My birth story

So the little man has finally arrived! I went one day overdue and Isaac arrived 8/07/21 at 6.36pm. A beautiful, healthy little boy. Here’s my birth story… a little bit crazy!

I woke up at 7.30am with period-like cramps. They were mild but constant. I’d planned to run and wondered if it was a good idea. But they eased a bit so I decided I’d still go – who knew when I’d go into labour and when my last run would be and I wanted to make the most of it while I could.

The run went really well. I felt comfortable and energised, tho the baby felt low in my pelvis. But when I finished I had more period cramps.

I showered and made my porridge. Suddenly I then felt a little trickle of fluid involuntarily come out of me… riiiiight.

I went to the bathroom and saw it looked more like fluid than anything else (TMI maybe sorry).  I told Kyle and we wondered if this was my waters. But it was just a trickle… this was around 11am.

My mum had then arrived to drive her and I to our luxury pedicure appointment we had planned in Wickham. Kyle and I decided to keep the trickle to ourselves and just carry on. If it WAS my waters labour would still take ages (like hours and hours in the beginning stage) and I might as well enjoy the treatment. But I didn’t want my mum to be worried or get too excited. I put a pad on and felt good to go.

We arrived at Wickham and had some time to wander round the shops before the appointment. I bought a cake and a sausage roll from a bakery for Kyle and I later. But all the while I was feeling on and off cramps. It was manageable tho.

We got to the appointment and I jokingly (tho not jokingly at all) asked if we could put a towel down on the chair “just in case, ha ha” because I was one day overdue.

As the treatment got going I was glad to be wearing my mask as the cramps got stronger and I was having to breathe a bit more focused and was grimacing. I was trying to enjoy the treatment – soaking, scrubbing, massaging…so lovely in this chilled out room with relaxing music but it was tough as the cramps were quite sore and were happening every 6 or so minutes now.

Suddenly I felt a lot more trickling happening on and off. I started to panic thinking what was happening to the towel beneath me. My mum also became aware that something wasn’t quite right. As the beauty therapists went out to make us a drink she asked me if I was OK and I tried to fob her off but she knew (mums always do eh). 

The treatment was almost done so I decided to finish and then as soon as I was able popped to the loo. Yep waters had definitely gone. When I came back to the room I could see the towel had a little wet patch on it… I was mortified. I told the ladies I thought my waters had gone and they were so lovely and excited for me.

We quickly paid (though only my mum could then want to buy a nail varnish before she left!!). The lady who did my feet handed me a handful of napkins and wished me all the best which was lovely and we hightailed to the car.

On the drive home the cramps (contractions) were becoming more intense and longer. I decided to ring the labour line number to keep them informed (as you have to do) and text my midwife. Labour line were lovely. The woman said that having a pedicure was the perfect start to labour and what colour had I gone for! 

She then explained that the hospital now needed to be aware of the situation because of my waters breaking as I now had a ticking time of 48 hours for the baby to come out as there was a risk of an infection to him. It was hard to talk though as the contractions kept happening and I kept having to stop talking.

We got back to mine and I hobbled up the pavement to get to the house and a neighbour wanted to chat. As politely as possible I nodded and smiled but kept walking. Not the time!

I got into the house and Kyle and his mum, Sarah, greeted me. Sarah was supposed to be coming over that evening but Kyle had told her not to now as things might be happening. She’d wanted to drop us some muffins which was lovely. Both mums promised they’d leave us to it tho – as we hadn’t planned on having them there for the birth (spoiler: we never got them to leave).

Apparently Kyle had asked Sarah what time she thought we’d be having the baby and Sarah said the next morning. But then when she saw me and saw my contractions she looked at Kyle and said “you’ll have a baby by tonight”. 

Kyle then spoke to my midwife on the phone and it became apparent they needed to be coming over now. I was bouncing on the ball while Sarah monitored the frequency and duration of the contractions. I was finding it hard to continue conversations as they were coming so quickly and lasting so long (at least 45 secs and every minute or so).

I was vaguely aware of two midwives and a student midwife turning up and beginning to set things up around me. Kyle was now on birthing pool duty, filling it with enough warm water using a long hose attached to the bathroom tap upstairs.

