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Updated: Jan 21, 2022

If you read my last blog (which has terrible spelling and grammar in due to pain and medicine, much like this one will) you will know that baby Cole, who now has her name Lunar Jane Cole was born with Gastroschisis, a condition that means she has part of her intestine on the outside of her body and she will need an operation soon after birth.

I thought it made sense to share the first 24hrs of little Lunar's life and the emotional journey that we are on, I’ve been writing a lot because I can’t create any art and I’m busy with the hospital. I’m also still trying to look after my mind so I write something everyday the same I would if I was back home, when I get back I’ll make art to go with my feelings and of course I’ve started to think about a newborn photo shoot! After this blog my next entry will be her first week, I’ve already written it because we have been up here for a little while but I don’t want to make these posts too long! I’ve shared my experiences and emotions from the birth of Lunar, I still believe this is relevant to share because it spreads awareness to these situations. I never thought that I would find myself in this position, I had no idea about the emotional or physical strain, everyone goes through life and experiences differently however once again maybe this is helpful, I’m sharing it anyway. Some of the details may seam too much, to personal, however it’s real life…

January the 13th 3pm-ish. I’ve just got back from surgery and I now have another beautiful daughter! Lunar Jane Cole born at 2.06pm, I haven’t held her yet, or even touched her skin but I love her. It’s a love that’s hard to explain but parents will get it, it’s a binding love, like a pull towards them. You just want to be around your children, after all we are animals with animal instincts, one of our strongest instincts is to protect our children, to hold them and provide for them. I’m not able to do this yet, it’s frustrating but the way this experience has to be, because it’s what is best and it’s what is needed so she can start her little life that is already going to be so big.

It’s around 4pm now which is apparently time for me to have a cuppa tea and some toast, which is weird right? I was pregnant a few hours ago and now I’m not and they have given me tea and toast... I’m just here expected to eat. It’s an overwhelming weird experience, but it’s been a while since I’ve had anything to eat so I’m grateful, wish I could move though! These hospital beds are great, there are buttons to help your body sit up and move around a bit. I keep trying to move my feet and can’t I really don’t like this feeling.

It’s now around 4.26pm I feel a slight pain, not much, which is good because that means i'll be able to move more soon I think… how bad will the pain get? I’m not sure I can deal with loads of pain right now without Lunar or Deryn with me. Time is going so slow but it’s now 4.34pm and Tom’s gone to see her! I’m not even jealous that I’m not with him, I’m just pleased for him he’s a brilliant dad and deserves to see his daughter with or without me. He's back and has a massive smile on his face, a team of people have just come to talk to us about the best way to deal with her ‘defect’ there's talk of putting her bowel into a bag, maybe having to remove a small piece and technical talk which I have no headspace to take in right now I just want to see her, I make it very clear that they are to do whatever they think needs doing we will both give our consent for the best cause of action. Tom signs some forms... they always automatically give anything to sign to me and I always give it straight to Tom. One of the specialist asks if we are married, does that really make a difference?

I ask about her (obviously, It’s all I can think about right now, that and writing this because i’m just here in a bed after giving birth without my baby it’s weird, apparently I should sleep) She’s in surgery still, it can take some time. Time today has been so inconsistent, I just want to touch her.

It's around 7pm and I’m in real pain now, it’s getting strong and I can move more. It hurts. I’ve decided I want this pain because then I’ll be able to see her because I’ll be able to move enough to get into a wheelchair. At the moment i’m still lying down, I can’t move my body enough to do much I can move my legs now, but not enough to stand. More people come to talk to us again, there's so much talking.

I need more pain medicine, this hurts more than natural birth for sure! Or maybe I’m in so much pain because I haven’t really seen Lunar yet, I need my body and brain to do it’s ‘I have a new baby’ thing. I want all my happy hormones to kick in, which I’m sure in time they will, for now it just hurts. More people come to talk to us, I spoken to so many specialists today, and my head is now very foggy with pain and the days events i’m starting to get confused, details are off, I’m tired. I’m told they decided to do full surgery that her bowel couldn’t be put into a bag because part of it was looking close to being damaged (they used medical talk while explaining all this) the surgery was successful! She’s stable and hasn’t lost any part of the bowel. She needs help breathing and she needs to be kept sleeping for a while to help with the pain…pain I can’t even think of her being in pain! The surgeons are very pleased, also doing this kind of operation so fast is a massive deal, there will be lot’s of people bragging on CV’s about this!

