12 Jun

It was the fireplace that sold the house to me, before we’d even looked around. It’s a very lovely fireplace, original to the house, with eye-popping cobalt blue tiles. We have them in the kitchen and our bedroom too, with cream tiles, but I digress. What was I planning to write about? Oh yes, I’d like to tell you a little story…

I wake up at about 5pm after a much needed nap and as I move, I feel a small pop inside me, like a bubble bursting. I’m pretty sure I know what it is, but I decide to ignore it and go downstairs.

My two children are being given tea by the assistant at our local nursery school, who started helping me out a couple of days ago. At nine months pregnant, with a four year old and 22 month old, I’m finding it increasingly hard to get through the heat-wavey days. She’s supposed to leave once she’s got their tea ready but I ask if she’d mind staying on to help me get them to bed.

With two people, one of them an energetic 20 year old, it’s an easy job and by 7pm all is quiet. So I called the midwife. I’m pretty sure my waters have broken, I say. Any contractions? No, not yet. Well I’ll be over later, call me again if you need me.

Steve gets home. My waters have broken. Have you called your mother? There’s plenty of time for that. Remember last time? It took two days before I went into labour. Still, you should call your mother.

At 9pm the midwife comes. Still no contractions? No, just the odd twinge. But you do remember that I have fast labours don’t you? And I would like gas and air please. Yes, it says so on your notes, but it could be hours yet. Have a bath, relax. Call me again when you need me.

10pm contractions start. Not too bad, every five minutes. Must be very early stages of labour. Not nearly as bad as with middle child. That was every minute for two hours. One continuous wave of pain. Completely excruciating. I’ll call the midwife in a bit.

10.30. Speak to the midwife on the phone. I think I’m in labour now, I say between contractions. Well you sound like you’re doing just fine. Call me later when you want gas and air.

I want gas and air, I should have said. I’m a calm person, don’t make much of a fuss about things. I’m good in a crisis. I WANT GAS AND AIR. Why didn’t I say something? How soon can I call her back?

11pm. Steve, call the midwife, tell her I want gas and air. She’s on her way, has to go to the hospital first to pick up the canister.

This is my third baby. First one had to be sucked out with a ventouse. Second one, slithered out like a skinny, slippery eel after three pushes in three minutes. I’m pretty sure this one is on his way. I don’t want to panic Steve, so I won’t tell him. Steve, will you please call the midwife and tell her to hurry up.

It doesn’t occur to me that he would leave the room. That I’m making too much noise for him to make a phonecall. I’m not really thinking about him anyway. I’m just getting on with it. Only thinking about one thing.

I can hear him yelling, Oh my God I can see a head! The phone clatters to the floor as he leaps forward and catches the baby, who lets out a loud wail, right on cue.

Ten minutes later, the midwife arrives. She checks us over, tidies up, puts us to bed. Where I lie awake all night, unable to process the thousands of thoughts whizzing around my head like supercharged mosquitos. Thank God I never have to do that again. That’s me done, I am complete. Isn’t the human body amazing? Aren’t I amazing?

And the fireplace? Turns out the mantlepiece is just the right height to lean against when having a contraction.

PS If you look at the photos on the mantlepiece, the two in black and white frames are of Dickon and the midwife, about half an hour after his birth.


I’m entering this post in the Victoria Plumb #GreatBritishHome competition. If you’d like to take part in their quiz to find out your celebrity style, click here, I’m Joey Essex apparently…


67 Responses to “Motherhood”

  1. English Mum 12/06/2010 at 10:59 am #

    How lovely! And I adore your fireplace. I don’t know how you can bear to leave your lovely house behind xx

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 12/06/2010 at 11:14 am #

      I’m not leaving it forever, only nine months. Shall be very pleased to see it when I get home again.

  2. Rosie Scribble 12/06/2010 at 11:01 am #

    Oh what a gorgeous story. The picture is lovely and the fact that the photos of your children are on the mantlepiece seems very appropriate under the circumstances!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 12/06/2010 at 11:15 am #

      The photos of Dickon are normally on a nearby wall, but I put them there specially for The Gallery. I’ll have to do another post on my photo wall one day.

  3. Josie @Sleep is for the Weak 12/06/2010 at 11:15 am #

    Oh you ARE amazing! What an incredible birth story!

    The fireplace is pretty cool too 😉 Great idea for a photo.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 12/06/2010 at 11:46 am #

      I am amazing aren’t I? I was originally going to do the newborn pic, then I thought everyone else would do that, so fireplace it was.

  4. Insomniac Mummy 12/06/2010 at 11:16 am #

    What a story!

    I love your fireplace and mantlepiece. Infact I love mantlepieces and the stories they ‘tell’. Which reminds me, I must get some new photos on mine as we don;t have one of Little E up there yet!


