Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

Squishy’s Birth Story


I’ve been meaning to post Squishy’s birth story for ages, but everyone’s been ill & I haven’t got round to it! Today I had to tell someone the brief version of her birth (breech, quick) and I was surprised how gutted I felt when I didn’t get much of a response. To be fair it was an older man (the osteopath) and her birth wasn’t the reason I was there! But it brought home to me how proud I am of it…even though it wasn’t really in my control. I wrote this birth story when she was a day old, and I’ve just edited it a bit…this is how she was born…yes it was out of my control, but I’m proud of how I handled it.

Squish’s Arrival!

It was all a bit quick so it’s still a bit of a blur. Our daughter arrived yesterday at 4.41am. 7 lb 4 oz. Here’s how it happened…

I woke up at 2.50 with what felt more contraction-like than the mega-long brackston hicks I’d been having for a week. The next one came at 3am & was really quite strong, so I knew it was really happening. Remembering Twink’s birth when I got all excited & got up really early, I tried to go back to sleep, but at twenty past three my waters broke so I woke Hubby up to fill the pool (which I’d insisted we inflate the night before). Contractions continued every 10 minutes, but were WAY more painful than I remembered from last time. I finally called the labour ward just before 4am…& the midwife on call phoned me a couple of minutes later…& it was my named midwife!!! I was so worried about getting a midwife I didn’t relate to…never thought I’d actually get my lovely named MW for the birth…but anyway, I was a little distracted by the pain by this point to be grateful for that. I also tried to call my best friend who was supposed to be my birth partner, but she didn’t answer.

I got DH to put the TENS machine on my back as the contractions had suddenly gone to every 5 minutes…from this point they just sped up (I know all this because the iphone really does have an app for everything…including labour!), so at twenty past they were 2 or 3 minutes apart & I REALLY didn’t think I could handle it for much longer…the TENS was now just on boost constantly. At some point in the next few minutes I realised I was needing to push…so I started trying to convince DH. He blatantly didn’t believe me…was very calm…”yes dear, don’t worry, we’ll get the pool filled, I’ll help you in, your bff will get here, the midwife will get here”…I think he thought I was panicking. Which I was, but I was also right! I insisted he call the MW a few times to find out where she was & to hurry her up, but there was absolutely NO sense of urgency in him! He didn’t even tell her she needed to hurry! He got through to my bff at some point but he didn’t hurry her along either!

So I’m leaning over the pool (from the outside), staring at the water that half filled it. I really wanted to be in there as I knew it would help with the pain, so I felt a little sad about that, but I was distracted by trying to convince DH that the baby was going to arrive any minute, & that I could feel the head (so I thought!)…he didn’t even feel the need to check!! Still, he let me squeeze his hand to death each time I had a contraction (& pushed!). He kept trying to get me to be quiet as Twink was asleep…but it’s actually lucky I wasn’t quiet as my bff was outside having a last cigarette (naughty girl!) when she heard me & rushed inside (I’d at least managed to convince DH to unlock the door…that’s nearly a miracle if you know him…he’s a little security conscious!). According to my phone the last time we called the midwife was 4.36am, so my bff came in some time after that. She was a little bit shocked to say the least, but she did realise that the baby was about to arrive, & she got in place to catch it…next contraction had her screaming ‘it’s breech, call an ambulance’…DH just carried on having his hand squeezed to death!…then the midwife came through the door, & Squish was born with the next contraction & my bff caught her at 4.41am.

Sadly, although my bff can tell a bum from a head, she isn’t so accurate with the boy/girl thing…so we thought Squishy was a boy for the first few minutes of her life! Squish was screaming her little lungs out about the whole thing, & we were all a bit in shock (including my lovely MW…her first breech birth & she only got to watch!), but she had a bit of a feed after about 10 minutes, & we just sat & cuddled while I waited desperately for the placenta to be delivered. Except it took a long time to arrive…after an hour and ten minutes I decided to have the injection as it was apparently (sorry if tmi!) half way through my cervix & was VERY uncomfortable. By 6am I was in the shower & by half past I was in bed, leaving the MW to write up her notes (which were almost entirely a work of fiction…I could have told her when I was in established labour by my contractions as I had all the info on an iphone app, but I was lying in bed trying to sleep) & my bff & DH fighting over newborn cuddles.

Twink was pretty oblivious to start with when he woke up…he just ignored her. But before long, he gave her a couple of kisses, & even included her in the family nose check (the nose was the first body part he could identify, so every now & then he insists on touching his nose, then mine, then DH’s…it might be silly, but the fact he includes Squishy, really makes me feel that he knows she’s part of the family). Today he’s also started to come up & cuddle her when she cries…so utterly adorable!

