5 Things New Mums Don’t Tell You

Before becoming a mum I was under no illusion of how difficult the task would be. The lack of sleep, the extra cost involved, the toll it takes on your body to name but a few.

These things I was well aware of and more than prepared for. However, what I didn’t know in more detail is the absolute horror (this is the only word i can use to describe it) of pain, hormone imbalance and everything else that comes directly during and after you’ve birthed your babe into the world.

So in a bid to clear this up and properly prepare new mums-to-be I wanted to share my experience of the 5 worst things about labouring and everything afterwards, that NOBODY told me about.

  1. Contractions are not in any way shape or form like period cramp. Don’t believe anyone who tells you this. It’s nonsense. They are so intense and feel like an alien is inside your abdomen rummaging about and trying to escape through your lower back. Don’t be a hero… Take the pain relief!  maxresdefault
  2. It’s not all over once you’ve pushed the baby out. Movies and TV shows are notorious for showing this as the final part of labour and it’s not. You still have to deliver the placenta, which if your lucky takes a jab and a few pushes and pulls from your midwife. However, if you’re not so lucky (like me), it can result in an hour long battle between you and a gynaecological consultant who literally scrapes your placenta from the walls of your uterus using her entire hand. Yes… HAND!!! All this before giving up and taking you to theatre where she will eventually give you a spinal block before trying all over again. pos_ch19_f003
  3. There will be approximately 15 or so people who see your vagina, examine your vagina and have their hands inside your vagina from the start of your labour to the moment your are discharged. Be prepared, cause that’s a lot of eyes on your lady parts! Large-crowd-of-people-014
  4. Your hormones don’t go back to normal as soon as you’ve given birth. In fact I’d go so far as to say they will get worse. You will feel sad, angry and happy all at once. You will want to scream and run away, all the while hating yourself for having these thoughts. It is a roller-coaster and you have to understand that for the most part these feelings will subside. But if they don’t then you need to ask for help and there is no shame in that. I needed help. Don’t feel bad if you do too. roller-coaster
  5. Lastly… and for me this is the big one. Pack a box of natural laxatives in your hospital bag, because I am not exaggerating when I say that the first post-birth poo if life changing. This might sound hilarious and just utterly ridiculous, but I am not lying. I remember mine like it was yesterday and I spent an hour and a half on the toilet crying in agony over it. I’d even go so far as to say I would have rather given birth again than have to endure the pain of the first post-partum-poo! It was horrendous. I cannot stress this enough. Get yourself on the prune juice, the laxatives and drink as much coffee as you can handle, cause the alternative is not pretty! kabızlık

So that’s my advice lovelies. Obviously I know that every woman’s experience is different and therefore a lot of this might not apply to you, but after speaking to other women in my life after I gave birth, it seems there was a consensus among us that these things we just weren’t properly equipped to deal with. Sharing’s caring and all that jazz, and if you’re pregnant right now and I’ve scared the life out of you I really do apologise. Just remember this, I would do it all over again 100 times and more for my boy. Holding them in your arms at the end of it all is the best reward you could ever receive for enduring all of the aforementioned torture.

D x

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C-Sections – The Easy Way Out?!?!

So I’ve read a lot about this recently, and unbeknown to me, it seems there is a stigma surrounding C-Section births?

Now, let me first say that I had a vaginal delivery with my boy so I can only offer my experience on this, but I’m just baffled by the opinion that having a C-Section is the “easy way out“!

When my boy was born, I was able (not easily or without pain) to move around not long afterwards. It would have been even sooner after his birth had I not needed a spinal block in theatre (but that’s another story for another day). However, my only impression of the aftermath of C-Sections are from friends and family who have undergone them, and let me tell you… They seem to be absolutely horrific.

My beautiful cousin gave birth to her first baby on Friday and after a long and arduous labour she was given an emergency C-Section. I visited her last night and to say she was suffering would be an understatement. She could barely move. Her incision site was so sore that she was almost crying with the pain.

How can anyone possibly say a C-Section is the easier option?!?!

Just debating the issue is infuriating. A woman gives up her body for the entire 9 months of pregnancy. We go through all of the often horrendous pregnancy symptoms, culminating in what can only be described as a torturous, searing pain, to deliver our children into the world.

None of it is easy. FACT!!!

I’d actually go so far as to say it is the most difficult thing you will ever do in your life. It certainly was for me.

So instead of bashing each other, why don’t we start celebrating the strength of women and what our bodies are capable of. Let’s raise each other up and commend each other regardless of how our babies are born.

Whether its out the front door or via the sunroof, delivering a baby into this world is the most difficult, painful and wonderful thing a woman can do.

Hail to all the mamas out there! YOU ARE ALL INCREDIBLE!!!


Then there was you… Part 2

The day after Matthew was born I was moved from the labouring room into a single room. I felt quite lucky being allocated a room of my own, what with having so little privacy in the open wards. It wasn’t until later on that morning that I overheard one of the midwives telling another staff member that they had put me there so I wasn’t in amongst new mums and their babies.

