Tag Archives: experience

My Life with a Threenager

This is my life now…..

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Lying in the dark, listening to the Frozen Soundtrack.

Making a hot chocolate without cream that should have been with cream but they weren’t going to drink it anyway but still they wanted, didn’t want the cream.

You’re Elsa when Anna sings but you’re Anna when Elsa sings, OK? Basically you don’t sing. At all.

Watching Ben and Holly until you believe you are actually an elf *blows trumpet*

Eating tomatoes at nursery, but not at home.

Playing matching card games with a complete cheat. And making sure they win or else there’s big trouble.

Pushing the trike around whilst she peddles madly screaming “we need more speed!” in an attempt to accost other children in the park.

Everyone’s her best friend. Or they’re not. But they are.

Laughing manically whilst she smears expensive hand cream into the sofa.

Watching an evolving sense of style which includes using a coat for trousers.

Figuring out answers to questions such as “Who made the steering wheel?” And “Why do we have tables?”

Not touching anything without first being told to. But when I’m told to touch something check it’s in the right way.

Clearly not understanding very simple instructions.

Finding things which have been taken from various places such as nursery or my dressing table hidden in pockets.

Making up bedtime stories but being told exactly what needs to happen in the story and it then taking a very long time to complete the story which is nothing like how it started.

Furniture being used as balance beams and trampolines and wishing she didn’t like gymnastics so much

Wanting the new baby to be called Cupcake

Experimenting with make up such as nail polish for lipstick

Feeling so very tired and wondering why you have such a spirited child

Pregnancy Perks and Pitfalls

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

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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.

Depression

There are many posts that I have written over the past few months, that I never published. Since October, life got pretty shit. I was diagnosed with depression, my Dad died and well, it was awful. This post was written in October 2015. These were my thoughts when I was diagnosed with depression. 

Depression

I can laugh. I can smile. 
I’m not a zombie.

I’m not suicidal. 

I am, apparently, depressed. 

Anxious. 

I had to take time out.

Time out from what?

Everything.

There’s just not enough time for anything 

Not enough time for me.

Time is probably the reason. 

Time is running out and I have no way of stopping it. 

It’s a summer and autumn of lasts, not firsts.

So many endings. 

Saying goodbye all the time is very hard. 

I can forget, for a while.

I have made the most of the time we have left.

But I am so tired, and strained.

Restless.

I am not how I thought someone depressed is. Should be. 

If I don’t think, I am OK.

Depression is hard.

Many days, I am OK. if I don’t have to do anything, I’m OK.

but pressure,expectation, appointments, or a comment, or a look

Can have my stomach churn and the panic sets in and I am back to square one.

I probably don’t look that unwell on the outside.

But it’s all on the inside.

I’m not hyperventilating, but I am panicking. 

I can’t think of anything else. Round and round and round my head.

Small, insignificant things like a comment on a birthday card. 

I am tired. I am wired. I can’t rest. I can’t stop.

Potty: No Training

I find it odd that we are supposed to be training our children in the art of life-long continence when in reality, I don’t have a frigging clue how to teach someone how to manage their bowels and bladders. Is there a potty training, training course for clueless parents? If so, I missed the boat.

Before I could even say ‘potty’, my girl was stripping off and weeing in the plastic thing. It was like a game of cat and mouse: Dare I talk about this phenomenon, shatter this spell which she appeared to be under?

One day turned into one week. We clung onto Pull-ups like our lives depended on it. I think we found it harder than she did. Mind you, she found wearing knickers a slight problem initially, but we seem to have gotten over that now, some 6 weeks after she threw her last nappy aside.

There are a few things I have encountered during this transition process, and I thought you’d like to hear my words of wisdom, or, er learn from my experience:

1. Kitchen Roll is your best friend

Never before had I loved some paper so much. I take it everywhere with me; it mops up accidental wees on restaurant floors, other people’s carpets and you can fashion a makeshift Pull-up pants from the really strong stuff.

2. 2.5 year olds speak loudly in toilets

My girl can’t help herself but comment on everything and everyone in the public toilets.

“She smells!”

“Is that a lady?”

“You’ve got a YUCKY BUM Mummy!!!”

Have all been uttered from her mouth.

Nothing, however, NOTHING beats the time we went into a loo in a Pub, right after an older lady, who for reasons I can’t fathom, left the toilet in a less than cleanly state.

“ARGH! POO! MUMMY! SMELLY POOOO! THE LADY DID A POO!” she screams as we walk into the toilet stall, the only one currently available. She’s hopping from foot to foot, desperate for a wee.

