Tuesday 10 November 2020

Christmas Gift Guide for Babies & Toddlers

There’s nothing more magical than the first Christmas where your baby or toddler can finally begin to rip into their own presents and interact with their gifts. Harry turned one in November so he’s at that perfect sweet age between baby and toddler where I know he will be thrilled with whatever he gets and absolutely relish in tearing into everything!

If you’re stuck for ideas for your littlest, keep reading. I’ve compiled a little idea guide to give you some inspiration. They don’t need much at this age, but there are still some lovely options!

*Some items were gifted and some were purchased by me. All photography and opinions are my own*

Fun Sounds Love Monster

I absolutely love Love Monster. He’s a gorgeous red character from CBeebies, and Harry is always mesmerised when he’s on screen so I know he will be thrilled with this soft version. It’s a gorgeous soft fur material, perfect for cuddles and it features recognisable sounds from the show. 

Bobux Soft Soles

As Harry begins to take his first steps and toddle around the house, these soft sole shoes by Bobux make the perfect gift. They’re stylish and practical, and while bare feet are best for him to learn, now it’s colder these shoes are the next best thing. They’re flexible and breathable leather so he won’t be restricted at all, perfect for his development. You can see the whole collection here

Kid Active Caterpillar Tunnel

Perfect for inside and out, and foldable for storage, this tunnel is definitely going to be bundles of fun. I absolutely love the bold colours and I know any baby would be excited to crawl up and down or hide inside this tunnel. The material is lovely and crinkly too!

USBORNE “that’s not my” books

The touchy feely book range by Usborne is one of Harry’s absolute favourites. We already have a large collection of these books and be really enjoys turning the hard pages and finding the different textures. They’re a wonderful introduction to reading and great for their sensory development so I couldn’t resist getting a couple more for our collection. 

Lamaze Freddy Firefly Rattle

Lamaze toys are absolutely gorgeous- bright, colourful, interactive toys suitable from birth. We’ve had loads of them, but this one is new to us! Harry absolutely loves spinning around the wings on this rattle and all the different textures. Even as he’s got older it’s still one of his go to toys for sitting and quietly playing, and the hard wings are great for teething!

Melissa & Doug Blocks

I really wanted to include a more “open ended play” toy and I’ve been trying to think about toys that Harry can use for his development. I think these wooden blocks are an absolutely fantastic idea for Christmas- they’re great for small hands to explore and begin to learn to stack, you can use them for colour associations and eventually he can use them for imaginative play. They’re a lovely quality and I think they’re a toy that will get years of use with so many different ways to play. 


Tuesday 3 November 2020

Christmas Gift Guide for Four Year Old Boys

This year, Archer has finally got a really strong understanding of Christmas and how it works- he can’t stop talking about Father Christmas and he will happily list all his requests when asked... thankfully so many of the things he’s asked for we’ve been able to find and I’d absolutely love to share some ideas with you. 

Archer is three, turning four, and all these gifts would work wonderfully for your four year old!

*Some of these items have been gifted, and some of them were purchased by me. All photos and opinions are my own*

Baby Shark Singing Puppet

Baby shark do do do do... you’ve all heard it and it still hasn’t bored my kids! This Daddy Shark puppet is absolutely fantastic- the faster you move his mouth, the faster he sings, and the slower you move the slower he sings! The full song is included so get ready to sing along!

Paddington Interactive First Tablet

This little tablet is absolutely adorable, in the shape of a paw. It features lovely graphics from Paddington Bear and the buttons are really soft and easy to press. The games themselves are very educational but age appropriate meaning they can be challenging and fun at the same time. It’s a lovely small size meaning it’s easy to pop into my bag for Archer to play with if he’s got to sit and wait for something or for a car journey too. 

Peppa’s Phonic Alphabet 

This lovely set of interactive blocks is absolutely perfect for this age group. Phonics will be a huge part of Archer’s education when he starts proper school in September, so this gift is great for those first introductions to phonics, vocabulary and basic spelling. By incorporating a recognised character like Peppa with games and education it really is an all round lovely gift idea for this age group. 

