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30/06/2021

What's it like going from one to two?

 After "how was your labour?" this is the question I get asked all the time!

In all honesty, I have found it so much easier than going from none to one.


When Peyton was born, every single thing was new to us. Feeding, sleep, winding, changing nappies, bath time, putting on a vest... We second guessed ourselves on every single thing. Was she getting enough milk? Is it normal for her to be sick like that? Has she got colic? Has she got reflux? 

Nobody tells you any of the things you really need to know when you have a baby. Nobody tells you about the fourth trimester, which is arguably the thing that all new parents need to know the most about!!

I read a post on Facebook the other day by a breastfeeding consultant, who said that the most common time new parents went to her for help was between three and eight weeks. She listed all the things that I remember finding/thinking/worrying about with Peyton.

I found those first couple of months with her so hard. I didn't know if anything I was doing was right. I didn't know if breastfeeding was going ok, questioning whether it was 'normal' for her to feed so frequently or only want to fall asleep on the boob.

When I read back on some of my blog posts from those first few months I feel a bit sad. Sad that all I really focused on was the things I was finding hard/struggling with, rather than all the amazing things we were experiencing, that she was teaching us, or that she was doing.

This time, it couldn't be more different.

I mean, Maddox is a completely different baby altogether. He is so chilled. But I am wondering if that is, mainly because, I am more chilled.



I know what I am doing, I've done this before. I'm not worrying about every little thing he does and I'm not questioning myself.

When I read that post on Facebook, I realised I didn't have any of those worries or thoughts this time around. I trusted myself and I trusted what we were doing.

Don't get me wrong, it's been difficult at times feeling I need to split myself in two. Thankfully Peyton has been amazing at understanding that Maddox needs me sometimes and she hasn't been jealous, which has made everything so much easier.

I still make sure we have time just me and her, and involve her in everything as much as possible so she feels like she's helping rather than left out.






Jumping from one to two was something I was worried about when pregnant, but I really needn't have been.

Maddox has slot right in, it feels like he has always been here. He's super chill and is so, so happy. This last week we've started getting loads of smiles; although Peyton always gets the best ones!



He's now six weeks old and I honestly can't believe where the time has gone. 

We're starting to get into a little bit of a routine now and I just can't wait to enjoy all the milestones that are still to come. The newborn baby bubble lasts such a short time, but I'm so glad I spent it this time around soaking it all in rather than doubting everything I was doing and worrying.

26/06/2021

Maddox's birth story

 Wow. It's been a while.

I have so many draft posts saved on here, many that I wrote while pregnant, but never actually finished or posted. This post isn't about being pregnant, so I won't dwell too much on that, but it was a very different experience to my pregnancy with Peyton.

I've not written on here since February 2020. When Covid happened and lockdown hit, like many, life just went crazy. We were both working from home full-time with a toddler home 24/7. I just didn't have the time to spend on this and, also, didn't really know what to write about. 

So, here I am. Breaking my way back in to share with you my birth story. I mean, some of you might have not even known I was pregnant again, let alone had had another baby! 

One of the first things people have asked me when they've seen me since giving birth has been 'how was your labour???' I genuinely love hearing and reading other people's birth stories. So, if you're as interested as me, settle down with a brew and some biccies - cos it's going to be a ride!!

Maddox Jack Kershaw

Born Tuesday 18th May 2021 at 12.46am weighing 8lb 2oz


I'll give you a brief (
lol, who am I kidding, probs won't be brief!) overview of my pregnancy before we dive into the birth.

We found out I was pregnant again in September 2020; two days before my sister-in-law's wedding to be precise. Obviously we didn't tell anyone until that was out of the way, so avoiding the fizz all day was very difficult! Thankfully I'd volunteered to drive so got round it that way! I was already much further along than when I found out with Peyton, so quickly got a date for my 12 week scan - which was the same week as my birthday.

