Take this blog post with a pinch of salt. Throughout my pregnancy the one thing that annoyed me most was people ‘offering’ their opinions on labour, delivery and motherhood. How you cope, manage and bring up your child is up to you and so sometimes that ‘useful’ advice people just love to give is in fact a load of old rubbish. Hence why I’m urging you to do things your own way, this post is simply for me to share my experience and hope that some of it may actually be useful to you if you’re experiencing similar things.
Two weeks – two centimetres
Yep you heard it. I was in fact two centimetres dilated for a total of two whole weeks. And trust me, they were the longest two weeks in history. It all started one Monday evening after a rather spicy curry. The contractions started thick and fast and I honestly thought this was it. They were coming exactly how you’re told they’d come and because the pain felt horrendous, the only answer was this was labour. I managed to squeeze my way into the car with a lot of help from my partner and my mam so we could make our way to the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital, I was hooked up to a machine to monitor the baby’s heartbeat as well as my contractions, and as we suspected they were coming every couple of minutes. After a quick examination, the midwife revealed we were 2cm dilated. I honestly wish someone had taken a picture of my face in that moment because I was so delighted at the news. Unfortunately the contractions seemed to die down a little (this usually happens in the early stages due to adrenaline taking over) and so the midwife advised we head home and wait it out.
The waiting lasted two days. By Wednesday the pain was excruciating, much worse than before so I assumed this had to be it now. We decided to wait at home a little longer this time, to make sure the contractions were coming as quick and as hard. They did. So of we went AGAIN to the hospital and after another examination she revealed I was still only 2cm. She gave me a slight glimmer of hope though at the fact my cervix was very thin and therefore my body was doing exactly what it needed to be doing. So, of we went back home and again the contractions died off.
As you can probably imagine frustration didn’t even come close. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t progressing much further and how my contractions could be coming so thick and fast and then die off. I started to feel immense pressure down below and I knew that the head was literally a matter of centimetres away from my grasp, but yet there was nothing else I could do to help move things along.
By the Friday I was fed up. I kept thinking ‘surely it’s got to be today’ – ‘how long can someone be 2cm dilated for?’ We decided enough was enough and we went for a walk in the park. Chris took his football and I decided to join in kicking it backwards and forwards. The passes got wider, harder and further out of my reach so I decided to run a little to keep up. I could feel an increasing amount of pressure and it kinda felt like this was working. I continued, running further and faster (something I would never have done pre-pregnancy). I stopped for a minute to catch my breath and all of a sudden the contractions kicked in AGAIN. We turned around to head back home and there was no stopping them. What is usually a nice 10 minute stroll turned into a 45 minute slow and very painful journey. I felt like I was climbing mount everest with no feeling in my lower body. This time we waited the contractions out even longer at home. I remember saying at one point “I’ll have the baby here, I don’t want to go to the hospital again.” Chris bundled me into the car and we headed to the consultancy wing to be assessed for the THIRD time. And again, I was still only 2cm.
Right, that’s it I thought. This baby is literally never coming out of me. It will continue to grow and one day I’ll eventually just go pop and an 18-year-old will come flying out. My heart sank so much at the words ‘2cm’. A few days passed and it was like I’d never even had contractions. I was feeling nothing but pressure down below but no sign of any baby.
My midwife offered me a sweep (a procedure that separates the membrane from the cervix to release the hormones needed for labour) at home. I had one on the following Wednesday and then another on the Friday. Both times, I was still – yea you guessed it – two blinking centimetres. Due to a bank holiday weekend, my next scheduled sweep was the following Tuesday, but my midwife was convinced I’d have the baby over the weekend.
Our due date came and passed and Tuesday finally arrived. When the midwife turned up she was shocked to see there was no baby in my arms. Instead of carrying out my third and final sweep (you’re only allowed three at-home sweeps) she recommended we head to the hospital and speak to a doctor.
Reluctantly I headed back to the place I was beginning to hate. We were hooked up to a machine and had baby’s heartbeat monitored. Everything was ok and I was pretty much told to play the waiting game. Still? I honestly couldn’t believe it! As the midwife left and I was about to get off the bed I turned to Chris and said I really needed the toilet. He offered to help me off the bed but I couldn’t move. Suddenly, I lost all control of my body and I thought I’d wee’d myself (sorry too much information)! It just kept coming and coming and no matter how much I tried to gain some control and self-respect nothing was working. I quickly realised this wasn’t wee. My waters just broke!
YES! It was finally happening. The end was in sight and I would be able to meet my beautiful little baby. Because I wasn’t in the first stage of labour yet I was told to go home and time my contractions once again and if nothing happened within 24 hours then I’d have to come back in and I’d be given a helping hand. As soon as we made it into the car, my contractions had started and I soon realised everything I had experienced the past two weeks was simply ‘preparing’ me for what was to come. This just got very real, very quickly!
