Trusting my instincts

Posted on 13. Mar, 2011 by pinky in Pinky

I realize that not all my parenting decisions are mainstream. But never for one moment think that any of them are made lightly or without a lot of research.

I am a nurse, I had to study science at varsity. I like research and good logical reasoning. So when I make a decision it always takes pros and cons into account and looks at risk. The thing with most medical decisions is that there is risk no matter what you do. One just has to decide which risk you are willing to live with.

As some of you know Titus and I were struggling a bit with breast feeding. On Thursday we saw a Lactation consultant. She was lovely and spent 3 hours with us. I think we have the hang of feeding with bigger boobs now. Still hurts at times but definitely better than it was.

Titus had a little blister on his lip that started on Tuesday. I thought it was maybe because he latched wrong. Then it opened and was yellow and more appeared so we decided to go to the GP on Thursday afternoon.


She thinks it is Impetigo and needs antibiotics but because he is only 11 days old she does not want to give it without some guidance. So she refers us to Blaauwberg hospital to see the Paed on call in the ward.

  So we went to the Paed ward and saw a Dr who rubbed Yme and I up the wrong way. Granted I had my hippy pants on and I have pink hair but gosh this woman was condescending. She is VERY medical and seems to be a worse case scenario kind of person.

She was worried that the lesions/ulcers were septic and that she thought he had a risk of being septic inside and wanted to admit him and put him on IV antibiotics and do 5 million tests. She said it could be lots of things including herpes ( which he could only get if I had vaginal herpses at birth – i nearly smacked her for that one) She was also questioning my choices about birth. She kept saying he was prem. He was born at 37+5 so close to 38 weeks and weighed 3.41kg – hardly prem. She questioned if I had vax’ed him yet, and actually I do give the BCG and birth stuff I just wait a week or 2 and seeing as he is at home it is okay. I think she thought I was some person that refused all medication without thinking or knowing why I did things. She had a whole fight with me about Vit K and asked if I had heard about Haemoragic Disease of the newborn, I have read more than most on Vit K, research papers and all sorts, I have spoke to people and again made an informed decision.

He is slightly yellow but my Dad ( a prof of family medicine) had seen him on the weekend and the midwife was keeping an eye on him, she implied that because we had not had him checked we were neglectful and his liver was prem blah blah blah.

So anyway I am on a medical insurance policy and Liberty does not answer phones after 5pm so we could not get authorization for admission and they wanted us to pay R6000 deposit to get him admitted. Hahaha ja right.

Anyway I phoned dad and sent him pictures (which I should have done first but did not want to take advantage of him being a Dr all the time) and he said straight away that it is Impetigo and that with a antibiotic injection and then oral antibiotics and topical cream he should be fine, Yme and I chatted to him about the risk of it being a general sepsis and we were happy that with no other signs, no fever, no lethargy, feeding well, weeing and pooing well and being alert and happy that it was unlikely that he was septic and that for tonight we did not want him admitted.

She wanted us to go to the government hospital with an 11 day old baby and sit and wait with all those germs, the risk to him seems greater to me than waiting one night and phoning the medical aid in the morning. I am also not convinced I want him admitted at all.

She wanted us to sign that we were refusing treatment, which I said we were not we were saying that on the clinical signs that night we did not want to go to a government hospital and that if he got sicker we would obviously take him in. She tried all sort of scare tactics but really she just came across to me as young and neurotic, like she tests for everything and over treats. I understand she wants to be careful but part of being a Dr is knowing when to panic and when to trust your gut and follow the clinical signs. She said we had to sign that we take responsibility for refusing her treatment, we made it clear that we ALWAYS take responsibility for him, that it is our responsibility alone.

I trust my dad and I also think that life is about making decisions based on the info you have on hand and then later if new stuff happens then you reassess and see if you need to do something different. I am so the wrong person to try the I am the Dr and therefore God thing on.

She did give us the antibiotic injection and a script for the oral antibiotic that my dad suggested even though she at first wanted to not give it just to make a point that if we did not do it her way it was no way. Anyway we got his billiruben checked to make her feel better and we got the antibiotics injection and the oral stuff for tonight.

He was fine overnight. It is not easy being a parent.

( as a note a friend  @cazpi has had a baby at Blaauberg Paed ward does not like the Dr we saw today too, she also says she is neurotic and over treats, so that made me feel better that is was not just me that did not like her. She really really got my back up)

Yesterday we got an appointment  with a Dr that works with a friend Suzanne’s Paed, her guy was full – but she has seen this Dr too and liked him so I felt happy going to someone that was recommended.

I was very honest and said i was there for a second opinion as i really had not liked the Dr the night before, but that if there was any reason i was happy for him to be admitted i just did not think that the symptoms last night warranted spending the night in a government hospital or paying R6000 for their bed.

