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Esther's birth story, by Doris O'Connor

Cast your mind back to summer 2000 and there was me, closely resembling a hot, irritable, beached whale eagerly awaiting the birth of baby no 5!

After a seemingly endless pregnancy, fraught with more problems than I care to remember, fluctuating blood pressure, low-lying placenta and threatened c-section. to name but a few, and that on top of all the normal niggles, of which I seemed to have every one in the book, I was finally on the homestretch and booked in for my longed-for homebirth.

Two weeks before my due date I had a show at four in the afternoon and proudly announced to my husband, when he came home from work at 5.30 in the afternoon that the baby was definitively on the way, as I was having regular contractions and my back was absolutely killing me.. We got all the kids off to bed for seven thirty and alerted both the midwife and our friends this was it! great excitement all round as you can imagine!

However when the midwife turned up at ten to see how I was doing, everything had died down and even though I was 2 centimeters dilated, it didn't mean a thing. She gave the usual advice do what comes naturally and then promptly launched into a graphic description as to the best position etc and my husband's face was a picture I can tell you. Now while Tony wore a happy grin the next morning there was still no sign of any baby!

A week went by and on the Wednesday I got up and my back was absolutely killing me again, so much so that I phoned up the mother of the little boy I childmind to tell her that I would have to start my leave there and then. I wasn't convinced that this was it, but was in no fit state to look after anybody. I convinced my husband to get off to work, once he had done the school run for me, as everything was dying down again of course and he very reluctantly did so, having arranged for a friend to come and stay with me for most of the day. Needless to say by lunchtime there was not a twinge!!!

I now convinced myself that this baby was going to be late and I would have to be induced. Fortunately four days after my due date, I went to bed at 10.45, having had a rather busy day and was just nicely falling asleep, when I realized that I was a bit damp shall we say, my hindwaters had gone.

So I lumbered out of bed to inform Tony that maybe, just maybe this might be it. He didn't get excited, bless him, but we dutifully informed the midwife, who said she would ring us back a bit later to see what was happening. Well when she phoned back an hour later I was having regular contractions and she was coming over to check things out! On examination I was five centimeters dilated HURRRAY!!!!!! and definitively in labor.

However this baby had a few more surprises in store for us. We had planned for me to give birth in the bedroom, but I had such a bad backache labor, that the only place I could get remotely 'comfortable' was leaning on the kitchen worktop, with Tony massaging my lower back. So after a lot of huffing and puffing and groaning on my part, the midwife called the second midwife as she was convinced I was going got have this baby very soon and you need two midwives in attendance for the actual birth.

Well, guess what... yep, no sooner had the second midwife appeared and the contractions disappeared! Nothing. zilch, not a twinge!!!
I'll never forget the two midwifes looking at me with a very whimsical expression "What are you doing Doris ?" " Ah well not a lot", the understatement of the year. Half an hour of pacing the length of the hallway, still nothing!!!
 
So it was decided to break my waters, to get things going again. Of course this wasn't straightforward either, well it wouldn't be would it, let's face it this baby was simply awkward!!!!

Fifteen minutes later she finally managed to break my waters and also informed me that I was still only five centimeters. I could have cried at that point and did become very disheartened.

However no sooner did I get off the bed and the contractions really kicked in with a vengeance. I got stuck on the kitchen worktop again, clutching the gas and air as if my life depended on it, whilst my midwives frantically moved all the equipment to the kitchen table and half an hour later, I was pushing with all my might, clinging onto the worktop and squatting at the same time, with the midwife reassuring me that she was very good at catching babies!!!

The rest of the delivery is a bit of a blur, but I vividly remember the midwife telling me not to push for what seemed like ages and there was a lot of tugging going on and when I finally got the ok one mighty push and a big splash later, the midwife true to form caught a screaming baby girl. HURRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I turned around to look at her I did notice that both midwives looked a bit shaky and Tony was very white, bless him. I was told later that not only had Esther come out facing the wrong way, hence all the back ache, but she also had the the cord wrapped tightly round her neck twice and they had a bit of a job getting it over her head! Still, all's well that ends well.

I then found myself in the bizarre situation of delivering the placenta lying on the kitchen floor, watched over by my eldest, who had woken up at that point and having wrestled the baby off her doting daddy, I then tried my best to calm down a screaming baby at four thirty in the morning, with not a great amount of success. When I say screaming, I mean hollering, you would not believe a newborn could scream so loudly and I was convinced she would wake up all the neighbors.

However after a lovely bath together, during which she nursed for the first time, we were both tucked into our nice warm bed and waited for the rest of the gang to wake up, as they had slept through it all. I never shall never forget their excited faces at 6.00 am when they realized the baby was here.

We were the talk of the school for days! LOL

Doris O Connor

Update:

Doris went on to have her sixth baby, Molly, and her seventh, Gabrielle, at home.

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