Pages

24.7.11

A Competition I Won't Enter.


We all know that for years and years women have fought hard for women’s rights. To have equal rights and opportunities as men. Owning our own homes, equal pay, the right to vote, equal opportunities in the work place and the chance to have the same jobs as men and promotions.
More recently , and more my era I guess, the Spice Girls came along and shouted about Girl Power, Destinys Child sung about Independent Women, Beyonce has sung "If I Were a Boy" etc etc.

Most women I know, yes MOST women, want to be wined and dined, want to be spoilt by their men, want to have doors held open, meals paid for, surprise flowers delivered, chocolate brought home and waiting on the kitchen worktops for them, love letters left around the house for them, want anniversary cards, Valentines cards, want to be proposed to in the most romantic way possible, want the biggest wedding ever where the day is all about them [not the groom] and so on......yet claim to be independent, claim to be a "tough chick", claim to not need a man in their life. "All I need is my girls" [the last statement is something I've never felt to be honest]

Yet, as soon as we [in my experience the majority of the female population] become pregnant we enter this competition. The competition seems to vary depending on the person, person’s friends, or social group etc. We must out-do each other when ever and where ever possible.

Who has the worst morning sickness? Who didn't have morning sickness? Who had the healthiest cravings? Who had the oddest cravings? Who has the biggest bump? Who has the smallest bump? Who felt the baby kick first?  Who has had to visit the midwife the most times? Who has the clearest scan? Who doesn't feel the need to find out the sex because "we'll love them no matter what"? Who has spent the most money? Who gets the most benefits from their company with regards to maternity leave? Who is having the most time off with maternity leave? Who is going to have their baby first? Who will go overdue? Whose bump is lower? Who will have the best baby shower? Who has the better pram? Who's packed their hospital bag the earliest/latest? Who fell pregnant the quickest? Who took longer to fall pregnant? Whose baby was planned? Whose baby was an accident? Who had the best/worst reaction from family? Who had the most admissions to hospital? Who had no complications? Who had the most complications?
I think you get the picture?............

It doesn't end there though, then comes the birth and the baby.
Who had the shortest/longest labour? Who had the least/most amount of pain relief? Who had the least/most stitches? Who stayed in hospital the shortest/longest amount of time? Who had the lightest/heaviest baby? Who breastfed/bottle fed? Who lost their baby weight the quickest? Who fit into their normal clothes the soonest? Who got the most amounts of presents? Who had the most help from their husbands/other halves? Who is the most tired? Who developed Post Natal Depression? [Not a joke] Who cried the least/most? How much sleep are you getting? Is the baby in a routine? Who had sex again the quickest? Who waited the longest to have sex again? Whose baby slept through the earliest/latest?
Then surely that’s all.....right?.....wrong!

Baby development stages....
Whose baby sat up first? Crawled first? Walked first? Got their first tooth? Was weaned the earliest/latest? First words-when and what?

It then moves onto who has the best birthday parties. Blah blah blah.
I don't want to be a part of this competition. It’s pointless. Totally pointless.

For years we have campaigned to support other women, to stand up for each other, yet at the quickest opportunity we try and out do each other.

I found this a lot with the birth of Charles. It constantly seemed like a war with other pregnant girls I knew to see who felt the worst etc [all via Facebook statuses] and I became sick of it, it was a game I didn't want to play but slowly felt I was getting sucked into.
I remember one afternoon, it was May, a month before my due date, and I was scrolling through Facebook statuses. I was inundated with update after update after update of pregnant girls moaning about their bumps, moaning about their bodies, saying how they already loved their baby more than anything in the world; they had felt the biggest kicks ever, etc. With every comment on their status, mostly from a new mum or fellow pregnant girl they would up the stakes....
"*A* just felt the biggest kick ever"
"*B* I get big kicks too"
"*A* My baby kicks me really hard in the ribs, I'm sure I'm bruised around there"
"*B* Yeah mine too, I'm sure I'm bruised everywhere inside"
"*A* I think my baby is trying to burst out"
"*B* Me too, my midwife said she thinks the same"
"*A* My midwife said she's never seen or felt a baby kick as hard as mine"
"*B* My midwife said she's thinks the baby will be early and will probably break my waters just by doing one kick"
You catch my drift......[this is a made up conversation but almost identical to daily conversations seen on Facebook"]

I sat and felt "the rage". I wanted to comment on every status. Instead I closed my netbook, cuddled my bump and made myself snap out of this rage. Why was I getting myself so worked up over what other pregnant girls were saying? I was being entered into this competition almost, and I hadn't asked to be entered.
Get me out!
From that day onwards I ignored most pregnancy related statuses, unless if I could see they weren't going to head down the competition route. Also doing the same once Charles was here and have continued to do so as he has grown and developed.

