From Womb to Living Room

I haven’t really written about my wife’s second pregnancy as since we found out she was pregnant, we had just purchased our home, 400 odd miles from where we were living, arranging new job, new school for Theo and generally adjusting from the change of living and working in London to living in a village and working in an entirely different business as I did before.

As many of you may know, the birth of our first son was very traumatic with the placental abruption at 31 weeks which caused him to be delivered by emergency c section within 2 hours of the show of blood at our local supermarket.

This time around was different, at 20 weeks we were told we were expecting another boy, during this appointment we were also given the hope that my wife would be able to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). This was a great hope considering she did not expect it to be possible after what had happened before.

As weeks went on, my wife was told that our son had turned breech, and that if he didn’t turn she would have to go in for a planned c section (this was a low point for us as we were so happy with how everything was going and she was due to get the birth she always wanted). After 30 weeks she had to go and see the consultant every 2 weeks for a scan and checks due to the high risk pregnancy that it was, the other weeks were midwife appointments, so every Thursday she would be down the doctors or hospital for an appointment to make sure everything was okay.

So at 35 weeks, baby was still breech, so the wife decided to google some things to help, as the “spinning babies” techniques she looked up weren’t helping (to me it looked like yoga mixed with twerking). As she did this she found a Chinese medicine technique called moxibustion(where they burn a herb and put it on your toes, to get the baby to turn). A few days later and the pain she went through she decided to not do more sessions as the pain was unbearable and it left a giant blister on her toe ( I told her due to my phobia of feet and the giant growth of a blister that foot rubs were not an option until it went haha).

So 2 weeks after that we went to see Spider-Man far from home at the cinema, the baby was moving a lot and contractions were going strong at 7 minute intervals. We thought this could be it the baby may come this weekend. But no the baby didn’t come. He did do some crazy moments that night where I genuinely thought it was going to be the scene from alien and the baby would just rip through her stomach.

Another Thursday came and the consultant had told us that in fact he had turn round and was in the right direction. That crazy Chinese therapy worked. She decided to keep the appointment for the scheduled c section in case he turned again but decided to book us in to see her the day before to have an examination to see if the c section would go ahead or we are going to have a vaginal birth.

Let’s fast forward to that consultant appointment. 39 weeks and 3 days gestation, we walked into the consultation room and the consultant gave a scan of the baby. Turns out he was very engaged and she felt it was time to do a sweep, and was sure he would be here in the next 48 hours. She called the hospital and booked her in to be induced 2 days later if labour hadn’t started yet. We were also told that she was 2cm dilated.

The next morning was the morning of the scheduled c section but more importantly, our last full day as a family of 3. As no matter what happened the following day we would be leaving the house in the morning and next time we came home there would be a baby with us. But that morning we received a call from the hospital expecting my wife in for a c section. There went our final lay in for the next 18 months. I honestly cannot remember what we did that day ( something tells me we had lunch with my mother in law). We both decided to have an early night as everything was set and we needed to be at the hospital for 8:30 the next morning.

We woke up early the next morning, had breakfast, fed Theo, waited for my mother in law to come round and then jumped in the car to the hospital. We got there about 7:45 and sat in the waiting room for 5 minutes before the midwife took us to our labour suite.

At 9:00 my wife’s waters were broken and a cannula was put in her hand with a hormone drip going into her to induce labour. This was it, our boy was on his way at any point.

At 12:30 she went into established labour. She was told after 4 hours they would examine her to tell her the next steps. So after 4 hours of heavy breathing on the gas and air (yes I had a go) some moaning and even so moving as I called it. The doctors came to examine her, she was 6cm dilated at this point. The wishes she previously had about not taking the epidural went out the window at this point as the contractions were not easing up and it was suggested by the doctor. I remember it took 30 minutes to get the epidural in place and when it was injected, the doctor did another examination of my wife. Turns out she was fully dilated, in that hour and the epidural has only probably kicked in about 5 minutes ago she has dilated by 4cm. The doctor was going to take a blood sample from the baby’s head but could see he was ready to come so decided to get him out of there quickly. My wife started to push and after a bit, he needed some help so they had to use forceps to get him out a bit. With a few more pushes and guidance with the forceps his head was free. The midwife told me and my wife to feel his head. It was at that moment I’ve felt the closest I ever have to my wife.

At that moment the doctors and midwives realised his shoulder was stuck and before I knew it my wife was told to push as a midwife jumped on the bed to push down on her stomach to turn his shoulder. As soon as this was done he was born at 18:51.

