I didn’t get my VBAC – ‘Resident Blogger’ Susanne

mummy and elsieResident Blogger Susanne did not have an easy time of her fourth pregnancy. Suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (severe pregnancy sickness) in the early weeks, she endured the uncertainty throughout the third trimester of whether her baby would have to be born prematurely due to IUGR, a condition fortunately picked up through the use of customised growth charts and extra scans.

IUGR, which stands for intra-uterine growth restriction, can be indicative of a problem with the placenta which prevents the baby from receiving the nutrition it needs, and is one of the biggest risk factors for stillbirth. Babies suffering from IUGR often have to be delivered early and can experience problems associated with being born very small.

Susanne’s emotions were further complicated by her desire for a VBAC, a vaginal birth after caesarean, which became less and less of an option as the pregnancy became more complicated. Having already undergone three previous sections, Susanne knew from the start it would not be an easy road. Here you can read about Susanne’s difficult journey, which happily culminated in the safe delivery of little Elsie Rose at 37 weeks.

Susanne blogs at www.ghostwritermummy.co.uk where you can read more about her experience with HG, IUGR and the subject of VBAC.

Back in May, I decided I wanted a VBAC. Since discovering I was pregnant, I always kind of knew this was what I wanted to do when it came to the birth. But I remember consciously making up my mind and speaking it aloud.

There.

It was out there. My intentions were known. No going back. I wanted a VBA3C. A vaginal birth after three c-sections. A ‘natural’ birth. A ‘normal’ birth.

susanne bump 20 weeksThis was met with mixed responses. Sensible responses from people such as my mother (“Just wait and see what happens. I’m sure it will work out the way you want it to in the end.”); positively positive responses (“Of course you can have a VBAC! Your body was made for it!”); horrified responses from people such as the first midwife I saw (“After three previous sections? There isn’t a doctor around who will support you in that!”); and vaguely amused responses (“Why would you want to do that? Don’t you know the risks?!”).

Yes. I knew the risks. I joined a Facebook group filled with women who advocate VBAC and natural birth. Women who were successfully getting their VBACs after 3, 4 and even 5 previous c-sections. I knew the risks of scar rupture existed, but I also knew they were very small. So I weighed it up and weighed on in.

In the group, lots of women speak of ‘not being allowed’ a VBAC, according to their doctors. These women routinely reply with the standard mantra

            Your body, your decision.

and it kind of stuck throughout my pregnancy. Whenever I was faced with the question over whether or not ‘they’ would let me birth my baby the way nature intended, I told them the same thing. This was MY body and MY choice.

My choice was to deliver my baby myself. To hold her against my skin moments later and to finally finally understand what it was all about when women spoke of feeling empowered, head over heels in love and like they could conquer the world. To be able to carry a baby to term and to deliver that baby without medication, medical assistance and sterile lighting. To do it the way my body wanted to. That was my choice.

Another regular line heard in the VBAC group came with birth announcements. Babies are born, eventually, after much discussion over how and when and with what interventions, and they are duly announced in the group. We are all waiting to hear. Did she get it? So the opening line of most announcements are either I got my VBAC! followed by wonderfully uplifting words of encouragement to the rest of us still waiting and hoping; or I didn’t get my VBAC but… usually followed by details of whether or not the surgeon ‘allowed’ skin to skin, or whether or not the lady laboured before the decision was made to perform a repeat c-section. So here is my announcement.

I didn’t get my VBAC.

BUT.

But I wanted to. I really, really wanted to. The decision was taken away early into my third trimester and to cut a long story short, my VBAC was pipped to the post by IUGR. Growth restriction meant my baby was too small for a ‘normal’ delivery. Growth restriction meant that my pregnancy had to end early, and a c-section was the only option since my body (scar) wouldn’t be able to handle an induction. Growth restriction meant my announcement in the group wasn’t written the way I’d intended it to be written back in May.

BUT.

elsie rose first 25 hoursBut I got my baby. And she is well. And we love her a lot. And that really does matter, but it is not ALL that matters.

It matters that I didn’t get my VBAC, because I went on a journey to get it. Self-acceptance. Self-awareness. Confidence. I actually, after all these years, believed I could do it. Birth my baby. Scans showed that she was head down, facing the right way and ready to go. During surgery I was told that there was practically no scar tissue at all after my 3 sections. My surgeon was amazed, and told me that my body was in perfect condition for carrying and delivering a baby. And, strangely, that was the nicest thing anyone ever said to me in a long time.