“Just get on the toilet!” I hiss, trying to wrench her onto the seat whilst holding my breath and trying not to breath in through my nose.

“NOOOO! MUMMY! CLEAN IT!!!!!” She cries, and in my desperation to avoid her 5th pair of knickers in a day, I do what I never thought I ever, ever would.

I grabbed the loo brush and I cleaned that old woman’s poop from the toilet. For my girl.

“HOORAY!” She shouts and jumps on the toilet, only to do the smallest wee in the history of wees.

I silently cry inside and order a large glass of red as I walk back to the table…

3. Your hands will never be cleaner

See example above. Also wiping moving bums means wee and poo ON YOUR HANDS. I scrub and scrub. Antibacterial soap is a must. As is alcohol gel. Maybe some washing up gloves…

4. Trousers are OUT

Skirts, dresses = yes. Easy access to potty and toilet, no fussing, and when you’re out in public, you can whip off the wet stuff pretty easily. I feel sorry for those who have to wear trousers for any reason. In fact, when we are indoors, I aim for the heating on and minimal clothing, in an attempt to reduce the washing pile that I only just got under control from when she was born….

5. Repetitive Speech Strain

All I do every minute of every day is ask her if she needs a wee or a poo. It takes over your life. We have come full circle, from talking to each other about her wee and poo, when she was a newborn, to talking to her about her wee and poo. You ask and ask, and the time you forget to ask, is the time that they do need one and pee all over the floor….

6. Getting excited about wee and poo

You have to be mega interested in wee and poo, OK? When your child uses the potty, you have to summon up the enthusiasm and the energy to really WHOOP WHOOP and Holla! about the amazing feat they have performed. Even when it really smells and poo is hanging from their bum and they are running around your living room. Way to go!

 

Britmums Live: Feeling Part of Something

As I was driven to the station, as it drew nearer, I shouted out ‘No, it’s OK, turn around! I don’t want to go!’ in my high anxiety state. I was swiftly kicked out the car and left to fend for myself. I was going to Britmums Live!

As I walked over the train station entrance I heard people calling my name! I was lucky that my journey to Britmums was some lovely South West Bloggers: Jane, Ella, Kathy, Jen and Rachel. I felt much better immediately even though I hadn’t met some of them before!

The train journey went quickly with us all chatting about blogging – of course! We probably annoyed a lot of the other passengers as we were quite loud! I personally could have done with a few glasses of wine at this point but as I’d only eaten a croissant so far that day, it was probably a good idea I didn’t.

 

Me and Rachel (Mummyglitzer) on the train

Me and Rachel (Mummyglitzer) on the train

Getting into London, and finding our way across London, was pretty straight forward (apart from a slight tube detour!) and soon we were at The Hoxton Hotel (very swanky it was too!). A quick spruce up, and a cheeky glass of Vino with my roommate Jane, and we were walking to The Brewery.

Myself, Jen and The Mother Hood Blog all went straight to the Brewery in our excited states. The others went off to get food – seasoned bloggers they probably realised they had to queue and thought better of it! In the queue we found Vic Welton, Jaime of Olivers Madhouse, and everyone who had met with them beforehand. It was so odd, many people I recognised, but others I just didn’t have a clue. People kept saying I looked like my photos, which either means I look hideous or I somehow manage to look the hue of Waldon on Instagram at all times.

Queueing up and getting in did take a while, and at first they couldn’t find my badge under my Surname or my Tealady name, so for the first few sessions I was walking around with my own scrawling handwritten badge, no wonder no one spoke to me as they probably couldn’t read the blooming thing!

The Hub was awash with people, I was so hungry and thirsty at this point I hot footed it to the cakes and water. Everyone seemed to know everyone. I felt so overwhelmed I didn’t really look at the stalls, and I was scared of the people in costumes who kept asking me to play games. It was all a bit much, but soon we went down to the main room for the start of the whole shebang.

I’m not going to lie, Kirstie Allsop did not do it for me; it was not what I expected, it was in no way motivational for me, inspirational for me or gave me anything to take away from it all. All I found out was not to feed jelly beans to your dog, and someone needs to invent a better way of carrying fluids in bags up to Glasgow. Oh, and to go to New York to buy patterned dresses. Look, if you liked it, great, it just wasn’t really my thing.

The next session was about brands, and I did find this interesting. As a newbie blogger, brands are something I havent really worked with very much, and I am not sure if that is the direction my blog will take, but it was useful to hear all the opinions.

What I liked about Britmums was the socialising. It was so good to match faces to names, and blogs to faces. Some people I just got on with straight away – others I tried to find and failed, and others just looked way too cool for school. It really did take me back to school.

