How to easily break up with toxic skincare


Ok I’m not going to lie. My beauty routine used to be a lot more extensive. Since becoming a mum last year, I have been neglecting my beauty routine big time. Morning routine basically consists of washing my face and applying moisturiser at some point during the morning or the day. Make up gets put on all at once on a good day and in stages on a bad day.  My bedtime routine is a hit or miss. I have days when I take my make up off thoroughly, wash my face, apply eye cream and a face oil and then I have days when I brush my teeth and go to bed. Being a mum really rules my life and my skin care is no exception.

That’s why I started paying a lot more attention to what products I was using and what I was putting on my face. When I became pregnant I started noticing the ingredients of my skincare products and generally just started being more interested in alternative products rather than the mainstream chemical ones. I just became a lot more aware about my choices and how it affects my health and my unborn child for that matter. The ideal scenario would be to bin all off my beauty products and start again. Because if you look around your bathroom you will just see chemicals everywhere – your shampoo has sulphates in it, your toothpaste has fluoride in it, your deodorant has alluminium in it. If you are wondering how these are harmful to your health just google it, it is eye opening. And very scary. The skin is the largest organ of your body and you really should think about how you treat it.

Now lets be real. Alternative and natural skincare and beauty products are a privilige not everyone can afford. Unless you make them yourself. So binning the entire contents of your bathroom in one go will break your bank. What I did (and I am still doing as I write this article,) is binning one skincare or bathroom product a month and replacing it with a natural one. I started with my deodorant and body lotion. The reason is that a deodorant is used on your armpits. These are really close to the milk glands and I didn’t want that to be affected. The body lotion was straightforward too – as you apply it all over your body, it has a bigger effect than other products. And especially during pregnancy when I was moisturising my bump a couple of times a day at some point (because unlike now I actually had the time to do it and because it itched like hell when it was stretching). And so I went on slowly replacing one product every month – I continued with toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, face wash, moisturiser etc.

One of the products I really had to replace during my pregnancy was my nail varnish. Every time I wanted to use any of my nail varnishes I could not stand the smell. To the point where I had to sit by an open window and try not to breathe because I would actually gag from the smell. It actually sounds ridiculous thinking about it now, that we put these chemicals into our bodies without giving it a second thought. After I have done some research I found that nail varnishes are very tricky and you have to try really hard to find ones without any chemicals in them, it is nearly impossible. At the end I settled for 100% Pure – although they are not completely chemical free, they are definitely a better option.

So let me introduce my current skincare favourites that are a staple in my bathroom (from left to right):


Agent Nateur holi C – this is one of the few non GMO vitamin C products on the market. I love using this product because it feels like alchemy every time I use it. You have to sprinkle some in your palms, mix it with a couple of drops of water and add your face oil or moisturiser. It freshens up your complexion and is suitable for acne prone skin. My spots unfortunatelly seem to be unaffected by this product for now – damn you hormones.

Agent Nateur holi(stick) deodorant – it contains lavender and eucalyptus and smells divine. Finding a natural deodorant that works might as well compare to finding the holy grail, because it’s a mission in itself! And living in the desert I need something I can rely on completely. The one thing that I found with natural deodorant is, that you have to apply it a couple of times a day (especially on those hot days) as it won’t stop you sweating, but it will surely stop you from smelling like chicken soup.

Agent Nateur in itself is a great brand and the owner Jenna is an incredible fountain of knowledge so if you are into natural products, she should definitely be on your follow list.

Herbivore Lapis balancing facial oil – an icredible dry face oil which is ideal for combination and acne prone skin. Again it hasn’t completely done that for me (I blame the hormones as I can’t completely take them out of the equasion), but it does leave my skin feeling incredibly smooth. It has an unusual scent (to me it smells like green tea) that takes some getting used to but once you do it is a great product. I’m on my second bottle already and whilst it is a pricey produc,t the first bottle lasted me a year. That’s with me only applying it at night as I find it too greasy for day use.

Herbivore Jasmin body oil – I absolutely love this oil and the scent. Jasmine has alwas been one of my favourite scents as it’s so rich and decadent. I used this oil all through my pregnancy and used it for my bump and never got a single stretch mark (even though I can’t contribute this fact solely to this oil). It’s a dry oil so doesn’t leave you feeling greasy and it absorbs well. After my pregnancy I found out that jasmine should not be used during pregnancy as it can induce labour so I wouldn’t recommend it (on the other hand, jasmine oil used during labour can help strenghten the contractions) but I still use it now all over my body.


Dr Woods Tea Tree facial cleanser – perfect for oily and combination skin. It’s full of good ingredients and no nasties. It’s a recent purchase but so far I love it.

Weleda – Awakening day cream Pomegranate – I love Weleda and their products and I really like this one. For me a day cream has to be light and moisturising and this one ticks all the boxes. It even has a anti aging properties – which lets be honest is needed after all those sleepless nights.

Antonym Baked Foundation (Dark) – quite a recent purchase but I love this one. I use it as a bronzer to create some contouring on my face and it has a lovely warm pigmented colour. It’s nice and matt which I like and lasts all day. One of the only natural products that are currently in my make up bag and I will definitely buy it again. It comes in a beautiful wooden box with a mirror.

I still have a long way to go and I’m currently working on remaking my make up bag. I feel like this will be the biggest challenge as it is tricky to find natural products which last and perform in the same way as the chemical ones. So if you have any suggestions please send them my way.

The body issue

It started with my husband telling me that one of our friends mentioned how skinny I got after seeing us in the supermarket the other day. You wouldn’t even think anything of it. Just another person telling me I  was skinny. Like I didn’t know. I’m one of these lucky bitches that can absolutely eat whatever they want and won’t put any weight on. I have never been on a diet in my whole life. I definitely tried to eat clean, but never dieted. My whole life people have been telling me that I’m skinny and even underweight and how I should eat more to get some meat on my bones (insert eye roll here). I am so used to it I don’t even blink an eye. Yeah sure, tell me something new.

I have been hearing these comments my whole life so why does it bother me now? Because I became a mother. It’s that simple, yet so significant. I loved my body before I was pregnant. Not always, especially when I was a teenager and wanted a few more curves, but throughout my twenties I taught myself how to love my body, how to look after it and how to be grateful that I was healthy and had a body that many women would aspire to. When I became pregnant, I loved all the weight gain. There might be women who dread to step on that scale to see how much they have gained. I loved it! I would’ve never been able to weight this much if I wasn’t pregnant. I finally knew what it was like to have more curves (even if they were in the wrong places – hello baby bump) and I absolutely embraced it. I felt feminine. Every day I was in awe of how my body was growing this little human inside and kept me going at the same time. After Max was born and I saw what my body was capable of, I was even more in love with it.

