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Baby: My Positive Birth Story with my second baby


It's been six months since we had our beautiful Millie and I'm finally getting around to sharing her birth story. I wanted to make sure I had it written down so I could look back on it, and I loved reading positive birth stories when I was pregnant so hopefully it will be helpful for some of you! I did the Positive Birth Company course with Florence, and so bought it again so I could refresh my memory. Hypnobirthing has been amazing for me - you can read more in this post.

I went into labour four days early with Florence; you can read her birth story here but in summary, labour was really positive but was 36 hours from the very first contraction so quite lengthy. I was fully expecting Millie to be the same so it was a surprise when my due date came and went - and I didn't enjoy the constant questions asking if I'd had any twinges! I had a sweep at 40+6 which wasn't successful as she was so low so the midwife couldn't reach my cervix. She gave me some clary sage oil to massage in a couple of times a day as that can sometimes help bring on labour.

I was booked in for an induction on the Sunday, however on the Thursday morning I woke up early at 5.30 with a few contractions about 10 minutes apart. I then had one at 6.30 which ended with a big pop - my waters had gone! This was another surprise as my waters only went at the end of labour with Florence. I was laying in bed at this point and suspected what had happened so waddled to the bathroom and sure enough - they had very much gone. At this point my contractions started coming even more regularly and I just had a feeling that it was going to be quicker than with Flo bear.

I called the labour ward told us to come in to be checked (as my waters had gone) so I rushed around finishing my hospital bag and getting Florence ready to go to my parents. I was breathing through contractions and they were very manageable, coming every 5-8 minutes. 

We dropped Florence off and got to the hospital at 8.30 in the morning. It wasn't busy on the ward so we were taken to a room and told to get settled - I didn't know whether Chris could come in with me at this stage (Covid reasons) but luckily he was. I had two wonderful midwives (my main midwife was a student) and both were so lovely and I immediately felt at ease. They said they wouldn't do any checks for a while as wanted us to be relaxed and to get the oxytocin flowing. We were brought tea and toast for breakfast, and the room overlooked Lincoln Cathedral so it was just very lovely at this stage with a chilled atmosphere. Very different to when I arrived in labour with Florence when I was pretty out of it and couldn't eat anything! I bounced on my ball and the midwives set up an aromatherapy diffuser and gave us some Clary sage oil for Chris to massage in to my back when I had a contraction.

At this point the midwives weren't sure if my waters had actually broken, so were going to have to do an internal check and said they could then examine me and give me another sweep if I needed it. However literally as I was getting onto the bed my waters started leaking even more and it was very clear they had gone! 

Everything was very manageable until around 10.30 when the contractions massively ramped up - my student midwife had told me to do figures of 8 on the exercise ball which really seemed to get them going. The midwives couldn't believe the change as they left me happily chatting and bouncing on the ball and came back to me mostly stripped off with Chris holding a fan in my face. I put the tens machine on but it didn't do much at this point and the wires were irritating me. I was given some gas and air which was a good distraction. The midwives realised that things were moving fast and so rushed to get the birth pool filled which was in the next room. At this point I couldn't care less where I delivered but they knew I wanted a pool birth and that the water helped me last time.

Less than an hour later I could feel my body starting to push (just after saying that I couldn't do it and was too tired, hello transition!) and luckily the pool was ready so I could get in. I pushed for about 45 minutes with Chris guiding me. The only time the midwives got involved was when birthing the head - I had to slow my pushing and do little breaths. When pushing the body the midwives quickly realised that her hand was by her face so helped me onto my back (I was on all fours) so that they could help manoeuvre her out. And then she was here at 12.28pm, born in the water! We checked to see what she was (another girl - of course!) and had some cuddles in the pool before I was given the injection and delivered the placenta. 

I was never actually examined internally so it was hard to know exact times, but labour was recorded as 6 hours with 1 hour 45 minutes of established labour - a lot quicker than with Florence! They thought her hand might have caused a tear but it was just a graze so I was very lucky.

We had lots of skin to skin and were able to go home the same day - the hours following both births have been my favourite life moments ever. I loved telling our family the news, and even though I was sore and tired, the high was unbeatable.  I feel so lucky to have had such a positive birth - the midwives were just amazing and didn't do one internal exam as could see everything was progressing (was pleased as I found the examinations really hard with Florence) and they mostly left Chris and I to it. Hypnobirthing definitely helped keep me in a calm space even when things got intense so I really do recommend it.

