Even Though I Know…..

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I still have these nagging, doubting, negative thoughts about the rest of this pregnancy and in fact the next phase of our lives from a family of 4 to a family of 6.

Even though I know…..

  • that these Braxton Hicks I get all the time is just my irritable uterus responding to the endless kicks and punches from 2 babies, I still wonder ‘is this the start of labour?’
  • that I won’t go into labour this week because the mind and body is so powerful I’m still working out how quickly my husband who is flying to Chicago tomorrow for 4 days can get back in time and who would be my birth partner?
  • that if they were born now at 30 weeks they will be fine but the thought of them being in an incubator in SCBU makes me feel sick
  • that if my Biles Acids are a bit high and my feet are itching at night I can’t change anything, yet I still feel a sense of feeling ‘let down’ by my liver if it does develop into OC again
  • that letting go of the things I can’t control is the best thing I can do for my state of mind, I still lie in bed at night going through ALL the possible birth scenarios
  • that Hypnobirthing does work and will help me remain calm and focussed no mater what birth I have, what if I forget everything we’ve learnt and practised and I end up screaming and losing the plot like some possessed woman?
  • that if I do need a c-section I will be well cared for by the best possible team of people, but the thought of lying there on a theatre table whilst someone cuts me open to deliver my babies feels so unnatural to what I’ve experienced before – it makes me want to weep
  • that there will be 2 brand new tiny humans joining our family, I still feel anxious how it will affect and change our current dynamics
  • that of course I will be able to expand my mothering love to the twins, but what if I have a favourite or bond with one and not the other?
  • that my older two girls will love their new sibling and adapt because that’s what children do but what if they feel so left out and jealous they blame us for the rest of their lives and end up in therapy?
  • that it doesn’t matter how I manage to feed them because they’ll thrive either way, but I know the guilt every new mother feels when breastfeeding doesn’t work and what if I get postnatal depression?
  • that the first few weeks/months will be exhausting but I’ll get through it but the memories of functioning on broken sleep and obsessing over routines makes me feel overwhelmed with fear and I wonder if I’ll ever leave the house again with clean hair?
  • that I have the most wonderful support network around me including my husband, my mum, my doula and amazing friends I still worry about feeling isolated and lonely and the thought of going to baby groups fills me with dread

Even though I know that all these thoughts sound irrational, perhaps even mental I have to trust my YESMUM card that everything will be ok. (goes to wash and fold tiny white babygrows and has a little weep)

Maternity Fashion – part 1

I love clothes and I love fashion. I’m a bit of a sucker for new trends, seem to buy a new Winter coat every year, and new boots oh and a new pair of trainers. Well let’s face it what girl doesn’t?

So when I became pregnant for the last (and final!) time in May I was as excited about the new clothes I could wear for the duration of my pregnancy as I was at the prospect of buying tiny white baby grows again. It had been 8 and 5 years since I was pregnant with my daughters and I was thrilled to see that things had moved on considerably in the world of maternity clothes.

The first 15 weeks was during the Summer and I felt horrendous, sick, bloated and so so tired. I kept things simple –  cotton lose dresses, stretchy shorts that were super comfortable on my tummy and a whole lot of Breton tops, all of which were my normal clothes I already owned. One of my favourite shops on the high street is Cos, it delivers simple yet stylish cuts which suited by expanding shape (not to mention bra size) and I know I’ll forever more wear these pieces season after season. I wore the navy dress below in August to a wedding but I’ll also be wearing it this Autumn with thick tights and boots.

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But then the bump literally popped out from no where, one day I looked normal the next I looked like I gauged on 17 bowels of pasta before mid day. Then I knew it was time to shop around and see what was on offer. I wanted to stay true to my  style, I was only  pregnant after all. I hadn’t had a personality transplant (yet) so looked at my favourite brands which I knew and trusted well.

Firstly was ASOS. Everyone is familiar with the wealth of choice on their website, not only do they produce their own brand ASOS Maternity but they also stock other maternity brands such as New Look, Isabella Oliver and Mamalicious. You can browse by colour, style and occasion and what’s more if you sign up to ASOS premier you can have your clothes delivered next day only for £9.99 a year! They update their clothes almost daily so be sure to keep checking their site for new added lines.

