Month: February 2014

How it began..

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I’d been on the pill since I was 14, more for regulation than pregnancy prevention, and had always been ”regular’. However, in 2008 my periods stopped for 6 months and every month I would do a pregnancy test just in case! I carried on taking the pill as usual but I eventually went to question why it was happening. My local Well Woman Clinic nurse told me that it sometimes happens, not to worry and that they would just start again of their own accord – even though there was no obvious reason for it.

So, when I missed a period in September 2013 and had a negative pregnancy test, I didn’t think anything of it. The same happened again each month; I did my last pregnancy test on 22nd December 2013, another negative response and assumed it was 2008 all over again, until I found a lump in my right breast. I immediately panicked, thought the worst and even put that down as the reason for me not getting my periods. The earliest I could get in to see the doctor was 8th January, even after explaining on the phone the nature of the appointment.

The day of the appointment comes round and I’m called in. I explain everything as above and the first thing he asks me to do is to take a pregnancy test, and in between doing it and getting the result we’d wait for the female chaperone. At this point, he was just wanting to rule things out, so I complied and thought absolutely nothing of it. I remember he set a timer on his iPhone so he would know when the test was ready to give us the results, and I was 1000% sure I knew what the result would be – negative of course. Wrong.

pregnancy_test_positive

He turned to me slowly and said ”Um.. yeah.. well.. this is positive. That’ll explain the lump”. The chaperone knocked on the door, popped her head in and he promptly sent her away saying that we’d gotten to the root of the issue. I was in complete and utter shock. Everything had been against us even if we were trying for a baby! I wasn’t getting my periods AND I was still taking the pill. Now I had the task of telling my other half not really knowing how he would react. First, I had to get through a whole day of work!

When I got to work I sat at my desk as normal, but would find myself snapping back to reality after I’d obviously been day dreaming. I wasn’t alright, I just kept wondering how it happened, what we were going to do and how or if we would cope. We had only been together just shy of a year. I got home that day and took a leftover pregnancy test thinking the doctor was definitely wrong. In fact, it was me who was wrong. I got straight into bed, clothes and all thinking that if I went to sleep, I’d wake up and people would be laughing and telling me it was all a big joke. Just as I was about to drift off, my other half walked through the door. Shit. I really was going to have to tell him.

He asked how the doctors appointment had gone as I hadn’t texted him all day. I told him it was ”erm.. interesting”. I just couldn’t tell him, so I buried my face in the pillow and hid under the duvet. Eventually, after him asking me repeatedly to tell him what was going on, I reluctantly peeked up from behind the duvet and just came out with it.

I’m pregnant.

Keep your eyes out for my next post, ‘How it ended..’!

J

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The long car journey.. with a baby!

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It’s sometimes bad enough going down the road with a baby in the car, so how would you fancy a nice long 15 hour drive with one? No? Thought you might say that.

Let me tell you, it’s easier than you think. After recently getting back from the annual skiing holiday, I can honestly say I was relieved that the car journey was over, because I was the one who was most uncomfortable. With a sleepy eyed partner for a passenger, and a sleeping baby in the back, I think I was the only one bothered about getting home quickly; those two couldn’t have been more.. asleep.

Toby suffered a little going up the mountain
Toby suffered a little going up the mountain

We didn’t really have a choice when it came to our choice of travelling. It was either “pay £600+ per person for a 1 hour 10 minute flight” or ”get in the car and drive it” – bloody half term prices.

The best thing you can do is try and stick with your baby’s routine. We left quite late in the afternoon so that we’d only have to stop for one last bottle before “bed time”; that way we hoped he might sleep for the biggest part of the journey, which he did after only waking up a couple of times. Luckily, with only an hour difference in France, it was easy to get him on French time, then back to English time.

Keep a stock of bottles to hand. We prepped all of ours in advance as we normally would and just dispensed the formula into the water as and when he was normally due a feed. Keep a handful of dummies in the front with you. You don’t want to be unplugging your seatbelt for half of the journey to go on a hunt for a dummy in baby Narnia (aka – the carseat). I mean, how many places can one dummy go?

