Categories
Birth Labour Mum life

My favourite birth affirmations

Hypnobirthing massively changed my outlook on birth and post-natal health. After a traumatic first birth, I dreaded giving birth for the second time.

Here are some fantastic hypnobirthing affirmations that can help get you through labour and birth. I had a beautiful, slow and relaxed birth, thanks to Hypnobirthing.

You can find a bit more about my birth experiences by checking out my Mum Life page on the main menu. Or you can click this link!

https://themumwhowantsitall.com/2021/07/03/5-tips-to-writing-your-perfect-birth-preferences/

Categories
Friendships Relationships

6 Signs you have a toxic ‘friend’

If you’ve landed on this page, out of all of the other billions of pages on google, then you probably already know that you don’t have a very good friend, but you’re googling for confirmation on that. You’re questioning whether or not you are the problem, and not them.

Here’s a tip… if you think your friend is toxic, horrible or really just not a nice person, then you are almost definitely correct.

If you are the toxic friend, you probably wouldn’t have a clue! And would never have found this page.

Until my early twenties, I didn’t know what a good friend was. I surrounded myself with jealous girls, who clearly (looking back) had no confidence in themselves and hated seeing others achieve anything. I have never been career driven, I didn’t go to uni, I do what I want, in the way that suits me, and I have never been one to follow a crowd. However, I still fell for all the rubbish that came with their friendships. Despite being headstrong, knowing exactly what I wanted out of life from a very young age, I went along with it all. I’m a very different person now, and I don’t let anyone treat me badly.

I had two friends that I would easily give the label ‘toxic’ to. One of these friends I had since primary school, and another friend I had the misfortune of meeting at work when I was just 18.

The story of what happened to them, and me, is for another post… (it’s a long one) but right now… I’m here to help you recognise when you are trapped by toxic friends yourself.

Drum roll please…

1 – They put you down

Ok, so with the benefit of hindsight, this one is plain to see, but if you’re in the middle of the situation now, it might be harder to notice. So i’ll see if I can help with this…

My friend would put me down at every opportunity they possibly could. Sometimes it would be based around my dress size. I’m only a 12! But she would do her best to squeeze into a size 8, or a 10, just to say she could… she’d make me look at her when trying on clothes, and ask me a thousand times if she looked good in it, or talk about how badly she thought she needed to loose weight.

She knew she didn’t need to, and I knew she was implying that I did. Luckily, I’m pretty confident in my own skin and although i’d love to loose a pound or 3, I was comfortable and happy so could let that wash over me.

Another example of this, I’m not the strongest swimmer in the world, and although perfectly happy to swim in local pools I don’t want to swim in the sea! Even the strongest of swimmers find it hard, and I never wanted to, and still don’t, feel comfortable to do it.

So she would tell people, that I couldn’t swim. She would shout it from the roof tops. If ever we went anywhere where swimming or water was involved, she’d lie and say I couldn’t swim. This meant I was frequently not invited to beach trips. This brings me swiftly on, to another clue that you have a toxic friend…

2 – They love to humiliate you at every opportunity

This one is very real and very painful.

You should be able to tell your friends anything. Anything you want to get off your chest, and how you feel about any given situation. You have a right to not want that shared with anyone else. It’s between you two.

Now, if you’re a good friend (like me) who actually respects people (!), you will know that when you have certain conflabs with a friend, you don’t mention those details to anyone else.

Have you ever told your toxic friend something, and it’s got to another friend?

If you’re answering yes, then it’s looking increasingly likely that they are a toxic friend after all.

Quite often I would tell my friend things that would happen to me, or how I flunked a job interview, or a bicker I had with my boyfriend, and all of these things would get repeated. I wouldn’t find out straight away, I’d find out a few weeks or months later, that everyone in the entire friendship group knew. While I was spilling my beans to her, I didn’t realise it at the time, but she wasn’t telling me anything. Even if I asked, she’d just brush it off.

While I was putting myself out there, in harms way by being friends with her, she was making new best friends, to screw over.

3 – If you tell them you want to do something, or achieve something, they will try and do it first

This was one of the ones that was glaringly obvious to me when I was friends with her. I once told her that my Dad was going to help me pass my 50cc moped bike test, and get an orange moped when I turned 16 in August.

She was in the same year as me at school, but she born in September so turned 16 a whole 11 months before. What did she do? Yes, you guessed it, she did her 50cc bike test, and got an orange moped. Probably around 6 months before I was even able to start learning, to do my test. How can you get more obvious than that?

