Monday, 20 January 2020

Our Breastfeeding Journey

A post many of you have been waiting for and one I have been very excited to write. I am now 7 months into exclusively breastfeeding and LOVING it (although it has come with its challenges of course). 
So, with my silver boobs badge on and new knowledge/experience of breastfeeding I hope to help other Mamas hoping to breastfeed. 

My thoughts on breast vs bottle...

Reece bottle feeding Ella-Grace

So, I guess we should start with the age old- somewhat controversial- debate. Firstly, I think there should be no 'VS', this is not a fight, we are all mothers trying to do the best for their baby and everyone's circumstances are different so no matter your opinion you should always support your fellow Mother. 
I have experienced both bottle feeding and breastfeeding and so I do believe I had a holistic view. 
Me breastfeeding Sunday
My opinion, and speaking truthfully is that breast milk is of course better. It is the healthiest option, the milk is made for your baby and speaking from an environmentalist stand point it is far more environmentally friendly than formula. There is no competition for the amazing antibodies in breast milk along with so many benefits for mother and baby. BUT this does not mean that bottle feeding is bad NOT AT ALL! There are women who physically cannot breastfeed or their circumstances mean they are unable to. Some women find it overwhelming, painful, mentally draining or simply do not want to. It is a Mothers choice and that should not be judged. Breastfeeding may be natural but that certainly does not mean it is easy and although I definitely think breastfeeding should be encouraged and more information should be readily available to pregnant women and new mothers I also support bottle feeding as in many situations it can save the lives of many babies and the mental health of a Mother. It is a choice only the Mother can make and she should be supported whatever she chooses. 
I would like to say also that many women mix feed or exclusively pump breast milk, which again should be supported. 

My past breastfeeding experience...

Breastfeeding Ella-Grace

My past breastfeeding experience was not positive and really I breastfed Ella-Grace for such a short amount of time I don't even know if I would call it an experience. I have spoken about it before on my blog but I will recap for anyone who does not know. 
From 2 days old Ella-Grace was mixed fed (formula and breast-milk). Before having Ella-Grace I was determined to breastfeed but once she was here despite latching perfectly, misinformation and lack of knowledge were my down fall. Cluster-feeding almost immediately I thought I did not have enough milk (so so wrong) and through my hysteric crying the nurse told me that 'all babies get a cup feed of formula in the first few days' (again wrong but I think she was just trying to help) so that is what we did. On the way home from the hospital convinced I had to mix feed and that I did not have enough breast milk I got my parents to pick up some formula for her. From then on she was mixed fed (having breast milk all day and one bottle at night) I was keen to take her off the formula and just have breastmilk but then Ella-Grace started being very sick when she fed and losing weight. I quickly realised that this was because of the dairy in my diet and that it did not agree with her. We managed to switch to a prescribed dairy free formula that she managed to keep down easily and although I tried to keep up the breastfeeding now no longer having dairy in my diet, that was not enough as the dairy can stay in your breast milk for up to 6 weeks. She would projectile vomit my breast milk but keep down her prescribed formula so to avoid her losing more and more weight we switched. From 8 weeks old Ella-Grace was bottle fed. I feel guilt about this now and wished I could have breastfed her for longer. 

My breastfeeding aims...

Pregnant again and now thinking about how I want to feed my second child. Breastfeeding was what I wanted, as the healthiest option and a healing experience as the first time round it did not go to plan. I wanted the breastfeeding experience I never got with Ella-Grace especially as I knew this would be my last chance as we did not want anymore than two children. I was determined to exclusively breastfeed this time and so I informed myself and set goals. First I wanted to get past 8 weeks (once I had completed that I would be further than I ever got with Ella-Grace), then 3 months, 6 months and finally a year. 1 year was the goal any after that is a huge bonus! Goals were set and now to see if I could meet those goals we just had to wait for our little baby to make her appearance. 

Ready, steady, breastfeed...

She is here!!! Latched on instantly! I was euphoric! A good latch (I had learned through my research on breastfeeding) was key to a good breastfeeding journey and Sunday went from womb to latched on so fast. Step one complete! Things got complicated at this point as I had to go to surgery but after a discussion with the midwives and doctors they were happy for me to take her with me to continue bonding and breastfeeding. This was key to getting us off to a good start to our breastfeeding journey so I fought for it. She was latched onto me the whole time in surgery (an insight into the future right there haha). 

The early days...

Now in recovery it was time to really focus on breastfeeding (I just wanted to clarify here that there was a lot going on with mine and Sunday's complications, recovery etc but for the sake of this post I am just focusing on what happened with breastfeeding). 
Hindsight is a wonderful thing especially when it is accompanied with increased knowledge. This was now my second time attempting to start exclusively breastfeeding and my attitude second time round was so different (even if I was still full of emotion and sleep deprived). First time round I was not informed and I think naively expected breastfeeding to just work out, I mean its the most natural thing right? I quickly learnt that natural did not necessarily mean easy. My lack of knowledge and the misinformation I had received made for a bad start first time round. 
Second time round however I was much more informed and much more confident. I did track how often Sunday fed, how many dirty nappies she was having etc (they give you a little feeding diary in the hospital) but really I just trusted my body and whenever Sunday wanted to nurse, I nursed her. That was my mindset from the get go. Sunday was born on Friday afternoon and clusterfed pretty much straight away, by Saturday evening my colostrum had turned to full milk (everyone's body is different so do not stress if this did not or does not happen for you, the early days babies need very very little).   

Going well...

The first few weeks of Sunday's life were stressful to say the least. In and out of hospital, I was sick and also suffering very mentally, Sunday had an infection, a lot was happening. Breastfeeding however was still going strong and I really think this is what got us both through the tough recovery. Breastfeeding obviously is amazing for both mother and baby's health but also for bonding. My mind was all over the place and so I felt guilty that I was not just enjoying my new baby and being in the new born bubble but thanks to breastfeeding the bond was strong and the smooth start to the journey was a light in a dark situation. 

Slowly we were recovering and breastfeeding continued to go well. I did experience a clogged duct and some nipple pain in the beginning which is not nice but we got past it. The early days/weeks while your body and your baby adjust to breastfeeding can be the most difficult but it certainly does get easier. 

Pumping and expressing...

Quite early on I started to pump/express breast milk. I was not planning on leaving Sunday any time soon I just knew I wanted a stash of breast milk in case I ever did need to leave her and also to give Reece a chance to feed her (which was great if I was in the bath and she needed fed- Reece could grab the bottle of breast milk and feed her). 
As time went on I pumped less (I just don't have the time) and now I just do it if I know I am going to be away from her which is very rare. I also thought pumping would help me keep my supply up but it is not a necessary thing to do for your supply as your baby is the one who will regulate that. 

Reduced milk supply scare...

When Sunday was around 4 months old I got a really bad tummy bug. Thanks to the amazing antibodies in breastmilk, Sunday did not get sick. I however was very sick and could not even keep water down- I noticed by supply slightly decrease and that was so stressful. Luckily I did have some stored breastmilk at this point so Reece managed to give her one bottle of pumped breastmilk but mainly I had her on me as that is the only way to keep your supply up- feed, feed, feed! Once I was better and eating and drinking again my supply went back up. 

Back on track...

Now back on track with my supply back to normal, breastfeeding was once again going well. Around when Sunday was 4 months old I felt my supply had regulated. I was no longer scared I didn't have 'enough milk' nor feeling painfully engorged if Sunday slept for a long time. It has seemed my body now knew how much milk I needed to produce for baby Sunday. Since then there is not much to tell, breastfeeding has become second nature. Some days Sunday is on me non stop and I can have times where I feel overly touched-just being honest- but I know it won't last forever, I will be so sad when she stops breastfeeding and for every 1 time I feel like its too much I love it 1000 times more. I love breastfeeding my baby Sunday, 7 months exclusively breastfeeding now and no stopping in sight. 

My worries and how I dealt with them...

Although I had done a lot of research and listened to other peoples positive experiences with breastfeeding before Sunday was born, I still had my worries. 

1. Is Sunday getting enough milk? 

I think most if not all Mothers have this worry when they start to breastfeed. I think it is because with bottle feeding you can literally see how much they are getting. I felt like this was a constant worry but what always made me feel better was asking myself these questions.. Is she very unsettled? No. Is she getting wet and dirty nappies? Yes. This on top of reminding myself to trust my body and trust my baby, this worry was soon gone. 

2. Leaving her and how it would affect my milk supply

I was petrified of leaving Sunday because I thought that leaving her too soon even just for a few hours would greatly affect milk supply and we would end up formula feeding which is not what I wanted. I planned to not leave her at all until she was at least 6 months old but around when she was 3 months old my sister was turning 30. I had helped plan a night out for her and wasn't going to go but after reassurance from my health visitor I pumped a good amount of breast milk and was went for about 4 hours. It was in the evening and Sunday had been sleeping for about 7 hours straight at this point. Not having a feed for those 7 hours meaning 4 hours away during a time where she would not usually have a feed was fine. Of course breastfeeding is on demand so I left milk for her in a bottle (she had, had a few bottles of breastmilk before just to see if she would take one) and off I went. I had a great time even though I was worried a lot but she slept the whole time. I have now been away from her a hand full of times now and everything has been fine with supply, latch etc. Now that does not mean it would be like that for everyone, this is just my experience. Also keeping in mind the max time I have been away from her is 4 hours and in that time she has either been sleeping, I feed her before I leave and when I get back or if she has a feed while I am out I will make sure to pump when I get home. Leaving a breastfed baby over night, for days or long periods of time I do not have experience in. But a for leaving Sunday for a couple hours I am no longer worried about that. 

(Update on this- Sunday has refused to take a bottle the past two times I have left her- one time was for 2 hours and the other was for 4 hours- she is now eating food so she had food while I was gone and weirdly she was happy to drink my breast milk out of a sippy cup. So yeah as you can see you just have to adapt with your baby. No one experience is the same.) 

