The One Where Madonna (Gravesend Edition) Advised Me About My Labour! #BirthStories

So, I believe my encounter with Doogie Howzer (Indian Edition) and my firstborn’s birth was a popular read, so here is that follow up I mentioned!

Settle down for storytime!

So, here we are in 2007. I was finally the proud owner of bump number two.

It had been a bit of an up and down journey getting there after Lil Man arrived, having developed a huge cyst, losing an ovary and a fallopian tube, losing hope that we would even get pregnant again, then suffering two miscarriages.

But get there we did, and, despite my two bouts of Tuesday-afternoon-after-cheese-toast sickness, all was perfect! I felt extremely healthy all the way through the pregnancy, aside from an awful case of SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction), where your pelvis muscles start to relax too soon, causing the pelvic girdle to start separating earlier than labour time – yes OUCH!!!

My body pillow was my greatest support, aside from Hubby Dearest obviously, who was displaced in bed though by ‘said’ pillow!

Anyway, I was determined that this time, I would get to my maternity leave before this baby made an appearance.

And the other thing I was sure about was finding out the sex of the baby. I would have been happy either way, but I knew that Hubby Dearest longed for a girl. In fact, a name had already been chosen f we ever had a daughter, way back when we were in our first year of dating!

I hated the thought that if we had another son, even though he’d be happy, there would be that split second of disappointment at not being the father of his own princess.

So we duly went for the sexing scan at 20 weeks and he did falter at that time, trying to convince me that we should wait. But I had built up my expectations by then. I had held my full bladder for a couple of hours for this scan.


We were finding out.

We looked at the screen, trying to see if we could find the hamburger or the hotdog – If you’ve been through pregnancy, you may have heard this already, but it’s the way a baby’s bits look on the scan picture… a three line hamburger for a girl and a three-line hotdog for a boy!

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Google Image


Yes, really!

And it was confirmed, and accompanied by tears, that we were indeed expecting that princess!

That meant 20 more weeks of knowing, but not telling a soul! The plan was that we wouldn’t let anyone know, it would be our secret.

We popped into the local shopping mall on the way home and picked up that one set of pink things, ready for our baby girl, then secreted the bag at the back of a closet, so no one would see it!

(The fun I had, living in a house with the in-laws, and trying to wash those items before the delivery, and drying them without anyone seeing!)

My in-laws were in India a few weeks before my due date and my mother-in-law was worried I’d deliver early, like I had with Lil Man, so she made sure she was back ready for any eventualities, and I had arranged to start my leave three weeks before my due date.

Plenty of time to get ready, spend time with my little boy, and be prepared.

I got to a week before the date and still nothing. I was huge by this time, and I had even managed to wedge myself between the wing mirrors of two cars with this ma-hoosive bump. (Quite funny, I actually laughed as I was stuck because only I could get myself into such comical situations!)

Then on a Sunday night in February 2008, I started to get pains. Bear in mind last time I hadn’t really experienced real labour. But oooh! These hurt! I was rocking around the room, having my back rubbed then Hubby Dearest ran me a bath, and upon sitting in it, the pains soothed, allowing me to get back to bed and have a half decent sleep, with a few pains, but not too intense.

Were these Braxton Hicks or the real thing?

Monday night came and again, as I was readying for bed, the pains started again. This little girl was determined to steal my sleep, and she hadn’t even arrived! Cue more rocking, and back rubs, low moans and a call to the maternity department.

Me: I think the baby’s coming.
Midwife: (With a West Indian Accent) How far apart?
Me: Um,.. I’m not sure, but they hurt! And I was having them last night too.
Midwife: So dey stopped?
Me: Yeah, after a bath.
Midwife: So dat was probably not labour den. What you are experiencing are de latent pains, dey are like de pre-labour preparations.
Me: (thinking) What? No one told me about pre-labour pains! Oh okay… Sorry, what was your name?
Midwife: Madonna
Me: Oh! Great name! So, what do I do now?
Midwife who I now know is Madonna: Try another bath and if dat works you’re okay to stay at home. If dey don’t stop, ring us when dey are about 5 minutes apart and get to us asap.
Me: Thank you Madonna!

I replaced the receiver.

Image result for madonna on the phone

What I was seeing in my head at the other end of the phone!

I had a bit of a giggle with Hubby Dearest, who ran me another bath. Yup, the bath did it. The pains subsided again so I drifted off into another fitful sleep, peppered with odd pains.

I was exhausted after 2 nights of disturbed sleep and needed to be alert for my Lil Man during the day.


Tuesday night – it was becoming a habit. Get ready for bed, and start the pains. I made Hubby Dearest skip the back rubs etc., and sent him straight away to get that bath run. I needed to sleep, so the sooner we stopped these pains the better.

