Monday, 18 March 2019

Fowey Hall Hotel

At the beginning of March Albee, Ben and I packed up our car and headed off on a mini Cornish adventure to the beautiful South Coast Cornish town Fowey, to spend a weekend at Fowey Hall. It was, in fact, my second time visiting Fowey Hall but this time it wouldn't just be for high tea and spa treatment, I would finally get the chance to stay in one of their stunning rooms along with my family.

With this being Albee's first time in a hotel and our first mini break away not staying with family, I was a little nervous about how the weekend would go. What if I forgot a crucial bit of baby paraphernalia or what if he screamed all night and we couldn't enjoy dinner?

Thankfully, I am happy to report that our stay went unbelievably well, and precisely what we all needed. So here is what we got up to.

We arrived early evening on Friday quickly settling into our stunning room, which had panoramic views of the coastline. We got Albee set up, which didn't take long as the staff at Fowey Hall had taken care of all the details, meaning we didn't have to. With a changing mat, nappy bin, bottle warmer, cot and blanket; our stunning corner suite was entirely equipt for Albee, it also had everything we could possibly need. With stunning interiors and breathtaking views, we didn't want to leave.

With Albee ready for bedtime we started his routine and promptly ordered a bottle of red to the room to enjoy while we got ready for dinner. We opted to move Albee's cot into the children's room, to give us a bit of time to sip wine, in our robes and catch up. Life has been so busy for us both and this weekend away couldn't have come at a better time. We actually got to spend some quality time together.

With Albee going to sleep like a dream, Ben and I could enjoy a "grown-up" dinner. We took full advantage of the baby listen in the system, which for those who don't know, is essentially a baby monitor which goes off if the baby so much as coughs, alerting the reception staff, who then intern inform the parents.
To be completely honest, we were very nervous about using this, but trusted our instincts and did check on him a couple of times during dinner, but if I haven't said already, I have been blessed with a dream sleeper of a baby who once down very rarely stirs and the Friday night was no exception.

We got to enjoy the most beautiful dinner, with exquisite wine, local cuisine in a beautifully set dining room. I got to wear a lovely dress, some makeup and feel like the "pre-baby me" again. It felt so refreshing. We may have spent most of the night talking about Albee, but it was beautiful all the same.

The following morning we were up early ... very early in fact. Albee woke at 5am, so we all got into our ginormous bed for cuddles. When we were all finally ready to get up, we headed down for breakfast, Albee had already had his milk but as we are weaning, we decided to give him some fruit in the high chair provided, which was the first time we had ever fed him in a highchair and well, didn't he just love it! The hotel even provided Albee with his own big and tippee cup!

We took it in turns to enjoy our cooked breakfast and fresh coffee, with morning sun, shone through the family breakfast room, as we planned what we would do with our day, making plans around my all-important 2pm Spa appointment.

With nap time approaching I took Albee for a walk around the hotel grounds to get him off to sleep. When he had finally drifted off, I sat on one of the benches overlooking the Fowey Estuary and watched the wind blow through the trees. Albee slept for over an hour, it must have been the fresh sea air but he woke up full of smiles, so we popped him in the carrier and headed down into the town.

Taking the scenic route, we wandered down through the narrow streets, stopping off in the beautiful independent shops. We brought Albee an ocean and beach inspired book from a tiny book shop and a few other little trinkets. Stopping for a coffee, it was soon time to head back and my afternoon of relaxation to begin.

While Ben and Albee watched the ruby in our room, I headed down to the spa for a back and shoulder massage, followed by a facial. The therapist took the time to ask about any problem areas, we discussed my skin condition and chatting about the type of products they might use. I honestly could have stayed in that room all afternoon, but once my treatment was over, I was eager to head back to the room to see my boys.

We had all originally planned to head to the pool, but Albee had other plans, in fact, his teeth or should I say lack of teeth! As I wandered in the door, I was greeted by a rosy-cheeked grizzly baby who didn't know what he wanted. Knowing these nights too well, we quickly made the decision to inquire about room service (while I ordered a couple of the Fowey Hall Gin & Tonics - which we divine!).

We opted for room service as Albee took a while to go down, and with a slight temperature, we didn't feel happy leaving him. Again, I couldn't fault the hotel staff! We had the same high-level services and delicious food as we did the night before in the hotel restaurant but from the comfort of our room, in our robes with Albee tucked up in bed. We even took advantage of the hotels vast collection of DVD's and snuggled up in bed watching a film. I cannot remember the last time we did this.

