waiting for a miracle

Introducing Jeremiah

Introducing Jeremiah

By now I am sure you would have seen that we have welcomed into this world our beautiful baby boy Jeremiah with our announcement video. So now I can tell you how this whirlwind happened. (I will upload another post about the story behind his names when I get a chance to write it.)

For those who haven’t seen our little video, here it is: https://youtu.be/xWsFotPImGk

Also – this is a long post – it was originally going to be a few different ones but I haven’t had the chance to get it all up (funny that, a mum of a newborn with no time… haha).  So I have combined them all.

Birth and Jeremiah’s First Week

On Friday the 14th October I finished up work so that I could have just over 2 weeks before bub was due. I had a very emotional last day at work as a childless adult – the next time I return I will finally be a mother to a baby on earth! And I have never not worked since I was 14 and nine months (the earliest legal age I could start work back when I was a teenager at school. From then I usually held at least one job at a time – one year I worked 6 different jobs all at once, I was very busy juggling rosters!). So not working a formal job is something I just don’t know how to do yet – yay! Being a mother will be a full-time job, I know!

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The morning of my last day at work – and last day being pregnant!

All of my friends and colleagues were so incredible. They organised a surprise afternoon tea with an incredible display of yummy food. And oh my goodness! More presents than I have ever seen in my life! I was so moved, but determined not to cry, or I would never stop!

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Wow – amazing spread! And so blessed with all of those baby items!

So that afternoon I headed off with my car packed high with presents (literally! – I had to get help to bring it all home!). I headed straight from work to my weekly doctor appointment with my amazing GP. She checked me out and all was good. She checked the position of the baby and she was a little surprised. She said that his head was engaged even further. I asked what she meant and she explained that usually you can feel the whole head of the baby in the pelvis. She said that she couldn’t feel the top of his head anymore. That explains all of the downward pressure I had been feeling. I asked if that meant I was about to go into labour and she explained that not necessarily, that the baby is just getting closer and could still stay this way for a while, but that yes labour was approaching us.

I finally got home at around 6pm. We unloaded my car and had a bit or a breather at home… I was finally on leave. It just didn’t seem real! So we hung out with the dogs, and did a few general things around home – cleaning, in preparation for people coming over on the Sunday for a BBQ. Well, I did lots of watching because I was so pooped! And Scott did lots of mowing etc outside and stuff inside.

We eventually got to bed, after dinner, around 11pm. I woke up for one of my regular toilet trips (oh the joys of pregnancy) a bit before 12pm. While I was there I got a little embarrassed at myself, I was becoming incontinent… (well that’s what I thought!)… then when I wiped I noticed a light pink tinge (sorry if that is a bit tmi (too much information) but in the nature of sharing openly I may as well continue to tell it like it is – especially for those yet to have a baby)… I tried not to panic, but I know bleeding in pregnancy isn’t usually a good thing. And then there was more incontinence… hmmmm….. I thought it couldn’t be my waters…. Surely not… I’m only 37 weeks and 2 days…. Nope, there it came again and again and again…. I thought waters breaking would be just a light trickle because the movies always exaggerate things (the gush out there). Okay, this must be it… So I called out to Scott… nothing…. I call out again…. Nothing… so then I yell out “Scott! I think my waters have broken!” A very sleepy voice replies, “huh?….” So I repeated it…. Nothing…. He’d fallen back asleep…. (I would have giggled so hard if it weren’t for the seriousness of needing him up)… So I call out again and tell him my waters have broken, and he was up like a flash! We remembered from classes and all of the reading that waters breaking doesn’t mean labour is coming straight away but we were told to just call the hospital when it happened, if it happened – many have contractions first.

So Scott called the hospital to let them know what was going on. The midwife/nurse said to put a pad on and try get some sleep and call back in an hour to see if the pad was wet or not. Well, sorry for the gross information, but it was full a lot sooner than an hour! But anyway we called back in an hour and told them what was going on. The nurse confirmed it would be my waters and asked to talk to me. The nurse said that I could wait at home until my contractions came on and were regular or I could come in straight away. I decided I would rather wait at home in the comfort of my bed, with my dogs and then come in when I needed to. She agreed and wished me all the best.

About ten minutes later our home phone rang… at 2.50am – who is ringing us?! Scott grabbed the phone and it was the hospital. The midwife said that on review of my file and due to the high risk pregnancy they want me to come in straight away for observation. Ugh, really? I was looking forward to my bed and hanging with the dogs… okay, change of plans.

Photos: Last photos with the dogs as a pregnant mum 🙂

So we got a few last minute things packed, toileted our dogs and spent some time with them… I got one last photo with Zazu and Sophie before we went to the hospital. We arrived at the hospital around 4.30am. Parking was a breeze! If you ever go into labour, in the middle of the night is a great time! There’s also no traffic, we got to the hospital in record time!

Photos: time we arrived at the hospital, buzzing to get in at the hospital, reaching the maternity ward, the little baby beds in the hallway on our way to our room.

As soon as we got there the midwife got me on the bed, and into a hospital gown. She hooked me up to the monitors so they could monitor the contractions and the baby. A man came in to put the needle in my arm. I have had many people sticking all sorts of needles in to me… and this man was incredible! I didn’t even feel it go in! Now that is an absolute first!

