Apologies it’s been a while since my last update… it’s been busy! Baby W – turned 7 weeks old on Saturday… lots more ‘first’s’ since I last blogged…
First smiles – the last week or so he’s been smiling, cooing and trying out new noises a lot… much fun and very very cute!,
First 4 hour sleep – about a week ago he slept for a full 4 hours in the night.. ‘hallelujah’ I thought… ‘we must be getting close to sleeping through…’ Alas, the next night he woke up for a feed ever hour!
Just the last few days he’s been awake a lot more in the daytime, so hopefully we’ll see some longer night-time sleeps soon. We’re lucky in that once he’s had his night-time feeds he goes back to sleep pretty well. I should add that in the day too, his feeds have become a lot shorter and more frequent (perhaps increased thirst due to the hot weather?)… can’t work out if this is easier than longer feeds – they both have their pros and cons!
He’s become grouchier in the evenings, a lot more wind and tears… this seems pretty normal I think but we’re seeing the health visitor this week so I’ll ask about things like infacol just in case…
First Father’s Day – a special day for his daddy! We didn’t actually do much, as daddy’s been out for a few beers the day before and W was going though a grouchy few days but we did spoil him with a Moonpig card, his fave chocolates, personalised hankies (don’t ask!), the World Cup sticker album…. and a BabyBjorn carrier which he’d been fancying for a while 🙂
First expressed-bottle feed – a week ago, he took his first bottle from his daddy. I will blog about it separately in more detail but it was a very proud, bittersweet moment – so proud to see him taking the bottle without a problem… so nice to see him being fed by his dad…. but also slightly sad as I guess it’s already the beginning of the end of his beautiful relationship with my breasts!
First night out for mummy – so with all that expressed breast milk, on his 7-week birthday this momma went out to a big work’s party (Olly Murs being the headline act) and drank a few too many Cosmo’s…. I wasn’t planning on getting quite so tipsy but I got totally over-excited by seeing so many of my colleagues, it was a great night! We had no idea how long the milk would last but it took him right through the night feeds and to an 8am feed… so by the time I needed to feed him the cocktails were long gone from my system, and my boobs were very full and sore! Obviously I missed the little one (and the night feeds as I was in the spare room!) but it was really nice to have a decent break away from him although I’m sure I talked about him all night 🙂
First pelvic floor class – this has to be one of the most surreal moments of my life but due to the ‘perineal trauma’ from my labour, I was invited to a pelvic floor workshop in the hospital… cue a handful of us sitting in a hot room for an hour being shown diagrams and demonstrations of our muscles ‘down there’ and how to heal them… I learnt a couple of new things but overall it was very random!
The rest of the fortnight…
met friends and colleagues for lunch/coffees (which has involved more unplanned feeding in public, due to his aforementioned increased thirst!)
washing machine died – every new mum’s worst nightmare 😉
car exhaust died
carried on with baby W’s swimming lessons
mummy went clothes shopping (blog post to follow!)
Overall, as he’s getting busier I’m finding myself with less spare time which is fine… but trying to balance chilling out at home with getting out and about, and staying busy… I hope for us to start some classes next week, so that might help give us a bit more routine to work around….
Here we go… grab a cuppa as this is likely to be a long one… It’s taken me nearly 7 weeks to write 😉
If you were following my pregnancy updates, you’ll know:
– I was suffering from high blood pressure
– I was hoping for as natural a birth as possible
Routine high blood pressure check
So at 39+6 (may 1st 2014) I went for a regular BP check and consultant appointment at the hospital (3pm). My other half was with me, and unusually we’d gone in 1 car rather than meeting there in separate cars…. handy because… my blood pressure was ‘through the roof’ (I think it was about 180/110)…..
Suddenly from a routine check, we were in a small, hot room with about 5 staff telling me I needed to get my BP down… funnily enough, that had the opposite effect so after a quick chat with the doctor (which randomly included her checking my reflexes!) I was put in a wheelchair (more randomness as I was still feeling absolutely fine!!) and wheeled up to a delivery suite in the consultant-led unit!
Despite me telling my OH over the last few weeks that I wouldn’t let them keep me in, and I didn’t want to get induced as it was unnatural… when I was hooked up and was being told by a consultant and midwife that they wanted to induce me because of the risks to my health if I went home (fit/stroke if it turned into pre-eclampsia) I really felt like I couldn’t say no and that this was the best result all round.
