Up, up, up on a leg

LittleOne made his appearance a week before the due date. He must have heard me when I said I was ready, because he spared me another week of pregnancy and was born very quickly! 

It was a very different experience from the first. I had a sweep at the hospital and the waters broke. The day after I woke up with mild contractions. I had an appointment at lunch time for a check and possibly an induction of labour. The consultant performed another sweep and, less than two hours afterwards, I was in labour spontaneously… No time for pain relief other than gas and air, and the baby was born that afternoon! It was brutal, but at the same time I was aware of everything and somehow more in control. I stayed off the bed as much as possible, and gravity really made a difference – the first time I gave birth, it was after a long initial stage, I got there already exhausted and had an epidural. Things went a lot more slowly and I was in bed the whole time. This time I had asked for an epidural, but when the doctor came in and asked me to sit still for a while, I just couldn’t. And I couldn’t stay on the bed. Suddenly all the things I learned at the nct classes in 2012, about the breathing, and visualisations, and positions during labour, made sense. 

LittleOne was born. I had a heavy haemorrhage at the end, so the last stage was “actively managed”, which means that now yes I had to stay in bed and had an IV drip while the doctors tried to stop the blood, but I also had a little perfect baby in my arms and didn’t care. We stayed at the hospital for a few days, to make sure there wasn’t any infection and we were both well. I recovered quite well without the need for a transfusion, and every day I feel better.

The pelvic pain is gone, so now I can stand on one leg (you don’t know what you have until you lose it, believe me), the stitches are healing well, the baby is well and I’m breastfeeding him. I still have lower back pain and my wrists are sore when I had the IV needle, but I’m still convalescent after all. 

Here is a little baby, and he seems so fragile and defenceless, but at the same time he had the strength to stay alive, to wait in a freezer for four years and to grow and come to this world despite everything. And I’m amazed at what science and medicine had done for us, because people say that women’s bodies are made to give birth, but in my case there would have been a few significant steps when the process would have stopped, or I would have had serious complications or worse…   

The cat in the hat, Dr Seuss. Now I’ve got to juggle family life with two boys 😉

Week 37

This week is going very slowly… I’m spending most of the time at home, sleeping in the morning and reading or watching movies in the afternoon. We had some social events: we invited a few colleagues of L over for tea and cakes (and doghnuts and cookies and more cakes ecc.), and it was nice: the house was full of people, but, being at my place, I could sit down and rest whenever I wanted, and they were all nice people. One got me a set of sleeping remedies (lavender oil, pillow spray and eye mask), which I’m not sure it can be used during pregnancy but I loved the thought!

Another time I met one of the girls from the nct refresher course, we had lunch together and chatted a bit. It’s good to start knowing people here, feels more like home.

There was also a birthday party in a soft play, with children from Pallino’s nursery. I went because I wanted to see the other mums, but it was very hard for me: loud noises, uncomfortable chair, not being able to mingle… L was there too, so he took care of Pallino, but still I was in pain when we got home, I should have stayed in.

And yesterday L worked from home and took me to a lovely pub for lunch… Now that I’m writing all this, it doesn’t seem that I’m spending all the time at home, it’s just that the days at home feel very long and nights are longer still.

It’s all happened in my first pregnancy as well, only we didn’t have to negotiate any hill at the time, so going out for a short walk was easy, and symptoms appeared a bit later first time round – the pelvic pain a lot later, actually, so now I’m more worn out I guess, as well as being four years older.

I’m a bit worried for Pallino. He keeps saying that the other children don’t want to play with him at the nursery. Last night he came to sleep with me and told me that “when the others don’t want you at the table, you have to change table, taking with you your plate, fork and cup”. How many times has this happened to him? When I go to the nursery, he seems ok. When I ask the carers, they always say he had a good day. In the morning, he goes straight in without a fuss. Is he trying to attract my attention because he’s worried about the baby? Is he feeling anxious? Or is he being bullied at the nursery and the carers don’t even realise?

Week 35 – maternity leave

First week at home, and it was about time… I started to record what I do and how I feel everyday, so now I can read my notes and write about this past week.

I’ve been home most of the time, especially when the weather was not very good (we had some freezing fog, and I hate fog…). At home, I managed to sort out a few admin things I had been meaning to do for a while, which is good, and I started to tidy up some things, also good. But mostly I didn’t do much, just rested when I could, done a little bit of exercise, read, and felt generally a bit miserable and bored.

I did go to the hospital for the last physio exercise session though. It was a nice sunny day, even warm around lunch time. I hadn’t slept much, so I drove there, which is quicker and cheaper than by bus. Unfortunately this hospital has a horrendous design and parking is quite stressful. Since I was driving, I was able to go to a couple of shops afterwards.

