Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

Noah's 8th Birthday

This post is late. By two months.

The reason being that myself and my beautiful little family have been in newborn baby bliss. Our new human has been all any of us have wanted to talk about. We have all been occupied with falling in love a million times over in that time. With that new baby smell, the cute noises, the first smiles and laughs… It has been all kinds of amazing.

I fall hard for my kids. They sweep this mama off of her feet on the daily. It’s probably another reason why this post is so late too. The writing I could do, no problem… It was a beautiful day. Full of celebrations for my handsome eight year old, Noah (p.s. how am I a mama to an eight year old, it’s crazy and heartbreaking all at the same time?) Of course with great celebrations comes the chance to whip out my big girl camera and snap away. Trying to capture the moments, the smiles, the fun… The times that are a little out of the ordinary… The times that I simply have to remember.

By the way, when I say snap away, what I really mean is… click, click, click whether you are smiling, ready, on your best side or not… And hey, say ‘cheeeese! Most of what I take is blurry, out of focus, badly framed…but in the roll somewhere are ‘The Ones’ that say it all, if you get what I mean. Also… please don’t for one second think that the blurry one’s are discarded… oh no… they are always sent to clog up the space on my hard drive for me to look at ‘one day’. It hurts me to delete any photograph’s of those I love, even if you have to squint to make out who is in the picture. Because I know who it is… #photographhoarder

Anyway, I digress.. My point actually is, that I take a lot of photographs and it takes a lot of time and attention to find those particular ‘Ones’… And I haven’t had the time and attention to do my search justice… Until now.

Noah’s birthday was on Sunday 2nd July 2017 and it was a hot, sunny day. Perfect for a BBQ. Noah asked for one so that he could spend his birthday with his nearest and dearest. He has an old soul sometimes. He definitely understands the importance of family, which I love about him. He played with his sister in the morning, mainly with the balloons which we had set out the night before… Like we do for every birthday. He was excited about his remote control car though, he was itching to play with that. It was his main gift and not one that he had asked for… or even expressed that he would like. The problem is, nowadays it’s all about Xbox, playstation and video games galore. I refer to them as calculators in a bid to be funny with my kids (cheap laughs). Don’t get me wrong, Noah and Ellenah do play with these things… Their Papa is techno mad… but I don’t like it that much. I want them to use their imaginations and to get lost in play. Is it mean that when Noah asked me for a Nintendo Switch, I kind of said ‘not a chance’ in the nicest way that I could? I felt guilty about it. For saying no to the thing that Noah wanted for his birthday. I felt like I was crushing his dreams for a while. So, Matt and I had to up our game and come up with something that could compete with the calculator (ha!) that he wanted.

He loved his car. Loved the tyre marks that it left on our garden. It went fast at 25 mph. It had the number eight on it, like his age. It was bright and cool. He felt cool when he opened it… A little grown up. Especially when we told him that we chose it from a model shop and that Daddy wanted one. It flew down our garden, nearly taking my legs out from under me at one point. Noah had fun chasing after it. Making a tunnel with his legs as his Papa drove it through them. He thought it was great, chasing his little sister with it. We chose well. He wasn’t sad that he wasn’t opening up ‘something different’. He was more than happy with that, his little book of things to make with sticks and all of the other gifts that he was lucky to receive.

Matt and I busied ourselves in the kitchen and the garden, getting everything ready. It was hot, I was heavily pregnant and uncomfortable, so it wasn’t easy. Noah was only turning eight once though and I was determined to make sure that he would have an awesome birthday, one to remember. Especially after he had requested that his baby brother would arrive in time to be at his party. I somehow felt guilty for that too, guilty that he hadn’t. Like it was within my control or something.

There was a a lot of food, plenty to drink and all of the smiles.

We had a lovely afternoon. Noah played with his sister (who had a curl in her hair for the day and a pretty dress on) and with his cousins and lapped up all of the attention from those who love him. He played with his Nerf Guns and Light Sabre’s… The girls played with the sand pit when they were doing the latter though.

Us grown-up’s ate, talked, laughed and listened to music while we sat together on the grass. We enjoyed being in the sunshine (I sat myself in the shade for the most part, struggling to cope well in the heat) but it was just nice hanging out together. It was lovely watching the children play together without having to check the clock too much, without having to tell them ‘no’ every two minutes and without being occupied with every day life.

