This is what the side of our fridge looks like now. I also have a number of notebooks on the go… With my husband able to work from home this has already been very useful… More
Chances are at some point in the next few weeks we’re going to be told we have to stay inside. One of my big anxieties is around keeping Aidan, who’s nearly 2, well entertained and myself sane. I took a look at Five Minute Mum’s website and Instagram for a few ideas and her latest blog post was a big help. I definitely find that I need structure and routine to help keep me calm. Not rigid hour by hour type stuff, but I like to have a plan for the day and if I can extend that to a loose week plan it’s even better. I had a look at FMM’s example of how she would structure her day if she had to keep her kids home and used that as a base to create something for us too. Today was day one, I thought I might as well start straight away to get into the habit. It was brilliant! Here’s how I’m doing things.
Our day normally starts around 6 and we try to have a fairly relaxed morning getting ready.
6am – 8am – Free play, Breakfast, Wash and Dress
Aidan isn’t at school so we wont need to keep up with his education, but I do like to encourage his development through activities and play.
8am – 10am – Books, Communication based games, Drawing/colouring. – These are activities that support development of speech, reading, writing etc. obviously I do not expect him to read or write, but drawing helps with fine motor control which supports writing. Being read too supports his reading and doing activities that involve him following instructions are good for his understanding of language.
10am- 1130 – Snack, Outdoor play (clean/dry), Physical play, The World. – at the moment we can still go outside to parks or the shops, these activities would be included in this slot.
1130 – 1300 – Free play, Lunch.
1300 – 1500 – Nap/ Quiet time, Snack. – The length of his nap can vary day to day and some days he wont sleep at all, but I do try to leave him in his cot as long as he is happy. This gives me a bit of a break and I think is good for him. Even if he doesn’t sleep he seems more refreshed after a bit of time in a dark and quiet room.
1500 – 1600 – Outside play (Dirty/ Wet), Messy play, “Science”/baking, Water. – We are lucky to have a nice garden that we (we assume?!) can continue to use so we’ll be out there as much as possible for messy play.
1600 – 1700 – Free play, TV time – This is my opportunity to tidy and cook. Aidan is not particularly interested in TV unless it’s Peppa Pig in which case he would watch it all day. Most days we don’t have the TV on, but it can be very a useful tool to get a bit of quiet time.
1700 – Tea Time
Aidan goes to bed around 630 so any time after tea is spent playing with daddy and getting ready for bed.
Each “slot” it very rough, they are acting as more of a prompt for me to mix the day up and keep things interesting for him. If he is enjoying being outside I’m not going to drag him kicking and screaming back into the house because the timetable says he should be playing inside. Likewise if he’s not interested in an activity then he’s free to go away and do something else.
I’ve picked a theme for the week and so the toys and books I get out and the activities that I organise will be related to the theme in some way. Again this is just as much for me as it is for him, for example today I found it much easier to engage in his play because I had had little ideas of how this toy or activity could reflect the theme. I encouraged him to play with me as I did things and he seemed more engaged because we were playing together. Aidan is very good at playing on his own and so I must admit that I often find it very easy to disengage from his playtime and scroll Instagram, but today I loved that for the vast majority of the day I was on the floor or in the garden and my phone lay mostly untouched on the counter top.
For my own benefit entirely I’ve written down what we did today and things I noticed him doing that I thought were interesting for example he was able to stack a tower of bricks much higher than I’d seen him do before. I’m doing this to keep me motivated, I can look back and see how he engaged with what we were doing.
I’m going to share some of our days here and if I find any other good resources I’ll try and leave links in case they can be helpful.
What to Expect, When? – We bought a copy of this after having it recommended by a family member that’s a childminder. It’s great for getting an idea of how children develop from birth to 5 years. It has some suggestions for things you can do to support development areas.
A couple of weeks ago I signed up for the Extinction Rebellion fashion boycott. The below text is taken from the XR Fashion Boycott pledge page, I don’t think I can write it any better than this…
‘We are in a climate and ecological emergency. If we don’t act now, we will face mass food shortages, the collapse of our civilisation and extinction. We can no longer afford to use land to grow crops to produce textiles, or to extract oil to produce synthetic fibres and pollute the air and water.
