Lonnie lives in the UK and is the proud mother of Phoebe and Eloisa . She wrote this lovely story about Eloisa's birth just three days later.
Eloisa at three hours old
Before I start, I feel I must make this little note. Eloisa's birth was without a doubt the most wonderful experience of my life. I can not imagine ever going through something that magical and wonderful again, and I so want this to come across in the way I tell this. But I know that I can't possibly put this into words. I just want you all to know that I feel that way about her birth.
I am now 4 days overdue and I am pretty anxious for this baby to arrive. At the same time I am relieved that Bean (as we have been calling her through out my pregnancy not knowing the sex of the baby) had decided to wait until after the 4th of January to be born as I wanted a home birth. And this I would not be able to have between the 30th of December through to the 4th of January (due to them being worried about the millennium bug). But now we are on the 5th and we are back to the home birth delivery.
I have an appointment to see my consultant at 12 pm, as I am overdue. It is common practice to have this appointment (you talk about induction etc). I have been kind of looking forward to this appointment, as when I was overdue with my older daughter Phoebe he swept my membranes and this started of my labour with her, so I am hoping for the same sort of success this time.
At 11:20 am my midwife Hilary rings and asks me if I can come down now as they have had 3 cancellations and the consultant is just waiting for me. No problem off Phoebe and I trot :o).. I get down there and he has had 2 emergency appointments so in the end I see him at 10 past 12 having waited for 30 mins, but all the midwives there are in a great mood and are really chatty so I had a really fun time. They are all telling me how I need to go into labour tonight, as it would fit their plans really well. My own midwife then tells me that she is on duty tonight, and this makes me really want things to happen as I so want Hilary to be the one to deliver my baby.
I get into see my consultant and he agrees to sweep my membranes (in fact he was rather keen on doing it as he felt that it would probably start me of as it had last time). He sweeps my membranes and both him and my midwife say that it was a good sweep (he had blood all over the gloves) and that they both think that I will have this baby within the next 48 hours. He tells me that baby is at + 1 station and that I am 2 cm dilated. I leave and go home with Phoebe.
After 10 mins I start to get a sore tummy and a very sore back. This was how labour started last time so things look promising. I spend the afternoon relaxing and spend a bit of time on the computer, the pains are still there. And they are getting worse. I am finding it difficult to deal with Phoebe even though she is being incredible good. She spills a bowl of dry cereal on the floor as she misjudged the distance to the table from where she stands (she is 23 months by the way) and I am in tears.
Stuff like that would not normally bother me and I decide it is time to call my husband home from work. I simply need to spend my energy on me. I ring him and he says that he is on his way. Shortly after he rings me to confirm what train he will be on and I take Phoebe down to collect him. We go the way of our local supermarket to stock up on a few foods and get dinner. (I also did a supermarket run when in early labour with Phoebe - must be a thing for me whilst in labour!) then we go home.
We put Phoebe to bed and I potter about a bit, still feeling sore and achy every where. At 11 pm I decide to have a bath (having um-ed and aah-ed about that for quite some time) I am worried that the water may make me relax and stop whatever has started but I decide at 11 pm that it is time for some hot water around me. At this point I am having a few contractions here and there but nothing regular. I get in the bath and the relief on my back is instant. I stay in the bath for a good hour, and then go downstairs and tell my husband that he needs to get to bed if he wants any sleep tonight, as at this stage I know that things are happening. Still I don't think that things are all that imminent as I was in labour for 40 hours with my first child.
We go to bed and husband asks me if I want my TENS machine on. I decide this is a good idea. (for those of you who doesn't know about TENS it is a little battery operated box that via electrodes stuck to your back sends little pulsing feelings into your body and helping your natural pain killers endorphins to work more efficiently. I had found it a great help in my first labour and have actually together with 2 other girls bought one this time instead of hiring it) He puts it on for me and we put the lights out.
I decide that I need to try to sleep at this point my contractions are speeding up and becoming regular, but they are not at a stage where I feel I need to tell husband I am having them. I want him to sleep. He falls asleep immediately and I try to. At some point between 1 and 2 am I realise that my contractions are coming every 15 mins. But I feel fine handling them with my TENS and breathing - in fact, I don't feel the need to get out of bed.
Between 2 and 2 30 am the contractions start coming every 6 mins and I decide to get out of bed as I am feeling a little restless. I go to the toilet put on the heating as the house feels a little cold. Then I decide to try a couple of contractions using my birthing ball (a large inflatable ball that you can sit on or lie over in labour - very helpful for wiggling your hips while you're sitting on it! - Angela)
I get down on my knees and hold on to the ball, at first it feels like a mistake but then a contraction hits and I start rocking and breathing over the ball and I immediately find the contraction much better to deal with. I also find that the next couple of contractions intensify. Obviously the baby is pressing on my cervix far better in this position. I find that saying RELAX as I breathe through the contractions really helps me. I go REEEE as I am breathing in and Laaaxxx as I breathe out.
