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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

I don’t understand why women who have a miscarriage are not given the proper emotional as well as physical care after. Losing a baby is traumatic. Why the medical profession refer to the baby as tissue to be disposed of is shocking. You ask any woman who has had a scan confirming a pregnancy whether she identifies with it as a baby or viable tissue, evenat 4 weeks…the medical profession need to be more compassionate and change their language. Whether a 4 weeks or 4 months or term, a loss is still a loss and needs to be treated as such. Far too many people take the stance of ‘of well, it happened to us too and we weren’t affected, or we turned out okay, or we managed ok’ – perhaps not. Trauma has a way of presenting itself in many guises and if you had to dig a bit deeper, you’d likely find that there was an effect, one way or another.

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51093999

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At 00:1038 on Saturday 19th January I uploaded an instagram post “HOORAH!!! πŸ‘ πŸ‘ πŸ‘ Finally I can say #Peanutisonthewayβ£οΈΒ πŸ‘ΆπŸ»πŸ’™ We’ve just arrived at the hospital. My daughter has been having on-off contractions throughout the day and night before, but now they’re coming full on. Hold thumbs all goes well πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ’•”

Peanut is on the way

And so it came to pass, right on schedule at exactly 40 weeks from conception, in the wee hours on the morning of the 19th January 2019, prospective parents and ready packed suitcase in the car, we set off on what we hoped would be the real deal….the arrival of baby Jamie. We checked in at the QEQM and straight to the labour ward. All week we had been focusing on room 8 since that was the room with the birthing pool as well as which it was large enough to accommodate the 3 of us as well as my daughter’s Doula and the midwives.

lucky number 8

lucky number 8

On the way we contacted her Doula, Maisie, who lives in Deal and she arrived not long after we did.

After a quick check of all mother’s vitals, baby’s vitals and some monitoring they decided, after about 40 minutes that she wasn’t yet far enough along to stay in and suggested we go home, that she have a nice warm bath and come back later. Besides which the cramps/pains had subsided by then.

00:38 on the 19th – Maisie (Doula), Mummy and Daddy waiting for Peanut

Home we went….at about 4am 19th January. We prayed all the way that Room 8 would still be available when we returned. Fortunately home was then only a 10 minute drive away.

Less than 2 hours later I phoned the labour ward once again and advised them – I didn’t ask if it was ok this time…I TOLD them – we are on our way back!! When we arrived, they confirmed that yes, she was now in full-on labour, 5cms dilated with what we had correctly classified as proper contractions, coming thick and fast and PAINFUL!! Taking her breath away. How my heart ached for her.

Thankfully Room 8 was still available and we settled in for the long haul….this was it and finally I could say…..

PEANUT IS ON THE WAY hoorahhh!!!

We set up the room as best we could with the candles and lights she wanted….but frankly she was already so well advanced that she was only aware of it all in the periphery of her mind…..her Mama instincts were in full flow and she could only focus on one thing….breathing through the contractions. As she has said herself, if we had stayed in the first time around earlier that morning, she would probably have enjoyed setting up the room, getting into the pool earlier and just relaxing in that environment. But as it turned out, by the time all that happened, she was too far along to really enjoy it all.

In due course we asked if they would fill the birthing pool, since she was keen to have, if not an actual water birth, then at least her labour in the pool. As baby was breech, it wasn’t really conducive to or safe for a water birth. It was hard going by now as she was having very strong contractions and in a lot of pain. But with careful guidance and assistance from us all, we got her safely settled into the warm water. Her husband stripped down to his swim trunks and settled in beside her to offer support. Maisie and I hovered around and provided support between vitals being checked and by now, gas provided by the midwives….who I might add were amazing.

in the birthing pool

19/01/19 – 08:22 in the birthing pool – beautiful beyond compare

At some point the Consultant that had upset them both so much a week before by insisting that because baby was breech that she HAD to have a c-section, brought in the ‘big boss’; the head Consultant – despite their constant protests and saying that they wanted a natural birth as far as was possible, he insisted that it was God’s will.Β  How I restrained myself from slapping him for making such a stupid comment is beyond me. Seriously??? An induced c-section is NOT safer than a natural birth and mothers have delivered breech babies for centuries…my daughter was herself a breech baby (albeit eventually a c-section due to sudden complications). As far as the pregnant parents were concerned, they were in the right place if there was an absolute necessity to deliver by c-section.

