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      The end of my pregnancy

      Tuesday Sep 7th: ‘This part of my pregnancy really is exciting now. Any minute of the day I’ll have a son or daughter’

      I wrote this a week before my due date and what a week that was. I really think what we do is truly amazing. Creating and giving life and then watching that little person grow up right before your eyes. Having had a difficult pregnancy emotionally I do feel blessed to have James. As a first time Mum I had no idea what to expect and in the days before James was born my nerves were gone. I thought every little cramp or pain was labor. I had given everyone so many false alarms that when it actually was labor I doubted myself and said nothing. I lay in bed, my body aching with splints on my arms, a million cushions and then there were the constant trips to the bathroom. Please come and meet Mummy this time I thought as I felt a story quite like the boy who cried wolf coming on. I was trying to decide how painful it was and what I should do? Eventually I spoke up and we went to the hospital. The contractions were coming fast and strong but I still proudly declared to Mum that I had a very strong pain threshold. My Mum looked at me (after having 5 kids) and told me to tell her that in a couple of hours.

      Boy was she right. A few hours later I was teary and tired and begged Mum for the epidural. I slept after that and woke just in time to give birth. The whole birth was amazing. I could actually see him being born. In the week after his birth I was amazed at the range of emotions I felt. It was like my entire pregnancy rolled into one. I had a difficult time trying to breastfeed and really wasn’t prepared for how difficult the first few weeks would be. I find it quite amusing that we prepare ourselves so thoroughly for pregnancy and birth and then we go home completely clueless as to what’s ahead.

      As a first time Mum the best advice I can give is sleep when the baby sleeps and don’t neglect yourself. During your pregnancy you’re watching every morsel that goes in your mouth and treating your body like a temple so remember that the person living in that body now needs to mind another little body and to do so needs energy, rest, good food and lots of support, kisses and cuddles. I panicked and rushed back to work thinking that the world would end and we would starve if I didn’t. First of all my family would have never let this happen (I hope!) and you’ll never get that time back again. Children grow up so who cares if your house is clean or if the washing gets done. Sometimes it’s good to stop. Breathe and live in the moment.

      Set your favourite music to play. It can be a great distraction and very calming. A beautiful new CD is called Lullaby Time by Orla Fallon €18.49

      Take some lucozade energy sweets with you. Great for a boost.

      Be prepared in case the baby goes early and put an old towel in just in case your waters break in the car!

      Breathe into your contractions as it will help you absorb the pain. I did a lot of Yoga and meditation and it helped enormously.

      Feme pads to help soothe sore stitches.

      Breast nurse gel pads (help soothe tender breasts)

      Take Omega 3 before and after birth to help ward off PND (post natal depression)

      If you have a birthing plan be willing to alter it and work with the doctors. Mine did not go according to plan and sometimes the baby has a different idea.

      If you want to breastfeed be prepared that you might need help and it might be sore to begin with. Ask for the lactation consultant and never be afraid to ask questions.

      Make sure you know how to fit the car seat safely and securely for the journey home as 2 out of 3 parents fit the seat incorrectly.

      Take arnica in the weeks running up to the birth and after as it will help both heal and prevent bruising.

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