The mum word

Three little letters make up the one short word I never thought I’d become. For most of my life, I didn’t think being a mum was for me. Late in to my twenties and I was still partying far too hard, working a job I loved and being an Aunty to the best nieces you could wish for. To even think about making my own family was too far away, too much to give up. I didn’t see a need for anything more. I also worried my weight would stop me ever being a mum.

Then I was blessed with a relationship that showed me there was more to come for me. Falling pregnant was the most scared I’ve ever felt about anything – ever! The worry, fear and anxiety of what was to come was almost too much to bear. How could I be a mum when I still had so much to learn myself? How would I be good enough?

My baby is now almost one month old and I am still coming to terms with her traumatic entrance into the world. My daughter has made me feel so much more than I imagined and I still don’t know what being a mum really means. When do you really feel like a mum? Is there a certain exam I pass to get a certificate that says yes, you’re a mum now? Am I ready? Will I ever feel normal again?

I don’t know the rules and I don’t know what I’m doing each day but I know that Dottie coming into my life as changed me. Made me that one little word I never thought I’d be lucky enough to become. I’m now filled with excitement (alongside the fear!) about the adventure she is about to take me on. If it’s anything like what I put my mum through, it’s going to be a tough ride!

To all the other new mums out there, let’s enjoy every single moment. Yes, even the screaming, whinging, get-me-out-of-here-now ones!

Plus size maternity wardrobe

The plus size maternity clothes drama is the most commented about problem on my blog. I’m hear to tell you that you really don’t need to worry. There are so many stores here in the UK that have a great maternity collection that we can all enjoy without relying on stretchy leggings.

I really don’t like the image above of me being surprised at my baby shower BUT I love my bump in it! I wore a very fitted green textured dress from asos as i refused to hide my size away. I was a size 24-26 at the start of my pregnancy and alongside a million and one other fears of being an obese pregnant woman, was the worry of what i’d wear through my pregnancy and first few months of motherhood. What if I can’t get clothes big enough? What do I do about nursing bras? Maternity briefs? Shoes when my feet swell?!

Well the good news is, when you get so big your feet swell, you wont give a crap what you’re wearing! I lived in flip flops and pumps towards the end of my pregnancy even though it was the winter.

One of the bonuses of being plus size and pregnant, is that your tummy wont show for a long time. I know it’ll be frustrating for you and you’ll be desperate to show off your bump but it does mean you’ll be ok in your current wardrobe for the first few months. Bear in mind before rushing out and buying clothes that you shouldn’t put any weight on, apart from your tummy. You may even lose weight during your pregnancy, I only put on 9lbs and my baby weighed almost ten so do those maths!

So, here’s some wardrobe staples you may need for your maternity wardrobe.

My most worn item throughout my whole pregnancy was the harem! They are perfect. Stretchy and comfortable without being boring. Yours Clothing have the best range without being a fortune. Buy yourself two pairs and they’ll quickly be your favourite too.

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If harems aren’t your thing, these jeans are awesome. They are from Bon Prix and go up to a size 28. Well worth the money and great to chuck on with a t shirt.

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Speaking of t shirts, New look’s Curves range has some great, cheap, t shirts that are awesome to chuck on. Their t shirts are always well-fitted so shouldn’t need to up size too much. I am loving this t shirt at the moment and it’s stretchy so it’ll grow with your bump! While you’re on the site check out their new maternity range, they go up to size 20 and have some real treats on there.

Swing dresses are perfect when you’re pregnant. They are floaty, cute, practical and comfortable. Plus you can dress them up with the right accessories. I love this t shirt dress from asos. It’ll be so comfortable when you just want to chuck something on – plus its not expensive. Double bonus! All of the asos curve range go up to size 30, are really great value and most of their clothes will make great maternity staples!image1xxl

Have you heard of bump bands? Mums tend to use them to hide their tummy when they are breast feeding BUT they are also great to wear during the last few months of pregnancy. You can still wear some of your current t shirts or trousers and just wear the bump underneath so you don’t show any tummy that you don’t want too. I also found the extra support really helped with lower back pain and that horrible feeling of your tummy being dragged down. The band pulls you in a little so was perfect for the last few months. I bought mine from amazon. Id recommend getting your current size, you don’t to size up on these.

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So, the big question – what about underwear? I’m not going to lie, finding plus size nursing bras is a bit of a nightmare. Figleaves have a nice range, although they are on the pricey side. In the end, I just normal bras from the brilliant range at Yours Clothing. Don’t forget, you’re advised not to wear underwired bras during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. While you’re on the site, be sure to check out their full maternity range. It’s fab!

Don’t panic about what to wear in labour either. I bought this amazing t shirt in the biggest size and it was perfect.

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If you’re worried about knickers by the way, I know they keep talking about maternity briefs on your checklist, just buy a couple of sizes bigger and you’ll be fine! I just grabbed these in evans and they were fine!

