Claire Mac

A Leeds based lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

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Friday, 15 February 2019

Mourning my pre-baby self.

There are lots of things I’ve struggled with since becoming a mother, the sleepless nights and the temper (for no reason) tantrums are just a couple of things which spring to mind, but the thing I’m struggling with most is feeling like I have no other purpose other than keeping my tiny human alive… I’m mourning my pre-baby self!


Pre-baby I could be as selfish as I liked. Pre-baby I took freedom for granted. Pre-baby I was living a totally different life.

Don’t get me wrong I love my post-baby life, it’s amazing, she’s amazing & the life we’re creating for ourselves is amazing… It’s just very different! And sometimes, usually at 2am when baby’s having her tenth meltdown of the day I can’t help but mourn my former life. There are times when I can’t get out of my head, and I get stuck down the rabbit hole of thinking (and I hate to say it) that I’m just a mum.

The reason I hate that phrase is that it suggests being a parent is easy… As if staying at home to look after your child is the easier option. Lord knows that couldn’t be further from the truth! If anything going to work would be easier, I know my job like the back of my hand, I’m good at it & I’m successful, however being at home I’m well and truly winging it. I’m living this parenthood life day by day. 

No day is ever the same, some days she could be as good as gold & others it’s like I’ve given birth to the spawn of Satan.

The good days are really good & the hard days are really hard!


Again I just want to reiterate that I love being a parent, but there are so many things I miss about my pre-baby life.

Eating.
There have been many a time I’ve skipped meals since having Amelia. The days go so quickly and my brain is constantly focused on when her next bottle is due or when the next nappy change will be that providing for myself often gets overlooked. Instead of eating, I’m picking… Picking at all the naughty foods and snacks that are more convenient to quickly grab rather than spending half an hour cooking up a wholesome meal. Unfortunately as much as I love pigging out on pork pies and chocolate, I’m definitely mourning good quality, nutritious food.

Money.
I’m grateful for every single penny I receive in my new monthly wage, but it’s no secret that maternity pay is tough! I receive £563.92 a month, which when you think that I pay £400 for the mortgage and then I have direct debits for my car insurance, car tax and my phone bill, what I’m actually left over with is very little. Before starting my maternity leave we’d been saving as much money as possible to ensure we weren’t left in the poop money wise, but even three months in I’m mourning the extra disposable income I’d have. Gal just wants to do an ASOS shop and not have to worry about the repercussions.

Freedom.
There’s certainly a lack of freedom when it comes to having a baby, you’re no longer number one & your priorities understandably change. The main thing I’d say I’m struggling with is the lack of freedom, and by freedom I’m meaning the daft things… Being able to go to the toilet when I want to, sitting down to my laptop and blogging when I want to or even popping out to the shops when I want to. Don’t get me wrong all of these things are still very much achievable, but more thought and planning needs to go into even the most simple of tasks. I’m definitely mourning freedom and spontaneity.

Clothing.
There is absolutely no point in me getting dressed up on a daily basis, my Instagram images tell a different story (because that’s what Insta is all about) but my day to day get up is a pair of £5 Primark tracksuit bottoms (from the men’s section might I add because they’re cheaper) and a random old probably un-ironed t-shirt. I’ve always dressed for comfort rather than style, but I’m certainly taking things to the extreme at the moment… Reason being is that it’s very likely I’m going to get covered in milk vomit, drool and probably either poo or piss at some point during the day - There is literally no point in looking faaancy! I miss looking faaancy!

Time.
Time to myself is pretty much none existent at the moment & truth be told, I’m really struggling with it. This point sort of goes hand in hand with the whole freedom thing, but I specifically wanted to go a bit more in depth to having time to myself… Quite frankly, because I don’t get it. When I get stuck down that deep dark rabbit hole of negativity I think up of all the times I’ve actually been away from my baby and time where I can totally chill or do my own thing. Truth is I’ve probably had between 8-10 hours to myself away from Amelia… In eight weeks! Now that’s tough! I’m not saying I don’t want to spend time with my baby, but I’m certainly mourning having time to myself.

Body.
Admittedly this isn’t a massive issue for me, I actually quite like my post-baby body but there’s no question about it, she isn’t as toned or as taught as my pre-baby body. What my body has gone through over the last year is nothing but amazing, and what I’ve actually achieved in growing and providing for my tiny human is incredible, but If you asked me which body I’d prefer I’d be lying if I didn’t pick my pre-baby body. 


