This year I am again taking part in the Blogtober link up. The first prompt is About Me, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you all a little bit more about myself.

Personal Life

I am Rebecca (or Becky, Bec, Becks, Becca, depending who you talk to) and I’m 32 (how the bloody hell did that happen?!) I live in Lincolnshire, not far from where I grew up. Although I moved away for a few years (I say ‘away’ – I moved less than an hour away!) – we moved back after we had Little. It’s true when they say it takes a village to raise a child. I have the best ‘village’ around me and cannot be more grateful for having my family close by.

Big and I met at University. It’s all a very unromantic story to be honest. He’s from Northern Ireland, but little old me persuaded him to stay in England. His Mum loves me for that!

We got married on a beautiful October day a few years a go and had Little, through IVF, 19 months a go. She is a very strong willed and feisty little thing. I should have known what her personality would be like when she decided to make her entrance in to the world 11 weeks early!

Professional Life

I am a part time teacher, although anyone who knows the profession knows that a teacher’s job is pretty full on!

Blogging is a hobby for me, although I know it is a career for many people. Honestly, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in developing that. For now though, I am happy to share my world with people as a hobby. I hope that one day I can look back with Little and share it all with her too.

I have recently ventured into the wonderful world of vlogging too. I’m not doing it regularly, but I’m enjoying learning new skills. I have been very lucky to meet some wonderful people through this hobby of mine. The online world gets slated at times but I love the connections you can make.

#blogtober17

I hope you enjoyed finding out a little bit more about the person behind the blog. Let me know if you want to find out more and sign up to email alerts if you want to read more from me this Blogtober!

 

Little Big Love

Becky xx

 

#Blogtober17

Ok so there is no doubt that the viral craze of #treeoflife pictures swimming around Instagram are beautiful. If you haven’t seen them, they show stunning artwork of mothers and babies bonding through a very natural thing, with trees connecting mother and baby through breastfeeding. However, in some people’s eyes, they are another example of how non breastfeeding mum’s are feeling guilt and shame. Hashtags like #breastisbest don’t help the matter! Does that mean that formula feeding mums don’t give their babies life and don’t have a bond with their baby?  Of course not!

From what I can gather, it started to support the #normalisebreastfeeding cause that many breastfeeding groups try hard to advocate. This always surprises me though, as honestly from my standpoint it is a totally normal part of life, to the point where formula feeding mums are made to feel inadequate by health professionals, the media and the breastfeeding army. Let me get one thing straight, when I use the term breastfeeding army, it’s not all breastfeeding mums, it’s the group of keyboard warriors who have their view and will not be tolerant or understanding of others. I respect all mums as, let’s face it, what ever choice we make we get criticised for it but I have an issue with those who purposely set out to make others feel bad. All of the breastfeeding mums I know would hate to think they’d upset or shamed anyone. They agree that however you feed your baby, as long as they are happy, it doesn’t matter. But not all breastfeeding advocates have the same compassion. I think it’s lovely that mums who breastfeed can share something so beautiful and feel empowered by it, but it’s the message it spreads to others that makes me wary of the craze.

Yes breast milk is amazing for babies but not everyone can feed this way. The argument that it’s natural and been around since the dawn of time is valid but historically babies would have died due to feeding issues without a wet nurse or formula. Society and medicine has moved on to allow healthy happy babies whatever the feeding situation!

I have fed Little every which way because she was born too early to feed orally. She was tube fed until she was ready to attempt oral feeding. We attempted breast feeding and fed bottled expressed breast milk and eventually formula. The one she had the most trouble and upset with was breast. So no breastfeeding is not best for every mum and baby. Fed is best and it always will be!

Formula feeding and still we have a connection and bond

What Little thinks to those who shame people for their choice of feeding

Back in the early days when she would take the breast

The oversupply of expressed breast milk I brought home from the hospital. I was a milking machine!

Big feeding a very tiny Little my ebm while we were still in hospital

Little with her NGT (nasal gastric tube) that she loved to pull out!

I have already seen some beautiful bottle feeding tree of life art work. I’m glad these have popped up as they show that no matter how your baby is fed, you still have a bond and give them life. I’d considered doing one from when I could breastfeed, then thought I could do a bottle feeding one, but then realised I actually don’t want to do one at all. Yes they are beautiful pieces of art, but my feeding journey can’t be summed up in a picture like that.