Because of Covid, Tom wasn't allowed to be with me at the scan. He had to stay outside in the car. So, prior to the NHS scan, we went for a private scan. I was around 10ish weeks when we had it and Tom was able to be there. Neither of us wanted me to go to the first scan alone incase there was anything wrong and I had to find out alone. At the private scan, the sonographer said she could see, what she thought was, a bruise in my uterus. She said it could often happen when the embryo implanted itself and it wasn't a worry to her, so we thought nothing more of it.

Nothing was mentioned at the 12 week scan, other than baby looked happy, healthy and "wild" - another wild one, excellent! I had a little cry when I saw baby on the screen then. Not sure if it's because I was on my own, but I just felt such a sense of relief that everything was ok. The weeks leading up to it had been pretty crap for some of our closest friends and family, so we felt something was sure to go wrong with us; and almost felt guilty that we could be happy while they were all going through so much. (That's what one of my draft posts is about!)



Fast forward a few weeks to Remembrance Sunday (approx 16 weeks), and I had a bleed. It was the Saturday morning when I went to the loo. I kept checking every few minutes afterwards, and there was nothing more. So I thought no more of it. However, Sunday morning was the same; but more. You can imagine how I felt. I told Tom, and he was convinced something bad was happening.

I called 111 for advice, given that it was a weekend and I wasn't yet at the point where you could ring maternity triage. Honestly, I wish I hadn't. The initial call handler was really helpful as I explained to her, through my tears, what was going on. A doctor called me back almost straight away and I really wish I'd got his name because I would've registered some form of complaint against him/recommendation he works on his communication skills.

He basically told me that there was nothing anybody could do. Because of Covid, the Early Pregnancy Unit wasn't seeing anyone for bleeding unless they also had severe pain; which I didn't. He said that "it sounds like it could be a miscarriage but you just need to wait two to three weeks then take a pregnancy test to see if you are still pregnant". I had no words and just burst into tears. I'm no medical expert, but surely there must be a better way to word that?! He could obviously tell he'd been a nob because he quickly added: "Or you can ring triage for a second opinion". Yeah, cheers pal, you better believe I will.

I rang triage and they said that, unfortunately, what he said about not being seen by Early Pregnancy Unit was right; but agreed he should have picked his words better. They said they would speak to the unit when they opened that morning and ask them to get in touch with me and, while looking at my case notes on the computer, spotted that I was rhesus negative. That basically means I have negative blood and if I have any episodes of bleeding or bumps to my tummy need to go in for an AntiD injection. 

Early Pregnancy Unit rang me back shortly after and asked me to go in for my bloods taking and injection and said that they had a space for a scan that they could book me into to check everything was ok. We all bundled in the car and headed to York. Tom wasn't allowed in with me again, cos of Covid, so I went by myself. He took Peyton to McDonald's and the park while I was there. I think it was the longest few hours ever for us both. But, everything was fine. They said they could see no reason why I was having the bleeds but said baby was happy and healthy; which was all that mattered.



At 20 weeks, my scan showed the reason for the bleeds. I had a blood clot at the back of my uterus. I think this is what the private scan picked up when they said it was a bruise. I was already under a consultant due to blood loss in my delivery with Peyton, so he kept a close eye on me with extra appointments and scans to monitor the situation.

He said there was a chance my waters could break early, due to the clot, and it was likely I'd go into labour early, too (remember this remark when we get further on!!!)

I had a few more bleeds after then; one on Christmas morning - far from ideal, Every time I had one I had to go into hospital, alone, to be checked over and have my AntiD.



Because of the clot I also had more growth scans. Towards the end the rules changed and Tom was allowed, once again, to come to appointments with me. So that was nice. But, other than getting to see the baby more, the growth scans were a complete and utter waste of bloody time! Not only did each appointment leave me sat waiting for hours, but the scan itself said something different every time.

I was told he was going to be huge, that his weight had dropped, and then again he was going to be big.

Three days before my due date they told me he was already 9lb 2oz...! So as I went more and more overdue I was panicking about having a 10lb baby!!

So, onto my labour. Having done hypnobirthing with Peyton, I decided to do a refresher course this time around. We opted for an online, digital course which covered everything again.

I was pretty relaxed about labour again. Probably because we were trying to get our house move sorted at the same time, so didn't have time to worry about giving birth!

