My birth story

Having had a planned c-section with my first child the entire experience of having braxton hicks let alone contractions was totally new to me. To prepare myself for what was to come I watched videos (some rather graphic 🙈) and read up as much as I could. Little did I know that this wouldn’t really do much for preparing me for the pain lol.

In the latter stages of my pregnancy and during the birth I was aware that there was a pandemic going on but chose not to dwell on it. I only stepped out for my compulsory walks and appointments and focused on preparing for the baby’s arrival. I felt like either way the baby was still going to come and I was at peace trusting in God’s protection during this season.

Anyway fast forward to 21st April, my due date was the 22nd and my hospital bag was packed. I was ready for the arrival of our baby boy. We had an appointment for me to be assessed at 10:15 in the morning and a decision would be made whether I’d be induced or not. I had a nervous excited feeling in my stomach that I probably wouldn’t make that appointment. I had been having pretty strong braxton hicks for about 2 weeks prior to this day and were always really regular in the evening.

Air balloons in the room to keep me calm during delivery

I prepped my clothes the night before and went to bed. At exactly 2:45 am on Wednesday 22nd April I had a contraction that woke me up out of my sleep. I’d never had one before but at that moment I just knew. The pain went from my back reached around my waist and hardened my bump in a way I’d never felt before. I grabbed my phone and started timing the duration and frequency. After an hour of contractions I woke up my husband and told him to get ready, it was time.

At this point my contractions were not too strong, I was able to have a warm shower and get ready to go to the hospital. I was smiling and laughing with hubby and thinking about how I’d finally be seeing my baby after 40 weeks! As I waddled to the car it crossed my mind that we still hadn’t decided on a name and I started to run through the shortlist we had picked in my mind.

Upon arrival at the hospital we were taken into one of the assessment rooms where the baby’s heart rate was monitored for an hour or so. My contractions continued but were okay enough for me to not need the medicine they were offering for the pain. As the contractions weren’t getting closer together we chose to go home. By this time it was 7am and I was feeling both hungry and tired having been up since almost 3am.

We got home and I had a lovely breakfast (this was a bad idea) the breakfast actually made me nauseated as I was in the early stages of labour. At around 7:30am that morning I had a contraction that caused me to loose my mucus plug but my contractions were still not getting closer together but they were getting more painful.

By 7pm the contractions were so painful that I couldn’t speak whilst they were happening. I’d get on all fours and breath in as deeply as I could till the minute had passed. As the contractions grew stronger it became harder to practice these breathing techniques and I just wanted to scream to be honest lol. My daughter kept looking at me and saying “mummy is sooo tired” ha ha! She was right, I was exhausted and I thought to myself if this baby comes tonight will I even have the energy to push?

We left for the hospital that evening around 8 and I was given some painkillers via transfusion which helped me to sleep a little and numb the pain of the contractions. This soon however wore off and I was left to remember my breathing techniques again. As soon as I woke up from my nap my waters broke and I felt a small sense of relief that my labour was progressing and these painful contractions would soon be a distant memory.

Looking at how my stomach made all of these distorted shapes during contractions and marvelled at how the body was doing all it could to get the baby out. I was still feeling very nauseated so was given another medication via infusion for this and it went almost immediately.

At this point it had been 13 hours since my contractions had started and I was 5cm dilated. I decided to get into the water bath and see if that bought any relief. It did for about 30 minutes but I then began to feel so hot and uncomfortable.

The water bath in the delivery room

As time progressed my contractions finally began to be closer together and were so intense I wanted to cry. I was checked to see how dilated I was and the midwife told me I was still 5cm! I felt so deflated. After all this time I didn’t get why my labour wasn’t progressing and there was now talk of having a c-section. I was fed up and felt as though I had come so far only to now go through a c-section.

When the midwife left the room hubby and I prayed. We prayed that the Lords will would be done and that He would be with us. As soon as we had finished praying our midwife came back into the room with her colleague. She told us that she wanted to get a second opinion on how far along I was. The second midwife checked me and said “no, you are actually 9cm dilated!” I was in shock and thanked God for the second opinion of this midwife.

I couldn’t believe it, if this midwife had gone with her first opinion I would have had a c-section when I didn’t need to! God is so faithful and I’m so glad he turned this situation around within minutes and completely changed the outcome of this birth.

By now it was around 9am and I had had an epidural but could still feel each contraction. I started to feel the need to push at this point. I was advised to breath in deeply through my mouth and hold my breath, lower my chin deep into my chest and push as hard as I could as though doing a number 2.

