11 weeks and how it’s going

Blimey it’s been a while!

I mean it’s to be expected I guess – it’s a lot looking after a little newborn (well, let’s be honest he’s not that much of a newborn anymore and he’s definitely not that little). At 11 weeks he’s rather the chunk weighing in over a stone and in the 98th percentile for length!

In terms of how I’m feeling, I have to say, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my maternity leave. As a self-declared “lady of leisure” it’s been quite lovely. Of course it’s super tiring, sometimes stressful, sometimes emotional and the hours aren’t the best, but on the whole it’s so nice to be off and to spend such quality time with Isaac, family and friends without having to worry about work.

I’m not going back to work until April so I’ll have a good few months of this still but it really does feel like it’s flying by. I know I’ll blink and suddenly it’ll be over and then we’ll be juggling childcare and work… scary stuff. But thoughts for another time!

What have I been up to lately? Well, quite a bit! We’ve been back to parkrun – though I’m not running yet. I’m still 11 weeks postpartum and don’t intend on “coming back” until at least 12 weeks. And even then it’ll be a gradual return. To be honest, I’m a little terrified and not even sure it’ll be a success even then. I’m working on my core, my pelvic floor muscles and general strength each week so finger crossed.

But walking parkrun either with the pram or the carrier has been lovely. It’s nice to still be involved in it and of course parkrun is so welcoming and lovely that walking it hasn’t been an issue at all. I get lots of comments about the youngest parkrun being in attendance and Isaac seems to love it. To be fair, he’s very used to going for walks having been on a walk every single day of his life so far!

I also went up to Stoke and North Wales with my mum so Isaac could meet his great grandparents.

It was lovely to see them and for them to see him – we go lots of special memories and photos.

The trip wasn’t too difficult either and we only had one night out of the three where Isaac struggled with sleep (and I’m thinking this is potentially because I had a very large non-decaf coffee – my first since before I was pregnant!).

In general though it’s been a lot easier as Isaac has gotten older. Sleep has been better, though I’m still waking up 2-3 times a night to feed. But Isaac is so easy to feed, change and put back down to sleep that I’m not awake for long. And he even let’s us sleep in till 9am which is glorious!

He’s been for his first couple of swimming lessons as well.  I say swimming, more like floating. But after the initial first lesson which he really wasn’t happy about he now seems much much better in the water. It’s so important for us to get him nicely adjusted to the water because we live by the sea and want to make sure it’s something he’s comfortable and safe with.

Of course it’s still a minefield of confusion, worries and stress with looking after Isaac but we feel a lot more comfortable and at ease with things. We don’t feel like he could die at any moment if we look away for a second. We’ve gotten into a good rhythm of days and know what to do in different scenarios. It’s amazing how from being so clueless you can be to being so much more knowledgeable and comfortable.

But of course we have many more hurdles to get over and more changes to come so no doubt we’ll be back to being clueless and hapless parents once again!

My birth story

So the little man has finally arrived! I went one day overdue and Isaac arrived 8/07/21 at 6.36pm. A beautiful, healthy little boy. Here’s my birth story… a little bit crazy!

I woke up at 7.30am with period-like cramps. They were mild but constant. I’d planned to run and wondered if it was a good idea. But they eased a bit so I decided I’d still go – who knew when I’d go into labour and when my last run would be and I wanted to make the most of it while I could.

The run went really well. I felt comfortable and energised, tho the baby felt low in my pelvis. But when I finished I had more period cramps.

I showered and made my porridge. Suddenly I then felt a little trickle of fluid involuntarily come out of me… riiiiight.

I went to the bathroom and saw it looked more like fluid than anything else (TMI maybe sorry).  I told Kyle and we wondered if this was my waters. But it was just a trickle… this was around 11am.

My mum had then arrived to drive her and I to our luxury pedicure appointment we had planned in Wickham. Kyle and I decided to keep the trickle to ourselves and just carry on. If it WAS my waters labour would still take ages (like hours and hours in the beginning stage) and I might as well enjoy the treatment. But I didn’t want my mum to be worried or get too excited. I put a pad on and felt good to go.

We arrived at Wickham and had some time to wander round the shops before the appointment. I bought a cake and a sausage roll from a bakery for Kyle and I later. But all the while I was feeling on and off cramps. It was manageable tho.

We got to the appointment and I jokingly (tho not jokingly at all) asked if we could put a towel down on the chair “just in case, ha ha” because I was one day overdue.

As the treatment got going I was glad to be wearing my mask as the cramps got stronger and I was having to breathe a bit more focused and was grimacing. I was trying to enjoy the treatment – soaking, scrubbing, massaging…so lovely in this chilled out room with relaxing music but it was tough as the cramps were quite sore and were happening every 6 or so minutes now.

Suddenly I felt a lot more trickling happening on and off. I started to panic thinking what was happening to the towel beneath me. My mum also became aware that something wasn’t quite right. As the beauty therapists went out to make us a drink she asked me if I was OK and I tried to fob her off but she knew (mums always do eh). 

The treatment was almost done so I decided to finish and then as soon as I was able popped to the loo. Yep waters had definitely gone. When I came back to the room I could see the towel had a little wet patch on it… I was mortified. I told the ladies I thought my waters had gone and they were so lovely and excited for me.

We quickly paid (though only my mum could then want to buy a nail varnish before she left!!). The lady who did my feet handed me a handful of napkins and wished me all the best which was lovely and we hightailed to the car.

