Monday, 27 March 2017

The birth story !!

Baby Felicia was born on Friday 17th March at 3.10am! She was 8 days past due date, arrived at home, and is perfect. She is now 9 days old, and so adored. We had the perfect birthing experience. :)

After several false starts, including one on the Tuesday before she was born, when I started getting surges on the Thursday evening, I didn't think much of it, I assumed it was another false labour, and decided to go to bed. For some reason, I decided that it would be a nice idea to have some couple time with J that evening, thinking well, it couldn't hurt, and it might well be the last time for several weeks/months ;) after, we went to sleep, and at around 12.50am I woke to go to the toilet. As I sat up, I realised the bed felt quite damp. I didn't think too much of it, until I walked to the bathroom, and realised I was leaking fluid, and it was trickling along the floor as I walked. I also noticed that my surges had picked back up again, and knew this was it, my waters had gone and were trickling. So I called my mum (who was 2 hours drive away) to let her know this was it. She was in A&E with my step-dad, who, she had told me on Tuesday, had had a heart attack the week before. He was back there again with chest pain but had been seen and they were sure he was ok, and the pain wasn't anything serious. She said she'd get here ASAP, and she could leave A&E soon. After I got off the phone with mum, I called the labour ward, and told them my waters had gone, and they said they'd get a midwife to call me back.

A short while later, I got a call back from the midwife. As soon as I heard the midwife's voice, I was so pleased, because it was the same one that came out to me a week before to talk about my home birth, due to a call I'd received about possibly not being a candidate for home birth due to one of my previous births. I found out it had been Robert's birth that was the cause for concern, and so I talked to her about why I felt this birth would be fine, that I was not going to give birth in water this time, that my positioning would be better, and I was less naïve, and more experienced this time. The midwife, Sheelagh, was lovely and said they would absolutely support me in home birth, and that she could see no reason why home birth would not be ok. So when I heard her voice on the other end of the phone, I was so pleased it would be someone I'd met and got on well with attending the birth. I told her that the contractions weren't incredibly strong or regular yet but they were stronger than the false labour ones I'd been having. I also told her I didn't want any cervical checks, so I would be happy to wait til they were stronger and more regular and call her back. She told me I could call her mobile directly, so I made sure I could redial easily, and hung up, sure it wouldn't be long until we called her back.

Due to leaking, I put a pad and knickers on, and a towel on the bed, and went back to bed again, to try and get some more rest. About an hour later, at 2am, I felt the baby move, and immediately a huge gush of liquid came out in bed. I leapt up, grabbed the towel between my legs, and woke Jonathan back up again. The surges were back, and much stronger again, and definitely labourish, so I called Sheelagh back to tell her what happened, and that it was definitely happening now, and could she please come now? I went down to unlock the front door, and then went to the toilet in the cloakroom. Sure enough, my knickers and pad was soaked through, and I just put the towel between my legs again and went to find something to wear that would be modest and warm enough but allow me to birth easily. Jonathan was getting dressed too, and we went over what we'd need, made sure we had enough towels and waterproof sheets.

At around 2.30, Sheelagh arrived and sat and we chatted a bit, she started filling in forms, and taking observations, my blood pressure, listened to the baby, took my temperature and so on. The surges continued to come, and were getting strong enough that I'd have to breathe through them. Jonathan started to play the Steven Halpern hypnobirthing music on the TV, and for some reason it really bugged me, it sounded cheesy, so I looked through the music and finally found some calm atmospheric music that was just right. We went over my birth plan, which was fairly simple, and Sheelagh seemed happy enough. I sat on the sofa, resting between surges, and breathing through them. Then pretty soon I felt rather pushy, Sheelagh was saying she needed to try and guess when the second midwife should attend, to be here in time for the birth. I had another surge where again I felt pushy, but tried not to, instead breathing through it, but I told Sheelagh I was feeling a lot of pressure, and she called for the second midwife, Sonia, who was 20 minutes away in Kettering. The next surge I again felt the need to push but again I didn't, because I was still sitting and I knew I needed to move to kneel for delivering. Jonathan had been busy during this time setting up the beanbag, waterproof sheet, and towels in front of the opposite sofa.

