5 articles Articles posted in Birth

#MaternityMatters – Week Two

It’s a fortnight since Susanne and I launched the Maternity Matters linky and we had some absolutely amazing posts linked up in that time. Reading about everyone’s experiences reminds us exactly why we started Maternity Matters in the first place and we hope that the linky will continue to be as popular in the coming weeks.

This week, I’ve linked the post that I wrote about my second c-section and how it was a healing experience, compared to the chaos and heartache of Sausage’s emergency c-section birth. I was terribly nervous all through my pregnancy at the thought of being awake through what amounts to some pretty major abdominal surgery and I even watched videos on YouTube of other people’s elective cesareans so I’d have an idea of what I could expect (control freak? Me?!). If you’ve got a fairly strong stomach, I’d actually recommend watching a few videos if you’re unsure of what to expect from a c-section as seeing it in action completely demystified the whole process for me and gave me a much better understanding of what would happen on the day.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s where you can link your posts this week, and don’t forget to grab our lovely badge to stick at the bottom of your posts so that your readers know where to find lots more great maternity-related writing.



MaternityMatters~ Mum's the Word

The Return of Maternity Matters

When I started blogging in the Autumn of 2010, a large part of my need to get my thoughts out of my head was because of the birth trauma I’d suffered whilst having Sausage in August 2008. Skip forward two years and I’d joined forces with Susanne from Ghostwriter Mummy, someone I’d only ever communicated with online, but who understood me better than some people I’d known my whole life because she’d been through a traumatic birth of her own.

You don’t want to believe that trauma, depression and PTSD will be something that defines you for the rest of your life but, in my experience, it’s something that does stay with you forever – you just learn how to carry it more comfortably, over time, like a heavy bag with a rubbish handle.  And it’s out of this shared experience that Susanne and I started Maternity Matters, a place for us and anyone else to tell their stories, find some support and to join together in improving knowledge and care for families who’ve suffered a trauma.

Over the past three years we’ve shared some incredible accounts of women of all ages and all walks of life, as well as collating news regarding maternity care in the UK, although life and babies (two more for Susanne and one more for me, bringing our collective total to six!) meant that the site has gone unloved for a while…until NOW! We’re hoping to bring Maternity Matters back to life and get it back on track. Susanne and I have a lot of new experiences to write about and we’re hoping that we’ll have lots of contributions from fellow bloggers and parents who want to share their stories.

In the meantime, Susanne and I will be launching the #MaternityMatters linky, starting tomorrow, for you to link up any article, blog post or story relating to:

fertility

conception

pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions/ complications

childbirth – of all kinds

breast/bottle feeding

postnatal experiences

parenting a baby

pregnancy/baby loss

The linky will go live every other Friday and we’d love to get as many of you as possible linking up with ANYTHING maternity-related. Also, if you’d like to contribute to Maternity Matters, please email jayne@maternitymatters.net with your ideas.

MaternityMatters

A Healing Birth

IMG_20140226_082159If you’ve read Sausage’s birth story before, you’ll know that it didn’t go at all to plan. The whole thing was a disaster, right up until the surgeon pulled her from my body in under a minute, saving her life and getting her into the world safely. It’s taken five years to consider the prospect of doing it all again, but as you’ll know if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, my second daughter was delivered just over three weeks ago.

I had to be in hospital for two and a half days before I gave birth as I was only 36+6 weeks gone and had to have steroid injections to ensure that the baby’s lungs were properly developed. However, steroids can play havoc with blood sugar and being diabetic already meant that I needed to be closely monitored to ensure that I didn’t go too low or too high, as well as being on a constant insulin drip. I had to take my blood sugar, via finger prick test, every hour for the entire duration of my hospital stay, which sucked. The first night I was there, I managed a total of 45 minutes sleep, and the second night about 2 hours sleep.

By Monday morning, I was SO ready for my c-section to happen, despite being nervous about the whole thing, and luckily I didn’t have long to wait. Husband arrived before 9am and soon, the scrub nurse was ushering him off to get into scrubs and wellies (yes, seriously, wellies! Although, I must say, he looked rather tasty in scrubs!).

