In the beginning there came Lewis

Its my second sons 4th birthday this week, and so I have been reflecting on his birth, while I have been doing all the updates for my website.(not live yet)

Of course it was the birth of my first son that meant I gave up my employed job and created Wild Ideas in the first place, so here is the story of his birth……

(Its a bit longer than sometimes so give yourself 10 minutes and If you’re a bit emotional, grab a tissue – it made me cry and I wrote it!)

Friday 17th March 2006

II was walking back to my car after a long day at work, and feeling rather big. Worrying really as I was only six months gone. I voiced my thoughts to the little boy snuggled up inside me. ” Well Lewis I don’t know how I am going to manage when you get really big”

Saturday 18th March 2006

I had test driven my new car this morning and was trying to get the ironing out of the way this afternoon so I could have a well earned rest this evening, but I was being bothered by an irritating cramping twinge every twenty minutes or so. Finally I decided I’d had enough and gave up the ironing as a bad job preferring to have a slob out on the sofa and massage Lewis’ head which remained permanently stuck out of the left side of my tummy. It was no surprise that he was in a breech position, after all I had been born breech and so had my sister’s little boy.

Sunday 19th March 2006

I woke up to a niggling twinge, although it was more painful than before and ten minutes later it came again. I’m not really a worrier, but after the pains kept coming repeatedly I decided to phone the city hospital just to be sure.

” There’s nothing to worry about Mrs Wild its quite common, take some pain killers and have a hot bath, just ring again if it gets any worse”

So there you have it, nothing to worry about. So all calmed and dosed up with pain killers I carried on with my morning and the cramps went away a bit, and slowed down to half an hour apart. Later on I decided to have a bath anyway.

Derek was decorating the nursery and I lay in the warm water next door talking to him across the landing. As it got towards lunchtime Derek offered to make some sandwiches and I was going to get dressed and come downstairs. I had begun to feel a bit uncomfortable and even experienced a strange desire to “push”.

As I said I’m not a worrier so I dismissed it as a stupid imagination and began to sit myself up to get out of the bath. It was 1.15pm.

Then “Oh my god aaagghhhhh!”
Derek “What is it are you OK?”
the pain eased off and I took a breath and a minute to get myself together
Derek helped me out of the bath and I started to get…..”aaagghhhhh!” again
Derek held me up and we went downstairs to phone the hospital.
I was in mid conversation when “aaagghhhhh!” again
“You should have called before if it got this bad” said the nurse on the end of the phone
“This is only the third one” I gasped
“Come straight away” said the nurse

Struggling to get dressed between the painful cramps which were coming every two minutes the only thing I could think of was getting something for the pain. Derek drove so fast I was scared we wouldn’t even get there.

Somewhere amidst the ‘every 2 minutes’ pains I had the briefest of thoughts about them being contractions, but, no it was the wrong time, and I dismissed it as quick as I had thought it, putting myself firmly in denial, so I didn’t have to be a worrier.

When I finally got to the maternity department door and, panting through the pain of another cramp almost collapsed into the arms of a passing nurse, I was so relieved. Now I was in good hands and it wouldn’t be long before they would give me some pain killers and we would all be OK. Everything will be fine and we would go home, after all I’m not a worrier.

I lay on the bed with all the staff around me and no-one bought me anything for the pain. In fact no-one said much of anything. I had little time to ask much because I had these godawful pains to deal with every 2 minutes.
“When can I have something for the pain?” I finally manged.

“We need to wait for the doctor to look at you” I was told
“Get her some gas and air” someone said

half an hour and 15 cramps later the doctor finally appeared and did an internal.

“You’re 7cm dilated” he said “This baby is coming and there’s no stopping it”

Then my whole world fell apart . . . . . . and all of a sudden I became a worrier

Oh my god the baby’s going to die…, I thought  I’m only 29 weeks, he’s too little and I was trying not to cry.

but all the staff became very efficient and no-one panicked or seemed upset, and a little bit of that rubbed off.

And It dawned on me what the pains were. and I realised that contractions were not as bad as I had imaged they would be. however
I also realised that the only way to stop them was to get little Lewis born and so I stopped being a worrier and got on with it.

My waters broke all over the bed and the staff took over. Asking me practical and medical questions and undressing me and
…….. “aaagghhhhh!” again and again and again…….. and again relentlessly over and over and over.

