44 articles Articles posted in Pregnancy

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

No More Babies?

baby clothes bundleCan you believe BB is almost 5 months old? How can it possibly have gone that fast? Being the dinky dot that she is (more about that in another post), she’s only just gone up to wearing 3-6 month sized clothes and yesterday, I sorted and bagged up all of her newborn and 0-3 month sized stuff to make way for the clothes that fit her. Once I finished, I stood looking at the bag full of tiny rompers and scratch mits and suddenly I felt desperately sad.

I never thought I’d have kids.

Years of gynae problems, starting age 11, meant that it had always been made very clear to me that I’d probably find it hard to conceive, so I galvanised myself by “deciding” that I never wanted kids anyway; a pre-emptive strike against heartache and disappointment. Then I met Husband and things changed. Sausage was conceived after about 18 months of trying and so commenced one of the most miserable pregnancy and labour experiences that one could ever endure. I never wanted to repeat the experience again. I genuinely considered having my tubes tied.

But, bad memories fade and heartache is more of an occasional throb once time has passed, and instead of thinking about what could go wrong if we had another baby, we started to think about all of the things that could go right. We wanted Sausage to have a sibling, an ally in the world when Husband and I cannot be, and we couldn’t see how having another Sausage could ever be a bad thing, so off we went on our mission to try again. And it worked. Quickly this time, as BB was conceived after just 3 months.

Another miserable pregnancy, but in different ways this time; no oesophagus-tearing morning sickness this time, but insulin injections and a million hospital appointments, leaving me weary and more than ready to never be pregnant again by the time BB came along.

And, come along she really did.

The labour was beautiful, a healing experience for both Husband and I, though the subsequent weeks were anything but. BB was diagnosed with a cows milk allergy, but only after about 14 weeks of pain and misery; we were told is was colic, then reflux and she was tried on two different formula milks, Gaviscon to add weight to her food, ranitidine to try to stem what was assumed to be acid reflux, lactulose to deal with the subsequent constipation caused by the thicker milk…making a bottle for my baby ended up being more like using a chemistry set.

As a final attempt before referring her to a paediatrician, our GP recommended that we try her on Nutramigen, a formula milk made without cows milk and almost immediately it was like we had a different baby. The 6-hour screaming sessions (please believe me when I tell you that is NO exaggeration) stopped and suddenly BB was laughing and smiling more often, sleeping through the night and able to get through the day without pain and discomfort. I could have kissed our GP, though I fear she may have objected somewhat. It changed all of our lives.

We’ve started to find balance.

I can do things with Sausage without having to worry about BB screaming all the time; she’s still a fairly vocal baby and she’s been teething for a few weeks, so things are by no means perfect but they’re a whole lot better. Better, I’ll take.

So, what does my sadness at packing all of the baby clothes up mean? Is it my body’s way of telling me that I do want another baby at some point? Many of the clothes I put away were Sausages’ first, then stored and passed down to BB. Looking at some of those precious little babygrows and knowing that they’ll never have another one of my babies in them again makes me feel more than a little bereft.

But.

And there are SO many ‘buts’.

I’m now over 30. I’m lucky to have managed to have two healthy children already and having another increases the chances of something going wrong. I really don’t do ‘pregnancy’ very well. I still have a bunch of weight to lose that I was supposed to get rid of before BB even came along. We don’t have the space.  Having another means splitting ourselves into even smaller pieces to make sure they’re all being cared for.

And yet, despite all those buts, I still can’t get my head (or my ovaries) around the thought of never doing it again.

Maybe its just my hormones.

Durex Real Feel Review

32680_DUREX_real_feel_pack_home_landingOkay, so my blog usually focuses on family life, so a review of condoms is a bit of a far cry from my usual content, but since BB was born I’ve not had a chance to arrange a more permanent form of contraception, so the opportunity came along at just the right time. Durex Real Feel condoms are made from a special new material which feels as close to the real thing as you’re going to get whilst being protected and the best part is, they’re latex free. Here’s me, talking about them a little bit more:

 

 

Durex has a dedicated site for their Real Feel condoms, and there’s a whole bunch of other bloggers over their talking about their experiences with the product, so do head over there to get the lowdown on what everyone else thought of them, as well as all of the ‘technical specifications’!

