Leyton’s Mumma Says….
Like most mummas, I wanted to have our baby early. Not premature kinda early, but just a couple of weeks early where the baby is pretty much classed as full term anyway because all the growing is done and there’s not normally any special treatment required. Whereas the idea of going overdue, and waiting around for days after my due date… just waiting… was already enough to make me nervous with worry. Hats off to the ladies that indure that!! I was a little paranoid in my pregnancy anyway as we had lost a baby at 5 months previously, but overall just felt really blessed to get through each month with my growing bump and feeling him kick and move….so by 36 weeks I was mentally ready to have him. I think I remember saying ‘why cant they just induce me whilst everythings ok, he’s about ready, just whip him out now!!’ Clearly that’s not something the NHS like to do (there are undoubtedly many reasons for keeping the baby in ‘there’ for as long as possible!) but at 37 weeks I broke up for maternity leave, finished washing and folding the babys clothes and started taking Raspberry Leaf Tea, something my mum swore was to credit for my own speedy arrival into the world. As it was summer I opted for letting it go cold with a spoon of sugar and downed a cup a day like squash, until the day Leyton arrived. And I started having conversations with my bump to explain why he shouldn’t keep his Mumma waiting for him past 40 weeks.
I also tried to do long walks wherever possible and generally keep up and about, and most importantly busy, so I didn’t dwell on the days ticking by!! When you’re 37 weeks pregnant though, a ‘long walk’ is about half hour of slow pottering about with plenty of breaks…. And my other half would laugh at the super slow pace I would walk at, when I’m usually known for power walking everywhere. It takes a brave man to laugh at a heavily pregnant person I tell you. Or stupid. Or both.
At 38weeks (+ 4 days) it was your average July Sunday, I’d gone to a friends bbq and come home to watch a romcom with a cup of decaf tea whilst my hubby was at work.
*NB I think watching a proper romantic tear jerker is a secret to starting labour off which I stumbled across… I can’t find anything to substantiate this but in my mind it works along the same lines as having sex… watching a romantic movie releases the LoveyDovey oxytocin hormone which aids contractions to start yadayada… who knows, but its a big coincidence and and easy thing to do if you’re hoping to bring about labour I say.
10.00pm ish – I’d gone up to bed.
2.00am – Husband comes home from work, waking me up.
4.50am – I woke up again to go for a wee. Something I was doing a lot of.
…and I felt a gush as my waters broke on the loo. Couldn’t have planned it better. I went back to bed (sitting on a towel, sorry for too much information) and thought ‘hmmmm… yes my waters have gone, I’d better wake up the husband!’
5.30am – phone hospital, pack car and feed and let the dogs out to do their Toilets.
5.45am – arrive, go to the hospital assessment room. Start with contractions about 10 minutes apart. Midwife checks and does a sweep, and straps a monitor round my middle to check on the baby. They suggest I go home until they are 3-5 minutes apart. The contractions are super strong so I just don’t feel I should leave and the midwife suggests we nip up to Costa for a bit and see how I feel.
6.45am – Contractions very strong and I time them 6 minutes apart on my app on my phone (I’d really recommend getting an app like ‘Contraction Timer’). I’m getting annoyed sitting on these stupid wooden seats. And annoyed that I have no appetite to eat the chocolate muffin Hubby bought whilst he reads the stupid newspaper. Not that he can help at all. I consider punching him every 6 minutes so he feels included.
7.40am – Head up to Labour Ward again and midwife agrees if it doesn’t all happen naturally today I will be induced, but contractions are coming quicker now and most of my waters have gone, so fingers crossed.
8.00am – 4 minutes apart and rigged up to monitor. No gas and air in the assessment room though 😦
9.00am ish – Need the painkillers. I head to the birthing pool room whilst Hubby runs to the car to get my labour bags (I didn’t bring them in as assumed we’d be heading home for a few hours)
9.10am – Water birth looks lovely, dim lights and warm water. However I have gone into shock it seems and am shivering with a blanket wrapped round me, even though its another heatwave of a day.
