Thursday, 1 December 2016

Blogmas Day 2 - Reverse Toy Advent

We decided this year with Ted's birthday being in the same month as Christmas and him ending up with lots of toys that we would give something back to the world. A playing it forward type thing for all the kindness he gets from friends and family. This comes in the form of a reverse advent and this year it will be a toy one.

I have seen the food bank advent going around where you pop an item of food in each day and take it to a food bank on Christmas Eve. I thought it would be great to do the same with Ted's toys. So each day in the run up to Christmas Ted will be putting one of his old toys into a box and we will be taking them to Tesco where they have a toy collection going to be taken to less fortunate children.

We will have been talking a lot about children who don't have nice presents and family around at Christmas and he really understands how lucky he is.

It also helps that we will be making room for any presents he gets this year as it can be a bit overwhelming in December with all the presents.

Have you got any special advents going?

Blogmas Day 1 - Getting in the mood for Christmas

This year I really wanted to do Vlogmas but time wouldn't allow so instead I am going to share a Christmas Themed blog post every day in the run up to Christmas!

Day 1 of Blogmas brings my 5 favourite ways to get into the festive spirit.

1. Embracing festive flavours. Whether it is a mince pie, mug of mulled wine or a delicious Christmas special from the coffee shop (Spiced Apple Costa) there are few better ways to get in the mood than these.

2. Reading Christmas books. Ted did a Book Advent last year and loved it. This year we didn't have space for more books so we got The Christmasaurus book by the lovely Tom Fletcher and are trying to read a chapter each night. It is such a special book and I am sure The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas will be read a few times too.

3. Christmas jumpers. 1st December means we can officially wear crimbo tops now so they will be coming out of the wardrobe today!

4. Christmas CD's on at every opportunity. The school run (unless we walk it), doing housework and especially putting the tree up at the weekend.

5. Choosing a new decoration. This year I have decided to redo my colour scheme completely so blue and pink decorations have been purchased and I am loving browsing all the shops for new decs.

What are your best ways to get yourself ready for a Christmas to remember?

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Callie's Birth Story

Apologies for holding you all in suspense following my Pre-Labour story. I have had a beautiful little newborn to take care of so 3 weeks in and here...finally is Callie's birth story!

Waking up at 5.30 on 5th November I sensed something was happening. My contractions were back and this time they had ramped up. Slightly more painful and closer together, could this be another false start though? 

Cup of tea before heading to the hospital
I called the labour ward once I had timed 4 contractions in 10-15 minutes and was told to have some breakfast, get ready in our own time and head in for 8am. I asked if the birth pool was ready but they said to ask when I arrived as they wouldn't know until nearer the time. Joe popped downstairs and got some tea and toast. I must admit at this point my contractions did feel very painful but the worse were yet to come. So between contractions I managed to get dressed, Joe made me a hot water bottle and I took some paracetamol before doing a final hospital bag check, grabbing my notes and making our way to the hospital. 

Parking paid, Joe packed up like the donkey in the nativity and me feeling rather miffed that my contractions had slowed back down, we wandered to the labour ward. At this point I was sure I would be sent home but kept wandering around in the hope the contractions would start up stronger again. Every 5 minutes wasn't enough for them to let me stay, I knew the procedure. I was checked in and shown to Room 1 where I met Sarah, a lovely student midwife and Sam the midwife. They checked me in, made a joke about how much stuff I had lugged in with me and proceeded to examine me. I was a few centimetres dilated, my cervix was nice and soft but at that time I wasn't contracting often enough. Sam gave me a quick sweep while she was examining me which was nowhere near as uncomfortable as my sweep with the consultant a few days earlier.

They told me they would discharge me so I could go home but was welcome to stay on the hospital grounds and go for a wander. I was gutted and was convinced going home was a bad move. I popped my slippers and a dressing gown on, sent Joe back to the car with all my bags and waited in the waiting room for him. While he was gone I had a couple of contractions, I think my gut instinct was right...I wasn't making it home.

