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How my lack of sex drive was linked with Postnatal Depression

So your vagina is ruined and your bum is still throbbing and ten days after giving birth your partner asks, “can I have a blow job?” What is your first answer? How polite can you be? Do you say, “I’m not really in the mood sweetheart”, or do you say “when was the last time you squeezed a watermelon out of your bell end, you piece of sh*t?”

Now, I know that every woman is different and hormones affect us all in weird and not-so-wonderful ways, so I can only vouch for myself here, but my lack of sex drive was just the tip of the iceberg in what has been a very long journey to self recovery.  This is a long story, but please stay with me because my experiences may help you as a mama.

I’ll start from the beginning…

About 45 minutes after giving birth I decided to go and have a shower and rinse away the blood, sweat and tears. When I stood up from the bed I had spent the last 12 hours in, I realised the extent of what had just happened to my body. Ciaran and I looked at the pool of blood on the bed, then looked at each other and simultaneously said, “what the F*CK!”. It was at that precise moment that I thought, “I am NEVER having sex again!”

I bled for 4 weeks after Alfie was born and I took that time to allow my body heal and my uterus to contract back down. At no point during that period did I ever get any urges to pounce on Ciaran, but it was still early days and completely reasonable. By week six post-baby Ciaran’s patience was wearing thin – I hadn’t even looked at his penis since I was about 35 weeks pregnant and his balls were about to burst!

Don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of women that got back on the saddle weeks after giving birth so if you’re of them I take my hat off to you. Please share this sorcery with me, because it took me eight months to even want to look at a penis again. EIGHT F*CKING MONTHS.

The First Time…

Anyway, 6 weeks after giving birth and 8 weeks since the last time we had sex, I decided to open the gates to my (still healing) lady garden. Welllllll. BIGGEST mistake of my life. The grazes on my flaps that I thought had healed felt like they were being scraped open with a hot steak knife! No word of a lie, I cried. It felt like the burning sensation of a human skull tearing through my vagina all over again.

It was safe to say it lasted all of thirty seconds and neither myself or Ciaran “finished” – if you catch my drift. In fact, we barely even started. The he asked the question, “can you just give me a BJ instead?” to which I replied “can you F*CK”.

I was so traumatised that we didn’t even try to have sex again for another six weeks! Six weeks of having an impatient, raging erection sticking in my back every night.

According to Ciaran, “It was like I was a 12 year old boy who’d just hit puberty, and all I could think about was sex. I looked at vegetables and thought about sex. I’d look at an old woman in the street and think about sex. It was bloody embarrassing, like why the hell am I thinking about sex you’re 50!” (I apologise to any women over 50 on his behalf, you’re not that old!) He’s not over exaggerating either, if the wind changed slightly he got an awkward boners!

Attempt number two…

Even though I still wasn’t up to it, I knew that six weeks was a longgggg time without any kind of sexual activity. So we tried again. To put it into perspective how long it had actually been, Alfie was born in September and we had only had sex once (for thirty seconds) between then and Christmas! So yeah, I felt duty bound as a girlfriend to at least give his penis the time of day.

Second attempt wasn’t as horrific as the second time. I wasn’t really in the mood at first but once things had hotted up a bit I felt comfortable and actually quite enjoyed it, but there still wasn’t something right.

Something wasn’t right

I couldn’t put my finger on why my sex drive had taken a total nose dive. Why didn’t I want to have sex? Was I blaming Ciaran for what happened to my vagina (yes, kind of)? Did I still find him attractive? Did I still find myself attractive? So many questions were running through my head and the more I asked myself ‘why?’, the more I drove myself insane.

Not only did my sex drive plummet, so did my self confidence. My body wasn’t the same anymore and I hated it. I might have escaped the typical tummy stretch marks during pregnancy, but I had made up for it on my legs. You see, when I gain weight it all goes to my legs and bum. So although my stomach ‘snapped back’, I had hideous stretch marks on my inner thighs – one of the most intimate parts of a woman’s body.

Was it this that subconsciously stopped me wanting to have sex, or was there more to it that that?

Relationship taking a turn for the worse…

On social media you only see what people want you to see – the happy and positive aspects of your life. So naturally everyone outside of my close social circle assumed that my life was all sunshine and rainbows, but behind closed doors I was losing the person I was, and felt like I had no identity anymore. My days consisted of tears, tantrums (me and Alfie) and constant bickering between me and Ciaran.

We kept arguments to text messages and bedtime when Alfie was asleep. Sometimes they’d be triggered by a sly did at each other over silly things like housework, and sometimes they would just take a downwards spiral and become personal.

“Don’t even look at me. Don’t kiss me, don’t touch me, just leave me alone” is how I would normally end the argument and then take myself to bed in a huff and cry. Now I know that everyone has their arguments, but surely these kind of rows shouldn’t be a nightly occurrence?

We were no longer intimate and I felt like I was living with my friend who I happened to share a child with… Nothing more, nothing less. But what I couldn’t get my head around is why four months after giving birth, I STILL wasn’t interested in sex.

I tried everything in my power to get my sex drive back on my own. I even watched porn to see if it would turn me on. NOTHING. Not even so much as a fanny flutter. Dry as a bone. What the f*ck is going on?!

A trip to the doctors

After four months I decided to chat to my closest friends and my mum about what was going on and how I was feeling. Everytime I spoke about it I cried. Enough was enough, I felt miserable almost every day. I didn’t want sex, I didn’t want to leave the house. I didn’t even want to kiss Ciaran.

I specifically asked for a female doctor when making the appointment. I didn’t want to tell another man about my issues, I was embarrassed and ashamed. As I sat in front of the doctor and started to tell her what was happening I broke down.

“What is wrong with me? Please do something. Give me something that is going to help!” I’m not sure what I was really expecting from her to be honest. “Give a horny pill! F*CK it give me Viagra, I’ll take whatever you’ve got.”

After asking a series of questions, she assured me that I was totally normal and I wasn’t some sort of dried up old psychopath. It became apparent that the issue wasn’t just the lack of libido, but that my mood in general was low and that it would have a knock on effect on my sex drive. Not wanting sex was just the tip of the iceberg. Then she told me something that I wasn’t prepared for.

“You have Postnatal Depression.” I told her I wasn’t depressed and that she had got it wrong. She said it was just mild depression and I had already taken the first step in helping myself already by coming to the doctors. 2015-kidspot-postnataldepression-1000-new-1-660x660-jpg-20160118143842.jpg-q75,dx720y-u0r1g0,c--.jpg

“No, no, no. I’m not depressed, I’m just grumpy and don’t want to have sex anymore.”

