For the past couple of months, I've been doing a spot of writing for TalkMum, a really fantastic blog that's aimed at parents and parents-to-be. I've been missing writing regularly since I've been on maternity leave from my copywriting job, so it's great to have a gig like this (alongside Knittenden) that I can get stuck into during Samuel's naptimes.
Today, TalkMum is featuring my birth story. I read LOADS of birth stories while I was pregnant - knowledge is power and all that - so I've written mine in the hope that it might be useful for other people. I'm sure it'll be super popular. After all, it's not like there's another high-profile baby-related news story out there that people are desperate to read about, is it? Anyway, it seems like the kind of thing I should really be featuring on here too, so I have reproduced it below (see what I did there?).
Should you be interested in reading any of my other ramblings on TalkMum, you can find my piece about morning sickness here and my post on surviving my first six months of motherhood here.
-----------------------------------------------"Ooh," I said as I lay on the sofa like a beached whale. "Something just kind of ... pinged. This might be it!"
I was pretty excited. I looked at my husband James and could tell he wasn't quite so excited. It was Saturday night, Match of the Day had just started and there had been a bumper goal-fest that day.
I waddled to the bathroom to investigate further and discovered that this was indeed it. My waters had broken. That was good. They were also very yellow. Not so good.
I called the hospital and they said they were worried that the meconium in my waters meant the baby was in distress. They told us to go straight in because the baby would need careful monitoring.
We tried not to worry as we drove towards the hospital. We tried to look on the bright side.
"At least my waters aren't gushing," I said. "It's more of a slow trickle."
Then we went over a speed bump.
All of a sudden it was like someone was emptying a two litre bottle of warm lemonade into my jeans. The upholstery on the passenger seat hasn't been the same since.
We parked and I squelched up to the maternity unit, leaving a trail of gunk in my wake. I felt like a snail. There's nothing dignified about childbirth.
We were put in a room and I was strapped up to lots of machines. The baby seemed to be doing fine, which was a huge relief, but the need for constant monitoring put pay to any plans I had to remain mobile or have a water birth.
It was around midnight by now and the contractions were starting to get painful. Gas and air was a godsend. So was James. Once we'd worked out that each contraction lasted 45 seconds, he held my hand tightly every time one started and counted down from 45. The counting gave me something to focus on, knowing that the pain would be over by the time we reached the count of one.
As the sun started to rise, the pain grew. I writhed on the bed and screamed for an epidural. The wait for the anaesthetist, who was busy in surgery, was agonising. But once she arrived and administered the happy juice, I was overjoyed. Not able to feel a thing below the waist, I chatted happily to the midwives I'd previously been hissing and howling at and I did some granny dancing with my hands to cheesy tunes on Magic FM. Those hours were unexpectedly relaxing.
By midday it was time to push. So I pushed. And pushed. And pushed some more. Nothing happened. More pushing. By this point a whole team of midwives and doctors were cheering me on and I felt like Crystal Palace in the playoffs. But still no sign of the baby.
I'd given it everything, but things weren't progressing as they should and it was getting a bit scary, so out came the knife. It's certainly not what any woman in labour wants to see, but at that point I just wanted my baby delivered safely. At least the episiotomy was quick. One big, unceremonious gush later and the doctor held a little bloody bundle aloft, just like that scene in The Lion King.
'Hello, Samuel," we both said, grinning.
He was worth missing Match of the Day for.