I set out to give Noah a lovely birthday. It mattered to me because I was conscious about his baby brother being overdue and a lot of attention was being directed at that long awaited life event. I didn’t want him to feel overlooked. Noah was my first born child. He was the boy who showed me what unconditional love was and is. He is so very special to me and he deserved the effort, a million times over.

For next year, I have agreed that we will discuss the idea of him having a party of some description with his friends from school… and a homemade birthday cake because I have never made him one myself. I must have found myself on a high from him having a lovely birthday, knowing that he was happy. I say this because next year, I will be planning his baby brother’s 1st birthday which will be two days later. My boys are going to have me sliding into July 2018 with my to-do lists firmly in my hand and an overwhelmed look on my face.

Seeing how happy Noah was on his birthday this year though, it will be well and truly worth it.

With Love,

Ria  x

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The First Days With Baby Dexter The First Days With Baby DexterThe First Days With Baby Dexter The First Days With Baby Dexter The First Days With Baby Dexter

The First Days With Baby Dexter The First Days With Baby Dexter The First Days With Baby DexterThe First Days With Baby Dexter

The first days with Baby Dexter went by in a heartbeat. Why is it that your best moments go by so fast? I found myself throwing myself into every single second to try and absorb this precious time with every part of me. I stopped looking at my phone, I stopped knowing the time and I stopped thinking about anything other than him and my little family.

I let myself relax under the heavy cuddles of his relaxed body against my chest as he slept there. I fed him on demand and held onto both of his hands while he did. I stroked them as he gripped my thumbs for comfort. It was the sweetest thing and I hoped that it would be one of the lovely things about our breastfeeding journey that would stay, so I wouldn’t have the chance to forget it in time. I stroked his hair when he looked sleepy. His fine, dark hair with a reddish tint, and a thick tuft of it at the back of his perfect, little head.

I watched his eyes roll around when he had wind and I loved to watch his smile break across his beautiful face too. I know that it was because he needed burping… but it was like a sneak preview of his smile to come. Not that I was wishing the days away. I was perfectly happy resting in these moments. Breathing in that new baby smell. One that I would happily keep in a bottle. The best smell in the whole world.

I spent hours studying his face. Touching his pure, soft skin. I closed my eyes and traced over his eyebrows with my finger. Traced over his squidgy lips that drooped down at one side when he was asleep or relaxed. Brushed against the fair covering of baby hair covering his cheeks, knowing that one day I would look and it would be gone without me having noticed. I wanted to know him like this, with all of my senses. I wanted to keep all of the ‘Dexi being just like this’ moments, banked in my memory. I want to remember and know everything about him. I need to know exactly who he is right from the beginning. I need to so that in the moments that he loses himself as he grows… I can remind him just how special, how wonderful he is in the way that only his mother can.

Looking at him exist was the best way that I could have spent my time. I pondered over the colour of his dark blue eyes and wondered if they would stay that way or even lighten like his Papa and his big sister. I ran my nose up and down his, pausing for a while at the bottom by his cupids bow, just above his lips to feel his milky breath hit my face. I gave him eskimo kisses and kissed him on the tip of his nose, when I had a spare few seconds. I said ‘bless you’ excitedly, when he sneezed… which was often and due to his new environment but oh so sweet. I massaged his eyelids incredibly gently when he looked tired and I loved the way that one of his eyes always appeared to be spying on me from a squint, while the other was wide open, a little like Popeye. The way that his head bobbed at my chest for food made me smile too… and then it made me panic that he was too hungry because I had read something somewhere about knowing the signs, so that your baby doesn’t cry with hunger. I DID NOT want my baby to cry… or to be too hungry.

He did cry though… sometimes! In fact, he had staying power… a set of lungs on him, some would say! It was a sound that broke my heart in a second. So I desperately tried to learn which cry meant what. I tried to learn fast. The thought of him being unhappy, even for the smallest moment, hurt me. I had promised him the happiest life… and I don’t break promises! I figured out fast that he liked his feet to be held and massaged to settle him well. He liked to be cradled tightly and close to my chest… doing this as I walked, bobbing him as I went was an all time win.

