Thursday, 30 July 2015

Amber Teething Necklace - Worth It? | Review

I put a lot of research into the amber teething necklace before I actually bought one.
When Thomas was a baby we would resort to the teething granules, Dentinox and the good old Bongela, we never went very far without a bit of Bongela while Tom was teething!

I always just assumed that the teething necklaces were a 'hippie' fad and that it would maybe be a placebo? Not to mention the fact that it was a necklace.. I mean, who puts a necklace on a baby?

Well... me apparently! After having Ewan and knowing what a little handful he could be (to put it mildly) I knew I was going to need all the help I could get when it came to teething.

But what if it strangles my child? What if a piece falls off and he chokes on it? Just some of the questions I asked myself.
The necklace is baltic amber which are meant to be worn up against babies skin, they contain a natural pain reliever and anti inflammatory, called succinic acid.
It works well on babies and toddlers as it has a calming effect along with easing the pain of teething.

The beads on the necklace are all individually knotted so if it does break (which if pulled too tightly it is made to break) it wont scatter beads everywhere for your baby to pick up.

It is recommended that your child does not wear them through out the night. For the first few months we would wrap the necklace around Ewans ankle, though most often he would wake up with it fallen off, now he just wears it around his neck and it doesn't get taken off.

Do I think they work?

Absolutely! Ewan has been wearing his since his first tooth came through at 5 months.
I took it off for about a week once as I thought it probably wasn't really doing much, let me say that week was hell for us, the child did not sleep, until I just thought 'I wonder if I put the necklace back on, will he settle?' YEP! First night it was back on he slept right through no problem, no dribbling, no winging, teeth just pop up like its 'magic' - if it is a 'placebo' (which I don't see how it can be on a baby) as long as it works and Ewan is happy and content, that's what matters to me.

So there you have it, my thoughts and opinions on the Baltic Amber Teething Necklace,
What are your thoughts on them? Have you used them on your children? I would love to know.

Thanks for reading

Anna xx

Friday, 24 July 2015

Caesarean Section - The Easy Way Out?

I have wondered whether to write this post or not, I never got to do the natural birth, much to my contempt, both of my children were born by Caesarean section.
But there seems to be a stigma going around that having a C-section is the 'easy way out' when it comes to giving birth. Are they right? Does it make me less of a woman?

When I got pregnant with Thomas I always wanted the 'perfect' birth, I wanted the water birth with no medication, the immediate skin to skin and to be able to go home that very same day.
Unfortunately, that idea was pretty quickly snuffed out by the consultants.
See here forThomas and Ewans birth stories to get more of an idea of why.

Instead I was left feeling like someone had cut me open, reached inside my stomach and rummaged around in there for a bit, taken a few bits out and then sewed me back up again - oh wait.. yeah that did happen.
As much as it sounds relatively easy, I mean, all you have to do is lie there whilst completely numb right? It is still classed as major abdominal surgery and the recovery is really tough, not to mention the newborn baby who now solely relies on you for everything, you barely have the muscle strength to lift your child, let alone anything else.
For the first week you are walking around feeling like your insides might drop out. You ache all of the time, just getting up the stairs is a task in itself.
I was one of the lucky ones, my body is pretty good at recovering quickly, but your body needs at least 3 months for you to start feeling like you have fully recovered.

Those are just some of the things you have to deal with when you have had a caesarean birth, don't get me wrong, I have no doubt that having a natural birth is no walk in the park, but does that invalidate caesarean Mothers, and why?

When I had the kids, all too often I got told, "oh lucky you, not having to push" "you don't know how hard it is having to push naturally like I did" "lucky you got to sleep through it all"
Those are just some of the comments I got, and after having Ewan especially, those comments hurt, so much so I would leave the room and cry about it.

So to anyone thinking that Caesarean Section might be the easy way out, think again, and to anyone thinking of having an elective Caesarean, be warned.. It's not as easy as you are lead to believe!

Let me know what you think, are caesareans really as easy as they're made out to be?