We decided to take a walk to the cafe so that Joe could get some breakfast but I barely made it 50 yards up the corridor before having to head back. Contractions were coming every minute or so and were pretty painful. The poor people walking past looked very concerned and we had only just seen my midwives walk off up to another ward so I knew they weren't around anymore. 
Being monitored at the hospital
We went back into the labour ward where I was told as my midwives weren't back yet I had to stay in the waiting room. Again an area where passers by could see everything...including me kneeling on the floor clutching a chair and begging for something to help with the pain. I think we were in there for a good 20/30 minutes before the Sister came out and took us back to Room 1 before offering me a bath. All I wanted was some pain relief but I knew a bath might help and asked for some gas and air too. We all know how long it feels like waiting for a bath to fill with water at the best of times but this felt like eternity. I waddled around the room grabbing anything I could when a contraction came, attempting to use the birthing ball and getting annoyed when it was too big for my short legs!

Eventually the Sister (Teresa) came back and guided me to the bathroom and into the bath complete with a bottle of good old Entonox and Joe by my side. I think this was the last moment of clarity I had as I closed my eyes during the first in bath contraction and didn't open them until Callie was placed in my arms. 

With the contractions getting increasingly more painful and the bath really not helping, I sucked on the g&a like it was going out of fashion. My lovely midwives were back by this point but with my eyes closed I had to gauge who was who based on voices alone. I began to feel like I needed to do a rather large poo (I forgot to mention that I hadn't pooed for days and the midwife commented on this when she did my examination at 8am) so I asked them why I felt the need to poo...actually what I meant was why did I need to push? They seemed to brush this comment off, almost like they didn't think I really needed to push just yet and continued to help me through the contractions.

Sarah sat next to me reassuring me when I panicked because the handle fell off the suction tube, I then begged her to get the baby out. I actually asked for a c-section at one point because I was so desperate for the pain to stop but they reminded me of how much I wanted this VBAC. I am now very glad they did! Within a few minutes they must have realised the bath wasn't working and offered to get me out and back to the room. I had all 3 of them (Joe included) helping me get out of the bath, dressed and into a wheelchair. They then had the space of a contraction break to get me from the bathroom to 'Room 1' before I would need the gas and air again as you can't take it with you. I was across that ward faster than Ussain Bolt and I was back on the happy gas and on the bed a few moments later. 

Joe didn't understand the concept of entonox and kept telling me off for blowing into the tube, telling me I needed to ease off it a little. Sam reassured him that I was nailing it and using it exactly as was intended. I remember being taught how to use it with Ted and despite getting a bit woozy once or twice it helped so much. Poor Joe also got a gobful when he asked me mid-contraction how to spell Enid...I think "Shut up, don't be so stupid" may have been my choice of words! back on the bed and Sam asked Joe if my waters had broken in the bath. Before he could say "No" they burst in her face! Oops! Cleaned up and eyes still clamped shut (I am so weird) and I felt the need to push again. They said if I needed to push to just go with it. It was such a strange feeling to actually instinctively know to push, with Ted the epidural meant I was told when to push as I couldn't feel anything. This time though I knew what to do...chin to my chest and I pushed down into my bottom with all my might. I was going to get this baby out!

I pushed when I felt the need to, rested in between contractions and Joe kept me topped up with water. I got an ice cube in my mouth with one sip and as a contraction came I spat it across the room, much to Joe's shock, so as to get back on the gas and air!

There I was pushing away when I heard Sarah (the student) getting a bit worried, apparently baby's heart rate kept dropping when I pushed and she mentioned getting the crash team on standby. Panic set in..."I don't want to die!" came out of my mouth before I could stop it. I desperately didn't want to be taken into theatre, thoughts of my baby boy and everything I went through to bring him into the world engulfed me. "I want Ted!" another panicked mumble from a worried Mumma. "It's ok, you are not going to die *reassuring chuckle*" I then heard Sam told Sarah I had 1 hour to get the baby out and that "she's got this". 

Those 3 words were all I needed. A few more pushes and I would get to meet my baby girl!

