Olivia and Theodore

On the 20th October 2012, the day after my due date, I gave birth to a 8lb 8oz beautiful baby boy. Even though the day was painful, tiring and at sometimes scary, it was one of the most memorable, best days of my life. I can still remember every detail of labour. It sounds so cheesy but I found it kind of magical.

I woke up around 5 am and I immediately knew I was in labour. My mucus plug had come out a week earlier so I knew labour had to start soon! The pains that woke me up were just like a mild period pain. I filled up a hot water bottle, took two pain killers and went back to bed. Fortunately, I was able to doze off for a few hours.

It was a Saturday so my Husband, Niaz, didn’t have to be in work. I don’t think he really believed that I was in labour until much later on. I think Niaz expected to see me crying and shouting at him, blaming him for the pain I was in! However, I used the breathing exercises Debra had gone through with us and the relaxation techniques I had learnt in pregnancy yoga to keep calm, relaxed and a lot quieter than Niaz expected me to be! Niaz was trying to be as supportive as he could and was desperate for me let him know when the contractions started and finished so that he could put them into the contraction app on his phone. I know he wished that he could help more but just having him around helped a lot (even if it was driving him mad that I wouldn’t always let him time the contractions!).

I found the hours passed quickly! I spent the morning between being on all fours on our bedroom floor and being in the bath. The bath felt best with the water really high, totally covering my belly.  Although I kept having to get out to go to the loo! The worst thing about the morning was that I couldn’t stop going to the loo and I felt really sick. I remember Niaz watching Saturday kitchen whilst I was on the bedroom floor. They kept talking about food so I made him switch it off! Ugh!

At around 11.45am Niaz was desperate to go to the hospital as the contractions were getting closer together. I wanted to stay at home longer but rang the Birth Centre at Reading Berks hospital to see what they thought. The midwife kept me on the phone through a few contractions and seemed to time them and listen to how I was dealing with it. They asked us to come in. I made sure that I told the midwife I wanted a water birth then to see if I could get a water birth room.

The drive to the hospital was horrible. Midday Saturday is possibly the worst time to try and drive into the middle of Reading!  Still, I was silently dealing with everything in my own zone. I closed my eyes and sat on the edge of the front seat listening to Niaz swear at other drivers as we sat in a traffic jam and he tried to dodge traffic. Niaz pulled up on the ramp outside the Reading Berks labour ward where we left the car. We made our way up to the Birth Center. An elderly midwife in the assessment room tried to get me to pee into a pot. The night before I had eaten a ham sandwich but had had nothing since and had been constantly on the toilet that morning, hence I could hardly pee anything. The midwife seemed almost annoyed and asked me if I had anything to eat. On Debra’s advice we had packed lots of Jaffa Cakes. The midwife told me to eat one. To which I point blankly refused knowing I would be sick! She said if I didn’t eat I wouldn’t labour so I forced down the Jaffa Cake and promptly vomited it back up!

The midwife then examined me and I was 5cm already at 12.30pm. We were taken to a birthing pool room. We were then given the most wonderful midwife who was also called Olivia to whom I will always be eternally grateful. She was supportive but gave me the space I wanted.

Getting into the birthing pool was amazing. I felt so much lighter and it was such a comfort during contractions. There was no bed in the room, just the pool, cushions and balls etc. It was so peaceful. The midwife pinned different aromatherapy oils onto my swimming top. As I felt so nauseas she pinned on a peppermint smell which actually helped. Niaz was rubbing my back whilst I was in the water just like we had practised in Debra’s classes, which was really calming and relaxing also.

The time in the pool passed really quickly. I had been given the gas and air but after a few sucks, felt I didn’t really like it and that it didn’t really work but the water itself, aromatherapy and breathing were enough to sooth the contractions.

I was leaning on the edge of the pool when I felt a huge gush of warm liquid amidst the pool water. I looked down and saw that my waters had broken. There was a lot of meconium in them. I knew immediately that I would have to get out of the pool. Niaz went to get the midwife. At 2.50pm around half an hour before my little boy was born, I had to get out of the pool and be wheeled from the lovely peaceful Birth Centre down to the labour ward.

