On Saturday the 13th, my second child came screaming into the world.
While Snappy’s birth was a traumatic event (wonderful but traumatic) Beany’s birth was straight forward.
The due date for Beany was the 24th of June but I knew this wasn’t right. Due dates are based on when a pregnant person had their period. which is fine and makes sense because a lot of people don’t know the date of conception.
But we do know the date of conception.
So I figured she could probably be two weeks early, and my wife could feel that we were coming into the last few days. I kinda felt prepared, but I was in no way prepared. We were physically prepared, had all the stuff we needed, but emotionally I think I wasn’t. In my head, I kept putting it off.
Not tonight, not tonight, not tonight.
Not that I had any choice in the matter, but I never felt like I’d had enough sleep, and I had work deadlines, it was night, it was raining…stupid things.
I was right though, Beany arrived only a few days after what I thought was the actual due date.
When her waters broke though, it didn’t feel too bad, not like the panic of before.
Still, I packed some Diazepam, just in case.
My wife’s waters broke at 10 pm-ish. Beany was born at 11:56 pm.
We managed to get Snappy packed up and at the neighbours, he’d been well-prepared for this and said “I’ll see you in a minute,” before curling up in his blanket on their living room floor. He reportedly spent ten minutes talking to his bestie (their little one is six), before falling straight back to sleep.
We got a taxi to the hospital, arrived at 10:45 and managed to get partway down the corridor to the lifts when it pretty much became Impossible for Bethend to walk because the contractions were too close together. Thankfully someone was on duty and could call the maternity ward to get someone to take her up in a wheelchair.
I had been expecting to be turned away at the door. Everyone is in masks and gloves and aprons, I’d already been warned that birth partners weren’t allowed in until active labour had begun. I’d not been allowed to any scans, appointments or emergency checks since March.
A friend had given birth alone in April, to her child without the support of her partner. We had already talked about what my wife would prefer and had decided that a home birth with me was preferable to a hospital birth without me. I was adamant I did not want to miss the birth of my child but my wife was the one giving birth, so It was her decision in the end.
Our midwife had noted the quick delivery of Snappy by noting BBA on her notes- which I discovered stands for birth before arrival. Which really confused me because I didn’t understand how anyone could arrive before they are born. Took me a while to realise they were talking about the hospital arrival.
Anyway, the midwife had told us to stand our ground when it came to me being in the birthing suite; it didn’t come to it. They ushered us in and started taking information.
Within twenty minutes of us arriving at the hospital, my wife was pushing. She had gas and air through the entire thing which was kinda my downfall; as I had my head next to hers the entire time and ended up breathing in some myself. I was suddenly light-headed and I tried to power through it but I swayed suddenly and I was really glad the chair was behind me. I went over the arm and just sprawled out there for a few minutes until I felt better.
The midwives were keen for me not to pass out and hit my head which had happened to someone’s birth partner the day before.
Once I felt better I was back on my feet and rubbing my wife’s back and talking to her. She only had the gas & air as pain relief, which is more than last time. I don’t know how much it helped, how much any of it helped, but the midwives were happy with her progress, happy with beany, it was going well. Just quickly.
At 11:56 Beany arrives into the world. She’s surprisingly white and screams Immediately, and gets scooped up by the midwife, then sorta shifted under my wife so she could hold her. I got to cut the cord and was surprised by how tough it was. Bethend held her for a little bit before she was given to me and I sat down with her, skin to skin.
she settled pretty quickly on my chest and I held until my wife was ready to try feeding her. I figured they would whisk her away to weigh and measure her but we got quite a bit of time just the three of us. I really enjoyed that, it was quite peaceful after the chaos of the previous two hours.
When they did weigh her she was 7lb 7oz.
There was no doctor to do a baby check so my wife was moved into a room where she could have a shower and change and rest. We dozed, watched a film, held our baby until the paediatrician came and checked her over, deemed her fine and we could go home.
I don’t think either my wife or I had realised just how different it would be and I think we’d forgotten just how traumatic Snappy’s birth was for the two of us.
I didn’t get to hold him until after the ambulance people had cut the cord and moved my wife. There was no skin to skin until much later, no peace until hours later. I was terrified pretty much the entire time, I was convinced I was going to lose them both. I don’t think I really realised how much I carried this with me until I saw how different it could be. Or how much more secure I would feel at the hospital.
This birth was somewhat healing in a way.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think birth is horrible and I’ve never wanted to do anything less but I am glad I got to experience it. It’s wonderful too, this weird process of creating and cultivating life.