arthur is a week old today. i am finding it hard to wrap my head around this fact. absolutely everything in my universe looks different now. time moves differently too. i am a new person now that i am arthur’s mama, and that is taking some getting used to.
we knew this would be the case. that everything was going to change. we knew that there was only so much we could do to prepare for something like this. and knowing the birth date of our baby meant we could spend the last day of the pregnancy doing a few last minute things to get ready, which i really enjoyed.
we set up his cot in our room, and made it up with fresh sheets. we set up his change station with nappies and cloths. we took a last photo of my belly…
i had to fast from midnight, so s made us a late dinner of beef and red wine stew to keep me going, and after that we went to bed. i slept for about two hours. i was so excited i just couldn’t drift off.
we were due to check in at the hospital at 6:30am, and the caesarian was scheduled for 8:00. the drive there was quiet, and we arrived on time. we were met by our midwife and shown to day surgery, where i was to be prepped for theatre.
i was given a gown, which covered almost nothing, and after putting it on, i got into my bed. s sat with me while we did a little paper work, we had a listen to his heartbeat, and i was given some bitter tasting liquid that was supposed to settle my stomach. then i had some of my pubic hair shaved (the caesarian incision is made quite low), s chose a first outfit for him to wear from his bag, and we waited.
i ended up falling asleep while we were waiting, and as i snoozed, the midwife came and told us that we had been bumped because of an emergency caesar, and that there would be another hour’s wait. in the end it didn’t take that long. it was only about half an hour before the midwife brought s a set of scrubs, some booties and a hat, and she got all dressed for theatre.
i was then wheeled to a waiting area just outside the operating theatre, where s waited with me. the anaesthetist came and put a canula in my hand, and tried to convince me that the spinal block wouldn’t be anywhere near as painful as my tattoos had been. i was sceptical.
when the theatre was ready, i was wheeled in without s. she had to wait outside until after my spinal block was done. it was the one part of the procedure that i’d been anxious about, and i will say that it wasn’t particularly pleasant. it wasn’t the agony i’d feared, but it was painful. first, i had to sit up on the bed with my legs over the side, resting on a chair. the nurse gave me a pillow to bend my torso over and arch out my spine. then i was given an injection of local anaesthetic, and then an injection into my spine. i could actually feel this so we stopped, did another injection of local, and then did the spinal block again. by the end of this process i’d had a little cry, because i was a bit frightened, but in retrospect, it was bearable, and i was ok.
the spinal block took effect very quickly. i felt a warm, tingling sensation travel down my legs, and had to get them back up onto the bed before i lost all movement and sensation. the nurses then set up a screen over my chest so i couldn’t see my belly, and the anaesthetist tested to see if i could feel anything below my breastbone. i couldn’t. they inserted a catheter (i’m glad that happened after the spinal block!), and i was ready.
s was allowed in at this point, and she sat by my head and reassured me while the procedure began.
i had been told that i would feel ‘tugging and pulling’ as they performed the operation, and i really, really did. it’s a very difficult sensation to describe, and even though i knew i was safe, it was also very unnerving. i could feel pressure on my diaphragm with each tug and pull, and this altered my breathing. i could feel myself being moved about without being able to identify exactly where the movement was coming from. i just kept saying “woah! this is weird!” which wasn’t particularly profound, but it was true.
and then, suddenly, there he was…
they showed him to me as soon as he came out, and then the paediatrician checked over him quickly, and weighed him. s cut his cord, and then he was swaddled and put on my chest. i held him, and we named him, and crooned over him as dr r finished the procedure.
i was then sent to recovery to be checked over, and s stayed with arty. i didn’t like being separated from him, even though it was only for a few minutes, and i was very, very glad when one of the midwives brought both he and s back to me. then we were taken up to the maternity ward. for the first day i was confined to bed. i still had the catheter in, and i was on iv fluids, but by the second day these were removed and i was able to get up and move around. i was on good medication, so i didn’t feel much pain at all. plus, i was completely high on our beautiful baby.
the next few days in hospital were spent getting to know our boy, introducing him to excited visitors, and getting the hang of breastfeeding, bathing, swaddling, changing, and all the rest of it. i found our time in hospital to be very positive, and i felt safe and supported, with s at my side and a team of experienced staff on hand if we needed them.
on tuesday, we came home, and began the rest of our lives as a family of three, with our precious new addition:
friday, 20th of january, 9:20am
9lb, 5oz ~ 4.25kg
20in ~ 51cm