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!

40 weeks pregnant

So as I was leading up to my due date I couldn’t help but get excited.

Now I knew in reality it could well be another week at least before the little man turned up but I couldn’t help but overanalyse every single twinge I felt. Kyle jokingly said that it was like when he was waiting for his PS5 to show up and every car outside he heard he thought was the delivery… yeah totally the same right! 😉

I still felt very comfortable and realistically nothing was happening inside me to make me think anything was to happen soon. I was eating my dates and drinking my raspberry leaf tea like nobody’s business. I bounced on my birthing ball in the evening and tried to keep all the oxytocin coming.

Due to a HR cock up, I found out the day before my due date that I was actually supposed to go on maternity leave from my due date, not when the baby arrived like I’d planned.

So this suddenly meant I was on my last day. This made things somewhat stressful and annoying. And I was potentially going to lose some valuable time with the baby on the other side. If the baby took his time I could be looking at almost two weeks off without him, and me going out of my mind with boredom!

But actually in the end it worked out well as it meant I could neatly hand over all my work and feel like I’d tied up loose ends as well as potentially have some days to focus solely on me and relaxing before the craziness began. After all, I wouldn’t have that kind of time again for a long while.

During that day I also met up at lunch with my two lovely friends, Emma and Cortney, who’d come down to briefly see me before the baby arrived (or see the baby if he had arrived!).

It was lovely to see them and grab a quick coffee during the day. They brought me doughnuts which was very much appreciated!

To maximise my new maternity leave, I decided to meet my friend Kim for a coffee and a walk the next day (Wednesday, my due date). She’d just had her little boy (4 weeks earlier – we planned this very well!) so it was lovely to see her and it took my mind off still being pregnant.

I also scheduled in a pedicure with my mum on the Thursday. A lovely mum and daughter pamper session. Kyle and I also had plans to go to our favourite greasy spoon for a fry-up on Saturday morning and had doughnuts ordered for Sunday.

Basically it was important for me to have non-baby things to look forward to so I could stop focusing on when I was going to give birth. And I could enjoy all this free time doing the things I loved.

Generally speaking I still felt comfortable and happy in myself. My sleep wasn’t great but it was good enough. I was now solely sleeping on my left (rather than swapping the sides through the night) as my bump was just too large to roll over and it would feel a bit weird as I turned as well. I also kept waking up at 3-4am and lying there wide awake. But I accepted it and made myself a cup of tea and enjoyed the early morning peace.

Well, spoiler alert, but I didn’t have to “waste” much of my maternity leave at all it turns out. The little man soon made an appearance… I’ll recap that in another post 🙂

if you went on maternity leave, did you have long off before the baby arrived?

Did you try to encourage labour in any way beforehand? It all sounds like old wive’s tales to be honest but it helps to feel like you’re doing something!

What You Can Do To Be More Stylish (And Feel Good At The Same Time

I am definitely not a fashionista or have any real ideas about style, so any simple and inexpesnvei tips I’m all ears for! And this post is full of easy simple tricks to help, enjoy 🙂

Becoming more stylish can feel like a constant battle, especially if you are a parent. But, as always, if you follow some simple tried-and-tested rules, you can achieve almost miraculous results. 

In this post, therefore, we take a look at some of the incredibly simple things you can do to be more stylish and how you can totally change your look in the proces. 

Throw Out Anything That Doesn’t Fit

We have a tendency to keep clothes that don’t fit us because we imagine that some day, in the future, they will. But that’s not always true. Many times, we will never be able to wear that clothes that we wore when we were younger again. So holding onto them doesn’t make sense (and it can sabotage your style). 

Instead, be realistic about what fits you and use that strength to cut down the size of your wardrobe. Don’t tempt yourself into trying to wear something you can’t. 

Swap Clothes With Your Most Stylish Friends

Here’s another great idea you’ll want to try: clothes swapping with your most stylish friends. 

Is there somebody in your life who is always dressed impeccably? If so, then ask them if you can do a wardrobe swap with them and see what you come up with. Often, you’ll discover items that you would never have bought yourself but still suit you anyway

Pick Items With A History

Don’t just get all your clothes from generic stores (even branded ones). Instead, make a conscious effort to choose garments and accessories with a little history behind them. 