At the time, I couldn’t actually believe it, but niavely thought, Okay, we just wanted the same things?

Now I realise that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

I told her that I wanted to save up with my fiance to buy a house. Her parents had a house that they rented out, so they kicked out their tenants and gave her the house to live in, and with super cheap rent. Then, I bumped into her in town and she literally said ‘Guess what, I got a house first!’

Now I look back and think, WTF?! Why would you do that, and why would you say that.

Has anything similar to this, happened to you?

4 – They say unkind things behind your back, and to your face

They might say to you, some of the following things…

“Did you ever think you’d find someone to marry you?”

“Have you ever noticed that your toes are really long?” (chuckling writing this one because I think now, what a strange insult to even come up with!)

“Isn’t it weird that your shoulders are so broad?”

Sometimes they will say similar things like this, but behind your back to others in your friendship group. To be honest, at the time and even looking back now, I’m not sure which ones are the most hurtful, they’re all so nasty.

5 – They are never happy when you achieve something

An example of this that I can tell you about, is when I got engaged, my friend said to me ‘”how are you going to pay for the wedding?”

She did say, “wow, congratulations”… but with a miserable tone in her voice. I knew she didn’t really mean it. For some reason, I went on to have her as one of my bridesmaids.

Up until a few months before the wedding, I changed my mind and culled her! Something made me see light, but again, another post about that… very long story. In the end, she wasn’t even invited.

Got a new car? Your friend won’t be pleased for you.

Got a new haircut? Your friend won’t be pleased for you.

6 – Jealousy

Your friend will never be happy, if you find yourself a new friend. If you hang out with another friendship group, and she’s not invited, she will not be happy.

Get a new boyfriend? Definitely not happy.

Got yourself a pet? Definitely not happy.

You might not feel ready yet, but one day you will realise that you deserve better. Much better. One day you will realise that if you don’t leave toxic people behind in your life, they will never leave.

You’ve got this!

You’re strong!

and..

YOU DESERVE BETTER

Categories
Family

THE THEORETICAL AND TECHNICAL CONCEPTS OF REGGAE DRUMMING GROOVES, WITH REFERENCE TO ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT

The cultural roots of the reggae genre can be traced back to the Caribbean island of Jamaica where it all began. A.Bennet (2003, P.75) explains that during the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Jamaican music scene was heavily influenced by New Orleans’ African American R&B (an amplified version of the original acoustic blues). Throughout the years, Jamaican musicians reinterpreted this sound in a locally distinctive fashion.

A.Bennet (2003, P.75) Explains that the striding off-beats and rhythmic brass patterns of 1950 R&B artists, such as Fats Domino, were taken over and reflected by Jamaican musicians. This Jamaican imitation of the R&B genre was the first insight into the accentuated off-beats and modified brass playing style that we constantly hear in the Ska genre.

“A signature trade of the traditional Ska genre would be whilst playing the 8th notes, to play with the riding bell of the hi-hat, adding accents and off beats to it.”

An example of a well-recognized Ska beat would be to have the standard, but altered, 4/4 beat with a one-drop. The Wicked Beats: Ska Lesson video (hudsonmusicdvd, 2010) explains that there would be a swishy closed and open hi-hat pulse, keeping the one-drops on every 3rd beat using only the bass drum, hi-hat pedal and cross stick on the snare, whilst playing straight 8th notes on the hi-hat. A signature trade of the traditional Ska genre would be whilst playing the 8th notes, to play with the riding bell of the hi-hat, adding accents and off beats to it.

One drops, accents and off beats are a big part of the reggae genre, and just by studying its relative – Ska, you can see where some of its technical concepts of reggae drumming comes from.

By 1966 the Ska style had begun to evolve. The Reggae for drumset: Introduction video (hudsonmusicdvd, 2010) explains that the music was becoming more reliant on electrified instruments and effects, and had taken on a more relaxed feel whilst the original Ska beat itself was becoming increasingly more complex.

A.Bennet (2009, P.76) describes that the original style of ska was changed from horns to a hefty electronic bass sound and cutting rhythms provided by high trebled guitar effects. This new, knocked down style of music found an appeal among street gangs, referred to locally as ‘rude boys’, a term which has become synonymous with the lyrics and style of the musical genre known as reggae.

There are many types of Reggae drum rhythms, but the most common shares a type of drop, usually either a one-drop or a four-drop, and are usually contrasted together to add emphasis on parts of sections in a song, eg. The chorus or the bridge.