Going From One to Two

sisters5Before we decided to have another child, it took a long time for me to come around to the idea. I couldn’t imagine having the capacity to love anyone as much as I loved Sausage and the trauma of her birth added to my fears. Eventually, I realised two things; firstly, that I wouldn’t be a ‘first timer’ when it came to maternity care this time, which meant that it was possible for me to make informed decisions and be more in control of my treatment, rather than being carried along with the choices of doctors who thought they knew best (and ultimately, let us down completely). Secondly, that if the new baby was anywhere near as awesome as Sausage, then we’d be seriously lucky people and giving our daughter a sibling was important to us.

When Sausage was born, being our first meant that we lived in a totally baby-centric bubble for many weeks, in fact we didn’t even take her out of the house for the first time until she was almost 6 weeks old! Husband was in a job which required him to work shifts of either 7am-7pm or 7pm-7am, and life was very fluid, revolving around the new baby. With Burrito Baby, things have been totally different; it doesn’t matter if she’s been up since 4am, I still have to be up at 7 to get Sausage ready for school. It doesn’t matter if she’s only just gone down for a nap at 3pm, I still have to take her out to do the school run if Husband isn’t around to look after her. While Sausage was able to dictate the routine, BB has had to (to an extent) just slot into ours.

Obviously, now I have 2 kids, I know that it’s more than possible to have the same strength of feeling for two as it was when we just had one. Your capacity for love doesn’t get split between the two of them, it doubles and fills up every space within your being. We’re all still getting used to each other and muddling our way through to form some new sense of normality, but one thing that’s for certain is that I love my girls an immeasurable amount and it almost seems ridiculous to look back at my previous fears about not being able to love another baby as much as I adore Sausage.

On the downside, there have been some tricky moments. In the same way that BB has to slot into what we have to do on a daily basis, newborn babies (especially ones with colic) have no regard for routine. Sure, Sausage has to get to bed by a certain time on a school night, but that doesn’t automatically mean that BB will stop screaming if we need her to and it’s made for more than a couple of tricky evenings of me at one end of the house trying to soothe an agitated baby, while Husband and Sausage try to block out the noise at the other, then swapping places. When Sausage was a baby, we didn’t have anyone to think about but her and if she screamed the place down, well, so be it.

It’s also been tricky trying to split ourselves into two, when both girls need us. Obviously, there are things that Husband can do if I’m indisposed and vice versa, but sometimes it feels like I need 6 extra hands. BB is a tiny baby and needs us to provide her with everything she needs for mere survival, but although Sausage is bigger she still needs us to be there for her as much as we ever were and I’m not going to lie, it’s been a struggle. Luckily, BB is settling down and getting into a halfway-decent routine with sleep now, so I’m finding I have more time to do things with Sausage.

Obviously, these are just a few of the difficulties that come with going from one child to two and I’m sure we’ll encounter MANY more as the weeks go on, but the good is definitely outweighing the bad and we’re taking each day as it comes.

Newborn Essentials – Our Reviews

Burrito Baby is a very lucky girl – she’s already being sent things to try out and review! Given that she has such a busy schedule of sleeping and milk-drinking, I thought I’d condense a few things down into one post of products that we’ve tried and loved in the last 5 weeks.

Aden+Anais Swaddling Muslins (£44.95 for a pack of 4)

aden+anaisWhen the lovely people at Aden+Anais found out how much Burrito Baby liked to be swaddled, they asked if we’d like to try out their extra large muslins, which are perfect for swaddling babies, amongst other things. We’ve found these muslins have come in super handy for a number of things – laying BB on while she was being weighed instead of putting her straight onto the cold scales, draping over her car seat and pram as a sun shade, and obviously using as a wiper-upper when she’s being burped. The patterns are so pretty and unique and the cloths have actually got softer each time we’ve washed them.

