Dear Emily,

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Well your first month has been a learning curve. First of all I have no idea how people with 2+ children do it! You don’t give me longer than 3 minutes to shower or even have a poo! This is my excuse for having hairerier legs than your dad. You will not be put down, you love cuddles too much, but as your so cute I’ll let you off. I tried putting you in a sling but that didn’t work, your head is too floppy. Although, when you do sleep longer than 5 minutes I panic, check you are breathing and wake you up. This also applies at night time too, your first week at home me and your dad did 2 hour shifts watching Vikings on amazon prime on our tablet. I also bought a lot of things we probably don’t need. Then my grandma reminded me that I will be doing it all on my own soon and would need to get you to sleep. Easier said than done! The next few weeks I was like a walking zombie, and living on about 3 hours of sleep, whoever says sleep when your baby sleeps obviously doesn’t know you.

Now feeding you is another topic! NCT, make out that breastfeeding is easy, not painful and the most natural thing in the world. Sooo not true! Most people I have spoken to have had some kind of problem. Sore nipples, the baby not latching, not enough milk just to name a few. A lot of people have had to top up with formula, this is not uncommon. The worse thing is mums feel like they are a let down if for some reason they can’t breast feed their child, and they shouldn’t feel this way. In my experience around 70% of people I know had to top up with formula or stop feeding by 2 months because it was just too painful. We haven’t had it too bad, although your weight in your first month wasn’t going up as much as the health visitor wanted. I was told to try and feed you on demand, I never knew how daunting getting you weighed is. You do have a little quirk, you only like mummy’s right boob??? Whys that – not a clue! So I express from the left, so your dad can do a couple of feeds. My biggest pain is that I can’t drink as much prosecco as I would like (whoops bad mum alert haha), if I time it right I can sneak the odd glass.  Feeding you in public is something we are just not good at,  you swing your head and my boobs are so big  at the mo I have to lift them up to help you out and prevent suffocation. All that going on under a breastfeeding sheet is not easy. Between us we don’t make it work, so I try and feed you before we go out, so much easier.

Question – How to people buy parking tickets? I get you ready before I buy the ticket because I don’t want to leave you in the car, but what happens when you have a brother or sister? Also the amount of times I’ve left loads of space to get your seat out and then some idiot goes and parks so close to my car I can’t get your seat in. Car parking spaces are too small. I really don’t need this stress on top of a complicated buggy haha. Well it’s not complicated, I just have ridiculous baby brain. It seems every time I take the pram out I have an issue or forgotten how to do something. First time taking you out, it took me 40 minutes to take it down and put in the car. Things are a little scarier without daddy around, but now I have done it a few times I am getting the hang of it and more confident.

You have been such a lucky girl, you have been given soooo many presents and had lots of visitors.

To be honest their aren’t many milestones in your first month, you don’t really do much apart from sleep (only on us), poo, wee and eat. Mummy on the other hand has been really productive and I am nearly on season 3 of Gilmore girls on Netflix!

 

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Dear Emily, (your first week)

Writing about your first week of life is heart breaking, because it was probably the hardest week of my life and here is why….

When you came out you were silent, you couldn’t cry and were grunting which apparently isn’t uncommon. The midwife tried to put you on me as that helps, you let out one cry but that wasn’t enough. The alarm was sounded & in came a doctor, she took you off to the special care unit. I wasn’t really sure what was happening, as it was all happening behind me  as I was giving birth to your placenta, so wasn’t allowed to move. Then in comes another doctor, I remember trying to concentrate but I wasn’t really taking it in . It was like a film when everything is in slow motion. He said you had an infection, fluid on the lungs & you weren’t breathing properly. He was saying all this when my legs were up in stirrups being sewn up. I remember telling your Dad to go with you, but the doctors wouldn’t allow it. My baby was all alone & I hadn’t even got to hold you properly.

Eventually Dan was allowed to see you and I followed after my stitches had been done & showered the blood off. You were in an incubator with 100 tubes going in and out of you. The Doctors said they had done some X-rays that showed you had a shadow on your lungs, which they thought was because of the fluid. They were putting you on antibiotics for an infection but they didn’t know any more at this stage. You were on a CPAP machine to help you breath & clear your lungs. I wasn’t allowed to stay with you, I was shipped off to another ward with 7 screaming babies at about 2am. Your Dad slept on the floor. I didn’t really sleep and at 4am I was walking the corridors of the ward crying because I wanted to be with you. One of the nurses let me in the special care unit, I wasn’t allowed to touch you but I just sat next to you watching you. I thought labour might be tough but nothing prepared me for seeing my little baby like that.

The next day – When we had a chat with the doctors they said they were going to try and take you off the CPAP machine and give you air instead, they did and for a few hours you seemed ok. We were so excited , but your little lungs couldn’t cope and you had to go back on it. Our emotions were like a yoyo. I still don’t think we really knew what was going on.  Your dad asked one of the nurses ‘Is she going to die’,  I remember looking at him thinking what the hell, you dying hadn’t crossed my mind.  It had obviously been playing on his mind, but he didn’t want to worry me. Thankfully the nurse said no, that wasn’t going to happen. Plus you were my little fighter.

