So my first few days of motherhood were not at all how I imagined, I had pictured having my son (George) on time and in the perfect way (well… including the pain relief)!! We would go home as a family, have some visitors round, they would bring me chocolates and sweet treats and I would stuff my face whilst they fed and changed George. In reality though, George’s birth was not in the perfect way that I had imagined, infact it was quite the opposite.
George was born nearly 7 weeks early due to me having complications associated with having something called Placenta Praevia and this meant that he spent his first 3 weeks of life in intensive care. It was so hard not being around him, especially as he had been part of me everyday for the last 7 months. I spent my first few weeks of motherhood going back and forth to the hospital visiting him each day which wasn’t ideal, especially after having a c-section.
George was born via an emergency c-section, I saw him for about 3 seconds and then he was rushed off for a blood transfusion and placed in intensive care. I was eventually taken up to the woman’s ward and was offered a shot of morphine to help with the pain. The nurse made the mistake of saying “You can have a shot whenever you like, just give us a shout.” So… that was it for me, it was like a green light… I spent the rest of the day and night requesting morphine shots one after another like I was on a night out in Blackpool but without the hefty bill at the end, it was great!!!!
At one point three nurses were just peering in through the ward window, watching me like I was a chimp performing at the zoo. I remember hearing them say to each other that they had never seen anything like it… they could not understand why I was still awake 36 hours after having a c-section.
The final straw for the nurses was when they asked me if I would like a tea or coffee… I requested a coffee and upon receiving it I just fell asleep instantly with it in my hand.. I spilt it all over myself and from then on I was banned from the morphine… I was devastated.
So the next step was properly meeting George, my husband Danny wheeled me down and I remember seeing him for the first time. He had a mask covering his nose and mouth that was helping him breath, he also had an eye mask on as the jaundice light was on him so although I had met him I still hadn’t really seen him. “Did he look like me? Did he look like Danny?” I still didn’t know.
I was wheeled back upstairs where I was greeted by the “Tit Police” (I didn’t make that name up the nurses did). I always said that breastfeeding wasn’t for me but as George came early I thought I should give it a try and see if it would help him. An older women came in to the ward smiling at me, holding a plastic boob in her hand and confidently rubbing the nipple as she walked towards me… I looked behind me praying that she was staring at someone else but unfortunately no one was there. “Breastfeeding?” she asked, “I’ll try!” I nervously replied, her smile turned in to a huge grin, she plonked herself down right next to me on my hospital bed…. so I shuffled over in the opposite direction.
“Do you have any pictures of your little one?” she asked… “aww that’s sweet” I thought and showed her the one I had just taken of George, I started to explain ” You won’t really be able to see him properly, because of the mask…” and as I turned my phone towards her… she cut me off “the picture is for you and it will help your milk come in”. She explained that because I wasn’t with George, I may struggle to get my milk, to be honest I couldn’t see me getting any either. The one time in my life that I thought I would have some boobs was during pregnancy but no… not mine. My fried eggs had become more like poached eggs, yes a little more rounded than usual, but still small in size and they did not look capable of feeding a new born child. The woman explained that I need to shut my curtains and get a picture of George out and a blanket of his and touch my nipples to stimulate them… For that split second I knew how a man must feel in a sperm bank and in my eyes it just felt wrong and I knew I was just going to attach myself to the milking machine instead.
On day 3 my husband Danny had gone back to work.. (we had decided that there was no point in him being off whilst George and I were in hospital and he may as well save his paternity until we were home). That day I was approached by one of the midwives she whispered “the sooner you stop using the wheelchair and actually walk to see George the sooner you get to be discharged and get to stay with him in the neonatal part of the hospital” This was the first I had heard about staying with him, I didn’t know that was an option (I didn’t realise she meant only for one night then I had to go home without him). I am a very naive person and looking back I thought she was doing me a favour but she was clearly just trying to get me discharged and out of their way as quickly as possible, I was nowhere near ready to be discharged!
That day I rang up the neonatal unit and asked them if I could go and see George for an hour… the chirpy lady on the phone replied ”yes come down, you can have a hold of him and change his nappy if you like”. I was so excited to finally spend time with my baby, it was day 3 and I hadn’t even held him yet. I started to sit myself up then I used both of my hands to drag my feet off the bed, it took me about 5 minutes just to get both my feet on the floor (it’s amazing how much your stomach muscles do for you when they are working however you only realise this when they are not working). I took a deep breath and started my walk to George, it was like starting a marathon (not that i’ve ever attempted one, but i have done 5k once at that was horrendous) It took me 20 minutes to get to the intensive care unit where George was and when I finally arrived I was told that the doctors were doing a procedure on another baby in George’s room and to come back in an hour. I dreaded going back to the ward as this meant I have to carry on witnessing the happiness in a new mothers eyes as they hold, feed and change their babies… the things I couldn’t wait to do, I couldn’t help feeling a bit jealous. Holding back my tears to the nurse I smiled and I set off back upstairs and as I turned around the tears started rolling down my cheeks.. The incision felt like I was being stabbed with each step i took. On the way back a nurse saw I was struggling and made me sit on a wheelchair and pushed me back.. I knew that i was not getting those nights with George any time soon.
On day 7 it was time for me to go home. It didn’t feel right watching Danny carry my bags to the car, he should have been carrying his son instead. We set off home and the car journey after the c-section wasn’t as smooth as I wished for and there may have been a few swear words exchanged.
I spent a lot of my time either in hospital or travelling to and from the hospital which wasn’t easy and was really draining, we kept asking when George would be ready to come home but the nurses kept saying “we aim for his due date” which seemed soooo far away.
My sex drive returned within a few days of being home and I decided it was time to phone the doctors and try and get on some form of contraception. I limped round to the surgery and was told that I wasn’t allowed the pill yet and had to wait to have sex… so I limped home (that was a sad journey). About a week later I limped back to the doctors and pratically begged for the pill, he finally agreed and said that I was very persistent – I didn’t want to look like a sex hungry woman, but i had no choice.
I had forgotten what sex was like after being on what was called “pelvic rest” for a whole 5 weeks but I was so…excited, we did it and typically it was too soon and I got an infection in my c-section wound which was painful and I was put on antibiotics. It cleared up and then I stupidly did it again and got another infection… DARN my high sex drive.
Not a lot changed in the next few weeks, we knew there were certain things George needed to do before he could come home such as; breath on his own, maintain his own temperature, put on weight and be able to drink from a bottle instead of being tube fed. By week 3 he was now doing most of these so we knew the end was near. I was still spending most of my time in the hospital and then on one particular day I was on my way to see George, I rang up to check how he was getting on and to see if I needed to bring anything. The nurse said excitedly “I’m glad you called, he is ready to go home.” I was so excited, I started shaking and couldn’t stop, I rang Danny and off we went to the hospital to bring our boy home.