After the break I went to sessions about Media Kits, Sponsored Posts, and Blog Ambassadors. I went to these with the lovely Blog of a Mom and Rachel. In hindsight I wish I had been to some other sessions, but you know what going to these sessions made me realise what I want from my blog, and what direction I want to take. I think what it has taught me is it is my blog, be selective, and only do things if they really interest you, or they suit your blog. And that is fine with me.

After the sessions, myself and Rachel went to the main room, for the BiBs, where there was an abundance of champagne, wine, cocktails. I was cream crackered and so was Rachel so we went to shove our things on a chair before we entered the throng.

This was when I met Ericka, who I had wanted to meet but who I thought was way too up there in the blog world to spend time with me. She was with Mrs Shilts, and I’m pretty sure the first thing I said was ‘Mum In The South!’  I love her blog and if you haven’t read it, read it! It is so funny, and just my kind of humour. She was so lovely, and very anxious as she was up for an award she thought she wouldn’t win. We moved with her further down the room to a table, as she had to be near to the stage. We chatted, and myself and Rachel drank champagne, and canapes were handed around (the steak and chips one, I could have done with a massive one of those!) I lost Jen in the throng but she was at a table with some others, our tables suddenly became full, and the awards began. I managed to acquire a bottle of wine that myself and Rachel shared, so I probably was slightly tipsy when I turned around and saw Mummy Never Sleeps behind me. ‘Mummy Never Sleeps!’ I mouthed across to her, as if she didn’t know her own name. She nodded, calmly, as if she would slowly back away if she had the chance. Unfortunately for her I caught up with her at the end of the awards, and drunkenly spouted off a load of mumbo jumbo.

The awards were great, and a real highlight of friday. It was lovely to chat to Ericka, and as her award got closer she got more nervous. I had voted for her and was rooting for her to win – and she did! Amazing! I was clapping and whooping, wine fuelled, it was great and I am so glad she won. In fact, I was really pleased for everyone who won an award, and most of the people I had voted for won, which was fab, although I did feel sad that Cas and Vic Welton didn’t win their categories as they are brilliant bloggers.

Ericka and her award

Ericka and her award

So day one was finished, I was semi drunk and I had met some lovely people. After the awards and we were kicked out of the building, I went for dinner with a group of bloggers which we had planned before the event. It was lovely, and the food was great, and the wine even more so. I stumbled back to the Hoxton with Jen, and the day was done.

Day Two, and in the Hub, I decide I need to make more effort with all the people there, the brands and the bloggers. If anything, to grab more freebies. I caught up with Jen again, and Emma (Mrs Shilts), and soon found Ericka. Eating waffles covered in chocolate and drinking tea, we had a natter and it was great fun. I felt as if I had known these ladies for ages.

I have always admired Katie Piper and I read her book, Beautiful when I was on holiday a few years ago. If you haven’t read her story, I suggest you do. Her talk to Britmums was emotive, emotional but above all, positive. She filled the room with positivity and her strength was astounding. There wasn’t a dry eye on the house as she read out a poem to her old face, and thanked her Mum for being there for her. What a woman. After Katie, I went to the ‘Finding your voice’ talk, which I did find really useful. I am not sure what my ‘voice’ is, but I know that you have to write, write and write a bit more to find it. The people on the panel were varied, and had different takes on the subject, and I wrote a load of notes.

After this, it was a coffee break, and I hot footed it to the Hub to buy ‘Start your day with Katie’, and get her to sign the book. I was again a gibbering idiot when I spoke to her, but I think she got the message I think she is pretty cool and inspirational. And she told me she liked my purse! (I didn’t tell her it was from Primark). We ventured around the Hub, learnt wizard combat, and took as many freebies as we could.

After this, we ended up in the talk about legal issues and Tax with Jen. It was a bit dry, and to be honest tax scares me, so after a while (and after a few messages from Ericka), we escaped into the Hub.

I can honestly say what happened next was the funniest few hours I have had for a long time!

We went round the stalls, got our freebies, and when we saw the photo booth, we couldn’t resist dressing up and getting in. It was so much fun, we did it twice. I have never laughed so much. These girls were right up my street. We had lunch together, and more or less skived off a few of the sessions to basically have a laugh, and venture around the Hub. Afternoon Tea with Mrs Shilts, which was lovely, and I wish I had seen more of her as she is also a right laugh!