Anyway so he looked at Titus and did a much more detailed examination. She just seemed to panic and wanted to order a million tests and admit him. He was happy that on the clinical signs we carry on with the oral antibiotics. The fact that he had no fever, he was feeding well, he had no tachycardia or lethargy or anything else that might suggest an internal infection. He did not think that admission was necessary and said we should see a huge improvement in 3-4days.

He did repeat the biiliruben just to check as she had not ordered the test that splits the level, there is congugated and uncongugated and then a total. The total does not actually tell you if the dangerous one is high. He also did some tests to see if there was any signs of internal infection. The tracked down the Billiruben test from the night before and if was 205 which is not actually a problem at all and does not need light which she said he needed.

Anyway we did all the bloods and also he changed the antibiotics from a huge dose that was really hard to give a tiny baby 3 times a day to a smaller does 4 times a day. We get it in with LOTS of screaming.

I was very impressed with his manner, he actually interacted with Titus and treated him and a person and was kind to him, this other woman was offish to me and showed no warmth at all. I think  we rubbed each other up the wrong way from the start. She is obviously not comfortable with people that do anything but what they are told or totally to the book.

Yesterday afternoon I got an email from Dr Theart who i saw him that morning, he said the Billi is slightly higher than the day before but still not high enough for lights, and the dangerous one is low. If still yellow on Monday maybe we recheck. But all the other tests were clear, No internal infection and NO septic baby. Look i know it might have been a risk in her mind but there have to be clinical signs to support your decision. There was no need to threaten me that he would be dead in 2 days. I think what got to me was that I was just saying that based on the signs last night we made a decision for last night, we were not making a final decision on his treatment, we would watch and see and in the morning reassess. To me her clinical examination skills are poor and she just relies on tests to make a decision and not on being a Dr with good skills at diagnosing. Being a clinical nurse specialist and assessing patients and having to make diagnoses myself and watching highly skilled Drs I know what constitutes a good assessment.

it felt good to know that we were right in trusting our gut. I am glad i did have my dad to discuss it with, you do for a moment doubt yourself if someone says your baby is going to die. It would have been horrible not to have that backup. I spoke to my Dad tonight and he is a profession and lecturer and teaches students how to do just what she failed to do, how to be good clinitian and learn how to look for patterns and look for groups of signs and learn how to make decisons. He suggested that I write her a carefuly worded letter expalining what happened since we saw her and explain without being nasty and getting her back up the things that we did not like. I am not sure that it will do any good, it is not going to change her, but he thought the feedback and the chance to reflect on what she did was worth writing it.
What do you think, would you write to her?

So R3000 later he is fine. I had a moment at the path lab when my card was declined that i had a small panic. We don’t have that extra in a month. I will have to go and put all the bits together to pay that bill in the 24 hours we have. I then put my last R20 in the car with the petrol light on and had a little sob in the car. I think it was the built up emotion of worry and fighting and proving we were right. But we are home, we have more than most and thanks to my amazing parents and my full freezer of food my mom cooked for me when she visited a few weeks ago we will be fine. I can ask them if we battle, they are amazing, it just takes the wind out of your sails when you skate so close to the edge with money. And to think how much of it was because some woman panicked. BUT still better than the bill if he was admitted for nothing.

Then my awesome friend @cazpi came in the afternoon and I managed to chat and get it all out. She even read to the Pinklets while I washed the dishes that had piled up.

His face today – much improved

Birth Story – Titus Yme Tichelaar

Posted on 07. Mar, 2011 by pinky in Pinky, Uncategorized

I am going to start with the short version for anyone that does not want to trawl through the whole post. Writing a birth story is about sharing with others, but mostly it is a cathartic journey for the mother to play back, in words, the birth of her child. It is a time to reflect on the event and the emotions. Sometimes it is a time to heal or deal with dissapointment or hurt that the birth may have left.

We used hypnobirthing and the terms that are used are slightly different, to try and remove some of the negative association with the vocabulary surrounding birth, here is a short run down of the words I may use in the story that are different

Surges or pressure waves – contractions
Birthing time – labour
Membranes releasing – waters breaking

The short version

Titus’ birthing time started at about 5pm on Sunday afternoon, I was napping and had had a few BH ( braxton hicks) during the day but suddenly the surges were regular 3-5 mins apart and quite intense. We called Catherine, the photographer, Marcha, the midwife, and The Geeks mom who would watch the kids.

I spend time on our bed doing surge breathing and just focusing on relaxing
There was always about 3-5 mins between surges so I was worried it would be slow and got up on the birth ball a bit then
moved to the bed in an upright position and started to think about getting in the pool.
Asked midwife to check as I thought it might be too soon, was 7cm with bulging membranes, was encouraged by this and we moved to the pool
The Geek joined me in the pool and I spent most time just chatting to him, being together and lying on his shoulder through the surges
Did one very long surge leaning against side of the pool and felt the change to pushing/expulsion surges.
Turned around again, the Geek was sitting in front of me encouraging me all the way to breath
A few very intense surges later and the head was born. I think this was the only time I was vocal and then only just a low moan. ( so different from the other 2 births)
Marcha helped Yme feel for the cord and the next contraction the body was born into his hands. Yme lifted him out the water and onto my chest.
We had done it, a calm peaceful, loving birth.

