Part 2 of 2: Labour – ‘verb’ 1. work hard; make great effort. ‘noun’ 1. The Storm

By this point in my pregnancy, I’m pretty sure that even Craig Revell Horwood would have awarded Sophia a ‘10’ for her daily Argentine Tango on my bladder. So when I woke up around 5 on THE morning, I didn’t think anything of it at first. I wiped the sleep from my eyes and noticed that ‘that’ pain was a little worse. Ok a lot worse. Is this it? How many times had I asked myself that goddamn question! The pain soon caught a rhythm and I had my answer.

Now, my husband is quite a light sleeper but for some reason, that morning, he was dead to the world. I guess all those countless nights of lost sleep looking after me had finally caught up with him. Poor guy, little did he know, he was about to wave goodbye to a decent sleep for ooo I don’t know…18 years.

He finally woke up (contraction app attached to his hip of course) when my initial soft call for help turned into a roar! I think Oscar worked it all out before us both as he followed me every pace I took. He didn’t leave my side till we dropped him off at my parents, my sweet little puppyboy.


I must have slept through the ‘easy’ bit (I use that word loosely of course) – you know that elusive bit they speak of at antenatal class where you can supposedly stay at home and run a hot bath, and sing and slow dance and watch a movie or so they say! Yeah, there was none of that. It didn’t happen and there was no build up. Sophia, the protagonist of this play had announced her final scene, cue dramatic music from the orchestra. My contractions were here to stay and coming fast! That blasted app was right – it was time to go to the hospital.


From this point on, it was all a bit of a blur to be honest. I still come across new bits of the day as I think back even now. So here are a few bits that I have remembered (or rather not forgotten on purpose).

  1. Pacing up and down our bedroom corridor (with Oscar) to distract me from the pain
  2. Frantically putting on the TENS machine – bloody hell was it cold! (my best friend Mya warned me about this but it still made me shriek)
  3. Ripping off said TENS machine – don’t get me wrong, it did help, but how annoying are those wires!
  4. Trying to watch Downton Abbey whilst contracting in hope that Lord Grantham would distract me – no chance!
  5. The nausea – no one warned me about nausea in labour! Poor design, God. Not appreciated.
  6. My stupidity in refusing ALL pain relief – I’m surprised my husband didn’t have a scar across his forehead after I accidentally on purpose threw the Gas and Air at him!
  7. Realising the pure genius of warm water as an analgesic
  8. The embarrassing discovery that I was in fact a ‘screamer’ – the very type of woman I used to mentally tut in labours I attended- ‘conserve your energy woman’ I’d think in silent.’ Yeah I could have punched myself for every ‘screamer’ I had wronged at that moment.
  9. Feeling like a sumo wrestler had taken a time out on my back with each contraction
  10. Constantly apologising (so apparently I’m not just like this when slightly inebriated, also when in labour (cousins that read this, speak nothing of Florence #unacceptablebehaviour)
  11. Being frustrated at hearing the soft and wispy voiced midwife telling me I was amazing (poor girl, she was only doing her job!) The thing is,  I needed a Bailey, you hear me Shonda Rhimes? I needed a Bailey or a Yang to go full on boot camp Nazi on me and this midwife, she was more April Kepner.
  12. My husband trying to feed me chocolate fingers – he was not my favourite person, see point 5 above.
  13. Being shocked at how my usual modest self really did not give a damn at who saw what and when. Well, that was a useful £12 spent on maternity swimwear for the waterbirth I planned then.
  14. The irony of not wanting an instrumental delivery or tear and ending up with both and wanting delayed cord clamping and skin to skin time and getting neither. Screw. You. Birth. Plan. Ye of false hope. 
  15. Deciding I was going to bring back the ‘one child family’ immediately after delivery…only to take it back just 30 minutes later.

It did all happen pretty quickly and in truth, it wasn’t actually too bad. I was fully dilated within 4 hours and despite a good hour and a half effort pushing with an actual bloody eye to show for it, baby girl Saravanan needed a hand. So I was moved from a low to high risk room (eek!) and a Ventouse suction cup, episiotomy and unfortunate third degree tear later, our beautiful little girl was born.


I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that I couldn’t deliver naturally after doing 99.99999% of the work but hey ho, once your baby arrives, it really doesn’t matter how they entered the world. It has taken me time to get over it but I can see now that what matters is that they are there, safe, in your arms, and changing your world completely.

Ours changed on 2nd October 2014 at 19.05pm. All the blood, sweat, tears and months of planning, well, it was totally worth it.


A brilliant mop of hair, longest ever eyelashes and bright eyed stare. Seeing her at that moment, watching her turn her head to take it all in – to take us in – that was incredible. I expected I’d cry, but we were so overwhelmed that we laughed.

We were now parents of our own little family.

And yes, we survived the most beautiful little storm.


Part 1 of 2: Pre-Labour – ‘noun’ 1. the calm before the storm

It was 6 months ago but I can remember it like it was yesterday. I suspect I’ll be saying the same even when Sophia is 16…probably with exaggerated truths as a bargaining tool to get her to make her bed (if she’s anything like her daddy!)

Being a doctor and training to be a GP, I’ve done my obstetrics rotations. So yes, I’ve delivered a few babies, shed a few tears, had lots of postnatal ward cuddles and been in more than a few labours (at the other end as it were).


Cuddles on the job 

Having worked in the best birthing unit ever (Broomfield!), I decided I couldn’t have my baby anywhere else. And yes, I had thought of how awkward it might be if I ran into a former colleague during labour but in truth, you forget about all of that when you want the best for your baby.  So after attending NCT and NHS antenatal classes, packing, unpacking and repacking my hospital bag several times, I patiently waited. And waited. And waited some more. My due date came, went and bought the t-shirt with Miss-No-Show-I’m-Too-Cosy not budging so you’ll forgive me for being a little fed up at this stage!


You don’t realise you have an expectation until it’s not met and apparently my ‘sure thing’ feeling of delivering at 38 weeks (that’s when me and my sis were born) was but wishful thinking. Being fashionably late is kind of a family signature on my part, so surprising as it is, the only time I’ve ever been early for anything was when I was born. My super punctual husband on the other hand, the cheese to my chalk, has only ever been late for one thing – his birth, so apparently, this little miss was already a daddy’s girl!

I tried almost everything – hot curries, pineapples, long walks, clary sage and birth ball bouncing. Oscar wasn’t too keen on the latter (neither were my neighbours probably) as it led to a guaranteed 20 minute barking battle – Oscar v Birth ball 1-0…hmm Baby v Me 1-0 more like! Ah to hell with it I thought, she’ll come when she’s ready. And she did.

So several false starts, 2 sweeps and is it/isn’t its later, we finally had some movement…I think? You see, I couldn’t bloody tell if ‘that’ pain was Braxton Hicks, real contractions or wind! Glamorous, I know. So when the time actually came, I dismissed it and carried on.

Little did I know that it was the real deal and things were underway unbeknownst to us. So we took Oscar for a long walk, I baked a cake, we watched the semi final of the British Bake off, I crocheted a little and we went to bed.


Our last walk as a three!

Hub was keenly recording the odd pains I had throughout the day on that blasted ‘Count the contraction’ app! And with short lasting pains and irregular intervals recorded, we decided it probably wasn’t much to get excited about. Ah never mind, induction it is I guess. Right?

Wrong. Sophia had other plans…