The only other day I left the house when Friday, for the nct refresher course. There were 6 ladies, and we talked through our previous horror birth stories (none of us had it easy) and current worries. In the afternoon, our partners came in too and we discussed labour and how they can help, how to manage older children etc. There was nothing new, but a useful refresher. For me it was good to hear the stories, and somehow stop focusing on my own too much. Nobody knows what will happen this time, after all. Giving birth is horrible, no matter what books and well meaning people say. There are also a variety of after pains and issues that I didn’t have the first time. I’m not going to do it again after this time, though, so I have my all life to recover. And I can’t avoid it now, this baby has to get out at some point.

L came for the afternoon session. He was late, and in a bad mood. I wanted to have lunch together, to have some emotional support after the morning discussions, instead his late arrival and his mood didn’t help, not one little bit. There were two more dads and they talked a bit, hopefully he was nice to them… we were there to make friends after all.

Anyway, I did get the ladies’ contacts, and hopefully we will see each other again. They seem nice people and the day passed quickly. It was emotionally intense and I had to sit most of the day, so when I went home I was really tired. I hadn’t slept the night before and desperately needed to rest. However it was soon time for Pallino to come home, and L was working in the evening (he had an online lecture, so nothing he could postpone) and I had to help Pallino get ready for bed, without disturbing his dad. It was hard.

The common theme of the week is that in the evening, say after 7pm, I feel completely drained, my belly aches, my back aches and I need to lie down. When the heating comes on, the air gets drier (even if I put a bowl of water on top of the radiators), and my nose gets blocked and I feel breathless, and I cannot sleep. So I use a nasal spray before going to bed, which helps for a few hours, but then I wake up in the middle of the night and that’s my sleep gone. I shouldn’t even use the nasal spray, but I really really need some sleep.

 

Week 34

This is my last week at work, finally. I’m already in a stage when I don’t care that much anymore, I would like to go for short walks, get my hospital bag ready, take a nap whenever I can, read a good book, sort out baby clothes in the loft. Writing proposals for projects I won’t be able to work on is not on my list. However I’ve got the last few days and I need to finish a couple of things. A colleague today emailed me asking if I could do something for him “before going on holiday”. ON HOLIDAY. I don’t even want to comment.

Pallino is getting a bit anxious too… he understands that things will change, but obviously doesn’t really know how, and children are scared of unknown changes. The immediate effect is that he doesn’t want to sleep in his bed (mummy needs my cuddles). Last night in his sleep I heard him counting (with the baby there will be 3, 4, 5 of us in the family?). And sometimes he says that without the baby we’re not a real family. But also, and I don’t know if this is related, but could be a way to express some kind of distress, he’s been saying that he doesn’t have any friends at the nursery (even though I see him playing with the others when I pick him up). So I detect a mixture of excitement and concern over the new arrival. Which is pretty much what I feel too!

I had an appointment with the midwife yesterday and everything seems OK. We talked a bit about my worries regarding the delivery, but there’s not much to say. I’m slightly changing perspective and hoping that this time will be easier and faster and I’ll recover better. There’s an additional worry that if labour starts before my parents arrive-ten days before the due date, I have no idea who can take care of Pallino, especially if I have to go to the hospital at night. I had a look at emergency childcare services, but they wouldn’t work at night and anyway need a couple of hours notice. And again, I can only hope that it will be OK.

Merry Christmas

He woke up around 7.30am, came to see me (it’s not morning without a cuddle with mummy) and asked, as he had done for the last couple of weeks: “Is it Christmas yet?”.

“Yes, it is! Has Santa come? Let’s go and see!” I replied. And we went to the living room, him flying, me waddling. A window had been left open (the fireplace is in what is the grandparents room right now) for Santa, and a plate with apple juice and a mince pie and a banana had been placed next to the Christmas tree, but they were not there anymore, only a Thank you! card in their place. And lots of presents were there… Santa did come!

He was so excited he started jumping and turning round and round, sparkling eyes and flashed cheeks… then we started opening the presents; he can read his name now, so with a bit of help he distributed the presents to everyone. Santa got him a giant rocket (inflatable, for the safety of Pallino’s parents) and a dinosaur – he actually only asked for a rocket in his letter, but wanted a dinosaur too, Santa must have heard him when he told us.

It all made sense. The lights, the tree, looking for the right “present from Santa”… it was all artificial and tiring and overrated the day before, but his eyes, his joy that morning, made me reconcile with Christmas… as long as our children believe in some magic, the world is a bit better, somehow, and our heart a bit warmer.

 


I tried to minimise the commercial aspect of Christmas. We have a small tree and used mostly paper decorations, some hand made by Pallino at the nursery. I told him that Santa would bring one present, the others were from people who loved him. And I’ve been reading with him meaningful stories, not all about Santa. Thinking that we’re celebrating the birth of a baby means a lot to us, especially this year!