Whilst an overly descriptive and seemingly unnecessary title, it is in fact an entirely accurate summary of the day our son was born.
There are many things I could write about (and I will) however this particular entry is inspired but a relatively pissed conversation I had with The Bearded One. He tells me often how proud of me he is but on my super needy days I make him give me examples. This particular evening I wanted him to regale me with stories of how amazing I was during labour, how I was a complete trooper and barely made a noise. Laughing he agreed with the most part but thought I was joking at the “barely made a noise” remark. Apparently he and I have very different versions of events.
Here is mine…
As many of you may know pregnancy is an amazing time, truly it is. Your body is doing all kinds of crazy shit to grow a tiny version of yourself which eventually you’ll push out your private parts. If you’re lucky! I had spent many years actively avoiding pregnancy as most twentysomethings do. Even with the “dreaded 30” approaching it wasn’t even on my radar. The only ticking I heard was the alarm clock counting down until I needed to get up for work or yet another questionable mechanism in my car!
However when I met The Bearded One everything changed. I am very lucky to have experienced (and continue to experience) real true movie love. Head over heels almost from the minute we met we have been like teenagers ever since (I include the tantrums and strops in that teenage behaviour). After an amazing first year together the conversation of “expanding our family” popped up, usually after a few drinks but then on a more regular and sober basis. The Bearded One already had 3 children who had given me the best and most real experience of being a mother and I have to admit I was hesitant.
I was 29, I loved my freedom but most of all I loved my sleep! I have always been a very driven and ambitious person and had several goals to achieve before I envisaged starting a family. I was nowhere near completing my “30 before 30” list (30 things to do before you’re 30 – including learning to cook and eat steak and keep a plant alive). To say I was hesitant about having a baby was an understatement. It wasn’t a reflection on our relationship, I’d just heard such horror stories from friends (and movies) about the impact a baby has and the majority it had been negative. The Bearded One, having had experience, was genuinely excited and was adamant it would strengthen our relationship. As it turns out (albeit touch and go sometimes) he was right but I wasn’t to know that at the time.
After a few months of discussions and all my “practicality” questions answered we decided to go for it. I also decided that because I had spent so many years actively avoiding pregnancy that it would take a long time to actually conceive. Well over a year at least based on drunken conversations with my girlfriends. This was not the case. At all.
After ceremoniously hiding my contraceptives on top of the kitchen cupboards in case I changed my mind we celebrated with a bottle of Prosecco or 2. I don’t remember much of the rest of the night but I do know we both got pissed and fell asleep on the sofa. A great start.
2 months later I am getting in the bath with a HUGE bowl of chocolate cake and ice-cream apologising to The Bearded One for feeling a “bit under the weather”. He suggested perhaps I should take a pregnancy test to which I responded, “so now I can’t even eat cake in the bath without you thinking I’m pregnant??!!!” and with that he left to pick up some tests.
Peeing into a glass (which we chucked it out afterwards) I nervously dipped the stick and instantly double blue lines appeared. NOPE it’s broken. Dipping the other one – blue. Pregnant. Oh. My. God. I sat on the side of the bath shaking, this can’t be right, I can’t be pregnant. My tummy flipped, oh holy hell did it just kick? No you silly woman, you’re excited!
Walking into the kitchen I whisper “I’m pregnant” to The Bearded One who beams, double checks what I said and tosses me up in the air like a bloated pancake. He is SO excited. I start crying and explained how nervous, frightened and excited I was. I said I needed to google everything but most importantly. WHAT THE FUCK DO WE DO NEXT? As always he knew exactly what to say and calmed me down beautifully. I decided I needed to have some normality and wanted to cook dinner. Silently crying with shock, excitement, fear and disbelief as I received excited messages from The Bearded One in the other room. Full of love and adoration for me, us and our growing baby. I emerged however from the kitchen holding a packet of feta, crying again realising I now couldn’t eat cheese.
Fast forward 10 months (yes 10! I was pregnant for 90% of 2016 regardless of what anyone else says) and I’m ready to pop.
I’m aware I’m a complete contradiction, I am a control freak who likes to know as little as possible about anything remotely scary and this was definitely the scariest thing I’d ever done. I read the bare minimum having decided that most information was “pregnancy propaganda” and “cave people” did it without reading whatever fucking Susan from Manchester had to say on “welovebabies.com”. I also skipped a couple of my antenaetal classes because I just didn’t want to envisage my vagina opening like a flower or learn how to relax my bumhole. The only thing I did research was pain relief and the effects it had on the baby and what the fuck to do when you brought it home.
I had my birthing plan sorted – don’t do it at home, pray we get to the hospital and have all the drugs. Apart from that I was relying on the doctors, midwives and The Bearded One to get me through it. The only other worry was how to know you’re in labour. In my experience I found most professional advice was very flaky, there were no “this is when you need to go to hospital” or “you will feel like this” moment. It seemed everyone’s experience was different. How the fuck does that even work? How many ways are there to do this???