3. Clogged milk duct 

I was so scared of getting a clogged milk duct or even worse having mastitis (an infection you can get from a clogged milk duct). Around 2 or 3 months into breastfeeding Sunday I woke up with a very sore right breast. It felt like someone had punched me in the chest and I had a really bad bruise. It looked very red and sore. I phoned my health visitor and she told me to keep feeding Sunday on that side and to massage the area that is sore and that would hopefully fix it. It worked!! I also put a heat pack on it to take away some of the pain while it was sore. That has happened again recently (Sunday is now 7 months old) and I did the same thing and it fixed it again. If you are worried however do not hesitate going to the doctor for advice, I am not medically trained so please speak to a professional. 

Advice for others...

1. Trust your body 

This was the biggest change from the first time I tried breastfeeding to the second and also this was what helped me the most. Trusting my body. First time round I did not believe in my body at all and was convinced I had to teach my body how to breastfeed basically and I had no confidence in myself. This time round determined to breastfeed for at least 12 months I told myself to trust my body and that it knows what to do. Yes I had worries but when it came down to it as long as I was trusting by body I knew that everything would be okay. This meant when baby wanted fed, feed her, the more feeding the more milk supply was built, this was the simple truth and what I kept in mind. This trusting my body also went hand in hand with my next your baby. 

2. Trust your baby

Women have been breastfeeding since time began; it is the most natural thing in the world. This is why the most important thing when going into breastfeeding is to, like I said, trust your body but also trust your baby. Before the internet, formula etc all there was, was Mum and baby. A baby would be born and without any knowledge Mothers would latch their baby onto their chest and that was that, the trust for baby and body was a necessity. Now although the internet is an amazing invention and like I said, formula has it's place for those who struggle to or do not want to breastfeed, it has also made us doubt ourselves. Many women thinking their body doesn't know how to breastfeed, won't make 'enough milk', their baby won't latch and more before they have even had their baby in their arms; there is no confidence. I cannot stress enough that once that baby is put on your chest and latches on, that is what you need to focus on. Just the two of you. Of course ask for help if you need it and do not stress if baby does not latch instantly but just remember at the end of the day all that is really needed for breastfeeding to work out is to trust the process, trust what as women our bodies are naturally inclined to do and trust that your baby knows this too. Mum and baby, live in that bubble. This helped me so much!!

3. Be informed

Going along with the trusting your body and your baby is this, being informed. This is where the internet can come in handy. When I was pregnant with my first I did no research into breastfeeding and naively believed that because it is natural that it is easy which was so wrong. For some women it may come easy but for other it may be difficult and need to be worked on. Even if it does come easy however being informed about breastfeeding is still a must as there is so much misinformation that can throw you off track or make you worried about breastfeeding when there is no need to be. First time round I listened to a lot of misinformation which really did not get me off to a great start. So read into breastfeeding, follow some breastfeeding mamas on social media, attend a breastfeeding group, talk to a lactation consultant. Please be informed and DO NOT listen to anyone that is telling you that you "won't be able to breastfeed" or any silly myths a long those lines. For example when I was breastfeeding Ella-Grace at 2 days old I was concerned her cluster-feeding was a sign of her not getting enough milk from me and someone very wrongly told me I "had to give her formula because I had no milk", I naively listened but this was of course not true and if I had done my research or spoke to experienced breastfeeding Mothers I would have known that cluster-feeding is NORMAL, babies need only the colostrum in the first few days that you DO have and that it can take days at least for full breast milk to come through. More knowledgeable and informed second time round I was so much more confident and sure of myself and my body. I will leave some links below that I felt helped me prepare for breastfeeding. 

[Helpful breastfeeding links: Breastfeeding NHS
NCT Early Days Breastfeeding ]

4. Keep a log

In the hospital likely you will be given a book in which you can log how often baby feeds and how many wet and dirty nappies baby has. This really helped settle any nerves I had. Seeing this information written down made me feel a lot better, I would not stress about how she was doing because I had logged her progress and did not have to try and keep all the information stored in my sleep deprived head. I could relax which again does help with breastfeeding. If anyone is willing to help you whether that be family member or friend, get them to log it for you. It is not for everyone and I did only keep up with it for about a week or two but it really does give you that extra boost in the beginning to see it down on paper especially if you are a control freak like me. 

5. Ask for help (from the right people) 

Lastly, armed with all of the above if you still have worries please do ask for help- from the right people. By the right people I mean please consult a medical professional (doctor, midwife, lactation consultant) or if you do feel more comfortable with a friend make sure it is someone who knows about breastfeeding and supports that breastfeeding is what you want. Because hearing "you have done 3 weeks of breastfeeding that's good enough you can feel good about formula feeding now" from an in experienced or unsupportive person is not the advice you want if you want to continue breastfeeding. Of course if you did choose to change to formula feeding that is your choice but there is nothing worse than wanting to be supported in your decision and although most people will mean well hearing "just switch to formula" is not advice. Get the right advice from the right people, you and your baby deserve to be supported. 

Proud of myself...

Nearing the end of this post now I would like to say how proud I am of my baby girl, Sunday. She had a bit of a rough start in the world but she is a trouper and a big reason why breastfeeding has gone well is basically because she has latched on and never let go since haha she has taught me how to breastfeed in a way. It is team work however and with that I am so so so proud of myself. I was determined to breastfeed this time round and here I am almost 8 months of exclusively breastfeeding beautiful baby Sunday girl. I believed in myself, my baby and I was informed. I ignored negative comments and unhelpful advice. I embraced the breastfeeding mama I was meant to be and although not always easy is has been one of the best experiences of my life, long may it continue. 12 month breastfeeding goal here I come!!!

Thanks for reading...

And that's it... my breastfeeding blog post is finally complete. I hope it was worth the wait and the read for all you wonderful people. I am so happy to have my experience written out for you all. Please remember I am not a medical professional so any problems or queries please consult qualified people. Again all of this was my own experience and I support all my fellow Mothers (and fathers) in their parenting/feeding experience. The world is a much happier place when we all support each other, no good comes from judgement. 
Please remember to follow me on all my social media to see more of my daily life as a vegan, home ed, Mum of two girls. Drop me a message I love to speak to all my readers!

Lastly, to all my fellow Mamas who want to breastfeed or are just starting out YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!!!! 

Instagram- @laurajanelifex

Stay Happy Everyone :) <3

Thursday, 7 November 2019

World Vegan Month: I went vegan because...

Happy World Vegan Month...

A blog post not about Motherhood? Yes I do occasionally write those haha and this one is something I am very passionate about. I have been vegan now for almost 3 years and those who read my blog/follow me on social media will know I am also raising my girls vegan (with the full support of my husband/their dad who is also trying to make the transition). With this in mind as World Vegan Day (1st November) and World Vegan Month (November) rolled around I really wanted to celebrate it on my blog a long with some fellow vegans. I have wrote a very long winded blog post on Veganism before with tips on going vegan, reasons for being vegan and busting myths attached to being vegan, I did not want this to be a repeat of that (I will link that post at the end). I more wanted this post to be plain and simple; why do we do what we do? Why are so many people choosing to live plant-based and raise their children plant-based? Why go vegan? Well get ready because myself and some other remarkable vegans are going to tell you why we made the BEST decision of a lifetime. 

I went vegan because... 

I guess I should start with myself. I went vegan because I learnt the reality of consuming animal products. In all honesty it started with meat giving me severe morning sickness so that was gone, it then went onto finding out my daughter was allergic to dairy (now with the information I know I would say it's just because that cow milk is NOT for humans but I am getting off track). Then from this I delve into the world of veganism, gained more knowledge and soon eggs were gone, honey was gone etc Anything and everything that could cause harm to animals, gone! I fell into Veganism and it was the best decision I ever made for both myself and my two daughters who I am also raising vegan. It has done wonders for my health and I have two very healthy little girls; I know it is doing good for the animals and is 100% the best way to look after our planet and battle climate change. Started off as just a lifestyle change for minor reasons and now I am a vegan activist for the animals, for the planet and for my health (and the health of my daughters of course). 

Lisa (aka The Viet Vegan), 29, Canada 

"I was initially vegetarian to help with my eczema, but I went vegan because I learned that unlike what we were told in school, cows don't need to be milked, they produce milk like any other mammal: when they are pregnant. Their babies can't drink the milk when humans drink it, so their babies become the veal industry, and the cows endure a lot of trauma from repeating that process over and over. After learning that and the impact of animal agriculture on the planet, I transitioned over a year and discovered that eating vegan can be easier than you think and is a great way to live in line with your values".

Claudia, 22, Lincoln England

"I went vegan because I failed miserably at sober October. I wanted to attempt dry January and whilst researching things to stop consuming for a whole month I saw an advert for 'Veganuary'. I thought that this was more realistic for me since I was a student in my second year of uni where the drinking culture was rife. I completed 'Veganuary' and realised how easy it was! So I stuck at it and now two and a half years later I haven’t stopped. Began as a challenge and stayed for the animals, environment and health".
Tyler, 24, Aberdeenshire
"Why I went vegan: I have always been very health conscious since joining the Army so I’ve always been interested in eating a healthy diet and putting the best foods into my body, the more research I did the more I was seeing the health benefits of eating a varied plant based diet and the more I was seeing the serious health risks of eating animals and their byproducts. I watched documentaries such as What The Health and that was it I committed to going fully vegan. So the first reason I went vegan was for my health but then I learned the horrors of the meat and dairy industry and how unnecessary it is for these animals to suffer for my taste pleasure".

Joel, 25, Aberdeen

"I went vegan because I realised my reasons to eat animals were non consistent. After we got our first cat I began to question how I could love one animal and accept that she feels pain and could suffer but ignore the fact that billions of animals were killed for me to eat food. It was all very sudden and I went vegetarian for a few months with aim to go vegan. I had always known that bad things went on in animal agriculture but, like a lot of people, I told myself that my meat came from some suffering free fantasy land. I quickly realised that there is  no good reason for an animal to die for me to continue living. I phased out all animal products and then changed cleaning products/household products I use and then toiletries. This was all over a few months".

Shania, 19, Aberdeenshire
"I went vegan for many reasons. I am an animal rights supporter, killing animals or hurting them in any form is wrong and killing cannot be humane. Climate change is the biggest reason as it is the biggest issue of our generation ad will be for generations to come, this is mostly down to the meat and dairy industry. I do not want to be part of this, I want to be part of giving younger generations the opportunities and experiences we have- instead of facing the consequences of our actions through climate change. Lastly, veganism solves all my skin problems (when I eat healthy) and vegan food in Glasgow is ace, more choice and easier". 

