Monday, December 28, 2009

Postpartum Shockers

I knew my body would undergo significant changes when the baby came, but there are a few that really really took me by surprise:
  1. Swollen Feet and Ankles - I had swollen feet and ankles towards the end of my pregnancy, but they have been much worse since the baby was born. My midwives have all told me this is normal.
  2. Smelly Feet - I have never, ever, ever, EVER, EVER had smelly feet in my life. Even Robin thinks they smell cheesy. I think it's something to do with all the fluid in my feet right now.
  3. Belly - Okay, now I never expected to have a flat tummy after the birth of my son BUT I didn't expect to look six or seven months pregnant by days 3 and 4 either. With the baby gone, I wonder what it is that's taking up all that space????
  4. Sore nipples - I was really surprised how quickly my nipples became sore. By the end of Day 1 they were cracked and bleeding. Apparently this is down to bad technique. But still ...

I'm sure I will be adding to this list as the weeks go on :-)

The Birth Story

Last Monday I was experiencing sharp stabbing pains in my cervix which didn't feel like period pains - and because we had every reason to believe it could have been an infection Robin and I decided to get it checked out at the hospital. What a MISTAKE.

Monday 2pm

I saw a midwife in triage who made me feel totally stupid. She was one of those nurses that sort of rolled her eyes at everything I said. Worst of all, she did an internal which left me feeling wholly violated. It felt like she'd thrust her fist up - no warning, no kind words of encouragement, nothing. If I was in pain before this, I was in agony by the time she'd finished.

The long and short of it all is that she told me there was no way of telling if I had an infection or not and that I wasn't in labour. At this point I was only 1cm dilated and the baby's head 2/5 engaged. I cried all the way home in the car, confused as to why I was feeling so much pain, and traumatised by the care I'd received at the hospital I would soon be giving birth in.

Monday 3pm

To make matters worse, after the internal examination, the pain intensified. By 3pm I was having regular waves of fairly intense pain every 20 minutes or so lasting around 15 seconds each along with a tightening in my upper abdo. But since I 'wasn't in labour' I decided to do some shopping and get a few last minute presents wrapped.

Monday 11.45pm

At 11.45 that evening I stood up, felt a pop and a torrent of fluid gushed down between my legs. I kid ye not, it was a torrent. Then I noticed the waters were dark green with flecks of what looked like spinach in it. PANIC! This was, I later learned, the most serious kind of meconium stained amniotic fluid.

Tuesday 12.30am (half past midnight)

Robin and I got to the hospital in double quick time where I was examined and admitted. At half past midnight I was 1cm dilated and feeling a lot of pain.

Tuesday 7am

Seven hours later I was still only 1cm dilated.

Tuesday 11am

Four hours after that I was only 2cm dilated and in a significant amount of pain. So the decision was made to induce labour.

Tuesday Midday

By midday I'd been given an epidural and was hooked up to a Syntocinon drip.

Tuesday 4pm

Four hours later (after a nice long snooze) I was 10cm dilated and ready to push.

Tuesday 4.30pm

After only half an hour of pushing, Elliot Broden Huffer arrived. The midwife plonked him straight onto my belly which was truly one of the most amazing moments of my life. And the rest - as they say - is history!

After such a bad start with the midwife from Hell, my labour and Elliot's birth ended up being a wonderful, positive experience. The midwives were friendly and reassuring and gave me all the support I needed and wanted.

It wasn't the 'natural' birth I'd hoped for; I couldn't walk around to alleviate my pain because I was hooked up to a monitor and I couldn't use the birthing pool either. In some respects it feels as though I cheated because I had an epidural and it took away ALL the pain.

After Elliot was born the midwife told me that I'd never actually been in established labour because I'd never gotten beyond 2cm dilated. Whaat? All that pain and I wasn't even in labour???? Boy, do I have a new found respect for women that do it au naturel.

And as for Robin - WOW! There is nothing glamorous about giving birth; it's an undignified, bloody and messy business. Yet Robin (who is squeamish at the best of times) was a tower of strength to me and an absolute gem with his words of gentle encouragement. He didn't cut the cord but he did see the baby's head crown. And the look on his face when he held Elliot for the first time will stay with me until my dying day.

So there we have it. My birth story. The end of one chapter ... and the beginning of a whole new one with my healthy, happy, gorgeous little baby.

Link to photos:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Elliot Broden Huffer

Just a quick post update ...

Elliot Broden Huffer arrived safely on Tuesday 22nd December at 4.32pm weighing 8lb 6oz.

I couldn't possibly be happier if I tried.

Merry Christmas everybody xxx

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Membrane Sweep

I saw the midwife this morning and had the membrane sweep that I was hoping for.

First she had a feel of my belly and told me that the baby is barely engaged. Nooooo!