I was in denial. I refused to take the anti-depressants because I was ashamed to be associated with the stigma attached to them. I lied to my family about taking them because I just wanted to feel ‘normal’. I decided that I would do everything in my power to avoid having to take these tablets, because I was warned that once I’d started I wasn’t allowed to stop until I’d taken them for six months. Even with the tablets I ran the risk of getting worse to start with, and that terrified me.

When I got home I did my research, and realised that all of the signs were there but I had never spotted them. I was tired and wanted to sleep all the time, but I just put that down to being a new mum. I was anxious over silly things, like making phone calls. My self esteem had vanished, and so had my appetite. The only symptom I’d noticed was the loss of interest in sex because of the amount of strain it put on my relationship.

So what did I do?

Even though there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking anti-depressants, my depression was mild and I decided to use the “self-help” method instead. I took things one step at a time and invested a lot of time in myself. If I didn’t love myself first then how could anyone else? Or at least that’s what I thought.

Health and fitness

I threw myself into the gym and healthy eating. Exercise releases happy endorphins and chemicals into your brain, making you feel better about yourself. I thrived off that feeling after a workout and loved the burning sensation of sore muscles during the days after exercise. I walked a lot too, even if I didn’t need to go anywhere – I just had to get out of the house for a couple of hours a day. Walking gave me time to think and reflect. It meant that for those couple of hours out in the fresh air, I wasn’t thinking about the mountain of ironing hiding in the spare room, or the fact that I was so skint I couldn’t afford to put petrol in the car.

Taking pride in my appearance

I started to take more pride in my appearance instead of thinking “who would find a washed up whale of a mother attractive anyway?” I actually started shaving my legs again and felt like a woman on a mission… I know, tragic. I washed my hair more than twice a week, and invested in some new clothes (I was still wearing maternity leggings at 4 months post baby. I was skint okayyyyy? The struggle is real). I started wearing makeup everytime I left the house, even if I was just going on one of my walks.

Talking about it

I started speaking openly and honestly about what I was going through, and speaking to people in the same situation as me. Eventually it helped and I realised that I’m not alone!

My health visitor, Louise, who is just amazing, referred me to Talking Changes who were a great help. She also visited me every week and checked in with me to see how I was feeling. She’s been a huge help in my recovery.

Investing time in each other

It occurred to me that Ciaran and I didn’t have fun anymore. We felt like an old married couple stuck in a rut. Just because we had a baby didn’t mean we couldn’t still have fun! We invested more time into each other. We would kiss and cuddle on a night instead of turning our backs to each other and falling asleep without uttering a word. We asked each other about how our days had been, and went on ‘date night’ once a month. Date night didn’t have to be anything flash, after all we were on the bones of our arses skint – so sometimes we would just rent a movie or cook for one another.

Going back to work

I think part of my frustration was boredom. I was bored of being stuck in the house. I was bored of only being known as ‘Alfie’s Mum’. I was bored of no longer having my own identity. The only solution for curing my boredom was to go back to work.

I love Alfie to pieces, but there are only so many consecutive days you can watch Peppa Pig without going insane.

Saying “I love you”

Even though we both already knew we loved each other, we didn’t say it anymore. After almost four years together I’d forgotten to remind Ciaran of how much I appreciated everything he does for me and Alfie, and how hard he works. And I couldn’t remember the last time I told him I love him. So I made a promise to tell him every single day, and he promised too.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes he gets on my tits and I want to strangle him, but it doesn’t mean I love him any less. (Jeeeeeeez this blog is deeper than I intended it to be)

Getting my sex drive back… Finally

Eight months post childbirth and I was finally starting to get my mojo back. After working at our relationship every single day, working on building my self confidence back up and going back to work, I’m finally starting to feel like me again. Of course I’ve grown up and changed because I’m now a mummy – which by the way is the best but hardest f*cking job in the world – but I’m getting back to who I used to be.

And best of all? I’m like a rampant rabbit (too much info I know. I seriously hope you’re not reading this Dad). I’m starting to come to terms with my stretch marks, and no longer have to have sex under the covers with the light off. Sometimes Ciaran has to turn me down. I’m like “come one, why don’t you want me?” and then I realise that that is exactly how he felt for the past eight months… Ooops.

The point I’m trying to make – and I know I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent here – is that it doesn’t matter how low you’re feeling after having a baby, there is help out there. Postnatal depression isn’t something to be ashamed of, and I have only realised that now after coming out the other side. I’m stronger and more open minded about mental health than I have ever been before. I realised “sh*t, people DO understand what I’m going through, and I’m not on my own!”

There are times when I feel myself slipping, but then I remember how far I’ve come. Writing this post and starting this blog is part of my “self-help” method, by sharing my experiences with other mamas that may be going through the same thing as me. I remind myself that everyone has their bad days, and feeling low doesn’t make me any less of a mother or mean I love my baby any less. I remind myself that it’s okay not to be okay and I’m doing great.

If you’ve read this story until the end then thank you and I salute you!

Breastfeeding

4 Embarrassing Reactions To Breastfeeding In Public

Let’s talk about boobs. Tits, wangies, knockers, bosoms, fried eggs, jugs, bee stings, bangers, melons, honkers, bahama mammas…. Whatever you want to call them, let’s talk about them – ones of the milky variety to be precise. In fact, let’s just get them out in public for the world to see and attract the attention of perverts whilst we feed our babies… Because obviously that’s EXACTLY what us mamas are doing when we’re feeding our hungry baby in public. Oh wait, is that not what breastfeeding is all about? My bad. Is it just me or does it seem that society’s views on public breastfeeding is a bit backwards nowadays.

This is probably a good time to mention that I’m not judgemental on feeding methods in the slightest. Every mum and every baby is different and in my opinion, a fed baby is a happy baby whether they’re suckling on a breast or a bottle. I intended on breastfeeding for 12 weeks and I only managed 6. Some mamas only ever breastfeed, some mamas only bottle feed, and some mamas are happy to mix it up between breast breastfeeding mugand bottle – ALL of which are totally fine as long as baby is healthy and developing.

However, far too often I read stories of mums being shamed for breastfeeding in public, and it seriously infuriates me. The people clearly have no idea how demanding, tiring and time consuming nursing a child is. Hungry, boob. Tired, boob. Comfort, boob – it never ends! And not to mention the cracked nipples that feel like they’re being sliced off with glass each time your baby latches on.

