Friday, December 28, 2007

Updating my BLOG!

Yes. I know.

Regular posts is what makes a really successful BLOG, but can you honestly tell me you expected daily posts in the run up to Christmas...whilst I pretend I know what I'm doing? If any of you are nodding your heads, you can come and babysit!!

It's true what all parents say...

time goes quick so make the most of it. However, although that IS true, at the moment, I find myself wishing the time away so Drew gets into more of a routine.

Saying that, Drew is now 7.5wks and to think we can tease her into a routine and not expect 'the unexpected' is just downright silly. I said in my last post in November that Drew WAS settling into a kind of routine and she was, but little did I know that things can change...for no reason at all...


Friday, November 30, 2007

Does anyone know anything about babies????

Picture it...

You're on your new bicycle on a sunny warm day, no cares in the world. You come to the top of a hill and you can see for miles. You pause to take in the scene. You smell the clean air and place one foot on one of your pedals to steady yourself. You then place your other foot on the other pedal and slowly push forward. With both feet on your pedals, you quickly increase in speed down the hill. You can feel the warm breeze on your skin and dappled sunlight flashes gently across your face. As you get faster and faster, your confidence grows and your heart-rate increases and your adrenalin flows.

You take your hands off the handlebars, punching the air above your head, giving you the feeling of complete freedom. You gather more speed and start focusing on the bottom of the hill. With your arms outstretched above your head, you realise you may need to start think about breaking...and that's when you realise you headed for a thorny bush...which has a brick wall behind it. You used to be in control...you're not now.

That's the only way I can describe how I have been feeling during the last 3 weeks since Drew's arrival. It started surprisingly well...it was easy. Or so we thought! Then we headed for the bush and then the brick wall!

When I started this BLOG, I think my husband assumed once I'd had our baby, I would be able to create a new post everyday as I would have a 'life of luxury and lunch dates'. Unfortunately, I've yet to have a massage, spa or have my nails done and as for lunch...what's that? Is that what happens at 3.30pm when I scoff a piece of soggy toast and have to microwave a cold cup of tea???

Because of the jaundice, the midwives advised me to feed on demand to ensure the jaundice flushed out, so whenever Drew wanted to feed, she got it. After a few days, her feeding time increased and she fed for what seemed ages...sometimes anything up to 4hours.

In the meantime, Jerry ran around doing everything and I do mean EVERYTHING because I was tied to Drew for so long. I couldn't work out how I was ever going to be free so I could run a household when Jerry went back to work. The Community Midwives suggested Drew could be going through a growth spurt, but it seemed to be going on for a long time and it came to head last weekend when I got no sleep at all through the night because of her constant feeding. We decided to express and that's when it all became clear what was going on.

Expressing showed us just how much milk I was making and how much Drew was drinking which definitely wasn't enough for a 4 hour feed, so we realised Drew was using me as a comforter after her feed...nuzzling in and then going to sleep. So...we put a stop to that and put her in the garage. Only joking...the shed. Only joking! I know you don't want to know everything about Drew's feeding habits, but she's still feeding on demand, but once she's gone through the 3 stages of a feed, I take her off my boobie which tends to be about 30mins. Just in case you're wondering what the 3 stages are, as I had no idea a few days ago...

1. Sucking as much milk as possible
2. Sucking, but going off to sleep
3. Fast stimulation (where they stimulate you to make more milk as required)

I still express and feed Drew from a bottle for the midnight 'dream' feed which also gives me the flexibility of Jerry feeding her. However, as I'm such a nice person, I let Jerry sleep straight through so he isn't disturbed so he can function at work. SO...if anyone from the office is reading this and Jerry is blagging having not much sleep, you now know he's doing it for attention and has been sneaking into the toilets and putting onions in his eyes!!! The rest of the feeds, Drew still breastfeeds and doesn't seem to have any problem switching between bottle and breast like you're told by the 'experts' might happen.

Drew is doing brilliantly and is now sleeping nearly through the night...well for 6 hours anyway and we moved her from our bedroom into her own nursery about a week ago. We've got a walkie-talkie so we can hear every little squeak and windy-pop, and it allows us to speak to her via the walkie-talkie and switch a night light on and off. It also provides endless entertainment for Mummy & Daddy to play 'pretend lorry drivers'..."10.4 Rubber-Ducky. Over!"

I wasn't sure how well I was doing looking after Drew during my first week without Jerry, but I decided to not stay at home the whole time and challenged myself with going out to different places and visiting the girls from our Antenatal Class. Its seems stupid, but you have to work your way up to shopping at Asda, parking and going into the Post Office, walking the dog, visiting Ikea. It's not like you can just 'pop' out like you used to. You have to be well organised and I think that's why God made women good multi-taskers. We're like a Swiss Army Knife and men are like a Bayonet...both valuable and highly useful, but one may function batter than the other! If you don't know what a Bayonet is...that illustrates the point too. What do they do??? if I can offer any advice to new Mums, don't turn down an offer of help from your Mum...as long as you get on with her!

My Mum (who just happens to be THE best Mum in The Universe) has stayed with us for 5 days and having her with us has been invaluable. Thankfully, my Mum isn't one for telling me what I'm doing wrong and how I could do something better, otherwise she'd be on the first train back to Teignmouth. However, she has provided us with invaluable advice and support and succeeded in stopping Drew from continuing to cry by suggesting she may still need winding. Okay...it might be common sense to some readers...but not to us rookie parents! Mum has helped us to identify the different cries and when we should just let her cry herself to sleep...which was hard to do. Not only has Mum given us an insight into effective parenting, but she makes a mean scone and is great at ironing. Thanks Mum.

