Posts Tagged ‘birth’
Baby C is 5 months old today so I feel it’s time to finally share her birth story with the world. Warning: Long birth story containing too much information for those of a sensitive nature.
It took me less than an hour to give birth to C, according to my hospital notes, and it took us all a bit by surprise.
So let’s rewind a bit before I go into C’s birth story….My due date arrived and I turned up to the hospital with a baby tucked up in the warm still, I was examined, given a sweep and sent home. The midwife didn’t seem to think that the sweep would do much as I wasn’t looking overly ready to give birth.
That was the Friday morning. Friday came and went. Saturday came and went with no labour-like signs at all. Even the Braxton Hicks that I’d been having for about 4 weeks had disappeared. So Hubs and I decided that he would finally get to go and see Skyfall at the cinema on the Sunday with my brother (I’d been making them put it off for about 3 weeks as I kept thinking the baby was coming!), whilst L and I watched Madagascar 3 in another screen at the same cinema.
Just as we parted ways at the cinema I felt a very strange sensation, so popped to the toilet and discovered that what I thought had been a show in the last few days had been nothing, as this was a very clear show. I got to our screen and decided to text Hubs to warn him, but I knew if I texted “I’ve just had a show” he wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about, so I texted “I’ve just lost my mucous plug”. The reply I got back was hilarious “What? In the cinema? Can you find it?”!! I’m not sure he had any idea what I was talking about. Once he realised what it was he freaked out a bit, but I reassured him that I had no other signs, so he could sit back and enjoy the 3 hours of his film!
Nothing happened during the film fortunately, and that evening I suggested we have curry and red wine to see if that might encourage anything to keep going/get properly started. I enjoyed them but didn’t feel that they’d done anything when I went to bed.
Around 2am I woke up with a contraction, but because that had happened so many times before with Braxton Hicks, I was annoyed rather than excited. I dozed until around 4am when I couldn’t sleep anymore as I was getting painful but irregular contractions. So I did what any other expectant mother would do, and I tweeted it to see if it could be labour. You’ve got to love Twitter, within 5 minutes (at 4am!) I got several replies from mums saying they’d had irregular contractions right up to their babies being born.
Right, time to take things seriously. I opened up my contractions app (loving the new technology since L’s birth in 2006) and started tracking them. 30 minutes apart. 12 minutes apart. 23 minutes apart. As my mum and dad were going to drive over for the birth (90 minutes’ drive into London) I sent my mum a text at 6am, “Morning! I’m having irregular but painful contractions and I’m having to control my breathing through them, it’s your call if you come now or not as you know more about this stuff than me.” Mum is a nurse, a trained midwife and has had 5 kids, while I had had one baby which I was induced for, so didn’t have a clue what “real” labour was like.
In less than a minute Mum called me, waking Hubs and confusing him as he hadn’t realised anything was going on. Whilst talking to Mum I had to stop talking to breathe through a contraction, at which point she said “I think we’ll get dressed and come up soon.”
Hubs was convinced it was a false alarm, as I’d already had Mum and Dad up for Braxton Hicks once before. We lay in bed until around 7.30am, trying to figure out if these were real contractions or more Braxton Hicks, at which point I got Hubs to get L up and ready for school while I had a bath to see if that made them go away or not.
When I got out of the bath the contractions were stronger, longer and every 10 minutes or so. I went downstairs in my dressing gown to have some breakfast and ended up eating peanut butter on toast whilst holding on to the table and rocking my hips to ease the pain. L must think this is normal behaviour as she didn’t bat an eyelid!
Around quarter to nine my parents arrived, and my contractions suddenly jumped to every 2 minutes. Mum took one look at me and sent me upstairs to get dressed while Hubs took L to school. At 9.05am we were in Dad’s (new) car on our way through London’s Monday morning rush hour traffic, with me mooing in the back and Mum fanning me and passing me water; Hubs was in the front cracking jokes while Dad kept looking anxiously at me in the rear view mirror, I’m not sure if he was more worried about my waters breaking/giving birth in his car or about the pain his daughter was in.
We pulled up outside the hospital at 9.30am and it took us until 9.46am (my official check-in time) to make it up to the maternity department and to get checked in. All I remember is stopping and starting my contractions app and holding onto walls in the hospital, hip-rocking and mooing. At this stage my contractions were coming thick and fast every minute.
