Harrison was born almost three weeks early in June 2011. It hadn’t been a particularly easy pregnancy. I had suspected swine flu when I was 12 weeks pregnant, was sick morning, noon and night for pretty much the whole time, severe heartburn and then in the last couple of weeks I had raised blood pressure.
I had odema from about 30 weeks, meaning I literally couldn’t get anything on my feet other than flip flops, and even they felt tight. Still, I managed to work full time until just past 36 weeks as a teacher.
At my 37 week appointment with the midwife, my blood pressure was sky high and protein was showing in my urine. This, combined with the odema led the midwives to believe I had pre-eclampsia, so I was sent to the assessment ward at the hospital to be checked out. Movements were fine and baby seemed fine, but my blood pressure was still dangerously high. The midwives gave me a sweep to see if they could start to ease things along, as I was classed as term. They kept me in for monitoring overnight, and mentioned that if it didn’t start coming down in the next twelve hours or so, I would be induced. That was a really strange moment – knowing that I would be almost definitely having the baby in the next couple of days!
I’d never stayed in hospital overnight before, so I was terrified but it was way better than I thought. I got a relatively decent nights sleep, apart from being woken ever four hours for my blood pressure to be checked, and work up feeling fine the next morning. However, by lunchtime, it was still high and so I was put on the induction list. I had a lovely day, lying in bed, having cups of coffee brought to me, and chilling in the bed reading books.
At about 10pm that night, just after I’d dropped off, I was woken up to be taken down to the induction ward. I was given a pessary and strapped up to the monitors for a couple of hours. Baby was absolutely fine and very mild contractions were registering on the monitor, but I couldn’t feel them. Eventually, I was taken off the monitors and allowed to go to sleep. I managed to sleep straight through until 7am, when I phoned Graham and my mum to tell them to bring everything as I was probably going to have a baby that day!
By about 9am I had very gentle tightenings, no more painful than mild period pains. At about 11am, the midwife came and broke my waters for me. I have never experienced anything quite like it. All I can say is ‘ouch’. Almost immediately, the contractions became really painful. They sent me for a walk, and I managed to hobble over to Costa’s in the main entrance in the hospital. As soon as I sat down on the sofa (luckily leather so easy to clean!), the rest of my waters went. After letting the staff know they needed a cleaner (nice!) we hobbled back to the assessment ward. I begged for pain relief, and they gave me paracetamol – like that was going to work!!! As soon as I swallowed the tablets I threw up everywhere, so the midwives found me a spot on the delivery suite.
The next few hours were a bit of a blur. I had gas and air and but I wasn’t taking it properly, letting go just before the contraction reached it’s peak, so I might as well not have bothered. However, it did make me sleepy and in between contractions I dozed. I vaguely remember my mum saying to Graham that she should have bought foot cream to do my feet whilst I was lying there and I muttered (or tried to) that she better not touch my f*****g feet! Graham dozed in the chair and I remember feeling really cross at him but couldn’t get my words out.
Eventually, I had that feeling that you can never mistake – the urge to push. For anyone who has never had a baby, this is like the feeling of wanting to do the biggest poo on the planet. I didn’t find this part particularly painful, more like incredible amounts of pressure. The midwife, who was lovely, tried to get me to stand up and push in different positions, but I wasn’t having it. The worst part of it all was the pain in my back – which turned out to be down to the fact that at some point Harrison had turned back to back. I ended up in the traditional lying down position, but that was the most comfortable position. I don’t know how long I was pushing for, but I don’t think it was for very long at all. They told me they could see his head and I remember saying “Come on Harrison”. The next thing there was an incredible burning pain (his head being born) and then at 4.14pm, out he popped. My little boy was here. He was a scrawny little blue thing, but was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. They gave him to me straight away for a bit of skin to skin. Those first cuddles are amazing.
He was weighed and came in at a tiny little 6lb. The midwife was surprised he weighed that much, as he looked so tiny. He was checked over and was absolutely fine. I had a 2nd degree tear so the midwives sorted that out whilst daddy and nanny had their first cuddles. I used the gas and air properly this time, and couldn’t stop giggling – I LOVE gas and air!
I tried to breastfeed Harrison but he just wasn’t having it. We tried for hours, and the midwives were brilliant trying to help. Eventually, I managed to express enough into a syringe so that his first feed was breastmilk, but we decided that we were going to bottle feed. He had that straight away!
We had to stay in until the Monday afternoon as a slight heart murmur was registering. This is really common in newborns, but most of the time clears up after 24hours. On the Monday it all came back clear and we were allowed to go home.
That scrawny little 6lber is now a lanky, gorgeous, clever and lovely three year old!!!