So there we have it, just a couple of things I miss from my pre-baby life. My post-baby life is hard, God knows it can be SO hard and I’ve undoubtedly had my dark days, but it’s the most enjoyable & most rewarding life to lead - And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What do you miss most about your pre-baby life?

Claire.X

Have you read my latest parenting posts?


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Wednesday, 6 February 2019

My week being parent to a newborn.


I’ve said right from the beginning that I want to be as open & honest about motherhood and I think the perfect way of doing so is letting you guys in on my weekly routine… The word routine being used very loosely here!
Some of you might think it’s boring, others reassuring & relateable, but this is me… My week being parent to a newborn.
Monday
05.00 – Morning! This is where our week starts. Amelia tends to wake up between 4.00-5.00… Today it’s the latter meaning Dan & I get a little longer in bed. Thanks Amelia!
8:30 – Dan’s leaving for work now leaving me in control of the baby & the puppy. When I say puppy, that’s a lie because Willow’s almost four now, but she’ll always be a pupper to me… Plus it sounds like I’m doing a better job than I’m actually doing saying I’m looking after a puppy & a newborn!
9:45 – The cars packed, it’s taken over an hour but somehow I’ve managed to get myself ready, the baby ready & the dog ready to head off to a Beagle meet up at Poochie Park in Sherburn in Elmet. Bring on puppy cuteness and adult conversation.
10:30 – We arrive. It’s bitterly cold outside but we’re all wrapped up and having the best time watching the dogs run around together and enjoy themselves. It’s nice being able to do things like this as I don’t get to walk Willow as often or as far as what I used to.
12:00 – After the beagle meet up we head to Nikki’s new house for a coffee and some biscuits… Lots of biscuits! Amelia has a little cry, but nothing we can’t handle… If anything she’s better behaved than the dogs.
15:00 – Home time now & the day’s gone so quickly! I love having days like this as it feels like Dan’s never left. It’s so weird that I spend 10 hours a day from Monday-Friday solo parenting, sometimes it feels like it goes on forever, but today’s a good day! Todays whizzed passed in the blink of an eye.
18:00 – Family time! We end up having a pretty boring night tonight. By boring I mean Amelia’s actually been chilled. Boring nights in are actually a Godsend now!
23:00 – Bath, bottle & bed! I don’t know what we’ve done to deserve today, but Amelia’s been as good as gold! Bed time goes off without a hitch, let’s hope the rest of the week stays like that… Although I can bet your bottom dollar it wont!

Tuesday
06:30 – Amelia’s only just got up! I’m absolutely over the moon. This has been the longest she’s ever slept so hoorah for a full night’s sleep. Or as full a night as they’ll get at the moment – We can’t expect miracles now can we?
11:00 – I’m crying happy tears! Amelia’s being so cute right now it’s ridiculous. I’ve been pinching her cheeks and saying ‘cheeky cheeky’ and she’s been going nuts for it, she seems to like it, so I’m going with it. The cuteness lasts all of about an hour before it seemingly gets too much for her, and the tears come. I was reading before that her brain is going into sensory overload at the moment, she’s starting to develop all of these new emotions, but she doesn’t quite know how to handle them. The hour of cuteness however is SO worth the grizzle that’s about to come.
14:00 – This afternoon’s proving tough. I can’t seem to settle Amelia for some reason. She’s fed, changed, winded & cuddled but we can’t go 10 minutes this afternoon without crying. It’s afternoons like this I wish I had Dan with me. My emotions sometimes get the better of me when I’m on my own, this time thankfully everything’s under control.
17:45 – Dan gets in & instantly gets cracking on a Thai green curry – He’s such a good egg & it’s his speciality! We both manage to eat in peace as Amelia’s quiet as a mouse peeping in the Moses basket. This is a rarity so we’re making the absolute most of it!
18:30 – I spend the next 45 minutes in the bath, more catching up on social media and having a bit of time to myself rather than washing. I do wash eventually don’t get me wrong, but it takes a little while. My bath is interrupted by hearing Dan shout ‘Oh Amelia’ from downstairs.
19:10 – I make my way down, still in a towel to find what I can only describe as the biggest poo explosion I’ve ever seen. She’s stripped down, poo all over her arms, legs, up to her nips… Basicaly everywhere apart from her face and hair. Gross!
19:20 – Bath time… Understandably.
22:00 - Dan heads off to bed seeing as though he’s been up since 6am, leaving me slumped on the sofa with a sleepy baby on my chest. I’ve decided to start watching ‘Abducted under plain sight’ on Netflix, I’d seen people chatting about it on Twitter a few days ago & knew it sounded like a bit of me! I only manage to watch the first hour before my eyes start getting heavy and start doing some extra long blinks.
23:30 – Bedtime... And again everything goes without a hitch! Hallelujah!