It is lovely to see the pictures, but before posting, consider the hashtags used and the wording of your post. Just because you breast feed or formula feed, doesn’t mean that it is best. We all need to support each other. Always remember #fedisbest

Have you made one of these pictures – either bottle or breast? If so did you consider the impact on others? Should we even have to consider it, or is it simply people being over sensitive? If you don’t breastfeed, how do the pictures make you feel?

I’m interested in open discussions on this but if you comment please be mindful that everyone is entitled to their own views. 

Little Big Love

Becky xx

After a fantastic response to Part One, Part Two of the birth story is here.

So here I was, 29 weeks pregnant and sitting in hospital knowing I was going to give birth any time. I can’t actually put in to words everything I was feeling as I still find it hard to piece it all together.

Once they’d removed the magnesium drip, which seriously made me feel like I was dying at one point, they told me to get some rest. The pains were still quite mild but I said to the midwife that as soon as I relaxed I knew everything would start up again. She laughed and said not to worry. So, the lights went off and I laid my head down. As I closed my eyes I wondered how many more days I could do this.

Not the best photo of me I’ve ever taken but it’s real! I look and feel exhausted here because I was.

 

I must have drifted off to sleep, but woke just after midnight with some niggling feelings. I laid there trying to stay calm and that’s when it happened. The gush! I knew straight away that my waters had broken. The only way I can describe it is like something inside popped and then I wet myself. Which incidentally I did do about 10 minutes later! I just couldn’t hold it in and peed everywhere while profusely apologising to the midwife who had come in to check on me after I buzzed. She wasn’t convinced my waters had broken. She thought I’d just wet myself, so the actual wetting myself didn’t help back up my story! But on examination, I was fully dilated. This was it. 29weeks and 1 day pregnant and I was having this baby.

When I’d first been admitted we’d been told what could happen in labour, but in that minute when she told me I was fully dilated I suddenly became more scared than I’d ever been. This baby was wanted more than anything, the fact that we’d been through IVF and I’d stabbed myself with needles and pumped myself full of drugs helped prove that, but I wasn’t ready to be a mum yet. I wasn’t ready to have a baby now. I hadn’t been prepared. We had only been to two antenatal classes and the one that dealt with labour wasn’t for another 18 hours! I had no idea what to do to get this baby out.

The pains started to ramp up and were really strong through my back, so I was given gas and air. I began to have a heavy feeling inside. I couldn’t process what I was supposed to do but told the midwives and Doctors, of which had flooded the room, that I felt like I needed to push. They told me to go for it and that’s when I realised I didn’t know what I was pushing. The Dr told me to push as though I was doing a poo. I’d heard that so many times but stupidly I didn’t know that’s actually what you did! I tried, I really tried but nothing seemed to be happening. They made me stop taking the gas and air as it was making me dozy and as I tried to push I was getting more worked up and apologising to them all for not being able to do it! They fetched an ultrasound machine to check on the baby’s placement, because of the size they were worried there may have been some movement. That’s when they saw the problem. Head up and arm above the head. This baby was a wriggler and wasn’t going to make this easy. To try and get some movement, and this is no exaggeration, I had a Dr and Midwife both put their fingers inside my special place to try and move her. I’ve never felt anything like it, but I thought there would be a head coming out of there soon enough so it was preparation. Although that wasn’t to be. They couldn’t shift the arm and by this point the heart beat started dropping. They decided to move me to theatre, ready to give me an epidural and use forceps to pull the baby out quickly.

I realise I’m referring to ‘the baby’ at this point, but we didn’t know that we were having a girl. We had decided to wait and find out once the baby was born. We were calling the bump Freddie as I was convinced we were having a boy! So, Freddie was stuck and I was rushed to theatre. Hubby was sent off to put on scrubs and then would be allowed to join us. But, we hit a snag.

On the way the heart rate continued to drop. The Dr decided that there wasn’t enough time and called for an emergency cesarean. They didn’t have time to wait for an epidural to do its work so decided to give me a general anesthetic. All of this was a blur at the time. I just remember laying on the table, with the anesthetist trying to ask me questions, while I cried out and writhed around in pain. He told me to try and remain calm and the midwife informed him that I was having a contraction. His reply; “oh, sorry about that.” All I wanted was Big holding my hand, who had been amazing through the whole process so far. He wasn’t allowed in so there I was, about to be put to sleep, laying terrified and alone. Would the baby be ok? Would I be ok?