Then did an internal and told me that I have a posterior cervix, which means my cervix is facing backwards rather than forwards. Nooooo!

Essentially, she had to reach around the baby's head to do the sweep. At one point she said 'hello baby' and told me she was touching the baby's head. How weird is that??

My understanding of a posterior cervix is that it often moves to an anterior (forward facing) position during labour. If it doesn't, however, it can lengthen and exacerbate the labour and make it slightly trickier for the baby to manoeuvre his way out. This can result in a forceps rotation or ventouse delivery.

My worry (if you can call it a worry) is that I have a posterior cervix anyway. I've had several smears and examinations over the years where the professionals have indicated my cervix is 'quite far back'. Does that mean it has less chance of moving forward during the labour?

Anyway, the long and short of this morning's antenatal appointment is that I'm not going to experience labour any time soon. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Paranormal Activity

I did a ridiculous thing the other day!! I took myself off to the movies to see Paranormal Activity on my own! I thought I would be fine, since it was a matinee showing. And, to be honest, after watching the movie I was fine.

Hey, it was spooky, but not THAT spooky ...

... or so I thought until 3.3o the following morning.

I woke with a start, convinced I'd heard something downstairs, and lay frozen in fear for the next two hours. I have never been so frightened in all my life.

How am I supposed to potter round the house with a baby in the wee hours when I'm too scared to even get out of bed??? What an eejit!!!!!

Coughs and sneezes spread diseases

Hmm ... I spoke to my mom on the phone yesterday and she is full of cold, which puts me in a tricky predicament.

A good friend of mine - Jackie - visited last week and one of the bits of advice she gave me (having had winter babies of her own) was don't feel bad about banning sick relatives from holding the baby.

Following the birth of her first child she'd reluctantly allowed a relative to cuddle the baby, despite being full of cold. She simply hadn't had the confidence to say no and what she ended up with was a sick newborn baby.

I know that you can't protect babies from coughs and colds forever - and breast milk is supposed to help them build up an immunity to such things - but I want to give my poor little munchkin a chance to settle into the big wide world before he's subjected to the horrors of a blocked nose and sore throat.

Clicking and popping in the womb

**YAWN **

5.30am and I've been awake for hours already ... I guess it's something I ought to get used to ;-)

Anyways, I thought I would do a bit of research on something that has been puzzling me for weeks. When the baby moves in my womb I sometimes hear and feel a 'click' or a 'pop' where his elbow and knee is. It's definitely NOT hiccups. Huffer Jnr has hiccups all the time and they have a really distinctive (and obvious) sensation. These clicks and pops happen randomly when the baby is moving. And maybe only once a week. It sounds like a bubble popping, but I have a slight sensation of being flicked too.

I've never been overly concerned by this. I assumed my baby just had clicky joints. And to be honest I thought it would take me hours to find anything on the subject as I've never heard of anyone else having a similar experience. But lo and behold, I found this within minutes of Googling the subject (you've gotta love the Internet) ...

The 'clicking' phenomenon is not documented in midwifery or obstetric text books. Therefore it is hard to know what really causes it. One plausible explanation may be that the baby's joints are rubbing or 'clicking' as they move, but we cannot be certain. In our experience, women who have noticed 'clicking' have gone on to have healthy, normal babies. Therefore we do not think it is anything to be concerned about. Perhaps it will just remain one of those strange mysteries of pregnancy?

Oh well, I love a good mystery!


Okay, so here I am just three days away from Huffer Jnr's due date and I feel like crap! Seriously, for the past few days I've been really really tired. Snoozing all the time. It's weird; my head says one thing and my body says another thing. For example, my head is screaming HOUSEWORK NEEDS DOING ... but my body simply doesn't have the physical energy to get it done.

Then, to make matters worse, I woke up this morning with a headache and nausea. Boo hoo. I HATE headache and nausea.

I've looked at the forums and most of them point to a surge in hormones. It could also be the body's way of cleansing itself before it flicks the labour switch.

But I'm worried! And the reason I'm worried is because Robin and I went out for supper last night and I had some monkfish which tasted decidedly odd. It was so rubbery I suspect it might have been heated up in the microwave more than once. Why oh why did I have the fish??? What an idiot!!

The baby is still happily moving around, so I know he's okay. He's got hiccups as I write this. But I really couldn't bear having food poisoning ... not NOW!!

Fingers crossed it's just the hormones!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The NCT Club

I had a spot of lunch with the NCT girls today. We're all due around the same time, so it's fun to compare bumps and 'symptoms'. It amazes me how similar all our bumps are ... although some of the others' bumps have dropped already. Mine is still up around my ears somewhere. Only one more week until my baby is due. Well, it's six days, seven nights to be precise.

