On 7th of July 2017 I gave birth to our son, Noah Hamdan Marty at 4:15pm with my amazing husband by my side.
As many of you may have followed throughout our pregnancy journey, we chose to take a very casual approach to everything along the way – deciding that we are going to arm ourselves with the basics, and take each day as it came.
Our last pic with the bump
No amount of book reading, video watching or class attending can prepare you for your actual labour and child birth. I had a relatively smooth, natural birth of my son which made the experience really emotional and beautiful. My Dr was patient and honest with me through the process, which helped me connect with my body and negotiate with it to push a little harder, or keep pushing a little longer. She understood that I was determined to give birth naturally, and allowed me enough opportunity to get myself to the point of doing so. Towards the end of my almost 1,5 hour birth phase she laid out my options – push 3 more rounds with the help of the kiwi in the final round, after which I will need to be taken in for a c-section to ensure baby stays happy and healthy. When I pushed she counted, and when my pushing wasn’t correct she called it off as to not waste any energy. I appreciated that she talked me through each round of pushing letting me know how baby responded,
On the last few pushes of my ‘deadline’ round, he was out. Not without drama though. Being tall and weighing in at 3,7kgs, his shoulders were a little broad on the exit run. Once out, he was silent…and those seconds between feeling his warm body on mine to him being whisked off by the paediatrician and finally crying, felt like forever.
I went into hospital just after midnight on the morning of Friday the 7th, and my contractions started to get closer together from about 3pm. Upon ‘checking in’ the staff in the labour ward were really warm and welcoming, taking us immediately to our room. My mum, brother and husband made themselves comfortable while the first round of checks were done, necessary meds administered and my drip setup. After all the checks and settling was done the lovely midwife in attendance said she’d be back at around 7am for more checks but until then we were set for the night. The hospital accommodates one family member with linen and a sleeper couch, so Andrew and I set up camp, put on a movie and got comfy for the night.
Zainy and Andrew testing out the facilities
At about 3:30am the contractions intensified, but I still felt ok to handle it – so didn’t start on any pain meds. I knew I had a long day ahead, filled with various meds so tried as long as possible to rely on water and will power. By this stage our movie had ended and Andrew had fallen asleep. By 5am I couldn’t lie down anymore, and paced around between the toilet and bed. Headsets and calming sounds allowed me about 20-30 min spells of lying on one side and then the other between sitting on the edge of the bed and breathing.
At 7am the midwife returned and my water broke. Within the next hour I was moved to the labour delivery room and by 8:30am the pain was incredibly intense. I was relieved to see the anaesthetist arrive to give me my epidural – a painless, quick and efficient procedure that I was glad I opted for. Ten minutes later, while I still could feel the pressure of the contractions, my pain was gone and it stayed away for the remainder of the day with me walking again by 8pm. I only topped up twice via the ‘green ambulance’ (epidural top up that allowed you to top up the pain medication every 20 minutes) between rounds of pushing.
From that point on I was checked on frequently by Dhumi – the lovely South African midwife from Johannesburg who stood by me through the remainder of the day. Being South African I felt incredibly comforted and supported by her, as she checked on where baby was, took care of my needs and kept her eye on how baby progressed.
Our first of three sessions of pushes started at about 1pm. For the first and second session baby’s head would descend then ascend, which resulted in the Dr choosing to wait another 40-50mins more. Just before 3pm we started our final session of pushes which lasted an hour before she gave me the ‘3 more then c-section’ mark. We knew he was a big bubba, but I was determined to have him naturally, so I gave myself a quick mental talking to and gave it everything I had. On the last round and with the help of the kiwi, he was born at 4:15pm naturally. He took some strain in the final seconds as he had broad shoulders and they had to be tugged on a little. Soon after he was born I had him on me temporarily before he was whisked off to the pediatrician bay alongside me in the room. Those seconds after he was out and didn’t cry were the most anxious moments of my life. That moment when I heard that hearty cry and saw Andrew’s smile when he said, ‘He’s fine’, was just indescribable.
When I held him, still a little blue, warm and needy, I cried. Nothing – not a single thing – could compare to that moment.
I had never felt so overwhelmed with love, gratitude and appreciation like I was when I held Noah for the fist time. All I could think of was how much I loved him, and loved his daddy who was the most incredible support through it all. Going through that with your husband takes the love and chemistry to a different high, and I was so glad to have him holding my hand and kissing my forehead through it all.
My mum and brother were just outside the delivery room excited and eager to meet the little guy – the first grandchild, and nephew to my side of the family. Our family in Australia were eagerly awaiting photos, videos and messages with news of his birth, and we spent time e-introducing him to an equally excited group of cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles via Skype. The joy a child brings to a family is indescribable, and our little guy did just that for both the Marty’s and Variawa’s.
I struggle to understand how anyone could see childbirth as anything but a miracle. That little being that comes out of you after 9 months of living with each other is just the most unbelievable feeling ever. My little bestie is here, and we have a lot of exciting memories to make with so many loved ones.
I’ve loved receiving your messages on congratulations and well wishes. Baby Noah is the greatest blessing and we are so grateful to have him as part of our family.
Please do keep sending me your stories and pictures – I feel very fortunate to be apart of so many journeys.