The postpartum time where your body is this strange shape of a deflated baloon and you have parts of your body that have been stretched and haven’t quite got back to how they used to be, I didn’t mind. I knew my body was healing and that it was taking its time to recover. Breastfeeding made me be in awe of my body. I was amazed that my body could produce and deliver a perfect baby and then keep him alive by giving him the best nurture possible. I gained a whole new respect for my body. So when I started loosing all the baby weight, I didn’t see somebody weak. I saw somebody who has created a human being, is keeping him alive and is running around him all day long (or after him as of recently). So I think it’s very rude to be commenting on my body and telling me I got skinny. I think it’s disrespectful. I feel like showing my perfect baby boy and saying: look what it created! How dare you judge my body?

So before you pass a comment on another mother’s body again – just stop. Stop right there. Unless you want to praise her body for the miracle of creating life, you have no right to say anything.

P.S. I don’t think passing judgement on a woman’s body is right – whether she is a mother or not. Whether she is skinny or fat or square or round. Just let her be.

Baby and traveling


I have just recovered from our last flight which was two weeks ago. And by recovered I mean I just caught up with all the sleep that I lost along the way and got Max to get used to the local time zone, meaning he wakes up at a socially acceptable hour in the morning and goes to bed between 7 and 8 and not at midnight or any other random hour during the night. I completed 3 jouneys on a plane with Max so far (2 of them by myself as my husband only joined us for the last one) and I have to admit, I was scared before traveling with him for the first time. Very scared. I did all the research I could and read other mum’s posts and tips about traveling with a baby. At the end I just decided not to stress about it and go with the flow. What’s the worst that can happen? Well when it comes to air travel there are about hundred things that can go wrong starting with a grumpy and irritable screaming baby inflight and ending with delays, poo explosions and running out out nappies. But these are the things you can’t really control (apart from the nappies) so why stress about them?

I have traveled a lot. And I mean an awful lot. All over the world. In my job I would travel to and from places on a commercial airline at least twice a month. I had my routine and I quite enjoyed getting on an plane I didn’t have to work on, and got to be the passenger for once. I would have my iPad loaded with movies, books, music and magazines to keep me entertained. I would sit down, put my headphones on and mind my own business, quietly working through my emails and enjoying this quiet time when work couldn’t reach me and I got to switch off a bit. I definitely wasn’t the sociable passenger who would want to start up a conversation with the person next to them and the most they would get from me was a polite smile. If I ended up sitting next to a passenger with a baby or in a vicinity of a baby, I would just make sure my earphones were really tight in my ears so I wouldn’t be disturbed if the baby was crying. Well now I was the passenger with the baby! And I knew damn well what everyone else on the plane will be thinking when they see me: aww what a cute baby, please don’t let it sit next to me! But somebody has to be the lucky one.

Our first flight was from Bahrain to Vienna with a connection in Istanbul and it was a night flight. If I thought Max was just going to sleep and be one of the sleepy babies you see strolling through the airport passed out in their parents arms, I was wrong. Max was far too excited about everything happening around him and even though he was tired, he didn’t fall asleep until after the crew have completed the meal service and dimmed the lights which in my opinion took forever. Keeping a baby still on your lap in a constrained space where you have nothing to entertain him with apart from a few toys, is an impossible task. Of course he wants to touch everything that he sees and play with everything that he is not suppose to play with. Of course he wants to empty the entire content of the seat pocket in front of him and smack the tray table with his hand because it makes a loud noise. Of course he wants to touch the stranger sitting next to you because he is wondering who this person is and why is he sitting so close to him. It is absolutely mentally exhausting trying to constantly stop him from what he wants to be doing and catching his little hands mid air trying to avoid him pulling on people’s hair and clothes. When he finally fell asleep after a huge amount of breastfeeding (which executing next to a complete stranger, especially if that stranger is male is just super weird – like my naked nipple is literally only 30 cm away from you) I couldn’t relax anyway. First of all I couldn’t move a great deal because I didn’t want to wake him up so that meant sitting in a very uncomfortable position for a very long time. Night flights are never comfortable anyway (unless you travel in business I suposse, or on a private jet) but having a sleeping baby on you is a new level. I think I got about 10 minutes sleep on that flight.

Next big thing is going to the toilet. First of all I was breastfeeding so I wanted to drink as much water as I could to make sure I would stay hydrated and have enough milk for him. But then the more you drink the more you need to go to the bathroom. Which you can’t if the baby is sleeping on you. If you are lucky and the baby is awake you can go to the bathroom but now what do you do with the baby? You can always ask the crew to look after the baby whilst you pop to the bathroom but if you want to go more than twice during the flight it gets a bit annoying. So you take the baby with you and now the fun starts. I’m not talking about changing the baby in the constrained space of an aircraft toilet where you literally have about 20 square centimetres to manouvre and change the baby. That can be done. But what if you need to use the toilet yourself? I tell you it is nearly an olympic task to squat under the changing table with your baby laying on it. Whoever came up with this design,  what the hell were you thinking? That parents will never travel solo and won’t ever need to use the bathrooom?

This brings me to the next obstacle you will face which is a meal service. You won’t be able to eat. Fact. First of all there isn’t an awful lot of room for your tray table if you have an infant on your lap. Second of all – how are you going to keep your baby from picking everything on your tray and throwing it everywhere or even better, putting it in his mouth? If you are traveling by yourself there is no way you can do this. Unless you are a superhero. And I’m not a superhero. So when the crew approached with the meal service and asked whether I want my meal, I just looked down at Max, smiled and politely declined. I wasn’t polite in my head though where I was questioning the inteligence of the said crew member using very colourful words. Seriously if you are crew member and you see a parent with a child on their lap don’t even bother offering – how do you think we are going to eat it? In my head I was literally apologising to all the passengers I have ever offended like this in my whole flying career. Another disadvantage of a meal service is, if you get stuck in the middle of two carts and your baby needs a nappy change. This was me on our next flight – Istanbul to Vienna. Middle of a breakfast service. Stuck in a window seat. Max has just done an explosive poo. I can smell it and I’m pretty sure the other two passengers currently sitting next to me and eating their breakfast can smell it too. But they politely avoid any eye contact. So me and poor Max sit there for another 30 minutes waiting for them to finish the stupid breakfast service (which I’m not eating) and clear in the bloody tray tables so we can get out. What else can I do?

I do have to say there was a great amount of helpful people along the way who offered me help. They would help with the bag and with folding the pram, with holding Max so I could fold the pram and unfold the pram and with letting us through the doorways and aisles. One possible advantage of traveling with a baby is that you get priority boarding and also priority when you go through security which I’m not sure does count as an advantage given the fact that you have to take your baby out of the stroller, give him to somebody to hold him, fold the stroller, put the stroller on the x-ray machine to then realise it won’t fit so you unfold the stroller again and put your baby in it. Try this without sweating like you are running a marathon.

On our next flight we had my husband with us and it  made a big  difference. I even got to eat a meal during meal service and went to the toilet when I needed to. In retrospect though, it is not that bad traveling with a baby. As long as you are prepared and pack well. And also mentally prepare yourself that you won’t arrive refreshed and rested to your destination as the chances are you won’t get a wink of sleep. And you will probably not even have time to freshen up after you land because you will be busy changing nappies and poopy outfits for your baby. And Max really was a very chilled baby, he didn’t cry or throw a tantrum the entire journey and did incredibly well for a 6 months old baby (which is how old he was on his first flight).I’m sure there will be lots of flights for me and Max coming up soon so I will let you know how it all goes. It might get better. When he is about 2 years old and gets to have his own seat.

