Tuesday, 28 December 2010

First 2 weeks of being a Mum

So little Nathan entered the world on Tuesday night and I knew i was looking at a couple of days in hospital. I think sometimes when you have NO choice you just need to get on with things. You accept it and adjust.

We were wheeled to our ward and i tried to get some sleep but i think i only managed an hour. Before the other girls on the ward had even woke up, I was up, showered, dressed and had my MAKE UP ON! Im sure they thought i was mad. Who cares about make up at a time like that? The girl in the bed next to me who had gave birth at the same time was practically in a coma, but not me. I was buzzing about the ward, seeing to Nathan and getting some breakfast.

Fathers are allowed to visit all day so Gerry soon arrived. My appetite was back with a vengeance and I was looking to find out where I could get some lunch. Apparently there was a cafe in the next building. So off i went leaving Gerry with Nathan. I was on the 3rd floor so i made my way down the stairs and walked to the cafe. This seemed like a good idea in theory but i did regret it half way there. It was quite a tough walk in the snowy slush, in slippers... and I had 2 hills to tackle. I bought loads! With 2 heavy bags I made the trip back. I felt good at the time. Independent even. but looking back i was doing far too much too soon and should really have been resting in bed. Soon I had a rush of visitors which was lovely and between them and the midwives constantly popping in, the day flew by. Gerry left at 9pm and i went to bed. Well sleep wouldn't come very easily and I think i only managed about 2 hours.

I kept looking over at Nathan in his little crib and I just felt really strange. I couldn't get my head around the fact that he was mine. I made him. It just didn't seem real at all. He didn't look like me really, not what I expected my child to look like. But i think it was more to do with the labour. In my head giving birth was all about pain. Pushing, puffing, panting and in the end this little baby coming. But i think my problem was (without being too graphic) because i didn't actually FEEL Nathan come out, it just wasn't gelling in my head. Throughout my whole pregnancy my tummy grew but even then i couldn't actually believe there was a baby inside me. I thought when he was born it would all just click. But it didn't. This sounds weird and some of you might even think its something to be concerned about. It wasn't like that. I loved him immediately and mothered him the way nature intends. But it definitely took a while to get my head around.

Lying in bed that night I decided it was time to go home. I was fine, Nathan was fine. I wanted to get home to my own surroundings and home comforts. Only problem was I wasn't sure that the hospital would agree. The thought of spending another day in hospital was ok, but to be told I COULDN'T leave wasn't something i was ok with. I was ready to go. When an agoraphobic is ready to leave... well... we know that feeling, the sense of urgency.

As soon as the midwife made her first visit i was on her case. 'Can i go home today'?? I was told that if the paediatrician gave Nathan the all clear we could go. I got on the phone to Gerry who wasn't allowed on the ward till 12.30 and told him we were getting out, come pick us up. At 10am he arrived on the ward armed with the car seat. I'm sure if he had been spotted he would have been asked to leave but i managed to hide him in a corner till visiting was allowed. Again the midwives visited and i was checked over. Each time i asked again 'can i go yet'. I should have just relaxed but i got myself quite stressed about it. We were warned of more bad weather and there was no way I was going to be stranded in the hospital due to the roads being so dangerous. I looked out the window and seen the snow start, RIGHT as i was having my blood pressure taken. No surprise I was told my heart rate was again a little too quick but i explained it was just nerves and had them re-take it in 5 minutes. Thankfully it had gone down. I packed my case and was literally sitting on the bed with Nathan in his car seat and me with my jacket on just waiting for the go ahead to leave. The girls on the ward did ask why i was in such a rush but i just made up some excuse about wanting a bath (i didn't know there was one on my ward). I really don't know how i would have reacted had they told me i was to stay again. Thankfully that never happened and I was allowed to go.

Ok new stress now. The journey home with this little baby. Gerry and I had our first fight seconds after leaving the hospital while trying to get the car seat in the car. I hadn't really slept since Sunday night, not properly anyway. This was now Thursday. I had impressed everyone on the ward with my get up and go but it was clear i had been running on adrenalin and i knew that i was going to crash eventually. And so as we struggled with the car seat I could feel myself ready to crack. 'Just get home and everything will be ok'

We drove home in strained silence and made our way to the flat. As soon as we walked in the door BOOM!!!! I lost it. I put Nathan down and I looked at him and felt filled with fear. Who was this little guy? Hes mine?? That cant be right. I haven't just had a baby. What if I'm rubbish at this. What if I cant cope. What if I let him down. This house is a mess. I need to get organised. I cant settle in this disorder. Wheres Nathans pram Gerry.

