Induced Labour: My Birth Story 

motherhood

I have been meaning to write this post pretty much since I gave birth six months ago but for some reason or other, I always just end up writing about a different topic. As my little baby is now 6 months (bittersweet as usual) I wondered whether there was even any point in writing about this anymore and I came to the conclusion that there is! I personally love reading about and watching other mothers talk about their birth stories and I wanna be that mum too, dammit!!

I’ve previously spoken about my crappy preganny experience, more specifically suffering from gestational diabetes which I wrote about in one of my posts. Because the insulin causes the baby to grow bigger than what is deemed ‘normal’, almost all women with this condition are induced as it is not recommended they they go on to 40/42 weeks or more commonly known as ‘full-term’.
When I first found out about my GD and told I’d probably be induced, I was upset because I wanted my baby to come out when she was ready and not forced to leave her home (get it?!). This feeling only lasted until about 32 weeks when I started getting super uncomfortable just being alive and literally spent most of my time in the toilet. I later found out that I’d be induced at 38 weeks and 5 days. A pregnancy is considered full term from 37 weeks so I wasn’t worried about my baby would being premature at this point. Also, I was so fed up with life, bored of pricking myself with a needle numerous times a day to test my sugar levels and just wanting to meet my baby at that point that I started seeing the silver lining.

I was booked in on a Monday and told to call the labour ward at around 8am on the day so they could let me know when to come in and they told me to come in at 10am sharp. The night before, hubby and I went to dinner and then to the cinema for the very last time as just us because we’re soppy like that! I think I spent that evening having to go to the toilet so much that I don’t even remember the movie. 

I wasn’t at all nervous though. I was Just excited. I remember leaving my flat that morning thinking that the next time I’m home , I’ll be a mother (eeeek)! So, we get to the hospital and typically, I’m told to wait, and wait and wait ( they really need to sort out the staff shortages, damn!)!

Eventually, I’m taken to a room, strapped down in machines to monitor bubba’s heartbeat and left to it. All the while I’m hearing women screaming and crying like it’s the end of the world but because I didn’t feel the pain yet, I just laughed ( of course I found out soon enough karma is a b****) A midwife comes in around 2pm to do a cervical sweep on me to bring about labour. I think the procedure is a basic sweep of their finger around your cervix but when I tell you this woman literally had her whole hand up inside of me. The pain I felt let me know ‘ish’ was getting real!
A pessary was then inserted up in me to trigger contractions and get the show on the road as far as labour. I was told that the pessary takes around 24 hours to work and so I shouldn’t expect anything for a while. WRONG. I don’t know if it was the hand violation or whatever else but almost immediately after putting it in, I started feeling very uncomfortable (moderate pain) and started getting contractions. Though manageable, they were coming on literally every minute from the get go so I was in constant pain with very little time to rest in between.

The contractions carried on and got stronger as the hours went by and eventually the doctor in charge instructed that the pessary be removed as I was overreacting to it (common with some women). At this point I was extremely tired and my moans started turning into groans. I had read somewhere that a bath helps with the pain so with the midwives permission, hubby ran me a bath. I cant say the bath helped but whatever! Nothing is really much of a help when you feel like bones are crushing, is it!

Around 11pm, I was checked and informed that I was only 2cm dilated. What the bloody heck?! From 2pm to almost midnight and I’m only 2cm dilated! Eventually my waters brok but the midwife said not to expect anything until Wednesday as I was still 2cm dilated. To help with the pain she gave me gas and air. It helped initially but then I started vomiting green stuff (tmi) and my life started flashing before my eyes. I was actually told that induced labours are usually more painful than natural labour and though I don’t have anything to compare it with, I can say I believe that! 

I had said in my birth plan that I wanted epidural on standby because although I was going to try my womanly best give birth without one, if push came to shove I wasn’t gonna try and be a hero and prove a point either. I mean I’m the one feeling the pain! Things got very blurry very quickly but around maybe 2am I was checked again and I had dilated 4cm. This meant that I was ready for the delivery room, Yay!

