Maisy Meow

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What They Don't Tell You About Post Partum Recovery

Thursday, 8 December 2016
If you read my birth story, you'll know that I found labour a less than enjoyable experience to say the least. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect it to be a walk in the park but when you've never experienced that kind of pain, it's impossible to imagine it and therefore it's pretty difficult to prepare for it. All the way through labour, I kept telling myself that it would be over soon. That's another contraction over, that's another centimetre dilated .. another step closer to the finish line. The minute Oliver was born, I remember thinking 'it's over!' and then feeling a bit hard done by when the doctor showed up to start my stitches. In my desperation, I actually asked her, 'is this the final painful thing before it's all over?' and she said yes. I'll be home tomorrow, I thought, and this pain will all be a distant memory...

I wasn't prepared in any way for the recovery. I didn't know there would be a 'recovery' - is that naive? No one mentioned it to me beforehand. At most, I thought I'd be a bit sore for a few days but in reality, it took a good two weeks before I felt anywhere near normal again. 

Now, let me just be clear - this post isn't meant to scare anyone. It's not a doom and gloom kind of post. In the same way that labour is openly discussed, I think we should discuss post partum recovery too. Just like labour, it happens. There's nothing you can do about it, but at least you'll know what to expect.

tips for after labour

1. Tears, grazes and stitches - If you're unlucky enough to have had any of these, the recovery can range from mildly painful to full blown torture. It's sore to walk, to sit and don't even get me started on the pee problems. You might have heard about how painful 'the first pee' is after you've had a baby - no one mentions that it continues to hurt like that for a good week at least. I was scared to pee, so despite my insane thirst (see point 3), I was scared to drink anything. The pain started to get a bit better around day 8 for me, and gradually got better over the next two weeks.
Tip: A bath with lavender or tea tree oil helps to soothe and heal the area. For the pee situation, cold baby wipes are your friend. Luckily you should have loads of these to hand.

2. Post-partum bleeding - Your body's emptying out all the contents of your womb from the last 9 months, so it's usually a lot more than just a normal period and, TMI alert, there can be a lot of clots too. Remember though, tampons are a no-go so soon after labour so maternity pads are the only option. They're basically nappies so at least you're twinning with baby!
Tip: Don't try and get by with normal pads, buy the proper maternity ones because chances are you will need them. If you're not used to wearing pads, make sure you have some proper underwear too. By proper underwear, I mean granny pants.

3. Losing the Water - You'll lose water in every way possible in the first few weeks after childbirth. If you thought the third trimester frequent toilet trips had subsided .. sorry, not quite yet. Expect to sweat a lot more than normal too. The good news is that you'll notice it on the scales - as your losing all that water, you lose weight quickly so you'll probably drop a lot in the first two weeks.
Tip: Wear deodorant (obviously) and change your clothes regularly. FYI - you'll probably be doing that anyway since you'll be covered in baby sick. Yay.

4. Exhaustion - seems obvious, doesn't it? I always thought that the exhaustion in the newborn days was because of the long nights awake with the baby. I didn't realise that you get no time whatsoever to recover from labour. You're thrown straight into it. I was given my bed around 10pm after labour, Andy was sent home and I spent the whole night looking after Oliver myself. I was delirious with tiredness - there's no power nap before motherhood. I can imagine this is even harder if you've had a section.
Tip: The cliche advice is to sleep when the baby sleeps but that's easier said that done. My tip is to make sure you're eating and drinking enough - it's easy to forget when you're so engrossed in looking after the baby. Take help from friends and family if it means you can get a nap every so often.

My biggest tip is to tell people how you're feeling. Post partum recovery isn't discussed a lot so most people won't be aware of how tough it can be and how rough you might be feeling. Personally, when I've went to visit new babies in the past, it didn't even cross my mind that the mum might still be in pain. Don't feel like you need to accept lots of visitors, or that you need to go out before you're ready. Take your time, set your own rules and remember it will get better eventually!

Did any of you have any surprises after labour? What was the worst part of your recovery? 

Baby's First Christmas Eve Box

Friday, 2 December 2016
Two things you should know about me - I love Christmas and I love family traditions. This year is extra exciting because it's Oliver's first Christmas - we're a whole new family and we have a blank canvas to start our own family traditions. Of course, Oliver will be just eight weeks old and will be unaware of it all this year but I do want to start a Christmas eve box and keep the same one going as he gets older. This year, admittedly, it's for my own enjoyment but in years to come, I can't wait to see his little face when he opens it up and finds lots of Christmas goodies to start the festivities.

So what do you put in a baby's Christmas eve box? 

