A Letter to Elsie
On the evening of Friday the 7th February 2020; the day before your due date. I couldn’t help thinking, when would you arrive? I really wanted labour to start naturally so that evening I ate a hole pineapple! that’s right a hole one (I felt a little sick with the last two mouthfuls!) Apparently pineapple is supposed to help bring on labour. I also put a towel down on our new mattress (didn't want to ruin it) and went to bed hoping that you might make an appearance.
At around 2am in the morning I woke up to what can only be described as period pains. Was this my mind playing tricks on me or was I having the first signs of labour? A quick trip to the bathroom and back to bed I went. I tried my hardest to go back to sleep then all of sudden I needed to make an emergency trip to the bathroom. Anyone who’s been through labour will know exactly what I mean. Was this a sign that labour had started?
I began to tick the first signs of labour off in my head. Labour is described to be very similar to a marathon, you need to get yourself in the right mindset, fuel up and finally imagine how amazing you are going to feel when its all over.
So with that in mind I went down stairs and had some cereal. I tried to go back to bed as it was still very early. I couldn’t for the life of me get comfortable but I tried to close my eyes and rest. At 4am it felt like my waters had broken. It wasn’t like what you see in the moves when the lady looks down and sees a massive puddle. It felt like I had just wet myself a little. I got up and put a Amnio Sense pad on, this lets you know when your waters have broken and sure enough they had. So I went down stairs to fuel up again; this time I had two slices of toast.
That was now three things ticked off my list (I do love a good list!), things were definitely happening. I was never going to get back to sleep now no matter how hard I tried so I grabbed my phone and headphones and went back to bed listening to some positive; Hypnobirthing recordings. At 6.30am the period pains were increasing and coming in waves so your Dad stuck the tens machine on my back. I wanted your dad to have a bit more sleep so I went and sat in your rocking chair in your room. At around 8am I messaged Amanda, my cousin, who had been my midwife throughout pregnancy and she said to give the emergency number a ring at 9am.
I was now timing the length in between the contractions which was pretty consistent. At 9am I spoke to the Midwife on call and she asked if it was my first baby. As soon as she said that I knew what was coming! “Labour can take a long time especially for first time mums”. The midwife said she would pop by in the afternoon to see how I was progressing.
Everyone who I spoke to about labour all said to stay at home as long as possible and I didn’t want to get to Hospital to then be told to go home again. So that is what I was going to do, stay at home as long as I could. The midwife was planning on coming around in the afternoon so I just had to hold off until she arrived to give me the thumbs up to go to hospital.
Your Dad ran me a bath but I didn’t stay in there for long as I preferred having the tens machine on. As you already know your dad is one of the most caring and lovely men in the world, he certainly looked after me. However I got to a point where I didn’t want him in the room with me! I could see the pain I was feeling through his eyes which then made it twice as painful, so he sat on the top of stairs close enough so I could feel his presence but not completely out of sight.
During my first marathon I started to really struggle at mile 16 and got my second wind at mile 23 finishing strong. When things started becoming really uncomfortable I just said to myself “It’s fine you’re on mile 16, you can push through this and soon you will be on mile 23”. To distract myself, in your room on the wall there were two pictures which I focused on. One was of your Gran and Grandad the other was of your Nana and Papa. These amazing ladies gave birth to not one but two babies, “I could do this”.
Your Dad and I spoke about just having one baby so it was very unliking that I was going to experience labour again. There are many women in the world that would give an arm and leg to have their own baby, I was extremely lucky and grateful you where coming into our world.
All of a sudden as I was standing over your cot, swinging my hips from side to side, I felt the urge to push. I said to your Dad, “I feel like a need to push, maybe I just needed to go to the toilet”. So I went and sat on the toilet while your dad phoned the emergency number again. As soon as they heard him say “She feels like she needs to push” they told him to hang up and call 999. That’s exactly what he did.
I didn’t want to cause a scene and said to your Dad let’s just jump in the car and go to hospital but your dad said no an ambulance is on its way. It wasn’t long before a paramedic arrived then came an ambulance and then another! At one stage there must have been 8 people in our bedroom, all but one where males! They gave me some gas and air while they discussed wether to put me in the ambulance or wait for the midwife to arrive. All of sudden I hear someone say the midwife has arrived, Becky Lee is here. Becky, Becky, I know Becky! I couldn’t have been more happy to have seen Becky, who I have known for years through Hayle Running Club. She is so lovely and instantly calmed the room. She cleared all but Ash and Zack out of the room and checked to see how dilated I was. I had this dread that she was going to say “Your only 3 centimetres, you have a while to go Jo” but in stead she said I can feel the head Jo your ready to deliver. Thank god for that, I wasn’t causing a scene after all.
We decided to stay put and deliver you at home and thank god we choose that option as you would have come in the ambulance. I knelt on the floor with my body over the bottom of the bed. Three pushes and you were out. The sensation of you arriving was surreal. After the second push your head was in between my legs. Becky said “on your next contraction Jo I want you to push as hard a you can”. Ok got it, I can do this…. I was just knelling there with your head between my legs waiting for the contractions. “When the hell was this contraction coming?” It felt like ages. While I was waiting I could have a normal conversation with everyone and there was very little pain yet your head was stuck out down there! Finally this wave came and with one long massive push you arrived and as you can see from my face I was rather shocked.
From Dad’s Point of View
I got Mum comfortable in your nursery as soon as things started to happen, cups of tea, a bottle of water and fired up the TENS machine (its like being electrocuted) and she also requested music but in no way did I think she’d say “I want pan pipes”. Anyway what heavily pregnant women want, they get.
Once I heard the words “I fell like I need to push”, I was on the phone to the midwife and was instructed to call 999. As you can imagine I went from calm to in a bit of panic. The lady on the phone started telling me to get your Mum on the floor and find some towels as well as a shoe lace, she began telling me how I was going to have to deliver the baby! I had delivered a few lambs before on a farm in Porthleven but I didn’t mention that to your Mum.
Apparently only 5% of Newborn babies arrive on their due date.
Luckily by the time I got your Mum on our bed and comfortable an ambulance had arrived. In total there where three Ambulances, one car and two large ones. Our bedroom was full of paramedics.
The paramedics and I were discussing whether to wait for the Midwife to arrive or begin the journey to Truro in the Ambulance. Just then there was a knock at the door and it was the Midwife Becky Lee (Mum’s friend from Hayle running club).
As soon as Becky arrived everything settled down and we decided to stay at home for the birth. I got my camera and began to take some photographs, one of the paramedics also took some for us. The next 15 minutes where rather exciting (for me) and at 2.15pm you entered our world. There were lots of tears and I can remember your Mum being rather shocked, you can see by the look on our faces. A quick snip of the umbilical cord and you were wrapped up in a towel and put on Mums chest. You spent one night in Hospital and came home on the Sunday. We couldn’t have been more content.
Your Mum and I wrote this for you during the Corona Virus pandemic in 2020, a really difficult time for many people around the country. Sadly we weren’t able to see your grandparents, however we have loved spending lots of quality time with you and you’ve made us laugh daily with your giggles and enormous trumps! I hope when you read this the world is a much better and safer place than the one you came into.
All our Love, Mum & Dad xXx
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