In the delivery room, I literally started crying because the pain became unbearable. As I said, I can only describe it as someone crushing all my bones- all 206 of them at the same damn time with tremendous force. At that point I was begging for epidural because I seriously thought I’d die. I also remember asking to die because all of a sudden death became very appealing. My family and hubby didn’t want me taking epidural because of the alleged back pain it causes but I can honestly say at that point, I didn’t care about back pains. I wished all I had at that point was back bloody pain! 

The anaesthetist was busy administering someone else (just my luck) so I had to wait for what felt like an additional nine months, I kid not. My speech was incoherent, my vision was blurred, I forgot every mantra I had recited to myself earlier. I REGRETTED being pregnant. Yes, I remember wishing I’d never gotten pregnant because labour sucks. Of course I didn’t mean it…well I didn’t then but you get my point. 

Twelve years later (slight exaggeration) , the guy came in for my epidural but then spent another five years getting himself ready ( I exaggerate not). The guy was slower than a snail….a newborn snail at that. He finally did it and it was the best thing ever because I could actually rest. Though I wasn’t at all numb from the feet down like most women, I still felt relieved. The epidural didn’t really work well for me because I could still feel my contractions but it was so much better than before and I was grateful. 

Around 5am I was checked again and the doctor couldn’t believe that I was fully dilated. So much for expect nothing until Wednesday!! She was wrong and I didn’t have to wait until bloody Wednesday – thank God. I was told I’d be ready to push in about an hour or so. 

Two hours later and it was time to push so I pushed, and pushed, and pushed some more. A total of TWO hours to be exact and nothing. To say I was exhausted is an understatement but let’s just say I was exhausted! The doctors then decided to give me a hand and used a ventouse to get the baby’s head out. Now, let me tell you that I loved the epidural until then. Unfortunately, the labour gods wouldn’t let me be great and I felt what I can only describe as a ring of fire around my lady bits as the baby’s head was crowning. The film the Exorcist comes to mind when I think of the way I was screaming and the way my body was doing acrobatics. 

Another contractions and I officially became a mum on 8th November 2016, at 8:57am. I believe in God but if I had any doubt that He existed before, I now know that it can only take a God to create something as beautiful as childbirth. One minute I was just me and the next I had this amazing miracle in my hand. 

I cried,  no longer because I was in pain but now because I was experiencing the most overwhelming feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life. I suddenly knew my purpose in life. Everything suddenly made sense. I was a mum and I knew then that this is what I was created for and I loved and still love every aspect of that it!

PS:

Pessary – an elastic or rigid device that is inserted into the vagina to support the uterus and trigger contractions/labour. 

Cervical Sweep – Before inducing labour, women offered a “membrane sweep”, also known as a “cervical sweep”, to bring on labour. The midwife or doctor sweeps their finger around your cervix. This action should separate the membranes of the amniotic sac surrounding your baby from your cervix.

Ventouse – also known as vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery or vacuum extraction (VE), is a method to assist delivery of a baby using a vacuum device.
Love,

Lilia 

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Gestational Diabetes & How To Manage It

Lifestyle, motherhood

I’ve mentioned a few times in past posts  that I didn’t have the bestest (yes, i wrote that) of pregnancies in the history of pregnancies. it was my first pregnancy so there is nothing I can compare it to but from what I experienced, it was pretty crappy – to say the least.The one crappy thing (among many) was that I developed gestational diabetes.  

A little over half way through my pregnancy my midwife booked an appointment for me to do a glucose tolerance test to check for gestational diabetes. At the time I wasn’t worried because there is NO history of diabetes in my family so I didn’t even think I needed the test in the first place clearly I wasn’t at all educated about the condition and my midwife said it was highly recommended, especially to women of certain ethnic origins.
A lot of women don’t know about this condition until it happens so I thought I’d be helpful and give a little insight on what it is, what caused it and how to lower the risks of getting it, or at the very least how to manage it.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is basically a condition where a mum-to-be who doesn’t otherwise have diabetes (like moi), develops high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. It is generally caused by your body not making up enough insulin to handle the build up of sugars caused by pregnancy hormones. It commonly occurs in the second trimester hence the reason why tests are carried out between weeks 24-28 of pregnancy. I think I did mine at week 24 or maybe 26 – I can quite remember now.