Phew…sorry it’s so long…think it took longer to write than it actually took…& if births get quicker each time, I probably won’t even have time to get out of bed next time!!

Squishy’s birth was much more intense than Twink’s, and as she was breech, the number of things that could have gone wrong makes my mind boggle, but I’m still glad I was at home & I will still plan to be at home the next time I give birth. With established labour only about 20 – 25 minutes long, there wasn’t enough time to settle in and enjoy it like there was with Twink…I had to concentrate very hard to cope with the contractions. I know birth is just one day in a child’s life, but you know what? I am still bloody proud of my body for delivering my daughter safely at home, with no help other than the TENS machine and my husband’s hand to squeeze.

Still wish I could have had a swim in that pool though!

My Breastfeeding Experiences


This whole kerfuffle over the ‘Mother & Baby’ magazine pro-formula/anti-breastfeeding article has got me thinking. For me, I always knew I wanted to breastfeed and would have been devastated if I had had to give up early. When I was pregnant with Twink I didn’t know anyone who had breastfed past six weeks, but I was determined to give it my best shot. And I can be very VERY stubborn.

My experience, however, has been very different from most of my friends (as I mentioned in this post). The difference between my experience and others has made me look at things differently…the way breastfeeding and formula feeding are portrayed in our society has a dramatic effect on how individual mums find starting breastfeeding, as well as affecting the bigger picture, of how much funding breastfeeding support gets from the government. It turns out that although the government, and the NHS pay lip service to encouraging breastfeeding, in many cases, that’s all it is. Lip service. I know a hospital midwife (as a friend, so completely off the record) who admitted that while the paediatricians say they encourage breastfeeding in general, in actual fact they encourage individual mums to stop if their babies have had to be admitted. Why? For the simple reason that it’s easier for the doctors, as they can quantify how much the baby is getting and it is easier to keep the baby on a schedule. I even found the NCT advice a bit off putting as our antenatal class teacher stressed so many times that ‘breastfeeding is a skill and takes hard work and practice’.

Nonetheless, on a personal level, I feel very strongly that individual mothers should have the choice to feed their baby as they wish. It is their body; their baby; their choice. But that decision is made in the context of a society that makes things harder for them to breastfeed. A society that doesn’t offer every mother the support she needs. A society that is happy to gawp at page three models, but doesn’t know where to look when a mum is breastfeeding near them.

I have no problem with the article itself as it is purely a piece of opinion, and as such, I feel sad, and a bit amused at some of her comments (‘funbags’?? Seriously?? Who calls them that?!!). However, I do feel that the magazine should have had some blurb on the page clarifying some of her opinions, so their readers were aware they aren’t true. You don’t have to abstain from alcohol completely when you’re breastfeeding, and it’s pregnancy that wreaks havoc on your body…if anything, breastfeeding helps you lose the weight. It worries me that someone might read that article and take it as gospel just because it was written by the deputy editor of a parenting magazine.

Obviously I’m approaching this as a ‘pro-breastfeeder’, whatever that means. One of my labels is that I’m a tandem breastfeeding mum, which as far as many are concerned puts me in the extreme category, especially as my eldest is nearly 26 months old (as mentioned before, I hate those labels and the way they put barriers between mums). How did that happen? I’m not sure. If I’m honest, I never had that ‘I’ll just get to 6 weeks/6 months/a year and see what happens’ mentality. The WHO guidelines recommend feeding till at least 2 years, so deep down, that was what I had in mind, but I still intend to carry on until he’s ready to stop. And after the tantrums he’s been throwing this week, I’m quite glad I still have the ability to calm him with a quick nurse.

That said, I fully expected him to wean himself while I was pregnant. There were points in my pregnancy when I really struggled with breastfeeding him. It never got to the point where it would have been easier to wean him, but that’s not to say it was easy. I got a pretty bad case of nursing aversion, starting with the night feeds when I was about 8 weeks pregnant and Twink was about 14 months. We night weaned abruptly after a night where I spent 2 hours crying as Twink tried to feed to sleep, but couldn’t as I was keeping him awake. He wasn’t bothered at all as long as Daddy dealt with all the night wakings. A month or two later the day time feeds had to be dramatically reduced to two feeds a day, which was the level I could cope with. It all got much easier again once Squishy arrived!

People do look askance when they realise I still feed Twink, and I do feel judged, and it does upset me, so I’d certainly hate for a formula feeding mummy to feel similarly judged. We’re all doing the best we know how, but I do wish society would start being more positive about breastfeeding in a real, substantial way. It’s been articulated in a much better way than I ever could over at PhD in Parenting. On a more personal note, I have decided I am not going to be making my life any harder than it already is (we’re deep in teeth/developmental/who knows what tantrum territory), so if Twink needs breastfeeding and I am able to, I will be nursing him. So far this week I have fed him at a friend’s house (although if I’d done it 15 minutes earlier, we would have avoided the lips turning blue with screaming rage tantrum) and just before his swimming lesson (which was more for my benefit as I should have fed Squishy before I went in, but she was asleep in the sling on her daddy by that point). So, if you see me out and about, and I’m feeding a toddler, judge me if you want, but believe me, it’s preferable to the screaming, toddler foot stamping alternative.

