So things didn’t really go according to plan, but really when do they?

Moments after being born...

It was Saturday June 5 around 1 and I had been out laying boards on the deck all morning. I had around 28 courses to do and I was up to 22 or so. I had been securing the ends but leaving the screws in the rest of the joists until later since there are around 1200 screws that need to be done and as I found out quite quickly none of the boards are straight and will all need aligning carefully as the are finalised otherwise the gaps will be very uneven.
I heard Nicole shouting from the house, nothing unusual about that however what she was shouting was a little disturbing. “I think my water broke” she shouted from the toilet. From that point until we arrived at the hospital was a bit of a blur. Once she was in the assessment room I felt much better and was able to calm down and get a handle on what was actually happening. We had a nice nurse Natasha who at first thought we would be going back home to wait for labour to progress. However, Nicole became known as “the 5 minute contraction lady” and all of a sudden all bets were off. We were definitely not going anywhere and in fact, things were moving rather quickly. As it happens, the baby was in some distress and the contractions and the heartbeat were indications that things weren’t quite right. Thankfully for us, Sonia, an experienced mother and nurse was there to help us through. I really don’t think that without her things would have gone so smoothly. I know even for my part, I was far more relaxed with her there and knowing that you have a friend by your side really helped Nicole to get many of the answers that she desperately needed during the tense few hours of labour, the epidural and the mass of medical staff buzzing around. In fact, thinking back, we owe Sonia a huge debt of gratitude for being there.
Predictably some may say, shortly after the epidural took effect and they were able to get a heart monitor onto Elyse, the doctor came in to tell us we were going to be having a C-Section in order to get the baby out as quickly and safely as possible. Nicole went to get prepped, I waited in the recovery room until I was summoned to the bedside.
What happened next was amazing, they pulled the tiny baby out of the incision and I got a look at her as they moved her to the incubator (by the way, if you are at ALL squeamish I don’t recommend this, she looked like a grey plastic alien covered in grape jelly). Then there was silence. It seemed to last forever but after 40 seconds or so we heard her first little cry. I was already so overwhelmed with it all that I don’t remember being at all scared or worried about handling her, I just wanted to see her on the scale and know she was OK. I took a couple of pictures of her including one with Nicole in the background, her head poking out from behind the surgery dropcloth. Once she was weighed they gave her to me and sent me off into the recovery room and for the first 5 minutes of her life we sat alone in a comfy chair both wondering what the hell just happened. Nicole was wheeled into the room and I passed off the tiny crying baby to her so that she could get some skin on skin time with her. It was truly amazing to know that we had made this tiny person and that from that second everything was going to be different.

The thing with the hospital, stay is that it was such a whirlwind that before we knew it we were in our semi room trying to get some sleep. Then with almost daily room changes, Nicole losing her yellow crocs, people visiting all the time we didn’t even notice the time flying and by the time we left the hospital we were both prepared and ready to get home.

For both of us going in to the birth the scariest thing was wondering how we cope with a new baby once we get home. Due to the CSection we were in the hospital for 5 days and so for that entire time we were shown diaper changes, soothing, swaddling, bathing and so on several times. That was the single biggest benefit to us as new parents. I imagined that we would walk out of the hospital and panic, but in reality we were so ready to get home and get Elyse into her new home that the fear was taken over with excited anticipation. The nervousness at changing diapers was gone after the first solo change and since we bathed her together that stress was gone too. All things considered, that first day at home was pretty low stress since Elyse seemed to be a regular baby, she cried when she was hungry or wet and slept when she wasn’t. The cat wasn’t impressed, I think he suddenly realized that things were different and that the noise coming from the new playpen in the living room was not something that was going to be ignored.

At the end of the day (although when does day really end when you are feeding every 3 hours?) we were happy to be home, all healthy and happy and although both Nicole and Elyse were going to have some adjusting to do after their experiences the road to recovery was going to be travelled by all 3 of us together.