I can’t believe it’s been four weeks since we brought our new baby boy into the world. What a few weeks they’ve been! You could say it’s been rather eventful.
I wanted to write this far earlier than I have but we’ve been struck down by illnesses and life with two when one’s unwell and you’re sleep deprived, has been, well, HARD to say the least!
I was going to write a proper birth post but this is kind of one of those plus a life as four, four weeks on update… so here we go…
The water birth I hoped for – although not as I imagined
You might recall that I was due just a week after Miss Belle’s 3rd birthday. (Not great planning I know.) I was determined to have a party for her this year unlike last year. We decided to book it for New Year’s Eve – cutting it close at nearly 39 weeks – but it was minimal effort on our part. We booked Tots Town, who were brilliant. They provided the food. I bought a cake and a Frozen cake topper and some Frozen party decorations. Matt and the guys at Tots Town put up the balloons and decorations before everyone arrived.
In the run up to the party my main worry was that I could go into labour and wouldn’t be there. So, I don’t know if I suddenly relaxed after the party, but I think that had something to do with what happened next…
We had an M&S meal deal for dinner and I had half a glass of fizz. We went to bed fairly early and I woke at 3ish for the loo. I got back into bed and felt my waters go. I jumped up and woke Matt up to tell him. Given this was Miss Belle’s actual birthday and we had plans to head to Cromer for fish and chips and to see the fireworks, I was surprised/slightly stressed/gutted in a way! I really thought it would mean the baby would have the same birthday as Miss Belle and I thought she would be devastated!
I called delivery suite to let them know. They said to keep an eye on things and update them if things progressed. But if nothing was happening, they said to call back at 2pm. I had a few mild twinges so took some paracetamol and managed to get another hours sleep from about 5.30-6.30. We then got up with Miss Belle and went downstairs to open presents. I was keen to get them done fairly quickly in case anything started happening. We abandoned plans to go to Cromer and I text my friend to see if she could have her in the afternoon. I had a few contractions and used my birthing ball but it was all very manageable and nothing at all like when I went into labour with Miss Belle.
I called MLBU at 2pm as delivery suite said I could still go there and they said to come in but there was no rush. We sorted out handing Miss Belle over to my friend and got to the hospital about 5pm. They confirmed my waters had gone and said that if I didn’t go into established labour by 3am then I’d have to be induced the next day. I had a little cry in disappointment and worry. I just didn’t want an induction and I was really hoping to be on the midwife led unit this time. They then said they’d monitor baby for a while and although the contractions were coming more often, they were still mild and I just breathed through them. I put on my playlist from pregnancy yoga and tried to do some relaxation and almost immediately the contractions started coming every three minutes or so. Because they could see the frequency and intensity of them they offered to do a sweep and suggested I go for a long walk to get things going. I wouldn’t normally have wanted one but they said this was my best chance of going into labour without induction.
We went for a walk for a good hour and the contractions were getting stronger. I was just about able to breathe through them, leaning on Matt and avoiding eye contact with any passers by! (I used to work at the N&N and definitely saw a porter I knew!) We got back to MLBU at about 7.30pm and the midwife handed over to the one on the night shift. We had a chat and debated going home. I was in two minds. I thought things might progress more quickly at home but I also didn’t fancy a 20 minute car journey only to turn back around again an hour later. Because the unit was quiet the midwife said I could stay and she went to prepare a birthing pool for me. The twinkly lights and candles were put on and I have to say the room was really lovely, just how I’d imagined.
For someone who loves a hot bath, strangely, I found the pool too hot, and my contractions, even though more intense, slowed down in frequency. So I got out and tried standing and kneeling for a bit. I found myself thinking I wasn’t coping too well. At one point I thought the gas and air wasn’t going to cut it. As much as I tried to use my hypnobirthing breathing, I didn’t feel the gas and air was working as well as when I had Miss Belle. At some point I decided to get back in the pool and I was then a bit calmer. I really tried to use the balloon and ribbon breathing techniques and visualisations I’d practised and this helped calm me down. Although I’m not going to lie, I found it more intense and painful than my labour with Miss Belle. But perhaps you just forget?!
