Breastfeeding?!

Well if this isn’t a subject which has made me feel unimaginable pressure throughout this pregnancy! Now I get that for some people their mind is made up as soon as they become pregnant. They have breastfed before, they believe that breast is best, they understand the benefits for not only their baby but for you as well..

Now, when breastfeeding was in the news not so long ago, I had my health visitor appointment not long after and I was absolutely terrified that she was just going to try and pressure me into breastfeeding. I’ve never feared for an appointment so much! I haven’t actually made the decision about whether I am going to breastfeed or bottle feed yet. Yes I have brought bottles from Boots and I have asked my mum to get us some formula to put into her ‘essentials’ basket which she is making us, but I haven’t actually made up my mind yet.

I’m quite a nervous and self-conscious person so I personally think I am going to struggle with breastfeeding. Now that isn’t to say I’m not going to try, I’ve always tried to try everything – with a little encouragement from Aaron more often than not – but no one can say 100% that breastfeeding is not for them until they have tried it.

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Delayed Cord Clamping

Now before I got pregnant, I didn’t even know this was a thing! I just assumed that when the baby arrived, your partner would cut the cord, the baby would be taken away to be cleaned up and weighed and then we would start this crazy journey of having a little one rely on us all of the time! However, since being pregnant and getting all of the information passed to me from either birthing forums, midwives, health visitors etc I have actually decided to do some research on several things and delayed cord clamping is one of the things I have researched.

Obviously being a first time mum, I’d like to do whatever is going to be the best for our baby! Some of the research I have found for cord clamping insinuates that delaying it is more beneficial for the baby than cutting the cord straight away. This is some of the research that I have found:

After the baby has been born, the umbilical cord, which links the placenta to the baby, continues to pulsate and transfer blood and oxygen and stem cells to the baby until baby has transitioned to life outside the uterus and becomes stable. Cutting the cord immediately after the birth has been a routine practise for between 50-60 years but with the ongoing research it is beginning to show that this is not good for the baby and they miss out on a large amount of blood (approximately 214g!) This has led to the recommendations of delaying the clamping of the cord.

Waiting until the cord has stopped pulsating and becomes white is becoming increasingly normal practise in births where there is no medical reason to speed things up. In most circumstances, the midwife should be able to feel when this happens by just touching the cord.

There are now NICE recommendations which suggest cord clamping is delayed in all maternity units for at least 1-5 minutes in all babies unless the fetal heart is less than 60 beats per minute and not getting any faster, for practical reasons, the baby may need to be taken away to get breathing support.

The benefits of delayed cord clamping can include:

  • increased iron levels in the baby even up until they are six months old which helps with growth and both physical and emotional development
  • increased amount of stem cells, which helps with your baby’s growth and helps with their immune system

Babies who have immediate cord clamping (particularly in boys) have also been shown to be more likely to:

  • be anaemic at four months of age
  • has decreased fine motor skills (coordinating small muscles, such as hands and fingers) at the age of four years
  • have decreased social skills at the age of four years

There are times when delayed cord clamping cannot be practised. Some of these circumstances include:

  • if the mother is bleeding heavily
  • there is an issue with the placenta, such as placental abruption, placenta praevia, vasa praevia or the cord is bleeding so the blood is not getting to the baby.

If the baby needs help with breathing, the cord may need to be clamped early is there are no facilities in the hospital to do this beside the mother, however it should be possible to delay cord clamping while the baby is assessed and the breathing support starts.

So delayed cord clamping is something which I am definitely going to be speaking to my midwife and Aaron about and getting their opinions on it and whether they either agree or recommend it and how I go about letting the midwives know if this is a decision which I decide to take.

There is so much more information about delayed cord clamping on Tommy’s website where it also goes into details about the delayed cord clamping if having a caesaraen section or if the baby is premature!

My birthing plan!

A lot of people have asked me how I’d like to give birth, whether I have a birthing plan, what pain relief I want etc and until about a week ago, I hadn’t really thought about it much except I wanted to be sat in a pool for as long as I possibly could!

So I sat one evening and done a bit of research on a couple of things and wrote out a draft birthing plan. Obviously with being monitored on a weekly basis and with the possibility of being induced now if her movements are still reduced in about 6 weeks, nothing can be set in stone. However, I thought I’d write one just in case things work out okay!

As I said before, I’d absolutely love a water birth! I have looked at all the pros and cons of a water birth and after being such a water baby myself, the baby already being effectively in water, and entering the world into water, I just feel this would be the most comfortable I would be in in this situation.

