Nacho’s Birth story

I have a moment now to reflect a bit on the incredible arrival of our precious little Nacho seven weeks ago. This time has flown in a hazy blur of bliss.

He has been named but in my heart he will always be my precious little Nachito. His name is quite fitting though, very reflective of his strength and special nature but I want to protect his anonymity and keep it quiet. Feel free to email me if you’d like to know though and I’ll tell you.

I can’t believe he’s here. I sit here staring at him for hours and hours. He’s so special and so loved.

I went into labour at 2 in the morning at 41 weeks. I had been to two acupuncture sessions to encourage labour prior to that and my contractions came on gently. I was able to go to a third acupuncture appointment later that afternoon which significantly sped things up. Almost immediately afterwards I was quite unwell and my contractions were about every four minutes. That’s when I strapped on the tens machine, my only form of pain relief for 38 of my 40 hour labour. Our doula came over by 6pm and I was in established labour quickly after that.

At 1am we decided to go to the hospital as my contractions were 90 seconds long and every three minutes. The cab ride was 35 mins away even at that hour, a very uncomfortable journey but I don’t remember much. The tens machine really worked to mask my pain and I was in the depths of hypnobirthing.

Once we got to the hospital I stubbornly refused an exam. I didn’t want to be poked and prodded. As a result I was told I wouldn’t be admitted. That immediately got my back up and things started to go pear shaped from there. Once I relented to the exam (horrible, horrible, I might add) I was told I was only 3.5cm dilated. To be admitted I had to be 4cm. We are all convinced I was much further along than that at home and the combination of the cab ride and caused everything to clamp up so to speak.

So we went back home for four hours until my contractions were 2 minutes long and every minute. By the time we got to the hospital I was fully dilated. I can then not account for the next 10 hours. I pushed for 2 of them, without the help of my tens machine. Big mistake I might add! I took it off to push thinking it would help me focus. Errr no! Problem was after 40 hours I was completely out of gas and so was Nacho. My contractions slowed down and I looked at DH with nothing left to give. I hadn’t eaten in 2 days and could keep very little down liquid-wise. We knew it was time for something else.

After two hours of pushing I was give two options: 1) an emergency c-section or 2) forceps. To stick as closely to my original birth plan as possible I chose an epidural to give me a rest to gain my strength and help me push. A syntocinon drip was started at the same time to get my contractions going again. I was given a 30 minute timeline to get him out myself otherwise to the operating theatre I go.

I managed to do it in 20. Nacho showed little signs of distress and his strength of character persisted once again. He was just fine. Nearly 9lbs of happiness thrown onto my chest.

Me on the other hand, I received an episiotomy, a third degree tear, lost over two litres of blood, had two blood transfusions and just shy of fifty stitches. It has taken me a long time to recover. But I wouldn’t change a thing. This was Nacho’s birth story.

We ended up in hospital for 8 days after his birth as less than 12 hours after birth Nacho began breathing quickly and losing body temperature on top of losing excessive amounts of body weight. This was a scary, blurry time. Doctors put us into the area of the ward when special attention is given to babies and it was deemed he had an unknown infection. Seven days of antibiotics, fluid and blood samples, being poked and prodded followed. But again Nacho is tough and he bounced back beautifully.

Since then we have been getting to know each other at home. I am so grateful for every moment together. I hold on to him so tight, this is probably terrible but I rarely put him down. I nurse him, a wonderfully close experience we both love. I carry him everywhere. I am really loving being his mum.

I can feel his angel brothers and sisters looking out for him. He embodies a wisdom, calm and understanding I can’t explain. I have learned so much from him already and I’m so completely and utterly in love.

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Officially due

I can’t believe we’ve made it this far but today is Nacho’s due date.

So many emotions have been flooding my brain these last few weeks when I think about our journey to get here. It is mind-boggling to me that we are nearly there. I am just so overwhelmed with gratitude.

From endless losses, to twice weekly scans to check on his progress to being told to prepare for a preterm birth to 273 consecutive daily clexane injections to the craziness with DH, so much has happened, there’s so much to reflect upon.

But I’m trying only to focus on the future right now. I already feel like Nacho is a wise soul. His calm, lovely demeanour has kept me from losing it more than once. I just know he is going to teach me as much as I can hopefully teach him.

My body has been giving signals that things could be starting soon. I have had one long braxton hick for about 3 days. Nacho feels so heavy and low, I can feel every little movement now very clearly. He’s engaged and in a great position so hopefully things will kick off soon.

