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George Makes His Grand Entrance…aka…Our Birth Story

George is exactly one month and one day old today…and it has flown by.

I’m taking advantage of one of his rare naps to tell you the story of his birth. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not rare for him to nap – he does it all the time – it’s just rare that he’ll let me put him down. It’s also quite rare that I don’t really have anything else to o while he’s napping, but today I have managed to get showered and dressed, brush my teeth, eat breakfast AND lunch, and drink enough water (okay, tea). I’ve also found time to give Luke a hand with the housework, so I don’t feel quite so bad about sitting down at my laptop and getting some writing done.

So, in my last post as a pregnant woman I told you that I was in the hospital being induced because of my pre-eclampsia. I was in slow-labour anyway, but I’d still had to have the pessary to begin thinning my cervix (a lovely image for a Monday evening). I had wanted to avoid it but the midwives were concerned that I wasn’t progressing quickly enough and that they needed to help me along. In hindsight I kind of wish that I had refused them, but they did that thing where they worded it as if I didn’t have a choice. I knew that I had the choice, but in my vulnerable state I just went along with what they were saying, worried for the health of me and my baby. If I could do it again I would ask them what the outcome of NOT having the pessary would have been,

So, at 11.45am they inserted the pessary and then left things to develop. They put it behind your cervix so it was pretty uncomfortable, and it actually took a lot longer to put in place than I expected, but it was bearable. You have to lie still for half an hour after it’s put in to stop it from just falling straight out, but I hadn’t taken note of the time so I lay there for over an hour worrying that if I moved I’d have to go through all that again.

Luke had already gone home, so once I could move again I spent the afternoon listening to the radio and colouring a mandala in until he came back to keep me company.

I can’t remember when my contractions started, but they began as hot stretching feelings in my lower back, and as the day progressed they started to feel like an odd pressure in my bottom…almost as if I really needed a poo. They weren’t really painful, more uncomfortable, even when they started to become more regular – not at first anyway. Very quickly it got to the point where I was getting three minute-long contractions every ten minutes and I had to really concentrate on my hyponobirthing techniques to control the pain. I was breathing deep and steady, imagining a dial and mentally “turning down” the pain, thinking the words numb and comfortable (numbfortable) .We tried going for short walks up and down the corridors but, after three hours of terrified non-sleep the night before, I was utterly exhausted and felt like I just needed to lie down and try to get a bit of rest.

…except that REALLY wasn’t happening.

Contractions aside (and it was probably going to be impossible to sleep through those anyway), there was a completely obnoxious family on the same ward as me. The mother was awaiting a c-section, and her husband and two-year old were sitting with her…well sort of. The child was screaming blue-murder whilst running around the ward, and the father employing his (VERY LOUD) voice to encourage the little one and laugh at him in-between (VERY LOUD) phone conversations. I’m not entirely sure what the mother was doing as I was lying with my curtains closed, trying to relax, but just getting more and more wound up with each shriek and booming laugh. Luke went out to complain to the midwives twice, and eventually they were asked to take their loudness away from the antenatal ward.

Now, I know that children make noise and that you can’t use reason to get them to be quiet, but you can remove them from situations where their noise isn’t appropriate. An antenatal ward where women are in the early stages of labour is not the best place for a small child to be screaming. It also isn’t the best place for you to hold telephone conversations in a booming voice.

I was majorly upset by the time they were removed from the ward. It was fast approaching the time that Luke would have to leave for the night, and I’d completely missed any chance for the rest that I needed. By this point the pressure of my contractions was getting to be unbearable. I kept thinking that if I could only do a poo (or maybe throw up) I would feel SO much better, and so I made numerous trips to the bathroom where I sat on the loo and cried because I just couldn’t get any relief. I was hot and cold all at the same time and ended up in bed in my coat, feeling like I was coming down with the worst case of flu…it was a pretty hideous time. I hated it.