Just remember, you don’t need much. A few tops, a pair of trousers and a nice dress will get you through. You can buy as much or as little as you like, just don’t feel you need to hide. Grab those bright, patterned harems and fitted t shirts and flaunt your beautiful body in style! Asda, Simply Be and Matalan also all have nice maternity ranges to browse through.

If you’ve got some more top tips for the plus size pregnancy wardrobe, leave a comment and let us know!

It’s been a while…

I cannot believe how long it has taken me to find the time to sit and bring you up-to-date. Actually. Thats a lie. I can. It’s been quite hard to a) find the time and b) put it in writing. Here’s why.

Jan 11th. That was the date of my last post. January the 11th 2016. Rather ironically, that post was about antenatal classes and how excited I was looking forward to a normal birthing experience. Exactly four weeks later my waters broke.

The “birth plan” was to stay home as long as possible once my waters broke so when I called the hospital to tell them they’d broke and they told me to get straight there, I panicked. The water was brown which meant the baby could be in distress but could also just be common as I was five days overdue. I immediately starting being violently sick and overwhelmed with panic. This was not how it was meant to be. My TENS machine and soothing massage oils aren’t even opened. As I was soon to find out, there really is no such thing as a birth plan.

Outside, there was a huge storm, Storm Imogen was hitting the South West and my boyfriend was even more stressed about driving his anxious, wet, puking girlfriend to hospital. I am sure we had some sort of guardian angel that night because as soon as I we finally got in the car, the gale force winds and rain quietened and we got to St Micheals Hospital safely. Once inside, thunder and lightning began and I don’t just mean outside.

The pain was crazy and I didn’t feel at all prepared. It was only when the midwive told me what was going on that I realised why. The baby was back-to-back and I needed an epidural, fast. The one thing I did not want in my “plan”. Typically, the first epidural was placed in too far and only worked for 30 minutes (Best 30 minutes of my life though! Didn’t feel a thing!) and meant that the pain came back even stronger than before and I now couldn’t move the top half of my back. They gave me a much stronger epidural and lo and behold, that didn’t work either. Two failed epidurals and one screaming soon-t0-be mamma.

This post is getting long, so let’s cut to the chase, 24 hours of labour later I was ready to push. It sounds weird but the pushing didn’t hurt. It was exciting. I was going to finally meet little Snowie and see what they were! Everything was going great and I was getting the baby out naturally, when suddenly 30 people filled the room.

Midwives, surgeons, doctors, angels all rushed in. I had shoulder dystocia. The baby was stuck under my pubic bone. It’s extremely rare (two in every 100 births) and I was totally unprepared. The doctor managed to get the baby out by cutting me (ouch…) and the baby came out bright blue with the cord around its neck and no crying.

I have never been more scared in my whole life and doubt I ever will be again. Thankfully, I didn’t see the baby bright blue as I don’t think the image would ever leave my mind. My poor boyfriend however, saw everything. Me screaming and bleeding everywhere, doctors trying to calm me and stitch me up, surgeons trying to bring our baby round. I couldn’t stop looking at his face. Praying to see something that told me it would be ok.

Six minutes. Six long long minutes. That’s how long it was before we heard her cry. Her. Our little girl. She’d not been able to breathe on her own, was extremely distressed and couldn’t move her right arm but my girl was here.

The relief was unbelievable and I still cry recalling it now. That’s why it’s taken me so long to write it down. The few hours and days that followed where a bit of a blur. I couldn’t breastfeed as my body and the baby had suffered such trauma and she was diagnosed with Erbs Palsy on her right side but I was just so grateful to have her.

When I started this blog, I wanted to tell you ladies that you could do it. That no matter what people say or how your mind tells you can’t, you can. Whether you are plus size or not. That still stands but I can tell you that had it not been for my weight, the epidural may have been successful and the labour may not have been 24 hours and so painful.

If I EVER considered having a baby again, I’d definately lose weight first. Lots of it. I’m already 2.5 stone down…

I will continue this blog into my plus size parenthood and see where we go. Thanks for sticking with me. Here she is.

Dorothy Rae Wakeling. Born 2.31am on Tuesday 9th February 2016 weighing 9lb 14oz!!!

Dottie-Rae to her friends.

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PS St Michaels Hospital staff are incredible. We both owe them our lives. You’d be very lucky to have your baby there.

Antenatal class – what to expect

As a first time mum, I really didn’t know what to expect from an antenatal class. Given my experience from consultants so far, I was expecting the usual scare stories and probably being picked out of the class for being high-risk. Perhaps being used as an example for being in a bad situation or something or getting funny looks from other mums-to-be. I was, as usual, wrong.

The class is now held in one long session rather than a course over a few weeks so going straight from work to a 3 hour lecture was not something a 36 week pregnant lady like myself was looking forward too. Especially when I walked in to the super hot room full of people with soon to have very sore necks as all the chairs where against the wall rather than facing the front. EEP!

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Anyway, a lovely midwive who seemed slightly crazy which I loved her all the more for, introduced herself and began the class. I have to say, I expected the midwife to be very medical and tell us what we HAD to do at each stage of labour. Actually, she was the opposite and explained labour just as I wished them to be allowed to happen.

