Time for Another

the diary of our quest for baby number 2

A rather delayed birth story!! Monday 4 August 2008

Firstly, thank you to those of you who have posted comments wondering whether our little boy had arrived yet. It still amazes me to think that people are interested in reading my blog – many thanks to you all!

As you may have guessed, I have had our little boy – he arrived on 16th July, a whole 6 days early, and he’s just perfect 😀  Here’s the story:

I woke up on Weds 16th July at 6am with tummy cramps, initially I thought I was dreaming then realised that no, they were in fact real. They felt different to the cramps I had been having so I thought I’d time them (whilst my husband snoozed beside me) – I timed them for a couple of hours until about 8am – they were coming every 15 minutes and were strong but not uncomfortable. DH woke up and I told him that he should probably stay at home from work. Then we set about thinking what we should do about our daughter. Unfortunately her nursery was full that day so we called up DH’s mum who very kindly agreed to come and fetch her. It’s a 2hr drive for her so we carried on calmly with the day – I showered and ate breakfast and loaded up http://www.contractionmaster.com on my laptop so I could keep track of what was happening. We then phoned the labour ward to let them know that things were underway, and they said to phone back when the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart or if my waters broke.

So, around lunchtime, some builders turned up to assess a problem with the brickwork, then MIL arrived to fetch our daughter, followed by the internet grocery shopping I’d ordered the day before!! All rather hectic and it sent the contractions a bit haywire – they felt a little less intense and came on and off. Once everyone had gone and it was just me and DH, we were able to relax and I got my rhythm back again. They were coming every 6-7 minutes and starting to increase in intensity and length. We laid back on the sofa and watched The Incredibles (well, I did, my DH snored all the way through!!).

At around 5pm we decided to set up the birthing pool and I lit my aromatherapy candle so the bedroom became a virtual spa 🙂 I moved into the bedroom as the lights were a bit less harsh and the mood was set. Whilst DH sorted out the pool, I lay on the bed and breathed through each contraction, feeling calm and a little excited that this was really it. By 7pm we decided to time things for an hour before calling the labour ward again. At this point contractions were coming approx every 4 minutes and lasting from 40 seconds – over a minute. I sat on the birthing ball and rocked side to side which made things feel much easier and DH gave me lovely soft-touch massage on my back, whilst we played the hypnobirthing cd to really really relax. At 8pm ish we called the labour ward again to tell them that we were at a steady 4mins apart with each one lasting an average of 1minute – they were handing over from day to night shift so got a midwife to call me back at around 8.30pm. She agreed to come out and assess me, bringing a student mw with her. In the meantime I decided it was time to put on the TENS machine…

Only to discover it was malfunctioning – the ‘boost’ button which you press when having a contraction didn’t work, and the machine randomly flicked from regular to ‘burst’ mode without any intervention. This was entertaining for a short while but ultimately useless for the job intended. Thankfully a friend had offered us the use of their machine so a quick phone call later, they dropped it off then about 5 minutes later the mw turned up.

They watched me for a little while and asked some questions then took my temperature, blood pressure (weirdly lower than for almost the entire pregnancy!!) and baby’s heartbeat. Then they did the internal to see how dilated (if at all) I was. The mw went first whilst the student waited in the other room – the mw whispered in my ear that I was 6cm!! This was so unbelievably good to hear – I’d only got to 5cm after 2.5days of labouring with my dd, I could have cried with happiness. The student then did her examination and they discussed how they could feel the membranes bulging as our baby’s head was pressing right down. I think they were quite surprised how far along I was because the hypno techniques meant I was incredibly calm – chatting in between  contractions and really just letting my body do its thing. The mw then said they would leave us to continue whilst they sat in the living room, and that they would come and check on my progress, and listen in to baby’s hb every 15 minutes (obviously if we wanted them before we could just call out). Anyway, I phoned my mum to let her know how things were progressing (about 9.55pm) and had 3 huge contractions whilst on the phone. I had one check then the contractions were coming thick and fast. They didn’t hurt but were starting to be quite overwhelming – I got DH to check when it was ok for me to get in the pool and was told whenever I wanted. So, DH took off the TENs machine whilst I had 2 massive contractions bending over the bed. I clambered into the pool, knelt down and despite being told that the water would probably slow the contractions a little, I almost immediately felt the need to push (well actually I thought I was going to do a big poo!) the mws came running in and reassured me that there was nothing to be scared about, that my little boy was coming! They got me to feel his head which was amazing, then a big push (unprompted and not forced) the waters popped and I delivered his head, a couple of minutes later and the rest of him followed. I brought him to the surface and I will never ever forget the sight of that perfect little face looking up at me. He was tiny but perfect. My DH says I looked euphoric and that’s pretty much how I felt. 10.37pm, our beautiful boy was born weighing 6lb 8oz.

