The things they don’t tell you about

So it’s 26th September 2016 and we have had our tiny little human being that belongs to us in our lives for two whole weeks. Two weeks of crying every day with happiness (me and Danny), two weeks of floating on cloud 9, two weeks of feeling utterly blessed and surprisingly two weeks of feeling confident. I felt like I was born to do this, it came naturally to me and I didn’t feel these ‘baby blues’ that people spoke of! The general rule of thumb is that the baby blues hits you a few days after getting out of hospital however I felt nothing but sheer joy. That was until I woke up near enough two weeks to the day after giving birth and BAM I was hit with all emotions you could ever contemplate feeling all at once. Sadness, happiness, fear, jealousy, anger, love. All at once. I freaked out big time. I cried non stop for 48 hours. I genuinely believed I had post natal depression as I could not stop crying and I couldn’t see how I would ever stop crying. My mind was hazy and I couldn’t think properly. I constantly worried I was going to drop Evie or fall down the stairs holding her and I couldn’t watch the news because every time I saw something I immediately thought it was going to happen to my baby.

At the time I couldn’t see how I was ever going to overcome these feelings, they were such strong thoughts and emotions that I believed they would be with me forever. Now I realise that my hormones were all over the place (I had also just been diagnosed with PUPPS but that’s a story for another day!), my body had just had to cope with a hell of lot and it was totally normal to feel this way! You now are in charge of another human being, a human being who you love like you have never loved before; of course you are going to be all over the place! Anxiety + wild hormones = a little bit cray cray and that is totally okay! It’s okay not to be okay! You’re not alone. I could not have got through those few weeks without Danny and my Mum they were incredible. Post partum anxiety is probably the most normal and natural thing that can happen to you I just wish I knew this at the time! 

I doubted myself so much when I was pregnant, would I be a good Mum? How would I cope? is Motherhood really for me? But from the second I met my baby girl my whole world just shifted. Everything fell in to place. No one had me down as a ‘natural’ mother and I’m okay with that! Even I knew that pre baby Emma didn’t come across as an overly ‘maternal woman’ (what ever that may be). Pre baby Emma was lazy, selfish, highly strung and stubborn. I make myself sound like a wanker, I probably was bit! I’ve never had confidence in myself with regards to anything, but surprisingly I doubted myself more during pregnancy than I did once I actually had Evie! Of course I still do doubt myself when it comes to parenting but at the same time I know I’m capable of making the best decision for my baby more than anyone else and that I was meant to do this. A lot of people say they lose themselves when they have a baby, well in fact I found myself and I’m not ever going to shy away that. Evie has changed me in more ways than I could have ever imagined and I am eternally thankful for that.

Play that funky music 

I’ve never known life without a TV in the kitchen (saying it out loud sounds a bit ridiculous) but that’s how I grew up. We always all sat down at the dinner table every night and ate together as a family but we still had a TV in the kitchen and it would usually be on in the background. Now that Danny and I are hardcore Netflix addicts we decided to have the TV in our bedroom rather than in the kitchen. Of course we could go out and buy a new TV for the kitchen but I rather enjoy it this way now! However what I do miss is background noise. I’m just one of those people, I need a bit of background noise and 9 times out of 10 I will opt for music! I’ve been going on and on about getting a radio for the kitchen and then I came across a radio that dreams are made of! Not just any radio but an Emma Bridgewater radio from VQ Radio!

I mean c’mon just look at it! I wouldn’t even care if it didn’t play music as it’s just so beautiful! But boy oh boy does this play music . . It’s a DAB digital radio and also has a bluetooth speaker meaning you can play music from any smart phone. As well as that it has a USB port meaning you can charge most devices from it too! If you choose to purchase the additional battery pack you can get up to 25 hours of playback so it’s perfect for on the go.

I chose the Hepburn Mk II design in the Emma Bridgewater wallflower print but there are so many other designs and prints to chose from! 

If you can’t tell I’m pretty obsessed with my new kitchen addition! So I’m super excited that there is going to be a giveaway over on my Instagram where you can be in with a chance of winning your very own VQ Radio. Keep your eyes peeled this Friday!