 

The keynote speeches were brilliant. Katy Hill was great as the host, and she is a very funny lady indeed! The posts that were read out were sad, funny, heartfelt and touching. We remembered Matilda Mae, and then we remembered Kerry, MultipleMum. I never knew Kerry, or Matilda Mae, but both of these individuals touched me. I sang ‘Firework’ by Katie Perry, and I read every word, I sang every word, I meant every word. It was amazing how a room could unite so much, how all of these individuals could link together, some being strangers a mere 48 hours before.

I had never felt like I belonged to anything in my life, yet Britmums made me feel I was a part of something. I have met some lovely lovely people and I am determined to keep in touch with them. I would so like to go next year, so I need to save my pennies quickly to nab a ticket!

 

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.

Things you may want to know about Being Induced

induced

Being induced is something that no-one wants but many of us pregnant first timers end up going overdue and needing to be induced. To be honest, no-one talked to me about being induced very much and the most information I got was from a leaflet I was given by my midwife. So when I was sent off to the hospital at 12 days overdue to start the process, I wasn’t very sure what was going to happen. This is what happened to me; you may experience things differently, I guess it all depends on your pregnancy and what they advise. This may give some idea though of what can happen when you are induced. I had absolutely no twinges, no pains, and both times a sweep had been tried, I was told that my cervix was still closed. So this baby really was going nowhere fast.

I had to wait until a certain day (I was 12 days overdue) and then call the ward, and they then told me when I should come in. I was told to call at 12, which I did, and then was told to call back at 3 as there was no beds. So even before you get there, you have to wait! I used this time to have the last supper as it were, at Pizza Express. You may wish to do something more useful such as packing stuff, but I recommend doing something nice. I was half hoping I’d go into labour halfway through my Pollo Ad Astra, but alas, it was not to be. Eventually the ward called me back, and told me to come in at 7pm that night.

It’s A Waiting Game

The first thing I am going to say, is that being induced is a long, boring, waiting game. I had some notion of going in to hospital and it all being done by the next day. Nope. Some people may be lucky and things may kick off a bit quicker for them, but for me, I was in hospital for three days before they put in the drip, which is the last resort.

To start with, I was taken to the antenatal ward. You don’t go to delivery suite until you are in established labour. This means that you are admitted to hospital, and therefore visitors and birth partners have to adhere to the visiting times rules. My partner Dan could stay with me at certain times of the day, and visitors could come at the normal visiting times. It meant Dan could stay with me most of the day, and visitors for a couple of hours in the afternoon and the evening.

The Pessary

The first thing they did for me was put in a pessary which was to soften my cervix to make it ripe. They put this in and then leave you for 24 hours! It’s basically a tampon-like thing they put up there, and a tape dangles down. Once put in you have to lie down for about half an hour or so and have a heart monitor thing done, but after that you can more or less do what you like. I’d already had 2 attempts at a sweep and it was clear my cervix was clamped shut, therefore I needed the pessary to sort this out. So then you have 24 hours of basically waiting around, with people taking your blood pressure and doing baby monitoring every so often.

After 24 hours, I had an examination, where I was happily told that I was about 2-3cm and could have my waters broken. This was about 7pm on the saturday evening. You have to go down to delivery suite to have your waters broken, and so you have to wait for there to be space, and a midwife, for you. Of course, as you are not in established labour, the priority are people who are, and therefore, this can be quite a wait. I ended up waiting 21 hours before they sent me down to have my waters broken. The midwife did a stretch and sweep after examining me, and I can tell you that it was the most excruciating thing I have ever had done. I started having some mild pains, but was told to rest and get some sleep, as best as I could. I really hoped this had kick started everything off, but alas by the morning, these pains had subsided. Therefore I was just waiting, yet again. I read a book, I watched TV a bit, I listened to the radio. I ate the dodgy hospital food. I waited for visitors to be allowed in. I packed up all my things, and then had to get most of it out again as I was waiting so long.

Breaking Your Waters

Once you get down to delivery suite, you are shown to your room, and you have to go through all the questions and introductions and everything again. Then, you have your waters broken, which for me, was a bit uncomfortable but no more so than a smear test or the stretch and sweep (after the one I’d had the day before, everything else was much less painful than that). You are then told to walk around, bounce, keep mobile, and try to get things going. I think you get about 2-3 hours to get things going before they go to the next step. I walked around the hospital a bit, had some fresh air, got a drink, and bounced on a ball a bit. I was having some mild pains but nothing that bad. I could still talk quite happily through it all. As I didn’t really know what I was supposed to be feeling, it was a bit irritating the midwives keep asking me “Anything happening yet?”. I just thought once I started screaming in agony, they’d probably know, and so would I. So again, more waiting around, more wondering, more thinking and not really knowing what I was doing.

