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Saturday 10th September, 2016

First Baby

It all started on Friday evening. I had my appointment at Kingston hospital and following an examination the midwife confirmed I was 2 cm dilated and gave me a sweep. I was really pleased that I was starting to make progress. I thought, maybe something might happen over the weekend but if not they booked me in or an induction the following Sunday. Early Saturday morning I started to feel little cramps. I got up at 2 am and was paranoid that the baby wasn't moving as much as before the sweep. The midwife did tell me to monitor the movement and if there was any change to let them know immediately. So at 5 am we decided to go into the hospital where they monitored me and baby. All was fine. We came back home at 7 am and I stayed at home for as long as I could. I went through the contractions for the next 12 hours and Marcus was a rock. He made sure I was eating and drinking and he helped me with different positions that I had practised during my pregnancy yoga classes. The best position for me was leaning against the back of the dining chair. I used different positions like holding the back of the chair, kneeling on a cushion and leaning on the front of the chair. Marcus tried to introduce the yoga ball to me but for some reason I couldn't get comfortable.

There were moments where the contractions were strong and Marcus started to breathe with me to make sure I didn't lose focus and it would bring me back on track. With each breath I imagined pushing my baby further down each time. I kept thinking nature is good, the contractions will come, they will peak and then they will go. Then I get a break to the next contraction. When the contractions started to be about 3.5 mins apart I said to Marcus I wanted to go in. He was keen that I stay at home for as long as possible but after 12 hours I was getting really tired.

My birth plan was for a natural labour with no pain relief but there was times at home when I felt like I needed something to help me. Being at home of course I had no choice but to keep breathing.

We got to the hospital and I was now 5 cm dilated. As the midwife was examining me she asked if I would like another sweep. Since she was already there I couldn't really think so I just said yes. She was aware that I had had one the day before also. She said my cervix was paper thin.

The midwife was lovely and asked me if I would like to go in a pool for a while. I said I wasn't planning a water birth but I was happy to try the pool for a while. They started to fill the pool as I continued to breathe through my contractions leaning up against the window sill and rocking back and forth.

The pool was ready and we walked into the room. The room was lit only by the lights in the pool. We both looked at each other and thought we were walking into a spa. It seemed to be the perfect environment to birth our baby. Since it was just after 7 pm I was introduced to yet another midwife who would take care of me.  

She was really young, from Italy and I struggled to understand her accent. My initial thoughts were that I really like the other midwife whose shift just ended, she was older so had more experience and I just felt comfortable with her. I decided to take a deep breathe and not judge a book by its cover and give this relationship some time. In the end it was the best decision I made. She was amazing. Every time she spoke to me her Italian accent soothed me. She was so calming and made me feel so comfortable putting cool flannels on my forehead and shoulders and giving me words of encouragement throughout. 


Before I got in the pool and it was now 7 pm she said at 11 pm I would be 7 cm. To which I replied, so I’m only going to dilate 2cm in the next 4 hours. She replied yes. So this baby wasn’t coming until Sunday and she agreed. I suddenly felt deflated, unsure of how much more I had in me to take me all the way to 10 cm. I turned and got into the pool and it was so comforting. I got back to focusing on each contraction, breathing and visualising my baby coming closer and closer with each wave. 


Around 9 pm I started to feel pressure in the front. I was confused as to what that was as I knew any pressure in the back was my baby but this was different. It was my waters bulging. After one of the contractions I got out of the pool and leaned over the bed. I suddenly started to feel very uncomfortable out of the pool which I didn’t expect. On the next contraction there was this almighty splash, my waters had broke and I was amazed at how much fluid covered the room floor. I also felt bad that she now had to clean this up!! Sorry!!!


I felt safer being in the pool so back in I went. Around 10.30 pm I started to feel pressure and I told Marcus and the midwife that the baby was coming. The midwife disagreed and said it’s too early. I said OK I know I haven’t done this before but my baby is coming. She put her hand into the water and said, you are fully dilated. So while initial thoughts would be that I would get to 7 cm at 11 pm, I was now 10 cm at 10.30pm. 


The urge to push was undeniable. It completely took over and I was now having to dig really deep. The midwife handed me the gas and air but I gave it back to her pretty quickly. I was too far gone now to have to change my breathing technique so I did without. 


And here it was. This moment I had been told about. This moment of self doubt. I had had enough. I wanted someone to just take me out of there and get my baby out. I couldn’t do this on my own. I was scared. Marcus looked me deep in the eyes and reminded me of this moment and encouraged me. I suddenly realised it was all down to me, I had to do this and my mind flipped to deep concentration, grit and determination. 


Just under an hour of pushing, midwife has said I would be pushing for 2 hours, I remembered what Marcus said earlier. We don’t want the baby to be born on Sept 11th!!!!!! What!!! So all I could think of was right, this has to happen before midnight and suddenly the head was out. The head was out. The midwife said I had maybe two more pushes and I said, I’ve got one more to give. 


And here she was. Little Jorja @ 11.57 pm. We did it. 


We got out of the pool and I got onto the bed where we enjoyed skin to skin for the next hour. It was so incredible. Jorja started feeding straight away, the breast crawl is real. 


