On coolish February day Oliver was born.
Various versions of this story have appeared on the web and in books since 2009, and it's finally come home to roost in Polkadotsi, with it's mother.
My labour started in the wee hours of the morning (1am) when I could no longer ignore the fact I was having more than just niggles in my tummy. I spent a couple of hours, pacing around, trying to sleep, and getting in the bath to ease of the pain a bit.
At around 2.30am I felt I needed a bit more support, so I woke up my husband, and he called our doula, Lisa. By the time Lisa arrived, with each contraction, I was bent over our dresser, wiggling my hips, and trying to remember to breathe slowly. Her presence was so calming, and all of a sudden, I felt ready to relax into the labour, and just accept it as it came.
There is something soothing about warm hands on your back and shoulders, as your body prepares to work hard.
Adam, my husband had been in the living room re-pumping up the birth pool, as it had deflated over the weeks we'd preemptively had it up. Lisa suggested we went for a walk, so in the chill of 3.30am, perhaps the one cold night in February, Adam and I went for a walk around the block. I moved through the contractions, by clinging to Adam, and breathing deeply into his shoulder. We came home pretty quickly because it was so chilly, and I couldn't stop shivering!
I spent the next couple of hours, leaning over the couch, while Lisa and Adam rubbed my back and grounded my breathing.
The contractions started to amp up a bit, and we decided it was time to call our community midwife, At this stage, I was resting on a fitball, with warm towels, and getting up and squat-bouncing through contractions. The whole scene reminded me of a dog walking while it pooped,
I tried this for as long as I could, determined to stay upright for as long as I could until I couldn't bear it any longer. Lisa suggested I hop into the pool, and aaaahhhhhhhhhhh warm water and bliss.
The contractions were nice and strong by then, and I wiggled, and bounced my way through them, breathing, as best as I could. Holding onto Adam and Lisa's hands. I was feeling edgy by this stage, and scared that I wasn't making progress. But the reassurance of my beautiful husband and doula kept me grounded.
Our student midwife arrived, and snuck in to chair mid-contraction I barely noticed her presence. And shortly after that, our wonderful midwife arrived.
The contractions began to take my full attention, and I grunted, groaned, mooed, and generally made a lot of noise through them. I discovered how much I adore chomping on frozen ribenas, and in between contractions munched on them.
Fast forward a few hours more (mightn't have been, I didn't have clocks, and had asked not to be told) Just as I was about to give up, thinking it was all too hard!! My lovely midwife told me to reach down and birth my baby.
Sure enough, I reached down, and to my delight, was Ollie, not far from being born! The next few contractions brought on the overwhelming need to push, and the strongest sensations I've ever felt. It was agony, but for a purpose, and all of a sudden it felt so close!
What seemed like a lifetime later, the final push arrived, and my little son slid into the world, I turned around, and saw his beautiful eyes open in the water, and scooped him up into my arms.
In that moment, I re-fell in love with my husband, and our first son, and have discovered a whole new capacity to love my new Ollie
We snuggled up with each other in the lovely warm pool and waited for his cord to stop pulsing.
We clamped his cord and Ollie snuggled with his Daddy while I had a shower, and had a few grazes stitched by my midwives.
There are a million moments in my birth, that I keep reflecting on, and recollecting how blessed and privileged I was to be able to have such a wonderful experience.
I was surrounded by empowering, and supportive people, who believed in me. My beautiful husband was just a pillar of strength and encouragement. And I discovered a side of myself that I had always hoped had existed, but now I know for sure.