Christina Sparkle

  1. New mama survival guide


    In the absence of a weekly update this week I thought I’d list all the things that have got me through the last 5 weeks of being a brand new mama.

    Staying at home with a newborn is, I imagine, very similar to being in an underground bunker with one hand tied behind your back. These products will work in either situation.

    1. Tablet – My iPad mini has got me through the many feedings in the dead of night. Perfectly sized to be balanced on my knees while I breast feed and control with one hand while the other hand holds the baby. Here are the apps that have been getting me through:

    Facebook: If you can get a friend in Australia to message you, or find some other new mamas then this will keep you entertained for a good portion of the night. Messaging with one hand though is a skill I have yet to acquire.

    Instagram: Searching and following expensive baby brands is my new hobby, my current favourites are @ryderl_style, @tinycottons and @foxesfelts – following their brand reps too is futile!

    YouTube: Grab your earphones and subscribe to your favourite vloggers. Perfect for whiling away those cluster feeding hours, my favourites are the Saccone Jolys, Travis Clark and (most disturbingly) Glam Planner.

    Candy Crush: I’m probably out of date with the latest game that everyone is playing but any game that can keep you occupied while feeding is going to be a winner. Try not to spend too much on in-app purchases though (guilty!).

    2. Headphones – Grab some comfy earphones for watching YouTube in the middle of the night and for listening to Spotify when you’re out pushing the pram in the day time.

    I typically just listen to one ear when breastfeeding  (the opposite side to the one I am feeding on) so the cord doesn’t get in the way or strangle the baby.

    3. Tumbler – Ideally you want a plastic tumbler with a lid and straw. Perfect for grabbing one handed without spilling and make sure it holds plenty so you don’t have to top up every five seconds.

    I actually got my tumbler for my labour after my friend Lizzie recommended it to me. It has been super useful with the newborn and Andy now has his own too.

    4. Lansinoh – Don’t scrimp on cheaper alternatives, this is a must have for the first 2-3 weeks of breastfeeding when you have cracks, blisters and scabs. I don’t need it so much now my nips have adjusted but I still apply it a couple of times a day.

    5. Netflix – This is mainly for the first week at home, if your baby is like ours and stays up all through the night then you might try staying up in shifts like we did. I’m not sure it was the best way to handle things but that was the only way we could get through it. I watched most of Red Dwarf, Gavin and Stacey and anything else that is easy to follow when a baby is screaming through it.

    6.  Books – You might want to download these onto your tablet rather than grab a paper copy because turning pages one handed is not an easy skill. However, if your feeds are long these will help to get you through and aren’t so mind-numbing as playing Candy Crush for hours on end.

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  2. Lullaby – Tim Minchin

    What more can I do to put a stop to
    This mind-numbing noise you are making?
    Where is the line between patting and hitting?
    When is rocking “rocking” and when is it “shaking”?


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  3. One month post partum update

    Success is finding a moment to crochet #stylecraft #newparents #crochet #babyblanket

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    This week was my first full work with Andy back at work leaving me on my own with Sacha at home. I’ve been to some breastfeeding support groups and to get him weighed at the family centre as well as having a few family and friend visits to keep me sane.

    He has been better at being in his swing or bouncer this week so I can put him down and tidy up or do some crochet for up to two hours at a time which is bliss.

    My incision has been better this week, it is still a little sore but I haven’t increased my pain killers; I’ve just been taking extra showers and that seems to help to stop it from getting prickly or too stinky.

    I’m still suffering with deep breast pain. My support group leader sent me to the drop in center with suspected thrush but the GP that saw me said it definitely wasn’t. I just had to leave with no answer and nothing to help the pain. I’m not sure if the pain is easing or I’m just getting used to it but it is easier to cope with now, hopefully in the next two weeks it will be gone completely.

    At night the pain can be really bad, I can’t sleep on the side I just fed on because it’s just too painful. I also find it especially difficult if Sacha wants to keep feeding after he’s had both sides, the pain is just too much to carry on.

    This week I have been especially leaky, it used to be just a small amount when I was feeding from the opposite side however, now it’s more like puddles! I may have to start sleeping in my bra or on a towel, neither if which sounds very appealing.

