It's been 8 whole weeks since three became four - eight normal weeks would have had their quick days - the type that fly by because of the fun you've had or the jobs you've managed to squeeze in but they will mainly have been filled with long days; with rain and with other such mundanity that will have meant you could account for most of them but these past weeks have been a whirlwind of love and cuddles of tiredness and joy of remembering what the early days of babyhood are really like and of a fuzzy haze of gorgeous moments (and of endless nappies, and of visitors and of health professionals & their clipboards and their checklists) but mostly the good stuff.
Baby View From A Daddy arrived on Good Friday, a week later than expected and with much anticipation. There had been a flurry of excitement when maternity leave commenced at 38 weeks hoping that our bundle of joy would arrive on time but it was not to be so we settled into a pattern of waiting while physical movement became even more challenging and heartburn continued its steady fire after every meal - when would the last gulp of Gaviscon be consumed? In hindsight, Mrs VFAD can't remember now but that's no bad thing.
Our last weeks of pregnancy brought the possibility of a breech baby and a consequent c-section. Not something that we'd plan for and certainly not something that Mrs VFAD was keen to pursue. However, a late scan allayed any concerns and showed baby VFAD was back in an orderly position (this one is going to be trouble). After the debacle we'd had with the hospital refusing me entry to the 20 week scan as we had the little lady with us, this was maybe Littlest VFAD's way of saying 'hi' before their arrival. So, despite the anxiety that the threat of a breech birth posed, there was a silver lining as I got to see our new addition in situ at last!
The waiting however, paled into insignificance when the moment for action actually arrived. After a relatively quiet day of chores, relaxing (bigger VFAD was out with nanny) and a trip to the midwife for Mrs VFAD, the action began gently mid afternoon. I say this however Mrs VFAD didn't tell me until well after we'd eaten dinner, she'd read three stories and put our toddler to bed. She has reflected on why she didn't really mention it and thinks perhaps that she didn't believe that she was really in labour. This is very likely to be the case if I think back to our last labour which was prolonged and lasted for nigh-on three days. The first time round, we'd done the antenatal classes, signed up to the apps, read the books but nothing prepared us for the wait after the initial contraction came. With our first experience of labour the pains came and went and then increased in severity in a manner that Mrs VFAD could manage without pain relief quite comfortably. When she was ready, she used a tens machine and worked through the levels of vibration until only the magic gas could help. But not this time around, after some inkling that it may have started the contractions were soon coming thick and fast. It was at this point that the rules about counting and timing became a blur. The hospital's advice to stay put was overridden and we were on our way.
The journey to the hospital was another difference to the first time around. We were delivering at a different hospital given changes to maternity units locally. Our practice ride had take nearly 40 minutes so as we set out on the 'real' journey, my anxiety was somewhat high given the speed at which things had progressed so far. The one consolation was that it was 11pm so the traffic was much lighter and I would have been able to see any blue flashing lights with greater ease than had it been earlier in the day (I wasn't speeding - honest guv'). Mrs VFAD would have been of no help either in spotting any speed traps as she had her closed and was breathing deep deep breaths.
We arrived at the hospital to a deserted car park as a contraction struck whilst I sprang out of the car and gathered the necessary kit. Between the car door and the ward entrance, four more contractions came so if you are versed in this malarky, you'll know things were definitely moving. The midwives were incredibly welcoming and calming if not a little humorous as our main attendant placed odds on our baby arriving before the 'other one' down the corridor. So with the initial sounds of calming music and the soothing effect of the birthing pool, Mrs VFAD did all of the hard work and within the hour baby VFAD had 'popped out' as my wife refers to it. Although, she is also keen to mention that if ever she hears the music which Lloyds Bank use in their advertising campaign again, which was on the 'sound track' of the birth, her ears may begin to bleed! Baby certainly didn't hang around and I was pretty much redundant save for administering the odd swig of Lucozade. It will never cease to amaze me what the human mind and spirit can do to bring a baby into the world.
When our baby came up and out of the water, our reaction was just to hug her and stare at her in wonder as though it was a surprise all of this was happening. Much like the first time around we had to be reminded that we hadn't looked to see if she was a boy or a girl - we were so overwhelmed by her. So after a swift labour, three had become four and our family was complete. We'd arrived at the hospital at 11.40pm and by 6.30am we were home just in time for breakfast and for Xanthe to welcome her little sister, Constance (Connie for short).
This post originally appeared at www.viewfromadaddy.co.uk
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