I remember saying to her that I’d never get through labour if I couldn’t handle the pain of the sweep, but she explained that my cervix was still tucked up well out of reach and wasn’t quite soft yet hence the uncomfortable feeling (which passed immediately after). (I’d also been given Lobetemol tablets to reduce my blood pressure)
That was about 7pm and while she was doing that, dear OH was getting me my bags from home and a McDonald’s for dinner 🙂
Then we had to wait….. my OH went home about 9-10pm and at 11pm I was moved to a ward which they call the ‘induction ward’… nothing was happening so I was hoping for sleep…
Alas, they were waking me up to check my BP every few hours… and I was surprised to hear other women being induced, and then going into labour. There were only a couple of women on the ward but with just curtains between us you could hear everything including the loud, chavvy couple who turned up about midnight and shouted updates out of the window at their family below before going into labour about 3 and moving upstairs at 4….
So Friday morning (due date) nothing had happened and I knew I had to wait til 7pm before they’d induce me again. I sent my OH to work but we had a walk around the hospital before and after work. In the meantime I’d discovered the hospital had free WIFI so I downloaded the Great Gatsby and watched that, downloaded loads of music for labour (didn’t end up listening to any of it!) read some magazines, ate the (surprisingly ok) hospital food and just chilled.
Considering the panic when they admitted me the day before, they left me to my own devices on this day and only checked my blood pressure a couple of times!
So far this was all quite surreal – I’d gotten a bit emotional before getting induced as it was all just such a shock and everything had happened so quickly. Despite the bad night’s sleep I was starting to think it was a good idea they’d brought me in as just being in hospital and hearing other women go into labour was at least preparing me for my labour and I guess ‘normalising’ the hospital experience for me (I’d never been in hospital before!)
Friday 7pm, lovely Rachel informed me that she couldn’t induce me again yet as the delivery suites were all busy so we’d have to wait a few hours… She took my pessary out, gave me another sweep and said my cervix had softened slightly but still wasn’t dilated…
So more waiting… can’t even remember much about that evening but again, didn’t get much (any?) sleep and at 2am Rachel woke me to monitor my blood pressure and contractions and then induced me again at 3am (this time was a gel as opposed to a pessary, which can then be given every 6 hours) – by this point I was 1cm dilated and had started losing a bit of my plug.
Here we go……
At 6am, things started happening… I started getting cramps, I had some diarrhoea and as I was on the floor hugging a birth ball, I threw up… my body was getting ready. I called my OH and he arrived in time for me to get an anti- sickness jab about 7am and saw (smelled!) my waters break about 8am. (I was on the bed, I heard a loud pop and then felt a huge gush… very strange feeling!)
From what I remember the next couple of hours were among the toughest – due to being monitored I had to stay on the bed, despite me always having wanted to walk around in the early labour stages. My contractions were getting stronger, but I had to wait to be seen by a doctor… when they’d finally done their rounds and came to see me the paper in the monitoring machine had run out so they had to refill it and wait for longer… aarghhgh!
I think I’d just started on the gas and air when they came back in, checked my monitored results, checked me over and by now I was 3-4cm dilated so they were happy to send me up to delivery. This was about 10am.
TENS, Gas and air
In the delivery suite, we met and clicked straight away with our lovely midwife Laura. The 3 of us seemed to work well as a team, my OH was fantastic – he was in charge of holding the gas and air, and giving me water, rubbing my back etc.
I forgot to say, we’d put a TENS machine on my back a few hours prior – we didn’t really use it properly as after a while I stopped pressing the ‘boost’ button but we left it on during the entire labour on a low setting – it was a strange sensation but I’m pretty sure it took away the lower back pain that I’d started getting when my contractions had started.
At this point I have to tell you I thought gas and air was AMAZING – I never expected it to be so effective but I loved it and loved the slightly woozy/high feeling I got 🙂
If we timed inhaling it right, I could get through a contraction without feeling any pain. If we mis-timed it then I felt it but it wasn’t too bad (I say that now!!). The only issue I had with it, is that in all my yoga classes we’d been practising long breaths out, but using gas and air I was told to take a long breath in and a short breath out, so I did get a bit confused on occasion!
