Sunday, 19 July 2009

in brief

Good stuff:
  • Loving breastfeeding again. I missed it.

  • Getting little blocks of sleep in between feeds.

  • I've lost 1st 8lbs (22 lbs) since Isla's birth. I think I'll only have about 1st (14lbs) to lose once all the water weight is out of me.

  • My feet look normal again and my rings are back on my finger.

  • Overhearing a young guy at Tesco on a crowded Saturday shouting in frustration "See, THIS is why I do my shopping online!!"

  • Not having to pay for parking at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

  • Mia saying "I love you" to me and asking for "tuddles".

  • Jack telling me that I'm his best mummy.

Sucky stuff:
  • I've got a bad cold (I think) and feel pretty rough. I'm very afraid of swine flu, not for me, but for Isla.

  • The weather. Apparently summer's over now.

  • The distinct lack of anything interesting on television lately.

  • Smoked brie from Sainsburys. It doesn't taste of smoke and the brie itself isn't very nice. Definitely give this one a miss.

  • There are things I need to do/plant in the veg patch, but the weather won't let me. The veg patch taunts me from the kitchen window daily.

  • Not getting around to booking that last pedicure before Isla arrived.

  • Still having to wear maternity clothes.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

day 6

Well, what a (almost) week Isla's had! Since my last post, she's sprouted a bellybutton (her cord stump fell off at some point on Sunday night), had her first bath, sorted out a 4 hourly feeding routine (fingers crossed), and received her NHS number so she's officially In The System in terms of healthcare. She had her GP check on Friday, after much confusion on the part of a receptionist whose brain exploded trying to figure out how to cope with a lack of paperwork because I used an independent midwife. The doctor was absolutely fantastic with her (I think he may have done the 6 week check for Mia and I) and Mia had a grand time playing with toys and making the doctor's table go up and down. Bed goes up, bed goes down.

Breastfeeding is going well. As I mentioned, Isla has discovered the joys of a full milky meal (vs. the superfood snack of colostrum) and feeds every 4 hours or so. My milk came in overnight late Thursday, and I'm so thrilled that engorgement has passed me by again this time. I don't even leak, which is very odd for me. Odd, but good. I've had two nights with little stretches of unbroken sleep, which has been bliss. Although it takes her quite a while to feed (around 45 minutes in total, including a nappy change), she feeds well and it keeps her belly full for a few hours. It really does make a world of difference when you can doze for a good three hours in a row.

On Saturday, I had my usual Day 3 Postnatal Hormonal Crash. This is the point at which something awful happens hormonally (no clue what - probably a big drop in pregnancy hormones, which I also experienced on day 3 after miscarrying) that causes you to turn into a lunatic for a short while. It's like PMS times a thousand with really bad jet lag. I was so exhausted; I couldn't even see straight. I had zero patience for anything, and every tiny thing stressed me out to no end. Despite this, I was fine when friends came to visit although I didn't feel entirely coherent. I didn't have a great night on Saturday, but felt a million times better on Sunday morning. We went to our local pub to meet up with friends for a birthday celebration and post fun run BBQ. It was a brilliant, brilliant afternoon. The weather was gorgeous, Isla got attention and cuddles from loads of people, and the kids (all THREE of them) had the best sleep that night in ages. Yesterday, we ventured out to Tesco in Bar Hill where I ran, with arms outstretched, towards the cheese aisle and filled our trolley with soft and/or unpasturised treats. If I could, I would have leapt into the air, done a somersault, and dived headfirst into the brie section. As we walked down the next aisle, I realised that I could also now have cured meats. With glee, I grabbed packages of salami, parma ham, and cured beef. Lunch was mighty, mighty fine let me tell you.

Now, about her name. To save a bit of time and confusion, please note that:
a) Her name is pronounced "eye-lah", like Isla Fisher the actress.
b) No, she wasn't named for Isla Fisher.
c) No, we didn't realise that Isla is an anagram of Lisa until after she was born and Paul was typing it out.

I can't tell you how many times all of these points have come up. It doesn't upset me at all, it's just funny because none of this crossed our minds since we came up with her name several months ago. It never occurred to me that people wouldn't know how to pronounce Isla (particularly our American family and friends) and I most definitely didn't name her "after" me! 'Cos you know, if I wanted to do that, she'd just be Lisa Junior. Or Lisa the Second. Or Lisette? Perhaps Mini Me. Her middle name, Catherine, is after my mom (although she's a Catharine, after St Catharine's, Ontario, her birthplace) and Paul's late Nan. If this baby was a boy, he would have been Ewan Michael (although I was also leaning towards Ewan Andrew.) We came up with Isla and Ewan by going through baby name web sites and happened to pick two Scottish names. The selection of Ewan may have been slightly influenced by my "admiration" for Ewan McGregor, I admit. Michael is both Paul and his Dad's middle name and I've always had a positive association with that name. We also contemplated Andrew after Paul's oldest brother.

