I am quite behind on posting this update however I have had a lot going on to say the least! It was my birthday not long ago on the 13th June and I turned 28. Aside from the fact that I was now only 2 years off being 30 there usually isn’t really anything special about a 28th birthday. Mine however, was very special and one I will always remember! Why was it so special? Because of this little beauty in the photo below! Her name is Indiana Rose Francis and she was born at 5.20am on 14th June weighing 7lb11 and she is our beautiful new daughter.
Let me start at the beginning of the week leading up to everything to explain how I ended up with my little princess the day after my birthday! If you weren’t aware already I had been having contractions since half way through week 34, you can read all about that here. I had decided to come back to work however on the Monday before my birthday as I would be 36 weeks and if I didn’t go back then, work would have started my maternity leave from then. I was determined to continue at work as long as possible so I could have more time off with baby when she finally arrived. So I planned to go off on maternity leave at 39 weeks but take 1 weeks holiday beforehand. Essentially I had 2 weeks left at work to get through and then I would be finished. I didn’t feel too great but pushed on and started back at work the Monday.
On my first day back I still had contractions going on and I was tired but I decided the best thing to do was walk around the building and push through them. I noticed when I went to the loo that aside from the usual lovely pregnancy discharge (TMI) there was a little wet patch in there. I though ah its fine, probably just wee’d myself a bit (wouldn’t surprise me) and I just ignored it. I went about my day as normal as I could and the following day I dragged my tired butt out of bed and went back. I did the same thing again, walking about, working through my pains and noticed that I had ‘wee’d myself’ again when I went to the loo. The exact same thing happened again on the Wednesday and this time it looked like a slightly bigger patch. I decided I should probably call the MAU at the hospital that evening when I got home. I just wasn’t convinced that I was wee’ing myself each time and I had heard of people leaking fluid before.
I rang the MAU and mentioned that I kept getting a wet patch in my pants and they told me from what I was describing it basically just sounded like I was wee’ing myself (great!) and that they didn’t feel it was anything to worry about. I said I still wasn’t convinced and they said I was welcome to come in and get checked if I wanted to. I knew I had an appointment at the hospital the next day so I said I would just see how I was the following morning. I didn’t feel like I was in any immediate danger and I convinced myself it probably was just wee and that I was just being paranoid. I couldn’t be bothered to go all the way to the hospital just for them to tell me I couldn’t control my bladder! Plus it was my birthday the next day and I didn’t fancy being in hospital all night for nothing and being super tired all day.
That Wednesday night I didn’t sleep at all for some reason. It was a bloody awful night and I could not get comfortable and my back was so bad. I remember at one point almost in tears with being so fed up! I thought great, I’m going to feel absolutely brilliant for my birthday tomorrow. I think I managed 2 hours later in the morning and then I heard the dreaded sound of my alarm clock. Followed by a super excited 5 year old running in because it was ‘mummy’s birthday’ (a much better sound!). I was showered with lots of lovely presents and just about managed to see them all through very tired blurry eyes. It put a smile on my face even when I felt absolutely horrible. I also was dreading going to work feeling like this and I didn’t have long before needing to rush around and get ready. At least I had some lovely new presents to keep me smiling. I had a nice new dress to wear for work a cool new designer jacket, sunnies, shoes and the new Lewis Capaldi CD for my car!
On the way to work on the morning I swung by the shop to grab some cakes for people at work. I headed in and tried to be bubbly with a smile on my face even though I felt terrible. I was only in for a couple of hours before I had to head off to my hospital appointment. This was meant to be my last appointment with a consultant before baby arrived. It was just a routine appointment to discuss the birth and the baby. I hoped I wouldn’t be too late back as my husband had planned a nice mini party with family at the house for later that evening. He was going to make my favourite meal (spag bol) and had bought a cake and spent a small fortune. He wanted to make it special for me as he knew I’d had a hard time with the pregnancy. I was really looking forward to the evening even though I was so tired. I just had to get through the day and then I could relax later.
