Skin Health In The Nappy Area – Johnson’s Baby

12832452_1089740687713121_5881449826012048151_nLast month, I was honoured to be invited to the Johnson’s Baby Wet Wipe masterclass in Johannesburg. Being based in Cape Town, they decided to fly me over to be at the event. This was a huge deal for me, and it meant that they had some important information to get across.

The masterclass was hosted by the beautiful and quirky Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp, and we were well informed about all of the do’s and don’ts of caring for babies nappy area by the highly educated Professor Carol Hlela and JOHNSON’S® Baby Portfolio Manager, Jacquelyn Paterson.

It’s amazing how few of us moms are actually well educated on how we should be looking after our babies nappy area correctly, and I certainly did learn a lot from the class. I think so many of us think that it is a straight forward process, if baby is happy and clean, but we actually don’t think deeper into what we are doing.

They mentioned that the most vulnerable skin area for babies is undoubtedly the nappy area. The reasons for this are self-evident – for most of the day and night, their delicate skin is enclosed in a nappy which creates a moist, humid environment.

Have you ever taken note of how many different brands of wet wipes are available on Masterclass Infographicthe shelf at your local grocer store? What determines your decision on which pack you purchase? Is it on special? Is it cheaper than the rest? Do you look at the ingredients? Are you a creature of habit? Is it organic/natural? Do you like the scent? Is it the quality of the wipe?

No wonder we feel so overwhelmed as parents or grandparents or carers of young children? How are we ever supposed to know which is correct when we are suffocated with options? Did you know that some brands of wipes are too dry? They don’t have enough water in them, which means that you use more each nappy change anyway? Did you know that some brands of wet wipes that you love because they smell so nice are actually packed with ingredients that aren’t good for babies skin and sensitive nappy area?

We were taught about the different layers of the skin in the nappy area and I actually found myself wondering how I ever thought that it was all so straight forward. Being educated on this area can really save a new mom from so many stressful and heartbreaking encounters. Understanding how this area works can save your precious babe from nappy rashes and the pain that comes with them.
Did you ever think about the fact that a wet wipe is the one thing that touches your babies skin the most for the first year of their life? How crazy is that? You think about when you have visitors over and you make them sterilize their hands every time they’ve touched anything other than your baby, but we don’t even think twice about this important statistic!

Did you ever have the thought cross your mind when making that typical new parent comment about how soft your babies skin is. You feel theirs and compare it to your skin that may be dry and tough, and probably even slightly aged. Babies skin is not only 3x thinner than an adults, but is more permeable and also loses moisture up to 5x faster.

Doctor Hlela, paediatric dermatologist, explains: “Healthy skin plays an important role in the overall health of a baby as it provides a protective barrier that prevents infections, water loss and the penetration of irritants and allergens. The first months of a baby’s life are crucial, as damaged or dry skin can allow germs to pass through more easily. Skin penetration can result in skin inflammation, allergies and bacterial colonization. If the skin barrier gets compromised, this can increase susceptibility to microbial and chemical attacks.”

I hope that this helps you for future nappy changes, maybe this can be an important tool to pass on to other parents-to-be:

How to keep baby’s nappy area healthy:

The Nursing for Women’s Health (AWHONN) recommends 5 steps to protecting the delicate skin barrier which is as simple as following A, B, C, D, E:

Air – Include Nappy-free time: expose the nappy area to air, frequently, and for as long as possible. Your baby will love that feeling of fresh air against those chubby bum cheeks, and there’s nothing cuter, right? But, on a serious note – exposing that diaper area to air will reduce the chance of your baby ending up with a rash or any infections.

Barrier – Use a great barrier protection with an emollient: The vulnerability of baby’s skin barrier requires protection with specially formulated moisturizing emollients. Using a barrier cream that provides a lipid film will protect your baby against exposure to irritants such as urine and stool. Emollients can strengthen and enhance the health of babies skin, reducing the risk of pathogens penetrating the skin.

