Becoming a mommy again

Two Saturday’s ago Jon and I were excited to be celebrating our first wedding anniversary weekend. He’d arranged a surprise celebration and all the info I had on what to expect came in the form of an email calendar invite telling me to pack an overnight bag containing clothes for dinner, pajamas and breakfast and lunch the next day. I had no idea where he’d booked, only that it was close enough to the hospital in case of an emergency (I asked this about six times, to make sure). But as I was only 34 weeks pregnant and feeling strong we were cocky about it and knew things would be fine.

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Just as I started packing my toiletries into the bag on Saturday morning, I needed to rush to the loo for a wee. Usually I wouldn’t tell you about my loo breaks on my blog, except once I’d finished weeing, a gush of liquid came, er, gushing out of me and I remember thinking “hmm, that’s odd – I could’ve sworn my bladder had emptied”.  Only a few minutes later did the thought occur to me that it might not have been urine.  Casually I mentioned it to Jon and he started freaking out immediately. “OH MY GOD YOU’RE IN LABOUR! GET DRESSED, WE’RE GOING BACK TO HOSPITAL”.

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It’s at this point that I should probably tell you that we’d spent the previous evening in hospital with another kind of scare – I’d had a horrible headache and weird abdominal pains and generally just felt off.  After tracing the baby’s heart beat and monitoring me for a few hours, the nurses concluded it was probably a false labour. My doctor started a course of steroid injections to boost the baby’s lung development just in case, and reluctantly let me go home for the night, extracting a promise that I’d be back the next afternoon for the second batch of injections, as well as an oath that I would take it very easy and not do anything that would compromise me going into labour (she used the term “no horse riding”, while looking pointedly at Jon and mumbling something about knowing it was our anniversary – totes awkward).

Armed with this context, you can now understand why Jon freaked out, but he’d been a bit jumpy for a few days and I was so sick of going into hospital only to waste a few hours on the monitors, knowing my baby was fine. Besides, he was moving around inside of me as Jon was flapping about the room and everyone knows that when babies move around, it means the moms couldn’t possibly be in labour, I remember thinking.  And so I kissed Jon on the forehead, sent him back to his man cave to carry on gaming while I finished getting ready for our night away.  I then washed my hair, got into a hot bubble bath and leisurely stood next to the bath tub with Jon’s razor and shaving cream and shaved my legs (why is it that men’s razors are always so much sharper than women’s?). After lying in bed to recover from the bath (being 8 months pregnant and having spent 5 of them on bed rest, I was not in my fittest state and getting around my giant belly to shave my overgrown legs was no easy feat), I giggled at how the baby was moving vigorously in a way I hadn’t felt before.

Just as Jon walked in to check how I was doing, the baby stuck his foot out and my tummy lurched into a tight little ball of discomfort. This went on for a few minutes and no matter how much I tried to get Jon to laugh it off with me, he took one look at me, elevated his serious voice and told me that he didn’t care what I thought we were due to go to hospital that afternoon anyway, he was taking me in early “just to make sure” so I had better get dressed or he’d take me in naked.  And so I got dressed.  To the nines, because damnit it was our first anniversary and I was *not* in labour. I even put on my Chanel perfume, my pearl wedding earrings and the diamond heart necklace Jon had bought me a few years previously.

We got to the hospital and the nurses (who greet us on a first name basis at this stage because this was my fourth false labour scare in this pregnancy) put me on the trace machine. And then, this:

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I guess I was in labour after all.  Those vigorous baby movements turned out to be contractions, how ’bout that?

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I spent the next 4 hours alternating being in shock and sulking because I now knew that Jon had booked the honeymoon suite at The Hertford Hotel, where we’d been married a year previously, for our surprise first wedding anniversary celebrations. There may have been some slight nerves too. I was only just 34 weeks pregnant.  Although that’s a hell of a lot better than 26 weeks (which is where I was with Kiera when I went into labour), it’s still nerve-racking. His little lungs weren’t quite developed yet, he needed more time to fatten up.  My mental state wasn’t quite ready – I needed the last few weeks of pregnancy to prepare. I was loving my pregnant belly too much. I WASN’T READY, DAMNIT. And so I spent the better part of the late afternoon trying to talk both my doctor and Jon out of making me go through with the surgery. And so we compromised (not!) and at 8pm, I was wheeled into surgery, where the nurses very kindly complimented me for putting on make up to have my baby.

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I’ll skip over the gory part of the epidural needle needing to go in 3 or 4 times in different vertebrae because I was swollen from pre-eclampsia, that was so much fun. But then the rest of the op took off and Jon and I actually had a blast.

I couldn’t stop giggling at how ridiculous Jon looked in his giant daddy theater onesie.

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We had a theater full of chatty, joking ladies. I waffled the whole way through, Jon held up the camera and filmed (without fainting) the moments where our son was brought into the world, and took photos of other things I couldn’t see past my boobs and showed to them to me to satiate my curiosity. Jon cut the umbilical cord as I watched and baby scored a 1 minute apgar of 9 out of 10, and 10 out of 10 at the 10 minute mark. He later started grunting slightly, so needed a bit of assistance with breathing and was put on oxygen for a few hours. But back to the birth…

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Baby was put onto my chest for a minute before being taken through to NICU and it was the best minute ever. He squawked like a little hadeda until he realised where he was, and settled down immediately once he heard my voice. I fell in love with him immediately and in that instant Jon and I went from being a couple, to parents to the most beautiful little baby boy. A little family trio.

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And finally, once baby was safe and settled in NICU, Jon came back to me and he and the maternity ward nurses settled me in our room where Jon had to sleep in a fold out sleeper couch next to my bed.  My legs were numb and I couldn’t stop shaking once the tingles and feeling came back into my lower half.  I kept poking myself so that I could speed up the process so that I could go upstairs to see my baby.

Eventually I nagged so much the nurses arranged that my bed get wheeled up to the NICU where I couldn’t actually reach or touch him, but I could watch his little face and fell in love with my son all over again.  A fierce maternal protective instinct slapped me in the face as I watched over this little human and I knew without doubt that my life had forever been changed.

And that, dear blog readers, is our birth story.

Baby still hasn’t been named officially as we can only do his Bris once he’s deemed 8 days healthy, so we’ve tentatively planned for that to take place next week.  He’s still in hospital, but breathing on his own now and doing really well. The only thing we’re waiting for is for him to be strong enough to drink all his bottles without needing to be tube fed at all, and then he can come home.  In the meantime, our days are spent going to and from the hospital (three times daily on average) and in between, I milk myself like a dairy cow.  Life is stressful, but already fulfilled.

And look how he’s grown in just a few weeks:

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