So, for me, breaking my waters had no real effect. And so I was told I needed the drip. I was anxious about this as I had been told that the drip does make contractions more painful. But for me, there seemed no other option. So I had to wait for a midwife to be available to set the drip up. One midwife came and put the venflon in (which, I hadn’t had done before, and as a nurse, I had supported people to have put in. It was actually quite painful and uncomfortable and made using my left hand rather difficult, so I now appreciate a lot more why people don’t like them). I then had to wait for a midwife to start it off.

The Drip and the Start of Contractions

Basically, from what I can remember, the drip is put in, and every half an hour they up the dose. So you start with 2mls, then 4mls, then 8mls, up until a certain amount (I think 12? but don’t quote me on that). Then they stop upping it when you are having strong regular contractions. I think it takes a few hours to get to that point.

When they start the drip, they also hook you up to the monitor so that they can monitor the baby’s heartbeat. This means you have to sit on the bed and not move. initially they told me this would only be for a bit and then I could walk around for a bit, which I was desperate to do. (However, it turned out I had to be strapped to the monitor for the whole thing. It was not what I wanted, and I felt very trapped and stuck on the bed, which was very uncomfortable for me. I had to at times take myself off the monitor to get up and walk around, or go to the loo. That bed was agony.)

So, at about 7.30pm I was started off on the drip. How exciting! This is it, I thought. It was terrifying and exciting at the same time. Waiting to feel pain, and wanting to feel the pain, is a bizarre experience indeed. It was lovely to feel that my baby was going to be here within the next 24 hours, though. It wasn’t long, maybe an hour, before I started to feel the pains a bit stronger. For me, these felt like a ‘wave’ of pain, very much like period pain, it wasn’t a physical sensation of tightening at all, but a feeling, of pain building up and then ebbing away again, much like a wave lapping the sand on a beach. It wasn’t too bad initially, and I was chatting away to my sister and Dan, who were my birth partners. But the more they whacked it up, the more painful it became. Panic is a natural reaction and you have to calm yourself down. No-one had discussed pain relief with me, and I asked about gas and air, which I was given. I was examined and I was 4cm when they gave me the gas and air. However I didn’t get the hang of it very quickly, and by this time the pains were starting to come thick and fast, as they kept cranking it up. I tried to do without it, but the pains were then extremely close together and so I asked for pethidine. At almost the same time as I was given the pethidine, I worked out how to use the gas and air, and so I managed to relax my breathing, and basically had gas and air, and concentrated on my breathing, for a few hours. For me, the pethidine and gas and air was enough, but I had been on the verge of having an epidural if I hadn’t grasped how to use the gas and air. So now I was in established labour.

So that was the Induction process for me. The next bit is about the birth and I will blog about this soon.

So, what do I think you need to remember if you’re having an induction?

  • Remember your notes! And your birth plan. It may not be part of your plan to be induced, and a water birth may be now out of the picture, but you can adapt it and it does give the midwives something to go on.
  • Take books, magazines, MP3 Player to occupy you as it is a waiting game
  • Get as much information as possible about the process and what the plan is for you – I wasn’t vocal enough and didn’t really understand what was happening at times.
  • Be brave enough to tell people if there is anything you’re not happy with or you don’t want to happen
  • Bring snacks in as hospital food is crap and if you’re waiting a long time, you will need something to keep your energy up
  • Try and get visitors to spread themselves out across visiting times so that you have different people to see and other things to talk about
  • Don’t bring in your baby things until you get to delivery suite or else you have way too much stuff with you
  • Bring lots of PJs, slippers and tops, and don’t bother with proper clothes – someone can bring these in for you once you need them. Try short-sleeved as 1) its boiling on the wards and 2) easier for bloods, blood pressure, etc to be undertaken.
  • Try and get people to take things back you find you don’t need or else you accumulate a load of stuff to bring to delivery suite which you don’t need – I had so much stuff it was ridiculous.
  • Make sure you have a bottle of water and an energy drink with you when you are on delivery suite – I wasn’t allowed to eat in case I needed a c-section but was allowed water and energy drink (I had lucozade orange sports drink)
  • Bring money in with you – for TV, snacks, papers etc. It’s awful if you haven’t got any change and you’re desperate for a drink other than tea or water.
  •  Let visitors know about visiting times and how many can visit at once etc before you go in – I could only have 2 visitors plus Dan so when more people came it was a bit of a hassle and got me stressed.
  • Bring in or get someone to bring in once you know you’re going to delivery suite, a birthing ball if you have one or any other equipment you want – I had to wait ages for someone to find a birth ball for me, as they only had these on the birth suite, but I did feel it helped in the early stages.
  • Ask about what happens after the birth – I didn’t have a clue what happened next. Turns out you go to postnatal ward!

