Thursday, November 22, 2007


Apologies this update has taken soooo long to hit my BLOG, but as you can guess, our little bundle of ploppy love made an appearance on the due date. We didn’t expect anything less with having two parents who like to be organised, so major ‘brownie’ points (excuse the pun) for the baby!

So, here’s the run-down:-

- Waters broke at 5.55am on the actual due date – 8th Nov
- Although the hospital said ‘take your time…mosey on into hospital in a few hours’, the contractions were strong immediately

- Jerry (love him) was eager to make sure I had breakfast before we left and was feeding me honey-covered crumpets whilst I sat on the toilet feeling an urgent need to push. I didn’t finish the crumpet.
- The hospital advised me the contractions would be infrequent and bearable at the beginning, but that wasn’t the case for us. The pain was in my lower back and gave me the feeling of wanting to push immediately. I am told this was because the baby was sitting on my bowels.
- We finally got into the car about 7.45am only to realise it was a Thursday…rush hour traffic!
- Because the pain was so bad and was coming every minute, I started to look around the car to decide which foot well would be the best position to give birth in…IF we didn’t get to the hospital in time.

- The build-up of rush hour traffic only made things worse and I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t jump the queues by shouting ‘Get out the way…I’m in labour!’. Thankfully, we made it to the hospital doors within 45 excruciating minutes. Jerry had to drop me off while he found a parking space and I just collapsed into a wheelchair. I must have been screaming in pain as 3 hospital staff came to me instantly and took me into the delivery suite and Jerry followed closely behind with all our bags and hospital notes.
- Our first Midwife, Sonia, was great and basically told me that this was our labour and we say what goes. My request for an epidural there and then just made her smile.
- I wasn’t sure if I should be lying on the bed, sat in a chair or what and Sonia just said ‘do whatever feels most comfortable’. However, there was no free chocolate vending machine and Brad Pitt was nowhere to be seen. Because of the lower back pain, being on all fours was the best position for me to breathe through the contractions.
- I was given gas and air which only made me feel woozy and made me throw up. It was a nice orangey Lucozade colour.
- After a while, I threw the gas and air tube to the floor (much to Jerry’s disappointment as I think he was keen to have a go too). I was then given Pethidine and advised it would take about 20mins to work. 45 minutes later…nothing…it didn’t work.
- At about 10.15am, I pleaded for something stronger for the pain, but the Midwife suggested a bath might help.
- I can remember walking through each stage of running a bath in my head, how long each stage would take…
Walking into the bathroom – 8 secs
Turning taps on – 4 secs
Waiting for hot water to filter through – 30 secs
Waiting for bath to fill up – 7-10 mins
Checking temperature – 5 secs
. Adjusting temperature – 2 mins
Worse case scenario = 10 mins 49 secs…
That would mean about 5 – 8 painful contractions!! Could I wait that long?!!*!*!*!?

- I negotiated. I agreed to try a bath and if that didn’t work, I wanted an Epidural. Sonia agreed and Jerry ran the bath whilst I screamed…wondering whether the rooms were soundproof… still not sure.
- I lasted 10 seconds in the bath, only wanting to be on all fours again.
- At that point, Jerry asked for an Epidural for me and I knew it would take anything upto an hour to find an Anaesthetist who was available at that time, so I was really keen to get the balling rolling.
Sonia left us and returned within 5 minutes with…the Anaesthetist! HOORAY!!
- The Anaesthetist was lovely, but I couldn’t believe she had to run through a questionnaire with me about the risks of administering the Epidural. Didn’t she realise I was in pain?!!
- I answered all the questions, then she had to sterilise. This took about 15 minutes. Unfortunately, she touched something which was not sterile by mistake and had to de-sterilise and then sterilise herself again. All this took about an hour. All the time, I’m asking in my most polite manner…’could you hurry up!’ Jerry has since told me I only screamed the ‘F’ word twice. Not bad eh?!

- At last, the Anaesthetist explained I had to perch myself on the edge of the bed and keep v e r y s t i l l so she could insert the needle and tube into my spine. That meant not moving when the contractions came.
- I didn’t realise it until after the birth, but there were two attempts to insert this as I must have squirmed on the first attempt. Once the tube was inserted, it was strapped up my back and over my shoulder where a valve was attached which regulated the amount of the drug. This was then attached to a machine which held the Epidural drug. The effect was instant…

It was dogs kahoonas!!

