Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Friday, 27 May 2011

A Load of BS.... Part Four: PUUUUSH!!!!

Unfortunately, I was still deeply entrenched in my "breathe through the contractions" mindset, and very attached to my gas and air. I believe it had to be wrenched from my hand. Which made me sad. I also think that it was at this point that I completely stopped listening to the midwives, so that Husband had to repeat everything they said so that I would do as I was told (those of you that know me will know that I'm not the best at that. Come to think of it, me actually listening to Husband was a bit of a turn-up for the books). Eventually, I listened, and started pushing. Someone had told me that pushing to get a baby out is remarkably like pushing to get out a big poo, and even in the throes of childbirth, I remember thinking "how weird, that's actually true". I'm glad I was told that, as all the midwives kept saying was "push down into your bum", which even now makes no sense to me, and I wouldn't have had a clue what I was meant to do.

And bloody hell, it's hard work. I always thought that I'd be screaming in pain when I got to this bit, but actually it was more like a long, drawn-out Wimbledon ladies singles final grunt, born out of the sheer effort of trying to get an actual human head (albeit a small one) out of somewhere that is not remotely human head-sized. I was convinced I could feel every single blood vessel in my head bursting. And I was trying as hard as I could, honest I was. But the bloody thing kept going back in! I wasn't really prepared for that. As well as being a thoroughly weird feeling, it's kinda frustrating. I started to feel like it would never come out, and informed the room that I was NOT doing it anymore. They quite rightly pointed out to me that I didn't really have a whole lot of choice in the matter at this point. So they decided I needed some inspiration, and got me a mirror so I could look and see my baby's head. WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT YOU CRAZY WOMAN? I AM TRYING TO CONCENTRATE! And they kept on at me to have a feel! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? But they kept going on at me, so I looked, and I felt. And wished I hadn't. Say what you like about childbirth, but when you're looking at, well, THAT doing THAT, you can't help but feel it's completely unnatural.

And oh, the crowning. They call it the "ring of fire" apparently. I can see why. It stings. A lot. Words are insufficient.

Finally, I got the head out. And I felt like I was entitled to a rest after that. But no, apparently the rest of the baby has to follow. And at this point, a couple of thoughts got a bit mixed up in my head. The first was that I was still wearing the top I had come to hospital in, which was not the top I had packed in my hospital bag all those weeks ago. Giving birth in this top was not the plan. Also, having had the importance of skin-to-skin contact drummed into me, I somehow got it into my head that I had to get the baby on my boob STRAIGHT AWAY or breastfeeding would FAIL. So it seemed perfectly logical to whip my top off before embarking on the next part. Once the midwives had stopped laughing at me for randomly stripping, they told me, one more big push and I would have my baby. Not sure I believed them to be honest. It seemed very strange that one little head could take so much effort, and a whole body could just shoot right out. But that's exactly what happened. Just like that, the baby was out, and being shown to Husband. "It's a girl!" he said. In a pretty astonished tone of voice, as I had been convinced it was going to be a boy. Which was why my first word on the momentous occasion of meeting my firstborn was "WHAT?!!!!"

Then, apparently, followed what Husband has described as the scariest minute of his life. I, for some reason do not seem to recall this properly, but the baby came out with the cord round her neck, and didn't breathe straight away. So she was taken to the other side of the room while they did whatever it is they do, and she soon let out a cry.

And then I had my baby in my arms (and on my breast, where she stayed for about the next two hours. Poor Husband didn't even get to hold her until after the midwife asked could she please take her away to weigh her so she could finish the paperwork. And she pooed all over me. The baby, not the midwife). Some fairly nasty things happened afterwards to do with stitches and haemorrhages, which I will spare you the details of (see, I have some boundaries!), but that's the story of how Bad Mammy became a mammy.

Well done if you've read it all, and I'm sorry for boring you all with my self-indulgent rambling.

Oh God, I've got to do it all again soon......

