Friday, 16 January 2015

Welcome Baby Roo - Part One

At last Baby Roo joined our family and the little man is two whole weeks today. It has been a whirlwind of emotions and events and finally here I am to pen it down so I won't forget these eventful days in years to come. 

It might be a long post so feel free to leave or grab a cup of coffee and stick around for a peek in our lives. Here are the details of how the H household has gone from 3 to 4.

Baby Roo versus Father Christmas 
Baby Roo was in a race with Santa all along. His due date was December 28th and Miss G was convinced that he'd beat Father Christmas. My heavily pregnant self was hoping for an early arrival. The school run at 39 week pregnant was not fun. My logistic-obsessed self was hoping to avoid the 25th as, let's face it, it's a bit of a downer for a big sister if mummy is not around on Christmas day and it's a bit of a crap birthday for the little boy too. 

If I was honest to myself I knew, however, that Baby Roo was going to be late. His sister was nearly 2 weeks late. I was born way past my due date and, let's face it, this family is never on time, let alone early! We are not built that way.

Baby Roo - The Position Drama
Since about the 16th week of my pregnancy, Baby Roo had been firmly anchored on my right hand side. He was a very active baby, but it was as if the left side of my belly was not of interest. Worryingly, just like his big sister, Baby Roo was back to back throughout the whole pregnancy. This caused concern as Miss G suffered badly from a back to back birth and I was very keen to avoid another cry baby as a result of a back to back delivery. My GP was also concerned about his position but luckily at the 40 weeks check up he had slightly shifted, which gave us all a bit of hope.

Baby Roo - The Waiting Game
Just like with my last pregnancy, I hated every single text and email asking me about news of the baby. 'No, he's not here yet, can you please fuck right off? Don't you think that my heavily pregnant self is much keener than you to get this watermelon out of my body to meet my son?' 

With no family around and an older sibling to look after once labour happened, the waiting game was also a logistical headache. I had local friends on stand-by and our nanny as my main carer for Miss G whilst I would be in hospital, but every night I was basically hoping that my son would arrive at sociable hours. Miss G was a relative fast labour for a first child (12 hours) and I was dreading a too-fast labour for Baby Roo when my neighbour had her home-birthed second child in 2 hours. 2 hours! 

Baby Roo - The Coolest Birthday
Here comes December 31st and, half asleep watching the fireworks on TV, I realised that my baby was waiting for 2015 to be born. I went to bed shortly after midnight. After a good night sleep, my waters broke at 8am on New Years Day. I knew then that my baby had waited for January 1st, which as birthdays go it is a pretty cool date. He'll be sure to be partying at the start of his birthday for years to come. And to possibly be waking up hangover for some of those years too. Cheers, Baby Roo!

Baby Roo - The Birth Story
When my waters broke at 8am I decided to run in the shower knowing that labour might start soon. I know, I'm weird like that, but cleanliness is next to godliness in my book. By 9:30 I was in early labour and I called the hospital. Luckily they asked me to go in to be checked as I don't think I could have laboured comfortably in front of my worried 4 year old daughter. After waking up Miss G's Godmother and my nanny (oops), I packed a few things and waited for them to arrive and then left for the hospital with Mr H.

The taxi ride to UCL Hospital at 10:15 on New Year's Day morning was eerily quiet and beautifully sunny. A good omen, I hoped. It turns out I was right. Someone up there was looking out for me and my baby.

Once in hospital things went a bit downhill when they realised that there was meconium in my waters and my Birthing Centre plan was soon out of the question. This startled me mentally. I wanted my baby out. I wanted him safe. Now. I was not relaxed as I was for Miss G's birth, I was instead scared that something could be wrong with him.

The Labour Ward was not where I had hoped to give birth and I hated every minute of those bands that they put across your belly to monitor the baby. I did not feel free to move and do as I pleased, but of course I wanted my son to be monitored. It felt as I was not in control of my birth already. 

My midwife Constance was great though. She was very warm and made me comfortable with the change of my birth plan. After a short while, she had to leave me to supervise the ward and here comes my new midwife...Julio Cesar! A bold Spanish man with a thick accent. I was not sure about him at first, but he reassured me that he had just came from the Birthing Centre and he was going to give me the birth I wanted as far as it was safe for my baby. Not entirely true.