I didn’t get my VBAC but I got something else instead. I got to the end of that path and saw that I could do it.

Follow Susanne on Twitter @Ghostwritermumm

A look back over my pregnancy – ‘Resident Blogger’ Lindsay

RB pic - LindsayOn the eve of her induction, Resident Blogger Lindsay looks back on her pregnancy as she prepares to meet her little boy. I’m excited to be welcoming another new arrival to the BFB family!

Lindsay blogs at www.newcastlefamilylife.co.uk

It seems so long ago since I wrote my very first Blogs For Babies post introducing myself – I have just been so busy and lots has been going on pregnancy-wise since my last post when I was 31 weeks. I am now 38 weeks and I cannot believe I am now nearing the end of my pregnancy already, so I thought that I would write about a look back on my pregnancy.

I found out I was pregnant with baby number three all the way back in January when I was around 7-8 weeks pregnant, and it was a shock as I had only recently had surgery to remove my gallbladder and my youngest daughter Sophia was only seven months old.

I was really lucky that I sailed through the first trimester with no problems or sickness at all. I had my dating scan in February which showed I was 13 weeks pregnant and was given the due date of 26th August 2014. I was placed under consultant-led care due to my blood pressure being slightly high and having blood pressure problems in my first pregnancy, and it was decided that it was best for me to be put on the blood pressure medication labetalol to control things. I was also prescribed low-dose aspirin to try and prevent pre-eclampsia as I was at risk of this.

The second trimester flew by with no problems; we did not find out baby’s sex at the 20 week scan as it had its legs crossed but when I was 28 weeks I had a routine growth scan and we found out we were having a little boy. I was so shocked at this as I had been so sure we were having another little girl!

The third trimester has been a bit more difficult as baby has been measuring small on the growth scans I have been having throughout my pregnancy, which could be a side effect of the blood pressure medication I am taking. I also had to go into hospital to be monitored due to reduced fetal movements at 34 weeks but thankfully everything was fine.

I have also been so tired and had no energy at all which I had just put down to running around after a one year old and the heat – being pregnant during a heat wave is no fun at all. But I was diagnosed as having low iron and luckily iron tablets have made me feel normal again.

lindsay bump
Lindsay’s lovely bump!

Apart from those few niggles though I am feeling very lucky that I have had such an easy and enjoyable pregnancy. Obviously now I am nearing my due date I am getting uncomfortable, tired and hormonal but I really have loved every second of this pregnancy and I will be sad when it comes to an end.

It has been decided that due to me being on blood pressure medication the safest thing for me and baby is to induce me at 39 weeks so I am all booked in for an induction on Tuesday the 19th August – exactly one week before my due date.

I have mixed feelings about the induction; I am happy to go through with it as the doctors think it is for the best and all I want is a healthy baby. It will also be nice to not go overdue for once as I went overdue with both my girls and it’s not nice. I have also been induced before in my first pregnancy so I know what to expect. But I cannot help feeling nervous in case things do not go to plan and I need a c-section, or something goes wrong with baby, and also because I know from personal experience that induced labours hurt more then natural ones.

It seems so strange to think that this time next week I will definitely have had my baby; it seems like my whole pregnancy has flown over. But I cannot wait to meet our little boy and become a family of five. Look out for my birth story in the next few weeks and I look forward to sharing with everyone what life is like as a busy mum of three with two under two and a tweenager. Wish me luck – I think I am going to need it!

Follow Lindsay on Twitter @nefamilylife

Fame at last for the Daddy Smurf! – Rob George

Expectant first time dad Rob has been watching a bit of TV – and then saw himself on it! Well, a Tweet at least. How many of you like to watch ‘One Born’? Do you find it educational or are you just morbidly curious?! Or do you prefer to steer clear altogether? Let me know your thoughts @BlogsForBabies.

Rob blogs at www.daddysmurfdiary.blogspot.co.uk

tweetSome of you might have seen one of my Twitter ramblings was given national exposure last Thursday night during One Born Every Minute on 4Seven, one of Channel Four’s vast family of digital channels. To say I am still rather hyper about this is an understatement – I can’t believe many of you respond to my ramblings let alone a national broadcaster picking a tweet out to show during a programme!