Our final morning in the hotel was just as beautiful as the first, we took our breakfast a little earlier then went for a long walk down to Readymoney Cove. We sat in the sunshine, watching the gentle waves lap the shore while Albee slept in his pushchair. Our time in Fowye had come to an end for now, and we had to head back home.

Although we were heading home back to reality, we were heading home refreshed, rejuvenated and more connected. To be honest, I had never seen the appeal of staying in a hotel in your home country let alone your home my county, but after our weekend at Fowey Hall, I can honestly say I am a hotel convert. The weekend away was exactly what we as a family needed.

I honestly couldn't fault our stay, Fowey Hall go above and beyond to accommodate families, in fact, they are all about family, but still make the time to give the adults a "grown-up" experience too, all the while getting to enjoy the experience the luxury of spending time together as a family in a very relaxed and hassle-free environment.


 

























For more information, Fowey Hall, head to www.luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk 


This blog post is in collaboration with Luxury Family Hotels, it is not a paid post, and the views are all my own. 






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Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Turtle Tots Ambassadors

As you may have already seen on my Instagram feed, Albee has been selected as a Turtle Tots Ambassador for Cornwall, which I am so stoked about. It's imperative to both Ben and I that Albee to feels comfortable in the water and to learns how to swim. He may only be 6 months old, but he is already showing clear signs that he loves the water, and we are only three sessions in. He loves it so much he has in fact only cried once ... when we had to give back his foam duck mirror! Babies, they really are brilliant, not phased by going under the water, or having water on his face, he cried when he had to give his mirror back. Classic!



Anyway, let's go back to the beginning

The first lesson 

I felt a little nervous but really excited to see how Albee would respond, but as soon as we walked into the pool area, any worries that I had dissapeared. The small group looked really friendly and I had Ben with me for added support.

I have realsied that anything you do with a baby for the first time is daunting. Before the first lessons I had so many questions; where do I put Albee while I get changed, what if he has a dirty nappy while in the pool, what if they scream the entire time ... so many things flashing through your mind, but really there was no need to stress.

The first lesson was all about getting the babies comfortable in the pool and familiarising their faces with the instructor, who is amazing by the way. We sang songs and moved them around the pool in different motions.

Albee loved it and kicked his little legs virtually none stop.

The sessions last 30 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time, by the end of the session they are all ready for some milk and a big sleep.

Lesson number two

The same format as the first lesson but this time we began to teach the babies about holding on. This is a great skill to start to use, and in theory, we can apply this to many aspects of Albee's life later on.

He seemed even more excited than the first week, I think it felt a little familiar to him.

Lesson number three 

Albee's first time underwater.

Now, I thought that Albee would be pushed through the water and I would be lying if I said it didn't scare me a little, but I needn't worry, This is not how the Turtle Tots team do things. They like to let the baby take the lead and decide whether they are ready to go. Which Albee certainly was.

Albee went under the water, for a matter of seconds, leaping off the instructor straight into his Daddy's arms.

I couldn't have been prouder of him. Such a new sensation for him and one milestone ticked off the list.



I have been completely blown away by the Turtle Tots lessons, and look forward to every session. If you're considering swimming lessons, I would highly recommend their sessions, but if you want to ask me any questions about our lessons so far just get in touch!













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Saturday, 9 February 2019

Winter Skincare

You beautiful bunch asked, and it only took me the best part of 6 months to write it. Obviously, I have been slightly busy of late, but nevertheless, I am dedicating the next however long this takes me, to pull together my skincare essentials, hints, tips and hacks. Some of the items featured in this blog have been gifted, some I have brought myself, but regardless of gift or purchase, these are items I love and use regularly.



Before I share the products I am using, I wanted to chat about the other ways I care for my skin. In all honesty, I think the foundation for good skin is hydration. I drink so much water, very rarely have caffeinated fizzy drinks but of course, I drink coffee. I don't know what I would do without my morning coffee. I also eat a really balanced diet, loads of fruit and vegetables. When it comes to sun exposure, I don't go on sunbeds, and when I am in the sun, I always make sure I wear SPF, and block when I am in the surf. As far as looking after my skin I do whatever I can to try and keep it looking healthy.

For me, my skincare routine starts at night.

