Scarlett Celeste Annabelle Fawn
Daughter of Jacqueline Lythe and Rob Fawn
Born on the 8th of September 2013
at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, weighing 9lb 4oz
Rob and I met at a party in Clapham. Love at first sight, it was not! Rob was wearing a tiger onesie and bowling shoes – and, I might note, he was the only person in fancy dress.
I made the sensible decision to avoid this strange man at all costs. But when the party moved to London’s finest evening establishment, Infernos, the tiger onesie didn’t look so out of place. Rob seized his moment, and, would you believe it, the big cat had charm!
Scarlett was a surprise, but the most magnificent one we’ve ever received. We were totally elated at the prospect of becoming parents. At first, though, I had this ridiculous anxiety about the fact that I wasn’t married. My mum told me how silly it was, and that as soon as I was holding my baby in my arms I would realise that it didn’t matter one jot.
Overall, the pregnancy was a wonderful period where I could eat what I wanted, people on the tube really did seem concerned and gave up their seats, and everything seemed exciting and harmonious. I’m a born worrier, though, and the very idea of childbirth made me anxious. At my ten week meeting with my midwife I voiced my concern about dying in labour – extreme, I know!
I decided to do everything I could to take control. I did hypnobirthing, a pregnancy yoga course, NCT, and read a lot about birth. We had a fantastic NCT leader, who stressed that the ‘best birth’ was simply the birth that was best for me on the day. She helped me to understand that I shouldn’t plan for what I definitely did and didn’t want during labour, I should simply go with the flow and cross each bridge when I came to it. This definitely made me feel empowered when I didn’t get the serene hypnobirth that I’d imagined.
At a check up on my due date, I voiced a concern that I hadn’t felt the baby move as much. The midwife advised me to go the hospital for a scan, to be on the safe side. As I walked into the hospital reception, I felt what I thought were my waters breaking. Fortunately the baby was absolutely fine, but the midwife confirmed that there was water, and said that I would now need to stay in hospital.
I’d learnt so much about how to cope with labour at home that this change of plan threw me. Rob and I made the decision to go home anyway, to relax, listen to our birthing CD, and return in the morning. That was what we did, until around midnight, when I went to the toilet and spotted blood. I was panic-stricken, which caused a very sudden and painful contraction, and all of my breathing and relaxation flew out of the window. I regained control, and we headed back to hospital. I was checked over, reassured that the blood was nothing to worry about, and told to go back home.
The next morning I woke to sharp period pains and decided to stay on my feet to help the baby ease down. I baked a cake – shocking for those that know me – and polished the furniture. Later, we went into hospital and set up our hypnobirthing haven – bed sheets from our house, enough lavender scents to stock an aromatherapy shop, and relaxing massage music.
That was Friday morning. By Saturday evening I was utterly exhausted and needed to see some light at the end of the tunnel. At around 11pm, the midwife suggested that we move to the birthing pool. I got in and thought ‘we must be nearing the end! Wow, I’ve done it all with hypnobirthing! I must tell the world about how fabulous this is when I get out of here!’
That must have jinxed it, because suddenly the pain became quite unbearable. I hobbled out of the pool and was examined by the midwife, who told me that my waters had not actually broken – that it had probably been my hind waters. To top that, I was still only six centimetres dilated. I knew that I simply couldn’t continue without some rest, and was taken for an epidural.
The first epidural only made one leg numb, I had a second, and was also given a spinal block. With that, alarms sounded, chords were pulled and a team of people dashed into the room. The baby’s heart rate had dropped and I was swiftly turned onto my left side to help blood flow. An hour later, I was being told to push – a very surreal sensation when you can’t feel a thing. As the doctors were about to try ventouse, they spotted Scarlett’s face – which meant that her neck was at an angle, and it would be impossible to get her out vaginally. I was taken for an emergency caesarean.
I felt totally at ease in the hands of the extremely reassuring team. By 2:54am, my baby was in my arms. Or, at least, in Rob’s arms, and being hovered over my face.
Rob was incredible from start to finish. He hypnobirthed like a trooper with me during those first two days in our labour room and when things took a dramatic turn he remained calm and in control, which definitely helped me to do the same.
I spent six days in hospital. After longing to go home, when we actually walked through our front door and put Scarlett in the Moses basket we suddenly realised that we didn’t have a clue. I thought ‘I’ll never sleep again without worrying, I’ll never be able to wash my hair again, or eat a sandwich.’
The first few weeks were, of course, challenging. But once Rob went back to work and I was established with weekly baby classes and meeting new mums, everything seemed to slot into place. We still have disastrous nights here and there, and I sit in my PJs the next day and think ‘I’m not very good at this’. But then Scarlett will laugh or gurgle, and all is right in the world.
Life has definitely never been the same again – but in an utterly fabulous way. I have slept (ish), and washed my hair, and eaten a sandwich – but now I also have this little bundle of wonderfulness next to me. Rob proposed in Dubai, on our babymoon. Our wedding is on New Year’s Eve, and we’ll have the most fabulous little flower girl that we could ever have dreamed of. ✿