The midwife asked to check me which I was fine with and she told me I was 4cm, almost 5cm, dilated and fully effaced. I could get into the birthing pool. This was 4.15pm. The mums stayed out of the way but it was nice to know they were around.

The contractions were now VERY intense and close together. Getting into the birthing pool was a relief. The warm water was lovely, but the pain kept coming. I was breathing them through and holding Kyle’s hand. I vaguely remember wondering what was so bad about a hospital birth with an epidural after all? Why did I want to do this naturally again??

I overheard one of the midwives mention about night shifts and I panicked a bit thinking how I couldn’t possibly continue all night with this pain. I desperately wanted to ask for an ETA of the baby but was scared with what they’d tell me.

I had gas and air and leaned over the birthing pool side with Kyle stroking my back. The pain was front and back and so intense. Gas and air did nothing to touch it but gave me something to focus my breathing on.

The midwives kept monitoring the baby’s heart rate and he was doing fine. I was in my own zone, unable to converse. I remember them saying they needed to check my HR and they asked Kyle to look at my Garmin as it was the easiest way.

They did this without me helping or being involved, I was just clutching the side in my own painful world. The pain got even more intense and I started to make noises that were frankly quite terrifying. The midwives asked if I felt the urge to push. I said I did. And they simply replied, “then push”.

I tried to with each contraction but ended up making even crazier and loud noises without making much progress. They told me I wasn’t being efficient and needed to USE each contraction to push the baby out. I needed to breathe downwards and not just scream out.

Right, I understood. Suddenly each contraction was a gift – if I used each one to help me push the baby down and out it meant less contractions overall. So I held my breath and pushed everything down. The midwives had a mirror to check what was going on below and each push they got more excited and cheered me on.

Between each contraction they’d rush over to check the baby’s HR. Everything was going fine until one check showed the baby’s HR had slowed down. I could hear concern around me and they told me I needed to get out of the pool and into the living room. This was 6pm. (I later found out they were VERY close to calling an ambulance to take me to hospital as they were getting concerned).

Right, I realised I needed to mobilise quickly as the time between contractions was so quick. I leapt up, with them wrapping me with towels to dry me. In the living room I got onto all fours on the floor (thankfully we’d got a shower curtain and towels for any mess). 

I was using the contractions now to push. I felt down and could feel the top of the baby’s head. With each push I could feel the beginnings of the ring of fire pain… it scared me but I realised I’d rather the ring of fire than the contractions so just pushed through (literally).

I heard a midwife say that the baby had eyebrows like his daddy and then soon after his head was out and then he was out.

Between my legs I saw they’d put a breathing mask on to help him (tho I wasn’t worried as I could see him moving his head). I would love to say I felt this amazing overwhelming sense of love but actually I just felt immense relief that the pain had stopped. Perhaps selfish but true.

Then they handed me a now crying baby boy through my legs and I just remember wondering how the hell do I even hold this wriggling large slippery mass?? Kyle got to cut the cord and then I had to birth out the placenta (which felt very unfair considering everything I’d just done!). It was far less painful of course but still not pleasant!

Amazingly I didn’t tear, just a few grazes which the midwives sutured up (again, this wasn’t pleasant – I was so bruised!). 

So little Isaac Christopher James Cuthbertson came into the world at 6.36pm weighing 8lb 4oz. And while I didn’t feel that immediate overwhelming love, it has just built and built as the days went on. I adore him with every fibre of my being.

After the midwives left about 9pm (everywhere was so clean it was unbelievable!), Kyle ordered the mums and me McDonald’s and I had a few chicken nuggets, chips and the cake I’d bought earlier. Delicious.

So a bit of a crazy whirlwind of a day! It felt very overwhelming and quite intense but I’m so thankful I got the home birth we wanted. Though the fairy lights never got put up and the birth playlist never happened! There was just no time.

I’m so grateful to the midwives for their incredible support and help, and also to the mums and Kyle. Without them I couldn’t have done this. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but wow I’m so proud of my body and so much in love with Isaac and our little family.

Now let the madness begin!