 

10 Things I have learnt in 10 Weeks

Since having the Bubs 10 weeks ago, I thought I would share some of the things I feel I have learnt over this period of time:

1. What did I do without Muslin Cloths? and where do they go? the same place as odd socks?

2. That getting up at 6am is a good thing, as it’s better than 2, 3 or 4am

3. You may be tired, and half alive, but hey! 3am is the perfect time for smiles, giggles and playtime.

Me and Bubs after a particualrly good 3am party

Me and Bubs after a particualrly good 3am party

4. Don’t bother wearing a nursing bra for at least 6 weeks, as you’ll be feeding so much you may as well not wear it. In fact why bother wearing any top at all! (im talking around the house, not popping down the shops mind)

5. That you will sing any nursery rhymes you can remember, and even then the ones you do you make up half the words, and then sing over and over again, until that’s all you can think in your brain

6. That however quiet you are trying to be, you will always end up making the most noise

7. That as soon as you think the baby is asleep, and you put them down, they are actually in fact wide awake and just playing a joke on you

8. That after a while you start to think baby sick, poo, and dried milk all over your clothes doesn’t smell that bad, not really.

9. That trying to leave the house for any specific time means getting up at least 3 hours before allotted leaving time as baby will always want to feed and then will absolutley want to do the biggest, most horrendous poo the second you want to leave

10. I never knew you could put someone before everything else, that you wouldn’t mind feeling like death, and not brushing your teeth, eating rice crackers as that’s all you can grab, crying at kittens on TV, singing nursery rhymes until your ears bleed, because this little person is all that matters. Until it happens you don’t believe it.

Magic Moments – The Empire State Building

I have been meaning to link up to Magic Moments by The Oliver’s Madhouse for a while now but always missed it, or couldn’t write anything in time! I think it’s a great idea and so here is my Magic Moment I am linking up this week.

On Top Of The Empire State Building

On Top Of The Empire State Building

Standing on the top of the Empire State Building was an amazing experience. I had flown to New York, on my own, to meet my sister who was living in America for a while, for a holiday. I am a bit of a shy person, as I have talked about previously, and I don’t usually like doing things on my own. So to book a ticket, get the bus the Heathrow, check in and actually get on a flight to New York, on my own, was terrifying. It was also exhilarating and liberating, and once I sat on the flight, and my blood pressure had returned to normal, I started to enjoy it. I had never flown long haul before, so an 8 hour flight was a novelty for me. TVs in the back of the chair, movies to watch – for free! The air steward walking down the aisle asking if we wanted drinks – “Would you like a soft drink, or wine, beer…>” they asked, bemused, watching me fiddle about looking for change.  “it’s free, you know” – Me, looking at them in disbelief. Free?! This was amazing! They even handed out peanuts!

The thrill of the flight was almost enough for me in itself. However, when we landed, anxiety creeped up into my throat. What the hell was I doing? I’d just flown to America on my own! I was hyperventilating whilst I filled out the green card at Arrivals. My heart was pounding in my chest as we went through Border Control. I was terrified. I thought they’d find some random item on me a la Border Control on TV and I’d never get through and I’d be sent straight back. Having my thumb and finger prints taken, as well as my retina scanned, was scary enough. The man asked me why I was there, and how long for, and I could just muster a squeal of “I’m on holiday! A week!” before he let me through into the US of A.

Oh, one point I forgot to mention, at this point, my sister was supposed to meet me so that she could take me to the hostel we had booked to stay in, which was in Brooklyn. However, the day before I was due to fly, she called me up.

Sister: “Hi Em, what time does your flight get in again?”

Me: “12.30, about half an hour after your flight, that’s right isn’t it?”

Sister: “er, well, you see, I didn’t realise that there was a time difference between here (California) and New York, so, you see, I actually get in at Midnight, not Midday….”

Me: “What.”

Sister: “Em, you’re going to have to go to the hostel all on your own.”

So, as I ventured out of JFK airport, I was ready to sit there for 12 hours waiting for my sister to arrive. But I had to get there and check in. So I managed to find a bus into New York, which was easy in one way, but where the hell was I getting off?! In the end I decided to get off at Grand Central Station. Which actually is a very beautiful place to go. After that, I went to the one place I would feel safe and secure for a bit.

McDonald’s.

