Baby Six Birth Story

After what felt like the longest third trimester ever I finally gave birth to my 2017 baby boy in the early hours of 29th April.

I apologise for the lack of birth photos, this is for two reasons…..
1) I struggle enough to remenber to take photos when I’m blogging about dinner or a day out,  let alone while panting through contractions. 
2) If Mike had started clicking away at me at my grimmest he probably would have spent a few hours in a different part of the hospital! 
So, the birth,  let me fill you in first at the lead up.
I have previously had a twin birth in hospital,  two home births and a planned homebirth that turned into a hospital (birthing suite/ water birth)  due to no homebirth midwives available that afternoon. 
This makes me..  As I have been reminded many times in the last eight months, ‘para 5’.  
This term refers to the amount of  pregnancies carried to term,  and what tends to follow the phrase around like a bad smell is ‘high risk’.
I have never considered myself high risk.  
I have been fortunate enough to deliver all my babies naturally without medication and have bounced back after labour straight away. 
Earlier on in my pregnancy I was referred to a consultant due to me being ‘high risk’. Apparently, hemorrhaging after birth Is more common the more babies you have had.
Because of this he decided not to back me for a homebirth.   
He explained he couldn’t stop me of I really wanted one but he strongly recommended I have baby at hospital.   
He reassured me that if I agreed to this I could use the hospital birthing suite and pool.
I’m not going to lie, being told what I can and can’t do when giving birth didn’t sit well with me.   
I champion womens choice during birth, whether you want a home birth,  drugs or a c section, I think it is important for a women to feel in control of her birth plan (taking into account any problems during pregnancy).
I argued for the sake of arguing, but in the back of my mind was Mike and the kids.   Do I really have the right to take any chances? I have a family that need me and if the Dr is saying there is a risk (no matter how small I think it is)  I have a responsibility to my family to listen to him. 
Fast forward to my due date. 
At my midwife appointment I was told the hospital was so busy that if I went into labour that night the hospital might ask me to go somewhere else due to lack of bed space (104 births in four days!)
I asked if a homebirth would be a better option as I didn’t want to get caught in a position where I would have to find another hospital while I was in labour, she agreed.
We decided that as long as everything was progressing well during labour I would stay at home and call someone out.
At that appointment I was 2cm dilated, and baby was quite high (not engaged).   This was my first baby to hang on till 40 weeks.

For about a week before the birth I was having contractions,  sometimes every hour,  sometimes not for 5 hours, sometimes 5 in an hour! I put it down to strong Braxton hicks.
Finally, Friday night,  3 days past my due date,  I woke up at midnight with bad Contractions.
I tried to get back to sleep and started timing the Contractions in between sleeping.   
After fifteen minutes I couldn’t sleep anymore so I got up and looked at my Contraction timing app.
They were barely 2 minutes apart!

I grabbed my tens machine and strapped it to my back then dug out the delivery suite number. 
The midwife on call explained that she didn’t feel comfortable coming out to me when she hasn’t been too or house before (to carry out risk assessment etc) before so I agreed to come into hospital.
I woke Mike up,  called my mother in law and started getting my bits ready.
I wish I had taken photos of Mike.  His face, everytime I had a Contraction on the way to the hospital was classic.  
They were coming a minute apart and I couldn’t talk through them by that stage so after watching four births, he knew it wouldn’t be long. 
He told me after the birth that he thought he would have to deliver baby in the back of his truck down a pitch black country lane! 
When we arrived at the hospital the midwife examined me.  I was 8cm dilated.
Then came the blow….she told me that the doctor on duty would not allow me to use the birthing suite because of me being ‘para 5, high risk ‘
I told her that the consultant had put on my notes that I could have a water birth but she told me,  because he hadn’t wrote it in the right place, I absolutly couldn’t use the birthing suite or pool.
I was heart broken (and a little scared)  my last two births were water births and the pain relief in water is great! 
By this stage I didn’t have time to argue, I asked her to just take me to wherever I was suppose to deliver the baby. 
She led us into a room which was everything I hated about giving birth!  A delivery suite with a bed and….. Well, nothing else!!!!  Just a bed! 
I asked where I was supposed push.   By now my humour was fading and I was starting to feel pissed off,  So when the midwife answered ‘ you should know that by baby six’ i flashed a look at her that said it all. 
Then they insisted on putting a canuler in my hand,  just incase I started bleeding after the birth and needed a blood transfusion.   I agreed because I was so busy focusing on each Contraction. 
I told my midwife I couldn’t push laying down so she moved the bed in a position so that the top of the bed was vertical.  I was on my knees with my head over the top of the bed ( a very comfortable position to birth in). 
After I jumped in that position Arthur John was born in the next three contractions.
Labor had been under three hours from when I woke up to Arthur flying out at 3.05am.  