Little Brian Paint Sticks

Last year I featured the Little Brian Easel in my gift guides, and this year they have an amazing giant paint stick storage with a whopping 30 paint sticks inside! I absolutely love the fact I’ll have somewhere handy to put them all away and these paint sticks are genuinely a miracle when it comes to keeping art time easy and tidy. No need for brushes or water, you just pop the cap off and paint! 

Super Mario Bros 

I have so many fond memories as a small child, watching my mum play Mario on our old Nintendo. I loved taking turns and asking her to help me and playing with my brother, so while I’m not always a huge fan of a lot of screen time I’m super excited to give this to Archer. He absolutely loves playing Mario Kart and I think he’s going to really enjoy playing this with the family. The game has multiplayer capabilities which is fab too, and I’ve found even at this age he can pick up the controls and figure out what to do quite easily. 

Melissa & Doug Puffy Farm

I absolutely love Melissa and Doug toys and this simple sticker set is no exception. The puffy stickers can be used multiple times in the barn book, which comes with a little handle making it easy to transport. There are several different “scenes” so Archer can set them up and play over and over. 

Melissa & Doug Dinosaur Stamp Set

This lovely wooden stamp set comes with everything you need for some easy crafting. The ink has a lid meaning it won’t dry out and it comes in a sturdy wooden box meaning it has a place to be put away!

Hey Duggee & Squirrels Figures

Archer has a few sets similar to this from his favourite TV programmes and he has really started to enjoy sitting and playing imagination games with figures and characters. This set has solid plastic figures and of course features the one and only Duggee. A-woof!

Super Mario Bowser Castle

As I mentioned, Archer really loves the characters from Mario games and I know he’s going to absolutely love playing with this castle. It has moving parts, a cage, sound effects and came with five characters plus accessories! Most shops only sell the characters separately but the castle itself is cheaper in these cases. I picked them up together in Costco but you can buy them from loads of different online retailers. 


Sunday 1 November 2020

Christmas Gift Guide for 6 year old girls!

 I can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas! It hasn’t been a year for shopping, but if you’re ready to dip your toe in either online or offline I’ve got some fantastic ideas for you in this years Christmas gift guide. 

If you’re in need of some inspiration, here are my top ideas for girls age 5-6!

*Some of these items have been gifted, and some have been purchased by me. All photos and reviews/opinions are my own*

Ultimate Sparkle Science by John Adams

With 10 sparkling chemistry experiments, this toy is a fantastic educational and exciting option! I absolute like  love toys that work curiosity in Isla and educate while still being fun, and this is definitely a top choice if you want a STEM gift! From Crystal growing to making their very own shower jellies, this set has a really lovely variation of experiments and activities that support the national curriculum. 

Gemex Starter Kit by John Adams

If you’ve been keeping an eye on trends on tiktok and YouTube, you will have seen resin pouring! This set is exactly that- your child can create their own custom resin gems to turn into jewellery. The gel dries in just three minutes, meaning less mess and more enjoyment for your little one. 

Vet Squad Reef Rescue

I grew up watching Animal Hospital and playing with RSPCA toys and pretending fro be a vet, so these toys gave me such wonderful nostalgia! From individual themed vehicles, to larger play sets you can build a lovely collection of these toys. Isla absolutely loves imaginative play with figures and animals so I know she’s going to want more of these. 

Nebular Rollerblades from skates.co.uk

Rollerblades are back in fashion and I am so excited for Isla to get stuck into learning how to use them! These absolutely gorgeous Nebular skates feature light up wheels, easy to adjust straps (so no shoelaces!) and a gorgeous pink and black design. There are so many other gorgeous vintage looking pairs on the website too that you can see here

Harry Potter Room of Requirement Lego

Anyone who knows Isla knows how much she loves Harry Potter and she is an absolutely huge fan of Lego too. These sets are such wonderful quality and long lasting. The instructions aren’t too complicated for children as young as she is and I’ve found it so satisfying watching her really use her mind and time to build these things. This set is smaller so perfect for someone just branching into the more complicated builds. 