By the next surge, which was around 3am, I had moved to kneel on the beanbag, and I allowed my body to bear down once I was in position. Sheelagh told me that I should ideally be more upright, so I shifted my position slightly so my elbows were closer to the edge of the sofa. Jonathan however had started up the stairs to go and get another beanbag to help position me more upright. I didn't know why he was going upstairs, but I remember thinking he'd better not be long because his baby was coming, and she wasn't going to hang around! I couldn't tell him this though, but luckily, Sheelagh did, basically saying that he should get back down NOW if he didn't want to miss the birth! And sure enough, on the next surge, her head emerged. Sheelagh constantly encouraging me to breathe, not push (I wasn't pushing, I was just bearing down with my body! I could not stop it at all!), and then when the head came, she suddenly changed tactic, and told me that her hand was by her head, and to push to get the head out. One more big push to get her head out! Then what seemed like 10 seconds later, Sheelagh was telling me to push again for her body. Out she came, with a big gush of the rest of the amniotic fluid, and immediately a gurgly cry! Sheelagh told me to lift my leg so we could pass the baby up, and I just held her for a while. Before I lifted her up, I remember glancing briefly between her legs and seeing that she was a girl, but in that moment, it did not matter at all! I lifted her to me, with a huge sense of relief that she was finally here, and that the birth was done! We moved over to the sofa where I had been resting and breathing through surges before delivery, and was just holding her, when a knock on the door was heard, followed by it opening, hearing my mum call out. Jonathan went to meet her, and said to her "you're too late! You can go back home now!" in a jokey manner. :) mum came in to see my baby girl in my arms!

I started to nurse her, and then about 5 minutes after that, Sonia, the second midwife arrived. Jonathan gave her the same quip, cups of tea made, and while I nursed, Sheelagh set about taking our temperatures again, and other observations while we waited for the placenta. About 10 minutes after delivery, the placenta came away naturally. As I nursed, I consented for the vitamin k injection to be administered. Felicia barely even opened her eyes, and didn't even make a noise! I was checked for tearing, and was amazed to find out I didn't tear AT ALL! Sheelagh and Sonia started filling in paperwork, mum started knitting, and it was such a relaxed post birth atmosphere. After Felicia finally finished nursing, we went to get her weighed in the kitchen. There was some speculation over her weight, and I thought maybe 8lbs, the midwives we're guessing 9.5lbs or so. But nope, Felicia amazed us all again when we found out she weighed a massive 10lb 12oz! Sheelagh and Sonia finally left around 4.30am, and we were all just too amazed and in awe to consider sleeping! I did have a sudden gush of blood after the midwife left, which panicked us all a bit. It soaked my knickers and the maternity pad, and was dripping out onto the sheet pad I was sitting on. I was worried it might be a hemorrage, so phoned Sheelagh back, who asked if it was still gushing or if it was slowing down. After I calmed down a bit it was evident it was slowing down so felt more able to relax. I got a couple more pads on a fresh pair of knickers, and all seemed OK. The three of us stayed awake until the boys got up for the morning.

It was so surreal sitting there, seeing the sky turn from completely dark, then getting lighter and lighter! Eventually the boys woke up and came down. Robert came first, and stopped on the stairs, looking groggy and confused, as he spotted his nanna sitting on the sofa and his daddy standing recording him on the phone! Robert then saw me, and the baby in my arms, and he just stopped dead still, open mouthed, and then to our amazement, his lip quivered, his eyes filled with tears, as he stood staring at his baby sister. He burst into tears, completely overwhelmed with joy! When I finally felt able to say something, I got him to sit down next to us, and he just sat and sobbed! Christopher and Daniel followed soon after, and grinned when they saw Felicia, and then both asked to go and have breakfast, while Robert was still sitting next to me. :)

It was all just completely perfect. We could not have wished for a better birth experience for our fourth and final baby. :)

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

40 weeks 6 days

I guess you could say I'm getting a but frustrated. Baby number 4 seems to be going the same way as baby number 3,im getting so many false starts, and yesterday's one really took its toll on me. Today I have spent the day mostly crying, sitting on the sofa, trying to think of what to make for food. I had my 41 week antenatal appointment. Baby is doing great. Well engaged, heartbeat is fine, yada yada. Now she just needs to get a move on. Judging by the contractions I've been having the last two days, I really really hope she is here soon. But at the same time I can see myself going beyond 42 weeks, trying desperately to cling onto my sanity and homebirth, fighting for this last baby of mine to come naturally in her own time. I really hope she decides to come soon.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

39 weeks 6 days with baby number 4

So, it's my due date tomorrow. Baby girl is still wriggling away, and I have no idea how far away labour will be. Last Tuesday (38w 5d) I had an evening full of contractions that had a definite peak, although they remained quite mild, but because they were 3 minutes apart, and lasting upwards of 40 seconds, I called the labour ward, who contacted the on-call midwife, who basically said it was up to me, she could come out and check me, or I could call back later. As it was 10pm or so by this point, and I'm planning on having no internal examinations, I told her I would call her back later if necessary. Well I went to bed, and by morning they had gone away. Fast forward 8 days and still nothing to speak of, nothing more than ordinary Braxton hicks although they do get quite strong when walking around.

