Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Welcome to the world, little one!

The evening of 30th December, i felt ill. I had stomach cramps and generally felt crappy. I ended up getting out of bed, going and making a cuppa (my new weakness) and watching rubbish TV - shopping channels - until my partner came down around 9am. I told him i felt a bit iffy and his instant reaction was "We need to go to the hospital!" I told him he was being silly, i wasnt in pain, i just felt a bit run down and rubbish. He pleaded with me to ring a midwife, and to reassure him, i did. They called me down for an examination, but it colllided with my partners hospital appointment at Broomfield with his neurologist. They said if i still felt rubbish to visit the Day Assessment Unit (DAU) and get checked out over there.

I kept poo-pooing my partner, saying he was making mountains out of mole hills, and that i was perfectly fine (although in some slight discomfort). We went along for his appointment and whilst in the waiting room i came across all hot and queasy. I put it down to being the middle of winder, in a warm waiting room and me wearing a super thick winter maternity jumper.

Adam had his appointment as normal, and we went to leave the hospital. We had planned to his the post Christmas sales, and visit my mum who was working in town. Adam asked me if i wanted to go to the DAU and i was adamant i wasn't going, i just wanted to go shopping! (Bloody typical woman i hear most of you saying!). Adam then pleaded with me to get checked out, for our unborn sons safety - what if something was wrong? I felt selfish and agreed to get checked out for peace of mind.

We went up to the DAU at 11am, and was greeted by a jolly midwife. We explained i had some mild aches and felt a bit poo-pooy and she sent me to a small consultant room to be checked over. She asked me the usual health questions regarding me and baby, then hooked me up to a machine known as a ECG. It monitored my heart, babys heart and babys movements.

There were wires and sticky pads galore. She tied several bands around my waist and tummy, then told me she would check on me every 15minutes over the course of an hour. I were to push a buzzer each time i felt baby move, which was seriously hard considering i was 37 weeks pregnant and there wasnt much room for him to  to move about!

As i were hooked up to the machine, a consultant entered the room to remove the sonographer scanner. He was a happy, smiley man, who put me at ease as he quickly examined me and whilst he was there he did a quick scan to see "Peanut" was still breech and back to back. He jokingly told me that if i were to be having my son today, it would be him performing the surgery. Me and Adam laughed nervously, "Peanut" wasnt due for another 2 weeks, and he wasnt booked in for another week!

The midwife entered around 20 minutes later. She glanced at the printout reading from the ECG and did a double take. She hurried out the room and re entered with some paperwork and the consultant. By now me and Adam were panicing - was something wrong? Was asked what was going on and they didnt reply, they just checked the print out and spoke in hushed voices. We asked again what was going on before the midwife turnt around and said to me:

"Honey, those mild pains you were getting, you know, those small cramps, they are contractions sweetie. Your in labour. You get to meet your son today!"

I kid you not, the world momentarily stopped. I looked at Adam and he looked at me, we looked at each other in total silence. There was no time to panic. Lituraly everything that followed went in a instantaneous flash. The midwife passed me a hospital gown and told me to undress. I just did as I was told, in silence, the words she just told me still sinking in. My baby was on his way. I was having my son today. She did an "examination" to find that i was already 7cms dialated, to which she looked flustered and shocked, followed by telling me that you begin pushing at 10. He was well and truely ready to make his debut appearance in the world. I asked if I could try for a natural birth, without a C-section, and they advised against it. It would be a very long and painful process, and chances were my son would become distressed due to the position he was in (he was breech and back to back, more on that is mentioned below). The advised me to go ahead with my elective C-section that had been booked, however they would now class it as an emergency due to being admitted and brought in 2 weeks earlier than my due date.

I had no hospital bag with me, or items for baby! I did not expect ot be having my child today of all days - New Years Eve! Bloody typical i thought and muttered under my breath. I usually took that bag everywhere. The one day i needed it, i didnt have it.

