Having a baby, being pregnant, the whole lot – it’s a massive learning curve. I’ve written previously about the things I will do differently with my second child than I have with my firstborn. However, I noticed that all of them were things I would do once the baby arrived, and not during the pregnancy itself. Since my pregnancy, I have watched a lot of my friends go through their various pregnancies and new baby stages and am learning a lot from them. I’ve also read a lot, between parenting blogs and books and articles, which has brought a whole lot of learning in itself. I’ve discovered things I wish I knew before my pregnancy, and so, here’s the list of what I would hope to do differently the second time around.
Ahead of the March for Choice next week in Dublin, there was a Repeal Not Replace demonstration in Cork City on Saturday 23rd September. I was asked by the organisers to be one of the speakers at this event. Initially I was hesitant to speak, feeling like my story wasn’t as relevant of that of many of the women who have suffered greatly under the 8th Amendment to our constitution. However, on reflection, I realised that as a woman who has gone through pregnancy in Ireland, I do have my experiences of maternity care under the 8th to speak about. The 8th Amendment is about so much more than abortion and it’s availability in our state, and I hope that I got that across in my speech. Here’s the full text of the speech, I’d love to hear what you think.
Another day, another horrific tale in the news. It’s unfortunately part of life in Ireland in 2017. In the last few years, the topics of mental health and the 8th amendment have been in the news seperately and together, but yesterday’s news had something different. The Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland reported on a case from the Child Care Law Report Project which took place in 2016, and opened our eyes to fresh horror.
We all have little memory trinkets that we want to keep. Some people keep baby books, others keep shoeboxes full of memories. In the modern era, there are entire apps and computer programmes dedicated to a technological way of keeping your precious memories safe. Sometimes however, old school is the best way. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that theres a book, an album, to rifle through for the nostalgia. As parents, we want to keep the memories safe. We make sure that our children (and theirs) will be able to look back and see their childhood. What is the best way to preserve these memories?
The boy will be three in March. He’s long gone from being a baby, and is even losing his toddler ways. More and more, I’m seeing a little boy when I look at him. We’re enduring the TERRIBLE twos at the moment. Defiant. Tantrums. Enough attitude for his own punk band and then some to spare. He has his own little group of friends from creche, whom he loves. And now he wants a baby brother.
My heart is sore. I’ve just finished listening to an incredibly brave woman, Siobhan Whelan, talk about her pregnancy in an interview on Prime Time. Prime Time never gets the good news stories from maternity wards, and this interview was no different. Siobhan, who was pregnant at the same time as I was in 2013/2014, was treated in Cavan General Hospital. This hospital has been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, home to numerous tragedies caused by medical misadventure. Pregnant women have entered and left empty handed, mourning the loss of their babies, believing in many cases that it was their fault. This isn’t the first Prime Time interview I’ve watched with women who were treated there, not the first I’ve welled up to. It draws little surprise, even though the topic is heart-wrenching. The lack of shock about the conditions is what hurts my heart most of all. It’s not exactly the only example of pregnant women losing their voices in the course of pregnancy as far as the medical profession is concerned. Bodily autonomy isn’t something afforded to those with child here.
This week’s Mental Health Monday piece is from my archives – not my personal story, but a piece I wrote in conjunction with others for a magazine piece. It was eye opening for me to learn about prenatal depression and to speak to Madge and Rosey who have experience in the area. It’s something that is so rarely spoken about, which can lead to more feelings of isolation in pregnancy with women who do suffer with it. Hopefully you’ll find it insightful and a useful read.
The day you find out youâ€™re pregnant is a life-changing day. Whether it is your first or your fourth, a planned new addition or an unexpected surprise, when that test changes to a positive sign, your heart will race and everything changes. For some it is a moment of absolute bliss, but for others, it can take a while for the news to sink in and to process whether or not this is a good thing. The image of a panicked woman and a pregnancy test in hand is not just reserved for the teenager terrified to tell her parents â€“ even when youâ€™ve got your life sorted out, that positive test can rock you to your core and make you think about what you really want in your life.