My thanks for 4Seven for showing it during One Born Every Minute, a show which I am beginning to find really does polarise opinion. For every mum who enjoys it there seems to be one that rolls their eyes and dismisses at as nonsense or ‘not representative of what really happens’.

But isn’t that the case for all such programmes? Not many are going to show the calm delivery, controlled pushing and the joyous and peaceful moment the baby arrives – that isn’t ‘entertainment’.

No, you want to see the screaming, the silly comments, the much vaunted ‘back story’ – that drives the emotion which leads to more viewers and more ‘entertaining’ TV.

I will speak up for One Born though, since beginning to watch it I have seen a good selection of birth experiences, from the screamers and the ranters and ravers to the calm serene births. I think they do choose entertainment over real life but the selection of births they have screened is good. Remember they can only show the women who consent and want to be involved!

From our experience, Pam drew a lot of confidence from a couple of the ladies who stood up to deliver; seeing it happen can inspire a mum to be to believe they can do it themselves.

Programmes like One Born aren’t gospel – you take what you want out of it as a viewer. Whatever your opinion on it, surely that is a good thing?

Follow Rob on Twitter @DaddySmurfDiary

How I got my body back with a VBAC – Tarynn Playle

tarynn 1I’m excited to bring you a trans-Atlantic perspective on the VBAC from the lovely Tarynn, who lives in Seattle, and is a stay-at-home ‘mom’ to her three year old daughter, and her son who is one. Tarynn started writing down her experiences with her little ones to document her children’s development but has found it to also be great therapy.

Many of you will identify with Tarynn’s VBAC experience and the feelings she talks about will be familiar to those who have been through the same dilemma of whether to ‘try’ for a vaginal birth after caesarean.

Tarynn blogs at www.mamabyfire.com

Before my daughter was born, I had a birth plan. As well as a certain expectation. She would be born, drug-free, and we would be smitten from the moment our eyes met.

After 17 hours of hard back labour, I broke down and got an epidural. Five hours after that, I was taken in for an emergency c-section.

I was devastated and disappointed. I also felt robbed of the immediate connection I had been looking forward to. It took months for me to feel a genuine attachment to my lovely little lady.

When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I began to mentally prepare myself for another surgery. Then I heard about the possibility of having a Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC). I decided to find out what I could. I did plenty of research online, which was encouraging with success stories, but also riddled with not so successful stories.

So, a little tentative, I asked my midwife what she thought. She was helpful in that she gave me information and statistics, but she didn’t suggest I do one or the other.

I met with the OB that did my caesarean to see if he could give me any direction. He explained why I had to have the surgery in the first place (the cord was wrapped around her neck) and that it wasn’t likely to happen again. So I was considered a “good candidate” to “try” for a VBAC. (They say “try” for a VBAC, because if anything doesn’t go their way, you’re straight into surgery.)

It was nerve-wracking, but I decided to go for it.

Once I made the decision, I was surrounded by support.

At the hospital, during labour and delivery, you are always monitored no matter your circumstance. But with a VBAC, they monitor a bit more, and if you have a midwife, like me, there has to be an OB on call at all times. This is why they wanted to know ahead of time my intentions for this birth – so they can be prepared.

My due date was on the Fourth of July, and I was miserable. I could barely walk, had to pee every half hour, and I had the impending labour/delivery looming over my head.

I started having contractions the next day. It was a Friday and they were intermittent throughout the day. I wasn’t sure how to tell when I needed to go in because the first time around, my waters broke at home. That’s pretty much a no-brainer.

This time, I just waited through the contractions. By 9 pm, we finally went in because they were pretty close together.

I was only 4cm dilated, but they decided to keep me because the contractions were so consistent.

I always thought I had a high tolerance for pain. My first labour proved me otherwise, so this time, I planned on getting the epidural. I waited as long as I could, but got it a few hours in.

Unfortunately for me, the anaesthesiologist wasn’t successful the first time. Not entirely his fault – I have a severe curve in my spine, 96 degrees to be exact. So I can imagine he had his work cut out for him. Luckily, the second try took like a charm and I was able to get some rest.