When I went to the hospital I got there a bit earlier than expected. Usually parking and traffic are a big issue so i allowed plenty of time. It wasn’t as bad as normal on the roads and I got parked straight away so I had quite a bit of time. I went to the toilet and noticed that there was quite a bit more wet in my pants this morning so I decided enough was enough. I marched over to the MAU bit in the hospital and asked if I could see someone. They don’t like it when you just drop in without ringing up beforehand and I am terrible for doing this on more than one occasion…oops/ It probably messes up what they are doing and doesn’t give them much time to prepare for me coming in so I can understand why. When I explained my concerns they said they didn’t think it was anything to worry about but they would pop me on a monitor for a bit.
I spent quite a long time being monitored on the fetal heart rate and movement machine. Eventually when a midwife was free they ushered me in to a private room and said they would do an internal to see if I had lost any of my waters. I was worried about missing my other appointment so they said they would let the consultant know I would be over soon. You could tell they weren’t expecting to see anything when examining me but they thought it would reassure me to check. The very nice midwife had a look and a feel down there and I just lay there thinking about the spag bol I was going to be having soon. She was about to end the examination when I coughed and she all of a sudden looked surprised. She asked me to cough again whilst really glaring down there and I was thinking..what on Earth is so fascinating. The midwife finished the internal, took her gloves off and casually said you will be having your baby today or tomorrow. I remember feeling my heart in my throat and thinking whaaaaaaat!?!?
I was only 36 weeks and 3 days and being told I was about to be induced was a huge shock. Apparently on first inspection there was nothing going on down there. According to the midwife I had something called a hind leak which is where some of the water at the back had been leaking due to a small hole which was made clear when I coughed (and some water came out). The hole may have closed back up but once this happens there is obviously a risk of infection. Since this had obviously been going on for a few days now and I didn’t know they said I would need to be induced…today. Wait noooo, its my birthday…it can’t be today, surely. Of all the days to be going through this, it had to be on my birthday. So I had suffered through my pregnancy, had contractions for the last 2 weeks and suffered through work and I couldn’t even have 1 day for me! Typical!
I found it funny that this was all happening today of all days but at the same time I had millions of things going through my mind. I was thinking about how we would share birthdays and she would probably hate that and how my husband had spent a fortune on a feast for tonight and it was all going to waste. The fact that we would have to let everyone down who was looking forward to coming round. I then began to cry as I remembered my little boy was so so excited about mummy’s birthday party. He had spent the day making me decorations for my ‘party’ and he couldn’t wait for tonight. I then realised that I wouldn’t get to see him now until after the baby arrived as I was being moved to the delivery suite which is no children allowed. I knew he would break his little heart and he would be scared. I’d had to stay in hospital not long ago for a few nights unexpectedly and I know it scared him. My mind then moved to the realisation I would have a baby soon and she would be a bit early. Will she be ok? I haven’t packed a bag, oh my God…my husband will have to pack my bag for me (this is any woman’s nightmare). Then I was thinking about the stuff I still had to do at work, I started typing a text out of everything my manager needed to know. I was definitely in shock!
I remember making the call to my husband who’s first response was…I’ve just spent £70 on food for tonight! It’s funny the first thoughts that pop in to your head when in shock. We then had to do the whole you need to pack this and that for me and the baby. Don’t forget to bring….it is really important you pack….whatever you do, don’t forget…..oh, and don’t pack her wonder woman costume! Why as a general rule are men not great at packing? It nearly sent me over the edge that phone call trying to make sure he got everything and that he didn’t forget anything (#spoiler he did..). He then had to sort out our son as we needed my mum to come and get him. She had to leave work and grab him so that Sie could come and be with me at the hospital. If anything was going to cheer little guy up it would be grandma!
My mum called me and said that she had Reid and not to worry as he was ok. I kept getting upset as I didn’t want him to be sad or worried and she said he really wanted to see me so she was bringing him to the hospital. I managed to convince the midwives to let me escape for a bit to see him as they hadn’t induced me yet. They said I had 15 minutes so I hobbled out to the general waiting room to see him. I then noticed a load of people stood in the corridoor near the waiting room looking at me and laughing. My mum comes around the corner and says, look excited as your son has kicked all the people out of the waiting room so he could decorate it for mummy’s party. It was the sweetest, cutest most embarassing thing ever! As I came around the corner they sang happy birthday and had a cake for me. He was so excited and had decorated the area with his home made decorations. What a little cutie he is! He still wanted to make my birthday special even though I was in hospital. I gave him a big hug and a kiss, downed a piece of cake and then I had to say goodbye and head back. It was difficult to leave him but I knew he would have fun with grandma.
