Showing posts with label baby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baby. Show all posts

28 April 2015

Rory's Birth Story

Preparing for birth the second time around was a lot easier. After the drama of Shae's arrival it was clear that this birth was going to be really different: either a straightforward and reasonably fast natural delivery, or a decision early on in the labour to have a caesarian. My preference was the natural delivery but I honestly wasn't too worried either way, I knew that once the baby was here the details of his arrival wouldn't matter.

On the original due date Owen had just taken a couple of days off work to get some last minute things sorted around the house. I was expecting the baby to make an appearance in a couple of weeks, so when contractions started at 10am I was taken by surprise! I was relieved when they tapered off after a couple of hours of regular but mild contractions.

The weekend was quiet, and we had a meeting with our midwives, Juliet and Petra, at home on Monday morning. We were still waiting on getting a birthing pool, but I wasn't too worried. Despite the practice labour I was still expecting a late baby and thought that the chance of a caesarian was pretty high anyway. We arranged to meet the midwives again the following Monday, hoping that we'd have a pool by then as well.

That evening I was feeling restless and uncomfortable, and I did start wondering if we'd be meeting our baby sooner than we thought. I wasn't that surprised when I woke up at 1am with contractions! After timing them for an hour I decided to try and go back to sleep, but at 3am I heard the immediately familiar sound of my waters breaking. I leaped out of bed (which luckily kept the bedding dry) and the contractions started to feel more intense almost immediately.

I woke up Owen, called Mum (who had a couple of hours driving to get to our house to look after Shae) then Owen rang our midwife Juliet and we decided it was best for her to head over straight away. I jumped in the shower for some pain relief, and when the midwives arrived at 4am I was kneeling on the birthing mat in the middle of the living room waiting for hot towels (also known as the home birth epidural). Labour was progressing really quickly and contractions were intense but manageable.

I spent the next couple of hours with my eyes closed, leaning on the birthing ball, breathing through contractions, and demanding hot towels. I tried to focus on surrendering to the process, sinking in to contractions and feeling my body opening. Shae came into the living room a couple of times to check out what was happening, Mum arrived around 5.30am, but I was absolutely in the zone and had no attention for anything else.

At around 6.30am Juliet decided to check my progress just to make sure that everything was going well. I was nine centimetres dilated and with relief we realised a trip to the hospital wouldn't be necessary this time around!

About 30 minutes later I started feeling the urge to push. After focussing on surrender for the first part of the labour it was good to feel active and in control again. Up until then I'd been quietly breathing through contractions, but pretty soon started to get very loud! Apparently Shae wasn't worried at all and we didn't have any concerned neighbours coming to the door, but I was certainly making a lot of noise!

The pushing stage felt like it was lasting forever. Juliet was regularly checking the baby's heart rate, which was reassuringly strong and steady, but after an hour of pushing I was starting to wonder if we'd ever meet him! Although I was a little worried by the slow progress, the absolute worst part was getting cramp in my leg between contractions from being in the same kneeling position for hours. It was way more painful than the labour!

After a while Juliet could see the baby's head, but it still felt like things were going so slowly.
Then finally the end was in sight and the searing pain of crowning was enough to make me forget about everything else. I breathed through the last few contractions as his head slowly emerged, then all of a sudden with a last push his body slithered out and our second sweet baby was born at 9.17am, after about 8 hours of labour (30 less than last time!)

The first moments after the birth were so different this time around. Instead of lying on an operating table surrounded by hospital staff and waiting long minutes for my baby to be brought over to me, I was helped on to the sofa in my living room and my baby was immediately placed on my chest. Within a couple of minutes Shae came out to meet his new little brother and an hour later we were surrounded by family and eating celebratory chocolate biscuits while the midwives saw to all the practical details.

I loved having a home birth and was so glad everything worked out as I'd hoped. As the haze of those first newborn days has faded I can really appreciate the experience: intense and empowering!

19 November 2014

Girl or Boy?

First time around I was happy keeping the baby's gender a surprise, but this time? As soon as I realised I was pregnant I wanted to know yesterday.

Once I convinced Owen that we should find out, we spent awhile trying to figure out a fun way to reveal the gender. I was keen for a cake (mainly because once the surprise was over we still got to eat cake) but Owen wanted something more exciting.

The winning idea was fireworks - red for a girl or blue for a boy. We packaged up two Roman Candles (so we couldn't tell which was which) and asked our friend Anna to put aside the right one. So the other night we rugged up and took a little trip to the beach for some fireworks.

From the start of the pregnancy I thought the baby was definitely a girl, Owen was leaning more towards girl, and whenever I asked Shae he said the baby was a girl (apart from one time when he said it was a dog...)

