As Baby Peaches arrival is imminent I’m now taking a little break from blogging. I’ll be about on social media and sharing the odd post, but to keep you all busy I have some wonderful bloggers lined up to step into my shoes and tell their Mama Stories of birth, fertility treatment and parenthood (plus a few non-parenting posts too!) whilst I potter away in the background, hopefully with a baby in my arms very soon! So, to kick off with my Mama Stories Blogger Takeover – today’s post was written by Rebecca of Wellies and Wishes blog. We got chatting after we found out we shared a very special date in common – our due date was exactly the same! Only our stories completely different as Rebecca’s baby Oscar has made an early appearance at 32 weeks! It’s crazy to think our babies are the same age (technically) but Oscar has had over 4 weeks in the world already (or more by the time this goes out!) Here is their story….
Pregnancy is a wonderful and exciting time, many women find it the most special and blissful time of their lives, whilst for others it’s the most strenuous and unenjoyable time. No matter how you’re feeling throughout your pregnancy, good or bad, nothing in the world can prepare you for a premature delivery.
I’m Rebecca, I currently live in Cyprus with my husband and 2 children, Emelia 2 1/2 years and Oscar 4 weeks. I started my blog after Oscar was born, initially as a way to document his progress, although life happened and my planned weekly updates are yet to be written! After chatting to Lyndsay I realised we had more in common than just blogging and motherhood – our due date, 22nd February 2017. I am writing this post to help fill in some space on her blog while she eagerly waits and prepares for the day her baby arrives – something that I too should have been doing. But here I am, writing this post, with baby Oscar already next to me and 4 weeks old.
Reflecting on my pregnancy I can’t say it’s full of fond memories, I am not one of the lucky women who thrive and glow throughout. I was plagued with sickness from the start and due to findings at my 12 week scan, in fear that something was wrong with the baby. Chromosomal tests confirmed he wouldn’t be born with Downs Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome or Patau Syndrome, but we were still at risk of him having a heart condition.
At 28 weeks pregnant I was admitted to hospital, contracting every couple of minutes and my cervix had shortened to 6mm (the average length at this stage of gestation is 3.5cm). There I stayed for a week while they pumped my body with various drugs to try and stop it – unsuccessfully initially but eventually it settled and I was allowed to go home, on strict bed rest. I was simply grateful to be home for Christmas, and adamant that after all of the drama I would have no further problems and walk into my planned c-section in February.
On 2nd January 2017, after a terrible night of pacing and feeling a little unwell, my waters broke. 32 weeks pregnant I was rushed to hospital in Nicosia (an hour and a half away from our home) where they have a specialist Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Due to a variety of reasons I was swiftly taken for a cesarean section for which I was put to sleep.
Having a baby in intensive care and a toddler at home brings on a whole new level of mum guilt that I never imagined I’d be feeling. I spent the whole time feeling completely torn, whichever one I was with I felt guilty the other was left behind. The visiting hours for the NICU were so strict, we could visit Oscar between 12-1pm and 5-6pm and Emelia was not allowed to visit, it was only parents. Both visiting times typically coincided with her lunch and tea time, just to make things that little bit more stressful. In a time when I felt completely helpless and quite frankly useless as a mother as far as Oscar was concerned, the one thing I felt I could to do for him was provide milk, the most natural thing in the world, aside from pregnancy itself. What people don’t tell you, and what never dawned on me is having a premature baby means that you might not produce as much breast milk as someone who has gone to term, and after researching I found other reasons your body may not produce it as you’d have hope, here are some examples:
- your body didn’t have as much time to start making milk
- a traumatic birth
- the placenta may not have come away unaided
- being separated from your baby shortly after delivery
The midwives and nurses in the hospital were putting pressure on me to express, which I was doing every 2 hours round the clock but getting no where, I knew it was my job to provide it and I was getting so upset that my body was just not cooperating. I have battled with it everyday since the day Oscar was born, and although I’m more accepting of the fact I was and am still unable to breastfeed/express, I still feel guilty that the one thing I should have been able to do, I couldn’t.
The last 4 weeks have been extremely hard on Brett and I, but let’s not forget poor Emelia. She has spent it being dumped on anyone that was able to look after her, being pulled left right and centre and not knowing whether she’s coming or going. As the hospital was 1.5 hours from our home we were staying in a welfare house provided by the RAF to be close to Oscar, which we were so grateful of, but it meant Emelia was away from her normal surroundings and her whole routine has been thrown out the window and she’s missed out on day to day things like nursery, ballet, trips to the park etc. that she loves. We’ve tried to do things with her in between visiting but it’s been so hard. I’ve been seriously unwell and was readmitted to hospital where I was in isolation for a week, whilst Oscar was still in intensive care. From the moment I found out I was pregnant I started planning how I would prepare Emelia for a new sibling and fantasied about what it would be like when we introduced them and brought the baby home – always aware it wouldn’t necessarily be a smooth ride, but not quite prepared for how rocky it would be. Life certainly throws you some curve balls at times, and January 2017 has definitely been a rollercoaster for our family, but Oscar is now home and making good progress, Emelia is happy and absolutely loving being a big sister. So finally it feels like we can move forward with our life as a family of 4 and start to do all of the things I had imagined we’d be doing with a new addition. I’m trying to take every moment for granted as I feel like we missed out on our first days and weeks as a family. I’m really trying to enjoy every moment of our new life – even the sleepless nights and ‘terrible two’ tantrums!
Here’s to a quiet and drama free rest of 2017!
Thanks Rebecca for the fab guest post! 🙂