With reference from materials prepared by P.Elliott (2009) The basic reggae one-drop is as follows – a 4/4 beat, with crotchets on the hi-hat, the bass drum and cross stick, played together on beat 3. The other basic reggae beat, is the four-drop, which follows a similar style to the one-drop – a 4/4 beat, with crotchets on the hi-hat, but the bass drum played on all four beats, whilst the cross stick still played on beat 3.

With this beat now in place, the drummer can now change the feel of the ride line by changing the crotchets into straight or swung quavers whilst still playing either the four-drop or the one-drop beat. Whilst doing so, it is common to add accents to the hi-hat on beats 2+4, which mirrors the guitar/keys part, known as skank. It is also common in reggae drumming to add additional cross sticks, sometimes in triplets, other times on an offbeat.

References

[Book] Bennet, A. (2003) Cultures of popular music. 2nd Ed. Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open university Press

[Lectures Notes] P.Elliott. (2009) Advanced Instrumental Studies – Drums – Week 1. Lecture 1. [Accessed on 26th September 2012] Available at “><http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiqlR_92jPI&NR&gt;

[Youtube video] hudsonmusicdvd (2010) Reggae for drumset: Introduction [online] [Accessed on 9th October 2012] Available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oiNbM0KZLo&gt;

Categories
Family

The theoretical and technical concepts of drumming in rhythmically progressive styles, with reference to its historical context

Rhythmically progressive styles may refer to certain types of drumming using odd time signatures, phrasing, articulation, rhythmic imposition and also rhythmic displacement. There are many progressive styles and genres of music where the percussionist use these types of drumming techniques, these genres and styles include metal, jazz, reggae, progressive rock, etc.

Odd time signatures are essentially any time signature other than those classed as“simple time signatures”

As Joe Paparone. (2013) explains, simple time signatures are
usually those with top numerals of 2, 3, or 4 and bottom numerals of 2, 4, or 8, and compound time signatures with top numerals of 6, 9, or 12 and bottom numerals 4, 8, or 16. Therefore, time signatures in 7/8, 5/4, 9/16 are classed as odd time signatures, as they feel odd and are sometimes mentally challenging to play. Bands and artists such as Björk, Periphery, The Police, Genesis, and King Crimson are all known for creating pieces of music with very obscure time signatures.

Odd time signatures have always had a lot of historical context. It can be found in a variety of music dating back over two hundred years. However, these unusual time signatures are not necessarily originally percussion based, but instead strings or piano, accommodated within the genre of classical music from the 19th century, including songs such as Igor
Stravinsky’s composition of The Rite of Spring, Turkish March by Mozart or Moonlight sonata by Beethoven, as the timings and feel changes almost constantly within just a few bars.

Bradford (2013). States that Articulation in music generally refers to the performance technique that affects either the continuity or transition on a single note, or between multiple notes or sounds. There are many types of articulation, each with a different effect on how the note is played. In music notation, articulation marks include the following; a slur, staccato,
staccatissimo, phrase mark, accent, sforzando, rinforzando, and legato. A different symbol represents all of the different articulations, to which they are either placed above or below the note (depending on its position on the staff).

This phrase and technique can be applied to the drum kit, and can be evolved into a drum beat, such as accents to be played on either the snare or kick, whilst playing the semi quavers on the hi-hat. The phrase can also be turned into a type of drum solo, where you the percussionist could play semi-quavers on the toms, whilst playing the accents on the snare or
kick.

P.Elliott (2011) mentions that rhythmic displacement is generally a term used to describe the movement or shifting of a rythmic pattern from its original position in the bar, to another position. For a drum kit percussionist, this concept can range from a basic synocopation to a more complex full pattern shift, creating what is known to it’s listeners as a
rythmic illusion.

“A polyrhythmic effect is essentially a rhythm in which two or more different meters are played simultaneously, while both are moving at the same linear tempo.”

P.Elliott (2011) claims that rythmic Imposition, in a general sense is the term used to describe the imposition of note groupings to create a polyrhythmic effect for both phrasing and groove playing purposes, most typically in metrically progressive style of music such as metal, jazz, progressive rock, house, hip hop and even trance.

