“Would you like a wake-up call, Mam?”

“Mummy, I’ve had enough now” was not the call I expected to wake me at 3am on June 23rd 2015.  Before finding out you’re expecting a baby you question “is this the right time?”  There appears to be no real “right” time, yet we like to think, house, mortgage, good job, maternity cover, good relationship, right age, financially ok etc etc might play a part in the preparation for becoming a parent.  We read all about it (I’ve blogged all about it) but come to the conclusion that no amount of planning makes much difference.

Dafydd and I were given the date July 22nd by the midwife as our “due date”.  I guess it’s important to have something to work towards, but the stats show that only 4-5% of babies actually arrive on their due date.  So, when I woke up wet at 3am in the morning on June 23rd what went through my mind?  Firstly, have I wet myself?  No, surely not, I may be pregnant but I have more control than that.  Secondly, am I really sweaty?  It might have been June, but this is Wales so it wasn’t THAT hot in June.  Thirdly, I don’t know.  So I got up and went to the toilet and low and behold I couldn’t stop.  I shouted to Daf (as much as you can “shout” at 3am) that I “couldn’t stop weeing”.  He came stumbling out of bed and we started googling “have my waters broken” (by now I had started to wonder if perhaps something was happening).  Google is both an amazing blessing and a ridiculous curse.  Having watched plenty of Call the Midwife I was expecting a big gush when my waters broke, and not the steady trickle that I was encountering.  So, now it was my turn to call the midwife.  As I was being consultant led, they suggested I came in so they could give me the once over.

So, a month earlier than planned and was I ready?  No.  Fortunately, the previous week we had done a shop to get some nappies, babygrows, hats, pads and all those other essentials.  But was my bag packed?  No.  Was I emotionally ready?  Will I ever know?  I felt incredibly excited and I think that took over everything.  After flapping around and trying to shove everything into some sort of order in a bag Daf and I set off for the hospital.  By now I was beginning to have a bit of a tummy ache, but nothing serious.  I won’t go into the details of labour (you can ask me personally if you want that story) but it turns out Poppi was done being inside and wanted to come out to meet the world.  So there we were.  By 10.30am on June 23rd with a tiny (and I mean tiny) life in our arms.  With very little phone signal we had sent an early text to our families saying I had gone into hospital.  Later that morning, when Dafydd went outside for a signal a reply came through from my Dad asking “are you sure it’s not just Braxton Hicks?!”  I don’t think so, Dad.  I have living proof in my arms.  I hadn’t finished work (in fact I think I still had two weeks to go) so my boss was contacted and my play therapy sessions excused. 

hottest day of the year…

Now what?  Being so little, Poppi was struggling to stay warm enough so we had to stay in hospital.  She was also struggling to feed and wasn’t able to suck.  One day rolled into two days, which rolled into 10 endless days.  I’m sure there are many of you out there who had to stay in longer than that, but you’ll understand how it feels when one thing after the other prevents you from going home.  First jaundice, then a fluctuating temperature so a course of antibiotics, heaters, and incubators, then a heart murmur.  We had to use a tiny cup to feed Poppi and the cheeky thing kept spitting out the milk so it took a good hour at least to get it down her.  Because she was so tiny, we were on a strict feeding programme, so when one feed had finished it was hardly any time until the next.  When it’s your first baby and you have literally no idea, you kinda feel you have to do everything you’re told, so I remember setting my alarm to get up and ready for the next feed.  The sleep deprivation is something I don’t know how I managed.  I look back now and wonder how on earth I did it.   But, you just do.  You have to.  And, then, to top it all off, hormones!!  I mean, what’s that all about?!  I’ve never been an especially emotional person, but this was something else! 

So, why am I writing about all this now?  A number of the mummies from my antenatal class have recently had their babies and it’s amazing how all the memories come flooding back so vividly.  I have to say, though, they are fond memories.  All these stages are just stages and we do get through them.  They are character building.  I am not (and actually cannot be) the same person I was three years, seven months and 10 days ago.  In fact, I hope, I’m a better person (I’ll have to leave it to those around me to tell me if I am).  There have been definite highs and definite lows throughout the whole process, but wouldn’t life be boring if it wasn’t challenging and the life changing rewards of parenting would be considerably less sweet.