Micah’s Birth Story

Welcome to Micah’s birth story! If you’re here for more comedy moments on gas and air, like Florence’s birth story (which you can read here), then you’re going to be disappointed. Sorry!

Matthew and I headed in to Raigmore for 9pm on Wednesday 25th March. Our temperature was taken when we arrived at Ward 9a, because #covid19, then we were taken to a bed, filled out the essential forms, and told the midwife would be in to speak to us after the changeover at 10pm.

I’m not sure how many times I checked the time in that hour! Oddly excited to be examined, to find out if I was ready to start the induction, or if I’d need the hormonal pessary to help me along. But sadly, when the midwife came we were informed that labour ward was busy and under staffed so none of us would be taken up that night, and they couldn’t give anyone the pessary in case it got labour going, so we weren’t examined. Sob. Furthermore Matthew was told he had to go home and would only be allowed to come back in when I was actually in labour. None of those things were what I wanted to hear. Not knowing when I would actually be induced, and the thought of sitting around waiting on my own in the hospital, rather than being at home with Matthew and Florence, was not pleasant. Matts headed home, and I headed to bed.

At 10am the following morning I was finally examined, and found out I was already 3-4cm dilated and could start the induction as soon as a room became available in labour ward! Yay! Even better, Matthew was able to come in and wait with me whenever he wanted! Hooray for rules changing regularly! He came in shortly after, without having had breakfast or bringing any lunch…and as there were a lot of women in the Highlands going in to labour naturally and jumping the queue ahead of me (so rude!), we were waiting quite a while, so he headed home again around 2:30 to get something to eat (and grab a few things for me as it turned out I’d done a terrible job packing my hospital bag!).

Shortly after 3 I decided to make the most of being child free and have a nap! Two minutes after I snuggled in to bed the midwife appeared to say a room was available in labour ward. Woooooooo! So I messaged Matts, only for a nurse to appear a couple minutes later saying an emergency had just come in so they couldn’t take me up, which can’t be helped, so I told Matthew to stand down and I climbed back in to bed. I slept for an hour, and once Matthew had stopped having snuggle time with Florence he came back in, but was sadly only allowed to stay for an hour as once again the rules had changed to partners only being allowed in for labour.

At 8pm I was told a room was available and a midwife from labour ward would be down to get me soon. I didn’t tell Matthew this time, in case it was another false alarm, but two minutes later the midwife appeared at my bed to take me upstairs! I was clearly so happy to see her as she said “Oh woaw, no one’s looked at me like that in a long time!”, haha! We headed upstairs and I messaged Matts saying “Go! Go! Go! I’m in labour ward!”. The midwife inserted my cannula, but didn’t hook me up to the hormone drip as I’d already been contracting on and off throughout the day. When Matts arrived she broke my water, and oh boy was that something! It literally flooded the bed straight away and they had to change the sheets as it went beyond the protective pads.

Breaking my water was enough to ramp up my contractions and it wasn’t long before they were pretty intense (and, once again, all in my lower back!). In that time there was a shift change and we got a new midwife. A lovely Community Midwife who usually attended home births (which were no longer allowed, because #covid19) and was in to help because so many labour midwives were off. Our first midwife was all for pain relief drugs, but our new midwife was giving off major Hypnobirthing, “do it naturally”, vibes so I felt like I needed to be brave and and power through without any drugs. She was wonderfully calm, softly spoken, and had a great technique to ease some of the pain of the contractions (firmly placing her palms in to my lower back). We roped Matthew in to this pain relief attempt, and I felt like I was giving him a workout, with the force he was using to push his palms in to my back.

After a few hours of labouring naturally, on my knees, leaning over the back of the bed, feeling nauseous and trying not to cry out with the pain, our midwife very kindly asked if I wanted some gas & air. Woohoo! Unfortunately though, I used it for a couple of contractions and it just made me feel even more sick, so I didn’t take any more, but it did give me the confidence to ask/demand an epidural. Our midwife suggested diamorphine as an alternative, as it’s less invasive, but I didn’t like the thought of it going in to baby’s system, and I just knew that once I had the epidural when I was in labour with Florence I felt so much more relaxed and it was just a wonderful experience! So I stood my ground and just kept saying “Nope, I’d like the epidural.”.

