Friday, 24 April 2015

BABY: Birth Story - Part 2

My birth story continues below (read part 1 in yesterday's post)...
However after a couple of hours the painful contractions were back, with a vengeance. It was pretty late at night now and I was making some level of noise thanks to the pain. I was very conscious because the other three women in the room weren't in any pain and just trying to get a good nights sleep before their c-sections. I asked the midwife if there was somewhere else I could go, so I didn't disturb everyone, but she said that it was an induction ward and noise was to be expected. I felt so bad for those poor women! The pain was increasing and I didn't have any other avenues of pain relief, other than two paracetamol. After a lot of begging the midwife finally agreed to give me half a dose pethidine, unfortunately this time it didn't do much and in fact made me sick three times. Being sick in between contractions wasn't the most pleasant of times!

At around 4am on Friday 3rd April 2015 the midwife did another examination and I was 5cm dilated - woohoo! That was my ticket to the labour ward, which meant pain relief!!! I asked how I was getting to the labour ward and the midwife said I'd be walking, to use gravity to help. I seriously don't know how I walked down to the labour ward, I was holding on to the rails screaming in pain. Everyone knew it when I entered the labour ward! It then becomes a bit of a blur - I remember demanding gas and air and an epidural. In what seemed like no time at all they had the epidural in my back and I was puffing away on the gas and air. The relief from the pain was heaven, I was completely exhausted. We now hadn't properly slept in over 48 hours. 

Finally, we were in the last leg of labour - I think I slept for a bit of time, took a lot of gas and air because the epidural didn't really work on my left hand side and spoke about a lot of random things. I was surprised because despite having an epidural I could still move my feet and lift both of my legs, it wasn't half as debilitating as I thought it would be. During my time in the labour room my contractions were starting to go away again, so they had to hook me up to an oxytocin drip to induce labour. Despite having contractions on and off for over 50 hours, my body still didn't want to give birth. If my waters hadn't broken there's no way I would have gone into labour naturally during those couple of days, she would have almost certainly been born past her due date. 

After 10 hours in the labour room the midwife said that I was fully dilated and that she was going to leave me another hour, for the head to come down even further. I used the opportunity to put some make up on - madness I know but after so long without any sleep I wanted to look kind of presentable in photo's when our daughter finally arrived. The strangest part of labour was when the midwife said that I could start pushing - without any feelings I needed to push this was a strange feeling. I wasn't allowed to use the gas and air anymore, because I needed to concentrate on pushing, but I didn't let anyone take it off me!! I was told that I had one hour to push her out before doctors got involved. I was determined to not let the doctors get involved, I'd done so long I just wanted to give birth to her myself. However after what felt like 10 minutes, but was actually 1.5 hours, the midwife got the doctor in to examine me. She said that I was pushing really well but the baby was coming down at the wrong angle  -towards the bed rather than out. They said that I would have to go to theatre, at which point I completely broke down. I had wanted a peaceful water birth in the birth centre, not theatre! I was given a small amount of time to really get our baby pushed down before they'd take me to theatre - at which point I became VERY determined. I pushed and pushed and pushed, it wasn't enough to give birth but it was enough to not have to go to theatre. The doctor set up in the room and told me she was going to have to use forceps, as I was never going to push our baby out on my own. Luckily throughout all of this our baby's heartbeat was fine and she didn't become distressed at any point. 

Due to having forceps I also had to have an episiotomy (cue another break down when they told me that). Of course, I couldn't feel anything and was pretty unaware of what was going on 'down there'. Ignorance is bliss. After a lot of tugging, pulling and pushing a baby was placed on my tummy, our baby. That moment was the most surreal moment of my life, my husband and I looked at each other, then at our daughter, then at each other again. We weren't sure what to do, it was complete shell shock. She came out crying, so we knew she had a healthy pair of lungs on her. The paediatrician checked over her, which is standard procedure for assisted delivery, and all was fine. Within 20 minutes of giving birth I was breastfeeding her, I've been very lucky regarding breastfeeding as she's taken to it really well. 

