Archive for April, 2006


April 29, 2006


Sam was born on Thursday 27th April at 22.05 EST (Friday 28th 03.05 GMT) at Piedmont Hospital, weighing 7lb 9.3oz.

From start to finish the labour was a pretty furious mere five hours and we barely had time to blink. No doubt I’ll be writing a LJ entry containing far too much information when I get a chance later.

I’m very happy to say that I had my wish of having a totally natural vaginal delivery with no epidural or other painkillers, though, even if I had decided I wanted anything the birth was so quick I don’t think I would have had time to get anything anyway! My doctor and the delivery nurses were quite impressed.

Bill was most amazing during the birth and I really don’t believe I could have asked any more of him. We’re still talking and he did a grand job of keeping me as focused and calm as he could.

I was discharged from hospital this morning and am very glad to be back at our home now where I have had no trouble catching up on naps between feedings and am beginning to feel more refreshed.

Sam is absolutely beautiful and is currently fed and curled up in Daddy’s arms on the sofa. Daddy is exhausted and has fallen asleep with a great grin on his face.

April 27, 2006

5 hour labour

I’d spent the afternoon putting the finishing touches on Sam’s mobile and nursery and finally got around to posting pictures on my LiveJournal and getting up to date with entries about the baby shower.

It was now four thirty and Thursday was my yoga night. I was deliberating whether or not to go that evening as I was so close to my due date and

phoned mum

web cam

dad on yahoo!

called Bill

called Bill again

Bill arrived home

called Dr Johnston, “five minutes apart regularly for an hour” decided that despite this advice we should go in, this had all happened so quickly and I’d gone from 20 minutes to 6
I never did get contractions every five minutes for an hour.

Could talk through contractions. Felt disconnected from them. Head was functioning separately from bottom half. Excruciating pain but head was quite calm and disengaged.

yogurt watermelon

clean knickers, changed clothes, clean handkerchief, brushed teeth

waterproof seat

weak, very tired

drive to hospital seemed to be non stop contractions
worried about distracting Bill from driving

at Piedmont got confused by building work, weren’t sure where to go. told Bill to just park, didn’t care.

stumbled through cp having contractions, stopping and grabbing onto Bill or walls

passersby found me a wheelchair, sped our way to l&d

nurses desk, handed forms over, Bill given more to fill in

shortly taken to a room and told to strip off and put on gown

nurse Patricia asked what my birth plan was? natural? epidural? I replied natural and see how it goes. wanted natural birth without intervention but was prepared for the unexpected as long as it meant a healthy baby

iv, hooked up to baby monitor, strap around my waist

7cm dilated “she’s staying”

very thirsty, very sleepy between contractions

ended up flat on back unable to move contractions were so quick, no respite between them. baby monitor around my waist stopped me changing positions

sharp cramping pain in low abdomen would subside to a more bearable grumble, but would never leave

could hear babies heartbeat which was comforting between contractions, but alarming otherwise as it kept going all over the place

kept reaching for bar to hold behind me but there wasn’t one, frustrating, clutched sidebars awkwardly

tried to find something to focus on, but

tried to relax through contractions and not tense up, breathing was hard because pain was so sharp I found it difficult to take long deep breaths as I’d get jolted out of rhythm. breathing from chest not tummy seemed to help, though occasionally hubby had to remind me to breathe at all.

had started moaning on contraction when Bill had come home more as a signal for him that I was having one, then it become more of an aid and device to get through them.

water, very thirsty

wanted a natural birth but really was beginning to wonder if I could stand this pain. I was assuming that for a first birth I would be looking at 11+ hours of labour. I’d only been having contractions for less than 3 hours, was thinking this was going to continue for many more and was quite worried. However Dr Johnston arrived and checked me out…10cm and ready to push! Blimey

bottom of bed removed

Contractions subsided and disappeared. I began to get some relief, though constant pain above each leg didn’t shift.

DJ asked if I felt any urge to push, or pressure in my bottom? no on both counts

Although had been feeling something liquid running from between legs my water had yet to break. Dr Johnston broke the membrane and the amniotic fluid flooded out. Immediately I felt the pressure in my bottom and wanted to push very badly.

