How one mum knew to give na­ture a nudge

Little Treasures - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy by First Light Pho­tog­ra­phy As told to TSITSI MAPEPA

Michyla, Ricki and baby Alivyah

Preg­nancy was a chal­lenge. I was di­ag­nosed with hy­per­eme­sis gravi­darum (se­vere morn­ing sick­ness) from pretty much day dot un­til 26 - 36 weeks with all three of our chil­dren. I’m also high risk, due to a bleed­ing con­di­tion (Von Wille­brands dis­ease – which means I don’t clot very eas­ily). Med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als ad­vised me to give birth in hos­pi­tal. With my first two chil­dren, labour was quick. Our first­born was pos­te­rior and my ac­tive labour was only 90 min­utes, from 3cm di­lated to our son be­ing placed in my arms. With our sec­ond son, I went from my first con­trac­tion to hav­ing my baby within one hour and 15 min­utes. Af­ter our sec­ond child we de­cided to move into a new house. On a good run we are a 45 min­utes drive away from the hos­pi­tal. Be­cause of the dis­tance the de­ci­sion was made to in­duce me two weeks early. Lit­tle did we know how lucky we were to have made this choice. I was anx­ious about the process with this labour, know­ing we had an in­duc­tion date, but it was re­as­sur­ing to know what we could plan in ad­vance, such as child­care. When we got to the hos­pi­tal, I was at­tached to the ma­chines for base­line mon­i­tor­ing. My mid­wife noted that there were some slight con­trac­tions show­ing on the ma­chine, and if I wanted to, we could go home and let labour hap­pen nat­u­rally. I said, “No, to­mor­row just seems too late.” They broke my wa­ters at 1:30pm, and that’s when we dis­cov­ered that our baby had al­ready pooped (meco­nium) whilst in the womb. With this de­vel­op­ment, I was moved to a labour and de­liv­ery suite and at­tached to the mon­i­tors for con­stant mon­i­tor­ing. My con­trac­tions kicked in a cou­ple of hours later and at 4pm my amaz­ing mid­wife Liz sat with me to feel my con­trac­tions. Af­ter 30 - 45 min­utes she de­ter­mined that my con­trac­tions weren’t as ef­fec­tive as she wanted them to be due to pos­si­ble com­pli­ca­tions that can arise from meco­nium be­ing present in my am­ni­otic fluid. As she left the room, I knew in my heart some­thing wasn’t right. When Liz re­turned with a doc­tor, in full the­atre scrubs, my heart dropped, and

I started to men­tally brace my­self for what I was sure to come: a C-sec­tion. To my re­lief, this was not the case. In­stead, they started me on an IV drip to get things mov­ing faster. At 5pm my line was in­serted, and the real fun be­gan. Be­tween my hus­band Ricki, mid­wife, stu­dent mid­wife and sons, I was well looked af­ter. My back was rubbed, cold flan­nels were placed on my fore­head, wa­ter was topped up to main­tain my flu­ids. Due to my con­di­tion an epidu­ral was out of the ques­tion, so I had gas and air. I squeezed my hus­band’s hand to get through the pain as I was pumped full of hor­mones. At 7pm, with both of my boys hug­ging my arm, I felt things were about to peak, so I pre­pared for the fi­nal stages of labour. Over the course of 15 min­utes my baby crowned five times, which wasn’t pleas­ant and af­ter five hours of labour (twice as long as both the boys labours com­bined), this tiny, beau­ti­ful pink ball of per­fec­tion was placed in my arms to re­mind me that the pain was all worth it. Wel­come, my lit­tle Alivyah. Af­ter Alivyah was born, they dis­cov­ered that my pla­centa had been cal­ci­fy­ing. If we had waited an­other day, and let my labour es­tab­lish nat­u­rally, we could have had a very dif­fer­ent out­come. It’s scary to think that there were no signs any­thing was wrong, and if it wasn’t for the fact I had some sort of in­stinct to have my baby that day, we could have lost her be­fore we got to know her. It was amaz­ing hav­ing our sons at the birth. They were a good dis­trac­tion and now love know­ing they were a part of the birth of their new lit­tle sis­ter. A lit­tle girl was such a bless­ing, the ic­ing on the cake for my hus­band and I. Now I can un­pack the bags full of girls’ clothes from the back of my wardrobe that my hus­band Ricki didn’t know about. Lit­tle Alivyah is the fi­nal piece to the puzzle we never knew was miss­ing, and now our fam­ily re­ally is com­plete.


Left: Michyla and hus­band Ricki cra­dle lit­tle Alivyah. Be­low: Michyla’s third labour proved to be a lengthy process com­pared to their first two boys.

trea­ Big broth­ers Stevyn, 6; and Michael, 3, show mum how it’s done

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