Sunday, 19 June 2011


My sausage baby is 5 weeks old today and occasionally I find a moment to think about the whole thing.

For anyone interested, the birth was a fantastic experience. I think that all the preparation I'd done mentally with reading the Ina May book, listening to the natal hypnotherapy cd, etc, really paid off in the sense that I was expecting it to go well and was sure it could - as well as being absolutely confident that my body could do it. (Disclaimer: I know that for plenty of people things go horribly wrong, and I'm not saying that this is their fault for not having prepared enough. It's just that I'd got myself into a good position so that because there were no complications, I could take advantage of this and have a great time of it).
Of course, there was a point some 24 hours after contractions started when my nerve wobbled a bit and I was seeking out the opiates - but fortunately I'd written quite a categorical birth plan saying I'd much prefer not to have drugs, and a shift change at the crucial moment meant that supermidwife arrived and provided me with a bit of tough love. We talked about drugs, I asked her "would diamorphine stop it hurting?" and she asked if I wanted the good news or the bad news. The good news, I said, and she said yes, it will stop it hurting; the bad news is that this stopping hurting will only happen once the baby's out.
Anyway, she persuaded me to use gas and air properly, and my beloved acted as a flawless coach, watching the monitor for my contractions, providing drinks and cooling spray, and putting up with my squiffiness - and finally, after some far-too-long period but only half an hour of pushing, Isaac came out at 2.30 on the Sunday morning.
I don't think any experience will ever rival being handed my new baby between my legs - writing this now, I still dissolve at the thought of it. It has to be the biggest thing you can do, and I did it! Afterwards supermidwife told me that he was the wrong way round, what they call "back to back" meaning that his head, instead of facing my back and therefore tucking down nicely to make a small cross section, was facing the other way up and presented a much larger obstacle. Back to back labours are notoriously slow in the latent phase, and painful, and "usually" (according to my GP's website) result in assisted delivery or a caesarian. So it was pretty miraculous that he came out naturally, with no drugs, and no damage to me.
I'll be writing a lot more about the wonders of life with a new baby, including lots of analysis of attachment parenting, raving about how my Moby wrap is the best invention ever, gurgling about every single beautiful thing he does, and perhaps a bit of ranting about WHY DOES NO ONE WARN YOU HOW HARD BREASTFEEDING IS?? but of course, it's now fitting around his slightly capricious sleep/wake times so please forgive any erraticness (and made-up words).
Briefly, books I'd read before and just not written down, or ones I've started since,
30 The Betrayal (Helen Dunmore)
31 Whatever you love (Louise Doughty)
32 Attachment parenting (William Sears)
33 Last night in twisted river (John Irving) (still in progress)
34 Big House (Nicole Krauss) (still in progress)
35 The underachieving school (John Holt) (still in progress).

Yes, yes, yes. I have three books on there "in progress", two of which I started before the sausage was born. And Anna Karenina, which I think I've already given a number to, only I've so nearly finished that.
And yes, I've not said anything about them, just listed them, and that's wimping out. But understand, if you will, that this is a grasping at a strand of me that's getting a little squeezed at the moment, and that while there is nothing I'd rather be doing than attending to my baby, nothing's going to stop me reading, even if it does slow me down mightily.