Being on mat leave is weird but wonderful. My days are filled with cleaning, cooking, preparation, practicing hypnobirthing and nice long naps. A once in a lifetime opportunity! It’s like waiting for the Queen to visit for tea. My house has never been so clean or organised!

Hiring a doula has been one of the best decisions I could have made. She has been so supportive and kind and has guided me so well through the process already, I feel prepared for all possibilities. Much of the anxiety I’ve been bottling up throughout the whole pregnancy has been slowly drained, leaving me with a clear, positive headspace. I never thought I could get here like this.

And now we wait. I say we because yes DH is in the picture. This deserves a post on its own but suffice it to say that as flawed as he is, he is now taking the idea of becoming a dad very seriously. And I have to say I am glad. Ultimately I want him in our lives and I’m relieved that DH seems to want that too. Baby steps but we are getting somewhere. More on this later.

In the meantime thank you again for your incredible support. I feel so blessed to have you guys cheering us on.

Full term!

Thank you to you all for your support from my last post. I want to respond to you each individually and will be doing that in the coming days. I also plan to update on what things are like now at home but this post is purely Nacho related. Because I’m getting excited. I wanted to get some of it out.

I am now full term (how can that be?!) and on maternity leave after about three weeks of modified bedrest and working from home. Turns out my body was eager to get the show on the road. I had been showing all the signs of preterm labour. Too early. With my history of a weak cervix and not actually ever getting a stitch they didn’t want to take any chances so the advice was to stay off my feet until full term to see if they stopped. They did. With all the chaos going on I was doing too much, I see that now.

I last saw Nacho on Friday for his last scan. At the time he was over 6lbs of cuteness. Not much to see except squished baby parts but it is always a relief to hear he is healthy and normal.

Apart from developing anaemia and the prelabour craziness Nacho’s presence has been very reassuring. He’s kicking like a fiend, but sleeps when I sleep through the night which has been a blessing. His 3-4x a day hiccups are the cutest thing I could ever imagine, reminding me actually is a real baby in there. I get very regular cervical twinges or “fanny daggers” as a friend has been referring to them reminding me things are definitely happening down there and at my last midwife appointment it was confirmed he’s engaged. He could come anytime.

I’m not really ready mentally but I am getting there physically. Ordered what he needs day one, with a few things left to sort out. Ticking things off the list has been more cathartic than I thought. I practice hypnobirthing everyday. I see my doula regularly and she has been a lifesaver to help me through the anxiety. She’s got the perfect blend of medical (as an ex supervisor midwife) and mind-body knowledge (as a hypnotherapist) to make me feel like I’m in a very safe and comforting pair of hands.

I reluctantly went to a series of NCT antenatal classes which quickly became invaluable for the shared knowledge, relationships and advice. I feel like I have a handle on things now. I’m getting there anyway.

Nacho is a constant source of strength for me, and I can’t wait to be there for him. But until then I look forward to spending the coming days/weeks savouring how close we are to each other. I talk to him constantly, narrating our daily adventures, taking naps together, enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. Washing his clothes even fills my eyes with tears. Everything is so emotional right now. I just can’t wait to meet this little guy.

Empathetic Sunday

I’m feeling particularly empathetic these days. Maybe it’s the hormones, maybe it’s the anxiety I can’t seem to shake, or the impending doom I feel about Nacho on a daily basis, maybe it’s a particularly emotional time in the blogosphere. But I’m finding it hard. There’s so much pain out there I just want to fix.

My hormones may be raging, yes, but it never ceases to blow my mind how emotional this journey is. It’s not just the highs and lows of our own experiences as individuals, but when you invest in the support of the journey of others in our community as we all do it is can be overwhelming. So much happens in the community of loss and infertility.

For the past several weeks, months, years I have witnessed, via blogging and twitter, long awaited BFPs, painful failed IVFs and IUIs, heartbreaking miscarriages, joyous births, devastating stillbirths, successful pregnancies after multiple losses, shocking second trimester losses, world-changing diagnoses, horrible set-backs, botched adoptions, cancelled cycles, making peace with moving on, cruel anniversaries, all bringing tears to my eyes.

It’s like being on the front lines of a warzone. There’s so much power, so much drive in our desire to be parents. It’s literally life or death. And we are faced with it everyday as we support each other. The sheer strength we all demonstrate to get ourselves through another day is mind boggling.

