8 things I wish I knew would happen postpartum

Before Olivia was born, I didn’t give very much thought to what would happen postpartum. The extent of my worrying into that period was limited to my mental health, as I was already suffering from antenatal depression. But, actually, there are a lot of things that I wish I had known about what I would experience in the days and weeks postpartum. Warning, some of them are gross, but childbirth is gross so I’m not apologising!

1. The first poo
Sorry to start off on possibly the most cringeworthy one, but holy mother of Christ… the first poo is a bitch. I tried to go for days. Days of needing it but not being able to get it out… it’s such a glorious and magical time… not.
A friend of mine who has just qualified as a midwife and was training at the time recommended that I try Lactulose (a liquid laxative). Hey, presto! It worked! But it takes a few days to kick in – so if you’re expecting, get some in the house ready for when you need it!
2. The first wee
I promise these aren’t all toilet related…
You may or may not know that you will be expected to produce a certain amount of wee in a bowl and present it to your midwives. However, if you’ve just been stitched up down there, and even if you haven’t, it bloody stings! So for your first wee, I recommend sitting on the toilet backwards and leaning forwards over the tank so as to angle the wee away from your very sore lady parts.
3.  You’ll be expected to leave the hospital ASAP
It’s no secret that the nhs are in crisis and need beds to be available, but sometimes it can seem like the midwives are simply trying to discharge you as quickly as possible. It didn’t make a huge difference to me either way as I wanted to go home the following day, but if you are struggling with any aspect of your postpartum physical or mental wellbeing, breastfeeding or your newborn’s health, then STAY IN THAT BED! Don’t move until you get help from someone. They cannot kick you out before you’re ready (unless you’re obviously taking the piss), so make sure you’re comfortable to leave those hospital walls because once you do, assistance is that little bit further away.
4. Don’t wash your hair
Thankfully after giving birth, my midwife could tell how much pain I was in and I was still pretty weak and shaky from throwing up throughout my labour. So she, being a wonderful kind soul, gave me personal wash down so that I didn’t have to go and brave a bath just yet. That being said, I did take a shower the next morning… and I washed my hair… with shampoo. Am I an idiot? I’d like to think I’m not, but it was pretty stupid to think that as I washed the shampoo out, I would form a magical protective bubble around my vagina that would prevent any shampoo going near my stitches… Think again!!!!!
5. Maxi dresses are your best friend
I wish I’d had more, because that first week, at least, postpartum, is so painful downstairs that you need to have absolutely no pressure on the area. A maxi dress will also conceal the hairy legs you’re 100% not going to shave and is just the most comfy thing that you can possibly wear after just giving birth.
6. Stock up on maternity pads/mats
For the car journey home from hospital I had to borrow maternity mats from the ward to put on the seat of the car. I say borrow… I didn’t give them back, don’t worry! I hadn’t even considered that. Even more shockingly – I hadn’t even considered that I might need them for when my waters broke on the way into hospital! They didn’t (they broke over a midwife’s hand instead), but it is still a possibility and you really don’t want to be cleaning that out of your car when you’ve got a newborn.
7. You will need separate bags
I don’t think I was quite realistic about the hospital stay. I assumed my birth plan would be totally accurate and so only packed one outfit for me, far too many for Olivia and absolutely nothing whatsoever for Jamie. Obviously, he then had to leave me with Olivia’s godmother in the hospital while he went home for provisions. Put whatever you want in your bags, but do pack separate ones for each of you!
8. Finally, it will go too quickly
All of the pain you feel and the sleep exhaustion will make the days and nights seem never-ending. But I promise you this, I wish I had known that it flies by in what feels like a blink. I don’t even remember my baby as a baby – she is a completely different child in both appearance and personality. I’d give anything to go back to having my tiny Olivia again and at the same time I love the way she is now (except the tantrums). For all of the stress, emotion and being so physically and mentally drained, it is worth it, and you’ll realise that all of those people who really pissed you off by saying that in your last weeks of pregnancy we’re absolutely right.

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Foetal Distress… Where my labour went wrong

I was in slow labour for a solid 2 weeks. I’d had 2 sweeps and I remember so vividly on New Year’s Day going into hospital for a midwife to say, “something is definitely happening, you’re 2cm now rather than 1.” Woohoo! One whole cm in a week, I thought to myself… I practically sulked in the car on the way home.

