The One Where Madonna (Gravesend Edition) Advised Me About My Labour! #BirthStories

So, I believe my encounter with Doogie Howzer (Indian Edition) and my firstborn’s birth was a popular read, so here is that follow up I mentioned!

Settle down for storytime!

So, here we are in 2007. I was finally the proud owner of bump number two.

It had been a bit of an up and down journey getting there after Lil Man arrived, having developed a huge cyst, losing an ovary and a fallopian tube, losing hope that we would even get pregnant again, then suffering two miscarriages.

But get there we did, and, despite my two bouts of Tuesday-afternoon-after-cheese-toast sickness, all was perfect! I felt extremely healthy all the way through the pregnancy, aside from an awful case of SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction), where your pelvis muscles start to relax too soon, causing the pelvic girdle to start separating earlier than labour time – yes OUCH!!!

My body pillow was my greatest support, aside from Hubby Dearest obviously, who was displaced in bed though by ‘said’ pillow!

Anyway, I was determined that this time, I would get to my maternity leave before this baby made an appearance.

And the other thing I was sure about was finding out the sex of the baby. I would have been happy either way, but I knew that Hubby Dearest longed for a girl. In fact, a name had already been chosen f we ever had a daughter, way back when we were in our first year of dating!

I hated the thought that if we had another son, even though he’d be happy, there would be that split second of disappointment at not being the father of his own princess.

So we duly went for the sexing scan at 20 weeks and he did falter at that time, trying to convince me that we should wait. But I had built up my expectations by then. I had held my full bladder for a couple of hours for this scan.


We were finding out.

We looked at the screen, trying to see if we could find the hamburger or the hotdog – If you’ve been through pregnancy, you may have heard this already, but it’s the way a baby’s bits look on the scan picture… a three line hamburger for a girl and a three-line hotdog for a boy!

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Google Image


Yes, really!

And it was confirmed, and accompanied by tears, that we were indeed expecting that princess!

That meant 20 more weeks of knowing, but not telling a soul! The plan was that we wouldn’t let anyone know, it would be our secret.

We popped into the local shopping mall on the way home and picked up that one set of pink things, ready for our baby girl, then secreted the bag at the back of a closet, so no one would see it!

(The fun I had, living in a house with the in-laws, and trying to wash those items before the delivery, and drying them without anyone seeing!)

My in-laws were in India a few weeks before my due date and my mother-in-law was worried I’d deliver early, like I had with Lil Man, so she made sure she was back ready for any eventualities, and I had arranged to start my leave three weeks before my due date.

Plenty of time to get ready, spend time with my little boy, and be prepared.

I got to a week before the date and still nothing. I was huge by this time, and I had even managed to wedge myself between the wing mirrors of two cars with this ma-hoosive bump. (Quite funny, I actually laughed as I was stuck because only I could get myself into such comical situations!)

Then on a Sunday night in February 2008, I started to get pains. Bear in mind last time I hadn’t really experienced real labour. But oooh! These hurt! I was rocking around the room, having my back rubbed then Hubby Dearest ran me a bath, and upon sitting in it, the pains soothed, allowing me to get back to bed and have a half decent sleep, with a few pains, but not too intense.

Were these Braxton Hicks or the real thing?

Monday night came and again, as I was readying for bed, the pains started again. This little girl was determined to steal my sleep, and she hadn’t even arrived! Cue more rocking, and back rubs, low moans and a call to the maternity department.

Me: I think the baby’s coming.
Midwife: (With a West Indian Accent) How far apart?
Me: Um,.. I’m not sure, but they hurt! And I was having them last night too.
Midwife: So dey stopped?
Me: Yeah, after a bath.
Midwife: So dat was probably not labour den. What you are experiencing are de latent pains, dey are like de pre-labour preparations.
Me: (thinking) What? No one told me about pre-labour pains! Oh okay… Sorry, what was your name?
Midwife: Madonna
Me: Oh! Great name! So, what do I do now?
Midwife who I now know is Madonna: Try another bath and if dat works you’re okay to stay at home. If dey don’t stop, ring us when dey are about 5 minutes apart and get to us asap.
Me: Thank you Madonna!

I replaced the receiver.

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What I was seeing in my head at the other end of the phone!

I had a bit of a giggle with Hubby Dearest, who ran me another bath. Yup, the bath did it. The pains subsided again so I drifted off into another fitful sleep, peppered with odd pains.

I was exhausted after 2 nights of disturbed sleep and needed to be alert for my Lil Man during the day.


Tuesday night – it was becoming a habit. Get ready for bed, and start the pains. I made Hubby Dearest skip the back rubs etc., and sent him straight away to get that bath run. I needed to sleep, so the sooner we stopped these pains the better.

Bath had, the pains didn’t stop. And oh my they HURT!

The night was spent lying down then getting up, rocking back and forth, trying to control the pains, leaning forward against my chest of drawers, and to be honest, no amount of back rubs were helping either.

