Thursday, 12 January 2012


Can't let this go without mentioning that we use cloth nappies. I wanted to do this as it seemed the right thing to do but I expected that it would be something we did because it seemed right. Well I was wrong. I love them. We have hardly any leaks, they are easy and so lovely. We didn't go for the cheap options mostly thanks to Toby's uncle who provided the majority of the requisite kit for us. I wouldn't look back now, I really can't contemplate the idea of using disposables anymore, I hated the chemical smell and would rather not put that near my little girls tender bottom.

Up to date!

So here we are. Nearly 6 months on. She is beautiful. I love this stage, she is so much fun. I am constantly amazed by her personality. She loves to blow raspberries. She delights in new flavours and textures of foods. She has the most infectious giggle. The Grand Old Duke or York is her favourite song.

She doesn't give clear normal baby signals that are easy to read but I know her pretty well. She tends to now like milk at nap times which are anything between 2 and 3 hours after she wakes from the last one. She has favourite toys but is only truly comforted by her wooly blanket.

We still don't have unbroken nights, though we are down to just one (or sometimes 2) night feeds. It's pretty tiring but I love her to bits and I'll cope for her. We have a pretty full week with groups and seeing our mummy and baby friends. We miss Toby, but he makes lots of his time with her especially the weekends and bath times he is home for.

Tonight she is in her own room. I'm not sure if this is a good idea - I may be up lots with her but we can only see how she goes.

Sleep arrangements (retrospective)

Tabi fed generally well. She demanded to feed regularly and had a good suck. However she fed lots, if not nearly constantly, overnight. I understood the need for this, I understood about the hormones that were stronger in my milk at night. However it was truly exhausting to spend the night sitting with her in my arms. We did a lot of skin on skin holding for bonding and to help with my milk.

In the end we decided to try co-sleeping. Tabi was able to latch and feed effectively lying down without causing me any pain. At least this way I was able to rest a little. We actually kept up the co-sleeping or at least partially co-sleepong up to about 5 months. No doubt we will still do it when she is poorly or distressed. To be honest I loved it. Love it even. She is wonderful. I rest though don't sleep too well, mostly because I can't stop watching her just breathing.

First week (retrospective)

We stayed in hospital for another night so that Tabitha's blood sugar could be monitored to check that she coped with the birth and had no issues relating to my gestational diabetes. When they were happy all was fine we went home. She cried so much on that second night, Nothing settled her and she was almost constantly attached to my chest!

We went home on Wednesday afternoon and had a horrific evening with her. I knew babies cried but this seemed much more than expected. I called the midwife on Thursday morning and she came around early. When they checked her over they found that she had an infection that manifested as an umbilical flare. We were sent back to hospital to the neonatal department. She was checked and then readmitted for the infection. She had to have a cannula inserted fro IV antibiotics. I was so panicky as the drugs she was put on are the same antibiotics that I am severely allergic to. She seemed ok however. We were readmitted to the ward in a room with a big window. Toby spent each day with us at the hospital.

While it wasn't a nice way to spend our first week, it was good not to have to think about food, or remember to take my pain meds at the right time. I also could just sit and focus on establishing breastfeeding and had a team on hand to answer any questions that I needed. She was still such a screamy baby at this point but understandable as she was ill. They moved her from the IV to oral antibiotics and by Saturday evening we were allowed home to be a family.

The beginning - Labour (Retrospective)

17th July 2011

4.00 am

I awoke in bed with a contraction. I was sleeping on Toby's side of the bed for reasons I can no longer remember, and lay there waiting. A few minutes later I had another, definitely a contraction but manageable. I decided to leave Toby asleep and to head downstairs and watch a film to see what happened. I sat on my birth ball and watched Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. At around 6 I decided to make a cup of tea and as I stood up my waters broke. I called the hospital and was advised to wait until my community midwife came on duty at 8.