I realised just how doped up on gas and air I must’ve been with Florence as I do not remember the procedure taking anywhere near as long with her as it did this time round. I went through multiple contractions, made worse by the position I had to sit in to insert the epidural, and was getting quite frustrated at how long the setup was taking. Thankfully the relief was instantaneous once it was put in. I apologised to our midwife, as I felt like I had failed her by not doing it naturally *face palm* She was very kind and supportive, reminding me that I had laboured naturally for hours, and actually agreed that the epidural was exactly what I needed as she could see the relief I felt.

Turns out I’d requested the epidural just in time! It’s common to be told that an epidural will slow down labour, but I asked to be examined shortly after receiving mine as I felt a really strong pressure in my lady bits, and wanted to try pushing. They examined me and didn’t think I was quite ready, but I kept saying the pressure was pretty intense, so our midwife said to try pushing in my next contraction. I couldn’t actually feel my contractions though so had to be told when they were happening. Both midwives were impressed at how well I was able to push despite not feeling the contractions, and I was only pushing for about half an hour. Due to my third degree tear with Florence, our midwife was very hands on this time round and when Micah’s head was halfway out she told me to stop pushing (it was pushing Florence’s head out so quickly that caused my tear last time)…even with the epidural I felt the burn (I don’t think the epidural was as strong as the one I go with Florence)!! Once his head was out she told me to rest again and let his body turn, the whole time she’s stretching my nether regions to help ease him out more gently. One more push and he slid right out, at 1:59am! I reached out and practically grabbed him and Matthew said “It’s a boy!”. We couldn’t believe we had a little boy! It was so wonderful to finally get him out of my pelvis and snuggle him in to my chest! And, like when Florence was born, I instantly new which name from our list I wanted to give him, and thankfully Matthew agreed.

I ended up with a 2nd degree tear, so I still needed stitches, but the midwife just did them there and then as I lay snuggling Micah in our room (and he pooped all over my wobbly empty bump). It was great not needing to go to theatre and have a further dose of epidural, not needing a catheter when I got my epidural, and not needing a 24 hour antibiotic IV! I was up and walking around within an hour of giving birth.

I felt great when the midwife on Ward 10 popped in to check on us later that morning, and she was happy to discharge us once Micah had been checked over by the Paediatrician. I was so excited!! But that excitement decreased as the hours passed by, waiting for Micah’s check up, and then being told that because he hadn’t had a wet nappy and wasn’t showing much interest in latching on for a feed, they wanted us to stay in for 24 hours. I knew he still had mucus inside him, as he was gagging throughout the day, and I knew once he got that up that he’d want a feed and would then have a wet nappy.

I hand expressed colostrum in to a syringe a couple times throughout the day, and hand expressed in to his mouth a few times, and eventually in the evening he had a good spew, then had a good feed, then did a wee! The second I saw the blue line on his nappy I asked the midwife if we could go home! The first one who saw us was a bit hesitant and came up with many reasons for us to stay, but I had a confident response for each one, and she realised she wasn’t going to change my mind. So she got the Charge Midwife who was totally chilled and very happy for us to head home, if we were happy to do so. Yay! So we headed home at 10pm, surprised my Mum who didn’t think we’d be getting home until the following morning, popped in to Florie’s room to see her sweet sleeping face, and climbed in to our wonderfully comfy bed with our new bundle of love sleeping beside me.

Ooft…that was a long post! Good effort if you made it to the end. I hope you enjoyed Micah’s birth story, despite the lack of gas and air comedy. I wonder if there will be a third birth story in a couple more years…

Day 297|365

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Today was Induction Day! Or so we thought. At 9pm, instead of sitting down to watch the next episode of The Apprentice, we were arriving at Ward 9A to begin the process of bringing our little girl (which we didn’t know at the time, but I’m writing this a week later) in to the world.

