Watermelon 1
18 May

Adventures in birth: day 1

On 8 days and counting, I went to the hospital for my weekly check up. For once, James wasn’t with me as he had viewings to do in the studio. Little did I know this appointment would be the beginning of my birth adventure. 

As it turns out, my blood pressure was high (140/100). Also, my urine had some protein in it. This set off alarm bells for the consultants because these are two signs of pre-eclampsia, or pregnancy- induced hypertension. It’s not good. It can be fatal and the only way to make it go away is to get the baby the hell outta Dodge either by induction or caesarean section. One consultant wanted to start me on induction right away; another wanted to wait and see what my blood results were like before going that route (my bloods turned out to be fine).

Either way, it meant my water birth was 200% off the cards.

It’s upsetting when you realise the birth you fantasised about is not going to happen. I always knew my birth plan was created for an ideal world, but still, I had to shed a few tears and readjust my expectations when the reality of the situation hit home. Induction doesn’t mean that I can’t have a natural, drug-free birth like I wanted (without water), but it depends on how far along the induction route I need to go in order to kick start my body into labour. If I get to a point where they need to break my waters, then, from what I understand, it’s the equivalent of going from zero to sixty in three seconds. No gradual introduction to contractions, but instead a sudden, intense pain. Thus, it is more likely I’d want drugs to help myself cope.

The first step along the induction trail is a cervical sweep. This is when the midwife basically sweeps her finger across the cervix to see if she can get it going. In my internal exam earlier, my cervix was still found to be quite hard and I think they determined that a cervical sweep wouldn’t really work with me. Although Abdul is ready to come out,  my body isn’t there yet. 

In the morning (countdown day 7), they will look at my blood pressure from overnight and decide whether I should move onto the next stage of induction, which is a prostaglandin pessary. If yes, they will insert it and let it do its stuff over the next 24 hours. If no (because my BP has stabilised), I will be sent home with daily visits to the hospital to monitor my stats.

James has been wonderful today. He dropped everything to join me at the hospital and then went into Kingston to finish my hospital bag shopping (and to get me dinner from Carluccios). He also picked me up a tub of my favourite Marks & Spencer ice cream, which was pretty wet by the time he got it to me. I still ate it. And as a treat, he got me a few delectable slices of salami, which I have not eaten since September. Heaven. I figure it can’t do anything too bad at this point; after all, as a salami-eating, cat-owning Italian, the chances that I don’t have toxoplasmosis are in the region of Donald Trump being elected president.

I’d also like to thank all my followers on Twitter who have done a spectacular job of keeping my spirits up with their messages of support. 

So now I am in for a night of monitoring. I am currently hooked up to both a foetal heart monitor and a blood pressure machine. I’ve never been admitted to a hospital before, so it all feels odd. I have to press a button whenever I feel the baby move, which is often. Blood pressure is still high, but all my other stats are good. 

I’m going to try to get some sleep soon and attempt to visualise my labour starting. I’m remaining philosophical right now. The important thing isn’t that I have the perfect birth, but rather that I have a perfectly healthy baby.

And there is always a silver lining: at least it means my waters won’t break while I’m standing on our new carpets!


  1. 18 May


    Oh Julia, thinking about you lots and sending you positive vibes. Glad to hear you had a good night. Hope your blood pressure can come down and you might get your water birth but if you don’t I hope it is as stress free as possible. Either way I am sure it will be a wonderful experience and you finally get to meet Abdul at the end of it!

  2. 18 May

    Amy Georgina

    Morning Julia, I really hope you’ve had a good night and that things start to progress soon. So sorry to hear you might not be able to have the birth you wanted, I was in the same position and in the end, had to have a caesarean (which isn’t all that bad, you still get your beautiful baby!) Sending you lots of happy thoughts!

    PS. Kingston – I work at Kingston uni, are you at Kingston Hospital?! Small world!

