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Learning the gender of your child can be an exciting and nerve-racking moment, so much so that sharing that moment with your nearest and dearest can make it even more special.

Gender reveals are becoming increasingly popular and more extravagant and creative. From coloured smoke explosions to amusing guessing games, there are now countless ways of sharing the big news with your loved ones, to make the moment more memorable.

If you’re looking for inspiration on what to do for your own baby’s gender reveal, look no further! I’ve partnered with Vitabiotics to bring you some of the most heartwarming gender reveal stories, to help you get creative should you be looking to reveal the gender of your child in a unique way!

“The wedding day arrived and still nobody knew…”- Laura Knows Lifestyle

Laura, the blogger behind Laura Knows Lifestyle, had the difficult task of keeping the gender of her baby a secret until her wedding day! She explains:

“We found out we were expecting a baby in early Feb which was a little bit of a surprise as we were in the midst of planning our May wedding! Then came the task of keeping it a secret until the wedding as everyone was trying to trick us into saying something.”

The wedding day arrived and Laura had a creative idea as to how to incorporate the gender reveal into her ceremony:

“We knew it would be close enough to get a balloon sorted so ordered 2 balloons; one with pink and one with blue confetti… My husband added the gender reveal into his speech and basically invited his sister (who’d flown in from New York) to be the one to pop the balloon. From that, we revealed we were expecting a baby girl!”

“I popped a message up on Facebook telling people to guess…” –  Mummy in a Tutu

Simple yet effective is the motto of this next gender reveal story, as Katie of Mummy in a Tutu reveals the heartwarming way she revealed the big news to her family and friends:

“I popped a message up on my Facebook telling people to guess and had almost a hundred guesses, most of which were for a little girl. On the day, I did 3 or 4 posts building up to it and finished off with a small video of a balloon popping and revealing the pink confetti which everyone loved…”

This shows that you don’t have to go all out for a gender reveal; even a small gesture such as Katie’s is enough to share the joy and excitement that comes with expecting a baby.

“Introducing our little bundle of joy; a beautiful, bouncing baby boy!” – Lamb and Bear

If you’re more in touch with your creative side, you’ll love the way Alex, the name and personality behind Lamb and Bear, carried out her gender reveal.

Alex created a beautiful poem, entitled ‘Blue or Pink – What do you think?’, detailing her experience and feelings upon learning of her second pregnancy.

The poem is a heartfelt, open letter to her readers, and is sure to bring a tear to anyone’s eye. To read the full poem, click here.

“I couldn’t believe I was pregnant. I had waited for this time to come for such a long time.” – Life According to Mrs Shilts

Emma revealed the news to her readers via her blog, Life According to Mrs Shilts. In the post she explains her excitement upon discovering she was pregnant, and how her family and friends tried to suss out the gender of the baby before the doctors appointment. She said:

“Lots of friends and family have commented on how different my [second] pregnancy has been and I’ve had to agree. It’s been very different so of course, people have thrown around the assumption that I must be carrying a different gender, a baby girl.”

At the end of her story is an adorable surprise, revealing the gender of her baby to her blog readers. You can read the full post and story on Emma’s website, here.

“I could just hear her screaming on the phone!” – Fashion Mommy

Last but not least is a wonderful story from Fashion Mommy, also known as Emma. Emma decided to go down the traditional route and decided to simply give her mum a call to give her the exciting news!

“When they revealed it was a boy we were over the moon, and I couldn’t wait to tell my mom, so I rang her at work and literally said the one word ‘Boy’ and I could just hear her screaming on the phone, and then telling everyone else in her shop.”

Whether you want to opt for something simple or something extravagant; regardless of the method you choose to carry out your gender reveal, the moment will be appreciated and cherished for years to come by family and friends alike!

*This is a sponsored guest post, on a topic we have a great interest in!

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And before you get excited, not for baby number three. Not for a good few years anyway! Just to be pregnant with L again. Despite the health problems, hospital admissions and going overdue, I loved being pregnant. There’s something so unbelievably special about creating a new life and nothing in the world quite compares to it. But that’s not actually why I wish I was still pregnant with him.

There’s more to it…

My lovely little boy,

When I was pregnant I could protect you.

When I was pregnant you didn’t know the horrors of silent reflux and all the pain it could bring.

When I was pregnant you didn’t cry and cry until you could barely breathe.

You didn’t have to be filled with medicine to try and comfort you.

You didn’t react to every food under the sun and despise weaning.

You didn’t need to be passed from person to person to try and stop you from getting upset.

You were safe and sound tucked up in my tummy and I could look after you without even thinking about it.

I’m sorry your start in life hasn’t been smooth sailing. I’m not sure what went wrong or why it happens but I wish I could take it away.

