Having mastered the art of parenting Kate and I felt it was time to increase our little clan and have another bambino. So on the 22nd July 2014 at 3:43am Ivy Joyce Walsh came into the world or "popped out" as Fergus likes to describe the birthing process. Yes this post is rather late in announcing the news but it’s taken me this long to adjust to our expanded family.
The nine months previous went relatively smoothly until our 17th July due date came and went. Kate was beginning to get more and more uncomfortable, especially as we were enjoying (or enduring in her case) a hot British summer for once, so we had a crack at all the old wives tricks for bringing on labour: acupuncture, spicy curry and, err, pineapple. None of which worked. FYI you need to eat a tonne of pineapple for the chemical it contains to have any chance of inducing labour. I suggest you buy a tin of pineapple chunks and contact the man from Del Monte directly to arrange a bulk order.
When Kate eventually went into labour it all happened pretty quickly. To give you an idea of just how quickly, I checked my phone’s call history and I called the cab company at 3:09am and the midwives registered her birth at 3:43am. Bear in mind we had to wait for the cab to arrive, drive from Wood Green to Archway (during which we got stuck behind a slow moving HGV and I had to politely suggest the driver nip around him at some traffic lights or face the fear of having to deliver a baby in the back of his cab), find the car park, pay the fare, negotiate the birthing suite entry system and find our way to a room in the birthing suite.
By the time I’d put our bags down Kate was already on all-fours and very close to giving birth. I think the midwives were pretty surprised at how quickly it was all happening too, they were asking about our birth plan and whether Kate wanted to use the birthing pool but once they’d checked her over and found they could already see Ivy’s head it was clear there wasn’t going to be time to run a bath!
Minutes later and Ivy was in our arms whilst our heads were still spinning after what had been a slightly crazy forty-five minutes. That was when the problems began. Following all the standard checks and tests they do on newborns the midwives were concerned about how quickly Ivy was breathing. They said it could indicate an infection and they couldn’t discharge us until they knew more. After spending the morning and early afternoon in the luxurious surroundings of the birthing centre we were transferred to the hell that is the post-natal ward.
Maybe hell is too strong, it wasn’t that bad, but it was cramped and hotter than the surface of the sun and very busy all of the time. And that was where the three of us stayed for the next two nights. I was allowed to stay in and slept on a reclining armchair. I didn’t sleep a wink. I spent the night trying to find a position where it might be possible to sleep but it was impossible so I just stared at the ceiling and wished for morning.
The visits we received from the various paediatricians and nurses were mixed, some positive and some not so meaning we were constantly buoyed-up and expecting to be discharged any minute with a clean bill of health or down in the dumps facing a week-long stay on the ward whilst they did more tests on Ivy.
During one of my dashes home for clean clothes and supplies Kate called to say she’d been told we could leave that evening as long as we could pop back to the hospital every evening so that Ivy could be given her antibiotics. Oh joy! Free at last and we could start enjoying life as a family of four in our own home. That and Fergus could find out where his mummy and daddy had been for the past few days and meet his baby sister.
Arriving home after all that time was such a relief, it drew a line under the whole birth experience which I know sounds strange but until you’ve left the hospital it still feels as though you’re in the giving birth process. Fergus took to the new arrival immediately and wanted to kiss and cuddle her and said his now infamous “she popped out” line that still makes me laugh whenever I think about it.
Ivy eventually finished her course of antibiotics and has been fighting fit ever since – not that she seemed ill to me at any point but you can’t be too careful when it comes to babies – and we’ve been adjusting to life with two children which has been fun and tiring in equal measure. Will we be having any more? I don’t think so. I’ve spent a lot of time carrying Ivy in my arms with Fergus hanging off of my legs or on my shoulders. I don’t think my body could cope with three.