Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tweets - September 2014

Sep 2: Misty morning. Autumn really has arrived.

Sep 2: Baby asleep in sling. Chances of successful transfer to cot? Slim to nil. Hmm.

Sep 6: My little monkey is a month old.

Sep 8: Baby may have cow's milk protein allergy. So that may mean no dairy for me until she's not breastfeeding anymore. Eek.
[She doesn't, fortunately]

Sep 9: We got the bus into town. Baby is sleeping while I enjoy lunch in John Lewis.

Sep 12: The pictures on my phone for the last few weeks are either of Phoebe or her nappy contents. Such is the life of a new parent.

Sep 12: Ugh. Last night's sore throat has turned into headache, throat ache and wooziness. An afternoon nap would help but it depends on Phoebe...

Sep 13: Just changed the kind of nappy that requires a bath to clean up. At least the monkey likes baths. Now to convince her to sleep.

Sep 14: Sneezing. First cold of autumn/winter 2014. First time of mummying while grotty. Wonder if the baby will get it too.
[She did. Saline spray and a Nose Frida snot sucker helped a lot]

Sep 16: Liberated a pretty big spider from our living room this evening. It's lucky it was found by me and not @robhu.

Sep 16: There are few sights more wonderful than that of a soundly sleeping baby.

Sep 16: Of course, it never lasts long.

Sep 19: Snotty nosed baby has definitely caught my cold. :-( She sounds like a little snorting piglet. I guess that's appropriate.

Sep 21: Awake with a wide-eyed sleepless monkey.

Sep 24: Feeding the baby and listening to Radio 4. Very peaceful.

Sep 24: Well it was peaceful. This afternoon play isn't.

Sep 25: Snuggled

Sep 27: Colourful 

Sep 28: The relief when a baby who's been freaking out at the breast suddenly calms down and latches on. Wish I knew why. Current theory reflux pain
[It wasn't that, her tongue tie division had got infected. She needed antibiotics.]

Sep 28: Have tried every breastfeeding position I can think of in the last few days. Currently laid back/biological nurturing position works best.

Sep 29: Wondered why my baby's face had sparkles and then remembered I put on blusher with a slight shimmer in it this morning.

Sep 29: Cream blusher is my one step pick me up - takes seconds, makes me look & feel a little more alive. Not time for much other grooming.

Sep 30: Hand in hand.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Phoebe's birth story - Part 3

At 1:20am on 6 August, I started pushing. It was hard work and not ideal with my legs up in stirrups. But once the epidural’s in, that’s what you have to do. I had trouble visualising where I needed to push. In many ways this wasn’t what  I wanted – on my back, pushing in the classic chin on chest manner. I tried to remember the breathing techniques we’d learned in the NCT class but I couldn’t really work out what I should do. So I followed the midwife’s directions and did the best I could. At this point, the epidural being only half effective was useful. I actually had some feeling left which helped me push. I didn’t feel like I was pushing long, though each push was tiring. After an hour and a half though, the midwife was concerned that we weren’t making enough progress. Her senior colleague decided that it was time for intervention – a trial of instrumental delivery. They would try a forceps delivery and if that didn’t work, they would go straight to a C-section. Oddly, the news didn’t upset me or make me feel disappointed. I think that was partly being somewhat out of it and partly relief at knowing we would be meeting our baby soon. I kept pushing with every contraction as we waited to be transferred to theatre. Rob put on scrubs and grabbed his camera. As I was pushed along the corridor, I was pretty convinced that a C-section was going to be the outcome. I felt OK about this.

Once in theatre, there were many people, bright lights and much equipment. I needed a spinal block – a far more effective anaesthetic. I don’t think it took long to put in, but once I lay down again, I felt very sick. I threw up the blackcurrant squash the midwife had made me drink before starting to push (which was the first sustenance I’d had since 4pm). Once I’d stopped throwing up, my legs were lifted into the stirrups – a very strange feeling. As far as I could feel, my legs were still straight and on the bed, yet I could see them up in the stirrups. I could wiggle my toes and see them move, yet I couldn’t feel them move. I couldn’t feel a thing below my waist (They check this by blowing a cold spray at your body and seeing where you can feel it).