Tuna & broccoli fish cakes 

Evie has really took to the baby led part of weaning so much so she doesn’t really enjoy to be spoon fed unless it’s porridge! However she does love a fruit purée straight from the pouch! We are not technically “baby led weaning” as she has purées also but more often than not she will feed herself. So where possible I am trying to make as much homemade finger food as possible for her because if you watch my Instagram stories you will see (lots of) videos of her picking food up and feeding herself and really enjoying it! Tonight I *kind of* followed a recipe/*kind of* made it up as I went along and ended up with some delicious fish cakes! I got my inspiration from the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook Facebook page however I altered it slightly and swapped and removed certain ingredients.

You will need;

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 2 slices of bread (grated into breadcrumbs)
  • 1 egg
  • 150g(ish) of broccoli
  • 100g mashed potato
  • 40g of cheese

To begin with I cooked a baked potato in the microwave for 8 minutes and kept checking until it was soft (as I wasn’t making a lot of mashed potato I found this way the quickest and easiest way to do it) and then I prepared the mashed potato and left it to cool.

Whilst that was cooling I cooked the broccoli and then blitzed it up in a food processor and added it to the mashed potato along with the drained tuna, cheese, 1 egg and half of the breadcrumbs.

I then used my hands to shape the mixture into fishcakes (or whatever shape or size you like). For Evie I made them into a thin fishcake shape and once cooked I cut them into sticks so they were easy for her to hold.

Then I coated them in the remaining breadcrumbs before frying in a hot pan with a splash of oil. I did mine until golden and they were honestly delicious and a huge hit Evie! (P.s. these are definitely not just for babies as they are so tasty and also slimming world friendly if using the cheese and breadcrumbs and your healthy extras!)

Evie’s Bedroom Tour

I remember spending hours and hours on Pinterest when I was pregnant looking for nursery inspiration, it’s one of the most exciting things in my opinion!! Absolutely everything I pinned was white and grey . . quite the opposite of the pretty pink super girly room Evie has ended up with! I was so ‘anti pink’ when I was pregnant but since she was born I have no control over my pale pink obsession!

Throughout the whole of my pregnancy we were still living with my Mum and Dad as we were waiting on the completion of our house which awkwardly happened to be a few weeks post due date! (Turns out there was nothing awkward at all about it because living with my Mum and Dad for the first six weeks of Evie’s life was the best thing ever!) The only reason I was actually so desperate to move in before she was born was so we could decorate her room! As a first time Mum the prospect of decorating your baby’s room is beyond exciting! You have all these ideas and dreams of what it will look like and it’s so easy to get carried away. The funny thing is for the first few months of their lives they don’t even spend any time in there (well Evie didn’t anyway, I never even dressed her in there) and during that time it just becomes a dumping ground for clothes, nappies, toys and everything else! 

Now that we are totally settled into our home and Evie is sleeping in her own room we have finally completed the finishing touches and I have to say I am in love with her bedroom! It’s exactly how I pictured it would be and it makes me stupidly happy every time I go in there.

The first things I purchased for Evie’s room were the 3 prints above her cot from Sweetheart Foils. I wanted these to be the main focus and knew, even at 20 weeks pregnant, I wanted these to sit above her cot. Simone was so helpful and even designed the ‘you are so loved’ print from scratch for me as I had seen something similar on Pinterest! 

As we are in a new build it is recommended that you don’t wallpaper for at least a year howver I’m kind of glad we had that restriction as I’m prone to jumping into decisions quickly and then changing my mind! (I’m the girl that ended up with two wedding dresses) With having no wallpaper and just using accessories to add colour it has made the room feel really light and fresh even though it’s not the biggest of rooms.

When we moved in we settled in really quickly and managed to get everything ‘decorated’ and all the furniture built within a week or two. It’s the finishing touches that took a bit of time and making a house a home can’t just be done overnight but we are finally there (with Evie’s room anyway!) and it was definitely worth the wait.

I absolutely adore everything about this room and it really did turn it just how I imagined! I will list below where everything is from . . now to start adding some life into our bedroom which is currently a blank canvas!!!