I’m saddened so deeply lately by my friends, you know who you are, who are struggling through countless failed ivf cycles. My heart is bursting with anger and sadness. The loss is blinding. I just don’t get why these things happen to good people. All we all want is a baby to take home.

And the losses. So many babies lost.

A few weeks ago the loss of a twitter friend’s second trimester twin babies really hit home. The twins were very close in gestation to Nacho, they had just reached “viability”. A cruel word. The grief and disbelief that this poor family must be enduring takes my breath away. How, in one day, can someone go from being fine to losing both her babies? I just don’t understand.

So much heartbreak.

I know, I know, there’s lots of good news out there too. Such happy stories, such relief. I celebrate these little milestones no matter how small.

Apologies for the super down post but I promised myself to get the thoughts that cloud my mind out onto virtual paper when I need to. Today has been a day of reflection too. Thinking of my own lost sweet peas tears me up inside. I think about all six nestled up in a cozy little pod together, looking after each other. I grieve for them everyday. I’m beginning to understand that that’s ok.

Looking forward

Well things have kind of settled down at work since I laid down the law with them the other week. Thanks to you all for your advice and sharing your experiences. That really helped me to feel empowered to do what is right for me and for Nacho. Why should I put up with this shit?! I guess after years of being on autopilot, striving to do the best in my career, now allowing my health to take first place is a big adjustment as stupid as that sounds, one that is long overdue. I feel the guilt of waiting until we were at a “certain place in life” before TTC. Hindsight is total cow. What a fool I was. There is nothing more important that meeting a safe and healthy Nachito and nothing will stand in my way to make that happen.

I am trying now to allow myself to think about actually meeting this little guy, a surreal thought, as a way to get me through each day. Tomorrow we will have reached “viability” – a milestone I had to be reminded of by lovely Lauren at OnFecondThought – and this idea is becoming more and more a possibility. Viability seems so out of this world, so premature, there is still so much time left (I hope), so much growing to do. I am feeling a little bit more relaxed about Nacho doing his thing. This is no doubt helped by getting the all clear on his anomaly scan, by his constant moving and having a Doppler to hand for times when he is isn’t. Little tiny milestones, one day at a time. There haven’t been many things I’ve felt able to think about. Going into a baby store is very uncomfortable. Buying anything is a long way off. Names? No way. But I’m allowing myself to think about getting him here safely.

Have I turned a new leaf? Don’t think so, not yet. As I start to try to look towards the future, I realise just how terrified of things going wrong I really am. Being labelled high risk makes me envious of the experience I always hoped I would have: a home water birth, an experience under my control, under our terms, one that is comfortable and safe physically and mentally for us both. A labour ward is a far cry from a home water birth but I know I should take comfort in the fact that Nacho will be well monitored to ensure his safe arrival. I don’t care what they do to me; just please let it be OK for him.

I think what is freaking me is out is that up until now my care has been a bit sporadic, inconsistent, unreliable and I have yet to see the same midwife or consultant twice. The more I think about it the stronger I feel about the terms of his birth. Obviously I know I can’t control everything, I certainly haven’t been able to control anything related to my fertility so far, and push come to shove I’ll do anything to get him out safely, but I’d like to make his birth as comfortable and safe as possible. I have been educating myself these recent weeks, reading up. I know it’s a long way off but that’s my way of empowering myself. No induction, no forceps, no drugs that can affect his heart rate, keeping the placenta and cord intact until it gives him as much of his own blood as possible, etc. At least that’s what I want. None of it may actually happen but I’d like to try. And under those clinical conditions I don’t know if I trust my body to get shit done. I don’t know if I can trust them to help me through it. Living without fear isn’t something that comes easily after years of losses and infertility. Neither is trust. They are already talking about early induction, something I really don’t want. I had been hoping for as little intervention as possible, and truth is I am terrified.

For this reason we are considering retaining a doula. I don’t know if it is a crazy idea but I am hoping to use a doula as a consistent face, my advocate, someone to limit interventions and encourage me to go as far as possible by listening to my body. Someone with a midwifery background, someone who gets it. DH will no doubt be a lifesaver but even he feels better with the idea of a doula. I feel like I can’t fully trust the hospital to fully support my choices and we can’t afford to go private. And why should we? We pay taxes just like everybody else so the least I can ask the system for is to support a choice I have every right to make, within the parameters of my care, of course.