As it turns out you are totally in tune with your body and your own pain thresholds will guide you so if there are any expectant mothers reading this, please don’t worry. Everything will be ok! Or you can do what I did, admit yourself into hospital then refuse to leave until you’re dilated enough to be given a bed.
My due date was 21st October and by 27th October I was really fucked off. I’d missed my friend’s wedding because some disgusting gloopy thing had appeared and having visited the hospital was told it was my “mucus plug” (gag) and birth would be imminent. That was in September! Every twinge, cramp and fart left us on edge. Was the baby coming? Were we ready? My mother was flying over from Australia and was landing on my due date, whatever else happened we vowed I wouldn’t go into labour that day. We needn’t have worried, 10 days later and still nothing. I’d given up replying to the “has the baby arrived?” messages. Yes it has, I’m just keeping it a massive fucking secret! Twats. Please note if you have any pregnant friends DON’T ask them if the baby has arrived or if “there are any signs”. They will let you know in good time and the added pressure of you asking every 5 minutes makes them want to cry and stab you in the eye all at once.
I was due to be induced on the 4th November and by 30th October we had given up on all old wives tails. I was sick of curry, couldn’t see my feet to go for a walk and sex went out the window after “mucus plug gate.” Settling in for the night The Bearded One asked me “do you think you’ll have the baby tonight?”. Miraculously I didn’t punch him in the face, knowing precisely why he asked I replied “no, have a drink”. After reassuring him I wouldn’t go into labour, I didn’t mind him drinking and no he wouldn’t need to drive anywhere he relaxed into a glass of whiskey, a sensible choice! I had absolutely no fucking idea if I would but I hate frenzy and people fussing so I was just trying to shut him up.
It’s important at this point to note that we moved into our new house on 14th September – I was heavily pregnant and terrified I was going to give birth in a box. We had stuff in storage, stuff at The Bearded One’s parents and all I wanted to do was nest. It was about the only good thing of being so far past my due date, I had plenty of time to settle in. The reason I bring this up is because we rented some storage space which needed to be emptied by the 31st October or we’d need to pay for another months storage. This seemed like a total waste of money given all we had left in there now was (conveniently) the artwork The Bearded One hated and some Christmas decorations or so we thought. When he arrived he discovered that the 40ft container was basically full. He was under pressure, it all needed to go by 5pm that day. He was also under pressure because I’d gone into labour at 5am that morning!
As mentioned I’d reassured him the night before that nothing was going to happen and he could have a drink. He obviously took this literally because he got completely shit faced. Staggering into bed at gone 1am he gave me and my ginormous tummy a kiss and promptly started snoring. I was used to waking up stupidly early from generally feeling uncomfortable but today was different. I had a bizarre backache, one I couldn’t shift. I woke him up saying I think I’m in labour. Dishelleved, bleary eyed and dry mouthed the poor bastard was trying to get his act together. You could see it in his face – the one night he had a drink and I punish him like I somehow had control over the situation. Perhaps the imminent hangover would be punishment enough.
I also mentioned that I don’t like frenzy or fuss so everyone was under strict instructions that when the time came it was “business as usual” and anyone being manic would be banished. Against his will I convinced him to go to the unit and get our belongings (at this point under the impression it would only take a couple of hours) as I didn’t feel like anything would happen straight away. What I should mention is that the storage unit was located 45 minutes away from the house so add that into having to empty a full 40ft unit with a wife in labour on a hangover and The Bearded One may as well have been starring in Mission Impossible. The pressure was on.
He left at 6am vowing to be home by 10am. I’d retained enough basic labour information to know the hospital wont take you in until you can’t talk through your contractions and at this point I was fine. I was actually excited, I hadn’t wanted to be induced so going into labour naturally was a bonus. At 7.30am I woke up my Mum to say I thought I was in labour and by 7.31am the text had been sent and the whole of Australia was on standby. She did her best “what the fuck do you mean he’s not here” face when I told her we’d agreed The Bearded One should go and empty the unit. Australia were promptly updated.
This is where my timeline starts to get hazy, I know I spent a long time in the bath, was adamant I didn’t want anyone to know I’d gone into labour and that I was refusing to have a “Halloween baby”. Updating my social media accounts wishing everyone a happy Halloween my mother bursts into the bathroom telling me off for being so calm and do we need to go to hospital now?
It was around this time that The Bearded One was experiencing the full effects of his hangover including the dreaded “alcopoops”. During one of his 15 minute “do you need me home” calls he mentioned that he desperately needed to go to the toilet and there wasn’t one on site. That was the last I heard until I got a message saying “something bad has happened”. Not the best idea to send to a woman in labour. Not wanting to panic myself, my mother or the whole of Australia I calmly asked what had happened. His reply. “I had to have a shit in a bucket”. I don’t believe I replied.
