An Announcement

A little late, almost 6 months late to be exact, and more for the benefit of those who don’t know us personally (or on social media) but here it is, short but sweet.

On the 9th of April 2017 at exactly 9.15AM, weighing in at a remarkable 8Ib 4oz we welcomed to the world our beautiful baby daughter.

Two weeks early, she has blessed our lives and completed our little family. 

Advertisements

20 Weeks Old

Continuing on from the busyness of last fortnight we had your grandparents come to stay last week, to say you were spoilt rotten is an understatement. Among your swag of goodies, your Granny had knitted you a wonderful blanket, jumper and two of the cutest animal hats whilst your Grandad amused you with Dee Dee and plied us with copious amounts of chocolate and sweets! You relished being doted on despite being a bit off colour, it soon became apparent you had developed your first cold.

This week saw the arrival of Auntie Ann and Uncle Brian delivering to us your cot. This cot has a long history within our family. It initially belonged to your maternal great grandparents (my Nanny and Poppa) who bought it for your grandma (my mummy) when she was a baby. She then used it for Uncle Simon, Uncle Daniel and myself before it went to Auntie Ann to be used for my cousins Lisa and Helen. It then returned to the Petitt’s when it was used by Uncle Daniel and Auntie Sam for your cousins Ella and Tommy. Then back it went to be used by the Jaworski’s (my cousin Lisa and her husband Kuba) to be used for their two children Alex and Maja before it went to cousin Helen and her partner Leo to be used for Macey. Now it’s my turn to use it for you. It’s not in bad nick considering it’s 76 years old. Auntie Ann doted on you and I’ve never seen you so relaxed in the arms of a ‘stranger’ before, it’s a shame she couldn’t stay longer but it was lovely that she finally got to meet you and it was quite obvious you loved her.

Firsts
First trip to the pub for an evening meal at the Brendan Arms with Granny and Grandad, you behaved exceptionally but started getting tired so I rushed you home so as to get you to bed but you did wait til I’d finished my meal.

First cold, bless your heart, I thought you’d avoid it but unfortunately not. Apart from being very stuffed up you were happy enough, I just had to sit up with you all night so you could sleep upright thus enabling you to breathe.

First rolls. On the 6th April at 1450 you did your first, totally unaided roll from your tummy to your back, even with a cold you amaze me! Of course this was shortly after you pooped on your playmat and prior to peeing on it πŸ˜‰ On the 9th you flipped from back to front on a totally flat surface.

20140412-105546.jpg
Taken immediately after your first f-b roll

Character
Your humour continues to shine through finding your father’s face the most amusing thing ever. I don’t blame you πŸ˜‰ You’ve been really chilled out despite your cold and not being able to breathe properly, an absolute delight.

Muscle Development & Coordination
You’re doing proper little push ups now when on your tummy and are throwing yourself around from side to side and have finally rolled front to back and back to front. Though you’re not doing this every time it put you on your mat. This week I’ve noticed you paying particular interest in your bouncer play arch… Finally. You grab the little lion, in particular, with both hands and study it deeply, slowly turning it as you go, it really is a delight to watch you, I often find myself wondering what you’re thinking. Your newest trick is pinching and then twisting which is fun for us, especially when you grab my neck or under my arm and I’m pleased to announce you have, in the last two days, found your thumb and I’ve caught you sucking it on a few occasions, hopefully you’ll be self soothing before we know it.

Speech
You’ve been quite quiet this fortnight, this could be down to the fact you haven’t felt very well but you’ve still shared plenty of smiles and giggles with us. In the last couple of days though you’ve been back to your normal gobby self which is amazing!

Entertainment
You’ve absolutely fallen in love with your Lamaze Dragon (Dee Dee) this last couple of weeks and nothing delights you more than seeing her swoop down from a height rewarding her with a big chomp on her nose or ear. You love being read to and enjoy your cardboard books, mostly to munch on granted! I bought you a bumbo this week which you LOVE. Honestly, it’s the best thing I’ve bought, you look like such a grown up little boy in it and I’m sure you must feel more independent.

20140412-105214.jpg

Sleep
Hmm, this is hit and miss. I’ve had a four hour stretch followed by one hourly feeds from you yet one day last week you slept for 7 hours then a half hour feed followed by another 4 hours (of course I was checking on you every 3 hours). There’s no rhyme nor reason to it, we just have to take each night as it comes.

Routine
Your bedtime routine is still working, although the one night we ordered take away with granny and grandad to arrive at 8 when you’re ALWAYS asleep you decided to not settle til gone 9! I’m going to start a more rigid nap time for you during the day soon too, hoping to put you in your crib awake so you fall asleep that way. I’m yet to start this though *eek*

Growth
You are now 14Ib 9.5oz.
I have been trying your 3-6 month clothing on the last couple of days but they swamp you still, though I have now put you in your bigger baby gros at night which is rather funny. I’ve retired some of your 0-3 stuff but some brands still fit you nicely.

Feeding
It’s becoming quite obvious we’re nearing weaning time with you. You are fascinated with what I’m eating and drinking often grabbing for the cup or plate I’m holding and smacking your lips. In a comical moment in the pub when Granny and Grandad were down, you grabbed hold of Daddy’s pint glass and pulled that to your mouth. It made for a wonderful photograph. God forbid I eat something now when you’re feeding as you pull off me and glare at what I’m doing with a total look of “Excccccccccuse me, what do you think you’re doing?”

I’m not sure where the last 20 weeks has gone, in one sense it feels like only yesterday we welcomed you into the world, yet on the other I can’t even start to imagine my life prior to your arrival. You continue to delight us everyday and with every smile, giggle, frown or even whinge I fall deeper and deeper in love with you. I never imagined my heart could hold so much and wonder how it has room for anymore but it seems to grow with you. I’m so totally in awe of you and so proud.

Mother’s Day

My mum, my beautiful, intelligent, funny, witty, kind, caring, popular, strong, heroic mum… where do I start? She is quite possibly the love of my life, second only, since November, to my boy.

20140330-084702.jpg

She sacrificed so much for us, she worked tirelessly to bring the three of us up to respect and care for others. She raised us single handed when my Dad had to go to Nigeria to work, she scrimped and saved to give us what we needed and often what we wanted. She was known not to eat herself so we had food on the table at a particularly bad time financially, working two jobs then coming home to do freelance typing just to pay the bills. She threw us the most amazing birthday parties, kids loved coming to our parties, in fact kids loved simply coming to our house for her cakes and warm welcome, never did she make them feel uncomfortable or in the way when I’m sure at times they were. I have the most wonderful memories of my childhood with her. She was strict but fair, we were never spoilt where objects were concerned and if we were naughty she never failed to punish us, the worst punishment of all was knowing she was disappointed or ashamed by our behaviour. However she loved us openly and never ever made us feel that we weren’t the centre of her world as she was ours.

