Francionette (Franky) Schickerling

- My Story -

Not so long ago I gave birth to a beautiful smiley little girl, from the start of my pregnancy I decided I wanted to do everything possible to birth my baby naturally without pain relief. I believed that if so many ladies throughout the centuries knew how to birth babies without pain killers or even doctors present; our bodies were designed to do this, our bodies know how to grow, birth and nurture our babies.

I set out to learn every trick in the book to make my natural birth happen. I read and read and read, drank red raspberry leave tea, ate dates, exercised, did my squats every day and bounced on my birthing ball, I was the model pregnant lady, and I do believe that all these things I did helped me birth my beautiful baby girl quickly and easily with minimal recovery time.

Of course, birth is unpredictable and one of my worst fears unfortunately became a reality. At 41 weeks after trying everything to start labor naturally, my water broke and I had to be induced.

A little trickle started on Friday night, and with inconsistent and light contractions, we weren't  entirely sure whether my water broke or not. From my research, however I knew that even if my water broke that waiting to go into the hospital won’t harm the baby and we decided to stay home and have a good night’s rest. In the morning, we phoned the maternity ward and they told me to come in and get tested, we kind of knew that we won’t be coming home today, so we took our time, had breakfast and made our way to the hospital.

The hospital confirmed my trickle was amniotic fluid and for the next couple of hours we tried to get labor started naturally. Unfortunately, no amount of climbing the stairs, walking, squatting and bouncing would get my labor going and about 16hrs after my water broke I was given synthetic oxytocin. After having a slow start to labor, they increased the dose of medication and my labor went into warp speed, contractions came hard and fast and all of a sudden I had one continuous contraction and felt the worst

pressure ever, within a couple of hours I went from being 3 cm’s dilated to transitioning and baby’s head crowning.

My husband still has a little giggle at the poor midwife’s reaction when she thought I would only be about 5-6 cm’s dilated only to realize the baby is crowning and coming very, very fast. It was all a big whirlwind, I remember my husband reciting the hypnobirthing text we had practiced in my ear, a scramble for gloves and equipment and midwives donning gowns, because baby was coming whether they wanted me to wait or not, and the doctor was nowhere in sight. I remember very clearly refusing to lie on my back, and wanted to get up from the bed, unfortunately moving at that stage was very difficult, but I managed to at least turn on my side.

I had to pant to slow down the pushing my body was doing naturally and I remember feeling very overwhelmed with all

the chaos. Finally, like time stood still my baby was put on my chest and there she laid for what seemed to be an eternity

and she fed beautifully, apparently, birth makes little babies very hungry.

In the end my birth wasn’t exactly what I envisioned it to be, but it was a positive experience. I believe strongly that I achieved this because I was prepared, had great support and stood strong on the most important things to me like keeping active during labor, not birthing on my back and having skin-to-skin as long as possible. I won’t lie there was definitely a time during transition where I was ready to have that epidural but, due to the speed of things I’m very thankful that it wasn’t an option.

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