The “Birth Plan” that didn’t go as planned

I didn’t have a birth plan for when Paige was born.  My “plan” basically consisted of 2 main points:

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And we are very blessed, because that is exactly what happened.  I had an elective cesarean which went brilliantly (well, as briliantly as invasive surgery into your lower abdomen could possibly go).  It was a fairly quick experience and Terry was right there by my side the entire time – on our side of the curtain of course…nobody wants to see that mess.

Summary of what went down at hospital when Paige was born:

Get undressed & slide into one of the not-so-stylish patient gowns (the ones that leave nothing to the imagination with the built in butt-aircon), get prepped for surgery, dignity gets left at the door, anesthetic in, then slight feeling of pressure as epidural goes in, baby out & immediate cuddles with mom (that’s me now) before she is whisked off (with the new dad hot on the nurse’s heels) to get Paige cleaned up and checked over.  Get wheeled into recovery section and then back to room, where I could ask nurses to bring Paige to me straight away for more cuddles.  Spent 3 nights in hospital, with a fair amount of pain only kicking in on day 2 because the epidural/spinal block keeps any after-surgery-pain at bay until the paralysis wears off (which is great). I was able to get up and start walking around slowly on the morning of day 2, and by that afternoon I had done a few laps around the ward and was walking upright and feeling good.  Pain had already started to ease on day 3 and by day 4 I was still sore but could walk normally and was ready to head home with our new little bundle.

My “Birth Plan” for James was pretty much the same, with a few additions based on my first experience.  Here is where this post gets a little more serious:

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Unfortunately, this is not exactly what happened.  I still had the elective cesarean but the experience was horrible.  I’m not going to go into detail (to save sensitive readers) but here is a summary of what went down at hospital when James was born:

It started out the same as when Paige was born, until we reached the epidural part.
The anesthetic didn’t work, but we only realised that when it came time to administer the epidural.  So, when the anesthetist started pushing the epidural needle (quite a massive needle by the way) between my vertebrae I squeezed Terry’s hand and literally screamed out…all I can say is that I have NEVER been in such agony in all of my life.  My entire body tensed upright and I fainted.
* Author’s Note: I have only ever fainted once before in my life *

They had to lie me down and wait for me to regain consciousness (not actually sure how long I was out).  Then the anesthetist announced that we were going to try again…”hunch over and just relax”…easier said than done.   More anesthetic to supposedly numb the area, and then more searing pain when another epidural attempt was made and failed.  I didn’t pass out on the 2nd and 3rd (maybe 4th?) attempts but I did scream and cry and squeeze Terry’s hand with all of my being, as if that would somehow alleviate some of the pain.  The anesthetist then asked me if I wanted to try again, but I couldn’t get a word out.  I wanted to scream at him (and possibly punch him in the face) but all I could do was look at my ObGyn.  Dr H took charge and told the anesthetist to stop (hallelujah), and instructed the nurses to get ready to put me under general.  At that point, I was in the early stages of a panic attack, and a nurse had already ushered Terry out of the room, so there was no time to consider what it meant to have my baby while under general anesthetic.

  • It meant that I was going to be unconscious and intubated, and hooked up to whatever else they need when they administer general anesthetic.
  • It meant that my best friend, husband, and father of my children was not going to be allowed in the room with me when our son was born.
  • It meant that neither of us were going to see him take his first breath and we would have to wait hours until we could hold him.
  • It meant that I was not going to have the immediate skin-to-skin contact that I had with Paige, and as silly as it sounds, isn’t that the first moment a mother and baby bond?  I was going to miss out on that.

The surgery itself went well, James was born healthy with no other complications, and my tubal ligation was successfully done at the same time.  I got to hold James for the first time about 2-3 hours later when I woke up, but  I felt groggy and ill and the throbbing from surgery started immediately,  with the pain setting in for the next week or so.  After about 10 days it all of a sudden began to ease and then recovery went quite smoothly from then on.

