I am a proud mother once more. Look!
My beautiful baby girl was born at the end of June, on her big brother Charlie's 7th birthday. Here they are!
Her name is Florence Daisy. She was 7lb 9oz at birth and she is an awesome baby. She is also an EXCELLENT reason to knit! This is what she looks like these days:
It is a year ago tomorrow since I found out I was pregnant. A year. How quickly did that whizz by? It has been an amazing, joyful year. That said, November and early December weren't so great, to be honest, morning sickness is the absolute pits. I say morning - for me it was morning, noon and night. At one point I was almost hospitalised because I couldn't even stand water and I was dreadfully dehydrated. But even so, she was worth every single second.
I have just been reading my pregnancy posts with fascination; I haven't read them since the day I wrote them. I wish I could go back in time and reassure myself. Florence is fine - she's bonny and healthy and bright. She is an absolute joy. She smiles, and is just starting to giggle. The boys absolutely adore her. I love being a family of 5, it seems impossible that we ever could have felt complete without her.
One of the best things of all is that I appear to have escaped the much dreaded post natal depression! My experience this time is a million miles away from Charlie's early days when everything felt so dark and hopeless. This time I am tired, but happy. I even love getting up to her in the night (most of the time!) There's nothing nicer than waking up right next to my snuggly baby; she makes my heart melt. Breastfeeding is going well, and she's not showing any signs of the lactose intolerance that Charlie has struggled with. I just feel so blessed.
My pregnancy was lovely - a relaxed, happy affair. I barely had a day's illness. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 28 weeks, but it was borderline. I made a few changes to my diet, checked my blood sugars regularly and that was that, it didn't have a major impact on either Florence or I, thankfully.
The birth was a very fast affair and I would love to say pain free, but that wouldn't be entirely truthful (!) I had a lot of niggly pains during the last weeks of pregnancy, but at 37 weeks had a really serene feeling that birth wouldn't be far away. At 38+2 I was having painful surges that were coming about every 5 minutes. Dom was working away, so I rallied my father in law who took me to the local maternity hospital whilst my mother in law took care of my boys. I was monitored and, whilst the pains were rating quite highly, they weren't doing much. I went home a little deflated (unfortunately not physically) and spent an uncomfortable night strapped to my TENS machine pacing through the pains.
At 38+3, I had a feeling I was in early labour, so hunkered down at home. I had a midwife appointment in the afternoon and my midwife told me that she felt that birth would be weeks away yet and the baby would be 10lb+. I felt really fed up, and decided to take the boys out for a pub supper. We had a lovely evening full of laughter - which turned out to be the last night we spent together as a family of four.
The next morning, 38+4, Dom and I lazed in bed later than usual. I had slept properly for the first time in weeks. Eventually Dom reluctantly got up and got ready for work. Just after he'd left the house, I decided to rouse myself. As I walked past our bedroom mirror, my waters broke! Weirdly, I watched at the same second I felt it. We went to the hospital again, and I spent a few hours on a birth ball willing the contractions to become stronger. Whilst they were still present, they weren't doing enough, and we got sent home again in the afternoon. I was hugely frustrated and shed a few tears. We had a long old walk around the big Tescos picking up things for Charlie's birthday, and I felt sad that I wouldn't be spending his birthday with him this year as I needed to go back to the hospital the next day for checking over and a possible induction.
Next morning I was disappointed that labour *still* hadn't started. I was getting some niggles and period pains, but nothing more significant than I had been getting over the last couple of weeks. Dom and I got up and I spent a lot of time bouncing on my birth ball and listening to hypnobirthing CDs. At about 10.30, Dom phoned the hospital to see what time they wanted to see us. The nurse he spoke to was very abrupt and told him it might be days yet. I was so disappointed, I cried. After another hour or so, with the cramps still present, I decided a bath might be a sensible option. I wallowed for a lovely hour or so, giggling with Dom, listening to my relaxation CD and pouring the warm water over my bump. It was blissful.
I gradually started to realise that I was making noises through the cramps, which was a bit alarming. I tried to stop, but realised that I wasn't entirely in control of things. Dom had been timing the cramps, and they were still coming very intermittently - I'd have 8 mins, then 4, then 3, then 7 between them, so, were it not for the noises, I would have assumed I wasn't yet in labour. I decided to get out of the bath. Once I stood up, I realised very quickly that the baby would be here soon.
Dom phoned for an ambulance. It took 20 minutes to arrive. During that time, it was apparent to me that I was in transition, which was a huge shock as I'd barely had any labour pains! I tried several positions to manage the pain, even biting on a towel, but was panicking. The hypnobirthing wasn't helping as I knew I had to get to the hospital to have the baby because of my gestational diabetes, and I couldn't maintain the quiet relaxation that had been so helpful before.
Two lovely, down to earth ambulance men arrived and brought with them some entonox - never have I been more pleased to get my hands on the drugs! They decided that birth was imminent and blue-lighted me off to hospital. By now I was totally off my tits on the drugs, and cracked several "jokes" on the way, the purpose of which, I am sure, was to make me cringe after the event. We also had a rather surreal conversation about Gordon Ramsey. To add to the general public humiliation, I was whisked through the hospital coffee shop*, mid contraction, and briefly remember the faces of several curious people standing up to see what all the fuss was about.
4 minutes later Florence was born. She was delivered as I stood up, after 3 gigantic pushes that my body undertook itself. Pink was playing on the radio, and the midwives were gentle and kind. It wasn't quite the spiritual birth I had imagined, but it was calm and empowering and exciting. The calm professionalism of the ambulance men and the hospital midwives really helped us both to feel reassured, secure and blissfully insignificant in the best of ways - these people do this every day; we would be O.K.
And here she is, one more time, our little bundle of joy. Life affirming, joyous and life changing. This is a path I hadn't expected to tread, especially if you read the beginning of this blog, but one that I am delighted to do so.
Now I have introduced her to you all, I shall gradually add the patterns and projects I have undertaken over the past few months, and we can get back to our crafting!
With much love, and genuine thanks to the cosmos for our blessings.