I need to record this for posterity and because I will have no hospital notes to look back on in years to come…….Writing this took a whole lot longer than the actual birth.
Throughout my pregnancy I had two concerns. One ,the concern that all mothers have, is the baby going to be ok. My second concern was about the labour and delivery. My other three children had all arrived before due date and my labours had gotten progressively faster with each child. During my second trimester I was over thinking the possible birth scenarios. I looked into having a homebirth but previous complications after the birth of my son ruled me out. I questioned the midwives at length at each antenatal appointment about fourth time labours, fast labours and the likelihood of me having a fast labour with this child. They reassured me, told me not to hang about and that to ring for a police escort if needed. I spoke to the husband in great detail about the possibility he might miss the birth or what if the baby was born before we got to the hospital. He listened. The midwives listened. Other people listened to me. I assume they got tired of me banging on about it but they listened all the same. When I hit the third trimester I stopped obsessing so much about it, I knew my options were leave for the hospital immediately or phone for an ambulance if I thought I needed it. My previous labour lasted about 80-90 minutes, maybe this one would be the same. I pushed aside thoughts of being here alone with three children and in full-blown labour and gave into the what will be will be.
My other children all arrived before their due date. I got it into my head this one would arrive on May 1st, a full two weeks early. She didn’t. I spent that week quite sick. There was a lot of vomiting, a ridiculous amount of bitching and moaning and many naps. I had a midwife appointment on May 1st and nothing seemed to be happening. I was relieved. I had an infection in my gum, no energy and was a moany cow. So the bank holiday weekend rolled around, I had many naps and took many texts and phonecalls from family
“Did you have the baby yet” they asked hourly.
“Shit yes, I did, god, did I forgot to tell you” I replied
“Really” said they
“No not fucking really. I would mention it if I gave birth” I replied by text or call, whatever medium the unlucky family member had chosen to contact me by that hour. I generally then slammed the phone down and burst into tears or a vitriol filled rant or both. I was joyous that weekend. By the Sunday, I began to feel like I was overdue. My previous child had arrived by this stage of pregnancy so in my head this child should have.
The husband reasonably pointed out that the actual due date was still ten days away and that I could in fact be pregnant for another couple of weeks. Helpful. I took to the bed for a while after that statement was issued.
I started to analyse the signs then that baby might be imminent and came to the conclusion that the only sign a baby is about to be born is that there is a head crowning. There are no definite signs.
The midwife at my last appointment had gone on and on about how sex was a great natural way to bring on labour. Pfffttttt. I was ginormous, exhausted, hormonal and demonic. There was going to be no sex. I spent the bank holiday weekend mostly napping and bouncing on my ball whilst my children walked around with dolls stuffed up their jumpers, rubbing their backs pretending they were pregnant and generally taking the piss out of me. The husband spent the weekend tip toeing around my various moods and demands.
So the weekend passed. On Monday evening, the kids went to bed, I bounced on the stupid ball, The husband was watching the stupid snooker final on the tv. I looked down at my stomach and noticed it was tightening and then stopping again. This kept happening but there was zero pain so I didn’t think any thing of it. I went to bed. The tightening kept happening but still no pain. I got a feeling that maybe something might happen so I got up again. I spent a couple of hours wandering the house, watching crap middle of the night tv, napping and waiting. Still no pain. By 5am the baby hadn’t been moving a lot so I decided I would wait an hour and go into hospital and get checked out. I decided 6am was a reasonable time to wake my mother in law and we could go to hospital before rush hour started. Woke the husband and we pottered about making lunches and I laid out the three piles of school clothes. The boy came downstairs at 6.15am and we chatted. I phoned mother in law, no answer. Still no sign of labour. I considered maybe my “feeling” was off and that we should go no where. Then the following happened:
6.25am- went into the bathroom, hit by a pain, followed forty seconds later by another one.
6.27am- pain after pain after pain after pain. I barricaded myself into downstairs bathroom.
6.30am- husband knocked on door and asked should he ring an ambulance. I believe my exact words where “don’t be so fucking ridiculous”
6.32am- walked into hall, looked out at car, realised there was no way I was going anywhere and kindly requested husband ring an ambulance.
Over the following ten minutes. I stayed in the bathroom alone. I remember shouting for some paracetamol at one stage, because you know paracetamol would have sorted the full-blown non stop contractions, right out.For once I was somewhat organised with regards packing my hospital bag. So organised I had gotten the husband to put them in the car. The paracetamol was packed in the hospital bag in the car, no wonder the husband couldn’t find them but sure it gave him something do to. I could hear my mother in law arriving and the children moving around and getting ready and then leaving. When they left, I stood and looked at myself in the mirror and decided I would have the baby now. Just like that, like I done this everyday. I don’t think I felt an overwhelming need to push more an overwhelming need for the pain to stop.I was very calm and felt very in control and had zero fear. This was the first labour I went through where I did not hit the “Sweet Jesus. Make It Stop. I CANNOT DO IT” stage. I called the husband and asked him to get more towels. He did. He then went back to doing whatever he was doing. I got down on the ground and pushed, once. I felt the baby’s head,so, called the husband back. Then we had the most surreal conversation
“I need you to get down on the floor with me”
“I am going to push now and the baby is going to come and you need to catch her”
“Ok” he replied. I will be forever grateful for his complete calmness too.
It was very quiet. I pushed. The baby arrived. The husband caught her. It was blissfully simple. She was just there, wide eyes staring around, covered in mess, spiky hair and looking to , our untrained eyes, as she should. We wrapped her up in towels. I sat down on the floor, she started to cry, we probably did too.
Total time from first pain to her arrival about 18 minutes. Whilst her birth at home was unplanned it was ideal. No bright lights, no negotiation or politics, no unfamiliar faces or hospital rooms.She arrived at 6.44am into a completely quiet peaceful house with her parents pretending they knew what they were doing. It could not have been more perfect.
The ambulance arrived ten minutes later, for all our sakes, I am glad they did not arrive before hand.They said at least 14 times “Glad you didn’t give birth in the back of the ambulance” . They didn’t exactly blue light it here and there were no sirens. To be fair , when the husband rang 999, I assume the dispatcher asked how long I had been having pains and he probably was sniggering with his hand over the phone when the husband replied five minutes. The paramedic asked the husbands permission for me to cut the cord ( seriously). I sent the husband to get me knickers upstairs, he came back with a thong, seriously again. Coincidentally the same thong I naively wore into hospital to have my first daughter 8 years earlier. I kept them as they are lucky knickers but not to actually wear them again and certainly not to wear them after just giving birth. The big huge knickers were safely packed in the hospital bag, in the car, obviously, to teach me some lesson for trying to pretend to be an organised person. I think I possibly waved the ginormous maternity pad at him and the thong and asked him how they would possibly work. I digress. The paramedics arrival ruined the calmness clearly. They asked was the baby a boy or a girl. A girl we both said. Then the husband looked at me, neither of us had thought to check was she actually a girl, we couldn’t take our eyes off her face. Familiar but new and so ridiculously beautiful and perfect.
We went to hospital, we got checked over, we came home shortly afterwards.
We lost a lot of towels and gained another perfect child and a sensational amazing memory. It was incredible.