Thanks for reading,

Anna xx

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Ewans Caesarean Section Birth Story

I have had two very different experiences when it comes to having a caesarean birth, Thomas' experience was really quite straight forward in terms of the birth, and I have always spoken about it as being a very positive, happy experience for both Matt and I.
A few months after having Tom, I went for an MRI scan to find out why the doctors had such a hard time trying to get a spinal block into my spine and to get answers in the event that I would have another caesarean and to be better prepared. What they found was that my spine was beginning to fuse together at the bottom - no wonder it was nearly impossible!

When I fell pregnant with Ewan, it was pretty much a done deal that I would be having another caesarean, and this time it would be planned to perfection, with doctors visits galore, trips to see anaesthetic consultants where I would express my fears of being put under general anaesthetic, I speak briefly about this in my birth story with Thomas. In short I have a sensitivity to general anaesthetic. Plenty of ultrasounds, midwife appointments, both at the hospital and the Doctors surgery, you name it.
 Though through out all of this I still felt a fear about the birth, 'what if they can't get the needle in? What if they put me to sleep and can't wake me back up again?' I think even a woman giving birth naturally has this fear right in the back of their head of 'what if I die?' That sounds drastic doesn't it but it's going into the unknown, it scares us. Except this time I did know, I knew that this was going to be a challenge for all involved.

Ewan was due to come the day before I turned 38 weeks to make sure that I didn't go into labour on my own again. The day came and Matt and I set off for the hospital bright and early. It was a new experience being a planned caesarean, the whole thing was very surreal. We were basically made to sit and wait our 'turn' with all of the other couples due to go in that same day.

I had a quick check up and a talk with an anaesthetist who I had never met before and who seemed to know nothing about my condition or my history, in fact I seem to remember her saying she didn't have my notes with her. My heart was filled with so much dread at that point, I had to go through everything that I had previously told the consultants, but everything I was saying just seemed like it was going over her head, I don't know why. I came out of that room feeling sick and I remember turning to Matt and just saying 'I'm going to be put to sleep' I think he knew it too.

It was my 'turn' to go and have a baby, so I got ready and left Matt in the waiting room for when I would hopefully be all numbed up and ready to have a baby. I sat down on the bed to get the cannula put in my hand by the anaesthetist, they had a hard time getting it in, after about 6 attempts from numerous people, they managed to get one into my hand using an ultrasound machine. You can imagine how much confidence that filled me with?...

It came to putting the epidural in, I was scrunched up over a cushion on the bed, desperately trying not to move while being watched by a load of nurses sat in the corner just waiting for it to be over with, eventually one nurse came over to hold my hand and give me encouragement. I had three failed attempts at getting the epidural in, finally they manage to get it in, after being extremely uncomfortable and a massive amount of pressure on my spine, they laid me down and waited for the epidural to work, nothing was happening.. so they kept on upping the dose, I could feel my left side going numb, but nothing was happening on the right side.
Still they kept upping the dose and I still wasn't numb. This all made me go extremely dizzy and light headed, I felt sick and thought I was going to pass out, my blood pressure had dropped dangerously low and before I knew it all I heard was 'Anna we are going to put you under' all I could think was 'somebody please tell Matt!' and I remember saying the 'last time I was given a general anaesthetic they couldn't wake me up' they told me they would do everything they could, and the gas mask was put over my face, I was out...

Obviously while I was asleep I don't fully know what went on for Matt, but I know it wasn't easy for him, he was sat there on his own not knowing what was going to happen to either me or Ewan, he also had to deal with my Mum on the phone having a break down of her own, knowing what happened the last time I was put under and fretting that she wasn't there.

They got Ewan out very quickly as far as I'm aware and he was born at 12.42 in the afternoon weighing 6lb 14oz. Matt got to see him about half an hour after he was born, he walked into the room where he saw Ewan in the corner screaming his little heart out. Both Matt and I hate the thought of Ewan spending the first half hour of his life feeling scared and alone.

