Sometimes I need a filter between my brain and my mouth.
This is not the way to get one.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Oliver Wyatt-Leigh

Oliver Wyatt-Leigh
Born 10:20am, Wednesday 24th June 2015

Oh my little man - you have been ours for ten whole months and I'm only just sitting down to finish your birth story. On the off chance that we ever had another baby, their birth story would be written out sometime around their 21st birthday.Thankfully, the birth of my children is something that has a tendency to stick in my head so, have no fear, every detail will be preserved for you right here.

You were born on Wednesday 24th June, 2015 at 10:20am, in a comfy birthing suite at Royal Darwin Hospital with the loveliest midwife delivering you. Her name was Michelle.

I had been having irregular contractions through the night, but I wasn't at all convinced I would go into labour because nature had been torturing me for a few weeks by this point. I just lay in bed with my eyes closed, pretending to sleep. I am a complete pro at feigning sleep - all mothers are. You could be standing by the side of the bed, screaming at us that your leg just fell off and you're not sure where you left the severed limb and we would be able to just lay there, listening, without the slightest blip of alertness passing our faces. This is also because we can tell the difference between genuine distress and the odd excuses you lot seem to come up with to get us out of bed.

At about 6am your Dad got up to have his shower to get ready for work. You decided that all this stuffing around was over-rated and that if contractions were happening anyway, why not use them to bust your popsicle stand. My water broke at 6:10am by the side of the bed - booyah! 3 babies, and not one drop of amniotic fluid has touched our bed. You and I calmly waddled our way to the bathroom to let Daddy know, and then we went and paced the lounge room for a while while Daddy finished up and then he called the hospital. Pacing had increased the regularity of the contractions and they were enough to take my breath away by 6:45am. The hospital said to get people in cars and to get to the hospital ASAP.

Apparently no one wanted another car delivery. Chickens.

Your Dad woke your sisters - it probably would have been easier to poke two starving wolverines with a stick while wearing a meat suit - and took charge of dressing said wolverines amidst a barrage of 'I'm too tired!', 'I don't want a baby brother today!' and 'Those shorts don't go with that top!' from Elena and something like 'Mmmph grunt snarfle snort burp' and quite possibly 'pffffffft' from Hermione. Just like your Mum, your sisters are not morning people. But your Dad soldiered on, packing things while I hopped into the shower for some warm water therapy, and then Daddy called your Nanna (who was already on her way to work) and asked ever so kindly if she could watch your sisters. Given that she was already 3/4 of the way to the hospital, it made no sense for her to drive all the way back to our house and me wind up with a home birth (especially since I was now moaning my way through contractions like a demented cow), so we agreed to meet in the hospital car park and do a hand over there.

My suggestion was your Dad could drop your sisters off calmly in the carpark but I was going to throw myself out of the car, tuck and roll through the hospital doors and beg someone for gas and air. Just because I had opted for another natural birth, it didn't mean I couldn't roll up to the gas and air wagon for a good time while I was at it!

By 7:30am we were on our way to the hospital, but the best thing is that your Dad can navigate early morning traffic like no one else and knows all the quickest ways around dodgy lights that sit on red for too long. Do you know what I discovered during this car ride? A six year old constantly asking questions about what's happening to you and trying to answer with as much calm as humanly possible while someone tries to claw their way out of your body is an awesome method to make the car ride feel 3 times longer than it actually is.

I gained a massive lesson in self control that morning. What I really wanted to do was scream 'EVERYONE SHUT UP RIGHT NOW AND STOP TALKING TO ME BEFORE I MURDER YOU ALL', but what I believe came out of my mouth was some very sensible, child friendly answers about labour.

We were at the hospital by 8am, and your sisters weren't even unbuckled from their seats - your Dad threw his keys at your Nanna, your Nanna kissed me on the head and encouraged me with a gentle push in the middle of my back to keep me moving forward and your sisters called out something inaudible from the open car windows. As those hospital doors gently glided open I swear I heard angels...who had gas and air with them.

Made it to the elevators. All six of them. To discover that five were out of order. It was at that point I had an out of body experience. My brain decided this was the best thing for everyone because no one wants to see a labouring woman frothing at the mouth and screaming abuse at broken elevators, so I enjoyed a moment of floaty peace before descending and didn't kill everyone in the lobby.

Cue midwife who materialised out of nowhere, made all the non-labouring people stand aside and helped me and another labouring Mum into the only working elevator and straight up to delivery. There may have been a brief moment of insanity where I was convinced I was about to give birth to you in a lift...I'm not sure if I mentioned this to your Dad or not, but if I did I'm confident he would have responded with something along the lines of 'like hell you are!'. Your Dad was adamant he would never have to be delivering another one of his children in a weird spot. Spoil sport.

I don't recall much of the walk from the lift to the birth suite. But I do recall a familiar voice when Michelle announced herself as our midwife - I was so happy as she had been with us through our previous admissions, and I think she was as familiar with your heartbeat as your Dad and I were. I also love her because one of the first things she offered me was gas and air. And another warm shower - which ended abruptly when they thought you were ready to drop!

