Category Archives: Pregnancy

Dear Baby 

Sorry baby, we haven’t meant to totally ignore you for the past 7 months…..

Dear Baby

I’m sorry you’ve taken a back seat 

I’m sorry I’ve sort of forgot 

I’m sorry you’re soon to be wearing castoffs 

And sleeping in a second hand cot 

I haven’t bought any nappies 

I really am quite far behind 

I haven’t even thought of your name 

I really am losing my mind

I’ve been quite frankly knackered 

And life’s just so busy and fast 

It’s not that you are not wanted 

At bedtime your sisters a pain in the….bum 

I’m not sure how we will do it 

But they say you should just slot in

Whatever you do, I’ll have my back up

Of chocolate and a bottle of gin 

We are excited to meet you

Just a quiet excited you see 

So please let me get a bit of sleep

And maybe one cup a day of hot tea 

How Did I Do It?

No seriously……how?

I look at Nancy and wonder how the hell she is 3 years old. And then I think something else: I bloody did it.

I fed, I clothed,  I stayed awake, I sang, I cried. 3 years and here she is, telling me I’m wrong and some other rubbish about Blaze the Monster Machine.

Seems weird to me to say that I have successfully brought up another person for this time. That really her survival has been down to me and Dan (with help from relatives and Nursery of course). I don’t really know how we’ve even done it, not really. I have no nuggets of wisdom other than don’t drink too much.

The thought of having to do it again, go back to square one, is daunting. I can’t really remember much apart from feeling very tired and being covered in sick. Maybe I have suppressed memories which will come flooding back to me.

This time I am much more laid back. I haven’t even thought of names yet. I get confused as to how far along I actually am. I haven’t panicked yet but maybe that’s me being cool or maybe that’s me in complete denial.

It won’t be a shock this time. I’m already at a level of tired constantly so a bit more won’t hurt as much as last time. Last time the first week or so felt like I was being hit by a train at full speed. Im thinking this time it’ll be more like a car at 20mph.

Everything that felt alien to me before, and new is now my normal. Poo is normal. Sick is normal. Being tired is normal. I’m not quite sure how I’ve got to where I am, but it’s not a bad place to be. I feel quite honoured I get to do it all again. I know every baby is different but the fact I can look at Nancy and see I have actually brought her up so far and she’s actually not been scarred for life as a consequence, makes me feel quite proud.

Pregnancy Cravings

Everyone knows when you’re pregnant, you get loads of cravings, right?

image

I’m craving……

-Peace and quiet

-Cereal

-A lie in

-A day free from frozen

-Maternity clothing that actually fits

-Lots of warm tea

-Brie

-To be able to sit and watch Netflix for a few hours…or days

-Sleep

-A day to myself

-Energy

-A roast dinner

-A clean kitchen floor

-90s music

-The Archers

-A packet of Haribo. No sharing.

-An evening just lying on the sofa

-Er did I say sleep already?

-A bath. Without visitors or plastic tat

-A house that I can instagram

-A sequin bomber jacket like Taylor Swift

-Jelly

Pregnancy Perks and Pitfalls

There’s got to be some perks to this pregnancy lark….right?

image

Pregnancy Perks

Not having to pay for the dentist

Being able to get out of anything by saying you’re pregnant

Being able to sit down on buses or stare at people intently rubbing your belly until they let you have their seat. Or give you a sandwich.

Having naps at work

Free prescriptions!

Being able to swim whatever time of the month

Not having to buy any tampons or sanitary towels! Take that VAT loving government!

Not having periods! For 9 months!

Just letting it all hang out. The freedom of not having to suck your stomach in.

If you’re a bit fat (like me) then you will get no annoying “are you pregnant” type questions as people are too afraid to ask

Wearing pyjamas all the time and no one telling you it’s wrong

Bring able to eat whatever you like! No Worrying about dieting….

Being able to fart whenever you like and that’s OK because you’re pregnant

Suddenly getting the energy to plan house redecoration, crafts, spring cleaning the house and pinteresting like a mo’fo

Crying at anything and everything but people don’t mind because you’re pregnant

Being able to get out of any kind of physical labour such as hoovering or lifting 3 year olds

Pregnancy pitfalls

Not being able to have any actual treatment at the dentist because you’re pregnant

Not being able to take Lemsip

Not actually being able to take some medication you can get for free

Not being able to reach and therefore manage your bikini line

uncontrollable flatulence

Forgetting to wake up after a nap

Not being able to eat all the nice cheese. And paté.

Not having any alcohol.

Discovering how you dance sober.

Knowing the mother of all periods will await you in 9 months time

Feeling so sick you can’t do anything you’ve planned

Getting stuck in the car, wedged between the steering wheel. And always beeping the horn when you try and get out.

