Welcome to the world, Florence Elizabeth Ann Macleod. This was the first ever photo I took of her with my proper camera. Having some family time with Daddy, tucked away behind the curtain, on the ward, all snuggled up under blankets, still fresh and puffy.
Time for the final part of the story! Only 12 days late…
I forgot to mention yesterday that our first labour midwife finished her shift at 10, sadly, as there was no sign of Baby Mac coming anytime soon. She had been absolutely wonderful so I was sorry she wasn’t able to see Florence coming in to the world. She would have been very surprised at her being a girl also, as the amount she was wriggling away inside me made her sure it was a boy!
Apologies for the slightly messy nature of this blog post. As you can imagine, I’m running on limited, very interrupted sleep, so my mind isn’t as clear as it was pre Florie, and we’re now 12 days past her delivery day so I might not remember everything!
Where were we…midnight came and I was now attached to the epidural drip, enjoying occasional naps and just chatting away to our new midwife, who actually knew Matthew from church a number of years ago, so that was lovely!
They examined me around 2:30am, and I was fully dilated and ready to push! This made me a little nervous…would I be able to push? Would I poop on the bed (Yes, I went there, sorry Mum)? With each contraction I clung on to my thighs, tucked my chin down, exhaled and gave it all I had. It felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, but the midwife (and Matthew! Despite saying he was going to stay up at my shoulders!) told me they could see her head moving further down with each push, and eventually I could feel her moving down, and sliding back up at the end of a push, but each time moving a little further down. It didn’t feel like I was pushing long…it must have only been about 45 minutes. I was determined to get her out all on my own, so when her head was close I gave the biggest push I could, and out it popped! The midwife couldn’t believe it! She wasn’t expecting me to manage it quite so quickly, so she hadn’t set out the “baby catching kit” (I named that myself) yet. She told me to stop pushing and just breathe. Which was a very weird feeling…having a head poking out of me and having the urge to keep pushing but having to wait until a second midwife was at hand and all the kit was laid out. That didn’t take long though, and at 3:25am I gave one more push and out popped the most beautiful little girl in the world. I didn’t know what she was, of course, I just cuddled her to me and swooned with love. Then the midwife said “Have you seen what it is?”, so we both had a look and were in total shock that we had a daughter!
The fun wasn’t over yet though, as there was the small matter of a “tear” to take care of…the midwife, and then the doctor, came to examine the damage, and decided I would need to go to theatre for my stitches as it was a third degree tear. They gave us some time alone while they prepped for theatre. The name Florence (which had been on our short list) instantly popped to my mind when we discovered she was a girl, and I told Matthew that when we were alone. He was very happy with the decision, but we decided not finalise that decision until I was back from theatre. They popped Florie on Matthew’s bare chest and wheeled me away.
I was given another dose of epidural, to completely numb my lower half, my legs were put up on stirrups, and I closed my eyes and reached the very blurred line between being awake and asleep as they worked on me.
It’s amazing how little you care about so many different people seeing your most private parts. I’m so thankful for all the incredible hospital staff who helped us during our delivery experience. To think that week by week they are in the labour ward and theatre at all different times of the day bringing little miracles in to the world and repairing the damage that Mum’s endure. No big deal. Just another day.
I was wheeled through to the High Dependency Room after theatre, by this point it was around 5:30am. I was the only one in the room. Matthew and I finalised what Florie’s full name would be, I tried latching her on for her first feed, and Matthew was welcome to stay with me for as long as he wanted, but we both needed sleep, so he headed home. We tried putting Florie in to the crib beside me twice, so I could sleep, but she wasn’t having it, and I didn’t mind really mind. She wanted to cuddle her Mammy, and that was me! I still couldn’t believe it.
8am came, and my sister messaged me to ask how things were going. They had been travelling back from London the night before, landing in Edinburgh late at night and then arriving back in Inverness at 3am, so I wasn’t expecting her to be awake so early. She’d told me she wanted to be phoned when I had news, so I told her we better phone! Instantly the video call appeared, and I caught sight of the state of myself for the first time. Haha! Boy did I look tired, and rather naked. Florie was asleep on my chest so I turned the phone towards her and revealed that my sister now had a beautiful niece. She burst in to tears! My Mum heard the commotion next door and came through to see. She already knew as she’d asked for a message update. My sister then went to wake my niece and nephew, poor toots, to share the exciting news with them. It was so surreal showing my daughter to my family. I couldn’t believe she was really here.
When the sensation in my legs returned the midwife wanted me to try showering and move me out of the High Dependency room (I didn’t even know that’s where I was), but by this point I was really struggling to stay awake and getting quite emotional, so she swaddled Florie up nice and snug and popped her in the crib so I could sleep for an hour.
Showering was quite an experience, as I had a catheter in, and was still pretty tired. I realised I’d forgotten to take in a maternity pad, so when the midwife came to check on me I asked her to get me one. When I tried to get dressed I was so hot and sticky that my nursing vest got all tangled and stuck, and when the midwife passed in the pad I was standing there totally naked, with the nursing vest stuck up above my boobs, dripping blood, catheter hanging over the back of the chair…and I didn’t care that she was seeing me like that. Again, so bizarre that you get to the point where you don’t care how you look in front of people. I was thankful for her help!
I was then moved through to another room on the ward, which was filled with other new Mum’s. This was a bit of a shock to me, going from being the only one in the room to a room with 5 other women. I don’t cope well in busy social situations, and I was extremely lacking in sleep, so I was not feeling very relaxed! It was such a relief when Matthew came back around 11:30. He is my happy place.
I tried to nap while he held Florence, but there was so much going on, I couldn’t switch my mind off.
The moment the clock struck 2:30 and the doors were open to visitors my Mum appeared at the door, followed soon after by Matthew’s parents. All so excited to me their new grand daughter! Then Sarah and her crew arrived a while later when Matthew’s folks headed off. We were supposed to only have two visitors at a time, so we were lucky not to get shifted to the family room, along with my catheter bag.
I had asked if we could get home that evening, explaining that I would be much more relaxed at home, but I was on IV antibiotics so sadly I had to stay in for at least 24 hours.
Then came the joy of attempting to breastfeed, and getting multiple different suggestions from each midwife on how to do it. This stressed me out. That could be a whole blog post on it’s own…but what I’ll say is I had no need to worry, as she had multiple wet and dirty nappies so she was clearly getting something from me.
Sadly Matthew had to leave at 10pm, it was so weird not spending the first night of Florie’s life together, but we were so tired I was glad Matthew was going home to bed for a proper sleep.
Gee whiz. That was a lot of babbling! Apologies to those who got a bit more detail than they wanted, and apologies again for the sleep deprived waffling. Florence is the most wonderful gift I’ve ever received. It’s amazing how quickly you forget about the pain of labour. She is so worth the pain and the lack of sleep!