I’m sorry for getting frustrated and snapping when I’m sick of carrying you around all day and just want to put you down for ten minutes to go to the toilet, brush my hair, tidy the house and maybe check my emails.

You see I don’t do anything while you’re awake because I feel too guilty, so I wait until you and your sister are in bed and then stay up till 2am doing work and trying to get on top of things. It then means I’m tired the next day and we start a vicious cycle of pure exhaustion.

I want things to change but I’m not sure how or when they will. I’m not even sure why I’m writing this blog post other than to let others know that it’s not just them. And they’re not alone. There’s nothing quite like the cry of a baby suffering from reflux and I wish I could take it away from each and every one of you.

On a selfish note I wish I was still pregnant because I could still fantasise about the lovely newborn stage we were robbed of. I could sit and imagine holding you, cuddling you, letting you fall asleep in my arms and watching you peacefully dream. Instead of the reality, which is far from that scene. I try day after day to comfort you. You never seem to want to fall asleep. You wriggle and writhe about and never seem to be settled. Even when you are sitting on my lap you are frantically thrashing about 80% of the time. It breaks my heart and I feel guilty because I’m angry.

Angry of the fact that the 7.5 months I had to get to know you and bond with you, before I went back to work, have been completely tainted by your silent reflux.

This has not been the maternity leave I expected at all…

More on that soon.

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This Mama Life - Pregnancy by This Mama Life - 5M ago

Dear L,

General

We’ve fairly been getting back into the swing of things back down where we live on the South Coast. I’ve been trying to take you along to baby groups and play dates because the mama guilt is kicking in. I used to do so much with your sister, group wise, and feel bad we don’t get out and about to as much! Life is just so much busier now. You enjoy music bugs which we go to on a Thursday with your sister. Your Grannie came to visit which was lovely. She misses you lots. Other than that the days and weeks are just flying by. We’ve been up to London a few times for various events etc and need to get your passport so we can get a holiday booked.

Weight

You are now 17lbs 9ozs or just under 8kgs. You have wonderfully chubby cheeks and legs but no where near what your sister’s were like!

Size

Still fitting the 3-6 month clothes quite happily. I’m quite partial to a baby grow this time around and am happy to keep you looking like a ‘baby’ for as long as possible.

(VERY ROUGH) Routine

Between 6 and 7am – you wake up, have a feed and your medicine.
On a nursery day, we take your sister to nursery around 7.45am. If not, we take our time getting ready.
9am – feed.
10am – try to get you down for a nap.
Usually out and about in the afternoon or we go for a walk.
12pm – feed and medicine.
Play time.
2pm – feed and try and get you down for a nap.
4pm – feed and play time.
5pm – pick up your sister. If she’s not at nursery and you are awake, you go int the carrier or your seat so I can make dinner.
6pm – medicine.
Between 7 and 8pm – bedtime routine!
Sleep

We seem to be doing a little bit better on the sleep front this month. Yay!

You often actually go down for a nap during the day and mama can get things done. Woo! It really does make all the difference to all of our happiness levels and I hope it continues.

We have a full on bedtime routine going on now and I try to get you to bed at the same time as your sister or just after, around 7pm.

You usually only wake through the night once and settle back down after a feed.

Feeding

Feeding is much the same as last month.

Still exclusively breastfed and feeding up to six times a day. Usually for about 20-30 mins at a time and then longer first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

We’ve decided not to wean you early. Originally it was suggested by the health visitors and doctor to try and help your silent reflux but it seems like it has done quite the opposite in a lot of cases so I’m too scared!!

Milestones

  • You got chicken pox – is that a milestone?
  • YOU GOT A TOOTH. You have followed in your big sisters starts and have gotten a tooth before you turn 6 months. Eeks.
  •  You can almost roll over.
  • You are so much more smiley.

Things you like:

  • Having your dada around when he’s back from sea.
  • Your Mini little bear and mama’s Catty toy.
  • The grand old duke of York.
  • Being tickled.
  • Getting your bum changed. Such a boy.

Things you don’t like:

  • Naptime.
  • Lie ins.
  • Your dummy.

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Dear Past, Pregnant Me,

I know you think you are prepared for what’s about to come but looking back I think you’re a little bit too prepared! I don’t think you are ready to just go with the flow, whenever anything deviates from what you have planned, and that just doesn’t work with parenthood! Adapt and overcome should be your new motto.

I don’t think you ever thought you’d get this far in a pregnancy because of all the scares, worries and hospital visits you’ve had but this baby will be ok (and so will the next one!! I know, scary thought huh). It is so hard to try and relax when you’ve had disappointment after disappointment but I promise you this time, it will be ok and all the pain, early scans etc will be worth it.