People assuming you can’t do anything because you’re pregnant. Like run. Or have a bath.

As soon as you get pregnant, you suddenly get invites to parties, weddings, hen dos, holidays and every social event on the calender. Which you then have to attend. Sober.

Bearing in mind the last 12 months your social calender looked pretty empty….

Being the designated driver.

Thoughts on Pregnancy: Second Time Round

image

I had just come to the conclusion that one child was plenty enough thank you,  when I found out I was pregnant.

My first thought was: oh shit.

My second thought was: oh shit, I can’t drink anything now.  HOW AM I GOING TO COPE?!

My third thought was: oh god, I’m not going to sleep until 2020.

Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased that we are having another baby. It’s taken long enough. But this time things are just a bit different.

When people ask me “is this pregnancy different to the first?” I immediately think: of course this pregnancy is different.

For a start, I’ve been sleep deprived for most of the last 3 years. So, you know, that adds a little edge to things. Also, this time I can’t just lie on the sofa and do nothing all evening when I feel ill. This time, I have a three year old who still wants you to hold them as you walk along the pavement and who wants me to be the fairy godmother when she’s playing Cinderella.

This time around, I have no time (or energy for that matter) for yoga or swimming. I am drinking too much caffiene and I accidentally ate a cheese board the day after I found out I was pregnant because I forgot about the whole “don’t eat cheese” thing.

This time, I hardly have any time to actually think I am pregnant at all.

I also have the benefit/disadvantage of knowing exactly what I’ve let myself in for. I can learn from my previous experience and I know for sure what I want and don’t want to happen this time. But I know one thing I can’t avoid and that is I’ll still have to push this Bubba out of my Va-Jay-Jay. And I know it fricking hurts.

This time, I pay a fleeting glance to emails telling me my baby weighs the same as an avocado. I don’t have the 26 apps I had last time, all telling me the same information that I poured over night after night. I bought actual books last time to read and studied like I was a student midwife.

I might try and do some pelvic floor excersizes on the way to work if I sneeze and start to panic, unlike the military set schedule I had 3 years ago. (Seriously I bet I could’ve cracked nuts with my pelvic floor).

I don’t have to buy anything this time round; I have everything going moldy in the garage. I just need to have a day sometime to go and bleach it all down. But I have plenty of time for that.

I am not sure if I can be described as “glowing” second time round. I frequently forget to brush my hair and put make up on, meaning I look more like a character out of The Walking Dead each day. Hell, I haven’t even shaved my legs this year yet. I used to pour over maternity sections in shops choosing jeans and dresses that accentuated my bump. This time I’m just wearing leggings and baggy dresses. Looking like a pregnant bag lady is quite a skill you know.

Oh, and symptoms: if you’re any different to last time (which, in fairness was 3 years ago so how could you even remember) then you must be having a boy. Or a girl. Or a hairy baby.

I know I am lucky to experience this again. I am grateful for this experience, no matter how tired I am or messy looking I become. Once August is here, we will have our little family complete and that will be a great feeling. I am looking forward to baby snuggles and seeing Nancy’s face when she sees her brother or sister.

And also, I’ll never have to be pregnant again.

When should you start your maternity leave?

Looking back at my maternity leave, it was a time I will remember and cherish. I will never have that time again, well not in the same way – when I started my maternity leave it was just me, and now I have bubs! (Obviously, as that’s why I was on maternity leave. Duh.). What I mean is, I shall never have that alone time, with myself, or with the baby in fact, again in such a way.

Choosing when to start your maternity leave can be a tricky choice. You want to spend as much time with your baby as possible, so many try to work as close to their due date as they can. However, I also wanted some me time. Selfish, perhaps, but getting your head around having a baby, making sure you’re ready, physically and mentally, is so important. Also, I just wanted to sleep a bit.

I was due on 3rd February 2013. I left work on 31st December 2012 – quite apt I think, new starts, new year, new beginnings. I took 2 weeks annual leave, so I didn’t actually start my Maternity Leave until 14 January. One tip I would say, is try to save as much annual leave as possible so that you can take some before the start of your maternity leave.

I had so much fun on those 2 weeks annual leave. I slept, I stayed in my pyjamas all day, I ate what I liked and I watched a lot of crappy TV. I washed all the little newborn baby clothes, and couldn’t even contemplate how this baby would look. I listened to a lot of music, and downloaded a lot from iTunes. I listened to a lot of music from the 90s – reminiscing of days past. Thinking of the last, eating food from my childhood, I really had a thing about that. I cleaned the house in a nesting fever. I thought a lot about what was going to happen. I was scared. I cried. I started to think I didn’t want a baby – what the hell was I doing?! I panicked. But talking to my partner,my family and friends, and having time to address these concerns was invaluable.

