Thursday, 23 July 2015

4 Weeks Postpartum Update

Everybody says it flies, but I seriously can't believe it's been 4 weeks already. I'd planned to write four separate postpartum posts for each week by now but life with a newborn really is all consuming so monthly updates from here on out it is! As this is the first and as there have been so many things to report though, I'll update you on Harry's development for weeks one through four and give a general update on my postpartum recovery at the end of the post. 

Week 1

Harry's first day of life is spent in the hospital where he was born. I spend the whole of the night staring at him in his hospital tank checking that he's still breathing. He is. 

Day two we bring Harry home. I'm exhausted but Harry settles in his Moses basket and only wakes twice in the night to feed. I feel better. 

Week one breastfeeding is no fun. After two days of the little fella trying to force colostrum out of my virgin nipples they feel like I've dragged them over astro-turf for an easy twenty miles. Lansinoh cream helps a little. I tell myself it'll be worth it. 

Harry is weighed at our first midwife appointment this week. He only loses a tiny bit of his birth weight (which was 7lb 8oz)- as much as a wet nappy I'm told. This news pleases me and I relax with the hourly 'when will my milk come in?' Google searches. Milk comes in day four and instantly breastfeeding becomes easier for both of us. For a bit. Then wind happens. The next few nights are a bitch as Harry's body learns how to digest actual liquid. It's exhausting. I go to my mums for some help.

Week 2

This we take Harry to get registered and I attempt breast feeding whilst out and about. It's all a bit fumbly, but I get there in the end. Ed's graduation is at the end of the week and I decide to try expressing so I don't have to worry about breastfeeding during the ceremony! I use the Phillips Avent Manual Breast Pump. I try Harry on a bottle in advance and he seems happy to switch between bottle and breast. I'll do a separate post on my experience expressing and breast feeding, so more on that another time. 

Graduation and our first proper 'day out' goes pretty smoothly.

Week 3

Sleep. Hell. Week three. Hell. Harry will only fall asleep if he's latched on to me. I can only put him in his Moses basket if he's totally out of it and even then it's high risk. He wakes every hour and a half to two hours and feeds for at least an hour each time. I'm getting 4 hours broken sleep and starting to lose my mind. 

Wind get's worse, he sounds like he's straining all the time and I get worried that the kid's going to explode. At the end of the week we try Infacol and it works instantly. It doesn't completely alleviate his pains, but it gets the wind out much quicker than Ed or I can.

Life gets real bad and we try co-sleeping. I never thought we would even try this but it was that or literally stay awake all night long. Breast feeding lying down is convenient but messy and I can;t stop worrying about smothering the wee man. We co-sleep the next night and I wake up to Harry totally under our duvet. It must have only been over him for a few seconds, but I vow never to sleep with him in bed with us again. 

Week 4

Sleep remains pretty hellish this week. Harry hates his Moses Basket but I persevere and try to make him sleep in it. I go to mums for two nights and we try him in a travel cot. He hates that too and I end up co-sleeping with him on my own. I manage to get some rest, but I worry about SIDS and really don't feel comfortable with him in the bed with me despite sleeping only in a dressing gown with no covers. 

I come home and Ed and I decide to try Harry in his proper cot. We also crack out a dummy because it's desperate times. He likes the dummy. He goes to sleep with it and not on my boob and I'm not gonna lie it feels pretty liberating. 

We put him to bed in a gro bag with his dummy at 11. He sleeps till half two, feeds for half an hour, goes back to bed till 6 then sleeps again 7 till 9. For us, this is amazing. 

My Recovery

My post-partum recovery has been relatively smooth. The first week was the worst as I had stitches which notoriously make going for a piss and sitting down a bit touch and go. In terms of weight I seem to lose almost all of my extra kilos during the first seven days, and by the end of week 4 I'm back to my pre pregnancy weight. 

My body looks a little different though. 

