Home, heart: And then there were five.


Dearest littlest one,

Here is your story and ours too, of the day you joined our family after we had waited so very long for you.

Newly arrived in Sydney and only barely settled into our cosy two-bedroom apartment, your mamma and papa were already very tired when labour began early on a hot mid-summer’s morning.

Your big brother and sister could barely contain their joy when they realised that you were on your way. After an emotional farewell to them, your Dad and I drove to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Unfortunately, the quickest route we knew had many, many speed bumps and roundabouts!

Once at the Birth Centre we were shown into a nice large and homely room – with a lovely view of an adjoining courtyard. The room was quiet, cozy and dimly lit, walls prettily adorned with calming pictures and appropriately inspiring quotes.

After a short while, labour began to progress rather quite quickly and I recall thinking to myself “This is too fast…!” I wanted to have a little more time to focus on one of those inspiring quotes and get into ‘the zone’ a little better. However, there was simply not the time to do that.

Our young softly spoken and gentle natured midwife was very helpful in allowing me to move around until I was comfortable. I had wondered about using the bath but there was no time for that. Kneeling on the floor and leaning with my head against the bed was the only position that felt right. So a mat and towels were kindly arranged under me so I could stay put.

After a big contraction my waters broke and upon inspection, the midwife became concerned – there was a significant amount of meconnium in the waters. Perhaps you were in distress.

It was at this point I became worried.

Because we had waited some time to fall pregnant with you I continually expected something to go wrong. Throughout my pregnancy there was never even the slightest indication that anything was wrong, my pregnancy was wonderfully problem free. And yet, it was as though I had held my breath the entire nine months in anticipation for bad news that I, in part, believed would come.

And now, well, now there was actually something happening that indicated you could be in distress. The midwife, clearly trying to stay calm herself, offered reassurances but I wasn’t so easily convinced. As she listened for your heart beat I thought, this is it. All along I was right to be worried. Something has definitely gone wrong.

However, to our immediate relief, “The heart beat is good” the midwife finally declared. “If your baby comes soon, all should be well…”

I tried to refocus, to recentre and calm myself, but I remained rattled and, frustratingly, the contractions weakened. It didn’t look like this baby was going to come soon enough.

“I need to call for some assistance…” our once-again-concerned midwife explained. “If your baby doesn’t come in the next contraction we are going to have to move you to the maternity ward where we can monitor baby’s heart beat continually.”

A paediatrician waited outside ready to assist if needed.

Labour did not progress and much to my dismay I needed to be moved in a wheel chair across the hall. This was not a comfortable experience!

Arriving in the maternity ward an older, more experienced midwife greeted us and spoke with reassuring authority. Somehow, once settled, I felt confident that everything would be ok. Your heartbeat was monitored continually and all was deemed well with you. Now I could finally get back to the business of helping you out!

A few positions were tried, but I began to tire. “I can’t do this” was the familiar cry… “You really need to push, for your baby” was the gentle command from the midwife.

And so, half-sitting, half-reclining on the hospital bed, hugging my knees, you finally arrived.

Flooded with a most wonderous relief and joy, I held you – all chubby and soft and beautiful – utterly amazed; profoundly grateful, that you were finally here.

After all we had been through, we were on cloud nine and left the hospital with you one day later feeling so rich, and glad, and full.

Please feel free to comment, I'd love to hear from you!

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