You’ve read some of the books, which just made you worry more (especially about childbirth) so just put them down and listen to other’s experiences instead. Knowledge is power and the more you hear about different babies, the more equipped you might feel when it comes to dealing with your own version of motherhood. But remember, no baby is the same and what worked for one person, might not work for you.

You are bound to come across the (unwanted) but ‘heart-in-the-right-place’ advice from family, friends and even strangers. Just smile and accept the advice but don’t let it make you feel bad about the way you want to parent your baby. You know what’s best and what works for you. Stick to your guns!

I’m going to have to mention breastfeeding because you have no idea what you’re in for when it comes to feeding. You will try your best with Little I (your first baby) but it just wasn’t meant to be and you can’t beat yourself up about it. You’ll give it another go with your second (Baby L) and it will be just as hard but this time you will be more prepared to deal with it and struggle through. No one tells you just how bloody hard breastfeeding is, so I wish I could have been able to tell you this at the time.

Last but not least, enjoy it! Slow down. You are always running round at 100mph, with a thousand things on the to do list, but just stop. Look at your beautiful baba’s face and soak it all in. You only get these days once in your life. Saviour them.

Always remember, even when it seems like it’s too much, you got this. You will be fine. No, you will be great.

Love,

Future You! x

* I was asked by Tesco Baby to write a letter to my past pregnant self on what I wish I had known before I had children. They have teamed up with, mum of three, Dr Carol Cooper to explore some new research which looks into how long parents spend worrying about their children and what the top ten worries can be from illness to the cost raising of baby. Their research has found that although preparing for a family is key, experience will always win. Hear hear! Tesco Baby’s current Baby & Toddler Event started a the beginning of this week and is on for two weeks, both online and in store. There are some fab discounts and offers on all baby and child essentials and also plenty of hints and helpful advice for parents to be.

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MAMA

Recovery – I had my 6 week postnatal check which was a bit of an anticlimax. When I had mine down in Portsmouth, they were very thorough and gave you physical exam as well as asking lot’s of questions etc. My one up here was just a bit of a chat and that was it! I’ve arranged to get my copper coil back in, in a couple weeks though. No more babies for a few years!

Body – I need to start exercising and possibly dieting now. It’s time to not use baby weight as an excuse and jump back on the Lean in 15 bandwagon! The husband and I were using his recipes and doing the HIIT work outs before I got pregnant, and before he got deployed. They were great, so we’ll be doing them again, I’d just like my tummy to be a bit more toned and not just hang down. I am fitting into mainly size 10 now, but just don’t feel like myself. 

Mood – I’m feeling more positive now we have a diagnosis for why Baby L has been acting the way he has. Screw you silent reflux!!! It has been an incredibly tough week and my nerves have been shattered on more than one occasion. Baby L has been so clingy, I’ve barely had a moment to myself and it’s starting to take it’s toll. Between the clingliness and the breastfeeding, I have just felt like a bit of a slave!

BABY

General – it’s been a pretty horrendous week but things have started to turn around now. A few people mentioned on my YouTube channel/social media posts that L might have silent reflux. I’d never heard of it so I brushed it off. One night I googled it and he literally ticked every single box. It made me so sad. I spoke to our HV who said to get a GP appointment. The GP was great and two of his kids actually had reflux so he explained all the options to me. We’ve come to a conclusion to use Ranitidine first to see if it helps. I don’t want to jinx it but, Baby L has honestly been like a different baby since he started on it.

Weight/Height – there was an incident at the baby clinic this week (my HV didn’t have time to do a home visit, so I had to brave the clinic) and the scales they were using to weigh the babies were broken. They said L had lost over a pound in a week and I almost cried! It was horrible. They all started talking about what a concern it was etc. Then my usual HV arrived, got her scales out of the car and lo and behold, he had actually put on weight and was 10lbs 12oz. Thank goodness!! He finally got his height done too and he’s 55cm. The GP who did my postnatal check also checked Baby L out.

Feeding – his feeding was constant for a while before we got to the bottom of his silent reflux. He was wanting to feed all day every day, which was such hard work and really messed with my milk supply! It was basically to try and keep the pain from the acid in his tummy at bay, so the GP told me. Now that he is on medication, he is back to feeding every 2.5-3 hours – THANK GOODNESS.

