I was really hoping to have this published in the year he was born, but having a newborn and a toddler means “half the time; double the love.”
Both my boys are napping and according to “they”, “they” say that I should be napping too. Ha!
It still fascinates me how every pregnancy and birth story might have similarities, but they’re all so unique and each one is so special. Here is Alexandros’ birth story:
I had George at 37 weeks and one day (thanks to the Fibroid complication. You can read his birth story here) and with my second pregnancy (no complication; yet far more pregnancy symptoms, aches and pains) we were aiming for a 39 week C-section, which would have been the 2 December 2019. My poor pelvis and pubic bone was in so much pain that at the end, I could hardly move. I couldn’t lie on my side and each step or big movement made me feel like my pubic bone was on fire and my pelvis, “fractured.” At the final scan at 37 weeks, we decided to bring the C-section forward and I would have him at 38 weeks and one day.
That day was Wednesday, the 27th of November 2019. Second time around was such a different experience. First time we were at the hospital at 5am, but with a toddler to consider, that wasn’t possible. The night before, I went to bed early, hoping to try and get some sleep, but the excitement and emotions had me up with the sun at 05h30. I was Nil by Mouth from 4am and of course craving my cup of tea. Typical.
Sox and George were fast asleep, so I tiptoed into our lounge and watched the sunrise. I cradled my belly, feeling my bump for the last few hours and suddenly aware that this (according to our plans) would be the last time I’d be pregnant and the last few hours of having this big, glorious bump. I knew I was going to miss the kicks, the teeny tiny hiccups and not having to hold my big tummy in; but also so excited and nervous to meet this new little soul that would complete our family.
Sox and I dropped George off at school, a little earlier than usual, which we had arranged with the school, and then headed for the Mediclinic Cape Town. We had to be there by 8am.
This was the last photo of us as a family of 3… 2 hours later, we would be a family of 4!
After checking in, we headed to the ward where I was shown to my room, changed into the ever so sexy backless gown and had my vitals checked, and a monitor attached to the bump to monitor his heart rate. Strong and stable.Just after 09h30, the nurses came to wheel us to theatre. I was feeling incredibly anxious about the C-section. There’s something to be said about ignorance is bliss. I knew what to expect and was so nervous about the tugging and the pulling, which is indescribable. First time around I also felt the burn of the cut, as the spinal block hadn’t quite worked 100%, so I was really anxious.
As I was wheeled along, with Sox following closely behind holding our CryoSave Kit to store babies stem cells and cord blood, I had a rush of emotions. Oh my gosh this was really happening. We were going to meet another baby boy. I suddenly burst into tears as I felt like I was “cheating on” George. It’s very hard to explain, because even though I knew gaining a sibling is the greatest gift in the world, I suddenly felt overwhelmed with sadness that I’d have to share George and even share Alexandros. Sox was so sweet and reassuring. He wiped away my tears and, along with the theatre nurse, instantly made me feel better and excited.
Sox went to change into his scrubs and yet again, he looked all McDreamy like.
Just outside the theatre, we met the Anaesthetist and I explained what happened last time. He reassured me too and at around 10am-ish, I was wheeled into Theatre 4.
Suddenly the anxiety of knowing what was coming, turned into a calmness of knowing what was coming, like a switch had been flicked. I’d liken it to knowledge is power and instead of feeling “Oh NO, I know what’s coming!”; it was “Alright, I know what’s coming…I’ve got this.”
The Power Team: My Gynaecologist, Dr. Martin Puzey; assisting Gynaecologist Dr. Jason Bennett, our Paediatrician, Dr. Mark Irvine and the Anaesthetist, Guy (I never caught his surname) were all ready and waiting for me, along with the theatre nurses. I was moved onto the tiniest, narrowest metal table and I still don’t know how I fit onto it. I sat on it first, with my legs on a chair, bent over waiting for the spinal block.
Sox held my hands and I felt the swoosh of ice cold on my back as they washed it…it definitely dulls the nerve endings and while I don’t remember anything about it first time around; I felt like I was suddenly far more aware of what was happening second time around because of the previous experience. I did feel the spinal block this time – it was more of a feeling of pressure in my back, than it being painful and this time I did feel a warm feeling in my legs.
They quickly swung me around to lie on the table and this time around they checked to see that I was truly numb. They had, what I presume is a spray bottle. They sprayed little areas and asked if I could feel it, which I could, but if I could feel it being ice cold then I wasn’t completely numb yet. Once everyone was satisfied that I was numb enough, we began the surgery.
I didn’t feel the cut, but I did feel the pulling and tugging, which wasn’t as traumatic as the first time around, only because I knew to expect it and I suppose I was expecting worse, which never came. My Anaesthetist was excellent too and he really listened to everything I said. This time I never felt faint once and if I felt nauseas, he would adjust things and that feeling faded as quickly as it came. At one stage I felt this intense heat on my face, but that also disappeared quite quickly.
Sox was by my side the whole time and it just felt a little more relaxed this time around – everyone was joking and chatting as if were at a social function – it was actually such fun.
After a few tugs and pulls, I heard Dr. Irvine say: “Your water has broken” and Dr Puzey say: “There’s one shoulder…and there we go!” Within nano seconds of him saying that, Sox and I heard the most glorious, loud cry!
I can’t explain it, but my heart skipped a beat as I heard his cry, and I knew yet again that I’d be forever changed. It was in that instant that my heart grew. I hadn’t even seen him or met him yet and it was instant love. The feeling was so intense that it made me cry.
Dr. Puzey held him up over the curtain to show me this baby boy before handing him over to Dr. Irvine to check him out.