I ended up going past 40 weeks, which I was surprised about. Not only because of my consultant's words, but because I felt like I was carrying so low. I had a sweep at 40+4 (Tuesday11th May) and, that night, had a bloody show. The next morning I felt like I'd lost my mucus plug, so started to get excited things were starting! 



That afternoon I was woken up from my afternoon nap by tightenings. Now, I'd been having Braxton Hicks for agesssss, so I didn't get too excited initially. But when they continued to come every 10-15 minutes, even when I changed position/moved about, I wondered if it meant things were getting going. I text my mum and we agreed we'd take Peyton to their house after nursery just incase we needed to get to the hospital in the night. We dropped her off and went for a walk when we got home, still getting the tightenings every 10ish minutes.

The Thursday morning I was disappointed we'd not had a hospital dash in the night. We walked to Lidl (for the bakery) and things felt like they were getting closer together and a little more intense. However, when we got home, everything stopped completely. I said to my mum we'd get Peyton as it seemed pointless her staying there if nothing was happening. She dropped her home, but soon took her back after she spent 45 minutes crying saying she didn't want to be at home and wanted to go back to nana and papa's house!!

I picked her up on the Friday as, still, nothing was developing. Just the same pattern as the previous two days. 

I had another sweep on the Saturday (15th May) morning and the midwife said I was about 3cm dilated and fully effaced. It sounded as though my body was ready, baby just wasn't! We discussed induction and agreed to book me in for the Monday if nothing happened over the weekend.

Had we not been moving house that week, I probably would've waited and just let baby come when he was ready. But I was very aware of the fact the move was a week away and I didn't want to be in labour/giving birth while we were meant to be moving. 

Nothing happened over the weekend, so on the Sunday evening we went for tea at my mum and dad's house before leaving Peyton there. I felt really emotional driving home. I think it's because I knew the next time I saw her she wouldn't be the baby anymore and would be a big sister. But also because I didn't know how long it would be until we saw her, not knowing how long being induced and my labour would take, but also if I would need to stay in hospital after the birth.

On the Monday morning, I rang the ward at 7.30am and was told to go straight in. We had been worried that Tom might have to leave if I didn't go in early enough. Because of Covid partners of those being induced had to leave at 8pm if you weren't yet in established labour. So I was hopeful that, by then, things would have got started. Especially as I seemed so close already!

We arrived at the hospital just before 9am and took all our luggage in. Tom said he felt like he was at an airport as he pulled the bags through the car park.



We got to the ward and were shown to our room. It was really nice! It had a bed, sofa, birth ball, and a bath. I was put straight on the monitor so the midwife, Sophie, could see what was happening. I was having tightenings while I was on it, which she could see on the graph when she came back in. When she examined me she said I was around 2-3cm dilated. She was unsure what course of induction to take, and I did make it known I preferred the most natural ways possible (mainly wanting to avoid the hormone drip!)

We decided on the gel, which is basically the hormones needed to kickstart labour put directly onto the cervix. She put it in and we settled down and got relaxed. Well, I say we got relaxed, we watched Line of Duty! Not the most relaxing! I bounced on the ball and tried to stay as active as possible. I noticed the tightenings getting more regular, but were still not at the three in 10 stage.



I had lasagne and chips followed by apple crumble and custard for my dinner, watched Pretty Woman, and ate a load of pick n mix sweets. I was loving life. I must say, this side of being induced was great. I liked that we were able to get Peyton organised and settled as well, rather than everything being a mad dash.




They'd decided to move me to the labour ward at 4pm to have my waters broken, so we gathered all our stuff together. My preference was for a water birth, so we asked for a pool room. When we got over there we had a lovely room with a pool and a bed in. When I had Peyton, the room only had a pool so meant any examinations etc had to be done on the sofa - which wasn't the most comfortable! 

This room also had amazing lights and a light projection show. Everyone who came in said how 'zen' it felt. I was loving life.



My waters were broken around 5pm and, wow, what an experience that was. With Peyton, my waters broke when I was in the pool. So I didn't really get to experience, as such, what it was like.