At ten Luke had to leave the ward and so I lay alone, trying to dial down my pain (numb and comfortable…numb and comfortable) and failing miserably. He hadn’t long been gone when I decided to make one more pointless trip to the toilet, but when I rolled over in bed I felt a big POP and my waters broke quite spectacularly. I carried on in my quest for the bathroom, convinced that I just needed to poo and when I got there I was sick. Exorcist style sick. I was the embodiment of glamour and grace. Not.

I don’t remember things too clearly from that point on really. I know that things happened but I’m not too hot on details. It was 11pm…I sent Luke a text asking him to come back…I was put on a monitor and they saw that the baby’s heartbeat was dropping with each contraction…they wheeled me through to the delivery suite on my bed where I met a wonderful midwife called Yvonne…the baby had to have a clip attached to his head so they could monitor his heartbeat more effectively…I was offered gas and air…my contractions were like my body was being ripped in half…I breathed entonox continuously for four hours whilst swearing profusely at anyone who suggested I take a break from it…I talked a lot of rubbish (due to being high as a kite) and tried to imagine I was off my face in a tent at a festival, rather than on a hospital bed in a depressing delivery room…

…and then I pushed…but I was only 6 cms dilated so I was told NOT TO PUSH.

I couldn’t help it though, there was nothing I could do. It was like trying to stop yourself from being sick. You don’t want to do it but you know it’s going to happen and your body just takes over and OH MY GOD I was pushing again. I had sworn that I didn’t want an epidural, and it was on all of my birth plans but I found myself begging for one, just so that I wouldn’t push anymore.

And so I had an epidural. It wasn’t scary and I didn’t worry about it at all, hell, I didn’t even feel it because I was sucking on the entonox mouthpiece like my life depended on it.

The epidural didn’t really work properly for me at first. The anaesthetist put the test dose in (which I shouldn’t have been able to feel) and it made my left leg feel numb and heavy. She was confused and didn’t want to give me a proper dose, so for a few hours I had a weird lopsided feeling as my left side did what it was supposed to, and my right side felt far less numb. After a while the contraction pain and the need to push would start to make itself known – but only on my right hand side – and so she’d give me a mini top-up that’d last for an hour or so. In the end she decided to give me a proper dose and then everything went numb. It was great, but suddenly I was fully dilated and it was time to push…

…and I couldn’t feel a damn thing.

I tried and I tried to push…they even gave me a syntocinon drip (man-made oxytocin) to make my contractions more effective and help me to push, but it just wasn’t happening. The registrar came in and gave me half an hour more to push before they took me to theatre. The plan was to give me a spinal (because the epidural wasn’t working on both sides) and attempt delivery via forceps or ventouse, and if those didn’t work they would do a c-section. I did not want any of those things and I was terrified for the baby and for myself, but he was back to back, in completely the wrong position and he was not going to come out on his own. I was exhausted and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Predictably, they couldn’t move the baby using forceps or ventouse, and I couldn’t feel to push to help them move him down, so I was told they needed to perform a section. I had resigned myself to it. I had known from the moment I left the delivery room to go to theatre that they would be doing it, but it didn’t stop my fear and I shook uncontrollably throughout the whole procedure, despite trying to relax myself using the techniques I’d learnt. Luke was right there beside me, and the staff were amazing, but I was so worried, so scared, so tired…

I had nothing to be worried or scared about. There was no pain, and all I felt was a lot of pushing, pulling and tugging as they pulled the baby back up into my uterus and then pushed him out of the tiny hole that they’d cut (seriously, looking at my scar now I have NO idea how they got him out of such a small incision), and then the surgeon was thrusting a small vernix-covered bottom over the screen and telling us we had a boy, and then George was crying (a tiny reedy sound) and I was crying and Luke was crying…

…and suddenly we were a family.


