A special memory

Since I’m sort of half doing the Blog Every Day August from the blog at Outmumbered, I thought I would tie in with the post I am supposed to write for that today.
Today is about a special memory and this is one I’ve been thinking about a bit recently. Anyone who has used mummy forums will be familiar with the ludicrous number of acronyms used. Well my special memory is the day I got my BFP – the day I discovered I was pregnant. It wasn’t that we had been TTC (trying to conceive) for a long time – but the overwhelming range of emotions that day are etched into my mind.

I’d thought about being pregnant and starting a family for a long time. It hadn’t been the right time before, but we’d decided to stop trying not to conceive and see what happened. If nothing happened, we’d get married and try a bit harder. Turns out it happened rather quickly!

It had been about a week of wondering. I went back to school (I’m a teacher – not a teenager!) on September 1st and was expecting my period (or AF in silly acronyms – ‘Aunt Flo’ apparently!!) any day. I kept assuming it would come the next day but it didn’t. By the following Sunday morning it was getting ridiculous. I had a shower and looked in the mirror. Something about my boobs looked different. I tried to rationalise it. I spoke to Mark and told him I was late. We didn’t think too much of it – I had been late in the past and it had tuned out to be nothing. But we decided to Go into Ipswich that day and pick up a pregnancy test. I didn’t want to buy one where we live – too many school children around!!

We bought the test, came home and I said I was going to ride my horse. Apparently that was not allowed – I had to get upstairs and pee on a stick. I remember feeling a bit silly – like it would all be a false alarm and I’d feel stupid for having wasted time and money. I dutifully read the instructions – wee on the stick and wait 3 minutes. A cross is pregnant – a straight line is not pregnant.

Well it didn’t take 3 minutes.

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About 3 seconds later it was very obvious. I was pregnant. We were going to have a baby. Total disbelief, shock, fear, excitement and panic washed over me in waves. I went downstairs wide-eyed and handed Mark the test. I sat on the sofa and we stared at it and each other for a few minutes.

Those feelings feel million miles away now as I lie in bed cuddling my 3 month old baby!! But it’s a day I will never forget and it changed our lives forever 🙂

Millar is 3 months old!!

I have become very bad at updating my blog. So, to try to rectify this problem, I’m going to try to post every day during Millar’s fourth month – starting today!

I cannot begin to tell you how much better things have got recently. Since about 10 weeks, being a mum has been brilliant. It ties in with him being on ranitidine for his reflux, but is also because he’s older and much more fun and interactive. It sounds awful, but I think I would enjoy the newborn stage a lot more next time, as I now know how quickly things change. It doesn’t feel like it at the time, but it does start to go quickly. He was ill yesterday and it was like 24hours of being reminded what he used to be like. Thankfully, he’s better today!!

So at three months, Millar is now holding his head pretty well, although still mostly hates tummy time, and is starting to want to be propped up as if sitting up. He also loves standing and likes taking his weight on his feet and stepping which is really cute. A couple of days ago he rolled over for the first time too – he’s done it a couple of times now, although because he ends up on his tummy, he doesn’t like it that much!

He is a total chatterbox and gurgles and coos all day. He often shouts at me too when he’s cross which makes a lovely change from just crying! He is teething at the moment and therefore spends most of the day with his fists in his mouth…or my fingers, my nose, his carrier or anything he can get hold of! I’ve got him some teething toys but he seems to prefer his fists for now. The issue we are having is that he would rather chew on his bottles than drink the milk. Both yesterday and the day before he drank 20oz each day- usually he has 30! I was starting to worry, but so far today he’s drunk 5oz from both bottles so that’s progress.

Clothes-wise, he’s still in lots of 0-3 clothes, although he’s in 3-6 month vests and rompers as they seem to be a bit more comfortable. I’m sad that as the weather has been so hot he hasn’t got to wear many of his 0-3 sleepsuits or dungarees as he’s been in vests and shorts or rompers all the time.

He’s been a busy boy this month though – he went to a Greek orthodox wedding in Manchester, where he was a total star, to an evening wedding reception where he went to sleep in the carrier and we had a little dance too, and he’s even been to a hen do in London where he went on the tube for the first time. Again, the carrier was a lifesaver. I am a total baby wearing convert!!

Next week he is going on his first little holiday – which we are very excited about! More about that another time…

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Millar’s 2 month update

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People always start these posts with something along the lines of ‘I can’t believe little X is X months old already! Where has the time gone?’ I’m sure one day I’ll feel like this, but to be quite honest, the last two months have been bloomin’ hard and I can probably tell you exactly where the time has gone! When you spend the first six weeks just getting through each day, the weeks go quite slowly!