    Height/Weight: Although I went up to the family centre to get him weighed I forgot to pick up the piece of paper with the weight on so I don’t know what it was. I think it was 8lb 4oz, or 8lb 6oz but I can’t remember. He’ll get weighed at his 6 week check up so I’ll just wait until then to find out.

    Routine: Here’s the routine that we seem to have so far…

    7.30/8am: Wake up, nappy change and feed for 45 mins-1 hour. He then is in a good mood and awake enough to sit under his gym or on the bed and look out the window while I get dressed and grab some breakfast.

    9am: We usually take a walk in the buggy to run errands or to a mum and baby group where he can feed for another 25 mins. If we had a bad night I try to use this time to sleep some more instead of going out.

    11.30am/12pm: Back home for another nappy change and feed for 25-45 mins. After this he usually naps and I eat some lunch, do laundry and keep myself sane with some crochet.

    1pm: If we’re having visitors they come about this time and Sacha will continue to nap in his swing and during cuddles.

    2.30pm/3pm: Sacha wakes up for another nappy change and feed. This is when he is most likely to be groggy and it can be hard to get him to feed; he will often scream for an extended period before I can get him to latch on properly. I will catch up on last night’s TV during this time; War & Peace, Jericho and Call the Midwife are currently in my list to watch.

    4pm: More awake time, I will put him under the baby gym or in the swing for a short period and we do tummy time if he is still in a good mood. This is a good time for me to get on the computer and do a little work if I can.

    5pm/5.30pm: Andy Candy comes home from work and has cuddles. I will try and get a hot shower to try and ease the deep breast pain and clean my incision.

    6pm: We feed for 25-45 mins while Andy makes dinner in the hope that we can put him in the swing or nap while we eat.

    7.30pm: Andy and I take it in turns to bath Sacha. We are doing proper baths now with a bath seat. We wash him using the Naif baby wash and then use the matching body lotion to moisturise afterwards.

    8pm: We do a fresh nappy and feed for at least 25-45mins, he will either drop off after the first feed which lets me have some time to relax with Andy until 10/11pm, or he will continue to cluster feed all evening until 12pm-1am. Typically, the worse the evenings are the better the nights are; he won’t wake up much if he’s fed a lot in the evening however that can be difficult to see at the time when I am sore and desperate to sleep.

    2am/3am and 5am/5.30am: He wakes for a feed for 25-45 minutes. There will be a nappy changes in there too which can be tough because they wake him up so it’s a difficult balance to try to keep him sleepy.

    Sleeping: I had one tough night again where I was very sore with deep breast pain and I resorted to a formula feed however, it didn’t have effect we were looking for. He didn’t sleep for the long period like he did last time, in fact he just stayed awake for ages until I breast fed again. Then he just slept for 3 hours and was really pukey the next day. I’m really reluctant to do that again, I don’t think formula top ups are the right answer for us.

    One thing I have introduced this week (which I may come to regret!) is a dummy. Rather than letting him constantly feed from me until I am sore and crying I let him have both sides for a good period of time (up to two hours), then if he is still trying to feed I’m giving him a dummy (night time only). This has worked for the last two nights; he gets the sucking and soothing that he wants and I get the rest that I need before the next feed.

    Hopefully using a dummy like this means I don’t get too sore and need to resort to formula again. I do plan to take the dummy away again at about 8 weeks once he discovers his thumbs.

    Eating/Feeding: Sacha’s feeds are now typically 25 minutes long, last week they were 45 minutes and his first week they were an hour. He will then swap to the other side for 5-15 mins if he’s really hungry.

    I had been exclusively using rugby hold until this week when I have introduced cross cradle at night time which seems to be more comfortable for night feeds. It means I don’t have to have so many cushions around me and it seems easier to feed this way when I am sleepy. However, I am finding it easier to stay awake during night feeds, especially because they don’t seem to go on for so long any more.

    He has had a cold the past couple of days which makes his breathing difficult during feeds – he sounds like a little piggy! Hopefully that will clear up soon, it reminds me of Tim Minchin’s impression of a sleeping baby.

