The long pregnancy and birth story

This is a super long post so settle in for it!

Elizabeth’s birth was a complete shock to us. One day I was pregnant, the next I was being prepped for an emergency c-section. It took me a long long time to come to terms with this after Elizabeth was born. It wasnt what I planned, wasn’t what I  wanted. Yes I was happy that she was here and safe but was sad at not getting the birth I wanted.

I was determined this time around I wouldn’t have that same experience.

I was monitored much more closely with Oliver. With almost weekly appointments. I relaxed a little more, sure that should something be wrong, we’d know in plenty of time and be able to fix it.

When week 32 came around I was nervous and really emotional. Would the same happy again? Was our baby going to arrive earlier like his sister? As we got to week 33, I felt I could breathe a little easier and enjoy the last few weeks of pregnancy.

At one hospital appointment my obstetrician decided it would be best to book me in for a c-section on 4th September,  the day after my due date. I didn’t question this or argue at the time, believing that she knew best for me and my baby. Though almost as soon as I left the hospital that day, I began to question this. Other than a few episodes of reduced movements, this pregnancy had gone smoothly. Why was I being pushed for a section only 1 day after my due date? At my next appointment I asked that this be changed, only to be told it couldn’t and that was when it would be happening.

My due date came closer and closer and still I didn’t feel comfortable. I knew I only wanted 2 children so this was to be my one and only chance at a natural child birth, one which I really wanted to experience. Again, I asked for the section date to be changed and again, was told no.

I became quite upset about it, especially as I was getting closer and closer to my due date with no signs of Oliver arriving.

A week before he was due, I started to get very strong but very irregular contractions. My midwife said I was probably in slow labour so I became really excited at this stage!

A few days before my section was due I was determined that I would give birth naturally. I felt, given a little time, this baby wanted to arrive by himself . I contacted the hospital to say that I would be refusing the section. Brave, stupid….who knows! They asked that I still come in on the 4th to discuss this. So Craig and  I headed to hospital for a discussion. When we arrived, everything was ready for my section. Craig’s scrubs were ready, a cot was ready, I even had a chat with the anethetist about what would happen. The hospital clearly had their own ideas about what would be happening that day but it made me more determined to stick to my guns.

The midwife was wonderful and fully supported my decision, as did the first doctor who came to see me. The second had clearly been sent to give me the hard word and was quite rude, telling me if anything went wrong it would be my fault etc. I wobbled a little and nearly gave in but no, I wanted this and I knew my body. So we agreed that I would be given 1 week to try and deliver naturally before my waters would be broken or a section would be performed. I was happy with this. I knew that going any longer than a week overdue and I would start to become anxious anyway.

At home the irregular contractions continued but they didn’t stop me doing anything. On Friday, before being due back in hospital on Monday I took Elizabeth swimming, determined to have some nice times with her before her brother arrived. The contractions continued and were getting stronger bit still very irregular.

At around 2.30am on Saturday morning Elizabeth shouted me. As I got up to go see her, I felt a little trickle. I thought nothing of it as it wasn’t much and went back to bed. The same happened at 4.30am then the same at 6am when I got up. I was so unsure as to whether it was my waters because it was only a little liqid. So I decided to contact the unit and get some advice. They asked me to go in and see them and when I arrived I was put on the monitors. Baby was happy in there and she could see tightenings on the monitors. A little later the midwife examined me and discovered my hind waters had broken!

I was excited, emotional and a little frightened all at once. Due to chances of infection I had to return to hospital at 2am on Sunday morning, 24 hours after I had felt the first water. Let me tell you the rest of the day dragged like hell!!!

We left Elizabeth at my mum’s and I cried. I knew that when I next saw her she wouldn’t be my only one. I would never only have her again. I was happy but also a little sad at loosing our little family of 3.

Craig and I  went to bed to try and get some sleep but contractions woke me up and we decided to head in around 1am.

We were sent to the antenatal ward which confused me. I assumed I would be going to the birthing centre but they explained that I would be monitored overnight and if nothing happened, then my waters would be broken the following morning at 8am. So I got my nightie on and prepared to settle in for the night  when I felt my waters go, for real this time! The midwife didn’t want to examine me incase of causing infection and so I tried to settle down for the night. But the contractions stsrtrd to get stronger andI knew I needed some pain relief. Still I was kept on the antenatal unit and not sent to the birth centre.

