My labour story.. baby number 3.

I was sat watching Eastenders one evening when the very familiar feeling of regular contractions began.. ‘lasting longer than a minute and at intervals of every five minutes or so’. As a first time parent they tell you at antenatal classes that this means you are most probably in early labour, and to then take action when you get 3 in 10 minutes. What they don’t tell you is that early labour can actually last for hours, if not days, or in my case this time these early contractions lasted a whole WEEK..

Every night once the boys were nicely tucked up in bed at 7pm, I’d sit down to relax and these regular contractions would start again, they would continue until the morning, and would remain mostly regular. And then, like clockwork, once the boys would wake, they would fade out. I joked that I was only relaxed when the boys were not around and as a result my labour was not progressing. I googled my signs obsessively and decided that I was experiencing false labour. This continued for a week and it felt like I was never going to actually progress into ‘real labour’.

After experiencing this for a week, on the Wednesday night at 7pm once the boys were in bed, I started to feel contractions that started in my back. I was familiar with these types of contractions from my first labour, where my eldest monkey was back to back. So I instantly knew this must be the start of my actual labour for sure, although they were extremely mild and bearable.

They continued all night, and kept coming regularly but had still not intensified. So I got on my bouncy ball in the morning and kept bouncing through them in an effort to get things moving quicker. I didn’t move of the ball for three hours, but eventually got up to use the loo at around midday. Just as I was walking back to the ball, I thought I felt a small a trickle down my leg.. so I went upstairs to get dressed and it happened again.

I called the maternity ward to let them know my waters were leaking, they asked me to come in to be examined. As soon as I got to the hospital the contractions calmed down and become further apart! A change of environment can do that, it didn’t help that I was then there for almost four hours while they passed me from midwife to midwife between the midwife led and consultant led unit. Each time explaining my situation from scratch and being asked what I was doing there πŸ˜‚! I was there as they had asked me to come in but as I had no ‘evidence’ of my waters breaking and they couldn’t confirm that they had from an examination they believed I may have just had an accident, great!

Either way, I would need to be induced by midday the next day due to the infection risks of my waters ‘maybe’ breaking. The final midwife that I saw kindly checked if there was a bed available for my to be induced that evening, as it would happen the next day anyway and my contractions had completely slowed down I decided to come back at 7pm and then stay to be induced (it was already 4.30pm by this point). I’d always said I’d never unnecessarily opt for an induction but I was well and truly fed up and didn’t want another night of no progression but still experiencing contractions.

As soon as I got home even more of my waters had leaked and this time I got the evidence they wanted on a good old pad, so the scan they wanted to do was no longer needed :).

I said a quick goodbye to my boys before they went to bed (by this point grandma had made it down to look after them, so they were in safe hands). I left my husband at home also and took my sister back with me to the hospital. By this point my waters were constantly leaking as well as my mucus plug, but the contractions had not intensified, just continued every 5-8 minutes a part.

I was examined as soon as I got to hospital and was told I was 2-3cm already, so I was given a pessary but no further induction as I could wait to have my waters broken. However I was told that as it was now the night shift staff it would unlikely be until the morning as they were short staffed. I didn’t want to wait until then so bounced on my ball and walked up and down the corridors until 1am before giving up to get some sleep. The contractions were a lot more regular and slightly more intense now, but I was managing with my good old Tens machine.

I managed to sleep until around 5am but was in a really light sleep and could feel the contractions, I would press the button on my tens in my sleep every time a contraction came. My sister bless her managed to sleep on the chair next to my bed for a few hours.

At around 10am my husband swapped with my sister and we walked around the hospital for about an hour. While I was walking my contractions were a couple of minutes a part and hurting a lot more but still bearable. But I was disheartened when I was examined at 11am and I was still only 3cm! I was in ALOT of pain by now. My sister arrived back at this point and I sent my husband back home as no signs of baby yet. The pain I experienced in the next hour was insane, I could no longer walk and felt like I had no energy left.