Bath had, the pains didn’t stop. And oh my they HURT!

The night was spent lying down then getting up, rocking back and forth, trying to control the pains, leaning forward against my chest of drawers, and to be honest, no amount of back rubs were helping either.

Yet the pains were nowhere near 5 minutes apart yet.

How long could this go on?!

We got through the night and the most of the morning before things really heated up. By 12pm the hospital had been called, Lil Man was firmly in the care of his grandparents, my parents and brother had been called, as had Hubby Dearest’s brother, announcing the imminent arrival of junior and we were on our way!

I spent the journey on all fours, in the back seat of the car, rocking (this was becoming a bit of a theme for this labour!)  and moaning in pain.

After I got booked in, the midwife came to check on me. Alas it wasn’t Madonna (how great would it have been to have been able to say my baby was delivered by Madonna!) but she was the midwife who had overseen most of my pregnancy, and had ended up transferred to the wards again and was now going to be responsible for the delivery of my baby!

She checked to see all was well. Yes, contractions were regular, and I was beginning to dilate, but I still had a little way to go. She could see I was tired after three sleepless nights, and so administered some pethidine which softened the pain of contractions, and lulled me into a drug-induced sleep for a couple of hours. (You can only have this up to a certain point, or you end up passing the drug onto the baby, who would come into the world doped up!)

When I awoke there was still a little while to go, but things were progressing nicely. However, the contractions hurt and I had already been a wuss last time. I requested an epidural, which was arranged as soon as possible.

As the anaesthetist, a lovely gentleman, prepared me, getting me to sign my life away, and telling me to stay absolutely still as he inserted the needle.

Just at the point of imminent entry, we were all stopped by an almighty roar from the room next door!


Followed by

“F*** OFF!!!!”

We collapsed into giggles, the anaesthetist, the midwife, Hubby Dearest and me.

Apparently, our loud neighbour was determined that she was going to deliver her baby with absolutely no pain relief whatsoever, relieving any pain by shouting out random phrases!

After composing ourselves, I was prepared once again for that imminent prick, before, this time, being interrupted by myself actually.

Me: “Er, stop!”
Anaesthetist: “Why?”
Me: “Because I think my waters have just broken!”

And sure enough, I had produced a puddle, a HUGE puddle, as I’d always imagined would happen, unlike the long, drawn-out seepage of my first pregnancy!

Finally cleaned up, and ready we went for it, third time lucky, and the needle went in with no problems.

The drugs flowed through my body and I felt myself relax once more.

My lovely midwife checked me again, and informed me baby was in the right position and “Ooh! Feels like a nice big HEAD!”

Really?! Not what I wanted to hear as I was going to have to PUSH that thing out of my bits!

But the epidural gave me a bit more rest, and things really picked up speed.

I went from 8cm to fully dilated pretty quickly, and delivery started. After a few pushes, which I could feel better this time, our Lil Princess arrived, at 6.26pm, another Wednesday baby, like me and her big brother, and born on her granddad, my father-in-law’s birthday!

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Introducing our Lil Princess!

The grandparents arrived to have their first visit.

My mum had come well prepared, taking something out of her bag. In it were countless babygrows, and muslin wraps, and one glimpse of pink.

Remember, we had told no one this was a pink bump.

She pulled out a tiny Punjabi suit, cream and pink. It was too big for a newborn, but gorgeous all the same.

Pops, who is Mr Spiritual and always prayed for a healthy baby, not caring what the sex was, looked at her quizzically.

Pops: Where did that come from?
Mum: Well, you know when we went to India?
Pops: Yes…
Mum: I saw this cute outfit..
Pops: Yes, I remember, and I told you not to tempt fate, and to wait and see what happened.
Mum: Well, I did wait… until the next time we went to that same shop. I sent you to get the car and driver, telling you I’d wait outside the shop, and as soon as you went, I signalled to the shopkeeper who got the outfit ready, I paid for it, stuffed it at the bottom of my bag and rushed outside. I just thought that if it was a girl, I’d have something ready. If it had been a boy, I wouldn’t have brought it!

Then she turned to me. “And you are very naughty! How could you not tell us?! I would have bought so many lovely things for her!”

That was exactly why we hadn’t told anyone, or there would have been an explosion of pink before Lil Princess had even arrived!

Everyone in the family was thrilled to welcome a girl into the family. We were blessed with our perfect two children, the grandparents, all four of them had their first granddaughter, the uncles had a niece to dote upon, and she was extra special, as she was the first girl in my in-laws family for two generations!