I would just like to state right now that gas and air is over-rated. Big time. I know I threw the mouthpiece away in disgust at one point because it felt so pointless. Your Dad assures me it was a 60/40 mix, but I'm convinced the dentist has given me a better buzz. Given the effort it took to suck that stuff through the line, you would think you'd earn a decent whack of nitrous oxide. Nope. Nada. Zilch.

It's all hype. I was heartbroken. I recall begging your Dad to let me have an epidural at one point (as if he could have stopped me if I really wanted it! HA!) but with his encouragement, and the crushing of his phalanges, we did it with nothing. Again.

Holy shit it hurts.

But after four hours and 20 minutes of labour, a senior midwife coming in and breaking my water for a second time, your head crowning one second after that, one attempt to launch myself off the bed (because I decided I wanted to get away from the pain and that meant leaving my lower half in the hospital while my upper half went to the cafe for a coffee and waited patiently for a birth announcement), a midwife asking kindly if I wouldn't mind putting the top half of my body back on the bed and three of the quickest pushes of my life...

You were here.

And you are perfect.

And the first thing that came out of my mouth was..."Is it still a boy??"

Part of me wasn't convinced you were a boy, only physical evidence was going to convince me that I wouldn't be dressing another cherub in frills and I'd have to swap it out for suspenders and superheroes. Much to your Dad's dismay, I have squirreled away several frilly things your sisters wore that I can't bear to part with...and while I may have put your hair in little piggy tails I know that I'll never buy a set of baby girls frilly bloomers ever again.

You latched on right away which was a new experience for me as well as you! Lucky baby number 3, my body finally got it's act together and decided to let me feed you and I got to experience waking up thinking I was being crushed to death by my own mammary glands, and squirting breast milk across the bathroom at the sound of you crying - freaking hilarious!

You and I got some skin to skin bonding while everyone cleaned up around us and Daddy made phone calls to people about your safe arrival. You were weighed and measured (6lb 7oz, or 3.08kg and 47cm long) and received your vitamin K injection. You weren't very impressed, but you were satisfied when you were brought back over and were able to snuggle in with me.

Daddy held you for a bit while I had a short nap, and after 4 hours we were discharged to go home. A part of me might have wondered if I was insane not staying longer and getting some bedside service for a couple of days, but to be honest I was just keen to go home, get comfy and settle in for the adventure ahead.

Your Nanna and Pop brought your sisters home that evening, after we had some quiet time with just you, me and Daddy. They crept in through the front door and came over to look at you. It was love at first sight. They were so excited to finally be able to hold you and see you - ultrasound images were just never going to cut it when it came to your sisters. They marvelled over your tiny fingers and toes, and laughed when they realised you naturally curled up like a shrimp when you were put in your bassinette to sleep.

Nanna and Pop oohed and ahhed over you, cuddled you and snuggled your sisters close with you in a little cocoon. And we announced your full name which gives a sensible, and not completely bizarre nod to your Daddy's love of superheroes (I'm just grateful your name wasn't anything from StarWars) and a special nod to Mummy's family. Mummy's family will see your name and they'll know what I mean.

While we waited for your arrival we were dealing with some sadness, as your great-grandfather was very ill. Your Pop had flown to Adelaide to see him and say goodbye, but we couldn't go as it was too high risk with your due date being so close. If giving birth in a car was interesting I think giving birth on a plane might just be one step too far, even for me.

I like to think that your great-grandfather held on to make sure you came into the world safe - he was in the world when you arrived, just like he was for all his great-grandchildren. And for that I will always be grateful. We couldn't be there for the funeral as you were too little to travel, but I know your great-grandfather wouldn't mind.

He knows you as well as we do because your souls danced together before final hello's and goodbye's.

Needless to say so much has happened in the last ten months, and we can't wait to see what the future holds for our little family of five. You are so loved and adored by your sisters and you love them...but the three of you are already discovering those little things you can do to annoy each other, just because you can. The bond between you all is strong and I can see it leading in all sorts of directions as you grow older.

You love playing chasey with your sisters (you're in your walker and scream around like a race car driver, and I have the skid marks on the wood floors to prove it!) and you love being outside. You stood up for the first time without holding on to anything on ANZAC Day 2016, and you have been showing off your new skill ever since. But the moment I bring out the camera? Nothing. Clearly I'll have to pull out some ninja moves to catch you in the act.

You have an intense relationship with the cat, but the dog regards you as just one more small thing in the house that uses him as a foot stool/jungle gym, and he's cool with that. His main mission is to remain vigilant and protect you lot. He is only cuddly with your Dad and has tried many times to shove me down the front stairs as I'm so far down the chain of command he'd sit for a stranger before he would me, but we know if the chips were down he would chew the arm off of anyone who tried to hurt us.

You are so much like your Daddy in both looks and temperament, and you have so much hair! Your sisters were practically bald until they were 12 months or so, but you've had thick curls since the moment you arrived and they just keep getting longer, blonder and curlier by the day. I love it.

So this is the story of you and your adventures so far. To our little man, the final piece to our make us complete.

Photography by Danielle Andreoli

Photography by Danielle Andreoli

Photography by Danielle Andreoli

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