As I grew into an adult our relationship changed from mother/daughter to best friends, we did pretty much everything together. We holidayed together, shopped together, worked together, often lived together, partied together, cried together and laughed together. Not a day went by when we didn’t talk except when I went travelling where phone calls were limited to, at the very least, once a week. She never turned us away, never made us feel that we couldn’t turn to her if we needed her and we so often did. She sacrificed so much for us and never asked for anything in return except that we be happy.

She’s the strongest woman I know, she’s a fighter, she tackled everything head on and with gusto. She wouldn’t let anything defeat her without a damn good fight.

In 2000 she was given the devastating news that she had cancer of the breast. Again she put on her bravest face and started the biggest battle of her life, never letting her humour or smile evade her, not in front of us anyway. She beat it after months of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I have never been so totally in awe of someone in my life, her bravery and positivity were inspiring to more than just us. She wasn’t just our hero, she touched the lives of so many people and rarely lost touch with anyone she came into contact with and as such had hundreds of friends across the world. This was never more evident than at every birthday and Christmas where the sheer number of cards that she received spoke volumes.

Unfortunately the cancer returned years later, it had metastasised and again her battle began to prolong her life. She fought it so well until unfortunately her body couldn’t fight any longer. Our relationship changed again and as her health began to fail I became her carer. It was my turn to look after the woman that had looked after me for 35 years and yet still her foremost concern was us and how we were. She never ceased to amaze us and despite medical opinion she saw in her 70th birthday, filling her room at the hospice with well wishers to bursting, so much so I was literally pushed out the patio doors. Even here she made friends, the staff loved her, she filled the place with light and laughter even when she was obviously in so much pain. That year, 2008, I celebrated my last Mother’s Day with the woman that defined me. Unfortunately 9 days after her birthday, on April 13th, we lost our brave, beautiful, wonderful, precious mother. Our hearts broke and continue to break to this day. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of her and miss her. A hole was left which nothing can ever fill.

The last five years I have tried to hide from Mother’s Day. I avoid card shops and florists, I turn my head away from gift shop windows in the run up and tend to lock myself away on that Sunday so as not to see the happy faces of mothers and daughters out on walks or out for lunch. I’m jealous you see and bloody angry that this evil disease has robbed the world, us, of such a precious person when there are so many wicked people still roaming it. I hate Mother’s Day.

Now here I am in 2014 no longer avoiding it but being the centre of it because now it’s taken on a whole new meaning… It’s now my badge of honour. I am now that mother to be celebrated. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with this change having harboured such ill feelings for the last 5 years. I hopefully got all my tears out of the way last night in the hope that there won’t be any sad ones shed today.

I find myself missing my mum even more since the birth of my beautiful Noah. She would have doted on him and I feel he’s been robbed of this beautiful woman, of a doting grandmother so although this is now ‘my’ day I still find myself struggling to see it that way, I feel like a fraud, in my mind it will always belong to the woman that brought me into the world, she was a real mother.

My mum was my first love. She was my life. She was my everything. Now it’s my turn to hopefully give Noah the same wonderful memories and to instill the same moral and social principles. She’s a tough act to follow but I hope I do her proud.

Happy Mother’s Day Mum, I love you.

20140330-085201.jpg

14 Weeks Old

On Friday you turned 14 weeks old, how fast time flies and how fast you’re developing.

I recently bought a book on the recommendation of a friend, it’s called The Wonder Weeks by Hetty van de Rijt, Ph.D. It details your 10 predictable fussy stages and helps me prepare for them, embrace them and stimulate you during these phases. It’s amazing, it’s really helped me prepare for these stages. It’s helped me understand you a bit better and what you’re going through during these grumpy stages. It also tells me what I’m likely to see on the other side which makes it all worthwhile.

I think we are finally leaving one of these phases and you have truly leapt forward developmentally, you amaze me every day and you’re turning into such a happy little soul.

We had your 3 month developmental review this week. I was a little perturbed to discover it was a group session and was worried you’d be too distracted by all the other babies to show the HV how much you’re developing. I needn’t have worried as we were the only ones that turned up and she (the nursery nurse) didn’t want you to perform anyway, she simply measured and weighed you and asked me whether you were achieving the milestones that you actually perfected a few weeks ago and was impressed to see you doing things ahead of ‘schedule’ (proud mummy moment). She also put my mind at ease that you are not teething. It is, as we originally thought, your saliva ducts maturing and the hand chewing is simply because you’ve located this hole in your face that you can put stuff into… Your favourite pastime.

It was your Daddy’s birthday on Sunday, I don’t think he’s ever had such a fabulous day simply because you were here to share it with him. Your card to him is in pride of place on the table.

We went out for coffee this week too, I was nervous to see how you’d be in public as you’ve been in such a finicky mood lately. I needn’t have worried there either, you were as good as gold until you got tired after a couple of hours which is fair enough considering I had woken you up to take you out in the first place. I simply bade our friends a farewell, popped you in your pram and you were asleep before we’d crossed the carpark.

Character
Where to start? You are simply gorgeous, you’re turning into such a happy little chap. You have mastered your smiling and there’s no more perfect a moment than when you wake up, see us and reward us with the broadest most genuine smile I’ve ever seen, it is truly heart melting. You no longer need to be coaxed to smile, you give them out quite freely now and are fast mastering the art of laughter, but this is still a work in progress. You love nothing more than to snuggle up to us and still aren’t entirely happy when sitting in your bouncer or on your playmat… You are very headstrong and you need to be in the right frame of mind to do that. However, when you do want to be there you quite happily bat at the hanging toys but not for long, I think you may feel a little trapped by them as they are quite close to your face now. Perhaps you’re like me and don’t like to feel confined? Who knows, time will tell. You are so inquisitive and prefer to be up high and walking around so you can observe more. Gone are the days we can just sit on the sofa with you but on the occasions we can you love nothing more than giggling at the black cats on the wall… Still they amuse you like nothing else. You’re slowly showing signs of attachment to your toys and in particular your Jelly Cat rabbit comforter, you love nothing more than feeling it and stuffing it into your mouth.

Muscle Development
It seems your back and neck muscles are strengthening every day. You’re not happy leaning back or lying down now, the majority of the time you’re pulling your head forward wanting to sit up, you grab hold of our fingers and we help you sit up and you’re so happy there, in fact sometimes that isn’t enough and when you come into a sitting position you amaze us by putting the pressure on your legs and coming up into a standing position. You don’t seem to be overly interested in rolling over unless I encourage it, you’re putting all your effort into sitting. You’re a lot easier to hold and carry now as you hold your upper body up brilliantly now and are happy to sit on our laps.

Speech
You continue to babble and squawk at us. Consonants are featuring massively so of course I’m encouraging the m’s πŸ˜‰ You’ve mastered volume control now and delight in showing us this new found skill. You can often be heard ‘shouting’ when you want my attention should I have left your sight for a few minutes.

