Saturday 29 October 2016

Babyzen yo-yo. My two cents.

Pre-birth I wrote a post about making the most of small spaces. As I mentioned before I have a Fiat 500 that I love dearly and couldn't bare the thought of getting rid of it to fit the mountains of gear tiny creatures called babies need. It seemed as though unless I was willing to remove wheels whenever the pushchair needed to go in the boot, and then taking my toolbox to put them back on again when the pushchair was needed, this kid wouldn't be having a push chair.

Then I discovered the Babyzen Yo-Yo and I couldn't believe my luck. Easy to fold and unfold, easy to steer with one hand, and most importantly, an incredibly compact size when folded. So small it can be taken aboard a plane as hand luggage.
So far we e only used the chair on the 0-6m nest setting. I seriously, seriously LOVE this pushchair! As with all things it isn't perfect, but it definitely fits into our lives easily.

What I love about the Babyzen Yo-Yo.

It's size: it's tiny! I'm always getting comment about how great it looks compared to so many bulky and heavy pushchairs out there. Sometimes it feels as though I'm pushing a toy pushchair. Never do I have to cross the street when cars are parked half way on the pavement, or when the pavement narrows to barely over a foot. It takes up such little space in my car boot that I have been able to go and several trips to visit family, even taking Alfred's bed (and everything else he owns) in my tiny car. In fact, we even store it in the boot and hardly ever bring it in the house.

It's weight: it's fantastically light weight. I can lift it with one hand while carrying Alfred in the other.

It's easy: a push of a button and a flick of the wrist. Ta-da! Pushchair complete! It never fails to amaze, friends, passers by, and even me. When I looked into buying this pushchair, a criteria was that I'd be able to attach the car seat to the body. However, once I'd learnt how easy the pushchair is to use, getting the attachment and taking the nest off seemed like a complete waste of money and time. Not to mention the fact that car seats are not good for baby's posture at all! In his Yo-Yo nest, Alfred can kick his feet about, likely his arms turn his head comfortably on his back.

The very minimal downsides to the Babyzen Yo-Yo.

A smooth ride: on lovely fresh tarmac. Other times it's plastic wheels and little suspension makes for a bumpy ride, particularly on cobbled streets. Luckily though Alfred loves the bumpiness as it helps him to sleep. We cannot use the Babyzen for any kind of off-roading, but our intention was always to use a sling wrap for those occasions, which is exactly what we do. I made a wrap and we also bought a Tula.

The next stage: the nest is fantastic! I love that I can talk to Alfred about what we am see (and absolute nonsense), but soon we will have to swap the nest for the seat and Alfred will no longer be facing me. This is often the case with most pushchairs, sadly the Yo-Yo is one of them. I'm sure he'll love the new view as he is very observant (nosey) but I will miss our cooing sessions.

Sunshine: There is little shade from sunlight in the Yo-Yo but this has been addressed with the Babyzen Yo-Yo+. However we've got around this by buying a universal parasol for £10.

I would definitely recommend the Babyzen Yo-Yo for anyone who is struggling with space, but would also recommend some sort of baby wearing device. A perfect combination.

Alfred just one week old in my home sewn sling wrap.

Saturday 22 October 2016

Baby clothes on a budget.

I should point out that this was written when Alfed was only about 10 weeks old or so. He has an even greater wardrobe now and sleep suits are worn mainly at night only, e've ventured into outfits, but thats for later.

Before Alfred was born u spent loads of time visiting the baby clothes section at all different shops. I felt no guilt buying beautiful sleep suits for him. I personally prefer sleep suits to 'outfits' as I think they make him look like a baby for longer. Once they're in jeans at tees it's like they're all grown up. Plus tees just end up scrunched under their chin. Sleep suits are just easy! But that's my own personal preference. I've also bought him a few rompers as he's a summer baby but you can't predict the weather here. I love a baby in dungarees but they look even cuter slightly older than newborn. Anyway I digress. Buying baby clothes new gets expensive.

I had my second scan on Christmas Eve and found that we were having a boy. A week later I hit the January sales to buy some clothes for Alfred. I mainly cashed in on sales at h&m and John Lewis
•choose your own preferences
•reduced cost
•you may find an item you love but you can't find it in the size you would want.
•sales can be messy, and I have very little patience for routing through racks of clothes!

