Pregnant! Again! Third Time! Oh we were so thrilled and it felt so right.
Put a call into Kate Spillane. Kate was our midwife when we had our second son, Rory, and thankfully she agreed to take us on again.
Had a trouble free pregnancy apart from awful morning sickness for the first trimester or so, which saw me spending a lot of afternoons lying on the couch and dragging myself around. I was so unmotivated it was untrue. I was also very tired and having 2 sons with limitless energy didn't help.
Again, I loved Kate's visits during which she showed patience above and beyond the call of duty by listening to Rory's heartbeat and taking his blood pressure about 10 times every visit. She really made him feel involved. I was so ecstatic to be pregnant and enjoyed every moment of it.
My baby was due on 1st June - the first day of the World Cup so the boys were convinced it was going to be a boy and he'd arrive in time to watch the World Cup with them!
However, the 1st June came and went and it wasn't until the 7th June at 5.00 a.m. that I started having pre-labour pains. Even at this stage I wasn't sure if I really was having pains or if I was thinking about going into labour so much I was imagining them!
Anyway, decided to call Kate at about 8.00 a.m. to let her know that something was stirring and she came over to have a look at me. She stayed a couple of hours before examining me and pronounced it would probably be that night before baby arrived.
While not dilated at all I was effacing and Kate reassured me that there was work being done. She left saying she'd keep in telephone contact. Knew myself there wasn't a lot happening. So spent the day lounging around and napping. Robert's Mum came to collect the boys at about 4.00 p.m. and they stayed with her for the night.
 I opted for a birthing pool for this birth, which I was looking forward to. We were a bit unsure about when to fill it and how long it would take. Robert filled it that morning and had it completely full with quite hot water by about 10.00 a.m. and then of course we started worrying about keeping it warm so we draped blankets and sleeping bags over it. Must say we were amazed how warm it stayed. We left it like that for about 15 hours and it was still very warm and only needed another small amount of hot water to get it right.
It was about 11.00 p.m. when I felt the contractions were getting slightly more intense and more regular and things were starting in earnest. We began timing the contractions.
Called Kate at 1.00 a.m. and she arrived very shortly afterwards. Pains were getting more severe and closer together at that stage but still very manageable. I was on all fours at this stage doing yoga positions, which I found great (thanks Sighle McDonnell).
Kate and Robert started watching one of those weird movies that are usually only on in the small hours - this one was about someone getting stoned to death - charming - they kept apologizing for watching it but never actually turned it off! Anyway, I was pretty oblivious to what was going on around me as I was really concentrating on breathing and movement to get me through each contraction. I was alternating between the birthing ball, the yoga mat and leaning up against the wall.
At about 3.00 a.m. Kate examined me and said I was about 3 cm but I knew by the severity of the pains that I was dilating fairly rapidly so shortly after that I got into the pool. I found this a great help in dealing with the pain and quite enjoyed it in the beginning although we'd made a bit of a mistake about where we placed the bean bag, which we're put underneath the lining but hadn't put it close enough to the side of the pool and as a result it was taking up most of the floor of the pool not leaving me much room.
Very soon afterwards I hit transition and got very irritable with Robert who was mopping my brow with cold water and a few drops of lavender oil, as I was so so hot.
I knew our baby was going to be born very shortly. Kate had positioned herself behind me at the far side of the pool and was making encouraging noises telling me to let the baby come.
There was no gap between the contractions now and the pain was incredible. I'd have paid serious money for drugs at that point. I remember thinking why was the sweetest, most satisfying, most unforgettable moment of birth also the most painful.
Then the mind-blowing burning, feeling you're going to split in two and our daughter was born. Kate caught her and held her up for us to see her. She looked so familiar and she was so welcome. Hannah was here. It was 3.57 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
Feeling I'd aged about 50 years, I managed to position myself on the beanbag and, still in the pool, held our daughter for the first time. She was so gorgeous.
After about half an hour Robert cut the cord while I was still in the pool and I managed, with much help, to get out and lay on the coach. I was so shaky. The contractions seemed to be returning somewhat and I delivered the placenta.
After that I gave Hannah her first breastfeed and boy did she latch on! She looked like a veteran! Then I had some tea and transferred up to my bedroom and having got that distasteful business of the first pee over with, got settled into bed by Kate, who can settle you into bed like no one else.
Then she weighted Hannah - she was 7 lb 4 ozs. About 8.00 a.m. Robert came to bed having emptied the pool and packed it up. Kate left, we turned off the telephones and the three of us had the deepest of deep sleeps. I was so tired but so happy.
When we woke we rang and arranged for the boys to come home. They hadn't been told about their sister's arrival. It was magic watching their little faces light up when they saw her tucked up beside me in bed although Daniel did ask if he could check to make sure it wasn't a boy! He loves her to pieces now and informed me only today that he'd like another sister!!
The next two weeks were great. I got so much rest - I didn't get dressed once and I didn't make as much as a cup of tea. Just spent my time getting to know Hannah and enjoying it. It was bliss and was definitely the key to a complete recovery. Another big thank you to Kate for being our midwife - it was a pleasure and a privilege having her in our lives for Hannah's pregnancy and birth.
I wish every woman could have the same positive birth experience I had.

Subsequent birth and subsequent home birth, midwife Kate Spillane, birth pool