Entertainment
Anything and everything is entertainment to you now, you become absorbed in everything you see. Of particular interest are your hands, you love looking at them and rubbing them together. You love textures and when I’m doing the laundry I let you feel everything I fold to familiarise yourself with the different fabrics. You love to hold and stroke your Jelly Cat Rabbit Comforter often shoving an ear or nose in your mouth while rubbing the comforter between your hands. Your Lamaze dragon is becoming increasingly entertaining to you, as is your giant Lion, the colours, textures and rattles are what’s making them fascinating I think. You love to be sung to which is excruciating for your Daddy (he doesn’t like my singing voice) but because I don’t really remember many baby songs I’m afraid my love for The Sound of Music has come into play (this will please your Grandpa and Uncles greatly) and you particularly love the Wizard if Oz and Knick Knack Paddy Whack, the latter two I sing to make you laugh or to stop you crying.

Sleep
Mmmmmm, well I’m still not getting much ;).
You still wake every 2-3 hrs for a feed through the night but do sleep for a longer stretch very, very occasionally (3 times to date) but because you feed and settle so quickly (20 mins max) I’m ok with that. This week I’ve started to introduce a loose bedtime routine to try and stop you relying on feeding to get you to sleep. We haven’t enforced a time yet, baby steps first. I wait until you are tired, you make this obvious as you rub your eyes, yawn and coo repeatedly. I then pop you in your DreamPod, give you a top up and put you in your bednest awake. I give you your comforter and sit with you reading you bedtime stories. You’ve been fast asleep within half an hour so far, I’m so incredibly proud of you. Of course this has affected me more than I’d have known, I almost feel like you no longer need me… Ridiculous I know! We of course are not enjoying an evening in front of the TV because of this, on the first night we’d checked on you 15 times in the first 20 minutes, when we reached 30 we gave up and came to bed ourselves…. this hasn’t improved! I hope that in a month or so we’ll be at a point that we put you to bed at a set time and you know that this means it’s sleepy time. I’m finding story time a wonderful part of the day. I know you don’t understand what I’m saying and that it’s the tone of my voice you’re focusing on, but I hope that this is the start of your enjoyment of books and stories, they’re such a big part of my life and were when I was growing up and I hope reading is an enjoyment you will find too.

Routine
I’ve discovered you are particularly fractious if you don’t have a mid morning and mid afternoon nap so I’m trying to enforce these more now when I see your tired cues, this can be a daily battle. You still have bath time between 5 and 6 mad I’ve started introducing a bedtime routine (see Sleep, above)

Growth
At exactly 14 weeks you hadn’t gained as much as you did at the last baby clinics… Only 8.5oz but by your review on Tuesday you’d gained another 3oz. The nursery nurse isn’t concerned, you’re growing proportionally and following your growth curve (9th centile) so I’m happy, you’re just a diddy baby and that’s fine, us Petitt’s aren’t known for being large and this is the case on your fathers side too.

Weight: 12Ib 11oz (5.76 kg)
Height: 58cm

Feeding
For the last few weeks I can happily say we’ve cracked this feeding malarkey. No longer do I have to line your nose up and shove your head into me, you just get on with it. I’ve had no problems with blocked ducts lately, unless I’ve laid on my side, and all is well. You have been quite sicky again lately but I think this is more to do with gluttony than reflux these days. Sometimes you gorge so quickly you overload your tiny little tummy and decide to cover us both in milk. At least three daytime and 2 nighttime outfit changes a day is standard currently. I’ve been trying to detach you mid feed to prevent this but you are not impressed by this event and make sure you let me know about it.

Every day you continue to amaze us, we are so proud of you. You are our beautiful boy and I’ll never tire of telling you how we love you more with every passing second.

20140306-134421.jpg
Helping Daddy

My Breastfeeding Journey

It’s supposed to be the most natural and wonderful thing in the world to do for your child and I’ve never ever entertained feeding my baby in any other way.

I’m a huge advocate for the act of breast feeding, it’s what we’re designed to do after all. It’s a wonderful way to bond with your newborn, it helps GREATLY in reducing you post pregnancy bump and the health benefits it holds for your child are second to none.

With this knowledge I made sure I attended the antenatal breast feeding class, read all I could on good latching techniques and different holds. I researched ways to eliminate any negative ‘side effects’ it may have and my OH stocked up on Lansinoh on the say so of other BFing mums he knows in preparation. I knew all the signs to look out for in my baby to ensure he was put to the breast before getting too worked up.

I was happy. I was ready. I was looking forward to this beautiful act. I had every angle covered.

Or so I thought…

Nearly three weeks in and I can understand why some women give up. I’m shattered. No one told me about the cluster feeding. No one told me how difficult it is to attach a wriggling frantic baby to your breast so they are latched on properly. No one warned me how tiredness can make you let your child just latch on anyway they wanted to simply to get some rest after a marathon 3 hour feed that seems to sap you of all your energy. Nowhere did I read how hard it actually is to breastfeed and how incompetent, useless and disappointed it can make you feel if your plans don’t go, well, to plan!

Constant worries over whether your child is getting enough milk, it would be handy to have a gauge on each breast but you don’t. Everyone tells you that your baby will tell you when they’ve had enough as they’ll just ‘come away’. They also tell you your tiny bundle only has a tummy the size of a walnut, so explain to me why he is feeding for up to 3 hours in an evening, vomiting then feeding some more.

Thank god for Twitter and the fabulous MW I follow on there who let me know about the 3rd day feeding frenzy. Why the hell this wasn’t discussed in antenatal nor mentioned by my own MW is a mystery to me. Also the advice and support I’ve received by dozens of people regarding cluster feeding, another phenomenon the ‘professionals’ I turned to whilst pregnant and as a brand new mum failed to explain or warn me about. Without these people and their words of encouragement about it ‘getting better’ and ‘it’s natures way of your baby telling your body the amount of milk he needs’ I would have surely given up and felt a total failure.

Nearly three weeks in and my nipples scream at me every evening when the cluster feeding starts. They’re so sore, it’s like a needle is being inserted into my nipples. I don’t dread each feed yet but I don’t relish the thought of having to feed off my left breast. I’ve sobbed uncontrollably in the bath massaging my swollen breasts in near scolding water to ensure I don’t get blocked ducts and walked around with half a cabbage patch stuffed in my bra all to avoid possible mastitis of which I was convinced this pain was.

Thankfully mastitis it isn’t! Apparently you feel like a bus has hit you with that one, great! It turns out I have either vasospasm/blanched nipples or thrush which I will ask my breast support worker about when I can find her number.

So what am I doing to get through?