I begin by cleansing my skin, removing any makeup. At the moment, these are the products I am using on my skin:

Ren Skincare Gentle Cleansing Milk *
Botanics 100% Rosewater
Poppy Austin Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

I apply the cleanser to my face and massage in, while I do that I soak a flannel in hot water, as hot as I can handle it. I then remove the cleanser with the flannel, covering my whole face, giving it mini steam clean at the same time.

I then pat my face dry with a towel then apply a few sprays of the Rosewater spritz.

I have been using this toner for well over a year now. It's refreshing, clean and hydrating. I just spray the toner over my face and leave it to soak in while I clean my teeth.

Once the teeth are clean, it's time for the best bit, the face serum.

I tend to change up for face oil and serum every time they run out, and at the moment I am using one I picked up from Amazon and so far so good!

I apply one pipet full to my face, neck and chest, leaving it to soak in.


Mornings are pretty easy, I don't wash my face and avoid getting my face wet in the shower, because I like to keep all the natural oils my body produces on my face. I just add a couple of sprays of my Skin & Tonic Rose Mist* and then apply Ren Skincare Omega 3 Optimum Skin Oil*. 


Next up are the products that I used one/twice a week. 

I love to treat myself to a face mask and deep clean. So, when I feel like I need some extra TLC, these are the products that I use. 

Face Masks


Deep Clean 



There are two other things I love to use. First up is the Naughty Tigi Jade Face Roller *. I have been wanting to try a face roller for a while now and especially after having Albee. My eyes get very puffy, and I can honestly say this really helps. It feels so lovely on your skin, especially when cold. I try to use this once or twice a day, either with my toner or serum on. 

Next up is something that helps with my pale, winter skin! It's the Isle Of Paradise Self Tanning Drops. A little goes a long way, and you can add it to your own face oil or cream. Just one drop is enough to give my skin a sunkissed glow. 




In a nut shell I love a skincare routine. I love face oils, creams, face masks ... anything hydrating and nourishing. These are the products I am using now, but when I find more gems I will be sure to share them with you all. 


All items have been linked.

x




*gifted items, not a paid for post




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Thursday, 20 December 2018

My Baby Sleep Routine

What a whirlwind few months that have been! Albee is coming up to four months old, and I had all these big plans to share my daily life, multiple blogs and my motherhood journey, but to be honest, I haven't had the time. I have been extremely busy with Albee, being a mum and more recently going back to my job (one day a week) but still back to work!

Anyway, what I am on here to talk about sleep, and for anyone with children, you'll know how precious this is, not only for the baby but also for yourself. During the first few weeks, I didn't sleep a lot, and neither did Albee. Which is completely normal, it turns out newborns sleep a lot in the day but a not a lot at night and as much as people say to sleep when they sleep, I did not.

I remember thinking around week three or four, that Albee would never sleep at night, or we would never be able to put him down, and he would stay asleep but here I am sixteen weeks on, and I am pleased to tell you Albee sleeps like a pro! Obviously he has his bad days and nights but on the whole, he sleeps really well, and I put that down to a few things. We started a bedtime routine really early on, we listened to him (I will explain later on) and we used a white noise/lullaby machine to help.

First up let me explain the routine we have adopted.

6:30 pm (ish)
Bedtime routine begins, and this begins with bath time, now this isn't every night but Albee loves is a bath, so we do tend to get him in most nights, sometimes with bath oil/wash or just water. I find it helps him to relax him and dissimulate him. When he is out the bath, I give him a mini baby massage with coconut oil and dressed for bedtime.

7:00pm (ish)
Now it's time for a feed, breast or bottle which every way you're choosing to feed. I feed him in the dim to dark light, with Ewan The Dream Sheep playing a lullaby. Albee loves Ewan, as soon as he hears him, he relaxes. When he is fully fed and burped I leave him upright on my chest for a little just to check there's no other wind to come up. Albee suffered really bad with cholic, and it also turns out he has a dairy intolerance, so once we knew how to treat this life got a lot easier.

As soon as he seems ready to go down, I place him in his Sleepyhead, in a cot next to my bed, while Ewan continues to play the lullaby.


If Albee stirs we don't pick him up, we will go in, pop a dummy in his mouth and hold his hands. He loves the slight pressure on his hands or chest, and we do this until he falls back to sleep. At the start when we began the routine both myself and Ben would sometimes spend up to an hour in there with him. Our patients were tested on many occasion, but we only picked him up when he began to get distressed, but we would then settle him and place him back down again. Now Albee is at a point where the only time he gets restless in the night is if he has a cold or is teething.