Sophie La Girafe Organic Skincare (from £10.99)

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I’m not a huge fan of putting unnecessary products on babies – their skin is so delicate at this age and let’s face it, babies smell good enough as it is without slathering them in strong fragrances. However, the Sophie La Girafe range of products has won me over. It has a barely-there, subtle fragrance and are super gentle on BB’s skin. The Baby Oil is one of my favourite baby products ever and is perfect for when I massage BB after her bath – I can honestly say that this is a product I’ll buy myself when our review sample runs out. Also, and this is totally shallow of me, I LOVE the look of the packaging, sitting on BB’s changing station!

Pink Lining Not So Plain Jane Changing Bag – £69.00

I’ve been coveting a Pink Lining changing bag for ages, so when they asked me if I’d like to choose one from their new range of designs, I spent an absolute AGE trying to decide which one I liked best! Eventually, I settled on the gorgeous bike print above, which is so unique and pretty, but this bag is about so much more than looks. It’s got space for everything we need to carry around with us for BB and loads of clever practical touches, like a key fob, phone pocket and mirror. I’m completely in love with this bag and have lost count of the amount of complimets I’ve received since I’ve been using it.

Daisy Baby Mei Tai Sling – £19.99

BB has been suffering with both infant reflux and colic, and the Daisy Baby Mei Tai Sling has been an absolute godsend. Keeping her upright is the only way to soothe her when the colic and reflux strike and the sling is comfortable for both her and me. At first, I was wary about using a sling, but the Mei Tai is very well made and feels sturdy and safe when BB is in it. The pattern is lovely and neutral enough that Husband would be happy to wear it too. BB is very happy when she’s in the sling and it holds her in a position which doesn’t put any unnecessary pressure on her hips.

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!

I’m Incubating an Ostrich…

Being pregnant and diabetic means that I’m monitored far more regularly than your average ‘low-risk’ pregnancy; most women will usually only have 2 or 3 scans at the most throughout their pregnancy, but I’ve had at least 5 already. I was at the hospital today for a routine appointment with my diabetic midwife and endocrinologist and they decided that, as I hadn’t had one since New Year’s Eve, I needed to have another scan and it showed some interesting things.

Last time I was scanned, I was told that I was carrying too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnious) because of the diabetes and that that I’d need to control my sugars better in order to bring the fluid levels down. They also told me that, although baby’s head measured the perfect size for her stage, she had very long legs! Now, I’m not exactly lofty, at 5ft 4in and Husband is 5ft 10-ish, so where this height is coming from, I don’t know! She also has a round tummy, so I’m wondering if I’m actually carrying a baby ostrich.

Baby Ostrich

However, today’s scan showed that my polyhydramnious has corrected itself completely and that my fluid was back within completely normal levels…yay me! The scan also showed that baby is already measuring around 3.3kg (7lb 3oz) which is only two ounces off of what Sausage weighed when she was born! Given that I’m only 35+2 weeks gone at the moment, this means even more close monitoring, with two scans booked in the next fortnight and a plan in place whereby I may have to start a course of steroids to help the baby’s lungs to mature, so that they can give me an early c-section. We may well be meeting her even sooner than we realised!

I would have been a lot more anxious about all of this, but I finally feel like we’re getting close to being able to receive a baby into the house. Our Britax Affinity travel system arrived at the beginning of the week and my wonderful Husband did some seriously savvy shopping last week which meant that we’re now stocked up with enough nappies, wipes and formula milk to last us for the first month of 2.1’s life! I can’t even begin to tell you how much of my stress lifted when he told me he’d bought all of those bits. I think all we have left to buy now is some new muslins, which should be simple enough.

It’s all starting to feel very real now! Keep your eyes peeled for more updates…

We’re BRITAX Mumbassadors!

Since becoming pregnant, we’ve had some brilliant opportunities arise, with lots of reviews and experiences coming our way, but the one I’m most excited about is becoming an official Mumbassador for BRITAX! When BRITAX got in contact as asked if we’d like to represent their brand in 2014, we jumped at the chance to work with such a well-known and well-respected company and were super impressed with the range of products that they offer.

In terms of the new baby, (who’ll be here 3 weeks today, with any luck!) BRITAX are sending us one of their beautiful Affinity travel systems, which looks like this:

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Isn’t it pretty?!