I was gowned up, laying on the bed wondering what was going on, people just kept popping in and appearing from no where - consultant doctors, juniors, nurses, midwives - you name it, they arrived. In between speaking to every consultant and nurse going, getting mixed messages from various hospital staff, Adam was frantically trying to find signal in the poorest signal area of the hospital, trying to ring our nearest and dearest explaining what was going on - i guess i partially got my mad rush of telling everyone our son was on his way! My mum working in Chelmsford at the time recieved the call and panicked. Big time. She was an absolute god send throughout everything - the pregnancy and after he was born. She left work early and traveled to Braintree to collect mine and "Peanuts" hospital bag. Its a good job we gave her a spare key as an emergency! Little did she know that by the time she would arrive, her Grandson would be born.

I were wheeled into the operating theatre at 12.28. I remember seeing the big digital clock above the door, it just changed from 12.27 to 12.28. Adam was waiting outside the theatre whilst i was given an epidural. Was told this was protocol. I really wanted him there with me as ill admit, im a huge wuss with regards to hospitals, and medical treatment. This was when things really began to kick in. Reality hit again. I were having my son today. Within the next hour, our lives would be changing. We would be going from a couple, to a family. No more "me time". No more selfishness of doing things for myself - someone else would be taking priority now. I had someone who would need me 24/7, a little person.
Nothing can describe the sheer nervousness and loneliness and fear you experience in that moment. You are surrounded by surgeons, consultants, nurses, midwives etc, all busily preparing the theatre for your childs arrival. It feels like a very cold environment, everything is white, clean and sterile. Its a scary place to be, but at the same time, the best and right place. I remember entering to eerie silence and I panicked. Thinking now, the room wasn't silent. The radio was being played, but I didn't hear it. I think I went into some sort of blocked out trance.

Everyone slowly, one-by-one introduced themselves, with their names and their roles - what they would be doing, what part or role the would be playing in the safe virthing of my son. The names and faces all just become one huge blur. I do however remember 2 of the nurses that helped deliver my baby - one was a lady called Sue. She was a beautiful person, she talked to me through out the procedure, joking and clipping my hair from my face. She very much reminded me of a "mummy figure". She was short and plump with rosy cheeks and a lovely smile. She was very reassuring and her mannerisms and general self really reassured me. The other was a much younger nurse, id say not much older than me - her name was Sarah. She too was lovely. She spoke to me whilst i was being given my epidural, by reassuring me, and trying to distract me from the sting of the injection. Surprisingly we had a lot in common - musicians we liked, films we had seen on the TV. She kept singing during the procedure to songs on the radio and moving around the ward in floaty dance like movements.
Sarah had not long herself had her baby girl, Freya, 6months ago, and said she sympathized with me as she too had to have an "emergancy c-section". Although she did the nurse side to the surgery on a daily basis, she said its vastly different when your the one being operated on. She kept me calm whilst I was in there on my own, waiting for the anasetic to kick in, and for my partner to be allowed in. We chatted throughout the whole proecdure, she often took the mickey out of my partner, and the 3 of us chatted away as if i wasnt going under some major surgery and my son wasn't about to be born! I even managed to laugh through the scaredness, even if it were nervous laughs!

The epidural was what i paniced the most about. I got a glimpse on the tray of the size of the needle, and surprisingly it wasnt as big as i thought it would be.  I remember him telling me to sit on the edge of the surgical bed, bring my knees to my chest and curl up into a ball. I just remember rolling  sideways on the bed several timed, due to a tremendous case of the shakes due to nerves. I concentrated on songs being played on the radio than the idea I were about to be stabbed with a needle. It was a hot sharp scratch and that was it. The numbingness kicked in almost instantly, and relief flooded through me, it wasn't as bad as I had expected. The ensure I was totally and completely numb, they sprayed a freeze spray all along the side of my body. I felt nothing from my underarms down. It is such a strange feeling, a warm fuzzy tingle moves from under your arms to your toes, you try and move our legs but you cant. You physically cant. Adam was then brought into the room to find me laying on the operating table, my lower half covered by a blue sheet.
The Consultant asked me if I wished to know what was going on - a step by step procedure so to speak. I was nervous, so I kindly told him no, and that I just wanted him to do what was necessary as quickly as possible. I was also asked if I wanted to see my son being born - as in the removal from my womb, as they would drop the curtain down as they lifted him out, again, felling scared, nervous and quite frankly, sick at the thought of the surgery, I declined.