If you are wondering why I've not mentioned my Dad, unfortunately he had a cold and couldn't come to stay but I understand he's enjoyed the quiet time surfing the Internet and spending 5 days in his pyjamas. Bless.


Thursday, November 22, 2007


Apologies this update has taken soooo long to hit my BLOG, but as you can guess, our little bundle of ploppy love made an appearance on the due date. We didn’t expect anything less with having two parents who like to be organised, so major ‘brownie’ points (excuse the pun) for the baby!

So, here’s the run-down:-

- Waters broke at 5.55am on the actual due date – 8th Nov
- Although the hospital said ‘take your time…mosey on into hospital in a few hours’, the contractions were strong immediately

- Jerry (love him) was eager to make sure I had breakfast before we left and was feeding me honey-covered crumpets whilst I sat on the toilet feeling an urgent need to push. I didn’t finish the crumpet.
- The hospital advised me the contractions would be infrequent and bearable at the beginning, but that wasn’t the case for us. The pain was in my lower back and gave me the feeling of wanting to push immediately. I am told this was because the baby was sitting on my bowels.
- We finally got into the car about 7.45am only to realise it was a Thursday…rush hour traffic!
- Because the pain was so bad and was coming every minute, I started to look around the car to decide which foot well would be the best position to give birth in…IF we didn’t get to the hospital in time.

- The build-up of rush hour traffic only made things worse and I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t jump the queues by shouting ‘Get out the way…I’m in labour!’. Thankfully, we made it to the hospital doors within 45 excruciating minutes. Jerry had to drop me off while he found a parking space and I just collapsed into a wheelchair. I must have been screaming in pain as 3 hospital staff came to me instantly and took me into the delivery suite and Jerry followed closely behind with all our bags and hospital notes.
- Our first Midwife, Sonia, was great and basically told me that this was our labour and we say what goes. My request for an epidural there and then just made her smile.
- I wasn’t sure if I should be lying on the bed, sat in a chair or what and Sonia just said ‘do whatever feels most comfortable’. However, there was no free chocolate vending machine and Brad Pitt was nowhere to be seen. Because of the lower back pain, being on all fours was the best position for me to breathe through the contractions.
- I was given gas and air which only made me feel woozy and made me throw up. It was a nice orangey Lucozade colour.
- After a while, I threw the gas and air tube to the floor (much to Jerry’s disappointment as I think he was keen to have a go too). I was then given Pethidine and advised it would take about 20mins to work. 45 minutes later…nothing…it didn’t work.
- At about 10.15am, I pleaded for something stronger for the pain, but the Midwife suggested a bath might help.
- I can remember walking through each stage of running a bath in my head, how long each stage would take…
Walking into the bathroom – 8 secs
Turning taps on – 4 secs
Waiting for hot water to filter through – 30 secs
Waiting for bath to fill up – 7-10 mins
Checking temperature – 5 secs
. Adjusting temperature – 2 mins
Worse case scenario = 10 mins 49 secs…
That would mean about 5 – 8 painful contractions!! Could I wait that long?!!*!*!*!?

- I negotiated. I agreed to try a bath and if that didn’t work, I wanted an Epidural. Sonia agreed and Jerry ran the bath whilst I screamed…wondering whether the rooms were soundproof… still not sure.
- I lasted 10 seconds in the bath, only wanting to be on all fours again.
- At that point, Jerry asked for an Epidural for me and I knew it would take anything upto an hour to find an Anaesthetist who was available at that time, so I was really keen to get the balling rolling.
Sonia left us and returned within 5 minutes with…the Anaesthetist! HOORAY!!
- The Anaesthetist was lovely, but I couldn’t believe she had to run through a questionnaire with me about the risks of administering the Epidural. Didn’t she realise I was in pain?!!
- I answered all the questions, then she had to sterilise. This took about 15 minutes. Unfortunately, she touched something which was not sterile by mistake and had to de-sterilise and then sterilise herself again. All this took about an hour. All the time, I’m asking in my most polite manner…’could you hurry up!’ Jerry has since told me I only screamed the ‘F’ word twice. Not bad eh?!

- At last, the Anaesthetist explained I had to perch myself on the edge of the bed and keep v e r y s t i l l so she could insert the needle and tube into my spine. That meant not moving when the contractions came.
- I didn’t realise it until after the birth, but there were two attempts to insert this as I must have squirmed on the first attempt. Once the tube was inserted, it was strapped up my back and over my shoulder where a valve was attached which regulated the amount of the drug. This was then attached to a machine which held the Epidural drug. The effect was instant…

It was dogs kahoonas!!

