It’s really strange to think this time last year I was about to go into labour. In some ways, it’s flown by in a heartbeat. When I say a heartbeat, I mean a blur of school runs, nappies, cuddles, tantrums, vomit – not forgetting months and months and months and months (and repeat) of sleepless nights, but a great deal of joy along the way as well. In other ways, life has changed beyond recognition, since she bounded into the world at 5:21am at 100 mph clocking a solid 8lb 8oz. She arrived on the same day as Prince George, and hilarious though it was, I will make sure that spelling mistake on ‘the easel’ comically placed outside our house will haunt my husband to his dying day.
It was a quick labour. Not a lot of time for drama. Pleasant, but nervy midwife, perhaps more so because she was treating a particularly feisty northern lady (hi), who’d endured two long and incredibly slow labours before, and was contracting every 2 minutes. Things got pretty heated when she asked what time my waters had broken – I know what you’re thinking: a reasonable question. However, it concerned me slightly that even after the 12th time of asking, the information hadn’t sunk in. “Half past 11. STILL.”
Mortified looks from my husband. ‘Labour woman’ was back, he’d not seen her in a while.
“She’s not normally like this!” Polite smiles, head patting and awkward laughs
“How are we doing for pain now?”
“Well. we are thinking on a scale of one to f-”
“- I think she might like the epidural now!” This was a revelation. Me embarrassing my husband. So often I’m the one smoothing over his social faux pas that I recall quite enjoying this brief liberation from manners.
So began the 5 minutes that my husband openly documents as the most difficult of our entire marriage…
More difficult than the time I threw up out of the car window on the way home from a wedding and tried to redeem the situation with half a packet of wet wipes. More difficult than the time my husband stuck the suction cup of a high chair toy to his forehead to entertain our baby son… Only to realise 5 minutes later that it had left an enormous circular purple bruise. And more difficult than the 10 minutes every morning after, for a week, where his unsympathetic and sniggering wife applied Clinique makeup to hide it (I know, the good stuff!)
Yes, the moment arrived where I’d actually decided enough was enough – I’m not precious about it. I am not one of those (brave) people who feels they can endure labour with 2 paracetamol and a TENS machine. No, I wanted the hard stuff. I remember a blurred conversation with the timid midwife, lots of nodding and hand patting on her part and then smiling at my husband as she purposefully left the room.
“Thank God for that. I don’t think I could have carried on otherwise!”
My husband looks awkward quite frequently, but suddenly, his shoes were the most fascinating thing in the room.
“Welllllll?!?!” ‘Labour woman’ was rearing her head again.
“Erm…. Theanaesthetistisintheatreandyou’retoofaronyoucan’tactuallyhaveanepiduralandyou’vehadthemaximumamountofmorphine-sothisisit,butshe’gonetogetsomeparacetamolandmakeyouabrew…” Even he was backing out the door now.
“SIT. DOWN.” He did.
We continued for a further 2 hours or so, which passed by so quickly, I can’t imagine I even had time to be rude again*.
And then she was here.
Beautiful, even squashed and angry looking, perfect little bundle of mischief. I didn’t know we were having another girl – my husband did. It was a good moment looking over and seeing his massively smug grin: he’d managed to keep the secret. And as a Dad of a boy and 2 girls, he’d resigned himself to poverty… and he didn’t mind a bit.
So happy birthday to the baby, the cheeky chops. The one who climbs, eats googly eyes from her brother’s toys, can wake up at 5am EVERY DAY with a face that looks like she’s won the lottery.
The last of our babies… Lucky does not even come close.
*Outrageous lie, my husband said they had to bring in another midwife to keep me in line and that I told everyone who would listen that I was going home, that my husband would have the baby. By the pushing part, I was only responding to my husband’s instructions as he ‘knows about all this stuff’. He’s an engineer by the way.