Well, what a whirlwind of a pregnancy number two ended up being. If you’ve read our first blog post you’ll know that I (Elle) was juggling full time work, a two year old, pregnancy and a new business venture all at the same time. Oh and another side business too ‘Days of Joy’ (I’m batshit crazy I know).
My pregnancy this time around was great. I have been blessed with both pregnancies to have avoided the dreaded nausea and vomiting that likes to surprise most pregnant women. Everything was smooth sailing and unlike last time, no gestational diabetes... winning! Little miss was tracking perfect the entire pregnancy. Weight was bang on average, heartbeat was right on point, movements were plentiful. My pregnancy was fine, no complications. I mean sure I was exhausted, my body was taking on an extra 8 kilos, a tiny human was squashing all my organs and sucking me dry of all of my good stuff, and I couldn’t see my toes, but hey, life was good!
Unlike my first pregnancy, I was sooo unorganised this time around, which just isn’t like me. We hardly discussed names, the nursery, what nursery? I hadn’t bought a single thing. Work, kids, life and the new business venture was overwhelming every part of me.
The due date was getting closer and so was my first day of mat leave. I was sure that 4 weeks off before the due date would leave me plenty of time to get my shit together. It should have been until...
She was ready to come out early!
My 36 week scan and gynaecologist appointment confirmed that little miss wasn’t tracking well in the weight gain department. The entire way through she was measuring a healthy average sized baby. But her growth rate had dropped, and I mean drastically dropped. She was in the 7th percentile (measuring a tiny 2.3kg), when she had previously been bang on average. Why? I still don’t know.
I was worried to say the least, and was transferred to the hospital for monitoring and testing. Doctor google came out and my mind went on overdrive...was it preeclampsia? Was my placenta failing her? No-one was giving me any answers besides damn doctor google, which was sending my stress levels through the roof and surely bringing on earlier labour! I was there for hours, CTG scans were done as well as bloods and urine tests. I was in shock and scared. I had absolutely no idea what was going on and was freaking out. After 4 hours the nurse came in and simply told me that the Dr wanted me back in two days time and to pack my bags. I didn’t think to ask any questions, I just grabbed my bag and walked out of there wondering what the actual hell.
It was something like an adrenalin rush. We weren’t ready. The list of things to do where drowning my head. The capsule wasn’t installed, the bassinet wasn’t put together, the bags weren’t packed and I had NO tiny baby clothes. The only thing I had was a few nappies and some wipes. To say we had to get out shit together was an understatement.
Friday was important. We had a lot to get done in a day. Ray took the day off work to take care of the capsule and bassinet and I took the opportunity to grab my pregnant bestie, a dedicated shopaholic, for a desperate shop. It was a sight to be seen, two overly pregnant woman frantically throwing all sorts in an overflowing trolley. All that was left to do was the washing and packing!
We made it! We got there. It all got done. But I was an emotional mess. I honestly felt so sad for my first daughter Aria. I thought we had a little more time to enjoy our family of three. I really wanted these last few weeks to be special for her and to create some beautiful memories that were hers, and only hers. I owed her more time and attention than I had given her over the last few months and thinking about it brought on tears. I am still tearing up now thinking about it. Between trying to launch Big Love Co. and grow another little human inside me, the quality of time I had with her had suffered.
To somewhat make it up to her, I wanted this last night to be her night, so we planned a night filled with her favourite things, dinner at her favourite park feeding the ducks. I know it sounds so simple, but it was such a special and memorable night, and I could see it in her eyes that she was having one of the happiest times of her little life. She was just sooo happy, it’s as though she knew it was our last moments as three. It made my heart smile one big smile, but I still had the mum guilts and knew I owed her so much more. Bedtime was emotional – why does having a second child bring on so much guilt?
Saturday morning came and I was anxious to say the least. I wasn’t even sure if today was the day due to my lack of questioning, although I felt certain it was (it bloody better be, after all of that panic). I was back to the hospital for more CTG scans and testing. It turned out the previous test results indicated that I could have preeclampsia (Dr google was right), therefore new tests were undertaken. Everything came back clear, so the cause for the growth reduction remained a mystery. It was advised that she was better off out than in and so we booked myself in the next day to be induced. I was happy as I wanted to meet her, but to be honest I still hadn’t processed everything and wasn’t really ready, but are we every ready? I was on edge, a little moody and snappy at times. The planner and forward thinker I am didn’t plan to have a baby early. I wanted a little more time to get things ready and to spend with Aria. But I had one more day left and for that I was grateful. This was a day for Aria.
