We found a flat in the Waverley area. It was a two bedroomed place and just perfect for us. Asha was 22 months old and our baby was a few days overdue. I did everything in the book to bring on labour but nothing was happening. On 22 July, Tony and I were watching the evening news and a broadcaster started speaking Afrikaans. Tony was trying to copy her and went off in his Kiwi accent; I laughed so much, my waters broke. Laughter had worked again.
Someone recommended naturopathic Caulophyllum drops for an easy birth. I had started taking it 7 weeks before my due date. The midwives said it worked for 99% of the women who took it, so I went for it, hoping I wasn’t going to be in that unfortunate 1%.
We took Asha to Sue. Sue was her favourite person in the world. Tiffany happened to be staying with us again so she sat at the flat, waiting for news.
By the time we arrived at the hospital I was in a lot of pain. While Tony was filling in forms, I was having very strong contractions and getting irritated with all the questions. The lady at the desk was way too calm. What I really needed was someone to panic with me.
We went into the active birth unit armed with a guitar, music and snacks, ready for another long labour. The midwife examined me and told me I was already three cms dilated but had at least another 2 hours to go. I should just try to relax and be prepared for a long night. The pain was so intense that against everything I believed about doing birth naturally, I decided to go for an epidural. She looked at me with that, “What a baby, ” look, in her rolling eyes.
We were told to wait in the lounge. 15 minutes later, I needed to go to the toilet. I walked there with some assistance and had a huge contraction on the loo. The nurse shouted at me and told me to not do that again. No babies born on the toilet in THIS hospital, thank you very much. I said a sarcastic “Sorry” but couldn’t make any promises.
The anaesthetist had his needle ready and I was lying on my side like a good girl. Tony was holding my hand like a good boy. Another huge contraction came and the midwife turned around to shout at me again. Instead of shouting at me she shouted for help. “Help! There’s a baby coming!” Nurses came from everywhere and it was all on.
A couple of big pushes later, I was holding my beautiful little girl. We were so happy. The suddenness of the birth and all the blood was too much for Tony. It had all taken 20 minutes and we had planned the whole night out. He slipped down against the wall and squatted with his head between his knees. I patted his head and kept saying, “It’s ok, babe, it’s ok.” The birth was rapid and I lost a lot of blood so I was put on a drip overnight. After feeding her she was taken to the nursery. I cried for her the whole night. I felt so lonely and I missed Tony and Ash.
When she was brought to me the next day I cried again. She was so beautiful. The only girl’s name we had thought of was Leila, so we called her that for a few days. It just didn’t suit her. She looked like a Japanese baby and Mallie suggested Suzuki or Sukiyaki. Those didn’t work either. I called Sue and asked her what names she remembered me liking. She reminded me of a gorgeous little girl called Zoe who stayed in one of the houses in Rolleston Place. I always loved that name.
So, Zoe it was; God’s life. It suited her perfectly. Her second name was Ray, as in a ray of sunshine. She was born with bright red cheeks; from all the ruby grapefruit no doubt.