To my darling baby bear,
Do you want to know something special?
I have never enjoyed anything as much or looked back on a collection of days with so much fondness and a full heart brimming over with true, natural love than when I think of those 5 days I spent in Hospital giving birth to you.
It was completely magical. There’s no better word to describe how pure the experience was, how blissfully happy I was to know that you were going to be in my arms sometime soon, that the next time I left the Hospital grounds I would be a Mummy. Your Mummy.
I was induced at 38 weeks so I knew when I would be going in to Hospital. I’d always wanted the surprise of my waters breaking naturally so the week before we tried every trick in the book to give you a little nudge and let you know we were ready to meet you. You weren’t having any of it though!
On the Friday (6th) at just after 11.30am I had a pessary which I was told may or may not bring on contractions and kickstart labour within 24 hours. It didn’t work. The next day (7th), I had a gel which was more or less the ‘next stage’ if the pessary didn’t work. You could have the gel up to three times and I had all of them, each at least 6 hours apart and my final gel was administered on the Sunday (8th) morning. By Sunday afternoon I was still only slightly dilated but they came to the decision that they should be able to artificially break my waters. By Monday (9th) afternoon, I had reached that elusive 10cm mark and finally, we brought you in to this wonderful world.
It was a long journey but we made it in the end. Here’s what happened…
Friday 6th February 2015
I remember sitting with your Dad for the first few days doing puzzle books and going for walks around the hospital and grounds.
Daddy bought me a small red writing book from the hospital shop as I wanted to write to you about what was happening day-by-day. I didn’t fill it in as much as I’d hoped as it all got a bit busy as you can imagine!
Daddy and I came to the ward at 10.00am this morning so that I can be induced (labour started artificially). Unfortunately, my cervix is still quite far back, soft and not ready yet so I’ve been given a pessary to try and get things moving along. That was at 11.40am this morning and so far all I’ve had is backache and some mild discomfort! Who knows? Maybe it’s the start of something? Fingers crossed! The pessary slowly releases hormones for 24 hours so if it doesn’t work, I won’t be given anything else until tomorrow morning 🙁
I had the straps on earlier to monitor your heartbeat <3 – all good, you were a bit sleepy at first but the midwife gave you a few pokes and you soon livened up 🙂 We should be monitored again before bed.
Daddy’s sat here by my bed – we’ve been for a few walks around the Hospital, had some lunch at the cafe downstairs and we’ve got a puzzle book each to try and pass the time before labour starts.
Daddy has to go home overnight but he’ll be back again in the morning.
Grandma D, Grandad C, Grandma L and Aunty L are all at home waiting to hear that you’re on your way!
We’re all so desperate to meet you. I can’t wait to hear your first cry and see your beautiful little face!
You’re so loved already baby girl, see you soon!
X X X X X X X X”
Well I asked for you to be put on the monitor again at 6.30pm as you weren’t moving much but, of course, you’re perfectly fine! 🙂
I’ve had some tea (shepherd’s pie and fruit cake) and Daddy and I have been for another stroll around the corridors and stairs.
Back is still killing me and starting to feel like I’m having a really bad period. I’m hoping that’s a good sign!”
Saturday 7th February 2015
Morning little lady!
It’s difficult to get any sleep on this ward although I’ve had a few short bouts here and there! It’s noisy – alarms keep going off and some of the girls who are awake and waiting to go to the delivery suite are chatting loudly.
You’re having a right old kick so I know you’re OK.
Maybe we’ll meet you today?
Daddy thinks you’ll be here by about 5.30pm 🙂
Love you so, so much my little peanut <3
X X X X X X X X”
Sunday 8th February 2015
I remember sitting on my bed sometime in the middle of the night between Saturday and Sunday and crying my eyes out because a lady on the other side of the room was having these really loud contractions and got sent to the birthing suite within just a few short hours after having being induced.
Later that day, after lunch, I was told that they were going to have to see what they could do as they couldn’t leave me much longer this way.
Whilst I was waiting to go down to the delivery room, Mum arrived as I wanted her and Michael to both be with me for your birth and I was jiggling around on a birthing ball which was surprisingly soothing as my back was in ruins.
At about 5pm on the Sunday evening I was finally taken to the birthing suite. It was fabulous. It was completely private, there was a huge hospital bed in the middle of the room and all I could think about was that I would be giving birth to you on that bed. There was an area in the corner with a light and heat lamp which I guessed was to check you over or take you to if you needed to be helped when you were first born. There was a bathroom attached to the room with a bathtub, toilet and sink.
The registrar used a long instrument which was essentially a hook to pierce the membrane around you and I felt a massive release. I suddenly realised that everybody was right when they said ‘I’d know’ if my waters had broken. There was floods of yellow, slightly bloody liquid everywhere and I could feel the increased pressure on my cervix. My gigantic tummy became smaller almost instantly and I could feel you even more than before as there was no longer that safety bubble around you.
