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.....