Here are some of my favourite pieces (click the photos for the link)

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The black stretchy dungaree jumpsuit is a great example of how maternity clothes will work perfectly after you’ve had the baby especially for boob access. Remember that you don’t miraculously look how you did pre pregnancy so when shopping for clothes think ‘tummy and boobs’ . Boobs when breastfeeding need to be accessible at sometimes an hourly basis and you may feel self concious of your wobbly tummy so keeping it hidden is key. Also think of the type of material you’re buying – nothing silk or dry clean only for obvious reasons and you’re super sweaty and hot post birth with all the extra hormones pouring (literally) out of you, so try and steer clear from synthetic fabrics such as polyester.

So that’s a bit about what I’m wearing now, I’ve got some great jumper dresses to show you which I’ll post next week and what maternity bras I’m wearing at the mo, so keep your eyes peeled for more blog post. You can follow this blog by adding you email address in the top right hand box and I also put all my post on my Facebook page so be sure to like that too.

Disclaimer: Whilst I am a registered midwife, I do not endorse or promote any specific brand or product in a professional capacity. My opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences as a woman and a mother.

Bravo for Bravado!

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In my last blog post I mentioned that I’ve given up on underwired bras, they would dig in under my expanding ribcage and lets face it comfort is key in pregnancy. Some days it would be so uncomfortable I would unhook my bra in the car on the way home and whip it off, much to my children’s horror. Sorry girls but one day you’ll understand if you have big boobs like Mama.

In my previous pregnancies I continued to wear my normal bras (albeit a few sizes bigger) and then went into nursing bras once I was breastfeeding. I never found nursing bras that comfortable and being a lady of a fuller bust anyway, I always thought I’d need under wiring to give me support and a decent shape.

Things have really moved in since then and Bravado have come up with some super duper bras which are perfect for pregnancy and breastfeeding. I don’t see the point in buying maternity bras and then nursing bras (the only difference is the clip down feature) plus you’ll save a heap of money if you invest wisely now.

Bravado have created the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra which is cleverly designed to be worn during pregnancy and beyond. Win win! It combines faultless style with effortless comfort and it’s unique design moulds itself to every woman’s unique shape. Which is perfect if you’re like me and have big boobs. With cups that fully drop away and clips that lie flat under close-fitting clothing, easily opened and closed with one hand, the award winning bra is perfect for breastfeeding, offering babies full access for important skin-to-skin contact. This versatile maternity and nursing bra can also be cleverly transformed into a regular bra after feeding, making it a good investment and great value for money.

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WHY I LOVED IT :It’s comfortable, stylish, and functional. This bra is great because it has a wide comfortable band that doesn’t dig into my boobs/ribs as many others did, and it is cut low enough that it doesn’t stick out under vest tops or low-cut shirts. I love the removable foam pads that will prevent bulky nursing pads from showing through tighter fitting tops.

I’ve also started going to a local pregnancy yoga group which is doing wonders for my back ache and it’s really lovely to meet some other pregnant women in a non work environment. Bravado have come up trumps again with their Body Silk Seamless Yoga Bra, a maternity and nursing bra designed to offer the ultimate comfort and support for mums’ active lifestyle. The luxuriously soft Body Silk Seamless Yoga has been designed with patented Silverbreeze™ technology to support low impact activity such as yoga, pilates and walking as well as everyday activity, both during pregnancy and while adjusting to life as a new mum. The new Yoga bra is available in Charcoal or Bright Pink and features convertible criss-cross straps as well as an embroidered ‘B’ on the underband helping to give it both a stylish and sporty look.BSS-Yoga-HeatherPink-Ghost_5f2b09a4-9687-4722-93e6-ddeb9daedeb6

WHY I LOVED IT: The Yoga bra in pink was a great colour and it didn’t mater that it showed through my yoga top. Again the wide band was supportive around my rib cage and was so comfortable I wore it for the rest of the day. But the most important feature is it stood the ultimate test of time – during ‘cat pose’ in the class by boobs stayed firmly put and didn’t spill out!

Check out Bravado’s site, they’ve got a whole load of other bras all perfect for pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Disclaimer: Whilst I am a registered midwife, I do not endorse or promote any specific brand or product in a professional capacity. My opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences as a woman and a mother.

28 Weeks – Warts and All

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*Warning, this blog post may contain a bit of TMI but it’s all true and sometimes you’ve just got to share this stuff because lets face it, sharing it caring (or so I try to teach my children when I want some of their chips).*

 

I often get asked how this pregnancy compares to my previous singleton pregnancies, so far it’s been kind of the same minus the extra scans and the same repetitive questions from people (are they identical, do you know the sex, are there twins in your family etc etc) but OH MY GOD something has seriously shifted in the Hooper uterus because in the past week I have noticed some seriously weird goings on in there!