I begged my sister to ask the midwife to examine me again but I was told no as nothing would have progressed so quickly yet. By 12.30 I was DYING so my sister asked again, reminding them that my active labour was super quick last time. I was so relieved to hear I was now 8cm dilated and I could move to the delivery suite and finally get some gas and air πŸ™‚

By this point I was so exhausted I decided to finally lie down and just use the gas and air for awhile to manage the pain. My husband had returned also, and spent the next few hours snacking, sipping his tea and watching the horse racing on his phone, but I didn’t even have the energy to be annoyed with him! I was so chilled the midwife said afterwards that she couldn’t believe I was actually in labour. It took until around 3.45pm to be fully dilated and then I was told to wait half an hour or so before I started to push so that babies head could move down slightly. After about 15 minutes I couldn’t wait any longer as the urge to push was so strong so we started pushing.

But I had completely exhausted myself over the last couple of days, I had no energy left to push and mentally I had no energy left either. So after a few minutes I ‘gave up’. The midwife suggested calling a doctor in for assistance and I agreed straight away (very out of character for me). The doctor came in and after looking at me and hearing this was third baby and both previous babies were born naturally, she gave me a little prep talk and told me she wouldn’t be assisting me as I didn’t need it..

It was the motivation I needed, as only a few minutes later at 16.08pm we welcomed our beautiful little boy (7 pounds exactly) into the world. The first thing I did was look down to see the gender, and I wasn’t surprised at all that baby had been a boy all along!

It’s the best feeling in the world having your brand new warm and cuddly baby placed onto your chest straight after they arrive. I remember feeling so relieved that he was finally here and after having initial skin to skin the adrenaline kicked in and I didn’t even feel tired. This was cut short so that I could be stitched up so it ended up being nearly two hours later that baby had his first feed and I finally got a proper look and hold of him.

As I had lost a lot of blood and my iron levels were low I had to stay in hospital that night and as soon as I was settled onto a ward I had the best 2 hours sleep of my life and it wasn’t until the next morning my three boys met for the first time πŸ’™

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What’s in my hospital bag..

Third time round you’d think I’d be a pro at packing a hospital bag, but this time round I have left it SO last minute (I finished it yesterday at 38 weeks), and I’ve packed a little more this time as I’m anticipating a slightly longer stay this time, (previously only stayed for 24 hours with both of the boys)..

So what’s inside??

I actually have two bags!

I’ve packed my grey Pacapod nappy rucksack for the babies essentials, and a small weekend trolley for my things, and this is what I have packed:

My bag:

  • Breastpads (supermarket branded)
  • Maternity pads
  • Disposable maternity briefs (mine are from Tesco but most supermarkets do them as do boots!
  • Cotton dressing gown
  • Maternity pjs from Jojo Maman Bebe
  • Spare pjs
  • Maternity leggings x 2 pairs
  • 2 baggy tops
  • Nursing bra
  • Nursing dress from Lily & Ribbon (for leaving the hospital)
  • Nursing top
  • Socks
  • Hairbrush
  • Lansinoh nipple cream
  • Face towel
  • Mini toiletries of everyday essentials including toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hand, face & body wipe
  • Hand gel
  • Shower cap
  • Flip flops
  • Carrier bags for dirty clothes

For labour:

  • Spray bottle (to spray water on me if I need to cool down)
  • Lip balm (gas & air can make your lips dry)
  • Hair bands

To grab on the day

  • Snacks
  • Phone charger
  • Hospital notes
  • Tens machine (I’ve got the Mama Tens which I brought from amazon, but you can also hire them from mothercare, and local pharmacies/ websites).

So whats in the baby’s bag:

  • 3 x muslins
  • 5 x unisex sleepsuits
  • 5 x vests
  • 3 x cotton hats
  • 1 x blanket
  • 1 x cardigan
  • 12 nappies
  • Water wipes
  • Nappy sacks
  • Child’s farm nappy cream
  • Disposable nappy mats (so handy for changing baby on your hospital bed)

I live about a five minutes drive from the hospital so if I have an extended stay I can just get somebody to grab me more from home. Feel ALOT more prepared now everything’s packed! Just a waiting game now!

