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Day 307|365

Day 307.jpg

One week old…what?!

This first week has been an absolute dream. Florence is so content, we’ve had a pretty decent sleep each night, we’ve been out for a couple of hours every day except one, when we just stayed in and snuggled all day, Daddy has coped surprisingly well with the interrupted sleep through the night…but he hasn’t been back at work yet! We’ve had many visitors in to meet our adorable munchkin, and many getting in touch desperate to meet her. She is so well loved already!

 

Day 302|365

One more snuggle with Granny before she headed down to Glasgow 🙁

Day two out of hospital. Mum came round for a quick visit before hitting the road, and then Matthew, Florence and I made the exciting trip to the Registrars to officially register her existence. So exciting! We have daughter! And she’s called Florence Elizabeth Ann Macleod. And she was born in Inverness! What a crazy year this has been.

The first time Mum crazies continued today, as we were out for 3 hours doing various errands, and Florie started stirring as we headed to Harry Gows to grab something for lunch. I was getting flustered and just telling Matthew to be quick cause she hadn’t fed for 3 hours and I was so worried she was starving and I was being a horrible mother…but really she was fine.

I’m so behind on blog posts, I may just have to do an amalgamation of how things have been going the past two weeks. I’ve still taken a photo each day, but I certainly don’t have time to write daily blog posts right now.

Day 301|365

Yay for our first day home and snuggles with Daddy!

Of course, stereotypical “first time parents” we panicked about her cord being bloody first thing in the morning and call the community midwife! Haha. She was coming round to see us that day anyway so she just headed round first thing, and informed us that her belly button was totally okay and we could just pop some sudocream on it.

It felt great to be home! And Florence was so content. We had a few visitors that morning, and then, because my Mum had to head off the next day (after two weeks in Inverness, awaiting Florie’s arrival!) to go help out with her parents in Glasgow, we headed round to my sister’s for Sunday lunch.

I was quite tired still, not surprisingly, and feeling a bit yucky (we later realised it was because of the antibiotics), but it was so nice to be out and about, doing normal things! And so lovely to see my niece and nephew all excited about their new wee cousin! We only stayed for a couple of hours, and I managed to have a nap when we got home, while Daddy had more snuggles with Florence. All in all a successful first day out as a family!

Day 300|365

Today was day two in hospital; finishing up my IV Antibiotics and switching to pills, along with a few other drugs and laxatives, getting my catheter removed and seeing if I could pee naturally (I could! Yay!), having Florie’s hearing checked, and being shown how to bath her.

Here she is all snuggled up in her towel after getting her head washed by the midwife. As you can tell, she loved it…

At 4am one of the midwives came to help me feed Florence, and as I appeared to be stressing about it (one midwife had recommended pump expressing from my left breast to try stimulate the flow, seeing as Florie wasn’t taking to it so well. So I tried that, but nothing was coming, so I thought I’d try the right breast, and again nothing came. This made me worry that she wasn’t getting anything from me) she said I shouldn’t go home today either. This did not help my stress levels, but after a few more hours sleep, and a visit from a lovely midwife who reminded me that a baby is far more efficient than a pump, so she will be getting something from me, I remembered that she was filling her nappy regularly which was also a good sign she was being fed, and what I needed to do was have confidence. I found a way of holding her which gave her a good latch, fed her without asking for a midwife to check I was doing it correctly, showed that I was happy with how feeding was going, and politely asked if we could get home today. The response we got was a lot more positive, hooray!

After that it was just another waiting game, to see if they would have time to discharge us. My sister, niece and Mum came back to visit, as well as my Mum’s brother and his wife, so this time we wheeled Florie through to the “Family Room”, which could do with being a bit more cosy, if I’m honest. There was only a few plastic chairs and a telly in it and it was rather chilly! This didn’t bother Florence though as she was all bundled up, and she was adorably content.

A few Mum’s got discharged that day, and eventually it was our turn. The midwife went over all the discharge notes, gave me my big bag full of drugs, and said to let her know when we were ready to leave and she’d let us out the side door.

