People's Stories!, Pregnancy and Baby

Danni’s Birth Story

Danni, 26 shares her traumatic birth story to raise awareness for other pregnant women.

Danni is one of my best friends whom I met through the Colostomy UK support group via Facebook. We have been eachother’s rocks through our pregnancies and everything that she has been through, we have gone through together! *please note any triggers before you read about trauma, surgery and birth*

About 2:30am on the 11th November 2021 I finally had enough of feeling unwell and my gut was telling me something was badly wrong. (For those of you who know I’m a Type 1 Diabetic and have been for 16 years now) I checked my ketones and they were extremely high which is VERY dangerous for a Diabetic let alone a PREGNANT Diabetic.

Josh (Danni’s husband) immediately called for an Ambulance who said that because I was still breathing, it would be a 6 HOUR wait and that I wasn’t classed as a priority. I then rang my family who rushed me straight into A&E and even though I explained my situation to the Receptionist, I was told it would be a long wait. Knowing full well I was in something called DKA by then, which again is VERY dangerous and life threatening.

I eventually got seen by Triage about 15-20 minutes later who understood my situation and quickly got me onto a bed in the main A&E bit of the Hospital. I had NOTHING done other than bloods and my health started quickly deteriorating (throwing up black stuff with blood in it) which I mentioned SEVERAL times to the nurses. Maternity didn’t even come down to do a check on Jackson even when I told them I hadn’t felt him move AT ALL for hours.

By about 9am my amazing Diabetes Team came to see me and noticed how ill I was, they then rushed me into Resus and proceeded to work on me trying to get me stable. Maternity came down and I will never forget my Midwife’s face when she put me on the baby monitor. Jackson was in severe tachycardia and I was also in pre term labour.

DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis) masks the normal symptoms of everything especially in Pregnancy. I was also in severe tachycardia so the Surgeons came down and decided to get me straight up to the operating theatre and do a Cat 1 C-Section which means a threat to life unless intervention can be done.

I had to have a spinal (where local anesthetic is injected into the spine) because it was too risky to put me under general anaesthetic, which I was kinda glad about because that meant I could have Josh by my side in theatre while they saved both mine and Jackson’s lives!  Myself, Josh and our families will be forever grateful that me and Jackson are now safe and healthy.

The reason why a full investigation is being done by the NHS and PALS is because the A&E staff should have done so much more, being busy is no excuse before someone comments that. The nurses were talking to eachother quite a lot so I know they weren’t rushed off their feet and when I was being violently sick they just stood there looking at me. I also wasn’t allowed Josh with me even when I was in critical condition.

Just wanted to share my story, I’m VERY grateful we now have our little family, I do have PTSD from the Trauma but hopefully that goes away in time.

Very proud of Danni to raise awareness of such a traumatic event in aid of helping others!

Pregnancy and Baby

My Favourite Baby Items!

These items are fantastic for when you have a newborn! Super affordable and definitely what you want stock of in your bathroom/cupboards!

I had heard about vapour bubble at being great for babies full of the cold from friends and the ‘From One Mum To Another Official’ Facebook group. There was another kind by a brand called Shnuffle Babe at £7.30 which is quite a bit more expensive, ASDA’s own brand is just £1! Their bubble baths and nappies/wipes haven’t let me down yet! Tonight, we tried it with my 6 week old as he has come down with the cold terribly for the second time in under 2 weeks and spent the night choking! Afterwards, so much came out of his nose and he is no longer sounding like a little snorter. I use bubble bath for him every 2 days and never get results like this with those so the vapour 100% does the job!

The Johnsons bed time bubble bath at £3 smells gorgeous and super relaxing! I also have the oil to match. These were recommended to me by babies godmother who’s little girl turned 1 today! The oil is really lovely for massaging your babies tummy if they are colic or constipated and smells so lush!

I also highly recommend pure organic Coconut Oil and e45 for moisturising your babies skin!

Now for the cute star shaped ‘thing’! This is actually a bath thermometer believe it or not! I got this in my baby box, which is a Scottish baby package, to read about the Baby Box Appeal please click here. It has two different modes of measuring the heat in either Fahrenheit or Celsius and let’s you know when the water is too hot or too cold by flashing blue for cold and red for hot! It’s very easy to clean, too. You can get these pretty much anywhere online and they are not expensive.

Last but not least is the Boots steriliser descaler at £2.50 that can be used on other household appliances, which is stated at the back of the box. You only need one scoop and it works great! I have used it in my kettle this evening, usually I use more expensive brands like Ecozone. The boots own brand did the same job if not better! It is quite a big box compared to the sachets I normally get at £3 for a box of three sachets.

