“Just when you think you know love, something little comes along to remind you just how big it really is”
A few weeks ago I wrote a post centred around my positive birth experience with Oscar. When I tried to put it all together, I realised just how much of the detail I’d forgotten. Caught up in a haze of nerves & excitement on the day the details we remember are sketchy, and over time have been forgotten. So I decided to make note of Scout’s birth story early on, and not wait nearly two and a half years…!
In my last post, I shared my hopes for our second little ones elective c-section and well, on 11th January 2018, exactly 29 months to the day on from Oscar’s Birthday our second baby entered the world in the most lovely, calm and magical way – and our hearts instantly doubled in size.Arriving at the hospital first thing on the morning of my elective c-section at 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant (officially the most pregnant I’ve ever been!), the nerves were well and truly kicking in after a restless night’s sleep. I was number two on the surgery list, so on went my gown and sexy compression stockings and then it was just a case of waiting for number 1, a woman having her third little girl, to be done and dusted.
THE TIME IS NOW
Before going through to theatre, the midwife came in for a chat to answer any final questions we had and also to review our birth plan and wishes. One of the most important aspects of this, for us, was the logistics of retaining my placenta and popping it in my cool bag for me to pass on to the wonderful Jen at Badass Birth for encapsulation and she explained the process that she would go through in order to make sure it was kept in the best condition possible, which left us feeling confident that they knew what they were doing, and also no judgement whatsoever. After this, it was time to walk through to theatre. Leaving Robin in the pre-op room to go and get my spinal block I was acutely aware that these were our last few moments of our family as we knew it – soon there would be a new addition!
Making small talk with the midwives and other theatre staff I remember being asked multiples times “are you sure you’re ok? You seem very anxious!” – despite having been through a near identical process in this very hospital, I was still scared. Shit scared!
This whole part of the experience was different though. What seemed to pass in a flurry with Oscar, seemed to take longer this time. In actual fact, I think I was just more aware of what was happening and making a conscious effort to retain more details.
The spinal was in and I was laid back for the team to begin prepping and just like with Oscar my “face itch” started! A less than attractive side effect of the diamorphine they give with the spinal which leads to a bright red tomato face from the incessant rubbing!
What felt like forever was spent waiting for the spinal block to take full effect, including my head being tilted so far back that I felt like I was going to slide right off the table like a wet fish… this might have played a part in my blood pressure then dropping and subsequent panic that I was gonna throw up and all I could think was “if I’m sick then my hair is going to get covered in it and all my newborn photos will be tainted with vom!!” – but luckily no vom surfaced.
It was then the surgeon stood over me, all scrubbed up and said “ok, we ready to go?” And all I could say was – “BUT ROBIN?!” … I genuinely thought they were going to start without him for a split second, then I heard his voice outside the door and in he came to calm my nerves!
“IT’S A… BOY?!”
As this time round we had decided not to find out the baby’s sex, we agreed that it would be nice if on the day Robin announced it as the baby was airlifted from the sunroof, so to speak. However, when we’d spoken about this I’d expressed genuine concern that he might get it wrong in the heat of the moment! We joked about it with the midwife before we went into theatre but she assured us that Robin was more than capable of deciphering the right “bits” to make the call!
As the time for baby to come drew closer, the midwife reminded the team that “Dad would announce boy or girl” and just moments later, I felt a huge pressure just below my ribs as the consultant assisted our baby in entering the world. Finally, after what had felt like forever, our beautiful baby was earth-side, and let out its first little cries. It was then that the surgeon held baby up to Robin and he announced “its a… boy? I think…” in a less than convincing tone to some slightly confused looks!
I just remember thinking “OSCAR HAS A WEE BROTHER!” But before I could think anything else, I heard the surgeon say “ehm, maybe check again…?” and Robin exclaiming “is it a girl?!” – turns out Baby was presented at an odd angle and in Robin’s own words he “thought he saw a little ball sack” … But we had a baby girl, that 100% did not have “a little bawsack”, believe me I made the midwife clarify this about 3 times in the space of a minute.
As requested, we delayed her cord clamping and Robin took some photos of her over the curtain. Hearing her little squeaks was just the best feeling, this time round of felt a lot more impatient to meet our new arrival and I think this may have been down to not knowing the sex as we both felt we didn’t really “know” who they were yet, they didn’t have a name and we couldn’t imagine who they’d be – we could only imagine another Oscar.
Turns out our baby girl was far from being another Oscar and when we got our first proper look at her once her cord has been cut we both expressed our shock at how different she looked with a head of dark hair in contrast to Oscar’s strawberry blond fluffy hair at birth.
The rest of the surgery, ie. me being put back together, passed in a blur of pictures and staring at our brand new daughter and calling her by her new name for the first time – Scout.
Before long, I was in recovery with my brand new little bundle on my chest already rooting for some boobage before heading back up to the ward where Scout got to meet her Gran and Papa Robertson who had been waiting patiently for visiting to begin!
What struck us both this time round was that quite a lot seems to have changed for Elective C-section Mamas in the two years since we had Oscar. Where last time I had to wait 24 hours for my catheter to be removed in order to get up and shower and walk about and, most importantly, tend to my baby, has now changed to the same day. If you’re out of surgery and in recovery before 12 noon, it will be removed at 6pm that evening, or if you miss the noon cut off, as I did (went into recovery at 12:20) then catheter is removed at midnight. I’ll admit, this made me slightly jealous of the girl in the bed across from me that was able to get a shower after her dinner and I had to wait, but it was great all the same to be able to be a lot more mobile – especially through the night. This was something I struggled with when I had Oscar, I hated having to buzz a midwife to help me pick him up and tend to him all because I had a tube of pee sticking out me!
When I had Oscar, it was the “norm” to stay in for two nights, however, I had pushed to be discharged after one as I was feeling well and keen to get home. This one night stay is now encouraged as long as you’re feeling well enough and baby is feeding.
What I will say though is that in general things felt a little bit sorer this time – probably due to the extra scar tissue etc, but as before, nothing unmanageable and the whole experience was, once again, an extremely positive and emotional one, for both of us.
SEVEN DAYS OF SCOUT
One of the biggest differences we’ve noticed his time round is us…
Two and a half years ago I had never even held a baby. I had no idea what to do and where to start with the tiny baby boy that was placed in my arms that day. Don’t get me wrong, I learned, quickly, and in hindsight so much came naturally but I still remember being awake with him in the night in hospital and feeling out of my depth and so worried about whether I was enough for him – enough to keep him safe, enough to keep him healthy and nurture him, was I enough to raise a good and kind human being? Because that’s all we want for our children, isn’t it? For them to be healthy, happy and kind. Looking back now I know I was enough. I still am enough.
In contrast, this time we’ve felt so calm and at ease. Not to mention the fact that we’re all too aware how quickly this newborn bubble will be over – so we’re embracing it. All the cuddles, all the pictures, all the quiet time as a family and feeling so excited to introduce our little Scout to everyone and anyone!
Her Big Brother has been so sweet and we’re doing everything we can to keep everything ticking over “as normal” for him, something that’s fairly easily done in these early days when all Scout does is sleep. Hopefully the adjustment will be a gradual one for him and we can keep his routine as normal as possible. We’re so proud of how he’s getting on with it all and can’t wait to see their relationship flourish in the weeks, months and years to come!
But for now, the newborn cuddles continue and we feel forever grateful to have our little girl in our arms safe and sound.
Welcome to the chaos Scout Zelda Rose Smith, born on 11th January 2018 weighing 7lbs 2oz. You are so loved.