Self-Care in Lockdown 2.0

On the 5th November 2020, England went into a month-long lockdown. In our house as well as many other households, it got nicknamed Lockdown 2.0. (Can you tell we’re tech nerds?). So I got thinking about self-care in lockdown and how I could make it work around caring for the boys.

With Chris being away, self-care opportunities haven’t always been readily available so I’ve been trying to figure out ones that fit in around taking care of the boys. Sometimes this has been squeezing in things while Rex naps and Jaxon is at school or late at night once both boys are asleep.

Okay so maybe you don’t know the how Chris came to not be here during Lockdown 2.0. I might need to write about that one too or maybe he can come and guest blog for me as he has miles more spare time that me currently lol.

When I do have chance for self-care, what am I getting up to?

Bath 

So pictures of baths with all the bubbles are a regular thing when it comes to talking about self-care but for me sitting down and taking the time for a bath is self-care. Don’t tell me off about this. For me, there are levels of baths/showers. At one end of the scale there’s the “just wash your hair so you look human” one, which is often me standing over the bath with the shower head trying not to soak the whole bathroom in the process. Then there’s the “I just need to get clean and stop smelling” shower. This is pretty much what happens all the time… that’s basic hygiene and needs to be there. This has been known to happen at 1 in the morning because it’s the only time that someone hasn’t needed me – in the early Rex days it was between feeds and seemed to work!

Then there’s the “soak in the bath and leave my worries behind” – these don’t happen very often but when they do I try and make them special if I can… I have lots of bubbles and get the candles out if I can! (Although if it’s a daytime bath I might skip the candles!)

A lit candle on the side of the bath

Curl Up with a Book 

While breastfeeding Rex, I’ve been working my way through quite a few books on my Kindle app. In 2020, I’ve read almost 40 books according to Goodreads, it’s not quite there but it’s almost one a week which is a bit crazy.

Snuggled up with a Book

Anyway, sometimes curling up in a comfy chair or your snuggly bed and reading can be just what the doctor ordered to help you take care of yourself. Whether it’s escaping to a seaside town where everyone knows your name or through a wardrobe to a magic land, falling into a book can be just what you need for a spot of self are. Add the candles and fairy lights to the atmosphere and you’re heading for Hygge!

Knit/Cross Stitch/Something Else Crafty

For some people, the idea of knitting or creating something crafty can be more stressful than mindful. I love curling up with my latest project and seeing things come together. At the moment, I’m knitting a woolly hat for Rex that involves intarsia so it can be a little stressful but on the whole, for me, it’s quite mindful. Whether it’s something simple or something more complex, for me it’s self-care. At the moment, I’m working on a shawl, which has a pretty easy to follow repeat so I don’t need to worry about complicated lace or increasing and decreasing lots.

Baking

We’ve been making different cake. Whether it’s from a packet mix where you just add the eggs and oil or something from scratch, There’s something about seeing the raw ingredients coming together to form something complete that just makes me happy. Actually the bit that came to mind just now was from Julie and Julia, where Julie (Powell played by Amy Adams) has a rubbish day at work and on the way home decides to make Chocolate Cream Pie.

You know what I love about cooking?

I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say "nothing" I mean nothing,
you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It's such a comfort.

Rocky Road is an absolute favourite in our house. I’m hoping to share the recipe for it soon – I’ll be sure to add a link here. Do you have a favourite recipe either to make or to eat? I’ve been watching The Great British Bake Off and once again I’m excited to try baking more again. Part of me wants to try to learn to make profiteroles properly but imagine that if I learn how to do it properly I might want to make them all the time!

Journaling 

I am a notebook addict and so I often can be quite specific about my notebooks (check my Wishlist there’s usually 4 or 5 different ones on there just in case!) but you can journal in any notebook or on a scrap of paper if needed. It’s just about getting down how you are feeling and processing those emotions. You might go back in 6 months or a year and be like “what on earth was I going on about??” but if in the moment it helps, it’s worth a try right? There are different forms of journalling just like there are different forms of painting for instance. In the past I’ve mostly done the memory keeping form of journalling – so where did we go and what did we do and how did I feel about that. Some people just write about what they did each day or the highlights and low points of those days.

Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

If you want it to be more of the “Dear Diary, today I did…” style then go for it. Ultimately – it’s your journal, you do what you want with it. If it’s a bad day and you just want to scribble like crazy across the page, DO IT. If it’s a good day and somehow you want to commemorate that with a drawing of balloons or a page from a magazine, DO IT. It’s your journal. Do what works for you, not what works for a pretty Instagram picture or something like that. That being said your journal is a private or as public as you want it to be.

Nap 

I am a massive fan of a good nap. When I was pregnant with Jaxon I would mostly just nap at weekends – I think it was my way of catching up but this time around when I was pregnant with Rex, I was having to nap most days just to be able to function. If I didn’t take myself to bed for a nap I often found I was dozing off in front of the TV. At one point, Jaxon was well trained and would grab a blanket and put it over me if I dozed off. He’s very sweet like that.

Anyway, sometimes if you’re having a bad day or struggling, having a nap is just what you need to get through the rest of the day or feel recharged enough to deal with a situation.

Writing letters to friends/family

I am a huge fan of handwritten letters. There’s just something about the time and focus it takes to write a letter to someone. I always feel like someone really cares about me if they’ve sat down and written me a proper letter. Emails and Texts are great for a quick question or to find out a burst of information but a letter has a character to it. I received one from my penpal in the USA telling me all about how their town had been in the run-up to the election and how even though they live in a mainly red state, their town was changing to more and more blue as “President 45” open his mouth again (or tweeted instead). My friend also wrote about massive life changes going on in their family at the moment – it would have worked on email but something about it being there in written form just made it so much more personal.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Before you panic and feel like it’s got to be some epic long essay, it really doesn’t. It could just be a greeting card with a short message just to say I’m thinking of you.

Going for a Walk/Exercise 

Going for a walk and exercise of any form increase the brains levels of serotonin which in turn make us feel happier after we’ve been for a walk or done some exercise (even if we had it while it’s in progress and question our life choices or a while!). We set little challenges like trying to find a different route to take around near our house or who could do a particular stretch in a certain way like backwards, fastest or slowest etc.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

But ultimately take care of yourself, in whatever works for you. There was talk about being productive and writing that novel you’d always meant to write but never got around to in Lockdown 1 and for most of us, lockdown involved lots of lockdown learning, TV watching and dealing with the chores when you really had to. If that’s what you need to do, then you do it, take care of yourself.

How do you care for your own well being? Do you do one of the things in this post or do you do something else?

As part of this post I received the Orange, Cedarwood and Clove candle and Restore and Renew Lavendar Bath Therapy Oil from Zita West to try out and write about. Other products included are ones that I’ve purchased myself or been gifted by friends or family.

Getting Life Back in Order after Lockdown and Pregnancy

Like many people, chores around here have got a bit slack during the last six months. Between isolation learning, being pregnant and never seeming to have enough time, the chores around here have almost been about surviving and keeping the house at some controllable level rather than actually getting anything properly tidy.

For a large chunk of lockdown, our kitchen table was our school classroom, so in the corner of the room there was a large tote bag with all the print outs, workbooks and pens we were using each day. This definitely annoyed Chris as the corner was never tidy but it was definitely a bit easier than putting everything completely away each day and getting it out the next day. Chris and I would regularly discuss how Jaxon learns better getting up and doing rather than sitting at the desk and learning that way. (Anna at The Whimsical Cloud has definitely been helping me with that – her two little ones are home-schooled and they do a lot of “up and doing” rather than worksheets at a desk).

So now Jaxon is back at school and Rex arrived about ten weeks ago. When I started this blog post, I was about 6-7 weeks postpartum and was still trying to take it easy. I was being told off by a friend via IG that I was overdoing it and needed to chill. I’m also trying to restore some order to our house. Rather than writing all 101 jobs on one to-do list and getting overwhelmed, I decided I needed a plan of sorts to follow and having seen KatyKicker mention #TeamTOMM on her Instagram Stories, I headed off to Google to see what it was about – I also found TOMM (The Organised Mum Method) printables which would help me organise that to-do list into different days.

So starting a few Mondays ago, this is what my to-do list looked like when I got up in the morning. Yes okay, so some of that might have been a little heading towards the overwhelm but it was okay – I’d got it under control.