11:00pm (ish)
This is where we get Albee out of bed, change his nappy (in the dark) and feed him. This is where we try to get the most food in him, to help see him through the night. Albee usually falls asleep after this feed and goes back down really easily.

If he stirs in the night now, it isn't because of hunger, once a dummy is in he is sound asleep.


Albee can wake up from any time between 5:30am and 7:30am. More often than not he alternates between an early and late one.

Now, you may be wondering why the Sleepyhead. Well, Albee used to sleep in a Moses basket, but it became pretty clear he didn't like it. He loves being snuggled up, warm and cosy. After lots of sleepless nights, we decided to try him in his sleepy head in a cot that we were leant. I had a brainwave moment one day and asked the question why does he sleep so well in the day but not at night, and it turns out the Sleepyhead had a lot to do with it. In the day I would put him in his Sleepyhead, so one evening we thought we would give it a go and low and behold, he slept straight through. So, Albee has been in it every night since. We also found the Sleepyhead great for travelling, even just going somewhere for the day; it always meant Albee could sleep comfortably with ease. If you're a fan of co-sleeping then Sleepyheads can work well for this, we never tried it, but I have friends who have. If you have any questions about Sleepyheads, they have an excellent FAQ's on their site - http://sleepyheadofsweden.com/faq/


He is at the stage now where he is ready to come out of the Sleepyhead and go into his cot, hopefully over the next month we will begin that transition. It is familiar to him, it smells like him, and after doing lots of research I came to the conclusion that it's safe for him to sleep in, but like I said, the little man is getting bigger and ready for his big boy cot! So stay tuned to read how that transition goes.

Some of you may be reading this, thinking that sounds like a terrible routine or maybe you do something similar, but all I can say is do whatever works for you and your baby. If my routine advice helps you, then that's awesome.






To shop any of the products mentions just click below (these are not ad links)

Ewan Dream Sheep - S H O P 
Sleepyhead - S H O P










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Thursday, 13 December 2018

Getting back in the surf

After nearly 6 months out of the water, I got to dust of my surfboard and hit the waves! However, this isn't the first time I have had months out of the surf. In the past, on some occasions, I have had time out due to injury, but this is the first time I have taken a step back from riding waves due to growing a human. This has been by far the most significant change and challenges my body has ever gone through, and it's taken me longer than I hoped to get back in the water, but boy did it feel good to get back in when I did.

I will be completely honest with you all, it took me longer than I expected to get back into the surf, and I felt extremely nervous, overthinking every aspect of which should be a fun experience, not a scary one. Funnily enough, it wasn't the prospect of the cold water or waves that made me feel nervous, it was, in fact, fear of my body failing me. Since having Albee I have felt weak, my stomach muscles feel like they don't exist anymore, my upper body feels broken from all the uncomfortable positions I have to get it while feeding or putting Albee to sleep. I couldn't feel further from fit and healthy if I tried. To be brutally honest this has been one of the hardest things for me. I thought after having Albee I would bounce back to fitness and feel just like I did before. The truth is, it's going to take a while to get back to where I was before, which I am fine with, I will have to make time for the gym, get in the surf as much as I can and on my yoga mat at home, all while trying to juggle being a working mom!

Anyway, I wanted to write this post for anyone who was in the same boat that I was in. Maybe you have gone through childbirth, or you're recovering from an injury, whatever the reason you've taken time out from surfing I am here to tell you  ... DO NOT WORRY. Your first surf back won't be as bad as you expect, take it from me. Here's how I overcame my nerves and got back on my board after having Albee.

Finding the right time

The day I got back into the surf, I felt terrific. I had a great night with Albee and for the first time in a while felt full of energy and lucky the stars aligned, and the Gods of surfing delivered me perfect conditions, the wait was worth it. I had plenty of other chances to get back in the surf, but on those days the waves were either too big, too small, too windy or my head wasn't in the right place. I didn't want to put pressure on myself to get back in too soon. I tried to make surfing fun again, and I knew a fun surf for me would be 2-3ft clean conditions on a weekend so Ben could watch Albee, and that's just what I had.

