Apologies for taking so long to get this post out, but having a newborn means that any plans I have had, can go out the window, so now we take each day as it comes. I have been writing this for 3 weeks already, if you can believe it, and each time I sit down to complete it, with a hot of cup of tea, something else happens, the tea gets cold and my post goes unfinished.
I always find it so fascinating how every pregnancy is so different and every birth story is unique too. Here is my birth story…
On Thursday, the 15th of June, I knew I would wake up before my 04h30 alarm clock went off. In fact, Sox and I both woke up at 4am. We sleepily looked at each other with excitement and fear of the unknown. I held my tummy that seemed to not only house my baby, but suddenly butterflies too. In just a few hours I would be holding my baby in my arms and all the emotions swarmed. I actually couldn’t stop rubbing my bump over and over, as I got up and got dressed, knowing it was the last few times I’d be able to do this. I was really going to miss my bump and the little kicks, but at the same time, I was going to meet this little soul and it just felt overwhelmingly exciting and scary.
I had been nil of mouth since 10pm the night before and was desperate for a cup of tea. My hospital bag, baby G’s hospital bag and the Cryo-Save Kit (we had decided to store Baby G’s stem cells and cord blood) was ready by the door, where they’d been since week 34. I was now week 37 and 1 day. We had pushed my pregnancy out to as far as we could with the fibroid, and I was thrilled to get this far.
We arrived at the Cape Town Mediclinic and because I had already pre-registered the day before and got all the paperwork out of the way, I was shown to the ward where I had my vitals checked and changed into a very “sexy”, backless gown. The mixture of emotions just kept growing and they made me feel weepy. Don’t let this smile below fool you… I was also really uncomfortable and it was impossible to sit all lady like.
I met the anaesthetist, Dr. Burger, who asked me a whole bunch of questions and explained how the spinal block would work. I told him that I might need a little more anaesthetic than most. Seriously, I’ve always been like that. If one person needs one dose of anesthetic, I normally need 2, but he assured me that it would all be under control.
It was suddenly sinking in that we were getting closer and closer and the waterworks started again. Sox was pretty amazing at giving me encouragement, excitedly talking about how we were about to meet our son and giving me reassured hugs and kisses. If he was nervous, he never showed it and was strong for me.
Two nurses arrived, put the sides of my bed up and we were off. As I was wheeled along, looking up, I watched the ceilings row of lights whizz past me, one after the other, like little flashes and it felt like an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Sox was asked to put on scrubs and he emerged minutes later, looking like my very own Dr. McDreamy.
We suddenly realized that we had forgotten the Cryo-Save Kit in my room, which we were meant to bring down with us. Since Sox was in his scrubs already, he couldn’t run up to get it, but luckily a friendly nurse said she would run to get it for us.
I was wheeled into theatre and transferred onto a tiny, thin steel table. I honestly didn’t think I’d fit on it and thought I’d definitely fall off the side, but surprisingly I didn’t. Instead of lying down on it, I was swung over, into a sitting position with my feet resting on a chair. I was suddenly aware that I was in the position for the spinal block.
Sox was standing behind me with our Paediatrician, Dr. Mark Irvine, and knowing the spinal block was coming, I suddenly needed him. They both came around to my front, Sox held my hands and told me to squeeze if I needed. Dr. Irvine told me I’d feel something wet and cold on my back and just as he finished saying that, and really before I had a chance for his words to sink in, I jumped from the icy, cold sensation on my back. After that, I have no recollection of the spinal block. I was told to stay still, but I didn’t feel a thing or know it was even being done. They asked me if I could feel a warm feeling down my legs and I was waiting to feel this rush of warmth, but nothing came… I only felt a tiny amount of warmth and said so.
My gynae, Dr. Martin Puzey and our GP/friend Dr. Dion Dorfman, who was assisting, arrived in high spirits. It instantly put me at ease and Dr. Puzey said all joyfully: “Let’s meet this baby!”
They swung me onto my back, put the screen up and I was told that it would all happen pretty quickly now. I immediately felt a burning sensation on my tummy, a burn in a straight line (nothing horrible, or unbearable but I instantly shouted out: “I can feel that, I can feel that!” As soon as I explained I was feeling a burn, they all stopped and Dr. Burger administered more anaesthetic and 4 local anesthetic injections into my stomach – I felt each prick. Me and anaesthetic – what did I tell you?
After a little while, they asked if I could feel “this”… “this” and… “this”, of which I felt nothing. They could now proceed.
I instantly started feeling faint, but Dr. Burger said: “No, it’s the drug I gave you that is making your drowsy,” and joked, “it’s not the fainting drug! You won’t faint… I’m watching you… your blood pressure is beautiful.”
I think the tugging and pulling was the worst for me and even a bit traumatic. Friends had told me to expect it, but NOTHING could have prepared me for that. I also understand that it is impossible to explain, unless you’ve experienced it. You feel no pain, but you can feel everything. It’s a queasy, awful feeling. I’m just being 100% honest here, with no sugar coating. I’m sorry if I’m freaking anyone out and if you’re currently pregnant, please don’t let that put you off. I’d rather you know. I’m glad I knew the tugging and pulling was normal, thanks to my friends who did tell me. I just didn’t expect the sensation of it.
However, it was over so quickly, that today, it feels inconsequential. I heard Dr. Irvine say: “There, your water has broken!”