The Long version

I have divided this into chapters – sorry I have a lot I want to say, but feel free to read the bits that interest you.

Impatient – he was not late why was I so desperate to have him
Take 1 – false start
The real deal
Feelings afterwards


I have had 2 natural home water births. I know I can birth without help and without medication. They were huge accomplishments in my life but they were far from a walk in the park. I remember after Pinklet Girl’s birth understanding why people in hospital would ask for an epidural. This is the her birth story I tried very hard to write a positive story and can see how I even made my ex sound good. But if you read carefuly you will see he was aloof and unable to offer support. He is a person that battles to identify with other people’s emotions and thinks most time people are just making a fuss. He told me during labour not to be so loud as the neighbours would hear, he was not loving or caring but rather I sensed I was embarrassing him most of the time. He told me afterwards that I had really made a huge fuss for nothing.

I knew having a home waterbirth with your first and no pain meds is quite an achievment. The Midwife always told me I did well, but the feeling of failure I took from this birth stayed with me until Sunday night. I look back now and realize that I did the best I could with no emotional support. With better tools, like hypnobirthing and the constant love The Geek poured on me it can be better, but I coped as well as I could have then, I did not fail. I have forgiven myself and really closed the door on that birth wound now.

When I was pregnant the second time I was rather scared of birth. I knew it had to be different. I planned an unassisted birth. I thought maybe if I took on all the control I would be able to cope better. I needed to escape from something in my first birth. I just did not know what it was. The one thing I hated was that the 2nd midwife had been at a party come and help, I had not even started pushing so there was no rush and she got me up into a deep squat for the birth which I felt went too fast. I felt a bit rushed, it was not a position i would naturally have chosen. I got the feeling she wanted to get back to the party. I loved my midwife but felt at the time like the 2nd midwife took over.

I focused on this as a reason to reclaim control and do something differently the second time. In the back of my mind was the niggling feeling that I did not want my ex there, I kept saying how I did.What I wanted was to escape the feeling of being a failure. It really had nothing to do with having a midwife there or not, that was just my way of having control and dealing with one small aspect of the birth I had not liked. What I really wanted was a loving partner to support me through the birth. I had this romanitic notion about how birth could be. My ex worked on an oil rig and a day after he left at 38 weeks I went into labour. I think my body knew that I could not birth with his negative energy around again. Here is the birth story

You can see the mood and the birth was totally different, still I was noisy ( which is not a bad thing) and the end was a little overwhelming. But this experience helped me heal a lot and believe in my body. But the feeling of failure was not gone.

For those wanting to read more about my choice to do an unassisted childbirth UC ( without medical staff present in their role as midwife or Dr, I had a friend who was a nurse but she was there as a friend) I wrote an article for Parent 24 about it – I delivered my own baby

I decided not to do UC this time and here were my reasons – unassisted birth again?

Why did I include all of this history, well because it is important to understand the pressure I placed on myself to have a good birth. The feeling of being a failure from my first birth had never really gone away. Caleb’s birth was better but still I was noisy and this is what the ex had highlighted as me making a fuss for nothing. But more than it being about needing to get over his damaging words, it was about the knowledge deep inside me that I knew birth could be better. I knew that for centuries we had birthed well and that the Art of Birth had been lost. It could be a joyous, wonderful event. Yet I was terrified that I would fail.

(My ex is not a bad person, he just does not have any ability to deal with other people’s emotions or offer support.)

I mentioned over and over to Kim from Beautifully Born our hypnobirth instuctor that my fear was not about birth – I knew I could do that, it was not about anything gone wrong etc it was 100% about me not being able to be as calm and relaxed and controlled and achieve the birth I wanted. My fear releasing session this was my biggest fear that I am not sure I ever totally let go of. Yes I know this is a lot of pressure to place on yourself, but I longed to birth the way I knew, in my soul, it could be. I was so scared that the past and my experiences as a ,midwife and seeing many people birth in pain would not allow me get to past that.

I spoke to friends that had hypnobirthed, I practiced and practiced and worked really hard although many time I would get frustrated at not being able to get as deeply relaxed as I wanted to during practices. I think there was still a very big part of my rational thinking brain that would interfere when I practiced, but I never gave up trying.

Impatient – he was not late, why was I so desperate to have him?

Rachel was born at 40weeks + 1 day which is normal for first time, Caleb I did not expect much before that and he came at 38 weeks. My mom was progressively earlier with each of us 3 girls. So I had in mind that we might not make it all the way to mid March but was not really expecting any thing before the end of Febuary.

