For those of you who missed my announcement- I HAD MY BABY! Hence the longggggg gap between posts- being a mama is no joke!! Little Arthur was born in September and is a very beautiful little boy as you will see. I think the weirdest thing about 2015 is that it was consumed unexpectedly by impending motherhood... So a year I assumed I'd spend partying with my friends and getting my life on track turned into a year where I spent the first quarter sleeping, the second quarter trying to attend events with the 'I don't need to drink to have fun' attitude- then failing to leave my house, the third quarter waddling down the road with achy popping hips, unable to fit into anything and crying a lot of the time and the fourth quarter looking after a beautiful newborn baby boy... And yes, it really is as time consuming as people make out!
I really wanted to write about the birth of my son as soon as it happened because birth is such a strange and unique experience and I wanted to get all the detail I could remember in about how it actually felt. I didn't really get the chance in the end but I wrote bits and pieces and i'm going to try and piece it all together now, whist he's lying down next to me asleep. Please note that this will be a warts and all account (**If you're not interested in reading about birth i'd skip to the cute pictures at the end of the post**)
It was a cold Thursday evening and I decided I was ready to give birth. My back was aching and I was becoming increasingly fed up of waiting to get it all over with. I know it's common for women to be scared and squeamish about giving birth for the first time, but I was truly petrified. I'd decided I was going to have the baby at the local hospital birthing centre and try to see the whole thing through in a birthing pool... Which I thought i'd eventually have to jump out of as i'd want, no, NEED, more pain medication than was permitted with a water birth. I still hadn't packed my hospital bag as I assumed i'd just throw whatever bits I needed together during early labour. Determined not to spend another day pregnant and nervous I informed my boyfriend that I was going to try and induce labour. I ordered us some Indian food- after much deliberation I decided to take the plunge and ordered a prawn madras, one of the spiciest dishes on the menu. While I ate the curry I complained to my boyfriend that I didn't think it was hot enough to get things moving so decided to give things another boost by eating a tin of chopped pineapples. Spicy food and pineapple are up there with the most recommended things to eat to induce labour and although they don't have any medical backing, about an hour later I started feeling cramping in my stomach.
Now as i'd had similar cramps the few days prior, I really wasn't sure to make of them. As the discomfort increased I started to pace to and fro trying to decipher whether or not I was in the very early stages of labour. I had downloaded an app that times contractions and warned my boyfriend that he might need to be using it in a few hours time. Yet nothing was really jumping out to me as a definite sign of labour. I was uncomfortable and a little warm but I still couldn't be sure what was going on. About two hours after eating the curry my tummy was really starting to become uncomfortable and I was heating up. I was still unsure whether or not I was in early labour, so to take my mind off the pain we decided to lie down on the bed and watch a bit of Luther. However lying down was uncomfortable and everything my partner was doing to try and help me just added to my discomfort. He'd try and give me a back rub and it would make me squirm and I felt so fidgety that I kept coming and going from the toilet.
The next part is unclear in terms of time scale because I was starting to feel really nauseas and I was visiting the bathroom for longer and longer periods of time. I remember vomiting and reporting to Benn that I wouldn't be having another baby as the whole thing was just too much. Words which I said anticipating another 6-10 hours of pain. I decided it was time to find out what was going on, so sat on the cold bathroom tiles, with my head in the toilet bowl, I called the midwife at the birth centre. Unsure of what to say and feeling like a rung out piece of cloth I said something like 'I'm pregnant and not sure whether or not i'm in early labour'. What followed was a relatively frustrating conversation for both of us- the midwife trying her hardest to ascertain what my symptoms were and me trying to articulate that I didn't really know what was going on other than the fact I was in pain and had vomited. As I was experiencing a 'wall of pain' rather than distinct periods that I could confidently label as 'contractions', I was told to monitor myself and call back later as it was unlikely that I was actually in labour. A few minutes later I had rejoined my boyfriend to try and watch more Luther but had to stagger back to the bathroom as I felt a huge wave of nausea. As I threw up in the toilet I felt a gush down my legs. Although I considered that my waters might have broken, it seemed more likely that i'd wet myself as by this point I was just a dizzy, nauseas mess but to be on the safe side I decided it would be best to call the midwife again. This time I was quite clear that I wanted to visit the hospital to see if I was in labour and the midwife agreed that I should come in, though she told me i'd probably be sent home again for a few hours until I was in active labour. After this phone call I told my boyfriend that we'd need to go to the hospital within the next hour or two.