I spoke to my mum about pain relief that she had when she had myself and my sister and she said that she had one puff of gas and air with me – which in the end made her really sick – and with my sister she had no pain relief what so ever! I have always said that an epidural is completely out of the question with me. I have the biggest needle phobia which stems from a awful appointment I had at the hospital when I was a child so I definitely wouldn’t be comfortable with someone sticking a blooming great needle into my spine! Gas and air is obviously an option but if I am sitting in a pool, I’m hoping the contractions won’t be as strong and I will be able to control them once I have gone onto a hypnobirthing course which has been recommended to me not only by my midwife but by a colleague who I used to work with as well.

Now I know that things don’t always go to plan, I know things may take a turn for the worst and my birthing plan will go completely out of the window, but its there incase the midwives want it and I can actually follow it when she decides to make an appearance.

I have also been thinking about delayed cord clamping, whether I want her to be placed on me straight away and breastfeeding but I think I might go into detail about them in a different blog post! I would ideally like her to be placed straight on my chest as long as everything is okay and she is screaming the room down with her little lungs but again, we will have to see what happens on the day!

Building work & Decorating!

Before we moved into our home, the people who lived here before had informed us that there was planing permission out of the front of our home. We just kind of went along with it, not really thinking much of it we agreed and put in an offer for the home and then 6 weeks later we moved in!

Our neighbours – who are so lovely and welcoming – also said about the planning permission and how they were going to be starting the footings soon as the planning permission runs out and they just want to get it started, however they understood the situation which we were in and we just said we would do the extension as and when it suited us which for Aaron and myself was perfect as we didn’t have to find a large sum of money literally a few weeks after we moved in!

We knew that this is the home where we wanted to start a family, where we wanted so many memories and where we wanted to build a strong relationship. So far we are doing a pretty good job of it haha! The extension is still ongoing. We are now only at the stage of just about being prepared to put the roof on so then all that will be left for us for a while will be the front door and the windows. We are going to concentrate on the baby and having a bit more money behind us before she is here so the extension will go on hold once that is done – which I am happy about!

Upstairs in our home we had two bedroom, one very large bedroom and one which was used as a children’s bedroom before we moved in. The children’s bedroom is now our bedroom and the big bedroom we have changed, slightly! We put a bathroom in upstairs which Aaron done mostly on his own, his dad came round for guidance and put in the waste piping for our toilet upstairs but Aaron put the waterworks in, done the floor, done the tiling, connected everything and it is so so nice now!

When we took the wallpaper off the walls, we noticed that the walls were really bad, very cracked and we knew that we would have to get everywhere plastered before we even attempted to start to decorate and change the smaller room into a nursery. So we prepared the room and started sorting everything out and then Aaron came across a very old beehive hidden behind some old plaster near the window!! Me, completely over-reacting on the whole situation, freaked out slightly but Aaron reassured me that there was nothing to worry about and he hoovered the smaller bits up and we kept some of the honeycomb as we thought it was really cool!

We then left it to the plasterer and he done what we asked him to do and then it was just a waiting game for it to dry completely. Aaron and I had looked at so many different nursery ideas which were neutral but none of them we could agree on! Obviously having a little girl, I wanted to make it quite girly and have floral features and girly colours but Aaron was still adamant on having it quite neutral and then accessorise around it. So that is what we agreed to do!

Anyone who knows me will know I am quite a big Disney fan! So I have ordered some prints to put on the wall above the changing unit which Aaron and my dad put together one weekend just to add my touch to the nursery. So after months of worrying that the nursery wasn’t going to be ready for when she gets here, I am finally a bit more relaxed about the whole situation and her room is nearly ready!

Everything still feels surreal, still feels like I’m in a bit of a dream but we are getting there. To me now, it doesn’t matter what situation you are in when you get pregnant, everything works out in the end!

Anterior Placenta

It wasn’t until I had been seen by the senior midwife when I had my pregnancy worries that I found out that my placenta was anterior. When we went for our scans we were told that everything was okay and our little lady was growing well – despite that she had short legs but with Aaron and I she was never going to be a long lady! – but they also said that the placenta wasn’t in the way and things looked well.

However, I got to 23/24 weeks and still wasn’t feeling a great deal of movement. I had flutters every once in a while but not a proper kick! This caused alarm bells to ring in my head, not sure of what was happening I called my midwife who advised me to call the delivery suite and go over straight away.. Aaron was at work so I called him to let him know what was happening! I was trying to be strong and just say ‘oh it’s probably nothing to worry about, I’ll be home before you know it’. A little under two hours later I was home and everything was well! However, this is when I was informed about having an anterior placenta! Nothing I had ever heard of before so I done a bit of research!

