My baby girl is here! {Part 1 – The birth story}

Howdy ho!!

Yes, I know, it’s been a LONG time since I last posted – but this time I actually have a valid excuse!  For those of you that haven’t already heard, my beautiful princess Emilia Marie Douglas was born on 18th July at 11:42 am weighing 6lb 9oz (2980g).  She is absolutely perfect 🙂

IMG_4055IMG_4087FBNow, I’m sure you are all desperate to hear all the gory details (I have actually kept this ”man-friendly”, so it’s a very mild and clean version haha), but let me start by re-capping my last few days before the birth.

So here I was, feeling HUGE and uncomfortable and so so impatient – and I wasn’t even due yet!  The problem was that the first due date we were given was a week before the revised one and so in the back of my mind I was always going with the original one because it actually made more sense date wise.  This made me overdue and uber-ready!  My fears and worries about labour didn’t matter so much anymore as all I wanted was to meet our baby!

The key was just to stay busy to keep my mind off it, and to do as much physical exercise as possible to hopefully encourage labour along.  (I knew that Emilia would come out when she was ready, so I didn’t want to rush her either and try too many labour-inducing methods!)  I also started wondering if I was having a boy again!  I subconsciously started calling the bump “he” again, and looking at boys clothes etc!  No idea why!  Paul and I also finally had a productive discussion about names.  We came up with a list of four girls names and four boys names we liked and once the baby was born we would choose the name that most suited them.  Now all we had to do was wait….

…this leads us to the big day…

Paul was working a night shift the night it all started.  He had briefed me on who to call when the time comes (as he’s not allowed to have his phone on him) along with ten other names and numbers in case I couldn’t get through!  I felt reassured :/  Just before going to sleep, I was messaging my sister telling her how frustrated I was that the baby hadn’t arrived yet.  I was crying my hormonal heart out!  I was even shouting at my bump, telling the baby to hurry up!!  Well, she heard me…as soon as I turned off the light and settled into bed, I heard a “pop” and with that my waters had gone!  I remember thinking, “wow, this is just like in the movies!” except there was no almighty gush, just a steady trickle!  With this being my first baby, I knew to expect a long labour and for everything to escalate at a fairly slow pace so I wasn’t sure whether to call Paul straight away or wait until the contractions started.  Luckily I did call, as by the time he got home, I was having contractions every 6 minutes.  They were still bearable, just like very strong period cramps.  I was super relaxed, packing last minute items into my hospital bag, doing my make up (!?), while Paul was leisurely having a midnight microwave meal! {I have to mention that the microwave meal contained A LOT of garlic and Paul stunk of it for the entirety of my labour!  With my garlic issues, this was not good.  Thanks baby!}  When I called the hospital they told us to come in just to make sure that my waters had broken.

I got a bit scared, while we were waiting to be seen because there was a woman wailing away in the corner and crying out in pain every few minutes.  Finally I was seen to and they confirmed that my waters had broken (I could have spared them the hassle!).  They advised me that as I am a first-timer, it would be a long while yet and to come back by 7pm the following evening if nothing had progressed.  We were told not to come back before then unless my contractions were coming every 4 minutes or less.  So off we went, and I was starting to get pretty uncomfortable.  By the time we got through the door, my contractions were starting to feel pretty painful and when we started timing them they were only 4 minutes apart.  We waited an hour, to make sure the contractions remained steady, and went back to the hospital.  {There was a storm that night, and lightening was going off everywhere as we drove back.  It actually really put me at ease – I love storms.  Yeah I’m sad like that!}  The staff were surprised to see us again so quickly!  The midwife reluctantly agreed to check how far I was dilated, and I was at 3cm.  (You are fully dilated at 10cm)  I burst into tears because I felt like I had such a long way to go and I was already struggling so much!  I didn’t think I could do this and really started panicking, wanting to request an epidural there and then!  Paul was great and really encouraged me, and I was able to “get in the zone” and get myself together.  Again, we were reminded that it can take ages and were strongly advised to go home again, but I refused.  I was in a lot of pain by then and I just knew that it wouldn’t be much longer.  She gave me two hours to get to 4cm, otherwise I would have to go back home.  Well, after two hours I was already at 7cm!!

I was led to the Midwife-led unit which was interesting!  I must have looked a right state!  I had a blood stained bed sheet wrapped around me, and with each contraction I had to crouch down waiting for it to pass – NOT a pretty sight!  My ideal birth plan was to have a water birth with as little intervention and pain relief as possible.  Sadly, there were no water pools available so I couldn’t have my water birth.  However, I didn’t care at this point, I just wanted this baby already!  I was given some gas & air which didn’t do anything.  I know what it should feel like as I have used it a few years ago to have some stitches removed, so I got Paul to check that it was on and he said that the dials on the machine weren’t moving at all! (Why we didn’t think to tell the midwife I don’t know!)  So I soldiered on for an hour until I was SO exhausted and really struggling with the pain, that I was offered Pethidine and I eagerly accepted!  Pethidine is the medical name for Opium!  Although you can still feel the pain, you are so out of it that you don’t really care!  And yes, I was out of it!  Paul said he found it so hard not to laugh as I kept saying really random stuff!  I also remember asking him constantly if he was ok and if he needed a break or food, haha!  Sadly, due to the Pethidine, I don’t remember some parts of the latter part of the labour, but I was able to sleep between each contraction (3 minutes apart) and it gave me the strength to carry on!  {Paul actually had to check that I was still breathing at times, because I would be completely out of it after each contraction!}  I liked the fact that there was only one midwife in the room with us, and she just sat back and let me get on with it.  In a strange way, it felt like a very relaxed atmosphere.

