Rianda Sweeney, 36, knew a Christmas baby might be on the cards when she went into labour on the night of 23rd December 2010.
Here she shares her festive tale...
How did you feel when you found out your due date was around Christmas?
I found out in April that my due date was 10th December, so at first, it didn't really seem like I'd have a Christmas baby! But the closer we got to December, the more exciting it became - the excitement tinged with a little concern as I like to be organised and plan ahead!
What was your pregnancy like?
I was really lucky. The worst I suffered was a little nausea in the first couple of months. I was very relaxed and my mantra was not to worry unless there was something to worry about. I only got a little nervous during the exceptionally heavy snowfall (18th December, when I was already eight days late!).
I had visions of being dragged to hospital on a sledge, like a beached whale tethered to an emergency raft!
Did you ever imagine giving birth on Christmas Day?
Never. Despite all the times when I was asked my due date, and replied, "So if I'm two weeks late, it'll be Christmas Eve!" I never actually thought it would happen.
Mind you, by the time I was 12 days late and crying on my midwife's shoulder, I never thought I would give birth at all!
When were you booked in to be induced?
At 13 days late, after three sweeps, I was booked in to be induced on Christmas Eve. There was nothing in my birth plan that I felt that strongly about, but I definitely did not want to be induced. I really wanted things to start naturally. But I was also aware of the dangers of going too far overdue, so I resigned myself to being induced, as it seemed like the safe thing to do.
What happened the night before?
I was willing my body to start doing something, anything, and by the time I went to bed, I thought I felt the dull period pain feeling but didn't want to get my hopes up in case I was imagining it.
When did you go to hospital?
I was due at the hospital at 5pm on Christmas Eve, but as the contractions finally started that morning, they delayed me to 8pm. By 7pm the Tens machine was little more than a distraction, the contractions were making me cry and I was not very communicative, so my husband decided to get me to hospital and we ended up there by 8pm anyway.
What happened then?
I had painful contractions all the way to the hospital, in the car park, up the stairs... but then when they examined me I was so disappointed to be only 2cm dilated! Had I not been booked in to be induced anyway, they would have sent me home!
I was offered pethidine for some respite from the contractions, which I accepted as they said it would not affect the baby by the time she arrived.
I was in labour all night, starting on the gas and air around 3am. Finally, at around 7am, I was ready to start pushing, and did so for over two hours. Near the end, I had to have an oxytocin drip to strengthen contractions and the surgeon didn't think I'd be able to deliver without assistance - I think it was the rattle of the forceps on the tray that spurred me on.
Our beautiful daughter Evie was born on Christmas morning at 9.34am, weighing 8lbs 12oz.
How did you feel when you saw Evie for the first time?
Exhausted, stunned, relieved, slightly drunk from the gas and air... and not really very Christmassy! In fact the only remotely festive moment was in the operating theatre later when I had to have the placenta delivered manually.
The anaesthetist asked if I liked Christmas music and put on a Christmas compilation CD. I quite enjoyed it actually!
How will you be celebrating this year?
I actually have no idea. Part of me thinks, she won't know any different, and we can worry about the whole birthday/Christmas thing when she's a bit older. But I don't think I'll be able to resist buying her a party frock and making a birthday cake!
Did you have a festive birth? We would love to hear from you below!
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