This is a bit late, due to (what is probably) teething, and therefore a couple of work-filled nights. That’s ok though, it’s all part of the deal.
LR’s birth – which I can’t believe was a year ago! – was such a complimentary experience to FB’s that I can’t believe it actually happened that way. FB’s birth was full of labouring while being told by every medical person that saw me that I wasn’t labouring at all, (that. ha ha! maybe I didn’t have a cervix!) a possible preeclampsia diagnosis that turned out to be a massive bladder infection (that was stopping the labour actually working), being induced without being told that there was a 47% chance of that turning into a c-section, and a horrible horrible night having been induced where I was basically told to shut up and stop making a fuss, while – at the same time – it says in my notes ‘shit! she needs drugs and needs to be monitored because she really might rupture.’
In comparison the birth itself was pretty straight forward – on the drip I dilated quicker than expected, and got to crowning (after two hours! of pushing) before needing a kiwi ventouse to get FB out that last bit. I lost a load of blood, but both he and I were ok.
It didn’t put me off having babies. I see now that I just squashed it all down and got on with working out how to parent a baby who wasn’t feeding very well and who needed me to pump around the clock for the first few weeks. And after that, I got on with working out what our life was going to be like.
I didn’t think about it again really – not properly – until I got pregnant again. And then I thought about it a lot. And was very upset and angry and did. not. want. that. to. happen. again.
I met Liz at the only local sling meet I ever went to. And – though it’s corny – I remember talking to her, and just really wanting her to be my midwife. She made me laugh and she took me seriously and she said that she would go through my notes with me and work out what had probably happened. I was worried that my body just didn’t work. What I found out was that my body had worked better than anyone should have expected it to. It wasn’t broken, it was actually properly awesome.
Paying for a private midwife wasn’t something I had thought about before, and we don’t have a lot of money. But we sacrificed and family helped out and then Liz was our midwife and I felt like I had done something I really needed to do.
LR was born at home – all 10lb 1oz of her. Unlike with her brother, where I didn’t get to sleep for the four or five days I had contractions, I got a good nights sleep before she arrived. I laboured at home, putting out washing, checking my email, and pacing and swaying through the rushes. FB went to play at his best buddies house, and W was called back from work and I got on with actually having this baby. It wasn’t easy – I laboured in water after a while, and that was great, but there was a cervical lip slowing things down so a chunk of time was spent not trying to push. I remember saying at one point – ‘these women who push their babies out in two pushes can f**k off!’ and the second midwife – Sarah – replying ‘Sorry, some of us have to really work for it!’
I went all around the house – literally – to have this baby. I turned my giant body 180 degrees (again literally) while crowning to make sure her shoulders didn’t get stuck. In the photo of us that evening I look like a warrior. It was – like FB’s birth before it – the hardest thing I have ever done and afterwards I felt completely at peace.
Now she’s one we really don’t have a baby in the house. We have a little girl who loves pulling the power and network cables from my laptop. Who loves her jar lids and knows where they are kept. Who tolerates her brother wanting everything she’s playing with.
I didn’t know how much having them would change me. I didn’t know how having her would change me, having been reformed by the birth of her brother.
I’m grateful for Liz, the opportunities not taken so that we could have her in our lives. And for my girl. And her brother.