The birthing room, Scott sleeping, more of the room, my arm ready to be hooked up.

The midwife returned and said that she had spoken to my obstetrician and he wanted me started on antibiotics via drip and to be induced straight away. Due to the high risk, my baby had to be born within 24 hours of my waters breaking and since my contractions hadn’t started yet then they needed to start them. So this was all done pretty quickly. By 5am/5.30am I was in full labour (not the pre-labour that many people class as labour but I was in actual labour). And shortly after there was a swap over of staff and I got a new midwife.

I was determined to get through labour without any drugs that can be passed on to the baby. I only wanted gas if I really needed it. I was determined to use my deep breathing and calm thinking to get through it all. And I was doing so well. Full on labour was tough, and the contractions were getting closer and closer. Poor Scott – he has offered his hand for me to grab hold of for each contraction. I don’t know how I didn’t injure him – but he took it so was and was the best support anyone could ever ask for. By 10am I was getting contractions every 1 and a half minutes to 2 minutes. It was very full on. I tried the gas, and it was harder to use than just breathing through them. So I decided not to bother with the gas since it didn’t actually relieve any of the pain.

Photos: Scott and me during labour.

This went on until 3pm. I had been in full on labour for about 10 hours with no pain relief (well a few tries of the gas but like I said, that did nothing). Yes, that’s right, full blown labour with contractions averaging every 2 minutes (some at 3 min some at 1 min). I can’t describe how full on this was. There wasn’t a lot of recovery time in between each contraction and there wasn’t that gradual build up, it was just full on. From other ladies that I know who were also induced, their contractions also started straight away and generally had their babies within 3 hours.

My body was knackered and I was only 4cm dilated. The internal examinations were worse than the labour itself – that’s telling you something! It was horrible and I never ever want another of these in my life after having 3 during labour. Surely with this day and age of technology, there has to be another way of measuring dilation without someone shoving their fingers/hands into a place with such force that it is close to assault. Anyway, enough said about that one!

I asked the midwife to ask my obstetrician about a C-section because he had mentioned that it could be a possibility depending on how my labour went (I think he wanted me to keep my mind open because I really wanted to do it all naturally). I didn’t want one but my body was finished and it wasn’t dilating quick enough. I didn’t want to give up (and I wasn’t) but I also didn’t want this boy to become distressed either. I felt like something wasn’t right and I wanted his opinion – that’s why he is paid the big dollars. She was reluctant to call my obstetrician but we insisted that we wanted his advice and he needed to at least be kept up to date with where I was at. So eventually she agreed.

The midwife called my obstetrician and came back to me very quickly. She said that he wanted me in straight away for an emergency C-section. By 3.15 I was being prepped to go in. It was all so sudden and wasn’t something I had originally wanted but I knew my body wasn’t coping and I just felt like something was wrong. I became so emotional looking at the hospital basinet in the corner – soon our baby would be in there. I had been looking at that through all of the contractions and picturing our boy in there as I gripped Scott’s hands.

Photos: last photo of my belly – between the early contractions, Scott asleep again, Contraction counter on my phone, Scott dressed for theater and Jen being wheeled in to the operating room still having contractions.

So in I went by 3.30pm to theatre. By this stage I must admit, I was a bit of a blubbering mess. The emotions, the contractions (still happening) and the shock were all hitting me at once. I felt so emotional – I didn’t want to fail our kid by having surgery because then the recovery will be longer, but this was what was needed. I was also emotional because I was incredibly scared. Terrified. Absolutely terrified of a C-section and the epidural that goes with it. To be awake during the surgery. This was everything I never wanted. But it was needed…. Breathe, Jenni, breathe!!!! I was crying too because we were about to welcome our miracle… I had only just started to get my head around being pregnant…. And I was also scared because Scott wasn’t with me at this stage.

They took me in to the operating room. So many faces… so many people… I think at least 8-10 people, and none of them were Scott. The surgical tools were being sorted, so many silver objects and cutting tools… and the green cloths under the tools… And then shakes set in, I couldn’t stop shaking…. Full on shaking that would last the entire time and a fair while after the surgery.

They got me up on the bed, and asked me to sit forwards… lean forwards more, and more, and more… this blubbering mess just wanted to hold her husband’s hand for the most scariest moment of her life. They finally went and got Scott to come hold my hand (usually they said they don’t get the partner in because they often go all faint, haha, not my man).

So Scott held my hand and tried to help calm me down so I could stop shaking. And just like that I started to get a really weird sensation down my left side of my body… and then both sides went all numb as they lowered me to a lying down position. People were poking and prodding me to see when I could stop feeling them. The catheda went in (now that was a weird thing I hope I never need again!) and then shortly after I could only feel people touching me but not at the same time, like a numb feeling. It was the weirdest feeling and I was still terrified. The blue curtain was up so that we couldn’t see what was happening and Scott was holding my right hand at my head and the anaesthetist was holding my left hand. And tears were streaming down my face like a blubbering baby – speaking of which, they had already started cutting in to me and pulling our little man out.