The spanner in the works was this- I really didn't want to poop during labour... And remember i'd had a spicy curry for my tea... So before leaving the house I was absolutely determined that i'd do any grim, spicy poos at home before having any medical professionals poke around inside my vagina. And so for about the next half hour I went back and forth from Benn watching Luther to the toilet trying to poop. It was a really odd sort've feeling- I was so sure I needed to poop but so unable to produce anything. Anyway to cut an excessively gross scene short it turned out it wasn't a poop I was pushng out but the baby! I was crouched over on all fours at the sink when I realised something was really going on and a quick investigation with my hand lead me to the realisation that my baby was on his way out. I screeched and called Benn and as calmly as I could manage, asked him to have a look between my legs to see what was going on. Benn was horrified and not only declined but left the room and started insisting that he pack my bag (I know, I know- who hasn't packed their back this late in their pregnancy?!) and we walk round to the hospital. What followed was a film worthy scene of Benn: stressing, chucking 5 pairs of knickers at me through the door and chastising me for not saying that we needed to have gone to the hospital ages ago.
Unfortunately I could tell that the hospital portion of the evening was not going to happen in time. I felt another weird wave of pressure and the urge to push some more. A quick feel with my hand revealed what I feared, a body part of the baby was coming through... I'd thought i'd have at least another 3 hours to wait but Arthur had decided not to wait another minute. I screeched Benn again (who was still insisting we go to the hospital to have the baby, LOL) but this time I told him to call an ambulance. He rang the ambulance and stood white as a sheet at the bathroom door. A few pushes later and it felt like Arthur was just hanging out. I was a little worried because I couldn't really see what was going on. I could just feel this large, fleshy mass in between my legs. Starting to become worried I asked him what everything looked like, I can remember Benn saying 'he's coming, he's coming'. With the next push I reached down and just sorta pulled him out onto the floor. I whipped him round to my front, the chord was wrapped round his neck so I tugged it loose. And there he was. Puffy and very white and purply blue. In that moment he didn't look real at all. He cried a little and I clutched him to my chest, our landlord came and wrapped a towel round him and wiped his face. The 999 telephone operator gave us 00.06am as the official time of Arthur's birth- roughly only about 3 hours after the whole thing had begun!
The ambulance people arrived to a scene of me butt naked, crouching in a pool of blood, clinging onto my little purple baby and Benn standing (just about) looking through the door, too overwhelmed to come in. They came in, cut the chord and dressed Arthur. They wanted us to go to the hospital quite quickly and kept instructing me to put a bag together and put some clothes on. I know I must've been out of it cos even with everyone having filed out of the room I was stuck dawdling around, picking up different items of clothing and then discarding them on the floor. In the end I think I just went in a big top, dressing gown and some granny panties to wrap the umbilical chord round so it would stop dragging across the floor, gross. Everyone on the street seemed to be out to have a look at what was going on, everything seemed so surreal. During the short ambulance ride to the hospital everyone was quiet. Me and Benn exchanged a few smiles and I felt that dreaded crampy pain returning.
I think the delivery of the afterbirth was actually worse than delivering Arthur! I hated the hospital bed and my midwife wasn't exactly the nicest to put it lightly. No one told me how trippy gas and air is, that was a nice surprise! I puffed heavily away on it and looked over my shoulder at Benn who was sat holding our bubs and looking down lovingly at him. The midwife poked and prodded my bits as she implored me to push harder and i'm pretty sure I was laughing in a drug induced hysteria as she tugged on my umbilical chord, yanking the afterbirth out... A wholly unpleasant and uncomfortable experience.
I ended up with a few stitches (which was also more scary than birth, I still get flash backs about that) and having to stay in the hospital for a few days. I have lots more to say about Arthur and motherhood but i'll save that for later...
Benn and Arthur a few hours after he was born
My mum holding Arthur, he's a few days old here
I think Arthur was about 5 months old in this one
I'm gonna add more photos of Arthur to the post so check back on this post over the next few days if you're interested in seeing more recent pics but I just wanna get this up before I start thinking about sleep!
Also, lots of new stuff on my Etsy and a lot more to be added over the next week so do have a lil look if you're into vintage clothing My Etsy Shop xx