It didn't take long for me to go into established labour and the contractions started to come thick and fast and painful! Julio encouraged me to take Gas and Air 'because it only stays in your body for 20 seconds and would take the edge of the pain out'. I agreed and with a few puffs I was hooked to the pain relief. Nothing wrong in this per se, but I was originally keen to have a natural birth and deep inside myself I knew that drugs would mess with my mental ability to cope and endure the journey.

Sometimes past midday I thought I was ready to push the baby out, but Julio told me I was only 5 centimetres dilated. He told me it would be another 5 hours of labour at least and soon after came another suggestion for pain relief. He suggested an epidural or diamorphine 'as it will give you a break and make you rest'. Knowing I didn't want an epidural, I said yes to diamorphine when he reassured me that it would only stay in my system and for 4 hours or so. What I should have done instead of taking the drug, was listening to my body as I knew it wasn't going to take 4 or 5 hours for my baby to arrive. It has happened now, I'm at peace with it, but it's only now that I realise that diamorphine is actual medical heroin! Freaking heroin! 

At this point my active birth became a lying-in-bed-tripping birth. I was stoned and relaxed but also a bit anxious as I didn't feel in control anymore. Within an hour I felt ready to push again and, to Julio's surprise I was 9 cms dilated. An hour into my 4 hours on diamorphine. I panicked about my baby having the drug in its system and affecting his breathing and wellbeing. Constance, my first midwife, came in the room and I literally begged her to stay. Begged, implored, cried for her to stay. And she did.

Baby Roo was born at 14:43 with both Julio and Costance at my side. And Mr H, of course. 

Baby Roo - The Miracle Baby
When Roo was born, I saw the face of the midwife turn white and I knew something was wrong. Very wrong. I knew that he had managed to turn himself and he was not back to back like his sister so I thought that the diamorphine or the meconium had made him really ill. Constance kept her cool and calmly told me that he had a knot on his umbilical cord, but that he seemed well. The baby doctor came in swiftly and soon confirmed that all was OK with my giant 4.25 kg baby (9.36 pounds!). 

The rush of happiness made the heroin diamorphine wear off and I held him, cuddled him, tried to feed him and kissed him. I then showered and asked to be allowed to go home, but because of the meconium in my waters I was told that this would have not been possible.

Once all was calm and my big baby was in my arms, Julio explained that the knot in his umbilical cord was very tight and would have been there for weeks. He then calmly said that we were very lucky that such a big and overdue baby had no consequence from that knot. We then learned that a true knot in the cord is often the reason for a stillborn child towards the last few weeks of pregnancy. The fact that Baby Roo came later than his due date made it even more of a miracle. It has taken me two weeks of him being in the world to finally truly process this information. 

Baby Roo - a few hours old

I love you Baby Roo. 
You have already defeated the odds, 
may the good fortune stay with you forever.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Funny stuff my 4 years old says...

G:   Mamma, we learned a new song at school:
       Away in the manger 
       no grip in his bed     
       a little odd Jesus
       laid down his sweet head..."

G:    Mamma in the nativity play, I want to be the big angel!
Me:  You mean the angel Gabriel?
G:    Yes, not the normal angel, the big angel!
Me:  How about Mary? Don't you want to be Mary?
G:    No, thank you! I don't want to be pregnant!

G:    Mamma, why in the song is mummy kissing and tickling Santa Claus?
Me:  Maybe because the daddy was dressed as Santa
G:    Ah! Should we get daddy a Santa costume too? Then you can kiss him.
Me:  Sure, we could do that
G:    Mhhh
Me:  What's wrong?
G:    But then who do I kiss? I don't like kissing daddy if he has the beard. We buy him the             Santa costume but not the beard, OK?

G:    *looking at a photo of me during my wedding day*
         Why did you not wait for me to come out before getting married?
Me:   What do you mean?
G:     I never get to go to weddings!
Me:   You have been to a lot of weddings, you've even been a flower girl twice already
G:     Yes, but it was not my wedding! I want to wear the white dress and marry daddy!

G:    Mummy, I'm really cold, I have bamboos
Me:  Pardon? What is that?
G:    You know when your skin has the bangoose
Me:  Do you mean goosebumps?
G:    Yes, bamboos, I told you!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Christmas Gifts for Fussy (Pregnant) Women

Being an extremely fussy person, I know that buying presents for me is a nightmare. I know my friends breathe a sigh of relief when they avoid picking me on the yearly secret Santa ordeal. Well, this year it's even harder with me being pregnant. Hence this post to help all of you out there tasked with buying a present for someone who can't tie up her shoelaces without cursing at the bump that gets in the way. Every. Single. Time! Grrr!