I hope this is helpful for other first time mum’s out there! ❤

Pregnancy and Baby

Knowing The Necessities and Accessories With A New Born

Before having my new born, there was SO much items I got either free, gifted or bought. It’s amazed me just how much I haven’t needed! In this blog, I’m going to help you prepare for a new born with what items are necessities and accessories.

Firstly, let’s talk about accessories; things that look lush but don’t serve much purpose or that are really not needed so much.

  • Changing mats – where these can be practical mostly for traveling and easy to take to places e.g visiting family, they are actually quite messy when changing your baby and they have an accident. Due to being waterproof the accident stays and your baby gets messy so easily and it takes longer to clean up as well as longer time cleaning your baby.
  • Feeding pillows – where these look super comfy and cute, it actually makes feeding a bit more difficult and they take up quite a bit of room.
  • Prep Machine – where this looks super cool and a good bit of electronics to have in the house, a kettle is much better due to being much more sterile and you don’t have to worry too much about cleaning and worrying about any bacteria that may get trapped as it would in a prep machine.
  • Joggers or jeans type outfits – for a newborn these are great for a photo shoot or a day out but practically speaking, it is a lot more difficult and time consuming to put these on! New borns have accidents and also suffer with colic so the tight waistband of these can make your baby a lot more uncomfortable.
  • Fancy bottles and teats – this is the most important lesson I have learnt! Don’t buy too many of these until you have had your baby. When in hospital, there are two different types of teats and you will learn what works best for your baby whilst in hospital. When you go home, you can buy what works best then to save wasting money on bottles and teats!
  • Fleece type blankets – where these are good for walks in the pram, practically for moses baskets and cribs these aren’t ideal! Your baby over heats so quickly with these and can cause your baby to become dehydrated and unwell very quickly.
  • Pre made milk (if you are formula feeding) – I thought this would be most handy to have! The pre made milk takes longer to heat up than what it does to cool down a fresh made bottle with powdered formula.
  • Maternity clothes – over priced and buying a size or two up saves you A LOT of money. I personally found the maternity jeans SO uncomfortable.

Of course, every baby is different so some things that one baby likes, another may not. For safety and great advice, read those booklets your health visitor gives you! They are packed full of great information and are so helpful.

Now for the necessities! Things that you need close by at all times and a stock of!

  • Size 1 nappies – have a good stock of nappies! Even in your hospital bags for going into hospital. Try a few different brands or stick to one, whatever works best for your baby makes a happy baby. It’s handy to store some next to your bedside; which I’ll elaborate on in my next point.
  • A storage caddy – these are so handy for keeping items close by, keeping them tidy and organised! In my caddy I have nappies, sudocrem, nappy sacks, wipes, sleep suits, vest suits, bibs, coconut oil, bed time oil, a fresh towel, the red book, cotton wool pads and soothers.
  • Lots and lots of hooded towels – these are fantastic for nappy changes (any accidents are quickly absorbed) as well as their main purpose at Bath time.
  • Coconut oil – this is a great way to keep your babies dry skin at bay and really good for massage time! It contains no perfumes and is totally natural.
  • A bath support sponge – you can get these on amazon and I’m so glad I got one! You can use them in the sink, bath or in a baby bath to keep your baby supported during bath time. Making bath time so much easier.
  • Drawers specifically for baby stuff – however many drawers you have, it’s good to keep your baby’s clothes, nappies, bathing items etc in their own drawers so it is easy to find them.
  • Variety of sized clothing – now this is a BIG one! Different places are differently sized with clothing and it is super frustrating. So it’s good to shop around and get a variety of sized items.
  • Cellular blankets – you can never have too many! You’d be surprised just how many you use and go through daily.
  • An electric or cold water steriliser – both of these are just as good as the other. The cold water steriliser is great for keeping items in there for upto 24 hours if you don’t need them constantly and the electric steriliser is great for items you need sterilised quickly.
  • Tummy time play mats – there are such varieties of these to choose from and are great for keeping your baby entertained when they are wide awake.
  • Maternity pads/breast pads – these are a MUST. Normal pads simply don’t cut it, where everyone does bleed differently, there are some days you may bleed heavily and the maternity pads are super absorbent. The breast pads are handy when you leak and although I didn’t leak very much, it does help having them in your bra to avoid any staining on your bras and clothes as well as keeping you fresh.
  • Nighties – I found these far better than pyjamas especially in hospital due to frequency of needing the toilet and vaginal examinations.
  • Granny type pants!! – post partum these are a god send. If you are a c section mumma, even better; these help with recovery by not putting pressure or rubbing on your scar as normal underwear would. (If you are an ostomate, Vanilla Blush briefs are amazing for recovery after a c section by helping keep your bag away from your wound/scar.)
  • A nappy changing bag – any will do but SUPER useful when you are out and about.

