Throes of Labour

This time last year, I was in labour.
I had already been sent home by the midwife at the hospital because I wasn’t in established labour. I was in pain and getting hacked off.

It seems so surreal to remember it. It almost feels as though I’ve made it up and I wonder if my memories of it are somewhat skewed.

I remember laying in the bath, and after 45 minutes being to uncomfy to stay in there.

I remember it being incredibly painful to lay down, but my contractions were in the top of my legs, so standing up was impossible.

I remember The Husband telling me to eat and drink. I only wanted chocolate and blackcurrant squash.

I remember every bump in the car on the way to the hospital.

I remember being told to stop screaming by the midwife as I was scaring the other ladies in the triage ward.

I remember being helped down the corridor whilst heavily relying on the wonderful gas that was making me slightly spaced out.

I remember thing the anaesthetist how much I loved him after he cited my epidural and then apologising to The Husband.

I remember the rest of the time being quite relaxed and peaceful.

The midwives were lovely.
The doctors were lovely.

Then I had to go to theatre.

A year ago today.

Cannot believe my baby is almost 1.

They don’t stay little forever.

8 Essential Hospital Bag Items for Expecting Mamas

When I was pregnant with Emma, there were a lot of questions. This is normal, considering I am a first time mama. I suspect I was a bit of a nightmare pregzilla (is that even a term?) because I am a person who likes to know the ins and outs of things, I like to be prepared and organised, and most of all I like to PLAN. Unfortunately you cannot plan a birth; babies arrive when they feel like it. Most of the time anyway.

You pack your hospital bag weeks in advance (just in case) and it sits by the door gathering dust (unless you’re a clean freak). In fact you’ve researched what you need to take in, and by the time you’ve done packing, it looks like you’re off to Majorca for a week.
In many cases, most mamas are only in hospital for an overnight stay, and at most a couple of days following a C-Section, and all being well, Mama and Baby are home within 3 to 4 days.

So what do you actually need in your hospital bag?

After I packed my hospital bag for the 6th time, my husband went through it, and pointed out that I was not going on a holiday and re-packed it for me. He pointed out things like “Do you really need enough underwear to last you 2 weeks? Are you planning to change your underwear 6 times a day?” and “why have you packed a pair of jeans, you’re not going to want to wear them if you end up having a C-Section are you?”

So, here are my essential needs for a hospital bag for first time mamas.

Big and Cheap Comfy Pants

Not only do you want the cheap ones (think pack of 5 for £2.50) you want them in black. Childbirth is a messy affair, and black pants means it’s easier to hide the blood. Believe me, there will be lots of it. That first shower, will look like a serial killer had a frenzied session in the shower. And if they need to be thrown out, then at that price it doesn’t matter if you chuck them in the bin.

Arnica Tablets

Remind yourself that you will be birthing a child, through your vagina. There WILL be some bruising; there may be a tear or a cut. Get yourself some Arnica tablets. Arnica is a homeopathic remedy said to help with strains, sprains and bruises. Anything that can help has to be a bonus.

Flip Flops

When you go for that first shower, think of how many other women have used it. Yes it gets a very good clean afterwards, but unless I’ve cleaned it myself, it’s not *really* clean. Flip Flops will make sure that you don’t pick up any nasty bugs, like the verruca virus. So you can shower in them and not worry about picking anything nasty up.

Shares with Always

Your midwife will tell you to pack some maternity sanitary towels. Don’t Bother. Get yourself some shares with Always, because for the next 6-8 weeks you will spend a small fortune on these products. You will change your sanitary towel every 2 hours (approximately). Consider this, you’ve not had a period for almost 10 months, so once that baby is out, your uterus has a lot of shedding to do. For me, I got the super absorbent night-time towels, with wings. Often you can get these on bulk buy offers, which will save you money too.

Slipper Socks

These take up less room than a pair of slippers, and the non-slip grip on the bottom will mean you shouldn’t go tits up whilst walking down the corridor at 2am when you’re bleary eyed and can’t remember which door is the one for the toilet.

Reusable breast pads

Whilst they cost more than a pack of 80 breast pads, they are reusable. You will be washing a lot of babies’ clothes, so you can chuck your breast pads in the same wash. They are super absorbent, and in the long run will save you money, AND they will take up less space.

A Camera or Camera Phone with charger

You will want to capture your babies first moments. A photo as soon as they are born, the photo of them on the scales (proof 20 years down the line when you child asks “how much did I weigh?”). I have no less than 250 photos of Emmas first few days. Every moment was captured. First wash; first outfit; first cuddle with dad/mama, grandparents and so forth.