  • Firstly the movements, they still feel like a bag of dancing squirrels but both babies are breech at the moment and the kicks down onto my cervix and vagina are UNREAL! I swear the other night if I had examined myself internally I would have discovered 2 sets of wriggling feet in there (I know logically this is impossible but still) #fanydaggers
  • And whilst we’re on the subject of ‘down there’ let’s a just say it’s a good thing I can’t actually see it any more because by the end of the day I feel like I’m smuggling plums in my pants. I did in fact get my poor husband to have a check to make sure nothing more sinister is going on, he reassured me there wasn’t but did ask if I was ever going to wax again……
  • Which leads me onto the ‘to wax/or not wax question’. I’m not sure I want to expose that area unnecessarily and lets face it I’m not getting my bikini on ANY TIME soon maybe I’ll leave it au naturale, I always tell my women anyway that midwives don’t bat an eyelid
  • The feeling of two hard heads under my ribs is so uncomfortable. I’m no longer able to wear underwired bras, I’m living in this one at the moment and in all honestly I’m most likely to be found braless by 6pm by my husband when he gets home from work
  • I’m moisturising  my bump like a crazy lady with Bio Oil but my skin this week feels like it’s really being stretched to its maximum capacity, if I get to the end of this pregnancy without one single stretch mark it will be nothing short of a miracle
  • My back is an absolute killer especially when driving. I’m spending lots of time in the deepest, hottest bath I can tolerate but I’m also seeing my Doula Beccy ‘magic’ Hands for regular massages. She’s seriously the best in the biz check her out here  and yes Hands is her actual surname, amazing
  • My boobs resemble a road map with the veins that have sprung up in the past few weeks and I’m already noticing a few drops of colostrum on my pyjama top when I wake up in the morning. All good stuff for the bubbas I guess
  • My husband made me laugh so hard the other night I wet myself. Yup. First I thought my waters had broken but luckily it was just a sign that my pelvic floor has given up entirely on it’s main function, Tenna Lady anyone?
  • Iron is not my friend or my bowels friend for that matter. I’m taking Pregnacare and extra iron (a recommendation for twin pregnancies) but I’m seriously bunged up. Flax seeds are being sprinkled on just about anything I eat but nothing is really helping. And anyone who has experienced constipation when pregnant knows how awful it is. There’s nothing worse, and straining on the loo ain’t pretty, nuff said
  • I did do the unthinkable at the weekend and weighed myself which surprisingly wasn’t as horrifying as I imagined –  just short of a stone heavier than my usual weight which I guess is ok considering there’s 2 of everything in there (but I doubt I’ll weigh myself again, not even for lolz)

BUT on a positive note to end with, we had our first Hypnobirthing session last week with the incredible Hollie de Cruz. She is literally something else. I know I’ve banged on about the amazing tools hypnobirthing teaches women but SERIOUSLY after one session we both felt so calm and connected and learnt all about breathing. Yes breathing, the simple thing we do totally subconsciously but it’s so important for labour and birth.  And my slightly sceptical husband has totally taken it on board, he’s put my positive affirmations around the house and has been doing the breathing exercises with me before I go to sleep. We are hooked!

Disclaimer: Whilst I am a registered midwife, I do not endorse or promote any specific brand or product in a professional capacity. My opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences as a woman and a mother.

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Just Polly Maternity Clothes

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Nothing excites me more than discovering a new brand of maternity clothes, especially as I’m pregnant myself and Just Polly is just hitting all the right spots for me. Set up by Polly Hayward, she was inspired by seeing her sister struggle to wear stylish breastfeeding friendly outfits at various weddings one summer. With a background in the fashion industry as a Stylist and Art Director, Just Polly was born and the results are brilliant.

Polly has created some staple wardrobe pieces for the fashion concious woman who doesn’t want to compromise just because she’s growing a human for 9 months. And what’s more, all their pieces in the collection has been put together with breastfeeding in mind – with button down shirts and hidden pockets, boob access has never been so conveniently designed.

WHY I LOVE IT: If you’re like me and love the minimal yet luxury style of COS, Whistles and Folk, Just Polly has bridged that gap for maternity fashion which other high street brands aren’t doing. The pieces are versatile so can be dressed up or down, perfect for your work wardrobe, party outfit or weekend lounge wear. None of the items look like ‘maternity wear’ so you won’t mind wearing them longafter you’ve had your baby when you’re trying to dress your postnatal figure.

