Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Danny - one week on; the story so far

Now it's been a week, and we've been able to catch our breath a little, I can tell the story of the last seven days. 
Olga's waters broke around 2.30am, after an evening of persistent backache, which stopped around 10pm while watching TV in bed, and there was no panic, in fact there was relief that at last now something was definitely going to happen. It was interesting how you don't feel tired at 3am when there is a great reason to be awake at that time. I made us tea and toast, checked the hospital bags, and put the TV on in the bedroom, and at 4.30am, when contractions were happening every 10 minutes or so, Olga decided she should get in the bath. We'd been advised by Olga's midwife that the first thing the birth centre staff would suggest when we rang up to say her waters had broken would be "take some paracetemol and have a warm bath", so Olga did that before we made that call. I occupied myself with keeping a supply of tea going, preparing a birth plan and printing out some breathing exercises for Olga, really as a reminder to me from the time when Lara was born. In the end we didn't use the birth plan or the breathing exercises!
We decided that the best thing for Lara was to keep her day as normal as possible, as we didn't know what the timings would be, so we woke her up at 6.45am, and other that her surprise that Olga was (still!) in the bath, her morning was normal and I took her to nursery. I was careful that she didn't notice that after I dropped her off, I took her carseat and an overnight bag back into the nursery, and explained the situation to the staff. We had previously arranged that Lara would go to her friend Zoe's house if needed when Junior arrived, so Zoe's dad would pick her up at the end of the day, and she'd have her first sleepover.
When I returned home at 8am, Olga was out of the bath and slightly deflated, as the contractions had stopped after peaking at 7-8 minute intervals. Perhaps 3 hours in the bath had been too relaxing. In an effort to restart things, we took the dogs for a brisk walk, and decided at 9.10am that she should call Stoke Mandeville hospital to report that her waters had broken, and to see what their advice was. They suggested going to the birth centre at Wycombe hospital for a check up, and if labour hadn't started by the next morning, she'd have to go to Stoke Mandeville to be induced. Going to Wycombe birth centre made good sense, so we had a little more breakfast then headed there at 10am.  They made some cursory examinations and decided that there was nothing really they could do proactively yet, and that Olga should go home and try the usual techniques of staying active and mobile, and bouncing around on our exercise ball. They did book her in with Stoke Mandeville for 8am the next morning to be induced, just in case.
We were home again by 11am, and Olga alternated between brisk exercise and reclining on our easy chair, and around 1pm the contractions started again, with irregular intervals between 7 and 15 minutes. By 4.15pm they were starting to be regular at 6 minutes, and after calling the nursery to explain to Lara over the phone that she'd be going home with Zoe, we deployed the TENS machine at 5.45pm to help Olga with the discomfort. I walked the dogs alone at 6pm, then at 6.30pm Olga called Stoke Mandeville again to tell them that the contractions were regular at 6 minutes and had been for two hours. She was asked if she was coping OK, and to call back in 30-60 minutes. By 7pm it was clear that things were definitely happening, and she called back to say we were on our way. We left home at 7.15pm for the 30 minute drive.
Upon our arrival at the hospital, we were still expecting to go to the birth centre rather then the maternity unit, but the first midwife we met told us that because it had been more then 18 hours since Olga's waters had broken, then she couldn't use the birth centre. This confused us slightly, as we worked it out as 17 1/2 hours since her waters had broken, but we didn't really make a fuss, and we presumed they meant that by the time baby would be born, it would be beyond their 18-hour cut off for PROM (Premature Rupture of Membrane). Each hospital, it turns out, have their own rules about this, and Stoke seem to have the most strict time limit, designed to reduce the risk of infection to the unborn baby once the protective membrane has been broken. Olga would need to be put on an IV antibiotic drip for 2 hours before delivery, and we were ushered to room 9, which was slighty less homely than the room Olga had given birth to Lara in at Wycombe hospital.
The first midwife we saw asked lots of simliar questions that had been asked at Wycombe that morning, and on the phone to Stoke earlier, and it was a little frustrating to have to repeat the answers. Olga was put on continuous monitoring, started on gas & air at 9.05pm then there was a shift change at 9.15pm, which meant more delay in getting the IV drip set up. It wasn't until 10pm that we were able to establish that it was OK for Olga to move off the hosptial bed and onto an exercise ball, and Olga noticed that that seemed to speed the labour process up, the contractions getting closer together, often with two contractions merging into one, as can be seen from this sneaky photo I took of her monitoring results at 10.20pm - you can see the change in the contractions when she changed position at 10pm in the lower line:

