Archive for the 'pregnancy' Category

Three Magpies or Four?


Remember the Magpie rhyme?
One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy.

Well, on the way to our 20 week scan, we didn’t see a single black & white birdie.
Big help.

I knew from the start that I wanted to find out the flavour.
Of course I was more concerned that my little space prawn was doing okay in there and that everything was ticking along as it should be.
And I honestly had absolutely no preference either way, I was 20 weeks pregnant with my first child, more excitable than 20 small children full of sugar on Christmas Eve – either way, pink or blue would have made me grin like a loony, really didn’t matter.
BUT, I did want to know.

1. I’m a neurotic control freak. I like lists, I like to plan. I like to be in the know.

2. I hated the idea of the sonographer knowing something I didn’t. It was MY baby, in MY belly, how would that be fair??!

3. I’m not really a fan of yellow.

The Daddy wasn’t 100% for finding out- one day he wanted to, next he didn’t, next he’d say it was up to me… not that it mattered – I was fully prepared to bully him with the whole it’s inside meeeee argument 😛
But I didn’t need to- the big day came, and we both wanted to know.

I lay there nervously – part scared and panicky (please let everything be okay, please let everything be okay), part inwardly squeeing & hoping the little prawn wouldn’t be hiding his or her modesty.
On went the jelly, out came the proddy thing.
And there was my baby.
I instantly welled up just like I had the first time and grabbed the Daddy’s hand.
The sonographer pointed out the spine, the feet, the heartbeat.
‘Is everything good’ I asked?
He said it all looked perfect, I breathed a sigh of relief.
I grinned at the Mr & he said ‘go on then!’

‘Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl??!’ I gushed
‘I know’, said Mr sonographer – a little too smugly for my liking.
‘Because we only want to know if you’re definitely sure.’ (told you I was a control freak!)
‘You’re having a boy.’
‘And you’re really really sure?’
‘Yes. If it’s a girl, she’s got the biggest testicles I’ve ever seen.’
Okay, pretty sure then.

The Mr & I grinned at oneanother, clutching our new baby pictures, gazing lovingly at our little boy.
It was like peeing on the stick all over again, our special little secret that only we knew.

Not that it lasted long – we were soon telling anyone that would listen about our blue bump, buying babygrows covered in monsters and robots, deliberating over the perfect name. So much fun.
And I loved that I could start calling the bump ‘him’. Every morning when he kicked me awake, I’d give him a rub & say ‘morning little dude!’.
When daddy left for work, he’d kiss the bump and say ‘Bye little Dude’.
Space Prawn was a prawn no more. he was our little dude, and we couldn’t wait to meet him.

And while I can absolutely understand why some people choose to wait, I’m still glad we didn’t.

Bumpy Fashionistas

I have a few friends expecting babies now, and I’m very flattered that each of them have come to me for advice on maternity fashion that doesn’t suck 🙂
(I don’t know much about politics, world affairs, geography or anything else in the realms of general knowledge, but I do know fashion. It is my vice & I love it :D)

So, I thought it’d be fun to do a post of all my preggo-fashionista tips…
(Please note, I’m by no means an expert – my only qualifications are that I’ve been there and done it myself!)

1. When you start to get bumpy, go through your wardrobe, bag up everything that doesn’t fit & put it somewhere safe. You won’t be wearing it for a while, and gazing lovingly at all your bump-unfriendly beauties as you’re expanding is just depressing! And be realistic – just because you can technically get into something, doesn’t mean it looks good – and keep in mind – you’re only going to get bigger!

2. As a rule, stuff worth keeping out for the duration includes: tunic tops, anything floaty & loose fitting, jersey dresses (they will hitch up at the front as your bump grows, but leggings are your friend – put a pair on underneath, and pretty stretchy dresses become long bump-flattering tops.), longer length vest tops, anything elasticated.

3. Get yourself a bump band or two. Or three. I LOVE them. Basically, it’s like a boob tube for your belly, and wearing one means you can continue wearing non-maternity tops, letting the bump band fill the gap between the bottom of your top & the top of your bottoms 😉
(They’re also really handy after the event – great for covering up the mummy tummy during breast feeding, and for a little extra support & confidence while you’re getting back in shape.)

4. When buying new stuff, be selective. Make a list of what you really need (A decent pair of jeans or two, the bare minimum in workwear {I made do with a skirt, a pair of trousers & a shift dress all in black, plus 2 tops}, 2 or 3 ‘going out’ tops & a few basic vests/tees should do you) , and set yourself a budget. (Do you really want to be blowing a fortune on a temporary wardrobe? No. Especially not with the most expensive little bundle you’ll ever meet on the way!)

5. To that end, don’t dismiss the wonder of ebay!
Do a search & you’ll find a whole bunch of lovely maternity wear – much bigger selection than in the shops, & a fraction of the price. And of course, as it’s previous owners will most likely only have worn it a handful of times, it’ll be in great condition too!