Then we had that incident of bleeding, wow that changes everything. Here is the story – where are my pants? after that I was always counting the weeks until he was viable – old enough to survive should be be born. 24weeks: a tiny chance of survival, 28 weeks: better chance, 32 weeks: most babies survive. We then had an evening at 33 weeks where I had regular 7 minute apart contraction all afternoon and most of the evening. I had just over done it and walked around way to much that day. But from then on I was always worried about him being early. Too early to birth at home. I started reading about how many weeks it would be safe to be at home.

Other factors that contributed were:
* I am sick from beginning to end of pregancy. I hate being pregnant and do not carry it silently and with no moaning. I hated the moody, complaining, uncomfortable person I had turned into. The Geek bless him was amazing he never said anything about how much I moaned and he was never annoyed by it ( well not that he ever showed me) he just constantly tried to make my life easier and more comfortable. Nothing was ever too much to ask him to do, he was and is a constant support. Near the end I had non stop heartburn and nausea where I would avoid eating just to avoid the pain. All my issues were minor and there are people that really really suffer in pregancy, but I was just tired of it all, I wanted it over.
* I was bigger this time from much earlier. I was about as big as I was with Rachel at the end at about 27 weeks! This feel also added to my mind thinking that it must just be closer to the time to have the baby because I felt so big.
* The Geeks sister is very unwell and still in ICU, there were times things were very critical and I was so worried she would never see the baby.

All these things meant that even though Titus was only 37 weeks + 5 days I felt like it could have been 42 weeks, a lot of the pressure to have him early was obviously my own, but all in all it seems like my body knew when was the right time. Titus was old enough to be born at home and at 3,41kg ( as big as his brother who cooked a week longer) he was definitely ready. The midwife reckons if he had gone to 40 weeks he would have been closer to 4kg. I am kind of glad he did not ;-)

Take 1 – false start

We saw the back up Gynae on Tuesday 22 February to check all was good for the birth. The baby was low and head down which was great. Not all 2nd and subsequent babies descend into the pelvis early and some only do it in labour. I was glad that the baby was engaged already it meant some of the hard work was already done. Maybe this was the reason for my regular Braxton Hicks. I got them just about every hour for the last few weeks, more if I was walking and moving. The midwife and I chatted and thought that the baby might be early but we would wait and see.

Wednesday late afternoon things started picking up again. I got very regular, average intensity surge all evening. The Geek got some stuff ready just in case. We went to bed and in the morning I woke up with quite intense surges ( much like the way it would start on Sunday) The Geek stayed off work, he was so excited, he called him mom fetched her, started to fill the pool even though I tried to say lets see where this goes. Then they spaced out and finally stopped. Frustration does not begin to describe how I felt. I also felt silly for saying that it might be happening.

NOTHING not even much Braxton Hicks happened until Sunday. I remember saying to The Geek that the worst day for the baby to be born would be Sunday as then he would just have the 2 days he had left of family responsibility leave as his company has no paternity leave. I was hoping for Friday night, that would make a 3 out of 3 for my kids all being born on a Friday, it would also mean that The Geek had Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with his new baby. Haha well #koos decided to rather come on the day the day with the lowest statistical chance of being born – Sunday

The real deal

We had spent a lovely family day, first at builders warehouse looking for some paint for the frames for our new photo feature wall, then The Geek said he felt like a beer lets go find somewhere near the beach the kids can play and we can relax. We landed up at Die DamHuis in Melkbos. We were not planning to have lunch, the budget is tight, but we rationalized that we would not be going out much at all for quite a long time after this, so we had a lovely lunch. I had a devine home made chicken and mushroom pot pie. I had a few Braxton Hicks again during lunch but was now so used to them meaning nothing I said nothing of them.

Once home we went for a nap. The kids were in the bath after getting totally filthy in the playground, soon The Geek was fast asleep and I has 2 wet giggle children playing with me on the bed. Rachel decided to massage my feet and rub cream all over me. It was a lovely bonding time. Caleb who is a very tactile boy and likes to be hugged and held, played on my tummy and I made sure I spend time making him feel special and loved. Knowing soon ( well I did not know it would be that soon) he would no longer be my small boy.

The kids went off to watch a dvd and suddely I was getting surges that were about 4-5 minutes apart. I actually need to concentrate and breath through them, they were not hectic but definatley a notch up from BH. I lay for a while thinking it would be another false start but I just knew it was not.

I got up did a few things in the kitchen ( murphy’s law every night for weeks I had made sure the house was neat and dishes washed and everything ready so if the birthing time started the house was clean, being Sunday afternoon the house was a mess!) I made coffee for The Geek and decided to wake him.

