Wednesday, December 6th.


39 weeks pregnant and waddling in to the clinic for my check-up. Everything was good. I had high blood pressure at this stage during my first pregnancy, so I was relieved. My OB offered to give me a sweep, but I declined.


Off I went on my merry way, to finish the last of the Christmas shopping. Home to my toddler, Max. 18 months old and the most lovable rogue I have ever met. He has one of those laughs that’s good for your soul.


A typical day in our house, loading and unloading the washing machine too many times for my liking, ironing and cleaning. Oh, did I mention packing? Yep, we just received confirmation that our mortgage was accepted, and we were now officially home owners.


This would be the best news to get just before Christmas for the majority but, I was dreading it. The thoughts of packing up for 4 people while heavily pregnant was hell. The thoughts of moving house with a toddler and a newborn was equally as hellish.

We had dinner that evening, pork. Baby was super active. We were in bed by 10:30. Tossing and turning. 11:01 - POP! I will never forget the sound of my waters breaking. No heads up - nothing. Up I sprung and ran straight to the bathroom, you know, just to make sure. I came out of the bathroom and gently gave the nod to Matt.


Of course while I stood there, the rest of my waters decided to leak. I asked Matt to give my mam a call. She was on stand-by to look after Max. It was a particularly horrible night, lashing and cold. I sat on the edge of our super king bed, after drying the floor, trying to decide what to wear and throwing some make-up into my hospital bag.

I had an urge to go to the bathroom. 11:20. Uh-Oh I mutter. "Matt, we don’t have time. You may call an ambulance."

Mam and Dad walked through the front door. I had made it downstairs to the bathroom. The little bathroom was no bigger than 4 X 4. I couldn’t have found a smaller space to labour in. I was pushing. My poor mum. I’ll never forget her face.


"Jess, love. You need to get off the toilet, you can’t have the baby in the toilet."


Where I found the strength to hoist myself in one swoosh, up and down, I will never know. Dad was on the phone to the operator, frantically answering all her questions and relaying the information to Mammy.


He got more than he bargained for that night.

I was in a world of my own, knowing our baby girl was on her way. What was the point in panicking? It was happening. One arm around the toilet, one arm up on the sink. Push. It’s all a bit of a blur but I remember the operator telling my dad to get a shoelace and safety pin.


I opened my eyes in a rather "what the f**k do we need those for" kind of way. Her head was out, and we needed those to clamp the cord. My mum and I both looking at another for reassurance. Yes, I had given birth before, mam had given birth 6 times. But neither of us have ever been on the business end. 



The delivery suite.


00:07 - Baby Robyn entered the world. Screaming. Thank God! The relief. I had managed to take off my top through all this so Mam could pop her up on my chest for skin to skin. I was completely naked.


Freezing, lying on those black and white god-awful tiles, the front door had been open the entire time waiting on the paramedics. Max had woken up during all the drama. I’m sure Matt was delighted he had something to distract him. The paramedics arrived shortly after, they couldn’t believe how calm it all was.


Thankfully my mam wrapped us both up in blankets. We had left Robyn attached to the cord, so the paramedic took a scissors from her kit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a scissors like it. It took 7 attempts for that lady to cut the cord. Can you imagine it? I’m lying on the floor, draped around the toilet and sink pedestal. My mum at my feet and the paramedic hanging halfway in the door frame. Like I said, I couldn’t have picked a smaller place to give birth. We delivered the placenta there. Up I got, threw on a dressing gown and out I walked to the ambulance.

All the while I’m worried. At 36 weeks pregnant my OB informed me I was carrying Group B Strep bacteria. It was discovered when a sample of urine was sent for testing due to a recurring kidney infection. I’d never heard of it. It’s not routinely tested for in Ireland.


I kept hearing conflicting information on the subject but the one thing everyone agreed with was "the minute your waters break, go to the hospital immediately”, where I would begin an IV antibiotic to reduce the risk to baby. Obviously, there was no antibiotic. The minute we arrived in to the hospital, they had taken Robyn to make sure she was OK.


I quickly divulged all to the midwives and they promptly called the paediatrician. They took swabs and drew blood. I remember looking at Matt and saying "she’s not crying" as they stuck the needle into her tiny hand.

She too was carrying the bacteria. All swabs came back positive. I had passed it onto her. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Every twinge, every cry, every time she felt a little warm, every time her breathing felt a little fast. Every time she fussed at the boob. Worry. Panic. They kept us for 3 days, closely monitoring her. She seemed good.


Once you pass the 3-month mark there really is no further risk.

As we’re just approaching the 4-month mark now, I definitely feel that I am very protective of her. You can’t help but think "what if?" The nightmares and flashbacks. It’s only now really sinking in. 

Jessica O’Neill, 26 year old Mama to two under two and author of My Moo and Roo Blog. Currently on maternity leave, winging motherhood everyday.

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