6. Explore the high street. Depending on what’s in style while your bun is in the oven, you might find you’re able to get away with wearing ‘normal’ clothes if you just buy a size or two bigger – particularly with tops & dresses. Failing that, most high street shops are starting to realise there’s money to be made from pregnant women – H&M (my personal favourite – and also my favourite place to go baby-clothes-shopping!), Dorothy Perkins, New Look and Topshop all carry a maternity range – most of which is adaptations of ‘regular’ styles. However, the maternity section in store is often very small, and very limited size-wise – annoying!! So, save yourself the hassle & check them out online instead. (You’re pregnant, you’re allowed to be lazy! :D)

7. Accessorise! If you’re struggling to find anything you like, get the absolute basics & pretty them up to your hearts content. Your growing bump won’t have any effect on the fit of fabulous jewellery, scarves, brooches, hats & bags. Phew.

8. Most importantly, love your bump. Embrace it. There’s no point trying to hide or disguise it under big baggy ill-fitting clothes – that’s a surefire way to make yourself look ‘fat’, and to feel frumpy & fedup.
Choose well fitting, belly skimming pieces, fabric that drapes & flatters your bump, and you’ll look & feel a million times better.
SMILE! Even if you’ve got miserable morning sickness & chronic backache, fake it! Keep telling yourself ‘only a few more months to go’, and focus on the fantastic little person growing inside rather than how you’re looking from the outside.

Love your bump & you’ll look like a gorgeous blooming yummy mummy in the making.

Because you are 🙂

So apparently, pain in labour is a good thing.

Or so says Dr Denis Walsh in this article in The Observer. (Brought to my attention by the lovely & equally outraged Sandy at Baby Baby – her blog is great, go have a peek!)

Yes, that’s Denis Walsh, as in a male of the species, so probably not all that experienced in the field of childbirth.
Ah, but he is “a senior midwife and associate professor in midwifery at Nottingham University”, so y’know, he has watched a lot of women give birth. Well that’s okay then. HA!!!

The good doctor claims that:
“A large number of women want to avoid pain. Some just don’t fancy the pain [of childbirth]. More women should be prepared to withstand pain. Pain in labour is a purposeful, useful thing, which has quite a number of benefits, such as preparing a mother for the responsibility of nurturing a newborn baby.”

He sounds great, doesn’t he?
DEFINITELY want him on hand in the delivery suite if I ever have a second.
So that I can punch him repeatedly in the head.

Seriously, what a lot of nonsense. (That’s not quite the words I used as I was reading, but I’m trying to be polite!)

Obviously, yes, a natural, drug-free labour is the ideal situation.
But we don’t live in an ideal world!!
And yes, I appreciate that in ‘the old days’, women had no choice but to grin & bear pushing their babies out drug-free – but doctors also used to amputate limbs with no pain relief – should we go back to doing that too Dr Walsh? No, thought not.
And let’s not forget, in the ‘old days’, all too many mum’s & babies tragically died in childbirth – we have the technology to avoid that now – why on earth would we go backwards?

The fact is, modern medicine is constantly evolving & presenting pregnant women with options and choices. And that’s just what they are – CHOICES. Which should be respected. If a woman chooses gas & air, an epidural or even an elective c-section, that is her choice, and she should definitely NOT be made to feel any ‘less of a woman’ because of it.

A pain-free birth may negatively impact your bond with your baby?
Doubtful.
A wretched little man spouting nonsense about pain as a ‘rite of passage’ & making you feel inadequate for accepting help?
I’d say that’s more likely to cause problems. But then what do I know, I have no medical training or qualifications, I’m only a new mum who’s actually had a child.

And incidentally, my own birth plan had ‘Natural’ plastered all over it.
I wanted to grin & bear it & do things the old fashioned way.
But in the end, I did have an epidural (after dilating only a cm in 14 hours & getting utterly exhausted), which failed, and resulted in me needing an emergency c-section. None of which was in anyway fun, or an ‘easy’ option.
I had nightmares about my birth for weeks afterwards, which were not at all fun either.
I did feel inadequate because I hadn’t given birth ‘properly’. Again, not fun, not easy.
But I got through it. And not once did it effect my bond with my son Dr Walsh, if anything, it made it stronger. So there goes that theory.

And the ‘rite of passage’ involved with becoming a mother, is certainly not the pain.

It’s carrying your baby for 9 months & dealing with all that goes with that.
It’s holding your tiny baby in your arms & promising to take care of him for the rest of your life.
It’s changing your first nappy.
It’s gushing over the first smile, the first steps, the first words.
It’s a million other things on a daily basis that are nothing to do with being in agony for however many hours.

Mothers are amazing. How we bring our babies into the world, is irrelevant. We’re clever, strong, adaptable, resiliant and feisty.
And there are a lot of us.
So you should maybe keep your head down for a while Dr Walsh, because we can get rather vocal when provoked too!