37 weeks pregnant

Wow so I am at “term” for my pregnancy!

So this basically means the baby is fully grown and potentially ready to be born. Of course it’s unlikely I’ll be giving birth in the next few days or even week (I say this simply because statistics show first time pregnancies tend to go late and the fact that I’ve had no inklings of things happening) but there’s a chance and if it happened he would be good to enter the world.

It’s just a waiting game which is both terrifying and exciting. We have everything ready at home. From clothes washed, nursery organised, next-to-me crib set up, pram built, car seat installed, reusable nappies washed and ready… so much to think about!

From a self-focused perspective, I’ve had my hair cut (last time was a year ago!) so I feel a bit more tidy. And I’ve also had my first COVID vaccine. I had the pfizer and other than a tender upper arm I felt fine. I did have an amusing moment when getting it done when the nurse asked if there was any chance I was pregnant. I thought she was joking but turns out she wasn’t and I think she was just on autopilot and hadn’t looked at me properly haha!

I’ve made my ‘padsticles’ (maybe TMI, but basically I’ve prepped my maternity sanitary pads ready to go with witch-hazel, aloe vera gel and lavender oil and popped them in the freezer so they’ll be cold and healing post-birth. If you don’t know, you bleed a lot post birth and everything is a bit battered, swollen and painful so this should help with healing).

I’ve tidied, cleaned, organised… full-on nesting has been a-go-go! My last job is to tidy up the garden a bit but that’s lower priority.

We also celebrated my birthday a little early (it was 19th June) as I really wanted to have a fancy afternoon tea and we decided to go to London. So we decided to go a week early so it wouldn’t clash with a busy weekend of Father’s Day and seeing family, and also being one week less pregnant helped! 😉

So we went to the Ampersand Hotel in Kensington and had a very quirky afternoon tea. It was “science themed” and was so much fun. We got to make our own lemonade with different ingredients. There was a cool dry ice smoke effect thing that happened when the waitress poured something in the top (can you tell science wasn’t my strongest skill at school??). And all the cakes were science themed or shaped.

We even got to dig for buried fossils in a chocolate crumb that looked like soil.

Not only was it fun, it was super tasty. And we were chuffed when they offered us seconds. We happily had a few more sandwiches!

My capacity to eat a lot though is disappointingly small and I was VERY full afterwards. It helped we had a lovely (albeit hot) walk in Hyde Park and then headed to find the nearest Doughnut Times for some treats to take home with us.

I got a Biscoff and original glazed, whereas Kyle also got a glazed as well as a Bueno flavoured one). We spotted Crosstown doughnut across the road and decided to grab one from there as well as we’d heard everyone rave about the peanut butter and jam flavoured one.

When we tried them later I have to confess, I much prefer the Doughnut Time doughnuts. The Crosstown was good don’t get me wrong but for someone who adores all things crazy sweet, Doughnut Time was just a bit more me. Crosstown was a bit more “mature” and so not as sweet and crazy. I’d definitely try some others though, just to be certain 😉

Moving away from doughnuts, one of the things I really wanted to do while pregnant was go swimming. However it’s not something in general I’m massively keen on and what with COVID making everything more complicated, I decided the best thing to do was embrace the good weather and take a dip in the sea instead. This would also mean I would have gotten in the sea pregnant as well, which was another nice box to tick.

We knew going down to Southsea beach (about 4 miles away from us) would be rammed because the weather was so good, so we decided to go to the quieter Eastern road seafront. It’s far less popular coastal spot, mainly used by dog walkers – not many people go swimming here! However, I was on a mission and didn’t want a long swim. So we drove the mile there (the first England Euro match was on in 30 mins so we were on a time  limit), I had my bikini on ready with a towel. We walked down to the edge and in I popped!

The water was lovely and warm surprisingly and not too deep. But deep enough for me to do a 5 minute little swim. It felt incredible – the weight of my bump just disappeared. I can understand the appeal of swimming when you’re pregnant (but the faff of getting there, getting changed, sorting my hair out afterwards and getting dry is just so much effort for me). We then hopped back to the car and got back in time for the football!

