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I have never written a birth story before, and this is possibly not going to be one either, but I want to write this down, because I am forever grateful for this. For her.
We have tried for another baby so many times, that I was starting to wonder if this wish, this desire will ever be answered. I have started to think, maybe I am greedy. Maybe I should just be happy with what I’ve got. Two beautiful children.
When I fell pregnant with her, I knew that it will be the last time, never mind the outcome. I knew I cannot be this sick again for nothing. She stayed past 8 weeks, past 13 weeks, past 24 weeks. She made it to the end. Alive and well. It still caused me an incredible amount of fear. Fear for her life and fear for mine. I knew the risk was bigger for me to bleed at birth. I’ve read a lot about it. I’ve read about a thing called placenta accreta. I feared it. I feared leaving my kids behind. Others thought it was an ungrounded fear, but it was always in my mind. I’ve wrote letters to my kids, not knowing what to say. I did not want them to have a broken heart. I am all they know. I ground them. I’m not a model mum, but they know they belong with me and they know that if there was no one else, I will still be here for them. The thought of getting that ripped from them, broke my heart.
My obstetrician is a clever man, but he did not know I felt this way. He always told me that I looked worried and I’ve always replied with “I’m just tired”. So when he gave me a referral for a blood test to x-match my blood on my last appointment, I knew it. I knew my fears are valid. I knew, that he also knew. I may loose a great amount of blood. He was prepared. He prepared the anethesist. The anethesist prepared me. He has told me that he will put me to sleep after the baby is born and they will control the bleeding and look after me while Jason will look after our baby. I wondered if I will wake up again. I then closed my eyes and prayed silently in my heart. I prayed as they put in 3 access lines. I prayed during my spinal block. And then I was calm. It was not in my hands any more.
My baby was born, and she was checked over. They gave her to me and I was awake. They have stitched me back together and I was awake. There was no bleeding. I’ve lost a mere 200 mls I’ve heard them say. I was awake. I’m not bleeding. I can hold my baby.
We made it through recovery without a problem, when the peadeatritian told me Hailey’s blood sugar was 1.7 and she wants to take her to special care to give her glucose and possibly some formula, depending how she goes and how much colostrum I can express. And that is how it started. My baby in special care with Jason and I am far away from her post operation being monitored. We were separated. She came for a visit twice. Jason sent me photos and a video and I was waiting for her to be ok. She did well. She only stayed one night.
Jason brought the kids the next day and we all got to give her the first bath. Bradley was right into it, but Hannah stood back to see first if it will all be ok.
She did so well, until day 3 when she was a bit jaundiced. She became sleepy and hardly fed for 5 minutes at a time. I could not wake her up to feed so we end up expressing most of her feeds. She had a beautiful window spot during the day, to absorb some of the UV light, but did not require any other treatment for it.
These syringes represent my breastfeeding journey. Formula to top her up and keep her blood sugar stable, tubefed so she can still stimulate the breast while feeding, and then the few drops of colostrum. Every drop was saved. Nothing went to wast. I often got less than a ml. But it was precious stuff.
Our last day was bitter sweet. We end up staying a day longer to make sure her sugar is stabilised before we’ve left. I will miss the days and nights with just her, but we are also excited to introduce her into our family life. Bradley was detergent to stop the photo shoot from happening. He decided it is not a photo day and he was not going to let photos happen without him in it either.
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When did they get so big? How did they grow up under my nose? Hannah is starting Big School orientation this week, and Bradley is a year behind her. We talk about important things, like how your teeth will start to fall out when you are going to big school, which was a bit of a shock to her. Lucky she is going to the dentist she said. Bradley is starting to negotiate his case. “Only four books” he says at bedtime, holding 2 fingers up. So big and yet so little. And the littleness scares me. I often wonder how they will remember me, if I am suddenly not there anymore. Will they remember me? How would they be? They love playing with their daddy, but when they are sad or alone or afraid, they need me.
I fear that a new baby will affect their relationship with each other. They are really best friends. They look after each other, and I never want that to change. I do not want one of them to feel left out. It has always been just them. The two of them together is all that they can remember. From day dot, they were in love.
A new baby brings so much fear, and when you have two little humans, who are excited, the fear is so much bigger. They often tell me that they love me and then they cuddle my tummy and say, they love the baby. We are all excited to have a new baby sister, although Bradley still tells me regularly he wishes that it is a boy. I cant loose this. I cannot stand that they may loose it.
I have fears that are sometimes to hard to speak out loud. About loosing another baby. I mean, when does your luck run out? I had two healthy kids, back to back. Were we greedy? Or just brave? I fear dying during childbirth. Are these fears unrealistic or is it legitimate possibilities that goes with having another baby? Then there is the fear of it all ending. Having this baby is closure. Closure and acceptance that I will never have the amount of kids that I have birthed. Closure to see and hold one last new born baby, and to see how small and helpless they are. Closure that I will leave the hospital for the very last time with all the kids that were trusted in my arms. Closure, on, once upon a time I had left without one, empty handed. Closure, so that we can move on. These are big emotions. I am very aware that, every time I hold a new baby in my arms, the grief for loosing one once, will return. Having a new baby is bringing back emotions that are deep in my heart. It is heartbreaking and yet healing. This is my last chance to heal. This is my last chance to move forward. When we leave the hospital this will be us. This will be our family. Complete. Different, but complete.
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It is winter and wet and not really that cold, but cold enough to say it is winter. We are operating on Code Red at this stage. I am not doing pregnancy well. It is hard work. I have one mission. To get my family through this unscarred. I am greatfull that it is winter and that life is busy. That way I do not feel to bad that we hardly get any beach time these days. I cannot trust myself to keep them safe when the whole ocean is there to swallow them. We do fun stuff at home, which by now, by the way, is a maze of toys and other random stuff. They build tunnels, out of old boxes, to each others rooms. Hannah moved into Bradley’s room, with all her favourite stuff, and Bradley joined in and moved to her room, and the result is caos. We do art, we sew, we bake. When it gets to much, I let them bath for as long as they want to. It keeps their busy minds occupied and it gives my body a rest.
This is a very great full time for us. We are cherishing every moment with our growing baby. We wait patiently, and we all do what we can to keep this baby safe. We are OK, and moments like these, give us new breath to take another step. To march on. To cherish life.
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On one of the brightest summer evenings, these lovely people came to see me for some family portraits. They came into my life a year or so ago while we were living in South West Rocks, and I am so happy for the chance to know them.