Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's all a bit of a grind, sometimes

Feeling a bit blah, over here at Silverpear.

Abi has got the what seems like thousanth in a long line of winter/spring colds. She had conjunctivitis early last week, which has cleared now thankfully, but she is snotty and can't hear properly. Unfairly, I find this endlessly irritating as she sniffs and says 'what?' after everything I say. For some reason, she absolutely refuses to say 'pardon' even though generally she is happy to use all other politenesses (is that a word?). She'll say please, thank you, excuse me and sorry, usually unprompted. Obviously at some stage I put too much stress on 'pardon' and it has now become a bit of a power struggle. She reckons she can't say it, but I have been telling her that yes she can, she is just choosing not to.

She thought about that for a while and has since (I think) whispered pardon a couple of times. I don't know why it's so important to me, guess I need to examine the reasons behind my button-pushedness a la Robin Grille, but who has the time for self-reflection? I would rather watch tv.

In Evie news she now has three teeth and is working on the fourth, so her sleeping has gone a bit to shit lately. Not anywhere near the gold-standard suckiness of her older sister's sleep efforts at the same age, but far from the lovely, manageable 9pm and 4am feeds of a couple of weeks ago. She is also still a real early bird, we are up by 6am every day. I can't tell you how much I hate this.

Wow, whinge whinge whinge. I love my children, I really do. Just at the moment though if I could talk to my 33 year old self, I'd be telling her to give the whole children thing a big miss. I miss my old life. I miss travelling and going out and actually talking and having physical contact with my husband and not having to narrate my every action for my darling three and a half year old who still finds Mummy endlessly fascinating.

I think one problem is I really don't get any time without at least one child. Right now is such a rarity; Evie is asleep and Abi is playing with DH. Evie will wake up soon, and luckily she always smells so divine as well as being all warm and kissable when she first gets up.

I don't want to ask any more of DH, I don't think his life is any easier than mine. He's been sick sick sick too and had other big stuff going on, but I am not bearing up well under my burdens right now. Makes our decision stop at two children very very easy to live with.

Sorry for downer post, but I guess it balances out all the sweetness and light of the monthly letters.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

9 months

Darling little peachy one,

9 months old! Such a big girl. This month you have mastered a very cute kind of commando crawling that I refer to as the caterpillar crawl. You bring both arms forward with your hands together and pull, while digging your toes and knees in to push forward. You are getting around very efficiently like this, and although you also get up on your hands and knees and rock, I don't know if you will crawl soon as you are such a quick little caterpillar.
You can also sit up very strongly now and love to play with anything that makes a noise, such as bells, zills, maracas and saucepans. You love it when any of us join in with the noise making and laugh and laugh.
You laugh and smile all the time anyway, especially at your big sister. We usually give you and Abi a massage together now and it is very funny to see two nudey gigglers rolling around on the mat as Mummy and Daddy try to rub almond oil into you both. Our massages are not the relaxing gaze-fests they once were, but seeing your gorgeous little bare bum as you flip over and determinedly wriggle off to the window makes up for it.

We have had a bit of spring sunshine recently and you have been enjoying spending time outside playing on our deck. You haven't put too many gumnuts in your mouth which is lucky as you are very crafty about keeping stuff in there. Often I have to make you laugh before I can scoop whatever you have found out from behind your two sharp little teeth.

Food continues to be fun for you and you like to eat anything that we are eating. Your favourite things seem to be porridge with fruit, Baby Mum-Mum rice crackers with hommus, toast crusts with anything, broccoli, cantelope, strawberries and kiwi fruit. You love to throw stuff off your high chair, so there is always plenty of stuff for Mummy to sweep up after a meal and if I am not quick enough, your plates and bowls join the food on the floor with satisfying crashes. I am considering buying one of the bowls that sticks to the table for you.

I love you darling, darling girl. What a gift you are.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy 7 months to my little clapping girl,

Darling Evie,
You still love to clap and wanted to add a video of you doing just that, but it won't upload, sigh.

