As a first time mum it’s obvious I had no idea what to expect. I heard millions and millions of stories, mostly scary related to birth. What i lacked was a good experience, someone to tell me she had an easy birth (we all know is not easy but a good word there would have been more than helpful for me).
I was about 32 weeks pregnant when I decided to attend the antenatal classes at St Mary’s hospital in Paddington. Needles to say that was the best thing I ever done. Me and Kris went for the first class one cold morning not knowing what to expect but excited. We were about to find out things regarding the little baby who was kicking my belly every day more and more. We knew we were expecting a little girl so I went crazy shopping for clothes and all necessary for our princess.
I went from body suits to hats, socks, dresses, changing mattresses (I bought two not realizing I could have just got one mattress and more covers), play mat, sterilizer, bottles, toys, a comfort blanket in white and pink with a little mouse attached to it, wipes, nappies from number one to three (they were on offer so why not), baby bath shampoo, baby lotion with lavender scent for a good night sleep, baby powder, other clothes, sleeping bags, musical toys, pushchair (the travel systems so we can use it from the beginning to the end) and I already knew what bed and changing table I want. Kris even got me a rocking chair. Let me tell you that that chair was such a good investment. It was so damn comfortable during those days when I was all swollen and feeling like a whale, not to mention so unattractive. He kept telling me I was so beautiful and sexy but all I could think was “no way! You are just saying so to be supportive cause I am carrying your child.” He swears it was true. He still tells me he felt really attracted to me still when I was pregnant but I have my doubts. Anyway, back to the antenatal classes. We were the only couple at 9:30 am and for about twenty minutes it stayed that way. The midwife who was keeping the class was such a lovely lady (I am so annoyed I can’t remember her name) and she told us she has four kids and none of her pregnancies were the same. We started talking and introducing ourselves, getting to know each other and I felt so at ease. I was secretly wanting to be the only one there, no other pregnant women or their partners. It didn’t happen. Somehow everyone got there around the same time – half an hour later (hate people who are late, shows they are not committed). There is a woman from the Philippines, a Spanish one, an English black girl (she’s got twins), another couple (no idea were from but seemed nice), another black girl who came with her friend as birth partner. I think that was it. Most women came without the person who was supposed to be with them during labor (we were supposed to bring the birth partner). My birth partner was Kris obviously.
My best friend wanted to be with me but I thought she will definitely faint and plus she would find something to do last minute. Kris was the perfect one. He is my rock so the one entitled to be there with me while I push his baby out.
As I was saying I had no clue what to expect from birth so the classes were supposed to enlighten me. In my head everything was like in the movies. Your water brakes (pouring like crazy) and you get into labor and have the baby. Nobody told me otherwise. Classes were spread along three weeks and during all those hours I learned that no pregnancy is the same, that the classic way to give birth is actually the hardest as you push the baby “uphill”, that you can have different pain relief options and that actually the more relaxed you are the easiest your birth will be. I found out about the birth centre and we decided that that is perfect for us: I could have a water birth as I wanted. After you have the baby you get your own room (a double room with double bed, bathroom and the little crib for your baby plus your birth partner can stay with you at all times and even sleep in the same bed. Room also had a rocking chair with support for feet so you can breastfeed and the alarm button for any midwife to come help at all times). By week 36 I had to go birth center with my plan and I have been introduced to the place. I seen the birth rooms with the massive pool, beanbags and all necessary to give birth in any position you feel comfortable. The only down side here is you cannot have an epidural and you cannot have the Diamorphine injection for pain relief. All you can use is gas and air.
