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!

The One Where Doogie Howzer (Indian Edition) Almost Delivered My Baby! #BirthStories

Recently, I have read a few really lovely birth stories on various blogs, and it prompted me to reminisce on my blog about my own!

Some of you may know, and the newer followers may not, but my pregnancies didn’t come easy.

After a year of unsuccessful trying, I was diagnosed with PCOS, and it took another year, give or take, to fall pregnant finally,

You can read about it here, in my post When Will Someone Call Me Mummy?

After the struggle to get there, my first pregnancy was absolutely perfect. No morning sickness, no real tiredness, just a healthy bump that grew strong.

I was one week away from my maternity leave. The plan was that I would leave two weeks prior to my due date so I could relax, and well, you know, first babies never came on time, so I would probably get longer to enjoy the sleep-filled nights before baby came along.

How wrong was I?

I remember sitting at my desk the Monday before I was to finish work. Going about my business, as you do, when I felt a slight wetness. I waddled to the loo.

Strange, I didn’t remember sneezing, but then it was summer, and hayfever was around, so maybe…

The day passed with no further incident and I came home.

I hauled my bump upstairs to put my bags away and then went to the loo where I discovered more fluid.

Now I knew I hadn’t sneezed! Hubby had just gone to the gym too.

My phone beeped with a text from my friend: Hey! How you doing? I had a dream you had your baby and it was a boy!

I messaged her back: You might be psychic. I think my waters broke!

She called straight back: “Oh My God! What are you doing? Have you left for the hospital?”

I reassured her that I was fine (this baby wasn’t coming for at least three weeks, remember!) and that I would call the relevant people and rang off.

Then I wondered what to do. I called my mum.

Me: Mum, what happened when your waters broke?

Mum: I don’t know, you were a caesarean birth and they broke mine with your brother…

Me: Oh, you’re no good!

Mum: Why?

Me: Because I think mine might just have!

Mum: Oh my! What are you doing? Does Hubby know? Have you told your mother in law?

Er… nope.

Another call finished and I rang Hubby Dearest’s phone where it went to answerphone: Er, hi babe, don’t worry, but I think my waters just broke. Don’t hurry back, it’s okay, but we may need to visit a hospital sooner or later…

Then I waddled downstairs to my mum in law and got her all in a fluster too!

It was just me that seemed calm. After all, there were no pains and just a little fluid.

I did call the hospital though, to get advice, and was told that if, by 2pm the following day (that would be 24 hours after the first feeling of wetness) nothing had happened, or pains hadn’t started, to come in.

Then I called my manager. He was sat at an event.

Me: Hi, I’m so sorry, but I don’t think I can come in tomorrow…

Manager: Oh no! Are you okay?

Me: [nonchalantly] Oh yeah, I’m fine, I just might be about to have the baby…

Manager: [shouting to the others around the table he was sat at] Ritu’s baby is coming! [Bacl to me] Don’t you worry about a thing! Go, have that baby and we’ll see you soon for a cuddle!

Hubby Dearest arrived back in a panic from the gym, and I needed to calm him down, explaining that the baby was en route, but not due to arrive imminently, so he needed to chillax! (Along with everyone else in the family who was now calling constantly, even though we hadn’t even gone to the hospital yet!)

By bedtime, there was still nothing. I slept, rather like the Princess and the Pea, but on top of around fifteen towels, in case there were any more leakages!

And 6.30am came. Hubby Dearest’s alarm went off.

HD: So, nothing?

Me: Nope.

HD: So… maybe I’d be okay to pop into work for a little bit? We don’t need to be at the hospital until 2pm you said…

Me: Yeah, that’s if something doesn’t happen sooner!

HD: But, I could go to this meeting and be back by 11…

Me: I don’t think so!

HD: Why?

Me: [lifts duvet to reveal a tiny swimming pool that had just appeared] I think things are about to happen!

It was rather comical, the scene that followed. Me, with towels draped around me, dripping, and between my legs, trying to crab walk with some dignity, and my bump, to the bathroom. (Remember, we still lived with my in-laws at this stage) Stepping into the bath, I’d rinse myself, only for the baby to move, releasing more fluid. I gave up and just stood there laughing, like a mad woman.

But still, no pains.

It ended up that we went in at 2pm, as requested, and after all the main checks, I was laid down, so the doctor could come and check me. (Here’s where Doogie Howser comes in!)

The doctor arrived and he was a short, young Indian guy. And when I say young, I mean his baby face was totally reminiscent of the original boy doctor, Doogie Howser!

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I only just found out he was Neil Patrick Harris lol!


The guy also seemed to have a bit of a complex with treating Indian women. Maybe he was used to all female mothers-to-be who were brown-skinned to be fresh off the boat, from India, unable to speaka da lingo? (There are a lot of guys here who marry girls from back home) They were too shy to speak to other males and would wait for their other halves to communicate with the Doctor -Saab. But no, I was born and bred here, I knew how to speak to him, yet he insisted on telling Hubby Dearest everything, rather than looking at me, and reassuring me.

Apparently, the fluid was out, but contractions hadn’t started naturally, so they would need to induce me if a sweep didn’t kickstart anything.