Make sure your baby is comfortable. Don’t smother them with blankets, because your car will get warm quickly. We dressed Toby in a vest and baby grow for the journey, I certainly wouldn’t bother with cute chinos and a top. But if like us, you’re going somewhere cold, make sure you keep a coat (or something equally as warm) unpacked in the car with a hat so, when you eventually get out, they’re not freezing! We also put the wedge back in our car seat so that Toby was in a more horizontal position, rather than being crunched in two, which genuinely helped massively when it was time for sleeping!

Get a rear seat mirror and kill two birds with one stone. Babies are fascinated with faces, and what better way to keep them entertained than looking at their own. Secondly, it offers you the chance to keep an eye on your baby while you’re driving. Just attach it to the headrest in the back where their car seat is and adjust your rear view.

You don’t need to take a million and one toys like other websites say you do. We attached some flexi rings to the car seat, a colourful crinkly book, Sophie the giraffe and his taggy blanket. We did however, pack some other toys for when we were in the apartment for him to play with, as well as his Jumperoo.

You can always take a sledge!
You can always take a sledge!

A change of scenery does wonders for your baby as well as you. A long drive can be boring, and after looking at tarmac for 15 hours, you just need to look at something else. We made a few stops on the way there at some service stations. A stretch of the legs and hot chocolate for you, and a bum change, bottle and stretch for your baby.

I’m pretty sure if we do it again next year, it won’t be so easy with an almost 18 month old!

What are your best tips for a long car journey?

J

Poorly babies

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Sorry there hasn’t been a blog post for a while, but the whole house had caught the dreaded ‘lurgy’. I am currently spending the days and nights smelling of ‘Eau du Vapour Rub’, surrounded by snotty tissues and sounding like a man.

My other half and I both had stomach flu last week and luckily Toby didn’t have that, but he did catch a cold and has now given it to us. Who says you have to appreciate and love everything your kids give to you, eh?

It’s been a bit of a mare really. It’s his first time being unwell, he doesn’t know what to do with himself, and quite frankly, we weren’t sure what to do with him either! How do you get snot out of your baby’s nose? At 1.30am on the second night, we were a bit desperate and so resorted to the internet. Let me tell you what doesn’t work; blowing up one of your baby’s nostrils, so the snot comes out of the other. It just irritates them even more. So, how can you help them?

If their noses are blocked, they may find it difficult to eat as well as they usually would. Feed them little and often and continue to offer them a drink (if your baby is over 4 months, you could try them with some cooled, boiled water) to keep them hydrated.

We decided to go to our local pharmacy to try and get a bulb syringe, to help clear the endless torrent of mucous that was coming out of his little nose. They didn’t have them and so suggested that we use a nasal saline spray as this would help to “dry it up”. In my opinion, it didn’t make that much of a difference. I ended up buying an ”NUK nasal aspirator” from Boots. Now, they’re not the easiest things to use, just because babies don’t want to keep still and have something shoved up their nose, but it does work. Should your little one really detest it, there’s no surer sign of love than sucking it our yourself!

Snotty baby life savers!
Snotty baby life savers!

The next thing I would recommend is “Snuffle Babe”. The equivalent of our “Vick”, I absolutely love the smell of this and it works wonders. Rub a bit on baby’s chest and soles of their feet (I’m told it helps), and if your baby has one, I always rub any excess on their comforter or muslin. If you don’t want to put it directly on or near your baby, dissolve some in some boiling water and leave it to steam in their room (out of reach, please!).

I would also advise that you slightly tip their cot. We placed books under the feet at one end and this helped no end with helping Toby to breathe a bit better.

Lastly, colds aren’t that serious, but if your baby does develop a temperature, please keep an eye on it. Depending on the age of your baby you could either give them ‘Calpol’ or ‘Calprofen’ to bring it down. This might even help to settle them a bit.

Please remember that colds aren’t curable, we can help to ease their discomfort though. If your baby is under 3 months old, it’s always worth getting them checked over by a doctor, even if you think it is just a cold.

When they’re a bit older, it’s easier for them to be ill; they can tell you where and what hurts, if they feel sick and what they want. In the meantime, babies can only cry and you’ll just have to guess like the rest of us.. I guess.