Harry Potter & Luna Lovegood Dolls

Isla already has the gorgeous Hermione and Ron dolls from this wizarding world range and they’re very similar in stature and quality to a Barbie style doll. With easy limb movements, removable interchangeable outfits and a wand accessory they’re fantastic quality for the price and there’s a huge range of characters available. The Luna was only released this year and it’s definitely nice to see her wearing her iconic clothing vs the Hogwarts cloak- something I know a Potter fan of any age will appreciate when receiving this gift!

Colouring & Personalised Pencils

You can’t do a present for a Potter fan without including this fantastic colouring book. Where a lot of these books are usually for adults with a lot of complicated detail to colour, this book is much more appropriate for young children to use- you can find it on Amazon. The lovely pencils were an absolute bargain from Studio at only 2.99 and I got a set for Archer too as they were such good quality for the price. 


Thursday 27 February 2020

Palmers Range [Review]

I am stretchmarks. I have scars. Most are from three pregnancies, some are from generic weight gain, puberty... it's a natural thing. There is an enormous culture for loving your body and while I do love my body, I don't love my stretch marks as much.

So when I was invited to try the Palmers range for both myself and baby, I was thrilled. I had used the Palmers Cocoa butter on myself in the past but I had no idea they had such an extensive range to try out.

The Massage Lotion and Massage Cream saw me through a lot of pregnancy. They are both extremely similar in what they do for softening skin and helping with stretching and itching (they contain collagen and argon oil which are wonderful for your skin!) however I found they had a slightly different texture. I preferred the massage cream for rubbing onto my stomach every day to ease itchiness and hopefully stave off too many new stretchmarks/reduce their appearance, and the lotion was a little runnier so perfect for making Jack give me foot rubs and back rubs!

Now I'm postpartum, I've been using the skin therapy oil to try and heal my skin from where it had grown and shrunk from pregnancy. It's super silky and has an amazing smell, and taking just a few minutes after a bath to apply it all over not only makes me feel good (self care is so important to mood) but I do think its seriously improved the condition of my skin. I was so dry and red after giving birth and now it's feeling better than before I even conceived.

Stretch marks are of course inevitable for some women. I knew I'd get more, but despite having the biggest baby I've had out of three, I didn't get nearly as many this time, they are definitely not as angry and red as I've had before and I'd like to say it is because I did what I could to help my skin using this range.

The baby range has also been an amazing addition into Harry's bath routine. The bottom butter is lovely and thick and I apply it after his baths once he's dry, as well as after his nappy changes and he's had no issues with rashes at all.

We also use the baby oil. I rub it quickly in my hands to warm it up and give him a baby massage which stops him screaming (he hates getting out the bath, more splashing please mum!). It isn't excessively greasy so it soaks in pretty fast so I can get him dressed quickly before he goes off to bed, and it smells absolutely amazing without being harsh on his sensitive baby skin at all.

I'm ridiculously impressed with the range- from bust cream to firm them up a bit (after breastfeeding I'll be so grateful for this) to bottom butter, there's a product for all mum and baby skin. I've even wondered if using the same product scent on myself as I do on him relaxes him and makes him think of me.

I was sent these products in exchange for an honest review. All words, opinions and photos are my own.

Alternative Newborn Photo Ideas

I've been having buckets of fun on Instagram lately- if you don't follow me already, I really would love if you checked out our page!

I've been sharing all the alternative ways you can take newborn photos. Are you a bit of a geek? A Harry Potter fan? Just looking for something different?

Here are a few ideas to tickle your fancy- there'll be more coming soon so definitely give us a follow here.
I wouldn't have nothing if I didn't have you- Monsters Inc

Harry solemnly swears that he is up to no good!

We love you Harry, to infinity and beyond.

I can fix it mama, I can fix anything!

I'll be your hero mum!

Chicco Next2Me Magic [Review]

For the last three months, we’ve been using the Chico Next2me Magic crib beside our bed for Harry to sleep in and I have to start this review by simply stating it is the best baby item I’ve had!