Pregnancy: The Third Trimester


I meant to post this during my actual third trimester but time ran away and now it's May and I have an 8 week old (how?!) baby girl next to me. So here's a little throwback post to when I was 39 weeks pregnant...

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So here we are - I'm writing this at 39 weeks pregnant and can't believe we are nearing the end of pregnancy and will be soon meeting our little baby cheese. The past few weeks have just flown which is strange with us being in another lockdown.

I've found the third trimester a lot more uncomfortable than I did with Florence - but then I have to remind myself that I wasn't running around after a two year old, could have leisurely mornings in bed and nap whenever I liked!

I have had two growth scans in the third trimester although everything has been absolutely fine and it's been because of a rogue fundal measurement which then threw off all future bump measurements. I was seen really quickly both times and it was lovely to see baby on the scan again. Apart from that everything has been going smoothly at all of my checks and him/her has been head down for weeks now.

The bump is feeling pretty big and heavy, and this baby is such a wriggler. Watching my belly move has been pretty crazy as you can almost see the limbs poking out! When we speak to the bump, the baby responds and they love music!

Third trimester tiredness has been a real thing this time and I'm back to having to nap most days to get me through. I'm also needing a wee a zillion times a night, and in the day too. I will leave the house for a walk and have to come straight back to have another wee! I'm so looking forward to being more comfortable again when baby is here, and being able to sleep better too - even if I will be getting less of it!

Everything for the baby has come down from the loft and has been freshened up - today we set up the Snuzpod and it was so strange to think we'll be doing it all again. Can't wait to meet you baby cheese!

Pregnancy: 5 tips to survive being pregnant and looking after a toddler

 


Being pregnant whilst also looking after a toddler has made pregnancy very different to the first time round - Florence was almost two when we found out we were expecting! In my pregnancy with Florence I could take it easy when I needed to, keep my head down at work and sleep all weekend if I wanted to. I also didn't have to bend down a million times a day to pick up toys and to lift her up. Although saying that, it has been nice not having to commute and not being pregnant in a heatwave this time!

Here are five tips to help survive being pregnant whilst also looking after a toddler. I have had a straightforward pregnancy with no sickness and just tiredness mainly (and the usual aches and pains) - obviously it is a total different ballgame if you're suffering with bad morning sickness!

1. Sleep when they sleep

You have to grab those moments when you can rest and so try and sleep when your toddler sleeps. I have been very lucky in that Florence loves sleeping and her naps. In the first trimester I would always go back to bed when she went down for a nap and it would help me get through the day, and I have done the same quite a few times in third trimester as tiredness has reared its head! I would also go to bed early. If Florence didn't still nap I would have been in bed at 7.30. 

2. Play with toys that encourage independent play - or that allow you to rest up

Encourage lots of play with toys where your toddler will play, or mostly play independently. Florence loves Duplo and Magnatiles so these are always a good call if I just want to sit with her rather than having to do too much. She also loves tea parties, playing in her kitchen and making me ice creams with the Melissa & Doug ice cream counter - all which mean I can sit and let her serve me! I am also a big fan of playing doctors, and also the 'lets put Mummy to bed' game where I can lay on the sofa!

3. Use the TV when you need to

Pregnancy (or a pandemic) is not the time to feel guilty about screen time. It's a great tool for giving you half an hour to chill on the sofa. During my third trimester we have got into a nice routine of watching TV around 4pm. Florence will happily sit with some raisins and watch the TV whilst I usually have a quick 20 minute nap! It has really helped me get through the day.

4. Involve your toddler with your pregnancy

It will depend how old your toddler is as to how much they understand. Now that's she's almost 2 and a half, Florence does seem to understand that there's a baby in my tummy and will often cuddle the bump and chat to 'baby cheese' which is what she has called the baby - she did get a shock when she was hugging it and baby did a big kick! We've been talking to her about being a big sister, and asking what she thinks of names so that she feels as involved as possible, and so it won't be too much of a shock when baby cheese arrives. 

5. Don't put pressure on yourself 

I think it's important to constantly remind yourself that you are pregnant, and that you need to take it easy and to not put pressure on yourself. Some days I've felt really ropey and haven't been able to tick anything off my to-do list and I've felt so unproductive but have to keep reminding myself that the most important thing is listening to my body. 

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Sending love to anyone else who is pregnant, especially at the moment during this strange time.