Keely, 24, Edinburgh.
"I went vegan for many reasons, it started to do with my health, I wanted to feel better on the inside and do my body some good. I then watched a vegan documentary and that’s when being vegan became less about myself and more about animal welfare and the environment. In short I cannot justify eating a dead animal or torturing an animal for what it can give me (eggs, milk etc) I see them as living things and cannot believe I ever felt any different before! last but not least, the meat and dairy industry is destroying the environment we live in and how can I add to that destruction? I won’t!"

Laura, 35, Kintore Aberdeenshire

"I am vegan because I cannot bear the thought of any animal suffering in any way so that I can enjoy a few minutes of a meal. In this modern world that we live in, it is absolutely not necessary to eat/use/wear animals when there are vegan options available. Animals are here with us, not for us. Taking their milk, eggs and bodies for our own use is not only unethical but it is unnatural. Our vegan life extends well beyond diet, it encompasses all areas of our life and I sleep better at night knowing that each day, I've done as little harm as possible to the sentient beings we share our planet with". 

Charlotte, 27, Aberdeen

"I am vegan because, simply, it is right. Logically, environmentally, ethically and morally; there is no sound argument that can defend a non-vegan lifestyle. My world view is summed up by Dr Paul Farmer's quote "The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world". The life of an animal is just that: a life. Animals are not a commodity and humans have no right to treat them as such. Ask yourselves, if animals could talk- would you eat them then? Would you skin them alive? Would you rub burning chemicals into their eyes? Would your tear their newborn babies away from them? Would your grind them up if they weren't useful to you? I don't think so- but why does the lack of speech mean a life is forfeit? Veganism is compassion and love and peace, and is the only way forward".

Zoe, 25, Cruden Bay
"I went vegan because I felt like it was a natural transition from being vegetarian. I love all animals and I had been vegetarian for a very long time before going vegan. I always felt like a hypocrite just being vegetarian as I know the egg and dairy industry is heartbreaking. With some help from my wonderful vegan friend I did 'Veganuary' this year and I have never looked back since! I know now that I am vegan, I'm doing everything I possibly can to save the animals and to save our planet".

(I do not own this image)
Vicki, 28, Ellon Aberdeenshire 

"I am vegan because I believe speciesism is wrong. We do not have the right to dictate what is done to another earthling purely based on their species. Animals have a right to be here. In fact, they have MORE of a right to be here. It is the natural world. It's time we started living with animals and not using them for our benefit".

Short and sweet...

Like I said I wanted this to be a short post with some insight from fellow vegans, so I will finish off here. 
To anyone reading this who is not vegan, I challenge you to consider the reasons you have read, really do your research and just try to make a small change towards a vegan lifestyle. I swear you will not regret it and it is in the best interest of yourself, the planet and the animals. 
If you are vegan and reading this then why not join in? Comment below your "I went vegan because..." I would love to read it.
Thank you to everyone who took part in this blog post, I really appreciate the participation. Also thank you to everyone for reading. Don't forget to share and follow me on my social media (Instagram- @laurajanelifex , Facebook- LauraJaneLife). 

Happy World Vegan Month! 

[For more vegan content read my previous blog post- Lets Talk About Veganism

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

10 Names I Love But Wont Be Using

Finally I get to write this post...

I cannot count how many baby name videos I have watched over the years (and still watch to be honest all though I am 99.9% sure I am finished having babies). I just love names whether it be a pet name, a baby name or.. I don't know.. a name for your car maybe? I just love names. I also think that my taste in names is quite unique (some may say too unique haha) but there are also some more common, classic names that I love meaning something for everyone. With all this in mind I thought it would be a great idea to make a baby name blog post for my lovely readers- not to mention the fact I have been so excited to jump on the 'baby names I love but won't be using' band wagon. So, lets get right into it. Happy Reading!

My daughters names and why we picked them...

Ella-Grace (2 years old) and Sunday (4 months old) 

Ella-Grace Angela

Before going into the names I love but won't be using I thought I would talk about the names I love and have used; the names I chose for my beautiful daughters. Starting off of course with our first born, Ella-Grace. 
When I was 17 weeks pregnant with Ella-Grace, Reece and I got a gender scan leading to us finding out we were having a baby girl. Although I feel you can name a child any name no matter what sex they are, we personally have certain names in mind for a 'girl' or for a 'boy' and so when we found out we were having a baby girl picking a name became so real. We spoke about a few names (including Khaleesi- we were big GOT fans at the time) and we settled on Ella-Grace probably about half way through my pregnancy so we knew her name well in advance and so did our family and friends. I adored the name Grace FOREVER, it has always been my favourite name for a little girl and I always saw myself one day having a daughter called Grace but Reece didn't like it when I first suggested it, I was gutted. Now with Grace off the table we were going through other names and the few we really liked were Elsa, Ellie or Ella (Riley was also a contender for a while but that soon went). Elsa (according to Reece) would remind to many people of Elsa from Disney's Frozen so that was gone. Now between Ellie or Ella. I liked both but because one of my best friend's is called Ellie I was leaning more towards Ella; Reece on the other hand liked Ellie. To decide we thought it would be nice to have a double barrelled name for our daughter as of course my name (LauraJane) is double barrelled so we just thought that was a sweet idea. Ellie-Rose or Ella-Rose? No. Ellie-May or Ella-May? Definitely no. We went on like this until I thought I would give Grace one last try. Reece surprisingly loved it and we decided Ella-Grace sounded best. As for her middle name 'Angela' that is my wonderful Mother's name, we were always close but since becoming pregnant she had become my best friend and so I really wanted her represented in my daughters name and so before she was even out of my womb her name was Ella-Grace Angela. 
We have never regretted her name, it suits her and we love it still. My personal taste in names is usually a bit more out there but with the two names being together I think it is unique. This being one of the reasons I do not like when people call her 'Ella' as her name is 'Ella-Grace' but now she is nearing 3 years old there is rarely anyone in our family and friends group that would say Ella, it's just not her name. She is our amazing Ella-Grace. No nickname ever stuck as her full name is just so beautiful. 

Fun Fact: The live-action Beauty and the Beast film was released on Ella-Grace's due date and during my c-section as they were taking her out, Ariana Grande and John Legend's version of 'Tale as old as time' was playing on the radio and so for a split second I considered changing Ella-Grace's name to Belle but I am glad I didn't. 

Sunday Eva Ray

Now for our newest (and most likely last) addition to our family; our little Sunday girl. 
Sunday has been in the world now for 4 months and how we chose her name was drastically different to how we chose Ella-Grace's. For one we decided this time around to keep the sex of the baby a surprise and so had to think of both boy and girl names (although, again, I am of the opinion any name can be for anyone). We also seemed to be pickier on names this time maybe because we were pretty confident this baby would be our last and when you already have a child the next name you pick has to 'fit' with the first child's name- although whatever you pick will fit because they will be your kids names haha but that is just how I found myself thinking. I also did want to keep our names secret this time round so it was a surprise to everyone when baby was born. Very different to the first time round. 
So the entire pregnancy Reece and I went back and fourth on our 'top' names. The closer it got to my due date the more names that went off the list. Reece never really found a name he loved and for me I just could not commit to any boy names. When it came to girl's names there were two I loved however Reece hated both. One of those names was the name Sunday and I just could not get that name out of my head I just loved it. It was unique, beautiful and I felt went so well with Ella-Grace. Eventually Reece came round on the name on the condition 'if the baby is a girl and is born on a Sunday' (fyi Sunday was born on a Friday hahaha). 
So the day arrived where our little surprise was born, we didn't love any boys names and although there was many girls names I adored only one stuck (Sunday) that Reece was still slightly unsure of. A quick birth and there SHE was. The midwife asked if our baby girl had a name and I looked over and Reece and said 'can we use the name I like' to which he responded 'of course!' and so we had ourselves a little Sunday. I think after seeing me push her out he thought I deserved to pick the name haha. 
Sunday's middle names 'Eva' and 'Ray' are, like Ella-Grace's, two very special family names. Eva was the name of Reece's late Grandma who he was close with as a child (she passed away when Reece was quite young, I unfortunately never met her and it was important to Reece to have her represented if we were to have another girl) and Ray is my Dad's name (I love my Dad so much and especially as I took Reece's last name when we got married I wanted to keep part of my Dad's name somewhere). We knew from the start that we wanted those names as the middle names. 

Fun Fact: Ray was on our name list as a first name if Sunday had been a boy. 

Names I love but wont be using...

I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS! I adore all these names and hope you find one or multiple that you like too. 

Girls names

I could fill so many lists with girls names it was so hard to whittle it down to just 10 names but these were the ones that came to mind first when writing this post. A good mixture of unique and classic I think. So many gorgeous names for a baby girl. 


My favourite girls name (apart from the one's I chose for my daughters of course). When I said earlier I had two names I loved for Sunday, this was the second name but Reece did not like it at all (he said that if we used Lavender people would call her 'Lavvy' *). I on the other hand think it is a beautiful name and first heard it in one of my favourite childhood novels, Matilda. Lavender was Matilda's best friend. The little girl who plays Lavender in the film adaption is also so cute so that made me love it even more. So unique, so beautiful! 


Matilda. Can you tell how much I love the film/book? Aside from the obvious reasons of loving the character I just love the name Matilda. It's not that common and because I have a love of books I loved the thought of naming my daughter after a character/book. Again, Reece did not like it. 


A name I have loved since I was younger along side Grace was, Melody. If any of you reading this are hardcore Disney fans you may recognise this name from Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea. Melody is the name of Prince Eric and Ariel's daughter. Ever since I heard Ariel sing "You are the song I'm singing, You're my beautiful Melody" I was sold on that name. Like many of the names on this list though Reece was did not like it and so it was unfortunately vetoed. I still think it is a beautiful and unique name,


I think this one I may have used for a boy also but I first thought of it as a potential name for our daughter. Winter again I think is such a unique and beautiful name (I will probably say that a lot), there is something about names of seasons, weather, animals and (clearly) days of the week that I just love! These are the names that people often think are too out there but that is exactly what I love about them. Come on, little baby Winter! That is just adorable but also a name I could really see someone growing into- not to mention the cute nickname of Winnie- I just love it. Reece... not so much and so here it is on this list. 