MY FAVOURITE PIECES:

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The Kimmy Skirt

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The Ellie Shirt

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The Charlie Trouser

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The Fran Striped Tee

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The Daisy Dress

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The Betty Lace Dress

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The Alexia 2 In 1 Dress

 

M&S Maternity Clothes – Who Knew?

A few months ago I was approached by the lovely Maggie Davis Kidswear and Lingerie editor for M&S (who also blogs over at Chic Little Baby) to see if I’d be interested in being interviewed for Marks and Spencer’s ‘In the Moment’ section on their website. Plus I would get to wear their new maternity clothes collection and have some gorgeous photos taken. Now I have to admit I’d never considered M&S as a shop to go to when buying maternity clothes, underwear, kids school unifrom, food yes! But once I’d seen their stunning collection I was sold! They have really captured a fabulous selection of great pieces all with the M&S high quality you’d expect and at high street prices.

You can read the entire interview here on the M&S website, but here’s a collection of the photos from the day and shop the collection here.

I was really impressed with the clothing, they were soft, comfy, well cut and had really been designed well for a growing and changing shape. Lots of the items I wore are also meant to be for after you’ve had your baby, which is always a must for me as your postnatal body and style takes some thinking through.

“You can’t go wrong with a good Breton top. This one is really soft and stretchy, so you can wear it long or short”

“You can’t go wrong with a good Breton top. This one is really soft and stretchy, so you can wear it long or short”


“You can’t have enough pairs of leggings. They’re great for every day and you can dress them up with a smart top and low heels”

“You can’t have enough pairs of leggings. They’re great for every day and you can dress them up with a smart top and low heels”


“Go for soft, natural fibres like cotton and  cashmere where possible – comfort is key and you get much hotter than usual during pregnancy”

“Go for soft, natural fibres like cotton and cashmere where possible – comfort is key and you get much hotter than usual during pregnancy”


“Invest in two to three pairs of good maternity jeans, including a skinny cut and a boyfriend style – they go with everything”

“Invest in two to three pairs of good maternity jeans, including a skinny cut and a boyfriend style – they go with everything”


“There’s no need to buy a special maternity coat as you’ll probably overheat – a long cardigan like this one is perfect”

“There’s no need to buy a special maternity coat as you’ll probably overheat – a long cardigan like this one is perfect”


“It’s all about comfort. Invest in a good pair of flat shoes; they will last you once you’ve had the baby and you’re pacing the streets with the buggy”

“It’s all about comfort. Invest in a good pair of flat shoes; they will last you once you’ve had the baby and you’re pacing the streets with the buggy”

Thanks so much to Maggie and the M&S team for featuring me on your site.

Disclaimer: Whilst I am a registered midwife, I do not endorse or promote any specific brand or product in a professional capacity. My opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences as a woman and a mother.

Kirsti and Sonny

photo by Philippa James

photo by Philippa James

The second birth story in the ‘positive elective c-section’ series is from Kirsti, who despite her plan to have a natural birth had no choice but to opt for a c-section due to a potentially serious complication with her placenta.

“So – I should start by telling you that I am quite late into motherhood, I was 37 when I fell pregnant, 38 when Sonny-Jay was actually born.

A lot of our friends had had some sort of difficulty conceiving so we were totally prepared for the same to happen to us….it didn’t – I fell pregnant within 2 months of trying (insert strong arm emoji for dad here!)

I remember it vividly, we had just moved into a one bed flat in Hackney in between Kingsland Road and London Fields….we had a ladybird problem so Jamie was in the bedroom sorting that whilst I was peeing on a stick in the bathroom.

That minute when you find out you’re preggo for the first time is magic I think….I felt elated, lucky, scared, apprehensive but most of all completely alive.

There aren’t many times in life when you know for a fact that your life as you know it is about to change FOREVER and this is one of them.

We made the calls to family and then got our own heads around the fact that we were going to be parents now.

Fully mental.

I was working full time and had a million projects on the go so didn’t stop for breath, I was totally focused on carrying on as normal – I felt that pregnancy was not going to affect my work ethic or the way that I lived my life.

I wasn’t sick ffs – just preggo!

Then the tiredness came, OMG massive waves of tiredness that lead to me calling the doctor to say that “this is definitely not normal” and “I think there is something REALLY wrong with me”

NOPE – this was normal and there was nothing wrong with me – so I took to working from 9am-4pm napping for 2 hours and then working again from 6pm-9pm.