A personal favourite from the H&M January Sale!

I had loads of hand-me-downs, mainly from my sister.
•they are completely free!!
•they may not be what you would buy for your baby.
•can be very 'worn'.

New baby gifts
•So thoughtful!
•Usually new
•may not be quite what you would buy
•may feel obligated to dress your child in clothes you don't like because someone bought them for you.

Baby shower gifts
I was fortunate enough to have some friends throw us a lovely baby shower.
•you can make a gift list, much like a wedding.
•when you dress your child in those clothes it's a reminder of how much he's cared for by others.
•may not be quite what you would buy
•may feel obligated to dress your child in clothes you don't like because someone bought them for you.
•in my experience I ended up with a load of 0-3 month clothes and nothing else!

Car boots, charity shops and table top sales
•usually very cheap
•some of my favourite items came from the charity shop
•messy, and I have very little patience for routing through piles of clothes.
A pirate themed newborn vest I got from a charity shop for just 25p

Weather buying bundles or individual items, this has been my favourite way to shop, although I didn't start to look online for clothes until Alfred was slowly growing out of his newborn clothes and I couldn't get out to buy any more.
•you can search specifically for a type of garment
•can be very cheap
•it's a great way to get current in store items for a reduced price (especially next clothes)
•postage costs can soon mount up so be aware and add it to the total you'd like to pay.
•it's addictive! Be careful not to splurge
•you don't hand over money, so whenever I think, 'oh it's only a few quid' it all soon mounts up.

Some of the greatest eBay purchases I ever made

Wednesday 20 July 2016

The c word (colic)

If I've learnt anything since becoming a mother, its that colic isn't an answer to anything!

Since he was only a few days old, Alfred has suffered from colicky symptoms. (Almost) constant crying, high pitched screaming, pulling legs up to his tummy then kicking out, rigid body, interrupted sleep. I've been told by professionals that 'it's just a bit of trapped wind', 'he's just having a bad dream' (at 4 days old), 'he's just hungry' and at his 6 week check 'he's just at that age now when they are a bit colicky' (I bit my lip to reiterate that he's been a bit 'colicky' since day 3).

Colic is a word used to describe when a baby cries for 3 hours a day for an average of 3 days a week, and basically means 'this baby is upset for no apparent reason'.

There's lots of medication you can buy from the chemist that are aimed to treat 'crying for no apparent reason', but these are generally aimed to ease wind, and we tried them all.

I've come to the conclusion that the word colic is used to frequently and sometimes masks underlying issues, causing a lot of confusion as for a while, I too believed colic meant there was a problem with trapped wind. Turns out that's just called trapped wind, there's an apparent reason, so shouldn't be called colic.

Now like most babies, Alfred has had his fair share of trapped wind, but I always felt there was much more to his constant screaming and crying than wind. He was impossible to put down for a nap in the day and any sleep he did get in our arms was frequently interrupted by a contracting body and a scream if pure pain, often accompanied by thrashing his arms and a screwed up face.

I took Alfred to an osteopath following the advice of the lactation consultant. I wondered if this could help him with his colicky symptoms. Alfred guzzles his milk, like he's not fed in weeks and with it he takes a lot of air, but is also impossible to burp. I hoped that a little readjustment would sort him right out.

The osteopath was great. Alfred was inconsolable through the appointment, he screamed, cried and thrashed for the entire hour appointment (as well as the hour car journey there). She was patient and said there was more to this than just a poor alignment. She spoke to me about things that health visitors/ midwives had seemed to be too afraid to mention, including a lactose intolerance and reflux. She loosened his jaw for him which I hoped would sort him out. I could see an instant better latch on his bottle and dummy. However the screaming didn't stop. It was only then that I really looked into reflux, something I had dismissed as Alfred was never sick. I came across a post about silent reflux. The symptoms (aside from refusing feeding) described Alfred to a t.

He seems to constantly want to feed, this I learnt is because milk soothes the burning sensation caused by acid in the throat, but the more milk he guzzled the more there was in his stomach to aggravate his reflux. He's only ever been sick once. He's always sneezing and has terrible hiccups; he would only empty his bowels on average every other day; he's impossible to burp (any burps he does do sound wet), but has lots of painful trumps; the effects of pain on his body were all signs.