Wednesday
02:00 – Amelia starts to stir, I spend 10 minutes pretending I’m asleep in the hope that Dan see’s to her; Alas it doesn’t work. Damn me for being such a light sleeper. I grab her from the Moses basket, give her a quick snuggle and off we pop downstairs for a bum change (where she wees on me fyi) and bottle. It takes me a little while to get her back to sleep this morning as she has a curious case of the hiccups. She’s always got those dastardly things – I’ve  never known a baby get hiccups as much as Amelia does.
06:30 – She’s stirring again, this time I pop straight downstairs to make up a bottle and Dan feeds her while I catch up on a bit of sleep. I set my alarm for 07.20 in the hope of getting up and having a shower before Dan heads off to work… Spoiler alert… This doesn’t happen.
08.00 – Dan heads off to work leaving me with a milk drunk baby who luckily gives me an extra hour in bed.
10.00 – The first screaming match. I’m hoping this means she’ll have a quiet afternoon. That seems to be the case for the most part. She settles relatively quickly, with the promise of more milk, and I spend the next few hours catching up on Netflix… If you’ve watched ‘Abduction under plain sight’ please talk to me about it! I’m absolutely flabbergasted by it all.
12:30 – I manage to get Amelia down for a nap. She’s in the land of nod for just over an hour – Hallelujah – Giving me chance to write this blog post. Another rarity which I need to make the most of.
13:00 – Willow gets picked up for her weekly walk with Barbara. We’ve hired Barbara to walk our little pupper once a week to take a bit of the pressure off from me and so far she’s been absolutely brilliant.
13:30 – After a slow morning it’s time to finally get dressed and brush my teeth – Oops! I’m finding this to be the case for most days now, I’m either up and dressed before 7.30 or it’s really late in the afternoon – There doesn’t seem to be much in between.
13:45 – Bottle time! This time I can feel/see/hear/smell her pooping on me mid feed… The joys!
14:45 – Coffee number four… I may as well have it on an IV drip. Willow’s home now and she’s absolutely pooped. It’s so worth paying to have the dog walker as I’m unable to keep up with the masses of energy our little beagle bum has.
18:00 - Tonight’s tea is super lame, super easy cheese toasties! We love toasties though; we even included them in our wedding canapes.
20:00 – Monday night is usually our night to catch up on TV but for some reason this week it’s tonight. We’ve been watching ‘The secret life of 5 year olds’ and ‘SAS, who dares wins’ two totally different programmes, but one’s we’re totally hooked by.
23:00 - Bed time routine starts here as I make up Amelia’s last bottle for the day. A quick swig and she’s in what can only be described as a milk coma… The perfect state for getting her off to sleep.

Thursday
04:00 – Up we get for the first feed. I don’t know how she does it, but Amelia always seems to wake exactly on the hour – It’s actually getting spooky now!
08:00 – Again like clockwork she’s up on the hour.
08:30 – Dan goes off to work, and this is where the crying starts – She turns out to be particularly grizzly this morning. For what reason, I don’t know, she’s fed, changed & cuddled, she’s just feeling a bit whingy this morning. I’ve just got to ride the wave.
09:00 – Being at home pretty much all day I’m on the lookout for new things to watch; Something I’m starting today is Gossip Girl… I’m only ten years behind!
13:00 – I’ve just clocked that the steriliser has broken…. Not what we need today, especially with such a grizzly baby. I’ve been on live chat with Tommee Tippee hoping to resolve the issue, fingers crossed I can get a replacement sooner rather than later. They’ve recommended we thoroughly descale it with distilled vinegar in the meantime but I’m doubtful that’s going to do anything.
15:00 – Six hours later & I’m still watching Gossip girl. I’m hooked! Although what is with Chuck Bass?... I don’t understand what sort of character he’s supposed to be?... Is he good looking?... Is he a bad boy?... Is he a secret romantic?... Answers on a postcard please. Oh and it’s totally obvious he’s going to end up with Blair!
15:30 – Amelia’s been asleep on me for a little while now, so in order to be productive I try and carry her across to her Moses basket. This lasts for all of about five minutes before the next crying session… There’s absolutely no blog work getting done this afternoon. Ooops! I’ve really struggled today with her, it feels like her crying has been none stop. There’s been tears from both momma & baby this afternoon. Motherhood realness right there.
17:30 – I start prepping tea with baby in the sling, it’s the only way I can get anything done this afternoon. Something I’m really struggling with at the moment is not having time to myself. I’ve spoken to loads of new mums though who have said the exact same thing as well. It’s difficult transitioning from a somewhat selfish life into one that’s totally selfless.
18:30 – Dan’s home with vinegar & it goes straight in the steriliser… Let’s hope it works… Spoiler alert… It doesn’t work. Of course.
20:00 – Dan takes over with Amelia so I can carry on with this blog post. I’m twenty minutes in and to be honest my head’s not totally in it. I feel like I’ve been dealing with the devil today and my head’s buggered. Twenty minutes of writing & I’m done. Time to enjoy some baby cuddles!