When it comes to baby chairs, bouncers, prams and car seats always make sure they are certified and within date if you are getting any second hand. There are so many gorgeous ones to pick from within any budget. If you are receiving benefits you should sign up for your best starts card (this may only be limited to Scotland – this I am unsure of) and make sure you get your MatB1 form. Scotland also has the baby box scheme which your midwife will give you to sign up for and you will receive it at around 34 weeks!

As I am a first time mum at just over 2 weeks I am sure there will be so much more things I find useful along the way as Odin grows up and so I will make sure to blog about those. It’s been such an exiting journey and I’ve loved how the most simple items have been the most useful for us!

Until next time, Alannah x

Pregnancy and Baby

Welcoming Baby Odin!

We are so very happy to announce that my beautiful little boy was born on Wednesday the 13th of October at 12:48pm weighing in at over 8 pounds! We have named him Odin George Edward Laughton and he is just gorgeous!

I was in hospital for 2 weeks prior to my c section as I had gotten really unwell. I also had contractions for a whole week which took my breath away when contracting! Luckily, I never dilated nor did my waters break – both of which is good in my circumstances of not being allowed to go into natural labor. My C Section wasn’t near as bad as I had thought it out in my head to be and being put under General Anesthetic wasn’t traumatising for me at all. The staff were so amazing and really went above and beyond to make it comfortable for me. Waking up afterwards was really rough, I was vomiting really hard because of the mucous stuck in my throat and being so tender, I couldn’t cought it up. I stayed in recovery over night and they were so great in helping me look after Odin with feeds, nappy changed and burping him. The day after the surgery was the worst pain wise due to my womb contracting back and shedding the thick lining that forms during pregnancy! It didn’t take them long to get my pain under control though and yesterday (16th of October) we got home!!

It is so surreal, I keep thinking I’m dreaming! Being a mummy is the most amazing thing in the world and nothing beats it! Being a mummy is something I have wanted for so long that we didn’t think would ever happen for us. Now, I have such a healthy baby boy despite being so ill during my pregnancy! It’s such a blessing as well as a miracle and having a rainbow baby (baby after loss) makes him so special to us. The late nights/early mornings and nappy changes are all such a blessing even if I am tired, just being a mum and caring for my baby makes everything so worth it!

I am so thankful to all staff at Aberdeen Maternity Unit for the amazing care Odin and I had! From the domestics, kitchen staff, cleaners, nurses, auxiliaries, midwifes, doctors, surgical team and everyone there! I also met three great new friends during my admission who I still keep in contact with. Jaimie was also able to stay for three nights at a hotel very close by thanks to the NHS Aberdeen and NHS at Dr Grays in Elgin and we are so grateful!

I had my midwife come round today to check on us and the same tomorrow. I also have family coming over today to help us put things away and clean the house. Jaimie had major surgery just over 3 weeks ago to move his Ileostomy from the right side to the left and so he is still quite tender. My c section wound is a little sore but mostly it is my back that hurts which a hot water bottle really helps! The bleeding after my section has also not been too bad at all which is a huge relief as I was so worried about that prior!

Over all, it’s been the hardest but most amazing experience in my life. ❤

Pregnancy and Baby

The Highs And Lows In Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of those experiences that unless you experience it, you don’t REALLY understand it. The good and bad thing is that it is different for so many!

Many women find that falling pregnant doesn’t ‘just happen’ and it can take a few tries and losses to finally get far along enough to feel that “safe zone”. If you are high risk and have lost before, you will find that each milestone feels like a huge achievement. As each day, week and month goes by you still feel anxious, scared, nervous, excited and have a sense of wonder for what the future holds for you as a first time mum.

For me, the first milestone was 12 weeks because I have never, ever gotten that far before. Then came 20 weeks where we also found out the gender of our baby and had the babies weight and organs checked, all of which came back 100%!! It was a huge shock for us due to us both being chronically ill, we worried something would happen or be passed onto the baby so we were super chuffed to hear all is well and a VERY strong heartbeat! Now, at 21 weeks my next milestone is going to be 24 weeks and I feel that at that one I can fully breathe and relax a little bit better without so much worry.