There was quite a long wait until someone came to look at me. It wasn’t the most fun birthday just sitting around in hospital for hours and I was starting to get nervous. Eventually someone came to do an internal and decided they would try to break the rest of my waters. They had a feel around and came to the conclusion that I had no waters left! They told me to go for a walk for a bit and if my contractions didn’t start up properly then I would need the drip again like last time. I really didn’t want the drip so I went walking around trying to get them going. Eventually, however, the decision was made to put me on the drip as things were just moving too slow unfortunately. Things started to pick up from there and I prepared myself for a long night as with my previous son it was 12.5 hours of labour. I had the drip with him too so I assumed I would be looking at around the same.
When I had my little boy I had to be on monitors and was told I couldn’t move. I felt like I was strapped to the bed and every time I moved around they would ask if I could keep still as the monitor kept going off. It was awful being like that for 12.5 hours! I had to be put on monitors again and I remember thinking ah for feck sake! This midwife however was really understanding about the fact that I wanted to move around so she encouraged me to sit on a birthing aid I had brought and just kept adjusting the monitors. I brought my own birthing aid which the midwives found fascinating. They loved it and kept getting other midwives in to have a look at it. It was called the Cub and was specially designed for giving birth. Lots of women use a ball to sit on but obviously this isn’t the most comfortable and not to mention not very sturdy to sit on. The Cub was really comfortable and surprisingly helped my back. I just sat on it and kind of lightly bounced and swayed my hips side to side. I actually stayed on this for a couple of hours as I found it better than being laid in a bed. Things started picking up and I could tell being upright was better to help things progress. Its a brill alternative to a birthing ball and I would much prefer to use this again if I was to have another babba. It will be stored away in the loft just in case I decide to put myself through this again!
I eventually felt really tired due to not having any sleep the night before so I went and laid on the bed with the idea of trying to get some sleep. My contractions picked up a bit more so that didn’t happen and I started on the gas and air. I was so so physically exhausted and just using the gas and air felt like such hard work. It was getting to around 4 hours in to the labour and I asked if the midwife could have a check how it was going. I was in a lot of pain and had held off dia-morphine as long as possible. I wanted to know if we were a long way off still and I was beginning to need some further pain management. After an internal examination she said I was 4cm and I honestly could have cried. She looked a bit confused however and then said I still had water there! Ah great so my waters hadn’t all gone then! So she had to break my waters by hand. Without being too graphic, lets just say this hurt like a bitch. I was crying and screaming whilst she tried to grab the sac and burst it and she was really having to get right in there…it took way longer than I would have liked! The relief when the water came out! There was a lot too so how the other midwife missed that I honestly don’t know!
Shortly after my waters had been broken my contractions started to get even worse and I knew I needed something else. It was definitely dia-morphine time! I feel like I had tried to hold off for so long that by the time I had it the pain was too great and I barely felt it. Cue another couple of hours and I started feeling my body pushing. I shouted, I’m pushing and I can’t help it! I started panicking and and saying I’m pushing it hurts so bad, it hurts so bad. This was a different experience to having my son. I was so much calmer and totally quiet. Yes it hurt like hell and was a long labour and I was pushing for 2 hours with him but it was different. This time around I was screaming! I was that woman on the delivery suite you hear and think omg, that sounds awful! I remember feeling the baby moving down and probably less than 10 contractions later I remember the midwife saying ‘I can see baby nowwww’, and before she even finished the sentence out flew baby! I remember feeling at that moment I could push her out if I just went for it. Part of me wanted to wait until the next contraction or the one after…or after that to go for it. I think the part of me that had had enough just went for it. No one was expecting her to come out then. Normally you see the head and then a bit more of the head and then its trying to get shoulders out etc. I expelled that baby from my va-jay-jay like it was fired out of a canon. Thank God the midwife caught her!