A set of loose and comfortable clothing to wear home

A set of loose, comfy trousers, or leggings, as well as a loose top and a cardigan. You don’t need to dress up. Make sure it’s comfortable for the drive home.

Those are my 8 essential hospital bag items.

Don’t forget something to sleep (ha ha ha) in, a nursing bra and toiletries. If you do happen to be for a while, then your partner can always bring more stuff in for you, as and when it’s required. Don’t weigh yourself down with heaps of stuff, because you may not be there for long, and if you are there for a while, you’re likely to change beds/rooms at least once. They don’t have a baggage trolley in the postnatal ward.
Now that I’ve experienced it, I know better for next time, maybe.

Mommy Wars 2.0

Well. If you’re in the blogosphere, you know all about the Mommy (and Daddy) wars.

What started off as Stay at Home Moms vs Working Moms, has changed to Older Moms vs Younger Moms, Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding, Fluffy vs Disposable, Pro-Vax vs Anti-Vax, Cry It Out vs Don’t Cry It Out, and well, everything in between. Basically anything parents can and will disagree on gets labelled as a “Mommy War”.

Well, there’s a new Mommy War, which to be fair, is expected when you stick 180+ women in one Facebook group whilst pregnant.

Which is where I found myself last October when looking for advice on one of BabycentreUK’s birth boards, being added to a Facebook group with a load of other pregnant women all due around the same time as me. It was fabulous. Full of first time mums, and second time mums, and mums with three, four and five kids, mums with pets, single mums, and well, all sorts of mums. And then it went to shit. Which wasn’t surprising with 180+ women who are all roughly 6 months pregnant.

It went to shit, and well, I got the blame. Because I asked for a group that had guidelines and more administrators to manage the dramas that unfolded. And well, the administrators, added 2 more people to their team (great) and then implemented a load of very strict guidelines, which then exploded into a lot of arguments (not great).

One of the new rules was that members were only allowed to post about pregnancy or baby related things, and therefore anything Off Topic must be kept to a minimum and that repeat offenders would be given a warning, and therefore 3 strikes and you’re out.  Well this didn’t go down too well. Especially not after closing the group to new members and then having a new member added who was notorious for OT posts elsewhere. It ended in people being nasty and mean and accusing people of bullying and then all of the admins resigning off the group, including the groups creator. When that happens, Facebook automatically shuts down the group. So, that happened.

So, one by one, Facebook threw all of the members out, and they lost all of their scan photos they’d shared, and bump photos they’d shared, and the stories of when they got their BFPs (Big Fat Positives) and all the other stories.

People tried to gain access and couldn’t, the administrators of the group blocked all of the people who disagreed with what they did. Included yours truly. I was blocked because I told them to do what they did. Apparently.

Isn’t it odd how people interpret what you say. To justify their actions and the consequences.

Me asking for guidelines CLEARLY meant that whatever guidelines were put in place meant that they obviously read my mind and plucked the exact wording out of my heavily hormone ridden brain. Brilliant how pregnancy affects you isn’t it? Did you know that being pregnant means you can read the thoughts of other pregnant women? No? Ha! Me either! But apparently it’s true. Which is why I found myself blocked by 3 silly women who blamed me for their own actions. Who then proceeded to tell everyone and sundry about what I did, omitting the part where they did anything wrong, and causing me to be blocked my more women who’s hormone saturated brains couldn’t stop to think for themselves or take the time to remember that every story has two sides.

The best part was I’ve still got all of the original messages. Sadly I didn’t think to take screenshots of the drama that ensued.

And boy was it a drama! One admin accused one lady of sending her an abusive Private Message but when asked to provide proof, refused to do so and instead kicked the lady out of the group and blocked her! One lady then tried to explain why this was an issue, by saying that anyone could accuse anyone of anything by saying it happened, but it doesn’t mean it actually happened and people shouldn’t be so quick to believe it without actual proof. She then get kicked out of the group too and blocked as well. It was like an episode of Harry Hills TV Burp, when Harry Hill says “Well I like this pregnant lady but I also like this pregnant lady, but which is better *and not a fucking liar*, there’s only one way to find out…..FIGHT”

<there was meant to be a photo of fighting pregnant ladies here but I couldn’t find one to use that I didn’t have to pay for, so you’ll have to use your imagination>

So in the process of this group falling apart and chucking everyone out and losing everyones photos (which some hadn’t backed up), I started another group.