And she still is. So far we have two nephews from my side, and none from my Hubby Dearest’s side, so she is going to be that spoilt, overprotected sister/daughter/granddaughter!

Ten years later, recounting that story, I feel none of the pain, but all of the joy and laughter we experienced during that eventful three days leading to her arrival!

Oh, and she did indeed get that name we had decided all those years before!

I hope you enjoyed my second birth recount. Each delivery is different, and every moment is to be celebrated!

I’d love to hear your birth stories ladies, and gents, if you are a dad, please, tell me about how you felt as your partner was going through all that craziness!

Park Wars #LostChildhood

I didn’t grow up in this area, but I grew up in an era when we ran out of our houses as soon as we were allowed, played until we were hungry, and came back home.

Our parents didn’t have to fret about what we were doing. They knew we were in the park, or riding bikes with our friends.

When we started secondary school, there was no fear about us walking to school alone, or with our mates.

Fast forward thirty years and it is a different ball game everywhere we look.

As a parent to a near teenager and a child who will start secondary within the next couple of years, I have an honest fear of what could happen.

My child walks to school, and back, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. He wants to pop into the park for a kick about with his mates, as kids that age naturally want to do. It took us a while to gain the courage to actually let him do that.

The thing is, though I trust my child, and have every faith in him, that he wouldn’t do anything wrong, it’s the rest of the world that I can’t be sure of.

The recent incidents in the local park have caused a great deal of unrest amongst many parents. Articles and posts have been circulating around Facebook, and other Social Media networks, getting everyone rather worried.

I want him to grow up independent, and able to make decisions for himself, but equally, I don’t want to be sending him out like a lamb to slaughter.

( You want to know what happened? A couple of weeks ago a gang of teens beat an innocent lad with a baton, and there have been allegations of organised bare knuckle fights happening there. These are just some recent incidents, but they are becoming more regular, and in turn, are scaring families away from a beautiful park and play area.)

I dropped him off there, to that very park (it’s our local park), last Saturday, tentatively, to meet some friends. I was reassured to see some Community Police Officers circulating at least twice whilst we were parked up waiting for the others. This week though, with all the press and publicity the incidents have received, it was decided that the boys wouldn’t meet. They were sensible about it, reasoning that it was too unsafe to go.

Yes the police can be around, but if someone was to flash a knife and the officers were at the other side of the park, if there at all, they wouldn’t be able to stop something happening. The boy’s words. They also want to know there will be CCTV cameras installed for safety.

Maybe social media has a lot to answer for.

Is it scaremongering of sorts? Who can we blame?

One thing’s for sure though. Our kids are losing out on a lot of chances to learn independence skills because we have this fear of letting them out into that dangerous environment.

I feel saddened that our children don’t feel the freedom of childhood that we did. Instead they end up kept at home, where they are glued to screens. Then we worry about childhood obesity.

Or we run them, and ourselves, ragged, sending them to extra-curricular activities, to get them out of the house, leaving us a pretty penny poorer too. At least meeting at, or riding their bikes to the park is free.

What do the kids want? The chance to meet up with their friends, with no worry about who could turn up, cause trouble or steal bikes.

How can that happen? Park wardens, like the good old days, and proper CCTV cameras installed as a deterrent, and evidence if needed.

Maybe the council could see to use some of that exorbitant council tax we pay to do this, so the youngsters of this region can actually be kids for longer, instead of wannabe gangstas in training…

5 Annoying Songs My Kids Keep Playing! #Parenting #FirstWorldProblems

Yes, I know.

A a youngster, there must have been plenty of tunes that my parents were driven crazy by as we repeatedly played them, but I swear to goodness, the ones the kids play now, are  pure rubbish, noise, not music or melody, and even shouting on occasion!

I am going to list five that they have played recently, ones that really get my goat, and I end up wanting to bury my head in the ground.

1 – The first is the latest one that Lil Princess has discovered. It is entitled Yodelling Kid and started out as a random video of a child yodelling in Walmart of all places. Since becoming infamous there have been countless remixes, and I am now faced with a yodelling kid of my own! Seriously annoying!

2 – The Yah Yah Yah Song… Listen to the lyrics… I’m sure you’ll get why it kills me…

3 – Dobre Brothers – You Know You Lit – I can’t explain how I want to shake the first singer, no expression… but it’s strangely addictive too… STOP LISTENING RITU! COME BACK TO US! It’s one of those so bad it’s good songs…

4 – KSI – Lamborghini – is this called Grime? One of Lil Man’s songs…
I just don’t get it….

and last but not least…

5 – Taco Song – The TEN HOUR version!  Yes seriously, my son, Lil Man thinks this is a great song to game to! TEN HOURS!

