Wednesday, 17 August 2011

All about me, me me

The lovely Tas from Not My Year Off has tagged me in a meme. And not for the first time. I thought I should actually make an effort to blog this time.

Ten things you didn't know about me. Well, I thought about letting you into some deep dark secrets. And then I remembered my husband reads my blog!

Then I thought about what readers of my blog actually do know about me. There's the births, the breastfeeding, the lack of sleep. It's quite limited really, isn't it. So here's a quick summary of some of the obvious things about me that all my friends would tell you, but you probably don't know. Kind of controversial given that my friends don't know about my blog!

1. I used to eat tomato ketchup with EVERYthing. Salad included. I have grown out of it now. At last.

2. My parents are divorced (who's aren't?). They separated when I was 18.

3. I studied Music, French and German at A-Level.

4. I went ice skating once when I was 16. It was ok. I went ice skating for the second time when I was 23. I broke my wrist.

5. I played 'Marty' in the school production of Grease. "You know, like, as in Maraschino".

6. As a child, my favourite thing to cook was Cheese Scones.

7. I went to Manchester University. After careful consideration, I left after my first year. Just wasn't the right time/place for me.

8. I was once on BBC TV on Christmas Day. I believe it may have been the year 1998, on a programme called Choir of the Year. They did a big old close up of me! Or two.

9. I'm a bit bossy. A bit of a 'leader'.

10. I have a tattoo. That's all you need to know.

So there we have it. Hope you found that insightful. Or mildly entertaining, at least. I think all the bloggers I talk to have already been tagged... so I shall just invite you to join in and leave a link in the comments if you like.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Shit Ya Pants?

I am not cut out for this shit. Literally shit. Pant loads of the stuff.

I knew the success of potty training week was too good to be true too. We had about 10 days of excellent work. Then, at his nana's house this weekend, Felix managed to do not one poo in his pants, but four. Yes. FOUR poos in the space of five hours. Not one of them on a toilet or potty.

I thought maybe this would be a one off. Different location, lack of attention from mummy (I was cooking, not in any way relaxing or taking time off - I wish), maybe it was because there was so much going on. But it was not a one-off.

Yesterday, whilst my outspoken grandmother was visiting (more on that another time)...

Hold on, I have to pause writing, as he's now sitting on his potty doing a poo. WAHOO, YEAH!

On the plus side, he DID finally produce something rather spectacular on the potty at the end of the day.

Today... the exact same process. With a wet pair of pants, trousers and socks to add to the four dirty pairs of pants. "No, I not do my poopoo", "well why are you squeezing then honey?". Four more pairs of dirty pants. I've totally lost my cool about having a carefree attitude to potty accidents. I've started to demand he sit on the potty and although I haven't actually told him off, I've made subtle digs and other awful sneaky ways of making him feel like a failure. At least he finally produced.

So, who has some good tips for persuading children to sit on the potty every single time they need to TRY for a poo, even if it's not ready to come out yet? Because I reckon another day of this is going to send me over the edge.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Oh bum!

I always swore I would leave potty training until my children were absolutely ready, able to tell me they need to go, then tackle it in a week. I suppose I thought they would be ready a bit sooner. Especially as both their dad and me were out of nappies by the time we were 2 (or so we are told).

Felix turns 3 this week and despite being perfectly capable of using the potty or toilet (he's been sitting on it every day since he was 18 months old), he shows no sign of actually wanting to get rid of nappies. Not only has he taken to telling us "I not big boy", but he actively refuses to poo on the toilet. I put him on when I know he needs to go: before nap-time story, after nap-time story and nothing. As soon as I tuck him into bed and head downstairs there comes a small voice "I do my poopoo" and t'is done.

Well, I had concluded we were just going to have to bite the bullet, probably over the summer, and put him in pants. Then... the lovely Jenny Paulin from Mummy Mishaps offered me the chance to review an all-singing, all-dancing potty and I wondered if it could provide our last chance to persuade him that he really does want to be a big boy before giving him no choice.

Our Smart Rewards Potty arrived on Monday and I have to say, first impressions were fab! Putting it together was easy, one electronic connection and then slot the 'cistern' into the back of the bowl. Felix had great fun sitting down and making the 'welcome' song play. Of course, I have been singing it around the house all week... but that happens with ANYthing musical in this house.

