The Newborn Diaries:
Elowen’s First Week Earthside

The Newborn Diaries: <br> Elowen’s First Week Earthside <br/>

Just as I thought it would, Elowen’s first week ‘earthside’ has passed us by in a blur. I kept a few notes about each day on my phone so I could remember the little things that I would probably otherwise forget.

Elowen’s first week:

Sunday – Elowen was born at 7.55pm – she was so alert and awake for several hours before finally falling asleep for the night. I breastfed her soon after the birth as per my birth plan and she latched on and fed well. Stephen and I ate crisps and watched I’m a Celeb whilst cuddling our newest member of the family. Homebirths rock!

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Monday – Day 1:

Jasmine woke up at the normal time of around 7.30am and came into our bedroom to meet Elowen (more on that below).

We were hoping to have a midwife come out to the house and do our Newborn Check but I got a call in the morning to say nobody was available so could we go to the hospital and have the check done there. When we arrived we were seen straightaway and Elowen passed her hearing test. Another midwife came in and did the rest of the health check. She was worried that she felt a ‘clicky hip’ but couldn’t diagnose it herself, she needed a pediatrician to take a look. We spent the next four hours waiting around in a (uncomfortably hot) birthing unit room until a pediatrician came to see us. As it wasn’t urgent, we were constantly put to the back of the queue (understandably). It wasn’t quite how I envisaged our first full day as a family of four. Anyway, we finally got seen and E’s legs/hips were perfectly fine.

Whilst we were at the hospital the midwife took a look at E’s latch because I told her I was finding it painful. She pointed out that her lips weren’t flanged and she was just sucking on my nipple, rather than taking a full mouth of breast. The Midwife said I needed to take E off and get her re-latch until she got it right. Her latch is still a bit of a problem now (Sunday 27th) but it’s improving all the time.

Tuesday – Day 2:

By Day 2 my nipples incredibly painful, cracked and bruised. I spoke to a midwife on the phone and she asked me if I’d tried nipple shields. I had bought some whilst pregnant but hadn’t tried them yet. I used them for the next few feeds along with my trusty ol’ Lansinoh cream and it helped a lot.

I walked to nursery (with Stephen and Heidi) to pick up Jasmine. I used the Close Caboo carrier for the first time. Found it a bit tricky to put on but should get easier with practice. I felt a bit tender and needed to sit down for a bit. Probably getting a bit ahead of myself.

E woke up every 4 hours or so for a feed that night.

Wednesday – Day 3:

Had midwife come out in the morning and weigh E – she’d only lost 5% of her birth weight so well within the limit.

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Stephen took Jasmine to a toddlers gymnastics club so I had a couple of hours of peace and quiet at home. I hoovered the living room. I know, I know! *slaps own wrist*

It was a rough evening. My milk came in that night and my boobs were so engorged that E had even more trouble latching than before. She was fussing all night, on and off the boob and screaming at me. I caved in and tried to give her a ready-made bottle of formula. She spat it out so I persisted with boob. I got a grand total of 10 minutes sleep all night.

After having ‘after pains’ for the last few days since E was born, they finally seemed to peter out. They weren’t as bad as I feared they would be – just like mild period pains. My bleeding also started to slow down too.

I had my first post-partum poop – it was pathetic.

Thursday – Day 4:

Jasmine was back in nursery for the morning so I decided just to stay in bed with E. Do nothing else but watch TV, sleep, eat and feed my baby on demand. I needed to express a little milk off each side to help with the engorgement pain – used my MAM manual pump which arrived the day before.

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Stephen was particularly awesome today – doing the nursery runs, walking the dog, tidying the house, getting in the food shopping. He’s a good egg.

Friday – Day 5:

Slept well last night and only woke for feeds. E has been co-sleeping next to me so I’m awake and feeding her before she even gets the chance to make too much noise. Nappy changes are a bit trickier though! Jasmine woke up at 4am and came into our bed (she never does this but I was tired and weak-willed). She cuddled up to me, stroked my face and said “I love you, mummy.” It made me cry. How did I get so lucky?

Elowen’s cord stump dropped off this morning.

We had another Midwife appointment to have E’s Heel Prick test done. E slept through it and didn’t even flinch. She’s such a tough cookie.

