When Harry Kane posted his proud picture of his other half and their brand new baby, praising her for giving birth with no pain relief he was flooded with abuse from individuals for shaming mothers who have used pain relief. As a mother who has used most pain relief going in labour I couldn’t understand where people were reading this post and drawing the conclusion. A man surely should be able to be proud of his wife or girlfriend for giving birth regardless of how she managed it?
After This Mornings debate regarding women feeling pressurised into giving birth au-natural with no pain relief there has been a lot of comments from both sides. It seems now that everyone wants to pit mother against mother in every single thing, now also in the way they manage to give birth. C-section vs natural, breast or bottle fed, co-sleeping or cot, cry it out vs soothing, puree’d or baby led, jumperoo or carried.
The fundamental thing here? What works for one family doesn’t work for another. Why people feel the need to shame others for their choices when they don’t understand the circumstances has always confounded me! Although I’ve always been of the view that everyone should just get along. But then life would be boring if we all lived the same values and beliefs and where would the fun be in that!
My Experience with pain relief during labour
I didn’t go into labour believing it would be as straightforward as writing out a birth plan and following it to a T. So I didn’t. I had an idea in my head around how I wanted it to go, I’d rather go without pain relief for as long as possible but I wasn’t completely opposed to . I was devastated after my first choice, to go to the midwife led unit and use the birthing pool wasn’t an option due to numerous complications with my health during pregnancy. I still researched all the options available and decided that if a water birth wasn’t to be for me, I wanted a birth where I wasn’t stuck on a bed, was able to move about freely and to get by on as little pain relief as possible. That being said I also wasn’t completely opposed to trying any pain relief that might make things a bit easier on me.
My first contractions started after a sweep and strengthened quickly throughout the evening. By about midnight the contractions were every 5 minutes and lasting between a minute to a minute and a half. I phoned the labour ward who suggested I take some paracetamol and took a bath to try and relax. It got to about 3am and I decided I needed more than just deep breathing to cope with the contractions. I phoned labour ward and they let me come in. And there I stayed for 36 hours.
My plan to avoid pain relief for as long as possible was failing. I asked for gas and air which worked for a while. Then I got in the bath again, which provided a little relief for an hour. Next I was given Diamorphine, twice, before begging for an epidural.
Am I ashamed that I took so much pain relief during labour? No. I had a very difficult labour. My baby was back to back and caused the most horrendous back pain and pressure to the point where I thought my lower body was being ripped in half. I was exhausted after such a long labour and really did feel as if I couldn’t go on any longer. I felt pain relief was my only option throughout the whole ordeal.
This led to me being extremely worried about giving birth a second time. I was terrified it would take even longer so I was actually glad this time to once again be told I had to give birth in the labour suite where the option of an epidural was available.
This time labour was much easier and much shorter. I managed on my TENS machine and the breathing I learned through hypno-birthing which led me to stay calm, whereas before I definitely panicked. I took gas & air and also had an epidural.
I felt more in control second time and I do think the hypnobirthing videos I watched on youtube helped with that. But also didn’t feel I had to rely soley on it to have a successful birth.
Do I wish I could have managed without pain relief?
Yes, it would have been nice to say I knew exactly the feeling of giving birth without being numbed, but to be honest, I felt more than enough of the pressure, I didn’t want to feel the “ring of fire”
Is there shame in taking pain relief whilst giving birth?
No. I have a fairly high pain threshold, but I know where my limits lie, I know when I lose my cool and when the panic is about to wash in. A 36 hour labour isn’t something I’d wish on anyone. In this modern age, no one should feel they have to go through labour without any pain relief. Whilst it is amazing that people feel empowered enough to do so, it isn’t a competition and NO ONE can ever be classed as a failure in labour.
Do I feel I have cheated myself out of a “good birth”
Again, no. I felt I had a good birth, as the outcome was a healthy baby.
Celebrating a birth irregardless of delivery type
Giving birth is a huge trauma for a body, if you managed it completely free of drugs, well done! If you managed it via a c-section, huge congratulations. If you managed it with drugs, good going! Regardless of the type of birth, you still birthed a baby, and which ever way it happened you should be proud of yourself and not pressured into doing it a specific way.
Well, after an unexpected break from blogging it is now back in business. I am determined more than ever to re-invigorate my little corner of the internet and bring it back to life.
A lot has changed in the 10 months since my last blog post. For one we have a brand new addition to the family. Yes we have gone from a normal little life of three which was just becoming all that more easy, to utter chaos again. Our new little bub, Brody, arrived at the very end of January and I now look back at my posts from last year and can’t believe he has only just arrived!