And on a final note, I was recently sent some collagen infused spring water from FYX drinks to try out. Each bottle contains 2500mg of marine collagen which is known to help repair damaged ligaments, joints and muscles due to the protein, as well as enhancing your skin, nails and hair.

I tried out their Raspberry, Acai Berry, White Tea and Aloe Vera flavour and their Lemon & Lime, Moringa Tea, Lemon Balm and Aloe Vera flavour. It’s low calorie (about 31 calories per bottle) and as well as the collagen contains lots of vitamins and antioxidants.

So a powerhouse drink! And it was surprisingly really tasty and refreshing.

Have you gone swimming (pool or sea) this summer?

Do you prefer Doughnut Time or Crosstown, or another doughnut brand?

Do you enjoy afternoon tea?

**Full disclaimer: I was sent the FYX drinks for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

36 weeks pregnant – and our baby shower!

So I’m at week 36 of my pregnancy.

How’s it all been going? Well I’ve been really very lucky. My pregnancy, so far (touch wood!), has been fairly easy going. The first trimester was a terrible slog of nausea and exhaustion, but that lasted maybe 5 or 6 weeks? So in the grand scheme of things, I’ve been very fortunate.

I haven’t had any major back or hip pain as of yet. And my energy levels have been very good – despite some terrible night’s sleeps. In terms of symptoms currently, I still get very congested in the evenings. I get heartburn if I eat too late or too much (two things I’m quite bad at). And I have nights where I wake up at 3 or 4am and just lay there wide awake, but I tend to read and wait until my body wants to go back to sleep – and weirdly I don’t feel too bad during the day (maybe training my body to get by with less sleep…). And just generally getting up off the sofa and rolling over in bed are hard work. But other than that, I feel fantastic.

From a running perspective, things were going really well until for whatever reason my right calf started playing up at the end of week 32. Perhaps it was a combination of my new trainers and my changing body (weight gain, pelvic position, relaxin hormone loosening everything, etc.), who knows. But basically it started bugging me on a long run – just a bit of tightness, nothing major. Then when I went for another run a few days later it definitely got worse and I found I was limping slightly afterwards and it had started to bug my hamstring and a little bit in my back.

So I did the very sensible thing of taking some time off (18 days). It made sense with going to Newquay to take the time off anyway. Then when I attempted to run again it still bugged me so I had a couple of acupuncture appointments to ease the tension. It definitely helped. I then tried a 5k run which, while not perfect, was far better than before.

I’ve since seen a chiropractor too which, regardless of my injury, I wanted to have to keep me in optimal condition before the birth. Lots of people had recommend that it can help align you and make things a bit easier later.

The appointment was fantastic. She said my pelvis was slightly twisted and my ankle was locked up, which was probably contributing to my running issues. So she “re-aligned” me and I’ve got a second follow-up appointment next week. What I loved about the appointment was that she had a giant pillow with a bump shaped hole in so I could lie on my front without squashing the baby. It felt amazing!

Since then I’ve just been sticking to 5ks. The discomfort is still there but not nearly as bad and it doesn’t get worse during or after so I’ll take that! I’m just so grateful to still be able to run in some capacity so far along in my pregnancy. Of course I know I’ll need to give it up when I give birth and recover sensibly (I don’t want to do any long term damage to myself and let’s be honest, I’m going to be shattered!). For now I’d just love to continue running while I still can. While I have no major responsibilities like keeping a baby alive basically, haha!

And in more exciting news, at the weekend Kyle and I had our baby shower! I was so excited about it and it didn’t disappoint. Kyle’s sisters, Laura and Lucy, were incredible and arranged the whole thing.

The glam-mas to be

I knew the date but nothing else. It was honestly so so lovely. I had so many of my friends and family there. Luckily we had EXACTLY 30 people and it was in my parent’s garden so we didn’t break  any COVID rules either. Though I would have loved to have invited some of my friend’s partners, but we just didn’t have the numbers sadly. I’m a big believer in baby showers not being just a female thing.

We had a few games, lots of food, cake and, after a bit of a cloudy start, sunshine!