Somewhere amidst the pain they asked if we had decided on a name, and Derek had to concede to “Lewis” which he had said he liked but I think he was relying on having more time to make his mind up.

The gas and air took a bit of getting used to and I really don’t know if it helped with the pain or not but it gave me something else to think about. They took me to the operating theatre because of Lewis being breech in case they had to do and emergency section. someone said they thought it would be easy as being this early he would just fall out.
Derek held my hand and I tried not to push until they said.
When the doctor examined me again and said I was 10cm I didn’t wait to be told.
I had learned enough to know that 10cm is fully dilated and so I pushed as hard as I could and indeed it only took 3 or 4 pushes and my little Lewis was born. One leg first and all battered and bruised from his ordeal.

“He’s a good size” someone said reassuringly, and then they placed him in the incubator that was standing by and rushed him off to the baby unit. It was ten past four. Only three hours since that first contraction in the bath!

Next comes the part no-one ever talks about (and our parenting classes are 6 weeks away) so what do I know?  The placenta took a bit more pushing to get that out and then I had to have some stitches and I swear the doctor caused more pain stitching me up than Lewis had being born.

They took me back to the same room and cleaned me up.
The next thing that upset me was the thought that I would not be able to breast feed, something I desperately wanted to be able to do, but I put the though aside. I’m not a worrier and it won’t achieve anything.

At least he’ll be alright I thought, that’s the main thing.
Derek phoned his mum and dad who were meant to be coming to our house for tea, and I was concerned they would turn up and worry about where we were. One of the doctors came to see how I was, and added that he had been born at 28 weeks, 40 years ago, so that was another reassuring thing.

A nurse came in to check on me and give me some maternity pads, and get me dressed and ask if I was breastfeeding?
What a delight when I realised it was possible. (that was before I had experienced 7 weeks of an electric breast pump 4 times a day of course)

After I got cleaned up and dressed and up to a private room on the maternity ward we went to see our little newborn boy. It felt a bit strange really, walking into the baby unit and having to ask which one was ours, and the twinge of doubt as the nurse hesitated before she randomly chose us a baby. Of course she knew who he was, but it felt like she just did eeny meeny miny mo in her head.
Then how do you bond with a baby in an incubator who is tiny and red and has his whole face covered with a breathing tube and his eyes closed and heart and breathing monitor pads stuck to his chest?

I couldn’t find any emotion and I think Derek found it even harder. I felt like I should be happy, but only 24 hours ago I still had 3 months to prepare for my baby. Nevertheless I put on a brave face and went through the motions, willing myself to feel something for this crumpled bundle.

I stayed on the maternity ward for the next week and Derek visited between travelling to work and feeding the cat. The baby unit is 24 hour accessible to parents and I visited all the time. I had a bedside vigil and got into the routine of caring for my son. changing nappies, wiping his mouth, swapping his blood oxygen sensor around from hand to foot to stop it getting uncomfortable, and giving him cuddles whenever it was safe to get him out of his incubator for a few minutes. They sorted me out with a breast pump to take home and taught me what to do, and I bottled up lots of breast milk so they could feed Lewis with a syringe.
You get familiar with all the constant pings and bongs of the machinery, learning to deceipher the mundane from the serious. And you realise what you must have looked like when you watch the anxious faces of all the new arrivals, and you try to reassure them and give them friendly smiles.

Things progressed smoothly and steadily,  I travelled daily to the baby unit spending my days there caring for my son under the supervision of the excellent nurses. Its a friendly happy place, and I made lots of friends with the other mums and finally after 7 weeks, with a lot of help and support Lewis and I managed the breast feeding and we were allowed home on 7th May 2006 weighing just 5lb. So I still had him home 5 weeks before his due date.

(incidentally I breastfed until Lewis was not bothered – at 16 months – and he barely suffered with any silly sniffles or colds, and seemed healthier than most babies)

My thanks go to all the staff and nurses on the Derby city maternity and baby units, who without their help Lewis would not be alive today.

This was seven and a half years ago, and thankfully now he is as normal, intelligent, frustrating and annoying as any other child. But I devised a few motivational charts to steer him in the right direction along the way…

We all love our kids, they make us proud, but……they can drive us crazy. Perhaps one of my charts can help you too. You can even create your own to target your own specific issues.
Looking is FREE,  and ordering is EASY.


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