Here he is - introducing James Ramsay. In the first couple of hours after he was born, we couldn't believe how much he looked like his big sister. But it wasn't very long before he looked much more like his Dad than she did to start with - and he's certainly a totally different personality. More on that in a later blog.
But his arrival into the world started off much the same as Charlotte's. I had a sweep on Tuesday, and my midwife told me my cervix was very soft and already a couple of centimetres dilated, so labour was likely to be only a few days away - if that.
But then she couldn't properly find a heartbeat, and when she did it had slowed right down, so she told us to get to the hospital immediately. All very panicky - thankfully Charlotte was being looked after at our house by her Grandad, so we headed straight to the hospital and were seen straight away. They got his heartbeat on the monitor seemingly fine, and I was hooked up for about an hour and a half - during which time it only slowed slightly when he was having a sleep.
But the trace also showed I was having very small contractions every 10 minutes or so. So we were confident he/she was on his way. But after resting in the car to get Charlotte to her Grandma's everything seemed to stop. We went out for dinner (during which time we agreed on a name if it turned out to be a boy - we'd already decided on a girl's name a week or two ago), came home and had a really early night because we were shattered, not because we thought anything was imminent.
But I woke at 0430 with mild back ache and the odd cramp. Very quickly that escalated to full on contractions and I had the 'show' at 0520. But the contractions were really irregular - 2minutes apart, then 6 minutes and of varying degrees of pain. So we rang the hospital anyway and they said to go in just to check where we were at just in case things were progressing quickly.
By the time we got there - with the aid of a TENS machine for pain relief - I was actually 6cm dilated and was told to make myself comfortable in a delivery room. It was all so different to our experience in London. The room had soft lighting and a really low, non-hospital-type bed, and we only saw one midwife the whole way through. And I was only monitored every now and then instead of constantly, which I was pleased about.
In fact my birth plan pretty much ended up going to plan. I used TENS right up to the pushing part - and gas and air in very late stage of labour. The midwife had to break my waters when, after 4 hours, I'd only dilated a further 1cm. But after that it didn't take much longer at all - especially the more I got up and moved around. Things really slowed down everytime I lay down and rested.
And within about 8 massive pushes on my hands and knees on the bed, James was out. We'd got to the hospital just before 7am, and less than six hours later, my son was in my arms having his first feed :) Things were going so well, I was told once we'd both been checked over we may be heading home in a couple of hours.
Unfortunately when they checked me over, it turned out I had a third degree tear, and I needed stitching up in the operating theatre as it was too tricky for the maternity staff. So my elation quickly turned to fear, as I'd never been anywhere near surgery for anything before (my episiotomy last time was stitched up in the delivery suite), and it meant having a spinal block.
It took the anaesthetist several attempts to do the spinal, but once it was done it was the most strange sensation - seeing my legs being moved without any feeling in them, for example. It also meant I had to stay in hospital overnight. But I ended up having a post-natal ward to myself until the following day, and the staff were all so nice, I didn't mind quite so much as I had done in London.
James seemed to feed and sleep well that first night - and we all went home as a family on the Thursday afternoon :)