16 January 2017

Becoming a MUM!

Sitting here listening to the cute noises my daughter is making in her sleep I cannot believe it has been nearly a month since she arrived to meet us.    The whole experience has truly been amazing and I still cannot believe she came OUT of me.  There is NO way being pregnant for the first time prepares you for the arrival of your baby – even though you have had ten months of “being pregnant” you literally have NO idea until they are born how amazing it is to grow a mini person inside you and see them for the very first time.
I repeated the “I cannot believe she came out of me” line at least 10 times a day when we first brought her home when she was two days old.  She was just perfect and so cute and I just could not stop looking at her. It is so true what they say, all the pain and uncomfortableness is totally worth it.
The journey to become a mum has been a long one for us; we started trying a few months after we got married in 2014.  Initially it was just coming off the pill and then tracking the cycles and hoping we got pregnant.  2015 for us was a tough year suffering three miscarriages, which was such a tough time for us.  I blogged about my experiences as I felt it helped to get the weight of the losses off my chest and hoped that it helped someone out there who was suffering in silence to know they are not alone and we should talk about our children we don’t get to meet.
2016 was going to be a different year for us, we just didn’t know it yet.  We had somehow gotten stronger together through all the pain and the recovering from two “evacuations” and I decided to have a couple months off “trying” to get pregnant.  My headspace wasn’t quite in the place it needed to be and I could not do another two-week wait after ovulating to see if we had conceived. 
After three months I felt it was time to try again and that is when we conceived, on Easter Monday to be exact (TMI).   We had a friends wedding in Bali in the first week of April and we were looking forward to a few days away with friends and I put out of my mind that “we could” be pregnant and for the first time since we started trying actually relaxed, enjoyed myself with eating, drinking and having a great holiday/wedding celebrations.  I just didn’t want to be consumed anymore by getting pregnant; if we were I was happy to wait until we got back home to deal with it.  I wanted to be “normal” and enjoy the cocktails, beers and eating delicious foods that Bali has to offer.  It was the best time ever.
So after Bali I had the two-week wait to see if I got my period.  Normally I have to take the test the day I am due or a few days after for the hormones to be high enough for the pregnancy test to read it as positive.  I did it at 3am in the morning around 4 days before I was due – no idea why – just was awake and needed to pee and had the tests sitting there, I don’t know if I “just knew” or was being my usual stubborn and inpatient self (I would say a mix of the two)!  It was positive! Holy crap I thought, should I wake up Drew and let him know or wait until the morning?  Lets just say that was an early wake up alarm for him, he had NO idea ha-ha and thought it was all a dream – woke up a few hours later asking me “are we pregnant or did I dream that you told me you were?”
The first few weeks I had this strong feeling that everything was going to be ok, that it was our time to have a child and my gut was right as I saw the heartbeat flicker on the screen at the earliest ultrasound ever at 6 weeks 3 days.  My doctor wanted to get on top of things early and ensure all was ok this pregnancy, I didn’t mind and Drew didn’t come to this scan – not sure if he thought it would be too early or if he would just see nothing on the scan moving and it would be like losing our other babies all over again.   I think he needed reassurance that all was ok this time before he would go with me to a scan again, and I cannot blame him.  He came with me a week later to see the same flicker on the screen, our baby this time had a beating heart, we have never gotten this far before!
So pregnancy went well, felt like forever some days, but I really did enjoy being pregnant, even with the afternoon sickness, nausea and hormones making you turn from a mushy lovely wife to a narly cranky cow within seconds.  I embraced it all and just hoped that our little MJ (mini Jones) or babygirl as we called her (I just knew she was a girl) was going to be ok.  We had so many scans throughout the pregnancy because of my age and our history and it was all very reassuring.
That feeling when you see your little baby forming from a dot to a little person on your 10/16/20 week scan is truly the most amazing sight ever. Someone above was looking after our baby girl and us.  I felt her growing inside me and just hoped that she would make it to us ok and I was doing everything I could to provide a safe and healthy environment for her.
Our local gp and midwives at the Royal Hospital for women in Randwick looking after us, we had so many appts, blood tests to make sure all was ok.  I grew bigger and could not wait to feel our baby girl move!  Having an anterior placenta meant that I wouldn’t necessarily feel all her movements or see her arms/legs stick out of my belly as the placenta was in the way.  I enjoyed getting HUGE, I loved my body changing and was so happy to have a healthy and vital pregnancy.  Everything was going well.
