Yes, I think this is it, I think I am going into labour. For about three hours now I’ve been having contraction type pains that aren’t going away – so I’m steeling myself for the big push. I’m hoping it is. Not that I’m a sucker for pain or anything, but I really want our little girl here now so we can meet her. I started writing this blog while lying tentatively in the bath noting down the time and duration of each pain, before then I was out and about doing last minute jobs, essential last minute jobs.
I was shopping in the classiest of joints when I got a strong twinge, B&M Bargains. Then another, and another. I had ventured out while feeling a bit ropey to buy a pink Gloworm, and singing Minnie Mouse (gifts for my two year old and her new little sister to exchange in hospital). My Mum had come with me just in case anything started off, deep down I must have known something was on the horizon. Minnie and Gloworm in basket I felt a huge cramp in my belly – oh dear. I tried to look for my mum, but as the pains began to take over I lost her in the maze of aisles. I ended up waddling after the vanishing image of my mother, and just as I reached the point where I could catch her attention another cramp had me screwing my face up in pain while trying not to make a sound or draw attention to myself. Stop bloody pottering around mum and stay still! After a few minutes of bargain store cat and mouse I got the message across to her that I had to leave the shop and fast. I must point out this didn’t stop her adding more items to her basket quickly before I ushered her to the tills. The twinges increased in pain and the pressure got stronger during the drive home, something was definitely happening.
Once safely home I relaxed on the sofa unsure if labour was to follow, but happy my mission was accomplished. I had the worm and the mouse. Nothing better than easing that suspected toddler jealousy, and the insecurity of having a new sibling than a brightly wrapped gift from her newborn sister. A gift that sings the ‘hotdog’ song at that. For those not familiar with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse it’s a jolly song about … well hotdogs and having ears???
The pains started to get more frequent and stronger they felt like contractions this must be it.! After nine months of waiting the day my baby and body kicked into action must have arrived? I began to note down the time and length of each contraction. They went from ten minutes apart to eight minutes apart. Not sure what to do or if this was indeed the onset of proper labour I decided to get into the bath to maintain the momentum. My plan……….to stay there until I couldn’t take it any more or until they settled at seven minutes apart. My midwife had told me to get into hospital when they reached seven minutes apart as my first daughter came quite quickly. At this stage the contractions were hurting, but not massively. I couldn’t understand it? Last time the pain was unbearable. Really unbearable. Maybe I was wrong, maybe this was just a practice run?
As I lay in the water the sensation of pain rising up through my back and stomach in an unstoppable wave felt very familiar. I think this must be it? The pain was growing and growing, rising up, tightening and crashing into an invisible wall over my ribcage, before ebbing away. Ask any woman to describe the pain of contractions and I assure you they’ll struggle to go into detail. That’s the best I can do. Anyway the sensation was the same as it was during my first experience of childbirth except it wasn’t hurting as much? This was causing me some confusion, causing me to question what was going on. The fact I’d already done this once before wasn’t helping me make up my mind, it was the familiar, but different.
So the time sponsored by pregnant lady in the bath was 19.14 on Tuesday November 15th. If all was going to plan I should have been having another wave of pain in two or three minutes time. One minute – better make a note of that. I was actually typing all this down in note form between spasms to take my mind off it all. Odd I know, but it was my way of masking my fear over what was to come, and I thought it may be interesting to see what I recorded. My strange way of keeping a lid on the fact that childbirth rags! (That’s a Wigan word for hurts a lot).
Anyway, having a hot bath is meant to help the whole process along. A midwife told me if you catch it at the right point a bath can help Mother Nature do its job. You have to stay in as long as you can and keep topping up with hot water, but it does tend to work. Only problem is you get mighty wrinkly. With our first daughter, I sat in a bath in hospital to see if the pains I’d been having for over 12 hours would develop into labour. At the point of going in the bath I wasn’t even one centimetre dilated. Sorry if this is too graphic. After two hours of trying to keep my cool and manage the pain while my other half sat on the loo seat dutifully filling up the bath with hot water, I was 6 centimetres so it does work. Lay at home I was a little more worried I may just get the timing wrong and end up with a home water birth.
As I watched the minutes pass I could hear my excited fiancé downstairs playing with our two year old daughter. How do I know he was excited. I could hear him singing, making her laugh and generally running around like a child on Christmas morning. I could also hear what sounded like a referees whistle. So he was either watching football or playing Fifa on the XBox again. I never did ask if I was right. I was excited too, but the excitement was laced with a slight fear of what lay in store.
As the contractions dropped from 7 to 6 minutes apart I decided to turn off the laptop, get out of the bath and make the trip to hospital to get things checked out. I wasn’t in agony, but going by the timings I should be well along the path to bringing another little bundle of sleepless nights into the world………..
……..and it was the right decision. It was the real thing not a false start. The contractions got stronger and faster very quickly leaving me in no doubt our little girl was on her way. We arrived at hospital at around 9pm. A little over two hours later after much back rubbing, a hastily applied tens machine she was born safely. She arrived very quickly. I knew she wasn’t going to hang around. My babies arrive quicker than the midwives can prepare a needle full of pain relief never mind stick it in me. As with my first daughter I gave birth without drugs, just the support of those around me and the blunt fact that I had no other choice. Maybe baby number two couldn’t wait to see us being three days over her date of arrival. I suspect she just wanted the Gloworm.