A cou­ple share their story of their long-awaited baby’s ar­rival



Cleopa­tra, Sam and baby Alexan­der

Sam and I got mar­ried in Fe­bru­ary 2013, and started try­ing for a baby a cou­ple of months later. Although I was only 25, and Sam was only 27, we both knew we wanted chil­dren and Sam has re­tini­tis pig­men­tosa, a con­gen­i­tal eye con­di­tion that leads to blind­ness. He wanted to be able to en­joy be­ing a dad while he still had good sight. De­spite all our ef­forts and our age, we didn’t get preg­nant and in De­cem­ber 2013 I was di­ag­nosed with hav­ing poly­cys­tic ovaries. We be­gan treat­ment with a fer­til­ity clinic in Fe­bru­ary 2014, but I had two mis­car­riages. I felt like my body was fail­ing me, and dur­ing our jour­ney Sam was cer­ti­fied legally blind. Fi­nally, we fell preg­nant in Oc­to­ber 2015 through IVF. Nei­ther of us would be­lieve we were preg­nant, and we were ner­vous wrecks for the first trimester - ev­ery time I felt nau­seous Sam would say, “Good, that’s a pos­i­tive sign”. The baby was very ac­tive which was re­as­sur­ing, although he would of­ten kick so hard he would wake me up at night. We didn’t re­ally have a birth plan – what’s go­ing to hap­pen will hap­pen. The morn­ing be­fore my due date my wa­ters broke. My fa­therin-law, Doug, just hap­pened to be over and as the con­trac­tions got stronger he called my mother-in-law, Bar­bara, who picked Sam up from work and brought him home. By the time he got there I was lean­ing over the sink breath­ing heav­ily; it all seemed to hap­pen quite quickly. The three of them sup­ported me, rub­bing my back and wip­ing me down with a cold sponge, at home un­til 7pm, when the mid­wife ad­vised us to go into the hospi­tal. I don’t re­mem­ber much about it but Sam said I was howl­ing like a wolf at the moon! Sam’s dad drove us to the hospi­tal and my mum met us there. They put a mon­i­tor on my bump and by 11pm the con­trac­tions were so strong I couldn’t stop push­ing even though I was only 5cm di­alated, so they gave me an epidu­ral. The dif­fer­ence from be­fore the epidu­ral and af­ter was like night and day. One minute I was writhing on the bed, the next the room was silent and I was re­laxed, with Sam hold­ing my hand. My dad ar­rived just af­ter the epidu­ral and sat with me while the rest of the fam­ily had a break. I al­ways had some­one with me, some­one to talk to and hold my hand, which I was grate­ful for. I’d al­ways wanted my mum to be with me, and it was im­por­tant to me that Bar­bara was there too as she has no daugh­ters of her own. Even­tu­ally, around 3am, they told me I could start push­ing, but Alexan­der was stuck so they took me in for a C-sec­tion. Mum came with me into surgery as you can only have one per­son there, and Sam was ex­hausted. I was ter­ri­fied, but the staff were great, ex­plain­ing ev­ery­thing. As they pulled Alexan­der out I heard this lit­tle choked squeal, and then they lifted him over the cur­tain and I burst into tears. It felt like a dream but there he was, my baby. It was 5.17am, and he weighed 3.71kg. Alexan­der James, or AJ as we like to call him, latched on straight away, and mum sent a photo to Sam on her phone. Later in the re­cov­ery room, Sam took his shirt off for some skin-to-skin bond­ing time with AJ. That was re­ally spe­cial. The whole fam­ily was there, just as they had been with me in labour, and I felt so happy for Alexan­der, who will be so loved. 

Cleopa­tra with Alexan­der and her su­per sup­port team, who helped her through the labour. I heard this choked lit­tle squeal, and then they lifted him over the cur­tain and I burst into tears. It felt like a dream but there he was, my baby.

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