I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since we met you, Ottilie.
It feels like a lifetime that you’ve been part of our family. A year is such a short time but in those first few months it felt the longest, most never-ending moment of my life. The days have passed so quickly, has it really been 365 and counting that we’ve been together?
You were such a longed-for baby. I’ve lost count of how many months we waited for you to become a reality, for those lines to appear on the test. Finding out I was pregnant again was amazing. I’ll admit I didn’t find pregnancy easy and there were times I’d feel fed up, but the hard times were so, so worth it. The days where I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep, and all the ones where I didn’t feel like eating anything, they all led to you. Growing you and supporting you was such a privilege. I don’t know if I ever truly enjoyed pregnancy as much as I wish I had in hindsight, it did have its moments. I loved every kick and roll, and you were such a wriggly little lady that there were a whole lot of them to enjoy. There were scary moments, like that moment at just thirteen weeks when it was touch-and-go, and the time we took a trip to hospital after tripping over one of your big brother’s toys. Each of these were part of the experience though, and everything’s easy to forget when there’s a warm, cosy newborn in your arms.
As we approached that golden 40 week moment you showed absolutely no signs of wanting to leave your temporary home. You were so comfy there. No amount of old wives tales, foods or movements would encourage you to get labour started. I remember spending the day before your birth walking around a lake in the country park, hoping that it would be just the thing to get things moving.
I was so looking forward to a natural birth this time. I’d wondered how it would be, whether it’d be a long labour like your brother’s, and I’d packed a hospital bag with a birthing ball at the ready. You were a cheeky little thing right from birth though, and you felt like staying put. I’ll admit I felt a little sad that we were heading for another c-section, almost like I was missing out on something. When we arrived at the hospital at 7.30am on 18th July though I felt nothing but excitement. We were SO excited to finally meet you.
The first hour of the day was spent filling in paperwork, being talked through things and getting changed into a rather fetching gown and compression stockings. I was feeling a little sick – maybe nerves, maybe the lack of food (and thinking I wouldn’t see any more until way later in the day), maybe the excitement. I thought we’d be in the room for hours, waiting for our turn. Turns out we were first on the list and all of a sudden it was so very real.
From there it was a blur of hospital equipment, doctors introducing themselves, medicine and machinery. I remember not being quite sure whether I wanted the screen up or down, and remembering some wisdom from women who’d been through it all before (namely don’t stare at the lamp unless you want to see the action!). Things took a little longer than expected to prepare but soon we were ready to meet you. It wasn’t the birth I’d imagined but it was such an amazing, positive, beautiful experience. It all felt so calm, and I was so supported by your lovely daddy and the team of professionals in the room. What a wonderful job they all do. There were some odd tugging feelings and then we heard your first cry. I remember you sounded just like a cat, and there were tears all round. You were checked over and brought over to us, held close to my face while everything was finished up. You were placed next to me as we were wheeled into our room and didn’t leave my side for a long time after that.
It was in the maternity ward room that you had your first feed. I was anxious about breastfeeding as it hadn’t been a resounding success with your big brother, but with you it all felt so easy. You latched perfectly and although I’m sure those first few feeds and weeks were a little painful, looking back it’s hard to remember any negatives at all. After you’d fed you looked so peaceful, and a short while after you were dressed and being snuggled by your daddy next to me.
We headed to the ward and it was there we spent our first day at night together. It was noisy, neither of us got much sleep and I longed for the comfort and familiarity of home. The ward was such a special place though – full of support, and I loved having that time just the two of us. We were visited in hospital by my mum and your big brother, and he was so excited to meet you. I sometimes forget that your birth wasn’t just the start of a new experience for me and your dad but for your brother too. The start of a lifetime of adventures, love and the odd argument or two I’m sure. It’s such a joy to watch the two of you becoming close friends and playing together.
On our second day together we went home, and there began life as we know it now. There have been so many amazing moments between then and now, and I’m sure I’ll write about them some day too. Today though I wanted to remember your birth, the day we met you, and the day that we started a new adventure together.
Happy first birthday Ottilie, you’re so loved.