But Mark is now on summer holidays and Millar is being a lot more happy and fun to be around (and is on drugs – more on that later!), which is making life a lot easier and being a mummy a whole lot more enjoyable. So Millar is now 2 months (and 9 days) old and I though I would do a little update on how he’s getting on.

Size and Weight
Millar is a chunk! He was 7lbs 15oz when he was born and dropped down to 7lbs during our stay in hospital. Since then he has been piling on the pounds and although I haven’t had him weighed for a while, is on the 75th centile for his weight. Three weeks ago he was 12lbs 3oz, so I expect he will be getting on for 14lbs now! At that last weigh-in he also measured 58cm, so has grown 7cm since he was born and is on the 75th centile for that too. He was however on the 91st centile for his head circumference, so we need to get that measured next time we go, as they want to keep an eye on how fast it’s growing. He doesn’t stand a chance though…Mark and I both have huge heads, so he really couldn’t escape that!

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Milestones

– He is now holding his head much more securely. I can hold him up on my shoulder with just one hand now and he keeps his head pretty steady. It’s slightly unreliable though and he can suddenly nose dive when you least expect it! It seems to be taking him quite a while to get a strong neck, but that might have something to do with him hating tummy time and refusing to cooperate. And perhaps having a massive head doesn’t help either!

– He is now smiling a lot. This was quite a long time coming, but he now looks up at us with the most gorgeous little grin. He’s particularly smiley in the mornings, but this evening after he had finished his bedtime bottle, he was all cuddled up against me and looked up and gave me a cheeky little grin. It sounds cliched, but it really does make it all worth it.

– He has just started to use his hands with slightly more purpose. A couple of days ago, Mark was holding him and he was looking at me, then reached out his hand and grabbed my bottom lip. It was a very decisive action and the first time I’ve seen him do anything like that. He lies on his playmat and thrashes about a lot, hitting and then grabbing the toys that hang down, but this was different – much more measured. It seemed like a pretty big step, anyway.

– Millar has always been very alert. Even in the photos when we were in hospital people were commenting on how alert he looked. This has gone from strength to strength and he is so inquisitive. His eyes will follow people when they come in or go out of the room and he will turn his head in response to sounds and voices. His favourite thing is faces and he will study your face totally mesmerised.

– He has suddenly become incredibly chatty. He gurgles and coos all day long, chatting to himself in mirrors and escalating them to shouts at me if he thinks I am being too slow in respnding to what he wants. This makes a change from the screaming anyway…! He is starting to make more consonant sounds, particularly a ‘g’ sound. It kind of sounds like a-ga! when he talks. Perhaps he’s showing expensive cooking appliance taste already!

– I can now put him to bed wide awake and he will chat himself to sleep. This is huge progress after hours of rocking him to sleep and carefully trying to place him in his crib without him waking up. I still do this in the middle of the night after his bottle, but he’s usually fallen to sleep drinking so it’s not too difficult.

Sleep

Millar has always been amazing at night. From the first week or so, he has slept for a long stretch when he first goes to bed, then shorter periods after. When I was breastfeeding he didn’t go quite as long, but was still impressive. Last night, he slept right through the night. I put him into his crib at about 9pm (we’d had a busy evening) and then we went to bed at about 11. At 5.30am, I woke up totally confused, not knowing whether I had fed him or not. But I hadn’t – he had slept all that time! He was also quite happy in his crib, gurgling away. I fed him, rocked him back to sleep and he then slept on my chest until about 9am! A very impressive night! Usually, he will wake up for a feed at about 2/3am and then go back in his crib for a few hours. He often does wake up at about 5.30, but doesn;t always want a feed. I can often just bring him into bed with me and he’ll sleep a bit longer. Having a routine of bath, massage, bottle, bed has really helped, although I’m not strict on timings. It really depends when he’s due his last feed.

Daytime naps are much more difficult, but we are getting the hang of it. I’ve decided just to stop stressing about it. If he wants to sleep on me, then fine. The one thing I make sure I do, is an hour’s dog walk every morning. He will sleep in the carrier, so I then know he’s had a good long nap each morning. He won’t sleep in his crib or in a moses basket in the day, so I have to grab whatever sleep he offers me!