Baby number 3 is coming.

Okay so it’s been almost a year since I updated my blog, life with two little monkeys kinda got in the way, and you may have guessed it from the title, that baby number 3 is on its way.. in 2 weeks..eeeek!

My little monkey turned 3 this summer, and his little brother just turned 20 Months. So we have exactly the same age gap as before and we are super excited to meet our new baby and find out if it’s a boy or a girl!

Here’s the last 9 months worth of bump pics 😍

10 Tried and tested ways to get your newborn to sleep

I think almost every new mum has a few moments of madness where they just CANNOT get their baby to sleep despite trying everything in the world. And when they finally do sleep you run to the loo, put the kettle on, put some laundry on, then sit down to drink your cup of tea.. and just like magic they wake up! A whole twenty four minutes later! This ordeal is repeated multiple times a day until you are literally ready to tear you hair out.

So here I my tried and tested ways of getting a baby to sleep..

  1. Feed to sleep. This is the simplest, easiest method out of them all. Feed your baby until they fall asleep. Simple? Although many books, experts and other mums will tell you that you must absolutely NOT do this and you will ‘make a rod for your own back’ which is why I spent the first 9 months or so with my first little monkey avoiding feeding him to sleep but had an even worse ordeal in doing so. And now, my new little cutie will not feed to sleep and I so wish he would! Typical!
  2. Go for a stroll. This is a win win all round, baby gets fresh air and so do you (and a chance to burn some calories in an attempt to lose some baby weight.. only to go home and destroy a whole pack of chocolate biccys after πŸ˜‚), and they will peacefully nod off. The only problem is if you have cheeky monkeys like me you have to keep walking the entire time you want them to stay asleep, otherwise they wake up the minute you stop!
  3. Take a drive. This is perfect if your feeling  to lazy to go for a walk or the weather is rubbish or your so shattered from trying everything else. But again, my monkeys will wake the moment the car stops!
  4. Wrap your baby. This worked like a dream when my baby was first born. I could pop him in my ring sling, carry on with chores and he would be asleep in minutes. But now he’s older he screams and screams when I attempt to put him in and my toddler is sat in the pram ready to go and gets impatient so when we attempt this we end up in a full blown disaster.
  5. Rocking.. This is another one that the ‘mum police’ will tell you to avoid unless you want to be rocking your child until they get married! But if it works you’ll do anything to get them to sleep when you so desperately want them too! You could also add in some humming and singing for quicker results.
  6. Humming or singing. Some babies will sleep to just music with no rocking involved.. worth a try!
  7. A bouncer/ swing. Your baby may weell fall asleep in these, perhaps with some encouragement (meaning rocking/ bouncing it so much it never stops). Mine very rarely did or do.
  8. Swaddling. This apparently works like a dream, if only you can figure how to swaddle without annoying your baby so much they are no longer tired from all the crying!
  9. White noise.. such a good way to calm down a screaming and overtired baby. You tube has many noises to choice from, or you can even just switch the tap on :). My baby seems to know the difference between ‘real’ white noise (the rap running) and ‘fake’ sounds on you tube, which my husband is rather unimpressed with as we have a water meter.. hmm.
  10. A combination of 1 or more, or ALL.. if your desperate like me, you might need to attempt more than one of the above. I rock, and sing AND use white noise all at the same time, until he finally nods off πŸ™‚

You’ll be pleased to know, this mainly applies to the fourth trimester, after that, its easier to predict when you baby will be tired, and therefore easier to get them to sleep in a more ‘normal’ manner. So hang in there mama’s those first three months go quickly, and then you move on to new challenges!

My secret to 2 under 2

So last week, my oldest monkey turned 2. I won’t talk about how I feel about it all in this post, as that’s an essay in itself! But, I officially no longer have 2 little monkeys under 2. My biggest little boy turning 2 has made me reflect on the last few months. I’ve talked about my day to day survival tips previously, but there are a couple of things that have made the last 4 months so much more manageable, and I’ve actually been suprised at how we have coped and how it’s been far easier then I ever imagined it would be.. don’t get me wrong we have had our moments as well! So, before I forget, I wanted to share these with you all. 