Not long to go…
By 11-11.30am I was 7-8cm dilated (so things had progressed very well and quickly all morning!)…..I asked if I needed any stronger pain relief but the midwife was confident I’d get through it on gas and air as I’d gotten this far. I vaguely remember that every contraction I was getting the urge to push and she kept telling me to hold it back…
By 12/12.30 I was fully dilated and ready to push 🙂
Cue me panicking after holding in the urge for so long… ‘I don’t know how to push!!’
And despite my preparation into calm, natural labour – from somewhere I got this instinct to be pushing as hard as I could (including having my OH in a headlock!) and as loudly as I could (I vaguely remember sounding like a very loud, primal animal!) .
Again, similarly to the induction ward, in the delivery suite I’d been on my back on the bed for the most part hooked up to the machine. (At some point as baby got lower down- I the baby’s head was hooked up with a monitor to mor accurately keep an eye on their heartrate. During this pushing stage she was happy to take me off the monitor, and ecncouraged me to try some different positions. Despite me practising these in yoga, and telling my OH that I didn’t want to give birth lying down, it’s funny how you get hit by a confidence crisis – and as I’d been lying down for so long it felt like the right place to be!
Here he is!
Luckily he got me to stand up so we did some pushing with me leaning on the bed (and him) I’d been pushing for about 40-45 minutes when she told us that the head was about to come out and it might sting a bit… 3more pushes and he was out… our beautiful baby boy was born at 1.35pm – what a wonderful, life-changing feeling! We didn’t know if we were having a girl or boy but had guessed it was a girl all the way through so it was a real surprise that it was a boy 🙂
He was perfect – healthy and gorgeous! (Weighing 7lb 2oz) Me on the other hand….
Epidural and 3rd degree tears
Laura gave me the jab and delivered the placenta while baby was on my chest. I remember seeing the placenta (yuck!) but I don’t remember delivering it – my OH tells me I was in lots of pain. Once the placenta was out, Laura tells me I’ve torn and goes to get a doctor for a second opinion…
Turns out I had 3rd degree tears – ouch! Again, I don’t really remember the pain and it’s funny that very early on in my pregnancy, tearing was one of my fears but the reality didn’t seem that bad (oh thank you gas and air!)
I had also lost a lot of blood (not sure how much – my records weren’t updated properly) so was starting to feel faint/tired on top of the woozy feeling. To stitch me up they needed to take me into theatre and give me an epidural.
I couldn’t believe the irony! I got through labour just on gas and air, but was now going to be given an epidural!!! Again, going into theatre was another fear… I was in there for an hour and half in total (it takes a while to make sure the epidural has worked) and I must say I had an excellent team in there – they made me feel so at ease, and we were joking around and chatting (I guess they do this to make sure I stay alert etc but for me it was relaxing!)
Finally, I’m stitched up and on a recovery ward where daddy and a hungry baby were waiting for me. On top of worrying about me, daddy had to put a nappy on and clothe our baby while I was in theatre 9he had to run to the car first as the post-labour bag was in there!), and vacate the room with all of our bags… also as baby was hungry he’d been suckling on daddy’s finger, nose and neck, bless!
Finally we were a family, and over the next few hours both sets of grandparents came to visit. I had to stay in overnight, with baby next to me, in a shared ward (so cue 3rd night on no sleep with babies crying!!) – again, a special time just me and him and me feeding and holding him.
I had a catheter in and also had the pleasure of getting cleaned by nurses (by this point I have NO dignity left!) and didn’t get out of bed until the next morning by which point I was desperate to come home – after packing all those toiletries I didn’t use any of them as I just wanted a shower at home! We had to wait a while to be discharged – originally they wanted me to have a ‘bowel movement’ first but I think they wanted the bed just as bad so after handing me a huge bag of medicines, we came home about 3pm – just over 24 hours after giving birth 🙂
This story is so long it needs a summary!:
Everyone tells you this and it’s true – there’s no point having a very prescribed birth plan as anything can happen and you just have to go with the flow!