At 5 am, I got to start pushing. I was surprised at how much work it was! It was difficult to tell if I was doing any pushing at all because of the epidural, but I had encouraging midwifery staff rooting me on.

My husband was there the entire time as well. It’s a humbling experience when your husband and a few strangers are staring at your nether regions for five hours.

That’s how long I had to push. Five hours. Every time I had a contraction, I would push and he would start to crown….then back in. Out a little, then right back in. The midwife offered me a mirror to see, and I politely (I hope) declined. I know it was an amazing miracle that was taking place, but I was a wreck and I didn’t want to add to that by seeing what my husband had been staring at for hours.

My midwife played it cool, but I think she was a little concerned at how long it was taking. She finally sought out the on-call OB. He played a very important role in the birth of my son. A few roles, actually.

tarynn 2First, he pulled him out. It took about another hour of contractions and pulling during each one. Then, all of a sudden, as if it was nothing, my son was out, and immediately placed on my chest.

There is no other feeling like it. The intense bond, the incredible love. It was overwhelming.

His right hand was on his left cheek the entire time I was in labour, which is why it took so long. He was also 9lbs 15oz. One tiny ounce away from being 10lbs. If they had known he was that big, they would not have let me “try” for my VBAC.

This leads me to the other major role the doctor played. It took him over an hour to stitch me up. I kept my eye on the clock because I was impatiently waiting to hold my son again. So different from my first birth. I loved my daughter with everything I had, but I did not want to hold her after she was born.

This birth was empowering. I had no control the first time, my body was out of my hands. This time, I felt I had regained a part of myself that I had lost.

Don’t get me wrong. I love c-sections. Surgery saved my daughter and me, and they save thousands of others daily. If it was necessary for me to get another one, I would have.

But I didn’t have to, and for that, I am grateful.

Follow Tarynn on Twitter @mamabyfire

Lessons for parenthood – Rob George

RB pic - RobIn his latest post, Rob has been along to an NCT antenatal class with his other half Pam to learn all about breastfeeding – and has a terrifying realisation about the limitations of nappies.

Rob blogs at www.daddysmurfdiary.blogspot.co.uk

BOOBS, nipples and poo filled my Saturday morning yet it’s still almost six weeks until J graces us with his presence.

Yes, it was time for the breastfeeding session of the NCT antenatal classes and yet again what an eye opener for this rather dense dad-to-be. I started the sessions thinking I knew a fair bit, well OK, just enough education to perform my duties, but turns out I am a complete newbie.

Again the teacher was lovely – breastfeeding consultant Alison Needham was a delight; very passionate about her subject but not one-eyed enough to suggest the mums-to-be would be murdering their child slowly if they didn’t breastfeed! She breastfed her three sons and is very knowledgeable about the subject but has a great way in walking mums-to-be through the process, breaking down what clearly is an emotional rollercoaster for mums desperate to breastfeed and also desperate not to ‘fail’.

We learned a lot about the stages of breast milk from the colostrum to the proper milk and she walked us through a typical day, using cue cards at relevant times. One of the cards mentioned unexpected visitors who want to be waited on hand and foot – let me tell you now any visitor in the first month who expects that will be pointed to the kitchen themselves!

Now, I am going to get dirty…not in the way you are all thinking, you mucky pups!

See, one of the cards also said ‘Matthew’ (the imaginary baby used in this day) had done a poo and it had gone ‘all up his back’. This was quite a shock; I know the brown stuff is going to be catastrophically smelly but did think from the adverts for nappies any explosion would be contained – clearly not! I clearly need more preparation in that area!

After a short break, us dads got together to discuss certain situations which all just need a little common sense approach but it’s good to hear we are all pretty much in the same boat.

We were then treated to a video about breastfeeding; again I never quite knew how a baby actually did it but I do now! I would say it was far more useful for Pam than for me but certainly opened my eyes and that is never a bad thing. Thanks to Alison for her time and expertise.

One more session to go then apparently we will be ‘ready’ for parenthood – eeek!

Follow Rob on Twitter @DaddySmurfDiary

Emergency vs elective caesarean – Ali Shattock

RB pic - AliIn a brilliant post, the wonderful Ali shares the birth stories of her two children Harley and Lola – a tale of two caesareans. After finding herself in a potentially dangerous situation in her first labour, Harley was born via emergency c-section safe and well. Ali was then faced with the dilemma that many women have in a second pregnancy – to attempt a VBAC or opt for the elective c-section.