I had planned on blogging my entire pregnancy journey, however after a very sick first few months and suffering from extreme exhaustion all whilst still juggling a very demanding job, a busy family life and a house move, I found it difficult to dedicate the time to even keep it updated with our adventures.
My entire pregnancy (up until 37 weeks) I felt a nervousness and an overwhelming panicking feeling that when it came to my due date I was not going to bring a baby home from the hospital. It was the most ridiculous feeling, even more so now writing it down. For this reason I kept our little secret very quiet and only let a very few in on it. Every second has still been recorded on my macbook; I have diaries full of details and updates from every week and my plan is to retrospectivly blog them.
When it came to the start of 2018 I had committed to myself i would start this up again, but struggled to find the time once again. Now that I am on maternity leave I really want to make the effort to keep this up to date as a record of our little family life as the kids grow.
Every newborn baby in Scotland born after August 2017 is entitled to receive a baby box in a new initiative which the Government have replicated from a Finish concept. The aim of this is to ensure that every child in Scotland has the same start in life with this gift. The box is full of essential clothing and baby care items. The box itself can also be used to let the baby sleep in if you so choose.
So how do you get a babybox?
At my 20 week appointment I received a form all about the baby box that I had to fill in with information about due date, address etc. At my 24 week appointment my midwife filled in her part of the form and sent it off for me. Three weeks later I received a text to let me know my request was being actioned
All the information you are given tells you that you will receive your box 4 weeks before your due date, however I was sent my box when I was 33 weeks pregnant. The delivery itself was made by Parcelforce and was really smooth and easy. They text you the day before delivery to let you know it is coming and then on the day of delivery to give you a more accurate 1 hour delivery slot. The box is delivered in an even bigger box which makes it very awkward to carry or move, so make sure the nice delivery driver helps you get it inside if needed!
Whats in the baby box?
The box itself is rather big, so I was surprised to see how full it was when I opened it. Full to the brim! There is clothing, toys, and essential baby care items. The outside of the box is decorated in traditional Scottish graphics which can be coloured in. This is a particular nice idea if you have an older sibling to involve them in the new baby.
Overall I found the clothing to be of really good quality and very soft. Perfect for a newborns skin. My only gripe (I know, I shouldn’t really have any complaints about something that’s been given for free) is the colour scheme they have used for the clothing. Some things are in white, but the sleepsuits and majority of the vests are either yellow, blue or a mix of both. I would have preferred to see more gender neutral clothing in something like this.
Newborn – 3 months
In newborn size you receive a pair of mittens, one short sleeve vest, and two long sleeve vests. These feel so soft and really rich in quality!
In 0-3 months you receive one long sleeve vest, a sleep suit, a all in one suit, a pair of leggings, hat and pair of socks.
3 – 6 months
In 3-6 months clothing you receive a pair of leggings, sleep suit, all in one day suit, a fleece and pair of socks. My favourite thing in the box is a gorgeous grey fleecy zip up. I absolutely love it, it’s so cute! However, my biggest bugbear is that this is in age 3-6 months. By the time my baby is within this age range it will be nearly summer and that warm snuggly fleece will not be needed (I hope) then.
You also receive a pack of 3 muslin squares and a bib. Any new parent needs to stock up on muslin squares. Having already had a pukey reflux baby I’m hoping I will escape that this time, but muslin squares can be used for so much, spit ups, cleaning up bottle spillages, wiping up drool, a lightweight blanket, the list is endless!
Playmat, teething ring, two books and a comforter
Again everything in this box seems so soft! the comforter is lovely, again, a bit of an odd colour, but so nice. There is a black and white sensory book and soft textured book, both of which are great for developing babies! The playmate folds out quite large and gives the baby a great surface to do tummy time on.
One of the selling points of the box is that it can also be emptied of products and be used as a bed for a baby. Whilst this may seem odd to some, it is something which is apparently done in Finland. Finland has achieved one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates so it must count for something! The box also includes a foam mattress which fits the inside of the box, a sheet to cover it with and a blanket.
Personally I’m not sure how i feel about placing my newborn baby in a box to sleep but might be useful for the living room so i don’t have to try and bring the crib through every day!
One more item included which isn’t pictured is a fabric sling to baby wear. I didn’t realise what this was at first as i just figured it was a large grey sheet, but after finding the instructions on how to baby wear it did become quite clear that must be what it was!
New mother essentials
Not only does the box provide a bundle of baby goodies, it also caters to the new mothers as well with a pack of maternity pads, breast pads and also two packets of condoms. I don’t know why the condoms made me laugh when I opened the box but it really did! I sent a picture straight away to Kev with the laughing face emoji. I remember with a tear and stitches with Riley that really was the furthest thing from my mind for a long time.