It was so encouraging to have hubby and a well informed midwife in the room, they both motivated me all along the way. At just before midday )and after much pushing) our baby boy was born and I felt so many emotions, relief being the biggest of all. I was also excited, tired, proud and just so so happy. All tiredness seemed to leave my body as I had this precious boy in my arms.

As always thank you for reading xx

Skincare and self care

I never knew these two went hand in hand until I started taking my skincare regime seriously somewhere around November 2019. Not only have I noticed a difference in my skin but it’s time I carve out for myself and do something for me. Which as a stay at home mum is important to have.

Prior to this I’ll be honest that I have used whatever cleanser I’ve had available including bar soap which isn’t really recommended for the skin on your face. Having a good skincare regime some day will save you money in the long run. Having a regime now could prevent deep wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and keeps skin healthy and moist.

Before starting my regime I did some research into what I wanted for my skin, what I wanted to achieve and did an assessment of the type of skin I have, which is combination oily but has changed a bit during pregnancy.

Getting good products is key but so is being consistent with your routine. I’ve seen a difference in my skin because I’ve been committed as much as possible to cleansing, toning and moisturising even when I’m at my most tired (which can sometimes take a bit of motivation!)

Here are the products that I use:

I start with this Caudalie cleansing oil which gets rid of the tougher make-up like gel liners and mascara plus oil based make-up like foundation and concealers. After this I use Simple moisturising facial wash for an even deeper cleanse.
I then follow with a cleanser on my face and neck, I have a few but this one is my favourite to use at the moment from Clarins.
This toner is great, it’s so gentle on the skin and I’m loving the results. Again I use this on my face and neck.
This serum is great and I use it during the day if I’m not wearing makeup and every evening after my toner. It’s got such a lovely smell and a few drops goes a long way.
I finish off with a gel moisturiser in the evenings. I prefer using a gel moisturiser because of how quickly they absorb into the skin.

I haven’t perfected this regime yet as I do need to add a daily moisturiser that contains an SPF so would love to know your recommendations. What other kind of products do you use on your skin?

With all that’s going on at the moment please do make the most of the time you have with family and check on your friends and relatives too. Have a great week! Xx

Third trimester fashion

So as my pregnancy develops and my baby bump becomes bigger I’m having to adjust my wardrobe quite a bit. Finding what is comfortable and also looks nice can be a bit of a challenge.

They say everyone carries differently in pregnancy which is indeed true even for one person your bump can be different from one pregnancy to another.

Top – Zara, Skirt – H&M

The biggest change I’ve noticed is how soon I was showing with this pregnancy. Having an elongated bump means opting for longer tops that cover my bump in its entirety. This also meant going for over the bump maternity jeans and midi-length dresses.

Jumper – Weekday, Skirt – H&M

As I don’t have much longer to go I won’t be adding any new pieces to my wardrobe but I have started thinking about my wardrobe post baby. Especially the weeks/months following the birth which I remember were filled with lots of breastfeeding! Being a nursing mum means ensuring that I’m wearing items I can easily feed in whether I’m at home or out and about. For me tops that button up are the most convenient. I’m not a fan of having to hoist up my t-shirt in order to feed my child so having to just undo a couple of buttons to allow baby to quickly latch on worked best for me.

Here are some ‘breastfeeding friendly’ dresses that I quite like:

Zara
Zara
And Other Stories
Hugo
Espirit
Isabel Marant

As always thank you for reading and I hope you found this useful if you’re an expecting mum x

Purpose Beyond Motherhood

I knew once I got the hang of what I was doing that I was going to absolutely love motherhood and I honestly believe that (by Gods grace) I am doing a good job. The rewards that come with nurturing a little one are absolutely priceless but this doesn’t take away from wanting to achieve more and to be more. Besides the fact that children grow up incredibly quickly, there was a purpose and a drive inside of me long before children, meaning that there are still things that I am passionate about and projects and ideas that God has laid on my heart to (by His grace) bring to fruition.

This of course doesn’t take away from those who are solely stay-at-home mums, its not an easy job and is one that takes up all day and some! Especially if you have more than one child.

I know that first time around I definitely became swallowed up by all that motherhood required of me and delved into this role with everything leaving very little time for any of my own interests. Finding the balance can be hard especially when each stage of your babies growth requires you to adapt just when you feel as though you’re getting the hang of things.

If you’re like me and believe that actually the passions, interests, desires you had pre-children are still very much there I encourage you to dedicate a little time to it everyday. Whatever it may be. It could be 10 minutes of research or a good 40 minutes of brainstorming/planning a few times a week. I believe there is more fulfilment to be found in nurturing the gifts that we have and balancing home, family and personal interests.