They gave us about 2 hours after my waters broke to have a walk around and try and bring on the contractions. Luckily, I did start with them and we were doing well for the first few hours with everything moving along quite nicely. I was exhausted so although I had opted for a drug-free birth (which was eventually the case) I had pethadin initially so I could try and relax and rest. I had contractions every few minutes and in-between each wave I managed to catch about 60 seconds sleep at a time, constantly drifting in and out of consciousness and apparently not making much sense! I had a second dose when it had worn off and although we don’t know for sure, I think this stopped my contractions as they started to slow down until they’d more or less disappeared.
When I was checked, the midwife, Sarah, said that she could feel your full head of hair and that you were turning around and around upon the touch of her fingers. She was completely amazed!
Grandma and Daddy had been downstairs earlier in the night to buy some food and drink supplies. I remember having some cake and instantly being sick. I didn’t take to the gas and air and after a few inhalations that made me throw up everywhere it was deemed a complete no-go.
Everything I ate and drank made me vomit so I was put on a drip to keep my fluids up together with vitamins etc. I think we went through 2 or 3 bags in total.
Monday 9th February 2015 – The Day You Were Born
My midwife had said at the beginning of the night that she’d be very surprised if I’d not given birth to you by the end of her shift at 7.00am. By this time, it was about 4.00 or 5.00am and it was starting to look very unlikely that she’d get to meet you.
To kick start my contractions off again I was put on another drip filled with synthetic hormones to get everything going and moving forwards. It started off OK but the pain is well-known to be worse on a drip like this. I can’t argue with that really!
After a while, the contractions were searing over my back and I admit that I just couldn’t cope with them anymore. I’ve always had a really high pain threshold but this was something else!
I asked the new midwife to turn the drip off but she wouldn’t until I eventually demanded her to. My first midwife, Sarah, had said how polite and well-mannered I’d been (I only swore once throughout the whole thing and kept on saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to every little thing apparently) but I’d had enough now.
She became quite short and disappeared for a while telling us that the consultant would come in to discuss everything sometime soon.
When they finally made their way over to us, I asked for a C section. It’d been 4 days by now and you just didn’t want to come out yet. You were nice and cosy in my tummy and that’s where you wanted to stay. You have always been quite stubborn, just like I am.
They weren’t having any of it though and tried to will me to carry on with encouragements and phrases like ‘you’ve been so brave so far’ and ‘we know you can do it, you’re a strong girl’.
I was offered an epidural which was a complete failure. Despite the fact that is insanely hard to ‘keep very very still’ whilst you’re in the midst of contractions, they missed the first time and the second time the only thing that went numb was a small section on my upper thigh.
I’d had my two doses of pethadin long before this point and I wasn’t allowed anymore. Gas and air was completely out of the question and my epidural didn’t work so I got the drug-free birth I wanted in the end.
I remember leaning in to my Mum and crushing her hands in my own, squeezing her back so hard that I felt like I was squishing her. I did the same with Michael.
Towards the end, my Mum was feeding me these smalls cups of water inbetween each contraction and I was just so thirsty, it’s hard work pushing out a baby you know!
I didn’t like midwife #2. I’ll call her know-it-all-nelly for the purposes of this post, haha! She was nowhere near as nice as Sarah, she put a clip on your head to monitor your movements and heartbeat even though I insisted that I didn’t want her to (we had been using an external monitor before with Sarah) and she was determined that I wasn’t ready to give birth to you even though I knew I was.
She said she would check again at 4pm and swanned off for her lunch whilst I continued to tell everybody that I was struggling to fight the urge to push.
Another midwife came in (kind-face-katherine, I can’t remember her real name!) to see how we were doing whilst know-it-all-nelly was busy scoffing herself silly. I practically screamed at her that I needed to start pushing and she did the sensible thing – she actually listened to me and decided to check.
“Oh yes!” said kind-face-katherine, “You’re ready!”
“Really, I get to have my baby now?”
I couldn’t believe it, I knew I’d been ready that entire time and put it this way, you were born at 1.41pm.
Would know-it-all-nelly really have left me until 4pm? I mean for goodness sake, I told her I was bloody ready!
Quite a few people had said to make sure that Daddy stayed away from ‘the business end’ but he wanted to watch you come in to this world and I didn’t care what they said anyway. I thought it was wonderful that he wanted to see your birth and I knew that he wouldn’t care about how I looked or anything like that at all.
I was pushing for a while and by that time, know-it-all-nelly had come off her break and decided to stick her oar in again. No mention of the fact that I’d been ready that whole time and no apology!
Anyway, I was pushing as I was told to and trying my absolute hardest like they said. I was told that after a few more pushes, I’d have to stop so they could ease your head out slowly and then the rest of your body.
Instead, I pushed so hard on the next push that you came flying out and literally had to be caught at the end of the table!
I had been so worried that you wouldn’t cry straight away or you’d need to go over to the scary-looking table I’d seen when I first walked in but you cried instantly and they lifted you straight up on to my chest.
You were absolutely perfect in every single way.