Two years on and nothing has changed, the same thing remains and this time I have stayed well clear. I even cut down on the amount of info I shared regarding my pregnancy, with Charles I would update before and after every midwife appointment, would report on kicks, on things I'd bought and so on. This time I figured that actually, people didn't want or NEED to know about my appointments. I also calmed down on the information I shared in real life, with friends face to face or via text message. I wanted to keep a sense of privacy with this pregnancy where I could.

I was surprised to learn though that this competition isn't just with my Facebook friends. I see it [saw it] a lot on baby forums, which is why I tend to stay away from them now. And surprisingly enough I see it a lot on blogs and on Twitter.
After the birth of Harry I had a lot of lovely messages of congratulations from Twitter followers. I was really overwhelmed and unable to keep up. I had made it known that it didn't go as planned and after being asked to share my birth story and having people ask if I was ok I decided firstly to post about the condition I suffered from, and was unaware of until almost the last minute, Vasa Praevia. And once I felt it was the right time, for me, I wrote my birth story [which took me almost 3 hours] two weeks after the birth and shared on my blog also.

I was really surprised at what I felt was a lack of support from some who I know from previous conversations and blog posts also had a hard time with labour and post-natally.....these were the women I was almost relying on for support.

Through looking at past, and present, Twitter and Blog conversations, these women were also part of the competition. They had entered a long time ago except I hadn't seen it then.
But now we were at the same stage, I am no longer a pregnant lady, I have moved on and fall into a few of the other categories. The main one for me at the moment being the "Birth Trauma" category. And although I have had some AMAZING support from some regarding this, most with their own Birth Trauma story to share, I have been left surprised and shocked at those who fail to support others in this group or just blatantly ignore/dismiss it.

I don't want to be part of the competition. I stopped myself before and as a result felt my parenting style with Charles was/is more relaxed than some others, and I will continue this with Harry.
I'm not going to rush to do things because others are, I won't boast about things or moan about things to outdo others. Instead I will boast because I want to, or need to. Because I am proud.

Pregnancy, birth and motherhood can be so hard for some and can be so full of ups and downs and rather than competing throughout this time we should be offering support to each other.
As supportive as our partners can be sometimes we need fellow mummies to say "you are doing brilliantly" or sending virtual hugs etc. Not sending virtual daggers and inserting knives in our backs at any given opportunity.

I bet most of you are not even aware of this competition. But I bet if you sat there and thought about it for 5 minutes or less that you'd see it in your own life.

Maybe you are part of it but just unaware.
Take a moment to think, and get yourself out of it.
Take a look at your child/children and realise that competing isn't worth it.
There’s no prize at the end of this competition.

22.7.11

Two

Since the birth of Harry I have had the same two questions asked regularly by almost everyone?

1: Will you have anymore?
2: [once the above is answered] Why Not?

Answers:

1: No, we do not want anymore!
2: Because we only want two children AND because of the condition we had with Harry. No it may not happen again BUT it could, or anything could, and we don't want to risk it.

I can't understand why just two weeks after the birth of a child, [and less than two weeks in these cases] people feel the need to ask these questions.
I don't give birth to a child and then think "right, next one?!"

I've been open and honest about my birth with Harry and the condition we faced [Vasa Praevia] and have shared my birth story, not only on this blog but then also via this blog on Facebook. Yet people still ask the questions.

How can people not understand that
1: We are happy with two children. We always wanted two children.
2: The birth has affected me that much that I don't want to risk the possibility of going through the same again or infact not being so lucky next time.

The experience we had has almost made me feel like hiding away. A question we are all asked after the birth of a child is "did everything go ok?" and I'm not going to lie and say "yes, it was perfect" so I tell people exactly what happened, or a rough idea.
I've found most people to be sympathetic, and some to just not really get it and not realise just how serious the condition can be.
So hiding away means I won't be faced with these questions, I won't need to answer anything, I won't feel like I'm constantly being questionned about something I don't want to talk about, I won't keep crying about it.