Feeding

Since he has been on ranitidine for his reflux, feeding has become a lot easier. He no longer seems to be really uncomfortable during and after eating, and this has made life much more pleasant. He is still sick quite a bit, but it doesn’t seem to hurt, as the ranitidine neutralises the acid in the stomach. It has been a bit of a godsend, and given me a much happier little boy.

He is now totally on formula, which I have made my peace with and actually has plenty of benefits. I still like to do the majority of feeds, and I like to cuddle him to me close, as if I was breastfeeding him, as I think the cuddle is such an important part of feeding. He has Hipp Organic formula and has 6oz every 3-4 hours. He doesn’t always finish it all, but quite often drains the whole thing!

Quirky mannerisms

– If you blow gently on his face, he makes this really cute little noise where he sort of gasps and then grins. It’s utterly adorable.

– He will lie for hours on a mat, kicking his legs, sort of stepping them in turn. He does it so vigorously that he wears himself out doing this.

– He loves to suck his wrist…which is a little bizarre! He’s got a stong suck though, and has given himself little love bites all up his fore-arm. I’ve tried giving him a dummy, and sometimes he wants it and other times spits it out in favour of his wrist!

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Millar’s favourite things

I did a post on this recently, but briefly, his favourite things include:

– His playmat and Jungle Gym. He absolutely loves it.

– Baths – however hard he has been screaming beforehand, once he is in the water he is totally happy. He lies back, with his head submerged so only his face is showing, looks at me with wide eys and gurgles away happily. I love bathing him as he clearly enjoys it so much. I used to massage him before a bath, but I now do it after, so I can rub some coconut oil into his skin to stop it drying out.

– Nappy changes – he loves to lie on his changing mat and particularly loves nappy off time (and weeing all over Mummy) so we often take our time over this and have a bit of a play at the same time.

– Sport on TV. He is definitely his father’s son. I think it’s because the bright colours move so much, but he is totally absorbed by sport. He watched the last 20km of the Tour de France stage today without so much as a grumble!

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Things that make him cross

– The car stopping in traffic – how dare you stop the nice rumbly motion!?

– Staying in one place for too long. He has a short attention span and generally gets bored after 20 minutes, so I find filling a day with things to keep him occupied quite a challenge!

– Taking too long over getting his bottle ready. You just can’t get the staff these days…

– Being put down when he doesn’t want to be! Or in his bouncer – he really hates that!

– Mummy staying in bed when he’s ready to get up and play. That’s simply not on.

– Shops. They’re boring.

Health

At his 6 week check, the GP detected a small heart murmur and has referred him to a cardiologist. I really don’t think there is anything wrong with his hear though. Firstly, he was in special care for 5 days after he was born, so I’m sure they would have spotted it if there was a problem, and secondly, he was going batshit crazy on the bed when the doctor was trying to listen to his heart, flapping his arms and legs like a crazy thing. I’m pretty sure it would have been difficult for him to hear his heart clearly, and he had to listen four times. Hopefully all will be fine.

His reflux is much better now, being on ranitidine. He is pretty prone to constipation, so I try to give him cool boiled water regularly to keep things moving. He is a complete nightmare with constipation, so it’s worth keeping on top of it!

Activities we regularly do

– Boob group – I went along to a breastfeeding group when Millar was two weeks old and met some of the loveliest poeple ever. I still go every week even though I’m not breastfeeding any more. It’s more of a social thing, but Millar enjoys himself and there are lots of new toys to look at.

– Lazy Daisy Tinies class – These are amazing and Millar loves them. I did the Lazy Daisy birthing classes and knew I wanted to do the baby classes too. They’re full of songs, movement and socialising for the babies, with some massage and relaxation too. It’s one of my favourite things each week.

– NCT group meet-ups. I made good friends with a couple of the girls from my NCT group and we regularly have coffee and chat with the babies. It gets me out of the house and gives Millar a change of scene too.

Flirting

It’s been a rollercoaster of a couple of months, but Millar is so much fun now and generally lovely to be around. I’m looking forward to what the summer will bring!

Things Millar loves

I felt a little bad about the negativity of my last post – so thought I’d do a nice one. These are some of the things that rock my baby’s world at the moment.

1. Food. I couldn’t believe it when I met up with my NCT class last week and saw all these babies snacking on their bottles…drifting off or losing interest. Millar sees a bottle as a personal challenge to see how quickly he can drain it. He is definitely his father’s son and happiest when eating!

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2. Windows. He absolutely loves the light. At that meet-up, I ended up putting his changing mat on the floor and lying him on it so that he could just stare at the windows. It’s pretty cute – he’s mesmerised.