There is now only one way for the fashion industry to be sustainable – to stop pointless consumption and say no to virgin resources and fossil fuels. We must use what we’ve already got, regenerate the natural world, and envision cultural and economic systems based on the well-being of people and planet.
Fashion is not to die for. Join me in saying no to new clothing and yes to life on earth. This is a 52 week fashion boycott, in which together, we radically change our relationship with clothes.
Sign up by clicking here ‘
For the next year, I’ll be making do with what I have, mending when things wear out and buying second hand. I actually love the challenge of finding clothes in charity shops or popping to our local clothes swap shop. I challenge you to do the same.
This is also going to be a great opportunity for me to hone my upcycling skills, I’d like to try and refashion a few things and I’ll be looking for clothing items that I can cut up and sew into clothes for Aidan. So stay tuned for more to come on this and look out on my Instagram for a few outfit of the day pics.
I thought I’d show you what our nappy table looks like (on a good day). I never really expected to keep up the use of the changing table but it’s particularly useful, I think, when using cloth nappies. It’s nice to know that everything is in one place, I’m not running around looking for somewhere to put a wet nappy, or nipping away from a naked baby to find a liner.
This is our changing area, it’s in Aidan’s room so we’ve made it quite a nice spot.
We have a changing mat, a storage box and the wipes on top. The bin is on the floor to the left and the drawer on the right is our nappy drawer, this has our folded nappies, spare liners, covers and boosters.
The white bin is for rubbish the grey is for dirty reusables.
On the left we have our reusable wipes and the clean water. In the storage box we keep disposable nappies for night time, we have some biodegradable single use wipes and below is a packet of biodegradable nappy bags. We always keep a muslin and a towel on hand for snotty noses, sick, wet hands or wee! In the bottom corner are creams and hand sanitiser and a roll of bin bags.
That’s it! At the moment streamlining nappy changes is a must, Aidan’s quite the little wriggler!
Signing up for Plastic Free July was a bit of a no brainer for me. We’ve been wanting to do a waste free month since before Aidan was born, but as soon as he arrived the thought of trying to go waste free with a baby was a bit overwhelming. Plastic Free July was a great excuse to throw out all our excuses and get on with it!
If you go to their website and Take the Challenge there are a couple of different pledges to choose from and you can do a bit of mixing a matching. We selected ‘Avoid single-use plastic packaging’ and ‘Target takeaway items (the Top 4: bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups)’ and we are making this pledge for all of July. We are being realistic with ourselves, our aim this month is to REDUCE the amount of single use plastics we use. We’re not going to call it a failure if we end up needing to buy an emergency Hovis from the corner shop, but we’re going to do everything we can to avoid needing to. Likewise, it’s hot at the moment, if we get caught out somewhere with no reusable bottle, we’re going to buy water.
Reducing plastic waste – or any waste for that matter – is all in the preparation. Meal planning, shopping lists, taking bottles/cups/straws and bags with you just in case. But also being prepared to do without. I’m going to be really strict with myself on the takeaway items, if I don’t have my cup, I wont be taking coffee away!
I’ll be doing some weekly updates on my Instagram stories as well as looking at some daily challenges and tips from others who are taking part. At the end of the month I’ll do a full recap here and let you know how we got on.
Are you taking part in Plastic Free July? Let me know I’d love to follow your journey too, if you’re sharing.
I feel like there are two options for starting out with cloth nappies. You can ease in, in which case you’ll probably do really well with just a couple of nappies and something to put dirty ones in. You can build up from there as and when you feel ready. Or you can dive straight in and get everything you need in one go.
Here’s what we use, it works really well for us but of course this is not the only way to do it! Try things and find what works for you.
1. Nappies! We have around 15 nappies in our regular rotation, and four night time nappies which we use if we’ve been a bit disorganised and nothing’s dry. We don’t currently cloth at night. I really enjoy having a couple of different types of nappy, I’m not sure why! We currently use two brands, Totsbots and Bambinomio. I’m going to do a more in depth look at our nappies in a future post.