And that now brings you up to date. Like I said, busy week.

Friday, 10 July 2009

day two

Wow, still reeling from the transition of going from baby in belly to baby out of belly. When I woke in the very early hours of Wednesday morning, one of my first thoughts was how sad I'd be to not be pregnant anymore. Although I was ready - REALLY ready - to give birth and feeling hugely uncomfortable, knowing it was my final few hours of being pregnant was very bittersweet. But right now, I rejoice in the lack of heartburn, I embrace the absence of stabbing pubic bone pain, and I'm giddy knowing that I can climb the stairs and get out of bed to go to the loo without grimacing in agony. My feet are almost normal size again. I rolled on my tummy last night, just because I can (although it felt very weird on my partially-deflated belly and I couldn't sleep like that). I ATE A WHOLE WEDGE OF BRIE. Celebrate good times, c'mon!

Now, the following paragraph shouldn't be read if you're eating nor should it be read by anyone who hasn't given birth or the squeamish. Today, my biggest accomplishment has been achieved: The First Post Partum Poo. Some of you will nod your head sagely in agreement (and some will be saying out loud, "Is this woman blogging about HER OWN POO?!?!"), the first toilet trip after a birth is always the scariest. After I had Jack, no one informed me that a spinal block does exactly that - it cements you up for a good week afterwards. I was so terrified to go to the toilet for fear of my stitches bursting open like that scene in "Empire Strikes Back" when Luke slices open that alien llama thingy to climb inside. After I had Mia, I was nervous because I had a tear and no matter how many times Laura reassured me that it was impossible to do any further damage to the tear, it was still very scary. Also, the pushing brought back some negative flashbacks to the chaos from the birth. This time, I was a pro. A real poop trooper. I went, and it was fine. And there was much rejoicing.

Right, so those of you who left us a paragraph ago, please feel free to rejoin the group. Welcome back! Isla is fabulous, she's got a shock of jet black hair and a look on her face that says "But it was really nice in there. Why did you make me come out?" Jack is wonderful with her, doting on Isla as much as he did with Mia. He gently strokes her head and gives her kisses, and loves to cuddle her. Mia takes somewhat of an interest in her, but I don't think she really knows what to make of her. So far, her interactions with her little sister have involved poking all of her facial features while identifying them (e.g. "Isla's eye. Isla's cheek. Isla's hair.") and picking up every object that belongs to her and asking "What's that?" I think maybe she'll grow on Mia eventually.

I've had no sleep in three nights, so I'm feeling incredibly exhausted and unable to cope well with three little ones. Thankfully Paul has been getting more sleep than I have, and has been absolutely wonderful at taking over a lot of the work, making sure I keep some of my sanity. Until Isla works out that the big yellow thing in the sky means it's time to be awake and the big grey thing in the sky means it's time to sleep, I'm going to have quite a few more sleepless night. And on that note, I better go upstairs and try to shut my eyes for a few minutes before the night shift starts.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

here she is...

Very proudly introducing Isla Catherine, born at home today at 1:30pm. Amazingly, she weighed in at 8lbs 11 1/2 oz. Who knew I was growing such a big bird in there?! No wonder I was having problems walking anywhere in the last weeks. Stretched out abs combined with a heavy baby means walking like a cowboy. Anyway, she's here. She's absolutely beautiful. And I'm so happy.

I told Paul to get the pool as close to ready as possible. I knew this wasn't going to fizzle out and that I would give birth today. I ate some toast and cheese with Jack, had some tea, and more toast with jam a little later. It was all I could stomach, but I knew I had to have something in my belly or else it would be like running a marathon after a fast.

Jane arrived at around 9:30 this morning, when contractions were every 3 minutes or so but still manageable. The pain was very low (mostly around the area of the pelvis at the front where you'd feel SPD pain) but would sometimes shift to my lower back...which of course had me worried because of the back labour fear. I asked Jane if it was normal to feel contractions in the back even if the baby isn't posterior, and she reassured me that it was. Oh how lovely to have her there; she held my lavender wheat pack thingy to my back during contractions, gently stroked my back, and told me how brilliantly I was doing. And you know, I did do brilliantly. I'm so proud at how well I coped this time. No screaming, no hysteria, and far, far less pain felt. Even Mr. TENS became my good friend and actually worked. Maybe it was because I avoided back labour and maybe it was because labour build up gradually, but I coped. I made low, primal noises through the strongest contractions and breathed my way through the weaker ones. I think towards the end I did something resembling Inuit throat singing (but done very badly and only singing about four notes over and over), but it got me through. In between contractions (yes! I had breaks!!), I was perfectly lucid and felt absolutely fine. I cannot be anywhere near giving birth, I thought. I feel far too good. But then my pelvis felt very heavy during contractions and I was starting to get the urge to push. Already? Nah!