I remember thinking how the hell do women that have to work certain hours manage, but of course we all manage with whatever we have to manage with.

Tiredness aside I felt pretty great, life was good and we were really excited.

We had the sexing scan in Dec at Homerton hospital and found out that we were having a boy – left the hospital and it started to snow – magic everywhere!!!

At that scan they did tell me that I have a low lying placenta but that they usually move and that it wasn’t anything to worry about.

I was monitored but this placenta was stubborn and it did not move – then I had a very – very faint bleed and so we thought we had better go get that checked out, I think I was about 30 weeks at that point….I was admitted to hospital immediately and prepped for labour….just in case….steroid injections were administered to help the babies lungs develop – all very scary and not what we were expecting at all.

It was about now that it dawned on me that this placenta was not going to move at all.

I had not felt my baby kicking the entire way through the pregnancy but I knew that he was ok because I could physically see him moving around my belly….the weirdest thing though….all my pregnant mates were complaining of being kicked to high heaven and I couldn’t feel a thing.

I hadn’t thought about it much before that moment but suddenly it all clicked into place.

So now I just wanted to know what was going to happen to my birth……..i’m a massive control freak so for me this really was the hardest bit of my pregnancy, I cried, I shouted, I argued with consultants but ultimately I had to wait until the last minute – which was the 37 week scan to be delivered the news I had been preparing myself for.

I had a grade 4 placenta previa – a potentially life threatening condition – it means in lay-mans terms that the placenta is covering all viable exits for the baby…..the natural route – the cervix and the  operative route – the belly.

I was told there and then that I was being booked in for a c section in 5 days time…..because I could not under any circumstances be allowed to go into a natural labour – I was relived but totally shocked and I absolutely felt robbed of the chance to give birth naturally – so I mourned that with some tears and then picked myself up and got on with it.

I had zero time to prep myself for what was about to happen so my mother in law to be (Susan Jessett – she’s very active on social media, you might already know her!) took over.

She researched everything and came to meet my consultant with me armed with folders full of print outs from the Royal College of Midwives – all with flouro post its marking the pages she wanted to discuss with the surgeon.

She managed to conduct that meeting without giving me the slightest idea of the seriousness of the situation. My ears only pricked up when she asked if a blood transfusion would be on stand by – “just precautionary” she said.

In theatre they were going to have to cut through my placenta to reach my baby.

This means that they had exactly one minute to deliver him safely.

THANK GOD I did not know this was the case going into theatre……all I knew was that Sonny was to be born within minutes and I was going to remain in theatre for approx an hour afterwards to be sorted out.

So the day before the operation came, I – oblivious to everything went and got my hair and nails done – worked right up until the hilt and then got up at 5am the day of the op and popped off to Homerton Hospital with Jamie, his mum and his dad and our suitcase in a cab – it was like going on some sort of weird holiday where you come home with a little human instead of a tan.

Thankfully the op went without a hitch – if you don’t count the fact that they wacked a hair net on my do and whipped my nail polish straight off)

All I wanted to hear was the cry of my newborn and the news that he was ok and then I could focus on having to lay there for another 60 minutes instead of holding my newborn. I didn’t cry, I wasn’t emotional at all…..Jamie said he was worried I didn’t actually care that we had just had a baby but I was just trying to get through it all the only way I know how…

When I was finally ready to go through with my baby the nurses in recovery exclaimed that “most women come in here looking like death but you look as though you’ve just been to a party”

Obviously all those years at Glastonbury skipping around the fields full of ahem “wild abandon” came in useful here but I’d definitely say the fact that I didn’t actually have a bloody clue how serious the op was played a big part in my being so relaxed.

SO THANK YOU SU

Its fair to say that I was off my face later that day in hospital – on about a million drugs…….IT WAS SO WEIRD.

I was pretty battered and bruised around my nether regions after that op…..you could see where the elbows had been when they were pulling that baby out in the 60 seconds they had.

My midwife was visibly shocked when she saw me for the first time “GIRL – You’re black & blue!”

The first few months were hard for me….I wasn’t prepared for what was to come and I found it difficult to bond with my baby immediately – there was no baby bubble of love round our house I can tell you…….BUT…..we got there in our own time and now I LOVE Being a mum more than anything in the world and my god am I grateful to the team I had in that theatre with me.”

GOD BLESS THE NHS

IF LOOKS COULD KILL 6 WEEK OLD SONNY

@kirstihadley is the co-founder madlife.co.uk the parenting network for mums and dads