The Birth Story of Sybella

sybella_eve.jpgMy daughter, Sybella Eve, was born asleep on the 24th of April 2010. This is her birth story.


When we arrived at the hospital, I had no idea what to expect. I was unprepared for labour but didn’t care. We had no bags; I thought I'd be going home that night.

The midwives welcomed us with warmth and empathy. Our room was far away the other birthing suites, but not far enough away to not be able to hear the first cries of live newborns. Each time I heard one, I stiffened. It was a beautiful sound. But like a knife in my heart.


The doctor came and explained the process. She’d check my cervix to gauge dilation, assuring me I’d not yet be dilated. I disagreed: I knew I was. She laughed softly, as if she didn’t believe me. She continued to explain that they’d give me something to open the cervix, and then break the waters. Next, they’d administer Pitocin to induce labour. The entire process would take at least a day. 12 hours alone, just to get the cervix open. I shrugged with ambivalence. It'd be open, already. Sure enough, the doctor checked and with a surprised look announced the cervix was open and they'd go straight to breaking the waters. It was horrible. I didn’t like it at all. Though I knew it was totally necessary, I felt completely "invaded," but not through any fault of the doctor. I just can’t explain it. It had begun, and it was real and there was no turning back. When I’d leave the hospital I’d no longer be pregnant, nor would I have a baby with me. Rupturing the waters symbolised that heartbreak.


I started contracting straight away. It was about 9 am. Again, I was told to expect that labour, being my first, would take hours. However, again, I disagreed. "She'll be born before the sun goes down" I said to my husband, Kelvin. "We'll see this day out together."


As we waited for the Pitocin drip to be administered, I forgot why we were there. Kelvin and I joked and laughed: together, and with the midwife, Deb, as well as my brother (he was there for support during the early part).


Labour began with a vengeance once the Pitocin was in. Full on, no breaks. I was told to stand up, move around and let gravity work for me. But moving made the pain worse, and all I wanted to do was curl up and hibernate.


Deb had begun her shift with me: she was kind, patient and nurturing. As I moaned in pain, she wiped my brow. She was softly spoken and listened to me with her full attention. She asked me to try the gas, and respected me when I said it made me feel out of control. My other midwife, Vanessa, was the polar opposite: down to earth, pragmatic, straight to the point. At first we were intimidated by her "tough" veneer, but as labour progressed, she was encouraging, supportive and completely knowledgeable. I appreciated how straight to the point she was, because even though it sounds "unfeeling," the truth is, she was the most sincere, respectful midwife. She looked straight in my eyes and told me how well I was doing. She listened when I said I needed to push and coached me brilliantly. I had Deb stroking me, holding my hand and speaking softly, and I had Vanessa as the strong, take charge leader, whose honesty and sincerity were incredible.


I’d been given the perfect balance of soft and strong from these incredible women. I think Sybella picked them for me. She chose the two most experienced midwives, the two I could relate to the most, and the two whose combined expertise and personality were exactly right for me. Deb was due to finish at 3 pm. At 2.50 pm, I went into transition, and although it was a Saturday and Deb had children at home, she stayed till Sybella was born an hour later.


Kelvin, too, was a Godsend: supportive, encouraging and just brilliant. It must have taken indescribable strength to watch his wife in such physical and emotional pain and be my rock, when he was obviously experiencing his own private pain. But he was there for me, putting himself aside for the duration. I was so proud of him.


Sybella was ready to be born. I was coached through the pushing and Sybella, all 5 pounds and 12 ounces of her, slipped out silently at 4.01 pm. Kelvin looked at her, smiled and looked at me, a silent acknowledgement that she looked okay. I had relayed to him earlier that I was scared of what she’d look like, having been dead for three days. But my little girl looked perfect. I looked at her in amazement. She looked like Kelvin. She was beautiful. She was big for her gestation of 34 weeks, but not beefy, just long. She had long, spindly arms and legs, tiny blonde eyelashes and dark curly hair. Her hands and feet were gorgeous. Long nail beds and delicate fingers and toes. Tiny little creases on her palms. Her lips were ruby red and so were her nails. I watched her and marveled. My daughter. I felt such peace. It was her peace, emanating from her soul, which was still in the room.


I knew she would be born that day. I looked out the window and watched the sun go down.


It had been sunny all day. Now it started to rain, as I held Sybella and stroked her face.


The Earth was crying for her.


Read more at Born Still Sybella

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