Overall I’m very impressed with the baby box and am looking forward to using the contents when my baby arrives. You have done well Scotland!
What is the start of a new year if you don’t make promises to yourself that you have no intention of keeping past the first two weeks of January? I’ve figured this year, instead of a resolution, I would make a bucket list of sorts. Things I really wanted to do by the end of the year. 2018 is going to be a massive year of change for us, we are expanding our little family of three to a family of four and whilst I am terrified of how we will be able to handle this, I am also really excited about what new adventures this will bring us.
Having just moved house to somewhere that really isn’t my style, it’s no surprise that top of our bucket list this year is to get the house into a state that is acceptable and liveable. We started on Rileys room last year, it still needs finished, but we also have a few more rooms to make suitable to bring a baby home to. These are the first goals I need to have finished this year in time for our impending arrival. Ones I will also record on the blog this year as I am determined and daft enough to want to do it all myself (i.e. queue lots of ridiculous moments and memories!).
Replace bathroom carpet
Yes you did read this right! Replace the CARPET in the bathroom. Yuk. This absolutely needs to go! I am hoping to have this as an urgent January fix and to get some vinyl down quickly, as anything is better than carpet! The rest of the bathroom is grotty and horrible, but not something which we are willing to spend money on, so will have to be dealt with for the time being.
Finish Riley’s room
We started this room last year, however, given prioritisation, now that its painted, a bit more draft proof and new carpet down, there are other rooms which now take priority before the baby comes this year. I still need to add finishing touches, like adding his shelves, and sorting his furniture out.
Re-decorate the master bedroom
This one is quite a big one. This is the room the baby will sleep in for his first few months of life and as of yet, has only had the paper stripped off the walls. Unfortunately, the carpet in this room smells horrendous and needs urgently replaced. We also think there could be some damp in this room and a few large cracks in the walls. The heating is also terrible and is the coldest room in the house. Not ideal for a newborn. So the next three weeks of my life will be spent getting this room ready for a newborn to come home to.
Decorate the living room
This is probably the one room in the whole house which requires little work. It just isn’t my style however, and as such will be a room which still needs work to allow me to enjoy living in it. The carpet in this room is probably the only carpet which is in an acceptable condition and therefore is definitely a job for later in the year, but before my maternity leave pay kicks in.
Replace the hall carpet
The hall is such a small room, I am not sure if I am too worried about the décor here. Well its not great, but in the grand sceme of things, its really not the worst room in the house! However, the carpet smells like dog so again, that needs to go as soon as it can and be replaced.
The problem with rented homes, unless you have a letting agent who are really diligent, is that there are always parts of the house which will be neglected and not looked after. Not only has the majority of this house not been looked after, neither has the garden. I really dislike gardens which require a lot of work. A little bit of grass, some stones and I’d be happy! Unfortunately, this house has hedges surrounding it, trees, bushes and hanging plants down the side of the house. These have all become completely overgrown and there really is no other way to describe the condition of it other than jungle. So the first garden job…
Tackle the jungle
When we moved in there was leaves covering every square inch of ground outside the house. Kevin cleared most of this from the front of the house, but the previous tenants had chucked everything into the garden at the side preventing access to the back to clear them from here. We have cut back some of the branches which were likely to cause injury to anyone walking past, but there are so many issues inside the house, it’s just not going to get a look in till summer! Ideally I want everything cut back as much as possible and to pull a lot of the dead plants and bushes from the ground and start again.
Re-Do the patio
The garden is a little sun trap and sees the sun for the majority of the day in the summer. The only issue I think we will have is that size of the patio. It is fairly small, and I reckon the bushes in front of it will prevent some of the last of the sun from reaching it. These bushes are dead and will not grow very well anymore so my plan is to rip them out and extend the patio out a little further to give us more space to sit out and enjoy the sun.
Plant and look after some flowers
This is a Riley ask. When we told him we were getting a garden, other than “can I play in it?” his next question was could he plant some flowers. He has such an amazing fascination with nature; plants and animals alike and I would love to nurture this. Its something I don’t think I’ve ever cared about before, but seeing how enthusiastic and excited he gets about talking about these things, it makes my heart fill up!
Have a BBQ
My sister planned a family BBQ for my dads 60thlast year and Kevin ended up becoming a “Master BBQ’er”. This means he would like a BBQ every night it is sunny this year. I don’t think that will happen somehow, but once we get the garden in shape and have someone to host a BBQ, it would be fun to have some friends/family over for one.
I’m not sure why changing our family dynamic worries me so much, but it really does! I want to do as much as possible to settle us into family life again after the upheaval a new baby brings.