He was born a heavyweight at 9lb 1oz, the biggest of our babes. 

What a scrumpy little bundle!!!  He came out screaming but after warming up and latching onto my boob he settled down. 
I didn’t have any unusual bleeding post birth.  In fact, the midwife said there was very little blood lose during delivery.
This was my first birth that I didn’t tear and I’d like a little high five from you mums who can appreciate the feeling of going to the loo on day 2! πŸ˜‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰
His timing was great,  I enjoyed a glass if prosecco during the Anthony Joshua fight that night! 

Dispite none of my birth going to plan, we both got through it and it all seems like a dream now. 
And now here we are,  a family of eight!

The other children adore him,  well,  the older ones anyway.   

George doesn’t really know what to make of him,  he just finds it handy that when he can’t find his dummy he can go and take Arthurs! 

Tell me about your labours, I’m not the only one who’s birth plan went out the window am I!? 

What do I need for Labour? Hospital or Homebirth

​A few mums,  particularly first time mums,  have asked me to do a blog on what you actually need when you go into labour. 
I am going to start packing my hospital bag/homebirth box this week (I am 34 weeks pregnant) although you can get it ready whenever it suits you.   
Bear in mind, women are classed full term at 37 weeks and it certainly isn’t unusual for babies to come early so don’t leave it to late to get your stuff ready. 
I have broken it down a bit, this is just my personal list.
For a hospital bag:
Pregnancy Notes– Midwives and doctors will not be impressed of you turn up without them and the chances are your birthing partner will be sent back home to pick them up. 
Tens Machine – everyone knows about my love for a tens machine, I am lucky enough that a tens machine helps me from early labour to transition with bearable pain.  
Your tens will probably be strapped to you before you even leave for hospital (it is more effective the earlier you use it) but pop it in your hospital bag so you know where it is when you need it.
Loose tracksuit – or trousers and a t shirt to travel home in, something that is not to tight (your tummy is still tender after baby is born).  
Knickers – pack a few pairs of maternity Knickers or a size bigger than you usually wear.   
Contrary to what posh spice would have you believe, you still have a   ‘Baby bump’ for a little while after birth. 

Lipsalve or Vaseline – labour is hardwork and with all the panting you do or gas and air, your lips can dry out quickly. 
Hair bands – When I’m sweating and mean business I can not tolerate my hair sweaping in front of my face. 
Make up– look, everyone will tell you you don’t care about how you look when you are in labour and I would completly agree.  
However,  if you are staying in hospital for a day or so and are expecting visitors you might want to pop a bit of blusher and mascara on.   
Honestly,  my last few births I couldn’t care less, but I have been at home and able to hide upstairs from guests if I want to. 
When I had the twins (my first)  the next morning I couldn’t wait to have a wash and put some slap on.   
Yep that’s right,  I wanted to give the impression of totally nailing this baby lark.  
If I could give myself some advice I would say, why did you bother!?  no visitors even noticed you.   
They were too busy cooing over the new babies,  but it made me feel better and if it makes you feel better, pack it!  