A name I first heard on the programme Pretty Little Liars and at the time it was quite unique was Aria. For a while this was my favourite TV show and I adored Aria's character. It was the first time I had ever heard this name and from then loved it and vowed one day I would have a daughter with this name. As time went on though the name grew more popular and by the time I was pregnant with Ella-Grace I knew many Aria's, including Reece's cousin's daughter, and so felt we couldn't use the name. I still do think it is a gorgeous name though. 


Reese Witherspoon anyone? I personally am a big fan of her and have always thought she had a great name. But Reece.. Reese... I think you can see why Reece was not keen on using this name for our daughter but I still think it is a lovely name and slightly less 'girly' you could say. Again unique. 


Similar to Ella, Elle was another name I suggested. Legally Blonde being one of my favourite films and Elle Woods being a role model to young girls everywhere why would I not want to use this name. Slightly more unique than Ella but with the same classic beauty. Not too out there so I thought I would be able to get Reece on board but he didn't like it when I was pregnant with Ella-Grace and then when I was pregnant again I knew we couldn't have an Elle and an Ella so didn't even mention the name. I love it though. 


Another more 'out there' name that I adore is the name Arizona and for a while this was a strong contender to be Sunday's name. I mean "Hi these are my daughters Ella-Grace and Arizona" I just thought it had an amazing ring to it, even Reece was on board for a while but what can I say it just didn't feel quite right and as I said Sunday just stuck in my head so that is why we did not use that name. I first heard Arizona as a name in Greys Anatomy, character Arizona Robbins was my favourite. Obviously not for everyone but I think stands out and would be a great name for a little girl. 

True or Truly

Like it or not the Kardashians (in my opinion) have some amazing baby names, the name True being my personal favourite. I actually prefer Truly and as they are so similar I thought I would put them both here. I am a big fan of Modern Virtue Names, meaning names that you give your child based on qualities you hope they have to for example with this name 'True' you want your child to be truthful. I just think that is so sweet. Reece did not think it was so sweet however so the name was off the table. True or Truly though, I think are so cute for a baby girl. 


Back to a more classic name now with Sophie. This name I think was one I loved back in Primary School, I just thought it was really nice. I forgot about it for a while until I watched Mamma Mia and of course Amanda Seyfried's character is called Sophie, this made me fall in love with it all over again. Reece was on board with this name for a while (although he preferred Sophia) until we realised he was related to two Sophie's and it just put us off. I do think Sophie is a great name though, classic and beautiful. 

Boy names

I found boys names so much harder- good job I had two girls- and think if Sunday had been a boy it would of took us at least a week to name her we just could not agree on a name. I personally am not a fan of overly 'masculine' names and like a softer name for a boy which is a theme you will see through out this.


The first boy name I have is Chance. Everyone I spoke to about this name said it was a name for a dog not a person (which is kind of correct it is the name of a dog in the movie Homeward Bound) but I thought different. I could see us having a little Chance running around but like I said it reminded everyone, including Reece of a dog name. 


Who doesn't love the name Harry to be honest? It is very common but so classic and sweet. This may have been Sunday's name if she had been a boy. We were struggling with boys names and I remember sitting in the hospital before Sunday was born watching Harry Potter and thinking that I really like that name. I had for a while but was trying to think of something more unique. But these names are popular for a reason I guess, they are lovely names and Ella-Grace and Harry? How cute. 


Another top contender for if Sunday had been a boy was the name Jonas. I don't know how we came across this name but both Reece and I loved it. Paired with my Dad's name, Jonas Ray just sounded cool. Sitting in the labor room we were really warming up to this name. 


I really tried to get Reece to come around on this name but he didn't like it. I really like names, especially boys names, that end in 'ely' and this was my favourite. It's not too masculine, its sweet and I loved the nickname 'Blake'. I loved it so much that I also suggested it for a girl but again Reece didn't like it. 


A bit more unique now is the name 'Hero'. This was locked in as Sunday's name had she had been a boy for almost my whole pregnancy with her, it was only towards the end I started to waiver from it but I still think had she of been a he we may have used it still. How cute having a little Hero in my arms, definitely one of my favourite names. We also considered it for a girl but that never stuck. 


One Reece was not a fan of but I liked was the name Cullen. It may remind some people too much of the vampire Edward Cullen from Twilight but for me I just thought it was a strong but somewhat romantic name. Unique and sweet I could picture a little boy called Cullen but also picture a man with this name, it was a name you could really grow into. 


Now for Reece's all time favourite name (other than his own haha) and that is Cody. I wasn't as in love with this name as Reece was but I did like it and seeing him love a name so much made me like it even more. A sweet name for a baby boy and not too common. This was on our list for both Ella-Grace and Sunday but obviously we never got a chance to use it.


My FAVOURITE boys name ever. 100% this would have been Ella-Grace's name if she had been a boy. I adore the actor Leonardo Dicaprio and think he is an amazing role model, as well as this I think Leonardo is just the most beautiful name for a baby boy. Reece liked the nickname Leo and so when we found out we were pregnant with Ella-Grace instantly we knew this was our boy name. With Sunday Reece had gone off the name a bit so it was no longer top of our boys name list but it is still my favourite boys name ever. Personally I would not use the nickname Leo because I think Leonardo is just too beautiful to shorten. Strong, gorgeous name for a perfect baby boy. 


While we are on the Italian name train, Eduardo was another of my favourite boy names but Reece did not like it at all. Ignoring the not so nice (only in my opinion) nicknames of Ed or Eddie, I thought the name Eduardo was again so sweet for a little boy. I thought Ella-Grace and Eduardo had a nice ring to it but like I said Reece was not a fan. 


The last name on this list and the final boys name is Fox. Like I said earlier I am a fan of animal names as baby names and I think Fox is my favourite one. I also liked Foxley and Fox for short. Reece said no straight away so it was never on our list really but I always thought a little Foxley Webster would of been so cute! Unique and adorable. 

Thanks for reading!

And that brings me to the end of this blog post. I really hope you all enjoyed it and hopefully liked some of the names. Leave a comment if you have used or would use any of these names! Also let me know if you would like me do to do a part two, I have lots more names that I would love to share. Thanks for reading and don't forget to follow my social media pages- Instagram @laurajanelifex Facebook LauraJaneLife. 

Stay Happy Everyone :) !

Friday, 11 October 2019

Mum and Baby Scary Birth Complications

Sunday's birth story continued...

So last time I posted on the blog I shared the story of Sunday's birth (my second daughter). It was a long induction process, followed by a quick labor and delivery and ending with my beautiful Sunday Eva Ray being placed on my chest. As I said at the end of my last post, the moment when Sunday was placed on my chest was magical. Not only did I experience that massive relief when the pain stops and you are at peace with your baby on your chest but I was filled with immense pride that I managed my VBAC. For my entire pregnancy I was hoping for a VBAC but deep down I thought I was going to end up with another c-section (which I have nothing against I just personally wanted to experience a vaginal birth at least once in my life) so when I actually managed to have a VBAC I was in shock and so proud. If the birth had ended here and I was then wheeled to recovery then this would of been a perfect birth for me.... unfortunately this was far from the end of the birth story and the recovery ward was not my next destination.

*Trigger warning: traumatic birth complications, tear, surgery, infection.* 

Realising the complications...

As Reece and I gushed over our baby Sunday and took photos to remember this very special moment, I was told that now the placenta had been delivered they were going to assess whether or not I needed stitches. As they rolled over a large light I was not worried as I knew there was a chance of a tear and that they would be able to numb the area and stitch me up. The area was numbed but as the midwife examined me she realised the extent of the damage and begun to be concerned of my blood loss. Disrupting the special moment a slightly worried midwife explained to me that I had lost 500ml of blood and was still bleeding, on top of this I had what they suspected to be a lower level 3rd degree tear. According to NHS, a 3rd and 4th degree tear is described as- 

"3rd degree tear – Extending downwards from the vagina through the perineum to the anal sphincter (muscle around your back passage). 4th degree tear – Extending to the anal canal (into your back passage)". 

She explained that if what they suspected was right and the bleeding did not stop that I would have to go to theatre, a doctor came in and confirmed that surgery was needed. I was heartbroken but in too much shock to cry. Clutching Sunday to my chest (at this point we had skin to skin and she had latched on so I really did not want to break this) I asked if I could bring her with me to my relief they said yes but unfortunately that meant Reece was to wait in the waiting room. As much as I desperately wanted Reece with me I wanted my baby girl with me more to continue bonding and hopefully get a head start in breastfeeding. 
I had a few more moments with Sunday and Reece, snapped a few more photos, phoned my Mum and listened to doctors explain what was about to happen. This much reminded me of my c-section as I had to sign the same forms due to once again requiring a spinal block. This is when I got a bit nervous, emotional and (dare I say it) disappointed. I had just gone through induction and birth with no pain relief, put my body through so much to get my VBAC and AVOID a c-section and I was away to surgery anyway, getting the dreaded spinal block again, being separated from my husband and unable to relax and recover as once again I was in an emergency situation. It was disappointing and did take away from that special moment a bit and you could tell that although everyone was calm in the room, the midwives were concerned and wanted me to go to surgery as quickly as possible. So I kissed Reece goodbye and we decided not to contact anyone about the baby (apart from to say a baby was born but no details such as name or sex) until I was safely out of surgery. Still bleeding I left a worried Reece once again going to theatre except this time the baby was out of my body and it was myself who was in danger. 

Scary surgery...

