Birth Announcement!

September 30, 2008 at 9:43 pm (Baby) (, , , , , )

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Xander Hayden Smurthwaite
Born 24.09.08 @ 12.59pm
Weighing 8lbs 12 oz

At long last I am very proud to be able to announce the arrival of our baby son, Xander Hayden Smurthwaite, who was born by emergency c-section on 24 September at 12.59pm and weighed in at a hefty 8lbs 12 oz.

We got back from the hospital late this afternoon after an extended stay at the hospital:

Things kicked off in the early hours of Saturday 20 September, but despite having three strong contractions in each 10-minute period, I was only 1cm dilated when we arrived at the hospital and got sent home. The contractions died off a bit, but I wasn’t able to get much rest.

Over the next few days, I went back to the hospital several times with severe, very regular contractions, but each tie I was only a couple of centimetres “gone”, so I went home again, The fourth time, at 3cm dilation, they would have kept me in, but I was told I couldn’t use the birthing pool as someone else had beaten me to it. I opted to go home again and wait it out in the bath tub instead, hoping that by the time I got back in again the pool would be available and I could have the water birth I so badly wanted.

After four days of off-and-on contractions and no sleep, my waters finally broke in the early hours of Wednesday 24 September and we headed back to the midwife unit. Unfortunately, the place was inundated and we were given a private room in A&E (which actually meant we got treated as a priority, which was rather nice!), and I was found to have meconium in my waters, which effectively ruled out the water birth – I would have to go onto the labour ward instead of booking into the midwife unit after all.

Strangely, it was at this point that I turned to Dale and said, “This is going to end up being a c-section”.

Through the course of the morning, I continued my regular and painful contractions using nothing but a TENS machine and counted breath control for pain relief. I was still only 3cm dilated, so they started me on a drip to help thing along, which effectively meant I was getting maybe 30 seconds between painful contractions. I tried gas-and-air, but it initially made me gag violently, which added to my distress, rather than helping me cope with things. By this time I also had a temperature and was pretty much delirious most of the tie, having conversations with people who weren’t there and coming out with the most ridiculous, non-sensical comments. It was also becoming apparent that Tadpole was becoming a little distressed and that a c-section may well be on the cards. I consulted with Dale and my sister (both of whom had been with e throughout giving their unerring support and love) and, in one of my more lucid moments, admitted defeat and asked for an epidural (apparently my conversation throughout that was insanely funny!).

Shortly afterwards, it was made very clear that there was no longer a choice – I had to have a c-section and I gladly agreed – anything that was required to keep the baby safe was fine by me.

I was quickly prepared for surgery and Dale was dressed in scrubs to join me in theatre.

Shortly afterwards, our beautiful son was delivered, but was “grunting” a little, so he was quickly whisked away (after a brief kiss from each of us) to make sure everything was fine.

While I was in recovery, I zoned in and out of lucidity and as eventually transferred to a ward, but our baby was in the high dependency unit. It was a little distressing being the only Mum on the ward who didn’t have her baby with her, but I consoled myself with the fact that he was receiving the very best of care and I was able to go and visit him briefly. Later on that night I was able to breast feed him, which was a wonderful experience. If I thought I’d felt a rush of love when we was first brought out of me, it was nothing compared to how I felt holding him in my arms and feeding him myself.

It wasn’t until late on Thursday night that Xander was transferred to the ward to be with me and the feeling was wonderful. Having him right there beside me was the most marvellous thing ever. Xander still had to have a course of antibiotics to clear him of infection (I was found to have Group B Strep) and so we weren’t expected to leave the hospital before 1 October, but we were actually discharged late this afternoon and Dale was very pleased to welcome us home at long last – we are now a proper family!

Throughout our entire stay at the hospital, the staff were marvellous – I couldn’t have asked for better care for me and our son and they went out of their way to make things as easy as possible for us, offering assistance when Xander was having trouble staying latched on (which he can now do beautifully, by the way!) and helping to keep my spirits up when I was still waiting for him to join m eon the ward, as well as near the end when I was the only “original” inmate left on the ward and felt like the old lag who was never granted parole!

Dale and Leni were both absolute stars throughout and I can’t praise and thank them enough for being there for me and Xander throughout it all. Leni is now a doting Auntie and Dale is the most devoted Daddy you ever did see – it’s a beautiful sight!