1. Christmas PJs -New pyjamas on Christmas eve will be another tradition for us and Oliver will be no exception. Of course, for him, it'll be a baby grow this year. I love this reindeer sleepsuit and this red one too. I always prefer the slightly more subtle prints when it comes to christmas clothes, as opposed to dressing him like a little christmas pudding. Although I can't deny that's still adorable.

2. Baby Book - This is more sentimental than anything although they do say that you should read to your baby from as early as a few weeks. Oliver loves when we sing to him and this baby christmas book has a Christmas CD with it too. Again, another thing that's probably for my own enjoyment - it'll probably end playing in the car, with Oliver crying at my horrendous singing voice.

3. Christmas Bauble - I want Oliver to have his own bauble for the tree on his first Christmas and when he have more children, they'll get their own one too. I love this my first christmas bauble but also like the idea of getting one with his name on it too. I know you can get lovely personalised things at the Christmas market in Glasgow and we're going next week for a look. 

4. Cuddly Toy - the obvious choice for a baby box, of course. How adorable is this little crochet reindeer toy ? I think a Christmas comfort blanket would be really cute too. 

5. Hat and Mittens - I spotted these 'My First Christmas' hat and mittens in Mothercare the other day and stupidly let Andy talk me out of getting them. Now I need to go back, because I can't stop thinking about them. I'd love to get a nice photo of Oliver in this hat in front of the Christmas tree this year! Cuteness overload!

6. Slippers - I saw these reindeer slipper boots and had to include them. These are probably a bit too old for Oliver at the moment but still a nice idea for a slightly older baby.  Imagine some chubby little baby feet in these? 

Do any of you have a Christmas eve box?

New Mum Must-Haves

Monday, 28 November 2016
I obsessively searched for check lists in the final weeks before my due date. Did I have everything in my hospital bag? Did I have enough nappies, bottles, wipes? What else did I need? As it turns out, I had everything I needed for the baby. Too much, if anything (especially when it came to my hospital bag). However, there's a few things that I wish I'd organised for myself before having the baby that would have made new-mum life a bit easier.

1. Lounge wear - The chances are you'll spend the first few days, at least, indoors. No one wants to hang out wearing jeans and 'proper clothes' and you'll probably be stuck in the limbo between maternity and normal clothes anyway. At the same time, I'd feel like a total slob wearing pjs all day. Get some comfy lounge wear for your first few weeks - think leggings or joggers, hoodies, baggy t-shirts. Something that makes you feel like you 'got dressed', even if it's suspiciously close to pyjamas.

2. Easy Outfits - When you're finally ready to leave the house, chances are you won't want to (or have time to) start trying to put an acceptable outfit together. You'll want something comfortable, but a step up from the loungewear in point 1. I've lived in baggy jumpers and jumper dresses in the last few weeks and it takes me seconds to pull something together. I'd also highly recommend some kind of hat. I can't tell you how much use I've had from mine in the last few weeks. It means I can skip doing my hair, and it somewhat covers my sleep deprived face when I'm taking Oliver out for a walk!

mum and parenting blog

3. Snacks - Again, time for yourself is limited especially if your watching the baby alone. Try and have some snacks in the house that don't need any preparation. Even toast and tea can be a huge effort when you've only got one hand free. If you're breastfeeding or have a baby sleeping on you, you might find yourself sitting in one spot on the couch for a few hours so have some easy snacks to hand to keep you going.

4. TV and Entertainment - As above, you might find yourself sitting in the same spot for a while or awake at times in the night when the only thing on television is old episodes of The Bill or a repeat of Homes under the Hammer (which you probably watched already that morning). Use the time to start watching a new series on Netflix or find some new YouTubers to watch. I've become obsessed in parenting videos and have probably watched every video that comes under 'newborn tips'..

5. Easy, quick and portable make-up - This follows the same theme as above. You'll appreciate being able to cut your 'getting ready' time when it's already taken an hour to get everything together for the baby. At the moment, I wear the same basic make-up every day and I've got everything I need in a make-up bag which means I can lift it and do my make-up anywhere in the house, whether that's on the bed when Olivers napping on me, or while I'm sitting on the floor rocking his bouncy chair with my foot.

What were your essentials in the newborn days?

The First Month of Motherhood

Thursday, 17 November 2016
It's been one month since Oliver arrived and our lives changed in the biggest possible way. Most new mums say how this time flies by but for me, so much has happened that it's hard to believe that my 'old life' was only four weeks ago. Just four weeks ago, I was waddling around with a huge bump, lying awake with heartburn every night and wondering when my little boy would show up. It sounds ridiculous, but I spent 9 months waiting to meet my baby and when I first set eyes on him, my first reaction was total shock. I've grown a new person in my tummy. And now I'm his mum. 