Now this is when everything gets quite intense and apologies in advance if I do not use the right medical terms I am not a doctor nor claim to be a medical professional this is just me talking about my experience. So lets start. 
Sunday now in a bed getting wheeled to the theatre with me (the doctor didn't feel confident moving me to theatre while I was holding her so she got moved to her bed, accompanying me into surgery). Once we were there I agreed while they prepped my I was happy for Sunday to be weighed, measured etc and then she was to be placed back onto my chest when surgery began. That was the plan. 
Starting to be prepped now, first off the anaesthesiologist needed to connect me to another IV. Trying to do this he realised my hand where I had my cannula inserted was swollen, very swollen like a balloon. I tried to grin and bear it acting like that was not sore as I did not want to get it replaced but it was too painful and so it did have to be replaced. This is when I started to cry. Not only was surgery my worst nightmare  but getting another cannula was horrific to me. I had already experienced a midwife tripping over my IV (which is why I think my hand went swollen) and now getting that removed which was already painful and getting another cannula inserted before the spinal or surgery even started just overwhelmed me. It might make no sense to others but I just felt very stressed, no husband for support and no baby to hold. Scared and alone even with the staff supporting me as best they could. 
Now replacing my cannula they put one in my opposite hand. 
Next was the spinal and although I was of course no longer having contractions I asked to have gas and air. As I said I do not do well with needles and although this was now my second spinal block in my life it was not any more pleasant and I was just as scared so yes gas and air as a distraction was much needed. In position now, breathing my gas and air in and out, I kept telling myself I would be numb soon. But unfortunately this was another procedure that did not go smoothly. Breathing in my gas and air (truthfully a lot more than I probably should have, I was desperate to distract myself from the whole situation) the anaesthesiologist struggled to administer the anesthetic/spinal block. It is a bit of a blur because, as I said, I was really trying to zone out with the gas and air at this point (Sunday in the safe hands of the midwife as for obvious reasons I could not yet hold her) but I do remember him saying I was too tense to administer it then I was too relaxed, all in all too focused on the gas and air apparently but I could not focus on anything else or I knew I would freak out I just needed this part to be done. After lots of poking and prodding, the anaesthesiologist finally managed to administer the spinal block and I found myself going numb now lying on the surgery table. Sunday was now being placed on my chest and once again she latched on. A midwife next to me to support me I could now relax right? Oh how wrong I was. THIS is one of the most traumatic things I have ever been through and still to this day the thought of it makes me on edge. 
So, I guess I should set the scene for all of you as it will be a hard situation to understand with so much going on if I do not set the scene. 
At this point I was numb (sort of- I will get to that in a minute) from the waist down, the failed cannula was still painfully in my left hand, a midwife was getting ready to pass my Sunday, another midwife was next to my head, the anaesthesiologist's were getting ready to swap shifts and the surgeons were (I am assuming) prepping me/starting to stitch me up. 
As the midwives were preparing to pass me Sunday I asked a nurse if I could have the failed cannula removed from my hand as it was painful, she said yes and took it out. She held tissue on it for a second as I was passed Sunday (she latched on perfectly again and this is pretty much how she was the entire surgery). Trying to relax but I noticed my hand was suddenly covered in blood due to the failed cannula, I mentioned it to the nurse who rushed over to stop the bleeding stating to another nurse "we need to stop this bleeding she has already lost a lot of blood"... scary moment number 1. While my hand was getting bandaged up, the surgeons positioned my legs up on stirrups and OMG.. seeing your legs move but YOU ARE NOT MOVING THEM! Unbelievably unsettling but despite the blood covered hand and traumatic numb motion of my legs I was still trying to just chat to the midwife next to me and cuddle my new baby as I knew this was crucial bonding and breastfeeding time. As much as I was enjoying having my new baby on me though something really distracted from this and that was the spinal block. As I mentioned I was "numb" and the reason I put it like that is because really I wasn't.. not properly at least. Having had a spinal block before I knew I was meant to be completely numb from the waist down or at least this was my previous experience. Ella-Grace was born by c-section and remember feeling nothing once the spinal block was administered apart from a little pressure. No pain, no tingling, nothing and I could relax with Reece and new born Ella-Grace. This time was different and despite all my best efforts to relax I could not because of this strong tingling, aching feeling up and down my legs and ESPECIALLY in my lower back. Excruciating in my lower back!! The best way I can describe it is like having a severe case of pins and needles. I was so uncomfortable and I felt like I had to sit up or move my legs and I had to do it right then! I mentioned it to the anaesthesiologist that I felt this way (slight panic in my voice) and he asked if I was feeling pain. I told him no and he seemed to be confused. I told the midwife and the nurse that I felt this way and again they looked confused. Repeatedly I was told to relax and was asked "are you feeling pain". I kept answering no and tried so hard to explain this horrible tingling feeling and the need to move but my words fell on deaf ears (I mean this in the nicest way I assume that they just did not know what to do or say to me because of course I could not move). After an hour of non-stop moaning and asking "how long left", I was told that the surgeons were 'packing me up' and the anaesthesiologist told me he administered something to help me relax for the last 10 or so minutes- clearly seeing I was distressed. I held in tears and tried to power through these last few minutes by looking at baby Sunday and talking to the midwife but the need to move and horrible pins and needles feeling did not subside.  Even worse, the surgeons realised there was a serious problem.. I was STILL bleeding. I had lost over a litre of blood at this point and so it was becoming very serious that I was still heavily bleeding. To try and stop the bleeding before it got to a VERY dangerous situation they would have to unpack me and find the source of the bleeding meaning another HOUR AND A HALF in surgery. I broke down. Being told I still could not go to recovery, I had to endure more of this out of control tingling feeling and I was bleeding more which I could tell by the seriousness of the surgeons was getting to a dangerous point, it was overwhelming. Even more so because no one understood what I meant by this tingling feeling. I still don't know what it was although friends, family, midwives and doctors have since thrown many potential causes at me. It sounds like nothing I know. You are all reading this probably thinking 'what a drama queen' but OMG until you are in the situation with this feeling and feeling so out of control, unable to move and so scared, you will never know what I went through. No length of blog post could explain how I felt but let me tell you, I still have nightmares. Because of the continuing bleeding and myself becoming more and more anxious, Sunday was passed to the midwife. Luckily it was moments after this they managed to pack me again and THANK GOODNESS I was moved onto a bed with Sunday back in my arms and being wheeled to recovery. I wish the story ended here, happily in recovery but unfortunately recovery ain't always pretty.  

Finally taken to recovery...

2 1/2- 3 hours later (a lot longer than the 1 hour I was told it would take) I was finally being wheeled into recovery where an anxious Reece was waiting for me. Oh how I wished he had been in the surgery with me, I feel like that would of made the world of difference but oh well I cannot change that now. 
Reece looked so relieved to see me and Sunday safe and sound but he could also see I was very uncomfortable. Bless him, he tried everything to make me more comfortable- even moving my legs for me as I was still numb and unable to move them myself. Unfortunately the tingling and pins and needles was still very much there and very intense. I was shattered, uncomfortable and by now the adrenaline from birth was wearing off, although besotted with our second daughter I couldn't help but feel a bit fed up after the fiasco of complications and now being told my blood loss was upwards of a litre and a half. 
A chat with Reece and the medical staff, a cup of tea and slice of toast later however feeling started to come back in my legs and I was able to move into a slightly more comfortable position-now time to phone and message family and friends. 
Communicating our joyous news with family and friends (who for the most part were very understanding of the delay in contacting them and wished me well/applauded me for everything I had been through) was so amazing, we were still in that surreal phase and I could not believe I had my second little girl in my arms. 
After some special moments just the three of us, we attempted to get some sleep. I say attempted as Reece barely slept as he was on an uncomfortable chair and Sunday was clusterfeeding so sleep was not really our friend that night but that was to be expected and I was more than happy to have Sunday in my arms, latched on my breast. Despite all the complications and surgery, breastfeeding was off to a great start and that was amazing! Locking our bond instantaneously. My little Sunday girl. 
In between breastfeeds Reece or a nurse would change Sunday for me, Reece would occasionally hold her when she was settled- giving them bonding time and myself time to try and shut my eyes- and a nurse put her first outfit on. I mentioned these things because although elated and SO proud of myself for achieving my VBAC with no pain relief, it was a bit upsetting that once again I missed out on these firsts. Changing the first nappy, putting on her first outfit etc. This of course was because of once again needing a spinal block so barely being able to move (with my first birth I had a c-section). Of course this was not at the fore front of my mind but it was something that I felt and I want to be honest about everything. 
Now early hours of the morning, two nurses came in and cleaned me up (which to some people sounds awkward but considering I had experienced this before after Ella-Grace's birth and was at this point covered in blood- even on my hand/arm because of the bust cannula, I welcomed it and felt so much better after). We then got moved from the recovery ward to another ward. 

Visitors and going home...

New ward but still early hours of the morning so the attempt to get some sleep continues.. continues to go terribly but that is to be expected of course. Sunday was cluster-feeding (which is great) and Reece tried to get comfy on yet another very uncomfortable chair. 6am finally rolled around and after some breakfast for Reece and I, feeding Sunday and getting her nappy changed/her in her first "outfit" (it was just a little baby gown, very cute). We took a picture I had been longing to take for weeks- her announcement picture. I had even ordered a little sticker that said "My Name Is..." and had a blank space to write her name. This is how the photo turned out... 

After a few snaps of our precious second daughter we decided on which photo to post and like true social media experts (just kidding we are far from it) we planned to post at the same time. You may wonder why I remember this so vividly but let me explain. It was at this moment I realised how out of it and exhausted I was. Still hooked up to drips of who knows what (I think it was fluids and maybe some pain relief) I tried to write the perfect caption to announce the birth of our second child to the world wide web but I could not do it. I remember looking over to Reece typing away and waiting for me to finish writing mine so we could post the photos and I just could not keep my eyes open and kept zoning out. I remember thinking I wasn't this tired last time? But now I obviously have wrapped my head around the whole experience I realise it was because of the blood loss. I was severely anemic at this point and although yes I was tired because I had had a baby less than 24 hours prior to this I was really struggling with severe blood loss... something that would only get more worrying as the days went on. 
The day continued and soon enough my parents had arrived with Ella-Grace to meet baby Sunday. A moment I had dreamt of for months and it was finally happening. I didn't quite imagine it with me in a wheelchair and hooked up to a drip but as everyone knows, birth almost never goes to plan and you have to take things as they come. Nevertheless I was so excited to see Ella-Grace I missed her so much!! 

