Persephone: Parent

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Birth Affirmations

Through attending yoga (which I have to credit with changing my mindset so much during Robin’s pregnancy), I found myself far more positive for most of the end of the pregnancy. I’m writing this at almost 41 weeks by the hospital dates and I have my wobbles, but am generally positive still. I’ve removed people and groups from my social media feeds for the time being if they cause me to react negatively and I have a list of birth affirmations scattered around the house to keep me positive.

I found them mainly through a facebook VBAC support group and then pinterest. I picked and chose my favourites and then ordered them to make one page in larger print. I printed the list twice, one copy is for my notes so that I can have access to them during my labour. The other copy has two pages in the lounge, one in the kitchen and one in my bedroom near the nursing chair where I often read to Elvis.

I’m not sure if the font will copy over, but I decided on Kristen ITC:

My body knows how to deliver this baby, just as my body knew how to grow this baby.

You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.

Every wave brings me closer to my baby.

Women’s bodies were designed to birth. I am designed to birth naturally.

I release anything that is holding me back from birthing this baby.

Millions of women have birthed for millions of years, I can too.

I am a strong and capable woman. I trust my instincts to know what I need for my labour.

My body will relax and allow the birth to happen.

My body will give birth in its own time. I am excited to give birth to this baby.

I do not fight the birth in any way. My body is relaxed.

My body and my baby are the perfect team.

I give thanks for this pregnancy.

I am grateful for my ability to grow this healthy beautiful new life inside of me.

I am deserving of an easy, uncomplicated labour and birth.

I can see my baby moving gently through the birth canal.

My body is made to give birth.

I have courage, faith and patience.

I trust my body.

I trust in my baby’s ability to be born.

I am at peace.

My pelvis is releasing and opening, as have those of countless women before me.

I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby.

I feel confident, I feel safe and I feel secure.

I will succeed.

I breathe correctly and eliminate tension.

The toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head.

A due date is an estimate; my baby will come when they are ready.

I use this time to relax and do what brings me joy.

As I am still waiting, 6 days past the Due Date at time of typing the final two are repeated often in my head at the moment. I really do identify with the statements and believe them. It’s just a case of breathing deeply as I read them, to remain positive and calm. Whether these will help during the birth, at the moment, is irrelevant. These are designed to get me to the birth in a calm, happy and positive state.

~ P
Added Note – this os a scheduled post from January, obviously, and I just wanted to add as it posts in April that they did help me get to the birth in a positive state. I read the affirmations, I believed in them. I stayed clear of anything that could bring negativity – facebook, family messages and fights. But I did not reach the birth positively due to work based stress and the rupturing of membranes that I put down to stress.

These affirmations did get me as far as they could. Job done.

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Unless I labour Spontaneously (or already have!)

I’m  writing this at 35+3 but plan on scheduling it for January. I fully plan on attempting VBAC (we have the choice here that after one c-section, we can have electives ever after even if there is no medical need), but have decided on an elective section if I reach term plus 12. I could wait longer, I might have to fight medical staff to wait longer, and I already feel fed up of pregnancy. Those two weeks after I reached my due date with Elvis were awful so I really don’t see myself wanting to prolong it past T+12. Unless I labour spontaneously.

Not that I like, at 35 weeks knowing the exact date my baby could be born. I mean, the date for the section could be their date of birth (unless I labour spontaneously) and I find that weird. I kind of find that wrong. For me. In my head. Maybe if I booked that date for an induction, I’d feel better because that could take longer than a day, the date of birth would still be unknown. Unless I’m too ill or there’s a massive rush of emergencies, my section will be on the date booked. Unless I labour spontaneously.

I could have opted for the induction, I think the catheter, physical induction sounds nicer than the hormonal one I had last time, but if interventions lead to more interventions (a common thought regarding labour) then the induction could lead to an emergency section. Wouldn’t a planned section be nicer, calmer, more relaxed and enjoyable than one termed an emergency? Unless I labour spontaneously.

