We are never on time for anything, as we are often reminded by our families. It probably comes as no surprise then, that both our children have arrived late to the party. Harmie kept us waiting the longest at ten days overdue, requiring two sweeps before she finally made her exit.
After sweep number one I was adamant that she was arriving that day. I endured the unpleasant fishing around, smug in the knowledge that my little lady would be packing her bags and heading out to meet us. By sweep number two, I had given up hope of not having to be induced and fully expected nothing to happen. I returned home, spent the day with Ev, and that evening had a bath using the aromatherapy bath milk that the midwife had provided. I soaked in the floral concoction with two crunchies and a gossip mag and resigned myself to the fact that she would be evicted at the induction appointment that had been booked for me “just in case”.
At 1 am I woke up to the pangs of contractions starting. I was then on a mission to be prepared. I checked my hospital bags, showered, did my hair (as you do…?) and by 6 am I was ready. SO ready. Except I really did not want to go to the hospital. I’ve come to realise that I have a bit of a worry about making a fuss. “I’ll be so upset if I arrive and I’m only 1cm!” I screeched on repeat.
Westy finally convinced me to go to the hospital at around 11 am. We arrived, I was examined, and, you guessed it, I was 1cm. This is where I began to panic. I really felt like our little lady was close to arriving and I begged not to be sent home. Our midwife was wonderful. She suggested that we went for a walk for an hour and return to be examined.
Now, my lovely husband seemingly hadn’t learn his lesson from the shower incident of Ev’s birth, and seemed to think that a walk around the local outlet centre might be a good idea. I explained through gritted teeth that my preference was to stay at the hospital, seeing as I didn’t fancy giving birth mid-shop, and so our painful lap of the grounds began.
By 45 minutes in to our walk, I lost the plot, sat on a bench, and wailed at how pathetic I was being because OH MY GOODNESS THIS HURTS BUT I KNOW THEY’RE GOING TO SEND ME HOME. Westy, having polished off his provision of cheese and onion crisps, tried to offer some reassurance and then ushered me back to see the midwife. Seeing my ensuing panic, she suggested that we wait in a room until 3 pm, when she’d examine me again and see if things were further along. Noticing my pain had notched up she offered me some paracetamol which I gladly accepted.
Westy was shipped off to collect our bags (and no, not to rearrange them and only return with the snacks WHAT WERE YOU THINKING). On his return, I was pacing the room, incessantly timing my now every-three-minute contractions. I used my best stare of doom to silence his idea that he’d cosy up with his iPad to watch a film, and instead asked him to find the Israel Kamakawiwoʻole version of “it’s a wonderful world” that Ev had arrived to, determined that Harmie deserved the same.
It was at this point, at 2 pm, that I realised the contractions were no longer just, well, contracting, but instead I was pushing. And it wouldn’t stop. I began shouting that I was pushing, simultaneously yanking of my leggings and pressing the room buzzer. The midwife came in, took one look at me hopping around removing my underwear, and raced out to return with a crash mat and extra help. I was offered gas and air but declined (what was I thinking?), and the midwife broke my waters during the ensuing pushing as they hadn’t yet gone.
I was again on all fours, lamenting my lack of dignity, when I became aware that the song chosen for Harmie’s entrance was not “it’s a wonderful world” but “Margarita”, which just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it really, does it? Through my shouts of “what the hell is that song? Change it! Change it now!” our wonderful Harmie arrived. Making her entrance at 2.26 pm, with a beautiful dark head of hair and a high pitched little cry. I scooped her up, and held her to me. She was perfect. In that moment, I knew that my heart had grown twice as big, and our little puzzle was complete.