So how apt that after all that, our darling Moomin decided for us, there would indeed be a fourth baby.
I knew from the very start that this is it, my last ever pregnancy and wanted to cherish every moment of my final pregnancy. Pregnancy enthralls and fascinates me. I find it awe inspiring and magical that a whole life...a soul..a person is created. Yet it's hard to enjoy something when you're so affected.
By 39 weeks I'd had enough. We're not talking the usual full term fed up blues here. We're talking about being virtually housebound for months leaving the house around once a week due to chronic pain. Hip pain, pelvic pain, back pain. It hurt to sit, to stand, to lay down. Everything hurt then add to that sciatica that felt like it was on steroids. 9 months of unmedicated mental health wasn't helping combined with the M.E/CFS and Insomnia. I couldn't go anywhere or do anything. Even the family annual day out to Blackpool was cancelled because of my pain. The summer holidays were a wash out, it was heartbreaking not even being able to bend down to pick something up or walk to the shops let alone do anything with my children. This has the knock on effect of The Husband having to do everything. Then came two weeks of back to back headaches/migraines and a chest infection which 5 weeks later i'm still recovering from. Needless to say I was miserable. All out of cope. I spent my time either in tears or in a venomously vile mood. I was awful to be around. The straw that broke the pregzillahs back was the sweep, or lack of. It had been agreed with my Midwife for some time that i'd get an early sweep at my 39+5 appointment. I was living for this day. It was the beacon that stopped me spiraling into quite frankly, despair.
39+5 came. I knew my cervix was favourable. I didn't get a sweep. Moomin was still 'free'. The Midwife declared the (small) risk of cord prolapse meant she couldn't do it. I respect this. I'd never want her to do something she wasn't comfortable with. Yet not once did she discuss ways to get her to engage or even the fact that Moomin is my fourth baby and was unlikely to engage before labour anyway and that labour itself is often what makes them engage. However, knowing my predicament she had several choices:
1. Refer me to the hospital to see if they'd be willing to do a sweep
2. Offer to check babies position again in a few days
3. Discuss induction
What she actually did was say 'see you in a week'.
This quite frankly broke the tiny parts of me that weren't already broken. I'll be honest, I felt let down and abandoned by her. She just didn't seem to care, at all. The level of pain i was in and the mental health issues should have flagged her to keep an eye on me, she just didn't care. When she left I had to disappear to my room, away from The Spawn and cried, for 40 minutes solid.
I couldn't talk about sweeps, labour, babies or pregnancy without falling, hard, into the dark. I finally got to a GP for antibiotics after three weeks of a chest infection and broke down in tears. Bare in mind, apart from in this particular pregnancy, I don't cry. Especially in front of anyone. Even The Husband has only ever seen me cry around 5 times in 14 years and three of those were in this pregnancy.
The darkness was around me. My head was broken. I even did something I'd never done before and cut off one of my only lifelines to real people and deactivated my facebook. Sounds mellow dramatic but other than my family, the only contact I have with other humans is online.
The antibiotics I got at 40+3 didn't agree with me at all. I started to feel nauseous, I couldn't eat or sleep and just felt shaky and 'strange' so had to stop taking them.
My bottle of clary sage oil was now empty. I'd been riding my birth ball like a cowgirl on crack. I'd been twiddling my nipples like a bored porn star. Nothing. Nada. Not even a tickle let alone a cramp.
Don't get me wrong, I'd have begrudgingly held on an extra month if I wasn't so debilitated, in fact it would have ensured Moomin would start school at 5 instead or 4 which I'd love.
40+5 The Midwife came round. Immune to my misery and despondence. Moomin still not engaged yet now she decides she actually would try a sweep despite my situation being identical to last week when she'd refused.
She recorded me as having a Bishops Score of 6, stated I was 2-3 cm's dilated and that my waters would be incredibly easy to break. She booked me in for an induction for 41+5.
With Things One & Two labour started 4 hours after my sweep. With The Little Dude (formerly The Preschooler) labour started within 24 hours.
Back on the birth ball I went, yet no cramps or anything. That evening I lost lost copious amounts of the mucus plug and soon that was followed by bloody shows which continued throughout the next day yet that was it. No twinges or cramps or anything else. Zilch. Nada. Induction it would be then. A whole week to get through.
Until i woke up two days after the sweep at exactly 41+0. I went to run a bath and felt a drip down my thigh. Not an 'oops my pelvic floor is drunk' drip. Strange. I returned to my room and felt, heard then saw random splats of clear liquid hit the carpet. My waters have never broken on their own before, they'd always been broken during labour by a Midwife, usually minutes/seconds before a baby followed.
In labour tradition I text my bestie. Still unconvinced it was my waters yet unable to substitute an alternative explanation for the splats of liquid that were constantly dripping. Still no pains, no cramps not even a rumble in the tummy. This was approximately 09:35am.
09:50 I phoned antenatal Triage. She told me to put a pad on and a community Midwife would call round within 6 hours to check on me and to phone back if any pain started.
At around 09:55 the community Midwife phoned to tell me she was on a visit but would come round within the hour. Dean called his parents telling them to start the two bus journey to get here.