Yes, I went straight to a McDonald’s, which I could have done in 10 mins in the car at home. But hey, it was a familiar place. Apart from all the new yorkers, and the dollars.

I got my act together in there, read my map, found a subway, and managed to get to Brooklyn (which I was terrified I’d get mugged in, but, it was OK actually.). I got to the hostel, and I lay on my bunk bed, and I relaxed. I had done it. I had got to New York.

Me Just as I got to the Hostel.

Me Just as I got to the Hostel.

So when I stood on the Empire State Building, Recreating scenes in my head of An affair to Remember, I felt pretty darn chuffed with myself.


Simply The Breast: Breastfeeding Difficulties and Me

Image courtesy of [koratmember] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [koratmember] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It has been nearly 3 weeks since I had Nancy and it already a lot has happened that I want to blog about. The birth was a blog post all in itself, and I will write that when I can bear to think about it again! No, what I want to start with is breastfeeding.

The number one thing I want to say is, I didn’t have a fricking clue about breastfeeding before I gave birth. In fact, I hadn’t even really thought about it. I knew I wanted to give it a go, I had read the leaflets the midwives hand out,I’d been to parentcraft and discussed it, watched the crazy midwife show me her positions with her doll and show me Marmite covered nappies. I thought I knew something.

I knew NOTHING.

One thing people don’t tell you is: Breastfeeding is bloody HARD. It’s not easy, and it doesn’t always come naturally. And, it’s not as easy as picking up the baby and shoving it on your boob. I can fully understand why some people choose not to, or try it and then decide on other methods. I have been close to this myself on many occasions and in fact most days I still think about it.

This is only my opinion and experience, though. Everyone is different.

In my head I had it all worked out: give birth, then after have skin to skin and then have that magical first breastfeeding moment. Feel that rush of love and bonding and attachment. However, what I hadn’t planned on was a venteuse birth, an episiotomy, a cord round the neck and Nancy needing a bit of oxygen as she was born. She was put on me for a few moments before being whisked onto the resusitair. I was in shock, and not thinking straight.

The First Time

My first experience of breastfeeding was holding my baby swaddled up, with a midwife holding my breast to the baby’s mouth, repeatedly trying to get her to latch on – she didn’t. I don’t know why I didn’t ask the midwife to stop touching my boob. Then she told me she’d get someone to help me. I heard her shouting outside my room for someone to help me with feeding – she kept shouting and asking.

In the meantime I got up and showered myself – no-one around to take me to a bath or help me with a shower – and I cleaned myself up, and then someone came in and talked to me about hand expressing. I had to squeeze my boobs and the midwife sucked up the colostrum with a syringe. So my baby’s first meal was a syringe stuck into her mouth with colostrum in it. Not quite the way I’d imagined it….

Postnatal Ward

It seems obvious but it hadn’t clicked I my mind what I was doing on the postnatal ward; again as soon as I got to the bed people hovered around asked questions checked tags and started their postnatal checks. The nurse in charge left some leaflets and charts on my bed but I didn’t really take in what she said.

Now what I failed to grasp is that you need to feed your child on postnatal ward. They need to see how you feed your child before you can go home. It was never spelt out to me Like that and i wish it had. i was too shocked, traumatized and most of all tired to think logically Myself. Thing is, Nancy wouldn’t latch on and so I used the buzzer to get help. To start with I felt silly using the buzzer as if I was making a fuss. Each time a HCA or midwife would come and look at me expectantly. I’d ask them for help. They would grab my boob and start the shoving into gob process. Nancy would have none of it. Then they’d ask me about hand expressing. Most would then start milking my breasts and scraping the milk off into a syringe. I would say they would ask my permission to do this and ask me to say when to stop as it was uncomfortable. However what was i to do otherwise as I didn’t really know what I was doing in the first place!

Nancy’s first few feeds were via the syringe method. She wasn’t latching on or sucking either. During the afternoon having visitors took the focus away from feeding but as soon as it became evening it was centre stage again. By this time I was so tired I felt like I was floating. I really didn’t have a clue. The night went by in a haze of buzzers, hands on boobs and shoving into mouth, hand expressing and scraping syringes and eventual sleep with Nancy on my chest. A midwife got her to latch on and feed for 5 mins in the early morning and I’d done it myself too. However I still didn’t understand what I needed to do to get her to latch on. Every time I asked for help they did help me to latch her on but as soon as they left nancy would come off and id be stuck again.