And why can't people accept that some people just want two children? I come from a family where there is two of us, my husband is the same, so for us it is normal. I have always only wanted two children, ever since I was little. And the same with my husband.
I have a funny thing about odd numbers and hate the idea of 5 as there would always be one left out [rollercoaster rides etc]

I am now waiting for the comments about me having two boys....I had the comments during pregnancy but am yet to have them now Harry is here......
1: Aren't you gutted that you didn't have a girl?
2: Won't you try for a girl?

NO and NO!

I just long for people to accept that I am so over the moon with my two boys and we feel so content with four of us that a fifth child isn't needed or even really thought about!

My family is so perfect to me and my life is really complete.


21.7.11

Baby Beautiful

On the 7th of June I blogged some of the shots taken by Shellie Wall Photography as part of my Belly Beautiful photoshoot.

The Belly Beautiful package includes a Maternity Shoot and then a Newborn Shoot.

For the best results I recommend you schedule your session within the first week of baby's arrival.
The first week works best to get peaceful sleepy and very curly poses.
With the following statement in mind, and being in labour what seemed an age I decided to message Shellie whilst in the birthing pool room and told her to book me in the following week, baby Harry was on his way!

I was really excited to have this shoot. I have admired Shellies newborn photos on Facebook since she started doing them and jokingly blame her for my broodiness and for Harrys existence!

So at 8 days old we proudly took our 2 little boys over to Yaxham, Norfolk for Harrys first photo shoot.
I'm am fiercely protective over my boys and especially when they are teeny tiny newborn babies and hate handing them over to people to hold. I wondered if I would feel this way with Shellie but as we got there, and once Harry was undressed and fed, I felt really comfortable handing him over for Shellie to cuddle him and to move him into the positions and poses she needed to during the shoot.
I even found myself at times leaving her in the room alone with him whilst I went into the lounge to play with Charles and make sure he was happy and not feeling left out (and not trashing her beautifully clean house)
Watching Harry in the same poses and gorgeous knitted as the babies I'd seen in photos online was really bizarre but so lovely. I mostly enjoyed just seeing my gorgeous baby totally naked, enjoying taking in every centimeter of his soft newborn body.

On the way home I received my first Facebook notification....Shellie Wall has tagged you in a photo. I nervously opened the photo and cried and cried.
As I was tagged in further photos the tears continued to form and fall. And this is the reason why:


I couldn't ask for better photos. Shellie is so talented and I am so proud of the photos she's taken of my new baby boy. I just wish she was doing these 2 years ago when Charles was a newborn.


* I have not recieved any free shoots, photos or discounts. 
I chose to post this because I am proud of the photos and no other reason.

19.7.11

It's all perfect!

On the 21st of May I was having a wobble and I posted about my "doubts" over our second child.

What happens if I can’t handle it? I can handle it.
What happens if I can’t cope? I can cope.
What happens if he is too much of a stranger? He's not a stranger. It feels like he's always been here.
What happens if he doesn’t fit in? At 2 weeks old today he has slotted perfectly into the family unit, he fits in perfectly.
What happens if it affects my relationship with Charles? I'm not going to lie, its been affected a tiny bit in that Charles' behaviour has been a bit off for the last couple of days but this could be down to the terrible twos. On a positive note though Charles and my husbands relationship has never been better and they are a lot closer than before!
What happens if I can’t be myself around him? I can! Infact I have never felt more like me!
What happens if it seems as though we are just babysitting someone else’s baby? We're not. He's our baby, no one else's.
What happens if really I’m not ready? I've never been more ready!!
I love him so much already, I don’t want to let him down. I haven't let him down. I can already see that he loves me and it makes me feel amazing.

Life is perfect.


16.7.11

Silent Sunday

Didn't get the chance to add this too the linky despite posting it late on Saturday night! Grrrrrr.
Silent Sunday

Staying Hydrated While Breastfeeding.

At the beginning of the month, when I was pregnant [which oddly feels like ages ago!] I blogged about staying hydrated during pregnancy. It seems only right that I follow that up with the importance of staying hydrated whilst breastfeeding.

Once again I am breastfeeding my baby, as I did with Charles. There were times with Charles that I would sit down, latch him on for what was to become a mammoth feed, and totally forget to get myself a drink. So I would sit there, sometimes for up to half an hour if not more, desperately needing to drink but being unable to move whilst pinned to the sofa by a hungry and thirsty baby.

The following is taken from kellymom.com

Do breastfeeding mothers need extra fluids?