I booked an appointment with a gp and phoned the health visitors who agreed it sounded likely. Typically on the day of the appointment, Alfred was having a much sunnier day, however we were lucky enough to find a gp WHO LISTENED!!! A very rare creature at our gp practice. Alfred was prescribed gaviscon.

He seems a little better since taking Gaviscon. Unfortunately there are stormy days, but also some sunny days. The only thing that gets me through a stormy day is knowing sunny days do happen and it's only a matter of time before I see that warm smile that brings tears to my eyes.

Watching your little one wince and scream out in pain through the day and night and not being able to comfort him is a real heartbreaker. I've worried so much about how little sleep he gets as it's so frequently interrupted with screams of pain. I drove myself crazy trying to soothe a baby in constant agony. I've cried more in the past few weeks than I have my entire life. Sadly we don't get much social time to play as some days, any waking moment is plagued by reflux. It's not easy but in hopeful that he will soon grow out of it.

How we (try to) cope with silent reflux.

We use dr brown bottles. This reduces the amount of air taken in.

Dr Brown's anti colic bottles.

•His Moses basket is propped up at the head end by towels.

•He's fed sat upright and is kept upright for half an hour after each feed.

•He's hardly ever put flat on his back.

•I often carry him in the sling I made, but not as often as I'd like as it's too warm and he's a hot baby.

•He's swaddled at night. (life saver!)

•He's held for the majority of the day to help him sleep and we keep him upright.

•Lots of bumpy walks in his pushchair.

•I also put colief on his milk as this helps break down lactose. (I don't know how much of an affect this has for him, but I'm not willing to try him without it for fear it will aggravate his symptoms)

•Know that it's not your fault (that doesn't help at all I know!)

Alfred uses a bean bag when we really need to put him down in the day. Ours if from Bean Bag Planet.  This helps as he's not on his back, but also reduces risk of flat head. visit bean bag planet

What have you don't to help hot baby suffering with silent reflux or acid reflux?

Friday 15 July 2016

Breast is best, except when it isn't.

Get comfortable, this is a long one! (scroll straight to the bottom if you just want reassurance if breastfeeding isn't working, or if you'd like to learn more about tongue tie)

My experience

I had always intended to exclusively breast feed my little boy for the first 3 months, but unfortunately the ideals you have in your head don't always come to fruition.

What surprised me most was when Alfred was born, I knew I needed to breastfeed him.  It's instinct and its natural, but I had no idea what to do!

Unfortunately due to my sciatica and numb leg, I had to stay in the hospital for the night. I had wanted to be transferred straight the midwife led unit that was much closer to home but frustratingly that had to wait until the next day. I was on a ward with babies who needed extra monitoring. They weren't particularly poorly, but we're just there to be kept an eye on for 24 hours. Alfred was fine, I was there because of me, so understandably I was a lower priority. While I understood this, I still felt it was incredibly unfair. I couldn't walk, yet was put in a bed furthest away from the bathroom, was told to help myself to the kitchen for tea and when dinner arrived, I was told to go and get it. So until I was discharged, I barely ate (other than a bag of nuts I had in my bag), and neither did Alfred.

I put Alfred to my breast, he latched on but it was very uncomfortable. So I rang the buzzer, we waited and waited. In this time he had come off 3 times. He started to scream and cry. By the time an assistant came he was almost inconsolable. She said 'he's just fractious' and she took him off me, popped him on and left. About 30 second later, he came off again. We struggled together for another 20 minutes. I rang again. Then another assistant came and said maybe I should just hand express. She put three syringes on my table and went. I had no idea what to do with these! Anyway after ringing the buzzer a third time and waiting about 2 hours for the midwife who would be 'right back', Alfred finally managed to stay on for a good 30 minutes, coming off a few times. All I could think was, once I get to the midwife led unit, this breast feeding thing will be sorted!

Trying not to get to moany and turn this into a long letter of the complaint to the health service (which until having a baby I always thought was fantastic, sadly I feel very let down by them now), I'll move on. Every day was an absolute battle.

I found I was constantly ringing the buzzer for advice and support. I went through all the usual concerns that I wasn't producing enough milk, that Alfred wasn't getting enough etc. Alfred was constantly hungry! Or so I was told. He would only latch on the right side correctly ( the midwives always saw this latch and said it was perfect, well done, then walk off). They never stuck around long enough to see when the real problems started. He would pull away, fall asleep constantly, pull off then start screaming and crying. Feeding would take up to 2 hours. Sometimes he would get so bad that just putting him into position would cause an absolute melt down. We had to resort to cup feeding (at my request) to top him up. He always drank the lot.