I wasn't desperate to get into the pool this time, I just felt it was time. To my surprise, I pushed through the next contraction and felt a very small pop - for the first time, I felt my waters break. It was like a small bubble breaking, probably because I was in the water (how tidy!) Jane told me that I had meconium in my waters, which meant it would be best if I birthed on dry land. She said the baby's heart rate was absolutely fine and stable, but I was worried. I knew that meconium was bad, and I worried that if I couldn't get this baby out fast enough, it would mean a hospital transfer. I was nervous about birthing out of the pool; I love the privacy and comfort of the warm water. I stood at first, leaning on the side of the pool for the next contraction then leaning on the sofa for the one following. I stood in a squatting position, and it was really not comfy. I pushed and pushed, and by this point, I did scream a little because I was afraid. I looked down and saw more meconium had come out, and I cried "My okay, baby". Jane suggested that I get on my knees and rest my upper body on the sofa, and that was better. I was still panicked and just wanted to get the baby out safely, so in between grunting and growling in frustration, I shouted "COME ON, BABY!!"

Not that shocking when you know her weight, but at the time I was taken aback at how difficult it was to push her out and how much it was hurting. I do think the panic made it worse though. Jane told me to breathe through the contractions instead of pushing, and let them do the work of getting her head out - which worked like a charm. She pressed a warm flannel against my perineum as Isla's head crowned, and it felt fantastic. The next contraction, her body started to come out...and that's when Jane noticed that the cord was around her neck. She got her untangled, and I pushed her out with the next contraction. Isla cried right away and scored a 9 on her first Apgar, so she passed with flying colours. Jane told me to go back on my heels and she passed Isla to me through my knees. "It's a girl!" I said in a slight state of shock. We'd been so sure she would be a boy. "Hello beautiful girl. My beautiful girl!" I said over and over.

I sat with her for a while, coaxed her to feed (which she did, brilliantly), and had a lovely cuddle. Paul asked what I wanted to eat, and I requested two runny poached eggs on toast. Beeyootiful. I had a shower, but really didn't feel as great as I did after I had Mia. I hurt. Quite a lot, and still do. My stomach feels like I've done 1,000 crunches, my back is a little sore, I'm still walking like a cowboy, and I'm exhausted. The afterpains are much stronger (which is apparently common with each birth), so when I feed Isla I feel like I'm in early labour again. Even when I'm not feeding her, I'm getting strong period pains every now and then.

But having said that, and having gone through my notes to see how quickly everything went, I'm really pleased. Exhausted, but pleased. And on that note, my little girl is calling and so is my bed.

hello again

Hoo boy, these contractions are getting much more uncomfy. It feels like trapped wind (gas) - rather sharp, but all concentrated low down. I'm guessing these contractions are helping me dilate/efface and that's why I'm feeling everything very low. Still coming every 5 mins or so, but I'm now feeling more pressure with each one. I've just had a bloody show too, so this is all good. Feeling pretty nauseous at the moment, which isn't filling me with joy. I've got tea, toast, and Ranitidine in my system so hopefully that'll keep my stomach happy. What I'm not feeling (so far) is intense back pain - fingers crossed. My lower back does ache, but the wheaty microwavy pack thingy is working well.

I'm tired, though. I don't know if it's possible to rest, but I think I need to try.

what's happenin'

Still having contractions 5 mins apart, but they're getting stronger. I can breathe through them fairly easily and talk through them (sort of). I'm eating and drinking while I've still got the stomach for it, and just chilling as much as possible.

Jack is adorable - he's been up since 5 (Mia cried out and woke him up) and he's so excited. Paul inflated the pool and Jack "helped" by tidying up his toys. He was talking about the baby and speculating about when he (Jack keeps referring to the baby as a "he" now) will appear. He's been taking photos with his camera, so at least this time I'll have pictures of me in early labour! I am determined to get more photos this time, for sure.

