Did I mention something about life getting back to normal in October? Oh yes, I was just finishing work and looking forward to at least two weeks off to organise the house, stock up the freezer and buy baby stuff. Then little Toby threw a spanner in the works by turning up five weeks early! Which would put his birthday in... let's see... October. So much for normal!
For those who would like the gory details, here goes. If you are a mother who had a long and protracted labour, I advise you to skip the next bit - or if you don't, please don't start sending me hate mail. You have been warned.
You see, we'd been to all the childbirth classes (yes, just about managed to finish them) and learned all about the different stages of labour, and how many hours each lasted. We learned some relaxation techniques and various things Graham could do to help coach me through long periods of contractions. And then we turned out not to need any of them, because the entire thing was over in two hours!
So that evening, I'd been to work, got home about 9, and we'd just settled down in bed at 11 when I felt this kind of pop and some wetness, and realised my waters had broken. Graham has taken great delight in telling everyone how calm I was; to be honest my main desire was to go back to bed! Instead we rushed around packing a bag and trying to remember all the things our childbirth instructor had told us to pack. At this stage I was sure nothing much would happen for ages - I was picturing a long tedious night in the hospital being induced. But by the time Graham and I were whizzing down I-35 at just a tad over the legal limit, the contractions had started and were coming pretty steadily.
We were so thankful we'd had a tour of the hospital, with instructions for how to find Labour and Delivery in the middle of the night. Otherwise I might have been like the lady I heard about who had her baby in the hospital toilets, because they bundled me into a room, took a peek, and said, "You're 8 cm dilated - you can pretty much start pushing now!" They told me I was smiling through the contractions, but it was more of an incredulous grimace - this isn't how it's supposed to happen! By 1:20 am it was all over and we were the proud parents of a 5 lb 10 oz baby boy.
It was somewhat fortunate that Toby had to spend the first week of his life in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Otherwise we'd never have had time to buy all the stuff we'd intended to shop for that weekend! As it was, we could leave him in capable hands (far more capable than ours) whenever we needed to. "My baby is in the NICU" sounds all serious and scary, but there was never that knife-edge worry of serious illness. Toby had an oxygen tube in for a day or so to help his breathing, and then had to be under heat lamps for a bit to help him keep warm, because he was so long and skinny. We will be forever thankful to the intensive care staff, who were wonderful, and to our friends who let us stay in their house close by, so we didn't have to drive half an hour to get home.
Exactly a week after he was born, we were able to bring Toby home - having purchased the car seat to bring him home in, the bassinet for him to sleep in, and several more sets of clothes to keep him warm. Since then he's been eating non-stop and putting plenty of flesh on his bones. In fact he's downright podgy - but still the cutest baby ever!