The doctor then stitched me up and seemed to be 'working on me' for what felt like a long time, I had my legs in stirrups which wasn't the most comfortable of things. There was quite a lot of blood involved, I think I lost 700ml overall. I'm told that's a fair amount but not ridiculous, however as a result I did end up becoming anaemic. 

Our daughter, Isabella, arrived into the world at 4.15pm and it wasn't until 9pm we were released to go to the post labour ward. Unfortunately visiting hours were from 9.30am - 9.30pm, so my husband had to leave almost straight away. This was pretty scary - I was left with our baby and I was pretty uncomfortable thanks to all of the damage 'down there'. I fed her, set an alarm to feed her again in 3 hours and tried to get some sleep. Isabella had other ideas and was pretty teary - probably due to a headache from the forceps. After a forceps delivery babies can often have a bad headache, poor little thing! The midwives were available throughout the night, which was such a comfort and they were fantastic. Especially when I was changing her nappy on my lap (because it was too uncomfortable to keep getting up and down) and she started pooing everywhere - I was getting into a pretty big mess but the midwife helped me sort myself and Isabella out. 

9.30am on Saturday 4th April couldn't come quick enough, as it was when my husband could return. We then spent the rest of Saturday going through the hospital formalities before being allowed home. Isabella went to the baby clinic to have some standard checks, she had a hearing test, the bounty people came around and took our photo's and I had all the checks I needed to have. They also briefed us about going home, covering topics like sleeping safely with a newborn and various other safety tips. By 7pm we were ready to go home, the journey home was a nerve wracking one as Isabella was crying and I obviously couldn't feed her while we were driving. We also hadn't worked out how to put the car seat in the car properly, so we had to work that out in the hospital car park. I'd recommend knowing how to put the car seat in and out before your baby is born, save the stress! 

That's it, my very long birth story.

How long was your labour?

Feel free to leave me a comment :)

Helen x

Thursday, 23 April 2015

BABY: Birth Story - Part 1

I can't believe I'm sitting here, with my daughter in my lap, writing my birth story. There was a stage a few weeks ago when I thought this day would never come - pregnancy seemed to be never ending! If you follow me on Twitter (@Treasure_E_M) then I'm sure you were aware of this, as everyday I was wishing to get labour 'over and done with' and to finally meet our daughter. I'm clearly an impatient person because in the end our daughter arrived the day before her due date, so I didn't have to wait as long as some. Anyway on to the rather lengthy birth story...

It all began at 8.45am on Tuesday 31st March 2015, my husband and I were watching TV when I got up to close the curtains. As I walked towards the curtains I felt a rush of liquid between my legs, such a strange feeling. I was pretty sure I wasn't wetting myself, despite being heavily pregnant I still had some bladder control! I ran to the bathroom and just sat on the toilet, waiting for my husband to follow me up and help - I didn't know what to do. I dug out the maternity pads, popped one in and rang the birth centre I was planning on giving birth in. They said that I'd have to go in to be examined, just to make sure that my waters had in fact broken, that baby was ok and hadn't pooed etc. The birth centre is about 40 minutes from our house and with the addition of roadworks it took us 1.5 hours to get there, lucky I wasn't in labour! They checked me over and all was fine, so I was sent away to wait for labour to begin. I was given 24 hours before I'd have to go back to be induced. I was told that if I didn't go into established labour (3-4cm dilated) within 24 hours then I wouldn't be able to give birth in the birth centre anymore (due to there being a higher risk of infection, as my waters had broken). So off we went back home, wishing and wanting labour to start. 

At around 4am I woke up with (what I thought were) bad contractions, but they were NOTHING compared to what was to come. I dealt with them by myself for two hours, before waking my husband for moral support. We both eventually fell back asleep in the early morning and upon waking again my contraction had completely gone. The first of many false alarms. 