This time Laura, the midwife, broke them for me with a little plastic hook thing. It was the strangest sensation. As she pulled the hook out it was like Niagra Falls. My waters literally shot up and out and across the room. Poor Laura was bloody soaked!! Honestly it was so strange. Every time I moved more gushed out, and with every contraction I felt more too. 

But it definitely got things started. My contractions started feeling more intense, with me needing to focus on my breathing in between, and were definitely getting closer together. My preference throughout labour was to remain as active as possible - so bouncing on the ball, moving around the room etc. I didn't want to get into the pool too early, like I did with Peyton, and didn't want to just be lying on the bed. 



However, it soon became apparent with each contraction that baby was struggling. His heart rate was dropping and taking a while to get back up. Laura (the midwife) suggested that I try sitting on the bed to see if that helped, which it did. So we moved the bed into a sitting chair position and that was me. I think this was around 6pm.

Shortly after, and with his heart rate was still dropping with the contractions, it was decided to put a clip on the top of his head to monitor him directly. This meant that I had to stay on the bed, and couldn't move around. But also meant I wouldn't be able to get in the pool. But this was fine. I was far more open-minded about this birth, having seen how my 'plan' went awry with P's labour. This time I didn't have a birth plan, I had preferences. 

When I was examined again at 8pm I was found to be 4cm dilated - which meant active labour. Hallelujah! The midwives swapped over around this time so Laura went and Chelsea took over.

From then, my contractions really felt like they were ramping up. I was really having to focus on breathing through them and was finding them way more intense. I was even starting to moo through them, which is the weirdest, most involuntary sound ever. It really felt like I must have been dilating quickly. 

I was trying to keep my energy up so was making sure I was eating and drinking plenty - flapjack was my go-to snack! I remember at one stage Chelsea coming back in whilst I was mid-contraction eating a piece of chocolate flapjack. She couldn't believe I was sat eating halfway through my contractions!

At 11pm I was examined again and was fully expecting to be, like, 8cm dilated. But no, still 4cm.

I won't lie, I was disappointed. I didn't see how I could still be the same as 3hrs earlier when everything felt so intense and close together. But I tried not to get too disheartened. 

Chelsea suggested that we try the hormone drip to try and get things moving along a bit. She said she knew that I didn't want to, but thought it might help get me going a bit quicker. I agreed, and we decided to just introduce a tiny little bit at a time to see if it would help.

By midnight, baby's heart rate was struggling again. A doctor came in who'd been watching the machine from outside and said he was a bit concerned. He asked if he'd be able to examine me and 'tickle' the top of baby's head to see if it helped his heart rate pick back up. He did, and it can't have had the desired effect because he came back wanting to do something else.

By this point, I was absolutely exhausted. My attempts at eating and drinking to keep my energy up didn't seem to have worked as I just felt completely burnt out. I was falling asleep between contractions, even though they felt like they were coming on top of each other. Those brief seconds where I wasn't having one I was straight off.

The doctor came back about 12.15ish and asked if he could do a procedure to take some blood from the top of baby's head to test his oxygen levels. He said it would show one of three things which would indicate whether things were ok or if they needed to get him out ASAP via a caesarean. 

“I have too much to do this week to have a caesarean!!!” I said to Tom.

To do this procedure, he needed me to lie on my side. I'd already tried moving onto my side to see if it would help baby's heart rate during the contractions and everything felt so intense I couldn't do it. But I dug deep, rolled over and, once again, held Chelsea's hand through the contractions. The doctor confirmed I was still 4cm (thanks!) and did what he needed to (it was like a smear test, essentially!)

Once the procedure was done, I rolled back onto my back. And this is where things really started to ramp up. It must've been about 12.30am by this time.

All of a sudden, the pain felt unbearable. It was a totally different type of pain to what I had been feeling all night. It felt like it was all in my bum.

I remember this overwhelming urge to poo, and apologising to Chelsea and Tom because all I felt like I wanted to do was poo. (Sorry if this is TMI!)