Walking into the operating theatre felt odd – last time, I’d been shoved through on a gurney and put to sleep in the space of a few seconds. Now, I was chatting and laughing with the theatre staff and being put at ease by Husband. The spinal was the part I was dreading the most, but I had two anaesthetists in the room, both of whom were very reassuring and kind, and not only was it over in no time, but it was SO much less painful than I expected it to be. Don’t get me wrong, feeling someone sticking a needle into my spine was slightly odd, but it was totally manageable.

Once they were sure that the spinal had worked, the screen was put up and the operation began. I could feel lots of pulling and moving around, but no pain – all of it was very odd! At one point, Husband stood and looked over the top of the screen, just in time to see the baby being pulled out of my tummy! She’d been very low down and had wedged herself in with one arm above her head, so the surgeon had to use one side of a set of forceps like a spoon to help him to scoop her out.

Between the moment she was pulled out of my body and the first time I heard her cry, it felt like all of the air had been sucked out of the room. The trauma of Sausage’s birth hung over me like the blade of an axe, but hearing her let out a cry made the horrible memories evaporate. I’ll admit, I cried right along with my newborn daughter, tears of relief and love pouring out of me. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude to both the team who’d done my c-section, and the surgeon who’d managed to deliver Sausage all those years ago.

It had all gone to plan and my newborn daughter had been delivered safely.

After the baby was out, the surgeon took a long time sewing me back up and it really shows – my scar is almost invisible! One of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had was as the team were prepping me to take me to recovery; out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the nurses move something across the bed – it was only when I looked down that I realised the ‘something’ she’d moved had been my right leg, but I had no sensation in it at all!

Despite three miserable days spent hooked up to a drip, despite my tiredness, my bruised coccyx from sitting in a bed the whole time, despite being away from Sausage and Husband and despite all of my fears, I felt utterly blissful in the hours after the birth. It was such a different experience from my first c-section and I really felt like it had gone a long way to repairing some of the damage done to my heart and mind. Being conscious and hearing my baby’s first cry was something I’ll never forget.

 We were home within a day and a half and family life has steadily been getting back to some semblance of normality. We’ve discovered that the baby loves to be swaddled, wrapped like a burrito, leading to the name she’ll be known as here on the blog…Burrito Baby, or BB!

I’ve got lots more to tell you all about the first three weeks of BB’s life, so keep your eyes peeled for more posts. Also, there’s still time to nominate Mum’s the Word for Best Pregnancy Blog in the MAD blog awards, if you feel like doing us a favour…

Hospital Beauty Essentials

The title of this post may seem like a total oxymoron; ‘beauty’ is really the last thing on my mind at the moment, but by pure chance I happen to have packed a few things in my bag which have, unknowingly, been an absolute godsend over the past two days.

I’m really the LAST person to take beauty advice from – my lack of regime is a laughable combination of apathy, forgetfulness and lack of time, but sometimes being in hospital, and so far out of your comfort zone, requires a bit of extra effort.

Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

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I don’t know if its all hospitals, or just the one I’m in, but the ward is ridiculously warm. I’m a proper chilly-arse and I slept (albeit for only 2 hours last night) without a single cover over me. The upshot  of this is that the atmosphere can be very drying and the first place which suffers is my lips. I adore Burt’s Bees, with its slightly menthol tang and honey-infused softness and I’ve been applying it liberally to stop cracked lips.

Boots No. 7 Cream Cleanser

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I actually have pretty complicated skin which dries out in places if I use anything too harsh, but can be prone to spots if I use nothing at all and No. 7 Cream Cleanser seems to be a happy medium. Its moisturising enough to be soothing on this dry ward and still leaves me feeling clean and revitalised.

Hair Bands and Bobby Pins

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My poor husband despairs of my love affair with the humble bobby pin, as I do tend to leave a liberal scattering in my wake where ever I go, which means painful stepping incidents and even an expensive Dyson-damaging occurrence. However, bringing clips and hair bands to hospital is an absolute must if you have medium or long hair as, even if you wear it down 99% of the time, there are bound to be times when you want all of your hair off of your face and neck. Pack spares just in case; even if you don’t use them they’re handy to have.

Moisturiser

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A general purpose moisturiser that you can use on your hands and body is super handy to have, as you’ll probably be washing your hands a lot more and using that super-drying alcohol gel on them about 20 times a day. Be prepared and you won’t end up with cracks and dryness.