As the weeks have passed, the list has got shorter. There’s a list of 5 or 6 household tasks and then I just add the other errand and tasks that need to get done. In the last week, we’ve been getting into more of a routine with Rex’s naps so it’s been a little easier to block out time to clear my to-do list (or get distracted and do lots of Christmas prep stuff). Prior to this, I was spending a lot of nap time sat on the sofa reading or working my way through my YouTube subscriptions. (Right now I have Trent and Allie playing in the background. I’ve been working through their back catalogue ahead of their new videos on Mondays and Fridays).

Today is Thursday, so it’s all about the kitchen. Well, at least it would be but for now I just need to muddle my way around the rest of the downstairs to try and restore some order. The weather this week has been really wet so I have still got washing drying in the kitchen for now. I managed to get a load to dry outside and the dryer is currently running to clear the underwear and towels which always take up the most space/pegs when trying to dry either inside or outside.

The great thing about The Organised Mum method is that after “Level 1 Jobs” (these are your frequent/everyday jobs), you then focus on one room a day (minus the weekend) so that you can keep the house on track. This definitely helps than trying to tidy the whole house in one go and then feeling overwhelmed (and then if you’re like me procrastinating!). You can find the printables to get started here.

I’m hoping to properly get onto the chores on a daily basis and hopefully find that the house is a heap tidier overall.

What do you do to make sure your living space is clean and tidying? Do you have any tips or tricks?

What Happened in September 2020? (Monthly Review)

It’s the beginning of a new month so time to look back at the last month for my monthly review. How did your September go? What did you get up to?

September Review

The Month in Bullets

  • Jaxon went back to school. Following the schools closing due to the pandemic, I was nervous about him going back to school. I know he needed to do it and he needed the structure that comes with going to school (and spending time with other people) but sending him back when the infection rate is still quite high has been making me a little anxious. So far he’s been back for about 3 weeks and it seems to be going okay. His school are doing a great job to keep the students as safe as they can.
  • Rex finally got back to his birth weight which was good and that meant that we could be discharged from the Midwifery Team.
  • The boys have been getting out and doing longer walks so that’s been interesting. One week they walked from our house to Danish Camp at Willington and then the following week they walked from our house to the River at Great Barford so we could meet for a picnic. Both have been good as Jaxon’s been out and not in front of a screen. Chris has taken Rex with him which has given me time to do things around the house or just chill out and not be on “duty”.

Books Read

With all the I’m up in the night at the moment (or feeding during the day), I decided reading might be a better option rather than watching TV on my iPhone or iPad. I subscribed to Kindle Unlimited for a month and have already made it worth it by reading all these books (when I looked at a paperback of a book I wanted to read and that was already heading towards £10 for one book)

  • Secrets at the Loch (Loch Lannick Book 5) by Hannah Ellis
  • Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland
  • Making Wishes at Bay View (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay) by Jessica Redland
  • New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms by Jessica Redland
  • Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove by Jessica Redland
  • A Cornish Summer Holiday (Little Duck Pond Cafe, Book 11) by Rosie Green
  • Log Fires & Toffee Apple Cake at the Little Duck Pond Cafe: (Little Duck Pond Cafe, Book 12) by Rosie Green (in progress)

Series Watched

  • Long Way Up
  • Long Way Round
  • All Creatures Great and Small (I read a sample of the book before watching the TV series so was quite pleased that so much of the book plot is in the TV show)
  • 911 and 911: Lone Star
  • The Great British Bake Off (I’m excited that they managed to come up with a solution to make it work even during COVID-19. There’s an article on the Radio Times website talking about it. You can read it here).

Films Watched

YouTube Channels Watched

I ended up watching a lot of YouTube videos as they are often bite-sized chunks rather than full programs that I might not have had the attention span for. These are the channels I’ve been watching.

With Jaxon, we’ve been watching the walkthroughs of Paper Mario: The Origami King by ZachScottGames which has been good fun to watch him get all excited about it. (If it should interest you the whole playlist of Paper Mario is here).

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Dear Rex – His (Dramatic?) Birth Story – Part 3

Newborn baby wrapped in a brightly coloured blanket

If you’ve landed here and not ready Part One or Part Two, you might want to go back and start there.

