Sunday, 12 August 2012

"You don't always get what you want....

but if you try sometime, you just might find what you need."

So, at the grand old age of 33 I finally have four children and have learnt some very valuable lessons. Humility, patience and a lot more in between.

Due to an irritating peak in my blood pressure to worrying levels, finally on 8th August, I was sent to hospital for monitoring and then induction. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you will know how much I hate hospitals, how I only like to give birth at home and how I am a raging snob. The idea of being in King's with a great mix or the general public and a load of medical people telling me what to do was one of the very worst outcomes possible for me. Luckily, by the time it had got to August 8th I was so over being pregnant I was almost grateful for an induction and I had had a few days to mull over the incredibly sad news that Gary Barlow and his wife's fourth baby had arrived stillborn. So, although I was very stroppy and a tad rude to K and to the incredibly lovely midwife who had come to see me, i packed a bag and allowed K to order a taxi.

Full of misery and foreboding we got to King's and every one of my groaning, misery laden predictions were unfounded. We were seen straight away in the dreaded Maternal Assessment Unit, quickly dispatched from there to the Labour Ward where there were indeed lots of beds available and due to my midwives ringing ahead and making sure everyone knew i was a stroppy but loveable woman who hated hospitals, we got a side room with ensuite facilities and within half an hour my waters were broken and we awaited the onset of 'proper' contractions. It was extremely odd. When labour begins spontaneously you are excited, wary and quite importantly, caught unawares so you just have to deal with it. When you are awaiting the pain to start and you know that whatever happens it is coming, the apprehension is horrid. Coupled with the knowledge that you have to start contracting or a very surly and idiotic female Consultant seemed impossibly keen for me to be strapped to a monitor and also pumped full of a drug to help 'speed things up' it made for a very uncofmratbel atmoshpere in the room. To cut a very long story short, my waters were broken at 1.15pm, contractions finally commenced at 4.15pm ish and by 6pm when I was examined I was disappointingly only 3cms. (Again, massive apologies to the woman who gave birth back in March who I 'dissed' for making a fuss at only 3 cms when I was stuck overnight in King's - having had the last two at home I have no idea how far along I am at which stage - now I know, I shall NEVER judge again, I promise).  Everyone assumed I was not going anywhere fast and I was very despondent. The Consultant and the King's midwife brought up the subject of the Synto drug to speed things up again and denied me a birth pool in case I needed to get out and be hooked up to a drip to receive the blasted drug. I knew I was in pain and wanted the relief of a pool.  I gave up a bit. The contractions got worse, I started on gas and air and started to cry. THEN an angel appeared. One of My dedicated midwives (the Oakwood Midwives - for anyone based in SE23 you HAVE to have them - i cannot tell you enough how totally brilliant they are) turned up. Caroline. She scooped me up, metaphorically not literally she isn't a body builder, and got my shit together. She got bossy, found me a room with a birth pool, ran the water and told me we were getting it out. I was then very grateful to be in hospital as the birth pool was fabulous. AND there was a radio in the room and the music was perfect. Just at a point where the pain got ridiculous Florence and her Machine urged me to Shake it Out and it helped immensely. I did as instructed by Florence and by 8.09pm I pushed incredibly hard under Caroline's expert guidance and Cybil Love Colley was born weighing a healthy 9lbs 5oz. She HURT. A LOT. She does have a big head. She was a big baby.

So, I learnt that hospital births are actually very good if you have a dedicated midwife who only has your interests at heart and that their gas and air NEVER runs out. THANK GOD. Also you don't have to wash out or empty the hideous leftovers of the birth pool. Mixed in with the usual disgusting birth residue I unfortunately relieved myself whilst pushing much to my total horror. You have no control over such things otherwise I really would have tried. K is ridiculously squeamish about anything bodily function wise and I was cognitive enough in between body-ripping-contractions to be aware of my embarrassment and humiliation. K was excellent though. He didn't drop me (he was holding me up in the pool from outside) he carried on holding on to the gas and air so I could bite the crap out of it and he was amazingly supportive. It was actually really nice having him there. Ooh, I should mention at this point that due to the overdueness and high BP, all the children had been dispatched back to my mother's for fun and frolics there. Again, this was the last thing I wanted but turned out to be exactly what we needed as it would have been a total nightmare trying to organise them and worry about being in hospital at the same time. Plus it meant and still means, that K and I are getting a lovely 'babymoon' period where we are able to spend time being 'new parents' with just one. Cybil is getting a ridiculous amount of attention and the garden has had a total makeover - he never normally has time to spend hours on end outside without me getting cross so this is a major 'plus'. Also, I had to be kept in for observation after the birth as my BP remained high even after delivery. Again, due to befriending another lovely midwife and complaining about the noise and lack of sleep, I managed to acquire another 'side room' which helped but by Thursday evening I had had far too much of people coming in and 'observing' me and Cybs and there was no TV so i did something I have never done before, i self discharged. It wasn't a brilliant idea as my BP was still worryingly high and cybs was apparently in potentially grave danger after they found a positive test for some scary bacteria from a swab I had done back in March, but I no longer cared and knew I was unlikely to die as long as they gave me the drugs to go home with and that I could identify if my child was in mortal danger. So, I signed a slip of paper saying that against medical advice, i was discharging myself and my child from hospital on the grounds that I was 'tired and wanted to go home'. We have been here ever since and so far, so good.