Tips for traveling with a baby:

  • stay hydrated and drink lots of water – especially if you are breastfeeding as the environment of the aircraft will dehydrate you much more than being on the ground.
  • breastfeed or feed during take off and landing (start on descent and don’t wait until the actual landing as this is when you will feel your ears starting to pop)
  • be prepared – bring water and snacks with you, so you can eat them during the flight as you might not be able to eat when everyone else is eating.
  • Have everything that you and your baby need in one carry on bag you can place under the seat so it’s easily accessible throughout the flight.
  • Calm yourself down and try not to stress, the baby can feel it and will mimic your mood.

What I packed in my carry on

Things for baby:

  • 10x nappies (make sure you have enough in case of delays etc), baby wipes, changing mat
  • 4x spare outfits (yes it’s a lot but you might need them all. I did)
  • light blanket for the baby to sleep under (or to put between his head and the armrest)
  • 2x muslin cloths, 1x swaddle blanket (can be used as a cover for breastfeeding if needed)
  • 2x pacifiers and something to sterilise them with (I use Aquaint spray)
  • teething toys, little soft book, toy to keep them occupied during the flight
  •  water, formula and bottles if needed
  • teething gel, probiotic drops for tummy
  • bibs, spoons, snacks if baby is eating solids
  • baby carrier (in case baby can’t settle in flight, or for them long airport walks)

Things for me:

  • passport and other documents, wallet, mobile phone
  • iPad, headphones and a charger
  • spare leggins and a tshirt in case of accidents (baby’s not mine)
  • lip balm, hand sanitiser (yep this is how much I have to lower my standards to sacrifice room for the baby)

This is the carry on that I used for my travels. It’s a backpack and can fit all of the above things whilst keeping me handsfree. I got it off Amazon and there are tons of these with a very similar design and price.




Bahrain and me


If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would be living in Bahrain I wouldn’t believe you. I always liked visiting the Middle East but didn’t think it was for me and I certainly didn’t want to live there. But here I am living in Bahrain for over a year now. When my husband got the job offer here, we thought long and hard about it. Prior to Bahrain we lived in the UK for over 10 years and both of us needed a change. And Bahrain definitely was a change. I told myself to come with an open mind and give it a chance. When I moved here last July (2017) I was already 2 months pregnant and couldn’t have picked a worse month to acclimatise myself. So let’s talk about the obvious first –  the weather.

Bahrain and weather

After living in the UK for over 10 years I was super excited about living somewhere where there is summer all year round. Well, the excitement slowly wore off when I got off  the plane and thought I was going to melt alive. The actual summer months here are hell. It is impossible to do anything outside from June to September as it is simply too hot (above 40 degrees during the day and around 30 during the night). Every time you step outside you get smacked with a blast of hot air which takes your breath away. It almost feels like somebody is constantly blowing hair dryers in your face. So in the summer everyone keeps indoors where there is air conditioning and a chance of surviving. Even just walking from a car park to a shop leaves you sweating like crazy. The sea here gets super hot  too and if you are hoping for a refreshing dip in the sea you can think again as the water is about as warm as a cup of tea. Sometimes you do get lucky and the temperature in the evening gets bellow 30 degrees with a nice breeze and you can go for a walk or sit outside and enjoy a shisha. Other nights you feel like you are walking in a sauna. When the winter comes though, it is heaven. When everyone in Europe is layering up and putting their heating on I’m wearing short sleeves and summer dresses (ok maybe with a little leather jacket over it but still) and loving the fact that I can finally sit outside and go for walks and feel some fresh air without the air burning my nostrils. Sometimes in the winter it even rains which it is very rare and short lived but very refreshing.

Sunsets are way too beautiful in Bahrain



Bahrain and driving

I definitely have to mention the way people drive here because it would be crazy not to! It is definitely not the worst driving system I have ever seen, I mean I have been to Nepal and kept my eyes closed the whole taxi journey to the hotel because it was too nervewracking to watch, but it is not the best either. After living in the UK for so long where everyone lets you in all the time and drivers are so polite and rule obeying, I was in for a shock here. People kind of ignore the rules here and nobody cares. On your typical journey it is guaranteed you will see somebody speeding, running a red light, changing lanes without even checking their side mirrors (side what?),not wearing seat belts, overtaking you from the illegal side and shamelessly using their phone whilst driving. In fact if you stop at a red light and look around you won’t find anyone not using their phone. Road rage here is completely wasted because most people won’t even make eye contact with you knowing full well they did something wrong but not having a care in the world. If you see somebody using indicators you can be 90% sure they are expats. The craziest one for me is the children not in the car seats – they definitely sell them here but the locals just don’t seem to use them. If you are a chilled person like me, you will get used to the way they drive here and just go with it. I don’t even get surprised when I see something crazy on the road anymore I just roll my eyes and keep going. If you are not a chilled person (like my husband) you are guaranteed to have a little heart attack every time you drive.

Prime example of not giving a damn

Bahrain and safety

One of the first questions people usually ask me when I tell them I live in Bahrain is: ‘Is it safe?’ I feel like it is much safer than any European or Western country. The crime rate is very low due to very high punishments and I feel very safe and comfortable in everyday life settings. Today I went to the beach and I left my phone laying on the sun lounger whilst I went for a walk. This would be unheard of elsewhere. You will always see people in coffee shops and bars leaving their laptops and belongings on the table whilst they go to use the restrooms and no one bats an eyelid.

Bahrain and culture

Bahrain is a muslim country but one which is very liberal. There are lots of different cultures blended here and majority of the population are expats. In public you will see women dressed in an abaya with their head covered walking next to a woman in shorts and anything inbetween. I’m not going to lie I was a bit uncomfortable at first when we moved here a year ago and I was always very conscious of what I was wearing and that people might be staring at me.  I relaxed a lot since then and I wear what I would normally wear but I do tame it down and still don’t wear short shorts and cleavage as I just feel very self-conscious. Of course when we go to the beach I wear shorts and bikini but I do adjust what I’m wearing according to where I’m going. You do get people looking at you sometimes (and I mean both men and women) but I feel like they would look regardless to what I was wearing. It is illegal here to be pregnant and not be married and I found it funny when I had my first pregnancy check up with my doctor and the first thing she asked me was – when did you get married? She did look a bit surprised when I told her May, which was also the month I got pregnant.

There are lots of things I love about Bahrain and I’m not counting the weather because that is a love/hate relationship (love it in the winter, hate it in the summer). I love Arabic food and there are so many amazing places to eat here and the great thing is that most restaurants deliver. So if you get the munchies at 2 am – there is always a restaurant open which will save you. I love discovering new coffee shops and the fact that there is a new one opening every month.  I love that nothing is too far away here, it is a small island and you can get to most places within half an hour. I love the spas and beauty services here – they have absolutely no competition in Europe. And the eyebrow threading ladies are magicians. I love the sea, the palm trees and the beautiful sunsets here. What I do not love so much is the fact that some items are totally overpriced here – such as organic fruit and vegetables. I miss the greenery and the rain (who would have thought) and unlimited online shopping (which I still do but I just have to pay a lot extra to have things delivered here). Do I see myself living here forever? Probably not. But for now I am making the best of it.

