As this blog is about my life at home with our three children, I decided to write a piece reminiscing about the birth of each of them. I’ve already done part 1 dealing with the birth of my eldest daughter, Tessa, which can be found under the Birth Stories section of this website. And here it number 2 – the story of little Tilly’s arrival ….
The transition from one little one to two. Tessa was two years eight months when Tilly joined us and made us a family of four in January 2015. Christmas had passed by, thankfully without an early birth (she was due in mid-Jan) and we were all set at the turn of the year. We’d read a few books with Tess about a new baby coming and explaining that she was going to be a big sister – our favourite was “What’s in your tummy Mummy?” by Sam Lloyd, although be a little wary when you read this with the old pregnancy hormones floating around as it references the growing bump and whether it’s a dinosaur by the end! “No dear, your bump is not ridiculously big and you look lovely!“. Tessa seemed ready and had enjoyed singing Jingle Bells to Mummy’s baby bump over the Christmas period – super cute!
We had got through that nervous bit around the due date where I was sat in the office with my mobile phone never leaving my sight in case I got the call, but, just like her big sister, Tilly was late – 8 days rather than Tessa’s 9, but still late. Karen began getting back pain and feeling uncomfortable in the night on Tuesday and so I worked from home the following morning. I was rushing round trying to get loose ends tied up and my leave notes updated whilst Karen soldiered on and Tess played like normal, oblivious to the major life event that was about to follow. After a while we rang my Mum to come and take Tess and Karen was still working through her contractions – birthing ball and tens machine on the go.
I don’t know why but everything seemed a lot calmer this time round. Maybe Karen knew a bit more about what to expect having been through it before and was more focussed. Maybe the fact we were in the daytime made a difference. That and the fact I was trying to finish off some work and was a little distracted, but we went through to the early evening doing ok. We went to the hospital around 6/7pm-ish I think and, given how long everything had taken with Tess, I was fairly calm and relaxed and saving my energy for what I expected to be the long haul. Karen was coping reasonably well and was in ‘the zone’, but at no point was I starting to feel panicked, that is, it didn’t feel really imminent by the time we arrived on the birthing unit. When we did arrive, it was nice to see a photo of us holding Tessa after she had been born on the noticeboard that we had sent in after she’d been born with a thank you card. Brought the memories back, although they can’t get many photos if we were still up after over two and half years!
Karen was working through her contractions and we were doing her breathing and then using gas and air. We’d said again we wanted to use the birthing pool and after a little while the midwives began the process of filling it and trying to get the temperature right. There was some kind of issue with the thermometer and it was taking a while to get to the right temperature (apparently sticking your hand or elbow in to test how hot it is doesn’t cut the mustard when a baby is being born). I was still biding my time thinking I needed to save energy for the hours ahead. Karen’s contractions were stronger and she was using the gas and air and I was helping with her breathing, but I really didn’t think the birth would be anytime soon. As time moved on Karen wanted to get in the pool, but it still wasn’t at the right temperature. A few different midwives came back and forth and we waited and waited until finally they got the temperature reading at the right level. In Karen went and only around ten or 15 minutes or so later, Tilly was born in the water. As Tommy Cooper would have said: “just like that” (if only I had a fez with me for the birth!). Unbelievable Jeff! 9:05pm and the job was done – much, much quicker than Tessa and I was barely ready to be holding the second amazing gift of life that we had been blessed with.
I think the speed of the birth this time was helped by not going in the pool too soon, but it was still a shock it all happened a lot faster. I think we were both shocked! But what another joyous moment for us both. Karen had been nails getting through it again and our second child was born. Once again we hadn’t found out the sex of the baby before she was born. Karen had (half-heartedly) tried to push me into it, but I’ve always been firm in my view that I wanted it to be a surprise each time. Not that I’m one for surprises generally, but I do like the idea of waiting for the birth to find out – almost as nature intended. Once again, I had to do a quick inspection to see it was another little girl, cementing my place firmly in the ‘Princess Making’ category of the Dads of Manchester and surrounding suburbs. I was chuffed to bits though and got a good long cuddle with my newest little best mate whilst Karen went through the afterbirth.
Tilly was our name and had a been the leading girl’s name from early on. Karen’s family have the name a few generations back and it was a good fit with Tessa. Happy days all round! Once everything was done, we had some time together and I was able to get them both settled before I headed off home for a night’s sleep, ready to tackle life as a father of two with vim and vigour the next day.
And here she is:
This time they stayed in one night only and I was able to pick them up and get them home the next day. Again, much quicker than first time round and it meant Tessa got to meet her little sister at home, rather than coming to the hospital. One tip we have always remembered was don’t go home too late in the day. If it means having one night in hospital, it’s worth it, no matter how keen you might be to get home. Going home in the dark, closer to your usual bedtime, can make things a little disorientating, particularly when there are further logistical bits and pieces to sort out before you finally get ready for bed – Is the Moses basket ready? Have you got everything you need by the bed? What other things need sorting out and so on. If you can head home in a morning, you have all day to get acclimatised and prepared and have that time to get organised and think things through whilst it’s still daytime and in daylight. It does make a difference and I’ve heard from other people who have gone home late at night that they feel they’ve then started on the backfoot.
It was lovely introducing Tessa to Tilly and she was very proud and attentive early doors, if not a little perplexed by the reality of it all. Tilly had bought her a present or two, so that was a good start and watching their relationship grow over the last 4 years has been really interesting, especially having been the middle child of a set of three brothers! Here’s a few of the early meeting photos:
And there you have it – in the blink of an eye, we were now four. Again, an amazing experience and one in which I was in awe of Karen, particularly as she held it together so well I thought we were ages away from Tilly actually being born! Although I was now outnumbered 3-1 in the household, I couldn’t have been happier.
Thanks for reading!
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