ANNA & UMA
I referred to Uma as my surprise 40th birthday present. My husband had not anticipated us having another baby after Gaia and initially it was not news that he reacted well to. I cried a lot and grieved the happy response that many partners have after finding out they are having another baby. Unfortunately it wasn’t a happy time, we struggled. Then at the anomaly scan there were concerns about the baby. I waited for what seemed like an eternity in the waiting area at Kings. Couples came out looking joyful, others mute and others visibly distressed. The tortuous wait for a second scan with someone more senior sent me straight into the arms Dr Google.
My anxiety just skyrocketed from there, a battery of blood tests that took weeks, only to return with the comment ‘indeterminate’. I hate that word! It was only after 28 weeks that I knew that the blood in her gut was most likely to be just that. A bleed that I had had in pregnancy, never visible to me, but enough to be visible on scan that Uma had swallowed. So there it sat, harmless and benign. It took considerable effort and acupuncture to shift my mindset. Instead of losing the baby she was in fact ‘normal’. I had not been reassured by the scans, they had induced the opposite affect so I cancelled all further growth scans scheduled.
Luckily I had my amazing friend and midwife Verona who supported and cared for me as she had in Gaia’s pregnancy and birth. I hoped that I would not need to return to the hospital again.
At 40 weeks and 2 days my waters went in the middle of the night, no doubt about it! Suddenly without any signs of labour there was a chance that I would end up going to hospital and for me that was the last place I wanted to be. Gaia was now a sitting tenant in the birth pool that was occupying a lot of the kitchen and I had a romantic vision of her being at the birth maybe in the pool with me….time to shift the goal posts? I really hoped not.
The clock was ticking I had until 8am the following morning to get into labour. The weather was gorgeous we sat outside for the first time eating lunch in the garden. I walked around like a cowboy with a large pad rustling intrusively yet doing a very poor job of soaking up the amniotic fluid. Gaia was intrigued that I was wearing a nappy. Life just continued as normal my parents had arrived from Cornwall. My Dad had alternative plans if he had to leave the house for an unspecified time during my labour.
That evening I was having occasional tightenings, I had had acupuncture nothing was happening! That’s when the breast pump came out. I was intent on having my baby before 8am. After about half an hour of using this I started to get some contractions. Everyone else was getting ready for bed. I can’t really comment on time after that. Labour started, contractions were strong and powerful and I shouted at my Mum who put a towel on my back. She misheard me as I vomited, all I wanted was to be in the pool.
Rom was filling it as fast as anyone physically could and my Mum was with me but not touching me! I was hanging out for the water and thinking how was I going to get through this labour!
Verona’s birth records are short and sweet. I was in the pool when she quietly entered the room. I heard her jokingly say to Rom ‘I thought you were going to call me earlier this time ‘
I think Verona managed to put her bags down and find some gloves. Uma was born at 0123 hrs (3 minutes after Verona arrived). Healthy and with an extra toe on her left foot. I thought I had miscounted in the dim light!
The placenta took longer to birth than Uma, all of 10 minutes. I had decided on a lotus birth so Uma was attached for about 5 days I think. I loved the mixed reactions of family and friends to lotus birth. One of my favourite early photos is that of Verona salting the placenta and Uma’s Grandpa tucking in to his breakfast at the same kitchen table.
Gaia didn’t make the birth. I had to wake her up the following morning to come downstairs to meet her new sister. That really was special, Rom, me and my parents watching Gaia giggle with delight at little baby who had arrived in the early hours.
Uma is just about to turn 4. Her father adores her and doesn’t want her to grow up any more.