I’m delighted to say that our beautiful baby girl, Elsie, came crashing into the world, weighing 8lb 11oz, on Saturday 21st May 2016. 

After two days of mile contractions and symptom spotting labour signs I finally felt the real deal not long after going to bed on Friday 20th May. I woke up about 10:45pm and told hubby “it’s time!” and he got straight on to his Dad so he could come and sit with Florence as she was in bed and I called the birth centre. Matt jumped in the shower which I was most disgruntled about as I really felt quite panicky and wanted to get off ASAP albeit we had to wait for Matts dad anyway. 

I was shivering like it was -15 degrees and the contractions were coming thick and fast every 3 minutes or so. 

We eventually got on our way and arrived at the birth centre at 11:40pm. We were immediately shown to our room which had a birthing couch, sofa and birthing pool. The room was ensuite and was dimly lit with mood lighting and fake, flickery candles. The radio was on low volume and we were provided with ice water, straws, tea and coffee. By this point the contractions were around 1-2 minutes apart and the birthing pool was being filled, much too slowly for my liking! The midwife, Beth, checked my blood pressure and felt baby. I jumped up and had another contraction; Beth asked if I wanted any pain relief yet and I said “I don’t know” (duhhh!) I breathed through my contractions and as cheesy as it sounds I really did just think about those amazing moments immediately after delivery to get me through each tightening. 

After that contraction had passed I asked for gas and air. Beth provided it immediately and I stood by the pool swaying; waiting for the next pain. It came and I suddenly felt the sensation that I was wetting myself. It was the pressure. She was coming. I basically peeled my clothes off immediately and jumped in the birthing pool which was only partially filled. I kneeled down and puffed on the gas and air as the next contraction came and that’s when it all happened. The pressure was immense and I just pushed down with all my might. The next words out of my mouth were “the heads out!” followed by “the shoulders are there” and with any push she was born, at 12:02am-just 22 minutes after arriving at hospital! Thank goodness it wasn’t a Saturday lunchtime as I think I would have had her in the car!

The placenta took some time to come out, about 38 minutes I think my notes said. I had to get out the pool in the end and sit in the toilet. That sitting position seemed to get it in just the right place. It doesn’t hurt when you pass the placenta, just like a very heavy, spongey lump! The midwife then checked me internally, gas and air required, but all was in tact and just a small graze seemed to be the worst of my injuries. 

Finally it was time to sit and enjoy our baby girl whilst the midwife did her paperwork. I breastfed her and just stared at her in shock of how quickly life just changed. 

We stayed at the hospital until 6am and then headed home. Florence had only just woken up when we got back so you can imagine the shock on her face when daddy carried a baby into the house! 

I’m filming our first week, in parts, and I filmed some bits in hospital. I did plan on filming the labour but it happened so quickly I couldn’t get myself together to sort the camera out! I’ll pop it up here when I finally get around to editing it.

Elsie feels just as part of the family as Logan or Florence. Yes, we’re tired, my boobs hurt and our laundry pile has doubled, but we’re totally in love!

   
    
    
   

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It’s called a birth plan for a reason.  It’s a plan.  It’s not set in stone, it might not work out but it’s a plan of how you would like the controllable factors surrounding your birth to be.

I didn’t really have a birth plan with Logan.  How can you when you’ve never been through labour? My plan was to have a baby.  Having been through that thoroughly horrendous experience I had a much better idea of how I wanted my labour and delivery with Florence to be. It was almost all for nothing when my bump stopped growing but thankfully I got the midwife led birth I wanted.

In fact, the whole experience was so fantastic I want a replica birth with this little baby inside me – perhaps a little quicker. I am once again booked in to delivery my baby at our local midwife led birthing centre.  They don’t provide epidurals or caesareans. It’s a unit for low risk women to deliver their babies in as natural way as possible.  Every aspect of the unit is geared up for relaxation and the rooms are like homes from home where you, your partner and baby can all stay the night (if required) in the same room, on a sofa bed.

In terms of the labour I’d like to stay home for as long as possible.  If I do end up at the unit in early labour I would love to make use of the essential oils again by having Matt rub my lower back (sorry slave boy).  Once I feel the pain is becoming a little much I’d like to slip into the birthing pool and last as long as possible before hitting the gas and air.  Ideally I’d like to use the gas and air just for the pushing stage but we shall see. I don’t know if it helps with any kind of pain relief but it does give you something to think about and ‘do’ whilst things are happening downstairs.

