Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Biggest Challenge and the Greatest Reward

A Long Break

It's been over a month since my last blog update and that's all down to my newest favorite person in the world, my beautiful daughter; Willow Victoria Trowers.

So, I knew that as soon as she was born I would have to take a break from game development, what I didn't know (or maybe chose to ignore) was that I would be taking a break from almost everything that isn't either holding, feeding or just staring at her.  I know I'm bias, but she is just the most beautiful thing I've ever known, and as much as I know I need to put her down when she sleeps so that I can get on with things (even if that's to get some sleep myself!) I just don't want to.  I'm told this never gets old, and I'm OK with this.

Willow Arrives

Before her arrival, I knew that giving birth was going to be difficult/challenging/painful, the subject was talked over at length throughout our ante-natal classes.  Of course, taking about and planning for the birth and experiencing actually giving birth are worlds apart!   

There was also little point in 'planing' our birth experience.  The hospital we should have gone to was full, sending us 15 miles through rush hour traffic at 7am to the next hospital over.  Now I was having contractions every 3 or so minuets at this point so the actual journey to the hospital is a bit of a blur to me, but as I remember it Alex was totally cool, composed and supportive as he drove us to the hospital - not panic'd and worried about having to deliver the baby himself as we were stuck in stand still traffic at all, but like I say, it's all a bit of a blur now.  What I can tell you is; contractions hurt.  A lot.  

As soon as we reached the hospital we were sent straight to a delivery room, and one with a pool.  During the pregnancy I wasn't interested in having a pool birth, I thought it just wasn't for me, but by the time we got to the hospital I was in so much pain that anything which could help relieve that was welcome so the midwives started filling it up.  Having now had a pool birth I can't recommend it enough.  I was 8 hours into labor by the time I got into the pool and the heat and the weight lift were a massive relief.  Having not slept before the contractions started, I was exhausted.  Everything ached and my limbs were starting to give up on me, even with the support of the water.  I started to feel like I couldn't do this without more help - some more effective pain relief or intervention.  The contractions had slowed down and the midwives were talking about getting me out of the pool and seeing what needed to be done to get the baby born, it seems that threatening to take me out of the pool was all we needed to move things along.

After 10 hours of labor and with the help of some gas and air, a pool and Alex continually assuring me that; yes I could and indeed was doing great, Willow was born.  

her first sleep, really I should have slept at this point too...

The first I realized that it was all over was the midwife telling me to pick her up!  I looked down and floating just below me was this perfect tiny baby, I pulled her up to the surface, keeping her body in the warmth of the water and she opened her eyes and just stared at Alex and me.  It took a few moments of taking it all in before I remembered to check to see if we had a little boy or a girl, because at that point I didn't care, all that mattered was that she is perfect.  

The one thing that we had talked about and wanted for the baby was to leave the placenta attached until it had stopped giving baby the last wave of blood and nutrients from me, and we couldn't do that.  No one had mentioned that to test baby's blood to see if I needed the final anti-D injection, a sample was taken from the umbilical cord so the midwives needed to clamp it before it stopped pulsing.  So much for planning.  After this Alex did get to cut the cord (which is not nearly as easy as you think), Willow was weighed at 7lb 7oz and after Alex changed his very first nappy she was handed to me for some skin to skin and her first feed.          
It's maybe cliche to say that it's overwhelming, life changing or the greatest thing I've ever achieved, but it is all of these things and more.  It was hard work and I have never been prouder of myself.  I didn't think I would be able to do this without all of the pain medication and possibly intervention but I did!

Feed, Wind, Change, Sleep.  Repeat.

Everyday is different with her.  She's learning everything so quickly and so are we!  There is a basic formula that needs to be followed and so long as she is fed, winded, changed and gets to sleep she is by all accounts a happy baby.

multitasking like a boss

This cycle is however my entire life right now.  OK, that's a bit of an over exaggeration, we do get to go out as she is really well behaved (as in she mostly sleeps in her buggy) and Alex and I tag team for the most part (but feeding is mostly on me, literally) but getting anything else done is difficult. For example; it's taken me 3 days to write this blog post, never before have I wanted extra arms more than I do now.

So game development is firmly on the back burner for now.  Which is frustrating in that I have things I want/need to do, but the time I am spending with Willow is priceless.  We will never get this time back and I'm so glad that Alex gets to enjoy it too.  

We have been amazingly lucky with the reception of Glyph Quest.  Our first foray into indie development has been more of a success than we hoped it would be and this has given us the opportunity to enjoy the first moments with our daughter, but we will have to get back to work soon.  The great thing that going indie has given us is that Alex hasn't had to return to work after 2 weeks paternity leave, but the reverse side of that coin is if we're not making games, we're not making money.

So, time to start looking at a Glyph Quest sequel...