Turned out that his head was in the wrong position for delivery and the umbilical cord was wrapped around his foot/ankle. My obstetrician said it was a good thing I knew my body and asked about the surgery because he said I would have laboured on for many more hours (because I wasn’t dilating enough fast enough) with possible forceps and I would have ended up with this surgery much later on anyway due to those two things. So my message from this is always trust your body. Your body will tell you what to do.

The feeling of the C-section was so weird and yukky. Hated the pressure that I could feel. It was so so so strange…. And then they said, ‘who has the camera?” Scott said he did, and they asked if he was ready and he said yes, and down came that blue curtain so that he could take photos of the birth of our son…. And I lay there, waiting… is he going to come out alive… will we finally get our miracle…

And there was that beautiful first cry…. Relief swept over me… and then they took our son over to the light to get the umbilical cord blood pumped through so that Scott could cut it. I looked to my right as this was happening… I kept asking “is he alive? Is he breathing?” And then they brought him over to me and placed Jeremiah on my chest…. All I remember saying is “he’s alive, he’s alive, he’s alive. Scott, he’s alive!”

Photos: Jeremiah coming out of my tummy – and that beautiful first cry.

Jeremiah was on my chest and he was so quiet, just peaceful and calm. And my eyes were crying even more… he’s really here… and his hair was light and sooooo wavy! I had tubes and things attached to me everywhere. Scott was holding Jeremiah to my chest and I just remember thinking how heavy Jeremiah was… how did that weight fit in my belly?! And all I could do (I was hooked up to so many things) was stroke Jeremiah’s head with my index finger. His skin was the most beautiful I had ever felt. He was perfect… even with all that weird stuff on him, he was perfect. I had always wondered if I would be like “yuk, get him off me that is yukky all that blood and stuff.” But it was nothing like that at all. It was surreal and I was instantly in love… and a mother. I could only see one eye and his nose due to how high he was on my chest. And while he was there my tummy was being pushed and jabbed as they fixed me up inside and stitched me up. Scott looked at me and said, “so name? Are we going with what we had picked?” and I replied “yes, but I want to add that other name too.” He said something like, “I don’t want Jeremiah to have two middle names” (Scott has two middle names and I think he’s only wanted one). I replied something like, “babe, I just went through labour AND a C-section, are you really going to say no to me now??” and he replied, “okay, two middle names it is!”

Scott cutting the cord and then hanging with his son!!! 🙂

First skin-to-skin contact with our son!

Photos: Scott trying to distract me while I am being stitched up (that felt so weird) and also my first cuddles with Jeremiah – you can really see how exhausted I am with those dark circles under my eyes!

Then it was time for both of my boys to go upstairs, for Jeremiah to be weighed etc and to wait for me up on the maternity ward. I didn’t want either of them to leave, but I had to be in recovery and monitored for about 45min to an hour before I could go be with them. I watched the clock tick and it felt more like an eternity.

So the details are:

  • Jeremiah was born at 4.16pm on Saturday the 15th October 2016.
  • He weighed 3.2kg and was 50cm long.
  • His hair was light blonde/brown and he has beautiful blue eyes.

Photos: The boys – Scott with Jeremiah while all of the measurements are recorded.

In recovery I still couldn’t stop shaking. I remember reading about the post birth shakes that you can get. Basically your body has worked so hard and it just shakes. And I was also surviving on less than an hour’s sleep since Thursday night and it was now about 5.30pm. The people in the recovery were lovely and we all got chatting. They made me feel a lot better.

Photos: Scott and Jeremiah hanging out at the special care nursery.

And finally it was time to go meet my little boy again. I was wheeled to the lift in the foyer. A man was there with his son and some flowers, they were talking about the boy seeing his mum and new baby. And the little boy kept looking at me weird, being in a hospital bed would have been confronting for the poor kid. I managed a ‘congratulations’ and a smile. The little boy smiled back… and I thought, “wow, I’m about to meet my little boy.”

Up in the lift we went and through the hospital corridor… it felt like we were travelling so fast that my tummy was churning… and then I saw them at a glance… in the nursery, Scott holding Jeremiah… my heart melted…. We arrived at my room and they said goodbye as a midwife arrived… and then… they walked through the door… Scott and our little boy! I welled up with tears!

Photos: Meeting Jeremiah for the first time, our precious first moments as a little family.

Scott came over to me and asked if I wanted to hold our man! Yes yes yes! But with help because I still had no feeling in my body from the chest down. Scott placed Jeremiah on me and the tears came. What a truly special moment. In that moment the shakes went away and we held our son together. And Jeremiah was just perfect. Wow… so so so perfect! We took a few photos.

Meeting our son, first real cuddles and that tiny hand holding my finger.

Then the midwife came and said time to unwrap Jeremiah and give him a feed. Yay! I was so excited and so glad that I had done as much reading on this and attended the breastfeeding class. I wanted to do baby led attachment. But as I was taking Jeremiah the midwife took him off of me and said she would do it. I said that I would like to have a go first and her reply was, “no, you don’t know what you are doing and neither does your baby. I know what I am doing.” What the?! I was in disbelief and I wanted to snatch my baby back off of her and tell her to leave us alone but I couldn’t yet move… stupid epidural! So she took him, pushed open his mouth, grabbed my boob with her hand and shoved it into his mouth… well what do you expect happened? What would you do if someone forced your mouth open and shoved something in your mouth? Jeremiah cried. That’s what happened. She kept shoving that poor little head. And finally he went on enough for her to stop and then he unlatched again. I politely said again that I will do it myself. And finally she backed off because her method wasn’t working. I swapped sides (a dog training technique there, don’t keep forcing something that isn’t working) and gently put his head near my left boob. And what do you know? He latched himself on straight away… we don’t know what we are doing hey?! The midwife seemed surprised. I was so relieved when she said she had to go get something.

