it's not over yet
And then there were three but it’s not over yet.

The time spent straight after Sophia’s birth was just magical. It went so quickly and we just existed, the three of us, in this dreamy bubble of elation. This wriggly little baby was all of a sudden here, kicking my tummy from the outside and pooing all over me – twice. Sticky, meconium poo. I still loved her though! If meconium is not a word you are currently familiar with, good luck. It’s gross.
I was also so surprised by how amazing I felt. Husband’s parents were waiting for news of baby’s arrival and were hoping to come visit as soon as they could. We agreed that they could come that night as we were all doing really well. I did however, feel gross and was losing a lot of blood and so asked a midwife if it was ok to shower before they arrived. She checked me over and said I could go ahead. I asked Husband to help me up from the bed as I did feel a tad wobbly. That’s the last I remember.

Let the drama commence.

The next thing I know I’m on the bed, there are people all around me, a man is putting a needle in my arm and a lady is trying to talk to me. I can see Husband in the distance looking concerned and I don’t know where my baby is. At this point I panic. Once I had properly come to it was explained to me that they didn’t think my placenta had come away fully and so they needed to examine me to find out. Now let’s take a second here to weigh up what this means – I just delivered a 7lb baby out of my vagina, was sewn back up from a small tear she’d left me on her exit and now someone wanted to pop their hand up there and have a rummage around? Yes it hurt like all hell and I promptly fainted again.

I come to again only to be told there’s no other way, they’re going to have to take me into theatre and remove what is left. My only thought is “where is my baby?” I can just remember crying and asking who would feed my baby if she was hungry? You see I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to breast feed or not but had decided I was going to give it a go. When Sophia arrived she literally latched straight on and I fell in love. When people say it’s the most natural thing, it really does feel that way. It was so magical; to be so connected, it was almost a way to stay connected to her as she had been in my tummy. But if I wasn’t around then what would happen? I don’t even remember anyone really answering me, other than telling me Daddy has the baby, we just need to focus on you.

Super mumma powers

I don’t know if you remember but this all happened because I had wanted to shower before Husband’s family arrived. They were still on their way not knowing all of this had happened. Typically, as I was being wheeled down the corridor I passed them on their way in! Brill! Cue lots of shocked, confused faces.

I mentioned my Birth Preferences earlier and one of the main things on there was that I really didn’t want an epidural or spinal. I was so proud that I had managed to deliver my beautiful baby with nothing but gas and air and now it was ruined. They didn’t need to put me to sleep which was a bonus, but I did have to have a spinal for the procedure to be done. I was so frightened.
Usually this is the kind of thing that would send me into a panicky mess but this was the second time I realised that my new found Mum status gave me super powers. I was able to overcome my fear and my panic because my baby needed me. The sooner I went and got this done and over with the sooner I could be back with my daughter and my husband. Nerves of steel, honestly. I was proud of myself!

Once I was all numb from the waste down though – which is the strangest sensation, being able to see my legs up in stirrups in front of me but not actually being able to feel them. It was like I was looking at someone else’s legs! The crappiness didn’t quite stop however. By this stage we had just got to staff change over and so I was left, naked from the waist down, numb, legs in the air, waiting for doctors to appear from no where, missing my newborn baby. I’m not sure I caught on straight away that something was amiss but after half an hour and the lovely lady anaesthetist getting very angry that this was happening to me and apologising numerous times, I realised.

They finally arrived and did what they had to do, which wasn’t pretty, the doctor man was elbow deep in my vagina – I know, beautiful imagery – while making small talk of course, removing what was left of my placenta. I was then stitched up again (because the blooming doctor tore me to pieces! Seriously, if I can birth a human with little to no damage that doctor could have been much more careful with just his hand!) and I was sent to recovery where I had to wait for another 20 minutes before I was finally back where I should have been, with my little family.

I joke and speak lightly of all of this because looking back, it’s not a huge deal, we both made it out alive and we’re so very lucky for that. But at the time this was whole experience was terrifying and it certainly made a lot of things I had hoped for not go to plan at all. Waking up on the bed not knowing what had happened was scary for me but having since spoken to my husband about the whole thing, I think he bore the brunt of it. He had literally caught me as I collapsed, in one arm as the other was holding our newborn baby and then managed to get me back on the bed while shouting for help. He was then promptly shoved out of the way while lots of people rushed in and alarms sounded, not knowing what on Earth was happening. I’m so glad that his family were there to support him while I was MIA but it still makes me well up that they all met my beautiful daughter without me there.

