Tomorrow is Baby Taylor’s first birthday. My baby, my tiny little burrito bean, is turning one. I don’t even know how we got here. The first three months felt like an endless battle. I thought we would never get to this point. I thought I would have long since lost my mind by the time this day came around. This is all coming out in broken, staccato sentences, but the truth is that that is how I feel about it. When I think about everything we’ve been through over the last 52 weeks, I can hardly form a coherent thought in my head. So, instead of writing a blog about tomorrow, I’m going to write a blog about the day Baby Taylor came into the world.
It was a Thursday and it was my due date. I can’t remember what the weather was like. I can remember that I was tired and huge and fed up. I’d had SPD for about four weeks by this point and I was sick of being in pain and collapsing in public. I felt cumbersome and awkward and completely fucking ridiculous.
That morning we took Toddler Taylor to a soft play centre and I will never forget the look on the face of a father relaxing at one of the nearby tables when I landed at the bottom of the huge, bumpy slide right in front of him. He was clearly, hilariously horrified. I remember that I wanted to laugh and joke with him, “Don’t worry; nothing is happening today!” How wrong I was.
On the way home, we decided to get cake ingredients and bake cupcakes, but it was time for Toddler Taylor’s nap by the time we got back and my husband left for work not long after. About half an hour after he left and just before I was due to get Toddler Taylor up from his nap, I had my first contraction. I didn’t think that was actually what it was, so I ignored it and went to wake up Toddler Taylor. As I was changing his nappy on his bedroom floor, I had another contraction and started to wonder if I might actually be going into labour. So I set up the contraction timer app on my phone and settled down in a kneeling position on the floor with my forearms resting on the sofa. I had about six contractions in this position before I realised it was probably time to call for reinforcements, so I rang my mother, still not entirely convinced that I was actually in labour and not wanting to bring my husband home from work for no reason.
By the time she arrived, I had moved from the sofa to the birthing ball and was rocking backwards and forwards on my knees, still using the timer app and trying to breathe calmly through the contractions and not scare Toddler Taylor, who had no fucking idea what was going on and kept bringing me cuddly toys to make me feel better. Bless him. After about half an hour, my mum insisted that she call my husband while I called the labour ward. They didn’t actually believe that I was very far along, but they told me to go in anyway and my husband arrived home shortly afterwards, grabbed my bag from upstairs and helped me into the car.
The drive was awful. I’m a dreadful passenger at the best of times, but that was made so much worse by being in labour and being in the passenger seat of my own car. Between contractions I texted my mother-in-law (who works as a discharge liaison nurse) saying we were on our way in. I can’t even remember if I told her why. I think she probably guessed. My husband dropped me off at the main entrance and as I hobbled towards the doors, I had a huge contraction that had me clinging to the lamp post right next to the bus stop. I may have startled a few people, but even then it struck me as odd that none of them offered to help when I was clearly in labour and needed physical support in getting through the fucking doors. Anyway. I made it and my mother-in-law found me clinging to a wall and ran to get me a wheelchair.
Most of what happened afterwards is a blur. A few things stood out though.
I hated the room I was in. It was bright and sterile and I wanted to move around but I was wired up to a fucking monitor and no one would let me. It was a stark contrast to the peaceful, holistic birth experience I’d had with Toddler Taylor.
The midwife didn’t believe that I knew my own body. I told her the baby was coming soon, more or less right after she broke my waters. She said I hadn’t been in labour for long enough and that I could expect at least another couple of hours of it before Baby Taylor was born. On that basis, when she offered me pain relief, I’m ashamed to say that I took it. I was in so much pain and I was exhausted from looking after a rambunctious toddler all day. But I should have known in the 15 minutes that she was out of the room preparing my shot of pethidine that she was wrong. To this day I don’t know why I didn’t say anything. I suppose I was just in the zone, I was focused on the labour. I don’t say much of anything when I’m in labour. I certainly don’t shout and swear. I've never felt like it would be helpful.
Weirdly, the midwife came back, injected me and then said, “I don’t think that’s going to have time to work before you push him out. Do you feel like you need to push?” I nodded and tried to roll over onto my front so I could get up on all fours, but I’d torn a muscle in my abdomen quite early in the pregnancy and it had never had chance to heal, so I couldn’t do it on my own. My husband could see that I wanted to change position and he could see that no one was helping, so he shouted, “Will you please help me here? She obviously wants to turn over!” By this point there was another midwife in the room and they all helped me get into the position I wanted to be in, then I didn’t even have to try to push because my body did it all for me. Baby Taylor made his entrance within five minutes, but because of the pethidine he didn’t want to breathe for himself, so the midwives gave him some oxygen after I’d had a quick cuddle with him and then I snuggled down in the bed with him and he latched straight on for a feed.
We were allowed to go home that same night and everything seemed to be perfect until his problems began to become apparent when he was around two weeks old. And, to be perfectly honest, most of that is a blur now too. It feels like it happened a lifetime ago, or like it happened to somebody else.
All things considered, it hasn’t been a bad year. It has been a privilege to watch him grow and turn into this beautiful, happy little boy who is full of mischief and character. I am unendingly proud of him for how adaptable and strong and brave he has been. He is truly and honestly my hero.
So I don’t know how we got here... But I wouldn’t change it for the world.