I am 27 weeks pregnant this week which theoretically means I only have 13 weeks left of pregnancy left. Theoretically I will be giving birth again in 13 weeks time, if not before. You would think that having done it once before I would be well prepared and comfortable enough to do it again. This could not be further from the truth.
I am terrified of giving birth this time. Absoloutely, shaky-knees-pit-of-the stomach-churning terrified. I'm not even really sure why! In 2009 I was very ready to welcome A into the world. I had devoured book after book on pregnancy and labour, practised being calm(!) and was very excited to meet her. Her due date was May 5th but I'd taken my maternity leave from mid April just in case she decided to make an early appearance. Little did I know May the 5th would roll on by and she wouldn't arrive. Of course the rational side of me knew she may not arrive exactly on the day the professionals specified and that most first babies are late but I couldn't help but be a little disappointed!
As the week went by, each morning I woke up to not find myself in labour was a bit like waking up on Christmas morning and discovering Father Christmas had missed you off his list! Why had she not made her entrance yet!? I waddled off to my midwife to huff and puff about it and was told I'd have to have my membranes swept on the 12th May, a week later, to try and start the labour as I had already had a show just before her due date. (I won't go into details about 'sweeping' and 'shows'! it's best you look into it yourselves if you want to!). I was becoming really frustrated with being so big and uncomfortable and it was unbearably hot that May.
I spent that week walking all over the place, eating pineapple and curry and doing light exercise, all to no avail. I also spent the week with indigestion from the ridiculous food, not sleeping from over-working my body and telling my husband that clearly those who thought sex would bring on the labour were seriously deluded and I would never be desperate enough to try it!
On May 11th I decided it was a good idea to visit my Mum who lives some distance away as I don't drive and she is not near a train station! What possessed me I will never know. I was furious stomping my way on a thirty minute walk from the train station in boiling hot weather and rang her to demand she meet me and carry my coat!!! (Crazy hormones had definately taken over. My poor mum actually came out to meet me and all I did was shout that I was never visiting her again even though it was my crazy idea in the first place!) I'd probably been at my Mum's 10 minutes when contractions started. I panicked a bit and got to the hospital asap as I was petrified I'd done something awful walking all over the place! Thankfully it was just Braxton Hicks and I was sent on my way.
That evening I lay in bed silently praying for our little girl to come into the world of her own accord. I really, really did not want to be swept at the doctor's surgery the following day, the idea of it filled me with dread! I woke up at 5am the sound of Mr B's bustling around in the kitchen about to leave for work. 'ooooooooooo thats quite an intense ache' I casually thought to myself as I pulled myself out of bed. By the time I reached the ktichen I was gripping the worktop and gritting my teeth. Hmmm these were quite close together it seemed...
Mr B decided not to go to work despite my insistence that these Braxton Hicks had been 'happening all week and it probably wasn't the real thing' at all. Fast forward a few hours and I had been in a warm bath three times to ease the contractions and watched an entire series of Gavin and Stacey! By 10am I could take it no more, we would have to go to the hospital whether I was ready to give birth or not.
I'd chosen to have both Mr B and my Mum as birthing partners and they were both there ushering me into the maternity ward accompanied by my Dad (who I should mention had driven us there only to go the long way round and get lost in all the drama!). The midwife confirmed I was in fact dilated enough to be considered 'in labour' and wouldn't be sent back home (phew!). They decided I would benefit from an epidural (I must of looked like I needed it as it wasn't in my plan!) and I was quickly taken to a delivery suite. Once I was changed and ready to go the anesthetist arrived to commence with the procedure. I was positioned on the bed in an upright postion and braced myself...just as she was about to begin her pager went off; she was needed in surgery and was the only anesthetist on call that day. ARGHHHHH!
She ran out the room saying she would be back as soon as possible to give me my pain relief. As the next few hours went by I distracted myself talking to my midwife and Mr B but as the contractions became stonger I had to ask my mum to leave the room: She looked worried sick! Seeing her so concerned about me made me even more anxious and threw me off my stride completely. Mr B was amazingly calm and kept me focused throughout the really big contractions but by 1pm I was starting to get tired and worried. Where had that anesthetist gone?! Whilst my midwife was in the room with us I was very serene and pleasant but every time she left I would grab Mr B and strongly demand he go and find the anethetist NOW thank you very much!
By 2pm she was back and with the arrival of my epidural I wanted my mum back in the room. From 2pm onwards everything seemed to go really fast. It wasn't what I expected at all, the clock literally seemed to spin. My waters hadn't broke so the staff had to do that for me and due to the epidural the labour had slowed down so I was hooked up to a drip to start it off again. Our daughters heart on the monitor next to us worryingly kept leaping all over the place and at times just stopped. It was the worst thing about the whole experience. At one point a whole host of professionals rushed in as the machine beeped uncontrollably and I very nearly lost my cool and started to cry. Everyone immediately reassured us our baby was fine but I couldn't shake the feeling something was wrong.
At 4pm I felt ready to push and was told to hang on for an hour. Easier said than done! Once I was given the all clear to go ahead and I began to push with my husband safely by my head and my mum at the gruesome end it became apparent the baby was in distress and out popped some forceps. At the time I was all like 'yeah sure go for it, anything that needs doing, do it!' but I think the sight of them has left me traumatised a bit! At 5.05pm A arrived in the world. Unfortunately she wasn't passed to me immediately but whisked away to the side of the room as she had had the cord tied round her neck the whole time and had even emptied her bowels on her way out. Naturally we immediately panicked when we saw that she was blue but it was only a few seconds before she let out a cry and was passed to me in a little towel. And suddenly there she was; all 6lb 12 oz of her tiny self. My mum had snuck out of the room to let us have our moment together and the three of us just stared at each other for what seemed like forever.
She was ever so quiet for her first day and seemed so shell shocked by the whole experience! She had the biggest hands we had ever seen on a little person and I immediately wanted to hold her forever!
I know I would go through it all again in a heartbeat to see the little person arrive at the other end but I can't help but be much more nervous this time around. Second babies arrive faster right?! I can't decide if that's the most appealing bit or the most scary!