A polyrhythmic effect is essentially a rhythm in which two or more different meters are played simultaneously, while both are moving at the same linear tempo. Dave Atkinson (2011) states that A simple example of this would be if the percussionist is playing a 4/4 time pattern, where quarter notes are played on the bass drum while half-note triplets are played on the hi-hat. At the beginning of the second measure the notes on the hi-hat and the bass drum will coincide once again with each other. This is called a 3:4 polyrhythm.

P.Elliott (2011) mentions that rhythmic impositions are all about making small changes to a conventional pattern in order to persuade the listener that the tempo, and/or time signature have momentarily changed in some way. In order for the percussionist to create this illusion, they should make sure that the pattern they are playing is generally a simple, recognisable rhythm that the listener will naturally pick up on.

A rhythmic illusion will have it’s best effect when it appears that the percussionist has temporarily left the downbeat and tempo behind, whilst the music from the band carries on unchanged underneath it. Below is a
perfect example of this technique being used, in which to the listener, it sounds as if the beat goes out of time to the consistent counts, but in actual fact the snare and bass which are creating the beat are just shift a semiquaver at a time.

References

Bradford (2013). Articulation | The Practicing Musician. [ONLINE] Available at:
http://www.practicingmusician.com/tag/articulation/.
[Accessed 10 December 2013]

Dave Atkinson (2011). What Is A Polyrhythm – Advanced Drum Lessons. [ONLINE]
Available at: http://www.drumlessons.com/drum-lessons/rock-drumming/what-is-apolyrhythm/.
[Accessed 10 December 2013].

Joe Paparone. (2006). Music Theory / Time / Simple time signatures. [ONLINE]
Available at: http://www.musicarrangers.com/star-theory/t03.htm.
[Accessed 10 December 2013].

Paul Elliott (2011). Advance Instrumental Studies-3. Semester 3: Weeks 7-12 Course Material [IMAGE] [ONLINE]. Available at http://academyofmusicelearning.co.uk/moodle233/course/view.php?id=318
[Accessed 10 December 2013].

Paul Elliott (2011). Advance Instrumental Studies-3. Semester 3: Weeks 7-12 Course Material [ONLINE]. Available at http://academyofmusicelearning.co.uk/moodle233/course/view.php?id=318
[Accessed 10 December 2013].

Categories
Family

The theoretical and technical concepts of Latin-funk drumming, with reference to it’s historical context

“Latin funk is a sub-genre of Latin music that has been an ever changing style of music for more than 40 years.”

It’s a style that contrasts many genres into its rhythmic structure, such as jazz, soul and funk. Combining these genres with Latin rhythms such as cascara, rumba clave and tumbao, creates an environment of experimentation.

Josh Norek, (2012) explains that the first wave of Latin funk in the late 1960s came out on the classic salsa record label – Fania Records. Artists such as percussionist – Ray Barretto, or vocalist and guitarist – Rubén Blades were known for playing salsa, but were also influenced with the soul, R&B and funk trends of America at the time.

Artists contrasted these styles together, which were given the name Boogaloo; a fusion of popular African American R&B and Soul, with Mambo and Son Montuno. The Boogaloo style was very popular within latin music up until the early 1970s.

“Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, more and more popular styles of music heavily influenced this wave of Latin funk”

Josh Norek, (2012) and also the website – Office Naps (2007) mention that In the 1970s, Latin music was impacted by politics, from Vietnam War protests, to issues of race, to the farm workers’ movement. The political and social awareness was reflected in the work of Latin-Funk artists, an example of this is Ray Barretto’s song “Together” which in the words
refers to aspects of racism, where he sings “Got to get together before it’s too late, I know a beautiful truth, and it’s helped me to be free, I know I’m black and I’m white, and I’m red, yeah the blood of mankind flows through me, and so in every face I see, I see a part of you and me, together”.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, more and more popular styles of music heavily influenced this wave of Latin funk, such as acid Jazz and disco, mainly influential for its use of its dominant syncopated rhythmic bass lines and beats, heard heavily in the Latin-funk genre today.

Latin-funk uses straight rhythm, rather than swing differing from Latin Jazz, which is a very similar sub-genre of Latin music. With research referencing to N.Herman’s website (1998) – the conga, timbale, guiro, and claves are the general percussion instruments which often contribute to the iconic “Latin” sound we hear in Latin-funk.

Key aspects in Latin-funk drumming are 2:3 and 3:2 rumba clave, 2:3 and 3:2 son clave, Bass Drum tumbaos, cascara, stepped hi-hat and also ride line ostinatos. P.Elliott (2010).

The most common type of clave is called “son clave”, named by the Cuban musical style, son.

