Here it is, the blog I've been gearing up to write for 9 months, even with 40 weeks to get ready, I can safely say i have never been more unprepared for anything in my life!
My daughter (am still getting used to saying that) Tilly Frances Jones arrived at 11.09pm on 18th June, weighing 7lb 15oz, born on her due date, with 51 minutes to spare, just like her mum she was fashionably late, but just in time for Fathers Day, the perfect present I thought?
My memories of my labour are all very positive (sorry to disappoint) I had manageable cramps and back pain the night before, the pains didn't actually start until 6am on the Saturday morning, for the first 6 or 7hrs (the latent stage as its known) I was at home doing my hypno, very serenely surrounded by my Heidi Klein scented candles, listening to music, I even managed to watch a movie (Stand by Me, one of my faves, I had a teenage crush on River Pheonix)
My labour team was made up of Boyfriend Mick and my mum, Joan, who were amazing, so good in fact, I think they should be available to rent by the hour as labour buddies, they were calming, patient and possessed the necessary good humour to cope with a sarcastic piece of work like me during my hour of need.
I will spare you the gory labour details but I will stand up and be judged over my final decision to opt for lots and lots of drugs when I entered full labour, I started with an appetiser of gas & air, my main course was a jab of diamorphine and for dessert I had an epidural, and I don't have a single regret.
I did my best for as long as possible to control and breath through the pain using my hypno, and I firmly believe the visualisation techniques i learnt were the reason I was able to stay calm but in the end (after initially getting on my moral high horse and even crying pathetically over the decision) i realised i didn't have the threshold to cope with the pain, and a wise old owl told me there were no medals at the end for the least amount of drugs taken.
I was very lucky that my labour was uneventful, with no complications (other than having IV antibiotics and needing to be attached to a foetal monitor for the whole time which prevented me from using the birthing pool, sitting on the birthing ball or even getting up from the bed) This meant "team labour" were just passing time for much of the day, while i drifted in and out of consciousness, coming around only to beg Mick to sneak me the occasional Fruit Pastille.
My waters didn't break naturally so the midwife did the honours for me, before declaring i was carrying half baby/ half goldfish due to the volume of water that came crashing onto the bed, while she frantically built a tissue paper damm to prevent flooding the maternity ward, it was at this point i was VERY grateful my waters hadn't broken in John Lewis as i had hoped, as rather than receiving complimentary vouchers i would probably have received a cleaning bill!
When the time came for my baby to make an appearance, it was all hands on deck, my Mum on my left, Mick to my right, and me in the middle begging them not to look down the "business end" a plea they totally ignored (which now i am glad about, i would hate for them to have missed the most amazing part because of my prudish behaviour) The midwife (i went through 3 because of their shifts, the midwife who delivered Tilly was called Lisa and typically the first thing i noticed was that she had a lovely tan) Lisa was the calmest person i have ever met, and when the time came to push, her gentle encouragement (come on Jo, one more push for me...that kind of thing) made me feel like i was doing sit ups with a personal trainer rather than pushing something very big though a small exit.
15 minutes of pushing and Tilly Frances arrived, crying immediately before being placed on my chest for the first round of SOS (skin on skin contact) with her Mummy.
Shock, awe and wonder are the words i would describe the emotions i felt, i couldn't take my eyes off this beautiful little person, she had a mop of dark hair and has these incredible rosebud lips (she had obviously been practising her pout in my womb) the first thing i remember is holding my breath as the midwife checked she had 10 little fingers and 10 little toes, this was my first experience of feeling overwhelmingly protective, i know now this feeling wont ever go away.
A little later on when Tilly and I were cleaned up it was time to go to the Labour ward, Daddies are sent home, and it was just us, my daughter and I left to get acquainted, this is when the reality and enormity hit me, i felt totally overwhelmed, i thought when she cried that maybe she didn't like me, every time i picked her up i worried i might break her, but i didn't, and she seemed to like me quite a lot after a while, happily nuzzling into my chest when ever i held her, i must have kissed her a thousand times, and she smelt amazing..how is that even possible??
Now for my next trick....motherhood!