Having a baby abroad – introducing Poppy Catherine

Rachael pregnant

120 tonnes of perfect (Mig’s little joke!)

After being pregnant for what felt like forever, baby Poppy is finally here! Well, in actual fact she’s almost six months now but as you can imagine life with two youngsters is pretty chaotic and I haven’t even thought about sharing our news in a blog until now.

Being pregnant in a hot country definitely had its challenges, especially as Poppy was a summer baby and I was officially the size of a house. I thought I was big the first time round but I was doing the pregnant waddle at least two months before baby number two was born and struggling to find things to wear and comfy positions in bed way before she arrived. I didn’t want to make the same mistake that I had with Leon and presume baby would stay in there full term (I actually hoped she wouldn’t!) so I made sure all my work commitments were tied up well before the due day in August. Leon had arrived by surprise a month early and I was sure we’d be meeting Poppy sooner rather than later. Poppy had other ideas though, and despite weighing close to 9lbs at our last scan she was happy in there and didn’t turn up until August 9th, just a week early.

just one more push…

I’d had a few hints in the days leading up to the birth that Poppy was on her way, lots of mild contractions, aches and pains etc, but each check at the hospital showed Poppy was not quite ready to join us yet and I was sent on my way. When I woke up on the Monday I was certain this was it! We’d been spending lots of time in Las Palmas with Miguel’s mum because I was honestly terrified of starting to go into labour at the cave house, in case it was as fast as my previous labour. We live an hour away from the nearest hospital and my midwife had told me in an emergency I’d be airlifted by helicopter to the hospital! Miguel’s mum actually lives just a couple of minutes from the hospital and we’d been staying with her in anticipation of the big day, but with so many false starts we’d actually gone back up to the cave house for a couple of nights to tend to the allotment and pick the last of the plums. On the Monday morning we jumped in the car and rushed down to the hospital to see what was happening, only to be told I had COVID and that baby was not on the way. This was not the news we were expecting, and I was still certain baby would be here soon, but we left and spent the day on the beach with Leon, eating pizza and paddling in the warm water before heading back to Mig’s mums.

Fast forward a couple more hours, Leon was asleep, my contractions were ramping up, I told Mig to get dressed and that we’d be heading to hospital in the next few hours. 30 minutes later and my contractions were every three minutes and we were ready to go! At the hospital we were told to wait in reception until the on duty midwife could examine me, this felt like forever and I was already on all fours and breathing through each contraction. Eventually the midwife came and took me for tests to see how far along I was, Miguel was told to wait in reception and for the next half an hour or more I laboured alone and hoped he’d make it inside for the actual birth. Thankfully he did and after a fairly smooth hour or two more baby Poppy Catherine was born. Again I used hypnobirthing techniques to breathe through each contraction, didn’t ask for any pain relief and knew what to expect when it came to pushing a baby out. I hadn’t imagined the baby would be such a whopper at 9lb 7oz, but the delivery was quick and our perfect, giant baby was finally here!

9lb 7 of perfect!

Now before Poppy was born we’d briefly discussed the option of having her in the UK, but it seemed like an unnecessary upheaval for all of us and the pregnancy had been straightforward and the maternity care good, so we decided we would stay in Gran Canaria for the birth. I’ll be honest, if I had a time machine I would go back and make that decision to go back to the UK for Poppy’s birth. I can’t even begin to find the words to share the next part of our birth story, but let’s just say it was traumatic and something we’ll never forget. Poppy ended up on neonatal for two weeks and I was extremely ill and am still not fully recovered. We are focusing on the best bits and looking to the future, Poppy is the fourth part that completes our little family, her big brother Leon is besotted, as are we, and we are enjoying life together here in our beautiful island.

Enjoying life as a four

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