Then the midwife arrived to insert a cannula into the back of my hand, ready for the various drips they would need to induce me if the sweep didn’t work. She tried several times, but couldn’t get the needle into my vein, missing but allowing spurts of my blood to shoot across the labour room… It hurt!

AND (yes, capitals, because the doctor was annoying me already, the midwife had drained half of my blood, inadvertently, and this just took the biscuit) Wimbledon was on.

I had been admitted into my own room, and it was rather cosy, with an armchair for him, a room with a view, and a TV.

So, whilst Doogiejit Howser-ji was fiddling about with my nether regions, checking everything, he was also having a great tennis-inspired chat with Hubby Dearest!

All the while, I’m laying there prone, unable to move because I was attached to foetal heartbeat monitors, wanting the doctor to speak to ME!

Time moved slowly, as did my dilation. This baby was quite comfortable, fluid or not.

Then as the sweep hadn’t worked I was given the seratonin drip to start the contractions.

No one told me that contractions that come as a result of drugs really HURT! Even more severe than your natural ones (I know, I’ve experienced both!) It’s all because you are forcing your body to do something it thinks it’s not ready to do.

But I was hoping to go au naturel… no drugs who am I kidding? Gas and Air, Pethadene? Anything!

The gas was fantastic. It left me all giggly and nearly killed the pain. I remember it being evening, around 8pm and Eastenders had been on. I’d giggled through the episode, sucking away at the gas, only to make myself feel nauseous!

The midwife came in to check on me. She advised me to leave the gas for a while, and she called the anaesthetist.

I was writhing in pain every time a contraction rode over me, but as I was so tense with the pain, I wasn’t dilating quickly either. I needed something STRONG!

A lovely Indian lady anaesthetist arrived (not Doogie Howser-like at all! Thankfully, at 7pm the shifts changed and another doctor was now on duty as well as this woman) and she came over to me, stroking my brow, like a mother. “There, there now Rati”, (she gave me her own little nickname) She crooned in Hindi. ” They don’t want me to give you anything because there are not enough midwives, but I can see you are in a lot of pain. If you want, I can arrange it.” (It pays to speaka da lingo sometimes!)

And before you knew it, all the paperwork had been signed, and I was sat up having this HUGE needle inserted in my spinal cord!

And the relief I felt!

Oh, it rushed over me like a wave. My legs, up in stirrups as another doctor came to give me the once-over, felt like two legs of ham that I was poking, because I couldn’t feel a thing. It was bliss!

I soon fell asleep, exhausted from all the lying around, the pain, the headache that the gas had given me… surrounded by Hubby Dearest, a great midwife, who had to stay with me as I had had the epidural, and a student midwife, just to make up the numbers. Oh, and the doctor who periodically popped in. Quite a party!

When I woke I was nearly ready. It was past 2am now.

The epidural had helped to relax me enough to allow nature to finally take its course. Only, baby’s heartbeat kept disappearing.

The doctor (he was a lovely doctor, he spoke to me, to my face, not the TV screen, or to Hubby Dearest) wanted permission to go in and use a needle to extract fluid from the baby’s head. He was worried baby was in distress.

Of course, we agreed to whatever they felt was the safest.

He disappeared to scrub up and I braced myself for the possibility of a caesarean.

As the doctor arrived and went in for the sample, he stopped.

Doctor: “No. No time. This baby is coming NOW!”

Obviously, I couldn’t feel a thing, but the contractions had been coming hard and fast and baby was crowning.  They need to get him out fast.

Doctor: [watching the foetal monitor] Okay, when I say go, push, as hard as you can! Right… GO! I said push!

Me: I am pushing!

Doctor: No you’re not!

Me: I’m sorry, I can’t feel a thing!

He got over the ‘can’t feel it’ thing with the use of a venteuse. But the suction cap kept slipping. This baby had so much hair they couldn’t get the plunger-like contraption to stick to his head!

Then the forceps came out. I am so glad I couldn’t see any of this.

Moments later, the doctor held the baby up.

Doctor: Congratulations! Baby is okay, the cord was around the neck but we just slipped it over the head.

He passed baby to the midwife who brought our little bundle to us, and wrapped the baby gently.

Hubby Dearest and I just sat there staring at this little being, totally unaware of what was happening the other end [clean up and stitches] mesmerised by the little fingers, the ton of hair…

Midwife: So, don’t you want to know what you’ve had?

Hubby Dearest and I looked at each other. Our dream of having our very own baby had come true, we’d totally forgotten to ask whether it was a son or a daughter. Just a baby was enough for us!

She lifted the wrap and the leg gently.

Midwife: It’s a boy.

There were tears, there was laughter, then there was toast and tea. I was ravenous!

Hubby Dearest went out to call the family and let them know that the new addition had arrived finally then came back to cradle his firstborn.

I lay there, not sore yet [that epidural was great!] but exhausted, watching him sitting, keeping watch over our little miracle, as I drifted off to sleep…

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Presenting Lil Man!

And there you have it, my fun birth experience!

Don’t worry, the second one had it’s fair share of silly moments too! Maybe I’ll treat you to that one soon… it’ll be entitled The One Where Madonna Advised Me About My Labour. (Yes, really!)


My interactive peeps!

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