2. Liners. Technically I guess these are optional but we find them to be absolutely necessary. There are a couple of different options: you can get reusable liners, biodegradable and, I believe, you can get flushable but I’m not sure if these are recommended as you should really only flush toilet paper down the loo! I made our liners out of an IKEA fleece blanket, I measured up against the nappy and just cut the blanket up into strips and they work brilliantly! The fleece helps keep moisture away from little one’s skin so even if the nappy is really wet he normally feels nice and dry. They also help protect the nappy and keep it clean. More on liners in a later post!
3. Wipes. If you’re going down the reusable nappy route you might as well use reusable wipes too if you ask me, but whatever you go for pick something that’s going to be kind to your baby’s skin. No point using a lovely fresh chemical free cloth nappy and then wiping nasties all over their little bum! More on wipes in a future post.
4. Somewhere for dirty nappies. We use a swing lid bin and a totsbots mesh bag. It’s tempting to get a bin or bucket with a tight lid to try and keep smells down but letting them have a little bit of air will help keep them fresher for longer. We never keep soiled nappies hanging around, they always get rinsed straight away. Guess what! I’m going to talk more about washing nappies in a future post 😉
5. Wet bag(s). I know there are some people who just use reusables at home, we did that in the early days, but if you’re taking your nappies out and about you’ll need somewhere to put them when they are wet or dirty. A zipped waterproof bag is all you need. We have one with two pockets, we use the smaller front pocket for clean bits and the back pocket for the dirty.
6. Nappy wash. Depending on what brand of nappy you choose, check with them about what they recommend for washing. Normally powder is recommended as liquid can build up more quickly.
That’s it! It really doesn’t need as much stuff as you might think. Like I said, there are lots of options and depending on which kinds of nappies work best for you there might be a couple of extra things you need. Did I miss anything that you think is really useful? Let me know!
During my recent trip to our new local zero waste shop I got myself and Aidan new toothbrushes. His is a Environmental Toothbrush (ET) and mine is a Truthbrush.
I’ve used an ET before and was pleasantly surprised. I got one in a monthly subscription box and, honestly, at first it scared me – all I could think about was how unpleasant a splinter in my mouth would be. Obviously they are designed and finished so that splinters are not going to be an issue.
The Truthbrush is very pretty and I’ll admit I was totally seduced by that prettiness when I was picking them. I was quiet happy to pay an extra £1 for a pretty brush. I have found it to be a slightly more comfortable shape and even though the ET is very well finished, I have experienced some slightly rough patches. The Truthbrush however, is a smooth as a baby’s bottom!
Aidan also seems to be perfectly happy with his new toothbrush, this kid loves having his teeth brushed!
Before Aidan was born we were firmly in the camp of the cloth nappy. After speaking to a few friends who cloth bummed, we made the decision to wait until he was around a month old and then to cloth in the day and use disposables at night. Pretty much everyone I spoke to said they found using cloth a night to be inconvenient and disruptive. We ordered a tester kit from Totsbots which had a couple of options to try out. We also got a few second hand nappies from a friend. Perfect! We had already saved money and we had everything we needed right? No stopping us now! Well not quite.
We tried on and off but we just couldn’t get it to work for us, every nappy leaked and we were going through clothes faster than ever before so, we stopped. We tried a biodegradable nappy which wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite as absorbent as the Tesco or Aldi brand ones that were sooooo much cheaper. We had to ask ourselves a few questions. Why do we want to cloth nappy? Why is it not working? How can we make it work!?
We wanted to cloth nappy for two reasons really.
1. Cost. Sure the outset can be expensive if you buy all new nappies and if you’re like every other cloth bum mum/dad and can’t resist all the adorable prints, yes you could end up spending a lot of money. But in the long run you save money and if you use the nappies again for a second child you’ll end up saving even more!
2. The environmental cost. We know that nappies and baby wipes are really bad for the environment. It’s really hard to justify using disposable nappies and wipes.