There were 6 different colour options and we let Sausage choose, so she went for the ‘Cool Berry’ option above and Husband and I decided we liked the silver chassis option. We’re also lucky enough to be being sent a second colour pack, and we’ve gone for ‘Cactus Green’, which is a nice, neutral option (you know, in case we ever have a little boy…) which I reckon will be ace at concealing all the inevitable muckiness that a toddler can do to a buggy!

Britax Affinity Cactus Green colour packThe Affinity has so many little features that I love, such as the anti-theft coding system, which gives your pushchair a unique code that stops it from being sold illegally. Another thing I love is the fact that the seat unit can be parent facing our outward facing – Sausage’s pushchair only had an outward facing mode and while I think it’s good for kids to see the world whilst out and about, it’ll be nice to have the choice. Once it arrives and we’ve had a chance to have a play, I’ll be writing about it a lot more.

BRITAX also wanted to get Sausage in on the act, and will be sending her one of their Group 2-3 car seats. At the moment, she just uses a booster cushion in the car, which we thought was adequate for her age, but the folks at BRITAX explained that a proper car seat should give side impact protection and spinal support. Their range of seats is actually suitable for kids up to the age of 12 and I’m really looking forward to having that extra peace of mind when we’re out in the car. Also, who doesn’t love a ZEBRA print option?!

BRITAX KID plusWe’re SO excited about working with BRITAX next year and cannot wait to start testing out all of our new goodies!

Jayne, 29, Pregnant, Fed Up…

Grumpy Cat

I’m now getting to that delightful stage of pregnancy where everything is uncomfortable. Any clothes which sit under my bump fall down, while over-the-bump stuff makes me itch and all of my long tops are *just* that little bit too short to cover everything adequately, so I feel like I’m fighting a constant battle with the lower 1/5 of my stomach. Bump bands (you know, the stretchy strips of fabric which go under clothes to cover your tummy) are brilliant, in theory, but I bought mine from eBay and have managed to buy ones which some GENIUS made in a shiny, slippery material, which means they actually make my trousers slide down and tops slide up worse than ever before.

Putting shoes on is puffing me out. Genuinely. All of my boots are ones that need to be pulled on, not just stepped into and doing laces it like some form of medieval torture because I have to get my leg up high enough (no small feat when you’ve got SPD) and lean forward far enough to reach, which pretty much means that the baby has to live inside your rib cage, (which, incidentally, is where the rest of your organs are already trying to take refuge because there’s a PERSON growing where they used to be) so your lungs feel like they’re being forced up and out of your mouth.

It’s okay though, because bedtime gives welcome relief, doesn’t it? Well, no, it bloody doesn’t. If I sleep on my back, I snore so loud that I even wake myself up, let alone the rest of the house, and if I sleep on my sides, I wake up every 20 minutes with horrible hip pain. This means I have to turn over in bed, which elicits a loud CRACK from my pelvis, which went into full relaxation mode about 7 months too early. I used to sleep on my stomach, but not only is that not not safe for the baby, it would be like trying to sleep draped over a watermelon.

“I know..” you think, “I’ll go for a walk and get some nice fresh air to make me feel better”.

HA.

Dream on, porky. Walking, for some reason, brings on Braxton Hicks, so even on a short trundle around the supermarket, by the time I get to the frozen aisles, I’m bending over and clutching my ever-tightening bump like a mad woman, causing mild alarm in anyone who walks past.

And being out in public means answering the same set of questions over and over and over again…

“Yes, stranger who I’ve never met before, I am pregnant. I have about 5 weeks left…yes, I know, I’M HUGE aren’t I? Yes *insert sardonic laugh* I’m absolutely certain it’s not twins! You’re so funny and your jokes are SO darn original!”

I know people are just being kind and it’s nice that they want to engage with me, but I wish they’d engage their brains first. It never occurs to people that I’ve had to answer the same questions to just about every person that I’ve encountered for the last few months. For them, it’s a fleeting 30 seconds, but this has been MONTHS in the making for me. Tedious, people. Tedious.

I shouldn’t moan.

I shouldn’t, but I bloody well want to and it makes me feel better for a few minutes to have a little rant, so it’s what I’m going to do. Well, that and sit here being really uncomfortable.

At least I only have a few weeks left.