As my due date drew near, my sister spent the week with me. It was lovely. We went to Nandos more times than it was healthy to, we watched movies, went to Ikea and got lost, chatted about so many things. she dyed my hair and made me look pretty for Labour. We did all we could to try to get this baby out. I really enjoyed this time. It was nice, as I knew I’d never have that freedom or ability to be so spontaneous again. I knew my life would change, so I spent time enjoying it whilst I could.

I know for some people, this could be seen as time wasted. It certainly didn’t feel it to me. I am so glad I had a bit of time before the baby came to completely de-work, de-stress and to get ready for what was to come. As it was, I ended up being 2 weeks overdue and being induced. By the time she came, I was very ready to see her, and for my pregnancy to end. I think having all that time before really helped me to come to terms with this. By the time my waters had been broken, and the drip was set off in my arm, I was ready – to be a Mum, and to start my Maternity Leave really and truly.q

Partners on The Maternity Ward: A Good Idea?

Watching the very exciting news today about the birth of the royal baby, a piece of information caught my eye.  Prince William would stay with Catherine overnight with their baby. 

Hold on, I thought.  I didn’t get that.  Dan wasn’t allowed to stay with me.

Having not slept for nearly 48 hours, when Dan left at 8pm (the special leaving time for dads) I cried. I had no idea what I was doing.  The midwives and health care assistants were there to ‘help’, but with buzzers going off left right and centre, help took a long time coming.  I struggled to feed and I was awake all night with a baby that wouldn’t feed, wouldn’t be put down and wouldn’t sleep.  I eventually fell asleep for an hour with her on my chest. It wasn’t the start I had envisaged.

I understand currently Dads aren’t allowed due to privacy and dignity of the other ladies on the Ward. But most people have their curtains shut, and if everyone had someone to support them, would this be an issue? 

I’m glad William is there for Kate.  That’s how it should be.  How can we ever get equality in child rearing if we exclude the partners of the mothers? It automatically becomes the woman’s job because she’s the one left holding the baby on the ward.  It then becomes the mothers role to pass on all they have learnt, about parenting as well as the baby, to their partner. Yes they get to spend the day time with them but Bubs was asleep most of the time during the day and started to scream just as Dan went down the corridor.

I was in hospital several days. I resented Dan leaving me. I resented the struggle I had with feeding. Having someone to go through that with, would have helped me so much.  I was so down I really didn’t enjoy those first few days – and that’s not right. 

Spending time together, day or/and night, in a safe environment, seems such a good idea to me.  Bonding, working it out, all together.  I am sure if dan had been there that first night I would have coped better and he would have had a better idea of what I was going through. 

What do you think?  Should partners be allowed to stay on maternity wards?

Out and About with a Baby Series – 1. Finding The Perfect Buggy

Now that Bubs is almost 4 months old, I am starting to venture out a bit more. This has meant I have had to start thinking about what I am doing, where I am going, and what I will need whilst I am out of the house. So far, I think I have done OK, and there hasn’t been a major hiccup. I thought I would share with you what I take with me Out and About, just in case you are wondering what on earth you need to get out of the door.

Finding The Perfect Buggy

First in this series, I thought I would tell you about prams/buggy’s. I will highlight some tips and advice about finding a buggy, and I will review the buggy I bought in case you are interested! Please note that this is my own review of the buggy, I bought it myself, and this review is no way affiliated with Baby Jogger (although I may let them know I have reviewed their buggy!). All views are my own and my honest opinion.

What Do You Want From Your Buggy?

When thinking about a buggy, I think you may want to consider these points:

  • Are you going to need to put it in a car? If so, will it fit in the boot?
  • Does the buggy collapse down easily?
  • Is there a big enough carry basket on there? Can you put all your things easily in/on the pram/buggy?
  • Where are you taking the buggy? Will you need something that can go off-road, for example? (3-wheelers for example are supposedly better off-road)
  • Do you want your baby to use a carrycot with the pram initially?
  • Do you want to be able to put your car seat onto the pram? If so, make sure your make of car seat matches the adaptors for the pram/buggy
  • Do you want a forward facing, or a Mum-facing pram? Some interchange between the two
  • Will the pram last through the baby’s first few years? Will it grow with the baby?
  • Weather protection: Rain cover and Parasol – are these included?
  • Can the pram be steered easily with one hand? (believe me you will have to do this one day!)
  • Check the suspension – will the baby have a bumpy ride?
  • Is it easy to assemble, reassemble?
  • Who will be using the buggy/pram? Will they be able to use it easily?
  • Does it have an adjustable handle for height differences?
  • Are the covers of the pram washable?
  • Is the brake easy to use?
  • Does the pram turn easily? Can you get in and out of doorways without much hassle?
  • What is the buggy like up and down steps and curbs?
  • Does the buggy have a safety harness which meets all legal criteria?

