Our Christmas Traditions

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In 2012, we decided that it was important to begin to implement a set of Christmas traditions and ideas that we can celebrate every year as a family over the holiday season. Brian and I discussed it and we decided that we wanted our Christmas celebrations to focus on 3 particulars areas:

  • Spending quality time together as a family and within our wider circle of family, friends and community
  • Remembering to be grateful for what we have and giving to those in need
  • Learning about and sharing in various ways to celebrate Christmas around the world to promote multiculturalism and understanding about how different Christmas celebrations have evolved over the years

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    We decided to  achieve this through creating an advent calendar that begins on December 1st each year. I browse through local Christmas events and add the ones our family enjoys to the calender. Last year we particularly enjoyed the Lighting of the big Christmas tree in the city, the Christmas Carols and watching the free Christmas movies at Southbank, so we will be attending those once again. These events really help us to make time for each other and be present with each other in the hectic-ness that is this holiday season. It also gets us out into the community and when family or friends come along with us it helps us celebrate the holidays with them as well!

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We decided that we wanted to focus on the act of giving and and sharing gifts with others and in particular, using this time of year to highight the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves. We do this through donating to charities and by asking the children to participate in the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal which they very thoughtfully enjoyed doing last Christmas. This year we will also be adding another giving tradition of encouraging the children to buy/create sibling gifts for each other which we are really looking forward to seeing evolve.

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We are a multi-cultural family, so it was important to us to share with our children the fact that every family celebrates Christmas in a unique way – some with more of a religious focus, some more with a Santa related focus and that some don’t celebrate the day at all – plus that every country has their own special Christmas traditions that can be fun to explore. This is an area we only touched on last year, but we will expand on this in the next few years as they grow and their understanding grows too.

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I also add in other Christmas events and activites into the advent calender like our yearly tradition of celebrating St Nicholas day just like my family did when I was a child, and fun craft activities like the Christmas sensroy box. We always drive around to see the big Christmas lights displays and I’ve been collecting Christmas books for a couple of years now (most of them bought from op-shops or on sale after Christmas is over) to read every second day and get into the Christmas spirit. It’s a big month yes, but a month we look forward to with great anticipation every year. We are so excited to share it with the children again and I know their faces of delight will make all the organisation totally worth it.

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Daisy’s Birth Story – Part Two

Continued from Part One here

I turn on my side facing Hannah and close my eyes for a minute or two and then I feel it. That tightening. That tightening that makes me question whether I actually just experienced it or not. I check my phone for the time. It’s 02:40am. I wait. And it comes again. 02:46am. I breathe out. A little knot of excitement begins to grow in my belly. I wonder whether I should get up and walk around but decide to wait and see. Another surge comes at 02:53am. Irregular but painful.

I look at the birth affirmations I have posted next to my wall and I read my favourite ones again “I trust my baby and my body to orchestrate a beautiful meeting.” “Everything will unfold exactly as it should.” I feel calm for an instant but then another surge comes at 02:58am and I start to worry. Your daddy and brother are in the hospital, they’re not here with me and I think I am going into labour!

I text Brian at 03:01am – Will you be leaving soon? I’ve had 4 contractions in the last 20 minutes. Not sure if she’s just trying to turn to the left, or if this is the start of something but they’re ouchy. I can still lie down through them… just.  Hope you got some sleep..!
Brian replies immediately, In the cab now, be home soon.
Good!
I answer and have another contraction.

I can feel you on my right hand side and because I know that to complete the birth process you need to move to my left, I wonder if this is just you trying to get into position. I have had pre-labour like this before.  I feel ready though. I know it isn’t the most perfect of circumstances with having spent the whole day at hospital with your brother, but I am so desperate to meet you.

I know my husband is on his way home to me and my body relaxes. I have been using visualisation as a powerful tool during my pregnancy and I am excited to find out if what I have envisioned will be accurate. I am waiting for the contractons to become regularly 3 minutes apart so I can call it. So I can say I am finally in labour with you.

