When I was at Uni I occasionally worked all night on an essay or project. The satisfaction of completing it in time for the dawn chorus and being first in the queue for floppy toast was always immense.
It was nothing, however, compared with the satisfaction and joy of working all night in labour, although I had very little idea of how time was passing on Friday in the early hours. At one point the midwife apologised,
‘I’m so sorry,’ she said, ‘you aren’t going to get the water birth you wanted: you’re about to have a baby!’
We’d been waiting to get to 4 or 5 cm dilated. Wow. I didn’t know what to do with that, but my body said Push. There was no option to fail, even if it did feel so painful I forgot the Tens machine was even on, let alone at maximum.
I felt the top of her head with my hand, and it was furry and animal. Suddenly I was no longer in denial. This was my child.
The floppy purple grey body that soon followed was strange and instantly wonderful. The toast we were given an hour later wasn’t too bad either.
So the night shifts have begun, and I want to celebrate and have everyone over, but you’d have to be round at 4 am to find me awake. For now family have been looking after us as we look after Lily, but soon we will introduce her to many new friends.