Pages

6/11/2017

Newborn Essentials | Just Add Ginger


newborn essentials - Just Add Ginger blog

 You never really know what you need for a baby until he/she arrives. Even at a very young age, every baby is different and has their own preferences and quirks. Tune into these and you're on to a winner. Some of the items on this list are more practical, and others handy to have. But in no particular order, here are all the bits and bobs that I think make life with a newborn just that little bit easier.


It was MG who first found out about the Snugglebundl - a piece of baby "kit" that helps you in lifting your newborn, right up until they are a few months old. And without it now, I would be a little bit lost. I use it everyday with Baby Ginger - from picking him up from the floor to easing him into the pram to putting him down at night. It makes him incredibly comfortable and he really enjoys cosying up in it. So much so that we now have two in rotation.


I can't imagine how stressful making up bottles at 3am when you have a screaming baby crying for food used to be. The Tommee Tippee Prep Machine is a lifesaver for those of us who are bottle feeding by getting a bottle ready for you in a matter of minutes. And when you have a baby who gets as hangry as ours, those few minutes make early morning and middle of the night feeds that much more manageable. Granted, at first I was terrified of the thing (you have to b e so careful about what you touch) but now I don't ever have to think twice about how to make up a feed.


Really I think you are supposed to use these pillows if you are breastfeeding, but I use it to bottle feed Baby Ginger. It gives the prefect angle to use to prop him up, and wedges him in nicely for me so that he is always supported. It is also just a great thing to have on the sofa to put baby in for some face-to-face time. You shouldn't leave them in the Boppy for too long of course, or let them sleep in it, but the more your little one is alert and observant, it gives your arms a bit of a break from holding them all the time, and lets them look around at the world.


When it comes to gauging temperature, I am officially shit! I always like to feel warm and snuggly and generally run a little cold. But with babies you have to be so careful with temperature as at such a young age they cannot thermoregulate. The Gro Egg is fab because in essence it is temperature gauging for dummies. With four colour settings, at just one glance it is obvious if the room is too cold, just right,  warm, or too hot. We did initially have a cheap-o paper thermometer to use in our room and the nursery, but when you are always extra careful and a little worried about getting things just right, this dispels all the uncertainty and second guessing.


This can be a tricky one to get right as babies can be quite fickle, but nevertheless a great thing to have to hand, especially when it comes to you needing to get things done. Some bouncers bounce (duh) and some vibrate, some rock, and some just do it all, so there are loads to choose from. Provided you have one your baby likes, you no longer have to worry about leaving a baby who won't go down alone if you want a shower, are desperate for a pee (or more) or seriously need to get some bottles washed. Just take them with you! Baby Ginger has two bouncers which - most of the time - he loves sitting in, and because of this, I am not constantly smelly nor does our house look like a pigsty.


Just like a bouncer, having a play gym to hand with a newborn is incredibly helpful. It doesn't need to have all the bells and whistles in the world, but pick one with things that dangle, rattle, crunch and reflect and baby will always have another source of entertainment. Baby Ginger loves being on his and absolutely loves the star that comes with it because it plays music and lights up. Aside from a clock we have on the wall, that star is the object of his affection, and he will smile and coo up at it for ages.  

Play gyms are usually quite cushioned so are also great for tummy time and a good place to put baby for a few minutes if you are trying desperately to chuck a coffee down your throat or shove in a sandwich. Plus they are incredibly portable so amazing on-the-go entertainment if you ever are travel.

 Mybaby Ho Medics Soundspa On-The-Go Baby Soother / Sleep Aid

This was actually a gift from Sarah - one that has proved invaluable (so much so that I ordered a second one). With buttons that provide a variety of sounds - from heartbeat to waves to birdsong, it caters to whatever your baby may prefer. The handle also makes it a great travel companion. We've attached ours to our crib, car seat and pram to use on walks, car journeys and during the day.

If you have any newborn essentials you think I should know about, let me know in the comments.

6/04/2017

Baby Ginger's Birth Story | Just Add Ginger


Baby photos - Just Add Ginger blog

This post has been a long time coming. Originally I wanted to film it and put it up on my YouTube channel, but in all honesty I just haven't had the time. To save you scrolling through reams and reams of my ramblings, I'll try and keep things as brief as possible. 

After a less than successful sweep the day after I turned 40 weeks, to say that I was over being pregnant was a complete understatement. I was ginormous, uncomfortable, and just so ready to get that baby out. Knowing that I was booked in for a C-section at 41 weeks should have made me feel more calm, but instead, I was just working myself up more. Aside from my own grand entrance into this world, I have never been admitted to hospital for anything, and I was completely, totally and 100% freaking out. 

So when I started having extremely mild cramps on 30th March (3 days past my due date) I got so excited. After spending days bumbling round the house in nothing but one of Ryan's t-shirts, no underwear (in case my waters broke) and a dressing gown, I was taking it as a sign. This child was finally ready. Ryan had been on alert all week, ready to dash home from work as soon as he got the call, so on that day, I made sure he definitely wasn't going to let his phone out of his sight. 