The birthing pool was a massive form of pain relief for me. I didn’t have any of that ‘burning’ of the first labour.  There were no stretching and tearing skin sensations.  I had to deal with the contractions and the general pain but that was all.  It really was the burning that I couldn’t cope with previously.  The idea with the birthing pool is that you keep your bump underwater the whole time, stay upright and the warmth of the water keeps you relaxed and supple.

Assuming that all goes to plan with the birth, I’d like Matt to cut the cord and have some skin to skin whilst waiting for the placenta to be delivered.  Whilst the midwives take baby away to be weighed and checked I’ll shower and clean myself up.  I’d love Matt to dress baby girl and then we can all sit down and relax whilst little lady has her first breastfeed.  I’ve put a whole outfit including nappy and personalised bib in a small duffle bag on top of the changing bag so Matt can just grab it and know what baby girl is to wear.

It all sounds too perfect and I will be lucky to experience another labour like Florence’s. The one thing I can’t control is when.  Florence has been quite ill the last week and is still off her food and tired.  She’s been napping on the sofa which is totally out of character for her.  I’d hate for something to happen during the night and have to disturb her, she needs all the rest and routine she can get at the moment.  As much as I want to meet our new family member I really want the children I have to be happy and healthy.  If only to make me feel more relaxed about leaving them.  I was out the house less then 24 hours when I had Florence; we left home at around 4pm and got home around 9am the next morning.  Being a low risk birth unit, we were allowed to leave within about six hours but opted to stay overnight just to recuperate. This time, as we have Florence to think about I will want to leave as soon as we are given the all clear.  Even if I get home and head straight for a nap.  At least I can nap at home, in my bed with my kids around me.

A nap? Who am I kidding?!  I’ll have a newborn baby who wants feeding every hour and lets face it, I won’t be able to take my eyes off her.

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Every ache, every pain, every time I have to empty my bowel at a moments notice I’m wondering if these are signs of labour.  Anyway, it got me thinking about my previous labours; what were the signs of impending delivery? I wonder if they will be similar this time around.

The day before Logan was born I was still blissfully unaware of how close I was to giving birth. It was a normal day; we had pasta for dinner and I stayed up unusually late watching TV.  Around 2/3 hours after going to bed I was woken up by the need to use the toilet.  I didn’t know at the time but my body had just decided to have a ‘clear out’.  Thank goodness it did as contractions followed minutes after and the rest is history.  Logan was delivered naturally around 15 hours later at 5:35pm, three days overdue.

Florence came five days early.  I had been losing my mucus plug for around two weeks already at this stage and so I knew something was happening but I just didn’t know when.  I’d spent the morning of the 5th July shopping at Tesco. I humped it all into the house and had some lunch.  I spent the next hour or so on the laptop and generally passing the time when I had some tightenings. These weren’t braxton hicks, they were regular and were slowly, but surely getting more painful. After an hour of increasing intensity I text Matt and asked him to come home as he had a 30 minute journey ahead of him.  So, with Florence, losing my plug was the first real sign of labour being just around the corner.

SIGNS OF LABOUR

I asked some of my blogging mummy chummies on Facebook what their first signs of labour were and this is what they said…..

“I got a really bad cold a week before I had both kids. Then I had nothing until my waters went!”
– Emily from Emily and Indiana

“I woke up with mild contractions around 4:30am. As i was 3 days late I timed them and realised they were pretty regular so called hubby to come home (he worked nights) by 7am I was in the bath as the pain was increasing. I emptied my bowels and by 12pm went to hospital. But my waters didn’t break and I didn’t lose my plug! So it was hard to say I was definitely in labour. In fact, the hospital tried to see home as I was only 1cm. Turns out I was as 2 hours later I was 7cm! Lamb was born at 7:57pm the same day.”
– Alex from Lamb and Bear

“I had false labour two weeks earlier. I was convinced that it was all starting. But after some sleep it eased. Over the next two weeks I had intermittent cramps, an upset stomach and back pain. Then two days overdue my waters broke at 6 am with a huge gush. At 08.30 I had my first contraction. At 10.30 I started projectile vomiting so we went to the hospital. By the time they examined me at 11.00 I was 9cm. Little Miss was born at 12.24 after being stuck and constantly crowning (ouch) for 45 minutes!”
– Lucy from Mrs H’s Favourite Things

“Being very emotional the day before. More than normal hormonal pregnancy.”
– Eilidh from Mummy and Monkeys

“I was bed bound the day before I had H-Bear with a full on streaming cold, awful cough, no energy, headache, but woke up the next day absolutely fine… He arrived at 2.30 that afternoon!”
– Hannah from Make Do and Push

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