- What I didn’t realise is you lose all feeling below which includes EVERYTHING!! So, they inserted a catheter. That was weird…watching the bag fill up with wee and you’re not even aware you’re weeing! What was even funnier was Jerry accidentally sitting on my bag!!
- Sonia then finished her shift and we were introduced to THE best Midwives, ever. Donna and Nicki. Nicki was in her final year of Midwifery and Donna was her Mentor. They filled us with a great feeling of safety, security and comfort and over the next few hours, they made the best use of the time and taught Jerry and I the concept of ‘Deal, No Deal’ which was on the telly in our delivery suite
- From this point, I could only feel a slight feeling of wanting to have a pooh which Donna and Nicki advised me was the contractions.
- For some reason, I could still feel my left leg slightly, so I was given an Epidural top-up and told to turn on my left side, so the drug could drip into my left leg…and it worked!
- At about 5.00pm, I was told that it was time to start pushing. Using the slight contraction feelings I could still sense as a guide, the Midwives told me when to push, how long to push for and when to stop. We did this for each contraction for about an hour. In between which, they showed Jerry the baby’s head which was about 30 minutes away from the world. During the last moments, Donna passed over full control to Nicki and she told me to push, then pant at specific times.
- Jerry was able to see the head again which was nearly out...

- At 6.33pm, our baby girl, Drew Jessica Hartell ("DJ") came into our world and weighed 6lbs 9.5oz

- All in all, it was a 12.5 hour labour….Jerry video’d the lot – not from the front end before you ask – also recording a detailed examination of the placenta which Nicki was more than happy to commentate!

- As a result of Jerry’s digital masterpiece, our Community Midwife has asked us to provide an edited version of our labour and birth for the next mums-to-be in the Antenatal Classes…anything’s better than watching a cartoon of a birth like we did!!!

- Having the Epidural meant I couldn’t eat during the whole 12 hours, so when the Midwives brought a cuppa tea and toast…it was most welcome. I was so in awe of Drew though, I missed Jerry finishing my last bites of toast…grrr!!

- Drew had jaundice for the next 5 days so had to stay in a photo light therapy unit (looks like a tanning salon!) in the same room as me. Broke my heart to see her in there, but it IS perfectly normal and she slept fine in the unit and had to wear goggles to protect her eyes.

- The Midwives in the Hospital were fantastic with providing us with breast-feeding help and support. Initially, because of the jaundice, Drew slept most of the time, so wasn’t getting enough milk and as I struggled with it at first (which is normal), I had to collect the colostrum through a syringe, drip by drip. It’s like watching paint dry, but a bit more uncomfortable… especially when a complete stranger is squeezing for you!

- Although you can check yourself out at anytime, the Midwives encourage you to stay until you are confidently breast-feeding, so I had to show them that I could do that and I needed the extra time in hospital to get that right.
- First 2 x nights at home – Drew slept all day and stayed awake a l l n i g h t ! ! !
- We worked out by keeping her awake during the afternoon means she sleeps so much better at night
- Feeding – we’re doing it on demand to help clear the jaundice, but it’s quite tiring as Drew feeds for about 1.5 – 2 hours at a time, every 3 – 4 hours. Makes you feel quite tied down and gives you an incredible sense of responsibility.
- I’ve gone through the sore nipples stage and Lansinoh cream certainly helped lots!!
- Feeding gets easier the more times I do it and I’ve learned to prepare everything beforehand…phone, remote controls, laptop, pen and paper…otherwise I get stuck for upto 2 hours not being able to do anything. I suppose that’s one of the hardest things…not being able to get on and do things while she’s feeding. In my head, I have a mental ‘to-do’ list which just gets longer and longer. It makes such a difference having a supportive partner. Jerry has been brilliant and I think I could get used to him preparing and cooking 3 times a day, running to the shops and doing the washing! The only drawback is that Jerry forgets to shave and it reminds me he’s really a ginger…let’s hope Drew misses that gene!
- We’ve been inundated with lovely cards, gifts and good wishes from SO many people and thank all of you. Drew, Jerry and I have been bowled over by the gifts which keep coming…some through the dog flap as our Postman doesn’t ring our doorbell as he knows we’ll be catching up on our sleep and puts the post through the dog flap!!
- Jerry goes back to work next week and I’m wondering how I’ll get on…I hear you just want to be left alone to get on with it…maybe I’ll be hiding behind the sofa when the doorbell goes like my Auntie did when she had her first!!!



Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Will I ever stop peeing???


It's well known that when you're pregnant, the frequency of trips to the loo increase because the uterus enlarges. As the uterus is anatomically close to the bladder, there is pressure from the uterus towards the bladder. This pressure may increase and some women can experience a small 'leak' when they cough or sneeze...see!! That proves we can still multi-task even when we're pregnant. Get us birds eh?!!

So, the advice is simple and obvious: go to the bathroom often! This means that although you feel like you're full to the brim, most of the
time you'll pee about a tablespoon worth each visit which is SO annoying...especially if your toilet is very far away or upstairs.

Luckily, our downstairs bathroom was completed last week and I now take great pleasure having a pee without having to work out whether I'll make it there without a 'sneaky leak'.

If you don't have a downstairs toilet AND you're pregnant, I am advised that this is a real benefit once baby arrives, so you should seriously consider how and if you can get one installed. Don't let your partner tell you its not possible because the pipes have to go vertically upwards & therefore gravity won't allow. We did it and it works fine!

The unit itself has a macerator so it chops up the paper and no.2's, but that's it. Nothing else. My Dad knows more than anyone the results of 'foreign objects' being disposed of by accident and I do remember him having to take their en-suite toilet pipework apart to retrieve the 'objects' on more than one occasion...Mum's fault. Not mine. Nice.

Anyway, back to peeing frequently...