The only thing on my mind was a nice relaxing bath – I was certain this would help ease the pain and would make me feel a whole lot better. It kind of did. For maybe like five minutes but the contractions were just so strong. We waited until 10pm before going into hospital (I really couldn’t face that place again) but after my examination I was greeted with the words ‘you’re now 6cm dilated’. Now that would have been the perfect picture moment!
I was given some gas and air and I plonked myself into the very appealing birthing pool. Hours passed and I was finally ready to begin pushing. And so the moment I’d be waiting for was finally here…
You can find out all about my birth here. Happy reading! x
As I write this I have currently been on maternity leave 12 days and I’ve already found myself rushing around like a headless chicken in an attempt to prepare for my baby’s arrival. It’s not till people tell me to stop and enjoy this precious time I have alone that I really think about the fact that this will be the last time I am ALONE. So here are a few of my favourite things to do to really make the most of my maternity leave.
Pamper yourself | I tend to have great plans of carrying out a much-needed pamper session and then never actually see it through. But, it’s time to stop, relax and get your pamper on. If like me, you feel guilty that not only are you enjoying some relaxing time away from work but to then add some pampering on top of that would simply be taking the biscuit. Well, it’s time to get that idea out of your head. Pregnancy is tough, and so you need time to unwind, and relax those aching muscles. Remember, it won’t be long before you’re not alone and any chance of a pamper session will be well and truly out of the window. So, enjoy it while you can!
Read a book | It’s likely to be a while before you’ll read anything with little more than 10 words to a page so get your teeth sunk into a good book now before time runs out.
Get creative | I usually have no trouble working some creativity in my life, however while being pregnant I have let this slip. So, I’ve decided to take these couple of weeks before little one arrives to spend doing what I love most. Because I now don’t have to worry about fitting it around work, I can do little bits here and there throughout the day which helps pass the time I am alone but also keeps me active and most importantly, productive too. I’m currently making lots of adorable items for my little one. So, stay tuned!
Sit back with a cuppa | Sometimes sitting down with a lovely mug of coffee (decaf of course) is all you need to make you feel refreshed and relaxed. Taking that much-needed me-time is vital and very much deserved. Why not invite your friends round for a natter too?
What are your favourite things to do while you’re on maternity leave?
As I am nearing the end of my pregnancy I have started reflecting on what I just haven’t been able to live without over the last few months. It’s quite scary to think it’s all nearly over, but I don’t think I would have got by without these few staple items. I’ve had to totally re-think my usual day-to-day lifestyle to adapt to pregnant life, introducing a more regular moisturising routine as well as changing the way I look at clothing and style – here are a few of my pregnancy must-haves.
I cannot stress enough how vital a comfy bra has been, especially in the last few weeks. As your breasts get bigger and the general strains of being pregnant begin to grow, it’s important to be able to feel comfortable (well as comfortable as you can be). I have invested in two extra Calvin Klein support bras to what I already had in my wardrobe, and I must say they were a MUST! This white number has extra support than the usual non-wired sports bra styles Calvin Klein produce, which is great for wearing under your usual clothes in place of your usual underwired bras.
One of my main concerns as I began to watch my belly expand was dealing with those dreaded stretch marks. Sadly, youth has not been totally on my side and I haven’t managed to totally escape my skin stretching, however I have managed to keep it under control. This cocoa butter by Palmer’s has been an absolute godsend. It does have quite a strong smell, which did take me a while to get used to, but once I got over that I could see the benefits of using it quickly emerging.
This may seem a little random, but since being pregnant I feel like I’ve turned to the trusty ponytail hairstyle more times than not. I’m not usually one for tying my hair back as I’ve never really suited that style, but for ease and comfort, throwing it back has been the best daily go-to. These plastic hair bobbles are great because they don’t leave that horrible kink in your hair once you take your ponytail out.
I’ve never been one for using hand cream really, it’s always one of those items in spa gift sets that I’ve always passed over to my mam instead of using myself. However, I’ve noticed my hands becoming very dry, very quickly. Your skin changes so much during pregnancy and it’s little things like this that seem to have really affected me. I’ve had to make sure that I’ve had a tube of this on my desk at work, in my handbag and somewhere in the house at all times.
What have been your go-to’s during pregnancy?
Before falling pregnant I never quite expected to see my body change so fast and so quickly into my pregnancy. I had seen pictures of my mam when she was pregnant with me and saw she was fairly big, but I guess I assumed these were taken when she was near enough ready to pop. She informs me this was definitely not the case.
I’ve had so many people in the last week or so comment on the size of my bump and how I’m rather big for so early on in my pregnancy. I saw a picture today of someone who is 22 weeks pregnant and it made me realise how big I actually am for 14 weeks. Nothing quite like making a girl feel paranoid. But that said, I’m trying not to let people’s comments or other people’s pregnancies affect mine. Every single woman is different and no two pregnancies are ever going to be the same so I’m fully embracing my ever-growing bump, and to be honest I’m loving it.