    He has also been much more pukey this week. I’m not sure if this is from overeating or not being burped enough. This gives me an excuse to put him in cute dribble bibs though.

    Size: He’s still in the newborn/1 month clothing but I really hope he starts to bust out of them in the next week. I did try him in some 1-2 month clothing though and it was huge! I am getting bored of the 10 baby gros we have now (especially because he can go through 3 in a day!) so hopefully we can start putting him in outfits soon. Nappies are still size 1, we’ve run out of the Aldi nappies now and are back to the Naty ones which aren’t as leaky so I guess he’s grown into them.

    Milestones: I can put Sacha in his swing, bouncer or under the baby gym for longer periods now, he really likes looking out the window. Andy has been getting him to smile more and more, I finally managed to catch a smile on camera. He has managed to roll over a couple of times in his co-sleeper but maybe that’s just fluke? During tummy time he’s been holding his head up for a couple of seconds this week, lots of progress there.

    Rockstar 🎸⭐️ #newborn #stars #guitar #rockstar #airguitar #onsie #mothercare #dribblebib #bandana

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    Unless something super exciting happens in the next week the next update will be the six week update.

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  4. Baby – She & Him

    Baby, if you should want me
    I’ll come when you call me
    Yes, I’ll be around
    Baby, don’t ever worry
    As long as you need me you know I’ll never let you down

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  5. Three week post partum update

    @andywalton7 modelling his new scarf on a walk to #priorymarina 💙 #crochet #handmade #newparents #bedford

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    I’ve been feeling much better this week, I just seemed to hit day 14 and the tears weren’t so eager to come out any more. The only tears I’ve had this week have been about breast feeding pain.

    I’ve been really hungry and thirsty this week; I just want to snack constantly and not always healthy stuff either. I am eating lots of satsumas and bananas but also tortilla chips, pretzels, sweets and chocolates. I just want to eat everything while I’m breastfeeding, I need to make an effort to keep it more healthy so Sacha gets only goodness from my milk.

    Andy returned to work on Monday so I’ve had my first full days on my own with the baby. I’ve visited a local Baby Brasserie support group and have lots of visitors lined up to keep me entertained.

    My incision has been quite sore this week, I’ve considered going to the GP for more painkillers; I’m still alternating Paracetemol and Ibuprofen every four hours. I find that I get a prickly sensation across my tummy and it feels quite achey too. I’ve been trying to get out walking more which is supposed to help with the healing; it does still hurt my incision to walk but not as much as sitting around all day. Showers also help a lot to sooth with some hot water followed by some Bepanthan cream.

    On Saturday we walked into the town centre to run some errands and grab some lunch from Baja (an amazing independent Mexican restaurant in Bedford), and on Sunday we walked down to the marina that is nearby our house. I’m planning on walking to meet Andy from work whenever the weather is good enough. My mum has kindly bought us a new pushchair that is compatible with our car seat too. Sacha seems to like the pushchair a lot, he just falls off to sleep once we get going. I’ve been looking at accessories to go with the new pram; black and white stripes are my ultimate weakness.

    My bleeding seems to be gone now. I’ve stopped using the pads for a couple of days – thank goodness!

    Height/Weight: I don’t have an up to date weight for Sacha this week but he was weighed by the midwife again before I was discharged and she said that he was gaining weight well. There is a regular session at my local family centre to go and get him weighed so I should probably visit every week so I can at least up date the blog!

    Routine: We still don’t have a regular routine in the day, feedings and naps are very random. Some days he doesn’t nap at all unless it’s out in the pram. I thought newborns were supposed to sleep lots! I’m tracking everything on the Baby Connect app, which is becoming a bit of a chore however it does help me stay sane when he seems hungry again. I can check the last feed and reassure myself that it was at least an hour before.

    Sleeping: We are still using the evening routine of bathing and cluster feeding. This does seem to result in a better nights sleep. He is now sleeping for 2-3 hour periods (sometimes 4 hours!), with a couple of feeds in the night. We only have enough cotton wool for one more bath so from next week I think we’ll be doing proper baths – scary stuff!