- What I didn’t realise is you lose all feeling below which includes EVERYTHING!! So, they inserted a catheter. That was weird…watching the bag fill up with wee and you’re not even aware you’re weeing! What was even funnier was Jerry accidentally sitting on my bag!!
- Sonia then finished her shift and we were introduced to THE best Midwives, ever. Donna and Nicki. Nicki was in her final year of Midwifery and Donna was her Mentor. They filled us with a great feeling of safety, security and comfort and over the next few hours, they made the best use of the time and taught Jerry and I the concept of ‘Deal, No Deal’ which was on the telly in our delivery suite
- From this point, I could only feel a slight feeling of wanting to have a pooh which Donna and Nicki advised me was the contractions.
- For some reason, I could still feel my left leg slightly, so I was given an Epidural top-up and told to turn on my left side, so the drug could drip into my left leg…and it worked!
- At about 5.00pm, I was told that it was time to start pushing. Using the slight contraction feelings I could still sense as a guide, the Midwives told me when to push, how long to push for and when to stop. We did this for each contraction for about an hour. In between which, they showed Jerry the baby’s head which was about 30 minutes away from the world. During the last moments, Donna passed over full control to Nicki and she told me to push, then pant at specific times.
- Jerry was able to see the head again which was nearly out...

- At 6.33pm, our baby girl, Drew Jessica Hartell ("DJ") came into our world and weighed 6lbs 9.5oz

- All in all, it was a 12.5 hour labour….Jerry video’d the lot – not from the front end before you ask – also recording a detailed examination of the placenta which Nicki was more than happy to commentate!

- As a result of Jerry’s digital masterpiece, our Community Midwife has asked us to provide an edited version of our labour and birth for the next mums-to-be in the Antenatal Classes…anything’s better than watching a cartoon of a birth like we did!!!

- Having the Epidural meant I couldn’t eat during the whole 12 hours, so when the Midwives brought a cuppa tea and toast…it was most welcome. I was so in awe of Drew though, I missed Jerry finishing my last bites of toast…grrr!!

- Drew had jaundice for the next 5 days so had to stay in a photo light therapy unit (looks like a tanning salon!) in the same room as me. Broke my heart to see her in there, but it IS perfectly normal and she slept fine in the unit and had to wear goggles to protect her eyes.

- The Midwives in the Hospital were fantastic with providing us with breast-feeding help and support. Initially, because of the jaundice, Drew slept most of the time, so wasn’t getting enough milk and as I struggled with it at first (which is normal), I had to collect the colostrum through a syringe, drip by drip. It’s like watching paint dry, but a bit more uncomfortable… especially when a complete stranger is squeezing for you!

- Although you can check yourself out at anytime, the Midwives encourage you to stay until you are confidently breast-feeding, so I had to show them that I could do that and I needed the extra time in hospital to get that right.
- First 2 x nights at home – Drew slept all day and stayed awake a l l n i g h t ! ! !
- We worked out by keeping her awake during the afternoon means she sleeps so much better at night
- Feeding – we’re doing it on demand to help clear the jaundice, but it’s quite tiring as Drew feeds for about 1.5 – 2 hours at a time, every 3 – 4 hours. Makes you feel quite tied down and gives you an incredible sense of responsibility.
- I’ve gone through the sore nipples stage and Lansinoh cream certainly helped lots!!
- Feeding gets easier the more times I do it and I’ve learned to prepare everything beforehand…phone, remote controls, laptop, pen and paper…otherwise I get stuck for upto 2 hours not being able to do anything. I suppose that’s one of the hardest things…not being able to get on and do things while she’s feeding. In my head, I have a mental ‘to-do’ list which just gets longer and longer. It makes such a difference having a supportive partner. Jerry has been brilliant and I think I could get used to him preparing and cooking 3 times a day, running to the shops and doing the washing! The only drawback is that Jerry forgets to shave and it reminds me he’s really a ginger…let’s hope Drew misses that gene!
- We’ve been inundated with lovely cards, gifts and good wishes from SO many people and thank all of you. Drew, Jerry and I have been bowled over by the gifts which keep coming…some through the dog flap as our Postman doesn’t ring our doorbell as he knows we’ll be catching up on our sleep and puts the post through the dog flap!!
- Jerry goes back to work next week and I’m wondering how I’ll get on…I hear you just want to be left alone to get on with it…maybe I’ll be hiding behind the sofa when the doorbell goes like my Auntie did when she had her first!!!



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