  • 3 piece furniture – Mamas & Papas
  • Changing mat – Mamas & Papas
  • Ballpit – Misioo Handmade
  • Foil prints – Sweetheart Foils
  • All frames – IKEA
  • Hot air ballon – Somewhere Only We Know
  • Snuggle up cushion – Pretty Little Home
  • Star knit cushion – Zara
  • Dream big cloud – Fox and Weave
  • ‘Mummy’s girl, Daddy’s world’ print – Foil Prints UK
  • Piggy bank – TK Max
  • Letters – Matalan
  • Rug – IKEA
  • Chandelier – Argos
  • Curtains – Next
  • Footprint cast frame – Memory Makers at Mothercare
  • Bookshelves – IKEA

The first time – Travelling abroad

It’s a tradition within our family to take an Easter break! My Mum is one of four girls and the majority of my cousins are also girls, so every year we bin the boys off and take a vaycay during the Easter hols! For the past 10 years or so we have been visiting Anglesey or Wales until last year we decided to venture to Majorca where my Auntie owns a villa. Last year I was 17 weeks pregnant and this year I was travelling with a 7 month old!

I was apprehensive to say the least about travelling with a baby. I am very much a stress head Sally but with nothing to actually stress about! 99% of the time I create these situations in my head and in reality I have nothing to stress about. I was asking so many ridiculous questions before we travelled thinking of every possible scenario that could go wrong. Well it turns out it’s only as difficult as you make it! I was super lucky to travel with my Mum and Ruby (one of my cousins) and we had an absolute ball!

We flew with Ryan Air who let you check in 2 baby items in the hold for free so that was the stroller and the travel cot. I usually refuse to pay the extortionate prices of checking in a suitcase (£50+!?) but with a baby there was no way I was cramming all our stuff into hand luggage and lugging it round the airport!

I think understandably my main worry was feeding. After reading the website (geeeeeek) about what you can and what you can’t take through security it very much put my mind at ease! Basically in a nutshell if you need it to feed your baby you can take it through security! For ease (and not wanting to hunt down boiling water) in the airport and on the plane I used ready made formula which I just tipped into a sterilised bottle.

Obviously with getting through the airport there isn’t much opportunity for a baby to sleep; they’re in and out the stroller to get through security and once you’re about to board the plane you also have to take them out so by the time we took off I knew Evie would be due a sleep. Usually when she naps in the day she lies down with a dummy and nods off, she doesn’t like to be cuddled, rocked or fussed over. So when she fell asleep after a feed about half way through the flight I got those kind of newborn cuddles, the ones where they lie on your chest and get all squishy.

As we were staying in my auntie’s villa it was pretty much home from home so I was able to make up her feeds as normal as I just took a box of formula in my case. Evie has Hipp Organic which I wasn’t sure if I could get it as easily in Majorca as other the brands which is why I took it with me. I packed a few Ella’s Kitchen pouches and I was meant to take porridge with me but in the midst of the madness that is packing for a baby I forgot so I just pinched Isla’s every morning instead! After our first full day in the Spanish sun I began to realise this holidaying with babies malarkey wasn’t as stressful as I built it up to be! In fact it was so much fun! Yes her ‘routine’ (I use that word loosely) was a bit thrown out and she wanted more sleep and more feeds (obviously because of the heat) but we had THE best time and seeing her interact with everyone and chat away to Isla just made me the happiest Mummy in the world!

We bought the My Babiie MB51 stroller to take on holiday and it was fabulous!! It has 3 recline positions including one which lies flat, an extendable hood which has UV 50 protection, a viewing window at the top of the hood and it’s super lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. Evie was so happy to nap in it and also sit in it whilst we were out eating.

In all honesty once I had got into the swing of things I soon realised it wasn’t as stressful or difficult as I was making it out to be. Travelling with a baby is just different to what you’re use to and preparation is definitely key!

A few things which made my life easier were taking ready made formula on the plane therefore I wasn’t worrying about not being able to get boiling water (during take off etc) when I needed it, not taking my own hand luggage; so just shoving my purse, phone and keys into Evie’s changing bag as it was then one less thing to carry, taking dummy clips so I wasn’t constantly searching for spare dummies, taking a stroller carrier with handles so just before we boarded I popped the stroller into the carrier and could just leave it at the bottom of the plane steps (also I was a bit neurotic about my cream stroller getting dirty, I know what you’re thinking . . Priorities). So yeah if you’re anything like me then just chill. People do take babies abroad every single day if you get organised you shouldn’t have anything to unnecessarily stress over . .  Now bring on Croatia!!

