Xander’s Birth Story
With baby number two, giving birth seems a bit different. You know what to expect and I think that’s worse. You know what is coming soon and you are (or I was) on tender hooks. I was much more relaxed the first time with Eden. I had a 20 month old child to look after this time around. I had heard stories of the second labour being quick and I was worried being 40 minutes from the hospital and having a toddler in tow might mean we wouldn’t get there. I also was a lot bigger this time around and was convinced I was going to be earlier than my due date. Wrong. I have an Instagram post that I had captioned “My midwife put me on the end of her clinic today as I definitely wouldn’t be there and she could get away early for lunch. She’s a lying bitch”. She wasn’t- she was lovely, but you know the deal- I was an angry pregnant woman. Thing is no one really knows when babies are going to make an appearance. They do what they want and Xander seemed to be so comfortable in there.
I went a week over due and was really fed up. On edge. Every massive lunch for the last 4 weeks that resulted in a bit of bloating also resulted in calling Dad of Mad Lads Home from work and my Mum round. They weren’t impressed when it turned out (on more than one occasion) to just be a fart. False alarm after false- fart alarm. 8 days overdue and it’s a Saturday and with no plans made because of the impending arrival of a new addition- I was BORED. We were having our kitchen extended and it was nearly finished, so I popped to Asda to have a nose at their home bits. Walking back to the car from Asda my waters broke. I was all alone. Wet. In Asda carpark. But I was, weirdly calm. I just got in the car and drove home, calling Dad of Mad Lads on the way back to tell him what happened.
I went to our local birth centre to get checked out and they confirmed that yes my waters had broken and labour should start very soon. Go home. Rest. Wait for the contractions to be close and come back in. I went home, via Matalan (New dressing gown- nothing stops me shopping). And waited. And waited. And ate chinese. And waited.
Sunday morning came. No signs of labour. Went to the pub for a roast. No signs of labour. Was booked for induction Monday morning at 10am. I think there is a risk of infection if your waters have broken but labour hasn’t started but no one seemed too concerned so I wasn’t either. I just ate all the food and put my feet up. Knowing it would all be done and dusted by the latest (hopefully) Monday evening. Least I had a date now.
Monday morning I had a nice long shower and pamper and did my hair nice. Let’s do this. I felt a bit funny but just put it down to pre-match nerves. I was actually quite glad that I was prepared and it wasn’t the mad dash that I was expecting. I was a bit nervous about being induced though. On the way there that funny feeling in my stomach was there again but I really just thought it was anxious butterflies.
I got to the ward and was checked over. Strapped up to the monitor the midwife told me I was having full blown contractions and there was no need to be induced. Sorry what? Am I? I don’t feel like I am? No clue. I was 5cm dilated. A friend who was pregnant along with me, but actually due a few weeks after me had texted to say her baby had arrived. We had joked she’d probably have him before me but the same day? I text her back saying I was in labour and we were going to have birthday twins!!
Then everything went very quickly. The contractions went from 0 to 100 in minutes and I was in agony. I wasn’t even in a delivery suite. No pain relief at all. No gas and air to chug on. It was hell. They didn’t have a delivery suite available. I was sure I was going to give birth in the corridor. They didn’t have any spare midwives. I was pacing the corridors, wondering whether I should take my leggings off- visions of this head appearing in my gusset. A midwife was on her way home (not in uniform) she came to help me. Put an apron on. Took her coat off. She was not happy and it showed. She wanted to get home. I was so frustrated. She made me sit on the toilet as the contractions are supposed to be stronger in this position and she wanted me to empty my bladder. I didn’t need to. I knew I didn’t. She didn’t believe me. We didn’t get on this midwife and I. She was patronising and that is not the approach to take with me. She told me she’d empty my bladder for me as that was what was stopping the baby- got the catheter- no wee. Told ya so.
Xander was back to back and I had to try and turn him during the pushing and it was rough. I wanted an epidural to take the edge off and allow me to give it a good go. They gave me a mobile epidural after some fight. Dad of Mad Lads had a quiet word and was like just give it to her and she’ll get the baby out trust me. Shortly after the midwife who delivered Eden breezed in. I was so pleased to see her I cried with relief. She was brilliant. And 20 minutes later Xander came.
Rowan- the midwife knew exactly how to speak to me and encourage me. She treated me like an intelligent (!) person who was in control of my own birth. The first midwife treated me like I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and she knew better. Rowan is the reason both my boys are here. She saw both my boys seconds before me. She handled their little heads. She congratulated me. She cleaned me up. She filled out my paperwork on both occasions. She chatted to me about going home outfits for the boys, plans, the future. She seemed to be genuinely excited- like we were. She told me not to listen to anyone and do what you want. She told me she had a little girl who still had a bottle at 4 years old before bed and she couldn’t give a fuck. I loved her. She knew with Xander I wanted to go straight home. She got my paperwork done quickly and got me on my way. In and out in half a day. She knew what was important to me and she made it happen.
When Xander was half way out he did a poo. And as you might know this can be a sign of distress and can potentially be dangerous if the baby inhaled. Rowan asked Sam to pull a cord. He pulled it. She looked up and said pull the red cord NOW. It was so frightening. About ten people came rushing in. It went from just the three of us- to a room full. I knew from having Eden, that a smooth birth meant the baby was given straight to you. Xander was taken to a table next to me and surrounded. I couldn’t see him. I had another midwife in my face saying well done and don’t worry. I was trying to look past her. Sam had gone white and was telling me he’s fine, he’s fine. I felt trapped to the bed and wanted to get up to see him. This was seconds, and nothing at all. He just needed checking but it was enough to send a wave of fear. In both of us. It was seconds but felt longer. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have your baby whisked away to NICU. Xander was given to me by the doctor, after I heard him cry and all was well. This tiny, almost nothing experience has made me so appreciative of my births. How precious life is. How wonderful the human body is to do what it does. How easily it could all be different.
I had a shower and got dressed and we were home. Just. Like. That. We were a four. We were complete.
Eden was going to have to wait until the morning to meet his brother. But when he did, we never looked back.