 

Breastfeeding mamas deserve so much more recognition than they get, but unfortunately more often than not we are publicly humiliated and embarrassed for doing something so natural, and here are just a few of the embarrassing reactions that some mums have to face!

No. 1 The ‘public indecency’ reaction

One story I read was about a woman who was discreetly feeding her baby on a park bench, when she was approached by a woman who told her she should go elsewhere because she was distracting her husband.

First of all, if you view breastfeeding as arousing or sexual in any way then please go and get your head seen to. Secondly, there are clearly some relationship issues that need to be addressed if your husband is looking at other women’s boobs (instead of yours) for his own satisfaction. And last of all, where the F*CK is she meant to go? This mama has chosen to breastfeed (you go girl!), so what is she supposed to do if she’s out and about with her little one and he gets hungry? Just go home? Never leave the house? No. 1f37000df03736c4b25e6cda3d7bfe86.jpg

Anyway, the mother’s reaction was f*cking brilliant… She squired the b*tch with her boobs. The story is likely to boil your blood, but it is hilarious at the same time. Click here to read the story!

Guys, girls… We’re not trying to turn you on! We’re not exposing our breasts for your satisfaction, we’re feeding our babies… Which by the way is completely f*cking natural unlike your attraction to to lactating breasts.

No 2. The ‘we don’t allow breastfeeding here’ reaction

Ermmmm. Excuse me, dick head? Did you know it’s illegal to ask someone to leave your shop, restaurant, park or nearly every other public place for breastfeeding? No? You might want to check out the Equality Act 2010, making it illegal to discriminate against breastfeeding in a public place.

Mamas, know your sh*it and click here for everything you need to know about your breastfeeding rights!

No 3. The ‘could you do that in another room’ reaction

Another mama once told me that she was asked to feed her newborn in the toilets. She was assured there was a nice comfy chair in the ladies toilets for breastfeeding mums so that other people didn’t have to watch.

Firstly, just don’t watch? And secondly, would you go eat your lunch in the bathroom after someone just shit their entire breakfast out and left a delightful essence of poo in the air? No you would not, so please don’t expect a baby to – who by the way doesn’t have a great immune system yet and would be susceptible to any germs that mum may pick up from uncleaned surfaces.

No 4. The ‘can you cover up?’ reaction

Some mamas like to use a shawl or a nursing blanket to breastfeed their baby, others are as free as a bird in the wind and aren’t embarrassed whatsoever – and why should they be?

You open up The Sun and there they are – a perfectly symmetrical pair of (at least) double Ds on page 3. So let me get this straight, women can plaster their boobs all over the Sunday paper but as soon as we get them out to feed a baby – which is what they’re designed to do – all hell breaks loose?

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Normalise Public Breastfeeding!

Ladies and gentlemen when are we all going to realise that breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world?! Formula milk has only been around for the past 150 years, so what on earth do you think women did before that? 

“There you go son, I know you’re only three days old but get this ham sandwich down your neck”… No. They got their amazing, magical, incredible boobs out and fed their baby, because it was completely natural and normal. So why isn’t it viewed the same way now?

Mamas, be proud of your milk machines and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to get them out in public. When nature calls just answer, no matter where you are or who is around. Your boobies are the tree of life!

Mum Life · Parenthood

Juggling work, a baby and dealing with the guilt of being a working mummy…

After nine months on maternity leave with my chunky monkey, I was soooo ready to get back to work! I think I can vouch for a lot of us mummies when I say that I love my baby with all my heart, but I needed something to remind myself that I am so much more than just a mummy. I felt like my brain was turning to mush, and by the time Alfie was 6 months old, the “baby brain” excuse seemed to be inadequate for pretty much every ditsy thing I did.

I was starting to lose who I was as a person and was worried that I’d have completely forgotten how to do my job, or that everything would change and I wouldn’t fit in anymore. I also needed to use my brain for something other than making up songs like, Alfie’s done a stinky poo poo, why can’t he use the loo loo”.

Childcare costs

Before deciding to go back to work we had to work out our finances and find affordable childcare. (I know, affordable… Hahaha). At first we looked into nursery prices, £40 a f*cking day…. YOU WHAT? Can you repeat that please? FORTY F*CKING POUNDS…. For one single day. And believe it or not, that was the cheapest. That kind of cost might be okay for parents with established careers and a bigger income, but for a young parent whose career is still in its infancy like mine, £40 a day is a LOT of money.

We decided to do some more research and discovered that our neighbour who we knew quite well was setting up her own childminding business. This waCaptures perfect because it meant we didn’t have to travel far for childcare, and Alfie already knew Jolene. To save money my friend also looks after Alfie two days a week. As a mama-of-two herself, she knows the juggling act all too well! All hail this wonder-woman AKA Mama Natalia!

I even get daily updates about Alfie… Even those I don’t really want to know about, like this… 

Excitement of Going Back To Work

Although I was anxious to leave Alfie for four days a week, I was eager to get back into the swing of work life. I knew I would miss him, but I also knew that my little boy was in safe hands and would get to spend time interacting with other children. I found comfort in the knowledge that going back to work would only benefit us all in the long-term, and I was so excited to have adult conversation on daily basis!

So five weeks ago I was preparing for my first day back at work. I felt like a Supermum and for once like I really had my sh*t together! I’d even laid the clothes out for the next morning and prepared lunch for the next three days (who even does that?!).

Fast-forward one month…

Fast forward one month and life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and I certainly don’t feel like I’ve got my sh*t together. In fact, I think I am close to losing my sh*t. You know when you think you’ve got the whole bedtime routine and sleeping through thing, cracked? Yeah well don’t get too used to it, because there’s one thing that is almost guaranteed to disturb your 12 hours of peaceful sleep a night… That thing is called TEETHING!

At 4:30 this morning, I sat on my son’s bedroom floor and cried into his blanket out of sheer frustration that no matter how much I rocked and “sushed” him, I could NOT get him to go back to sleep and I was completely exhausted. At 4:45 I opened the medicine cabinet to discover we had run out of Calpol and he had thrown his dummy down the side of the cot as a result of a teething tantrum. I then remembered that I hadn’t prepared any lunch for day ahead and I wasn’t entirely sure I even had clean clothes to wear when I had to get up in four hours time. Defeated, I walked back up the stairs to my screaming nine-month-old and continued to rock him.

crying baby gif
Accurate representation of me rocking baby to sleep at 4am

At 5am I found myself nodding off whilst standing up with a baby continued to wail in my ear hole. I got back into bed, this time cradling Alfie in the hope that he might sleep better in Mummy’s bed. Nope… Still twisting and crying. By 5:30 I thought F*CK THIS. I got up and went downstairs to make myself a cup of tea. Alfie finally decided it was bedtime at 7am when it was time to get up for work.