I ranted and raved and my head was spinning. I was SCREAMING at Gerry at this point. And instead of him being psychic and maybe realising my hormones were all over the place and i was just panicking, he fought back, which obviously didn't help. I asked him to fetch me things and he refused. If he had just went along with it, i might have been ok. But instead he stood his ground which made me even worse. Why isn't he helping me? This isn't going to work. To be fair i wasn't just shouting. I was hysterical. I was in tears and really I looked like I had lost the plot. And not only was I scaring Gerry but I was scaring myself. The responsibility of this little baby had hit me like a ton of bricks and i just didn't think I was up to the job. But what choice did I have? He is my son so i cant just give him back. I cant run away from it because number 1 - I would never forgive myself and number 2 - I didn't want to! But i was still terrified and freaking out. I was imagining the worst really instead of just taking each day as it came. I was visualising panic attacks and madness and being house bound and this poor baby suffering. In the end i had to call my mum. My poor mother. She must have been worried but she made her way to my house and tried to get me to sit down and relax. I couldn't though, i needed everything in order. I assembled his pram, put it in its place, i unpacked gifts, took the bins out, sorted out his clothes and then finally I sat down and had a cup of tea. With the house spotless and everything in its place my head started to seem clearer. Ok,i just had to get through this one night and take it from there. In a weeks time i will be in some sort of routine and this wont be so damn scary.

Nathan is such an easy baby at times and luckily he slept all day and night in between feeds. I think I needed it that night. Had he been hard work I might have panicked, but he was great and I was able to settle in.

The next few days are a blur of visitors and still no sleep. I'm breast feeding the little one and have been told to feed on demand. He is a hungry little guy so I get woken up at all hours. I used to really struggle with lack of sleep and would get really anxious if i didn't get at least 6 hours! but now i never get that and I don't mind. Like i said earlier, when you have no choice you just need to adapt.

Next issue. We needed to register Nathans birth. Pfffft i thought i was off the hook for a while and could just enjoy my baby. I didn't think i would be fighting my agoraphobia for a while. Registering him required travelling out of my comfort zone. My first thought was, Gerry can go do it. but when i looked into it I discovered that I HAD to be there! I did actually put it off for a couple of days, don't tell Gerry. I told him the office was too busy and i couldn't get an appointment but i knew it had to be done eventually. The weather on the day was awful. The place was covered in snow but worse we had thick fog. I have said before i am NOT fan of fog. It makes me very anxious and claustrophobic. I know i couldn't cancel though as Gerry would go nuts. I didn't want to take Nathan out in that weather though so my mum came to sit with him while we were out. I wont lie, it was hard this time. The registry office was somewhere that I haven't been in a long time, and if i DID go there in the past it would be with me driving. But this time Gerry was the driver and I sat there in the passenger seat sweating. Every set of traffic lights we came to turned red and my anxiety climbed the charts. There were definitely a few moments when that urgent feeling came over me and I wanted to shout OK TURN THE CAR AROUND AND TAKE ME BACK. But i fought it. 'Remember this will pass'. We got to the office and I still struggled. I asked the women on the reception if we could be seen asap as i was feeling sick, but I was told there was someone else before me. The anxiety came in waves and i tried to distract myself in many ways. I had visions of me running out screaming. Or running into the room and ranting 'OK IM LYNN THIS IS GERRY THE BABY IS NATHAN FILL OUT THE FORMS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE AS I NEED TO LEAVE GO GO GO GO GO' Finally the person in front left and we were seen. Slowly my anxiety reduced phew!

The days have passed so quickly and as I write this Nathan will turn 2 weeks old. How has it really been? Has it been as hard as everyone describes.. Well truthfully and as i say this i touch wood, but no. I love it. We quickly got into a routine and although there are still sleepless nights I don't mind. If we have a bad night we curl up together on the sofa during the day and have a little nap together. I breast feed so i don't have the hassle of constantly making up formula or sterilising bottles. Nathan can sleep for HOURS and so I'm able to do my house work. Our families totally dote on him and we go visiting. I'm a dab hand at changing nappies etc. I love that Nathan knows my voice and no one can settle him as quickly as I can. How he seems content when i am near. The hard part for me has been health issues. He does this thing that i REALLY appreciate where he holds his breath and goes a lovely shade of purple. As you can imagine this sends me into a panic and although outwardly I'm all calm and just pat his back and make cooing noises...inside i am screaming and visualising running into my neighbours house holding a sick baby asking if she knows mouth to mouth. But the more he does it, the more used to it I am and i don't freak so much anymore.