An anterior placenta basically means that our little lady is taking a backseat to the placenta. The term ‘anterior placenta’ refers to the location of the placenta within the uterus. Most of the time, a fertilised egg will become positioned to the posterior uterus – which is the part closest to the spine – which is where the placenta eventually develops too! However, in some occasions the egg implants on the opposite side where the placenta then becomes closest to your abdomen. In this instance, the placenta is anterior and our little lady is hiding behind it.

This means that feeling babies kicks and punches may not become apparent until slightly later in the second trimester. When I found out about my anterior placenta the midwife described it as ‘a pillow between our baby and my tummy’ which means everything is either deflected or softer than normal. Aswell as this, the midwife informed me that sometimes it may be difficult to find her heartbeat but not to worry as it may also depend on the position that she is laying!

The placenta generally migrates around the uterus during the second and third trimester as the uterus stretches and grows to accommodate for your babies size.

There is good news however! Although this can cause issues within the pregnancy with feeling movements and finding their heartbeat, an anterior placenta in and of itself poses no risk to your health and minimal risks to the pregnancy.

The reason I done this blog post is just to advise others who are in the same situation as me and have their worries about the babies movements because of an anterior placenta. Although it can be scary, every single midwife who I have spoken to throughout the end part of my second trimester and the beginning of my third have been so supportive and reassuring that our little girl is still growing well and how I can monitor her myself without having to worry. I have ended up over the hospital 5-6 times now with reduced movements but every time I have been reassured by hearing her heartbeat and now I am at the stage where they can monitor me to keep a closer eye on me and our little bean!

Pregnancy Worries

So, I have been incredibly lucky throughout my pregnancy in that I haven’t been very sick, I haven’t suffered with any cravings or anything you’d expect from pregnancy. I’ve been quite calm and relaxed and enjoying the whole journey – even though it does feel like I have been pregnant for absolutely years!

However, approaching 23/24 weeks, I noticed that I wasn’t feeling our little one move maybe as much as I should have been. I called my partner and wondered what I was going to do. I called the delivery suite and they reassured me that maybe she was just being a slow kicker but to go over to the hospital to get checked over.

I got into my car, drove over to the hospital and went straight into the delivery suite. I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going, my partner was at work and I was alone. I didn’t think there was anything serious wrong so didn’t really tell many people what was happening. I got seen straight away by a senior midwife who then informed me that my placenta was on the front. I had no idea what this meant however, they found her little heartbeat which was the most reassuring noise I have ever heard. I laid on the bed and cried. It was the biggest sigh of relief. I’m going to do another post on anterior placenta’s soon!

I was at the hospital a little over half an hour but I felt so much better for going over! I have been back over the hospital a couple more times since then because she has had days where she doesn’t move or she is in a different position and I cant feel her as much! Now she is getting bigger I am feeling her more and more and it is so reassuring. I’m still going over the hospital on a weekly basis for monitoring for just under an hour and then I have an appointment with the consultant at the antenatal clinic to make sure that everything is going okay and to have a review of my birthing plan. Some people have told me to buy my own form of the doppler but I am not keen on the idea because I have no idea what I am listening for, where to look or even whether I’d be able to find her heartbeat so I’d rather leave it to the professionals for them to reassure me that everything is okay.

If anyone who is pregnant and ever has any worries about their little one, I literally can’t stress enough about the importance of just going over to get checked out. I have hesitated a couple of times and it has just been further hours of worry! So if ever you have any worries, call your midwife, call the delivery suite! They are always so thoughtful and reassuring about the whole situation! Only you know your body and your body and that is the most important thing!

20 Week Scan!

Ah, the day had finally come where we were to find out the gender of our little bean!

Now I’d always said I wanted my first one to be a surprise. I just liked the idea of it being like Christmas as not knowing would just be magical! However, my partner is the most impatient human being to ever have graced this planet so I had to compromise with him and we decided on doing a gender reveal party to find out! (If ever there was an excuse to throw a party, this was it!)

Our scan was on a Thursday & our party was on the Saturday! We had arranged for our sisters to organise the decorations and get the balloon blown up and we would just get the food! So we had our scan on the Thursday and was told everything was okay, her organs were growing nicely, she looked comfortable & everything was as it should be! Little did I know what would happen in a few weeks time!

So when we left the room the ladies who had done our scan told us to go wait in the waiting room for our scan pictures (yes we got another 10!) and then gender reveal that they would write down for us!