Cleansing – Gently cleanse the area with a baby wipe at every nappy change. When cleaning a baby’s nappy area, make sure that the urine and stool are dealt with separately. Never link the two. Clean the stool first, take a new wet wipe, and then clean the urine area.

Diaper – Choose super absorbent diapers and change them frequently. Unfortunately, not all brands of nappies fit this brief. Failing to do so could mean that the urine and stool is resting on the part of the diaper that is constantly touching babies skin. This can really provoke discomfort for them and can also cause major issues for this area. Ensuring to do frequent diaper changes and understanding your babies general routine will assist you in figuring out how frequently you should be changing their diapers in order to avoid any irritation.

Educate – Educate other moms and care givers to follow the proper nappy hygiene skin care practices.

I also wanted to take a moment to give you a little bit of advice that may help you narrow down your options when it comes to doing your wet wipe shop. This should help you feel less overwhelmed by all of the options, and will provide you with that peace of mind knowing you are using the best on your baby’s skin:

WHICH IS THE GENTLER CLEANSER – WATER & COTTON WOOL OR BABY WIPES?

Bathing your baby with a gentle cleanser in a tub of water not only helps keep her skin healthy but is also a wonderful bonding ritual that helps promote her sensory development. But in between baths, babies need to be gently cleansed at every nappy change. Water does not easily remove oily substances from the skin and tends to have a pH level that is higher than that of baby skin.

Depending on the water quality in your area, it may also be “hard” which can cause skin dryness. Good quality wipes like JOHNSON’S® are pH buffered to suit baby skin and contain gentle emollients for skin protection.

JOHNSON’S® Baby suggests parents look out for the following when choosing wipes:

 

  • Gentle emollients to protect the skin from damage caused by frequent cleansing.
  • The pH level in wipes should be as close as possible to baby’s natural pH which is around 5.5.
  • The type of fabric used for the wipes is extremely important. JOHNSON’S® always uses 100% cotton because it is soft for the skin and reduces friction.
  • Read the ingredients on the packs and avoid products with strong chemicals such as ALCOHOL, SOAP, TRICLOSAN or even ESSENTIAL OILS which can have an irritating or drying effect on the skin.
  • Not all fragrance is baby skin appropriate – use a wipe that is mildly fragranced or fragrance-free, proven safe to use on sensitive skin. 

JOHNSON’S® is also sharing their TWO-STEP ROUTINE to keep the skin barrier in the nappy area healthy:

STEP 1: CLEANSING AT NAPPY CHANGE

JOHNSON’S® Baby Wipes

  • Optimally designed for cleansing babies’ sensitive area
  • Made with soft cloth to reduce friction on delicate skin
  • Contain 97% pure water
  • pH buffered to suit baby’s natural pH level of 5.5
  • Free from alcohol, soap and essential oils
  • Enriched with mild emollients to protect the skin

JOHNSON’S® Baby Wipes are available in 2 variants:

1.EXTRA SENSITIVE WIPES are ideal for newborns and very young babies. These ultra-gentle, fragrance-free Wipes are clinically tested and proven as safe as pure water on newborn skin

Extra Sensitive Wipes

2. GENTLE ALL OVER BABY WIPES are perfect for older babies. They effectively cleanse everything from wet bottoms to dirty hands and delicate faces.

Gentle All Over Wipes

*Both variants have the special NO MORE TEARS® formula which is mild enough to use even around baby’s eyes.

STEP 2: PROTECTING BABIES SKIN IN THE NAPPY AREA

After cleansing, apply emollient products that help strengthen and enhance the skin barrier like JOHNSON’S® Baby Jelly which has a soft texture that spreads easily and contains nourishing oils to help soften the skin. It forms a barrier against wetness, helping to protect against the causes of nappy rash.

 

11953524_1003318893021968_7851623380238881546_oAVEENO® Baby Daily Care Barrier Cream is another excellent option from the JOHNSON’S® stable. Unscented and suitable for newborns, it is formulated with colloidal oatmeal to actively soothe and reduce the redness of dry, delicate baby skin. Developed to minimize the risk of allergies, it creates a breathable skin barrier to protect against external irritants.

