This Time Last Year

Alex enjoying the toys at her friend's party

Alex enjoying the toys at her friend’s party

On the mommy forum I go on quite a lot, you’re split up into ‘birth boards’ depending on what month you gave birth. I spent my pregnancy on the September 2015 board but due to Alexandra’s early arrival have ended up on the August 2015 instead since. As everyone’s babies turn one this month there’s been a lot of talk of ‘this time last year’. It’s been the same with my NCT friends: the first of the babies was born on July 18 then we had a bit of a gap until four were born in August and two in September. The busiest time was when the little one older than Alex was born on the Tuesday, then Alex on the Saturday then the next one the following Wednesday.

So again we’ve uttered the phrase ‘this time last year’ a lot as we reflect on the last few weeks of our pregnancies/the first few weeks of motherhood. The fourth of the seventh babies was born on this date last year – little did I know that just four days later we’d have the fifth arrival in the form of our tiny Alexandra! In fact I remember being convinced I would be the last of the seven of us. Myself and one of the other mommies were due on the same day, September 13, and there was one baby due after ours but I was certain I’d go overdue so felt like mine would be the youngest.

As it was, by August 25 last year I’d had a niggling ear and headache for weeks and had been at the hospital a couple of times. I’d been told it must be an inner ear infection and there was nothing they could do. I couldn’t take any strong painkillers and generally was in a lot of discomfort! A year tomorrow (August 26), I toddled down to the GP surgery for what would turn out to be my last midwife appointment – and the last time I did a long walk with my bump. While I was there the midwife said I’d got protein in my wee, high blood pressure and she was concerned about some bloods I’d had taken a couple of weeks before at the hospital. They repeated the bloods as a precaution and I remember her apologising to me because I wasn’t meant to have blood taken at my 37 week appointment. I said it was fine. As it was, her erring on the side of caution could have saved both of our lives!

The following morning, bright and early, I got a call from her saying I urgently needed to go to the hospital to see the consultant. While I was there he said they thought I’d got pre-eclampsia and although he didn’t want to induce me until 38 weeks they wanted to keep an eye on me every other day. I booked an appointment for the Saturday and went home. The next day I didn’t feel well and called my mom. She said she could come and get me and take me to the hospital as it was best to get checked out. Little did she know she wouldn’t go to work again until the December!

So we went to the hospital and as soon as they hooked me up to the blood pressure monitor, I knew I wasn’t going home without a baby! The midwives called the doctor who said he was very concerned about my low platelet count and then I began the long walk down the corridor to the other side of the hospital where the consultant-led unit is. My hopes of a midwifery-led birth had long gone by this point! Some 20 odd hours later after two gels to get me started, my waters being broken, the longest bath I’ve ever had, not a lot of sleep, gas and air, a violent bounce around on the birth ball, a rapidly decreasing heart rate (baby’s), some probably very rapidly increasing heart rates (Dylan’s and my mom’s), lots of hand holding and reassurance and support (from Dylan), pethidine, a glorious hour and a half that I have no recollection of, an emergency button press, about 3,000 people running into the room, an episiotomy, ventouse, some pushing (mainly forgetting how to push from me!), the ventouse slipping off and having to be put back on her head, a little bit of oxygen at birth and many more things I can’t even recall, we had A BABY!

And a year later after highs, lows, cuddles, kisses, lots of milk, almost as much milky sick, jaundice, lots of time with daddy while mommy was ill, many naps, thousands of nappies, weaning, first words, first steps, first crawls, sitting up, rolling over, pointing, waving, clapping, hair-growing, lots of pretty outfits, lots of mucky outfits, soft play, making friends, welcoming a cousin into the world, playing, so much playing! And about a million other things, Alexandra is nearly one!

Harriet and (for the last time before she turns one!) Alexandra x

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