Some other loss mums have said to me they weren’t ready for a really long time to try again. For us we didn’t want to wait to extend our family. With Alfie it was a long journey to conceive and we were unsure how long it just might be to become pregnant with her brother or sister.
The naivety and innocence of my pregnancy with Alfie is something that will never be again and I became well aware of this while carrying Archibald, Alfie’s little brother. With each day that passed, bringing me closer to term, the anxiousness of the wait and the worry got a little worse. I was very focused on remaining calm and loving on our precious cargo. I had mixed feelings…being pregnant again made me feel close to Alfie although she was not physically with me…I was so excited for the arrival of our second child. As his impending arrival drew nearer I thought of how ecstatic I would feel at hearing his first cry and I knew too that I would be holding my breath until I heard it. I was also aware that my elation at the birth of our rainbow may be mixed with feelings of both joy and sadness. I approached this with acceptance and awareness but also knowing that this too is unknown.
Before Alfie was born we talked about a home birth for our second child but for us we felt it was no longer even an option. We were reluctant to follow the same birthing regimen as last time and I was much more willing to accept any necessary intervention. Whatever was to keep our baby safe and out of harm’s way. I look back and feel that the advice we followed and believed in with Alfie didn’t allow for “her” safety on the whole but rather for our peace of mind that we were providing the best and most calm birthing environment for her. I kept a completely holistic approach believing that my body would deliver when my baby was ready but forgot that my head was part of my body and perhaps didn’t listen to my intuitive thoughts.
My head and my heart called the shots this time around. I still believe in having a natural and positive birthing environment but had no expectations for an idealistic birthing plan. Rather one that is safest and modified based on my baby’s needs. Not what I “hope” to achieve based on preconceived notions of how it should be.
I was monitored very closely this time round and we had regular scans and I felt confident to ask for the care my baby deserved. Strangely there were occasions where I still struggled to speak up. At these times I said to myself “Claire, if a mother contacted you worried or otherwise, saying she felt the need to see her doctor. You would tell her, do not wait. Go in. You’re not wasting anybody’s time.” I had to learn to digest my own advice and I followed it.
I monitored movements this time round and felt so much relief and a great deal of closeness to Archie in doing so. It provided me with the reassurance I needed, to know wholeheartedly that he was ok. If anything felt different I didn’t ask someone else “is this normal?” This time round I was asking the question of myself and when I felt the need went in to be monitored by CTG or ultrasound.
Archie was breech and kept spinning around. This time around I was aware that all of his spinning in the same direction could lead to a knot in his cord and if I suddenly went to labour given that he was the wrong way round, although relatively rare, could cause a cord prolapse. At 36 & a half weeks our little boy was head down and partially engaged and we didn’t want to take the chance of letting things run their course. Given that Alfie was birthed naturally we hoped for natural delivery once again. I was booked into hospital for gels but expected that Archibald would likely be birthed via cesarean section. 5 hours into labour I thought “this is the same pain I had with Alfie for 2 weeks, looks like it will be a c-section”. I asked for some pain relief and was given an epidural. 30 minutes later the epidural was just starting to alleviate some pain. I was due for another check and the midwife, lifting my bedding, looked and said “oh, that’s a big show. You’re having this baby now, um let me call your doctor and get him to hurry”. Within 10 minutes our obstetrician arrived. I burst into tears of joy and fear, I looked at Brad and stammered “I’m scared”. 15 minutes later our little boy slipped into this world with three pushes (just like his sister) and he let out a perfectly timed cry.
Archibald Lloyd Foord-Heath was born on the 9th of April 2015. He was and is entirely perfect and the first place we took him after leaving the hospital was to see his sister.
Written by Claire Foord