Reece wheeled myself and Sunday to the family room and we awaited the arrival of my parents and Ella-Grace. I will never forget the pure joy and rush of emotion I felt when Ella-Grace walked in. We had a nice hour or so introducing Ella-Grace to her sister (she was happy to say hi to the baby but was way more interested in seeing her Mummy- we enjoyed a cuddle just the two of us), giving Ella-Grace her big sister gift and chatting to my happy parents (happy but also clearly worried for me after what I had been through). My dad snapped photos the whole time and caught this very special moment...

Advice for anyone having their second child; hold your first born and let someone else show the baby to them or have the baby in the bed beside you. I found it made Ella-Grace feel the centre of attention and after days apart gave us some nice time to cuddle. It was a good atmosphere to introduce her to her sister. Might not work for every child but for Ella-Grace it was perfect. 

Soon this visit turned to bitter-sweet however as I had to say goodbye to my parents, Ella-Grace and now Reece as he was going home with Ela-Grace;  my parents had done their fair share of babysitting and I think Ella-Grace needed her Daddy back. They accompanied me back to the ward to make sure I was settled and then they all went home. 2 years of Ella-Grace's life and I have barely left her, this was heart wrenching especially accompanied with all the post birth hormones rushing around my body and the lack of sleep. I held in the tears until they were out of sight. I wanted to be home with my little family so bad but I kept thinking "Just one more night and then I will be home" that helped me keep it together. I also started to stress that I didn't know how to look after a new born anymore and last time with Ella-Grace, the second night was very hard and breastfeeding was stressful, I longed to have a more successful experience this time. Telling myself to trust my body, that everything would be okay and that this was my second baby, I could do this, kept my head high. 

The rest of the day consisted of medication and doctors. It was strange having so many doctors check on me as I did not have this with Ella-Grace but as I was beginning to realise the recovery this time was far more intense and my body had been through a lot. Sunday passed all her tests so as far as we knew she was perfectly healthy (we soon found out that wasn't the case however) but I on the other hand was not okay. The midwives were concerned about the volume of blood I lost and kept a constant eye on me in fear I would become lethargic and unable to look after my baby, doctors did constant checks on my heart as my pulse rate was through the roof and the anaesthesiologist who administered the spinal block was worried about the tingling I had been experiencing so came back several times to ask about my symptoms now the spinal had wore off. It was a lot but I tried to stay focus on my little Sunday girl and how blessed I was to now have a second daughter- easier said than done however because although you are elated after birth.. damn recovery is hard and (I cannot stress this enough) IT IS OKAY TO FEEL SAD, STRESSED OR FED UP after you give birth, especially if you have experienced complications. It is a lot to deal with and feeling that way does not mean you love your new baby any less. 

Into the evening now and my sisters, niece and nephew came to visit. I walked with the help of my younger sister to the family room with Sunday in the bed to see my other sister and niece and nephew. Now to give you an idea of the severity of my condition after birth, this walk was literally 1 min or less. I was just walking from one room to another (earlier that day when my parents came to visit Reece wheeled me to the room but now I was attempting to walk). I got to the room, sat down, had about 5 mins with my family when a midwife came through to do my vitals and when she saw my pulse rate she immediately said that I had to go back to the ward because my pulse rate was so high... from walking less than a minute. As I went to walk back the midwife stopped me and said she couldn't allow me to walk and got my sister to wheel me back to the ward and my other sister wheeled Sunday in her bed. The midwife told me she was once again going to get a doctor who may advise for my to have my heart monitored constantly, it was scary but as we had to wait for a doctor I was able to spend a bit more time with m family and get some cute photos. We laughed, I cried and soon enough they went home and the doctors arrived. After along conversation with the Doctors and monitoring of my heart I was told that my heart rate had once again gone down but that due to my blood loss and now anemic state that I was to be on bed rest, buzz if i needed anything and once home I was highly advised to have someone there with me for help at all times (thank goodness for Reece having extra time off!). The reason for all this being that (now I do not know the medical terms but I think this was the jist of what I was told) because I had lost so much blood my heart was working overtime and because of my anemic state that if I was too active too soon that my heart could be over worked leading me to be completely lethargic (unable to move let alone look after my children) or worse, heart failure. They of course worded it very carefully but in a nutshell that was what they meant. They advised me of symptoms I should alert them if I was feeling (shortness in breath, pain in my chest or back etc). Scared and anxious my brain jumped to the worst but I again kept telling myself everything was going to be fine and that I would be home soon. With the support of Reece, my family and friends at the other end of the phone I kept calm. My real saving grace however was the fact that my children were healthy, Sunday was passing all her tests and so although scared, fed up and in pain, as long as they were okay I could hold it together (just) and so begins the second night with my now just over 24 hour old baby girl. 

That entire night consisted of cluster-feeding, she spent the entire night latched onto my breast and without going into too much detail about breastfeeding as I am going to write a separate post about that, the colostrum had turned into full breastmilk, this made me so happy. Bonding and feeding were going great and that was the shining light through all the complications.

The night came and went, sleep deprived and weak but proud breastfeeding was going well and that I got through the second night by myself with so much confidence compared to the first time round with Ella-Grace. For a minute I thought I was going to dodge the baby blues and crippling anxiety of postpartum (I was wrong). 
Determined to get home on this day now 2 days post birth I tried to get the ball rolling immediately. In all honestly though looking back, I was so not ready to leave the hospital yet. Not because I was not ready to parent two children or because I was nervous about having a new born again but because I was SO out of it. I kept telling myself it was just the sleep deprivation but no I was nodding off into my breakfast, staring into blank space unable to listen to a conversation let alone respond. I needed the support of the hospital staff for at least a few more days but to my detriment sometimes I am stubborn and when I said I was going home that day, it meant I WAS going home that day. And so I washed my face, got dressed and put on a smile that said 'I am perfectly well' and faked my way out of that hospital. Now I am not saying I managed to make the very intelligent medical staff into thinking I was 100% better, of course not but I did put on a very brave face. It is amazing what a smile can cover up. The person I was really trying to fool was myself, telling myself I was fine and once I was home I would no longer feel like this, I was very wrong making what happened just 24 hours after this no surprise. 
The day went on, Sunday was checked over by a paediatrician and they told us she was fine to go home. Then my vitals were checked again (I was praying my pulse was under control so I could go home) and luckily I was told I could go home but under strict instruction to rest and accept help, no over doing it. I understood this advice of course but part of me felt like saying, "You do know I have two kids now right?"
Soon enough Reece and Ella-Grace arrived followed by my parents. After spending about an hour together my parents took Ella-Grace to the car as Reece, Sunday (who was ready in the car seat) waited to be discharged. As we waited I sat on my bed and I felt so out of it, I felt like I could pass out any second. I kept telling myself it was just sleep deprivation and asked Reece to keep talking to me to keep me 'with it' as I did not want the midwives to start worrying. Finally around 4pm we were discharged and free to go home. Unable to walk far Reece wheeled me (while I held Sunday's car seat) down to the entrance and my Dad snapped photos as I waddled out the hospital gripping onto Reece, with our second daughter. 
Now home, my parents had left, Reece's sister came to visit (and did a little food shop for us which was lovely) and then we were now alone; just the four of us for the first time. I was so happy to be home with Reece and especially Ella-Grace who I had missed terribly while I was in hospital but there was a dark cloud hanging over my head. As I attempted to change my clothes myself and go to the bathroom before getting in bed it dawned on me just how difficult the recovery was going to be. I couldn't stand for long without feeling faint, my back was aching as a side effect of the spinal and the pain from the tear... there are no words. I felt as if I were recovering from two different births as I had now been damaged from both the VBAC and the following surgery. It was A LOT! And as Reece came into the bedroom with my medication (including the injection he had to give me for 10 days) I just broke down. The reality of what I had been through hit me hard but unfortunately the worst was yet to come.

Happy 24 hours...

Please do not think I am being ungrateful, I know this post is probably mostly doom and gloom but that is because it was a VERY hard time. Birth is natural, wonderful, magical and more but is also painful, scary and stressful. For the unlucky few who have complications (like myself) or worse it is traumatic, terrifying, mentally scarring and sometimes even life threatening. I cannot stress enough how important it is to recognise that you can be both grateful for the child you have brought into the world but also be struggling mentally and physically following the birth. 

On a happier note however, the 24 hours Sunday and I were home for after we were discharged from the hospital were pure bliss. Although battling with intense anxiety and physical pain, I was in a happy newborn bubble. I was ecstatic to once again hold Ella-Grace in my arms and have the huge support of Reece (honestly could not have asked for a a better husband). Through my almost fainting spells, panic attacks and cries of pain (just being honest here it was not all sunshine and rainbows) there were moments of play, relaxation and pure joy. I felt like if the days continued this way I would get better as long as I rested and had support, as long as I was at home with my girls and my husband everything would be okay. As long as I am no longer in that hospital...and then we were readmitted and my world came crashing down.


Looking at things now more from what happened with Sunday. Going back to when we were in the hospital. After Sunday was born a lot of the focus was on me as I was the one in a critical condition and from what everyone else knew Sunday was a healthy baby. I was in need of immediate medical attention and because of this I have felt a lot of guilt because maybe if the midwives and doctors had not spent so much time looking after me this may have been caught but then again my condition may have become more fatal so I guess you cannot dwell on the past. 

Before I properly go into Sunday's complications I would like to say that I in no way blame the NHS staff nor do I think the were negligent.  I feel very lucky to have the NHS staff and thanks to them, myself and my two beautiful daughters are here today. I am confused as to why things happened the way they happened but in no way resentful or angry. It was very unfortunate but we can't expect medical staff to be super heroes, they are people that make mistakes and things get missed. After speaking to doctors and midwives since being home I have come to the conclusion that Sunday had a birth injury on her head at birth and it was missed which led to it getting infected. So sad as it was obviously preventable and I feel guilty that because of the focus being on me that it was not caught but we can only move forward. That was not what I was originally told however that it was which will be explained. 