The Buggy I Bought (My Own Review)

Baby Jogger Mini GT

Baby Jogger Mini GT

Now, the buggy we bought is a Baby Jogger Mini City GT. When we bought it, it was Number 1 on the Which best buy list (We bought it in November 2012). The Baby Jogger is suitable from birth, as the back can be lowered to a flat position. The buggy is forward facing, which is a little disappointment for me, but there are 2 windows on the massive canopy which means I can peep at Bubs whilst she is in the buggy. We bought the car seat adapters (which are an additional cost – I think they are about £20) and so for the first few weeks it was great as I could put Bubs in the car seat, or straight out of the car, and onto the buggy, and she is forward facing in the car seat, so it is not a bad compromise especially in the first few weeks when you are wanting to check your baby is alright all the time!

I really like this buggy, although to start with I thought it was far too big and I was terrible at steering it. However, I think it is FAB now I have got the hang of it and I have stopped running over small children and cats. It is very easy to steer, and even easy to steer one-handed, the brake is on the right hand side, which flips up to put brake on and flip down to take off, which is very handy and means I am not fiddling about with your feet. As I have said above, the canopy/hood on this buggy is big: is can be extended two times, and when fully extended it practically covers the whole baby meaning shade in sun and protection from wind and rain. At the back, there is a mesh backing which allows air into the buggy to cool, and this has its own cover for when it is raining, and a neat little pocket is on there as well.

Shaded by the sun and having a nap

Shaded by the sun and having a nap

The basket underneath is big, and can carry 2 full shopping bags as well as coats. It can be a little tricky getting them in there, however, put with a little knack and experience, you can squeeze quite a lot under there.

The steering handle is adjustable, which is good for me and Dan as we are different heights. My only minor gripe is that there is nowhere to hang your changing bag/handbag from which would be good (there is a notice not to hang anything on the handle, and I have done this before OK, but I do think there is a risk of toppling over if you have a really heavy bag on there so best not).

To fold the baby jogger, you just pull the handle in the middle of the seat – this can be done one-handed which is very handy. it is not too heavy, and I can pick it up and put in the boot with little effort. I have a Nissan Micra and the buggy fits in the boot without having to take the wheels off, but yes, the wheels click on/off very simply if you needed to do this.

There is plenty of space for Bubs in the buggy, and she seems to like being in it. She can fall asleep very easily in there, and she likes playing with her toys in there as we go out and about. I have also purchased the baby jogger foot muff and this will be great in the future when it is colder and when bubs is a bit bigger.

The buggy is very versatile, like I say it feels a bit big to start with, and then the back is put down flat it does stick out at the back and so looks a lot bigger. As Bubs grows with the buggy, and we can raise the back, this will make it a bit easier.

I really like this buggy, and I think it is very good value for money (about £300). It should last a few years at least. Although I had really wanted a proper pram, this was the much more economic and rational choice, and now I have got used to using a buggy, I love it!

Searching for the Perfect Buggy/Pram

  • There are lots of buggy reviews online so I recommend searching for the buggy of your choice and having a look at what others say. YouTube is great to watch videos of buggys in action. I also found Which? a very good source of information.
  • If you find a cheaper price online, make sure you go into a store (any one that sells your pram/buggy) and make sure you have a good look at it; and then order online when you get home!
  • Watch out for any added extras. Although I love my buggy, I had to buy the car seat adapters and rain cover as extra.
  • Look in local NCT Sales, or Baby Sales, the buggy of your dreams may be there and at half the price!

I hope that you have found this useful. I certainly did not have a clue about buggy’s and prams when I was pregnant. If you have any other tips or advice about finding the perfect buggy/pram then let me know!

 

 

‘When My Sister Gave Birth I Cried’: Birth from a Birth Partner Perspective (Guest Post)

I am very pleased that my sister was able to write this for me, the birth from her prespective as a birth partner. As I couldn’t remember all the details of my birth, it was quite interesting reading this myself! Thank you Lydia – you can follow Lydia on twitter: (@Boomboomcherie).

“When my sister gave birth I cried. I didn’t cry (at first) because of the miracle of witnessing a human being enter the world or because it was such a beautiful, overwhelming moment of love I couldn’t hold it in…I cried because my sister was in pain. My sister was crying. My sister was being put through unimaginable hurt and fear and stress and I couldn’t stand it.

