Updated: Aug 3, 2020
In this blog, I'm going to describe my family's reaction to my pregnancy, personal experience with giving birth and suggest a checklist of things to put in a birth bag to take to the hospital when it's time for labour.
Out of the blue, my mum called me to say that she had a dream that I was pregnant. I denied it! A week later, at Brad’s 21st birthday party, she noticed my obvious bump and asked me if I was pregnant again, to which I finally admitted yes. Although she gasped, her initial reaction was not as bad I had first dreaded and in fact, although she was concerned, she was very supportive. ‘How far are you,’ she asked? ‘Five months,’ I replied. I think that news shocked her most!
'You are immature and going to hold her back! I don't trust you, I have a bad feeling about you!' My mum suddenly and hysterically exclaimed at Brad.
'Back off! I love her! Of course I won't hold her back from anything. I promise that I'll do everything I can, my utmost best to protect and provide for my son!' Brad argued back.
'Well, this is the first time that I've seen you act like a mature man. It makes me more comfortable. I hope that you keep your promise. She needs to finish her degree.' She reacted, stunned by his reaction.
'I had no intention of stopping it! I've even applied for extra funding to help with the extra costs.' I replied. My mum along with my step-dad plus brother breathed out a sigh of relief and expressed how happy they were for us while looking forward to meet our baby.
The news quickly circulated through both of our families in a way which made it an unforgettable night. I also showed a photo of my baby’s ultrasound scan on Skype to my grandmother on my biological father's side. She mistook this for a random picture on the internet and thought that I was simply hinting that I would like to have a baby in a few years! She shed tears of joy when I corrected her by stating that I was actually pregnant.
Struggling to get a phone call through to my biological dad that day, I sent a message to him via Facebook which announced my pregnancy. A few minutes later he called me, stunned and seemingly happy by the news. But, a few days later his wife expressed to me that he was having a hard time with accepting and coming to good terms with this news. She tried to calm him down but he was feeling hysterical about it as he felt worried about me and my future. He later called me while drunk and expressed these negative feelings in tears. My heart sunk. I reassured him about my financial situation being stable as I found student loans that could help me during my studies and part-time jobs that were related to my degree which I could work around my classes plus financial benefits that the government provided which I had the privilege to be eligible for. It also brought him comfort that I was being extra cautious with my physical health. Eventually, he happily accepted the idea of becoming a grandfather for the first time.
The rest of my family had similar reactions to each other, from shedding happy tears to congratulating me. With family, partner and friends support I went into labour, a 35-hour one. Contractions were so excruciating that I felt like jumping out of the window. I suddenly became so frightened at the thought of a being ripping through me while grunting and crying out in pain with each cramp that came every minute that passed. Originally, I opted to give a water birth because the room which I would be able to stay in looked amazing and it seemed like it would be a fun plus interesting experience. But, that option meant that I wasn't allowed any form of pain killers. The agony which I was experiencing from the cramps were too strong for me to handle naturally. So, on a last minute basis, I pleaded for a normal birth instead and pain relieving medication.
'What can I do to help you?' Brad asked full of concern, pity and worry.
'Please hold me.' I replied while sniffling through heavy cries. He immediately hugged me protectively, kissed my head so many times and gently stroked my hair. His warm embrace and affection brought me so much comfort, I felt safer.
'I beg for someone to help her!' He pleaded to the nurses.
'Oh god yes, she dilated enough. Come with me.' She took us to a private room where I would give birth, only me, Brad and midwives plus other doctors were allowed in. I was given Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as well as an epidural, to help me endure it all. It felt like a miracle that the pain was completely gone! I felt confident that I was somewhat in control over my body and the dosages of the pain killers instead of being completely distracted by an agonising pain that made me uncontrollably twist and turn in an attempt to get rid of it.
Brad was also by my side throughout the whole birth which made me feel even more comfortable. When the nurses told him that he had to go home because there was no bed for him, he slept on the hospital room floor by my side. I felt fortunate enough to have someone as dedicated and supportive as he was acting at that moment in time. We watched funny videos on his phone, laughed so much during any conversation that we had and overall bonded a lot emotionally while we waited for our son to make his appearance into the world. He was my rock throughout the whole experience. I really appreciated his presence so much at that point and fell in love with him again.
'He's ready! Push!' The midwife declared after examining me. Around twenty minutes later of attempting to push our baby out of me, we finally heard a baby's cry.
