A Little About Me

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I'm a 29yr old first time dad living in South East London. I have been married to my gorgeous wife since September 2009. We are looking forward to the next chapter in our lives with our darling daughter, LC

Monday, 24 October 2011

A New Venture!

As many of my Twitter followers will know already, I have enrolled in the DaddyNatal training programme to become an Antenatal Educator.

Dean over at DaddyNatal helped me through LC's birth and was always there when I needed advice and information. His passion for fathers being more involved is contagious and something I truly believe in.

I'll be covering London and Kent for DaddyNatal once trained and I hope that I can be at least half as helpful to other fathers to be as Dean was for me.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Thursday's Thought: 20th October 2011

PinkOddy and TheRealSuperMum, have started a new Thursday's Thought Meme - you can view it here

The rules state that any family friendly topic can be discussed with a view to starting a discussion.

Tea or Coffee?

It's an old argument, but which is best?

Where would the british be without tea? Since the 17th Century we have brewed this selection of leaves with water to make a refreshing drink which, according to a well known internet encyclopedia, is the second most drunk liquid to water worldwide.

Of course, the tea I'm referring to is good old english breakfast tea, made with tea bag and kettle. My nan would be furious if she knew I didn't brew each cup I embibed. Every household in my family has a tea pot and bone china cup and saucer for my Nan's visits. She will only take tea the correct way you see!

I'm not the word's biggest tea fan, but I think the point with tea (especially around my Nan's era), is that it was as much a social point of the day as it was for refreshment. She would often have her neighbours in for tea and always puts the kettle on when we pay her a visit.

This seems to me a dying practice in the modern world, at least for the most recent of generations. I will always offer a hot drink when we have visitors but my younger siblings will offer water/ coke/ soft drinks before tea. Is this what has caused "Broken Britain" and should we return to those heady days of tea parties?

An anonymous author once wrote, better than me, what tea meant to them:
Tea is, in fact, a wonderous creation to me. When I'm cold: it warms me, when I'm hot: it cools me, when i'm depressed: it cheers me and when I'm excited: it calms me.

All in all, is there anything that a good cup of tea can't resolve!?

The young pretender? Apparently not! Coffee has been in the UK since the 16th century - a whole 100 years earlier than tea!

To be honest, it makes no odds to me when it was first enjoyed in th UK, it is still my preferred choice - whether it be instant coffee, filter coffee, made by a franchise or anything else. I love coffee!

Not everyone shares my love of the bean though, when it first arrived in the UK, a London judge claimed: "...the Excessive Use of that Newfangled, Abominable, Heathenish Liquor called COFFEE... has ... Eunucht our Husbands, and Crippled our more kind Gallants, that they are become as Impotent, as Age" - Perhaps they were waiting for tea to arrive!?

It seems, to my mind, that coffee shops have replaced the old fashioned tea rooms and moreover tea parties. My wife frequenty visits a local franchised coffee shop to meet friends and can spend hours in there yamming on about something that makes no sense to any of the male persuasion.

It also seems to be the "in" place for mums that lunch to go and set up camp for hours at a time, rounding up their pushchairs like something from a western film. I tell you one thing, they defend their emcampment fiercely enough to ward off any rustlers :)

I have no rustlers to ward off while enjoying coffee, I simply enjoy the taste and find it keeps me going through the working day.

So, me, I can take or leave tea, but I can't function without a mug of coffee on my desk. What's your favourite and why?

Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Thursday's Thought - 13th October 2011

So, my friends PinkOddy and TheRealSuperMum, have started a new Thursday's Thought Meme - you can view it here

The rules state that any family friendly topic can be discussed with a view to starting a discussion.

So with that in mind and based on recent events, my Thursday's Thought is:

Are you an iPhone, an Android, or a BlackBerry?

I can see the pro's and con's of them all but who do you think is the better brand and are you so loyal to one that you can't see yourself ever changing to another?