It didn’t help that it didn’t go to plan. Anyone who knows my sister knows how she loves to plan and how she likes it when things work out as they should do. She has always been very practical – you save money/you buy things, you work hard/you go far, you play hard/you have fun. So when it came to having a baby, she knew it would be difficult and scary but she also knew it could be handled or managed well. She always maintained that the decision about pain relief and positioning etc. could only really be made on the day but she hoped that she would be able to go as far as she could without any ‘artificial’ help (my words).

This was the first moment of heartbreak – it didn’t go to plan. Emily as fine – ever philosophical and cool, perhaps slightly anxious but that was understandable. Emily was overdue. Not just overdue, she was so bloody overdue that we all started to doubt that was nine months pregnant at all. Emily was admitted to hospital for an induction on the Friday (I think…it’s all a bit of a blur now…). We had discussed this possibility and Emily was always fine about it but I knew that it was not what she truly wanted and after a couple of years of nothing being quite right, I just wanted this to be completely within Emily’s control.

The first stretch and sweep couldn’t happen. Something about a closed cervix. The second stretch and sweep resulted in the same. I was disappointed – I wanted this to be the only trigger Emily’s baby needed to start the process, to show Emily that her body only needed a small nudge in the right direction. No such luck.

I travelled down to see Emily on the Saturday (again, I THINK – I can’t quite remember….) her waters were due to be broken at some point if the pessary and/or stretch and sweep didn’t work. They didn’t and eventually – when a delivery suite bed became available, we were escorted down to where everything would start.

We were in good spirits but quite obviously – we were all shitting ourselves; not having a single clue what was going to happen at any point during the rest of the day. The room was not as I’d imagined – there was no birthing ball, room/space for moving around, separate bathroom (complete with bath)…There was an en-suite toilet with a shower in which was separated from the rest of the room by a thin separating wall. There wasn’t even a cot in the room. I wasn’t convinced that we would be staying in this room. It was so clinical – all white and bare and soulless. I could sense that Emily was also slightly apprehensive at the disorganised state of the room and the hustle-bustle of the ever changing staff but she knew this was the start of the desired end that she had been waiting so long for.

Thy broke her waters whilst I was out of the room and I waited outside until I was called in. This was the beginning. Something HAD to happen now. Emily was told to walk around – get things kick-started. We walked around the ward, around the maternity hospital – outside. It was a bright day – sunny but cold. Emily seemed happy that she had a part to play now – she could start this.

There were slight ‘pangs’ and twinges – nothing too significant though. We all desperately wanted to believe there were contractions bubbling under the surface but the truth of it was written all over our faces – this was going to be a long process.

The next part I remember is Emily being put on a drip. I thought the drip would be put in for an hour or so and then taken out once labour started but it turned out that this WAS the labour. I think Emily felt a bit disappointed at being put on the drip – simply because she had wanted an active birth with freedom to move and her midwife friend had text messaged me saying how she had hoped Emily would not be put on the drip.

It was a short while into the instigation of the drip that we saw what a real contraction was like. I didn’t like the look of it. Emily’s face turned from pensive and relaxed to pale and fraught. This continued for what seemed like hours. Emily tried her best to overcome the waves of pain with breathing and I was astounded at her strength – she was silent (aside from the breaths) and so focused on what she was doing. Dan and I watched Iron Man 2 n the hospital TV that we had put money on as Emily had told us not to speak to her. We still don’t really remember what happens in that film. It was a mere distraction from the inevitable anxiety which was to overcome us.

Soon, it became too much – Emily couldn’t move as she was strapped to a monitor and the drip and the contractions were coming thick and fast with no outward pain relief to hand. She started telling me that she couldn’t do it. It hurts. Help me. I can’t explain how much I wanted to help her – I was offering her water and talking to her…this wasn’t what she needed and I felt so hopeless at this. I thought my role would be ‘hands-on’, really involved and important.

When Emily was examined by the second midwife around this point of the evening, she was 3 or 4 cms dilated. We were thrilled – we didn’t think that would’ve happened so quickly (quickly for me and Dan – Emily probably felt it had already been an age). Emily had been given gas and air as the pain intensified but she had not managed the technique perfectly as the midwife had handed it over and told her to breathe it in within a couple of minutes – then she was off again. One of the worse points was when the student doctor had to examine Emily first and then the midwife did the same a few seconds later – the pain was excruciating – I could tell from Emily’s face! She kept focussing on her breathing but I could see that this was barely touching the surface of her discomfort. I have never felt more useless and pathetic – anything I had complained about up to that point seemed unworthy and indulgent!

I remember going to tell the midwife outside of the room that Emily had bled quite a lot on the bed. She assured me that this was normal but came in to check anyway. I was hyper-sensitive to Emily’s condition – I was taking note of her breathing, her movements, the monitor for the baby, the bleeding on the sheets. Emily threw up after a while on the gas and air – I thought this might happen but it was still a shock and a panic when she was throwing up, contracting, worrying about the mess and then contracting again.