Then it was time to push. I couldn’t feel a thing so I had to follow the midwives’  directions of when to push. I tried to remember the feeling of pushing from before and visualise my body doing it. The senior midwife was pleased with the progress I’d made since she’d last examined me. She said she was more confident now that we could deliver the baby with forceps. (I felt very pleased that the effort I’d put in was worth it).

So it proved. I can’t remember how many pushes it took, but suddenly there she was! Phoebe was delivered, wrapped up, placed briefly on my chest and taken away to be checked and have her cord cut. 

I sent Rob over to take pictures. She cried! She was covered in cheesy vernix and had lots of fair hair. They wrapped her in a towel and placed her back on my chest.

I’m not sure what happened then. I know I’d lost a lot of blood (1.2l according to the notes) and needed a transfusion. I remember asking to see the placenta (a huge bloody chunk of flesh) and being amazed that it had been delivered so quickly (2 minutes after Phoebe). I needed to be stitched up. Rob and Phoebe disappeared. I assume they went straight to recovery. There was nothing wrong with Phoebe – her Apgar score of 9 and then 10 proves that. I was pretty out of it and remained so until lunchtime. My legs were still non-functional and I couldn’t move. At some point, Phoebe was put onto my chest for some skin-to-skin and her first feed. She latched on beautifully and guzzled like a champ. I was so proud of her and happy that she was finally here.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Phoebe's birth story - Part 2

Tuesday was fairly relaxed and uneventful. Rob came in about 11. I spent the day snoozing, reading I Capture the Castle, sometimes going for a walk. I managed to sleep for a while in the afternoon. When I was awake, I bounced on a birthing ball. 

At some point in the afternoon, I was told I was next in the queue to be transferred to the delivery unit. Around 4pm we were finally transferred.

The delivery room was smaller than the induction suite and the windows looked out onto a wall. Not exactly exciting or homely. But it was private and comfortable with a big adjustable big for me and a chair for Rob. Our midwife Laura settled us in. First task was getting the monitor sorted. 

I was keen to be on a wireless monitor so that I could move around as much as possible. This was trickier than it sounded. The monitor in the room was missing a piece for the clip on the wireless sensors. A second one was found and some teething problems, it worked. I had a cannula fitted in my left hand – not a comfortable process and a real pain for most of the rest of the time, once it had served its purpose delivering Syntocinin. Laura examined my cervix. I was 1-2cm dilated, open and soft – a good place to start, but some way to go. Then about 6pm, she started the drip. Every 15 minutes she upped the dose and gradually my contractions which had slowed to being almost non-existent and very erratic began to get stronger and more regular.

I had decided beforehand that if I had to have the syntocinon drip, I would want an epidural, but I also wanted to see how far I could get using the TENS and entenox. I think around an hour into the drip, I was ready for gas and air – bouncing on a ball with the TENS and standing for contractions wasn’t quite cutting it. Gas and air is fun stuff. I think the concentration needed to breathe in and out is as much an effective distraction as any painkilling effect. I puffed through each contraction and then felt very lightheaded and drunk afterwards. It helped for a while, but by about 8pm, I was ready for an epidural. 

After that things get hazier. I think the anaesthetist arrived fairly quickly. I continued to puff on gas and air as the epidural was inserted. It took a while to get right. Rob says the process looked painful. I’m not sure if that was the needle or just having to sit still on the bed for it. The position you adopt for having the needle inserted – hunched over and hugging a pillow – is sort of comfortable, but not ideal. There was some fiddling with the dosage and, I think, the position. From now on I wasn’t very mobile. I half sat, half reclined on the bed, fairly out of it, breathing gas and air through contractions when I needed it and saying strange things. (I talked about library books, towels, Rob and his drone). 

The epidural was very effective on my left, but there was one point on my right which still hurt, like a slice through my body which still felt every contraction. Eventually, the midwife and the anaesthetist turned me onto my right side in an effort to move the drugs into the right places. This was my worst moment. I started shivering and feeling very sick. It also didn’t really shift the epidural, if anything the pain on the right was worse once I was back on my back again. I was beginning to feel some pressure in my bottom (only on the right of course). I said “I think I feel pushy”. The midwife checked me again – I was almost fully dilated. By now it was getting close to midnight. The midwife checked with a senior colleague who told her to wait an hour and then another one before I could start pushing. Those two hours are a blur – blame the gas and air! At some point a clip monitor was fitted to the baby’s head to monitor her directly.