So what have the highs and lows been for me? There has been so many, just to list a few:

  • Losing friends – it is true what they say that when you become pregnant, you realise who is really there for you. One of my friends of years completely blocked and removed me over night. It still hurts to this day but you do learn to come to terms with losses of friendships over time!
  • Feeling the baby kick – it feels bizarre! But it is SO lovely to wake up in the morning by little baby kicking away letting me know they are awake!
  • The hot flushes – oh. my. goodness. They come out of nowhere and can last upto a few hours!! The room can be freezing due to windows open and the fan on the highest setting and I will still feel too hot! Eventually it does settle with some paracetamol and an ice pack.
  • The hunger – this is a funny one! You eat and eat and EAT and you still don’t feel full, only when you feel the indigestion pain starting and the sick burps from your body letting you know that “girl you have to stop!!”
  • The amazing support – you connect with your friends and family in a much different way than before. Especially those who have had children of their own as its nice to have something in common. For friends who haven’t had kids yet, its nice to be able to share this experience with them!
  • The fatigue – this part is probably the worst. As I have said previously, 10 years of chronic illnesses has not prepared me for how tired you become when pregnant. Before I would laugh it off when people would tell me how tired you get when carrying! Naps have become my daily routine and really do help.
  • Looking at baby clothes/items!! – looking at all the cute items and clothing you can get for your baby is the best feeling ever! Everything is so dinky and cute! It makes you that more excited for the arrival of your baby.
  • Blockages/constipation – this has been super difficult! Just a few days ago, I had a really bad blockage and was vomiting real hard. I was super close to going to hospital but eventually after sipping on diluted laxatives from 6am, it eventually did clear. The constipation makes my stoma quite swollen so sometimes it can be painful however having an Ileostomy means there are now nerve endings so you really don’t feel much apart from pressure and swelling which is like a tightness.
  • Lastly (this one is very dependant on you and your pregnancy) the pain – luckily my crohns hasn’t been too bad but everything else has not been so kind on my body! I was diagnosed with PGP (pelvic girdle pain) which is super painful along side having Hyper Mobility Syndrome – my joints dislocate and pop back into place almost daily, sometimes multiple times per day. So I have to rest quite a lot! All it takes is a sneeze or cough and my hip clicks and pops.

It’s been really lovely to document my pregnancy journey not only here, but over at Trio Healthcare too where I talk about how pregnancy has been with a stoma. When I first became an ostomate, there was no blogs or information available about pregnancy with an ostomy and so, I never knew what to expect or any advice on how to cope with things! I hope by sharing my experiences, that it helps anyone out there with an ostomy feel reassured and have some advice on becoming an ostomy mum! To start with, I was so worried about how it would affects my stoma and my chronic illnesses but in time like with most things, you learn to adapt and cope with what your body throws at you. You learn to grow through your pain and bad experiences and turn them into something good! My number 1 advice would be is to listen to your body, so often we push ourselves to do that bit of housework or go for a walk when our body feels ready to collapse with tiredness! Rest is so important.

Pregnancy and Baby

We Are Expecting!

Proud Big Brother To Be! Mr.Biggles!

Super late in updating my blog on all the news and changes we have had the past few months! As you can see in the picture of our proud boy Biggie, we are expecting our rainbow baby in October this year! This week I am 16 weeks (12/05) and I’m not going to lie, pregnancy has been REALLY tough for my body. The morning sickness that doesn’t just occur in the mornings (weird, right?) has been all day every day, relying on antisickness meds just so I am able to keep water down and be able to eat. Prior to us finding out at 6 weeks, life was really tough and my mental health wasn’t doing so well with a lot of stress around where we were and that in turn was making me super unwell. Just a few weeks before taking my first pregnancy test, we had went to view a house out in the country and had been accepted for it! It was SO meant to be! Thanks to family and friends, we got moved in a couple of hours about a month ago. We still have to paint our bedroom, the babies room and hallway but we have plenty time!