As always thank you for reading, please share this with someone that you think will enjoy reading this too.

 

Have a great week! xx

Travelling to Ghana with a 1 year old

Okay so now that we are back, unpacked and settled I thought I’d do a blog post on some of the things that I did to prepare ourselves to travelling to Ghana with our little one. The main reason we decided to ship the items that you’ll see below is because we were staying with family. We would have had to plan things a little differently if we were staying in a rented apartment or hotel. I hope you find this useful if you’re planning on going away with young children.

Vaccination

I wouldn’t say I was worried about going on this trip with my little one but I definitely wanted to make sure that I took all the precautions necessary and covered almost all eventualities. I began ensuring that she had her vaccinations, being the yellow fever vaccination, we were advised by the doctor that she needed it and I actually regretted it because she didn’t react well to it and her paediatrician later said that it wasn’t actually necessary and she was still too young to have it. That was a big lesson learned because the fever and symptoms lasted a week but was glad that I had done the vaccinations knowing she was well protected and has also done so well before our departure date, so she was back to normal for the flight.

Medicines

I had a pretty extensive first aid bag in our suitcase lol which included everything from medicines to treat stomach aches, colds, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. As well as plasters and other first aid bits. Thankfully we didn’t need to use any of these but it was good to know that we had all of these to hand should they be required.

The flight

I wasn’t sure how things would pan out on the flight given it was an afternoon flight so ensured that I packed enough entertainment in the form of books, colouring in material and toys. None of this was used in the end as she found it far more entertaining to play with another baby who was sitting on our row lol. I packed food for her for the flight which was just as well as our airline provided none whatsoever to our surprise!

Baby furniture

In terms of the day to day things that my daughter would need we decided to ship these in advance. These included all of her snacks, car seat, travel cot, foldable high chair, nappies and wipes. This was a great idea and really made it a smooth transition for her as she had all of her home comforts, which made feed times and sleeping much much easier. The travel cot and highchair were not bought new as we only used it for 3 weeks and we knew we wouldn’t be bringing it back with us. Our foldable stroller came with us and was most useful for travelling through the airport we only used it on a couple of occasions during the trip, we also got a mosquito net for the  buggy but never needed to use it.

Clothing and shoes

When packing her clothes I took into consideration that she wouldn’t be going everywhere with us, as she’s only one there would be few tourist attractions that would be of interest to her. I also knew that hubby and I would take the opportunity to have some date days/nights seeing as we had my parents around and help at home too.

With regards to what I packed I of course kept all outfits as light as possible so 80% of her clothes were light cotton dresses (many of which I was able to pick up from John Lewis during their end of summer sale) with some knee-length leggings and vest tops for staying at home (I bought these from Primark)

For footwear, we wanted something that would cover her feet well but were still breathable. So we packed 3 sandals, one pair that were waterproof and suitable for the pool or beach, one full shoe and one pair of trainers.

I did also pack cardigans in the event that we would be somewhere air conditioned that was a bit cold for her and I did end up using it on some evenings. Things such as hats and sunglasses are also a must and came in handy on those hot afternoons.

Food

I had packed some berries in my hand luggage that I thought would be hard to find in Ghana such as blueberries and she was able to have these as part of her breakfast for the first 5 days but thankfully she took so well to all of the delicious fruits available in Ghana such as the mango, pineapples, banana’s and oranges. I also packed her cereals for breakfast and took some long life milk with us too.

Protection

Both hubby and I always ensured that whether we were going out in the day or in the evening we all had our repellent spray on and were fully covered. If we went out with our daughter we made sure that we were home or were heading home by sunset as there are more mosquitoes around in the evenings. We found the spray on repellents particularly effective and there are ones that are made specifically for children which is great. I also picked up a children’s hand santizer from Boots which was great for when we are out and about, especially with a one year old.

Seems like a lot of prep right? Yes it was lol and was something that I had started to plan months in advance especially in terms of finding summer wear I knew it would be difficult if I left everything until December. All in all we had a lovely relaxing trip, it was great to see family and enjoy a bit of sun during the winter months.

Thank you for reading xx

Am I making the most of my time as a mum?

Being a stay at home mum means that I sometimes feel as though I’m not being productive, even though I’m maintaining a home and raising a child my efforts can sometimes feel as though they aren’t really bring forth any tangible benefits.

This is when I must remind myself that I am investing in my children’s future and what I am doing now will put them in good steed for the future.

I must also remember that this is just a season and one that I must embrace and enjoy because it will pass and it will be before I know it, my daughter will be much older and independent not needing my help in many day to day things.