It’s now 9pm I get to go and see her! They have given me some pain meds, not too much so I don’t get sleepy just enough to take the edge off, I’ve been told I can have more once I’m back in bed. Which sounds good to me! I obviously can’t walk still so I’m in wheelchair.

She’s amazing and soooo much like Deryn and Tom, why don’t my kids look like me? I don’t care, she’s doing well! It’s been such a long day, I want to hold and feed her so much, it’s difficult not being able too, however I have to be patient and trust the team and the decisions they make. They have done an amazingly good job, she will have a scar, this will just be part of her, her story, she so small and such a strong baby already. She has a really long way to go apparently, best case they recon around 28 days in hospital but they can’t give a time scale it could be a little less or more. It could be a really long process with step backs, they make that very clear. She is covered in wires and surrounded by machines, the room actually had a really good vibe in it, positive and friendly. Will this vibe stay? Not sure if it’s the pain meds kicking in or my happy hormones maybe but I feel ok, it’s still all very overwhelming.

It's now 11ish I asked for more pain meds, quite a few in fact and now they are kicking in, perhaps I’ll actually get a good nights rests! (I doubt it) It was a little hard coming back to my bed, I’ve given birth and I’m now on my own again, no baby or husband, no kicks it’s weird. This time yesterday I was at home in my own bed, with Deryn, Tom and baby kicks. I will try and get some rest, so that I can be more with-it tomorrow and get my head around the plan of action and plan how we deal with this all as a family.

12am on the dot! And my body wakes me up, it makes me jump and it hurt! But I don’t know what I was dreaming about for such a rude awakening! The meds they have given me are good, maybe tonight I won’t remember my bad dreams... I must have fallen back a sleep really quick as it’s now 12.07am and they woke me to check my observations or whatever they call the checks. I’m tired now, it’s been a long day, I want to tell people to leave me alone, but thats rude and it’s not their fault i’m on my own. The 4 minutes sleep I just had was good though!

Time is going very slow tonight or this morning? What day is it now?... It's 1.30am I'm in pain and I have cramps etc. so my body’s doing its thing, that’s good. I also just really want my family now too, I want to cry so hormones are also doing their thing, hopefully I’ll be able to express some milk soon then. There’s way too many people in this room to actually cry though, I’m not doing that, i’ve kept my emotions under control all day, I have no idea how!

It's now 1.44am I miss Deryn and I want to hold Lunar in my arms, it’s hard, I know Tom will be feeling it to the temptation to txt him is unreal. However there’s a good chance he’s getting some sleep and I’m not interrupting that, so I can hold off a few more hours, he’s exhausted also it’s been such a long day for him, as I’ve expressed over and over again I do not like being touched. However for many obvious reasons Tom is my exception and I wish he was next to me I want him to hold my hand. I’m feeling kinda emotional, again i’m keeping that under control, there’s people around still recon I have a few more days in me till I break. He is sleeping next to the NICU in a little room that we managed to sort out for tonight.

2am-ish of course i’m still awake… and it’s time to learn how to self express my milk apparently, which is a weird time? But they want to see if I can do it. I breastfeed Deryn and pumped when I needed so of course I’m making every effort possible to get my body up and running. For the next 3 days I need to hand express i’ve been told, which isn’t easy. I got almost 6 little tubes out, which I’m told is good, it doesn’t look like much, it’s so different from breast feeding, obviously. They explain what to do, it was frustrating and took some time, but it worked. It’s basically massaging your breasts then stimulating the nibbles and squeezing the milk into a little pot. (sorry if that's weird to read, it felt weird). I find myself in the most weird of situations all the time... Not what I had in mind, however it is what it is, the human body is amazing. It’s tiring I need to do this every few hours for three days, mother’s have to do this all the time, I’m not the first to be in this position. I can do it. I’m looking forward to my proper milk coming in so I can use a pump! This is real life, and in real life sometimes this is just the way things have to be, but it doesn’t make it easy or fair.