We coslept with Archer. He was a terrible sleeper and up to around 7 months old he refused to sleep unless he was touching me in some way- putting my hand through the bars of a regular crib didn’t cut it.

I knew if there was potential for us to have a similar experience this time around, I wanted to try a Chicco crib as they offer the option to “co-sleep” without actually having baby in your bed- which would mean more sleep all around for me and Jack this time! So when I was offered a Next2Me Magic to review I jumped at the chance. 

There are so many wonderful features which appealed to me with this crib. It isn’t just a generic side sleeper!

The crib itself is able to tilt at an angle, which is extremely helpful for babies who are suffering with reflux and/or congestion. It has breatheable mesh all around it, which is super easy to remove for cleaning as well as perfect for circulating air so baby can stay cool when sleeping.

One of the mesh sides drops which allows the conversion from crib to side sleeper and its really easy to do one handed which is great if you have your hands full (which you definitely will with a baby!). You can also click a button on each side to unlock the stand and put it into rocking mode which is great for comforting Harry when he is fussing.

I was worried about using it against my bed- we have a low to the ground futon style frame without any space for the legs to slide underneath (similar to how a duvan sits just above the floor) but the feet retract and once the brakes are on the wheels and the safety straps were on it sat perfectly. The height also wasn't an issue as you can lower and raise the crib depending on the height of your bed.

It’s been an absolute life saver for the last three months. I’m breastfeeding, and being able to just lean over and gently pick Harry up from beside me means he is far less disturbed and settles easily when set back in bed. If he is fussing, I don’t even need to get out of bed to comfort him as he is right there beside me.

It’s absolutely perfect for any parent interested in co-sleeping safely, and unlike a Moses basket which he would grow out of around 3 months old, it is suitable up to around 6 months which means I can keep him in my room for a lot longer.

The crib itself can also be used as a travel cot with carry bag means when we’ve stayed with relatives, and for our upcoming holiday, we can easily take it with us and he will have a familiar sleep environment. The adjustable height means I can change it to suit whichever bed we are in when we go away too!

It really is one of the best pieces of baby equipment I’ve used and I give it all the credit when I look at how well Harry sleeps at night. I couldn’t recommend it enough.

It has a higher price tag than a Moses basket or standard small wooden crib but I think the features and ease of use as well as how long they can stay in it completely make it worth it. The added bonus is that it comes in three really stylish colours (we went with grey but there's also tan and white) which means it fits into any room without looking out of place or garish.

I was sent this product in exchange for an honest review. All words, opinions and photos are my own.


The end of the fourth trimester.

Three months. I genuinely can’t believe it’s been three months.

I’ve been quiet. If you read here, you’ll know I shared with you that I’ve been suffering with postpartum anxiety. I’ve been to see the GP a few times and I’m taking medication (hopefully only till around 6 months postpartum) and I’m finally having mostly good days as a result.

We are out of the newborn blur and heading toward a reliable routine which has been a life saver. I can generally guess what Harry needs just based on the time of day, and his cry’s are easy to understand. To top it off, he’s an exceptional sleeper (I deserve this after the horror of a sleeper Archer was and still is!) and I get around 5-6 hour stretches from him at night!

It’s all going so well. I’m not really worrying about my weight or losing it- it’ll come off on its own one day and I’ll diet properly when I’m not breastfeeding.

The breastfeeding is going wonderfully now. I believe my let down issues were related to how stressed I was getting wit the anxiety and now I’m more relaxed my body is producing much better. I do get quite sore as I seem to have an over supply but Harry is gaining really well now and much more content. I’m so glad we stuck through those hard weeks.

The newborn days are tricky. The horrible hormones, and getting to know your baby who is desperately trying to adjust to the outside world... it feels like it’s going to be a never ending struggle but here we are. I’m already looking back fondly and missing how small and new he was. It was hard. I suppose that’s why they call it the fourth trimester?

It was worth it though. We’ve come through and Harry is one of the easiest, happiest little babies and we’re all so in love with him.

