Daughter of Briony and Michael Rowe
Born on the 15th of December 2012 at King’s College Hospital, weighing 8lb 6oz
e always knew that we wanted to have a family. I’d dreamt of being a mum for as long as I can remember, and Michael was broody from the day I met him – he used to ask whether we could skip the marriage part and go straight to having kids. He proposed while we were on holiday in South Africa, and we started trying to have a baby soon after we were married.
We decided not to delay things, because we’d seen friends struggling to conceive, and on Michael’s 33rd birthday we took our first and only pregnancy test. We were over the moon when the result was positive.
We stared at each other in silence for a while, wondering whether it was really true. It was very much a wanted pregnancy, but alongside the elation there were also nerves about what was to come, and how our lives might change beyond all recognition. Michael and I have always had a great relationship, so I think we both feared anything changing that.
We decided to not find out the sex of the baby, but we both felt instinctively that it was a boy – a feeling which was compounded by the fact that at every scan we were told to look away by the sonographer too many times, we thought, for it to be a girl!
I had a very good pregnancy, I actually enjoyed it a great deal. It was nice to have a good reason to slow down, and although I used to really enjoy a glass of wine, I lost all interest in alcohol and quite enjoyed my new hangover-free lifestyle!
I was also lucky to be under the care of a local midwifery group throughout my pregnancy. The care they gave was amazing. I had a midwife, Biz, assigned to me – I saw her for most of my appointments, and she also delivered Isla. It was a lifeline at certain points, for example at 18 weeks when I had some spotting – having Biz to reassure me and arrange to have it all checked out was such a relief.
The day after my due date, I had a show. I thought that it meant that things were about to happen, but four days later I still hadn’t gone into labour. My midwife visited, did a sweep and confirmed – to my great delight – that I was already 2cm dilated and that she could feel the head!
That night the contractions began very mildly. As this was my first pregnancy I wasn’t even sure that they were contractions, but the waves of strong period pain type sensations matched what people had described. I woke at 2am with the contractions now lasting a bit longer, and moved into the lounge to give Michael a chance to sleep undisturbed. At around 7.30am my waters broke, and I took some paracetamol. By 9.30am my contractions were much stronger and we paged the midwife. By the time she called back I was on all fours with a strong urge to push! The midwife told us to call an ambulance immediately.
We put the 999 operator on speaker phone, and she talked us through what to do while we waited for the paramedics to arrive. Even though she was just on the phone, having that extra person talking to us was such a help. She instructed Michael to put out towels, to open the front door and to keep me as comfortable as possible.
After thirty minutes the paramedics finally arrived. We were both so relieved – we now had some medical help, and poor Michael wouldn’t have to deliver the baby single handed! They confirmed that the baby could come at any moment, but we agreed to try and get me to hospital. I staggered outside, my waters breaking over our drive, and into the ambulance.
When I arrived at the labour ward I was hooked up to a baby monitor, which confirmed that Isla was okay – much to our relief. At this point Biz arrived and did an amazing job of coaching me through it – giving lots of praise and support, alongside Michael, who was encouraging me throughout.
The final stage of the labour was just over an hour, as Isla had got stuck in the birth canal. Were it not for that, we might never have made it to hospital. It was very painful, but I knew that I had no choice but to push on through the pain. In the end, the pressure of all my pushing built up and when she did arrive it was like a cork popping out of a bottle!
I think I was still in a state of shock when she was handed to me, I was still registering what had happened, and that I had a girl! But moments later, when she was lying on my chest staring up at me, skin to skin, I fell completely and utterly in love with her, and I knew that nothing else in the world mattered – she was perfection.
Coming home for the first time was incredible. We existed in a kind of twilight zone, camping out in the living room and snatching a few hours’ sleep here and there, but it was a very happy time. When Isla was ten days old we had a house full of family to celebrate Christmas Day, and to marvel at our best Christmas present ever. Having our baby girl is the icing on the cake for us – we’re the same happy couple, but now with this perfect addition. ✿