Introducing… Anaïs Tara Dihya Iskrane
Fact: The final four weeks of pregnancy are the slowest example of time passing that exists. And the first four weeks of motherhood are the quickest.
To be fair, I probably made it slower than it would have been. As my impatience and general dislike of being pregnant grew to outweigh than my crunchy, earth mama preggo state, I ignored the ‘she’ll come when she’s ready’ brigade, sure that I could manifest a healthy 38 week birth. So from 37 weeks I started wishing the baby out of me. I wished hard. And meditated and visualised. I ate pineapples and spicy food, I climbed stairs and walked down the street with one foot in the gutter. And every day I grew more frustrated and annoyed at my clumsy, enormous state. Regardless of my attempts (and unsurprisingly for the daughter of a Frenchman), she arrived when she was good and frickn ready, which was 40 weeks +3 days. Just 3 days ‘late’ technically, but in my mind 2 weeks and 3 days late. Lesson 1: Expect a late baby so you don’t lose your mind.
And then there was labour. How about labour eh? Turns out it hurts a lot. Like, heaps. It also turns out that even if you’re the most prepared, determined Virgo, even if you’ve practised yoga throughout pregnancy and read every single book on natural birth, even if you have meditated every night to hypnobirthing tapes, even if you have a perfectly packed home birth kit and and just the right scented candles on standby, and even if you have secretly believed that people who end up having episiotomies or a forceps birth or emergency C-sections have done something wrong (in fact, probably especially if you’ve done that. Gotta love karma eh..), your baby’s birth will go however the fuck it will go. And quelle surprise, my baby’s birth did not go according to my carefully typed-up plan. Lesson 2: Meconium happens. Also, karma is a true bitch.
Here are the bullets:
- Woke up at 5am with a little ache and within an hour had contractions 3-5 minutes apart.
- Laboured on my homemade birth mat all morning with an incredible five-person birth team using hot towels and jokes for pain relief.
- It was a hot day and I sucked pineapple Frujus between contractions. They may be ruined for me forever..
- I seriously (and loudly) questioned evolution, the human body, and the sanity of people who have more than one child.
- Got in the birthing pool around 3pm.
- At 4pm the plan went to shit, literally. Baby’s head starting to show at the same time as meconium appeared and baby’s heart rate massively dropped. When the heart rate did not come back up the midwives decided we should transfer to hospital. *I knew that some people who plan a homebirth end up transfering to hospital but I also knew that definitely, definitely wouldn’t be me. I was far too prepared and determined for that. So even as we drove to the hospital I really didn’t believe it was happening.. and I was NOT an easy patient… apologies to the staff at Chch Women’s.
- At 5.30pm Anais was born urgently in a hospital bed, with assistance.
So yeah, not the plan. But 95% was a lovely, peaceful homebirth and only 5% was an awful, brightly-lit, room-full-of-strangers hospital experience. And of course in the end babe and mama were fine, and got an abrupt lesson about parenthood – the need to suck it up and ride it out when shit goes off-piste.
So now we have a wee 1/2 French Berber, 1/2 Pakeha Kiwi human baby in our home. Her name is Anaïs Tara Dihya Iskrane. She is wonderful. Not easy, but cute enough to make up for it. And every time we feel overwhelmed or frustrated at the realities of having a newborn, she develops a whole new level of cute to help us cope. Great system really (maybe evolution isn’t so flawed after all… although I‘m still waiting for the labour memory blackout I’ve been promised!). She was named after three amazing women, to inspire greatness, kindness and strength:
Anaïs – pronounced ah-na-ees. The French version of Anne, after my mother. The best woman I know. This is my mum: Anne Russell-Brighty
Tara – after the female Buddha, who vowed to be reborn as a woman for all future lives despite popular belief that enlightenment could only be achieved by men. She is known as the Buddha of compassion. Buddha Tara
Dihya – pronounced dee-yah. After Dihya Al Kahina, the Berber queen who fought off the Arab invasion of North Africa in the 7th century, and is considered to be one of the first feminists.
Welcome to this lifetime my sweet Ani. Glad you’re here. We have quite an adventure ahead…