It took the midwife 15 minutes to do an initial check of me as she kept having to stop when I had contractions. All I could think was “this baby is coming very soon, I must be about 8cm by now”. Can you imagine my disappointment when she told me I was just 4cm and that it would probably take another 4 hours or so?!?
I had been saying I wanted to give birth in the midwife-led suite with no drugs etc, but when I heard I was only 4cm I turned to my mum and said “there’s no way I’m carrying on like this, I’m going to need an epidural”, or something to that effect, probably with a few swear words thrown in for good measure!
Mum looked at me knowingly, nodding her head and saying “let’s just see”. She had warned me beforehand that the women in our family tend to do very quick births with labour being jumped through, but I couldn’t really compute that at the time.
Some time after 10am I was escorted into a delivery suite, I vaguely remember a midwife introducing herself but I think I had my eyes closed most of the time. I had bought a comfy new outfit to labour in, had brought hairbands to keep my hair out of my eyes etc but that all went out of the window as everything was so fast and furious.
I was leaning on the edge of the bed as I couldn’t face lying down at all, and all I could do was bark instructions at Hubs and Mum: “Water!”, “Fan!”, “Sick bag!” The most I managed to get out was to yell at the midwife “Get off my back” as she kept putting her hand on my lower back which was where the pain was.
I really felt like I wanted to push but all I could think was “you don’t push at 4cm, you’re crazy”. Finally I said to the room at large, “I need to push!” and the midwife warned Hubs that as I wasn’t on the bed he’d need to be prepared to catch the baby as it came out. The thought that flashed through my mind was “he’ll never manage that, he’ll let the poor thing crash to the floor on its head”.
Around this time the midwife asked if my waters had broken yet, and it was only then that I realised they hadn’t, so she told me I could push, and lo and behold, there went my waters, all over the floor in the delivery suite – taking Hubs a bit by surprise (Mum and the midwife seemed unfazed by this).
The midwife then decided she wanted to examine me and got me up on the bed, on my knees as there was no way I was lying on my back. Then I was given the green light to do what I needed to do, so I pushed like I’d never pushed before.
I was convinced when I had L, that even though I’d had an epidural, that I’d felt the pain of labour as I could feel when to push with the contractions. I can safely say that was a big, fat lie. I had no paracetamol or anything for C’s birth, in fact the gas and air arrived just as I started pushing and I ended up breathing through my nose and just clamping down on the tube in my mouth. I certainly felt this baby coming into the world! And was she ever ready to get here!
In 5 minutes of pushing (L came after 12 minutes of pushing) she arrived on the bed, but as I was knelt up against the back of the bed I couldn’t see anything, and no one said anything. My baby was here, but was it a boy or a girl? I asked “What is it?” and finally Hubs announced “It’s a girl”. And that’s when the (happy) tears came.
She had come out with the cord wrapped around her neck and was distressed (medical speak for there being meconium in the waters) so they kept an eye on us, but she was healthy and I was fine (apart from the minor case of second degree tearing of course!), and L had the baby sister she had wanted for so long.
So all in all my official labour on my hospital notes is 59 minutes, and I went from 4cm to fully dilated in less than half an hour, with 4cm to delivery in just a mere 45 minutes. Not bad work by 10.45am on a Monday morning!
I’m not sure my English birth could have been more different to my French birth (which you can read about here), but the most important thing in both cases was the safe delivery of my beautiful baby girls
This post is dedicated to my cool, calm and collected Dad for getting me to the hospital without freaking out, to my amazing Mum for being my other midwife (I loved having you there this time, Mum), and most of all to Hubs for being there and still wanting to be with me after seeing me in that state!
It was so worth it.
Wow! I haven’t blogged in ages. Since just before going from being pregnant to a mummy of 2! So hopefully I can be excused for being lax on the blog as I’ve been too busy being a mummy to my two wonderful children.
For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on Monday 12th November. This time round it was an all natural – and incredibly fast – birth, and C was born at 10.45am, weighing 3.2kg /7lb (more on the birth story to come in a later post).
Hubs, L and I couldn’t be happier – L in particular as she was desperate to have a baby sister.