This continued and I got very concerned about Alfred. A midwife assistant noticed that he was very dehydrated and suggested that we give him the bottle a few times to get his hydration up. He was much more content and slept for longer. But then one night and the following day he was up all night screaming and crying, nothing calmed him. This was ongoing until he was 6 weeks old at varying degrees of seriousness (and still continues now). We were told it was wind and there was 'nothing he could take for it' by one midwife, and to try infacol by another. This happened to coincide with my baby bluesiest day. I cried all day and must have rang the buzzer about a hundred times. I was worried about his crying and his feeding and the fact that he hadn't pooed in 2 days. I couldn't wait to get home but my numb leg meant I couldn't really be left to look after him alone. I was especially nervous of the stairs at home.

To cut a very long story a little shorter, it turns out Alfred had a tongue tie, one midwife mentioned it as a very fleeting comment, but I never thought any more of it, his tongue looked fine to me because, as it turns out, I have one too! After seeing the feeding clinic who agreed it was tongue tie (but danced around it so much as they didn't want to do anything about it because the surgeon who does the procedure at Leicester 'does them as a favour to the feeding clinic and will only do it if it's very obvious, plus the waiting list is weeks long'). We decided to get it done privately by a lactation consultant. She was brilliant and told me so much about Alfred, mentioned cranial osteopathy as a possibility to improving his feeding as he was stiff on one side due to his position in the pelvis.

Sadly feeding him was still agony, despite trying various positions I could not get Alfred to latch properly. Cross cradle was the only hold where I could at least get him to take more of the areola.

Instead I decided to express. Alfred was combination fed from birth to 4 1/2 weeks. For weeks I had been breast feeding, then offering expressed milk, then formula, then once settled, I'd express for the next feed. The entire process took 2 hours, and in an hours time it would be time to wake him again. Being bottle fed and expressing made life a little easier, but I spent hours and hours expressing. This became more difficult as Alfred became more and more unsettled in the day, but that's for another post.

I took Alfred to an osteopath for slightly different reasons, and she asked me if I'd always found breast feeding difficult, especially getting a him to open his mouth wide enough to latch. This was because his jaw was so tight, which explained why only the cross cradle hold worked for us as I'd have to plant his chin then pull his head up and over to get a wide enough latch. Thankfully she was able to loosen a little, and offered a great deal of support for other problems Alfred was having (again for another post).

Breast wasn't best in this case:
I beat myself up about giving up on breastfeeding. I spent my days in tears as I couldn't comfort my child a way a mother should. I felt so guilty and like I was a bad mother and on the brink of a meltdown (who am I kidding? there were many meltdowns). I was also devastated to loose the special bonding moment.  But to be completely honest, I got over it quickly when I realised how much happier Alfred was drinking from a bottle, he was never upset while feeding anymore. Also, once expressing had stopped, it gave me a tiny bit of life back, only a tiny bit as Alfred wouldn't be put down at all in the day, for what we later learnt was a very good reason (again, another post). 

So if you're in turmoil about giving up breastfeeding for whatever reason, just know that the guilt does go away. Formula was invented for a reason, not because we're lazy mothers (have you seen the instructions to make a bottle and then the instructions to sterilise a bottle?!) but because you have to do what's best, for you as well as baby.

Annoyingly I had this advice from a friend who had given up breastfeeding as it wasn't working for her.  She kept telling me 'if its not working, don't put yourself through hell like I did'. But I did the exact opposite.  I never ever have judged anyone for choosing not to breastfeed, but for some reason I couldn't help but judge myself.  That special bonding moment that I was so worried we'd lose was never really there anyway, it was over shadowed by lot of fighting, screaming and crying, from the both of us.

Problems breastfeeding? my advice:
•if your having problems breastfeeding, cut the crap and go straight to a lactation consultant. I found that midwives and health visitors are knowledgable about breast feeding, as long as it's all going well.
•don't put so much pressure on yourself to breastfeeding, trust me you'll put enough pressure on yourself about every other aspect of your life.
•look out for signs of tongue tie and write them down, along with any other concerns. Make lists because when you finally see a professional, your brain is much too mushy from a lack of sleep and worry to pluck things from memory.