We’d be interested to hear your experience of c-sections – have you had a VBAC or more than one caesarean? How did you feel about making those decisions? What influenced your choices, and did you feel you had one? Get in touch on Twitter @BlogsForBabies or via our contact form if you’ve got a story to share.

Ali blogs at mylifemylove.com

when harley met lola
When Harley met Lola

I often get asked about the labour and delivery that I experienced with both my babies. In truth, both experiences were so completely different even though I had a caesarean section for both of them; the only difference being that one was an emergency and the other elective. So I thought I would share my experience of both, for expectant mums.

At just over 40 weeks, I felt my waters break; well it was more of a trickle but I was pretty sure that this was the moment! I rang the maternity unit and was told to go down, only to be sent home again because they said that my waters hadn’t broken yet. I thought that I was going mad because I kept having the sensation that everyone talks about – when your waters break, you can’t stop it like you can if you’re going for a wee. The next day it was exactly the same, so I went to the maternity hospital again. This time they agreed with me and kept me in.

I started having contractions through the night but the minute my husband arrived in the morning, everything stopped. I was later induced. Before I knew it, I was 5cm dilated and was asked if I wanted an epidural. At that point I wasn’t in any real pain so couldn’t decide whether to have one or not. In the end I took it, as it was offered. I didn’t want to regret it later on when it might have been too late to have one.

Labour lasted 16 hours. I remember watching the Big Brother final on TV and topping up the epidural whilst my husband slept on the floor! Despite being rather drawn out, everything had gone to plan so far but the turning point was when I had my final assessment. The midwife who had been with us throughout the whole labour was due to end shifts. She swapped over with another midwife and a student midwife.

I was told after the examination that I was fully dilated however the student disagreed and felt that I was still only at 9cm. The experienced midwife overruled this and so I pushed for an hour. But sadly nothing was happening and I was getting so tired. The doctor was called and was very disturbed to see that I was not fully dilated and should not have been pushing at all. It was similar to pushing my baby against a brick wall! He then said that I would need an emergency section to prevent further distress to baby. I distinctly remember begging them not to send me home or to make me wait for the op!! The doctor humoured me and said it would have to happen right now.

baby harley
Harley

Luke was ushered out and changed into his scrubs and I was wheeled into the operating room. By this point I was so unbelievably tired and pumped with drugs that I remember drifting in and out of sleep on the table. It was precisely 8 minutes from the start of the operation to getting Harley out. I remember Luke and I holding our breath until we heard his first cry. Harley needed a little bit of oxygen but other than that he was a happy 8lb 9oz baby boy.

I lost 2 litres of blood but fortunately, I didn’t need a blood transfusion and I felt really well. For me, the hardest part about it being an emergency section was that I wasn’t allowed to hold Harley. Luke took him into another room. Even now it breaks my heart that I missed that first cuddle, that first skin to skin contact.

My recovery from the operation was remarkably very quick. Within 5 days, I had no pain at all and we were going for a short walk around the local park. I could move around as normal and wondered why on earth I wasn’t allowed to drive for the next 6 weeks as I felt so well. In hindsight, I now know that I was simply incredibly lucky, as recovery from my second caesarean was not nearly so easy.

For my second pregnancy I was offered a section if I wanted it because of what happened last time. I was actually very surprised that I was offered one and that it took me many weeks to decide what I wanted to do. I weighed up both options as I had done similarly with my sister who was in the same boat, a few months previously.

As much as I wanted a natural birth this time, the memory of last time didn’t leave me. All I could think about was the mistake that the midwife made and the harm that it could have caused my baby. I didn’t want to run the risk of that happening again. Equally, because my recovery from the operation was so quick, that was also leaning me towards choosing an elective.

There was part of me that was expecting the hospital consultants to sway me towards choosing a natural birth but they understood my experience of last time was very traumatic. They assured me that a planned section would be completely different from an emergency, inevitably in a good way.

So I was booked in for the day after my due date. Because Harley was a week late, I never thought that my daughter was ever going to come early – if she had we would have crossed that bridge when we came to it!

So I was given some tablets to take at set times the night before and on the morning of the op and by 7.30am I was down the hospital ‘checking in’.