Wine gums – My midwives have always told me to have some wine gums or a similar sweets with you.   They give you a quick energy burst if you start to feel tired or weak during labour. 
Shampoo/bodywash/toothbrush and toothpaste – it always makes you feel better to have a good wash after delivery. 
Nipple pads – Obvs to prevent any leakages.  
Bikini top – Incase you fancy a water birth but don’t want to bear all in the tub πŸ˜‰
Book/ magazines – Some labours can go on for a while so you might want to take something to occupy yourself.   
This is why I would try to stay at home as long as you can,  I find it easier to pass the time at home rather than in a hospital. 
Phone / Camera and charger – labour can take a while and let’s face it,  none of us can cope for too long without Facebook or Instagram! 
If you’re not as sad as me you will at least want your phone charged ready for pics of your gorgeous new bubba.
While on the subject of photos, may I give you a word of advice? 
Get someone to take photos straight after delivery.   
It is the last thing you think of when pushing baby out but I have no pics of my first cuddle with my first four children.
My photo with George I absolutly cherish, I look rough as anything and it is far from a glamorous selfie,but looking at it reminds me of that wonderful moment. 
It is a regret I have with my others, I was too concerned about how I looked to let anyone photo me!  

Newborn nappies –  4lb to 11lb usually covers all possibilities, whether you have a dinky dolly or a bigger beauty.
Cotton Wool – you aren’t suppose to use baby wipes on newborn babies.   
You are told to use warm water and cotton wool.   I’m not going to lie,  at the risk of being told off, I never used cotton wool with my last two babies.   It’s fiddly and really awkward,  I use fragrance free baby wipes. 

Clothes– three vests, three babygrows, a hat and a cardigan/coat.  
Anticipate that you might be in hospital for a couple of days after the birth.   
That is unlikely, and even if you do have to stay in I am sure someone could bring in some extra clothes for you. 
Having said that, babies can make a mess quite easily so I would pack at least three of each anyway. 
I have always been told, the rule of thumb is, a baby should always wear one more layer of clothing than you.   So depending on the time of year your baby is due you may need a couple of extra layers.

Blanket – to wrap your brand new bundle up in. 
Two bottles and formula – if you dont plan to breastfeed then take a couple of small bottles and carton / bottle of ready made formula.  my hospital provided both but just incase things are different at yours it’s best to be prepared. 
Car Seat – It’s easily forgotten when you are in a rush to get to hospital but don’t forget you will need a car seat to bring baby home in.  Some hospital won’t discharge you without one. 
Maternity pads– giving birth is a messy business!  my tip is to actually forget maternity pads and get incontinence pads from the supermarket,they are usually cheaper and….. The thicker the better.  
Imagine your heaviest period…the hours/days post birth is worse! 
Pjs– a nice clean set of maternity pajamas so that you are as comfortable as possible after baby is born. I love the Anita range, they are super comfortable but pretty with it. 

For a Homebirth:

For a homebirth you will still need everything listed above.  
It is still best to have everything packed in a hospital bag,  just incase,  like me,  you have to dash to the hospital at the last minute. 
Birthing Pool– I loved my water/homebirth.   It was more simple than you would think to set up.  I used an Eco Pool which came with everything, I highly recommend it.
 Just make sure you set it up early and close to a toilet /bathroom so you don’t have to walk around the house soaking wet.

Four or Five Towels – preferably old towels so that you can just throw everything away afterwards but you can buy cheap towels from primark or tesco if not. 
Bin bags – to scoop everything up and throw away.
Incontinence Bed Pads – you can buy these of Amazon,  they are so cheap and I used them for a couple of weeks after the births.   They save your bedclothes/mattress/sofa and if you have some left over,  put them in the cupboard and they come in useful if your darlings go through a bed-wetting stage! 
Paracetamol – it might sound silly but make sure you have some handy as those early contractions can be controlled by paracetamol and it will help you get a bit of sleep before showtime.
Movies – Download a couple of good movies or box sets and have some music ready. 
Clean duvet covers and bed sheets – I always make sure I have a fresh bed set in my bedroom.   Whether I give birth in hospital or at home, there is nothing nicer than getting into a fresh bed with your new baby after you have showered and put your clean clothes on.  