The Geek sleeps like the dead when he sleeps. He actually functions on very little sleep and often struggles to fall asleep but when he does he is dead to the world. It is like his body knows that it should make the most of what it gets. So I shake him rather vigorously and ask if he can help me get a few things ready. He says “give me 10 minutes and I will come”, this is a standard line, along with “I will be there in a minute” when you wake him from the couch to come to bed and usually results in him falling straight back into deep sleep for a few more hours. So I said “okay take 10 minutes if you need but I am going to start getting some things for the birth ready” He lept up trying to focus and get orientated. He was so excited and ready to help

He asked if I was sure, I said lets get a few things done and then decide. I think when he noticed that during surges i would stand and hold onto something and not answer him he knew it was the real deal. I sms’ed Catherine @Cazpi our photographer and official birth tweeter, the midwife Marcha and The Geeks mom to come watch the kids.

(The hashtag #koos was used during the birth and Koos tended in Cape Town that night on Twitter. You can read about it here )

I was useless at helping with anything and actually did not give a damn that the dishes were unwashed. I wanted to lie down where I could totally relax and go limp during the surges. Hypnobirthing teaches a technique called Surge Breathing. It is a technique where you breath in to a fast count of 20 while concentrating on making you stomach expand with the inhalation. It helps to work with the uterine muscles that are pulling the cervix up and out of the way. You then exhale for a fast count of 20 and repeat for as long as the surge lasts. I found that I had to have my hand on my tummy so that I could feel it expand as I took the breath in. It was quite easy to breath through them. I was listening to my birth affirmation track on my phone and tweeting and sms’ing family and friends during surges.
#koos homebirth

Catherine arrived we chatted and I explained if I closed my eyes and was quiet it was just my way of working through the surge. She would pop in and out during the time I was in the room, I could hear the soft click of her shutter and thought how glad I was she was capturing these moments. She was great, she was calm and quiet and her presents really helped. There had been a delay getting hold of The Geeks mom and Catherine stood in as the Pinklet sitter too, which I am very grateful for.

Caleb funny enough after cuddling him on the bedat nap time, I never saw him again, he never came into the room at all, he played and watched TV that we had set up in the guest room. Rachel seemed to need to check on me every so often but I had explained to her about the hypnosis and the need for it to be quiet and for me to focus on being relaxed. She drew me a card which she brought for me which said welcome Koos on the outside and Good Luck Mom on the inside it was very precious. She would quietly slip in and out during the night. Being quiet is not one of the things Rachel does well. I was so proud of her.

The midwife Marcha arrived while I was lying down and we chatted, she stayed in the room for a few surges and I think was happy I was coping okay. I asked The Geek to show her where everything was set up as we had not had the 38 week home visit where I could show where we had set up or how we planned things. She was happy we had everything. She listened to the baby’s heart beat during a surge and he was coping fine with the birthing time. I had said that I did not want to be checked how far along I was as for me it does not really tell you much, you can be 5cm and take hours or be 5cm and deliver 45mins later. She asked if I had felt yet myself, which I had not yet.

I made sure I drank often and also got up to go to the toilet often. I know a lot of mom like to sit on the toilet and find it a comfortable place for dealing with surges. I have always hated it and tried to go as soon as a surge ended before another came. I felt for the cervix when on the loo the next time, it is not that easy to feel on yourself but it was still high, about 4cm and thining.

I lay on the bed a while longer. The Geek came to lie with me. I even twitpic’ed a photo of us lying together after a surge. He was calm when he was with me and just helped me breath and stay relaxed, he was so loving and kind. Catherine says away from me he was far more visably nervous and jittery but I never felt that when he was near me.

The surges never got much closer than 3-4 mins, so I had time between them to relax or talk to people as they popped in and out offering support. I decided that maybe I should get up and do a few surges on the birth ball so as to let gravity aid the process and maybe shorten the time a bit. The Geek got my birth ball and I sat on that leaning on pillows on the end of the bed. The Geek often stood behind me and held me through the surges, these were very special close moments. When The Geek was not with me Marcha would come and sit quietly in the room.
#koos homebirth

The intesnity was increasing and I found I wanted to be upright but more able to relax totally, you can’t quite let go of all your muscles and be limp when needing to balance on a birth ball. The Geek bulit me a nest of pillows on the bed that I could be upright but lie on and totally relax. I was coping fine and did a few surges like this. I thought that the water might be nice but was worried that I was not far enough along as the breaks between surges was still long, up to 5 mins at times. I did not want to get into the water too soon and get tired, as the warm water can drain you if you are in too long. The Geek and I talked about it and decided to ask Marcha to check, I was a bit nervous as I was worried I would still be a long way off and dissapointed but I really wanted to use the pool so she checked and I was 7cm with buldging memebrane. Yay I was delight. Real progress and the warm realxing pool would probably make the last part go quite fast.