The next day, things picked up, so we went back up to the hospital. This time I was told; “okay, you’re 3cm. I don’t want to send you home as I can see your contractions are really picking up, but I really need either your waters to go or for you to be 4cm, can you try walking for me and we can get things going”, Despite being booked to be induced the next day on my due date…I became a woman on a mission.

After some lunges, walks and a bumpy car ride the midwife checked me again. “Yep, you’re 4cm…and….there go your waters, you’re in labour”… HALLELUJAH.

I remember looking at the midwife and saying “HA, you can’t send me home now!” The poor midwife, she had suffered enough with my waters going all over her hand, let alone me sassing her.

My labour progressed surprisingly quickly from then. I had pethidine and gas and air in labour, I slept pretty much most of it once I had pethidine, I would wake up, have a contraction, make some sort of moo-ing noise while using gas and air then go back to sleep. When I was around 9cm I remember my midwife just staring at the contraction monitor. Throughout the labour she had been coming in, checking the monitor and going again…but this time she wasn’t, she was staying in the room with me for longer and she looked concerned. There was an elephant in the room for sure (and that wasn’t in reference to the size of heavily pregnant me)!

“Is everything okay?” I heard my mother in-law at the time ask my midwife, Emily. Emily smiled sweetly and said, “I’m just going to get another midwife to check something, Amy can you just roll onto your right side for me, Baby isn’t liking how you’re laying.” Another midwife came in and looked at the monitor with Emily and it was very hushed and secretive, but I remember so clearly her saying, “yep, you’re right it’s classic…,” completing the sentence by gesturing her hands around her throat to mimic strangulation. Alarm bells were ringing in my head.

“Amy, we’re just going to fast bleep the doctor. Baby is having something called lates.

Lates – Emily explained that during a contraction, a baby’s heart rate can drop, but it’s expected to pick up pretty quickly afterwards…except my little boy’s wasn’t. It was staying at about 50-60 bpm for a little longer than it should have (nearly half of what it should be). The doctor arrived promptly and again the hushed tones were talking and one of the sisters mentioned an emergency C-section but the doctor shook her head and said, “she’s 10cm, let’s look at another option, this isn’t cord around the neck, this is foetal distress.

Foetal Distress- An uncommon complication of labour which is when the baby isn’t receiving enough oxygen.

“Amy, your baby is in distress. Now, we need to get him out as soon as possible, ideally. His heart rate isn’t picking up – you’re 10cm now so I would like to do an assisted delivery if that’s okay?” I nodded. “Just do whatever needs to be done,” I shouted, mid-contraction. My bladder was full and had to be emptied via catheter during my contractions, too – lush, eh?

“Okay Amy, what will happen is I will attach this to baby’s head and as you push, I will pull.”

I was ready to go. The pushing was a military operation.

“Okay, you did really well then. I want you to grasp your breath ready for the next contraction…I can see it’s building…1,2,3 Push!” The Doctor said. “Chin to chest, that’s it Amy, PUSH,” the sister said holding my hand.

I was tiring quickly, but every minute that passed my baby boy was getting more and more distressed. “Amy, I can see his head,” Oliver’s dad cried out. I remember throwing my head back saying, “I can’t do this”.  The Senior midwife took my hand and placed it on my baby boy’s head (which I still to this day think was super gross). “Amy, that is your baby’s head, you are so nearly there. Now come on and push,” she ordered.

The maternity assistant patted my head down with a cool flannel (it might have been wet paper towel to be completely honest) but at 00:32, the room went silent. “Happy Birthday to you little man,” I heard the doctor say. “Amy, he’s beautiful,” another midwife added. I couldn’t see Oliver at this point, nor could I hear him crying. “Why can’t I hear him cry?” I asked, with an underlying tone of panic to my voice. “No, no, no he’s fine Amy. He’s perfect,”my mother-in law added. I didn’t get to hold Oliver straight away due to me needing a lot of stitches and Oliver needed checking over where he was in distress for so long.

The sister wanted to take the gas and air off of me while I was stitched, but I think the doctor saw how scared I was (either that or she did a real job on me with my episiotomy ) because she let me keep the gas and air while I was stitched. Of course, my problems continued, my placenta wasn’t delivering naturally. They gave me an injection to try and hurry it along, but alas…No placenta, the doctor grew concerned as my blood pressure started to drop rather quickly and placentas need to be out once baby is out. So she decided to remove it manually, which was probably more painful than the actual labour, but she was sweet and still let me keep the gas and air while she did this. Once my placenta was delivered I finally got to hold my baby boy, but only for a short while. The sister insisted I had a bath she had ran for me…Which was one of my less relaxing baths to say the least.