Matthew went out to the car with all our bags, and came back with the carseat. By this time it was dark and the temperature had really dropped. I wasn’t prepared for it, having walked in to the hospital on Wednesday night with leggings, a shirt and a thin cardigan on, so Matthew gave me his jacket and scarf, and we bundled Florie up in a fleecy hoody from the Baby Box, blankets and a hat. When we were all set to go and we walked to the door I fully expected them to say “What are you doing? You can’t go home yet. You’re not taking her anywhere.”, but they didn’t. We were escorted to the side door and let loose in to the world with our beautiful daughter.

I would have liked to get home in daylight, as these dark nights aren’t good for positive thinking, and when we arrived home I began to panic a little about if we’d done the right thing taking her home *face palm*, But I knew that I was just overtired again, and I’d feel better after some sleep. Sure enough, when I woke in the night to feed Florence I felt a lot better, and it was wonderful being home together as a family. Matthew was maybe wishing we’d stayed in another night though, haha! I’ve been used to getting up through the night to pee for the past 9 months, but these interrupted nights are a whole new thing for him.

Day 299|365

Day 299
Settings – ISO 1600, 35mm, f2.8, 1/100sec

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!

Day 298|365

Day 298
Settings – ISO 1600, 35mm, f2.8, 1/100sec

Welcome back to my Induction Story. It’s detailed, you’ve been warned.

The call from Labour Ward came at 8am, so I got in touch with Matts and told him to get his butt down to the hospital…however, when he arrived a Midwife from Labour Ward paid us a visit, to give me another examination and see if she thought I was dilated enough to have my waters broken…in her opinion, I wasn’t, and I needed a prostin tablet to help me along *Face Palm* That meant six more hours of waiting, hoping my waters went naturally, squatting up stairs in the hospital tower, and catching up on The Apprentice. Sadly my waters didn’t go, but wonderfully after the six hours I was dilated enough and didn’t need to have another prostin tablet inserted and wait a further six hours…this was it! Go time!

It was around 4:30pm when we headed upstairs. They gave me a very fetching gown, and hooked me up to this very pleasant cannula for my Oxytocin drip, then broke my waters. That was a very bizarre experience. Every time I laughed more water would trickle out of me, which made me laugh even more…you get the idea.

It didn’t take long for the contractions to start once they put the drip in. Matthew and I thought we’d catch up on some YouTube videos while we waited for the contractions to develop, but we only made it through half of a 15 minute video before they were too much for me to concentrate. I had heard being induced makes your contractions go from zero to 100 in no time at all…boy oh boy is that true!

We think Florie might have been “back to back” as my contractions were all in my lower back, and only minutes apart. Sitting wasn’t comfortable, so I was switching between leaning over the back of the bed, on my knees, and standing beside the bed leaning forward. It wasn’t long before our wonderful Midwife suggested hopping on to the gas and air. I was hesitant to go on it so early on in my contractions, but I am thankful I did as they were pretty fierce pretty fast! So fierce in fact that I was very quickly asking “When do you cut it out of me??!”.

*Please see below for more “hilarious” statements I made whilst on gas and air which Matthew has kindly noted*

When I wrote my birth plan last month I knew it was almost pointless, as things weren’t guaranteed to go to plan, especially if I ended up being induced. I wrote what I would like my birth to be like, but I also stated that I was quite relaxed and just wanted to deliver our baby safely so I’d do whatever I had to. I had hoped to avoid being induced, but sadly Florie was too cosy in there and had to be evicted. I also didn’t want an epidural, as I had heard it can reduce your ability to push and increase the chance of needing forceps or a C-Section…but the pain was so intense I ended up asking for one!

Early in to my contractions we could hear a women nearby yelling in pain. Our midwife said “Don’t worry, when you hear that noise it means the baby is close to being born.” Well, I was making those very noises, just a few hours in to my contractions, as I lay on the bed being examined to see how dilated I was. The contractions were so intense in my back that laying on the bed was unbearable. I couldn’t believe I was actually screaming with pain, I kept apologising!