The bit that was better was the second stage. The crowning (OUCH) was probably oh so slightly better in the water. Again they told me to stop using the gas and air to push. Why, why would you do this to me!? But before I knew it I was catching my baby and bringing him up to my chest. I have a brilliant photo that I’ve shown only a couple of friends of the moment he was placed on my chest in the water. My face is a picture!! Sheer exhaustion! But it’s a moment I will never forget. Little Man (as we’re now calling him and he’ll be affectionately known on the blog) was very calm and didn’t really cry much. I kept asking if he was ok. Although I didn’t say “he”, I must have said “it”! I then asked what we had and Matt told me through some very slight tears (he won’t thank me for that) that we had a boy! It was a lovely surprise. I thought he was going to be a girl!
And that was that. The midwife told me afterwards that she thought I went into established labour at about 9pm, so really it was pretty quick. She also said that the baby was back to back and turned during labour. Apparently she could tell from the shape of my tummy and because I had three contractions very close together, then a bigger pause. (I was thankful for the pause!) That would explain why I found it more painful this time.
Afterwards we were left to enjoy skin to skin and Little Man, quite unlike his sister, fed really well by himself within an hour. Miss Belle was so sleepy and didn’t really know what to do, but Little Man instinctively fed. It was really lovely and I felt more confident this time, which I’m sure helped too. Of course Matt and I didn’t sleep a wink the rest of the night. I had a few stitches (delightful) and a shower and tried to rest whilst enjoying snuggles and skin to skin.
Little Man has a heart murmur so we had to stay in hospital longer than I wanted to. He also had a very tight tongue tie which became apparent after feeding got painful. He was assessed on the ward early and thankfully that was snipped after only a few days. Feeding has been so much better this time around. Little Man only lost just under 3% of his weight on day 3 and was back to birth weight on day 5, which I was so happy about.
Once home Miss Belle was quite taken with her brother (despite refusing to come and visit him on the ward the next day – yes, I cried a lot about that!) We had a lovely few days at home and even ventured out to soft play when he was a week old.
Everything was going pretty well until Miss Belle got Chicken Pox was he was 10 days old! It was all so stressful. The GP called the hospital for advice because it’s dangerous for newborns and we were advised to separate them and stay somewhere else. So that’s what we did. And I hated it. There were lots of tears but it was all we could do. As my friend said, it was for the greater good, and touch wood, it’s been nearly three weeks and Little Man hasn’t shown any signs of getting it, so hopefully it was worth all the trauma. Miss Belle started with it mildly but it got her good and proper a few days later and she really suffered with sky high temperatures and feeling really poorly. It was a hard lesson in having two early on. You cannot split yourself in two. Even more so because I’m breastfeeding. Nana and Daddy did a sterling job of looking after Miss Belle when I couldn’t be there and I did manage to see her every day, it was just heartbreaking leaving her knowing she was so ill!
Once that was all over Matt was back to work and last week was my first week flying solo with two. Although I feel like a cheat saying that as two days Miss Belle was in Nursery! Oh my, those days are so much easier!! I was doing well and even managed a couple of trips out with them, but since the weekend it’s all gone a bit downhill! Miss Belle has got yet ANOTHER virus. So the past three days have been challenging. She’s so tired and just not right in herself. She’s very emotional and I can’t tell if it’s her adjusting or the illnesses and tiredness. It’s probably a combination. I’m longing for her to be well again so we can settle into life as a family of four.
So there you go. Life as a family of four, four weeks on. Told you it’s been eventful!
Oh and we’ve also had a water leak at some point – got a bloody hole in the kitchen ceiling still! Being a grown up is hard work isn’t it!?