This is Miriam Eleanor. She arrived on December 16 at 1:50 in the morning, the day after her ‘due’ date.
I thought I’d tell her birth story, though honestly, there’s not much to it.
A week before, Monday, I had an afternoon and evening of back pain and belly contractions that felt exactly like my labour with Devin. We all got excited – but I woke up the next morning still pregnant. The rest of the week passed without incident, and I became increasingly frustrated and a little miserable – it was hot, I was tired, and we’d expected baby to have arrived already. What’s more, because my first labour was just over four hours long, we had to be ready to go at the first hint of serious pains, and it was exhausting being on high-alert.
That Sunday, I was awoken by the same pains, and though the felt slightly stronger, they still didn’t establish into any kind of pattern, even after 16 hours. I eventually fell asleep at 11 that night, fully expecting to wake up the next morning to nothing.
But, I woke up at 12:20am to something. I sat and waited. They were starting to hurt, and they were very close together. I woke Jene and called my midwife, and we left for the hospital while Devin and his Aunty Amanda slept soundly in Devin’s room.
This was 34 minutes before Miriam was born. The look on my face is the break after a contraction, and the knowledge that another is coming soon.
I was examined at around 1:30 upon being admitted to the birthing unit. “Only 4-5cm?” I thought to myself. “Holy fuck, I’m not going to be able to do this.”
We moved to a delivery room – and we had our pick, the entire ward was completely empty after several weeks of non-stop births. I hunched over the bed and got undressed while my midwife started filling the bath, but I knew as soon as I was there that I wouldn’t make it to the bath. I wouldn’t even make it on to the bed – I wanted to push baby out right now. So, I did.
I managed to yell, “Pushing!” so that someone could, you know, catch, and after three contractions there was a tiny, slippery person being handed up to me.
Miriam fed for two and a half hours before I gave the ok for her to be checked and weighed. We all thought she would barely be 3kg (6.6lb), but she was a surprising 3.38kg. (During that time, three more women presented to the birthing unit, and all three gave birth less than an hour after arriving!)
Because I was under the care of a case load midwife we would have been able to go home straight away, but I sustained some damage from Miriam’s speedy exit and had to stay until the afternoon. Nonetheless, after my (rather unnecessary) four day stay following Devin’s birth, being home in twelve hours was amazing.
Devin was weaning off a very strong steroid and didn’t show much interest at first, but as the days went by he began to open up again, and now he adores his sister. Stroking her head, giving her kisses, asking to hold her, watching me change her, repeating the soothing phrases we say to her… He also has a funny habit of calling her “Ah-Miriam”, though he knows her name and we often shorten it to Miri.
We were surprised by her hair, just like we were with Devin’s. Both of us thought Devin was a fluke, and this baby would surely have dark hair.
Nope. Another ginger. Almost a strawberry blonde, even. Genetics are weird.
The other thing I expected was a very alert baby. One, Devin had his eyes open from the minute he was born and they were barely closed from then on. And two, Miriam pummelled the bejeesus out of me when she was inside, so much that it was painful.
But actually, she’s quite sleepy, and only now at two weeks old is she opening her eyes more. What she is is a little wriggler – her legs are almost always stretched out, and she moves around like the hands of a clock while she sleeps.
We’re totally in love with her, and I already suspect that both boys will be at her every beck and call.