We had a few extra fireworks before the main event (Shae kept asking for "more, more" after each one), and then it was time to find out...

We're having another boy!

30 September 2014

Some Exciting News

A quick post on my much-neglected blog to share the news of our upcoming adventure...

Our second baby is due to make an appearance next April!

I'm really looking forward to meeting our new family member, but also glad that there's still a few months to get everything sorted (like finishing the house renovations, weaning, and trying to work out how to wrangle a toddler and baby at the same time). Wish me luck!

31 August 2013

Family Photos

When we were in Kaikoura last weekend with Owen's family we (finally!) had some family photos done. These are my favourites of just the three of us:

All photos taken by Andrew Spencer Photography (thanks Andrew!)

20 February 2013

Shae's Birth Story: Part Two

[Read Part One]

After about fifteen hours of active labour I was thinking that I could handle a couple more hours, but with no progress and potentially many more hours of labour ahead I knew I was done. Just after 9am we decided it was time to transfer to hospital, have an epidural, and get that baby out! I was disappointed that the birth was going to be radically different from what we'd hoped, but I knew this was the right decision.

The next two hours were the hardest part of labour. Once I decided to get the epidural I wanted the relief immediately! I was completely out of my hypnobirthing zone and no longer able to breathe quietly through the contractions, and I obviously had to get out of the birthing pool which made things even harder. I'd heard from some people that being vocal during contractions made them easier to handle, but this wasn't the case for me. While everyone else was getting things ready to leave for hospital I was pacing around, moaning quietly to myself, and wishing that we could hurry up already!

We drove to hospital, with a few delays thanks to roadworks, and arrived around 10am. I was able to walk up to a private birthing room where I was hooked up to machines to monitor contractions and the baby's heart rate. By this stage I was exhausted, sitting on the edge of the hospital bed and almost falling asleep between contractions. It was almost another hour before the admission process was complete and the anesthesiologist was available to administer the epidural. But then things got a lot better!

The next few hours were almost relaxing with no pain and a while to wait before I was fully dilated. Owen managed to take a nap but I was still feeling too excited to sleep. I spent the time quietly resting while the hospital midwives kept an eye on things, and after a couple of hours break my midwives Juliet and Jo came back for the delivery. And then it was time to start pushing.

Although I knew it was coming, I felt really unprepared. Whenever I'd thought about the pushing stage I always assumed I'd just allow my body to do what was needed, but with an epidural everything was different. Because I couldn't feel any contractions or sensations I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing, and the delivery started to look like a scene from a movie - I was surrounded by people telling me when to push, how long to push for, and where to focus my efforts.

I couldn't tell if I was making any progress at all and after about thirty minutes there was still no sign of a baby! And then the heart rate became erratic and things started to become a lot more serious. The hospital staff went into overdrive mode and were ready to rush me into theatre for an assisted delivery immediately. Luckily Juliet was there to calm things down, and made sure we had time to discuss our options with the surgeon.

By that stage I knew the baby wasn't coming out without help, and we decided that using ventouse was the best action. I was wheeled into theatre and set up with a sheet blocking my lower half so I couldn't see what was going on, which I was grateful for! As I started pushing again, the surgeon assisted with the ventouse and it looked like everything was working... until the suction cup slipped off the baby's head. When it happened again the surgeon suggested forceps, which I'd initially been against but we were running out of alternatives. And then the forceps slipped off the baby's head and we realised there was only one option left - a cesarean.

My first hold, about five minutes old

Things were happening so fast that I didn't have time to think about it. Because of the long labour and interventions the baby was in distress, so everyone was working as quickly as possible. The surgery seemed like it was over in a couple of minutes, and our sweet baby was born at 6.37pm (almost 38 hours after contractions started!). He was rushed over to the other side of the room to be resuscitated, but because of the screen I couldn't see what was going on. Owen and Juliet were both with him and the hospital staff seemed pretty calm, but the next couple of minutes felt so long and it was such a relief to finally hear him cry! I was sobbing and shaking when he was bought over to me a few minutes later, and was so happy to finally hold him in my arms after so many months waiting to meet him.

The dramatic highly-medicalised hospital birth was so different from the calm homebirth that I'd imagined. Although I'm disappointed that things didn't happen the way I hoped, my main feeling is one of gratitude. I'm so thankful that everything worked out. Holding our beautiful, healthy baby made the details of his arrival seem irrelevant. He was here and that was what really mattered!

18 February 2013

Shae's Birth Story: Part One

I woke up around 5am Monday morning with what I hoped were contractions. At nine days past the baby's due date I'd been hoping that any twinge was the start of labour, and after lying in bed for a couple of hours listening to a hypnobirthing track and timing the contractions, I decided that this was finally it!