So, here we are, very tired, but very, very happy, and home at last with our wonderful, perfect son who we both love to distraction.

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Tadpole update…

September 20, 2008 at 11:57 am (Baby) (, , , , , , )

No pregnancy update this week as things are kicking off now!

I’ve been having regular contractions since just before 4-o-clock this morning. We started timing them at three every twenty minutes and as I type we’re down to three every fifteen minutes. We just need to wait till we’re getting three in a ten-minute period before we think about heading to the Midwifery unit (which is literally only five minutes away from our flat).

So far I’ve been managing fine with just the TENS machine on still quite a low setting (which is FABULOUS, by the way!), and moving gently on a gym ball whilst concentrating on my breathing. The contractions are definitely increasing in intensity, but so far nothing too bad.

Family are all now preparing to head our way from South of the Border and I have Dale and Leni here keeping an eye on the timings of things and generally making sure I’m fine (which, obviously, I am, as I’m here typing a blog post!) and we’re just watching a bit of telly to keep me distracted whilst we wait for those contractions to get closer together.

It looks like we could well be meeting Tadpole face-to-face some time this evening!

It’s all very exciting and we’re dying to find out whether we’re having a boy or a girl and seeing what s/he looks like.

So, I’ll be away for a couple of days at least, but rest assured I’ll let you al know the outcome on my return.

Wish us luck!

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Tagged – Three Things

September 16, 2008 at 1:31 pm (Memes) ()

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My lovely buddy, Sandy, has tagged me with a little meme, so here goes:

3 Joys

  1. Reading
  2. My hubby
  3. The thought of our new baby who is soon to arrive

3 Fears

  1. Heights
  2. Anything that naturally has more than 4 legs
  3. Loud, sudden noises

3 Goals

  1. To be a good mother
  2. To get promoted
  3. To buy a house with a garden where I can grow my own vegetables

3 Current Obsessions

  1. Our new baby who will very soon arrive
  2. Being prepared for motherhood
  3. Books

3 Random/Surprising Facts

  1. I wanted to be a fighter pilot in the RAF, but couldn’t because I was a girl who wore glasses (things have changed slightly since then!)
  2. I used to be a professional actor and was doing rather well with it, but I’m much happier since I gave it up (scenario of dream job becoming more of a nightmare, really!)
  3. I’m a neat-freak at work but messy as hell at home.

So, I’m supposed to nominate some people to do this after me, but I think I’ll just leave it open – do it if you feel like it!

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38 weeks in…

September 13, 2008 at 2:16 pm (Baby) (, , , , )

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Foetus at 38 weeks

Some interesting facts about being 38 weeks pregnant:

  • Tadpole is continuing to build a layer of fat which will help regulate his/her body temperature after birth
  • Tad will now weigh around 7lbs (apparently boys tend to be slightly heavier at birth than girls, so we’ll have to “weight” and see which we get!)
  • All Tadpole’s organs are now fully developed (although his/her lungs will continue to mature)
  • My heart is currently pumping 45% more blood around my body than it did pre-pregnancy
  • There are now just 14 days till Tadpole’s Estimated Due Date

We really are in the “final countdown” moments of pregnancy now and I will freely admit I’m more than ready for Tadpole to come out into the world. My feet now look like balloons with little fat sausages for toes and my ankles have gone all chubby too (I’ve always had slender feet and ankles, so not only do I find this incredibly uncomfortable, it’s also depressingly unsightly to me!). I feel like I’m a very-slowly-moving mountain these days as I Jemima Puddleduck my way around the place. In fact, when we had our 38-week appointment with the midwife this week, I was measuring 40 inches, which would seem to indicate that the bun in my oven is now well and truly baked. The midwife made me an appointment for 40 weeks and said that she would offer me a membrane sweep at that point, rather than waiting till 41 weeks like usual, so I guess she thinks it’s time too.

I’m getting less and less sleep lately too – I only seem to sleep every other night and on those nights where I do get some sleep, I average about five broken hours. The problem is that I’ve developed an irritating “snort” just as I’m dropping off and it wakes me up. And it doesn’t matter which position I adopt for sleeping, it happens anyway; whether I’m on my left side, my right side, or sitting propped upright, whether I’m in bed, on the sofa or in a chair – I just keep snorting. And when I finally do get to sleep, I snore and wake myself up with that. It’s ridiculous really. So, every other night I manage to get a few hours of precious shut-eye and on the nights in between I while away the hours by trying to read (unsuccessfully as I can’t concentrate!), spending time online, giving myself 4am manicures, and taking full advantage of Sky Movies (which tends to play utter rubbish at silly-o-clock in the morning!).

