In the pic above, we are at the hospital, waiting for an available labour room. It appears that the hospital had a sudden rush and we've been stuck in the ante-natal ward for 9 hours....
Here is a brief-ish description what led up to this point in a hopefully not-too-detailed-like-we've-lost-our-filter-of-what-is-suitable, way!
On due date plus 9 days, I decided to visit Star, the acupuncturist, to try and get things kick-started! I was concerned that there may be crystals and chanting involved but in fact she is brilliant. So brilliant that things started before she had even begun using me as a pin-cushion.
At about 4pm I called the labour ward at Chelsea and Westminster and they said that I should come straight in. I asked whether we could wait until the traffic had died down and She seemed a bit taken aback. she said: 'Is this your first baby? Um, well I'll have to check'. So at 7pm we headed to the hospital for the first time. After a check that confirmed that I was in labour and a slight stuff up on the midwife's side, the doctors said that I would have to stay on the ward and start augmentation (a drip to speed things up), at 3am! We were keen to try and let things unfold naturally so we convinced the midwife to let us go home and come back for a second check at midnight. After unpacking the car (in case someone made off with my swiss ball) and then repacking the car, we headed back to the hospital at midnight.
After another 60 minutes of monitoring both the baby's heart rate (normal is between 120 and 160) and my contractions, all seemed fine. There was still the need to get things started but the senior midwife agreed that 3am was a silly time to start (the earlier midwife did admit that the doctors still thought that I was checked into the ward! and kept asking after me :). So, they agreed to let us go home again, get some rest and then come back by 1pm. Back home by 3am, we unpacked the car again and tried to get some rest - 8 solid hours for A and between contractions me (10 minute naps by this stage).
Later the same day (Friday), new trip, 3rd check-up but this time the midwife dragged in the new daytime doctor to try and convince me to get the drip! The daytime doctor was a girl about my age and she made a convincing case so we agreed to go and have some lunch and then come back to start the 'boost'.
Lunch across the road at Carluccio's (a chain of 'real italian' kitchens) was interesting. I would love to say that it was relaxing with a glass of vino but in fact there were regular 'stops' between ravioli to catch my breath. In fact, when A. went off to the bathroom (probably to escape my heavy breathing), the waitress came up and asked whether I was okay. I explained that it was our last lunch pre-labour and that got the guys at the table next to us talking too. So, we left Carluccio's with hand shakes and good lucks all around.
Back in the ward and my urgent case seemed to have dropped a few notches based on some emergency cases that had come in. So, we were put in the ante-natal ward to wait for an available labour room. By 10pm, we were still waiting and just as A. decided to go home for a shower they said that I had a room.
Off we went, set up our ipod, grabbed the swiss ball, all ready for an active birth. Well, before you know it, I was wearing to two monitor band belts, drip in my hand and they had convinced me that given that labour could take another 12-16 hours, it was probably advisable to have an epidural too. All plans of an active birth went flying out the window. At least we still had our music :)