As I write this I am 11 days post partum. I have been in a real little love bubble with my newborn and despite vowing to have a little blogging break, I wanted to document my birth story whilst it was fresh in my mind. So here we are, cuppa tea on the go, Holly (and Josh) snoozing, and today I am full of the joys as it was the last of my post C Section injections.
Miss Holly Elsie is clearly like her mother; impatient and determined to do things her own way. She made that clear from the moment she decided she didn’t approve of her elected C Section date and would be vacating Hotel Womb a week early!
It all started on Thursday 18th January. I had a routine scan at hospital that day and went in feeling a bit…. off. I was having pains and discomfort but I knew the baby was super low down and had been putting it down to this. However when the sonographer had me in she could instantly see I wasn’t feeling 100% and got a midwife. The first midwife that came in was, quite frankly, a bit of a battleaxe. I told her I was having some pains, I’d had an upset tummy and that I just didn’t feel right and she instantly dismissed it and said I obviously had a bug. I knew for sure that wasn’t it because I didn’t feel sick in that respect. Thankfully another midwife came along and took me off to the delivery suite and was much nicer.
I had some observations done and everything was normal and then I had an internal. Not pleasant and warranted a two hour wait (they gave me a roast dinner whilst I waited though which made it well worth while!) but I was glad to have it done cause at least then I’d know. But no, at that point I had a closed womb, everything was as it should be and they had no cause for concern. Winning I thought. So at 3.30 that afternoon I went home.
It got to about 7pm that evening though and I just knew. Its quite amazing how you just know your own body; you know when something is amiss, you trust your instincts and I knew this was early labour. I didn’t say anything to my husband, partially because I didn’t want to worry him – Josh’s labour had taken so long so I didn’t see the sense in making a fuss yet, but also because if I was wrong again I’d look a bit stupid. Dinner wasn’t going down nicely so I decided a bath was in order – my answer to everything in pregnancy was a bath! After I’d been in there for about 40 minutes Sam came up and simply asked “How far apart are they then”. Good instincts husband! At this stage they were half an hour apart so I wasn’t too worried. I decided I would try going to bed and get some rest for a couple of hours.
Ha! As with Joshs labour, the second I’d decided to lie in bed, my body had other ideas and I felt the need to be downstairs pacing like some sort of demented cat. It was probably around 11pm by now and I was contracting about every 20 minutes. I’d told Sam I’d come and get him when I felt we needed to call his Mum, who was an hour away, to come and sit with Josh. Things started to move quite quickly though and the contractions rapidly went from 20 minutes, to 15 minutes and then 12 minutes apart. By the time it was getting on for 2am they were 7 minutes apart and I knew I better get my arse in gear, wake Sam and call his Mum. I’d been so sure it would take hours and I wouldn’t need to disturb Sams Mum till the early morning at least but Holly had other ideas and between the contraction pains and her being so low I felt like she was going to come flying out, I knew it was time to get to hospital.
That was a fun journey…. not! As any woman who has laboured in a car journey will understand, I spent half the journey making weird labour noises to see me through the pain and the other half of the journey telling Sam to shut up as he chatted crap to try and distract me. Poor bloke. Ironically we got to hospital at 3.30am – exactly 12 hours after I’d left with a closed cervix!!!
God bless our hospital – I went to the James Paget in Norfolk and they were amazing. Every single person who looked after us from the moment we arrived to when we left was kind, reassuring and generally bloody lovely. My first midwife had her work cut out with me though. When I got in and was examined I was only 4cm (how the hell I got to 7cm naturally with Josh I’ll never know) and they immediately gave me the option; continue natural labour and I could have an epidural or I could stick with what had been the plan, and have a section (although it would be deemed an emergency again as it wasn’t on the date scheduled, but I knew it would be a lot calmer than Josh’s had been). I knew I wanted a section – 100%. And they were fully supportive of this.
