Thursday, 24 September 2015

My Birth Story

So Grace is now 3 weeks old and what a fast 3 weeks it's been! As most parents will know, newborns are incredibly time-consuming and we haven't had the best start to our first weeks together, but gradually we are getting there now! What with nappy changes, feeding, burping, bathing and taking care of a little human, I've not had much chance to do things as you can imagine! My birth story could easily be the longest post ever, so I'll try and wrap it up as much as possible but sorry if it's long in advance!

2 hours old Grace :)
30th August 2015 I was 40 weeks + 12 pregnant so very much overdue, it was the day of my induction date that I'd been given, but we hadn't got a time. I phoned at 08:00 to get a "time slot" to start the induction process and was given 11:00 which meant I had little time to panic and had a quick bath, got ready and off we went.

The first step was to insert the pessary which was unpleasant, but a relatively pain-free experience. This wasn't as bad as I expected and after this, we just relaxed and watched TV and I even managed to sneak in a few naps while I waited for the contractions. Now unfortunately I don't remember the exact time that contractions started but I think it was around 5-6pm. They were manageable but felt painful at the time, little did I know at that stage how much more they were about to get! I remember I kept asking the nurses how much more painful they'd get and they just laughed and said these were mild!

Once contractions started getting more unbearable, it was difficult to concentrate on anything other than the contractions. My husband was by my side the entire time from start to finish and I could not have done it without him, honestly. I'm not sure where his strength and sudden breathing knowledge came from, but he guided me through the breathing when midwives weren't available. That's another point, the midwives in the induction ward just leave you to it, or at least in ours, as you're in for a long time usually. I couldn't listen properly to what anybody was saying and things got a bit too intense. I was well aware of the pain relief options I had but didn't want to go for the top scale too soon so I started on paracetamol and codeine. This worked for around an hour before I then repeatedly asked for more pain relief. They gave me more paracetamol and codeine which again worked for such a short time but I think they thought I was a huge drama queen and didn't need more!

Daddy and Grace - one of my favourite pictures!
Eventually, after several midwives had seen me in between swapping shifts, another came in and tried to give me paracetamol in which I lost my patience at this point and threw them back at her, quite literally. I asked what else they could give me at which point she asked to examine me in case I was starting active labour. Unfortunately, I wasn't which was incredibly frustrating to say the least! I was only 1cm and in so much pain, how was this possible?! Since getting pregnant I always knew that I was going to struggle with the pain since I'm a huge wuss, hate needles and any form of exams by Doctors!

As time went on, I went up the scale of pain relief and progressed from paracetamol and codeine, gas and air to pethidine, an epidural and finally much more that I couldn't even list! Gas and air was my most hated form of pain relief and despite saying how much I felt sick, I wasn't given any sick buckets until eventually I was sick all over the bed, floor and everyone at my side. Horrible! Never again. The epidural was my best friend once this was put in when I was around 5-6cm dilated at 8am on 31st August! I was always open to it when pregnant but as soon as that pain got too much, I had no other option! The consent form and all the warnings were a little scary, but I guess they have to tell you these things just in case! The process itself wasn't horrible at all although I had already had lots of pain relief before hand. I decided to lean over my husband sitting at the end of the bed, with the anesthetist kindly stopping to pause for contractions. Once it was in it took around 10 minutes to kick in but I instantly felt the numbness from my waist down. They constantly did an "ice cube check" around my body which was a way of seeing if I could feel the coldness, and ice cube itself and was actually a brilliant way of checking!

Hours later after the epidural was inserted, the midwives and doctors continued to check on me and looked concerned as I hadn't progressed from 5-6cm for hours. I also had an IV drip in which was upping my fluid intake as well as the dreaded catheter. Due to this combination, I managed to contract a fever which worried the medical staff. Grace's heart rate started to accelerate and then decrease frequently and we were monitored a lot more closely from this point. Unfortunately, things are a little hazy for me since I was so drugged up, I just remember Ollie (my husband) trying to distract me when countless people came in the room looking at me and the monitors and saying that everything is fine and I'm doing well. I heard them whisper the chances of a c-section and was petrified and confused. I had no clue what was really going on but just wanted my baby girl safe and out of me. Not long after, I was examined again and had jumped to 10cm dialated at around 6pm and was told to start pushing despite everything previously.

Once I started pushing, I could feel the pressure from Grace descending into my birth canal but not the pain itself. I tried my absolute hardest but considering I'd been in labour for so long with minimal sleep I was exhausted. I gave everything I got but couldn't truly feel whether she was moving further down enough. As more doctors came in to watch what was going on, I knew things weren't progressing and before I knew it the final doctor came in to tell me that unfortunately I wasn't able to give birth naturally and Grace was getting stuck. I was already shaking from the fever uncontrollably but was even more so once I was told I needed to go into theatre and they'd attempt to use forceps or a ventouse.

1 day old!
Ollie got changed into his scrubs and I was whisked away alone into the theatre while they got me ready. Shortly after they got me ready, the main doctor decided that this wasn't going to work and they put the forceps and ventouse to one side thankfully and decided I'd need an emergency caesarean. I had to sign on the table there and then to consent to it whilst being told all the risks involved. Ollie was then brought in finally after around 10-15 minutes and they checked my epidural was still working and upped the dosage that was required for c-sections.

