Becoming Mumsy

My journey through motherhood and everything in between.

Packing for Disneyland Paris with a baby

Welcome back!

One of the biggest things about going away with a baby, is knowing what to pack. Our upcoming Disneyland Paris trip is the first trip abroad that we will have done with Edith (eek!). So, of course, I've been writing list after list about some of the things that we will need to take with us. We have been to Disneyland Paris, more times than I can count, but I have a feeling that this time will be very, very different to what we are used to!



Travelling and luggage allowances

We will be travelling via the Eurostar, so I've had to check what the luggage allowance is for us, and for Edith. We decided not to buy Edith a seat on the train because, no doubt, she will want to get up and walk around, or will want to sit with Mummy and then sit with Daddy, so it seemed pointless to pay out for an extra seat, when she probably wouldn't use it anyway!

Anyway, as we have two seats, we are allowed two pieces of luggage (up to 85cm and no weight restriction) each, plus 1 small piece of hand luggage each*. As Edith travels free, and therefore doesn't have a seat allocation, she doesn't have any luggage allowance. However, pushchairs are free in terms of luggage allowance, and do not count towards it. They just have to be folded in the luggage rack on the train. 

We never take too much luggage when we go to Disneyland Paris, but even with the two big bags each, we will have plenty of room to store Edith's things in our suitcases.

*Please don't take my word for this. Always check with your travel provider before you go, however, this was correct at the time of writing!

Writing lists

I love writing lists anyway, so this is a usual thing that I do every time before I travel. I like to tick off my packed items - it makes me feel extra prepared! I also like being able to have a visual guide for what still needs packing, or if there's anything that I've possibly missed off.

I have a list for myself, Edith and Max (yes, I pack his stuff too!). There's no surprise that Edith's is one of the longest!

Necessities

Everyone has their own types of necessities, when it comes to babies, and one of mine is always an extra change of clothes. So, I always make sure I take too many, rather than not enough. I hate being caught short if there's a nappy accident or a messy meal when I'm out and about!



We will be away for a total of 4 days, which isn't the longest time to be away, but I have plenty in mind that I'm going to be packing for Edith, so I'll write out her list below:

1 x pack of nappies
2 x packs of wipes (1 for the change bag)
1 x pack swim nappies, swimming costume & towel
red book, calpol, thermometer, EHIC card
3 x pyjamas
3 x socks
2 x tights
2 x dresses
2 x leggings
2 x tops
jumper & cardigan
5 x fruit pouches (her fav!)
pack of biscotti biscuits
sippy cup
coat
body wash
toys
reins, pushchair and raincover
spoons
5 x long sleeved bibs

*This list doesn't include what I already have in my changing bag. 



Along with all of that, we will be taking some birthday decorations to put in the hotel room for Edith, and a couple of little presents for her to open on her day. 

I will also be taking Edith's new food thermo-flask, which I think will come in handy for her to have some snacks in on the train journey there, as well as having it as a food container in the parks! 

Do you have any must-packs when it comes to travelling with a baby?

Thanks, lovelies.

A.x

My Birth Story From Dad's Point Of View - Dad's Edition


Welcome back!

This month, I have asked Max to write about my birth story, as March marks the month where it would have been a whole year ago that we went in for my elective c-section. I thought it would be fun to read about my experience from Max's point of view, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Amy gave birth at the hospital in the afternoon of the 19th of March 2018.

We knew the day we were going to the hospital in advance, as we had opted for an elective cesarean. Edith had been breech for much of Amy’s pregnancy, although it is common for the baby to flip before the birth (in some cases hours before). Edith was still the wrong side up and back to front a couple of weeks before being full term, we had it in our minds that we would be having a cesarean of some description and had begun planning for this. In fact, we had an appointment at the hospital to scan Edith and determine the course of action and to work out whether she was still breech. However, when the ultrasound showed an engaged baby our whole plan went out of the window.

At this point Amy became incredibly anxious. The sudden change of plan meant that she now, again, had to give birth naturally which scared her to the point that she thought she couldn’t do it.



