When people told me that once you have children, time passes far too quickly, they were not joking at all.
One year ago, on this day, at 9.21am, Alexander Jadon, our Lil Dumpling arrived in the World and our lives became so much brighter.
So, rather than the usual smash cake pics or a cute photo collage (which I probably will post at some later point :-)), I thought I’d tell his Birth Story. I’ll spare you peeps the gory details, so don’t worry I won’t ruin your breakie if you read on!
I can literally remember my first contraction as though it happened yesterday. Actually, it did happen yesterday, one year ago!
It was Thursday the 23rd June; the same day as the EU Referendum vote. I woke up the morning as usual; moaning to hubs about feeling huge and like an elephant. I knew I had to go and vote, as I stupidly forgot to apply for a postal vote.
Hubs was due to go to work, as usual, but that morning he woke with a migraine and decided not to go in to the office, but work from home. After 3 weeks of Mat Leave, milling around the place by myself, this made me happy. Plus, I felt very vulnerable throughout my pregnancy and especially in the late stages, so hubs being at home that day made me feel happy and secure.
Once I rolled myself out of bed, I got myself showered and dressed, ready to take a walk along the Dockyard to go and cast my vote.
I got back around mid-morning and found hubs working away on his laptop. So, I sat on my iPad, scrolling through Instagram or Facebook…basically doing something really mundane to pass the time and take my mind off possible (at the time, seemingly inevitable) inducement, which was booked for the following Monday.
Time passed into the late afternoon, around 5pm. Hubs realised that he needed to go and vote and that he was marvin. I was also marvin, but then I was ALWAYS marvin at that stage! Hubs decided he would walk to the Polling Station, which was only a 10 minute walk from our house. I wanted to go with him, just because I didn’t want to be by myself (looking back now, I only told my mum about these feelings of insecurity and vulnerability, because I’m usually the total opposite, but she assured me this was natural for a woman about to give birth any day now!), so off we went out the door, but secretly, I was hoping hubs would drive and stop by the drive thru McDo on the way (which is only a 5 minute walk from our house!).
As we stepped out the door, hubs suddenly changed his mind and decided he would drive to the Polling Station and then stop by the drive thru to pick up some dirty food on the way home – he had a headache and I was a hangry preggo lady.
When I tell you that, I felt something like a sense of euphoria when he said ‘drive’ and ‘McDonald’s’, I am not exaggerating. For some reason, I felt so happy when he said these words! We very, very rarely eat take out and if we do, it almost never has anything to do with McDo, but for some reason, my tastebuds were up for the dirtiest burger there was – the Big Mac!
Fast forward half an hour and we were back home – hubs had voted and we were about to tuck into our dirty food, when hubs put on Avengers – Age of Ultron.
I inhaled my burger and fries and again, felt a rush of contentment and happiness – I was stuffed, hubs was with me and we were watching an Avengers movie – I was elated!
About 45 minutes into the movie, at around 6:30pm, I felt a sudden pang in my tummy. At the front of my mind, I thought it was a side-effect of eating the Big Mac. At the back of my mind, I KNEW what it was. But, I didn’t say anything to hubs as I didn’t want to raise a false alarm, so I went back to watching the movie.
Ten minutes later, another pang hit my tummy, except this one was slightly sharper. I most definitely knew this was a contraction because it was unlike any sensation I’d ever felt before. I also knew it was contractions because I know I’d been releasing oxytocin the entire day, from when hubs said he was staying home right up until I sat watching the movie after stuffing down that Big Mac. Basically, my hubs and McDonalds sent me over the edge into labour!
After the second contraction, I said to hubs ‘I think Keffrey is coming’ (Keffrey was our nickname for Dumpling before he was born – which was in fact our nickname from our wedding, for which, I have my sister to thank – eye roll!).
Hubs said ‘for real?’ and I said yes. At this point, I’d only had two contractions and was still relatively comfortable so hubs didn’t really react too much and pretty much carried on watching Age of Ultron
Fast forward another 30 minutes and I was on the birthing ball, writhing around in pain, twice every 10 minutes. We were first time parents and we didn’t know what the hell we were doing, so hubs called Triage who told us to stay at home until my contractions were 3 minutes apart.