Some tongue tie symptoms:
•fussing at the breast (getting upset, popping on and off)
•discomfort or pain when feeding.
•baby doesn't poke his tongue out past his lips
•feeding sessions that last for a very long period (sometimes hours)
•falling to sleep at the breast frequently

Even if I had not been breastfeeding, I still would have got Alfred's tongue tie done as it can have a lasting effect on speech and oral hygiene. The procedure is incredibly quick and seemingly painless. I was told that for some reason, correcting a tongue tie in the UK is a bit of a controversial issue so you have a little battle on your hands, however it seems this is not always the case and is dependent on the service in your area.

Little Alfred. Only a week old. (about 10 minutes into breastfeeding, before the fussing would begin!)

Wednesday 29 June 2016

'No you're not in established labour yet'

Labour does not happen like it does on television, well not in my experience.  My waters didn't suddenly break and a few our later, pop, baby.  

I first started to feel what I could only imagine were contractions on Monday evening.  I tried to ignore them, partly because I didn't want to jump to conclusions, after all when you've never been pregnant before, you have no idea what contractions will feel like. These felt like strangle dull period pains.  Another reason I ignored them was because I didn't want to believe this was it and that in a few hours my life would change forever!  Plus I really wanted to hold off until after Game of Thrones. 

Anyway after Thrones had finished I decided to tell my other half that I thought I may be having contractions.  He rang his mother to come over and he quickly went to check if the bags were packed and ticked through the list I made him for when I go into labour (sterilising the breast pump just in case, making me a sandwich etc etc).  I rang the labour ward just to ask them what I should do.  Advice (which became tiresome by the end) was stay at home until contractions are consistent a minute long and about 3 minutes  apart. So I stayed in bed, went to sleep, woke up the next morning to nothing!  Not even the memory of the type of pain I'd been experiencing. 

Tuesday we spent the day trying to follow all the advice we had been given, eat plenty, drink plenty, walk, bounce on your ball and all that.  Slowly and faintly the contractions began to return.  We played scrabble to take my mind off it and I watched episode after episode of VEEP.  By the evening the contractions were getting stronger and stronger,  I'd get a batch of contractions about 3 minutes apart, then I'd have a few minutes longer break.  My boyfriend kept telling me to ring the labour ward.  I was sure that it was too early but understandably so, he was worried and wanted reassurance that he wouldn't want to be delivering the baby himself.  I rang and we decided to go into the hospital.  I was examined and I was.... 2cm dilated!  After 24 hours of contractions.  So we were sent home because I was 'not into established labour yet'.

Wednesday was a very similar day.  The contractions were more painful and similarly to the day before they were about the same timings. In the afternoon I had an appointment with the community midwives for a sweep, which didn't happen because I'd already been examined a few hours earlier at hospital.  I explained the pattern of my contractions, to which she said not every woman has text book contractions and that mine may not end up being 90 seconds long and every other minute.  With this in mind and contractions getting more and more painful, we were back at the hospital on Wednesday night/Thursday morning.  I was examined and found to be between 3cm and 4cm dilated, and 'not in established labour yet'. I was given some codeine to help me sleep and sent on my way home. 

Thursday morning I woke up in quite a bit of pain, but not contraction pain.  I'd had some sciatic pain through pregnancy when walking,  this was consistent and I found it very difficult getting comfortable through the day.  I noticed that I was finding it really hard to get on and off the steep step in the garden because my right leg wounding comfortable swing forward and hold my weight.  So I spent the day kneeling over the ball and then trying to recline to reset and get comfortable.  It wasn't much fun.  Slowly, contractions built and I tried to get some rest.  I kept asking my other half to rub my lower back where the sciatic pain was.  He ran me a bath, I had a dip and then spent about 20 minutes struggling to get back out of the bath.  I then lay on my side in bed while he massaged my lower back, then woos!! My waters broke, before I could even contemplate what had happened I began screaming in pain.  Loosing the cushion between the baby and my back was absolute agony!  Particularly where my sciatic pain was.  I rang the hospital and said 'I'm coming in!  Don't ask me any questions!'

The drive over I was in so much discomfort, especially going around round-a-bouts, transferring weight from one butt cheek to the other.  We got to the hospital and I lost a lot more water.  Now my back was unbearable.  