My first month as a mother has had it's ups and downs. It's been hard, there's no denying that but its also been absolutely amazing and even throughout the stressful times, there's always this constant feeling of love and happiness that I have him. I was on the verge of tears one night at 4am - Oliver was crying and I was so sleep deprived that I wasn't even sure if I was awake or dreaming, but even though I felt so worn out, I was just staring at his face and my heart was just melting at how much I love him.

uk mummy bloggers maisy meow blog

Oliver's First Month

When Oliver was first born, he latched on straight away and breastfed like a pro. I hadn't planned to breastfeed, I hadn't really planned anything. I just thought I'd see how it goes, give breastfeeding a go and if it doesn't work, give him a bottle. As it turned out, Oliver knew his stuff and we didn't really need any help at all. Everything was going well for the first 3/4 days - he lost 4 ounces after birth, but was back to his birth weight within 4 days (which is quicker than average) so we knew he was feeding well. Oliver was a hungry boy, and would want fed every hour but by day 6, he was constantly looking for milk and after three sleepless nights where he was attached to me all night, I was losing my mind. I was crying, he was crying if he wasn't feeding. I wasn't sleeping at all. After a mental breakdown or two, I decided that we'd all be happier if we switched to bottle feeding. I cried with guilt at giving up (the sleep deprivation didn't help) but after his first bottle, he was actually full. He stopped crying for more milk and seemed so content. We were able to go out for a walk without worrying that he'd cry for milk the whole time. It was a huge relief and I knew it was the right decision. He's now taking 3-5oz every 3 hours and has the cutest little double chin to show for it.

uk mummy bloggers maisy meow blog

Oliver still needs to be held or cuddled all the time. He falls asleep in my arms without any problem, but as soon as he gets put down he wakes up and cries until he's picked up again. In the first couple of weeks, I'd spend the whole night repeating this process until morning when we'd both be exhausted. He'd fall straight into a deep sleep as soon as he lay on my chest, so one night I gave in. I wedged cushions and pillows under each side of me so I'd be unable to move if I tried, sat almost upright with my pillows behind me and let him sleep on my chest while I dozed. He slept for 4 hours straight before waking up for a bottle and we've been co-sleeping since then. I'm a really light sleeper and wake up with every little grunt that he makes, but I'd rather that than the alternative. I know it can't last forever, and I know there's lots of warnings about bed-sharing but at the moment, it's getting us through the first few weeks. I felt so guilty about it at first, but after speaking to other mums about it, I was surprised to find how many of them had done the exact same for the first few weeks. I'm trying to phase it out by getting him used to lying himself during the day and hope he'll be in his crib in the next couple of weeks. So far, we've managed 15 minutes straight in the bouncy chair - progress!

My First Month

It took a good two weeks to get over the physical effects of child birth. I won't go into too much detail as that might be a whole other post but let's just say stitches are hell on earth and I had no idea how sore they would be afterwards. In the first two weeks, I also developed PUPPS rash. Normally this appears in the last trimester and disappears after the birth. For me, it started the day after. It started with itching on my belly and behind my knees, and within two days I was covered in a red, raised rash that made me want to scratch my skin off. It was all over my legs, bum, belly and arms. I ended sleeping with wet toilet paper over my skin to try and soothe it. The doctor gave me steroid cream which did little to help. I did some research on line and found a link between the rash and the hormones released when breastfeeding and when I did eventually phase out the breastfeeding, the rash started to clear up. 

uk mummy bloggers maisy meow blog

The last two weeks have been much better. I'm physically recovered. My belly is back to 'normal' although I definitely need to get to the gym after Christmas. I've lost just over two stone since the day before I had Oliver which, other than baby and placenta, was mostly water I think. I was really swollen in the last few weeks of pregnancy - my feet were huge, my hands were huge and my face resembled the sarcastic moon emoji. A few days after the birth, I looked in the mirror and it actually looked like my face again! I still have weight to lose to get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans - I'm hoping all the long walks with the pram will help with that and I'm not stressing about it too much. 

Everything else aside, I absolutely love not being pregnant anymore. I'm now appreciating the little things like being able to get up from the couch unassisted and not having constant heartburn. 

Overall, it's been a difficult but amazing month for my new little family and we're excited to see what next month has in store for us! 


Remember you can follow my life with Oliver over on my instagram @maisymeowblog 

Do you have any tips for getting a newborn to sleep in his crib?