I’m booked in for a group discharge from the midwives care on Day 10 (Wednesday 7th Dec)

We went out for our first family walk in the woods and then to visit the local Christmas Shop. Ate a big slice of Victoria Sponge in the cafe. YESS!

Boobs were still very tender in the evening, especially around under arms.

I stepped on the bathroom scales (what was I thinking?) – I weighed 9 stone 10lbs. Must stop eating cake.

Saturday – Day 6:

E woke up for about 3 feeds throughout the night last night. Slept contently next to me the rest of the night. Boobs are like a tap when feeding! I kept soaking my bedsheets with my non-feeding boob!

I spent the morning building blanket forts with Jasmine. She’s been so good this week. I’m unbelievably proud of my big girl.

I left the house by myself to walk the dog after getting a touch of cabin fever – it felt weird!

Sunday – Day 7:

The night feeds are catching up with me and I felt exhausted this morning. I fed E and went back to bed until 10am. Didn’t do much all day except lounge around at home.

WE SURVIVED THE FIRST WEEK!!!!!!

And how’s the big sister?

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One of the things that people have asked me about most since having Elowen is “How has Jasmine been?” And honestly? She has been amazing. Jasmine woke up her usual time on Monday morning, after sleeping through my labour the night before, and Stephen brought her into our bedroom to meet Elowen. She didn’t spot her at first and was too busy saying “Good morning, Mummy” to notice the extra person on the bed! As soon as she noticed, she gasped and said “Awwww, baby – pass him me!” (A whole week on and she’s still referring to her baby sister as “him” and “he”) Jasmine’s eyes were the widest I’d ever seen them – you could see that she was just soaking up every inch of this tiny, new person.

Jasmine had her first cuddle with Elowen and was instinctively gentle with her – lightly patting her back. She tilted her head whilst gazing at E and said “Awww, so cute”. My heart felt so full, watching them together. We gave Jasmine her two presents “from baby” (A Paw Patrol plate, bowl and beaker set and a Paw Patrol onesie!) – as you can imagine, they went down very well!)

In short – the first week has gone really well. Jasmine treats E like she’s always been here and knows that she is part of our family and is very much here to stay. She’s very caring and gets upset if E is crying – she’ll stroke her head or hold her little sister’s hand and say “Shush, shush baby” (She can’t say Elowen).

There has been a noticeable change in Jasmine’s behaviour though in that she gets incredibly emotional, very quickly, and seemingly over nothing. If Stephen or I leave the room for a minute and then come back in, Jasmine will run over to us, on the brink of tears, telling us how much she’s missed us. It’s sweet but very, very over the top!

I’ve also noticed when Jasmine’s been playing with her toys that she will act out scenarios with them – yesterday her dinosaurs were ‘fighting with eachother’ with yells of “NO, my mummy” and “That’s my daddy”. It seems there’s definitely some elements of jealousy going on, but she’s hiding it well. (So far.)

I think things will become a bit more challenging when Stephen returns to work and I have to split my attention between two little people – we shall see!

Regardless of what happens, I’m so proud of my big girl and how well she’s taken to our newest arrival.

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Introducing Our Rainbow Baby: Elowen Faye

Introducing Our Rainbow Baby: Elowen Faye

I’m very pleased to announce the safe arrival of our beautiful Rainbow Baby, Elowen. She arrived on Sunday 20th November (the day before her due date) at 7.55pm, weighing 8lbs 4oz. She was born at home (as planned) on the living room floor. Myself, Stephen and big sister Jasmine are absolutely smitten.

I cannot wait to share Elowen’s Birth Story with you all. In the meantime, I’ll be adjusting to life as mum of two little people (I still cannot believe I have another daughter) and getting to know my newest little lady!

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Upright birth – 7 reasons why you should have one!

Upright birth – 7 reasons why you should have one!

Why do I want an upright birth? Well, with the impending birth of my second baby (my due date is in a matter of days – eek!), I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my previous labour experience with Jasmine. You can read her birth story here. However, the short version is that I did most of my labouring at home, stood up at the bottom of the stairs, swaying my hips gently side to side. Being active and upright, I believe, is the reason that my first stage of my labour took a relatively short time (given that it was also my first baby).