Well...a few more pushes and a near broken hand for Joe as he asked "Is it insensitive to eat a packed of crisps right now" as Callie's head was crowning! Needless to say I clamped his hand tightly in mine. "Don't you dare!" (poor Joe!).

Joe, who had always said he didn't want to see what was happening, 'sounded' (remember Mrs Closed Eyes?) like he was down the business end! He could see her head coming out and was asking all sorts of questions of the midwives. 

"Come on Jade just one more push and her head will be out"

Her head came out...a long wait for the next contraction...a push, some panting (which I probably should have done more of because I tore a little) and a bit of help from the girls and out plopped our baby! A content but slippery baby girl was placed on my chest and  being full of love and perhaps too much entonox the first thing I said was "Hello baby girl, I love you but my goodness you stink!" haha! I love the smell of babies but when they have just come out of your foof...seriously? Give it a few hours and that smell is fine but 2 seconds after...nope sorry! 

Our baby girl!
Snuggling my baby girl and with my husband by my side I really didn't care what happened next. They delayed the cord clamping for 5 minutes while I delivered the placenta. I planned on a physiological 3rd stage but opted for the injection to get things moving along.The placenta came out easily despite me being told by a few people that it is like giving birth actually felt quite nice after pushing a baby out. Joe then cut the cord which he described as being like cutting a large bit of spaghetti!

Unfortunately I did need stitches which wasn't enjoyable. I used the gas and air through these as it was on hand. Joe watched the lot which amazed me and may have scarred him for life! 
Mummy, Daddy and Callie

There you have it, my labour time was 2 hours and 4 minutes and I had totally smashed a successful VBAC with just gas and air. I was a warrior! We were left on our own to enjoy our baby girl and a cup of tea and some toast was all we needed. We left the hospital at 5pm the same day and didn't even make it out of Room 1 and onto the ward. I will share the rest in a little post-labour 'what to expect' post soon so for now I will leave you with a few stats and a picture of our gorgeous little princess, Callie Enid McDonald!


Here is Ted's birth story: Newborn Mummy 
Also a link to what it was like to have an emergency c-section with Ted: If Only I'd Known What Could Go Wrong 

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Body Confidence in Pregnancy with Secret Saviours

Pregnancy is something I may not experience again. We have had a discussion as a couple and decided that unless our feelings change in the future that we would settle with two children. I am not sure I could cope with the physical and emotional upheaval of being pregnant again. Despite being happy and comfortable in my decision I can't help but feel a pang of sadness knowing I may never grow another baby. I might never have a bump or feel those little kicks again!

With Ted my Hypermesis made the whole first pregnancy pretty awful. I was so sick I couldn't think about anything other than being unwell. This time round though I had that pregnancy 'glow' and really embraced having a beautiful bump growing.
Another amazing feeling I felt for the first time in years was a total body confidence. After having Ted I piled on the pounds and despite losing almost a stone a year before falling pregnant with Callie I always struggled to feel comfortable with my 'mum tum'. Yet as soon as my tummy began to grow all of those wobbly bits seemed to vanish. I was no longer an overweight flabby Mumma....I was growing a child...I was a baby making warrior and I was proud. 
This influenced the clothes I wore. For the first time in years I wore tight fitting clothing in order to show off my beautiful bump. My skin was radiant and my hair silky. I looked in the mirror and thought, you know look great! Made a huge change from the grey knackered look I had when pregnant with Ted! 

I totally rocked my bump and with the help of the wonderful team at Secret Saviours I pampered myself for the first time in ages. Using their specially formulated day gel and night cream, which are proven to help reduce the appearance and start of stretch marks, I cared for my bump and wrapped it in the wonderfully bobbly support band. These bobbles help to ease stress on the bump and prevent stretchmarks from forming. 

