Wednesday 26 September 2012

My first breast feeding diary

(Based on diary extract from 29/01/2011). 

A sample from my feeding diary (day 4) before i downloaded a handy feeding app on my iPhone!! No time for sleep!!

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Baby Blues

(Based on diary extract from 27/01/2011). 

I got discharged today, which I was so relieved about as I'm desperate to get back to my own bed and home comforts and I'd had quite enough of the girl next to me who liked to feed baby 'Mason' whilst listening to happy hardcore. That and the night of constant feeding I've just had and the very unhelpful midwife 'Jackie', who said she couldn't give me any advice and I would literally just have to stay awake all night to feed him. Cheers. She did however proceed to give me an industrial sized breast pump which helped me get my own back at Mason's mum.
I got back home this morning and started getting into 'family' life. I fed Albie in the peace of my room whilst catching up with Facebook and Twitter and thought 'I could get used to this'. At 3 o'clock the midwife came round, weighed Albie and said he'd lost too much of his birth weight (I should think so at nearly 9 pounds!!) and that we would have to go back into hospital until he put on sufficient weight. My milk had only just come in due to losing too much blood with the c-section which must've been true, if only for my Dad telling me he thought I looked dead after giving birth. The midwife continued to tell me about the 'policy' and I just burst into tears - I was mortified 'Please don't make me go back in' - but it's 'policy' and I'll do anything to make sure Albie is ok (and to avoid social services).
I re-packed my hospital bag and (sorry gory bit) as I was doing so Albie started to sick up his last feed which was nothing new except this time his sick was black (yes, black!) and I started to panic. All sorts of things were running through my head and I felt sick myself. He continued to do so all afternoon so in the end I concluded it was just as well I was going back in so I could check everything was alright.
At 6 o'clock we arrived back at hospital and guess who was on duty? Jackie. She told me I would have to stay for two nights and I burst into tears again. She turned to me and gave a half hearted stroke of my arm and with all the fake sympathy she could muster she said 'ah bless you, is it all a bit too much? If it's any consolation love, I hate coming here too'. No, actually it's not. Then she turned to Neil, my rock, who was holding my precious bundle and said 'speaking of which Neil, visiting hours are over, can you make your way out please'. Neil placed a very restless Albie in the crib as Jackie proceeded to inject me in the stomach with my daily dose of Heparin and I burst into tears as Neil kissed me on the head and walked out the door. Please get me out of here.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

The birth (the good bit)

(Based on diary extract from 25/01/2011... actually it was written a few days later as I was in no state to be writing after birth!). 

...Neil held my right hand; the anaesthetist the left, as my body shuck uncontrollably. I presumed I must be nervous but the anaesthetist informed me it was due to the amount of drugs I'd had pumped round my body. Nice.
I felt the surgeon give one final tug, followed by a sound that I think will change me forever... A cry. Now don't get me wrong, I've heard lots of cries before and I'm sure I've heard plenty of babies in supermarkets screaming their lungs off and never once has it made me want to take them home with me. But this, this was something different; something spiritual, even. As I heard my baby take his first breath, my breath was simultaneously taken from me for a brief moment, followed by a gasp of emotion as strong as being hit by a tidal wave (I'd imagine). I will never forget that.
The next thing I'm waiting, trying to guess which side of the pale blue curtain separating us (and my insides) that they would bring him. It felt like ages. Is it a girl? A boy? Ginger?? Then I finally saw a baby being dangled into the air and a flash of his bollocks confirmed he was in fact a boy. I somehow knew he would be, though I can't exactly class myself a psychic with a 1 in 2 chance.
They rushed him off to check he was ok, and Neil went off to check, more importantly, whether he had inherited his beloved 'strawberry blonde' hair. Two minutes later and a very excited Neil came rushing back, holding him in a lion king pose. 'He's ginger!' he exclaimed proudly, as though he had indeed inherited his kingdom. The nurse gently laid my baby on my chest, wrapped in a white towel. He stared at me like he was an old soul - like he'd been here before or something. I spoke to him in what, looking back, was probably a very drunken manner because I can't remember much of it except the anaesthetist had a bemused look on his face and, in fact, so did my baby. I can still see his big dark blue eyes piercing me as I gabbled away to him. Everyone said I'd know what to call him when I saw him but I wasn't sure. I said 'Albie', partly because I loved it, partly because Neil wanted to name him after his Grandad and partly because it was either that or Wolfgang (no, Neil wasn't joking). But I loved the name Albie and he kind of looked like an Albert, which means "noble, bright and famous". Albert Joseph Maltby.