    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 12/06/2010 at 11:18 am #

      That fireplace has seen more than one birth. I know for a fact that the people who lived there before us had a home birth too.

  5. Michelle Twin Mum 12/06/2010 at 11:23 am #

    Wow, what a fab story. How will you ever be able to move now? You would have to take the fireplace with you (and it is truly gorgeous!).

    Mich x

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 12/06/2010 at 11:25 am #

      I plan on never moving. Shh, don’t tell my husband.

  6. jfb57 12/06/2010 at 11:43 am #

    Wow! such a lot of things inone post! I love the colour of the fireplace. Won’t you miss the fire, pics & colour when you’re away?

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 12/06/2010 at 11:45 am #

      Yes I will, but they’ll be here when we get back.

  7. ella 12/06/2010 at 1:48 pm #

    What a lovely picture and such a wonderful story to go with it, I was holding my breath to the end!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 12/06/2010 at 2:25 pm #

      thank you 🙂

  8. sleepless_mum 12/06/2010 at 2:27 pm #

    Great post! My first baby was ventouse and my second was caught by her Daddy at home after a very quick labour, with the midwife and G&A still on their way. This brought it all back for me!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 12/06/2010 at 2:45 pm #

      Big grin, it’s fab isn’t it?

  9. Sharon 12/06/2010 at 2:54 pm #

    I love that! I’d have been the same I think, not wanting to call the midwife etc. I was too chicken to have any of mine at home though, I enjoyed the rest in hospital. Although by the time I had the last, you only stayed in overnight! What WOULD you have done if you hadn’t had that fireplace?!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 12/06/2010 at 3:08 pm #

      Ridiculous behaviour really. If you’re in labour, call the midwife, I really don’t know what I was thinking.

  10. Gappy 12/06/2010 at 6:03 pm #

    Wonderful story. The fireplace is beautiful too – I’m jealous.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 13/06/2010 at 9:04 pm #

      Thank you very much

  11. Muddling Along Mummy 12/06/2010 at 7:50 pm #

    A fab story – why didn’t I realise that hanging off our fireplace would be a good idea in labour

    We got close to delivering our own baby but not quite (midwife was 7 minutes before baby) – am VERY worried about next time (Mr is still not convinced there will BE a next time!)

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 13/06/2010 at 11:01 am #

      You’ll be fine! Call them at first sign of a twinge & demand they turn up & stay with you. It’s what I should have done.

  12. TheMadHouse 12/06/2010 at 11:47 pm #

    That had me all emotional.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 13/06/2010 at 9:03 pm #

      thanks x

  13. Cheshire mum 13/06/2010 at 1:11 am #

    Beautiful take on the prompt, well done you on the solo birth too. Loved this post xx

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 13/06/2010 at 9:03 pm #

      Thank you, I wasn’t keen to do a baby pic. Wanted something a bit different.

  14. Heather 13/06/2010 at 3:31 am #

    For a moment, I was thinking you were 9 months pregnant while planning this huge trip. Whew!! I can’t believe how quick your labor was (love that fireplace). I have 4 (and we are done) and 3 of them had to be induced a week after they were due. Luckily we have epidurals here. I don’t think I would ever be as brave as you. I want to be as numb and pain free as possible. Just thinking about it would slow my contractions. Once I was numb, pop, the baby would drop into place and push right out.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 13/06/2010 at 9:06 pm #

      We have epidurals too! I just haven’t had one. I’m quite good with pain so it seems.

  15. Modern Dilemma 13/06/2010 at 1:10 pm #

    What a wonderful story! I do love a good birth with a twist in the tale. And a fireplace which doubles as a birth partner in your own home. You are a lucky woman 😉

    MD xx

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 13/06/2010 at 3:17 pm #

      I am aren’t I? Fireplaces are very underrated as birth partners. They don’t panic or answer back.

  16. Heather @notesfromlapland 13/06/2010 at 6:48 pm #

    what a wonderful birth story that is! You sounded a lot calmer than I’m sure i would have been! Love the fireplace, so bright and cheerful.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 13/06/2010 at 9:01 pm #

      I’m always calm, except for bath time. The children’s that is.

  17. Vegemitevix 13/06/2010 at 6:49 pm #

    That is such a great story and so well written. I had three babies delivered through the sunroof so I don’t know what it’s like to deliver like that, but I’m sure it is wonderfully empowering. x

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 13/06/2010 at 9:00 pm #

      It really is empowering. I always thought that was bunkum, but it’s a pretty cool feeling.

  18. Lesley 13/06/2010 at 7:23 pm #

    What a great birth story and lovely fireplace 🙂

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 13/06/2010 at 8:59 pm #

      It is, isn’t it?

  19. Jane 13/06/2010 at 8:32 pm #

    Wow gorgeous fireplace, love the colour. Glad no. 3 arrived safely at the time. Enjoy rest of your trip

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 13/06/2010 at 8:59 pm #

      It’s a gorgeous blue.

