There is nothing more exciting than having a baby. Of course there is nothing more tiring either. But it is so exciting! Once upon a time I thought that having babies was a matter of course. That you just had them. That somehow they weren’t neccessarily important. Don’t ask me why. That they were just a number. Maybe that’s what happens when you grow up in an environment where people are having lots and lots of children. Of course for them I’m sure it wasn’t just a number. But as a girl growing up it felt that way…

Now I know different. Having number four has cured me of that. And Prince No. 4 at that.

I did find out what I was having. Early, early on in the pregnancy. I was told I was having a girl. Which felt too too perfect. Of course it was, and at 16 weeks I found out I was having a boy, and I was devastated. Combined with the fact that I felt ill for the first three months from the word go, I was not in the best state. It’s hard to admit that now because as soon as Prince No. 4 was born, and I mean the very second he came out and I saw him, I thought to myself, ‘What was my problem, he is exactly perfect, exactly the baby I always dreamed of without knowing it.’ (Okay I also thought, why is he SO covered in white, and still looking a bit blue. But he was fine his Apgar was 9, thank God.)  And why am I admitting all this? Because having a girl was my issue, my ego and my fantasy. Having Prince No. 4 was reality and a really wonderful one at that. It was about having another child, spreading the love (a friend of mine swore a fourth increases love in the house – and it does. It also obviously increases tiredness and mommy irritability but more on that another post) and a leap of faith (or insanity, you take your pick).

I’m not just gushing about my new baby is perfect, blah di blah di blah. I’m being honest and saying that contrary to all the ‘shames’ that I get when I say I have 4 boys (I won’t comment on people who say shame like that) I really couldn’t take off my silly grin of utter delight. Would I still want a girl. For sure. Whether it’s good for me or not is a whole other topic and a great psychoanalysis session. But for now I’m the rose amongst the thorns, as my husband teases me.

Now onto more important things. The birth. I feel guilty saying this, and my close friends say, ‘No don’t, why should you.’ So I’ll take their advice and in the hope of inspiring any one out there that there is such a thing as an ideal birth, I’ll tell you a bit about mine. This fourth birth was my best so far. By four I and my midwives knew how my body works in labour. I have a high pain threshhold, which means that I labour quite nicely on my own without realising how far I am. The danger is I can have the baby in the car if I don’t get to the clinic early enough. Not okay. So my plan was to get to the clinic as soon as I felt any contractions. The only problem with this plan was that I have too many false alarm contractions, which just stop by the time I get to the clinic and get checked out. I also needed to make sure to get to the clinic in time to have antibiotics because I’m a strep B carrier which can endanger the baby’s health during natural birth. (Google strep B in birth, it’s worth being checked for it in pregnancy. In the States it’s a routine check up.)

So anyway after a false alarm midnight visit a week before Prince No. 4 was due I sat tight and waited and waited and waited. Prince No. 4 chose, yet again, to be different to his brothers (who arrived early) and decided to come three days late. By which time I was convinced that he was never coming out and I was going to be pregnant forever. When I went into labour Saturday night I thought they were false contractions. So much so I insisted that we go out for coffee even though every 10-15 minutes there was yet another contraction. And that night they continued some sorer than others. But they weren’t coming closer together and they’d stop long enough for me to get a decent enough sleep, as my midwife advised me to do, so that I’d have enough energy to push.

The next morning the contractions were still pretty much the same amount of time apart and I called the midwife to ask if I should come in because maybe I was in active labour, but maybe not because they weren’t really coming closer together. She said she was at the clinic and to come in when we were ready. We were all relaxed, after all this could be another false alarm. So after breakfast and giving a kiss to all the Princes we left as calm as you could be to the clinic.

It was Mothers Day by the way…

We arrived at the clinic and were given a room. (We didn’t even bring our bags from the car because we thought it may be a false alarm.) There was a woman screaming in the distance, and we chatted to the Doula about how the woman was progressing with her labour. She’d been pushing for 40 minutes. The shouting was enough to stop anyones contractions. Mine didn’t stop however. They were getting quite intense, although they were still quite far apart. So after about an hour, where my dear hubbie was chilling, blakberrying and snoozing and okay he did chat as well, we called a midwife who had birthed Prince No. 3 to come check me, because my midwife was still birthing the other woman (who did finally have her healthy, beautiful little girl). She did and I was 8 cm dilated. So that was most of the labour done. My hubbie ran to the car to get my bags and called his mum to tell her it’s the real thing and she’d better come to the clinic.

To say I was relieved was an understatement because by then the contractions were pretty intense. And if I was 2 cm dilated then I understand why women go for epidurals. Words cannot describe contraction pain, however all I can come up with is ‘intense’. My midwife came soon after and my gyny arrived (I’m one of those people who like their gyny to be there so I begged mine to be present and she agreed. Further I don’t like strange midwives checking me, which is why I go the personal midwife route. Genesis clinic is lovely by the way with excellent staff. The only downer is no neonatal unit, but they do have facilities to stabilise baby if need be.) so my support was there. My midwife produced a birthing stool which I had never tried before. It was a wonderful thing because my hubbie could sit behind me and hold me and support me and it was very comfortable. (He also loved it and said it was his best birth to because he was so involved.) So we chatted between contractions about this and that, Dr Haushka products and heaven knows what else, and the midwife kept checking the baby’s heart rate and position. And the contractions grew more intense. I got up at one point and then had to go straight back onto the birthing stool. When there were contractions it was just hectic intense, like I could concentrate on nothing else. My midwife and gyny just said to breathe and follow my body. Don’t think. And that’s what I did. So my body decided it was time to push and push it did and the baby popped out. Literally. Of course I was told to hold him back and breathe so I wouldn’t tear and heaven only knows how I managed any of it, because by that time I was convinced I was going to die, or at the very least faint away. I also thought to myself what in the world had I got myself into and maybe it wasn’t the best idea getting pregnant after all. But as I said he popped out and thank Goodness because I wouldn’t have lasted another moment. And suddenly it was a wonderful idea having a fourth, a fourth Prince with a lusty cry. ‘I am blessed.’ repeated through my mind incessantly.

And I still thought that even with the post contractions. And even with the placenta having to be birthed. (It was a big shock when I found out with Prince No. 1 that I had to birth another thing after the baby. It felt ridiculous.) And even with the sleepless nights since. Although there has been jaundice, there has been tears, and there has been a lot of nappies and water fall performances hitting the feeding chair and practically everywhere. But the bris is done (on my birthday too) and he’s healing and we’re all back to normal. Although the Princes are never going to get to school on time again until I get back into the swing of morning mania – which I may never – it’s rather nice staying in bed and ignoring the bedlam.

So for now until the next feed…