I’m forcing myself to ensure baby is latched properly, especially at night, I’m actually getting up to feed instead of lazily feeding laterally. I’m using nipple sandwiching and stuffing techniques to do this. Yogic breathing during latching… Well it got me through childbirth effectively enough. Tilting baby’s head upwards so his chin is extended helps create a deeper latch apparently. Rubbing some expressed milk into each nipple and ensuring they’re dry before dressing. Applying a warm compress to each nipple when they are white and painful and smothering them in a thick slick of lansinoh.

My ideals seem a million miles away.from me. Taking a stroll with baby casually feeding in a sling, that whole Mother Earth, barefoot mama thing I so expected to be offering are replaced every evening with the overwhelming feeling of utter failure. It would be so easy to give up.

I won’t of course, give up that is.

I’m too bloody stubborn for that but I do understand why so many women do and then they’re vilified for their decision. Listening to some smug militant women talk it’s tantamount to child abuse. How about easing up on these poor women who no doubt already feel like they’ve somehow let their child down in some way. Yes, I agree, breast is best but surely formula and a mentally stable and happy mother is better.

Week Three

The start to this week has seen the start of Christmas preparations.

Every year I go out and hunt down a tree, it has to be perfect and it’s pretty much always been picked by me which has resulted in some hilarious tales over the years including 13ft monsters that rendered the only door out of the lounge impassable and tales of wildlife still residing in it. Of course when it was in the field it looked like the 9fter I wanted. Think National Lampoon and you’ll be on the right track!

Anyway I digress, this year, for obvious reasons I’ve had to relinquish my hold on my tree tradition and hand it over to a trusted friend to pick it out for me. Now I trust her more than life itself when it comes to anything Christmas, she’s one of those people who are counting down the days in June! It’s beautiful… I love it! It’s Noah’s first Christmas and I wanted the tree to be perfect and it is. I spent Saturday evening dutifully decorating it and adding this year’s decoration courtesy of @craftsboy and with my beautiful mum in pride of place.

20131210-152424.jpg

As for Christmas shopping, please don’t ask, I haven’t done anything… Nothing! Oops! Well not nothing. I have bought cards. I haven’t written them yet but bought they are.

We’ve also bitten the bullet and after much deliberation, on Sunday, OH hired a bednest. We’re hoping this will be a compromise for all of us. Giving Noah the security he obviously needs at night, me the sleep I need without freezing and OH the security that we’re all safe, well and rested. They are pricey to buy and we don’t have a cot as yet to ‘fashion’ into one (heirloom cot that’s still with my cousin currently) so we found this company who do a 6 month rental. Still more money than we can really afford but a necessary expenditure and if it works, money well spent. It arrived on Wednesday, I’ll let you know our opinion in due course after we’ve given it a week or two.

For three night’s running Noah slept through until 3am then I managed to settle him in his basket where he slept for the remainder of the night. Three night’s on the trot! I feel refreshed and energised!!

Cluster feeding continues to cause me issues with a stabbing pain through my nipple at night. Wandered around with half a cabbage patch shoved in my bra thinking it may be the start of mastitis, on later consideration (and googling, I’m afraid) I think I may have something called nipple blanching. Thinking this is caused by his latching when frantically feeding in the evening and by pure laziness on my part by not maintaining a proper latch in favour of getting a bit of rest. Take that as a lesson well learned.

Found out what the ‘falling’ reflex newborns have is called and googled it. The Moro Reflex; reading up on it has actually upset me. To think my perfect, precious little boy is born with a fear is unbelievably heart rending. Speaking on behalf of the majority of parents out there (I’d hope) our main aim is to keep our children safe and happy and to be made aware that our children are born with a fear is quite upsetting. It makes you aware of the stresses a baby must go through by the simple act of being born and there’s me moaning on about piles. Bless his heart, I want to cry every time he does it, damn you hormones.

Thursday brought our first trip out for baby clinic to get weighed. Oh. My. God. It’s a good thing these appointments are done on a drop in arrangement but they could do with extending the slot to 6 hours instead of 2 (1100-1300). It took me all morning to prepare for it. I had everything planned, or so I thought. I was bathed, dressed and even had makeup on. N was bathed and dressed and napping. Pram was set up and ready to go. Changing bag prepped and it was still only 0930. All I needed to do was feed and change his nappy and we were set to go. I’ll do this at 1030 giving us plenty of time to get up there.

How quickly things can deteriorate when a child is added to the mix. I didn’t count on a random cluster feed session where I had only factored in a ‘usual’ half an hour feed. He finished feeding with an hour left to walk up there before the end of the slot, it’s a good 15-20 minute walk. Changed his nappy, he vomited, all over his clothes so then had to change him. 40 minutes remaining. Thank god I’d set up pram earlier. It starts to rain, start faffing with raincover having never used it before. 30 minutes remaining. Stress levels are slowly rising then to top it off he starts to scream as I put on his hat and cardigan. I decide if he’s still screaming at the end of the road I’m not going. The HV can blooming well come to me!

As it turns out he calms down as we walk, he loves motion. We get to the clinic with 5 minutes to spare. I look a total wreck, my makeup has literally run off my face (it may be raining, but it ain’t cold) I’m sweating like a pig I have no idea what I have to do here and although the receptionist was lovely and very helpful the advice inside the clinic was non existent without prompting.

Anyway, he’s put on 6.5 oz his head circumference is fine (no worries there, as I predicted). Now to head back home and collapse.

The end of the week ended on a bit of a negative which was a bit of a shame on his 3rd week birthday. Total lack of sleep, VERY painful nipples and a very grouchy baby on Friday had me totally melt down the moment OH walked through the door on Friday afternoon. He was brilliant, bundled us up and took us for a walk into town to buy some nipple shields and get some air. N fell asleep at the gate, kicked myself for not trying that earlier myself. Came home had long soak in bath and regrouped. Felt really bad as had totally forgotten he had a leaving do to attend for one of the girls at work and because of my mild nervous breakdown he didn’t go, he didn’t even mention it so huge apologies go out to both him and Nic for being so pathetic.

N slept like a lamb that night, blessed sleep was had by all. So, in hind sight, perhaps the week actually ended on a positive note after all.

Week Two

I really can’t believe how quickly time is going by. In fact as I am writing this it’s actually been 2 weeks and 4 days since our precious parcel was delivered into our care.

I’m not going to bore you all with as detailed a run down as I did in Noah’s first week, just a quickie, I promise!

We continue to learn something new every day. This week has seen us discharged from the care of the community midwives which after missed visits, no shows and let downs I’m not overly bothered about! I understand that events happen which render appointment times impossible to honour but a phonecall wouldn’t go amiss and the correct and relevant information when you finally do get some for, of contact would be preferable.