    Eating/Feeding: Although my nips do seem to be coping a lot better this week, I have been having some deep breast pain which resulted in one really bad night this week. I was crying out in so much pain while he fed that we resorted to formula. I needed the rest so badly. We went out in the middle of the night to Tesco and bought a set of six Cow & Gate bottles that come with a steralised teat each.

    Sacha didn’t seem to like the formula milk; it must taste different, it was room temperature and the teat was a completely new shape for him. He did drink it all down eventually and then slept for a full six hours.

    Since then things have been a lot better; I have reverted to a feeding bra that is more soft and not so restrictive which seems to help with the pain along with using a hot flannel when I feed when the pain is bad. We haven’t had to use the formula again but it is good to know that it is there if the pain gets too much.

    Every time I see a midwife about feeding they comment on my use of a pillow. On the sofa I use a regular pillow to support the baby while he feeds then if he drops off I can easily move him to the side to nap, in bed I’m using the arch pillow I used during pregnancy in a similar way but transferring him to the co-sleeper when he falls asleep. I know that many people recommend a boppy, so I might give one of those a try.

    Size: We’re still in newborn clothes; I guess it’s good to get some wear out of them while we can! We’ve started to use some Aldi nappies in newborn size that were given to us by a friend because we were having some leaks in the Naty nappies, especially at night. They are quite convenient because they have a line to indicate if the nappy is wet or not on the outside.

    Milestones: Andy has managed to get Sacha to stick out his tongue, and smile more too. I just seem to get concerned faces! I’ve downloaded the Wonder Weeks app which tells us that this week is a leap for his sensations. He does certainly seem more clingy and feeding a lot this week as predicted (although I don’t think feeding was ever less frequent).

    This post contains sponsored links.

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  6. Two week post partum update

    Somewhere in my wicked youth or childhood, I must have done something good ❤️😭👶🏻

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    This week was a toughy for me emotionally. I got a big bout of the baby blues and struggled to cope mid week when he was just screaming and screaming in the middle of the day – he didn’t want to feed, or need changing or sleep – just scream. I found myself wishing for the toe curling pain of his latch just so the screaming would stop. Since then I’m trying to be more present and responsive before it gets to that screaming point.

    I’ve found myself really doubting my abilities, I often feel like I’m not good enough for my baby. Someone posted this Buzzfeed about imposter syndrome on Facebook and it is pretty accurate! I know that this is all part of the first few weeks of baby blues so I’m hoping that these feelings will pass shortly, otherwise I do have access to counseling services which I will be taking advantage of.

    I’m still quite sore around my incision. I’m alternating ibuprofen and paracetamol every 4 hours but still getting lots of aches. I’m also getting really bored of wearing pads now, I just don’t find them comfortable at all. Hopefully the bleeding will finish soon so I can feel more like myself again.

    Height/Weight: The health visitor came on day 13 and we now have a height measurement of 54 cm. He has been a bit slow to gain his weight back. but on day 13 he now weighs 7lb 15oz again.

    Routine: During the morning we’ve usually had appointments with the midwife or health visitor, or something else to do. This morning was the first where we didn’t have an appointment so I just stayed in bed to get some extra sleep until 11 while he was still sleeping. The afternoons are taken up by chilling and watching TV. Sacha will nap next to me on a pillow between feeds and when he’s awake I try to put him under the baby gym or in his Fisher Price baby swing for a bit of stimulation. I have also been using a ring sling if he is sleepy but not willing to nap, this seems to comfort him and help him to sleep while giving me some time to blog or tidy up a little although I have to be careful about moving about too much or he throws up.

    We don’t seem to have a regular routine yet in the day, there aren’t many minutes between feeds, I just feed on demand. Sacha does seem to be less concerned by his nappy changes now. I can usually change him without any tears unlike last week where he was screaming every time. We’re still using bepanthan on any sore spots that crop up.

    Sleeping:  I’ve started to introduce an evening routine in the hope that he will settle through the night instead of the cluster feeding nightmare we had since we bought him home. Andy and I usually eat dinner about 6.30-7pm and rather than just sit around watching TV for the evening I’ve started to take Sacha upstairs to the bedroom and give him a warm cotton wool bath. This seem to help him chill out along with some skin to skin time and some baby massage with moisturising lotion.