8.00 am
I called and called but no response from the midwife. Eventually I called the hospital again to be advised that my midwife was off sick and to come in. I woke Toby. He is not a morning person and I've never seen him move so fast.

10.00 am (ish)
Arrived at the hospital. They said yes waters had broken but not in established labour and to go home. I had my TENS on and was coping. I was booked for an induction at 7.30 am the following morning if I had not gone into spontaneous labour before then due to my waters having already broken.

8.30 pm (ish - half way through Top Gear!)
Contractions intensified and were more regular. We called and then returned to the hospital. I was examined and was only at 1cm - devastated was not the word! She gave me a sweep and sent me home.

18th July

4.00 am
In agony! I woke Toby with my screaming though I was downstairs and at the other end of the house. We called and once again returned to the hospital. I was examined again and told that I was at 4cm and given gas and air. We had a Labour ward midwife who was medically minded and insisted that I was on continual monitoring due to my gestational diabetes and completely ignored my consultant midwife plan. Due to my waters having been gone for 24 hours I could not use the pool and they couldn't do internal checks more often than 4 hourly.

9.00 am
Midwife service was changed as day staff cam on duty. She was a lovely community midwife who took me off the monitoring, which had been ineffective anyway, and let me have a bath. Sometime around 9.30-10 I was reexamined and told that actually I was not at 4 but only 2cm! This nearly broke me! They prepped for me to go on the drip and the lead midwife came to discuss pain relief options with us. Drip was put in by 10.30.

1.30 pm
Having asked pertinent questions about recovery and effect on baby we decided to opt for an epidural which was put in by a really lovely, kind anaesthetist. It was such a blessing to finally be out of pain and be able to relax after 33 hours of pain and no sleep.

Over the next few hours I dozed on and off, listened to my music and chatted to Toby and my lovely, lovely midwife Harriet. The monitoring continued to be rubbish and not register my contractions though the midwife could feel them.

9.00 pm
I was finally fully dilated! I was now left for an hour to rest and allow the head to descend. During this hour the doctors came to introduce themselves to us incase we needed intervention. As it happened a wise move!

10.00 pm
I began pushing. Against everything we had been advised in NCT, but as I couldn't feel anything I had to trust and do I as I was told by the midwife. After nearly an hour of pushing with no success they decided intervention was necessary. The doctor explained the need for forceps as ventouse would be ineffective due to the swelling on her head from being in labour so long. After an episiotimy and the use of forceps the head was born. This was the point they realised that her shoulders were stuck. Because of the gestational diabetes they had expected and prepared for this so there was no panic and there were already people in the room.

11.30 pm
Tabitha Alice Susan was born! Toby was able to cut the cord, though he was rushed to do it and she was taken out of the room to be warmed up. She was returned to me for skin to skin while they stitched me up. I think this was the most precious moment of my entire life. I was filled with so much love and overwhelming emotion. She was tiny but strong and was feeding from me soon after, though I couldn't tell you just how quickly. I had lost a lot of blood and was left in the delivery suite overnight on the drip and epidural to encourage my uterus to contract and stem the flow of blood. Toby went home and I spent my first night with my beautiful daughter. No feeling in this world with ever compare!

Why Mummy Lioness

Yesterday a very dear friend described my reaction to a comment made by a midwife to her as me "getting my mummy lioness on" and it got me thinking that it isn't such a bad description of me. I'm massively protective of my friends and my darling daughter to the point of mild aggression. I think it's a pretty good thing, people know that they can depend on me. I fight for what I believe in, but support my friends choices even if I disagree with them.

I'd been thinking for a while that it might be nice to blog my experiences as a mummy and i intend to go back and fill in so earlier experiences that I can recall particularly the labour and first few weeks.

I hope that if you read this you find it enjoyable or enlightening, but if i'm honest i'm writing for me in the immediate term and for my little lion cub in the longer term so I can share my experiences with her without having forgotten everything.