So Grace is 2 and a half years old... and has a baby sister!
Daisy Sara (pronounced Sarah) Janina (pronounced Yanina) Waller - born 12 days late, just like Grace.
I gave birth in the same room, wearing the same dress, and Daisy looks like a mini Grace.
It's almost like pressing rewind and getting to experience our first little girl all over again. I know as time goes on that Daisy will display her own traits and personality, but right now all she does is sleep and root for food and look very very sweet all the time.
Grace is very keen on Upsy Daisy. She formally introduced us all "I am Grace, this is my daddy, this is my mummy, and we are Care Bears."
She makes her cups of tea with her Peppa pig tea set, watches over her anxiously when I breastfeed ("what you doing with your nickles mum?") and when Daisy cries she goes over and says "Don't worry little girl, it's only mummy."
Birth second time round was easier and yet harder too. I had various attempts at acupuncture (which worked a treat before, but this time made me have a panic attack just as the 19th needle was inserted into me.
I had to cling on to 'Slava' the therapist, sweating and sobbing and mumbling something about feeling like a giant mushroom (I was perched on a small stool, it did not feel safe).
Even a "sweep" from the midwife (they say a broom is not used in this procedure but I am not so sure. I could not see what was going on over my massive tummy, and it FELT like a broom) did not get things going.
Daisy STILL did not want to come out - so I was booked in to be induced on Saturday morning. The benefits of being induced are that you can shave your legs and paint your toe-nails so you feel nice...
The downside of being induced is that it's not very dignified.
I had not been in hospital for five minutes before I was ordered to take off my pants "Pop my ankles together and flop my knees apart."
I had an idea I would not like having my waters broken when the midwife recommended I did not look at the tool they were going to use to do it... and things just got more and more undignified from there.
Waters breaking is a myth anyway. What it actually means is that a mini niagra falls has been triggered off somewhere inside you. After a loud popping sound James and I were told to walk round and round the hospital while I leaked massive puddles all over the floor. It was actually quite helpful for retracing our steps when we got lost however...
By half past seven I was having regular contractions.... which coincided nicely with England's first game. I asked James to write down the time each one started so I could see how far apart they were. By this time they were too strong to talk through so I tapped him with a pen when I felt one brewing.
He was so absorbed in the game he tutted each time and said "WHAT?" then remembered and said "Yes, well done, come on Rooney, I mean Newtso."
As we were still on the ward for pregnant ladies with problems or those who had just given birth and were recuperating, I tried to be very quiet.
Each time I had a contraction (or contraption as James called them) I did heavy breathing and flapped my arms about instead. Then they ramped up a gear and I did heavy breathing, flapped my arms about and clutched my quilt cover.
Then England scored and James cheered and whooped and shouted and I was FURIOUS at him. "If I can manage to keep quiet through THIS (I pointed at my rock hard tummy) then YOU can keep quiet through that, that, RUBBISH" I hissed at him. I could hear midwives giggling from behind the curtain...
Luckily for me, just after that I was deemed far enough along to go upstairs to labour ward "Really?" James said "They don't look that painful" .... where the TV did not work so James had to have a sleep instead.
It was odd going into the same room we had Grace in, with the same amazing view of Brighton's seafront out the window. It felt like a good omen. I had already said I wanted an epidural please to everyone I saw all day, even to the non English speaking people who just came to bring me my lunch, so the midwives had me all prepped up for the anesthetist in advance while I bounced on a birthing ball thinking positive thoughts like "each contraction is one less" and "pain is progression" and "my vulva is opening like a flower"
(NOT REALLY, I thought "Where the flipping heck is my epidural?").
After about an hour there was a knock on the door, and I could see a man with a blue hat on behind the curtain. A very nice man with the magic needle. "Hello" he said "Is it me you're looking for" (I may have made the last bit up but he definitely said hello).
I had already hitched my dress up ready for the injection when another voice, a voice I did not want to hear said "Simon? could you please come to theatre? " and as quickly as he appeared, he left again, taking his magic needle with him.
I started to get a bit panicky, and between contractions repeated nonsense about a man called Simon and a blue hat until finally the midwife worked out what I was on about and went to find out how long he was going to be. HOURS, that is how long.
By the time he came back and sorted me out I was beyond exhausted (obviously I was not as tired as James, who had been asleep for ages).
The midwives told me to get some rest but I was too excited about the pushing bit and finding out what we had made. At last, after many hours of poking and prodding I was deemed ready to push.
"Right-ho" I said - then promptly fell asleep. James had to keep waking me up when I had contraptions.
Not much was happening so I was moved from my very undignified position in stirrups to an even more undignified one which took three people to put me in and involved my bum being high in the air.
I had no time to care though as Daisy was out within three pushes.. well half of her was. Her face was out, but the rest of her wasn't. James said I looked like a had a turtle poking out my bum staring at him... and I didn't have another contraction for AGES, so we all just had to wait - Me, James, the two midwives and my poor daughter who was half born and half not.
Finally I pushed the rest of her out and after a brisk rub down (cord round neck) she was passed, pink and perfect onto my chest so I could sob and thank everyone and apologise about them having to look at my bum.
I was told not to worry and to push again please as I had to deliver the placenta - and what a placenta it was. It was bigger than Daisy. All the midwives gathered round to coo and marvel at it. Anyone would think it was cuter than the baby (It wasn't. I saw it).
And then at last, after 21 hours of pessaries and prodding and peeing and pain it was all over and I was tucked up in bed with my beautiful new daughter and every single second was worth it.
James and I forgot how much newborn babies remind us of dinosaurs, or how amazing babies heads smell, or how small yet perfect a toe nail can be. (I must admit I am a bit embarrassed about how hard I said Daisy used to kick when she was inside me now I can see her teeny, tiny, soft as cottonwool foot. At one point I had even described her as "vicious")
And so now we are four. I am over the moon as I get to do all the things I missed out on for not having a sister (sleepovers, shopping trips, tea parties, sylvanian families). James is just as happy but perhaps not looking forward to having a hormone fueled household for the next 18 years.
He has been amazing as usual however. He cuts Daisy's teeny tiny nails with the even teeny tinier clippers, lets her suck his nose just like Grace used to do, and makes me endless drinks and snacks and tells me I was amazing, even with my bum in the air.
Anyway, I must get on. We have two girls to bathe and get to bed now... one of them just wants to breastfeed and the other one wants to play with her very very noisy fireman Sam truck which we have told her she cannot use unless Daisy is awake. Needless to say she goes over and strokes her a bit too hard and then says "Um, little sister is awake now mum, I can play man Sam engine."
Latest photos here: