Excited!

Can’t believe it’s only just over a month to go until our first clinic appointment for our frozen embryo transfer. I’m definitely getting so excited now. I’m nervous too, mainly when the odd thoughts creep in along the lines of “what if it doesn’t work?” etc but I’m trying to think as positively as I can. I did this with our IVF cycle for Noah and I truly believe that my positive attitude had a bearing on the outcome. I just keep picturing that this time next year we could have a tiny newborn addition to our household! A crazy but amazing thought.

With all this in mind I’m slowly trying to get more prepared mentally and physically. I’m not on a diet (even though I’m overweight) as, honestly, diets don’t really work for me. I stick to them for a while but then end up binging and self loathing so I’m determined not to go down that route. Instead I’m aiming to eat more fruit and vegetables, drink more water and generally eat a bit healthier. As well as taking my prenatal vitamins. I’ve also been preparing in other ways by making a list of things we will need for the new baby and trying to think through how we will organise the flat to accommodate them. We are still currently in a 2 bed flat with no immediate plans to move but we are pretty confident we can make things work. We really didn’t want to delay treatment further as we feel beyond ready to give Noah a sibling so we figured we will find a way to make it all work. It’ll be worth it.

Aside from all this planning I’m also just enjoying any time with Noah I get. He is learning new things so rapidly it blows me away. His speech is coming along so well now. It makes me laugh so much when he randomly says to me “Mummy be careful!” or “You’re welcome!” when I’m cleaning him up after dinner!

He’s also moved away a little from his obsession with Frozen and he’s now ALL about Zog. He watches the recording of it that we saved from Christmas Day, then demands we read him the book a gazillion times. I even purchased the follow up book Zog and the Flying Doctors just so we could add a little variety!

He has also well and truly mastered stacking his bricks and can now do a tower of around 7 bricks with his small fiddly bricks. And he had great fun colouring with felt tips for the first time! We’ve also been taking him for trips to a local football field and he loves to practise his dribbling skills!

Above all I’m just loving seeing his little personality develop further. He’s really showing such a caring side now. He pretends his bunny is a baby pushing him around in the shopping trolley toy which he pretends is a buggy. It’s so adorable to watch. Of course he has his moments with tantrums as is to be expected but he truly is a delightful little boy (though we may be a tinsy bit biased!).

Reading back and am amused by how this post started by being about our excitement for our FET and turned into updates on Noah but I’ve been so lax on posting lately that it seemed fitting to combine the two! Aiming to post more and more in the future esp as treatment approaches so watch this space!

If you’re on Instagram then check us out at @justimperfectlyme where I regularly update on our goings on!

Feeling the Fear….about having a second child

So if you’ve been following this blog a while then you may know that we are planning to try to add to our family pretty soon! Noah was conceived via IVF and we have 2 frozen embryos from that cycle, one of which we hope to transfer in May. Whilst that seems ages away yet, the first appointment to kickstart the process is in March and it feels like it’s coming up fast!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am unbelievably excited at the possibility of being pregnant again and having another baby but there’s also a part of me that’s out and out terrified. You see, when Noah was born, I struggled. In fact I began to struggle even before he was born. I remember when I was heavily pregnant with him, waking up in the middle of the night thinking “what have we done?”. I was so anxious about the impending onset of responsibility and whether I was up to the task. I knew I loved my unborn son deeply and I was excited to meet him, but the fear was there.

Then he was born. And I was wrapped up in adoration for this tiny little human who depended on me for everything. But before long, the sleepless nights, resulting tiredness and postnatal hormones had me feeling so low. I’d struggled with depression before but this time I really couldn’t comprehend why I felt this way. This baby was everything I’d ever dreamed of during the 4 long years it took to conceive him, so why did I feel this way?

To cut a long story short, over time things eventually improved but now I find myself scared of history repeating itself. What if I can’t handle the tiredness again? What if my depression rears its ugly head? I feel like it robbed me of so many precious treasured moments with Noah, I don’t want to repeat that. Then there’s also the transition from raising one child to two, finding a new routine and adjusting to life as a family of four.

I feel like I keep looking for someone to come along and reassure me that, this time, things will be different. I am no longer that scared first time Mum who didn’t have a clue. I’ve done it once before, I can do it again! Right? Even if, at first, it seems like things are out of control, we will figure it out. We can do this.

I feel like I have lived so many stages of my life feeling afraid. My anxiety has put me off doing so many things, I don’t want it to put me off doing this too. If there’s one thing I feel like I am actually quite good at, it’s being a Mum. I may not be perfect but it feels right. It feels like (at the risk of sounding corny) that it was meant to be. So why am I afraid? Maybe it’s because I care? Because I’d love any children we have so much and I would want to give them the best lives possible? Maybe it’s a good thing that I’m afraid. After all, the truly neglectful parents, they don’t care about their neglect.

I know deep down that everything will be ok. I wont fall apart if I get depressed again and I wont let my children down. We will find a new routine and we will be just fine as a family of four. It’s natural to feel anxious at the prospect of having another baby. It doesn’t feel ok to admit it but it is natural. Whether it’s your first, second, third, fourth etc…the feelings are valid. Another child is always a major responsibility whichever way you look at it.

So if you’re reading this, maybe pregnant and feeling anxious about what lies ahead, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. I felt similarly anxious during my first pregnancy and no doubt, if I am lucky enough to get pregnant again, I will feel anxious this time too. It’s all normal and ok. I wish I had known that when I experienced it. But just remember these words that a friend once said to me…

“you’ve got this”.

always happy to be in your shadow

A much needed Birthday & Christmas update!

Hope you all had lovely Christmases & New Years, sorry I’ve been a bit absent on here of late! I definitely owe you all a big update so get comfy!

Noah’s birthday was on Christmas Eve and I’m still a bit in denial that our baby boy turned 2. I think I was even more emotional on this birthday than I was for his first! The night before I’d laid out our living room with his presents and a load of balloons as he loves the things. Well when he first got up he beelined for the balloons and didn’t care about the presents! I joked to Jamie that we should’ve just wrapped up a box of balloons and had done with it!

For lunch, when his presents were finally opened, we headed out for a McDonalds treat. And he loved it!

In the afternoon his Grannie popped over to wish him a happy birthday (sadly Grandad was ill in bed) and we enjoyed some cake and fizz (the fizz being for the grown ups!). Noah loved his Frozen themed cake (made by Jamie’s lovely and very talented colleague Mishka) and he loved eating it even more!

That evening he was shattered from all the fun and excitement and after we got him all tucked up in bed in his Christmas pjs it didn’t take him that long to fall asleep!

All ready for Santa to appear that night!

Unfortunately, come Christmas Day, Noah seemed a bit overwhelmed and didn’t really want to open anymore presents. He still doesn’t really understand the whole concept of birthdays and Christmas yet so I think it was all a little too much excitement. But he did open a few presents and get into the Christmas spirit with some dancing to some Christmas tunes over breakfast! (his favourite banana pancakes!)

For the rest of the day we headed to Jamie’s parents and had a lovely Christmas lunch and Noah enjoyed being spoiled by Grannie & Grandad.

All before he was mince pied out!

So, all in all, it was a pretty quiet family Christmas this year, just what we needed. Boxing Day we returned to Jamie’s parents and Noah inadvertently ended up sleeping over, and we spent the rest of the break relaxing as a family and mentally preparing for the onset of 2019!

Happy New Year everybody and I hope 2019 is happy year for you all.

love

The Martins

xoxo

Noah’s Nearly 2!

I can’t believe that tomorrow our little boy will be 2 years old. It honestly only feels like a few months ago he was born! I think I feel just as emotional about this birthday as I did about his 1st. I think it’s the fact that, this year, he seems to have transitioned from baby to little boy and my heart can’t cope!

Looking back it’s been a big year for Noah! He learnt to walk at 13 months and quickly progressed from those first few stumbles to tearing around like the little hurricane he is. His speech is coming along nicely and, despite being told he was a little behind, he’s starting to form more sentences and his speech is getting clearer each day! His little personality has developed all the more and we love how he is such a loving, caring boy but is also so cheeky all in one. Even when he’s causing mischief we can’t help but fall for that cheeky grin!

He’s also learning to socialise more and has developed some little friendships at nursery which is so adorable to see. One girl in particular seems especially taken with him and it melts my heart when I see her run up to him saying “Noah?” with her hand outstretched, asking him to come and play. Normally he trots off after her with the biggest grin on his face! It honestly makes me so happy to see him making friends already and it is something that I hope continues easily for him as it has never been an easy journey for me. I struggled through most of my school years trying to fit in, getting mentally bullied and making friends just felt like a massive mountain to climb. So my biggest hope for him is that he doesn’t have to go through that. If he does, however, he will have our support through it. But for now it’s nice to watch him relish in the joy of these new friendships.

As well as feeling emotional, I am so excited for his birthday. Unfortunately it already seems to easily get overlooked as it’s so close to Christmas but we will always ensure he gets made a big fuss of as birthdays should be! This morning I picked up his balloons ready to go and later we are collecting his cake (Frozen themed! Because we can’t do his birthday without his favourite Elsa making an appearance!). I can’t wait to see his face tomorrow.

These are the moments I live for as a Mum.

Have I Failed My Child?

Is a question I’m sure, as Mums (or Dads), we’ve all asked ourselves at some point. This has hit me particularly hard lately.

A few weeks ago we had Noah’s Parents Evening. I know it sounds bizarre right? A Parents Evening for a not even 2 year old? But actually they are pretty useful. The Nursery have them to update the parents on their child’s progress and we get to look through Noah’s “book” which shows said progress as well as some lovely photographs of what he gets up to at Nursery.

At this particular Parents Evening all was going pretty well, they said his motor skills are really good, his social skills have improved, the only thing they said that he is behind in is his speech. To be honest I wasn’t really surprised by this. I’d noticed that he didn’t seem as far along in his speech as other toddlers his age but it didn’t really bother me till I saw it there in his book in black and white. At this point he was 22 months old but, according to them, his speech level was more around that of a 16-18 month old. Not a huge difference but when you’re told your child is behind in something, it feels a big deal.

And I felt instant guilt. The first thought to enter my head was “is it my fault?”. Have we not talked to him enough? Have we let him watch too much TV? Have we not read to him enough? Is there some way I have held him back? Deep down, however, I know that we have tried our best to help him along. We talk to him all the time. I try my best to ask him questions as we do things, talk through what we’re doing etc. Admittedly at times I forget but heck I’m only human. I read to him every night but maybe I should be reading more with him in the day too? He does watch a fair bit of TV I confess. Normally Cbeebies or Disney movies. But often it’s background noise as he plays. There will be some shows he pays attention to but I’d argue he’s learnt some bits off them too! I caught him mimicking signs from Something Special the other day! We’ve also been doing flash cards with him which he loves. I got a “first words” pack from Dorling Kindersley and I love them because they show actual photos of the objects rather than just cartoons. He recognises most of them now and can say a number of them really clearly. But others he is struggling with. You can tell he knows what it is but he can’t quite form the word.

He can say a fair few words now. “Hi” “Hayo” (Hello) “Bye” “Yes” “No” “Mummy” “Daddy” “Milk” “Peas” (Please) “Ta” “Potty” “Beebies” “Elsa” “Dancing” “Ball” “More” “Bubbles” etc are all words he can say without too much bother. I’m sure there are quite a few more than that but those are the first that spring to mind. However he doesn’t really form sentences yet and some simple words like “Cat” and “Dog” he struggles with. I am noticing some progress though. Like the other day he said “Get Down” when he wanted to come down from his chair which took me aback as I hadn’t really heard him put together two words much before. So I definitely think he’s moving forwards, it’s just taking him a little longer than some children.

But then he was always way stronger with motor skills than communication, even as a baby. He crawled from 6 months, could feed himself with a spoon before he was even a year old and, for the last year, has been very confidently feeding himself. Nursery even tell me that lately he’s been practising threading raw spaghetti into small holes which I think is pretty cool for a child not even quite 2 yet.

I’m not quite sure what the point of this post is. Maybe to reassure myself that he’s doing ok, that I’m not letting him down, who knows? I think a lot of my feelings stem from my battle with depression. There were definite points at my worst where I felt like I could have done more in my parenting. Don’t get me wrong, Noah was well looked after, cared for and happy but there were moments when I felt I lacked the energy to really give it my all in terms of teaching him and playing with him. It doesn’t help that he’s always loved to amuse himself and can be fiercely independent in wanting to do things alone, even at this young age. But I have felt so guilty about it. And wondered if I had not been so absorbed in my mental health, would he be behind now?

But I could spend forever and a day beating myself up over it. The truth is, none of us are perfect. We all have days where we think “I could have done better today”. But there were also many many days where I gave and do give it my all. I’d take him to the park, do painting, invent games etc and do as much as I could to stimulate him and help him learn. Do some off days make me a bad Mum? No they don’t. They make me human.

So my answer to my original question is, No. I don’t think I have failed my child. If he does turn out to have a speech delay then it’s most likely one of those things and he will catch up eventually. And in other areas he is doing very well indeed. So it balances out. And perhaps it’s unfair on him and me to keep comparing him to others anyway. He’s developing and learning at his own pace and it’s all amazing. In fact it’s my favourite thing about this age, watching them learn new things and grow and develop.

So let’s take the pressure off, stop worrying that we’re not doing enough and just enjoy our children whilst they’re still young.

Agreed?

A Day in the Life of a Toddler

Ever have those moments when you watch your toddler babbling away and you wonder what they’re really thinking or what they want to say? Well the fact that I went ahead and wrote this may be evidence that I wonder too much!

06:00 – Mummy and Daddy have had enough sleep now. It was hard work keeping them up in the night kicking the walls but I can’t sleep now. After all without me how would they know when to get up?

06:10 – Throwing a tantrum now because I’m too tired. A little whinge wont suffice here. I need to throw myself down to the ground kicking and screaming because…..well, you know, just because.

06:30 – They just changed my nappy so that must mean they want me fill this one up. Wee, poo, it doesn’t matter. Can’t let this nappy go to waste!

07:00 – Mummy is trying to instigate less screen time. I know what she’s up to. Time to shout “Cbeebeebeebies!!” over and over till she relents and puts on Postman Pat. Then she always pours some hot stuff into a cup to drink it right after. Not sure why.

07:10 – After a few minutes of watching Postman Pat have issues with the simple delivery of a parcel yet again (seriously I’m 1 nearly 2 and even I could do better?) I’m bored. This floor looks too tidy. Time to tip some toys all over it. Might even put some in Mummy and Daddy’s bedroom for good measure. They love it when I surprise them with my toys in their bed!

08:00 – Breakfast time! My favourite meal of the day! Time for my- wait where’s my cheerios? Toast! What trickery is this? I like toast but for breakfast I always have cheerios. Mummy knows this so why change a good thing now? Nope this wont do. Tantrum time again…..

But this toast is yummy. She’s let me have some jam as a special treat. Ok maybe I forgive her. Yoghurt time! And why confine it to the pot! Yoghurt makes excellent finger paint. And Mummy loves it when I do my finger painting with my yoghurt. She gets all excited! Though she gets her words mixed up and keeps saying “No” rather than “Yes”. Silly Mummy. She’s been doing that a lot lately.

8:30 – Right that’s breakfast done and it’s nappy filling time again! Mummy’s been trying to get me to use that weird pot thing to go to toilet in lately. Think it’s called a “Potty”. But that’s not happening. I mean she wants me to do my business in a plastic tub? I’m not an animal. I’m quite happy hiding here behind the sofa and pooping into my nappy. Much more civilised.

9:00– Mummy says we need to go to Asda. We need some more milk and bread but for some reason she never just buys that. She buys chocolate, crisps, clothes for me….Maybe there’s a minimum spend limit? I don’t understand. Mummy wont let me bring my bunny with me because she says I’ll drop it like last time. I promise I wont Mummy! She lets me bring bunny, yay!

9:30– I drop bunny in Asda.

Mummy is not impressed. We hunt high and low. I miss bunny. Time to tantrum again. Maybe he’ll hear me and come back.

9:35– Ah there he is! See! He heard me scream and came running to make me feel better. I love you bunny. I wont ever drop you ever again.

9:40- I drop bunny in Asda again.

10:00 – We’re walking home from Asda. I have no idea why that took so long. Mummy is so slow at shopping. Ooooh look a dog. Oh no! It’s getting away. Walk faster Mummy!! “Goggy! Goggy! Goggy!”. The man with the dogs is getting away. Maybe if I shout louder he’ll hear me “GOGGYYYYYY!!!!”.

10:00 – Now we’re home and Mummy’s trying to get me to have my morning nap. Ha! Yeah good luck with that Mummy. I’m too tired to tantrum though so I’ll just whinge and bit and sit here with my bunny and my book and read….for……a…..b-

zzzzZZZZZZZZ………..

12:00– Wait what?! Damn she tricked me into napping again. She’s crafty that Mummy. Quick nappy change and they’re doing that song on Cbeebies that reminds Mummy it’s time for…..

12:15 – LUNCH! Scrambled eggs and toast? Get in! My favourite! What Mummy? You want me to use my spoon, not my hands? But that just slows me down! And I need to eat this yummy scrummy egg as fast as I can. Mmmmm I love egg.