The temptation to open that envelope was unreal! But we had the party arranged and I really didn’t want to spoil it! So after the scan we went home, Aaron went to work as this scan had been in the morning & I carried on with my day!

Saturday seemed to take forever to come around!! Aaron and I went to Bookers Cash & Carry in the morning to get all the food while our sisters came round and decorated our house! Well I’ve never seen so much pink and blue!! It really was lovely how they had done everything though! The sisters then went off and got changed and came back so we could all party! We had arranged for the balloon pop to be at around half 6 as we had to wait for family members and mine and Aaron’s best friends to turn up! Everyone was getting impatient but half 6 soon came around and then we were ready! However, slight malfunction that our reveal balloon had slightly deflated throughout the afternoon & was a little bit harder to pop!🙈😂

I apologise in advance for all the screaming from our mothers that you hear in the background! As you can tell, everyone who had predicted a boy was incorrect and actually we were welcoming a little GIRL into our lives!

I did however howl like a baby because I was super happy! I literally couldn’t believe it and now we could start with the building work/decorating/clothes purchasing and everything else we needed to do!

My best friend captured our reactions perfectly!

My amazing, talented auntie also created the most perfect gender reveal cake I could have asked for!

I couldn’t have wished for a better party, a crazier bunch of people to be sharing this with than them!

16 Weeks

Our pregnancy was all people could talk about!

How was I feeling? Am I preparing anything yet? What do you think you’re going to have?

I had so many question coming at me all in one go that I literally couldn’t even think about day to day life without the pregnancy or another question I hadn’t thought of being asked!

Now I’m normally quite an organised person but when it came to this, I didn’t even know where to start! But Aaron and I went off to our 16 week midwife appointment and had a lovely chat with my midwife and then heard our little ones heart beat for the first time!

We literally couldn’t believe it, even still!

After we had this, we put it in a family group chat with both of our families and then all the guessing began!

‘Oh it sounds like a train, it’s definitely a boy’

‘Oh it’s really strong and has a good rhythm, definitely a boy!’

Now we still had 4 weeks until we found out the gender of our baby and everyone just put it to us that we were having a boy, so we sort of convinced ourselves that we were! But we weren’t getting ahead of ourselves just yet!

12 Weeks!

I had been so lucky during this pregnancy, I had very little sickness, no cravings and just carrying on with life as normal! Very few people actually knew about my pregnancy, I had told my closest girl friends and Aaron had told his closest boy friends and that was it..

Through all this the conversation that makes me laugh the most is what Aaron had with his best mate! So he called him up and just started chatting in general, then Aaron just said ‘guess what’.. his mate replied with ‘f*ck off mate, you serious?!’ Aaron said he was so excited on the phone that they then proceeded to giggle like school children for the next 15 minutes😂

Me however, the day I found out I went straight to my best friends after I’d finished my morning run! She was getting ready to go out as she already has a little boy and Sunday’s are their family days! She was upstairs, I ran upstairs (ignoring the dog and her partner and little boy who were in the garden) & just sat on her bed and passed her my phone! When she realised what it said she screamed at me and gave me the biggest hug! I, however at this point, burst into tears! I was so happy but sad at the same time because I knew I wouldn’t be seeing Aaron for another few weeks!

So the first few weeks after we found out were a bit rubbish for us both but then Aaron came home and things went back to normal! I began to struggle with work (I’m a community healthcare assistant and getting in and out of the car was putting strain on my pelvis), I went to the doctors and they diagnosed me with SPD! Now being completely clueless, I had no idea what this was, all I knew was it was bloody painful😣

Anyway, I went away with a sick note for two weeks and was told to minimise driving/bending down incorrectly and to follow my exercises and it should calm down in a few weeks! It got to the stage where I was crawling up the stairs because I couldn’t walk up them! I’d never felt pain like it before, ever! But a few weeks passed, the pain settled down and I went back to work like normal!

The day arrived for our 12 week scan! I’d never been so nervous & excited all at the same time! Now, as many pregnant women will know when you receive your letter for your scans it tells you to go with a full bladder! Our appointment was 3pm & all day I kept saying to Aaron ‘I don’t think I’m going to manage this full bladder you know!’ But we had our scan and all looked well! It was such a surreal experience! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! Seeing a small human being inside me was just crazy!

I literally could not believe that our little one was growing! After the scan we then got 10 scan pictures for all of our immediate family! Yes that was an expensive 10 minutes! Then once I’d had my blood tests done and I was allowed to leave, we went to everyone’s and delivered their scan pictures to them! Everyone was so happy for us, it really did make us feel so loved!

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