I was supposed to have a visit on Saturday (day 8), midwife rang after 1400hrs to tell me the visit would be about 1730! No show… We finally locked the door at 1930 and had supper. Phonecall at 1100 on Sunday apologising for missed visit… Valid excuse. MW day off on Sunday so could she visit on Monday?… No problem, she’ll see us early afternoon. Roll on Monday 1630 when I leave a message on MW answer machine asking when she was going to visit. Another MW calls back… My MW on a training course all day, she must have forgotten. Rearranged another home visit for Wednesday, my discharge appointment!! Wednesday comes round, phonecall in morning asking whether we could go up to the office! A mild annoyance but seeing as we were going to take Noah to OHs office to shoe him off we didn’t mind too much. Appointment at 1430, plenty of time to get him fed, changed and up there…. Or so we thought! 1400 and he kicks off! Needs feeding – one of his mammoth feeds ended up making us nearly half an hour late. Now if you know our MW service you’ll know there’s no manned reception, no way of announcing yourself and no way of letting anyone know you’re there. We’re late, the office appears empty so there we sat for half an hour more hoping that MW hasn’t just given up on us. Noah fills nappy, again! First changing experience outside the comfort of our home. Take changing bag to the toilet. Now this is the toilet in the MW unit so imagine my surprise when I discover no changing facilities, nothing, nowhere but the floor to change him on. At this point MW comes out of another room and ushers us in, I’ll leave the nappy to her. Anyway, after apologies concerning the weekend debacle Noah is doing fine, apparently he’s latching well, I’m fine and have stopped bleeding??? News to me but never mind! He is putting on weight nicely which alleviates my concerns over his possible lack of milk intake. Some garbled information about postnatal GP appointments and being informed the health visitor will visit us tomorrow at midday, that’s us discharged.

Then onto the office to be proudly shown off to OH’s colleagues… He did us so proud, he was as good as gold throughout the whole affair and they were all so lovely (having only met a handful of his colleagues before). Kisses, cuddles and presents were bestowed upon him which he accepted without a murmur of complaint. So proud!

After such an eventful day we decided that it would be fitting to give Noah his first experience of the bath. I’m not sure wh was more traumatised by this, Noah or ourselves! I can quite happily report the experience went down like a lead balloon.

Day 12 saw the health visitor visit to do carry out Noah’s hearing test and measurements. Of course he’s super alert and just wants wriggle constantly. Finally calm him with the breast while the test is done. All clear, both ears, another proud moment! HV concerned that his head circumference has grown 3cm in 2 weeks panicking OH. I’m not overly concerned, he was ventouse after all and the first. Erasure meant of 34cm was done immediately after birth and not done again since. Anyway it’ll get measured again next week to be sure. After some more garbled and contradictory information HV left with no plans to see us again.

This day also saw our first explosive poo, out both leg holes and up his back. Impressed us both I can tell you. Also this Little Rufus romper arrived from ‘Auntie’, isn’t it fab?!

20131210-032824.jpg

Cluster feeding continues along with it’s daily challenges. I can now totally understand why some women give up breastfeeding despite their good intentions. I shall blog separately about this issue in due course.

Co sleeping continues having failed to settle him in his basket since Day 4. Not that I mind. There’s nothing more beautiful than watching his sleeping face in bed. OH still unsettled about the arrangement and is looking into hiring a bednest for 6 months.

The amount of washing I’m doing continues to amaze me… How can someone so small create so much laundry? Can’t wait to start the real nappies!!

We’re still being showered with gifts, cards and well wishes. The generosity and kindness of people, some we’ve never even met (thank you TwitterFamily), continues to astonish me. It is now official… Noah has a better, bigger and more varied wardrobe than me!

Although I miss my bump terribly and all the comforting little undulations that it brought me I can happily say it has very nearly gone now. I’m still left with the Linea Nigra, a very enlarged belly button and a jelly like ponch but mostly it’s vanishing quite nicely, maternity jeans don’t stay up anymore so it’s time to dig out my pre pregnancy ones and grit my teeth. I intend to start some form of exercise as soon as I can find the time to counteract all these extra calories I seem to be wolfing my way through.

Cat is slowly getting used to the new addition and has stopped racing out the room as soon as Noah starts to cry.

Another rookie error was made. Kissing Noah’s perfect little mouth just after burping resulted in him vomiting IN my mouth!

Still finding it a struggle getting everything coordinated enough to get out the door but still managing a walk most days, god knows how I’ll manage when OH returns to work next week, it’s going to be a case of sacrificing a nap to go for a walk.

Despite everything we are still totally in awe of our perfect little boy. He’s only doing what babies do and my moans and gripes are more to do with my inability to cope with these challenges than the challenges themselves. I wish my mum was around to help me and give me advice but I can’t dwell on that as it won’t change the reality of the situation and I’ll just have to muddle through as best I can. I have my sister in law that I can rely on to cheer me up, tell me I’m doing ok when I actually feel like a total failure and to give me some candid advice, I just need to find the time to ring her more πŸ˜‰

Biggest event of this week was finally registering Noah’s birth on the 3rd. Not that he was bothered but it was kinda epic for us. Have to say I wonder why, in today’s society, the father’s details are first and seemingly more important than the mother’s. Anyway, what a weird place our registry office is. Quite depressing to say the least. Can’t quite believe people chose to marry there, it’s the only place on earth where the fake flowers look died. Anyhow, he’s now ‘in the system’ Big Brother is now watching him. Now we have to await the certificates. Welcome to the official world Noah Ace.

Week One

What a week it’s been, this first week of motherhood, this first week of my new life.

I warn you now, this is an epic post. I don’t want to forget anything and haven’t had time to diarise it all as intended and this is what I’m using this blog for, a kind of diary that I’m sure I’ll bin after a while but for now I’m determined to keep it up.

Day 0, Birth Day.
What a whirlwind of emotion; excitement, nerves, pain, overwhelming love then back to nerves again. How was I responsible enough to look after a baby 24 hours a day? I usually get to hand them back when they start to whimper, now I’m the one he gets handed back to. Luckily he doesn’t whimper much, in fact he’s as good as gold.

After spending the morning in the delivery room, being able to have a shower and lunch, a visit from Auntie and David (my late mum’s best friend, my surrogate mother), skin to skin time and the first breast feed, which I felt all spaghetti arms over thus being taught the lie down position I chose to adopt for the first couple of days.

I miss my bump, it looks so sad, so empty. I’ll miss those beautiful stirrings, those gentle kicks and fumbles from within. Those hiccups that would wake me every morning and remind me of the life I was carrying within me. That special connection that was just me and him. He was here now. Now a new connection starts and importantly OH gets to feel a connection too now. It must be hard on the fathers through pregnancy. Missing those kicks by seconds, only imagining what it must feel like to feel this life growing inside. I used to always envy men, I will never envy them again, I will never miss that feeling of creating a new life and feeling it grow within. For once I’m glad to be a woman!