We thought for a brief moment that things were kicking off yesterday as I was getting a persistent ache in my lower back and the old Braxton Hicks seemed to be stronger and in a lower area than usual, but then it all calmed down again and there was no regularity, so we figured we have a little longer to wait. In the meantime, I’m drinking raspberry leaf tea by the gallon (well, maybe two mugs a day as it’s rather bland-tasting!), eating spicy foods, trying to be upright and active and, well, I’m sure everyone knows of all the ways that are said to “set things off”. I made a delicious spicy vegetable soup yesterday and tonight I think I’ll be opting for a good, hot curry for dinner!

I’ve spent the last week or so cooking up a storm in the kitchen and filling our freezer with portion-sized meals of things like curry, Bolognese, chilli and a whole bunch of other things that I could cook in batches, so that I won’t have to think about making main meals for a little while when Tadpole decides it’s time to come out.

And my maternity leave officially starts as of Monday 15 September, so my holiday allowance was used to its fullest, which I’m rather pleased about. I’ve been very glad to have these few weeks out of the office to get things finished here. Dale has been an absolute star, cleaning and tidying the place and making sure I’m alright (he even got out my foot spa and filled it with cool water to ease my aching, bloated feet!) and has been speaking directly to Tadpole saying that any time the Kid wants to come out is absolutely fine by us! I said last week that he’d made my millennium by saying he was proud of me and how I’d coped with pregnancy, well I have to say, I’m incredibly proud of him and everything he’s done – Dale has taken care of everything from start to finish, taking on more and more around the flat until he’s basically been doing absolutely everything and I no longer have to lift a finger! He’s been loving and supportive all the way through and never once complained or moaned about doing extra chores or the fact that I’ve been a bit incapacitated of late (as I’ve finally had to admit I am now – I just have so much bulk and so little energy!), and always making sure that my slightest needs are met (as I type, he’s cleaning the bathroom which has always been one of “my jobs” even throughout pregnancy, and he’s doing a grand job of it too!). I cannot praise him highly enough for how sweet and gentle and considerate he’s been all year (not that he’s usually any different, but he’s made an extra-special effort since we got pregnant). And yes, I’ve told him all this too. 😉

Everyone is on standby, waiting for the call to say that Tadpole is on his/her way – we just hope it’s very soon as this last-minute waiting is the hardest part so far!

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38 weeks bump

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37 weeks in…

September 6, 2008 at 1:21 pm (Baby) (, , , , )

Foetus at 37 weeks

Some interesting facts about being 37 weeks pregnant:

  • Most of the downy hair (lanugo) has been shed and the waxy coating (vernix caseosa) will now start to disappear from Tadpole’s skin (leaving baby-soft skin!)
  • Tadpole will now weigh around 6.5lbs and measure about 20 inches top to toe
  • Tad may well have a full head of hair by now (if s/he takes after me then there’ll be a lot – I had LOADS of hair on my head when I was born!)
  • Tadpole is now considered “full term” and could arrive any day now (although there may still be another five weeks of waiting…)
  • There are now just 21 days till our Estimated Due Date

Yes, this is it – we’re well and truly on the home stretch now as at 37 weeks our pregnancy is considered full-term, so Tadpole could decide to come out any time now (although we’re hoping our little’un will decide to wait just another couple of weeks before making an entrance!).

Once again, I’ve been kept busy, despite not being at work any more (I’m currently on two weeks of annual leave before my maternity leave officially starts). On Tuesday we went for a scan to check on the fibroid that was spotted at the 12-week scan and which had apparently got a bit bigger by the 20-week scan. We were very glad to hear that the sonographer couldn’t actually find the fibroid, so it must have stretched out (which is great news). I then had a check-up at the clinic and was declared perfectly fit and healthy with no more need to go for any more clinic visits unless anything unexpected happens (like me passing out for no apparent reason). So, I’ve effectively been signed back over to my midwife’s care and can heave a sigh of relief. It also seems that if I should so decide, I can safely have an epidural despite my passing-out problem (although I’ll still be trying to avoid one if possible) and that my very slight heart murmur will not cause any problems with me using a TENS machine during labour (which is great, because I have one ready and waiting for use!).