“The Tumbao bass drum pattern is a common Afro-Cuban figure within the latin-funk genre.”

To the right is the 3-2 son clave by P.Elliot (2011). The 3 refers to the first bar, which has 3 strokes and the 2 refers to the second bar, which has 2 strokes. In addition, the bars can be reversed so the 2 part is the first bar and the 3 part is in the second bar. In such cases, the rhythm is called the 2-3 clave.

Another type of clave, which is very popular in not only Latin- funk, but also Salsa, is the rumba clave. Like the son clave, the rumba clave can be a 3-2 or a 2-3. To the right is an example of the 3-2 rumba clave. The third note in the first bar is on the “and” of the 4. This change is the only difference between the rumba and son claves. The 3-2 and 2-3 son and rumba claves are both played in 4/4 time.

The Tumbao bass drum pattern is a common Afro-Cuban figure within the latin-funk genre. It is frequently played by the percussionist to syncopate the rhythms of the bassist. An example of this drum pattern being used is the songo pattern performed in the second semester of the first year. By applying this pattern over the top of different ride-line ostinatos, and also snare accents, it creates a rhythm that can be applied to Latin-funk. Below is an example of the tumbao pattern in 4/4.

The Harvard dictionary of music by D.Randel (2003) describes the ostinato as a “clearly defined phrase that is repeated persistently, usually in immediate succession throughout a composition or a section. The ostinato differs from other devices of repetition, such as imitation or sequence, in that it is reiterated in the same voice and usually at the same pitch.” By applying an ostinato with the ride-line, we get different variations both
rhythmically and dynamically. The next page shows examples of originally applying ride-line ostinatos to the rumba clave.

According to Mathew Dean (2013) – “the word cascara means ‘shell’ and is found in reference to the shell of the timbale in Afro-Cuban music. It is upon the timbale shell that this pattern was traditionally played by the timbalero”. The Cascara pattern is a very familiar Latin drumming pattern that can be incorporated in all styles of music. Salsa, Bossa Nova, Samba, Latin- funk and other Afro Cuban styles are just a few examples of where the Cascara is rhythmically used. This is one of those patterns, like the rumba and son clave that is a must when it comes to playing Latin style drumming. The Cascara can be played on many different drum voices; although it is typically played on either the cowbell or ride cymbal in Latinfunk. The Cascara is a 2 bar pattern played in a 4/4 groove. It can be played just like the clave patterns, in either 2:3 or in 3:2, as shown below.

When playing the Cascara in 2:3, you play it from the start of the second bar, as appose to 3:2 Cascara, where you play it from the first bar. With both 2:3 and 3:2 cascara, you can add the bass drum tumbao underneath, and also play either a 2:3 or 3:2 son or rumba clave over the top to create a challenging, iconic Latin-funk rhythm.

References

Don Michael Randel. (2003). Ostinato. [ONLINE] Available at:
http://www.lcsproductions.net/MusicHistory/MusHistRev/Terms/Ostinato.html.}
[Accessed 24 October 2013].

Josh Norek, (2012). Latin Roots #7 – Forty Years of Latin Funk – April 5, 2012. [ONLINE]
Available at: http://xpn.org/world-cafe/latin-roots/item/2982-latin-roots-.
[Accessed 24 October 2013].

Mathew Dean. (2013). Funking Cascara Drum Beats. [ONLINE] Available at:
http://www.mattdeanworld.co.uk/1454/funking-cascara-drum-beats/.
[Accessed 24 October 2013].

Nick Herman (1998). Nick Herman’s Web Site – History of Afro-Cuban Percussion Instruments
and Their Use in Cuban Popular Music. [ONLINE]

Available at: http://www.quimbombo.com/nick/percussion.htm.
[Accessed 24 October 2013].

Office Naps (2007). Latin funk | Office Naps . [ONLINE]
Available at: http://officenaps.com/soul/latin-funk/.
[Accessed 24 October 2013].

Paul Elliott (2011). Advance Instrumental Studies-3. Semester 3: Weeks 1-6 Course Material
[IMAGE] [ONLINE].
Available at http://academyofmusicelearning.co.uk/moodle233/course/view.php?id=318
[Accessed 24 October 2013].

Categories
Birth Labour Mum life

5 tips to writing your perfect birth preferences

“How can I write assertive yet kind birth preferences?”

If you have read some of my other articles then you will know that my first birth didn’t go to plan at all… and so the second time around I made it a huge part of my pregnancy journey, to make sure that I wrote down birth preferences which meant that whatever way my birth went, I had a preference written down for it.