Routine – the routine has been all over the place this week, but it has roughly followed this pattern:

  • Wake up 8.30-9am after getting up through the night.
  • Feed for 20-30 mins. On both sides.
  • He now likes to go on his mat or swing seat for a little bit.
  • 11.30am – feed again for about 30-60 mins.
  • Naps for one to two hours.
  • 2-3pm – feeds again for 30-45 mins.
  • More entertainment. We either go out and about or he likes to watch what his sister is getting up to. I am trying to make a conscious effort to speak to him a lot and engage his attention.
  • 4-5pm – feeds. 30 mins.
  • Has a mini nap while I try to sort out big sister with dinner and bed time (that’s the plan anyway, doesn’t happen most nights, but when it does, I feel like a winner!)
  • 7.30pm – feeds. 30-60 mins. I try to hold him off till Little I is in bed (she goes to bed at 7pm).
  • I try to keep him awake at this point of the night. It is often the time that the colic witching hour begins as well. Super fun for all involved. Not haha.
  • 9-10pm – feeds for 20 – 45 mins.
  • Bedtime. I change him into a fresh sleepsuit and nappy before his last feed so he’s usually good to go and I just swaddle him before putting him down in his Sleepyhead, in his Snuzpod.
  • 4.30-5am – feeds for about an hour.

Sleeping – since the Ranetitdine has kicked in, we are getting much better nights. L has gone back to sleeping from about midnight through to 4.30-5am-ish, then 5.30am to 8.30am. He still takes a while to actually fall asleep though. 

Size – he’s now in up to 3 months and 0-3 month clothes – some newborn still fit him too. 

Development – we’ve had a few half smiles here and there but not full on proper ones (unless there is wind involved!). He loves trying to roll over, but he’s been doing that for ages. It’s not some crazy advanced thing it’s just that he has had tension down one side of his back which makes him arch and twist round (it was explained to me by a chiropractor!). He loves looking at people’s face and has started studying his hands a lot and grasping at things.

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MAMA

Recovery – I think I’m fully recovered. We shall see at the 6 week postnatal check up next week! I do have a few questions for her (pretty personal!!) so we shall see what she has to say, but I’d say I’m now 99% back to normal. Woo.

Body – I need to start exercising. I feel so untoned and bleh. It is mainly my tummy, funnily enough, but I could do with a good old toning up session all over. I’m not remotely happy with the way I look but I’m trying not to let it get to me. To be fair, I don’t have much time to let it get to me!

Mood – I feel better in myself but I am starting to get the feeling of being overwhelmed creep back in. Baby L is just so unhappy this week and nothing I seem to do makes it better. It’s so hard not to feel awful and start snapping at everyone around me. I just need a few hours peace a day to get some of my jobs done and I’m not even getting that at the moment. He might be colicky but then again, he’s the same during the day, and not just at night, so who knows. All I know is how sad it is making me. And how I feel like a crap mum. AHHHH.

BABY

General – it’s been a terrible, terrible week. Baby L has been crazy unsettled and has also broken out in bad baby acne and cradle cap. It looks so bad, bless him.

Weight/Height – he’s gone up to 

Feeding – feeding is ok although he never seems to be satisfied. He will feed and feed and feed. Be quiet for about ten minutes, and then be looking again. It’s so tiring. I’m not sure if it’s comfort sucking but he won’t take a dummy at the moment. I’ve tried 99% of dummy brands with him! He also seems to be in pain straight after feeding, so the doctor told me to cut out dairy to see if that helps. He arches his back and pulls off quite a lot now, which is hard to deal with. 

Routine – the routine has gone out of the window a little bit this week because he is so unsettled. He has practically stopped napping during the day, which is crazy for a newborn, and he is just generally fighting me at every stage of the day! The only thing I seem to be sticking to this week is when we go though to bed (note, not sleep!!)…about 11pm. and then often I am stuck trying to get him to go to sleep till 1am. It’s just been a case of survival this week. Hopefully a routine will fall into place better over the next couple weeks.

Sleeping – his sleeping has been pretty bad this week. He’s not napping very well during the day, takes ages to go down at night and then wakes up a few times through the night. Exhausted doesn’t cover it.

Size – he’s starting to fit into up to 3 month and 0-3 month sized clothes now.

Development – he’s really alert now. Almost too alert. He loves to lie in his changing basket and look up at my mum’s washing line thing in the utility room. When it comes to toys and stimulation though, he’s not paying much attention and doesn’t seem very interested in being entertained by them. Just people’s faces and washing lines for now. I am SO DESPERATE for a smile. Come on Baby L!

What we’ve been up to – I feel like this week has whizzed by. I’ve got so much work on at the moment, and it is hard because I’m not getting the chance to get through as much as I like with a clingy baba. We’ve been trying to get out and about to see friends and have had a few coffee and park dates. 

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I was really lucky during my first pregnancy and managed to get through it without getting any stretch marks. During this pregnancy I have been even more obsessed with trying not to get any stretch marks probably because I felt I was too lucky first time round and couldn’t possibly end up with the same luck the second time. When Bepanthen got in touch to ask if I wanted to review their stretch mark cream, I thought why not. It’s not a brand I would associate with stretch mark creams, more just nappy creams, and so I was intrigued!