The final issue only happened yesterday and this was a hard one for me. We had been invited to Gerry's parents for lunch. This was going to be a challenge for me but i accepted it as I want Nathan and I out doing things together. I wont let agoraphobia affect going out with my son (well within reason). But I had a sleepless night previously AND had a bit of a dodgy tummy. You know sometimes when something is just beyond you. Like one day you need to go to the supermarket and although it scares you, you go and you struggle through it. But other days you might need to go but you just know its not the right time and your bound to feel terrible. Well I was having one of those days. I didn't want to panic but more importantly i didn't want to panic in front of Nathan. Ok he may be too young to understand but I didn't want to take the chance, knowing that if i DID panic in front of him it would probably only make me more upset. So, all day i dreaded telling Gerry and when i did he was not a happy bunny. I also knew his parents were very excited to have Nathan over. How could I let everyone down? In my head I knew the sensible solution was for Gerry to go and to take Nathan with him. But in my heart I didn't think it was possible. I didn't want to be apart from my baby. I couldn't tell Gerry that i wasn't allowing him to take his son out. I couldn't deprive his parents of seeing their grandson.

So Gerry got Nathan into his car seat. Uh oh this was a bad idea. I felt physically sick and i started sobbing! He was only going to be about a 20 minute drive away but to me it was too far. I imagined Nathan crying for me and me not being there. Or i imagined me having a panic attack and not being able to make it stop until my son was home. I tried to hold it together. I know its only because Nathan is so new and that in time ill be grateful for someone taking him away and giving me a break for a while. But it was just too soon! This will be good for Nathan, he will enjoy it etc etc but suddenly i was really upset and asked Gerry not to take him through my tears. He simply said 'we are going visiting' and walked out the house.

Well i was a mess! I had to phone my mum and with every minute i was aware Nathan was getting further and further away from me. She told me to enjoy the rest and assured me Nathan would be fine. but I couldn't rest. I attacked my house in a cleaning frenzy as a distraction. Floors were swept and mopped, washings done, hoovering done, dishes washed. I ran myself a bath and by the time Gerry came home I had done so much housework i hadn't even managed to have my bath. 3 hours I passed. The longest 3 hours ever!!

And so i know this is going to be a battle. Today Gerry and I argued and he through his favourite insult in my face. The one he thinks will get a rise out of me. 'You never go out' or 'You cant leave the house'. This REALLY pisses me off because, well i CAN go out, but also hes touching a nerve and making it all an issue again. How cruel. and how horrible to dismiss all my hard work and achievements. Maybe the old me couldn't go out but now i do, and look at me trying to justify myself. He shouldn't say it just cause its not very nice!

Anyway that's been my first 2 weeks as a mummy and apart from these anxious moments i am loving every minute. And in a way I have even loved the anxious parts because i tell myself that every time i over come one of these it makes me a bit stronger. That was definitely how i dealt with Nathan being away, telling myself that it was something i needed to get used to and something that would get easier. Next up, New Year. Whats everyones plans. I think we should vow that 2011 is going to be a good one. For me 2010 has been one to remember!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Labour

Well a week has passed since the birth and its high time i told you what happened.
So last Monday I was sat at home in quite a bit of pain. My due date wasn't actually till the Thursday but i had a good idea that i had gone into labour. I was told I wouldn't be admitted to the hospital till I was 7cm dilated and so i braved it out at home. The pain was coming and going but it was bearable and that's why i wasn't rushing to hospital in a panic. I realised it was going to be a long process and since i was happy to ride it out at home i was sure i was quite a long way off from giving birth.

As Monday progressed the pain grew and came more frequently but it was still all over the place and not regular like they tell you contractions should be. I spent Monday night on the couch just breathing through them but by now the pain was less tolerable and i got no sleep whatsoever.
Tuesday morning i felt a little better. The pain was easing which was a little confusing. So i set my laptop up and started checking emails. Then suddenly POP. My waters broke. Uh oh this was really happening now. I rung the hospital and they asked me the colour of my waters. 'Brown' i told them. The nervous sounding midwife explained this could be a sign that the baby had pooed and i needed to get up to the hospital immediately and into the labour suite.