Lots of things have been happening for you this month, and we have discovered the joy of Baby Led Weaning. Why didn't anyone tell Mummy about this earlier. It is so easy, it feels like there must be something wrong with it. Instead of laboriously cooking, blending and freezing in little tiny plastic cubes which always fall out of the freezer and hit me on the foot, I steam some broccoli, cut some avocado and paw paw and hey presto! Breakfast (or lunch or dinner) in a bowl! So far you enjoy any food that you can feed yourself, stuff off a spoon is regarded with more suspicion.
You are very good at getting stuff into your mouth, which is a wonderful life skill, and one that you enjoy practicing on any number of lethally tiny Barbie shoes belonging to your big sister. I am always fishing stuff out of your mouth and you are not that co-operative either, and who could blame you when there are delicious things like vinyl butterfly stickers and tiny hammering tacks to eat?

You are the happiest baby ever, always ready with a smile or a laugh, especially at your big sister who you find hilarious. You love to chat to us now and make all kinds of funny sounds, sometimes so loudly that Abi asks me to turn up Playschool, or her cd as 'Evie is making ots of noise!'. We all love to hear you chatting though and you seem to enjoy taking part in the conversation.

Right now you are asleep in your Kozy sling and I am bouncing you on the fitball in the hopes you will stay asleep for a little while. You were up at 5.30am this morning, and even though Mummy tried to pretend you weren't and to convince you to snuggle on the couch for a bit longer you were too keen to get up and on with the day.

I love you so much my beautiful, wonderful girl. I am astonished every day at my luck in getting to be your mother.


Here are some more photos of both my gorgeous girls at a fantastic park we went to last week.

Hey! Where did that preschooler come from and why is she holding my baby?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hi! Hi? HELLOOOOO? Anyone still there?

Probably not. Never mind, here I am with a very late 5 month letter to my little peach.

Darling Evie,
Five months old, it's hard to believe. You are still just a little thing though; I think you have inherited your Daddy's metabolism, along with his impish face. You are also active, active, active, although you can't get around just yet, which causes you much frustration.

Let's see, what have you been doing this month? Lots of smiling and laughing as always and rolling rolling rolling. You like having a bath now too, which is handy, as they are a necessary part of a well-balanced baby's life. You kick so enthusiastically that you are actually quite hard to hold onto and I need to use two hands. This makes it tricky to actually wash you; you like to keep Mummy on her toes.

You chat and talk all the time now and make lots of funny noises, including "Da da da daaah DAAAA" in this deep, gruff voice which makes me laugh and laugh. You also say "Mumumumum" and I like to pretend you are saying Mummy.

Toys are lots of fun for you now, which is good as it makes the car less traumatic. You love your crinkly butterfly and your wooden ring best, as well as random kitchen items. Spoons are a big hit, and so far you don't seem too sad that there is no food on them.

You very rarely cry, unless ou are in the car or I am trying to get you dressed. Something about getting dressed makes you furious, although you never h old a grudge, which is nice. This month you have had your first cold, which turned into a little cough, but it wasn't too bad, luckily.

Unluckily for Mummy you have taken to waking up at 3am and deciding now is an excellent time to play. The first two nights I got up and bounced you on your beloved fitball, but after getting to 4,000 bounces on night two I decided this must stop and started bringing you out to lie on the fold out couch in the dark. You lie there and chat and coo until you get bored enough to go to sleep and I get to lie there and smell your beautiful little head and snuggle your chubby little body, so really, it's win-win.

Have to go now as you are awake and requiring my attention.

I love you so much precious one. Light of my eyes.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

So much to say, so few free typing hands

I’m in that state where I have so much to write about that I’m actually kind of paralysed. Like when the Three Stooges all would try to get out the door at the same time, but would get stuck, so no-one went anywhere. That’s my brain right now, a Three Stooges movie. And I don’t even like them.

So. Kinder! Separation sadness! New friends! Fundraising! Car trips to kinder! Crying babies! Dummies! Easter! Horrible virus! Baby’s first cough! Date night! Parents buying new house! De-cluttering! Friends’ babies! Huge hail storm! Pomegranates! Breastfeeding!

See my problem here? Maybe now I’ve released the pressure I’ll be able to come back and write about some of this stuff in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

3 month letter to my peachy girl

Darling Evie Flora,

You are 3 months old. It is hard to believe that much time has passed since I saw your dear little squishy face for the first time, but you also seem to have been part of our family forever.

