Hello World – Zachary’s Birth Story

He’s here! HE! I can’t believe we finally know that there was a little boy in there all along (although we were totally convinced it was a boy from the start; he was a troublemaker from day one!).

If you’ve read my last pregnancy update you’ll know that I was having some problems with elevated blood pressure. After six visits to the hospital maternity unit to be monitored, a plan was finally put in place to induce me on Wednesday 4th July, two days before my due date – I can’t tell you how happy I was to know that I wouldn’t be going potentially two weeks overdue!

At 4pm on the 4th I was given a propess pessary in the hope it would bring on labour. I didn’t want to pin too much on it as it isn’t guaranteed to work, but by 11pm I was having regular contractions and at midnight my waters broke, half way through watching Jaws may I add; maybe it was all the scenic ocean shots?!

After getting to labour ward, the monitor showed that the baby’s heart rate kept dropping with my contractions and the staff weren’t happy with how slowly it was returning to normal. I was examined by Dr Smirnoff (yes, really!) who throughout the next few hours had to take some blood samples from the baby’s head, to test the oxygen levels. After the first examination (which was pretty rough) he recommended me having an epidural for the pain.

Unfortunately, the epidural wasn’t fully effective and I still had feeling in my right hand side. I was dilating at a good speed though and after a few hours was up to eight centimetres. After another examination, Dr Smirnoff advised us that the baby wasn’t fully in position which was going to make delivery difficult. He left the room to speak with a consultant and within minutes the room was chaotic.

Up to this point, we had been extremely well informed of everything that was going on and the staff were really chilled out. This probably added to the panic that we then felt, as there seemed to be a real emergency to get me to theatre for a section. My midwife Kara, said “things are going to go a bit quick now” and boy did they. Jon was thrown a set of scrubs and I was wheeled from the room, leaving my poor mother sat thinking the worst.

Even though you’d do anything to ensure your baby is safe and well, I was so scared in that moment. The thought of an emergency section terrified me. Add to that the urgency from the staff and the fact that I had laboured to eight centimetres for what felt like no reason now, I was a blubbering mess by the time we got to theatre.

Jon was bundled into a recovery room while I was given a spinal and examined again (don’t go looking for dignity around here guys!). Legs in stirrups and my knees pushed up so close to my face, I’m fairly sure I hadn’t been this flexible since I was in the womb myself. My esteemed Russian friend now popped his head up an announced “fully dilated!” which was met with cheers from around the room; I didn’t need the section after all.

Jon was dragged back into the room and with three pushes (and an episiotomy and ventouse) Zachary Taylor Lewis was born. Weighing 7lbs 10.5oz, he was lighter than his sister and lighter than the growth scans had predicted. He has long limbs, dark hair and lots of peach fuzz over his back; truly a little monkey already!Zac has slipped seamlessly into family life and we honestly can’t imagine life without him now. Daisy introduces her “little brother, Zac” to anyone who’ll listen and is proving to be the best big sister already. It honestly feels like yesterday that she was this small, so we’re trying to soak up these blurry newborn days as much as we can. We feel so lucky to have such a beautiful little family and can’t wait to start having adventures as a four.

Emma x

Pregnancy Update – 35 & 36 Weeks

All hail maternity leave! I’m finally off work and couldn’t be happier. I’ve been struggling for a few weeks now and sitting at a desk all day certainly hasn’t helped. Add to that the hotter weather and my feet have swollen to Kim K in those plastic shoes levels – what was she thinking?! I’ve had my blood pressure checked regularly and have been keeping an eye out for any signs of preeclampsia but so far, all is okay.I’ve had a nasty ear infection for the last week which has disrupted my sleep (even more!) but with some antibiotic spray from the doctor, it’s starting to feel a little better thankfully. I’ve pulled a muscle in my stomach too, probably from only being able to lie on one side because of my ear; honestly feel like I’m falling apart! My midwife gave me a check over this week though and confirmed that the baby is low down and engaged!I’ve felt a few twinges with some low down cramps but nothing constant just yet, so for the foreseeable you’ll be able to find me bouncing on a gym ball, whilst eating curry and copious amounts of pineapple. I’ve got a growth scan tomorrow, so we’ll know a little more about whether I’ll be induced or left naturally for now. Whatever happens, we’re in the home stretch now! Emma x

Pregnancy Update – 34 Weeks

I haven’t posted an update for a while now. To be honest, I haven’t felt like writing anything over the past few weeks. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know we’ve had a tough time lately as a family.

A few weeks back, we lost my lovely Nana Mary. She had advanced dementia and in the end it was honestly a blessing. Sadly just the morning after her funeral, her husband Grandpa Colin passed away peacefully in his sleep.

He was 88 and hadn’t been well lately himself, but it was such a shock to come so quickly and while we were all still emotionally raw following Nan’s funeral. The past few weeks have been some of the toughest.