23:30 – We do the BBB routine (bath,bottle,bed) but it’s a bit of a no go tonight. I thought it would be, because she’s been so whingy during the day. She won’t stay in the Moses basket for any longer than ten minutes before screaming so Dan takes one for the team and decides to stay up with her.

Friday
05:00 – Dan wakes me up asking to take over looking after Amelia. While I’ve been upstairs in the land of nod he’s stayed downstairs with her keeping her company & trying to settle her. He assures me he’s had some sleep, how much though I’m not entirely sure. Eeek! I get up anyway and give her a bottle and change her nappy, she’s still wide awake at this point so we have some cuddles and a little play before eventually falling asleep.
10:00 – Wakey wakey! It’s just started snowing outside, thankfully it’s not laying, but it’s so bloody cold! Our house doesn’t seem to keep the heat in very well, especially downstairs, so we don’t really move from the sofa this morning, we’re keeping each other warm and cosy with lots of cuddles, coffee for me & warm milk for her.
12:30 – My sister’s visiting today! Hooray for adult conversation and an extra pair of hands!
15:00 – The weather’s had a complete 180 this afternoon, the snows gone and out comes the sunshine. It’s still ridiculously cold though so we all get wrapped up, Willow included, and head out for a dog walk, where Willow comes home with yet another found tennis ball. We’re building a little collection at the moment.
17:45 – Dan gets home just in time for the biggest poo explosion to date. It’s SO bad we’ve had to throw some of her clothes away! Why are babies so God darn disgusting.  Just as we manage to clean the explosion the door knocks and in comes Jake with our Godson Zak.
17:00 – Friday seems to be takeaway night for me & Dan at the moment & tonight is no exception! Pizza, chips, chicken wings, jalapeno poppers & drinks – We’ve mastered the eating one handed thing… Baby in one arm, chicken wing in the other… If that’s not peak parenthood, I don’t know what is.
23:30 – Bed time goes a lot smoother than yesterday – Thank the lord!

Saturday
04:45 – Morning! Up we get for the first bottle of the day & a nappy change. I feel like I’ve really nailed the night feeds as we’re up for no longer than 45 minutes before I’m settling her back into bed… If anything it’s me that can’t get to sleep afterwards. I’m at the hair dressers later on today so I make sure to set my alarm for 7.15 so I’m up in time for my appointment.
08:15 – Somehow I’ve slept through my alarm! Thank goodness Amelia’s woken up otherwise I’d have been late.
09:00 – Hair time! Me time! Time for me to totally chill and unwind… No baby… No dog… No husband – It’s bliss!
10:45 – I make my return back home (bacon sandwiches in hand) to find Dan & Amelia being ridiculously cute together! She’s just started smiling, but with Dan being at work all day it’s not something he sees as much as I do, so watching him watch her is pretty amazing! It makes my ovaries burst!
12:00 – I’m back to writing a blog post! Hallelujah! Dan’s playing COD, Willows playing with her ball & Amelia’s asleep. I’m honestly living my best life right now! Not to mention I’m feeling particularly swish with my new hair.
14:00 – Time to wrap up and walk this puppy. I’ve mastered the art now of wrapping Amelia up in the sling, we’re ready to go in less than ten minutes – Something Dan’s very pleased about as he always says I take ages getting ready.
19:00 – I really don’t know where the day’s gone today… But I sit down to schedule some tweets ready for tomorrow’s #lbloggers twitter chat.
23.00 – BBB routine again. There’s something quite repetitive about this parenting lark isn’t there?