My Birth Story

Monday, 14 November 2016
Oliver Jack Wells - born Thursday 20th October at 6.28pm, weighing 6 pounds.

Here's the birth story - grab a cup of tea and make yourself comfy because it's a long one!

I finished work at 37 weeks and decided to spend my days going for long walks, and trying every old wives tale under the sun to get things moving. I'd spent the Tuesday and Wednesday out walking and had some lower back pain and the occasional pain that felt a bit like trapped wind in my back. I'd accepted that I'd probably go overdue though so I wasn't getting my hopes up too much.

On Wednesday 19th October, I was at home with Andy watching telly and bouncing on my birthing ball as per usual. I was shattered but since I'd been feeling so awful the last few days and was looking exhausted, I went for a long bath, put on some fake bake, painted my nails and washed my hair. When I went to bed, I had the full on fake-tan face and jokingly tweeted that I'd be in trouble if I went into labour during the night. If that wasn't tempting fate then I don't know what is!

I woke up at 1.30am, got up to go to the toilet and stood staring in disbelief as I watched my waters break onto the bathroom floor. TMI alert - there was a lot of water. Enough that I had time to shout on Andy, who then came through and joined in on the staring. We both had this look of horror/excitement on our faces. It was still a week until my due date! I phoned the hospital who said we had to come up to get checked, so I had a quick shower (to get rid of all the tan) and we headed in. I was shaking - not sure whether it was fear, excitement or both.

The hospital confirmed my waters had gone but that I definitely wasn't in labour. No dilation, no contractions .. nothing. I was to go home and wait to see if anything would happen and if not, they'd schedule me for an induction the following day. Luckily, on the way home I could already feel things happening. Again, it felt like trapped wind in my back and would come and go every now and then. There was no chance I was going back to sleep, so I lay awake until 6am when I just gave in, got up and cleaned the house from top to bottom. Nothing like a bit of last minute nesting!

By 8am, the contractions were coming thick and fast. I had planned to spend as much time at home as possible, but was also scared about waiting too long so we decided it was time to go to the hospital about 10am. At this point, I couldn't talk through contractions and they were every 2/3 minutes and last about 1 minute to 1 minute 30. I was already crying through a few of them by this point! 

When we arrived, I was praying that they'd tell me I was at least 5cm. When they told me I was 2cm, I was terrified. If this was 2cm, then what on earth is 10cm going to be like?! She also told me that my baby was lying 'back to back'. I'd read about that, and knew it was the most painful way to deliver, but the midwife played it down and said it's common and the baby usually turns before he comes out. I still don't know if he did it or not. That midwife had given me some gas and air to calm me down before she checked me and when I asked if I could hang on to it, she said 'wait until your further along before you use pain relief, you'll understand why later..'. Those words hung in the air for a while after she left and made me feel ten times more scared for what was to come. 

Luckily, they let me stay in and sent me to the labour ward to wait it out. I was offered paracetamol and a bath, but neither helped and an hour and a half later, I caved and asked for the epidural. My plan was to try and go without the epidural mainly because I'm terrified of getting a catheter, which seems daft in the grand scheme of things I know. The midwife offered to check my progress first, and I nearly cried with happiness when she told me I was 8cm. She was shocked too, and said how amazing it was that I'd got to that point without any pain relief..I'd only been there an hour and a half!  If I'd gone from 2cm to 8cm zo quickly then I could be pushing soon, I thought, so I didn't want the epidural. I had a whole new sense of energy as they took me up to the delivery room. 

I had to get to 10cm and I had gas and air which helped a little at this point. The contractions were getting so strong and about two hours later, I remember the feeling changed. At the end of every contraction, I was pushing. It wasn't by choice, it felt like my body was doing this on it's own and I was really worried that I was doing myself damage by pushing too early but at the same time, I literally couldn't stop it. The midwife who was with us offered to check me again and this was the moment when everything changed. It started with her telling me she'd check see if we could safely start pushing, and ended with her telling me that a mistake had been made earlier and I was actually only 6cm at this point. My heart broke and I felt so helpless. I was back to square one. Not only was it unsafe for me to push, but I had a good few hours of these awful contractions ahead of me. At this point, I wanted all the pain medication. I was physically and mentally exhausted and knew I couldn't possibly go through hours and hours of this. 

What I didn't realise, was how long an epidural would take. Even when the anesthetist showed up, he took ages to get started. Slowly and calmly telling me all the ins and outs of the procedure, while I was crying in pain and begging him to get started. I was lying on the bed shouting in agony - yes, I was that person from One Born Every Minute who you can hear outside the ward. It was the involuntary pushing at the end of each contraction that hurt the most and I felt like I just wanted to run away from the pain.