Once they got to work I felt a bit of relief as I knew it would be super quick from start to finish. I couldn't feel any pain, but the pressure from tugging on various parts of my abdomen was uncomfortable. The entire time, I had the anesthetist behind my head guiding me through everything that was happening whilst distracting me by talking about my baby. Ollie was on my left and couldn't see what was going on either behind the raised curtain. Minutes later, Grace was born at 7:47pm and I heard the first cry. It was such a relief and they took her off immediately to get weighed and checked. Ollie still got to cut her cord which I loved and he had the first hold of her before they placed her on my chest for skin-to-skin. It was the happiest moment of my life and I'd do it again in a heartbeat to feel those happy moments. After around 30 minutes of stitching me back up, they then wheeled us back into the labour room. I was able to breastfeed her for the first time which went well immediately and she latched well. It was so peaceful finally and the doctors and midwives left us alone to enjoy our first time as a family of 3.

We were discharged after day 2 post-partum and I was ready to go home to start our family life, which was soon to be disrupted unfortunately. I'll tell the story of our hospital stay part 2 in my next post otherwise this will be super long!

Although there is a lot of my labour that I don't remember due to the drugs, it is still an incredibly happy time that I'll forever look back on. I'm so pleased Grace is finally here and healthy. She takes up all of my time and isn't quite into a routine yet, but we're getting more established!

I'll do the next post on the complications that followed coming home but for more updates, be sure to follow my Instagram (paulab90) :) If you got to the end of this post, huge well done and sorry it was so long!

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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Gro Egg Review

Gro Egg thermometer (*) -
I'm sure you are all aware that my baby girl Grace arrived on 31st August 1 day off being 42 weeks pregnant (2 weeks overdue!). Whilst I documented a lot of my purchases on my blog, Instagram and Pinterest too even, there have been a few products that I've accumulated since giving birth that I've found a huge necessity when having a newborn.

One of these products is the Gro Egg. Since Grace was born on the cusp of Summer/Autumn, as we all know England isn't exactly warm at this time of the year and I was paranoid about how to dress newborns in this weather in the day and night time too. The Gro Egg thermometer takes the stress out of knowing whether it's too hot, cold or just right.

The ideal temperature is between 16-20 degrees celsius for babies and since they sleep in your room for around the first 6 months of their lives, you have to remember that this will apply to your room too! This lives in our room right now and is a lovely night light too when you don't want to keep it bright in the middle of the night.

You can also get little "tops" called shells that make your Gro Egg look more appealing and there are a few different animals. I'm definitely going to look into these as they're usually around £3.99-£4.99 from various online sites.

Overall I couldn't recommend the Gro Egg enough for all Mums and Mums-to-be. It takes the stress out of adjusting your room temperature accordingly and second guessing.

Although this product was sent to me, my opinions are 100% honest and I have to say, the Gro Company are one of my favourite baby brands, in particular, their Gro Bags. Once Grace is a little bigger, we will be putting her in her Gro Bag as she kicks off all of her covers but right now she's a bit too small for it!

Have you tried the Gro Egg? What's been your essential purchase for newborns?

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Sunday, 13 September 2015


If you don't follow me on Instagram then you may not have seen the latest updates I've posted introducing our baby girl! I will do a completely separate post on my birth story when I've got more free time, but for now here is our baby girl, Grace Amelia. 7lbs 9oz of perfection born on 31/08/15.

It was a huge rollercoaster journey after a long 48 hours but we are so in love and so happy that she is finally here! <3

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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

40 Weeks Update

Here we are again, I am now 41 weeks pregnant and although I've had signs for several weeks now, it seems baby girl is either very stubborn or lazy!

How far along? 41 weeks.
Total weight gain: 19.5lbs.
Maternity clothes? Definitely don't need any new ones! It's been a tad sunnier this week and warmer in parts so I dug out my maxi/midi dresses again.
Stretch marks? Yep!
Sleep: Pretty disturbed. I'm waking up more frequently to pee now and think the anxiety has kicked in too making me wake up more.
Best moment this week: Knowing the end is in sight for sure!
Miss anything? Being mobile! Not long to go though yippee!

Left pic taken 40+1 | Right pic taken 40+6 - Ignore the stretchmarks, although they don't look half as bad as they do in real life!
Food cravings: Still a lot of ice and mainly sweet things, oops.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope, I feel great!
Gender: Girl!
Labour signs: Still tons of Braxton Hicks and lightning crotch but other than that, unfortunately not.
Symptoms: As above plus a very moody/stressy Paula this week! The hormones have finally kicked in resulting in lots of breakdowns.
Belly button in or out? Out.
Happy or moody most of the time: Moody :( I hate being pessimistic but it's been a tough week, I just want her here!
Looking forward to: Of course my final days/week of pregnancy where I can finally meet our princess :)

Baby Gap Haul | Etsy Haul - JennyWrenCraft
Of course the only way to cheer up a hormonal, pregnant lady is shopping. Last week after a disappointing midwife appointment, we went for a trip to Cheltenham. Hours of walking later in the hope that it would bring on labour; I stopped via Baby excuse necessary. The left pic is the result of the shopping. They had a sale on so it was rude not to. I love the picks! Most items were 6-12 months.

Recently I've been absolutely loving Instagram. I've found so many great feeds and not to mention shops, including this one featured from Etsy. JennyWrenCraft handmakes gorgeous baby pieces on there, if you are in the market for beautiful items please check her out! Her shop is linked here.

So that's all for this week. I'm due to have a sweep today so fingers crossed things pick up soon, failing that I should get an induction date also very soon. Hopefully, my next update is introducing our baby girl!

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