For the rest of Wednesday 1st April I did everything I could to bring on labour - walking around, bouncing on the yoga ball, drinking raspberry leaf tea etc. I also painted my nails and did some of the last jobs we needed to finish before her arrival. At around 5pm I went for a nap and started getting contractions again, this time they were a bit more painful and were happening every 6 minutes, lasting 30-40 seconds. This time I rang the birth centre, hoping this was labour, but after talking to the midwife she was confident I wasn't in established labour because I could still talk through the contractions. A couple of hours later and once again the contractions had completely disappeared. We had our last meal as a couple (domino's for those that are interested) and headed back to the hospital for 9pm.

We went to the induction ward, where we were shown to a room with 4 beds in. When we arrived we were the only one in the room but during the night it filled up with ladies waiting for planned c-sections and a couple of other women being induced. I was hooked up to the machine to be monitored, where it was evident I was once again having contractions. This meant that they didn't start my induction, with the hope my body was naturally going into labour. I had a bath and we both tried to get some sleep, conscious that we both needed as much energy as possible for when labour did eventually begin. We tried sharing the single hospital bed, but with my big bump that was almost impossible, so we took it in turns to sleep on the bed or in the chair. I think we both got about 2 hours sleep and at around 4am my contractions had stopped again. Oh joy. The midwife did her first internal examination (which was pretty uncomfortable) and broke the news I was a 'fingertip' dilated - barely 1cm! Not the news we wanted to hear. I was given a pessary (a bit like a flat tampon) at 5am, really hoping this would kick start labour. We both got a little bit more sleep before breakfast. I have to say I was impressed with the hospital food - nothing like I thought it was going to be.

We spent Thursday 2nd April walking around the hospital, hoping gravity would help bring on labour. It was the same story as Wednesday though, I'd start getting contractions (which were definitely getting more painful) then they would disappear again. However, by the evening I was well and truly having contractions and they were incredibly painful, baring in mind my pain threshold is pretty low though. I had another bath to try and ease the pain, as well as two paracetamol. They didn't really have much in the way of pain relief on the induction ward. The pessary I had had fallen out, so I was given another one. Fast forward a couple of hours and I was squirming around the bed in pain, it felt like our baby was going to come out of my back - pain like I'd never felt it before. The midwife examined me again and I was only 1-2cm dilated, not much progress in 24 hours! My body really didn't want to go into labour. I was in a lot of pain by now and the only way to get comfortable was to perch on the edge of the bed and hold on to my husband for dear life!! The midwife finally offered some stronger pain relief - pethidine. I had written in my birth plan that I really didn't want pethidine because it can make the baby drowsy, which in turn can make breastfeeding hard. The drowsiness is only an issue if the baby is born within 2 hours after the pethidine injection, being as I was only 1-2cm dilated it was very unlikely she was going to be born within 2 hours so I decided to have it. It's fair to say my birth plan went out of the window, as they often do. The pethidine injection gave me a couple of hours of relief, so I got some more sleep.

Watch out for part 2...

Were you part of the 20% of women who's waters break before going into labour?

Feel free to leave me a comment :)

Helen x

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

REVIEW: March Degustabox

Firstly, apologies for this being a bit late - due to the birth of our beautiful daughter I've been pretty busy in the past month, so not had the time to get this post written up. Nevertheless it's here now...