THE BENEFIT OF PETROLEUM JELLY:

– Emollients moisturize by supporting lipids, which are part of the natural make-up of the stratum corneum to provide optimal barrier protection.

– Petroleum Jelly provides greater lipid concentration and absorption versus other emollients, providing optimal barrier protection.


Who knew there could possibly be so much to learn about your babies nappy area? But, it just shows how educating yourself as a parent-to-be or carer can really save both you and your baby from a huge amount of pain and anxiety.

I found this masterclass incredibly insightful, and I honestly walked away learning so much that I didn’t know! You may already know this, or may be beyond this stage of your childs life, however, you can help somebody else by passing this information onto them. Perhaps this could even help you figure out which products to gift a friend who may be expecting.

In my home, wet wipes are a permanent resident – we use them for anything and everything – we might as well make the right choice in what to look out for when it comes to purchasing them for our family.

A huge thank you to JOHNSON’S® for providing me with all of these facts and tips.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS YOU’D LIKE ME TO GET AN ANSWER TO FROM EITHER PROFESSOR HLELA OR JOHNSON’S® BABY PORTFOLIO MANAGER, JACQUELYN PATERSON, PLEASE SEND ME A PRIVATE MESSAGE, AN EMAIL OR LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND I WILL GET BACK TO YOU WITH AN ANSWER.

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What To Do When Extended Rear Facing Car Seat Isn’t An Option?

I have often found myself in a situation where I have felt guilty about having my three year old son in a forward facing car seat rather than in a rear facing car seat.  This feeling generally occurs after I have had a discussion with another mom whose child has been in a rear facing seat since birth. I’ve found myself feeling very anxious and perhaps even slightly uneducated when it has come to car seat safety – so I decided to brush up on my knowledge.

And, for those of you who may be in the same boat as me – with a child who is in a front facing car seat, I actually have some good news for you.

Did you know that a high end forward facing car seat may very well be safer than a 123 seat that can rear face?

As a parent, we always want to do what is best for our kids, yet sometimes it can all be quite overwhelming and confusing. But, sometimes we just need a gentle nudge in the right direction. Being a new mom is even more overwhelming and I recall so vividly being on the verge of an emotional breakdown when car seat shopping for my newborn. There was far too much to choose from, and I just wanted somebody with the correct knowledge to tell me exactly what I needed. My belly and myself did not do a good job at walking down the car seat aisle of the local baby stores because truth is, it isn’t all about the price – but about the tiny details of each car seat that is so incredibly important. Why didn’t anybody tell me this?

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I had my son in a rear facing car seat from the moment he left the hospital until the day he outgrew it. With money being tight, I wasn’t able to afford a decent rear facing car seat. My heart sank. Now what? I had seen so much about the benefits of a rear facing seat for your kids until they were much older than what my son was at this point, but I just couldn’t afford it. I settled with a higher end front facing car seat, and oh how comfortable my little man was.

I made sure that our chosen car seat installed safely in our car and that it matched the weight, height and age of my son. Always be sure to try to have the seat you are buying fitted into your car and have your child sit in the seat before you purchase it. Most stores will allow you to do this. Some seats do not fit your car or your child, which is the first no-no! Having a seat that doesn’t properly fit in your car can be incredibly dangerous. So even if you can afford a rear facing car seat, make 100% sure that it fits safely in YOUR car. If it can’t install properly, according to the manual; it offers no protection in a crash.

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A few facts for when you are buying a car seat:

1. The base of the seat should not move more than an inch in any direction when you give it a firm shake.

2.The harness height on a forward facing seat should be in line with or just above the shoulders.

3.The head rest should be easy to adjust, so that your child’s head and neck are always protected.

4.You should never put a child under 13kg’s or 1 year old in a forward facing car seat. They need to be in a rear facing seat designed specifically for infants until 13kgs, or 75cm. Their bodies cannot withstand a crash at any speed forward facing when younger because their neck is incredibly weak and their head is a huge percentage of their body weight.

