Baby Joshua's birth story

Baby Joshua is almost two weeks old now and I really wanted to record his birth story on the blog as I did with Jonah.
 I would have loved to have posted this last week but, as you may already know, we've had a bit of a difficult time with my recovery, (which I'll go into later) and unfortunately, I just haven't had spare time to open the laptop and type. Yet, time is moving on and just as I knew it would be, I cannot imagine our lives without little Joshua now that he is here. He has totally stolen our hearts and I am so in love with him! Every hurdle we have faced with labour and recovery has been worth it all for the joy he has brought to our family.

So, this little boy's entry into the world began on Sunday 16th October when my waters broke at 5:30am. I was a little surprised as I was actually only 39 weeks pregnant and the other two boys arrived pretty much dead on 41 weeks each. So with a two week difference, Joshua clearly wanted to be born in Devon whilst we've been staying with my parents!
Unlike the other two labours though, this one took its time getting started and I only really began feeling gentle tightenings around lunchtime that Sunday. They weren't anything groundbreaking but we kept an eye on them and by 3pm we were invited into hospital to just monitor the baby. (Once your waters break, you're normally given a 24hr time frame to deliver naturally before being induced as the risk of infection is much higher.)

Once we arrived at hospital and had been shown to our birthing suite, things pretty much started getting going from that point. As I was the only woman in the labour ward that afternoon (and whole night as it turned out) I was given full reign of the facilities and offered use of the birthing pool alongside quick access to the anaesthesiologist if I wanted to have an epidural. Things were super relaxed at that point and I mentally unwound just knowing that we were where we needed to be. I got myself changed into a nightie and tried to keep on my feet as much as possible as I know gravity can be a great friend in helping labour progress. We then just waited out the early contractions until I really felt they had revved up quite a bit by early evening. 
I remember feeling like I was in established labour and, comparing the pain level I had to my other boys' labours, I was certain that I must have been at least half way there by this point. However, when they checked me, I was only 2cm dilated and a sense of anxiety came over me for the first time. I felt a bit disappointed that the pain was so great considering my labour wasn't even officially 'established' yet.

We decided to trial using gas and air around about this point as I really just wanted a distraction! Having never properly used it before, I was quite dubious about it to begin with but my word, the stuff is good! I can't really even describe it but somehow it just puts a mental distance between you and the pain of contractions and blurrs the worst of it. It also has the side effect of making you feel like you've had a few too many of the vino's so it was actually quite funny getting used to it. I would say my usual social filter vanished once I started using gas and air and I just began speaking whatever was on my mind without a care for what sense it made! Amazing stuff though- I am now definitely a convert to gas & air during labour!

Somewhat surprisingly, I soon found myself really tiring and the pain was getting more and more intense. We decided to push ahead and opted to have an epidural in the hopes that we could get some rest and relief for a while. The anaesthetist was called and quickly appeared and, at that point it was as though an angel had walked through the door! The whole procedure went really smoothly, I didn't feel any pain whilst the epidural was set up and within half an hour I was beginning to notice a loss in sensation. It was sweet relief to say the least!

Before too long I was totally pain free and able to completely relax and rest. I was really exhausted by this point as I think my body had been working away for over 12 hours, preparing for labour to really get going. I just tried to sleep where I could!
However, by 10pm it was clear that the labour wasn't really progressing quickly enough. This can be a side effect of epidurals and so I was given a bit longer to see if I could get closer to 10cm dilated on my own. By midnight there were growing concerns that my uterus was tiring from the labour and that again, it just wasn't progressing fast enough. I was induced at this point and that did the trick to speed everything up so that by 2am we were ready to deliver!

I think it was really fortunate that in my previous births I had no pain relief because, whilst I was totally numb, I still knew how to deliver the baby and I could still feel a tightening sensation with each contraction which indicated to me when I needed to push. Totally painlessly, baby Joshua was born at 2.13am Monday 17th and weighed a healthy 8lb 3oz- we instantly fell head over heels in love with our perfect little boy!

Since Joshua's birth he has been thriving and doing so well! He's so content between feeds and I feel like this has been a much easier first two weeks with a newborn than I ever remember with the other boys. Somehow he has slotted right into our family dynamic and it just feels as though he always was here. A couple of days ago he was weighed and has made it back up to his original birth weight which is fab! I've been combination feeding once more and it's working brilliantly to just top him up after breastfeeds.

In terms of the baby, I couldn't have asked for a better start with a newborn. He has done amazingly well and I am so proud of him for putting up with the constant prodding and poking of his eager older brothers who are equally besotted! Noah and Jonah have totally welcomed him into our fold and as a parent, nothing makes you prouder than to see the love of our family expand and reach beyond ourselves! I feel like I'm very much in that babymoon phase where I am spending lots of quiet days feeding, cuddling and just savouring having a newborn again- Oh how I wish these days would never end!

Unfortunately, the only thing that has put a bit of a dampener on this experience has been my recovery third time around. My bladder distended during labour and we discovered it had stretched far beyond the normal maximum capacity for a bladder. We were told that it had distended by four times the max capacity and to be honest, we're lucky that it's still somewhat functional! Since the birth, I have had to wear a catheter to completely rest my bladder and not allow it to do any 'work' for a while. We've spent a lot of time in and out of hospital, having tests and trying to get to the bottom of the problem. I'm really hopeful that I will make a full recovery in time but I suppose with these things there are never any guarantees. 

Mentally it has been really REALLY tough and has made the physical recovery from birth a lot harder than the others. I haven't really been able to leave the house except for hospital appointments and so I've pretty much spent the last two weeks cosying up with my new babe and just trying to savour and enjoy the newborn stage as much as I can! Being forced to take it easy has actually made a lovely excuse for spending a few extra days in bed cuddling and feeding Joshua and to be honest, I wish I made more of an effort to 'do nothing' with my other babies and to not rush back to normality so fast! These days are so precious and so fleeting too!

Despite the complications, Joshua's birth was an incredible experience that I would go through all over again in an instant! He's been such a ray of light, especially for me during these difficult early days. I just love him to pieces and I'm so grateful and proud to have been blessed with another son! :)



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