I'm an iPhone. It took me a while to get on board with the whole smart phone era, I had a Nokia N95 when they came out but only because it had the best reviews at the time (how Nokia have slipped eh!). My wife (V) got an iPhone as soon as they came out and has never looked back.

I'm not saying I'd never switch, but at the moment, the competitor's products don't seem as polished to me or have as good a user interface.

Brief overview of my thoughts on each marque:

Apple has released it's latest ios 5 software update and judging by how long it took me to upgrade last night, thousands, maybe millions of people have already got it instaled on their iPhones. The new iPhone 4S was not the much lauded iPhone 5, more a refresh of the iPhone 4. This caused a lot of outrage but I can't see why, Apple have always upgraded the old phone before introducing a new one (See iPhone becoming iPhone 3G, then 3GS, then 4, and now 4S). The brand seems as strong as ever and for me it's still the best.

The rebel! Seems to me that Android came out because developers were angry at the way Apple only allow approved apps to go on their Appstore. I've been told that Android has the better array of apps but I've never tried it so can't say for sure. I believe that the open developing of apps and operating systems is the way forward. Maybe if a phone is produced that can match the iPhone in looks and has as good an operating system, I'll consider switching?

For me, BlackBerry is a superb messaging device... And that's all. I have used BlackBerry's for work and they are perfect for what I needed them for. Their ability to handle emails etc is second to none. But is it a one trick pony? I think BlackBerry need to pull their socks up as they're in danger of being left behind. Especially now that their one true strength,BBM, has a genuine competitor in Apple's iMessaging service.

So, what do you think? Are my opinions above biased by my love affair with the iPhone or do you agree?

Please take five minutes and let me know as I'm genuinely interested in your opinion.

