So much to catch up on! Where to begin? Phoenix Martin joined our world on Friday 23rd July at 11.04am weighing a lovely 7.1lbs. I’m just sitting here now watching Ben blow his little mind with baby apps on the ipad. He is in a stimulated techno heaven! He is the most adorable little thing I have even seen and Ben and I are completely blown away by the whole experience so far. I’ll probably do a few entries over the next couple of days in between feeds and cuddles to catch up on all that’s happened but I’ll kick off with his entrance to planet Earth…
At about 3pm on Thursday (feels like weeks ago now!) I was putting my shoes on to go into town when I heard this noise inside me, a bit like when you have a big drink and it sloshes around inside. I didn’t really pay it much attention but when I went to the loo I was mid-sitting down when there was a massive gush of liquid. I was feeling quite horrified at my lack of bladder control when I realised that actually it could have been my waters breaking. I wasn’t entirely sure, so I did what always feel right in these situations and looked it up on Google. Google told me to lie down, put on a pad and wait and see what else comes out. Okay Google I said, I will. As it turns out I didn’t really need any online help as a few mins later the waters were in full flow. And boy, they were really flowing. It was quite amusing for me to watch Ben run around pulling out maternity pads and shouting ‘oh god, it’s happening, it’s happening’. I knew that it wasn’t going to be a quick process so I was quite calm and actually had the giggles for a while. There are some things I’d like to share that I wasn’t aware of about when waters break
1. Do not be fooled by the purified image that the word ‘waters’ evokes. They are straw coloured and can get gooey and generally pretty rank.
2. They stink of bleach, weird. You smell like you’ve just come back from a shift of late night toilet cleaning.
3. They don’t just come out in one go and then stop, they keep flowing for ages, and ages, and ages. If nothing else it’s a really good way to get rid of all those pants you should have thrown away months ago.
So we called the hospital and they told us to head on in. When we got there, there was quite a lot of admin to complete and a bit of sitting in a waiting room in a queue. I couldn’t believe how much of a non-event the start of labour is! Admin and waiting rooms? I was like ‘people I’m having a baby here!’ They did a few tests to check it was really my waters and not urine (seemed a little obvious to me but still) and they then monitored the baby. Their tactic seemed to be to totally freak us out and then send us on our away to go and panic and labour out of hospital. They told us that the baby had done a small poo in the womb and that I also had a really low platlette count in my blood – great! Apparently these things were all low risk and nothing to worry about, but even so not a great start and quite frustrating. So off we went back home. By now the contractions were coming thick and fast and heading in the opposite direction to the hospital felt so wrong! Back at home I settled into dealing with the contractions by slapping on Take That Greatest Hits and guzzling a bag of fun size Milky Ways. During this time I think I started to go a bit mad and said some odd things including making the statement that ‘Million Love Songs’ by Gary Barlow, is one of the greatest songs ever written…I mean it’s a good love song but this is a bit of an exaggeration! Ben was baffled. The contractions were getting closer and closer together and more intense so I checked in with the hospital a few times over the phone to try to work out when to go back in. When you’re having a baby, the hospital really, really do not want you there until you’re literally about to drop. I think they were really busy as well so they just kept telling me to stay at home. I was coping ok at home working through the contractions but Ben was horrified about not being in the hospital, I think he thought he was going to end up delivering it on his own! When you’re in labour and you call the midwife they judge what labour stage you’re at and if you need to go into hospital by how you sound on the phone. This is all very well, but I have a tendency to be overly polite at times and hate to make a fuss, so whilst off the phone I was puffing and panting in pain, for some reason when I got on the phone to the midwife I went really calm and spoke to her like I was organising a tea party. She kept telling me as it was my first baby I probably wasn’t even in labour yet. This is probably the worst think you can tell a woman mid-contraction! Anyway by 4am I’d had enough and we headed into the hospital to discover I was 4cm dilated – not in labour?! In your face!!!!
I had planned on having a natural labour with no epidural so I knew when they took me into the birthing room I would just get on with it and start getting into a coping routine. So I did a bit of projectile vomiting, popped a few paracetamol, got on the gas and air and got into it. The room we had was amazing, it was massive and over looked the Thames and London Eye. Not that I actually saw much of this as one of my tactics was to labour with my eyes closed – I think I thought if I couldn’t see it wouldn’t be as bad. With no pain relief I just kind of let my body go with the flow and there were some bizarre positions and movements going on, must have looked quite funny. My favourite was this kind of hippy movement I started doing where I would put my hands in the air above my head and every time a contraction came would reach my fingers up like I was releasing the pain. God knows where that came from. Anyone who’s ever seen the Peep Show episode where they go to Rainbow Rhythms dance class, I was a bit like that.
The gas and air was brilliant. I basically got completely off my face and my favourite thing to do during a contraction was use it hands free doing one of my weird hand dances. I think I said some funny things on it, I seem to remember talking to one of the midwives in a Jamaican accent at one point. By the time they checked me the second time I was fully dilated so there was no going back, no epidural for me. The pushing went on for quite a long time and was really tough. I wasn’t even allowed on the gas and air for the last 90 mins as she told me it was making the baby sleepy. So more extreme positions followed mainly involving a hard-core set of squats which Ben did with me – but he had to sit down with his head between his knees because HE was so knackered! Eventually things started happening and the baby was moving down well. I’m not going to lie, it was so, so painful, I have new-found respect for all mums, labour is fully hardcore.
The last bit all happened so quickly I had no clue but Ben said Phoenix came out with the cord wrapped twice around his neck and was blue and not crying. The midwife sorted it all out within seconds though and before I know it there was a little baby boy placed on my chest. Amazing. Tears all around. I couldn’t believe it was actually over, it felt like it was never going to end! I was and still am, in total awe that this beautiful thing has been growing inside me. It was the most amazing feeling in the whole world.
Because my waters broke quite early his little head had been without cushioning for a while, so when they put him on me his skull was literally the shape of the predator, it was so weird! He still looked adorable of course and his head is now perfectly spherical, so he’s defiantly human and not an alien life form 🙂
I still had to be ‘worked on a fair bit’ after the labour, in fact that was probably the worst bit. Because of my platlette levels the doctor had to do an internal examination of my uterus which (look away now if you’re squeamish) literally involves putting his whole hand in there and feeling around. I breathed in so much gas and air during that bit that I literally went to another planet. Phoenix was so calm right from birth and while all this was going on I was just gawking at Ben singing him Chilli Peppers tunes and wondering around with this chilled out little dude, unreal scenes, emotional times.
I had to stay in hospital until Sunday evening as my platelete levels were still doing strange things – everyone has been talking about these bloody platelets but I still don’t really know what they are! All the doctors were very confused as I had a super smooth delivery, labour and have really good iron levels and blood pressure etc etc so it was all a bit weird. Anyway I literally look like a pin cushion from all the blood samples they’ve taken over the last couple of days but they seem to be happy with them now so we’re free! Phoenix was really well-behaved in the hospital, there were so many screaming babies on the ward at night it was quite stressful and hard to get any sleep. Every time one went off Phoenix and I would sort of stare at each other, look towards the source of the scream and look back at each other again. I’m pretty sure that there was a silent arrangement between us that said ‘okay, that looks stressful for everyone involved lets not get into that’. And we didn’t…thank god, some of those mums were having a real tough time.
So today is our first day back at home and so far so good. He was up in the night of course and had a mega feed that lasted forever but after that he let us lie in until 10am! It’s so funny having him back here with us. The pregnancy already feels like ages ago, he was well worth the wait 🙂
P.s. this could be the grossest thing I’ve said about the labour but I really loved the NHS hospital mash!! Night xxx