When I was pregnant, I saw a lot of my doctors thanks to my blood pressure and I not getting along. In the later stages of my pregnancy, the words “pre-eclampsia” were bandied about a bit. It was discussed at length as to whether or not specific results that day indicated if I did or didn’t have it, or if it seemed likely I would. Nobody sounded very happy about the possibility so I for sure knew it wasn’t a good thing. However, there was little enough information being sent my way about it which led me to googling what it could possibly mean.
For a pregnant lady whose blood pressure was already high, googling may not have been the best idea. There’s a lot of information out there online. In particular, information in well meaning forums where pregnant women and mothers discuss different symptoms and features of pregnancy, birth and beyond. A lot of this can be misleading, or more frightening than it should be.
So, for the sake of my past self who was terrified of what this diagnosis could mean for me and my baby (thank you Downton Abbey), here is a No Nonsense Intro to Pre-Eclampsia – hopefully if you’re reading this due to a similar Google search, it will allay some of your fears. While it is a very serious condition which can be very dangerous if not managed correctly, it is also key to keep in mind that when it is caught in time, which is the majority of cases in modern Ireland, mother and baby get through it healthily and happily.
Two years ago, after a rather mixed up bank holiday weekend, I took a pregnancy test, because hey, what else would you be up to on a bank holiday Monday night? It said Pregnant, 1-2 Weeks. 2 years on, I’ve now got a 16 month old who is walking, talking and giving attitude falling asleep in the room next to mine, and it has me thinking of things I’d like to say to that girl, sitting on the bed staring at the digital screen in disbelief.
When I was in hospital just about to give birth to Eliott (a day or two before the induction); my oldest friend Siobhán, who had seen me through every big and small life event since we were six, came to visit me. With her were two washing baskets, decorated and filled to the brim with goodies, baby necessities and gorgeous baby clothes – the perfect new baby basket. She had literally thought of everything. It was definitely one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received, and something I would love to replicate. As it happens, a rather awesome blogger friend of mine, the lovely Suzy from The Airing Cupboard, is expecting a little boy in the next few weeks, and as I understand that having a baby isn’t just a time to focus on the baby but also the new Mama, I’ve decided to throw together something similar; a little baby basket, a hamper of joy, love and Mammy treats.
I gave birth in March 2014. My son is 15 months old this week, and the question has been asked, more than once, as to when I’m going to give him a baby brother or sister. If I’ll go again. For most it isn’t a question of if, rather when, as having an only child is an anomaly in society. I wasn’t aware that when the animals went two by two on to the ark they were in fact siblings, that does make the story a whole lot more weird, but it appears that if society says children must come in twos that theory had to come from somewhere. (more…)
These days Iâ€™m the mother of a rather adventurous, loud, mad-as-a-hatter 14 month old boy who I canâ€™t really get away with calling my baby anymore â€“ heâ€™s the light of my life and the reason Iâ€™m driven insane all in one fell swoop. However, when I started this blog I was heavily pregnant and for the most part a bit clueless about the whole process of becoming a parent and the changes it would bring to my life. Iâ€™ve written before about the things motherhood has taught meÂ hereÂ andÂ here, but all of that skips over the whole question of getting the baby out of me, a thought which absolutely terrified me (I donâ€™t have much of a pain threshold and an addiction to One Born Every Minute really wasnâ€™t helping).
So unless you’ve been living under a rock, yesterday the English royal family welcomed a new baby, a little girl, and the media attention stopped focusing on when Kate was going to drop the baby, and started on what she was going to name her. There are bookies filling up with odds on different names, from the traditional to the not so traditional (I’m not sure Daenerys Windsor will quite work out so well). Twitter feeds are wall to wall royal baby. I must admit, I’m a bit curious myself. A name is interesting; its rarely just a passing whim when you’re imposing it on your child for life. So what is involved in name selection? It’s really not as easy as some people make it look… (more…)
When you’re getting ready to have a new baby, whether your first or your 2nd/3rd/19th, the hospital bag is one of the most important things to have planned out. I would suggest not taking the approach I took, which involved a lot of putting it off until it was a little too late and ending up stuck in hospital trying to assemble the bag in dribs and drabs. The earlier the better is the general rule with these things, and if there is a next time, the bag will be being prepared from the 20 week scan!