My labour started smoothly but towards the end became a bit traumatic, but I urge new mums to be not to be afraid, every womans labour is different so please don’t be scared and try to embrace what will be the most…unique experience of your life.

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A daddy’s view on postpartum mental illness…

Hello everyone! I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog recently as my gorgeous husband is back from Afghanistan for a very short 12 days.

But… making the most of him being back in the UK (currently in partially cloudy Clacton), I’ve roped him into doing an interview in what I hope will be the first of many in the Daddykind Corner segment of our blog!
So we’ll consider this a trial run on a topic for our usual #MentalHealthMonday posts…
 

What do you remember about your two girls being born?

 
Apart from them being 6 years apart? With Kiera I was being asked every two minutes if I was going to cry. I’d just got back from Afghanistan and that was when 3 guys from my regiment had just been killed. Kiera’s nan was annoying me, asking if I was going to cry, and made a comment about me reading the newspaper story about my friends who had died in Afghanistan. She was very overbearing.
With Olivia, I remember playing Cotton Eye Joe at 6am while Sarah was in labour, cancelling the cinema trip to see Alice in Wonderland with Kiera. We had an Irish midwife saying it didn’t hurt Sarah that much as she wasn’t that far along, so I started thinking how is she going to cope when it starts to really hurt? Then we moved upstairs to a room where Sarah wouldn’t allow anyone to turn on the air con, so I was really sweating out. I had bad B O thanks to that, so didn’t get skin to skin with Olivia.
How did you feel once the babies were out into the big wide world?
 
When Kiera was born I laughed nervously – it was real then. It was quite daunting because I was a dad for the first time. I had Kiera on my lap, slumped over, and I didn’t know if I could move her or if I would break her neck – she looked so delicate. She looked around and I gave her a bottle while her mum had her c-section stitched up.
I didn’t feel daunted by Olivia being born. I knew I was a good dad.
 
Was there any difference to you between baby number 1 and baby number 2?
 
Because of having Kiera when I was younger, I felt more confident having Olivia when I was older. I thought that, if Olivia was like Kiera, this was going to be easy. I was worried before having Olivia that I wouldn’t be able to love a second child as much as I loved Kiera.
 
What did you know about postnatal depression?
 
Not a lot. In hindsight, I think Kiera’s mum had it after she gave birth but she didn’t get it treated, unless she did after I went back to Afghanistan. I thought maybe she did when I spoke to my friend about his wife having PND. The stuff he was saying was very similar to what she was doing at the time.
I had more of an understanding when it came to Sarah but I wouldn’t say I knew what was going on.
How did antenatal classes prepare you for what was coming?
 
They didn’t, really. How can they?
What postnatal mental illnesses have you heard of?
 
Only PND.
Did you know how to support your partner through PND or other mental illnesses?
 
No, but I’m a positive person. I tried to infect Sarah with bits of my positivity (unsuccessfully). I still didn’t understand what she was going through but I don’t think I ever will unless I suffer with a mental illness myself.
What do you think could help men and boys to understand mental illnesses and to create more awareness?
 
I think mental health is getting a lot of publicity and awareness now anyway. The mentality of telling someone to “man up” is rife in society. I don’t think we can change that now – it’s a generational thing. If we started with getting depression talked about at a young age it will hopefully, as children grow up, start to remove that stigma.
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Breastfeeding avoidance – The mental block

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So as mums, before our babies are even born we’re flooded with questions: “Are you planning on breastfeeding?”, “You know breast is best”… it’s almost as if people are making our feeding choices for us. I wanted to breastfeed from day one, I wanted to have that bond and be able to create my baby boy’s food. When my son was about a month old we faced our first hurdle – yep, he was tongue tied, but, as Sarah posted previously, you can still breastfeed with a tongue tie.

The next hurdle came when Oliver was about a month and a half. I wasn’t producing enough milk to keep up with his feeds, despite drinking water and trying all of the other myths, nothing was making me produce milk like a dairy cow, so we decided to try combination feeding (a balance of breast milk and formula).