July saw my newly started Operations Manager role made redundant at nearly 5 months pregnant and September we were advised that the owners of our unit were selling the property and we had 90 days to move out and find a new home.  They say everything happens at once, I took this as a good sign (gosh I can be SO darn positive sometimes).  I must admit it was a little stressful, but we managed to just take each day as it came and looked at so many different properties every weekend.
Working on a temporary contract at the Powerhouse Museum was perfect for this pregnant mamma to be, great people, friendly and the hours were flexible and the role not too stressful and on top of that we found a nice house (yes house, with grass and no stairs) in the inner west that we moved into and we were back on track.
I could not believe at how fast (and sometimes it felt slow) the year was going.  I was moving slower and walking to and from the train station took me 23mins each way (normally takes 10mins).  I started catching the bus to work and then the train home so Drew could pick me up.  The waddling was hilarious and I could not believe at how slow I had become, I am a fast walker, one of those annoying people that walk so fast they over take everyone on their way past….. the only people I overtook were old ladies with their walking frames and one day I overtook another pregnant woman (yes I did feel bad for feeling awesome for that, she was ready to pop and about 32inches shorter than me)!
Working up until the end of November was perfect my temporary role that started out as a 4-6 weeks lasted me four months! I had a week to myself before my parents arrived from Perth to make sure they didn’t miss the arrival of their FIRST grandchild, in case she came early (I was a prem baby arriving at 32 weeks) and having my folks drive me around was great, especially on those hot days where we would just go and sit in an air-conditioned coffee shop for hours (mixing retired parents with a pregnant woman)! Was great to spend time with them before baby girl arrived and I was hoping she would come early in December and not too close to Christmas.
Being an AMA pregnant mamma (Advanced Maternal Age) meant that the hospital would want me to be induced and not go over my due date to avoid any risks of being an older first time mum.   This was not my choice but I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks.  I hoped and prayed that she would come on her own and when she was good and ready.  She was due on the 20th December and was born on the 20th December after being induced at exactly 40 weeks to the day.  I had been in hospital for two days prior to her being induced to prepare my cervix for delivery as it was NOT ready at all. 
I never wanted to be induced, I hated the idea that my I would not be in control and my body wasn’t going through the birth when it was ready and naturally.  But I embraced that my body is stubborn and I didn’t want to put any risks on either of us and just went with the flow. Babygirl was very happy inside, good to know the environment I created for her was so comfy she just wanted to stay there a bit longer!
After having two procedures – the gel and a balloon catheter to “ripen” my cervix I was finally ready to go to delivery suite from the antenatal ward on the day she was due.  My waters were broken at 815am and I had a couple hours of horrendous contractions coming at irregular times as the midwife Jo tried to control them with the oxytocin drip (synthetic version of the hormone the body produces to go into labour).  I had never felt anything like contractions before and they were not fun at all.  I could not get comfortable and in a good position to prepare for them as they were so irregular being controlled by the drip in my arm.  Jo tried to get them under control but I didn’t want to take it anymore and told her to get the epidural ASAP.
 Three hours was enough, I was only 4cm dilated (2cm had been from the earlier two procedures) and I did NOT fancy doing that for another 10hrs.   The gas made me sick and I didn’t feel in control.   Drew was being amazing support to me and even an assistant to our midwife, helping her with things she needed to prepare me as well as feeding me water and putting cold compresses on my head.  It was nice to feel the effects of the epidural take place and we could both have a rest until it was time for me to deliver our daughter.  So glad I made that decision.  Things got quiet and no-one was stressed, our daughter was getting ready to make her appearance.
It was a bizarre feeling being told that I had to push and I was numb as from the waist down.  I could not believe that in about 20mins I would be meeting my little girl.  Seeing her come out was truly amazing, seeing that little head and her being placed crying on my chest only to be comforted by my warmth was the best thing I have ever experienced in my entire life.  She had gunk all over her but was perfect. 

I am now a mum! I have the most precious girl in the world and she is worth all the growing pains, stretch marks and sleepless nights.  Looking into her eyes I feel so much love, more than I ever could imagine I would feel.  She is our little angel.