It got to 8:30pm and hubs had switched on the news which was reporting the possibility of a win for Brexit in the EU Referendum. That must have made Dumpling mad, because thereafter, my contractions were coming 4 in 10 minutes.
Side note: Contractions f**king cane! I mean…wtf kind of pain even is that? And, its nothing like period pains…period pains on speed, coke, meth and weed all at the same time maybe!
We got to Triage just after 9pm and the midwife examined me. In my mind, I was ready to give birth there and then because these contractions were not the one!
Much to my disappointment, I was told I was only 3cm dilated and to either go home and labour there until I get to 4cm, in which case come back and I’ll be admitted to the labour ward, or stay in Triage and walk around the halls there like a knob. I chose the former.
Got back home around 10:30pm and ran myself a bath and lit some candles. Put on some soothing music. Got in – stayed there for 10 minutes and got out again, because the pain was too much to sit down and relax in a bath!
Within 10 minutes, I was back on the birthing ball, this time on the landing (didn’t care for the danger of falling down the stairs at that point), whilst hubs was watching the EU Referendum results start to come in.
I’m not sure what happened between 11pm and 1am, but somehow I managed to get through contractions during those hours, before eventually giving up and telling hubs it was too much and that we had to go back to Triage.
When the Triage midwife examined me again, I was 4cm dilated – 4! FFS! Only one cm further along than I was 4 hours earlier. But, I didn’t complain too much because at least they could admit us to the birthing suite. I asked for some Gas and Air at this point because I was delirious from the pain but I knew I didn’t want drugs or an epidural.
My birthing suite was huge – with a bed (obvs), birthing pool, birthing ball and somewhere for the midwife and hubs to sit. I checked the time and it was around 2:30am.
The next 5 hours were literally me going between standing up, to the birthing ball, sitting on the bed and then back to standing up, in between dragging on the gas and air. Hubs was in between falling asleep, watching the EU Referendum result on his phone (which, by now we knew, was a yes vote for Brexit) and looking at me with a look of utter sympathy and helplessness on his face, bless him. All this, whilst the midwife was busy routinely checking my blood pressure, baby’s heart beat and writing notes telling me how great I was doing.
Truth is, I went into myself. I tried to put into practice what I’d learned from doing Tara Lee pregnancy yoga during my third trimester and I’m guessing it worked, because I wasn’t screaming or crying or panting or shouting…I was literally swaying side to side like a drunk person, sucking on that gas thingy during every contraction.
After what seemed like a lifetime, and whilst hubs was drifting in and out of sleep, bless him…wasn’t much else he could do really – the midwife examined me and told me I was only 7cm dilated, which she said was ‘really good, you’re doing really well!’ but in my mind I was like FML, it’s 7:30am or something and this baby needs to GTFO!
So, on I continued, swaying side to side and sucking on air for another hour or so, until BAM! My waters broke…all over the floor. Madness. Gross. Undignifying moment right in front of my hubs. I panicked because, the midwife had popped out and I didn’t really catch on what happened. I said to hubs ‘what’s happened?!’ and he calmly said ‘its your waters babe, don’t worry about it, its ok’…bless him.
I remember being embarrassed that my hubs had to see that, whilst he didn’t even care.
Next thing I know, I had the urge to push. Like PUSH! I said yo hubs, ‘I want to puuusssssh’ – literally like that because I was fighting the urge as I spoke, but was failing because my body wanted to do it. Hubs said don’t push, wait for the midwife to check you…I tried not to push but then the midwife came back in and asked what was wrong and I said my waters broke and I want to push. She said ‘if you want to push, then push’…I was like, ok, but wtf do I do now?
It’s like she could read my question from my facial expression because she then asked me ‘how do you want to give birth?’. Now, although I’d given this some thought previously, I didn’t really think too much about it, except I knew I didn’t want to be on my back.
