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written by her mother, Barb Glare

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My Third Baby
Erin Maree
Hannah Jane

Dear Joy,
Here’s my version of Cassandra’s birth. I wrote it a few days after she was born.

Cassie’s such a lovely baby, I’m still so proud of her. She’s fond of a middle of the night feed & play...and so am I. We tend to rush around so much, It’s sometimes the best chance we get to talk to each other.

She’s putting on so much weight. Zac &Daniel were lucky to put on 100g a week. I had to stop taking them to the health centre for fear of the bottle. (I wasn’t quick enough with poor Zac. He did get the bottle for a while) But Cassie is putting on heaps. Could I be producing more milk, or is her body just using it better? I don¹t know.

Zac & Daniel are great big brothers, and a great help to me.

Barb Glare

When I woke up on Wednesday, January 21st, I felt fairly sure that I would have my baby by the end of the day. Not that the aches in my bones from the weight of my tummy were much different that morning. But the weather looked good, fine, sunny, not too hot or cold, and with my rough estimate for dates at January 24th, I knew it had to be some time soon!

By the time I’d got up and made breakfast for Zac and Dan, I had some contractions, but not serious enough to slow me down. I told Zac that we would probably have our baby today, but that we were going to the park for an NMAA coffee morning first. I felt I’d be better to get out and do something, rather than sit at home and think about myself, and then be disappointed if it all stopped. And the walking might get everything going. I wanted to keep my contractions a secret for a bit longer.

This was my third, and probably my last pregnancy, and I must have been the only pregnant woman in Melbourne in January who was happier to have her baby in than out. Yes, it was hot, and with a four year old and a two year old to look after it was tiring, but at least the baby wasn’t crying and demanding to be fed all night. It was safe and warm and well fed. For the rest of its life I’d be waiting for it to reach milestones, I was determined not to rush it on its way to its first and biggest, its birth.

We came home from the park at lunch time. I had a friend, Marianne, coming over for lunch. I thought about ringing to cancel - the contractions were getting closer - but I wanted to go on as normally as possible for as long as possible. I rang the midwives to let them know I’d need them later on, but that I was OK for the moment.

When Marianne got here the pace of my contractions picked up. I was already entering that fuzzy little world of labour. I’m grateful that Marianne was there, because it was she who insisted that the contractions were 3 mins apart, - when she told me that the last contraction she timed was 2 mins after the previous one I told her that it must have just been a freak contraction! - and that I’d better get my husband home and the midwives over. Otherwise I may well have given birth attended only by my two little boys! Later, I really wished I’d got my midwives over earlier. I was unreasonably worried that I’d be wasting their time, they had such a long way to come, and I didn’t want them waiting if nothing was happening.

Things were really getting difficult. This was the pain I remembered, and I had to concentrate to get through each contraction. Marianne said later that she was talking to me but I wasn’t answering - I couldn’t hear her. I was so glad when Chris got home. Things were getting serious. I wished I’d got the Midwives over a bit earlier, it seemed to be getting close. Still, there were a few things to organise between contractions. Fill the bath, get film in the camera, towels at the ready. Marianne went home. Her children hadn’t seen the birth of her third child, but they were getting awfully close to seeing the birth of mine.

I spent about five minutes in the bath. I’d hoped to have a waterbirth but wasn’t comfortable unless I was moving around. The contractions were almost continuous. I was very glad to see Annie. I think I was fighting to hold on a bit, waiting for the midwives, and once Annie was there I felt safe. Joy wasn’t far behind. By then I was walking in circles, looking for some relief, but no position seemed to help much. Soon I had the urge to push. It seemed far stronger than it had been with my other two labours. I just clung to Annie, and then to Joy, when I’d worn Annie out. I wanted Chris, but I knew he was with the boys, and I didn’t have the energy to change anything. I knew it wouldn’t be long. Soon I could feel my baby’s head, but I felt I couldn’t let go of Joy to catch my baby, so I asked Annie to be ready, and with a few more contractions the head was out. I wriggled around a bit, and her shoulders and body were born. I called to Zac and Daniel to come and see whether it was a girl or a boy, but I could already see that it was a girl, something I never believed we would have.

I was exhausted. The second stage was far more powerful and violent than I’d experienced before, yet I hadn’t torn enough to need stitches, and after a few minutes I felt great. Cassandra looked up at me and nuzzled at my breast before latching on instinctively. There was no rush to cut the cord, which was lovely, and I had a bit of time to rest before working on delivering the placenta.

After the placenta was delivered, Cassie and I had a bath together. She was so big (9lb, 1/2oz) and so alert, and so contented, and I was so pleased with the way everything had turned out.

It hadn’t gone the way I’d envisaged - I guess that’s the nature of birth. Chris hadn’t been as involved. He’d been with the boys, and Zac hadn’t wanted to see the birth, and had waited in his room. (Zac had seen his brother Daniel born at the birth centre, but I guess 4 yr olds are more sensitive than 2 yr olds.) I wasn’t really aware of where he and Daniel were. My cries had scared Zac a bit, even though we’d talked about the fact that mummy would cry, and having the baby would hurt her.

We were in our own home, which made it easier for the boys to find their own space, as well as me. It was great to have time in the bath with our baby, and for her brothers to get to know her, and just grow to love our little daughter.