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Dreamgenii Pregnancy Pillow Review

If you’ve been following me a while you’ll know I’ve mentioned that I suffered with SPD in my pregnancy with Archer and my subsequent pregnancy with Harry. I’m actually still feeling the effects of my pregnancy with Harry- I still can’t sleep with my knees together and have to use my pregnancy pillow or my pelvis aches and I physically can’t move without help or it’s agony.

I spent the first four to five months of Harry’s pregnancy slowing stealing cushions from around the house in a rather awful attempt at getting comfy. Jack ended up with less than the bare minimum amount of space and I still wasn’t comfy (and neither was the sofa once I started to pilfer those cushions too).

I was kindly offered a Dream Genii pillow to try. This pregnancy pillow is designed with safe sleeping (on your left side) and pelvis aches in mind. The long front side runs along your stomach, between your knees, and you sleep on your left in the small flat section of fabric. The smaller pillow rests on your back and means you can rest assured that you won’t be rolling onto your back in your sleep.

If you’ve ever rolled onto your back in pregnancy you’ll know that it can make you feel quite sick as everything gets compressed with the weight of your bump- knowing I couldn’t roll was great and actually I did lean back a fair bit into it which gave me the “illusion” of laying back which I always found comfier.

It was like sleeping in a hug- something I emotionally declared to Jack after I finally managed a decent nights sleep after weeks of discomfort. I felt so physically supported and I genuinely couldn’t have slept without my by the end of pregnancy as my SPD had gotten so bad.

Jack appreciated the fact the extra ten cushions were relieved on their duty in the bed, and he was able to get in. He was also grateful that I was held in place as I slept so I couldn’t toss and turn or kick him with my discomfort as much as I had before (I did still attempt to aim a good kick at him if he snored).

I only invested in a cheap V shaped pillow my last two pregnancies and I don’t know how I managed to survive without the Dream Genii. I highly recommend it to anyone newly pregnant and especially anyone with SPD / PGP.

This product was sent to me in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday 22 January 2020

I have postpartum anxiety, and that’s okay.

I’ve hesitated writing this post over the last few weeks. It seems silly, but it felt as though writing it would make it all seem worse or even the opposite- that I’m exaggerating. I’ve also been super conscious that family often read this blog and I didn’t want them to begin worrying or overcompensating with kindness or even thinking I need people to step in with more offers of help. It wasn’t until I spoke to the health visitor this week that I decided the easiest way of handling how I feel is talking about it, and that’s why I started blogging in the first place- a safe space to talk.

I’ll begin by saying I’m absolutely enamoured with Harry and how life is going as a family of five. He’s a wonderful baby and everyone has settled into a great routine and it really does feel like he was always meant to be here.

The anxiety is there despite all this.

The first time few weeks, I put it down to baby blues. I happily breastfed Archer, especially out in public as we went out and about so much. It never bothered me, I felt no shame and I believe it’s much more socially accepted these days. But the first time I even thought about feeding Harry in front of anyone except Jack and the kids I started worrying and over thinking every possible scenario of who might look at me funny or feel awkward or treat me differently... of course our family have never behaved like this but I felt extremely nervous and even thinking about it made me tearful. It wasn’t just normal worrying, it was panic. I’d go over potential situations with Jack over and over again until I cried and he eased my mind by telling me it would be okay.

This pattern of overthinking everything and crying kicked in even more at Harry’s two week check  when the midwife told me he hadn’t gained enough weight. Instead of explaining it to me she called the hospital to discuss it with a senior midwife and all the information I had to mull over was hearing the one sided phone call and being told to come back in two days and that he needed to gain it by then. I sobbed, I panicked, I felt sick- in about thirty seconds I convinced myself I didn’t have enough milk and I was failing at feeding him.

I spent the next two days pumping and giving him as many extra feeds as I could on top of breastfeeding non stop and he gained the weight he needed and then some! But the anxiety over it all hasn’t shifted. I still worry I’m doing everything wrong.