After 6 and half hours of active labour, I finally got to 8cm and the midwife said that if I felt the urge to push, and I was unable to stop it, to go for it.  After a while, I felt this strong sensation, like I needed to do a massive poo (sorry, a bit TMI!  Still “men-friendly” though because they love a bit of poo-talk!  Haha) and I started pushing with all my might.  Nothing.  Nothing was happening.  I started panicking again, and was worried that they may end up using forceps or ventuose to get baby out!  In my drugged up state I felt like it had been ages, although the pushing part only lasted a total of 8 minutes which is really quick.  I thought that Paul and the midwife must be getting impatient and bored by now, and told myself that I had to get on with it!  With one final push of fierce determination, the head emerged.  One more push and Emilia plopped out!  {Paul found it it so funny how I was frantically removing my top so that I could have “skin to skin” with Emilia!}  The first thing I asked was, “Is she still a girl?”  The midwife must have thought I was mad!  I also tried to count her fingers and toes and kept re-starting and getting confused (obviously still under the influence)!  When they handed me Emilia, and she looked at me with her beautiful eyes, it was the most special and surreal moment of my life.  There she was.  Finally.

When I was pregnant, I remember wondering whether I would “recognise” Emilia and feel like I had always known her.  Although, I didn’t “recognise” her from the way she looked, I immediately knew this was my girl by the way she moved and kicked!  We had a lovely cuddle and then I couldn’t fight sleep any longer and Paul took Emilia while I slept off the Pethidine!  I remember waking a few times and just looking over at Paul and Emilia.  Paul was looking at Emilia with sheer wonder and love, and it melted my heart.  During one of my brief moments of consciousness, I asked him which name out of our four choices suited her most.  He said that he had been looking at her for a long time, and Emilia felt right.  I completely agreed.  Paul had been very anti-middle names this whole time, but after seeing me go through labour, he couldn’t refuse letting me give her Marie as a middle name.  Someone had briefed me on when to ask about giving Emilia a middle name, and it worked!  {Marie was the shortened version of my Oma’s (German grandma).  She was one of the most remarkable and inspirational women in my life, and I really wanted her to “live on” and be remembered.}

Unfortunately I had to have stitches, yuck, and had a few grazes but all in all it was a very positive labour experience.  {Especially for Paul as I only squeezed his arm once, quite hard!} 

So that, lovely readers, is how little Emilia came into the world 🙂

For any mums-to-be who have been wondering about labour and might even be a bit frightened of it…my number 1 tip is to “get in the zone”.  Don’t even worry about how long it’s taking, or how long it’s been.  Try not to focus on the pain and what’s going on around you.  Just give yourself a pep talk, and tell yourself to be strong!  There is a reason women are the ones who give birth…you are stronger and braver than you think!  There is a fierceness and determination in women that sets them up to become those wonderful mothers who will do anything and everything for their children.  Women, we should be proud of ourselves – we may not always be the best at parking (or maybe that’s just me!), but we can grow humans – that’s not to be sniffed at!!

PAUL’S THOUGHTS…

How was your first experience of labour?

Crazy!! There are no real words to describe it and it was really tough seeing Daisy in so much pain and not being able to do anything to help. You experience such a huge range of emotions all at the same time. Excitement, fear, amazement, anger (at the customary L&D maternity ward parking ticket!), pride, worry, joy and complete happiness! For anyone that’s been to Alton Towers recently, it’s like a rollercoaster of emotions when the rollercoaster is Smiler!

Tell us honestly, did you purposely eat garlic so Daisy wouldn’t squeeze your hand as that would have been within smelling range?

It was a strategy that I had planned weeks in advance and I would like to thank the microwave chinese meal for its vital role! Haha only joking! I just panicked because I didn’t know when I would get a chance to eat next!!

Any tips for other dads-to-be?

Just to try and do everything you can to make things a bit easier for your partner, give her lots of encouragement and support, and accept that you will feel helpless!…..oh and avoid microwave meals!

Which end were you at?

The head, the whole head and nothing but the head!! Some things you can’t un-see and I thought it would be better if I just give emotional support and hand holding! I once saw an interview with Robbie Williams where he talked about being at the business end of things during the birth of his child and he described it as watching you favourite pub burn down!

Did you get emotional?  What was it like seeing Emilia for the first time?

I am not one for getting emotional and Daisy is still desperately waiting to see me cry for the first time, but I did get a bit emotional when Emilia plopped out and let out her first little cry. It suddenly became very real that there was a tiny little baby that was ours and it was such a cute, tiny cry….but I quickly regained my composure!

Thanks Paul!  Not so sure I like this “pub burning down” analogy though…but then it’s Robbie Williams, you can’t expect anything better!  Lol!

In Part 2 I’ll be sharing a bit about what it’s been like adjusting to parenthood and a newborn baby – absolutely NOT what I was expecting!

To end this blog post, this photo collage sums up the whole bump to baby journey very well.  You may remember seeing the top photo in one my earlier blogs posts.  It was taken moments after we got a positive pregnancy test result!  My sister and her husband were living with us at the time and they were eagerly waiting outside the bathroom to hear the results!

The photo on the bottom is a “spot the difference” photo 🙂

Nine long, crazy, emotional, tough, exhilarating, life-changing, body-changing, beautiful months…and that was just the start of our new adventure 🙂

I’m off to get some sleep in before the 4am feed…ZzzzZzzz

 

 

 

 

 

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