I adore you. There’s no other word that will do; adoration is what wells up inside me when I gaze into your astonishing navy eyes and watch them crinkle up into a smile. Nanny says you have such smiley eyes, and you really do. Your whole face gets involved when you smile; you really throw yourself into them, much to the admiration of everyone around you.

You are quite generous with your smiles, and bestow them graciously on anyone who comes to tickle your cheek and gurgle at you. This especially endears you to people in shops and at your big sister’s kinder and I happily bask in your reflected popularity. How clever I feel to have produced such a magnetic baby!

You have accomplished many things this month, including rolling from your tummy to your back, laughing, cooing and ‘talking’ up a storm and sleeping all night with just one feed! Well, the sleeping one only just happened last night, but very exciting all the same. You also hold your head and back up very strongly when you are on your tummy and you are trying hard to roll from your back to your tummy, but so far you can only make it onto your side. I don’t think it will be long though...

Unfortunately, you have to spend a fair bit of time in the car taking your sister to her new kinder, and you really do not appreciate this. You cry and cry, even though we got you a special purple dummy for car trips. You seem to quite like the dummy, but you will only have it in your mouth if someone is holding it there; as soon as the supporting hand is taken away, you immediately spit it out. Then you cry in a heartbreaking way.

We are finding ways to make it easier though. If I feed you and make sure you are rested and comfortable then you are often quite happy to sit in your car seat and look around. Abi chats to you and tells you not to worry, and you gaze interestedly at her and coo back. I am so sorry you have to be in the car so much, my darling one. I try to make the one-on-one time we have during kinder special enough to make up for all the driving.

I will finish this letter now, but I want to tell you that the best moment of my day is when I snuggle into bed with you tucked under my arm, or curled into my stomach, listening to your gentle sighs and breathing in the delectable scent rising from your little baldy head.

Oh my baby, my little love.



Monday, February 22, 2010

Birthday fun

Happy 3rd Birthday Abigail Pearl!

And just in case my peachy one feels left out...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Letters to my girls

Darling little Evangeline Flora,

My little peach-girl, if we were Japanese I would have called you Momoko. As soon as you were born and I saw your dear little round face with its light covering of the softest of down I christened you my peach-perfect baby. I will never ever forget how blessed and joy-filled I felt on that day you were born and I could finally hold you in my arms. If I could keep only two days in my life, it would be the days you and your sister came into the world.

I am a little late with your first monthly letter, but I am just sneaking in before your Daddy writes your two month one. You have been such a wonderful little baby right from the beginning with your early smiles (three weeks) and your generally good night-sleeping. We have just had a few feeding problems - I think you are just too impatient to wait for your milk and it often makes you cross. We spent a couple of weeks feeding you Mummy's milk from a bottle, but we have stopped that now as I was worried you were getting much too keen on the fast-flowing plastic container...

So after a bumpy start, our breastfeeding relationship is improving and I know it will continue to get better as you get bigger and stronger. Your big sister has become resigned to sharing and likes to hold your hand and stroke your cheek as you both nurse in the early morning.

We think your eyes are going to be blue, but they are very dark - almost navy in some lights. At first we thought they might be brown like your Daddy's, but they seem to have settled into a very beautiful deep blue. You don't really look much like your sister or me, even though you have the same cupid's bow lips and dimpled chin. I think maybe you will look more like your daddy although you have the Goldie dimples when you smile. One thing you have definitely inherited from Daddy is a particular expression where you stare with huge eyes off to one side with your little mouth hanging open in what looks like puzzlement. My funny little thing.

And do you smile! Such a smiley little girl, especially when you first wake up. You hardly ever wake up crying, I know you are waking up when you start to wriggle and grunt like a little piglet. Then I pick you up and kiss your fragrant little cheek while you smile and continue wriggling energetically. I have even heard you chuckle in your sleep and I don't think it will be long before you add laughing to your adorable coo-ing noises.