From here, it goes a bit fuzzy in my brain, I have a conversation with Nicola about whether it’s time to call Chris. She says yes and between contractions, I tell Chris he needs to come. I’m sure in my head there was a more wordy response with clearer instructions but this was all I could spit out. I imagine him jumping out of bed like it was on fire, getting dressed one-handed while ringing my parents and trying not to wake Jaxon. Then going downstairs to make a coffee (to wake up after his disco nap) then standing near the front door fidgeting while waiting for Mum and Dad to arrive. He arrives at the hospital around 1 am. (see it was fuzzy, I know roughly it was after midnight and definitely not 2 am but could have been anywhere in between that).

I think he was expecting to get there and the baby would be crowning or
something like that, but no it wasn’t quite that dramatic at this point.
While we’re waiting for him to arrive, I have a conversation with Nicola about painkillers and can I have something at least until I can have gas and air. Nicola went to find the doctor but she’d been called into theatre and so we were waiting for her to come back to approve any pain relief. I’m put on gas and air and then I’m offered an epidural, which I desperately agree to. I have to wait for the anaesthetist to come and explain the risks and what’s going to happen. Somehow between contractions and the fact that my glasses have been taken off my face (Chris did this because they kept sliding down my nose!), I’m then asked to sign my consent form, which I end up doing with one eye closed and the other kind of squinting to make sure it’s somehow legible! Nicola offers to write my name and date it for me if I’m happy for her to do (which I am because I’m not even sure I could spell my own name at this point!).

The doctor comes to do the epidural and I had to sit on the bed at a funny angle. I thought it would be like when I was given the spinal block for the C-Section which I thought I could do. However, either it wasn’t the same position or because I was contracting it was really uncomfortable. It seemed to take a very long time to get the epidural in. At one point, I remember saying to Chris that I couldn’t do it and I needed to lie down or move because it was so uncomfortable. I think at this point too, I was holding Chris’s hand with one hand and then holding Nicola’s hand too. I’m not sure if it was this point or when that was (it just came back to me now and I think this is when it was). Also, by the conversations around me, I’m not 100% sure it was working the way it was supposed to.

Nicola, the midwife, had said to take a deep breath and then imagine blowing out candles but rather than a quick blowing out it needed to be a low blowing out – probably a rubbish explanation but it made sense at the time and I just kept relighting and blowing out those candles in my mind. This worked with the gas and air too.

Trying to remember what happened and in what order is a little challenging so I might get it wrong. I was told I could lie back down again and get comfortable (or as much as I could be comfortable!) at one point I was told to move back across the bed, apparently, I’d wriggled so much that I was pretty much on the edge of the bed and they were surprised I hadn’t fallen off! At another point, I kept being told to try and breath normal air instead of the gas between contractions but I was so far away with the fairies that by the time I’d realised I’d finished a contraction and tried to take the gas mouthpiece out of my mouth to breath, the next contraction was already starting and so it was easier not to do it. In the end, Chris was told by the midwife to hold it and to try and take it away in between if he could.

Around 4/4:30, I’m told that with each contraction, Rex’s heartbeat keeps dipping and they need to get him out soon. I keep trying to push but it’s not working or not working enough, so it’s decided I’m being taken to theatre for a forceps delivery but need to be prepared that I could end up having a C-Section (it’s actually possible this was when I signed that consent form and couldn’t really read it! As I say some bits are fuzzy!). I have to leave the gas and air there and cope until we get to theatre. I’m sure at this point I was squeezing Chris’s hand really tightly! At one point, Chris is taken by Nicola to go and get into scrubs so that he can be there for the next bit. He had to change into scrubs when I went for my C-Section so I was aware of where he’d gone and that he wouldn’t be long. We arrive in theatre and I get moved onto another bed and have to shuffle down the bed so that they can get my feet up into stirrups. My epidural is now topped up so that I’m numb from the waist down. It could have been Nicola or someone else but they use this cold spray stuff to see how numb I am by spraying down my arm and then down my leg. Well, it’s obviously done it’s job, because I’m able to have a proper conversation with Chris for the first time since 6 pm. We talk about What he and Jaxon got up to after dropping me off, and then what they did at bedtime along with what Chris got up to between Jaxon’s bedtime and having a nap. Well we’ve been chatting, various things happened around us and I’m told it’s time to push. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to know it’s time to push, given that I no longer feel in the contractions. If I remember correctly, Nicola was watching the monitor, and was able to tell me when the next contraction was happening. I think I pushed three or four times with the forceps and that was it Rex was born.