I plan to write about the aftermath of my c-section soon…I’ve gone on for far too long for one post already 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2015 in Baby, Life, Parenting, Pregnancy

 

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Birth Plan(s)…

There’s lots of discussion on the internet on birth forums about whether or not you should “bother” writing a birth plan. Everyone has their own opinion, some of which are quite forthright and abrupt. I’ve seen women making statements such as…

“…I’d rather just see what happens when I get there…”

“…why try to control and uncontrollable situation…”

“…you’re setting yourself up for failure and upset if your birth doesn’t follow your plan…”

“…the midwives and doctors know what they’re doing, writing a birth plan is acting like you know better than they do…”

“…no-one will read it anyway…”

“…I’m having a c-section so I’m not going to bother writing one…”

My response to all that?…an incredulous “Really?!”

…followed by…

  • If you wait and see what happens when you get there you will be going in unprepared for the options you actually have…
  • There is a difference between trying to control something, and preparing for something
  • You’re only setting yourself up for failure if you write a rigid set of rules that your labour MUST follow for you to be happy – that’s not a birth plan, that’s an exercise in futility…
  • Yes, midwives and doctors know what they’re doing (and I should bloody well hope so!) but they may also want to get your labour done with quickly, not because it’s the best for you, but because it’s the best for them
  • No-one has to read your plan. The sheer act of writing it helps you to be aware of your options so you know what you want to ask for and what you would prefer to refuse – and no-one can do anything to you without your consent…
  • You might be having a c-section, but you still have options and it’s perfectly fine to have a plan for a caesarean too...

The way I see it is that by writing your birth plan you’re giving yourself the opportunity to look into all the options you have for your birth, to research them, and to decide which ones you’d prefer to take advantage of IF your situation allows. It can also be a really good way to set out the things you’d like should emergencies happen.

When it comes down to it, your birth plan can be as simple as:

  • I want my husband in the room
  • I do NOT want an epidural

Or, if you’re anything like me, it can be LONG…

I am a control freak. I know this. I want to know all of the possible eventualities and I want to plan for all of them. I don’t want to be offered something that I know nothing about…I mean, how can I make an informed decision about being induced if I’ve never looked into what one involves?…I want a natural birth, but if I have to have a c-section, how will I know what to ask for during/after surgery if I’ve never even considered it?

I am a control freak, yes, but I’m also a realist. I’m not writing ONE birth plan as a set of rules to be followed, oh no, I’m writing SEVERAL birth plans so that my preferred options are set out in writing for whatever may happen.

If we get to stay in the birth centre the whole time, great! If we have to be moved to the labour ward, that’s fine! If I have to have a c-section, well it’s not ideal but I’ve planned for that too!

For those of you who are interested, my *current* birth plans are listed below (I am going to go through them with my midwife on Saturday and get her opinion so they may well change). I’d be really interested to hear other people’s plans for birth and I’m happy to discuss any of my choices with anyone who wants to know more about why I’ve chosen certain things.


Birth Plan – Midwife Led Unit

Birth Partner: my husband, Luke

  • I would like to use a birthing pool if one is available

  • I prefer as few people around me as possible

  • I am preparing for birth using Natal Hypnotherapy and would like a quiet, relaxed calm birth environment

  • During labour I would like:

    • As little monitoring as possible

    • No vaginal examinations unless necessary

    • Do not break my waters unless labour slows and not with my/Luke’s consent

    • I want to push when my body tells me to, and in an upright position

    • I prefer to tear than be cut, and do not want an episiotomy unless in an emergency and not without my/Luke’s consent

  • After birth I would like:

    • skin-to-skin contact with my baby (or failing that, skin-to-skin with Luke)

    • delayed cord clamping until it has stopped pulsating

  • Please use the umbilical cord tie that I have in place of a clamp if possible

  • Natural delivery of the placenta if possible

  • I would like my baby to receive Vitamin K by ORAL dose


Birth Plan – Labour Ward

Birth Partner: my husband, Luke

  • As few people as possible around me

  • I am preparing for birth using Natal Hypnotherapy and would like a quiet, relaxed calm birth environment

    • dimmed lights

    • my own music

    • as little interruption as possible

  • During labour I would like:

    • To remain active if possible

    • Intermittent/wireless monitoring to allow me to be mobile

    • No vaginal examinations unless necessary

    • Do not break my waters unless labour slows and not with my/Luke’s consent

    • Ventouse only in an emergency and never without my/Luke’s consent – I would prefer not to use forceps if possible

    • I prefer to tear rather than be cut

      • Episiotomy only in an emergency, and never without my/Luke’s consent

    • Pain relief: Entonox only – spinal block in an emergency – no pethidine or epidural

    • I prefer to stay hydrated by drinking rather than via IV

    • I want to be upright during pushing stage and let my body tell me when to push if possible

    • Please set up the resuscitation equipment as close to me as is sensible, so that the cord can remain intact if possible

  • After birth:

    • Immediate skin-to-skin with myself or Luke

    • Delayed cord clamping until the cord has stopped pulsating

    • No bathing of baby

  • Please use the umbilical cord tie that I have in place of a clamp if possible

  • Natural delivery of the placenta if possible

  • I would like my baby to receive Vitamin K by ORAL dose

In case of being induced:

  • Intermittent/wireless monitoring to allow me to be mobile

  • I prefer to give birth in an upright position/on all fours


Birth Plan – In Case of C-Section

Birth Partner: my husband, Luke

  • Delay clamping and cutting the cord if possible

  • Baby to be lifted onto my chest immediately after birth

  • If I cannot be conscious, please give the baby to Luke for skin-to-skin immediately after birth if possible

  • Please administer a vaginal swab to give baby microbiomes

  • All post-birth procedures (e.g. cleaning and weighing) to be delayed until Luke and I are ready

  • I would like my baby to receive Vitamin K by ORAL dose

In the Event of Medical Separation of Baby and I

  • No bathing baby

  • Luke to stay with baby unless there is an emergency

  • Do not give baby glucose or formula without my/Luke’s express consent

  • If baby must be fed please hand express from me and spoon/syringe feel baby

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Baby, Life, Lists, Parenting, Plans, Pregnancy

 

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Send Me a Sign!…

Despite the fact that I STILL haven’t gotten my head round the whole “there’s going to be a real actual baby and he’s going to be OURS” thing, and the reality that we still are not ready (there’s washing to do, and baby wipes and breast pads to make to name but two things) I’m constantly (and excitedly) on the look out for signs of imminent labour. I’ve been doing it ever since I hit 37 weeks.

My midwife ran through the signs with me to check that I knew what was what and I felt very in control and aware…and then we got home and I started wondering. And googling.

And then I realised that none of the signs of labour actually mean that labour is happening/going to happen soon. Sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes women get all of them, sometimes they only get a few.

Wonderful!

One of the first things I was going to look out for was ‘a clear out’…or, if you’re being less polite, a bout of diarrhoea. Nice. This is one of the things that might not happen at all though.

The next thing was losing the mucous plug from the neck of my cervix, otherwise known as a ‘bloody show’. Once again, nice. This one was, I felt, quite reliable as you’d expect to notice it, but no. There’s plenty of women who don’t recall seeing any kind of ‘show’, bloody or otherwise…so that’s reliable then.

An obvious sign is, obviously, your waters breaking. Everyone knows that, right? Except your waters can break at ANY point during labour, and sometimes, very rarely, babies can be born without the waters breaking at all. Also, your waters can break without labour starting. So that clichéd image of the woman who’s waters break in the supermarket (or other embarrassing public place) is completely misleading.

Sometimes back pain and period cramps can be a sign that things are kicking off, except they’re both things that I’ve been experiencing on and off for a couple of weeks now. Reliable.

A lightening feeling, where you can breathe more easily (and eat more food again!) can indicate that your baby  has dropped down into your pelvis more BUT the baby engaging isn’t a sign of labour on its own, they can always pop back out again, and some babies (especially if it’s your second) don’t engage at all.

Finally, contractions, or tightenings, accompanied with pain in your lower back or lower abdomen, irregular or not, might be a good indication of labour. I’ve had a few in the past few weeks but they’ve been sporadic rather than irregular. Once you’re getting ones that last around a minute and happen a few times in an hour you might be in the early stages of labour…but that irregularity could continue for days and it can also stop entirely.

