The night before Siobhán was born, we were watching Rio 2 as a family. Partway through, Mary mentioned that she was feeling uncomfortable. We didn’t think much of it because Mary had feelings of discomfort several times over the last few weeks, particularly at the gym.
Later that night, while we were watching a TV show in bed (as we normally do on the weekend), she mentioned towards the end of the show (close to midnight by this point) that the discomfort had become more intense and regular. At first, we thought it was early labour (we still had nearly 3 weeks left) or strong Braxton Hicks. Within a short period, however, we soon realized it wasn’t letting up.
We were still in denial for a bit given how far away the due date was, but Siobhán was persistent, and we eventually resigned ourselves to her impending arrival.
I tried to get a bit of sleep while Mary tried to relax through the contractions. As they progressed, that became difficult, and I kept myself busy with deep breathing and affirmations to deal with the anxiety that always accompanied each birth.
Shortly after 1:00 or so, Mary called me into the washroom, where she was labouring. She had downloaded an app to track contraction duration and frequency. Since she was labouring in the shower, she asked me to track them for her. They oscillated between increasing and decreasing, but they were obviously trending upward.
After 45 minutes or so, she knew they were intensifying and asked me to join her in the shower.
While Quillan, too, was born in the shower, this was a unique birthing experience for me. Mary found that staring into my eyes during contractions helped her to be present and focused. It was a surreal experience having her stare into my eyes so intently while also vocalizing the intensity of the contractions. I felt connected to her in a way I hadn’t been with the others.
About 6 or 7 contractions before Siobhán was born, Mary suggested that she was coming soon, so I sat cross legged in the tub, so I can better position myself for catching her.
I actually never saw her—not even a crowning head—until the final push. But at that last push, I was there waiting with my open hands to catch her. As soon as she came out, I positioned her to check if she was Eóin or Siobhán, and I told Mary we had another daughter.
I handed her to Mary, stood up, and rinsed out the tub, then I got out, dried off, and got dressed. I put some towels on the floor for Mary, and she made her way to the toilet to wait until the placenta emerged. I got her a towel to cover up Siobhán, then went to get Siobhán’s diaper and sleeper ready for later. I also grabbed a pair of scissors and the clamp ring for when we cut the cord later.
She was born about 2:27, and we woke up the children probably 20–30 minutes later to come see their new sister. A few of them were a bit disoriented, but they all came to see the new arrival.
Her birth was unexpected, and she ended up being our earliest baby by 5 days. At 3.12 kg, she was also our second biggest. Either way, everyone is happy to have her here.