We asked if Emily could have any more pain relief – the midwife suggested she try some pethadine. This was when it got funny.

I laughed when Emily needed the toilet. She kept on saying how much she needed a wee but couldn’t go. We kept telling her to just wee on the bed but it was just the sensation of needing to wee that made her agitated. And she was AGITATED.

I unhooked her from the monitor at one point so that she could use the toilet. We waited but nothing happened. A few minutes later Emily was convinced that she was going to go – the pethadine had kicked in by this point so she felt able to move. She pulled the leads out of the monitor and wheeled her drip quickly into the en-suite, she sat on the loo with her head in her hands as she realised she couldn’t go again – she apologised to me for not weeing and then said: “I haven’t got a Jeremy Hunt what’s going on”. I thought she was taking the mickey but when I asked her what she had said she didn’t know. Then she did a wee.

The pethadine induced gibberish continued and I couldn’t help but laugh. Emily had her eyes closed with the gas and air in her hand held to her mouth. She was lolling her head from side to side and her toes curled with every contraction. Some of the things she said I wrote down:

“If you put the thing in the thing with the something something…”

“I knew they would…in the paper…THE BROWN BUTTON”

“Richard Branson started off like this”

“I feel like they’re moving furniture…”

“(pointing) You must NEVER let them in”

The light relief was welcome after the tension at the beginning of the process. Emily no longer seemed consumed by pain – just distracted by it. All of a sudden she sat up with her eyes open – for the first time in ages. She seemed more like her usual self and just said – “I’ve got to push”. She also said that she felt like she’s snapped out of a dream.

I’ve never seen anything like what happened next. The pure focus was on pushing from that moment onwards; it was unreal. Emily just knew what she had to do. Dan and I were shouting our words of encouragement, feeling a little self-conscious as we did so but the midwife and doctor joined in with us. Emily put her head down and pushed until her face went deep red. Dan made sure that he was definitely stood away from ‘the action’ end so I stood with a pretty clear view of…everything. With every push Emily’s body changed and grew and stretched and leaked. It was awesome in the true sense of the word. When the baby’s head became visible I couldn’t quite take in what was happening.

Emily was exhausted to say the least but had done very well with the pushing – it had been under 30 minutes and she had almost got the head crowning. It was at this point that I got a bit worried. Although they don’t say much other than positive encouragement, you can always tell when the doctors and midwives are concocting a plan. There was talk of doctors and other midwives…I knew there may have to be some intervention which was worrying as I knew it was another thing Emily really didn’t want. I was scared about what they might need to do as the baby was already very overdue and had taken a long time to start coming.

Fortunately, a really lovely doctor came in and explained to Emily that if she could push the head out in the next contraction or two they wouldn’t need to help her. Emily did so well and got so close but the doctor started hurriedly explaining that they were attaching something to the baby’s head to help pull it out. After a full pulls and a lot more blood than I wished to see, the doctor then asked if she could cut Emily slightly to make room for the head and vontuse attached to it. She went ahead and cut anyway as there was no time to await an answer. It was surreal.

Emily just said – ‘It stings’ and then the head came out.

A baby’s head just come out of my sister’s vagina.

It broke my heart when after all the hard work, all the pushing, all the stinging, all the pain Emily looked up at me, holding my hand and said “It hurts, I can’t”. She had tears in her eyes and her lip was trembling just like she was little again and all I wanted to do was scoop her up to me and cuddle her until it was all better. The things that flashed through my mind were all the things we had done and all that she had achieved – this being the most remarkable.

Nancy was born into a flurry of talking doctors and midwives. She was scooped up and lifted high into the air. It took a few seconds for us to ask what ‘it’ was. They held Nancy over Emily so Dan could tell her what she had, and then they lifted her high in the air again and took her away. It seemed that everyone was talking except us. “The baby’s got the cord around her neck…”

“We’ve just got to wipe her down and warm her up a bit…”

“She’s very long…”

“…Just got to sew you up…”

Nancy cried for just a little while but seemed to be mainly shell-shocked. Holding her was an amazing feeling.

Emily looked beautiful and serene after it was done. She was also shell shocked and exhausted but was awake enough to sit for a while and take photographs with me and Dan and Nancy.

It’s an experience I’ll never forget and I feel privileged to have been a part of it. I couldn’t imagine not being there with my sister at a time like that. I felt so proud. And I cried.”

My Birth Story

BIRTH

If you would like to know what happened when I started the Induction process, then please read this post.

This post continues on from my Induction post.