I was hooked up to the CTG, to check how Baby Mac was doing, and then I was examined to see if I was dilated enough to have my waters broken or if I’d need a prostin tablet inserted to dilate me further. We were delighted to hear I was at the stage where I could have my waters broken, but sadly the Labour Ward was too busy and we needed to wait until morning to go up. So, Matthew headed home at midnight, to get some sleep but have his phone on high alert on the off chance my waters broke naturally, and I nestled in for the night, waiting to hear the Labour Ward was ready to take me…

Come back tomorrow to find out what happened next!

Day 296|365

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Two trips to Cromarty in four days…I’m not complaining! Mum wanted to visit, and there’s only so much Netflix I can watch these days, so I suggested we pop out for a coffee this afternoon. It was a pretty wild day; super windy and dark, but the rain held off as we took a stroll between all the beautiful houses and streets, before enjoying a delicious coffee and some cake in Coupers Creek, again. Yay!

Day 293|365

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I had a slight hormonal meltdown this morning, resulting in lots of tears…I felt incredibly silly at the time, but afterwards I felt wonderful!

It’s okay to cry, because sometimes you bottle things up for too long and you just need to let it out, and the weight off your mind afterwards is great. It’s been quite a crazy few months for us, moving cities very quickly, Matthew starting a new job, trying to sell our flat, moving in with Matthew’s parents, coming to the end of my pregnancy and being so sure Baby Mac was coming early but now being very overdue! There is a lot going on in my mind, but at the same time, I’m just sitting, waiting for Baby Mac to arrive and turn our world upside down even more. Haha.

However, these are all wonderful things to experience! There have been times I’ve felt like crying over the weeks, but I really didn’t want to come across as ungrateful, as we are incredibly fortunate to be living the life we are living. We are surrounded by great support, and God willing we will be snuggling our first baby by the end of the week. But, again, it’s okay to cry! Because hormones, and emotions, can’t always be controlled, and sometimes you just need to let it out! Just try to rationalise those emotions, because a lot of the time things really aren’t as bad as you think they are, it’s all just piled up and overwhelming your mind. Does that make sense?

Post meltdown Matthew and I headed out for a beautiful Autumnal drive to Cromarty, took a stroll around the adorable village that we fall in love with every time we visit, enjoyed coffee and tasty treats in Coupers Creek, and breathed in the delicious sea air. I put a phone snap almost identical to this on Instagram last year, but I just love this view, and it’s different every season, so I couldn’t resist taking a photo for the blog. We’ll need to go back with Baby Mac when the snow comes…that’ll be a fun drive!

Day 292|365

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Who doesn’t love a Family Churros Platter?? Definitely not Fin! Elsie surprisingly wasn’t keen on them, but the rest of us got stuck in without hesitation, as you can see.

Another lovely afternoon with the fam, once again including plenty of walking (with a reward of tasty treats half way through!), but no arrival of Baby Mac. I’ve been told, light heartedly, of course, that I’m clearly not walking enough or I need to get climbing the stairs, bouncing on my ball or eating spicy curry, and everyone’s asking on a daily basis if there’s any news of Baby Mac. Believe me, I’m doing the best I can! If there was a button I could push to get them out, I’d have pushed it weeks ago! However, Baby Mac will come out when the Lord has planned for them to join us. We just need to wait patiently! And, we will let you know!! It is really wonderful to know so many people care, and are excitedly awaiting the arrival of our little bundle. They are already so dearly loved, clearly!

Day 289|365

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I had an appointment this morning for a “Sweep” (feel free to ask for more details if you want, but I’ll save you from them unless you ask!) and Mum came along to keep me company while I waited. She brought her crochet along, not knowing how long we’d be there, and I’m glad she did as she had to wait about half an hour on her own and then we were out of there! There was no need to wait around for doctors opinions or ultrasounds this time so I feel bad that she was dragged out of bed for it, but I’m glad she had something to do while she waited, and passers by were all very interested to see what she was making!

The midwife was very positive about where I’m at at this stage, no signs that it’s done anything to help kick off labour, but I’ll continue to wait patiently! Hoping that things happen before my induction booking next Wednesday.