And then I woke up. Two midwives and Big came in to focus. I had an oxygen mask on but couldn’t reach to get it off. Big looked over me and told me with a smile that “Freddie’s a girl!” I was too out of it to cry, but I felt so overwhelmed. Our little girl. He showed me pictures he’d been allowed to take as they were working on her in the incubator. Inserting tubes and wires. He told me with delight how she weighed 2lb 5oz and how beautiful she was, although he’d only got a quick glance. There I lay, post surgery, in too much discomfort to move (though by this time the pain hadn’t hit yet) and all I wanted was to hold my baby girl. To cuddle her and get that first photo that everyone showed off on social media. But I couldn’t. She was on a ward on the other side of the hospital being stabilised by Doctors.

I was told that if I was able to get myself out of bed and in to a wheelchair in the next couple of hours then I’d be able to go down and see her. I’ll be honest, as I lay there waiting, I didn’t feel like a mum. I had no baby to hold yet. I knew she’d been born but it didn’t feel real. I was worried. Worried that I might not bond with her. That I might not love her as I’d been denied that chance of a cuddle at birth. But honestly, I cuddle her now and that love is so strong. It took me a couple of days of seeing her in the incubator and doing cares for her, which are what neonatal staff call changing nappies and doing tube feeds, to feel like she was mine. To remember that she was that little thing that wriggled inside me. I loved her in a way that I can’t explain. I was finally a mum!

Little Big Love

Becky xx

When I became pregnant I was absolutely over the moon. Then the reality of giving birth set in and, in all honesty, I have never been so terrified!

We decided that we would go along to an antenatal course to help try and alleviate some of my fears. We booked the course well in advance of my due date, so that we could be sure we would be well prepared. We went along to the first two and learnt about taking care during pregnancy, preparing a hospital bag and drawing up a birth plan. The third class was going to be introduction to labour, but something got in the way!

The night after class two I started having really bad pains. I was 28 weeks pregnant and had been having what I thought was Braxton Hicks for a couple of weeks. I barely got any sleep that night and, when I finally gave up and got out of bed, I saw some blood when I went to the toilet. I rang the assessment centre straight away just for some reassurance. They said it didn’t sound like an emergency, but to go up late morning when they had some space and they’d check me out. I was in a strange state of mild panic but feeling like if they weren’t worried, then I shouldn’t be either.

At the Hospital

When I got there I was examined and had swabs taken to find out if any contraction hormones had been released. We also heard our baby’s heartbeat and little kicks and movements on the monitor.

My barely there bump hooked up to the monitors

 

After hours waiting and being told they were still getting results, I was told that I had tested positive for contractions and had to be admitted. I was in a state of shock but again trying not to worry as they said it was just a precaution. I was examined again and this time told that I was 1cm dilated. That’s when I really started to panic! I was 28 weeks pregnant. My baby wasn’t supposed to be born yet. We had nothing ready. I wasn’t ready! The Dr told us that I was under threat of labour and, due to the gestation, I was going to be rushed to a specialist neonatal hospital an hour away from home. I actually started shaking uncontrollably but weirdly for me I still didn’t cry! Instead I was strapped to a bed, loaded on to an ambulance and driven off with blue lights flashing. Having never been in an ambulance before at least it’s one I can tick off my bucket list!

When the ambulance arrived, I was given a steroid injection, which was so bloody sore, and put on a drip to slow the labour. We had a Dr from the neonatal ward come and discuss with us what could happen if our baby was delivered. Words like intubated, brain bleeds, oxygen, incubator, critical, among others stuck out and the shaking started again. But still, I kept the tears in. Looking back at it now I think it was the shock! Luckily, as we were so far from home, my hubby was allowed to stay with me. I don’t think I’d have coped without him as my brain went in to overdrive about what could happen.

The next morning, I woke up to a sleeping hubby, that could only be likened to a body in a morgue, next to me. I have no idea how or why he managed to get himself in this position but at least it gave me a laugh!

I felt like things had calmed down. The pains had disappeared and the bleeding had stopped. I was given another steroid injection (just as painful as the first) and told that as long as things stayed calm, they would look at transferring me back home the next day. Over the next 2 days the pains came and went. I called then ‘tightenings’ and so did the medical staff, so in my mind I wasn’t in labour.