First and foremost, please remember that a pregnant woman might get extremely tired by 10pm hence she might be going out a bit less, which means that any home related activities become much more meaningful. A nice candle burning in the air, a cosy bathrobe to wear after a regenerating scrub and plenty of other 'homely' comforts make a pregnant woman happy. And a non-pregnant woman too, for that matter. Here are my faves.

The White Company White Cotton Robe - nothing beats the feeling of a soft cotton robe on my skin after a warm shower, especially in cold winter mornings before the school run! It's simplicity, indulgence and functionality in one cozy item. She's have to be crazy not to appreciate this gift.

The Sanctuary Salt Scrub - I can't get enough of this product at the moment. It's a proper body scrub with Dead Sea salts and a true God send for those mornings (all of them) where my circulation seems a bit sluggish and my body needs some revving up. 

Diptyque Amber Candle - Being pregnant has made me even more sensitive to smells I don't like and I'm literally buying candles once a week to create a serene oasis in my home. Diptyque Amber is a new woody and mystical discovery, but there are so many other amazing ones out there. From Diptyque to Green and Spring, from The White Company to Nadia Narain candles, my obsessions with candles knows no boundaries.

Lucas PawPaw - A simple red tube that will change her life. From chapped lips to rough skin, this organic ointment will heal it all. Plus it will turn very handy when dealing with the baby's nappy rush or sore nipples...Oh, the joy of motherhood!

A new bottle of her trusty perfume - Because it reminds me of the fun days when I was just 'me' rather than my current tired pregnant self. 

The White Company Cashmere Hot Water Bottle - Forget bags, shoes or clothes, this is what you buy someone whom you truly love. Mr H bought it for me years ago and there isn't a single time when I use it on my cold feet or sore back that I don't think that it's one of life best products ever. The softness of the cashmere and the warmth of the hot water will heal everything, I guarantee it.

American Apparel Mens Hoodie - Why buy maternity wear when you can buy menswear? This hoodie has seen me through the whole pregnancy so far. It's cosy and warm. I can dress it up with smart trousers and shoes or dress it down with yoga pants and sneakers. I've invested in two colours so far, but I wouldn't feel guilty buying more because I know in ten years I'll probably still wear them on a lazy Sunday or a trip to the gym.

COS Shirt Collar - I have a thing for collars under jumpers or cardigans, but there's no chance that I would wear a shirt these days. Layering and pregnancy is not always a good idea on the grounds of comfort and bulge, plus no pregnant woman wants to iron shirts. Ever. Thank God for the creative people at COS that have come up with a mock shirt that achieves the look I love without having me overheating or feeling uncomfortable. 

Etre Cecile Boyfriend Sweatshirt - Boyfriend sweatshirts are designed to be oversized hence I have worn them through the pregnancy. To disguise it at first and then to feel comfortable once the bump got bigger. They are getting snug now, but with each wash they get back to their normal shape and I know that I'll be wearing them once the bump is gone. A real no brainer of a purchase. And one item that I can't get enough of.

Bernstock Speirs Veil Beanie Hat - Because when you are pregnant clothes are no fun, but accessories still are. Fur beanies, fedora hats, veiled hats, hats with mock ears have become my new best friends because, let's face it, your head is the only place that doesn't get bigger when you are pregnant and that itself deserves a celebration!

Jennifer Loiselle Brooch - I love the quirky plexiglass jewellery that Jennifer Loiselle is famous for and I'm finding this brooch really helpful for those cardigans that come with no buttons and that I can't quite belt anymore. Style and function in one fun piece. Tick.

Vans Slip-ons - Pregnancy and shoelaces are mortal enemies...need I say any more?

A fun night out - ideally involving a movie or theatre show rather than a bar or crowded place when one is expected to stand up and watch others drink. The Book of Mormon is one of my favourite shows at the moment, but there are plenty to choose from. 

A fun piece of jewellery - I'm usually in the minimalist, fine jewellery camp, but this Jennifer Loiselle necklace has been the best piece ever to jazz up my boring black pregnancy outfits, plus I'm sure to wear it afterwards too. 

Finally, a new lipstick because every woman, pregnant or not, will always like a new nice lipstick. Fact.

If you want some more ideas, here is a post I wrote a couple of years ago which is still very much applicable today. But, as always, remember the golden rule of buying gifts for a fussy person, pregnant or not...the gift receiptt!! 


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