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A Load of BS.... Part Three: "Active" Labour

So, I was still in the loo. Still convinced I needed a wee. Waters still going. The midwife came in and told me that they had to check the baby's heartbeat. I insisted I still needed a wee. I was told that I I didn't, and could I please come and lie down so they could monitor me. I was getting some really sharp contractions which were making me a bit crazy. Midwife had to spend some time trying to get me to understand that the reason I felt like liquid wanted to come out of me was because liquid was, in fact, coming out of me. She seemed quite exasperated that my simple brain was not grasping that fact. Eventually I conceded that she was right, and got onto the bed so they could examine me and strap a monitor onto my belly.

Good news: I was now 5cm dilated! Actual, official, active labour. Bad news: because I had to be monitored, I was not actually allowed to be active anymore. I had to stay where I was, so the monitor would stay over the baby's heart, and would I kindly stop thrashing about like that, because I was making it fall off? I was, admittedly, having another wailing, moaning, panicky moment. My contractions were really, really painful, and not being able to move about or be in a comfortable position was making me a bit unhappy, to say the least. Did I want some d... No? How about some gas and air? Ooh! Yes please!

Right, this gas and air is crap. It's not doing ANYTHING. I HURT I HURT I HURT AND NO I WON'T STAY STILL I CAN'T IT HURTS AND I STILL DON'T WANT ANY DIAMORPHINE! I think they were getting rather perplexed by my refusal of their precious diamorphine, as I clearly was not going to do very well carrying on like this. Thankfully, Husband decided to say, directly into my ear so I couldn't ignore him, that the reason the gas and air wasn't working, was because I was taking pathetically small breaths, and if I didn't want them to pin me down and forcibly inject me with opiates, then I had better sort my breathing out. So I did. The tube helped me regulate and lengthen my breathing, and the gas and air finally started to take effect, and make me a bit loopy. At one point, and I have no idea which point, I asked if Michael Jackson was really dead. I also somehow remembered that my friend Lisa knew one of the midwives at my hospital, so asked the midwife if she knew someone called Lisa. Unfortunately, Lisa's surname managed to completely escape me, so I ended up saying vaguely that she was blonde, and, as most people probably know someone called Lisa who is blonde, I daresay it wasn't the most fascinating or enlightening conversation the midwife has ever had. Anyway, these couple of attempts at communication aside, for the next hour or so, I pretty much retreated into my own little world of contractions, breathing, and lots of gas and air.

After a while, the midwives noticed that the baby's heart rate was slowing down, so they told me that they had paged the doctor. Now, I didn't really pay attention at the time, but now thanks to my One Born Every Minute obsession, I'm aware that often the doctor comes and decides to do an emergency C-section. Which would have freaked me out, so I'm pretty glad that none of this (including the fact that my baby was possibly in distress, bad bad mammy!) really registered on me. Gd knows where the doctor got to, as according to my notes he still hadn't arrived 40 minutes later, which was the point at which I started yelling like a mad woman that I needed to PUSH! The midwife said, "OK, let's try a push", but if she hadn't, I have no idea how I would have managed not to. So I did, and then I heard "Oh, I can see a head, let's just go for it then."

Next: Part Four - PUUUUSH!!!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A Load of BS.... Part Two: Hospital

The five minute ride to hospital - not fun. There are positions which help ease the pain of contractions, sitting in a car is really not one of them. But we got there without mishap, although the receptionist did wonder where I had gone, as we were buzzed in through the first door, and then I stopped to have another contraction before finally emerging into the delivery suite. We were then taken to a room, and I was examined, and told I was only 2cm dilated, so I could either go home, or stay and they would check on me again in 4 hours. Must have been a slow night for them, most people I know got turfed out on their ear if they turned up at only 2cms. So I opted to stay, I was in quite a bit of pain and just couldn't be bothered to go home again. Also, and this is a bit weird, I quite like being in hospital. My boringly fit and healthy childhood didn't afford me any opportunities to spend time in hospitals, so I am still quite tickled by the novelty of them.

I believe it was at this point I started fannying around a bit, and possibly having a bit of a whinge and a panic. I hadn't yet managed to find a position or place I was comfortable in, so the midwives decided I wasn't coping very well, and started on their "This birth will be brought to you by Diamorphine" routine. No, thank you. Really, no. I'll be fine in a minute, I don't want any diamorphine. Was I sure? Just a little injection? I could still go in the birthing pool in four hours once it had worn off. Sure? YES I'M SURE I DON'T WANT ANY BLOODY DIAMORHPINE ARE YOU ON COMMISSION FOR THIS SHIT OR WHAT??????? Alright then, that's fine. How about some codeine? Would you like some codeine to help? Fine. I will take the bloody codeine, even though I've never taken a strong painkiller in my life and I'm not sure how I'll react to it, if it will GET YOU OUT OF MY FACE!