It is now 8pm on a Tuesday night and I am sat on my sofa with a glass (bottle size) of wine in hand because I’ve been up since 4am with a teething bwine.gifaby and I am f*cking knackered. It’s been an exceptionally long day and I am riddled with overwhelming guilt because I spent the majority of it at work. I know that eight hours isn’t a long working day in the grand scheme of things, but it is eight hours that I missed out on comforting my poorly baby, and it seems completely unfair that he doesn’t understand why mummy leaves him first thing on a morning and doesn’t come back until an hour before bedtime.

Juggling Act…

As if being a parent wasn’t a juggling act enough with trying to manage a household, a baby, making time for a social life and still trying to manage to squeeze a bit of already non existent “me time” in, I now have a job to uphold too!

Every night without fail, I sit in bed and think to myself “okay so if I get up at 7 and get the baby ready then get myself ready I can get out the door for 8:15. Then I’ll pick the baby up from work at 5:30, get him bathed and into bed, then make the tea, then eat, then wash up, then make make lunch for the next day… maybe I’ll get to sit down at like 8pm!”

(And you’re probably thinking “well how do you get time to write a blog then?” I actually started this last Tuesday and it has taken me an entire week to complete!)

Oh and does someone want to tell me when the F*CK I am meant make time to wash, iron or clean the house?! I barely get time to wipe my own arse let alone clean the entire house from top to bottom. I can spend a whole hour cleaning before someone comes to visit, just to say “excuse the mess, I haven’t had time to tidy up”, as I swiftly throw all the toys behind the door and brush the biscuit from my child’s face.

Making Mummy and Baby time special

I’m lucky that work let me go back to work four days a week instead of full-time, and I’m super grateful that I get a long weekend with him. One extra day with my little monkey makes all the difference and I feel far less guilty for leaving him – even if it does mean I’m knee deep in cheese puffs, snot and sh*tty nappies.

The thought of missing major milestones like crawling or those first precious steps is heartbreaking, which is why I always make the most of my days off with my Alfie. I normally spend my Thursday night cleaning (if I can be arsed) when Alfie goes to bed, so that on Friday morning my sole focus can be me and Alfie. Whether we cuddle up on the couch watching movies together, have an indoor teddy bears picnic or play outside in the paddling pool, Fridays are our special Mummy and Alfie days. Spending quality time together somewhat mitigates the guilt of not seeing him during the week.

Our new normal…

I had been so excited to get back a sense of ‘normality’ and routine back, but a few weeks back into work and I have realised that ‘normal’ has completely changed for us both. Mummy being at home all day everyday is all that Alfie had ever known, and going back to work meant that I was completely turning his little world upside down. It was going to take time to adjust to this new juggling act that they call ‘life’. So now I consider myself to have two jobs – my part-time job as a Marketing Executive is what I call my “career job”, and being a mummy is my job for life.

The guilt is unreal, and sometimes I question whether I am doing the right thing. The way Alfie looks at me when he realises that I am leaving him yet again is heartbreaking. This morning I dropped him off at Natalia’s house, and he cried when I left him. I know it’s important for him to get used to being independent, but I couldn’t help feeling guilty. As I left I said “oh I know sweetheart, bad Mummy!” To which Natalia reminded me that I am not a bad mummy, I’m simply setting Alfie up for a better future!

I’m still getting used to leaving Alfie and dealing with the guilt on a daily basis. I don’t want to miss his first steps or his first proper words. I don’t want to have to choose between sports day and important meetings at work. I never want to say the words “sorry Darling, Mummy can’t make it” to his school football match. As a new mum I’m asking myself, “am I being selfish?” I am learning that life is about compromise and sacrifice, and not to take advantage of every moment I get with my little man… Even if that does mean 4am wakeup calls and sleepless nights. And I’m learning not to be so hard on myself, because I’m trying – even when I feel like I haven’t got my sh*t together.

Postnatal · Postpartum

Postnatal Body: 13 things they don’t tell you!

As women, when we find out we’re pregnant we have no choice but to accept the inevitable changes that our bodies will be subjected to as we grow a small human inside of us. We accept that stretch marks and weight gain are just part and parcel of the journey we’re about to embark on, and that it will take time to adjust to our new bodies.

But what they don’t tell you is what happens after childbirth! It doesn’t matter how many antenatal classes you attend, how many books you read or how much research you do, nothing can prepare you for how ruined your vagina ACTUALLY is, the daily boob fluctuations and a complete lack of sex drive! With that said, here are a few of my own postnatal experiences… The good, the bad and the damn right ugly!

No.1 Going for a wee post childbirth

That first wee after you’ve just let a human slither out of womanly parts feels like an acidic waterfall. Who knew that weeing in the bath was acceptable? It is the only way to relieve the agonising sting of pissing on your own wounds… literally!

Ladies, if you’re pregnant with your first child and are planning on a natural birth, take it from someone who learned the hard way and do NOT go for a wee unless you have a jug of warm water to pour over your vagina. And if you need to pee in a public place, take a bottle of water into the toilets with you. Thank me later!

No.2 The first POO!

This is arguably the most terrifying physical postnatal experience of all, especially if your darling child ripped you a new hole. Even the midwife will ask you, “have you had a bowel movement yet?” You’ll probably think she’s being a bit rude if you haven’t been yet, but trust me she has your best interests at heart!

I had an epidural, so luckily I didn’t feel the pain of my first post-childbirth-poo, but my god did I make up for it a few days later when the numbness disappeared. I was also lucky enough not to need stitches, so it could’ve been a whole lot worse. Don’t panic though, it is normal to feel like your large intestine is hanging out of your bum hole, the chances are it probably is!

No.3 The never ending period

I already knew that my first post-pregnancy period would be slightly longer than usual, but I mean COME ON (pardon the pun)… A whole month?! I couldn’t use tampons either, because my poor lady garden was still recovering from the trauma, plus my hole was probably SO wide anyway, that had I been brave enough to use one, a tampon would’ve just fallen out.

Also, maternity towels are like bricks! I found after two weeks of using them, my lady bits felt more bruised than they did straight after giving birth. And don’t even get me STARTED on the monstrosity that is disposable knickers. They are about 6 sizes too small and a complete waste of money – just buy some granny pants, you’re only going to chuck them out anyway!