Photos: Jeremiah and me time 🙂

So everyone wanted to know the details for our precious boy. He came in at 37 weeks and 3 days by the time he was born. He weighed 3.2kg (the average weight for a baby at 39/40 weeks gestation – so he was a big baby for his gestation even though he was so tiny), and he was 50cm long. And everything about him is just perfect. He isn’t technically classed as premmie but he also is, if that makes any sense at all… (I realise I just repeated myself but I’m too tired to change it!)

His name is Jeremiah David Nicholas. Yes I got my way with two middle names. And his nickname is JD. That’s his initials. He also has Jem as a nickname. So if you see me refer to JD or Jem, that is our baby. I will share the story behind his name in another post because there really is quite a special story to his name – each of his names.

Photos: Meeting Jeremiah in our room and our first special moments together.

That first night in the hospital, Jeremiah had to go into the special care nursery for observations while I recovered from the surgery. And Scott got to go home, look after the dogs and grab a few other things for the rest of the week that we would spend in hospital (and work clothes as Scott would be going to work).

Photos: Scott, JD and me; our awesome doctor Dr Matthias; and Jeremiah (JD)

That night I got to watch JD sleep beside my bed in his hospital bassinet until 9.30pm when the midwife came to take him away to the special care nursery for the night. The pain meds were great at disguising the pain. The people in theatre said the first night would be fine and the meds would stop around 8am the following morning.

Jeremiah came back for a middle of the night feed and then he was taken back to the nursery. I got as much sleep as I could that night – though people kept coming in to check vitals. I couldn’t wait for JD to come back in the morning. It was 8 am and he still hadn’t come back in. But breakfast was delivered – a liquid one until I passed my first bit of wind. And all I felt like was real food. Oh well, liquids were better than nothing. I did get a sneaky nit of toast that one of the midwives said I could eat. Eventually the cqatheda came out (I think I preferred it going in – going out wasn’t much better). And finally at long last my little boy was wheeled in to me for a feed and a cuddle. It was magical seeing him come in. His sweet little face. He had a good feed and then went back to sleep. It was so amazing.

I was left in bed for a while and then eventually the pain med drip came out, but the anti-biotics were still being administered via drip so that needle couldn’t come out yet. The nurses wanted to get me up to shower and use the loo, but one thing here and there for them (other patients) meant that I didn’t get to get up until Scott arrived around 12pm. And by this stage my pain meds had worn off. They tried to get me up and the pain was excruciating. I thought labour was hard, I thought having a perforated bowel was bad (in 2015), but this was beyond all of those. We managed to make it to the bathroom which was a few steps away and then the pain set in too bad to even sit on the loo – why are hospital loos so low?! Why not make them higher, most people in hospitals aren’t there because they feel fine and dandy. Help was called to get me back to my bed. And the midwives decided that I could have some pain relief! At last!

After about 15 minutes the meds had taken effect so that I could make it to the bathroom and back so fast before it was too bad to move again. Thanks to my wonderful Scott for taking me there. And let me just say, that post birth, there is absolutely no dignity. And if your partner hasn’t seen you at your worst, well they will certainly see you there during labour, during birth and post birth too. At least the IVF process works you up to this gradually.

And back in bed, where I would be stuck for another day or two. It melted my heart to see Scott changing Jeremiah’s nappies, cuddling him and caring for him. But it also broke my heart at the same time to be unable to do any of these things for him. One things I could do was breastfeed JD and give him skin-to-skin contact which was beautiful. One lovely midwife who also loves dogs as much as I do asked if I would like to be moved to a room with city views. Yes please! So she said we would be moved soon.

We decided that while I was stuck in bed and while JD was coping so well – he was pretty chilled out – we would invite immediate family (who had been immunised) to come visit in hospital that day if they wanted to come. So my parents came from 2-4pm during the visiting hours and brought us a nice supply of food.

Photos: Jen’s parents meeting their grandson!

Later that day my sisters and their families came to visit. Jeremiah coped so well during all of the visiting hours which ended around 8pm that night. And then the unsettled baby began. I was still unable to get up without a lot of assistance from Scott. And JD was having regular feeds, and later we would discover he really wasn’t getting enough – even though they don’t need much. We had a terrible night – with little to no sleep and a very unsettled baby.

Photos: Jen’s sisters and their families meeting Jeremiah.

Scott stayed with us on Monday but had to head home for a few hours to pick up some more work clothes for the week. While he was gone I couldn’t pick up JD yet so the nurses and midwives had to help. He slept most of the day again and had lots of feeds from me. My parents came to visit him again during visiting hours which was nice of them. That night was another terrible one, with little to no sleep – but I was able to get up and look after him now. My surgery would pain was under control now. So I spent most of Monday night trying desperately to settle JD.

