Friday, 27 February 2015

My Birth Story

Ok, this is a long one. And I found it a wee bit hard to write…here goes...

I was pretty lucky that I had a fairly easy pregnancy with little morning sickness in the first 3 months then felt great for the next 5 months or so. The end was through the heat wave in the Summer. It was so hot I found the last 3 or 4 weeks quite uncomfortable.
I had my heart set on a natural birth at the local midwife led unit with a birthing pool etc. I'd been doing lots of relaxation techniques, exercise, yoga and so on in preparation. 

At 30 weeks I had a growth scan because bump was in the small side - baby was average size thank goodness! She was however breech. I was assured that there was no need for concern as the vast majority of babies turn before they arrive so I tried not to worry. I then had a subsequent 3 growth scans, all of which were fine growth wise but baby was in breech position each time. In extended breech with legs outstretched with baby cuddling her feet and strangely instead of her head being tucked under my ribs at the top, her head was directly behind my belly button. It made my bump look extra huge! To start off with I was devastated, all I wanted was a natural birth and having a breech baby was not in my plan. Then after mulling it over for a few days I began to accept a Caesarean section may be unavoidable. But I also decided to do everything within my power to get that baby to turn...I'll write about that another day...but she never turned. So, I opted for an elective Caesarean section. 

The birth was booked for the Wednesday (the day before my due date) and I was told that it may get postponed if any emergencies came up. But on the Sunday before whilst I was at lunch with family I had a bloody show. Oh dear I thought...I snuck out into the kitchen and whispered to my mother-in-law 'I've had a show, what do I do?' 'Call the hospital' she said. I called the assessment centre and they said sit tight and call again if and when I start having contractions. Within an hour or two what felt like period pains started. They came and went but weren't bad at all. I had a quiet evening as normal then went to bed early. A little later I woke with pains. I knew this was contractions so called the hospital again. They said don’t eat or drink anything in case I have to have an emergency caesarian and to see how things progress. I started to record the contractions and they got more and more regular and gradually more painful. I put my breathing techniques into use which worked a treat. By 2am I was starting to get a bit concerned that I  may have to deliver this breech baby vaginally (which I'd been told may be risky considering baby was average size and I'm well below average size and with tiny feet - apparently foot size is an indicator of pelvis size!) so I called the assessment centre again and was advised to get there immediately. 

On arrival at 2:45am I was the only patient in the assessment centre - every time I'd been previously there had been loads of expectant mums so it was nice to get seen straight away. I felt much more relaxed. The super lovely midwife examined me and I was dilated by 3cm. She monitored my contractions with the belly band thingy and did my 6th ultrasound scan to check if baby was still breech - she was 'You'll be having your baby this morning' she said. Gulp, this is getting real now! She guessed about 7:30/8am unless any emergencies became more urgent than me but I was first in the queue.

Now you need to know that I was scared of needles. Not just needles but anything medical. Just the sight of a needle used to get me in a panic and maybe even faint. I've even fainted after having my blood pressure measured once. My partner would take the dogs to the vet for their annual vaccinations so I didn’t freak out at the needles. This forthcoming surgery was so far out of my comfort zone I was entering shark infested waters. It was time fit a cannula in my hand. I daren't look at the size of the needle! The lovely lady offered to spray some freezing stuff on my hand to lessen the pain to which of course I agreed. Wow, that stuff was so cold it hurt a lot. But reeling from the pain of the cold distracted me well from the big scary needle being inserted into my hand...and left there. For the next hour or two every time I looked at my hand or remembered that the cannula was there I had a panicky, sick feeling in my stomach. I was terrified.

A little later I was given a gown to change into and my hubby had to change into scrubs. They also put compression stockings on my legs - wow they were tight and so unflattering! I felt like Nora Batty. And, as the contractions escalated I was given a dose of codeine which took the edge off. Then I was informed that some more emergency caesarians were going ahead of me, I was now third on the list so had to sit and wait in the waiting room…for what felt like a really long time. Meanwhile the sun rose outside and the temperature increased…I was so thirsty and asked if I could have a little water, they said no. It was 26 degrees and I hadn’t had anything to drink since 7pm the night before.

I sat in the waiting room in my gown with my partner (no underwear so had to be really careful when I stood up with it being open at the back) for 3 hours. Coincidentally a friend walked in who I hadn’t seen for a long while who was also pregnant and due a few days later and we had a nice chat in-between my contractions where I went quiet, closed my eyes and did my breathing.

At about 10am hubby and I were called by a midwife and taken to theatre. I was so scared I began to tremble uncontrollably. It was quite embarrassing and I felt the need to apologise for my fear to all and sundry. The theatre was surprisingly large and really bright. The radio was playing Happy by Pharell Williams. There were loads of people there, around 12 I think. Everyone was so amazingly lovely and relaxed. They each introduced themselves and did their utmost to keep me calm by asking baby questions like if we had any names in mind etc. I had to sit on the edge of the operating table with a pillow on my lap and hunch over the pillow so that the anaesthetist could do the spinal anaesthetic. Having needles inserted into my spine was probably the bit that scared me the most. I was overwhelmed with fear and started to cry, but actually it didn’t hurt and I hardly felt it at all. Pins and needles rose up my legs as I was turned around and led onto the table. At one point my buttocks went very hot then all the feeling gradually disappeared from my boobs down. They checked by spraying the freezing spray again - I didn’t feel a thing, it was very bizarre. At this point I was still trembling and holding onto hubby’s hand and trying keep as calm as possible. He kept me talking which really helped. A small curtain was put across my chest so I couldn't see what was going on at my leg end. Suddenly I felt super sick like I was going to throw up any second but a minute or so later it passed. I had another surge of thirst and asked if I was allowed some water yet, I was getting quite desperate now. They said I could have a little bit! And when they said a little bit they meant it, they filled one of those tiny paper cups that they give you tablets in and let me sip it. It was literally 2 teaspoons of water. And was the best water I ever tasted.
The table was tilted, I think it was so my left side was lower than my right but can’t quite remember. I felt like I was in a boat as I felt my body rock around as the surgeons did what they do. At this point I began to relax. 
Then what felt like less than 5 minutes later someone asked me if I'd like to see baby quickly before she was cleaned up. Of course I did. And with that I saw a scrunched up little face and purple feet fleetingly above the curtain. I could hardly believe it. It was all so surreal. 
Next I was told they'd clean her up, weigh her and whatnot then I could hold her. And with that I heard some rustling around, a bit of a whimper then a cry. And suddenly she was placed in my arms! It only felt like a few seconds wait but it must have been a few minutes. The lovely anaesthetist took some photos for us.