I do have high tolerance to pain so I thought it’s fine. If anything goes wrong you can always be moved in the labor ward but there is no double room reward there. You have to stay with other mums and babies and daddy is not allowed to stay with us. So I decided I have to try as much as I can to bring this baby into the world in term and resist as much as I can so I can have my reward at the end. By week 38 and 6 days I knew all about giving birth apart from what it actually feels like. There are lots of family members born in April so we were praying Ruby will have her own day and not share it with someone else. The worst would have been 12th of the month as she would have had the same day to celebrate as her little cousin. Anyway, my last pregnancy month was shared between bed and the gym ball. I couldn’t walk and I was in pain because of the damn sciatica nerve but ice lollies at 3am and a hot water bottle did the trick most of the time. I was asking Ruby nicely to come out on a Friday when mummy is 39 weeks pregnant exactly and daddy has the option of not going to work the weekend and have the two weeks off after that. As I was saying, at 38 weeks and 6 days in the evening I ordered Chinese food and waited for Kris to come home from work. His brother dropped him off at around 11 pm and let’s say we had dinner half hour later. We were in bed when I started having a weird feeling that something is happening. Went to the bathroom and came back. All I said was: “I think my water broke.” He just looked at me and asked if I am sure. I am not sure. Of course I am not. I have no idea what is going on. I decide to wait and few minutes later I get the same feeling. Now I am sure. They said it in class. Just a small trickle. This is it. Lucky I had a picture of my belly earlier on today, I washed my hair and straightened it, shaved all my parts and I even cleaned all windows. I started having contractions straight away and I had to call birth center.
Midwife told me to go there so I can be examined. And we did. A Minicab ride later we were there. Did I mention I threw up? All Chinese food I had. Poor Kris had to clean up after me. Midwife gave me an exam and confirmed water has broken and I have real contractions not Braxton hicks. She said I cannot be admitted yet as I am not dilated more than two cm so I should just walk around for a bit. I said I am going back home. I still need to get my hospital bag plus it is 2 am and it’s raining so not quite pleasant to have a walk while having contractions. So off we go home. Kris hasn’t slept in two days and I don’t remember when I had a good night sleep. But who cares. I am walking around in the bedroom and in the kitchen trying to time my contractions. They are stronger and stronger. By 5 am they are two minutes apart and I really can’t take it. I have to go hospital. I know I almost fell at some point. I fell asleep between contractions while holding on to the sink and I woke up half way on the floor. “That’s it. We are going hospital” I called Kris and he called his mum. She didn’t pick up so I see him getting pissed off. There is no way I will wait for a Minicab. They are slow. I called my friend who lives down the road and in less than ten minutes her boyfriend was at our door waiting to drive us. I only told him:”if I scream you just drive” It is raining and I am wearing flip flops and a t shirt but I don’t care. We go back in and the midwife tells me I need an exam. I lye down and she tells me I can go in the pool. She checks my blood pressure and takes my pulse and all is good. For me is just surreal. I don’t quite hear anything. She gives me a sheet and I cover myself while walking (more like crawling) towards the birth room. I go in the pool and it’s heaven. Water is bliss and Kris is giving me the gas and air. I finally relax. I have no idea how long it took. I only know when 15 min were passing as she was monitoring baby’s heart beat at an interval. I know she said I am ten cm dilated and there is no way this baby is coming out in the pool. I am too relaxed and I cannot push. So she moved me on the bean bag. I remember I was telling the midwife mummy is high and when she told me I cannot have the gas and air while I push I thought I will never make it. But in my head I could hear the midwife’s words “You are not here for the drugs. You are here to meet your baby”. So I said to myself I have to push. Kris was next to me holding my head, telling me I can do it, helping me move from one position to another while I was promised one more push and the baby is out. I don’t remember how many pushes passed as I gave up counting. The midwife asked me if I want to feel the head and I said no. I just want this baby out. Don’t let her go back in. I remember this so clearly. I was pushing when she said is 10:30 am and I realized time passed and I have no idea when. They were trying to give me water, Lucozade and a bit of sweet bar so I get some energy. You eat and drink while your baby’s head is out and you are pushing like there is no tomorrow. And I pushed until 1:46 pm. That is the time my baby came into this world and in my arms. God. I felt her on my skin and I Instantly forgot about all labor.
The happiness I felt cannot be described in words. And they cut the cord and took her away to measure her and all that. This was the moment when I had toast. Best toast I ever had in my life. And I got my energy back. Ruby was 8.3 pounds (3.770 kg) and she was born with her arm around her neck but she still is the most beautiful baby in the world. And We are still the happiest parents. She is born on 15th of April and she shares her birthday with my brother but who cares. He said this was the best present I ever gave him.
Needless to say we haven’t had Chinese food since