18 May 2016

Bringing the little ladies into the world - Part One

I attended a baby shower recently and was asked by the lovely mummy to be how the little ladies came into the world and how I knew when they were on their way. When I got home I reflected on actually just how amazing it is to grow a little baby and bring it into the world, no matter how they arrive. I'm acutely aware that everyones pregnancy, labour and birth experiences are different, this is quite simply me documenting my experiences and backing up my memories of the days my world changed forever as they are already fading, which is probably how i've ended up with three babies! Anyway here we go, i've decided to write three separate posts as once I started I realised there was quite a lot to document.

Welcome to the world Ellie

Having your first baby is a whole host of unknowns. I hadn't really thought about what pregnancy would be like, I just knew I wanted to have a baby and that was as far as I got. I got home from work one day and was feeling a bit yuck, I don't know what made me do it but I took a pregnancy test. I left it on the side of the bath and went to make a cup tea and thought nothing of it, i'd become a monthly stick pee-er ever since we had decided to start a family, I was just too impatient to see if i'd be 'late' or not and was driving myself crazy trying to spot every tangible symptom. Anyway, the negative lines got a bit disappointing after a while but also what I expected each month after a while so when i walked back into the bathroom I was completely and utterly shocked to see two lines on the test. I remember bursting into tears, feeling mild panic and sheer delight all at the same time. Literally minutes after my mum called me (she seems to have a 6th sense...) I hadn't told Oli yet and so wanted to tell her but held back and rushed her off the phone. It didn't feel quite right telling my husband he was going to be a dad over the phone while he was at work, or on his train journey home (which was consequently delayed!) so rather than calling him I decided to tell him in person when he got in, which was super late and i'd fallen asleep waiting. When he climbed into bed I woke up and remembering I flung the pregnancy test at him excitedly and told him he was going to be a daddy.

I spent the first 16 weeks of this pregnancy throwing up, which made it very hard to disguise, particularly at work in a large open plan office, with the bathroom at the opposite end of the room, meaning I was regularly running down it and once i was sick in my bin under my desk, delightful. I remember a colleague asking me if it was 'happy sick' after I emerged from the cubicle after one of these occasions. My lack of wine drinking and suddenly enormous boobs meant our friends guessed very early on in the pregnancy. We had planned to keep our news to ourselves until after the 12 week scan as I had sadly had a miscarriage 6 months before which was devastating. Seeing our wiggly baby at that scan and again at 20 weeks was incredible, and made it all very real.

20 week scan
We didn't find out the gender at our scan, which looking back was a good thing or I might have gone slightly crazy with the baby shopping! I loved choosing my pram, picking out bits for the nursery and folding up tiny vests. I spent my lunch breaks wandering around baby sections of shops and imagining what our baby would look like. I started pregnancy aqua yoga and antenatal classes to try and prepare myself and met some lovely friends along the way, little did i know they would become a very important part of my life.

I finished work at 35 weeks, I was shattered, come 3pm I couldn't keep my eyes open, I was having naps in my car in my lunch break and going to bed as soon as I had got home and had dinner. I loved those 4.5 weeks of maternity leave, I slept in, read magazines and watched tv, cooked and sorted out baby bits and nested, in fact I don't think my skirting boards have ever been so clean! I'm so glad I did that, especially having had two more babies since, with no maternity leave!

38 weeks Pregnant
My labour started when I was 39+1 weeks. I had a 'show' in the morning and excitedly rang my mum, she said it wouldn't be long but feeling absolutely fine I thought nothing of it. She popped over and we walked into town and had lunch, I had a thai green curry just in case! That afternoon I started to feel a few niggles but again didn't think much of it. It was my dad's birthday and he was due home in the morning from working away so I made him some cupcakes. I remember having contractions while I was icing them but I didn't want to jinx it so kind of brushed them off as nothing. By tea time they were perhaps coming every 20-30 minutes so I sat on my birth ball and put a film on as a distraction, I chose the longest film i could - 'Inception', looking back a strange choice as I couldn't tell you what was going on now let alone whilst in labour.  Oli video called me from a event he was working at in London and cottoned on straight away when I wouldn't make eye contact with him, he knows me too well. I didn't want him to panic and rush home as somehow I knew it would be a while yet, I played things down and just told him to come home once the event was finished. When he walked in the door at about 8:30pm we were both so excited and with the contractions coming ever 15-20 minutes I finally acknowledged that I might be in labour. We went to bed to try and get some rest about 10pm but I couldn't settle. I went and got in the bath for an hour or so which really helped but by about 1am I was quite uncomfortable and the contractions were getting much more intense. We got organised and rang the hospital to let them know we were coming in soon.

I suddenly felt quite nervous when we got to the hospital as I think I finally realised that after 9 long months we were going to meet our baby soon. I  had hoped for a water birth and was relieved when the midwife told us the pool was available and also extremely grateful to have some gas and air. The gas and air really took the edge off things for me and I remember laughing my head off because I sounded like Darth Vader (Oli is a big Star Wars fan so this was a particularly funny reference at the time) Shortly after that i was sick all over him when i asked him to get me a sick bowl and he returned with a plastic cup from a water dispenser... I got in the birthing pool just after 7am and felt instantly relaxed and it did really take the edge of. It felt like my own little private space and I was really able to focus. I have to say Oli was a great birth partner, apart from when he ate a cereal bar and dropped crumbs on my head.

The bit I really needed him for was 'transition' when I was completely adamant that i couldn't do it and that I didn't want to do it and needed ALL the drugs. He calmly told me that the baby would be here soon and I realised that he had actually been paying attention in the NCT classes we had been to and that he was right. My waters had remained in tact bulging for a good hour or so which was quite uncomfortable, they didn't go until I felt the urge to push. I will never forget the feeling and relief when they went and of that all encompassing feeling of needed to push, it completely took over. 15 minutes later at 8:57am and Ellie was born into the water and lifted up onto my chest. She didn't cry, she just looked up at me. I couldn't actually believe it, there was a tiny human there which we had made and I had grown, it was a shock. It was a few minutes before we even checked to see if she was a girl or a boy, we were both just a bit in awe and I was exhausted and to be honest relieved it was all over. But she was here, our lovely little Ellie. Then there was the placenta delivery and the stitching... I won't go into detail don't worry, but these are aspects of the birth I hadn't got my head round or given much thought to, it had all been about getting the baby out. I felt quite raw and vulnerable and so, so tired yet at the same time really proud of myself. I had a shower, which felt amazing and some tea and toast before putting my comfies on and staring at our beautiful baby.

Ellie a couple of hours old
After establishing feeding and all the checks we went home later that afternoon, walking out the hospital with a tiny baby in a car seat which we were responsible for felt very daunting but also incredible. I don't think Oli has ever driven so carefully than when we've bought our babies home from hospital. After carrying her into our house and popping her down still in her car seat in the middle of the living room, we sat on the sofa and wondered what to do next, all of a sudden we were a family, not just a couple any more, a three, a mummy, a daddy and a tiny baby... and thats when the adventures (and sleep deprivation) began.

Me x

You can read part Two HERE

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