Hayley Matthews: The baby's here, keeping me abreast of the latest aids
I'm sitting writing this with baby Oryn (who arrived recently) attached to my left boob as I realise that my six-year old's cheesy bean bites have been in the oven for 55 minutes more than they needed to be.
Normally, I’d pass out at such a faux pas, However, I’m much more relaxed about being a mum this time round. I’ve researched gadgets to make life easier, read up on techniques for a happy baby and am really enjoying these first precious moments together. All this, despite Mr Hayley cracking a rib two days after we got out of hospital. Anyway, that story is for another week.
I was prepared for every eventuality and, even though I was going in for a planned C-section, I was armed with My Expert Midwife invented by midwife and mum duo Lesley and Claire, who both experienced traumatic births and found that there were no suitable products on the market. After three years in development My Expert Midwife was born. They launched alongside the #Letsbehonest campaign to encourage women to speak out about the reality and side-effects that come with being pregnant, giving birth and being a mum. I love that Lesley is a practising midwife and also featured on two series of Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute. I reckon that if it hadn’t been for their nipple balm in those first few breastfeeding days, then I’d be going back in for an operation to get my nipples stitched back on.
I had three bags in hospital with me, all containing many aids to help after delivery. One of the most useful items was a breastfeeding pillow. If you’re going in for a C-section and planning on breastfeeding, then you’ll need a pillow support. I realise birth takes its toll on a woman in so many ways, however, there are things out there to make your life a little easier and I want to shout about my finds to help others have an easier time.
I struggled to sit up after surgery as I had an awful lot of scar tissue from a previous C-section. My bladder was also stuck to it. The weight of a baby on your tummy to breastfeed is incredibly sore. However, I was determined to breastfeed and knew I’d be in pain and would need help. I read up on the HushCush which was invented by mum-of-three Jana Howard, when her youngest son was born. She was having a terrible time breastfeeding and her son also suffered with reflux and indigestion. After trying various nursing pillows and struggling with getting her baby to latch on properly she began to imagine an aid that would help both of them. She named the product HushCush. Hush stands for soothing and Cush – cushion, brilliant for helping evenly distribute baby’s weight and is great for C-section tummies.
I love reading stories like Jana’s and the girls at My Expert Midwife because who better to know what women need after birth than midwives and mothers?
Hundreds of women have C-sections, both planned and emergency, in Scotland each year and if you’re one of them reading this, please relax, you’re in safe hands, just take in as many wee things to help you after delivery as you can. We don’t get any medals for being pain heroes!
Also, be kind to yourself. Birth is the greatest gift of all and as a friend always says to me “being a mother is the most rewarding yet most thankless job any woman will ever do”. So go easy on yourself mums, we’re all amazing!