There were 3 other mums in the ward with me booked in for the same day and it was lovely to see us all so calm. I had an underlying nervous anticipation but ultimately I was excited. My excitement turned quickly to nerves when I was told that out of all of us, I was going to go into theatre first and that I should get changed into my gown.

It was so unbelievably different, walking into theatre as opposed to be being rushed there on a bed. This time, I made the mistake of scanning the room and seeing all of the equipment and the many people in the room with us. It was all a blur last time and I was completely unaware of what or who was around me.

I was so nervous when the anaesthetist put the needle into my back but I remembered the position I needed to get into from last time. I remembered the hideously cold spray which was sprayed up my body to see where the spinal block was working. It took all of my efforts last time, to concentrate about feeling the spray, but this time it was much calmer, I think I was actually smiling. The anaesthetist was fantastic, both times. She stood by my head and talked me through every stage.

baby lola
Lola

Whereas with Harley it took 8 minutes for him to enter the world, everything was much longer this time and it was 43 minutes for Lola to make her appearance. (My bladder was stuck to my uterus so a surgeon had to come in to separate them, which is why it took a little longer than it should have; it didn’t help that he wore a massive mask with ‘Splatter Shield’ written on it – nobody needs to see that!!).

This time, I was holding my beautiful 7lb 12oz bundle while I was being stitched back up. It was so lovely to have that moment that I had lost with Harley.

I lost less blood this time, so I wasn’t in the High Dependency Unit afterwards. However, my recovery once home took much, much longer. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t enjoy my baby because it was too painful to move. I was frustrated that I had to rely on my husband to do everything. I was frustrated with myself for not healing as well as I did last time. I had expected too much of myself. It was a good 3 weeks before I started to feel comfortable sleeping and moving around. All of this was simply due to having a second section and the surgeons having to cut through previous scar tissue.

harley and lola bath
First baths at home!

We don’t plan to have any more children, but if I was in the situation again, I wouldn’t think twice about have an elective caesarean again. I took comfort in it being planned and having a ‘date’; it was calm; it was reassuring; I knew everything that was happening.

They came into the world via the same route but in very different circumstances. Both are beautiful, in my eyes.

Follow Ali on Twitter @aliandlucky

Our tour of the delivery suite – Rob George

RB pic - RobThe traditional tour of the maternity unit is standard practice for most expectant parents these days. It is the chance to familiarise yourself with the facilities before you see them in a whirlwind of contractions and heightened emotion – and it’s a good time to ask any burning questions you might have about pain relief options, using the birthing pools, or where the vending machines are for a 4am mid-labour chocolate fix.

Join first-time dad-to-be Rob as he takes a tour of his local delivery suite, where it’s all a little too quiet.

Rob blogs at www.daddysmurfdiary.blogspot.co.uk

We visited the Worcestershire Royal for a tour of the delivery suite – something which I initially thought might be a bit of a waste of time. I mean, you don’t look at the dentists where you will have the root canal, nor look at the theatre you will have an operation, so why look where you will have your baby? It will have a bed and all the gubbins you see on programmes like One Born Every Minute so why visit?

Well, how wrong was I? What a lovely afternoon, and how reassuring it was to see the layout of the place where J will breathe his first breath. The lovely midwife Dawn had eight couples on her hands including Pam and I but was thoughtful and relaxed as she took us round the delivery suite.

First stop was the birthing pool suite; Worcestershire Royal only has one birthing pool suite but wowzer, how deep is the pool?! It’s the depth of a swimming pool – I can totally see why mums love it now as it must be like taking the world’s biggest bath! There are blow up pools though and each delivery room has an en-suite so any water-based pain relief can be taken care of.

We were taken round the whole delivery suite, including a glimpse into the theatre which was not in use when we visited. Although I hope our journey doesn’t end in c-section, it could, and more power to the midwives at Worcestershire Royal for tackling the fear head on. I hope it calmed the nerves of some. A tour around antenatal followed and I have to say the facilities were first class and an ideal way for us to welcome J into the world.

A huge thanks to Dawn and the team on the day. When she was asked why it was rather quiet despite eight of the nine delivery rooms being ‘in use’ she responded: “I don’t think any are at the stage where they are making much noise yet”. I suspect things might have got louder when we left!

