I suppose there’s still time for that.
At least, I hope there is, it’s still another four hours before the earliest mum and dad could be here.
Do come soon, Love. Today would be a good day…
“When is Littlest coming?” my Sprocket asks, bleary eyed, pyjama clad, as he has every day for the last few months. I’m bearing down on the doorway, breathing deeply. (Inhale, one, two three, four) “Today,” I gasp. “Littlest is coming today. And Nana and Grandpa are on the train right now.”
Breathing through the contractions, my birth bags in the car, we drop the kids at school and creche, debating going straight into the hospital or back home for a cup of tea. If she were our first we'd definitely go home - but as my third we worry she might come quickly. The intern my Beloved is shadowing recently delivered a baby in the hospital hallway, and I don't want a similar delivery. We decide on a cup of tea, but to keep an eye on the contractions.
I re-light the candles, turn on the music, start mopping the floor, but my tea is still unfinished when I see the first of my show. I'm not expecting my waters to break anytime soon, as with the past two they had to break the membranes, and Iphone the hospital to tell them we're on the way.
"This is it, Love, our baby's coming today. Littlest will be here today. Hopefully," I say. Let's not have any 36 hour marathons like I had with our Sprocket. Our Poppet was a nice four hours. My hope is that Littlest will halve that.
It is strange waddling through the labyrinthian corridors of the hospital, so familiar to my Beloved and so unfamiliar to me. We reach the maternity ward and are led to a room. I ask about the bath, which I'd been told was free in my earlier phone call, but since then it's been snitched. This will be my first birth I don't spend most of in the bath. I bite my lip. The shower isn't the same - especially as I tend to get dizzy standing. (Bleah to low blood pressure.)
"Is she alright?" I ask as the green numbers on the machine constantly change.
"She's perfect," the midwives reassure me.
We open the laptop, I listen to my favourite music, the same songs I listened to when my Sprocket and Poppet were born. I spray my hot face with rose water, towel my neck with face washers, sip iced water between contraction.
The contractions are too far apart and I suggest going home until they come closer together. The midwives say they'll just check how dilated I am. When they tell me I'm only three to four centimetres I'm depressed. I figure the four is an exaggeration to make me feel better. My Beloved reminds me that Littlest could still still come quickly, you know, as a third.
My Beloved - the med-student - knows most of the people in the room - the guy putting in the cannula, the chief midwife - and there is light talk until the next contraction. My Beloved shows me that the strength of my contractions goes off the chart. I'm glad it's not just me being wussy. They feel strong. I'm still standing up with every one, to hang around his neck, my face pressed against his chest as I breath through the pain (Inhale, one two three four, exhale, one two three four) concentrating on keeping my breathing steady, smoothing out the ragged gasps.
I'm resting and then standing for each contraction. Breathing. Stamping. Holding to my Beloved. He drops a kiss on my hair at the end of each one, and even in my somewhat introverted state, it is immeasurably comforting.
And then back to resting. I'm lying on my side. I meant to be more active between contractions, but I'm tired. Lack of sleep is catching up to me. "I'm too old for this. I should have gone to the gym more," I lament. The midwife reassures me.
The midwife is keen on me using the shower. I'm not sure of the standing and would so love to sink into a bath… but…
I lumber into the bathroom, leaning into the wash basin, stamping out the pain. Littlest is coming. Littlest is coming today.The blood starts dripping in greater quantities.
I go into the shower. It's in a corner and there's a rail along the wall, a plastic seat. I hold to the rail and squat into the contractions, putting all my weight into bearing down on the rail. I concentrate on the heat of the water. I don't know how much time passes. (Littlest is coming.)
I ask the midwife about breaking my waters, but she says normally they prefer to let them break naturally. Maybe so. But my waters (going on a grand total of two cases) don't seem to break naturally as quickly as I'd like.
Hot, dizzy. I get out of the shower, wrap in one of the big white towels. I want cold water, a cool face washer, but there's a big flurry of people. They seem to think Littlest is coming right now. I'm perplexed. I thought I was just hot. The room seems busy, crowded, too bright after the dimmer bathroom.
Awkwardly I hoist myself onto the bed again, kneel on it holding to the bed railing at the front. I don't feel like Littlest is very close. Hot. Dizzy. The excess of people reminds me of Sprocket's birth. This is not a good thing. I was in a similar position, with a similar amount of people, for the last hours before the end.
There is burning agony as her head comes through. O God, she's here, she's really here. My Little one. There is wild excitement amongst the pain.
Pushing. Her head is in the world.
Littlest is coming. Littlest is coming. My Littlest is nearly here. I don't know if I say it aloud or in my head. I think I chant it aloud. It is unbelievable and wonderful and impossible and the world is full of pain and she is nearly here.
I don't think I can take more pain. Littlest is coming. I know I need to push and I don't think I can. I blow through my lips, like a horse, as I've heard this softens things, makes things easier.
"Stop pushing, just breathe, don't push," the midwife and registrar tell me. Relieved, I stop pushing. But I so want to meet her, hold her.
"She's got a bruiser's shoulders." My midwife takes over from the registrar. There is movement amongst the pain. They're telling me stuff, doing stuff, I don't know what. (Rotating her into the world). My Little One.
I feel Littlest emerging, slipping out. The wondrous bulk of her. So so close to here.
With gentle pushes I feel the rest of her sliding out. She is here. *
They bring her through my legs and into my arms, warm and slippery, still attached to me, impossibly soft against my chest. And after all this time I am holding her.
My Little one. My Lily. My Love. My Littlest. My last.
There are no words. My Beloved comes around to cut her cord. Awed, I hold her to me, murmuring love.
She looks so familiar. All little legs and arms and indignation. It is such a shock to be in the world.
They talk to me about the third stage. Stuff. I don't take it in to remember. All that placenta stuff. There is a discussion about stitches. The registrar and midwife agree it needs doing. I'm wary. I have two lots of injections to numb the area. I don't want another case like Sprocket's where the injection didn't have time to work before they stitched. Most. Painful. Moments. Of. My. Life.
My midwife and registrar leave us to savour our new and perfect one. My midwife will return in an hour for all the measuring and weighing and things. The day has gone from mid-morning to gently dim evening.