Sunday
04:00 – Dan gets up to give Amelia her first bottle, he brings her back up to bed but for some reason she just wont settle. We have a super awake, super alert baby on our hands, it’s super cute, but part of me is willing for her to quuit it so we can go back to sleep. She’s definitely gotten cuter over the last week – And by that I mean she’s developing hr personality – The smiles are starting to come & she’s much more animated.
10:00 - Would you believe it?... We’ve managed to get some sleep!
14:45 – Swim time!... Last week was the first time Amelia stayed awake for the full lesson & this week is no different. In hindsight we probably  should have started taking her when she was a little bit older, but it’s getting her used to the water & it’s lovely catching up with the other new parents & their babies.
16:00 – Another new weekly tradition seems to be the post swim McDonalds.
19:00 – I’m hosting the #lbloggers chat on twitter tonight. After running the #BDIB chat the year before last it’s something I definitely miss doing, but can’t commit quite as much time to as before - I host #lbloggers twice a month now which works perfectly for me.
20:00 – Now it’s time to wind down for the day. I have a milk drunk baby somewhat comatose on me, coffee in one hand & a chocolate bar in the other… My perfect night in!
22:30 – BBB… Again.

So there we have it, you might find it boring, you might find it 100% relateable, but this is what I get up to on a weekly basis. I don’t get much time to myself and I mostly smell of regurgitated milk, but this is me & I wouldn’t change a thing!

What do you think? Can you relate to my week?

Claire.X

Have you read my other parenting posts?

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Sunday, 27 January 2019

My first month of motherhood.


Mum, mother, mam, mammy, whatever you want to call it; I've been rocking this motherhood lark for a whole month now, and wow what a journey it's been! There have been ups and downs & it’s been the hardest, yet the most rewarding month of my life to which I’m still trying to get my head around. I definitely feel like I’m winging motherhood, but here’s what I’ve picked up so far.

Sleep.
There's no question about it, the sleep deprivation when you have a newborn is real & whenever we've introduced people to Amelia it's always the first thing they ask. That's of course after cooing over her for a good twenty minutes, because (and I don’t mean to boast but) she’s definitely the cutest baby ever. The thing with Amelia is that when she gets into bed she's such a good sleeper, it's just getting her in there which can be tricky. During the night she can go 4-5 hours without waking, meaning Dan & I are still getting a decent amount of sleep. Heck, some nights I'm getting more kip than I would when I was at work, which I’m definitely thankful for. Five weeks in & I feel like we're finally sussing out the best way to get her in the Moses basket as she seems to be settle much easier, however we're both very aware that this could change at any given moment. Babies can be very unpredictable!

My relationship with Dan.
Seeing Dan being a father is honestly the best thing - I love it! Last week while I was in the bathroom mid pee, I overheard him singing to Amelia downstairs and I had a little moment to myself where I was thinking 'how on Earth did I get so lucky?' I must have been a saint in a past life! We're still at the stage where we're being very polite with each other, which to be honest I thought would be long gone by now, I thought we’d be screaming and getting frustrated with one another, but we make the best team… And fingers crossed, long may it continue that way.

Routine.
We've read that newborns are unable to get into a routine until they're around 6 weeks old, so when it comes to it we've been living our lives dictated by Amelia... You could say that we’re slaves to our baby. From day one we’ve written down times of feeds, how much she was feeding and how many bum changes we’ve done. It’s been super handy as first and foremost as new parents we’ve suddenly become the most forgetful people in the world, but secondly its super interesting to see correlations, and even though we haven’t lived each day by a routine, if you go by our notes it seems we are already sort of on our way there. Over the next couple of weeks I’m wanting to get a little bit stricter with feed times and a sleeping routine as the dream would be to put Amelia to bed a couple of hours before we go up. We absolutely love the bones of her, but it’d be nice for Dan & I to have a couple of hours to ourselves on an evening. If you have any tips for this please holler them my way.

Finding time.
I think I was quite na├»ve pre-Amelia, I had it in my head that I was going to girl boss maternity leave & it was going to be time for me to finally get my shit together. Now however I’m five weeks in and I can already see it being totally unproductive and flashing before my eyes - it’ll be over before I know it if I’m not careful. My days go super quickly as I’m constantly thinking when the next feed or nappy change will be; I don’t particularly look at the clock anymore as my day is more judged by how many bottles Amelia’s had, for example 5:00pm is now ‘5 bottles in’, six if she’s been particularly grizzly. I’ve also found that everything takes ten times longer with a baby in tow, if I’ve got to be somewhere I’ll make sure I set off an hour in advance, firstly because I hate lateness, but secondly because you never know when the next poo explosion is going to happen. Baby butts are unpredictably deadly.