I’ve sadly come across moms who tried to keep their baby or child in a car seat for as long as possible to try and save money, however, you cannot keep your toddler in their baby car seat, nor put a baby in a toddlers car seat because they have each been created for specific weights and lengths for the safety of your child.

When browsing for car seats, you may come across seats that say they are from birth to 36kgs. These seats are much higher up to allow them to be used for older children. What this means is that the child is closer to the roof of the car than they should be, which can be incredibly dangerous in a roll over.

If you find yourself in a situation, like me – where you really cannot afford an exclusively rear facing car seat, then you need to use the above tips to ensure that you find the safest front facing seat for your child.

Moms, what I am saying is that your child’s car seat safety will never come cheaply. But it is worth every cent of investing in the best car seat that you can afford for your child. And if you find that the your best investment is in a front facing car seat, like I did – then make sure that you get the safest one that you can find that is in your budget.

Do your research, and follow a trusted source such as #CarseatFullstop. I find that just because another parent is suggesting one or another car seat brand, it is vital to do some research of your own with your own child.

With statistics saying that up to 93% of people aren’t strapping in their kids… We ALL know somebody who is adding to that number.

You have the power to save a little life.

One share, seen by one person, who straps in one child, saves a life.
#CarseatFullstop. Every child. Every time. No matter what.

Please follow us on our social media channels and share them to encourage others to follow along too.

https://www.facebook.com/CarseatFullstop/

https://twitter.com/CarseatFullstopxx

https://www.instagram.com/carseatfullstop/

https://plus.google.com/+CarseatfullstopOrg

Sign up for our newsletter

www.carseatfullstop.org

support@carseatfullstop.org

If you have an old unused car seat gathering dust in your garage, please consider donating it to our very favourite NPO, Wheel Well. You can drop your seat at your closest Renault dealership and they will get the seat to Wheel Well. They will clean and safety check it, before giving it a new home with somebody in need for a small donation.

What kind of seat do you use for your little one? And please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!

– One Modern Mom
http://instagram.com/onemodernmom

The Only Thing I’ve Judged Another Parent For.

Driving back home from one of the best weekends I’ve had with my little family at our old family farm up at the Breede River, we decided to take the longer, scenic drive back through Robertson instead of our usual route back through Caledon. We weren’t even the tiniest bit phased by the toddler tunes on repeat blaring in the car, or the extra bit of traffic. We were just in our element.

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Dark crept upon us, and we made our way through the Hugenot Tunnel just after Worcester. Still happily chatting about exciting family events to come as well as our special weekend away; a sudden chill hit us as we saw a car that had recently drove over the edge and was smashed up. Added to the scene were emergency lights, and a crowd of people – paramedics, etc. One of my least favourite things to see, especially on a long, happy journey home.

Not even having a chance to get that visual out of my mind, I glance to the left on a road that one can drive 120km/hr and literally find myself taking a second look. My heart sinks, I feel my blood pressure rise at a rapid speed. A little girl younger than my own son – couldn’t have been older than two running back and forth on the back seat of her parents car, jumping forward between the driver and passenger seat. This sounds terrible, but I wanted to get out and just shake her parents. Didn’t they just see the accident? What if that was them? It could have been, and one day it could be!!!

I am shaking, and I feel sick even typing this. If they can afford to have a car, and if they can afford to put petrol into their car – they can afford to prioritize a car seat for their precious little girl! They can afford to protect their baby girl from an accident that can so easily happen. It doesn’t matter how good a driver you are, these things happen in a heartbeat!

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You know, I often find myself feeling anxious when we go on long trips, and we have a great car seat! I find myself nervous because I know that accidents happen, and my child is securely fastened in his car seat! I find myself praying throughout our long trips because I know that there could be someone who is texting or drunk and an accident can happen, and we spent thousands on a car seat for our son to protect him.

Yet, another parent, their childs life just as precious and fragile as my own child, couldn’t care less to take the precautions to potentially save their daughters life. One doesn’t even need to be educated to know! If you can drive a car, you are educated enough to work out that a child needs to be in a car seat! If you can drive a car, especially one like this family was in, YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY A DECENT CAR SEAT! Your child’s life is far more valuable!!!