I was prepared for a second induction, a fast labour, a slow labour, a home birth, and a c-section. I was positive that whatever was going to happen, that I would be able to make something positive of it!

“Positivity is key!”

1 – Make sure that all of your important information is right there on the front page

Everyone knows that hospitals are crazy busy, especially our beloved NHS! The teams at the NHS do absolutely amazing jobs, but most of the time they are completely rushed of their feet. As you know, you might go into labour at any time, day or night, and it could be a couple of hours, or it could last a few days. All of these things mean multiple shift changes. Things can happen pretty quick in labour, and so to help out the lovely midwives, include all your super important deets right at the top, and at start of your birth preferences.

This includes: Your full name, your full address, your NHS number, your mobile phone number, and your birth partners information.

Of course, they have all of this… but this will be helpful to you, and the midwife that is looking after you.

“Write down all the aspects of your dreamiest birth, and hope you get all of it”

2 – Think about any previous experiences, and draw from those

If you have been in labour before, think thoroughly about every step you went through. The good parts and that not so good parts. Hopefully it was all good?! But if not, think about what you can improve upon, from your previous experience. Didn’t get any skin to skin last time? Put it in the birth preferences this time! Didn’t get to use the birth pool last time, but you want to give it a go this time? Put it in your birth preferences! And just keep going… think of your birth preferences as a wish-list. Write down all aspects of your dreamiest birth, and hope you get all of those!

Speak to your friends or family, or people around you who have recently given birth, and get ideas from them on what you might like, and what you wouldn’t like.

Be aware thought, that most people love to share their birth stories if they are negative ones, or are super dramatic. Remember to take every story you hear, with a pinch of salt. For every dramatic experience, there’s a few decent positive ones out there!

“If you want to give birth in the middle of a field, surrounded by fluffy bunnies, you absolutely can.”

3 – Write a birth preference for every possible outcome

As I’m sure you know, labour is super unpredictable! No one ever knows what deal they’re going to get, and how it’s going to go. Why not write down a preference for every possible outcome, and then your mind is at ease. This is what I did, and honestly, it was a huge help for my peace of mind.

Even if you are having a planned c-section, or if you have an emergency c-section at the last minute, you can personalise every aspect of it. You can take essential oils into the room with you, you can request to have your personal music played, you can even request for the curtain to remain down so you can see everything that’s going on.

Personally, I asked for a hands-off approach to my labour, I only really wanted to be spoken to if it was really important, and I really wanted that peaceful space to get into my own little head-space with my husband who was my birth partner.

“Whatever you choose, there is no right or wrong”

4 – Be consistent across your birth preferences, and make your choices firm but kind

If you have had a previous negative experience, it can be very easy to get carried away with what you don’t want.

It’s really important to stay positive and keep a positive mind-frame when you write your birth preferences. If you have a strong idea of what you don’t want, just make sure you still keep your birth preferences kind. Kind to yourself and kind to your midwife. I made a point of not coming across as rude in my birth preferences, but everything I had written down was definitely firm.

If you want to give birth in the middle of a field, surrounded by fluffy bunnies, you absolutely can. You have every right to birth how and where you like.

5 – Make sure your birth partner knows your birth preferences inside out

(and back to front, and upside down)

While in labour, you might not want to be disturbed, or you might be asleep if you’ve had lots of pain relief, if your birth partner knows your preferences of by heart, then the midwife can deal with them, instead of bothering you when you’re ‘in the zone’. They can answer questions for you, and make sure that you get exactly what you’re wanting.

I would also recommend printing multiple copies. A copy for your health folder, a copy for your birth partner, and an extra copy in your hospital bag or with you bag of stuff if you’re planning a home birth. That way, absolutely every eventuality is covered.

An amazing resource that really helped me, was my membership to The Positive Birthing Company website. When you buy the course space, it comes with a birth preferences template. It’s so helpful and using that means you don’t forget anything! Here is the link:

https://thepositivebirthcompany.co.uk/

Categories
Mum life Uncategorized

6 Tips to move your tot, out of their cot

“How do I know if my child is ready to move out of their cot?”

There’s always a time for every mama when it’s time to move your little tot, out of their cot or crib and into a bed. It always feels like just yesterday when you were waddling around pregnant, and then they were these dinky tiny newborns keeping you up all night long… all of a sudden, they’re too big for their cots and it’s time to make the big move.

