What were we thinking! promote confidence and reduce distress in parents with a first baby

The day we welcomed Esme

By Jemma

The day we welcomed Esme

On a dark and stormy night, two months ago, I was in labour. I was nine days overdue and booked in to be induced a couple of days later, but when I woke up that morning, I felt a bit off. Not enough to ask my partner, Barney, to stay home from work, but just not quite right.

I went about doing the things I wanted to get done before induction day, then thought I might Google, “what does a contraction feel like?” just in case that’s what was going on. The descriptions the search turned up seemed to match what I was feeling, so I migrated to the couch and started noting down the times that I felt them.

The contractions were fairly frequent, but not too uncomfortable, so I settled in to watch TV for a while.

I asked Barney to come home around lunchtime when it seemed like things were going to take off. When he got home he helped me set up the TENS machine and got me something to eat. I tried to have a nap but was getting too uncomfortable by that stage.

In the early evening, I hopped into the shower; after a while under the soothing warm water there wasn’t much of a break between contractions so it was difficult to get out, and even more difficult to get dressed to get into the car.

When I did manage to get down the stairs and out of the building, rain was pouring down. I was nervous about us driving to the hospital but Barney was calm but firm, and convinced me that we needed to go. I was worried about having contractions while being stuck in the car but I panted my way through the trip and we made it.

Entering the birth suite, my body was wanting to push, and the midwife soon discovered that I was fully dilated.

I lost all sense of time while in labour; it all seemed to go so quickly. It felt like only a few hours at home, but it was really about seven, and I was surprised when the doctor told me I had been pushing for an hour and it was time for him to help me to get the baby out.

Esme emerged an hour before midnight, three hours after we arrived at the hospital. We went home the day I was due to be induced, and haven’t looked back since.

Expert response from What Were We Thinking! expert, Jane Barry

Jemma, I loved reading your reflections on Esme's birth and your own and your partner's personal experiences of what it felt like to bring her into the world. I'm sure other WWWT users will too.

Mothers often have an astounding recall of the details of their baby's birth. It's as if all their senses combine to be extra sensitive to best absorb everything that is going on around them on the most special of days. You may find that over the next few months, small snippets of other information come to your mind which "fill in the gaps" of your labour and her birth. And perhaps your partner will remember the experience in a different way than what you do.

Have you thought about writing Esme a letter about the day she was born? Or keeping a journal which you could share with her when she's going to be a mother herself? Family connections can be supported by practices like this.

It can be useful at this age and stage to check the 'The Birth' in Week 8 of the WWWT app. This is a great tool to help reflect on the baby's birth and come to honour it with the respect it deserves. Though it sounds like you've well and truly got this covered!

At around eight weeks of age, many parents feel that the initial "newness" of parenting is beginning to pass. They start to feel a stronger bond building between themselves and their baby, built on a history which is more than just the birth.

You'll probably be finding that you know more about Esme every day and can pick up on some of the cues and signals she gives you. Being sensitive and trying to tune into our babies communication makes a big difference in how they develop. There's some great information about this on the WWWT site about baby's crying which would be useful for you to read.

Try not to lose focus of your own needs in these early days. Although Esme's care is probably foremost in your mind, the best way you can make sure she'll be OK is to care well for yourself. Connecting with other mums on the WWWT website and reading about their experiences will help you to feel part of a community.

I hope your little Esme continues to bring you delight!

Posted in:  A new reality  Baby 0-4 weeks  Late pregnancy  Mums