Hubs with C when she was about 5 hours old.
L with C when she was about 7 hours old.
Me with C when she was about 7 hours old.
L will be 6 years old in December and with the imminent arrival of her baby brother or sister have come various questions about where babies come from and, what she is more fascinated with, how they come out of mummies’ tummies.
The first time she asked me about how they come out of their mummy’s tummies I was completely caught off guard, I hesitated for a milli-second, wondering if I should go with the “zip on mummy’s tummy” theory, but decided I couldn’t carry it off believably; I did also wonder at what stage you then tell them the truth. So I simply said “babies come out of their mummy’s foufoune (this is the French word that we use)”, she replied with a passionate “yuk” before moving onto something different entirely.
Since then we haven’t had much of an issue with it, so I tend to think that the honesty is the best policy. I do have friends who have told their children that babies come out of their mummy’s tummy but are now struggling to back-track, and that gets tricky.
Whilst I love the fact that L is grown up enough to take it all on-board and in her stride, it does make for fun times when she wants to share this knowledge with others in the playground.
Today she wanted to take this book to school with her for show and tell:
This is a classic book from the 1970s that my parents got to share with my siblings and me. The funny thing is that at that time my dad had curly ginger hair and beard and my mum had long blonde hair, so for us it was pictures of our mum and dad! Then when L got to asking these types of questions my mum passed me the book to help out.
I’m quite happy for L to look at the pictures and ask me questions, but I’m not sure the other parents or the teacher would have appreciated her sharing it during show and tell, as you can see by the clarity of images and description in this children’s book:
Maybe a little bit intense for Year 1 show and tell.
I’m pretty certain that this picture is the main reason I didn’t have my first baby until I was nearly 31, it haunted me for years. Could this be any scarier?!?
What is your take on telling your children about the facts of life? Do you go for the truth or not? At what age would/did you tell them? Did you use any books/films etc? I’d also be very curious to know if any men have told their children about the birds and the bees at this young age, or does it always fall to the mums? As L will always ask me and not B.
I’d also love to know if anyone else had the facts of life explained to them by this book, as I’m pretty certain it’s a classic!
Today I am 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and doing my utmost to get this baby out naturally. Which is funny really when you think that I was happy to go to 42 weeks with this pregnancy and was in no particular rush for the baby to get here. However that all changed a couple of weeks ago when I started itching crazily one night, and then my blood test results showed that there was an issue with some of the levels linked to my liver. I was in and out of the hospital 3-4 times a week, seeing midwives, having blood tests and abdomen scans to check my liver, kidneys, spleen and gall bladder.
Initially they diagnosed it as being Obstetric Cholestasis which affects 1 in 140 pregnant women every year in the UK, and there is a chance of your baby being still-born if it is not managed, which means in general having an induction by 38 weeks. If you think you might have OC there is a great video about it over on Honest Mum’s blog who suffered from it during her first pregnancy, and which I found really helpful as I was getting my head round it initially.
However, having told me at 37 weeks that I was likely to be induced by 38 weeks, my levels settled down, which made them think that it probably wasn’t OC. This was naturally a huge relief, but the problem now is they don’t know why my levels went haywire, so to avoid any unnecessary risks it looks like it’ll be induction time for me this Friday when I am 39 weeks….unless I can get this baby out naturally by then.
Now I had an induction when L was born (read her birth story here) and was so hoping to avoid medical intervention and inductions this time round, so my initial reaction was shock and disappointment. Then I realised that the main thing here was the safe arrival of this baby, however that might be.
The good news is that when I saw the consultant last Tuesday she told me that I’m actually looking quite promising for an early natural labour – at 37 weeks and 4 days I was already 1-2cm dilated and my cervix was soft and looked promising. She gave me a sweep and since then I’ve been having lots of contractions and lower back pain, which haven’t led to anything but which make me hope that natural could still be on the cards.
I’ve been reading up on natural ways to kick-start labour. Again. I went through all this with L last time and none of it led to anything, but then when they induced me with her I was nowhere near ready for a natural labour, so I’m hoping that this time I might just cheat the induction….
So what are natural ways to start labour?
- Sex seems to be the biggest suggestion from everyone, which is convenient as it’s so the easiest thing to be doing when you’re the size of a house!