So, we are now complete. 2 boys, 2 girls - K is very proud of his ability to deliver two of each. Both boys born at home, on the 1st of the month. Both girls born in hospital on the 8th of the month. All four are born on consecutive months of the year. As soon as Cybil is old enough to get 'proper' birthdays and parties we are screwed. August, September, October, November and then K and I have our birthdays and then there is Christmas. I really will be the biggest lover of January ever. Also Cybil was born on the birthday of K's late grandmother (whose family name gave Cybil her middle name) and my niece, so maybe, just maybe it was always her destiny to be born on that day and nothing I did would have ever got her out sooner.

I think that is all I can manage for now. I am muchos tiredos. I have forgotten a lot. 1. Labour hurts more than I ever remembered. 2. Breastfeeding hurts and is annoying. 3. Babies are very full on in their need for attention. 4. Sleep deprivation is worse than I remembered.  5. Being fat is a tad on the depressing side but breastfeeding makes you more hungry than ever. And not just for fruit.

Having said that, I feel complete, happy and thrilled with another baby girl. I am having an epic amount of fun dressing her up and taking pictures. I whoop with joy whenever she is sick so that I can change her in to yet another outfit. I also have the luxury of time to just sit with her asleep on me which is extraordinarily lovely.  BUT I am also DESPERATE to get my other children back so that they can meet her and we can all be together. I was meant to be reunited with them tomorrow but my mother is the original child snatcher and is whisking them away to the seaside for another mini-break, so I won't see them until Wednesday now. I am literally chomping at the bit to be with them but again, I am so grateful to have had this 'recovery' time so that when we are together it is joyful and not tearful.

I have no idea when I shall be back in touch. Once I am back together with all of them I should imagine spare time will be a thing of the past. At least you can relax now, knowing my suffering is finally over.  Along with the Olympics. Let's hope the TV scheduling for Autumn is amazing to help you get through.....


Thursday, 2 August 2012

Do not ask. No. I have not. It turns out that you cannot tell an unborn child when to be born. This is irritating. I am honestly not lying when I truly thought I had such power. It is ridiculously frustrating that I was wrong. As you know I am never wrong so it has been a total shock to the system. As well as an all over pain as the baby is now very big, I am unable to walk with my legs even vaguely together and every time I roll over, pick up anything, bend over etc I make a massively unattractive grunting noise. My mood is vile. There is no other way to describe it.

I really thought I had made Ted come out on the day I wanted with various resting, blanket knitting (I refused to finish the blanket until 10.30pm on the 31 August to ensure he didn't come until the 1st as I wanted) and finally a curry. I used acupuncture and a helpful midwife giving me a membrane sweep to get G out and I thought that by doing all of these things over a few days it would surely make the baby come out according to my timetable. So. Lesson learnt. Acupuncture, reflexology (2 sessions), walking, making exciting plans,  membrane sweeps, sexing, pineapple, curry, long walks, organising everything, shopping etc etc do not have any bearing whatsoever on when you will go in to labour. I hope this helps you all. Annoyingly I have had two false starts where I 'enjoyed' 3-4 hours of contractions which then stopped. That is magnificently depressing. Thinking you are at the end and then having to carry on the next day still pregnant and in pain is the pits.

So, on the plus side, I got to enjoy the Olympic Opening Ceremony undisturbed by my own opening ceremony. I have realised the  problem with me is that I am not particularly patriotic. Plus, as we all know, I'm not really particularly sporty. I like to watch tennis and figure skating but I'm not exactly a sports fan. So, I was not enthralled by the Opening spectacle. It was nice and all, don't get me wrong, and I'm sure the whole 'brief history of Britain' will be incredibly useful to get the majority of children through their history GCSE, but I didn't feel emotional watching it all. I didn't feel proud or indeed proud to be British. I don't really see how you can feel pride in someone else's work. I had nothing to do with it all and just because I was born in Britain doesn't mean that I feel pride in other Britains.. I like Britain obviously, I am extremely glad I live here as I like the climatet, I speak the language quite well, there are no civil wars going on, we have more than enough food and water and, as was pointed out rather emphatically in the ceremony, we have the NHS. But, if I were French I would probably be equally as happy there. And I'd be more stylish and I'd speak French properly, not just random words I mix with English ones. Same is true for quite a few countries actually. I doubt if I was born and lived in Barbados I would have watched the opening ceremony and heartily wished I was living in South East London. So, I don't get people crying as they watch the ceremony, i don't understand why it was chosen to mark the very deprived NHS in an extravagnt and hideously expensive Olympic opening ceremony (surely rubbing salt in an already infected wound?) and I'm not sure why it had to start so late. I know I like to be in bed early and not everyone shares that lifestyle choice but 9pm? It wasn't a club. Why couldn't they have begun earlier? It would still have been dark by the time they got to the fireworks and lit up beds. I DID like the light up pillows and duvets and the children jumping on the trampoline beds, but I was very concerned about how late it was for the jumping children and how they should have been in their actual beds, asleep and that what with their journey home etc it was going to be an incredibly late night for them. My favourite part of the whole thing was watching the Queen's face. I know, just by the look, that she and I were thinking the same thing. We're old, we're tired, we're not really big fans of Mr Bean and we'd much rather be in bed with a cup of tea. Luckily for me I didn't have to be there and was at least able to go to bed whenever I liked, she had to stay there for the whole thing.