I felt some disappointment at having to use gas and air (who was I kidding that I could just breathe my way through it!) and tearing (did I not push right? Did I not do enough pelvic floors?) even though we think he came out with his hand next to his face so it couldn’t be avoided – anyway, we can’t feel any disappointment – labour isn’t a competition against yourself – once baby is out, safe and sound, forget about the how’s and why’s and just focus on your beautiful little bundle of joy 🙂
I think trying to stay calm and stay positive helped me get through labour – I recommend NCT pregnancy yoga for this!
Us mums-to-be getting our hospital bags prepared – I guarantee you that you won’t use half of the stuff in there and you will think of stuff you didn’t pack! My essential items were drinking straws (I drank a lot of water all the way through labour), hair bands, face mists and a hanky with lavender oil on which I sniffed regularly during labour.
A huge thank you to all the staff at UHW, Cardiff – I feel like I had excellent care and having gone through induction, gas and air and an epidural I feel like I will be ready for anything if I have another baby!
An even bigger thank you to my other half – he was the dream birth partner, soothing and motivating me, supporting me and being practical by holding the gas and air, giving me water etc! Thank you and I love you so much x x x
I was never going to blog about my breastfeeding journey… I’ve had a very easy ride so didn’t think I had much to share… but when Medela sent out a press release about what’s ‘normal’ when breastfeeding, it got me thinking that we should all share our stories and journeys to make sure that the next lot of mums-to-be have a wealth of resources and stories at their fingertips….
My breastfeeding story
So…. before little W came along I’d decided that I’d like to try breastfeeding but if it didn’t work out we’d happily use formula. We didn’t buy any equipment or formula in advance…. we were just going to wing it…. and how lucky we were…. as soon as he was placed on me, he latched on and took his first sip/meal
We were in hospital for just over 24 hours after he was born, which was handy as I was able to check with midwives that he was latching on ok, and they also advised me to take him off if he fell asleep/ stopped feeding… they also taught me to tickle his cheek to wake him up a bit while latched on.
And that was it, we got home and little W wanted feeding every 2-3 hours on average. He’d usually start nibbling on his fingers or fist when he was thirsty/hungry but didn’t always… generally if he cried, it turns out he wanted feeding… even if he’d just had some a few minutes prior…. feeding on demand indeed!
After a few days he had lost 9% of his body weight – totally normal but the midwife suggested I hand express into a breastfeeding cup to top him up, she didn’t want him losing any more weight otherwise we’d have to discuss ‘feeding plans’ etc. This brought out the competitive edge in me – there was no way my baby was going to put on a feeding plan! So I made a conscious effort the next few days to make he was even fuller than normal….. it worked, at 10 days old he was heavier than his birth weight 🙂
So I’ve been very lucky – he’s had no problems latching on, I’ve had no problems with my milk supply, I’ve not needed to use the nipple creams my friend gave me… I feel very lucky and blessed that I’ve been able to feed him in this way, without any problems, as it feels very natural and special to me. I love the look he gives me when he’s latched on, and I love how it’s our private time… just him and me…
I feel so proud that he is growing and thriving purely down to my milk. I feel thankful to his daddy who’s been making sure I’m well fed – he feeds me, I feed baby!
I feel sorry for all the women who struggle with breastfeeding, and even worse than that feel pressures and failures when it doesn’t work out. I feel bad that there’s no advice I can offer any of them as I haven’t encountered any problems. The only tip I can share (if it’s even valid) is to relax… I’m generally relaxed and laid-back, I wonder how much that is passed on to baby who feels comfortable feeding as he can feel the calm vibes?! if you’re struggling and stressing about it, can baby pick up on that? I don’t know but it’s just an idea…
Having said all of this, breastfeeding isn’t some kind of paradise club. Nobody told me how exhausting and messy it is. With an (over-?-)active milk supply, whatever I’m wearing (and our bedding) get covered in milk. (I then use these T-shirts as bed sheets for W to comfort him at night!!).