It is not necessary to force fluids; drinking to satisfy thirst is sufficient for most mothers. Pay attention to your body's signals - busy mothers often ignore thirst if there is nothing nearby to drink – try to keep a drink near where you usually breastfeed baby or at your desk at work. Signs that you are not getting enough fluids include concentrated urine (darker, stronger smelling than usual) and constipation (hard, dry stools).
Breastfeeding mothers are sometimes warned that "Only water counts!" when it comes to fluid intake, but this simply doesn't make sense – your body can utilize water from many sources, including vegetables, fruit, soup, water, fruit & vegetable juices, milk, tea and other beverages. Some fluids are certainly more nutritious than others, but even soda will provide the fluids you need (although it may also provide sugars, caffeine, etc. that you do not need)
Lull My Baby gives the following advice:

Stay hydrated

To avoid de-hydration while breastfeeding, make sure you drink a glass of water every time you nurse your baby. It will be easy to do that if you keep a glass full of water next to the place you usually nurse. Lots of fluids will really help keep trouble (plugged ducts, mastitis and so on) away.
With this in mind I planned to be a good breastfeeder this time, and to look after my body and keep it well hydrated. I do 2 things:
1: Have a jug of water or squash in the lounge with me at all times [this also helps when Charles decides that he needs a drink when I am feeding as I can just top up his juice bottle too]
2: Have an old squash bottle filled with water/squash next to the bed at night, or in the lounge.
I find my worst time for needing a drink is during the night and so far have found myself going through a lot of water and squash at this time. Without the bottle next to the bed I'd be a very thirsty mama and finding myself making constant trips downstairs throughout the night to get a drink from the kitchen.

Once again my SIGG bottle has come in handy during this time. Rather than having to manovure myself, and my baby, into a position where I can drink from a glass I am able to drink comfortably in almost any position. At times I've even just stuck a straw in the bottle to help for the really awkward positions I am in.
My bottle is 0.6l and I find this is sufficient enough for me to stay hydrated through each feed. All I do is then fill up the bottle after each feed and its ready to go for the next one!
A definite must have accessory for a breastfeeding mummy!

15.7.11

14.7.11

A hormonal rant [whilst I still can]

Apparently when people come round just after you've had a baby they will tell you to just sit there and will put the kettle on themselves. This is untrue.
Its ok, you sit there, I'll struggle to get up, go get you a drink, struggle to sit down comfortably again.
Oh, you want lunch too? No of course I expected you to stay all day and not just a couple of hours. I wasn't planning on napping this afternoon or having a long soak as the boys napped.
No I don't have much in the fridge/cupboards for lunch. Sorry that I've been busy giving birth, trying to rest but instead having to run around after visitors, sorting out my toddler, sorting out my newborn, saving my energy for night wakings. Don't worry, I'll just feed you the last bit of food I have left until I can send my husband out tomorrow for food. Don't worry about it being mine and Charles breakfast.

No Jonathan isn't off for 2 weeks. He's self-employed. He doesn't get two weeks paid paternity leave, so yes he is back at work yet.

I know Harry is here and he's healthy and safe but that doesn't make the birth any less scary or traumatic.

I don't care that your baby was bigger than mine, 8lb 9oz is still classed as big. So eff off!!

Why are you asking me if you can do any jobs? How about clean up after the mess you've made in my kitchen. Throw your rubbish away and hoover my lounge like I've asked you to!

DON'T tell my son off. 1: he's done nothing wrong. 2: that's not my style of parenting. 3: I haven't given you permission to discipline my child. 4: he's fragile and sensitive right now! He might seem ok but he's not!

You are cleaners. CLEAN!!! I shouldn't be cleaning up after you, you should be cleaning up after me.
Oh and acknowledge a text when I send you one saying we don't need you to come due to giving birth, I could do without having to sit and wait to see if you are turning up or not through not knowing if you received my text!

Oh, and then you turn up a week later, when we have again said we don't need you, and you are just carrying a bucket of cleaning products and no hoover? Seriously, no hoover???? Its bad enough that you don't seem to own a mop!

Oh I'm so sorry I didn't text you back straight away. Only I'm a tiny bit busy with my sons!!

Midwives: ring me back re birth debrief! Its bloody serious!! Glad you don't see it as a priority.

To new cleaning company: Thursday 10am. I expect you at my door so you can give us a quote. Its rude to just not turn up or not even ring me to say you're not able to make it!

Yes I know that Harry is windy. It doesn't mean I'm not winding him properly!