I was listening to podcasts on my way into work this morning, and came across a recent interview on the Tubridy show on 2fm which caught my interest. Normally I don’t get much of a chance to listen to Ryan Tubridy but I do tend to enjoy the interviews on there so try to catch the podcasts regularly enough. This interview was with Maia Dunphy, tv presenter and producer who recently caused a media frenzy by announcing her pregnancy on Twitter with a photoshopped ultrasound image. As expected, the interview was predominantly made up of excited flurry (mostly on the part of Tubridy) regarding babies, and could have been written off as just one of those “new mum to be” interviews until Maia stated that she had “gotten her head around it now”. (more…)
This is not a broody post. Promise. This is also definitely not an indication that another sprog will be entering the equation any time soon; no siree, we are a family of three and happy that way for the foreseeable (20:20 vision) future. The things I do not miss about being pregnant (a much longer list) have certainly made that one definite – that and the fact that I’ve yet to discover the sleepful nights, no nappies part of this parenting craic, nor proved myself able to keep something alive for more than a year. That’s definitely a goal I should attempt to meet before deciding the first one went well so another would be grand. It didn’t work out so well for any plant I’ve ever owned (god love that aloe vera, it takes effort to kill those…) but he seems to be faring well. Anyway, point made, this is a broody but not broody post, inspired by a pregnancy announcement by a lovely blogger friend of mine.
Before my childbirth experience, I had looked into various different options available during labour and felt I’d done my due research, using blogs, articles, personal experience from friends and relatives. In the end, I wound up having an induction at 37 weeks which ended in an Emergency C-Section after 35 long hours. Though I had found out some essentials about a c-section beforehand, I definitely had a knowledge gap in that area. I did learn a couple of things along the way which would have been handy to know beforehand, so I’ve popped together this post to hopefully aid someone else in future.
If you’re expecting a baby, even if you have every intention of a natural vaginal birth, it may help you to be prepared for the possibility of a caesarean section just in case!
I failed my theory test by one question the other day. The fact that it was one question is what annoys me most about it, but I’m confident that next time, when I haven’t been moving house for the previous week while learning to cope with a five month old practicing drop-and-rolls constantly, I’ll manage it.The theory test was filled with questions that for some of them, had nonsense answers – the obvious ones, I grant you – Option D for one question about what to do when an elderly person is crossing the road when the light turned green suggested to shout at them to move along and keep driving. It was also filled with questions that had multiple answers, i.e. the real law abiding answer, and the how everyone does it answer. It got me thinking; what if there had to be a parenting theory test?
Today is the second day of August, the eighth month of the year. It’s almost a year to the day that I found out I was pregnant last year – that has simply flown. I sit here now with my gorgeous little man in my arms, accustomed to sleep deprivation, able to make up bottles with one hand and no longer disgusted by much of anything that may get on my person – dealing with baby explosions of all types will do that to you. Back then I was pure terrified – 21, not feeling like a grown up at all, much less a responsible one who would be in charge of making sure someone else had a good life. (To be fair, not much has changed there. Mammy guilt is ever present.)
I’ve known for months that I have no veins. I’m the one who jokes about being clinically dead when the medical students can’t find my pulse (in either arm), I’ve got one spot on one arm that if its in a good mood will give up a dribble of blood, and I’m pretty sure that its a frustrated sigh from dealing with my arms rather than at having to be working the night shift that numerous nurses have come out with. (more…)
So since my last post I’ve been hospitalised twice, and am writing this from the (dis)comfort of my hospital bed in the only non baby filled room (so far) on this wing of the hospital, attached to a bloody CTG machine. The inventor of this yoke was definitely a sadist, and whoever decided that blood pressure should be measured at the same time an idiot; because I know that this is certainly driving up mine! (more…)