Follow Rob on Twitter @DaddySmurfDiary

Let me introduce myself – ‘Resident Blogger’ Lindsay

RB pic - LindsayPlease welcome Lindsay, one of our brand new Resident Bloggers. Lindsay is blogging her way through her third pregnancy, a little boy due at the end of August. Here she introduces herself so that you might get to know her a little better.

Lindsay blogs at www.newcastlefamilylife.co.uk

Hello, I am Lindsay and I am delighted to be a Blogs for Babies Resident Blogger as I am a bit a lot baby and pregnancy obsessed at the moment – not in a weird stalker kind of way; just in a pregnant mum kind of way.

Anyway, let me introduce myself properly instead of rambling on like a mad woman. I am 30 years old and I live in the north east of England, just north of Newcastle. I am fairly new to blogging as I have only been doing it a few months and I still have a lot to learn but I love it; the blogging community is so lovely. I live with my partner Lee who works full time for a well-known Newcastle based company (hint – they sell sausage rolls and pasties). I have two girls – Chloe, who is 11 years old (yes, I was a teenage mum – it was hard work), and Sophia, who has just turned one. I am also currently 31 weeks pregnant with baby number three – a little boy who is due at the end of August 2014.

This has been my easiest pregnancy so far but it has also been my most complicated, as I am suffering from pregnancy induced high blood pressure. I am on medication for this which could be making baby rather small, so I have to have lots of extra scans and appointments with my consultant and community midwife as I am also at risk of pre-eclampsia. Thankfully, so far everything is going well and baby is healthy and happy.

I am currently a stay at home mum as I left my job earlier this year when my maternity leave ended, as the cost of childcare for two children was just so expensive! I know that I am very lucky to be a stay at home mum but I am finding it strange not working. I used to work as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities and mental health problems in the community. This basically meant I took them on days out and to college, and helped them learn to live independently. It was hard work at times; sometimes you would get tables thrown at you and attacked, but it was also so rewarding and I hope to return to it one day.

In my spare time I enjoy family days out, going for meals, meeting up with my friends on the rare chance that I get to. I used to love reading and going to concerts and travelling but that’s out the window now for the foreseeable future, and it’s more like a read of Peppa Pig, a trip to Haven and a Union J concert . But I don’t mind as I really love being a mum. Sometimes it can be hard work and lonely; you never get a day off or have time to yourself. As for nights out with your friends and designer shoes, ha, you can forget them as all your time and money goes on your children, and you worry about your children nonstop however old they are – I worry about the 11 year old more then the 1 year old.

But I wouldn’t change any of it for the world as it truly is amazing being a mum, watching your children grow and learn and be happy is worth all the sleepless nights and temper tantrums. And I really love being pregnant, feeling a little person that I made wriggling around inside me wondering what he will be like and what he will look like. It truly is magical and so exciting and such a special time in life. I cannot wait to share the rest of my pregnancy journey with Blogs For Babies as we become a family of five.

Follow Lindsay on Twitter @nefamilylife

Ready for Baby C – Hannah Clarke

hannah clarke 3The lovely Hannah wrote one of our first posts on Blogs For Babies back when she was 22 weeks pregnant. Now at 36 weeks, she fills us in on how her pregnancy has progressed as she gets closer to D-Day!

Hannah blogs at www.buddingsmiles.co.uk

My first Blogs for Babies post covered a bit of background about me and the story of my pregnancy up to 22 weeks. Well, I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant so felt an update was due as really, Baby C could appear any time over the next 6 (please make it 4!) weeks!

hannah clarke 1Midway through my second trimester when I last wrote, the feeling wonderful phase continued for several more weeks. At 27 weeks and 4 days I stood and walked my way around London in the blazing sunshine, cheering on my darling husband who was running the marathon. The very next morning, at 4am, we then set off on a plane to Paris. You can read about both of these wonderful but exhausting events on my blog, but suffice to say we were both exhausted! It was such a proud time, seeing Phil run the marathon, we had a great weekend and he did so well.

hannah clarke 2Paris was tiring, but so much fun and we managed to see and do pretty much everything we wanted to. In both cities, we got around on foot or public transport and I am so happy to report that I was offered a seat on EVERY train, metro and bus that we went on, without exception. I would never have asked for a seat unless I was really struggling, but I was touched by the fact that the situation never even arose. In a time when we often moan about society and manners, it’s lovely to have had such a positive experience.