The condition normally affects those women whose body mass index (BMI) is 30+, those women who’ve had it in past pregnancies, those who’ve previously given birth to big babies, or those with family history of diabetes and lastly those of certain ethnic origins such as  Asian, Black, etc. – as was the case for me. 

I was required to fast for at least 12 hours the night before. The test itself consists of taking two blood samples to test my sugar levels before and after taking a sugary drink (Lucozade). I had to wait Two hours after drinking the solution before they could do the second blood test. 

Gestational diabetes is a serious condition as it can essentially cause problems for the mum and baby during and after birth in the following ways:

* baby growing larger than usual 

* premature birth or induction

* pre-eclampsia

* baby developing low blood sugar or (jaundice) after he or she is born. 

Because it can be hereditary, gestational diabetes can sometimes be impossible to avoid, however my main tips in lowering its risk and managing it are as follows:


1. A balanced diet – it is important to avoid skipping meals and s the only thing I could stomach to eat during my pregnancy. Also, although fruits is generally natural sugars, some fruits such as bananas and grapes should be limited if not avoided altogether.

2. CARBS – because carbs break into sugar, I was advised to eat as little of it as possible. It’s funny because throughout my pregnancy all I could eat was bread but hey ho!

3. Blood sugar levels – this got a bit (very) tedious after a while but it is vital that you check your levels, especially after meals determine which meals increase the levels, etc. 

4. Exercise – my mind really wanted to exercise but I was so tired throughout my pregnancy that it was near enough impossible to go to the gym. I generally enjoy walking and so that’s about all the exercise I could do but every little helps. 

5. Medication and insulin shots – if GD can be avoid just by eating right and exercising then that’s great but if like me you need the extra help, then medication and eventually insulin help to manage the diabetes. The medicine made me sick so I was eventually taken off it and put on insulin as a last resort. Injecting myself became second nature but I found doing it four times a day such a chore. 


The good news is that it does, or at least SHOULD go away after delivery. My blood sugar levels went back to normal within hours of delivering my daughter and a follow up test three months post-natal confirmed this. The downside was that my daughter was born with low blood sugar levels and she too had to do insulin shots every 2-3 hours from the moment she was born until the next day when her levels went back to normal. 

To any mum in this situation, the number one important thing to remember is that sometimes it’s inevitable, i.e. you can eat a balanced diet and exercise and still get it because of other factors beyond your control. Try not to feel bad or guilty and do your best to manage the condition as well as you can.

Love,

Lilia

Finding Out I Was Pregnant

motherhood

I’m sat here smiling because exactly a year ago I found out I was pregnant. The Mr and I had just come back from our holiday in Dubai where I spent the whole 7 days and 6 nights sleeping and then sleeping some more because I didn’t feel like I was sleeping enough…..go figure!
Before I fell pregnant with my daughter, I actually dreamed twice that I was pregnant. The first time it was a woman handing me twin girls and another was just a dream that I was pregnant. I didn’t pay much attention to it because i thought getting pregnant is something that happened to other women and quite frankly the idea seems so far fetched that my mind couldn’t fathom the idea quite frankly. Mind you, I’ve always known I wanted kids. 
I remember on our way to Dubai we stopped over in Ukraine for a couple of hours and I was complaining of having very sore boobs and cramps but I just put it down to my period coming. I even thought my period had came when I saw blood after going to the toilet so not in a thousand years did I think I was pregnant. 

Once in Dubai, all I did was sleep and sleep some more. The other half and I would bicker because we had a whole itinerary of activities and sightseeing during our stay but getting myself out of bed before noon was near enough impossible. I put this down to jet lag and went about my business getting even more acquainted with my hotel bed and pillow whilst he did everything by himself. 
Another tell tale sign I guess was the fact that my breasts were so tender that I would flinch every time I got dressed but again because I was still bleeding, albeit lightly, I just thought i was having my period rather than spotting.  