'Oh my god... a baby!' I exclaimed feeling completely stunned at the sight of our baby while automatically extending my arms towards him. Everyone looked at me oddly, as if trying to say 'well duh, what did you expect?' and I really didn't know, maybe an alien looking kind of mythical creature or some sort of little gremlin... I was simply in awe of the sight of perfection that just came out of me.
'Do you still want to cut his umbilical cord?' The midwife asked Brad, looking amused at how mortified he looked. He shook his head side to side, meaning no as he trembled. We laughed at this as she proceeded to to it herself.
'Now push for the placenta.' I was instructed to do and did as I was told. Hearing a loud 'sploosh splat', me and Brad looked at each other quizzically for an instant. It felt like another baby came out of me! Could it be? We were horrified at the sight of it.
'Do you want to keep it? Some people cook it up and eat it.' The midwife proposed. Brad and I said 'nope' at the same time while pulling faces of disgust. She laughed at us and got rid of it. The midwife's student assistant placed our baby on my chest. Wide eyed and smiling, I gasped in amazement. Although there was still blood on him, his skin felt so soft plus smooth while a whitish and thick substance (called vernix caseosa) coated it.
A distinct smell of fresh, cool sugared milk oozed off of him, it was incredible, I inhaled it deeply and it felt unbelievably refreshing. I was further mesmerised by his big forest-green looking eyes. Lightly embracing him, I looked upwards and met Brad's loving gaze.
'Wow, thank you. He is perfect... I love you Scott.' Brad whispered as he kissed both of our foreheads. Preparing to go to another room for exams on our baby to take place, I tried to stand up but immediately fell to the floor. I couldn't feel my legs and had no strength in them!
'The epidural hasn't worn off yet! It will do in a few hours.' The midwife explained. Brad helped me up, the midwife's assistant brought me a wheelchair and took me to the other room. We had to stay overnight in the hospital to be monitored. As the labour took more than 12 hours I was at risk of developing an infection. So, I was supervised and often examined throughout the night. The following day, we had the pleasure of having family visits at the hospital. My mother, grandmother (her mum), step-father, brother plus Brad's father and sister came to meet baby Scott. It was such a lovely experience, everyone fell in love with him at first sight. The rest of our family came to visit us when we returned 'home' throughout the following week as they didn't want to overwhelm us at the hospital.
Brad happily volunteered to change Scott's first few nappies and clean him up as I was so exhausted plus couldn't stand up due to having numb legs because of the epidural. He also fed him his first powdered milk bottle and I learned from one of the nurses how to breastfeed him. It was a struggle, taking a while before I got the technique right to do so. Brad seemed like such a proud father, it was really beautiful to watch him take care of his son! His affection and love for him looked undeniable. I felt as if I was in a dream while observing and falling deeper in love with that man and tiny boy as every minute passed. After Scott experienced a few exams to record his overall health and we both received the 'all clear' to go 'home'. I then changed from the hospital robes to my own clothes, we collected out belongings and headed towards Brad's parents' house to continue our journey.
Here is a list of things that I felt was important to take to the hospital with me for my birthing experience:
Sanitary pads. I bled a lot right away after giving birth and for 42 days straight following it.
Toiletries: toothbrush, tooth paste, hairbrush, shampoo, body soap, deodorant, body lotion and lip balm.
Comfortable clothing for me to go home in plus spare underwear during my stay.
A few outfits for baby, one for them to go home with and a couple more in the case that I might have to stay longer than predicted at the hospital.
Mittens for baby to help them avoid scratching themselves.
Nappies for baby.
Baby diaper wipes.
Dummies for baby.
Money for parking, extra food and drinks.
Mobile phone and its charger
Health insurance card
Car seat for baby
Birth plan paperwork
My overall experience with giving birth at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital was phenomenal. Every single member of staff was super caring, professional and attentive. They provided me freely with well cooked, diverse plus lovely meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and drinks. It certainly lived up to its reputation and really exceeded my expectations throughout the entire process between before active labour and my after care. The environment even looked like an art gallery, clean and with paintings plus sculptures everywhere. I had such a great experience there that I also gave birth to my second child there two years later and would recommend it to anyone who has the choice of doing so.
It wasn’t until we returned home from the hospital with our baby that difficulties began. In another post I will outline what some of these were as well as how I coped plus overcame them.
How was your or your partner's experience with giving birth and announcing the pregnancy to your families? Comment your answer below, I'd love to read your stories!