April 30, 2009
I was wondering for a while if I should post my thoughts about becoming a single mom on something as public as a blog. I think I will. Well, I am. I am typing my very first blog - about something as enormously private as family planning. I have the feeling that I am not the only woman who finally decided to have a child on her own and that many, many more women are pondering the decision right now. Maybe this blog will encourage the one or other to take the plunge and do it.
I will back date a few posts because I think it is important to read every entry in chronological order. I have kept a journal and will post a few entries from earlier in the year.
July 6, 2011
My baby is almost a toddler now. 8 months and crawling for the past four weeks and keen to walk. It’s hard to summarise the past months in a short blog so I won’t even attempt it. Just this much: Every day is better than the last. I am thinking about two things lately. One is how to educate myself on how to speak with my son about who his dad is and the other one is if I want another one. Of course I do but can I manage on my own with two? Any thoughts?
March 2, 2011
Breast is best for baby – but I say best for mum too. It does really give you an unmatched opportunity to fall in love with your baby, over and over again. I love the thought that my body has been able to feed my baby for 17 weeks now. All home made goodness!
The first 3 months he was sleeping in my bed and when he woke at night I would feed him. We didn’t need to see, I just rolled him slightly on his side and he would wet his lips and run his lips over my breast, quickly moving his head from side to side. Like a little scanner he was looking for the nipple and latched on as soon as he felt it. Such a smart little baby. He also figured out how to scoot over to me in bed so he could lie next to my breasts. He never ever cried at night, I just knew when he was waking up and he had a little drink and went back to sleep. They say that when you co-sleep with your baby your sleeping patterns synchronise. You naturally wake up at the same time. I think that is true, at least for me it was. Now that he sleeps in his cot bed in his own room of course he needs to cry to wake me up. Sometimes it makes me feel bad that I don’t let him sleep in my bed anymore. But self-preservation took over (I really needed to get some more sleep).
Back to the boob: breastfeeding wasn’t always wonderful. Certainly the first week or so was a nightmare. It hurt A LOT. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are doing it wrong when it hurts. There are no nipples in this world that are made to naturally withstand an abrasive baby mouth sucking at it every hour and half, day and night. They have to toughen up and until they are it does hurt, and bleed. Definitely get some nipple balm to keep them soft and lubricated. And when he latches on take a deep breath in and count to 10. By then the pain will have dropped to a manageable level. Do go to a breastfeeding clinic if you have any doubts. They are there to help and you’ll see that you are not alone in this. Be a proud breastfeeding mum – and don’t be shy to feed your baby in public.
February 24, 2011
I am addicted to that programme. Seeing these babies born lets me remember my delivery. I love it.
February 23, 2011
Finally I find some time to write about the past four months with my little boy. But first things first: the delivery. When we met with our NCT group recently we were asked to tell the group how the birth went. I came last and after hearing all these horror stories of long labour, inductions etc I felt almost guilty to say that I absolutely enjoyed the birth. Mind you, I had an epidural but this was really the best decision I could have taken.
My contractions started at 8 in the evening (I was watching Casualty), they were mild menstruation type pains in the beginning but very regular and close together from the start. I couldn’t believe it but I had contractions every 2 minutes which lasted 45 seconds, I used my sailing stop watch to check! What ever happened to the BREAKS between contractions that one is supposed to have to rest? I phoned the delivery unit and they said to stay home and take a bath, which I dutifully did. By 11 pm the contractions came every minute, lasted a minute and were much stronger. My friend and birth partner drove me to the JR where we arrived at midnight. A very busy looking lady came and took my blue notes and wasn’t seen again until 1.30 am when finally we were shown into a delivery room. By then my contractions were so strong that they stopped me from walking. I pretty much spent the next hour on my knees leaning against the bed. Sitting or lying down was so much more painful than kneeling….When the midwife arrived she checked how far I was dilated and it was only 2 cm. 2 hours later it was 5 cm and by then I could not stand the pain any longer, neither gas and air nor the injection did anything for me, hence the epidural. If I had know that it would take 1 1/2 hours to get the epidural in place and working properly and by then I would be ready to push I probably wouldn’t have needed one….but the thing is, one doesn’t know. Anyway, as soon as I was pain free it was time to push the baby out and not 20 minutes later he was born. Magic, absolutely wonderful.
I don’t know why I feel slightly guilty about having had an epidural. It’s like I was supposed to do it without pain relief. I even wrote it down in my birth plan which luckily never got printed out because my baby was born two weeks early and I didn’t get around to do it. Anyway, it took all the pain away but left me with enough sensation to feel the contractions and feel my baby move down the birth canal. He literally did all the work himself. All I had to do is to push through three contractions and I could feel his head crowning and then, without me doing anything else, his body just slipped out of me and there he was. A second later he was on my chest and I literally wept of joy. The feeling was absolute and utter joy, more than I ever could hope to feel. I wish every woman can feel this once in her life.
I want to do it all again. I even thought that the minute he was born. This was great. Give me more.
Funnily, as soon as I had the baby I completely forgot how it feels to be pregnant. Isn’t that weird?
November 30, 2010
……the birth of my lovely baby boy!
I can’t believe it took me four weeks to find the time to post this but he is here. Born on the 31 October, two weeks early. I’ll write more on delivery, breastfeeding and lack of sleep soon – given my little darling leaves me a minute to get on the computer.
I am deeply in love with him, grateful that I am finally a mum, humbled by the overwhelming experience of giving birth and deeply in dept to my friends who have looked after me so well during all of it.