Yet the pains were nowhere near 5 minutes apart yet.

How long could this go on?!

We got through the night and the most of the morning before things really heated up. By 12pm the hospital had been called, Lil Man was firmly in the care of his grandparents, my parents and brother had been called, as had Hubby Dearest’s brother, announcing the imminent arrival of junior and we were on our way!

I spent the journey on all fours, in the back seat of the car, rocking (this was becoming a bit of a theme for this labour!)  and moaning in pain.

After I got booked in, the midwife came to check on me. Alas it wasn’t Madonna (how great would it have been to have been able to say my baby was delivered by Madonna!) but she was the midwife who had overseen most of my pregnancy, and had ended up transferred to the wards again and was now going to be responsible for the delivery of my baby!

She checked to see all was well. Yes, contractions were regular, and I was beginning to dilate, but I still had a little way to go. She could see I was tired after three sleepless nights, and so administered some pethidine which softened the pain of contractions, and lulled me into a drug-induced sleep for a couple of hours. (You can only have this up to a certain point, or you end up passing the drug onto the baby, who would come into the world doped up!)

When I awoke there was still a little while to go, but things were progressing nicely. However, the contractions hurt and I had already been a wuss last time. I requested an epidural, which was arranged as soon as possible.

As the anaesthetist, a lovely gentleman, prepared me, getting me to sign my life away, and telling me to stay absolutely still as he inserted the needle.

Just at the point of imminent entry, we were all stopped by an almighty roar from the room next door!


Followed by

“F*** OFF!!!!”

We collapsed into giggles, the anaesthetist, the midwife, Hubby Dearest and me.

Apparently, our loud neighbour was determined that she was going to deliver her baby with absolutely no pain relief whatsoever, relieving any pain by shouting out random phrases!

After composing ourselves, I was prepared once again for that imminent prick, before, this time, being interrupted by myself actually.

Me: “Er, stop!”
Anaesthetist: “Why?”
Me: “Because I think my waters have just broken!”

And sure enough, I had produced a puddle, a HUGE puddle, as I’d always imagined would happen, unlike the long, drawn-out seepage of my first pregnancy!

Finally cleaned up, and ready we went for it, third time lucky, and the needle went in with no problems.

The drugs flowed through my body and I felt myself relax once more.

My lovely midwife checked me again, and informed me baby was in the right position and “Ooh! Feels like a nice big HEAD!”

Really?! Not what I wanted to hear as I was going to have to PUSH that thing out of my bits!

But the epidural gave me a bit more rest, and things really picked up speed.

I went from 8cm to fully dilated pretty quickly, and delivery started. After a few pushes, which I could feel better this time, our Lil Princess arrived, at 6.26pm, another Wednesday baby, like me and her big brother, and born on her granddad, my father-in-law’s birthday!

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Introducing our Lil Princess!

The grandparents arrived to have their first visit.

My mum had come well prepared, taking something out of her bag. In it were countless babygrows, and muslin wraps, and one glimpse of pink.

Remember, we had told no one this was a pink bump.

She pulled out a tiny Punjabi suit, cream and pink. It was too big for a newborn, but gorgeous all the same.

Pops, who is Mr Spiritual and always prayed for a healthy baby, not caring what the sex was, looked at her quizzically.

Pops: Where did that come from?
Mum: Well, you know when we went to India?
Pops: Yes…
Mum: I saw this cute outfit..
Pops: Yes, I remember, and I told you not to tempt fate, and to wait and see what happened.
Mum: Well, I did wait… until the next time we went to that same shop. I sent you to get the car and driver, telling you I’d wait outside the shop, and as soon as you went, I signalled to the shopkeeper who got the outfit ready, I paid for it, stuffed it at the bottom of my bag and rushed outside. I just thought that if it was a girl, I’d have something ready. If it had been a boy, I wouldn’t have brought it!

Then she turned to me. “And you are very naughty! How could you not tell us?! I would have bought so many lovely things for her!”

That was exactly why we hadn’t told anyone, or there would have been an explosion of pink before Lil Princess had even arrived!

Everyone in the family was thrilled to welcome a girl into the family. We were blessed with our perfect two children, the grandparents, all four of them had their first granddaughter, the uncles had a niece to dote upon, and she was extra special, as she was the first girl in my in-laws family for two generations!

And she still is. So far we have two nephews from my side, and none from my Hubby Dearest’s side, so she is going to be that spoilt, overprotected sister/daughter/granddaughter!

Ten years later, recounting that story, I feel none of the pain, but all of the joy and laughter we experienced during that eventful three days leading to her arrival!

Oh, and she did indeed get that name we had decided all those years before!

I hope you enjoyed my second birth recount. Each delivery is different, and every moment is to be celebrated!

I’d love to hear your birth stories ladies, and gents, if you are a dad, please, tell me about how you felt as your partner was going through all that craziness!

My interactive peeps!

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