We arrived at the hospital at around 9 in the morning, we had packed our hospital bag and Amy had not eaten since the evening before. It seems strange in that you can have an emergency cesarean when you've eaten the entire labour but with an elective you have a whole different process to go through. Amy had to wash herself with a special antibacterial soap the two nights before (thanks superbugs!) and was not allowed to eat any food until she had given birth. She was given some special calories drinks (which I tried and didn't taste great) to have in the morning to keep her going, but it wasn't really enough to sustain her through the extra long wait that we had.

Our last photo together, just the two of us!

When we arrived we were talked through the events and were told we only had one other elective in that day. The reason we were moved from one hospital to another was because the other had an elective unit that only deals with elective cesareans. This is supposed to speed up the process, let staff deal with only the booked in operations and let the other theatre deal with emergencies. We were told that at our original hospital we could end up being delayed by emergencies, perhaps to the next day, so the other seemed a more sensible choice. 

Being only one other elective we thought we wouldn't have too long to wait, however, the other mother was picked first (seemingly at random) which meant we had to wait for at least the length of the procedure (about an hour and a half) to get ready. Although we got there at 9, there was a lot of waiting around. I've experienced my fair share of hospitals and there is never much to be doing. I was there trying to support Amy and keep her mind from wandering and I was also there equally as anxious waiting to see our daughter for the first time.



We were told to keep close by in case they needed us, which mostly meant we were confined to the waiting area next to the delivery suites. The other lady was called in about 1pm and I don't believe we got called until 3:30ish. I had snuck off to the canteen between this time to get a sandwich, but Amy still had to fast. A mixture of being hungry and nervous and worried is never good, especially if you're about to have a baby cut out of your stomach. 



Amy was also asked to put on a pair of compression tights, which I offered to help with. We had a good laugh at just how hard they are to put on (well I remember laughing, I'm not sure Amy was in the mood to laugh). When the consultant finally called Amy’s name he introduced himself and got her to walk into the theatre, it was at this point I had to say goodbye. I was asked to get into my scrubs (which by the way, are awfully sized and didn't quite fit). At least I got to keep my pants on and got given some trousers! After storing my stuff in one of the lockers provided, and trying to fit my phone into a tiny pocket, I got asked to come into the theatre.

The nurse said they were already starting as Edith’s heart rate had dropped so I walked into the room and sat on a stool next to Amy. It was very surreal to watch a team of people work behind a curtain, on my awake and very pale wife. I did my best to keep Amy calm and distracted, but have to admit I had a moment where I could see a pool of blood from under the sheet and didn't feel the best. It was a weird mixture of beeping and sucking and watching Amy’s face contort as they pulled at her stomach. 

Finally Edith came out. Although, we didn't get to see her above the curtain which we both knew then that something wasn't right. We were told that she was out and okay, which is doctor speak for she is out and isn’t okay

I did my best to keep Amy calm and reassure her everything was fine but I too was starting to worry. Amy’s asking the nurse if she is okay had a muted reply of 'she is okay and just needs some help'. The theatre’s mood shifted and was quieter than before. I watch as they carried her into the room next door, then finally I heard a short cry, a pause and then a longer cry. My heart lifted as we finally got to hear that she was okay. Although Amy never got that first cuddle as she was lifted out. I could finally tell Amy that she was a mum and that I was so proud.

I was then asked to come up to the counter and help cut the cord (which I had been a bit nervous about doing). I finally got to see our beautiful baby (and not that horrible purple colour like when they are first born), and immediately noticed she had my ears (this being the first thing I said to Amy later). I got to cut the cord which was purple, veiny, spongy and just weird to look at and get her in a a nappy for the first time. I took a few photos and finally got to take Edith to see her mum. I never expected to have such a responsibility from the moment she was born, I'd expected Amy to have cuddled her first and to have been the first person to look after her.



It was finally when Amy got to see Edith and hold her that I got to see how happy Amy was. The stress and worry that was there just 5 minutes before had disappeared into joy and love. Despite being stitched up and losing a lot of blood, Amy looked over the moon. When the doctors had finished and it was time for Mum to be moved into recovery, I took Edith and got her dressed for the first time. This tiny, fragile baby was in my care and I spent some time carefully putting an outfit far too big for her on.