13:30 – Lunch is over, fresh nappy, time for PLAY! It’s sunny today so Mummy has said we can go to the park. I’m so excited! Buggy, buggy, buggy, buggy, PARK!!

13:45 – At the park, got my ball to kick but – ooooooh mud! Maybe if I dig in the mud I’ll find buried treasure. Or even better…..chocolate! Must keep digging! Oh no hear comes Mummy! Nooooo I don’t want to be wiped! I want to diiiiiiiig! Tantrum time.

14:15 – Quick pit stop at the café. Mummy’s brought my bottle of water and some raisins which are yummy but – oooh what’s she eating? That looks yummy and cakey and chocolatey…..I must have some! Maybe if I say please and thank you enough she’ll give me some! Peas? Peas? Ta? Peas? PEAS!! TA!!!

15:00 – Home from the park now. Time for my daily request to watch Frozen. If I charge over to the remote, grab it and shout “Elsa!!” Mummy will get the message. Not sure why she’s groaning. She loves Elsa really. Who doesn’t? Elsa! Elsa! Oooh here’s my favourite song. Love is an open DOOOOOOR…. I have a beautiful singing voice.

16:30 – Mummy’s trying to cook dinner now. She must want my help! Maybe she’ll need these little pots in here. I’ll get them all out for her…. Oh no, she looks cross. Put them back! Put them back! Oh no, why doesn’t throwing them at the cupboard work?!! Hey! Mummy! Put me down! I don’t want to sit and play with my bricks I wanted to heeeeeelp!!! Tantrum time.

17.00 – DINNER!!! Ooooh Sausages! And mash! And- wait. What’s what green stuff? Bleurgh. Mummy’s trying to poison me! I’ll tell Daddy. Daddy! Daddy! He’s at work still? Noooo Daddy! You must saaaaaaave me!

18:00 – I survived dinner. Phew. I managed to throw most of the green stuff on the floor when Mummy wasn’t looking. I think I got away with it. Oooh I hear the door! Maybe it’s Elsa come to rescue me! Oh no it’s just Daddy. Wait- it’s Daaaaaddy!!!! Oh Daddy you’re my favouritest person ever! Mummy’s looked after me all day but you’re simply the bestest ever!!

18:30 – Mummy calls me to do my teeth. Ugh why do we have to do this AGAIN. I only just did them this morning. I’ll just chew the brush. That’s enough. What? You want to brush them? Noooooo! Nooooo! I don’t want clean teeth! I was saving that food for later!!

Mummy runs my bath and WOW look at all those bubbles! Where do they come from? She lifts me into the bath and oooooh I can see a person in the tap! They look like me! Mummy tells me I have to sit down now. Ugh she wants to wash my hair.

Now she’s all done washing me and I can SPLASH!! Splash! Splash! Splash! This room will be my own personal indoor pool oh yes. Splash! Oh no Mummy’s lifting me out now. But Mummy I wasn’t done! I want my poooool!!

18:45 – Mummy & Daddy are dressing me for bed. I keep hiding under the towel and silly Mummy & Daddy keep thinking I’ve disappeared! I’m right here you sillies! So so funny! Oooh these pyjamas feel all nice and cosy and I know what’s coming next…..

19:00 – Bottle!!! Ah warm milky goodness. Makes me feel *yawn* sleepy but I WILL NOT GIVE IN. Mummy’s reading me a story and I love how she does the silly voices. Oh and it’s the zoo one now! I wish the zoo would send me an elephant.

19:15 – Story time’s over now and Mummy tucks me in and tells me I must sleep. But nope. I think now is time to explore my drawers. Oooh nappies! And lotion! And all these clothes! Yup they need to go on my bed. I need it all. Oops here comes Daddy. He looks cross. He’s tucked me back up. I will not give in, I will – not – *yawn* – give -…….. zzzzZZZZZ

01:15 – What was that noise? Wind? A creak? It must be morning!!! Mummy! Mummy! Daddy! Oh Mummy looks tired! It’s not morning? Oh. Sorry. My mistake. But I can’t sleep now. I’m WIDE awake. Cuddle me! CUDDLE ME!! Ahhh that’s better….zzzzZZZZZ

Noah’s Birth

Between getting plans rolling for our frozen embryo transfer next May and the news that we are expecting a new baby in the family, I’ve been thinking back a lot to when Noah was born. To give a bit of background to his birth, when I was 36 weeks pregnant I was diagnosed with obstetric cholestasis. This led to the decision for me to be induced at 38 weeks….