I had such a good day. We also asked if people wanted to buy us gifts to buy us reusable nappies as this is the route we’re taking with our little man. I just hate the idea of all those disposable nappies on landfill for 500+ years.

We got some lovely gifts in the end (some nappies and some other items – I don’t think people entirely got our memo haha). Regardless it was just so lovely to receive so many lovely gifts and to spend time with all my favourite people in one afternoon (tho sadly a few people couldn’t make it – tho this helped with keeping COVID compliant).

So all in all, I’m feeling very loved, very comfortable and very happy!

Did you have a baby shower if you’ve got children?

Have you ever seen a chiropractor?

An exciting baby moon in Cornwall

So Kyle and I recently returned from our final holiday before the baby comes (our baby moon if you will, though I do hate that term).

We were to Newquay in Cornwall for four days and had such a fantastic time. When we booked the holiday a number of months ago (as soon as we heard about the lockdown easing milestones) I didn’t consider I’d be 34 weeks pregnant and needing to drive over 4 hours to get there! Kyle sadly can’t drive (he rides a motorbike) so it was down to me to get us there.

34 weeks pregnant bump update

But as we got closer and the realisation dawned, we just planned a nice and easy drive up there. No rush, lots of stops and a nice lunch planned in Bournemouth in the Duck – a very Anna-Kyle style restaurant serving burgers and chicken wings.

It was actually a very pleasant journey up and the lunch stop was very nice! The food was insanely good and we almost considered going there on the way back (we decided against it for health and financial reasons haha). I had a large bucket of buffalo chicken wings (which I shared with Kyle as honestly my stomach capacity is so disappointing compared to pre-pregnancy Anna).  I also had frickles and chips. Though the chips had no chance of fitting in! The frickles were delicious though.

The holiday itself was WONDERFUL. On the first day (my personal favourite, for reasons that will become clear) we decided to walk around Newquay and explore a bit. We were staying in a lovely apartment just a stone’s throw from Fistral Beach, a popular surfing location. It was early and barely anyone was on the beach asides from a few dog walkers and it was beautiful and clear – and thankfully warm!

Kyle suggested we set up one of our phone cameras as a video so we could get a nice photo of us with the beach background, and do a few funny poses that we could screenshot after. I love doing this sort of thing so for Kyle to suggest it was quite nice and I happily set it up.

After the iPhone was mounted on a nearby rock Kyle said he just needed to grab his sunglasses from my rucksack that was on my back. I didn’t think twice about this (though in retrospect does seem odd as Kyle never wears sunglasses, and when did he put them in a my bag? Why was he taking so long?). Eventually he said he’d got them and I turned back around to the camera to pose with him. But he turned to me and said “You know I love you, Anna” and whipped out a little black box… and got down on one knee and proposed!!

Well, to say I was shocked was an understatement. I was definitely not expecting that! Of course I said yes 🙂 And as we hugged, kissed and laughed together I suddenly realised that Kyle had managed to get me to film my own proposal!

Such a gorgeous ring

How sneaky haha. But how lovely for us to have that video. It was a very cute watch. And our family and friends could watch it too 🙂

Well, the rest of the day was very much us walking around on cloud nine and chatting about how many months he’d planning it, how he’d custom designed the ring, how our entire family knew it was happening…

After he proposed to went into this lovely café called Sea Spray just on the side of the cliffs of Fistral Beach and as we got a table I blurted to the waitress, “I’m engaged!” and we got to share with her our lovely proposal story. She was very happy for us. We actually came back to that café for lunch later as it had such a beautiful view and the food was delicious and the whole café congratulated us 🙂

The rest of the holiday was filled with lots of lovely daytrips. My parents were actually holidaying nearby in Devon funnily enough so we met up in Port Isaac for a mosey around and a lovely lunch in the School House. I won’t lie, ploughman’s was definitely my meal of choice during the holiday.

When else can you eat a huge chunk of cheese so brazenly eh! Most of my lunches though had to have a portion of chunky chips though as this is something I’ve been craving for a number of weeks now. Just plain, hot salty chips – perfection. So bizarre as before pregnancy I rarely fancied chips and if I did they had to have loads of toppings or ketchup.

