Once we were married, Elliot and I started seriously talking about babies. Having married in October, we decided January would be a good time to start trying. By April, nothing had happened, so I stopped thinking it was likely to anytime soon and we went on a belated honeymoon (it took us that long to save up) to North Carolina. A couple of weeks after we returned, we found out I was pregnant with a little honeymoon baby. Baby Fowler was going to be due on the 20th of January 2016.
It was not as easy as my first pregnancy. I had more nausea and was permanently exhausted. I spent weeks with headaches and developed PPG (Pelvic Girdle Pain) that eventually had me on crutches for the later months. One day I answered a knock at the door, only to be served papers from our landlord giving notice -he was terminating our tenancy and we had until January the 15th 2016 to find a new home and move out. Much later, I discovered it was because the landlord had moved his brother into the flat.
Obviously we didn’t wait that long to move, we weren’t risking another labour triggered by moving house. Still, it was stressful finding somewhere new and relocating all our things and it didn’t help my general well-being. Christmas came and went in our new home and I spent my nesting period trying to make the house ready. When I could no longer do that, I crocheted things instead, usually with Deadliest Catch on in the background.
Late in the evening of the 20th of January, I felt a familiar twinge. I left things to run their course until around 4am and then called the hospital to let them know I was in labour and coming in. I woke Elliot to let him know, called my mum to come and look after Emi, then called a taxi and made sure I had my bag. I felt quite calm, because I knew what to expect and I knew I could handle it because I had done it before.
Once we arrived, they did all the booking in and checks, told me I was 4cm dilated and put me in a delivery room. The midwife asked me if I had a birthplan and if I wanted drugs and I told her no on both counts. I didn’t have either of those things last time and I trusted my body to do what it needed to. I stood through the majority of my contractions (it’s more comfortable for me and I think the gravity speeds things up), until my waters broke and then I maneuvered myself into a kneeling position on the bed. Frankly the pushing was more painful than I remembered but after a couple of pushes, out she came.
I heard Elliot say ‘Oh, she’s beautiful!’ and she was. Red and wrinkly and sticky with vernix but beautiful nonetheless. Cassandra Haley Fowler was born at 06:51 on Thursday the 21st of January 2016, weighing 7lb 8oz. We spent a couple of days in the hospital before we were allowed home and Cassie has been adored by pretty much everyone she meets ever since. Emi is less impressed with the attention-stealing baby but she’s slowly coming around.
I had Emi when I was 19 and single. I’ve changed a lot since and my parenting style has changed, partly due to more information and support becoming available. With Cassie, I have been able able to do a lot of the things I wanted to be able to do with Emi. Emi was bottle fed, wore disposable diapers, got pushed in a stroller, and was weaned traditionally. Cassie is breastfed, wears cloth diapers, is carried in a sling and is just starting out with baby-led weaning. The whole parenting experience is totally different and the support we give each other and lifestyle we live as a married couple makes things very different as well. There’s a lot I know now that I wish I had known when Emi was born but it’s the nature of life that we learn and grow -so I just have to remember I did the best I could and continue to love and nurture my two wonderful daughters to the limit of my ability.