Third time visiting the hospital, even the receptionist felt for me by this point! I got into the delivery suit to go through the same rigmarole of the timings of contractions.  I was honest and, predictably, I was told 'you're not in established labour yet'.  But she could see I was in a lot of pain with my back.  She gave me some morphine and said she would see how I get on with that and see if relieves the pain at all.  Through the night and into the early hours of the morning she kept coming back, asking me how I was and checking my contraction timings.  If I had a penny for every time she checked the contraction timer and said 'you're not in established labour', I'd have hired a nanny already. I was using an app on my phone to count the contractions.  As there is a greater risk of infection when the waters have gone, they do not like to check the progress of labour unless they are sure you are in ... established.. labour! So I started to lie and pressed the record button to fit in with what they said it should be.  The morphine began to wear off and I switched to gas and air. She came back and decided to check on my progress and see if it was worth me staying in the delivery suit. I doubt they would have sent me home given the pain I was in with my back, now migrating down my leg, but I think they wanted me out of the delivery suit. I was 8cm dilated.  I punched my fist in the air and say 'hooray, you can't send me home!' This was about 5am Friday morning.

At 7am the midwives changed shifts.  I now had the midwife and student midwife who had sent me home on Tuesday night.  My back and leg was getting worse and worse.  I kept complaining about a cramping feeling down my right leg.  After a while, it was suggested that I get onto my knees and lean over the back of the bed to try and move the baby.  I suddenly realised that I couldn't! My leg wouldn't let me.  I had three people help me to get into position, and in that position I screamed and swore more than I ever have in my life, combined.  Not because of the contractions, but because of my leg.  The midwife suggested we get into the pool to try and take some weight off my back and leg.  I got off the bed, took one step and would have hit the floor had my boyfriend not been holding me. My leg didn't hold my weight, it had lost flection and was numb! So I wasn't allowed in the pool anymore as they were concerned I wouldn't be able to get back out. Instead they got a doctor to come in to assess me, by making me walk around the delivery suite and do some leg exercises.  All I could think was, can't this wait?

My leg pain took over and I could barely notice the contractions anymore.  It wasn't until one of the midwives examined me, found that I was 10cm dilated and said I should be feeling the need to push soon, that I realised, I've felt the need to push for a while but had noticed! So i started to push, but found it hard as I couldn't really feel the contractions any more as it was completely over shadowed.  several times I came lose to asking for an epidural, but the rational part of my brain thought - if you have that, they'll blame any lasting problems with your leg on that!

After what felt like about 2 hours of pushing and 8 hours of "established labour", there was a very purple and confused looking baby on my tummy.  I had forgotten that at the end of labour there would be a baby.  The midwife said to me 'don't worry his head will go back to normal'.  I think she thought I was disappointed, when really I was exhausted, bewildered and in shock!  

I'd done it!

Little Alfred was finally here and weighed 6lb 5oz. And he couldn't have been more perfect, misshaped head and all.  (His head, which I actually didn't think was that bad was a lovely shape before the end of the day).

My leg still isn't back to normal.  I have very little flection in my ankle to raise my foot and I still have patches of numbness on my big toe, and the top of my foot and on the outside of my shin.  When I walk I sort of slap my foot on the ground.  Very elegant.

So anyone who's preparing for their first birth,  don't worry! It's not that bad, as long as you don't have sciatica.

Monday 27 June 2016

What a bumpy ride!

Our lovely boy arrived 8 days late after a very very long labour that was apparently 'traumatic', although I didn't think so.  The trauma came after the birth with lots of problems with feeding, colic and not being listened to by health professionals (some health professionals).  

I shall try to write about birth, feeding and the dreaded c word (.. colic, not the other one) as and when my pumpkin sleeps without needing to be in my arms.

Sunday 15 May 2016

When a stickler for time keeping is late: "Have you had that baby yet?"

Warning: This is a ranting post about being overdue and people's need to ask totally unnecessary questions or make dumb comments.

I was due last Wednesday, I'm now only 3 days (4 days by the time this is published) over due but if one more person asks me that question, I don't think I can be held responsible for my actions. 