10.00am – Pool is lovely on my back when the contractions aren’t happening, and although I feel very exposed in just my bra, I generally like the water birth idea. However…..I cant do it. The contractions are ridiculously painful and gas and air is doing absolutely nothing for me, I might as well breathe normal air. In fact breathing normal air would be better because I practiced all these calming breathing techniques (In through your nose and out through your mouth etc etc) but I cant do them because I need to breathe in and out through my mouth to get any Gas and Air.
* NB everyone feels the effects on this differently. Other friends have said it was really strong and helped loads. Just not for me it seems.
1 minute later – move to a normal delivery room as I can’t cope. I’m fully aware that I keep panicking which makes the contractions hurt more, but my body hasn’t had a gentle build up of contractions to adjust, I’ve fastforwarded from nothing to 3 minutes apart in 4 hours. I’m told it could be because its my second labour. I want an epidural. There goes my birth plan out the window anyway!
11.00am ish – I like listening to the babys heartbeat on the monitor. It is therapeutic…if it wasn’t for the 3 minutely pain, which is like an elastic band tightening round my middle and then being electrified, and then stopping as fast as it started. Have to wait for an anaesthetist to administer the epidural.
12.00pm ish – Anaesthetist arrives. Nice guy with a Scottish accent. Don’t even notice it going in because I’m concentrating so much on the contractions.
12.30pm – Didn’t realise you are bed bound when you have an epidural so I cant move into the birthing positions I learnt about at NCT (I must have missed that memo). Have notified the midwife that all is not well though as my left side is numb but my right side is very much in pain still, every 2-3 minutes.
1.00pm – Shout at the Hubby to Get The Hell Out whilst he eats some strong smelling digusting pasty whilst his poor Wife is in torture and hasn’t eaten since 8.00pm the previous night!!!!!! (No food allowed now I’m told)
2.00pm ish – Anaesthetist arrives to do a ‘top up’ on the epidural and sprays ice spray on my legs to test. Apparently that does happen sometimes. Feel very numb now so satisfied. Very weird sensations now instead of contractions, but at least the pain feels like its dulled massively.
2.30pm – Huge pushing / downwards sensation and the midwife confirms I’m fully dilated. Time to start pushing!
3.30pm – Been pushing for an hour with all my might and still no baby. In fact his heart rate has been dipping with every contraction and now it isn’t recovering when I stop pushing so the midwife calmly says she’s concerned he’s getting distressed.
3.31pm – Millions of people arrive in the room with instruments. (Maybe not millions, the details are blurry). My legs are put in stirrups and a woman goes to do an episiotomy….one small cut and I feel a contraction coming so shout ‘STOP!!’ and push until the room goes almost black…
3.57pm – The room comes back into focus and I can hear people saying ‘Stop pushing, just breathe….’
Baby Leyton is born!
He’s wrapped in a towel and passed over and I just feel overwhelmed. Like Wow.
Hubby and I look at each other and I say ‘Wow’. It is true what they say, it’s a unique feeling. I really don’t know what was said or what went on around me at that moment, when I had my legs up in the air in stirrups and my lower half on show to the world…. I couldn’t care less. I was just staring at this amazing beautiful tiny person that was wrapped up lying on my chest. I thought I’d be squeamish because he still had gunk on him but I genuinely didn’t care, I still kissed him, cuddled him and stared at him in amazement. He wasn’t even doing anything particularly exciting – just wriggling and moving his fingers…. but wow. I had a warm, elated, amazed overwhelming sort-of high come over me that just seemed to stop time and I couldn’t hear or see anyone except my this little baby. I’m sure a lot of it was the crazy things happening with my hormones right then… but also because I think the idea that a little baby can just grow inside you for 9 months from a group of cells to fully formed whilst I was just going about my daily business is quite difficult to understand, and even the multiple scans I had didn’t really prepare me for seeing him right then, and getting my head around the fact this baby was the very same I had carried for 38 weeks.
