Monday 3rd March I was hoping that we would be allowed to go home today, but as little man #2 still wasn’t feeding directly from me, that was a no go. At this point I once again considered just totally switching to formula so we could go home. But then I remembered how bad it made me feel last time so I got my determined head on and tried to be positive. We could do this.
Hubby came back to hospital, bringing little man #1 with him. As LM#1 has a short attention span, I suggested that they only stay a couple of hours then go and get some lunch, then come back for another couple before going home for the night. LM#1 was that tired anyway he ventured around the room for an hour (luckily we were in a private side room!), then just fell asleep on Daddy for a while. This gave me a chance to attempt feeding LM#2 again and to have some lunch. When the two men left to get their lunch, I armed hubby with a list of items to bring to see me through the night.
I must have been tired from all of the emotions going through me as when hubby and LM#2 came back, I was fast asleep. Again, they stayed for a couple of hours before going home. This time, I was in tears before they left – I so wanted us to go with them. The NICU nurse (the 2nd one now) asked what was wrong – she suspected I didn’t want to attempt to breastfeed anymore. Right now, I really didn’t know what I wanted. I wanted to go home but I also just wanted to feed my baby! It broke my heart when they left because LM#1 was just constantly saying Mummy, so we were missing each other just as much. They went, I had my tea, had a few more tears, then I got on the pump again (as I had been doing after every feed, ready for the next one). It couldn’t have gotten any worse, but then the HCA attempted to ‘help’ me transfer my expressed breast milk into syringes to store in the fridge, and in the process tipped half of one of the bottles all over the floor! I was on the verge of tears, again.
After I’d finished pumping I climbed back into bed and decided to read for a while rather than sleep. My Mum rang me to ask how things were going – I just burst into tears. I had to calm myself down before I told her how I was feeling. I just didn’t want to be here anymore, on my own. She said that she would gladly come for a while to keep me company but by the time she got there guest visiting would be over so suggested father-in-law watch LM#1 and hubby come up, which he did. I just burst into tears when he walked in because I was so upset at the lack of progress, and just with being there.
We had a different NICU nurse looking after us tonight. We were still continuing with the cup feeding, and trying on the breast before a feed. The nurse had gone to get my EBM from the fridge and whilst she was there, I, now reluctantly, tried LM#2 on the boob again. He fussed a bit as usual. And then he latched on (albeit painfully). He fed for 5 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. We had done it. The first time I had ever breastfed ‘properly’. Though I wasn’t getting my hopes up as I already felt like a big fat failure again, and felt it was too good to be true. He still had my EBM which the nurse had prepared though.
Once again hubby had to leave. The same old routine, me crying. Hoping we would be going home with him tomorrow. I decided to go to sleep this time as I was shattered, and the nurse would be back in a few hours for another feed. LM#2 breastfed again, but the nurse could tell I was still upset as it still felt like such a struggle, and she could just read that I wanted to be at home. She was so lovely, and we had a little chat. She said it was no bother to her whether I carried on with the breastfeeding, or decided to give him formula. I really did want to carry on though. I could have cried because she was so understanding. After this, she decided that she was happy enough that we could now be discharged from transitional care back to the midwives, then it was up to them if we could go home. I didn’t see her again after that, I was left to feed him on my own.
Tuesday 4th March I was still nervous that the midwife care would want to keep us in – I don’t know why as everything was fine now! I was woken by LM#2 around 6 am wanting a feed, and I couldn’t get back to sleep after this. I had told hubby not to bother coming until I knew what was happening and had let him know. The midwife came in around 9 am and told me that the B.A.B.E.S would be coming to see how we were doing now, and if they were happy then she would come back to check me & LM over and then we could go home. I was so relieved, so happy! I called hubby to tell him the news and he came with LM#2 straight away. We then had to wait for the midwife to officially sign us off.
I wasn’t expecting that I would have to do this, this time; but once again, I finally had that special moment of being able to take my baby home from the hospital.