Debrief and reset.

Upon being able to speak about everything afterwards, we realised that a mistake had been made. After a woman delivers the placenta, it is collected, along with the bedsheets and weighed and inspected to ensure it is complete and that too much blood hasn’t been lost. This wasn’t done with me. My midwife was whisked away for an appraisal meeting and another hurrriedly cleaned me up and took all of those things away saying she would sort it so that my midwife could get going. Obviously they were not checked otherwise someone would have known.

While all of the drama was happening, Sophia was being checked for her blood sugar levels due to my gestational diabetes and unfortunately her levels dropped below the minimum. This meant, as I wasn’t there to feed her, she had to be bottle fed with formula to keep her levels up.

I get this had to happen, Sophia’s need come first. But I do think this was the beginning of the end of our very short breastfeeding journey. It was like once she’d had that bottle and found an easier way she was not silly, she wasn’t going to work for it. I perservered for a while but we can talk about this another time! It’s a whole nother story.

We’re going home!

Sophia was amazing right from the get go. She passed all of her tests – hearing, Paediatrician checks, her blood sugar levels stayed up after that inital drop and they were happy with her close monitoring and tests that she had to have because of the medication I was on during pregnancy.

** Just quickly, I’m going to digress because this is something that I still struggle with and feel is important to address.
Admitting you have depression and accepting medication to help you is huge. It takes a lot to get to that step. When you find out you’re pregnant your initial reaction is to stop the meds. Please don’t. I did just that and went down hill so quickly. My GP was so good, she explained to me all of the (small!) risks and the benefits and they really do outweigh. You cannot care for yourself during pregnancy, have your baby and then care for your baby if you are not at your best. Your Dr knows what they are talking about.
People can be judgey and horrible when it comes to medication and pregnancy. I had an old school midwife really frighten me about being on my meds, she told me my baby was going to have heart problems and deformities and that I should come off them. I had the same with a midwife in hospital after the baby was born, when she asked for the reason as to the additional checks on the baby. I’ve had the same conversation with a new GP quite recently. It’s not ok. Do not let people judge you and scare you into making a decision that is not right for you. You know your boundaries and limits, do what you need to do to stay within them.
Happy mum, happy baby is very true! **

She slept and cuddled and we had a few people say how well behaved and calm she was; one midwife even said she’d forgotten we were there, we were so quiet! And then we could go home.

Hang on, what?

You want me to go from being here with all of you lovely people that know what you’re doing, checking on us every hour, bringing me tea and reminding me to take my tablets, to nothing. To my empty flat at home with just us? Just like that? “Yes sir! Off you go!”? You can’t be serious?
It’s the strangest thing bundling your teeny baby into the carseat that seems too huge for her and just being able to leave. I remember hovering at the reception desk waiting for someone to come and do one last check or change their mind but no, you just get to leave. Damn. It’s very real all of a sudden.

Home alone.

I don’t think I slept that night. When I said it’s not over yet, I’m not sure it ever will be! There’s always something new to get used to it would seem.

I wear glasses, I’m pretty blind, and for those first couple of nights I “slept” (read: laid in bed looking at the baby) with the lamp on and my glasses on because what if something happened? I wouldn’t have been able to see her! It makes me chuckle now, looking back.

It still isn’t over yet.

It felt like, in those early days, it was just one thing after another. I had so many tablets to take and injections I had to give myself which meant Husband had to give me because like hell was I injecting myself! I got a womb infection from the procedure I had to remove my retained placenta and then there was breast feeding. Urgh. I’m going to do a separate post on feeding because I feel it needs a little more attention but let’s just say, we didn’t have a fun time.

I feel like I underestimated this bit. I didn’t expect to feel so ill. Tired yes, sore yes – although actually I really wasn’t too bad! I could wee and everything! (people had warned me to take a bottle of water to the loo because weeing was so painful and so I was scared, but it didn’t even hurt!) but ill? All of me just felt battered and weak and, I mean, it does make total sense. Labour and birth is traumatic for the body. Like utter devastation. It shouldn’t have come as a shock but it did. Those first few weeks of checks ups, medication, midwives, visitors and just adjusting were crazy.

But then you look at your tiny baby. My baby. Oh my days, I have a baby. And she’s beautiful and perfect and healthy. It’s true, it was all so so worth it.