It’s now 2.39am I’m planning on have a few hours rest, my next ‘milking’ will be around 6ish. Expressing will also help my uterus detract which is painful, but nothing unbearable, like slight period pains I think, it would be easier while looking down on a baby feeding instead of just me, and my milk pot… I’m feeling a little down about the situation but also know I need to stay chilled because stressing out won’t help, a calm hydrated body will produce more milk for Lunar and that’s my priority and I have to just keep thinking this will all get easier. My outcome could have been different, my family is beautiful I’m extremely lucky and grateful. I can feel my emotions fluctuating, I feel stable though, they are aware that I struggle with my anxiety, even if I didn’t before I think this experience would be difficult. The most level headed person would find this hard I think.

It’s now 2.50am usually around the time Deryn would come into my bed for a cuddle and fall asleep in my arms, I miss her so much it’s unbelievable and now I feel my eyes fill up slightly but not enough to call this crying. The team and midwifes have commented on my laid back approach and attitude apparently I’m taking everything great. A cool, calm look is my thing anyway, I’m fully trained at looking in control, I’m also self aware enough to know this has also been my downfall on many occasions, because the assumption that “I’m fine” has sometimes left me struggling and feeling trapped on my own, so if I need to reach out I know I will have to make an effort because my face and voice will tell people “I’m fine” and sometimes my face and voice lies. I find it difficult to be “vulnerable” around people I don’t trust, and trust takes me years however I feel like this will be a crash course in letting myself be honest and emotionally open, I don’t feel as if anyone here will judge me either, but for now i’m in control still and I'm not going to start crying around people...

3.02am a midwife comes over to congratulate me on my expression of milk and how much I got, which is nice we have a quick chat on how I’m doing and the plan for the next few hours. She then removes my catheter which is a weird feeling! It’s uncomfortable but not painful, it’s out quick and it’s a relief to know that my body will start it’s healing process physically, although this feels like a lengthy process and one not to be rushed. It’s all hurts more than I expected, the after pains isn’t something I put much thought into, I was more concerned about the caesarean it’s self, which I’m not a fan of either but childbirth is still wonderful even with all the pain and fear. If I think about the caesarean too much I might get upset.

4.42am still awake, I’ve had two hours sleep combined if I’m lucky so I’m tired my body feels in danger mode a little so sleeping isn’t really possible now because as I drift off to sleep it jerks me awake. Which it does anyway and has been a sleeping problem since I was a teen, one I didn't grow out of, and tonight that habit hurts my body! Sleeping in a strange place with all these sounds without Tom was always going to be tricky. I think i’ll be better sleeping in the day time. Also it’s difficult because all the babies are crying, which is also a headfuck. Being in this room is a headfuck, and I think i’m probably starting to look quite frustrated with my situation because at 5.33am I get moved into a new room on my own, which is nice because now it’s quiet and as much as I’m thrilled for all the mums around me being with their babies it’s getting a little difficult for me.

I can see Lunar soon as Tom is coming to get me at 6am then I’ll have to express milk again! then sleep? I should really get some sleep. This probably isn't health for my body or my mind...

I have some more pain killers, we have seen Lunar she’s doing amazing, she’s in her little incubator, still asleep, where she will stay. We sit with her for quite some time, I feel tired now. The next few hours I hand express what I can, they are pleased that I can do this and do it well. Cool I can milk myself into a little tube that’s a life skill for the CV! I managed to get around 40 minutes sleep here and there so does Tom. We go see Lunar again and talk to the team about some plans, they want to fit more tubes and a few other bits while she's on the ventilator and on painkillers. There was a lot of medical talk, we have plans though, some of it was hard to listen too she is so small! It’s been a long day I’ve been awake more or less for 24 hours now but wow what an eventful 24 hours right!

I will do a follow up blog very soon, it's ready(ish) and I go into the recovery process Lunar is going through, she's doing really well, she very strong! I think the blog is informative, however once again these situations are never the same for anyone, we all handle life differently, however it really does get easier! I’ll post It after proofreading, which takes longer than the writing itself!

Other pregnancy related blog's

Thanks for reading! Sorry for all the typos!

Helpful link for PAPP-A information click here

Helpful link for Gastroschisis information click here

Helpful link for miscarriage information click here

Helpful link for ECV information click here

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