Imagine my surprise when we got back and hubby dragged me to Tesco to grab a pregnancy test. I remember laughing at him because I was so certain I wasn’t pregnant that even when I peed on the stick, I left it in the bathroom floor and went to sleep AGAIN until he came rushing in the bedroom asking what two lines meant! I actually thought I’d heard wrong until he asked again and I looked at the stick for the first time. 
A year on and the little madam is four months with a larger than life personality already. I’m amazed and overwhelmed at how much can happen and change in a year. Mostly, I’m grateful that God saw it fit to pick me to be this wonderful soul’s mother. 

Love,

Lilia

5 Things I Wasn’t Expecting When Expecting 

Lifestyle, motherhood

So baby girl is gonna be four months in less than a week. I actually don’t know whether to cry or rejoice because I’ve found that when it comes to motherhood I tend to be conflicted more times than I feel should be allowed. 

I’m happy that she’s now passed the ‘boring’ phase where she’s just there (eat, poop, sleep)! Now, this little human has so much personality and is sooo loud I cannot believe 4 months ago she was still in my belly. Cue the crying bit. I just feel that time is flying  and although I’m amazed at her growth and milestones, I just don’t want her to grow….like who can I speak to about this? Honestly!! 

As much as I love and enjoy my baby now….I found pregnancy to be full of surprises and here are the top five things I just wasn’t expecting when expecting: 

1. Pregnancy Sucks – yes I said it! No, I’m not ashamed to say it. Yes, I know some women enjoy being pregnant but….Being pregnant has got to be the most uncomfortable thing a woman can go through…or at least it was for me. Also I know I’m not the only mamma who will attest to this fact. I understand it’s still taboo to admit as we’re supposed to just be happy because we’re growing a human and yes, we are but it’s the hardest thing ever!  

2. Brushing Teeth Anxiety – whoever invented the term ‘morning sickness’ should probably be slapped in the face (joking…..maybe)! I bet you the person who did was probably a man because if it was a woman, they would have known better than that. What surprised me however was the gagging and heaving when brushing my teeth. I used to actually get anxious about this because I would throw up which meant I’d have to brush my teeth AGAIN to get rid of the taste….talk about a catch 22!

3. Piles and Hemorrhoids – this didn’t affect me until the very end of my pregnancy and especially after I gave birth . It was like having two bum holes (excuse the language)and not only did it hurt, it was also very very itchy which made me very uncomfortable.

4. Pregnancy Mask – now this one I can’t say I didn’t know about as I had heard family members talk about this but boy oh boy did I get the curse of the mask or what?! I’m blessed with melanin skin and I love it but I was not ready for the deformation my face experienced. My nose increased by at least 4x its normal size. I got 10 shades darker from the beck up. Thankfully this occurred the last  couple of months of my pregnancy but it was so bad that I still can’t look at my baby shower pictures without cringing. Thank goodness that wasn’t permanent. 

5. Chronic Paranoia- as a mum, your heart is definitely outside of your body but what I didn’t expect was the total paranoia I experienced whilst pregnant. I developed a fear of driving and was so sure some crazy driver would hit me from the back that not only did I put P plates on my car, I also changed from manual to automatic out of the fer I’d stall and roll back or something…Funny enough, I drove until the very week I gave birth. Another thing was when the baby wouldn’t move. I don’t take this lightly because they do encourage women to seek help when this is the case but I just took it to a whole new level and would literally do all sorts to make the baby kick! 

Mummies – what are some of the things you found out that you didn’t know about pregnancy?
Love,
Lilia 

Is it weird that I miss being pregnant?

Lifestyle, motherhood

This to me is just shocking! Especially considering the fact that I HATED the experience. Well….hate is a big word so I’ll scrap that. I strongly disliked being pregnant. Yes, I know. How dare I say that I didn’t like being pregnant!! Pregnancy police, where ya at!

