Friday, 29 August 2014

In praise of the NHS - part two

I'VE put part two as I am pretty sure I have wrote good things about the NHS on this blog before....

Part of the wonderful experience of being new parents was the care we had from the midwives and surgeons at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

From Pam Jones and her team the weekend before Jacob was born, to Ellie, Ali and Katie after his arrival, Pam was in safe hands throughout her time in hospital.

Midwives are the unsung heroes of the NHS, we were so well looked after from actual care to them just sitting and talking for a moment or two answering our newbie questions!

Ellie was wonderful on the delivery date itself, looked after Pam all the way into theatre and kept nice and calm when Jacob was born and needed just a little help to get started.

Even when she was called away to care for another lady in labour, she found the time to come back at the end of her shift and apologise - even though she was sharing her talents and helping another woman bring new life into the world.

The post natal staff were just as wonderful, they could not have done more to help Pam breastfeed but sadly Jacob was too laid back to latch on. A problem he still has now when he has his bottle!

But the care was exceptional, support and advice was forever on hand despite the ward being busier than Kings Cross at rush hour on numerous occasions.

It makes you appreciate what we have for free in this country, the NHS is an institution which needs to be modernised and nursed back to health.

To all midwives, I salute you. To all those who helped us from August 13 to August 16 I thank you on behalf of Pam and of the not so little Jacob!

Our First Days as a Mummy and Daddy

WE SURVIVED!! Well we have for the first two weeks anyway. Mission one of parenting, don’t kill it has been achieved!

It’s been an eye-opening two weeks, funny because a lot of the time Jacob kept his eyes closed!!!!

And everybody who said it would turn my world upside down was absolutely correct, life as we know it changed massively on August 14.

The biggest lesson I have learned though is to watch my son, his cues nearly always give a guide as to what he wants at that moment.

Oh and to not panic, those early days when they cry for no apparent reason can sometimes solved with more feeds, especially if they are trying to regain their birth weight as Jacob has been.

The Sunday night after we came home saw both of us have meltdowns, it’s only the next day we looked at things and realised he was just after another feed!

Hindsight is very important for new parents!

I’ve learned a lot about myself, especially if I relax and let my instinct take over I am actually quite good at taking care of him.

I have also learned that there is another level above love, I love Pam and would do anything for her but Jacob….just looking at him sleep can make me feel WOW

To any dads to be, some advice:

-          ALWAYS sleep when they sleep when you get home, you will need it and it’s amazing how the extra power gained with a lunchtime nap sustains you during the 3am feed.

-          Tackle nappies as soon as you can, they don’t smell during the first few days so it’s a good chance to hone the changing skill before the smelly ones arrive.

-          Being weed on is a badge of honour, you can learn to try and block it but the clever so and so’s work around it…

-          Try and do as much as you can for your beloved, it will be appreciated.

-          If you need to go out in first few days after you come home, walk to the shop if you can. Fresh air is wonderful and you might feel a little spaced out.

-          Be prepared your normally sharp brain may be a little fuzzy,  for example you might go to the bank to pay a cheque in and forget to take your wallet……
But most importantly, enjoy it! It’s a wonderful voyage of discovery and one I am so glad I brought a ticket for!

Welcome Jacob Edward James George

THURSDAY, August 14 was quite simply the best day of my life as it saw the birth of Jacob via c-section.

I have tried to sit down many times to record the day with a blog but don’t feel I ever had the words until now, two weeks on.

After an overnight stay, I got to Worcestershire Royal for just after 8am, Pam had already been seen by the anaesthetist who was friendly and very calming influence.

The surgeons who would perform the c-section arrived soon after and were again very professional and personable.

They asked us if we knew the sex as apparently they had done a c-section before and announced the arrival of a baby girl, to blank faces from mum and dad who did not know what they were having!

A quick scan confirmed Jacob was indeed breech still and then it was a slow walk to the theatre, Pam went for her spinal block while I changed into some delightful scrubs. Don’t worry, no pictures exist of how I looked!
Pretty soon it was time for me to go in, I thought I would go a bit weak seeing all the equipment but a very calm state descended over me.

The lovely midwife popped me on a chair next to Pam’s head and once the anaesthetic did its thing it was time to bring Jacob into the world.

Apart from a bit of pulling, you wouldn’t have known what was taking place and then came the moment that will live with me forever.

Jacob was born and held above the partition for us to see, our gorgeous little boy melted both our hearts by looking straight at his mummy!

He was checked over and didn’t go pink as quickly as they would have liked, of course as soon as the paediatric nurse was paged he soon responded.

But I was soon asked to go over and say hello and cut the remainder of the cord, a nice touch by the hospital to ensure the dad can experience the sensation.