My biggest regret about Jasmine’s birth was that I then went on to spend the entirety of my second stage of labour (pushing baby out), laying down flat on a hospital bed. The only reason for that was because when I arrived at the birthing unit (fully dilated!), the midwife asked me to get on the bed. I didn’t question it, I just did it. The pushing stage seemed to last forever and I’m sure the fact that I was horizontal was a big factor for things slowing down.

My Daisy Birthing teacher put it brilliantly when she explained why laying down during labour makes it tougher for baby. “Imagine trying to put on a pair of tight, skinny jeans whilst laying flat on your back… think about how difficult it would be compared to putting them on whilst standing up.” And she’s right, in the same way that you or I would struggle to do that laying down, baby will struggle to make their way down the birth canal. When it comes to giving birth, gravity is your friend!

This time around, I’m planning to take charge of my labour and stay upright as much as possible, particularly during the pushing stage. (You can read my birth plan here.)

I was recently sent a fantastic birthing aid called the CUB support. (CUB standing for ‘Comfortable Upright Birth’.) I’ve been trying out the CUB over the last few weeks, practicing different positions and finding out what I think might work for me during my labour. It’s comfortable and far more stable than a birthing ball. Oh and because it’s inflatable (I inflated mine in about 4 minutes), it’s portable – meaning you can use it no matter where you are choosing to give birth. I certainly think it’s going to be a fab addition to my homebirth kit!

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The lovely CUB team (who are qualified midwives and healthcare professionals) have created some fantastic infographics that I wanted to share with my readers:

7 reasons to have an upright birth

 

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If you would like to find out more about the benefits of upright birthing then do check out the CUB website where you’ll find a wealth of information.

You can also purchase the CUB from Amazon.co.uk using this link*:

I’d love to hear any experiences my readers have in regards to upright births!

* This post contains an affiliate link.

Growing a rainbow baby: 37 & 38 weeks pregnant

Growing a rainbow baby: 37 & 38 weeks pregnant

How big is Baby Button-Nose this week?

At 38 weeks, Baby Button-Nose is now about as long as a leek, weighs just over 3kg. (Length: 49.8cm, head to heel.)

Mood: 

I’ve now passed the stage of pregnancy that Jasmine was born (38+2) so it would be fair to say that my anxiousness about giving birth again have ramped up a little. I’m nervous but excited and feeling ready to meet my baby now. Come on, Button-Nose!

Symptoms: 

Pain under my ribs – particularly on my right side (I think this is where Button-Nose likes to park his/her feet!)

Backache/hip pain

Shooting pains around groin

Calf/foot cramps

Spotty skin/dull hair (Waah!)

Night sweats

Insomnia

Braxton hicks

Period-type pains (particularly if I don’t go for a wee as soon as I need one!)

Swollen fingers and toes!

Acid reflux – I’ve woken a few times in the night feeling very close to being sick.

Highlight of the week(s): 

Watching Jasmine ‘comfort’ her baby – cannot wait to see her as a big sister even more now…

Please ignore the state of my living room…. thanks! ;)

Baby movements: 

As I write this, baby is very, very low down. He/she had hiccups earlier this evening and I could feel them so deep in my pelvis. I’m trying not to get excited about this because baby seems to pop in and out all the time. I keep getting a lot of groin pain, shooting pains either side.

Fundal measurement: 

At 38+3 my fundal measurement was 37cms.

Appointments:

38 week midwife appointment – 

Sadly my midwife, Claire, was off due her father being poorly. She was covered by the lovely Rebecca (who told me that she lives just around the corner so could end up being at my homebirth!) My wee, blood pressure and bump measurement were all fine. I had my blood taken to check that my iron levels have come back up – fingers crossed that they have! Rebecca checked baby’s position and said baby was “head down and ready to go”. :)

Things I’m missing: 

I know I’ll probably miss my bump when it’s gone but I am so done being pregnant now – the constant aches and pains make it hard for me to be a ‘fun mummy’ for Jasmine. I can’t wait to be able to bend over to give her a kiss or chase her round the park without being in agony.

Sleep: 

Pregnancy insomnia has really hit me over the last week or so. I sometimes struggle to get to sleep (especially if I’m suffering with acid reflux) and other times, I wake up to go to the loo during the night and then I can’t get back to sleep again. I end up just laying in bed for hours until the morning – I guess my body is preparing me for the sleepless nights that are to come.

I’ve had some strange dreams too – last night I dreamt that I was on a guided tour around a pork scratchings factory. (I know?!) FYI, I don’t even like pork scratchings.

