Giving birth

I haven’t been posting for a long while and don’t have a good excuse for it but I didn’t feel like writing.

A lot has happened in my life during the last two years..a baby was born. I gave birth to a beautiful boy. My birth story is a happy story; textbook as the midwife said. She also saw the birth of a new me during transition. [Transition is the part where labour contractions change into pushing contractions.] A mother was born as much as a child.

We had a planned home birth with the amazing homebirth team from Birmingham Women’s Hospital. I went into labour on the walk home from meeting a friend for coffee one evening at almost 41 weeks pregnant. Contractions were regular but not very painful. I baked some brownies when I got home and waited for my husband to return home from work. We were watching all series of Hero’s at the time and settled to a cinema night eating brownies. The contractions became stronger and closer together until we felt like we wanted to talk to someone what we are supposed to do [we’ve never done this before]. My husband rang the homebirth team’s midwife on duty at about midnight and she decided to pay us a visit to have a look at me. She came to sit with my husband watching your tube videos and eating brownies while I was moving around breathing through my contractions. After a while I asked to go into the pool and she examined me to find I was 3cm dilated [the golden number you are looking for is 10cm]. Off my husband went to fill the pool with his own water supply system that made sure for the next 10 hours that the water temperature of the pool stayed at 37 degrees Celsius. At 7am the midwives had a shift change and the midwife who cared for me throughout the last weeks of my pregnancy was on duty which was great. It was lovely to have a familiar person there to encourage me. At some point I got a bit impatient and wanted things to get a move on. Apparently that is a great sign that everything is happening and going really well. I got gas and air which dried out my mouth but helped me breath deeply and regularly. Forget everything about breathing calmly and imagining you are on an island. It hurts! I was on my knees the whole time and could not get comfortable in any other position. How some women give birth on their backs I can’t understand at all. I had to lie on my back for a minute to be examined again (8cm yay..) and could barely cope with the pain. Knees it was for me. Thank god, the pool was cushioned and the water took some of the weight off. Eventually we came to transition where I got annoyed and angry and just wanted the baby to come out NOW. I felt the urge to vomit with every contraction but had no food left inside me anyway but that point. It was so confusing and I didn’t know what to do. The midwife said to push but I had read somewhere that the body would do this alone and I just need to breath. We got stuck like this for a while and had I been in hospital intervention would have been imminent but baby was doing fine and I just needed some time to figure out what I had to do to become a mother. My midwife saw the situation as me not being sure if I’m able to do this by myself. She felt that I needed the confidence to trust myself and my body to actually deliver this baby. She encouraged me and gave me a good talking to at some point. We had a break from the pool and went to the loo for a change of scenery. It worked somehow. Back in the pool I started to push with the contractions and not much longer my beautiful baby boy was born. He was screaming when I lifted him from the water.



How to learn to relax?

I’m in desperate need to learn how to relax. I find it difficult to switch off and stop thinking about the future. I’m one of those people who finds it difficult to enjoy the moment and am always thinking a step ahead. I seem to find comfort in planning even though I know plans rarely work out as you intended them too. I pressure myself to do too many things but when I have time I get bored and am annoyed with myself that I haven’t planned anything useful to do. I try to spend most of my waking hours being productive in whatever sense that might be, either working, learning, cleaning, spending time with my husband, trying to make friends, meet friends, exercise. I hate wasting time without a purpose. Having said that, most evenings when I come home from work I just sit down and play Majong on the tablet (a game like solitaire). This then annoys me again and the cycle begins. I started doing this Behavioural Therapy course online to help me change my thinking patters. The theory suggests that we create our emotions with our thoughts and we’ve got some control over our thoughts. I want to learn to direct my thoughts into a more positive world view and being kinder to myself.

In the end of the day…does all this matter? We are going to die one day and nobody cares if we were happy or not, it’s just us who care while we are alive. I feel so ungrateful that I’m constantly moaning or finding fault with my life. I’ve got it all. I have enough money to buy whatever I need, I’ve got a place I call home, I’ve got a lovely husband with whom I’m very happy and I’m healthy! WTF is my problem?

Selective memories (gender differences)

I haven’t studied brain science and don’t know how the different layers of memory work such as short term and long term memory. However, what my husband and I have notices is that we remember very different situations and things. I wonder if this is gender related? Do you experience the same?


To do: I’m quite good in remembering what we need to buy when we go to the supermarket, my husband finds this very difficult. Sometimes he buys something, puts it in the fridge and then forgets about it. The next time he opens the fridge he gets all excited about the item he bought himself but couldn’t remember buying.

Films/books: He, on the other hand, remember a lot of detail about books he has read and films he has seen. You can ask him years after he’s seen/read and he will still remember the plot. I often remember that I have read a book with this specific title or seen a film but don’t really know what it was about. Sometimes I remember that I liked or disliked it but usually not much detail unless it was a favourite.

Conversations: I can recall conversations in quite some detail, sometimes months after they happened. This is not only related to arguments but also conversations about a topic of interest. My husband often can’t even remember agreeing to something we discussed in the past. (I fear for raising a child together)

Free Fashion Advice

Have you ever wondered which colours suit you? Do you sometimes struggle to put the right trousers and shirts together? Do you feel colour blind and buy black just to be on the safe side?