I've worked out (and my parents will be proud of this bit cos it shows my high level maths ability...ahem) that I remember the frequency of my toilet visits increased when I was about 10 weeks pregnant...30 weeks ago. From this stage, the average frequency of a toilet visit was, and still is, approximately every 2 hours and the amount of 'pee' is approximately 1 tablespoon...I know, it's SO annoying.

So...this works out, up to this point (40 weeks), I have peed 2520 times which is equal to 66.6 Pints or 8.3 Gallons!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Mucus Plug

Apologies for the graphic content of this post, but I did say I would post the REAL truth of what happens.

I went for a no. 2 this morning which was quite normal. And then...a lump of mucus came out. Don't worry, there are NO photos of this despite my Dad asking if I would add this to my BLOG today.

It wasn't too much of a shock as the Midwives told us about this in our Antenatal class. To explain, the mucous plug is a collection of cervical mucus that seals the opening of the cervix. It keeps bacteria and infection from entering into the cervix, providing a protective barrier for the developing baby.

Some women describe the mucous plug as looking more like the mucous in your nose. Depending on how close to labour you are, you may see pink, brown, or red blood around the edges of the mucous plug. This is called the “bloody show”. Sorry Mum...I'm not swearing...it really is called that! Anyway, in case you're wondering. Mine was more snot coloured.

So...as all that was a bit gross, how about a lovely photo of...Brad Pitt instead?!!


Birthday, Noodles and Gloves

It was my birthday on Saturday, just gone. I was sort of hoping that my birthday would fade into the background with the arrival of Baby Hartell. But, to no avail.

Having said that, I had a great birthday and I'm living proof you can
have a fantastic birthday with nothing more than a foam noodle, Lamb Kleftiko, other people's fireworks and no alcohol! I started off the day with smoked salmon and poached eggs on toast IN bed - mmmm... then off to the local pool for a 'float'. It's the first time in months I've done any kind of exercise as the SPD restricts leg/hip movement, so I used one of the 'noodle' floats. I just hung there in the water, bobbing around whilst Jerry was my invisible protection field, stopping the kiddywinks from kicking too close and the underwater lane-swimming oldies from popping up beneath me.

Lunch was a complete surprise...brought to our house by friends, Lucy, Marta & Matt. A Greek theme...stuffed vine leaves, olives, feta cheese, cous cous & tomato salad and Lamb Kleftiko. Flippen' lush! They did a great job keeping it all quiet and an even better job preparing it all AND taking the lamb off the bone BEFORE we ate it so fusspot here didn't moan about the bones! Bless them!!

As it was Saturday, the majority of bonfire and firework parties were held that night, so we were able to gatecrash other people's fireworks from our landing window. It was great! Shame our dog, Barney, didn't think so.

I was spoilt with presents for my birthday too. A Sony Cybershot digital camera which we SO needed, a handbag (don't usually do them, but I'm always so behind with girly things...didn't get my ears pierced 'til I was 18...thanks Mum!). Jerry also gave me a pair of black leather (murdering) gloves and matching scarf. Not sure black leather gloves are the most suitable present to give your wife when she's 39.5 weeks pregnant, suffering with backache, leg cramps, pins & needles, hormone fluctuation, and a burning groin...

Lets hope he remembers...I'm always right!!

Pins and Needles with 4 days to go

Well, this is a new one for me.

Pins and needles in my fingers and hands! Didn't know that could happen! It feels like I've been lying on my hands as they can go numb too, but it seems to happen even when I'm resting...weird!

Checked this out and apparently (as usual) it's quite normal. It's usually caused by fluid build-up around the wrists, which compresses the nerves that run to the hand muscles and skin, known as 'carpal tunnel syndrome' and tends to occur when there is also swelling in the ankles...

(stops to look down at ankles)

Great! I've got fat ankles too and didn't realise! Probably because I can't normally see them! I never realised going into this just how many symptoms are 'normal'. I haven't even mentioned the awful night-time leg cramps which can surprise you! Boy...they're painful!

Well, 4 days to go til 'B' Day. I have another Midwife Appointment booked 4 days AFTER my due date. This will be to check on the health of the baby and me (IF it hasn't made an appearance by then). The Midwife will also make an appointment at the hospital for me to be induced within 12 days of my due date. So...whatever happens...we will have a baby by 20th Nov!!! EEeeeeek!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Bringing on labour naturally...

With 6 days to go 'til 'B' Day, I have been researching 'natural' ways which could help to bring on labour:-
  1. Eating curry
  2. Eating pineapple
  3. Bouncing on a birth ball
  4. Drinking raspberry leaf tea
  5. Nipple Stimulation
  6. Sex
  7. Walking
I have to say that I have tried No. 1 a few times during this week and during the middle of the night (Weds), I started to feel abdominal pain. I started to time the length and frequency of these pains. However, the third pain was quickly followed by a good old fashioned bottom burp...Doh!

Next. No. 2. Eating Pineapple. Hmmm...I guess they meant not tinned then?

Bouncing on the birth ball...No. 3...So, it took me a while to climb from the coffee table onto the top of the ball. I don't know about anyone else, but its incredibly hard to balance let alone bounce!

No. 4...Raspberry Leaf Tea...yep. Been doing that. Tastes okay. That's an easy one.