Saying that, determination has never been something I’ve been short on so maybe if I’m able to get myself in the zone I can do this without a doula? I don’t know. And it’s entirely possible things will not go according to any plan and we’ll have to decide as we go. And maybe decisions will be made for me because things became desperate enough. Maybe I need to sit with this all for a bit.

A doula’s fees are a drop in the bucket compared to the exorbitant fees we have spent on private consultants, blood tests, procedures, treatment. And research has shown a doula can:

  • Shorten first-time labour by an average of 2 hours
  • Decrease the chance of caesarean section by 50%
  • Decrease the need for pain medication
  • Helps fathers participate with confidence
  • Increase success in breastfeeding

After all the extreme measures I’ve taken from preconception, and throughout the pregnancy, I really just want to give the little buddy the best, safest birth experience I can give him. If a doula can help with that I am inclined to go with one. I also see it as another way to try to overcome the fear and anxiety that has become second nature to me in the last three years.

It’s still a long way off but thinking about these things now helps to me focus on the day I might actually meet this little guy.

Have any of you used a doula or know anyone who has? Am I insane for considering it? Does anyone regret it? Were you happy with the decision?

Resurfacing

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I can’t believe how long it has been since my last post. Where do I start?

Tired, oh so tired.

Unbelievably I’m 22 weeks today. We had a scan last week that went well. These things still bring tears to my eyes. I can’t believe a heart is still beating in there, I just can’t. Nacho is measuring on time and everything seems OK. He is a bouncing kicking ninja. He makes me smile when I feel him moving in the middle of the night, or when I’m in a meeting. It is the best gift to be reminded that he is doing fine and just doing his thing. I am so overwhelmed and thankful every single day.

I am continuously at the hospital. Continuously waiting at the hospital. Although I am being seen a lot but several different specialists I don’t feel like I am getting consistent care. Advice I get is fast, preoccupied or conflicting, I never see the same doctor or midwife. There’s something about being a patient at a large hospital that makes me feel like I am slipping through the cracks a little. Not that I have anything to really justify that statement, it’s just a feeling. The important thing is that they feel like everything is going OK. So for now that is good enough for me.

We are over half way now. I am filled with excitement and fear and anxiety.

I think for those of us immersed in the world of infertility and loss, we almost know too much. We know what can go wrong. We have seen it happen. We have friends who have been through it. We hear their stories everyday. That naivety and innocence other lucky couples get to experience isn’t an option for people like us. This knowledge has a weight. I feel it everyday. I’m scared for the worst. It’s what holds me back from feeling safe, feeling comfortable, from trusting my body.

Maybe this is still why I have this innate fear of telling others. I still want to keep him secret until he turns up. It feels so much safer that way. Crazy I know. My therapist tells my this could be lingering PTSD. To this day I can count on one hand how many people we have told. Our families know, my boss, and two friends. But I think another week and there will be no denying it, my bump is getting big. Yet I still can’t identify with other pregnant women I see day to day. I haven’t been able to reconnect with the friends I’ve lost over the years. I just can’t relate. I don’t feel any different. Nothing has changed for me emotionally. I feel as cautious and scarred as ever. I wonder if we ever lose these RPL or infertility battle wounds?

But the long time I’ve taken to post again I am blaming on my job. It has taken over my life. I’m going through a massive work-life imbalance, something that has got to change immediately. Since January my work has ramped up to the point where I am working 70+ hour weeks. I haven’t even had time for a haircut let alone a blog post and this makes me so angry. My job is not physical or laborious but this is still not good. It is stressful and challenging and I am shocked and dissappointed in myself that I have put up with it for so long. I raised it as an issue back in January and continued to discuss it with management that something has to change. They keep making promises that they don’t keep and I am sick of it.

I have only recently told my boss I am expecting, something that took everything I had in me. He was great about it but you’d think the pressure would lighten up? Nope. What I don’t understand is why do I even care about this job? I have been waiting and working so hard to have a pregnancy succeed why do I give two shits about this job? I’m still figuring it out.

I finally jumped up and down enough that they have taken notice and started to do something about it. I booked this week off to recover and when I get back I won’t put up with this crap. I can’t flat out quit because we are dependent on my maternity pay – we JUST qualified by the way. A LMP 10 days sooner means we wouldn’t be eligible. So I am thankful for that.

So you haven’t missed much. Thank you to all who have checked in, your kindness overwhelms me everyday.

One thing is for sure, I miss this blog, I miss the feelings this blog allows me to express and I miss everyone I am connected to on here. I promise not to be gone so long again. Lots of love to you all. xx