There are two things that have really, really helped us in the last four months: 

1. Routine, routine, routine… 
Yes, I’m one of ‘those’ mums. My eldest has a strict routine and has done from the very early days, which was driven by him not us. I often see friends rolling their eyes when I have to leave somewhere early due to nap or bed time, or god forbid turn something down. But having a solid routine works for us and has actually been a godsend with two which is why I also got my baby into a routine as soon as I could.  My days are predictable, so from the moment we wake, I know which baby needs what when, and when we can fit in activities, outings and chores. And the BEST part is, both my little boys have a longer lunchtime nap so I get a couple of hours to myself in the middle of the day to make lunch, do some chores and sit down and relax! And the even BETTER part is, both boys are in bed around 7/7.30pm. So I get a couple of hours to myself in the evening, to have a quick tidy up, and time to do whatever I want and feel like a human being again! 

I really don’t know how I’d cope without my days being predictable and a tired baby usually leads to a fussy baby, but with a solid routine I know if my babies fussing it’s not because he’s tired if he’s not due a nap. My newborn has been in a semi routine since about 8 weeks and now at 4 months he’s in a solid routine. He wakes at 6am, naps at around 8am, 11am, and 4pm and has 7pm bedtime. The toddler wakes by 7am and naps at 12-2 and has a bedtime 7pm. 

To get the baby into a routine I followed the same pattern as my eldest, which was from around 8 weeks old I would put him to sleep again after around 1.5 hours awake time. But as all babies are different, and their needs change as they get older, my youngest doesn’t actually need a nap until 2 hours awake time and can last 2.5 hours sometimes. From literally 1 week old, once he was asleep past 9pm I took him up to bed with lights out and no talking/interaction during wakings until the morning. This quickly allowed him to learn the difference between night and day and helped us to get into a solid routine. The last month or so I managed to then bring bedtime to 7pm by treating his last nap like bedtime when he woke up. 

I know that strict routines do not suit everyone’s parenting style, but without one I seriously don’t think I would cope as well as I have. I am generally on top of all the housework, the house is generally clean most of the time (I have developed OCD), and I mange to cook fresh meals most days. Oh, and I get my daily dose of ‘me time’. We have pretty much got to the stage where having two little monkeys is the same as when I just had the one and we can all, enjoy our time together. 

2. Co-sleeping 

I never thought I’d want to co-sleep. With my first, we moved our Snuz pod next to me crib away from my bed after a couple of weeks, as it didn’t sit flush against our bed and my stitches made it difficult to get my baby in and out of bed. Plus he was a good sleeper and we were disturbing each other throughout the night. This time round my monkey is not such a great sleeper and having my baby next to me has been amazing. I never put him in my bed as I like to sleep sprawled out and I do want him to be used to sleeping in a cot, but as he is just next to me, I don’t fully wake up when he wakes, I feed him, burp him, then pop him back in. As a result, I don’t have to get out of bed, I barely even wake up, I don’t check the time and best of all I don’t count how many times he wakes. 

This time around I have totally changed my outlook on night wakenings and I’m not focused on how well he is sleeping and purely just trying to get the best night sleep possible to deal with the next day. I often go to bed at 9pm or by 10pm latest and it helps me to get more hours rest, especially as my baby sleeps the best before midnight. It also helps with the super early mornings as he regularly wakes at 5am. As a first time parent I was obsessed with how many hours my baby had slept, how he had fallen asleep and getting him to sleep through, but being so much more relaxed this time and co-sleeping has made a huge difference and I’m in no rush to change things just yet as why fix it if it’s not broken.. 

I’m enjoying things so much right now that both boys are in a routine that I even think we could squeeze another little bubba in with a similar or slightly smaller gap! But having said that, we don’t know what we don’t know and I have NO IDEA what the next few months will look like, mums with older babies may be laughing at my optimism right now, but I’m feeling ready to handle anything so I’m excited about watching my boys grow together!