Thanks for reading

Monday, 10 October 2011

New Arrival

When I got back to the delivery room we were in, everyone was gone!
I asked a nurse in the corridor and they told me they had moved V to a room with a view!.... Of the car park!
When I entered the room V had changed in to a snazzy hospital issue gown and was walking about with the Entinox tube in her mouth! She was talking with the midwife to check that no-one in the car park could see her – apparently not, the windows were one way. This was a relief to V.
When I put the bags down, I unpacked V’s water mist spray, lip balm and a straw for the water (essential as no-one wants to have to work for their water in labour!). The midwife also asked me for a vest, sleepsuit and hat for baby. I passed these to her and she laid them on the Resuscitaire©. This was where our baby would be checked after he or she was born to make sure all was ok.
We were told that a paediatric nurse would be in the room when our baby was born as she would be five weeks early and they wanted to ensure all was well and determine if they would need to spend any time in SCBU. It made things much better that they explained what was happening and didn’t just leave us on our own to worry what this trolley was for.
We had a midwife with us the whole time we were in the delivery room. We only found out afterwards that this was because V had been classed as a high risk birth – we weren’t surprised to hear that but it was nice of them not to mention it during labour.
It was now about midday and V’s pains were becoming more frequent, although they weren’t showing up as contractions on the monitor, the midwife said that sometime preterm labour can be in the back!? Baby’s heartbeat was solid throughout.
The midwife asked me about birth preferences…. Shit! The one thing we forget to bring with us! Luckily I remembered what we discussed and those things we hadn’t I made the decision on based upon what I felt was best. V was in no mind to make those kind of decisions and I felt happy that I had been of use, even if only to the midwife!
I was still feeling remarkably calm, it is one of my traits to be laid back, but I thought I would be more on edge that I was. I saw my role as making sure V was alright and checking she had everything she wanted and/ or needed. She could then concentrate on one thing.
V was getting very emotional, who could blame her, but never really lost her cool. Her main concern at this stage was that the Entinox would run out or stop working.
She was at one point determined that it had stopped working. For those of you who don’t know, Entinox has the opposite effect of helium on your voice, it makes it lower! So, V was saying to me “It has run out” and I knew it hadn’t because she sounded like Darth Vader!
She took about a minute away from the gas and air and then started again and was re-assured that it was working when she went light headed!
The contractions were getting closer together now and the midwife who had been previously telling V not to push, told her to push if she felt it – I don’t know how you would feel it but V must have known what she meant.
Some pushing later and V was a bit frustrated. She didn’t feel that our baby was moving at all. Several times she got a bit panicked and no matter what I did  could not re-assure her that things were going well, only when the midwife re-assured her did she calm down and focus on pushing again.
V also sore at one point and I have never heard her apologise so much, she only said the f word, not exactly the worst I imagine the midwife has heard!!!
The midwife told us that the head was slowly moving down and was currently trying to go round “the u-bend”, like in a toilet. V pushed and pushed and slowly the baby edged him/ herself further down.
The midwife advised V that she should have a wee as a full bladder can sometimes prevent baby from passing along the birth canal. V could not go on the bedpan so the midwife put in a catheter and V was amazed that she was weeing without knowing it! :)
Things got a bit quicker from then onwards, the midwife told us that she could see baby’s head clearly and that in  a couple more pushes, baby’s head would be born. She said that at this point she would ask V to not push until she was told to. Just as promised, a couple more pushes and our baby’s head popped out, closely followed by the rest of them.
Now I have watched One Born Every Minute and seen plenty of births on here, but never have I noticed the mothers stomach deflate so quickly when the baby is born! I have also never felt such a wave of emotion come over me when the baby’s on TV are born!
The midwives were doing what they do, checking things were okay, putting clamps on etc, I gave V a huge hug and congratulated her. She was amazing, no fuss made at all, just got on with things.
V asked me if it was a girl or boy but I couldn’t tell as the umbilical cord was in the way! What seemed like a minute (but was probably more like half a second) passed and the cord was moved.
She was a baby girl!
We were certain that we were having a boy and really would have been happy either way but I knew V wanted a daughter and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t wanted a daughter. V was overjoyed.
I cut the cord and they took our baby daughter off to be checked on the trolley. If I’m honest I was surprised when they said that she was fine and could remain with us, not needing to go up to SCBU. Our daughter was swaddled up and passed to V for her first cuddle. I have never been happier than seeing V’s face when she held her daughter for the first time.
I have also never felt prouder when I held her myself, she was and still is the most beautiful baby girl in the world. I am biased I know, but you will never change my mind on that!
V had a slight tear so I held her whilst the midwife delivered the placenta and stitched V’s tear. We then laid our daughter down in the heated trolley whilst I helped V to have a shower.
We then discussed names briefly and I decided that we would call her LC (obviously an abbreviation on this site). V was happy with the name and that was that! I called our parents to tell them the wonderful news and sent out the new father text to all of our close friends.
V has said to me since that she was a bit disappointed that I didn’t cry. I have thought about this and I can only assume I was so nervous that our baby would be healthy and overcome with other emotions. I certainly don’t feel bad at not crying as I know it was the happiest moment of my life no matter what!
After a sandwich for V and a cup of tea for us both, V had a quick lesson in how to get LC to latch on before we returned to the labour ward. V had again been given her own room and this time she had a TV.
All was good in the world and we had an extra person to keep V company in the room.