Typical Bahraini breakfast
Arabic flatbread

How I survived postpartum


So everyone thinks that labour is the scary part. You prepare for it, train for it, read books and watch videos about it. But no, labour really is not the hard part. Everything that comes after is hard. And I mean really hard! I have realised this in the hospital whilst trying to breastfeed my baby. When the midwife gave him to me after he was born to encourage breastfeeding, he latched on pretty easily and I thought that was it. It’s easy! Oh how wrong was I! It is literally a battle every time you try to get your baby to latch at the beginning. I had to use both of my hands to position him correctly and make sure I wasn’t suffocating him with my boob at the same time. I found a position where he latched on but this meant that I was slouched over with my back and neck muscles killing me and I wasn’t comfortable at all. But I didn’t dare to move because if I did it would take a few minutes for him to latch on again. At the beginning newborns feed for about half an hour on each side. So my back was killing me in a matter of few hours. It wasn’t until the second day when one of the nurses showed me how to position the pillows around me and under the baby so I was comfortable and didn’t have to put any strain on my back. She told me I had to put my own comfort first before the baby which seemed like a very bold statement to me at the time but she was right! If I wasn’t ok I wouldn’t be able to look after my baby. Of course there were other nurses before her looking after me and telling me how to do it properly but she was the only one who actually showed me and was really hands on. In the first few days all I did was breastfeed all the time. You feed the baby constantly. He was always on me. If he wasn’t feeding he was falling asleep whilst feeding or just sleeping in my arms. These were the most beautiful moments when I was feeding him and looking at him just so full of love, all the hormones and emotions flooding in. Then he would loose the latch and I would spend the next few minutes trying to get him to latch again. It was a constant battle. I didn’t know that the colostrum milk you get the first few days is kind of clear and doesn’t actually look like milk so I kept freaking out that there was nothing coming out for him and he would go hungry. The fact that he wanted to feed all the time also made me think that there was nothing coming out and I remember I kept asking the nurses if he is getting anything (to which they always responded by squeezing my nipple and getting the colostrum out). It sounds a bit crazy to me now because of course he was getting enough but I really didn’t know whether I was doing a good job or not plus all the hormones which get released after the birth made me go crazy! And question everything! I’m such a laid back person but I was literally a bag of nerves the first few days. Every noise he made I went into a full panic mode thinking is this normal? Is he breathing? Is he hungry? He hasn’t peed/pooped – is he ok? Is he getting enough milk? It was mental! I stayed in a private room so there were no other mums around I could ask questions or who could pass their experience on me. I called the nurses in so many times I think they were relieved when I finally left. They say, that it every hospital you will have a nurse which is not as nice as the others. I can’t really say that but there was this nurse I wasn’t keen on and literally felt like she was judging me every time she came in. She was surprised to see that I had my baby with me in bed even when I wasn’t feeding him and was very strict about feeding times. She would always come in and tell me it is the mother’s responsibility to feed the baby every 3 hours and made me feel like I was the most incompetent mother in the world trying to starve my baby. If she would have told me that now I wouldn’t care as I know my baby and I feel more confident in looking after him now but back then I didn’t really have a clue and my hormones were all over the place.

I could hear other babies on the ward cry a lot and Max didn’t really cry that much, only when he wanted to eat and he was pretty chilled the rest of the time but that didn’t mean that I got any sleep. The most sleep I got were 15-20 minutes intervals because I constantly kept waking up with every little sound Max made. I had him in my bed next to me during the night most of the time because I wanted him to feel safe and I remember sleeping or dosing off but constantly opening my eyes to check if he was ok and listening out for the noises he was making. By day 2 I was so tired I don’t even know how I was functioning. I mean the sleep deprivation was so real! I couldn’t even look at my phone for longer than 2 minutes without falling asleep. I thought I knew what being tired was, given my job and the amount of night flights I did and the jet lag and different time zones, but this was just another level. If I finally managed to dose off, a nurse, doctor, or a cleaner would come in and wake me up anyway. The nurses told me that if I want to, they can take the baby for a couple of hours and I could get some sleep but I never did. I felt like they would judge me if I did. I mean it sounds crazy now but at that moment I was feeling all kinds of highs and lows and I wasn’t thinking rationally. Even when they took him to have a bath once a day I missed him! It was usually during the night and not more than half an hour and I was so happy that I would get a bit of uninterrupted sleep but of course I didn’t because I kept thinking that it is taking too long and wondering whether he is ok and if he misses me and when is he going to come back. I mean plain crazy really.

Every single muscle in my body was aching. I felt like I ran a marathon and went through a battle at the same time. I constantly had to remind myself to relax my muscles because I was still tensing them like I did during delivery. Especially my neck muscles. I mean even my tongue hurt. I didn’t even know that was possible. I felt like somebody snapped me in half and I had absolutely no abdominal or lower back muscles keeping me upright. When I walked I felt (and probably looked) like a 90 year old woman. I was so weak and shaky and sore. When I had to pick Max up from his crib or put him down I had to bend over a little bit to steady myself and find strength, it was crazy! The best part of my days in the hospital was when my husband was there with us for a few hours every day and I got to relax a bit whilst he was enjoying his time with Max. I remember how much love I felt looking at him holding our baby and I loved our little bubble we have created. I stayed in the hospital for 3 days and I was so ready to go home that last day just to have the comfort of my own home and the privacy. When my husband left in the evening of day 2 to go home I hit a low point. I don’t know why exactly but I’m pretty sure I can blame the hormones for this too. I felt so down and doubted everything about my ability to be a mother. Maybe it was the fact that I knew I was going home the next day and all of a sudden I felt so unprepared and not ready to look after a baby! I had no idea what I would do with him if he was in pain, if he was crying too much, if he wasn’t pooping, if he wasn’t latching on. I just kept thinking how could they let me go home with him and be totally responsible for this fragile human being? I had a little cry to myself a few times that evening and felt bad for the nurses who kept walking in and must have thought I was mad. Or maybe they didn’t. Maybe everyone goes through this. The last day in the hospital felt like the longest day ever. I was up at 6 am and I knew I was going home that day after lunch and it was dragging on so much and I felt so restless! My milk came that morning too and I was super happy as that was one less thing to worry about. I only had 99 things left to worry about then. My husband came to pick us up and Max had to get a vaccination before he was discharged and I couldn’t bring myself to come with him to watch it. I had to send my husband with him instead. I was so emotional that I wanted to cry when a paediatrician came to discharge Max and I had to take his clothes off for the examination because I felt bad for him for being cold! I totally understood all the women going through postnatal depression then. It was so easy just to get completely overwhelmed by all these feelings. Max must have been stressed out by all this stress I was going through too because he was very needy that day and wanted to be on me constantly. When we got home I immediately relaxed and he did too. He was just peacefully sleeping whilst me and my husband were staring at him, constantly commenting that we have the most beautiful and perfect baby in the world. Pretty sure all parents do this.

