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My Body Did Not Fail…

You wouldn’t believe how much I want to say that and believe it. I guess I thought I’d gotten over my birthing failures but being surprisingly pregnant a second time, discussing and thinking about a second birth, obviously it’s brought it all back to me.

For a recap (and because the VBAC midwife confirmed what happened), I was induced at T+12 with artificial rupture of my membranes at about 7am ish. Somewhere around mid-morning or lunch, I was put on the induction drip due to nothing happening. Within 4 hours, I had still not progressed any further from 7am and the decision was made for C-section. Due to the induction, I was under constant fetal monitoring, which is restrictive in itself, but Elvis was a pickle and his heartbeat could only be picked up when I was lying on my side. I couldn’t even swap sides!

Meanwhile, the gas and air made me incredibly high. I have never taken any sort of drug before. Other than medically given anaesthetic for operations, paracetamol and alcohol! The first time I took co-codamol for a migraine, I passed out for two days! So, I think gas and air made me loopy. I can remember the room spinning. I can remember hubby and midwife maniacally laughing at me, spinning in a 60s type of vibe. It was all a bit psychedelic and flower-powery for me. I became convinced at some point that hubby was having an affair with the midwife we met that morning and he was never alone with. I don’t remember opening my eyes at all. I only realised that I was missing time when a song came on my ipod that I know off by heart and realised it was missing lines. The music from my ipod all got a dance-remix with heartbeats. I was not on this planet!

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74 Weeks Old, 28 Weeks Pregnant

I have a photo for this pregnancy entry! (Elvis was much better behaved for these photos, and our next photo session is also going to be our Christmas ones!) Anywho, Elvis is 74 weeks old! He’s also just over 17 months old. It seems to have taken forever to get him from “a year” to “18 Months”. Not that time is dragging, far from it — there are only 7 weeks left until the Christmas holidays, which is hopefully when I finish work for another year. Haha! If I didn’t have 101 questions for my employer to answer. You’d think it would be easy having pretty much literally just returned from maternity leave; everything should be the same, right? Nope. We technically changed employer whilst I was on maternity leave for Elvis so they have decided to change all of the guidance (read: copied from another section of the UK where they have employees) so there are huge elements not even mentioned in the new guidance and new wording that throws up huge questions for me. My only real worry is that time is marching on and I have deadlines to request my maternity leave, deadlines to request annual leave. Oh, and making sure I get paid correctly and my childcare vouchers are paid promptly (I have very little faith in my pay being correct; it wasn’t last time).

On the pregnancy front, I am going through an exhausted phase. I could literally sleep all day and night. Last week, Elvis decided to take his daily 2 hour nap at nursery (I almost cried when I found out). Well, by 3pm, I gave up and put him down for a nap (he didn’t really nap) and I passed out in bed. I only got up when hubby got in. It’s the second or third time in 6 months that I’ve done it and I think it’s safer than me falling asleep on the sofa with Elvis running wild in the living room. Even now, I could just sleep. I guess that’s the benefit of Elvis still being so young (and loving his own sleep, routine and cot). My front pelvic pain has got a lot better. My lower back pain has not. I rang the physio to have a second appointment where she confirmed that my hip joint is locking with my spine as I walk (leading to me dragging my leg). She recommended to either use crutches, a hip belt that could make the pelvic pain worse, or to simply stop walking! Hubby would have killed me if I had turned up with crutches — he’s adamant he can drive me everywhere for the next 12 weeks!

 

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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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25 Weeks and 3 Days Pregnant with 73 Week Old!

I’m really struggling this week. Even though we’re in October, it’s still as hot as summer. I mean it’s dark when I get up, dark before Elvis finishes his bath, but it’s still baking hot outside. Although at least I can dry all my washing outside! Whilst a lot of my pelvic pain has gone since my physio appointment, walking is still a pain. Couple the heat and walking pain with the nursery pick up and it’s exhausting me. I finish work at 12, walk home, get puschair, walk to nursery, get Elvis, walk home possibly via some shops and it’s been over an hour of solidly walking.

I then nap all afternoon out of exhaustion and feel crap all evening.