10.00 Ouch. No preamble. Full on knee buckling contraction. The Husband phones his parents back and tells them to sod the buses, get a taxi. NOW.
10:10 I'd had three huge contractions lasting 1.5-2 minutes each.
After the next few I stopped timing because they were on top of each other. I couldn't tell when they started and stopped any more. I was breathless, in tears, leaning over the cot gripping it for dear life. Waters still dripping, then gushing....continually. Knickers and pad are saturated. I couldn't move. I couldn't talk. 10-15 minutes before this I was 100% fine.
I call Triage SIX times, they're engaged. I'm panicking. The Community Midwife calls to check on me and tells me to go to hospital immediately, she'll tell triage for me. Dean phones for an ambulance but not until his parents arrived to look after The Spawn, I was on all fours rocking, gasping through none relenting pain, trying to remember how to breath as my waters continue to gush and drip through what seems like an eternal contraction, no break.
The ambulance took 30+ minutes to get here. I won't lie, I had images of The Husband having to deliver.
The paramedics come up to my bedroom where i'm on all fours on a nest of towels, the 999 phone operative had tried to get dean to convince me to lay on my back, wasn't going to happen. The longest walk ever ensued, hobbling down the stairs, rigid with pain, a towel between my legs, in my slippers up the outside steps and towards the ambulance where thank fuck, they had Entinox.
When in pain, I become incredibly detached and internalised, this is often mistaken for an absence of pain when in fact it's the reverse. The more removed from people and situ I become the more I'm engulfed in pain. I was guessing I'd be at least 8cm. I refused to accept I'd be any more. One of the reasons I barley have to push to birth my babies is because I block out the feeling of needing to push so that they descend completely on their own. I guess it's a form of denial.
The journey seemed to take forever, the paramedic wouldn't shut up and the Entinox kept making sounds like a ripe fart.
At the hospital the paramedics take me in on the bed, to the central delivery unit where we were met with a right battle axe of a midwife, with a 'none shall pass' attitude claiming she had no idea who we were and why we were there. A human midwife took pity and asked if maybe we were booked in with the birth suite (midwife led). Yes, why yes I am..... the paramedics had brought us to the wrong place as they had no idea there were two. We eventually got to the right place. In an Entinox high I just about manage to get from the ambulance bed trolley to the beanbag bed and roll onto my side.
The Midwife starts to read my notes and birthplan. She tries to carry out her initial checks but to do that she needs a break in the contractions yet she could see there were none. Eventually she just about managed to get my BP and heart rate done. I can't move. I'm actually rigid with pain yet she needed me to roll onto my back to check me. I'm still in my clothes and slippers. I beg for diamorphine, she manages to look and tells me it's too late, babies head is already there. It probably had been for quite a while.
Denial. This is not happening. This is not part of the plan. Where's my water birth? Where's my diamorphine? I'm still fully dressed. I know she's right though. I pretended to myself I couldn't feel it but of course I'd known, somewhere in my head, all along that that horrendous weight down below bearing down was her head. No way could I push her out without more drugs. I was desperate for us all to be wrong, so secretly flexed more then bore down, a nudge so to speak. More like a fart than a poo. Just to test. Shit.... that's all it took and her head was out. We'd been there less than 20 minutes. The surprise is like thinking you've farted and realising you've actually shat yourself. That tiny little experiment should not have resulted in her head being born! I did it again, more a reflex than an actual effort and the body whooshed out with even more liquid. That was it. She was born. That's all it took. I stared at this vernix covered chunky baby being held up to me in disbelief. How had this happened? I can only describe it as surreal.
Moomin was cross. Really cross. Pissed of even. I jokingly remarked mid Entinox high that she's pissed off by the lack of available boob. I was right. I stripped off and she latched on immediately and began to feed for best part of an hour. My others took days to really feed being sleepy from labour meds. Moomin was alert and knew exactly what she wanted.
She's fed none stop since.
We were due to go home that evening but blood results came back that we had ABO incompatibility and she had to be observed for 24 hours. Thankfully due to our absolutely amazing Midwife, because of my mental health issues she managed to secure me my own room and let us stay in the birth suite until The Husband left that evening. She was so intuitive and respectful. She left us alone with Moomin for an hour before even suggesting she got weighed etc. I couldn't have asked for a better Midwife.
Moomin turned out to be 8lb 14oz. The vernix was so thick that they could only conduct part of the hearing test later that day as her other ear was full of it.
Labour was 90 minutes from the first contraction until birth. She was born at 11.41am on Friday 29th August. We registered her before we left the next day. Afterpains are a horrid bitch. I only needed three tiny stitches.
I am absolutely besotted with this little enchantress as are her siblings and The Husband. She's still feeding like a champ. In fact writing this up has been the longest she's been out of my arms, other than at night, since she was born 8 days ago. She's fast asleep in her reclined chair next to me yet my arms ache to scoop her up as she spends the majority of her time laid on me. She's my last baby. I'm going to enjoy every cuddle I can. As soon as they're born it's like someone presses fast forward on time. I still can't believe she's already 8 days old.