As much as I found the lead up to the Olympics slightly irritating it turns out that it has actually had little affect on my life as a whole. It appears that people have taken the whole 'end of the world, keep out of London' signs literally and driving around is now rather pleasant. I went to a BBQ on Sunday at Sporty Godmother's house and it took half the time it normally would have done. The BBQ was a welcome distraction to pottering around the house being pissed off. I think Bea and K were very relieved to be in company too. What with my moaning about missing the boys, annoying and inconsequential contractions, being too big, being too uncomfortable, being hot, being tired etc it came as a welcome break to be with normal and jolly people and with good food. Plus I discovered who on earth would download the Olympic Opening Ceremony music. AS I was told it was available for download on the TV it did worry me that there were people out there who would do such a thing and there she was, a lovely school friend, right in front of me, saying she had already downloaded the album. Mystery solved. I should admit that I have got quite 'in to' wathcing some of the Olympic coverage. Turns out synchronised diving is totally amazing. I mean, it is incredible. I would have thought it was a physical impossibility if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. I have watched the male and female events. The bodies of the Italian female divers were totally awe inspiring. I don't know if their swimming costumes were cut better or they were just fantastically 'fit' in the looking sense but it was amazing. No offence to China, I know they are diving masters, but they have a long way to go on the body front. I hope Italy can take comfort in that - they didn't win a medal but they should have got a 'highly commended' for looking the best. In my world that counts for a lot. Also gymnastics is fantastically fun to watch. That bar they all fall off - so fun! I even got Bea in to watching it as we both sat there waiting for someone to fall off the bar (particularly if it is a full on straddle fall) or when they come off the parallel bar thingys  they swing from - they even have a designated man who keeps swooping in to catch them if they fall every time they do a complicated move - the suspense really adds something to the whole event. Unfortunately I don't know all the technical terms for the equipment yet so I hope you know what I mean.  I know we think the vault is the dullest part - the chances for error were minimal and no one hurt themselves.

I shall leave you with good news. My Maternity Leave will be officially over this afternoon as K is leaving work at lunch time and driving to Suffolk to get me back my boys! I am SO over excited. It has been ten days. TEN WHOLE DAYS without them. I never thought it would be so long.  The break has been nice in that I have had lots of rest and sleep, Bea has had a useful insight in to life as an only child (she insists it is preferable - traitor), and I have got to the bottom of my washing and ironing pile but I really have missed them. It is amazing how quickly you get used to not having them around and no doubt I shall be amazed by how quickly I will be annoyed by them being back in the house, but I do prefer it when we are all together. I don't like being a fragmented family.  Also, the health visitor who is coming to check 'all is well' at my house of child torture, left a message for me to call her back and I have yet to do so as I just feel that me saying 'actually I haven't seen the suspected abuse victim since his arm was put in plaster' would not go down that well on the scale of good parenting practise. So, I think, get the suspected abused child back, get his cast off  (appointment tomorrow am) and then ring her and assure her 'all is well'. I have already decided that I could explain away the delay in my response to her message by blaming it on my mobile voicemail service being up the spout. So. As of tonight I shall be back at the helm and although I am slightly concerned over my ability to cope, I am looking forward to having all the beds filled. There is also the excitement of surprising G with his 'new look' room. In his absence the bunk beds have arrived and his and Bea's room has been totally transformed. (I also threw away an awful lot more toys and general detritus from their room which has been incredibly pleasing). I think the excitement of the new beds and room layout will get me at least a few hours of entertainment. I hope. My mother has provided constant entertainment, craft activities and excursions for the last ten days and I'm a little scared that the allure of Sky TV and a new bed will wane far quicker than I suspect. I would say that the arrival of their new baby might give them a bit of excitement but I am not convinced this is the 'coming out' type of baby. As my mother KEEPS telling me, she was two weeks late with all four of us, which is totally unhelpful. Firstly it is massively irrelevant as I have been three days late with the three I have already had and secondly, telling an already miserable woman that she may have another week to go is just silly. I am unlikely to welcome the idea.

Yet again I shall bid you farewell and hope that at some point in the near future I will divide neatly in to two people and although I will still be crying at some adverts and most films, be exhausted and overwhelmed with tiredness, I will finally not be pregnant and the joy of that should counteract some of the more negative aspects of having a new  baby. I will, as ever, let you know.

Ciao xxxxxxxx