Thursday, 13 September 2012

State of the blog

I haven't posted on this blog properly in quite a while but I am going to start blogging again. I have a lot to say, it's all about finding the time to say it!When I'm not looking after my new little girl, and my two boisterous boys, I'm either doing my Scentsy thing, or I'm gaming. I want to get a review up of my latest game of choice - Guild Wars 2! This has been SO long awaited for me it's not even funny. I played the original and it was just awesome. Until later, here's a gratuitous baby pic!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Kara Louise birth story :)

It's been a really long time since I updated my blog but in case anyone reading doesn't follow me on twitter or facebook, I had another baby!

This is the story of her birth...

The day before my due date, 13th March I woke up at around 8am, dh had already been up and taken the kids to school bless him... now I am not one for a lot of false labour so when I noticed I was having mild contractions I stayed in bed for a little bit thinking maybe something was happening but didn't want to get up yet in case they stopped...well, about 9 dh got back and I went for a walk on the treadmill to see if the exercise would help. Definitely stronger and they were coming around 10 min apart.
Now typically for me I get quite a few hours of early labour so I figured I would just get on with my day and see what happened.

Well, I tried timing the contractions but they were all over the place - some 15 min apart, some 4 min. So I waited until I started to feel them coming a bit stronger, which was early evening about 7pm. Rang my mum who we had planned would be my birth support, Noah (my 7yo) was already sleeping over at hers so we got Seamus (5yo) ready and over there too so that when we headed over to hospital my Dad could stay at home with the boys.

Well, stayed at home and watched some TV but around 9pm I thought the contractions were definitely getting stronger and around 4-5 min apart at about a minute each. So Mum came over, and we headed to the hospital. Planned to deliver at the Dolphin Suite which is a special unit intended for low risk mums to be - rooms have a birthing pool, sofas, gas and air only for pain relief - it is intended to be like a home from home for those that want a "home like" experience but not actually at home.

So when we got there the midwife said I could have a cervical check if I wanted but it was up to me - to let her know, I said I'd wait a little while and see how I felt. She did say they would like to check before I got in the pool as if mums get in before 4 or 5 cm the water can slow labour. So about an hour of me sitting on the birthing ball she checked me.. and I was only at a 2. It was 11pm and I had been in labour all day.. I was tired. So she said I could either stay, but as it was the dolphin suite there are no beds for me to rest in, I could go to the central delivery suite and try and get some rest there but my mum and husband would have to go home as there is nowhere for them to stay over - or go home and come back when I felt my contractions were stronger, she didn't think I was in established labour YET.

After a while I decided to go home. Got home about 1am and attempted sleep but about an hour after getting home and getting into bed my pain started to really ramp up in my back. Dh slept in the boys room and mum stayed in with me and got a hot water bottle for my back. took some paracetamol. Didn't really help. About 2.30 we left again to go back to the hospital. Started to wish at this point I was having a homebirth. But we weren't so that was that. I just wanted to stay at home.

Got back and this time they didn't check my cervix at all, just put me straight in the pool & started using the gas and air. Just as with my last birth, it was not long after getting in the pool that I started feeling pushy and my body started to spontaneously push without my input. But nothing seemed to be happening. Midwife started talking about breaking my water as she felt that the bag of waters was bulging and once they broke the baby would soon follow. But soon after she said that they burst with a POP and the pain became unbearable. They had been monitoring baby's heartbeat with each contraction via the handheld doppler underwater and it had been >140bpm the whole time but at this point something started to go wrong. Heartrate dipped to 80bpm and wasn't recovering. They told me I needed to get out of the water RIGHT NOW and hoisted me out. I was not at all coherent at this stage and was pushing the whole time as I had no control over it. They got me onto a bed and wheeled me fast into the delivery suite. Getting crash cart for baby and everything ready. They took me into a room and there were lots and lots of people. I could hear them talking about using the ventouse but just as it turned out - I didn't need it. Baby was coming all on her own and fast. I pushed so hard to get her out she shot out like a bullet all at once. They took her away as she was not crying and started stitching me up, I was asking about her and they said she was ok but they needed to get some fluids out of her lungs and were having some difficulty.. dh went outside to heck on her. after a few min they brought her in to me, she was wrapped in a white towel and they said to try skin on skin to see if that helped her.. put her on my chest and within a few minutes, she was absolutely fine. Once they had stitched me up I latched her on which she did right away and has barely stopped since :)

I am sad that I did not get the waterbirth that I wanted this time, it was not the peaceful slow birth that I had with Seamus 5 years ago. But she's here and none of that matters to me now. I asked afterwards what happened and the midwife said to me that when my waters broke, her head hit my cervix hard and at a funny angle, this sent her into distress and they think her head may have been malpositioned slightly so then she had to turn a little in order to come out although she did come out facing the right way.