I was approached whilst I was in my third trimester so can only vouch for the cream towards the end of my pregnancy, I’m sure it would have been even more effective had I used it for the whole pregnancy. I was, however, already using various stretch mark creams previous to Bepanthen getting in touch, so the ground work had been laid.

From the Bepanthen website:

‘Bepanthen Stretch Mark Cream has been designed based on the latest scientific knowledge on the development of stretch marks. Its ingredients are known to act in many ways to support the skin to keep it soft, supple, and elastic:

  • Centella Asiatica is a tropical plant which is known to stimulate collagen and fibre production resulting in strengthening of the skin. This addresses the main cause of stretch marks: a weakness in the skin which cannot produce enough collagen and fibres such as elastin to maintain its firm but supple structure.
  • Provitamin B5 and glycerine are proven to nourish and moisturise the skin to make it soft, supple and elastic.
  • Pure olive oil and skin lipids support the natural skin barrier which is important to protect your skin against external influences.’

You don’t have to use a lot of the Bepanthen Stretch Mark Cream. It has a great texture and a little bit seems to go a long way. The bottle it comes in is great with it’s pump action applicator. The pump applicator means that getting the cream out is a pretty non messy process, which is always a winner in my eyes.

The Bepanthen Stretch Mark Cream has a nice scent to it. It is a very light, subtle, clean scent that makes you feel nice and fresh if you apply it after your morning shower, like I do. There’s nothing worse than a beauty product that you don’t like the smell of and I think the Bepanthen Stretch Mark Cream would appeal to most people.

Another important thing to note is that it is pretty much grease free. This is a big thing in this product market because a lot of the products aimed at combating stretch marks are actually oils, which tend to make more of a mess and can often dirty clothes as well.

All in all I was impressed with the Bepanthen Stretch Mark Cream and would recommend it to all the preggy ladies out there. If you’re after a nice, light cream that does what it says on the tin and leaves you super moisturised, and less likely to get stretch marks, then this is the cream for you. I ended up getting no stretch marks in this pregnancy and I believe part of it could have been down to using this cream (and genetics (my mum doesn’t have any stretch marks either!)).

It retails for £24.99 which may seem a little steep, but it’s in line with other stretch mark creams in the industry and hey, anything that can make a difference to the dreaded stretch marks is worth it’s weight in gold in my opinion.

You can find out more information about, and where to buy, Bepanthen Stretch Mark Cream here.

Did you try any creams during your pregnancy?

*I was sent the Bepanthen Stretch Mark Cream, free of charge, in return for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own,

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MAMA

Recovery – I feel pretty much recovered now. I’m still getting some headaches and aches and pains but nothing too crazy. Everything seems pretty normal ‘down there’ and the bleeding has stopped. Yay. It went on till 6 weeks with Little I.

Body – I can actually feel my stomach muscles coming back. Amen! Problem is I don’t feel like I’m actually losing much baby weight at the moment because breastfeeding makes me so hungry! I’m trying to keep my milk supply up too so am eating more than I usually do. Roll on when I can get exercising again to counterbalance it. The rest of me is pretty much the way it always has been, just not as toned! My boobs still go pretty crazy as my body is trying to figure out Baby L’s needs in the milk department.

Mood – I feel so much more like myself this week. I still have my moments where it all gets too much and it’s really overwhelming, but who doesn’t. I miss the husband a lot, which doesn’t help. All in all though, I’m feeling a lot more positive and am trying to enjoy every minute of Baby L being a newborn.

BABY

Weight/Height – I’m a terrible mum and had to rearrange our health visitor appointment so I don’t actually know how much he weighs. Oops.

Feeding – feeding is going ok. We’re still breastfeeding, which surprises me more than anyone! He breastfeeds all day and then when it gets to about 9pm, I top him up up with expressed milk and one bottle of formula. The night feeds were getting relentless because i don’t think he was getting enough from me, so I decided to top him up. It’s going well and he’s sleeping much longer through the night. I express once he’s fallen asleep so I’m not in too much pain/too engorged when he wakes up.

