Josh and I in London, pre pregnancy test!
14th February 2015
Josh and I went to London for some very rare couple time together with no kids (!!). Naturally we got drunk, because if I wasn't drunk, did I really make the most of my child-less time? So we boarded the train to London and cracked open the koppaberg and started to unwind. After the first tiny can I had such bad heartburn and felt a bit weird and although pregnancy was my first thought, I pushed it to the back of my mind and put it down to likely starting drinking in the morning and my lack of being able to handle my drink any more.
The night went on (we had an amazing time in London by the way) and as I got more drunk I was thinking more and more about how strange I was feeling, and sat in a pub in Trafalgar Square mentioned it to Josh, and after him asking if I was thinking what he was thinking, we were on the same page! So like two excited teenagers we went over the road to Boots and bought a pack of two pregnancy tests. I literally dread to think what that woman thought as she served me, swaying and quite possibly hiccupping!
So, massive anti-climax, I did a test and it was negative. Weird. I'm so in tune with my body, and I honestly have always just "known" I was pregnant. And this time was no different, only a pregnancy test was telling me different.
Except I woke up the next morning, and there was a line that had developed overnight. Albeit faint, but I'm sure the saying goes "a line is a line"? After googling, and becoming even more confused (and growing more and more obsessed) by our situation, I did still have one test left. So the next day I took it, and although still faint, there was definitely a line. Ten pregnancy tests later, I started to believe it. I was pregnant!!
Baby Numero Cinqo
I was so so sick pretty much straight away, and (tmi warning) because my cycles hadn't returned properly with still breastfeeding Tommy, I was unsure of my dates, so we payed for a private ultrasound (a really posh place where I sat in the car park barfing into a Burger King bag-classy as ever) to give us a rough idea, which put us at about 7 weeks and confirmed there was just one teeny tiny dementor living in my womb, sucking the very being out of me.
I had never ever been this sick before in any of my pregnancies, so looking after four children, breastfeeding one, and not being able to move without throwing up really took its toll on me, and I had lost about a stone by my booking in appointment at 10 weeks.
The doctors had said if it didn't improve, my best option may be to have IV fluids at the hospital, but miraculously the following week, although my sickness didn't fully leave for the full pregnancy, I did start feeling more human.
The weeks went on, we had scans, appointments, we told friends, family, the children were really excited, it was a lovely pregnancy apart from the sickness, and it flew fast.
On our first wedding anniversary, as a family we went for a 4d scan, to see our baby for the last time before we would meet him/her. These scans freak some people out, I can see why. But for us, this was just lovely bonding time. I've had 4d scans with all except my eldest, and it really helps me visualise my baby, and the children love having a photo on their wall of their soon-to-be-here sibling. You can see their little features, they suck their thumbs, roll, yawn, stretch. It's amazing to picture an actual baby.
Late To The Party
My "due date" (I hate that term) came and went. Although of course I knew babies came in their own time and the due date was just an estimate, I didn't expect to be making it 9 days past the date they had given me, and onto my own birthday.
The day before my birthday I had started with mild contractions every 15 minutes that weren't going away but weren't getting stronger either. I got some rest, thinking it was probably the start of labour, and woke up at 1am and my contractions were getting more intense and I couldn't settle for toilet visits, so I rang parents to collect the older children as I didn't know how quickly it was going to progress, as my previous labours had been 3-4 hours once established. Turns out, it wouldn't be so quick. I tossed and turned all night as I had more and more surges getting more intense but just not strong enough. I woke up exhausted on my birthday, and spent a few hours bouncing, walking and trying to progress myself naturally. By lunch time I was having a contraction every 5-7 minutes and although I knew they weren't strong enough yet, Josh thought it was best we go to the hospital to just see what was going on.
We got there and sure enough, although the monitors were showing good strong contractions, my cervix wasn't thinning efficiently and wasn't dilating as fast as it maybe should have been, so we stayed at the hospital for a while longer just to see what was happening.
41+2 weeks pregnant
Now at this point, you can imagine my scenario. I was 9 days "overdue", heavy, I'd had no sleep, it was my birthday, I hadn't seen my children on my birthday yet, and was just told my body wasn't doing what it was supposed to be doing, and the more I thought about it, the more I wound myself up. Convinced I was going to need medical intervention, I stayed quiet for the rest of the day. Willing my body to do what it needed to do, what I knew it was capable of doing.
It was very important to me for my birth to be as intervention-free as possible. Ideally, I would have liked a home birth, but for a number of reasons, I decided to birth at the hospital.
And after spending 10 hours at the hospital, with surges coming every 5 minutes and having to breath through them, I was checked to have no cervical changes. Fucking devastating.