Anyway. Presenting Kara Louise. Born 14/03/12 at 4.50am. 8lbs 4.5oz.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Joy of Love week one!

I'm taking part in The Joy of Love which is a free online photography course for the month of February. I'm very much a beginner when it comes to photography and can't afford a lot of expensive equipment so I'm doing it with my iPhone 4, my bargain Sony Cybershot that I picked up on Ebay for £26, and free online editing tools from Picasa and Picnik. So don't expect professional quality photos, but I'm doing this to have fun and learn!
I'm going to post the week's photos each weekend, hope you enjoy.

Day 01 - What They Do

This can apply to anything your loved ones “do”….what do they do for work? What do they do for play? What chores do they do around the house? Find something they “DO” and document it.

Seamus is a complete boobaholic. Apologies for the poor quality but this was taken with my iPhone4 as my cybershot battery broke a few days into the course! The lighting was poor so it's a bit grainy.

Day 02 - How They Look
Capture your loved one at their best (or at their worst). Or both. What you’re trying to capture is the TRUE essence/expression/attitude/posture that SCREAMS your loved one!

This is Seamus showing off his beautiful smile. He wasn’t feeling awfully smiley today due to being poorly so it took a bit of coaxing (and some tickling) but we got there.

Day 03 - Then and Now

How long have you known your loved one? What has changed since you first met him or her? Try to capture this change in photos.

Seamus at minutes old in the first photo, and last week (almost 4 yo) in the second.

Day 04 - What they Wear

Photograph your loved one’s clothes (either on him or in the closet). This can be when they are dressed up or dressed down.

Seamus is obsessed with Star Wars at the moment and owns lots of apparel like this! This is probably his favourite (and also captures his personality well,I think!)

Day 05 - Love to Hate

Hate is a kind of strong word for this, but I always swore I wouldn't buy toy guns for my children. then I gave birth to 2 little boys and learned that if you don't buy guns for them, they make their own.

Day 06 - Who They Love

Besides you, who is the apple of his eye? Is it your dog, the kids, his parents, his sibling? Document them with their loved one! If the loved one is not close by, then have them hold a photo of their “beloved”…this can also work for loved ones who have passed away.

They may fight, but Seamus adores his older brother, Noah.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Welcome to my pity party.

Whine ahead. Feel free not to read if you want. I’m just letting it out.

In the January of 2006 I had a miscarriage at 8 weeks. Three weeks later the day of my follow up appointment at the doctors, my husband told me his niece was pregnant - due just a few weeks after I would have been. The feeling of despair post loss knowing I would have to watch her the whole pregnancy knowing it should have been me was just awful.

It became a little easier when I became pregnant again with Seamus the following June. But I admit I totally avoided her for that first few months because I just couldn’t handle it. She got offended because I stayed away and stopped speaking to me. Our relationship is still strained now.

Those of you that know me well will be aware I had a traumatic loss in July this past year at 21 weeks. My baby was due in November, and I was really hoping to be pregnant again by now however my body just isn’t co-operating and I am still even after five months awaiting my first period. It sucks.

This morning we get a big announcement that my husband’s niece is pregnant again, and she is due in July 2011. So yet again I get to watch her, and this time she is due around the time that we will be facing the first anniversary of Finn’s death. This is going to suck, and probably going to cause another big rift in the family as she, and no one else his side, is going to understand why I’m avoiding her like the plague. But what can I do.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Formula company website giving misinformation to breastfeeding mothers

You might remember this website, it was set up as some sort of response to the Ban the Bags campaign. It's funded by the Infant Formula Council, and they state that banning formula samples in hospitals is "withholding information and support from new moms". Way to entirely miss the point.

