Meet Lisa Beever, who had more reason to celebrate on New Year’s Day than most!
When I was told that my due date was the first of January, I crossed my fingers for a New Year baby.
I loved the idea that everyone would always have the day off to celebrate his or her birthday! I’ve always been a fan of New Year’s Eve, and love nothing better than staying in, cracking open the bubbly, counting down to midnight, and watching the fireworks from the top floor of our town house.
Realistically, I knew it was unlikely my baby would arrive on my due date. So, heavily pregnant, we got ready for a fun New Year’s Eve. As my partner, Phillip, prepared the roast dinner we’d be serving to his mum and dad, I sat in the kitchen, rubbing my bump. My in-laws arrived about 3pm and there was a party atmosphere as I nursed a soft drink and they sipped Prosecco. Before long, I started to notice my lower bump tensing every few minutes. ‘That’ll be Braxton Hicks practice contractions,’ Phil’s mum, Beverley, said. ‘You’ll know when it’s the real thing.’
Later, at 7pm, when we were sitting down to our meal, strong pressure gripped my bump and I had to close my eyes and breathe. ‘Phil, maybe you shouldn’t have a drink, just in case,’ I said. He was going to have one that evening, and I was aware that he may have to drive me to hospital. He agreed straight away, but joined his mum and dad in reassuring me that it was just practice contractions.
After the meal, we crashed on the sofa and watched a film – I think it was Home Alone, but as my tightenings were getting more intense, I wasn’t really paying much attention! Afterwards, as we played Monopoly, I closed my eyes and deep-breathed in between rolling the dice.
By 9.45pm, I felt so tired that I wished the three of them a happy New Year and went up to bed. After tossing and turning for a while, I must have dozed off. Awoken at 11.15pm by another strong tightening, I lay there, breathing deeply, listening to Phil saying goodbye to my in-laws who were off home, then coming upstairs to check on me. ‘They’re getting stronger,’ I whispered. Phil climbed into bed with me as I concentrated on staying relaxed as the pressure grew.
Suddenly, a bang sounded, Phil opened the curtains, and our bedroom was filled with coloured light. As I joined Phil at the window, I realised it was midnight. Fireworks exploded as we stood in the darkness. ‘Happy New Year!’ I said, as the pressure began to grow again in my bump. Looking out of the window, I knew this was a special moment – the last ever New Year as just the two of us.
After the fireworks petered out we got back into bed and I managed to sleep until 3.30am. Feeling uncomfortable, I went to the bathroom and noticed a spot of blood in my knickers. Was it my mucous plug coming away? I called the hospital, explained I’d been having tightenings for the last few hours and was advised to come in. ‘Bring your hospital bag,’ the midwife reminded me. The streets were empty as Phil drove us through the night.
After waddling into the hospital, a midwife asked me to sit on a bed. In a trance, I rocked backwards and forwards, breathing through each tightening. My hypnobirthing MP3 tracks had taught me to think of each one as a wave, not a contraction, which helped keep me calm.
A midwife examined me. ‘Wow, you’re 5cm dilated and in established labour,’ she said. She was surprised I was so calm! And I was pleased to have got so far without needing pain relief. I carried on deep breathing through each contraction.
By the time we were moved to the labour ward it was almost 8am. The midwife wished me a happy New Year as she examined me, and there was a jolly, upbeat atmosphere on the ward. And I was enjoying it all: things were progressing well, I had my own room with a television, and my heart-rate monitor showed that the baby was content and healthy. When the midwife reminded me my baby would be born on New Year’s Day, I felt excited.
Phil called his mum and, at 9am, she arrived. We’d agreed that she’d be there to support Phil, who was nervous. My mum’s no longer with us, so it was good to have an experienced family member to support us. Beverley and Phil sat quietly next to the bed, as I tried to stay fully in tune with my body. When they tried talking to me, I gave them a stern look, and they soon got the message! Inhaling gas and air when I needed it helped too.
By 2pm, the midwife thought we needed speeding along, so I lay back on the bed as she pierced the amniotic sac. Feeling the ‘pop’, then the warm liquid escape, was strange, but not painful. I was 8cm dilated, and nearing the end of labour. Sitting on the bed, I rocked and breathed through the contractions, which by now were coming thick and fast. Half an hour later, the midwife said I was ready to push. I felt excited: I could hardly believe I was about to meet my baby!
The midwife helped me onto a stool on the floor. The crescent-shaped seat encouraged me into a squatting position which helped to open my pelvis. Phil stood quietly behind me, holding my shoulders, and Beverley remained in the nearby chair.
The room felt calm and relaxed, allowing me to focus 100 per cent on pushing. I felt a massive pressure building near my bottom, and I let my body take over. Ten minutes of pushing later, I felt an intense pressure as the head started to crown. I looked down but couldn’t see past my bump, but encouraged by the midwife, I put my hands down and felt a head of thick hair and a tiny face. It was so emotional. I felt Phil’s arms tightening around my shoulders as I pushed for the last time. And in an instant, as the body slipped out, all the pressure disappeared.
The midwife picked up our baby and placed him on my chest. I held him close against my skin, feeling euphoric. Phil, Beverley and I all started crying. It was the most amazing feeling. As I held baby Taylor close, I suddenly remembered what an extra-special day it was.
I love having a New Year baby, and I love the fact that everyone will remember his birthday, and be in the mood for celebration. And I’ll never forget standing with Phil at the window at midnight, feeling my contractions while watching the fireworks – it was truly magical.