Nearly time to meet our baby daughter!

It’s just a few weeks until we welcome our baby daughter into the world – and we are now past the point Albie reached before it was decided he needed to meet us.

This time things will be a lot different. Sadly, Covid-19 is still a huge part of life and the pandemic is still resulting in some fairly stringent rules for birth partners .

We are really excited to meet our little girl. The ongoing situation has however increased the anxiety levels for both of us.

As it stands, our hospital trust allows a birth partner to be present throughout active labour. A second person can be named on the ‘substitutes bench’ but just one can be in the room at once. No issues with this, as we weren’t planning a mass gathering to witness the occasion.

Post-labour is the concern for us. I understand I can stay after the birth, but only until mum and baby are ready to go onto the ward. After that, it’s just an hour per day. The hours following Albie’s arrival were really difficult. Hanna was very sick, vomiting frequently for a good while after her C-section. She was unable to get out of bed, cuddle, feed or change Albie until later in the evening. Albie was born at 9.46am.

Much like wearing a face covering in a building as hot as a volcano will be, the inconvenience is a small price to pay given the terrible circumstances in which the world finds itself. Nevertheless, I’ve utilised our authority’s ‘Ask a Question’ service to seek reassurance that there will be suitable measures in place to provide Hanna support if needed, particularly as we are likely to opt for another section.

At least some of us are relaxed…

As things stand, I’m roughly anticipating to melt my way through the birth, collect a range of Hanna-specified pictures roughly akin to the painful number of combinations at a wedding and head home for my best/last night of sleep before Armageddon begins. I’m a bit puzzled about the hospital trust’s guidance, though: “(the partner) should return home, shower and return the next day.” I don’t have a shower. Will a bath, surrounded by foam letters and a selection of farmyard animals be sufficient? I knew we should have got the bathroom done sooner.

The first few weeks of Albie’s life are a bit of a blur, looking back. I think my mind has repressed some of the horrors, so the whole thing will be like a completely new experience.

This time around is bound to be assisted markedly by caring for a two-year-old with an unending desire to climb out of the lounge window, mild reliance on BBQ Pringles and a heavy addiction to Peppa Pig. I hope Mr Potato’s ditty about fruit and vegetables keeping us alive – delivered by someone who can’t yet say all the words coherently – is an effective lullaby. At least it comes with an amusing dance.

In honour of our impending two-child situation, I organised our ‘last meal’. I designed and cooked a three-course menu inspired by our three chosen names for Baby Poole.

Cooking has been a particular passion of mine during lockdown, a period which has accounted for a sizeable chunk of this pregnancy journey. I cooked:

Starter: Scallops, cauliflower puree, streaky bacon and tarragon oil

Main: Roast leg of lamb, mashed potato and cabbage, slow-roasted lamb shoulder and roast potato croquettes, mint sauce and a lamb gravy

Dessert: Strawberry and elderflower sorbet, tuile and nut crumb, caramel shards, Madeira-soaked raspberries and strawberries and a cranberry sauce

Can you hazard a guess as to our chosen names?

All will be revealed soon in a new blog – once the baby has been born, of course!

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