I sit here in my hospital room on day four with one last night to go.
To my left I have an array of food that has been bought in by my amazing friends and family. To my right I have the most gorgeous little life I have ever seen (other than her sister of course).
Anya Leigh Barber arrived into this world at 1.13pm on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017.
Once again I didn’t get the birth that I had planned, but again the main thing is that she is now healthy, safe and right where she should be.
Since it’s fresh in my mind I thought I would try and recap the past few eventful days.
Alarm goes off, shit I’ve only had about 4 hours sleep and I’m having a baby today!! Excitement through pure exhaustion isn’t going to get me through and I have to finish eating by 6am. I think it’s going to be a long day.
Sam proceeds to get up, light the fire and start cooking bacon and eggs for my last meal.
I potter round the kitchen tidying up, attempting to rid this nauseating feeling that is starting to sweep over me.
Shit, I’m going to be sick! I rapidly head to the bath room, which luckily has the sink right next to the toilet, and very unceremoniously empty my both my stomach and bowels at the same time. I almost instantly feel a lot better but am concerned that it’s more than just nerves.
Breakfast is served, I can’t even look at it. So my friend the couch and I get together and I almost immediately go back to sleep. What’s the time? Ahh I have 20 minutes to scoff what ever food and fluids my stomach can handle. I do that, take my pre-op pills and Sam and I both fall back asleep on the couch.
I am awoken at 8am by the cutest voice almost yelling from the top of the stairs “Morning! Hi! Morning!” Milena comes down with that big cheesy smile she has, we watch some cartoons before finishing getting everything ready to go.
At 10.30am we leave the house with Milena and her mountain of blankets and toys she wanted to take in tow. We head over to Sam’s parents where we set Milena up for her sleep over. Trying to put her down for a nap so we could leave without her getting worked up failed miserably. I’m sure she knew. I picked her up out of her bed, crying almost hysterically, I comforted her till she calmed down and went to put her back. I’ve never felt so bad. She screamed “NO!” and clung onto me so tight that I almost burst into tears myself. Unfortunately we had to leave, so gave her to Poppa with a bottle, kissed her on the forehead, told her I loved her and left.
12pm, we arrive at the general surgery waiting room. Fill out my form, repeat my name and date of birth half a dozen times and sit down. We’d only been seated for a minute or so when a nurse came out and called my name. Instant excitement and fear surge back into my body.
Sitting in the pre op room listening to the nurse, then the anesthetist and then another nurse, I found myself getting more and more nervous by the second. My eyes were growing wider, my hands were starting to shake, I could feel myself starting to sweat. For the use of a better word, I was freaking the fuck out.
Sam and I then got changed into our surgery gears, took the obligatory selfie and waited to be taken in.
The rest is quite a blur as it all seemed to happen so fast. For me the weirdest thing was walking into theater and sitting on the bed chatting to the team…well kind of chatting. My nerves were full force pretty much causing me uncontrollable shaking. They were all so nice and calming though which helped to calm me somewhat. When my wonderful midwife walked in and I calmed down even more.
Then came the spinal tap….my god! As soon as it was put in I could feel it moving through me, down my legs almost instantly taking over my body. And another wave of nausea swept over me except this time it didn’t stay down. Lucky Sam was there holding the cup for me, wiping my face clean so I didn’t look like a complete mess. You know how hard and weird it is to throw up when you can’t feel anything from your chest down?? Not my idea of a good time.
My camera was given to my midwife with the instructions of ‘I want to see as much as possible’ so if there is any interest out there I am more than happy to let you see.
It seemed like the surgeons were taking an eternity to get this baby out. Or maybe it was because I was spacing out a bit. But as soon as I heard the words ‘meconium’ and ‘cut the cord’ my heart sank. All I wanted was my skin to skin and delayed cord clamping. But yet again this wasn’t something that was meant to be.
I heard a little cry, the surgeon saying congratulations, then another cry. Then the first moment I saw her, she was shown to me over the drape.
Love, unconditionally and instantly.
I burst into tears with joy. My girl was here.
She was taken over to do the checks, they immediately started helping her breathe. She had unfortunately swallowed some meconium, had fluid in her lungs and irregular breathing. I was so scared that something was going wrong that my body went into shut down mode. I couldn’t hear anything all I could do was watch as the team worked on my baby. I had the anesthetist, cool and calm in my ear reassuring me everything was ok and was going to be fine. Sam got to cut the remainder of the cord, then she was bundled up and brought over to me for a quick kiss and cuddle before being whisked off to SCBU.
In that moment she looked at me in the eye, knowing who I was, I felt even more in love with her. I also knew everything was going to be ok. I watched her get carried out and felt a wave of calm come over me. She was being taken to the best place to give her the care she needed.
While finishing closing me up (in which they did an absolute amazing job) my midwife was expressing my colostrum. Breast feeding is so important to me. After being unable to give birth naturally I feel being able to feed my children is the least my body should be able to do.
All done and taken back to my room I can’t really remember what I did for the next few hours. But all I wanted was to see my girl and make sure she was fine.
At about 4.30pm I was taken down in my bed to SCBU.
I saw her and it broke my heart. Hooked up to the bubble CPAP to help clear the fluid, oxygen, drip, cardiac monitor and on antibiotics. All I wanted was to scoop her up and cuddle her, make it all better. The best I could do was gently touch her leg and tell her it was all going to be ok.
Back in my room I struggled to get any form of sleep. I had requested that I was expressed every 3 hours to help with my milk production, and I wanted to give her all the colostrum I possibly could.
The next morning I attempted to get out of bed at 6am. No deal. No way. The hospital midwife that was helping me stand up…well trying to, wasn’t helping at all, I almost cried in pain, refused and got back into bed. Fail.
The next shift of midwives came in at 7am and I was taken back down to SCBU by my lovely new midwife. I was greeted with the sight on my gorgeous girl with no CPAP and no oxygen mask.
I was able to finally hold my girl. Feeling her warm soft skin against my own. This girl was hungry. She latched like a pro and I felt on top of the world.
Back in my room my appointed m hospital midwife then helped me to get up and have a shower. Only 2 hours after the first failed attempt, I was up and showered. I would like to thank her but I cant even remember her name, but I know she was training to be a doctor and I know she will be awesome at that too. Just the way she helped me get back on my feet was amazing.
For the duration of that day, night and part of the next I went down to SCBU every 3 hours to feed my hungry little girl.
Then at 2.30pm on Friday 21st, I woke from a nap to my precious girl being wheeled into my room.
I was complete again.
So even though once again my birth didn’t go as planned, having my happy and healthy baby finally with me and in my arms for good was all that mattered.
Big thank you to all the lovely staff at the Hutt Hospital that have made my stay here so easy, the surgeons for doing an absolute amazing job, the midwives that have been so lovely and helpful and the SCBU staff that looked after my girl right from the start.
To my midwife, you are amazing, you took some amazing pictures that I will cherish forever and thank you for everything.
To my fiancé, you are my rock, thank you for being with me every step of the way, for putting up with my hormonal outbursts and for you and your family looking after our girl while I’ve been in here, even though you have both been sick as dogs.
And to everyone else that has come to see us, brought us gifts or just sent messages to make sure we are doing well, thank you all. We appreciate every single one of you.
As I finish this it’s just gone midnight, today is the day of escape and the start of our life as a family of 4.
Can’t wait to see what it has in store.