Routine – still no proper routine but starting to look at implementing this one. This is how our day goes:

  • Wake up 8.30am after getting up through the night.
  • Feed for 25-30 mins. Now on both sides.
  • He usually stays awake till his next feed so I try to surround him with toys and fun things to look at to keep his attention.
  • 10am – feed again for about 30-60 mins.
  • Naps for a few hours – this still seems to be the longest stretch of sleeping he does throughout the day.
  • 1pm – feeds again. Can be 30-60 mins but this week he’s sometimes only doing 15 minute feeds.
  • 4pm – feeds. 30 mins.
  • 7.30pm – feeds. 30-60 mins. I try to hold him off till Little I is in bed (she goes to bed at 7pm).
  • I try to keep him awake at this point of the night.
  • 9-10pm – feeds for 20 – 45 mins.
  • Bedtime. I change him into a fresh sleepsuit and nappy before his last feed so he’s usually good to go and I just swaddle him before putting him down in his Sleepyhead, in his Snuzpod.
  • Sometimes needs another feed to get him off to sleep.
  • 3.30am – feeds for about an hour.
  • 6-6.30am – feeds for about 30 mins.

Sleeping – his sleeping has been better this week. We’ve had a couple nights where he’s gone from midnight to 5 or 6am, which is lovely! I’d like to get him into a better structure nap wise.

Size – he’s still in first size/up to 1 month clothes. 0-3 months is still too big.

Development – he’s still getting more and more alert. He loves looking at people’s faces and really enjoys people talking to him. I’ve been trying to give him things to grab and ‘play with’ aka look at, just because I get worried about him getting bored haha.

What we’ve been up to – things seem more settled this week and it seems to be (slightly) easier to get out of the house. We had Little I and L’s second cousin’s birthday party which was fun. The toddlers are so funny together. We braved the elements and went to the bonfire night fireworks in Banchory – we got soaked!! I had Baby L in the wrap and Little I really enjoyed the fireworks with her ear defenders on this year. I’ve been trying to get through my back log of reviews, posts and videos but am not getting very far, very fast. Baby L doesn’t like to be put down, unless he’s sleeping. He’s so different from his sister!

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I still can’t believe how my labour and birth story turned out in the end. It felt like everything was against me at one point and I wasn’t going to get anywhere near they type of birth I was hoping for. For a start I had gone overdue which no one expected to happen, especially not me. In Scotland they now book you in for inductions at 7 days overdue rather than the 10 or 14 it is down South. In a way this was good for us because it meant that there was more chance of the husband being around for the birth and bit of time afterwards. He is deployed abroad at the moment with the military and he got sent back a few days before my due date for paternity. I was worried this would mean he might miss the birth if he got called back early and I went overdue but luckily the odds were in our favour for those couple weeks.

So, onto the actual labour and birth story. On Tuesday the 6th October I was booked in to be induced. I had been given a sweep and stretch on my due date and my midwife said she’d be shocked if I didn’t go into labour within 24 hours. That didn’t happen so I found myself calling up the Westburn ward at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital at 9.30am to find out when I needed to come in. Unfortunately it took about 20 minutes to get through to someone which sent the stress levels soaring a little bit! In the end I got through and they said I’d have to wait for a call from the labour ward because there was a note on my file saying that I would just need my waters broken, not the pessaries etc. I panicked because I was convinced that there wouldn’t be any space for me for days and then I’d have very little time with the husband once baby was here. Luckily they called back within half an hour and said we could go in.

My mum drove us to hospital because the parking is notoriously bad at AMH, well the whole Aberdeen Foresterhill hospital site in general, and we got there about 10.30am. We were shown through to a delivery room in the labour ward and once the midwife left i cried because the room was exactly what I didn’t want to give birth in. I really wanted an active labour and the room wasn’t big enough to walk around in. There was literally a bed, a couple chairs, monitoring equipment, a baby cot and a side unit and that was about it. You couldn’t even shut the blinds to dim the room because there weren’t any. In a non diva-ish way, it made me really sad to think that I’d have to give birth in there.

The midwife came back and said she was going to break my waters and we’d see what happened. I had two hours from them breaking my waters to start contracting naturally, otherwise I’d be put on the hormone drip to start everything off. That was the main thing I was trying to avoid so I was desperately willing my body to go into labour naturally. The whole water breaking experience was rather sore and uncomfortable and lasted longer than I expected it too. It was quite a rough experience! I took the opportunity to test out how I’d be on gas and air. With Little I’s birth I couldn’t use it because it made me feel sick, have pins and needles in my face and then eventually felt like my face was melting off! Luckily this time it seemed to be a bit more effective and I didn’t feel ill on it.

The midwife said we could go for a walk to see if that helped start things off. We hadn’t eaten so decided to go round to the cafe. Within minutes I had my first contraction. They started up pretty quickly – just like they did with Little I. At first the were coming every 4 minutes and lasting a minute. I got to the cafe and immediately had to turn back around because the pain as too intense. I got some funny looks by other customers. The husband stayed to pay for our sandwiches and I tried to make my way back to the labour ward. No one was answering the buzzer though!