The epidural process was horrendous. It took so long, and since I was perched on the side of the bed hunched over a pillow, the contraction pain was much stronger than before. The only thing that kept me going was thinking how each contraction could be the last one I could feel. The anesthetist said it could be around 15 minutes before the numbness kicks in, but half an hour later my contractions were stronger than ever and I could feel everything. The doctors checked me from head to toe and around an hour later, they confirmed that the epidural had failed. All that, and no pain relief. I'd actually added more pain to the process, and still had to endure the contractions but with a huge needle in my back. I didn't realise an epidural could fail. The doctor said 'it happens sometimes' and offered to try again but there was no way I was going through that process again. I didn't even have the energy to talk. I was just lying there terrified for the next contraction and staring at the clock trying to set myself a goal to make it too. 

My body was still pushing with every contraction - no matter how much the midwife told me to breathe out and relax, I couldn't control it. She checked me around 5.45pm and told me that I'd finally reached 10cm and could start properly pushing now. I'd always imagined getting to this point and feeling so relieved, but in reality I was so exhausted and delirious by this point that I didn't really acknowledge it .. I'd been 'pushing' for hours anyway!

The next 40 minutes were a blur. I had always tried to imagine what giving birth would actually feel like, but it was nothing like I'd imagined. It was just the oddest feeling and I'd never be able to explain it. When his head was out, I could actually feel him moving. And the feeling when the final push got him out was the biggest relief ever.

And there he was. This tiny little baby with a head of thick, dark hair staring up at us. He had a really short umbillical cord, so I had to deliver the placenta before I could hold him but that only took a few minutes.

I'm actually welling up when I'm writing this, thinking about the first time I held him. It was the best feeling ever and I can safely say it still hasn't stopped. I've spent hours and hours just staring at his face, wondering how on earth we made him. Despite my huge bump, he weighed a tiny 6 pounds. He has been an absolute angel since that day and although it's a total cliche, no matter how awful the labour (and the pregnancy) was, I would do it ten times over for him. Welcome to the world Oliver! 

Pregnancy Update | 38 Weeks

Friday, 14 October 2016
So this could be my last pregnancy update before Oliver makes an appearance. If I'm honest though, I think I might have another couple of weeks ahead of me. My due date is the 26th of October and I've had a feeling all along that he'll show up between then and the 31st. If he's a Halloween baby then I'll be extra excited - think of the halloween themed birthday parties of the future!

My last update was at 33 weeks and all of the symptoms I mentioned in that post are still here. I'm still suffering with heartburn and acid reflux every night - I don't know how my throat hasn't completely melted actually. The good news though, is that my pelvic pain has subsided a lot. Given how I felt at 28/29 weeks, I expected to be on crutches by now. Don't get me wrong, it's still agony at times especially during the night but it's nowhere near as bad as it was. The main problem when I'm walking now is the shooting pains when Oliver rolls his little head over my bladder. For a split second, it honestly feels like my bladder is about to pop!

Full term baby bump maternity photo pregnancy update

After smothering myself in bio oil and stretch mark cream for the last 9 months, I noticed some little faint lines next to my belly button at 34 weeks. Yep, stretch marks happened. It's a tiny area at the moment and barely noticeable but if I push my skin together, I can see there will be a few marks once I've deflated! I'm not as distraught as I thought I would be to be honest - I'm well aware it could be so much worse and I think I've gotten off quite lightly. 

I was told last week that I had anemia and prescribed iron tablets. No big deal - or so I thought. It turns out iron tablets are the worst thing ever invented and make me feel horrendous. I'm going back to the doctors to try and get an alternative, and have been making smoothies with kale and eating lots of red meat to try and up my intake that way too. 

In the last few weeks, we crossed our final items off the list: 

I've been shopping and picked up some little outfits for when he's here and also got some lovely outfits from my team in work. It's so difficult to shop before he's here - I've no idea what size he's going to be! My midwife thinks, judging by the size of my bump, he'll be around 7.5-8.5 pounds, but that's just a guess and could be way out. I've bought mostly first size and 0-3 months for now. 

Halloween new born baby haul update pregnancy update

So from 37 weeks onwards, the baby is considered 'term' and ready to be born whenever he decides. From now on, he's just getting fatter every week - just like his mum. He could come any time now - but I've not had any real signs of anything starting. I just need to keep bouncing on my birthing ball, eating pineapple and going for extra long walks and hopefully he'll start packing his bags pretty soon! I can't wait to finally meet him!

Are any of you expecting soon? 

p.s keep up to date with any news on my instagram by following here

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