Finn, born 13 February 2012 – second child, VBAC hospital birth

You have been a part of our family for only one day and yet already you have changed our lives forever. Your life journey has been quite a surprise to your dad and me along the last 9 months. When we found out that we were going to have another baby we were ecstatic. We went to the gynae, expecting to see a 7 week old embryo smudge on the screen with a tiny little flicker of a heart beat and instead we saw a 14 week old foetus with perfectly developing arms, legs and skeleton. Your expected due date of 1 April quickly changed to 17 February. I also expected that you would be a girl and yet even at 14 weeks it was very obvious that you’d be a boy, a baby brother to Jett. Your name changed from Leah to Sam, Matt, Lee, Luke or To-be-confirmed…hinchables

The biggest surprise of all was how you chose to be born. Your dad and I are fit healthy people and have always wanted the most natural, normal experiences for our children; just as nature intended & just has our bodies were designed. So when your brother was born via emergency caesarean section, we promised our second child that we’d do whatever we could to encourage a normal, drug free and safe birth. We found a midwife who was happy to assist with your birth. We were very lucky to find her as she had lots of experience with babies born naturally after their older brothers and sisters had been born via caesarean sections.  Her name is Angela, and as it now evident, it’s no surprise that her name is derived from the word “angel”.

Many people were not convinced that your birth would be an easy, natural occurrence. They relayed their beliefs that natural births after c-sections were unsafe, that your position was incorrect, that your head was probably too big or that perhaps my pelvis was too tight. I stuck with our plan, learnt to relax more, breathe better, position you better and trust that you and I knew exactly what to do when the time was right.

On Sunday evening, around 6pm, I arrived home from a good long swim at the gym (my usual 100 lengths!) and told your dad that I was experiencing what appeared to be the start of labour, however I was convinced it could not be real labour as your due date was 5 days away, your head had not yet engaged into my pelvis, the surges were very irregular and most relevant of all, we were completely unprepared for your arrival. No hospital bag, outstanding issues at work and hadn’t even told Jett that he’d have a baby brother soon…

The surges came and went throughout the evening. They were irregular but obvious yet I fell asleep easily around 10:30pm and set my alarm for 5:45 for my usual power walk around the park with Skye, our golden retriever. I woke up for a toilet visit around 2am and struggled to get back to sleep thereafter. I kept changing positions, eventually went to lie in the guest room supported by heaps of pillows, sat on the toilet the wrong way round, hung forward rocking on my feet from side to side. Nothing managed to ease the back ache yet the surges remained irregular so I decided that this was not labour but perhaps the start of a very long drawn out process that could take days. Your dad awoke around 5:30am to set off on his early morning spinning session. I told him that the surges had become quite intense and although still very irregular, I needed his words of support, light touch and gentle encouragement. I suggested that we call Angela at 6am just to alert her to the fact that things appeared to be starting up but were likely to take a while. Anglea suggested that I eat something, breath slowly through each surge and let her know when the surges became regular. At 6:30 we called your grandparents and suggested they start making their way to our house to take care of Jett as it was likely that I was actually in labour but as it was not true establish labour at that stage, they were not to rush. I ran myself a deep hot bath around 7am hoping that the heat and support would ease the back ache. Your dad made me a delicious mug of Milo as that was about the only thing I could think of consuming at that stage. I managed a few sips and then decided to get out of the bath as I was hot and the needed to be on my feet to rock from side to side as that appeared to help most. However, as I climbed out the bath the surges intensified even more and I called your dad to say that I needed to get the hospital urgently. I was concerned that if we didn’t go then, the pain would be too much to bear and you may go into distress. Andrew updated your grandparents and Angela with our decision. The remaining problem was then Jett as Zavela was only due to arrive at 8am. I suggested that your dad call an ambulance as I needed to at the hospital in a matter of minutes however your dad pointed out that the ambulance would take just as long to get home as he would to drive us there. So I agreed but said he should call the police for an emergency escort. Your dad also called our friendly neighbour, Debbie, and asked that she look after Jett for a few minutes until Zavela arrived. The plan materialised and I made my way downstairs towards the car. I didn’t have the strength or time to dress so set off for the hospital wearing a jogger bra, your dad’s big fleecy dressing gown and nothing else!

Debbie arrived in a few minutes, as I was crouched on all fours in the driveway, breathing through another strong surge. I climbed into the back of your dad’s car, kneeling on the back seat, facing the rear window. We set off through peak hour traffic around 7:50am with instructions from me to “break every traffic law if need be!”

We arrived at the hospital 10 minutes later around 8am, I climbed onto a wheel chair, kneeling backwards, clinging onto the porter’s shoulders. Within what felt like seconds we were wheeling down the passage of the maternity ward into the first available ward. I opened one eye and realised that we were in a general 2 bed ward, not one of the 3 labour  rooms – at leat the othre bed was not occupied! Angela’s colleague Glynnis greeted us and explained who she was,and that she would take care of us until Angela made it through the traffic,  that the labour wards were all occupied at that time and that whatever we needed to do at that stage could be done in the general ward. I climbed onto the bed whilst insisting that she check whether I was dilating at all and if not I needed an epidural immediately. Glynnis’ next sentence changed everything! I was fully dilated! We were ready to bring you into the world – what wonderful news. Within minutes, Angela our midwife and Jacky our gynae arrived to support & assist . Your head was still not engaged in my pelvis so it took a few gentle pushes to get you into the right position for your journey down the birth path.

Once engaged, it was full steam ahead. I pushed with every inch of my body. There was no pain any longer, just intense pressure and burning. I imaged your trip down the birth path and was so excited to be meeting you in a few minutes. I listened carefully to your strong heart beat on the Doppler with my eyes tightly shut for most of the time as your wonderful dad fed me sips of icy water. Within minutes I could feel your head, covered in hair, emerging. I pushed and pushed and pushed, desperate to do whatever was needed to bring you into the world.

You were born beautifully and perfectly at 9:01am on the morning of 13th February. You were perfect beyond imagination. Lying here in the hospital next to you, I cannot take my eyes off you. I love you so much little Finn. Thank you for changing my life!

Angela The Midwife