The crying was something else entirely when compared to ‘The Fear’ though.

The fear that comes with giving birth to a newborn baby, a life, a human, your flesh and blood, who you would do anything for… It’s overwhelming and fierce. You just want to raise them well, have a healthy, happy baby and be a good mother. And I don’t think it matters if you have one baby, three babies or twelve… The first few days after bringing them in to the world, is really scary.

I quickly realised that co-sleeping would suit us for right now. My need to check Dexter while he napped and slept was almost ridiculous but I had to know that he was okay, wasn’t laying in sick, hadn’t kicked his covers off, wasn’t too hot, wasn’t too cold and was breathing well. I had to check that he didn’t need me. Sleep came last. Having him close by made me more relaxed and content, which was better for us all. It was our way of having it all. Peace of mind, a little rest, perfect cuddles and a wonderful bonding experience.

Back to the fear…

Once the cord came off on day five, we bathed him for the first time. Honestly, getting the temperature right was hard work. We used the thermometer, googled the temperature, googled it again, felt the water with our elbows, googled it again, wondered if the thermometer was broken, swore because it was definitely broken, decided it wasn’t broken, added cold, added hot, googled the perfect temperature yet again and then decided it was okay to put our newborn baby in the bath, which he hated… but that is for another time!

In the heat of the summer, I worried about Dexter being too hot, too cold. I put clothes on him, took them off again… put them on and took them off… again! We had never had a baby who was naturally hot like Dexi. He is going to be a dream to snuggle with in the winter months, a perfect heater. But in the Summer… It was scary. It made him upset because he just wanted a cuddle but didn’t want to be held. In the end, I surrendered to stripping him off, laying him down and holding his hands or holding his feet to let him know that I was close by.

Close by? Ha! When wasn’t I? I missed him when I left the room to pee…

The day that he projectile vomited all over me two times was awful. He screamed for half an hour and I was pacing the room with my sweaty little beauty in my arms. I had the phone on my bed, ready to call an ambulance and Matt was looking up his symptoms online. P.S. Any new mama’s reading this… NEVER do that! I was convinced within three minutes that our baby was really poorly and it made me very upset. Thankfully my maternal instincts kicked in and I realised that I knew what was wrong and how to make him better. It was from that moment that I started to find my stride with being a new mama for the third time, after a five and a half year gap.

Like I said, the first few days were scary. For me they were scarier than being a first time mum and a second. Maybe it was because I was out of practice. I had definitely forgotten a lot. Maybe it was because I was so in love, it was overwhelming. Overwhelming because I had fallen in love with Noah and Ellenah all over again, as well as being newly in love with their baby brother. It wasn’t that I had fallen out of love with them…at all! The birth of Dexi just made me remember all of the little things about them in their newborn days. It made me remember them when they were Noah and Ellenah ‘just like this’. It encouraged me to dig out their baby pictures, comparing them all, cooing over how beautiful they both were (and still are). And then, it made me appreciate just how far we have come. All of the ordinary days which they made special. All that we had been through. All of their milestones. All of the smiles, laughter and chaos that I have loved with every part of me. And the memories…oh, the memories that we have. The funniest times. The most beautiful madness. And being in the here and now with them, experiencing this wonderful time with them on my team. Watching them love their baby brother unconditionally, watching them care for and protect him, watching them rise up and step into their new roles with such pride…it made me see them through different eyes, almost like I was seeing them for the first time again. And I suppose I was in a way…a new ‘just like this’. Maybe I was more scared because this was the happiest time in my whole life and I knew how lucky and blessed I was to feel that way. I am a mama to three beautiful children, a wife to the love of my life and my family was whole, complete and perfect. When you are terrified that you might somehow lose, change or break something… You know it is something worth gripping on to with both hands. Worth cherishing, loving hard, with everything you have and appreciating, every single day.

The first days with baby Dexter were everything that I hoped they would be. They were quiet, calming, relentless, chaotic, noisy, emotional… and we had some defining moments as mama and son. I easily fell for him. I lost myself in him completely and became even more excited to raise him, watch him thrive… be a part of his life and world as he grows  up. The first few days allowed me to daydream for me and simply dream for him. Dream that he has a happy life. Dream that he knows what love is. Dream that he is always free to explore and to let adventure take hold. Dream that he will be all that he can be. Mostly I dreamed that he would have the courage and conviction to have dreams of his own, to protect them, to chase them… and to have them come true.

