Today, my sweet little monstrous girl, it’s your birthday. So in celebration I thought I’d share how you came into the world and why you should be eternally grateful. Because, my little dot, it was quite a painful event. I would even go as far to say it was more painful than your brothers entry into the world. But looking back on it, we laugh about you nearly arriving in Sainsburys. We laugh that I was very blatantly having contractions as we went for a walk. We don’t however laugh at Linda the midwife. Linda nearly died that night.
It all started the day before you arrived. Early morning just as your brother and I were getting up for the day I suddenly felt a contraction. It was a fairly strong and noticeable contraction and I instantly knew that you were on your way. I also knew that I needed to Keep Calm and Carry on, because it’d be hours, or days before you’d make your first appearance.
We actually had a play date that day with your brother and his little friend, who is also now your friend too. And your Auntie J was horrified when I told her I was having contractions. Maybe it was the fear of my waters breaking on her sofa. If only she knew where they broke…
Nothing really progressed that day, I had continuous contractions but they were manageable. Everything carried on as normal and much to my disappointment, we went to bed without you there yet.
It got to 3am and all of a sudden I bolted upright mid-contraction and felt fear run through me. I kept getting told by people that the second child comes so much quicker than the first. What if I gave birth at home? What if you just shot out of me in the next hour? I realise now that that was wishful thinking but I wasn’t prepared for a sudden arrival so we headed to the hospital.
The usual checks were done and the funny thing was, I had no contractions for the entirety of our stay in hospital. Just brilliant I thought. I must have looked like a desperate mother that expected you to arrive on your due date. Because now, it was your due date. One midwife said that you were probably just moving around. Like I couldn’t tell the difference between those lovely, but sometimes painful kicks you gave me and contractions. I’m not an idiot.
We were sent home and told to return when I was in proper labour.
Once the morning came and your brother woke up I was in quite a lot of pain with every contraction, but they weren’t regular. One may have a three minute gap while another started 12 minutes later. The pain was intense but they weren’t regular enough to warrant calling it proper labour. You dad refused to go to work all the same, he knew you may not arrive on this particular day (still your due date) but he couldn’t leave me with your brother. I vaguely recall Nanny popping over too, but I can’t remember.
With consistently inconsistent contractions I couldn’t bare to sit at home waiting in pain. So we packed your tiny little brother up and went for a walk down to Sainsburys. A walk which I think really sped everything up. God love Sainsburys. I stopped every few minutes to grunt and breathe out each contraction. Quite clearly in labour to everyone that walked past. But, I was wearing a rather large coat which hid my humongous bump, so it may have looked like I was intermittently suffering with rabies.
While we were in the store I had a strong craving for Enchiladas. The ready made pack, you must have a taste for them now, I almost lived of those trays of heaven while you grew inside me.
It got to around 5pm and we were back home. I was crying with the pain of every contraction and your dad said we really need to get back to the hospital. The contractions still weren’t regular but they were very close together and toe-curling. I barely had a chance to catch my breath between every intense pain, which made me feel like you were bursting out of my front, sides and back.
A huge part of me didn’t want to leave your brother. That was the most heart breaking moment I think I’ve ever gone through. Waving goodbye to him and our lives as we knew it. You were about to complete our family and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for him to have that change.
Another part of me didn’t want to visit the hospital again and have to deal with the disappointment of being sent home because these damn contractions weren’t following a regular pattern.
In the end your dad dragged me screaming to the car, forcing me to get to the hospital, in rush hour traffic no less. Sitting in the car while my body feels like it’s being torn apart was the most uncomfortable journey. I had hold of every handle in the car and gripped your dads arm in the hope it’d bring some form of relief. It didn’t. And boy did your dad know it!
When we got to the hospital we headed to the labour ward. You know, the place where mums go to give birth. Only we were greeted by a Midwife named Linda. Who assured me that I wasn’t actually in labour, maybe you were just “having a wriggle”. I wanted to scream I KNOW WHAT LABOUR F***ING FEELS LIKE. And then punch dear Linda in the face, to see if the pain would compare. We were ushered off into daycare. That’s right, just regular old daycare, where nobody goes to give birth.
I was speaking unrecognisable sentences now through the anger, upset and pain that I was feeling. With every contraction I screamed into the shoulder of your dad. There were a couple of couples sitting in the waiting area with us, it was nice to show them their future in full effect.
