I can’t tell one story without including the other moment my life was changed.
Here I go in my Disney narrative voice again…. This is the birth story of Alexavier Phoenix.
I’m not going to lie, the choice to fall pregnant again after the whole … A Shared Story Part One business was terrifying. I had two choices, the first being to never have another baby again. I had been blessed with one, I absolutely loved her and felt like the luckiest Mum in the whole world. I was terrified of nearly dying again, but the thing I was mostly terrified off was seeing a blue baby.
My second choice was , if I could… fall pregnant. I come from a huge family, My Nanna had 15 children, My Mum had 5… so I always knew I wanted more than one. And not only that, Leona deserved to have a sibling. She was a bright, sociable little girl who loved being around other children. And I knew if I didn’t try now, I never would. I realised looking back on it, I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress.
I would jump awake in the night in a cold sweat, checking Leona was breathing. And yes, every Mum does it, but I was extra panicky about it. One time , in the supermarket, a little boy fell over and blood started pouring from his knee, and I literally started shaking , had a major flashback of the whole popping my vein open thing and had to abandon a full trolley of shopping and run home. Flashbacks, nightmares, shakes, various other things…. BUT ….. honestly, don’t think of this as a pity story. People go through a lot worse. I would be mortified if anyone thought I was saying this for people to go ‘Aw …. she suffered’ … because I didn’t. Not really. I had a beautiful baby girl and nothing would ever dampen my spirits about that. I’m just really trying to tell you the frame of mind I was in when falling pregnant for a second time.
When I made that choice, when I decided it was a Yes, things were easier then.
I fell pregnant really quickly. If it had of taken some time, I probably would have considered backing out. I’m pretty weak when it comes to scary things.
I found out I was pregnant on boxing day. I knew I was pregnant because I felt funny. Sick but not sick…. and just weird. I took a test the next day and it was very faintly confirmed. That moment I realised there was a baby inside me changed everything. It no longer became a scary thing or a sibling for Leona or a choice in whether I could do it, it became real. Real Love.
I knew that I would get through it. I had no choice. We were both going to come out of it OK , for Leona. Simple as that.
I rang the Doctors, demanding an appointment asap, and they got me in pretty quick. They confirmed I was pregnant but was very early, around four weeks or something, and said they wouldn’t be able to see me til I was ten weeks.
I went a teensy bit crazy Laura,. I gave a dramatic speech about how this time round, I wasn’t going to be fobbed off. I was going to have adequate care and a regular midwife. On top of that, I was going to see a regular Dr , and when the time came in labour, I was going to be well looked after. I told her that I was young and naive last time. But this time round , I was still young (22) ,, but I was no fool. God, I was brilliant. Pats self on the back.
Anyway, she looked at me a bit bewildered and said she understood, but it was policy not to see a pregnant woman until that stage or something, and then after that, she would make sure I got the right appointments .
She kept her word. I went back at 9ish weeks pregnant and we booked a load of appointments.
The first twelve weeks were spent not eating much, feeling constantly sick, but not being sick. And in a way, that is worse. Because at least if you chuck your guts, you feel better for a brief moment.
I had my twelve week scan , everything checked out fine. Obviously, you don’t find out the sex of the baby until your 20 week scan. I chose to have a surprise with Leona, but this time around, I wanted to know. Not because I was curious, or because I was inpatient, but because I knew it was a boy. And I wanted to be proved right.
Everything about this pregnancy felt different. Leona’s was a breeze, this one was a struggle. In a goodish way, I felt like crap 24/7. But it was pregnancy crap so that is beautiful really. And it’s not just how different the pregnancies were that made me certain, it was just my gut. I never , ever …. thought I was pregnant with a girl. It was a boy. In fact, if they had of told me I was pregnant with a girl at the scan , I honestly would have passed out from surprise.
That isn’t to say I didn’t want a girl. I am genuinely one of those people who does not care. It could be boy, girl, or alien. It doesn’t matter. I love it regardless of ‘what it is’. And a girl would have been fantastic for Leona , sisters have beautiful relationships. (Not that I needed to worry about that, Leona and Lex are solid.)
But anyway, I had my 20 week scan, found out it was indeed a little boy, felt so happy I could burst, and carried on eating chunks of ginger rather than food to combat the sickness. I haven’t been able to look at a piece of ginger since the pregnancy.
The pregnancy was a monster. For a start, I had a bigger bump at twelve weeks than I had with Leona at full term. It did keep crossing my mind that they had forgotten to tell me there were two babies. But no.