After all… Him, his brother and sister are the perfect proof, that it can and does happen x

 

 

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Meeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby Brother Meeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby BrotherMeeting Baby Brother

Meeting Baby Brother

The moment that Noah and Ellenah met their baby brother for the first time, on the morning that he was born, was one of the best moments of my life. It was easily better than christmas morning, better than any birthday, better than most other days that has lead us to here actually.

Dexter was born at 1.55am, that morning. He was born in the very small bathroom of our family home. The home that has seen five of Noah’s eight years and all of Ellenah’s, other than just six months. It is a safe place. It is where the children have seen magic unfold, from the christmas’, the tooth fairy and even better,  to the games that they play where their imaginations have no limits.

It is the home that has watched Matt and I grow, up together and a little bit older I’m privileged to say. It is where we have fallen in love with each other, over and over again. It is where we talk about our future as a family… and together, when the children grow up and have lives of their own. It is where we laugh, where we are allowed to cry and it is where we are happy. Our home is where we dream together , about so many things. It is where we dreamt of this family. Our family. One with five of us. It is the home where that dream came true.

I was exhausted but awake when I heard the first creaking of a door opening that morning. I had been awake all night. I squinted my eyes in the darkness, to watch Dexter breathing. He was awake for the most part of it too. He was watching the shadows and flickers of light that made up the silhouette of his mama. He knew me already. I made him feel safe. He hardly made a sound the whole time.

My eyes were heavy by the time I heard the door that morning, so far from feeling ready to go to sleep though. I was on cloud nine. Walking on air. Singing ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams to myself in my head and humming it out loud, when ultimately I forgot myself. I had been waiting for this moment for nine, long months. It was my happy thought that kept me going since just before 10pm the night before when I had my first contraction. Our new beginning would mean that I had made it to the end. I let myself imagine what our lives would become. How it would change in the best ways. I could see how happy we were and are going to be. The smiles of my children meeting each other, meant so much to me.

I heard little, dainty footsteps. I knew that it was Ellenah walking towards our bedroom. Ellenah who we tucked in to bed last night at the same time as Noah, after telling them both that by morning, they should have a baby brother waiting for them in our bedroom. I knew that behind that door was a nervous little girl. One who was hoping with all of her heart that she would be opening the door to the boy, who was making her a big sister.

The door opened, very slowly. I saw her bright blonde hair first of all and then our eyes met. Her big blue eyes, full of hope, found me across the room. She tiptoed towards me, as quietly as she could. She stopped short of my reach… and I so desperately wanted to cuddle her. She stopped and turned towards the beautiful moses basket that had been waiting there, empty for two months. She gasped when she found it empty. Her face fell and she looked so sad. In her shaky, quiet as a mouse voice, she spoke. ‘No baby?’ was all she could manage in her disbelief.

She was right. He wasn’t in there. I couldn’t be apart from him. Even for a few hours while the country was fast asleep. We had been together for nine months. It was alien to have him anywhere else but nestled in my arms.

‘He’s here sweetheart!’ I whispered, as I pointed towards him, in-between Papa and me. She stepped forwards and looked over me hesitantly, to the middle of the bed where he was actually sleeping for the first time.

Words could never tell you, how beautiful Ellenah looked in that moment, so vulnerable and happy. Words could never do justice, to describe how every emotion that she felt washed over her face. Her large eyes grew bigger as tears sat behind them and the smile that she wore, I had never seen it before and I’m sure that I will never see it again. That one was for Dex. It was beaming but shaky. Her hand reached towards her chest and she gasped inwards, again. Almost as if she was breathless. Like she had been hit in the heart with overwhelming love. She looked at me and back at Dexter…and back at me, then Dexter again. She didn’t know what to do, what to say… how to explain how this made her feel. So I reached for her. My little girl. And, I held her so tightly as she dry sobbed with such joy. Her body vibrated against me with excitement and she asked if she could kiss him. I nodded and watched her lean over so gently to kiss him on the head. It was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen her experience and I will carry it within my heart until forever.

