Chloë and Peter’s Second Birth Story

When my first daughter was six weeks old, I fell pregnant again. However, we didn’t find out until I was in my 15th week. It was an enormous shock, and although I was happy that I had missed the worry of the first three months, I was terrified that I now had to go through another birth so soon after my first.

I shut down and went into complete denial. I did not want to think about going into labour or what this second birth would entail, so I did not give it any time. I went about my job of being a mummy to my firstborn. Of course, I went to my appointments and scans to make sure all was well, but I would not contemplate what was to come.

I really should have used this time to arm myself with knowledge and learn how I could help myself the second time around. I should have looked into my choices and spoken to medical experts to ensure that I had a better experience the next time. But no, I buried my head in the sand until the very end.

On my due date, I went to the hospital because I felt that her movements had slowed down a little. They monitored me and assured me that she was ok and then threw the ‘I’ bomb at me. They wanted to induce me again, right then! I was inconsolable. They asked my husband and me to walk round to the maternity unit, so we politely said yes, then did a runner. There was no way in hell I was going to let them do that again. We got home and were called by the hospital, asking for me to come back. I refused flatly. They told me that I must go back the next day for an induction. We decided that we would go in the following day but ask for a sweep. Luckily they agreed. I was given the sweep; then they let us go. We decided to pop to the supermarket to stock up, but as we were walking around, my contractions started. They came so thick and fast that we had to abandon our full trolly and rush home.

As soon as my parents arrived to look after our eldest, we zoomed to the hospital on the midwife’s advice. They could see that I was progressing quickly, but there were no rooms available, so for the first half an hour, I was in reception, mooing, and howling. A midwife was rubbing my back, and I was aware of pregnant couples coming in for appointments. Poor things must have been terrified!

Eventually, they found a room, and I waddled the short distance there, stopping for contractions on the way. I was supported by two midwives as they got me changed while I leaned over the bed. Then there was a change of staff, so we were left on our own for a while. Pete did not know what to do. I was crouched on the floor, leaking fluid and blood, and he could see the baby crowning. The new midwife came in, realised the situation, so got me on to the bed on all fours. She was not ready, so she told me not to push yet, but I couldn’t stop. It was so quick, a couple of pushes and Gertie was born. I could see the shock on Pete’s face. Everything had happened so quickly. From me being given the sweep to her being born had taken just under three hours.

Due to the speed of her arrival, I had torn, so there was quite a lot of tidying up to be done. Pete cut the cord, and she was wrapped up and given to me. This time I did want to try to feed her, but I waited for the chaos to die down and for the three of us to be alone. I felt calmer and more relaxed this time around. She was born at 8.02pm, so Pete stayed with us a few hours before going home to look after Esmeralda. During the night, we snuggled a lot, and she fed a lot. I had learnt from previous mistakes, and when they said we could go home the following afternoon, I felt ready.

Again, we had family come to stay and people visiting, so the first few days of her life are a blur. I do remember being incredibly hormonal and rather vile, much like having PMT and having people around constantly only added to the stress. Luckily though, Pete was home for six weeks this time rather than six days before he went on his next tour. Thank God because coping with a newborn and a ten and a half month old certainly had its challenges. We did manage to get them into a routine together that worked well, and Gertie was a good little sleeper which helped.