Scott went to work on Tuesday and my mum came to be with me in hospital to help me care for JD. Thankfully my movement was becoming much better. I was able to do most things myself but it was nice to have mum visit and she enjoyed it too. JD slept most of the day between feeds from me. After seeing us, Mum went to go look after our dogs for the rest of our hospital stay.

Photos: Mum visiting, Jeremiah having his hearing test done (he passed), being checked out by the midwife, lying in the sun to help get rid of his jaundice, and general baby spam photos of a gorgeous newborn!

And again, that night was terrible. Lots of crying from JD and me. I was desperately trying to feed him and settle him and nothing was working. So it was a long night. I kept telling Jeremiah that I love him. That he is such a blessing. And I thanked God for this beautiful child, for the sleepless nights we were having with this miracle. My milk hadn’t come in yet but the tears sure had. My nipples were so raw and so sore from trying to feed JD.

On Wednesday Scott went to work again and my oldest sister Karina came to be with me to help me with the lifting etc. By then my nipples were bleeding and painful. And before she got there I had been in many tears, trying to feed my baby, who would latch and drink away, as I clenched my teeth in pain, and then he would scream because he was still hungry. And my milk still hadn’t come in yet. I was desperately trying to feed JD. Out of desperation I asked one of the midwives if I should top up JD with some formula and it was almost like she was relieved that I had asked. I later found out that midwives are technically not supposed to bring it up, so the mother/father has to ask for it. She very quickly returned with a top up feed of formula for JD. Instant relief – this kid drank like he hadn’t been fed in days (probably because he really hadn’t). As soon as the milk was gone he was a passed out, happy, milk-drunk baby. At last – the reason for his crying was because he was starving. I was happy that he was settled and relaxed, but I was in tears for giving him formula.

My sister was such a big help with giving me advice with the feeding and telling me that putting his needs first above my pride was the most important thing. And of course loved hanging with her newest nephew. Scott grabbed some formula on the way back to the hospital after work. That night was so different to the ones before.

More baby spam! Including his first bath, hanging with his parents and Aunty.

On Thursday Karina came back to help while Scott was at work. I was in so much pain trying to feed still, plus my back had become a major issue. It had become very painful on Wednesday but by the Thursday it was spasming. Badly, to the point where I would collapse when it spasmed. This meant that I couldn’t lift up Jeremiah anymore. While she was out steralising some bottles for my expressed milk, I managed to get out of bed so that I could go look at my darling JD. As I was walking over to him my back spasmed and I collapsed on the floor and was unable to get back up. My sister couldn’t get me up either so we had to call for help. And when help came, they called for more help. The nurses got me back to bed (I didn’t get to go over to my baby) and they called a doctor in to see me. He said I should be on pain meds (which I wasn’t) and the staff had been reluctant to give pain relief due to breastfeeding. A physiotherapist also came to assess me and she felt the spasming and seemed annoyed that I wasn’t getting the pain relief needed to ease the back pain.

Finally I was given some relief enough so that I could move a little bit, but I was unable to hold JD in case I dropped him. It is heartbreaking to be unable to hold your newborn. To watch him cry and be unable to do anything. And then I was so worried about being released and having no relief from pain at home.

That night Scott had to do most of the feeds with formula, and he was so tired by the morning. And I finally had a chance to get our announcement video done and up – this was something I had wanted to do for years. I just needed time to do it. And we hadn’t told anyone about his birth other than immediate family yet. We needed time to adjust, and as you can see, we were having quite a few challenges, we just needed time first.

Photos: relief with topping up feeds for Jeremiah (bottom photo is liquid gold that I squeezed out over about 45 minutes!), hanging with his Aunty Karina and also one of my tummy post surgery.

A beautiful knitted teddy for Jeremiah from this lovely lady.

A photo of Scott and his twin at birth with their parents, and a photo of Scott and me with our son at birth.

It was finally release day Friday. We were so excited to get home, but I was also very anxious. Real life would start the moment we left that hospital. No more pre-made meals for us, no more pain relief (even though this was very hard to get), and time to introduce JD to our dogs. This was what scared me the most. Things weren’t going to plan at all. I had planned to spend maternity leave doing the final part of the preparing the dogs program – but I didn’t get up to this due to early labour. And now my back was so bad that I couldn’t interact with the dogs or hold JD, nothing was as I had planned. We were supposed to have one of us hold Jeremiah while the other one played with the dogs and gave them time. Introducing each dog one at a time to JD. And now because of my back this couldn’t happen the way we had planned things.

Photos: last night at the hospital, coming home outfit (dog prints), getting home to see my mum and my dog, settling Jeremiah at home and the “welcome home” that my mum made on our bed for us.

More tears were shed coming home. Tears of joy, anxiety, pain, happiness, and everything in between.

The Second Week

The very next day Jeremiah turned one week old! Wow!

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1 week old!

Somehow as a new family we managed the first few hours at home (on the Friday) and then the first few days and nights. Well, Scott managed. I was stuck in bed or in a chair. I had little to no interaction with our dogs or Jeremiah because my back had become so bad. Worse than in hospital. I literally couldn’t walk without Scott holding me for the spasms. Scott managed to get me an appointment at our GP for Monday. It wasn’t ideal to be heading out so soon with a newborn but we needed help for my back.