All I wanted to do was call my Mum but Marcus reminded me that it’s not over until the placenta was born. The midwife said I had an hour to pass the placenta before she would get an injection to speed the process along. The hour was up and still no sign of it coming so the midwife left us to it to get the injection. I gave Jorja to Marcus where he enjoyed some skin to skin and I got off the bed and sat over a bed pan on the toilet. With gravity now on my side, I passed the placenta without any issues just as the midwife returned to the room. 


A few hours later we were home with our new baby and the rest as they say is history. 

Sunday 16th December, 2018 

Second Baby

It’s early morning and I was in full nesting mode with no signs of slowing down. I wanted everything to be perfect at home when the time came to leave for the hospital to give birth to our baby. We didn’t know the sex this time round either. I thought about how nice it would be to have a boy since we already had a girl, but also in the same breath, how nice would it be for Jorja to have a best friend in a sister. Either way, a happy healthy bouncing baby was all we wanted.

I got a phone call from my sister in law asking if it was OK if they went to Westfield to do some Xmas shopping or should they stay close by just in case? My reply was “go and do your shopping, we are days away yet I am sure”. Due in just 4 days time, I really hoped baby would be ready to arrive before Xmas day, mainly because I wanted to be at home with Jorja to see what Santa had brought.

That morning, as I pottered, I did feel some niggles. There was a part of me that thought it was nothing, but my gut told me otherwise. Something was telling me this baby was getting ready to come. Around 2 pm I noticed that I had passed my mucous plug. This hadn’t happened with Jorja. I called triage straight away and they advised that this didn’t really mean anything. Labour could still be days away. Something told me labour was imminent. It's now 6 pm and I’m on FaceTime with my Mum as I made Irish stew. I wanted to have a big dinner in case it all did kick off, I knew we would both need our energy.

Throughout this pregnancy, I had two concerns. One, who would look after Jorja when I went to hospital so I had plan A, B, C and D. Two, would there be a pool available for me in the hospital for another water birth? I knew I had no power over the latter so I prepared for one not being available but I kept the hope alive.

Fast forward to 10 pm, it was bedtime. I knew now these niggles were the start of labour and I lay in bed practising my breathing as each contraction came. We started to time each one and at 11 pm we decided to call my parents-in-law to come and spend the night. They arrived at midnight and at 1 am I decided to call triage again just to let them know I was in early labour. The contractions at this point were completely manageable, everything was fine. Then the midwife at the end of the phone asked, “Is this your first or second baby” to which I replied, “my second”. She then advised we come straight in.

Marcus thought maybe it was too soon to go to hospital since we laboured for a lot longer at home when in labour with Jorja. I explained that second babies come quick, so we left. While on the phone, I told the midwife that I would love a water birth if there was a pool available. She advised that at that point there was one available. We left the house at 1 am, no one heard us leave. We arrived at the hospital within two contractions and the car park was practically empty. With one more contraction to breathe through in the car park, we made our way into the hospital to meet the midwife.

We spent the next while having the midwife monitor me and do some paperwork as another midwife filled the pool. As we walked to the room I asked Marcus which room did we give birth to Jorja in, and it was the same room. The minute we walked into the room, I felt an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia, I could hardly believe 2 years had passed already. I felt safe, calm, confident and completely in control of what I needed to do. All was going fine so far. I got in the pool and it just felt so relaxing.

The midwife checked the baby’s heartbeat regularly and one thing I noticed was each time she placed the Doppler on my bump she was going lower and lower. I knew this baby was coming faster than I expected. Fast forward to 3.30 am, the contractions were much stronger now. I kept breathing, in through the nose and out through the mouth but now on each out breath I found myself being a lot more vocal, like a loud moan sound, and for some reason it really helped. It helped me focus on my visualisation of my baby moving down with each surge and just made them feel that bit more bearable.

Soon it was time to push. It was very different to what I remembered. While I knew that with or without me, my body was going to birth my baby but for the first time I had a real sense of this. I felt completely out of control and now really scared. It felt almost impossible for me to catch my breath as my baby moved further and further down, I was finding it hard to cope with the speed at which she was coming. I was in the pool squeezing Marcus hand. I remember shouting at him to help me, telling him I couldn’t do it. He looked me in the eye and started to breathe. He told me to be calm and to breathe with him. I kept his stare and I did it with him and together we got through each contraction until 4.40 am and it was my last push. Little Jazmine was born in the water at 4.43 am and the midwife lifted her out of the water and into my arms. It was a little girl and I instantly thought to myself, Jorja you have your best friend now.

I got out of the pool to walk to the bed and as I did the midwife was looking at me in surprise. My placenta had already passed and was half way out. Well that was easy!! I immediately got on the bed and fed my baby and was so grateful to be back in this same room having another baby. Fast forward to 8 am, Sunday 16th December, my birthday, and we were getting ready to go home. At 9 am we walked in the door of the house to have breakfast with little Jorja. Everyone nearly fell over when they saw a baby in the car seat. They woke up that morning not even realising we had left.

Second babies do come quick. Nearly as quick as this first year.

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