PS. Sorry for no pictures…wordpress is still not letting me upload pictures, which is why I’m behind on my Squishy photos. It’ll be fixed soon, I hope!

Squishy’s Arrival & a bit of (unrelated) Stupidity


I had every intention of just telling the story of Squishy’s arrival, but I feel I need to own up to being monumentally stupid at times…if anyone asks, I’m blaming baby brain, okay?!

Last night I sent a text message to a friend, asking when she wanted to meet up. This morning she replied saying we’d already made plans for tomorrow afternoon. Doh! That’s not it though…that’s just a little added daftness I’m throwing in for free.

Fast forward to 2pm this afternoon and I’m waiting for her to arrive.

2.30pm – I’m getting annoyed.

3pm – I’m really upset now. I decide to send her a text asking where the hell she is. But before I send the message I read the old message…& notice the crucial word; ‘tomorrow’.

3.05pm – I’m trying to sink into the sofa in shame. How I managed to read it & assume she meant today, I don’t know, but I felt ridiculously stupid.

So this evening I decided to bake a cake to cheer myself up.


Yep, that’s a crater in the middle of my cake! I am usually quite good at baking, honestly, but apparently not today! The obvious next step was to hack it to bits & cover it in icing.

It’s a teddy bear…an alien teddy bear…a lilac alien teddy bear!

Meh, whatever it is it tasted pretty good & led to the line; ‘you don’t need to cut it, you can just pull the ears off’, which made me laugh! The end result of the cake was that I’m cheered up, so it did its job!

I haven’t left much time to write about Squishy’s arrival into the world, so I’ll keep it short and to the point (like the birth actually!):

  • One hour 50 minutes from start to baby.
  • One hour 20 minutes from my waters breaking.
  • About 25 minutes in established labour.
  • She surprised us all by being breech.
  • She arrived as the midwife walked through the front door – so technically ‘born before arrival’.
  • My bestest friend ever caught her (having arrived less than 5 minutes earlier) on her own daughter’s birthday, & is named on my notes as delivering her.
  • My best friend told us we’d had a boy (but realised her mistake a couple of minutes later!).
  • The birth pool went back unused as we didn’t have time to fill it.
  • The third stage took an annoying hour & a half – much harder work than just having the baby!.

And today is her 2 month birthday!

First Post & an Announcement Already!


So…the crucial first post!

This is going to be a post in two parts because this blog has been 2 years in the making…yep 2 years ago we bought the url & I’ve been waiting for my husband to get it all set up ever since then.

He’s been very busy.

VERY busy!

At the beginning of the year he insisted he would get it done within a few weeks, so I sat down and excitedly wrote the about me page and this first post…which is now, obviously, ridiculously out of date! But I’m going to let it stand as the first post, and bring things up to date with my second post. I’ve had to update the Who Am I? page already as otherwise I’d just be outright lying to you, & I don’t want to do that!

So here’s the original post:

I’m going to start by making an announcement…I’m pregnant! This won’t exactly come as a surprise to anyone who knows me or has seen me in the last few months – I’m huge. My loving husband affectionately refers to me as a beached whale…my official due date is in about a week, but I’m definitely at the ready to pop stage. I even think we’re prepared for the birth and the prospect of a little newborn baby.

The dining table has been moved to the back of the dining room and has been replaced by the birth pool. The table itself has been piled with towels, snacks and other bits & bobs for the birth as well as an outfit and nappy for the baby. My house is as tidy as it ever gets and we’ve even managed to find a couple of drawers for the baby’s clothes and nappies. So now we just need the baby to arrive to complete the picture…preferably before it all gets messed up again!

Apart from growing fatter, I’ve had a busy few months making Christmas presents for everyone followed by new baby gifts for the first babies of 2010. I’ve also managed to make a taggie blanket and a couple of oddly shaped hats (not on purpose!) for my own new baby. I’ve now run out of steam…I know I should probably be making the most of these last few days as who knows how much time I’ll have to make anything once the bump makes its appearance, but I’m already exhausted and finding it impossible to sleep, so I can’t be bothered!


Obviously I was so exhausted that I gave up at that point as that’s all I wrote. As that was written at the end of January, & it’s now April, I’m sure you can guess that I’ve had the baby!

Here she is at about 12 hours old:

I’ll tell you a bit more about her dramatic arrival in my next post…

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