But now Jamie, my midwife, was going to be faced with me freaking out over something so minute in the grand scheme of things it’s actually laughable. Slice me open, stick needles in my spine; none of that was an issue. But getting a cannula in me…. Oh My God! I’d been shitting myself for weeks about this in the run up to the due date. I have a weird arm/vein/blood phobia and the thought of a cannula is sheer hell to me. Jamie saved the day and rolled out the gas and air; I was still labouring and contracting whilst we waited for theatre to be prepped so I was offered it to relieve the pain. I’m pretty sure she’d never have got me calm enough to have that cannula done without it; I chugged on it like there was no tomorrow. And it was epic. I bloody loved the stuff!
By 4.30am they were ready to take me to theatre. Now I was a bit nervous. I have pretty much zero recollection of going to theatre to have Josh, so although I’d been through it before, I had no memory and it all felt a bit unknown. The whole team were amazing – I still had Jamie looking after me and she kept me calm and was so kind. The anaesthetist was second to none; I felt nothing of the spinal block being administered and before I knew it I was laid out on the bed, numb to the hilt and ready to meet baby. By now Sam was allowed in with me and I could see the excitement in his eyes and it was infectious; it helped me ignore my nerves and focus on the amazing thing that was happening. I didn’t feel anything until right before they lifted the baby out which is when I felt a huge pressure but no pain. Madam had indeed been very low down and got a bit wedged out. But they then lowered the curtain, held her up and at 5.36am Sam declared “we were right; it’s a girl”! Both of us had had a feeling throughout the pregnancy it might be a girl (we chose not to find out at the gazillion scans I went for) and it was the absolute cherry on the cake to have her. Not only that but she came out with this shock of beautiful dark hair. She was an absolute picture and I will never ever forget the look of pride on my husbands face when he held her and looked at her as they did their checks after she arrived.
After some cuddles, and skin to skin as best as you can have when you’re laid out on an operating table, I was moved to recovery. This is the only part that is a bit hazy cause I started being quite sick. This is all perfectly normal after an op and anaesthetic but I can tell you now there is no fear in life quite like that of throwing up shortly after abdominal surgery; I was convinced I was going to rupture. Again I can’t fully remember, but Holly did latch on to the boob straight away; like her big brother she was going to be a milk monster!
It was clearly a busy day for the midwives as there was no room on the ward for us initially so we went back to the room I’d been in when I first came in to the hospital for a couple of hours to de-numb, have lots of skin to skin and have the best tasting cup of tea and jam on toast known to man. We then got moved on to the main ward to recover where I’d be for the next couple of days.
I’d been dreading being on the ward to be honest; I hated it after Josh, but this time it wasn’t so bad. I don’t know if it’s just cause I’d had a much nicer calmer birth, or if it’s because I knew what to expect, but I was just so engrossed in the fact I had a daughter I didn’t care about the noise and the heat and all the things I whinged about before. I was so well looked after, I got lots of help with starting to feed and the midwives couldn’t do enough to help. I was bed bound after the op thanks to a catheter and the inability to move so they helped with nappy changes and top and tailing Holly. I felt so grateful to have such a lovely bunch of people helping me.
We had a two night stay that really wasn’t that bad; in fact one highlight was that I got chatting to another new Mum the second night, who I vaguely recognised and it dawned on me I follow her on Instagram! Small world! We got to go home on the Sunday and start our little family of four.
So, there we have it. A far more positive and memorable experience the second time around. Holly is now 11 days old and I can’t lie, this first week hasn’t been without its challenges (hello tongue tie) but I am going to save that all for my next blog post. But I will say this; in that first week post birth just be lazy. Be kind to yourself, don’t over do it, indulge in cake and boxsets. I’ve done exactly that and I am certain that’s why my recovery this time has been far better.
For now I will leave you with a lot of baby spam and cute photos and I will write again soon about this whirlwind first week.
One last thing; I cannot thank everyone enough for the amount of lovely messages I’ve had particularly over on Instagram. It truly has meant the world to me and if I haven’t replied already I promise I will do soon….. just after I’ve eaten one more cake!!!
Lots of Love
Fi (and Holly)! xx