It all went a bit wrong to be honest. I didn’t get the Birthing Centre in the New Forest, the water birth, the relaxing calm environment. It’s as if someone looked at my birth ‘plan’ and went “psych!” but I’ll get to that bit later. (Don’t worry, no gory details provided.)
I really wish this was a dramatic story of how I went into labour, but it was pretty low-key. As I was two weeks over-due I had to go for an induction. The night before Darren took pictures of me, as we were fully aware it was my last night of being pregnant. I was so ready to not be pregnant anymore.
So the morning of the 9th of August, we headed into the hospital. We had a bag packed for weeks in advance, but we hadn’t put much thought into the ‘before’ part, and weren’t well equipped with things to entertain us. If I’m honest, it was kind of boring. We played cards, watched Netflix, walked laps around the labour ward and did the Macarena, I kid you not, I genuinely did the Macerena, until finally I was brought into my ‘birthing suite’. We had been in hospital for 6 hours, accompanied by irregular contractions, waiting for the action to start. Fun.
We used our hypnobirthing techniques; meditation, guitar chill music courtesy of YouTube – that was my data gone for a month – and I bounced around on a birthing ball while Darren stroked my back. Then things went a bit off track, I didn’t get my water birth, ended up taking gas and air, and was pretty much bound to the bed because they wanted continuous monitoring on the baby, everything turned out to be fine. It was pretty much exactly what I didn’t want but I just had to roll with it.
My memory is a little hazy from what actually happened, but there are certain things I remember, like the first major contraction minutes after the induction, biting down on Darren’s hand (an accident!), the midwife announcing the arrival of my mother and when things finally started to pick up and the pushing began.
In three hours and ten minutes my little girl entered the world and I felt strange. I was exhausted from such a speedy delivery. I didn’t cry, then worried about why I didn’t cry. What did that mean? Should I pretend? Was I already failing at this parenting thing? Did I look like a bad mother? Was the midwife judging me?
There I was, holding this precious wriggly thing and all I could think about was why I wasn’t crying. But then she looked at me. I wasn’t crying, big deal. It meant nothing. I had just been through an ordeal getting her here, give yourself a break, Kat. Those big blue eyes were staring right at me and I knew I didn’t need to be worried. She had me.
While the midwives cleaned me up – bloody, ouch – Darren held our little girl and watching them together felt like the two of us were officially a family. And we were completely responsible for the number three he held in his arms. What a terrifying thought.
Another two and a half hours slipped by, we managed to latch her on and begin breastfeeding when the midwife popped her head in reminding me of my mum who had now been waiting four hours. Uhm oops?
Darren and I had originally planned to have a ‘no family’ rule for a couple of days after the birth, but when my mum walked in I hadn’t realised just how much I needed and wanted her to be there. Not that I spoke all that much – a rarity for me, I assure you – but I was so glad she was there for me.
At 12:20 that night, our little girl met her first grandparent, and it suddenly all felt very real.