Sunday, 25 January 2015

Things Ive learnt about pregnancy: part 1






                           

Your social circle will change:
Especially if you're the first in your group to reproduce.

No one is to blame, it's just the way things go. You can't expect them to fully understand or appreciate your little triumphs such as your baby sleeping the entire night through, or cutting their first teeth. Just like you lose interest half way through them telling you about last Saturday nights antics. 
Oh, you had two bottles of wine before you left the house?, tell me more....
Let's be honest, you were probably asleep long before their taxi even arrived at their house to take them out. Your day is most likely starting just as they're getting tucked up in bed.

It's the little things that money can't buy that you appreciate so much more: The things you didn't think twice about pre-baby.

Like a long undisturbed soak in the bath. Having smudge free nails. Being able to jump in the car and go somewhere last minute without having to worry if said outing is going to conflict with little ones next feed/nap time.
In fact, there's no such thing as a last minute outing when there's a baby involved.
Even a trip to Tesco involves packing the car up so much so, your neighbours probably think you're headed away for the weekend.

You'll pick their nose, wipe their bum, clean vomit off your shoulder, wipe saliva with your sleeve : And not even think twice about it. If it were anyone other than your own child you would be utterly repulsed. 

The same goes for your hair being pulled (how can something so small have such a strong grasp?) and lets not forget being clawed in the face with those little razor sharp nails which are a two man job to cut.
There is no one on this earth other than your baby who could get away with these acts of violence towards you. No one.

You'll have the most ridiculous fights with your partner: Over nothing. Literally nothing.

You are both exhausted during those first few weeks, every emotion is intensified, your hormones are still raging and then throw a fussy baby into the mix.
Sixteen weeks on, fights are less frequent but just as ridiculous. Quite often i'll back track mid fight and completely forget what it was over.In this case i'll always go back to the ol' trusty- the simple, yet effective,  "It's not what you said, it's the way you said it"

You will defend stay at home mums to the death: I have a confession.When I used to read 'full time mummy'on people's Facebook, it made me cringe. 

Oh get a real job..
How naive was I?
The only people who will ever think that will be people without children of their own, ones that get uninterrupted sleep, leave work bang on 5pm, the ones who don't have vomit stains on their jeans, who get to eat their dinner when it's still warm.
It's no picnic. It's both sunshine and showers. It's constant.

There's times my partner will come home from work and ask curiously, " so what have yous done all day?"

Oh, nothing much,
Just fed, changed and bathed baby. Made a cup of tea, abandoned said cup of tea as baby was sick. Changed baby, put on a wash, did the dishes, sterilised bottles... time for another feed and change leaving less than twenty minutes for me to get washed, dressed and makeup on before little one woke from her powernap. A quick tidy of the house, took the washing out of the machine, hung it out, changed a dirty nappy, wrestled with a fussy little one to put on her pramsuit, a lap of the park before coming home to another feed and i've just spent the last 45 minutes singing the wheels on the bus on repeat whilst making the dinner with one hand as we're now refusing to sit in our swing chair. Enough about me, how was your day?

Every week brings different milestones: The first smile (that glorious gummy smile), the first belly laugh. The ridiculous little daily changes that other people won't pick up on- the first time Eva grabbed her toy ball with both hands- I was bursting with pride- I'm undoubtedly going to be that emotionally unhinged mum being led out of the classroom on her first day of school.

Those cuddles: You know the ones. Long after the night feed is finished, but you don't want to put them back in their cot,not just yet. They're drunk on milk and it's ridiculously cute. You could stare at your little love for hours. These are the quiet times you realize every hardship of being a parent is so ridiculously worth it. Even the vomit stained jeans, plastering  your under-eye bags with concealer so you don't resemble Uncle Fester.. those 3am feeds were you can't remember if you've put in seven or eight scoops of formula (D'oh) and the days you intend to be out the front door for nine am but you haven't managed to get downstairs until after ten never mind out the door.


Baby parking: Hallelujah for baby parking. No longer will we have to spend twenty minutes searching for a parking space. No more getting drenched walking from the car to the front of the Tescos. I've become quite the parking police, inspecting every car in the parent parking to ensure they do in fact have babies. Next I fear i'll turn into one of those people, the kind that won't split the group bill equally because 'I didn't eat any of the rice..'


You understand why people are so nice to you during your pregnancy: 'Poor naive critter' they're probably thinking as you tell them how swimmingly pregnancy is going for you. 'HA! you're sleeping now are you?.. well you may sleep as much as you can now! you'll not know sleep when baby arrives'

As much as I hated that sentence, with a passion. I get a teeny bit of sly satisfaction when I see a status, a day after someone has given birth "He sleeps soooo well!" -
I give it a week.