I called our midwife Juliet to let her know that labour was underway and since she was already planning to come round later that morning she told me to get some rest while I could. Contractions were starting to take more of my attention by the time Juliet and our student midwife Jo arrived for our appointment at 10am. The contractions were about ten minutes apart and distracting enough that I didn't feel like talking through them, but it was obviously still early in the labour and it felt like it would be a while before things got serious.

We arranged that I'd call Juliet with an update every couple of hours. From then it felt like everything was on fast forward, and whenever I checked the time hours had passed. By about 6pm contractions were around five minutes apart and I was starting to feel like things were progressing so the next time I called Juliet I asked her to come round. Owen set up the birthing pool in the living room while I concentrated on breathing through contractions, both of us excited that it wouldn't be too much longer before we would be meeting our baby!

When Juliet and Jo arrived back at our place just after 8pm things had progressed a lot from that morning. Contractions were taking up my full attention, and it was most comfortable to be standing and swaying through them. Over the next couple of hours the contractions were starting to get stronger but with hypnobirthing breathing were still feeling very manageable.

Breathing through a contraction

By about 11pm I was definitely in the zone, focussing on breathing through every contraction and trying to rest in between. At 1am things were getting more intense with contractions every three minutes, so we started the "home birth epidural" - towels soaked in boiling water, slightly cooled, then wrapped around my lower back. It felt amazing! It was even better when it was time to get in the birthing pool,the heat of the water and feeling of weightlessness were wonderful and I didn't want to get out!

Relaxing in the pool between contractions

By 5am a whole day had passed since contractions first started, and we decided that it was finally time to check progress. Earlier in labour I didn't want to find out (if I was only a couple of centimetres dilated after hours of contractions it would be pretty disheartening) but as the time passed it got to the point where we needed to know. I was at six centimetres and unfortunately, after weeks in the perfect position, the baby had turned. That explained why things were taking so long, and in an attempt to get things moving we decided that Juliet should break the waters.

For the next few hours contractions were still about three minutes apart though more intense, but they weren't feeling any different and there was no sensation of the baby descending. As time passed I knew I was getting close to my limit. After a while I was starting to think that I couldn't go on much longer, which had me hoping that I was nearing transition (wanting to give up can often happen at that point). At about 9am we decided to check progress again, which would hopefully give an indication of how much longer labour would continue.

I was upset when we found out there had been absolutely no change since the first check...

[Read Part Two]

18 January 2013

Third Trimester Reflections

We're now entering the home stretch! With the official due date fast approaching the baby could be making an appearance anytime (though as I mentioned I'm expecting it to be a little late, so there's probably a few more days to wait).

The baby is still very active and seems to spend a lot of time poking me in the side with elbows and feet. It's in a really good position (head down, engaged, ready to go!) and my midwife is happy with how things are progressing. I've been noticing practice contractions quite strongly in the last week or so, which is hopefully a sign that it won't be too much longer.

I'm still feeling really comfortable and every now and then it's easy to forget I'm pregnant (except when I have to get up from a low seat or turn over in bed - then it's impossible to ignore!). It's crazy to think that it's almost over and we're going to meet our baby so soon. I'm mostly excited but a little nervous too when I think about how much our lives are going to change!

Baby Shower
A couple of weeks before Xmas some of my friends organised a surprise baby shower. We were already meeting for book swap club, so they took the opportunity to have a little celebration for the baby. I almost ruined the surprise part by being uncharacteristically early, but they managed to distract me long enough to get everything sorted without me realising what was happening! It was very sweet and unexpected, the only problem was that I didn't have my camera so unfortunately I don't have any pictures to share.

Getting Organised
Everything feels pretty much sorted. I finished work just before Xmas so I've had plenty of time to organise the last few things, and now I've started on a few projects that aren't that important but would be nice to get done while I have the chance (like cleaning out the pantry and framing some artwork). We even have a well stocked freezer full of slow cooker meals and freezer burritos, mainly thanks to Mum who came to stay for a couple of days this week and helped me get everything done.

So in other words, we're ready when you are baby!

29 October 2012

Second Trimester Reflections

Now that I've entered the third trimester (!) I thought I'd share some of my experience during the last three months.

28 weeks, the start of the third trimester

Feeling the baby move has been my favourite part of pregnancy so far. At about seventeen weeks I noticed movements for the first time - it felt a bit like lemonade bubbles. Over the next couple of weeks that progressed to feeling small nudges and bumps.

It was probably another week before Owen could feel anything when he had his hand on my belly, we started to joke that the baby was like the dancing frog because it would stop moving as soon as he tried to feel anything!

Now the movements are really strong, sometimes you can even see them!

During the first trimester there were about four weeks where I hated food. I didn't want to think about it, and even seeing pictures made me feel sick (I had to avoid Pinterest for a while!). Since that time I haven't had any problems, though I still don't like the thought of eating lamb or fish. My appetite has definitely increased too.