- Slightly easier but not everyone’s cup of tea is another suggestion that you hear more in whispers than being shouted about, and that’s oral sex. Something to do with the prostoglandins in semen working faster/better if they go into the digestive system rather than onto the cervix. Hmmmm, maybe. Sounds a bit like male propaganda to me, but who knows?!
- Pineapple. Eating it. Lots of it. The only problem being you need to eat about 7 to get the desired effect. I ate one whole one when pregnant with L and burnt my mouth something chronic. Do you know how acidic a pineapple is?!?
- Raspberry leaf tea or the tablet version. I tried taking the maximum of this from weeks 38 to 42 with L and it never did anything for me, but others swear by it. I’d say the jury is still out on it.
- When I had an antenatal check-up with my GP he suggested (along with lots of sex with hubs) that I have a couple of glasses of wine, now that was the best suggestion I’ve heard in a while. But after 9 months of sobriety, the two glasses I had in Pizza Express to celebrate the start of half term on Friday made me happily merry, which is not a bad thing. Although I’m sure I looked like the worst kind of mum, with my big bump and my glass of wine!
- Hot curries. Hubs is delighted as normally I’m all about the korma so there’s no sharing to be done in this house when it’s takeaway time. That all changed last week and he’s loving watching me sweat my way through the hot curries he loves to order.
- Walking. In the last week I have done two brisk 3 mile walks, and all they’ve done is tire me out.
- I even tried the Wii Dance with L and realised we really should get some net curtains, as I’m sure that wasn’t a pretty sight for the neighbours and passers-by!
There are many other old wives’ tales which I won’t list here, but so far nothing seems to be working here. We get the contractions. We get the back pain. We get all excited, thinking this is it. And then, nothing.
So it’s back to see the consultant tomorrow, another sweep and no doubt a date in the diary for an induction sometime before Friday. Until then you might see me pounding the streets of London, in between swigging wine and getting jiggy with it with hubs!
We are approximately a month away from the birth of our second baby, and as with L we don’t want to know the sex. So we are cast back into a world of neutral colours – yellows, greens, beiges, reds – so far from the world of pinks that L has inhabited from a very early age. I wouldn’t say that yellow is my favourite colour, but it’s a nice relief from the never-ending pink.
To see more yellow, wander on over to Sticky Fingers The Gallery to see what else is yellow in the world of blogs this week.
I am now 32 weeks pregnant and it has been such an interesting journey, comparing my pregnancy in France to my pregnancy here in the UK, so I thought I would share my comparisons of the two pregnancies.
Pregnancy N°1: The French One
When: March – December 2006
Where: St Vallier de Thiey, a village on the French Riviera, inland above Grasse and Cannes
- Permanent nausea 24/7 for the first three months.
- Permanent exhaustion 24/7 for the first three months.
- No real cravings, except wanting red wine whenever I saw a glass.
- Very low blood pressure (signed off work for this twice, in the first and last trimester.)
- Anaemic for most of the pregnancy.
- Stressful pregnancy, counting down each day.
- Horrific cankles (what are cankles?) from about month 4 until the birth.
- Weight gain of 13Kg (about 29lb) from start to finish, and a teeny tiny bump (this is me at nearly 42 weeks – excuse the highly unattractive photo!):
- A baby that I thought moved quite a lot.
- 45 minute commute door to door: driving from our home in the hills above Grasse to the office in the coastal town of Antibes.
- No ante-natal visits with midwives, all done with my gynaecologist/obstetrician.
- Virtually no ante-natal preparation/classes etc.
- Monthly appointments with my gynaecologist/obstetrician, with full weigh-in, blood pressure check and examination “down below”.
- Monthly blood tests in a separate lab for toxoplasmosis (more information about toxoplasmosis).
- Test for diabetes despite not being at risk.
- Scans offered at every monthly check-up if I wanted them, with 3 obligatory ones.
- Strict instructions given from the gynaecologist/obstetrician on what to avoid eating and drinking: no alcohol, no smoking, no raw meats or fish, no cheese made from unpasteurised milk, no foie gras, no shellfish, all meat to be cooked all the way through, all fruit and veg to be washed thoroughly etc.
- No mention of breast-feeding at all.