Logically I know he’s eating. His output is great, he is active and content and when I pump I have a great supply. He’s thriving. The anxiety however... sometimes he seems to be eating for hours and I’ve had to hand him to Jack and come downstairs in full panic attack that he’s suckling and getting nothing at all. I hadn’t had a panic attack for years. At his latest check he had dropped down a curve- something normal as he started so large and sometimes it takes a baby a while to “find their line” and if anything, the health visitor said he is in proportion now and doing fine. Of course, I’ve been panicking that he isn’t eating enough or properly. Even though I know he is. But I’m worried... even though he is eating. It’s a cycle you see.

It isn’t just the feeding. It’s feeling on edge and as though I can’t act naturally around big groups of people. Christmas Day was a lovely large family occasion and I found myself hiding upstairs when I had a chance and crying because I just can’t relax and I don’t know why.

The health visitor said it isn’t postpartum depression. When I’m comfortable I’m so happy and I’m still interested in doing things and social when I’m feeling okay and I’m still of course looking after myself and the children. I took a little test and she said it’s postpartum anxiety which of course I anticipated. I suppose it isn’t as serious or commonly spoken about as PPD but it’s just as real.

I’m coping by trying to keep to a routine. Keeping the house tidy and organised is helping as long as I remember not to get too worried about it (people always seem to come over unexpected when we’re in temporary chaos and I worry they’ll judge!). Mess is normal with children and I need to relax a little and stop getting cross when Jack doesn’t put his shoes where they go. There’s a fine line between keeping things tidy to ease my anxiety and obsessing and getting anxious about the tidying too. Ridiculous right?

Mostly I’m just upset because I know all my worries are in my head and hold no real standing to what’s actually going on. Harry isn’t starving, people don’t think that I’m not handling it all, people don’t care if I breastfeed him.... I just need to ignore that voice that says “but what if...” and take a deep breath.

I’m seeing the GP for my proper postpartum check this week and it’s definitely something I’ll mention to them so they’re aware. The health visitor said I didn’t have a really high score so as long as I don’t start feeling worse she isn’t too worried. It’s definitely normal and okay to feel how I do as long as I try my best to work on the issue.

Talking to Jack helps. Taking five minutes to cry and calm down helps too. So do cuddles with my children. I’m sure it’ll get better once my hormones fully settle and I start sleeping better at night.

If you made it this far, thank for for reading and listening. If no one reads this, at least I feel a little better for getting it out.

Saturday 18 January 2020

Harry- Six Weeks Old

(This post is coming a week or so late, but I had it pre-written ready for after posting Harry’s birth story!)

Harry is six weeks old! Where on Earth is the time going? We’re in the middle of the newborn haze, it’s been tough so far but hopefully we are moving on from “desperately clinging onto any shred of normality” into “this is going well”!

At his last weigh in, he was up to 10lb2oz (which incidentally is the weight Jack was the day he was born) and that was a huge relief in itself as at two/three weeks we were told he wasn’t gaining his birth weight back fast enough. Thankfully he managed to speed up, it just took him longer as he’s a big baby so had a fair proportion to gain back.

This week he started smiling. What an absolutely wonderful reward for weeks of no sleep, poop, crying (not always me, honest) and mess. It makes it all worth it they say, and they were totally right- something in those first gummy smiles fools the brain into thinking newborns aren’t just a potato that screams and that you may be willing to have a thousand more of them. Thankfully I have a toddler who keeps peeing on my sofa and a four year old who talks back, so I know better than to fall for it again.

Honestly all jokes aside, this week has been so much better. We’re finally getting through that first growth/development leap and Harry is opening himself up to the world a little more and showing those first glimpses of “himself” to us.

Sleep wise he’s doing well. He had a rough couple of days which I put down to him growing (we are about to stop fitting into newborn) but he really only wakes 2/3 times a night between 8pm-7am and he’s exceptionally good at settling himself back to sleep once he’s been fed- Isla and Archer had to be put down SUPER carefully and rocked for ages so it’s amazing to be able to feed him and then just put him down.

Likes: Baths, boobies, his Mamaroo.

Dislikes: Napping laying down, nappy changes, getting undressed.