And finally.....
Really, YOU were tired and couldn't sleep the night I was in labour. Really, must've been bad for you missing out on that sleep. TRY BEING ME IN THAT SITUATION!! I WAS AWAKE, IN PAIN, IN LABOUR AND WORRIED FOR MY SON!!! I was exhausted, I had no energy but had to push a baby out of my body, don't tell me you were tired because you missed a tiny bit of sleep.
This is why you shouldn't have been told I was in labour.

12.7.11

Vasa Praevia


Some of you may be aware that I had problems during my labour with Harry. I am not yet ready to write my birth plan but would like to somehow share with you what happened. 
I suffered with the condition Vasa Praevia. Sadly it was undetected until I was 10cm and by chance my amazing midwife decided to examine me due to the fact that my waters failed to rupture and that I felt that despite the pushing, nothing was happening.

As you read this please bare in mind just how lucky I am and the reason I am suffering from birth trauma. 

Yes I am lucky to have a healthy boy who I was able to bring home but the "what if's" are what plagues us right now. I am suffering with flashbacks and each time I have a flashback it ends the wrong way and tragically.

The following information is from www.vasapraevia.co.uk

WHAT IS VASA PRAEVIA?
• Vasa praevia occurs when one or more of the baby’s placental or umbilical blood vessels cross the entrance to the birth canal beneath the baby.
• When the cervix dilates or the membranes rupture, the unprotected vessels can tear, causing rapid foetal haemorrhage.
• When the baby drops into the pelvis, the vessels can become compressed, compromising the baby’s blood supply and causing oxygen deprivation.

OCCURRENCE  
• Vasa praevia occurs in 1:2,500 births. The foetal mortality rate is estimated to be as high as 95% if the condition is not prenatally diagnosed.
WARNING SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
• Vasa praevia may present itself with the sudden onset of painless vaginal bleeding in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
• Vasa praevia may also occur without symptoms, so look for risk groups too.

RISK GROUPS
• Women with painless bleeding (at any stage in pregnancy)
• Women with low-lying placenta or placenta praevia
 • Women with bi-lobed or succenturiate lobed placenta
• Women with velamentous insertion of the cord
• In-vitro fertilization pregnancies
• Multiple pregnancies
• History of uterine surgery, previous C-section or D&C.

DIAGNOSIS
• Diagnosis of vasa praevia is made by ultrasound using colour Doppler.
• During a fi rst trimester trans-abdominal ultrasound scan, if the placenta is in the upper part of the uterus and the umbilical cord is inserted centrally with no placental lobes, it is unlikely that further screening will be necessary.
• In all cases where the placenta is low lying and/or where the cord insertion is not central these cases must be referred for further diagnostic testing.
• At the 20 week anomaly scan, women in risk groups should be reviewed again to find the exact site of the cord insertion. If risks are still present or there are warning signs, a trans-vaginal ultrasound scan using colour Doppler should be carried out.
• UK Vasa Praevia believes that all women in risk groups should be scanned for vasa praevia.
• Recent studies have shown that when vasa praevia is prenatally diagnosed, and a management plan is observed, the infant survival rate is 100% (with no other congenital defects).

I have never felt so lucky. And never more felt like there is someone looking after me and my boys.

And just like that.......

My days of being pregnant are over. I'll never experience it again.
This has been the quickest 9 months of my life. Just as I felt I'd accepted I was pregnant, although it sounds like it was unplanned, it wasn't, we had planned to get pregnant, it was over and our new baby is here!
I ended up having a traumatic birth and will possibly blog about it if/when I feel comfortable enough to do so. A week on its still extremely raw and we are in the process of arranging a debrief with the hospital.

I am shocked at how "over" the pregnancy I am. With Charles I remember feeling my tummy everyday and finding it hard to get used to there not being a bump. This time, I can't even remember what it felt like to have a bump, I can't remember what I looked like or what it felt like.
In a way this worries me and I can't help but feel like maybe the labour issues made me angry with my body and therefore my head has decided to remove all trace of feeling and memory from the pregnancy.

At the moment I have an odd feeling with regards to pregnant women, its hard to explain and I'm not really sure what this feeling is. But seeing a pregnant woman makes me feel sick, knowing someone is in labour or is giving birth makes me feel sick. Almost like I have a fear of pregnant women I guess.

So, at 25 years old I am hanging up my womb and will make no more babies. (unless its an accident!)
I couldn't be anymore happier than I am and I feel incredibly lucky to have my two boys, both healthy and totally gorgeous.

I leave you with the latest and last edition of our family.

Harry Dale.

6.7.11