No. 5...This releases the oxytocin hormone and may help start labour. It's only likely to be successful if the cervix is 'ripe' and ready to dilate, otherwise it seems to help with the ripening process. There is no rule on how much nipple stimulation you need, or how often, to stimulate contractions...but I've set aside 2hours a day with Jerry...for the good of the baby of course!

No. 6...sex...yeah right! As if! That's what got us into this predicament in the first place and with SPD...I can't even remember where to start!!

Walking...No. 7...well I don't know about anyone in the same position as me, but I can't walk hardly anywhere because of the SPD symptoms, but IF I do go anywhere, I always predetermine where the toilets are first. It may only be a half teaspoon of wee, but...
i t f e e l s g r e a t !

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I established today that Hob Nobs are pretty good biscuits for dunking. I can carry out a 'hover' dunk for approximately 11seconds before it absorbs too much of the hot drink and annoyingly plops off into the deep below.

This got me thinking...A Biscuit Dunk-ability Test.

Jammie Dodgers - Rating 7/10. They're quite good. Thsi is due to the sandwich configuration is rigid. The jam/cream interface between provides a degree of flexibility and adhesion - preventing the 'soggified' or 'dunked' biscuit sections from disintegration.

Chocolate Hob Nobs - Rating 8/10. More dunk stable than the uncovered variety. The Hob Nob composite (with or without chocolate) is more stable than say a 'Nice' biscuit. The ingredients in the Nice type are fine and compared to the grain reinforced structure of the Hob Nob which are frail and can only be safely dunked by true experts or reckless dunkers.

Shortbread Finger - Rating 8/10. Highly compressed shortbread fingers are brilliant, but the better the quality of the shortbread, the less hardy they are with respect to tea exposure.

Sponge Finger - Rating 1/10. The increase in mass is way beyond its strength (once moistened). A dunking diasaster therefore is imminent and can not be prevented.

Wagon Wheels - Not Rated - I have a conspiracy theory about wagon wheels. We have been slowly conned. Over the years, the manufacturers have been steadily decreasing the size.

Custard creams - just albino bourbons...so Harry Hill once said.

Rich Tea - Rating 4/10. A very low dunk-ability factor. The possibility of breakoff is very high, resulting in the enivitable wet stain.

Ginger Nuts - Rating 9/10. Coffee is better than tea. Once the prescribed time has elapsed rigidity is maintained and the sucking can begin. The result is a strange tingling sensation on the tongue, livening up an average cup of coffee.

Kit-Kat - Rating 6/10. You CAN dunk a Kit Kat, but the problem lies with its construction of 4 or 2 fingers. This design is held together with a thick web of chocolate and not a biscuit or wafer lattice. This is suceptible to a variation in structural integrity across the whole jointline. If Kit Kats are divided into individual fingers they are then dunkable and withstand some serious dunkage without collapse.

Why don't packaged biscuits have a dunking factor clearly marked on the packaging to assist the novice dunker?

Having researched this further, I found that sugar is very soluble in hot water so as a rule, the higher the sugar content the less robust the super-structure of the confection. Exposure of a sugar rich biscuit to hot water causes the sugar to disolve out of the cured dough matrix and weakens the flour-based lattice. Result? - Severe biscuit collapse. Osmosis occurs, the biscuit taking on sugar until it matches the concentration of sugar in the tea. This causes a supersaturated condition, the boundaries between biscuit and tea become fuzzy - Heisenberg's uncertain-tea principle explains this nicely. Upon researching this subject further, I found this... http://www.teadunking.co.uk

What has this taught me? Only that I'm bored senseless and obviously I'm not alone!

Hormones and Arguments

Apparently...its not unusual for pregnant women to experience mood swings which can lead to arguments about the silliest of things. Apparently its to do with the hormones (men like to use this sentence a lot).

Progesterone and oestrogen, the female hormones which regulate the reproductive cycle, are thought to be partly responsible, but much of the moodiness is simply due to the fact that pregnancy is a time of tremendous change. We may be overjoyed at the thought of having a baby one day, then just as quickly begin wondering what it is we've gotten ourselves into!!

My advice for any Dads-to-be out there is to just be patient. How about try talking about the issue when she's not irritated? Make a deal together. She gets irritated and acts stupid, he goes for a walk. Later, you'll both just laugh about it.

I think the key words we have to use are, UNDERSTANDING and PATIENCE....a woman's mind is a very sensitive and emotional one and when compromised by pregnancy hormones, it can be a very dangerous one!


  • Don't use the 'Oh, its your hormones' line during an argument. Its like lighting a firework
  • Don't use the 'You're right...you're always right' line during an argument. Its like lighting 2 fireworks
  • Don't pat her on her head and smile sweetly. Its like lighting 2 fireworks and the firework factory
  • Don't say 'I know how you feel', because you don't...however, you could really try putting yourself in OUR shoes...check out The Empathy Belly
  • Think you can win an argument...no matter how right you think you are
There are forums on the Internet available to men who need some support when dealing with 'er indoors', but they are hard to find. For those men out there who need some well needed guidance or like-minded conversation...try this link.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