Pregnancy/baby related purchases: 

Despite the fact that I keep seeing gorgeous baby clothes, I’ve managed to resist making any more purchases!

Stephen got my Medela Swing breast pump down from the loft at the weekend so I checked that was still working OK (it was) so I’m thinking of ordering a few new parts for that.

Will this be my last pregnancy update?! Eeeek, I do hope so! 

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To see more posts from My Pregnancy Journal click here.

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My Birth Plan {Preparing for a Homebirth}

My Birth Plan {Preparing for a Homebirth}

I never wrote a birth plan when I was pregnant with Jasmine. It felt a bit pointless writing a ‘plan’ for something that, let’s face it, can’t really be planned. Jasmine’s birth ended up being quite dramatic, I arrived at the hospital 10cms dilated and my body already pushing her out by itself. The midwife who looked after me upon arrival at the Birthing Unit didn’t have time to read the front cover of my maternity notes to see my name, let alone read a birth plan!

This time around I’ve felt more inclined to write a birth plan. For two reasons:

  • Because I’m *hopefully* going to have a home birth – I should have at least one midwife with me for the majority of my labour, meaning they will actually have time to read and follow my instructions! I also feel that because I’ll be setting up my own ‘birth environment’ that I will be more in control of how I labour.
  • Having experienced giving birth already, I have some idea of what to expect (granted, all labour/births are different) and therefore I found it easier to know what I do and don’t want to happen – especially when it comes to post-partum procedures such as cord clamping and the administration of Vitamin K to baby.

I’m sharing this birth plan as I found it helpful to read through other people’s when writing my own. It’s short and sweet (which is the best way to keep it if there’s any hope of it being followed) and doesn’t go into too much detail. I’ve based my plan on my own research and my previous experience of giving birth so I’m not looking for opinions on my decisions to do ‘x’, ‘y’ or ‘z’. ;)

Jenna’s Birth Plan:

Birth partner: My husband, Stephen.

The birth environment:

I plan to labour/give birth in our living room (furniture such as the coffee table will be removed to give me more space to move around and change positions). I may also want to have a bath/shower (upstairs) to help ease labour pains. I have prepared a music playlist that I may wish to listen to using either headphones or a speaker. I have put together a homebirth box which is full of items that I feel  I may want/need during labour.

Pain relief:

When managing contractions, I would like to use my TENs machine and Entonox as well as using my Daisy Birthing breathing techniques. I am keen to avoid using Pethidine. Please do not ask me if I would like pain relief, I will state ‘I would like x now please’ when I feel I need something.

Positions for labour and birth:

I intend to remain as active and upright as possible during my labour and birth (particularly during the pushing stage) and would like my midwife to help me to achieve this. I also have a birthing ball and a CUB support available in which to aid me.

Cord clamping:

I would like the cord cutting/clamping delayed until the cord has stopped pulsating. I have provided my own cord tie which I would like to use instead of a plastic clamp. Please offer my husband the opportunity to cut the cord.

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Placenta:

I would appreciate it if you could administer drugs to help me deliver the placenta quickly. We do not wish to keep the placenta.

NB. I was seriously considering having the placenta encapsulated but after a bit of research I decided against it in the end.

Skin-to-skin:

I would like to keep the baby unclothed and close to my skin immediately after birth, to maximise skin-to-skin contact.

Feeding Baby:

I would like to breastfeed our baby as soon as possible after the birth. I’d appreciate some assistance with this to ensure the baby’s latch is correct.

Vitamin K: Please administer an injection of Vitamin K to the baby after the birth.

Sex of Baby: We do not know the gender of our baby and would prefer not to be told by a midwife (sorry!) but instead, find out for ourselves.

Please note: Our two-year-old daughter, Jasmine, may be at home with us depending on what time of day it is and whether or not we’ve managed to arrange childcare. If I’m labouring at night then we are happy for her to stay in bed and sleep through.

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I had a midwife read through my birth plan at my 36 week appointment and she said “This is exactly the kind of birth plan I’d write for myself.” And then went on to ask “But do you have any special requests?” which I must admit, totally threw me. I joked that I wasn’t a diva and wouldn’t be asking to give birth in a room full of Labradoodle puppies!

But actually, the more I think about it…

Did you write/are you writing a birth plan?

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