So I guess what I’m saying is that, although I’m desperately looking for signs, I don’t trust any of them. Not only that, but I also don’t feel ready for the signs to be positive. It’s a very weird situation to be in…especially when I’m actively trying to do things that bring labour on.

Amongst other things, I’ve been bouncing on my swiss ball, doing a “labour dance” (which involves lots of pelvic winding and bump rubbing), and last night Luke made a really hot curry (it had about eight birdseye chillies in it on top of his normal spice level)…Mini Moss is DEFINITELY moving around a LOT ever since the heat-fest so who knows what could happen.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2015 in Baby, Life, Lists, Pregnancy

 

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My Problems With Induction…

We’re now having weekly midwife checks as they’re worried about my blood pressure (which has gone up a tiny bit) and want to keep an eye on my ankles. At one of my latest appointments Carol (my regular MW) ran through the signs of labour with me, and then told me when they’d be offering sweeps and induction.

I really don’t want to be induced so I asked her if it’d be possible to go into the hospital for daily monitoring once I go past 42 weeks instead. She made sure I realised that my placenta could degrade after that point (which I knew already) but seemed pretty positive about it. I’m very lucky to have a midwife who listens and doesn’t try to bully…but she did have a laugh and warned me that I might be begging her for one by that point. Who knows, maybe I will?…I’d like to think that I’ll give nature a chance.

The trouble with being induced is that it can bring on labour quickly and intensely and although you have all the right hormones to get baby moving, they don’t cross over the blood brain barrier. In other words, your uterus is doing what it needs to, but your brain hasn’t got the memo and so doesn’t produce the right hormones to help you deal with it. It also doesn’t allow you to produce the oxytocin to deliver the placenta naturally so yet more medication is needed for the third stage. Induced labour can take longer and lead to even more intervention in the form of things like forceps, ventouse or c-section.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about induction (especially after my pre-eclampsia scare this week) and found a lot about the technicalities and drawbacks of induction, as well as all the reasons why you might need or be offered induction. Then I looked at the forums and found lots of women saying things like…

“I was induced so I HAD to keep still, be constantly monitored and give birth lying down on a bed…”

…which had me worrying.

If I have to be induced for the sake of the baby’s or my health then I will be induced…but I am very keen to stay mobile and give birth in an upright position. I was pretty sure that I have a choice over how I labour and birth, but that didn’t gel with what these ladies were saying.

It turns out that I was right.

I asked on a Hypnobirthing group on Facebook and my friend Lucy (and then several other ladies) confirmed that I don’t have to do anything, that I can request intermittent monitoring, mobile monitoring and upright birthing positions. They also said that a lot of women trust what the midwives and doctors say, despite wanting something different.

At the end of the day, we can ask for alternatives to any proceedure and we have the right to refuse any and all medical interventions that are offered to us. One of the key things that Luke learnt as “gatekeeper” is to ask why things need to be done, if there is an alternative to it, and if my or the baby’s health is at risk. Sometimes the methods offered (for example, lying on a bed) aren’t for the benefit of the mother and baby, but for the benefit of the medical professionals.

I am very lucky that I’ve got such knowledgeable friends and that I’ve had the benefit of doing so much reading. I can’t imagine how it must be for the women who go into labour not knowing their rights and who end up having a traumatic birth. Every woman should know about this!

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2015 in Baby, Life, Pregnancy

 

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Hospital Bags – A Review…

Just over a week ago i posted some lists of the things that were going into our hospital bags.

