It’s 3:36am and I’m lying in bed. As the credits roll on an episode of Girls I look down from my laptop and see my baby, 5 days old, asleep on my chest…her sweet face with big bright eyes, soft cheeks, little nose and even smaller chin. I can feel her warm body on my chest, her strong and short breaths, her little squirms and movements. The awe I am feeling is as present and tangible as her head on my heart and bottom on my belly. She is here.
I’ve wanted to write Joan’s birth story for days and haven’t gotten around to it. It’s amazing how quickly time passes when snuggling your baby or watching them sleep and feed. But I knew I should write it down. It was the most amazing experience, the best day of my life and I want to remember every detail of how our Joan Scarlett Sze entered the world. So here we go…
I spent the morning of Thursday 27th August doing normal full-term pregnant lady things. I slept-in, then made Ben and I a bowl of oats and yoghurt for breakfast. Afterwards I prepped vegetables to make a big batch of bolognaise to freeze before doing my one of three daily breech tilt inversions (all in the hope of getting bubs to flip head down and not engage butt first). I then went for a long walk (walking is encouraged to flip breech babies) and picked up some milk. On reflection I see this activity may have contributed to our baby coming early. Though honestly I think that was entirely bubs’ decision. Either way, things were very normal that morning, nothing could possibly have made me think that by the evening our baby would be born. Parsley (our baby’s womb name) was incredibly thoughtful in picking the day that Ben was home from the office to arrive. If it were the day prior or later he’d have missed the start and shock of it all, and I would have been making a panicked call to my mum. As it turns out, our last moments at home as a twosome were really special. Rushed and a little frantic, but special.
After my walk I went to prep some sweet potato for lunch. As I lowered myself down to reach the steamer from the cupboard I felt something…. a kick and pop down below. I stood and a steady trickle of liquid came out. “No way”, I thought. I knew it was amniotic fluid. I went to the toilet, which was only about 10 paces away, and as I walked the amount of fluid increased to the point of excited undeniability. It was clear-coloured with a little bit of white in it (which I later found out was the vernix bubs was shedding). Even though I was devastated, pleading to Ben “we aren’t ready yet, Parsley is still head up!!!” and wondering how this could be happening 2 weeks early, I was also incredibly buzzed because I knew this meant we’d be meeting our baby very soon. Not too soon to be a health concern for bubs, but too soon in that we were far from birth-ready! My mum was always over her due date and I assumed I’d follow suit. Plus I was adamant that bubs would flip head down during week 38 just like I did as a baby. I hadn’t even finished packing the hospital bag! My birth preferences were on my computer and we had no ink to print them, I hadn’t baked the midwives treats and our place was a mess. We weren’t ready yet! But our baby was.