So like I said after Sunday was born all the attention was on me as I needed medical intervention. Sunday was healthy and so their was a hat placed on her head and she accompanied me to surgery. When out of surgery I noticed there was my blood on Sunday's head. Advised by the doctors to not bath Sunday for 24 hours and further advised that I could wait until I was home so Reece and I could bath her as baby's do not need a bath for several days. Tired and thanks to all the complications unable to move much I took this advice. Sunday was healthy, passing all her tests and like I said earlier the baby doctor gave her the all clear before we left. What I did not mention though was that he said to Reece and I 'I see she had a birth injury on her head'. Confused I said to the doctor that I was not told about a birth injury and that as far as I knew the blood on her head was mine. He looked again and agreed, cleared to her to go home. 

Now the morning after we were discharged from the hospital (Sunday now 3 days old) Reece and I decided to clean her up. Once the blood was removed however two yellow blisters were revealed on her head. I was worried but the every calm Reece said to wait to see the midwife. Unfortunately the midwife stated that she had never seen anything like it before, took a picture and said she would be in touch later that day once she had recived the advice from her colleagues. Soon enough that dreaded phone call came and I was told to go back up to the maternity hospital with Sunday to get her checked over. I was gutted but did not expect to be kept in the hospital and so did not take much. As my friend came to pick us up and take us to the hospital once more I once again said good bye to Ella-Grace and it was heart wrenching seeing her little face upset as to why Mummy was leaving again with her baby sister, she was so confused. 

After being moved around to different units and seeing several midwives and doctors, we were finally given an answer. In the neonatal unit a doctor announced quite insensitively "IV antibiotics 3 - 5 day re admit" then left the room. My worst fear had happened and as I cuddled my poorly baby I burst into tears. No comforting explanation from the midwife, phone call to Reece or my Mum could make it better. I get emotional just thinking about it, it was a very hard time. Over an hour later I was still crying being comforted by the other Mothers in the neonatal unit (who had been in much longer than me with babies who were much sicker than Sunday, these women were amazing) a doctor finally came to do Sunday's IV. He explained to me that they thought it could be impetigo (an infection caused by newborns being exposed to cold sores) and so he burst one of the blisters to swab it, took Sunday's blood and then attempted to insert the IV. Seeing my 3 day old baby having her limbs bent and being poked with a needle while screaming was so horrible. One of the worst feelings in the world having to watch your baby go through that. And I do not know whether it was the fact that this was a traumatic moment, the blood loss, the lack of food in the past few hours or all of it together but I started to faint and luckily the nurse caught me in time and sat me down with some water. I felt like a useless Mother. IV finally inserted after several attempts into Sunday's tiny wrist we were finally taken to a ward this time we had a private room. A midwife gave me some toast, my medication and some comforting words. One more phone call to Reece and I had finally calmed down enough to try and sleep. 

Sunday's infection and Mummy's blood loss...

Can I just start by saying, getting a newborn with an IV dressed? Most TERRIFYING thing ever. I am not ashamed to say I buzzed every time she needed to be dressed, I felt like I was going to hurt her or knock it out her arm. Just looking at the above picture makes me so sad. 

Something I have learned about myself, and you all will too by reading this, is that I am definitely a morning person. I don't mean that by saying I like mornings but I mean that the morning is when I feel the least anxious and full of hope, Every day in the hospital I would wake up with such positive energy only to sink into a pit of despair when the sky got dark. I do not know why this is but apparently darkness is my anxiety's best friend. The shift from day time to night time really brings out panic in my mental state; especially post partum. 

So with this in mind it is no surprise that as morning comes around and I have got some what of a decent sleep I am being positive. Sunday was still sleeping the next day when I woke up so I used this time to go to the bathroom,wash my face and watch some TV as I waited for my breakfast. Breakfast in the hospital was most definitely when I was at my calmest as I felt that the day was being started well and everything would be okay. Maybe it is something to do with the routine of it coming at the same time and being the same meal? I do not know and none of you are here to delve into my psyche so moving on. Following this I fed Sunday and a midwife came to do our vitals. Sunday was very healthy according to the midwife but her infection rate was at an 8 (it needs to be below a 4 to be clear on infection apparently) which was worrying but that was what the antibiotics were for which she needed administered twice a day (2pm and 2am). Weirdly the swabs came back clear which suggested that impetigo was not the cause and the midwife said she did not think it looked like impetigo although that is what all Sunday's charts said. Nothing further to do right now for Sunday however seeing as she was still healthy other than the infection and so she checked my vitals. I was at this point now readmitted, I was there for Sunday but knowing the complications and blood loss I had been through they decided to check my vitals too and they were not good so soon enough a hospital band was back on my wrist too. Once again Sunday and I were patients. The day continued boringly until Reece and Ella-Grace arrived to visit (I made him promise to come up with her as early as he could, they arrived just before lunch time). We had a nice couple of hours together but the whole time I just kept thinking 'they will eventually have to go'. Once again I had to say good bye to Reece and Ella-Grace, I could see it confused her why she was leaving but I was staying. The Mum guilt was insane but I knew I had to be with Sunday as she needed me most right now and Ella-Grace was in the more than capable hands of her wonderful Daddy, who lets be realistic was in a much more fit state to be running around after a toddler. But still it broke me once again and now it was getting into the afternoon and I was once again alone in the hospital room with my sick baby I started to cry. Cuddling into Sunday, telling her over and over again through my tears that 'we are going to be okay'. Trying to distract myself with TV and snacks but this constant feeling of impending doom, a constant anxiety was pulling at my chest and then with one phone call I lost it. I got a call from an unknown number and it turned out to be my doctor surgery, one day prior my midwife had took my blood to check if my iron levels (or haemoglobin I am not 100% sure) were going up because if they weren't that was bad, they were phoning to let me know the results of that blood test and they were not good. My iron levels had dropped from a 80 to a 70 and what they needed to be in order for me to be well again was well over 100 (again this is all what I was told n the hospital I am no medical expert). They told me that it was advised that I return to the hospital immediately for a blood transfusion (or iron infusion as some of the staff called it) and this tipped me over the edge. I WAS ALREADY IN THE HOSPITAL,  why was I getting a phone call? Did I have to inform the midwife? My parents were going to be here any second to visit us do I tell them to leave? Do I have to leave Sunday? Am I going to be okay? I could JUST about handle looking after my sick baby knowing that I didn't have to worry about myself but now I was being told that I was getting worse Of course at this moment my parents walked in and I broke down. It was now about 3pm and it was super parents to the rescue. I love them so much and I am so grateful they walked in when they did. My Dad immediately went off to find a midwife to get more information, my Mum stayed to comfort me. Still crying my Dad came back in with the head midwife to talk to me but at the same time the baby doctor came in to take Sunday for her antibiotics. Before I knew it I was getting blood taken and Sunday was getting wheeled out the room to get her antibiotics, I asked my Mum to go with her as I could not. It was overwhelming as so much was happening at once. The midwife apologised for the phone call I received and tried to explain everything to me. My iron levels were getting lower but there was no need for an immediate blood transfusion if that was not what I wanted. As I was still bleeding obviously since I was only days post partum it was expected for the levels to drop slightly more. She explained to me that she was not concerned as I was in the hospital and so able to be monitored closely and regularly and only if I started to experience shortness of breath or chest/back pain would there be no other option than blood transfusion. For now iron tablets were still a perfectly safe option. Still confused however as shortness of breath and chest pain were things I feel often due to my anxiety and as for being overly tired, I had just had a baby? How was I meant to know if what I was feeling was anxiety or my blood  levels getting worse? I was so scared that I would miss symptoms and my condition would get worse to the point where it was potentially fatal. It might sound silly as I know so many people go through worse and are in more emergency situations but this being the first time being hospitalised due to health issues for myself and having doctors explain to me that it was serious, I really felt like I was going to die. Of course anxiety and hormones played a big part in me feeling this way too, it was horrible and I would not wish it upon my anyone. The midwife however reassured me and said what I was experiencing was anxiety and lack of sleep and that even if I wasn't sure they would be able to spot the signs of my anemia getting worse. As long as I was in the hospital there was nothing to worry about is what I was told to keep in mind; but all I could think was how much I wanted to be home, for this to be over and for life as a family of four to become normal. Sunday was now in the room with me again and administering the antibiotics had gone well, my Mum said she didn't even cry. I gave my beautiful baby girl a big cuddle and thanked everyone for making me feel somewhat better (although still VERY anxious but that was not going away any time soon). It was at this point another dr came in to tell me that Sunday's antibiotics would be finished by Thursday meaning I could look forward to going home on that day. It was now getting into the evening of Tuesday night so TWO MORE SLEEPS I was telling myself. I could do this. Two more sleeps any myself and Sunday would be home. With that date in my head and a phone call to Reece to calm me down I once again settled for the evening. I took Sunday through for her antibiotics again at 2am, that went well.

Wednesday morning now and once again the daylight brought positive energy. I ate breakfast, had a shower (informing the midwife as like I said I was being monitored closely) and got dressed. Fed Sunday, dressed her (with the help of a midwife) and we awaited the best part of these hospital days, a visit from big sister and Daddy. Anytime we were the four of us I actually managed to smile. I mean of course all this time with just myself and Sunday was amazing for bonding but it was also filled with worry, I worried for both of us convincing myself something terrible was going to happen to one or both of us. So, when Reece and Ella-Grace came to visit I felt like the family of four I had been dreaming of for months and somewhat normal. The visit went fast however and by the time they wee getting ready to leave all positive thoughts vanished and this was when my lowest point came.

Lowest point...

"Mummy Jacket! Mummy come home", I have tears in my eyes just at the thought of Ella-Grace saying this. She was officially done with me being away from her and practically begged me to come home. I couldn't even hold back the tears I cried as I hugged her goodbye and as she left with her Daddy clearly upset I sobbed. That was truly the most heart broken I had ever felt. Again of course I knew she was fine with her Daddy and I knew Sunday needed me, I didn't want to leave her either. I wanted us all to be together. Ella-Grace was my entire world for 2 years and now I had to prioritise another human being too. Of course you expect this to be difficult but you do not expect to be separated for that long (this had now been over a week I had been in the hospital except for the one night I was at home). It is hard to explain and it probably makes no sense but yeah, I was heartbroken. I have a lump in my throat now just talking about it. 