As my mental health deteriorated, I found myself surrounded by anxiety towards breastfeeding… I was doubting everything I had been doing since Oliver had been born. I’m holding him wrong. This isn’t working, I’m not good enough. Oliver was still crying during his feeds and I now recognise that this is because he was picking up on my anxiety.

It’s no surprise that 20% of new mums suffer from mental health illnesses within the first year of their child’s birth, with the amount of pressure new mums receive, especially first time mums. As I found my mental health deteriorating I could feel myself becoming more and more reluctant to breastfeed. I would dread it when Oliver would cry for a feed and at some points would find myself crying. I couldn’t bear to do it anymore and found myself saying something I never wanted to: “Just give him a bottle.” 

I would then beat myself up for hours on end. What was wrong with me? I wanted to breastfeed but couldn’t bring myself to. I would sit in a daze as my son cried for a feed. I could hear the people around me telling me he needed a feed but I couldn’t bring myself to feed him unless it was a bottle. I became scared to breastfeed, I would become paranoid that my milk wasn’t enough for him and he wouldn’t get anything. Gradually, between this and the tongue tie, it was no surprise that my supply dropped rather quickly.

I sought comfort in a mum & baby group on Facebook and one lady commented: “sounds like breastfeeding avoidance, I suffered it with 2 out of 3 of my children, speak to your health visitor.”   

When I took Oliver to the clinic to be weighed, I mentioned it… Though I didn’t get a very helpful reply. I was simply told, “well he’s a good weight so you must be doing something right.” It took some explaining and a few tears but we had a breakthrough – she mentioned breastfeeding avoidance isn’t a diagnosis, it’s more a symptom, but she didn’t seem too concerned as Oliver was a healthy weight and seemed happy.

My breastfeeding avoidance became so critical at one point that I let myself become so engorged and was crying in discomfort. I didn’t want to do anything, I didn’t want to look at my breasts, I didn’t want anyone to help me I just wanted to close my eyes, wake up and for my time of breastfeeding to be over.

But then it was over. And it was over too quickly, by the time I came to terms with my breast feeding avoidance, it was too late. My boy was formula fed and my milk had dried up and my window of opportunity to breastfeed was gone and my boy was showing no interest in me for food anymore. I sat and admired family members feeding my son a bottle… he seemed so content. “He doesn’t know the difference,” a family member tried to reassure me, but he could tell the difference. I could tell the difference, the one thing that was meant to help us bond, I pushed away and let my mental health come between. Still to this day, I regret letting my mental health control my ability to breastfeed, however I had no say in the matter, and should I have more children in the future (unlikely but a possibility nonetheless), I know what to expect and will not let my mental health affect the matter.

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Diastasis Recti 101

Aah, the mum tum. The pooch. The overhang. While the post-baby jelly belly is something most mums expect to encounter to some extent, fixing it isn’t always as straightforward as you might first imagine. It took nine months for your tummy to get that big, so it’ll take at least nine months to fix it, right?

But what if it doesn’t shrink? What if you still look 4 months pregnant months (or even years) after delivery, and nothing you do seems to be shifting the baby weight?

You might be amongst the 60% of mums who have a Diastasis Recti

From a medical perspective, (according to the Mayo Clinic):
“During pregnancy, the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen. This can cause the two large parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen to separate — a condition called diastasis recti or diastasis recti abdominis.”

These muscles form part of a wall of muscle that holds the uterus, intestines and other organs in place and lends support to the pelvic floor. Typically, the gap will go back to normal around 8 weeks postpartum.  However, the gap sometimes does not close on it’s own, which can cause a number of health issues (not to mention leaving you perpetually frustrated at your stubborn tum).

Signs you may have a Diastasis Recti include: 

  • lower back pain
  • constipation
  • bloating
  • poor posture
  • incontinence that lasts for more than eight weeks postpartum (separated abs can cause issues with your pelvic floor)
  • a pooch or bulge in the middle of the stomach
  • dome like bulge in the stomach when coughing or getting up from lying down

Before you start to panic, it’s not all doom and gloom. Below is a list to help you check yourself for a diastasis, and what to do if you think you have one.

Checking for a diastasis

  1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, knees together and bent.
  2. Raise your head and shoulders off the floor so that you can see your tummy.
  3. Place your hand flat on your stomach, fingers pointing towards your toes.
  4. Try and feel for the gap between the muscles above and below your belly button. You might feel them squeezing your fingers tightly. You might not. That’s ok too.
  5. Note how many finger widths you can fit in the gap, and how high up your torso that measurement is. You may find your diastasis is larger at the bottom than the top, or vice versa.