On Wednesday I went for my final antenatal haircut (I’m determined to look glamorous in all my hospital photos!). My usual stylist is still on maternity leave herself, so I ended up getting my hair cut by her junior who made a grand job of it. However, I did find the jaunt into town rather exhausting (despite getting the bus there and a taxi back home afterwards), so I’ve decided there will be no more trips to town until after Tadpole has arrived.

Yesterday our Health Visitor came round to the flat to introduce herself as the person who will be taking care of us after the midwife finishes her job (after Tadpole is 10 days old). She seemed really nice and was very friendly and helpful, so I think we’ll be alright with her (which is great because apparently our Health Visitor will be looking out for Tadpole till s/he is five years old!).

The Braxton Hicks contractions are getting much stronger these days and I’m getting a lot more of them too – and for longer! They don’t hurt, but they can be very uncomfortable and poor Dale keeps feeling the need to check I’m alright and not suddenly going into labour (what a sweetheart!). Dale is being absolutely wonderful making sure I’m comfortable and that I don’t overdo things (although he admits he has his work cut out for him as I keep trying to do things for myself anyway as I always have done). He gave me the most wonderful compliment ever this week by saying I had been very good throughout this pregnancy – not moaning or complaining or using it as an excuse not to do things. He sounded really proud, which meant the world to me. I’ve always been a very independent person so admitting I can’t do everything I usually would has been quite difficult and accepting that sometimes I need a little help has been hard work, but I’ve been determined to enjoy things as much as possible and not be a nag about things. It’s nice to know that Dale thinks I’ve been doing well.

I had something of an “episode” last night though – I suddenly felt very overwhelmed by everything and got rather weepy for no apparent reason. Dale was wonderful and just gave me lots of love and hugs till I felt better. He’s also been excellent with the back rubs and making me a cuppa when I fancy one, as well as doing the majority of the housework throughout this pregnancy (and doing more and more as time wore on – he’s a star!).

So, now we’re just playing the waiting game. My sister is on standby waiting for the “come and take us to the midwife unit” call, and my friend Kerry is on standby for the “Leni isn’t available, can you take us to the midwife unit, please?” call, just in case. My parents are both anxiously awaiting the “your grandchild is on the way” call, and we’re just waiting for everything to kick off – the hospital bag is packed and sitting by the front door ready for the off. Till then, I’ll be sitting on the gym ball and rocking about a fair old bit to take some of the pressure off my aching pelvic bones and hoping that when the time comes I’ll remember what to do!

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How lovely – an award!

September 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm (Memes) (, , , )

I was just checking my email inbox and to my delighted surprise I find I have been given the Brilliant Weblog award by my very good buddy Sandy (whose blog is one of the ones I regularly read and who is also one of my pen pals). According to her write-up of me, she finds me an interesting person (which is always nice to hear) and she loves me dearly (which is also always lovely to hear – incidentally, Sandy, I love you too!).

And so the task now falls to me to pass the award onto other deserving bloggers. Like Sandy, I don’t always have time to leave comments, but I do regularly read the blogs listed in my blogroll and there are a few I’d like to pick out as being a bit special and deserving of a little credit:

  • Sitting on a Cornflake is the blog of my good friend, Michelle, where she writes about life, books and bringing up her two lovely daughters.
  • Creative Rainbows is the web home of another of my very close friends, Susie, who is very artistic. You can check out some of her beautiful work at this blog.
  • Bookworms Will Rule the World is the home of many a fine book review by Janet whose reading tastes are very eclectic and there is bound to be a recommendation to suit any reading taste!
  • In the Wee Hours is the perfect place to catch up with Sarah’s life and love of literature.

And, although I may be a little biased here, I’m also flagging up two blogs affiliated with The Book Club Forum. Yes, I’m Admin on the forum and I contribute to both the blogs, but they also have posts written by other people and are really great:

Of course, there are other fantastic blogs I regularly check out (and to see them, all you have to do is click on the links in the various sections of my blogroll – go on, you know you want to!), but these are the ones I visit most regularly for various reasons and I just wanted to give them a high-five for being great!

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