Weren’t ready yet. Switched breathing to focusing on my head. focused on hubby and short breaths to distract from desire to push. in my mind i was using sound “ahhh”

push with contractions, problem was i could barely feel them anymore! nothing. could tell when i was having one because of the baby monitor still strapped around me and a stronger desire to push.

“push out of your bottom”

took me a few attempts to get the hang of it

nurse still filling in paperwork between pushes. running over to fill in forms then racing back to hold a leg and to coach for the push. hubs had other leg

ask hubs for water between attempts

baby very low, monitor repositioned to capture heartbeat as he moved down

pushed for an hour

tried to keep face relaxed while pushing, curl up, legs up,

was most helpful when nurse counted to keep the push going

stirrups so didn’t have to hoist legs up every time

could feel baby almost there, ring (not ring of fire)

dj started massaging perineum

liquid lubrication down there felt good, better to push through

hand down to feel head strengthened resolve


nursery staff called in, room filled with people. until then it had been just P, dj and hubs

was pushing felt sharp pain, wanted to know what was happening down there, twisted on bed in reflex to feeling and babies head was out!

another push for the rest of him

baby was born – 22:05 27th April. 5 hours after first contraction

no noise, but it didn’t even occur to me to worry, afterwards hubs admitted that he had been concerned, but I was just so relieved he was born that I didn’t think. suctioned and he cried.

“oh my goodness”

put on my tummy, wax cheese on my hands

felt relieved and disconnected.

delivered placenta – Dr J showed it to us , smooth on one side, raw and bloody on the other

blue sheets, stitched up, seemed to take forever

baby resting on my tummy. advice – don’t be nice and let husband hold baby at this point…baby is best pain relief ever! As soon as hubby took him I became very aware of the doctor’s activity in my nether region. Took baby back, and was distracted again.

Nurse Wendy came in to clean and weigh baby. Was getting quite aggravated with her, she was sooo slow. Had been told to bf baby within an hour of birth. DJ had said to bf then the nurse would see to him, but nurse took him before I could and I had to lie there and watch the clock as she pottered around at a snail’s pace. Really didn’t care if baby was clean or not, wanted him with me. Was feeling upset that she was washing him and messing with his hair and I was stuck in the bed.

Left the camera in the car! Had happened so quickly our priority was to get to the ward, had expected Bill to be able to get stuff later. Was so fast that he never had time to go, no doubt he’d have missed the birth if he had.

Told her that I wanted him skin to skin for first bf. Got even more irritated that when she finally finished she left him dressed and in his plastic tub. Hubby had to undress and hand him to me so I could hug and attempt a bf. Once in my arms I felt better and I managed to nurse him.

Hello Sam. Do you look like a Sam? Hope you’ll grow into your name.

Hubs and I left alone in the room for a couple of hours to recover before moving to different room. Hubs and I still talking. He did a grand job, couldn’t have hoped for a better hubby, or birth partner.

comedy double act. assumed I had epidural. left me sat on loo waiting to pee.

So hungry, everywhere was closed. Nurse brought me only thing she could find…a turkey sandwich. Normally wouldn’t have touched turkey, but was so famished I gobbled it up.

Mary’s hard work unveiled

April 27, 2006

So, with the pocket-curtain complete, the rest of the curtains up, the skirting painted, the cot and changing table in position and new light installed I declare Sam’s room complete and can now unveil Mary’s work in all its glory, I think you’ll agree it’s pretty amazing:

Just by the elephant’s trunk Mary has written “Happy Birthday Sammy! Love Aunt Mary :)”

We found this bug light fixture at Ikea. The spotlights are great because we can point them away from the cot and out of Sam’s eyes, while spotlighting the changing area and highlighting the murals on the walls.

And this rug was a bit of a find too, with its paw prints and matching green stripes it really pulls the room together,

Busy crafty Kay

April 27, 2006

I also managed to finish the curtain for in front of Sam’s closet this week. This turned out to be harder than expected because of course the sewing machine decided to stop playing nicely and something is going on which makes the bottom mechanism catch the fabric and stop pulling it through the machine. I was determined to finish this before Sam arrives though so I ploughed on regardless. Hence, the pocket stitching isn’t as great as I would normally like, but hey, it’s up and done and I can relax now!