At the time I thought they were pretty comprehensive, but when it came to packing them I realised that I’d left out a few things, and not been entirely specific about others…

Firstly, the things I forgot…

1) Going home clothes…which are sort of important if you want to go home in something other than your nightdress…

I was kind of reticent to pack any clothes until labour began because there’s not a lot I feel comfortable in anymore and I was worried I’d miss part of my rapidly shrinking wardrobe. In the end I chose to put in a pair of yoga pants that start sliding down my bump after just a few steps, leaving the bottom of it exposed. They’re wonderfully comfy but they drive me mad so I didn’t feel too bad sacrificing them to the bag. I have a black nursing top from Mothercare to wear with them that I got it in a super-big size. I’m hoping it’ll fit over my belly just a few days after birth…

I also added a pair of leggings, a big t-shirt and some loose, stretchy pyjama bottoms, just in case I don’t want to sit around in a nightie all day.

2) Extra sleep bras…because I’m paranoid that I’ll leak and that two won’t be enough. I don’t want to sleep in colostrum stained bras….

3) Umbilical Cord Tie (by Heartstrings)…

cordtie

These cute ties are made with embroidery thread and are used instead of the conventional plastic clamps to tie off the umbilical cord. They’re kinder to a newborn’s skin, less ‘clunky’ and often encourage the stump to dry out and fall off more quickly than a clamp.

I chose a bee because I love them (and one of my nicknames is LouBee) and was very amused to see the post stamp on the envelope when it arrived.

I’ll write more about the cord tie (how the midwives react to it and how well it works) after the birth.

4) A cheap plastic massager…

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I found some tips for things to put in your hospital bag online and one woman suggested one of these because her husband wasn’t the best at massage. Luke tries his best but I invariably yell at him that he’s not doing it right, so I thought that it’d be a good idea to add one of these into my bag. I will definitely want him to rub my back during labour, and I don’t want to be doing any yelling.

5) Natal Hypnotherapy “props”… 

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These include a data sheet for the midwives, a sign to put on the door of the delivery room (top photo) and a reminder card for me, Luke and the Midwives (bottom photo) that folds up and slots together. I’ve put these into the folder with my maternity notes and birth plan and stuck the “I’m preparing for birth with Natal Hypnotherapy” sticker onto my notes.

6) Headphones…for if I have to stay in hospital.

Next…the things I’ve adjusted…

1) My robe…I don’t have a suitable robe and couldn’t find one when I went shopping, so I got one of these nightshirts from Primark instead…

Hogwarts Nightshirt

…it’s fab, but has gold threads running through it that are quite scratchy, so it works much better as a robe than a nightshirt (no one needs gold threads scratching at their nipples…)

I’ve also banished it from my labour bag and relegated it to the ‘staying in hospital’ bag. My reason for this is that if I don’t stay in hospital then I’ll pass it (unworn) onto someone who will actually appreciate it. As it is it’s a size 18-20 so will swamp me when I lose my bump…plus I really can’t stand those scratchy gold threads…

2) My socks…I’m only taking one pair of bed socks and one pair of socks because I prefer my feet to be cold and I have a small knitted pair of slippers (Primark cheapies) that will work just as well to keep my feet warm.

3) My iPod…it works fine when it’s in a dock, but refuses to work when it’s not (battery issues). Hopefully it’ll be fine for labour (because it’ll be in a dock) but I can’t rely on it so I’m taking in a bunch of CDs that I’ve made too. I had also planned to put audio books on there so that I could listen to them if I had to stay in hospital, but that’s not going to work now. Instead I’ve had to clear a whole load of apps off my phone so that I can put the books on there instead. I did consider buying a new iPod (well, a new-to-me second-hand one), but I barely use the one I have so I just couldn’t justify spending £30-40 on getting another.

4) Sanitary pads…I’m not quite sure what I was thinking when I put 10 on my list. I’m actually taking TWENTY-FOUR.

5) Nipple cream…this has gone in my labour bag because that’s where my toiletry bag is and I didn’t want it loose (and possibly leaking) in my hospital bag.

