365 days ago, at about 7:30 in the morning, I popped along to my local labour ward to have my waters broken. I was 37.5 weeks pregnant and, as much as I had wanted it all to start in its own time, by that stage I was over it and needed to not be pregnant anymore. I'd told anyone who would listen that it would all be over by midday. Hey, second babies are meant to come quicker. Induced labours are meant to be shorter. Twins are meant to arrive faster.
365 days ago, at 7:30 in the evening, my waters remained intact. A series of stuff-ups, mix-ups and balls-ups meant not a jot of progress had been made. I'd spent most of the day hooked up to various monitors and, before even the first contraction, I was exhausted. My team - two sisters, an uncle and the Garbageman - all rallied around, but I was just about ready to pack it in and go home.
365 days ago, at about 10pm, my obstetrician made an appearance and was finally able to do what two midwives and a hospital obstetrician had failed to do - break my waters. At the point of giving up and trying another day, I had to dig in and muster the strength for labour. A very young anaesthetist stuck a long needle in my spine to set in place an epidural line - it was my doctor's concession to my desire for a drug-free labour. Having the line in meant the drugs could be administered in a hurry should there be any problems with Twin B. Of course, having that line in also meant I couldn't be in water for any of my labour, something I'd found indispensable with my first baby. And it also meant that having already gotten through the worst bit, ie, the needle, it might be harder to resist the drugs when it came to the crunch.
365 days ago, just before midnight, realising my two little Aquarians would be Pisceans (and obviously were meant to be all along), I was hooked up to a syntocinon drip and the contractions finally began. There may have been screaming. There may have been swearing. Someone may even have demanded the drugs and been talked down by a very calm and intuitive midwife who insisted I was so close I should just hang in a bit longer.
Cut to six hours later when, in the dim light of the labour ward room, with many, many, many hospital staff looking on, my little Pearl arrived, as naturally as I had hoped. And 40 minutes after that, under the bright and sterile lights of the operating theatre, with even more people present, Stella was delivered by emergency caesarean. Little trixie trixter thought she'd stick her shoulder down rather than her head, and all the prodding and pulling and pushing and poking in the world couldn't turn her.
365 days. My, how the year has flown.