It's been a bit of a hectic week for any serious effort to be put into potty training... what with me turning 30 and the baby running a high temperature... but we've made a bit more effort than usual to encourage toilet usage and even worn "big boy pants" on a couple of occasions.

Let me run you through the "likes" first. The four step learning system is great. The child is rewarded for sitting, then for 'making a deposit' (what a great turn of phrase), flushing, then rewarded with a sticker to chart progress. So if you're starting potty training fresh, you don't have to think about it at all. The Smart Rewards Potty will tell you exactly how to do it! Easy.

We LOVE the removable bowl. It makes disposing of the 'deposit' SO much easier than with a cumbersome normal potty. And cleaning too.

I was impressed that it came with more than one reward chart and a second roll of stickers (refills can be purchased online). Because how many parents buy a new potty when training their second child, eh? The seat can also be removed and used as a trainer seat on the real toilet. Very sensible of the designers to make it a one-stop solution.

And do you know what? It's a lot more stylish than the average potty too. I found it quite cute having a 'mini toilet' sitting in our bathroom all week. It doesn't take up anymore space but looks at home.

The negatives are few and only minor. The "parent-activated" sticker dispenser was unfortunately, not quite parent-cotrolled enough for my sticker loving child. In fact, I think pulling the roll out, releasing 10 or so stickers, was the first thing Felix did after I opened the box. And as I couldn't wind them back in (I possibly could have if I'd bothered to unscrew the cover) they got torn off and stored elsewhere.

He also found the boys deflector shield great fun for taking off and dropping in the bowl. Maybe it's only my child who's that annoying but I would have liked a better way of fixing it on so it was less easy for Felix to remove.

One final, jovial criticism. Wouldn't it be nice if you could choose an English accent version of things like this. Why are they always American? In fact, wouldn't it be good if you could choose the voice. Personally, I think Stephen Fry would make an excellent "Voice of the Potty".

Disclaimer: I was sent a Smart Rewards Potty to review free of charge, but I received no other compensation for this article. The views are my honest opinions.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Breastfeeding Leper

I had this grand idea that for national breastfeeding awareness week (if it still exists without the funding), I would publish a blog post every day on the subject. Then I remembered I barely find time to post once a month at the moment so I forgot the idea.

However, I thought I'd try for at least one post. But there is so much to discuss about breastfeeding as it's such an emotive subject, so I thought I'd take a different angle, to show that we breastfeeders sometimes feel excluded and despised too.

Now don't get me wrong, I am a confident breastfeeder. I don't feel the need to hide away and will happily breastfeed in a coffee shop, restaurant, well, wherever I need to really. But there have been times when I haven't found it so easy.

For example, when Felix was still tiny and I was trying to find my feet, getting used to being at home and having to find friends to spend my days with (either that or never speak to another adult ever again!), I went along to a local baby group. At first the breast/bottle divide was about 50-50. After the first couple of sessions though, I don't remember seeing anyone else breastfeeding. The plastic chairs (think school hall) were set out in a circle in the middle of the room. So there was no opportunity for discretion, and there was no way of making yourself comfortable. Nobody spoke to me whilst I was feeding either. I felt ostracised from the group, like an intruder with a disgusting habit.

I believe I gave the group one more chance after this. Nothing any worse happened but I felt no real desire to attend again. I went on a mission to find other breastfeeding mums to befriend and thankfully my antenatal class members came good (they weren't an obvious first choice as we were sent to an NCT group the other side of the city and we only made it to one class before Mr Premature decided to enter the world).

My point is, that it's often the formula-feeders that feel the breastfeeders look down on them, pity them or criticise them. It happens to breastfeeders too y'know. Nicknames like the Breastapo come from our need to display confidence in our decision to breastfeed. It's a defence mechanism to any negativity we may feel.

I think our own inner feelings of guilt or insecurity can make us imagine other people's prejudice in these situations. I know formula feeders who never even considered breastfeeding and are more than confident in their decision. They don't feel belittled by me and I don't feel embarrassed about breastfeeding in their presence.

How about you? Breastfeeders: did you ever feel excluded by the bottle-feeders? Formula mums: have you ever felt pity for or judgemental about another mums decision to breastfeed?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Thick and Creamy

Ladies and Gentlemen, please be advised that the nappy consistency has changed. I repeat, the nappy consistency has changed.

Oh my. In fact, that particular nappy was much like the parsnip and apple that I have just pureed to a smooth mush.