I think when we got to theatre, I did ask Nicola if we could do skin to skin if it was possible. Rex was placed on top of my chest (just after this picture) and I don’t know whether it was the relief or adrenaline or something but my arms were so shaky!

Now I imagine, it wasn’t actually that simple, and I imagine that various other things did happen. As I say, lots of it is fuzzy in my mind, and maybe some of it is a bit rose-tinted. Throughout the whole evening, I felt alone, but at least to start with, I was able to rationalise why I had to be there by myself (to a degree). As the pain got worse, it was at that point that I began to struggle with why Chris couldn’t be there. In the grand scheme of things, I was really fortunate. I’ve heard some bad stories recently, including one where the father missed the birth of his child because he’d ran to the building and his temperature read as a fever rather than because he’d been running. By the time it had come down and he’d been allowed in, his child had already been delivered.

After everything was finished in theatre, we were moved through to recovery. We were putting recovery for about an hour or so and with all the crazy being over, both Chris and I had a little nap. When I was told, it was almost time to be moved to the ward, Chris went home, so that he could take over from Mum and Dad. I was moved to the ward and then met another midwife. The midwife on the ward was a little bit more formidable and to be honest a little scary. She gave me all the information about where the toilet was and where to get food but also that I need to wear a mask when I left my cubicle. I almost apologetically asked that although I knew it wasn’t her job, could someone get me some breakfast as I haven’t eaten since dinner the night before. She was surprised that hadn’t been given anything in recovery and said that I should’ve been given tea and toast there. She asked me various questions like did I want white or brown bread, well honestly, it really didn’t matter as long as it filled a hole lol. I did have snacks in my bag that I could have had but at this point I wasn’t entirely sure I could get myself out of bed.

Once I’d had my toast, I did my best to get comfortable. I was going to need to get out of bed if I need to change the nappy or take myself to the toilet but first of all we needed to try breastfeeding again. While Rex and I had been in recovery, we tried to breastfeed but I think like me he was tired and the idea of feeding was just a bit too much of a challenge. Because of the nature of Rex’s birth and the fact that he had been quite stressed during the delivery, we were being kept in for observation for 24 hours. Every few hours someone to come and ask how he was feeling, how I was feeling, and take various stats like Temperature and BP. (This would continue through the night which was hard work because just to get settled and back to sleep it would then be time to be woken up again and go through it all).

At this point, I was grateful for technology again. During the lockdown, my Grandad learnt to use FaceTime on his iPad and has often been using it to make calls rather than the telephone. So just after 9 am my phone rang and it was Grandad, I was really excited that I’ve got to introduce him to his newest great-grandchild so soon. Well at that point he was still Baby Johnson… we were struggling to decide on a name even though Jaxon we’d known right away lol. I think Grandma had been feeling left out because halfway through the call she appeared in the background. I’d been a little worried about how we were going to get to see the Great-Grandparents and still maintain social distancing etc.

I managed to nap between observations and kept trying to feed on both sides although the right seemed to be coming along much easier than the left. I’m encouraged to get up and move as well as take myself to the toilet etc. I manage to tick all my boxes so that I should be able to go home, just need to tick Rex’s now.

I have to have various extra bits that I didn’t have with Jaxon including a Tinzaparin injection. Apparently, various flags in my medical record put me at risk of a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) so I had to have an injection while in hospital and then take it once a day for 10 days. Oh, and they would be injections at home too. I guess it came in handy that I’d given Heparin injections in the past, just needed to get over giving them to myself. (Mum was there when I did my first one at home and sang Always Look on the Bright Side of Life to me – I just imagined that every time and that definitely helped!)

We stayed until Sunday lunchtime and when I was told we were going home I couldn’t ring Chris quick enough. I just wanted my own bed, I wanted to hug Jaxon and I wanted to get a reasonable chunk of sleep! My parents had come back to our house around 10am when it looked like I was going home so that they could be there when Chris needed to go (Mum is the host for their church Zoom call service at the moment so she really needed to be in one place to make sure it happened the way it should).

Chris took this picture of me on our way out of the hospital. He could have warned me right??

