Otto Henry Walker Pitt
Son of Amy Walker and Jon Pitt
Born on the 1st of October 2012, at the University College
Hospital, weighing 7lb 2oz
Once Jon and I decided to try for a baby it all happened a lot more quickly than we’d expected. I took the test one Friday evening, while Jon was out on a friend’s stag night. When the result was positive I couldn’t really believe it, especially as the only person at home to tell was the dog!
The following week we flew off to a friend’s wedding in Thailand, and it was pretty difficult keeping it a secret – hoping no one would notice I was on the mocktails! But it was also really nice to have a bit of time to relax and get our heads around it all. We made the most of the trip, knowing that it was going to be our last tropical holiday for quite a while.
I had a very straightforward pregnancy, although Otto was incredibly active – to the point where I actually went to the hospital one day to ask whether there was anything wrong, because he was moving around so much! I’m not the type of person to read loads of pregnancy books or guides, but I really wanted to do something to prepare myself, and I found a great pregnancy Pilates class near my work, which I did once a week with a friend who was also pregnant.
At about six months another friend introduced me to active birth yoga. I absolutely loved it, and I’m convinced it contributed to me having a natural, and relatively quick, birth. I was taught by Janet Balaskas, who’s a real pioneer of active birth – I hadn’t really thought about what type of labour I wanted, but all the techniques and positions that Janet taught us seemed very instinctive and made me feel much more confident and prepared.
The end of the pregnancy dragged a bit, and my due date passed with nothing happening. The weekend after the due date, Jon’s parents came to visit – I think they had planned it thinking there would be a baby to see! On the Sunday morning I started to feel something, but I didn’t want to tell anyone until I was sure. Unfortunately, Jon’s dad had injured his back and was in quite a lot of pain. Just as everyone was debating whether or not it was best for them to stay or head back to Somerset before it got any worse, the contractions really kicked in. I didn’t want to add to the problems, so I kept quiet and told Jon to drive them to the station.
When they left, I called my sister Sofie and asked her to come over quickly! I spent the evening working through the contractions, trying to remember what I had learnt in yoga, with Jon, Sofie and Perry, our dog, watching me in bewilderment.
We called the birth centre at UCH a few times, but the midwives kept saying that I should stay at home. Finally, at 10.30pm, I couldn’t bear it any longer and Jon and I went to the hospital. The cab journey was excruciating, but when we got there a birthing pool had just become available, which was great. I was 5cm dilated when I got into the pool, and I immediately felt so much better for being in the water. Jon set up some music and we got ready for the long haul. As the midwife left the room she said she’d assess me again in a few hours, but to call if I felt the need to push.
Pretty much as soon as she shut the door I felt the need to push, so we called her back. She looked pretty sceptical, but when she checked me I was 10cm dilated, and the baby was definitely on its way. Otto was born at 1.21am on Monday morning. Jon cut the cord and I was able to hold Otto straight away – it was an absolutely amazing and slightly unreal feeling.
I had to have a few stitches, which seemed to go on for ages, and I still maintain that this was more painful than the birth! The weirdest part of it all was being taken onto the ward. They sent Jon home and I was left lying behind a blue curtain, wide awake, with a baby who was fast asleep and swaddled in towels next to me. I wanted to tell everyone I knew about the amazing thing that had just happened, but instead I had to lie there quietly waiting for the lights to come on.
We went home the next afternoon, and it felt quite weird walking back into our flat with our new baby boy. The first few weeks were a blur of visitors, cake, and sleeplessness, but slowly we started to get into a routine. After two weeks Jon went back to work, and my mum came over from Finland for a month. It was a long, dark winter and I do envy people that have babies in spring or summer, and can spend their days strolling round the park rather than rushing about in the cold and rain. I was grateful that I had friends with babies living locally.
I went back to work part-time when Otto was seven months and, thankfully, he’s settled into his nursery really well. It is tricky juggling looking after a baby and going to work. I know it’s stupid, but I often find myself missing Otto when I’m in the office, and worrying about work when I’m at home.