It didn’t take Noah long to bound in to the room after that. Noah being much less subtle in his ways. Noah who boldly pushed the door open and asked me if his little brother had arrived. Again, that look of hope was very much present… but the sheer excitement was apparent and definitely not something that he could filter or condense. Noah was true to his personality. Charismatic, bold, excitable and full of heart. He walked in with swag before anyone could answer him and clambered clumsily around the bed until he was at my side. He kind of landed there with both feet, flat to the ground and standing tall.

And then he saw him…

Noah’s eyes fixed on to his baby brother and rather than the emotion dancing across his face like it did with Ellenah… each and every feeling came out of his eyes, in tears. As they plopped down his cheeks, all big and fat…he looked surprised. And very much like his little sister, it was as if Dexter had taken his breath away.

Noah squinted his eyes and rubbed at them both with his finger and thumb. Pinching them together, he was desperate to stop crying. I asked him what was wrong.

‘I’m just so happy Mum… And I’m so proud of you!’ He told me, as his voice shook.

Hearing those words from my sweet little boy… the one who made me a mama first, broke me. The tears stung my eyes and it was almost as if I could feel my heart grow inside me, when I didn’t believe it could possibly make any more room. It had already made space for our third and final baby. Enough of it to love him unconditionally, until the end of time. I wondered how my heart could grow any more.

But it did… I think it does every day.

When my beautiful children say beautiful things. When I watch them get lost in each other. When they choose love. When they choose happiness. When they are kind, thoughtful… warm.

My heart grows because of them in so many ways.

While my heart was having a growth spurt on this day. While I watched Noah and Ellenah fall head over heels in love with their new brother, smothering him with kisses and looking upon him in amazement. It felt like everything was in slow motion. Like time had stopped. Like nothing else on this earth mattered.

Unfortunately, the clock waits for no-one. And with less than an hour until the children were due to walk through the school gates for a day of learning, we had to test out our new normal… try it on for size. Well, as much as I could from my bed.

Watching the children say goodbye to each other that morning was so hard because I just wanted us all to be together, in our new baby bubble. Seeing how they said ‘hello’ to each other though, seeing how Noah and Ellenah welcomed Baby Dexter into our world… The world, was priceless. A moment that I will never forget. A moment that I wouldn’t change. A moment that I could never wish was different. A moment that was EVERYTHING to me… Full of my favourite people in the whole world.

It was absolute perfection… x

 

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The days that I gave birth to all three of my children, gave me the three best stories that I will ever tell. My three favourite stories of all time and all three, so different from each other… Just like my babies. In the throws of labour, the adrenaline, the pain, the intensity, the excitement and the fear, I think every mother wonders how any woman can forget a single second of it. You swear that you will never forget how much it hurts your body, how it takes everything that you have got, to get through it. You don’t understand how other people tell you that you will soon forget it once you have your baby in your arms. You think that they must be mad.

I’ve forgotten already!

Not everything of course but the reality of having Dexter in my life now has made every second of birthing him somewhat irrelevant. Since he was born, I have fallen in love again and have been completely swept away… and it feels like my memory of the pain and self-doubt was too.

I was exactly 41 weeks pregnant on the day that I gave birth to my baby boy, my baby number three. It had been a long, hard, nine month slog. I had a hard time of things. I suffered most days of it and as much as I tried not to complain… most days involved some kind of tears, me thinking unkind things about myself or sitting on the bathroom floor, back against the door, deep breaths, lips quivering, head in hands and trying to pluck the strength from deep down to get me through the days, weeks and months to follow. The hard parts of giving birth will fade more and more over time. The hard parts of being pregnant, I will remember forever. In the end, the only thing that was keeping me going and smiling through it, was love. Raw, unconditional, overwhelming love, for the little life that I was growing in my body. My baby boy who I knew that I would do anything for. Who I would give my life for.