I made a sun pocket in the top corner and the froggy toy Melly sent Sam from Australia now resides over the room from this vantage point. The zebra is a gift from the shower on Sunday and they’ve become great mates.

Each pocket has a felt animal appliqued onto it. In retrospect I should probably have sewn these on nearer the top of each pocket as they are hard to see when the pockets are full. Oh well.

Not a great pic, sorry, but I think the lion is my favourite.

A mobile for Sam

April 27, 2006

You probably know what I think about baby blue pastels by now. Babies are supposed to like contrast and strong colours that stimulate them, not insipid chalky colours. I want funky and bright!

I’m also a cheapskate and hate paying full price for stuff when I can make it myself.

This is what happened when I decided I wanted to make Sam a more personal mobile for above his cot rather than just buy one readymade from a shop:

As I still wanted the mobile to be musical and rotate, after seeing my doctor on Monday I went to a local consignment shop and found a pretty bland looking bunny mobile for $12 which sings a lullaby when wound up.

Those poor cutesy bunnies with their oh so pretty pretty flowers didn’t last too long back at my house. I’m afraid they got stripped from the mobile and discarded. Bye bye bunnies!

And hello Tiger, Elephant, Zebra and Lion! Little felt animals that I lovingly made myself.

There, much better!

Now I just have to hope Sam likes it.

April Shower

April 27, 2006

I had a wonderful afternoon on Sunday. Sam being shy meant that Bill and I did make it to the “Sammy Shower” Mary and her sister-in-law had arranged for us. That night I’d dreamt that I’d gone into labour and we weren’t able to attend. I was so happy and relieved when I woke up to find him still cozy in my tummy.

Susan and her husband were very kind and opened up her gorgeous house in Virginia Highlands for the get together. It was a little bit like being in a home style magazine and every room was a picture, literally, as Mary had been at work painting many of the rooms with all sorts of crazy murals and faux effects. I think Mum would have found the place to be pretty amazing. Bill, slightly embarrassed, even showed me the mural on the landing he had done several years ago.

Outside on the patio the Vaughan’s three dogs hung out by the swimming pool, among them the dognapped Lil’ Kim, now in witness protection and known as Lola.

It was a pretty, perfect place to hold a baby shower, and it was a good job there was plenty of room as I’d no idea so many people would come out to wish Sam well and give him so many lovely things.

When Bill and I arrived he was just beginning to wonder if he’d remembered where he was going when we spotted Hank’s mom on the pavement gingerly carrying in what turned out to be a rather delicious homemade cake with cream cheese frosting and iced with lots of baby motifs.

We were the first to arrive, and slightly early as we’d wanted to make sure of getting a close car parking spot, so had to hang out in a side room while preparations buzzed on around us. When we were allowed to enter the main room we were confronted with a washing line hanging from the ceiling and adorned with a plethora of cute baby gifts from the Leslie’s and Vaughan’s. A lovely surprise and such a sweet idea.

Soon lots of people started arriving and it was so great to see everyone. I was amazed as the corner of the room turned into a giant mountain of presents for Sam, I was quite overwhelmed. I found the concept of a baby shower a little weird, and still feel a little embarrassed by all the presents and attention…baby showers aren’t a common thing in the UK, but it’s such a lovely event to celebrate an impending arrival.

After socialising for a while it was time to attack and unwrap all the thoughtful gifts. Bill and I took it in turns to explore the mysteries within each bag and were delighted to receive so many wonderful things. Sam was truly spoilt.

Among many other lovely items (including a number of books about a rabbit called Sam) we received an enormous squishy monkey from Richard and Rachel. I’m not sure Sam is going to get to play with him as I fell in love with him immediately and I might have to keep him for myself! Hee hee.

Sam got several toys (including a ZEBra) and lots of clothes, blankets, cot sheets and burp pads. I don’t think I could stop grinning all that afternoon.