It’s no surprise that I feel emotionally drained at the moment, but I haven’t felt great physically either. At my antenatal appointments, my bump has measured over where it should be. I’ve had a glucose test to check for gestational diabetes, which came back normal and we’re now waiting for a growth scan.I’ve had the worst nausea ever and some swelling ‘down there’ (no real life over here guys, it’s all the glamour!) which is really disrupting my sleep. My bump feels super tight all the time and my energy is a thing of the past. For the next few weeks, I’ll be having as much rest as possible and trying to relax my body as there’s still a way to go yet!Apart from all the crappiness, this little babe is still so active and is constantly letting me know how good the party is in there. Some of the movements are so strong, I feel like this little one could come out crawling and babbling away already!

Another weird side effect I’ve had is melasma; a skin discolouration that’s common in pregnancy. I’ve actually had it for a few years now, which may have been caused by the pill, but it’s spread a little more the past few weeks. It’s now faintly lining my top lip, as well as extra patches along my forehead, cheekbones and nose. It doesn’t bother me, in fact I quite like it. It’s a kind of sun kissed look without sitting in the sun!I’m starting my maternity leave on Monday and I’m determined to enjoy these last few weeks as much as possible. We’re going to get ourselves in gear and sort all the essentials out over the next couple of days, starting with giving Daisy’s cot a well needed lick of paint. Not long left now!

Emma x

Pregnancy Update – 21, 22 & 23 Weeks

Firstly, let me clarify that I am so incredibly grateful to be pregnant and feel so, so lucky. Secondly, this pregnancy is kicking my ass! I’ve combined the last couple of weeks seeing as there was nothing new to report and I’m still feeling pretty pants to be honest. My stomach and pelvis pains are still constant and the only time they go is whilst I’m in the bath, so naturally I’ve morphed into a mermaid these past few weeks. I’m trying to find a balance between walking and sitting still as both make the aches worse, although walking gives me some crazy tightenings in my stomach and it goes incredibly hard.

Whilst I was pregnant with Daisy, I can say hand on heart that I felt like a superhero during the second trimester. I had so much energy and no pregnancy symptoms, aside from a growing bump and kicking babe. This time is a whole different ball game! Oh, and my evening nausea has returned…awesome! Its been a pretty hectic and emotional couple of weeks too. With family members being unwell, the chaos of the snow and Storm Emma, my parents delayed at the airport coming home from holidays and generally feeling rubbish myself has seen me shed a years worth of tears. My lovely Nana Mary also passed away earlier this week and although it was a blessing in the end, it’s still so sad. Here’s hoping the next few weeks get better.

On a happier note though, because my placenta is at the back, I’m feeling so much of this little babe move around. Taking just five minutes each day to watch my bump or feel those movements puts everything into perspective, and reminds me that this won’t last forever and we’ll have another little one in our arms soon.

Emma x

Making Welsh Cakes

Growing up in Wales, I used to have Welsh cakes on a regular basis. Both my grandmothers would cook them without a recipe, just knowing exactly how much of what went into the mixing bowl. I spent a lot of time with my Nana Mary as a child, while my parents were working. She’s always been your stereotypical nan; knitted you a scarf every winter, managed to make huge family meals in a teeny tiny kitchen and gave the best cwtches (hugs) around.Sadly, my nan developed dementia a few years ago which progressed quickly following a number of falls; shes been in hospital now for over three years. She barely speaks, doesn’t recognise any of us and is a shadow of her former self. It really is such a cruel illness.A few years ago, before she became unwell but started slowing down and cooking less, my nan gave me her bakestone. This was the very bakestone she had made every Welsh cake on and my father even remembers it from his own childhood.I’ll admit, it sat in a kitchen cupboard for a long time, embarrassingly forgotten about. I pulled it out a few months back and made some Welsh cakes with Daisy. It brought back so many memories of helping my nan make them when I was a child and I hope Daisy enjoys it just as much in years to come. A lot of love is ingrained in that bakestone and it now sits on our countertop, ready to be used whenever the moment strikes.If you fancy giving Welsh cakes a go (and you’re not a Welsh grandmother who could make them with your eyes closed) here’s the recipe.

Recipe

  • 225g plain flour
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100g butter
  • 40g sultanas
  • 1 beaten egg
  • splash of milk
  1. Measure out and combine flour, sugar, mixed spice and baking powder.
  2. Add the butter and using your hands, mix until it resembles damp sand.
  3. Add sultanas and egg, mixing until you have a dough (add a splash of milk if too dry).
  4. Roll dough out on a floured surface until about 1cm thick and cut out with a fluted cutter.
  5. Heat your bakestone or frying pan with a little butter and brown your Welsh cakes on both sides (around 3 mins per side on medium heat).
  6. Try not to burn your mouth after not being able to resist a bite!

These can be served warm or cold and will keep in an airtight container for a few days (not that they ever last that long!).

Emma x