And I was promptly sick all over the floor. Which is, of course, why I did not want to take it in the first place. I was cheerfully informed that it was going to get much worse than this, and if I was being sick now then I was DEFINITELY going to want some diamorphine.... GO AWAY YOU STUPID WOMAN IT IS THE DAMN DRUGS MAKING ME SICK NOT THE PAIN PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SHUT UP!!!!!

Somehow, either Husband or I managed to finally persuade them that diamorphine would not be required at this juncture, thank you very much, and I was left to sort myself out (and clear up my own vomit. Lovely. I'm not sure if this was actually something I was meant to do, but even in the throes of labour, I am enough of a clean freak to worry about this sort of thing. Or at least I was, before I discovered what living with a very small person is like.) And after some trial and error, I finally found a position I was comfortable in (kneeling on the floor with my elbows on a footstool, for some reason) and proceeded to stay there, trying to breathe through the contractions, telling myself each one would be over soon (oh my word, I had no idea that I could ever be so grateful for the increasingly briefer moments when there was no pain), while Husband massaged my lower back from side-to-side. NO! Not up and down YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG DO IT LIKE YOU WERE DOING IT BEFORE AND DON'T CHANGE IT!!!!!!!!!! I think even Husband, who is well used to my exacting nature, was a bit surprised at how bossy I was in labour. And possibly a bit frightened.

After an hour and a half or so, I suddenly felt like I needed to wee like I'd never wee'd before. I was on my way to the bathroom when my waters broke. And boy, did they break. This was something that neither TV labours nor my antenatal classes did not prepare me for in the slightest. I knew that some women's don't break at all, that some people have a trickle, some a gush. I didn't realise that some people (ie me) have a raging torrent that goes EVERYWHERE. And it kept going! On TV it never seems to keep going! And it hurt! It hurt a lot. And I was still convinced I needed a wee. So I went to the loo while Husband buzzed the midwives (I think. They arrived at some point, anyway). And once I was in the loo, I could see the true mingingness of my waters. Seriously gross. I realised that they had meconium in them, that at some point, my baby had pooed itself in distress, which meant that I would have to be monitored. I flushed my hopes of a water birth away with the loo roll.....

Next: Part 3 - "Active" Labour

Monday, 23 May 2011

A Load of BS....

That's Birth Story (sorry, think it's a parenting forum thing), by the way. As in mine, for The Toddler. I thought I would take this opportunity to share it with you, before the next one comes along. I'm sure most of you that have ever met me ever have probably heard it in all its glory at least 12 times, but I've never written it all down before. It'll be very long and waffly, (in fact, so long and waffly that I am going to do it in installments) and undoubtedly extremely tedious to anyone who isn't me, but I'm doing it anyway.

WARNING - TOO MUCH INFORMATION ALERT!!! This is about labour. Labour = not pretty. The following contains gore, dilating, and even some vomit. If you have no desire to know any of this, then go read something else. Perhaps this. It's pretty funny.

And for those of you who are left, here you go. How The Toddler Came Into The World.

Part One: In The Beginning....

Thursday 25th June, 2009. I was awoken at the unsociable hour of 4am by twinges in my bump-type area. Being 2 days past my due date, I wondered if perhaps this could be IT. I tried to go back to sleep anyway, because, let's face it, 4am is an inconvenient time to be awake even if you are in labour, but I couldn't manage it. So I decamped to the sofa, and did what I always do in times of great import, which is turn the laptop on. And, because there is now nothing that you cannot find on the internet, I found a contraction timer, and proceeded to sit for several hours doing nothing but press the space bar at the start and end of each contraction. You'd think that would be dull, but there was something oddly fascinating and soothing about it. But then, I'm a complete weirdo. At some point, I decided to over-excite all my friends and post "wonders if today might be the day....." as my facebook status.

