- When Jessica wanted to be born it was as if she were trying to tear her way out as
quickly as possible. I woke up in the night feeling very sick and strange. I'd never felt
anything like it before as if something was trying to turn me inside out. Sort of
like retching couldn't be denied an involuntary thing I had no control over.
- All I could think was "thank goodness it's happening at last". I'd been
staying at Joanna's for two and a half weeks now, and we were beginning to get seriously
on one another's nerves. The whole agreement might have been in jeopardy except that I
just wanted to be rid of this burden. I'd had enough of the heartburn, the dashing to the
loo, being unable to get off a sofa on my own, the permanent cough of pregnancy and
Joanna's endless fussing.
- The labour started mild but within half an hour the pain had intensified to the point
where I was begging desperately for a hammer to hit myself on the head with for blissful
unconsciousness. Joanna was frantic. Anyone would think she was the one having the baby.
She was convinced something was going wrong.
- Desperately phoning the hospital emergency phone number, the agony forced me to my
knees. Blood soaked my jeans: I was panting with the effort of combating the pain. It just
isn't supposed to happen that fast. Thank God the hospital was only 5 minutes away!
- I didn't bother changing for the hospital my jeans were ruined anyway, why ruin
other clothes? Joanna insisted on coming in the car with me, and made Tim drive his own
car in case we needed two... It was more than I could stand!
- There was one solitary black sister in charge of the clinical room I was shown to. Leo
went to move the car; even outside the labour unit they wheel-clamp cars parked illegally.
Tim hadn't arrived yet.
- "Just get undressed, I'll be back in a minute!" she said.
- No way was I going to be left alone with a panicky Joanna. This baby was nearly here. I
grabbed her arm.
"No, don't dare leave me!" I yelled, sinking to the floor by the bed, knees
giving way as another searing contraction took me over and I felt more blood trickling
no, more like gushing on to the linoleum
Joanna was gagging. Some birth partner!
- When another nurse came to help, I screamed and tried to bite her hand. "Oh, no,
you don't!" she said and let go of me. How could she!!!
- "This baby is desperate to be born!" I told them. They didn't take any notice
"Stop screaming and push!" someone said.
"Put your chin down on your chest, it'll be easier to push," said the midwife.
- I put my chin on my drenched chest and pushed until I thought I'd burst something. And
with a tremendous groan, after a total labour of just 3 hours, and 20 minutes in the
hospital, Jessica was born.
- Joanna was being sick at the time, and Tim rushed in from the distant car park five
minutes too late to see the birth of his daughter.
Last amended on 9th August 1998 / copyright H. M. Whitehead