Meanwhile, my aches and pains are making me feel so distant from my son. When he was newborn, I struggled and daddy stepped up; Elvis loved Daddy far more than me. Fast forward to 16 months old and Daddy gets him dressed, Daddy gets him ready for bed, Daddy reads him bedtime stories. All I do is cook his meals, get him from nursery, wash his clothes, clean his dishes. At the moment I still have bathtime fun with him, but I’m becoming more and more hands off. I stuggle to bend over and pick him up. I feel like I’m losing my son and I’m only going to get bigger, more achey and even less hands on.

I started this post the other day (in preparation for my 25 week check) and literally overnight (from the 4th to 5th October) it has become freezing cold, rainy and stormy. So now, I am going to have to do that hour of solid walking in the cold and rain, without a proper coat yet and with barely any sleep. Didn’t I mention? Apparently, my body is doing that thing where it prepares you for your newborn by waking you every 3 hours, just to get you ready. I don’t need to be told, I don’t need to get ready, I did it a year ago! So, please fuck off, body, and let me sleep a whole night! I have insomnia. I have random wakings. Now, I have the rain too! Only 15 weeks, right?

How about my gender predictions…

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67 Weeks Old, 19 Weeks 6 Days Pregnant

I hit 20 weeks pregnant this week! And had my 20 week scan (at 19 weeks, 6 days), and a physiotherapist appointment and my first VBAC appointment. I’d never seen it before, but have since I had Elvis, blogs were mums-to-be check out gender myths and try and figure out which apply to them. I thought I would do it this time around! I was unsure if I wanted to find out the gender. I was never sure if I wanted to learn Elvis’ gender before his 20 weeks. This time, the midwife never asked and I forgot to, so we didn’t find out. We’ll have to wait another 22 weeks (I consider, after last time, that a pregnancy is 42 weeks and not 40!).

The VBAC appointment was okay. That means Vaginal Birth After Caesarean, by the way. They didn’t have my first labour notes so could not state definitively that I could not try vaginal, but they do need to check the notes. I don’t think it should be an issue. They also explained that a C-section can have increased risks the second time around – scarring can make it harder to get in and out. I had never thought of that. The midwife did start to go on about how C-section babies have harder times breastfeeding, harder times breathing and an increased chance of being in special care. I kind of consider it almost as scare mongering. Especially when I have had a C-section. I knew the risks going into that one so what would have changed in 15 months? I appreciate being told about increased risks because of a second section, but not of having a section.

The physiotherapist was really good. She advised me on how to sleep properly. I haven’t been supporting my ankles with the body pillow. The night of the appointment, I shifted the body pillow and honestly the pain has been so much better in my pelvis. Sadly, the physiotherapist advised that I really should not be swimming breaststroke. I’ve tried swimming twice since then. Both epic failures. Before I got pregnant, I was managing 50 lengths, the last time I swam breaststroke I was on 36 lengths, this week I managed 28 and then 22. It’s depressing. And the 22 lengths was cut short because of an awful cramp in my foot that lasted over 20 minutes. I’m really quite upset about it and feel like quitting the exercise completely.

But my pelvis doesn’t hurt as much. I guess that’s the thought I need to hang on to, right? Okay, after the More, check out the gender predictions!

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Space Monster Moon Walking

From Daily Post: Green Eye Monster

Dearest Friends,

You all beat me.

You all won the race, leaving me behind in the salty dust.

You weren’t in a race. None of you strived forward.

You didn’t try and trip me. You didn’t think of me at all like that.

And for your harmless, innocent walk through life, what do you get from me?

You get a green eyed baby full of resentment and anger, brought into this world by such unconventional means.

You get a friend who watched as your lives innocently passed by as she was stuck moon walking her way through a nightmare.

Even now the monster within still resides for each and every one of you.

Your natural sleep, no rule breaking involved.

Your natural birth, no cutting off of corners involved.

Your natural conception, no cheating there.

My artificially made monster that needs to return from the alien environment once he stops being fed.

My eyes will forever be green. But time may calm my monster.

With loving friendship xoxo

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