I understand that it’s often frowned upon for a woman/mother to say anything negative m about pregnancy and stuff but what can I say…I like living on the edge. 

The one main thing I hated ( that word again) about being pregnant was the morning sickness. I didn’t just have it in my first trimester either. Not only did I feel sick all through my pregnancy, I also threw up 97% of everyday that I was pregnant. I’m talking about the violent throwing up – whether I ate or not. Darn, I knew I had it bad when water made me throw up. Or that one time I threw up on myself whilst driving to work and cried like a baby because no one ever told me pregnancy be so difficult!!

As if that wasn’t bad, I also developed gestational diabetes. Can I just say no one  in my family has or has ever had diabetes so being told that I had it in pregnancy was mind boggling. I was initially put on medication whilst monitoring my diet but had to come off it a month later because it made me throw up – on top of the daily throwing up I was already experiencing. At this point I was so fed up and over it. I then had to go on insulin and inject myself 3 times a day as well as prick my fingers to test my blood up to 4 times a day. Uurrggh…Did I mention I HATE needles and blood?

So you get the picture. I had a very crazy pregnancy and that’s not to mention the expected aches and pains, sleeplessness, countless trips to the bathroom – oh and the pregnancy mask that took over my face and neck which I’m still battling to completely get rid of now. Let’s also not forget the hair I grew in places I didn’t know existed (still shavinmy goatee up to now)!

I know the pregnancy police will still frown at my negative tone. I don’t mean to sound Mimy at all. Yes, I couldn’t wait to meet my child. I loved our bond and the kicks were just what made my days in the midst of all of the chaos but to say I enjoyed my pregnancy would be a big fat lie. I couldn’t wait to get it over and done with. I was uncomfortable as all hell. Heartburn became my first (not second) name. 

So you can understand my shock at the realisation that I miss being pregnant. Who in their right mind would even want to think about pregnancy again after my experience, right! Well, me obviously. Don’t tell the other half but I’m already dreaming about my next pregnancy. I even know it’ll be twin boys and I cannot wait! Ha – I must be crazy!!
Love,
Lilia 

breast is best; fed is fed

Lifestyle, motherhood

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I decided the I would exclusively breastfeed my baby because quite frankly, I was curious at the idea of a baby suckling on my breast for their survival (I’m just being honest)! 

Breastfeeding to me has always seemed like the easiest, most natural thing for a woman to do. In my head, I just knew that when my baby was born all I’d have to do is stick my nipple in her mouth and we’d get the party started. After all, this is what I’d seen my mum as well as other women do. I was so excited to embark on this bonding journey with my baby and provide her with food that was tailor made only for her. Add that to the endless Instagram posts I’d seen of mummies breastfeeding their babies and toddlers and campaigning about the goodness of breast milk and its health advantages, I just knew that I wanted to be one of those mums and ensure that my kid got a great start in life.

My midwife had suggested breastfeeding classes to teach me how to properly breastfeed a baby. I honestly thought it was ridiculous – even when she told me that it wasn’t always easy or possible. I mean how hard could it be? Wasn’t it the most natural thing only second to actually giving birth? So imagine my surprise or more like heartbreak when baby girl was born and i couldn’t get her to latch properly!!

When she was born and had been checked, she immediately given to me to feed her. I cockily tried to put my nipple in her mouth only to be told that I wasn’t doing it right – that I had to place my whole areola in her mouth. Talk about abloody  reality check!!

Because I developed gestational diabetes during my pregnancy and was on insulin towards the end of it, baby girl’s blood levels were low and had to be tested every two hours after birth. Also because I wasn’t able to get her to latch ‘properly’, the midwives decided to top up with formula just to regulate her sugar levels and avoid going to the care unit.

I felt so crushed and defeated as I gave my newborn her first bottle of formula. I felt like kicking myself for not going to the highly recommended breastfeeding classes but I was nonetheless so determined to breastfeed that I stuck to it although it was proving to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done – besides child labour of course.