Between surges I walked down to the pool in the living area and soon after getting into the water I had a surge. The Geek was still on the outside.
#koos homebirth

He then got into the pool with me. He fed me jelly babies and we had a whole long conversation about a packet of jelly babies being the same energy as a loaf of bread. We were laughing and relaxed.
#koos homebirth

He sat in front of me and with each surge I would go limp on his shoulder while he helped me breath through them. I had to concentrate hard to be realxed. While I will not say it was without any discomfort I was coping and at no point thought it was unbearable or agony. At the same stage with the other 2 and probably earlier I was moaning and starting to be more noisy.
#koos homebirth

At one point I decided to lean kneeling against the side of pool, The Geek was behind me stroking my back. I had one very very long intense surge where I could feel the sensation change from the opening stage to the more expulsion type surge. I could feel he was moving down the birth canal. I won’t lie and say this part was comfortable but I was still able to breath through and only a few soft moans escaped now and again.
#koos homebirth

I turned around The Geek was in front of me. I felt and the head was about 4cm in. I told The Geek to feel.
We started to prepare for the birth stage, I checked someone had called Rachel as I know she wanted to watch. Marcha checked his heart to make sure he was still coping well with birth, he was fine and it was good to hear the sound of his heart.
#koos homebirth

In hypnobirthing you breath the baby down and do not activly push hard as it makes you more tense. I breathed and panted and tried not to push or hold my breath but there were a few moment when I did push rather involuntatily. The Geek was amazing he held and encouraged and help me so much to be focused. One big surge and yes the dreaded ring of fire and the head was out ( both previous births I was very loud during the head being born, this time I made a small moan, it was sore but totally managable I never felt out of control) Catherine said that Yme had his hand on my tummy just staying connected and loving and the other hand was under the water to support the head and ready to catch the baby she said his was toatlly calm talking to me but his hand under the water was shaking obviously with the nerves that he felt, but he worked so hard not to let any of that nervous energy affect me.

Marcha helped him check for the cord around the neck and moved it out the way. Even at the birth stage there was quite a long break between the surge when then head came out and the next one where the shoulders and body was born. Marcha told The Geek to let the whole body be born under the water and then to lift him out onto my chest.
#koos homebirth

11:45pm Sunday 27 February 2011, Titus was born into his dad’s hands and straight into our hearts. The whole birthing time was so full of love and support it was the most incredible experience. The bond between The Geek and I and his willingness to let go of any male aloofness and just totally be what I needed in the moment, have given us the gift of the perfect birth.
#koos homebirth
#koos homebirth

Rachel came straight over to meet her brother.
#koos homebirth
She watched Caleb being born when she was almost 3 and does not rememebr that much, only that I was loud and it was hard work. I am so glad that she got to experience this when she was older and see that birth can be amazing and not overwhelming and full of pain and screaming. She was suddenly tearful and I was worried about her, she sobbed saying she was just so happy, Marcha encouraged her to get into the water with us and come and be part of the moment. It was lovely to cuddle with her.

Annatjie fetched Caleb who had fallen asleep but he is not good at waking up and he just kept going back to sleep, he would meet the baby in the morning.

The placenta took longer than the other 2 but I had not torn at all except a slight skin graze. While I was getting sorted out The Geek got time with his new boy. We then weighed him 3.41kg just a little lighter than Caleb who was born a week later.

Feelings Afterwards

How do I feel now? Amazing! While i think that there are people who can master the total relaxation and being able to remove themselve and be totally painless during birth, this was not the goal for me. I did struggle with not twitching and wriggling during practices and being able to totally disengage from my body. What I wanted was the chance to birth calmly surrounded by love and never to feel overwhelmed. I got this. I managed through breathing and concentrating on realxing each group of muscles in my body to work with and not fight the surges. I also had the most amazing team to help.
#koos homebirth

Home Birth Plans

Posted on 21. Feb, 2011 by pinky in Pinky, Uncategorized


I think I can finally say that I have everything ready for the birth. You would think that this being my 3rd homebirth I would know what you need and be a pro at planning. I always remember getting a big box of things ready and then whether we even used half of them I have no idea as you are not exaclty paying attention to what people are doing around you during labour.

So this time we have a table set up and I think I have everything.

Pool stuff:
Pool is blown up and in the study out of the way – just needs extra air added when needed, it has been cleaned and sterilized and we have the tap attachments so it can be filled. I am a bit worried that it takes long to fill but there is not much I can do about that.
I have plastic drop sheets for under the pool, heaps of towels, and old duvet to put under too to make it softer. I have the 2 packets of salt that we are supposed to put in the water to make it more sterile, I have heard mixed things about if this is really necessary but it does not do any harm and the midwives seem to be happier if you do it so I got the salt.

I have clothes for me
Very sexy tracksuit pant and big t-shirt for before the pool
and a swim top for in the pool. I want to be able to share some pics and video and felt more comfortable with a top on in Caleb’s birth than nothing in Rachel’s birth.

I have stuff for baby
hot waterbottles
new nappies I made specially for him as his first nappy
I have hats of various sizes

I have labour snacks, both the other times I planned snacks and never used them, so this time again I have stuff planned and not sure if I will use it but I am nearly positive that The Geek will make sure I eat something. He is sweet and over protective like that.