Why was it not working? The two main reasons it wasn’t working for us were that the nappies we had been given had been well used for 3-4 years and two children prior to ours. Cloth nappies, of course, do wear out and sadly many of the ones we had been given had done just that. The ones that hadn’t worn out however, were still leaking. When cloth nappies are put under pressure by clothes or straps, like in a pushchair, they can leak. We hadn’t taken Aidan’s, now larger, cloth bottom into account when dressing him.
So how do we make it work for us?
We bought more nappies. We were able to make the second hand ones last us while we slowly replaced them, we now have around 15 nappies which we wash every other day. We upped Aidan’s clothes size. He’s now usually in a vest one size up from what he “should” be in and we are conscious of how tight trousers are on him. And finally, we persevered, and we got the hang of it.
We’ve now been full time (during the day) since January and it’s become so easy for us it’s a wonder that we ever did anything different! We would definitely do it again next time round, probably from day one if we can get enough newborn sized.
To avoid this post being too long I’m going to go into a bit more detail on some of these points in separate posts. I’ll add links to those posts into this post, so bookmark it if you want to see more details later.
This is part two of my breastfeeding story. Part one is here. Or for a quick recap…
Our baby was bottle fed a mixture of expressed breast milk and formula, for the first 11 days of his life, and then with the help of nipple shields we packed away the bottles! Fantastic, big step forward! But then nipple shields are just like bottle teats that you put on your breast so again, I was reminded by midwives about nipple confusion, I might always have to use shields, and because they can effect your milk supply my milk might not be enough and we might have to top up and then he’ll prefer the bottle because its quicker… We got in a lactation consultant who was fabulous and so encouraging. She diagnosed his tongue tie, which we had released, and encouraged me to carry on offering him my breast without shields whenever I could.
The tongue release didn’t have any noticeable effect, although I guess in some ways we’ll never know. I continued to offer without shields occasionally, but had made my peace with them, I had accepted that he would use shields and I was OK with that. Really once I got into the swing of things with them, it was just as easy as feeding without (most of the time). Occasionally Aidan would grab one and throw it on the floor or there would be a bit of a panicked moment if I’d not run the steriliser, but all in all using the shields wasn’t too bad.
Then, a few weeks we offered him a bottle for the first time since starting with nipple shields. I had mastitis and felt so ill, I was worried I might not have the strength to hold him so I expressed and my husband tried the bottle. Aidan flat out, completely rejected it, with full on screaming and thrashing. OK, good to know. But he then went on to reject the nipple shield, uh oh, had we screwed him up completely?!
Nope! He latched on without shields and ate a full feed like that for the first time EVER in his life. It was totally random, no problems getting him latched on and off he went, like he’d been doing it since day one! He was about 15 weeks old. Barring a few days when he was feeling a bit under the weather and I guess just wanted a comfort and something very familiar, all of his day time feeds are now without shields. I then started using the shields only as a bit of a bedtime indicator but the last couple of days I’ve stopped doing that too. What a complete turn around! At 18 weeks old my boy is breastfeeding without the help of shields. It feels amazing to be feeding my baby the way I had imagined.
A few things I want to say that I couldn’t pull together into the above.
- At the time when my emotions were all over the place, hearing people say ‘it doesn’t matter how he’s fed’ really upset me, because it mattered to me. It’s OK to feel disappointed or upset if things aren’t working out how you imagined, whether that be with the birth, gender disappointment, feeding or anything else. It is 100% OK and normal. Talk to someone about it, a partner, parent, friend or your midwife. No one will judge you for your feelings. Sometimes it’s just important to vocalise your feelings and then it feels like a huge weight is lifted. Once I told my husband that it mattered to me how we fed our son it helped massively. He knew that I was going to need a bit of extra emotional support and he was fantastic.
- Feeding with nipple shields is not second class breastfeeding. If you look online you will find people who believe that the only way a baby should be fed is from your bare breast. It’s true that sometimes feeding with nipple shields can change your milk supply, I’d recommend finding a good lactation consultant or a reliable breastfeeding support group with trained professionals if you’re going to use nipple shields. They can offer lots of help and support.