Typically a diastasis recti is measured as 1 finger width = 1cm. Therefore, if your diastasis is 3 finger widths, it is 3cm wide. If you feel a gap wider than 2cm, you have a diastasis. A gap wider than 4-5cm wide is considered severe.

What to do if you think you have a diastasis recti

If you’ve found that you have a diastasis, it is more than possible to improve it. The best way to do this is to get guidance from a physiotherapist, who can advise you on the best exercises to do to close the gap. In the meantime, here’s a list of things to avoid:

  • traditional crunches, sit ups and planks, as these can increase intra-abdominal pressure and actually make the gap worse by putting too much strain on the muscles, effectively pulling the gap wider rather than closing it.
  • holding baby on one hip, if it is painful
  • coughing without supporting the ab muscles
  • lifting or carrying heavy loads

Alternatively, there are many diastasis recti repair exercises on youtube, which you may like to follow along to. Just be careful you don’t put too much pressure on your stomach, as this can delay your healing and even make the condition worse.

Last but not least, if exercises from your physical therapist fail to improve your condition, surgery is always an option, however this should be a last resort, and always discussed fully with your medical team.

Needless to say, if you’re experiencing any physical difficulties postpartum (be it months or years) you should always speak to a medical professional about your concerns. While having a Diastasis Recti can be a pain (both literally and figuratively), it can be improved over time.

You’ve got this, mama.

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Colic, Reflux and Wind… Oh my!

Ah colic, every parent’s worst nightmare. I still have flashbacks to this day. I was a super lucky parent with Oliver getting both reflux and colic – lush, huh? I remember at around 5pm every night we would all look at each other and give each other a mutual nod; that was the time his colic and reflux would start to pipe up, and we would almost start preparing in advance. Cooled boiled water, muslins and infacol at the ready. Right on cue at 5pm my baby boy would start getting upset, we all took turns trying to comfort him and help him.

So the NHS describes colic as: the name for excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy. It’s a common problem that affects up to one in five babies…

As a new parent I had no idea what colic was, I was out of my depth. All I knew was that my little pumpkin wasn’t happy and I didn’t know why. Fortunately  at the time, we lived with Oliver’s grandparents (his dad’s mum and dad) who were amazing with colic. We called them the baby whisperers because all his grandad would have to do was place Oliver on his shoulder and he would settle, despite the many minutes I had spent bouncing, rocking and shhh-ing Oliver, meanwhile during this time Oliver’s Nonna would make me a cup of tea and we would prepare to tag in…and honestly I don’t know how we would have made it through the colic phase without their help. As time went on his colic got more severe, resulting in 111 sending an emergency ambulance at 4am one night because his screaming was so intense.

The paramedic was so lovely, understanding and empathetic as soon as he came in the atmosphere changed, the first words he said was, “oooh that sounds like a grumpy baby, let’s see what’s going on” he examined Oliver and comforted us; “you did the right thing calling, I do think it is colic, maybe a bit of reflux, prehaps take him to his GP tomorrow and see what they advise.”

From that moment on I was a woman on a mission. We started baby massage, cranial osteopathy and took him to the GP. Baby massage was perfect, I felt so close to Oliver at the class and it was fascinating to see him learning the cues for massage and it was something everyone could do at home with Oliver. Cranial osteopathy was an interesting one, I was intrigued as my mother in-law at the time said it helped for Oliver’s dad. At the first appointment, we talked about Oliver’s birth and the osteopath had a theory that his traumatic birth could have been a big contribution to his colic/reflux now. He taught us some things we could do at home to help with his colic spells, and one thing which seemed most effective was the “tiger in the tree” holding pose which was a godsend! We just simply laid Oliver across our arm face down and rubbed and patted his back which helped massively.

However, a few months in and Oliver’s colic was back with a vengeance – none of the normal tricks were working, so the health visitor advised we went to the doctor. The doctor prescribed him infant gaviscon which did work, however it also caused some constipation for my little boy so
we were advised to give him more cooled boiled water to help.

I remember Oliver was such a “pukey” baby. I’ve said previously in a post how much Oliver would throw up over Sarah, her carpet and her sofas, though it wasn’t just Sarah! We pre-warned anyone who would hold Oliver and insisted they used a muslin, I almost felt like I needed to do a terms and conditions speech “we will not be liable for any puke-age on your clothes or personal belongings as you are holding the said infant at your own risk.”