 

Baby routines

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‘Baby’ and ‘routine’ in the same sentence together is likely to provoke instant venom amongst some of you, while others will whole heartedly agree that getting your baby into a routine is best. So should routines be implemented from the off, or not?

I honestly believe they should. So why get your baby into a routine in the first place? Well, I think it’s common sense. Surely it’s crucial to establish a mutual schedule so you both know (more, or less) what’s coming next. In the beginning, a baby’s needs are minimal; eating, sleeping and playing. It’s hard as a first time mum to work out what each cry means, and if you’re leaving it to chance you’ll end up going through every possibility before actually getting the right one.

Creating that balance from day one practically eliminates all need for guesswork. You and your baby will both be happier and know what to expect next. This further allows for you to plan your days out when you’re ready to venture outside. You’ll know when your baby is due to feed (although this can be slightly harder when breastfeeding – I just worked out where I could go in public but still be discreet about it) and due to nap. Secondly, anybody who wants to help out with babysitting won’t have to guess either. You’ll be able to give them (roughly) a time when your baby is due to eat, sleep or want to be entertained.

When should you start getting your baby into a routine? Experts are often in disagreement, but I’m not really one for listening to them and tend to go with the flow. I’d say from day one – the sooner you get something established, the easier it will be. I breastfed exclusively for 6 weeks, and stopped completely somewhere around the 10 week mark. It was pretty hard at first considering breast-feeding is an ‘on-demand’ job but it did get easier – luckily for me the routine just fell into place. It also makes night times a dream. Our little one slept through from 11 weeks once we’d got him into a proper routine and he’d learned day from night. It’s amazing what good a bit of uninterrupted sleep can do for you!

Consistency is key for any routine, so stick with it. Babies tend to be so much happier when they don’t want anything, thus all focus can be on play time  and allowing them to explore the world around them happily!

What’s your baby routine? How quickly did it take for you to settle in first time round?

J

Who needs a birth plan anyway?

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Birth plans, or preferences as they’re now being called, are in my view.. pointless!

After being pregnant for what seemed like 9 years, rather than 9 months, I was ready for my “birth plan” to be put into practice. I knew exactly what I wanted, had run through it numerous times with my other half and I had even played it out in my head about exactly what would be happening.  It was going to be the most beautiful water birth, using only gas and air, pushing my baby out the natural way.

I was hell bent on having as few drugs as possible, no instrumental intervention and definitely no c-section.

How stupid was I? In hindsight, I can’t think of anybody I know who recently had a baby without any kind of massively invasive intervention, so what made me think my birth would go by without a hitch? Optimism? Naivety? A little bit of both?

I was already 2 days overdue when my waters broke (although that was after much debate between the midwives) and I actually went into labour. The drugs, unsurprisingly, got stronger as I went along; paracetamol, gas and air at the hospital, sent home with codeine then back to the hospital for more gas and air. How about a TENS machine? Oh go on then. Moving swiftly on to pethidine, and then eventually an epidural, or four. Unfortunately, you can already see the plan isn’t going well. After lots of people in and out checking my progress, the decision was made that, as I was fully dilated but completely exhausted, a caesarean would be the best way to deliver our baby as he was stuck with an unstable heart rate. Fortunately, he was able to be delivered safe and sound with forceps.

Looking back, and even now, I get so bitter that my birth didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to. It has, unfortunately, affected me in other ways which now means any further pregnancies will have to end in a caesarean. I can’t watch any programs involving birth without feeling really upset. Why do these women deserve to get the natural water births that they wanted? Could I have done something more, or less even?

If I’m fortunate enough to be blessed with another baby or two, then I will definitely be going in with my eyes wide open. I’m absolutely devastated that I won’t be able to try and do everything exactly how I wanted it, and even that I won’t really get the chance to do labour again – although some of you are probably thinking I’m mad.

My advice is, if you do have a birth plan/preference, the only way to be fully prepared is to accept that literally anything can happen, go with the flow and accept all the drugs they offer you!

What was your birth plan? How did your actual birth differ from what you expected?

J