I remember finding out I was pregnant with you, it was only a few weeks after we had bought the Forever House and a few days before your daddy's birthday. Somehow I managed to keep it a secret until his actual birthday (only a day and a half later!) when I gave him a birthday card from you to break the news! Fast forward a very quick nine months and suddenly I'm in labour. Your due date was the 6th May and I had always been quietly confident you would arrive around then. Your papa was keen for 3rd May his 60th birthday, but you were happy to wait a bit longer. We had decided that your dad would take leave from work starting on the 7th and that's the day you chose to arrive!
I actually had a routine midwife appointment scheduled for the 6th May, until this one all my appointments had been in the morning, but this one was at 4pm and I was expecting to discuss a backstop date for induction, something I was keen to avoid. To cut a long story short we were referred by the midwife to the Maternity Assessment Unit at the hospital due to my high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia risk. On the drive to the hospital, which took us straight past our flat, we picked up our hospital bags, your car seat etc. just in case! We were in the unit for a few hours with my blood pressure being monitored constantly. Thankfully it returned to normal but they found protein in my urine and were carrying out a few more tests...I still laugh at some of the reflex tests the doctor carried out on me, especially when she asked me to raise by eyebrows and I couldn't remember how to do it! We finally got home, picking up some take away pizza on the way, at about 8pm. Your daddy had been up for work since 5.30am and was seriously tired by now. I'm hoping he gets gradually better at early morning starts with you. We ate dinner, watching an episode of The West Wing, and headed to bed. I checked my birth plan section of my notes whilst munching pizza and laughed that it contained only three or four notes, that I was keen to use the birthing pool, avoid an epidural if possible and hold you as soon as you were born. My waters broke around 9.30pm and I decided to keep this fact to myself so we could both try and get some sleep.
I did manage to fall asleep but woke at around midnight as the cramps in my stomach had moved on to more than discomfort and were now properly painful. Fully expecting to be at home for at least the next 12 hours, I let your daddy sleep on and tried to stay calm and breathe. I got to around 3am and then I had to wake him up, I was hot and cold all at once and if I'm honest was starting to freak out a bit at the pain. We phoned the hospital and they suggested paracetamol for the pain (seriously is there actually any point in taking it???) and running a hot bath and staying in it for as long as possible to let the hot water ease the pain.
I remember the feeling of climbing in to the warm water, it really did seem to help and for a short while I felt almost comfortable again. I'm afraid that didn't last long, my contractions were lasting between 45 seconds and over a minute and were pretty regular. After an hour in the bath, it felt like I was having a contraction more often than I wasn't. Writing this down it's obvious my labour was fairly progressed but I was getting very upset thinking that the pain I was experiencing was early labour and I was in for hours and hours of these contractions. Your dad called the hospital again and they said to wait at home until all contractions were over a minute (ideally a minute and a half) and were coming every three minutes. About ten minutes after this phone call we had to call the hospital back as I'd had four contractions in six minutes and could feel pressure and was worried it was the urge to push...your dad was told to bring me in.
I really think it should be your dad that writes this bit of the story, to me it was a bit of a blur, but he's told me so many times I'm happy to tell it. We then spent the next hour getting ourselves the 3 miles to the hospital! It turns out it's pretty tricky to get out the bath, dried and dressed when you're having contractions every few minutes. Luckily the car was packed from our hospital visit the day before so we just had to concentrate on getting down two flights of stairs to the car. We arrived at the hospital, after going to the wrong entrance - daddy got shouted at for that one! - and burst in to the maternity assessment ward rather noisily mid contraction at 6.30am. Your daddy secretly breathed a massive sigh of relief that we'd made it to the hospital as he had become increasingly worried at the frequency of my contractions that you might arrive at home / mid drive to the hospital.
I remember waiting for what felt like hours(!) to be examined by a midwife, I'm sure it was only about 5 or 10 minutes, but when she did come over and start asking me questions I could tell she thought I was exaggerating...then she saw I was fully dilated! I was so happy to find this out and the midwife broke the news to me by saying I'd be a mummy before breakfast time in the next hour. And she was right!
Come back for Part Two - the bit where the baby arrives! - next week.