But I still don’t like knowing, potentially, my child’s date of birth already. And I’m refusing to tell anyone of the date other than hubby’s bosses. And I’ll continue hoping that I will labour spontaneously and have a surprise date of birth!

~ Px

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Robin Is A…

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Girl!

Two days old, 9lb and maybe has more hair than Elvis did at the same age. Birth was not how I considered, potentially more traumatic than the first time but I feel more confident and at ease with my decisions. Currently very glad that I have one of each as I really don’t think it’ll be happening again!

~ P

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Blind Faith, Arrogance and Naiveté

That’s how I feel I went into my first labour. I had a complete and utter faith in my body, where it came from, I have no idea as my body had failed for the three years leading up to then. My body would know what to do. I would know what to do.

I was arrogant in that belief and so completely naive. Maybe my body and I would have known what to do if we had come to labour naturally. But we did not. My body was not ready. Elvis was not ready. The only things ready were the hospital and me mentally.

I wanted Elvis out. I had reached the hospital’s routine end point (I had no idea I could protest/fight – naive – plus I was over waiting!). And I was arrogant to believe that just because the hospital and my head said it’s time meant that it was.

I wouldn’t change my son. There are elements of his birth that I… regret? I probably wouldn’t delay the induction if I had my time over – I was ready and hugely uncomfortable. I might have wanted 5 minutes after having the epidural to actually consider the C-section rather than demanding one in a drugged up phase just because I heard the word. I might have refused continuous monitoring due to the pain I was in, if I knew I could.

I had blind faith in the health professionals that they knew and were doing what was best. The same people who gave me no option but to lie in pain because they had to continuously monitor my son. Did it have to be continuous? Could we have tried to find a better position for us both? They were willing to let me come off the monitors to wee, but not for a 5 minute rest? I had trust in them that when they said I had to be induced, I figured my community midwife had got it wrong. I had a naive belief that they cared even though despite me verbally declaring my unborn son wasn’t supposed to exist, despite ny notes on night 2 declaring “Baby fine, mother distressed” nothing was said to me until my 4 week health visitor check concerning me.

This time I have far less trust and faith in myself or them. I have done my research so anything I believe cannot be naive. I am not going into this one blindly, naively.

I’m going into it paranoid, jaded and cynical.

~ P

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Psyching Myself for the End

I’ve decided to lie to myself. I started thinking about it when I hit 30 weeks and posted on facebook “30 weeks done, 12 left to go”. It’s the curse from Elvis being two weeks late – I remember being so frustrated in those final two weeks.

I remember constantly telling my unborn son that I was on maternity leave now, he was losing his time with me after his birthday. And it was hot and I was huge and I had a rash in between all of my since gone stretch marks. And then I spent three days and nights (worse at night) with painful Braxton Hicks (or perhaps it was pre-labour) and I was just fed up.

So, to ease my mental state, I’m considering changing my EDD to the end of term due date. This time around I’m not sure of my dates, I think my EDD might be a week later than my dates, which puts the flexibility in my hands rather than medical. Although from all the reading I’ve done I feel like more of the choices and decisions are in my hands.

Here in my NHS trust, at 40+12 for a prior cesarean section mum, an induction or c-section is booked. Because the general medical thought must be that at 40 weeks your baby is ready. Except people have different gestations and you don’t have to do what they tell you until it becomes a dangerous circumstance.

I’m still undecided about what I want (because it is about what I want, no one can force me into anything unless I let them) when I reach the end of term date (roughly the end of January, 27th). I might feel like last time, so big, in pain and fed up that I say to hell with it, intervene! I still haven’t decided what intervention I’m happy with – sweeps, foley induction, elective c-section. I think I would far prefer an elective over “emergency”, but I don’t think I want to make a decision, to pick a date that my child will be born. Surely it should be up to them?

I might even change my mind when I reach the EDD and beg for interventions, scrapping the end of term date, but for now I’m counting down to 2 weeks late!

