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11th February 2015

I suppose when you have a completely trouble free pregnancy, you expect some kind of traumatic birth. I really loved being pregnant, had no morning sickness, no symptoms, nothing really. The midwife had even commented on how I'd managed to hop up on the bed for examinations like someone who was 12 weeks pregnant when I was nearing full term. In fact I was sat on the kitchen windowsill doing gloss painting when I was overdue, pregnancy just seemed to agree with me!

My due date of the 6th of February came and went like every other day. I went to see the midwife who tried to do a stretch and sweep, but my cervix was too far back. I wasn't expecting to be told anything else, I had been certain for weeks that I'd end up going overdue and would probably end up having to be induced. Whilst at my appointment the midwife called the hospital and booked my induction for the 18th of February. Having a date by which the little man would be here was a little bit scary, but exciting too.

The next few days I carried on as normal. No braxton hicks and no twinges, disappointing for anyone who asked & frustrating for my mum & dad who couldn't wait to meet their first grandchild! I spent my time cleaning (the house was immaculate) and finishing off decorating the kitchen (I ADORE it, it is almost finished apart from needing a few pictures on the walls, photos another time.)

I woke up on Wednesday 11th February 2015 feeling a little bit off. I couldn't put my finger on why. I tried to get a little bit more sleep. At about 12pm I felt as if I was going to get diarrhoea, but after sitting on the toilet and then getting back into bed and repeating that cycle for around an hour, nothing was happening. Chris rang from work as he had been doing every day to ask if anything was happening. I eloquently told him I felt like I was getting the shits and that I didn't want to speak to him. He rang me back about 30 minutes later to say he'd spoken to his colleagues and they thought I was in early labour, so they had packed up his laptop for him & were sending him home. I told him not to be stupid, nothing was happening & not to waste days off from work. In hindsight it was a good job they did send him home, as with the speed of everything he would have missed it all!

He came home anyway. At about 2pm Chris came in, me still sat on the toilet telling him I felt like I was getting the shits. Nothing like what I expected anything labour related to be like, it wasn't particularly painful. Got in the bath and started getting mild pains in the bottom of my back. It was at this point I had to ask Chris to google what a contraction felt like as I was certain they had to be a lot worse than this! He googled & said I should be feeling my bump go hard, all I could feel was the mild pain in the bottom of my back, but when Chris put his hand on my bump he could feel it hardening.

About 3.30pm the pains were getting quite close together, about every 5 minutes and lasting about a minute or so. Lying on my back was quite uncomfortable so I had to get out of the bath & went back into the bedroom. Lying down was quite uncomfortable so I stayed on all fours on the bed. Chris started asking if we should go to the hospital so I asked him to ring them up, they advised to take a couple of paracetamol & stay at home, as with a first baby we would be hours and hours yet.

Around 4.30pm my waters burst all over the bed, and I knelt on the floor with a towel under me instead. By this point the contractions were about 3 minutes apart and were getting a little bit more painful. Chris called the hospital again and they told him that they wouldn't be expecting me until at least 10pm as it was my first baby. Chris asked if I wanted to go downstairs so he could play Playstation(!) as they had convinced him that I was a while off yet.

Now I've seen One Born Every Minute, and I couldn't understand why they were telling me to stay at home, as my waters had gone and everything was happening really quickly. Within the space of half an hour the contractions had become every minute, lasting about a minute, and I felt like I needed to poo (again, they always say that's when you're close on One Born Every Minute, when you feel like you need to poo!) I perhaps should have attended some antenatal classes rather than rely on One Born Every Minute as a guide!

It was around this time that I felt like I needed to push, I knew it wasn't just needing a poo and that something was happening. In my head the only thing I could think was that there was no way I could get into a car and get to the hospital in this state, any position other than on all 4 fours was uncomfortable, and I could feel the baby making his way down, it would be impossible to sit upright, even for the 10-15 minute car journey to the hospital.

At that stage I knew I wouldn't be making it to the hospital. Chris was quite calm at this stage, him having spoken to the hospital and being told it would be hours before baby made an appearance, he was hanging about like a spare part. It was only when I told him that I needed to push that he realised it was serious! He rang the hospital for the 3rd time and told them what was going on- I think it was only then that they took me seriously as well. The hospital didn't have any available midwives in the area, and told Chris they would send an ambulance. I could register things going on around me but was concentrating on pushing. Within a few pushes I could feel baby's head coming right down, and Chris could see it all going on too (what a trooper, he was wiping my arse, now that's love!)

When he told the midwife on the phone he could see something, they told him he would have to deliver him himself. He tells me now that that's when he panicked, as all he could think was that he hadn't washed his hands! The midwife asked Chris to put her on speakerphone so that she could talk to me too, telling me not to push but to breathe through it, Chris was behind me telling me I was doing well & that I was nearly there. Bless, I know my own body and knew I wasn't that close as his head hadn't come out yet.

All I could hear was the midwife asking Chris what he could see, and Chris not really answering them properly. He told me afterwards that he didn't want to say at the time, but it had looked all weird and looked like the baby's head had been crushed, as it was surrounded by bits of inside and was all wrinkled. The midwife wasn't getting much of a response to her question so must have sensed this, and told him not to worry if it looked weird and that it was perfectly normal. I think at this stage he relaxed a bit and could see the baby's head starting to crown.

