Scary stories from a lovely place
Today Liam was born, 4 months ago, to the day, rather than the date.
He is a delightful little person, as they all are, but it helps that he is an easy going little guy. Happy to be held by anyone and everyone, happy to be squashed by his brothers, happy to smile and tell impassioned little stories, happy to be included in weird games with trains and cars. Rarely cries. Rarely poos. A lovely cafe companion. Likes to cuddle.
In the weeks leading up to his birth, I was both dreading and relishing the impending challenge. I was dreading it because it bloody hurts, and relishing it because it was my third turn and I wanted it to go well. I hoped it would be fast. I wanted to maintain control of myself. Mostly I hoped to get a cute baby in return for my effort. I boasted to a room full of women a few weeks before Liam was born that I was going to smash it. But then I started to regret my cocky words, as some people warned me that it might not be fast, just because it was my third. That worried me. I wanted fast. I wanted no time for intervention or drugs or midwives trying to calm me down.
I needn’t have worried. As far as birth stories go, Liam’s is short. And it started in the loveliest way. I woke up with Oisín’s face right in front of mine, a spooky look on his face. He cuddled in to me. It was 2 am and I hadn’t heard him get out of bed and walk in to my room. Normally I hear them coming. I took him back to bed and settled back in to mine, but something was different, I was having pretty sharp pains. I tried to go back to sleep, even though it was the morning of my due date. After a little while I got up, just in case this was the real thing. Stephen joined me. We watched Friends. I straightened my hair. We drank tea and ate chocoalte and tried super hard not to wake the kids. The contractions continued, they were sharp and frequent but, not wanting to overreact I still wasn’t convinced it was the real thing.
We rang the hospital at about 3 am to tell them we would be coming in soon. The midwife acted all nonchalant and seemed to doubt I was in labour as my water was still intact. We rang my mum for her to come to be with Silas and Oisín, but she didn’t answer. We rang again a little while later, and again but still no answer. I was starting to worry now. The pains were serious and were beginning to shoot down my legs, a horrible memory from previous labours. We phoned a friend and asked her to come. She was on her way. But I feared she wasn’t going to arrive soon enough. Stephen and I had noticed that our neighbour’s light was on. I couldn’t think straight to make a decision but I knew we needed to do something. Stephen insisted we ask our neighbour and a few minutes later we were in the car and on our way at about 430 am.
I told Stephen he would have to drive fast. He’s known for his legalistic adherence to road rules so I really wanted him to put that aside for me just this one time, and he did. He went through red lights, unless they had a camera and drove very fast – he enjoyed that part. I phoned the hospital on the way. Since it was still so early in the morning the door near the labour ward would be locked and I wanted them to know they should meet me in Emergency. Again the midwife on the phone was oh so nonchalant and seemed nonplussed by my insistence that I could feel a head – an unmistakeable feeling. She clearly didn’t get the severity of the situation as I shouted down the phone while my husband sped our little car through the night. But she did tell me there was a buzzer at the door near the labour ward so I wouldn’t need to go through Emergency.
Stephen pulled up outside the door and the midwife (bless her!) was waiting for us. I got out, took off my shoes and had an enormous contraction. I refused the wheelchair (who can sit down when there is a person’s head coming out of their body?!). We rode the elevator up one floor. I had another enormous contraction and thought that would be it, that I couldn’t make it any further. But I rallied myself (my pants were still on after all) and took the 20 steps into the labour ward and into a room. I ignored all the midwives calm questions and orders to get on to the bed, and focussed through another huge contraction. I punched a table and a midwife crossly urged me to calm down. I was calm damn it. I continued to ignore their requests to get on the bed, knelt down, pushed once, then a second time and out came my little guy. It was done. We were there for 4 minutes. i had smashed it. Liam was lovely, Stephen a champion, the midwives a bit confused, me – relieved.
We watched the sun rise over the Steelworks, had some meagre hospital breakfast, hung around all day and went home about 5pm. I was glad it went as I hoped. I was glad Silas and Oisín had a good time with their Grandma. I was glad Stephen was so brilliantly helpful. I was glad our neighbour was home and awake. Mostly I was glad Liam was born so well and that he was cute.
Now, 4 months on, our neighbour is still giving lovely cuddles and gifts to my children. Stephen is still wonderful, helping me at night, playing with the kids and buying me presents. And Liam is cuter than ever.
Our neighbour Jul, and Liam