I downloaded an app called ‘Baby Connect’ (cost: £2.99) to help me track the feeds to see if any trends are emerging… I can tell you:
I feed for 5-6 hours in a normal day – so close to a full-time job! I can now see why maternity leave was invented…
on average I feed for 25 mins, (Medela say the ‘normal’ range is 12-60 mins) just under every 2 hours
on average this works out to about 16 times a day (slightly higher than the ‘normal’ range of 4-13 that Medela suggest)
the left side is far more popular than the right! (always was ;)) with about 3/4 of all feeds taking place on the left side
Most of our feeds occur in the morning, evening and nights – very few in the afternoon (again, slightly different from Medela’s findings)
Some screenshots from BabyConnect – I recommend this app for tracking feeds (can be used for bottle feeding, tracking sleep, nappy changes, activities etc too)
The next chapters in my Breastfeeding story will hopefully involve expressing so we can bottle-feed, trying to reduce the nightfeeds eventually and feeding him in public if needs be…. if you’ve enjoyed this post then please follow me on my journey via WordPress, Twitter or Bloglovin.
What’s your Breastfeeding story? How do your findings compare with Medela’s?
(Please note I wasn’t paid by Medela to write this post – I just wanted to support their campaign!)
PS I’ve linked this up to Zena’s suitcase – new linky – Breastfeeding Diaries….
Little W is very similar to last week, we’ve had some better sleeps this week but other than that he continues to be extra cute and chilled, getting slightly bigger, louder and stronger by the day and week… This week we had a few firsts to share with you….
First swimming lesson! – we had a free taster lesson with Swimkidz, daddy was his swimming partner as I am a wuss in water… And the 3 of us loved it! I was one proud momma especially when he got dunked underwater and didn’t cry! We’ll now book a course and go every week, we’ll keep you posted!
First trip to the hairdressers with mummy – I haven’t had my hair done since January so it was a bit of a mess! My hairdresser Maggie at Sweeney’s in Cardiff is a new mum on maternity herself but she was back in for a couple of days so I booked us in…. He would normally have slept through this time of day but he was awake for most of it and I had to do my first breastfeed in public! Then when the Hairdryer was on he finally slept in my arms 🙂 I was very lucky that Maggie and her colleagues were all hugely baby-friendly so I felt at ease the whole time despite his awakeness!
First mother/baby group – before having W I knew I wanted to go to groups to keep busy and meet other mums. One of my best friends and her 18-month old go to Jellybabies so I went along with them, it was nice to catch up with them and check out what a mother and baby group is like but it made me realise I’d get more out of them months down the line, not when W is as young as he is now! Although they had a health visitor and sling library set up which could come in handy over the next few weeks…
First pub dinner – you’ll know that W has already been out for lunch, but this week he came up with us for a proper pub dinner as my parents were in town for the night, so we had a lovely meal in Cricketers, Cardiff and good little W slept through the entire 3 hours or so… Brilliant!
First family walk around Roath park – one of Cardiff’s most popular walks with young families, we used to go there for walks long before W was a twinkle in our eyes, so it was lovely to go there with him and turn into one if those families we used to look at and think ‘aww how cute’!
Purchases and presents So it was a busy week! On top of that when my parents visited they brought him even more presents, inc. from their friends bless! We still haven’t had to buy him anything since be was born really as he was so spoilt, we did stock up on Bepanthen cream and got a free teddy with it this week, oh and had to buy our first lot of swimming nappies!
Little W got nappy rash quite early on at a few weeks old, we tried a couple of creams including Sudocrem but family members recommended Bepanthen and since we’ve tried that we’ve not looked back!
It cleared up a sore rash within 1-2 days (using it every time we changed his nappy, making sure his skin is clean and dry first) and now we use it to prevent future rashes coming back (it looked so sore bless him!) by using it nearly every time we change his nappy.
I’d recommend it to anyone so imagine my delight when I saw this offer in Boots (Cardiff) today… Buy any 2 Bepanthen products and choose a free cuddly toy! (Apologies for the rubbish photo, I was in a rush as W needed feeding!)
I had a really tough time choosing between the tortoise and the dragon (the bunny is a bit too girly for W!) but plumped for the tortoise as mummy and daddy love tortoises! It’s good quality, soft, mostly blue with some pink….
I have no idea how long the offer is on for (update: scroll to bottom!) and I can’t see it online but if it’s still on next time I pop in I will probably buy 2 more tubes to get the dragon as it was the softest, cuddliest thing ever (but not enough to justify buying 4 tubes at the same time….)
The 2 tubes cost £15.42 (£7.71 each) but you get 150 boots points on it if you’re in the parenting club) which is £1.50 I’m sure you can buy the ointment cheaper online but if you’re like me and do most of your shopping on the high street and love Boots then I think it’s a good deal – hope you manage to find it in your local store before they run out! (Update: scroll to bottom!)