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I get out of bed to see what happenes to the contractions with some movement and walk  into the living room. I love labouring in the dark and all of my labours have begun in the night. I’m timing the surges – 03:04am, 03:09am, 03:12am… There’s the magic 3 minutes I think to myself.

I hear the cab pull up. Brian comes in and we embrace. I have another contraction. They need my attention but I don’t need to moan or move too much to get through them just yet. The peak is acute but the beginning and the end of the contraction is mild. My mind isn’t in the labour zone anyway, I have too much else to focus on. I check my son. He is sleepy and his arm is bandaged up. Brian lays him on the couch next to where I am labouring.

After a quick update from me and an excited shared giggle that this is IT, Brian decides to have a quick shower while I continue contracting in the dark and the quiet. I kneel on the floor next to couch where Blake is sleeping and I take a quick photo of him in the shadows. I am reminded of his birth almost 3 years before, of how beautiful it was and I try to channel that strength and peace again as my body gives way to the rhythm of labour.
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At 03:22am I text my friend and birth photographer Georgia, I think something might be starting hun… will keep you updated. She replies and I sink into the contractions more, I moan with one, really needing to sway and squat close to the ground to get through it. I mention to Brian that if the next one is like this then we need to call the midwife. He agrees and when he watches me through the next contraction he makes the call. It is 03:40am.

The phone cuts out and he needs to re-call but J eventually answers and he arranges for her to meet us at the birth centre at about 4:30am. I wake Hannah and dress her quickly,  stopping to move through a couple of contractions. I feel a sense of urgency now, I know we need to get to the birth centre soon. I feel a need to go to a warm, dark space and get ready to give birth. I am still having contractions 3 minutes apart with every second or third being quite intense and long. Brian takes the bags to the car, and then comes back up for the kids. We’re nearly ready.

I am just about to head down the stairs when I feel another contraction coming, I grab my phone for the contraction timer and I notice the time is 04:15am. I lean over the couch and sink low to the ground. I begin to feel nervous, I have been envisioning 04:15am as an important time for my labour. I am just about to find out why.
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The contraction peaks and I feel wetness in my underwear. I come out of the contraction fog and realise my water has broken! Brian, it’s my waters I scream as he tries to usher me down the stairs. Andi let’s go, I can get you there. It will be okay, he says. But, we said we would stay here if my waters broke... But even as I say it, my voice trembles and I know my baby will not be born at home. The house feels cold and empty and my kids are in the car waiting for me. I put my trust into my husband but I give myself an out… If I feel pushy with the next contraction, then we’re coming back upstairs I whisper. Deal.

We get into the car and I sit on a plastic bag. My pants are wet but I have no time to change them. I pray that I can hold on until the Birth Centre. My biggest fear is having you in the car and I wonder if we’ve made the right decision. Thankfully, even though the next contraction is fierce, I don’t feel pressure. Brian flies down the main road and squeezes my hand. We’ll be there in 5 minutes he promises. I turn to look at Hannah and she says, I am proud of you mummy and I melt. As hard as labour is, it is so incredibly beautiful and I know I am blessed to be able to do  it again. I know the end is near.

We pull up at the Birth Centre and I see a figure in the shadows by the entrance. I irrationally freak out about having to labour past a random stranger who is probably smoking at the front of the hospital! And then I notice the stranger coming toward us and before I can say anything I realise it is Georgia and I couldn’t be happier to see a familar face. And also that she has made it in time to capture the birth! I manage to whisper, the baby is coming before sinking in to another contraction.

Georgia leads Hannah and I towards the entrance and we have to buzzer through. They both disappear behind the double doors but I am left outside contracting again. I worry that I am about to have this baby by the front door but that pushing pressure has not yet arrived. I know we need to get upstairs quickly though so I finally make it through the doors and we get into an elevator. I contract again and moan and moan. I can see Georgia’s eyes widening and I wonder if she will need to catch this baby in the elevator!

 We make it into the birth centre. I can see light and hear running water coming out of room 1. The same room that Blake was born in and the room that we had coincidentally taken the kids into when discussing the birth a couple of times during our midwife appointments. I walk in without a second thought. I’m having a baby, I declare as I waddle into the room.