All sorts of clothes have hidden histories that make them more interesting. Claddagh rings meaning, for instance, dates back over a century. Plus, by choosing items that have a story behind them, you always have something to talk about when you have a conversation with your friends about clothing. 

Create A Uniform

Unsplash – CC0 License

People tend to believe that they should never buy an item of clothing that’s similar to something that they already own. But, again, that’s not always true. Many times, picking something that works with everything else that you have is the best strategy. That way you can create a kind of “uniform” that negates the need to think so intensely about what you wear all the time. 

Get To Know Your Wardrobe

For many women, looking more stylish is often just a matter of getting to know their wardrobes better. In many cases, there are many missed opportunities to upgrade your appearance by using what you already have in clever and innovative ways. 

Rent Your Clothes

Unsplash – CC0 License

If you’re stuck for cash but want to keep your style moving forwards, you can also explore the idea of renting your clothes. Today, there are many such brands available, allowing you to quickly try out new types of clothes before you finally take the plunge and actually buy them. These options are ideal for people who just want something nice for a special occasion, like a wedding or a party. 

Do you consider yourself stylish or follow any fashions?

Do you enjoy shopping for clothes?

39 weeks pregnant

So the week leading up to my due date (7th July).

It’s mad how quickly this has all gone… and yet now how slowly it feels like it’s crawling by. I suppose that’s to be expected – everyone says it happens. You have this date set for you and you just look ahead to it all the time. Everyone asks and you count the weeks and the days… and then it comes and the likelihood is nothing happens (for your first baby at least). But hey ho, it is what it is.

This week has been really good. I managed to run 4 times (5k each time) and weirdly have felt quite good and semi-speedy on these runs.

I still wouldn’t manage any further than 5k I think as the pressure on my ligaments and pelvis gets a bit much but otherwise I feel great.

In general I feel pretty good. My sleep had been a bit better. Less waking up in the early hours of the morning wondering why I’m not asleep. I’ve managed to fall back asleep when I’ve woken up. I’ve felt well rested. My body in general feels fairly comfortable. No major aches, no issues… I’ve been very, very lucky I know. And my anticipation for the baby to arrive is purely because I want to meet him sooner rather than feeling fed up of still being pregnant. It’s also not as hot as it’s been so comfort levels are fine currently.

Kyle set up the birthing pool which we’ve hired so that’s ready to go. We’re planning a home birth so this is rather exciting. Of course I’m well aware things could change and we could end up at hospital for a multitude of reasons but our plan is to stay at home if we can. So fingers crossed!

I’ve been eating all the dates every day (apparently supposed to help with labour, who knows!), drinking red raspberry leaf tea (to help naturally induce labour, again who knows!), walking lots and bouncing on a birthing ball. But we’re prepared. We have everything ready. We just need a baby now 😉

OK some chocolate covered dates too!

At the weekend we had a rather busy one with heading to Reading for my lovely friend Emma’s birthday party. My parents kindly offered to drive because they were concerned being so close to my due date that if something were to happen I wouldn’t be able to drive that distance back (hour and 45 minutes). Kyle can ride a motorbike but he can’t drive at the moment (he was planning too but lockdown and COVID scuppered that a bit). My parents had towels laid down and everything bless them.

Emma’s party was lovely. It was in her garden and it was just so lovely to see her in the flesh. We talk every week but it’s nice to finally see someone properly. Her mum and her did an INCREDIBLE food spread.

I mean it was insane. All the cheese, deli meats and salad bits with her incredible homemade sourdough bread. I was in heaven. Not a sausage roll in sight!

And her vegan chocolate cake was INSANE. It was like the chocolate cake from Matilda – dense, moreish and so tasty.

And Alfie joined too

It was such a lovely afternoon catching up and enjoying the sporadic British summertime.

On the Sunday Kyle and I had lunch with my parents at the Osborne View, a lovely coastal pub near to them. The last time we’d been we were sat outside under an open marquee so it was so nice to be actually inside. It felt like normal!

Kyle and I shared a baked camembert to start and then I had their super tasty Caesar salad for main.

It was lovely! Potentially one of the last times of us eating out without a baby – who knows!