It broke my heart, but I felt grateful that they had thought about me in that sense.

Still unable to walk and with the doctors debating my requirement for a blood transfusion, my husband wheeled me over to the NICU to see our son. The unit was much scarier in the cold harsh light of day, with a great deal more staff there than the night before.

Matthew still looked the same. Small and fragile.

I still felt the same. Disconnected and ashamed, feelings I didn’t share with my husband.

We spoke with the doctors who told us that Matthew was doing really well considering. The pressures on his ventilator weren’t too high and they were in fact thinking about extubating him in a few days if his stats remained at such good numbers. At this point Michael and I knew nothing more than the facts and figures they were giving us and so we were content to leave every decision up to them.

A decision we did make ourselves was that we wanted to have Matthew blessed by our priest. Michael and I are both catholic and it was important to us that this ritual was carried out in case the worst should happen.

Michael contacted our priest the following day and he was at the hospital within hours, offering to baptise Matthew for us. It was just myself and Michael there standing at his bedside and despite the sense of urgency and the fleeting ceremony, it was actually a beautiful moment for us both and the first time I felt any sense of hope about our situation.

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I had been trying desperately to express milk for those first few days, but to no avail. It was important for Matthew to have breast milk ready for when the doctors started him on feeds. Breast milk was easier for his body to digest and kinder on his gut than formula, so I really felt the pressure to deliver the goods as it were.

It took 4 days, but on Sunday the 23rd of August my milk supply finally came in. I managed to express 0.6ml which sounds like nothing, but it was honestly the most rewarding feeling in the world being able to produce anything at all.

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I immediately got ready and took the syringe over to the NICU, where we were met with masked and scrubbed up doctors and nurses surrounding Matthews open incubator.

His lung had collapsed and the doctors needed to insert a chest drain to allow for the fluid and air to escape. I honestly think my heart stopped beating for those first few moments.

We of course consented and were ushered into the family room located across the corridor. Both Michael and I fell apart and held each other, waiting for news.

We waited for what felt like a lifetime. It was in fact 30 minutes. The procedure was successful and Matthew was stable and a lot more comfortable than he had been in the previous half hour.

It was in this moment that my heart swelled for this tiny boy. He was fighting for his life, already enduring more in his first few days of life than most people do in a lifetime. I felt overwhelming pride and an outburst of love and affection. The feelings and emotions missing from those first few days surged through my body like a tidal wave. I sat by his incubator, put my hand inside, placed it gently on his body and wept for my son.

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My Current Favourite Books

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I am a big fan of books. Unfortunately since having my little boy I’ve found I no longer have the time to pick up a book and get lost inside the pages like I used to. 

However… I do try to as often as I can, having even resorted to audio-books in bed once my little person is tucked up in his.

The majority of the books I’m reading at the minute are all based around parenting and motherhood in particular. I am not ashamed to say that I am that person that upon finding out I was expecting, bought all the cliché pregnancy books.

“What To Expect When You’re Expecting” was obviously my first purchase! 

So it was only logical that once said baby arrived, that I would continue on my journey through those unending pages offering the A to Z’s in parenting advice. However I’m not too into those books that are quite judgey (if that’s a word) and so my selections were based on reality and full disclosure, which is where Sarah Turner and Giovanna Fletcher come in. These books are filled with humour and wit, tears and tantrums and I’ve loved every last word!!! 

That being said, baby books are not the only thing I’m interested in. I am of course human… and in being human I share a common love and admiration of certain celebrities. In other words, like many of the millions of people around the world I love Beyoncé… Probably too much if I’m honest! Nonetheless I am currently indulging in the story of her life and I’m relishing it.

As well as those selections I am also making my way through Fearne Cottons “Happy”! 

After the birth of my son, both my body and my mind went through an unexpected and quite dramatic transformation. I found that my already crazy emotions were heightened and there were days where I just didn’t know how I would be able to function. This book has been an  amazing tool for reminding me that these feelings are ok and it provides me with a point of reference for when I’m needing a pick-me-up. 

Finally I have included Sarah Knights “The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F**k”. It was part of my New Years resolution this year to stop being a ‘Yes Man’ or woman as it were, and this book has gone a long way in giving me the balls to do just that. It’s funny and life altering all in one. Just brilliant really!  

I honestly can’t recommend these books enough. I pretty much have them all on audio-book as well so there’s no excuses really for not being able to give them a go!


Trying Trying Trying… Pt 3

Apologies for this follow up post taking so long. It’s been a crazy few weeks and time has quite literally gotten away from me. We have all been struck down with every sick and flu virus going and even now, I still feel like i’m at deaths door.

Anyway…

Michael and I were just going through the pregnancy motions. Picking up bits and pieces every time we were out shopping, and excitedly imagining  the amazing potential few months ahead of us.

I started showing at the start of August.

The tiniest little bump started to emerge and my clothes began to feel so uncomfortable that I resorted to wearing leggings with every outfit (one of the best parts of being pregnant)!