Although with Elvis, I wanted him quicker and a friend who was due around the same time wanted to enjoy a little summer holiday before her bubba arrived. Well, she got no holiday and I got about 6 weeks! By that logic, Robin will be early because I would really like some time off before he/she arrives!

~ P

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What I Learnt

First time around, doing all the reading and attending all the classes, I was under some huge pregnancy and parenting misguided notions, and I’m hoping that second time around I’ve learnt from those facts or helpful advice.

1. Having painkillers, epidural or an actual C-section is not the easy way. It is not the cowardly way either. It makes you no less of a woman, parent or human being (even if I do have some vagina jealousy — I am jealous of those who have given birth naturally).

2. Having painkillers, epidual or a C-section will not stop you from breastfeeding.  I swear, these things are the very reason I was so anti having them all. Every antenatal class, all the breastfeeding information made it sound like painkillers, etc would seriously hinder breastfeeding. I am in no way trying to say that they don’t have an effect on bf, but I successfully fed for 366 days and had pain relief, epidural and a C-section. I asked a friend the other day and she said she remembered feeling like that – her two children were C-sections and breastfed. Even worse, on my first meeting with the VBAC team, the midwife, after asking how I fed Elvis and how long for, then told me that a having a C section in general causes problems for breastfeeding. Did you not hear me, woman?

3. Babies who breastfeed will do so constantly, on demand, they will be clingy and only want Mummy for milk. Nope. I was so worried about getting a clingy baby just because I was feeding.  My son never rooted around for milk on me and has always had a streak of independence. I wonder if he can’t smell sometimes, because he truly never rooted. I watched 9 month old baby-friends get tired and root on their mums, never, ever happened with Elvis.

4. All babies have growth spurts. All babies will have sleep regressions. Well, I never noticed either in 15 months.

5. Formula fed babies sleep through the night quicker than bf. That’s funny! I did, in those first two months of sleep deprivation worry that my bf baby would never sleep through the night. At 4 months my bf baby was, my formula fed baby friends still aren’t at over a year. Even now I know toddlers 6 months older that have far more sleep issues that Elvis, now they’re all on cow’s milk so clearly it has nothing to do with formula versus breast, it’s just the person!

6. Babies cannot self wean from the booby before a year. Well, I stopped offering at 9 months and he didn’t ever ask for it (I did still force him twice a day!)

7. Everything passes. Everything gets better. In those first few weeks I truly couldn’t believe those things. People told me that after 2 weeks things would look up, then 1 month, then 2. Nope, it was never going to happen. I could not see that far away. I could not see how it would ever happen. Well, it did. I survived.

8. Dummies are awful, a human nipple and should be weaned by one. My son had the human nipple option and screamed when all he wanted to do was suck to sleep and he kept getting milk from me! As for weaning by 1, Elvis only has his dummy in a cot and is never allowed it elsewhere. He isn’t addicted to it, he doesn’t take it everywhere with him. He simply sleeps with it. How is that awful?

9. A C-section is awful, painful and, as it’s major surgery, will leave you bed-ridden and mentally scarred. A natural birth is easy and has no long lasting effects. Ummm, how about tears, stitches, being unable to sit down, forceps causing headaches. I know some mums who have issues regarding having had a C-section, but not me. It was the best thing for me and my baby at that point.

10. Every baby can take a bottle. Okay, we’re talking breastfed here and maybe, with enough practice they can. Maybe once you find the right kind of teat and you can express enough, or find the right formula that doesn’t upset their tummy. And maybe if you can get them to accept it from you, Daddy or a complete stranger. Maybe if you don’t have milk that needs flash boiling to stop it spoiling after a few hours even in the fridge. All that effort? For a night out? Dude, I have the rest of his life to have a night out, go to the cinema, so rather than figure all of that stuff out, I will not leave my baby for more than 3 hours at a time. And don’t tell me otherwise.