Remembering this also helps me to relax and doesn’t give me the feeling that I’m in some way ‘missing out’ by not being at work. I must say that after you’ve cleaned up food off the floor for what feels like the 55th time in one day, being in an office does sound very very appealing 🙂

Having worked since my teenage years this new season has taken some adjusting to but watching my little grow and blossom has been so so rewarding, it’s such a honour. I’ve gained a new perspective on life and I’m thankful for that.

Thank you for reading x

Lugano and Lake Como

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since I posted on here because well…#mumlife things have been pretty busy around here so it was so nice to have a couple of days off to relax and unwind with the family in Lugano (the Italian side of Switzerland) and Lake Como in Italy. They are really close to each other so we were able to cover both places in 3 days by car.

Lugano has to be one of the most beautifully picturesque places I’ve been too. The region is shielded by these huge mountains covered in greenery that seem to be everywhere you look. Having such a mountainous country has meant that only the very bottom of these mountains are habitable.

Our first evening in Lugano we dined at Baja a nice restaurant right at the edge of the lake where we ate some pretty impressive seafood. The customer service was soo good even though they were super busy hosting a party that evening.

The following day we visited Lugano town, from the train station we were able to take a tram ride down the hill. This was super quick and cost just 1.30 one way. This was the only option for us because there were lots of stairs otherwise and we had our baby and the buggy.

After about 2 hours site seeing in Lugano we decided to check out the designer outlet which was a short drive on the motorway Fox town outlet we got a few nice things here. There are lots of shops spread out across 4 floors and is a great place to shop for a bargain! The website has a full list of all the brands you can find there. It’s a pretty big place and the layout of the shops isn’t very clear so you’ll need to allocate a good amount of time if you’d like to visit.

In the evening we dined at Osteria Lanterna this restaurant was soooo good! Everything from the ambience to the service to the food! I’m gutted that I didn’t save any of the pictures I took of the food because it looked and tasted amazing. I only have one picture (which isn’t the best quality) of my husbands desert – a panna cotta with berries.

The following day we headed into Italy, the drive was some what memorable as we drove up and down narrow and seriously winding roads along the mountain whilst taking in breath taking views of the land below.

We used the car ferry (roughly 23 euros one way for 3 adults in a car) to cross the lake in Italy and found parking nearby. In preparation for our trip I had booked a 1 hour private boat ride around lake Como to see the sights as I’d read this mode of transport was the easiest way to see everything. It was super cool and so relaxing my daughter fell asleep half way through lol!

There are lots of ‘taxi boats’ as they are called that run tours of Lake Como but you can also take the ferry that takes more people and I assume cost less too. We used a company called Taxi Boat Varenna it was so easy to book and pay on their site. We booked a 1 hour boat ride which was enough to see all the best bits and was totally worth it!

We finished off the afternoon with a late lunch at on of the cafe’s close to where the boat dropped us off, it was called Cafe Varenna I had a delicious rocket and tuna pasta with a nice chilled glass of Aperol Spritz. It really was the perfect end to what had been a lovely lovely trip. You’ve got to check out Lugano and Como if you’re looking for a nice place in Europe to go to. There’s so much to see, beautiful weather, nice people and the food is incredible!

Thanks for reading! Xx

Skincare and self care

I’ve never really had a strict skincare regime but have always followed the basic rules of cleansing, toning and moisturising my skin twice a day. Now that I’m a mum looking after my skin is still important and I really want to give it my best.

In January I got some Wildseed Botanicals skin care products and I have to say that they are the best products I’ve used on my skin in a long long time. I’ve tried both high end and high street brands and I can honestly say the results from these have been impressive. I’ll take you through what I got and how I use it.

Pink Grapefruit Energising Body Polish

I find this product so luxurious and it has become a staple product that I use without fail every week. Once I’ve showered I smother this all over my skin and rinse away. I then pay away any excess water and I’m done! There’s no need to moisturise my body after that. It leaves my skin with an undeniable glow that lasts all day. My skin just feels so nourished, silky and soft. It really gives you a glow that isn’t greasy looking but just looks healthy and well looked after, I love this stuff!

Green Smoothie Vitamin and Mineral Rich Clay Mask

I use a spatula to scoop a little of this into the palm of my hand and add a little water and mix into a paste. Using my fingers I glide the clay mask all over my face, giving full coverage and avoiding the eye area. I leave it on to harden then remove with a warm soft cloth. I saw results after just one use of this mask. It’s pretty much the most revitalising mask I’ve used. I have used other clay masks that just draw out all the goodness from your skin and leave your skin super dry but this left my skin looking bright and cleansed. It really gave me a deep clean. I also use this product once a week.