I was moved onto the Postnatal ward after lunch as the baby checker had finished rounds for the day and we were still having to await blood results for bean to see of I needed another Anti-D, it turns out Bean has inherited my rare blood type B Negative which means no more anti-D for me! I often wonder whether this is the reason for my miscarriages, perhaps the other babies were positives? We’ll never know!

The day went by in a bit of a haze, a visit from my brother and sister in law (my niece and nephew being refused as they’re school age), very dubious breast feeding advice which consisted of a nursing assistant shoving my nipple into Bean’s mouth… Wtf? I still don’t know what her name was! Nappy changes consisted of desperately trying to get the tarlike meconium off our precious boy’s bottom not that it bothered him, he just chillaxed and let us muddle through in our own good time. Tea time rolled past with barely an acknowledgement just endless minutes staring at our beautiful boy trying to comprehend the enormity of what had just happened to us after so long trying and wanting.

Then came the scary moment OH was told he had to leave. He booked a Prem Inn near by. I was terrified, I was alone with this tiny, fragile, precious life I was still convinced would be taken away from me. I knew I wouldn’t get a wink of sleep, I didn’t care either, if I never slept again I wouldn’t mind if it meant he was safe.

The woman I shared a room with wasn’t talkative at all and her baby cried all evening and into the early hours. I heard her little girl filling her nappy every 10 minutes, this just made me panic more, why wasn’t Bean doing this too? Was there something wrong with him? I checked his nappy at around 2am, clear, then he peed…. In my eye! First rookie error made!

I spent the night with Bean in my bed with me lying on our sides staring into his precious sleeping face. It was about 0330 and there was a bit of commotion coming from behind the curtain. The paediatric registrar was called. The little girl next door was vomiting a lot, green vomit. There was talk of bile in her vomit, bile duct blockages but that filled nappies were good, don’t panic they told her mother. Yeah right! Half an hour later the consultant came in and informed her that they would have to transfer her daughter to Bristol neonatal unit immediately, they didn’t want to take any risks and they couldn’t carry out the relevant tests at Exeter. With that her baby was taken away and she was left to ring her husband and pack. My heart broke for her as she made that phonecall, she was devastated, heartbroken. An hour later she was gone. I hope that they’re all ok.

I didn’t sleep a wink.

Lesson learnt: ALWAYS cover boy parts on removal of nappy.

No name, although we have settled on a VERY short list.

Day 1.

OH arrived as soon as he could, in fact he arrived earlier but they wouldn’t let him. More dubious breast feeding ‘advice’ (I use that term in the loosest sense of the word), more shouts of breakfast being ready… I still hadn’t been shown where to go, good thing I had all those cereal bars really. My best friend came to see our precious bean and we waited, waited for the moment we could take our bundle home! The baby checker came at 1030 and bar a swollen testes Bean is fit and well. I am fit and well. We were told we could finally go home. It’s 1230 when we load Bean into his car seat for the very first time and take him on his first car journey to his new home.

The rest of the day went by in a haze, gazing lovingly at this brand new face, in awe that he didn’t cry much and slept LOADS, poking him lots to insure he was ok (sorry Bean) struggling through breast feeding positions (still adopting lateral positioning) then struggling to settle him in his Moses basket … He just doesn’t like it! Why? He came to bed with me, again no more sleep!

Still no name.

Day 2.
MW called and asked Bean’s name, informed her we hadn’t decided on one yet (please read What’s in a Name blog). She came to see me about an hour later marching in telling us what an unusual but lovely name Russell is….. Russell? Wtf? The awkward moment when I tell her that his name will NEVER be Russell. Anyway, more nipple stuffing ensued, details on how to register Bean’s birth and a quick check over to confirm that the gunk at base of Bean’s umbilical stump is quite normal… Who knew it was the process of gangrene that caused the stump to fall off? Then off she went. We wrapped Bean up nice and warm and took him for his very first stroll across the cliffs in his brand new pram. Lots of cooing was received when in Sainsbury’s then back home. Walking after birth is a peculiar sensation, laughing and walking is down right dangerous! You constantly feel the world is going to fall out at any minute!

OHs parents have arrived from Yorkshire, popped in for an hour cuddle with their new grandson and left us in peace.

I think I’m finally getting the hang of this breast feeding malarkey until doom hits…. He won’t stop feeding!

It started at around 0100hrs and just wouldn’t stop! My back hurts, my nipples feel like they’ve been torn off. Woke OH at around 0500 in floods of tears, I thought I was giving Bean colic, that I was somehow over feeding him, he had reflux. Google is an evil thing when you’re stressing out. OH googled symptoms, turns out it’s normal!!

Lesson learnt: set up nightfeed care package of snacks, remotes, drinks and muslins so everything is to hand BEFORE commencing feeding.

Still no name but have no got rid of one option.

Day 3.
I feel like I’ve run a marathon. Everything aches.

A very special midwife Twitter friend confirmed last night as totally normal. Night 3 marathon feed to get the milk in. Nature is truly amazing! He’s sleeping like an absolute lamb now. Grandparents arrived at 9am… I feel like hell! I feel bad they’ve come all this way and I feel so shocking. We make arrangements to meet them for lunch at a cafe in town after Bean’s feed. MW called to check all is well, she has arranged for a visit from the breast feeding support worker to visit who again confirmed the normality of the situation. He is feeding normally during the day.

Arrange to have lunch at 1330. Feed Bean at 1200 for 40 minutes, changed Bean, dressed myself… Even out on some makeup! Half hour to go, can’t settle Bean, feed again, change again, settle Bean in pram. Got to cafe…. Late! Forgot the whole waiting to order, waiting for food preparation, eating said food… Bean started wailing as soon as food arrived. Now we both hate the thought of upsetting others, no one likes a screaming child whilst trying to eat I also wasn’t comfortable at breast feeding at a restaurant table I front of OHs father! What a bloody mistake. Needless to say I won’t be going out for lunch again in a while. Totally my fault. By the time we got home we were all stressed out. Bean had a half hour feed and all was well.

Grandparents stayed away that evening.

HOLY SHIT…. WHERE THE HELL DID THESE BOOBS COME FROM! They are truly spectacular! Dec is actually catching up with Ant. OH is amazed. More bras to be ordered as soon as possible.

Cluster feeding (I’ve learnt that’s what it’s called) commenced at 1900 and pretty much carried on till gone 2300. Bean slept with me again, I don’t care, I need sleep. Who knew the act of baby sucking can send you to sleep!?

Lesson learnt: Never make arrangements that aren’t flexible. Never underestimate the power of a newborn bowel movement. Have Lansinoh to hand 24/7.

No name.

Day 4.
Grandparents arrived at 9am, feel like shit, paint on smile… Apparently I look like shit despite smile painting! Oh well!

Midwife rang, she’ll be here late morning. Grandparents leave on a mission to buy a baby changing unit. With all the will in the world we’ve had to bow down to it. I’m sickened by the fact that once you add baby to any piece of furniture it gives the manufacturers carte Blanche to add a couple of zeros to the product price. Baby changing chest of drawers Β£300+, normal chest of drawers Β£100. Set of 3 shelves Β£40+, basic changing unit Β£100+.