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I am not a judgmental person. And I will never put another parent into a situation where they feel like they are not good enough. Whether you formula feed or breastfeed, whether you had a natural birth or a c-section, you are good enough. Whether you rock your baby to sleep or let them fall asleep on their own, you’re perfect. BUT, the one thing that I will voice my incredibly strong opinion on is putting your child in a car seat! If you are reading this, and don’t and feel offended, or guilty – I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.

Being a parent means that you need to do what is best for your kids. Sometimes having to invest in something like a car seat is just something that you need to do. Sometimes you have to let your child cry even when they don’t want to be in their car seat, or sometimes your already long trip means stopping an extra 10 times because your kid needs a break from their car seat. But, there are no excuses.

STRAP YOUR CHILD INTO A CAR SEAT.
EDUCATE YOURSELF.
EDUCATE OTHER PARENTS.
SPREAD THE WORD TO PARENTS TO BE!

I can’t express myself enough.

Do the right thing!

The Power Of Touch.

Hands up if, as a parent, you’ve heard something along the lines of ‘stop smothering your child’. Well … don’t! Today I talk about how important the power of touch actually is, and how it differs from child to child.

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If you’re anything like most parents, you don’t want to stop kissing, cuddling and feeling your baby’s delicate skin. Truth is, this rarely changes as your kids grow from babies to toddlers to young children. Many parents have mentioned that they’ve heard remarks like ‘stop smothering your child’. Well… don’t!

Want to know why? Touch is the first of our senses to develop. Touch is a love language. Touch plays a huge role for babies even before they enter the world. Think back to the days you spent lying down and stroking your belly, enjoying the little flutters in your stomach. Then, as baby grew, they started responding to your belly strokes and tickles.

Once a mother has given birth, direct skin-to-skin contact has proven to provide a number of benefits for your infant. Months pass by and the story doesn’t change… a simple kiss on your little one’s stomach can have them cooing with a toothless smile on their face. I loved massaging my little boy after his baths, and I continue to do this. He often goes from wild child to completely calm in a matter of minutes.

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Touch gives you a sense of security. How do you feel when you’re scared or anxious, and your other half gives you a tight hug? Or when you’re upset or happy and a parent or family member holds you close? You feel safe, calm, and loved.

Some children get over stimulated by too much touch, so be sure to understand your child’s body language so that you know when to stop. Light touch (stroking, rubbing etc.) is more likely to make a sensory sensitive child reach his brim faster, but firm pressure (hugs, rough-and-tumble play, massages and playful squeezes) are calming and reassuring for almost all children – and adults for that matter.

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Many believe that a parent’s touch wears off as a child gets older. False! An older child needs your physical attention just as much. The way you administer it just changes a bit, like a hand on the back, a bear hug or even playing a game with your child that requires skin contact. Skin contact releases positive brain chemicals which will leave both you and your child feeling happy and loved.

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The power of touch is a mind blowing thing. Sometimes we struggle to describe how much we love our child in words, yet a simple hug can explain it all in a matter of seconds. Holding their hand can trigger an out pour of emotions which could have been trapped inside before. A gesture as simple as placing your hand on your child’s shoulder and saying ‘I understand’ or ‘I forgive you’ can move mountains.

So, I encourage you to ignore opinions on how much touch is too much for your child. You know your child’s needs more than anybody else – positive touch is healthy and crucial for children, just as it is for you and me. Touch is a powerful healing tool and is vital for building your child’s confidence, self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

XX – @onemodernmom

PS. Be sure to click ‘subscribe’ if you’d like to get an email when a post gets published. I would hate for you to miss out on any new topics or giveaways!

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments tab below!