As I said the timeline was hazy but after my long bath I asked Mum to help me out the bath and to get into bed with me to watch The Little Mermaid together, something we did when I was a little girl. Way more fucking painful this time. She was brilliant and helped me through the contractions whilst gently suggesting in her best “why the fuck aren’t we at the hospital” voice that perhaps I should call and let them know whats going on. I did so and was told what I suspected, try and stay at home for as long as possible. I could visibly see my mother turning grey at this point. I point blank refused to go to hospital without The Bearded One as he’d just called to say he was leaving and would be home in 45 minutes. I breathed a sigh of relief as it was really starting to hurt now. I think my Mum was even contracting.
An hour and half passes by, I’m bent over the armchair breathing like I’ve just run a marathon with my Mum rubbing my back cursing under her breath. The Bearded One calls and says he’s just leaving and is 45 minutes away. I literally could have shot him. By this point my lower body was shaking with every contraction and my mother was one clench away from a heart attack.
When he arrives I’m trying to convince him to have a shower which he declines. He just wants to get me to hospital where the professionals live. Reassuring him I’ve packed snacks (I think he meant for him) and he’s loaded the car, we’re finally off. My contractions are coming hard and fast now and so naturally we take a wrong turn down “speed bump alley”. I’m gripping onto the sides of the seat at this point deciding I must be 10cms dilated and the birth is imminent. Mainly because of the pain. My legs are shaking and burning, my back is aching and my stomach is rock hard. I’m terrified that I’m going to be the one shitting in a bucket next.
Arriving at hospital at 2.30pm I’m wired up to a machine with various people looking at my front bum. 2cms dilated! What the fuck?! The Rachel from Friends birth scene enters my head. Handing over my medical notes I point out I want an epidural (by point out I mean basically scream) and have they read my birth plan. “Ok great, when can I have the drugs?” I ask. “You can’t have anything until you’re 4cms dilated”.
WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK. Someone should tell you that beforehand. To be fair they probably do in one of the pregnancy propaganda books.
“We can offer you some paracetamol if you like?”.
Doing my best Catherine Tate Rude Nan impression I politely decline. “Paracetamol? Para-fucking-cetamol? What a fucking liberty!”
Pointed to the family room I waddle along, clinging onto the walls and crying feeling like I’ve got a bowling ball falling out my fanny. We’re told to wait and someone would come and look at my front bum in due course. I’ll be checked every 2 hours to avoid infection. Gross.
2 hours? 2 fucking hours? I’m instructing The Bearded One to do something, he doesn’t even flinch. He’s up and off looking for a midwife, receptionist, anyone. I in the meantime have mistakenly asked a janitor for some drugs. He cleans the floor and leaves. The Bearded One returns with an army of staff pointing and saying “look”. The only look we get is one of disgust, I’m not remotely at birthing stage but they do offer me a bath. YES!
Fantastically it actually seemed to be taking the edge off (no it wasn’t the fucking paracetamol) and I started to relax. The Bearded One went off to get some food for us and came back with a tuna sandwich, chocolate cake and a pink lucosade. My mum was waiting in the family room updating Australia and popped in as and when I asked. The Bearded One fed me chocolate cake and asked what the weird stuff in the bath was. I asked him how he was feeling expecting to hear tales of how proud and excited he is. Amazingly he began to tell me how much his back hurt from emptying the container but that he was ok. If I wasn’t marooned in the bath I would have got out have beat him with a NHS bedpan.
With the pain temporarily subsiding I decide to quiz him on the “bucket shit” and why it took him so long to get home. The story goes as follows:
“I needed a poo almost as soon as I left the house but was so worried you’d give birth that I didn’t dare stop. I got to the container thinking I’d be there for an hour or 2 at most but saw how much there was. I didn’t want to waste time driving around to find somewhere to have a shit so I put a bag in a bucket and thought of England”.
“What did you do with it?”
“Well this ties in with why I was longer than planned. You know the bookcase you’ve been trying to sell for ages, well it finally sold and they were just around the corner so I thought I could drop it off and collect the cash at the same time then it would be a nice surprise for you”.
“So I lobbed the shit in the back of the van with the bookcase and chucked it in a bin near their house. That’s why it took me longer to get back than I originally said.”
Like many moments in my life I have few words to describe my emotions at that point. Luckily a midwife came in to say it was time to check me again. Admitting defeat after they refused to check me in the bath and The Bearded One trying to joke I’m not “at a spa” (no shit Sherlock) and got out to discover I am 4cms dilated and its time for the drugs.
Thank fucking God.