After speaking to a lot of you on Instagram I think we all feel the same about flying with a baby for the first time so if you have any questions at all just pop me a message and even if I can’t directly help or have the answer then maybe I can put your mind at ease!

Ella’s Kitchen – Tiny Tasters

We were recently contacted by Ella’s Kitchen to try out their brand new veggie pouches and of course we jumped at the chance! As I’ve previously mentioned I felt a bit clueless when I came to the start of our weaning journey and even before I had been contacted by Ella’s Kitchen I downloaded their First Foods app and it was really helpful! I felt like it was full of information, handy tips and it gave me a bit of guidance which is exactly what I was after! They previously ran their #vegforvictory campaign which was to encourage parents to wean with vegetables first, frequently and in variety! The aim being that the more variety of veg little ones eat throughout weaning, the more accepting they will be of new flavours.

The four new veggie pouches that have launched follow on the back of the success of the Veg for Victory campaign. Ella’s Kitchen aim to raise awareness of the importance of weaning with vegetables and the long-term positive impact it can have on little ones’ health and relationship with food. This is something that really resonates with me and if there is any way I can help to create a positive and healthy relationship between my daughter and food then I am all for it!!

There are 4 new flavours;

  • Peas, broccoli + potatoes
  • Carrots, peas + kale
  • Pumpkin, broccoli + sweetcorn
  • Squash, sweet potatoes + parsnips

The pouches have been designed to give little ones a variety of new and exciting veggie tastes once they’re ready to move on from single flavours and as with all of the Ella’s Kitchen range they are super convenient for when you’re out and about.

I thought Evie would prefer the ‘sweeter’ root vegetables such as squash or sweet potato but her favourite flavour seemed to be the peas, broccoli and poataoes! Which actually really surprised me as she has never taken a liking to broccoli before so it was lovely to see her enjoying it alongside the new mixture of flavours! It seems she thoroughly enjoyed the tasty sign too!

I have loved trying out the 4 new flavours with Evie and the greedy chops has certainly loved being a tiny taster! And although we have had some interesting faces pulled along the way and some raspberries blown with a mouth full of food I do think by continuously offering her vegetable based meals from the beginning of our weaning journey it has really helped with her acceptance of different tastes!

If you would like any more information on vegetable led weaning you can download a PDF called ‘A guide to weaning with veg’ from the Ella’s Kitchen website just click here or you can also follow them on Twitter @VegforVictory

This is a sponsored post.

Six Months

The days can go slow but the weeks and months just fly by! I’m sure any parent can vouch for that!  It’s ridiculous just how fast half a year can pass! When you’re pregnant you are so desperate for every week to pass by so you can now say you’re another week pregnant! Now I’m wishing the weeks would slow down. My tiny newborn dot is no longer that but she’s a hilarious, chunky 6 month old. I keep saying “when she was a baby” and my Mum looks at me and says “she is a baby” and then we laugh. Because to me she now seems so grown up, so full of personality and oh so sassy that she’s so far from the dinky little baby I rocked in my arms for hour and hours. I do have to remind myself she is still very much a baby however big and grown up she may seem!

There’s something about being pregnant which triggers people to say some of the oddest things you’ll ever hear. Those along the lines of “get used to having no sleep”, “you’ll never have any money again”, “you won’t be able to do that when the baby is here” blah blah blah. For some reason these people try and taint your excitement and joy and bring you crashing back down to reality. No one ever said parenting was easy (and if they do my god they are lairs) and no one ever said your life won’t dramatically alter. But I’m still unsure why people say these weird patronising negative things in response to a happy and excitable time? Yeah maybe you won’t be able to buy those £90 Topshop boots, have a lazy breakfast in bed or just ‘nip’ in to Tesco anymore but honestly you won’t care.