The next minute, I heard Dr. Puzey say: “Oh baby’s hair is nice and black!” and within a few seconds, they had pulled him out and I heard them all cheer and then I heard the most glorious cry! I felt a tug at my heart strings and knew that from that moment on, the love I’d have for him might make me explode. It felt surreal.
They held him up above the material screen and I was introduced to my son in the funniest way – a way I will never ever forget: Dr. Puzey held him up so that I could see him for the first time, almost like the Lion King, and said: “Hello Mom and Dad! Look at my balls!”
We laughed so much and of course Dad was super proud!
He was whisked away to be checked, weighed, measured and we were so relieved to hear he was a perfect baby boy! Sox and I often talk about how grateful we are that he is 100% healthy and don’t take any of that for granted!
George Charles Georgiades was born at 07h38 on the 15 June 2017. He weighed 3,060kgs and 50cm long.
The Cryo-Save kit was done right there and then, where they stored the umbilical cord blood and stem cells. It seemed completely effortless too. I had to have some blood tests done and then the kit was handed back to Sox, who contacted Cryo-Save to come and collect it within an hour, so that it could be tested and then stored for 20 years. I’m so glad we have had this done and I honestly hope, we never have to use it, but if we do, I’m glad we have stem cells that can hopefully heal him. I’m going to do a separate blog post on this because I think it’s really something to look into if you’re having a baby. Knowledge is power.
I then heard Dr. Puzey say, very casually: “It looks like we can remove the Fibroid after all.”
I was so surprised because I had been told that it was far too dangerous, but I was just thrilled they could and also completely distracted by my baby boy, who was then placed on my chest. Little did I know that we had gone into an emergency situation and what the reason for removing the fibroid actually was… something I’d only find out after my surgery… Read on!
I couldn’t believe how utterly perfect he was. I just kept telling him and Sox how much I loved them both.
However, I started shaking, a natural result of the anesthetic, so I wasn’t too worried – I’d been warned about that possibly happening too. I then started feeling faint again and asked that Sox take him.
I heard Dr. Puzey ask Dr. Burger to administer more mls of whatever drug he said and I was wide awake, but couldn’t respond. I could hear Sox asking if I was OK, and in my head I could reply, but my body felt “paralyzed” and I couldn’t respond at all. Dr. Burger then started shaking me saying: “Bailey…. Bailey… Bailey!” and I was completely unresponsive, even though I was fully aware of what was going on. Quite scary to feel my body unresponsive, when in my mind, I was fully there. It lasted a few minutes and I was back to normal. Dr. Puzey showed me the Fibroid they had removed – just about the size of a tennis ball. Crazy!
I took a little while longer to be stitched up, and soon, the shaking had stopped and Baby G was put onto my chest again, this time skin to skin, where I got to marvel at his perfect, un-squished face, his black hair, long eyelashes, full lips and the sweetest smell I’ve ever smelled – I felt intoxicated breathing him in. Utterly delicious.
I stayed in recovery for a little while and then we were eventually wheeled back to my room.
While in recovery, Sox FaceTimed my sister, Tandi in London and his sister, Sofi, in Greece to show them their brand new nephew.
Sox called his Mom and my Mom and Dad, who had flown in the day before and were waiting at the hospital, to tell them they could come into the ward to meet their Grandson. There were tears and “congratulations” and I must admit it was all a happy blur. I actually have black holes of the day and Sox has to fill me in. I think you’re just so overwhelmed by the love, the elation you feel, this brand new person who is completely reliant on you, trying to get the breastfeeding right, doctors, nurses, visitors. It’s a lot, but it’s wonderful.
At one stage, we had so many flowers in our room, that the nurses asked us to put half the flowers outside our room… Our room looked like a florist and so did the corridor outside… I will never forget how special everyone made me feel.
When Dr. Puzey came around to check on me, he told me what had really happened and why our original plan of leaving the fibroid alone had changed. As they pulled George out, the fibroid ripped my uterus. It went into an emergency situation where they had to remove the fibroid and repair my uterus. The even stranger thing about this, is the fibroid had two blood supplies (extremely rare) – one from my uterus and one from my pelvis, which is why I had been in excruciating pain and battling to walk properly. I lost a lot of blood and had to be on iron tablets for a week. They also repaired my uterus and then stitched me all up from the C-section. It just shows that my Gynae has a great poker face… I had no idea that we were in such a serious situation because of how casual he had been in the surgery. I had 3 major procedures done in 1 operation, so as a result I was kept an extra night in hospital. I was also told that my recovery would take longer than usual. I was just so happy that “Fred the F#@$ing Fibroid” was gone and I didn’t have to deal with it in a later surgery. It felt like a huge victory.
Sox stayed 2 nights of my 4 night stay in hospital and it was amazing to let it all sink in that we were now a family of 3.
Sox also got to experience his very first Father’s Day 3 days after he was born and my Dad got his first Grandfather’s Day.
Before they both arrived, I asked the nurses for an ink pad so that I could make footprints in their Fathers Day cards.
Baskin Robbins delivered an ice-cream cake too, which we shared with the nurses.
When we left the hospital we thanked all the nurses and staff who had been absolutely wonderful! He drowned in his going home outfit and was teeny tiny in his car seat.
7 weeks later, and we cannot imagine life without Georgie. I completely understand how people say that this is the hardest job you’ll ever do, but the most rewarding. It’s not even a complaint because while it is hard, you do it with the greatest of pleasure. He is such a good baby *touch wood* and the hardest thing for me has been the breastfeeding… but I’ll leave that post for another day.