I started getting upset with myself, saying I couldn't do it. All I could think was 'if this is what it feels like at 4cm, how can I get to 10cm?'

Chelsea assured me that this was my body doing what it needed to, and I now realise this was the 'transition' period. But, at the time, I couldn't see how I could do it.

"I really feel like I need to push," I remember saying. Chelsea told me to listen to my body and push if I needed to. At this point, the doctor came back and asked if I wanted any pain relief, like an epidural. Chelsea told him to leave as the baby was coming so it was too late.

She told me she could see his head and called for another midwife to come in for the delivery.

I was absolutely exhausted and wasn't sure whether I could muster the energy or the strength to push him out, but somehow I did! And with just a few pushes his head was out, followed quickly by his shoulders. And before I knew it, he was on my chest; eyes wide open, looking around. Literally minutes after I was still just 4cm, I'd stormed to 10cm and he was here!



He didn't cry, he was just super chill taking it all in.

I couldn't believe it. It felt like such a different experience to Peyton's birth. There was barely anyone in the room this time, compared to with Peyton. When she was born she came out screaming the joint down, whereas Maddox was so quiet. And with Peyton I literally held her for a split second before she was taken away to be checked over. Whereas, with Maddox, I held him for what felt like hours before he was taken away to be weighed.

"What time was he born?" I remember asking about an hour later - I'd lost all track of time.

"Today!" Tom answered.

Well no shit, Sherlock!!

12.46am, Tuesday 18th May. 8lb 2oz.

11 days after my estimated due date. 

Born at York Hospital.


He came out with his hand up by his face so I had a little graze which required two stitches, but that was it. I hiiiiighly recommend doing your perineum stretches in the weeks leading up to your due date, ladies. It made the world of difference this time - no need for a cut and no tear!!

Just a few hours later I was up and about and in the shower. After that, I walked to the postnatal ward pushing Maddox in his little crib. With Peyton, I couldn't walk properly for at least 24 hours! And had to be wheeled around to the postnatal ward.

I was obviously glad that I felt better down there after giving birth this time, but more so because of the rules regarding partners visiting on the postnatal ward. Tom was only allowed to come in for a two-hour visiting slot which he had to ring and book at 9am. I didn't even need to look at my watch to know it was 9am as the phone on the ward started ringing off the hook as desperate partners tried to book their slot to come in. It was really sad.

If it had been like that with Peyton I'd have been stuck as I couldn't get out of bed or do anything by myself. Tom was back at 8am the morning after she was born, which was a godsend! 

We were hopeful that we wouldn't have to stay in this time, which we probably wouldn't had he not been born in the middle of the night. But because they needed to do his hearing test and other newborn checks before we could be officially discharged, it was recommended we stay as opposed to having to come back the next day.

As it transpired, we were out just after dinnertime anyway. So it wasn't too bad at all.


We were straight home to get settled and introduce him to his excited big sister.


Again, my birth wasn't exactly as my preferences had set out; maybe if we go for number three I'll manage a water birth then! But I had gone into everything much more open minded this time. I knew that things could take a turn, and as long as me and baby were ok they could do what they wanted. 

I managed to do my entire labour without any pain relief, not even gas and air this time. Even when I had my wobble right before he was born, I managed to calm myself, focus and breathe through it. I remember Chelsea saying to me "you've literally just breathed a baby out!" I know she probably compliments every woman who she helps to deliver a baby for, but she really made me feel like superwoman haha!

So, there we have it! I'm now a mum-of-two. And, in true mum-of-two style, it's taken me 17 days to write this hahahaha! Hopefully it doesn't take you as long to read it...!

Lots of love,

The Kershaws

xxxx



You may also like: Peyton's birth story

17/02/2020

Why do people think it's ok to be a dick to others?

Why do people think it's ok to be a dick to others? I really wish I knew.

Putting yourself out there on social media, in today's society, is a risk. You open yourself up to scrutiny, criticism and bullying - and that's not ok.

Social media, when used properly, can be an amazing thing. It raises awareness of campaigns and good causes, helps to find lost people/pets, and raises money for vital fundraisers. However, the minority ruin it for everyone else by using it as a way to bully others.