As soon as my little princess was put on my chest I remember the first question I asked was ‘is she ok?’. I must have asked that a million times over and over. I was so scared in case something was wrong! After memories of my last little boy started flooding back at that moment I needed to be repeatedly told she was ok. I couldn’t believe she was here and she was ok! She looked perfect. She hardly had any of the white slimy stuff on her and she just looked beautiful. I remember thinking, this doesn’t feel real right now! I was terrified, relieved, in shock..I felt every emotion in this moment. I remember the next question I asked was ‘did I poo?’. As if this was one of the first things I asked! Luckily I hadn’t so it was 2 – nill to me as I didn’t with my little boy either. Anyone reading this thinking, they wouldn’t have told you if you had, trust me, my husband would have taken great pleasure in making me aware of pooing myself! Men, eh!
My little boy would not breastfeed whatsoever. I remember being really sad about this! I really hoped that this little one would breastfeed but they did make me aware that she may struggle with her being a little premature. Shortly after having skin to skin when she was born I tried her on the boob and she did actually latch on. I was amazed! She didn’t drink much as she was so sleepy but this was a very good sign! I remember at this moment the midwife bringing me my tea and toast. It always tastes like the best cup of tea and slice of toast in the whole world when you have it after giving birth! I was so so tired by this point with having 2 nights of not a single shred of sleep. One of those nights I was in labour so naturally I was extra exhausted! I realllly wanted to sleep but I just couldn’t! I allowed my husband to sleep as I needed him to be in good form for me over the next few days. I also encouraged him to sleep whilst I was in labour in the slightly earlier stages as hes no good without sleep and I needed him to be on the ball. I knew having a slightly rested husband would help me in the long run, even if I did look at him with ‘I hate you eyes’ whilst he was sleeping and I was in pain.
I ended up staying in hospital for the next few days which sucked but I was thankful that it was only a few days. Little indie ended up having to have blue light therapy treatment due to having jaundice and she was very sleepy bless her. She wouldn’t feed well either because of this so she ended up being tube fed formula which was quite upsetting. I hated tube feeding her and found it terrifying to do. Luckily after the treatment ended the following day they could remove the tubes as she was feeding and having little top ups of my milk with a syringe. Plus my milk had come in and was a lot so we knew there was enough there for her. Due to me having to express, breastfeed and give top ups to babba I had absolutely no sleep again for the next two nights. Not even 1 hour of sleep. I couldn’t believe I had gone 4 nights with no more than 2 hours sleep in total! I was feeling pretty rubbish but somehow my body coped!
The thing I was most excited about after having Indiana was for Reid to meet his little sister. I honestly couldn’t wait for this to happen and I knew he would be so happy after wanting a brother/sister for as long as he could talk! After being so upset about losing his baby brother last year I was so happy I could finally give him a sibling. I knew this was such a big day for him and I was so excited to see him fall in love with her as I knew he would. He just thought she was the best thing ever. You could see the joy and love in his little face. He just wanted to hold her and kept asking for her to come home. His new baby sister had ‘bought him some presents’ and he just thought this was amazing. They were all things he really really wanted and he couldn’t believe it bless him! My mum had to go and panic buy some presents as obviously we hadn’t got anything with it all being unexpected. She brought them in the hospital and quickly hid the Smyths toys carrier bag as she came in.
We were finally released from hospital on Father’s day evening which was the best present my husband could have asked for. I was exhausted, hormonal and feeling fragile but most of all I was happy to be home with my family. That first night home was tough, adjusting to the new routine. Trying to carry on the 3 hourly feeding schedule that also had to fit in using a breast pump, breastfeeding, giving top ups of my milk, winding baby and changing nappies. This allowed absolutely zero sleep, as by the time I had finished all of that it was pretty much time to start again! I didn’t even manage 1 hour again. It’s amazing how your body just deals with it although I wouldn’t recommend leaving it that long before sleeping..i think i went 5 days in a row before I got some sleep. Trust me, I did crash eventually and hard!
As you can probably tell being in hospital about to have a baby was not what I was expecting for my birthday. Whilst it wasn’t ideal timing for many reasons and was a bit scary, the main thing is she is here and she is safe. She was the best birthday present I could have ever got even if it means my daughter having a birthday (on 14th) every year the day after mine. My dads birthday is the 15th (day after) and then its shortly followed by father’s day so a very expensive month from now on! But who cares! I have a beautiful new daughter and in reality, she could have my birthday for all I care! I have given my amazing son a friend for life (even if they won’t always get on). Our family has grown by one more and I am so excited to watch her grow. She is our rainbow baby and I thank our little angel Elijah for looking over her!