11. Some babies don’t like cuddling. I honestly thought that every baby wanted to be held. Elvis didn’t.

12. Breastfeeding is natural and won’t hurt if you’re doing it right. Really? So, just because something is natural means that you’re perfect at it straight off? Sex is a natural thing, right? The means to procreate is nature at it’s best, yes? So was your first time amazing? Did it rock your world? Did you get pregnant the first time you ever did it, of the first time you wanted to conceive, did you? Or did it take practice to become fantastic? Did it take time to get it right and make a life? So why should breastfeeding be fantastic and perfect straight away? Yes, babies are born with a suckling reflex, it by no means means that they can latch on perfectly straight away. Once established, feeding shouldn’t hurt, if it does, there probably is something that needs correcting. But at the beginning… nature isn’t perfect. And in that time where nature has an imperfection, where mum and baby are both learning something new, perhaps awful things occur, but no one mentions blood blisters, milk blebs, mastitis and engorgement before baby arrives, do they?

13. Something I wish that hubby had been a bit more aware of and I only told him about the other day – when a woman’s milk comes in, it can hurt. I could barely hold Elvis against my chest for a day or two because my breasts ached so badly. Hubby never realised this and didn’t try and take over a simple act of lifting him up to change his nappy.

I know that every baby is different and maybe Robin won’t sleep through as early. Maybe Robin will never learn to feed quickly. Maybe they will be clingy and only want me for milk. Maybe I will have a C-section again. But I survived one birth, newborn and year. I can do it again. The biggest difference that Robin will bring is I won’t pander to anyone else’s needs but my family. Maybe with an increased parenting confidence I will also find the confidence to tell people to butt out of our lives!

~ P

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#ThrowbackThursday: Elvis Has Left the Womb

This is a reposting of the blog I wrote 365 days ago, on day 288 of my pregnancy. I have no recollection of writing it or even what I wrote. That makes me scared to read back the other early day blogs!

Day 288 or term plus 13 according to scans and I am well and truly utterly in love with my son.

I am alone with him on a post natal ward (there is a mother with her daughter) and I am already terrified as I have no idea how to be a parent. It brought tears to my eyes.

I also know that I love him like no other, which brought tears to my eyes.

I got rather high on gas and air earlier and was convinced of so many ludicrous things but one, quite logically if you read my blog or know me, was that we wouldn’t end up a happy family of 3. I was convinced of it (high) and demanded my husband choose our son (drugged up) when neither of us was ever at risk!

But after these two really long days I can say with pride that I’m finally a mother and have made it from the trenches, across No Man’s Land, survived the Waiting Game and am now on the other side.

Elvis has left the womb, folks, and entered my family.

Love to everyone who reads this,
~ Persephone M

Here’s to the next 365 or 288 days!

Happy first NameDay, Elvis, first of your name!

~ P

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#WordlessWednesday: 365 Days Later

Elvis shortly after birth

Elvis shortly after birth


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1 year on, after a swim

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My Birth Story

I probably have mentioned some of the ins and outs of my labour, I’m not sure quite how much, but there are a few things that I’m sure I haven’t put down in words.

Surprisingly there’s some facts surrounding my birth story that I actually spoke about to a real person about before putting it down electronically.

And I don’t mean all the gory details. Nope, I mean my crazy head and my son’s existence.
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Jumping on the Royal Bandwagon

I don’t really care about famous people’s pregnancies. It’s not meant as a mean thing, I just don’t really follow celebrities like that. Sure, I follow certain people on twitter – normally part of my geekness, not because I want to stalk them through nine months of a pregnancy and then in the months following. It isn’t that I’m unhappy for them, I just don’t think it’s any of my (read: the world’s) business. Which is why I’ve never blogged, tweeted, etc about any pregnancy of a famous person. Including Kate Middleton’s.

Until now.

I’m jumping, not on the bandwagon of following her pregnancy. Obviously, her son has been born. Neither is it the bandwagon of what will the prince be called. The whole world knows.

Nope, I’m on the bandwagon of #Dontbuyok.

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