I’m past the stage of “is she fat or is she pregnant” and now I’m full on baby bump. Plus, I’d rather be happily seeing my bump grow and watch my body change than be worried that I wasn’t gaining weight and where’s my bump when I’m so far along.
I’ll be posting baby bump pictures very soon – I keep meaning to do them every week but as much as time feels like it’s dragging, it’s also running away with me!
As I leave the eleventh week of my pregnancy and head into week 12, I’m feeling extremely weak. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve probably had it a lot easier than others, but that honestly doesn’t make it any easier.
I had a little sickness a few weeks back but my real experience of pregnancy nausea came last night. One bite of some food and I knew what was happening. I don’t think anyone enjoys being sick, but I’m definitely not the easiest patient to deal with and I thank my lucky stars for Chris and his ability to make me calm in the most awful situations (and for holding my hair back)!
I mentioned before that my migraines have been the biggest issue during my pregnancy and unfortunately they don’t look like they’re going anytime soon. It’s becoming impossible to work and in fact, as I write this I’m looking through squinted eyes trying to make sense of the words on my screen.
After five days of constant pain I had to book an appointment with my GP to see if there’s anything that could help get rid of these pesky migraines. I was told to take paracetamol, which by the way is totally fine during pregnancy (but always check with your doctor before taking any medication while pregnant).
So far, so good. The pain is easing and I feel a little more human than I did four hours ago.
All in all it’s been a tough week, but we’re now on the countdown to our scan and we’re so excited! Here’s to week 12 and hopefully a lot less headaches!
How did you find week 11? Did you experience any migraines? I’d love to hear from you.
It’s probably the thing about pregnancy you’re fearing the most and quite often it’s the thing you’ll talk about the least.
Stretch marks are causes by the supporting layers of tissue under your skin tearing as it’s pulled during pregnancy. It also has a lot to do with genetics – if your mother was prone to stretch marks during pregnancy, then it’s likely you will be too. Rapid pregnancy weight gain can also lead to stretch marks.
If you’re trying to avoid stretch marks as much as possible you may want to try these few
Moisturise – Nothing is a cure for stretch marks, however moisturising daily will certainly help to prevent them. If nothing else, it will help to stop the itchy skin you’re likely to be experiencing.
Nourish from the inside – Plenty of vitamin C in your diet will help keep your skin toned and less prone to stretch marks.
Weight watching – Keep an eye on your weight gain during pregnancy. Putting on weight slow and steady during pregnancy is recommended rather than in large spurts.
You may have noticed a change in your skin during your pregnancy this can be for one of two reasons – hormone surges and your body retaining more fluids. The increase of hormones causes progesterone which causes an increase of acne-causing secretions of oil which can clog up pores and cause bacteria to build up. While your body is retaining more fluids, this also contains toxins which can lead to spots.
Clean your face with gently with a mild cleanser which is soap-free, once in the morning and once in the evening. Your pores tend to clog around around your hairline and jaw, so make sure to cleanse these areas more thoroughly. If your hair is oily, it’s important to wash it on a regular basis to try and combat this. Although you may be getting annoyed at the extra pimples on your face, it’s vital to not get too aggressive with the scrubbing. Your skin is most likely going to be extra sensitive during pregnancy and over-washing can strip your skin of its natural moisture.
Eat smartly too. It may be obvious but sugary foods can have a major impact on your skin, so make sure you cut back on these foods in your diet. Also, drinking plenty of water will help flush our your skin, keeping it cleaner.
Yes, your body may be changing at an alarming rate and you miss the sight of your toes as you stare down at your belly, but there’s so many reasons why you should learn to love your bump. Pregnancy can be the most wonderful time, but it can also be the most challenging. You’re rewarded in the most beautiful way at the end of it all, but the swollen feet, sickness and lack of energy can certainly take its toll.
Whether it be they’re more helpful or they simply seem to respect you more, people respond well to pregnant women.
Ok, so you might not feel in the least bit sexy, but in fact you are! Think about it, with baby comes boobs and if you’re not exactly blessed in that department it’s a welcome body changer (despite the tenderness)!
There’s something about a pregnant belly that seems to fascinate children. They talk to the bump in the way only a child would do so, and can often make you feel more relaxed.
Forget plates, you have a new little snack perch that means you can snack all day long! – well you are eating for two!
It can be tough discovering what works for your new body but once you find that perfect look, you can play fashion stylist for a whole nine months.
Everyone is always saying how important our veggies in our diet are and well, when you’re pregnant they couldn’t be more vital! Vegetables such as spinach and broccoli contain more essential vitamins and minerals than most others, including vitamin E, riboflavin, folic acid, magnesium and beta-carotene.
But, it’s not only those leafy greens that are important pregnancy dietary requirements, try adding yellow fruits in there too such as mango and cantaloupe as they have all the same nutritious values that baby and you require during this vital time.
If veggies just aren’t your thing, remember you can still get all of those vitamins into your system the sweet way by opting for fruit. Why not try a smoothie instead? – This can count towards one of your daily recommendations.