Monday, June 22

How Molly Got Here

I'm really glad that I wrote down my birth story for Gwen, and I've read it often over the last two years. So I need to write Molly's story down too, before I forget the details of my lovely homebirth.

There was something almost magical about giving birth at home. While people in the neighbouring houses slept on a quiet, balmy June night, a baby was born here at number 12 unknown to anyone but us. Here's how it happened...

On Friday morning, I couldn't sleep so got up to go for a swim really early. As I was swimming lengths, I was getting a few twinges in my tummy, but as this had been going on for a few days, I didn't think too much of it.

Came home for breakfast and the pains were getting a bit stronger and more regular, but still nothing to speak of. So I went to meet some friends in the park for a picnic. Stopped off at the bakery to get some goodies on the way and got some pains that were really starting to sting a bit. Still, no point rushing home - thought I may as well go out and take my mind off things.

Pushing Gwen on the swing, the pains are still coming, so I started to time them - they're about 15 minutes apart and lasting about 30 seconds. Announce to my friends that I am in labour - they are in a blind panic. I am calm and suggest we go and sit in the sunshine and have our picnic.

(And here I am, in labour in Ponty Park!).

At about 1pm, I thought it'd probably be sensible to make my way home. Gwen, however, is shattered and refuses to walk, so I have to carry her half a mile on my shoulders back to the car - while in early labour.

I get home and announce to Mr Meep that he doesn't have to go to work tonight, as the baby is coming. He's chuffed to bits, as he doesn't like working Fridays. I rung my mum to come and collect Gwen and Blod. I felt so emotional saying goodbye to Gwen, knowing that the next time I saw her, she wouldn't be the little baby any more.

By now, it's about 4pm. The contractions are still coming every 10 to 15 minutes, but aren't getting any more frequent. I call the midwife, warn her I'm in labour but don't feel I need anyone at the moment. She said to get some rest and call her when things kick off a bit.

Being a sufferer of the 'can't sit still' disease, I decide to do what all labouring women do - make a cake.

When the cake was done, I wrapped some pressies for Gwen from the baby, plus Fathers' Day pressies for Dave. Then we had some lovely home-made pizza and coleslaw.

As things were still not getting distinctly worse, I thought I'd get a couple of hours kip, so I took myself off to bed. At 11.30pm, I woke up with the pain. I was getting three contractions every ten minutes. Still not all that bad, but thought I'd better call the midwife.

She arrived at 12. I was bouncing on my big bouncy birthing ball in the bedroom and the contractions were coming every two minutes. I was having to breathe through them, but was chatting away in between, and using my hypnobirthing, they were really manageable and I thought it'd be hours until the baby arrived.

But suddenly, it all kicked off. The contractions were coming one after another, but as I'd asked to be left alone and didn't want a 'countdown' of my progress, I had no idea how close the birth was.

Maybe the fact that I was hot, then cold, slightly losing the plot a bit, and needing to be on all fours should have made me twig that I was in 'transition'. Hypnobirthing was pretty hard to focus on at this point. As my waters hadn't broken, the pressure was really unbearable. I just kept thinking "Sod the 'warmth, pressure and power' (one of the 'mantras'), this bloody hurts". The midwife asked if I wanted the gas and air now - yes please! She realised she'd left the mouthpiece in her car, which was parked down the road, so she went to get it.

Which, of course, is exactly when we heard a big 'pop' as my waters exploded, the baby's head started to appear and I felt an unbearable urge to push. With the midwife down the road, Mr Meep admits he was slightly panicked at this point. I was on all fours, groaning "Get her, get her" as I didn't know whether to start pushing.

The midwife returns, I have my first go on the gas and air, and with the first push, the head crowns. Next push and the head appears, followed by the third and final push as Molly glides out into the world. And just as we did when Gwen appeared, there were no tears from Mr Meep and I - we just looked at each other and started laughing.

So from established labour to delivery was just three hours and, apart from the 15 minutes or so of transition, it really was calm, peaceful and relaxed.

Midwife number two (you need two present for a homebirth), arrived to the sound of Molly crying. Then while the midwives cleared up, we had a cwtch, a cuppa and a piece of my lovely sponge cake in bed. Ah.

Saturday, June 20


Molly Tess Shepherd. Born at home at 2.32am this morning. 7lbs 11oz.

We can't stop cwtching her.

Thursday, June 18

Still waiting....

Meanwhile, Gwen and I found a bumato at the supermarket and were absolutely delighted.

Tuesday, June 16

Officially overcooked

Although I don't think she's actually due until Thursday. But tomorrow I have to go to horrid, vile, hideous 'induction of labour advice clinic' and stand my ground that no-one is sticking any pessaries up my doo-da or needles in my arm and this little one will come when she's ready, thank you very much (can you tell I've been practising?).

Living in a village when your baby is officially overdue is an interesting experience, because everyone in the whole street is on tenterhooks waiting for the new resident's arrival.

Since the weekend, I've had:

  • Megan from two doors down just happened to be popping out of the front door when I was going swimming at 6.45am to see if there was 'any news?'
  • Megan also saying - "I've got the card written and everything"
  • The whole street being shocked to find out (presumably from Megan) that I've been going swimming in my delicate condition
  • Brian from next door to the pub pausing outside to look for balloons/cards/hear newborn cries twice a day when he walks his dog
  • Man opposite popping over when I'm in the garden to see if there are 'any signs'? (I was so tempted to tell him my mucus plug had dropped out this morning)
  • Very lovely friend of friend slowing down to do a 'drive-by' nosey, while I was out the front watering my hosta

    I know it annoys some people, but I can't help feeling touched by people's concern. And I've had lots of lovely texts and emails from my mates too. Gawd bless the bloomin' lot of ya.

    She'll be here by the weekend. She promises.

    Meanwhile, I've been spending a lot of time at the beach having picnics in the sunshine.
  • Friday, June 12

    On fashion

    People who know me will be quick to testify that I have absolutely no dress sense whatsoever. One friend has taken the situation into her own hands and gives me her old stuff she can't sell at the car boot sale - even this is better than leaving anything fashion-related up to me.

    I recently saw a picture of fake daughter kidnapper and all-round anti-mumpet Karen Matthews in the paper. I looked at her, looked at myself - and realised we were wearing the same jumper. I have recreated the scene today for your perusal.

    Karen Matthews...


    But today, imagine my surprise when I realised that I was sharing a jumper with fellow-pregger Kate Garraway, who is someone who does have a vague clue about these things and probably gets styled and everything.

    Here's Kate...

    And here I am...

    Maybe I'm not so clueless after all.

    Tuesday, June 9

    An artist in the making

    Crazy hair - check
    Wild glint in her eyes - check
    Ability to get lost in her art - check

    Tuesday, June 2

    More procrastination...

    Well, I am trying to write a brochure about a company that cleans out water mains.

    I so, so wish that I had found Jesus in my Marmite.

    Monday, June 1

    The Joys of Freelancing

    Means that you can sit at your desk like this when you are 38 weeks pregnant, have eaten half a jacket potato with houmous too much for lunch and it is ever so hot.

    In the background, Blod has turned into Mr Miyagi and is leaping through the air trying to catch a fly in her stinky jaws.

    Now, back to the corporate brochure... or maybe a dog walk in the sunshine, or a nice cuppa and a teeny square of that delovely organic chocolate...