Asase Aba Radiance Body Oil

I mix this oil with my moisturising lotion and apply daily to give my body that soft glow. It’s also great for this season when the air is still a bit dry, keeping my skin nice and hydrated throughout the day. This oil isn’t heavy. It’s beautifully light. What I love about all these products is they are all full of ingredients that are good for your skin and they are all natural! You can find a full list of the ingredients and some of the benefits on the Wildseed Botanicals website.

Rānā Regenerative Facial Serum

I’ve saved my favourite product in my collection till last. I’ve been using this day and night for almost 2 months now and I have noticed a real change in my skin. A little of this product does go a long way, so once I’ve cleansed, toned and moisturised I just place 3-4 drops in the palm of my hand, spread and gently press it into my skin ensuring full coverage. I just love the way it makes my skin feel, I feel like I’m feeding it good food haha! My skin has become clearer and feels really moisturised.

These products have really helped me to care for my skin in the way that I should and makes my ‘me time’ just that bit more special. I can’t recommend these products enough. There are others in the range so please do check them out too. You can check out the website here I am really enjoying using these products and just had to wrote a blog post and share.

Thank you for reading! X

My 5 top tips for new parents

I truly believe that becoming a parent makes you an expert in YOUR  OWN child. If you pay enough attention and spend enough time with them, you and your partner get to know them better than anyone else. There are some things that I have realised in my 8 and a bit months of parenting that I would like to share. Here they are:

  1. Observe your child and watch for any patterns that develop with their feeding, nappy changes and baths. This may not be possible within the first 8 or so weeks but you will eventually recognise when they respond well to nappy changes and baths. You’ll be able to spot signs for hunger, tiredness or even trapped wind.
  2. Help your baby to feel secure in your arms. You are doing an amazing job and are the best person to be your child’s parent. Babies can sense insecurity, uncertainty and fear. Speak to them in a loving and assuring way, even if they are crying, try your best to remain calm and not get worked up.
  3. Take lots of pictures of your baby as they grow and change because its true what they say- time does really fly and they’ll be a toddler before you know it.
  4. Staying organised will help you to spend more quality time talking to and engaging with your baby. Simply putting a few things in place during the evening for the following day will help you start the day in a more relaxed way. This could be setting up for the morning bath, running a wash through the night or making sure bottles are cleaned/sterilised will all help.
  5. SELF-CARE – this is so so important mums. Take some time out for you! It could be a work-out, going on a short walk alone, having your nails done, a bubble bath. Whatever it may be try and get some time to look after yourself. You need to be in a good place to give your child your best. Agree with your partner a set day or a little time each week to do something yourself, you’ll feel refreshed.

Thank you for reading x

Birth and beyond – the first few weeks

I had many conversations about the birth itself with others going into real detail about what takes place. My birthing class had also prepared me for what would happen when our baby was ready to make her appearance.

I didn’t however have many discussions about the days/weeks immediately following the birth and what would take place. It was all added experience. How your stomach feels after pregnancy. My appetite increased rather rapidly after birth. Hormones were leaving my body at a rapid rate making me sweat profusely, it was really quite something!

After the delivery I felt exhausted and the pain set in in a big way once the spinal anaesthesia had worn off. I felt the cut with every single move but in the same breath was overcome with joy and relief that my daughter was finally here and she was just so perfect.

Being just over an hour old my daughter latched on for the first time and drew her first few sips. I was so amazed that a baby who was yet to open her eyes and really see her mother was able to make her way to my chest and feed. I felt a proud sense of responsibility to be her source of food, comfort and security.

I didn’t immediately have enough breast milk to meet her demands and had to supplement with formula milk. It took around 2 weeks for my supply to be adequate for a feed and for me and even longer to feed comfortably without pain and discomfort.

Statistics say that only 1% of mothers exclusively breastfeed after 6 months and I totally understand why. I’ll never dispute that breast milk is an amazing source of food and nutrition for babies and is 100% sterile you cannot beat that. However for me I did find feeding in this way incredibly strenuous and painful for some time.

I made the decision to feed my baby both breast and formula milk and that decision worked best. I knew that she was getting all that she needed from me, all the goodness and nutrients that my milk had to offer.

In the beginning I put a lot of pressure on myself to get enough milk and sometimes didn’t even trust that my milk was enough. I took fenugreek tablets and ate lactation cookies to increase my supply. The pain of the initial latch made me often not look forward to feed times but I equally also felt this responsibility to feed her.

As time went on I let go of this pressure I’d put on myself which made me more relaxed about feed times and allowed me to enjoy this precious time with my baby. What mattered was that she was fed, healthy and happy.

Thank you for reading x