Juggling the baby & the dog.
If you think finding time to do your own thing with a baby is hard, imagine having a super energetic, super boisterous lemon beagle to contend with too. Willow’s taken to Amelia so well though and I’m so pleased it came so naturally for her as I was really worried to begin with. Worried that puppy would feel left out or pushed aside. And worried that she was going to resent this new bundle of joy we were bringing home. Truth is I needn’t have worried, I just needed to get smart. Iordered a baby wrap from Joy & Joe which has been an absolute Godsend forwalking Willow, and if there’s one thing I could recommend to new parents or parents to be it’d be that! I just wrap it around myself, slot Amelia in and away we go, not only is it super handy for getting shit done, it’s also a way for me to sneak a couple of extra cuddles.

Meltdowns.
In honour of being 100% honest about motherhood, I wanted to just touch upon how difficult I’ve found it at times. There have been a handful of moments where I’ve sobbed uncontrollably because I’ve had moments of madness where I’ve thought I’m not cut out to be a mum. I’ve only had a handful of meltdowns, and said moments of madness have always occurred during the night, when Amelia’s trying her best to scream the house down and I’m feeling shitty about myself through sleep deprivation and exhaustion. Understandably it just all gets a bit much sometimes and the only thing I can do is let go, get all of my emotions out, have a damn good cry and start over again. I don’t know about you but when I need to cry, I NEED to have a good cry. There’s something about totally letting go & succumbing to your emotions, heck it almost feels like cleansing. Once that’s done with though I find it really easy to get my head back in the game and tackle whatever life has to throw at me. But yes, there have been hard times, ridiculously hard times, but they’re all 100% worth it for our sometimes spawn of Satan, sometimes angelic little girl.

Like I say, I definitely feel like I’m winging this whole motherhood thing and yes some days are easy and what I’d call a piece of piss, but others have been really hard, and I think it’s good to talk about those really hard times. I’d like to think I portray a really real life online when it comes to being a mum, my Instagram photos are super cute yes, but the messages behind them are really real and it’s amazingly heart warming to get a conversation going because truth is, we’re all in this together. Nobody really knows what they’re doing, and if they say they do then they’re lying, so reach out to your parent friends, ask for advice & talk about the hard times. We’re all here to help each other.

What do you think is the hardest thing about being a parent?

Claire.X


Have you read my child birth posts?
My labour story - Welcome to the world Amelia May Chircop.
Did hypnobirthing work for me?
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Sunday, 20 January 2019

Did hypnobirthing work for me?

It wasn't long after finding out I was pregnant that I'd decided I wanted to try hypnobirthing when it came to delivering our baby. I wanted to keep my birth plan as natural as possible & for me hypnobirthing felt like the best option... But did it work for me?
What is hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing is a method of pain management used throughout labour and birth which involves a mixture of visualisation, relaxation, meditation and deep breathing techniques.

Visualisation includes both picturing how you want the birth of your baby to play out as well as taking yourself away to a 'happy place' and imagining a peaceful and calm setting. Relaxation and meditation techniques are also used to stay in tune with your body, concentrate on the task in hand and eliminate any extra noise or distractions around you. Controlled breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth helps to stay calm and reduce stress through labour, it also gives you something to concentrate on and distract yourself from the discomfort of labour. Hypnobirthing encourages you to get into a confident mindset with positive affirmations such as 'I trust my body' or 'each surge brings my baby closer to me'... Basically whatever works for you to go into birth confidently and positively. 

Scientifically these techniques help manage adrenaline which is the stress hormone our bodies naturally produce when it's put in a 'fight or flight' type situation. We want to reduce the amount of adrenaline in our bodies as it works against Oxytocin, otherwise known as the happy chemical we produce during labour which helps progress the entire child birthing process.

Managing this stress both before and during child birth is said to reduce the fear & sometimes even the pain associated with labour.

Misconceptions of hypnobirthing.

There's limited research into hypnobirthing and from what's been discovered it only seems to work for half the women who practice it. With this and hypnobirthing only being a relatively new concept, it means the process carries with it a lot of misconceptions.

The vast majority of opinions are that the birthing process is 'hyped up', Storm believes 'people are under the illusion that if you just breathe, it won't hurt' which to be honest, I totally understand! Fortunately for me I didn't go into childbirth naively, I knew it was going to hurt like hell & that it'd be the hardest thing I'd ever done - Which it totally was btw! This however didn't stop me using hypnobirthing techniques during labour. The thing about hypnobirthing is that you don't have to follow it by the book, you can take elements from it & use them however you like to create a perfect birthing experience, which is exactly what Kirsty did, she didn't use all of the birthing techniques 'other than reminding herself of several positive affirmations.' There are no rules... Basically whatever works for you to go into birth confidently and positively.