Whoa, they're getting stronger. Better tell Paul to fill the pool, even if just part way. There ain't no way I'm getting in that thing fully dilated when it's still filling, I can tell you that right now.

something...maybe? or gas

It's 3:56am and I'm downstairs with a microwaved lavender pack thingy on my back and feeling crampy. Nothing too dramatic and even though I'm timing the pains (Contraction Master now has an application for the iPhone and Touch, whee!), they're not really distinct enough to call contractions. I can feel them start, but no clear finish; the cramping lingers and fades away very, very gradually to a dull, period pain type thing. I did manage to get a couple of hours of sleep upstairs, but the cramping kept waking me up. I felt a strong need to come down here so I could get myself comfy without disturbing Paul.

Junior Mint is wriggling a bit and when I was upstairs, I thought I could feel (almost wrote "him" here - hmmm) the baby poking me out the front with little limbs. Which would be bad because that would mean s/he's posterior. I'm attempting to do a pelvic floor release move to help ensure the baby gets into a good position (not precisely at this moment. I'm not that talented.) I'm going to get on my ball and do the hula in a moment.

Well okay, in the time it's taken me to type this, I'm getting more "proper" contractions. More like strong Braxton Hicks (tightenings) in the bottom part of my bump.

Rock on! Let's get this show on the road!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


Oh my gods, I'm so fed up right now. I'm feeling that irrational irritability that you only get during hormonal times in your life, like the week before your period when you want to throttle old people at Tesco for abandoning their trolleys right in front of you as you try to get past. Well, except that's every trip to Tesco for me. But you get what I mean.

I've been feeling shitty for most of the day, but a short nap this evening and a delicious supper made by Paul really put me in good spirits. And then the good spirits buggered off and left me feeling shitty again. So right now, I'm sitting here thinking about how annoyed I am that I'm having no signs of labour whatsoever and feeling incredibly wound up. I'm tired, but don't want to go to bed. Argh. Just argh. I'm barely "overdue", so why am I so pissed off?

My reflexology lady is at the complimentary health centre tomorrow; maybe I'll see if I can book a relaxing session with her. I just feel so stressed right now, and I hate it. I was feeling zen and chilled up until today, but now every muscle in my body is tense. Not even baked good are helping. That's bad.

Hopefully, I'll have something more pleasant to talk about tomorrow...or the banana bread will have finally kicked in.


So not only is it a full moon tody, but it's a penumbral lunar eclipse. Whatever the hell that means. I'm hoping it means "the time at which babies are born with ease and peacefulness, particularly if you live in Godmanchester, UK".

*mutter grumble*

I just can't shut my brain off at night lately. I'm exhausted, but I lie there and my brain goes whirrrr whirrr whirrrrrrrrr for ages and won't let me sleep, like I've had too many double espressos. So last night, I couldn't fall asleep until past midnight and was woken at 5am by Mia shouting "DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!" over and over. I'm in such a pissy mood today, it's a good thing I'm alone. Well, alone with the dog - but don't worry, I won't take out my foul mood on him. I'm incredibly nauseous, still a little crampy, and everything hurts.

This baby better be popping out soon, or I'm gonna go postal.

Monday, 6 July 2009

splutter fizzle pfffttt

I've been having more Braxton Hicks contractions today than usual, and this evening, they got crampier and were accompanied by lower back pain. And then they fizzled out. Whoopdidoo. I'm still having some very, very small twinges at the moment but nothing more than mild period pains with a little backache. I do think that things are gearing up, though. This is definitely different to the usual Braxton Hicks and I just get the sense that this is the beginning - but the very early stages with quite a way to go. It's just nice to feel something happening, whatever this something is.

I've been absolutely ravenous today, and I take that as a sign that my body wants me to store up energy and feed it well. Apparently this meant a large amount of Kettle Chips with hummous this afternoon. What, it's protein?! Oh shush, don't look at me like that.

For now, I'm going to try and get some sleep and relax as much as possible. If anything exciting happens, I'll be sure to update here.

full moons and full bellies

So, these may quite possibly be the last belly shots. Taken by Paul yesterday, on my due date:

Speaking of due dates, the date Jane came up with is actually the 7th. I'm not sure why her spinning wheel thingy differs to online due date predictors I found (both based on ovulation date), but I could say that I'm not yet due. It is a full moon tomorrow, so you just never know. Jack informed me this morning that I would have the baby "in two sleeps", and then advised me to "Take care of the baby, mummy" as he left for nursery. On Saturday, Mia put her mouth right up to my bare belly and shouted, "BABY OUT NOW!" I'm sure all of this coaxing will help somehow.

Sunday, 5 July 2009


Well, here we are. It's my due date! Isn't it exciting? Yeah, it's not really been that thrilling for me, either. Only 3% of women give birth on their due date, and yet I've found myself having to tell umpteen people that no, I haven't pushed Junior Mint out yet. Actually, I've been doing this since BEFORE my due date and it's getting a little tiring. If I go quiet on Facebook for a few hours, the flurries of messages come in. But then, to be honest and little less grumpy about it, it's nice that people care and are excited about the baby coming. I think I'd rather get the messages than have no one be interested.