Take a day trip as a family of four
This is something I would like to manage again, quite quickly when baby arrives. Obviously not for the first few weeks, but I would love to be able to go out as a family of four and manage a successful day trip!
Have a mini staycation
We won’t be going far this year. Between me being on maternity leave and so much of our money going on this house, we just can’t afford it. But I would like an overnight stay with all four of us somewhere nice!
Visit the beach and build sandcastles
Yes, we do live beside the sea. Yes, I have managed occasionally to visit the beach, but I really dislike going! We never make an effort to go to the beach other than a few times last year in the cold. I want to make a conscious effort to take Riley to the beach when it is warm so that he can play on the sand and build a sandcastle.
Have an ice-cream by the sea
Another one of Riley’s asks is to have an ice-cream at the beach. Again another one you think would be easy given where we live, but it really is difficult to fit in.
Visit a museum
My aim is for this to be a transport museum for Riley to enjoy, but any museum will do! A cultural family day is exactly what is required here
Have a picnic
I used to go on many picnics in the summer with my family when I was a child, however, its only something we have managed twice in the last three or four years.
Visit the Falkirk wheel and Kelpies
This is something that has been on my list ever since Riley turned 1. This year I would love to make it to somewhere on my doorstep that should be relatively easy to get to.
Have a day out at Kadonas
This is a sort of amusement park that I remember seeing pictures of one of my friends going to last year. We were always going to go, but time seemed to run away with us
Who doesn’t love bowling?! I used to go to birthday parties at the bowling alley and loved it! As I found more freedom as a teenager we frequently used to take the train to Ayr to go bowling at LA Bowl. It was awesome and I would really love to go again sometime. Unfortunatly Dundee has no bowling alley (yes this is really crazy!) so we will need to travel a bit further afield for this one
Go wild at Edinburgh Zoo
One of my favourite places to go in Edinburgh. I last went in 2011 with Kevin when we first started dating properly and I would love to go again, but to also take Riley and the baby with us too. This is one for the better weather though, as the land is pretty exposed to the elements!
Have a mummy son day
The last thing I want with Riley this year is for him to feel like mummy doesn’t have time for him anymore. I am under no illusions that one on one time with Riley is going to be hard. That he will struggle with having been the one with all the focus for the last 4 years, but I want to make this a bit easier on him by dedicating some time for just me and him.
Go on a date
This is something we haven’t actually done since the month before I went back to work on maternity leave with Riley. That was 4 years ago now! It is important to take time out as a couple, particularly when you are always “mum and dad” when in the house. Having time without the little ones isn’t easy. Again another one I would like to have completed before baby makes an appearance, as finding a baby sitter for two is probably going to be harder!
Become organised again
This is one for me. I used to be such an organised person, with a diary and scheduled my life. Even when Riley was small I managed it, however, nowadays I feel completely unorganised. This goal is to become organised in the house, with things going where they need to go and also organised in time. Life is precious and you need to make the most of what you have.
Make time for me
I have really not been looking after myself properly for the last few years. My job has ruled my life, however, with almost a year scheduled for maternity leave I want to ensure that I take time out and concentrate on me and what I need. Again, under no illusions that this will happen with a newborn, they always come first, however, I need to take time for me!
Restart my blog
I really enjoyed blogging last year, unfortunately my work took over my life, as did the house taking over any spare time I had left and this meant that my blog became neglected.
This is going to be the year I get it back on track and blog for a full year!
Publish my family videos
I love taking videos, and I have slaved over imovie on my macbook clipping, editing and adding soundtracks to them. I really want to continue to do this this year, and actually have the confidence to post them to my empty youtube channel. I’d love for my kids to have the ability to watch these when they are older and look back fondly on actual memories rather than just pictures!
Record more memories
For three years, I religiously took part in project life as a hobby. I loved it! Capturing memories and letting some of the creative elements (I don’t have many!) flow to create a sort of scrapbook for the year. Riley asks to look at these sometimes and actually loves looking at the pictures of himself as a baby! I want to get back into having somewhere to store my memories, other than just my blog. I want Riley to be able to look back on his life and remember all the happy times.
“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”
How has it happened? 5 weeks since my last blog post!
This weeks living arrows photo is from our trip down to Legoland last week. We took the train down and for the most part, Riley really enjoyed himself until he got bored. He did cause a fair bit of trouble on the last half hour of the trip, but to be honest, I was bored after 4 hours on the train too! But I do believe it was also something to do with his dads awful decision to buy him jelly beans from the food cart!
He enjoyed looking out of the window and spotting sheep, cows, trains and tractors.
The last time we took a long distance train was in February 2016 and he couldn’t see out the windows. Its amazing how much children grow in a years time!