When I had my baby I kept a diary just to have somewhere to put all my highs and lows as I went from euphoria to tears to euphoria again, almost daily. I also kept lists of feeds, nappy changes and sleep times on my iPhone (please tell me I’m not the only one who’s done this? Comment at the end of the blog and let me know I’m not alone).
Day One continued…The first few hours
Even as I hold my tiny perfect baby in my arms I am still a little woozy from a cocktail of gas and air (which I mistakenly called ‘equinox’ rather than ‘entonox’ when I ask the midwife for it), the epidural and pure love. I am worried I will be sick again and pass Baby Bu to her father. Cool Daddy lives up to his name as he whips off the T-shirt he’s been wearing for three days straight and cuddles our precious baby skin to skin. He surprises himself by cutting the umbilical cord without a hint of a wince and helping administer the vitamin K injection which he calls Special K much to the midwives amusement, I can tell they are impressed. He’s on a high; making everyone laugh as usual and cradling our baby girl in his arms. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so happy, so content, so filled with love.
My Mum isn’t there. She had to make a mad dash to top-up the parking as Queen’s Club Tennis is on and out of nowhere Hammersmith & Fulham Council have decided to charge Permit Holders for parking on the weekend after the tournament is finished as well as during the flipping thing. We’ve been in the hospital for three days and the pre-pay credits have run out and of course the telephone top-up system isn’t working. So, when My Mum returns to the delivery room having been gone less than an hour, when it was all looking a bit grim, things couldn’t be more different. My Mum is greeted by an ecstatic Cool Daddy with Baby Bu in his arms. I think she only manages to cry “Oh,” as she meets her granddaughter for the first time, “Oh…you clever girl, you clever, clever girl,” she tells me, clapping her hands with joy. She kisses me. I have done it – I Have Done It.
I remain in bed, resplendent in the delivery suite breastfeeding Baby Bu for the first time. I’m lucky, the first feed is going well; she’s gone straight on and I’m not even that conscious of feeding (this will change). It’s all thanks to My Mum and those long emails and phone calls giving me tips on breastfeeding that I never came across anywhere else. I have visualised this moment; I never forgot My Mum telling me when I went into my second trimester that, “it’s just like a newborn baby animal on a nature programme – they bump into their mums and thrash about a bit, it’s nature’s way to help the milk let down and get production underway. Bring the baby up from underneath, nose to nipple and when you see that big open mouth, pop her on getting the whole areola in as much as you can” – and it worked! God bless My Mum.
Cool Daddy and My Mum are on Comms duty. They are elated, calling and texting family and friends with Baby Bu’s vital statistics (From the moment a girl’s born her weight seems to be a matter of public comment I later reflect). For once I am glad to hand over my iPhone and let others do the talking. I didn’t check in on Facebook, or live tweet my labour, I didn’t tell anyone I was going in for an induction a week before my due date. Who wants a text from a well meaning friend of “Is she here yet?” when you’re desperate to get that baby out? Not me, that’s for sure.
The midwife comes to assess what’s the damage to my long suffering vagina. “Open your legs for me and shuffle up the bed,” the Midwife tells me. Well that’s certainly easier said than done; I am still lacking sensation in my feet. The Midwife disappears from view as she takes a look at the situation downstairs. Her dark curly head pops up again with a look of surprise on her face. “You don’t seem to have any tearing,” she tells me. “That’s good,” i reply with relief. “I’m just going to get someone to double check,” she tells me as she beetles off to find the Senior Midwife. Soon after the two of them are investigating the situation. “No, nothing,” says the Senior Midwife pulling off her plastic gloves. “You won’t need stitches, I can’t see any tearing.” Apparently, this is very, very rare. I love her! Oh thank you merciful Lord. The Midwife then takes out the catheter and the epidural in my back and the drip in my hand; I’m glad I didn’t notice them putting these in during labour, I would have been disgusted and very scared but as I was off my face on pain and drugs I hadn’t even taken in that I was wired up like a Christmas tree.
When I am ready to depart the delivery suite for the Maternity Ward; making the transition from Mum-to-Be to actual Mum, the Midwife pushes me down the long corridor in a wheelchair. I am in my dressing gown, my wet hair combed into an unflattering bun with Baby Bu in my arms. As I look on at passersby I feel Queen-like. Cool Daddy and My Mum follow in a procession – the baggage carriers, hefting a load of suitcases, rucksacks and plastic bags – the general accoutrement that goes with having a baby – the equivalent of a fortnight’s holiday. I beam with delight as Baby Bu and I ride out of Labour Ward, past other expectant mothers on the Antenatal Ward and at long last into the Promised Land; the never seen before Maternity Ward (which is not part of the hospital tour). I am filled with pride as people turn to look at my beautiful, perfect, newborn baby. I am reminded of walking down the aisle on the arm of My Mum to ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’ and the look on Cool Daddy’s face. Though in this moment I am of course ever so slightly less glamorous, in a £5 t-shirt from Sports Direct, waffle dressing gown and liberated hotel spa slippers in a hospital wheelchair, rather than arriving to my new life in a Rolls Royce Phantom in a Suzanne Neville wedding dress– but it feels just as wonderful.
To be continued…
Amy Beeson is a Freelance Writer and is the Director of Wordsby Ltd working with many women running small business on limited budgets who need affordable solutions for their communications needs. Amy’s currently busy working away on three new books with baby expert Sarah Beeson MBE (and Amy’s mum) for HarperCollins.