    He then still seems to feed a lot for the rest of the evening (until 1am) but for the last three nights this has resulted in good long sleeps once he does finally fall off. I’m using a woombie to swaddle him while he feeds during the evening to encourage him to sleep and let him know that it is night time. We’ve also done a lullaby playlist on Spotify to help keep the mood calm – I highly recommend the Rockabye Baby albums, The Clash one is probably the best. Baby gets soft lullaby music and you get the songs you know and love at the same time.

    During the evenings with this new routine I try not to introduce any other stimulus, I don’t watch YouTube videos like I used to, I just keep myself occupied with silent things like Facebook, Instagram and Candy Crush. I stay in bed with him in the co-sleeper next to me to encourage him to sleep but still feeding as often as he wants. Hopefully his feeds will become more spaced out in the coming weeks so I can have some evening time downstairs again soon.

    He still wakes up once or twice in the night, and the second time he is usually wide awake (about 4-5am) so hopefully that will become a bit later because that is very early for us!

    Eating/Feeding: One big mistake I’ve made since bringing home from the hospital is resting one breast at a time for a couple of days. My nips were so sore, blistered and scabbed that I took to just feeding on one side and then I had to rest the other side a few days later because the same happened again. However, my midwife pointed out that this means he was only getting the lean milk, not the fatty milk that fills him up because I didn’t have enough time to build it up on the side that I was relying on. This has probably been the cause of the cluster feeding (not feeling full) and slowness to gain weight. I’m now back to using both sides and powering through with lots of Lansinoh cream. I guess my nips just need to harden, like your fingers do when you learn to play guitar.

    He still fusses a lot when it comes to latching, he latches and lets go multiple times before deciding that he wants to stay on. Often screaming inbetween too. Hand expressing a little can help to encourage him but it doesn’t work every time. This is obviously putting a lot of strain on my nips and they continue to be sore and blistered no matter how much Lansinoh I use.

    I’m still finding feeding very painful; latching on hurts like a hard pinch, then while he feeds I can feel the milk being pulled through. When he comes off he likes to pinch down with his mouth and pull and after each feed I feel sore from all the pulling too. Hopefully these pains are going to subside in the next week.

    I now leak from the opposite side when I’m feeding which is hard to get used to! All of sudden you realise you have milk dripping down your side in the middle of the night during those 4am feeds.

    Size: Sacha is still wearing newborn clothes, they do seem to fit him about right now, he no longer seems to pull his legs out and bunch them up in the body area. We are using size 1 nappies from Naty which are biodegradeable, I have a good stock of them so hopefully he doesn’t grow out of those too soon. Although, last night we had a lot of leaks – maybe because the nappies aren’t right, or maybe because he is still too small for them? I’m not sure.

    Milestones: We get a few smiles in his sleep and he has been a lot more awake this week, eyes open and looking around. I’ve been trying to encourage him to stick out his tongue but no success yet!

    Play time set up for the babe #homemade #upcycled #onehourquilt @seekatesew @ikeauk

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

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  7. One week post partum update

    Bump to baby #newborn #supertired

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    After my caesarian section it took a lot for me to even get out of bed to go to the toilet. In the hospital, every time I needed to pick the baby up to feed I had to call a midwife for them to hand him to me which was fine at first but you do feel frustrated after a while!

    Andy came in all day every day to be with us which saved me from pressing the midwife button constantly. We also had visits from Andy’s parents and from my mum and sister who were all enchanted with Sacha. On the evening of day 2 we were able to bring him home. I was recovering well from the c-section and feeling more like myself again; going to the toilet normally and the bleeding is very manageable with some Always pads.

    Breast feeding has been a challenge. Latching on has been fine although he does like to fuss and play around before latching properly which can be frustrating in the dead of night! My nips have struggled though and I’ve had cracks, blisters and bleeding. I have taken to resting a side if it does get too sore, even for 24 hours it can help – along with a lot of lanolin cream!

