My midwife put Koa directly on my chest and Brooks was crying happy tears! I was a bit in shock and pain and didn’t feel that amazing oxytocin rush I was promised by having a natural birth. I was happy, of course, but utterly exhausted.
The placenta came out with no issue. However, I lost quite a lot of blood. My midwife said this can happen when the uterus is exhausted from pushing for so long. The uterus is supposed to contract after the birth to stop the bleeding, but mine was too tired to do so. I ended up bleeding an estimated 800ml (200-300ml is average).
I wasn’t scared about the blood loss in the moment. I knew some bleeding was normal and if it was bad, my midwife had a shot of pitocin that would help the uterus contract again to stop the bleeding. I did end up needing that shot of pitocin. What I didn’t expect was how much pain I would be in from those pitocin-induced contractions! I had already pushed out a baby for goodness’ sake, shouldn’t the pain be done?! Because the pain took me by surprise and I wasn’t mentally prepared for it, it hurt so much more.
I was crying from the pain of those contractions and remember hearing my birth photographer ask the midwife, “is she crying from pain or emotions?” My midwife said she thought both. Not the case: I replied “just paaain!”
Brooks held Koa skin-to-skin on his chest while I was getting a few stitches and cleaned up. Because of the blood loss, I was too woozy to get out of bed and take a shower, so they gave me a nice little sponge bath on the side of the bed.
The midwife, her assistant, and my above-and-beyond birth photographer helped clean up. With everything done, everyone left around 10pm, and we were left alone with our new little boy. We quickly filmed a short video for our family and then all fell asleep by 11pm.
In the Netherlands, health insurance provides a postpartum nurse in your home for one week for about 6-8 hours a day. So we slept that night on our own with instructions to call the midwife immediately if I passed blood clots larger than two oranges. Thankfully there were no issues. Our midwife came to check on us at 10am the next day and our postpartum nurse arrived shortly after.
Photography by Biggy Tooth