Right now you are fast asleep on our shared bed with the fan going as it has been horribly hot and humid the last few days. This makes things difficult as you like to be with Mummy in the Hugabub or the Kozy, but then you just get too hot which makes you sad. So I put you down, and that makes you sad too. Most days you are very happy except when it is time for dinner, then you get a bit whingy and Daddy says, 'it must be Crank O'Clock again'.

I am going to finish now, my little love. Thank you for making our family complete.



Dear Abigail Pearl, the almost-three-year-old girl,

Oh my darling darling girl, you are nearly three. Three! I remember when you were three months and Daddy and I were enrolling you at your kinder, three years old seemed impossibly far away and grown-up. But, here we are and my love for you increases with everything new you do and learn.

It is hard to fit a year's worth of growth into one letter. This year you continued coming to work with me and you started attending music on a Wednesday with Daddy. You continued learning to talk, ask questions, disagree and describe how you were feeling. (Mummy, I a bit sad, I need a tuddle). You had your first Easter eggs, fell in love with your Auntie Lucy, looked forward to Christmas and became a big sister.

Sometimes I look at you and cannot believe such beauty can exist, especially, I'm sorry to say, when you are a bit sick as when your perfect pearly skin is flushed with fever you look completely ravishing. You like dressing up as a fairy now, and sometimes go shopping that way which causes you a few problems as everyone likes to talk to you about how lovely you look, but you are still working on becoming comfortable talking to people you don't know. Usually you ask me to help you and I say what you want to say for you. I know it won't be long before you are able to chat away to anyone you want to.

Soon you will be starting kinder and you are looking forward to it very much. You often talk to Daddy and me about all the things you will do, like learn to mit (knit), paint, count, cut up fruit and make lots of new friends. You always say that you will give your new friends "ots and ots of tuddles" - what lucky children, to have such a loving little girl as a friend. You know that Mummy will drop you off and come and pick you up later, and you seem very confident, but I am anticipating a few tears in our early weeks.

I am feeling sad and happy about kinder. Happy because I know it is a beautiful place for you to learn and grow and begin to make your own way, but sad because it is the end of our exlusive time together. Now you will start to move away from me into a brave new world of other children and wonderful teachers who will influence you during your next stage of growth. This is as it should be, but I have loved every moment of your first three years when you believed the sun rose and set with Mummy. You are such wonderful company, from our shared cup of tea/hot chocolate when we first get up, to when we snuggle up telling stories and singing songs at bedtime. And all the times in between when we sit together in cafes, go to the library, play in the park or you help me with the laundry, cleaning in the bathroom or washing windows.

It is time to start letting you go, but I will always always have you in my heart, because you are my heart. I love you effortlessly and forever with every breath and every dream.



Thursday, January 28, 2010

How to keep up?

Oh, not managing very well to keep this updated. cannot face typing one handed and almost always have small breastfeeding infant taking up one arm at present. Right now she is asleep in hugabub, but may wake up at any moment. I would also like to fit in a toilet stop at some stage, but such is my commitment to my small but select audience that here I am writing instead.

Right now, DH is still mostly at home, so am very much enjoying having him and his help with active toddler-type. Inf act, I have to say that I am finding the transition from one to two much easier than from zero to one. Partly because Evie is an easier baby than Abi was (apart from some feeding difficulties, more on that later) but I think it's just more about attitude. For example; I expect that Evie will sleep during the day in the sling or with me, when I can put her down in her rocker or on the bed, it's a bonus. And I never bother timing how long she's been asleep or trying to resettle her. Whereas with Abi, I expected she would sleep in her basket for a couple of hours at a time, so when she didn't and I had to carry her, it felt like an imposition. As DH said, I've already basically given up my life, so what's one more?

Of course, Evie isn't even six weeks yet, so still plenty of time for it all to go to crap, but right now...I'd say pretty cruisy really.

Except for - and this is a big exception - breastfeeding has been unexpectedly tricky. In spite of her perfect birth and great latch from the beginning, not to mention no jaundice and a healthy term baby, she didn't really put on any weight for the first three weeks. The MCHN couldn't understand it and neither could I - she latched well, seemed to be swallowing, wasn't fussy and unsettled during the day...what was going on? The nurse advised me to express feeds into a bottle to check my supply and ensure she was actually getting full feeds to see what happened. She terrified me by saying there could be some kind of metabolic disorder that was stopping her from processing her milk properly. Cue panicked weeping.