    I’ve been to see multiple midwives and even had a lactation specialist come to my home this week but the consensus opinion is that he is feeding well and this is a normal part of the process. I’m using the rugby ball position and I’ve been using the BabyConnect app to track feeds, nappies and sleeps so I don’t have remember times myself.  The advice we got at ante natal classes that breast feeding doesn’t hurt though is complete rubbish – latching on does hurt every time, once he is then latched the pain subsides but getting that advice made me believe I was doing something wrong.

    Another difficult part of the week has been the cluster feeding. All the articles I’ve found seem to suggest that cluster feeding happens in the evenings between 6pm and midnight but Sacha seems to cluster feed between 1am and 6am. This has come as a big shock to the system. 2am-4am is the hardest, thank heaven for Netflix!

    We’ve tried a shift system where Andy takes him for a couple of hours or as long as he can stand the screaming. I’m now trying to feed as much as possible in the evenings to see if that encourages cluster feeding earlier in the night. The two worst nights we’ve had are ones where we’ve taken him out in the evenings – once to the hospital, and once to my crafting circle. These trips out just extended bed time and gave him a lot of stimulation I think so I’m going to try and avoid anything like that for a while.

    While we were still in the hospital we had a test for jaundice and then when we got him back home I was concerned he looked quite yellow so we took him back. The test involves pricking his heel and then gathering the blood in a glass tube for testing. This was quite traumatic because the tests didn’t work and he ended up with 5 heel prick tests in one night which upset him every time and was very stresssful for us too. Luckily an experienced midwife did the final test and was able to get the test to work – it all turned out fine, he was well below the level and is now fine and dandy.

    Now we have him at home we’ve given him his first bath which he found to be very traumatic, haha. He just doesn’t like being undressed for nappy changes or baths or anything. He does have a few sore spots in the folds of his skin which I’m using Bepanthan on to sooth and heal.

    I had taken the advice of blogs and articles I’d read to not buy any newborn clothes because they grow out of them so quickly. I did have two sleep suits from a jumble trail but that was it for newborn however, 0-3 months clothes are just huge! My mum kindly went out and grabbed some packs of sleep suits in newborn size from Mothercare until he grows into 0-3 month size, hopefully that won’t be long with all this cluster feeding but Newborn size is still quite large.

    Baby goal no.27: introduce animal prints as soon as possible #newborn #animalprint #giraffe #babygro @mothercareuk

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    Favourite products this week: Bepanthan, Always Ultra, Lanisoh, Netflix, Sleepsuits, Baby connect

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  8. My birth story

    Thunderbirds are go! Finally. #labour #induced #42weeks

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    I’m back!! And I had a baby!

    I didn’t blog during my pregnancy; since starting work at the RSPB and buying our new house I haven’t made time for blogging. However, now I have some time off and need something to occupy my mind so it’s time to get some of these feelings out. Here’s my birth story, be warned there will be some gory detail!

    We had known for a while that baby’s back was aligned to my back and not at the front of my tummy but I wish I had known how significant that would be, or what I could have could have done to help. Whenever I had midwife checkups they had found it difficult to say how the baby was lying and sometimes found the heart beat hard to listen to as well.

    Baby was due on December 21st 2015 however he decided to stay in there as long as possible. I went in for a stretch and sweep on Saturday 2nd (40 weeks + 12 days) but as my cervix was completely closed the midwife couldn’t complete the procedure.

    I was due to be induced on Monday 4th but I started contracting naturally on Sunday at 2am. My contractions got to 3-4 in a ten minute period however they were only 30 seconds long so after another internal exam which showed my cervix was still only .5cm I was sent home to try and relax until the contractions were more meaningful.

    On the evening of Sunday 3rd my contractions were now 50 secs to a minute long but not frequent enough. I got into bed but within half an hour I got my show. I wasn’t sure it was my show (I expected a show to be small), it was like raspberry jelly and there was so much of it I thought it might be my waters but a trip to the midwife in hospital told me that it was in fact my show.