I selected a few ladies to add, and quickly told them to add everyone who they could recall in the original, barring the administrators who’d blocked me and had been pretty nasty to quite a fair few of the ladies. Sadly we couldn’t recall everyone, and people were still being added 2 weeks later. Someone else also had the idea of starting another group and so we ended up with two groups with most of the same women in it. Then someone else made another group, and eventually there were 5!

And then after 4 months it all started again.

But I’ll share that another time. So stay tuned!

 

 

Parenthood, Friendships and Socialising

It’s funny. When you’re pregnant and then when you become a mother, you discover who your friends really are.

There’s that saying, “good friends are those who you don’t see regularly but when you do see them you can pick up and carry on as if no time has been spent apart”

The moment you tell people you are pregnant, there’s a hubbub of congratulations and excitement. Then people seem to think you’re fragile and things change.

Beforehand you’d get invited to nights out. Weekends away. Dinners in semi-fancy restaurants.

Then it stops.

It’s as if being pregnant means you’re no longer allowed to do such things.

Instead whilst your friends go out and have fun, not inviting you (mainly because they assume you won’t want to go, they assume you’re feeling sick or tired) you troll Internet pregnancy and parenting boards looking for people in the same situation as you so that you can bond.

So for almost 9 months, you slowly begin to lose touch with those friends.
You see Facebook statuses, tweets, photos of their “adventures”. You wonder why you weren’t invited. You feel a bit upset, hormones are raging, you have a cry and then you feel angry. Then? You stop caring. At least for a little while.

Then d-day comes and you have your baby. You make your birth announcement and all of a sudden everyone comes out of the woodwork.

You get lots of congratulations and excitement, lots of messages asking when people can come and visit. People wanting to come and hold your new baby.

The same people who only weeks/months before simply stopped involving you in their social life/circles. Who only rarely sent you a message to see how you were. Who very rarely responded to your messages.

The first few weeks of having your new baby is a flurry of visitors. People invite themselves to your home for new baby cuddles. Then it tails off again. As the weeks go by, you get less visitors, less messages, less phone calls.

These same people carry on with their lives. You carry on with yours, getting to grips with a new baby.

Again, you don’t get invites to go to the pub, out for a meal. Instead you see photos from nights out, Facebook statuses, tweets.

When you jokingly say “where was my invite then?” People uhm and ahh, unsure of what to say and then finally come out with “I didn’t think you be able to because of the baby”.

You don’t get invited because people assume you are too tired/ can’t go because you have a baby now/ don’t want to go.

As if having a baby, being a mother means that you can now no longer attend social functions. As if being a mother suddenly means you are no longer an actual person. With feelings.

Well, here’s the low down, from a new mama.

It hurts.

Just because I am now someone’s mother and have the responsibility for a child, doesn’t mean I am not a person, who on occasion needs some adult conversation, interaction and occasionally a glass of wine!

Don’t stop inviting me out because you think I can’t/don’t want to go. Don’t assume. You know, your assumption may be correct. I may be too tired and not want to go. I may not have a baby sitter and so cannot go. But I’d like to be asked. To be invited, instead of feeling excluded.

Remember that. Remember to continue to treat your friend like a friend after she announces her pregnancy and has a baby. Otherwise you may find that one day she won’t be your friend anymore.
Eventually she will stop trying, will decide to stop asking herself what she did to be treated the way she was, and she will just walk away.

B12

Emma is 16 days old and I’m getting to grips with limited and interrupted sleep.

I’m getting to grips with breast feeding and being peed on and explosive projectile poo.

I’m getting the hang of this mothering business.

After having Emma, I was told I had to take Iron tablets, as well as antibiotics (2 lots!) and the many pain relief tablets, not to mention daily injections to prevent DVT and PE (for the next 6 weeks!)

It was a pretty easy labour and birth (thanks to my epidural) however I lost a litre of blood. Which is apparently quite a lot to lose. However months and months of taking prenatal vitamins meant that my iron stores were very good and despite losing a litre of blood my iron count was still 10.9 after delivery.

Even though my iron count was still pretty good, I had to take the iron tablets (standard if your level is 12 or lower it seems) and then have a follow up blood test 2 weeks after the birth.

I had my blood test yesterday morning. This morning my doctors surgery sent me a text message asking me to make an appointment as my results showed a B12 deficiency which required further injections for me.

People may complain about the NHS, but that’s pretty good going, having a blood draw yesterday and then getting the results back the very next day.

I don’t like the fact that I have to have more injections, or the fact that if my body doesn’t manage the deficiency and resolve itself then i’ll be on these injections for the foreseeable future.

