The day of your birth, my best birthday
My sister Maia’s birth, as told by an older sister, By Samantha Pottage
I wake up to the feeling of my frosty nose this winter morning. Unlike most cold Monday mornings this one is different. With the sunrise of sleepy eyes, a bright gleam of light is peering through the gap in my light grey curtains. I can hear the sound of opening and closing ranch sliding doors and water streaming through the pipes. With a big stretch reality dawns upon me, it’s my birthday. While I sleep my last peaceful sleep of childhood, your occupied by something much more extraordinary. My senses serving their purpose for 18 years now, noticing the light, the sound, and the fluttering excitement in my heart. I know what day this is.
Unlike most Monday mornings, this one is different. With a yawn and a rub of my now risen eyes it’s time to see if my senses are correct with the way they hint the sweet inevitable. Please be today. I step outside with a fresh breath of winters cool air. As I approach the front door my heart races with excitement. Opening the lounge door, the warmth of the heat pump kisses my chilly cheeks and frosty nose. As I step inside, I feel the warmth on my skin but also this fluttering warmth in my stomach. Its relaxingly dark, with thanks to the grey clouds outside and the thick curtains all pulled around all openings. I peep around the corner knowing what to expect, the objects around me of my loving home and the pool I also expect to see with you resting in it. Everything I had imagined from the dawning of my first glances this morning to the moment I am standing in now. This day, June 30, 2014 is the end of my adolescence and the beginnings of someone else’s, someone I have been very eager to meet.
I am nervous to approach you, it’s hard to see you in pain so vulnerable. I notice the strain in your face as pain sets in I can only imagine how intense the feeling must be. Your scruffed up bun is frizzy in places from the humidity of the warm water you are sitting in, sits around your exhausted face. You glance at me and all I can feel is heart-warming pride for my beautiful mum. As my chin wobbles with a hard swallow keeping down my tears, I ask how you are. You are in a lot of pain by this point and it worries me, I know you will be okay though soldiering on like the strong warrior you have always been through my eyes. Your stubborn certainness has always shown this, and the thought gives me comfort every time you let out an uncomfortable moan.
I hesitantly leave the warm room filled with love, excitement, and suspense. Unlike most Monday mornings, this one is different, but I have duties to attend to. I go back to my room and dress for the school day when I am ready, I come back into the lounge, your leaning over a chair at the dining table. The one where all 8 of us will sit at in the very near future. Alan has left to help Chloe with the car it is just you and me in the lounge I do my best to try and comfort you. I rub your warm back as you sway side to side breathing deeply in attempt to conceal the pain. I have never seen you in this way before the one time I have ever seen you not fully in control of the situation. My hand rubs the centre of your lower back, its small and narrow I never noticed how little your back is. My attempts to comfort you have shown me a switch in the norm. It’s usually you rubbing my back in times of pain and worry and it makes me appreciate all that you have done for me starting from 18 years ago in this exact moment, in my journey into adulthood I can express the same nurturing care that I have learnt from you. I leave you with a love filled kiss on the cheek and two crystals that I know will help you. You accept them thankfully and I’m out the door. This has been a special moment for me.
It’s time to leave and go to school. With a day uncertain of any particular plan it is all down to the magnificent processes occurring miraculously in your body. Within a few hours it’s time to come home. A repeat from this morning begins with the racing heart, a warm kiss on my icy face from the heat pump and the soothing sound of Aunty Mel’s voice. It is so good to see her. I peer once again around the corner to where you sit in the pool. I nervously sit on the couch you are in extreme bursts of pain that make me feel uneasy. Alan’s soothing presence seems to keep you in a calm enough state. He lovingly massages your back with the shower head streaming warm water onto your back. I sit tentatively quiet on the couch, some time passes by Kelly and Aunty Mel encourage you in the best way possible. A big sense of girl power is felt so strong. I am so proud of you.
Chloe leaves in a hurry against time. I approach you in the pool shyly kneeling in front of you. Hoping I am not flustering you at this time. You are doing so well, and the pain subsides enough to have a chat. You teach me about the fluid that sits on the bottom of the pool and how it’s what baby has been covered in during your pregnancy. I am mesmerized by you in labour knowing that soon all of your big belly moments are setting to an end.