You May Have to Come Down in a Min

So, home… An anticlimax really.
V had spent five days in hospital and returned home without a baby. Don’t get me wrong, we were glad that she hadn’t had our baby yet as it gave little one more time to cook and therefore they’d be more developed and stronger. But we still felt like we had wasted five days (and £50 in parking) with nothing to show for it.
V’s brother came round that evening so sit with her while I went shopping for food. V’s friend had made me a lasagne and dropped it round to keep me going whilst rushing back and forth to the hospital. But, the cupboards were bare!
When I got back, V told me she had experienced another smaller loss of fluid whilst she had been sitting talking. She ad been leaking fluid since her waters broke so we weren’t overly concerned. Plus we were due to see the day assessment team the next day so we would get it checked out then.
We had dinner and went to bed, both a bit knackered from the week of events we had just had.
At about 3am, I woke up and noticed that V wasn’t in bed, I assumed she had gone to the loo so thought no more of it. She had complained of a bad back so I assumed she had trapped wind or something along those lines.
At 5.41am I got a text message, I was asleep and it takes more than one noise to wake me! But I got a second at 6.02am. Curiosity got to me and I checked who was trying to get in touch. The first text was from V saying
“You may have to get up in a min x”
The second was also from V, but less cryptic: “Can u bring me a drink pleaseeeeeeeeeeee”
I went downstairs and found V sitting/ lying on the sofa. She told me she’d had a really bad backache all night and couldn’t sleep. The pain was sporadic and had no rhythm to it. There was just a dull ache followed randomly by sharp pain, which V put down to her moving in a certain way. We thought it may be a water infection but agreed to wait until 11am, when V had her appointment.
But the pain got worse, we called the day assessment team and they said come in just in case. We were taken in to a delivery suite for examination when we arrived. They put a monitor on V and showed baby’s heart beat was normal, it also showed no contractions, so they ruled out labour. The next assumption was the same as ours, a water infection. They gave V a paracetamol to help the pain.
When they tested V’s water, no sign of an infection, so we waited for the consultant to finish a caesarean before she would come and speak with us. After half hour or so the consultant came in and was briefed by our midwife. She agreed with the midwife that it was probably a water infection but as V was in a lot of pain they agreed to examine her. They also gave V Entinox (gas and air) to help with pain until the paracetamol kicked in.
When the consultant examined V, she went quiet, not noticeably so for Vicki who was now high! But enough that I picked up on it. She said she thought the cervix may be open and that she could feel baby’s head!
Er… Come again?
She took her time but then confirmed that V was about 6cm dilated and that she would be admitted immediately…
We were in a bit of shock, as you can imagine. V was worried that the baby may not be well enough and might have to spend time in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) when he/ she was born. The midwives and consultant assured us that they would assess the baby as soon as it arrived and make a decision from there but would talk us through everything so we knew what was happening.
I ran down to the car, put more money on the meter and grabbed V’s hospital bag… Barely repacked from the day before!
On my way down I called work to say I wouldn’t be in that afternoon, updated the mothers, and called Dean who re-assured me that all would be fine but to call him with any concerns at any time day or night.
We were going to have our baby!

The Real Thing???