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Day 2 – They still couldn’t find out what the infection was, then they said they wanted to test you for ‘meningitis’ ! My eyes started welling up, they would need to put a big needle in your spine and it’s very traumatic so best we weren’t around. I just wanted to get out of there as I started to uncontrollably cry. The doctor kept asking do we have any questions, we never did and waited until the doctor left and then asked the nurse 100 questions because they translated everything into simple terms for us. I was finally allowed to hold you, but I was so worried about pulling a tube out. Things were looking up, you were off the CPAP machine and onto air.

Day 3 – You were finally being taken off the air machine, and taken out of the incubator. Writing this I can’t believe this happened on the 3rd day because it seemed like this took forever. I was allowed to try and start breast feeding you, before this you had been on a glucose drip. Previously me and your dad had been manually pumping the colostrum for you. I include your dad because he was massaging my boob and syringing it up, we were so excited about getting 0.5ml :).

Day 4 – You were moved rooms, and we were told we would only have another day because you were making such good improvements. The meningitis tests they did had a bit of blood in, so weren’t 100% but pretty sure that all was ok. They still weren’t sure what the infection was but the antibiotics had cleared it all up (still a mystery to me).

Day 5 – At 7am the nurses from the special care unit wheeled you into me, it was a surprise as I didn’t know you were being released so early. I was so appreciative and thankful to the nurses, again the tears started flowing. We were finally going to start our life with you, and get you home.

So your first 5 days we had a lot of help from the fantastic nurses at Worthing hospital, however I would have given anything to do it all my self. Sleeping on a ward with about 7 other babies whilst your baby is on another ward is heart wrenching, all I could think about was you.

The next few days were prepping for and having Christmas. We didn’t get much sleep, and we were totally knackered but we didn’t care our baby was finally home!

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Emily, (Your Labour)

Well nothing quite prepares you for labour!

I honestly thought that if I kept healthy, exercised and did my pelvic floor exercises that labour would be a piece of cake. No more than 3 hours, and out the same day was my prediction. That’s what happened to my mum and sister so surely it would be the same for me, right?! Ummmm, not so much, you took 19 hours, and I was in hospital for 5 days after you were born.

Before I begin, first let me praise your Dad. That man was my angel, and makes me want to well up thinking of it. He was my complete rock, very calm and counted me through each contraction, there is no way on earth I would have got through 19 hours without any pain relief without him. I don’t think men get as much credit as they should, yeah I know I was the one in pain but your Dad had to sit through seeing the one he loves in pain knowing there wasn’t a great deal he could do about it. That must be really tough.

I had so many misconceptions and questions about labour, and now I know a few of my own answers – one day  (I hope) you will give birth, and perhaps this will help.

How will I know I am in labour?

  • Don’t rely on your waters breaking. I thought that everyone’s waters broke and was shocked when mine didn’t. Mine didn’t break until an hour before you were born. Chatting to people this is quite common, so don’t always think waters breaking comes first.
  • I had diarrhoea the week leading up to labour, apparently this is a sign as it’s your body clearing you out (Apologies)
  • Contractions feel like you have really bad diarrhoea and it’s sharp shooting pain. You will know! People’s start out at different strengths, mine were painful but some are more mild. Mine started about 10 minutes apart lasting 10-20 seconds and within about 6 hours were 3-4 minutes apart lasting for about 1 minute. You will need to time them as when you ring the hospital they will ask you.

My contractions properly started at 3.30am and after having 10 hours of contractions & projectile vomiting 3 times, I finally got to 3 minutes apart lasting 1 minute. It’s time to go to hospital.

Why I didn’t have an epidural

I wasn’t allowed in the birthing pool, until I was 7 centimetres dilated as apparently you can regress. So by 3.30pm, after the midwife telling me she thought I still at 8 hours left I was determined to have an epidural. I thought there is no way on earth I can have this pain for another 8 hours. (Before I continue, let me say that I in no way say don’t get an epidural this is just me). Your Dad gave me the motivation to carry on without pain relief and here is why…

1.) There is a chance that an epidural doesn’t work, or only works on one side. Once you have an epidural you are stuck to the bed. The way I deal with pain is walking & moving, there is no way I could be stuck to a bed in pain if the epidural didn’t work.

2.) I had planned a water birth, I only had a few more hours until I could get in the pool. Why not try that first? I then had a new target of only 2 hours rather than the 8 the midwife had said.

I know lots of people who had epidurals and everything went fine, if you want an epidural you do whatever is right for you.

Waterbirth

Finally at 6pm I got in the pool, at first I didn’t like it. However after a minute it was so relaxing (as relaxing as could be). I would definitely recommend a water birth as pain relief for contractions. Although the contractions themselves were still horrendous, the small time in between was relaxing.

That being said, when you are ready to push, get out! I was pushing against the water, for about 1 1/2 hours and it wasn’t really getting me anywhere. When I got out, we really started seeing progress, 40 minutes out of the water and you were born.

Pushing you out

After 19 hours of labour, I gave birth to you standing up and squatting to get you out. If you can stand or go on all fours, instead of lying down do it. Your coccyx is able to move if you don’t lay down and gives you an extra 26% room to push out baby, .

You were 9lb and born on the 18th December. You were perfect! Then the scary bit came. You were grunting and weren’t crying. You were rushed to the special care unit without mummy or daddy, but I will tell you more about that in your ‘first week of life post’.

xxx