A 28-Hour Natural Birth – Lisa Harrison

Angela and myself decided that with Mother’s Day coming up, it would be a perfect opportunity to share our birth stories. With each being totally different to the next persons, I always love to hear about what other women experienced. Funnily enough, I have never really spoken about my birth story on my blog, and haven’t touched much on the topic to anybody other than close friends – for no other reason than I just never really knew quite where to begin. Perhaps I just thought that it never really stood out as nothing ‘unusual’ happened. But, each birth story is unique and just as important and precious as the next. So here’s mine. (How strange and emotional it is to take this walk back down memory lane.)

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I was diagnosed with PCos when I was 18 years old. I was warned that there was a very high possibility that I may never fall pregnant. But then God had a different plan for my life.

As a younger mom, giving birth a week after turning 22 – I didn’t have many friends who had previously given birth to sort of prepare myself. I had no clue what to expect, as none of us do as first time moms. I had my heart set on a natural birth and didn’t want to have any pain relief. Because of this, I decided I wanted to give birth in a place that wouldn’t allow me the option of an epidural. I did some research and had heard wonderful things about a local maternity home. Being a small, home styled place with only a couple of maternity wards sounded just like what I wanted. Knowing that my sons delivery would be handled by a professional midwife left me feeling 100% comfortable with my decision.

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On Monday 25th August 2014, I spent the day feeling uncomfortable. Nothing too unusual for being 40 weeks pregnant. I plodded around with a belly so big I felt as if I would topple over at any given moment. I recall so vividly going through to visit my mom. We went for a long walk on the beach, and I told her I felt so achy. Think menstrual cramps on day 1. That day came to an end, and Tuesday arrived. By 11am I was starting to feel a little lousy, but had a close girl friend over for tea. Hubby was at work, and I wanted a bit of company. We joked saying ‘imagine I was actually in labour’. Just before she left, I thought I should perhaps call my maternity home just to check if this were actually early stages of labour. The midwife was in a meeting, and I was told I would be called back. Nothing. As the day went on, I started feeling more and more cramps, and was starting to feel rather lousy. My friend went home and I called David to tell him how I was feeling. He asked if he should come home from work – and I told him that I was going to try and get some rest because I knew that I would wake up if things got further along (if it even was the real thing).

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I woke up from my nap, and decided to call David’s aunt, who used to be a midwife. I explained the way that I was feeling, which had definitely gotten worse since I lay down for my nap – however not unbearable – just really uncomfortable. She told me that she definitely thought that I was in early stages of labour and that I best just rest as I had a long day ahead of me.

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A bit unsure of what was happening, I decided to try and get some more rest. David got home from work, and I so clearly recall it being such a stormy evening. He made himself some supper and I remember him asking me if I wanted anything. I responded with ‘No, I’m not feeling great’. And he told me that he thinks I should because I need energy. I didn’t want anything, and told him I was going to go to sleep, because I had a feeling it was going to be a long night ahead. I lay down on his lap on the couch for a bit, trying to embrace my last few hours (so I thought) with this belly, and I remember feeling my stomach going rock hard, and then going back to normal. I was obsessing over timing my contractions, and I remember feeling so confused. Surely they were supposed to be consistent like I was taught in antenatal classes? They were so irregular in their gaps.

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I went to sleep, it must’ve been about 7:00pm. By 10:30pm I was woken up with sharp, painful contractions. I was scared, but comforted by having David with me. Thinking back to my thoughts, my mind is blank. I can’t remember what I was thinking – I have a feeling the only thing on my mind was trying to get through the pain of each contraction. I remember my exercise ball being my best friend. I lived on it. David was trying to understand how bad they were, and wanted to know if we needed to go to the maternity ward. I didn’t know. I didn’t want to be sent home, and I didn’t want to have to sit in the empty maternity ward in the stormy weather if I wasn’t far along. We decided to just go after I collapsed from standing to sitting position after a contraction. I arrived by 11:15pm, bags and all with David and had an internal examination done. I was only 1cm dilated and already in excruciating pain. I felt so disheartened knowing I still had such a long way to go. They warned me, saying that I was obviously a slow dilator, and offered for me to stay in the maternity ward, but I decided to rather go home to my comfort.