I really didn't think there was anything basically wrong with her, in spite of my panic, but I was worried obviously and spent the next four days milking myself like a cow as it seemed to work quicker than my hand pump. Next weigh in found that she had put on 220g in four days - massive sigh of relief from all concerned. So since then I've hired an electric pump from my ABA group and we have been doing a mix of EBM feeds and breast. She put on another 200g in the next week, so we have gone to basically breastfeeds in the morning and overnight with two or three bottles in the afternoon. We have another weigh-in next week, if she has continued to put on weight - and I think she has - then we'll try phasing out the bottles altogether, if she's stalled a bit then I'm going to look into a SNS line.

She is definitely more difficult to feed than Abi. Abi would attach wherever, whenever, not fussy about positions, just drained the breast and then came off when she was finished. Evie definitely prefers the right side, likes me to sit up, gets annoyed when the milk isn't flowing really quickly and requires me to do hand-compressions and comes on and off. Part of this may well be being made worse by the bottle feeds, which is why I'm keen to get rid of them. I'm also taking her for a craniosacral adjustment next week, so I'm hoping that will help with her endurance and maybe work on any stiffness issues she has from her fast passage into the world.

So we are working hard and I'm proud of my commitment. I also have a much greater understanding of breastfeeding difficulties and how it feels to not be able to feed your baby. This should stand me in good stead when I eventually qualify as an ABA breastfeeding cousellor.

See look! Looks like perfect breastfeeding doesn't it?

Ooh, baby waking. More pics later.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Into my arms

The birth story of Evangeline Flora

At exactly 40 weeks, on the 18th of December, I had a craniosacral therapy appointment to get everything pelvic related in tip-top condition for the birth. I didn’t really have any signs apart from my continuing Braxton-Hicks, so I wasn’t expecting anything to happen very soon. At my 40 week midwife appointment the midwife explained that if nothing had happened by my 41 w 3 day appointment they would do a stretch and sweep and then another two days later. I would also be booked into for an induction at 42 weeks, but the midwife said judging from all the Braxton Hicks etc she didn’t think I’d make it to the next appointment anyway.

I still had niggling thoughts that during my hospital stay with Abi I had also had all the same Braxton-Hicks - I’d get a series of them, some quite strong, and then they’d just fade away. I had this superstition that my body just didn’t know how to go into labour and that the same thing would happen with this baby. I realised that I needed to address this kind of thinking so I spent a bit of time each day trying to do affirmations like “My body knows what to do to birth this baby”.

Anyway, at the CS appointment, my therapist said as she was working on my pelvis “Hmm, I’m getting Tuesday. Yes, Tuesday the 22nd, a very powerful number in numerology. I’m going to predict that this baby will come on Tuesday.”

Sounded good to me. Still a few days before Christmas and comfortably both full-term and well away from any need for medical induction. So I decided to focus on that day during my relaxation and visualisation sessions. I hadn’t been doing them every night, but tried to at least every second night. I can’t say I had much faith in the efficacy of this plan, but had nothing to lose by trying.

On Monday night poor DH had a migraine, the last in a long series of illnesses which had been stressing us both as we really needed him to be healthy. He went to bed early and I stayed up watching a movie. I noticed my Braxton Hicks were hanging around and I decided to time them over the course of the movie to see what they did. I worked out they were coming every 8-10 minutes, not particularly strong, but they did continue for the length of the movie. I started to get excited but kept admonishing myself to stay calm, stay calm, it could easily all fade away.

The movie finished and I got into bed with my trusty iPod to listen to music, podcasts, relaxation stuff, whatever would help me stay relaxed as per my Calmbirth class. I kept timing the BH, which I was trying to remember to call surges and they continued at approx 9 minute intervals, sometimes more, sometimes less. Some were starting to feel a bit stronger now, but I managed to doze off sometime after midnight. I discovered the next morning that DH could hear the iPod and was lying there wondering if I was in labour but not wanting to wake him up.