My parents were actually looking after Alfie for us so we got to see him as well, which was lovely as I missed him.

Port Isaac

We also visited Padstow and St. Ives. Such beautiful coastal towns with lots of little boutique shops, tea rooms and pubs. And so many people commented on my bump and asked when we were due and what we were having. Something I’d been missing as we’d been in lockdown most of my pregnancy. I’ve definitely craved that human interaction.

St. Ives

It was such a lovely time off and time spent with Kyle (and the day with my family and Alfie of course). I’d felt so stressed at work (perfect on the lead-up to my maternity leave, eh!) so this was exactly what I needed.

So a very memorable and wonderful holiday – our last one before the little man arrives!

Have you ever been to Cornwall?

Do you like a Ploughman’s lunch?

29 weeks pregnant

The past couple of weeks have finally felt a bit more normal since lockdown is easing more and more.

And I’ve definitely felt more pregnant – or at least looked more pregnant!

The weekend before last, on the Saturday Kyle and I headed out for a run. He was going to run about 8 miles with me while I would go a bit further. The run felt amazing! Previous long runs have felt a bit of a slog due to one thing or another: the wind, the baby’s position and how tired I was. We ran a bit faster than previously and I was able to do 13.1 miles in total – and felt great!

Pregnant running is very similar to normal running in that you have good days and bad days. But I think for me, the worrier and over-thinker, I start to seriously wonder if this is it and my pregnant running is over. Then I go out for a run a few days later and everything feels fine again. Ups and downs! Sometimes my hips ache more than usual, sometimes I feel super heavy and tired, sometimes the baby is in an odd position which feels uncomfortable… and then sometimes it all feels amazing and I’m running along smoothly feeling incredible.

I’ve just learnt to not expect too much and to take each run as it comes. In my mind I’m counting down the weeks to the end and every run I get is a gift. I’d love to run until my due date – however that will look; run-walking, shuffling along, doing 2 miles here or there. I’ll take what I can get as long as the baby is still healthy and I’m enjoying it.

Anyway on that Saturday we were allowed to go shopping! Now while ordinarily I would have probably waited a while for everyone to calm down, I was keen to get a few bits and pieces for the baby and myself in terms of maternity wear. While living in leggings is a dream I was keen to change things up and wear some maternity jeans occasionally too. Everyone said H&M did really good ones so I wanted to check them on in person.

So Saturday we were able to tick off buying the pram (the Upperbaby Vista), car seat (Joie) and a pair of super comfy and flattering maternity jeans – job done!

And a few little extras…

With my parents, Kyle and I headed in Southampton where we had a John Lewis appointment to help us select our pram and car seat. This made things so much easier as honestly we didn’t have a clue and having someone talk it through with us was perfect. We were able to select the pram that fitted best into our lifestyle. We got to physically push it and see it pack away etc. This was so much better than trying to do it online.

We then enjoyed our first meal out in months at the lovely local Osborne View pub with my parents. We were sat outside (obviously) but under a partially closed marquee which made it a lot less cold. Though to be fair the weekend was so warm we were fine.

I had chicken wings to start and a mozzarella salad and a side  of chips (I can’t get enough of salty chips right now). It was delicious.

On Sunday Kyle and I headed to Bristol to meet with our friends, Kate and Jay, so we could meet their adorable identical twins who were born in January. Kate was so lovely and gave us so many baby things that she no longer needed – so so helpful! And then we headed out to Bristol Harbour for a lovely alfresco meal in Spitfire.

I went for the chicken (another thing I can’t get enough of) and chips and it was very tasty. It was just so nice to feel normal. Seeing friends! Eating in a restaurant! It was just fabulous.

Playing mum

We then hung out on the College Green in the sunshine catching up before grabbing some VERY tasty and indulgent treats from Mrs Potts Chocolate House.

Kyle and I picked up a couple of double chocolate stuffed cookies (drizzled in melted chocolate!) each and I had to get some of their rocky road again.

So all in all, a very happy, love-filled, calorie dense weekend 😉

Cookies or rocky road? I’ll always go for rocky road first and foremost.

Have you been out shopping yet or to any restaurants?