barefoot and barely dressed (nikkis) wrote in birthstories,
barefoot and barely dressed

The Birth of Maisie Joy - 14 June

I had joked that I'd labour for as long as I could at home - and maybe, just maybe have no choice but to have a home birth...

The pains started at 2.30pm on Monday 13th June and although I wasn’t sure what it meant, I wrote the times of the first few down. (Where is that piece of paper now?)

8pm: Danny came home from the movies and I told him then that even though I had been resting on the couch the pains hadn’t stopped but felt slightly worse…enough to convince me that I was in labour.

9pm: We called Margaret and Noel and suggested they be on ‘stand by’, I didn’t know what was happening, but perhaps tonight or early in the morning the baby might come. The contractions intensified and at 10pm I called them and said to come.

I lay down for a rest and by the time they arrived at 11.30pm, the contractions were bad enough that I would leave the room to have privacy and breathe through them. The pain was different, sharper than with Lily. Danny called the hospital to let them know we might be coming either during the night or early in the morning. I felt mildly annoyed that he chose to sit out with his parents, rather than in with me, loving me, supporting me.

Midnight: We all went to bed for some rest. I knew the baby would come that night, but didn’t know when. I felt frustrated that I couldn’t even attempt to measure when that would be because the contractions were different and intensifying quicker than I expected. The contractions were fairly close - between 2 and 3 minutes apart, but I was waiting for them to be 90 seconds long. They were up to only a minute long - which, according to everything I read that afternoon it wasn't long enough. All I knew was that I didn't want to spend long, long hours in labour at the hospital.

I rested for perhaps half an hour but the contractions were too painful to stay in bed and I really wanted Danny to get some rest – my moaning was disturbing him and felt happy enough to labour alone. I took another shower and felt better; the hot water was a lovely distraction. The contractions intensified to the point where I was crying out. I decided then that I wanted to go to the hospital. It took forever to get dressed and as I squatted on Lily’s step stool and heaved and struggled to put my pink and red socks on, I had a contraction. I was fearful because of my pelvis being wide open, and gravity all in my favour, but it felt surprisingly less intense. The next few contractions had me up on tippy toes though, clenching my thighs together.

1.30am: Back in the bedroom, I knelt on the floor and leant over the bed. My crying out woke Danny and I told him we had to go, I couldn’t stay home anymore.

It seemed to take forever for him to get up, get dressed, wake his mother and for us to get out the door. I wanted Danny to move my car out for Noel, if he needed to use it in the morning. As he got back to Margaret’s car out by the street, my waters broke during a contraction. Not a big gush, but…like a pop and a small flood of hot fluid. He rushed back under the house for some towels for me to sit on.

It's funny how no matter how people attempt to support you in labour, it isn't enough. The pain of the contractions was so huge and overwhelming that a gentle rub on the back or shoulder is...somehow insignificant. It doesn't even scratch the surface.

The pain scared me. What if they told me I was only 3cm? or 5? I couldn’t stand the pain, it was unbelievably intense. I felt sure I’d end up having some pain medication, maybe even an epidural as my back was really aching with each contraction.

1.45am: Another contraction as Margaret started the car and I screamed, "No! Don’t go yet. I can’t. I can’t stand it!" I think I had another two contractions on the way to the hospital. I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt. A contraction as I got out of the car, one as Danny buzzed for admittance, one in the lift… The midwife who ‘received’ us told me to take a deep breath and took us straight into the observation room. Two contractions later, she said to me, "Uh…I think we’ll skip this part and take you straight through." I went into the toilet first and removed the waters-soaked pad which looked like it had a little meconium on it. I needed Danny to come with me and apologised to him for…I don’t know. I didn’t want him to be disgusted when he saw the pad, or when I passed it to him to give the midwife. Did I? Or did she come in and get it?

We went to the Fuchsia Room where the midwife wanted to examine me. She told me I needed to get up on the bed. I couldn’t; I was having yet another contraction. And then I couldn't think *how* to get on the bed. I kept lifting my knee to get up that way and the midwife had to tell me, "Turn around and sit down. Get up that way." Danny held me close, so strong for me, telling me I was doing great. I was so hot and his hugging felt stifling and made me feel claustrophobic - as he was rugged up in a jacket.

Two more contractions on the bed and then I was checked inside. 8cm. Not enough! Surely I must have been closer than that! How was I going to handle it? Surely another hour of this! I told the midwife I needed something, I couldn’t stand the pain and wanted to rest for a while. She suggested I get into the shower. Danny, bless him, was worried it would make me even hotter, but I knew it was where I wanted to be, in a confined, warm and wet space, not on a bed in a big bright room. "Turn the light off," I said, as I stood under the hot water. It was perfect.

Two, maybe three contractions in the shower and I screamed, "I need to push!!" "Go ahead and push, then!" The midwife told me. So I did. And GOD did it hurt. I must not be ready. It hurt too much.

"Just so you know, this isn’t a water birth," the midwife joked. "I have only these clothes, nothing to change into, so I’ll have to turn off the water." And then she sat on a birthing stool with a white plastic apron on and told me I had to turn around and face my bum to her.

Up on my toes for more contractions, with my legs shaking and the burning inside. Baby's head about to crown. I couldn’t stand the fullness and said, "I have to get down. On my knees. Have to get down!" They asked how I was going to manage it. I didn’t know how, but I just did. Danny helped, and I held onto the rails. On my hands and knees. That felt better. Oh my god. Poo. "Oh God..I’m so sorry!" I told them. "Don’t worry, it’s natural/we see it all the time."

The pushing felt effortless…like the contractions were doing everything of their own accord, the pushing felt like my own body was pushing the baby out. It felt like all I did was cry out, my body and the baby did the rest.

It was burning so much, I stopped to pant. "The head is crowning." I said. "The head is OUT!" they said. And I felt down…a head so soft, with so much hair. The cord was around the neck, but easily unwrapped.

2.24am: One more push and the baby was out!

It was so still, with a lumpy blue/grey head, the umbilical cord bright white and blue. They clamped it. I didn’t want it clamped. I couldn’t speak. "Margaret, can you find the camera, it’s in the bag…"

It’s a…it’s a girl. I looked once more.. Definitely a girl. How strange. And how strange she looked, funny little thing.

"I can't find the camera."

As I sat on the floor of the shower with my new little girl and Danny crying beside me, I was given a needle for the placenta. I had wanted to try without it, but after last time, I was scared of a delayed 3rd stage.

Placenta was delivered shortly after, once I was up on the bed with my new girl. Danny and Margaret were…awestruck. They kept telling me what an amazing job I did. And I did.

I can’t believe she was born so quickly. I thought it was only a few contractions, but after writing this, it was possibly a few more than that. But still…it was so quick and a very satisfying birth.

"Do you have a name?" the medical staff asked. "No, we felt sure we were having a boy." We didn't name our daughter until that afternoon.


The name felt so perfect that we both were teary. Danny sat beside me on the bed as we gazed at our little daughter. "Maisie. Maisie. It really suits her."

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