The scent of both gels were something I had to get used to as it is quite medicinal but that is to be expected. I love the consistency of the day gel and it is quite cooling which felt so good on my tight bump. It feels quite sticky once applied but with the band over it I barely noticed the stickiness and it really felt like it was working. The night cream is a lovely moisturising cream. Ted loved helping rub it all over my tummy as bit of added bonding with baby.  
The band itself was easy to wear, invisible under clothing and had a very cute hidden heart among the padded polka dots. I felt like it supported me without being bulky. I started to use it quite late on in my pregnancy so sadly some smaller stretch marks had formed but by the end of the pregnancy I had nowhere near as many as I did with Ted and my old marks had even began to fade slightly. I don't think this is a miracle eraser product for those tiger stripes but it definitely helped to reduce redness. 
So with my bump all pampered and cared for I was confident that I looked as good under my clothes as I did with them on. This meant I was able to take some beautiful naked bump pictures and was so proud of them. I really miss my bump but have a beautiful baby girl out here to snuggle instead!

If you are pregnant you can get involved with Secret Saviours and share your Mama Style with #RockTheBump on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. You could also win your own set if you upload a picture of your beautiful bumps on Wednesday's as of course Wednesday is Hump Day - Bump Day!

*I was sent a Secret Saviours starter pack in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, 21 November 2016

My Pre-Labour Story

Callie was due on 3rd November.

I had convinced myself she would be early so was surprised to find myself in a meeting with the consultant to discuss options for if I was to go overdue by 2 weeks. The options were induction or a planned caesarean. Adamant I did not want a c-section, having had my heart set on a VBAC, I made plans to be induced on 14th November and opted to have a stretch and sweep to try and move things along. A decision I lived to regret a little as the consultant wasn't gentle with me and the sweep hurt more than any of the ones I had with Ted.

Stretch and sweep done, feeling very sore, I went home to rest. By mid afternoon I had lost some of my mucus plug (a show) and began to have minor contractions. These were 10ish minutes apart and not overly painful although more uncomfortable than braxton hicks. I called the hospital and was told that it is a good sign but to stay at home until I was having 3 in 10 minutes. We called my parents and packed Ted an overnight bag assuming that baby was on her way. Telling him the next time we see him he would be a big brother we dropped Ted off with my family and went home to relax.

Realising I would need sleep if I was going to push a baby out I forced myself to go to bed early but woke in the morning to find my contractions had almost stopped! I knew I needed to keep moving so we went to the garden centre for breakfast and I started to get a few more mild contractions but still nothing major. We went home for the rest of the day then went to have dinner at my parents with Ted, who was rather annoyed that I hadn't brought a baby with me!

Leaving Ted that night was hard. My hormones were in full swing and I missed him so much. I worried about something happening in labour and not being around for him. I eventually fell asleep around midnight with no further contractions but having lost the rest of my plug so things were slowly moving forwards. As I drifted off to sleep I made a little wish that tomorrow would be the day we met our baby girl.

The next part is quite eventful and exciting so I will share in the next post!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Where I am meant to be...

With you asleep on my chest there is no better feeling. Your tiny lungs breathing in the outside air which only days ago you had never known. In and and out and speeding up slightly as you dream. You let out a small squeaky sigh of contentment. At this moment my womb heart feels as though it may burst and I beg for time to stand still. For in these moments we are still one.

My body feels sore and bruised, the sheer exhaustion from bringing you into the world but all masked by the utter joy of getting to hold you in my arms. A tear pricks my eye and rolls slowly down my cheek as I think about the big wide world and how you are no longer safe inside me. Instead I must try my best to protect you, guide you and let you blossom into the beautiful person I know you will be.

For now though we are one, in this moment nothing else matters. I kiss your head and as that intoxicating newborn scent hits my nose I know this is the place I am meant to be.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Our New Addition - Meet Baby Callie!

On Saturday I woke at 5.30am with contractions and who would have thought less than 12 hours later I would be back home in bed with a new addition?!

My full birth story will follow soon but for now I am so proud to introduce our beautiful Callie Enid McDonald!

She was born at 11.34am on 5th November weighing 6lbs 14oz via a successful VBAC!

We are all doing well and Ted loves being a big brother finally. Like I said I will update you all on my super speedy birth story in due course but for now we are in the little newborn bubble and soaking up every minute of it.