Like they say, bad things come in threes and so the heartbreaking goodbye to Ella-Grace was one. The second was about my condition. Still sobbing the midwife came in to tell that unfortunately my blood results came back and once again my iron levels lowered. Still happy to continue on iron tablets but if by the next day they were still low I would be admitted for longer and given a blood transfusion. Sobbing even more the wonderful midwife did her best to comfort me. She left the room and I phoned Reece stressing out and telling him 'I am going to die'. Again I know it might sound dramatic but in that moment my anxiety had taken over. Reece talked me down enough for me to take Sunday through to for her antibiotics. And here is the third bad thing, as I took Sunday through for her antibiotics everything got too much. First of all the baby doctor told me that instead of going home Thursday (which was literally the next day) the 'team' had decided it may be best for Sunday to stay in until Saturday, staying the 5 days for antibiotics instead of a 3 day course. Holding back tears I nodded my head and just wanted to get the antibiotics done so I could go back to my room with my baby but it wasn't so simple this time. As they tried to push the antibiotics into her IV Sunday squealed in pain and I mean it was horrendous. Immediately the doctor said that it shoud not be hurting her and she wanted to fit another IV. Dreading it but understanding they removed the one in her wrist and attempted to put another in the other hand.... then her foot... then her other foot. After the fourth attempt by the third doctor and the piercing squeals from Sunday I had to leave the room before I was sick. I phoned Reece in tears once more and now feeling guilty for leaving Sunday but she was surrounded by doctors there was not even space for me to be near her if I tried. Re-entering the room still crying one of the doctors had phoned the head doctor to try as it was just not happening. She also informed me that if this doctor could not fit her IV that they would try giving her it orally which confused me as surely I could do that at home. 6 attempts in total and 4 doctors they eventually got it fitted into her foot (the doctor was confident she would need it re-fitted once again when her next antibiotics were due however). I wheeled my baby girl back to our room, she was now due a feed but because of how tired she was from screaming she just fell asleep and had no energy to feed. That was the last straw. Out of all of this breastfeeding was going well and now this may be affected and would that mean her health would then deteriorate? I lost it. I was pacing my room, scream crying. I buzzed the midwife and in came a student midwife but bless her she did not know what to do so she got the head midwife to come in. This head midwife by the way was my savior, without her I dread to think what I would of done to myself I was completely distraught. One of the worst panic attacks I have ever had if not THE worst. The head midwife came in and I just ranted at her to be honest. I begged her to let me home, I told her that I thought I was goingto die, that Sunday was going to die, that Ella-Grace needed me, I told her that my anxiety was getting worse and worse and that I could not be in this hospital much longer. I asked her why I was being told she had impetigo when the swabs came back clear and everyone kept telling me it looked nothing like impetigo? I asked her why I couldn't give Sunday oral antibiotics? Why were we now not aloud to go home on Thursday? 

"I  CAN NOT COPE!" I told her. Staring at my poorly baby girl in tears almost pulling my hair out and if it was not for the actions of the midwife following this I am confident I would of slipped into PPD and possibly relapsed into (dare I say it) self harming... something that was long long in my past but everything that had happened broke me. I am so thankful for the head midwife who was on. She firstly explained to me once again that myself and Sunday were not dying and she promised me I could put that thought out of my head. She then said she was going to get all the information I had asked for and relay it back to me. Lastly she said what I needed to hear most "You need to be home". She explained to me that neither myself or Sunday were 100% but in her medical opinion we were both well enough to go home as long as Sunday had the three day antibiotics and the last two days orally. She politely said to me that she could see my mental health slipping and she was worried about PPD. After this long conversation the head midwife did as she promised and got the team of doctors together both for myself and Sunday and got my answers. I was back in control and fully informed which is so important to feel especially when it comes to me and my anxiety. I need to be in control. After explaining to me everything I needed to know the midwife asked me if I wanted her to try and organise mine and Sunday's discharge for that evening (honestly she was amazing). Now being of sound mind again however I told her I would wait until Thursday as planned so Sunday could indeed have her 3 day course of antibiotics and I could inform my parents who were taking us home. Another phone call with Reece, a visit from my sisters,  some food and Sunday and I settled for the night. I hugged her extra tight that night after the day she had been through. Also that night it'd fair to say the midwives kept an extra eye on me. Luckily the panic attacks stayed away for the evening.On a happier note however, the 24 hours Sunday and I were home for after we were discharged from the hospital were pure bliss. Although battling with intense anxiety and physical pain, I was in a happy newborn bubble. I was ecstatic to once again hold Ella-Grace in my arms and have the huge support of Reece (honestly could not have asked for a a better husband). Through my almost fainting spells, panic attacks and cries of pain (just being honest here it was not all sunshine and rainbows) there were moments of play, relaxation and pure joy. I felt like if the days continued this way I would get better as long as I rested and had support, as long as I was at home with my girls and my husband everything would be okay. As long as I am no longer in that hospital...and then we were readmitted and my world came crashing down.

Home against Dr recommendations...

Thursday morning came around and again I was feeling positive (can you see the pattern emerging here). I got Sunday dressed in a second going home outfit, myself refreshed and made sure all my stuff was together. The end of our hospital stay was in sight and I was determined to get home but first I needed to know my baby girl was okay. 
Once again the head midwife (the one who had been so helpful the day before) came to see me and FINALLY had some good news. My most recent blood results came back and my iron levels had gone up (I was still very anemic but all they wanted to see was improvement) and Sundays infection level had gone from an 8 to a 3 (anything below a 4 meant she was in the clear). I was so happy to finally hear something good. 
Discharging us from the hospital took almost all day as there were certain things that needed to be put in place. I needed new medication (pain relief, iron tablets, injections to prevent blood clots), I needed one last check over by the doctor and they informed me that I would need to go to my doctor surgery within the next week to make sure my iron levels were still improving. As for Sunday she was checked over and the baby doctor said she seemed like a perfectly healthy baby but the scary part was she still had the blisters on her head. But because her infection was gone and she was about to finish a 3 day course of antibiotics they were happy for her to go home and informed me that the midwife would be out to check her the next day and few days following. My parents arrived and we were getting everything ready all that was left was for Sunday to get her last dose of antibiotics via her IV. Before this however a different doctor came in and wanted to talk to me about Sunday. I was told that despite what I had been told earlier that day, it was recommended by the head doctor that Sunday stay in the hospital and receive 5 days antibiotics instead of 3 days. This was thought to be best and to make sure the infection was gone. I was told that I could take her home and Reece and I could give her the last two doses of antibiotics orally but because of a baby's immature stomach it may not absorb and we could potentially end up back in the hospital. It was my call to make and it was difficult. After further sobbing and weighing up the pros and cons with the midwife I decided to go home, technically against dr recommendations. My decision was based on several things, 1. I could not cope with the hospital anymore, if I didn't go home I my mental health would of been dangerously bad 2. Sunday was a healthy baby and her tests shown no infection nor did the swabs come back with anything and 3. According to the doctors because the IV kept failing they may have to administer antibiotics orally anyway, and so although it was risky I chose to go home for my mental health and for what I hoped would be the well being of Sunday too. 
And so for what I hoped would be the last time I wheeled Sunday through for her antibiotics, they struggled to administer it through the IV (which did make me feel like I was making the right decision) but after flushing it a few times they did manage. They removed the IV (it was inserted in the top of her foot and once they took it out you could see how bent the needle was and even the head doctor said that it was not inserted well and would of probably needed to be changed due to it causing Sunday discomfort. Then lastly they looked at the blisters on top of her head, one of which was burst when they took the swabs when we weref first readmitted and because that one was the one that had reduced in size they decided to also burst the second blister in the hopes that this would help it go away. I asked every question in the book as to how to keep her head clean and how to keep the infection from coming back and then finally myself and Sunday were on our way home with the help of my parents. Home time again and oh how I prayed this would be it for good. Reece later came back to pick up Sunday's prescription but apart from that I really hoped that was us away from the Maternity hospital for good. 
My anxiety was high and I had this cloud hanging over my head telling me things were going to go wrong but at least now I was in the comfort of my home with both my girls and wonderful husband. A long recovery ahead of us indeed but that is for another blog post. 

VBAC vs C-section...

Before I end this post I would like to address the question I have received most since I had Sunday; Was a VBAC worth it? And the answer is yes. For me having a vaginal birth was something I had always dreamt to experience and although Ella-Grace's birth was still beautiful and like I have explained before, the c-section saved her life, Sunday's birth (before all the complications) was everything I could of wanted. I did it with no pain relief (like I wanted) and moved around the room into different positions (like I wanted). That moment when she was placed on my chest after my body had pushed her out... I was so proud and so elated, there is nothing like that feeling. 
As for the recovery (I am not going to go into too much detail now) my VBAC recovery has 100% been harder but only because of the complications I had and those complications were not due to the VBAC. I could of had the same complications from a c-section, natural birth etc these things just happen. It is a personal choice and depends what you are looking for from your birth experience. I am definitely partial to a vaginal birth as I love that my body knows how to do this amazing thing and it is just the best experience but being a Mama to two beautiful daughters born two very different ways (emergency c-section and vaginal birth after c-section) you can trust me when I say ALL births are beautiful. 

Thank you for reading...

So glad I have finally wrote this out. I shed many tears writing this and had to stop several times to compose myself but it has helped me to write it all out and I hope it has helped someone else out there who may be struggling from birth trauma. You are not alone and please do not feel like a bad Mother because you are having a tough time post birth. You still love your baby and you are still a great Mother, birth is hard and no one talks about that part (even though we should). Thank you everyone for not only reading this but for being there for me through it all. While I was in the hospital I received so many loving messages and they really helped me. I hope to post again soon, posts on recovery, baby names, Sunday's updates and more yet to come. Follow my social medias to keep up to date (Instagram @laurajanelifex and Facebook LauraJaneLife ) Sending all my love and remember....

Stay Happy Everyone 

Our Breastfeeding Journey

A post many of you have been waiting for and one I have been very excited to write. I am now 7 months into exclusively breastfeeding and ...