My brave face
The anaesthetist began the tests to ensure I was totally and utterly numb. He sprayed Ethyl Chloride along the side of my body - I couldn't feel a thing. I tried to move my legs, and my consultant laughed. He said he could tell what I was doing, and that everyone practically tries to do it too.  
By 12.57 i was ready and the procedure started. I was shaking like a leaf, Sarah the nurse told me it was a mixture of the drugs, nerves and also my body reacting to the surgery. I tried to compose myself but i couldnt. I did let out a little nervous sob, to which Sue the nurse rushed over and wiped my tears away. Sarah kept telling me to grow a pair (in a joking way) and told me everything would be worth it, as my son was on his way, which made my emotions rocket once again, within minutes, my son would be in my arms.
I honestly cant describe the procedure. It is such an odd experience. They only way I can describe it, is as though you have your handbag on your lap, and your trying to reach your phone at the bottom of it, but the bag is full of crap - tissues, several lipsticks, your purse, keys, flyers, train tickets from a year ago, and finally your phone. Its like a rummaging feeling - your aware something is happening, but you cant physically feel it. You know what they are doing, and how, but you don't think about it. I felt it went very quickly. I just layed there staring at the celing, grasping Adams hand and stifling a nervous laugh every now and then.
At 1.19pm, on December 31st 2014, a little cry came from behind the blue screen. It was a sign our son was born.

Nothing can describe that moment you hear and see your child for the first time. There really is nothing like it. Every emotion sweeps through your body, happiness, sadness, panic, worry, nerves. You literally cant help it. I cried tears of joy, tears or nervousness as one life ended and another one began for me.

We named our son Aiden-John. He weighed 6lb 11oz. He was tiny, perfect and our absolute world. I was besotted. He was finally here, in all his tiny wrinkly skinned glory. He was beautiful, and he was ours. Our baby boy, our Son.
I recieved first cuddle, but it was an akward one at that. Laying completely flat, with slightly numb arms, they placed Aiden straight to my chest. I couldn't grasp him properly, and so he was immediately placed to Adam, for the first proper cuddle. Rolling my head over to the side to see Adam and Aiden together was an extremely emotional time. Daddy and Son together for the first time ever. I cried. I was proud. Proud of myself for delivering my son, and Proud of Adam for becoming a Daddy. I was proud of us - we were a family at last. I was also slightly upset, that my labour wasn't of my real own choice. I was admitted for a elective C-section due to Aiden being breech and back to back. I were given several options to birth him, but realistically I had only one choice.
In my head from day one, I always pictured me giving birth naturally, I had my heart set on a waterbirth with no medical intervention apart from gas & air. I also wanted immediate skin to skin contact, and having had a natural birth I would pick up my baby myself after delivery and be able to have that first initial bonding cuddle. I also wanted delayed cord cutting/clamping, as I had read about several health benefits for baby - but my whole labour choice and idea was taken away from me the day I was booked for my elective ceserian. I cried myself to sleep for two whole weeks solid over that. The fact I hated hospitals and surgery at the best of times didn't help, and then to be faced with a impending hospitalisation and surgery, that I knew I simply could not avoid, well, quite frankly, that scared me. 
At 1.46pm i was wheeled into the recovery room, where got to hold my precious baby boy for the first time ever. That moment is something special, its a once in a lifetime moment, where both your eyes meet for the first time. You cant help but stare at their tiny eyes, nose, fingers - them in general. They are just so small and innocent. Its crazy to think they grew inside you, from something so microscopic to the bundle you hold in your arms. Its madness how your tiny person is made of 50% you and 50% the one you love.

"Hello Mummy"

After a hour on the recovery ward, i were wheeled down to the labour ward, where a curtained section had been cautioned off for myself and Aiden. My mum was waiting outside for the visiting hours, but as i had no items for myself of Aiden, she was alowed to come in earlier than others and bring our bags.

Her initial reaction was happy tears, I remember she let out a tiny sob as she looked into his cot. She was meeting her grandson for the first time. She hugged me and Adam and kissed us all. That too was a magical moment, Aiden meeting his nanny, and seeing my mum gaze adoringly onto her first grandchild. Precious moments ill treasure forever.

Aiden was finally here. After what felt like forever, and the most panic stricken day of my life, he was finally here. It may not have been according to plan, but he decided to give us the best possible start to 2015, by arriving on New Years Even.

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