Baby C was pretty worn out by all the travelling and had a quiet couple of days in Paris. I noticed the slight reduction in movement so made a point of spending an evening relaxing and the moment I got into the bath those wriggles and kicks started again with Baby C’s usual excitement! I wouldn’t say I worried when I noticed the reduction, because I knew part of it was likely to be that I’d been so busy I had probably missed a lot of movement even though it had in fact been there. I had my maternity notes with me and if my bath and relaxing evening hadn’t have worked, I wouldn’t have hesitated to new ambassador logoseek advice. I’ve become an Ambassador for the fantastic MAMA Academy and one of the key things we promote is #MyPositivePregnancy, which involves being confident to know your baby’s movements and when to seek medical advice. It’s so, so important for women to feel empowered enough to contact a midwife if they feel something is even slightly wrong, because this is your unborn child’s health and life and a Mummy is the one and only person in the entire world who can tell if there is a change.

By the time we got home I was 28+1 and the busy week was certainly taking its toll. I spent all of Easter Saturday making a 3-tier Hummingbird Bakery Carrot Cake (recipe on my blog) so by Easter Sunday I was exhausted! Around this time, things started to get a bit tricky at work too. My job as a Work Related Learning Trainer in a special needs school means being out and about for 4-6 hours of the day, Monday to Friday, with only a 30 minute lunch break in the middle. Between work placements with the students on nature reserves, in supermarkets and in the local university, I was also on my feet a lot and this started to cause issues with my hips and pelvis.

My husband did 2 out of the 3 hours of our daily drive, which I really appreciated as sometimes just lifting my foot on the pedals would cause quite a lot of pain. My aqua yoga classes were, and remain, absolutely amazing in helping me to relax and loosen my achey joints a little bit. Being specifically for pregnancy, the teacher knows exactly what we can do without causing ourselves issues and I’ve also met some wonderful friends whose children Baby C will grow up with.

As the weeks wore on I was struggling to sleep at night due to hip pains, heartburn and all the usual pregnancy joys! At my 31 week midwife appointment, I explained what my job entailed, including the commute, and that I wasn’t sleeping well. My midwife was not happy that I’d been doing so much and immediately got my GP to sign me off. The following Monday, at 31+5, I went into work and handed the note in, feeling incredibly awful as I did so!

I wrote a post about self confidence in pregnancy last week and a lot of the need to write that came from the manner in which I ended up finishing work. I’d prepared myself, my students and the work placements for a specific date on which I would leave and I was riddled with guilt and – in my mind – giving in two weeks before that date came around. I told myself that it wasn’t my fault a replacement hadn’t been hired, as this had caused some issues with regards me not being able to relinquish any responsibilities, but still I felt that I had let my students down.

The first week or two were really tough; I also then had some major emergency repairs which came up on a rented property we own, so they needed sorted (and paying for) immediately, then in the same week we found out that my Nan had received funding and would be going into care the very next week. All of those things piled up in my mind and I struggled to pull myself together.

A change came at about 33-34 weeks when I met up with some friends, went out on a brilliant date night with my husband and got the nursery painted. It felt so positive and really helped to lift my spirits.

hannah clarke 4As I said, I’m now 36 weeks and I feel like I’m in a really good place. As of last week, Baby C was 1/5 engaged and I’ve had a constant pressure with some pains very low down so I’m really positive that he/she is staying head down now ready to make a grand entrance into Mummy and Daddy’s life. Walking is interesting at times with Baby C being so low, but I really don’t mind because it means we’re on track ready for labour, whenever that may happen! My blood pressure is nice and low, my bloods all look fine and I’ve even had a few nights in a row when I’ve slept through – Bonus!

I’ve written a third trimester round-up, which will be followed by weekly updates until Baby C arrives, so please do pay me a visit and keep your fingers crossed for me that we don’t go too over and have a nice, natural labour! Whatever happens though, I’m so excited to know that it really won’t be long until Phil and I meet our son or daughter, it’s a wonderful time and one to be treasured.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to introducing Baby C to you very soon when he or she has a name and isn’t just ‘he or she’ anymore!

Follow Hannah on Twitter @BuddingSmiles