- If you are expressing and feeding your baby that way, your baby is still breastfed. Just because the milk is coming from a bottle doesn’t change the fact that they are getting breast milk and you can still get that closeness and bond with your baby in the same way while giving them a bottle. If you are feeding them exclusively breast milk this way then you are absolutely brilliant, huge respect mamma. It is possible, here’s a link to an amazing woman I follow on Instagram who is worth a follow for so many reasons, she is expressing so her baby can remain exclusively breastfed while she works full time. Stretch_studentmidwife
I would 100% recommended anyone who is struggling with feeding to see a lactation consultant.
So I guess the next stage on the journey with be weaning! Stop growing up little bean!
I want to start of by saying that this topic and my story are, of course, very personal. I have struggled, not only physically but mentally with breastfeeding. Please be respectful of the decisions I and my husband made.
As part of World Breastfeeding Week 2018 I’d like to share with you our breastfeeding story so far. I can see there being three parts to this story, hopefully the first two will be this week and the final one will come in a few weeks. The second part will cover breastfeeding and mental heath as I have experienced it. This post will be our journey up to today.
Today Aidan is 6 weeks and 2 days old. We have an appointment at the tongue tie clinic to, hopefully, have a tongue tie division. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Within an hour after Aidan’s wonderful and beautiful birth I asked the midwife if I should try and feed him. First we tried a cross cradle hold as this felt the most natural. My midwife was very supportive and gave me a few tips but Aidan didn’t seem interested. Vicki (the midwife that had taken over after his birth) suggested we try lying down. I managed to get him latched for only a few little sucks. He was considered a ‘reluctant feeder’. He was born at 0640, this first little feed was probably around 0715. He didn’t eat again until much much later that day.
For various reasons that I’ll talk about in a different post, we were separated around an hour and a half after his birth, and between me being away from him and him being away from me we couldn’t have any more skin to skin until after lunch time.
At no point was I prompted or encouraged to try and feed him again. Of course I’m aware that he’s my baby and I need to feed him but in retrospect I felt unsupported in the early hours with breastfeeding. He was known to be reluctant to feed and we had had trouble with latching, I’m very surprised no one came to see us try again. It wasn’t until we were on the ward that I tried again to get him latched. It became apparent at the point that it was going to take some time to get him feeding from the breast and so I was encouraged to express into a syringe* in order for him to get the colostrum.
Very late on his first night he was taken to NICU where he spent around 24hrs. In the morning I didn’t get to him until 11am, I was given some support by the NICU staff to try and get him feeding but again in the end I expressed into a clean syringe for him. The staff suggested trying to use a machine to express so that we could get a little more into him. We still used the syringe to give it to him, but this way he was getting close to 5ml a feed rather than 1ml here and there. Andrew and I were so proud when I started getting serious amounts of colostrum.
Once Aidan was taking around 10ml they suggested we use a cup to feed him instead. Feeding more than 10ml with a syringe isn’t very practical. The cup is just one of those small plastic cups they dispense medication in (a clean one every time). Its a little bit squishy and your baby kind of laps the milk up like a cat would. It’s a bit scary to do as there is a risk they could breath it in and asphyxiate. I think I only managed to cup feed him once and not very successfully. Not all the staff were happy for me to syringe or cup feed him unattended and some didn’t want me to cup feed him at all and so they would do it. The number of different people who had fed him in his first few days was somewhere in the region of ten. We were told in our parenting classes that the number of feeders should be kept as small as possible. Ideally, in a non breastfeeding situation, it would be no more than mum and dad.
This, along with a very hungry baby, led us to the decision to formula feed him on day 4. We were warned of nipple confusion and told he might not ever latch if we started with a bottle, but we had seen no progress with breastfeeding and they wouldn’t discharge a baby that was only cup feeding. I continued to express and we topped up with formula, he very rarely had more formula than expressed breast milk.