I have never had problems with my back, until this pregnancy. The pain. Oh the pain. After some tests, it turned out I needed physiotherapy, and each session made me cry. You would think getting off a bed and standing straight against a wall would be a fairly easy task, but crap… no. Long story short, somehow, my back got damaged during the labour with Leona, which had never given me trouble until now, and my back bones were grating together , and my spine was starting to curve. Delightful.
I probably could have made some money if I had you tubed a video of me getting out of bed in the morning. I had to lay ON TOP OF TWO duvets, with a third one over me. And then in the morning, was a huge bed of pillows, cushions, another duvet and anything soft, laying on the floor next to the bed. Then I sort of had to swivel round, attempt to sit up which never worked, and kind of hope for the best. At least I always had a soft landing. Eventually I was able to be in an upright position after looking like a beached whale for a number of minutes. It was quite the hilarious scene.
I also found out that my stomach muscles had started to rip apart. I never quite understood why, I think the general assumption was I happened to be short, and I had a big baby growing inside me, and my body was falling to bits. That is a fair enough conclusion.
That was also painful.
I had to be monitored carefully by a consultant throughout the pregnancy, and this is when I found out that I had Pre- Eclampsia with Leona, and I had it again this time around. So on top of the breaking back, buggered up stomach, monstrous belly, constant nausea and general pregnant puffiness, I had the thing back that nearly cost Leona and I our lives.
But I can’t begin to describe how much it didn’t matter, how much I knew we would get through because I had things to fight for now. It would be a lie to say I didn’t worry. My worry on a scale of ‘calm’ to ‘fucking hell I am doomed’ was definitely the second. But , I also had a peace inside of me, knowing it would be OK .
There were scares. My midwife talked about having a voluntarily C-Section. I was adamant I didn’t want it. I mean, if had to , then fair enough, but I didn’t want to have it for no reason as if you remember from the last story…. medicine seems to do F all for me. I thought I would be one of those horror stories where the woman feels everything , where you felt every part of the surgery. Shudders. Ugh. Shudders again.
At 30 weeks I had a …. prepared to be grossed out…. leakage. I thought I was going in to labour. At 30 bloody weeks. I’m not even sure what happened now looking back on it , but it wasn’t. But from that moment, the midwife and Dr told me to be on stand by. His head was already low down and weirdly enough , I was something like 2 cm dilated , but not in labour. So they thought he was going to come pretty quickly.
I am so thankful he didn’t.
Now would probably be a good time to mention I did have a craving with this pregnancy. Bubble bath. Yup, you read that right. Particularly , Johnsons Baby Bath. I didn’t eat it of course, it would have been bad for the baby. But man I wanted to. I just had to make do with dabbing it on flannels and taking it everywhere so I could sniff it. What? I was pregnant. Pregnancy makes you do funny things like inhale bubble bath.
I made it. It seemed like an eternity but we got there. His due date was 22/09/2008 , and my birthday happens to be 11/09/ … so there I was having a birthday meal, when I felt a contraction rip through me. Called up the hospital because I was certain I was in labour. Got monitored for a while and even though they were contractions , he wasn’t coming yet.
His due date came and went. No sign of the boy who everyone thought would be early.
When I was eight days overdue, I went for a long afternoon walk with Leona. I am pretty sure this picture has been seen on the blog before, but it is one of my favourite pictures in the world.
I had my girl , my pregnant belly, I was in excruciating pain but man I was happy.
Oh , and I have waffled on about my huge belly, just to give you an idea……
Right here, I wasn’t even 20 weeks. Seriously, how mad is that.
This was around my birthday so 38ish weeks. I was hugey mongous.
So yes, back to the story. That was a long walk that day and we loved every minute of it. It was a Sunday. That Sunday night , I couldn’t sleep. At about two in the morning, I started getting regular contractions, but not close enough to go into the hospital.
I called them Monday anyway after no sleep, and when they realised it was me, who was overdue and had some problems in previous labour etc, they told me to come in. I was indeed having contractions. They checked me , and I couldn’t believe it to find out I was only still 2 cm. That was disappointing. They told me they had no choice but to send me home, only before that, they wanted to scan the baby. The midwife had felt my belly, and she had had to basically push right down into my back to feel the baby. She was worried that my bump was all water , and that he was a tiddler. I was baffled at this, my bump was a giant.
So downstairs I went to be scanned, the sonographer was lovely as she explained in her 30 years of doing the job, she had never had to scan anyone who was actually in labour. She held my hand as she tried to get a good picture, and the contractions kept nearly making me fly off the bed. She helped me up after looking at my notes, realising my back was not doing it’s job. She was ace.