There is help out there – for free- ! Big department stores like John Lewis and House of Fraser offer free fashion advice, also at weekends.  You need to make an appointment and then just show up and bring some time.

About a year ago I felt like I needed to treat myself and wanted to buy some new clothes but couldn’t find anything I liked. I went to a fashion advice session in John Lewis and loved it. The lady was lovely and after assessing my skin and hair colour we decided together on some colours we want to go for. Also, I said I wanted some clothes for the office or smart casual. We then walked around together to get a few (at least 20) pieces. She then put them together into outfits with shoes, bag, jewellery etc. From then on the only thing I needed to do was try on all the outfits she brought. We assessed each and sometimes she would go and get another top or accessory. It was really enjoyable and without stress. I tried clothes and colours I wouldn’t have chosen myself and loved them. This is how I got to wear a leather jacket. Of course I spend some money in the end but never felt pressured to buy and had a really good time. If you want, you can also bring someone along to admire you.

Have fun shopping!

Sleepless nights

What do you do if you can’t sleep? Does it ever happen to you at all? Last week has been pretty bad for me in terms of sleep. I don’t struggle to fall asleep and am tired enough as well. It’s just the staying asleep that didn’t work. I woke up at 4am every single day even though my alarm doesn’t ring until 6.15am. What do you do when you’ve got 2h to sleep time to go but you can’t sleep anymore? Do you get up or stay in bed? I chose to stay in bed because it was dark outside and cold in the house. My mind started wandering, mostly to work-related stuff, unfortunately. All my positive energy got sucked out of me day after day over a week. I manage to recover at the weekends but then the cycle starts again. I’ve been trying to think, it’s only another 5 months to go in that job and then I will have enough money to try and become a hairdresser, what is what I go to college for at weekends at the moment. Why do 5 mth feel like eternity? My family and friends say I’m too impatient, they always say that and I get annoyed with myself for moaning about work all the time. How do so many people manage to accept and just get on with it? I’m struggling. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the nature of the work and I sometimes even enjoy it, it’s more that it sucks the life out of me and takes up all of my productive waking time, 5 days a week. I don’t think it’s impatience that makes me feel like that and not wanting to be there and try something different, it’s my body and mind telling me this is not the right place to be and the right thing to do with myself. I want to listen but always postpone it to the future. This summer, I really want to do it. Even if I fail, even if I hated hairdressing, I will give it a go. I will be brave! I have to be to stand true to myself, otherwise I’m never allowed to complain ever again.

This is really how my thoughts went when I was waiting for 6am to get up.


Happy days

I’ve been tracking my cycle for 16 months now. This includes menstruation but also all sorts of other details such as mood, back pain, dry eyes, appetite, sex drive, irritability etc. This has helped me to understand myself a bit better as well as being a reliable natural family planning method.

Because I’m a trained data geek and enjoy analysing data, I started analysing my own data a bit to understand my patterns. I will start off today with my happy days. The chart on the left below shows the distribution of my happy days by weekday averaged over the summer and winter months. It is clear, that Saturday and Sunday are my happiest days in the week (being the weekend and I don’t have to work I guess). However, in the summer the  trend is less pronounced than in winter. I wonder if I’m happier at any time in the summer and weekdays become less important? My least favourite days in Winter are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. In the summer it’s Monday and Wednesday. Not sure how to interpret this.

If you have a look at the chart to the right below, with some imagination you will see a bell curve of my happiness as the cycle goes on. This tells me that if I’m unhappy on day 25 doesn’t necessarily mean I’m really unhappy but my hormones are such that I feel unhappy whatever I do. Remember, this is an average across 16 months worth of data. Can it really be a coincidence to feel happy at the same time of every cycle? I don’t think so and I feel that my data proves this. Interestingly, day number 8 of my cycle is my happiest day on average by far. I guess, this coincides with the end of my period and my body just starting to produce happy hormones to attract all those men out there to show my fertility. Not sure if this is true, but happy people are more attractive, right?

Before I get carried away interpreting even more into this, I just wanted to show that there are natural fluctuations in happiness independent from things like weekdays.

Happy daysHappy days

Becoming me

I just finished reading ‘Be a Free Range Human’ and was moved to tears by the last chapter about her mum.
I am constantly evaluating my professional life because I don’t want to waste time. I’m looking for a career or job I can live with day after day. This all is driven by my strong wish to live life to the fullest. I want to be me not acting as someone else. My mum died when I was 11 but she was ill with cancer since my 6th birthday. I saw her die every day but I also saw her fight. She tried to change the world around her to get better, tried to become herself. About a year ago my dad got diagnosed with cancer. It felt like the same will happen again. I will watch my other parent die before I am 30 years old. I was pitying myself for about a week. My dad couldn’t come to my wedding. I was there on the table, alone because my brother was busy with his baby. However, I was so happy because I found someone who I will share my life with, my husband. Seeing my dad a few weeks later made up for all the sadness I felt before. He looked frail but his spirit was unbroken. Spending time with him inspired me so much. It makes me feel humble and want to live so badly. I need to get out of that office! I want to live and not dream!