Where was I? Oh yeah, how could I forget, V weeing on my favourute chair :)
Fortunately, I had, some two days earlier, attended a superb DaddyNatal class in London. The class is run by Dean (see my previous post for details) and the sesson was held in a pub, during the London riots - despite that I found it undoubtedly the best thing I had done in preparation for the arrival of our package.
V was panicking and understandably upset, I calmed her down and helped her upstairs to the bathroom where we stood her in the bath, wimpering. We both knew that it was her waters that had broken, and not that she had wet herself. I re-assured her that waters breaking does not mean that she will go in to labour immediately – unlike on TV – and that everything was fine. However, she was still six weeks away from our due date, this may not seem long in the grand scheme of things, but it is a lifetime away if it happens to you.
When V had calmed down a bit I called the laboutr ward and explained what had happened. They recommended we came in to be examined ASAP to check the state of play.
Luckily I had made V pack her hospital bag and a bag for baby a week before – call it paranoia but I wanted to be well prepared in case anything like this did happen – lucky I did!
We set off to our local hospital, Princess Royal University Hospital in Locks Bottom, Kent. Contrary to how I thought it would be, it was a serene drive, V was still upset and constantly checking that I thought everything was ok – I reassured her that it was – but other than that there was no road rage, no traffic issues and we even got parked in the hospital car park.
We walked, well, V squelched, across to the maternity day unit and were redirected up to the labour ward by a nice nurse. Upon arrival we were advised that there were a couple of emergencies but we would be seen as soon as they could fit us in. We sat down in the waiting room alongside an expectant uncle and the most bored expectant older brother (about 4yrs old?)! Luckily for V, Hollyoaks was on the TV in the waiting area!
I was charged with updating the future grandparents on what was happening. We had called V’s mum on the way to hospital and she determined we were making it all up! My mum was pretty much the same! Anyway, I had done my duty and kept them informed. Now back to waiting for a midwife.
… and waiting…
… and waiting…
When we were eventually seen at about 8.30pm (V having left work at 4.30pm) the midwife was really apologetic and moved us in to an assessment room. At first I think they thought V had had a slight leak, until they saw the maternity pad and then re-thought things! SROM was written down – beign a rugby player with a several times operated shoulder I knew this to be “Standard Range of Movement” – wrong! SROM is “Sudden Rupture of Membranes” – 1-0 to the midwfe! Although I did wonder what range of movement they were examining!!!!
Following inspection it was confirmed that although V’s waters had broken, her cervix as closed and she was not in labour. They carried out a scan and the little one was fine, bobbing around – albeit in slighlty less water than before. We were warned that labour can sometimes occur within 24 to 48 hours of waters breaking but not for everyone. We were assured that 6 weeks early is not a terrible risk and that babies are pretty much fully developed by now anyway.
Then came a moment when I let V down a bit, I had approached everything so far with calmness and support, but this caught me off guard. I had read that steroids are given to mothers when premature labour commences in order to help babies lungs develop. Fine, no problem. Then they advised that the injection is in the butt cheek! I have had so many and they bloody hurt – I couldn’t stop myself from wincing at the thought of the jab in the arse cheek. Not a major failure you might think but probably one I should have forseena nd dealt with better ;)
V was told that the biggest concern now was that as her waters had broken, there was an increased risk of infection, which could travel up to our baby. V was admitted to the labour ward for two days to see what would happen.
The only bed available was in a private room – bonus – but it had no TV and was like an oven – bummer. I settled V in, went off to the local shop and bought her enough snacks and magazines to keep her occupied. I sat with her until I was kicked out at about 10pm and left her feeling sorry for herself in her little room.
V had a hard night, the window in the room didn’t open and she was being baked slowly, she was also bored stiff so had been in communication by text most of the night.
The next morning, a Friday, I called in to my office and advised them I needed to take the day off and explained what was going on. They were really good and told me to just keep them informed and wished me luck.
Friday was a boring day for V too. She had a couple of visitors but was still in her room with no TV. She was also opposite the “induction room” so was watching other expectant mums going in there and moving on to the delivery suite after several hours.
We were told by a doctor that V would now being staying in for 5 days – which upset her as she wanted to be home and the baby still wasn’t due for six weeks!
Everything that we were told at the hospital, I called up Dean and discussed with him. He was excellent and explained why certain things were being done and what they we could expect them to do next. It was like having our own personal midwife there 24/7 and I can never thank him enough for that.
V was told that if nothing happened naturally with the baby, they would try to get her to 27 weeks and then induce her. Now, I had heard some bad things about Pitocin, the synthetic form of Oxytocin and drug they use to induce pregnancy. I’ll cover it in another post but I was quite adamant that I didn’t want V to have Pitocin.
Again I discussed things with Dean and he kept reminding me that whatever happened was our choice. Unless it was a medical emergency, we would have the final say on how to proceed with things. This was re-assuring as I knew we could take the time to discuss things before making a rash decision.
V was moved on to a ward with four beds in it, I think it saved her sanity to see other people and she finally got her TV! People came and went during visiting hours and still no change on the labour front.
The consultant from the PRUH (our hospital) was off sick and V was seen by another consultant from a partner hospital. It turns out the partner hospital have totally different procedures to our hospital and several times the consultant and other doctors stood at the end of V’s bed and argued about how to proceed. In the partner hospital, anyone over 33 weeks would be induced, at our hospital they would not consider it until at least 37 weeks. They would pull the curtain across and then argue behind it (who knew that fabric wasn’t soundproof!
Eventually, after no movement at all, V was told she could come home on the Monday night – 15th September – so long as we returned every other day for urine tests to check for infection.
So, bags re-packed, home we headed.