Well OMG i wasn't happy. I was terrified! My fears of travelling etc had to be brushed aside. No matter how i was feeling i had no choice but to do as I was told and get to hospital asap. I thought this meant that i would need a C Section and so i was even more frightened but more than anything i just wanted the baby to be ok so i rushed off to gather my things.

The drive to the hospital was fine although obviously my head was filled with negatives wondering how serious this was and would the baby be ok. When i got there they checked me over, confirmed the baby had pooed and took me straight to the labour suite. No slow labour for me I was put straight on a hormone drip which would speed the process up considerably. They wanted the baby out quick!

With Gerald by my side I begun my 'labour'. The hormones worked quicker than I imagined and before i knew it the contractions were regular, close together and OUCH painful! 'Remember your breathing' I told myself and i puffed and panted through each one. At this point i grew more frightened and one of the machines began to beep. My heart rate was up at 140 bpm.I dont know if this is very high but it was higher than they would have liked. But i explained it was anxiety and with some breathing i would be back to normal soon. Thankfully there was so much going on that I didn't really have a chance to get anxious. I had other work to do. Puff, pant. Deep breath in and long breath out. I kept going without any pain relief. I figured it was going to get much much worse and so i better wait till i REALLY needed it. Gas and Air never appealed to me. Being a control freak I didn't like the fact it apparently made you feel 'out of it'. Diamorphine sounded even worse to me. This makes you totally gone. High as a kite. On another planet. Plus it can make you sick and if your ill after the injection there is nothing you can do but just deal with it. Nope i didn't like the sound of that at all. And then there was an epidural. Well this is the one where apparently you are left with no feeling in your legs. For someone with agoraphobia who likes to make a quick exit should things get scary, this was not an option for me either.
And so the best of a bad bunch looked to me to be the gas and air. I had heard of women who had given birth using this only and i hoped i could be one of them. I avoided it as long as possible but eventually I asked for the tube. As i bounced on an exercise ball and hunched over the bed i sucked the life from the tube. 'OH PLEASE WORK'. So many people had told me, 'The Gas is great, you feel drunk and it really helps the pain' SUCK SUCK SUCK. I was feeling drunk yeh but pain wise, it did nothing at all. Ok i was starting to get worried. I was told I was 4cm dilated and i had come to the conclusion the gas and air was rubbish. It literally didn't help ease the contractions in the slightest. Its amazing how what works for some can be hopeless with others, but with me it wasn't happening at all.

I battled on for another few hours with Gerry rubbing my back or helping with heat packs but by now nothing was helping. I felt very very sick. And very hot. I grabbed a sick bowl but mid contraction i was so all over the place i was using it as a fan. Nope I had enough, this was not my cup of tea EPIDURAL PLEASE.
But what about the numb legs Lynn? Well i couldn't have cared less. Numb me from the neck down just make this stop!
Quick as i asked for it there was an anaesthetist there armed with the equipment. It didn't take long to do and after 20 minutes i felt AMAZING. I was very very lucky. I got a fantastic epidural. Yes I have heard the horror stories about them, and i know people who have had them and they just haven't worked. but for me it worked perfectly AND i still had full movement of my legs. I wouldn't have been able to walk very well (or at all). But i could move on the bed ok and the pain disappeared completely. Well this epidural was my new best friend. I spent the next few hours lying trying to nap as i hadn't slept since the Sunday night. I couldn't sleep but was happy just dozing with no pain. It was really weird actually. I was lying there just as i would have been at home reading a book or watching tv. Meanwhile my contractions were even stronger but i was blissfully unaware.
The next time i was examined I was told I was fully dilated and i could start to push now. 'What'???Its that time. Time to start pushing already and this is where you see women, on tv or in movies, screaming the place down in agony. And here I am sitting quite happily, texting people etc. Weird! Well i did as I was told and pushed and pushed and pushed. But nothing happened. And so i pushed and pushed and pushed some more. I was examined again. My little baby was facing the wrong way AND had his head in the wrong position. Ah that's ok I thought ill just push and push and see how it goes. Wrong...

'Sorry Lynn but it looks like we are going to have to perform a C Section'. Oh no no no no this is just what i don't want! Lying on an operating table, wide awake while someone does that to you.No no no not for me thank you. But really in my head I knew i had no choice and had to do whatever was necessary. And so i signed the consent forms and told myself everything would be ok.