A couple of gifts were much appreciated, though I’d rather not think about the use of them quite yet!… Rick arrived hauling a “Diaper Champ” nappy bin for the nursery to try to keep the stink of dirty nappies at bay, while another gift parcel of nursery health and grooming essentials contained one of those nasal aspirators with which to suck gunk out of baby’s nose! Yuck!

From Michelle we got a “My Brest Friend” wrap around support pillow for use when breastfeeding. Was really keen to get one of those as I’d heard so much about them and the ladies at the lactation centre really recommended that particular brand over the “Boppy”. Supposed to make feeding the sproglet much more comfortable and encourage a good position for latching on. Hoorah!

Bill was particularly happy to receive a Baby Bjorn sling from his brother and his kids. He’s looking forward to wearing that to carry Sam around the house and sitting at the computer with his son close to him. I think that’s also going to invaluable when we go to visit Mum and Dad in England during the summer.

I had a really great afternoon, for the first time in a few days I wasn’t feeling sore at all and could move around and talk to lots of people. It was great to get dressed up, out of the house and socialise. All the nice gifts were really just icing (but no, that doesn’t mean you can have them back!)

I have no idea how to thank everyone properly, especially Susan and Mary for organising the party and being so lovely.


Lucky Sam

April 25, 2006

Yesterday Sam received a present in the mail. The attached card read:

To Sammy Allen
From Sonny King
I’m proud to contribute to Sammy Allen’s childhood photos that he’ll never want anyone to see! Love the ears!

Nine Months

April 24, 2006

Bill and I went to see my OB GYN again this morning. Usual story, all is well in the womb and Sam is quite happy. The only shock came when I appear to have put on 5lbs in one week, though this was only commented on by my nurse who did a double take. Ugh, I hope that’s all water retention!

Dr Johnston did another internal exam to see how I’m doing and I’ve dilated another half a centimetre, (that’s 3.5 now) and am 70% effaced. She even commented that my water should break soon as she could feel it bulging….yikes! (sorry, TMI again?!) I’m totally ready to pop. Come on Sammy!

She also brought up the subject of induction but I really would rather avoid using pitocin (it makes contractions stronger and more painful, and it generally ends up being paired with an epidural) and as I seem to be making good progress so far we decided to wait a little longer and see what happens this week.

I was actually quite hopeful this afternoon as I when I got home I really started to feel rough and was experiencing some quite painful contractions. Pain was spreading from my back and my whole tummy was feeling crampy. I decided to try to get some rest while it felt bearable in case I was in for the long haul and eventually fell asleep, however when I woke up I was right as rain again. Bah!

Tonight, when Bill gets home, we are going to go for a long walk I think! I’ve been told there are also some pressure points on the body that can help to get labour started when rubbed too.

We took a couple of photos of me yesterday for Sam’s baby book so he can see what a porker he turned his mum into. Nothing I wear at the moment fits properly and at nine months pregnant, I’ve practically had to give up being modest about my poor exposed belly.

Happy St George’s Day

April 23, 2006

Well, Sam is still being shy and hasn’t chosen to make his entry to the world on this prestigious day. Does he not know he’s a Brit and should be proud of it? Silly boy.

Actually, I am a failure and didn’t fly the flag yesterday. We have the Devon flag merrily flapping in the breeze above our house at the moment and switching them out is far too much of a pain in the arse. Sorry pater.

Light at the end of the ice box

April 21, 2006

I actually got home from yoga yesterday to find Bill cursing and stuck in the kitchen, wedged behind the new fridge. He’d somehow managed to manoeuver both fridge-freezers all on his own and was diligently working to reconnect the water line. Very impressive.

Then on Friday after the shower we actually made it home at a normal time from the office and just as we were eating our tea the delivery men came by unannounced to take away the old fridge. Hoorah!

They apologised profusely and wanted to know who I’d spoken to on the phone as they weren’t very impressed with her either. They said they had explained the situation to their office and had been willing to sort it out sooner if this lady had actually done her job and passed on the message.

So, I am now relieved to say that we appear to have a working fridge and that the other one has been removed. Even better, the new fridge came with a manual so we now know how to operate it! Yay! We also discovered an egg box inside the fridge, didn’t get one of those with the old one either.