So on delivery suite, I was 4cm when I had gas and air, and pethidine injection followed shortly afterwards. I hadn’t really got the hang of using the gas and air, and I wish someone had talked it through with me before the pain got so bad and I couldn’t concentrate. I didn’t realise you breathe in the gas and air and feel the effects as you breathe it in – I thought you sucked on it and then had a ‘hit’, as it were. By the time I’d worked it out, I’d already had the pethidine injection. This was jabbed into my thigh mid-contraction by a student doctor who was supporting the midwife who was with me from this point. The midwife grabbed my leg as he jabbed it, me flinging myself all over the place. Since coming to delivery suite to have my waters broken, I had already had 3 other midwives. The place was chock-a-block of women giving birth and it was very chaotic.

The Room

The room I was in wasn’t the best room to be honest. It looked a bit like a spare room, bits and bobs all over the counters. There were no chairs for My sister or Dan to sit on, there was no side table in there, and there was no crib either. In the left hand corner was a cubicle for a toilet, shower and sink. However there was no light in there and so it was rather dark. There was also no equipment such as birth ball, I was told these were for the birth suite. So it really was bare, stark, clinical.Thism and the fact that I had to wear a hospital gown instead of my own nightie I had chosen for the birth, made me feel worse. It was not what I had wanted, and I felt my heart sink a little when I saw the room, although I tried to make the best of it. Dan and Lyd eventually found some chairs, but we never got a side table for me so drinks etc had to be passed to me. Even after Bubs was born, there still wasn’t a crib, and the midwife had to go scrabbling around to find one.

Pethidine

The pethidine didn’t take too long to take effect. I remember the student doctor saying ‘ Can you feel anything yet?’ and me saying “I feel a bit floaty” and after that everything becomes a bit blurry, a bit dream-like, and very strange. I managed to control my breathing and was using the gas and air almost continuously. I felt ok as long as I stuck to my pattern of breathing – if someone talked to me, or asked me a question, or put me off my stride, it messed everything up and I would get quite upset. I was spouting off some ridiculous talk, jabbering on about Richard Branson and apparently I said “I don’t have a Jeremy Hunt what’s going on”. I was strapped to the bed as they needed to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. They didn’t actually tell me, but as the midwife was explaining to the student doctor right in front of me, that the baby’s heartbeat kept decelerating, and they needed to keep an eye on it, I knew what was going on. However, being on that bed was agony. It was so uncomfortable, I kept slipping down it, I kept trying to wriggle myself into some comfortable position, but it was useless. I just wanted to walk around. At times I had enough and just pulled the wires that were strapped round my stomach out of the machine and just got up – albeit in a bit of a pethidine induced hyperness. I kept wanting to go to the loo – I felt like I desperately needed a wee – and was becoming very distressed as every time I went to the loo, nothing happened. In the end they cathertised me to drain out anything in my bladder – they managed to get a bit off, but not much. I kept having this feeling that I needed a wee though. It was like I was going to wee myself any moment but not. So strange.

Throughout this time, doctors kept coming in and out, looking at the monitor, signing it and then walking off. The midwife also kept leaving the room as she had other babies to catch. The student doctor was with us most of the time, and he was actually really lovely and I am glad he was there. I remember telling him he was making a big mistake joining the NHS in my pethidine madness!

Timings go awry as I was off my face on pethidine but eventually the midwife said to examine me to see how far I got, as it could be that this feeling of needing to go the loo was me starting to get the urge to push. By this time I had this feeling which was very similar to the feeling you get when you start involuntary retching when you are sick – that feeling that doesn’t stop even after you have been sick and nothing more will come out. Well, it felt a bit like this, but a bit lower down obviously. That was making me make those ‘moo’ like sounds you hear people talking about. In my mind a light had gone off, I suddenly thought ‘of course! I need to push’ and I sort of suddenly snapped out of the pethidine fog I had been in – I was now wide awake. I was 9-10cm dilated.

The Pushing Part

It’s funny but I couldn’t feel the pain as I had when I had been having the contractions early on – I know this is because they change as once you are dilated you then are pushing the baby out, but I could feel the contractions but they weren’t that bad – I could tolerate it. Maybe the pethidine had something to do with this. I started to get confused though as I couldn’t tell at times where one contraction ended and another began, in order to push efficiently. I kept saying ‘help me!’ as in, help me know when to push, but the midwife assumed I was just going crazy due to the pain and kept saying ‘we are helping you’. Not in the way I meant, however!