38 Weeks

  • Walked into the end of a kitchen cupboard (not on purpose!) and thought that would kick-start contractions. Got a funny mark on my bellybutton now.
  • I weigh 2 stone more than I usually do
  • Ricki Lake is SO boring and her voice goes straight through me
  • We're having a downstairs toilet being installed/built... in the last stages of being completed. Got the thumbs up from Building Regs for it today too – hooray!
  • I’ve got an ‘orrible cold and cough…just what you need at a time like this. Makes you feel ten times worse.
  • Learnt today that no matter what I’m feeling like, the baby is happy as Larry and has no snotty nose or annoying cough
  • Learnt today that the average weight gain for someone who is up the duff is 2stone…Phew! (wish I’d not had that Double-Decker for breakfast now)
  • Everyday, there are at least 4 daytime programmes dedicated to providing DNA tests. That’s about 4 people for every show. 16 x DNA test results a day. That’s 5824 x DNA test results a year (exc. Xmas). That’s a whole of people not using contraception. I blame the parents myself. Do you think I have too much time on my hands or something??
  • Sally Jesse Raphael looks like Sue Pollard…for those of you who remember her! (Hi-de-Hi Campers!)
  • Had a few ‘pains’ in the middle of the night which are just the first stages of labour and give me an indication that my cervix if getting ready to eject…nice.
  • Osteopath tomorrow…can’t wait! He’s a magic man with magic hands

Tuesday, October 16, 2007



Monday, October 8, 2007

SPD and ME

I'm quite lucky.

My SPD symptoms started late in my pregnancy. Some women suffer with this very early on. One of my friends suffered with this earlier this year and I had no idea how much pain she must have been in. I felt awful for not fully understanding the condition and how it must have affected her and her husband.

As I knew my friend had experienced SPD, I called her for advice straight away.

She was fantastic. A real rock. Without her, I would have been at a loss as to know what to do.

In the first instance, my friend advised me to ask my GP to refer to me to an Osteopath who specialises in SPD. I did this and I am still waiting for the referral! Instead, Jerry found an Osteopath local to us who we could see privately. We have to pay for the sessions, but it's well worth it.

The Osteopath was confident he could aliviate the pain and discomfort and specialised in pregnant women and babies.

So far, I have had 2 sessions and can feel the difference already.

Unfortunately (or fortuately!), I was signed off work as I have to drive for my job and with SPD, the recommendation is total rest. My GP signed me off for two weeks, but I continue to work from home on my laptop.

The other invaluable advice my friend gave me was very similar to the recommendations in my previous post (SPD - the groin pain)...wear a pelvic support vest (more comfortable than a pelvic suuport belt)...borrow some crutches so if you have to move, your weight is more on the crutches than on your pelvis...take homeopathic remedies when labour starts to help with the SPD pain.

I have had stop going to my Yoga for Pregnant Women as I am unable to open my legs without experiencing pain and driving or getting in and out of the car just makes the symptoms worse the next day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

34 Weeks

I was asked to go in for another checkup scan at the hospital to determine whether the placenta had moved up and away from the cervix.

Its quite reassuring that all these professionals are taking this care with your baby, so I was even more pleased when they told us that it had moved and no longer in the low position.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

SPD - the 'Groin Pain'

SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction)
The symphysis pubis is the name given to where two bones meet at the front of the pelvis. The pelvic bone is roughly in the shape of a heart, and is actually formed by three bones, which are held together by very strong ligaments.

The bones meet to form three 'fixed' joints - at the front (the symphysis pubis) and at each side of the bottom of the spine (the sacro-iliac joints).

Normally, these joints are not designed to allow movement. However, when a woman becomes pregnant, a hormone called relaxin is produced which loosens all the pelvic ligaments in order to allow the pelvis slight movement at the time of birth.

For some reason, the ligaments occasionally loosen too much and too early before birth. This means they can't keep the pelvic joints stable so the pelvis moves, especially on weight bearing. All this is made worse by the increased weight of the growing baby and sometimes the symphysis pubis joint actually separates slightly. The result is mild to severe pain, usually in the pubic area, and is called SPD.

What are the symptoms?
The most common is pain and difficulty when walking. Some women describe the feeling of their pelvis coming apart. The pain is made worse when turning in bed or doing something that involves standing on one leg, such as climbing up stairs, getting dressed and getting in and out of a car.

The pain is generally felt in the pubis and/or the sacro-iliac joints, but can also be experienced in the groin, the inner side of the thighs, the hips and in one or both buttocks.

Is there any treatment?
Unfortunately there is no way of tightening the ligaments again during pregnancy, so no treatment will be able to cure SPD. This includes any sort of osteopathy, reflexology or acupuncture. However, after the birth the body stops producing the hormone, so the ligaments tighten up and (for the majority of women) the symptoms gradually disappear.

So what can be done?
The most important thing is to avoid doing anything that aggravates the condition, such as standing on one leg.

  • Sit on a chair to get dressed.
  • Be very careful to get into a car by putting your bottom on the seat first, and then lifting your legs into the car.
  • When you get out, lift your legs onto the pavement and then lift your bottom off the seat.
  • If you go swimming, don't swim breaststroke.
  • Always turn over in bed with your knees firmly together.
  • Make sure you get a rest (in bed) every day.
  • If you already have a child, you will need help, as you will find it difficult to lift him or her.
  • If the pain is severe, ask your GP for a referral to a physiotherapist, ideally one who has specialist training in obstetrics and is called a Physiotherapist in Woman?s Health. She or he will be able to assess you and may fit you with a pelvic support belt, which helps to stabilise the pelvis. Your GP will also be able to prescribe painkillers that are safe to take in pregnancy.