UPDATE (25/09/14) A lot of people seem to be finding this blog post when they’re searching for ‘Bepanthen toys’ – the Boots offer is now finished so I got in touch with Bepanthen to see if you can buy the toys anywhere. You can’t buy them but they do have some competitions where you can try to win one – good luck!
I’m Welsh, I love cwtches and ‘cwtch’ is a word that’s part of my daily vocabulary especially now we have a newborn in the house.
One of my blog readers recently asked what this word was – was it a typo? should it have read ‘catches’? Most of you probably cwtch every day without knowing it….
So for all you non-Welshies out there…. this is a cwtch…
In simplest terms – ‘cwtch’ is the Welsh word for a cuddle/snuggle…. but it’s more than that….
It’s a feeling you can’t describe… it’s holding on to someone with love and affection, squeezing them in tight to make sure they’re ok and letting them know that you’re looking out for them. Being in a cwtch is feeling warm and safe.
The urban dictionary describes ‘cwtch’ as ‘the Welsh word for an affectionate hug. There’s no literal English translation, but its nearest equivlent is “safe place”. So if you give someone a cwtch, you’re giving them a “safe place”.’
4 weeks today our little W was born, and what a week this week has been!
Daddy had to go away for 2 nights with work… Pretty sad for all 3 of us 😦
A few bad nights sleep… Similar to last week, we’re having unpredictable nights… Sometimes he’ll settle in his Moses basket, sometimes he won’t! We try a variety of tricks, candles, white noise apps, heating etc but seems to be pot luck as to how well he settles!
Wind! Little W has gotten a lot more windy this week, poor little thing! So adds another task to the feeding, changing, sleeping cycle (variety is the spice of life eh !?) Also related to this, he poos less often… So fewer nappy changes but when he does poo my gosh they can fill a nappy (and seep out, gross!)
Little W still getting stronger, cuter and louder by the day! We love his cute noises and expressions so much:)
Trips with mummy – while daddy was away this week, my sister came to stay…
Tuesday – was supposed to visit some family but cancelled after a bad nights sleep as didn’t think it was a good idea driving for over 2 hours! Lazy day
Wednesday – got as far as McDonald’s and a visit to the hospital to drop off a thank you card and gift to the midwife who delivered W
Thursday – with the help of my sister we took W into town (Cardiff city centre) for the first time... We had fun working out how the bugaboo and maxi-cosi combo worked… Had an amazing lunch at torre cafe (very baby/ family-friendly, great food and cool decor, crockery etc) wi took a look round some non maternity clothes shops 🙂 then we had coffee and a cake… Perfect afternoon!
Friday – I did the same trip into town by myself eeek!
Crazy the things to get nervous about.. Where to park to be able to get the car seat out with space What if I can’t get the pushchair to work ?! What if he screams and won’t stop crying!? What if he needs feeding? (I try and time these trips in the afternoon when he sleeps the most!)
I had nothing to fear, met my mate for lunch and she kindly chose the cafe in very mum-friendly John Lewis (I checked out the feeding areas they have there, and was encouraged to see women breastfeeding in the cafe itself)
After lunch I took him into work and was there for about an hour passing him around for cuddles and catching up with people!
Then we called in to see his nan at work – she loved showing him off to colleagues!
I couldn’t stop smiling as I pushed him back to the car park… The day had felt like a real accomplishment and my confidence had gone through the roof…. We can go anywhere and do anything now W!
More good stuff
Monday we took him for a newborn photoshoot with the amazing and lovely Leah Roberts. We were there for 4 hours as he needed feeding a couple of times but he behaved apart from pooing and peeing over Leah… A lot! Amazing what goes on when the nappy comes off 🙂 Haven’t got the photos back yet but pretty sure she got some amazingly cute shots!
I’m back in my fave Diesel pre-maternity jeans 🙂
My body isn’t quite back to normal but it’s getting there… I have good genes and breastfeeding to thank for that!
Presents and purchases…..
The presents keep coming!
How did you feel about going out and about with your 4-week old? When did your body get back to normal? When did the sleep patterns get back to normal? I’d love to hear from you!