My advice would be to wait, the patient and surf when you feel ready and when the conditions are right for you. Avoid the days you know you won't enjoy, there's plenty of time to challenge yourself, but now is not the time.

My Pre-surf thoughts 

I felt anxious, which is normal but, it didn't let this stop me getting in the surf when I finally felt ready. The key thing here is "when I finally felt ready." I patiently waited for the right waves, and more importantly the right day for me emotionally, because let's face it, my hormones have been all over the place. I did have a lot of self-doubts flowing through my mind, but I guess this is quite normal. I thought I wouldn't be able to get to my feet, that I'd completely kook every wave and end up getting frustrated. Luckily it was quite the opposite.

My advice would wholeheartedly be, don't over think it. Remove the high expectations and pressure and just go out there and enjoy it. Even if you end up just surfing the white water, just enjoy being back in the surf.

Not as bad as I thought

I managed to get to my feet with ease, cruise along the waves and even attempt a little cutback, which felt so good! It really wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be. The feeling of the ocean on my fingertips, the light salt breeze on my face, I felt so at home. I built it up to something so much bigger than it needed to be, which in turn added extra pressure which was completly unnecessary. The moment I got in the surf and removed all expectations to ride waves like I did pre-baby, was the moment I began to feel excited again. I chose to surf my bigger board, a board I would catch fun waves on and just focus on cruising along the waves rather than trying to do any manoeuvres.

My advice to you would be this, just enjoy being back in the water. You've waited so long for this day, don't ruin it by pilling on the pressure. Just sit back, take it all in and embrace being back on your surfboard again. Surf a board you are comfortable in and in a place that's familiar to you.






I also wanted to end this blog post talking about the kit I am wearing this winter. I get asked all the time which wetsuits I would recommend, and my answer has been the same for over 10 years now. The best wetsuits for our UK waters are C-Skins. This season I have two wetsuits to choose from. 

November - January I will be wearing the C-Skins Solace 5x3 wetsuit, with boots, gloves and a hood. 

January - March because I really feel the cold and love nothing more than being cosy in the sea I will be wearing the C-Skins Wired 6mm wetsuit with a built in hood. As with the 5x3 I will team this with boots and gloves for extra warmth. 

When buying a new wetsuit, there are a few areas to consider. The fit, the thickness and type of zip fastening. I always favour a chest zip wetsuit, I find the prevent flushing and keep me warm in the surf. I also think where ever possible it's best to try on a wetsuit because the sizing always varies. For example, I wear a dress size 8/10 but wear a UK 6 wetsuit. 

Just make sure you pick the wetsuit that is right for you and the one that fits the best because ultimately that's what will keep you warmer for longer. 



H A P P Y   S U R F I N G

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Sunday, 9 December 2018

My Post Baby Body

Over three months have passed since the birth of my baby boy Albee, and my body doesn't look like it did before, which is to be expected. It took me nine months to grow him, so, I can hardly expect my body to bounce back to how it was pre-pregnancy. I am slightly wider than I was before, certainly a lot less toned and my core strength is pretty none existent. All of which are very normal things to feel postpartum. 

During my pregnancy, I had all of these big ideas of exercising straight away, getting my abs back after a month and feeling amazing in a bikini again. Well, I am sure any new moms will tell you these big ideas are entirely unrealistic. The reality is; I have surfed once, been to the gym twice, had two at home pilates sessions and do not feel great in a bikini. I'm not exercising every day or surfing a few times a week, but guess what ... that is ok! 

Once upon a time, I would beat myself up if I hadn't gone to the gym 3 times a week or feel guilty if I hadn't surfed in a month but now my priorities are very different. Not only because I have Albee in my life but also, because I have removed any pressure that I had before. Pressure to look a certain way, the pressure to be busy exercising and eating clean. For the first time in my life, I am on the go slow, and I love it, doing things on my terms (when Albee allows of course) and telling my number one critic aka myself to shut up. 




Postpartum Exercising 

My first time back in the gym and my first surf filled me with a lot of dread with just a sprinkling of excitement. I had built them both up to something so big that on both occasions I actually had butterflies in my stomach. Silly, I know but anyone who has taken a break away from something they once did every day will understand the feelings. But, I patiently waited until I felt ready to go back to the gym and chose a small, calm day for my first surf. I took my big surfboard out to make it easier to catch waves and set myself a light cardio and interval training session to ease myself back into gym life and much to my joy I caught waves and didn't pass out on the cross-trainer! I was in fact far fitter than I thought. 

