My first ever sun holiday was my honeymoon and I had my second sun holiday in September the same year. Talk about feast or famine. I was pregnant at this time and was over my 12 weeks so it was okay to fly. It was hard not drinking and watching the others get legless but that was the start of what was to come for the next 4+ years. I now realise that I am probably as intolerable when drunk as they were.
Some women love being pregnant but I can honestly say I never enjoyed the experience. I was massive all round and very uncomfortable. There were no nice maternity shops where I live and the only chance I got to buy anything apart from oversized trackies and tops was a trip to Blanchardstown to Mothercare or Dorothy Perkins (neither of which ever had anything I liked).
I will never forget the day we discovered I was pregnant. It was the August Bank Holiday weekend of 2000. I had been up visiting my in-laws with my beloved the weekend before and my boobs were very sore. I had been drinking lots of milk (which is unusual for me) and my sense of smell was seriously heightened. I had finished my Saturday shift in Dunnes at 5.30 and walked up home. Grabbed a glass of Miwadi - which to this day I can't stand - and hubby said "You sure you're not pregnant?" I said "There's one way to find out" and I sent him downtown to the chemist furthest away from Dunnes to buy me a test. He sat outside the bathroom door waiting....never have I been under so much pressure to urinate! No go, couldn't do it. Sent him packing downstairs until the deed was done. My tummy was in knots as I waited. Within seconds the blue line appeared and immediately after the second blue line. Oh My God! I laughed till I cried. Such a deliriously happy moment that scared the bejaysus outa me. Who would we tell first? Hang on a minute, it hasn't even sunk in yet. He rang his ma first, delighted for us. My ma next. Why is it so hard to say the words I'm pregnant to your own ma? 4 kids I've had and I have never uttered the words "I'm pregnant" to her. I've said "You'll never guess what?" and she guessed. I've said, "Hello Granny again" and I've uttered "Are you sitting down, I've news" on the other two occasions. My sister is pregnant with her second at the moment and she is the same - she just can't bring herself to say the word PREGNANT. Am wondering if it is anything to do with never being allowed to watch or hear anything of a sexual nature when we were younger. Even when Dallas was on, on Saturday nights, if there came a scene with kissing (bad acting as it was) we were sent out of the room.
I diverse, so we kept our wonderful news to ourselves and family for as long as possible. It is important the powers that be in work don't find out until you have had time to fiddle your dates so you get more time off after the baby is born. No one wants to be finished working a month before they're due. My timing couldn't have been better..with my fiddling I was entitled to the newly brought in 6 months off (including unpaid leave). Ger in the office with me had had her second child at this stage so she was giving me a bit of advice..not enough as it transpired. She hadn't told me about having internals, enemas or about your vadge being sliced open and sewn up, or the rock solid boobs a couple of days after...things I would want to know. I have since enlightened lots of other women...I like to tell it like it is, not just the nice bits.
Having been brought in on Sunday evening for induction on Monday Clodagh was born on Thursday evening at 6.25, weighing in at 9lb 2oz. After lots of breathing, followed by gas and air, pethidine and evenutally epidural (am terrified of needles so it took a lot of coaxing to have it), she came out with her hand stuck to her cheek, which is why I was cut (episiotomy to be technical). Was so glad to be over it. From between my legs, held aloft by stirrups, as I was being stitched up, the docs head popped up to inform me my auntie Marge had rang to see how I was. Few days later we took our new baby home. Four months after that inconsiderate neighbours who loved to party had forced us to sell up and move house, which in the long run was a good move.
I was back in that same delivery room 19 months later. Similar pregnancy, in that I didn't have much morning sickness and was very uncomfortable. Was induced again a week past due date. Had epidural no problem this time..Karina came out with ease weighing in at 9lb 6oz heavier but not as big looking as her older sister was...home two days later.