No.4 The Overwhelming Baby Blues

Why does nobody tell you that around four days post baby, you will hit a brick wall?! When Alfie was four days old, the baby blues hit me with a resobaby_bluesunding crash. I would cry over completely irrational things, like accidentally being given a veggie hotpot instead of a beef dinner. I felt completely useless, like I was failing at being a mummy already and he was only a few days old. Little did I know that the way I felt was completely normal and I needed to give myself a break. I had to remind myself that I had just given birth, and what I did was incredible. “I can do this, I am amazing!”

No.5 Involution of the uterus

The body works in mysterious ways, and one way of your body knowing that you’re no longer pregnant (aside from the gaping hole between your legs), is by breastfeeding. When you breastfeed you produce a hormone called oxytocin – the same drug they give to induce labour – which makes the uterus contract back down. These contractions can vary between mild and making you think you’re in labour with your baby’s long-lost twin!  

If you don’t breastfeed your uterus will still contract back down, but nursing just helps to speed the process up, and I can categorically say it is f*cking painful!

No.6 You will have your breasts milked like a cow

Call me naive, but I thought that babies just knew how to breastfeed the second they are born! It actually took about five days for me and my little man to completely crack the whole titty feeding thing, but until then we needed a little help.

If you thought childbirth was undignified, wait until you have a midwife milk you like a cow into a syringe in front of your entire friendship group. She would literally take hold of my entire breast like an udder, and pull my nipple forward until she had emptied enough colostrum to feed Alfie’s tiny tummy.

No.7 Getting to grips with my new boobs

Breastfeeding has it’s ups and downs. It is incredibly demanding and you spend half of your life with a small baby hanging from your nipple, but it also creates an unbreakable bond between you and your baby that only you will ever be able to feel. You also become a master at doing things with one hand, like making cups of tea or sandwiches (that you will never get to enjoy) whilst breastfeeding! All of which is great, but why doesn’t anyone tell you about your ever-evolving boob shape and consistency? 

Late Feed
Late night feed, two weeks old.

At around day three post-baby my breast milk came in, and my soft, perky B cups inflated an entire cup size literally overnight! I felt like I was wearing bowling balls in my bra. I also made the mistake of not wearing any breast pads in anticipation of my breast milk coming in, and I woke in the middle of the night to find myself lactating everywhere. I remember waking up and thinking “WOAAAH MAMA, congratulations you got some titties!”

Then once we got into the pattern of feeding every two hours or so, I realised that as soon as I had emptied one boob, the other one was a completely different size. Sometimes I’d look down and think “I am sooooo unsexy right now!” Not only were my boobs leaking continuously but one looked like a pancake too.

Getting to grips with my new soggy breasts was tricky at first, especially as Alfie was particularly fond of my left breast and totally neglected the right one. Everytime I went to feed him from my right boob, it would be so full that as soon as he put his mouth to the nipple, it would squirt him in the face like a water pistol! Sometimes I would have to milk myself into the sink to relieve the pressure of my ballooning bosoms.

No.8 “WHERE DID MY BOOBS GO?”

So after six weeks of breastfeeding, I’d had enough. I was exhausted and wanted Ciaran to share the load with me, so I gradually weaned Alfie off the boob and onto the bottle. But what I didn’t realise was, I’d be joining the itty-bitty-titty-committee once again! That’s right, my amazing new feeding machines had deflated back to their pre-pregnancy state. I was GUTTED, but at least it meant if me and Ciaran wanted to get jiggy he wouldn’t be soaked in breast milk.

No.9 Why isn’t my milk disappearing?!

I thought that a couple of weeks after I stopped breastfeeding, my milk would just disappear, but that isn’t the case! My milk took about four months to dry up after I stopped feeding Alfie. I thought, “why is my body still producing milk? I’m not a f*cking cow!”. Then I realised the fun I could have with my redundant breast milk…

“FIREEEEEEEEEE”…. Is what I would shout as I squirted Ciaran from across the sofa.

“INCOMINGGGGG” Just as he was about to fall asleep.

I found it hilarious but Ciaran failed to see the funny side and tried to forbid me from giving him a random milky spritz every now and then.

No.10 Belly’s gonna get ya!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly lucky with how quickly my stomach snapped back after just a couple of weeks, but it doesn’t mean I felt any less conscious of it. When you’re pregnant your abdominal muscles separate to make room for your protruding bump, and can take months to close back together properly. So although my stomach appeared to be flat again, it was still squishy and wobbly!

8 days pp
8 days post baby

I put on three stone during my pregnancy, and at one point I was convinced Alfie had a Big Mac as a twin. I continued to exercise right up until four days before I gave birth, but I stuffed my face so much that I still managed to pile on three stone! 

No.11 Sneezing and weeing simultaneously

No panty liner? You’re f*cked my friend. Your beautiful bundle of joy has now completely destroyed your pelvic floor muscles and your ability to hold in your wee. Don’t go on a trampoline without taking precautions, and if you feel a sneeze coming on then you better brace yourself! One time I was so desperate for a wee, that as I run up the stairs to the toilet, the p*ss ran down my leg.

No. 12 Low Libido

Now this is a subject for a totally different post altogether, which I will get round to writing at some point, but I this is something I never in a million years thought would happen… My sex drive took a nose dive. It literally plummeted, and didn’t come back until about 8 months post-baby. Talk about blue balls… Sorry Ciaran!

No. 13 Learning to love yourself again

It doesn’t matter if we choose to have our babies when we’re 20 or when we’re 40 years old, these things come to us all. And joking aside, it isn’t about how quickly our bodies ‘bounce back’, it’s about embracing the changes yourstretch mark quote body had to make in order to accommodate for your little person. Don’t worry new mama, you’ll get your body back eventually, but right now it is time to enjoy your baby and find comfort in the knowledge that your body did something amazing.

Learn to love your curves and embrace your stretch marks, after all you are a tiger who earned her stripes! xx

Labour and Birth · Pregnancy

My Birth Story – No Beating About The Bush

Due to complications during my pregnancy with Obstetric Cholestasis, I had to be induced at 36 weeks and 4 days, as it was the safest option for our baby.

At 36 weeks and 3 days we had a routine scan. The scan revealed that there was reduced amniotic fluid around the baby, and because I had reported reduced movements two days prior to the scan, we were told that our induction date had to be brought forward. After calling the labour ward, my induction was brought forward to the next day. That’s right, THE NEXT DAY! Last Bump Pics

I’d had eight whole months (because my pregnancy was cut short) to psyche myself up for the trauma of childbirth, but I STILL wasn’t ready! It hit me like a train that THIS WAS HAPPENING… TOMORROW. Although I knew I’d miss my bump, I was excited to be able to reach my toes again, and not be so itchy that every night was like performing an exorcism.