When I got back into the delivery room, the midwife came back to see how things were. She was then reading through my notes and must have noticed the birthing pool being mentioned. The midwife led unit is actually shut at AMH at the moment, due to staffing issues, so I just assumed a water birth was completely out of the question. She said she’d go ask the midwife in charge and see what she could do. When she came back she said the pool was available and she could sort it out for us if I still wanted it. YES PLEASE was my response!

The midwife said as long as my contractions stayed strong and were coming regularly, then she could see no reason why I couldn’t use the birthing pool. When she left us I put my TENS machine on and timed my contractions to try and give my mind something to focus on. I’d forgotten what contractions feel like. There really isn’t any pain (other than the actual active pushing part of labour!) quite like it. Ouch. The thing that helped me the most was breathing through the contractions. I did breath in for 8, out for 4. I think it’s supposed to be 8 and 8 but I couldn’t get that far! At this point i wasn’t having any gas and air. Not sure why. I just wasn’t. The TENS machine I had this time was brilliant. 100 times better than the one I had when in labour with Little I. It genuinely helped with the pain and I don’t know what I would have done without it. It’s more of a distraction thing I think. It zaps you and you kind of forget the pain of the contraction temporarily.

Very shortly the midwife came back and said we could go round to the birthing pool room. There was a funny story that I didn’t realise was going on because I was in my zone of focusing on getting through each contraction. The midwife came back into the room at one point and told the husband that someone had failed over and hurt their ankle (not in labour I may add) and had been put in the birthing pool room to wait for someone to come take them up to the A&E part of the hospital. If I had missed out on my water birth for that, I would have been gutted! Eventually we could go round to the room and I had to keep stopping in the corridor to deal with the pain of the contractions. I remember feeling bad because the midwife and husband were carrying all of my bags etc. It’s funny what you remember even when you’re in a lot of pain.

We got settled into the room very quickly because by this point my contractions were coming every 2 minutes and lasting over a minute. It felt like things were starting to ramp up a gear. It took me ages to undressed and get my bikini top on and get into the pool because I had to keep stopping for each contraction. The midwife had to monitor baby’s heartbeat with a wireless doppler thing and I remember not wanting her to do it because she pressed hard and it hurt with the contractions!

I had a friend coming in to do birth photography for us (it had originally been an idea for the husband so he could still be part of the birth even though he was probably going to miss it) and the midwife said, before I got in the pool, that I should probably message her and tell her to come in. I knew at this point that things were probably going to start moving very quickly.

I was scared to take my TENS machine off because it had been helping so much, but I obviously couldn’t keep it on in the pool. Once I got into the pool I did feel some relief but my legs kept cramping up, which seemed a bit cruel considering I was in labour! At this point I started using the gas and air to try and take the edge off the contractions. It felt like I was only in the pool for a very short period of time before I felt the need to push.

I started saying i needed an epidural, which is funny because I never asked for one with Little I. Her labour was 16 hours, as opposed to the few hours I had been in labour this time, by this point. It just showed how much more intense it was this time round. I think the midwife knew fine well that wasn’t going to happen but she said I could get out of the pool, get examined and then we could see what we could do. I knew by what my body was doing that I’d never be able to get out of the pool at this point. They did offer me morphine, but again I’d have to get out of the pool, which wasn’t going to happen.

My friend and another midwife arrived and by this point I was pretty much pushing. I was in a whole world of pain and kept trying to move around in the pool to try and stretch out the pain. The midwife had to keep monitoring baby’s heartbeat but I didn’t want anyone to touch me! I just went with my body and started pushing when it told me too. It felt like I needed a lot less guidance from the midwives this time but that’s probably more due to how fast everything happened.

I think I was pushing for under half an hour this time, as opposed to the 2 hours last time. Last time I was on the verge of needed assistance but this time that definitely wasn’t going to be needed. Baby’s head came out and the midwives told me to pause for a bit. All of a sudden I freaked out because I realised I’d have to catch the baby underwater once it had been born. I kept going ‘I can’t, I can’t’ and I could hear the midwives panicking about what to do if I refused to catch my baby!

In the end one of the midwives helped me to catch baby and he was born!!! We totally forgot to check if it was a boy or girl at first. I assumed it was a girl because I hadn’t felt anything around the bum area when I caught him, but the midwife was like ‘judging by the size of that thing between his legs, I’m pretty sure it’s a boy’ haha.

I found it really awkward still having the cord attached and being in an upright position. I was scared of pulling him up too high and so kept dunking him in the water by accident! The husband cut the cord while I was still in the pool and then I had to get out with the clamp still attached to the cord. That was weird and a bit strange to try and manoeuvre myself out of the pool with.

