On Wednesday 15th June, at 15:45, my daughter Elizabeth was born!
She is gorgeous, and looks a lot like her brother when he was new. She weighed 6lb 2oz.
It was a very strange day – our son was a (planned) home birth, and we’d looked into getting a birthing pool. Unfortunately, they are expensive to buy or hire, and we lived in a smaller house then so there wasn’t space for one. Southmead Hospital (the premier maternity ward in the area) had a pool, but it couldn’t be reliably booked (babies don’t normally conform to schedules). Add to that he was due at the end of November, and the associated problems with keeping a large body of water warm in a cheap house at that time of year. We scrapped the idea, had a lovely home birth, and completely forgot about it for Elizabeth.
On the day, we happened to be in hospital for a quick check up and assessment. They finished with “we can see you want a homebirth, so we’ll just get your notes ready and you can go.” By the time they came out with all the discharge paperwork, the contractions had come on thick and fast and we weren’t sure we’d make it home in the morning traffic before the baby decided to arrive, so we asked to stay and deliver in the hospital.
At this time, all the visions that made us want a home birth came back – the beginning of Monty Python’s Meaning Of Life being among them (the machine that goes ping, etc etc). We’re practical people, and always knew that we might not get what we wanted, so we were prepared to just knuckle down and take it. However, since our notes had ‘home birth’ listed on them, the midwives made a point to check the availability of the birth suite in the hospital. A birth suite is a bit more of a home from home than the ward, with separate kitchen and bathroom facilities, living room type rooms to deliver in, and a more comfortable environment in the middle of the hospital. Like having a home birth, with the machine that goes ping on standby down the corridor if it’s needed. After a few phone calls, they worked out it was empty but could be staffed. Result!
As we were being shown the suite, the student midwife showed us the rooms and said “and the room at the end has the birthing pool.” My wife’s ears pricked up. “Can we have that?” she asked.
So a completely unplanned water birth, which was a million miles from what we expected. A hospital delivery with no problems, mother and baby are doing brilliantly (if tired) and daddy and the little man are adjusting well too.
I’m back to work on Wednesday, but I’ve booked off Thursday and Friday for the next few weeks to settle in with everyone, since those are the days that Freddy is home from nursery and I can’t leave mum with both the kids on her own so soon! It’ll be a wonderful short week then!