After our daughter was born – and I mean straight after – we were already planning baby number two. In fact, before we even had baby number one we were planning baby number two. The idea was that since we didn’t have twins the first time around, the next best thing was to try and cram two babies into one year. We wanted them to be close in age so that they would get along and be the best of friends growing up. It was going to be tight squeeze but we were looking forward to it.
I was exclusively and ecologically breastfeeding my first born from day one, which kind of (unknowingly) popped our two-babies-in-one-year balloon. Apparently, and I don’t speak for everyone, ecological breastfeeding is birth control on steroids.
We didn’t actually manage to get pregnant until our daughter was 22 months old. That was a stroke of luck really, because I had to leave her behind for a week due to a family emergency abroad. The moment I stepped off the plane at Manchester Airport – after a week of having engorged breasts and longing to feed my baby – I stormed into the nearest bathroom to find that I had started my first period in 3 years (Dec 2011-Nov 2014!). Fast forward to my daughter’s 2nd birthday seven weeks later and we discovered that I was pregnant. Woohoo!
It was great news. We were tortured with false alarms so many times I wasn’t even capable of staring at another negative result. So, I handed it to my husband to tell me what it had said once it finished configuring or whatever (it was one of those fancy digital ones). He even thought it would be funny to pretend it was negative. Haha! – Not. Only a man could find that hilarious. Needless to say it was positive, and I was so overwhelmed with joy the moment he told me that it was only a joke and that I really was pregnant that I forgave him for his stupid prank and started planning my visit to the midwife.
The pregnancy was a breeze. Even with having three (yes I said three!) nasty falls – 1. fell over the safety gate at 6 weeks; 2. flew over the top of the pushchair in the street when the wheel jammed on the curb at 19 weeks and 3. I slipped after stepping out of the shower leaving my legs black and blue for a few weeks when I was 24 weeks pregnant. That aside it couldn’t have gone better. Even the SPD didn’t really flare up that much at all. My morning sickness was very intense for a while but disappeared at 9 weeks and my weight gain was very slow and steady.
We found out we were having a boy at 20 weeks and that’s where the frustration over the name started. I am sure many of us have been here before. We just couldn’t agree. Weeks and weeks of name suggestions that I had been compiling for the last, probably 10 years, had been murdered and buried by the time we could finally agree on a name. But finally, one day I suggested a name and instantly my husband and I fell in love with it. It was settled. Miles it was.
I was three days away from my due date when I was assisting my daughter in the bathroom. It was around 17:30 and my husband was still on his way home from work. As soon as I helped her onto the seat, I suddenly had the urge to go, but thought, I’m the grown up here, of course I could wait? Or not. I totally drenched myself. It was all over me and I was convinced that I had somehow lost all control of my bladder. But when the next big gush of water completely soaked through my trousers I realised that it had been amniotic fluid. P A N I C.
I was shaking with excitement. Even developed a little stammer while I was at it. Why not? My daughter couldn’t understand why Mamma, who is quite a bigger ‘big girl’ than she was, was still doing a piepie in her pants, but had the audacity to go totally mental when little Kat only ever did a little dribble by accident. I couldn’t get the words out when I was trying to talk to her as my mind was racing so much. It’s time! I told my husband to hurry home so we could go to the hospital. This baby is going to fall out of me any minute! If only I knew then that it would still be 30 hours until he showed us his precious little angel face.
We arrived at the hospital only to be sent home again. I wasn’t in active labour and the best they could do for me is pass me a couple of paracetamols for the odd few twinges I had that they probably thought I imagined anyway and book my induction for 17:30 the next day. I have always feared induction, so I did everything I could think of to try and start my labour. The fluid kept coming in large gushes and I had to change my trousers twice, even after being armed with the largest pad I have ever seen short of a nappy. We’ll call it a pappy.
I had very intense pains the next morning. We set off for the hospital at 10 am and I was examined to be a full 1 cm. You have got to be joking. The pain was as intense as my transition stage with my first. What a joke.
I wasn’t given a bed so I had to go home. I didn’t want to because I was still deluding myself into thinking things could turn around at any minute and I’d have this baby in the car. So instead, we walked to the park 15-20 minutes away. We walked all over the grounds and returned back to the hospital a few hours later. At 14:00 pm I surrendered. If I were to be induced I’d need all the rest I can get, so we might as well go home and chill.
We arrived at the hospital again at about 16:00 pm and spent the next couple of hours in the lobby of the hospital. The contractions were so bad I had to work really hard not to burst into tears. These were felt right in my cervix and finished in my tail bone (another posterior baby, yay).
We were taken to the induction suite and the midwives examined me. They had planned to start me off with a pessary but because I had no fluid left and all of the waters had gone, they only did a stretch and sweep and took me straight to the birthing room, as I was already nearly fully effaced and 3 cm dilated. After all the pain I’d been experiencing, I was hoping to hear something along the lines of 6 cm or 7 cm, but at least things were progressing.
The room was nicer than I imagined it would be after being told I had to go into the labour room and couldn’t go into the birthing suite. The midwives were two wonderful ladies – both over six feet tall. It was 18:00 and I was determined to invite my best friend in the world to endure this with me, Entonox. By the end of it all, the friendship had fallen apart and we probably won’t be on good terms ever again – #HypersensitivySideEffect. In a nutshell, the gas and air helped in the beginning, but then had an unexpected adverse effect, and instead of numbing the pain a little it worsened it to the point where I was hypersensitive even to cold water touching my skin.
By 21:00 pm I was finally in active labour and nearly 3 hours later, at 23:54 pm I gave birth to our beautiful son after pushing for only 6 minutes. My son was born in complete silence. I waited and waited to hear him cry but there was nothing. I was on my knees facing the wall behind the bed and my thighs were experiencing incredible muscle fatigue (from labouring leaning over the bed, half stood up for 6 hours) to the point where they were so stiff I couldn’t move them without help, so I wasn’t able to turn over to see what was going on. I was hysterical and in tears and all I could think was to pray, “Lord Jesus, please save my baby!”. It turns out he had the cord around his neck and he was a bit pale and floppy but what felt like ages was really only a pretty straightforward few seconds. It appeared a lot worse than it had been and midwives deal with this sort of thing all the time, and weren’t concerned in the slightest.
He was given a few breaths of oxygen and recovered very quickly. I could picture it happening on One Born Every Minute, complete with some theatrical music for dramatic effect. It was no big deal and he was fine. Praise the Lord.
We were moved down to the birth suite used for low dependency labours because it had a private bathroom that I could use. I had a nasty labial graze and being able to use the bathroom was the next big hurdle. Now for the postnatal phase – hooray…
Our gorgeous baby boy was 7lb 5 oz (3.34 kg) and 47 cm. He had neonatal hypothermia, his body temperature was somewhere between 32 and 33 degrees Celsius (most likely from moving between wards in the cold corridors) so he had to be in an incubator for a day and a half, but had no other complications and was able to go home!