In many ways, Maisie’s birth story was perfect. Of course there were a few glitches here and there, but I remember it as perfect. Simply full of excitement, light and pure, pure joy.
On bank holiday Monday, 28th May 2018, we had spent the day at home working on the finishing touches to the new kitchen (because every heavily pregnant person needs to add house renovations to the to do list). Lowen’s grandparents had been around to help all day, and he had received a brand new bubble blowing lawn mower, so the lawn was covered in tiny bubbles. He’d also spent the afternoon climbing on the rocks in the garden and pretending to swing from the tree branches.
In the evening, Ben, I and Lowen went to one of our favourite bars in Truro: Sonder, to celebrate finishing the kitchen. We ate burgers and chips and played Jenga. It was really, really hot, and I was starting to feel more and more uncomfortable – but looking forward to a final few days left to prepare for the baby’s arrival. Returning home, Lowen fell asleep in the car and we finished putting the last bits and pieces on the new shelves in the kitchen. We all go to bed and fall straight to sleep.
The next morning, Tuesday 29th May, I wake up at 6:00am. Lowen had come into our bed in the middle of the night, so I leave Lowen and Ben snoozing whilst I go to get a bit of space in the spare bedroom. It is a beautiful morning, and I can see the sunrise across the allotments past the back garden. Lying down I feel a bit uncomfortable, but practice the hypnobirthing breathing exercises. I start timing these uncomfortable feelings and start to wonder whether they might be contractions… but surely not, it’s still nine days early! The breathing works so well at controlling the pain. I suddenly start to feel a bit miffed that this might actually be the baby coming, as there are still so many more things left on my to do list/spreadsheet! I begin avidly watching the hypnobirthing videos I had planned to watch over the next few days, hoping to fit them all in before anything else happens…
Eventually, Ben and Lowen surface around 7:30am and we all go downstairs for breakfast of toast and fruit. I’m unsure whether to tell Ben what I think might be going on – as it seems a bit soon, and we had a few things planned, but I tell him sheepishly, and he looks really excited! It’s so strange being in labour with a toddler around – despite the increasing pains, I have to keep it under wraps and pretend to be interested in pushing his baby doll around in his toy pram. As Ben only works down the road, I told him to go to work for 9am and drop Lowen at nursery as usual and I’ll be in touch.
Once they are both out of the house, I get to work on the to do list, cutting it down to:
- Paint nails (I want them to look nice for the photos!)
- Whilst finishing all of the hypnobirthing videos
- Finish packing my hospital bag
- Compile a labour playlist
- Listen to hypnobirthing meditations
- Re-write my birth plan (as per the hypnobirthing videos) to send to Ben at work to print
- Try to stay calm as per the hypnobirthing videos: drinking camomile tea, lighting candles, spraying special relaxing smell into pillow, do breathing exercises through contractions, keep active and upright…
I think this indicates the madness of a woman in labour. I was so stressed out, I was convinced that this would prevent the baby’s arrival, giving myself a bit more time to prepare.
I start to feel more and more panicked and unprepared. I really wanted to relax and enjoy the early stages of labour, and I know that second babies can arrive really quickly, and I was starting to be a bit worried that I was alone and the contractions were getting stronger and closer together.
I phone Ben at 10:30am asking him to come home at 11am. In the meantime I call the community midwife, concerned that I should be going into hospital pretty sharpish. She says she’ll be over in an hour to check on me. I start to get a bit tearful, and unable to speak – but leave it there. Ben arrived back home, but then, unhelpfully – so do a couple of his friends who are dropping off a rotavator and begin having a chat… I call him telling him to get a move on and come in the house. Then I give him a big to do list to get the car ready, whilst he attempts to get me to relax, lie down and drink some fluids. Relaxing is the last thing I feel able to do!
The contractions are getting stronger and stronger – luckily the breathing exercises are doing really well to control them. But Ben calls the community midwife again as I think we should be going into hospital, instead they say that she is on her way. So we run a bath. I get in, although the midwife still hasn’t arrived, in the bath I tell Ben if we’re not careful, the baby will be delivered at home. She pops in around 12:45 and she examines me on the bed. Yep – I’m definitely in labour. She realises that I need to get to hospital as soon as possible and calls the delivery ward to prepare for us. Ben can tell from the midwife’s reaction that he needs to get a wriggle on.
I have another long contraction in the new kitchen, and then we move into the car. I have another one in the car, and see our next-door-neighbour in the corner of my eye. Ben told me later he saw her with tears in her eyes, and he also felt teary. Once that contraction subsides, we get moving. Sitting in the car is just the worst thing. I keep breathing to keep in control of the contractions, and keep my eyes firmly shut as I wouldn’t be able to cope with the stress of all the holiday traffic. It is really hot, and the windows are down, and I’m half aware of other motorists looking at us. Ben drives as fast as he can to the hospital, often grabbing my hand. I start to feel my breathing changing, and I know that the baby wants to be born now. We make it to the hospital, I get out with my notes and lean against a lamp post whilst Ben parks the car and pays for a ticket. He starts to pull me in, worried I’ll give birth on the pavement. We make it to the lift, with another contraction. In the labour ward, my midwife meets us in the corridor munching a jam sandwich. I have another contraction against the wall. They hurry us into the ‘Marazion’ delivery room, which is lovely. I get up onto a delivery bed/chair, and as the midwife starts to ask questions about my medical history, I have a big contraction and she realises there is no time for conversation – she can see the head. I get to have some lovely big breaths on the gas and air, watching out of the window, which makes me go giddy. One more contraction builds and I’m aware I’m making really strange noises as the baby just arrives.
The time on Ben’s car parking ticket says: 13:36. And on the medical notes the time of birth is: 13:45. We did it!
I can barely believe the baby is here so quickly and that labour is over already. They have to cut the cord early (much to my annoyance) as there was meconium in the waters. A doctor is looking after the baby and giving oxygen because of the meconium. Ben checks I’m okay, and the midwives ask if he’d like to announce the sex. He does, he looks over and says:
A beautiful baby girl, we can barely believe it.
I get turned around in the chair, cleaned up a bit, and then I get to see her, I get to see you, Maisie, although not yet named. I can’t believe my luck. Such a beautiful, perfect, precious little girl. All wrapped up in a hospital towel, orange knitted hat on your tiny head. And you’re in my arms. I’m holding your perfect little body, tiny hands, tiny eyes, soft skin. You look just like your brother.
You are here.
You are here and we are so happy.