Category Archives: Pregnancy


Hello, my name is Karen and I am wife to George, who is from Scotland (I try to tell people this when they meet me so that they understand how crazy I am. No-one over here was mad enough to take me on!). We have two beautiful kidneys – Alistair is 3 and Elliot is 10 months. Oh and I should also say, I talk. A lot!

When pregnant with Alistair I suffered with high blood pressure from around 34 weeks. I really shouldn’t say suffer because it didn’t affect me or make me feel any different! At many routine appointments, I would be sent to the hospital for further monitoring. One Saturday morning I had gone in for a check and they ended up admitting me! I was now 37 weeks and joked with the midwives, I’m not doing anything on Friday it will come then! Little did I know…

I got home on the Sunday (I was already dressed and packed and was leaving whether they allowed me to or not!) and returned as promised on the Tuesday morning. In my very sensible pregnant state I decided to walk to the hospital. A quick 15 minutes down the road. My thinking was I would avoid increasing the bp by having to find a carpark! After 30 minutes of waddling I arrived to be asked if I lived locally and could I come back later as they were busy? Of course I said, no problem. As soon as one foot was outside the building I found myself bursting into tears and phoning George. I cried the whole way home, taking a breather to stop off for a pineapple and some milk! (I never did get to eat the pineapple!).

So that afternoon I returned with the car. Another couple of hours and more deliberation as to whether I was getting admitted but I was let loose. At home I sat down and as it was starting to get dark thought to myself I should really close the blinds. As I stood up my waters broke! Not like it does in the movies but instantly I thought, thats not wee wee!

So the third visit of the day to the hospital but this time they weren’t letting me go. Here my journey begins. I didnt sleep that night with pains. Was this labour? By morning things had settled so later that evening I got a pessary. By Thursday I was put on the drip and in the labour ward. I phoned George to see where he was. “I’m at your mums waiting for the pram and cot” he replied, he soon got the message to come to the hospital!

By 10.30 that night I was set for theatre. Never again will I forget Georges face at the mention of the word caesarean. All I remember thinking was, this is the Lagan Valley they don’t do sections unless you really need them. 9.5 cms I got to and “Failure to Progress” is the term. There’s a sure fire recipe for PND if ever I heard one!

On the way to theatre I saw my mum and dad and waved at them like I was going on holiday and I told my mum she looked tired! I look tired she thought! In theatre I asked will the baby be born today? Yes i was told, but no Alistair came on the Friday not the Thursday as everyone had thought. Premonition?!

At 00:23am and 37+5 our baby was born. Alistair George Brand. The rest they say is history…

As soon as I got pregnant with Elliot, I knew I didn’t want another section. I didnt want to be in pain again, I wanted to be able to drive, I wanted to be able to pick Alistair up. I knew the recovery would be faster with a vaginal birth but I had never done it before so all the anxieties that were there the first time were still there. The how much would it hurt questions buzzing around in my head and all the unanswered questions lying dormant.

Due to the high bp I was under consultant care. She told me that if you have baby number two with the same daddy chances are the bp behaves. I responded by saying well, Daniel Craig married that Rachel whatsherface so I had no option! I came away feeling scared but positive that the vaginal birth was possible and my chances were high and I had the statistics to prove it.

So after 8 whole months of morning sickness (another story) I was approaching 39 weeks. I had never been that pregnant before! I had some pains and was bouncing on my excercise ball as was Alistair on his bouncy ball! Was this it? No, afraid not. They soon disappeared but the following evening I felt another trickle. It was different from before and decided that I would phone the hospital in the monring to see what they said, rather than phoning them so late at night. My thinking was I would get a better nights sleep at home.

The following morning I went to the Lagan Valley for a check. Yes, your waters have broke and yes, you are 2 cms. Great I thought. We went home got the car packed up, made arrangements for Alistair and made our way to the Ulster hospital. Pains had started again and by the time I was seen I was told no, your waters havent broken and no, you are 1 cm and no, you are not in labour.

I wanted to cry. In fact I told George that I was going home to have a home birth because I didnt want to have the baby in the Ulster! They were not telling me things I wanted to hear and I took exception! After another check!! I was finally admitted. Not to the labour ward but the antenatal ward. My hind waters had broken. What were they? I had done this before but yet everything was new.

That evening I was given a pessary and the next morning after half a bowl of fruit and fibre, which I threw back up I made my way to the labour ward. This was the last time I felt sick or was sick apart from the first 3 days of my pregnancy! Same story… I was put on the drip. But this time it was different. This time my baby was born vaginally and only a few hours later. I couldnt believe it! At 14:36 Elliot came into the world and I felt utterly fantastic. Utterly fantastic. I could not fathom that I had managed to do it. I had given birth to a beautiful baby the “proper” way. The only words I’ve ever used to describe how I felt was that I felt that I was the Queen of Sheba and I was.

After some stitches which were taken out and put back in again four times, we made our way back to the ward. Now here is where things go slightly foggy. I actually do remember waving to the midwives and shouting over to them a boy!  Whether or not I was waving the royal wave and whether I told them by VBAC is questionable!

I truely felt like the Queen of Sheba was here and she had had a boy and she had that boy by VBAC and I was more than ready to show him off!  But that she was me, and that baby was Elliot James Brand.

I remember when people asked afterwards which way was easiest? The sunroof or the chuff? The answer. Neither! But do you know what? I did recover sooner and I had achieved such a wonderful thing. I had done it. Me.

I really can not put into words how happy and how proud I was of myself.

K x

Gentle Parenting & Pregnancy

I’m Claire (another one!), married to Mark with one lovely boy, James, who just turned two at the end of May. Baby no2 is in the oven & due to be ready around the end of August.
When pregnant with James, I fully intended to breastfeed but, beyond that, I expected to be a cry it out, no ‘pandering’, naughty step using mummy.

James was not the only new person born that day in May. I’ll not compare myself to a butterfly, how about a snake shedding its old skin? That day a change began- I slowly discarded who I thought I was (or should be) and discovered me. Turns out, me is quite the hippy – breastfeed for 18 months, co-sleep most of the time. I consider myself a baby-led parent (although didn’t BLW as it scared me. Like I say, gradual work in progress!)

I did try crying it out one night. It was actually husband who came running up the stairs & lifted a hysterical, sweaty James from his cot. That was an epiphany moment- screw what the mass media would have me believe I ‘should’ be doing, I was going with my instinct. I always believed if a baby cried, it was for a reason. Maybe not one of the ‘valid’ reasons we’re told- hunger, wet nappy or pain- but still a reason. Who doesn’t just sometimes need a cuddle?!

So, that explains how I try to parent. Being sensitive to my child’s needs. That his behaviour is always for a reason.

However… Being 29 weeks pregnant, with quite bad pelvic girdle pain & an increasingly energetic two year old, I find my ‘instinctive’, hopefully gentle, parenting requires much more of a conscious effort. I’m doing my best but I am not a robot. When exhausted, I have been known to get snappy. I know that it is not a coincidence that since I have started struggling that James’ behaviour has also changed and this makes me feel terrible.

I think parenting is fluid. To date, my ‘me’ time of choice has always been family time or just James & I. So now it’s accepting that actually what will help me be the best parent I can, & to parent in the way that I want, is to take time to REST. It’s a struggle- that old parenting constant: GUILT.

But the journey that started in Craigavon MLU in May 2011 is an ongoing one. The lessons I am learning now will make me a better parent. A gentle parent.