Until part 2...


xxx


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Thursday, 22 January 2015

My Labour & Delivery story



                            

Literally from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I was terrified at the prospect of labour. 
I'm somewhat notorious in my family for being the self diagnoser, the hypochondriac. I was always the kid in school having convulsions over the sight of the school nurse. I'm the kind of person that still has the plaster on their arm two days after a blood test. Even the sheer smell of a hospital is enough to leave me feeling queasy.
To think I would be pushing something the size of a watermelon, out of a lemon, as the ol' analogy goes, was extremely daunting for me, and something that was never very far from my mind the entire nine months,

In preparation I watched every Birth and Delivery vlog there was on Youtube. I read books, blogs, websites and trawled through countless message boards/forums online. I lived on Netmums.
I  even watched several series of One Born Every Minute despite my other half telling me it was a bad idea. "You''ll only go and scare yourself" he said,
In true stubborn pregnant woman style, I continued to watch it and continued to scare myself.

Hindsight really is a wonderful thing.
It's been sixteen weeks since I gave birth and I truly only have good memories of the whole labour and delivery experience, in fact I don't have any bad ones (just somewhat embarrassing
Over the last four months i've been able to push those not-so-glamorous memories to the back of my mind and are only brought up after a few  weekend drinks with the Mr, when i'll sheepishly ask
"How much did you really see?"

Being stripped down by my midwife and lowered into the birthing pool wasn't one of my most finest moments. It was like a scene reminiscent of Free Willy. 
You know, that infamous scene where Willy is released back into his natural habitat?. That was me.
Only I didn't have a big happy-faced audience clapping and cheering me on. I had my partner who (bless him), was telling me how beautiful I still looked (My foundation had melted off in the heat, my fringe was sticking to my forehead.....) 
He was what really got me through the experience. He didn't once leave my side and just seemed to know exactly what to say and had me laughing the entire time- particularly when he came back from the canteen wearing a hair net. "What the hell are you wearing?" - ' It said on the door you had to wear them' he said.
'Yes! if you are staff!' I don't think i've ever laughed so hard imagining him walking the hospital corridors in his hair net.
I've came to the conclusion that if you're concerned about what your partner see's or doesn't see in labour, you're most likely with the wrong person.
The whole experience just soldified what i've always known, he is both my partner, and best friend.

I had my first experience of pain relief at 37 weeks when I spent the night on the maternity ward with an infection. The pain was horrific and at one stage had me on my hands and knees.( I'd make an excellent extra on Holby.)
I was given a shot of pethidine before attempting to settle down for the night, and less than twenty minutes later, it hit me.
It hit me hard.
I informed the other half with a soft, dramatic whisper, that I was in fact dying, and he was to take good care of our baby.
"Don't talk like that" he replied.
It was like something out of a soap opera.
An extremely low budget one.
Or a sequel of a film, one that goes straight to DVD and you can't even recall any of the actors in it.
Had I been the midwife present I would have been roaring with laughter, retelling all my colleagues on my tea break.
If this was anything to go by, I was going to be a nightmare.

Fortunately for me, and everyone else around me, I found my labour surprisingly manageable. I sucked hard on gas and air, and watched The Great British Bakeoff in between contractions. We didn't have a birth plan but made our  midwife aware that we were happy to go along with whatever was best for our baby. 
I requested a shot of diamorphine towards to the end, when I was convinced my supply of gas and air had been cut off, and a few  bottles of lucozade sport later, my body informed me I was ready to push

                                


You grow up watching horrific labour scenes in soaps and films. Chaotic scenes in the labour room, women screaming so loudly they can be heard down the corridor.
I feel so fortunate that my experience was in a relaxed atmosphere, the lights dimmed with only my partner and one supportive midwife with us, who guided and helped me into different positions to make the delivery as easy as it could be.
There was no medical apparatus on display (I was in the home from home unit so all the equipment was carefully concealed away behind cupboards-not unlike ones you'd have in your own house) and while it wasn't remotely painless or easy, it was relatively quick and the end product was well worth any amount of pain I endured.
Eva made her entry into the world at 3.46am.
The greatest moment of our lives.
I hadn't really ever thought about having children before I found out I was expecting, but watching my partner cut the cord I knew this is exactly where I wanted to be in life.
We were a family.

                   

No two labours are the same, each is unique in it's own right. Whether it be a straight forward delivery, planned Cesarean, or an emergency one. It really comes down to what you make of it, like anything in life
I haven't met one mum that wouldn't do it all again if they had to, no matter what the circumstances of their labour were.
Life, what a little miracle.