The nurse looks at us in shock and asks if I am Di’s lady. I let her know that No, I am J’s lady, and I am about to have a baby as I prepare to contract again. I can feel adrenalin begin to seep into my body, I am getting anxious and I want to turn the lights off and get ready to give bith. I feel like I am holding on at a time when I really need and want to just let go.

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The nurse says she will get a midwife and I wonder where J is. I am waiting for her. Before she leaves, the nurse grabs Georgia by the arm and implores her not to allow me to get into the water under any circumstance. Now that she has said it, all I want is to hop into that tub, to feel that hot, hot water swallow me up and soothe my aching body. I know if I get in, the birth will be imminent so as soon as the midwife – who comes in from Birth Suite – arrives I let her know I need the tub.

She tells me I have to wait for my midwife as she isn’t waterbirth accredited and asks me to sit on the bed so she can check my blood pressure and the baby’s heartrate. I sit but then shake my head as she presses her doppler onto my skin, and I cry out as a contraction begins. It is so strong that I need to stand up and then bend right over the midwife holding her arm and shoulder until it is over. I sit again and she finds your heartbeat on my left. I know you are ready.

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She moves to place the blood pressure strap on my arm and I move her hand away. The baby is coming, I whisper, my waters have broken. Okay, she says as I stand up. Are they clear? I have no idea, I say and I pull my pants off completely so that I can kneel into the beanbag on the mat on the floor – in the same position that I birthed Hannah in – and begin the pushing stage.

Oh, you are coming now. I can feel you moving down. I wonder where J is again as Brian rubs my back and signals to the midwife that the baby is coming. The kids are on the couch, munching on biscuits as if they were watching a movie and before I can think any more, another contraction rips through me and I know the second stage has begun.

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 I kneel into the beanbag and moan and breathe into the fabric, as I try my best to relax and focus on the pressure without being scared of it. When the surge is over I lean back and rub my belly for what I know will be the last time with you inside me. Hannah and Blake look on and Brian is with me.

I am ready and I let the next contraction sweep me away.The urge to push is irresistible and urgent. I am completely taken over as each body part does its job to perfection and I feel you moving through my pelvis . The strength of the contraction is incredible, my whole body tensing and relaxing all at the same time to allow your head to pass through.

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I pause and wait. And then I feel the midwifes hand against my vagina holding your head. I shake my head and ask the midwife to move her hand away. It feels extremely uncomfortable. I have never had anyone touch me during the pushing stage before. She refuses and tells me she is just supporting the head.

I wonder what she means but I have no energy to question her further so I decide to put my own hand down and touch your soft velvety head. I haven’t done this with either of the other two and although I wish the midwife would move her hand, I try to enjoy that special moment bonding with you while you are in that ethereal space of being half earthside, and half within me.

The next surge finally comes. It builds and builds, and I easily give way to your body. I feel that sweet sensation as you glide out and are passed through to me. You are born at 04:41am on Sunday 11th August, and I am ridiculously happy. I pull you through my legs and hold you against my belly. You have hair! And you look exactly like your big sister did at birth. You are covered with a fair bit of vernix and your body feels amazing against mine. I am so relieved.

Everything happened so fast. I smile at your daddy and we kiss, and I smile and smile. I didn’t have time to take my shirt off during the labour so someone does it for me, and I try to pull you up against my chest but I feel tension in the cord so I leave you where you are. I rub your soft body a little to stimulate you and you give a little cry. I feel as though I could cry too, but I am too happy to even produce any tears. It is a beautiful moment. I have waited for you, and now you are here. My Daisy.

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The midwife breaks my reverie and asks me to pull you up. I can’t, I say. You can, she answers, just pull her up to your chest. I shake my head and mumble something and finally the second midwife (also from Birth Suite) says the cord is too short. We all look down and you do seem to have an incredibly short cord.

I realise that if you had been born in the water I wouldn’t have been able to fully pull you up to my breast and out of the water and I wonder if that’s part of the reason you came so quickly. The midwife advises us to cut the cord even though I had wanted to leave it unclamped for longer, but I know I need to bring you to my chest to keep you warm.