Next morning, surges still there, still around 8 minutes apart and not especially troublesome. I told DH about them and said if he could entertain Abi I would make some cereal and sit on the computer for a while so I could time them. During this time they moved to around 7 minutes apart, but still not completely regular. I was starting to feel them around the back now and was becoming more convinced that yes! this is it! Here I am going into spontaneous labour, whooo! I made breakfast for DH and Abi and then rang mum and dad to let them know what was going on. Mum felt I was in early labour but that it would be a while yet and they would make their way up to our house from their place at the beach, arriving in a couple of hours or so. It was about 9am by this stage, maybe a bit before.

I suggested DH take Abi to the park for a play and I would have a bath. He was a bit worried about leaving me, but they took the car and his phone, so I knew they would get back quickly when I needed them. So off they went and I lay in the bath reading a magazine and excitedly noting that the surges were coming closer together and feeling more intense. Our baby was finally going to make an appearance! I spent about 40 minutes in the bath and then decided to get out and ring my sister who was going to come and help look after Abi.

She was very excited and asked me if I thought she should set off now or when my parents arrived. I thought about it for a while and said, no, she should come now, as I knew it would take her around 45 mins - 1hr to get here. In retrospect I am very glad I said for her to leave straight away...

I got dressed in a glamourous labour outfit of old exercise shorts and a faded black singlet. I then went upstairs to inflate my exercise ball which took a little while and which I kind of wished I’d done the day before, but who knew? I also thought I’d better ring the birth centre to give them the heads up, which I did. The surges were getting stronger now and I found it was most comfortable to get on my hands and knees and rock my pelvis a little bit through them. Still quite managable though, and I started doing my Calmbirth breathing through them, just to keep in practice. The birth centre midwife asked me a few questions about the regularity of the surges (between 4 and 7 minutes at this stage) and said to stay home as long as I was comfortable and to let them know how it was going a bit later.

It must have been about 10am at this stage, maybe a bit before. I went up onto my exercise ball and sat on it for a while, staring out of the window between surges and trying to stay relaxed and focussed. I could really feel the surges right around the back and front now and was having to concentrate to breathe through them, finding it most comfortable if I knelt down and hugged the exercise ball while they were going on.

The surges had settled into a more regular pattern now and I timed a few, noting they were pretty much 4 minutes apart. I was still reasonably comfortable, but I decided to ring DH and ask him to come home - I wanted him around to bring me water and things. He said he’d be right there and I grabbed my iPod with all my special labour music (Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Nick Cave - somehow I felt all those deep male voices were what I’d need) and listened to a song or two. After all the trouble I went to to select them all, I think I listened to about four songs altogether.

DH and Abi soon arrived back and DH brought me my specially procured lime water and then asked me what I needed. I told him I’d just continue on my own upstairs until I thought we should go and that Mum and Dad and Lucy were on their way. Back to my friend the excercise ball I went.

I could hear DH and Abi chatting away and playing downstairs. Abi wanted to come and see me, but DH was telling her our new baby was coming and Mummy needed to work very hard for a while. She seemed pretty cheerful about this and I loved hearing her chirpy little voice as I laboured.

By about 10.45 the surges were getting really intense and quite painful. Even leaning over the exercise ball wasn’t helping anymore and I had a few moments of panic about “how bad is this going to get? How am I going to cope? etc etc” This is where the Calmbirth preparation I had done really came into its own. I can’t say it made the pain go away or anything, but it allowed me to pull my mind back to concentrating on one surge at a time and not thinking about what was coming next. I kept doing the breathing, but it wasn’t flowing particularly naturally so I may have stopped thinking about it at that point.

I felt like I needed to be able to relax my legs more and as sitting on the ball felt uncomfortable I remembered hearing that sitting on the toilet was often the most comfortable position so I decided to give that a go. I went downstairs again, passing DH on the way and telling him they were getting pretty painful now and could he please ring my sister to find out where she was. I went and sat on the toilet and it did feel more comfortable, but now things really started getting serious. Pretty soon I started to make a fair bit of noise and DH was getting worried; he told me my sister was about 10 minutes away, which I was very relieved to hear. I told him to ring the birth centre and tell them we’d be coming in soon.