I'm enjoying feeling her move around inside me, seeing a leg or foot sweep across my belly because it's so crowded in there for her now! I'm trying to count my blessings that I'm still pregnant with her, that soon enough she'll be here and I'll never feel a foot kick me from the inside anymore. But I am also so eager to see her, to hold her and get to know her, and for her horde of big brothers to meet her and fall in love with her too. To see whether she has a mop of dark hair like her brother's all did at birth. It could be today, or tomorrow, next week or even a fortnight away. Time will tell!

Friday, 11 November 2016

23 weeks! And oops, long time since update!

All is progressing well with the pregnancy. I had a bad fall at the beginning of October which saw me go to A&E instead of a wedding reception, as I badly hurt my right foot/ankle and had nasty cuts to my left knee and big toe. I was in agony with my foot and could barely walk, but as I'm pregnant they didn't want to X-ray me, especially as my foot didn't hurt in the right places that would indicate a fracture. Luckily it has healed up ok with just a bandage, although the first night I was crying with the pain and I couldn't even walk 2 metres to the toilet! Changing the pressure on the bandage and back to back paracetamol helped, then the next day it was much better.

Baby has been by far the most active little bean I remember having. I had my anomaly scan at almost 21 weeks, and I was curious to find out if the placenta was at the front of my uterus, or, as I suspected, at the back. Sure enough, it was at the back, so I'm feeling every little kick and wriggle!

The sonographer checked everything out, and could see everything present and correct as far as she could tell which was a relief, and as she did the measurements, I stared to see if I could see a telltale sign as to whether Pipkin was a boy or a girl. As she got the thigh measurement, I was pretty sure I could see what gender our sweet baby was... But wanted confirmation, so at the end when she asked if we had any questions, I begged her to find out if we were expecting a boy or a girl. I held my breath the entire time, as she positioned the device to look, and she said to us "well... It looks like you're having a baby girl!" Which was what I thought I had seen earlier but didn't dare to believe until she said it too. As I got down from the table/bench afterwards, having wiped all the jelly off my abdomen, I must have looked like the Cheshire Cat! Yes, I cried a little in the room. A baby girl!!! 2 weeks on now, and another scan later (to confirm the kidneys) at which she also double checked the gender again, and I think I might be starting to actually believe that after 3 lovely cheeky boys, I get to raise a DAUGHTER.

She is such (SUCH) an active baby. I'm feeling at LEAST 6 bouts of strong kicks a day, even though I am sometimes very busy, and she's still so little, only about 1lb in weight (although that seems very big too, as it doesn't seem that long ago she was the size of a poppyseed and weighed less than a gram in weight!). Time seems to be flying so so fast, and the older two boys are absolutely over the moon that they're getting a sister! D, is only 3.5 years old so he's not all that aware of what it means, although he had been maintaining for a while before we found out that "it not a baby boy, it a baby GIRL". Whereas R and C were hugging themselves in anticipation saying "ooooooh I hope it's a girl, I really REALLY hope it's a girl!" So when we brought home a box with multicolour stripes in, hiding a "it's a girl!" balloon, and opened it up to show the boys (and grandma and grandad) what was inside, there was lots of whooping and joyful leaping around! :) and Christopher coming up to me, giving me a hug and saying "I'm so HAPPY it's a girl!" It really really made my heart sing!

Other news, is that we have just bought some triple bunks for the boys, which will be set up tomorrow and they (and I) am very excited to get them up and built :) a nice Saturday morning job. :)

Friday, 30 September 2016

17 weeks, feeling good!