Albie's first feed
They took him off me and the surgeons sewed me back up casually as they listened to radio 2 and joked about Eastenders. Then they wheeled me into a little room followed by Albie who looked like a 'meals on wheels', except a little tastier. Speaking of which, the next highlight was getting a slice of toast and jam which was quite possibly the best meal I have ever had, considering I hadn't eaten in 18 hours. 

Tuesday 4 September 2012

The birth. Not for the feint hearted ;)

(Based on diary extract from 25/01/2011... actually it was written a few days later as I was in no state to be writing after birth!). 

I started late sunday evening with weird crampy pains which I put down to the fact there were far too many onions in the previous night's pasta dish. I thought I must be having 'braxton hicks' or something as they weren't too painful but annoying enough to stop me sleeping, so at 1am I got up and went downstairs. Neil came down at 6am, fixed me up with a tens machine and I took my position: clinging to the mantle piece for dear life every time a contraction came. By 12pm, I was in agony. Contractions kept coming every 5 minutes, then 2, then back to 10 - they were all over the place. In the antenatal classes they say to go in when they're 4 minutes apart but I didn't have a clue what mine were. I was determined to leave it till the last minute as I didn't want one of those long hospitalised births. I was hoping for more of a drive thru experience: Baby-to-go.
Neil ran me a bath in the hope it would help, but when I got in it the contractions seemed to be one after the other "I think we better get to hospital quick". Neil dragged me out the bath, struggled to get me dressed, then insisted on making me eat before we left. A woman's about to give birth and what's a man thinking about? Food. The food of choice was boiled egg and dippy fingers, which he had to feed me like a baby in-between each contraction as I clung to the chair.
By this point it was about 1pm, we got in the car and what happens? Nothing. No contractions, no pain: nothing. In fact, we drove straight past the hospital and went for a very scenic drive round the peak district until they heated up again. How romantic.
At 3pm we arrived at the hospital. They seemed very relaxed about the whole thing and took ages to see me, and when they finally did the midwife said "Don't be upset if we have to send you home again Love, you might not be ready, now just lie down while I examine you...... Oh my goodness, you're 7cm dilated! This baby could be with us in a few hours!" The midwife commented on how relaxed I was and that most people need pain relief at this stage. Neil looked at me and gave me a high five with his eyes. The birth pool was even free... thank God I wrote that birth plan ;)
I made myself comfortable, got a gym ball and moved around on it casually whilst sucking fruit pastels and updating my Facebook status to "just sat in hospital, 7cm dilated". I may as well have written "Just giving birth. Piece of cake". Don't get me wrong, the contractions were still intense, but I was excited now and I felt in good hands. I decided to take a dip in the pool...
But 2 hours later and nothing was heating up. They decided to take me out and break my waters to get things going, which  just felt like i'd wet myself but in an even less dignified way. I got back in the pool and after about 30 minutes it was like i'd been hit with a ton of bricks. The contractions got so intense and lasted for what seemed like minutes at a time of excruciating agony, gradually getting closer and closer together until there was barely any break in-between. I remember feeling like I couldn't cope any more but tried to hold out before I asked for any pain relief (why?!). The midwife seemed surprised when I asked for some gas and air, I'm not sure why as I felt like I was dying. I lost all control, I couldn't even tell where the pain was anymore because the whole of my body felt in pain. I have vague blurry images from here on in. I kept feeling my head drop under the water, maybe in the hope that drowning would be a nicer experience. I writhed around groaning like some sort of deluded wildebeest. I felt like an animal. I gripped onto the gas and air for dear life, breathing as deeply as I could. It took the intensity off the pain but made me feel dizzy. I felt drunk but I wouldn't let it go. Neil told me to take a break from it and I used some expletives to tell him that I would carry on using it, thank you very much. He kept telling me 'it's ok, the baby will be here soon', while he looked over to the midwives for reassurance and they just stared back blankly and asked me if I was ready to push yet. 'NO!!!'. I had no urge to and I knew this baby was not coming out!!