Thankfully I had no abdominal separation and didn't have to recover from a c-section meaning my transition back into exercising was in fact relatively easy, all be it took longer than I initially thought it would. It really wasn't such a big deal, and if I have any advice to give any new moms who are eager to get back to the gym, in the surf or doing any form of sport/exercise, it would be this. Don't put pressure on yourself to be able to do what you did before and go at your own pace. Just because one mum on Instagram is smashing daily gym sessions just weeks after having a baby doesn't mean you have to as well. Go at your own pace, set your personal goals and above all listen to your body. We all recovery differently and what one woman may struggle with another may not. Be proud of your body and how far you've come because you're bloody awesome! 

My Tips For Postpartum Excising 

Chat with your doctor 

I had some concerns about my pelvic floor and ended up going to the doctor for an examination. It really put my mind at ease, and they gave the go-ahead to exercise. So, don't put things off, just as a professional and put your mind at ease. 

See a women's health physio 

If you're like me and you've just had or are about to have your first child, then you won't have a clue what your body is supposed to feel or look like, which is where a women's health physio comes in. It was around 6-8 weeks when my friend Jenny Chancellor (Physio and Pilates Instructor) came to my house, to not only see Albee but to also check on my recovery. She was able to confirm that my abdominals had healed meaning I could begin light exercise. I am also booked in for a New Mum MOT in a couple of weeks, to make sure my recovery is going well and to find out what exercises I should be doing. 

Start with light cardio 

Don't put pressure on your self to be at the same level you were pre-baby. Just ease your self back in with light cardio work or even better. Ask your local gym to write you a postpartum programme specific to you. Most gyms offer this service if you are a member. 

Do your pelvic floor exercises 

The most important thing you can do for your body after a baby is your pelvic floor exercises. I downloaded the Squeezy app which is an NHS approved an app. Giving you five pelvic floor exercises per day. This has been great for me as it's so easy to forget what exercises you have done the day before. This app also reminds you when to do your exercises. 

Drink plenty of water 

As always being hydrated is indeed imported. Even more so if you are breastfeeding or expressing as this dehydrates you quicker than normal. Having a refillable bottle with you will help you keep hydrated when breastfeeding or expressing. 

Ease yourself back in 

It's important to not take on too much or anything too strenuous straight away. So it's best not to jump into a new sport or style of training unless it's specific for postpartum. If you did yoga pre-baby head back but take it easy.  All sports and training work different muscles and muscle groups, some of these will be stronger than other after having a baby. Working new muscles will put extra strain on your body, so stick to what you know. 




During my postpartum recovery, I have been making sure that I have been taking plenty of vitamin and mineral supplements. Anyone with a newborn knows it's not always possible to have 3 nutritious, healthy meals per day.  So taking a selection of vitamin supplements helps keep your energy levels up when you have those nightmare days and can only eat on the go while you attend to your new arrival. 

Heres the ones I use 


Contributes to a normal healthy heart



 Anti-fatigue formula supports the immune system



Contains high levels of Vitamin C contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress and keeps skin looking healthy



Support the immune system and muscle function 


To shop any of these supplements just click on the supplement name and use code CORINNE20 to get up to 35% off. 


To all you new mums out there, or those of you getting back into exercise after having a break. Don't put pressure on your self, go at your own pace, and above all enjoy it. Because exercise is meant to be fun. 














 

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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

My Birth Story

This feels like it's very long overdue but, anyone reading this with children will understand what a whirlwind the first few weeks, months and I am guessing years of parenthood can be, but I have broken the back of 2 months and what a couple of months it has been. I am coming out of the fog; we are clawing our way out of the blur, slowly but surely.

Anyway, I will save my thoughts on parenthood and how the first eight weeks or so have been for another month. In this blog entry, I am here to share my own birth story. Now, if you're an expecting mother and maybe don't want to know the nitty-gritty, maybe don't read much further. However, I would say, I found it quite comforting watching positive birth stories, listening to them and learning about them and I can say that my birth story is real, honest and positive. Every woman's experience is different, but this is mine.

