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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

What is the free baby box?

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.

Clothing

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.

Babycare items

Changing mat, towel, nail files, bath sponge, room/bath thermometer, ear thermometer

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!

Toys

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.

Sleeping Essentials

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!

 

After some lovely weather throughout the week I really wanted to make the most of it throughout the weekend so was a little disappointed that Saturday was a full day of rain. We spent most of Saturday indoors and I also slept for a good few hours in the afternoon, so naturally the only opportunity I really had for photos this weekend was Sunday, whilst we were out for lunch with my mother-in-law.

Unfortunately the lunch was ever so slightly ruined by Riley being very defiant.

We had a peaceful 10 minutes where he was picking out sauces for his Dad and throwing them at him.

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I hope everyone had a lovely week in the sun!

Laura x

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Kahlil Gibran

Our last few weeks have been very quiet on the photo front. Last week I took a total of 1 photo. This is very very unlike me and I put it down to the crazy hours at work recently.

I tried to make up for this at the weekend there, but again largely failed! I did however manage to get a few shots of him in the bath. Oh how grateful I am for the lighter nights so I can take photos in the bath again!

Riley loves a bath, and I mean absolutely love them! He gets one three times a week, (sometimes 4 depending on whether he has dove headfirst into something disgusting at nursery) but still asks for one every night.

I’ve been getting a bit bored of the old faithful Johnson’s bath stuff so decided to buy some of the Child Farm bath products and my goodness they didn’t disappoint. The smell! Oh it’s glorious!  Riley even commented on it before he jumped in too. My full bathroom was filled with the lovely tangerine aroma long after the bath was drained.

Riley loves having his hair all spiked up or shaped into a mohawk in the bath at the moment. I have tried re-creating with hair gel outside of the bath but that has never gone particularly well!

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Living Arrows

My baby turned four this week! This age scares me. Its nearly time for school. My little boy is growing up far quicker than I care him too. I feel this is a constant thing I write about, how he continues to grow up too quickly, that he is becoming so much more aware of everything, but it terrifies me that time is flying, not just that riley is 4, but that I turn 28 this year too! 

Theres a corner on our kitchen worktop that I always worried about when he was just learning to walk. I thought would be an issue when his head was up high enough to hit it. It is only this weekend I have noticed that he is now taller than it and I’m not quite sure how that happened.

Anyway, out of all his birthday presents, what do you think he was most excited about? The Imaginext sets he has begged for over a period of three months? The many lego sets he has been coveting every time we go into a toy store? No. A £3 bottle of bubble mixture was all it took to capture his delight! To be fair to him these were pretty good bubbles. It was quite windy at the weekend so the wand was perfectly shaped to just let the wind catch the mixture and blow bubbles everywhere.

I now officially have a four year old! Eeeeeek!

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