I had an injection of diamorphine and had  a tens machine. This machine was my saviour! I recommend them to anyone who labours in their back. It definitely took most of the pain away for me. Again, I tried to settle down and get some sleep. The contractions were strong but I stayed quiet and practiced my hypno birthing techniques (another thing I’d recommend!) as other women were trying to sleep on the ward!

It got to around 5am and I had the urge to go to the toilet. So I went and went back to bed. This kept happening for a while every 5 minutes before I could stand the pain no longer. I ended up on the bed on all 4s mooing like a cow!  The midwife came, saw me and examined me straight away. I was 4cm dilated!! So she went to grab a wheelchair and we rushed down to the birthing centre. By this point I was desperate to get in the birthing pool for a bit of relief but it wasn’t meant to be.

I got onto the bed in the birthing suite and was asking for pain relief or the bath to be run. The midwife said ‘Emma I can see your babies head, I’m afraid there’s no time for anything else other than gas and air!’ My midwife from the antenatal unit was still there at this point and said ‘Come on Emma, I’ve got handover in 10 minutes, let’s see the baby!’ I thought that she must be joking but 10 minutes later at 7.10am, after 6 pushes, our son arrived. I’ve never felt as euphoric in my life! He was placed on my tummy and my doubts of making room in my heart melted away. This perfect little boy was ours and we were allowed to love him and add him to our family.

Afterwards I was stitched before we were left alone for an hour with our son and it was a beautiful time. I remember the morning sun streaming through the window, having a wonderful shower,  eating toast and drinking tea with Craig and our boy, who still didn’t have a name! I felt all the trauma and upset of Elizabeth’s birth leaving me. Almost like having achieved what I wanted had erased the pain, sadness and guilt I felt. The time we spent together in that room was so special to me and I will never ever forget it.

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He’s here!!

Our son has arrived! If you don’t want to read the full post Oliver Eric arrived on 9th September via a quick, natural delivery 😊

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Is there room?

IMG-20180421-WA0062.jpgLately I’ve been worrying. Is there going to be room in my heart for 2?

I love Elizabeth with every fibre of my being. Shes my heart, my light, my everything. How could I possibly make room for another?

She occupies my every thought and all my time is for her. How will she cope with the addition of another? Will she know I still love her? Will she feel pushed out?

I voiced my concerns to my mum who just looked at me and said, “Emma you just will. Your heart grows, life changes,  but for the better”

Only a few months until we find out….

I’m pregnant

Baby number 2 is on their way!

IMG-20180316-WA0000Over Christmas I knew that my body was different. I waited until 2nd January to do a test but I knew it would come back positive 😊

We planned for this and were so excited but I was nervous too. Would this pregnancy end the same as my last? How would we cope with a toddler at home and a baby in the hospital?

The hospital have been amazing. I’m having extra appointments, extra scans and extra monitoring by my local midwife. So hopefully, if things start to go wrong, we’ll catch it quick enough to put it right this time.

For now I just need to sit back, relax and try to enjoy being pregnant!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!! I haven’t really kept up to date with the blog and my resolution is to change that.

Previously I found it really helpful to write down my thoughts so I’m going to keep doing so! Fingers crossed I keep up to it! 🤞

 

Is it over?

IMG_20170501_134413_150.jpgElizabeth has been discharged from her neonatal consultant 7 months early. He is so pleased with her development he doesn’t need to see her again.

I shed a tear and breathed a sigh of relief. We made it! But is it ever over? Do you ever stop being a preemie mum? I don’t think I can but I hope I learn to deal with it.

Do you ever stop the worry of winter, when one infection could land her in hospital? When she’s in the park and everyone’s bigger than her and could hurt her? When mums ask why she’s small do I still have to explain it everytime or will age catch up?

 

A big day….

download_20160927_135045_1Today is a big day for me. My darling girl is having her first afternoon at nursery. How will she be? Will she cry? Will she make friends? So many questions run through my head.

17 months old and Elizabeth has never been left with anyone who doesn’t love her, who wouldn’t do anything for her. Now she has to get to know keyworkers who’ll look after her along with 2 other children.