- An induced and very quick labour with epidural (more about that here) with the end result being a healthy little girl:
Pregnancy N°2: The English One
When: February – November 2012
- Very little nausea, and what I had was very easy to control.
- More tired than usual, but again it was easy to control.
- No real cravings, except wanting to eat lots of fresh fruit and having more of a sweet tooth than usual.
- Normal blood pressure.
- No problem with anaemia.
- A mostly stress-free pregnancy (except for the usual stresses and strains of daily life), with no big rush to get through it. This one has certainly whizzed by a lot faster.
- Cankles only making occasional appearances, when the UK weather is hot and when we were on holiday in sunny climes
- Weight gain of 9kg (about 20lb) so far and a much bigger bump, here I am at just 30 weeks this time round:
- A baby that doesn’t stop dancing. Ever. This is one active baby! I thought that L was a mover and shaker but this one beats her hands down.
- 45 minute commute door to door: a 7 minute walk to the tube station, an 18 minute ride on the Northern Line where I usually get given a seat, then a 7 minute walk the other side.
- All ante-natal visits carried out by different midwives at the local hospital where I will have this baby.
- Refresher NCT classes start tomorrow and I’m also doing hypnobirthing this time round. I’ll have more to report on that later…
- Fewer appointments than with L, I have been weighed once at the very start, my blood pressure is checked each time and to my amazement no one has ever examined me “down below”! This is the biggest shocker after pregnancy in France!!
- No mention of toxoplasmosis at all, except when I asked about it I was told that if I didn’t work on a farm then I shouldn’t worry about it. They did however tell me to wear gloves for gardening and for cleaning cat litter and to wash all fruit and veg thoroughly.
- No mention of a diabetes test.
- 2 scans at 12 and 20 weeks, plus an additional scan planned for 36 weeks to check the size of the baby as L was so tiny.
- A vague mention made of what to eat/avoid eating etc. Although during the first midwife appointment we did discuss alcohol and smoking.
- Breast-feeding talked about and the advantages clearly explained during a recent midwife appointment, despite me stating that I’m a huge advocate and that I breastfed L for 1 year and exclusively for 6 months, and that I fully intended to do it again.
- Hopefully a natural birth this time in a midwife-led suite in the local hospital, which I promise to report back on.
It is hard to say how much of the differences are because it is a second pregnancy, so the medical staff and B and I are more relaxed about the whole thing. Also for my pregnancy with L I had previously had a miscarriage so I’m sure that added a lot of stress as I wondered about my ability to carry a baby to term.
The biggest shocks for me are the fact that no one mentions anything about toxoplasmosis here, which is HUGE in France, both at check-ups/blood tests and when talking to other mums (I was always getting asked, “Tu as eu la toxo?” whenever discussing pregnancy with other women). The other thing that still amazes me is that no one has ever asked to look between my legs! Now I’m not a huge fan of a stranger poking and prodding about down there, but after that being such a regular occurrence at every single check-up for 9 months it France, it still astounds me that not one single person has looked down there yet! According to my UK mum friends this is common and you’ll only get looked at “down there” if you are overdue and need a sweep.
Fortunately I realised fairly quickly that no one was interested in what was going on in my knickers after my first check-up so I’ve stopped getting naked now for my appointments!
How did your pregnancies compare? Was it a boy/girl thing? A country comparison? An age comparison? I’d love to hear if you had any surprises with later pregnancies.
I don’t know why but finding a name for a baby boy seems to be infinitely harder than finding names for a baby girl. Before those who know me get excited and start thinking we’ve given in and found out the sex of our bump, sorry to disappoint you but we are still in the dark. As with L we don’t know the sex, and as with L, we’re struggling to find boys’ names that we’re both happy with.
It doesn’t seem to be just us either; my sister gave birth to my nephew 2.5 weeks ago and they are yet to name him (fortunately for them they live in New Zealand where you have 3 months to name your baby, as against 3 days in France!) I also have a work colleague who took several weeks to name her baby boy.
After living in France for 12 years where you have just 3 days to name your baby or the state names him/her for you, I still feel that I need to go into labour with a girl’s name and a boy’s name all set to go. As I mentioned previously we had chosen our two names and we were both happy with these and ready to go….then I got chatting to my sister after my nephew’s birth and I started worrying about whether our choice of a French name would work/be pronounceable in the UK.
