At thirty-six weeks pregnant, I’d never been so grateful for the Easter holidays. We fitted the baby seat in the car, packed my hospital notes and went to visit my parents in Cumbria. On Easter Monday, determined not to let my depleted lung space and cumbersome bump hold me back, I joined the family (albeit slowly) climbing up Hoad Hill, near Ulverston. We watched children roll their ‘pace eggs’ – painted hard-boiled eggs – down the hill, a local Easter Monday tradition which I’d taken part in myself as a child. Another reminder of that distant world of childhood in which we were soon to be immersed: our little family – two lesbian mummies and baby.
Two days later I was back at the hospital for my weekly scan. Amniotic fluid still low. Still under consultant care. Still down for induction at forty weeks. We e-mailed the sperm donor to update him: it had been a few months since we’d had contact and he was probably wondering how things were going. And I continued to drink pint after pint of water, just in case it might help.
At thirty-eight weeks, I’d been away from work for thirteen days. Despite having waded through a large pile of A’ level coursework with my red pen, I was well-rested and I’d drunk enough water over the past week or so to fill a small lake. The radiographer handed me my notes and we shuffled through the paperwork to the fluid graph. A new biro cross, on the edge, but within the normal band. Excitement was starting to build.
In the registrar’s office we could barely get the words out quickly enough: “Does this mean we can go to the birth centre?” That spa-like sanctuary, tucked away in the depths of the busy hospital. A little haven where I could crawl into a corner and give birth like a hunter-gatherer woman in the woods.
“There’s no reason why not.”
From what we’d read, it’s very difficult to take accurate readings of amniotic fluid levels. I don’t know whether I was once short of the stuff or whether the measurements were never actually reliable anyway. But we were back on track for our midwife-led intervention-free birth. Ecstatic, we almost skipped along the magnolia corridors to introduce ourselves at the birth centre.
Article: 12th November 2013 by Lindsey, West Yorkshire