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3. Baths. Provided he isn’t starving or inconsolably screaming, he loves being in the bath. He likes to float and kick his legs, submerging everything but his face. I can’t wait to take him swimming as I think he’ll love it.

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4. Car journeys. Probably mostly to do with how much he likes windows! He sits watching the light flickering and changing until he falls asleep.

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5. Walks in the baby carrier. Today we went for over an hour. I think I has something to do with the fact that I walked everyday in my pregnancy – the rhythm must feel familiar and comforting – either way he drops off to sleep happily 🙂

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6. Falling asleep on me. In fact, that’s where he is right now too. It’s exhausting, but then I don’t want to put him down. I just think…a few minutes longer 😉

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Life with a baby – the truth!

Millar was 6 weeks old yesterday. People keep saying ‘gosh that’s gone so fast!’ And I tend to agree, although in reality it hasn’t. It’s not that I don’t love it – although I don’t love every minute of it as everyone tells you that you must – but that it has been 6 of the most intense weeks of my life and to be honest there have been some days where I’ve just been glad to have survived the day! So it doesn’t go that fast when you’re the one living it, 24 hours a day, although I’m sure when I look back on it in future it will seem like it went fast.

One of the best things I did was go along to a breastfeeding group when Millar was 2 weeks old. Somehow I managed to organise myself to get out of the house and only arrived half an hour late. It was held at my local children’s centre and from the moment I walked in the door I was made to feel totally welcome and one of the group. An they are honestly the nicest people I have ever met. Even though I’m no longer breastfeeding, I’m still going and will continue to do so. It’s in a Monday morning and just feels like the perfect way to get the week started. My advice to any new mum finding it hard is get out to a group because not only will other people know how you feel and you can see that it gets easier further down the line, but also you see that other babies do cry and that that’s ok – no one minds!!
I’ve been really lucky with sleep. Millar sleeps amazingly well at night at the moment and I really am not too badly sleep deprived in comparison to some people. What I find hard are the daytimes. Some days, I’ll feed him, then he’ll be nice and playful for half an hour or so, then he will cry until his next feed three hours later. Sometimes his crying is a pitiful little sob that you can get rid of with cuddling/jiggling/singing – and sometimes it’s a high pitched scream that nothin can break through. This is the hardest.

We have some lovely times. When he’s just been fed in the morning, he’s playful, chatty, and I’m convinced is going to give us a smile any time now. But he won’t sleep in the day at home – I can’t put him in his Moses basket for a nap in the day – he just cries. I can’t put him in his bouncer for longer than about 5-10 minutes as he cries. The best place is to put him on the floor on a play mat or on my bed – he will stay content there for 10 minutes or so giving me time to get dressed or quickly gobble down some lunch or make him a bottle.

Recently, he’s started screaming blue murder all evening from his 5/6pm ish bottle onwards. I think this is due I lack of sleep earlier in the day and I’m now really making a conscious effort to ensure he gets at least two really long sleeps of at least an hour and a half earlier in the day. I don’t know if it’s working yet – but he’s asleep right now!

This weekend was probably the worst yet…he was on a special milk for babies with cows’ milk protein intolerance but he didn’t poo for 3 days on it and he was just in so much pain. I put him back on Hipp Organic yesterday and we had a lovely big poo this morning and he’s a lot happier – thank goodness. It wasn’t the best Father’s Day for Mark to be honest…

So motherhood is a whirlwind of crying, feeling inadequate, feeding, trying to work out what’s wrong, not having time to shower, and the best most gorgeous cuddles with the most perfect little person ever. Quite a roller coaster of emotion! One of the ladies I met at the breastfeeding group said to me ‘not enough people tell you that some of the time, having a baby is really shit. Not all the time – it’s often amazing, but you need to be able to say, right now, at this moment, it’s shit.’ I guess that’s why I’m writing this post really. I absolutely adore my beautiful beautiful boy and would not change him for anything – and I love being a mum. But it really is shit sometimes and when it is, it’s really hard!

Right – Millar is waking up and we have some cuddling to do! Hey – who needs showers anyway…?!

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This is tough!

It has been quite a whirlwind these last six weeks. What with all the breastfeeding problems, the fact that Millar wouldn’t be put down at all to begin with, and the complete and utterly overwhelming and all consuming nature of being the mother of a newborn baby, we’ve had good and bad days.