Wait in all day… No visit. Friend pops in to visit at 1430 at the same time Bean decides he’s hungry, at the same time grandparents arrive with a fabulous Mamas and Papas changing unit and stories of bartering (it’s the Yorkshire way), at the same time the MW arrives… For Lord’s sake! Friend and GPs ushered off.

More nipple shoving and telling me to relax when feeding… I’ve always had a shoulder issue, my ballet teacher used to despair of my raised shoulders, turns out I do it whilst breast feeding too. I’m finding it easier to relax and get comfortable when feeding on the right, but the left foxes me still. Anyway, MW happy with Bean. Meconium now totally gone and yellow poos apparently are causing much joy. Raised my concerns over whether he was getting enough milk to which she reassured me if he wasn’t ‘he’d let me know’. Discussed Moses basket, she thinks it could be because it’s cold in there are coming from me, advises warming blankets.

Friend returns for some quality time. GPs arrive with Thai takeaway (much more sensible than pub meal which was my first idea). Cluster feeding starts at 1900 and continues till way past 2300. Feel bad for GPs, had to run off to bedroom to find comfortable feeding position and left them all to it in lounge.

On a positive note… The blanket warming worked. NEVER have we leapt into bed and fallen asleep so quickly in our lives… I’m beginning to realise romance is dead and buried for a while. Sleep is where it’s at!

Good night feeds ensued, I’m finally getting used to the cross cradle position.

Lesson learnt; WARM BLANKETS! Cold tea isn’t so bad after all. Make up is a real luxury

Still no name, will we ever decide?

Day 5.
It’s my exceptional Daddy’s 78th birthday. He’s had a rough year medically and I hope he gets to enjoy today. I miss him. I wish he could see his beautiful grandson and have a cuddle. He lives up country you see and was diagnosed with myeloma on the same day I had my 12 week scan. We will take Bean on a road trip in the new year to see his Grandad Petitt when we feel a bit more ‘up to it’. Until then I shall tweet Bean’s progress and send daily photos. This is the beauty of the technological age, miles are bridged in seconds, it doesn’t quite replace physical closeness but it’s better than nothing.

We fully intend on having a name for Bean by the end of the day. A birthday present for my Dad.

Top and tailed bean and changed nappy to discover umbilical cord is now OFF!!!! HUZZAH!!!!!

Not only is it off it managed to migrate to Bean’s shoulder blade, bless him. I feel like he’s reached his first milestone. The last remaining connection of me to him has now been removed. He is now completely his own being. It puts me in mind of the Daemons in Philip Pullman’s Golden Compass books. I feel quite sad, I cried, how stupid. I should be glad we don’t have to panic about ripping it off accidentally but this has just confirmed how quickly time flies and I’m scared that I’ll blink and he’ll be a teenager, an adult, married with babes of his own before I have chance to acknowledge any of it.

Pull myself together.

Grandparents arrive at 0900. Look and feel like shit, given up caring! Couple of hours cuddle time and they set off back home. It’s been lovely to see them and I am very grateful but I’m kinda glad we can just relax now as a family before OH has to return to work.

MW arrived at 1200 for Bean’s heel prick test which he bore brilliantly. SO proud of my boy, luckily for him he bleeds better than I do and only needed to be pricked once. I, on the other hand felt I’d been stabbed in the heart! He now weighs 3200g which is a loss of 220g, well within the 10% guideline so all is looking good. I raise concerns over my left breast (Dec) as it isn’t going soft after epic feeds, she thinks I may have a blocked duct and advises a hot bath and massage. Later this seems to help, thankfully!

Cards and gifts are pouring in from all over. Twitter friends are showering us with presents and cards, people we’ve never met yet mean so much to us, it’s so moving I can’t quite believe it!

We have a name! FINALLY!
Please meet Noah Ace.

Noah: Derived from the Hebrew name Χ Χ•ΦΉΧ—Φ· (Noach) meaning “rest, comfort”
Ace: From the English word meaning “highest rank, excellence”

Both beautifully fitting! We really don’t care what anyone else thinks, I’m closing my ears to the Red Dwarf and Ace Ventura referrals, I think people who make petty jokes about things like this childish. I don’t care what they think. We love it and it beats George! πŸ˜‰

Cluster feeding continues, just have to accept this and get through it as best as I can. Slept with us again tonight.

Lessons learnt; Some people can be quite hurtful in expressing opinions they should keep to themselves. Tea really isn’t that bad when cold. Eating one handed whilst juggling a feeding baby is becoming easier by the day. Give in to co-sleeping, it’s the only way.

Day 6.
Good night’s sleep was had by all, even managed to settle Noah in the basket after early morning feed so could leap back into bed and have a nice cuddle. Feels very weird without a bump in the way but I have to admit I relish being able to sleep on my left side and ON MY BACK! Total heaven! I loved being pregnant, but I don’t miss the uncomfortable nights.

Cluster feeding seems to have snuck into the daytime now which I find easier to deal with, at least you don’t feel quite so isolated. Have spent the majority of the day watching Christmas films and feeling guilty that I still haven’t got round to writing thank you cards although I have managed to nip out and buy my Dad a birthday card from Noah (now he has a name). Still haven’t managed to sort out a present though which I feel bad about. Who knew babies absorbed so much of your time? I take back all that I said about babies not having to change your life too much, it’s more than I can manage to drink a hot cup of tea and get breakfast and a bath before midday.

I shall rename myself Waynetta! I won’t care either! I have a feeling when the OH returns to work I’ll still be in my pyjamas when he returns home covered in baby sick with nappy bags stuck to the back of legs. Yes nappy bags… We have real nappies, we do, but Noah is so tiny the things swamp him so we’ve bowed down to disposables for the time being. I do however buy the best Eco nappy I could find. No gels or plastics involved just paper pulp so they biodegrade quicker, this won’t continue for much longer I hope, as soon as he grows into his real nappies!

Have panicked myself over the quantity and colour of Noah’s poos. He managed to fill 4 nappies in 10 minutes tonight. Now I’m convinced he’s got some sort of food poisoning because I ate a chilli last night. We’ve googled it, nothing! It’s all about the yellow poos apparently. Thank GOD for Twitter, there are some amazing people out there, a wealth of information. It’s all normal, means he’s getting enough milk (another thing I’ve been worrying about). I’m an emotional wreck today. I’m fine in the day, come the evening I feel sick with nerves, it’s like homesickness. I feel everything I’m doing is wrong. I’m swimming against the tide and don’t have anyone to ask for a hand. I want my mum. I want to ask her all the things new mums ask their mums advice on. I want her to give me a cuddle like it’s my turn to cuddle Noah. I know this is my hormones, I know it’ll pass but it feels so shitty right now. OH is amazing, he’s so supportive and I feel awful for him, he’s been usurped by a 7Iber!