The change in nappy contents, was one of many reasons that I was not looking forward to beginning weaning. Alas, it is not considered polite for a child to go on being exclusively breastfed into adulthood, nor is it healthy for the child. So I suppose weaning must commence.

And so it did, last week. Along with the increase in laundry, there was a noticeable increase in my stress levels too. I had forgotten quite how little I had enjoyed weaning my eldest. Could this be to blame for his picky eating now he is nearly 3?

I will not let this happen again. Just in case it was to blame. And so, when I sit down to introduce the baby's palate to a world of new flavours, I will take a deep breath, I will relax my shoulders and I will NOT let the mess annoy me. I will put out of mind that this will be his third outfit change of the day and I will allow my own hands and clothes to be wiped, spat and dribbled on.

I will not get cross when his hands or his bib find their way into his mouth instead of the spoon and I will smile and sing merrily (not at all through gritted teeth) to regain his attention when he non-chalantly gazes out of the window or arches his back in frustration. When a fully loaded spoon is knocked flying from my hand, I shall laugh in the face of the cleaning cloth. Food will be fun. And mummy will be calm.

Spoons at the ready. Let the culinary battle commence.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

I wish I was pregnant

We are finally beginning to make some progress with the whole sleep thing. I feel human enough to do something with my time other than mope about, even if my past two attempts at an early night (as sleeping from 8pm-1am would mean a WHOLE FIVE HOURS sleep in one go!!!) haven't exactly resulted in more sleep. Stupid brain won't switch off.

For those others of you, desperately searching for the answer to that baby-nighttime-sleep problem, it's simple. Go on a holiday in the UK that involves a loooong drive. Baby sleeps in car, baby has proper daytime sleep, ergo baby sleeps at night. Oh, and a big cot is helpful for a baby who can roll so they can sleep in whatEVER position they choose.

In the meantime, I got to thinking about how NOT being pregnant anymore really sucks. Don't get me wrong, I do NOT want another baby (not right now anyway thanks), but there are elements of pregnancy that make life sooo much easier...

Like my hair not falling out - I swear, I emptied a FULL fistful of hair into the bin after my shower this morning. It was disgusting. And think how much I must have missed in the past month which is now currently residing in the plughole, soon to completely block up the bath!

And what's with my hair getting all greasy? During pregnancy I could easily skip the shampoo for one day. Now, it's like I have a big sign on my forehead and a siren screeching "not washed, not washed".

Breastfeeding is commonly known as ample excuse to continue "eating for two" long after the birth of your child... but I have to say I've noticed the weight gain and have concluded that it is time to stop that fourth meal of the day when Felix has his tea. Eating his leftovers is ok though, right?

Not carrying round a big old bump means you lose a lot of people's sympathy too. No-one offers to carry things anymore or make me drinks. I'm not expected to need to sleep at any given opportunity or need help around the house. But the truth is, your body doesn't return to normal (what is normal?) that quickly, and whether it's first, second or (I'm sure) subsequent child, it's a shock to the system that takes more than a couple of months to adjust to. It's a whole new life again.

And the best thing about being pregnant... no periods OR contraception. I'm very happy to still be period-free (oh breastfeeding - you ARE my friend), but did not enjoy having a doctor messing around inside me again, even if it does mean I can now forget about contraception for five years. Next time, it's the male pill. Let's see how he likes it.

Monday, 11 April 2011

I need sleeeeep...

We all know that babies wake up in the night and mothers get little sleep in the early days. What we do not know, is how long this will go on for before the baby starts managing longer breaks between feeds.

I had never contemplated that at 4 months old, Elliot would still be awake every 4 hours throughout the night given that his brother was sleeping from 7pm until at least 5am if not later by the same age.

So here, is a quick top 5 reasons why it is obvious that I am sleep deprived.

1. I keep forgetting to do up my flies. Luckily, we spend much of our time at home so no-one except me notices.

2. We went on a rare night out on Saturday. After one glass of bubbly, I was completely incoherent. Mostly as a result of not being able to remember any marginally intelligent vocabulary. This happens a lot. Without the alcohol.

3. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, gets done. Paul gets home from work to find wet washing has been sitting in the machine all day, breakfast, lunch and Felix's dinner things are strewn across the kitchen. And as for work/health/social arrangements, the list of pending jobs is just huge.

4. My food intake has increased, even beyond pregnancy levels! I've noticed an increase in tummy size, not just left over jelly belly flab, but a firmer, food related roundness. But when I tried to cut down on my snacking last week, I had an obvious energy lull which was only remedied by the intake of a hot cross bun.