This obviously isn’t essential,  just a good way of putting that ‘nesting’ energy you have a few days before birth to good use. 
For more natural pain relief options take a look at my other post
If you have found this post useful or know someone who is expecting a baby please share this on your social media.

Tips to help your labour

​Before you read this, please remember,  I have been lucky enough to have straight forward births.   
I don’t want to come across ‘preachy’   This is what works for me and I wish, when I was pregnant with the twins,  someone had told me a good birth story rather than all the ‘Labour is the worst thing ever tales’
‘ don’t envy you ‘
‘ just take a much pain relief as you can ‘
It goes without saying if you need pain relief, take it, don’t be a martyr. But equally there are ways of coping without it that no one tells you about. 

Two tips I wish someone had told me are these ….
Firstly, usually,  when the pain gets bad,  so bad you don’t think you can carry on,  you will be nearly ready to push…. You are moments away from meeting your baby so don’t panic,  you are nearly there! 

And two…. Never, let anyone force you to stay in a laying down position unless medically necessary.  
I was basically strapped to the hospital bed with the twins as I was classed as ‘ high risk ‘ and because they were my first babies I did exactly what I was told!  Ten years later, I don’t think they encourage laying down as much anymore. 
It is an unnatural position to birth in (imagine trying to poo standing on your head).   
It will make the contractions more painful (alot more painful!) and the labour last longer.  
Follow your bodies Instinct, walk around,  dance,  rock, bend over but try to avoid laying down.
I think this is why I was determined to take control of my next birth and opted to have it at home. 
I ended up giving birth to Charlie on my hands and knees because it just felt right at the time. 

I have a few rituals to get me through labour and make it as easy as possible.  
Everyone who knows me will know I’m not exactly a hippie but when it comes to labour I have a very free spirit attitude.
Your baby has to come out one way or another so try to stay positive,  as scary as it is, and as daunting as it can be, try to embrace it.
Maybe try some of these….. 
Bath – 
A hot (but not too hot)  bath is great during labour.   I tend to run a bath for every ailment I have,  whether its a cold, period pains,  stress, back ache or a headache.   
Add a few drops of your essential oils, concentrate on your breathing and prepare for what’s coming. 

Raspberry Leaf Tea – 
I love this!!!  Well…. I think I love it!  I can drink it all day, everyday towards the end of my pregnancies, but once I am baby free, it gets chucked to the back of my cupboard never to been seen again….. Until the next pregnancy.
I wonder if it is a mental thing? Something I associate with the end of a pregnancy perhaps? Soothing? 
It’s purpose is to strengthen and tone the muscles around your uterus and help with a steady,  progressive labour. 
I have drank it in every pregnancy from about 32 weeks.  
Because I have drank it everytime I couldn’t tell you if it has helped towards quick labours or not, but I have always been blessed with shorter labours and very quick transition stages.  
I dilate from 4-5 cm to 10cm and start pushing in under half an hour.  
Maybe the raspberry leaf tea contributes to this,  maybe it doesn’t but give it a go anyway!  
You can buy it online or from Holland and Barrett.
Make sure you start drinking it early (but not before 32 weeks).

Clary sage oil
I love essential oils and find them really helpful throughout pregnancy. 
Clary Sage helps with pain and stress relief and smells gorgeous. 
During the early stages of labour I put a few drops into my bath and soak for a while. 
I also put a couple of drops onto a wet flannel to use as the contractions get stronger. 
I know some women add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and let there partner massage them with it.  
This would never work for me because if Mike tried to massage me during labour I would be likely to smash him in the face! 
I sometimes I add a couple of drops of frankincense too, it is a calming essential oil and I find it works great with clary sage for me. 
It is important to know that you should not use Clary Sage during your pregnancy as it can bring on contractions.  

