Birth Story of Kian Hobkirk

I have always been intrigued by home births and especially water births since I first saw a friend have her baby peacefully at home. After finding out I am expecting I was set on having the most natural birth as possible even if it meant I had to do it unassisted.

I was referred to Debby Engelbrecht by a friend. I contacted her to arrange a meeting with her for advice on how to do my labour unassisted as I could not afford to have a midwife.

After consulting with Debby about the labour I realised that Labour cannot really be taught in 10 weeks and that there is so much that can go wrong and that having her there was really the only option I had but also for my own peace of mind to know that there will be someone that will do the thinking for me and will be able to tell me when things are not going as planned.

Debby agreed to help me on a really sort notice and I will forever be grateful for that.

On the morning of 25 July 2017 Debby came to see me and to do my check up as I was now already 41 weeks and 4 days. Feeling edgy and annoyed with my big belly and tired body we agreed that if my labour doesn’t start by the Friday we would have to look at our options. Debbie constantly advised me to walk long and hard. I am rather lazy with exercising in the winter but towards the end I was eager to do anything to help this baby out but still keep it to minimum intervention.

So I walked and walked and walked even if some days it felt like my baby was going to fall out.

At 10 pm on the 25thof July I started experiencing back pains but put it down to probably being Braxton Hicks (again). But at around 23:30 I couldn’t ignore the aching any longer and went to call my mother to sit up with me. We timed my contractions on the contraction timer app Debby advised me to download. At around 1 AM I phoned Debby as my contractions were now 3 minutes apart and lasting roughly 1 minute.

My mother continued timing the contractions as I didn’t feel up to pressing buttons any longer and at about 3 AM she text Debby the times and durations of the contractions. Debby and Lauren, the doula, were now on their way.

At around 4 AM Debby and Lauren arrived.  Lauren immediately jumped in and started rubbing my back and putting bean bags on for heat. What a relief that was!! With the contractions she put pressure on my pelvis which helped ease the pain. The atmosphere was quiet with the fire crackling in the background and the music softly playing in the back. Lights were dimmed and everyone speaking in hashed tones. I occasionally asked Debby how far still and she would just reply with an “almost there”. Debby made sure I drank lots of water with Rehydrate and commanded me to eat my orange pieces. Even when eating was last thing on my mind.

Lauren kept on rubbing my back and telling me I am doing great. The motivation from Lauren and Debby was priceless. I would have given up long before the birth if I had to have done it without them.

Somewhere during the early morning they started filling up the birth pool. At this stage I felt exhausted and my muscles were starting to ache. As soon as I got into the water it was a little more bearable. I honestly don’t know how women survive labour on their backs without water. I am sure I would not have made it.

I started falling asleep during contractions and was not aware of anything around me. Lauren and Debby kept encouraging and giving me water to drink. My mother was sitting rubbing my head and motivating. This felt like hours and I couldn’t tell how long or what the time was. I was just living through each contraction.

Debby was encouraging me and coaching me through the breathing from the start till the very end.

I just remember Debby telling Lauren and my mom to get ready it is almost time. This was such a relief! Now I knew we really were almost there. Just before the head was out she told me that the ring of fire was coming and that I must remember to not push. Just breathe and try not to push.

This was truly the most “painful” part as the rest was more like muscle spasm pains and muscles that felt tired.  I breathed through the Ring of Fire and Debby was constantly reminding me not to push.

As soon as his head was out she gently waited and with the next contraction his body followed. Debby picked him out of the water and placed him on my chest. She then explained to me how the placenta will follow shortly and what I should do. About 20 minutes passed and the placenta was born.

The placenta was placed in a container and Kian was then placed on my mother’s chest while Debby and Lauren helped me out of the pool. The umbilical cord was left intact for about 2 hours before it was cut. Which I had the honours of doing myself. What a special moment it was.

Debby did all her checks and Kian and I were happily cuddling away while she was doing all the things she had to.

She helped me get cleaned up and comfortable and then showed me how to breastfeed. She helped until we succeeded.

The next day she was back to check on us and make sure we are doing well.

Debby is an excellent midwife and if I should ever have more children I wouldn’t think twice to use her and Lauren again. They are both so gentle but can be very firm when the need arises. And for this I am forever thankful. I will definitely recommend her to my friends and family. She is always just a message away when you are in doubt or just need some encouragement. And she really takes care of you holistically (mind, body and spirit).

I use to study nursing and so many things that the conventional medicine teaches I don’t agree with. This caused me to leave nursing. But after meeting Debby and finding out that she does everything the way I like it, it was like finding a long lost friend. She also taught me so many valuable things and gave me valuable reading material, videos and podcasts.

The only thing I regret is not finding her sooner and being able to attend more antenatal classes.

Other than that I would do everything exactly the same again.

For this I am forever grateful.

Nicole Hobkirk