Tuesday 14 January 2020

Harry’s Birth Story!

I’m extremely pleased to let you know that our wonderful son Harry Jack was born on the 27th November! He’s seven weeks old tomorrow and I’ve been absent from the blog just soaking him in and trying to find a new normal with THREE children (aka I haven’t slept in months and I have been far too tired to find time to write...)

So here we go with the birth story- it’ll be fairly long winded so make yourself a cup of tea and be warned there may be some intimate or graphic details!

I’d been having contractions on and off for around a week starting at 38/39 weeks pregnant, but they never properly hurt and the pattern always dissipated after around two hours of them being every ten minutes. How frustrating right?

On the 26th November, I was two days away from my due date and beginning to wonder if I’d go overdue for the first time. Everyone had said Harry would be far earlier, including my midwife, but there was no sign. Funnily enough, we’d joked that if I waited until the end of Jack’s working day on this date, he’d get to be off until just after Christmas which was all we’d hoped for! Jack text me at 5:30 to remind me of this “deal” and I replied that I’d actually had some cramps walking Isla home from school, but nothing major and that I believed it would stop again as usual.

It didn’t, but the pain didn’t ramp up. I was having a mild pain every 7-12 minutes lasting just under a minute, but mostly I just had a really heavy ache in my lower back that wouldn’t go away which made it feel a bit different in comparison to the cramps I’d had all week. I know now that Harry was back to back for a while which explained the back ache! I was experiencing back labour and would for the entire ordeal.

It got to around 7:30pm and it hadn’t got any worse but also not stopped. Jack asked if we should drop the children where they were to stay while I was at hospital but I said no. I was sure if I got my hopes up, I’d jinx myself and it would all stop. Despite my denial, Jack called to warn everyone and sent the children to bed. I had a soak in the bath to see if it would go away and it still didn’t, so I agreed we should prepare just in case and I finished the last minute bits for the bags.

I spent a lot of the evening on my CUB cube trying to ease my back discomfort and timing the tightening sensation. I got to around 10pm and admitted to Jack that they were *maybe* real as they’d got to 5-6 minutes apart... of course I was still in denial as I didn’t want to let everyone down with a false alarm, but Jack took the children off just in case.

Once Jack was back, I called the hospital who told me it sounded like early early labour at most and that I should call back when the pains were properly regular or actually hurting. I sobbed, convinced it was all fake because of that.

I went to bed around 11:30pm and tried to sleep sporadically. The pains didn’t wake me, but the constant back ache did cause me to only half sleep or doze.

2:15am (or thereabouts) I woke up suddenly feeling moist. I still wasn’t convinced- I’d been to the hospital in the last week as the midwife thought I was leaking amniotic fluid but it was just a lot of discharge and other lovely pregnancy things... what if this was the same? I sat up in bed and said I’d go bounce on the CUB cube and see if anything else came out.

I sat texting my friend Chrissy to update her, as nothing else had come out and Jack was making his way downstairs when the waters properly broke. It was 2:33am and I stood on the carpet and soaked through my pajamas bottoms. You know in movies when a woman leaks entire puddles in huge gushes? Midwives say it rarely happens... well it happened to me with Isla and it certainly happened this time.

I had to get changed twice and all of a sudden the pains began to hurt. This was expected for me as none of my contractions hurt during the other labours until my waters broke. They still were not regular or “screaming pain” but as my waters needed checking, the labour ward said to come in.

We got there around 3:30am (after lots of yelling at Jack as he tried to drive calmly, sorry) and I instantly asked for a water birth. I had an epidural with the last two and I wanted to *try* without but I also anticipated I’d likely wimp out and beg for one after a while, and I hoped the water would help ease my SPD pain.

I got to the room with the tub and it was confirmed my waters were definitely broken (I did waddle in with towels between my legs, still gushing every few minutes) and I was checked- 0cm, 0% effaced and not even a little bit of engagement. I had made literally zero progress and my contractions weren’t regular enough or long enough to class as proper labour. Inductions the next day were mentioned, but I asked for a chance to relax and I was told I’d have a couple of hours to see if I could progress.

