Friday, 13 February 2015

Welcome Baby Roo - Part Two - Meeting His Sister

Less than 24 hours since he was born, Baby Roo took his first black cab and headed off home to meet his big sister. She was incredibly excited. The moment we arrived home, she went to wash her hands and screamed "I want to stroke him and hug him, mamma!". She was terribly sweet and he was very mellow and so their friendship began.

That very same afternoon, Miss G helped with nappy change and insisted on pushing Roo's pushchair when we took a quick stroll around the block.

On January 3rd I woke up at home for the first time since the baby's arrival and within minutes of opening my eyes Baby Roo and Miss G joined Mr H and I in bed. Four of us in bed on a lazy Saturday morning, this is what happiness is all about and hopefully I will enjoy this sort of mornings for years to come. Shortly afterwards I witnessed Miss G read a story to Baby Roo and my heart melted. Perhaps it was the tiredness or the lack of sleep or the baby hormones, but I confess that I might have even shed a tear. Or two.

She wants to kiss him before she leaves for school and as soon as she comes back. She can't wait for him to move into her room, her bed even, if she had a choice.

Despite all her kisses and her sometimes suffocating cuddles, he just stares at her, fascinated, in awe. I never thought that babies did or understood much, but it is undeniable that he knows who she is. For Miss G, and for her only, he turns his head around. If we are on the floor and she moves from his left to right, he moves his head to find her. It's the start of a truly fascinating bond and now I understand why they say that a sibling is the best gift you can give a child. I can now see what people mean by that and I feel incredibly lucky to have two children. Incredibly lucky.

When Baby Roo is going to be older, I will tell him the tales of how his sister gave him his first 'top and tail' and his first bath and she did it with such love and tenderness that we were all amazed by it. Not a hint of jealousy as the fuss was all on her little brother. I am proud of my big girl and how understanding she is.

And when he was all clean she rolled around with him in bed to his utter awe as usual. And his gaze never leaves her when she is around. And she doesn't miss an opportunity to pull funny faces at me when I try to capture these moments...she is 4 after all!

Aged 5 weeks, Baby Roo had his third bottle - the only one during the day - as I was out for a friend's party and Mr H was looking after the kids. And yes, you guessed it, Miss G did not let Mr H feed her little brother as she wanted to do it, of course.

And just look how metrosexual Baby Roo is in his pink cashmere jumper, yet another 'advantage' oh having a big sister ;)

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!


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