Just because someone is in the public eye, or because their profile is open to public viewing, does not mean that we know every single detail about their life. It is not an invitation to pass judgement or to be mean.

It is possible, believe it or not, to see something (or someone) that you don't like on your news feed and keep on scrolling. If you passed someone in the street and didn't like their outfit, or their hair, or their glasses, you wouldn't stop and tell them. So why is it ok to do it from behind a keyboard?

Why is it ok to bully someone? And do so in such a faceless way.

It's cowardly behaviour.

It’s 2020, yet STILL people take every word in the tabloids as gospel. They eat into the clickbait culture and hound people when they’re at their absolute lowest ebb. 

Trolls - who aren’t even brave enough to use their own names/accounts - BULLY people online relentlessly; just because they can.

The media feeds this vile culture. You only have to look at the comments section on Mail Online to see a fraction of some of the disgusting, unthinkable abuse people are subject to. That’s just a tiny proportion of it.

The media decided Caroline Flack was guilty of assaulting her boyfriend before Christmas. Despite the fact she appeared before court and entered a NOT GUILTY plea. Her boyfriend also vehemently denied that anything happened. Yet they continued - ripping into her at every available opportunity; fuelling those evil keyboard warriors to do the same.

Nobody knows what anybody is going through behind closed doors and it absolutely breaks my heart that there are people out there who are so unhappy with their lives that they see no other option but suicide. I’ve seen nothing but an outpouring of love since the news broke of her passing. 

No doubt if she’d known how many people loved her, she might have taken a different course of action. Instead, the trolls won. The hate - once again - overpowered the amount of love. Why?! Why can’t people just be nice??


We’re on a vicious cycle where someone high profile takes their own life, everyone says we need to be kinder, but it’s all forgotten when the next “scandal” knocks on the door of the press and another person’s life is left in tatters.

My heart breaks for Caroline Flack’s family and friends. And the family and friends of anyone else who has ever lost someone because of suicide.

People calling for Love Island to be banned as a result of her suicide are only serving to add to the problem. The problem is not Love Island.

In fact, the people that are in South Africa appearing on the show at the moment are probably in one of the best situations. No phones, no access to the outside world, no access to social media, and no way of seeing the poison that’s been written.

The headlines “game” last week showed just how damaging they can be, when the couples got upset about things written about them that weren’t true.

The problem here is not the show. The show is called Love Island, not Troll Island. It’s about love. It’s about friendship.

It all goes wrong when they enter the real world which, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be as focused on love, kindness and friendship.

Taking Love Island off our screens won't fix this problem.

There needs to be tighter regulations on social media. And tighter regulations on how the tabloids operate. IPSO is there to regulate the media, but I feel they have some work to do when it comes to bullying people via the press.

They need to rein in their hateful articles, but maybe stop allowing people to comment. The comments section on Mail Online is like some cesspool for trolls. It’s vile.

I don’t know what it is about the internet that makes people think that they can say whatever they want about a person. I used to hate it when Tom had to do Facebook live videos for work because every time, without fail, the comments would be SO personal about him. Even on articles that he’d written, they’d write horrible, horrible things. He was never bothered by it, but it always upset me.

These nobs have no conscience and no concept of how their words affect not only the person they’re aimed at, but their family and friends, too.

None of this is caused by a TV show that’s about love.

It’s caused by a society that suddenly thinks it’s okay to be dicks to people for no other reason than you don’t like/agree with them.

And until that underlying issue is fixed, nothing else will be.

It scares me, the way the world is going. We can protect our children from almost anything. We can vaccinate them against diseases, keep them safe in the car, hold their hands when walking down the street, teach them about stranger danger, teach them to swim, teach them to ride a bike without stabilisers... but we can’t protect them from themselves and their thoughts. And we certainly can’t protect them from vile, horrible trolls who will beat them down quicker than they can ever get back up.

The world is a dark, dark place at times; and right now feels like one of them. I hope, finally, this is the catalyst for change.


No more lives should be lost this way. Please, just be kind to everyone.


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