The doctor wanted to try Millar on a different kind of formula – one that has the cows milk proteins broken down more. We were trying to see if it made any difference to his reflux symptoms. But having been on it for a few days, he now has been hideously constipated for that whole time. Today has been dreadful – he’s squealing in pain and if he’s awake, he’s screaming. I’ve tried lots of old wives’ tales – cool boiled water, brown sugar in water, gripe water, a warm bath, tummy massage… You name it. But it’s so hard when your baby is screaming in pain and you don’t know how to help him.

I haven’t wanted to take him out today as it’s so horrible when he screams like that in public. It’s so stressful and upsetting. I know it will get better, but it’s hard to see how. I’ve put him back on the formula he was on before as I don’t think the Pepti 1 was making enough of a difference to make this worthwhile.

But send lots of free-flowing poo thoughts our way as poor little Millar’s tummy really needs them.

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My breastfeeding journey

I’d always wanted to breastfeed my children – it’s just something I expected to be able to do and something I felt strongly about doing. I knew lots of people can’t and lots of people struggle, but deep down I always thought I would be able to.

Our breastfeeding journey didn’t get off to a great start… Millar was very sick the night he was born, throwing up brown blood and gunk that he’d swallowed on the way out. When they had put him on me to try to feed, he had sort of suckled a bit, but I don’t think he got anything really. Certainly when I tried to express later that evening nothing came out.

As he was being so sick, his blood sugar kept falling and they decided to cup feed him some formula to try to bring it back up. He enjoyed this, burped and then went back down in his cot. But then he was really sick and brought most of it up again. This made his blood sugar fall even lower and the decision was made at about 1am that he should go to special care. I was too much in a daze to know what was going on really. But suddenly I was on a ward with three other women and their babies and suddenly I didn’t have my baby with me – and that was really horrible.

When I went down to special care again in the morning, they had already changed the infamous first nappy so I didn’t get a chance to do that. They had washed out his stomach of all the gunk and had fed him through a tube. And he was still being sick. I said I wanted to breastfeed him so they organised for me to have a bed on the special care unit so that I could feed him that night. I assumed it would only be for one night and that we’d go home the next day (Tuesday – he’d been born Sunday afternoon). That day I did my best to feed him but he really wasn’t that interested. I perhaps got him to latch on for about 5 minutes each time, from 30 or so minutes of trying. I was getting so disheartened. That night, a really lovely nurse sat with me and helped a lot. She said that my nipples are a bit flat and that I should try nipple shields to give him more to latch on to. They were amazing! Millar got the hang of it quickly and was suddenly drinking for a good 15-20 minutes.

The problem was that when they weighed him on Tuesday morning, he’d lost weight. We had to stay in until he’d regained enough. By Wednesday morning, he’d lost 11% of his body weight and gone from 7lbs 15oz at birth to 7lbs 1oz. They wouldn’t let me go home again. All this time, Mark was having to go home and leave me each night at 9pm. I hated it when he went. They also didn’t feed me so I was living on whatever he brought in with him. It felt like such a huge responsibility there on my own looking after a tiny baby who was losing weight. That day and night I fed him as much as physically possible. I noticed milk in the nipple shields and he started looking drunk after each feed. Part of the battle was keeping him awake while feeding. It got so tiring – stripping him down to a nappy during every feed – sometimes two or three times to try to keep him awake and feeding.

On the Thursday we were finally allowed to go home and I carried on feeding him whenever he wanted it (although the hospital imposed a rigid 3 hour system which was hard to get out of my head). He was feeding for about half an hour from each breast, often doing a one hour on, one hour off thing and it was exhausting! He was also screaming all the time when not feeding and by Friday morning when Mark went to work, I didn’t know what to do. A midwife came to visit in the afternoon and I cried on her – absolutely broke down sobbing. He had just fed for an hour and was still screaming. She had a good look at him and agreed that this was not a normal baby cry and that something was wrong. It was a big relief for a professional person to say this – as in hospital they had not seemed that interested. She said she thought either he had a headache or he was still hungry. She asked if I had any formula and said that although she wouldn’t normally suggest it, it might be an idea to see if he would drink it. He guzzled all 100mls of it. She advised topping him up after a breastfeed with as much formula as he wanted to drink, as he seemed a very hungry baby!

This worked well for a while. I was still using the nipple shields. Then about two weeks ago, my left breast started to really hurt when I was feeding. It became a real stabbing pain right beneath the nipple. I tried to continue, and did for about a week, but it was getting to the point where I dreaded feeding him and would cry while feeding on that side.

