CALEDON LIONHEART NG – BIRTH STORY

There were a few more blog posts I was going to make before the arrival of our baby boy, but he obviously had other ideas of when he would make his entrance into this world!

And to celebrate turning a week old yesterday, I thought I’d take the chance to write Caledon’s birth story!

A bit of backstory first:

Although my pregnancy was as straight forward as any pregnancy could get, that changed when I reached the third trimester. We knew from previous ultrasounds in the second trimester that baby was measuring small, and with each ultrasound from then on was still over 2 weeks behind. Not that that was a huge issue, I was assured that some just carry small and that usually there aren’t many if not any complications, and generally they’d make up the weight in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

When I was in week 33, we had a growth scan. This showed he was sitting in the 10th percentile weighing in at 1.6kg, it was also discovered that he had a small hole in the heart, more commonly known as VSD, as well as some narrowing of the aorta. Most cases of VSD clear up after birth, but the narrowing of the aorta needed to be monitored after birth as the closing of the bypass duct after birth may cause further narrowing of the aorta. After hearing this news we were referred to see a cardiologist for a second opinion, and I was advised to start maternity leave earlier, to give myself a chance to rest and see if baby was able to gain extra weight.

I had a follow up appointment with my obstetrician the week after and it was planned that I would need twice weekly growth ultrasounds, coupled with foetal monitoring at the hospital to make sure baby was okay and his heart was able to cope. I was given a letter to cease my employment & to start maternity leave effective immediately. The biggest blow that I was told, was that a natural birth was out of the question – as the stress on him may be too great, and a c-section would be likely in the next 3 weeks – if I made it that far. We left the office in a daze thinking…3 weeks, so soon! I cried when I got home, mourning the idea of a natural birth, and having to come to terms with a major operation & longer recovery time. Of course I would do anything to get my baby here safely, but I have never ever liked long stays in hospitals and surgery pain.

The next 3 weeks were busy going back and forth to the hospital multiple times a week, and were quite draining. I don’t even think there was a day were I got to completely rest as we had to be somewhere, or I had to buy extra things to take to the hospital to help with recovery. Time trickled away and before we knew it, it was time for us to head to the hospital for the birth of our first baby!

The Birth:

{WARNING} (Some photos are quite graphic so scroll at your own will!)

On the 26th July, 2016, we headed to the hospital to be admitted at 6.30am. My c-section was the first of the day starting at 8am, and there was a lot of prep work to be done before hand. We also had to wait to make sure there was a place in the Neonatal Special Care Unit for Caledon, so he could be monitored. I remember sitting in the waiting room ready to go into the back to be gowned up, and my stomach was absolutely flipping out from nerves. I was excited, but terrified at the same time! The thought of being awake for an operation just wasn’t comforting at all, but in the end I need not have worried.

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Kane and I were finally taken in, and gowned up, before I headed into theatre to have a cannula in my hand, and to have the spinal. My obstetrician Kent, saw me before hand and said not to worry and that everything will be just fine. From what I had read on the internet about spinals was that most women didn’t feel any pain at all, only a little sting with the first needle which numbs the entire area. It didn’t tickle, but it was bearable, and I had two nurses holding my hand the entire time. I can’t describe how strange the feeling is of losing the sensation of your legs. At first it was like a warm rush through my body and then it felt like a dead weight. By the time I had to lie down on the table, I couldn’t move my legs at all. Kane was able to enter into theatre after this procedure (as it needed to be a sterile environment to insert) and sat beside me. And then… we waited.

I felt a lot of pulling and lots of pressure, and after what seemed like a lifetime, I heard the suction. (I had read that this is the time when they are ready to pull baby out) and after a few seconds, I heard my baby cry. I burst into tears (more like sobs), and they lowered the sheet to present my gooey, but beautiful boy. Born at 8.49am, and weighing in at 2.54kg. As he was taken to the other side of the theatre to be cleaned up and checked over, I could watch it above me on a screen that was filming what was happening.

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Whilst I was being stitched up, Caledon was bought over to me (still crying, I don’t think he wanted to leave haha) we had some first family photos taken by the nurse. I don’t think I will ever forget the emotions that I felt in those first few minutes of him being born. The love I felt for him at first sight, my brain trying to register that he was actually inside me all this time, and how could anything in life be more perfect than him. Kane and Caledon were taken off to do more checking with our paediatrician Jim, as I was wheeled into the recovery room. I got to have one last hold before he had to go to NICU, and then I was taken up to the maternity wing.

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It was hard that night without my baby beside me. Being confined to a bed for the rest of the day, and night – was extremely frustrating. I couldn’t do anything for myself, and I hate being in hospital, period. What got me most was that I had to live through the photos & videos that Kane had taken of him in special care because I couldn’t physically be there in person. By morning, the spinal had worn off, and although I was sore and tired, I was able to have a shower and clean myself up as that day I was going to NICU to see my baby!

If you’ve ever been into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, it’s an awe inspiring moment. So many incubators filled with the tinest of babes born way too early. The work that these people do to try to keep them alive and well, is amazing. I was just so glad that my own baby was in the best of hands with one of the best hospitals in the state. Seeing Caledon in his own incubator with a drip and the beeps of monitors was confronting, and the only way I could touch him was through the holes in the crib. I was desperate to hold him again, and it must have been luck, as we were told if he was well enough after being put into an open crib, he would be bought up to my room that evening.

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He arrived at 6pm, and finally Kane and I could bond properly with him as well as learn a few things about how to care for him. I have never been around babies before, let alone changed or fed one, so it was a huge deal for me. I think I treated him like glass that first night! Although it was difficult being alone, coping with surgery pain, the tiredness from the drugs, on top of lack of sleep from feeding every 3 hours, I made it the full 5 day stay at hospital, and it was absolute bliss to finally be discharged.

We still need to go to a few follow up appointments to monitor his heart & keep an eye on his jaundice, but other than that he is healthy & well.

All up I had a really great birthing experience, it’s definitely something I’ll remember for a long time, especially now that I’ve written it down (amongst all the brain fog I have currently – so I apologise if some parts don’t make sense!) I’m loving being a mum, it’s the most full on job I’ve had in my life – kind of like running a marathon loop, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. He’s the most gorgeous little boy, and he is extremely placid, so we consider ourselves super lucky!

Stay tuned for more updates of how life with baby is progressing!

 

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