October 19, 2010
I come to appreciate that it is good to ask for a second opinion when I find it hard to agree to decision made by a doctor. Two weeks a go my consultant told me to stop taking the low molecular weight heparin (tinzaparin) at 36 weeks. It worried me, of course, because the body’s own blood clotting machine kicks into gear before delivery of the baby so that mum doesn’t bleed to death. That also means that the risk of thrombosis increase in that time period. If they felt it necessary for me to be on LMWH during my pregnancy then surely they shouldn’t take me off it now?
When I asked another doctor he told me it was perfectly fine for me stay on the prophylactic dose until I go into labor. Lots of women do so. The only problem with it is that I can’t have an epidural within 12 hours from the last injection. I am quite willing to take that risk. The chance of me needing an epidural immediately is extremely slim and there is other pain relief available should I require it. And if they needed to do an emergency caesarean then it would be done under full anesthetic. Ok, that’s not ideal but certainly a risk I can take. And last but not least: the midwife led unit won’t admit me because of the LMWH and I should not deliver in the birthing pool (but can stay there during labor). The reason for that is that a water birth is very hands off and can lead to severe tears and bruising. That could be a bit of a problem if the tinzaparin hasn’t fully cleared by then. Again, that is a small disadvantage I am prepared to take.
I also asked if the vitamin K shot for the baby could be a problem if he turns out to also be Factor V Leiden positive. Apparently the vitamin K does support clotting when needed (a dn may save the baby from brain haemorrhage) but doesn’t increase the thrombosis risk. Good. I am quite relieved now.
September 30, 2010
Ticked off all NCT classes. I really enjoyed them but I am glad to have a few evenings off now. They crammed 8 evening classes into 10 days! The last one was a breastfeeding class and I didn’t really learn anything new. The instructor appeared very insecure and what she told us I had read many times in the brochures the midwife gave me. Latching on seems to be the important bit. It doesn’t sound so terribly difficult and if it is it might just need a bit of practice. It certainly doesn’t worry me.
I think pain relief wasn’t cover enough in the NCT class. I said before that we were “brainwashed” into natural child birth. I don’t mean it in a negative sense. I do think it was very encouraging and certainly I feel much more confident now that I can manage delivering my baby. But…..one never knows how one will cope with the pain. It may well be that from the start I feel I can’t bear it and want pain relief. Will I feel like a failure? I have to tell myself that the pain relief is there to help me and I am not worse or weaker than anyone else just because I make use of it. I like the sound of the Gas and Air because it has an instant effect (some describe it as being tipsy rather than numbed) and leaves the body just as fast in case I want something stronger. Epidural sound tempting too (complete pain relief) but only one that keeps me mobile. Not sure if and when I can have an epidural since I am on blood thinners. I’ll ask my consultant next week.
Next on my list to do is to work out a birth preference plan, discuss with my midwife and birth partner and then to get my head around what needs to go in my hospital bag.
On the home front: I managed to paint my bathroom and build a shoe shelf on the landing. The baby’s room is now empty and I am waiting for a cot and a dresser with changing table to arrive on Monday. That’s it, nothing else to do other than sorting through the many lovely baby clothes I have been given by friends and family and see if there si anything I still need. I doubt it
September 23, 2010
Despite the best efforts of NCT to convince me of the benefits of natural child birth I wanted to read more about c-sections. I think they provide one advantage I really value and that is to be able to plan the date of the birth. It would allow me to have my sister or sister-in-law come over here from Germany for the birth and also for the time when we come home. Being single is a bit daunting when it comes to the time I bring home my baby and realise its only me now. It would be lovely to have family here who can support me, mostly by reassuring me that all is going well with caring for the baby and breastfeeding. A good web site that speaks positively about caesarean
What entices me to have a natural birth is that I feel it would be an amazing experience, a real achievement and a big joy and I might well go down that way. Also, having a c-section increases the risk of thrombosis after surgery and having Factor V will increase the risk even more. Recovery is much longer and that again makes me more dependent on someone being here for me. In any case, I will have to speak to my consultant about what is the best option from their view regarding managing my blood clotting risk. A good web site is
September 22, 2010
More interesting stuff from the NCT class. We covered breathing really quickly. Basically there are two methods.
To get through contractions: When the contraction starts, breath deeply and let out a good sigh, then breath deeply and let out long drawnout breaths. Do that throughout the contraction and when it ends, let out another sigh. Send the pain off, tick off in your mind another contraction that brought you closer to your baby. The long outbreaths distract from the pain and you can focus on one breath at a time instead of dreading the whole contraction. Think baby steps!Practice the deep outbreath by blowing bubbles. A long stream of bubbles is what you want.
To avoid pushing when you really want to but shouldn’t. Apparently that is really difficult. You can pant. Imagine, your fingers are candles and you blow out each of the candle quickly, one after another. Then start again until the urge to push subsides. Or, try blowing your breath out by doing “horselips”, prrrrrrr, lips vibrating. It’s fun (and maybe in connection with laughing gas it’s hillarious) and you can’t physically push when your breath isn’t focussed. Try it on the toilet…..
Massage: isn’t really massage. It’s quite gentle touching, stroking the woman’s back and lower back. We practiced it on each other and to me it was mostly the reassurance that I am not alone that was attractive.
Transition: Well, the transition between early labor (when the uterus is getting ready into the push position, and you are waiting to be dilated enough for pushing) and late stage labor (pushing stage) can be very hard because apparently the hormones change dramatically. That can cause the woman to feel sick (and be sick) or to shake or hyperventilate. It can be frightening because all of a sudden she loses control over her body. The body wants to push the baby out and she cannot stop it. Best solution is to surrender to it but that might be easier said than done. Here comes the partner into play. When the woman is hyperventialting show her how to breath slow and deep by doing it. Don’t tell, do it with her. Encourange her by saying that the it’s almost over and she is very close to hold her baby. Sounds like a fightening stage…….
We are covering pain relief tonight. That will be interesting.