This day shows me how far we’ve come. How well we’ve done as parents, as a family together. That our baby needs to go and be social with other children and do messy activities, sing and become an independent little girl. I’m so proud of her but want to slow down time too. Where did my 3lb 2oz scrap of a baby go?!

Her face said it all, she ran in and didn’t look back at daddy. I can’t wait to get there to see a big smile on her face when she sees mummy and to learn about her day! For now I’ll just sit and cry with my cuppa!

Birthday Girl

IMG_20170416_225123_137My darling, precious, amazing, wonderful girl. Today you are 1 year old. I can’t quite believe that it’s here already. This year has passed in a whirlwind, a total blur.

I remember the moment I first saw you. Tiny in an incubator, making little squeaky noises, desperate to be rid of the oxygen attached to your face! I loved you then and knew I’d do anything to keep you safe. I remember all your firsts. The first time you really looked at me. The first time you smiled. The first time you laughed. When you rolled, crawled, stood up, got your first tooth…..all of these milestones I’ve watched, photographed and loved. I remember watching your daddy hold you for the first time and seeing how much he loved you. It made me love him so much more.

That fierce maternal instinct was there even if the ‘bond’ people speak of wasn’t. I loved you, that was for certain but I didn’t feel the rush of overwhelming love women talk about. Was I a bad mother? No, but not everyone feels this. It’s taken me a full year to understand. You were delivered and taken from me. I didn’t even get to touch you, just a quick glance and you were gone. I first met you and touched you when you were 12 hours old. The worry for your survival overtook the overwhelming love. When we came home, 5 weeks later, this love grew and grew. Now I feel you’re a part of me. I see me in you when you look at me, when you laugh, when you sleep, when you cry . So mummies (and daddies) it’s OK not to feel it straight away, it will come eventually.

So many milestones we’ve achieved this year already and I can’t wait for the next 12 months to see the little lady you’ve started to become progress. We’ve both grown so much together and we’ve survived!

Mummy loves you to the stars, beyond and back my darling.

Illness

IMAG1712So we all know babies get ill right? It builds up their immune system but it’s awful at the same time.

Having a preemie baby with an illness is a whole different ball game. With Elizabeth arriving early she doesn’t have a great immune system. So much so she was hospitalised in November for a whole week with Bronchiolitis. This is a virus most children get but Lizzie required oxygen to help her and an ng tube in her nose to feed her. In the 5 weeks in Neonatal I never saw her look as ill as she did while suffering from Bronchiolitis. I spent one of the days in hospital crying my eyes out desperate for some improvement as she looked so ill.

Since then she’s had various little colds and also had a chest infection which needed antibiotics and she suffered for 6 weeks with this.

Our preemie babies are delicate. They might look like strong healthy babies but inside its a different matter.

So next time I or any other mother ask you to wash your hands before you touch our baby, don’t come back with a sarcastic comment like ‘oh it does them good to get germs’. Think who you’re talking to. Think how they’ve already watched their baby in hospital for long enough.

Just do it 😊

You’re almost 1….

You’re almost 1 and I can still remember the smell of the ward. The feel of the antibacterial gel on my hands everytime I wanted to touch you.  The sound of the machines and the ding dong of the doorbell to the unit.

I remember sitting by your incubator or cot hour after hour, day after day willing you to grow and be strong. I didn’t cry often, mummy stayed strong for you my love.

It’s all been coming back to me over the last month or so, as your birthday approaches. I can be shopping and little images pop in my head. You so tiny you weren’t much bigger than my hand. Your first taste of milk, first bath, cannulas, needles, scans, X-ray’s…..

The longest 5 weeks of my life were waiting for you to grow and be strong enough to come home where you belonged.

I resented the mothers who got in the lift and took their babies home. I resented mothers on the ante natal ward when I went for my daily blood pressure check breast feeding their lovely big babies. I resented that we had to leave you every night in the care of someone else when you should’ve been with mummy and daddy. I resented getting up in the night to express milk for my baby who should’ve been in my arms…..

Only now do I know I’m a lucky mummy. I have a happy, beautiful little girl. A true fighter full of personality. You overcame everything that life threw at you and I couldn’t be more proud. We’ve had the best but hardest 12 months ever, but you were worth every second my love.

Only now am I beginning to deal with these feelings….only now that you’re almost 1…….