Reaching Due Date 'Jour J' and Beyond

So 4th November was due date for pregnancy no 2, after months of threatened premature labour, we couldn't believe we'd finally made it to Jour J. The protocol on reaching this mysterious date is that you have to go to see your maternity team to check everything is ok. I had monitoring (all ok) then an ultrasound which showed my amniotic fluid levels were low (common with overdue babies or a leak!), but the baby still seemed to be covered in some vernix (indicating not as old as previously thought)...contradictions all round then...

Anyway I was sent home to enjoy my birthday (5th Nov) and wonder if baby Fitzgerald would share it with me & told to return on Saturday for more monitoring & if all ok then we have to go back Monday for inducement if still no sign of little Fitz.

On Saturday we went to Maternity & had more monitoring during which Baby Fitz was fast asleep causing my gynecologist to decide we should induce straight away. As usual we hadn't been able to have lunch, so whilst I underwent more monitoring for 2 hours after being fitted with a hormonal tab (to further dilate the neck of the cervix apparently) my hubbie sat there & ate a whole packet of pringles and a large chicken baguette whilst I was informed I'm on nil by mouth.

2 hours went by & nothing happened so I was transferred to a bedroom and bang 15 minutes later the most ridiculous contractions ever started every 2 minutes & lasting for over a minute each. I assume as I was already well progressed (from previous efforts) I had skipped the early stages of labour and moved straight into outrageously painful & too close to breath final stage of labour. Hubby had gone down to the car for my overnight bag at this point and I was all on my own in shock.

I called the midwife & asked to be checked out as I was sure Baby Fitz would appear within minutes, but was asked to wait 30 minutes as 'c'est normale'. Well believe me, this was not 'normale' so after 5 minutes I buzzed again and as polite as we British can be I asked if she could come & see me & so the student sage femme then arrived. Hubby turned up & his relaxed wife had turned into a very stressed out lady in all of 10 minutes. I returned to the delivery suite 'le bloc' after much insistance on my part & was examined this time by a certified Sage Femme who confirmed 'Quel Surprise!' that I was indeed in full on labour & the baby was on its way.

I now confess I was not coping well, I couldn't breath properly (as I had been able to with my first labour using sophrology & relaxation techniques) but this one was soooo different. I was put on monitoring & was relieved when the sage femme said 'oh the poor thing, the contractions are strong & every 2 minutes' hallelujah! The machine doesn't lie apparently. She asked me if I wanted pain birth plan if you can call it that (I didn't write one I just had a strong view I wanted to have my baby naturally like my first birth using gas & air at the very end if necessary) but I nearly bit her hand off. I tried gas & air for about 5 minutes but I'd already decided by this point I couldn't cope & needed something stronger. They suggested an epidural, I refused. One hour later, I ate my hat & asked for the anaesthaetist, who I was relieved to see was a lady without the usual swagger. I asked for a mild one & was extremely grateful as I was able to then continue with the labour without pain but still feeling each contraction & I was able to move my lower body & deliver as naturally as possible.

An hour and a half later, Isabelle Grace was born weighing a healthy 3.3kilos. I'd been in labour for about 4 hours, a whole 15 hours faster than with Jasmine my first.

We stayed in the Delivery suite peacefully until midnight & I fed Isabelle who was a very contented little baby girl then we moved back to the bedroom (one thing I love about France, the single rooms!) My hubbie stayed overnight as our friend looked after Jasmine & then I had another 4 nights to get to know my lovely daughter in the comfort of a private room being cared for exceptionally well by the maternity team at Beziers hospital.

Jasmine came to see me every day with Daddy & was very pleased to see her little sister, although she still points at mummy's tummy and says long will that continue? people will think I'm pregnant again!