(I used a waterpool with Phoebe's delivery and found it a great help but with Eloisa after the first bath I had I really didn't want to get near water, even though my husband suggested it a few times).
At 3 am I decide it is time to wake my husband. I need something to drink and I know that there is no way I can make it downstairs and up again. I also feel the need to have someone else awake near me. My husband gets up and he starts to get things ready for calling out the midwife (like stripping the bed and getting the plastic sheets down).
At 3:15am we call the labour ward and the midwife who answers was the midwife who greeted us when I went into hospital to have Phoebe. It feels really nice and familiar. My own midwife (Hilary) rings us at 3:22 am saying she is on her way. Part of me is worried that we have called her to soon but as the last 2 contractions had been every 4 mins I decide better too soon than too late. Hilary arrives at 3:40am (having been the way around the hospital to pick up a few things) and she examines me and I am at 4 cm. Contractions are every 6 to 4 minutes, I am still managing with my TENS and my breathing. Hilary and Nick (husband) both want to massage me whilst having a contraction but I find it very uncomfortable to be touched while contracting so they leave me be.
Hilary says that we didn't call her too early and that she feels that things are moving along well. Nick goes down to make her and himself a cup of coffee and Hilary just sits on our bed and talks to me. We talk about a lot of stuff over the next hour or so: when we all got our first colour TV, Hilary's son who plays rugby (husband used to), a couple of my friends who Hilary also is or have been midwife for, and loads of other things. I find it really comforting to listen to both her and my husband, and don't worry to much about the contractions. I'm still feeling fine to roll on the birthing ball and breathing and using the TENS. Phoebe wakes up in all the commotion and husband takes her downstairs to watch a video.
At 5:20 am Hilary decides that she wants to call a student midwife called Keri, who has expressed a wish to be present at the delivery as we had no problem with students being there. She says she is coming over at once. At 5:25 am I have a contraction and my waters break (I am still wearing my pyjamas at this point and my pants were soaking!). Hilary examines me again and I am at 6 cm. We decide it is time for Phoebe to go off to my friend who has promised to look after her while I am in labour. Hilary rings for the second midwife. Hilary and I decide that it is probably a good idea for me to get off my knees for a while both to rest them and to give the baby a chance to press better on the cervix.
Nick takes Phoebe off to my friend leaving the key in the door outside so the student and the other midwife can get in without Hilary and I need to worry. Keri arrives a few minutes later, and comes up (I have meet her quite a few times before so it feels fine to have her there) Nick comes back from taking Phoebe off and then goes downstairs to make some more coffee. He also brings off some Strepsils to Hilary as she has a sore throat (she was well impressed by that!). My contractions are speeding up and I decide to try some Entonox(gas and air). Hilary hooks it up for me and I take my first puff of it. (love it !). As my second contraction using the gas and air hits, the second midwife arrives (Pauline). Nick makes her tea and then I feel the need to have him near me. Up until this stage I have been happy to know that he was around and close by, but now I want him to be close so I can touch him and he can help me through the contractions.
I am at this point sitting on the birthing ball and lean against him when I have a contraction and at one point I feel almost as if we are dancing as we both rock slowly through one of my contractions. It feels very right to have him that close by and makes me feel like everything is safe and right. My contractions don't feel as if they are coming any closer but I am also losing track of time; my body is beginning to go into transition. I am hanging over the ball at this stage and also half hanging over Nick. I originally said that I felt I would like to give birth in this position so the midwives just leave me be. I feel far more in control of everything than I had in my last labour, and I feel as if my body is able to do what it wants to do naturally, and that (even more importantly) my body KNOWS what to do.
My transition stage hits. I start to lose my sense of seeing and talking. This also happened in my last labour so I was prepared for this and I had prepared my midwife for it too. My hearing at this stage, however, really intensifies. I can feel that I will want to push soon-ish and I tell them so they all go "ok ok don't worry about it. Just start pushing when you need to".
I suddenly feel very very tired and I say to Nick I am so tired I want to go to sleep. They all seem to find this very amusing but I truly felt as if I could sleep. I find that I no longer want to be on my knees - I want to sit down and lean up against Nick. As my speech by now really has gone I just start moving, hoping they will get what I wish to do. Thankfully they do. They however are not to happy with the way I place myself; they want me more upright as I am not in a good position for pushing, because I am sitting down on my pelvis. They get me to move.
Hilary is brilliant at this stage. She realised a while ago that my speech had gone and when she talks to me she asks all questions with yes or no replies, so I can either shake my head or nod - it works really well. I start to feel the need to push and just get on with it. Thankfully they seem to think this is fine, no wait or anything. The student midwife places herself so I can push my leg up against her knees to have something to push against, Hilary is placed at the other knee, I am leaned up against Nick and it feels very safe to have his warmth and his arms around me (he later tells me that his legs were completely dead from me leaning on them, but none the less he stays like this without complaining throughout the pushing stage).
