I just want to start by telling you that when Pez was alive we had decided on the name Alfie George Perry for our baby. But when Pez died, I knew that I would be naming him after his daddy Richard Thomas Perry, Richie for short.
Rhys has always called him baby Richie from the minute he was born, so it stuck with us all really, so we all call him baby Richie!!! Even when you ask him what his name is he says baby Richie, not just Richie!!
Richie was a much awaited little miracle. When we decided to start trying for baby number 2, I suffered 3 miscarriages in a row. These were very dark and difficult times, miscarriage is horrendous, no matter how far pregnant you are, you are losing a baby and this is horrendous.
But we got through this and as we had 3 miscarriages we were sent for fertility testing. Much to Pez’s dismay, he had to provide a sample of sperm for them and I remember how mortified he was to have to do this!!! 😂😂
All our results came back negative, so there was no reason why we couldn’t conceive naturally. So we decided to stop drinking altogether and eat healthily and within a month I was pregnant again!!
I was petrified, I won’t lie. Every twinge I thought the worse, that I was going to miscarry again. Then when I had a bleed, my world crumbled around me. I had never had a bleed before with a positive outcome. We
Went to the ‘room of doom’ as Pez and I called it, the early pregnancy unit at the hospital where we had sat so many times and always had terrible news!
We went in for the scan, dreading the outcome and was shown a healthy little 7 week baby on the screen, with a strong heartbeat. We were sent away and told they would scan me weekly to keep a check on me. I still had a nagging feeling, but week after week we went back and watched our baby grow until we got to 12 weeks, the big milestone!!!! We were then discharged to the main hospital and still given monthly check ups.
We had so many different tests to make sure all was ok with the baby, including an MRI scan to check his brain and everything was normal! We were so excited to meet our baby boy!!!
In all honesty the minute I found out i was pregnant I always wanted a girl!! A little girl that I could dress in pretty dresses, take shopping and have girly gossips with!! Much to my dismay at a private scan I found out I was having a boy!!!! Pez was a little disappointed too as he also wanted a girl!!! But the baby was fine and healthy so we didn’t stay disappointed for long!!! Plus looking at how my life has turned out, I’m glad that I had a boy, so my boys have each other.
My pregnancy continued well and I didn’t gain anywhere near as much weight as first time round!!
Fast forward to 32 weeks, the day my darling husband died in the fatal accident at work. My whole world collapsed around me, it was unreal.
I would lay there at night, with my hands on my tummy, our baby boy moving around inside and I just could not believe what was happening. I couldn’t believe that life would be so cruel after everything we had already been through. I won’t lie, in the first couple of days I wished I wasn’t pregnant, I had no idea how I was going to cope by myself with two children, no idea at all.
But every morning I got out of bed, I got dressed, did my hair and make up and painted on a smile. Not once did I allow myself to wallow, everyone deals with grief differently but I preferred to keep as busy as possible, even when 32 weeks pregnant.
I spoke to my midwife the day Pez died, as I was worried about the baby coming early? I had no idea what impact the grief I was suffering would have on my baby, I was scared that he would arrive before we had chance to have Pez’s funeral. I was scared that me crying so much would somehow hurt him, I was assured this wouldn’t.
She arranged for me to have a scan the following week, just to check everything was ok. I arrived at the maternity suite and was amazed at how quickly I was ushered into the scanning room, I now know this was because the midwife had told them my circumstances and they didn’t want me to have to sit there with the happy mums and dads!
I laid on the bed and had the gel squirted on my tummy, my mum was with me. The midwife started scanning me and I saw our beautiful healthy baby boy on the screen, moving and oblivious to what was going on in the world outside and I just broke down in hysterical tears. I just could not believe that Pez would not be here to see his son come into the world, this was something you see in films, not something that happens to real life people.
