As all of you know, we have recently welcomed Arthur into our little family. One thing I was worried about when I was pregnant was upsetting our daughter Maisie, who is 7, or making her feel like we were trying to replace her in some way. I was also really worried that an age gap of 7 years was too much as it had just been James, Maisie and I for so long! I thought I would write this post and include some of the things we did to help with welcoming a baby into the family when you have other children.
Involve your other children in your pregnancy
I think this one goes without saying. I think it’s really important to involve any siblings in your pregnancy from the beginning. We told Maisie about Arthur as soon as we found out – although watch out with this one as it might not be a secret for long! There were lots of ways Maisie was able to be involved in the pregnancy, such as coming to scans and Midwife appointments, shopping to help choose things for the baby and helping to choose the name.
Don’t pressure them to touch your bump if they don’t want to, I let Maisie know she could feel the baby when she wanted and she came to me to ask when she felt ready. I was always available to talk to if she wanted to ask any questions and she took everything in her stride.
My first pregnancy and birth in 2011 was a completely different experience to this one. My body has changed so much since then and being plus size and pregnant has been somewhat of a challenge as I documented in my pregnancy diaries. That said, I had quite a positive birth this time and I wanted to share my birth story with you on the blog!
Before it began
Throughout my pregnancy, there was concern over the size of our baby. I was initially told that I had been referred to consultant led care because of my BMI, but as the weeks went on it became clear due to the fact that my little girl had been born small (6lb 3oz) at full term, they were concerned for this baby too. I want to point out here that I had no complications throughout my pregnancy relating to my weight. My GDD test came back fine and I didn’t suffer with any sort of pain. I only had regular check ups and scans at the hospital to check whether Arthur was growing properly. From these scans towards the end of my pregnancy, it was identified that Arthur was not progressing in growth as much as they would like. By week 35 he had dropped from the 10th centile to just below the 5th and the doctor made it clear that I would probably have to be induced. At 37 weeks and 2 days I had my final growth scan, Arthur had grown but he was still below the 10th centile, so the Doctor said he recommended that I have an induction as soon as possible.
I just want to say that this was not what I wanted. I had not only heard and read stories about how terrible inductions can be, but I really wanted to go into labour naturally. I had with Maisie and this was what I wanted again. I knew that as my pregnancy was high risk, I wouldn’t be allowed to go to hospital to be induced and then return home, I would have to stay in and this was also a concern for me as I didn’t want to disrupt my 7 year old daughters routine too much and have her worrying because I was in hospital for days on end. I was booked in for my induction on Sunday 4th November. I was told that the hospital would call me when they had a bed available for me to go in.
Sunday started as any other would. I got up and had breakfast and then James and I tuned into the Leeds United Match that afternoon. Just as the game was about to kick off my phone rang, it was the Midwife from the hospital, she wasn’t calling me in she was just checking in to tell me that they hadn’t forgotten about me. Around half way through the game, my phone rang again and this time the Midwife said there was a bed for me. We gathered my things and Maisie’s too for her stay at her Grandparent’s for the duration and then my Father in Law picked us up and drove us to the hospital.
I had tried my best to prepare Maisie for the fact that I might be in hospital for a while as I was so sure that I would be one of those unlucky ones whose labour takes days to begin. Leaving her in the car when we arrived at the hospital was really hard as she was really upset. I think she would have found it easier if I’d gone into labour naturally, at least to her then something would be happening and the baby would be on it’s way.
We arrived at around 4pm, found the ward at Pinderfields hospital and I was shown to my bed. After getting comfortable the Midwife came and explained the process of induction to me. She then left us for a while and went off to get things prepared. Some time later, she returned and congratulated me on how well I had done to not put any weight on during my pregnancy. I rolled my eyes, how annoying! I had only not put any weight on because I’d been so ill throughout! Already the focus was on my weight! I was then asked to lay on the bed whilst I was hooked up to a monitor whilst they checked Arthur to see how he was. It was so strange that once hooked up I started to get small cramps which would build up and go, something I hadn’t had at all throughout my pregnancy, even the midwife asked if that was happening. The monitoring was fine and once I had been on the machine for an hour the midwife came to check my cervix.