So, I stupidly replied ‘uhhh, I don’t know??’. Bless the midwife, she ignored the fact that I was a complete numpty and said ‘how do you feel most comfortable?’ and I honestly didn’t know, because I was stood up the whole time. So I went with on all fours over the bed. She said fine, which I was relieved about because I thought that was utter weirdness since I didn’t realise women could give birth on all fours!
Next thing I knew, there were about half a dozen people in the room with us and I was connected to two heart monitors, one for me and one for Dumpling (who was still Keffrey at this moment, and making his way through my Australia!). His little heart beat seemed so fast, but the midwives kept assuring me I was doing great and he was ok.
Then, a senior midwife said ‘now Kerry, I need you to push as hard as you can for me on the next contraction, at the top of the contraction, as hard as you can’. I was like, I’ve done Insanity, I can do this. So I let out a massive ‘uhhhhhh!’ thinking I’d done great, when she said, ‘no Kerry, you need to push, as though you were going to do a number 2!’ – wait, what?! But, I kinda knew what she was on about; the same muscles you use to bear down on the toilet are the same ones women use to give birth.
So, when the next contraction came, I pushed as hard as I could, as though I was going to the loo and then I felt this almighty stinging sensation and I thought my actual bum was going to fall off. I seriously did.
Hubs was rubbing my lower back and, staying at the top of the bed where my head was (thank God…no man needs to see his wife’s Australia when there’s a baby hanging out of it) and telling me how well I was doing, which was lovely.
The midwife said she could see the head and that I needed a couple more big pushes. One more push and the head was out…sweet relief! The midwife then said ‘ok Kerry, I need you to give me one last big push, really push hard as you can my love, ok?’ – she was ever so nice this midwife!
One big push later, at 9:21am, our Lil Dumpling made his entrance into the world and let out the most glorious cry I’ve ever heard.
The midwives were busy clamping the cord when one asked hubs if he would like to do the honours and cut it, to which he beamed of course! Then they took dumpling off to get weighed – 8lbs 11oz(!) and cleaned up, as well as giving him his Vitamin K injection.
Meanwhile, I was in a bit of shock and euphoria at the sight of my seemingly huge chunky chunk of a baby boy, when the midwives told me to lie on my back so they could deliver the placenta and then check me over. I’ll spare the details of that!
Then, after a few moments, one of the midwives brought my lil Dumpling over to say hello to his mummy and daddy and for skin to skin. I cannot describe a happier moment in my life. Our wedding comes a close second, but that moment most definitely tops it.
I looked at his little face, swollen lips and nose and immediately thought he looked like me since he has my nose, poor thing. He looked sleepy but peaceful, considering what he’d just been through, literally!
We tried to breastfeed, but failed, mainly because neither one of us knew what the hell we were doing! The sweet midwife who was with me during labour tried to help me, but I couldn’t get dumpling latch. So she said leave it for now and try again later on the maternity ward.
Fast forward a few hours and my mother in law and two brother in laws were there with an Its A Boy balloon (they didn’t know until Dumpling arrived), Jollof Rice and bottles of water, which I was so grateful for as I was maaarrvin after an overnight labour.
Poor hubs looked beatdown but he managed to stay with me until about 7pm, just after Dumpling did his first poo which was the tar like meconium, and changed his nappy, after which he went home to get some rest, whilst Dumpling and I bonded.
My parents and sis were next to come to meet Dumpling – never seen so much cooing and doting in all my life!
We tried latching again soon after they left and just couldn’t get it, so one of the lactation nurses taught me how to hand express my colostrum into a baby syringe to feed dumpling that way.
This worked a treat and I managed to express all of my colostrum after we got home from hospital, and feed Dumpling that way until my milk came in. Once my milk came in, we got the breastfeeding down like pros!
Fast forward a year and here we are today, celebrating our lil Dumpling’s 1st Year of life. A year in which he has given both my hubs and I as well as our families, the most immense joy we could imagine. He is a rambunctious but loving little boy and is running around like an energizer bunny after starting to walk at 10 months!
Alexander Jadon, there is nothing in the world that your Daddy and I love more than we love you. Thank you for choosing us to be your parents and we pray that you enjoy countless more years of life, love and laughter. Happy 1st Birthday, Dumpling! xxx