By now my daughter was in a tremendous amount of pain and focusing only on the contractions and the imminent birth. This woman, who shall remain nameless, marched in like some Nazi surgeon and despite the position my daughter was in, bent down at the side of the pool and insisted that she, my daughter, tell her all the dangers of proceeding with a breech birth. Wtaf???? At which point my son-in-law absolutely lost it…..he rose up out the water like some sort of underwater god, water streaming off his body, and with his hand pointing in her direction, told her to “fuck off out of here right now”. LOL If you knew my son-in-law you’d know that that was so totally out of character as to be like chalk and cheese. He doesn’t ever swear. Long story short…..the two consultants left pretty pronto.

Meanwhile the contractions were now becoming so powerful and so painful that my daughter could no longer keep herself upright and we were becoming fearful she may slip under the water. She struggled to stand and was so weak that she could barely lift her head never mind stand up to get out the pool. So, as she recalls, I put on my Mother voice and with all the Mama power I could muster, I spoke right into her ear and pretty much commanded her to “get up and get out the pool”. Which gave her the strength to actually get up.

From there on things got hazy and crazy with the pain escalating and the midwives in and out. Trying all sorts of different positions that were really not at all ideal, they eventually brought her a birthing stool and finally she was in a comfortable enough position to give birth. It didn’t take long before we saw baby’s wee bottom appear and as he slowly made his was into the world we all did our best to comfort and ease Mummy’s pain. We took turns to hold her hand, mop her brow with a cold cloth, rub her back and shoulders while the midwives provided the gas and medical advice. So far, so good.

Suddenly his legs popped out and then his wee body and arms and shoulders…..very nearly there.Β  A breech birth is really difficult to witness and frankly I was terrified…..but I kept my wits about me and kept taking photos and videos so they could have a record of the birth. They had the absolute best midwife in attendance that you could ever wish for in this world. Although this was her first breech delivery, she was calm and collected and reassuring, offering guidance and a commentary of where he was and how he was progressing. Suddenly and apparently not ideally, his body went white as he prematurely drew breath…but his head was not yet born and now she had seconds to get him out. With the Granny on the sidelines shouting “don’t pull him” she gently slipped her fingers into the birth canal hooked her fingertips above his cheek bones and with a deft sideways twist she slipped his head out. 12:45 on the 19th January 2019 our beloved baby boy was born.

But, now he wasn’t breathing, so she rubbed him down vigorously and gave him a solid thumping. My heart stopped LOL I’d never seen a baby being thumped like that…and you know how fragile we ‘think’ they are. She quickly passed baby over to the midwife on standby who rushed out the room to put him on a ventilator, and returned less than a minute later with baby Jamie lustily yelling… “Hello world, I’m born!!”. Hurrah, he had breathed on his own. What a CHAMPION!!!

Mummy, Jamie and Daddy

19.01.19 at 12:46 Mummy, Jamie and Daddy

It was crazy after that. We were all crying, the midwives were checking vitals, my daughter went into meltdown, and Daddy was sobbing. She simply couldn’t handle all the emotion and was still struggling to deliver the afterbirth and just couldn’t hold the baby, so instead I gave baby Jamie, all 7 lbs of gorgeous newborn to Daddy for some precious skin to skin. To our amusement and Daddy’s intense embarrassment, baby immediately tried to latch onto his nipple hahaha

skin to skin with daddy

19.01.19 13:02 precious skin to skin time with Daddy

We attended to Mummy and got her settled, wrapped up in a towel and then she was able to hold her precious son. It was such an amazing experience and I am so joyful and grateful that I was there to support them, provide reassurance, my boobs to rest on (for Mummy’s head during contractions), and witness the final stages of Jamie’s incredible journey into this world.

Mummy, Daddy, Granny and Jamie

19.01.19 Mummy, Daddy, Granny and Jamie

My precious daughter is now mother to a beautiful precious little boy….and I am finally a Granny πŸ™‚

 

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As mentioned in an earlier post, since logging off both twitter and facebook I needed something to read in the mornings before work, so I gravitated back to workpress. I also realised that except for the post on toilet paper in June, and barring the odd repost or quick article prior to that, I hadn’t blogged for over 3 months and most particularly since my grandson was born. My posting activity compared to previous years looks quite scarce.

I have over 100 drafts waiting to be posted, 90% of which are about my delicious grandson and his journey since he was born. I cheated a wee bit and used my (daily) instagram posts as the basis for the drafts, but somehow I just haven’t had the time to actually flesh them out, checking for spelling and grammar (my bugbears), add images and actually get as far as posting them.

