Category Archives: birth

First days second time round

It feels like I’ve stepped through the looking glass again. Everything in my life is the same but different, altered by the arrival of our little KD.
My body, which appears recovered from the outside (I was discharged from the labour suite seven hours after giving birth) is still healing. It can only cope with one emotion at a time and I am rocked by the shifts. One minute all I can think about is how overpoweringly grateful I am, to God and the universe, for giving me a healthy baby boy. The next I am consumed with fury that the Wee Man should deliberately wet himself six times in one morning.
I feel exactly like I’m standing barefoot on the beach, each wave pulling more sand from under me, the sun and the thunder clouds fighting to decide what the weather should be.
I haven’t slept for longer than three hours for nearly three weeks now. The nights are foggy; KD looks for the boob every couple of hours, burps over my shoulder and sighs back to sleep, while I manoeuvre cushions and blankets and flop gratefully back onto my pillow.
And in those lucid hours after a daytime nap, when KD is still asleep in his bassinet and the Wee Man is at nursery, I look around my messy house, consider my air-dried hair and makeup-free face and think to myself: “Enjoy it, for this too shall pass.”

mummykimmy and KD

mummykimmy KD and wee man

mummykimmy KD hands crossed

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8 months today!

Chilling after a big day

The wee man is eight whole months old today. I like to celebrate these little milestones (on his 7 month ‘birthday’ we all had a fabulous lunch in a cliff-top restaurant in Tenerife) but today I was working and Rod was working away overnight. We both felt guilty, which is ridiculous, but I did manage to squeeze in a treat this morning – I took him to Baby Sensory.

Normally these kinds of baby activities are really not my cup of tea – I always end up feeling like a bit of a tit – but today was all about the wee man. It only took us ten minutes to walk there and one of the first mums I met was a woman I knew from my antenatal classes. We were really pleased to see each other again and swapped birth stories, which sounds like a weird thing to do, but given we did our training together it would be odd not to discuss the race!  She had a pretty horrible time of it so I was careful not to make mine sound too wonderful (although I kind of think it was) and we compared notes on motherhood. Her son is two days younger but he is really advanced – he’s sitting really well all by himself and stands too. I hope he inspires my wee guy!

As for the class – the wee man absolutely loved it! He giggled his head off and was fascinated by everything. The idea is to stimulate all the baby’s senses and promote all kinds of development, so we were singing, dancing, playing with coloured ribbons, shaking maracas and bouncing on balls. There was a bubble machine, some flashing coloured lights and loads of new toys to explore. Actually it was probably all a bit too much for him because ten minutes from the end the thumb went in and he snuggled down and slept almost instantly. Other mums told me their babies had been the same and it takes a few sessions for them to settle. Every class is different – apparently we can look forward to baby massage, baby signing and all sorts, so I’ve signed up til Christmas. It’s £6 a session and it’s totally worth it to see his delighted wee face. Plus he can clap now (thanks to Grammy’s training) and he was chuffed to bits to have an audience for his new party trick!

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… my son!!!

He's a thumb sucker!

If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know I was very overdue, very uncomfortable and very grumpy… Then, 9 days after my due date, a ladybird landed on my belly and we wondered if it was a sign. Well, I’m delighted to tell you my waters broke at 4.30 the next morning (Monday 28th March) – I was over the moon when I realised the cramps were for real and I didn’t have to be induced after all!

I am also delighted to tell you that I had exactly the labour I planned. I stayed at home to work through the contractions until they were coming powerfully every five minutes, then we drove to the hospital where the midwife in maternity assessment told me I was 3cm dilated. I opted to wait in the ward, using some of the hypnobirthing techniques Steven Reid taught me, Paracetamol and a hot bath until I tearfully insisted the midwife examine me again. Sure enough I was 5cm, so she wheeled me down to Labour Ward.

It’s all brand new at the Southern General – a midwife called Kay was waiting for me in a lovely big room with the pool I’d requested. She quickly filled it, helped me in and then wheeled in the gas and air. I grabbed for it – but she laughed and said: “Let me tell you how to use it or I’ll take it off you!”, a threat that immediately made me behave! It’s fabulous stuff – not only for the painkilling but also for the fact it forces you to take deep, regular breaths – the one thing I found to be key throughout my whole labour.

Rod was by my side throughout (not in the bath as he’d threatened – he’d forgotten his goggles) and was wonderful for passing me water, mopping my head with wrapped-up ice and saying all the right words of encouragement. There was a point – when I was nearly 10cm – when I wasn’t sure I could do it. I gasped at Kay that I was really struggling – her solution was tea and digestive biscuits. If I hadn’t been seized by another powerful contraction I’m sure my reply would have been very rude indeed. But she was right! Rod put a straw in a teacup and it went like this: “Tea please!” – suck – “Biscuit please – dunked” – munch – “GAS!” – gasp, moan, gasp, moan, gasp, moan – “Tea please”…

After this it all becomes a bit hazy. There was a changeover of midwives and I think a few extra came in to observe. Kay was saying she was sorry she was going to miss it, that it wouldn’t be long. In some part of my consciousness I was encouraged. I had the impression the others were interested to see a proper water birth. It registered somewhere that my baby would be born in the water. I was happy about this. I was dimly aware of others in the room saying “no we’re just letting her get on with it”. This made me proud. They were trusting me to handle my own labour.

I must have been at the pushing stage for over two hours, though I had no concept of that at the time, I was on another planet. My eyes were mostly closed, I was gripping the mouthpiece for the gas and air and clinging on to the side of the bath. His arrival was pretty quick- one minute I was pushing like hell, the next there he was. Lesley (the new midwife) laid him on my chest and he took a few breaths and looked around. He was grey and his eyes were open, looking at me. Rod was in tears. I asked if he was ok, ten fingers, ten toes? She counted. Yes. I forgot the pain. I actually did. I went from the utter misery and overwhelming power of intense pain to complete euphoria in the instant he was laid on my chest.

I assumed I would need stitches, but was delighted when Lesley told me I was intact. They wheeled in the scales to weigh him. I said he would be over 9 pounds but no one believed me. He was 9 pounds 1.5 ounces! Sometimes a mama just knows best.

So which name did we choose? We’ve called him Finlay and his middle name was the only choice if I wanted my son to be named after someone inspirational. Roderick.


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