5. I can no longer remember if the previous night was a good or bad one. I start the conversation with "For example, last night, he fed at..." and then I tail off in a mumble along the lines of "I can't even bloody remember what happened at 4am, but when I woke up, he was in bed with me".

One day, yes, one day, I shall get some sleep and then my life will start to become normal again. Whatever normal is with two children.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A Day Off

I hadn't appreciated how much I needed some time off. But I felt SO good today at rehearsal with my choir, The Chanterelles.

I almost didn't make it. I was supposed to be there yesterday as well, but after being completely knocked off my feet this week when I developed mastitis (more of that another day), I wasn't sure I'd be up to it. And more importantly, I didn't think taking time away from the baby, missing up to 3 breastfeeds each day, would be the best idea. Really.

But our conductor contacted me last night and said she'd love to see me today, even if I needed to bring baby along. Personally, I think I'm THAT great a singer that she just needed my vocal input!!

So I packed Elliot up and we had a fantastic day. Even though he was there with me, it was like having time off from parenting (I suppose that means that Felix is the challenging one). And as I walked back through the front door feeling totally refreshed, I realised that I'd been parenting alone all day every day for the preceding 12 days (excluding yesterday). No wonder I needed a break!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A Biting Chance

This afternoon, Elliot and I (Felix was at nursery sticking tissue paper to a tree) went to visit a heavily pregnant friend. She's pregnant with her first child and is due to give birth next week. AND she lives within walking distance of our house - VERY exciting.

Whilst we were there, Elliot had a feed. Within this annoyingly short (5 minutes) breastfeed, he managed to suck his way off my nipple (stretching it as far away from my breast as possible) twice and bite me once. What an excellent advertisement we made for breastfeeding.

Thankfully, she knows my first child was better behaved.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Gallery: Expressions

My poor baby must be feeling severely unloved due to the lack of photographs of him so far in comparison to his big brother by the time he was the baby's age! I suppose that happens with many second children. Particularly if the eldest is still young enough that he would destroy the camera if it were left somewhere easily accessible to the parents.

With that in mind, and having noticed on Twitter that it is Gallery day (why can I never remember - oh, maybe that'll be the lack of sleep), I thought I should get my camera out today. So I packed Felix off to his bedroom for some "quiet time", which usually doesn't involve very much quiet time and certainly doesn't involve any sleep, whilst Elliot did his best modelling work.

It may seem a boringly obvious response to this week's theme of Expressions, but forgive me. I have a new baby (alright, nearly 3 months. He still feels new to me) and I haven't yet captured a good smile even though he started smiling at the tender age of 5 weeks.

Indulge me. Here is my baby boy, Elliot, giving me his best cheesy grin. And I didn't have to sing to obtain it either!

Go check out some more amazing expressions in The Gallery at Sticky Fingers.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Aliens and Robots

Felix, age 2, is finally beginning to talk more and we are enjoying fuller conversations with him as a result. It is highly entertaining.

For example, on the way back from nursery this week, his daddy asked him if he'd had a good day and what he'd been up to. Feeling quite tired, he went for the answering questions option, rather than offering anything more to the conversation himself.

Daddy: Did you eat your lunch?
Felix: yeah
Daddy: Did you play with Daniel?
Felix: yeah
Daddy: Did you go outside?
Felix: yeah
Daddy: Did you play on the slide?
Felix: yeah
Daddy: Did you stroke a giraffe?
Felix: yeah
Daddy: Did you go on a train ride to the seaside?
Felix: yeah
Daddy: Did aliens come down in a spaceship and turn the sky black and swap your teacher with a robot?
Felix: errrr, no.

So, he was listening.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The 29 Year Old Virgin

Having sex for the first time after giving birth is a little like losing one’s virginity all over again. How will it feel? Has my body returned to normal? Will my jelly belly put him (or me) off? And the longer you go on NOT having sex, the more of a big deal it becomes. The more you just want to get it over and done with.

Well, I’m there. I want to get it over and done with. I’m not expecting it to be a pleasant affair - that’s no reflection on my husband’s performance, more a suggestion of what my mental state will be by the time we actually get down to business. But I know once that first time is over and done with, I’ll be able to relax and enjoy it once more.