I came away from the hospital feeling so emotional and sad, it was awful as this should have been an exciting time, looking forward to the birth of our baby but it just filled me with dread. I remember going to mothercare for the bits for the nursery and I just walked around in a daze, throwing things into a basket, people must have been looking at me and thinking I was a right miserable cow!!!
The next few weeks passed by in a blur to be honest, I started to look forward to our baby arriving and just kept myself as busy as possible so I didn’t have to stop and think for too long.
I was lucky that my amazing mum had moved in with me since Pez died, so I had help with Rhys and was able to get a bit of sleep, as Rhys has always been a horrendous sleeper.
The 40week date came and went and not a twinge! Then I woke up at about 5am, when I was 40wks 2 days, I knew the labour was starting.
Rather than me breaking down like I thought I would, I suddenly went into ‘the zone’, this may sound funny to some but I actually felt Pez with me, I felt strong and I knew that he would be by my side all the way.
Mum was always going to be at the birth, but we also asked my best friend Anna to be there too. I called Anna and woke her up to tell her labour had started. I remember her asking me why I had woken her up so early when it had only just started! So I laughed and said,’ I’m ok you don’t have to come now, was just letting you know!’
I went into Mum and told her it had started and she attached the tens machine to my back that I had bought. Then 10 mins later Anna came knocking at the door telling me she was too excited to go back to sleep!!
I was determined to stay active for this birth, first time round I was scared to death and just laid there most of the time, resulting in a long and painful birth, ending up with me taking pethidine, which I hated!
So I was up and about, doing jobs, mum and anna stayed with me all day, we watched some telly. I could feel my contractions getting stronger but just kept turning up my tens machine. Then we went for a walk to the shops to get an ice lolly, well I say walk, I pretty much waddled there!!!
Then on the way back I realised that the tens machine was up full and the contractions were closer! Got back to the house and Anna went to make us a cuppa, suddenly they started really hard and fast, so I told her that I think we need to go to his hospital right now!!!!!
I rang the hospital to tell them we were on our way, the midwife asked me if I was certain I was in labour as they will only send me home if not! I assured her that I knew what I was doing and it was definitely labour!!!!
They got me in the car and Anna started speeding as fast as she could to the hospital!! I remember my contractions were
every few mins and I was in agony, panting in the car next to her!! Anna kept begging me not to give birth in her car!!!!
I’ll never forget Anna driving down York road like a mad woman, beeping at every car that didn’t get out of her way!!!!!
We got to the hospital, Anna let me and mum out and went to park the car, with strict instructions to not give birth until she got back!!!
The contractions were coming fast and painful now, I managed to get in the lift and to the maternity suite. As I got to the desk I hand my hands on the counter screaming through a contraction and the midwife who answered my call said ‘you weren’t joking when you said you were in labour were you?!’
I told them that I really wanted a water birth, so they rushed to start filling up the bath!! They showed me into a room, so I went to change and then my waters broke and that was It, game over!! I was in agony, I hadn’t had any pain relief at all!!!
Anna got back and told the midwife she thinks that the baby is coming, so they took me up to the delivery room. The water birth room was lovely, a big bath and candles lit around it!!
The midwife asked to examine me, she discovered I was already 8cm dilated! She got me some gas to take the edge off the pain.
I was getting agitated and forgot my tens machine was still on so asked mum to pull it off as it was annoying me! So she did but we
Forgot to turn it off so she got an electric shock!!!! I remember her saying something about how much it hurt and me telling her that she should be in my place right now to know what pain really is!!!
The bath was only half full, but I suddenly got the urge to push, badly. The midwife said, come on get in the bath but just make sure you keep your bum under the water!!
The minute I got in the water I needed to push, Anna held one hand and Mum held the other and I screamed with my first push. I’d had no pain relief and it was excruciating!! The contraction passed and I panted a bit. Then the next one came pretty much straightaway, so I pushed with all my soul, the babies head was born!!!!