He got on the phone and was relaying questions to me through the door as I refused to leave the small, dark haven of the toilet. I think I was well into transition by this stage and felt totally taken over, but managing to ride the waves and stay ‘in my body’ rather than in my head. I was acting completely instinctively, vocalising when I needed to and getting up and down during surges, holding on desperately to the doorknob. A phrase a friend used about her labour came into my mind - she said it got to a point that she was climbing the walls - and I thought in a lucid moment that that was an excellent description of what was going on.

My poor Abi could hear all of this and became very distressed, I could hear her screaming “Mummy, come out here! Come out here!” and crying and crying. Poor DH was trying to talk to the midwife on the phone, and in the middle of all this I started feeling very pushy. I reached down between my legs and wiped with toilet paper to see that I had finally had a bloody show. Reported this to DH and then on the next push contraction my waters broke.

I can remember the deep, involuntary noises I was making and even there right in the middle of it all I was thinking, ‘wow, so you really can’t stop, it really is all automatic.’ My first induced labour was so different, I never really got to go into my body, I was all in my head with so much fear, and then I had an epidural so I never felt that amazing sensation of my body just taking over and doing everything itself.

I think my sister arrived at that point, I can remember her cheery “Hi!” at the front door and then a shocked silence as she heard what was going on. She quickly took Abi outside and I could hear Abi was immediately fine and chatting away, so that was one stress eliminated. DH had got off the phone at this point and was trying to get me out of the toilet so we could get in the car and go to the hospital. There was just no way I could have done that at that point, he may as well have been suggesting a quick 10km run before setting off.

I had another voice in my head which was my Calmbirth instructor saying “In the case of a precipitous birth, if you feel as though you are pushing and you can’t stop then Do Not Get In The Car. Call an ambulance.” So I called through the door in a break between surges, “the baby’s coming, you need to call an ambulance.” God knows what DH was going through at that point, but he duly called 000 and explained what was going on. I remember I was saying “Oh god, oh no, oh god, oh no” during each surge and just feeling those incredibly powerful pulses as my body pushed.
DH started telling me I had to get off the toilet, as the 000 operator was telling him it wasn’t safe for the baby, perfectly reasonably, who wants to make an entrance via a toilet? I still couldn’t really respond properly and as our toilet is small enough for someone inside to keep their knee against the door, he was completely helpless. I started to get a bit more of a break between surges though, and I realised that yes, I needed to get off the toilet and I opened the door and DH lifted me off the toilet. However I then said “Oh, another one’s coming and got back on the toilet and shut the door in his face, sending him back to ground zero.

I did get off again though and DH was still on the phone, the operator asking if I could feel the head, which I couldn’t at that stage, just softness when I pushed which I remember I was worried about as I thought I should feel the head, remembering how Abi went back and forth for a while before crowning. I got down on my hands and knees, DH went to look for a mirror, couldn’t find one, and when he came back I was in the middle of another big push, felt a stretching I think and then saw and felt a head emerge! I heard DH saying, ‘Oh the baby’s crowned!” and I was impressed by his terminology and I also remember hazily thinking, okay that’s the hard part done. The 000 operator had told him to get me to lie down to slow things down and he was dragging a mattress out, but I said sharply for him to stop, there was no way I was going to lie down. Next surge and push and my little girl slipped into my waiting hands. I saw that she was a girl and she had her eyes open and a look of surprise on her dear little squishy face. She gave a little grumbly cry, nothing like the extended screaming that Abi did, and turned pink so I knew she was okay. Time was abot 11.30, so active labour of an hour and a half.

I was laughing and crying and saying “Look! Look what I did!” and DH was wrapping us up in blankets and towels, as I knew the most important thing was that she not get cold. The Ambos arrived about 10 minutes later, pronounced our little Evangeline perfectly healthy, clamped and cut the cord, which had pretty well stopped pulsing now anyway and organised to take us to hospital, which I wanted. We said goodbye to a wary little Abi and a very surprised Auntie and off we went.

So that’s our birth story. Stupendous. Have more to say, but will finish later.

One other thing. Two days before she was born I chose a song for Evie. Nick Cave’s ‘Into my arms’. Appropriate, no?