18 months of being blog free and life has changed somewhat. I’ve had two new jobs, Carolyn has started a new job, Iris has started school, Anna has become part-teenager despite only being 7 and Wilbur has arrived – our daft kitten who is sat across my arms as I type. Quite a busy time for all of us.
Oh and Archie. Of course when I was stopped the blog last year Carolyn was pregnant. We were making the leap from two to three. We didn’t know what to expect really. Plenty of people around us thought it was great idea but many more pulled the face that people with two children pull when they contemplate adding another child into the mix. Do you really want to go back to sleepless nights and the chaos that a baby brings? The girls weren’t old (3 and 5 when Archie arrived) but we were certainly through the hardest times. But we were confident that one more was exactly what we needed. Realistically how hard could it be?
Carolyn and I are so incredibly fortunate that we are able to basically fall pregnant just by thinking about it (there is a little more to it but we don’t need to discuss that here). So as with the girls we worked out when we wanted out new baby to arrive and 9 months before we put the plan in action. We decided that we wanted our baby to be born in September as we were keen for them to be old in their year at school but not be too close to the girls birthdays (I appreciate how lucky we are to be so particular!). Sure enough Carolyn was pregnant soon after this conversation. But our calculations were a little out – at the dating scan they gave us a due date of August 27th. We weren’t worried however. Both girls were late with Iris needing to be induced and then still not wanting to come out (we didn’t realise at the time that she would never work on anything but “Iris time” but that is a story for another day…). We continued through a complicated pregnancy simply happy to get through to the other side and sure enough his due date arrived.
I say “his” because by this point we knew what we were having a boy. This was mainly due to us being impatient and wanting to know as soon as possible but also due to the fact that Carolyn had so many scans that we couldn’t have avoided finding out what he was! At one scan the sonographer turned on the screen, popped on the probe and immediately said “Woo! That’s quite a view to start with!” – there was no escaping it. But before this when Carolyn was around 17 weeks we booked a private scan to find out the sex and also so we had a scan we could take the girls to. The pregnancy was pretty tricky so we didn’t ever want to take them to the hospital for a scan when we were not sure what was going to be said. So Anna wanted a little brother and Iris wanted a little sister. Carolyn had the scan and we showed the girls Archie’s balls on the huge tv screen (which is a weird way to meet anyone for the first time) and explained they were going to have a little brother. Anna was ecstatic and commented on how big his balls were. I had to explain that the 60 inch TV was making them look a little bigger than they really were. Iris however burst into tears “But I wanted to be a big sister…!” It hadn’t occurred to us until this point that the reason Iris wanted it to be a girl was because she thought that she could only be a big sister if she had a little sister! We promptly reassured her that she would still be the baby’s big sister. She wasn’t totally convinced.
Anyway back to his due date. We were so confident that he wouldn’t come that we took the kids swimming and then took Anna and Iris to a friends’ birthday party. We even took along one of their friends too. Yes we knew that people said that the more children you have the faster they come. But Iris had taken about two weeks so it was unlikely to be that different wasn’t it? After the party we went over the road to our friends house for dinner. We put the girls to bed for a “half sleepover”. A half sleepover is when we put the girls to bed and I carry them home wrapped in a blanket when we have run out of wine. They rarely wake up and just sleep through until they find themselves in their own bed. But this time the half sleepover became a full sleepover. After we finished eating Carolyn had some cramps. Nothing major but certainly uncomfortable. That is what eating a Moroccan salad does to you I thought. I popped my hand on her tummy and dismissed this saying I couldn’t feel anything. I popped home to get the hospital bag just in case. In the short time I was gone the cramps… ok contractions were coming every 2 minutes. Carolyn had a sleepwalking Anna on top of her insisting she was carried back to bed by mummy. She had also bought two winter coats for Anna by accident. It would seem that online auction sites and labour are best kept separate. Our friend was on the phone to Carolyn’s mum who had phoned for a chat – she explained that Carolyn was a bit busy. We got in the car and set off for the hospital only then really accepting that this baby was coming. I drove all the way with Carolyn’s hand tightly gripped to mine which made changing gear tricky. I drove the back way to the hospital because I always do. Apparently the less bumpy way would have been the better option. On the way I briefly thought back to when the girls were born and remembered that childbirth wasn’t the most magical experience of your life. It was fucking horrible. Being in labour is probably pretty shit but watching it is awful.
So we arrived at the hospital, dashed up to delivery suite and it was heaving – in fact it was closed to new admissions. We were asked to wait in the waiting room where there were no seats and another pregnant lady had to move to let Carolyn sit down. Within about two minutes I realised that if we didn’t get a room soon Carolyn was going to have this baby in the waiting room. I went through to try to explain this well aware that every husband in that room felt their wife needed a room as soon as possible and they probably had all been through to say this. Luckily I bumped into someone I knew (This is inevitable having worked in the hospital for so long – Carolyn hasn’t had a labour yet where she doesn’t get introduced to someone whilst being naked from the waist down) who looked at me and instantly knew that we needed the next room. Within 5 minutes we were whisked through to the triage room where we were met by a midwife who had already delivered one baby since arriving on shift and was expertly prepping to deliver another. I remember looking at the clock and telling Carolyn that she had 50 minutes to deliver this baby because at midnight it was going to be our wedding anniversary and we didn’t want to celebrate it every year by hosting a child’s birthday party. She laughed at this. Which was lucky because it could have gone either way. And then 13 minutes later Archie was born. A swift and discreet assessment by the neonatal team followed (they were so slick and Archie was fortunate enough to not need their input for long that Carolyn didn’t realise they were even in the room!).
And there we were. Our third child. Or as I like to introduce him our “final child” (Perhaps I will share the details of this in another post!). Did we make the right choice? Absolutely. Has it been straight forward? Absolutely not. This has not been a calm and relaxing year. But it has been fun and rewarding and I have created another child to give me stories to share with you so it can’t be bad.
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Joe Ellis-Gage is a registered paediatric nurse who runs Mini First Aid Norfolk – a local company running first aid classes for parents, grandparents etc., first aid classes for children and Certified First Aid Qualifications (Full 12 Hour Paediatric First Aid, Emergency Paediatric First Aid and Emergency First Aid at Work for Schools etc.). For more information head to the Mini First Aid Norfolk website or Mini First Aid Norfolk on Facebook