  3. 18 May

    Eliza Claire

    My BP was high with Ethan (180/130 in non-active labour) and they wanted to give me an epidural as it brings down blood pressure apparently. Unfortunately they gave me 2 shots of peth in the meantime that made labour much faster than they thought so we ran out of time for the epidural. Ethan was ventouse delivery as I wasn’t allowed to push with my BP being that high, but the ventouse was completely fine, not anywhere near as bad as I was expecting.

    Ultimately, right now, it doesn’t matter HOW Abdul is born, just that she will soon be snuggling in your arms for the first time :)

  4. 18 May

    Lauren And Melissa

    Your last bit about importance of healthy baby over ideal birth is absolutely 100% right. Don’t let it upset you that it is not planned. It will all be fine. Thinking of you and sending good vibes! Lauren and Melissa xxx

  5. 18 May


    It’s time to plug in those headphones and watch Don Draper on repeat. (Is it terribly un-maternal of me that your “iPad loaded with Mad Men” was my favourite thing on your hospital bag list?!). Hope it all goes well xx

  6. 18 May

    Kim Price - Roseberry Weddings

    All the best Julia. Despite the scary and perhaps disappointing parts, its all part of the final journey to that incredible meeting of your child. Your recent blog post brings me right back. The process of meeting my son, even amidst the chaos, was the most magical moment life could ever give me. Enjoy these days and wishing you all the best xx

  7. 18 May

    Gemma Schipani

    Thinking of you Julia! I only had my little man 16 weeks ago, so its all still fresh in my mind. I was supposed to be induced but at that final minute it was decided i didnt need to be as my body kicked started the process itself. Fingers crossed your body decides to do it all itself. Just suck that gas and air when the time comes if you need it, was magic stuff for me! But if you take to much its kind of funny like your high on something. Its scary, but soooo magical. Cant wait to see baby as I have followed your pregnancy andloved reading your blog.

  8. 18 May

    Gemma Schipani

    O and I am a salami eating, cat owning Italian girl & my little man was just fine! I was naughty and ate a lot of prawns whilst pregnant, I couldnt stop even if I tried!

  9. 18 May


    Oh good luck Julia – I’ll be thinking about you – hope you have a happy and heathly labour and a great first meeting with Abdul! x

  10. 18 May

    Binky nixon

    Good luck with everything, sounds like you are well equipped with all you could possibly need! Will be keeping my eye out for your “watermelon arrival” announcement!

  11. 18 May


    Hope you’re OK Julia! Thinking about you! xxx

  12. 18 May


    I’ve only recently discovered your fantastic blog. You took some fantastic shots of me last year. Just wanted to wish you, James and your little one all the very best over the next few days :)

  13. 18 May


    Well, take one worry from your mind: Donald Trump dropped out of the GOP race. Phew. Now let’s get you a baby!

  14. 18 May


    I feel like Sarah’s right- Abdul can now enter a safer, saner world with Trump out of the race! ;)

    Sending you healthy and quick labor vibes! In the end you’re 110% right, all that matters is a healthy baby!!

  15. 18 May

    Rob Brook

    Birthing plans are wonderful things in principle but having fathered 4 children I have yet to see a birthing plan put into action!

  16. 18 May

    Nancy Gallagher

    Good vibes going your way. It’s cliche, but all this will be worth it when you hole Abdul in your arms.

  17. 18 May

    Matt P

    Thinking of you Julia. And good man James!

  18. 18 May


    Hang in there Julia!


  19. 18 May

    Charlie M

    Thinking about the three of you, have a restful evening and if you want something to get things moving one of my friends swears by pineapple! Best of luck! C x

  20. 18 May


    Darling!! thinking of you so much!! If it helps I had an induction with Nate and the birth was absolutely divine. You are right the contractions do come on fast so I tried gas and air to see how I felt and then opted for an epidural….it was the most calm, blissfull experience with Nate being born amid laughter and meditation music….turned out to be perfect!! Hang in there and enjoy James pampering you. Love the blog. You are such a great writer. Thanks for sharing!! Big kiss!! xxx

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