It's crazy to think I gave birth nearly 3 weeks ago now, it seems like much longer ago! I know not everyone likes to read or hear about giving birth but I am keen to document mine and I also hope its fairly positive considering it ended up being an unplanned home birth!
So after going 9 days over my due date I was starting to lose it slightly, it felt like the longest pregnancy ever! An induction was booked in for a few days time so I had the weekend to pray that it all kicked off naturally. I had been trying all the classic old wives tips and advice from friends to help bring on labour - eating pineapple, prunes, positive affirmation mum to be cards, curry (even though my indigestion throughout pregnancy was shocking and this was the last thing I fancied), reflexology, massage (great but bloody expensive), stomping, a lot of walking (good excuse to go shopping), clara sage oil and had even considered... shock horror...sex (nope didn't get round to that in the end!). I had a sweep but this didn't seem to do anything apart from make my husband feel queasy. My parents were fed up of waiting around and went up to Norfolk for the weekend - maybe this would help bring it on?! Maybe she was determined to be a February baby?
On the evening of 29th January I finally started feeling different, Finn was back from nursery and I couldn't do his bedtime as I felt sick with some period pains. I said to Liam I think we should eat early, just in case, to make sure we had energy for what was potentially a long night ahead if I went into labour, and yes dinner was in the form of a curry! I went to bed early and woke at 11.30pm (weirdly the same time as when contractions started with Finn) - to a massive kick in my tummy and I heard a 'pop' as my waters broke in bed. The contractions were on and off for the next hour, strong but not regular enough to head to the hospital. UCLH - my chosen hospital in Euston where we also had Finn - was up to a half hour drive away so getting the timing right was key. Liam helped me through each contraction as I held him in a strong grip! As things ramped up I told Liam to get his parents (who luckily only live 5 minutes away) over to look after Finn who was asleep upstairs and to call the taxi. As soon as his parents arrived the contractions were coming thick & fast as I was ushered into the taxi. As soon as I sat down I was in agony, as we drove down our road every speed bump was intense and unbearable and all I could think was how many speed bumps we still had to go over before we got there! At the end of our road I shouted that we had to stop and I had to get out. A strange claustrophobic feeling filled with a change in the pain and the sudden need to push meant I had to get out. Standing in the pouring rain, pretty much outside our local pub, with people coming home from their Friday night out, Liam held me and I told him we had to go home. There was no way in hell we were going to make it to the hospital! I couldn't move for the pain, plus the fresh air and rain felt so refreshing, all I could hear was the cab driver calling an ambulance as I refused to let go of his car. Liam called his dad to come and pick us up in his car and I somehow climbed in and he took us all 500 metres back to the house.
Back at the house things were kicking off - a duvet was placed on the sitting room floor for me and I took up position on all fours (adamant I wasn't going to be in a bad birthing position as I had been with Finn). Liam was nervously talking to the paramedics on the phone, now delayed as they had been called to a cardiac arrest. Told to 'get down the business end and check for crowning' he did what most men dread! I was well and truly in my birthing zone and could now only concentrate on my breathing and what was about to happen. Luckily for Liam another ambulance turned up and 2 paramedics - a guy and a gal -set up next to me and bought some much needed gas and air (although again having learnt from Finns birth not to have too much as it makes me high as a kite and very distracted!). They were incredibly calming and although I couldn't make eye contact with them (as I was so much in the birthing zone) I knew I liked them and they created a relaxed atmosphere. They told stories and chatted away at ease, I think they were happy to not be dealing with a drunken call out on a Friday night (well Saturday morning by this point). I was adament they were going to tell me we had to go to the hospital and things weren't happening as I thought they were. Liams parents were in the kitchen at this point, wisely staying out of it!
Over the next half hour I pushed with each contraction and the female paramedic delivered Violet at 2.38am on 30th January. It was a 3 hour birth in total. She weighed a healthy 9lb 6oz - 4 oz heavier than her bigger brother when he was born! Finn slept through the whole thing. The midwife then turned up! She delivered the placenta and then we all took the ambulance to Homerton hospital to go get me stitched up as I had suffered a second degree tear, ouch. I was desperte to do skin on skin with Violet but the shakes took over my body all the way to the hospital and it wasn't so easy being strapped in on a stretcher! At the hospital (we were lucky enough to have a private room right up until we were discharged that afternoon) it suddenly dawned on me what had actually just happened! Elated and exhausted, high on adrenaline, our beautiful daughter was finally here and she certainly made a memorable entrance into the world born in our sitting room! Cuddles, boob and skin to skin contact were then made up for in abundance as we stared at our new bundle of joy in the hospital!
I have to say the whole experience was positive for me, I would highly recommend a home birth, especially if it's your second baby, you live in London and have to experience an abundance of speed bumps on your journey to the hospital! We would have been able to stay at home after she arrived if we had been registered at Homerton Hospital which would have been perfect but actually being in hospital for the stitches and baby checks did make me feel a bit safer.
So now beautiful baby Violet Rae Paton (Violet being my great grandmothers name and Rae meaning Grace in Scottish) is in our lives and I can't quite believe we are a family of 4! Finn seems to have aged into a ten year old boy overnight and having not picked him up in the last 7/8 months he weighs a tonne! More to come on going from 1 to 2 children and the challenges it has been bringing....
It's nice to see my feet again and realise how badly my toe nails need cutting, it's nice not to have indigestion or drink a gallon of gaviscon every week, goodbye maternity leggings with the giant hole in them. The recovery period is long and tough as a new mum but having a baby is the greatest achievement and I look forward to the rollercoaster that will be the next few months (years!) of sleep deprivation and new baby bubble :) On top of that staying a great mum to my original bubba and best friend Finn.
A big thank you to the paramedics who helped deliver, my brilliant husband who overcame many fears and my in-laws for looking after Finn and tidying up the murder scene that was our front room after the birth xx