I know I can’t complain because, although there were complications, James and I are both fine and the awful surgery experience did not cause any lasting issues for either of us.  BUT, I did struggle emotionally with not being “present” for the birth of my son.  It deeply affected me and for the first few weeks I was truly worried that I had missed out on an important bonding moment with my child, and I was concerned that this would affect my relationship with him forever.

The baby blues (to be written about another day) hit with a vengeance about 2 weeks later, and reared it’s tearful head for about 2 weeks more, but I felt so much better about everything once it had passed.  I realised that one moment does not determine our relationship going forward, especially when it relates to my child, a little being that Terry and I created together.  My body nourished and protected this blessing and gave life to him.  The bond is not formed in that single moment of first contact.  It is pre-cast from the infinite love I have for him, since that moment we found out I was pregnant.

The point is, not everything goes according to plan. It will probably be really difficult to deal with in the moment, but the important part, the thing to remember, is that we need to accept what has happened, make peace with the fact that the past cannot be changed, and move forward.

I am one lucky lady with an amazing husband and two healthy, gorgeous kiddies.  I am happy.

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Sleep is a Luxury

Okay,  so I’m not actually hallucinating…but I could be.

I am now 33 weeks preggers with our 2nd bundle and our first (little Miss Paige) is turning 2 years young in 2 weeks.  Not exactly sure where the last 2 years have gone but they seem to have whizzed past like The Flash (Marvel Comics).

This amazing miracle of a little boy (to be named James) growing in my belly is head-butting my insides so darn hard that I wake up at all hours, literally in pain.  When he does his signature right hook punch, my belly bulges at such an odd proportion that it looks like something from a sci-fi movie is about to burst from the side of my abdomen.  It is actually quite freaky.  He has been ‘sitting’ much lower than his big sister did at this stage and my hips & pelvic bones feel like they are going to shatter when I get up in the morning,  and don’t even get me started on the sudden increase of loo visits during the night – I’m pretty sure he does his own rendition of Lord of the Dance on my bladder.

I remember being a bit pooped towards the end when I was pregnant with Paige, but it is quite different this time around. I am SO TIRED all of the time!

I wake up in the morning (after a restless night of re-positioning and loo excursions) feeling what I can only describe as death warmed up, get dressed, pull myself together, slap on some make up, and a little more to cover up the bulk-buyer shopping bags under my eyes, pack a lunch then off to work.  I yawn all through the day, while doing my best to get through the daily deadlines I have given myself so that I am on track to hand-over when I go on maternity leave at the end of Feb (fear sets in at how soon that is).  Routine for hubby & I in the evenings (with weekends being a little more lax of course):

  • Start: around 17h30-18h00
  • Heat Paige’s dinner (I bulk cook this once a week and freeze in portions)
  • Paige sort-of-feeds-herself while I start our dinner and Terry feeds the dogs, and then between us we attempt to help Paige finish whatever she has flicked out of her bowl onto the table and in her hair etc
  • Terry bathes Paige while I continue with our dinner and lay out her pjs etc
  • Terry attempts to dress Paige in aforementioned pjs
    • scenario 1 – while she streaks up the passage and jumps onto her/our bed to hide between the pillows in a fit of giggles and then lies happily for Terry to nappy and dress her (20% of the time)
    • scenario 2 – while she streaks up the passage and Terry has to get her out from under the dining table, pick her up and put her on her bed while she kicks and screams and thrashes around like a fish on a hook (80% of the time)
  • We eat dinner
  • Heat bottle for Paige
  • Chill time together
    • scenario 1 – Paige sits with us quietly with a book or soft toy and slowly relaxes to the point where we can put her to bed calmly and peacefully (anything from 5-20 minutes)
    • scenario 2 – Paige leaps on and off of our laps, finds the one noisy toy that we missed during evening pack up, proceeds to bang it on the table and the couch and our heads, drops it on the floor, starts to cry because she dropped it and it is now lying one step away from her, leading to a tantrum of dramatic proportions, we ignore her and let the tantrum run its course until it boils down to a simmer, one of us scoops her up to calm her down until she eventually chills out and falls asleep (anything from 10 – 90 minutes)
  • Terry and I start watching a series that we previously recorded but then probably fall asleep, wake up long after it is over, go shower, then go to bed.
  •  Repeat the next day

I am truly so excited for the arrival of our little James, but oh my heck I am also petrified.  Paige is a busy toddler now and wow she can be hard work, and very soon we are going to have 2 to care for.  When I was preggers with Paige there was no one else to care for so I could relax and have a nap if I needed to.  And after she was born I could occasionally catch up on ‘Zzzz’s’  while she slept during the day.  How does one catch up on sleep with 2 little monkeys on different eat, sleep, poop schedules?

