I remember having my baby like it was yesterday! Surely giving birth would be a breeze, women do it all the time! Do these babies come with instructions? Do I have to sign a delivery receipt…? Hi my name is Tia and I look after the Bump2Baby introduction free passes to Farmer Palmers. I am proud to say I know where you are all coming from!
Good Advice from Mum in my Pregnancy
Throughout my pregnancy I tried to be as open minded as I could be regarding my birth plan and feeding. As a first-time mother I had no idea what I was to expect. I decided not to eliminate any of my options. Stella advise from my own mother – ‘no one pats you on the back for being a Hero Tia. If you need pain relief, make sure you take it’. As we all know so well, everyone has their own opinions when it comes to their children. I decide to follow the route of trial and error. If something didn’t work for me – I wasn’t going to beat myself up about it.
It’s a GIRL!
After giving birth to my precious little girl, I think it’s safe to say everything seemed a little ‘blurry’. It was a very long labour and due to complications. I ended up having an emergency C-section to ensure ‘Ivy’ was delivered safely. On Ivy’s arrival she was propped up from behind the privacy screen. IT’S A GIRL they shrieked! I remember the surgeon cradling her high in the air. A living bundle with a mass of dark hair and her umbilical cord standing rather proud. Lion King eat your heart out!
Why wasn’t she crying?
Moments passed and the room had fell a little silent, why wasn’t she crying? I could hear a nurse trying to coax her around ‘c’mon darling, c’mon’. That felt like the longest few minutes ever. In a flash of an eye she was finally presented to me wrapped up like a little burrito baby.
As quick as I saw her, she was whisked off to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NUCI). Ivy needed more support to get herself “kick started”. I was taken to see her shortly after being stitched up. Because of the extra help it took a good 7 hours before I managed to get my first proper cuddle with her. My oh my, it was worth the wait. I remember the nurse wheeling me up to her incubator and thinking ‘Oh my gosh – she’s mine?’ She was so tiny, wriggling around yet covered with tubes and little monitors to help support her.
What on earth happens now…
I had decided initially I would give breastfeeding a shot if I could. This decision was based on the benefits I had heard surrounding natural colostrum.
As I am sure you aware before you can leave hospital, the midwives like to ensure the baby has a strong latch onto the mother’s breast. Ivy was settled on the NICU ward and I was popped in a little side room up on the main maternity ward with the other mums and babies. This meant I needed to go up and down the ward in order to feed Ivy on demand. As I was obviously exhausted the nurses suggested I hand expressed into what I can only describe as the smallest syringe in the whole wide world.
Learning to breastfeed
To my amazement the midwife demonstrated how to express using a crochet boob – can you believe it? I am naturally quite a private person so not one to flash a nipple out of choice. But after the marathon of what felt like a never-ending labour, I wasn’t sure what day of the week it was! Let alone really bothered who saw or touched my boob.
She advised due to the hospital rules at that time the midwives weren’t allowed to manually assist. She had a little giggle with me and assured me if she saw me in the supermarket moving forward, she wouldn’t make eye contact haha! I’m not sure how you feel but, in my book, a little bit of lightheartedness goes a long way.
If truth be told in the end my mum helped me and instead, I made the effort to feed Ivy on demand rather than what I felt was an unnecessary palaver. I think I was high on adrenaline so there was no way I was going to be able to rest let alone sleep.
Contraception – I mean honestly, if giving birth isn’t contraception enough?! Haha! “Sooo, have you thought about contraception” Have I thought about it? No but I tell you what I have thought about – perhaps being hit by bus mid labour seemed like an easier option.
If I was to have another baby would I consider a natural birth moving forward –would I heck, I think more to the point at this very moment, celibacy seemed like the best idea. What I felt hours after birth was a very unnecessary conversation was, I guess is actually quite appropriate considering really.
Can I get pregnant if breastfeeding?
Also, it surprised me to learn that some women seem to think breast feeding with no period for the duration means you cannot get pregnant. This is not true. Thankfully not something which I have experienced but the rumours are true, breastfeeding is not a natural contraception because you do not bleed!! Make sure you give your wonderfully clever bodies that time to heal properly, they deserve it and so do you.
Personally, probably like most I am not a huge fan of staying overnight in hospital so when it came to going home I was ready to run out the door. By the time Ivy arrived I was 10 days overdue and I had tried every trick in the book to get things moving. My waters broke early hours of Wednesday morning, and we were in hospital through to Friday night.
As far as I am concerned there is no better feeling than the comforts of your own home when you are on cloud 9 with happiness yet emotional and physical exhausted.
Leaving the hospital
We finally fastened Ivy into her lovely new car seat, our final health checks were completed, and we were given the all clear and sent on our way home.
As we rustled up our final personal items and began to make our way down the long corridor. I could feel myself start to dawdle slightly. I guess, I was looking around for a nurse just to give us that final nod. This was OK, and we were going to be OK. I just couldn’t seem to grasp what happens next, can just walk out?
How do they know, we know, what we are doing? Do these babies not come with instructions? Do I have to sign a delivery receipt? What, you mean we can just leave, just like that?? It just seemed madness to me. Although she was ours, she was so precious, almost too precious for us to take home in the hands of a complete novice.
As we approached the end of the corridor there was a shiny bell attached to the wall for us to ring. Designed to signify the special moment – we were now leaving as a little family. (Whilst writing I also totally respect the fact that some mums do not leave ringing the bell).
On the gear up to Ivy’s arrival we had treated ourselves to a nice new family wagon. We clicked Ivy’s car seat into its cradle, checked and triple checked it was secure, ‘it did beep at us right?’ before we pulled away.
On the way home I sat in the back of the car with Ivy. I remember just staring at her the whole way home in utter disbelief of what we had accomplished. I think it’s safe to say it took us twice as long to get home as we were driving so slowly.
Learn More on Pregnancy and baby from the NHS
Looking for activities to do with your new baby? Here’s a great article from Smart Parent Advice. (Please note some activities will only be suitable outside of lockdown restrictions)
Tia, Farmer Palmer’s Bump2Baby Mums Free 3 Month Pass Organiser