Sunday 2nd March We arrived at the postnatal ward around 3 pm, greeted by a lovely NICU nurse who admitted us to transitional care due to poor feeding and hypothermia. She took little man #2’s temperature again which was still 36 degrees, and because of this we put more woolly layers on him and swaddled him up and I had cuddles with him whilst we waited for the doctor. He was doing his rounds on NICU so we still had a bit of a wait ahead of us. At this point I was glad we took the iPad as little man #1 would have been bored stiff, so I downloaded a Peppa Pig app which kept him occupied! The nurse took LM #2’s temperature again after an hour and it had risen ever so slightly to 36.2 degrees. She also took some bloods to test his blood sugar levels.
The doctor eventually arrived a couple of hours later and took some birth details, and what had happened since his birth. He checked LM #2 over and everything was OK, apart from his temperature still. It had risen a little more to 36.8 degrees, but it still wasn’t satisfactory for us to go home, so we had to stay the night. At this point I got really upset as this was the place I really didn’t want to be after spending three nights last time, and it also reminded me of my breastfeeding failure as it was the place where I gave up too easily. But on the other hand it was the best thing for us as it meant LM #2 would get better and we would have extra constant feeding support from the NICU nurse too. Unfortunately the one who admitted us had to have handover but the new one was also lovely.
After it was decided that we would be staying, hubby took LM #1 home. Our neighbour was amazing as she offered to look after him whilst hubby came back for a while – he needed to fetch my hospital bag anyway which I packed just in case we needed to be transferred during my home birth. She gave him some tea and then in fact he fell asleep there whilst hubby was back at the hospital so he stayed the night and hubby collected him the next morning.
As LM #2 still wasn’t latching on and showing no interest whatsoever – most likely because of the hypothermia – we decided that I would express overnight and the NICU nurse would cup feed him as I didn’t want to introduce him to a bottle at this point. Before every feed I would also try him on the breast. Instead of hand expressing, I was introduced to this amazing machine which became my new best friend:
I was shown by the HCA how to put the bottles and bits together and attach it to the pump – and then when I was on it hubby of course had a perverted chuckle when the HCA left the room! This first time I was on it, I got 14 ml of colostrum in total which I’m told is very good. This would be given to him for his next feed and then I would express again – the routine which became very familiar…
Hubby left around 9pm, and I just burst into tears. I so didn’t want to be here – I should have been at home with the rest of my family; my husband and my LM #1. The poor little guy. He had just welcomed a brand new human, and then this human and his Mummy just disappeared. Such a big change for him in such a short space of time.
When hubby had left I went to bed for some much needed sleep. The NICU nurse would come in every 3 hours through the night to wake me to try LM #2 on the breast, and if there was no success then she would feed him with my EBM. Needless to say, even with her help, he still wouldn’t latch on. I tried to remain positive, but it brought back so many memories of my experience and my breastfeeding guilt with LM #1.
If you managed to read my birth story, then you will know that I got my much wanted, planned, home birth after some uncertainty as to whether I would be able to or not. It truly was magical and I would love another if we ever decide to have any more children. What wasn’t in the plan though, was to be admitted to hospital. I wanted a home birth, because this was something I majorly wanted to avoid.
Saturday 1st March As little man was born in the very early hours of Saturday morning, one of the midwives came back later that day in the afternoon to do his newborn check – this which would normally be carried out by the doctor in hospital. All was fine at this check but we were still struggling with feeding – mainly with latching on. (Regular readers over the last couple of years will know that I suffered badly with breastfeeding guilt after failing with little man #1, so this was something that I desperately wanted to achieve this time). As we were struggling but it wasn’t overly desperate that he hadn’t fed by then (though would need to soon), a midwife would return on the Sunday to see how we were doing. The midwives had also contacted the breastfeeding support team (B.A.B.E.S) at the hospital to contact me about coming out to see me. I was expressing my colostrum though (which we were using a Calpol syringe to feed!) so he was getting a little something.