Induction Attempt Number One

So, tomorrow came and we arrived at the hospital bang on 11 o’clock ready to be induced. We were taken to the maternity ward, where I was given a little private room of my own. The room was small and cramped, but at least nobody had to hear me squeal like a newborn pig when I had my stretch and sweep!

Speaking of uncomfortable vaginal intrusions, let’s get down to ‘juicy’ details. (I’m sorry that pun was awful). Ciaran and I waited in the little room for about an hour until one of the midwives came to chat with us. She explained the induction process, which I had researched repeatedly over the past 10 weeks. She started by examining my cervix, which was posterior and fully closed but starting to ripen. (I know that makes my cervix sound like an apple, sorry again.) She then inserted a prostin behind my cervix to try and soften it. The pain was so intense that I squeezed Ciaran’s hand so hard his knuckles turned white, and I shot up the bed like someone had shoved a firework up my vagina.

About two hours after the first prostin, I started having very mild contractions. They were uncomfortable but manageable at this stage, and felt like really intense period pains. A second midwife came to check how I was doing, and said “you look like you’re labouring love, let me put you on the monitor”. I was hooked up to the CTG, which monitored how often I was contracting and how intense the contractions were. They were about 7-8 minutes apart and getting stronger, so after about three hours she decided it was time to examine my cervix again.

She popped on her latex gloves and lubed up herself up. She used that much of the stuff I thought she was going to attempt to put an entire arm up there. “OOOO YOU BITCH”, I was past the point of giving a sh*t and just wanted to be told, “you’re 4cm dilated”. But ohhh no, I was just 1cm. One TINY cm. All that contracting for sweet FA! Gutted.

The contractions had come to a stand still by about 11pm, and Ciaran was sent home to get some rest. I was also told to rest, but I thought no chance. I pinched a birthing ball from the maternity ward, and watched Our Girl on BBC iPlayer whilst gyrating my hips like a kiwi girl, trying to work baby down.

Induction Attempt Number Two

At 8am next morning, I was given another prostin, as clearly the first one hadn’t worked. The pain was just as intense as the first time, as my cervix was still posterior. The midwife described the feel of it as “like my top lip”, which I found extremely disturbing. I lived in hope that the second prostin would work, and I would go into labour naturally. But it didn’t… I had however dilated to 2cm. Another day of contractions, thrusting on a birthing ball, pacing up and down the corridors and going out of my mind with boredom for absolutely NOTHING. Contractions died down yet again and my patience was wearing thin!  

At around 6pm, the consultant came in to try and speed things up. He performed a stretch and sweep which resulted in me losing my plug (also known as a show). I was technically still 2cm dilated because he could fit two fingers in my cervix, but he informed me that he had measured the width of his two fingers and it turns out they’re 3cm across. (I know, who on earth measures their fingers… Weirdo!)

Breaking My Waters

The next morning I was taken to the labour ward to have my waters broken. As I was still only 2cm dilated, I was told to get “nice and high” on the gas and air, because this sh*t was going to hurt. And it did! The midwife used her two fingers to open up my cervix and extra centimeter, and I balled my eyes out in pain, even though I was off my face on gas and air I could still feel it.

I can only describe the feeling of my waters breaking, as p*ssing myself uncontrollably. SO MUCH WATER!! Who knew there would be so much fluid around one tiny human. My mind was blown. I was coming down from the gas and air, and I can’t remember what the midwife said, but I was in fits of giggles. The only issue was, I was flooding the bed with my leaking lady garden. Everytime I laughed, I gushed a little harder. The midwife was soaked and had to change her clothes. Anyway, after my waters were broken I was hooked up to an oxytocin drip. Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone (hubba hubba), was to make my uterus contract.

When Labour Kicked In

WELL….The contractions just came out of nowhere, and before I knew it I was sucking on the gas and air like my life depended on it! The midwife said she would increase the drip until I was either contracting every two minutes, or 4cm dilated – by which point I would be classed as in active labour. After just one hour, the contractions came thick and fast. With barely any breathing time inbetween and screaming into the gas and air tube, the midwife examined my cervix yet again and I was FINALLY 4cm. Ciaran was a great support through the contractions, and did his best to keep me calm. Although I was furious when he pulled a chicken wrap out of his bag, knowing fine well I wasn’t allowed to eat.

Anyway, I don’t know how long after the last examination this was, because the whole thing was a bit of a blur, but the gas and air just wasn’t taking the edge off anymore. I demanded a shot of pethidine, despite knowing it could make me feel sick. I couldn’t have cared any less about nausea at this point, I just NEEDED some stronger pain relief. I remember clentching onto Ciarans fist in desperation and telling him to “knock me out and tell me when it’s over”.

Well ladies, I don’t know about you but I thought the pethidine did absolutely F*CK ALL, apart from make me drowsy and a little bit drunk. The contractions got closer together, about a minute apart, and the pain was just too much to take. That was it, I’d had enough…

“CIARAN, GET ME AN EPIDURAL NOW!!!!!!!!!!”

“Erm, midwife… I think she needs an epidural!”

The anaesthetist was sent in to give me her spiel about the risks that can occur with an epidural. I didn’t listen to any of them, I just blocked her out. “I don’t care, stop talking and just do it!!!” Now I’m a wimp when it comes to needles and cry like a baby when getting a blood test, so you can imagine the intensity of pain I was in to completely dismiss the fact a six inch needle was about to be inserted into my spine. 

getting-an-epidural-for-labor-pain-RM-722x406
Image: whattoexpect.com

Pain Free… For Now!

Twenty minutes later and the anaesthetic had kicked in. I went from being possessed by the devil to being able to hold a normal conversation again. My mouth was so dry from sucking on the gas and air, so I drank two litres of Lucozade Sport as it was all I was allowed to keep my energy levels up. Then I got some rest and slept for about two hours, whilst my extraordinary body continued to contract and dilate.

When I woke the midwife asked, “do you need a wee?” I thought, “erm I don’t know Joanne, why don’t you tell me since I’m numb from the tits down and have lost control of my natural bodily functions.” She then proceeded to insert a catheter into my wee hole and empty my bladder (sorry Dad, don’t say I didn’t warn you). I mean, there are some things your other half just don’t need to see, but I suppose this was part of childbirth – the single most undignified experience a human being will ever whiteness.