Soon your waters fully break, to your happiness the vibe shifts within the room. Its time and we are all eager and excited. I sit across from you and you start to push, this is so exciting and within the time period of no longer than 2 minutes full of intensity of pushing I see waves of little hair under the water. You lean forward and reach your hand down you say, “oh my gosh I can feel hair” Tears begin to pool in your eyes and love is felt throughout the whole room. With a few more pushes I see baby’s head I am intrigued and very excited. Moments later Kelly brings her hands into the warm pool and with another push out comes our little trooper. She is brought up to you and has her first feel of the love filled air “I did it” you whimper in a sign of relief. Tears roll down my face she is beautiful. Chloe comes in blubbering she cannot believe she missed out but is here now with all of us, as the new addition to the family takes her first strained breaths. I look around I see watery eyes and trembling smiles in my family’s faces. Chloe reaches down and cuts your umbilical cord. Baby is then passed up to her shirtless Daddy he is in complete awe of his little girl.
Us girls sit in amazement of the events that have just passed us, soaking up the warmth feeling in our hearts praising you finally relaxing in the pool. It is time to birth the placenta. The last part of your amazing progress is coming to a sweet end. Kelly shows us the tree of life that our little sister had been living in. It was amazing and funny to touch. Eventually you hop out of the pool, we wrap your poor aching body in towels and then your dressing gown. You snuggle comfortably on the mattress with baby in your arms. Absolutely beautiful.
My niece Maia’s birth – as told by a loving sister, By Melissa Kyle
I got to your house a little after 1pm. You were in the birth pool and were working hard. You were hot, sweaty and had had enough! Listening to you “ooooooohhhhhhh” your way through contractions struck my heart. If I could have given you a break I so would have!
Alan had the shower head on your lower back. That thing looked bloody awesome. Your midwife’s back up was giving quiet encouragement, letting you know everything was fine and as it should be and that it would be over eventually. I got a cold flannel and wiped your face. And made sure you drank little sips of water. Kelly thought it would be a good idea to get you out of the pool and onto the toilet for a wee.
You were in your bathroom/bedroom for a while just you and Alan. Kelly talked to me and the girls about if you had not made much progress, she would suggest you transfer to hospital. She didn’t want to push you too hard and was worried you were exhausted and not hydrated enough. When she came into your room to check your dilation you were 7 whole centimetres! Go uterus! She said baby was in a great position and you had a bulging bag of waters in front of baby’s head. You hated lying on your back though. Fair enough, it sucks! She suggested a herbal tea with some honey for a bit of energy so I made a nettle one.
You made your way from the bedroom back to the lounge and stopped halfway to have a contraction by the front door. After it was over, I told you I was going to get bossy about drinking water because Kelly wanted you more hydrated. You said ok. Back in the pool and the relief from the water was instant. You seemed more collected once you hopped back in. I think knowing you had made some progress gave you renewed energy.
Your contractions were very powerful now. You swayed and “oooooooohhhhhhh” your way through them. You kicked arse Darls. You did so well! You stayed calm in between them. You seemed to ‘fade off’ and only come to a little bit when I offered you water or tea. You kept your eyes closed and breathed softly. When you felt another one coming you would open them and let me know. And I would say “ok, let’s go then”. I hoped you felt my strong presence and support through them.
Your waters broke! You told us all and we all said, good! It can be an alarming feeling. The next contraction had you giving a wee grunty push at the height of it. Kelly asked if that was a push and you said, “I think so!”. I told you your energy might change now. You woke up completely and let the contractions work your baby down. Then her head was out! We did not realise her whole head was out though, we all thought just a bit was eased out. You had a feel and said she had hair! Sam and Ashleigh were right by the pool now eagerly waiting. Was so exciting!
Kelly had you lean back in the pool and the next contraction you gave a huge push, and she was out! You bloody did it! She was caught by Kelly and passed straight to your chest. You sobbed “oh my baby girl! I did it”. Alan said “Just beautiful. Amazing”. He was totally in awe of you two. A beautiful moment, thank you. I cried and couldn’t speak.
Chloe came home right after and saw you and the baby, and she was gutted she had missed it and overwhelmed with emotion. She sat next to me right by your head and cried and I cuddled her. When it was time to cut Maia’s cord, I helped Chloe hold her in the water and she cut her cord. Then she was given to Alan. I bossily told him to take off his top (sorry Alan!), but babies love skin. He snugged her on the couch under a blanket. It was lovely. She acclimatised to the outside world, snuggled safe on her daddy’s chest listening to his heart. It was such a love filled moment. She was so calm and content.
You caught your breath in the pool while Kelly showed the girls the placenta and all that stuff. You were happy to just chill for a bit and have a pause before the next huge chapter. You hopped out of the pool and got in your robe and onto the mattress. Maia was handed to you and there she stayed for ages. When she was weighed, we were all amazed at her size. Who knew you could stash a baby that big? No tears either. What a legend.
Thank you for having me sis. I am so honoured to have been there. Love ya heaps.