First we check that you are indeed a girl and are delighted to see that you are. Brian goes to cut the cord but I ask him if Blake would like to do it. He had expressed an interest in this during the pregnancy but as I look over at my little boy I remember his right hand is bandaged up so Brian cuts the cord for the third time. I lean back against the beanbag and pull you up to my breast. J finally arrives having missed the birth by mere minutes. You lie calmly on my chest and I just take you in. Your sweet face is so soft and your little hand is resting on my heart.
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Hannah and Blake come over to see you. Blake is looking at you wide eyed whilst still munching on his food. He is literally starving after not eating for most of Saturday due to being nil by mouth for his trip to theatre. He smiles at you and I am sure that if he wasn’t concentrating so hard on eating, that he would be cuddling and stroking your sweet head non-stop! Brian explains Hannah was a little worried when I moaned whilst pushing your head out, but he let Hannah know I was working very hard as we had talked about so many times during the pregnancy, and she immediately relaxed and was satisfied with that.

I can see Hannah is excited and reserved at the same time. She strokes your head a few times and looks at you with a shy smile. I know she will need a little bit of time to physically want to be close to you – as she often does in other situations – but her eyes tell me how excited she is. We have video of Blake’s birth and she has always commented that she wasn’t there. I know in the years to come, all my children will know and love that we were all able to do this birth process together, even against all odds.  I am so happy to have us all there together on such a special day. It feels like we have all worked towards this, that the labour was an experience we all shared rather than just me taking the load. I feel light as air and completely amazed that we have done it, together we have achieved a beautiful birth and you, our sweet baby girl Daisy Emmeline, are here.

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Brian takes you and has his first cuddles, while J helps me prepare to birth the placenta on the birthing stool. I am having my first fully physiological third stage after being advised to have the syntocin injection the last two times. I am really happy about this, but I am not prepared for how incredibly painful this stage can be. I feel a contraction coming and it is so strong. I have a moment of panic as I wonder if they missed a baby during the ultrasounds and that I am now about to birth your twin. That is how intense this stage is.

The surges keep coming and I really have to lean on my midwife – physically and emotionally – to get through them. Emotionally I am full of energy after the high of the birth, but I know my body needs to rest. It feels difficult to now have to push again when my baby has already been born. Finally after 20 minutes, the placenta releases and I feel that ecstatic sensation as the birth process completes itself. I take a moment to let it sink in that I have been blessed to successfully give birth unhindered to my third baby, and I let that joy sweep me up once more.
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J helps me onto the bed and you are back in my arms. Hannah comes over and after a kiss and a cuddle with me, she hops into bed next to me.  She stares at Daisy, and strokes her head. She says to me, we have a baby! Blake has fallen asleep on the couch, exhausted after an unbelievable 24 hours. He looks so little sleeping there but compared to you now, I realise he is my baby no more.
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I hold you next to my right breast – next to my heartbeat – and you immediately begin to root around for the nipple and soon you are latching on. I am thankful that you seem to be as efficient as your big brother was, and I hope this is the beginning of another successful breastfeeding journey. You stay in this position suckling on and off for about an hour. I am content just to gaze at you, have a little snack of jam toast that your daddy brings me, and de-brief your super-fast birth with J who of-course missed the best part!

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We decide to call your grandparents who are on holidays all the way in Croatia via Skype and they are thrilled to see you. I am so grateful for amazing technology in that moment, so that they can share in our joy and not have to wait another 11 days to even see you. We then prepare to weigh you and I guess that you are around 3.6kg. You feel smaller than Hannah and Blake were at birth. You are 3.51kg on the scale and amazingly you are holding your head up after being in the world for only less than an hour!