Day 283|365

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Matts and I went out on a wee date tonight, to enjoy some time alone together before our world changes forever. We had two for one vouchers for the cinema, and for our meal, we were home by 9:45 and we watched The Apprentice in bed. We are wild! It was so nice to be out, just the two of us, for an evening of chat and laughter at the new Johnny English film. Which had some seriously predictable cringey moments, but also some genuine laugh out loud moments. Sadly not enough to break my waters.

This was my napkin at the restaurant and I thought it was the perfect photo for today’s blog post. Matthew is most definitely going to be one of those Dad’s that constantly tells bad jokes. He can’t wait. And I can’t wait to see him holding our little snuggle bug in his arms.

Day 279|365

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Another sunny day, another lovely dog walk! We met friends for coffee and cake up at Culloden Battlefield, as I recently discovered that Bad Girl Bakery supplies their cakes! This was actually my second time there this week! The first visit certainly wasn’t dog walking weather though, unless you were wearing a fully waterproof hooded onesie and wellies, which I was not.

Matthew and I have been watching Outlander on Amazon Prime since we moved up. I’m quite ashamed to say I had no idea how significant the Battle of Culloden was…Matthew has told me facts about it throughout our time together, but it wasn’t until we started watching Outlander that I realised how big a deal it was…Oops. I really need to get the history books out!

Day 271|365

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Mum and I headed out to Beauly for a delicious lunch at Corner on the Square. I loved that they had a sign up saying “No, we don’t have WIFI, talk to each other”. We need a bit more of that these days! It was great to catch up with Mumsy, and weird to think that the next time we do that, God willing, there will be a squishy little baby in the pram beside us, or snuggled in our arms.

We popped in to a couple of shops after lunch. This photo was taken in the Old School Beauly, it’s like Aladdin’s cave; lots of different rooms filled with beautiful things. Once I start earning some pennies again, I look forward to spending some of them there!

Day 269|365

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I headed in to the hospital for my growth scan this morning. Another nightmare time trying to find a parking space, in the end I just had to abandon it in a non space, behind someone else, at the end of a row. There was still plenty space for others to get by, but it still felt a bit cheeky! It’s ridiculous how bad the parking is at Raigmore.

The growth scan went well. Hooray! Baby Mac is measuring just above the 50th percentile, and appears to have a pleasant amount of chub on them. It was wonderful seeing their little pouty lips suckling and practicing breathing. Still hard to believe we’re going to meet them in a matter of weeks/days, and our lives will officially change forever!

When I popped down to my regular hang out spot these days, Ward 9A, I was asked how movements had been in the last couple days. I mentioned Baby Mac hadn’t been dancing as often as usual yesterday, so they hooked me up to the CTG again to have a look. The Doctor came to look over my scan and ask a few questions. Everything looked good, and after a couple of biscuits baby was wiggling away, loving life, and the CTG picked up some Braxton Hicks, so they were happy with how things were looking. However, she said if I noticed that movements were still reduced throughout the day to let them know. They’d then get me back in to have another look, and discuss the option of being induced. That was an exciting prospect; getting to meet Baby Mac and being able to physically see them breathing and moving, and therefore know they’re ok, instead of being hypersensitive about their movements each hour. I have since discovered that being induced does not make for a very pleasant labour, as pleasant as labour can be…your contractions go from 0-100 rather than building up slowly, you’re more likely to be hooked up for monitoring or request an epidural, restricting your ability to move around the room in to more comfortable positions, or get in the birthing pool. Sob. But, if it’s the best thing for the baby, then of course we’ll do whatever it takes! So, we’ll see how lively Baby Mac is over the next few days.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot to mention the absolutely wonderful bath I had this evening! I am loving being in a house with a bath again. This is the first bath I’ve had at night in a long time, so I took full advantage and grabbed as many candles as I could to create a nice relaxed atmosphere, and put on some hypnobirthing music. I admit I had to change the album quite a few times before I found something that was relaxing for me, not just airy fairy, space music! Sounds of flowing water are best for me, not surprisingly. So when the time comes, we’ll just put on the sound of lapping waves, and pretend I’m giving birth on a beach. I haven’t tried to find hypnobirthing music with someone speaking over it, instructing me how to breathe, etc. I feel that might be a bit too out there for me…but perhaps I should give it a try before I knock it. I might be thankful I did!