Well this has possibly been one of the more memorable weeks of my life as I became a Mummy for the first time!
Elijah Iain Mcinnes entered the world at 11.34am on Tuesday 12 November 2013 weighing 6lbs and 15oz.
He is named after the Prophet from the Book of Kings who we understand performed miracles and was a miracle himself. He feels like Ewan and my miracle as there was a time when we were not sure we would be able to have a baby of our own, plus I ended up with full grade placenta previa and he stuck in there until my planned C-section without me losing any blood or needing emergency medical care, despite teaching and practising Yoga right up until the end.
In fact it wouldn't surprise me if the Yoga helped to keep the placenta in place. I knew from 20 weeks that the placenta was low lying so I immediately changed my Yoga practice to accommodate this. Usually when you are pregnant, you practise poses to open the groins and cervix, but for me, I practised poses that kept this area closed and strong instead. Interestingly - well for me anyway - my sacrum caused me lots of problems throughout the pregnancy, so that actually any leg opening and folding poses caused me pain, so I guess you could say that the body, with the low lying placenta, was protecting itself already.
Life is full of challenges and while I would not like to go through placenta previa again, it did provide me with an opportunity to really go within. I wish perhaps I had worried less, and had more faith that it would all turn out fine in the end. Not to say I would choose to go through that whole C-section experience again, but with Elijah lying here in my arms, it was all of course worth it.
I am biased of course but he is a joy. It was the strangest feeling being given him to hold in my arms for the first time, a stranger almost, and yet not. I had spent the pregnancy connecting with the bean, and now here he was beside me and no more kicking and hiccupping in my tummy. Five days on and I can't imagine my life without him.
It was strange knowing when we were going to have him. I worked right up until 5.30pm the night before his arrival, always the way with work that it gets super busy before you are going off for any length of time. In many respects this was good, as I was nervous and so this kept me a little distracted.
Neither Ewan nor I managed to sleep much on Monday night - the endless night - and it was a relief when the alarm went off at 6am. I managed to squeeze in a Yoga and meditation practice before we went to the hospital for our 8am start. Due to the low lying nature of my placenta there was a concern that I could lose a lot of blood during the C-section, which may result in the need for a general anaesthetic. It was this that concerned me more than anything else.
I had initially elected for a home birth so I could tap into the spiritual experience of birthing, so to be told that I may not be awake for the birth and that Ewan would not be allowed in the theatre room if it did go to general, was very upsetting for me and I had to dig super deep to try and prepare myself with some level of acceptance and ability to go with the flow if the birth went down this route.
We had to wait around at the hospital for some time as there was an emergency C-section before us. This didn't help. Nor the fact that the ward was short staffed so we were moved from one midwife to another before ending up with Giuseppe, a wonderful male Italian midwife.
I can't really remember exact timings but I have a feeling I went down before 11am. It was all a bit scary really, I am not one for that medical world and it is all so clinical. The theatre staff, however, were wonderful, and I ended up chatting with a lady called Francis about baby names and Yoga, see, it gets everywhere! I knew I needed to be super still for the epidural but couldn't help irrationally shaking. I tuned in to my breath of course and that helped, but not quite the same as checking into it when birthing naturally!!
It was the strangest feeling not being able to move my legs. My blood pressure dropped, which made me feel really sick. Now that was horrible as I couldn't move my legs and had all these things in my hands so I couldn't really move them either and I was wondering how I cold be sick without choking. Fortunately the anaesthetist was able to sort very quickly and then Ewan joined me, which was my major concern, so I was able to relax a little with him beside me.
Ewan got stuck into the whole experience and watched them cut me open and was amused when Elijah's head popped out of my tummy before he rest of him was pulled out too. Ewan identified that he was indeed a boy as we had suspected from the beginning and got to go and sort the cord and watch him being cleaned up while the wonderful Mr Jensen attended to my placenta, which fortunately came out straight away, so that while I still lost over a litre of blood, this was
not as bad as it could have been. Ewan got to hold our new born son while I was being stitched up.
Back in the recovery room I finally got to hold my little monkey man in my one of my arms, although that whole 2 hours is a bit lost on me as my blood pressure was being controlled and whatever else they needed to do before we were able to go back to the ward.
We were back on the ward by 1.30pm, we telephoned our parents and both our mother's were with us within the hour. My memory is a bit hazy as the drugs wore off and my legs came back to life again, but I do remember everything feeling a little surreal that here we were with a baby and just wanting to tell the world! The afternoon is hazy, there was some breastfeeding to learn, blood pressure and blood loss checks, and finally some food!
That first night was strange, on my own in a hospital with a baby lying in a box beside me. I couldn't move due to the catheter so I couldn't actually attend to the baby so the midwife had to change his nappies and I ended up holding him much of the night. I insisted the catheter was taken out after 12 hours so that I could get up and move around, such a relief and almost a lovely novelty to be up during the night hours, there is something special about being up in those witching hours and I was high on euphoric energy and the novelty of no indigestion and nurses bringing me tea!
Wednesday is a big blur, more breast feeding and endless texts and emails and some visitors and my Dad holding the baby having been given the all clear from whooping cough, and me feeling really sore and struggling to move as easily as I would do normally and getting to know my little boy so tiny and new to the world. The night was tough as he wouldn't settle in his bed as I guess he was so used to be being held and the so I fell asleep with him in my bed and the midwife went mad as it is against hospital policy, so I gave up on sleeping and held him instead, more tea, what a joy to drink this again!
Thursday and blood tests showed I was severely anaemic and on the threshold for a blood transfusion, which I have declined, at this stage anyway. On the basis my Mum is able to help me out, I was allowed to go home on Thursday afternoon, a bit of a surprise for everyone, especially Ewan who was recovering from the Head Wetting celebrations!
So we came home and my wonderful Mum has virtually moved in to help out while Ewan works as I am not allowed to be left on my own due to the risk of feinting from iron deficiency. What a joy!
Still it is not so bad, admittedly day 4, Saturday, was tough as the sleep deprivation kicked in and I over did it with a gentle Yoga practice and going into town to have Elijah's passport photos taken (and to enjoy a much needed decaf soya latte at Costa!), but I managed to get 5 hours sleep last night so am feeling fine...well finer than I did yesterday in any event. It is all a learning experience and an opportunity for mindfulness and now the milk is flowing - quite literally, now that is a learning experience too! - then hopefully we can get into a routine of sorts...well at least it will all start to become a little more familiar!
With much love and gratitude.