At home I was slowly getting the hack of breastfeeding. After endlessly googling all the information there was about how to get them to latch on properly and watching all the videos on youtube, I stopped interfering and let Max just latch on by himself. Not sure if it was because he knew what to do by this point or because I should have done this from the beginning but it worked. One of the tips mums were sharing online was to squeeze your boob like a hamburger and shove it in baby’s mouth. Didn’t work for Max though, he clearly wasn’t a fun of hamburgers. My nipples were destroyed from the cluster feeding the day we left the hospital and I was in pain every time he latched on and had to let out a silent scream and breathe through the pain. Luckily the pain went after a couple of days and he was feeding like a champ. The amount of things I kept googling was unreal though. There was a different thing to google every day – how to get the baby to burp (which as it turns out isn’t as straightforward as it seems!), how to give him a bath, how to look after the umbilical cord, the list was endless. The first few days at home were a haze of nappy changing, feeding, sleeping, sleepy feedings and an overwhelming feeling of love. I had a constant headache from the tiredness and I kept falling asleep during nearly every feed. Those little cat naps were very efficient and I was surprised how fresh you can feel after a 10 seconds nap. When I did sleep I would wake up and panic thinking I fell asleep with the baby in my arms. All my dreams were about Max and I kept seeing his face and the little expressions he used to make every time I closed my eyes.  I know I keep going on about the tiredness but it really was the most challenging thing. They tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps but if you did that you would never be able to have a shower, eat or do laundry which pretty much is your daily task because the amount of laundry is immense. All you do is keep changing his clothes 6 times a day as it either has a pee, poo or sick on it. Or all of the above. You would think that in the 21st century they would make nappies which don’t leak but no they don’t. The fact that I got so little sleep at the beginning and I didn’t die made me think that humans clearly don’t need as much sleep as I thought and even if you are tired from the night feedings you still get up in the morning and get on with your day. I never used to like mornings and I used to love my sleep but now when I get woken up by my little boy (because I’m never the first one to wake up) and he looks at me and starts stretching and smiling it is the cutest thing ever and I would wake up to see that anytime! I remember asking my husband that first week at home if I am ever going to feel like a human again and he said you will. Not for a while but you will. And I did. Slowly my body and my mind were adjusting to the new role and after the first couple of weeks I started to feel better physically and mentally too. By the end of the 6th week I felt like my old self again. My body did, that is. My mind will never feel the same again because now I have a little person to worry about for the rest of my life.

Jak jsem přežila šestinedělí


Všichni si myslí, že porod je ta těžká část. Připravujete se na něj, čtete o něm knížky, díváte se na vzdělávací videa. Ale ne, porod opravdu není ta těžká část. To co přijde po něm je těžké. A tím myslím brutálně těžké! Tohle mi došlo hned v nemocnici, když jsem se pokoušela nakojit své miminko. Když mi ho porodní sestra poprvé dala abych ho zkusila nakojit, hned se přisál a začal pít a já jsem si myslela, že tak to bude pokaždé a že nechápu proč s tím ostatní maminky dělají takovou vědu, když je to tak jednoduché. No trochu jsem se mýlila! Na začátku je to opravdu zápas mezi vámi a miminkem pokaždé, když jej chcete nakojit. Musela jsem použít obě dvě ruce, abych ho naklonila tak, aby se přísál a přitom si dávat pozor, abych ho neudusila svým prsem. Po chvilce jsem si našla pozici ve které to šlo, ale znamenalo to, že jsem musela nehybně sedět, aby mu moje bradavka náhodou zase nevyklouzla a netrvalo dalších pár minut než ji zase najde. Samozřejmě že po chvilce mě šíleně bolela záda a krční páteř a vzhledem k tomu, že prvních pár týdnu se miminka kojí aspoň půl hodiny na každé straně, tak jsem v téhle nepohodlné pozici trávila několik hodin denně. Až na druhý den mi jedna ze sestřiček ukázala jak se mám obklopit polštářema a naskládat si je i pod miminko, abych se cítila pohodlně a nezatěžovala jsem si krční páteř. Sdělila mi, že prvně se musím cítit já pohodlně a pak až miminko, což mi přišlo jako dost odvážné tvrzení, ale samozřejmě měla pravdu. Když nebudu v pořádku já, tak se nebude mít kdo starat o mé miminko. Samozřejmě, že i ostatní sestřičky mi radily, ale tahle jediná mi to názorně ukázala a pomohla nastavit i miminko. Prvních pár dnů jsem jen kojila. Pořád jsem kojila. Kojila jsem ve dne, kojila jsem v noci. Když jsem náhodou nekojila, tak miminko usínalo v mé náruči a nebo spinkalo v mé náruči. Tohle byly ty nejkrásnější okamžiky. Při kojení se všechny hormony a emoce uvolňovaly a já jsem se na něj jen láskyplně dívala. Pak mu samozřejmě bradavka vypadla a zápas o přísátí s miminkem začal znovu. Ze začátku jsem nevěděla, že to první mlíčko kolostrum je trošku průsvitné. Tahle informace mi nějak úplně unikla a to mělo za vinu, že jsem panikařila, protože jsem si myslela, že mu žádné mlíčko neteče a že miminko chce pořád pít, protože je kvůli tomu hladné! Pořád jsem se ptala sestřiček jestli mu mlíčko teče nacož mi vždycky zmáčkly bradavku, aby mi názorně ukázaly, že tam kolostrum je. Teď mi to přijde trošku šílené, samozřejmě že měl mlíčka dost, ale ty první dny jsem opravdu netušila jestli dělám věci správně nebo ne. Hormony, které se po porodu uvolňují mi taky na sebevědomí nepřidaly a neustále jsem všechno zpochybňovala. Já jsem ve skutečnosti velmi pohodový člověk, ale v nemocnici jsem byla uzlíček nervů. Pokaždé, když Max vydal nějaký zvuk, děsila jsem se jestli je to normální. Jestli je v pořádku, jestli dýchá, jestli má hlad, jestli je normální, že ještě nečůral anebo pro změnu nekakal, jestli mu teče dostatek mlíčka. Byl to fakt neuvěřitelný sled otázek a pochybností. Byla jsem  na soukromém pokoji, takže jsem okolo sebe neměla žádné jiné maminky, kterých bych se mohla zeptat. Zvonek na sestřičky jsem mačkala hodně často a myslím, že si oddychly, když jsem třetí den konečne odjela domů. Říká se, že každá nemocnice má sestřicku, která je míň oblíbená a není tak hodná jako ty ostatní. Taky jsem měla tuhle zkušenost. Nemůžu říct, že by byla vyloženě nepříjemná, ale pokaždé když přišla, cítila jsem se jakoby mě soudila. Byla překvapená, že jsem měla miminko s sebou v posteli, ikdyž jsem ho zrovna nekojila a byla hodně striktní v tom jak často ho mám kojit. Vždycky když přišla, tak říkala, že je to matčina zodpovědnos,t aby nakrmila dítě každé 3 hodiny. Já si připadala jako neschopná matka co chce, aby jí dítě umřelo hlady. Kdyby mi to řekla dnes, tak na to samozřejmě reaguju jinak, ale na začátku jsem si tak jistá nebyla a hormony mi létaly nahoru a dolů, což se odrazilo na mém psychice.