You may wonder why it’s taken us so long. I didn’t wait so long after my first child. Oh no. The medical profession recommend that you abstain until your post-natal six week check up. Well, we didn’t. I think it was about four weeks. As soon as I felt my stitches had fully healed and the mood took me whilst the baby was sleeping.

It’s a little more difficult with TWO children. Night-time is pretty much a no go as due to waking every 3 hours or more through the night for the past 8 weeks, I’m pretty shattered by the time bedtime rolls around. Earlier evening, once the toddler has gone to bed maybe. Well if the baby had a predictable bedtime and evening sleep pattern by now then this might be a possibility - if I was also organised enough to have dinner ready and eaten before toddler’s bedtime. Let’s face it, dinner will always take priority over sex. FACT.

What about daytime then before all my energy has seeped away. Well, that’s the main problem. There’s a child around. And due to Christmas, then visitors, then toddler illness, then my illness... and I think that brings us bang up to date.

So here I am, getting more and more apprehensive about it, building up the event in my mind until I’m almost going to be too scared to actually do it. And I can’t even do what many older virgins do and get plastered. Stupid breastfeeding rules.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Silent Sunday

More Silent Sunday images can be found on Mocha Beanie Mummy's blog here.

The weaning debacle

Baby no 2 will be weaned gradually onto solid foods at 5 months old, as long as he seems ready.

And THAT is all I have to say on the subject.

See BBC news article here.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Cute as a Button

I'm finally getting involved in The Gallery again (hopefully I'll become a regular now). It's run by Tara Cain at Sticky Fingers where each week Tara provides a prompt and we all find a suitable photograph to represent that prompt. This week is Body Parts. And there's some very brave photos out there so go have a look at them all.

For me, the prompt screamed BABY FEET. I have a newborn, it's a classic newborn shot, I'm a photographer. Why not? But I didn't get round to doing it before The Gallery day and on looking at a few of the other posts this morning, someone else had already done it. And although that shouldn't have stopped me, it did. Perhaps because their photo was so beautiful!!

So I thought about Elliot's body and about some of my other favourite bits or something a bit special. And I remembered how when his tummy button first healed, it looked like a letter E. As if fate had made us chose the right name for him. It's slightly less E like now as the middle line has disappeared, but there's something amazing about a baby's tummy button anyway - it was, after all, his life line for 9 months. And how quickly it heals leaving only the smallest trace that we were once attached. Look how well healed it is after only 5 weeks.

Monday, 10 January 2011

My labour of love

Having spent my entire labour on twitter, writing about each stage, it does seem a little ironic that it’s taken me over a month to get my birth story up on my blog.

Well, it started with my waters breaking. I was reading Felix his bedtime story when I felt a pop. Nothing else happened, not even when I stood up. I sort of expected a gush.

Eventually I felt some waters trickling out but not very much. Whilst mildly freaking out about what was to come, I ate my dinner and called my mum over to babysit. Then, I rang the hospital only to find out that they were closed to admissions and I needed to contact the other local hospital. Eek!

So we stayed at home and watched a bit of Michael McIntyre (laughing releases endorphins which lessens the pain, apparently) and timed contractions. Eventually we decided we should try to sleep, but mum was in our bed, so Paul got out the sofa bed and some blankets and dozed off whilst I closed my eyes. Contractions were around every 10 minutes so I didn’t get to sleep. But the rest was nice and twitter kept me company!

As contractions became more like 5 minutes apart, I rang the hospital again to find they had re-opened - wahoo! Grabbed another bite to eat and then we headed off, in the snow. I had a mild panic as the car wouldn’t reverse of our sloped driveway, but we got there in the end.

Of course, as soon as we arrived at hospital (around 3am), the contractions slowed down and became less regular again. And on examining me, the doctor couldn’t even confirm that my waters had broken. So at 6am I got transferred to a ward and Paul went home for a sleep. I would have loved to have got some sleep myself, but what with a contraction creeping up on me every half hour at the LONGest and the sound of newborn babies crying in the room, there was no chance. I may have dozed, but that was it.

At 11am, Paul, Felix and my mum arrived to visit. I was already missing Felix despite having put him to bed just the night before. I blame it on the emotions! He was a bit restless so mum took him away again and Paul stayed hoping we’d give birth soon. We started trying to speed things up by walking round and round the ward and even sideways up and down the stairs.