Toothpaste

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This may sound like a no-brainer, but lots of people forget their toothpaste. Also, if you’re on nil-by-mouth, often your tongue will feel like the inside of a parrots cage and being able to brush your teeth with something minty and zingy can make you feel 100% more human.

Baby Wipes

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Obviously, most wards have a dedicated bath or shower for patients, but if you’re hooked up to a drip or other machine for more than 24 hours, you might simply not have the opportunity for a proper wash. Never underestimate the power of the ‘Festival Shower’ – a thorough going over of all your bits and pits with a cool baby wipe can really help you to feel better and I often find that a simple thing like being clean and smelling fresher can speed up recovery and give you a mental boost when you’re poorly

Post C-Section Tips

 Post C-Section TipsThe date of my planned c-section is looming fast and I’m already aware of (and very happy about) the fact that this will be a totally different experience to last time. For a start, I’m more than 5 years older and totally not taking for granted what five years worth of ageing can do – I feel very different as an almost 30 year old than I did as a just-turned-24 year old, and I’m aware that this could make the healing process a little different. There’s also the fact that this will be my second c-section and that could well affect my healing time and recovery afterwards.

The biggest difference, though, will be the birth itself and subsequent days. Sausage was in NICU for the first week of her life and I had been sent home, so for those 7 days I was waking, showering, going to the hospital, sitting next to our baby and then going home to do it all again in the afternoon. I must have walked miles of corridor in that first week – a far cry from the ‘as much bed rest and sleep as you can manage’ advice that’s given to most new mothers. Having said that, I actually healed and recovered from my operation pretty quickly and I wonder if my ‘carrying on regardless’ kind of helped?

Anyway, instead of going into the second c-section feeling mystified, I thought I’d ask some of my blogging pals what their best tips were for post c-section recovery, and here’s what they had to say:

Jenny from Mum of One: “Take it slowly. It is easy to forget but it is major abdominal surgery and it will take a good while to recover. Enjoy cuddles in bed with your baby as much as possible those first few weeks.”

Laura from Tired Mummy of Two: “Pillow on your belly for the first time you put a seat belt on!”

Vanessa from HPMCQ: “Do not sneeze!”

Nikki from Stressy Mummy: “Get as much help as you can for the first couple of weeks and don’t lift anything heavier than a kettle”

Stacey from Five’s a Fellowship: “Don’t even thinking about having a bath – take a shower for the first week or so otherwise you’ll find yourself unable to get back out of the tub!”

Kelly from Domestic Goddesque: “Very big pants!”

Cat from Cat’s Yellow Days: “Take it easy but do make sure you still try to keep moving even if it’s just up and down the hall to get a cup of tea. Not getting any exercise at all can leave you feeling even weaker in the long run.”

Rebecca from Here Come the Girls: “Ignore everyone’s requests to show you the scar! On a serious note; write down a list of all the times you have taken pain killers as you’ll forget and you don’t want to do that.”

Jenny from Cheetahs in my Shoes: “If you have SPD and a C-Section it can be worth asking for a walking frame to get you moving again to stop you twisting too much when you mobilise again. It’s not glamorous but can really help”

Sarah from Boo, Roo and Tigger Too: “If you do not have a changing unit downstairs then change babies nappy on a changing mat on the sofa, to save you having to get down to the floor and bend over too far”

Anna from The Imagination Tree: “I’d say take peppermint oil to ease the wind pain as it’s excruciating after a c-s! Wear mega pants up to your belly button- buy granny knickers from primarni rather than the expensive ones made for the purpose. Walk around sooner than you feel able to and it will increase your recovery time massively. Keep all vital baby equipment at standing level. Wear your hubby’s trackie-bots or a nighty as everything hurts around the waist. Phone a doctor the very second there’s redness or swelling in your scar (eesh!) Try not to get mastitis at the same time- you’ll sob and ask for someone to kill you ;-)”

As for me, my own tip would be to invest in a v-pillow or even just a spare, regular pillow to put under your tummy if you sleep on your side; having a bit of extra support while you’re healing can really help with your comfort levels in the first couple of weeks after surgery.

Thanks to all of my lovely friends who’ve contributed their wisdom. If you have any other tips for me, please leave a comment below – knowledge is power and I need all the help I can get!