All in all, I 100% think colic/reflux/wind is the most terrifying thing any new parent will experience… after all surely it can’t be normal for an innocent baby to scream so damn much?! Well, turns out in a warped kind of way it is. If, however, you find yourself awake at 4am at breaking point, praying your child will settle there are a few things that helped me:

  1. Message your mummy-friends; chances are they’ve been there or are currently there, and even if they don’t read it until the morning you’ll feel better for getting it off your chest.
  2. Skin to Skin with your baby – Oliver took a lot of comfort from being on my chest and it really helped calm him.
  3. Infacol/colic granules – ABSOLUTE HEROS, the granules are what Sarah actually recommended to me when I was at breaking point one night.
  4. Cranial osteopathy/Baby massage – Even if you are unable to get to a baby massage class there are tutorials on the internet.
  5. Look at cry-sis who are an amazing support line for any parents who have a crying and sleepless baby, offering support and advice for any exhausted parent.
But, lastly, parents around the world, know this when you’re awake at any unholy hour questioning everything in the world. Your baby loves you, you are doing all you can and…this will pass.

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Mental Health Monday: Dealing with your past demons as a new mother…

Personally, I’ve suffered with depression since the ripe old age of 12. Back then, it got really, really bad. I tried to end my life twice, and ended up in a mental hospital… so, of course, when I began noticing the same signs in myself of depression during my pregnancy, you can imagine the fears and anxieties that went with it.

I’ve previously talked about how to recognise antenatal depression, and I truly think that, had I not been depressed throughout my adolescent years, I wouldn’t have recognised it in myself while I was pregnant.

There can be so many things that trigger depression or any other mental illness, but for me it was a multitude of past demons that were resurfacing. They were resurfacing because, very soon, I was going to be a mother myself, and that was the most terrifying thought of all.

Not because I didn’t want to be a mum – I’d always wanted children. I grew up with 4 younger siblings (2 of whom I raised in part) and from the age of about 9 I had known what my children’s names would be, because, OBVIOUSLY, I was going to have twin girls (Lily and Olivia – I got one at least) and a boy (Henry). I had it all planned out.

But nothing goes to plan.

Instead, by surprise, I was pregnant in my final year of university, and had to deal with that pregnancy completely alone except for a couple of very amazing and supportive housemates. By the time that my pregnancy was nearing the 7 month mark, I had essay deadlines looming and was about to move back to Kent to prepare to have my baby, and become a mum. It was what I’d wanted so why did I feel so incredibly anxious about it?

It may sound cliche… but I was so petrified of turning into my mum. Of being the type of person that could cut her children out of her life as and when she pleased, or the type of person that would prioritise her vanity and her boyfriends over her children’s wellbeing. I came out of those 15 and a half years living with her so emotionally damaged, and I was terrified that my own daughter would feel the same way. I didn’t want to lose my baby before I even had her, and I felt like it was an unchangeable fate that she would end up hating me.

Those feelings of inadequacy before I had even given birth to my daughter were so difficult to overcome, but I did overcome them. It took counselling, peer support, regular GP visits, medication, and a round of CBT for me to get to the point that I am at now. I’ve felt the ups, downs and in betweens, and I still feel them, but the downs are becoming fewer and farther between.

No matter what demons there are in your past, they won’t stop you from being a good mother. It took me a long time to come to that realisation, and I have tried so hard with everything that I am to be the complete opposite of the woman that my mother is.

I have tried so hard to give Olivia everything she deserves and more – everything I deserved as a child but never thought I was worthy of. All I can hope for is that it will be enough, and as long as I’ve put my all into being the best mum I can be, then I’m sure that it will be more than enough.

Mix It Up Linky

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Sarah’s Birth Story – How We Met

Dear Olivia,

It’s 4:30am on a Saturday and I’ve just woken up with pains in my abdomen. I had been having false labour contractions for about three weeks prior to that (you were exactly a week late) so I wasn’t too quick to wake up daddy and tell him that I thought it was for real this time. Instead I went downstairs, used the toilet, bounced on my birthing ball and put on the nightie that I wanted to go to the hospital in.

I was timing the contractions and seemed to be having them about every 7 minutes, and they weren’t too painful at that point.