I was put on the bed and hooked up to the monitors as meconium in your waters can mean the baby could be distressed. The midwife couldn’t clearly get a reading from the monitor around my stomach so instead hooked a monitor to the baby’s head. Down on the labour ward I began to take advantage of the gas and air, finding that I needed to suck a lot harder than I thought to get the effect. I loved it after that, it was great! I wish I had one at home!

I had only been on the labour ward a few minutes when I needed to push. The midwife told me to just listen to my body and do what felt right so I pushed. It was so clear at what point in the contraction I needed to push. It is a really strong over powering feeling. I knew when to start pushing and when to stop. This was my favourite part of labour. It really felt like I was doing something and was actually quite a nice feeling. Niaz saw the top of the babies head after a couple of pushes and was blown away. He was so excited to get a first glimpse of our little boy. He took a picture on his phone so I could see in between contractions. Seeing the picture of my little boy nearly here just made me want to push even harder.

I had visions of being a complete mess during the pushing stage but it was surprising to me how in control you actually are. The midwives tell you when to give little pushes and bigger pushes and I really listened as wanted to do everything possible not to tear. Then his head was out. I managed it without tearing (a little fear of mine) although I had been using the perineum gel during my last trimester. Whether this helped I am not sure! I kept pushing but his shoulders got stuck. The midwife had to put on the alarm, push my legs back and twist his shoulder round to help him out. With the next push he was out!

Unfortunately, because he shoulders had got stuck, Niaz wasn’t able to cut the cord and I wasn’t able to hold him straight away as they had to check his shoulders. However, we could see him over the other side of the room and hear him crying clearly. We were both crying with happiness and were so amazed at the sight of him. The midwife was explaining why he had to be checked but we weren’t worried as he was crying and looked fine! Theodore Jack Faruki was born at 3.32pm.

Once he was checked, he was given to me to cuddle. The most wonderful feeling I have ever experienced was cuddling him for the first time. His face was so swollen and puffy though, he looked totally different the next day. The midwife helped me lie him next to me to feed him and he fed a little straight away. We took photos and touched him, stroking his little skin. He wasn’t very clean and there was all gooky stuff in his hair!

A while after giving birth I began to feel awful. I felt really faint, sick and things looked a little blurry. I had been bleeding more than normal and been iron deficient throughout my pregnancy so they came to take bloods. The midwife thought it was probably because I hadn’t eaten all day and had been quite sick and had been on the loo all morning. The doctor felt my stomach and found a blood clot. She had to reach inside to disperse the clot. They offered me the gas and air but I felt too sick to have it and so once again used the breathing exercises Debra had gone through with us.

We were moved to the ward about 11pm that night and Niaz stayed for an hour until we were settled and he knew I was feeling OK.I felt so much love for Niaz and was so sad that he would have to leave. I felt a little vulnerable without him. When he was gone I had to ask to get help with feeding my new little boy and the night midwife sat with me until he latched on again. It took a bit of practise!

Once alone, I remember feeling so overwhelmed that this baby was sleeping beside me. That I was the only one there to take care of him. I didn’t sleep at all that night (something I really regretted a few days later J). I sat up and held my baby and looked at him, replaying all the events of the day. My bed was beside the window and I watched as the sun came up whilst I held him. I was scared when he cried, like I wasn’t doing something right and I was afraid that the other mums on the ward would think I didn’t know how to take care of him. However, overall I felt so incredibly happy. I already loved this little baby so much and this love just grew the more I got to know him. I couldn’t stop staring at him. Just looking at him in disbelief that this wonderful little boy, part me and part my husband had grown within me and was here in my arms.

Niaz got to the hospital as early as he was allowed and later that day, we went home.  We spent ages checking he was in the car seat right and that he was safe in the car. We drove home so slowly protecting our new little baby as best we knew we could, comparing this drive with the chaotic one the day before! We returned home to start our lives in a way that would always be different from the lives we knew before. We both agree it was the best thing we ever did!

I simply couldn’t imagine life without my little boy now. He is still up a lot a night but I am running on lots of chocolate and baby love!!! He has brought so much joy to my whole family and I am enjoying every precious moment with him. Good Luck to you! Mummy life is wonderful xxxx

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