George was ‘completed’ at 6.02am on Saturday 22nd December at the Whittington hospital in London. His full name is George Thomas Bradfield and he was a sturdy 8 pounds and five ounces. He is just six days old today and he’s already stolen our hearts.
George was ten days late when a check up scan revealed my amniotic fluid had decreased dramatically. A previous induction date set for the day before Christmas Eve was brought forward and I was admitted on the spot on the 21st instead. My waters were artificially broken (ouch ouch bloody ouch) and I was left to start labour naturally rather than using a prostaglandin gel to induce. My contractions started at around 4.30 that afternoon. Unfortunately my hopes of labouring in the birth centre were impossible since once they start interventions in your labour you go straight into the labour ward. No birthing pool for me. But gas and air helped…
I laboured for about 5 hours with the contractions getting stronger and longer -averaging about 3 to 4 every ten minutes. But I just wasn’t dilating quickly enough – I was still at 2 centimetres at the end of the 5 hours.
The decision was made to give me a drip to bring up the force of the contractions and induce labour. An epidural was advised (I’d been using a birthing ball, gas and air and the sweet sounds of Marvin Gaye to get me to this point). I quote the midwife here: “you would have to be insane not to take an epidural before being induced my love”. Zoiks!
Epidural and drip duly administered at 10.30pm, I settled down for a long night of contractions and (by this time) old school west coast rap. By 5.30 am there was good news and bad news. I’d got up to 7 cms dilated – let’s hear it for the cervix – but I’d had about 4 bouts of really heavy scary bleeding (later confirmed as placental abruption). The docs decided to take it to the c section and literally within minutes I was holding Matt’s hands, looking into his eyes and whispering ‘I love you’ (you know, just in case) as the surgeons got stuck in.
In what seemed like seconds there was a peculiar tugging sensation and then a cry! A baby’s cry. Jesus, words simply can’t express how you feel at this point. You can hear your child but you can’t see it yet and you don’t even know what sex it is. It’s delicious, thrilling, scary and amazing. Matt was asked to peek over and announce the sex and George officially entered the world. We got straight into skin to skin good times and headed up to the post natal ward to recover for the next couple of days.
There’s still so much more to tell about how we were discharged on Christmas Eve and readmitted on Christmas Day but that’s for another post I think. I hope you don’t mind me sharing all of this. It just feels so natural to tell it and important to mark it. We’re now at home having been released yesterday and we’re delighted to be here. We feel like a real little proper family and it’s wonderful. I couldn’t recommend it more!
I’m having an enforced baby moon which is basically two weeks of bed rest whilst my scar heals. It’s extremely painful occasionally and I need to speak to the midwife about it or at least get better painkillers. But I have everything else I need to hand. Crochet of course! Coronation Street on catch up, a family sized box of Maltesers and thousands of nappies. Oh yes…and this little charmer. Lush!
As a footnote, but an important one, I just wanted to say what an amazing health system we have in this country. I’m a big advocate of the NHS and the people who work in it, and I felt important, cared for and supported throughout the whole process. From the midwives and their students who looked after us (Edna, Malin, Lorna and Alex) to the anesthetist who topped up my epidural before the surgery to the lovely breast feeding counsellor Dawn who lay on the floor to show me how to feed in bed rather than mess up my cot. Each and every one – totally brilliant. Makes me proud.