And that was pretty much how the day went. Press space bar. Demand cup of tea. Press space bar. Watch tennis (Wimbledon was on). Press space bar. Start to get a little bit excited as contractions started to get more regular and closer together.

And then.... they stopped. Oh. Changed facebook status to "looks like I was wrong. Sorry everyone!".

But then, sometime in the evening.... they started again. (My, what an exciting and wonderfully written narrative this is.). And this time they started to really hurt. To pass the time, Husband and I played Joust on the Xbox. I love Joust. Do you remember it? It's that really old computer game with the little men on birds, and you have to go round and hit all the birds with your lance, and then collect the eggs before they hatch into birds again and get new little men on them. Brilliant.

Eventually, probably around 9pm, the feeling that someone had reached into my uterus and twisted it hard meant that I could no longer concentrate on Joust, so I hung up my lance and returned to space-bar pressing, just waiting for that moment when my contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasting one minute long, which everyone seems to know is the magic time at which you ring the hospital, but no-one seems to ever remember who told them that. Finally, I reached that time, and nervously picked up the phone, and rang the hospital. Who told me "Well, you can still speak, you'll probably be ages yet, go and have a bath and a cup of tea, and phone again in two hours". WHAT? I'm having a BABY! And it HURTS! I don't want to have a cup of sodding TEA! But I did as I was told, like the good girl that I am. And the bath did help. The tea, not so much.

So I'm lying in the bath, eyes shut, telling myself "this one will be over in a minute, this one will be over in a minute", when Husband comes into the bathroom saying "I think Michael Jackson's dead!". I was so baffled by the surrealness of this, and, you know, still IN LABOUR, that I just snapped "What? I don't care. Go away."

My allotted two hours passed, so I phoned the hospital again. By now, it hurt quite a bloody lot, so I was determined to go to hospital, even if it meant putting on a fake agonised voice when I rang them, like when you're phoning in sick to work. I can't remember if I actually did or not, but anyway, they said I could go in to be examined........

Next time, Part Two: Hospital....

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Funny Old Week

And yes, I know it's not actually over yet, but you don't expect me to keep a whole week's worth of information in my poor addled brain at any one time do you?

One of the most momentous things about this week is I reached the 37-weeks pregnant mark, which means I am full-term. If The New'un decides to show up anytime from now, he/she will be officially not premature. Which is good, I guess. Although I've got to say I did not pay much attention when I hit this particular little milestone, as my head was too full of TIRED. The Toddler decided to wake three times over the course of Tuesday night, and then woke up at 5.30am, and would not be persuaded that going back to sleep was a Good Thing To Do. Husband was on nights, so not only was this joy mine all mine, I also had the job of trying to keep her quiet and get her out of the house so he could sleep. Which I did manage, and ended up having a very nice lunch with a friend and her husband and little girl. During said meal, The Toddler broke her fork. This was quite special. It was one of her small-person plastic-handled forks, and she managed to totally snap it in half. Not just pull the fork bit off the handle bit. She snapped the really quite thick and sturdy plastic handle in two. I'm not sure how. According to one of our dining companions, she had been banging it on the table for quite some time. This is bad, because it means that I was not paying any attention to that whatsoever. It seems that 11 years of being with a drummer means that I just no longer hear people hitting things off other things.

Another thing that has happened this week is that Husband has unhelpfully decided to come down with something. This is just rude of him. How dare he come over all achey, coldy and covered in random red blotches when I need him to run around after The Toddler and bring me chocolate? I'm trying very hard to be sympathetic, because I can tell he is trying to not be as pathetic as he normally is. I'm not doing too badly. I even made him a cup of tea without being asked, and told him he could have a bath instead of doing the ironing. Though whether I would be able to muster up any loving wifely sympathy if The Toddler hadn't deigned to do some actual sleeping last night.

Still, there have also been some very nice things this week. The Toddler has been quite nice to me today, giving me lots of cuddles and kisses, and only one bite on the arm. And on Tuesday (yes, I know I'm doing the week in no order at all. I don't care.), my two wonderful best friends took me out for afternoon tea. With no children in sight! Between us, we have 4 (soon to be 5) girls under the age of 2 and a half, so it has been quite some time since we had a conversation, just the three of us, that wasn't peppered with frequent exclamations of "Put that down", "Oh, she's just been sick on my shoulder again", "No, darling, she doesn't want you to poke her in the eye" and "Whose child can I smell?". It was fantastic. I love my friends and miss our girl time. We have promised faithfully to do it again sometime, and to make sure that time is not in another 2 and a half years. And maybe next time I won't eat quite as much cake.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

A Tentative Update.....

