Giving birth to an actual baby - what's it really like?
Heat’s editor in chief Lucie Cave has been blogging about her pregnancy journey and now she’s finally given birth – here’s how it went..
Hello! I’m still here! I’ve made it through to the other side! I am now officially a mother (or 'muvva' if I'm trying to pretend I'm street). The fact that it’s taken me over a month to write this latest blog is proof that – just as everyone warned me - my brain has now turned into a vegetable. Yet I’ve somehow created a small human being. His name's Ridley Roger Lunt. He says hi.
Ridley Roger... or as Ben has been calling him: 'R2D2'
Little Ridley Lunt loving life...
Like many mums to be, I had such well-thought-out plans about how my labour would go – it was going to be a dream of hypo-birthing, calming music and easy breathing. Contractions? Pah! They’d be nothing. My son was going to be born swimming gently out of my vajajay with no pain whatsoever. It was going to be dreamy.
Well, it was indeed one helluva dream. Because like most things to do with having a baby – nothing ever goes according to plan. And while I’ve got friends who have hypno-birthed and popped their sprogs out in a haze of ecstacy, that didn’t quite happen to me (although I did enlist the help of an amazing hypno-birthing teacher called Lysia and thanks to her, I managed to enter the whole experience feeling very zen and slightly less sh*t-scared).
I won’t bore/gore you with every single birthing detail (as I don't want to put anyone off what is, without a doubt, one of the most incredible, surreal, amazing and life changing experiences) but I will say, I was in hospital the best part of a week. They tried to induce the labour which resulted in an emergency C-section because I was losing too much blood.
I then couldn’t walk for days, was forced to live in thick white socks to prevent deep vein thrombosis, and was attached to a catheter – because I had apparently lost the ability to wee on my own (although there's something quite liberating about not having to bother walking to the loo…).
But Ridley arrived in one piece, with my downstairs department is still intact. So for that, I am most thankful. And I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learnt since popping out a baby.
Pretend your hospital is a hotel
I was in St Thomas’s Hospital and given a room looking out at THIS. At one point I was so enamoured with the view I toyed with calling the baby Cameron or Corbyn, Parliament and Thames… (and that was before any drugs kicked in).
It helps if your husband can keep you entertained
Ben took props to the hospital...
When Robbie Williams posted videos of his wife Ayda’s second birth to his son Charlton I remember thinking: 'If that was my husband I'd have lumped him one'. And while Ben didn’t have a song to plug like Robbie, he did somehow manage to sneak a Chewbacca mask and a selfie stick into my hospital bag instead.
He also kept himself amused with various hospital props...
Ben raided the nurses 'prop' cupboard...
The midwives are so nice they will probably make you cry
Midwives are saints. I applaud each and every one of them and can’t thank mine enough for putting up with my neurosis, worries and wibbles throughout my whole pregnancy - patiently answering any question I had from ‘Is my baby moving?’ to ‘Can I wear nail varnish to the hospital?’ (Actually a valid question because you're meant to have your nails clear incase they need to check oxygen levels in emergency surgery. I still got a manicure before the big day though. And a spray tan).
You will probably cry at everything
Even the most calm, level headed ladies will have the attack of the hormones about 24 hours after having a baby. I wept uncontrollably in the postnatal ward...after Ben fed me a bowl of Weetabix.
Contractions are sumthin' else
In the run up to my labour I became majorly obsessed with knowing what contractions would be like and kept quizzing everyone I met who’d ever had a baby. ‘It’s like doing the biggest most aggressive poo’ said one. ‘It’s like the worst period pain ever’ was another description… while most agreed it was like something you’ve never experienced in your life and just couldn't be put into words. And they were right. What started out as waves of discomfort and me convincing myself 'I can do this’ soon became an avalanche of intensity that made me shout 'Give me drugs NOW!!' (At one point I reached over for the gas and air only to see Ben semi-conscious on the chair, hogging it all)
Your baby might look like an alien when you first meet him/her
Bless his little heart but Ridley was yanked from my insides so quickly he looked like he'd had an electric shock when he first entered the big wide world. I now realize all babies look the same when they come out - and it's not until they've had time to adjust and had a bit of sleep that their little faces take shape. And they seem to change and develop every single day after that. It's also impossible to stop staring at them and marvelling at how one severely drunken night at New Year could create such a perfect little human...
Your bump will NOT miraculously disappear afterwards
This bump wasn't going anywhere fast...
Even when Kate Middleton came out of the hospital post-birth there was still an obvious lump under her dress where Princess Charlotte had been (and now having been through birth I cannot imagine how she could be arsed to get made-up and wave to a load of strangers outside the hospital).
And while people did warn me the baby bump doesn't just go the second a kid has come out of it, what I didn't realise was that it would look exactly the same - as hard and bulging as before! There was literally no sign whatsoever that a baby had come out of it. Only now, four weeks in it’s only just starting to get smaller. And that's with the help of some serious squashing-in pants from jojomamanbebe.co.uk. So don't think you'll be saying goodbye to any of those maternity clothes for a while...
Breastfeeding is bloody hard work AND the pressure to do it will drive you insane
If anyone was to ask me what the most stressful thing about having a baby was it wouldn't be the birth. It wouldn't even be lack of sleep. It would be the pressure from the breastfeeding brigade that you have to have a baby attached to your boob otherwise you're not doing your job properly. I found it bloody hard - sometimes Ridley wants tit and other times he's not interested. And it got to the point that I just needed to make sure he was feeding so didn't care how he got it. So I have given him bottle and boob and I'm expressing like a cow in a milk factory - complete with an actual breast pumping bra. I am doing what's called muddling through and it's not easy (not helped by the fact Ben keeps trying to take pictures of my udders at work to put on social media...)
Sadly, this is not even a joke...
Leaving your husband looking after the baby might result in this…
Taking fatherhood seriously...
Your first drink will be amazing
Who knew such a thing as ‘wine tasting for mums’ existed in the world? Well it does, and it means you’re allowed to drink at noon on a Tuesday. And your baby can sit and watch (not that mine was very impressed)
Wine tasting for mums at Bottle Apostle in Clapham.. not so exciting for the kids..
You will inevitably become a baby bore on Facebook… Both Ben and I told ourselves we’d never be ‘one of those people’ who take picture after picture of their kid and post them online. But you can’t bloody help it. Especially when there's a whole world of things you can dress them up in..