The skin on my stomach is still a bit loose and my linea nigra remains pretty visible. By some miracle though my melasma or mask of pregnancy I talked about throughout my pregnancy has started to fade really well and is basically invisible with the help of a bit of make up. 

I've not started any exercise as yet as I want to wait till after my 6 week GP appointment, just 10 sets of 10 pelvic floor exercises as recommended by my midwife. These women know the score. I do what they tell me. 

That's it for this update, let me know in the comments if you've had similar experiences/what your first four weeks have been like!


Sunday, 19 July 2015

Beets Blu Pager Tag Key Finder Unboxing and Review

Keys. They get lost. All the time. 

I have a lanyard attached to mine just to make finding them in my bag that bit easier, the logic being  that there's more to them to grab if they're fixed to something long and rope like. How pre-technological of me...

Of course there is a gadget that is far more adept at helping to locate misplaced objects nowadays.

Beets Blu Pager Tag is a wireless key finder that syncs to your smart phone via the Pager Tag app. It clips onto your key chain (or whatever else you might want to attach it to) and sends out a light and audio signal when prompted via your phone's blue tooth.

It's a pretty dinky little contraption- small enough to fit in a purse or wallet if those are the things you're more prone to losing. It's literally as thin as the coin battery that operates it, which is definitely a plus in terms of usability.

The range of the device isn't massive so I wouldn't recommend strapping the thing to your dog if he has a tendency to run off for miles at a time. In the house though, it's pretty decent and stays working in my flat from room to room. 

Overall I think the Beets Blu Pager Tag is a useful device to have. My only gripe with the product is the set up. 

Once you've downloaded the required app, pairing the Pager Tag with your phone can be a little tricky, especially when following the manufacturers very limited instructions. If you miss the window of opportunity for syncing you have to remove the battery and reset the device, which is just a bit fiddly in my opinion. 

The app itself is simple to navigate however, and also offers a few other useful features such as a voice memo reader and talking clock.

In a nutshell, Beets Blu Pager Tag is a good gadget to have to help find misplaced items in close proximity to you. As long as you're not expecting it to locate baggage that has gone awry on a flight somewhere exotic, it's a winner.

You can buy Beets Blu Pager Tag from Amazon via this link.


Sunday, 12 July 2015

10 Things My Boyfriend Has Googled Since I Gave Birth

1. When can my baby wear clothes?

Ed thought babies just wore blankets for the first few months like Jesus did.

2. 'Ridiculous Baby Outfits'

Having discovered that they can wear clothes, every new dad inevitably must ensure their babies have a wide range of novelty outfits and accessories to fashion, apparently. Superman, Batman, Tuxedo baby grows you name it, we probably have it.

3. When can I have sex with my girlfriend again?

When your post-partum recovery feels like it might last an eternity to them.

4. When will I be able to sleep again?

As if they even do half of the waking/feeding that you do...

5. When will my girlfriend stop being a hormonal psychopath?

I mean I wouldn't mind knowing the answer to this myself to be fair.

6. When can we potty train the baby?

When nappy changing gets old... 2 weeks in. 

7. Why don't babies drink regular cows milk?

I feel this is a valid question...I didn't google it myself but what even is formula and why is normal milk any different?

8. Can I use my breast milk in my tea?

... oh god.

9. What is wrong with me? Do I Have Post Natal Depression?

When you suggest skin to skin between your partner and your baby but they don't know how they feel about it then worry that they're not bonding properly.

10.Can I have sex with my girlfriend yet?


Saturday, 11 July 2015

10 Things I've Googled Since I Gave Birth

1. 'Breast fed babies pooh transitions'

From meconium to the aptly named 'chicken korma' stage, who knew there existed a continuum of newborn baby shit..?

2. 3 day old bright green algae pooh. Normal?

Because how can something that goes in white come out that green?

3. How to get rid of newborn hiccups

When you find that deliberately trying to make the startle reflex happen isn't the responsible answer

4. Caffeine intake when breastfeeding. Is my baby wired?

Sleepless nights plus suped up next day coffee consumption... is my baby sharing my caffeine high and does this make me a bad mother?   