Tens machine
Tens machines seem to be like marmite, some girls love it and some hate it. 
It is honestly a huge part of my pain relief during labour.  
I can’t tell you that it completely takes the pain away but it certainly dulls it and gives me something to focus on. 
It works by placing some sticky pads to your back which are attached to a small hand held machine by long wires. 
Small electrical pulses are sent through the machine to the patches and block the feeling of pain going to your brain.  It also helps stimulate natural endorphins (pain relief) in your body.  
You feel a vibrating sensation on your back and you can control how strong the electrical pulse is through your machine. 
When your contractions first start you strap it on and just need to use a low pulse. Then,  as your labour and contractions progress you will push for higher and higher pulses.
Once it feels like it isn’t helping that’s when I jump in the birthing pool and am usually not far from pushing.

Birthing ball
Not only are birthing balls great to help back pain during pregnancy it is great for labour. 
During the early – middle of labour I sit on it and rock gently backwards and forwards,  rotating my hips, it really helps with pain and labour ‘fidgets’ i can’t sit still! 
Good movie / box set – 
There is no point racing to the hospital as soon as your first Contraction is felt.   Quite often it can be false labour but even if it is the real thing it can take quite a while.   
I find it much better for pain relief and comfort to spend as much of my labour at home as possible.   
Once I know it’s the real thing I put on a good movie and try to relax. 
During Charlies labour I watched Date Night, during Libbys I put on The Sweetest Thing and with George I was watching Louis Theroux documentries!   
Candles – 
All girls love candles,  I don’t really need to say more.   It’s about creating a calming atmosphere.  Dim lights, flickering candles all helps with calming and clearing your mind.  
Again,  you could add some oils to an oil burner  to perfume the air with some clary sage,  lavender,  ginger or frankincense. 
Music – 
Having music on in the background as delivery time approaches can be uplifting, encouraging and inspiring. 
Birthing Pool – 
During my first two labours I point blank refused to use a birthing pool.   The thought of sitting in a pool of your own blood and bodily fluids totally grossed me out.
I only used one with Libby out of pure curiosity. I had done the hospital birth, I had done the homebirth so now I wanted to try out a waterbirth!
I bought an Ecopool online,  the whole lot was about Β£110 and it was so easy to use.
I would always insist on a waterbirth now,  the difference in pain at transition (pushing)  is massive.   
There is also something really special about holding your baby for the first time in a relaxing pool of warm water (plus it cleans them… Bonus!) 

It also allowed me to be in a position with Libby and George where I felt more in control of delivering them, reaching down when they come out and pulling them to you rather than baby being handed to you by your midwife. 

It is really important for me to say, after telling you all this, do what is right for you.  
If you need a c-section for whatever reason or you have an epidural then that’s the way for you,  if I can’t handle things with my next birth I will have no problem calling for an epidural! 
The main thing is for baby to come into the world as stress free and healthy as possible and for mum to be the same. 

Do you have any tips for pain/stress relief during labour? 
Now I’ve wrote this all down let’s hope that baby number six, due in April, comes as smoothly as possible.  
Wish me luck 

Chicken Pox helpΒ 

Looks like Chicken Pox is doing the rounds again πŸ€’
I have to share an amazing medicine that relieved my boys and ended their misery..
My four older children have all had ‘the pox’ and one caught it off another.
First Charlie (very mild and over in no time), Libby was the last to get it and it didnt really effect her either.  Then there was the twins, in the middle and it was worse than I could imagine!
They had spots everywhere, their bodies, their eyelids, mouth, lips, absolutly everywhere.  
They were in agony, one evening they didnt sleep at all, wriggling, itching and crying.  I tried all the creams and drugs they offered but nothing worked.
I cant remember who it was that suggested it, whether it was advice given on Facebook or an answer to my desperate google searches but the suggestion was OATS.

Oats that you can buy from any supermarket.
I took an old pair of tights, filled the foot with oats and wrapped it around the bath tap.  I let the bath run through the tights, warm water but not too hot. 
It ran out like a milky liquid and as soon as the boys got in there was instant relief.
That was the beginning of the end of Chicken pox for them, the relief wasnt just instant, it also lasted hours.  As soon as they felt uncomfortable again I would run another bath.
Your babe may not get it as bad and,  like Charlie and libby,  probably cope fine with a bit of camomile lotion.
For anyone whose children really suffer, I hope this helps you as much as it did for us!
Lots of Love xxxx