Today marks two weeks since Arthur has been with us, on the outside. It feels like only seconds ago that I held him for the first time, but also like he's always been part of our family. I hadn't originally planned to write about his birth here but in the end it was all too remarkable not to record. We had to wait a little longer for his arrival than predicted (due dates are really just guess aren't they), but because Sophia has arrived on schedule I just hadn't expected a second baby to be 'late' (although people did say that boys are more likely to be). The waiting wasn't helped by sacroiliac joint pain that popped up about a week before he was due, which made my last days of pregnancy pretty difficult.
My pre-labour was long. I'm talking a few days of intermittent contractions that would come and go but were often incredibly intense. Still previous experience told me that whilst things were getting started, the moment of truth was still a way off. This all started on the Saturday and by Monday it seemed that things had progressed but by how much was anyone's guess.
At this point I should probably share that we had planned a home birth, as we had done with Sophia, so although we suspected that this was the night, there was nowhere to go, just for us to sit tight and wait until it felt time to call the midwives. My labour began to progress through the evening and by 10pm things were certainly starting to feel real, with contractions getting more intense and closer together but I was fully able to talk and engage in rational conversation in between them.
Dan and I debated whether we should call the midwives but my contractions were not as regular as the NHS has decided they ought to be when summoning midwives (hahaha) and although my pain was fairly intense I was coping. Mostly I feared the midwives would arrive and give me disappointing news about my progress (oh hindsight). However by about 11.30pm both Dan and I were fairly sure it was worth calling the midwives out. So Dan made the call. I can remember listening to him on the phone as I borderline screamed through some contractions. Dan filled the birthing pool as my contractions got closer together and much tougher. Darling Sophia slept upstairs through all the noise (what an angel).
About an hour later things had intensified quickly and I felt so sure my waters were going to be break I made my way to the bathroom, as Dan kept nervously checking for the midwives to arrive. I couldn't have been in the bathroom for more than two minutes before it became clear that the intense downward pressure I felt was not my waters but our baby's head. I called for Dan who rushed in as Arthur's head began to emerge. It took three contractions from then before our beautiful boy emerged (still in his amniotic sac) into his brave Daddy's arms. A little cry and we knew he was fine. Fortunately the midwives arrived a few minutes later and we sat in shock and awe with our son.
I'm still a little bit in shock about Arthur's birth, but mostly I'm so incredibly grateful. Grateful that all was perfectly fine, grateful that my labour was so straightforward and grateful for Dan, for how he supported me and helped deliver Arthur. It means the world to me that Arthur was born in his home, with just his parents and that the first person who held him was his Daddy. It's a moment in time that the three of us will share forever.
Since then things have been a wonderful journey of discovery. Arthur is a lovely calm little chap and Sophia has been amazing with him. Nothing but cuddles and kisses and help with the 'bebe'; and watching them together is heaven.
We were lucky enough to have a photoshoot with the amazing Suzanne at Little White Photography when Arthur was just a day old. The experience was magical and Suzanne made everything so calm and peaceful. As you can see the photos are absolutely stunning. I still gasp every time I look at them. Having these photos means so much to us and the memories that they will hold for us are priceless.
Two weeks ago I couldn't have imagined life with two children but since Arthur arrived we don't just have double the children we also have double the joy (and double the tiredness) and I honestly can't imagine life without him.
All photos by Suzanne at Little White Photography