I did think it would be very spongy but it’s actually really gristly and tough, comforting in a way to know something so hard-wearing fed him for nine months!

After a short while in recovery, including plenty of male bonding, we were back in delivery (no rooms in the antenatal inn) and I got to speak to family and friends and let them know the good news.

Dads, give yourself a minute before you call people to let them know, I spent a good minute just rambling with excitement!

We ended the first day on antenatal, I handled the first two nappies which any new dad MUST do, as you get the badge of honour of being weed on then!

All in all it was a momentous day which Pam and I won’t forget in a hurry, 10.31am on 14/08/14  is a moment I will treasure forever

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Dear Jacob

WELL son, today's the day.

Thursday, August 14 will be your birthday and while me and your mum didn't expect things to happen like this we can't wait to meet you.

We've had a wonderful journey since your mum came bounding into the bedroom in January to say you were on the way.

From the first scan where you had everything you should have and were healthy to the 20 week scan where we found you were a Jacob, it's a been a voyage of discovery.

You have entertained us with your movements, your obliging nature every time a midwife needed to listen to your heartbeat and your kicks whenever I seemingly spoke.

But you have grown healthy and seemingly happy despite mummy's diabetes (I'll fill you in on it all when you are a little older).

And now it's time to come join us on the outside. Sorry about that but you have to admit there is hardly any room where you are now!

You'll see a light tomorrow little man and some hands, don't be afraid. He is there to help you out into the world and see me and your mum.

She'll be the one lying down, she not being lazy just staying still because of reasons you don't need to know yet. Let's just say if you like sunroofs it won't be a surprise.....

As for me, I will be the one looking and asking questions. Not because I'm a journalist but because I'm nosey.

I won't lie to you mate, I will probably be blubbing but hey I guess you will as well so anything to make you feel at home.

There's plenty to discover little man, I can't wait to share the journey with you.

Oh and in case I forget to say it, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

And then there was Sunday...

OUR mad weekend continued with a trip into hospital on Sunday for some steroid injections to get J's lungs up to speed for the c-section on Thursday.

After driving through a monsoon, we were settled in by Pam Jones and her wonderful team at Worcestershire Royal Hospital's delivery suite and the day was mapped out.

Two steroid injections 12 hours apart and should she be OK then discharge on Monday, apart from being on a insulin drip to regulate her diabetes as steroids can make her blood sugars go funny.

Early blood sugar readings were good and while rather painful, the steroid injection passed without incident so after some lunch I was dispatched to Walsall to see my mum and spend time with my dad on his actual birthday.

I came back for the second injection, blood sugars were all good and the second injection passed without alarm. I left on Sunday night full of hope Pam would be back with me at home on Monday afternoon at latest.

HOWEVER, after going into work to get my mind off things on Monday morning I had a call. Jacob was showing to be rather disgruntled on the CTG and I should get over there.

Redditch to Worcester has never gone so quick....of course when I got there the scene was complete calm, his disgruntled state had once again returned to complete calm, the opposite of daddy!

Long story short, he wasn't distressed as babies don't return to calm once distressed but he was unhappy with something and may have tugged his cord or clasped it between his legs or even got tangled up briefly.

Suffice to say a Monday discharge looked unlikely but J seemed to sense mummy was a little upset and when the CTG was repeated at 1pm he was very happy, plenty of gymnastics and content heartbeat.

So we were evicted at 3pm! Mummy Smurf came back to her castle with instructions to return to the hospital at 8pm on Wednesday.

Jacob, you will be evicted on Thursday, no sooner please! We have a CTG again at 12.30pm today, please behave for it!

One mad weekend

FORGIVE me for being quiet but blimey what a weird and at times wonderful weekend.

Firstly I put together J's crib and changing table which just look lovely, would certainly recommend Cosatto Easi Peasi changer.

Very 'Easi Peasi' to set up and it looks very colorful and bold in the corner of Jacob's room. Looking forward to getting to use it next weekend all being well.

We then had the mental situation of a magpie in the chimney breast....yes a magpie. I should explain that on Wednesday night we thought we heard a bird in the chimney which turned out to be a large amount of soot which came crashing down the chimney.

Anyway on Saturday we heard a scratching noise which got louder and louder. On my hands and knees under the fire I then saw a beak....bricking it doesn't do justice to how I felt!

I phone the emergency gas engineers to no avail until Pam shouted up to me he had wriggled his way out and was walking round the front room!

An open door and our house guest soon took his leave! After we calmed down we travelled to Perry Barr to see my dad for his 70th birthday and take him, my aunt and uncle and my godparents to the greyhounds.

I had hoped to win enough to give up work and stay home with Jacob and his mummy forever but sadly doubt I will get by on £23 profit on the night.

A wonderful time was had by all though and was the perfect way to bring to an end our time as a two, the next social occasion will be a three!