The first thing I said was: “Oh my gosh, he looks just like George did!”
Dr. Irvine cleaned him up, checked him and I heard Sox say: “No ways! Babe, he’s 3,64kgs.”
We were both in a bit of shock. George had been born at 3,060kgs, so we were expecting a 3,2kg baby, with it being 38 weeks and not 37 weeks. When Sox said 3,64kgs we couldn’t believe he was such a big boy in comparison. My pelvis and pubic bone believed it though.
This little baby had a very strong set of lungs on him and he cried and cried and cried. He was so loud!
One of the nurses told me his time of birth: 10h22.
After cleaning him up and wrapping him in a towel, they handed him to me. I had to hand him back to Sox though because I started shaking – teeth chattering shaking, which is quite common from the anaesthetic.
We had 2 names that we loved and we tossed between them all the time. I was leaning towards one name and Sox towards the other, even though we loved both. We were completely undecided and said that when we met him, we would know which one he was. We did have his second name decided. I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to decide, but as he was placed on my chest, I just knew what his name was. It was the most wonderful experience – I just had this knowing. It felt bigger than me too. I heard this voice (that wasn’t mine) saying the name and the other name just disappeared.
When I was in the recovery, I looked at Sox and I grinned, “I know what his name is.” Sox replied, “I really want you to choose between the 2 we love. It’s your choice.”
“Thank you my love, but I think he’s chosen for us. It’s Alexandros.”
On the 27th of November, at 10:22, Alexandros Dimitris Georgiades was born at 3,64kgs and 53cm long.
In recovery, Puzey explained that everything had gone really well – I’d had a bit of a bleed and he’d tried to clean it up as much as possible, but my abdomen would be quite tender until the blood reabsorbed. It was nothing to be too concerned about at all!
I breastfed straight away…
Alexi had a huge cry on him and he quickly got the nickname “The Feisty One” in the Maternity Ward. He was crying so hard and I realised quickly that he was obviously hungry! It was a completely new experience. George struggled to latch, but Alexi latched straight away, not perfectly, but I breastfed.
Sox had to leave to get George from school and when he returned, Georgie was napping in his pram. He had a 2 hour nap at the hospital and I was prepared for when he would wake and come and meet his baby brother for the first time.
I’d received lots of great advice ahead of time.
Weeks before, I’d taken George to Build-a-Bear where we built a bear for his brother and a bear for him. He kissed the little heart and placed it into the bears, which just felt really special. He would present his baby brother with the bear he made. On the bed, there would be a present from his baby brother for him.
I also wouldn’t be holding Alexandros when he walked in. He’d be in his bassinet, so that it was neutral territory – not his Mom holding another baby.
Well, as prepared as you can be, and as much as you hope for the “Disney moment”, you just need to realise that you really need to be flexible.
Georgie woke up and we were ready… but as George entered the room, Alexi started crying his feisty cry and it gave George a bit of a fright. George is our little empath. He gets upset when others are upset, so he started crying too. The “Disney moment” popped (I never got the videos or pictures I thought I would) and instead we had 2 crying children we needed to settle. After the tears, we introduced him to his baby brother and asked him to give the bear to the baby, which he did quite warily – sort of not really wanting to go too close to the bassinet. All was forgiven the minute we handed him his present from his brother – racing cars and dinosaurs.
The rest of the afternoon was spent playing with his new toys and little interest in his brother. Baby steps.
I was really concerned about what would happen when Georgie would have to leave the hospital and leave me behind. Well, it went so much better than I expected and I realise I had worried for nothing. Sox picked Georgie up so he could say goodbye to his brother and plop a kiss on his head.
He gave me a kiss too and then walked out, hand in hand with Sox and my MIL Dimitra, with a confident little “Bye Mommy!” It was such a relief!
Over the next few days in hospital, I was really sore – I don’t remember the C-section being this sore after George, unless of course I had forgotten. I wasn’t sleeping enough, purely from being in hospital and being checked on, staring all loved-up at my newborn and really concentrating on the feeding and trying to get a good latch, which I was struggling with and getting damaged nipples.
I think this pic sums it up the lack of sleep…
My milk came in the day we were leaving the hospital, which was quite intense. My hormones were all over the place and to be honest, I felt bat shit crazy. I felt overwhelmed and emotional and scared of suddenly having 2 and then giddy with happiness and excitement. It was a rollercoaster.
George wasn’t convinced when we put Alexi and his car seat into the car. George didn’t want to get into the car and it was quite a thing getting him into the car, in the hospital car park. That day was overwhelming because George cried when the baby cried and with my hormones, I cried, thinking: “Oh my God. How are we going to do this!!??” Poor Sox… I’m pretty sure he must have cried too!
George was slow to warm up, but luckily 24 hours later, we had a complete turnaround. To this day, he won’t stop kissing his brother, bringing his brother his beloved cars (I know it’s love simply from this action alone) and trying to share his carrots or his bottle with him (I have to watch them very carefully.)
It’s been trying to find the balance has been between not discouraging the sweet brotherly bond and telling him to stop kissing his brother every 3 seconds so that the poor baby can sleep. It’s a good problem to have.
8 weeks later, we are a family of 4 and life is a beautiful, chaotic blur. I cannot believe how fast time is flying. We are still in survival mode and we are still finding our new norm. Alexandros is such a sweet baby. He’s a good baby *touch wood* and George has grown into the most incredible big brother, who wants to help with everything. Our family is complete and the saying is true: Half the time; double the love.
Newborn shoot was done at 8 days old by the incredible Veronique Mills.