It was my daughter's ("the Monkey") 1st birthday yesterday. I thought that I would post up the story I wrote for her after she was born.
thanks for reading!
So, where to start this story? We could go right back to the beginning, but that would not be a story for your little ears. Maybe when you’re older, when Mum and I want to gross you out. And it’ll probably give you all sorts of mental scarring.
Mum and I (well, ok, mostly Mum) decided on a home-birth. Jacob arrived in hospital, and Mum decided she didn’t want to try that again. So that only leaves one other place. Well, there’s always the back of the car, or the side of the road, or inside an ambulance, but those aren’t particularly relaxing places, so "we" decided on home – where we’re all comfortable, Jacob would still be happy and could easily see you arrive. I was pretty apprehensive at first. I wasn’t comfortable with it at all, I mean, we pay a lot of money for private health insurance and Mum wants to ignore this and do it at home!
But Mum looked it all up, and talked me around, at least into going and speaking to Dr Lucas, our homebirth GP. Which we did, and that made me feel better. There were some times where I still wasn’t sure, but I was confident in your Mum’s ability to give birth to you – she’s pretty amazing!
When we met Dr Lucas, we also met Jan, who would be our midwife. Jan was amazing, and really set me at ease... even though I’m pretty sure she thought I was a little strange! And what Peter (Dr Lucas) thought when I blew up a glove as a balloon for Jacob, I don’t know! It turns out that he might not even be here for your birth, he’s going on holidays! So we have to decide if we want to keep seeing him, or just go with Jan and another midwife. We finally decide to go with Peter and Jan as a team, with a second midwife as backup if Peter is away. It’ll be touch and go.
Mum had this great idea, let’s take photos of you as you grow. Well, obviously not you personally, but the space you occupied (rent free, I might add, but I'll add it to the tab) as it grew with you. Unfortunately, Mum and I got bored with taking photos all the time, so we didn’t get the full set, but if you want to embarrass her, you and I can always look at them and giggle at how funny Mum looked with that big tummy!
Spin forward a little while.
Wow, look at you! You’re 12 weeks old now. We told Nanny and Pa and Nanna and Grandad back at Christmas time, they were so excited! We had your scan and saw you for the first time. It’s amazing how much like a little person you look already. Of course, we didn’t know if you were a little boy or a little girl yet. It didn’t matter! Mum still isn’t really showing much - where are you hiding?
And now you’re 20 weeks! We had another scan. We’ll embarrass you horribly when you’re a teenager with all your friends around and I will bring out the video of you when you were as small as my thumb. At least one of us will think it’s funny.
Spin forward again. A lot this time. Nothing particularly exciting happened... Mum just grew bigger, as you grew bigger!
I’ve been telling people how we’re going to do this at home. The reactions are kind of shocking. People seem to be dead against it – “why would you want to do it at home for, what about if this goes wrong, if this goes wrong” etc. I tell them all about our back-up plans and hospital back-up booking but people are still amazed that we’d even try it.
Jan just dropped off the pool. It’s kind of big. Scratch that. It’s massive! I think subconsciously I was expecting something like a little wading pool, but this makes much more sense! I guess I had better pump it up, just in case you come a bit early! Only a few weeks until you’re due now. We had our birth plan meeting where we met our backup midwife, Kirsty, who’s wonderful as well – Peter’s still on holidays.
I had to drag this huge pool out to the car(!!!) to pump it up, by plugging the pump in the cigarette lighter of the car. It was pretty noisy – every time I did it, I worried that I would wake Jacob up! So every evening, I would drag this enormous pool outside, pump it up, and drag it back in. We just didn’t know when you would arrive – Jacob was a week early, and to be honest I thought that you would be too. People at work were starting to ask things like “wow, you’re still here? I thought you’d be gone by now!” At first it was fun to answer... but when you get asked it three or four times a day for three weeks, it gets a little repetitive! At least people are taking an interest... will you all just shut up about it already?
Every time your Mum would ring me whilst I was at work, I would jump. “oh, here we go!!” Then she would say something like “oh can you get some milk before you come home” and I’d deflate down again (like the pool each night!) But then, one day...
Ring ring. Oo! Here we go! “Hi love, how you going?” “Umm I think it’s starting, but I’m not sure!” and we talk a bit more about it, and it sounds like it’s the real deal. So it should be, you’re nine days late! I tell everyone at work it’s time for me to go – I’ve only been there an hour, but who cares – everyone gets really excited for me. Good luck! Good luck! Love to Narelle! I go to tell my boss, but it’s like everything is going right – he just walked in! Shakes my hand, Good luck!
I’m travelling home on the train. I’ve had this stupid shit-eating (that is edited out of my daughter's version, but that's what I say in my head every time I think about it) grin on my face the whole way. I was reading Airframe by Michael Crichton, but I finished it about half way home. Mum rang me a few times and we reassured each other. I doodled around on my mobile... still had a big (see above) grin on my face. As the train dropped me off, I felt adrenaline start to pump through me; we’re really going to do this! I feel like I could run all the way home, I take it easy, trying to stay calm but still can’t get this stupid grin off my face. Will you be a boy? A girl? It doesn’t matter! Let’s just get you here and we can worry about that stuff later.