I guess at this point they were stitching me up but I was so overwhelmed and confused by this amazing little person I was holding that I didn't really notice anything else going on. I looked at Baby D then at my partner and back again. She looked a lot like him! I know I had a bit of a stilted, joyous cry and was filled with absolute but bizarre love. I'd never felt instant love before...soon I was wheeled away into the recovery room where my breastfeeding journey started. I'll write about that another day. 

Thanks for bearing with me! x

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Breastmilk Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday

Baby D is 1 month into her baby-led weaning and I wanted her to be able to join in the fun on Shrove Tuesday by making her pancakes too. So, I made her a stack of mini breastmilk pancakes! I wasn't sure if it would work particularly well but to my surprise it worked a treat and tasted exactly like ones made with cow's milk.

I used the Delia method but substituted the cow's milk for breastmilk, here's a link:  Delia Pancakes And of course I didn't put lemon and sugar on them, just a bit of fruit purée or plain. Also using those proportions would make way too many pancakes for one baby! I have a stash of breastmilk in the freezer so defrosted one of those. It just so happened there was 120ml so mixed that with 50g of plain flour and 1 egg (combined the flour and egg first then gradually added the milk whilst whisking).
I used a mini frying pan about 14cm in diameter and used a tablespoon and a half or so batter for each pancake which made 10 pancakes all together. Needless to say that is still way too many for a baby in one sitting so she ate 3 and I popped the rest in the fridge to eat the following couple of days.
I'm so pleased they were a success, I need to find some more ideas for using the freezer stash up now!

Dawn x

Friday, 20 February 2015

Artwork of mother and baby by Kanae Sato

You may have noticed the beautiful image on my blog background of a mother and baby.
It was created by Japanese illustrator Kanae Sato and she has kindly given me permission to use the image.

I came across it when baby D was born and my friend Lucy gave me a congratulations card with this image on it and I adore it. It looks a lot like me and baby D!

Kanae works freelance, providing illustrations mainly for book cover designs and magazines, as well as for websites, product packaging and advertising. She also creates her own original illustrations and merchandise. She lives in Tokyo.

Check out her website:

Hello! A bit about me and my blog

My name is Dawn and I'm a new mum to Baby D. I live in the vibrant city of Bristol and am discovering places to go as a parent which is rather different to how I saw things beforehand.
I'm not a writer and I don't have any parenting, medical or childcare qualifications but I am a mummy and have my own experience. I totally adore being a mum. It's amazing. Don't get me wrong, I have my bad days: my not showered or brushed hair days, my why the hell am I doing this? days, and my everything hurts days. 

I wanted to document my experiences as a new mum before it blurrs into a big mush in my mummy brain. Who knows, in the future I may have another little one and I can't be sure I'll have remembered everything. And, in the last few months I've had a surprising number of fellow new mums asking me for advice. Me?! Asking me for advice?! Yes it's true. I feel rather encouraged and flattered that friends are coming to me for advice and I quite enjoy helping - or at least trying to help - and for people to benefit from my trials and errors.
I have had some great (and terrible!) advice passed onto me which I would like to pass onto other new parents and I would have found someone telling me some of this stuff very useful but found out a lot for myself.
I'm a reader and researcher. Some maybe mistake it for know-it-all-ness but I'm just super curious, like to know how and why things happen and hate being unprepared for things. I'm a planner, what can I say. And I love making lists. Ok, I'm a geek. And maybe a bit of a know-it-all...

I didn't think that I had a maternal bone in my body until I became pregnant. But it turns out I am. I was never a 'baby' person. I played with teddies and cuddly animals not dolls as a kid and as an adult couldn't really see myself as a mother figure. Looking back I see I always had a nurturing side: gardening: always growing from seed, creating with crafts, in the kitchen and looking after animals. 
I'm a slightly older mum, mid 30s which seems pretty standard these days actually. Sometimes I think 'why didn't I do this sooner?' But I wasn't ready. Simple as that. It's come at the right time for me and I couldn't be happier.

It might sound mental but the turning point for me was getting a puppy. All that getting up in the middle of the night to let doggy 'evacuate', house training, teething, mopping up sick, wee and poop it's like a switch flicked in my brain and suddenly I felt ready to have a baby.

I'm a breastfeeding, babywearing, baby-led weaning, cloth bum, semi-co sleeping mum. Some would call me a hippy but I simply see it as natural, informed parenting that works for me and my family.

I'm lucky enough to have an amazingly supportive partner who respects my views, helps me through the hard times and keeps me smiling.

So that's it really. I'll be posting about various things including useful products, nice places to go, parenting techniques and general ramblings. I hope you find at least some of it interesting.

Dawn x