So for my pregnancy, I have a consultant and midwife with a planned C Section under General Aesthetic for my birth plan at approx 39 weeks, all being well. I know on my social medias I answer everyone’s questions there but just on the off chance that you didn’t see the posts, here are some questions I have been asked quite a few times:

  • “What advice do you have for other ostomates or chronically ill people who want to have a family?” – My first most encouraging advice is DON’T have the stress of trying, don’t try. Now this may seem a weird thing to say but continue reading and you’ll see what I mean! My partner Jaimie also has a permanent stoma and ken butt so you would think our odds would have been made very difficult! We had been trying for a while but I had a miscarry last November and I lost all hope and we stopped trying. The one advice I’ve always been given is not to try, it will happen when it is meant to – and that’s exactly what happened. I always found that saying so cliché but it proved me wrong! PLEASE note that this does NOT apply to those with fertility issues. If you are concerned about this being an issue I really do advise to see your GP or specialists for the appropriate referral to have a consultation and tests done to determine this.
  • ” How did you meet our partner and is he excited to be a dad?!” – Jaimie and I met actually when I was just 17 after I was newly diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease via Facebook when I had made a group for those local here with IBD because I knew nobody with it and felt very alone. We spoke for a little while then lost contact as I was in a very toxic and abusive relationship. Then at the end of 2017, we met again on Instagram and Jaimie had not long had surgery for his permanent stoma and needed advice and just someone to talk to who could relate! He was in a relationship at the time so I thought nothing more of it as helping someone who was new to stoma life, as did he! After a while, the relationship came to an end and we were both gamers, now at this time my laptop was away being repaired AGAIN (lol) and so he offered for me to borrow his! So sweet! After that, we have been inseparable. This year in November will mark our 4 years together. Has it been easy? No! We have had many obstacles to pass, a miscarry, failing to become pregnant, past people, current people, normal daily stresses, hospital stays, surgeries, moving house twice, mental health, pain and grief. But we got through it! It helps that we both have permanent stomas because we understand each other. Jaimie is super excited to be a dad but we are both absolutely shitting it too! life is by far perfect but we make the most of what we have and tackle what comes our way as a team.
  • “Why can you not have a natural labour for the birth of the baby?” – I have a permanent stoma with a barbie butt that has not healed, I had the operation 6 years ago (no nothing you advise me will work as I’ve probably already tried it!) Because of this being one of my complications from Crohn’s Disease, the wound area is full of blood vessels which if too much pressure was to be had there it wouldn’t be pretty and exposes me to some real dangers. Due to having my permanent stoma, fistulas and abscesses and the surgeries for those, I have a build up of scar tissue. I am a high risk pregnancy which means that they have decided a C Section at 39 weeks is best to avoid any complications that may occur during labour and avoid any danger to myself and/or the baby. I have severe PTSD when in hospital environments or busy and panic provoking environments which leaves me frantic, spewing, shaking, unable to stand from shaking, dizzy and sets of my asthma and I have a panic attack and asthma attack at the same time. I have nerve damage in my back as a result from my stoma and barbie butt surgeries meaning an epidural is not an option and would make my long term chronic back pain and sciatica much more worse. I have a rare type of Crohn’s Disease which is all below my belly button so inside my pelvis, my vagina and inside the perineal wound where my butt used to be. This means I have SO much fistulas all inside my pelvis going from here to there so they in themselves cause a few complications. I also have a fluid collection where my rectum used to be, this drains through my sinuses and main large fistula. As far as I know these can be prone to infection etc however I’m not 100% on what would happen with this in a natural labour but I can imagine nothing good!

Many people CAN have a natural birth with a permanent ostomy so don’t let this put you off if you are an ostomy mum to be or plan on having kids and you have an ostomy. This is the result of my birth plan that has been made for me and my baby by a consultant and 2 midwifes! Always some positives with the less positive!

The plan until the C Section is regular growth scans, monthly appointments with my consultant, check ups with my Midwife and remaining on antisickness unless that changes and the sickness goes away, which I am REALLY hoping for! I had my physio appointment this week so I have some light exercises to do which includes pelvic floor muscles, try to go for walks when I can (which isn’t often due to being so sick and in pain) and resting as much as possible. We have our gender scan booked for next month too which will be nice! I have my first face to face appointment with my midwife this week too. I am really nervous but excited too! I’ve also joined some Facebook groups that are for mums with IBD and an Ostomy which has helped me massively – there are other women there that I can relate to that has not enjoyed pregnancy either and been really unwell during. The only downside I have found is sadly that a lot of my family haven’t bothered to congratulate me, message me to see how I am or interact with me or just to see if I need anything or any help. It was stressing me out and upsetting me so much seeing them all interact with each others posts, going out together etc and I couldn’t even get one message or a congratulations so for my own mental wellbeing and eliminating stress, I deleted them out of my life. The very close family that we do have, have been amazing!! Friends too! Always messaging to check up on me, video calls, phone calls and supporting me really well. Super grateful for those that have stuck by me and continue to join me on the journey to parenthood!

Please feel free to message me on my social media for a chat if you are going through the same, need advice on pregnancy or if you have any questions that I haven’t already answered! ❤