These last six months have changed me in unimaginable ways. But what I know now is I would give up every materialistic item I own, every night out, every fancy holiday and bacon sarnie in bed for this life. I’m now less selfish but definitely more psychotic, I have finally found peace with my body *kinda* and I’ve almost stopped hating it, going to bed at 9 o’clock on a Friday night is actually really exciting and it turns out having an organised changing bag is highly therapeutic. It’s hard to explain how motherhood has changed me, I feel like no matter how hard I try there just aren’t enough words, but I saw this quote and it just summed it up perfectly.

Béaba Babycook

Béaba contacted me and asked if I would like to try out their babycook and quite frankly I jumped at the chance. I won’t lie I have been nervous about weaning; about discussing it with anyone (because everyone has an opinion) and also about embarking on our journey. Milk (whether it’s breast or forumula) is convenient. It’s plain and simple and you can’t really balls it up. Food, well that’s just a whole different ball game isn’t it. Where do you even start? How do you know what to do? How much do you give? How do you make it? When do you feed them? Will they choke? The list of questions is endless. I use to wonder why no one had written a ‘parenting bible’ or a FAQ manual but now I know why. No two babies are the same and quite frankly you’ve just got to do what’s best for you and your babe. Anywaaaaaay (I’m rarely one for getting to the point, I do love a good ol ramble) I jumped at the chance of trying the Béaba babycook as I assumed it would make the start of our weaning journey that little bit easier. And is exactly what it’s done.

I’ve done a lot of research. And my research concluded with me just ‘going with the flow’. Crazy eh!? Any mother wants to do what’s best for their baby but no mother is going to be able to follow any book or plan to the letter because shock horror babies are unpredictable. One day they will have you thinking you’ve nailed this parenting lark and the next they’ll throw you a massive curveball in the shape of poo, vomit and no napping. I decided to take some inspiration from the Ella’s Kitchen First Foods app and start Evie with the #vegforvictory plan which is to offer them vegetables for the first 2 weeks of their weaning journey before introducing anything else. I am only on day 1 and broccoli went down like a lead balloon. Which of course I was expecting. I am not naive enough to think she was going to whizz the spoon out of my hand and gobble the whole lot. If I had £1 for every person who said ‘broccoli isn’t sweet’, ‘try her with something else’, ‘it can take 10 attempts before a  baby knows if they like something’ . . then I would have about £132! I do know all this but I’m not too bothered whether she likes it our not just yet, that’s not what I’m aiming for right now. Weaning is a long and slow process and for me these early weeks are just about getting use to tastes and textures whether she ‘enjoys’ them or not.

So when it came to making my first purées after the initial ‘oh my god what do I do!?’ I browsed through the Ella’s Kitchen app and decided my first attempts would be broccoli and carrots. I read the instructions that came with the babycook (so so easy to follow) and off I set. My first batch of purées was done and dusted within 15 minutes! No mess and no faffing around. My biggest downfall is mess. Danny hates me cooking as I always use about 10 pans so the fact the babycook steams, blends, defrosts and reheats all in the same appliance is so handy! (Plus the fact I’ve never actually steamed a vegetable in my life so this little machine does it all for me). You simply fill the babycook with water, pop your chosen vegetable or fruit in the basket and press the steam setting. Once done (the babycook will beep 3 times), you remove the water from the jug, pour your cooked food into the blender and blitz. Adding spoons of water if needed to get it to the desired consistency. (The blender works in short 10 second bursts meaning you can easily create food with different textures and more or less lumps) The blade is so easy to remove and clean too! And I seriously mean it when I say if I can do it then anyone can! The babycook allows you to make large quantities at ease which means you can keep the freezer stocked up.

I’m not saying you need this machine, of course you don’t. Just like you don’t need the perfect prep machine. (However now I would not give mine up for all the chocolate in the land) But boy is it a handy little thing that overall is a real time saver! Would I purchase it if I wasn’t gifted it? Honestly? Yeah I probably would! It’s not some silly gimmicky gadget . . if you buy it you will get so much use out of it that’s for sure! I already know we will. Because if something is going to save me time and make less mess then that is what I am all about! (Oh and it also matches my kitchen perfectly which is obviously a priority in life!)

