This is the BBC
(Bec, Bob & Casper)
Many of you will now know our happy news by now, however, the days in the run up to our baby's arrival were perhaps not so much fun, there had been some real concerns about Casper's size. He was checked in for some scans which reassured us that he had grown to “average size”, a big improvement on his previous category of super-fly, or “neat”, as the midwives described him. But the scans also showed that there was a worryingly low amount of fluid surrounding him in the womb. In these litigious days, such a low amount of amniotic fluid prompted our consultant to write off our plans of a home birth altogether and to advise an induction in hospital as soon as possible. Fortunately, we had some very friendly midwives on our team who managed to buy us a few days grace and delay the induction date. They kept monitoring baby's health whilst we employed every old wives tale ever told to hurry on labour before we were to be admitted into The Queen Mother's Hospital on the Saturday at the behest of the consultant.
I'm not sure what did the trick, be it the extra spicy curry courtesy of the Mother India restaurant, the tinned pineapple, the long walks, the bouncing or the raspberry leaf tea but I suspect the mere threat of induction was probably the trigger. Bec woke me in the wee hours of Friday to tell me she was having some cramping. Now, see, at the Ante-Natal classes, they always said you will know, without hesitation, when you are in labour, but we were both so anxious about our deadline that it felt impossible to know how to react to the slightest change. Some phonecalls to triage and an hour later we went back to sleep – there was nothing to worry about yet it seemed.
However, the cramps didn't disappear all that day and Bec did appear markedly more uncomfortable as we wheeled the trolley around the supermarket on our weekly shop. We returned home and called the hospital and Leah, our Doula (read “Birth Companion” here) for advice. Again, it seemed there wasn't too much to get our hopes up about but nonetheless a midwife would be dispatched just to give Bec a wee once over. I can confirm that since then I do get a little nervous flush whenever I walk into Sainsburys.
Leah arrived shortly and determined that Bec may indeed be in the early stages of labour and helped attach our rented Tens(e) machine. When Patricia the midwife arrived a little later she performed an examination to determine just exactly where we were up to. To everyone's surprise, or total jawdrop, Bec was already more than half way there. The back-up midwife was sent for.
As it turned out, the Tens machine had a loose connection and had to be abandoned, thanks Boots. Leah had provided us with a birthing pool which became Bec's only source of pain relief. Patricia and Debbie, the back up, provided a very discreet monitoring of the baby's heart but otherwise kept to the sidelines with their cups of tea. Leah massaged Bec and complemented this with some aromatherapy whilst I generally tried to cheerlead as best I could whilst keeping the the refreshments coming. Bec was amazing as she quietly breathed her way through it in complete control.
As Sigur Ros quietly serenaded us in the candlelight, Bec turned herself over to the birthing process in the pool and, only 7hrs after our team was assembled, we were in the final throes. A hasty position swap at the last moment allowed me the beautiful experience of catching Casper as he was delivered and telling Bec the sex. Casper spewed all over me in mid air as he flew into my arms and then promptly pooed all over his mummy as I handed him up to her, ensuring that the love was spread around nicely for both of us. I cut the cord, or at least attempted to - the blunt scissors I was handed for the task made the experience akin to carving a steak with a teaspoon - but eventually we got there and baby stepped , well, tumbled, into the world as his own man.
We had to make a brief visit to the hospital afterwards as Bec needed a few stitches but Casper was enjoying his first feed and wasn't letting go. Bec was getting progressively whiter and her skirt all the more redder but all I could do was pace it out. It really doesn't matter how many times you've practised with the car seat – when it's pitch black outside and your in a bit of a hurry it's guaranteed that you'll appear to grow several thumbs too many. Fortunately the hospital is all but a hop and skip up the road from us but it's still really weird trying to get somewhere in a hurry at 5mph. Come On!
The pandemonium that we found at the hospital was in complete contrast to perfect calmness we had experienced at home and so it was with some relief that Bec was given the all clear to go home by 4am, probably due in part to the huge influx of admissions the hospital was receiving (count back 9 months from September and you see why it's a busy time for the NHS). A full complement of proud Grandparents joined us at home for the shortest of birthday parties for the wee man before we turned it in and quickly realised that, as if it wasn't obvious, that actually, we would never sleep again. Ever. But, you know, there really is nothing like cradling your sleeping child close to your heart in the middle of the night and all you can hear is his breathing. So you see, sleep would only get in the way of enjoying one of life's greatest experiences so it's not that important after all.
Casper Carey-Grieve was born at 16 Minerva Street, Glasgow, at 11:44pm on Friday 14th September 2007, just two days after his due date and weighed in at 6 pounds and 13oz. Mother and baby are just beautiful. Expect great things...