I haven't experienced any cravings (well no more than I normally do!) which I think might be due to all the vitamins I've been taking meaning I've been getting enough of everything I need. My diet is generally pretty balanced as well, although there's always room for improvement - especially when people keep giving me chocolate all the time!

I'd usually sleep on my belly, and as it grew I thought it was probably better to transition to sleeping on my side (with a pillow between my knees to stop me from rolling over). This turned out to be really uncomfortable, I think I must spend all night trying to roll back onto my belly and end up with a sore back.

Lately I've been sleeping much better after deciding to go back to my favourite sleeping position, but using a pillow to make things more comfortable. Now my sleep is only broken my a couple of trips to the bathroom, or when the cat knocks over my glass of water, or when she somehow gets tangled up in the sheets at the bottom of the bed and needs to be rescued.

Before getting pregnant I was really focussed on getting healthy and was doing a lot of exercise. This dropped off significantly at the end of the first trimester, mostly due to my low motivation caused by less energy and cold winter mornings! So I've been taking it easy during the second trimester, with a few walks with the dog being the only real exercise I've been doing. I want to make exercise more of a focus again, starting with regular walks and some prenatal yoga.

I'm going to keep working at my office job until the end of the year. Lately it's been going through a quieter period which I've appreciated. I'm taking maternity leave for all of next year, and I have to admit I'm in countdown mode already!

I've also been busy with piano lessons, and actually have more students at the moment than I normally would. This means some long work days but since I enjoy it so much I don't mind! I'm taking a break from lessons at the start of next year but I'm hoping to start back towards the middle of the year. We'll see how that goes closer to the time...

Overall I've been feeling really good during my pregnancy and so far it's been a really positive experience. It feels like time is going by quickly, but when I think back to first finding out about the baby it seems like so long ago.

I can't believe that in only three months our little one will be here!

29 August 2012

Boy or Girl?

We had our second (and probably final) ultrasound yesterday. This is the one where you can find out the gender of the baby, and...

...we decided to keep it a surprise!

Although we don't know whether we'll be having a boy or a girl, we did find out a little more about the baby. It's developing well, has the right number of limbs, everything seems to be growing in the right places, and it may also be a cyborg from the future.

Notice a resemblance?

The baby now has a new nickname: T-800

26 July 2012

First Trimester Reflections

Now that I'm officially into the second trimester, I thought I'd have a look back at the last few months and my experience so far:

Feathers in My Cap

  • The reactions when telling family and friends (almost everyone found out by watching the video!)
  • Our midwife, who is easy going, reassuring and very experienced
  • Seeing the baby at our first ultrasound appointment. It was nice to know that everything was progressing as it should be, and so awesome/weird/exciting to see a little person moving around in there!
  • Hearing the baby's heartbeat at our latest appointment with the midwife
  • Overall feeling pretty good for the first trimester (having only mild nausea and plenty of naps helped a lot)
  • Planning and dreaming about what's in store for January

Black Eyes

  • Although nausea was never terrible, most of it happened during our trip which wasn't the best timing!
  • Worrying about a possible miscarriage at about eight weeks (luckily everything worked out OK)
  • Feeling a lot more tired and lacking energy, resulting in a lot of early nights
  • Food aversions (often this included all food), which at least meant I wasn't bothered by the huge list of food restrictions since I didn't want to eat anything anyway!

I'm really looking forward to what the second trimester has in store - especially feeling the baby move and getting a bona fide pregnant belly!

19 July 2012

So We're Having a Baby!

A couple of days before we left for our trip I had a sneaking suspicion that I might be pregnant. I decided to wait until we arrived in Brussels before taking a test though, since it was Owen's birthday and if I was right I thought it would be a pretty good present!

It was easy enough to find a chemist and buy a pregnancy test, but when we got back to our hotel room I came across a little problem: the instructions for the test were in German, Dutch and French (no English)! I just assumed that the directions for use would be the same as usual but because it was a digital test interpreting the results was a little more tricky.

Instead of only two results (negative or positive) there were four. Looking at the diagrams  the negative symbol was pretty obvious, but the positive symbol was accompanied by either 1, 2 or 3. I wasn't sure what the number meant, I decided it was either something to do with the number of days or possibly the number of babies...

Even though I was half expecting a positive test, it still took my breath away when the results first appeared. Owen was pretty excited when I told him, and we spent the rest of the day celebrating and trying to believe that this was really happening.

We can't wait til January!

12 July 2012

Our Recent Adventures

We made this short video to save everyone from having to sit through hundreds of holiday photos from our trip:

Everyone we've shown it to has liked the ending the best!