Thursday, 17 November 2011

A birth story

At 1.15am on a windy November night, at 36 weeks gestation, our baby daughter began to make her transition from womb to world.

It was with the ice cold stab of dread I woke, paralysed while I made sense of the feeling: my waters had broken. This wasn’t supposed to happen yet, the baby was preterm. I stole out of the bedroom, packed a hospital bag and a bag for our two year old daughter, did some last minute, frantic cleaning and tidying, had a shower, then woke my husband.

‘I’m having a baby’ I told him. As he blinked to consciousness and I heard the announcement myself and the birth was in motion.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Every mother loves a birth story

It is my belief that it's the privilege of every new mother to tell the story of her labour in as much gory detail as she wishes, and for her audience to listen politely, if not appreciatively. This was not my understanding before I had children myself, but since giving birth I have reached the kind of 'members only' realisation that gives a convenient licence to hold forth.

I have a good old friend whose first birth story came several years before my own, and I remember being simultaneously horrified, regaled and skeptical when she told me in dramatic detail of the birth of her first daughter. She told me how she had done the cleverest thing - producing this perfect infant, and how the arrival of the first grandchild had incited her mother to reveal how her own birth (she is also the first born) had been the best thing that had ever happened to her. And then, many months later, I remember this friend telling me how her husband had suggested she find an alternative topic of conversation to dine out on, that perhaps the birth-story was wearing a little thin for family and friends alike. I laughed with her at the time, part of me realising how 'big' this thing must be, the labour of giving birth, while hoping to bear the pain, indignity and wonder of this transformational experience myself some day.

Monday, 4 April 2011

It's a gift

Inspired by some online-friends from Breast Cancer Care, I thought I'd say it with poetry for a change. 

Monday, 10 January 2011

The leaky bottle

4.30am. I am woken by the thudding of footsteps in the hallway. Thud thud thud down towards the bathroom and a moment later thud thud thud, back again. The baby is crying. Her cry is the mewling of a newborn, seven weeks old, mouth persistently wide. My husband is on duty, but from behind the closed door of the spare room, maternal instinct rouses me and I stumble from bed. 

I almost collide with my husband, who’s standing just outside the doorway, holding a muslin in one hand, an empty milk bottle in the other, his hands raised in announcement. 

‘Something is wrong with this bottle,’ he says. ‘I’ve already been downstairs once to fill it again because the first bottle has soaked the baby, now this one is doing the same. I don’t know how it’s happening.’ He speaks as though there are gremlins at work.