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.

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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!

 

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!

 

Obi meets Dolly

DISCLAIMER: If you don’t already think I’m mad this one may just do it!

I have stolen a doll from my ultra-cute niece. She was asleep at the time and I think I’ve got away with it. My older niece is not happy – she knows what I’m up to and has scolded me that her little sister will be very upset when she finds out. Oops.

There is good reason I have become a dollnapper though. I decided I should start preparing Obi, our Jackapoo, for the arrival of his new brother or sister.

I have been doing small things throughout my pregnancy such as wearing baby lotion to get him used to the smell and playing the noise of a newborn crying. Mainly just as he has been drifting off to sleep to make sure I get full jump-out-of-his-skin effect. It’s gone well.

So why the dollnapping? I thought if I put some baby lotion on the doll and started walking around with it like a baby, then he would get used to it.

More importantly, I wanted to see if there was anything I should be worried about. By seeing how Obi reacted to Dolly, (yes, I named her) I’d be able to spot any warning signs and fix them before real baby comes home.

I am so surprised by how good he is being. He was very curious at first but gave Dolly and I plenty of space. Even sitting at the foot of the bed when I lay Dolly down and pretended to change her. I know I’m mad – don’t give me that look! He waited patiently until I said he could get up, then went to the head of the bed out the way, waiting for me to invite him near. Which I did, slowly.

Then I decided to place the baby next to me on the sofa where Obi usually cuddles in – a real test for “his” space. It took him some time to suss out he was allowed to join us but in the end, slowly but surely, up he snuggled.

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Obviously, there is lots more I am doing with him to check he is happy through this transition for us all, including making sure he has his own peaceful, safe, space where he can retreat to if it all gets too much but we are getting there.

I’ll do a full blog on some good dog training tips once I know they’ve worked!

 

HIGH FIVE TO YO MAMMA!

Well, I have had the news which means I will now enjoy a worry-free Christmas!

You may remember my ranty blog after my first visit to the consultant back in October and how annoyed I was after the whole episode. It is therefore no surprise that I wasn’t looking forward to my appointment with her today. I even asked my partner not to come with me incase she was mean to be again or embarrassed me like last time.

Turns out, it actually went quite well. She seemed slightly nicer to me this time. Although by no means warm, she at least asked me how I was. She checked through my notes of my pregnancy so far and looked through my growth scan before asking me to get on the bed for another scan.

Part of me wonders if perhaps she thought the previous sonographer had got it wrong and she needed to have a double check herself! It did mean I got another peek at my little baby and its strong heartbeat bopping away on the screen which left me feeling guilty for asking Chris not to come but also so happy.

I was really confused when the consultant helped me, HELPED me, off the bed very nicely and sat me back down with an actual smile. I felt like something awful was about to happen; it was so unusual.

The consultant has decided that my baby and I are absolutely fine! NORMAL! No worries! She said she’d reviewed all of my notes and scans and was very happy that I am doing great and she has no concerns. Growth is normal, blood pressure is still perfect and baby is fine. She said she doesnt need to see me again. I can just continue with my normal midwife.

I felt like a teacher’s pet. Gold star for Snowie! It looks like my body is more than capable of making and growing a human. Fingers crossed the labour is just as fun right???!!

Snuggly as a puppy would be great!

I know that mums reading this blog will laugh and say “Tired? HAH! I’ll show you tired…” but right now I am shattered!

The last few weeks I have been able to sleep through the night not really noticing Snowie kicking and moving but this week it all changed.

Wednesday evening I got a little paranoid that I hadn’t felt Snowie very often but I put it down to the reduced movements now there isn’t much room left in the old uterus and also being out and about all evening.

However, when I managed to sleep for a whole five hours straight, I got worried. I then did all the usual to try and wake the sleepy monkey up, hot drinks, sweet food, moving about and laying on my left side. Nothing worked. Until I really panicked and started to look for my midwife’s number, THEN it decided to wake up at 9.30am. Turns out it was just being lazy because it has sure made up for it since.

The party animal woke me up at 3am last night having the biggest party in my belly which went on until around 5am. I would be annoyed if I wasn’t slightly proud. It’s been years since I could party that late.

I think the baby was getting back at me for calling it a ninja baby earlier this week – a lesson to remind me how much I need those little kicks. Not feeling them for a couple of hours really scared me. All sorts of horror stories ran through my mind and I begged for a big kick in the ribs I had moaned about the day before. Sorry Snowie, if you could just let me practise sleeping for a little bit this weekend before finding other ways to remind me how grateful I am for you that’d be great. Thank you bye.

It’s nice to be nice, or so I’m told

I am in rant mode but will do my very best to rein it in.

A family member of mine popped over to visit our new house yesterday which I thought would be lovely as I hadn’t seen them for a while. Turns out I was wrong.

What should have been a lovely Sunday afternoon quaffing tea and scoffing delicate French Fancies (you spend Sunday afternoons like this too, right?) turned pretty sour – pretty fast.

Upon asking questions such as “Have you got Calpol yet?” “Where’s your head thermometer?” and my favourite one “Do you know your baby will go floppy and you’ll need to rush to hospital? It is very dangerous.” I was starting to freak out slightly.

Then came the question, “How swollen are your ankles?” To which i replied; “So far so good, no worries as yet. I have had slight swelling of my fingers when I’ve been hot but that’s it.”

I was then told how I will swell up because of my size and my blood pressure is high. Trying to keep calm, I told said family member that my blood pressure is actually perfectly fine. In fact, it is better than normal for an average size, non-pregnant person my midwife tells me.

No. I will have high blood pressure and because of my size, I am going to end up in hospital which will be very difficult for them to deal with because of my size and then I’ll get very bad complications and I’ll have to have a caesarean BECAUSE OF MY SIZE!!!!

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I am trying this new thing where I don’t punch people square in the face when they piss me off but this was a close call. Despite me saying I am absolutely fine and doing great and I’m doing all the things I should be. The family member just would not listen.

I have always been taught that it is nice to be nice so I just kept saying in my head “This is coming from a place of love” and that helped me keep my cool. Just about. I waited until they’d gone before having a little cry.

I cannot tell you how frustating it is when people judge you for your size rather than listen to what you are actually saying. I am super, thanks for asking.