I feel very tired and they are telling me to push twice with each contraction and I simply cannot find the energy for that (I had the same problem in my first labour; I only seem to have energy for 1 push per pushing contraction). I try to do as they say but several times have to stop at the second try. Pauline has her hands on my tummy and is saying stuff like "She is still contracting" to Hilary and Keri and then telling me to push twice I find her voice rather irritating but when Hilary tells me to do the same thing she says "Lonnie, put your head down to your chin then do one good push, then take a quick breath and push again." I for some reason don't find it annoying when she is telling me (I think because I know her I feel as if she has the right to tell me what to do!).
Nick is also telling me to push, and I finally get it right I can feel the baby moving further down. Hilary puts her hand down to support the baby's head, for some reason this feels incredible painful and I am going "NO No it hurts!". Hilary says "Lonnie, I am only supporting the baby's head; we don't want you tearing now, do we?". The next contraction hits, I start to push again and a burning feeling comes through. Hilary says to me "Lonnie, I need you to pant soon, as soon as I tell you, ok?" Nick repeats to me what she says and tells me that I can do it. Next contraction hits and they all shout PANT PANT and I do.
Then suddenly my vision comes back and as if in soft lighting I look down and it is as if you run something in slow-motion with that soft romantic light on in old films and I look down and out comes Bean. I actually see Bean come out of me. Hilary lifts Bean up and up on my tummy then says "It is a" short break.. "Little girl", and I have tears running down my cheeks.
Bean, who had cried just after coming out stopped as soon as she got on my tummy. Nick then puts his arms our around us and he cuts the cord while I watch this happening. It feels so perfect and right to be in his arms having our darling little girl in my arms and watch him cutting the last bit that connects her to me over. I get a injection to speed up the delivery of the placenta and I sit with Bean on my tummy and I watch the placenta be delivered. They are all telling us congratulations.
I ask what the time was when she was delivered and get told 7:37 am. I can't believe it 6 hours established labour and really no more than 7 hours with contractions, a far cry from the 40 it took last time. And on top of that I got the home birth that I so wanted, AND I got my own midwife delivering her, and then as the icing on the cake I had another little girl (I so wanted a second little girl but I was certain bean was a boy).
We have a look at her and we decide that she is a Eloisa. Nick says what for the middle name and I say without a doubt in my voice Jacqueline (after husband's sister). He says are you sure you don't want a Danish middle name? (Phoebe has a Danish middle name) and I say yes, I am sure I could see looking at her that this one was a Eloisa Jacqueline!
They take Eloisa from us and go to weigh her. I need 3 stitches but they are not deep ones. I then get packed up in my own bed with the duvet on me and they hand her back to me she is 7 lbs 12 oz (3500 gr) she has light brown hair and big blue with a tinge of brown in the middle eyes very chubby cheeks and she looks so much like Phoebe did when she was born ... I put her to the breast and she latches on without a problem and starts to nurse. They are all telling us congratulations and husband is on the phone to his parents. My mother-in-law is in tears... There seems to be a lot of activity around us but I kind of feel like a little island with my little girl on my arm. They are tidying up I realise. Nick comes up with tea and some biscuits for everyone I have a cup of tea and it tastes lovely. I am on such a high that all feelings of being tired have gone I just feel so happy and I am so in love with my little girl.
NB: After my very long labour with Phoebe, even though I was thrilled she had arrived, it was more an overwhelming feeling of tiredness afterwards. Nick left a couple of hours after and I really found that hard (in fact that was one of the main reasons I wanted to give birth at home).
Lonnie with Eloisa and Phoebe, three hours after Eloisa's birth.
It is now Saturday 8th of January 2000. I am sitting here writing this out, knowing that I won't ever be able to express just how wonderful an experience this was for me. I still can't really believe that I got all my wishes and more, in having such a perfect delivery. Should I ever decide to have another child I know where it will be delivered as this was such a overwhelming and marvellous experience. I have my little darling little baby fast asleep in her sling on my chest. My big girl (who adores her little sister) asleep in her pram out in the hall, my darling husband is sitting next door watching the TV, and I can only say is that, I must have done something very good in my past life to deserve to have this much happiness in my life.
Born 7:37 am
7lbs 12 oz (3500gr) 48 cm long.
Mama to 2 beautiful girls, Phoebe and Eloisa .
"To the world you might be one person; but to one person you might be the world."
Lonnie has since had two more babies. Conrad was born in hospital, after transferring from a planned home birth, and Aoife arrived at home, with wonderful support from her husband, friend, older children, and midwives!
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