I was a bit in shock, I was by myself in a bath and doing this all by myself!!! I remember seeing Anna notice the head and and scream to mum ‘omg the head is just there, look look!!!
Then one final push at around 130pm and my beautiful baby was born, it was weird, he was in the water and I was just looking down at him!!! The midwife said ‘do you want to pick him up?!’ So I reached down and picked up this wrinkly, slippery, beautiful little 6lb3oz baby!
I remember the midwife then introducing herself, as we didn’t have chance before and telling me how she wished everyone was like me when giving birth!!!!
The first thing I saw was that he had the amniotic sac still on his head, or the caul. So the midwife removed this. If you believe in such things, Richie was born special, a caulbearer and this is a sign of good luck!! Old wives tales say that a baby born with the caul or ‘behind the veil’ will be highly spiritual and very perceptive of things and apparently he will never be able to drown (we keep meaning to throw him in a pool to test this theory but haven’t got round to it yet!!!). A caul birth is very rare, less than 1 in 80,000 in fact!! After reading up on it I should have kept it and dried it out to carry with me at all times!!!
Richie took his first breath and had a little cry, but then stopped. He was calm and good and alert, he was so bloody alert! He had big eyes and just kept looking at everyone and looking around, he just seemed like he had been here before!!! He didn’t go to sleep, he just laid there wide awake!!!!
I had some cuddles in the water and then he started getting cold so we got out and laid on the bed and I gave him his first bottle. I then passed him to grandma for her first cuddle and then Auntie Anna got her turn!
The midwife was amazed at me because I was up and about, getting washed and dressed and packing my bag to take to the ward. I think everyone was waiting for me to breakdown, but I didn’t, not one tear, I was still in ‘the zone!’
I almost had a meltdown when I realised all Richie’s clothes were too big for him, so Anna went to next for me and picked up loads of tiny baby clothes!!
They put me in a wheelchair, passed me richie and took me to the ward. Thankfully I had my own private room, as I requested, as the last thing I wanted was to be on a ward and seeing the happy dads come to visit!
Mum and Anna stayed for a while, my friend Gaynor visited then uncle rich and auntie Susan came for cuddles too.
Then it was time for everyone to go, it was the first night that I would have been left alone since Pez died, but I still felt strangely calm. I had richie, I couldn’t stop staring at him, his little tiny fingers and tiny toes, he was still so alert and had hardly slept, or cried at all!!!
We slept on and off, in between feeding. The midwife kept coming in to check that I was
Ok, so that was nice!! I barely slept, even when richie did, because I just couldn’t stop staring at him!’
Finally, morning came and the doctor said we could go home, I was happy as couldn’t wait for Rhys to meet richie. So I got him all dressed in his going home outfit and got him in his car seat.
Mum came to collect us and went to go get the car, so she could pull up outside and save us walking to the car park, so I agreed this would be the best. God I was wrong.
I walked out of the hospital, I remember all the midwifes saying goodbye to me with a really sad look in their eyes! Which I don’t blame them for really, mine was a sad story!
Then the emotions started building in me, I was walking down a corridor carrying my baby, all by myself. A couple were leaving at the same time, all in love and happy and holding hands and that was it.
I rushed as quickly as I could to the car, as I just knew I was going to breakdown. Mum got us in and asked if I was ok, to which i just started crying my heart out. How could life ever be ok again? This poor little baby had been born into a world of such sadness and I just couldn’t be any other way and that made
me feel bad.
As I mentioned earlier I was so grateful to have my mum living with me, she was a god send. The house was full of visitors and all I could do was cry for a lot of the time, mix baby blues with grief and it’s not a good combination! Plus having richie at home where pez should have been just didn’t seem right.
Mum also shared the nights with me and we would take it in turns to have Rhys one night and richie the other so I wasnt always the one that was up through the night.
After a few days the sadness subsided though and I was left with my beautiful little boy and his gorgeous big brother, a family of three. And lots and lots of friends around to help me!!!