We then began our lives as a family of three.

Do you ever talk about your birth?

M.x

Celebrating Your Breastfeeding Milestones With Figgy and Fern*

*This post contains gifted products, however I was not asked to write a blog post.

Welcome back!

I wanted to dedicate a whole blog post on why I like celebrating my breastfeeding milestones, and then I came across Figgy and Fern. I have seen so many different breastfeeding related products on my journey, and I have collected my fair share of breastfeeding pins, including those that mark the big milestones. However, I'd never come across t-shirts that could do that, and I instantly fell in love with them!

The photo doesn't do the shimmer justice!
Personalised

Since being a mum, I'm all about having one of a kind things and I usually find that in the way of independent businesses. I love that I'm supporting someone's dream by shopping independent and I feel that there's a lot more love and care that goes into the products that I'm buying and using. 

After chatting to Ruth, my order was put in for our matching tees. As we are marking our One Year Breastfeeding Milestone (Golden Boobies!), I knew that the boobies on the tees, had to be golden! I love how shimmery and personalised these tops are.

As well as the gorgeous shimmer on the boobies, the tops are very soft. The fit itself, was lightweight and made it easy to lift to give Edith easy access. So it's an all-round win!



Memories and keepsakes

I love creating memories (don't we all?), and I love having physical things that I can hold and look back on. 

At my baby shower, I was bought a lovely baby keepsake box for Edith, and since then I have stored away bits and pieces from her life so far. I love being able to sit in her room and look at all of the things that I've saved for her so far because is helps me remember certain memories, or even just remembering how small she was! 

I plan on doing the same with my new milestone tees, once it no longer fits Edith, because my breastfeeding journey is something that I'm both proud and fond of.



Normalising breastfeeding

Another thing that I love about these milestone tees, is that it really allows a mum to be proud of her breastfeeding journey, and in turn allows her to show that off to the world. Being able to wear something that so obviously celebrates breastfeeding can really help to normalise the stigma.



Do you celebrate your breastfeeding milestones?

Thanks, lovelies.

A.x

C-Section Survival Guide - Guest post

Welcome back! 
My lovely friend Chloe has written a guest post for me to share with you all, all about getting through a c-section. You can find Chloe, and her amazing artwork, by clicking here. I hope you all enjoy!

I think it is safe to say that never in my entire life had I imagined that both my children would be born via c-section. My first was an emergency one after a long, traumatic labour, and my second was planned. They were very different recoveries, but overall, I found the stages I went through were relatively similar. Having now done both types, I thought it would be useful to compile my tips on preparing for and recovering from a c-section.
Anticipate that it can happen
First off, I would say that it’s essential to approach birth knowing that a c-section is a possibility. It is not a failure, it is not necessarily the last resort, but it can spare you and your baby some trauma. 
Embrace your feelings
If you have an emergency C-section, you may feel like you have missed out, you may feel robbed or sad. Remember that birth is overwhelming whether it’s vaginal or caesarean, but it’s still birth! You have not failed, you have birthed a healthy baby by sacrificing your own bodily integrity, and that makes you incredibly brave!
Waiting to be taken in.

If you’re going for a planned section, you may still feel bad, or you may have fears. That is entirely valid! A c-section is major abdominal surgery, combined with the highly emotional event that is the birth of your child, plus the pressure to make it special and beautiful. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t feel emotional, it’s as simple as that! If you’ve had a c-section before, fears may come back. I had a panic attack just before my second. In hindsight, it was like an exorcism. All my fears re pain, missing out, being depressed, etc., came out and I was able to have a peaceful birth. Just let it out!
Prepare
Make a birth plan. Even if you are going for a vaginal birth, I would strongly advise having a plan B which includes what you want in case a c-section is needed. Look up family-centred or gentle c-section birth plans. You are still entitled to skin to skin, delayed cord clamping or music. For skin to skin, ask for one arm out of your hospital gown and the blood pressure cuff on your leg rather than your arm, as well as heart rate electrodes on your shoulders, not your chest. They may be doing the surgery, but it’s still your body, your baby and your experience. Have some nice photos of your other child(ren) or scan pictures with you to get motivation and comfort from and make sure your partner knows what you want.
Smiling through the spinal!
Before you go in, they will give you a pair of compression stockings to avoid blood clots and a hospital gown. That’s the glamourous part. In theatre, they will place a cannula on your hand and give you a spinal. That’s the least pleasant part, but it’s over in a flash. Trust the anaesthetist, they are highly professional and do this every day. The spinal is a very odd feeling and you may feel breathless when it starts working. That is purely psychological, but do ask for oxygen if you need, it will help! The anaesthetist is your best friend. Talk to them if you have any concerns or questions. The overall feeling of having a c-section is painless. Both times, I actually didn’t realise the procedure had started until someone started telling me what was happening. It feels like being a handbag and someone’s looking for their keys. 
Baby on its way!