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We drove back home, and I don’t remember that drive at all. What I do remember is what seemed like the darkest night of my entire life. Not in a bad way. I think as a woman, when in labour, it just kind of feels like we are alone in a way. It’s difficult to explain. David was absolutely incredible. He was there, right next to me – running bath after bath for me. Offering to rub my back if I wanted it, and checking in to see how I was at all the right times. But, the pain that we experience is indescribable, and we are so focused and in our own world while in labour that it almost feels as if we are in a room on our own. I lived on my exercise ball, with two ottomans piled on top of each other as a surface for me to rest my head on between contractions as well as in a bath tub that entire night. I couldn’t find a single thing that made me comfortable. In the house we were renting at the time, the bath tub was narrow and quite small. The water never entirely covered my belly. I remember David making me numerous cups of tea for me to try to drink when in the bath because I was so freezing cold. I remember him dozing off and then frantically running into the bathroom to see if I needed his help out of the bath and back to the exercise ball. That night was long, it was tedious and all I wanted was to meet my baby boy.

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I’ve never been so happy for the sun to come up. Because I knew that the night was over. I called the midwife in the morning and said that I was just in so much pain that I had to be at least 6cm dilated. She told me to wait a little longer (because I was dilating so slowly) and to come in at 12pm unless it was unbearable. 11am came, and I told David that I needed to go. That car ride was excruciating. It felt like the longest drive of my life. Every contraction that passed was indescribable. I felt like everybody in each car we passed was driving slowly on purpose and almost assumed they should have known I was in labour. We arrived at the maternity ward, and I will never forget walking through those doors. It was Wednesday 27th August (Olly’s original due date) and there were pregnant women waiting for their ultrasounds and check ups in the waiting room. Poor women – as I walked through the doors, I had a contraction and landed in a heap on the floor. Their faces – let’s just say I will never forget them!

They took me into the room to do another internal and to monitor babies heart beat. Lying on my back was awful. The heart rate monitor wasn’t working, and after 15 minutes they had to start again. I was irritated, and in so much agony lying on my back. The lady walked out and I told David that I needed a bucket — NOW because the pain was so bad that I needed to throw up. He ran around the maternity home asking them for buckets, and ended up grabbing a steel bucket (probably a bin) out of one of the bathrooms literally just in time. Pain meds were offered to me, and David reminded me of my wish of an unmedicated birth. It turned out I was only 3cm dilated. THREE. Now 24 hours into labour, all I wanted was to meet my baby boy, and I just wanted this pain to be gone.

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The midwife arrived, and suggested I get into one of the baths to try and speed up my labour. It felt like I was in that bath for a lifetime. It must have been about an hour, and I felt this strong, uncontrollable urge to push. The midwife had gone into another room to eat some lunch and had left me with one of her assistance and David. David was amazing, assisting me with my breathing and holding my hand through each contraction. When I felt the urge to push, I frantically told the assistant to get me out of the bath and to call the midwife. Her answer was ‘no’. David ended up telling her that she had no choice after back and forth arguing with her to get me out. I kept being told to ‘stop pushing’.

I eventually got out of the bath, and I am certain that I slowed down my labour and that if I had just let my body do it’s pushing naturally, he would’ve been born right then and there in the bath tub. I was taken to the bed and this is where things took their time. It must have been about 1:00pm when I got out of the bath. 2 hours were spent with me rocking, and doing all sorts of things in hope of getting this baby to come! I remember standing totally naked in the room with my arms wrapped around David’s neck just dropping at the knees at each contraction. It was eventually time to get onto the bed and to start pushing. They broke my water and then after 45 minutes of pushing and an episiotomy, Olly had arrived. This bare, warm little person covered in vernix was plonked onto my stomach, and I remember David saying in such an emotional voice ‘Baby, you did it! He’s here.’ I think I was so exhausted and overwhelmed that I hadn’t even registered that he was out! It was a confusing moment. So completely and utterly amazing, but also surreal. I felt as if I was dreaming. As if I was living in somebody elses life. I was then told that it was time to birth the placenta. One painless push, and that was out. All I wanted was a photo of him on my stomach, I wanted him to latch and for David to then cut the umbilical cord as I had stated in my birth plan, but he was taken off of me and just before they snipped it, David quickly told them that he wanted to do it. He cut the umbilical cord and they took him to a little table to do his Apgar score, etc. I felt that it all of a sudden became so impersonal.