But now that I am no longer living at what used to be my home, and since I am working more (to save on accommodation costs), I have more time to blog….and I’m making up for lost time πŸ˜‰

So, whilst reading the next article on the fantastic blog I discovered under the tag ‘Saxons’ : ‘the traveller’s path” I came across the word ‘trepanned’ on her post ‘Bald’s Leechbook: The Doctor is in‘ – and the word literally jumped off the page at me and I had an epiphany…..I too had been trepanned. LOL

When I was about 15 months of age my mother fell down a flight of stairs with me which resulted in a damaged head and a brain bleed. So the surgeons drilled 3 holes into my skull; 2 on the right hand side of my head and 1 on the left in order to flush out pooled blood and bone fragments. This left 3 small indentations in my head that make for a good story today (and over the decades πŸ˜‰ ) and I get perverse pleasure out of making people feel the bigger hole in my head. They’re usually very squeamish about touching it, but I insist….. hahaha!!

What was weird to me is that I have told that story many times over the years, and I’ve read the word ‘trepanned’ many times whilst reading various books, but I have never associated the word with what had been done to my head. Till today! So there it is, I too have been trepanned. I am however rather glad it was done in the 20th century and not the 8th 9th or 10th, since I think the survival rates of the patients were not as high then as they are today….although to be fair, as the author mentions in her article, many people did survive and this is known due to the fact that when ancient skeletons are dug up at various archaelogical digs, they sometimes find skulls with holes that show signs of having healed. Of course some of said holes are acquired during battles fought and possibly won, but some are of a shape and size to indicate trepanation. Fascinating.

To conclude the story about my trepanned head, the fall down said stairs was as a result of my Mother wearing stiletto heels. One of the heels got stuck in a groove and resulted in the fall. From what I understand my Mother lost a baby as a result of the fall and I had to learn to walk again and ended up wearing support boots for many years. There’s one photograph in particular that I can visualise as I write, and that is one of me at the top of a slide, wearing a little embroidered dress and pair of solid brown leather boots that reached halfway up my tiny little legs, securely buckled. My Mother is standing at the bottom of the stairs and still wearing heels. Interestingly (to me anyway), I don’t recall my Mother ever saying whether or not she suffered any damage to her body beyond the trauma of losing the baby, which apparently was a boy.

Courtesy of wikipediaTrepanning, also known as trepanation, trephination, trephining or making a burr hole (the verb trepan derives from Old French from Medieval Latin trepanum from Greek trypanon, literally “borer, auger”) is a surgical intervention in which a hole is drilled or scraped into the human skull, exposing the dura mater, to treat health problems related to intracranial diseases or release pressured blood buildup from an injury.

And in case I haven’t whetted your appetite to find out more, or induced shudders of repulsion, here is a nice shudder inducing graphic image to get you going LOL Hopefully I was unconscious when the surgeon drilled the hole in my head!!!

painting by Hieronymus Bosch depicting trepanation (c.1488–1516). courtesy of wikipedia

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On the 12 May 2018 at approx 2.30pm, I received what can only be the best news any mother of a grown up daughter could hope for!! I was to become a Granny πŸ™‚ To say that I went ballistic would be a complete understatement…I did the whole Greek Mama shrieky thing LOL

Getting the news πŸ™‚

I was quite simply over the moon. This was not something I was expecting (sorry for the pun), and had made my peace with the idea that I may not ever have grandchildren. I guess I should have known better! The planets had aligned; my daughter was in a really good place in her life, she had met a wonderful man, they were engaged to be married, she was settled in her home, her business was doing well and life was good. The universe knew that the time was right.

becoming a granny, first time parents, first pregnancy

I’m going to be a Granny πŸ™‚

The months both dragged and flew by with visits to a clinic for an ultrasound that showed the wee bub sitting comfortably in the position he was to pretty much maintain for the full 40 weeks right up until he was born.

first baby, second trimester, ultrasound, listening to babys heartbeat, granny in waiting, first grandchild, ovia app, knitting for babies

isn’t that just extraordinary….so tiny and yet so very real

first baby, second trimester, ultrasound, listening to babys heartbeat, granny in waiting, first grandchild, ovia app, knitting for babies

Ultrasound ❀

Each week was marked with images of his progress off the ovia app,

ovia app baby progress

one the day I received the news, this is the size of the bub; a poppy seed

photographs of Mummy’s slowly expanding belly,

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Lots of clothes shopping (we ended up with wayyy too much), various excursions as nursery equipment was collated and frequent trips for treats LOL I’m surprised he doesn’t look like a treat…oh Wait!! He does!!

After a relatively problem-free pregnancy, he didn’t after all make it easy for Mama and stuck to his guns, resulting in a breech birth.

