Five Years On

Five years ago yesterday I gave birth to my darling Master C.

It became obvious from the very beginning that this child of mine was not going to be content with simply following in the footsteps of his siblings before him…

I had been waiting and waiting for him to make an early arrival, and yet he didn’t. I couldn’t understand why he hadn’t made his way into the world early like both my older two boys before him had. Master Z arrived four weeks early, and Master M arrived a day short of three weeks before he was due.

I had left work early – at 28 weeks in fact – as I had been advised by my doctor that my little boy was already sitting quite low and I needed to rest to avoid labour beginning prematurely. By 37 weeks, all signs had pointed towards his arrival being imminent. Given he was my third, I remember feeling so relieved that I had successfully made it to ‘full term’. Time went so slowly and my swollen, puffy body ached. I had been on leave already for ten long weeks. I was impatient and desperate to meet my much cherished new little person.

As the time continued to pass with no sign of him, my anxiety grew.

Over the previous couple of years, several tragedies had befallen friends of mine: strong, wonderful women who had suffered the greatest loss a mother can bear – the death of her beloved child. Stillbirth, miscarriage, SIDS or some other horrific, senseless tragedy had struck and the results were absolutely devastating for them and their loved ones.

In the back of my mind, fears that had not plagued me during my previous pregnancies started to emerge.

Being an older parent has its share of advantages, but it can also bring with it the curse of wisdom; in particular, knowledge of the many ways that both Fate and Chance can wreak havoc on lives. Unknowing victims can be just so easily and cruelly dealt debilitating blows that they can ultimately never fully recover from. As the time passed, I feared there could be a reason my littlest boy wasn’t coming early like his brothers had, even though all signs had pointed towards this being the case. Visits to the Maternity unit at hospital at various stages to check my blood pressure, revealed that it was beginning to rise, but not yet to levels that were alarming. I was advised simply to relax and put my feet up and wait.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t wait well.

I walked. I nested. I overthought.

As my due date drew to a close, I had a strong feeling that it was time for my boy to be born.

My ‘show’ had been a couple of weeks before, and my gut was telling me it was time.

The older kids had been playing on the trampoline. A lightbulb went off in my overactive mind.

I decided to have a bounce in an attempt to bring on labour.

Two reasonably conservative jumps and fits of giggles from the kids and Lisa, and we all made our way upstairs for dinner. By the time I sat down at the kitchen table, I felt the familiar feelings telling me labour was beginning.

Shock horror – it actually worked.

To this day I believe that what some might call reckless stupidity in bouncing on the trampoline at 40 weeks’ gestation was, for me and my boy, completely necessary.

After labouring for seven hours, Master C’s heartrate dropped dramatically. I was rushed in for an emergency caesarean where it was found that the umbilical cord had been tied around his neck twice, and that he was in fact stuck because of this. He went into distress, consumed his own meconium and ended up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It was the most frightening experience of my life. I didn’t get to see him at all until the next day, and he was kept in hospital for the best part of a week as he was quite sick and failing to thrive.

You would never know it when you look at our five year old pocket rocket now. He is the most vivacious, precocious, darling little boy who loves nothing more than spending time with his family and jumping across the lounge room couches whenever he thinks he can get away with it. Competitive, determined and fiercely protective, this little man is well and truly going to carve his own path.

He established this from the very first moment he was born.

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