6) Notepads…we don’t need one each and can totally share one between us, I was being a ridiculous notepad addict there…

Finally…the things I didn’t really specify…

1) My labour outfit…to start with, I’m not worrying too much about changing outfits and have stuck with one actual item of clothing – a longline XL men’s t-shirt from Primark…

picture from Primark website

…it’s quite soft and comfortable so I’ve put it in the bag as it is at the moment, but I may still shorten the arms and hack the neck off a bit. I guess I could have just used a nightie but I find that I feel quite dowdy in those. Silly. but true. This way I think I’ll fool myself into thinking that I’m wearing a dress and feel more like myself. I haven’t washed it before packing it as I was worried it’d shrink and I’d end up walking around flashing my pants/bum.

I’ve also added in a bikini top in case the sleep bra is a bit too restrictive when it’s wet (I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me in the first place to be honest…pool…bikini…you’d think it’d be a no-brainer…)

2) Baby clothes…I had no idea what to take or how much to take and ARGH…it was all getting too much having to think about if he’d be too tall for newborn sized stuff. And then I realised that even if I’m stuck in hospital, mom and Luke won’t be. Once it dawned on me that they could bring me things from home it got much easier. I’ve gone with:

  • 2 x vests in each size (newborn and 0-3 months)
  • 2 x onesies in each size (as above)
  • a cardigan
  • 1 x hat
  • 2 x scratch mitts
  • 2 x muslin cloth
  • 2 x dribble bibs

Also, I have put my “staying in hospital” clothes into one cotton shopping bag, and the baby’s clothes into another. This works well because it keeps them all together, keeps his clothes clean, and means that I don’t have to do too much rummaging to find things in there. I think the hospital cots have little cupboards underneath them so having everything separated out will make it so much easier to transfer it to the cupboard.

So there you have it….I’m all packed!

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…and for those of you who want to see the reviewed and revised list…

Labour bag

For me:

  • Birthplan
  • Maternity notes (I carry these in my handbag all the time anyway)
  • Natal Hypnotherapy data sheet, reminder and door notice (plus blu-tac)
  • Umbilical cord tie
  • Lipbalm
  • Massage oil
  • Massager
  • Hot water bottle
  • Water spray bottle
  • Tissues/wipes
  • Hair bobbles
  • Brush
  • A couple of sanitary pads
  • 2 sleep bras (because one might get wet if I use it in the pool)
  • 1 pair of pants
  • Longline baggy t-shirt to wear while giving birth
  • Bikini top for in the pool
  • Slippers
  • A towel (this isn’t actually in the bag as it’d fill the whole thing – I’ll carry it separately in a cotton shopping bag. To be honest, I’m considering asking the hospital if it’s necessary to bring one as I know our local hospital tell you not to bother)
  • Paper/notepad and pen
  • iPod
  • CDs
  • Phone
  • TENS machine
  • Toiletry bag (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner…all travel sized…and mascara to make myself feel slightly human if I feel like I need it after the birth, and nipple cream)
  • My swiss ball (deflated!)
  • A pillow (to get comfy and because it’ll be a bit of home)

Baby things:

  • 2 nappies and sacks
  • Nappy cream
  • Some cotton wool balls
  • Newborn sized vest
  • Newborn sized onesie
  • 0-3 month sized vest
  • 0-3 month sized onesie
  • Going home outfit (just in case we get to leave after a few hours)
  • Scratch mitts
  • Muslin square
  • Nail scissors
  • Cuddly toy

Luke’s stuff:

  • Money (including change for vending machines)
  • Hypnobirthing “Gatekeeper” card (it has reminders for affirmations etc)
  • Phone
  • Phone numbers on paper
  • Change of clothes – we’ve whittled this down to one fresh t-shirt, 1 pair of boxers and his swimming shorts (so he can get in the pool with me) but he seems to think he won’t need any of them…
  • Deodorant

(believe it or not, all of this fits in the smaller of the two bags pictured above (apart from the towel)…I’m shocked and amazed. I guess having travel-sized toiletries really helps…)

Hospital Stay Bag

For me:

  • Cotton shopping bag (which my clothes are in)
  • 2 nursing nighties
  • Hogwarts nightshirt (“robe”)
  • A nursing bra
  • 2 x nursing sleep bras
  • 1 pair bed socks
  • 1 pair normal socks
  • 5 pairs of pants
  • Breast pads (about 10 pairs)
  • 22 sanitary pads
  • Phone charger
  • Headphones
  • Money
  • A plastic bag (for dirty laundry)
  • Books and magazines
  • Audio books on phone

For the baby:

  • Cotton shopping bag (which his clothes are in)
  • 15 nappies and sacks
  • Cotton wool balls
  • A hat
  • 4 x vests (2 x newborn, 2 x 0-3 months)
  • 4 x onesies (2 x newborn, 2 x 0-3 months)
  • 2 x scratch mitts
  • 2 x muslin cloth
  • 2 x dribble bibs
  • A cardigan
 
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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Baby, Life, Lists, Parenting, Pregnancy

 

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Tea, Wonderous Tea!…

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About 12 years ago I read a book called The Fat Ladies Club. It’s about pregnancy and birth from the point of view of five women who met in antenatal class. I don’t remember much about it, but I do remember that, of the five authors, the ones who didn’t drink raspberry leaf tea ended up tearing or having episiotomies. I might actually be remembering it wrong (it was over a decade ago) but even so, that notion stuck with me.

I’m very scared of tearing and cutting (although I now know that no one can cut me if I don’t want them to, and that tearing is better as it’s natural) so I have always had it in my head that if I ever got pregnant I would drink it. And drink it by the GALLON.

Note: You can take it as tablets too (if you don’t like the taste of the tea), but I hate tablets and love the tea so I’ll be talking about drinking it for the purpose of this blog…

The few studies that have been done on raspberry leaf show that it relaxes the uterine muscles. This could result in less tearing, and more efficient contractions and, consequently, a shorter second stage of labour. You can also drink it through labour to help with delivery of the placenta and to reduce bleeding.

It’s also supposed to help ease period pains and (when suffering with terrible period pains) I’ve drunk it and found that it does help. Either that or it’s a great placebo…

The general advice in the UK is to steer clear of RL tea until the third trimester, wait until after 32 weeks, and gradually build up how much you drink. This is probably because of a worry that relaxing your uterus could bring on early labour. Lots of websites warn that you should stop taking it if you start getting strong braxton hicks straight after.

However, advice elsewhere (like Australia, for example) is that RL tea can be beneficial throughout pregnancy for alsorts of things like bleeding gums, morning sickness and diarrhoea.

It can also help relieve sore throats, so seeing as I’ve been suffering with a sore throat and swollen mouth for a couple of weeks now, I decided to get myself some. I got the Clipper infusion (pictured above), which is only 50% raspberry leaf, as I had a sudden desperate need to get some and it was all they had in Tesco. I don’t know if that makes any difference so I’ve been drinking twice as much as I think I need to to make up for it.

I’ve been adding a teaspoon of honey too (even though I prefer it without) to try and soothe my throat a bit more. I’ve only been drinking it for a couple of days but I can’t say it’s done much to ease my sore throat (apart from right after drinking it).

I also got some Heath & Heather Organic tea from Holland and Barrett thinking that it’d be “better”…

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…(I got two boxes as they’re doing the penny sale at the moment) but it’s only 30% raspberry leaf, and it smells a little bit like tomato cuppa soup. It’s not a terrible thing, but it’s enough to make it slightly off putting every time I go to take a sip. Honey might make a difference but I have the sneaking feeling that it’d just end up being tomato soup with a hint of honey. I’ve set this brand aside for the time being until I’ve used up all the Clipper bags.

So anyway, I’m drinking at least two cups a day (sometimes up to five) and hoping for the best. It may help, it may not. Even if I have an easy, speedy delivery I’ll not know if it’s down to the tea or nature. I don’t think it matters though – it tastes nice (well, the Clipper one does), it’s keeping me hydrated, and if nothing else it’s giving me a bit more of a feeling of control over my impending labour…all good things.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2015 in Food, Life, Pregnancy, Reviews

 

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