So I met with my new midwife this week. The one who I had throughout the entirety of all my other pregnancies is ill, and won't be returning as the surgery midwife. The new one seems ok. She seems initially friendlier than the old one (who warmed up after a short while in any case). She has seemed to move my due date to match the scan date, which I'm not pleased about, as it gives me 5 fewer days to go into labour naturally before the whole induction stuff comes into play again. Everything seems ok with me and baby. Heartbeat was found eventually, which was a big relief for me, as I haven't felt the baby move all that much. I have a bit, but it's often been with a bit of a question mark. As time goes on it is becoming more obvious, but still very much little pops. It seems crazy that in a few months they will be strong enough to take my breath away!

Emotionally, so far I've been pretty good!! I'm actually surprised, but unlike with particularly babies 2 and 3, where I had feelings of "oh my god what am I doing? Who was I kidding? I can't have another baby, I can't deal with the ones I have!" This time I'm feeling very positive... So far! The boys are still very excited about baby. Robert has said that he hopes it's a girl "so that she can boss my brothers around when she's older"!!! What makes him think she wouldn't boss HIM about too I don't know! 😜 Christopher is hoping it's a girl too. He wants to call her Daisy or Amelia. Neither of which I would put on the short list because the boys have a cousin Amelia and I don't particularly like Daisy. Maisy I like though. But this is all moot because baby will be another boy 😝. We might well find out towards the end of next month. I think I am feeling the most neutral over the gender of this baby than any after the first to be honest. I would be thrilled with a girl, but would be happy with a boy too because I am a boy mum. And I honestly don't see myself with a girl anymore. I thought Daniel was my last for a while, so instead of being a mum of all (three) boys, I'd be a mum of all (four) boys. And that's okay. Would I actually be missing out on all that much?

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Around 14-15 weeks

So I'm beginning to lose track of how far along in this pregnancy I am already. It's slipping past quite quickly. But also since there's a 5 day discrepancy between lmp and scan dates, I'm not quite sure how to refer myself as being. Having read "LMP date confirmed" on the ultrasound write up, I'm sort of thinking that maybe I might still be classed as due on the 14th,which I've decided is good as I'm more likely to go over dates than deliver early, so it would give me an extra 5 days.

I've booked my 16 week appointment for a couple of weeks time. I'll be 16 weeks by LMP or 16+5 by scan then. I had barely got off the phone with the receptionist when I got a text message confirming my appointment (I love these, makes sure I've not written down the wrong time!) and the name of the midwife was one I didn't recognise. I wonder what's happened to Beverley? She was supposed to book me in but apparently didn't show up to work that day (ill?) and now it's a different midwife who's due to see me this time. I will also have to do my glucose tolerance test that week, due to previous gestational diabetes, family history, previous big baby etc. I might try and get it done in the morning of that day seeing as C and D will be at school and nursery, and R will probably be with his grandparents.

Another thing with the pregnancy is that I *think* I felt the baby kick, but I've not really felt anything since so I'm not so sure anymore. I hope they check for the heartbeat at the antenatal appointment so I know it's all still OK. They usually do at 16 weeks. Also, I'm really showing massively now. It's partly junk food, partly baby, but I think it's pretty obvious now as a school run mum was trying to fish for my reaction by suggesting I have another baby. I might have just crossed the "is she fat or pregnant?" stage and gone into the "I'm *pretty sure* she's pregnant but I might still be wrong so I'd best not say anything.." stage. Hah. Well anyway I'm still looking forward to the rest of the pregnancy and what is in store for me as a mum of 4! The question is, will it be a mum of 4 boys or a mum of 3 boys and a girl? Time will tell! (and yes, I'm eagerly awaiting my next scan appointment which should be late October time!)

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A jump to 13 weeks 5 days!

So today I had my dating scan. My original appointment was last Friday, however I had to change it because we were coming back from Devon that day and it would cut it close to get there on time. Good job we changed it, as we were still almost 2 hours away by the time we should have been parking up at the hospital. I thought I'd be around 13 weeks 1 day, but the ultrasound technician put me at 13 weeks 5 days. Pipkin was happy as Larry in there, waving and kicking. I was blown away by how clearly we could see the hands. It was so cute. And though I was concerned by the feel of my uterus and how much I'm showing already that maybe it was twins or triplets even, it is just the one healthy happy baby (for as much as they can see this early on). One heart beating away merrily, two hands, two feet, one head. :)

Unfortunately the scan wasn't really clear enough to see the nub, I really have no idea which is a shame as I am in the zone where if it was identifiable, it would be more or less 100% accurate at this stage. But here are little Pipkin's first photos anyway...