I have been resisting writing this, for fear of jinxing it. But Husband said people might be interested (I think he overestimates this blog) to know how we were going with the night-time screaming thing, so I should update you all. But I think I was right - I actually sat down to write this 20 minutes ago but have just been diverted to The Toddler's room to deal with her.

But anyway. Until last night, it was going rather well. We started tentatively thinking we might have cracked it. We had nearly a week with no screaming fits (during the night anyway. None at all is the impossible dream). She even slept through for a couple of nights. Woo. Good stuff.

So how did we accomplish this? Did we break out the parenting books and embark on a regime of sleep training? Did we move into her room and cuddle her 24/7 until she felt secure in our love and affection? No. We just figured out what she actually wanted. And it's such a teeny thing that I almost hope that we've got it wrong and there is a bigger issue, because otherwise I'm annoyed that it took us so long to figure it out.

She wanted a different dummy.

Seriously. I can't even remember how we figured that out. But it seems that she has a favourite type of dummy. And if she has it to begin with, there is a better chance of her staying asleep. And if she doesn't have it to begin with, but gets it when she starts screaming, she will subside fairly quickly, and go back off. Sometimes she wants the other one of the two favourite ones, in which case she will tell me the one she has is broken and that I should put it in the bin. She is a weirdo, but at least she was being a weirdo who sleeps.

But like I said, last night (and tonight's not looking great so far either) was a bit rubbish. It was different though. There was no screaming, but lots of wake-ups, and then a prolonged bit of unstoppable whingeing at 5am. I think this is teething though, as she had a high temperature and just generally seemed to be feeling very sorry for herself. And today there have been horrid nappies and overwhelming amounts of drool.

20 minutes later.......And you can ignore pretty much everything I've said in this post. I've just had to get in her bed again. We have utterly not cracked it. No amount of dummy switching was going to work. But she is definitely teething. So maybe it was teething all along.

So... basically.... yeah..... Hi, Square One, have you missed me?

Friday, 13 May 2011


I wrote a post yesterday. Now it has gone. I am angry.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Finally Being Productive.

Wow. I'm uncomfortable today. That's not what this post is about, I just wanted to share that with you.

Well, guess what? I have finally done some stuff. It's now hit home that I'm 36 weeks pregnant, which is really quite nearly there. My midwife writes my appointments down like fractions, and seeing it as 36/40 is a bit scary. I mean, if you got 36 out of 40 on a test you'd be pretty pleased with yourself, wouldn't you (unless it was a "How many of these stupid things have you said?" or a "How BNP are you?" test or something, obviously). So I have been using this week, as promised, to get some things done. Here is a profoundly interesting list of some of the things we have achieved:
  • Bought a hospital bag. And even some things to go in it. I have not put said things in it yet, not bought anything like all the things I need, but at least The New'un has some nappies, and I have something to wear in hospital. The baby might be naked apart from the nappy though, as I have not washed any of the baby clothes.
  • I have, however, got the baby clothes out of the loft (or more accurately, sent Husband into the loft, telling him peevishly that I didn't care if he couldn't see them, they were in there somewhere, and if he wasn't coming down again until they were located). Bloody hell, those things are small! It is inconceivable that I am going to have to look after something so teeny. I'll probably lose it down the back of the sofa.
  • Got the crib. Although I think we are missing a bit. And I'm pretty sure it's not going to fit in our bedroom. This is what you get when you move from a Victorian terrace into a new-build shoebox - nowhere to put your baby. It's going to have to sleep in the ensuite. At least it's a nice colour now.
  • Because we painted the ensuite. I have hated the colour of it since the day we moved in, so we repainted it. We only moved in about 18 months ago.
  • Went on a mad cleaning spree. It must be nesting kicking in early. That's the only explanation for why I was hanging out of my bedroom window, cleaning the outside of it with vinegar and kitchen roll.
  • Made a list of stuff to do. Which always feels good. It gives you as much of a sense of achievement as actually accomplishing the stuff on it.
So there we go. I'm getting there. By the time this baby is due, I might even be prepared. Logisitically, at least. Mentally.....