On the 14th of August I was attending my cousins Hen Party. I felt quite run down, but nothing out of the ordinary. Just tired.

It was later on that night, after going to the bathroom that I felt a bit strange. TMI moment coming here, but I had a funny discharge on my underwear and something just felt wrong.

I put it down to just feeling tired and thought I might have been coming down with the flu. My bones were aching and I just wanted to lie down. So I went home.

I awoke the next day feeling even worse, and I was still having a strange discharge.

It wasn’t until dinner time that night that I noticed something completely out of the ordinary.

I was having a tightening in my stomach, that kept coming and going. So after about 20 minutes I decided to pay attention and time it. They were coming every 10 minutes and were lasting around about 30-40 seconds. No pain as such, just a weird cramping sensation.

After speaking to Michael, I decided to call Midwifery Triage to get their opinion on the matter. The lady I spoke to was lovely. She said it sounded like i might have a urine infection but advised me to head up just for a quick check.

We casually made our way to the hospital, thinking at the very worst, I would be sent home with an antibiotic.

We were shown into an examination room and a midwife, along with a junior doctor came in and asked me to lay on the bed and prepare for an internal examination just to check everything was ok.

This is already an extremely uncomfortable thing to do, not necessarily in terms of pain but with regards to your dignity…

It is quite simply left at the door.

So i reluctantly got myself ready for examination and lay back counting the seconds till it was over… when I was frightened within an inch of my life by the shriek that came from the midwife.

“Stop stop stop”! She instructed the junior doctor.

“Do not go any further… Slowly and carefully remove the speculum”!

She then ever so calmly made her way to the top of the bed where Michael and I were waiting to find out what was going on. She gently pushed past Michael and pressed a red button on the wall behind him and an alarm sounded off in the corridor.

That’s when she bent down next to me and said, “Danielle don’t be alarmed, but we can see your waters and it would appear you are in pre-term labour. The room is about to fill with a number of medical staff, but they are all here to help so just try to stay calm”.

Calm???

Not possible!

The next few minutes, hours and days were a blur. I was medicated to the max with steroids, antibiotics and all other sorts of drugs to try and slow down the labour. I managed a further 4 days holding onto Matthew before he was born, breech and weighing a mere 1 pound 9 ounces.

My angel was laid onto my hip for a full minute before being whisked away from me, for what would turn out to be the most difficult 4 and a half months of our lives…

But that’s a whole other chapter…


Trying Trying Trying… Pt 2

In April of 2015 I had a minor meltdown. 

I was home by myself and felt an overwhelming rush of emotions that resulted in a good 8 hours of self-loathing and depression. 

It was a culmination of years of failed attempts and getting pregnant and crazy hormones. 

My husband came home from work and spent his entire evening trying to console me. It did eventually work, but it was definitely a dark day for me, and was a stark realisation of how I was really feeling on the inside. 

I should also mention that I had been suffering from Gallstones as a result of my weight loss and my attacks were becoming more and more frequent. 

On the 2nd of May 2015 I was blue lighted to Wishaw General Hospital with a sever Gallstones attack. I was admitted to the Surgical Receiving Ward and was being prepped for emergency surgery. 

The nurse Lynn came and took some bloods from me and I had to provide a urine sample, just to make sure that everything was all in order before they started the procedure. I was told it would be an hour before I would get my results back, so I sent my hubby away to get himself some food. 

Minutes after he left, my nurse and the registrar came over and pulled the curtains around my bed. I remember feeling incredibly nervous after seeing the serious look on their faces. 

“Danielle we have the results of your urine sample and it would appear you are pregnant”

Well…  Of all the things I expected to hear, I can honestly say that was not even on the list. It was so surreal and so unexpected. But when I began to think about it, I had been having some pregnancy symptoms, including nausea in the morning and sore boobs, something that I hadn’t experienced any of the other times. 

However, my nurse advised me that the urine sample isn’t always 100% so they would have to wait on my bloods coming back to make sure. She advised that this would show my HCG levels (pregnancy hormone), and we would be looking, based on my last period, for them to be around 500-600 mlU/ml.

So while waiting I called my hubby and told him he had to come back,  I didn’t want to blurt it out over the phone.

When he returned I told him our news, as all of the surgical nursing staff hovered nearby to watch his reaction. It wasn’t the fairy-tale setting by any means, but it was a moment in our lives that I will never forget.

While we sat and chatted excitedly about the potential pregnancy, Lynn came over with the results of my blood test. My HCG levels were 32,000 mlU/ml. Significantly higher than the minimum levels Lynn told me was required to confirm the pregnancy. I still have the paperwork with the results on it in our memory box.

So no surgery… And home to celebrate we went!

The next few months were pretty normal. I had my 12 week scan and saw my little button on the screen for the first time. It was wonderful watching our baby grow throughout each different scan. We found out on our 20 weeks scan that we were having a boy, a feeling I had felt since we found out we were expecting.

We were over the moon. We would soon have a son… In fact it would be sooner than any of us would ever have anticipated.