           


           












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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Things I didn't know about pregnancy


In all honesty, before I was pregnant I didn't believe in cravings. I thought them as an excuse for women to over indulge, what would a baby in utero need Flamin' Hot Monster Munch for?
I worked in a shop and witnessed first hand a man rushing in before the shutters went down.  "She's having an ice cream craving!" he uttered, rolling his eyes.
 Fool! I thought, that woman of yours has you completely under the thumb!, picturing some barely pregnant woman sat at home, filing her nails with her feet up.

A year down the line and i'm eating my words, It's a Friday night and we're driving around town with one sole purpose. To track down a slush puppy. A red one. (keeping in mind the last time I drank a slush puppy I was wearing dungarees and had a bucket and spade in hand.) I did a Google search and we drove around until we finally found a petrol station selling them. In that moment of sheer desperation, I felt nothing but empathy for that poor soul I had previously criticized, patiently waiting at home for her ice cream fix.

Who was I to judge?

At the beginning I couldn't get enough of mashed potato/carrot and parsnip. "Oh my cravings have all been quite healthy" I smugly told people.

Well that sure as hell didn't last too long.
 Over the next eight months I couldn't pass a Costa without ordering an iced caramel latte, and a fifteen. And if i'm being completely honest- a sandwich too.
I became quite the connoisseur of cupcakes, pickled onion crisps, anything covered in coconut and, McChicken sandwich meals. 'Make mine a large, and shall we get chicken nuggets to share?'

Cravings are very real, and despite your best intentions in the first trimester, you'll most likely cave  by month 5, justifying all those late night takeaways by promising yourself you'll be out every day for lengthy strolls with your little lovely in their pram. 'Awk the weight will just fall off you' people will tell you. I'm four months post partum and have finally accepted the fact I need to exercise, this tummy isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.


By week 35 I was well over two stone heavier and  I was still convincing myself that I fitted into my River Island skinny jeans. I stopped craving food (thank God for that) and moved on to stranger things. After polishing off a 72 pack of Rennies in three days, my other half told me enough was enough and I was placed on heartburn- relief surveillance. 'Ok' said I, shamefully hiding packets in my handbag like relapsing drug addict.

To compromise he went on the hunt for a mint, the chalky texture of a Rennies. I loved the smell of bleach, wasn't satisfied until our bathroom smelt like a swimming pool and I could have quite happily worn our fabric softener as perfume, it smelt that good.

It is said that only 5% of babies are born on their due date, and even though we'll tell everyone 'I'll probably go over' we secretly all like to think our little bundles of joy will arrive bang on time.

I personally blame everyone else. Towards the end you're being asked by everyone from strangers in the street, to the lady in Boots scanning your maternity pads
"When is the baby due?"
You say the date so often it becomes so embedded in your head that when that (what is supposed to be the momentous day) arrives, and then...... passes, you're absolutely gutted. And if you hear
"Baby will come when it's ready" one more time you'll be ready for swinging at the person, whether it be your granny or not.
 The night comes and you're propped up in bed, with a face like thunder as you scroll through countless "well?!" texts.
At this stage, log out of facebook, turn off your phone, do it for your own sanity.

And so begins the ridiculous pursuit of trying to get baby to move. Your backside won't see a seat for days you'll be too busy on your birthing ball, resenting your poor partner for looking so ridiculously comfortable on your cushion laden sofa.

Curries will be ordered, walks will be had and you'll be absolutely livid if there's no immediate change. We become desperate, uncomfortable and lets not beat around the bush, we become bitches. Hard to be around, bitches.

And rightly so. In the short space of nine months your whole life has changed.

Your body has become unrecognizable, your income has taken a knock, You become somewhat of an invalid needing help getting out of bed, and putting your shoes on can break you out in a mild case of the sweats. Your priorities have had to change, and you can no longer justify paying £90 for a pair of Topshop boots when there's a cot needing paid off.

You'll pee multiple times an an hour and will quickly become an expert on local public toilets, which are the cleanest (M&S) and which to avoid (Lisburn Square..) Anyone who comments on the size your bump becomes the enemy and God help any poor acquaintance from school who bumps into you in town. "Awk I didn't even know you were  pregnant!"

I haven't seen you in six years, I wouldn't expect you to....idiot

Exactly a week after my due date, I went for a midwife appointment to discuss an induction date. Whilst getting examined I was told I was 4cms dilated. Our baby was en route.

