t want to. He turned on the fan and cooked himself a dinner. When he was finished he turned it off, but I yelled: “Keep it on!”. I was diving into the surges and felt nauseous, and somehow the sound of the fan eased me.
I felt so nauseous, I called Michel, who came quickly. I had to vomit three times. I wasn’t scared. It felt rather natural that my body wanted everything out, and make space for the baby to move.
The surges became way more heavier and very soon after another.
Normally the midwife would call around 8.30 pm, but I told Michel at 7.30 pm to call Lotte and that I wanted her to come. Lotte came at 8.00 pm and at that moment I was 6 cm dilated.
Although I had practiced all sort of positions, the only thing I wanted from 6 pm onwards, was to lay on my bed and stay in one position; on my side - with Michel right next to me. Every move distracted me. I was completely focused on my breathing. The only thing I thought about was to relax and breath deeply. And Michel was breathing together with me.
And so that’s what we did, breathing in and out, as slowly as I could (but still much faster than I learned in class).
My hand squeezed a pillow with every surge. They came one after another.
At 11 pm the surges stopped and I suddenly had a pause. What a relieve!
And then I felt a very different surge, I felt a deep surge, only in my lower body, and I clearly needed to go with it. Funny enough I thought I wanted to give birth on hands and knees, but in that very moment I wanted to move as little as possible, so I turned on my back: a position I thought I never wanted to take. But it felt very good.
Michel was standing next to me, he was my absolute anchor. At one point he needed to pee, but I called him back: "Please, come back quickly!” I even stopped the surge. Despite the enormous force, I simply couldn’t push if he wasn’t right next to me.
These last surges felt much easier because there was a slight moment of rest in between each surge, which I didn’t have in the hours before.
Lotte helped me guiding where to push. At one point our baby’s shoulder was blocked. But this was all a blur to me. Lotte was wonderful and helped getting my baby out while I was just focusing on the surges.
After 37 minutes of pushing, at 11.37 pm, on the 15th of July, our beautiful little Bonnie was born.
I felt so proud. It was such a beautiful birth. Me, in control of my body, and connecting with my baby with every breath I took. And Michel standing next to me, comforting me and breathing in and out with me, steady as a rock.
He took Bonnie, carried her carefully, and gently put her on my belly.