We waited for goodness knows how long, it felt like an eternity but it was probably only ten minutes before another midwife named Susan approached us. “Are you in labour?” I mean, I’ve been having a little bit of a tummy ache but now you mention it, Susan… of course I’m in labour! Susan was confused as to why we were there and all I could muster was “ask Linda” stupid Linda. She expressed disgust in Lindas decision to send us here and walked us round to the labour area to be greeted with our official midwife.
Please don’t be Linda. Please don’t be Linda.
Mary was our midwife. I would wipe the sweat from my brow if it wouldn’t have been such a pointless task.
Mary needed to do a quick examination to see how far along we were and whether you would be arriving imminently. Because if you weren’t then I may have gone on strike.
“Oh, marvellous. Gas and bl**dy air please!”
Mary asked if I wanted a water birth and I said we’d give it a go. The thing that I failed to tell Mary was that you were already on your way. That urge to push that everyone tells you comes so naturally, came, very naturally. I refused to push, I told no-one that you were coming because I really wished they’d fill that pool up in time. Maybe if Linda hadn’t been such a cow we’d have had our pool birth.
I gritted my teeth through each contraction and need to push, whilst chugging euphorically on that magical gas and air. One day you may be chugging on gas and air, and I really recommend it, it’s like being tipsy (you’ll never know that feeling though, ok.) the room spins, you slur your words and the pain just melts away.
Then it came to a point that I couldn’t hold you in anymore, there was probably only a cm of water in that pool and you didn’t want to wait for a swim in it. So we grabbed dear Mary in and I confessed that I need to push. She told me to just do what my body tells me.
Now, this was a new concept to me because I was so used to doing what the midwives tell me. With your brother I had many a midwife verbally guide me through every process. But Mary seemed a little more holistic. She offered no instruction and I felt quite overwhelmed. I didn’t know what I was doing, I mean, I knew what I was doing but I didn’t know whether it was doing it well.
The only thing Mary said to me was “shall we clean her up before skin to skin”. At first I said “no”. Then I realised what I’d said and corrected myself with “yes, please, clean”.
I didn’t have time to ponder too much over it because you were out and screaming your little heart out with two pushes. It was wonderful and gross. My waters that you’d been living in over the past nine months didn’t break and you were nearly born inside them still. That was until your head and shoulders were out and they burst all over the trainee nurse that appeared at some point during our short stay.
You cried instantly, a loud newborn cry which I’d forgotten and I held you (freshly cleaned) in my arms telling you that it was all ok and staring at your gorgeous little face. Memorizing that wrinkle on your nose which you’ve grown out of now and kissing your smooth skin. Your dad was then eager to cuddle you too and we really did cherish that moment. Mary and the trainee had just disappeared so it was just you, daddy and I in the room together.
We didn’t tell anyone for a little while that you were here.
We stayed in the labour room for a while before someone checked me over. A check needs to be done after something so big comes out of an area so small. As suspected I’d suffered a third degree tear again. Which in simple terms means a tear, all the way round. The actual examination had me squirming off the bed. It was more unpleasant than the entire birthing process. Then the same man stitched me up three hours later.
It was odd when I was wheeled away from you into theatre to repair the damage, I couldn’t stop crying. I knew the recovery process after a tear which scared me, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get up and walk that night, I knew I wouldn’t be able to pick you up with ease and I knew our time at home would be hard because I wouldn’t be able to be as attentive to you and especially to your brother that needed a lot more of my time. The most upsetting thing was that I just wanted to hold you and it would be an hour until I saw you again.
That night, Fireworks Night, we sat in our room and watched all the fireworks from the window. It felt like a celebration just for you, for us. Not only did you arrive on your due date, but you arrived on a night which means you’ll forever have the country lighting beautiful displays of fireworks on your birthday. Now that is pretty special.
I couldn’t wait to take you home and live in that newborn bubble, then live our new normal. But we had to stay in hospital for a few days which meant I didn’t get to see your curly haired brother for the longest time. It was nice spending time just us for the first few days though, I knew once we were home you’d receive very little of my attention because your brother was growing into a toddler and needed a lot of time spent with him. You were always happy to observe.
We arrived home to a house full of excited people. That was the start of your little journey and you were the completion of our family.
Happy Birthday Sweetheart x