The first week...
Well, little Grace is now a week old! And I fall more in love each day. She is a good baby, wakes up murmuring to herself rather than crying, but hates her nappy being changed. She feeds well but is inclined to fall asleep on the breast which can make feed times a little long. She sleeps well once she is off, though some of her nights so far have been a little tough as she is more active and harder to settle. But all in all - how cute is she?
Rupert has been an incredible support - he is definately the most hands on Daddy I have ever seen, which has been wonderful as I have had a couple of days of nausea and vomiting, so have needed the help - and a bit of extra sleep at times. A couple of days ago I was back at my pre pregnancy weight, and I've lost more since, so I need to be a little careful and keep up the food intake.
So...now to the birth story.
We were told on my last appointment on the Thursday that we would need to be at the hospital on Friday morning to be induced, so off we went, all excited. However, because I was having frequent Braxtons they couldn't use the gel so there was a lot of lying around waiting and being monitored. Finally at 2.30 the doctor said we could either go home, or she would use the gel then. I felt really strongly that we were there, we were ready and I just wanted her out. It was the best decision though I didn't know it at the time.
After the gel was inserted, I sent Rupert home as they said it wouldn't start to work for quite some time. While I waited, I walked - the hospital is near a lake where I spent a lot of time as a kid, so it was kinda nice to see how it was still the same. Finally, I started getting some contractions, so it was back into bed onto the monitor, and for Rupert to come back. As the contractions got stronger, the midwives realised that Grace's heartbeat was dropping quite dramatically and it became apparent that she wouldn't be able to handle full labour. So, a few more hours of monitoring to confirm that they started prepping me for a caesarian. I must admit to a few tears at this point - partly worry over Grace, and partly because I really wanted a natural labour. But, at the end of the day we had to do what was best for her and get her out safely. The doctor thanked me for listening to my intuition - if we had gone home and labour had started naturally we would have had no idea that she was distressed. As it was, even after the gel, my cervix hadn't dilated past 1cm and was still firmly at the back so even breaking my waters wouldn't have been an option.
The surgical team were awesome - so reassuring, and they took really good care of Rupes and I. I just had an epidural so could feel everything but see nothing, and of course no pain. Quite a strange feeling actuallyl! It was all over so quickly, that strange tugging as they pulled her from me, that first quick peek over the screen and hearing her yelling. I couldn't stop crying - her wee face, that shock of black hair, those tiny wee hands. Rupes stayed with her while they made sure she was ok and I was stitched back up, and it seemed like no time at all before we were up in our room with our tiny wee girl.
We had the most fantastic care - the midwives were wonderful, particularly one who spent so much time with Grace and I that she became a friend. I was told that I could stay in for about five days, but by the time I got the feeling back in my legs and was walking around a few hours after the birth I knew there was no way I would stay that long, so we came home on the Monday morning.
There are so many special moments I want to remember - the night where Grace was cluster feeding and the midwives let me sleep through it and just came in and changed her from side to side every fifteen minutes. Having half our ante natal class in the maternity ward at the same time and visiting with the other mothers. Trying to be supportive to one mother and father because their baby was 6 weeks early and in the special care unit. Having the head midwife tell everyone what a miracle Grace was and having nurses coming down to check her out for themselves. Gifts and flowers and visitors and oh the love in that room at times. And finally, leaving, and the very careful drive home before carrying her into the house and the start of a whole new life.
It really doesn't get any better than this does it?