A day for Aria
Bathers on, sunscreen applied, bags packed (a different sort) check, check, check….we’re off to the pool! Aria loves water, so we knew this would be a day she would absolutely love. And she did! Ray and I shared our time with her evenly. I don’t think I’ve ever held her so tight or looked at her the way I did that day.
Our little family swim came to an end and it was time to drop her off to my parents. This was going to be her first night away from us EVER. We take her everywhere, other than childcare and days with the grandparents she’s with us ALWAYS. We arrived and I was on edge. Thinking about her first night away from us made me emotional. That and not knowing how she would handle having a new little person in the house. My mind was wondering, would she be jealous? Would she feel less loved or a little neglected? Everything in me hoped not. Putting her feelings at the front of my mind made me so emotional that I finally broke down. This huge overwhelming feeling came over me. All of the emotions that I held in since the day I found out we would be having this baby early poured out of me. It was all starting to finally feel real. It was time for everything to change, time to be a mum of two, time to see my first baby girl grow to be a big sister. It was time to say goodbye to Aria and I was literally crying like I would never see her again. So silly I know, but if you’re a mum you’d know they become a part of you.
Well what an anticlimax this has all been. For the second time, I have packed my bags, mentally prepared myself for labour and been sent back home! It turned out that I was already 2cm dilated and told to return first thing in the morning. Déjà vu…this is exactly what happened with my first pregnancy. We kept with tradition, Ray and I spent out last night at the beach enjoying a fresh gelato hand in hand.
This is the day
I felt more at ease, I had more time to process it but I was still nervous. My first birthing experience was natural (the epidural didn’t work) so I knew the kind of pain I could potentially be in and I wasn’t stoked about it.
My waters were broken and contractions started slow, however they didn’t progress enough to avoid help from the hormone drip. Contractions increased at a steady pace and the pain was REAL but manageable. I put up with it as long as I could, but opted to give the epidural a second chance, hoping and praying to the heavens that it would give me some relief this time around. And that it did! Hallelujah!
From here on it was a completely different kind of birthing experience from the first. The monitor was showing that my contractions had amped up nicely, but I couldn’t feel a damn thing! I was on cloud 9. It blew my mind that my body was working so hard to prepare to birth a tiny little human whilst I was ready to nap. This didn’t feel right but hey I wasn’t complaining about it. I was at ease, the room was peaceful it literally felt like a waiting game for my body to do it’s thing.
Honestly, I was expecting a shorter labour than the first, I mean she was tiny, it was my second, and everything that I had been told or read lead me to believe it would be. But here I was still waiting.
Ok get ready she’s coming (so they told me). Unlike natural birth, epidural totally stops your body from taking over and doing its thing. It felt so unnatural and silent to be told when to push and when to stop pushing. Anyways, over an hour of pushing got me nowhere! I pushed out an imaginary elephant and still nothing! I thought she was tiny and that I could just sneeze her out! Thank goodness my obstetrician saved the day and discovered that her head was twisted to the side, making it hard for her to find her way.
After a few adjustments and some seriously big pushing, she was well on her way. I could feel that part of her had made it through, but it wasn’t enough. From there I pushed so hard my face almost exploded into tiny pieces. I wanted her out! I needed to hold her in my arms. All of my energy went in to these last few pushes leading to her arrival. OMG she was here! She arrived and with a big set of lungs.
Tears of happiness and relief overcame me. All I wanted was a healthy little babu, and she was just perfect. I took her in my arms and she became my world, this tiny little precious human was mine and I was hers. She was amazing, the moment was amazing and the happiness I felt overtook all the overwhelming feelings I had the previous days. The mum in me kicked in and I was sooo ready!
These girls have every part of me, they are the best of me, and they make me whole. I am going to be a kick ass mum of two!
Thanks to my bestie Maria for capturing these special family moments plus so much more. If anyone in Adelaide is looking for the most amazing person to photograph their newborn, family or a christening reach out, she's literally the best!
You can find her photography page on Instagram @mandmephotography.