Have painkillers and freezer food at home. Bring snacks, including fruit juice and fruit, your own pillow and earphones to hospital. Pack lots of comfy knickers and pads and a nightie or pyjamas with a very loose waistband. If you don’t feel too self-conscious, forget going home clothes – I came home in my pyjamas. 
Accept that it’s going to be painful and take time to recover from
I’m afraid there is no way around that one. It’s going to hurt to recover from. Again, it will not hurt during, though! Being aware of it helps a lot in approaching the pain as temporary and accepting to slow down and ask for help. In my experience, an emergency section takes longer to recover from, but the stages are the same.
Get up
This is not as scary as it sounds. Take it slow, they will help you mobilise when you are ready, but to me, it’s better to get up early otherwise your bum will hurt like mad! Also, the less time you spend with a catheter in, the better. The second night is the worst as you will be tired and the effects of the spinal will have completely worn off. Mobilise before then and take it easy after. Adjust your bed so your legs are slightly raised when you lay on your back, it will help with blood flow and take the pressure off your bum. Place one pillow under your back and another under your head. Buzz whenever you need help. Ask them to take your baby for an hour or two if you’re too tired.
Get the painkillers
Demand the oral morphine. Don’t let them take you off it until you are ready. They say it makes you constipated (seen next step), but if you drink plenty of water and eat fruit and veg, that’s not a problem. Take a notepad and write down when you had your meds or just ask regularly. Take the codeine, paracetamol and ibuprofen at home for as long as you need and don’t skip them at night as you’ll get stiffer. I found it easier to put all my tablets in a bag that I carried with me around the house with a water bottle. You may also require injections to prevent blood clots. Get your partner to do that for you if you can.
Don’t panic when you get after-pains
 They hurt, they’re normal. They’ll pass. Drink lots again and take your meds. If you breastfeed or pump, they’ll be worse, but again that is normal and just your uterus contracting.
Go to the loo
This is going to be terrifying, so don’t rush too much. Drink tons, eat well (send your partner to buy you food if you can rather than subject yourself to hospital food). Remember that you’ll get more impacted if you don’t. You can also ask for an extra laxative/suppository to help get rid of any blockage At home, you may want to use a stool to get your knees up when you’re on the loo to avoid straining unnaturally.. Glam? Who cares, you’ve already been naked on an operating table. I followed all these steps this time and I can honestly say they made one hell of a difference!
Watch your bleeding
I was one of those na├»ve women who didn’t really think about bleeding before giving birth. And of course, you will bleed post-partum regardless of how you give birth. It’s like a heavy period at worst, so if you see any clots or your flow gets worse, get in touch with hospital. Heavier bleeding can be a sign that you’ve overdone it, so do listen to your body. When you first get up, remember that gravity is not your friend and don’t panic if lots of blood gushes out. The midwives will help you clean up and get changed.
Short-term recovery 
Short-term recovery is getting over the initial, more intense pain. It took me 2 weeks the first time and a few days the second time, but everyone is different and there is no deadline for feeling better! I found sleep, food and water absolutely essential. Any moment you can find to get extra sleep, take it. Wear comfy clothes too.
Long-term recovery
This is about finding your old balance, posture and movement back plus getting rid of the general aches. You may feel great during the day and achy in the evening for a long time. Your tummy will also take time to get sensation back. Long-term recovery will take weeks. Now’s not the time to go on hikes or move the furniture around. Listen to your body when it’s telling you to stop. Have your partner lift your other children and crouch for hugs. Keep moving moderately but regularly! Get your muscles stronger, especially your back’s. Do your pelvic floor exercises. (I do mine while feeding baby.) The new recommendation for starting to exercise again is 12 weeks, but some new studies suggest up to 6 months might be needed before starting more intensive exercising, so do not let societal pressure push you to do things that will damage your body. 
Recover mentally
Talk, talk, talk! Keep an eye on your feelings, know the difference between baby blues and PND/PNA/PTSD and ask for the number for the listening service. You can also ask for a birth debrief. I had one in hospital right after my first section, and another a year later. Have some good friends on Whatsapp standby and talk to your partner openly. Cuddle your baby as often and as long as you want too, it is therapeutic for both of you.
Try and fit in some self-care during the day, even if it’s just putting mascara on. Have a shower too! Put baby in their cot and shower. I find if I feel clean, I feel better mentally. 
Lastly, look at your body in the mirror and learn to love the new you. You have a scar that may feel alien for a long time and that’s okay, you didn’t have it for 20, 30, 40 years! Your tummy is squishy, you have loose skin and some extra weight. Don’t listen to society, it’s beautiful and it’s what nature needed to grow your baby. Thank your body for what it has achieved: 9 months of drastic changes and the endurance of birth and pain, so that you could hold that tiny, warm bundle and love him or her forever.
Skin to skin.

