When Charlotte Hobbes found out she was pregnant for the fourth time, she was keeping her fingers crossed for a girl after three boys! Here she shares her final birth experience.
After three boys, were you hoping for a girl?
Naturally my biggest wish was for a healthy baby, but yes I was rather hoping that I might be blessed with a little girl this time! I would have been delighted with a fourth son, but I think every woman wants a little girl!
Did you find out the sex?
No, I didn't. I wanted the surprise and all I was really hoping for was a smooth birth and a happy baby.
When did you labour begin?
This was my fourth – and final! – pregnancy so you would think I would have known the process! But it still came as a bit of a surprise!
Why was that?
My labour started three weeks early. Given that I had had three very overdue sons, I thought the same thing would happen again.
Were you worried?
No, not at all. I knew three weeks early was not going to cause any issues and the baby had always been on the big side at the scans. So maybe it was just nature's way of preventing me carrying a fourth enormous baby! It was at this point that I did wonder if it was a girl as everything was so different this time.
Where did you go into labour?
I first noticed some uncomfortable twinges and tightenings in my sons' playground at school! I put it down to Braxton-Hicks, like you do, but by the evening I knew I was in labour. I was surprised though because, given my history of being overdue, it just seemed too early.
When did you go into hospital?
By the time I was certain, it was around 6pm. However, we didn't venture off to the hospital until about 12am because I wanted to stick it out at home for as long as possible. Plus, I had to wait for my mum to get over and look after the boys! Nothing was going to plan from that perspective.
What happened when you got there?
I told them I was three weeks early and they hooked me up to a monitor very quickly to check how the baby was doing. Fortunately, all was fine and I was progressing well.
Did you have any pain relief?
I had gas and air. I found this labour much easier than my previous three. I had an epidural for those. This time I felt I could manage without. It also helped that the labour was much quicker.
How long were you in labour for?
From beginning to end it was about nine hours. Our beautiful baby girl was born at 3am. Which again was completely different to the boys as they were all born mid-afternoon!
How was the actual birth?
Again, much easier than with the boys. They had all required ventouse or forceps, this time the baby came out after some almighty pushing! I really should have put two and two together and realised that everything was so different this time for a reason!
And what was it like to give birth to a bouncing baby AND discover you had a girl?
It was amazing. Our daughter was placed straight onto my chest and for a few moments I didn't even ask what we'd had. I was just overwhelmed to be holding this tiny, perfect human being in my arms.
Nature did of course get the better of me and I soon demanded to know the gender and my husband Sam did the honours. It really was the icing on the cake to discover that we'd had a daughter Carey and our family was complete.