When Chris came to collect me, he had to bring the car seat up to the ward door and wait for a midwife to collect it from him. She would then bring the car seat to me so I could then put Rex in it. He was getting worked up about going in the car seat and I was getting flustered trying to make sure I had everything and not hold anyone up. In the end, it turned out that I’d left the little tag from Rex’s cot behind with his stats on. I realised this around Day 3 so as you can imagine it was more trauma then it needed to be! I had the changing bag and the Doona (We have a Doona so it’s car seat/buggy) and the midwife then wheeled my case and carried my bag to the door for Chris to then carry back to the car. Folding myself into the car was a little challenging but once I’d worked out the best way to do it, it got easier each time I went in the car.

Dear Rex – His (Dramatic?) Birth Story – Part 2

Newborn baby wrapped in a brightly coloured blanket

If you’ve landed here and not read Part One, head here to read that bit first.

After the second growth scan on the 20th July, it felt like the left hand really didn’t know what the right hand was doing. I’d been told to have the scan but when I got to the hospital, the ultrasound consultant had written on my notes that I didn’t need the scan. After discussing it with the sonographer, she did the scan anyway. With Chris not being allowed to attend, the last time he’d “seen” baby was the 20 week scan and last time he’d heard baby’s heartbeat was back at my 12 week scan. I decided I’d chance it and ask if I could have a scan picture. The sonographer said that by that point (36 weeks) baby is so big that it’s hard to get enough definition on the picture. She managed to get Rex at a certain angle and it was enough that we could identify the “landmarks” to know which way around he was and things like that.

Following my scan, the sonographer asked when I was seeing the doctor. To
which I explained that I wasn’t expecting to see the doctor, I’d just been sent
for the scan. She told me that I needed to see the doctor and so she was going to send me up to the Day Unit to wait there for the doctor. The Midwife on the Day Unit made sure I was okay and tried to get hold of the doctor. It turned out that the Doctor I’d seen after my ride in an ambulance was on duty that day so she was already aware of my case etc. The Doctor wanted me to chat to the consultant about birth options and so the midwife attempted to get me an appointment later in the week. In the end, the consultant took a glance over my notes, decided induction was possible and that it would be on my due date. Rex’s estimated weight was putting him around the same weight as Jaxon (Jaxon was 9lb 14.5oz when he was born). Clearly, I make big babies!

Due Date/Friday

The whole week had led up to Friday and what was going to happen. The action plan for who was having Jaxon when things were happening properly had been changed like three times and I was still not sure what was going on. But basically, unless Rex had shown up earlier, I was going into hospital to be induced. We knew that Rex was probably going to be big like his brother and we wanted to try and get him out safely without me having to have another C-Section. I guess a benefit of working from home due to Covid-19 was that even when Chris’s paternity leave had finished, he’d still be at home and able to assist with day to day stuff unlike with Jaxon where he had to go back to work quite quickly (thankfully Mum was on standby to assist then).

Back in March, I had discussed with the Birth Choices Midwife about having a VBAC delivery but once again I was flexible. Getting Rex out safely was the priority, if that meant I had to go for an emergency C-Section along the way then we would take it as it came.

Just before 6 pm on the Friday evening, Chris and Jaxon dropped me off at
the hospital. The info I’d received was a little muddled so I took my stuff
with me in case I was staying the night. On the phone, with the consultant, I’d been told one time and in my letter, I’d been told another. We went with the earlier one, figuring that I could always go for a wander or find somewhere to knit or read until they were ready for me. While I was in the hospital, the boys went for a walk around the river near the hospital just in case I would be coming home until the induction medication kicked in. Apparently, Chris had planned to just sit in the car but Jaxon decided they were going for a walk and Chris was happy to oblige as we’d all spent most of the day at home.