And then there was Sunday...but that can come on the next blog.....

Friday, 8 August 2014

I'm going to be a dad......IN SIX DAYS!

SO off we went to the consultant this morning for another scan, full of confidence that we had the next two weeks before baby's arrival....

Just over an hour later, we walked out having been told we would meet the not so little Jacob in just SIX DAYS.

The scan went well and everything is healthy with the boy but he has had a bit of a growth spurt and maybe even as much as 8lb 13oz now.

Still we thought we might be ok but in with the consultant obstetrician everything became clear. J is breech still despite his clear wander down into her pelvis the other day he's gone back to his comfy position.

The wonderful Mrs Duckett at Worcestershire Royal explained the risks very well, she is concerned about the weight he could put on between now and August 22. But also a normal delivery could cause shoulder dystocia. So she suggested a c-section and next Thursday (August 14).

Pam has to go to hospital this weekend for steroid injections to ensure his lungs are up to speed ready for the big arrival and sometime on Thursday he will be with us.

How do I feel? A tiny bit disappointed it has ended this way but to be honest the wonderful Mrs Duckett was simply superb in how she tackled it, she is a credit to the NHS and has offered to try and turn J on Monday if Pam want's to attempt a natural birth.

I am excited though because I will be holding my little boy on Thursday, our pregnancy journey is almost at an end and a fantastic voyage of discovery is about to begin.

The Daddy Smurf is about to welcome Baby Smurf!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Breasts, pumps and blogger meet ups!

LAST Friday I was invited by blogger extraordinare Emma Harris aka @MeTheManAndBaby to the breastfeeding group run by the Vale of Evesham NCT.

I'm not going to lie, the offer of cake was also a factor but I have never met any of my fellow bloggers and having one on the doorstep, well it seemed rude not to.

Seriously though, I was also asked along to consider a feature for the paper and I am delighted to say Jane Watson-Davis, the organiser has already got in touch with some information.

What I found was a lovely welcoming group where mums were comfortable feeding and got the help and support they needed.

What really came over though is the potential for easing the minds of new mums when it comes to breastfeeding.

Groups like this allow mums to ask questions and not worry or have to go to the doctor with a 'concern' which turns out to be perfectly normal.

Surely that is a good thing? I was also chuffed to see a few dads on hand as well, we might not have the boobies but we can be useful hehe.

A lovely feature is the NCT also run a group next door for the older children, meaning once they are no longer baby and toddlers they can still be involved with their new little brother or sister.

And mums to be were also there to get used to the group before baby arrives, Jane recommended anyone who wants to breastfeed get along to an NCT breastfeeding group before birth to say hello.

I reckon they only do it though to have a look at the bumps!

I also got to hold little Charlotte Harris and over the moon she didn't burst out crying when handed to me, as most babies usually do when passed to the 'Childcatcher' LOL.

It was a bit worrying when she went looking for food, my man breasts are a little flabby but I have not seen milk yet!

My talents also extended to making another little boy smile, maybe the little people have accepted I will be a father so won't be crying in my presence from now on?

All in all a fabulous time, Emma even kindly invited Mummy Smurf to the next one, we might yet take her up on that offer

Hang on, I never got any cake!

I'm sure you don't need the address but do visit @MeTheManAndBaby and her blog at 

Fame at last for the Daddy Smurf!

SOME of you might have seen one of my Twitter ramblings was given national exposure last Thursday night during One Born Every Minute on 4Seven, one of Channel Four's vast family of digital channels.

To say I am still rather hyper about this is an understatement, I can't believe many of you respond to my ramblings let alone a national broadcaster picking a tweet out to show during a programme!

My thanks for 4Seven for showing it during One Born Every Minute, a show which I am beginning to find really does polarise opinion.

For every mum who enjoys it there seems to be one that rolls their eyes and dismisses at as nonense or 'not representative of what really happens'.

But isn't that the case for all such programmes? Not many are going to show the calm delivery, controlled pushing and the joyous and peaceful moment the baby arrives – that isn't 'entertainment'.

No you want to see the screaming, the silly comments, the much vaunted 'back story' – that drives the emotion which leads to more viewers and more 'entertaining' TV.

I will speak up for One Born though, since beginning to watch it I have seen a good selection of birth experiences, from the screamers and the ranters and ravers to the calm serene births.

I do think they do choose entertainment over real life but the selection of births they have screened is good. Remember they can only show the women who consent and want to be involved!

From our experience, Pam drew a lot of confidence from a couple of the ladies who stood up to deliver, seeing it happen can inspire a mum to be to believe they can do it themselves.

Programmes like One Born aren't gospel, you take what you want out of it as a viewer. Whatever your opinion on it, surely that is a good thing?