Anyway… rewind a day. It was Monday, 3rd July 2017 and I was 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I was also beyond fed up. Being overdue by even one day was bad enough, I don’t know how some women cope with anything up to 2 weeks over. It wasn’t my lightest time in terms of my emotions. However, I had refused intervention by the way of a membrane sweep to start my labour off…purely due to my ideals of a natural pregnancy, labour and delivery and because I am ever so stubborn. I had no control over so many things during my pregnancy, the hyperemesis Gravidarum and Pelvic Girdle pain being the main culprits, I was desperate to have the birth the way that I wanted. I have had two children before Dexter and both were natural births without a shred of pain relief… I wanted to do it again and so I refused any interference and carried on.

After having some particularly aggressive but unconvincing braxton hicks the night before, in to the early hours… by the time I had woken up that day, they had stopped. Out of nowhere, I had a new lease of life, a real energy burst. So, I took the opportunity to arrange a hike in our local woods with my brother to see if I could naturally give this labour a little shove in the right direction. As I say, I was feeling fed up and ready to meet my baby by this point so was getting a little desperate. I had a close family friend on stand-by, just in-case anything happened while out walking and I needed to be shoved into a car quickly.

We walked for ages and not slowly either. There were plenty of hills and I worked up a sweat. Eventually, I went home to freshen up before I went on the school run. I’m not going to lie… I was very disappointed that nothing was happening. By the time I walked to collect Noah and Ellenah from school, my pace had slowed down and my head was hanging low too. It didn’t help my mood when I met them both from their class and they looked sad that I was still pregnant. We were all ready to meet our final puzzle piece to our family.

As we walked home, my pace started to slow even more and not by choice. It felt like something had taken over me, was protecting me… or when I look back, was preparing my body for what it was soon to endure. Ellenah needed the toilet so needed me to hurry but I couldn’t pick up speed. I had to truly concentrate to put one foot in front of the other and my pelvis felt like it had turned to a really painful jelly…almost like from my pelvis down, I wasn’t attached together properly. It was peculiar. I had never felt so happy to put the key in the door as we reached home and once inside, I basically fell onto the sofa and that was where I wanted to stay.

At around 5pm, I felt my waters break and so did a smile, across my entire face. It was finally time…

With this, I ran upstairs to clean myself up as best as I could and then I called Matt to get him to come home. I explained what was happening to the children and took a shower… At this point, I was in absolutely no pain. Matt arrived home shortly and because I was booked in for a home birth, we made the decision to call the hospital to have a midwife sent out to examine me. Between the time we made the phone call and the first midwife arriving, the reality of my home birth was sinking in. Of course, I was a bag of nerves mixed in with pure excitement, but for the first time in my whole pregnancy, I felt such a stillness and a true sense of calm and I was taking myself to a different place in my head… so that I could get through the next stages. I busied myself before she arrived, preparing my living room for my birth. I made sure that I had enough towels, shower curtains, buckets…everything down to the right music and right lighting. We gave the children dinner and they waited with me in anticipation for the midwife to come.

Hers was a fleeting visit. She checked my vitals and respected my decision not to be examined. She was confident, due to the sheer volume of fluid that I was losing and had already lost, that my waters had broken and so advised me to eat and try to get some rest in preparation for the big event. As I was still in no pain, she went on her merry way and off shift, after giving me the information that I would need for when things started to happen.

So, once we had said our goodbye’s and her, some ‘good luck’s’, we said goodnight to Noah and Ellenah, who went to sleep quickly, tucked up in their bunk beds. I ate and put my feet up for a while…and waited. I kept the lights dimply lit and continued to get myself in the right headspace to handle labour head on. I spent some time saying goodbye to my bump, my pregnant belly. I stroked it and tried to get in tune with my body so that I could let it do what it is naturally meant to. I wish that I could tell you how I do that because three babies on, it has helped me every single time. I have never read up on hypnobirthing…The most that I did in preparation like that was listen to relaxing music on spotify. If I’m honest, all that ever made me do is think about what needs to go on my shopping list and what is going on in the months ahead that I need to remember. I’m not sure that is how you are meant to use it…

Anyway, just before 10pm, five hours after my waters had broken, my hand protectively and forcefully gripped onto my lower abdomen as I felt my first intense contraction. Again, that smile broke across my face. I just remember thinking that I was one step closer…and that it hurt so much! It lasted around fifty seconds and it made me hold my breath and my eyes water. I knew that with the next one, I had to handle it better… I had to breathe and push the pain away. And so, I waited for the next one to arrive…

I wasn’t waiting long, just less than 3 minutes actually and the contraction lasted over a minute. A pattern in my contractions appeared immediately. Every 2 and half to 3 minutes for between 57 seconds to 1 minute and 27 seconds. Each and every pain feeling much harder than the last. We called the midwife after my eleventh contraction and she told us that she was on her way.