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J measures you – 49cm long and 34cm head circumference – and then checks me for tearing. Once again I have a small labial graze (this has happened every time), but no actual tearing and nothing to stitch thankfully. J calculates your labour time after hearing details from me, and counts your birth as 1 hour and 50 minutes from active labour to completion of birth with the delivery of the placenta. So I was in active labour for almost exactly an hour and a half, and you were born pretty much 2 hours from the first intial contraction. I really can’t believe that just hours ago I was in my bed sleeping with no clue of what was coming next.
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Brian and I keep making eye contact and just beaming at each other. Watching him hold you and get to know you, makes me fall in love with him all over again. I feel so incredibly blessed to have him by my side. I know as I sit holding you, that a homebirth would have been perfect but your daddy has shown me that we would have had an amazing experience no matter where we birth as long as he is next to me, supporting and encouraging me.

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I look over at Hannah next to me on the bed who is just soaking everything in, and I feel a pang of impossibility – wasn’t I just holding her newborn body in the room two doors down so very recently? How is it that she is already a little girl? But I am glad she is, and I know this experience will be a shared memory we can treasure as mother and daughter forever. Blake wakes up and wants to see you and spends some time rubbing your head and murmurring sweet nothings in your ear and my heart melts with love. I look down at your fresh little face with your beautiful eyes staring back at me and I am overwhelmed with joy.
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I fall in love with you Daisy, thanking you again for coming into my life and I wonder what great lessons you have come to teach me. With all five of us on the bed as Georgia takes our first family photo, I realise that this is it now. This is my new life and I honestly couldn’t be happier.

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BIRTH VIDEO – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iNGWKf84ts
All birth and pregnancy photography and videography thanks to Georgia from Documenting Delight
Birth Affirmations thanks to Renee from Present Moments Birth Support

Daisy’s Birth Story – Part One

The Birth Story of Daisy Emmeline
Born 11th August, 2013
At 04:41am in the Birth Centre at RWBH
Weighing 3.51kg and 49cm long
After a 1.5hr natural labour

It is the 11th of December 2012. I can hear the sounds of Hannah and Blake’s laughter through the bathroom window as they run around in the summer sunshine. I look down and see one strong line on the pregnancy test. I knew it, I think, negative again. Then I realise the line is in the spot where a positive line should be and I watch as a second line apears. A sound comes out of my mouth that is somewhere between a cry/scream/laugh. I am in shock. Your daddy knocks on the door and asks if we’re pregnant. I open the door and look at him with tears in my eyes, one hand covering my mouth and the other holding that stick with two strong lines. He hugs me when he sees the test and whispers in my ear, Looks like our little Daisy is on her way….

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We are in shock for days. We had only paid for our tickets for our overseas trip just two weeks prior. Obviously right around the time that you had been conceived. We’d been trying for our third baby for over a year and were going to wait until we came home from the holiday to try again. Since I was still breastfeeding Blake it seemed that I was practically infertile even though my cycle returned when he was 14 months old. It must have all changed when Blake night weaned. But it was unexpected.  As I hold that pregnancy test, I realise our life has changed again. Little do we know that in exactly eight months time I will be holding you in my arms.

I have had many signs over the last 18 months that lead me to believe another baby was coming into our family. All the signs were related to Daisies so we immediately think that you are a girl. We don’t mind either way of-course, but it is just a knowing that we both have. It seems Hannah feels it too as she is adamant that I am growing her little sister. We decide to have an early scan at 8 weeks and check to make sure you are growing well. We don’t take Hannah and Blake to this scan as we aren’t sure if we were going to get good news as scans have not always been a happy time for us. We find out that you are growing just fine but I have some cysts on my ovaries so we book another scan for 14 weeks. Hannah and Blake come to that ultrasound and that is the first time they see you.  Watching them watch you bob about on that screen makes it real. It’s even more special to arrive at the 20 weeks anatomy ultrasound and watch Hannah’s face light up when we hear the sonographer declare that you are indeed a girl!  I let the realisation sink in that you will be okay, and that soon I will be a mama to three little people.

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We spend a lot of time during the pregnancy talking with Blake and Hannah about you. We make you a part of our family before you are even born. I had maintained my interest in pregnancy, birth and babies since Hannah was born so both your siblings had already seen birth videos and flicked through my birth books but we really amp it up in preparation for your birth. We spend time talking about how you are developing and growing in my womb and what it will mean to have a baby in the house. Hannah and Blake just take it in their stride. They seem genuinely excited to meet you and to have you finally home. The length of a pregnancy is obviously a very long time for a child to wait, but they are as patient as they can possibly be. You receive many, many cuddles, kisses and pats while you are still in my belly. You are so responsive, always moving to the spot where the person is touching and rarely does anyone miss out on feeling a kick from you. You are a mover and shaker in utero, just like your siblings before you!

