My birth story.
Never did I think that I would be writing those three words, let alone going ahead and sharing the biggest event of my twenty-something years of existence with the people of the internet but here we are. I’ve never really understood why people share their birth stories but when I was pregnant, I read so many. I’d stay up until all hours of the morning reading different birth stories, trying to familiarise myself with what was to come but you soon learn that no birth story is the same and I probably should’ve spent that time sleeping. In fact, the majority of the birth stories I read were simply terrifying and did nothing but increase my anxieties towards giving birth. Nowadays, people share their birth stories in all sorts of ways, blogs, birth photographers, some people have even gone live and streamed it to the world, I mean, I’ll draw the line at blogging.
In the lead up to B’s first birthday, I find myself in a reflective frame of mind and rather emotional. My birth story isn't terrifyingly dramatic or unpleasant in any way - it was the most beautiful experience for us and I wouldn't change it… I just can't help but look back 11 months in and think how unprepared we were at the time. I had no idea what laid ahead of us and if I could go back and tell my naive little self one thing, it’d be “Buckle up sweetie, you’re in for a pooey, sleepless ride”
17th November 2018. My due date. The golden date that I’d waited 10 whole months for. It was here and I can honestly say I spent my whole pregnancy transfixed by my due date and counting down the days. In my head, this date was meant to be because it was number 17. Connors birthdate and actually 4 of Connors other family members birthdate too. B was going to be a true Pinches-Burrowes from the get-go. The day came and went, with me hanging onto every ache and pain (towards the end, there were a lot of them) hoping it was a contraction. It wasn’t. Bedtime came and I went into full sulk mode because I wanted to be in that 4% that has their babies on their due date and because I was truly convinced I wouldn't go over my due date, mostly because of the size of me!
Days passed and my patience dwindled. Everybody felt as though they were walking on eggshells and god forbid if you asked: “When are you having this baby?”. The texts poured in from friends without babies and surprisingly my friends with babies became very silent. Now, I know its because they’re the ones who know how I was feeling and knew that the last thing I wanted to do was answer endless messages asking where our little bundle of joy was. Honestly, if I had a pound for every time I heard “He’ll come when he’s ready”.
The slog continued. Bouncing on my pregnancy ball, countless madras curries (this was a toughy for a korma eater), steep hill walks and even running up and down our 2 flights of stairs… you name it, I tried it.
24th November at 5am. You do the math on how many days over I was!
Bye-bye waters ...but it was nothing like that scene in Sex and the City when Charlotte's waters break. I woke at 5 am in quite a big wet patch and figured I hadn't wet myself. Calling the ward at the hospital, they reassured me that just because my waters had broken, it didn't mean we were going to have a baby any time soon so to continue bouncing on my ball and try a brisk walk. Like I hadn't been doing this already? So in true Connor & Chelsea fashion, what did we do? We went for brunch. After all, this could be our last opportunity to sit at a restaurant table and have an adult conversation as a twosome for a while.
We came home and I decided to nap (this is a common theme throughout my birth). It felt like nothing and something was happening all at the same time. Fast forward an hour and a half and Baby PB had given us an indicator that he was fully baked and ready to make an appearance, but not in a conventional way. He set the scene for parenthood and did a poo. It’s not uncommon for babies to pass their first poo in the womb, it sits around 25%. It can be dangerous but thankfully in our case, it wasn’t. But it did mean that IT WAS BABY TIME!!!
I remember everything feeling really surreal. The baby bag that we’d so carefully packed was thrown into the car and Connor demanded I sit on a black bag in the car “just in case”.
Driving past the hospital was a regular occurrence for us and in the later weeks, I'd get butterflies thinking that soon we’d be going in there and coming out with a baby. That day had come.
I was induced after various “sweeps” (yes, they’re as gross as they sound) and quickly escalated to gas and air which very quickly led to an epidural. With contractions back to back and the epidural working it's wonderful wonderful magic… it was the ideal opportunity to have a nap. An hour and a half later, I woke with Connor looking at me all wide-eyed - I’d gone from 2cm to 4cm dilated whilst sleeping - he was a nervous wreck and did not get a second of shut-eye.
Hours passed and I was still stuck at 4cm dilated, apparently, this is quite common. After 2 emergency button presses due to a drop in B’s heart rate (some babies aren’t a fan of Syntocinon - the drug used to induce labour), it was time to throw in the towel and start the process of having a c-section. I say start the process… our midwife very casually said “Right, we’ll be taking you down in 5 minutes, Dad can you grab baby outfit?” and in that second our lives were turned upside down, for the better. I watched Connor (frantically) throw stuff out of the baby bag trying to put an outfit together. What on earth did we need for a baby? What had we packed in the baby bag? Who knows. Everything we’d read over the past 10 months had gone out of the window.
Everything and everyone moved so fast and there wasn't really much time to digest everything that was happening. Connor didn't even have time to take off the wool-lined hoody he was wearing and had to put scrubs on over it. The adrenaline was crazy and even writing this the whole experience is still a bit hazy and clouded.
C-sections are craaaazy. You can't feel any pain, but you can still feel everything. If feels as though you’ve got an intense case of ‘the butterflies’ and like someone is rummaging around… they basically are. 15 minutes later - (I know, quicker than some McDonald's drive-thru’s) someone out of the 15 odd people in the room announced ‘it’s a boy’ and I felt a slight relief ...but if you’ve ever given birth then you’ll know, it's not over until the baby cries! Eventually, after a few seconds that seemed like an eternity, he did and every emotion I could ever think of hit me. Little did we know that he’d actually continue crying for the next 48 hours.
The adrenaline and the drugs made me very shaky and even that is probably an understatement. I looked like I was convulsing with super chattery teeth so when this 7lbs 6oz TINY baby covered in goo was handed to me, I said and did nothing but stare. For once, in my life, I was speechless. Worried I’d drop my minutes' old new buddy because of my ferocious shaking, I passed him into the safe hands of his dad.
We named him Bobby Christopher, Bobby after Connor’s grandad Robert and Christopher after my dad. We fell in love with the name and never had any other contenders. We also had an emergency girls’ name too, just in case.
The hours after birth are somewhat blurry. I remember staring at this tiny baby thinking, Surely you’re not mine and how are you here? Very is-this-a-dream-esque. I remember us arranging for our 3 sets of parents to come and see their newest grandchild. In true grandparent fashion, they bought clothes that actually fit our tiny baby, snacks and McDonalds. McDonald's and a shower are the perfect post-birth combination, trust me.
Recovery was kind and the NHS staff wonderful. A 5-day stay at the hospital set us up in the best possible way to be new parents, I only wish I could’ve taken the bed button home so whenever we had an unsure moment a nurse would have come to our rescue and bought more NHS toast. If you know, you know. I found myself thinking, I could do that over and over again, we’re going to have loads of babies! (my view is slightly different now he’s fully mobile.)
The drive home with our new crew member was very emotional, I sat in the back and cried the whole time. My world had stopped but people were still going about their new day to day, I wanted to present him to the world like THAT scene out of The Lion King.
I went into hospital as a very round doggy mama and came out still pretty round but now a mother of 2. We introduced Pepper to Bobby and put B in his Moses basket for the first time - these are both things both Connor and I had anticipated for months.
Gently sitting down on the sofa, I let out a sigh that felt like I had been holding in for a very long time. We’d done it, we’d survived pregnancy and had the greatest gift to show for it. He was the most perfect, wrinkly little rainbow baby and here’s to the next 18 years.