Anyway, I stumbled on their site today and found a section entitled "Ask RN" where a lady named Barbara Dehn is giving advice to mothers on breastfeeding and formula feeding. Some of the advice is fine, other is extremely suspect and some outright damaging. Take this gem:

From ghana

my baby is 3 days old, but the mother don't have breast milk can i feed him with formula

Most moms find that their milk doesn't "come in" until day 4-5. I would suggest that you continue to put the baby to the breast every 2 1/2 to 3 hours around the clock. If the baby is making wet diapers (5-7) day, then they are getting nourishment. If there aren't wet diapers, then by all means supplement with properly prepared formula and talk to your baby's doctor or midwife.

No mention of colostrum, and the wet nappy advice is wrong, wrong, wrong. A 3 day old baby would be expected to have 3 wets in a 24 hour period. Not 5-7.

Sara Calloway
From Ohio

I am really stressed out about my 4 month old's weight. We were at the pediatrician's today and she weighs 11 pounds 5 ounces and is 33.5". She is exclusively breastfed and seems happy but the pediatrician wants me to start supplementing her with formula. My lactation consultant, on the other hand, says that she is eating plenty and just seems to be on the small side. She feels supplementing my daughter won't make her consume more, she'll just get less breastmilk.

She has about 9 wet diapers a day, and poops every day or two, so I'm pretty sure I have enough milk. She eats about 8 times a day and 1 or 2 times at night. She does not seem unhappy, her hair is shiny, skin is soft, and eyes are moist. She is alert, rolls over both ways, and if we sit her up, she'll stay unsupported for a several seconds.

The pediatrician sent me home with samples of formula but I don't want to introduce those risks unless I truly have to. I wasn't worried before but now I feel like maybe I'm starving her. Is her weight normal? She was 7lbs 1 oz at birth and 20" long.

I'm just very confused over the conflicting advice and I'd like a variety of opinions to help me decide what's truly best for her.

Thanks in advance!

This is a very good question. The average weight for a 4 month old who was born on time is 14 lbs. Your daughter's weight puts her at the 10th percentile. You didn't mention how tall you and your husband are. You say that she's 33.5 inches long, but I'll bet you mean 23.5. If that's the case then, her length is also in the 10th percentile. It's very possible that she is just a small child and will continue to be small throughout her life.
Here's what I know from almost 30 years as a nurse.
You can bring your daughter to your lactation consultant and weigh her before you feed and after to see how much she's drinking. You can also offer her some pumped milk to see if she's still hungry after a feeding session at the breast. If you do need to use formula, I want to reassure you that it is a safe and healthy option that many moms use, because they can't exclusively breast feed. Formulas today are designed to be closer to breast milk than ever before. Yes, you're right, breast milk is ideal, but if you have to use formula, you can rest assured that this is a safe nutritious source of calories, proteins, fats and other vitamins and essential nutrients that a baby needs to grow. good luck and let me know what happens.

No mention of how much baby is actually gaining per week, just giving a weight isn't really helpful, as baby could have been quite happily gaining on this curve. She's right that some children are just small. But the rest of the reply just sounds like a formula ad.

Debbie Demi's Mom
From California

im breastfeeding and everyone says its the best for the baby is 2 and a half months. but "good" food is expensive so i try to eat as healthy as possible but my baby's bone crack all the time...could it be that my milk isn't nutritional enough?? or could it be more serious? and if my milk isnt good enough what formula is best?

Hi, I'm not sure what you mean by your baby's bones crack? It may just be that you're hearing the new cartilage rubbing on itself. If your baby is growing according to your pediatrician, then I would guess that your milk is the perfect food for your little one. Be sure you drink plenty of milk, or get cottage cheese or other dairy ( 4 servings at least) every day. Continue taking your prenatal vitamin and look for fresh fruits and vegetables in season, because they cost less. If you're concerned about the economy, and really, who isn't right now, aim for using eggs and chicken to get plenty of protein. Good luck

What the fuck? Did she really just tell that mama that she has to drink milk to make milk? Is this Old Wives Tales 101?

I could go on and on, but the misinformation is rife here. Really if they're going to dish out breastfeeding advice they should really have an IBCLC to answer these breastfeeding questions. Here's the direct link to the section if you want to refute some of this garbage as well! Have fun!

Sportsman performs circumcisions, WTF

I've been a bit MIA from the intactivist community recently. But as I flicked through my Facebook updates this morning I saw this:

That's right, an American football player travelled to the Philippines to circumcise young boys, and thought he was doing them a favour.


