Just as quickly as we entered this phase of life, in only three years, a part of it has ended already.
Having our first baby was exciting, nerve-wracking, and sweet. Having the last one feels sentimental… bittersweet. This is it folks. The last time we’ll ever have so little sleep, such darling baby scents to inhale, or such tiny little features to kiss and cuddle.
Wow. No wonder it’s exciting becoming a grandparent!
Excuse me, I may have gotten a bit ahead of myself…
After a pregnancy I kept quiet about for the most part, at 5 AM on January 13, my water broke while I was fast asleep in bed. My first thought as the feeling of flooding wetness started to reach my consciousness was that either my pelvic muscles were failing me or my potty training was suffering a major regression. When I finally woke up enough to register what was happening (all this took mere seconds, mind!), I whisper-screamed at Alex that my water broke and he jumped up, taking charge of the situation and cleaning. I hobbled to the washroom to clean myself up then waddled downstairs to call the midwife. After answering a few questions, I was told to try to go back to sleep and to call back if contractions hadn’t started. Nothing happened after a fitful return to slumber, so a midwife came to see me to verify whether my water had indeed broken. I was then told to take castor oil in a smoothie recipe and to try to keep active to help the process along. A few hours after taking the vile almond butter, apple juice, and castor oil concoction, I started having mild contractions that lasted all through the rest of the day. They never progressed and after another midwife visit in the early evening, she said she was sure I’d have the baby before much longer and helped me put on a TENS unit for pain management. Since I only had one baby (outside of me) at the time, my priority was his sleep. I couldn’t go into labour until early morning, ideally, I declared. Otherwise, did she have any tips for labouring quietly so that I wouldn’t wake our toddler up? Ahh, Cathie. Always so idealistic about your pain tolerance… in answer to that, the midwife wisely replied in the negative.
The contractions continued throughout the night, but the dramatic finale never came. I woke up bleary-eyed and foggy of mind at 7 am next morning only to realise they had stopped.
Mention of going to the hospital if this continued any longer permeated our ensuing conversations. I refused. I was not going to the hospital without Alex in times of COVID-19, thank you very much. He needed to stay with our son because toddlers were not allowed at the hospital, and no one could come by to take care of him during lockdown. And I needed Alex. So home-birth it would be, by hook or by crook. (I realise my birth plans keep getting more hippy-dippy somehow every time, and that’s partially why we’re stopping at two!)
I was told to take a second dose of castor smoothie, and did so around 10:00ish. Contractions flared up again but were few and far between. In the meantime, I walked up and down stairs, went outside for a walk, did a 5 min Ballet Beautiful plié workout video, and jiggled my hips and pelvic area in all manner of ways in an attempt to coax the baby to come out sooner.
Then, at around 2:00ish they started getting stronger and Alex told me unequivocally to lie in bed and stay there. I called the midwife just to keep her updated, but the timing of my contractions still wasn’t up to “standard”, so we all agreed we were going to wait a bit more, but then as soon as we hung up, the contractions immediately intensified at an alarming rate and I screamed at Alex to call the midwife back immediately. The midwife then said it was now safe to be in the tub, so Alex rushed to start a hot bath. Let it be noted here that I am ever so grateful that the previous owners of this house had a tub with jets installed!
I then got myself with all due –and undue– speed to the tub as the TENS unit wasn’t doing much anymore, and stayed in the hot, bubbling waters just breathing and telling myself to show it who was the boss for about twenty minutes, the pain becoming more extreme all the while.
As Alex kept watch at the door for the midwives, I was dismayed at the possibility that they weren’t going to be on time. You see, I felt the head slowly, casually, making its way out. At this point, I had a Phoebe moment.
Just as I started pushing the head out (without telling Alex –who had come back to check up on me– so that he wouldn’t panic), the midwives thankfully arrived to help out. After announcing to all and sundry in the room that I now regretted that I hadn’t stopped at only the one child and being told that I was a trooper (lies!) and that I would be fine (which turned out to be relatively true, if one doesn’t take into account the second-degree tear I acquired as a souvenir), I gave birth to Julian Aleksander in the tub at home, 3:08 P.M. It took far longer than I would’ve liked but he came on the day he was due. If nothing else, we have a very punctual little fellow.
It was also quite nice to just fall into one’s own bed, with no driving back and forth. The homebirth was less terrifying than I imagined it to be, and it was nice not having to deal with loads of extra staff/people in an unfamiliar clinical environment. I would do it again. That is, if we were to have another, which we are not. Perhaps I am a hippie at heart.
I feel quite in awe that we are now the parents of two boys. How did this happen? Are we ready for this addition and adjustment? And how time flies…
I wish I could hold onto these moments for twice the amount of time that it takes them to happen in, but I can’t. The days drag on and the years fly by steadily… relentlessly.
So, if he must… I hope baby Jujube grows up to be clever, kind, loyal and true. I hope he loves this little family he has been born into as much as this little family loves and adores him already.
Welcome home, darling bundle… xx