Right, let me begin


Tuesday 28th August at 5:30 am

I woke for one of my usual early morning toilet stops, which became pretty standard during the later stages of my pregnancy. Which is when I had a "show." Which is a sign that the main event isn't far away (if you don't know what a show is and you're pregnant, give it a google!) Anyway, I found this quite exciting and remember waking Ben up to say things were starting. I guess even though I knew it was going to happen within the next few days, I mean he/she had to come out before the 8th September, but knowing that my body and set the wheels in motion filled me with nerves but mainly excitement, we were on the cusp of meeting my baby.

This was, in fact, the 3rd day of my "show" it had gradually started happening, but on Tuesday it was the biggest one and was pretty obvious what it was. I am not afraid to admit, I took a photo and googled what a 'show' looks like because sometimes it's good to have a bit of reassurance, especially when it's all new. Honestly, ladies or men, it's worth knowing what to expect.

As the day went on I began to get what I can only describe as period pains; I wouldn't say they were painful, more uncomfortable. So, I took a bath, went for a walk and caught up on some work. Ben had gone into the office because I didn't feel like anything would happy that day/night. The cramps were on and off and seemed to stop for an hour or so after I had a bath or walked around. However, as soon as the evening hit the dull ache seemed to become more consistent. I remember calling my mom to tell her how I was feeling because Ben had gone surfing and I wanted to give her the heads up that things were progressing. Little did I know I had a long while to go ...

Anyway, that evening I tried to eat, but I felt so sick. I managed a couple of slices of pizza, but that was it. We went to bed early, watching Madagascar on Netflix as a distraction, childish I know, but it put a smile on my face and took my mind off the uncomfortable feeling I couldn't seem to escape. We were both quite exhausted we went to sleep, with the aim to get as much rest as possible.




Wednesday 29th 2:00 am 

I wake up with contractions. Mild ones but certainly more intense than the period pains I had before. Not wanting to wake Ben, I moved from my bed onto the sofa, where I lay until the sun came up. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't get comfortable, and I felt sick. It was clear that my body was getting ready for birth and I just had to sit back and let it's run its course.

Ben took the day off to stay at home with me, he cleaned around the house, put the washing on and did anything he could to keep busy. I guess looking back it was his way of preparing for the arrival of our little one. But, I remember at the time wanting him to come to sit down and relax with me, but he couldn't sit still.

Heading into the afternoon the contractions got worse and worse, so my mom suggested I try Clary Sage oil in the bath. It's supposedly used to help with contractions. So, there we were, Wednesday afternoon, while in the early stages of labour, driving around trying to find this oil. Luckily we did, and as soon as we got home, I ran a bath and soaked in it for a while. This bath certainly helped my contractions, I just worried it would slow down the contractions like it had done the previous day, but this time it was different, this time they continued to increase in intensity and become closer together.


Wednesday 29th Around 4:00 pm

Late afternoon hit and I was in a lot of pain. I am going to be brutally honest with you all; I HATED the contractions. They hurt, made me feel sick and like nothing I could have prepared myself for. BUT, I dealt with them, and I just tried to keep the thought that it's just my body getting ready for birth at the forefront of my mind.

Pacing the room, unable to sit down, I had to keep moving throughout everyone. Ben sat patiently with his contraction app open, timing each one as they came and went. As they got closer together and the intensity increasing we decided to call the midwives, luckily my midwife was on call and came round before her shift ended. She could see I was in a lot of pain, so examined me to see how my body was progressing. It turns out I was only 1.5cm dilated. Not great for me to hear, I had a long old way to go, so she gave me a stretch and sweep to try and speed things up a little.
As I got myself together, she chatted to Ben, explaining what to do when I progress further, I wasn't in any state to be taking on relevant information.


Wednesday 29th Around 7:00 pm 

Ben calls the midwives; my contractions are increasing with intensity, lasting longer, with little to no break in between. Ben was told to monitor my contractions closely and to come in for 9 pm.