This decision was so hard and so easy to make. Breastfeeding him was so important to me but he needed to eat and we needed to go home. After a quick trip for Andrew to pick up everything we’d need for expressing and bottle feeding at home we were discharged after 5 days in hospital.
Expressing is hard work, I felt like I was doing it constantly, and it was really tiring. Expressing took about as long as feeding him would take so it could take me an hour to express but then he’d drink it all in seconds. If people visited I would take myself off to express, sitting alone for an hour every 2 or 3 hours while we had visitors was pretty grim.
After talking to a few friends and getting some advice from other mums on Instagram, we contacted a lactation consultant and asked her to come out to our home to give us some advice. I just needed to know if I was ever going to breastfeed him, I was still trying and by this point it was just upsetting me and Aidan. I needed to know if it was worth pushing through or whether it was going to be better for both of us if I just accepted it wasn’t going to happen.
The day before we saw the consultant I spoke with my midwife. I asked her if she had any more suggestions for me. She said that at that point it might be worth giving nipple shields a go. There’s still a risk of nipple confusion but he was already using a bottle so he was likely already confused if he was going to be.
On the 28th of June I sat down with him to try the nipple shields, I was fully expecting it wouldn’t work, at least not first time. He latch immediately with no problems and had his first proper breastfeed at just over 2 weeks old. I cried, I was so happy to be feeding my baby boy the way I’d dreamed of. That night he fed mostly on the breast with the help of the shields and only had a bottle on one occasion.
The following day our lactation consultant came round and she was fantastic, she was so supportive of our decision and felt fairly positive there was still a chance he could feed without the shields in the future. She referred us to the tongue tie clinic because of a mild tongue tie (which, I might add, we’d been told by a midwife he didn’t have). The LC recommended waiting until his tie had been cut before trying without the shields, she thought he might find it easier and it would be less painful for me. When she left she said to try and not give him a bottle unless we really needed too. I think he had 2 bottles over the few days that followed and since then we have packed them all away. I did try him on my breast a few times and on occasions he was feeling co-operative we were able to get a good latch and even have a few sucks.
There are definitely times when I find the shields frustrating and want to pack them in and go back to bottles, but all in all they have improved our day to day life. I feel able to go out for the day, not needing to worry about finding somewhere to express and storing milk. The shields still needed to be sterilised so sometimes things can get a bit frantic if I’ve been a bit disorganised but we’re getting into a pretty good routine.
I plan on doing a follow up post once we’ve had time to see if there’s been an improvement after his division.
*I was doing this by hand, sucking up any little drops from my nipples with the syringe.
I’ve been amazed at how many people have said ‘oh it’s so nice to hear that it doesn’t have to be horrible’, or something similar, after hearing my birth story. Some people seem to think I’m mad for enjoying my labour and birth! So here it is, my positive birth story.
I’m going to be really honest, the four weeks or so before Aidan was born were tough, I’d been in and out of early labour since around 37 weeks, I didn’t find it at all painful and I was able to get sleep, but it did make those last few weeks drag on a little. My last midwifes appointment was at 40 +3, I accepted a membrane sweep and my midwife was very surprised to find I was already 3cm dilated. She was pretty sure she wouldn’t see me again. At 40 +5 we went up to the hospital to get checked out, I’d felt as if things had begun picking up. The midwife checked me and said I was 3-4cms but baby’s head was at a bit of a funny angle which might be preventing things from moving on quickly. After a bit of gymnastics including what was pretty much a handstand off the side of the bed and a second membrane sweep I was sent home to bounce on my birth ball.
At around 1am on the 18th June (41 +1) I woke up with my first real contraction. Everything before this had really only caused my tummy to tighten and given me a bit of a crampy feeling. This was much more like an intense period cramp, not painful, just very achey. I had 3 of these before I woke up my husband at 1.30am. I’d wanted to let him sleep for as long as I could and even though they hadn’t really gotten any more intense I felt I needed him and asked him to rub my back. I think we lay in bed for about another 5 or 10 minutes before I felt I wasn’t comfortable lying down. I wanted to try getting in the bath. Between half 1 and 2 my contractions had started to really intensify and I was needing to stop and crouch down to help ease the discomfort. I was only in the bath long enough to have one contraction as I found it too restrictive. Andrew helped me apply my TENS machine and started gathering any last minute bits we might need at the hospital. Personally I found the TENS machine distracted me and I’d lose my flow, I used it for about an hour but didn’t really get on with it.