The antibiotics IV was finally connected at 10.15pm, and by 11pm Olga knew that Junior's arrival was imminent, and was very very ready to push. She had to ask twice to be examined by the midwife, who slightly fobbed her off the first time without examining her, until Olga was rather more insistent. She moved onto the bed soon after 11pm, and I was given the big job of pushing the button to call in a second midwife when I was told to.  Olga was magnificent in coping and doing what she needed to do, and Danny arrived at 11.20pm, Olga's first words when I told her he was here was "I don't believe it!" But no, there he was, crying his little lungs out. He stopped crying after 2 minutes, and to date that's the longest period he's cried for! He was weighed and cleaned up, then Olga had a cuddle with the as-yet unnamed Danny, and I managed to squeak out a quick post for Baba Luda to read, and we texted Lucy and called my mum to spread the happy news.
The paediatrician gave us our options regarding monitoring Danny. As Olga had not been on antibiotics for 2 hours prior to delivery (hardly Olga's fault), they would like to test Danny's blood for infections, and put him on antibiotics just in case. This would involve keeping him and Olga in hospital for 3 days at least. Alternatively they could just monitor his temperature for 24 hours and if they were happy, then he could be discharged. We went for this option, after confirming that the 24 hours started from his delivery time.
Olga and Danny were moved to the labour ward at 2.15am, and after nearly getting lost in the hospital, I got home at 3am.
In the morning I called Zoe's dad to ask him if he'd take Lara to nursery with Zoe, which was no problem (the girls had behaved very well, but there was a disturbed night not least due to a 3-hour coughing fit by poor Lara). Visiting hours for family were between 11am and 1pm, so I called the nursery and told the staff the good news, and asked them to keep it a secret from Lara - we wanted her to find out about her brother only as she met him!
That morning Olga had put her foot down with the doctors that so long as Danny's temperature was OK, they'd be leaving that night. The staff didn't want to discharge them at night ("not what we normally do") but Olga stood her ground and they agreed she could leave at midnight.
I went to pick Lara up at 10.30am, and it was only as I parked the car at the hospital did the penny drop, with Lara asking "Why are we here? Did the Doctors get Mama'a baby out?" We went to meet him, and Lara just wanted to hold him, hug him and give him big kisses. The nursery had lent me their camera, and I took some photos of Lara with Danny (oh, it was at this point at which Olga and I decided on his name!) which the nursery staff printed out later that afternoon. I spent the afternoon after dropping Lara back at nursery letting the world know via email, facebook and the blog.
In the evening we took a four pack of beer round to Zoe's dad as a thank-you, and Lara went to sleep at 8pm, ready for me to wake her at 11pm for the trip to collect Olga and Danny.
We were home by 1.15am, and Danny had a feed, we put Lara to bed, and Olga and I just relaxed for half an hour, before going to bed at 2.30am:


Olga's comment the next morning was that "Danny was the quietest one in the house last night", between my snoring, Lara's cough and dog's crying (they sensed there was a stranger in the house). He slept very well, only waking for a feed at 6.30am.
One strange this was the length of his nails! Considering he was 2 weeks early, they were already in need of filing down, a job Olga took on on Wednesday:

He's a very relaxed boy, his days are spent sleeping and eating, and only cries when his nappy is changed, and only then it's very brief. He did cry during his bath on Saturday when Lara helped out for the first time:

On Saturday afternoon we met up with our friend Chris in our local pub, with Danny at the grand old age of 3 days, 17 hours and 5 minutes. And Lara likes her new ride-on board for Danny's pram, it's funny how quickly her legs get tired now when we're out walking, so she can ride on the pram:

Thanks Chris for taking our first proper family photograph:

On Monday I had some work to do in the morning, so I did some "worksitting" in the office, while Olga had some pamper time and a rest:

His facial expressions make us giggle all the time, the same with all babies I suppose, but hey, they're still worth recording!:

I couldn't resist a bargain in the shops a couple of weeks ago, and I got him this snow leopard warm suit; we had joked that lovely warm spring weather would accompany his arrival and he'd never wear it, but it's been worn a few times already:

One more funny face :-)

Here's a little compilation of his video highlights so far:

Today (Tuesday 20th) the big news was his umbilical cord fell off, so he's got his cute belly button. This also means I'm happy to join in changing nappies, something Olga had been happy for me to pass on whilst we had to be careful of it, I'm a bit clumsy with things like that.
He's feeding well, and modern technology means that Olga records his feeds using an Android app on her phone (Feed Baby Pro) which means she can tell at a glance when his last feed was, how long it was for and which tap was serving the drinks. It'll produce graphs and everything!  We used another app to record her contractions - we are a bit geeky!
Last night he went for four hours between 2am and 6am without a feed, if he keeps that up, we'll all be happy.
Aunty Lucy is coming to visit on Thursday, and Grandma is coming down at the weekend, so there'll be much coo-ing going on.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to record all this while it was still vaguely fresh in my mind - it'll make interesting reading in 10 years!
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