As a first time mother, I have absolutely no idea what a contraction is going to feel like.  I hear it's like a bad period pain, but to be honest, I don't get those very much.  I always imagined contractions would feel incredible tight!  Like my insides are caught in a vice.  But thats not what my menstrual pains feel like.  So at the moment it's a bit of a guessing game. 

It's not like things aren't happening, things seem to be on the move and for a week now, I've felt like labour could begin at any moment.  On Sunday evening in fact I was so sure that I was in the very early stages of labour that I repacked my hospital bags and got myself into the bath thinking, "right the midwife said have a bath and take some paracemetamol, then try to get some rest, so bed straight after this". . . 

Then, nothing! 

Monday came and went.

Tuesday I woke up all aches and pains and thought, okay this could be it,  so I downloaded a contraction counter . . . then nothing. 

Wednesday I woke up early with bad pains, and thought this could be it! I'll start timing these, but I fell back to sleep.  I woke to find that the plug had come out too! Woohoo! Especially as this was my due date and I'd booked in for a membrane sweep.  But nothing! no more aches and pains.  So I went to my midwife appointment and told them the news about the pains and the plug.  She said this was great news and should mean the sweep could be a success.  But alas - the sweep was not possible as the baby's head was not quite low enough.  Not to worry, the midwife said we could try again in a couple of days. We booked a re-try for Friday.  I left with the knowledge that even though my cervix was soft and had shrunk, it had barely dilated at all!

Thursday morning I woke up early, horrible achey menstrual type pains all over my front and back. "this could be it, I'll start timing these in a bit" then I fell back to sleep . . . then nothing all day!

Friday morning I wake up, menstrual pains all down my legs and back.  "this probably isn't it, I should go back to sleep".  We make our way to the midwife appointment,  all geared up because I know what to expect now from a sweep (uncomfortable with a lot of pressure,  made worse by the fact that my cervix seems to be half way up my spine at these appointments, but not as bad as a cervical screen). Then the midwife, who was not the same lady as the one I saw on Wednesday explained that sweeps are more likely to be successful the longer you leave them.  I look at her with a face of 'so...?' She continues to explain that they can only legally do two sweeps (this was news to me), so if she does one today then that's my lot, and that it might be better to wait for next week when I'm 41 weeks.  I agree, after all they are the experts.   Then as I got in the car I though 'but I've not even had a sweep yet!'  When I get home I ring them back and explain that on Wednesday I didn't actually have a sweep, so surely that can't count as one.  We discussed it for a little bit, most of my arguments beginning with 'yes but...' However it seemed this midwife was adamant that the internal exam counts as a sweep.  So I decided to drop it and leave it hoping to see a more negotiable midwife next time, after all I'd just spent 5 minutes arguing her professional judgement, did I really want her carrying out the procedure now?

Late Friday night (Or Saturday morning) I wake again with the same menstrual pains.  "..." no thoughts this time.  It's just a thing that seems to happen.  

Despite all of the false alarms and the perpetual boredom of waiting, particularly when your limited to what you can actually achieve in the day with sciatica creeping down your right side after just a few steps, the worst thing about being over your due date, is people asking you if you've had the baby yet. 

Can you see a baby?  Can you see the size of my belly?  Do you think I'm crossing my legs to keep him in?  Do you really think I wouldn't let you know if I'd had the baby?  Do you not realise that despite the agony pulsating down my right side with every step I take, that I still try to walk at least 1 mile a day to get this baby out?  Do you not realise that I spend about 2 hours a day bouncing on my birthing ball while I slowly develop motion sickness?  Do you not understand how much sleep I am vetoing in order to sleep on my left side, even when my left hip feels as though it's going to crumble under the pressure, all because I'm told sleeping on the right side doesn't give baby as much room to drop?

I'm doing all I can to get this baby ready to be born.  He's just not ready yet!

I'm even trying all the old wives tales that everyone keeps recommending just  so I can say 'yeah I tried that it didn't work'.  All of which I am 100% don't ever work! If you ate a curry and went into labour, you would have probably gone into labour if you'd have had scrambled eggs on toast.

I'm trying hard to make the most of this time, knowing that life is about to change dramatically and I won't ever know peace and quiet quite like this.  But I hate waiting around! Especially for people! He should know this.  It's hard for me not being in control of a big life change like this.  Perhaps this is my first hard lesson of being a parent; my usual need to be in control and have everything organised and ready to go is now going to have to be ignored!

40 weeks 1 day