33 Weeks - Abdominal Pain

I had some abdominal pains while I was in office yesterday. They came in waves and got steadily stronger and stronger. I started keeping a record of the frequency and how long the pain lasted for.

As they got worse, I realised I wouldn't be able to drive home, so I got a lift.

I called the Emergency Midwife on call for some advice who advised me to call the hospital. I did this and they suggested that because there was no bleeding or spotting, I should stay at home, relax, have a bath and just monitor the pain.

The pain did subside that evening, but during the night, it flared up again and became quite strong. Goodness knows what I'll be like in labour!!!!!

After calling the hospital again, they advised us to come in which we did.

Again, they monitored the baby, who was moving around without a care in the world and advised me I was experiencing labour pains. At this stage, if the baby decides to make an early appearance, the baby's lungs are not fully formed and not be strong enough to cope so they would have to inject steroids...so they admitted me and kept an eye on me and the baby.

The Midwives and Nurses were great and made me feel very comfortable and safe.

I was moved to a Maternity Ward at 8.45am Sat morning...wanting SO much to get some well needed sleep, only to be met with curtains being opened, lights going on and visits for the other female patients.

As I tried to get some sleep, Jerry went home for a rest too as the hospital visiting chairs are not the best for getting 40 winks!

The pain slowly subsided by itself and they advised us that these labour pains were Braxton Hicks. The Doctor was great and didn't make me feel like an idiot for calling them originally although I did feel like a time waster. They reassured me that the health of me and the baby is THE most important thing and we did the right thing by coming in.

As the Doctor was discharging me, she mentioned I had SPD and was the answer to why I was still experiencing groin pain and discomfort. SPD!! Not sure why it was never diagnosed before!! We learnt about SPD in one of our Antenatal Classes, but I never thought that was the cause of my groin pain and burning sensation.

In one way, it was a relief to know what was wrong with me so it could be treated, but in another, there wasn't a lot that could be done to help. Read my next blog for further details about SPD.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

WORSE Groin Pain...hospital visit

So, there we were. Having a lovely Italian meal in a restaurant with my husband, his sister and his Mum...celebrating his Mum's birthday.

The groin pain / trapped nerve got steadily worse. So much so, I couldn't stop holding that area of myself to try to stem the pain. Jerry's sister bought me some paracetamols, but they didn't touch the pain.

I did as I was told and kept as still as possible, but I just guessed the trapped nerve was being flicked by the baby!

The pain got so bad, I went outside the restaurant for a walk. BIG mistake! It was much worse and I could hardly stand up.

At that point, Jerry helped me walk to the car which was excruciating. Each step sent a shooting pain from my groin down my leg. I didn't think the baby was coming, but it was just so worrying as the pain was that bad.

We left the restaurant, called NHS Direct for advice, who advised us to call the Hospital. The Midwives at the Delivery Suite of the Hospital suggested we should go in WITH our Yellow Book. If only I had taken my own advice and taken it with me that night!!!

Once we'd got our Yellow Book, at the hospital they asked lots of questions about the location of the pain, what it felt like and they checked the heartbeat of our baby which is normal procedure.

The baby was fine...it seemed to be me with the problem! But, there was no visible lumps, no rash, nothing to indicate anything was wrong.

The Hospital also were perplexed by the symptoms and also put this down to a trapped nerve which can be very painful. We stayed in the hospital for a few hours during the night so they could monitor me and the baby and then we were discharged early hours of the morning with the advice to take paracetamols when needed. Slighting annoying as I knew the paracetamols wouldn't help.

We had our first weekly Antenatal Class today too. Both of us went. It was held in our local Community Centre and we met other couples all at similar stages of pregnancy. The class was informative and taught us about the different stages of labour and was facilitated by one of Midwifes from our local surgery.

What was good was that our Midwife knew I had been admitted into hospital last night as they informed her this morning. Good communication!

31 Weeks - Routine Midwife Appointment

I didn't find anything on the Internet about this groin pain. Its weird. However, I did find loads of posts from worried mums-to-be who are suffering other pains and feelings...there is so much you can worry about. The best thing to do is to ask your Midwife and that's what I did today.

I explained the feelings to my Midwife and they suggested it could be a trapped nerve and as it was worse when I moved, they advised me to just take it easy.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Groin Pain

I've been experiencing some odd feelings down below. The only way I can describe it, is as a burning sensation around my bikini line. Its like I've shaved down there...badly and it stings SO bad. Sometimes it goes numb. Really odd. Checking it out on the Internet...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

28 Weeks

Had a routine scan at the hospital today. 28 weeks.

The Sonographer took a much more detailed look at our baby. She took various measurements to check that the baby's growth is 'on track'. She looked for conditions such as cleft lip and palate, spina bifida, plus any abnormalities of the brain, heart and other organs. She also counted the baby's fingers and toes just to be on the safe side!

Oh...and told us the sex of our baby when we asked!


Saturday, June 30, 2007

21 Weeks

We went back to the hospital again for another scan as the baby was curled up in a ball last week and the Sonographer was unable to complete all the checks.

This time though...they managed to check the full anatomy of baby and everything was fine.

Friday, June 22, 2007

20 Weeks

Had a routine 20week scan today.

They called it the 'anomaly scan' or mid-pregnancy ultrasound scan .

This scan is carried out in order to look for any abnormalities in the baby’s structural development and growth, and to check the position of the placenta.