At about 5:30am I ran a bath. In the run up to having you I was adamant that I desperately wanted a water birth, and thought that the warm water would soothe the pain from the contractions. I got in the bath for all of about 5 minutes before deciding that it was actually irritating me and I didn’t want to be in water at all!

It’s now 6am, contractions are speeding up a bit, once every 5 or 6 minutes and getting a bit more painful. I decided to go and wake Daddy up. Now Daddy is not a morning person, as you will learn, and we had a late night staying up and watching films with Kiera, so I had about 3 hours sleep and Daddy had about 5. Needless to say Daddy was a bit grumpy at first, but he got up quickly, made me a cup of tea and looked after me while I rang the midwife. He also put on the music channel, and for some unknown reason I was listening to Cotton-Eyed Joe and bouncing on my birthing ball at 6 in the morning.

At about 6:30am I started being sick and there was a bit of blood in it too, so Daddy rang the midwife again and they told us to come in as they weren’t that busy anyway. So Daddy went and woke Kiera up and got her dressed. We got into the car and Kiera was crying, you see, we’d booked tickets to watch the new Alice in Wonderland and she was upset that she couldn’t go! You were so inconvenient.

We dropped Kiera off at her mummy’s and by about 8am we made it to the hospital. Between about 8:30 and 9am the midwife came in and asked if I wanted to use the birthing pool, to which I responded with my bath story, and then checked me over and told me I was 3cm dilated, and then my waters broke all over her hand and the bed and everything! Oh great! We thought we would be in for a long while yet.

I got hooked up to the tens machine and Daddy was rubbing my back (though the wrong end, the blithering idiot) and all of a sudden it was too much and too painful and the midwife came in to tell me that as I had a long way to go I should get transferred upstairs to the labour ward for an epidural, and I gave in and agreed to have a bloody huge needle in my spine.

But here comes the twist…

The times become less accurate here because of gas and air (bloody good stuff btw) but roughly an hour later I had another examination upstairs and I was 8cm dilated!!!! Oh, and the anaesthetist was dealing with an emergency c section so no epidural for me! You were coming too quickly and about an hour later again I was being told to push.

Uh oh, there’s another twist…

You got stuck!

I was pushing for about an hour and a half, my legs flatteringly up in stirrups and about 6 people at the end of the bed, Daddy next to me with a straw and a cup of water and the room being like the tropics to everyone else as I shouted at a health worker not to turn the air con on!

I convinced the doctor that I needed help, and so more people came in wielding forceps before they changed their minds and used a kiwi cup instead. They asked Daddy if he wanted to watch but he said no as he knew I didn’t want him to see all the gross stuff. Then with 2 or 3 pushes you were out, and up on my tummy. I said “oh my god” and Daddy laughed. Then he cut the cord and you were moved further up my chest so we could have skin to skin.

It was perfect for a few seconds until I started being sick again and had to have someone put you in the crib as I was shaking so much from the adrenaline and the gas and air comedown!

Once the atmosphere had settled I cried, more out of guilt of having someone move you as I couldn’t hold you straight away after you came out, and I asked Daddy and the midwife if you were okay. You were fine, sleeping peacefully as if nothing had even happened.

I asked if I was just being a blind mother or if you really were that beautiful. And you are. You’re more beautiful than anyone on the planet and I love you so much.

So there you have it, that is how you arrived at 13:06 on your birthday weighing 3.9kg/8lbs 9.5oz.

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What ingredients to avoid in Baby Formulas

Every parent wants to give the very best available to their child, and this usually starts with the big decision of which formula you should feed your baby. We all know that breast milk is the absolute best for newborns until 6 months old, but sometimes, due to many different reasons we cannot feed our baby fully on breast milk and need to add or substitute with Baby Formula.

In fact, most of the Mummykind mummies have experienced problems with breastfeeding, and we had to use formula despite our intentions to breastfeed!

Today Mummykind has a special contribution from Ylva Williams, co-owner of the Organic Baby Food Shop and mother of two, will share her experience.

Over to you, Ylva!