While we waited for her to arrive, with my arms and head resting on my birthing ball, I rocked and continued to physically push the pain away with my hands. I was desperately trying to stay active, to keep my pelvis moving. I was desperate to have my baby in our home. Desperate for Noah and Ellenah to wake up in the morning, to come in to our bedroom and to find him fast asleep. So, between every contraction, I continued to move…knowing in the back of my mind that I had been previously advised to consider a cesarian section due to SPD and then after seeking a second opinion from a midwife with alternative views, I had chosen to trust her and my body and stay as far away from any hospital as I could. Now was the time that I had to know my body more that ever, give it everything that I could and to not let the fear penetrate my focus.

The midwife soon knocked at the door and came through to our dimly lit living room with the sound of Billy Joel’s music playing gently. It was very quiet. She spoke calmly, softly and confidently about how this was going to go. She let me lead the way with my vision and birth plan. She reminded me that she had gas and air in the car if I was to need it. I remember shaking my head as I threw off another contraction with gritted teeth.

It really was very quiet. Kind of beautiful.

I was hot. It was exhausting. Matt kept bringing me water which I refused often. I was so focussed and even taking a sip of water felt like it was interrupting my flow. I didn’t want to stop. I remember that it was hard and I was fighting my way to the end. Constantly reminding myself that this was my last hurdle, just breathe, push away the pain, keep moving…Keep on keeping on!!

Matt was with me every step of the way. He rubbed my back, encouraged me when I was struggling to keep going and let me squeeze his hands as hard as I could. He helped me to move around, knowing that my broken body wasn’t allowing me to do it for myself. He held me up, kissed me and told me that I was doing well. I remember looking into his eyes and thinking to myself that I had to tell him how much I loved him in that moment… Once I had the energy, when this was over… I would! It felt like it was just him and me in the room. Him, me and the promise of our new life as a family of five.

As things became more intense and it was harder and harder to push away the pain, the second midwife arrived.

I remember saying to Matt that I didn’t think that I was doing very well, after I had been pushing down for some time. I remember telling the three of them that something was wrong. The sensation when I pushed… It was different, like it wasn’t doing anything at all, like baby boy was stuck. It wasn’t that I wasn’t pushing. I was pushing for my life. Pushing so hard that I felt like I could burst. I started to get very frustrated with everyone and myself. I felt like I wasn’t communicating well enough and I felt like I wasn’t being heard in the right way at all. So, I asked Matt to help me upstairs to the toilet. I wasn’t sure if I actually needed to go more than I needed a little bit of time by myself. I’ll be honest, I quite liked sitting there. It was comfortable and supportive to my tired body. Something about it just made sense.

Eventually, I went back downstairs to try again at the pushing and so that I could have baby listened to and all of my vitals checked for the hundredth time…Just to make sure that we were both happy still. We were but I didn’t stay downstairs for long. I could feel that I was close to the end as I manouvered heavily and clumsily between positions. Instinct took over eventually and the next thing I know, I was half crawling up the stairs, half pulling myself up by my arms. I think I knew deep down that at that point, I wasn’t coming back downstairs without my baby.

Once I was in the bathroom, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, I was examined for the first time.

I was definitely right to be pushing…but to the midwife’s surprise, due to how much fluid I had visibly lost and was continuing to lose, a second, bulging amniotic sac was completely blocking him from progressing any further.

I knew it. I knew in my heart that something wasn’t working right.

Medically there a few reasons why a second amniotic sac was present with only one baby. It is likely that for me, the cause is due to my hind waters developing a leak at 37 weeks but closing up again. But… nobody really knows!

Anyway… everything suddenly made sense to me and the midwives. With the next contraction, the midwife gave the sac a shove to the side to try and help baby boy out. And with that, my waters… the last ones, burst… and flooded the floor of my tiny bathroom.