Sunday 2nd March The midwife arrived early Sunday afternoon, and we were still struggling. She helped me with positioning and trying to get him to latch, but he was still having none of it. As I was still expressing though she left it at that and would call me in a couple of days after I’d seen the B.A.B.E.S. Pretty much as soon as she left she was back after finding her thermometer in the car, and she wanted to take his temperature. It turned out, that it was lower than they would like it to be, at 36 degrees. She was a bit concerned so she called the hospital just to check on what to do, as he wasn’t feeding and he had this low temperature. This did turn out to be a slight cause for concern, so they wanted to see us up at the hospital ASAP. Cue me panicking (especially as it was NICU she was conferring with) – this is where the worry started all over again with a new baby! But off we went – with a nervous Mummy, a whining toddler, a possibly poorly baby, and a husband trying to keep it all together!
Well if you haven’t guessed by now with my lack of posts since last week, the berry has made their appearance! I’m sure you are eager to read my birth story, so here goes…
Friday 28th February Today was my actual due date going by my scans, rather than my dates which I have been using in my diaries. Around 6.30 am I noticed mild pain leading me to think contractions had started. Hubby had already gone to work but I didn’t want to get him home just yet just in case it was a one off. They quickly got a little stronger though so I rang him at 7 am to come home from work as soon as he could. I got on the exercise ball to help a bit with the pain and started timing. They were coming anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart but I rang the labour ward anyway as I was having a home birth. They got in contact with my team of midwives who called me and said to call them when they were more regular. When hubby got home I got in the bath for a while to ease the pain and he took little man to our neighbours to play with her daughter. After my bath, annoyingly the contractions eased off around lunchtime and I was only having one around every 90 minutes! I was still feeling really tired though so I was just on & off the ball whilst entering competitions to put people off the scent! I went for a nap mid afternoon as I was becoming irritated by now and I knew I would need some energy for later (hopefully). Little man came home around 4.30pm, had his tea & a play then went to bed. The contractions were still coming fairly randomly, but closer together again.
I was determined baby wasn’t going to keep me hanging on for as long as little man did so I sent hubby to get a hot curry! I must admit I wasn’t really expecting it to work but not long after I finished eating, the contractions started coming on more regular – around every 9 mins – though mild again. We were both tired so we went to bed at 8.30 pm and around 9.30 pm they were getting stronger, so I rang the labour ward again who told me to get in the bath to bring them on even quicker and stronger then ring back. They then started coming pretty regular every 5 minutes and really strong – I could also feel it in my back now so I rang them back around 11.30 pm and they got in touch with the on call midwife who rang me and asked me if I felt like I wanted her yet – oh yes!
Saturday 1st March Whilst waiting for the midwife the contractions got down to around 4 minutes apart and she arrived not long after 12 am Saturday morning. To my delight it was the same midwife who delivered little man – maybe it was fate! I was having a land birth rather than a water birth so I was just on the bed – I really didn’t want to move anyway! I’d taken 2 paracetamol not long before she arrived as the pain was getting unbearable. She went through what had been happening then examined me and I was 6 cm with bulging waters so she got setting up and bringing her stuff in from the car. She rang her student who wanted to take part in a home birth, and also another midwife. Meanwhile I was feeling the urge to push and I couldn’t help but do it – at this point my last ounce of dignity well and truly left left me, and well, the rest is TMI and the midwife had to clean me up!
The midwife asked if I felt like I needed the gas & air yet which I did, so her & hubby got to setting it up. Whilst they were doing this, around 1.30 am I was still having the urge to push though trying not to, then my waters popped and a couple of minutes later she told me baby’s head was crowning – I didn’t believe her as I barely felt it so I had a feel myself, and there it was (still as strange the second time around). At this point I said to them both I just know it’s a boy. The midwife told me on the next contraction to just do short pushes, and so on the next push baby’s head popped out. I continued pushing with each contraction and at 1.39 am out popped baby – it was all very quick so I didn’t even use the gas & air! I asked hubby what it was and he said a boy – mummy instinct again! So little man #2 was passed to me for skin to skin and we waited for the cord to stop pulsating before hubby cut it, then waited for the placenta.
