Who is Mama Melon?
My name is Helen Digby, I am a mother, a certified WOMBS Doula, as well as a certified HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Educator.
I studied Microbiology at the University of the Witwatersrand, and went on to work in the food industry for a few years. We then decided to move from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Shortly after, I fell pregnant with my daughter, which is when everything changed.
I had always known that I wanted to give natural birth. I remember as far back as being in Grade 9, just 14/15 years old and discussing with my friend how we were going to give birth one day. Back then there was already no question in my mind that I was going to have a natural birth. So from the moment I saw that double pink line on the pregnancy test I started preparing.
I am a planner, researcher and organizer by nature, so pregnancy and birth wasn’t going to be any different. I spent time daily, reading or listening to birth stories, reading up and investigating everything I could about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.
I soon realized that if natural birth was what I wanted, then having a Midwife as my primary caregiver was the way to go. I found the amazing Birth Options Midwives and continued my journey with them.
I had also read up about Hypnobirthing and knew I wanted to incorporate that into my birth experience, I unfortunately didn’t know about the full HypnoBirthing® antenatal course back then, so I just had a few basics.
My due date was the 1st of January 2019, but on Christmas Day 2018 I started to feel something different happening. I went on to experience a prodromal labour, where contractions would start up, and then fade away, I would then have about 4 contractions an hour, this continued from the 25th to the 28th of December; until about 8pm on the 28th, when all of a sudden things ramped up and the contractions were coming thick and fast.
I laboured at home for about two hours when my mom and mom-in-law suggested it was time for us to head to the hospital. We arrived at Vincent Pallotti and were soon greeted by our wonderful midwife Susan Lees, and she confirmed that “this looked real”. I was already 5cm dilated upon arrival and continued to labour for about another hour. At this point I asked my hubby to run a bath as things were getting more intense. Sue said she would like to check me first, which she did, and discovered I was already 9cm dilated, so there was now no time to run a bath.
I moved to the bed and had some gas and air for the last stage and then started pushing. Pushing was intense and lasted for two hours, eventually her head emerged and I was finally able to reach down and pull my baby onto my chest. What a moment!
As the weeks and months past after birth, I felt incredibly empowered by the whole experience and so proud of my body. I also began to realize that there are so many women out there that also want a good, empowering birth experience, but are not always given that opportunity.
I feel that there is a real lack of emotional, physical and informational support during pregnancy, but especially during birth and postpartum, it is my goal to change this.
I want to support and empower women by taking them through the HypnoBirthing® Antenatal Course, providing them with evidence based information and making them aware of the choices they can make about their birthing.
My goal is also to support and care for women during pregnancy, birth and postpartum, helping them to trust in their amazing bodies and to show them that birth isn’t something to fear, but rather, that it can be one of the most incredible and empowering experiences of their life.
You can listen to my full detailed birth story as well as many others on the “South African Birth Stories” podcast.
Please head over to their website to submit your own birth story too.