It has taken me so long to find the time to write this, partly because I haven’t had time, and partly because those first few weeks of Elijah’s life were traumatic and it is hard to think about it without getting upset. I started writing this post at the beginning of November when my mum came to visit me from Australia and have only just finished it today.
If you don’t like hearing icky details, I suggest you stop reading now.
On the 30th of September 2015, (the day before my due date) I had my last appointment with the Midwife in the afternoon and she offered me a sweep to try to get things moving. I was hesitant but I agreed to give it a go and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. At that point I was 2cm dilated and the baby was about 2/5ths engaged so I thought labour might be a while off yet. She booked me in for an induction on the 11th of October, just incase he hadn’t made an appearance by then.
On my due date, the 1st of October, I spent the day at home resting as much as I could and by about 3 pm I was convinced nothing was going to happen. An hour later at 4 pm I had a show and started feeling cramp-like pains in my tummy and back almost immediately. I texted Joel at work to tell him I thought something might happen soon. Throughout the evening the pains gradually got stronger and closer together (I didn’t think they were contractions at this point). I had two warm baths and Joel sat in there with me pouring warm water down my back every time I felt a pain. At about 11 pm when they were coming every 2-3 minutes and I was vomiting and bawling my eyes out. We rang the hospital and they said to go in so they could examine me and see where things were at.
When we got to the hospital they checked me and said I was still only 2cm. I had excruciating pains in my back, and we were told the baby was back to back. They sent us home because I wasn’t in “active labour” and told me to rest as much as possible because the baby could still have been days away. They gave me some codeine for the pain which I promptly threw up upon leaving the hospital which made me cry again.
I didn’t get any sleep that night as the pain in my back was unbearable. I was hunched over a humongous pile of pillows with my tens machine on full power and still I could feel everything. I honestly don’t know how I got through the night. I got in the bath again at about 7:45 am the next morning and at around 8 am my waters went in the bath followed by some more blood like when I had a show the day before. We rang the hospital and they told us to go in so they could check me again. When they said I was 8cm dilated I burst into tears. I didn’t know how much longer it would be before the baby arrived but I had a feeling it wouldn’t be too much longer. I don’t remember the contractions getting more frequent after that really, it seemed like they were back to back from when my waters broke. I went in the birthing pool and had some gas and air which helped ease the pain a little bit but I could still feel everything in my back.
When I came out the pool to be examined again about 6 hours later I was 9.5cm. I hoped it wouldn’t be too much longer after that and sure enough before to long I felt the urge to push. It’s true when they say that your body just knows what to do. I was pushing for about 35 minutes before our baby was born and I don’t really remember much from that stage of labour. All I remember was the burning towards the end. I was breathing in a lot of the gas and air, and it made me feel very spaced out. In hindsight it felt a bit like I was in a cartoon – I know it sounds strange! But funnily enough Joel said the same. Afterwards when I asked Joel what I was like during labour he said I didn’t scream or get mad – except when he tried to look at my foof I shouted at him and told him not to look. I had a lot of pain in my back and chest afterwards and thought it may have just been from all the pressure my body had been put under.
Elijah James was born on the 2nd of October at 3:46 pm weighing 8lb 2oz. Those first few moments after his birth are indescribable. It was the most amazing moment of my life and I don’t think I could find the words to do it justice. When my precious little boy was placed in my arms Joel and I both cried. Joel kissed me hard, and we both covered Elijah in lots of smooches. Joel cut the umbilical cord, and even though he struggled with it later on he said he was happy to be able to help his son take his first breaths on his own.
The first few weeks of Elijah’s life felt like they didn’t really even happen as we got off to a bit of a rough start. We were both readmitted to hospital on day 5. Elijah had lost 10% of his birth weight, he was quite jaundiced and they suspected he needed light treatment. He was also very dehydrated because my milk had only started to come in the day before. I had been having ongoing pains in my chest and back and felt out of breath just from having a conversation. After having x-rays, ultrasounds and blood tests they discovered that I had leftover tissue that had caused an infection to develop in my womb. I had to have a D&C which was terrifying. After the D&C I felt one thousand times worse for a few hours. I felt like I was going to bleed out (I completely soaked about 5 maternity pads in the space of half an hour), I had a temperature and couldn’t stop shaking.
I cried so much those few days we were back in the hospital. Whenever they took Elijah away from me for a few minutes to do blood tests I would cry, I hated being away from him. I was breastfeeding and pumping afterwards to try to increase my milk supply. No one showed me how to use the pump properly so I would pump for half an hour on each side and then Elijah would be ready for another feed. It was exhausting. I cried when I found out I had to have surgery, and afterwards too. I felt like some of the staff in the hospital weren’t very helpful. For the most part we were looked after and if I asked for help they did, but they kept saying they would get me a double pump to make it easier (which never happened) and there were several occasions where I asked for painkillers and was never given any. And after I came out of surgery as they were wheeling my bed back into the room they ran it into the sink on the wall, hard. And it hurt. Joel said he was surprised it didn’t come off.
Every time I cried someone would say to me that they strongly recommended I go back on antidepressants – they thought I had postnatal depression because the baby blues should have passed. I told them I was just exhausted and sore and wanted to be at home where I could be comfortable and rest. I was adamant that I didn’t want to go back on medication. They rang the psychiatrist that I had been seeing throughout my pregnancy to ask for his opinion and to see if the medication I was on would be ok to take while breastfeeding. They told me he had strongly suggested I go back on medication as well, that I couldn’t breastfeed while taking it and they wrote me a prescription. A few weeks later when I saw him he said that wasn’t the case at all. He told them the current advice for the mediation I had been taking was that it was okay to take while breastfeeding. He also told me the hospital staff told him I wanted to go back on medication which is not true at all. He said if I decided to I could go back on what I was on before, and that I could ring him to have a talk about it beforehand. We have been home with our beautiful boy for 9 precious weeks now and I haven’t even got the prescription filled so I think I’m doing just fine.
I am loving every moment with my precious little monkey, and love watching him grow and develop. I fall a little bit more in love with him every single day. The one thing no one told me about was just how much I would fall in love with his daddy too, all over again. I love watching my two boys bond and fall in love, it is the most precious thing in the world.
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