“The first time, it was nerve-racking,” he said. “Hands were shaking a little bit. I mean, I’m cutting somebody. You can’t do those kinds of things in the United States. But those people really needed the surgeries. We needed to help them.”

Now, the whole concept of a SPORTSMAN, untrained in medical procedures, operating on these children aside. The bolded text above is what really bothers me.

Someone explain how exactly these children needed these surgeries?

Now, I'm betting it's something to do with HIV. So these children are out there having risky sex without condoms and they're at risk from HIV are they?

Um, didn't think so. So why exactly is it somehow charity work, needed, for these children to have a circumcision performed by a football player who thinks he's doing some sort of charity work? I mean, for them to actually need the surgery, you'd think perhaps there was some medical indication? Do these kids have foreskin gangrene, or cancer? Frostbite? Or is it yet again, an American pushing the cultural obsession with the foreskin onto children from another country?

Hey, but let's not forget that Filipinos already circumcise their children in traditional ceremonies at 9-12 years of age. There has been a string of deaths related to traditional circumcision schools elsewhere.
So, perhaps Mr Tebow circumcising children in a sterile setting is saving these kids from a worse fate. Can you imagine if he went to Africa and performed "ritual nicks" on young girls to save them a worse fate in traditional FGM? The uproar, quite rightly would be heard everywhere. Yet in circumcising male children, Tebow is some sort of hero. What the fuck.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

How did my births affect breastfeeding?

 Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on The Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about Birth Experiences and Breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

I have two children, both whom were/are breastfed. I had two very different birth experiences, although ultimately both were hospital vaginal deliveries and breastfeeding was successful. I hadn't really given it a great deal of thought as to whether the birth made any difference in initiating breastfeeding.

Noah, now 5 was born when I was 27, relatively uninformed about birth, although I was fairly educated about breastfeeding. I took antenatal classes where they taught us about pain relief available but they did not talk about any alternative methods other than drugs, it was all either take the drugs or go natural, there was no other option presented. I didn't see the point in experiencing pain if I really didn't have to, so I opted to have an epidural, thinking I would be painfree and enjoy my birth.

It didn't work out that way. My epidural did not take properly, leaving me numb down one side but still feeling everything down the other. I told the anaesthetist that I was still feeling pain but rather than adjusting my position at all I was just told to be patient and it would start to work. It never did.

On the positive side it didn't seem to slow my labour down, although I suspect it made pushing harder, as despite feeling pain I did not have the proper urge to push that I experienced with my second birth. After my baby was born I was not allowed to hold him at first or breastfeed for some reason until I had been stitched up which took half an hour as I tore very badly.

Breastfeeding was difficult initially. Noah struggled to latch, and I would look longingly at other mothers in the ward feeding their babies formula. The lactation consultant on the ward was useless, she came around when I was already feeding him, said everything looked great and that was it. I credit a nursing auxiliary who was there in the middle of the night when I was struggling one time and showed me how to position my baby properly with my breastfeeding success, as the only person who really gave me proper practical help.

I do wonder if the drugs I was given made some sort of impact on our latching as well. There is evidence to suggest that this may be the case.

My second birth was completely unmedicated. I endeavoured to have a different experience with my first, to avoid an epidural, and chose a birthing pool, still in the hospital, I also stayed home until I was quite advanced (I arrived in hospital dilated to 9cm). Pushing was entirely different in that my body took over and it was much easier compared to the "purple pushing" I'd experienced the first time around.
I still tore, but not anywhere near as badly and they waited to stitch me until baby and I had had our first breastfeed, which we did when we were still both in the water. Seamus had no latching issues at all, I felt very empowered in my birth and confident in my body's ability to provide for my child just as I had birthed him without medical intervention. Our road to successful breastfeeding wasn't entirely smooth, as I think I've mentioned in another post, but at least initiation went smoothly.

I think that drugs given in labour do have an impact on breastfeeding, but I suspect it is not only because of them crossing the placenta and affecting the baby, I feel there is also an element of confidence involved as well, if the mother has experienced a cascade of interventions and ends up feeling that she somehow "failed" or did not get the birth she wanted I think that can affect her first breastfeeding experiences as well on a psychological level.

 Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.