So for now I’ll keep waiting. I’m now on maternity leave from work which is bitter sweet. I had planned to work until I pop but due to a HR misunderstanding they put until my due date and now payroll and HMRC are all sorted I can’t change it apparently. But I think this is probably for the best as I can de-stress and properly relax. For how long, who knows eh!

What’s your favourite salad?

What’s your favourite cheese? I bloody love Camembert. But to be honest, there are so many cheeses I love.

38 weeks pregnant

So one more day until I’m 39 weeks pregnant and almost one week until my due date (7/07/21).

Scary stuff.

Honestly though I can see myself going at least a week overdue. I just have that feeling. I’m not starting maternity leave until I pop so I at least have some structure and routine to my day so I’m not staring at the calendar. I think if I was on maternity leave now, or even next week, I’d be so bored. We’ve pretty much done everything for the baby coming. I’ve cleaned everywhere. I feel prepared and ready. So nothing left to do but wait.

But waiting is fine, to be honest. I don’t feel particularly uncomfortable. My pelvis and lower back do ache from time to time, I can’t wait to sleep on my back again and my nose getting congested every afternoon and evening without fail is annoying. But I’m lucky to really only be “suffering” from those issues rather than some of the more severe and uncomfortable symptoms some women can get. I’m highly aware of how easy my pregnancy has been compared to others and for that I’m grateful.

I’m VERY grateful that I’ve still being able to run as well. It’s two to three 5ks a week (a definite step down from 32 weeks where I was still running 25-30 miles a week). The calf niggle I got stopped me for a bit and then, when I got back to it, my pelvis and the general heaviness of my tummy made running further fairly uncomfortable and the recovery afterwards takes some time. But 5k is manageable and comfortable. I’m fairly intuitive with when I run now too. Have I had a good night sleep? How does my body feel?

While I’m really sad parkrun didn’t start back up again on 26th June (it’s been pushed back to August), we still went down to Netley Abbey (my home parkrun) to meet up with some running buddies for a “not parkrun” and coffee afterwards. We got there for 9am and were pleasantly surprised to see so many familiar faces running around the course. It didn’t feel crowded or unsafe. The sun was shining and Kyle and I enjoyed running the three laps around. Though Netley is far more hilly than I’m used to compared to flat Portsmouth. I definitely felt heavily pregnant running haha!

I managed to complete the 5k in just under 30 minutes, which I’ll happily take right now!

Then we went and sat outside the café and enjoyed some tasty rocky road that the lovely Sheryl had made and (decaf) latte. It was so nice – it almost felt like old normal times. It does make me sad that by the time parkrun is (hopefully) back up properly I won’t be able to run because I’ll have recently given birth. But I definitely want to pop down with the little man and support Kyle running. With parkrun it’s not just about the running, it’s about the social connections and that lovely Saturday morning warm fuzzy glow you get after being there.

On Sunday we went to Stansted House to go to the Nostalgia Festival, where Kyle’s sister, Laura, had a stall and the rest of his family were also there to support. She was selling her handmade wigs (which are just GORGEOUS). You can find her on Instagram @theWiggie and see her products HERE.

We even went on the carousel, which was hilarious and good fun.

The Nostalgia Show was good fun. We moseyed round the different stalls, selling vintage bits and bobs, and the street food vendors – so good.

For lunch I grabbed a chicken shawarma with halloumi fries…

Delicious food from Cairo Van

…and then followed that with an extremely chocolatey brownie.

Brownie was from a food truck called Gin and Tea

We even entered Alfie into a very light-hearted dog show that happened. He sadly didn’t win but he ALMOST won the most waggy tail award. He was robbed!

And back to running, I had a fantastic run on Monday morning in the cooler temperatures. My legs felt pretty good and the usual pelvic pressure wasn’t as strong. I actually ran a lot faster than I have in a while, which was surprising.

I was tempted to run a bit further but I decided to play it sensible because I wanted to run later in the week and recovery does take a bit longer. So pushing my body further is not the most sensible. All about consistent quality runs now!

So on to the next week I guess! Who knows how many pregnancy updates I have left to do eh!

Do you enjoy going round stalls at festivals?

What would you pick: regular fries, sweet potato or halloumi?