I had more waiting around to do as there was a queue for theatre. Gerry got given his scrubs to put on. It was now about 10pm and I was told my baby would be born before midnight. It still didn't seem real. I never really could get my head around the fact a baby would come out of me. I was given more epidural. Apparently the amount i had was enough for a normal labour but not enough for a section.
In theatre we were surrounded by about 10 other people. Maybe more. Everyone was doing their job and i was put on the table. The doctor had made a decision. He was going to use forceps to try and turn the baby and if it was successful we would try a forceps delivery. If that failed we would have the section. I had heard forceps were meant to be very painful but i was delighted that i might be able to avoid a section.

It was over so quickly. Forceps in. 'the baby has turned', 'ok push'. A little push and i was told the head was out. The doctor said hello to baby who must have been facing him. He told me i would need to push once more and baby would be out. No need in the end ' oh oh wait hes... hes... here's your baby' and he was placed on my chest!
It was that easy! He was placed on my chest and i just shouted Oh my god! It was so wonderful and soooo weird! What an amazing event for anyone to go through or witness. How on earth had i made this little bundle! Baby was checked over and given the thumbs up. He was looking great and no sign of downs syndrome which i told was a possibility.
And so i had survived and brought the most gorgeous little boy into the world. Who would have thought it. I certainly couldn't have predicted this a few years ago. But this was only the beginning. It was to be much harder over the next few days .......

Thursday, 16 December 2010


Nathan Jackson Spencer.
Born 14th December 2010 at 10.56pm
Weighing 7lb 9oz
Will update more later but we have a very tired mummy here xx

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Its the End of Days

Scotland from space.. completely covered in snow

Well you'd think it was here in Scotland. The weather we are having is mental!!!

Scotland has a reputation of having bad weather and so you would think when it hits us we would be organised. Not at all! We have had snow and the lowest temperatures in years and it is causing utter chaos.

Traffic has been at a stand still and people have been stuck in their cars for over 15 hours. The temperatures vary but I have seen -15 here the last few nights. The shops are empty with people panic buying and so you ll struggle to get some milk and bread. The schools are all closed leaving poor parents tearing their hair out with the kids stuck in doors. There have been deaths reported with people freezing to death outside. (mainly Old people who had perhaps fallen). Many people stuck on endless traffic have just abandoned their cars and walked home. Lorries are jackknifed all over the country and many other accidents reported. And of course people cant get to work etc so in short the place is falling apart.

For an agoraphobic caught in the middle of this it isn't a barrel of laughs. I remember years ago if i saw the beginning of fog i would be sent into panic, would close all the blinds and curtains and hide away in my bedroom. I hate the claustrophobic feeling fog gives me. The snow has been doing much the same. Although I haven't had a panic attack i have definitely felt very uneasy and try not to focus on the fact that if i want to escape... i wont really be able to.

Escape what though?? I dunno. Just escape the panic i guess. Worse case scenario if panic was causing me to absolutely lose the plot i would rely on the fact I have a car outside and could go to hospital But with this weather that wont be happening. It would take me hours to get to the nearest hospital now and I'm just praying the roads are in better order when i go into labour!

Yes no sign of baby as yet. My due date is the 16th and so I am hoping the weather situation may be slightly better by then. If not I can relax (somewhat) knowing that the ARMY have been drafted in to drive paramedics around in 4x4s!

Everyday I check my car is working and mostly it sits there with a battery which has been killed by the cold or i simply cant get it in at all as its completely frozen shut! I have managed a little walk to the shops each day but its not enough, i am experiencing extreme cabin fever! I'm used to seeing my mum everyday for a cuppa and a chat but I haven't seen her in a week now and its starting to get on my nerves. So tomorrow I am out of here! I am braving the elements before i lose my mind. Its not good for me to be at home with too much spare time and too much time to think. Always better to keep busy i say.

Baby wise I am pretty huge now. Sleeping ok but growing increasingly uncomfortable and nervous about the pain i am due to go through lol. There is no way out of it really it just has to be done and so I am coping ok with my 'just get on with it' attitude. Still its not exactly a thrilling thought.

My updates are lacking because i literally spend my days doing the same stuff and so haven't had much to update you with but im sure that will change over the coming weeks. I hope you are all well and looking forward to Christmas. I'm not making any great plans for mine this year as I have no idea where I will be or what state ill be in lol. Wherever you are I hope your anxiety free and warm!!!