I’m blinded by love. My sole purpose in life is to now raise this precious gift of ours to the best of my ability, to bring him up to respect others, be kind and thoughtful and to achieve all he wants to achieve.

Lessons learnt: You can never watch too many films in one day. ‘Nipping out’ no longer exists. Cluster feeding is going to last FOREVER… get used to it! Don’t beat yourself up about going against all you had decided not to do, it really doesn’t matter. Don’t even try to hold back the tears, it’s impossible!

My Birth Story

On the 22nd November 2013 at 0843 hrs we welcomed our beautiful baby boy into the world and life as I previously knew it changed in a split second.

With a brand new breath and a little cry my heart filled with the most overwhelming love I had ever felt and from the moment I looked into his eyes it was like I’d never not known him, I’ve known him forever.

This was it, this was my son, this was my life and I’d managed to create another, now nothing else matters.

He is now 6 days old and we’ve finally decided on a name. Ironically we went to bed last Thursday night arguing about what we were going to call him and I stated that we still had at least 4 days to go and convinced it would be longer as most first births go over due.

If you’ve read previous posts you’ll know that I was having to face the tricky decision of having an induction near due day, I didn’t want this. 4 women I knew had gone through the most traumatic induction processes in the 2 weeks leading up to my due day and this worried me, greatly. It would appear all this worry was totally unnecessary.

At 0140hrs I woke with a Braxton Hicks, rolled out of bed (which had become the norm over the past couple of weeks) went to the toilet and climbed back into my pregnancy nest. Just as I was drifting off again I had another BH… Not unusual but a bit of a pain, I was tired. As I was again about to drift off I had another. At this point I thought perhaps I should check the time and sure enough I had 3 more which were 10 minutes apart exactly.

Terror.
Excitement.
Nerves.
This must be it starting.
I didn’t know what to do so just went back to sleep thinking it’ll be ages yet and I need my rest.

Next time I woke it was 0347 with another period like cramp, I activated my contraction timer, went to the toilet and started timing. They were coming every 2 minutes, lasting approx 30 seconds each. Now thinking back to my antenatal classes when the midwife said not to worry the hospital until they were 5 minutes apart and so painful I couldn’t talk through them I wasn’t entirely convinced I was in labour.

The hospital is an hour and a half away and the thought of contracting that severely every five minutes for that journey has filled me with dread since that class. These just weren’t strong enough, they couldn’t be labour.

At about 0415 I woke my OH telling him not to panic but I think everything was starting. He was brilliant, remained calm and got up. He dutifully rang the birthing unit who told me to ring the labour ward (both are at Exeter hospital) for advice as she was busy but that I was welcome to go the unit as planned. He spoke to the midwife at the labour ward and told her my timings and she just calmly said we’ll see you when you get here.

This was it? It can’t be! Can it?

We both got dressed, I double checked my hospital bag and picked up all the snacks and drinks we’d bought for an epic labour. OH loaded car with both our bags and Bean’s car seat and set off.

Never has that journey gone so quickly. The pains weren’t evil, just uncomfortable and easily breathed through and still 2 minutes apart. We laughed and joked nearly all the way there and I told him that I was convinced we’d be sent home when we got there because I wasn’t in actual labour.

On arrival to the hospital I had to stop briefly outside the main entrance to ‘gather myself’ then waddled up to the labour unit. Now my plan was to have a water birth in the birthing unit as this was a low risk pregnancy (despite my age). The birthing unit, however was around a corner whilst the labour ward was straight ahead… I chose the latter!

As we entered the unit I expressed my concerns that I wasn’t in actual labour to which the midwife said she thought I was sufficiently enough to go straight into a delivery room.

WHAT?
Really?
I still wasn’t convinced.

When I got in there the midwife did some paper work whilst I bounced on a ball (my saviour up until this point) hooked me up to the monitor and then asked to exam me. I was 6cm dilated, it was 0630hrs. I couldn’t believe it! I was breathing through the contractions and was more concerned my OH was going to pass out… I’d sent him to bed the night before at 2030 as he wasn’t very well, bless him, now he was going to have to go through this stress in a boiling hot room feeling like crap!

The MW saw I wanted to be active and those monitors really are a pain in the arse. Slipping off all the time so she advised me to have a monitor that clipped to the baby’s head which meant that I could move around more… Excellent! I got on the bed, she broke my waters and put the galloping horses clip on bean’s head. At this stage I tried the entonox, now I’ve had it before during a nasty miscarriage and it was great, this time however I hated it. I couldn’t breathe properly and it was just making me feel minced, I ended up throwing it away and it’s probably at this point it all becomes a blur and I’m sure my OH would fill lots of gaps in my story with the actual facts.

I remember looking down and seeing blood in my waters and the MW telling me to get on the bed, then that I’d be meeting my baby soon and she was upset she wouldn’t see it… It was change over time.

Next thing I remember was lots of people in the room, the end of the bed vanishing, my legs being put in stirrups and MWs saying there’s a lip of cervix but I should start trying to push anyway. They kept telling me that I needed to beat the doctor… What doctor? I really had no understanding as to what was going on just that I was possibly breaking the OHs hand along with a registrar who was on my other side. When he let go I remember grabbing OHs arm and shoving it in my mouth about ready to chomp down. I distinctly remember thinking “Rachel what the hell are you doing, that’ll hurt” so let go and went back to the task of pushing what felt like the impossible out of me. It’s true what they say about a madness that descends at this point. I really can’t remember much of anything except that I cried out a couple of times and said what I didn’t want to say and that was the inevitable “I can’t do this” … apparently I didn’t say this as often as I thought I did. I remember someone saying “Bee sting coming Rachel” followed by nothing. I really didn’t care.

The next thing was feeling a gush from between my legs, hearing a cry and holding my beautiful, beautiful baby boy in my arms. It was over. I couldn’t believe it.

It was 0843hrs.
22nd November 2013.
Our beautiful boy weighed in at 3420g (my OH had to google convert this into 7Ibs 8oz). Considering everyone was expecting me to have a 9Iber I was amazed.
He was 50.5cm in length with a head circumference of 34cm.

It was at this point I realised my legs were still in stirrups and asked if I had needed stitches to which everyone said yes. I had had to have a ventouse delivery. Although the MW said it’s on my records as that but the suction bottle was cracked so I pretty much did 95% of it on my own. Apparently the baby had been in some distress and they didn’t want to take any risks.

My birth plan went completely out the window. My partner didn’t get to cut the cord but we don’t care.

20131128-114751.jpg

We have our son, our boy, our precious gift. We are in love, totally, utterly and inexplicably in love with this tiny bundle that somehow we managed to create in his own perfect form. With a face I’ve always known.