She then asked me how much Leona had weighed, told her 6lb8oz but how they had also said she would be under 5pounds. The sonographer told me this one would definitely be smaller than her , but not worryingly small. Around the 6lb mark probably.
She couldn’t believe I wasn’t allowed to stay in the hospital with the pain I was in, but I understood. Can’t keep the beds taken if there is no chance of him coming just yet. I was a lot more demanding of my rights during this pregnancy, but I wasn’t a diva and knew that home was the best place to be. They gave me instructions to come back immediately if my waters broke or my contractions were closer together.
I arrived home on Monday at about 6pm, and after having contractions since two o clock that morning, I went through a couple more days of them. Yes, that’s right. Days. Needless to say, my lack of sleep was …. very lacking.
Wednesday morning, I went to the toilet. I felt very buzzed up. I felt like I had just downed a large amount of vodka and red bull. Which obviously I wouldn’t do pregnant or not. I’m a bore with drink!
It was 5 am. I only had a show!! Remember the jelly and ice-cream thing guys?! A show, a show!!! After one hundred years of being in labour, I knew it wouldn’t be long now. As soon as I saw my show, my contractions were like…. well, now that’s done , we are going to come thick and fast. I arrived at hospital at 6 AM , and was giving this absolutely HUGE birthing room. It had a ball, a toaster , a kettle , a TV , it had everything. Basically, it wasn’t a cupboard, like before.
A little blonde midwife, shorter than me ( I know right?!) very pretty , and seemed quite young, only about thirtyish, told me she would be delivering my baby. I was very happy about this, she was lovely. She told me she would never leave my side through the whole thing, and how I didn’t have to worry about anything. She shocked me by telling me about her own four kids, she was tiny!! You wouldn’t ever have guessed she had one let alone four!
She told me to go have a long warm bath, which I did. When I got back into the room about 8ish, she was looking rather worried.
“I’m really sorry Laura, but the rooms are filling up, we are really busy today.”
Oh shit, a repeat of last time.
“I have been told to check you, and if you aren’t over 3 cm dilated, I have to send you home”
Shit bollocks wankers.
She checked me, and I literally punched the air when she said I was 5cm. I hadn’t been expecting that. We talked about my plan for this birth , and I told her how much I had hated being out of control with the last one, and being stuck on a bed. And how I had been pacing my house since 2 am this morning and how I was going to do the same here. Active birth , I told her, as I walked up and down the room. She seemed happy with this so that was good. At around 11 am, I was checked again and I was 6cm. But my waters hadn’t broke.
They decided to do it for me.
If you are wondering what a sharp hook being shoved up your girl parts to try and pierce something within you feels like, it feels like just how I described. Fucking torture.
She delightfully informed me that it was hard to pop the waters.
“You have tough ones, it’s why they haven’t broken yet.”
I mean honestly, of all the things, I have a talent for , having a very protective casing around a baby who needed to come out 😉
Anyway, that was eventually done, and actually, my bump seemed to shrink now the waters were gone so they had been right about my bump being mostly water.
I started pacing up and down again. At half mid-dayish, some kind person had demanded that I must eat, and brought me in a chicken salad. It was so funny. I took one bite of cucumber, and then shitting hell…. it was like taking that one bite had set off a tidal wave of contractions. There was no break in between them, they were agony.
I tried to keep walking them off until about 2 that afternoon. During all of this somewhere between the waters being broken and me being unable to walk anymore, some DR had come in to inform me they had to put one of those needle things in my hand for blood loss. I had lost a huge amount last time and they had to take precautions in case it happened again.
I totally lost my shit then. Not my actual shit. This was the only part of the labour I felt truly panicked.
I told my midwife they weren’t allowed to do it. I shew her my hand, where I still have the scar to this day, and told her there was no way anybody was touching my hand. She insisted kindly it had to be done, I squeezed my eyes shut as she held my other hand and the DR got to work. As soon as he let go of my hand , I looked at the ceiling, and they all started laughing.
“No blood on the ceiling today Laura, everything’s fine.”
I should probably mention a wonderful little thing you may have heard of called gas and air. I was one step away from marrying gas and air that day. He is like my lost love and I just love him.
So, it was time to push. I pushed. And pushed. And I pushed some more. I kept on pushing. Damn the small pelvis I was born with. Push , push, push. Chin on my chest, turn purple, grip my thighs and puuuuuushhhh.
At one point, I had a demon of a cramp in my leg. I started shouting (Honestly, I’m a pretty mellow person, it was shocking behaviour)
“Holy shiiiiiit , the cramp hurts worse than the labour, get the cramp outttttttt, get the cramp awayyyyyyyy, it hurts toooooo baddddd shitttttt mother fuckingggggg cramppppppppp.”