Finally the big day arrived and exactly 40 weeks to the day (according to their calculations, not the NHS’s) without any further ado, my tiny, beautiful, cute, gorgeous, exceptionally intelligent (of course), delightful little grandson arrived. Albeit very traumatic for Mummy, his birth went fairly smoothly and I had the privilege of being able to support her right through from beginning to end. We, Simon (her husband), Maisie (her Doula), myself and of course the beautiful Mama, were all in shell-shock and I’m still bemused by the fact that I actually managed to get through her labour without going to pieces.

Jamie, just 10 minutes old cuddled on Mummy’s chest, Maisie, me and Daddy

In fact she had, a few weeks before, asked me to knit her a birthing blanket. The idea was for me to knit this blanket whilst she was in labour, to focus my mind and keep me calm and occupied….it didn’t quite work out that way, and 4 months later the blanket is still under construction. Mostly because I’m forever holding the baby or taking photos of him rather than knitting….oh and working. I have 2 other cardigans 95% completed that I have never yet found the time to complete.

So Jamie, my precious little boy, here you are….just hours old

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and now you’re fast-growing, gorgeous, funny almost 4 month old with a mega-watt smile that lights up the room and my heart.

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I loved the idea of being a Granny, but I love actually being a Granny even more that I ever thought possible.

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He’s now 16 weeks old and I can hardly believe that the weeks have flown by so quickly.

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What a charming little boy he is, and we are so blessed to have him in our lives.

 

 

 

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The day before …..on the morning of the 18 January, at about 5.30am my daughter woke with severe cramping, pains that were coming fast and taking her breath away. Little did we realise that this heralded the arrival of the baby…..is our little Peanut on his way?

I popped out just before dawn to take a photo of the sunrise. It was a bit overcast, but still beautiful.

sunrise the day before

sunrise at 07:59 on the day before

According to the OVIA app Mummy had entered her 41st week on the 17th

41 weeks according to the ovia app

41 weeks according to the ovia app

and according to the NHS calculations she was meant to have had the baby on the 7th January but they, baby’s parents, knew better. I had thought he might make an appearance on the 12th, but we sailed past that date too. He knew when he would be ready and that was that. By his parents calculation he was one day shy of 40 weeks and was due on the 19th.

week 40 20190114

week 40 according to the parents to be calculations

We went about our day, Mummy had a bath and we went out for tea and then lunch and she stopped off to have her hair washed and trimmed at the salon down the road.

We started timing the cramps, at this stage still thinking it was probably a false alarm. The day continued and her husband came home, we had supper and watched tv.

Now that its just on 40 weeks we had a quick family photo-shoot. I had been pressing for this for a couple of weeks….I wanted it to be done before he arrived LOL

Mummy to be and Daddy to be bb (before baby)

Mummy to be and Daddy to be bb (before baby)

mummy to be and granny to be

Mummy to be and Granny to be the day before bb (before baby)

final photoshoot bb - before baby

Final photoshoot BB (before baby) 2019.01.18

The pains had started to escalate and become more fierce…still timing them on the app, we noticed that they would come in batches and then fade off for an hour or so. Braxton Hicks?

Anyway, we eventually went to bed, but it wasn’t long before we decided to head over to the hospital to have her checked over and clarify whether or not she was in actual labour…….

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I’m going to have to start getting up earlier in the morning if I want to catch the sunrise πŸŒ… Got to the promenade at just before 8am but the sun was already above the horizon albeit behind the clouds.

The weather is amazing once again, its so mild out. And we’re still waiting to say #Peanutisontheway❣️ πŸ‘ΆπŸ» πŸ’™ This lad is surely taking his own sweet time…. although actually it’s exactly 40 weeks tomorrow, so perhaps will arrive he is ready and not when the NHS say he should arrive.

I went to see the film ‘Wildlife’ last night. Its an incredibly weird film and the jury is out on whether or not I actually enjoyed it… I didn’t. πŸ€”πŸ™„

It was such a mild evening I decided to take a short walk along the beach… What a blessing to live so near to the sea.

I could hear the crashing of the waves behind the harbour wall so walked over to see what I could ‘sea’… Which wasn’t much, but I could hear it and that sound is like music to my ears.

Afterwards my daughter (the very pregnant soon to be Mummy), her hubby and I took a slow midnight stroll along the promenade in the hope it might encourage baby to start his journey…

The evening air, albeit only 2 degrees out, was perfectly still with a 3/4 moon and a canopy of ✨ crispy clear and really mild.

