Birth Stories:

Birth story of Zara written by her mother

The Birth of Zara


Five years ago I was diagnosed with a Tropical disease called Rickettsia, and a few others to say the least. I was put on an intense course of Tetracycline antibiotics monthly over 3 years. I was told not to fall pregnant on these meds and that if I did, there would be chances of me either loosing the baby or deformities.


Towards the end of the 3 years, my specialist said that it would be a good idea to stop the meds; the disease was under control & if I wanted a baby now would be my only chance. We decided to go ahead & prayed that everything would be ok.


We tried for a month, I got my period and then had to go on tetracycline anti-biotics again so we stopped trying. I was waking up with hot & cold sweats & experienced serious insomnia. I told my husband that I thought I was going thru “premature menaporse”. Little did I know that I was actually pregnant already! 6 Weeks on antibiotics already! I Was very worried about what this might have done to my baby.


After the first trimester I settled into my pregnancy. I embraced it & loved being pregnant!


I discovered Ginny Oosthuizen, my doula, early on in my pregnancy; I was so excited to meet her & realized that she was someone who I could trust, build a relationship with and someone who would be able to calm my lurking fears.


Ginny contacted me regularly throughout my pregnancy; she sent me informative articles and information, which would help in the days ahead. We also met for coffee and had lovely time swimming at the beach the week before Zara’s birth.


I tend to have a very dramatic outlook on things; I worry a lot about things that will probably never happen. Ginny had an extremely calming effect on me. It is important to remain calm during your pregnancy.

The Reasons I wanted a Doula was:

  1. To keep me calm and relaxed
  2. To experience a natural birth without drugs
  3. To allow my husband to feel relaxed during the birth & not feel solely responsible for me.
  4. For informative information, I like to know what is happening to me & why it is happening


Two weeks before my due date, my gynae said that my cervix hadn’t softened. I contacted Ginny and she gave me all the remedies, which would help. I took the Raspberry leaf tea, primrose oil, long walks on the beach & I had to ask my husband for a favour or two!


On the 3rd of March, my due date, I went to see my gynae. After all my efforts to soften my cervix, it was still unripe! Much to my disappointment, my gynae booked me in for an induction for the Monday morning, 5th March.


I arrived home in tears & contacted Ginny immediately.


I didn’t want to have to go thru any of this, I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. I was scared, I felt I didn’t like any of my options, If they could just knock me out and wake me up with my little girl dressed all pretty that would be great!


I really wanted to experience natural labour and was concerned that if I had an induction it would end up in a C-section. I started considering castor oil to induce natural labour. I was swaying back and forth with my decision.


I contacted my homeopath and she gave me a remedy. I took this on during the day and night on Saturday.


By Sunday morning nothing had happened, so I decided to drink the castor oil (not as bad as I expected, mixed it with cranberry juice!)

It didn’t experience a bad stomach like everyone said I would…relief!

By 4pm I started labour & had my first contraction. Ginny arrived at my home at around 6pm. The onset of labour was extremely slow in the beginning. I was relieved it had started & thought I might not need the induction in the morning.


Labour continued throughout the night, Ginny stayed over & at around 3am I asked her if what I was going through was normal. She assured me everything was fine & going according to plan.


My Husband Graham, Ginny & myself  got up at 4.30am and left for the hospital at 5.30am. When we arrived at the hospital only to find out that friends of ours were in for an induction in the room next door. It really helped knowing that we were all going thru the same thing…it took the edge of things.


I was really hoping that after being in labour all night, I would have dilated and that an induction wouldn’t be necessary. Unfortunately that was not the case, I hadn’t dilated at all.


I had huge expectations of laboring in our new spa bath at home before going to the hospital, Ginny had also enquired with Parklands if she could bring her birth pool so we could ease the pain…I would still give birth outside the water though. None of this was going to happen now….


They started the induction; Ginny and Graham were there every step of the way. Ginny encouraged me to walk up and down the stairs. I sat on the birthing ball, which really helped the pain as the contractions grew closer, and closer together. At this stage I could still feel everything. Ginny was monitoring my contractions on the machine; she also massaged my feet and legs, which helped me to relax.

At one stage, Graham was massaging the one-foot while Ginny did the other! This was definitely the best experience of the labour considering I am a bit of a spa junky!


Next came the epidural…I was not looking forward to this, as I didn’t want to take any extra drugs into my body considering my past experience with medication. The epidural started to work; my feet and my legs were completely numb. At one stage I said to Ginny “Is there a brick on the one side of my leg?” We lifted the covers, only to find out that my left foot was under my right leg and I hadn’t felt it at all.


The contractions grew closer & closer together, the pain intensified. I wondered what everyone had been raving about  with an epidural. I could definitely feel the pain. I asked them to increase the epidural but they said it was as high as it could go.