They weren't able to check everything though as the little blighter was curled up in a ball! After taking the hospital's advice and walking up and down the fire exit stairs for 15mins with a practically full bladder...they checked again.

BUT...the baby was intent on staying in that position, so they sent us home and made another appointment for us to return the following week.

However, they did establish that the placenta was in a low position. Not really a problem at the moment, but they noted this and advised me that usually the placenta 'floats' up as the baby grows, but they will keep an eye on it to make it does move. Otherwise, if it stays just above the cervix, a C-Section maybe required.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


The OSCAR (One Stop Clinic for the Assessment of Risk) is a test comprising of a nuchal translucency scan and a blood test taken at the same time. This is done between 11-14 weeks. It measures levels of hCG (a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadatrophin) and PAPP-A (Pregnancy Associated Plasma Protein) in your blood.

Pregnancies affected by Down's syndrome tend to have higher hormones and lower proteins than normal. NT scans alone can pick up 75 per cent of Down's babies, but by combining with the blood test, the detection rate is 90 per cent (Spencer et al 2003). If the predicted risk is greater than 1 in 300, it is termed as positive indicating an increased risk for Down syndrome and warrants further testing by invasive methods like CVS / Amniocentesis. This will finally determine whether the baby is affected or not. If the predicted risk is less than 1 in 300, it is termed as negative. This means the chances of having Down syndrome is low, but does not definitely exclude it. In case of screen negative result , no further testing is offered.Tests are available at various hospitals around the country and your Midwife and your local surgery will be able to advise you, but you can phone the Fetal Medicine Centre in London on 020 7486 0476 for a list of accredited centres.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

12 week scan

Yep, anyone who had kids a year or so ago will say "a 12week scan? I never had one of those!". Well, they do now. Its great though. It's THE first opportunity for you and your partner to see and hear what's going on and a chance for the health professionals to check on the Fetus, Heart, Movement, Pelvis, Amniotic Fluid.

The appointment is quick. In and out, but they do provide you with scans...don't do what we did though and laminate the scans so you can give copies to the grandparents to be. As they're negatives, the heat from the laminater instantly blacked out the whole scan!

As we decided to have an additional 'OSCAR' Test & Scan through BUPA, we were able to get replacement scans which were even better quality than the NHS hospital. We had to pay for this and our Private Health care doesn't cover us for maternity-related requests, but for our peace of mind, it was worth it and cost us about £200. It's usually advised to have this test as the mother's age increases, the risk goes up.

See my 'OSCAR' posting for more information on the OSCAR test.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Yellow Book

Your Midwife at your local surgery will give you an A4 Book - Pregnancy and Birth Notes. Also known as your 'Yellow Book'.

This is a really important book and tells your midwife and the hospital everything about YOU and YOUR BABY.

The first page summarises your routine appointments during your pregnancy at the different stages.

Your Midwife should go through this with you and each time you see her, they should outline whether a hospital appointment will be made for you, when you need to book an appointment with your GP and when you need to book an appointment to see your Midwife.

Its always helpful to tick off where you are on this 'Summary of Appointments' and I also found it useful to add the dates of my appointments next to each stage listed. Its always a good point of reference just in case you have a partner with a sieve-head!

Another good piece of advice is...ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS take your Yellow Book everywhere with you. Not just on your routine appointments, but everywhere. The reason for this is that if you're out shopping and you have an accident, the emergency services instantly know what your situation is by reading the contents of the book.

Don't do what I did and forget to take to your first hospital scan. The hospital staff were not best pleased and the 'losing my brain cells already' line didn't work.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

You think you're pregnant?

So, you think you're pregnant? What do you do?

In March 07, I bought a pregnancy home testing kit. Don't do what I did. I went for the cheapest home kit on the market and it had a 'Buy one get one free' offer. There's got to a reason they are so cheap. The first result indicated 'positive', but the colour spread across the entire window and left me feeling unsure as to the real result. So, I used the 2nd 'free' test. Same thing happened.

I bought another test which was digital, more expensive but rather than showing the result with a coloured line, it simply stated 'pregnant' or 'not pregnant'. Brilliant!

My result was 'pregnant'.

I still didn't believe it.

So, I bought another 2 tests (£13.99 for 2) ...just to make sure this one was correct. It was.

In total, I spent about £35 on pregnancy tests. My advice is just got for the Clear Blue Digital kits...it will save any question mark over your results and your pennies!


I made an appointment at my local GP, expecting them to confirm my result with a test there and then in the surgery. However, I was advised that these days the home kits are SO accurate, they go with those little windows of pink lines and positive pregnancy words. I felt relieved I'd done more tests...just for MY peace of mind.

Thursday, March 1, 2007



I'm Jewels. I'm thirty-six (looks younger if you don't show your age
in numbers!) and together with my husband, Jerry, we are trying to merrily tiptoe through the twisting pathways of being first-time parents.

I say 'merrily', but it doesn't always
work out that way and more often that not, you'll find us walking into the deep undergrowth, jumping over canyons, swinging on vines and sometimes, just sometimes...the canyons are deeper and wider than we thought and the vines aren't as strong as they looked!

Join us on our Explorers' journey into the Unknown (for us) and follow our 'no holds barred' adventure online diary including video footage and photos, starting from 9 months BEFORE our beautiful baby arrived...


Monday, February 26, 2007

Drew's Little Gems

placed the coins onto the ripped pages and said money fixed book Mummy!