She then performed yet another cervical examination. To my amazement, I was 9cm dilated! The midwife then used her fingers to stretch my now very squishy cervix to 10cm!! Because I’d had an epidural, luckily I didn’t feel the pain of her opening me up like Christmas present.

Then she said something that was so horrific, I will never forget it as long as I live. “Your rectum is pretty packed, so you’ll need to have a poo before you have this baby”…. BRILLIANT. So not only has my boyfriend seen me piss myself, but I am going to do a poo right in front of his very eyes. I was past-caring, I just wanted to meet my baby. So yes, I am one of the many that sh*t myself during labour.

The final stages… TIME TO PUSH!

It was time to push my baby out!! The moment I had been waiting for for the best part of a year was finally here. We didn’t find out the gender of the baby whilst I was pregnant, so it was a complete surprise when he was finally born. My mum arrived just as I had started pushing, and the pain came back again. The epidural had taken away the pain of the contractions, but my vagina still felt like it was being burnt alive. To make matters even worse, I lost the button to release more anaesthetic into my system! 

“PUSH BECCA, COME ON, PUSH THAT BABY DOWN… THE HEAD IS COMING”

The part where the head comes out is called “crowning”… Now let me tell you a little something about crowning… It is HORRIFIC! There are no words to describe the intense burning sensation as you squeeze the skull of another human being out of a hole the size of a twenty pence piece. 

“GET IT OUT OF MEEEEEEE!!!!!!!”

The midwife was really encouraging, and told me the progress I was making as I bared down and gritted my teeth. “I can see baby’s eyes, lots of hair” etc. 

the moment a baby was placed on his mothers chest
The moment my baby boy was placed on my chest. If you look closely you can see the cord still attached.

I was too busy screaming and crying out in pain to realise that I had done it! My mum told me to look down and there he was, and Ciaran shouted “ITS A BOY”… But he wasn’t breathing. Ciaran quickly cut the cord and baby doctors flooded the room. The cord had been wrapped around his neck twice, so each time I pushed he was choked a little more! I was terrified and just prayed that he would be okay. After the longest eight minutes of our lives, he finally started breathing. The doctor called Ciaran over and to see his little boy, and he was greeted with – what he describes as a “fat off placenta” – on the table next to him. He nearly cried at the sight of it, which was absolutely hilarious. 

The whole room was overwhelmed with emotion as he let out his first cry. He was wrapped in a towel and passed to me. I couldn’t believe that he was mine! I soon forgot about the two days of excruciating pain, and the fact I still had my legs in the air with my ruined front bum on display for everyone to see. The midwives encouraged Alfie latch on for a feed, and left me and my little family in peace for a bit before taking us back to the maternity ward. After FaceTiming our immediate family and close friends, I went for a shower with a catheter still jabbed in my vein and dragged my dead leg along with me, whilst the midwife showed my new baby daddy how to dress his son. 4daysold

The whole experience was just magical, but when people say, “childbirth is beautiful”, do not believe them, it is f*cking disgusting. Nonetheless, it is amazing and extraordinary, and a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life. 

The human body is incredible, and I am completely in awe of what myself and other women just like me have accomplished. My body may never look the same again, and my inner thighs may be scarred with stretch marks, but when I look at my thriving little boy, all of those things seem completely insignificant. My body grew a human being, and that is something I will be forever proud of!

 

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My Itchy Pregnancy With ICP

At around 28 weeks pregnant – just into the third trimester – I noticed my entire body had become increasingly itchy. As I suffer with eczema, I just put the itch down to hormones playing havoc with my skin. I mentioned the itching to my midwife, and she asked “are your hands and feet particularly itchy?” to which I replied no, as it was just my body. She said it was probably just my skin stretching, and as I suspected, the hormones playing havoc with my eczema. She took my bloods like she said she would at my 28 week appointment, and after crying like a baby because I hate needles, I went back to work. 

Becca 32 weeks
Here I am at 32 weeks pregnant. Hiding the itch with a pout.

Over the next week I noticed the itch becoming more and more intense. I sat at my desk literally wanting the writhe the skin from my hands because they were so irritated. Then I remembered what my midwife had asked previously, “are your hands and feet particularly itchy?” WELL THEY BLOODY ARE NOW!!! I excused myself from the office and rang my midwife. She explained that I must have my bloods taken immediately, and made me an appointment with the Pregnancy Assessment Unit (PAU) within the hour. Little did I know that the PAU would be my second home for the rest of my pregnancy.

After four hours of observations, waiting for my blood results to come back from the lab, and excessive itching, I was diagnosed with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP), commonly known as Obstetric Cholestasis (OC)… I know what you’re thinking, “what the bloody hell is that?!” In short, OC is a liver condition that occurs only in pregnancy, where the normal flow of bile out of the liver leaks into your blood, instead of your digestive system like its supposed to, and affects approximately 1 in 140 pregnancies in the UK.

So I asked the consultant how can I cure it and how will this affect my baby? Unfortunately I didn’t get the answer I wanted! “The only cure is to give birth”…. YES! GIVE BIRTH.

“You mean I have to put up with this horrendous itching for 10 MORE WEEKS?!” Nope, not quite. Some studies show that Obstetric Cholestasis can increase the risk of stillbirth after 38 weeks, and so I would have to be induced at around 37 weeks to reduce this risk. As you can imagine, this was seriously scary to hear, especially when emotions were already running high. I was booked in for an induction at 37 weeks and 6 days.  

Over the next 6-7 weeks I was under close observation, with weekly blood tests and CTGs to monitor the bile acid levels in my blood and baby’s heartbeat and movements. All was as it should be apart from the itch. THE BLOODY ITCH. There are no words to describe the absolute torture that came with the continuous itching. Cold baths, menthol cooling creams, stripping off to nothing but some really unsexy maternity knickers…. NOTHING helped ease it! Sometimes I would itch so hard that I drew blood and left bruises, especially on the tops of my thighs. To make matters even worse, it was the height of summer and we were in the middle of a heatwave. If it wasn’t hard enough to sleep with what felt like a rotating bowling ball attached to my front, I now had to try and sleep with a constant tingling feeling all over my body. I would cry out of sheer frustration most nights. At one point I was convinced I was allergic to my sofa… How insane does that sound?! I think it was probably the insomnia talking, as I was lucky to get five hours sleep a night.

I just kept counting down the weeks until I met my baby, finding comfort in the knowledge that he or she would be so worth every sleepless night.