A Quick Recommendation Amidst the Madness

Any parents on Twitter who don’t follow @DaddyNatal  – go and do it now. If you're not one of the Twitterati, take a look at his website: http://www.daddynatal.co.uk/

Dean is currently the UK’s only qualified MALE antenatal teacher. More so than that, Dean is a top man, one of the nicest you could hope to meet.

I was fortunate enough to attend one of his sessions in London – well, I made it to the first session, LC happened to appear on the day the second of the two was due to run!

V and I had left things to the last minute when it came to antenatal classes. We kept meaning to book ourselves on a local group but never got round to it. So, me attending Dean’s meet was invaluable to both myself and V as it had given me the basics of what to expect when V went in to labour, how to deal with any issues that might arise and generally what went on in labour.

If you can get yourselves (or partners if any ladies are reading) then I would recommend it without hesitation. Who knows, if V and I are lucky enough to have a second, I may see if Dean will let me come along to the second session this time :)

Third Trimester

‘Officially’ we entered third trimester on 23rd June 2011, according to the various tickers we had running!

So here we go, striding in to the third trimester, no concerns – at least none out of the ordinary – and trying to get things finished at home, ready for the arrival of our bundle.

The third trimester for me, started with V making a list of things that had to be finished in the house before our due date came around; a snagging list if you like. Some easy items, a couple a bit harder but nothing taxing. At the time I was also working hard in the garden to finish off the patio that we had put in. As we had loads of time before the small one arrived I carried on outside mainly and did a couple of the smaller jobs to keep V sweet.

To add stress to the situation though, I applied for a new job internally. It was a bizarre situation as the job was something I knew I could do standing on my head and was also covering things I have already done for my company. This meant that although I could read up on procedures and policies etc. I was just reading things that I already knew, and it felt like things weren’t sticking in my brain!

The interview came and went, I thought I gave a good impression but knew there was also so much more I could have said (isn’t that always the case). I left not knowing whether I had done enough or fallen short. There were seven positions in total, one for each of our “neighbourhood offices” – I had put down for the two most local to us, a ten minute journey to each as I’m slap bang between them.  To make a long story short, I was successful but not for the two local offices. I’ll cover this in detail at another point.

All in all, 3rd trimester was turning out to be a bit of a breeze for me. V was obviously getting more of a bump, but nothing spectacular. We put it down to her being tall and that the baby must have plenty of room to move up and down before pushing out. The tiredness that had dogged in the first tri was also returning and with the heat – although not scorching – in the summer, poor V was generally uncomfortable 24/7. Add to that the kicking in the ribs that the bundle was giving her, v was not her happiest, even though she was still very excited and a little nervous about the fast approaching due date.

Perhaps more exciting was that V was due to give up work on the 11th of August. This would give her six – yes, six – weeks off before her due date. Her office had been really flexible and allowed her to save up annual leave and take it all before she started maternity leave – jealousy is an understatement!

I picked V up from her office at 4:30pm and off home we trundled with a car full of balloons, cards and presents! I think this was just to increase my envy – I love balloons! ;)

When we got home V went upstairs and got changed while I put the kettle on and made us a drink. I went in to the front room and looked at what V had been given. V came down and went to sit in the armchair and read her cards properly as she had only glanced at them at the office.

This is where is went a bit odd for me, sort of a slow motion effect that any good film director puts in at a crucial point of a movie.

V was hovered above the chair and slowly sat down, as she was an inch from the cushion “Oh my god….  I’ve wet myself”. I looked over and V had stood back up like a shot, trying to stop her bladder from emptying over the carpet.

“It won’t stop… it feels weird… I don’t think it’s wee…”

An Apology

Just a quick apology for the lack of updates!

I've started a new job and LC is taking up a lot of time :)

Will be another instalment on here ASAP

Thanks for your patience