Apologies if you end up with some really BAD ear-worms because of me… but I have to suffer this daily. And they say Sharing is Caring, and you all know how caring I am!

Have you got any songs that really cause you to want to throw the music player out of the window?

Support Matters #BloggersBash

It’s not easy being the partner/spouse/family member of a blogger and writer.

I can only imagine what Hubby Dearest and my kids think I am doing, as I sit, reading posts, and laughing to myself, thinking, before feverishly writing comments…

The constant checking my notifications to reply to my Blog Peeps must be so annoying…

Me needing quiet as I write…

Wondering when I am going to bed, as I toy with words on a screen for what seems like forever…

Worrying if I may turn their latest silly comment into a blog post…

Hoping that I might stop soon, to feed them…

But knowing they got my back… Priceless.

The kids have been wonderful, you know, the last couple of weeks, as I finished my WIP. They even listened to snippets, giving me support and encouragement along the way.

Hubby Dearest is a quieter supporter; he lets me get on with things, and is pleased for me when things go well, but doesn’t always really know what I am doing!

But this year he is giving me some extra special support, by accompanying me to the Annual Bloggers Bash! I wanted him to come last year too, so he could meet some of the folks I try to talk about, but it didn’t happen.

This year, he decided that he would do it. Be there for me as I debut as a speaker (more on that below), and cheer me along at the awards too… (again, see below 😉 )

It’s quite a big thing, you know. I’ve been to several events with him over the last 20 years, as his plus one, for company parties. But this is the first time he’s going to be my plus one! (So to speak!)

We’ll try and book somewhere nice for the night, so I don’t have to rush off like a budget Cinderella at 6pm , to catch my train! and share more drinks and chats with my Blogily!

More on the post title about support

Just in case you didn’t know, I’ve been nominated for the Best Overall Blogger 2018 award at the Annual Bloggers bash. I haven’t gone on about it TOO much (yet) because my WIP drained my attention and energy, but I am back!

Best-Overall-Badge 2018

I shall, shamelessly, ask for your support, to think about voting for me… but there are some other AWESOME blogs I am up against…

Retirement Reflections,
Daddy And Dad,
Jenny in Neverland,
Life, Books, and More…,
I’m A Writer, Yes, I Am!,
Me and My Books,
Gin & Lemonade,
Linda’s Book Bag,
A Brummie Home and Abroad,
But I Smile Anyway…,
Smorgasbord-Variety is the Spice of Life,
Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo,
 I’m Sick and So Are You

Please check them out, then click here to be directed to the voting post (to vote for me, obviously!)

There are eight other awards that are open for votes too, and believe me, some very deserving blogs on those lists too! Do vote in each category, it is so easy, simply select and click vote! Done!

But you can ONLY VOTE ONCE, so think carefully before voting!

The votes close at the end of April, so make sure you don’t forget!


And, if you hadn’t heard, I am even giving a talk (eek!) sharing

…my top tips from a working mother on how to keep your blog running smoothly and giving it plenty of attention without abandoning your family and real life too!

Your support in not throwing eggs or rotten fruit if you are there would be much appreciated… and hopefully I don’t put you to sleep! (I’ve worked really hard on the handout too!)

Click here for more information about the Guest Speakers for the day!

There will even be a panel discussion too, which is always so informative.

And there just might be some cake involved too…..

Those were my creations last year!

Are you coming to the Bash? Let me know in the comments, I’m excited to know which new blog pals I will get to meet this year, and catch up with my old Blog Buddies too!

If not, why not? Click here to get your tickets! 


Flash Fiction Must Run In The Family… #YoungWriters

I’ve mentioned the Lil Princess a few times with regards to creativity, be it singing, drawing or writing.

This time I have to report that Lil Man is now nearly up there with the published authors of our time!

His school sent some entries to a company here, who encourages and promotes young writers, and Lil Man’s flash fiction piece was one that was chosen! The compilation is called Stranger Sagas…

Here is his piece!

The Magic Pen
It started at my birthday and Grandpa came. I like Grandpa
coming on my birthday, he gives me presents which were his
when he was a boy. This year, Grandpa gave me a pen.
Grandpa handed me the pen.
He said, “Click this pen when you are in great trouble.”
By the way, my name is Billy. I’m twelve years old. Later, I
went to school. I had the pen that Grandpa gave me, just in
case I needed it. I clicked it. Click! Time froze. What do I do?

The Young Writers Association is a company which targets schools and encourages entries into various competitions for children of all ages.

They select ‘winners’ to go into books, and yes, it is a ploy to get proud parent’s to buy the books, but if it gets kids writing, I am all for it!

(Yes I have already ordered one copy – not going mad and ordering one for every member of the family!!!)

What did you think of his flash?


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