One of the girls who is due on Tuesday had a membrane sweep at her last antenatal appointment. The website describes a membrane sweep as follows: Membrane sweeping is done by your midwife or doctor. While internally examining you, she will simply "sweep" a finger around your cervix (neck of your womb). The aim is to separate the membranes around your baby from your cervix. This releases hormones called prostaglandins, which may kick-start your labour.

Yikes. I wonder if I will be offered one next week!!!

I've had a look on the internet and there are lots of old wives tales about how to kick start labour. The one that grabbed my attention was this one. I found it on one of the forums: My mum used to be a midwife and she says that loads of people have sex to induce labour ...

I like this idea! No, I LOVE this idea :-) Sadly I can't infuse Robin with the same degree of enthusiasm. I think he thinks it will damage the baby. Either that or he's keen to enjoy as many lie-ins as he can before the baby arrives. Dang! Short of pinning him down, there's not much I can do. He's definitely got me by the short and curlies on this one.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The weighting game ...

Okay, since I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for Huffer Jnr to arrive, I thought I would have a bit of fun with predictions:
  1. He will be 52 cm long
  2. He will have a fine layer of dark hair
  3. He will weigh 8lbs 2oz
  4. He will be born on Wednesday 16th December at 3.21 in the morning
  5. He will have the most beautiful face I have ever seen on a human being (hey, I want to get at least one prediction correct!!!!)
How freaky would it be if they ALL came true!!

Okay, night all.

Is it a sign??

I am so excited about the impending birth of my baby boy that every little thing has become a sign of labour. I woke up in the early hours of Friday morning with what felt like period pain (a sign??) On Saturday morning I woke up in the early hours with acute backache (surely a sign!!) Saturday lunch time I had a runny bottom (gotta be a sign, right??). This afternoon I felt sick (I'm sure I read somewhere that's a sign??). A twinge here, a pain there (all signs) ...

I know I will know when it's happening for real ... but come on already!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

Hippo Feet

My feet swelled up good and proper yesterday ... and were still swollen when I woke up this morning. They looked exactly like the hippo feet in the attached photo. You've gotta love pregnancy :-)


Okay, something else no one warned me about was ... the antenatal snoring. I have started snoring so badly it's keeping Robin awake. As far as I am aware I never snored before.

The reason for my snoring is that from quite early on in my pregnancy I have gone to bed most nights with what feels like a blocked nose. This congested feeling is caused by the extra progesterone whizzing round my system and causes me to sleep with my mouth open ... which in turn makes me snore!

For most women, snoring in pregnancy will be caused by the same thing. However, you only have to do a quick Google search on pregnancy-related snoring to uncover some horror stories. For example in 1999 the BBC reported: women who snore when they are pregnant may be at risk of developing dangerously high blood pressure that could threaten their lives when they give birth (whaaaaat??) Other phrases I came across during my research included: retardation of the foetus ... neonatal morbidity and mortality ... predictor of preeclampsia ... lower birth weight and lower Apgar scores ... sign of excessive weight gain, etc etc etc.

Pah! I'm pretty sure my snoring is a hormonal thing and that as soon as the baby is born and my hormone levels have reverted back to normal, the snoring will cease. (She says with fingers crossed).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I could have sworn I felt the baby's knuckles last night. It was near my bellybutton, where the skin is thinner, and where the baby's hands would be ... and it felt all knobbly. So cute :-)

I've had a couple of sharp twinges down below in the last couple of days. And I mean really sharp. They made me think that maybe a pain-relief-free labour is just wishful thinking, lol.

Nah, I'm still keen to experience nature's miracle as nature intended ... but I'm not stubborn enough to say no to a shot in the spine if push comes to shove.

My midwife told me yesterday that she'd assumed this wasn't my first child because I've been so relaxed about this pregnancy. I'm pleased she said that.

Some people think that because I ask questions about the worse case scenarios I'm being negative. I'm not. I think knowledge is power. And actually, asking questions like how does a baby get starved of oxygen at birth when it's not even breathing yet, is a sensible question to ask. Incidentally, when I asked this at my ante-natal class I didn't get an answer. I was told that it was extremely rare and that I shouldn't worry about it. I felt like saying; hey, I'm not worried about it, I just want to know. It's about empowering myself.

I wake up every morning now thinking, will today be the day I meet my little button? The excitement is mounting :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Counting down the days!

Hurrah! I'm finally on maternity leave and it already feels good. I don't feel as stressed or emotional as I have been.

In fact, I had a midwife appointment this morning and my blood pressure was a perfect 120/80. The baby's heartbeat was nice and strong too, so all good.

I've decided that I want to listen to my Christmas CDs when I'm in labour. They always put a smile on my face and fill me with hope and positivity.

I can't WAIT to meet my baby!!


Whoops. I bumped my bump on the corner of the table today. It feels bruised, even though there's no visible mark. I hope Huffer Jnr didn't feel it.

It's tricky negotiating the ol' bump around you know!!