Photos: Jen stuck in bed, Scott looking after Jeremiah, two of our dogs waiting for us, Scott reading to Jeremiah in bed, and a lovely fruit and flower basket that was sent to us.

Mum came with us on Monday so that she could keep JD away from the germs at the doctors while Scott took me in – I can’t drive for a while after the C-section and due to the spasms we didn’t want me collapsing at the doctors. I was prescribed a fairly strong pain relief. This outing took almost all day with a newborn and a very slow wife.

Photos from our first week at home: copying Jeremiah faces, Mum visiting, my bestie visiting, father and son selfie, a beautiful fruit basket from some friends, opening up presents from work friends.

I started the meds straight away, hoping for some relief… but it really didn’t help much at all. We pushed on until our midwife home visit on Wednesday. The lady was lovely who came out to see us. I think she realised that although we were absolutely delighted with Jeremiah, we were struggling. I was struggling. A lot. Mentally. Probably the worst, at my lowest. I couldn’t lift my newborn baby, I had to watch him cry and couldn’t (literally, couldn’t) get out of bed to help him. Scott was caring for a newborn, and a wife who was physically unable to do a thing without his help. I couldn’t even roll over in bed without his help – and when I say help, it wasn’t just a push me over and I’m on a new side, no… it was a gentle push or lift and then a spasm, and then continue and repeat. It was hard and he is amazing. He was doing so so so much.

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Weighed at the midwife appointment.

Then there was my lack of milk. I was still so depressed that we were formula feeding too. And that my boobs hurt so much to even try JD on them, and pumping was hurting. Things were so low for me mentally. And the midwife realised this – wouldn’t be hard to recognise! What new mother wants to watch their child cry and not help them?

So she said that she would come back the following week if I wanted, and I was quick to say yes please. She mentioned something about a midwife program for people at risk of PND, which simply doing IVF puts us at a higher risk but with the birth, and then the post birth complications I was placed at high risk. Yes, even very positive people have high risk. I said yes please to the program if it was available.

Photos: lying in bed as a family because I couldn’t get out, Scott looking after Jeremiah at night, bathing Jeremiah at home.

The good news was that Jeremiah’s jaundice was looking much better and his weight gain was great too. She said it was perfect. Our little boy passed with flying colours. She did say that the paramount thing for us was to get my pain and spasms under control can then we can look at milk supply. So back to the GP. I was placed on Valium and a muscle relaxant (wish would flare my UC but rather flare that and then settle that later). I started the Valium that night.

On Thursday we had a Newborn photoshoot for Jeremiah. Of course he slept all the way there, then decided to stay awake almost the whole shoot, and then he slept all the way home! We all know what ‘they’ say about working with babies and animals… haha.

Jeremiah managed to wee on both Scott and me. And he managed to poo too! Haha… what a crack up – like that pun! The photo shoot was fun anyway and we are sure one day JD will love to look back at the images of himself as a little baby.

Phone photos of the newborn photo shoot.

On the way home we visited my sister Karina and her kids because she had a terrible migraine – so we wanted to drop off some medication for her. Jeremiah had lots of cousin cuddles and Aunty cuddles. And then it was time to head home via my parent’s house for a quick stop off. Scott and my mum decided that it was best for JD and me to come stay the night with her on Friday night and stay all day Saturday while we had workmen at our house.

Photos below: Visiting family, and my set up at my parents with Jeremiah, (the movable couch for me to sleep on) and Zazu.

 

The Third Week:

Just like that Jeremiah turned 2 weeks old!

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It’s amazing how long it takes to get ready to go somewhere with a newborn. It took us most of Friday morning to pack an overnight bag, and pack Zazu and me up ready for a visit. We got to my parent’s house around 3pm. I now see why people with babies are always late. They need feeds and changes at the most random times.

And of course, being Saturday, it was the day that Jeremiah turned 2 weeks old! Wow – already! My little boy was growing and is growing so fast already!

Mum and Dad knew that Scott and I were planning on buying me an electric chair (see above photo from the night before) that I can sleep in and get out of on my own. We really couldn’t afford it but I wasn’t sleeping much in our bed, and I was dependent on Scott to get me out of bed. This was something that was worrying me about when he went back to work. And also the reason why I wasn’t resting during the day. So when Scott found this chair on a clearance sale we decided we would see if I could get out of it – and I could – so it was money well spent. My parents kindly gave us a gift towards my independence again. So Scott and I went to the store to collect it and then it was set up for our overnight stay at my parent’s. My other sister and her family got to come have some time with JD too.

That night, I was able to get up when Jeremiah needed a nappy change or a feed. I could do it all on my own! I can’t begin to describe how much joy this brought! Such relief too! And to have Zazu near us was bliss too. I finally had some decent sleep that night.

And all Saturday I could sit in my chair, feed JD, get up out of the chair on my own. Wow. It was amazing! And the workmen took so long at our house that JD and I got to spend another night at my parent’s. Lucky for them getting grandbaby cuddles.

Photos: grand parents and family cuddles, also a photo of my belly 2 weeks post birth.

Scott came and picked us up and set the chair up at home. For the first time since being released from the hospital, I was able to have some sleep at our house and get up on my own. It was amazing, and totally lifted my spirits. To have independence. To be with Jeremiah. Wow… so amazing!