So no, no signs of baby yet but I'm not all that surprised. I really didn't want to go into labour this weekend and take Jane away from her family business, as I mentioned in my last post. Now that she's back, I feel much more relaxed about it and this may get things going. On the other hand, apparently third babies are very unpredictable. I've heard that they're slow to get going but once labour kicks off, it's all very quick. My personal opinion is that every birth is different, so I'm no more enlightened about how this one will go as I was when I was pregnant with Jack.

The good news is, I feel ready. I'm happy, I'm relaxed, I'm looking forward to meeting the baby. I'm also quite happy to have another few days to myself. I dunno. I'm thinking Tuesday. Monday to chill and Tuesday to have a baby. Yeah, that would work.

Friday, 3 July 2009


Here's my daily update, but it's not very exciting. Same old, same old. No signs of labour but hey, I'm not even due yet. I forgot to mention that my midwife will be out of town from tomorrow morning until Sunday late afternoon. She'll still be within reasonable distance (2 hours vs. 1 normally) but she's attending a personal family-related ceremony and I truly don't want her to have to leave it to be here. So, I'm hoping that nothing happens until late Sunday night at the very earliest.

I oscillate between excitement and "Why the hell am I doing THIS again?!" on an almost hourly basis. I'm really excited about meeting the baby and finding out if it's a Junior Mint or a Junior Mintella. I'm actually pretty geared up to go into labour and being somewhat competitive with myself, I want to do it "right" this time and try not to scream the entire neighbourhood down. But then when I get a slightly more intense Braxton Hicks contraction, my first thought is "Oh, no." There are some worries in the back of my head, and I think this is the reason for my slight anxiety.

First and foremost, I do NOT want back labour again. No thank you. Tried it, didn't like it. Didn't even get a t-shirt afterwards. The baby is currently sitting with his/her back to my left, but facing a little more forward that towards my back. This worries me. I'm doing all I can to ensure good fetal positioning, but I can't help but wonder if this one's going to spin posterior as well. Second, I'm worried about the kids when I'm in labour/giving birth. Ideally, they'll sleep through the whole thing or be at nursery, but obviously there's no guarantee. I'm hoping that it won't involve a late night handover to one of our friends, or that it'll all kick off while they're having their Cheerios and watching TV on a weekend morning. Very thankfully, we have several friends who have offered to have the kids anytime day or night. This is a huge reassurance and I'm so grateful for their kindness. So we are covered in many ways, but I still worry about it. Third, the pain. Boy oh boy, did I not cope well last time. You'd think that having been there before you'd be less afraid of the pain, but because I do remember what it was like, I'm freaking out a bit about it. But having said that, I must keep in mind that a) it was back labour (did I mention that back labour SUCKS ASS?) and b) I was in a panic because my midwife couldn't attend and I was waiting for one I'd never met...who only arrived an hour before Mia did.

I can cope. I can do this. I did it before. I still vividly remember the incredibly wonderful feeling of Mia being born and the extreme elation the moment she came out. Kissing her tiny little grumpy face and holding her close to me in the water. I have the photo of her just newly born on our bedroom wall; maybe I should put it by the pool to inspire me. The photo, a big piece of brie, and a painting of a soft egg. Ah yes, that should do it.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

my feet are deflating

So, I had a reflexology session yesterday with a lady called Caroline that I see at the complimentary health centre, and a bonus session at home courtesy of my good friend Caroline today. So that's two Carolines who have massaged my uterine point in the past two days. Woohoo! That's gotta do something! It's just so nice to have my feet feeling and looking somewhat normal at the moment, and reflexology always makes me feel super chilled afterwards. Very, very nice.

My midwife appointment today went well. Everything's fine with me and Junior Mint, s/he's a little more engaged than last week but still has a lot of wriggle room, and Jane thinks s/he'll be around the same weight as Mia. So now I'm thinking girl. So much for mother's intuition; I have none. These past few weeks seem to be following the same pattern as my pregnancy with Mia (a couple of weeks of feeling hideous, followed by a week of feeling energetic and relaxed), so I'm thinking that birth day may be coming next week. But I'm in no rush, despite the awful heat and my inability to waddle more than a few feet at a time. I'm still enjoying the quiet days alone, the chance for an afternoon nap, and the feeling of my last baby rolling around in my belly. I do feel ready for the birth, just not in a mad rush to get there.

My current prediction is that things will start to kick off over the weekend and baby will arrive at some point next week. We shall see!