“When the first of our two daughters were born, due to low breast milk supply, we started to look infant formula to add to her diet! We had already read a lot on this topic and were honestly worried, to say the least, about the ingredients and production of formulas in the USA. During our investigations, we kept finding articles based on research that infant formula produced in Europe was of much better quality than the US-based infant formula, which includes ingredients that seemed almost poisonous to children. We strongly believe in only feeding our babies organic foods, so we were very surprised to see that even the so-called “organic” baby formulas produced and sold in the US contained very harmful ingredients such as: Sucrose (pure sugar), Genetically modified Soy, Synthetic Nutrients (which can contain very harmful chemicals) Dioxin (can cause cancer), GMO (can cause cancer and organ failure), and Melamine (can cause kidney failure in babies).”

 

“It seemed almost impossible to get an even organic formula that would not include at least one of the above-mentioned ingredients, which are practically poison for babies, within the USA. At this point we were desperate. Thankfully, we had a close family friend who lives in Germany come to the rescue. He was feeding his children Lebenswert and urged us to try it. When we researched Lebenswert, by a company called Holle, not only did their formula not include any of the ingredients we were not willing to feed our babies but also stood for Demeter Standards and environmental sustainability. Demeter standards exceed anything we know about organic farming. We were thrilled! We wanted to feed Lebenswert to our babies, but ran into another problem: It was not sold in the US. After a long online search, we ran into a few suppliers online, but who only sold formulas close to the expiration date, highly overpriced and provided poor service. However, this formula was so great and healthy that we had no other option. This was when we decided to go to Germany ourselves and meet with the Lebenswert manufacturer (Holle) in person to build up a great solution to share with families across the USA!”

 

Today, the Organic Baby Food Shop imports directly from Germany to our offices in Austin, Texas , Los Angeles, California, New Jersey / New York and personally check each shipment before it departs Germany, as well as when it arrives in Texas, California, and New Jersey, to ensure the best quality and freshness for your baby.

While nowadays it seems to be nearly impossible to completely avoid exposure to chemicals and toxins, we are what we eat! Limiting dangerous ingredients especially in the most important stage of your baby’s life is essential to ensure healthy growth and a happy healthy future life, as well as giving you peace of mind as a parent!

Thank you for reading and be sure to check out the Organic Baby Food Shop products!

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Mental Health Monday: Postnatal anxiety and me.

As a new mum, I thought that the anxiety of leaving your child, leaving the house with your child etc. was normal. What I didn’t realise was that not wanting to be alone with your child and having the constant fear that you would do something wrong and having your child taken away from you was not normal. This is how I felt 90% of the time and it completely ruined the bond I so badly wanted with my daughter. 90% of the time I’d be at somebody’s house, or out of the house with people around because I was scared of being alone with my daughter. Scared that something would happen and nobody would be around to help me. Or if I did something different to the mums at baby group, I would panic that I was doing it wrong and my daughter was going to taken into care because I didn’t know what I was doing.

I started to see this as abnormal when my daughter was around 4 or 5 months old. I saw other mums staying at home alone with their children and taking a different approach to parenting and wondered why they seemed okay with it but not me. I mean, this was normal right? Hmm… not so much. I went to see my GP who suggested I saw a therapist. So I agreed, reluctantly at first, to go to the first session and I was so bloody nervous. The anxiety had kicked in 100 times worse. What if I say something and they think I’m an unfit mother? What if I go there and they think Evie is unsafe with me? I could go on…Surprisingly, they were incredibly understanding and instead of judging, they listened. They listened to me ramble on about my worries, my fears and my goals. I was diagnosed with postnatal anxiety which, once explained to me, made perfect sense. I didn’t feel any less anxious after that session, but my thoughts were out there. Thoughts I hadn’t even told my partner about because I was scared of sounding crazy or stupid but I finally knew that I wasn’t either of those things.

I continued on with a therapist but this time, with CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy). Each week I would have a different thing to do e.g. messy play at home for 15 minutes, watching a TV show with Evie at home on my own etc. Slowly, I started to create that bond with her that I had been so desperate for and could cope with being alone with her. Don’t get me wrong, the anxiety still creeps about and springs up on me when I least expect it but the bond between me and Evie now is amazing. She genuinely is my best friend and I love spending mummy & daughter time with her! I wish I had known that postnatal anxiety was a thing sooner. You hear a lot about postnatal depression and postpartum psychosis during pregnancy but never the anxiety part. (Not in my pregnancy anyway). So please make sure you are familiar with the symptoms!

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression-and-perinatal-mental-health/perinatal-anxiety/#.WuegOKXTWJ0

https://www.panda.org.au/info-support/after-birth/symptoms-of-postnatal-anxiety-and-depression