The Birth of Audrey Lilly

It all started at about 1 am on the 28th of June 2011. Not knowing what real contractions felt like and seeing that they were irregular I went blissfully back to sleep unaware that I was in the beginning stages of labour! The next morning I had a meeting with some designers at work and at around 11am my husband drove us to Genesis Clinic for our antenatal appointment with our midwife Sue King. We were quiet anxious as I was 41 weeks and 5 days pregnant, almost 2 weeks overdue! As we got to our appointment Sue immediately sent us downstairs to the contraction monitoring machine to see if I was indeed in labour. As it happened I was already 1-2cm dilated and didn't even know it. We went back home after Sue performed an internal examination and that's when things really went on their way.  By 6pm we timed my contractions to be 10min apart and so excitedly we called Rosalia Pihlajasaari, our doula. Rosalia suggested that I should take a bath and monitor if the contractions would continue. The labour seemed to be progressing as the contractions were irregular but still continued . During this whole time I did not feel pain and only a slight discomfort now and again when the contractions lasted a little longer. I continued to sit and bounce on my gym ball and we were finishing the last few episodes of "Private Practice" on DVD. Rosalia arrived at around 10pm, I was starting to experience some pain but really nothing major, it just felt like my stomach was going tighter and tighter. Rosalia sat with me and we chatted about the upcoming birth and the excitement around it and before I knew it, it was 1am! For me it just felt like time flew by. From 10pm-1am it felt like 5min had gone by! Rosalia really did an outstanding job of keeping me relaxed, practicing some techniques to regulate the contractions and finally letting us know when we had to leave to get to Genesis.We left at around 01:10 am from Little Falls area and got to Genesis just before 2am. I drove with Rosalia in her car, and my husband (Robbert) behind us in his, and she played some spirit music for me which was like magic because it focused my mind on good thoughts and I didn't really feel pain. When we got to Genesis our room "Juniper" was already prepared for us and Gayle, a midwife from Genesis was there waiting for us with our private midwife Sue King. I was put on the contraction monitor again so that they could monitor the effect that the contractions were having on the baby. All was going great until Sue King did and internal examination and told me that I was already 7cm dilated and she had to break my waters. I was so afraid that I just cried through the whole thing and didn't stop for quite a while, even though the actual procedure didn't really hurt. Rob really did an amazing job at comforting me and holding my hand through the contractions. I couldn't have done it without him! While Rob was by my side Rosalia and Sue were setting-up the birthing pool as the in-built one at Genesis they said was too big for me. When I finally got into the water the contractions were very intense and Rob and Rosalia had to hold me up in the pool as each one came and went as I was struggling and was getting a little tired. Sue checked me again at about 04:50am and said that I was 9cm dilated It did feel like I couldn't do it for a second but when I said that Rosalia really held it together for me by being so sure that everything was going to be alright. A few minutes later Audrey Lilly came into this world at 05:20am on the 29th of June 2011 weighing-in at a healthy 3.06kg!

She was so beautiful, a perfect little baby girl with rosy cheeks and looking quite healthy. Rosalia was taking pictures the whole time. I didn't feel the love for Audrey immediately but I felt very protective over her and I really felt that strong love connection only after about 2 hours and it grew stronger ever since. According to Sue and Rosalia's advice we waited to cut the cord until it stopped pulsating. I must say that the pain was still there and quite intense and didn't go away as soon as Audrey was born which is why I think that I didn't connect with her immediately. In fact everything felt quite raw and I still hadn't delivered the afterbirth for quite a few minutes after. Gayle then had to give me an injection so that I would deliver the afterbirth. Soon it was all over and we had Audrey's granny, grandpa and uncle come into the room at 05:45am (just 25 min after the birth)! Being in bed all snug in the soft blankets and holding my precious daughter in my arms with my loving husband by my side was all that I needed to recuperate and within an hour I got up to take a shower. We had nurse Nicola, who assisted me with the shower, checking Audrey's temperature, helping us with breastfeeding and many more tasks. We felt completely at ease with her and she was always very helpful and kind. Sue and Rosalia left after making sure that all was good with me and Audrey and that we had everything we needed. Then at 7am breakfast was served and it was the best meal I ever had in my life- a full English breakfast with scrambled eggs and toast, I finished it within 5min. For the next couple of days we felt like royalty, everybody coming to congratulate us, not only family and friends but Jenny from the reception desk as well! We had amazing food which was always served warm, the beds were changed and new towels were provided. It was like a 5 star hotel experience and the best was that Rob stayed with us the whole time, which was highly unlikely to happen in any hospital. I can honestly say that Genesis Clinic is the best place to give birth naturally.

We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Sue King and Rosalia Pihlajasaari without whom this amazing birth experience would not have been possible. Also we wish to extend our thank you to all the Genesis Clinic staff members as each and every single one of them does their job wholeheartedly and with the greatest of passion.

Thank you for the opportunity to share our story.

Eve , Robbert and Audrey Berrima

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