I was hooked up to the monitor several times and on a couple of occasions her heartbeat dropped. This meant a rush of Doctors who would then see her heart rate jump back up and off they’d trot. That was until I hit the day when I was 29 weeks pregnant and a Midwife couldn’t find her heart beat at all. Hubby and I thought she just wasn’t searching in the right place, and sure enough when the Dr turned up she could find a heart beat. Just to be sure she decided to examine me. Much to everyone’s surprise I was 8cm dilated! I had got through on the odd paracetamol as I’d not realised I was in labour. That sent everyone in to overdrive. Out came the various delivery equipment and the room filled with more midwives and the neonatal Dr who came to check everything was ok.

I was told I needed to go on a magnesium drip to support the baby’s brain development but warned that it might make me feel a little ill. I told them I was prepared to do whatever was good for the baby. They put the drip in to my arm and I immediately heated up. I could feel myself sweating, my breathing quickening and my arm burning. As I was telling the midwife I felt funny, I started to feel a rush in my head. It was like a wave coming over me, my ears ringing and everything in the room seeming to blur out of focus. They laid me back, ripped out the drip and put pressure on my arm. I had been about to black out when they caught it. The vein had collapsed and my arm was filling up. I came round and they put the drip back in. A similar feeling washed over me, without the swelling, but this time they told me to lie down, it was just a side effect of the magnesium and it would soon pass.

After about 5 hours I started to feel a bit better. I sat in silence next to by husband, still sweaty and light headed, listening to a woman in labour in the next room. She was screaming and shouting, crying and telling them to help her. This is when I cried. I mean really cried. Everything bubbled to the surface. I realised I was having this baby and there was no stopping it.

Come and read the next part of our story.

Little Big Love

Becky xx

I like to think as parents Big and I are quite relaxed. I’m not sure that most people that know me would agree with that as I’m very careful with her, but we went through a lot after Little’s premature birth and it taught us how to cope with her not being well. 

After Little had been born, we spent nearly 7 weeks in hospital with her before we could come home. We saw her under go all sorts of procedures and tests, and covered in wires. It was the worst time of our lives, but the best time getting to see how she thrived. 

She’s had little bugs and colds since coming home but nothing major. The one thing we have had to really consider has been her umbilical hernia. 

An umbilical hernia is where the hole from the umbilical cord doesn’t heal properly so the bowel pops through it and the baby ends up with an extra large outie belly button that is filled with gurgling bowels! 


We have been vigilant with it but as it’s never bothered her we’ve just got on with it. Until this weekend! 

On Saturday we noticed it was larger than usual and she had become really distressed. I wondered if she was hungry so tried to feed her but she refused food and her bottle, which in not like our little piggy! I often feel the hernia when she’s distressed to check it’s ok but when I touched it she screamed and cried more. We decided the go up to A&E, as we’d been told to by her consultant if she was displaying symptoms like these. After what seemed like an age and jumping the queue due to how much she was crying at one point, we were seen by a Dr. They tried to take bloods from her heel but couldn’t get much so we were sent up to the children’s ward. They fitted her with a cannula, which I had to cover with a sock because she wouldn’t stop sucking it! They then took her bloods. Throughout all of this she was so brace and the distractions calmed her down. Luckily the bloods were ok but the Paediatrician was still not happy. After a long wait, where we managed to settle her to sleep, we were sent to our nearest children’s hospital an hour away to be seen by a surgeon. Once we got there and had some checks we managed to get her to sleep again while we waited. 

Holding on to Big ❤️ She was so quiet and cuddly that we knew she wasn’t well as she’s not normally like that! When the surgeon came to see us she was so relaxed that he was able to push the hernia back in with his fingers. He explained that it may have been that more bowel popped out than usual, causing her to be more uncomfortable and tender. We were so glad that everything was ok! The hernia popped straight back out but because it was soft and back to its normal size it was fine. We were able to leave straight away so we drove home in the dark, where Little had her first bottle since that morning and settled in her cot. Big and I collapsed into bed after the usual sterilising routine and we all slept until morning, even Little who is a terrible sleeper! 

Has anyone experienced an umbilical hernia? How long did it take for it to disappear? 

Little Big Love

Becky xx