“It’s quite a huge milestone, for any parent and any child”

It’s quite a huge milestone, for any parent and any child. It feels like the first step into childhood, out of babyhood.

As a mum of two, I am very familiar with these milestones, and I will share my top tips here with you, to make the transition as easy as possible for you.

Doing the following things, meant that from night one, it was a success in my house… I’m talking 12 straight hours of sleep, with no wake ups! 7pm – 7am, and one VERY happy well rested toddler… and two very happy parents.

1 – Make sure you know that your child is ready!

It can be really easy to get caught up in what other children are doing.  If all the parents at your local baby club have already made the move into a bed, you can start to feel the pressure. Two words… IGNORE THIS. Do what works for you as a family and what works for your child. 

Here are some ways that you might find your child is ready for the move:

  • – Hitting their head or limbs on the cot bars, loudly in their sleep (like they are running out of space)
  • – Waking up in the night when they don’t need anything, apart from maybe a cuddle to re-settle.
  • – Trying to leap or climb over the bars to escape the cot.

2 – Make Safe!

Once you have decided that moving your tot out of their cot is definitely for you, choose the best for your child. This might be something quite low to the ground, a floor bed, or a bed with in built sides to stop them from falling out. 

If it doesn’t have sides, you can purchase bed guards fairly cheap on Amazon or eBay, or even better you can get them second hand on places like Facebook Marketplace and then you can re-sell these when you’re done. 

“If your child is in their own room, a stair gate for the bedroom door might be a great idea!”

If your child is in their own room, a stair gate for the bedroom door might be a great idea! This is something I have always personally done, and I close the stair gate at bedtime. This is to keep them in their bedrooms during the night and I open the stair gate at wake up time (which is currently 7am).

3 – Remove all distractions

Bedrooms are for sleeping, not for play. It’s good to think about removing all loud or interactive toys from their bedroom. You don’t want anything in their bedroom that will be lighting up all night, or going off loudly at 4am! 

It’s best to restrict toys to things like cuddly toys. Toys for comfort, that only bring quiet to the bedroom. If your child decides to get out of bed (this WILL happen, especially in the first few weeks!), then you know they will be safe if they are just playing with a teddy bear. 

Remove anything that will stimulate their minds and distract them from knowing it’s bedtime.

“How can I make the transition from cot to bed as easy as possible?”

4 – Routine, Routine, Routine

If you already have a bedtime routine, stick with it. Just think of it as simply changing the cot part into a bed. Keep everything the same. Sleeping in a bed will most likely be a huge deal to your child, be it exciting or scary. If you keep everything the same as normal, this will really help with the transition. 

Try to make them excited about the fact they are going to ‘sleep in a big boy bed now’! etc. 

If you don’t already have a routine, then now is the perfect time to start one. Children THRIVE on routine and knowing what is coming next each day. It also encourages their independence, e.g before bedtime they will collect together their favourite teddy bears, or go and get their toothbrush. 

Create a routine that works for you as a family and as a household, and don’t base your routine off what your friend does, as it won’t fit your lifestyle and you won’t be able to uphold it. 

5 – Make the space personal

Making your child feel super comfy in their bedroom will really help them to settle! If you’re moving them to their own bedroom for the first time, then spending some time in the room during the day will help them to feel safe and comfortable in there, when you leave them alone. 

Here are some things that can help your child feel cosy and snug in their bedroom:

  • – A night light that emits a calming colour. Pick a light that is strong enough to light the whole room so there are no scary dark corners that might freak out your child, but not one that is so bright, it will keep them awake. Ones that you can change the colour on, are perfect for this sort of stuff!
  • – A bed set that you know they will like! Something fun and very personal to them is a nice touch. 
  • – A black out curtain or black out blind is a MUST HAVE unless you want to be up at 5am every day in the summer!

6 – Be understanding

This is an important one… the first night might be the hardest one of them all. It will all be new to you, and your child and they might wake up a few times but all you need to do is go to them and settle them in their own bed. Trust that they are ready and that things will settle down because they definitely will. 

At the start you might find that when you go to bed, you’ll see your child asleep on their bedroom floor or basically anywhere apart from their bed, and that’s okay. If you have a stair gate on their door, even if they’re asleep in the room, that’s progress!

To summarise everything I’ve written above, I would say that the most important thing, is to just go easy on yourself and your child, and trust that you will get there. They might surprise you from the very beginning, and hopefully it won’t take long until you will all be getting a great nights sleep! Then you can put your feet up in the evening, and celebrate what you’ve achieved!

