Dear Anya Rose
Today you are 7, an age I can vividly remember being myself yet it feels like only yesterday that you left my heavy, swollen body to meet me on that Summer Solstice back in June.
You weren’t meant to really be born at all yet, if my life plan had gone well according to plan, I was expecting you in around the next few years. Married at 30, baby at 32. But who likes to live by the rules, not me.
You grew inside me whilst I watched all my friends embark on the start of their lives. I envied their new existence in the world, their freedom and spontaneity but I clung on to the hope that you would be here soon and that’s all that mattered. We stuck together knowing that one day things would be Ok and Daddy would make the big move to London work out for us, because he always believed in us as a little unit, our family.
You finally decided to come 5 days after your due date, it was early on a hot Saturday morning, the sun was up but your Daddy slept soundly next to me as the early signs of labour woke me from such a vivid dream. I was dreaming I had a dark haired daughter and we called her Lola. Up until then you had always been a boy in my mind, blonde curls like his Daddy was but this dream was so clear. I knew you and I were going to meet today. I paced our tiny upside down flat waiting to see what these pains would turn into. My midwife head told me to eat so I managed a bowl of muesli and a glass of orange juice and decided to try out my TENS machine. Daddy woke and found me leaning over the banister, breathing deeply as I imaged I would meet my baby soon.
He lit candles, ran me a bath and soothed my sounds with the play list we’d so carefully compiled over the past few months. We were ready, our baby, so unplanned but so wanted was going to be born today. A mix of excitement but nerves hit me as the contractions intensified and my body told me ‘it’s time to go in’. We turned off our phones and left them on the kitchen table, not wanting to be engaged in the outside world, anxious Grandparents-to-be waiting for a call to say ‘it’s here’. We felt safe.
We made our way into the the Birth Suite. Daddy chatting away as if it was any old day, me humming deeply trying to focus on my unborn baby and not the road humps further ahead.
I was welcomed by the friendly faces I knew so well, the pool room was ready and we unpacked as if to say ‘this is our nest now’, Daddy made the room so soft and cosy. The noise of the running water filling the pool soften my deeper more guttural sounds that were coming from within. I was 5 cm dilated and your head was in a good position. We were off to a good start but I always knew you and I would work together, subconsciously as a team.
Time seemed to pass in a haze, the clock on the wall ticked so loudly I demanded it be taken out of the room! I needed to find that space within the overload of activity in my head. You were moving around, twisting and turning and getting your little chin tucked down ready for the next stage.
And then nothing. The sound stopped, the pain in my pubic bone stopped and the birthing pool no longer felt safe and small but a big dark abyss that I wanted to swim away from. I looked at your Daddy and the midwives not knowing what to do with myself. I got out of the pool and lay down on the soft mat, the cool plastic against my wet face felt soothing and calming. I closed my eyes and felt like I could have slept for ever. I was so tired, all I wanted was to meet you but the sheer exhaustion of the past 8 hours made my body feel so heavy and weak, like a dead weight I shut my eyes and zoned out the voices around me. Daddy was worried, he wanted to know if that was normal and those familiar voices of my midwives reassured him and said ‘let her sleep she’s in transition.’
But before I could even let my thoughts start forming into dreams in my mind, a different sensation started building in my sacrum. A rumbling like the beginning of a thunder storm in the mountains grew inside me and I just knew this was no thunder storm, but something harder and more powerful inside me. Was my body capable of experiencing such a force? I began to panic and your Daddy grabbed my hand and lifted me up off from the mat and told me ‘it’s Ok just listen to your body, don’t be afraid’. And that’s exactly what I did. There was no stopping it, the sensation was something I can hardly describe, like a breeze block being pushed harder and harder down my lower back into my pelvic floor. I couldn’t control these powerful waves of pressure, so I hung off your Daddy’s waist as I got into a deep squat and focused on your amazing body expel from my pelvis.
And then your head was out, I had my eyes tightly shut too scared to look at the reality of what was happening to my body, but with lots of encouragement from the chorus of voices around me I opened them for just one second. And in that second I saw your head, out of my body turning to release your shoulders. Your hair was black not blonde and I knew this was it. The moment you and I would be internally separated but the moment we would meet face to face.
Onto the mat underneath me you slid, all 7 pounds 11 ounces of your squishy pink warm body. Your cord was still perfectly placed in between your legs as if to say ‘not yet Mummy you can’t peak yet’. Your hair was so dark and looked curly and Daddy turned to me and kept saying ‘I can’t believe you did that for me’. I had done it. I had given birth to our baby, our baby girl.
And just like that we were a family, a tiny family of 3. We snuggled on the bed feeling each others skin as you took my body heat looking for your first feed. Like a brand new baby kitten but you felt so strong and capable of anything. You were our tiny person, created totally unintentionally but your presence was very much felt between us. You had caused me worry and fear beyond anything in those early weeks of finding out you were growing inside me. Terrified of your Daddy and my future but that all seemed so irrelevant now.
Today you are 7. You have three adult teeth and two wobbly ones. You love making up dance routines, showing us magic tricks, exploring in the garden, laughing hysterically at your sisters madness and adore your Daddy Doo. You declared you love all subjects at school, have discovered the wonderful world of Roald Dahl and could tell me every joke in your Horrid Henry book. You are feisty, ballsy, inquisitive and can show me a thing or two when winning an argument. I see so much of me in you it scares me. But I know we are raising an amazing force of nature. Happy Birthday Anya Rose.