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Sadly, this is where it all went downhill. About 20 minutes after he was born, the midwife told David – ‘Ok, you can go home now.’ With a shocked look on his face he asked them if they were joking. They responded with ‘the baby is here, now you can go home’. I couldn’t believe it. I had just been through the most ‘traumatic’, emotional, hectic thing in my entire life, and all I wanted was to have my partner there and to have his support and to cherish these first moments together. They eventually agreed to him staying for the next hour. Our moms arrived and met their grandson, and then left. David was then told to leave. My heart literally broke as I saw him leave. All he wanted was to be with us and to be able to stare at his newborn baby.

I was never shown how to get Olly to latch and was left to work it out myself. There was absolutely no guidance. Thank goodness Olly latched naturally, and fed well. After 28 and a half hours of being in labour, all I wanted was to get into a bath to clean myself. I was in pain, tender and really sore from my episiotomy. I asked them if I could have a bath and if someone would please watch Olly. They explained to me where the bath was. Nobody offered to assist me to walk there. I climbed off of the bed and honestly thought I was bleeding to death! Not once had anybody warned me that because of my natural birth, there would be a lot of blood! I had a bath, and when I got out couldn’t find Olly. I eventually found him in the ward that I had delivered him in, and they were just clearing out his nose. They brought him back to me, and I climbed into my bed next to his little crib. About to try and go to sleep, I heard that Olly sounded like he was struggling to breath. I got up again, and asked the nurse to please check him out again. She responded ‘I already did.’ I told her that I wasn’t asking her, but telling her to check his nose, she eventually took him back to the delivery ward and checked his nose. About ten minutes later, she comes back to me and says: ‘I’ve got bad news, I’ve called an ambulance.’ My heart dropped and my entire body went cold. I was convinced that my baby had died. I rushed into the delivery room, and she told me that he was struggling to breath (respitory issues), obviously due to distress from me pushing for so long. I look at my tiny, 3.8kg baby, so delicate – and my eyes gaze to his nose – to see that the breathing tubes that were supposed to be pointed upwards into his nostrils were pointing downwards. I felt like slapping somebody! I told her ‘HE CAN’T BREATH BUT YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE THE BREATHING TUBES IN HIS NOSE???’ I was told that I must just do it myself then. So there I am, as a first time mom, scared out of my mind – totally unsure of what on earth is going on – waiting for David to arrive holding tubes up my babies nose.

The ambulance arrives, and David arrives at the same time. Olly is moved into an incubator with a drip and tubes and I ride in the ambulance with him to Mowbray Maternity Hospital. David follows in his car. We arrive, and I remember so clearly getting to the doors to the NICU passage way, and the doors being slammed in David’s face. He wasn’t warned that he wouldn’t be allowed in, and seeing those doors slam shut on his face literally broke my heart. Both being so concerned about our baby and for him to be unable to be part of what was happening was excruciating.

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I have pages left of this story, but to speed it all up a bit – Olly had the most incredible doctor at Mowbray who was so informative and she did such a good job at looking after my baby. We were able to go home on the Friday after him being in NICU for 13 hours, and in the KMC ward with me for 1 night.

It was a whirlwind for me, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat. There were times once Olly were so scary for me, and I cannot even begin to imagine how scary it must be for some moms who face bigger issues with their babies at birth. No story is the same, and we are ALL superheroes – no matter how we gave birth – natural, c-section, medicated or unmedicated. And to the moms who have adopted, we know that the pain is there for you too, in ways that I only understand because I am adopted and my mom has explained to me the pains and things she had to overcome of not having had the opportunity to experience birth herself and with her journey to adoption.

Right now, what matters the most is that I have a healthy 2 and a half year old boy who is happy and striving. And, I would do it all again…in a heartbeat.