September 01, 2017

When I wrote Oslo's birth story last year it was therapeutic for me, yet also very emotional. It brought back a lot of the trauma I was burying deep down and not expressing out loud. After I wrote it and shared my story, I heard from so many other mothers who had traumatic birth experiences as well. These incredible women who reached out to me helped me so much to heal, and after some time I felt ready to have another baby. So bing bang boom James and I decide to try for another baby and just like that we get pregnant. What's with getting drunk that one time and then making a baby? I swear there is something magical in champagne. With the initial shock of, what the hell are we doing? We are seriously going to attempt two under two? We were overjoyed and excited to enjoy this pregnancy like we did the last.

Now flash forward my whole pregnancy to the Sunday before I give birth and the day before my birthday. We are at my in-law's home with friends, enjoying the pool and bbq as we do pretty much every Sunday in the summer. It is a relaxing day and just what I need at 39 weeks pregnant. At this point I am so beyond ready to meet my second baby and am getting a little impatient. I say out loud that ''this will be the last weekend I am pregnant!'' I am done and ready to go. I go to bed that night feeling incredible and very bronzed (which is important when you are about to give birth), and of course excited for my birthday the next morning. I was nervous my whole pregnancy that I would share my birthday with this little guy. His due date was three days after my special day and not to sound selfish but I really wanted to keep that day for me. Mums don't get a lot of time to themselves and sharing my birthday was not an idea that thrilled me.

As life goes, I wake up at 5 am alert and with tons of energy, and yes of course contractions. They are super light so I'm not sure what is going on, but they are regular and I am in total denial. I sleep for a bit longer and at 7 am I tell James that I have been having light contractions and to be on alert. I go to have a shower and get ready for the day of me. At around 8 am I have some breakfast and commence birthday present opening with Oslo as my little helper. In between opening my presents I have consistent contractions that were increasing in pain. At 8:30 am I tell James to call his parents and that there is no rush, but they should come get Oslo soon. I am still super relaxed about the whole thing and go around the house just making sure our hospital bag was fully packed, just in case this was the real deal. My in-laws arrive at 9:30 am, and by this time things are definitely real. They come into the living room and sit down and play with Oslo, and it took everything within my body not to tell them to get out of here already. Having intense contractions in front of anyone other than your husband and midwife/doctor, for me is a bit of a nightmare. It made me laugh because every time another one came on, my mother-in-law started doing that 1990's sharp breathing in and out that they do in the movies. You know the kind ''Hee hee, hoo. Hee hee, hoo.'' So she did that while I try to envision waves flowing over me and breathing deeply as I had practised my whole pregnancy. After yet another painful and powerful contraction, I tell James quite urgently to call our midwife to check how many centimetres I am dilated. Soon after that my parents-in-law leave with Oslo, and I begin to get emotional knowing this would be the last time I would see Oslo before he becomes a big brother.

My midwife Nadège arrives at 10:30 am and asks me if I want her to check my cervix. At this point there was no more denial, I know I am in active labour and was eager for her to check me. I lie down on my sofa and she confirms I was in fact in labour, and am already at 7 centimetres. Um, say what? James and I burst into happy tears and I am so thrilled to know it is almost done. Knowing I am at 7 and still have to drive about 30 minutes to the hospital where we planned to give birth put the pressure on. So James runs ahead to get the car and pull up at the end of the street. Nadège and I walk out of my house and onto the street together, and just as I step out I was hit with the most incredibly powerful contraction. Now I should say I live on a very small and quiet street and on a typical day I can leave my home without seeing a soul. But of course today was a special day for me, and as I step out of my house I can see the street was alive with people. Dozens of them! There is a man cleaning the street with a power hose, a garbage man, and some of my neighbours. That did not stop me from having contractions every minute the whole way down and screaming out in pain with each one. We make it to the end of the street and I attempt to get into the back of the car, but deep down I know there was no way I can make it 30 minutes. Nadège says she can check my cervix again in the back seat of our car, I look up at her and in true Hollywood form I say ''the baby is coming!'' Nadège then runs to her car in the parking lot to grab her birthing kit and try to wrap her head around this surprise delivery. James calls for an ambulance to come just in case, because of the eclampsia I had with Oslo we have to be on alert.

So we haul ass up the street again to get back to my house as quick as we can. I enter my home and announce that I need to poop and Nadège informs that it's probably Louie's head coming down, but I know otherwise. I fly up the stairs to sit on the toilet and do my business as I yell that I don't want to give birth on the toilet. Nadège (my superwoman) kneels down beside the toilet, looks in between my legs and tells me his head is right there. Alrighty, I guess we are having a home birth then! She asks me where I want to give birth? James suggests in Oslo's room because it is right beside the bathroom, but I just got Oslo a brand new beige rug and we all know birth is messy, so it definitely can't happen in there. I decide I want to go upstairs and give birth in bed, but that can't happen either because I can't walk upstairs with a baby's head just there. Then I want to go downstairs to be on the sofa, totally neglecting the stair issue. Again I was told that can't happen, so I say fine then and plonk myself down in the middle of the stairwell. James grabs some towels and pillows and makes a cosy little nest for me. It was such a random spot to choose but it felt safe and comfortable, and it was perfect for me. 

