As many of you will know by now on 1st March this year we were blessed with another beautiful baby boy. Our new addition arrived a little earlier than expected due to a dramatic end to what had been a very eventful pregnancy! (More on that another time....)
I received an unexpected phone call from the hospital the day before. It was around 8am when I recognised the number flashing up on my mobile. After months of being in and out of the Triage at Lister Hospital Maternity Unit I was on first name terms with most of the staff so I promptly answered and was told to get into the hospital pronto as I had pre-eclampsia and baby number 2 would be joining us sooner rather than later. Paddy was already at work in Watford as he always is by this time in the morning, and typically Jake was set to have the day at home with me as he was unwell and unable to go to school.
It took a while for what the midwife was telling me to sink in:
"I'm sorry but you have pre-eclampsia and I know you didn't get discharged until 11pm last night but now we need you to come back in."
Not a problem I said, what time should I come?
"As soon as possible."
Ok - do you know roughly how long it will take, just my son is off School today so I'll need to arrange childcare if it will take a while.
"You won't be going home Francesca. You will be staying in tonight so you will definitely need childcare."
The penny still hadn't dropped.....
Ok no problem, do I need to bring anything with me? Obviously my notes...
"FRANCESCA, you will need to bring your hospital bag with you!! You won't be going home again until you have had this baby."
Whoops, I guess 8 hours in hospital the day before and the late discharge had left me sleep deprived and a little dopey and slow to clock on. OMG. I was about to have a baby! Eeek!
As I hung up the phone, panic set in. I walked to the hall and opened the cupboard door staring at the Next to Me Crib , still in the box waiting to be assembled. I couldn't have a baby today, I wasn't ready. He doesn't have anywhere to sleep! I hadn't even got around to ordering the crib sheets yet. I immediately phoned Paddy who was in a meeting and didn't answer. I was scheduled to have a C-Section so I knew I wouldn't be able to drive myself to the hospital as I would be unable to drive home afterwards. I quickly called my Mum, who as always, dropped everything to whiz over from work in Cambridge to come and get Jake and take me to the hospital. Once again I was reminded that being a Mum is a job for life, we are never too old to need our parents and here I was again, 28 years old about to be a Mother of two and still relying on mine in my hour of need. Paddy phoned me back. I burst into tears when I heard his voice. This wasn't part of the plan. I had a very rushed emergency C-Section with Jake and was put under a General Anaesthetic, something which I was desperate to avoid happening again. I had been scheduled for a routine Caesarean this time and I had been looking forward to slightly more calm and controlled circumstances. Pad agreed to meet us at the hospital ASAP so I hung up and sprung into action. At least I had packed my hospital bags, sort of. I chucked the remaining items I thought I'd need into a suitcase and got Jake dressed in record time.
Luckily I had been so unwell in my pregnancy that I had prepared for the event that somebody might need to collect/care for Jake unexpectedly at short notice. I had packed an overnight bag for him and kept it ready alongside my hospital bag. I would REALLY recommend this to any expectant Mums with older children. My main priority is always making sure Jake is ok, and I felt much more at ease going into hospital knowing he had everything he needed. I had even organised his World Book Day costume for the following week and had it hanging in the wardrobe ready. It might seem ironic from somebody who hadn't ordered the crib sheets yet but there you go.
The next 36 hours dragged by as I spent yet more time in the Maternity Unit being prodded and poked, getting the dreaded steroid injections and having my blood pressure continuously monitored for changes.
Eventually it was time for us to go to theatre and suddenly time seemed to speed up. The next hour flew by and before I knew it, our second gorgeous boy was here. Because I was asleep for Jake's birth so much of this experience felt like the first time for me. I got to have skin on skin and be the first person to hold our new son which meant so much to me as Jake had been passed around half of Addenbrookes by the time I was awake and able to hold him! At the time I was just grateful that he had arrived safely, it wasn't until I was pregnant again that I realised just how much I felt I had missed out on. I think this feeling is quite common amongst EMCS (Emergency Caesarean Section) Mums and it's something that doesn't really get spoken about a lot. There is a tendency to feel like you have failed by having a C-Section, but that really is not the case.
In true keeping with the rest of the pregnancy my recovery was not exactly straight forward and we spent the next 24 hours confined to theatre recovery while I received two blood transfusions. We weren't allowed any visitors during this time, and I'm not sure who found that harder....me or my Mum (who was patiently trying to keep Jake's questions at bay at home!)
It was here in Theatre Recovery that we finally decided on a name for our beautiful boy. I had known all through my pregnancy that I wanted to give this baby my Dad's name as a middle name. I sadly lost my Dad in 2017 and I felt that by having his name our new son would have a little piece of Dad with him always. Jake had such a close bond with my Dad and I will always feel sorry that any future Grandchildren won't get to enjoy the same amazing relationship. So that's our little nod to you Dad, I hope you approve.
After months of back and forth over names and countless disagreements we eventually settled on a first name that we had actually had shortlisted 6 years earlier for Jake! Talk about coming full circle! :)
And so there he was, 24 hours old and finally with a name to call his own.
Our second boy. The missing piece of our puzzle. Zachary Derrick Hassett, 01.03.19, 16:11, 8lb exactly.