Ok, so I thought the February Degustabox was good but the March box is my absolute favourite so far (and my husbands too). If you want some midweek excitement and you love food, then receiving a Degustabox through the post is just what you need. Opening the box and exploring its contents is so much fun, especially when it's filled with goodies you've wanted to try or never seen before! 
Maynards Sour Patch Kids - £1
My husband is the biggest sweet lover I've ever met, he just loves anything high in sugar and if it's mixed with a sour kick then even better. These sweets were snapped up by him and begrudgingly shared with me. They are DELICIOUS. They have that mouth watering sour effect, making you just want more!
Bassetts Jelly Babies Berry Mix - £1.48
I'll give you a guess who had their eyes on these too?! I'm actually not such a Jelly Babies fan, but these sweets contain fruit juice, as well as natural colours and flavours. This resulted in them not being tainted by a fake 'berry' flavour, instead they were actually pretty moreish. 
 Green Tea with Mandarin and Ginseng
I'm not really into these green tea cold drinks, though I know how popular they are. Green tea has numerous benefits for our bodies and being able to drink it cold in various flavours can make it more edible. I know a lot of people who want to drink green tea for it's goodness but can't stomach the hot version. This drink is perfect for you if you're one of these people!
Crabbie's Fruits Black Cherry and Raspberry & Rhubarb - £1.50 each
As I'm only just not pregnant I haven't been able to try these, but they are in the fridge waiting patiently. I love these kind of drinks over the summer months - ice cold, sunny garden and great friends - a winning mix. 
Juice Burst Skinny Mango & Lime and Juice Burst Cranberry - £1.25 each
These have been a lovely change from the mass amount of water I've been drinking recently. Since being heavily pregnant I've found that drinking bubbles hasn't agreed with me, so I've been avoiding them. This has basically meant all I've drank is water, which I do love but isn't particularly exciting. These juice drinks are flat and flavoursome - perfect. 
Pasquier Baked Bread Bites in Bacon Flavour - £0.50 each
I got seriously excited when I saw these - strangely enough one of my favourite flavours for crisps is smokey bacon. I say strangely enough because I'm a vegetarian and have been for the majority of my life! However some smokey bacon crisps actually have meat in, meaning I can't have them. These little crouton goodies ARE vegetarian and very tasty!
Natvia  Sweetener - £2
I actually reviewed this product on my blog back in March last year, it's fantastic. A zero calorie sweetener that has the consistency of sugar and is 100% natural! What's there not to like?
Kents Kitchen Posh Noodles Spicy Szechuan - £1.75
An instant noodle pot that makes lunch easy and flavoursome. At only 222 calories it's also good for anyone watching what they're eating, I always find noodles very filling!
Lindt Lindor x2 - £2 each
With Easter just around the corner it wouldn't have been right for there not to have been something 'Eastery' in the March Degustabox. These mini Easter eggs are in white, milk and dark chocolate with the smooth filling Lindt Lindor is so well known for. Chocolate heaven. 
Original Bayrische BBQUE Barbecue Sauce - £3.99
Firstly, I love the packaging of this product - so sleek, stylish and one to put on the condiments shelf proudly. I haven't tried this yet but it smells divine. I'm thinking of using it in a vegetarian burger, with halloumi kebabs or in a fajita - or maybe just save it for BBQ season. 
Jordans Lighter Granola in Strawberry and Blueberry - £3.69
This came at the most perfect time, as I'd been really fancying granola with yogurt and fresh fruit for a couple of weeks. So on my next trip to the supermarket I bought some cherry yogurt, fresh strawberries and blueberries. My breakfast since has consisted of this granola with a splash of milk, cherry yogurt and fresh fruit - a breakfast perfect for spring time.

You can use the code -ZJXE0- for a £3 discount - so go check out the website!

Which item catches your eye from the March Degustabox?

Feel free to leave me a comment :)

Helen x

Monday, 20 April 2015

BABY: Introducing...

Some of you eagle eyed readers may have noticed I've not published a pregnancy update post for a while or really been on social media and there's a very good reason for this...

Our baby arrived!!!!!!

After a very long and pretty traumatic labour our beautiful baby girl arrived into the world on Friday 3rd April 2015. We are completely in love! My waters broke on Tuesday 31st March 2015, which then started a very long labour taking us to tea time on Friday before she made an appearance in the world. A whole one day early. I'll write my full birth story up soon, newborns take up a lot of your time - not that I'm complaining in the slightest, I could stare at her all day and night. 

