If you follow me on any form of social media you might have figured out I was more than a little bit done with being pregnant by the end…I had tried everything. And nothing was working. I had accepted that I was just going to be pregnant forever and welcomed the cankles as just a part of who I was now.
We’d had weeks of false starts, days of contractions leading to nothing.
Turns out watching the Foos destroy Glastonbury was the key.
I went to bed after a couple of hours of (possibly slightly violent) bouncing on the ball, lusting after Taylor Hawkins, and wishing I was actually on somebody’s shoulders, fuzzy on rum at the Pyramid Stage. My back was feeling a little bit niggly but with so many stops and starts recently I didn’t say anything (I didn’t want to jinx it, basically).
About 3am it became clear there was no jinxing it this time. I laid in bed playing sudoku and timing my steady contractions. Going into labour naturally wasn’t something I experienced with my first labour so it was a game of firsts for me. I wasn’t really sure when I needed to start thinking about actually doing something.
I woke Matt around 5am when my contractions were starting to get closer together and more intense (also by this point I had decided that despite all my trying, I didn’t actually want to do labour and he could stay in there). My only regret with this labour is that I didn’t film Matt’s reaction when I woke him up. He tried to get up and pack the car immediately. I think he also may have had a minor heart attack which he should probably get checked out at some point.
A couple hours of dozing in and out of sleep, waves of contractions, and thoughts of ‘they say moving speeds it up, if I lay really still will it go away’s we called the midwife at about 8:30 and were told to head straight over to the birth centre.
Luckily my mum was staying anyway so there was no frantic ‘shit, the bigger kid!’ and we could just casually head off. Leaving one very excited little girl at home, more than ready to meet her little brother.
The birth centre was such a dream. There’s only one birthing room so we essentially had private care (good god I love the NHS!). The midwife I’d seen through my pregnancy was on call too so I got to have a familiar face checking my foof. Win win.
Time seemed to speed up four times over once we made it to the birth centre and everything’s a bit of a blur. I remember a painting of a mermaid that from a distance (without my glasses) looked like Danny Devito. I remember Matt putting a rubber duck in the birthing pool. I remember the midwife who had found a (real) duck in the road and still had it in her kitchen.
Before I knew it I was in the pool and pushing and Matt was trying to remove my knickers from my ankle. I’d coped well with my contractions with simple breathing and the water helped even more, however just before my body told me to start pushing I hit a bit of a wall. I felt my blood pressure drop and the colour leave my face, I’m a fainter and I knew I was on the cusp. I shouted the inevitable ‘I can’t do it’ and then my waters broke.
With the next push his head was out (an image I doubt Matt’s forgetting any time soon), two more and the rest of him followed.
As I lifted him from the pool I was completely overcome with that incomparable wave of hormones, love, and relief. I had a tiny little vernix covered human in my arms. The baby I’d grown for the last 41 weeks, that had made me sick, made it impossible for me to walk, who I’d felt kick, had kept his bum firmly in my ribs for the last trimester, and who I already knew so well was safe in my arms.
12:41. 25/06/17. Fox Read. 9lbs. No drugs, no stitches, no poo.
I had the most positive birthing experience I could have hoped for. It was so calm and completely directed by my body and what I needed and wanted to do. It was everything I’d hoped for since I was pregnant with my daughter and I’m so happy I finally got to experience it.
There really is something so amazing about allowing your body to do what it needs to do and trusting your own instincts. The midwives were incredible and allowed us to do just that. Having such a positive birth left me on cloud nine and I think it really did make the difficulties of the next few days easier.
I feel so lucky that I was able to have such an experience.
We were home (via McDonalds) by 4pm to a tidy house and homemade cards.
It was the perfect Sunday.