At 2.54am Andrew called the hospital. My contractions were about 4 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds to a minute, the midwife wanted to speak to me, I had a contraction just as the phone was handed over. She advised me that I was welcome to come up and get checked but that I might be sent home. I had another contraction (3 minutes after the last) and she asked if I’d like them to start running water into the pool… I said yes. We didn’t rush into the car but we were on our way by about 3.10. I remember telling Andrew I didn’t want to wear my seatbelt and being very grumpy about it when he told me I had to. I definitely found it much more comfortable being on all fours so the car journey was tough as sitting was quite uncomfortable, I’m not sure there’s much that could have been done about that, I was still wearing the TENS machine at this point. I wish I knew if I’d have found it more comfortable without. We were at the hospital by roughly 3.30 and walking to the birthing unit seemed to take forever. I’d been a few times before but this time it seemed to be further away. I had to stop a few times to have a contraction. During my pregnancy I’d been worried about contracting in the halls of the hospital, what if someone saw me or heard me?! I was so in the zone I didn’t care.
Into the unit we went and I was so glad to get into a dimly lit room and the birthing pool looked so inviting. The midwife needed to check me before we could make ourselves comfortable, just in case I wasn’t progressing enough. We handed over my notes and after a quick examination she said there was no way I was going home as I was 7cm dilated! I couldn’t have been happier, I think I told her that if she’d said I had to go home I might have killed her. I was ready to have this baby. I spent the rest of my labour in the pool, Andrew holding my hand and stroking my back. I had gas and air which helped me focus on my breathing. Between contractions I was able to chat with Andrew and the midwife, but we all knew contraction time was encouragement or silence only.
We had been to a hypnobirthing class and I really cannot recommend it highly enough. It helped me understand what was happening within my body and it allowed me to feel respect for my body that I’d never felt before. At no point was I in pain, it was intense but never painful. If you have the opportunity to do hypnobirthing do it! I’ll leave some useful links below.
At some point, around 530, the midwife told me that at some point I’d start feeling the urge to push and that we should let her know when that happened. At about 545 I told Andrew that I wanted to push and he called her back. She gathered a few bit that she needed and after an external examination with the help of a mirror that looked like a fish slice, she told me I was definitely fully dilated. Sonia (the midwife) was fantastic, she was really hands off which is what we wanted and she encouraged me through every contraction and gave me the space to let my body do what it needed to do. There was a point I realised I was trying to hold back on the pushes. At some point during the pushing my water broke, which was a very odd sensation, like a sudden gush of very high pressure water. There was some definite discomfort during the crowning, a burning sensation and I think that was causing me not to push as much as I could have done. His head come out at about 6.35 and after another push he was born into the water at 6.40am. I was the first person to touch him and was able to lift him out of the water myself.
We stayed in the water for a little while before getting out to deliver the placenta and cut the cord. I was concerned about the amount of blood I was losing but the midwife was very reassuring and in the end it was only about 300ml (which sound like a lot but is fairly normal I believe). Sonia cleared up and left us to bond as a new family of three!
I ended up having a 3rd degree tear, which I think was a bit of a surprise. It’s possibly down to how quickly he arrived. Leaving my baby and hubby to go down to theatre was hard but the hypnobirthing and all the oxytocin helped keep me positive and upbeat, I knew I’d be back with them soon.
I’m going to do a few more posts about the rest of my experience, I’m very keen to keep the birth separate from the rest of our 5 day stay in hospital. Everything seems worse when you’re tired and full of hormones. Everything and everyone was fine and healthy which is, in the end, the most important thing. But those extra days were hard and I don’t want them to interfere with my birth experience.
My birth was everything I could have wanted and the 6 hours it took to get our son here were so empowering and amazing.