And of course in so doing, the cramps completely vanished. MG was up that day and I remember sitting in a cafe sipping on my hot chocolate and moaning my guts out. I had literally tried everything to get things going, and I just felt like this pregnancy was never going to end

In the early hours of the Friday morning the cramps came back in full force. The first one I got was so strong it actually woke me up from my sleep. But I simply refused to believe I was having contractions. For starters they weren't across my belly as I was expecting, but bang on my knicker line, and at the end of the day I didn't want to build my hopes up to have them come crashing down. 

The cramps came and went in waves throughout the night and then seemed to dissipate later on in the morning, pretty much as soon as we headed into the Liverpool Women's Hospital for my pre-op. Assuming it had been false labour all along, Ryan and I decided to head out for some lunch to occupy and distract ourselves. It was on that drive during a phone call to my parents, that the "cramps" came back, and really rather strongly (to the point where walking was difficult) but with no seeming consistency. Chugging down a pineapple smoothie, we decided it would be best to get in touch with my midwife in the hopes that she might confirm that things were potentially starting off. 

Which - thank goodness - she said they seemed to be! I was honestly so relieved I could have cried. By this point I had been struggling on for about 15 hours and was absolutely exhausted, so now it was just about playing the waiting game, sleeping, eating, and keeping as hydrated and distracted as possible. I knew there was no point phoning the hospital because nothing had any apparent pattern, and although I was in pain, at this point I was coping on my own.

This was how things went for the next 24 hours really. The pain got worse. I got more and more tired. But there was still no pattern to the cramping. Feeling distraught and very emotional, at about 5am on the Saturday I rang the hospital to basically be told I just had to power through. Even though I knew they would say that, it was still so upsetting to hear. But by 4pm or so I just couldn't cope anymore. Looking back I don't remember much of the pain, but I do remember crying, not being able to sit down, crying out, and dancing around the living room holding on to Ryan. The hospital said we could go in, but to take our time (probably to make sure I was going in dilated enough to be admitted). With bags packed, car seat in, my push playlist blasting out and me singing through contractions whilst sitting on a towel, that is where we went!

Now this is where everything becomes a bit of a blur. In between really strong contractions and grunting my head off it's a bit difficult to remember in what order things happened. I remember my cervix being initially checked and being told I was 3.5cm, being given codeine and paracetamol (and it doing nothing), sucking on gas and air, and then finally being offered diamorphine before spending the rest of the 16 hours I was in labour completely high as a kite. Ryan tells me my contractions were awful. I was getting them every minute and each was lasting two so I just wasn't catching a break. The midwife during the night shift was fabulous and held me so I could sleep a bit, but I was just incredibly uncomfortable. 

Fast forward to the morning, and I recall having a few bites of toast, a sip of tea, then turning to the midwife on duty and saying "there's pressure...there's pressure" before dragging myself up on all fours on the bed to get ready to push. I couldn't tell you how long I was trying to get the baby out, but I'd had my quota of diamorphine was only using gas and air. I must have been pushing for a while because at one point several doctors came in to check on me because I don't think anybody could quite find an accurate reading of baby's heartbeat because of my position. 

Ladies, I am going to be brutally honest. Whereas I can't remember most of my labour pains anymore, what I can vaguely recall is trying for those final few pushes to get baby's head out. And for me they bloody hurt. Just think ring of fire and you'll get the gist. Half afraid and half exhausted, my contractions weren't providing enough support to help me through and I really, really had to focus. Then of course I only went and dropped my gas and air tube so was flying completely solo. Baby's head kept popping in and out like a yo-yo and I was struggling. But it was Ryan's sister who gave me the incentive to get him out. She is a midwife and came in to see us briefly. It was her telling me that she had to go back to work that built up my strength enough again to let her see her nephew be born - that and The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack blasting out in the background. 

Finally at 10.44am on 2nd April (our 1st wedding anniversary) Baby Ginger came into the world - all 6lbs 11oz worth of him. It hadn't hit me that I'd just given birth and I just sat there for a few minutes completely baffled and overwhelmed. Ryan cut the cord and had the first cuddle and that was it. He was here. And I was a mother

I cannot sing the praises of the staff at the Liverpool Women's enough. Every midwife who took care of us was amazing. The ward had a wonderful, calming atmosphere, and nothing was ever too much trouble for anyone. Whereas I was terrified about having a baby, now I wouldn't hesitate to do it again in the future. I think back on my time in labour and feel very emotional to have had such a fabulous experience there, and it would be a real shame if it were to close. 

And as for Baby Ginger now? He's an absolute joy of a baby. We cannot imagine our lives without him and every day he just amazes us. He is our light and love, and I cherish every moment I have with him. He hasn't taught me how to be a mother, but he's helped me realise how strong a person I can be and just what pure adoration is.

To get a play-by-play account of me going into labour, you can watch my vlog below. Click here to find our more about the Liverpool Women's Hospital, and to find out about the Save Liverpool Women's Hospital Campaign, head to this Facebook page.