I got out of the pool and waited for the 3rd stage (delivery of the placenta) which happened about an hour after the birth without any interventions. I’d done it. I had my home waterbirth with no drugs (not even gas & air), no forced pushing or being told what to do. My body did it all and I remained calm throughout. No pain, no shouting, no swearing – a little ‘lowing’ (as in ‘the cattle are lowing’) – it was exactly as my birth plan.

The 2nd mw arrived after the birth and missed all the action! So he made tea for everyone instead. Once they’d done all their paperwork and checks, we were finally left to ourselves at around 1am. I had a quick shower, and we put some clean sheets on the bed then we snuggled up on the sofa, DH with a glass of wine, me with some squash and of course our beautiful little boy. It was amazing to be able to relax and enjoy this special time – so different to the birth of my dd where my DH was sent home at 4am and I was transferred to a ward with 3 other women & their newborns, left on my dirty sheet, unable to sit up (because of the epidural) and unable to sleep. 

So, all my worries and fears about bonding with my darling son were put to rest. I had a tear or two just after the birth and whispered to him how sorry I was about his siblings. I have cried for them since but I am so in love with our little boy – the moment I saw that face coming out of the water I couldn’t help but feel that way and I’m so happy.

Nearly 3wks on and I’m still feeling great about it all. He’s a complete poppet; sleeping and eating well, barely crying. His big sister is totally enchanted with him and gives him kisses all the time which is so sweet and lovely – I’m a very lucky mama 🙂  I’ve had some physical problems since the birth – including an infection in my uterus so am dosed up on antibiotics and anti-infection medication, but mentally things are just dandy. Again, the difference between this and how I felt after my dd is astonishing. I’ve cried over that – I feel so bad that I didn’t feel the way I do now, about her when she was born. But, I can’t change the past and I know how much I love her now (and did then, the mask of PND just hid it from me).

The placenta sits rather unceremoniously in our freezer until we can plant the cherry tree somewhere suitable, then the twins will have their special place. Although, they already have a special place within me and my ds (rather gruesome a thought for some I’m sure, but very comforting to me).

And there we are – a family of four, mama, daddy, dd and ds. And the cat! What a journey we’ve been on these last 9-10mths. I’ll continue with this blog but probably not as frequently. I hope one day my children will read it if they would like to.

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Countdown commences Monday 30 June 2008

37 weeks tomorrow which means we can have our homebirth from then (all being well). The pool arrived today so a quick dash to the local DIY shop to find a suitable tap connector and we can have a test drive later on. Wriggler has definitely dropped down which makes breathing easier but walking harder – plus trips to the loo every few minutes as the pressure on my poor old bladder is constant 🙂

The antibiotics seem to be kicking in now but I’m still coughing and blowing gunk from my nose – yuk. It doesn’t really help with my breathing practice as I’m wheezing so doing the long slow breath in and out (used for contractions) is proving a bit tricky. Oh well.  The TENS machine arrived on Saturday too so we’re pretty much good to go. I’ve packed two bags in case of a hospital transfer – one for me and one for Wriggler and added in the energy bars. Our cupboards are now replete with chocolate biscuits and toast making ingredients to keep the midwife happy!

DH spent the weekend cleaning, tidying and doing DIY so the flat is looking good – we should be instructing our chosen estate agent today so it’s all go on all fronts. MIL will be coming down on Weds with the crib, baby car seat and baby bath that she’s had in her attic for us – just hope things don’t kick off whilst she’s here. Despite us telling her we didn’t want anyone around last time, she decided to turn up anyway which made us both pretty cross. I’m determined for it to be me and DH only this time, with our DD being the next person to meet Wriggler. Everyone else can just wait until we’re ready.

I’ll be seeing my midwife tomorrow so we’ll go through the birth plan and arrangements for a homebirth, then a counselling appt on Weds. As D-Day draws nearer, I can’t help but be reminded again of the twins we reduced and wonder what if…  I love them every bit as much as I love my DD and Wriggler, even though I never got a chance to meet them properly. They are still very much a part of me and will never be forgotten. I’m just so sad that we had to make the decision we did. I hope I can find some time to grieve properly for my two little babies, and that wherever they are, that they understand why we did what we did.  I’m not religious or even really that into ‘life after death’ type of thing but I hope they are kind of around and looking over us all. I know that physically they are literally a part of me having been partially absorbed and whilst that sounds a bit gruesome, it actually brings some small comfort. Emotionally the whole experience has impacted me greatly – a totally unexpected twist in our lives that has had to be incorporated somehow, and physically it’s the same I suppose (although on much less of a scale). But, life goes on and their brother is making his way into the world which brings happiness tinged with sadness. 

 

The homestretch Monday 9 June 2008

It could be any day although the reality is more likely 4-8wks. We are ok for a home waterbirth from 37 wks (I’ll be 34 wks tomorrow) so I hope he hangs on until then. We have a small amount of decorating to finish before we finally get the flat on the market – I’m determined to have it for sale before we have this little fellow, because once he arrives, life will be manic and we’ll never get around to it.