I’d cry every time I tried to feed her and she wouldn’t latch properly. I was so angry and frustrated with myself – not to mention extremely exhausted and couldn’t for the life of me understand why it was so hard. To top that, my milk didn’t fully come for the first five days. I watched all the YouTube videos there were to watch and read all the web articles, downloaded apps – you name it. I even attheded breastfeeding clinics and spoke to Consultants. I felt like a failure. I tried to express but very little would come out. Top that with family pressures on the importance of breastfeeding and how Breast was best, I started to fall into depression. 

At this point baby girl was mainly taking formula rather than just as a top up and I honestly wanted to quit each time I attempted to breastfeed because it only made me miserable. I was however really determined to give it my all before throwing in the towel. Luckily, I had mummy friends who constantly called or texted to give me encouragement and also share their breastfeeding stories. I was shocked to learn that what I was experiencing was more common than I had thought. Knowing that I wasn’t alone made me feel slightly better about the whole situation. I soldiered on for a few weeks until one day bangs girl just latched and has never looked back.

I now do a combination of breast and formula, giving her a bottle at night as it’s just easier with the sleepiness but I have come to learn that giving your baby breast is not the be all and end all. Sure, it is especially designed for your baby but sometimes is just not possible to do – for a number of reasons. Although I stuck to it, I realise that some mums give up after a while and I can’t blame them. I too waned to give up every day.

The lesson I got out of my experience is that though breast may in fact be best – fed is fed. A fed baby, irrespective of breast or formula, is a happy baby!
Love,
Lilia 

Mummyhood…a month so far

motherhood

I cannot believe it’s already been a month since I welcomed my bundle of joy and joined the mummy wagon. I can honestly say it has been the best experience of my life and I’m completely in love with my daughter (I’m still getting used to saying that!). Having said that however, I’d be lying if I said motherhood hasn’t brought with it some challenges and a lot of tears. 
To celebrate my one month milestone, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve experienced and learned so far in this journey. I could really go on and on but here are the top 10:
1. Overwhelming Love – cliche as it may sound, you never truly understand love until you give birth and even then you can’t really put it into words because it’s nothing like you’ve ever felt before. All I know is that I’ve finally found my purpose in life. It still hasn’t registered to me that I birthed this perfect human being. She’s truly the cutest, most special little thing I’ve ever laid eyes on (yes, I’m bias).

2. Paranoid & Overprotective -is it weird that I’m always thinking someone is going to kidnap my child or the million different other scary thoughts that run through my head? And the sudden case of separation anxiety and mummy guilt I can’t seem to shift.

3. Breastfeeding is HARD – this topic deserves its own post which I will write about another time . All I can say for now is that it’s not always possible to breastfeed – even if that’s what you want to do. 

4. No Sleep – now I can’t say that I wasn’t warned about this, especially towards the end of my pregnancy when everyone would tell me to sleep as much as I could. I knew that babies cried A LOT (amongst eating and pooping) but what I failed to appreciate is that although they seem like they’re constantly sleeping….new borns hardly sleep at night. Who knew I’d be grateful for a mere 3 hours sleep.

5. Baby Poo – imagine my horror when my daughter pooped so much it actually came out her nappy and all over her AND me. How did I go through life without baby wipes before? And let’s not forget the constant farting!!!

6. Baby Blues – post natal depression is real and although I was blessed enough not to suffer from it, I cried the first week or so after she was born and couldn’t even tell you why on most occasions.

7. Still Breathing? – on top of constantly looking at my child in awe because I just can’t believe she’s mine (I may never get over this fact), when she’s asleep I often check to see if she’s still breathing and I know I’m not the only one.

8. Prep Time – getting myself and the baby ready now takes me about 3 hours. And no…that doesn’t include make up or hair. And just as you’re about to leave the house, they need a feed or nappy change. Getting anywhere on time is now a thing of the past….and I don’t even feel bad about it. 

9. Bye bye hygiene – a shower? Is it really necessary to have it on a daily basis? 

10. Superwoman – brings a mother has made me realise that I can do almost anything…..one-handed AND probably blindfolded too!

Love,

Lilia