I’ve always believed a mother knows how many children are right for her and I’ve always felt I am a mother of four. They just hadn’t all been born till Christopher came along. So when I fell pregnant with Christopher I was excited not only for the sake of the pregnancy but also to finally have my family all together and complete at last. Liz (Nightingale – my colleague -Sarah) was one of the first people I told about the pregnancy as she and Meg (Miskin – my other colleague -Sarah) had been my midwives for my third child and she was as excited as I was. She was fantastic throughout the pregnancy which was fairly straightforward except for when I ended up I hospital at 28 weeks with contractions! It turned out apparently baby didn’t like me doing loads of gardening and housework and all the other things that go with running a household with three children but with Liz’s support we were able to make sure baby was OK and I didn’t end up with a barrage of unnecessary tests and interventions.
At 37 weeks my father in law arrived to stay and my mother in law was due to join usjust after I was 39 weeks. As I’d been having contractions on and off for a week or so that amounted to nothing, I asked for a sweep just before I was 39 weeks. After 2 days of niggling, my waters finally went (very gently) around mid morning. I called Liz who said baby would likely come either that day or the next. I let family know and set about waiting (impatiently) for contractions to start. Liz came to see me around tea time, so did several family members. With the kids still up and excited that baby was coming, it was manic and the little niggles I’d started to feel wore off. Liz took one look at the chaos, noted how stressed it was making me and said (rightly so) I wouldn’t labour in this environment and she was going home, I should get some rest and call if I needed her.
After a very disappointing night of not contracting or sleeping much, in the morning my father in law offered to take my eldest 2 children to an air show leaving me with just me, my husband and daughter. Liz came over and Sarah joined us not long after, we’d put the birth pool up and filled it so had a chilled morning waiting for things to get going. Sarah helped me out with some aromatherapy and showed me how to climb the stairs sideways (opens up the pelvis). Contractions finally decided to start properly about 10:30 am so I hopped into the birth pool and focused on breathing through. I had learnt hypnobirthing when pregnant with my second child so it was very calm and relaxed. The birth didn’t take long once things got going, Meg arrived as I was breathing out the head and after a couple of fairly strong surges, Christopher was born at 11:56 am.
It was just the birth I’d wanted, calm and relaxed, swift but not rushed, with my husband and daughter there and my lovely supportive midwives. When he was born I couldn’t believe he was a boy, I’d been convinced the whole pregnancy I was having a girl. I also couldn’t believe how tiny he was! My other three had been between 8 and 9 lbs and Christopher was 5 lb 13 oz! I’ve never held a baby so small! We decamped to the couch where Liz kept gently reminding me I still had the placenta to release and give her. I wasn’t in the least bit interested in that, I had my baby to cuddle at last. Eventually the placenta came and was taken to be checked out. Interestingly it was found the cord was attached at the edge of the placenta rather than sited in the middle as it should have been (Battledore insertion – Sarah) . We wonder if that’s why he was so small, that he wasn’t being fully fed by it. He certainly made up for it from the moment he came out, he has fed voraciously and is now nearly double his birth weight at 8 weeks.
It was lovely having Liz, Sarah and Meg providing us with such wonderful care and support throughout pregnancy, birth and in the weeks following Christopher’s birth. We were so fortunate to have three wonderfully supportive women at the birth of our son and Liz, Meg and Sarah aren’t ‘just’ midwives to us, they are also good friends too and I hope will remain so for many years to come.