The babycook is available to buy from Baby Secuirty and there is currently 10% until Wednesday 1st March for anyone interested.

My newborn essentials 

There is something about being a first time Mum which makes you a crazy baby shopper. You want to buy all the stuff all the time and you don’t want to listen to a word of anybody’s “advice”. This is purely just my personal recommendations and not me telling you what to buy and what not to buy. Because I’m the gal who bought about 40 vests not realising they go underneath the baby’s clothes *eye roll emoji*

Fisher Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe Gym

This is the all singing, all dancing king of play mats. It’s (disgustingly) brightly coloured, it plays (the most annoying) songs and rainforest sound, it flashes red and yellow lights and has loads of hanging toys, a mirror and a leaf which makes that funny rustle noise. You may have noticed my choice of adjectives weren’t exactly ones of loving sentiment. Yes I think it’s bold, brash and albeit slightly garish but Evie loves it. She absolutely adores it. She will lie there for hours shaking her arms and kicking her legs in sheer excitement. If she’s happy I’m happy! 

Little Tikes Light ‘n Go wobblin’ Lights

It’s not long before your tiny little sleeps all day parties all night newborn starts becoming more alert, more awake and generally more aware of their surroundings. This is just a really cute little toy to attract their attention, it plays little tunes, flashes red and green and wobbles. Evie loved it even from a really young age.

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine

I kind of feel like if you don’t know what this is you’ve been hiding under a rock? I knew about this machine even before I was pregnant! Everyone has their own opinion of this machine and I’m very much a ‘each to their own’ kind of person. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. But I bloody love this thing. I swear to god I don’t understand how anybody makes a bottle without it!? Well of course I know how . . But seriously in my eyes it’s a magical miracle machine. It makes your bottle to the perfect temperature within 2 minutes and at 3am in the morning that is what I’m talking about!!! Also if you breast feed amazing, if you bottle feed also amazing. I’m not about that preachy parent life.

Sleepyhead Deluxe Portable Baby Pod

This was another item I had seen all over Instagram and knew about even before becoming pregnant. I mean I didn’t exactly know what it was or what it did, but I had seen it. Again I was the gal who thought babies just went straight into their cots when they were born . . Lil had to tell me what a crib and Moses basket was *another eye roll emoji for me* Usually I would never have purchased something so pricey before the baby was born with having no idea if she would like it or not however we had John Lewis vouchers saved from our wedding and I felt all sorts of a sassy hun waltzing into John Lewis at 21 weeks pregnant and purchasing a sleepy head. Bless me. Now I can’t exactly vouch for its ‘magical’ sleeping powers as the only night Evie has not slept in her sleepyhead was the night she was born and we were in hospital so I don’t know if she’d have been a good sleeper without it. What I do know is she settles really well in it, she doesn’t wake herself up by waving her arms and legs in the air like babies love to do and it has been so handy when we have stayed anywhere else as we just pop it in the car and take it with us. Now it’s time to decide whether to purchase the grande or not . . .

Angelcare bath support

This bath support is amazing. It’s so simple but so effective. I take it everywhere with me (I literally carted it to Center Parcs) as I just can’t imagine bathing her without it! It means you can have both hands free to wash your baby without having to hold them up. It’s also made out of a soft rubber material making it comfortable for your baby to lie in and the mesh like holes means the water covers them too. We’ve just upgraded to the Angelcare bath seat as Evie is just dying to sit up all the time now so I can’t wait to see how we get on with that! 

What are your newborn essentials you couldn’t live without? Or is there stuff you wish you didn’t buy? (In my case a shitty tommee tippee steriliser and 46,000 vests!)