This is when it gets really hazy. I start out on gas & air at around 5.30/6pm and instantly love everyone, I’m asking the midwife if she can up the dose and when she declines assure her it “won’t affect her snapchat review” because I’m “down with the kids” despite being “off my tits”.
The Bearded One has told me it was like I was drunk which explains the various selfies I discovered a few days later. After a few hours of inane giggling the pain is increasing and the effects are wearing off. In fact so much so that I’m struggling to manage my breathing, I take in too much air and throw up a concoction of tunafish mixed with chocolate cake everywhere. I don’t care, at least I haven’t shit myself.
The midwife escalates my epidural – one of the side effects of being “new to the area” is they don’t have your “bloods” on file. A necessity in case you need anything during or post birth. She rushes my bloods through and soon after (actually I have no idea if it was soon, im covered in tuna & chocolate puke and off my tits – it could’ve been hours) a tall man comes in explaining he’s going to administer my epidural.
I mentioned earlier I don’t like to know what’s happening however with any procedure you have to give consent. I at this point was royally kicking off shouting “just give me the epidural Elvis” (not a fucking clue!) and (as usual) The Bearded One stepped in to sort it out. He was relaying the information to me in a way that kept me calm and as a result the hospital were happy that I understood what was about to happen.
Epidural administered and I am finally pain free. In fact it’s worked so well that I’m numb from the belly button down. I move my hand over my legs and feel the freezing cold flesh of a beached whale, that can’t be me surely? The Bearded One tells me at a later date that I was actually “the size of a mini” at the time.
I manage to doze and convince The Bearded One and my mum to go home, get something to eat and come back later. Sensibly the midwife assures them everything has slowed down and it was be a “looooooooong time” before anything happens. I know that was roughly around 10pm.
The Baby was born at 2.01am on 1st November (not a Halloween baby in the end!) but it all happened so incredibly quickly it’s all a bit of a blur.
The Bearded One and my Mum returned about an hour later and woke me up which really pissed me off. Thankfully they missed the part where it took 2 midwives to roll me onto my other side because the “epidural had worked so well”.
If any of you have ever walked home from a night out at 2am you will know the hungry, cold, tired, drunk shivers you are likely to get. This is exactly what happened to me. I had been in labour for 22 hours, I hadn’t eaten since the afternoon (and I’d chucked that up) I was exhausted, hungry, emotional and cold. The shivers had set in so I asked The Bearded One for his jacket. To my horror he declined explaining the room was roasting hot and I was in fact convulsing. He demanded the midwife check me over, something that wasn’t due to happen for another hour. She assured him my vitals were fine but he wasn’t happy. In fact he said “he didn’t give a shit what the machine says, I know my wife and you need to look at her right now”.
I was due an epidural top up in 15 minutes and assumed if I told them about the extreme pressure I was feeling they wouldn’t give me it. I put that down to the drugs. Thank god The Bearded One was on the ball because when the midwife checked me say gasped “oh the head is there, are you ready? You’re about to have a baby”. With my best TOWIE impression I replied “shut up”.
“Right I need you to breathe like this” she said and with that she began panting like a dog, I copied her as best I could. “Ok great, now I need you push down into your bottom until I say stop”. Fucking brilliant – can’t feel a thing (still thankful now) so I just groaned and did what I thought were pushing motions praying I didn’t follow through.
“Amazing, and again!” she yells at me.
I’m panting, I’m pushing and with that they dump this bloody, gooey lump on my chest.
As an expectant mother you anticipate the moment you meet your child for the first time. That explosion of love, the first breath, smell, touch and sound.
Me…. “What is it?”
“Oh we didn’t look” (at this point I’d lost a lot of blood and they’d called the trauma team in to stabilise me. They were absolutely fantastic but the biggest credit goes to The Bearded One because had he not been so adamant I was checked out then I don’t know where me or The Baby would be now.)
“It’s a boy!”
As I said, as an expectant mother you imagine your first words, these will shape the relationship with your child moving forward, moments you can’t get back. My words?
“Why is his head that shape and why are his balls so big??”
Once the split second of “trauma” following the birth had subsided it all became dreamlike. I was left with a beautiful, amazing, scrumptious little bundle of joy that was all mine and I loved him instantly.
I was also really fucking proud of myself.
Around 6am The Bearded One took himself and my Mum home to sleep and I lay there looking at the most perfect thing in the world, my greatest achievement, my true love, my son.
From that moment on my life finally had meaning and to this day The Baby, the 3 children, The Bearded One and even The Dog are the most wonderful blessings I have and will ever had. And the bonus? I didn’t shit myself!
So to all expectant mothers, congratulations and enjoy it if you can! I PROMISE you, if I can do it so can you! To all expectant dads… avoid the whiskey and if you can’t? Buy a bucket!!