Unfortunately the student didn’t make it so the midwife called her, and I asked her to say sorry! I was examined to check for tearing and to see if all of the placenta had come away. The midwife thought I had a slight tear but she wanted a second opinion so waited for the second midwife, who arrived not long after. It turned out I hadn’t torn but it was little bit of tissue still in there, so I puffed on the gas & air whilst they got rid of it. I only had slight grazing on my perineum so didn’t require stitches – phew, I was dreading that again!
The midwives left the 3 of us to have some time on our own whilst they went and had a cuppa and brownies which I’d made especially! When they’d finished, one of them helped me to the shower whilst hubby and the second one cleaned up, then I got back into bed. Hubby helped them load their stuff into the car, then they left at 3.30 am and we all went to sleep – little man slept through it all in the next room!
Wednesday 19th February – 39w One week until D-Day… And I’ve been asked today if I’ve had the baby yet! The answer is… I’ve also been told I look like I’m ready to explode! Yeah, I feel it too!
Thursday 20th February – 39w 1d I’ve been getting AF type cramps on & off now since the weekend, but they never seem to be coming to anything. As far as I can remember, I had the same for the last couple of weeks before little man arrived. I’m hoping it doesn’t mean this baby is going to arrive over a week late like he did! Nevertheless, I’m at that really fed up stage now.
Friday 21st February – 39w 2d I’ve felt funny today like something is going to happen soon… Highly unlikely though! But for the purposes of nesting and (mainly) eviction, I scrubbed the floors down on my hands & knees this evening whilst little man & Daddy were out. Then when I was getting ready for bed I had some major tightening and pressure in my groin which has got me hoping it had got things started!
Saturday 22nd February – 39w 3d Getting things started? No such luck. The pain went when I laid down, nothing happened overnight and baby is still in there… But I am absolutely shattered today and have been trying not to nod off whilst little man has been running around like his usual hyper self! I’ve been for a walk and done some nesting, come on baby!
Sunday 23rd February – 39w 4d I’m getting really frustrated and fed up with this cramping now as it’s been pretty much constant since Friday night’s pain episode, but it’s leading to nowhere. Grr. I’ve been trying to keep busy today to take my mind off it but it tires me out even more.
I finally booked a maternity shoot for tomorrow, talk about cutting it fine! I had one with little man though so really wanted one this time but thought I’d left it too late.
Monday 24th February – 39w 5d Hubby was off work today so I got a lovely lie in which was much needed, thank you! On my first toilet trip of the day though when I stood up from the loo, I had immense pressure and I thought I was going to fall to my knees! Hopefully that was baby fully engaging… (Or the start of things – haha, yeah right!).
Unfortunately we didn’t have the maternity shoot in the end as the photographer’s little boy woke up with what was confirmed as chicken pox and she didn’t want to risk passing it onto me as she’s not immune. I obviously didn’t want to take the risk either so while it’s a bit disappointing for both of us, it’s for the best. Bless her though, she said she’d throw in a freebie when we have a newborn/family shoot.
Tuesday 25th February – 39w 6d Well the pressure from yesterday didn’t turn into anything, again. Grr. Though the cramps have gotten a little stronger again, especially after going for a walk. They actually made me stop in my tracks a couple of times too. But still fed up. That is all.
After a discussion on Twitter about home births with Fi from Childcare is fun, I’ve been baking brownies this evening ready for the midwives. I thought it was a lovely gesture, and they might be extra nice to me…
At 39 weeks, berry is the size of a mini watermelon.
Most of the vernix and lanugo has disappeared.
Berry will swallow the lanugo where it will be stored in its bowels, and be part of its first bowel movement.
They have a steady supply of antibodies from the placenta that will help it fight off infections for the first few months after birth.
Weight gain will continue although at a slower pace.
Movements will begin to slow slightly as they don’t have much room left to move around.