Do you have any tips for surviving a c-section?
Thanks, lovelies.
A.x

Why 'Mum Guilt' Is The Worst

Welcome back!

After one of my previous posts about some of the realities of being a parent, it seems quite a few of my readers have felt the same 'mum guilt' that I'd mentioned that creeps in when it comes to parenting. So, I thought I'd write a post about it!

We all want the best for our babies

This is the overall reason why mum guilt makes life harder. We all want to be making the best decisions for our children, because that's what parents do. We have to bear the burden of making sure that everything is ok, and that our babies are being well looked after and loved. Most of the time, at the expense of our own sanity!



We shouldn't feel guilty for wanting a break

We are only human.

If I was working, I'd have a lunch break to collect myself a little bit (although, most likely, still missing my baby) but a break nonetheless. However, as a stay at home parent, it feels like I'm constantly on the go. Sure, I squeeze a shower in when Edith is asleep in the mornings, and I manage to sort my hair and face out, but I'm constantly preparing for her to wake up and begin our day, as well as planning something for us to do.

Baby-free time?!

I recently had baby-free time, and I missed Edith. I missed being on the go, and I felt somewhat guilty for doing something without her. Almost as if I had abandoned her, which I totally didn't because she was with her daddy. However, it made me feel guilty thinking 'what if she thinks I don't want to spend time with her' which is absurd even just typing it out on this blog. Edith had a great time. She loved spending time with just her daddy, and was involving him in her play when we had arrived home. She doesn't often get to see him for a long periods of time as he's at work, so I think she really enjoyed her time with him.

I know, it was good for me to have a couple of hours to myself, and I really did enjoy my break because it involved a catch up and cake (cake helps mum-guilt - I can confirm!). It just felt somewhat alien to not have a changing bag with me, or constantly be checking on Edith's needs.

Possibly the best cupcake that I have ever eaten!

Self-care is important

There is nothing wrong with looking after yourself. I recently saw a post on Facebook, which bashed mums who do things for themselves, such as doing their make up or nails, and claimed that they didn't love their children as much or weren't as real as parents who do not do those things. That blew my mind. There is nothing wrong with taking the time to do something for yourself, and it doesn't make you a bad parent for doing so. It doesn't mean you don't love your children. We live in a society that constantly thinks there is a right or wrong way to do anything, which I think contributes massively to mum guilt. Aside from worrying about your child, you worry about how society perceives you as a parent, when other peoples opinions really don't count.

Do you ever feel mum guilt?

Thanks, lovelies.

A.x