To be on the safe side I presented two of my London mummy friends with a shortlist of boys’ and girls’ names and asked them to pronounce them. Oh dear. There went our boy’s name. With the likelihood that it’ll be pronounced wrongly and in a way that I really dislike too we’ve had to delete it from our list. The issue here is that it was the only boy’s name B and I could both agree on.
On the up side we seem to be ok on the girl’s name front. On the down side we’re back to square one with boys’ names; unable to agree on one name that we both like.
So if you’re bored, how about you help us out with any suggestions and pop them in the comments below? Here are our criteria:
- We’re looking for a French name as our surname is French.
- It can’t be too long as our surname is long with 3 syllables.
- We’re trying to avoid names starting with L, B or S as those letters start our names.
- Our surname starts with an L and the letter B is quite dominant.
I am delighted to be pregnant with child number 2, but this is actually my third pregnancy. I am one of the many, many women who has suffered from a miscarriage. According to the NHS one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage and around three quarters of those miscarriages occur during the first trimester (first 12 weeks of pregnancy). I am one of those statistics.
My first pregnancy was in July 2005 and I got pregnant the first month we started trying. I was delighted. A few days after we found out B and I went off on holiday to the French Alps with my parents, his mum and his gran, so we excitedly told them our news that first night, despite it being really early days. It was great fun as we talked about this new grandchild and great-grandchild and I have such happy memories of those first few days of the holiday.
Then mid holiday we went on a day trip over the border to Switzerland and after lunch I noticed some bleeding, not just spotting either. To cut a long, very sad story short the next day (the 14th July – France’s national holiday!) it was confirmed that I had “spontaneously aborted” the baby. I was only about 5 weeks pregnant at the time, but the grief, guilt and sadness I felt was overwhelming.
I can’t begin to imagine what it must feel like for those miscarrying later on and anyone who has ever gone through a miscarriage has my full sympathy.
Despite reading up on miscarriages, in particular early miscarriages, and seeing that they happen in general through no fault of the mother, and are caused by a foetus that wouldn’t have been viable, I still couldn’t help blaming myself. What had I done wrong? What should I have done differently? And would I be able to carry a baby to term?
Despite my gynaecologist checking me out and reassuring me that everything seemed in perfect working order, I couldn’t help worrying if my next pregnancy would be ok.
After getting pregnant in month 1, it took us a further 8 months to conceive L, during which time so many of our friends and acquaintances were announcing pregnancies that poor B ended up clearing up my sobbing messes time after time.
We were over the moon when we found out I was finally pregnant again, but I was unable to enjoy that pregnancy. Every week took me closer to this baby being viable and I remember being ridiculously relieved when I reached 24 weeks and I was told that if I happened to give birth now the likelihood was that the baby would survive. Instead of thinking “wow, that’s really too early for a baby to be born” all I could think was “my baby is viable”!
I felt such a great responsibility towards my unborn baby – I didn’t have one sip of alcohol, I stopped doing sport (it had been suggested by a certain someone that walking – not hiking, just walking – in the Alps had caused my miscarriage), I was overly strict with myself about what I ate, and I basically didn’t relax for around 40 weeks!
Funnily enough once L was born and she was no longer just my responsibility I completely chilled out, she slept in her own room as soon as we brought her home from the hospital, and I never worried overly about her, in complete contrast to when I was pregnant with her.
Pregnancy number 2 couldn’t be more different – as I know I have carried a healthy pregnancy to term and that I now have a very healthy 5 year old to show for it I feel completely relaxed about this pregnancy and my miscarriage risks (hopefully I am now past the major ones as I will be 25 weeks tomorrow). Which is crazy really when you think I am now 36 (I was 30 for my pregnancy with L) so my miscarriage risks are probably higher.
I wonder if I am alone in feeling this way? Have any of you had miscarriages and then had subsequent stressful pregnancies through fear of further miscarriage?
I felt incredibly lonely when I miscarried as I didn’t know anyone who had also had a miscarriage, but I’m guessing this is just because we don’t tend to talk about it with others. Have you had a miscarriage? How did it affect you?
If you know of anyone who has suffered from a miscarriage, just be there for them and help relieve them of that horrible guilty feeling.