(Can’t help but wonder if Dr Walsh is married? My guess would be no. Or if he is, his dinner will be in the dog for sometime to follow.)

Okay, rant over 😀

setting the scene…

as i said in my first post, my little boy is actually 5 weeks old already, but for the sake of continuity (i’m a bit neurotic like that!), i wanted to share my ‘story so far’. so, here we go…

my little dude, or LD , or the noodle (on account of his being all long & wriggly!), arrived on April 20th 2009. but let’s rewind 9 months (41 weeks and 3 days actually – he kept me waiting!), and i’ll give you the readers digest version of my pregnancy.

the daddy and I had decided, after much discussion, that we wanted to take the plunge. we wanted a baby. so, i stopped popping pills and started taking daily folic acid supplements instead 🙂
we didn’t want to get all obsessed with the ‘right’ dates and all that stuff, so we just let down the defences (hahaha!), and carried on with the good stuff (:D).

in august 2008, i missed an important visit from mother nature – got myself a stick to wee on, and then got the doctor’s confirmation that yep, we were having a baby!
we were absolutley over the moon, and spent the next few weeks just grinning at eachother like loonies 🙂

we were fit to burst after a week, so gave in and told a few close friends – the temptation to share the news with anyone who’d listen was immense, but we resisted and managed to wait till about 10 weeks to ‘go public’.

that’s when i felt really pregnant – saying the words out loud to people felt bizaare, but brilliant. everyone was so pleased for us – and i’m sure it was mostly hormone-induced, but it was a really special & emotional time 🙂

i was very lucky – hardly any morning sickness, no swelling, no headaches – just an unquenchable craving for anything cheesey!! i was really impatient waiting for my bump – it felt like i was at that ‘just looking a bit chubby’ stage for years – hated it!! but, just as everyone warned me it would, time went very quickly, and before i knew it, i was the size of a planet & having trouble getting off the sofa without help! i loved it though. i really bonded with my bump, as did the daddy, and of course it was lovely to have everyone tell me i was blossoming and blooming and glowing! (though i really didn’t always believe them!!)
by the end, this was me & my bump:
SPT: 2nd April: the final countdown...
that feels like years ago now!

i really did enjoy being pregnant though – i loved the midwife appointments, hearing baby’s heartbeat, the scans (amazing!), shopping for baby goodies, antenatal classes, visiting the delivery suite – it was terrifying at times, but so exciting 🙂

admitidly though, i did get impatient at the end. i was convinced i was going to deliver on my due date. HA! not likely. a week & 3 days i spent eating spicey food, having lots of sex, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, taking hot baths, cold baths, long walks, short walks, bouncing on an exercise ball, you name it, i tried it – all for nothing!

finally, on Sunday afternoon, I felt a twinge. I remember thinking ‘wow, if that was a contraction, this is going to be a doddle’. silly sily me!!
by 11pm, they were hurting, but manageable.
by 4am, I was screaming the house down & my man decided it was time to go to hospital.

my labour was NOT what I had planned.
the birth plan page in my notes was full of hope for a natural, calm, straightforward delivery. fate had other ideas.
by the time i got to hospital, i was 5cm dilated, my contractions were about 5 minutes apart, and i was getting very very vocal!
i got in the bath, i moved around the suite, i tried lying down, standing up, bending over, nothing was comfortable 😦 i ended up in the birthing pool (which i had sworn against!) for about 4 hours.
when i was re-examined, i was 6cm dilated.
ONE centimetre, in about 6 hours. i was exhausted, i was in agony, and I decided to cut my losses & accepted an epidural.
which failed.
what happened after that, to be honest, is a complete blur to me, but in short, every contraction I had was causing mine & baby’s heartbeat to dip, so the doctor decided an emergency c-section was needed.
i remember feeling like i was in an episode of ER, there were doctors & nurses whizzing about all over the place, i was crying my eyes out, the daddy was trying (and failing) to keep me calm, it was incredibly traumatic, and I think I’ve probably blanked a lot of it out, basically though, it got so bad, that they wouldn’t even let me be awake during the op, & the daddy wasn’t allowed in the room.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up, feeling very dizzy, and the first thing I saw was my man, holding a tiny little baby. Our son.

It’s still hard for me to talk about, but I do feel sort of ‘conned’ at not being able to deliver naturally, especially after working so hard. I hate that I didn’t hear his first cry, and that his daddy didn’t get to cut the cord. But, I have to make myself look at the bigger picture. It didn’t happen the way I wanted it to, but the end result was the same – I have a gorgeous, healthy, baby boy.
And he’s the best thing in the world 😀

And there you have it.
April 20th, 09:35am, my little dude joined the world, weighing in at 6lb 16oz, and life would never be the same again.
And I couldn’t be happier 😀


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