So at the tender age of thirty years, I found myself in hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland, being monitored and tomorrow is the day I will meet my baby. Her sister was with my parents, my husband was at home and I was in in that calm space before the big event.
It’s been a journey to get here – a road with two big obstacles. One being the prematurity of my first born and the other, dear reader, is the still birth of my second daughter (I will return to that in another blog but this is not her story today). So the pregnancy was stressful with plenty of check ups and a sudden move of 500 miles to be near my husband in his new job but here we are – waiting. Listening to the sound of the hiccups that have jolted my stomach every night at 1030 (like clockwork!) for the last two weeks and (for the two weeks afterwards!) Wondering what we will be having. Just imagining what the baby will look like! Will everything be ok?
So the Hubster walks into the ward the next morning like he is going to be the one delivering the baby (we have never found out what we are having with any of the pregnancies). We are prepared and ready to go. At 35 weeks gestation we know that baby is preterm, but also not quite premature so we have seen the special care unit as there is a chance that the baby could spend their first few days there and we know what to expect. We were ready!!
The short walk to theatre does indeed confirm that I was, in fact, not ready. Despite the stress and worry – I liked being pregnant, I liked the baby moving inside me, I liked the security of the baby within. I knew that I would be a terrible mum unable to cope with two small children, one who no longer liked our girls name (that we had set for about three months) and want to change it. Hubster gives me until the baby is born to come up with an alternative – roughly an hour to change a cast iron decision. I manage to change the middle name………
So I’m prepped for the csection. Spinal block put in – the atmosphere in the room is happy. For the doctors this is routine and a pretty standard op. There was none of the seriousness, hustle and bustle that accompanied the birth of my oldest – there was not a chance that anyone would die that day – it was a a day for life!
The anaesthetist nurse asks why we are having a csection and Hubster explains that we have had a stillbirth and doctors felt that a planned scheduled csection would be less stressful. This conversation changes the atmosphere slightly – less bonhomie, more let’s give this couple their child. So the operation started, Hubster hunkers down behind the screen with me to avoid any site of blood. The feeling of someone washing up in my belly, a sneeze (from the baby) and she was there! Daisy Elizabeth White makes her entrance at 9.46am.
I’m crying, Hubster is crying, anaesthetist nurse is crying ‘it’s so lovely – I’m transferring department.’ (it was her first birth as she normally worked in orthopaedics – why do I remember that?) Hubster is handing out tissues to all who need them (mainly the nurse!) and then Daisy was with us (and she never left!) all that preparation that we would have a poorly baby who would need special care wasn’t needed – we had a beautiful pink healthy little girl who never left my side.
All of my girls have given me inspiration – the care I received after Daisys birth has probably motivated me and shaped my outlook the most. It was a lactation consultant telling me that she ‘would get me feeding that baby,’ and that I would ‘not leave the hospital,’ until she was that let me know how supported I was. It was the same lady popping in on her day off to check I was ok that showed me what caring was. I can’t remember her name but her faith made the world of difference to us.
You see at 35 weeks a baby has no suck reflex as that part of the brain doesn’t developed until 36 week gestation. It made breastfeeding hard so Daisy had to be cup feed or bottle fed with expressed milk until that part of her brain developed. With every feed breast was offered first to see if she would take it. If not then there were alternatives available. All I felt was supported – I wasn’t judged or guilted (I certainly wasn’t told other mothers success stories to make me feel like I was failing!) It was just a calm reassurance that it would happen and that it would be ok. Even through the jaundice and the ultraviolet lights and the feeding every two hours we managed to do it. She left breastfeeding and I fed her for 11 months!
A rule of Mum Club that we don’t tell anyone until they are in the situation – baby two will be different from the get go. You may think that you’ll have time to get used to two – you won’t. Daisy wanted to be held, to be upright, to be with people, no laying on the floor playing for her, it was up with me that she wanted. If you wanted (and still if you want) her to do anything then you have to wait for her to be ready to do it otherwise there’s no hope, it just won’t happen. She didn’t have any solids till she was 8 months old, she didn’t sit up unaided until ten months (she just refused to bend and only wanted to stand!) she didn’t crawl just walked when was 14 months (and then it was the length of the room!), she didn’t read until she was 6. At 17 she is pink haired and the tallest of the girls, she is loyal, she stands up for her loved ones, you always know where she is in a room, she hasn’t got a life plan yet but that will come (and no doubt change) but above all else – she is a bit of magic.