Sometimes it’s easy to forget how lucky you are when you get bogged down with the day to day slog. I, for one, am so so grateful to have been blessed with my two beautiful children and I thank my lucky stars everyday that they’re safe and well. But there is that odd occasion (60% of the time) when it’s 1am, and I have to be up for work at 6am, I wish the pink one would just go to sleep!
It amazes me how each and every one of my friends has a totally unique birth story, all different from the last, yet they’re all still precious because no matter how ‘it’ happened, it’s how we came to meet the wonderful little people who stole our hearts at first sight.
Now, I think I am one of those weird people who actually enjoy labour and delivery (although I hated pregnancy!). There is no better feeling than winning the race and getting your prize: the gorgeous little bundle you spent 9 months training for (well 40 weeks is actually 10 months but no one tells you that!). And us women all LOVE a good birth story. And I, am afraid, no different, I love hearing about people’s birth stories. Whether it be a quick labour, a lengthy labour, sweeps, flat tyres on route to hospital (yes, this actually happened to my good friend!), relaxing water births, hypnobirthing or a caesarean, your birth story is something to be proud of and embrace (even if it wasn’t what you had planned) because it is how you met your beautiful baby or babies.
With my first, I had quite a long labour and I don’t think I was quite prepared for how to deal with labour and wanted to lie down or float in the birthing pool, but my body wasn’t keen and consequently made my labour last hours and hours. For some reason my contractions were pretty strong and close together yet it took about 15hrs to go from 4-6cm. I enjoyed being in the birthing pool as it was relaxing, but I wasn’t progressing, so the midwife made the decision to move me to another room , by this point I was so out of it on gas and air that I didn’t care ( I think I passed out at one point!). Within an hr I was fully dilated and exhausted and in a position I hated, but too exhausted to move. I pushed and I pushed and finally, after an agonising (literally) 24hours, our little H had arrived and despite it all being a bit of a car crash down there and me feeling (and looking) like I’d been in a car crash, we had this gorgeous little bundle, weighing 6lb 8oz.
Our second little bundle, who arrived just 17 months later; well she was a totally different story. I had measured small all the way through my pregnancy as I had with her brother (I must say that my wonderful community midwife, Alison, whom I was lucky enough to have through both pregnancies was so so thorough and for that I am truly grateful). At 37.5 weeks, I went for my last appointment with the midwife before what I hoped would be birth at 40 weeks, and again I measured small.
I managed to rejig some work commitments to attend what I thought was going to be another routine growth scan, I came away from the hospital late on Friday night being told to come back the following day for a sweep (I’d managed to convince the midwife I was wholly ill prepared for the arrival of No 2 and staved off the sweep for 18hrs). So I drove home in a daze thinking about how both the Moses basket and car seat where still in the garage unwashed. Yikes!
So at 38 weeks, I toddled off to the maternity ward, via Mothercare for some ‘tiny baby’ babygrows knowing the car seat covers and Moses basket sheets were drying on the line! A sweep (these aren’t that pleasant at the best of times, and at 38 weeks I wasn’t disappointed) and some monitoring later I was on my way home safe in the knowledge that if nothing happened overnight I would be induced the following day.
Despite the midwife insinuating I would go into labour overnight, I awoke as usual, still pregnant and no labour pains at all. So after breakfast we all went for a long walk, what would be our last as a threesome.
After lunch, I phoned the maternity ward and dutifully turned up to be induced at 4pm on Sunday night. My husband joined me later on around 7pm and nothing much was happening and at 10pm I sent him home. By midnight, my contractions had picked up and I was pacing the corridor to entertain myself. At 2am, the midwife came back to monitor me and I must say being monitored lying down in full blown active labour is horrific. She had barely strapped me up and my waters broke and in ran about 3 other midwives. I was measured at 7cm, so I quickly rang my husband mid contraction ordering him to come back now as, and I quote ‘it was getting pretty bad now’. I made the call at 2.30am, and I was wheeled round to delivery. I climbed on the bed, had one puff of gas and air and with the next contraction, L arrived at 2.42am. And my husband leisurely strolled in around 2.55am! Our beautiful baby girl, a petite 5lb 8oz was here and perfectly healthy if a little dinky.
So, whether your birth was exactly what you’d imagined or far from it, be proud of what you achieved and every time you have a day that is less than desirable, just look at your gorgeous little bundles sleeping or playing with their sibling or just being ‘them’.