And they don't call it labor for nothing. After nearly three hours of pushing with no pain relief except gas and air and a little pethidine, which quickly wore off, I had to have an epidural so they could deliver the baby via forceps. Luckily, she did not go into distress at any point; on the contrary, she was quite content in her warm little home. She was just stubborn right up until the moment she entered the world; I hope this is not a sign of things to come... I have to admit that childbirth was not the most joyous moment of my life, but the moments after certainly have been. Note to self: If I do this again, I will go straight for the epidural.
Despite his fear of hospitals, The Other Half was a great support for me and was overwhelmed when he saw his little girl for the first time – even though her head did look a bit alien-like for the first few hours! And despite some horror stories I had heard regarding giving birth in the U.K. on the NHS, I had two wonderful midwives and a team of very concerned and competent doctors who made sure everything went as smoothly as possible and were just as attentive and understanding of The Other Half as they were of me.
The two weeks that have passed since then have been a bit of a blur, but in other ways time has seemed to creep by at a snail's pace, and it is hard to remember my life before my daughter. At the end of each day, I feel like I have climbed a mountain. And then I wake up a little refreshed (no matter how little sleep I got the night before), ready to do it all over again.
I don't know how often I'll be able to post new entries over the next few weeks, but hopefully in a couple of months Crumpet will have established more of a schedule and I can actually take a little time to myself and get back to writing a little every day. At the moment, everything else has to take a backseat, which I thought would be difficult to adjust to given my Type-A personality. But, amazingly, when I look at my daughter's little pink face or she grips my finger with her tiny hand, I don't care how much washing-up needs to be done or how many e-mails I need to catch up on. As exhausting as new motherhood is, I'll never get these moments back, so I intend to enjoy every one of them.