Slyšela jsem jak ostatní miminka na oddělení pláčou a byla jsem ráda, že Max moc neplakal, jen když chtěl nakrmit a zbytek času byl hodně v pohodě, ale to neznamená, že já jsem se v nemocnici vyspala. Nejvíc spánku kterého se mi dostalo byly 15-20 minutové intervaly, protože jsem se budila s každým zvukem, který Max vydal. V noci jsem ho většinu času měla vedle sebe v posteli, protože jsem chtěla, aby mě cítil nablízku a cítil se v bezpečí. Pamatuju si, že jsem neustále usínala a pak se probouzela, abych jen otevřela oči a zkontrolovala jestli je v pořádku. Na druhý den už jsem byla tak unavená, že ani nevím jak jsem fungovala. Nemohla jsem se ani podívat na mobil déle než 2 minuty bez toho, aniž bych nezačala usínat. Myslela jsem si, že vzhledem k mému povolání a neskutečnému množství nočních letů a časových pásem, které jsem procestovala, vím co je to únava, ale tohle byl fakt jiný level. Když už jsem konečně usnula, tak přišla sestřička, doktor nebo uklízečka, která mě zase probrala. Sestřičky mi nabídly, že si k sobě miminko na pár hodin vezmou jestli chci a já se budu moct prospat, ale já jsem toho nikdy nevyužila. Přišlo mi, že kdybych jejich nabídku přijala, myslely by si, že jsem špatná matka. Je to šílené, ale v tu dobu jsem opravdu nepřemýšlela moc racionálně. I když si ho odvezly na koupání jednou denně, tak mi chyběl! Většinou to bylo v noci a ne déle než půl hodiny a já byla tak ráda, že si aspoň na půl hodiny schrupnu, ale samozřejmě, že jsem si neschrupla, protože jsem neustále myslela na to jestli je v pořádku a proč to trvá tak dlouho a jestli mu chybím a kdy už se vrátí apod. Prostě blázen.

Bolely mě všechny svaly na těle. Cítita jsem se jako kdybych zrovna uběhla maraton a zároveň prodělala nějakou velkolepou bitvu. Neustále jsem si musela připomínat, abych uvolnila svaly, protože jsem je pořád ještě zatínala jako při porodu. Hlavně svaly na krku. I jazyk mě bolel a to jsem ani nevěděla, že je to možné. Cítila jsem se jako kdyby mě někdo přelomil napůl a neměla jsem vůbec žádné břišní ani křížové svaly, které by mi pomohly udržet tělo vzpřímeně. Při chůzi jsem se cítila (a pravděpodobně i vypadala) jako 90ti letá babička. Byla jsem slabá, roztřepaná a bolavá. Když jsem si brala Maxe z postýlky nebo ho tam vracela, tak jsem se musela trošku předklonit a pokrčit kolena, abych našla balanc. Nejlepší část mých dnů v nemocnici byla ta, když s náma byl i manžel. Strávil s námi několik hodin denně a já si aspoň mohla dát sprchu a trochu relaxovat zatímco on si užíval Maxe. Pamatuju si na tu vlnu lásky kterou jsem cítila, když jsem se dívala jak ho drží v náručí a užívala jsem si tu naši bublinu co jsme si vytvořili. Zůstala jsem v nemocnici 3 dny a ten poslední den jsem se už nemohla dočkat až budu v pohodlí svého domova. Když manžel odešel večer předtím než jsem měla jít domů, padla na mě totální depka. Nevím přesně proč, ale jsem si jistá že to měly částečně na svědomí hormony. Cítila jsem se dost depresivně a zpochybňovala jsem všechno co jsem věděla o mateřství (což nebylo moc). Možná to bylo tím, že jsem měla jít na druhý den domů a naráz jsem se cítila totálně nepřipravená na to, abych se starala o dítě. Netušila jsem co mám dělat kdyby ho něco bolelo, kdyby moc plakal, kdyby nevěděl jak se má přisát na krmení, kdyby nekakal. Nechápala jsem, jak mě můžou nechat jít domů, kde budu totálně zodpovědná za tuhle malou lidskou bytost, když jsem vůbec nevěděla co dělám! Ten večer jsem si párkrát poplakala a bylo mi líto sestřiček co mě chodily kontrolovat a zřejmě si myslely, že jsem se zbláznila. Anebo možná si to nemyslely a možná si tímhle projde každá novopečená maminka. Hormony! Ten poslední den v nemocnici mi přišel jako nejdelší den, který jsem kdy zažila. Byla jsem vzhůru už od šesti a věděla jsem, že po obědě půjdu konečně domů, ale neuvěřitelně se to táhlo. To ráno mi konečne nastoupilo mléko a já měla obrovskou radost, že mám o starost míň. Teď už jsem měla jen 99 dalších starostí. Manžel nás přijel vyzvednout a Max musel ještě na očkování, aby nás mohli propustit z nemocnice a já jsem se nemohla donutit, abych s ním šla a musela jsem s ním poslat jen manžela. Byla jsem tak labilní, že jsem se málem rozbrečela, když Maxe přišel zkontrolovat doktor a mě přišlo líto, že je mu zima, když jsem mu musela sundat dupačky. V tu chvíli jsem pochopila proč asi některé maminky prochází poporodní depresí.  Bylo by jednoduché nechat všechny tyhle pocity přerůst přes hlavu. Max byl asi vystresovaný ze mě, protože ten den chtěl být pořád jen u mě a dožadoval se krmení. Když jsme konečně přijeli domů, okamžitě se nám ulevilo a Max si spokojeně spinkal, zatímco my s manželem jsme na něj několik hodin koukali a říkali jsme si jak máme krásné miminko. Jsem si jistá, že tohle si říkají všichni rodiče.