On the morning of 22nd December we excitedly and nervously headed to the hospital for my booked induction. I’d hardly slept the night before due to a virus and a fever so I was already exhausted and we hadn’t even started the induction yet! At around 9am a midwife examined me before inserting the pessary and we were surprised when she told us that I was already 1cm dilated! We hoped that this was a positive sign for a smooth induction and, with that, the pessary was inserted. And so it all began.

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I was still feeling pretty poorly from the virus so, following the pessary insertion, I decided to rest for a few hours. Around lunch time I prodded Jamie and told him that we ought to try going for a walk to get things moving, so we headed for a walk around the hospital corridors. As we walked I could feel a few twinges and hoped that this was things beginning! Evening came round quickly and I was starting to feel contractions more frequently. I tried timing some and found that they were coming roughly every 5 minutes. I felt so excited that things were happening! Hopefully it wouldn’t be too long before we met our baby boy! Unfortunately we had to change wards due to staffing issues so we were temporarily placed on the postnatal ward. But it couldn’t be helped!

At around 8-8.30pm, Jamie had to leave. As we were still on the ward, partners weren’t allowed to stay past visiting times unless the mother was in established labour which, at this point, I wasn’t. As I kissed him goodbye I felt so afraid. Being in labour for the first time is so daunting, let alone the thought of having to do it overnight alone. He made me promise that I would text him if anything changed and, with that, he was gone.

Slowly the contractions grew stronger. At 10pm I thought that I should try to get some rest but, as I tried to lie down, I knew that I wasn’t going to get any sleep. I began timing contractions again and they were around 3-5 mins apart lasting a minute at a time. They felt pretty intense. The midwife on duty gave me some paracetamol and codeine for the pain but it didn’t really do anything. At 2am I went to the toilet and felt a “gushing” feeling followed by a trickle of fluid. I knew it was my waters. I was also bleeding. I went to the midwives desk and was handed a pad to put on so they could see if it was indeed my waters. Within a few minutes the pad was soaked. As was my nightie and my socks. Yep there was no doubt. It was my waters.

After my waters broke the contractions felt like they’d ramped up a gear. I gave up timing them and focussed on trying to cope with them instead. But in an antenatal ward with sleeping women this was incredibly difficult. I spent most of the night sat on the edge of the bed trying not to make a sound through each contraction as I didn’t want to wake the ladies that were sleeping. I just wanted to cry. I was offered more paracetamol and codeine but, at this point, it was useless. I needed something more but they couldn’t offer me anything else until I was in the delivery suite which had no free beds. My only comfort was I could hear the lady opposite me in a similar position, having also been induced that morning, and I thought to myself “well at least I’m not completely alone in going through this”.

Finally the morning rolled around and Jamie arrived. I had texted him when my waters broke but he slept through the sound of his phone so, upon waking at 6am, he’d read my text and panicked. However, he’d had no call from the hospital so figured things couldn’t have progressed that much. He strolled into the ward looking all fresh and rested and, I’m not going to lie, I wanted to punch him. I felt like hell, was exhausted having not slept in 24 hours and the pain was just intense. “How do people do this with no pain relief?” I thought.

To make matters worse we had to transfer back to the antenatal ward. So there was me, contracting away, trying to walk down the corridor to the ward next door, having to pause for contractions, all the other patients gawping away. Talk about feeling like you’re in a goldfish bowl!

Once we were settled back on the antenatal ward, one of the morning midwives suggested that Jamie took me for a bath and I jumped on the idea! I’d had a bath the evening before, when the contractions were only mild, and it’d helped a lot so hopefully it would do the same now! And it did. It didn’t take away the pain but dulled it somewhat. I’d really wanted a water birth but couldn’t because of the induction so this was a close second. I could’ve literally bitten Jamie’s head off when he told me I’d been in the bath a long time and ought to get out in case anyone else wanted to use it. The first bit of relief I’ve had in hours and you want to take it away from me?! Ok then….. As he helped me back to my bed, one of the midwives spotted me struggling to walk with the contractions and felt it was time to examine me again. To her surprise she discovered I was already 6cm dilated! I felt pretty proud that I had gotten that far with nothing but paracetamol but I definitely felt ready to be moved now!