From that moment, everything felt so intense. My body took over completely and I had no time to think. The contractions were amped up and my body was shaking. Matt was physically holding me up. He held onto me as I screamed through the ultimate pain of birthing my baby boy’s head. He held on to me as I panted and waited for his body to follow. He held on to me, lifting my fragile body, keeping me on my feet in the moments that our son came into the world and was handed to me. Our beautiful boy, with the big, alert eyes… heavy on my chest as his wrinkly hands with long, skinny fingers gripped on to the neck line of my night dress. My beautiful boy who I had fallen in love with in an instant.

I don’t remember how I was lowered down on to the toilet seat, how my feet were deep in blood and fluid or even too much of Matt cutting the cord like the proud Papa that he is. I only remember it because it was so tight and had to be done quickly. I delivered my placenta in to the toilet and it was trying to pull my baby in there with it. I vividly remember holding our new life tightly, sobbing and smiling… telling him that he would be so loved and that he is going to have the happiest life. I remember our eyes locking and staring at each other for what felt like an eternity. I know that I could have stayed there, in that moment forever.

Dexter James was born on Tuesday the 4th of July 2017 at 1.55am. He was born on USA’s Independence Day. He was and is still, so beautiful. So perfect. A dream come true. Everything that I imagined he would be. Just as I thought he would look. The missing puzzle piece of The Sweetest Life family. Our final team member. The youngest in our gang. He is pure, innocent, wonderful and we are all so in love with him.

I can’t believe that this is my life now and I am a mama to three beautiful humans. I feel so lucky that I get to love them every day and to bring them up. To raise them to have kind, open hearts, adventure in their veins and to love our beautiful world and the people in it.

On Dexter’s Birth Day, a new life started for us. A new chapter, a new journey… new adventures. I am so excited for everything to come, for all of the wonderful times ahead of us… as a family of five.

With Love,

Ria x

 

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When Paternity Leave Ends

Two weeks went by so fast. Today Matt had to return to the real world, the working world. He will be there until 7pm tonight. Our new baby bubble has to change. My family has to settle into a normal life as a family of five.

I don’t know if it is because Dexter is our last baby, our family is now complete and we won’t be doing this again… but I didn’t feel ready today. When we said goodbye to each other this morning, I could feel my eyes sting and the tears threaten to fall down my cheeks. I don’t feel ready to go solo just yet. I’ve been enjoying our time together too much.

It has been bad enough saying goodbye to Noah and Ellenah every morning as they run off to school and in to class for the day and now we have to say goodbye to such a big part of ‘Team Langner’. Matt has been so supportive, so helpful and calming to me and Dex. We are really going to miss having him around .

After having Noah and Ellenah, I craved normality and routine but this time feels so different. I want to stay in the baby blur for as long as I possibly can.

Newborns change and grow just so quickly and up to this point, I have shared every little thing with my partner in crime. We have cooed and watched him sleep. We have bathed him together and laughed as he ruined two rather beautiful, white towels with a poo-nation as soon as we got him out and wrapped him up. We have both wore him around. Both of us watched him feed in amazement. We have fussed over him. We have lifted each others spirits when he screamed out with wind and it was hard to make him feel better. I have watched Matt sing to him, cuddle him closely, talk to him and love him… show me a mother who would want that to stop or change?!

We are both such different parents and people since having our first child at 22 & 23 years old. After the initial few days of trying to figure out new parent life again, we each have re-found our confidence and have both found our stride now. I’m not scared to be with Dex alone. I just wish that Matt had more time with us. Watching them bond has been so incredible to see. From the moment that Dex came in to the world, alert and bright eyed… He knew us both. He locked eyes with me immediately and held on to my dress tightly like he wanted to stay with me forever, safe and happy. But a little while later, once the chaos had settled down, Matt took off his tee and placed Dexter on to his bare chest and after, cradled him in his arms. Dexter looked up at Matt so calmly, so still and relaxed and listened as Matt spoke to him. They stayed that way for a while and as I watched this amazing thing happen in front of my eyes, a moment unfold between a baby boy and his daddy… I didn’t want the night to end. And they have become closer in each day since then. It has been such a beautiful thing to be on the sidelines for.

When Paternity Leave Ends

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