Despite this being the first time we’d ‘done’ pregnancy and birth properly, I think Steve and I both enjoyed the experience. We’d got married in the middle of my degree course, and during my final year we threw caution to the wind and decided to see what happened first, whether I got a teaching job or whether I got pregnant. Found out I was pregnant with Anna on the same day as an interview, so I was kind of glad I didn’t get the job! Instead I ended up working in a chemist’s shop down the road, and that was the end of my official teaching career
We were very fortunate to have a good friend who was also an NCT teacher, and one day when I made the throwaway remark that I didn’t like hospitals much, she introduced me to the idea of home birth. I’d never even considered it, but then met another friend who’d had one, read a book or two, and my mind was made up. We (my friend and I) then had to take a few weeks to convince Steve but it wasn’t too hard really
Having persuaded Steve, we went to the doctor’s surgery ready to fight our corner, but were met only with support, which was just fantastic. I maintain that the community midwifery team here in Exeter must be one of the best, I’ve only got praise for them.
Towards the end of my pregnancy I was managing the chemist’s, and looking forward to stopping work 2 days before my due date. Well, everyone knows first babies are always late, aren’t they?!
I came home from work as usual on my last but one day and didn’t notice anything untoward until after tea, when I went to the toilet an awful lot of times!! Still didn’t realise anything was going on until I felt the first contraction while in the shower – it was exactly 8pm, I know, because The Bill had just started, Top Gear was on afterwards, so Steve didn’t want to know! We whiled away the early hours of labour by playing Micro Machines on the Sega Megadrive (that dates us!) and I thrashed Steve as usual!
I remember timing contractions but waiting till after midnight to call a midwife, because the one who was on the rota the next day was my favourite! I think she came out around 1am, and we also had a friend around who was on tea-making duty. This friend came armed with cds and chocolate – we all ate some chocolate but I had changed my mind by that time and definitely didn’t want music, I had to concentrate!
We managed most of the contractions with me on my knees leaning over Steve … which must have been a good position for me as it worked for the next two births as well. I had some gas and air as well towards the end of the first stage.
I remember time going very slowly and eventually I think the midwife broke my waters for me, and then things really got going. I had a 20 minute second stage, which wasn’t too bad for a first labour, I didn’t think!
Anna was born at just after 8am, and weighed 7lbs exactly. I was really chuffed to have a girl – I’d convinced myself she was a boy but secretly I wanted a girl first.
We cleared up, fed Anna, had tea and toast, then all went back to bed together – the joy of home birth – I can’t say how happy I am that we didn’t go near a hospital for this!
written up, finally, in January 2004