It’s been a while, so firstly HELLO! Second of all, this is a very special post as our darling baby boy has finally arrived, making this my first blog post as a mum of 2!
Jude-Elliott Hope was born at 14.01pm, weighing 7lbs 6oz on Thursday 1st of June. I had a straightforward birth, with a grand total of 3.5 hours in labour and 4 minutes of pushing. No tears or stitches- REJOICE! I was very lucky again second time around, I have now had two great births so if you, or anyone else is looking for birth stories which are not designed to scare you, or you want to hear positive experiences, feel free to keep reading! This blog is an encouraging, scare free zone!
I must admit I was absolutely terrified this time around, I thought that because I had such a good birth with Alfie, I couldn’t be as lucky a second time but I was wrong… I went into hospital at 8am for my induction and I was so thrilled to be having the same midwife looking after me who delivered Alfie. She is simply amazing and really keeps me grounded and focused which is so important to me. Having a good midwife who explained everything and answered my million questions, was so helpful to me. The same questions I asked were probably the same questions I asked her the first time around with Alfie, but nevertheless, she reassured me every step of the way. When she first examined me, I was lucky enough to already be 3cm dilated, and she was able to break my waters straight away so I didn’t need any medication to kick things off. Within an hour, I was feeling tightenings and light cramps. I walked around and up and down a few flights of stairs and before long, the contractions really kicked in. I used the birthing ball for a while until they got a lot stronger which really helped take some pressure off my back. Gas and Air and half a dose of diamorphine took the edge off and got me through. Although, I reached the stage where I was seriously considering the epidural but ten minutes later there he was in my arms! I had heard a lot when researching about birth about the transition stage where women can freak out a bit, and I think I did notice that more this time, it feels like things are going a bit out of control, pain is at its height and baby is moving down but it feels a bit strange, and funnily enough, that was the stage where he was so close to being here but I just didn’t realise. If I could tell any woman anything, it would be not to panic at that stage, don’t fight it, and don’t be afraid of it, you are so close to the end!! The only thing that worried me, was the fact Jude’s heart rate dropped quite a bit after the diamorphine- he was actually fine but I did feel guilt at the time for having it in the first place incase it was putting my baby at risk, although I was reassured several times, this was not the case and I should not feel guilty at all. I would encourage all women about to give birth, to go with what your body is telling you at the time, and if you need gas and air or an epidural then get that! Don’t sit in agony because we all get the same prize at the end, and you don’t get a medal for lying in pain! For a lot of women, it’s a pride thing, and I must say, I was proud of myself for doing it with little pain relief, but by no means would I have turned down and epidural if it had lasted much longer! There are pros and cons to all pain relief options and I think the best thing about not having an epidural was that I was up and about an hour later after doing a breastfeed and some skin to skin with Jude. I had a nice shower, got my new, incredibly comfy clean pyjamas on and topped up my make up and felt very relaxed and content. I had so many people remarking that they could not believe I had just given birth, but I do feel that it helped me massively to apply make up, get dressed and freshened up quickly. It picks me up, eases my anxieties and just makes me feel like me. I know that for the majority of women, make up is the last thing on their minds, but for me personally, I am a great believer in doing whatever you need to do to make yourself feel good. If you are reading this and you have anxiety, you will know exactly what I mean when I say letting down your guard about things that make you anxious is just so hard, and just because I was pushing out a tiny human, I should still also be looking after myself and my mental health and part of that was maintaining some dignity and looking like my normal self.
The feeling I had when Jude was first born was so overwhelming and magical, that massive relief got to me and I sobbed like a baby. With Alfie, although I cried, I think i was in shock at becoming a mother for the first time- I didn’t really know what to do with this little bundle of human. Whereas this time, I felt so blessed and in all honesty, so relieved that the pain was over with all of the emotions came out so intensely! All of my pregnancy worries were quelled there in that moment, just seeing his face and hearing his first cries was just simply breathtaking and knowing we had completed our family was just the total emotional icing on the cake.
My intention this time was to breastfeed, and although Jude latched on well immediately after birth, we ran into some difficulty after that, so for now, I am expressing breastmilk for him. It is very time consuming and can be tiring when I also have a toddler running around, but I am so proud of myself for doing it as it is something I really wanted to do, and although in an ideal world he would be latched on and feeding directly from the boob, which would also save time and help with our bonding time, this is the next best thing as he is still having all of the goodness from breast milk it’s just fed to him from a bottle. I was hand expressing colostrum in the couple of weeks leading up to his birth and I think that was something that really helped me and worked well for me. I was able to hand express quite a lot of it which was lucky, and I just stored it in the freezer for when we came home. Although he is having expressed breast milk through a bottle and not directly from the breast, he is still classes as a breastfed baby which does give me satisfaction, as I really was determined to do it this time. With Alfie, we had a few problems which meant I was unable to do it ( I have written another post about that if you want to read more) and I felt so much guilt and it really broke my heart being unable to do it, so this makes up for that, albeit challenging and exhausting! I will be writing a separate post about this as it has certainly been the opposite of plain sailing, we have tried so many different pumps, methods and equipment and I have had really sore and cracked nipples which made things a bit complicated to begin with, but I feel we are finally getting there and so I will write more in another post.
Alfie is now a big brother and is slowly adjusting to our new arrival, making progress every day. When we first brought Jude home, Alfie tried to shoo him away with a cushion and then tried to stand on him. He cried, stropped and didn’t really know where to put himself, which I completely expected and understood. He had me all to himself for 18 months and now that was changing with this other little person that made a noise and who everyone wanted to cuddle and give presents to. It must be so confusing for him, but we have made sure he is involved with everything- Nappy changing, bathing and feeding as much as he can be while i’m expressing. He actually copies what i’m doing on the breast pump, he puts baby wipes down his top because he sees me using breast pads. He is absolutely adorable really in his quirky little ways. I love the fact that he copies me doing the normal, everyday things. We have had some funny moments (well… funny for Mark and I) where Jude peed on Alfie and the disgust on his face was hilarious… Now, we are at the stage where he will go up and kiss Jude, or stroke his head but it has to be all on his terms, if Jude moves his hand when Alfie kisses him, he runs away and gets a bit panicked. It’s all a learning curve for both Alfie and us as parents. I love having them both bonding and it makes my heart melt seeing them together.
I will go into more detail about various other things in another post, as I am aware this one is becoming more novel than blog post so thanks for reading! I will be trying to blog as much as I can over the coming months, but please be patient as we really do have our hands full right now, and we are battling through the chaos!