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Loving Lyla

What's that old saying, 'if you can't beat them join them' well we have decided to introduce you to the newest member of our brood, 'Lyla-Rose!

Lyla is the beauty we have come to be in awe of. On a daily basis she lives a life of breast milk and cuddles, free from worries and filled with smiles, she is our little lady.

But it wasn't all sunshine and roses, as wanted as she was, and as much as love was waiting for her in abundance, the pregnancy was a bundle of pain and frustration, I'll let my sister tell you the rest.

Thanks Jo, well what can I say, from the first positive pregnancy test (yes I took more than one.....didn't you?) to holding her in my arms there was worry, frustration and uncertainty.

From 4 weeks pregnant to completing the online booking form, to my first midwife appointment it was my support network (Sister, Cousin & Niece, as the man was just over excited, over whelmed and over wrought) that got me through these early obstacles! Finally I made it to the first appointment and lucky for me with my mental health was in tact....just about lol.

Ladies, make sure you allow a good 40 mins to 1 hour for this appointment and be honest. I'm not gonna lie to you, I was a nearly 20 a day smoker at the beginning of my pregnancy and I went from an overweight woman to a high risk pregnant woman with a high BMI. Then came to the chromosomal blood testing, something I honestly was the least anxious about, I agreed to, had them done and went about my business. The last thing I was expecting whilst sitting at my desk at work was a call from the midwife saying that my tests had come back showing a higher than average number in the T21 category (Downs Syndrome). With the shock, I burst into tears - I know, unheard of for a black woman at work - and then I left the office as fast as I could.

I sat alone in my car, and I called upon my promises from God!

I texted my sister the news and drove home. As I pulled up outside my home, she called, I expected nothing less. The wisdom she departed on me from her medical knowledge and her pure love for me was all I needed. Beside the love and support she made me recognise and acknowledge something about me, I am a water off of a duck's back type of gal, I let my emotions wash over and behind me and this was not the right way to deal with this. For this I needed to allow my man to be my strength, whilst I allowed myself to lean into my emotions. This I would encourage all of you ladies to do, share your pain, share your worry, share your anxiety and for me that was all shared in that moment with my partner.

I woke my night worker partner from his usual daily slumber. With a cup of tea, in my hands for him and tears in my eyes for me, I told him what the midwife had said, and explained that we had to take more tests. He held me and I held on to him for dear life, knowing that the life inside of me, the one we made in love, may be sick, and we could do nothing but wait. But guess what, we didn't just wait, like my sister said we were in control. So we made the decision that we would have no invasive tests and whatever the next test said, our Baby was our Baby and we couldn't wait to meet them.

Test results day rolled around and they were negative, our prayers were answered!

Pregnancy continued and along with it came even more twists and turns. We faced an antepartum hemorrhage, gestational diabetes, symphysis pubis dysfunction, polyhydramnious and an oversize belly, oh the questions and comments from the general public. I now know how the rabbit feels at the petting zoo when everyone wanted to hold the little chick or hamster. It was certainly a minefield and at times a straight up battlefield. Emotions, hormones, children at home, sick family; all of these things are going on simultaneously and despite the continuous need to pee, eat and sleep, I just had to keep it moving. Ladies, my Strength of Faith, my support network and my knack for just cheering myself up , got me through to the point of being a week before my elective c-section date.

It's a Thursday, I'm at my sister's working on an interview thinking, I'm having braxton hicks. By the afternoon when I'm leaving to pick up the kids, my sis tells me she'll have my boys because she wants me to get checked out. Well, this is not the most convenient thing for me, our house is far from ready, I don't have a hospital bag for me or baby and absolutely none of her stuff has been washed but she said it, and so I did it. Also, I will confess I was a little concerned as braxton hicks are usually on and off not a continuous flow throughout that day.

So as is our way...after a few more twists and turns, my partner and I made it to the hospital at around 5.30 pm. When it got to 11:30 pm, I sent him for McDonald's. When it got to 4 am I sent him home. Now don't get me wrong I had been seen and monitored and closely and attentively listened to, but nothing seemed to be happening with any urgency. We were told that I would be staying in overnight as they could see that I was having contractions but they wanted to monitor whether they got any more intense. With that information in mind, I sent him home with instructions to sort out clothes for the boys (it was their last day of term) and see what he could put together for the baby, although I was convinced that I would be going home after morning rounds. Oh how naive I was.

I said goodnight via WhatsApp at 5:57 am at around 8:30 am I was being told that she would be delivered today. I had just come off the phone with my sis and my partner telling them I would call to say what time to pick me up and ended up ringing them back to say I'm going to be prepped for surgery. I was so nervous that a level of peace "that surpasses all understanding" enveloped me, I heard God speak to me and I knew that those promises I called on earlier in my pregnancy were about to be fulfilled. All of a sudden the non existent hospital bag, unwashed new clothes and cluttered home meant nothing; I had no lack. With my hand tucked safely inside of my partners one, and with an amazing maternity/obstetrics team and most of all the presence of the Lord in the room, my Lyla-Rose was born at 11.17 am, weighing 8lbs 2oz.

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