Before baby was born we went to an antenatal class at the hospital where the midwife's opinion on hypnobirthing was that it's a 'hippy an new wave' technique. She advised at the time that it's not for everyone & that it came with a lot of misconceptions and even though she started the conversation in a negative manner she actually finished the conversation in a well rounded, educated way.

Thankfully I hadn't been subject to too many negative opinions when it came to my birthing choice, to be honest the vast majority of people I'd spoken to hadn't even heard of hypnobirthing. It was nice actually to educate other people on the techniques, give others another view on childbirth & open up a new discussion.
Did hypnobirthing work for me?

So the question you've all been waiting for... Did this hippy, new wave birthing technique work for me?... I'd actually say yes!

Before going into labour I'd practiced visualisation along with the breathing techniques and I could definitely see how it would work during childbirth, however when it came to it for me I really struggled with the visualisation side of things. Understandably there was too much going on at the time for my brain to take me away to my 'happy place'. The breathing techniques worked wonders, however I couldn't not concentrate on the fact a baby was coming out of my vagina. Focusing on my breathing was the only thing that got me through giving birth... That and gas & air!

For me hypnobirthing worked more before the birth, don't get me wrong focusing on my breathing throughout labour worked amazingly well, I just think getting myself into the right mindset before the big day was brilliant. I went into it using positive affirmations, knowing that my body could do it.... I trusted my body & what it was capable of.

I'd like to think I'm pretty chilled & laid back, so a lot of the hypnobirthing techniques came pretty naturally to me. I had & still do have a 'what will be, will be' attitude towards childbirth which to be honest I think is the only way hypnobirthing works. Even though I went into labour with a very positive mindset, I knew that if something was going to go wrong, or if something didn't follow 'my plan' then it'd be okay in the end... I was going to meet our baby & in the grand scheme of things that's all that matters.

Have you heard of hypnobirthing before? Do you think it would, or did it work for you?

Claire. X

Have you read anything from my pregnancy series?
My labour story.
Things I'm looking forward to post pregnancy.
My newfound appreciation for pregnant women & what I've learnt along the way.

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Friday, 11 January 2019

My Labour Story - Welcome To The World Amelia May Chircop.

*Trigger Warning - Graphic childbirth content*

My labour story starts off bright and early at 3am Saturday 22nd December 2018, and lasted a grand total of 22 hours before we welcomed our little girl into the world. But for today's tale I'm going to be taking things a little further back to Monday 17th December 2018... My little one's due date.
I remember feeling quite anxious on the run up to baby's due date. Dan & I were both fully aware baby could arrive safely anytime between 37-42 weeks however for me particularly I found having the specific date at the back of my mind to be quite pressuring. I was counting down the days to the due date expecting to feel different and expecting my body to give me a sign, but nothing showed. I was googling every single little symptom and seeing if that correlated with going into labour... Which of course it did. Everything relates to going into labour according to Doctor Google. 

It was frustrating - But something I had no control over.

I'd booked in to see my midwife on the due date, Monday 17th December with the hope to have a membrane sweep to try and get things moving. So there I was Monday morning, legs flopped, vagina out for the world to see & I had what I can only describe as an aggressive fingering. Unfortunately said fingering was more of an internal examination rather than a membrane sweep, as my cervix hadn't even began to open. I remember feeling so disappointed at the time - Disappointed that my body wasn't quite ready to push this baby out of me.

Again... It was frustrating - But something I had no control over.

Four of what I can only describe as the longest days of our lives had passed and baby was still showing no signs of budging, and at this point we were fully anticipating the arrival of a Christmas day baby - Something we didn't particularly want, but something we'd grown to accept.

That was until 3am the next day!
I woke with cramping pains in my stomach, believed it to be the beginning of contractions and then instantly convinced myself it was nothing. I felt like I'd been waiting for such a long time for contractions to show, that I didn't want to get too ahead of myself and be left disappointed if it was just a case of a jippy tummy. Thankfully three hours later of on and off pains and after continuous googling of what contractions are supposed to feel like, I'd decided to wake Dan with the words 'I think it's happening!'