We looked at you and then at each other and agreed that you definitely did look like the ‘Lily’ we’d been planning to name you! 🙂
I tried to hand you to Daddy and totally forgot that you were still attached to me!
I’d asked to take a picture of you when you were only a few minutes old but everybody suggested that we wait until a bit later on. I still wish we’d snapped a photo of you earlier than we did. It was the greatest moment of my life.
I actually wished we’d filmed your birth. A bit gory perhaps but it was just the most amazing moment of my life. I play it over and over in my head.
After you’d been born, I remember Daddy being worried about how much blood there was and how it had gone through the bed on to the floor below. Luckily, they said that it was all completely fine and normal and that he didn’t have to worry at all. I had no idea that there’d been anything like that so I wasn’t bothered by it.
People that I’d seen or met on my journey to having you (midwifes, consultants etc.) came in to congratulate us and see you shortly after I’d given birth. My legs were still in stirrups and everything was on show but I wasn’t too embarrassed. What did I care? I’d just been blessed with you, my perfect, healthy little bundle of complete joy, nothing else mattered and especially not something as silly as that.
I was told to have a bath at some stage after you were born, I think it must have been an hour or two later? I don’t know, I lost all concept of time really, I was too enchanted by you.
It was nice to have a quick soak and clean myself up but although I took a few minutes to just rest, I couldn’t wait to get out, dressed and sorted so I could see you again and we could take you to the maternity ward to meet everybody.
We dressed you in a cute white/multi-coloured animal sleepsuit we’d bought from Harrods months and months before you were born. It was the first thing that we ever bought you and it cost a whopping £40.00. We wanted you to have something special for that first day, something that we could keep forever to remind us of the day you came in to our lives. It was quite big on you but you looked so snuggly and adorable, it was soft and seemed nice and comfy for you.
I had some tears from giving birth and I remember that know-it-all-nelly put in my stitches. She was really horrible about it, pulling the thread hard and sharply at the end of each stitch. She wasn’t very kind or caring and came across quite abrupt.
I remember when Daddy left at 10.00pm on our first night as your parents. We were on a ward by ourselves and it was just you and I together. I couldn’t quite believe that I was going to be left to look after you by myself. I knew the basics but would that be enough for now? Would we be OK?
I fell asleep holding you or with you on my chest a few times throughout the night. At one stage, a midwife had come in to check on us and suggested that you might be a little cold as you were just in your nappy so I tucked you down my top to keep you warm.
I was made to wear a catheter even though my epidural had completed failed. The tubes kept on coming undone and at one stage I was laid in a small pool of blood and urine. Yay! I asked them to remove the catheter all together each time they checked on us but they didn’t get round to it until the next day. By that time, I had completely stripped my bed and balled the wet bedclothes up at the end. I didn’t complain because I just didn’t care that much. All I cared about was you.
When you were born, you smelt like marmite. I’d never liked marmite before but suddenly I couldn’t get enough of the scent of it, it was so comforting and absolutely wonderful.
They weighed you shortly after birth and you actually tried to roll off the scales!
I know that I took to motherhood instantly. Something just kicked in. I was confident but open to advice and assistance because I accepted that this was all new for us.
The Bounty lady came the next morning just before Daddy came to see us and take us home. She took some beautiful photographs of you – you even smiled in one of them, I couldn’t believe it, you clever girl. There’s a lovely picture of you holding on to my fingers, it’s one of my favourites.
“It’s just wind” they said but I definitely saw a smile 🙂
We had a few hiccups after you were born.
Firstly, you had to have a heel prick blood test to check your glucose levels shortly after you were born because I’d had gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
The lady who did the test told us that your sugar levels were far too low and that you needed to go in to the emergency NICU ward. She was awful about it and seemed to blame me for having the gestational diabetes, as if I wasn’t blaming myself enough already!
My head was swimming with horrible thoughts, I couldn’t take in what she was saying and that the happiness and bliss I was feeling was being taken away. You were going to be taken away.
Luckily, the consultant stepped in and recommended that you have some formula to top up the colostrum you were getting via breastfeeding. I gave you a tiny bottle that the hospital had prepared and when you were tested again a few hours later your sugars were much better. By the next morning, after a night of breastfeeding, they were nice and high.
You didn’t go anywhere near the NICU ward and I was so angry with the woman for scaring us unnecessarily and being so rude!
The second hiccup was that they made us see a paediatrician before we could go home on Tuesday because your feet were slightly blue/purple. I didn’t understand why as you’d been born that way, like most babies are, and slowly gone properly pink as the hours went by. I understood that they were covering their backs but I just wanted to go home!
When the Doctor arrived to look at your feet she was bemused as they were, obviously, just normal ‘new baby’ tootsies and we were able to go home without any worries at all.
So, here we are a year later and it’s almost your very first birthday. It has gone by so quickly but, looking back, I have thoroughly enjoyed every second.
I love you so much, more than all of the stars in the sky, and I’m so proud of you.