27/08/2010 17:13 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Newborn Diaries: 40 Weeks And A Due Date Delivery

I have some exciting news to report: I'm no longer the exasperated, desperate-for-a-baby-to-come-out-of-me individual that I have been for the past few weeks.

Now, I'm that euphoric-even-though-I-haven't-slept-showered-or-eaten-in-a-week person.

Yes, I'm a new mum!

Despite being obsessively on the lookout for any signs of labour (not to mention spending all weekend doing the whole pineapple/power walking thing to bring it on), there was no sign of anything happening as of 11:30 pm the night before my due date. I knew it was highly unlikely that my baby would fall into the five per cent that are actually born on time, but as soon as I'd resigned myself to being pregnant for a while longer, the action began.

At 11:45, I felt a trickle go down my leg and realised my waters were breaking. I cannot explain how excited I was that things were getting started; I immediately called my midwife who said she'd come over the following morning and advised me to get to bed. But I was too hyper to sleep and couldn't wait for the contractions to come (I should point out that this is before I actually knew what a contraction felt like).

At 2 am I awoke with a start: cramping contractions had begun and I now wished I hadn't expedited them with prayer. They were painful but not unbearable, and because they came every 10 minutes I had some breaks in between, but unfortunately not enough to sleep. So I tried to distract myself: I took a bath, I sniffed my lavender oil, I drank about seven cups of tea, watched telly, read, walked around and curled up in the bathroom to help the contractions pass. At this point I also had a show (a rather unappealing mucus plug that's another indicator that labour has started), so I was pretty sure the ball was really rolling.

By 6 am, I was a complete disaster. Barely mobile, I couldn't walk and had turned into some sort of hunchback with a speech impediment (I could basically only grunt). I positioned myself on all fours on the couch, unable to lift my head or move, even when my bulldog Bolshy bounded onto the sofa and knocked the apple juice I was attempting to sip all over me. The contractions were coming all the time now (aka every three-to-four minutes) – there was no respite and they really hurt. My fantasies at this point centred around one thing: complete sedation.

The midwife arrived around 8 am and she was wonderful and calming and encouraging, until she checked my cervix (she was hesitant to do this because my waters had broken and if I hadn't been in proper labour I would have needed to be induced within a few hours, which would have resulted in all kinds of hassle). As she announced that I was 9 cm dilated and that I could either have the baby at home or take an ambulance to the hospital since there wouldn't be time to get there by car or taxi, the horror set in: ready or not, this baby was coming. NOW.

We chose hospital (getting through this naturally was one thing... but an unexpected home birth on top of that was more than I could handle), and once we arrived at St. Thomas' Home From Home Birth Centre, everything seemed calmer: the contractions lessened (or maybe I had learned to cope with the pain better?) and I felt much more relaxed about the whole situation (the discovery of gas and air in the ambulance certainly helped give me a wonderfully groggy perspective).

Our room had the most gorgeous views of Parliament (something for the partners to enjoy while they watch the mother of their child screaming in agony, I guess) but I soon moved to the pool room – I would have my water birth after all. The pool felt lovely and I could move around lots and the gas and air were really helping with the contractions... and then it was time to push, which was when I lost all dignity and started screaming for intervention (forceps, an epidural, anything) and saying I couldn't go through with it, despite the baby's head starting to come through. I was kind of in a daze from that point on and was almost falling asleep from exhaustion between contractions. I'm happy my partner opted not to keep the video camera on to immortalise the pained grimaces on my face and horrible primal grunts I was making throughout this period. And to his credit, despite my shrieks, he remained really calm and supportive throughout the whole experience.

After what felt like an eternity (and being talked off the ledge by my midwife), I did it. My little girl was 8 lbs, 8 oz at birth and the best part was getting to hold her right away and to finally meet this little person who I'd spent nine months getting to know. I still can't quite believe I delivered a baby and find thinking about the whole labour slightly surreal. It was unlike anything I've ever experienced and even though I vowed never to go through it again at the height of my pain, with the benefit of a few days' reflection, I feel really lucky and pleased with how everything turned out.

As for my other fear of not bonding with the new arrival? I'm happy to report that the second I saw my baby's screwed-shut eyes and chubby cheeks, it was love at first sight.

Congratulations, Jen. Isn't her daughter beautiful?
You can catch up on previous articles in
The Newborn Diaries.