  20. Livi 13/06/2010 at 11:22 pm #

    Aww what a lovely birth story 🙂
    I adore your fireplace by the way! Absolutely stunning! I like the way the armchair has crept into the shot, it looks so homely. Love it.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/06/2010 at 1:32 pm #

      thanks 🙂

  21. nudieprincess 14/06/2010 at 12:12 am #

    I’m actually a bit jealous. My own labour was in stark contrast to this- 36 hours latent first stage, a lot of intervention to encourage progress and finally the boy was dragged out with forceps after 2 failed attempts at a ventouse. Hideous. Next time, I want to be leaning against one of my fireplaces sans midwife. At least that will mean the ordeal is over relatively quickly.
    Seriously. Mothers- we rock.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/06/2010 at 1:31 pm #

      My first one started extremely slowly, my waters broke two days before I went into active labour, but it was quite fast once it got going. The second two were two hours start to finish.

  22. Nickie@Typecast 14/06/2010 at 11:03 am #

    I want your fireplace! You can send it to me when you leave the country… tile by tile. Thank you 😉

    Great story 😀 x

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/06/2010 at 1:31 pm #

      I’m afraid I’m keeping it!

  23. Chris 14/06/2010 at 1:59 pm #

    I love this! Well done you, I would love to have heard your OH’s voice as he realised what was going on! Mine were speedy, slightly out of control labours too…I went into shock afterwards and got the shivers, very weird! But wonderful! I love any excuse for a reminisce about my births…*tootles off happily* Thanks!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/06/2010 at 2:07 pm #

      You’re welcome! It’s not often in everyday life that you get a chance to think about it all. And it does deserve thinking about every now and then.

  24. Heather Davis 14/06/2010 at 8:57 pm #

    Glad you decided to take a quick deter from your travel stories to tell this one. It was gripping! I too had really fast labours. The first one, four hours and the next three, two hours. And what you describe is exactly what I was terrified of. I insisted on being induced for my third and luckily we lived 15 mins from the local maternity hospital for the fourth. I say you handled it remarkably well. Too bad I hadn’t heard your story then I wouldn’t have felt so bad.
    The fireplace reminds me so much of all those beautiful Victorian and Edwardian houses in Wandsworth. They are always the focal point of everyone’s sitting rooms.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 15/06/2010 at 9:49 am #

      Thank you, I do like reading a good birth story, so I guess it was about time I waded in.

  25. marketingtomilk 14/06/2010 at 8:59 pm #

    It’s amazing when inanimate objects take on such significance.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 15/06/2010 at 9:48 am #

      Human beings are funny things aren’t they?

  26. Rachael 15/06/2010 at 11:05 pm #

    Yay for homebirth! Best thing ever.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 16/06/2010 at 3:08 pm #

      Yes it is *grins*

  27. Peabee72 16/06/2010 at 8:43 am #

    Tear-filled smiley eyes here – you’re right, you’re amazing….beautiful piece xx

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 16/06/2010 at 3:08 pm #

      Thank you my lovely friend x

  28. Red Ted Art 16/06/2010 at 3:22 pm #

    Wow! That sent goose bumps down my arms. Amazing! Great post!!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 16/06/2010 at 3:45 pm #

      Thank you!

  29. JulieB 16/06/2010 at 3:33 pm #

    Lovely post, and such a moving story. Am very envious of your beautiful fireplace!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 16/06/2010 at 3:51 pm #

      It is rather lovely!

  30. Michelle 16/06/2010 at 6:47 pm #

    Thank you for sharing such a lovely story. Real sweet! I can imagine the fireplace and mantelpiece being special.

  31. Victoria Dixon 16/06/2010 at 9:02 pm #

    Amazing story – thankyou for sharing! LOVE the fireplace too!

  32. andthenallithoughtaboutwasyou 16/06/2010 at 10:23 pm #

    This is a great story one to not be forgotten x

  33. Mirka Moore 17/06/2010 at 2:07 pm #

    Great post! I looooove the fireplace, the most beautiful I have ever seen ;)))

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 17/06/2010 at 9:33 pm #

      Isn’t it gorgeous?

  34. Dan 17/06/2010 at 8:43 pm #

    What a wonderful story and I’m glad Steve is such a good catch (no pun intended)

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 17/06/2010 at 9:32 pm #

      Why do men always comment on the fact that Steve caught the baby? I’d have caught the baby if he hadn’t been in the room. But thanks for commenting 😉

  35. Sian - MummyTips 20/06/2010 at 11:34 pm #

    Sian – MummyTips / CyberMummy Here…… I’ve just posted with the info you need in order to get your pic printed for the real life CyberMummy Gallery exhibition courtesy of Photobox.

    Do add htp://www.Mummy-tips to your blogroll if you like what you read…
    ps… I like your fireplace!


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