    The midwife encouraged me to go home but I was losing patience and knew I had to be back for 8am anyway to be induced. She very kindly found me a bed on the ward along with all the new babies and Andy went home to get a proper nights sleep that I knew he needed. The midwife did warn me that I wouldn’t get any sleep because of all the newborns but it turned out that it was me making all the noise, not the poor babies.

    Every contraction I was swearing through the pain, I feel so bad for all those newborns whose first sounds they heard in this world are me effing and blinding through the night! Still my contractions were not 3-4 in a ten minute period like they need to be to be considered in active labour.

    In the morning I was moved down from the ward to the labour suite ready for induction as planned at 8am. To increase the intensity and frequency of my contractions I was started on a drip and epidural. There was no point in a pessary or gel to start contractions as I was already contracting. Again, because the baby was back to back the midwife found it hard to track my contractions because the tightening was all in my back, not in the front as usual.

    One thing I hadn’t considered with being induced is that my birth plan (or preferences as I called them) would essentially be thrown out. An induced labour already has a specific plan so it’s very unlikely that it would involve a birthing pool or surviving with gas and air only.

    I found the epidural to be quite scary. I wish that I had done more research into all the steps of an induced labour once I had been given a date for the induction. I was still focusing on my ideal labour that I had in my birth plan. The epidural required all kinds of needles and tape in my back; when the anaesthetist was putting everything in and taping me up I was crying just from feeling overwhelmed and out of control of the situation.

    The epidural helped some but unfortunately my pain was all in my back because of the position of the baby being back to back. I still needed to use gas and air throughout my contractions and especially during the internal exams, despite the anaesthetist telling me to try not to use it anymore. I used the manual top-up button that you get with an epidural every time and took more from the anaesthetist as often as I could.

    Around 8pm my midwife and doctor prepped me for a caesarian section as I was bleeding so much but as I was now dilating well I think they thought it was worth carrying on and hoping for the best.

    Eventually I got to 10cm and I was feeling very out of it with all the gas and air and epidural drugs. The midwives and doctor started telling me to push but I felt that I couldn’t push through the pain and made no progress. I knew that I may be dilated enough but the baby wasn’t far down, it was still going to be a long process. This was the point were I felt even more out of control; I was heavily drugged and talking nonsense most of the time to the point where the things that I really meant to say were not being taken seriously. Poor Andy had to answer some very silly questions from me!

    I got to the point where I was really arguing with the midwives and screaming out in pain so much with every contraction because the drugs really weren’t hitting my back where all the pain was. A senior midwife came in and told me that if I didn’t start pushing properly they would have to give me a caesarian section to which I responded to tell her that’s what I wanted, that I couldn’t do any more.

    The midwife and doctor at this point agreed to a c-section, everything from now onward went very quickly. The anaesthetist prepared a form for me to sign and the process was all very quick. I was moved to an operating room and given a local anaesthetic but when we went through the tests to see what sensations I had I could still feel what they were doing too much. This meant that I needed a general anasthetic instead.

    Apparently within 15 minutes the baby was out and Andy could hear his cries from outside the operating room. Shortly afterwards the anaesthetist came out and handed the baby to Andy. Meanwhile I must have been stitched and patched up because a few hours later I woke up in the recovery area to Andy holding our baby.

    I was still quite out of it and at first I turned down holding the baby until I had woken up a bit more. When I did hold the baby and tried to feed him he latched perfectly first time. There are some photos of that moment but I look like a complete crazy person I’m scared someone will come and take him away if they are ever made public!

    So there we are, welcome to the world Sacha Bradley Trent Walton! Born 3.15am on 5th January 2016. He weighed 7lbs 15oz and so far has blue eyes and lots of dark hair.

    Sacha Bradley Trent Walton born 3.15 am today weighing 7lb15oz

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    Since the birth I’ve been having a rollercoaster of emotions about the whole experience. I am happy that I didn’t have to keep pushing because I felt so much pain and I dread to think how long that might have gone on for. However, I do wish I had been able to be more “present” and hold my baby straight away which makes me cry every time I think about it.

    I am just so happy to have him now, it’s all quite overwhelming… I’m off for another cry – come back for his one week update coming soon!

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