I have empty ice-cream tub for the placenta
I have box lined with big bag for rubbish, bucket, cleaning stuff ( handy andy, jik, cloths, paper towel etc)
I have the camera and video camera on the table all charged and ready
Linen savers for the bed and extra plastic covers for the couch if I want to sit there after the birth so it does not get wet or messed on, I have towels and old sheets to put over this on the couch
I have candles

Just need do sort out music and maybe some affirmation posters. Although I think i will just write a list of words I find useful and suggestions that The Geek and the Midwife can use when I am in labour. Usually have my eyes closed so I doubt I will read the posters.

Anything I have forgotten?

Our Geek Baby Shower

Posted on 17. Feb, 2011 by pinky in Pinky, Uncategorized

We had our Geek theme baby shower/celebration on The 5th and it was great. We have such lovely friends who came to join us. Much much love and anticipation is surrounding #Koos’ arrival.

On the night before I had as usual planned way too much for us to do in my usual over ambitious way, The Geek is so infinitely patient with my big plans, but needless to say we did not get that much sleep on the Friday night.

We made sweet bags for the kids and candels for each family ( we asked that people light their candles when they hear we are entering our birthing time, not that we really believe in vibes coming to us, but more that it is nice to know that people are thinking of us and the collective goodwill for #koos’ safe arrival. I asked that people either tweet, FB or email the pictures to me so I can make a little collage of the candles and messages after Koos is here. So if you were not at the baby shower please still feel free to light a candle for us on the day and send us the pictures. @pinkhairgirl on twitter or email
geek baby shower
geek baby shower

General geeky decorations and equations
geek baby shower
geek baby shower
geek baby shower
geek baby shower

We even planned a Rock, Paper, scissors, Lizard, Spock competition which Boo won, it totally slipped my mind to take any photos during the tournament but it was funny.
geek baby shower
geek baby shower
geek baby shower
baby shower

There was a fire engine ballpit/pool for the kids to play on and the trampoline which some not so small kids played on too. I believe that there are pictures of some of our jumpers?
baby shower
Rachel and her buddy Nate thick as thieves as usual
baby shower

We even had Greek Alphabet cupcake that @cupcakemummy on twitter made for us, and a tetrus cake that The Geek iced at about 4am and which I sadly did not get any nice photos of.
baby shower
baby shower

I made The Geek open all the presents as this is his first baby and he should be in on the fun, we made it very clear that presents were not required and that it was all about spending time with our friends and celebrating, but we are really grateful for all the generous gifts people gave.
baby shower
baby shower

A huge thank you to all our friends who came and made the day so special
The twitter crowd
baby shower
baby shower
Robyn and The Geek
baby shower
The babynet ladies and +1s and kids
baby shower
The Geeks family of course who I did not get pictures of. There are a few who escaped my camera but I just want to thank everyone so much for coming all the way out to our place. I know how much Capetonians hate driving far.

Thank you all so much, it was a really special day, and great to know so many people care about us and our little family

Place your bets

Posted on 15. Feb, 2011 by pinky in Pinky

We are in the final stretch, technically #Koos could come anytime now and it would be okay. I have everything ready but that is another post all together.The ins and outs of planning a homebirth.

There have been some guess as to when he might arrive so I thought it might be fun to do a prediction post.

Just add your comment with:
- the day you think he will arrive.
- his weight
- the time
- and a guess at his name if you like.

Let’s see who is closest.


The last stretch

Posted on 08. Feb, 2011 by geek in Uncategorized

After what has been almost eight months, that simply flew by, we’re finally in the home stretch. Baby #Koos’ arrival is imminent and for the first time I’m wondering if I’ll be able to manage everything.

I’m not just referring to after the birth, but everything left leading up to and including the birth as well. We’ve set up an area for the baby’s things, the pool is in the house (still needs to be pumped up and tested), the classes have been attended and the lessons memorised. But it still feels like there is so much left to do, so much more practice for the Hypnobirthing, and time is running out.

I guess deep down I just really want to make sure I get everything perfect and help Pinky have the perfect birth as we both envisaged, because let’s face it (and as she’s made abundantly clear) I only get one shot at this.

This is of course completely ignoring the period after he arrives and possibly steals what little I sleep from me. Remaining totally blissful of the impact he will have on my studies. Will I be able to juggle all of these and work, family, etc. without giving myself an overdue stomach ulcer?

I hope so. I guess I’ll have to, because failure simply isn’t an option.

So let’s just call this my mild panic post, a virtual scream with my hands in my hair before the excitement starts happening. Because when it does, I want to be calm and ready and have the panicking all filed away. I want to give Pinky the calm, relaxed, beautiful and inspiring birth she wants, because I want it too.

Ok, I’m ready now…

Kung Fu Fighting!

Posted on 29. Dec, 2010 by geek in The Geek


I don’t mean to over dramatize this, but #koos almost felt like he was trying to do just that last night! Most of the time he is content to shuffle around, just poking a leg here or there, but, much to Pinky’s chagrin, every now and then he does a full kata session in there.