I was given extra scans to ensure that baby was growing fine, but at 36 weeks I didn’t feel him move as much. I did the recommended laying on my side and having a cold drink, but movements were still few and far between. I went to the PAU and they told me everything was perfectly fine. The next day at 36 weeks and 3 days, I went for a scan. The sonographer checked baby’s measurements, and he was weighing in at a tiny 5lb 10oz. It was lovely because we were her last scan of the day, so she gave us a little extra time. However, she was concerned the amount of fluid around baby, and told us that my induction date may need to be brought forward!

Well I was sh*tting myself!! I had been psyching myself up for weeks, I had a date set and that was that. We waited in the reception of the Women’s Centre for what felt like hours! The consultant finally called us in and immediately agreed that rescheduling my induction for an earlier date would be the safest option for baby. He phoned the labour ward, and then said, “How about tomorrow?”… “TOMORROW?! What? Erm? Like, tomorrow tomorrow? As in the day after today?!” Me and Ciaran looked at each other in total shock. We thought we had at least another week as a twosome.

We agreed that tomorrow was fine with us, and left the hospital to tell our families the news. They had the same reaction as us, “What?! Tomorrow?!” It suddenly became very real.

We got in the car and I could barely drive home, my foot was trembling on the clutch and my sweaty palms kept sliding off the steering wheel. Ciaran asked, “what do you want for our last supper as a two then?” To which I replied, “Get me a double cheeseburger and large fries!” Well… I thought I might as well take full advantage of the ‘eating for two’ excuse.

That night we laid on the couch watching my tummy move. It was such a surreal feeling knowing that the little alien like person inside me would soon be in my arms! I was filled with anxiety and excitement, but was also absolutely terrified! All of a sudden, watching One Born Every Minute felt like the BIGGEST mistake of my life.

Two days later after two pessaries, an extremely long “latent phase” of labour, and 12 hours of active labour, our little boy was born weighing 6lb 5oz. He was perfect from head to toe, although a little sticky! The consultant was definitely right about something… The only way to get rid of the itch was to give birth, because just hours after giving birth the itch had almost disappeared, as if by magic! Other than the fact I had a gaping hole between my legs, I felt like a new woman.

So ladies, if you feel abnormally itchy during your pregnancy – particularly after 30 weeks – tell your midwife! DON’T IGNORE THE ITCH…. Fight the itch, save a life!

 

This month is ICP Awareness month. Please share, you may just save a baby!

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Where it all began…

I sat here for half an hour staring at a blank page, wondering what my first ever mummy blog should be about! After deliberating and getting absolutely no inspiration from my other half, I decided it would be best to start where it all began!

So in August 2013, I went on a family holiday to the gorgeous resort of Albufeira in Portugal. I dragged my best friend along for the ride too, we were only 17 and the thought of being let loose in a foreign country by ourselves was thrilling. Quality time with the fam and the chance to party with my friend, I thought “perfect, best of both worlds”.

About four days into the holiday me and my friend, were lounging around the pool on lilos – worshipping the sun with barely any protection on like typical Brits – and that’s when, unbeknown to me, my life was about to change. Sitting on the edge of the pool were two young lads. Now I fancied the arse off one of them, and really wanted an excuse to talk to him! I didn’t know his name so I referred to him as Abercrombie, because that’s what his shorts said. The other guy, who turned out to be his brother was referred to as ‘Green Shorts’.

Me and my friend, Abbie, devised a plan to grab their attention without looking like desperate whores. “Right, f*ck it, push my lilo over the other side of the pool…” I mean, it couldn’t have looked more obvious if we tried – it worked though! After three hours of effortless conversation, shameless flirting and giggling like an exciting 6 year old on Christmas morning, he FINALLY asked me on a date. When I say date, I mean he said “I know this bar that sells sambuca shots for 1 euro, you should bring your mate!” But that was good enough for me. We shared our cheeky first kiss in the pool as the sun went down. The holiday romance only lasted 4 days before Ciaran (Abercrombie) and his brother went home, but little did I know that he would be the father to my child!

Going the distance… Literally!

This is where it gets a little complicated… Ciaran lived all the way in Brighton and I lived in Darlington. To put into perspective just how far that is, it’s a four and a half our train journey or a six hour drive! Determined to make it work, we text and called each other every single day. We both worked, but I was on an apprenticeship wage, and Ciaran worked full time in a bar, so it took us three months to save up to see each other. We had our first proper (UK) date in London and the rest is history… Or so they say.

It’s true what they say you know, distance does make the heart grow fonder! We would try and see each other every month, alternating which parent’s house we stayed at. Sometimes there would only be two weeks between visits, but other times we would wait as long as seven weeks to see each other. The weeks were long but it only made the time we spent together more special!

Knock knock, baby O’clock

In February last year after two and a half years together, our worlds were turned upside down in a way that we could never have imagined. I found out I was pregnant! At the tender age of 19, I sat on the toilet and stared at those two little lines. PREGNANT, PREGNANT, PREGNANT. I thought “What the f*ck?! HowFirst ultrasound scan 12 weeks 6 days could this happen? I’m on the pill.” We were both so young and in a state of total shock.

We gave it a couple of days to register in our minds what was happening before telling our families, but I don’t think it really sank in until we saw our baby boy in mini-blob-form at our 12 week scan.

We still lived at opposite ends of the country, but we’d already planned for Ciaran to move to Darlington before I fell pregnant. I was four weeks pregnant when we found out and still lived with our parents, which meant it was all systems go. We had less than 8 months to buy a house, Ciaran to find a job and to mentally and physically prepare for a baby! “ARGHHH SH*T! How are we going to manage it in time?!”

Ciaran didn’t make his big move to Darlington until 7 weeks before Alfie was born, so I pretty much went through the whole pregnancy on my own, with the support of my mum and my friends. Of course Ciaran was always at the other end of the phone for emotional support, but it was tough without him being there physically.

The baby bubble

Due to complications and health issues towards the end of my pregnancy, I was induced at 36 +4, and Alfie John Carolan was born at 36+6 on 23rd September 2016. My perfect little bundle arrived into the world happy and healthy, weighing a dinky 6lb 5oz.

 

Almost four years on and here we are as a trio (we’re a little chubbier than we were but hey ho)! I think our little love story is pretty romantic, and I loFamily.jpgve telling people how we met. I hope that one day Alfie asks me, “Mummy, how did you and Daddy meet?!” And I’ll be able to tell him how romance isn’t dead, and you don’t have to chat up girls online to get a girlfriend.

I absolutely love reading other people’s love stories! Mamas, tweet me @beccabrayx with yours! xx