This morning, although I was tempted to stay in bed, I made the effort to get out to capture the sunrise. I really want to be sure to have a photo for Peanut’s book…on the day that he is born. I hope that’s soon πŸ˜€πŸ‘ΆπŸ»πŸ’™β£οΈ

Meanwhile I’ve started reading Simon Reeve’s book Step by Step. He’s my favourite travel presenter and I’ve watched all his travel documentaries which are a real eye-opener. By page 33 I’ve concluded he was a naughty little shit πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚Β whichΒ explains the ever present twinkle in his eye and the quirky smile.Β  I also discovered quite weirdly that his Dad’s name was Alan which is my middle name. His Mum’s name is Cindy πŸ€”πŸ€” and his brothers’s name is James (my grandson’s name). Totally weird.

Meanwhile I shall get back to the book I’m compiling for said grandson and hold thumbs that soon I can say with absolute certainty that Peanut is on the way πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ‘ΆπŸ»πŸ’™β£οΈ

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Looking gorgeous and very pregnant my gorgeous daughter looks like a a tousled wood-nymph. And here we are, still waiting with bated breath for Peanut to arrive. Although the caption reads 41 weeks, that is by the NHS calculations which reluctantly they’ve agreed are probably incorrect as they measured baby later than usual. So, instead we’re going on insider knowledge, in which case baby is not due till the 19th.

Atm Mummy is still not 100% well with a horrible cough and extremely painful ribs from the coughing. So lots of Olbas baths and rest with lots of yummy food are on the menu and hopefully she’ll be well and baby will be here soon.

We had a very traumatic and bloody useless visit with one of (the MANY) consultants at the hospital on Tuesday. It was a completely unnecessary appointment anyway and the person we were meant to see wasn’t available…the ONLY registrar who actually made any sense and who actually LISTENED to my daughter and her questions, wishes and fears, was not available for an appointment she suggested and set up. We were really disappointed that she wasn’t available. Oh well.

As for the rest, their determination to deliver this baby by caesarean section is astounding and frankly subtly bullying. They are very pushy and use statistics and trauma descriptions to push the mothers into having an induction if baby is cephalic or caesarean if breech. We all left the appointment feeling traumatised by that man’s attitude and frankly I was ready to end the ‘consultation’ after 10 minutes of listening to him. My daughter said afterwards that she wished I had because the meeting left her sobbing with grief afterwards, and she should be happy and excited at this time and not upset to the point of grief.

I have great respect for the NHS and I’m sure the consultants are very medically experienced, but 90% of the time their ‘bedside’ manner is completely shit. The many midwives, with only 1 exception, have been superb. So luckily, before we left the hospital after the evening’s appointment with the caesarean team my daughter managed to secure a meeting with the Head midwife and after a very long discussion we now have an agreement that my daughter CAN have a water birth, can deliver naturally albeit in the labour ward and not the MLU and her birthing will be led by the midwives. NO consultants or registrars will be admitted. The only change to that will be if its absolutely medically necessary.

Sadly the whole birthing experience has become very medicalised and is seldom viewed as a ‘natural’ process, but rather as a medical process. In the last few decades women have been subtly moved from birthing at home to being admitted to hospital as a patient. Yes, of course there are instances where its necessary, but not in every case. I remember in the 80’s there was a a term coined for this… ‘golf babies’ The gynaecologists or consultants etc would book mothers in for elective caesareans so as to be able to go on their golfing holidays. Its shocking.

I realise that money is an issue and that the training of nurses changed in 2001 and that the NHS is horribly understaffed and they need mothers to rather be in the hospital than home, but in that case they have to make it a pleasant if not wonderful experience. The MLU unit is amazing with massive rooms, big birthing pools, a state of the art bed, soft lighting, place to hook up music….and on the night we had our tour, the labour ward was packed and the MLU unit had one room out of 6 being used. The rooms in the labour ward bar one are bloody horrible and look like they should be in a lock up facility for offenders rather than a place where mothers are expected to birth their babies.

Meanwhile, the room my daughter would like to birth in is Room 8. So atm we are focussing on the Number 8 and willing the Universe to ensure it’s free on ‘the day’ πŸ™‚

having a baby, positive birthing movement

trusting in the Universe

My daughter has been reading the Positive Birthing book which is a relatively new movement geared towards bringing mothers back into the equation as humans rather than statistics. To helping them realise they have options and can say no. Encouraging the to take back control and do what is best for them and not to suit the doctors schedules. To encourage them to decide what kind of birth they want and using hypno birthing to relieve pain and be present at the same time. In other words to have a POSITIVE experience for the mother and their partner rather than focussing on ensuring the doctors have a good day. Which is pretty much what the consultant told us on Tuesday….”I like to go home and tell my wife I had an uneventful day”.

I won’t go into this too much here, but if you’re interested https://thepositivebirthcompany.co.uk/

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