Then a friend noticed that Millar had a really white mouth and just mentioned that it could be thrush. I’d never even heard of babies getting thrush – I’d only heard of the nasty itchy thrush down below! I read about it an it all seemed to fit – the stabbing pain, the unhappy feeder, the white mouth. I went to the doctor, had it confirmed and thought it was the breakthrough we needed. All it would take was a week to clear and then we’d be pain free again. I spent the next week (which luckily was half term and Mark was off and my mum came to visit) feeding him on the right side, expressing on the left and giving him a bit of formula to top him up. A week later, the doctor thought his mouth looked better and with great expectations I started to feed on the left side again, even managing to get him not to use the shield – result! But it quickly started hurting, just as painfully as before. I persevered. It got worse. I was crying out in pain as he fed on the left. In despair, I rang two breastfeeding counsellors to come and help. These two lovely ladies sat with me for an hour and a half, listened to my story and watched him feed. According to them, his latch was perfect – his position excellent – my nipples absolutely fine. But I was in agony.

They thought it was that the thrush hadn’t gone and advised I see the doctor ASAP. I dutifully went back and persuaded him to give me the oral drug which is not licensed for breastfeeding but regarded as safe. I needed something stronger than the cream I’d had before. I had spent all day in floods of tears not knowing what to do. When I had people around, expressing was fine as I could hand Millar to someone and go and do my thing. But term time is a different story. I just don’t have time to express regularly. He rarely sleeps during the day and wants to be held all the time. It’s so exhausting. He cries a lot during the day. Everybody kept asking why I was doing this to myself – why didn’t I just bottle feed him and then we’d be much happier. But I was so determined. I really wanted to breastfeed. I decided I would give him mainly formula for a week and express whatever I could for him until the thrush had gone. We’d start a fresh after that. It was a relief.

That night, I didn’t get a chance to do any expressing and I woke up yesterday morning with the most painful breasts ever. They were like rocks! I knew I needed to express and empty them so Mark fed Millar his bottle and I got to work. But expressing was suddenly painful and even after I’d got quite a bit out, the left one was painful and still really hard. I was supposed to be going to a baby class but my health visitor rang and I burst into tears (again) on her so she said I should go to the drop in clinic near the baby class on my way. I went, dissolved in tears and never made it to the baby class. My left breast felt like it was being kicked repeatedly – I could barely lift my left arm and I had a splitting headache. They were pretty sure I had a nasty case of mastitis, but I was confused as it had come on so quickly. The health visitors were amazing. They rang my doctors, where the receptionists are notoriously difficult, and bullied them into getting me an appointment that day. I was full on shaking shivering and sobbing by that point, so they also rang Mark’s school and got him to come and pick me up as I couldn’t drive home.

Mastitis was confirmed and I’m now on a hefty dose of antibiotics and guzzling paracetamol and ibuprofen alternately. Yesterday I spent all evening shivering, then all night sweating and today I feel a bit better. I’ve managed to express from the right, and a little from the left but that really hurts. It’s best actually hand expressing while lying in the bath. The milk gets wasted but at least I feel better.

So now I’m in a quandary. Something in me wants to persevere with the breastfeeding, but I’ve been hearing how difficult it is to get rid of thrush – and that the only reliable way of keeping it away is to cut sugar and wheat from your diet! Again??? Was the gestational diabetes not enough??? I just can’t see that it will ever be pain free and it was making all of us so miserable when I was in pain. Millar’s wind was awful, I was tense and crying…it’s hard enough looking after a new baby without all this. On top of that, I’m terrified that I’ll get mastitis again and I really really can’t do that.

Millar is fine with a bottle, although I can tell that he really wants to breastfeed and a bottle just doesn’t do the same thing. I just don’t know what to do for the best. Either way, I’m having a week off, expressing to keep up my supply, and I’ll decide later on. Who knew it was so tough?!

My birth story – Sunday 4th May 2014

Birth Story
I hadn’t wanted to be induced – in fact, that was what upset me most when I found out about my gestational diabetes. I knew that they don’t let you go over your due date and I knew that as a first time mum, I probably wouldn’t go into labour early.

So it was with a little anxiety that we arrived at hospital, just after 8.30am on Saturday 3rd May. I had had my bags packed for ages, and this was it!