At this point I was getting contractions every ten minutes or so, but they weren't painful - It was more of an ache. In fact Dan found it bizarre that as I'd be having one I'd just be getting on with my normal day to day life, my facial expressions wouldn't change & I could easily talk through them... At this point, this whole labour thing was a breeze!

It wasn't until around 3pm, so 12 hours later that these 'easy contractions' started to feel more painful and come more regularly. I could still talk through them which meant they weren't currently as bad as what they were going to become, but they certainly knocked me for six. Each contraction left me frozen, but from practicing hypnobirthing I was getting through them purely through concentrating on breathing and getting into my own happy head space.

We'd previously called the hospital to let them know what was happening, but decided to drive in to LGI around 4pm. Here I had another internal examination where I was told I'd dilated to 2cm and we had the option to either come home and rest or have a wander around the hospital for a few hours to see how I progressed. We'd decided to come home, I popped myself in the bath and waited it out for another couple of hours until Dan said he couldn't bear seeing me in that much pain anymore and that he was taking me back to the hospital. I remember at the time thinking we'd be wasting the hosiptal's time but in hindsight it was the best thing we could have done.

Another internal examination later and I'd progressed to 4cm which in the space of a couple of hours I was told was pretty speedy. Yay cervix! And at this point we were taken through to the delivery suite where shit got real!
We were welcomed by the midwife who'd be delivering our baby and were instantly offered tea, biscuits and sandwiches - It was almost as if we were entering a B&B!.. Albeit a clinical, white wash walled B&B.

A couple of hours had passed and the pains were ramping up  at this point, contractions were coming every couple of minutes and lasting for a minute if not more at a time, but they were still what I'd describe as bearable. I'd had no pain relief at this point yet but could definitely see that I'd be asking for some pretty sharpish. I'd always wanted to try and deliver my baby as naturally as possible, however was very much aware that if I needed pain relief or medical intervention, I needed to do what was best for both baby and for myself.
My first dose of pain relief came in the form of gas & air - The midwife had needed to pop my waters, which I can only describe as feeling like I'd peed my pants, but this release of pressure now came with an intense wave of pain whenever I'd have a contraction. The midwife explained that this was because baby had nothing to bounce off & the pain I was feeling was little baby bones moving down the birth canal hitting my pelvis. Ouch! I'd needed to have my waters broken so they could attach an electronic fetal heart rate monitor to baby's head. Her heart rate was a little all over the place at one point and the midwives were unsure if it was just down to her being an active and wriggly baby or if it was something more serious. Thankfully our precious one is a little wriggler!

I'd heard a lot of things about gas & air, mainly from people saying it had made them feel quite sick or woozy, but I can honestly say I don't think it had that much of an effect on me - If anything I was using it as a distraction. Essentially it was something else for me to concentrate on rather than an 8lb baby making it's way out of my vagina. Eeek!

Before going into labour I'd always thought as soon as I got to 10cm dilated, I'd have some sort of indication from the midwife and then I'd be told to push... But this didn't happen for me. Something inside me just told me to start pushing. I'm not sure if I was at 10cm or not, but from the way my body was contracting, I knew it was time! It's really amazing what the human body can do. I've never experienced child birth before, but somehow my body just knew what to do... Even if my mind didn't.

At this point it'd just gone midnight & I'd already been in labour for 21 hours, but I knew the end was in sight - The midwife had said our baby would be with us in the next hour and it was this feeling that made my whole mindset switch. Something in my brain took over, eliminated the pain & I turned into some kind of wonder woman. My head was one million percent in the game & I knew I had to just crack on with the task in hand... Because soon We'd be meeting our little girl.

This feeling was like nothing I'd ever experienced before, however if you can imagine what it's like to pass a baby through the birth canal and out of the vagina, then it's exactly that feeling! It's painful yes, but it's an amazing experience to feel like you're actually getting somewhere rather than just having contractions every couple of minutes. The end was in sight!
A short while passed and as promised our little girl made an appearance at 1.35am on Sunday 23rd December. After 41 long weeks our baby was finally here & our lives would never be the same again!

My labour story is extremely positive, in fact shortly after delivering Amelia I remember the whoosh of emotions, one of which was 'I could do that again!'... Granted maybe not anytime soon, but the whole experience made me feel like a force to be reckoned with & if I could do this, I could do anything!

If you've got this far, thank you! You're 1400 words in & deserve some kind of medal!

Claire.X

Have you read my previous pregnancy posts?
Lifestyle | The third trimester.
Lifestyle | The second trimester.
Lifestyle | The first trimester.
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