Even though I had two great birth experiences with Hannah and Blake I did have one regret, and that was not having Hannah present at Blake’s birth. It had been my instinct to have Hannah there but everyone had told me she was too young. This time though, I know that all going well, I want your siblings to be there to witness your birth. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, we feel that birth is a natural and beautiful part of life and something that we as a society should share and celebrate. There is no happier day than the day a child is born and I have found that children are very open and accepting of how babies come into the world and are excited about the idea of being part of that. Secondly, birth is the natural conclusion to pregnancy and I felt that being at the birth would give Hannah and Blake closure with the pregnancy chapter and allow the beginning of the new stage of life as a family of five naturally unfold.

 I initially picture having you at home. Literally every time I close my eyes during the pregnancy, I visualise myself getting on my knees on my bedroom floor at the foot of my bed and birthing you. I intuitively feel that the birth will be fast and that we may need to prepare for an unexpected homebirth so I want to bypass that fear and plan a homebirth from the beginning. I have always been open to having a homebirth and had very seriously considered one during Blake’s pregnancy but we hadn’t been able to find a midwife. This time though, everything comes together and we find a midwife. After an inital meeting at our house where we chat for over two hours, I know this is the way I want to birth and I excitedly begin to prepare to have you born at home.

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Unfortunately just a few weeks later, Brians work car breaks down. We have to use the money that we had saved for the homebirth to pay for a new vehicle to transport Brian to work. I am absolutely devastated and need to call the midwife and let her know the homebirth is now not an option for us. I question that decision for the rest of the pregnancy. We live only 10 minutes from the Birth Centre where Hannah and Blake had both been born and everyone keeps telling me that it is a great – and free – option so we put our application in and we are accepted. My heart still aches for the homebirth and logistically and emotionally I feel it would be the better option but I can see no way to get it. It just feels out of my reach.

The visions of having you on the bedroom floor don’t stop though. Brian and I have many conversations about the labour and I question myself for much of the pregnancy, wondering if my gut instinct will be right. I keep being told that third labours are often unpredictable and this clouds my ability to hear my intuition. I know I can handle another long labour if it comes to that, but I know that’s not what I want or instinctively feel will happen. I predict labour will be about 2.5 hours long. I don’t want to have you at home unexpectedly now that the homebirth is no longer happening, so I decide that we will need to go into the birth centre as soon as I know that I am in established labour. Brian and I discuss a fast labour though and decide that if my waters break we will stay at home and call an ambulance rather than risk giving birth in the car on the way to hospital. I gave birth to Blake just one contraction after his waters broke and I feel if this labour is similar then it will be safer to stay put. I feel comfortable that if you want to be born that quickly then we can handle it together.

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At my birth centre appointment at 38+6 weeks (Wednesday the 7th August), I speak to J who I have a feeling will be the midwife at our birth (I have 3 midwives caring for me through pregnancy) and we discuss the labour. Once again she explains how unpredictable third labours can be with lots of women having stop and start contractions and not being able to fully get in the zone. She also explains that because one of my three midwives is on holidays her and the other midwife are flat out busy and jokingly tells me not to have the baby before the weekend. I am disappointed. I tell her once again, that I feel the labour will be fairly fast but I am not sure if she is really hearing me. J checks your position and you are partially engaged. I have been squatting several times a day during this last trimester as a way of encouraging you to go lower into my pelvis as both your siblings had not engaged at all before labour. As we leave I tell her, I’ll call you on the weekend. This is my last birth centre appointment.