The next 10-15 minutes were a blur as doctors tried to get him to breathe on his own and I was so scared that he wasn’t okay. Next thing we knew he was being taken to the NICU to do some tests. All the time frames from this evening all got mixed up but some time later a paediatrician came in to say his gas results from his cord and his brain activity were not doing what they needed to do so they would have to send him to another hospital for a cooling therapy which was take 72 hours. My heart sunk when I heard that he would be in hospital for another 3 days. With the trauma from Theo’s birth this was the last thing I wanted to happen.

We then got to see him before the transport came for him this was around midnight. We were told that our ambulance would come shortly however this didn’t turn up until at least 3am. I was sitting in the chair was my wife slept in the hospital bed just panicking about what was coming next. When we got to the other hospital, we got settled and got to see our boy at 5am. After a small holding his finger we both decided it was time to get some sleep.

It was lucky that the ward my wife was put on she had her own room with had a put out bed for me.

I remember my sister in law phoning me at 7:30 and I ignored it so I could go back to sleep. When I woke up I had text messages from family members and colleagues asking how everything was. My wife was bed bound for the day so I had to help her get about via wheelchair. We went down to see the baby whenever we could.

The next day we went down to see the baby, when we spoke to the nurse she told us about the NICU pack which had a lot of information, a cuddle toy for mum and baby (which gets swap everyday so each toy smells like mum and baby, I’ll will be posting on Instagram about this soon) and also a mumcam (which essentially was a 24 hour FaceTime call with the baby so we could see how he was in the hospital, once again an Instagram post about this will follow). My wife started to get better to the point when I woke up, she had gotten out of bed and had a shower before I had even woken up. She was still weak on her feet but she was getting better. That night we knew it was the final 24 hours of the cooling treatment.

The next day we went straight down to see the baby in the NICU, spent about an hour with him then went back upstairs so my wife could rest before lunch, after lunch we went back down to see him and same routine for dinner as well, where we took his clothes down for when he was warmed up. After the 72 hours of cooling, the baby gets warmed for 12 hours to get back to resting body temperature. Cooling was going to end by 11:30 so we called it a night and decided to go down the next morning to see him.

So the next morning came and we decided to get breakfast before we went down to him, as we left the break room, we saw our sons doctor on the ward, she asked if we could go to our room to discuss the baby. When we got in the room she told us the treatment was complete, however they had 4 babies come into the NICU that night (we noticed she had been working 24 hours at this point), with this she suggested that we went back to our original hospital as he doesn’t need intensive care any more. We agreed as we didn’t want to take up space for a baby who may need more help as our son just needs to get feeding to go home. We went down to see him and my wife finally got to have a cuddle with him (photo on Instagram with this post). She went upstairs to sort her stuff out and express milk, so she left me downstairs to have a cuddle with him before I came up to get ready. Within an hour we were notified the ambulance was here to take my son and wife to the other hospital and I would have to get transport there. Once we got downstairs, the paramedics saw it was hammering down with rain and told me to jump in the front of the ambulance. What I found out is these paramedics are actually neonatal nurses, which gave me a lot of respect for their jobs. Once we got to the other hospital my son was put in an incubator. One thing I didn’t mention is the whole time since my son was born I myself was suffering from some sort of PTSD from our firsts sons birth and all of the experience was bringing it back to the point whenever I fell asleep I could see everything including the hospital corridors and even a toilet of all things, the reason I mentioned this now is seeing him in that incubator completely broke my heart and I couldn’t help how I was feeling, even though I knew that it wasn’t serious and he would be out in 2 or 3 days.

At this hospital my wife had a room and I was allowed to stay however there was only a chair to sleep in. Which I didn’t really sleep that night as I couldn’t get comfortable until I climbed into the hospital bed with my wife. When the nurse came in the morning I jumped up and made it look like I was comforting my wife so I didn’t get in trouble. Once my wife had breakfast my wife went down to see the baby, walking down the corridor we heard him cry, we walked into his room and they were putting him into a cot, and for the first time in his life he was in clothes. The midwife also told us that we would be rooming in that night and he would be going home the next day. This is the news I needed to hear, my mood suddenly lifted. Our boy would be coming home. That day his brother came with their Nan to visit, I made sure I got a picture with my boys and believe me I put that’s as my wallpaper right away (I’ll attach it to this post on Instagram too). When they went home we settled for the night, in a double bed with the baby in a cot at the end. We still had to write down when he had feeds and nappies we changed but that was just as a formality.

Today was the day he was coming home, but just as we were ready to leave we were told he had to do a hearing test and a blood test before we left, by the time these were done it was about 2 hours later. So when we got to leave I was starving so I made my sister in law go to a KFC drive thru on the way home so I could eat. When we got home Theo came back home from his aunts house and within 5 minutes he held his brother and produced the proudest moment of my life (picture on Instagram).

Oh during this post I have called the baby “the baby” but I should really announce that we called him Leonidas or Leon for short

And that is the journey of Womb to Living Room, thank you for reading

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