I was vaguely aware of a woman help me pull my gown up further and lie him on me so he could try get some milk which he did for 30 seconds then stopped and drifted to sleep. And I kept cuddling my little boy.
That overwhelming happiness truly overcame the sadness we had previously, and the happiness I feel every day staring at him makes me so proud and thankful that we persevered in having another baby because it is so worth it. We will never forget losing our first child, and Leyton doesn’t replace her, but he gives me a reason to get up in the morning and make the best out of life and appreciate every single moment with him.
The Afterword to this story is that I had another 40 minutes in stirrups waiting for the placenta to come out which didn’t happen and I ended up in Theatre to have a Manual Placenta Removal. Joy. At least I could just have my epidural topped up, but this meant I was lying awake listening to some indie band whilst the surgeons got to it whilst my Hubby got to weigh and dress our little one… so you can’t have everything you want it seems! And I was numb and couldn’t move from the waist down for about 16 hours which is infuriating when you have a mucussy newborn who keeps coughing and my natural reflex is to jump out the bed and get him. And visitors – including the baby’s father apparently – aren’t allowed to stay over night. It’s fair to say my Call Nurse Button got a lot of use that night as I lay their not daring to let my eyes close!
But overall the main goal was to get my little one here safely which he was. And although I know I was super lucky having him 10 days early and within 11 hours, it just shows we can plan all we want but these things will just happen how they want to, and we just have to go with the flow. And even if I’m in labour for days and days next time I’m pregnant, its only a blip in the timeline of how long I hope to have with that wonderful child so its all worth it. So I definitely want more little perfect babies like this one. Or that might be the post-birth emotional high talking…..
Products I’d Recommend for Labour Day
* Desk fan if its summer (The fans in the hospital didn’t work £12.89 from amazon.com 12″ 3 Speed Oscillating Desk Table Fan Cooling Air Cool Blowing Home Office 30cm )
* Warm cardigan
* Loose changes of clothes x 2
* Sleep bras (Mothercare 2 for £20 were great www.mothercare.com)
* Nursing bra (I liked Marks annd Spencers 2 for £29.30 www.marksandspencer.com)
* Bikini top if you want to have a water birth
* Flip flops / slippers
* Loose nightie / pjs x2 that you can breastfeed in
* Changes of clothes
* Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel, dry shampoo, hairbrush, makeup remover wipes, maybe mascara, and blusher if you want to look more human for visitors…
* Towels to dry with
* Hair bobbles/ clips / bands
* Maternity sanitary towels (Boots 10 pack for £1.10 www.boots.com )
* Breast pads (Lansinoh pack were the most absorbent & best value after extensive research: 60 pack for £5.69 www.boots.com)
* Cheap big pants (much nicer than disposable – Primark do good enough black ones)
* Vaseline / lip balm (Certain pain relief dries out your mouth/lips)
* Fully packed Changing bag (see Changing Bag blog)
* 2-3 different sized vests & sleepsuits (tiny baby, newborn & 0 months for example. The clothes we took were too big for Leyton!)
* Going home outfit for baby including hat for journey to the car
* Muslin cloths, bibs & scratch mits or white socks as newborns can scratch their face a lot.
* Newborn nappies (Best ones were Huggies/ Pampers with the line to say if theyve weed. Its only generally a tablespoon a time when they’re newborn and the drs will want to record if they are using their bladder Superdrug £3.73 for 23 www.superdrug.com.)
* Any pillows you like to feel comfortable (I took my Dreamgenii Long Pregnancy pillow that you can rest between your legs: Kiddicare £24.99 www.kiddicare.com)
* Car seat
* Carrier bags for taking dirty laundry home
* Baby blankets
* Camera & charger/ phone & charger
* Earplugs and face mask…hear me out…. if you’re in hospital for a few nights you will be feeling sleep deprived, so when you have a trusted visitor (mum / partner etc) who can watch the baby for an hour you’ll stand a better chance at sleeping properly if you can block out all other sights/ sounds.