Doma jsem si pomalu zvykala na kojení. Poté co jsem nekonečne googlovala všechny možné informace o kojení a zkoukla všechny videa na youtube, jsem tomu nechala volný průběh a nechala jsem Maxovi volnost, aby se přisál jak potřebuje. Nevím jestli to bylo tím, že už věděl co má dělat nebo jestli jsem tenhle přístup měla mít od začátku, ale fungovalo to a už jsem s ním nemusela zápasit ani ho správně nastavovat. Jeden z tipů, které jsem na internetu našla, byl zmáčknout prso jako hamburger a nacpat to miminku do pusy. Na Maxe to teda nefungovalo. Zřejmě nebude fanoušek hamburgerů. Mé bradavky byly zničené z neustálého kojení v ten den, kdy jsme přijeli z nemocnice a pokaždé, když se Max přisál jsem vydala tichý nářek a prodýchavala tu bolest. Naštěstí to netrvalo dlouho a za pár dní si bradavky na kojení zvykly a vrátily se do normálu. Množství věcí které jsem googlovala, ale neubývalo. Každý den jsem mohla hledat něco jiného – jak okoupat miminko (narozdíl od ČR to tady v nemocnici neučí), jak nechat miminko odbrknout (není to tak jednoduché, jak se zdá), jak se starat o pupeční šňůru, list byl nekonečný. Prvních pár dnů doma z nemocnice se neslo v duchu přebalování, krmení, spaní, ospalých krmení a neuvěřitelného pocitu vyčerpání a lásky zároveň. Z únavy mě neustále bolela hlava a usínala jsem skoro u každého krmení Ty malé mikrospánky mě zachránily a byla jsem překvapená jak osvěžující může být 10ti sekundový spánek. V noci jsem se budila s panikou, že jsem usnula a miminko mám pořád v náručí. Neustále se mi zdálo o Maxovi a pokaždé když jsem zavřela oči, viděla jsem před sebou jeho obličej.

Vím že pořád mluvím o únavě, ale ta opravdu byla ze všecho to nejtěžší. Řeknou vám, že máte spát když spí miminko, ale to byste nikdy nejedla, nepila, neosprchovala se a neoprala prádlo. Což děláte pořád. Perete a sušíte a skládáte a zase perete a sušíte a skládáte. Ze začátku jsem miminko převlékala asi tak 6x denně protože byl buď počuraný, nebo pokakaný, nebo poblinkaný nebo všechno dohromady. Myslela jsem si, že ve 21. století už byly vynalezené plínky které neprotékají, ale nebyly. To, že jsem ze začátku skoro nespala a přežila jsem to, mě přimnělo si myslet, že lidé asi nepotřebují tolik spánku kolik si myslí. I pro prokrmené a probdělé noci jsem ráno vstala a fungovala normálně. No možná trošku jako zombie, ale fungovala. Nikdy jsem nebyla ranní ptáče a milovala jsem spánek, ale teď miluju, když mě ráno Max vzbudí (protože on se vždycky produdí přede mnou) a začne se protahovat a usmívat a dívá se na mě těma svýma ospalýma očičkama. To bych nevyměnila za nic na světě. Pamatuju si, že ten první týden doma jsem se ptala manžela jestli se ještě někdy budu cítit jako člověk a on řekl že budu. Ne v nejbližší době, ale budu. A měl pravdu. Moje tělo se pomaličku zotavovalo a moje mysl si začala zvykat na nový režim a já se zase cítila jako za starých časů. Teda aspoň moje tělo, moje mysl se už tak nikdy cítit nebude, protože teď už mám vedle sebe malého človíčka o kterého si budu dělat starost už napořád.


My birth story

On the 15th of February my life has changed forever. I thought I was ready for what was coming but little did I know…


My whole pregnancy has been a smooth ride from the beginning to the end. I had no morning sickness, no bloating and no complications. I would even go as far as to say that I enjoyed it! Especially the glowing skin! Apart from a few hormonal attacks, which I’m so glad I can blame on the pregnancy, as I went into a full psycho mode, and the occasional dizziness, I felt great. Yes I had to make a numerous trips to the bathroom during the night and towards the end I felt pretty uncomfortable but I still felt good and had energy. My whole pregnancy I was lucky enough to work from home which gave me plenty of time to look after myself. For the first time in my life I had the luxury of being at home every day and I really enjoyed it. I attended prenatal yoga classes, went to the gym and fully prepared myself for my baby’s arrival. I started pregnancy thinking I wanted to have a C-section (don’t judge). The reason for this was that we have recently moved to a new country where I didn’t know anyone and I only had my husband with me. I really wanted him to be there with me during the birth and share the experience with him. Since he travels a lot with his job I was very nervous that I will go into labour when he is away and I will have to deal with the whole labour by myself. As my pregnancy progressed though, my thinking started to shift completely and I started looking into more natural options. I was practicing yoga 3 times a week and had prenatal sessions with an amazing doula which made me feel a lot more informed and prepared. In the 3rd trimester I did a complete U-turn and started looking into hypnobirthing. The concept was so appealing to me and the more I read my book and did my meditations the more ready and almost excited I felt about labour and I kept thinking that my baby will chose the perfect time to come to this world and that it is in his own interest to come when dad will be home too.

From the 38th week I started to feel a little nervous again. Maybe it was the hormones, maybe the fact that I only had about 3 outfits I kept wearing because nothing else fitted anymore and maybe it was just the fact that I knew I was near the end and that this huge event I was preparing for, was finally here and all of a sudden I felt really unprepared. My days basically consisted of me telling myself in my head that I was ready for this and then imagining all the things which could go wrong (again I blame the hormones for this). I also remember looking at all the baby things which were all ready and nicely folded and feeling so happy and excited that he will be with us soon. I didn’t want to go overdue too much as I wanted everything to be as natural as it could and I really didn’t want to be induced. When I had my doctor’s check up at 38 weeks and she suggested to do the sweep the following week I freaked out. Of course I told her that as long as the baby and me are doing good I would like no interventions. Don’t ask me why she suggested it but here in the Middle East they very much prefer the ‘controlled birth’ rather than the natural. That is my impression from the whole experience anyway. This is when I started to drink a lot of raspberry leaf tea and went for lots of walks.