I was pushing, and pushing, I couldn’t really feel anything with each push, it just felt like I was pushing down into my bum, but I kept having positive comments coming from the midwives; Lyd and Dan were practically cheering me on like they were at a football match. My legs were in stirrups and whilst now I think ‘oh god how awful’ I really didn’t care at the time! A Doctor was in the room suddenly telling/asking me that we may need to have a venteuse, which I of course agreed to. I had an overwhelming feeling I just wanted this thing to be over, I wanted it gone. I pushed really well but the last three pushes were with the aid of the venteuse. I was then told/asked that I needed a episiotomy, I of course agreed as I really didn;t care by this point. I remember half crying, saying I couldn’t do it, saying it stung, but then suddenly there was this blue, purple, thing on my stomach. A baby. I wanted Dan to tell me the sex, as we hadn’t known, but he was in so much shock, he was just looking. There was a sense of urgency as the cord had been around the neck, and she was clearly purple and needing help. Eventually it was decided it was a girl, and she was rushed off to the resusitair where the peadiatric team were rubbing her, and giving her a bit of oxygen. At the same time the doctor was delivering the placenta, which eventually flopped out. I remember thinking it looked a lot smaller than I imagined. The blood loss wasn’t as bad as I had imagined either; there was a sudden rush of blood but it wasn’t constantly flowing out of me like I had imagined!!

Afterwards

It is all a blur to me and I can’t remember what happened and in what order, but I remember they got her breathing and handed her to me, but at the same time the doctor was stitching me up, and telling me how to look after my stitches (as if I’d remember that!) at the same time. She looked like an alien, she was still quite blue looking, and I couldn’t register. I wanted to be comfortable, warm, and then snuggle up with her. I handed her to Dan, and Lyd, who held her, and called various family members between them. I was stitched up, and then they took the baby to weigh and check her over. After this they gave her to me and I tried to do some skin to skin.

We discussed names; We had three in mind, and decided Nancy there and then; the middle name took a bit longer. Someone came and gave me a cup of tea and toast, which was heaven. I was still in this hideous hospital gown, Lyd helped to get my things out of the bag and  got dressed and felt much better immediately. I held the baby and photos were taken. At some point the midwife came to help me feed her, but this was not successful, as I have discussed in my previous post.

It was about 4am when Dan and Lyd left me as they were told I was going down to the postnatal ward. I had no idea what happened next. I hadn’t even thought about it. I was so so tired, I was exhausted. I waited for someone to help me feed again as the first time hadn’t been successful, and so I just lay there, there was no duvet, so I had to use my dressing gown to keep me warm. Nancy was next to me in the crib they eventually found for her. I looked at her, too scared to touch her really, not knowing what to do. At some point someone told me there wasn’t someone to help me shower, so I did this on my own, with the baby in her crib next to the shower, in the cubicle that had no light, so I was practically showering in the dark, the glow of the light outside of the cubicle and in my room the only light source. I remember Bubs looking at me as I quickly washed. It was not the relaxing, warm, comforting bath I had imagined I would be having. I was asked to provide a wee sample, but I couldn’t wee very much, and so had to drink a jug of water and then try again, although no-one came to take my second sample from me. They got me a wheelchair and got my things together, at about 7/8am (so three hours after Dan had left) and handed me the baby. They asked me where my notes were, and I said I didn’t have them, and the went off to find them. They asked me who my midwife was, and I didn’t have a clue! So I waited, holding the baby, sat in the wheelchair. Someone eventually came and took me down to the postnatal ward at 9am.

Pain

Pain wise, I didn’t feel too bad. Even with the stitches it wasn’t too painful. Probably because of the local anaesthetic I was given and the pethidine! But even after a few days, the pain wasn’t too bad at all, more like mild period pains. I felt tired, bruised, my muscles ached, especially my arms where I had pressed down onto the handles on the bed when I was pushing. But most of all I felt tired. So, so tired. I had already been awake since Sunday morning, and by the time I had given birth at 1.50am, and then got sorted out, I had an hours snooze waiting to go down to the postnatal ward, which I eventually got to at 9am, I had been awake for over 24 hours. I don’t think I actually slept any sort of properly until I eventually got back home, which was on the Saturday!

Anyway this is all I can remember about my birth story. I don’t know what to think about it really; I feel disappointed that giving birth was not how I wanted it to be, I feel let down that so many things happened, so much waiting, I feel sad that the room looked awful and didn’t have the right equipment, I feel a bit miffed that I didn’t have help to wash, and I had to wait so long in delivery suite before going down to the ward. I feel bittersweet about this experience. I can’t say I felt so in love with my baby at the time, as I was so shocked, and so confused, and so tired, I couldn’t feel anything (I wrote a poem about this if you’d like to see!). I just hope if I ever have another baby I can learn from this experience and it can be a lot better.

I have also asked me sister to write a bit about the birth which I will post soon, as I really can’t remember the timing of things, and to get her perspective as one of my birth partners.