I was given options at this point, the midwife (who was lovely but I currently hated) explained she could break my waters if I wanted, but had no progress been made within 24 hours, having pitocin would be the best option. I cried. Convinced my dreams of a "perfect" birth were being flushed away. It took all of my strength to decline that intervention. I was ready to meet my baby, but I also wanted to meet my baby when he was ready. I wanted to give him and my body a chance. So we came home.
I had tried so hard to progress my labour, I had willed my body to do it, I had to just give up trying. Just temporarily. Just to rest.
We arrived home at 10.30pm and I slipped myself some codeine (that the midwife had given me) and tried to get sleep. I was still being woken every 5 minutes but managing to get sleep in between, and by 1am I was wide awake unable to rest. I ran myself a hot bath (not being patient enough to put any cold in and almost causing myself to pass out) and whilst in the bath I had my "bloody show" (google it, I'm not going into that right now).
It was at this point I started to relax, knowing that things were happening. I started to trust my body, and combined with the small amount of rest I'd got, things seemed to begin to progress a little bit more.
I wanted to stay at home as long as possible, to be totally honest I wanted to stay at home until he was born, then lay not moving in the comfort of our own home. But the time came, maybe 2am where the pressure was intense and I felt it was time, so I woke Josh up and asked him if he could take us to the hospital.
All of my labour notes from previous labours 😂
We arrived at the hospital, every step I took was bringing a contraction, I knew we were soon going to meet our beautiful baby. The midwives took me into the birthing centre where they ran the birthing pool where me and Josh planned to both get in to deliver our fifth child, I changed into my nightie and we put some meditation sounds/music on.
The midwife, Nicola examined me, and informed us I was 5cm dilated but still not effaced. Although I knew my body was being efficient, had I not had the examination I would have trusted my body, but the fact my cervix wasn't thinning was playing in the back of my head.
I just want to mention here, Nicola was the most amazing, understanding midwife I've come across in all of my pregnancies and labours. She read my birth plan thoroughly, she spoke to me, she listened to me, she understood me. She knew what I wanted and was respectful, and that really made her the exceptional midwife she was that day. Even in the heat of the moment, I could feel her positivity and understanding of me.
At about 5am I felt I needed to push, in fact, my body was pushing. In between the contractions, the music was giving me some focus and I really felt how euphoric this birth was. I still remember clearly how I smiled at the situation, at how truly happy I was in that moment. Something that doesn't come often for me.
I pushed for long enough (I even farted really loudly on one contraction-which was possibly the most embarrassing thing I've ever experienced) before Nicola asked if she could examine me, to check I wasn't pushing on my cervix. I agreed, as normally my babies were born in a few pushes
She said I was 8cm but still not effaced. My baby wasn't in the right position. At this point she realised he was in a position where his head wasn't fully on the cervix meaning my contractions weren't doing what they were supposed to do. Which made perfect sense. So she asked, and let me just give glory to that word, she asked me, she didn't tell me what she would like to do, she didn't say what she thought I should decide, she asked if I would like to break the waters, to which I said I would. I knew there was a strong possibility that his head would turn once the waters were broken. Although it wasn't what I had wanted in the beginning, it was what I felt was right to do now.
Noah about 1 hour old, being taken to get weighed
So at 6.10am Nicola broke my waters. At 6.13am after 3 pushes, our beautiful baby BOY was born. With a head full of hair and his daddy's nose, ten tiny fingers and toes, all 9lb 7oz of him was here. And my 32+ hours of labour had all been worth it.
He latched on and we fed for 40 minutes while I delivered the placenta. Something that, after 40 minutes wasn't detaching itself, so it was in our best interest to have the syntocinon to deliver the placenta. Which was fine, and off my placenta went to be made into capsules and smoothies (see previous post). I had my tea and toast, and lapped up the amazingness of my new baby boy, and we had some time together, just the three of us. Because it was early morning, we hadn't felt we needed to text anyone about his arrival straight away, we just laid together cuddling, in a perfect little love bubble.
After about an hour, Noah was weighed and checked over, and I FaceTimed the children to see their new brother before anyone else did (got to love technology) and text everyone to notify them of his arrival.
It was then that Nicola, because I didn't get to birth in water with josh as we had wanted and had interventions she knew I wasn't keen on having, mentioned something called 'rebirthing' to me. Something that I've never heard of before, despite my huge fascination and research of birth. Rebirthing is where mum and baby lay in a warm bath, for the baby to feel it is still in the womb. I talked to him, stroked him, he slept and we cuddled and fed, until we were both ready to emerge from the bath together. It was a beautiful bonding experience for us, and I would recommend to anyone to look it up (not to be confused with other rebirthing techniques, this one is specific to labour).
My drawing of a photograph of me and Noah 'rebirthing'
Noah's birth was truly amazing, it's made me cry just reliving it! I can't believe this was almost a year ago and my baby is now a walking talking little boy!