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Life Is Too Short To Drink Bad Wine: 38 - Mum, Dad And Two Kids

…The pressure was immense and I did not see how I could do this. The baby finally was born and I knew now why they call it labour! “A boy!” they said. “Oh,” puffed I, “Is he alright?” “He is wonderful,”…

Gayle Woodward recalls the birth of her second son, Mark.

At home on a quiet Sunday morning I found that my third pregnancy was at full term. I had a ‘show’ which means that a plug of mucus around the cervix had released. I had been having vague contractions for days, slight and not painful. I knew we would be on our way to the hospital soon.

We phoned in and were told to stay at home until contractions were underway. My bag was already packed and I was keen to be off, knowing this time round what to expect at very turn. We packed a bag for Jeff and took him to stay at Mum and Dad’s until I could come home again.

By midday, the twinges were turning to more tight contractions and Woody was watching my face anxiously. We decided to leave for the hospital, again the Mater Maternity. This time I did not mind using the lift to the delivery suite-I was already in labour. I was prepped and given a bed but told to walk around as long as I could.

The pains had stopped. It was embarrassing so I walked and walked. I had not imagined what I had felt before but now felt like an impostor. Gradually it all started again. By four o’clock the labour was underway again. Woody kept up his back rubbing and I breathed through pains that got closer and closer together. This was a more painful labour than the first was. I had thought that second babies came quickly and soon learnt that this was not always the way.

By seven o’clock that night, I was in transition and was taken to the delivery theatre. This time I knew what the gas was all about and grabbed the mask eagerly. Woody was told to wait in the father’s waiting room. I puffed loudly through the contractions. It was hard work but I knew what I was doing.

When they told me to push, I held my breath and pushed with all my might. ‘Push again!” they said. I did. I was sweating and pushing and I could not work out why nothing was happening. It was not particularly painful but I kept pushing and pushing and no baby came.

“This is a big baby. The head is crowned but you must push more for us,” they said. I did so and was so tired that I did not notice that an episiotomy was done on me. The baby’s head was partly through but I had to keep pushing. With Jeff, once the head was born, the rest of him was born easily. This time it was push, push, push until the whole body was through. I thought I would split in half.

The pressure was immense and I did not see how I could do this. The baby finally was born and I knew now why they call it labour! “A boy!” they said. “Oh,” puffed I, “Is he alright?” “He is wonderful,” I heard. “He is a big boy and gorgeous.”

I was shown my new son and I fell in love all over again. This baby was pink and blonde and big and full and had none of the creases that new babies usually do. He was so beautiful that I could not believe it. He was alert and silent and staring at me intently. His head and chest were the same diameter, 15 inches, which accounted for me having to push so hard, and he weighed 9lbs. 10ozs. He was born at eight o’clock at night. I was stunned by this beautiful child who had been presented to me. Woody was sent in and I showed him off proudly. We made the obligatory phone calls to parents and they were all happy. I was so tired that I did not worry that our baby was taken to the nursery because all I wanted to do was sleep.
I feel asleep in recovery after Woody had left and did not wake up till next morning when I found that I was in the ward upstairs. This time I was in a room with only two of us. I smiled gratefully at the woman in the bed beside me. Neither of us had our babies with us.

“What did you have?” she asked me. “A second boy,” I answered her. “He’s big. He is 9lbs10ozs!” She replied that she too had given birth to a boy and had been expecting a big baby and now had a tiny one. We compared the bootees that we had both knitted and brought in with us. We decide that mine would fit her baby, and the large size that she had would fit my baby. We exchanged the bootees that each of us had knitted for our own baby.

My baby was eager to breastfed and very calm and sleepy. We decided to call him Mark Robert. These were just names we liked. He did not have to take any family names.
We took him home after ten days stay at the Mater. It was difficult to believe that with all the love we felt for Jeff that this new addition to our family could be loved as much too. Jeff was pleased with his new brother but did not try to cuddle him or help with the bathing.

It was so easy with Mark. We knew what to do with a baby and he was breastfeeding so well that there were no problems. He would put 8 to12ozs of weight on each week. I loved the night feeds. I would take him from his bassinet in our bedroom and feed him sitting in a chair in our living area. It would be so quiet in the house and baby Mark and I would be a little world of our own. I would stroke the soft, blonde, downy hair on his head and the only sound would be the contented little sucking noises he made as he fed. He would look intently at my face as he sucked. It was then so simple to change his nap and put him back to sleep.

I did not want the night time feeds to stop. We worried how he would cope when we moved into our new house and he would be put to sleep in a room by himself. The room in the new house was decorated as a nursery already and one wall was papered in a pattern of toy soldiers with bright primary colours.


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