Healthwise, I’m ok – we had a small scare a couple of weeks ago when I had a terrible headache and felt nauseous all day so we ended up paying a trip to the labour ward for monitoring. Thankfully pre-eclampsia was ruled out and we think it was probably just a migraine or virus. I’m now having fortnightly midwife appointments and last time we discussed what might be done with the placenta – I’ve been thinking more and more about this as the time comes to give birth. Initially I thought keeping the placenta was a bit gross, but the more time goes on, I think it would be nice to bury it with the twins’ cherry tree. It won’t be *just* the placenta but the twins will be part of it, along with their placenta – it’s some sort of closure for me to bury them together and have a resting place for them. Even though it’s still a bit freaky to think too hard about.  I’ve also had a call from the GPs counsellor who can fit me in for at least one session before my due date. I had wondered if I needed it, but now that it’s been offered, I feel it’s a good thing to go along. I’m definitely not over my grief and guilt of the reduction and in fact as I near the due date, the more it’s on my mind and I’ve had a few weepy moments. Interestingly over the weekend I ended up talking at length to a friend who initially I had thought would have reason to judge (she’s Catholic). However she was a great listener and seemed to understand that we’d been through hell and back and had considered every option possible before coming to the dreadful decision that we did. She told me of a quote from Richard E Grant about grief which goes something like this: ‘You never get over grief, but you do learn to walk around it’. That makes a lot of sense. 

And so as we reach those last few weeks, I’ve got my TENS machine ordered, hospital bag packed for me, baby’s one is prepared and needs putting in a bag (just in case of course!), vague plan of what to do with dd when things kick off, website bookmarked for the birth pool. Birth plan needs to be written up ready, a firmer plan for dd needs to be settled. The decorating needs to be finished and the flat on the market. But we’ll get there!

Other news: DD has potty trained successfully day and night – she’s taken to it like a duck to water, clearly it was the right thing to do to wait until she was ready. We attended our friends’ wedding over the weekend and it was great – beautiful weather, great service, lovely reception. I felt glamourous next to my handsome husband and dd looked so cute it was unbelievable!

 

20 weeks today – half way! Tuesday 4 March 2008

And boy has it taken forever to get here. Finally, I am at the halfway stage and hopefully out of the danger zone. Wriggler is living up to his name this week and I’m feeling movements throughout the day – it’s funny how they differ from those that my daughter made when she was inside. She used to wave her arms and legs around so I’d feel distinct prods, whereas Wriggler is more of a somersaulting type. It also feels like he’s really low down. It’s nice to be able to feel him in there though, can’t believe it’s been 8 wks since I could feel the three of them moving about.

Plans to move are coming along nicely. House viewings are being lined up for Saturday and we’re busy getting quotes for various diy bits that need doing here. Other plans afoot are to go for a home water birth if able. I’ve decided that I like the Made in Water ‘la Bassine’f and at just over £100 for the pool and accessories, it’s still way cheaper than hiring one. I really hope to give birth in the pool as well as using it during labour, it’s sort of symbolic for me in that I think of the twins being safe ‘in the blue’ (see a previous post) so to birth the wriggler into the blue completes the circle. Plus the benefits of water births are well known and combine nicely with hypnobirthing. Which is another thing I’ve been getting on to – arranging for more sessions. Looks like we’ll start either a refresher or a full course at around 30wks and I can’t wait! It was so relaxing.

Darling daughter continues to amuse and annoy in equal measures as is befitting a 2.5yr old. She’s back to not sleeping for more than a few hours at a time at night which is not great when combined with my indigestion/noro virus stomach ache thing which keeps me awake anyway. At 4am today I went in and the conversation went something like this:

DD: It’s dark. I can’t see anything, no toys.
Me: That’s because it’s night time. And night time is when we sleep.
DD: I can’t see *anything*. It’s night time. Dark.
Me: Yes darling. It’s night time and it’s dark. The sun comes out in the morning.
DD: Sunshine? Sunshine go pop morning. It’s breakfast timing!!
Me: Yes darling. Sunshine comes in the morning and then it’s breakfast time
DD: I have toast and cereal?
Me: Yes, in the morning. But it’s dark now because it’s night time. Night time is when we sleep. When you wake up it will be morning.
DD: And sunshine go pop – breakfast timing!!
Me: Yes. Ok, night night darling. Mama’s going back to bed to sleep.

Cue, crack of dawn at about 5.45am, loud knocking on her bedroom door “Daddeeeeee! Daddeeeee! Sunshine go pop, is morning. Breakfast timing!”

Aaaaaaaargh! And now we have a very sleepy grumpy little girl, a leaden eyed Mama and probably a sleep deprived Daddy (he’s at work). So much for my rational explanation – I should have guessed it would be taken literally 🙂 Next stop is for the Bunny Clock – we hear great things about it and it’s got to be worth a go surely. Broken sleep and v early mornings are bad for us all in this family.