Love (Another Birth Story)

This is a piece by Catherine at Cup of Tea and a Blog called “Love (Another Birth Story)“. To read more from Catherine, head over to her blog and have a read.
 
In the final weeks of my pregnancy I felt sad. It was a strange time. I was eager to meet the new little being who kicked and wriggled in my enormous tummy, but I was conscious that my time at home with just G was coming to an end. I held her closer, I wanted to enjoy every last moment, soon things would change. I worried for our new baby, I couldn’t imagine how I could ever love anyone as much as I loved G. I was tired and grumpy and emotional. You know, really good fun to be around. 
 
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My mother and step-father travelled from Wales to help us take care of G while I gave birth. It was amazing to watch G interact with her grandparents. She took a particular shine to her Granddad Jim who delighted in teaching her new tricks… like saying “cheers” as they clinked their glasses (or plastic beaker in G’s case) together. She locked my mum in the garden “Bye Nana!”
 
The days passed and I ticked things off my “we absolutely have to get this done before the new baby arrives” list. I stood on a chair and scrubbed the kitchen cupboards. I crawled about dusting the skirting boards. I cleaned the windows. Or rather, I pretended that I was going to clean the windows and then ‘allowed’ my husband to take over.
 
I lovingly washed and folded baby clothes, marvelling that soon I would be dressing a brand new little person in them. I unpacked the bassinet and set it up by my side of the bed. I started to pack my hospital bag. That was the job I actually needed to finish.
 
I drank raspberry leaf tea as if my life depended on it. I spent a lot of time bouncing on a fit ball, albeit ungraciously. We had curry every night for a week. I went for acupuncture. I re-read my birthing book. I talked about my birth plan… a lot… to anyone who would listen willingly and one who had no choice.
 
I was ready.
 
As it turned out, being ready doesn’t necessarily mean that labour will follow. I woke in the early hours with mild contractions and foolishly got up… a few hours later and nothing… not even a twinge… I spent the day mentally scanning my body, ready to leap into action… convinced that today was the day! It wasn’t.
 
The following morning my husband left for work as usual. My folks suggested that I should get some rest and took G to the park to feed the ducks. I pottered about, tidying away the breakfast things, clearing a path through G’s toys. Eventually I decided that it probably would be a good idea to get some rest. I made myself a cup of tea and got back into bed. I shuffled about and re-arranged the pillows. Getting comfortable when you’re nine moths pregnant is something of a challenge. I settled for semi-comfortable. I closed my eyes and started to drift off into a nice calm peaceful sleep…
 
And then, with an audible ‘pop’… my waters broke.
 
Oh.
 
I jumped up. Or rather, slowly manoeuvred my enormous body into an upright position. And then the contractions started. Massive, full blown ‘Oh shit the baby’s coming now’ contractions. The one’s you can’t talk through. For a moment I actually thought I would be delivering the baby there and then, home alone on my bedroom floor.
 
I phoned my husband. It was a very brief exchange.
 
“My waters have broken” I said, bracing myself for the next contraction.
 
“I’m on my way” he replied…
 

Next I phoned the birth centre. I had two enormous contractions while I talked to the midwife on duty. She agreed it was wise to go in as soon as I could.
 
Then I phoned my folks. I wanted to see G before I left. They rushed home, abandoning the hungry ducks. I wanted to put her down for her nap. I don’t know why I was so determined, it turned out to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I cuddled G and shut out the pain, she knew though, she held on and cried when I tried to leave. I sank my nails into the side of her cot and sung her favourite song as she drifted off.
 
My husband arrived in a panic, having driven as fast as he could down Parramatta road. Which wasn’t very fast at all. It should be called Parramatta car park.
 
I was totally convinced that I was going to give birth in the car. The contractions were fast and furious. But we made it. There was still some time. I was shown into a birthing room, so different from the labour ward where G was born with it’s double bed and chincy décor. My husband disappeared to sort out the paperwork. I was alone in the room. The contractions kept coming, like waves, great big red flag worthy waves. I thought of all the mantras I had prepared but when I opened my mouth only one word came out….
 
“Heeeeeeeeeeeeelp!”
 
My wonderful midwife Nikki arrived, smiley, bubbly Nikki. She made helpful suggestions and got the bath organised. I couldn’t wait to get in, convinced that the warm water would wash away my pain. I couldn’t wait, so I didn’t, I clambered in and lay at the bottom waiting for the water to cover me. I tried a little gas. My husband put some music on.
 
Nikki soothed my complaints and reassured me.
 
“You’re where you want to be”
 
I exchanged a look with my husband. We both had the same thought; I wasn’t where I wanted to be at all….I’d rather be on a beach, soaking up the sun, sipping a cocktail…
 
“The baby is coming, you’re doing really well….’ She continued in a plinky plunky soothing voice. (Seriously Nikki, if you ever get board of delivering babies you could make a fortune recording meditation CD’s…)
 
But Nikki was right. I was where I wanted to be. I wanted a water birth.
 
My husband’s phone rang.
 
He jumped up and for a moment I actually thought he was going to answer it. He later said that the look on my face could have turned him to stone, but another contraction was on its way, this was not the time to have a strop.
 
I don’t think I was in the water for very long. I concentrated on the music. I allowed the gas to do its job. I was in pain, yet detached from the pain.
 
I needed to push and Nikki shrugged and smiled and said ‘so push’…
 
And moments later she was here.
 
Out of the water and onto my chest. Her beautiful little eyes still closed. Her little lips like rose buds. Covered in hummus. Ok, it wasn’t hummus, but that’s what it looked like at the time.  
 
Elbow’s ‘One day like this’ was playing gently in the background, we couldn’t have wished for a more perfect soundtrack for our babies arrival… it was the song my husband and I first danced to as a married couple.
 
She didn’t cry very much, a little wimper and then back to sleep. My husband took a photo. We smiled at each other. 
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But we still didn’t know the sex. I peeked…
 
We had another little girl! G had a little sister.
 
We named her a beautiful traditional welsh name that no one can pronounce. It means ‘love’ and oh she is our love! There was no need to worry that I wouldn’t love her as much as G. Love isn’t a scarce resource to be divvied up, it is unlimited. It is abundant.
 
And I’m full of it (love, that is). 
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