It took the anaesthetists longer than they thought to wake me up, I woke up at about 2.30 in the afternoon and I remember just bursting into tears feeling a mixture of emotions, relief that I was awake and that both my husband and my new born son were stood there waiting for me, but also the sadness that I had missed it all, and the feeling of panic still remained from when I was being put under. I still remember the feeling like it was yesterday and I think I always will.
I had trouble breathing for the first few hours, but other than that I was doing well and so was Ewan and I'm so thankful for that.

The birth experience I had with Ewan was completely different to what I had with Thomas, but I am so thankful that they both got here safe and sound, for that I will never be able to thank those doctors enough.. For now though it is still quite upsetting to think about Ewans birth and the fact that I will never have been there to witness the first few hours of his life, even a year on it still feels very raw for me,

Did you have a caesarean? Did you have to be put to sleep? What was your experience? I'd love to know.

I talk more about my experiences after the birth here Caesarean Section - The easy way out?

But for now, thanks for reading.

Anna xx

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Thomas' Caesarean Section Birth Story

I had a caesarean with both of my children, but let me tell you, their births were completely different experiences, I was going to talk about both my children's deliveries in one post, but it turns out I have a lot to say! - So here is Thomas' birth story.

Let me just give you a quick back track of my history when it comes to pregnancy and child birth. I have numerous medical conditions which are far too complex to go into on a blog post, but one of those things was having a Unicornuate uterus (now I didn't, nor did the doctors know about this) but it meant that from about 25 weeks onwards of pregnancy, Tom remained breach. Being under a consultants care through out the pregnancy, they looked after me really well, I couldn't have asked for more. The deal was that we would wait and see how the pregnancy was progressing as to whether it would be a natural birth or a caesarean.

One week before Thomas arrived, I had a scan to tell me that he was still very much head up and was told that 'it was natures way of telling us something' and that he didn't want to try and turn him (he would be right, having not known about my uterus at this point) So we scheduled for a C- section two weeks from then.
Thomas actually had other ideas and came a week before I was scheduled to go in, the night before he was born I suffered with some server back ache and the next morning something just wasn't 'right'. Matt had noticed that I was being a little odd, so had told my Mum to go over and check up on how I was doing.
That morning I actually went to the doctors office to get blood drawn for the week ahead.
I sat in the waiting room with pains coming every few minutes that would literally have me with my head between my knees holding onto my stomach (can I just say, no one batted an eyelid at this) lol!
I managed to drive home where I was met by my mother who could clearly tell I was uncomfortable.
I thought this would all blow assuming that it was 'probably just braxton hicks' and even asked her if she wanted to take a trip out to the shops! She quickly told me I was nuts and took matters into her own hands and called my in - laws to be driven to the hospital where I was checked, I was two cm dilated and having contractions, poor Matt who was supposed to be having a job interview rushed to the hospital and I was rushed in for an emergency in caesarean.

My previous history with anaesthetics is not a great one (long story short, it would lead to eight hours of trying to be woken up and a collapsed lung) so only under extreme circumstances was I to be put to sleep, I had the hospitals senior anaesthetic consultant and the maternity wards anaesthetic consultant, lets just say it was a big deal shall we?

The doctors  were amazing through the whole process, they had a problem getting a spinal block into my spine, In the end I was given an epidural (which took the best part of two hours) but I felt well looked after, very calm and actually having fun listening to the radio and laughing with them.
The actual delivery of Thomas went very well, very smoothly, Matt got to be by my side through the whole thing and Tom was born at 4.36 in the afternoon, weighing 7lb 3oz, we got to be with him almost straight after he was born and were both doing really well.

The after care left a little to be desired, I had little to no help and having the disabilities I do, I needed a little.
I remember one instance as I was bottle feeding, I politely asked the midwife if I could have a bottle for Thomas, and was told 'go and get it yourself' I can understand they are under staffed there, but I could barely move from my bed to the chair (and I was one of the active ones!) Luckily Matt and my Mum took it in turns to be with me for help and support, and we got to go home 48 hours after the birth.

I have a post where I talk a little more about my recovery from the caesarean in Caesarean Section - The easy way out?
and you can hear about Ewans birth story here.
Let me know if you had to have a caesarean, what was your experience? I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading,

Anna xx