Boobs.

I’ve chosen to breastfeed. It’s good for me (apparently you lose your baby weight faster), it’s good for the baby (their poo is less solid), and it’s good for the bank balance, and seeing as I haven’t been at the company I work at long enough to receive any maternity pay, this is a massive perk! I’ve heard many women in the UK find sticking with breastfeeding difficult. In fact after one week of breastfeeding, less than half of women exclusively continue to do so. I can understand why. It’s a massive faff, and it’d be much easier to whack a load of powder and water into a bottle and have done with it. Lots of older women, including both our mums, say it’s much easier than bottle feeding. But I’m not sure I agree. Yes, they’re always there, but sometimes it’s just a bit awkward. Before I had the baby, I was so excited to get my boobs out in public, after all there aren’t many opportunities to do so, and I’ve never been attracted to the booby revealing fashions, so thought it’d be something new. I thought I would feel a sense of liberation. But now it’s become a reality, I don’t feel the freedom that I had imagined. I’ve never been so self conscious about them.

My boobs have never been like the ones you see in mens’ magazines. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not ugly or anything. Just average, normal baps. But since I’ve been breastfeeding, they seem to be anything but normal. A couple of weeks ago I had a major panic. Theo seemed to love the left boob, and it’s far more comfortable to hold him in that position (I’m right handed so I had that hand free to control the TV remote and catch up on replying to tests and emails). This, I later found out, was a massive mistake. We were out shopping, when I noticed myself in a window. The left tit was ENORMOUS in comparison with my right. Again I conducted my usual Google-based research, and found out the more the baby feeds from your boobs, the more milk you produce. Common sense. As you can imagine, he hasn’t had the luxury of left boob as often as he would like since, and you’ll be glad to know that thankfully symmetry has been restored.

There’s also the issue of leaking. The slightest whimper from the baby could set them off. It’s a nightmare. I’m pretty sure I’m keeping the local supermarket afloat with the amount of breast pads I buy. The other day I forgot to wear them when we went out, and consequently had to sit in the pub with two big wet patches on my top. Highly embarrassing; just like waking up every morning swimming in sticky milk and having to change the sheets. Poor Alex. Poor washing machine.

As if child birth wasn’t undignified enough, you’re then expected to get ‘the twins’ out when you’re out and about. I know it’s now acceptable to breastfeed in public, but you still do attract the odd unwanted stare. I’m not brave enough to do that yet, and chose to either express into a bottle or make up some formula before going anywhere where I might receive that unwanted attention.

I’m going to continue to breastfeed, and hopefully in time I’ll pluck up some courage and get ‘the bad boys’ out in front of people. It can’t be as bad as having my legs in stirrups with twenty people gawping at me, surely. At five weeks old, Theo is a massive fan of ‘wab time’ with mama, and a massive fan of boobies in general. Ladies beware!

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And so it happened…

This is it! It’s what I’ve been waiting for; my moment to regale my very own traumatic birth story to you all!

It wasn’t like the Niagara Falls gush I had imagined; like the ones you see on telly. To be honest, I just thought I’d had a bit of a wee. But it kept happening throughout the day. I’d been doing my pelvic floor exercises like the midwife had recommended, so couldn’t understand why I kept wetting myself uncontrollably before birth. Wasn’t this supposed to happen afterwards?! Mine and Alex’s parents came over that night and kept telling me to call the hospital, but I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time with tales of my weak bladder. The next evening though, after leaking all day, conducting several Google searches, and reading blog after blog about labour, Alex insisted I give the hospital a ring. It turns out my waters had broken, and because I’d left it over 24 hours they offered to induce me right then and there. No way! I wasn’t ready for this. I hadn’t packed my swimming stuff for the glamorous water birth I’d been told I’d be having (well, minus the ‘glamorous’ part). I hadn’t even done my bikini line! Mainly because I hadn’t been able to see my ‘what-not’ for several months. And this was all because I chose to believe everyone of you that told me I’d go over my due date. In your face! You were wrong! We left it another 12 hours instead, but it was obvious nothing was going to happen, so after a blind attempt hacking away at said bikini line, and shoving loads of stuff into a suitcase, we went to the hospital to be induced meaning no glamorous water birth.

It was horrific. Not just the constant contractions it brought on. They were to be expected. It was the other patients I was surrounded by. Now I’m very aware I’m beginning to sound a lot like my grandmother… I knew people like this existed in Burnley, I just didn’t realise in what quantity. The woman in the next bay to me was a candidate for The Jeremy Kyle Show; 23 and pregnant with her fifth baby (I know. I’m a cow. But where did she find the time?). She insisted on having her bedside TV on as loud as it would go, blasting out Olly Murs, whilst having a slanging match with her equally putrid boyfriend during a consultation with the doctor. After listening to her go on and on about how slow her labour was progressing, and her constant to-ings and fro-ings to the smoking shelter, my contractions were worsening. I couldn’t hold it in any more and let out a slight whimper of pain. In her finest ‘Burnley patter’, and loud enough for the whole ward to hear loud and clear, she said that she “couldn’t f***ing stand listening to that all night.” In the end I was progressing far quicker than her, and was whisked off to the delivery suite, taking her place in the queue (haha!).

I took all the drugs I could get hold of. Gas and air was crap. As if you didn’t feel shit enough with the horrific pain of the contractions, try adding the feeling of wanting to vom’ everywhere into the equation. I chose to have Morphine. It was amazing. Life was amazing. I loved everyone and everything until I fell asleep and it wore off. ‘Splodge’ had gotten into an extremely peculiar position during my power nap, resulting in bloody horrendous pain. I was talked into having an Epidural, and thank God I did! If I thought Morphine was good, it was nothing compared to that concoction. I certainly felt better in the end than Alex did, who passed out with all the stress while the anesthetist administered it, taking the midwife down with him. All I can really remember after this point was crying and apologizing for him fainting. (Sorry babe, I had to put it in. It makes for a better read).

It turns out I really did need an Epidural. ‘Splodge’ wasn’t for budging, even with forceps, so I had to mark an ‘X’ on the dotted line to agree to a Caesarian. Now I definitely don’t have a bikini body, but I’m OK with that. ‘Splodge’ turned out to be an 8lb 7oz baby boy with loads of dark hair and he’s perfect. So perfect I don’t mind being pooed and sick on daily.