Friday, 6 May 2011

Lady of "Leisure"

First of all, thank you to all who commented on my last post. It's still happening at least every other night or so, which kind of sucks, but at least I'm not keeping myself awake the rest of the time worrying about what an utterly ineffectual parent I am. So thanks, and I will let you know if it ever gets any better!

Anyway, on to better things. I finished work yesterday! Although as I never work Fridays anyway, it doesn't really feel any different yet. But I had a great day yesterday. I should leave more often. Oh hang on, I've already left twice in two years. My wonderful colleagues organised a picnic lunch (way too much cake was eaten), and also bought me the sling that I finally, after many hours of deliberation, decided I wanted (it's fabulous. Even Husband approves). I'm going to miss them all a lot. I will even miss my boss, although not her massively inflated inbox, which it is one of my happy duties to clear out every now and again. I'd rather clear out a nappy, there's less crap in it.

So now I'm off. No more work. For anything up to a year. I don't think it's hit me yet. No more days filled with adult conversation. No more frequent cups of tea that actually get drunk. No more getting dressed on a morning safe in the knowledge that my outfit will remain relatively clean for the rest of the day (barring any mishaps with my lunch, which are not at all unheard of). But also no more sending the same email 17 times in the hope that this time someone will actually reply to it. No more reading dense legalese from American artist agencies and trying to make sense of it (don't know why I bother, it always boils down to "if anything goes wrong, it'll all be your fault"). No more trying to book flights for people who will not accept that actually Newcastle and New Orleans are fairly far apart, and therefore it will take a while to travel between them. I do like my job a lot, but on balance, I think I'm perfectly happy to let someone else do it for a while.

What am I going to do with myself now, I (don't at all) hear you cry? Well, I think the time has come to finally start preparing myself and the house for the arrival of The New'un. Finding things, washing things, buying things, fixing things. Packing the hospital bag. Trying to remember what it actually is you need to do with newborns. And I'm going to try, in my knackered and massive state, to do lots of fun and lovely things with The Toddler. Our days as just the two (three if you count Husband, which I sometimes do) of us are numbered, and that makes me a little bit sad, and determined to make the most of the time that does remain. Although ask me if I'm still enchanted with all the quality time in a week or two.....

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

What To Do, What To Do....?

Not a funny one today, even by my standards.

The Toddler has a new thing. It's not a pleasant new thing. It's a really rather rubbish new thing. Said new thing is waking up at roughly 1am every other night, and having a scream. And then screaming some more. And just in case we weren't listening, screaming a bit louder.

And I don't know what to do about it. I have tried leaving her to see if she'll settle on her own. She won't. She gets louder. So we go in and try and lie her back down. She won't. So we work through the "What on earth could be wrong" checklist. Does she want a drink? Does she want her nappy changing? Does she need medicine? She answers yes to all these questions, and then refuses the drink, nappy change, medicine, whatever it is that I'm trying to give her. All the while having a bit of a scream. The only thing that will get her back to sleep is one of us (usually me) getting into bed with her and cuddling her or stroking her hair until she is absolutely fast asleep, and doesn't notice when I leave.

I'm feeling very conflicted about it all. Even as I'm pushing aside the Glow-Worm and getting settled next to The Toddler, I can hear voices in my head saying "you've just got to let her cry", "you're making a rod for your own back", "you don't want to get into bad habits" blah blah blah blah. And I don't want to get into bad habits. I know that I can't exactly be doing this when I've got a newborn to feed. But I just can't bear listening to her scream as if her heart is about to break. I don't know what's wrong with her, but just because I don't know, does that mean I've just got to leave her to get on with it? I hate the thought that she could be genuinely in pain or scared about something, and I've just left her alone. I never thought I'd sound like such a hippymum, but who am I to say that she doesn't really need me, and should just go to sleep?

So I don't know what to do. I don't know how to tackle this, or whether it even needs tackling. For the moment, I think I will just do my usual hapless thing of hoping it goes away soon. And if I'm making a rod for my own back? Well it's my sodding back, isn't it?