I had spent the last nine months worrying about this day,  would I be able to handle the pain? where would I be when the labour  kicked off?  what if something was to go wrong?  Now it was here- I had never felt so ready for anything in my life.
My mum who was with me, cried. (Then panicked incase my waters broke in her car), the other half got the text and came rushing down the motorway from work, and I limped out of the health center, mid contraction holding on to my mum's arm for dear life.

 I was told by a friend that by the end  'Nature makes you so sick and tired of being pregnant that you just want to crack on' and it's so true. When the time comes you do what you're meant to do. You find the energy from somewhere (God knows where, but you do), the thought of getting to meet your baby outweighs any amount of pain you feel. Your body was made for this.


And when that little bundle of pure love is placed upon your chest, everything just falls into place, and it all makes sense.

Every pound you've gained, every sleepless night, every stretch mark and every little discomfort.. it was all worth it, you'd do it again a hundred times over if you had to.
And just like that, those nine months which  felt like years, are over in a matter of minutes, and this little human who you've only just met, but know so well, becomes your all, your everything..



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Tuesday, 13 January 2015




             
   Before I was pregnant, even inhaling  Gaviscon was enough to make me heave. Months down the line, i've gone through countless bottles of the stuff and have built up quite an impressive collection (with a vast array of strengths and flavours.)
I mastered the art of necking it in the dead of  night as though it were a bottle of my beloved Jack Daniel's. I did away with a spoon by week 35, who has the time for that caper when you have what feels like battery acid ascending up your gullet at an alarming rate? Nobody!

One thing I learnt whilst pregnant is that everyone becomes an expert, everyone and their Great Aunt have something to say, their own pearls of wisdom. While many of it was useful advice, it was utterly exhausting!I've had to endure countless horror stories- tales of labour that has went on for days, emergency deliveries gone wrong.
It was pointed out that my bump was 'extremely small' and 'Wow, you're really big for *insert how many week's pregnant* all on the very same day. I was told off for stretching up to the top shelves in work, or for bending down to lift things at my feet, yet others have laughed saying "Awk, I was exercising until I went into labour.." "...there's people who run marathons pregnant!' You really can't win either way and there will always be someone with a different opinion, or to tell you you should be doing it this way.

Rest assured as you're waiting to go into your fortnightly midwife appointment you'll more than likely come across at least one other woman sat with her green folder in the exact same outfit. (And I guarantee it will be stripey!) There is a pure lack of selection on the high street, that is unless you are in the market for 'humourous' slogan tops 'Hands off the bump- Oh please.
I give my other half credit for having to deal with a hormone-fuelled montrosity of a breakdown. In New Look of all places.  "I have NOTHING to wear!" "NOTHING fits!" Once the tears started, there was no stopping them. I was quickly escorted to the car with a sympathetic hand on my shoulder.

Talking of the other half, the poor man endured interrogation on the daily. "Do I look pregnant, or just fat?" "...Yes but how many months would you think?" Or upon passing a fellow pregnant woman in the street "Is she bigger than me?"
Another thing I didn't realise is just how emotional I could be, everything on tv had me welling up. I infamously gurned over a woman winning a competition on Ant and Dec's Saturday night Takeaway- Pull yourself together woman! 
It's safe to say watching Comic Relief/Children In Need was completely out of the question last year.

One of the most useless (and by week 37- the most infuriating) phrases you will undoubtedly hear (from everyone... friends, family, the cashier at Tesco....) is
"Get as much sleep as you can now, you'll have none once baby is here"
It would be great if it worked that way, if you could save up all the sleep you've had the last 9 months and be bursting with energy upon baby's arrival. Cruelly Mother Nature has made it that us women are at our most uncomfortable, vulnerable, emotional, exhausted, self conscious (Need I carry on?) time in our lives by the time our precious bundles of joy are ready to make an appearance. No matter how many hours of sleep you've clocked up pre-baby, nothing can prepare you for those first few weeks of routineless nights. You will laugh in the face of any childless person who claims they are an insomniac.

Alternatively, what these people  should be telling you is, stay in bed until 3pm if you've nowhere else to be. Allow your fingers to get wrinkly in a two hour bath. Enjoy having the time to allow your nails to dry. If the most productive thing you've done all day is prepare yourself a snack- more power to you! This is one of the very rare times in your life you can do it guilt free.

So that concludes part one of things I didn't know about pregnancy, until I was pregnant. In my next post  i'll cover more home truths of pregnancy, talking about cravings (Crisps and gravy- what?) Those 3am treks to the bathroom and relying on the other half to help you up on to your feet (and put on your shoes...) And all those other glamourous things that come along with being a creator of life. Until then, Thanks for reading!


xxx
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