It’s very difficult to bring across the emotions I feel when not just feeling, but actually seeing him rummage around in Pinky. While you would imagine it being slightly disturbing, it isn’t. I do feel sorry for Pinky that gets prodded at all times of the day, but mostly I feel (undeservedly) proud. And curious… I so badly wish I had my own personal ultrasound machine so I can watch him as he learns and explores his cocooned world consisting of legs, arms and membrane. I constantly wonder what neural connections are being made right now and how (or if) it affects who he’ll become.

It’s not too long now before I can finally meet him. As we say in Afrikaans: “min dae.”

< TMI >

Posted on 10. Dec, 2010 by geek in The Geek

Family members and those likely to be embarassed by sexual admissions, please scroll on by!

I think it’s time to just state matter of factly how sexy I find Pinky right now. It might be the glowing smile and general broodiness, the fact that I find her gorgeous or even a biological drive to the mother of my child… but I can’t keep my hands to myself.

Beyond my new obsession with her tummy, I often look at her and I’m floored by how beautiful and radiant she looks. Having the kids at their grandparents has definitely helped with the banking for later! ;)

< /TMI >


Posted on 23. Nov, 2010 by geek in The Geek

I’ll be honest, my first thoughts when Pinky mentioned hypnobirthing was: “Yes dear, whatever hippy stuff will make you happy.” Scepticism was rife of course, that’s just who I am.

Tomorrow is our second class and it has taken me a week to sift through my opinions and thoughts on the matter, but the outcome is oddly positive. (Blogging about it might have been more delayed had Pinky not pointed out how sporadic my posts are already, but I prefer to think I digest longer before raising an opinion…) I truly think this works.

You read correctly. It’s still early in the process, but from what I’ve heard and learnt so far makes perfect sense. Birth is not and was never meant to be painful. The pain stems not from the birth itself but the fighting of the body’s natural process. It’s uncomfortable to be sure, but the female body is beautifully engineered to achieve this pinnacle of procreation. There is no physiological reason for pain.

Pain stems from our ingrained belief that it should be present. Think about the last birth you saw in some tv show, there was lots of anguish and screaming right? I know that was my only perception. Imagine now, for our male readership of none, that you have to start the journey of pregnancy knowing it will culminate in this arduous seperation of baby and mother. I’d be tense and panic stricken too, at the very least.

That’s where the videos (so many videos!) and self-hypnosis comes in. Not to brainwash the pain away, but to help keep you calm and let the fantastic machine that is your body just do its job. I was flabbergasted and, I’ll admit, my mouth was agape in considering this gap in my knowledge. Apart from from the little common knowledge we all pick up, I too had accepted that it hurt, and that was just how it was.

Learning and realising that pain was self induced from fighting the contractions, was an eye opener. To that end, the very shy geek will gladly help share the video in the hopes that the message can be spread. Apart from some names for birthing that avoid making birth sound like a design flaw in us, hypnobirthing made sense.

And to a geek, that *really* matters ;) I’m looking forward to helping Pinky achieve the birth she wants.

PS #Koos is kicking like a pro :D

Keeping busy

Posted on 08. Nov, 2010 by geek in The Geek

I have, as Pinky very often states to me, been a bad blogger. This stems from a number of reasons, foremost being that I am inherently private: talking about what I feel, think and believe is not as easy as for most. English not being my first language doesn’t help when trying to emote my heart and mind either.

But my recent quiet has another cause; a typical one, things have been, and still is, very busy. As you are aware, we have just moved and I promised Pinky I would make the ‘great trek’ as smooth as possible for her. Never having moved so much stuff before, I underestimated the quantity of work that entailed, but I think I succeeded.

Also, never having had a house of our own, the sheer quantity of work in getting (and keeping) it maintained has caught me unawares.

All that complaining out of the way though, this fortnight of living in our new family home has been awesome. There’s space for the children to just be children, Pinky to have her own office and still more space for me to escape to when the need invariably arises.

We have a large lawn, which does need me to mow it (groan, an absolute hated task for me) but over the weekend it afforded me the luxury of camping out with C. Of course the girls would have none of it and us boys wouldn’t have it any other way.

Laying in the tent that night, watching him happily dream and snore, I did resolve to spend as much time with him as I can, before next year. Soon there will be another boy taking up much of my time and I’m so scared that he will be the big loser in all of this. R is old enough to understand all of this and, being a girl, will have a strong role she can fulfill in the baby’s early years. Also, she will be the only girl, making it easy to not let her feel too neglected.

There will however be two boys, and one biologically not really my boy, although for all intents and purposes I view him as completely mine. The big fear I have is that he feels I prefer the baby over him.

As we both woke in the morning, his little smile at seeing me, I just thought how awesome it is spending time with him and I hope I don’t screw up our relationship ever.