At 5:00am, I was sore and moaning, but I wasn’t “in labour” so the midwife wouldn’t give me any pain relief besides paracetamol and I still wasn’t getting regular contractions. I started feeling very stressed and the pains were further apart than before as a result but seemed to hurt more. I asked to come out the tub and I kept going to the loo to try and wee, I desperately felt like I needed to wee! When I got back, I was checked again and was still exactly as I had been two hours before. She said I’d maybe need to go home, but I begged to stay.

Id originally told Jack to get a three hour parking ticket so we could stay a while, but he got the two hour which meant while it was agreed I could stay, he had to pop down at 5:30am to change the ticket.

At this point, I was back in the tub but the midwife couldn’t trace Harry’s heart properly so I had to get out. While out, I didn’t have the water to ease the pain and my back and pelvis were in agony. I asked for pain relief again and was offered pethidine. I had this with Isla and while it didn’t take the pain away, it did make me space out and dizzy so I wasn’t fully focused on it, so I agreed to give it a go.

I had the injection at 5:45 and asked how long it would take to kick in- she said it would begin to work in around twenty minutes. I asked for an epidural after about ten minutes as I couldn’t handle the constant back pain- I was told no. I held my eyes shut, and with every pain I began to think over and over again “twenty minutes and it will stop” like an obsessive mantra, even when the twenty minutes passed. I had a little spaced out relief but it quickly wore off.

The midwife came back in around 6:20am and checked Harry’s heart and put monitors on me. My contractions were not regular but they were making his heart jump up and down, so she broadcast them to the doctors and told me I had to roll over. I was in pain and I kept telling her I couldn’t move.

My back started to arch, and I couldn’t stop it. I felt my body violently pushing. The midwife told me to stop it and roll over as Harry’s heart rate started dropping and rising even more. Jack said it was going as low as 80, before jumping back up to 180. I couldn’t move, I was pushing.

“My body is doing things I can’t stop” I said, of course I pushed with epidurals last time so this was a fully new sensation. I screamed in pain and they tried to shove me over on my side. I didn’t even notice the alarm being pulled and a team rushed in.

The midwife told me not to push. I panicked- was my involuntary pushing making his heart hurt? Was I hurting the baby? I couldn’t be pushing- I’d not progressed at all and I had no regular pains!

The midwife checked, and very surprised, exclaimed I was suddenly already 8cm and to stop pushing. I asked for gas and air and screamed “am I in labour now?!” as they handed it to me. I had one pull before deciding it was too much effort to stop pushing and inhale at the same time and threw it at whoever was nearest to me (sorry Jack).

Seconds later, less than a minute after being told not to push, I said “he’s coming” and then I don’t really remember anything but pain.

My recorded active labour was 4 minutes, and Harry was born so quickly they said his side effects from being born were essentially the same as a c-section baby- he hadn’t been compressed by the birth canal at all. His elbows were by his head and he came out with such large force that they bruised from being forced out so fast. His cord was around his neck so tight (this was the cause of his heart rate jumping) that he had a curly shaped bruise around his neck for days after being born.

One minute I was screaming and the next I sort of came back around from the “out of body” way I felt and I asked where Harry was. Jack said they had to “sort him out” a bit to make him cry but it all happened so fast. I was in too much shock to take much in, so Harry was given to Jack while I was sorted out by the doctors.

Harry was born very suddenly at 6:35am weighing 9lb11. For the record, the three hour parking ticket I’d asked for? It would’ve expired at 6:30am and Jack would have missed it all as it happened so fast!

My active labour with a Archer was 20 minutes and I’d warned the midwife it would happen all at once, but she kept telling me third babies are almost always the longest- I think I shocked them all and once I was settled and sorted I apologised for all the yelling but did smugly say “I told you so!”

I’m sure I’ve missed loads of details here and there. It was all very shocking and being honest I felt very uncomfortable and traumatised by it all for weeks - I still do a little now.

I’d do it all again for our little Harry though.
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