I crossed my fingers that you would be born the next day on the 08/08/13 all through the pregnancy, so that your birthdate would match Hannah’s (31/08/08) and Blake’s (12/10/10) and have double numbers in it. I notice lots of painless Braxton Hicks’s during that Thursday but the previous days appointment has taken me out of the labour mind zone. I know if I go into labour that day I might not have one of my midwives with me and I really want to avoid that. Little do I know that is what ends up happening anyway.

Brian and I both know the end is near. Even though I haven’t even passed my 15th August due date, I feel very strongly that you will be here by the end of the weekend. We decide to go out on Saturday morning for breakfast as a family of four for what we hope will be the last time. The waiter askes me when I am due and when I answer Any day now, he quickly asks me not to break my waters whilst in their cafe! Normally I get annoyed by these sort of comments but because I feel that we are so close to meeting you, his words just make me laugh. We enjoy our breakfast and a play at the park before heading home for a nap.

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Blake falls asleep in the car and Brian transfers him to his bed when we come home as normal. I go into the room a little while later to have a rest and notice that he has woken up which doesn’t usually happen, but he runs off to play. About half an hour later I am woken by a childs cries and immediately feel they are Blake’s. I know Brian is out there taking care of the children but as I lay there for another few seconds, I feel in my gut something is very wrong. Just as I leap out of bed I can hear Brians footsteps racing up the stairs and he begins calling my name as I open the bedroom door. He is holding a screaming Blake who’s hand is covered in blood and Brian quickly says, We need to get him to a doctor NOW, his finger has been bitten by the dog next door.

All I can ask, as I start throwing things into bags, is whether his finger is still intact and Brian says he isn’t even sure, there is too much blood. My heart is literally pounding in my head and I am screaming obsceneties about next doors dog while running around 9 months pregnant in my bra and undies. I don’t realise the next door neighbour has come up on our front deck with his first aid kit and can see and hear everything. I don’t care, I am completely freaking out and I rush us all into the car. We drive to the hospital. I am driving which is painful at this late stage of pregnancy and it starts to give me Braxton Hicks’s. Thankfully at the Childrens Hospital we are seen pretty quickly by a lovely doctor and she lets us know that this is not an easy fix. Because dogs can have a multitude of germs in their mouth and can cause a serious infection Blake will need to be taken to theatre and sedated while they properly clean his finger with some heavy duty solution. They will also give him stitches if necessary. Luckily after a quick clean in some saline it looks like there is no serious ligament damage and his finger is fortunately in one piece.

Blake is an absolute trooper through the entire day and barely cries even while receiving his IV. Hannah is fascinated with medical events so this is an interesting experience for her and she listens and watches everything intensely. In the late afternoon, all we can do is wait for Blake to be taken to theatre so we agree that Brian will stay with Blake and hopefully bring him home later that night and I will take Hannah home and have dinner. I have been having BH’s intermittently throughout the day and sitting on those plastic chairs for hours is so uncomfortable. I have also barely eaten since our breakfast that morning but I seem to have a bit of a tummy ache. My heart is so split. I want to stay with Blake and care for him, but I know Hannah needs some dinner and rest and that I have to take care of myself and you too. After a quick chat, Blake is quite okay with us leaving and I know he will be just fine with Brian.
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Hannah and I drive home, get some take-out for dinner, have a lovely bath together and are asleep by 8:30pm. I wake at 10:30pm to a couple of texts from Brian letting me know that Blake has come back safely from surgery and that they will get a cab home early in the morning. I fall asleep more relaxed and wake again to use the toilet at 2:30am. You are kicking around furiously so before I walk out of the bathroom I take a minute to watch you somersault around my belly in the mirror. It makes me smile and  I am very tempted to grab my phone and video the action but I remind myself that logically I am not even due and I will have plenty of time to video you in the coming days.

I go back into the bedroom and for some reason feel like swaying a little. I press the acupressure point  on my wrist while doing so. I feel a little like I am in dreamland, just following some deep instinct rather than using my thinking brain, but after a couple of minutes I feel silly, I’m not even having any Braxton Hicks! I lay down and look at Hannah sleeping next to me while my hand feels you kicking in my belly and I get a little teary looking at my big girl and realising I will be starting the baby experience again in just a matter of days.
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To be continued

(Birth Video here)