For example, her approach was very natural. She talked us through each stage of labour and what would happen / what to expect. I could see some people squirming but I found it so reassuring. The midwive was all for being natural and leaving the woman to have little interference. She even spoke about how it affects oxytoxin levels to interfer with the woman’s natural rhythm which I knew my friend Keisha over on The Boy Maker blog would like!

I learnt so much; from the magic disposable organ that is the placenta to the types of pain relief I can take and how amazing womens bodies really are. Did you know your nipples darken towards the end of pregnancy because babies love dark circles on pale backgrounds so the baby will start breast feeding. Did you know the distance a baby can see for the first few weeks is exactly from your nipple to your face? Or that womens body tempatures can heat up or cool down depending on what the baby needs? It’s crazy what we can do ladies!

Although she explained the types of risks and what could go wrong, the main way in which she described what will happen has given me hope. There is no real reason why I can’t have a very normal labour with little interference. I just need to make sure Snowie works with me on this one!

 

Best feeling

Just a super quick post to say: I just love feeling my baby kick and move around.

Snowie had another lazy day yesterday which I did not like one little bit and today it has not stopped! Twisting and punching and kicking away all day. We made a curry for tea and it appears Snowie loved this too because it’s an hour later and little one is still going strong.

I know I moaned about being kicked in the ribs before and it’s still not my favourite thing but I now greet it with a smile. You know, after I’ve winced!

4 weeks to go and counting…

Meeting The Hopkins

The secret is finally out. A few months ago, I was approached to appear on a TV documentary. I was naturally sceptical as they contacted me through this blog which is often just spam when not other lovely ladies. However, something made me reply to them and two days of phone calls, mental health evaluations and interviews later – I was booked.

To say I was dubious about doing it when I found out it was Katie Hopkins’ show is more than a little of an understatement. Although I watched her My Fat Story documentary last year and often read her articles,  and agreed with points, I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of her opinion. She is more than open about “hating fat people” and I couldn’t see how any good could come of me talking to her.

But something made me go through with it and I am so glad I did. Firstly because she turned up with a lovely bunch of flowers for me as she’d heard it was the day after my birthday – I know, was this really foul-mouthed Katie Hopkins?

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As we sat in the back of a car waiting for the cameras to be set up (glam life of TV!) I annoyingly warmed to her. She was so open, interesting and dare I say it, witty, that we got on straight away.

Unfortunately for me, that continued on camera with even the director pulling me aside to tell me not to be scared to have a go at her if I didn’t agree with anything she said. I wasn’t just being polite, I told him, I do agree with her! I think this is why my whole morning filming was just 3 minutes of airtime. She just found my story and stats really interesting and kept telling me how smart and articulate I was – not great for the controversial Hopkins we see on TV. We even snuck off for a cheeky hot chocolate after filming!

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Although it was great to meet her and really scary to go on a show that was watched by over 10 million people in America alone last year, I am a little disappointed. I really hope I got my point across that plus size pregnancy needn’t be the end of the World. Yes, I’d have loved to have lost 3 more stone by the time I fell pregnant but hey, that’s life – expect the unexpected and deal with it. My body wanted to be pregnant so it did. If it’s ready – so am I.

Don’t tell me how awful an experience I will have, don’t tell me everything will go wrong and definitely don’t tell me I am harming my baby. My baby is doing great. I am doing great. Even the witchy consultant has signed me off and back to midwife-led care because I am having a very healthy, normal pregnancy despite the odds they kept telling me.

I have had messages from people agreeing with me, asking questions and thanking me for showing them they aren’t alone. It’s not just plus sized pregnancies but all pregnancies – don’t make mums-to-be more anxious than they already are. Teach them to prepare and enjoy the experience like all mums should be able to, regardless of their circumstances.

So, thanks Katie Hopkins for opening the doors to more people who I can hopefully help! That’s all I ask, just one comment saying I have helped someone makes it all worthwhile. Even if I have to go through the shit so the next woman doesn’t have to. Be strong, know your rights and ask for normal!

 

Getting organised baby mamma style

This is the week I finally got my arse in to gear.

A four hour ikea trip later; the nursery is starting to come together. I am one of those annoying people who have organised everything in to age categories and cute wicker baskets! The featured image is a little preview of my favourite outfits so far.

The downside of getting organised is that I realised how much I needed to buy. We are so lucky that we have been given lots ot things already, especially all the big stuff like a cot, pushchair, wardobe, changing unit etc but I seemed to have forgotten all the little things; vests, bibs, muslins, bath stuff, nappy cream. The list seems endless.

So today, I dashed round Mothercare and near fainted it was so hot in there (what is that about?! surely they know 80% of their customers will be pregnant and sweating!) but I managed to get enough to stop my head spinning for now.

Snowie has had a very good Christmas by the way, spoilt rotten already. Check out the bear his nanny got him.

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I didn’t think getting presents for the bump at Christmas was a thing, apparently, I was wrong. Thanks to everyone who spoilt us – thanks for being as excited as we are! 5 weeks to go…