At 2pm my gynae came to check if I had dilated, much to my disappointment, I had only dilated 2cm. He suggested to increase the intensity of the induction in the hope that I would dilate further. He said he would give me until 4pm and if there was no change we may have to look at our options. Shortly after he had left the room, we heard a baby cry next door. Our friends had just delivered a baby girl naturally under the same circumstances. The tears rolled down my face. I was in so much pain, yet so desperate for my baby to be born.


Sometimes during the pain, you forget why you are going thru what you are going thru. All you can think about is the now and getting thru the next contraction. The contractions eventually felt like they were merging into one with no break to breathe in between. Ginny and Graham held my hand, stood right next to me and encouraged me all the way.


It was great having Ginny there as she gave Graham a break, he could get a coffee or take a walk for a breather. I think it is really difficult for a husband to watch his wife go thru so much pain & there is nothing he can do to take it away. I could not have gone thru this period of time on my own. Ginny told me that the contractions were hectic and that she wouldn’t be surprised if I was 8cm by now…this gave me hope…you need hope!


By 4pm, I was still only 2cm dilated…I burst into tears…all this pain…for 2cm! I really thought I had come so far. I did not want a C-section! I did not want to be cut open. I have never had an operation before. I was extremely tired and worn out from the pain…I couldn’t go on any longer. The fear set in. I hadn’t researched a C-section, I was venturing into the unknown. Knowledge is power.


Ginny and Graham were wonderful, they acknowledged my fears and re-assured me. Ginny told me step by step what was going to happen and what was happening when it did happen. I was really grateful for her knowledge. I knew I was in good hands.


We later discovered that the epidural hadn’t worked as there was a kink in the cord and the liquid was not being fed thru. As a result they decided to do a spinal block to ensure I could not feel anything. I was still having contractions while they were preparing me for the C-section. I was shaking uncontrollably which freaked me out. Graham held me during the spinal block. He was my rock during the whole process.


The C-section was quick…a few seconds and Zara was born, it was 5.30pm. I think I was still in so much shock and too traumatized to realize at that moment the enormity of her birth. She wasn’t with me for very long when they took her away to do the APGAR tests, she was screaming & screaming until Graham spoke to her & she stopped. It was unbelievable the way she recognized his voice. He had a calming effect on her. At the time it just felt like it was all about me, my pain that I forgot the real reason for the pain. It was not the romantic experience people had made it out to be, but I was glad it was all over…or was it just the beginning of a beautiful journey.


My gynae handed Zara to me over the curtain…she looked deeply into my eyes, this was our baby! They took her away quite quickly and then stitched me up. Graham went with Zara & Ginny stayed with me. She was with me in the recovery room. I was grateful for her care as this could be a very lonely time after such a huge experience. She was with me when they took me to my room.


Parklands were the most amazing hospital, all the staff gave 200% of themselves, and they were always happy and extremely helpful. They really made it such a special experience for us.


We had to wait for visiting hours to be over before I could see Zara again. By this stage she was starving! Ginny showed me how to breast-feed and Zara latched perfectly and enjoyed a good session of feeding.


At this stage I was wondering why everyone said breastfeeding was difficult…little did I know what was still to lie ahead!


Breastfeeding was extremely painful! Ginny & my mother helped me through it. If it wasn’t for there support & encouragement I would have opted for a formula bottle early on. My nipples were cracked, bleeding & there was blood all over my babies face. Every time she latched, I would break out into a hot sweat. Bonding- what bonding?? How can you bond with your child when you dread every feed.


I had 3 sessions of laser treatment. The laser lady was extremely helpful and informative. I ditched the nipple creams, bought the Avent cups, which allow your nipples to breathe, sat, topless in the sun and persevered thru the pain. The first 4-6 weeks were the hardest and then it got easier. Only now am I starting to experience the bond everyone was talking about. I can honestly say now that I love breastfeeding! I do give an expressed bottle around 3 x a week…Zara is very adaptable and will take both without any fuss.


They say “God doesn’t give you anything you cant handle”. We have been extremely blessed with a content, easy baby. We are loving her! I love seeing her development everyday…I don’t want to miss a moment. They are such special moments.






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What I Do

I am living my dream while working with mums and babies. I see mums when they are 34 weeks pregnant and then go to their homes once they go into labour. I stay for the full duration of the labour and after the birth I assist them with breast feeding. I do another visit after the birth to see that all is well and to help where I can.  Mums are always welcome to call me in the event that they have any questions, whether before or after the birth. I am passionate about my work as a doula and I care and love all the families with which I work. Once you have been present at a birth you feel part of the family and it’s wonderful to hear news of the new baby’s life as he or she grows.

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