What follows is the birth story I wrote in June 2015. Don't ask me why it has taken me so long to hit publish but as it's 2 sleeps until Baxter turns 3 it seems fitting to do it now......
Ok, so before we start. I didn't take my camera with me to the hospital. Disgraceful I know. But in my defence I was only in hospital for 10 hours. In January, overnight and there was a powercut. So no nice light to take photos of my beautiful boy. That and the fact he was purple for a loooooong time with 2 bloodshot eyes, but we'll get to that part.
At exactly 39 weeks I thought I was in labour. I had all day tightenings which were increasingly painful. So much that we asked the grandparents to step in on childcare. But no dice. Even though I was up all night by the morning it had all died away.
One week later, at exactly 40 weeks I woke up and as soon as I stepped out of bed I knew the baby was coming that day. He felt so low, and I just knew.
Brodie went to school in the morning and because of train problems Greig was working from home. I played with Grier and made lunch. Around lunchtime I started to notice some cramps which ramped up over the next few hours. I started knitting a cardigan for Grier with lovely purple wool I got for Christmas. The pattern kept my mind off the contractions and I noted my row numbers and timed the contractions on my phone.
We made tea for the kids and once again called the grandparents into action (thank you!). I had a check of the hospital bags and Greig finished off the work he had to do knowing he would likely be on paternity leave by the time Monday rolled around. I called the labour ward to let them know what was going on and they agreed I should labour at home for as long as I was happy to.
Earlier in the day Grier had asked to make a chocolate cake - which we did and Greig had just settled down with a slice and some coffee when I heard a loud pop. My waters had broken. We just looked at each other because this had never happened before! And I had always claimed that if my waters broke on their own we might perhaps be in for a swift labour.....
I had no socks on so shouted at Greig to get me socks. The memory of which makes me smile as he ran about in some panic looking for socks and clean clothes for me to wear. We called the labour ward back and they advised we come in although the lovely midwife did mention something about third babies sometimes being 'tricky'.......
Into the car with our bags. I was chatting and we laughed. Even though I was having regular painful contractions, on both my previous trips to hospital in labour I had been much further on and there was no chatting, just focus on the task in hand. Also my waters broke in hospital the previous two times and neither Greig nor I anticipated how soggy the car seat would end up or the fact that I would leave a trail of amniotic fluid wherever I went. I always thought that only happened in the movies. I was really self conscious at this point, again not something I had felt before on making it hospital!
We made ourselves comfortable - I had time to change into my nightie - again a first in labour for me. I was checked and the midwife said I was about 6cm dilated - quick maths time - so 4 hours to go until the next stage. It was already nearly 10pm and 4 hours seemed like an awful long time to me at that point. The staff pretty much retreated and left us in quiet to labour which I really appreciated. I was calm and trusting that everything would happen in it's own time. I remember texting with family and sharing a joke with my brother in law.
Very quickly though things seemed to progress. Within an hour I was almost ready to push and made Greig and the midwife quickly snigger as I complained it was taking ages. Time seemed to tunnel up and I knew things were happening quickly and I wanted it to be over and have my baby but at the same time I felt a little out of control. Not that anyone was in control except my baby boy. He was born in a rush, all at once it seemed. He was taken by midwives and checked quickly and given back to me to hold. He was only out of my arms for probably 30 seconds but it felt like an hour.
I was worried he was very blue but he pinked up quickly and I was completely staggered at the fact he seemed huge! He was in fact over 9lb, nearly 2lbs heavier than Brodie and Grier. Which was a shock!
A very kind midwife offered me tea. And said yes please! One of the very few photos we have is me with a cup of tea in hand and my huge, still faintly blue, beautiful, squishy, perfect newborn. I had told everyone and anyone who would listen that he was a boy although we never found out at our scan, it was indeed gratifying to find out he was a baby boy indeed! And we were able to let everyone know Baxter Andrew had arrived, safely, rapidly, on his due date 9th January 2015, at 23.32.
I had one of the three best showers of my life and packed away my nightie and ridiculous white slippers. Put on my comfy clothes and settled down in the chair with my tiny boy. I opened the blinds just slightly and saw that it was snowing gently. There was a powercut in the hospital so there was generator noise and emergency lighting. It also snowed on the day Brodie was born. Greig slept a little bit but I was high on my hormones and adrenaline and excitement still so I watched my baby sleep and fed him when he stirred - so easy third time round. In a few hours the paperwork was done and we were able to dress our boy in the softest while velour sleepsuit and snowsuit with a hat knitted by Granny. We fastened him into the car seat we brought his brother and sister home in and leave the labour ward a few hours after we arrived, 3 now instead of 2. I'm so grateful for the care of the staff on the labour ward, they were incredibly respectful of my wishes and let me be peaceful and quiet and let me enjoy those beautiful first hours with Baxter. A very special experience.
Then we drove straight to Granny and Granda's house. I will never forget the scene, walking through their living room door finding, barely 12 hours after leaving Brodie and Grier with their grandparents all snuggled up on the couch before 7am and presenting then with a new baby brother. It was magical for me to see their faces. And I couldn't have planned for a more lovely introduction.
The recovery for number 3 was pretty good. I probably tried to do too much too early but I was keen to keep things normal for the bigger kids. Keen to prove I could do it all. And acutely aware that we had major building work due to start 6 weeks after Baxter was born. With hindsight I probably should have rested more and respected the body that had safely carried and delivered my new baby and given myself time to recover more fully. If you have a friend or relative who has newly delivered a baby perhaps gently (or not so gently) remind them to be easy on themselves and remind them there's no medal for struggling through when you're exhausted. Take them food, text them encouragement, purposefully ignore their messy house, rock their baby for twenty minutes whilst they put their feet up - a hardship I know!
Oh and it was about 3 weeks before Baxter was consistently pink and didn't have bloodshot eyes. Big baby, exiting birth canal in a hurry, apparently it happens. But it sort of broke my heart even though it was harmless and not my fault.
I know I said he was huge but looking back at the evidence - he was teeny tiny really.