In the end I spent 6 days in hospital. 6 DAYS! I was actually discharged on day 2 but I asked to be readmitted within hours as nancy wasn’t feeding or latching on. It was after this and a bit of a breakdown that people started to explain things and it started to make sense. They put me on a 3 hourly feeding plan and got me into a routine of change nappy, skin to skin then feed. She was still awkward though and i still had to ask for help and depending who it was i either got the help or they’d Touch my boobs and do it like before. Pretty soon you get used to having your knockers out and get desensitized to people touching them or manoeuvring into baby’s mouth.

I got the hang of what latching on meant and felt like and me and nancy started to get going with breastfeeding. It seemed to be going well until she was weighed on day 4 and she’d lost
11% of her body weight – up to 10% is acceptable. This meant we couldn’t leave hospital and knocked my confidence with feeding. I then had to get someone to check the latch at every feed. Cue buzzing, having to explain they needed to check latch as agreed (some ppl seemed to know some didn’t) and more hands on or off approach. It seemed to go well but next day nancy had lost a measly 5g so they kept me in again. The next night more observation was agreed but this time nancy didn’t play ball and screamed and screamed, refused to latch on and in the end 40ml of formula milk was all that would calm her down.

I was pretty gutted at this point and confused as to what to do. Midwives talked to me about options; expressing my milk, using formula, or carry on breastfeeding but one midwife told me that Nancy was hungry and that not all babies can breastfeed. If she lost any more weight they’d start her on formula anyway. I felt like I’d never leave hospital and I was terrified she would lose more weight. So I decided to express and top up with formula so that we could go home. Which was heartbreaking to do as I’d tried so hard but I was stressed and worried and I had to get out of there!

At Home

Being at home was the best thing I could have done. To start with I felt very emotional and upset because everything had not gone the way I wanted to. I was still reliving the birth and all the stress of the last 6 days in hospital, and i felt like I’d given up. Most of all I was very anxious about weight gain. Talking to the community midwife helped who suggested I speak to a peer-to-peer breastfeeding supporter and encouraged me to still try nancy on the breast before expressing and formula. At times she would breastfeed and others she would point-blank refuse to. I contacted the NCT and a lovely lady who was a breastfeeding counsellor came and saw me, helped me to latch on again and started to make me believe in could breastfeed again.

Twitter is an amazing source of advice help and friendship and this is proven when you have a bit of a personal crisis or ask questions. I asked twitter for help about my breastfeeding situation and although I didn’t think anyone could help me, I was inundated by support, help, people who’d been in the same situation and people who put me in touch with people in my local area who were involved in breastfeeding support. This is how I ended up seeing another breastfeeding counsellor who was not only lovely but really helped me to see I could do this and build up my confidence; chatted to me about my experiences; just listened to me. Nancy latched on that afternoon and suddenly we were breastfeeding all the time. The relief I felt was immense. I can’t thank those people I know on twitter enough who helped me.

Now I must say I had been one of those people at parentcraft who didn’t listen to the peer supporter and pooh-poohed why I’d want a stranger in my home to talk to me about breastfeeding; I don’t like meeting new people or talking to people I don’t know so I hadn’t taken it seriously. But I will say this now the help and support you can get is amazing and I am very glad I swallowed my pride and my fears and allowed these people into my home. They do a fab job and I have nothing but praise and admiration for them. In one hour they made me feel better about myself, my breastfeeding ability and proved to me I could do it. All as a volunteer.

So nancy has regained her birth weight; we are still breastfeeding although I worry constantly that she’s not getting enough milk as she feeds pretty much all day. The health visitor has been great and reassuring and when i take her to clinic tomorrow to be weighed I will have some peace of mind. But what matters is that I have managed to do it; overcome my fears and anxieties, and I did what I set out to do and there is no better feeling than breastfeeding your child. Whatever happens in the future I can say I breastfed.

I guess I just didn’t prepare myself enough for what happens after the delivery suite; maybe no-one can really do that as its such an individual experience. What I would say is read up on breastfeeding, get in touch with peer supporters, try to understand what breastfeeding is. I wish I had. I’ll also say I used to think these peer supporters and organisations would be all super-duper pro breastfeeding and try to force it on me – this couldn’t be more far from the truth. In my experience no-one tried to sway me one way or another and didn’t run screaming from the house when I said I’d been giving nancy formula. They were not judgemental at all which I was glad about. So use these resources at your disposal as in hospital they just can’t give you the amount of 1:1 support that these can offer you.

I’ll let you know how I get on with my breastfeeding as I’m still going and I have no plans to stop as yet. I’ve even managed to breastfeed in public. Woop! Let me know if you had a similar experience or if you want to find out more let me know.