The midwife just laughed, said I had been ace all day and was allowed a shower of swear words at some point.
I had a very good friend back then. A best friend. Her name was Nikki. Well, her name still is Nikki!! She listened to every worry, every fear, every moan about this pregnancy and told me I could do it. She was there for me when I needed her the most. She gave me a tip , she told me to take in a photograph of Leona in with me, and whenever I had a strong contraction, look at the photograph and just know that I could do it, for her.
I’m a ditz, I forgot the photo, but I didn’t forget her words. Every time I felt the pain, I pictured my little sweet two year old girl, and knew I had the strength to do it.
Thanks for the advice Nikki, and for everything else. I always miss you , and I will always love you!
I need to wrap this story up soon, it is wayyyyy long.
I pushed. And my little man was born, 01/10/2008 at 2:42pm after a three day labour.
He was 7lb4oz…. even though two days ago he was 6lb or under 😉 Scans hey?!
But most of all, he was perfect. He was an angel. He wasn’t blue. He was actually very, very grey due to having had the cord wrapped around his neck twice. But he was fine, he was grey, he was beautiful and he was gurgling. Not crying, I swear that baby didn’t ever cry. Most chilled out, content little baby I have ever known.
He had a birth mark on his back, and it scared me at first, I thought something was wrong. Here was my gorgeous little boy, we had both made it, and when they took him to be weighed, I noticed a huge reddish/purplish birthmark stretching from his bottom to his shoulders.
I freaked out. I thought it was my fault, like I had been in labour too long or somethig. To everyone’s puzzlement and amazement it shrunk down within an hour or two, and now , the only way I can describe it is like a small, squarish upside down heart at the bottom of his spine! It isn’t raised, it’s just on the skin, and it has been checked out and is just part of him. It’s what makes him perfect.
I always said I wanted a little boy called Lex, but I didn’t want to name him Alexander (Nothing against the name, just knew people with the name), and I didn’t want him to be just Lex. In fact, up until I was 38 weeks , Lex was going to be an Ethan. That sounds weird now.
Then I found the name Alexavier and fell in love, which is how I have my Lex now.
After the birth I had quite the tear. I had a big tear after Leona was born, but as we had both nearly died, I don’t really recall being stitched up that much.
But this time…. remember how I said medicine doesn’t seem to work on me? Funny little story…. They injected my thigh with anesthetic or something , to numb the pain for being stitched up. After five minutes, they prodded me, with a needle, asking if I could feel it.
“Yes. That little prod actually hurt worse than the birth.”
They laughed. ‘Oh what are you like. We will give you another shot.’ Five minutes later, ‘Can you feel this?’
“I can feel it as much as what being stabbed by a thousand little knives over and over again would feel like.”
Puzzled faces all around, the midwife quickly ran out to ask what should be done. She came back in frowning.
“I’m really sorry, but we are going to have to stitch you up now, we can’t leave it any longer. And erm…. we can’t give you any more pain relief.”
If anyone ever wondered what being stitched up down there feels like, it feels exactly like being stitched up with no medicine would. I felt everything. I nearly passed out a number of times, I had one elderly midwife holding my hand on one side, my midwife holding my other hand, and another one doing the stitching. It was funny, because I thought to myself ….
“Oh, I didn’t think about the fact I would give birth and everything would be wonderful but now I might die being stitched up.”
Luckily, it didn’t happen. Obviously. But oh the pain.
After having had such an amazing day (believe it or not , it was….) I didn’t want to be taken down to the recovery ward where last time I was treated like absolute dirt. I just wanted to get home, cuddle my babies and be in a blissful baby bubble.
I was out of there that evening at around 8ish , and they met for the first time.
So that, is how my two children came into the world.
And isn’t it just beautiful? The miracle of life!
People look at me like I have two heads when I say that Lex’s birth was perfect. Yes, it lasted three days, but it was perfect. He made it. I made it. Leona made it.
Once you have seen your baby lying there lifeless, with blue skin and a look of horror on everyone’s faces, all you could wish for is not to have that happen again.
I lucked out with these two, let me tell you that.
I hate it when people say being a Mum is a job. I don’t see it like that. Being a Mum is beautiful. It’s not work. It’s amazing. It’s worrying, elating, terrifying and brilliant, and it is worth everything. It is worth three day labours, stitches, Mcgrumpy/Mcbitchy midwives, it is all worth it.
Before I sign off on this post, I need to say Hi to Eleanor Paps Baps Page. She also claims she is a regular reader of this blog, but it is all lies. Lies for sure.