A further 13 months and I'm back again to have Babs. This was a horrible time. I was taken in for induction the day after St. Stephen's Day (Boxing Day). I had had a lovely Christmas in my parents house and they were looking after the girls in my absence. I was lonely leaving them. I was gone about 10 minutes when Karina took her first steps. Settled into my room for the night. Next morning had my enema and went down to have waters broken around 10 o'clock. As with the girls I made no progress until the oxytocin drip went up. Epidural too..By 9 p.m. the midwives could feel the crown so I thought 'great we are on the home stretch'. At 1 a.m. still the same. The consultant (on-call, not my own) had rang to check on me and I was informed he was coming in and that he would probably send me for a section. They felt it was a shame because I had had 2 big babies myself and they were sure I could get Babs out. I told them I didn't care how he came out, once he did so I could get some sleep.
Right enough I was prepped for theatre. Hubby looked quite hot in his scrubs sitting at my head. I remember getting chest pains but not being able to talk to tell anyone (or had I dozed off and dreamt this?). I vomited sideways into a kidney dish so was given something to stop the nausea. One of the theatre nurses asked us if we thought it was a boy or a girl.. I said it has to be a boy causing all this trouble and seconds later she confirmed I was right. Babs looked massive..got a quick hold and he was taken off to be cleaned up. This was to be the most anxious time of my life...waiting for that all important waah waah...but nothing...what seemed like an eternity later we heard it. He weighed in at 10lb 10 oz so me and my nether regions are grateful for the c-section.
I came back to the c-section ward and was talking to the lady who was going in next for hers. This was to be her second child after a 12 year gap. Her and her hubby own the best cafe in town. Sad to report she was buried 3 months ago after putting up a great fight against cancer. Events like that puts things into perspective, for a while at least, and then we forget and move on until the next tragedy. A few hours later I was transferred to the main ward. That evening Dr Courtney (my consultant) was doing the rounds. As per the midwives were scurrying around him. He gave out because I was given tea as I shouldn't be eating after section. I assured him I hadn't touched it, couldn't even look at it. Then the strangest thing ever happened. He sat on the chair beside my bed and held onto my hand...I thought he was going to tell me there were complications or that something awful had happened..but nothing, he just sat there holding my hand. Then he checked my drain and went off. I later heard that he had just got news his brother Archbishop Michael Courtney had been shot and killed in Burundi. So that explained that.
New Year's Eve 2003 was my worst one ever. The ward was quiet, I was sore, had baby blues and just wanted to be at home. I knew all my friends would be out getting pissed. Hubby stayed with me until about 10 and went home. He had watered Babs' head the night before and was shattered. There was no countdown to midnight, no one running round wishing New Year cheer to everyone, no TV in the ward...downright miserable. I was determined to get home the next day. But they seemed determined to hold onto me for at least 5 days. When I eventually talked round one of the nurses she said she would say it to the doctor. She took my temp and it was sky high. I said I felt fine and it was probably the heat. She opened the window. She came back later than afternoon when my folks were there and checked it again. It had gone higher. So no home for me...Got out on day 5 just in time before I cracked up completely. I could write a book on my ward companions.
Then 17 months later I made my final return visit for my planned c-section. Trouble-free pregnancy once again and probably the easiest delivery of them all. Pearse arrived with ease weighing in at 10lb 13oz and we were home in a couple of days. I can't believe how easily I took to being a mother as I had assumed I was never the maternal type. Now I can't imagine life without them. My circle of friends include 2 married couples, 2 single ladies and us 2. Apart from us, one of the single ladies has a grown up child. One of the couples are carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene and the female of that couple lost 2 siblings to c.f. which is her reason for not having children, which is such a shame because they are brilliant with our kids. The other couple have a severly disabled niece and that was all it took to put the frighteners on the female in that couple, she didn't want to risk it. Which got me to thinking, if I had known in advance that Babs would be born with autism would I have went ahead? Because he is so good I can answer absolutely Yes. And even if he were more severe I would like to think the answer would remain the same. My sister's first pregnancy ended in a stillbirth. She knew from 18 weeks that there was no chance her baby would survive outside the womb and was given advice on 'travel' options. She chose to carry the child full-term. Her second attempt ended in miscarriage. And 10 months ago she had a beautiful little man and she is 10 weeks pregnant. Dunno if I would have been that strong to carry on. It all comes down to taking that chance and it's one worth taking I reckon, whatever the outcome.