From crowning to his head popping out was really quick, and we could hear the midwife in the background asking where the ambulance was (apparently it had got lost, despite us living in a house that's been here for almost 200 years and is on a fairly main road!) Chris then disappeared- he told me afterwards he panicked because he'd realised he'd have to deliver the baby himself and needed to wash his hands, so he did that and ran downstairs to unlock the front door for the paramedics. When he came back up it was literally only a couple of pushes before he caught the baby in his arms- at 18.11pm on 11/2/15 Henry George Whittle was born, caught by his daddy with me on all fours on the bedroom floor, surrounded by towels.

Literally a minute later the paramedics shouted up from downstairs and made their way into the bedroom, me still on all fours, Henry crying and still attached to me by his cord, and Chris holding him like Rafiki from The Lion King. The paramedics aren't really allowed to cut the cord unless it's a necessity, they have to wait for the placenta to come out. Nobody tells you you still get contractions after the baby is born, it's like giving birth twice, firstly to the baby and then to the placenta.

We waited to see if the placenta would come out, but nothing was happening so they made the decision to take me to the hospital with Henry still attached by his cord, me naked but for a dressing gown and knickers. Walking down the stairs holding a baby and having bits dangling between your legs is highly unpleasant! Went in the ambulance to the hospital, having some contractions for the placenta but still with nothing happening.

By the time we arrived at the hospital it was just before 8pm and the placenta literally fell out (really grim!) - in fact I think it took longer to deliver the placenta than it did to have Henry. If I'd have had him at the hospital I could have had an injection to deliver the placenta quicker. Chris then arrived at the hospital (he'd followed in the car) and I had a few stitches (pleasant.)

Due to the fact I hadn't delivered the placenta at home I had to be taken into hospital & had to stay the night before I could be discharged. The placenta is a weird thing by the way, it looks like a massive liver, they just whack it into a plastic bowl and examine it. Apparently my placenta was an unusual specimen because it was big & although it was all one thing, it was as if it was split into two parts inside a bag. The midwife was checking if there were any students in to come and have a look at it as it was an unusual shape as well apparently(!)

My mum & dad & brother & Heather then came in to see us, I felt like an animal in a zoo, sat on a bed whilst they all crowded round. I must have looked a right state as I'd lost a bit of blood so got put on iron tablets the next day, plus I think I was in a little bit of shock due to baby's fast entrance into the world!

Got taken up to the ward about 10/11pm & into a ward with 4 beds. Had a broken night's sleep whilst the baby opposite kept crying, and about 4am a woman got wheeled in, fresh from her c-section, machines all beeping and her being dazed and confused. Henry was quite well behaved & didn't cry too much, although he gave me a scare waking up coughing mucus up- the midwife had just walked in to check on everyone & quickly whisked him away as his nostrils were flaring when he breathed. They put a monitor on him to check his heart rate which was fine after a few minutes. She told me to press the buzzer if it happened again. It happened again a couple of hours later, only this time what he was coughing up was brown so that worried me even more- the midwife came back to check on him & said it was old blood from when he was being delivered & not to worry.

Chris arrived at 9am the next morning with a bunny for Henry and some artificial sunflowers for me. The next few hours were a whirl of being checked for multiple things. Had a blood test as my heart rate had gone up, which was caused by my iron levels being low. Henry had his ears tested & only passed the test in his right ear. We went back to the hospital last Friday and all is now fine thankfully, apparently sometimes this happens as they have amniotic fluid in their ears which means they can't hear properly straight away. I had an MMR booster, had my stitches checked, they showed us how to bath baby and checked him over fully. When the nurse checked him over he was showing his strength & tried taking a couple of steps when she held him up. We were allowed home at about 2pm.

The midwives told me to have a homebirth 'next time' as they couldn't believe how quick he was for a first baby, and said if I'd done it on 2 paracetamol this time there'd be no need for them in future. Chris loved the fact that we did it all on our own, and has been recounting his Lion King moment to anyone who will listen. A story to tell the grandkids! His colleagues have even been sending him links to midwifery jobs.

Henry- where did that come from? It was never even a consideration, but somehow it just fits, and it was Chris' suggestion. He went to the hospital shop whilst we were having a million tests done, and says he had a lightbulb moment when he saw some Henry Goode's licorice. He came back to the ward & said he had got the name & that I would love it. And when he came out with Henry it just fitted. I don't think I would ever have liked it if someone had suggested it before he was born, but it just suits him. And the more I look at him I can't imagine him being called anything else, it's so alien that I wanted to call him Jude! And so he became Henry George Whittle, Chris' thinking being that when you say your child is called Henry people would immediately assume he's a nice child. Well, here's hoping!

The days since coming home have been a complete blur of midwife appointments, sleeping, feeding & changing nappies, I still can't quite believe he's here & how quick everything was. Sometimes I just sit here watching him and can't quite believe that I grew him inside me. I've become one of those people who thinks everything their child does is great, because it is! I even commented to Chris how cute & tiny his bum hole is, now that's fucking weird! Honestly though, he's truly great and I'm so bursting with love for this tiny human :)

just a couple of photosCollapse )
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