Categories
Birth Labour Mum life

My experience of being induced, twice!

“Is a second induction faster or less painful?”

So if you have landed on this page, it’s likely that you’re facing induction of labour, or maybe even your second induction! Well, before you read ahead, my first induction experience was completely different to my second one, my second one was WAY better… and here’s why:

I was first induced in 2018 with my son, and then again in 2021 with my daughter. I racked the internet desperately trying to find out if a second induction was going to be different to the first.. if so how? All I found were old Mumsnet posts from 10 years ago, and I really wanted to read about someone else who was facing the same thing as me, or had already been through two inductions.

“Is a second induction quicker?”

Would it be easier?

Would it be quicker?

Would it be less painful?

And I found absolutely nothing!

So here is my labour story, second time around, second induction, and I really hope it helps you to stay positive.

Ok so lets start off with a brief description of my first labour – I was booked for an induction at 11 days overdue. I had a hospital stay of around 3 days while we waited for the induction drugs to work and then evenutally I had my waters broken and I was put on the syntocinon drip. The drip wrked wonders for me and my labour lasted only 4 hours, and I had a happy, healthy boy. But man, that drip was painful.

It’s no secret that induction of labour is more painful than spontaneous labour, but I didn’t know what to expect, it was my first time after all. None of my friends had cildren yet, and the only people I had to speak to about labour and birth were people my mum’s age! And things have changed quite a lot in those years since they were having babies!

Nowadays I believe they offer you a epidural when they give you the drip, and I would have said a big hell yes to that, if Ihad that option back then.

Despite my labour being pretty quick, and complication free, I felt pretty traumatised by the whole thing. I had a real lack of control, it was very medicalised, and I felt very battered and bruised for a long time afterwards. I wasn’t sure I wanted any more kids, as my hopes were so high for a water birth and I had experienced nothing like that. Niaively I had assumed an easy pregnancy, meant easy labour, but I got it wrong.

“I’m overjoyed, delighted and I literally cannot wait… but”

As time went on, I knew that If I wanted more children, I would need to educate myself more on my rights, my options and the whole labour process, so I could be calmer and enjoy the process.

Cut forward two years.. and i’m pregnant again

I’m overjoyed, delighted and I literally cannot wait..but

I know I have to give birth again, and that terrified me. I want to try again to have that perfect water birth I have always imagined, and I knew I needed to try and stay super calm and not fret.

I searched online and came across The Positive Birthing Company, I dove straight into the Hypnobirthing course and I couldn’t believe how amazing it was.

I felt so instantly relaxed, calm and READY for labour! I stuck with the course, for the whole duration of my pregnancy. Nerdily making notes and writing positive phrase cards for labour!

I knew my rights and what decisions I was able to make about my birth.

“Will my body know what to do, in a second induction?”

As my last pregnancy went to 42 + 1 weeks, I expected another overdue pregnancy this time around too. And I was right.. Heading into my 41 week appointment I knew that induction would be discussed. I thought…

Is my body broken?

Does my body not know how to go into labour?

What’s wrong with me?!

All of these negative thoughts were creeping into my brain, and I knew they were only making me anxious, so I tried to block them out. My lovely midwife had a chat with me and I decided I’d book in for an outpatient induction at the birth unit. Luckily as I was low risk, this was an option for me.

Expecting another 3 day long induction, with sleepless nights on a hospital ward, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Just 1hr & 30 minutes after having the induction pessary, I began contracting regularly on my own at home.

I was so pleased that the pessary had kickstarted my labour, and my body was doing it on it’s own! My body knew what to do, and wasn’t failing me afterall, I was so excited for what was to come!

I tracked my contractions on an app for an hour or so, using my hypnobirthing breathing techniques to get through them and as they began to get stronger and closer together, we called Triage and headed over to the hospital to see what the midwife said.

If you have experienced induced labour contractions from the synocinon drip before, you will find spontaneous labour contractions quite easy in comparison!

After an examination, the midwife told me I was 5cms already! After a short couple of hours in the birthing room, I had my baby daughter using only gas and air, she was happy and healthy and I was delighted!

Comparing both inductions, they couldn’t have been more different. Everyone tells you, it’s different the second time around but I just didn’t believe them. My story is proof that you can have two inductions, and if the first time didn’t go to plan, it can all happen for you the second time..

Good luck!