Around 11am there was finally space in the delivery suite and so, with great relief, we were transferred. We were admitted to the suite by a lovely young midwife and I started on some gas and air as she got me hooked up to the monitor. I’ll be honest, this is where I get fuzzy on timings. I tried my best to manage contractions with the gas and air but they were just getting more and intense and I literally felt like they were coming one on top of each other, I was just getting no respite. I persisted with the gas and air for a while and honestly loved it. It felt like getting tipsy on a couple of glasses of wine. But it wasn’t cutting it for me. After a while I reluctantly requested an epidural.

I had been determined before the induction that I would try to manage on just gas and air. I really didn’t want the restrictions that an epidural would bring. However I had always planned to be open to my feelings at the time and I just couldn’t cope with the intensity of the pain. So I had the epidural. I kept saying to my midwife and Jamie that I felt like I’d failed as I’d caved to an epidural and they kept reassuring me that, no, I was doing a great job but I felt like I was doing it all wrong. Which, looking back, is ridiculous. There’s no wrong way to give birth. All you can do is take every moment of labour and birth as it comes and deal with it as it happens.

After the epidural was administered by the anaesthetist, my midwife examined me again and found that I was 8cm dilated! I was elated. The pain was gone, I felt able to relax a bit and the end felt near! However, my progress began to slow and when I was examined a while later I was stuck at 8cm. Therefore, they decided to start me on a drip to speed up the contractions. Luckily the drip worked and before too long (at least that’s how it felt) I was ready to push.

My legs were lifted into stirrups to help my positioning as, although I had tried to let the epidural wear off a little ready for pushing, my legs were still pretty numb. I waited for guidance from the midwives and pushed when they told me to. Hilariously all I could think in that moment was that it felt exactly as friends had told me it would…..like I was doing a giant poo! I had been pushing a little while when Jamie said to me “come on you have 15 minutes to get him out before it’s Christmas Eve!”. I’m not ashamed to say I may have deliberately squeezed his hand harder than necessary after that. It was 11.45pm. Where had the day gone? It’s weird how time just seemed to have become irrelevant when I was in labour. All the hours/days just moulded into one in my head. It hadn’t even occurred to me that it was nearly Christmas Eve. So for a while longer I pushed and finally, after 45 minutes of pushing, Noah was born at 20 minutes past midnight weighing 8lbs. He was a Christmas Eve baby! The best Christmas present ever.

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Suddenly, what felt like a split second later, the emergency buzzer was sounding. I was haemorrhaging. I knew from my past experiences of working in hospitals what the sound meant and wasn’t surprised to see the room suddenly flood with doctors and midwives. Jamie, however, was more in shock and looked, well frankly, terrified. Still with Noah in my arms, I called him to me and told him to look at our son. And we did. We stared at his beautiful face, little hands and feet whilst the medical team did what they needed to do to stop the bleeding. He was the best distraction.

After what felt like forever, I was stitched up and the bleeding had subsided. I had lost 1.5 litres of blood. Feeling dizzy, I asked Jamie to take Noah as I was scared I was going to drop him. He put on his nappy and baby clothes with the help of the midwife and Noah was settled into his hospital crib. I couldn’t get up due to the ill effects of the haemorrhage and the fact that the epidural was still wearing off, so I was laid on an inco paid and told to rest. They were going to let me stay in the delivery suite for the rest of the night and then I would be transferred to the postnatal ward in the morning. Jamie opted to go home and get some rest and soon Noah and I were left alone.

What upsets me is I don’t have a huge recollection of what followed that night until= the morning. I remember waking to Noah in the night and trying to get to him forgetting that I had no underwear or pad on and a midwife had to come and help me back into bed. She reminded me I needed to ring the buzzer if I required help and left. Jamie returned in the morning and I had a shower and tried to give Noah his first breastfeed. He struggled to latch so we decided to try again later. I have no idea to be honest if he was fed anything in the night or not and that is a huge source of guilt for me. I think he slept the whole time as he was pretty drowsy from the labour, but the fact that I can’t fully recollect, still continues to bug me.

At around 11am on Christmas Eve we were transferred to the postnatal ward from which we were finally discharged on the 27th December. I had required a blood transfusion on Christmas Day and Noah needed IV antibiotics. So we spent our first Christmas in hospital!

But it was worth it.

I was completely in love.
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Everyone says before you have a baby how surreal the experience of giving birth is and it is so true. I couldn’t believe he was finally here. That wriggly, kicking baby in my belly was here and he was gorgeous. And I can’t wait to, hopefully, some day do it all again.