I know people have been doing this since forever, and I regularly remind myself that it will be fine, we can totally do this – BUT, my social life, personal grooming standards and time for myself to do hobby stuff and blogging are basically non-existent already, what is going to happen when there are 2 rugrats streaking up and down the passage after bath!

Seriously though, we made the choice to start a family, and I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever.  My amazing husband helps with everything that needs to be done around the house, and with Paige duty so I cannot even begin to complain.  These little buggers that we sacrifice so much for – I can’t imagine my life without them.

So we will just remind ourselves every now and then that “we made our bed, so now we must sleep in it”…or not, it depends on how soon baby James starts sleeping through the night.

(long, loud yawn)

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Round 2

I recently found myself thinking about trying for a second little bean.  When is the right time? How do know if you are emotionally/physically/mentally/financially ready to start all over again?

A simple answer has occurred to me…you don’t know.  There is no right or wrong time that can be used as a guideline for the gazillions of parents out there thinking about having their 2nd or 3rd or 4th or…no more! Please! That is just too many mini-me minions!

I don’t think – no matter how ‘easy’ it was the first time around – that you are ever really ready to do it all again.  The constant cycle of feed, burp, sleep, cry, change, rinse, repeat..pretty much every 2 hours! I mean really, that is ridiculous!

We are all a bunch of nutters actually.  We just get past the 2-hourly feeds and the colic and sleepless nights, and the completely useless stages of a baby, then our baby becomes a toddler, and starts walking and babbling and becomes fun.  And then what do we do?  We say to ourselves, “Hey, life is just starting to get a little normality back again so I have a great idea – let’s have another baby and start all over again”.

Why do we feel the need to punish ourselves?  I’ll tell you why.  Because through all of the zombie days without makeup and bad ponytail hair, we learn about a love that cannot compare to any other feeling that exists in, or beyond our world.

Our daughter Paige is 17 months and 1 week – so in simple speak, she is almost 1.5 years young.  My husband and I have been talking about maybe trying for round 2 towards the end of this year.  Things don’t always work according to plan though.  Stuff happens in life, and one night you find yourself sitting in bed, with time ticking away to midnight, and your eyes are puffy from crying about crappy news regarding the health of a sibling, and your uncle is in hospital fighting for his life, and you look at each other and think the exact same thing, as if your thoughts were from one mind…

“What are we waiting for?”

We want our parents to dote over their grandkids, and our grandparents to at least cuddle their great-grandkids, our siblings need to know their  niece/nephew, and our extended family must meet the next generation of our bloodline.   We are family people and it is important to us.

So, here we are, 5-6 weeks later, with the recent fantastic news that I am about 4-5 weeks pregnant.  We couldn’t be happier about anything else right now and at the same time we are petrified.

One was hard enough to look after.  How the blooming heck are we going to care for two little terrors?!?

Answer:  We just will.  Because you find an inner strength that you never knew you had and the mommy/daddy gene just kicks in and somehow, through all the crying and pooping and spitting up (the baby, not us – okay so maybe we will cry a little), you know what to do.  And it will all be okay.

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It is still early days and baby no.2 will only be due around April 2015, but I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to share my personal pregnancy experience.  I’m going to blog about the good, the bad and the downright uncomfortable, so if you want the truth, without the frills and white lies, then stay tuned.

Don’t get me wrong, being pregnant is a pretty amazing experience, and the end result is obviously worth it, but wow there are some awkward and occasionally embarrassing moments.  (Sometimes it helps to share and laugh about it together)

I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

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