So, Dante Joth Pigott came to join us on March 31st at 1.02pm.
I had spent the evening before sitting on the birth ball and popping my homeopathic pills as I was beginning to get fed up with this pregnancy lark. Lucas had been pretty ill with his asthma though for the couple of days before that and we were watching him like a hawk so I’m glad I didn’t go into labour earlier.
I felt some contractions about 4am and started walking around but they didn’t get stonger and I just got knackered so I went back to bed from 6-8. I was still having some contractions when I woke but I knew it would come to nothing with the kids around so I started ringing their friends and had them all out of the house by 9.30 when the midwife arrived. The boys went to R&As and Oscar’s parting words were “Great! Hope it takes a while mum.” Thanks Oscar. Anton went round to K’s as I thought it could be part of our exchange with her daughter E looking after him but it turns out E was ill so K locked E in her room (knowing I’d worry or cancel) and then looked after him hersel from 9.30 until 2pm, giving him lunch and even a “pink bath” according to Anton!
Mandy was the midwife on duty which was great as I’ve seen a lot of her and she’s great. She’s got five children of her own, is very down to earth, doesn’t interfere and is also very funny. The combination of her and my lovely doula was a perfect one. The doula came round at about 11pm. She must have been cooking in between (as usual) as she arrived with all sorts of snacks ready that were perfect. She’s also extremely good at back massage.
The contractions were getting pretty strong by 12 but they were still about 6-7 minutes apart and the midwife said it could go on for a long time as where the baby’s waters were positioned meant that the the pressure wasn’t even so she suggested breaking my waters. She did this at 12.30 and things got pretty intense after that. They really don’t call it labour for nothing. I got in the water at 12.45 and my doula, bless her, got in her swimming cossie to get in with me to carry on rubbing my back. It’s funny how far away you get from knowing where anyone is or what anyone else is doing. I just thought of her as an extension of myself somehow and I just remember being glad Joth has strong arms to hold on to and me saying that I couldn’t do it and then somehow my body took over and Dante was born.
I held him in the water and just as with Anton and Lucas who were also born in the water, he was pretty blue (apparently they don’t know they’ve been born yet) and the midwife was trying to rub him with a towel to make him cry but he wasn’t having any of that crying lark. I just knew he was fine anyway. I do love the fact that after a water birth you can just sit in the water which is the perfect temperature for him and me and hold him and there is no clearing up or distraction for that first half hour or so after which I got out for a natural third stage.
It felt very strange to give birth to Dante during the day. Anton’s birth was so peaceful happening in the middle of the night with candles burning, no midwives busy writing notes and no phone going but having said that we did all manage (midwives and doulas included) to have a full nights sleep before it all which was quite something.
Joth went to collect Anton from K’s and the boys arrived back at about 2pm. The boys are thrilled with their new brother, including Anton who seems fine with the whole idea so far. That is my main concern of course and I’m very keen to keep things as calm and “normal” as possible for them all but particularly for Anton.
I put Anton to bed that night as usual and he woke up a bit earlier than he usually does so I went to him and got him back to sleep. Luckily it was one of the periods of the night when Dante was asleep! I’m still feeding Anton last thing at night which is such a quick reliable way of calming him down and I can guarantee to have him asleep in 5 minutes which can be so useful! As far as the feeding goes I didn’t think Anton was actually getting much milk but now I don’t know whether it means that Dante isn’t getting the usual colostrum and is getting some sort of funny mix! He seems fine on it though and has got the hang of it all fine. The only thing that isn’t so fine is that when I feed, particularly in the evenings (which might be feeding Anton aswell as Dante) it’s causing the most massive after pains (which apparently get worse with the number of children you have.) It was excruciating tonight and considering I didn’t have any pain relief for labour and can’t remember the last time I’ve taken any drugs I’m now taking several doses of Paracetamol. The pain feels like strong contractions with accompanied uncontrollable shivering (like shock). Horrible. Anyway, I’m just imagining how it will shrink my stomach area back to pre-children size and that would take some contractions believe me.
Today went pretty well as a first day with a new baby. He’s been a treasure, very calm and looking around him more and more as the day has progressed. All three boys are so keen to cuddle him all the time. I simply couldn’t get uptight about when he’s sleeping even if I wanted to (although I have made sure he has had times of uninterrupted sleep) but I dare say it will mean he gets used to night and day more quickly. I had some time with both Lucas and Anton individually today which felt precious. Lucas stayed with Dante and I while Joth took Anton to Oscar’s Cameratini’s (string group) concert and Lucas had the most lovely long wide awake cuddle with Dante who then fell asleep on him for ages while I wrote most of this. It brought tears to my eyes seeing how much Lucas loved it.
Then later on Oscar and Lucas went to Wushu and Dante obligingly fell asleep while I gave Anton a bath. We had a lot of fun with bubble wands and later Dante stayed asleep while I brushed Anton and Oscars hair with the nit comb (which I do just to check and also because it makes their hair shiny and Anton loves it!) and then I read to Anton and put him to bed. Perfect. Except that I’m knackered. And it hurt. And that Lucas also wanted a special treat evening but by the time I’d got Anton to sleep they were all asleep too. Luc has bought saved some Pick and Mix sweets he had bought a week ago and wanted to share with us while watching something together . Shame. It feels so important to get it right for all of them. Any cross words or disappointments just feel heightened. I feel Lucas has been a bit tearful anyway recently. I don’t think it’s baby connected (quite apart from the fact that he’s been so looking forward to his arrival) as it seems to have been going on for a few weeks. I’m wondering whether he’s not been 100% for a while. At the moment he’s all eyes and pale skin after his cold and asthma attack. I just want to make everything right for him. He graded in Wushu tonight and did his form but made a mistake and got tearful. He passed anyway because it’s based on the work he’s done not the night itself. He didn’t want to talk about it later.
Friends have been wonderful today sending endless messages and we’ve had flowers, Champagne, chocolate on the doorstep where our doula had also left a wonderful basket of homemade food: soup, pasta sauce, cake, wine and a phone call offering cleaning or shopping or any help. It really does make the world go round, as I just want to be able to do the same for someone else when you experience how good it can make on how you feel.
I’m just glad it is the Easter holidays so I can at least feel more relaxed about not doing all the home ed stuff and just focus on learning how to be a bigger family once I’ve got my breath back. I haven’t even felt like I could stand up straight today and there is such a strange “empty” feeling physically after you’ve had a baby. I feel like I’ve had the stuffing knocked out of me but then of course the over-riding feeling is relief that it has all gone so well and joy that he is so unutterably lovely. Joth has had another reaction – a massive allergic reaction, hopefully not to Dante, but we think it’s a reaction to the release of stress (and lack of adrenaline that stress causes that usually dampen his allergies) but he is sneezing away like anything and making his mark on every video we are taking.