So without further ado it's my absolute pleasure to introduce our daughter, Isabella...

Helen x

Friday, 17 April 2015

DAY OUT: A trip down university memory lane...

Back at the end of February Tom took me away for my birthday (a bit early, as the weeks were quickly flying by towards my due date). I had no idea where we were going, oh I do love a good surprise! As soon as I noticed we were heading North, my geography isn't the best, I knew exactly where we were heading - Durham. Tom and I met at Durham University, so it holds a special place in our hearts. We had wanted to have a reminiscing trip before we got married last August, but time ran away and we just didn't have time. With our imminent daughters arrival I had really wanted to visit Durham again and all of the places we had spent days out while we were at university. 

On the way up to Durham we nipped into York, I love it there! The shops are amazing and it's such a beautiful city. Thanks to being heavily pregnant I couldn't wander around for as long as we usually would like to, but after having a tasty lunch we got back on the road to head further North. We also went to Yarm (the cutest town/village) where we went to one of our favourite restaurants when we were at university- Starters. The concept is pretty self explanatory - all they serve is delicious starters! Wheb we arrived in Durham we pulled in at the Radisson Blu Hotel on the riverside. We stayed there the day I graduated all those years ago, so it's somewhere special to us. 

The next day we headed to Seaham, a small seaside town which has the most fantastic ice cream parlour called Lickty Split. I used to get the train with my university friends there, as it was one of the nearest beaches. We headed back to the hotel around lunch time, where I had a much needed nap! Then Tom announced we needed to go down to the foyer, I was so confused - until I saw one of our best friends from university! Then another two of our best friends appeared! It was so lovely that they had made the effort to come to Durham for my birthday and it also meant we could spend some quality time together before our baby arrives. We wandered around Durham, had long catch ups and then went out for dinner at a small restaurant called Spags. It's a firm favourite with students because the portions are big and it's relatively cheap. 
I had such a lovely time reminiscing and will treasure those memories forever. 

Do you like going back to special places for a good old reminisce? 

Feel free to leave me a comment :)

Helen x

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

BEAUTY: My tired skin saviours from The Body Shop Vitamin E Range

As I enter motherhood and when I was heavily pregnant it took its toll on my sleep. Cue tired looking skin and dark circles under my eyes - not the 'glowing' look I was going for! I've always had pretty dark circles under my eyes but they have been getting darker and darker recently. That was until I started using a couple of Limited Edition Vitamin E products from The Body Shop.
After my usual cleansing and toning skincare routine I've been applying The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream Limited Edition* (£11) all over my face and neck, gently massaging it in. The combination of taking time to work the product into my skin and the rich yet gentle moisture cream have really made a difference to the look of my skin. The increased circulation has helped to brighten the skin, while my skin was clearly not getting adequate moisture from my previous moisturiser as it drinks this Vitamin E moisure cream up! It's so gentle on the skin, making it perfect for all skin types. In fact my husband has really sensitive skin and I've caught him 'borrowing' this moisture cream a number of times! To be fair his skin has been less dry and smoother since using it, so I'll be sending him out to get his own pot. 
After moisturising my face and neck I've been concentrating on the sensitive eye area, often the area that gives it away if you're tired. The Body Shop Vitamin E Eyes Cube Limited Edition* (£8) is so lovely to use around the eye area. It's so cooling, despite not being kept anywhere near a fridge, and refreshing that it really does help to wake me up! It's enriched with wheatgerm oil, which is one of the highest natural sources of vitamin E. The tube means it's easy to quickly apply or you can gently massage the product into your under eye if you have a bit more time. I've been using this daily, it's so easy to apply but still feels luxurious and pampering.
There are also loads of offers available on The Body Shop website, so you'll definietly be able to pick these tired skin saviours up with a discount. 

How do you waken tired skin?

Feel free to leave me a comment :)

Helen x