My pregnancy at the start was OK, the sciatica was a bitch, the middle it got a bit more difficult, what with the increased sciatica and the itching, and by the end I could hardly walk on most days, my skin was scabby from the blood I’d drawn scratching my itches and I was ready to be a mother, ready to stop vein pregnant.

Labour? Well, they reckon that you don’t remember the pain. Ha! It’s 2 weeks on and it’s still fresh and clear in my mind. I certainly won’t be forgetting it and neither will I be in any hurry to experience it again.

The best part of my labour was the moment my epidural was cited and the pain went away. The gas and air was pretty awesome too.

By the end of it, I had this pretty awesome teeny weeny bundle of amazingness.

She’s worth every pain and medicine and cringey moment where I have to inject myself.

Still not too happy about the B12 deficiency though.

Baby on Board – A Royal Waste of a Badge

Several times a day I open my Sky News app to see what’s new in the world.

This evening Sky News had a story on Kate Middleton being given a “Baby on Board” badge.

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Really Sky News? Really?! That is NOT news.

Lots of pregnant women are given “Baby on Board” badges. Hell, even train companies have them. I have 2!

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Paul Harrison, Royal Correspondent says “The Duchess of Cambridge has been presented with her own “Baby on Board” badge which allows pregnant passengers access to priority seating on the Tube.”

Clearly Mr Paul Harrison has never truly witnessed what these badges get you when travelling on public transport. Which is absolutely nothing.

These badges DO NOT allow pregnant passengers access to priority seating on the tube. They should do, but they don’t. People look at you, with your pregnant belly, they look at your “Baby on Board” badge and then they IGNORE you. It is actually very rare that someone gives up their seat for a pregnant woman.

A friend of mine is pregnant, she also has SPD and has to use crutches to help her walk. Yet despite being clearly pregnant AND on crutches, she was often ignored, or pushed past by others scrambling for seats and once she was even shouted at by a man because she was sat in “his” seat and he demanded she move. She was so upset, distressed and scared that she moved so he could sit down. No one offered her a seat, no one stood up for her.

I’ve written about this several times. I had to start my maternity leave early because I couldn’t cope with the commute. The number of times I’ve been ignored on a packed train despite my 2 “Baby on Board” badges is unreal.

I am so glad that I don’t have to commute anymore. I have 2 days left until Flump is due (ha ha ha) and my Baby on Board badge has been retired.

Final Countdown

We are in the last week (or maybe not) of this pregnancy.

Anytime from now until the next 3 weeks (maximum) will see me having a baby.

From the moment I discovered I was pregnant and I calculated my due date, and then the GP confirmed it, then the Midwife confirmed it and then the scans confirmed it, I KNEW that I’d have a birthday baby.

Flump is due on March 22nd. I was born on March 24th.

I may still be wrong of course.

Either way, I’m ready to not be pregnant anymore.

All we need now is a cot mattress, which we tried to buy yesterday but Mothercare refused to accept our monies.

Lets hope kiddo is 2 days late, so at least we have time to get the mattress so Flump has somewhere to sleep!

38 minus 7

I took a bump photo today. The plan with all of the bump photos, scan photos, photos of us prepping for Flump will eventually be made into a book, along with a few of the posts I’ve written here whilst pregnant.

I think it’s a lovely idea of something Flump can look at as he/she grows older and will be a great keepsake along with the baby book that The Husband and I are putting together.

After I took my 38 week bump photo, I compared it to one 7 weeks ago when I was 31 weeks. It’s scary that I look ever so slightly smaller this week than I did 7 weeks ago!

Granted I’ve lost a bit more weight since, a grand total of about 17lbs has been lost since I became pregnant. Seriously, had I know I’d have lost weight whilst pregnant, I’d have done it years ago!!

A few of my pregnant buddies have said that I look as though baby has dropped slightly. Dr Google and his Cronies said that towards the end you start to lose a bit of amniotic fluid and your baby bump does appear smaller.

Who knows what it is, but all sources point to, baby will soon be here!

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The Cupboard

Flump is due in about 2 weeks time. (Sooner I am hoping)

We’re practically ready, although we still need to buy the cot mattress and bedding, yeah procrastinating at its best! We have pretty much everything else we need though.

The plan once Flump arrives is to breastfeed. The plan has always been to breastfeed and express my breast milk so The Husband can help with feeds. With that in mind my mother got us a bottle and sterilising kit by Tommee Tippee.

It comes with an electric steriliser, a single bottle microwave steriliser, an electric bottle warmer, 2 bottle insulators, formula mixers (??) a bottle brush, tongs, a dummy (soother) and 8 bottles.

Tonight we set it all up. It looks pretty awesome, if a little overwhelming.

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