So here we go......
I went to bed on the 10th December 2007 fully expecting the next day to be like the one I’d just had. A bit of nesting, a bit of card making, a bit of This Morning, a lot of putting my feet up. I had one of those nights where you feel like you are just skimming along the boundary between sleep and wakefulness. I dipped in and out of what I thought were dreams, dreams of long dark tunnels and creatures foraging down them. No really. I’m not making this up.
I woke at around 4.30 am with what felt like a very mild period pain. 5 minutes later I had one again. I started to write them down. After an hour I got too fidgety in bed so I went downstairs and emptied the dishwasher, did a spot of dusting and tidying. As you do when you’ve got possibly the most physically challenging day of your life ahead of you.
At about 6 o’clock I went and told the yet-to-be Hubster the good news that he wouldn’t be going into work today. We sat around timing the contractions and as they became more painful, I did what most daughters do. I called my Mum. She arrived about 9 o’clock shortly followed by my Dad who turned up brandishing a paintbrush ready to help us out with some (very) last minute decorating. It wasn’t planned that I’d spend my labour with my Mum and Dad, but I did and it was just perfect. We spent the morning drinking tea, our jovial conversations punctuated by regular abrupt stops, resumed a minute or two later. We watched the yet-to-be Hubster run around like a madman, frantically trying to transform our house from looking like it was in an episode of DIY Disasters to a fully functioning, babyproofed home. By 1 o’clock I felt ready to go to hospital.
By the time we got to there my contractions were becoming stronger and stronger and I began to panic. On the maternity ward they quickly ushered me into a delivery suite and a lovely but rather firm midwife came over and reminded me of that all important thing I was forgetting to do: breathe. Within minutes I was calm and in control again.
I bounced on the birthing ball and as before was distracted by lighthearted chit chat with my Mum and the yet-to-be Hubster between contractions. I was examined at around 3 o’clock and was found to be 5cm. Halfway there!
The rest of the birth is a bit of a blur. Over the next few hours, the pain got more intense. I was given gas and air which, once I’d got the hang of, really helped. The yet-to-be Hubster had the obligatory puff when the midwives weren’t looking. I don’t think I heard anything from him for half an hour after.
At around 7 o’clock I felt the urge to push. I hadn’t been examined since I arrived but as things had progressed so well, the midwives were happy for me to go for it. Suddenly I became aware of a strange noise in the distance. The only thing I can compare it to is the mooing of a cow. Luckily, by the time I realised it was coming from me, I was past the point of embarrassment and really gave it some welly. Unfortunately it soon became apparent that in fact my body wasn’t quite ready, and I was pushing too early. The pushing sent the baby’s heart rate soaring and suddenly there were a lot more people in the room.
Very shortly after this I was given an episiotomy and my baby was delivered by ventouse.
The midwive held it up for me to see. ‘Ohhh, is it a girl?!’ I said. You’d have thought, given the state I was in, I would be able to identify the difference between a girl and a boy.
My Mum then passed the yet-to-be Hubster this prediction she had written weeks before:
She was right. At 19.50pm Ella Rose Simmonds screamed her way into the world weighing a very healthy 8lbs 8oz.
Throughout my pregnancy despite the scans, listening to the heartbeat, the unmistakable growing bump, I still couldn’t quite believe that there was a baby in there. But suddenly it was real. Here she was.
Frustratingly, I was then taken off for surgery. Where I had an epidural. Teeny bit annoying. But as I lay there with my legs strapped up around my ears, I had the biggest grin on my face. Proudly, I told the surgeons all about my little squealing, screwed up bundle of joy that would change our lives forever.
Love you millions gorgeous girl.