Sunday 26th August 2012
This photo was taken on Loukas first full day in the world,from the balcony of my hospital room. It would have been about 5.30am and I was awake in the hospital enjoying the coolness and the peace and quiet when I looked out the window and realised the sun was just coming up.
I had been initially so worried about giving birth here in Cyprus but by the end of my pregnancy I was confident in the help that my doula Claire would provide (and so ready to not be pregnant anymore!)
Loukas birth had been brilliant, something I never thought I'd say. Before then I'd been all about the drugs and would never have chosen to have a natural birth in a million years - as I always used to say 'you wouldn't have your appendix out without drugs' which does seem like a very daft comment now - as its hardly the same thing!
I only managed it without, as gas and air is not available here (had it have been I would have been on it without a seconds hesitation!) and Claire talked me through the part where I was starting to crack and demand the only other option which was pethedine.
I wrote my birth story last year, but what is still very clear is how much I loved those first few days in hospital, of course there was pain and hormonal tears but it was lovely spending time with just me and my new son. Maybe it was the air conditoning in the hospital or the fact he was not as demanding as my 3 year old Leo or maybe it was the first time in 3 years that I got to read several books!
I guess many wouldn't agree with this but I'll be forever grateful that the midwives first gave him to me clean and wrapped up, and after a very quick cuddle took him off me as my arms felt too weak to hold him straight away, and best of all took him away half an hour after birth while I had the best sleep I think I've ever had!
When I first held Leo back in 2009 in the delivery suite, I looked at him and I believe I said 'Hello, I'm your Mummy' and thought 'woah, here's a baby, and it's mine' whilst not really knowing what to do next. I felt uncomfortable the whole time I was in hospital (only just over 24 hours after birth) and just wanted to get out. I'd screamed when the doctor placed him on me as he delivered him all wriggly and slippery, and I tried to breastfeed with no success whatsoever. I wasn't hit by the massive rush of love people talk about, I thought about it, and obviously loved him but it wasn't 'overwhelming' like everyone seems to describe, I think maybe I worried that I hadn't done it 'right'
We had no 'skin to skin' contact, there was no breast feeding (apart from a couple of attempts in the first 24 hours that I felt I had to do in case it had happened easily and felt right) and he was not with me for the first few hours after that initial cuddle - all the things I feel people are often made to think they 'should' do, and it was just perfect.
We had our cuddles, I talked to him, and fed him and we had our few quiet days getting to know each other before going home to Aaron and Leo and the happy madness of a family of four.