We got back to regular 5 minute contractions, although there was still the occasional longer gap. But I was having to concentrate on breathing through the pain. I enquired at what point I would go back to the delivery suite and the midwife explained that I’d be examined as I'd need to be in established labour (3cm dilated) before they could send me back. She also advised me that there was no gas and air until I got back to delivery.

Now I understand that they must often have people demanding pain relief before they really need it. But not me. By the time I was asking her the above questions, I really needed it already. I might have looked very calm, in control and without pain to her, but I knew I was getting there.

Anyway, I did as I was told, took my painkillers and got in the bath. I hated the bath. Maybe because of the stupid angle I had to sit at, but the contractions hurt way more and I got out after only two contractions.

On returning to the midwife (around 5.45pm) to ask for pain relief she said she would get me monitored before an examination - I was a bit narked by this as I KNEW I needed pain relief and just wanted to get back to the delivery suite as soon as possible.

I probably made them think even more, that I wasn’t too close, when I went and got a plate full of food. Well, I didn’t want to miss dinner time (seriously, I love the NHS food THAT much). I managed to eat most of my carb fest (pasta, creamed potatoes AND chips all on one plate) before the midwife arrived to monitor me. I did have to shout at Paul to take the plate off me a few times and hit GO on the contraction timer for me. ("Tray, ‘start’, agh, ohh, oooh, owww, etc.")

The midwife came and strapped me up. She witnessed a couple of these contractions and, I think, began to realise that I was further along than they’d assumed. Personally I felt sorry for the new mums in the same room, having to listen to me!

The baby’s heartbeat was fine so she got on with the internal exam but struggled to find my cervix. In the meantime I was contracting away, writhing around on the bed and sobbing. She finally found and pulled forward my cervix (I guess that was the bit that really hurt then?!) and told me, not only that my amniotic sac was bulging (i.e. waters had not broken) but also that I was 6cm dilated.

Hello. Established labour. WHERE’s the pain relief then?

Unfortunately, the baby didn't like what she'd done and his heart rate dropped. Significantly.

"I don't want you to panic but I'm going to pull the emergency button and get you straight onto delivery".

Panic? Me? No chance. I'm in immense pain and you're going to get me to the pain relief quickly. I LOVE YOU.

I remember worrying a bit that Paul would panic though. Anyway. Suddenly there were people everywhere wheeling me and my bed through the doors and into the lift. This is when I wrote my last tweet, at 6.20pm and handed my phone over to Paul to keep safe.

Back on delivery the contractions were coming back to back and I just managed to squeeze out the words "I want to push".

My delivery midwife told me to go with it if I wanted to push. But she also wanted me to move onto another bed which was near impossible at the time. Every time I thought a contraction was easing off and I tried to move another one came along and I was crippled over, head hanging off the side of my bed just sucking on the gas tube.

On top of this she also wanted to attach a probe to the baby’s head to monitor his heartbeat. I guess I was moving too much for the external fetal monitor to work - whoops! But likewise, as there was no let up between contractions, there was no way she was going to get to do it.

I have no idea where Paul was at this point, bless him, but he told me later he’d been really worried by my lack of cooperation!

Eventually I managed to crawl across to the bed and get almost into my preferred position. I had been half heartedly pushing all this time, partly because in the back of my mind, I was only 6cm dilated and didn’t want to do myself any damage, but mainly because I was in so much pain that I couldn’t control myself enough to push.

Finally in a decent position, sucking on the gas and air like my life depended on it, I began to regain control of my body and started to push properly.

Wow, did it feel different to my first labour.

Ok, so they think maybe my hind waters had broken, meaning the TOP of the bag broke and any water behind his bottom may have trickled out. But the fluid around his body and in front of his head was still there which made it feel like I was pushing out a bulging balloon of water. It seemed to be much harder work than my first labour where my waters had properly broken and I was pushing out a head instead.

All of a sudden they told me he was crowning. One more push and Elliot’s head was out. I don't think I believed the midwives so I put a hand down to feel him!! Clearly the gas and air had done something odd to me!

The next push seemed much more effort than I remember from my first labour too, but out he popped and, as requested, they put him straight onto my chest. Totally different to Felix being whisked away for prematurity health checks. I just held on tight to Elliot whilst trying to calm down and regain control over my breathing.

Elliot was born at 7pm, weighing 7lb 1oz. I think it’s quite normal to feel totally elated and proud of yourself after pushing out a little baby, but I have to say, holding him immediately afterwards whilst recovering from the shock, makes it the MOST special feeling in the world.