Another hour or so of intense pain and they finally decided to examine me again and, big surprise, I was only 8cm and nothing was progressing because my big fat baby's head was stuck and he/she was in a back-to-back position. I could barely blurt out the words in between breathing the gas and air 'I WANT AN EPIDURAL', and the midwife proceeded to tell me that I would have to have one anyway because I would need to go on a hormone drip to get things going. Thank God I wrote that birth plan. Not.
I walked like a drunk tramp down the corridor, with my hair still straggled and dripping wet, with the gas and air on a trolley alongside me like my most prised companion. I've never clung so tightly to anything in my life.
The anaesthetist came to talk me through the terms and conditions of an epidural and I just nodded incessantly, not listening to a word he was saying but hoping to speed up the process short of me screaming "just stick the needle in!!!!!". He said he'd never known anyone so compliant.
I felt a tingle down my back and experienced what was a brief encounter of no pain. He gave me a button to top up the epidural, I had wires and gadgets attached to me and all was sorted... so I thought.
The epidural wore off somewhat in the next few hours, I kept topping up until it ran out but the pain was still there, if a little duller but now I had the added pain of not being able to move and my back was in agony. The midwife told me to try and get some sleep. 'Are you joking?!!' I looked over at Neil, who looked totally drained. The gas and air also started to catch up with me and I expressed the need to vomit, to which the midwives responded with a small cardboard kidney shaped bowl. "Sorry, I said I needed to vomit not spit out my gum!". Too late. The bowl acted as a sort of propellent for the sick, which went all over the midwives, the equipment and my birthing outfit. I couldn't move of course, so the midwives had to undress me and remove all the wires and I'm left laid starkers on the bed while they clean me up and I've never been so humiliated. No sooner had they cleaned me up when I did the same thing again. Nice.
At 1am the doctor came to examine me. No change. She gave me the option of a c-section, which I didn't want but by this point I was so exhausted I wasn't sure how I would push. Neil and I decided we'd give it a few more hours, God knows why, but 'women have done this for century's', right?! As soon as she walked out the door I felt like the clock stopped. I remember looking at the clock at 4am and thinking that I wanted to die. I didn't care about the baby or Neil, I was deluded but I just wanted to be out of pain. I said to myself 'If I ever think about having another child, I will think about this moment'. The trainee midwife asked if I was ok and I burst into tears. "Aw, is it all a bit too much for you?". "Yes, it's all a bit f****ing much.
The doctor finally came back in and agreed that a c-section was the way forward, but I would have to wait for the anaesthetist. So glad I wrote that birth plan ;) Another hour or so later he came and promised me that this time I would be fully out of pain. Had I not already been taken, I would've asked him to marry me right there and then. In fact, I still think of his face with a halo around it.
No sooner had I arrived in theatre, than I vomited again all over the equipment, the staff clearly hadn't learnt their lesson from the last kidney dish incident. But FINALLY, finally, I was out of pain. I've never been happier, and I didn't care about the feeling of them slicing me open and tugging around down there. I was out of pain, nothing else mattered... until I met my son that is...