Once I got out we had skin to skin and tried to get him to feed. He wasn’t really having any of it though (more on our breastfeeding journey soon). I felt awful. I was really nauseous, couldn’t stop shaking and had a bad headache. It was probably because of how fast it all happened. The midwives gave me the injection to deliver my placenta and I felt much better after that. They then checked me over to see if I needed stitches etc. I narrowly escaped this time (I had quite a few stitches last time). I did have a tear but they felt it would heal better on it’s own.

We then had a bit of time in the delivery room getting baby weighed, having some tea and toast (of course) and generally getting sorted to be transferred up to the postnatal ward. I got to have a shower and we ended up having dinner in there as well. Baby got put in a hot cot because his temperature was a bit low and then we moved up to the postnatal ward around 4pm.

So that’s it! My labour and birth story. All in under 4 hours this time round. I still can’t get over it. And I can’t believe we have a little boy to add to our family. I am so glad he arrived here safe and sound, and also whilst his dada was still here to experience it all.

Such an intense and crazy experience but still amazing none the less.

You can also watch the video we put together here:

LIVE NATURAL BIRTH VLOG (WATER BIRTH) - YouTube

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MAMA

Recovery – I think I’m almost there with recovery. The bleeding comes and goes but is a lot lighter. Going to the *ahem* toilet is more comfortable now so I think my ‘graze/tear’ must be pretty much healed. Woop. 

Body – my tummy is still flattening but it (obviously) has no muscle tone whatsoever haha! I got sent the Belly Bandit bamboo corset and Mothertucker leggings so am wearing them religiously to improve my posture and help my tummy flatten down even more. My boobs are still a bit crazy whilst they figure out the breastfeeding chat with L! I’m finding it weird to have to watch what I’m eating again. 

Mood – I’m in a much better place now. The cloud seems to have lifted a bit and now that feeding is going better, I’m feeling more positive. I still have days where everything goes wrong and I’m on the brink of tears all day but I don’t cry half as much as I have done for the past two weeks. Thank goodness!

BABY

Weight/Height – Baby L got back up to 8lbs 6oz earlier this week and then 8lbs 13oz later in the week – yay! Thank goodness.

Feeding – drum roll…….he’s latching! We’ve turned a corner!!! The appointments at the chiropractor are really helping him with his jaw and gums and I think it’s made a big difference to our feeding journey. She’s trying to release tension in his back as well, which is great. He latches well most times now and it’s only painful for the first 5-10 seconds. Sometimes he fusses a lot before going on but he does it eventually. I don’t feel like I have enough milk sometimes so he gets topped up with expressed milk and then one bottle of formula at night.

Routine – still no routine but hoping to implement one once he’s a month old. His day usually goes:

  • wake up 8.30am after getting up through the night.
  • Feed for 25-30 mins. Usually just on one side.
  • He usually stays awake till his next feed so I try to entertain him a bit with his play gym.
  • 11am – feed again for about 30-60 mins.
  • Naps for a few hours – this seems to be the longest stretch of sleeping he does.
  • 3pm – feeds again. Can be 30-60 mins.
  • Likes to watch Isla and everyone else for a bit and dozes in and out of sleep.
  • 5pm – feeds. 30 mins.
  • 7.30pm – feeds. 30-60 mins. Sometimes give a top up of formula at this point as he can start getting a bit fussy and would feed all night if he could. Not ideal with a toddler who needs her teatime and bedtime routine doing. 
  • I try to keep him awake at this point of the night.
  • 9-10pm – feeds for 20 – 45 mins usually.
  • Bedtime. I change him into a fresh sleepsuit and nappy before his last feed so he’s usually good to go and I just swaddle him before putting him down in his Sleepyhead, in his Snuzpod.
  • Sometimes needs another feed to get him off to sleep.
  • 3.30am – feeds for about an hour.
  • 5.30-6am – feeds for about 30 mins.
  • 7.30am – usually feeds again for 30 mins.

Sleeping – sleeping is all over the place. A good night is him going to bed at 11, after a feed, getting up at 3.30am-ish for another feed and change, then going back to sleep till about 6am before needing another feed and change. A bad night is him being up from 11pm – 3am then just generally sleeping on and off for the rest of the night/morning. Hard work!

Size – he’s still in newborn/first size/up to 1 month clothes. 

Development – oh my goodness he’s so alert. Too alert! I need more naps out of him to get things done! He’s taking a lot more interest in everyone’s faces and responds to noise more.

What we’ve been up to – we’ve just been finding our feet really. Trying to get out of the house as much as possible and see friends. Halloween was fun! Big sister Little I dressed up as a witch and L was a White skeleton. We took L to I’s nursery Halloween party and she loved showing him off. It was my dad’s birthday as well so we got him some treats and put up some decorations!

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