As soon as I lie down on my back I calm down and know everything would be fine. Leading up to this moment everything seemed a bit of control for me, so laying back onto James' legs really made me feel secure and confident I could do this. Nadège positions herself in between my legs and tells me I can push whenever I feel ready to. Just like that I get that uncontrollable urge to push and take the biggest breath in and push with all my might, then again, and another time all within one contraction. It is exhausting and energising all at the same time. As I am about to get ready to push again we hear a big knock at the door and unexpectedly it is the emergency team James called only 10 minutes earlier. They charge in with their loud voices and boots and completely disrupt our little safe haven. I have no idea James called them so I am in shock to see that a doctor, a nurse and three firefighters (one being very handsome, so I named him McSteamy) are here. All I can think is, what the heck are you guys doing here? Nadège told me later, she watched Louie's head go back in like a little turtle because I was shocked and taken out of the zone. She assures the team that there was no emergency, everything was fine, and the baby would be here soon. They huddle around us and watch intently which made me feel like I was on show for everyone, but I move past that thought and take another deep breath in and begin pushing again. Nadège looks me right me in the eyes and says ''You need to get this baby out now or they will take you away!'' Okay then, I guess I am getting him out now as quick as I can. 

Her direction was just what I need and she tells me to put my legs on her shoulders for leverage, I hold onto James' arms as tight as I can and I push the hardest I have ever pushed in my life. Then three massive pushes later and only an hour after Nadège had arrived at our home, my glorious little Louie Basil Theis is born! With him came the most incredible moment and feeling I have ever experienced in my life, the high of all highs. This is the feeling I wanted with Oslo more than anything and was robbed of that, so with Louie these first moments were incredible. 

As I was pushing Louie out one of the firefighters was capturing it all for us on her phone, which was a lovely unexpected surprise. Shortly after she is done capturing the moments, she's worried we needed to give Louie oxygen and to take him away. Nadège told them that he is healthy and just fine, and he could stay in my arms. These first minutes with Louie were short lived as the emergency team want to take me to the hospital right away. I will never forget McSteamy asking me if I can walk down the stairs? ''I'm sorry handsome but I just had a baby come out of me, no I don't think I can walk down the stairs!'' So they put me on a little chair and carry me down, while James holds onto Louie. They put me on a stretcher outside my house, James put Louie back in my arms and I am wheeled down the street to the ambulance. 

Remember how I said I live in a small and quiet street? Well the ambulance couldn't fit down it, so they have to park on the main street which blocked about 20 cars trying to drive down. As I am being wheeled to the ambulance everyone starts honking their horns and yelling ''Felicitations'' which means congratulations in French. What a spectacle we are! I am a little mortified at the thought of all these people seeing me five minutes after I give birth, but I also feel a bit like royalty being pushed down the street in my carriage, smiling and waving at people with the new baby Prince in arms. In my dreams. After all that, I get into the ambulance and we make our way to the Cannes hospital where I recover for the next three days in true baby bliss.

It seems I should never plan my births because they never go quite like they should. I am so grateful Louie's birth was healthy and happy. This is my redemption birth and it is everything I imagined a natural homebirth to be and more. It was such an unexpected yet beautiful surprise, and I'm just grateful I never got into that car. I am so proud of myself and my body, that I stayed focused and strong, and that I had another natural birth. I really could not have done it without my James who stayed focused and coached me the whole way through, and my midwife Nadège who wasn't even meant to be at the birth at all, but was just at the right place/right time. I have no idea what we would have done without her and I almost don't even want to think about it. Hello crazy car on the highway delivery! 

We have come a long way since the birth of Oslo and all of the trauma that we endured through that. I am so grateful for all of the support we have received along the way from the beginning of Oslo's pregnancy all the way to now after Louie's birth. Thank you to all of the brave women who shared their stories with me, you all helped build me up and made the birth of Louie that much more possible for me.

Thank you for reading our birth story.


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  1. Ahhhh happy tears for you darling Jules! I can't tell you how wonderful this was to read. You're a superwoman. No words. Love you girl!!! Xxx

  2. Jules! Goodness me I cannot believe this has taken me until now to read this, but this is one of the happiest, most emotional birth stories I've ever heard!! You're amazing and I'm so thrilled that you had this experience with Louie after what you went through with Oslo. And never have I laughed and cried when reading a birth story - the humour you brought to this with McSteamy and your street - just lush. You're incredible! xxx