5. Why is my newborn so scaley?

Did anyone tell you that your beautiful newborn will shed a layer of skin over the first two weeks of their life? And that you'll have to baste them back up with olive oil? No. They don't. 

6. What can one year olds do?

On those days when you feel like your baby has no loyalty and just sees you as the bringer of milk and you find yourself looking to the future in the hope that one day they might want to do more things with you other than look past you and demand things... 

7. Why is my sternum sticking out?

There's a big focus on stretch marks in pregnancy. Less discussed are some of the other physical effects of pregnancy on women's bodies.

When you realise that lump near your breast bone wasn't ever your babies heel as you presumed when stroking and cooing over it the last few months, for example, but in fact was the result of your massive uterus pressing against your sternum, which is now permanently contorted. 

8. 'Nipple confusion'

And other breastfeeding/expressing fears you didn't know existed 9 months ago.

9. When can I have sex again?

Because it's been a while since you didn't look/feel like some kind of sea turtle in bed.

10.'Permanent contraception' 

Then again perhaps such high risk behaviour shouldn't be engaged in just yet...

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

My Labour and Delivery Story

As you may have guessed from the silence on my blog lately, I gave birth to my baby boy Harry last Friday at 40+1 weeks. He weighed 7lb 8 oz and I had him in the Birthing Centre at Newcastle's RVI Hospital.

Throughout my pregnancy I never really thought about labour, what it might be like or how I might actually give birth. I figured all the planning in the world couldn't prepare me for something I had no remit of. That said, there was one thing that I felt fairly sure of. I wanted to have my baby in the Birthing Centre, rather than the delivery suite at the RVI, and to do that I couldn't opt for an epidural without moving upstairs to the ward. 

Not wishing to have an epidural was my preference because I wanted to reduce the likelihood that I might need assistance with the delivery of my son. That was the only reason. Had the pain been unbearable for me and had there been time, I would have still been open to changing my mind. Luckily for me, I didn't have to.
My waters broke in the early hours of the morning on Friday 26th June. I didn't know for sure that's what it was, but when it wouldn't stop and regular contractions started 5 minutes later I figured there was no way it could be anything else. 

I arrived at the hospital at 4am and was told I was 4cm dilated. My contractions were coming seriously close together and were so painful I spewed. They let me stay in hospital and prepared me a birthing room with a pool in. If they hadn't I really think I'd have had him in the car on the way home. 

I didn't plan on having a water birth but after calling out for 'whatever I can have that wasn't an epidural' my midwife suggested I try the pool before in case I needed to reserve the opiates for later on!

As soon as I hit the water I knew the pool was where I would have my baby. It was soothing enough to distract my mind from my contractions (which I felt all in my back) and make them bearable. I used gas and air to breathe through them as well as the visual imagery technique Sheila Kitzinger talks about in her New Pregnancy and Childbirth book. 

Kitzenger's approach and attitude to childbirth is something I found I could relate too. All too often the pain associated with childbirth is viewed as destructive and dangerous, drumming up images of body parts tearing and babies being damaged. By thinking about my contractions as purposeful pain, as pain that was there to help me deliver my son and as an experience that would end, I felt calm and in control during my labour.

In all my labour lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes, which I still can't quite believe and I really do feel lucky to have had such a positive and stress free experience. I actually found the stitches afterwards far worse than the actual labour. Did not prepare myself for that!


Saturday, 4 July 2015

I had my baby!

Meet Baby Harry!

Just a quick post to say, I did it, I had baby Harry last Friday morning at 7:17am and he weighed 7lb 8oz. He's doing really well and settling in to the world nicely. 

I can't believe its been a week already. Newborn care is a 24 hour roller coaster! 

Subscribe to my blog for my labour and delivery story, as well as regular mother and baby post-partum updates :)