I arrived on the Delivery Ward and was told by the Senior Midwife that I was early and inductions aren’t normally started until 7 or 8 pm, so I told Chris to take Jaxon home. If they weren’t going to start me off until 8 pm it wasn’t fair to make Jaxon wait in the car for two hours! I was sent by the midwife to sit in the family room, while she figured out whether I could stay or not. At about 10-15 minutes later, Becky the Senior Midwife came to see me. Because of the previous C-Section when Jaxon was born, there’s a high chance I would have to stay in. Because of how the induction medication works, in a small number of cases, it can cause the contractions to be so strong that the previous C-Section scar can rupture. Therefore, I was going to be monitored just in case I was one of those unlucky few. The plan was that I would get given the gel stuff (prostaglandins) which are support to start the contractions and dilation etc. Then I’d go up to the maternity ward overnight, then I’d be brought back to delivery once things were progressing. If needed, they’d look at breaking my waters in the morning once the day shift took over. Also because of the previous C-Section, I was only going to be able to have one lot of gels, if it didn’t take we’d be on Plan B instead. At my last Midwife appointment, my Bishop’s Score had been at 4 so Becky was hopeful that the induction would almost be a final push of sorts rather than starting from scratch (Apparently a
6 or higher is waters breaking/baby is coming, so I was close just not close
enough).

I wasn’t kept waiting for long and was moved to a side room instead. A lovely midwife called Mhairi came to see me and she was getting me all assessed to see what order things were going to happen. Around 10 to 8, after being monitored for over an hour, I was given the gel. According to the CTG (Fetal monitoring), I had already been having contractions but they were quite far apart and I thought it was Rex wriggling rather than a contraction.

Digital screen displaying different groups of numbers. Including blood pressure and fetal movements

By 9 pm, I’d been taken off the monitor and was pottering around the room
and swaying through my contractions. I was keeping Mum and Chris posted via WhatApp but could have done with someone in person to chat to. I’d taken most of the rules in my stride and had understood the why but at this point, they were getting to me. Chris could go to the pub, he could go and play a team sport but couldn’t be in the hospital with me when I needed a cheerleader. I had made sure I had some TV and films on my iPad to watch so I started watching The American President. I’ve seen it hundreds of times so if I had to stop it or missed bits it would be okay.

Around 10 pm, I had a conversation with Chris, he wanted to go to bed as he
was quite tired but didn’t want to miss anything important. I told him to go to bed but leave his phone on loud so that I could call if I needed him. I then
had a similar conversation with Mum and Dad. They were on standby to go to our house and take over on Jaxon-duty when the time came. (At this point I’m not 100% how this fitted in with the rules, but to make sure Mum and Dad could be there as soon as we needed them they’d spent near enough 20+ weeks shielding/isolating at home to make sure they were ready and able to help. They are amazing!).

Also in the conversation with Mum, we discussed what would happen next. The information I’d been given was what would happen if nothing happened and I was still there in the morning. I think I missed anything about what happens when something DOES happens. Mum and I have a chat and I decide that at 10:30 I’ll go to the Nurses Station and find out what happening next. I’m told by the Midwife that I’ll be left until 2am (6 hours since the gel) and then we’d go from there. The contractions carry on but they are manageable if I keep moving. I tell Mum and Dad to go get some sleep. After all, 3-4 hours of sleep has got to be better than none (especially as the rest of the night would have been in our bed not their bed).

I watch out the window and potter around my cubicle for the next hour or so. I get into bed and figure I’ll give it a go and getting some sleep. I think I
dozed but I’m awake again before I know it. I wake up and wriggle to try and get comfortable and I have this feeling like I’ve wet myself. I’d read (or it might have been on a Mama Doctor Jones video) that to test between it being a bladder accident and your waters breaking, you have to lie down and then get back up again and see what happens, well as I was already lying down I figured I’d get just out of the bed. Well, nope I hadn’t wet myself and it wasn’t my waters. I was bleeding and I need a Midwife. Having not reached this point with Jaxon, I was really quite worried (but calm if that’s possible) – what if this was where it was about to go really wrong and Chris wasn’t here to be with me?

I’m asked to get back onto the bed so I can be assessed and it’s decided I’m
going to delivery. It’s heading towards Midnight at this point and I’m hoping
that Mum, Dad and Chris are getting at least some rest along with me worrying about what the blood is about – is it something wrong or is it straight forward and part of the process?

Through most of my contractions I’d been walking or swaying, and now I had to sit in a wheelchair to go up to the Delivery Suite, when I did have a
contraction, it was so uncomfortable that I practically jumped across the room. I get taken in the lift to the Delivery Suite and I’m handed over to a
different Midwife called Nicola who’s now going to look after me through the rest of my delivery.

And that’s Part Two…Part Three is coming tomorrow.