The midwife I had looking after me was lovely and she did an internal assessment and said my cervix was still quite thick and posterior, although she could get a finger inside. I was hooked up to monitors for 30 minutes to measure the baby’s heart rate and any contractions. She then came back about half an hour later with a prostin tablet and inserted it. I had to stay monitored for another hour after that to make sure the baby wasn’t reacting negatively to the prostin. All was fine, so she said she’d check me again in 5 hours time. 5 hours! I’d already read most of a magazine…

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We were allowed to go out of the ward and go to Costa on the other side of the hospital. It was good to get fresh air. I had to have my blood pressure etc checked every couple of hours, so we couldn’t stay out too long, but Mark and I were able to sit and chat and imagine what was to come.

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A little bored!!

Through the afternoon I started getting very regular tightenings – it was bizarre. They didn’t hurt, although they were slightly uncomfortable. I was fascinated watching them go up and down on the monitor. I didn’t think much of them because they just felt like strong Braxton Hicks but the midwife was slightly concerned that as I was having these, the baby’s heart rate was dropping a little. The doctor didn’t want to give me another prostin in case it distressed the baby too much. Instead they were considering breaking my waters. I was really glad that they decided not to and left me to see what happened.

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My contractions!

As evening approached I started getting really upset about the prospect of Mark leaving for the night. I was not in active labour, so he had to go home. This was one of the worst things about being induced. I cried. A lot.

By this stage the tightenings were quite uncomfortable so I had put my tens machine on and was using that with quite positive effects. I decided to leave it on over night. The midwife examined me at about 9.30pm and said I was about 2-3 cm dilated and the doctor might come and break my waters.

When the doctor arrived it reminded me why some people are doctors and some are midwives – she was so abrupt and matter of fact. I had been in that bed nearly all day, my partner was about to be sent home and she just seemed in a massive hurry to get on to the next patient. She then examined me. Far from the gentle, soft approach from the midwives, she was rough and it was painful. I was really shocked actually. I know she had a job to do, but there was clearly someone who had never had HER cervix examined! Anyway, she was scathing of the midwife who had said I was 2-3 cm – frankly stated that I was only 1cm dilated and demanded another prostin. By that stage it was about 10.30pm and Mark really had to go.

The night was weird. I couldn’t sleep very well as the ward was really busy – lots of women being admitted and moved to delivery rooms. Lots of noise. Lots of activity. And my tens just kept buzzing away in a reassuring way.

I woke at just after 6 and was worried that my phone had little battery left. I was desperate for Mark to come back but he’d been told not before 8.30am. I needed the loo so at about 6.30 I sat up in bed and then the floodgates opened – my waters broke. It was a mixture of shock and relief – relief that they had gone naturally and things were getting going. I rang Mark and told him to come in, then put on my Lazy Daisy music and tried to relax. The tightenings I had been feeling started to become more painful and it all started to feel a bit more real.

One problem was that I started feeling really sick whenever I was contracting, so the doctor gave me an anti-sickness injection which really hurt! I had to have that before the midwife would let me have gas and air as she said it would make me feel more sick. The gas and air was good though. I didn’t find it helped with the pain of an actual contraction but it made it go very quickly afterwards and I felt very drunk!

At around lunchtime the contractions were really strong – I was still hooked up to monitors as they were concerned that the baby’s heart rate was dropping when I was contracting. At one point I thought they were going to say I had to have a Caesarian, as a friend of mine had had the same thing happen and they gave her a C-section. I remember at the time really hoping they were going to say this was essential – I was in quite a lot of pain! But the doctor wasn’t too worried.

At this point I was still in the antenatal ward with three other women as they didn’t have any delivery rooms free. The midwife kept telling me that they were just getting one sorted. I felt embarrassed being on the ward as I was making quite a lot of noise and that was adding to the stress. I also started feeling like I needed to push with each contraction. The midwife examined me and said ‘ooh you’re 7cm dilated – let’s see about speeding up that delivery room!’ She was amazed I’d got to 7cm already as my contractions were only about 7-10 minutes apart.

I had to walk to the delivery room, which was agony, but probably good for keeping the baby’s head against the cervix.

From here, it’s a bit blurry in my memory (probably an effect of the pethadine) but I know I started off on my knees on the bed, leaning over the back of the bed, but I kept falling asleep between contractions. I very quickly got to 10cm and the midwife was trying to get me to push, but I really couldn’t. In the end she got me on my back, sort of sitting up with my legs up on stirrups. She was concerned that my contractions were still so far apart – rarely more than one in 10 minutes. A doctor came in and assisted with the rest of the birth, although I found her far less helpful than the midwife as she kept saying things that stressed me out, like muttering about how dangerous the baby’s heart rate was getting and worrying that mine was getting too high during a contraction. The midwife told her that that was obviously because I was working hard and pushing!

