She’s finally here! My daughter Freya was born on 15th October at 23:21 weighing an impressive 8lb 10oz.
I won’t go into the nitty gritty about my labour but I will list the things I was surprised by that people don’t really warn you about.
Plan? Pah! Should be called Birth Dream Scenario for Naive First Time Mum. Sadly not as catchy. There’s so much talk about birth plans but in reality they as much use as your bed for sleeping once baby’s arrived. I was really open with my “birth plan” but even that had to go out the window. Unless you have strong reasons for not wanting something in labour I wouldn’t get your heart set on anything in your birth plan… it ain’t gonna happen!
In some cases you may have some choice in where you give birth. I had the choice between a hospital and a birthing centre. The midwives I saw throughout my pregnancy worked at the birthing centre and naturally were pro me going there. I was told how low risk I was and what an ideal candidate I was for giving birth there. In case you’re not aware, at a birthing centres in general there are no doctors and the only pain relief options are gas and air (this may vary from centre to centre). They look great, a more relaxed and homely environment to have your baby and better prospects for a water birth. However, if you need medical intervention you’ll need to be transferred via ambulance to a hospital so it’s worth considering if you’re happy with that. I wasn’t so I chose hospital and I’m so glad I did since I ended up needing instrumental delivery and boy was I in the right place.
No matter how straightforward the pregnancy, it bears no correlation to how straightforward the labour will be so don’t feel pressured into either option. Choose what you’re comfortable with, not what a professional tells you is “ideal” for you because they can’t know how your body will be in labour, they certainly didn’t with me.
You have to ask for it. Don’t go through 24 hours like I did on paracetamol and gas and air! I thought they would offer me pain relief but it’s down to you. Speak up!
Gas and air
Be prepared that it may do wonders for you but it may also be a flop. Sadly it was a flop for me. I basically used the mouthpiece to bite on and it helped focus my breathing. All well and good but I wanted to get high dude!!
Rush of love
Everyone talks about the overwhelming rush of love you will feel when you first hold your baby after birth. It’s something I daydreamed a lot about in pregnancy. That and a mezze board of Parma ham, baked Camembert, big glass of red wine and sleeping on my stomach at the end of it.
I think because of everyone telling me how it will feel, I put a lot of pressure on myself that it’s how I should feel.
The truth is my labour was long, painful and traumatic. When it was over and they handed her to me I was totally overcome with a mezze board of emotions, biggest was relief!! I was exhausted, hungry and in shock.
The bonding and overwhelming rush of love came a few hours later after we fed, spent the night together and had some cuddles. So don’t be hard on yourself If it takes you some time to have that feeling everyone talks about, it’ll happen.
Ring that Bell
If you stay in hospital after birth don’t be afraid to ring that call bell! Ask questions and soak up the advice. Before you know it you’ll be home and on your own. One night Freya had been screaming for hours and I hadn’t slept in days, I rang the bell and the midwife took her away, calmed her down and brought her back sleeping…like a baby! Sometimes you just need another pair of hands and you need sleep too!
Obvious I know. We all know babies are exhausting but as much as I knew this… oh…my…gawd!!
It’s hard. Not just the lack of sleep but in these early days they cry… a lot. And you have no idea why, so you offer them boob until your nipples bleed, they get stomach ache, they vomit, their cries turn into screams and everyone tells you it will get better… and it does… slowly. I thought I had a difficult baby until I was honest with other mums and just said “seriously what is wrong with my baby?!”… turns out they were experiencing the same and it’s just what babies do. They’ve gone from a safe cocoon into the big wide world and they don’t like it, but they adapt. I’m only 2 weeks in and I can see an improvement so hang in there. I’m afraid the nipples are not spared though so stock up on Lansinoh cream! It’s a godsend!
Now Freya is here I will be trying, testing and blogging about some of the cool baby gear I was sent while I was pregnant so watch this space. It may take longer than usual, not quite got used to typing one handed!