There were two emergency C-Sections so I had to wait an hour for the anaesthetist, and I was pretty doped up on gas and air when she arrived. I’d basically had my eyes shut, just doing deep breathing with occasional outbursts for a few hours (I need to confirm this with Matts as I had lost all track of time), and I couldn’t believe how quickly the epidural took effect. I was able to open my eyes, the pain instantly disappeared, we put the gas and air away, and it was like we were just hanging out in a hospital room, chatting, waiting for me to dilate enough to push. I even managed to have a couple of naps!

Then the clock struck midnight, so come back tomorrow to find out part three!

Matthew’s labour memories – in no particular order

“at what point do you just cut it out of me?”

*After Catriona’s been breathing gas and air for around 5 minutes solid*

Lyndsay: “Okay Catriona, you need to stop breathing the gas if your last contraction has stopped”

Matthew: *tries to pull nozzle out of Catriona’s mouth*

Catriona: *bites down on nozzle so he can’t*

Lyndsay: “Catriona honey, your baby needs oxygen, you really need to take breaths of air between your contractions”

Catriona: *Breathes in gas, breathes out into the room, breathes more gas*

Matthew and Lyndsay: “yeah, not like that”

 

“I can understand how women die from this”

 

Catriona: *smacks lips when she wants water*

*gasps at Matthew when she wants gas*

 

*Pre-epidural*
Catriona: “okay, one child is fine, yeah?”

*Post-epidural*

Catriona: “this isn’t so bad, I could do this again”

 

Lyndsay: “Okay Catriona, I’m going to go and see if we can get you an epidural sooner”

*Lyndsay is pretty much out of the room at this point*

Catriona: “yes please!”

 

Lyndsay: “the epidural will mean you’re able to sleep before it’s time to push”

Catriona: “but what if I’m too tired to breastfeed after I get the epidural?”

Matthew and Lyndsay: *look at each other and laugh*

Catriona: “I know you’re laughing at me but I’m not being silly, this is something I need to know”

Lyndsay: “honey, the epidural won’t make you tired, it just means you won’t be in any pain so can sleep until we wake you up when it’s time to deliver the baby”

Catriona: “oh, that’s good, I’d really like one now please”

 

*Just after Lyndsay left the room*

Catriona (in hushed tones as if it’s shameful): “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’d happily give up driving for a few weeks just to make this stop”

Matthew: “what…?”

Catriona: “I’d take a C-section and give up driving for a few weeks”

Matthew: “have some more gas and air…”

 

You were so doped out on gas and air that it took two of us to hold you steady for the epidural, and when one or both of us would let go you’d slump over.

 

*Jenny stretching round you to get the straps in the right position*
Jenny: “sorry, I’m giving you a hug right now”

Catriona: “that’s okay, I love hugs”

*hugs Jenny back while she’s trying to sort the straps*

 

 

(During the epidural)

*I felt myself going faint to stopped holding you up and went and got a seat and sat with my head in between my knees*

Dr Whiteside: “you clearly know what you’re doing lovey, that’s fine, you stay sitting like that so I don’t end up having two patients to deal with!”

*Lyndsay walks back in the room, Matthew sits up*

Matthew: “I’ve had to tap out”

Dr Whiteside: “he nearly fainted”

Lyndsay: “how you feeling now?”

Matthew: “still a bit dizzy”

*Lyndsay pushes Matthew’s head back between his legs and continues helping with the epidural*

 

Dr Whiteside playing basketball

 

*when it was time for the epidural*

Carole: “Catriona, this is Dr Whiteside, she’ll be…”

Catriona: “HI!”

Carole: “… giving you the epidural. She’s very experienced and will…”

Catriona: “Thanks!”

Carole: “… be able to answer any questions you may have”

Dr Whiteside: “Hi Catriona, do you have any questions for me about what I’m going to do?”

Catriona: “No, I just want it now please”

Dr Whiteside: “okay… so you know that an epidural is not just a quick fix, it…”

Catriona: “Yeah”

Dr Whiteside: “… takes a while to administer and there are some serious risks involved if it goes wrong. Have you read the list of possible side-effects?”

Catriona: “No, I don’t want to put myself off getting one. I really want one”

Dr Whiteside: *Puzzled*
Matthew: “I’ve read it, if that’s enough?”

Dr Whiteside (cheerily) “well, that will have to do!”