Photos: independence having this chair, Scott has been working so hard taking care of all of us, and more baby spam. 🙂

By Monday evening I was off the Valium and my back, although still sore, was able to function on its own. No more spasms!!! Such amazing relief! No words can describe it!

And the good news is that we were accepted on to the midwife program. It runs for two years and I have an awesome midwife who is also a lactation consultant. Hooray! What a blessing. So she will be helping to increase my milk supply for JD. So there is another positive.

The reason for sharing such a long post is that tomorrow our little miracle is 3 weeks old. And in those 3 weeks it feels like we have mentally been to hell and back. So many tears have been shed. And if it weren’t for our special due in November social media group (which about 16 babies have already been born!) – well, I don’t know how I would have coped mentally. When your body is failing you so badly, it is very hard, and very depressing. You adore your newborn, none of the sadness is about them, but it is about how much of a failure you are as a mother. Having this incredible support network helped me realise that many of us were having a very rough start and that all of these hormones weren’t (and still aren’t) helping us. But we have all reached out to each other. We have shared our distresses about some of our horrible labours, about some horrible recoveries, and about low milk supply. We have shared our guilt about formula feeding, and we have supported each other through the 1am tears. The things that I thought were unique to us, have actually been so common. It would be so easy to spiral downwards emotionally without the support and network that we have together. Sisterhood is so important. We keep each other remembering the big picture and that we are all doing the best as mothers (and fathers). And we all put enough judgment on ourselves, we don’t need anyone else judging us – as some have experienced in regards to things like formula top ups.

I hope that others who experience some sort of depression post birth (and I think that is probably almost every woman to some degree because hormones are crazy), then I hope that you talk to someone. Anyone, but know that it’s normal. Everything I’ve experienced is normal to some degree. Not every woman will have a complicated labour, followed by a complicated recovery and low milk supply, but those three things are also connected so maybe some will. And feeling depressed about your body being a failure doesn’t at all reflect anything of how you feel about your baby. Not at all. We all adore our babies. I often look at JD and cry tears of joy.

Photos: baby spam, having lunch outside as a whole family (us three humans and our three dogs), Jeremiah very proud of himself for passing the weight test, and more baby spam because he is adorable.

And just like that our little man is 3 weeks old! He would be a newborn now if he had come closer to his due date. He had 3 more weeks left in my tummy, but they have been spent out here with us. And what a joy and delight he is. He is worth every single ounce of pain, and every tear that is shed. He is a joy and blessing from the Lord. Life was never meant to be easy – and it took a looooooong time for JD to be gifted to us, so it may take a long time getting to an equilibrium balance. But we will all get there. None of the pain is JD’s fault, or mine – even though it is my body that is failing me once again. It’s just some of life’s hurdles. And my little motto I’ve been saying to myself is “I will not be defeated, I will not be broken.” That’s what would go through my head as my back was giving out and Scott was holding me upright. And I also keep thinking of that Toby Mac quote that was in our video – “You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.” So perhaps our trials and hurdles will help others travelling a similar journey into parenthood. One thing I know, is that God is with us, and He’s with me. As I sit up at 1am and express so hard and long and get 50ml of liquid gold for my baby, I am never alone. The tears I cry praying that my baby will get the nourishment that he needs as I am in pain trying to get him to get enough from me are caught and saved by the One who gifted us this miracle. And having low milk supply has also gifted us another blessing – Scott has been able to have a lot of feeding bonding time with his son as he gives JD a bottle. If we were having enough milk from me then Scott and JD wouldn’t get this precious bonding time. So there is joy in everything. We just have to look for the positives. If my back hadn’t have been so bad, then perhaps Scott wouldn’t have gotten that precious bonding time with JD.

 

The Fourth Week:

Before JD could officially turn 3 weeks old, we were out at 3am for my dog Zazu. She had a sudden onset illness which took us by surprise. I hadn’t gone to bed yet after feeding and then pumping (some call it expressing but mine doesn’t express out so I feel this word does not do it justice). Around midnight Zazu got very sick. She is my soul dog. I stayed up watching her until we called the vet and then left home around 3am.

3-weeks-old

I was able to reflect back to the labour and birth of JD again. I look back with such happy memories of that day (even though it was not fun at all going through all that pain!). I look back with happiness because that was when this pregnancy that I had became real to me. When we met our beautiful boy. When I heard his first cry.

Anyway, back to Zazu. She ended up being admitted to the vet hospital and it wasn’t looking good for her. I was terrified inside. How could I feel such joy and happiness for my boy, yet at the same time feel such fear and sadness for my girl?

Jeremiah needed a change and feed as it was now around 6am. So we decided to go visit my parents so they could at least see their grandson. We ended up falling asleep there for a little bit while we anxiously waited for that phone call to tell us more about Zazu. Well, I dozed. My mind was too anxious and full of prayers to actually sleep.

Photos: at my parents house while we waited to hear how Zazu was from the vet hospital.

The vet hospital said my girl needed to stay and remain on the drip while they worked out what was wrong with her. So we made the decision to go visit her before we went home in case she didn’t make it. It was so hard to see my girl in so much pain, and know that this could be the last time that I saw her alive. Even typing that brings on more tears. I hope she is with us a while longer.