I always wondered if I would know that the D day was there but I really didn’t. Someone told me that the day you go into labour you feel full of energy and ready. I didn’t feel any different to be honest I went to my yoga class and had dinner by myself as my husband was away and due to come back that evening. My little baby boy timed his appearance perfectly (I knew he would be a good boy and wait for his dad). My husband got home around midnight and my labour started at around 3am. I woke up thinking I’m sweating a lot, not realizing my water broke. In the movies you always see a big gush of water coming out so that’s what I expected but it really wasn’t like that. I got changed and went back to bed. I felt very strange and kept saying to my husband that something is happening but I really wasn’t sure what. Things escalated quite quickly after that. I started getting pain in my lower belly. A bit like a period pain but it was bearable. It kept coming and going and I thought I better time it as it might be contractions. The pain literally escalated in half an hour and by that point I definitely knew these were contractions. They were coming on pretty close only about 3 minutes apart and lasted about 30-40 seconds. By this point we started going through our notes from our doula sessions as I wasn’t sure this was the time you go to the hospital! It’s funny because when the contractions kicked it they were so strong and overpowering that my hypnobirthing went out of the window! I still had my meditation playing in the background but I’m not sure how much I listened to it, maybe I was, but I had it on more to calm me down and because it was familiar. They tell you to breathe through the contractions and ride it like a wave. Well when the first strong contraction came it literally took my breath away. I couldn’t move, I felt like I was going to be sick and I was just standing in the bathroom rocking from one side to the other waiting for it to stop. Apparently the contractions feel like period cramps but thousand times worse. For me the best way to describe the contractions is to imagine that your lower back and your lower belly is stuck between two walls which are closing in and literally crushing your bones. The pressure in my lower back was so intense I really can’t tell if I even felt it in my belly. I remember thinking hell no! I’m not doing this! I need to get to the hospital now and I want an epidural!!! But somehow the idea of the journey put me off and I went into a bath instead and stayed there for nearly an hour. Risky I know, but the water made me feel so much better and the contractions so much more bearable that I really didn’t want to get out. My husband kept asking whether we should go to the hospital and I finally said yes. Trying to get dressed in between the contractions and then walk into the car was the biggest challenge! I was so glad it was about 5:30 in the morning and there was nobody around. The last few months I kept saying to myself that even if my husband isn’t at home when it all happens I will be ok and can always call myself a taxi and get to the hospital safely! Well I don’t think I would’ve even been able to call the taxi, let alone carry my hospital bag or anything else! The car journey to the hospital felt like the longest car ride of my life even though it only took 15 minutes. I had my headphones in the whole time and was listening to my hypnobirthing meditation but I was so uncomfortable and the contractions were so strong I couldn’t focus on anything other than just pressing the start and stop button on my contraction’s app. When we got to the hospital, it all went a bit crazy. I got taken to the assessment room for a quick examination and the nurse found out I was fully dilated and started to shout at everybody! All of a sudden there were about 5 medical professionals in the room shouting all over each other whether they have time to take me to the delivery room or whether I was going to deliver there and then! This boy was ready to come to this world soon! I was in such a strange state that I didn’t have much of an idea of what was going on. I just kept thinking he will be here soon! This will be over soon! There was a nurse standing next to me and I remember asking her: ”I guess it’s too late for an epidural then?” and she just laughed. It wasn’t funny. I always thought that since they see women going through labour every day that they would know better than to talk to me whilst I was having contractions. Well they didn’t and kept asking me question after question and I don’t even know if I answered any of them. I was then whizzed through the hospital laying on the bed covered by sheets whilst the nurses were actually running to get me to the delivery room on time. It was like a scene from a movie and even in the state I was in I thought it was really funny and I’m sure my husband was laughing a little too. Or freaking out. Or both!

In the delivery room it all became a bit of a haze for me. One nurse was trying to take my clothes off and put hospital gown on me and I literally hated her there and then and thought she should’ve done it in between contractions not whilst I was going through one but obviously didn’t have the energy or the will to tell her so. They hooked me up on the monitor to see my contractions and my doctor has arrived by then too. I was really pleased to see her as she has brought a bit of calmness into the room. I imagined myself having a nice quiet room with dimmed lights, with just my husband and the midwife there. Instead I got bright lights, a midwife, a specialist, my doctor and 2 other nurses looking after me and running around. I didn’t care though as all I could focus on was that monitor announcing that a contraction was coming and by this point I don’t think I would’ve been able to tell myself. It was almost like I didn’t feel it. I was in another dimension. I was told to push with every contraction since I got to the delivery room. Told might be an understatement since somebody was always shouting at me ‘’push, push’’. So I pushed and pushed and apparently I was doing it all wrong. ‘’Push more. Push longer.’’ I never knew pushing was so difficult! You would think you just push and something would eventually come out. Well it didn’t. Literally nothing. I couldn’t even feel him getting any nearer to get out. At one point the specialist told me that until they see me pass stool I’m not pushing in the correct way. Well that didn’t really add to my confidence! I was pushing for 2 hours. I was so extremely lucky that my labour was so quick but the pushing part was the most exhausting thing I have ever experienced. Imagine tensing and flexing every single muscle in your body every couple of minutes for what feels like eternity. Every single muscle. And push. It was crazy! I had tears running down my face. Not because I was crying but because I pushed them out. Turns out I can push a tear out but couldn’t push a baby out. I didn’t breathe through my contractions. I didn’t ride them like waves. I literally survived from one to the other. I was gripping everything around me, the metal bars on the bed, the sheets, my husband’s hand. I kept trying to imagine holding my baby in my hands and visualizing him in my arms. That is what got me through it. My doctor said she will let me push for 2 hours and if it’s not successful they will have to help him out. I wanted everything as natural as possible. I had no pain relief throughout, but at this point I literally didn’t care. They could cut me up open and I wouldn’t care I just wanted him out!

I ended up having vacuum assisted birth at the end. It’s the one where they help to suck your baby’s head out and he comes out with a funny shaped head. When my baby boy finally came out I felt pain like I never did before. It was unreal! And also the most surreal thing I’ve ever experienced. When he came out they put him straight to my arms and said ‘your baby, this is your baby’. They had to say it a couple of times because I must have been so out of it I was just staring at him not really getting what just happened. When I was finally holding him I just remember saying ‘Oh my god’ repeatedly whilst looking at him. I thought I was going to be emotional and fall in love with him instantly but it really wasn’t like that. I was more in a disbelief that he was finally here and just kept looking at him thinking this is my baby, I have a baby! When I read my hospital notes afterwards it said that the baby was crying at birth but I don’t even remember hearing him cry! I only had him in my arms for a couple of moments before they took him off me. To me it felt like minutes, but my husband said it was more like seconds. The midwife took him to clean him up and weight him and do all the checks. Few moments later I gave birth to the placenta too. I have no idea if it just happened of if my doctor helped a little. I wanted to have a skin on skin immediately but at this point my doctor was stitching me up and I couldn’t think of anything else but the pain again. They say that you don’t feel the stitches after you have just given birth and let me tell you – they lie! I felt every single one of them, every needle and thread move! I think I screamed from the pain too. My doctor was shouting at the nurses to give me some pain relief. I was given gas and air and it did help with the pain but I still felt it. All I could hear was my baby crying and I kept saying to my husband ‘take him, stay with him’. I’m glad that he got some contact with him at least whilst the doctor was sorting me out. I felt absolutely exhausted but so happy that it was all over and that I had a beautiful healthy boy next to me. I was so cold and was literally shaking so much my teeth were chattering. Apparently this is normal after birth given how much of your strength you have just used and what you have been through. When the doctor was done we were left alone just with my husband and our new baby in the delivery room and the midwife placed him onto my chest and told me to start trying breastfeeding straight away. This is when I started to feel all the emotions, the happiness, the relief that the hard part was over (haha little did I know!) and the overwhelming love that I felt for that precious thing in my arms. He was so tiny! And looked so vulnerable! He had a big red bruise on his head from where the vacuum was attached to his head and I just felt so unbelievably sad that he had to go through that. I wanted to hide him from the world and protect him from everyone. I felt extremely hungry like I didn’t eat for days. My husband was feeding me a sandwich whilst I was breastfeeding my baby and I felt so happy! I was required to stay in the delivery room for another couple of hours to make sure that everything was ok. These were the most precious moment for me. It was just the three of us – our little family soaking up the moment and looking at our beautiful baby. I wanted to message everyone to let them know that he has arrived but I didn’t even want to look away from him and take my phone. I just needed a few more moments to soak up his little face and to cuddle him as much as I could.

Max has arrived to this world on the 15th of February at 8:22 am weighting 3.118 kg and measuring 54 cm. The next few weeks following his birth have been both, the most amazing and also the hardest moments of my life.