On the drive home the cramps (contractions) were becoming more intense and longer. I decided to ring the labour line number to keep them informed (as you have to do) and text my midwife. Labour line were lovely. The woman said that having a pedicure was the perfect start to labour and what colour had I gone for! 

She then explained that the hospital now needed to be aware of the situation because of my waters breaking as I now had a ticking time of 48 hours for the baby to come out as there was a risk of an infection to him. It was hard to talk though as the contractions kept happening and I kept having to stop talking.

We got back to mine and I hobbled up the pavement to get to the house and a neighbour wanted to chat. As politely as possible I nodded and smiled but kept walking. Not the time!

I got into the house and Kyle and his mum, Sarah, greeted me. Sarah was supposed to be coming over that evening but Kyle had told her not to now as things might be happening. She’d wanted to drop us some muffins which was lovely. Both mums promised they’d leave us to it tho – as we hadn’t planned on having them there for the birth (spoiler: we never got them to leave).

Apparently Kyle had asked Sarah what time she thought we’d be having the baby and Sarah said the next morning. But then when she saw me and saw my contractions she looked at Kyle and said “you’ll have a baby by tonight”. 

Kyle then spoke to my midwife on the phone and it became apparent they needed to be coming over now. I was bouncing on the ball while Sarah monitored the frequency and duration of the contractions. I was finding it hard to continue conversations as they were coming so quickly and lasting so long (at least 45 secs and every minute or so).

I was vaguely aware of two midwives and a student midwife turning up and beginning to set things up around me. Kyle was now on birthing pool duty, filling it with enough warm water using a long hose attached to the bathroom tap upstairs.

The midwife asked to check me which I was fine with and she told me I was 4cm, almost 5cm, dilated and fully effaced. I could get into the birthing pool. This was 4.15pm. The mums stayed out of the way but it was nice to know they were around.

The contractions were now VERY intense and close together. Getting into the birthing pool was a relief. The warm water was lovely, but the pain kept coming. I was breathing them through and holding Kyle’s hand. I vaguely remember wondering what was so bad about a hospital birth with an epidural after all? Why did I want to do this naturally again??

I overheard one of the midwives mention about night shifts and I panicked a bit thinking how I couldn’t possibly continue all night with this pain. I desperately wanted to ask for an ETA of the baby but was scared with what they’d tell me.

I had gas and air and leaned over the birthing pool side with Kyle stroking my back. The pain was front and back and so intense. Gas and air did nothing to touch it but gave me something to focus my breathing on.

The midwives kept monitoring the baby’s heart rate and he was doing fine. I was in my own zone, unable to converse. I remember them saying they needed to check my HR and they asked Kyle to look at my Garmin as it was the easiest way.

They did this without me helping or being involved, I was just clutching the side in my own painful world. The pain got even more intense and I started to make noises that were frankly quite terrifying. The midwives asked if I felt the urge to push. I said I did. And they simply replied, “then push”.

I tried to with each contraction but ended up making even crazier and loud noises without making much progress. They told me I wasn’t being efficient and needed to USE each contraction to push the baby out. I needed to breathe downwards and not just scream out.

Right, I understood. Suddenly each contraction was a gift – if I used each one to help me push the baby down and out it meant less contractions overall. So I held my breath and pushed everything down. The midwives had a mirror to check what was going on below and each push they got more excited and cheered me on.

Between each contraction they’d rush over to check the baby’s HR. Everything was going fine until one check showed the baby’s HR had slowed down. I could hear concern around me and they told me I needed to get out of the pool and into the living room. This was 6pm. (I later found out they were VERY close to calling an ambulance to take me to hospital as they were getting concerned).

Right, I realised I needed to mobilise quickly as the time between contractions was so quick. I leapt up, with them wrapping me with towels to dry me. In the living room I got onto all fours on the floor (thankfully we’d got a shower curtain and towels for any mess). 

I was using the contractions now to push. I felt down and could feel the top of the baby’s head. With each push I could feel the beginnings of the ring of fire pain… it scared me but I realised I’d rather the ring of fire than the contractions so just pushed through (literally).

I heard a midwife say that the baby had eyebrows like his daddy and then soon after his head was out and then he was out.

Between my legs I saw they’d put a breathing mask on to help him (tho I wasn’t worried as I could see him moving his head). I would love to say I felt this amazing overwhelming sense of love but actually I just felt immense relief that the pain had stopped. Perhaps selfish but true.

Then they handed me a now crying baby boy through my legs and I just remember wondering how the hell do I even hold this wriggling large slippery mass?? Kyle got to cut the cord and then I had to birth out the placenta (which felt very unfair considering everything I’d just done!). It was far less painful of course but still not pleasant!

Amazingly I didn’t tear, just a few grazes which the midwives sutured up (again, this wasn’t pleasant – I was so bruised!). 

So little Isaac Christopher James Cuthbertson came into the world at 6.36pm weighing 8lb 4oz. And while I didn’t feel that immediate overwhelming love, it has just built and built as the days went on. I adore him with every fibre of my being.

After the midwives left about 9pm (everywhere was so clean it was unbelievable!), Kyle ordered the mums and me McDonald’s and I had a few chicken nuggets, chips and the cake I’d bought earlier. Delicious.

So a bit of a crazy whirlwind of a day! It felt very overwhelming and quite intense but I’m so thankful I got the home birth we wanted. Though the fairy lights never got put up and the birth playlist never happened! There was just no time.

I’m so grateful to the midwives for their incredible support and help, and also to the mums and Kyle. Without them I couldn’t have done this. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but wow I’m so proud of my body and so much in love with Isaac and our little family.

Now let the madness begin!