Wednesday 29th 9:30 pm 

With our bags packed and my contractions feeling even closer we arrived at Treliske. I don't remember much of the car journey to be honest; I had my eyes closed, for the most part, trying to focus on breathing through my contractions which felt like they were back to back. With the main reception closed, we headed straight up to the birth centre where we were greeted by a midwife. She checked over my green book and examined me. Much to my dismay, I was now only 2cm dilated; my body wasn't working productively. The lack of food and sleep had really taken its toll.
We were quickly given two options, to go home, try and sleep and eat or have pain relief, go to the ward and sleep. This was a decision I had battled with. I didn't want to go home. I had been at home all day, unable to eat or sleep because of the discomfort, and the level of pain I was in, and it wasn't going to get any better. But, I didn't want to take any pain relief. The midwife left the room to give us time to make the decision but even when she came back a short while after we still hadn't decided what to do. I had so many questions to ask about the pain relief and wanted to weigh up my options, but during this time, my contractions got stronger and stronger. I knew I only had one choice, to take the pain relief.
Luckily for me, the ward was full, and there were no beds, so the midwives ushered us into the St Michaels Mount room to rest. I was given my injection here and soon drifted off into a light sleep. My contractions continued, and I woke every time they passed through my body, but I was able to rest. Up until this point, I had to stand up for every contraction, so it felt nice to relax a little.


Midnight 

The pain relief had worn off, and the contractions were here with a bang! As I stood up and focus on the pain, I noticed I had passed some blood, which turns out was the start of my waters breaking. Ben rushed to get the midwives, who examined me. Now at 6cm, they filled up the birthing pool, and we were on!

Ben set up the playlist, I grabbed a biscuit, shoved it in my mouth, sipped some water and got myself ready. At this point, I couldn't have been more excited.
As I got into the pool, I felt instant relief, pure bliss in fact. The dim lighting, warm water, gas and air I had been given made my contractions pass with ease. However, as soon as I got in the pool, I felt like I need to push. Which is precisely what I did!

Starting on my knees, then turning around with my back against the side of the pool I used every contraction to push with all my might. I remember the midwives commenting on how agile I was in the pool, which made me laugh.

As the birth progressed, I started to get tired, again the lack of food and sleep was taking its toll, but I was so determined to meet my baby that I didn't let either factor get in the way.
I pushed harder and harder, and soon the head was out. All I had to do was wait till the next contraction to birth the body. The wait felt like a lifetime. Knowing the head was out, and all I had to do was push one last time to meet my baby felt so wonderful. Pushing with every ounce of strength left in my body I finally got to meet my beautiful little Albee.


Thursday 30th August 1:11 am

Grabbing him and holding him up to my chest, my body felt instant relief and my heart full with love for my son. I held him tight, staring down at his big eyes, we were both seeing each other for the first time.

It was a moment I would never forget. I had become a mother.








My Thoughts

In a nutshell, I hated the contractions but loved the birth. I found it such an empowering experience. When I think about it now, it fills my heart with joy.

The midwives who supported me were unbelievable, going above and beyond to make the birth as positive as possible. They made me feel in control and never let me doubt my ability to have the birth I wanted.


What I did

Before the birth, I completed the Postive Birth Company Hypnobirthing online program. This helped me prepare for the birth, understanding what may happen. It taught me how to breathe through the contractions and learn how to breathe during active labour.

I was kindly gifted a session with Cornwall Hypnobirthing, which I loved and cannot recommend enough if you live in Cornwall. Within this session, I visualised the birth, relaxed my mind, body and practiced my breathing. It allowed me to prepare my mind for the task ahead.

I honestly think both Hypnobirthing experiences helped keep me calm throughout it all. Before I completed my Hypnobirthing course, I had no idea what to expect. I thought it might be a little out of my comfort zone and unable to relate to it, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It helped put my mind at ease about birth and made me excited about the experience. 


My advice 

To anyone preparing for the birth of their first child, I want to give you some advice! 

1. Don't fear birth. Your body is built for this, and you're going to be able to deal with whatever it throws at you. 

2. Relax as much as you can before the baby arrives. Give yourself time to mentally prepare without overthinking. 

3. Be ready to adapt. Your birth plan may not go to "plan", and that's something I wanted to prepare for. Keeping your options open is always good, and knowledge is power. Knowing what you want to do if you have to have an emergency c-section, for example, will give you comfort in what can feel like quite a stressful time. If you have to have more pain relief that you initially didn't want (like I did), then that's ok. You have to do whatever is best not only for the baby but also for yourself. 

4. Watch positive birth videos. I had no idea what happened in a waterbirth and watching one allowed me to have a better understanding of what to expect. I had so many questions, all of which were answered by watching a variety of different videos on YouTube. 

5. Enjoy it. Try to embrace every moment, your first contraction, the first time you push, the tea and toast after. Embrace and embody it all because it may feel like it takes for every to birth your baby but it will be over in a flash and those 9 months or so you have spend growing your little one will fly by. 


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