My labour story

I have been meaning to right this for approximately 4 months and 3 weeks. I was desperate to write this down straight after having Evie so I wouldn’t forget! However I am lucky enough to have had a positive labour experience and I remember every single second. This has been requested so many times and I totally understand why as I have absolutely loved reading other people’s labour stories but at the same time I won’t lie some of them totally freaked me out! I read a couple a while back (before I gave birth) and then I decided if I saw anymore I would save them until after I had given birth as they weren’t exactly filling me with confidence. I definitely think my ‘naivety’ and almost entering the ‘unknown’ helped me in so many ways!! *Another reason I had never watched one born every minute!*

So lets start from the beginning . . It was Sunday 11th September (5 days before DD!) and I woke up from a dream at 6am that I had just given birth to a small baby with a full head of black hair and Lil was sat opposite on the ward with Isla (premonition or what!) I was absolutely bursting for the toilet (I was EXTREMELY lucky in pregnancy and never ever woke in the night for the toilet . . go you bladder of steel!) I got out of bed and thought oh my god I’ve literally just pissed my pants . . this is awkward! When I got to the toilet something made me think that maybe I hadn’t wet myself and it could be my waters? It certainly wasn’t like in the films where you see the woman’s waters explode . . So I just once again presumed I had wet myself (oh that glam preggo life). I put a maternity pad on (I should probably do a disclaimer now this could all be a bit TMI? But after all this is child birth) and I went back to bed! When I got back up at 8am I was greeted by my waters leaking again and my mucus plus also known as your ‘show’ . . However I didn’t really know what it was! I whatsapped Lil and said can I send you a picture? Is this my mucus plug!?! To which she confirmed (thanks Lil!) and so then that’s when I started to think maybe this is it! However; I didn’t hold my breath and went on with my day!

Once my Mum and Danny had woken up I told them about my eventful morning but I also said ‘Google says loosing your show doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in labour’ and obviously Google is the oracle and what Google says goes. Bless me.

I continued to potter about, watch a bit of Dexter and then it started! At 1pm I had my first contractions . . Period pains, getting stronger and stronger and once they became regular they were coming every 3 minutes! PANIC. Panic everywhere. I said no no no they’re meant to start off further apart and get closer together, this is really strange! The lady at the antenatal class said they will be 20 minutes apart at first! (I know realise nothing is ‘by the book’ when it comes to labour) I paced the garden every time a contraction started and whacked up the tens machine *which eventually got launched at about 4cm dilated* as I bounced on my birthing ball. I thought these were strong contractions (naive/clueless first time Mum alert)

Obviously tens machine in one hand, phone charger in the other.

So it was about 3:30pm now and I had been contracting for 2 hours but from the get go they had been 3 minutes apart . . Some of them were 1 minute apart but the majority were averaging at 3. I said oh my god I’m in labour take me to the hospital this baby is coming (hahahaha). We drove to the hospital bags packed, ready to rock and roll and me thinking ‘this is it, this HAS to be it’. We got to the assessment unit I was checked over and BAM. “Sorry hunny you’re 3cm dilated, you’ll have to go home” I nearly lost my shit. I was like WHAT. The app says go to hospital THE APP SAID GO TO HOSPITAL. The midwife looked at me, with pity? Stupidity? And said “ignore your app. Delete it. You need to concentrate on the strength of them, not the time in between them. It’s only going to get a lot more painful.”

YAY. Thank you so much for your positivity. Ugh.

I was heartbroken. In my head I thought, so I’ve got at least another 24 hours of this now if not longer. Everyone I know had been in labour for 30+ hours with their first! I’m not even ACTIVE labour. So off we went back home, where as soon as I walked through the door I ripped off the tens machine and launched it across the room as I muttered ‘what a crock of shit’. By now it was about 5pm.

I lay on my bed. Shut my eyes tight and breathed through every contraction in between getting up and running to the toilet because I thought I was going to be sick. I never was. If my Mum or Danny came into my room I shouted at them and said leave me alone, don’t talk to me, don’t touch me. I was in the zone, pretty focused. I just lay on my bed with Maisie my dog by my side and I huffed and puffed through every contraction.

2 hours later I could hardly walk. I could no longer talk through my contractions. I thought oh my god how is this SO strong when just 2 hours ago I was only 3cm dilated!!! I round up the troops, ‘I NEEEEED to go back to the hospital’ so back we went. The long way. It was the weekend of the Southport air show so to avoid getting stuck in traffic we had to go the LONG way. My Mum drove me and Danny followed in our car (still to this day none of us are actually quite sure why we did this) I had to wind the window down and I was hanging my head out of it panting like a dog. *wish I could have witnessed such a spectacle as a passer by*. We arrived at the hospital and I got out the car and started walking to the assessment unit. 3 contraction pit stops made on the way. Also I very nearly smacked one of the hospital porters in the face as she proceeded to rub my back in the lift, thinking she was helping me. She didn’t know I’d spent the last 2 hours not letting anyone touch me or speak to me!