I run the last block to home, I can’t help it. I should be conserving energy, who knows how long this will go for? You hear people saying labour lasted 48 hours... let’s hope it’s not that long!
There’s Mum, on the couch, looking a bit pale, but beautiful all the same. There’s Jacob, I think he knows something is going on, but still is pottering around entertaining Mum. Mum and I talk about how she’s going, what it feels like. There’s a bit of pain, but not much yet, I think. Mum doesn’t tell me much about that, but you can tell when a contraction waves over her, she goes quiet and is concentrating hard. She’s probably thinking, “how dare that husband do this to me then just get to stand around whilst I’m in pain” but she’s much too considerate to say it. All I do is ask constant questions to her, “how do you feel?” “are you OK?” “shall I ring Jan yet?” “how about some lunch?” “do you think I should light a fire?” “how bad are they?” I guess I’m lucky that Mum didn’t punch me in the mouth or tell me to shut up, but she was fantastic and just ignored all my stupid questions. Jacob and I pumped up your pool a bit more with the foot pump, and I set up the tripod so we can video you arriving in the pool! We ring your Nanna, who is coming to look after Jacob, and she comes straight from work to be with us.
I ring Donna, Mum’s friend, who is our support for your birth. OK I do ring her maybe a bit late. 4:30pm or sometime like that. She says “I really think you should ring Jan RIGHT NOW!” So I do. The contractions are coming pretty close together, I guess. I’m no expert (thank god!) Jan says she’s on her way - but the traffic will be bad. I ask if I should call Peter or not. Jan says, Don’t you worry about that, I’ll decide when to call him. I distinctly remember her... well, not being irritated, but wishing that I’d rung her a teensy bit earlier (ETA. she wished I'd rung her about an hour earlier!)
Donna is here! Hurrah! She fills up the pool. Nanna is playing with Jacob – he loves all that water going into the pool! I had a hose set up from the kitchen tap into the pool to fill it. After a little while, Donna whispers in my ear “Chris the pool has gone COLD!!” I can’t remember what I said. Probably something like “we’ll have to use the kettle to get it hot again!” In hindsight, that was a pretty dumb thing to say – heating 300+ litres of water up with a 1L kettle is not going to happen! Lucky, in the end, Mum didn’t want to get in the pool.
At this point we’ve moved – Mum and I are in front of the fish tank, on the couch, standing up, walking around, coming back. I sit on the chest in front of the window, Mum kneels in front of me, pushing her face into me as each contraction hits her – you’re starting to hurt Mum pretty bad! Each one, I have to remind her to breathe through it, she keeps holding her breath as the contractions hit. Some time now Jan arrives, and is straight into action – you’re really very close to arriving!
My most distinct memory of this moment is Mum refusing to stand up. We were in the same position: I was sitting on the chest and Mum was crouched in front of me. The contractions were really quite close together, and were bad. Jan whispered in my ear, “get her to stand up please.” Which I tried – but Mum can be quite stubborn when she doesn’t want to do something!! A minute or two later (maybe more, time was moving quite differently for me at this moment) Jan asked me again, and said to Mum “you have to stand up now Narelle!” Later, Jan said that if Mum hadn’t have stood up then, Jan would have got some scissors and cut Mum’s pants off!
I eventually convinced Mum to stand up – I think it was probably more I just lifted her up to standing position – she was still hanging on to me for support, as the contractions were taking every bit of concentration that she had. Jan quickly had Mum’s pants off and was checking everything, then all of a sudden Mum needed to push. Jan said, “oh, there’s the head” quite matter of fact, no excitement – I was really quite surprised, as we’d only just stood up! Mum sagged down in my arms for a rest, I think, just as another need to push arrived, and all of a sudden your head was out! As Mum sagged down, Jan said, quite urgently, “sit up Narelle, you’re squashing baby’s head!” and I helped Mum shift up into a squat again. Then another pushing urge came, and Mum followed it, and suddenly you were out! You bumped your head on the floor but Jan caught you just in time. Mum had pushed you out pretty fast, I guess she was sick of being 9 days overdue as well!
As Jan lifted you up for the first time, I spotted straight away that you were a little girl – I was expecting a little boy! A split second decision was made in my head, I would let Mum find out for herself that she had the little girl she wanted. But Mum had her eyes closed, she was exhausted, I think! So I whispered in her ear, “She’s a little girl!” and we both started crying with happiness.
Jan and Donna helped Mum up onto the couch, where you were placed on her tummy. A little bit of direction and you started feeding perfectly. What a relief!
What an amazing experience to have had you at home. From such an uncertain start, to actually watching Mum do it, and help her through, was an amazing journey. Now it’s time for you to start another one.
OK, so I know this is a gaming community, but I've been around here for a while and geez, I might as well post something about myself that isn't gaming related... given that I hardly post at all anyway
So too bad if you read all that wondering where I was going to just pop off for a quick frag... it didn't happen. But I was on Facebook half an hour after the Monkey was born
Here she is... first time eating cake. I think she liked it