To cut a long story short, she was released the next day (after many tests, ct scan, ultrasounds etc) and with lots of medications. The rest of the week she was not herself but eventually came around.

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Happy to be coming home!

This week Scott was back at work. The first week we were in hospital and Scott worked. Then the next two weeks he had off (which was needed due to my back issues) and then this week I was on my own. I tried not to shed too many tears! The thing I found hardest was eating and being able to use the toilet. Once Jeremiah wakes up in the morning – and I wake up with him, then the day is on. He needs his feed, his burp, more feeding, nappy changes (many of those) and before long it’s way past midday and I haven’t had a chance to eat yet, or use the toilet or pump (I really need to do this to help my milk supply to continue to increase). And I know everyone says that you sleep when the baby sleeps – well I didn’t get a chance to do that at all this week. When he is asleep I do the above things and then I have to steralise the bottles and then he wakes up. And repeat. Oh, and then there’s this blog which I have been trying to get up since a few days after his birth and each week I am just slowly adding to it in the hope that once I have added to it I can upload it… so if you are still reading this when he is 3 years old, that’s how long it took me to upload this. Haha

“I got dressed up to welcome home my Dad”

We had a great first week together, but you may want to keep away from the stinky mother of this child until her husband is home each day – so that she has a chance to shower. We had the midwife visit us again this week. She watched Jeremiah attaching for a breastfeed and watched him feed. He’s doing brilliantly. So we just have to keep trying our best – he’s clearly not getting enough from my lack of supply. I’ve tried pretty much anything and everything you can think of. So we will just keep doing what we are doing and topping up with formula. The main thing is that this baby boy is fed. However that happens is irrelevant. And he is using a dummy to improve his sucking and to help him settle. I know this is a controversial thing for many people, but it has been helping him and Jeremiah’s well-being is our first priority.

Photos: a collage of Jeremiah and my first week together while Scott was at work, and more baby spam – also my beautiful Zazu still in recovery.

As I mentioned, food is something I am struggling with. On Thursday my beautiful sister and mum came to visit – WITH FOOD!!!!! Oh my goodness! I could have cried! Mum brought us our groceries and then some!!!

Photos: More of our first week together and also the food delivery!

So we have food! Woo hoo! And my sister had made us a whole bunch of vegan meals! Oh so so so yummy! What a great cook! I don’t know how she found the time to cook!

Photos: more of Jeremiah and my first week together (Scott back at work), my sister and mum’s visit, liquid gold and baby spam. 🙂

And then on Friday, I had a huge delivery box delivered to my front door. So heavy that I couldn’t move it to the kitchen on my own. A beautiful friend of mine had gone to the effort of finding a vegan meal place that delivers. She bought me 2 weeks’ worth of diners (I may or may not be eating them at lunch time for breakfast). How amazing is that?! I almost cried putting them all away. So thoughtful of her and so generous! So now I am so happy that we have some food. And food that I can whip out of the freezer, pop in the microwave and eat on the go. I feel so immensely blessed!

 

Photos: hanging out, a crying baby (yes he cries too), those precious feet, pumped breast milk – liquid gold, 3 weeks post birth.

Jeremiah weighs 3.8kg. So he has put on 600 grams since birth. Wow! What a fantastic number… it doesn’t sound like a lot but I can feel it when I carry him. Especially with this bad back of mine. I hope it comes right before he gets much more bigger/heavier. I’ve also noticed he is much longer, too. I just adore this kid.

Our beautiful little boy, JD is perfect in every way to us and we are so blessed beyond measure to be granted this miracle that we have been praying for. Thank you for praying with us and for us. Your prayers have been answered! Please continue to hold those desperately wanting a child in your prayers, too. And for our adoption laws to be improved so that for those like us, adoption could have been an option too (we all know that there are so many children in foster care who would probably prefer to be adopted).

Some inspiration.

(Now let’s hope that I can get this blog up before he wakes up, I fall asleep or before next week rolls around and past me! And if there are any spelling errors (I’m sure there are) or grammatical mistakes (I’m also sure there would be), it is because this exhausted, but very happy mother can’t find the time to go back yet again and re-read before her awesome baby boy wakes up. So Jeremiah, when you read this one day, please ignore the mistakes – I loved you so much that I wanted to attend to you when you woke rather than my computer screen. ——– side note, it took a few more attempts to get this up, between sleeps, feeds, naps, etc… haha… but we got there in the end!)

I can’t believe that our little boy is now 4 weeks old – and now a month old! He will start smiling in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for the next update. Thank you so much for your prayers. He is such a miracle and a real blessing.

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Being weighed with our midwife.

4-weeks-old

We are all celebrating 4 weeks!

 

A special thank you to everyone for your thoughts, support and prayers. It means so much to us and we are forever grateful. Thank you for all of the gifts, messages and cards. We are so speechless at the generosity and support. Thank you so very much! We will do our best to continue to include you in Jeremiah’s life story. You have helped to create him with all of those prayers. The saying goes ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ Well, I believe it takes a global praying community to create and raise a child. Thank you so much!

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(*Some photos used came from the amazing Shannon at http://www.shannonelisephotography.com.au/  —- she has been amazing at capturing some of the most precious moments for us)

 

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