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They decided to put me on the oxytocin drip just after 4pm as the contractions were slowing down and the baby was going back up after each one. They needed to make them closer together to give me a chance to push him out. Then the doctor started muttering about forceps and other interventions and there’s nothing quite like that to make you learn to push effectively!!

The last bit was painful. But the midwife was amazing – as was Mark. In between contractions she started getting everything ready for the baby and told Mark to go and get him some clothes ready. She asked about the placenta and other details that made it seem like it was imminent. The last few pushes were excruciating – I wasn’t allowed any more gas and air as I ended I focus on pushing properly. It seemed like forever from when she said she could see the head to when she said the head was out. I was surprised that once the head was out, I still had to have two more contractions to push the rest of him out, but the feeling when he was out was indescribable. It was like a switch had been turned off on the pain and it was just utter relief. It was 5.18pm.

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She plonked him straight on my chest and Mark said he wished he had a photo of my face in those split seconds – I looked at the baby as if thinking ‘what the fuck is that?!’…obviously then motherly instinct kicked in and I thought he was beautiful of course!!

I had the injection to deliver the placenta and then needed stitches for a 2nd degree tear, but I remember very little about any of that – it certainly didn’t hurt.

What was bizarre is how every scrap of dignity you had goes out of the window in labour. I spent the last few hours just wearing a top and nothing else and thought nothing of it at all. Even legs up in stirrups and being stitched was fine.

It was not the labour I’d hoped for, but I’m not sure that it’s possible with induction – it was a bit traumatic at times but could have been a lot worse. I certainly don’t want to do it again any time soon. People say you forget it instantly…that’s not true. But I have something amazing out of it and so every second was worthwhile.

The first night was tricky. More on that soon.

He’s here!

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Our little boy made his appearance at 5.18 on May 4th – his due date!
He’s amazing and we’re all doing well – just all exhausted. Proper post to follow.
His name is Millar – for several reasons, which I’ll explain another time. Needless to say, we are totally besotted.

39+6 (or…induction day!)

Today is 3rd May. Tomorrow is 4th May. Or May 4th – often referred to as Star Wars day (May the 4th be with you). It’s also my due date tomorrow and the day that has been at the forefront of my mind since it was randomly given to me at a scan 28 weeks ago.

I know your due date is a fairly arbitrary date, as only 5% of babies actually make an appearance on this day, but there’s a fairly good chance that I might have a Star Wars baby after all; this morning I am going into hospital to be induced.

Although my diabetes has been no problem – I’ve had 3 high readings in 8 weeks, all through misjudging the amount of carbs in a meal – they don’t like women with gestational diabetes to go beyond 40 weeks, so Baby is being evicted today.

I have tried everything to bring on labour naturally, hoping very much not to have to be induced – except pineapple, as it has too much sugar in. I’ve tried acupuncture (£160 worth of it!), taking 6 raspberry leaf capsules a day, walking for nearly an hour every day, sex, bouncing on a gym ball, and a hot curry last night. But, I’m going to have to admit it, Baby really won’t be enticed out until he’s ready. Or until they induce me!

I am hoping that the acupuncture wasn’t a total waste of money. It definitely made me feel different, and I’ve felt Baby moving down a lot. At my cervical examination this week she was actually able to give me a sweep, whereas last week that wasn’t possible. I was only about 1/2cm dilated though!! Fingers crossed when I get in this morning it’ll be a little further along!! The acupuncturist assures me that even if the treatment doesn’t induce labour (and she did say it’s only successful in around 50% of women), it often leads to quicker labour and an easier birth. I’ll take that!

So here I am at 7am, lying in the bath, thinking about what the next 24 (36? 48?) hours have in store. I’m running through all of my positive birth affirmations from Lazy Daisy and the hypnobirthing book I’ve read, and hoping that things don’t take too long to get going today.

Right now, however, I had better get myself sorted and shave my legs – wouldn’t want to lose my dignity in the next couple of days or anything…!!

So I’ll leave this with a few photos from the last couple of weeks. I’ve been nesting furiously so haven’t found much time for blogging.

A new (more practical and baby friendly) haircut

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Our room ready for Baby’s arrival

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The bump at 38 weeks

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A sunny walk

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A sunny selfie 🙂

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My treat to myself after I’ve had the baby – a homemade salted caramel chocolate cake 🙂

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And my current view – not for much longer!!

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Wish me luck!!