We got to the assessment unit and I don’t really remember a lot. I had my eyes squeezed tight shut for the majority of the time as I was trying to get through each contraction, although I caught a glimpse of that midwife and she looked at me as if to say ‘she’s back again . . Two hours later . . *eye roll*’

The next thing I remember is being checked over and her shouting ‘YOU’RE 8CM’ and running in with the gas and air. Oh my god what what what what. I said ‘GIVE ME THE EPIDURAL NOW.’ She didn’t. She held my hand, she said you don’t need it, you’ve got this far on your own, you’re doing so amazing I had no idea you were 8cm dilated, the epidural will slow you down. You. Don’t. Need. It. She was right, I had breathed my way through my whole labour, I’d done the worst part all on my own, on my bed, with my dog by my side haha!

She gave me the confidence to believe I could do this. I could actually do this. So now it was about 7:30pm and I was wheeled onto the delivery suite. I was given a shot of diamorphine and that was it. I was officially LOVING life. It doesn’t stop the pain, my god don’t think for one second it stops he pain. It kind of takes the edge off, but at 8cm dilated what even is the edge anyway!? More importantly it makes you slightly drowsy and in between each contraction I’m sure I drifted in and out of sleep at the same time as asking my Mum to take a selfie of me in labour to send to my sister . . Gas and air in one hand, peace sign made with the other.

Mum and Danny were amazing! Granted they didn’t do much, but I didn’t want them to! They fed me toast, and held my lucozade I sipped through a straw. And that was enough, knowing they were there sat right next to me. I didn’t need their ‘words of encouragement’ (in my opinion a waste of breath when someone is in labour) or them to stroke me or rub my back. They just kept me grounded and calm. 

I casually made my way through 2 rounds of toast and a bottle of lucozade and it was about half 9 by now and I asked the midwife if she could check me again and she promised she would in an hour . . But we never got there.

It got to around 20 past 10 and I said MUM GET THE MIDWIFE HERE NOW. I need to push. The midwife came in and said ‘okay if you feel like you need to push we usually let you push for an hour before we will help you’ I thought WHAT. An hour. What’s she talking about? She’s got to be kidding. This baby is COMING. So I showed her I meant business (I don’t think she expected it hahaha) with my next contraction I pushed and from what I can gather everyone got a good ol preview of Evie’s full head of hair. Then they realised she was coming. I didn’t just need a poo. It was a BABY. A baby was coming! 

I pushed for 10 minutes. And there she was. At 10:35pm, 7lb 11oz of perfectness, Evie Grace Manchester was born.

All squishy and hairy. Looking like Russell from ‘Up’ ❤

My midwife was incredible. She was lovely, relaxed, friendly and she made me feel at ease the whole time. For someone who LOVES to stress I was relatively ‘calm’ throughout my labour (as clam as you can be pushing a human out your lady parts) and I am one of those realllllly annoying people who says they enjoyed labour! But I did. 2 weeks after Evie was born I turned to Danny and said I want to do it all again. He thought I was bonkers! That was coming from a person who during pregnancy repeatedly said “we are not having another one until she is 5″. I didn’t hate pregnancy, I didn’t love it either. I had SPD and I was swollen. But I made it my priority to keep any moaning to a minimal. I constantly reminded myself to be thankful. Even if my pigs trotters didn’t fit into ANY of my shoes.

But once you give birth all that changes. You don’t care you gained 4 stone (whooooops), that you looked like an inflated human or felt like someone had booted you in the last parts EVERY time you moved. You’d do it all again. Every second of it. Without a second thought.

People obviously tell you how it will change your life. You can imagine it, envision it, pretend like you know how it’s going to feel. But there are not enough words in the English language to explain or describe how your life changes in a split second. Things you thought you cared about no longer seem relevant. Everything now revolves around this tiny human you created and brought into the world and life as you know it has gone forever.