Men on Maternity Wards

Alexandra's blissfully unaware daddy's gone home and mommy's in charge!

Alexandra’s blissfully unaware daddy’s gone home and mommy’s in charge!

I’m on a parenting forum (not THAT one!) and very often interesting discussions come up about all sorts of topics relating to babies, parenting and more. A few weeks back (I write down ideas for posts and then tend to sit down and pen a couple in one go so as a result I’m sometimes massively behind the times!) there was one which got me thinking hence deciding to write a post on it.

They were talking about the rights and wrongs of having male partners staying overnight on a maternity ward. Personally my experience is the two nights after I had Alexandra I was in a four-bed bay and Dylan had to go home overnight. Once I became unwell, I was moved into a private room and we were then given a camp bed for him to sleep on and he stayed every night until our discharge 12 days after Alex was born, even on the nights we were moved back up to the labour ward.
Personally I couldn’t have coped without him at that point, especially as I was becoming so unwell it was often up to him to do the lion’s share of the childcare. If he hadn’t been there I would have needed much more input from the midwives and healthcare assistants who were already speaking a disproportionate amount of their time with me due to the extra needs I had compared to most women they see.
I completely get that it’s not practical to always allow men to stay on the wards, especially when their partners are on a ward rather than in a side room. After all, the other women might want their privacy after having given birth themselves. But from a mental health point of view (and a physical one too where it’s been a traumatic birth) I think there’s a real argument for men being there.
It’s one thing a woman who’s had a straightforward birth and is likely to be out after a day spending that one night on her own with the baby (although to be honest even the thought of that while I was pregnant scared the hell out of me) but quite another if they’ve had a section or something go wrong or they or the baby are unwell. Having a partner there to support you, get up and see to the baby or even just to calm you when you’re worrying about something in the middle of the night is pretty essential in my books.
Of course in an ideal world we’d all be back at home super quick and have that early time to bond as a family, but we all know it doesn’t work like that! Also in an ideal world they’d be enough midwives to go round and all the rooms would be private rather than shared bays. But now I’m really getting into the realms of fantasy!
Harriet and Alexandra X

This Year…


This year…I found out I was pregnant, carried a baby for almost 38 weeks and gave birth!

This year…I experienced the joy of being a mother and having your baby smile at you for the first time!

This year…I moved in permanently with my other half Dylan.

This year…I spent more time than I would have liked to in hospital – although I did get to meet the amazing maternity team at the Princess Royal.

This year…I became a Mrs but not a wife (yet!).

This year…I made some wonderful mommy friends in addition to my lovely friends and family.

This year…we became a family!

This year…was tough but ultimately very amazing.

Happy New Year!

Harriet and Alexandra x

The Week That Was: Week 36

Bump at 36+4

Bump at 36+4

Time really is racing on now and I feel like these posts come much quicker than once a week! Today I’m excitingly classed as term although we could still have another five weeks to wait. I’ve still not been feeling 100% with headaches and problems with my ears but thankfully haven’t had to go back to hospital and the issue does seem to be getting better. Really hoping by next week it will all be a distant memory!

I had my 36 week appointment with the midwife this Wednesday and she’s happy with the way everything is going – bump is measuring 37cm (thankfully the 32cm measured by one of the midwives at the hospital last weekend seems to have been an anomaly!) and she is still head down and is now 4/5ths engaged. I’m very pleased she’s still in the right position as it would be pretty annoying for her to have moved now having been head down for the last few months.

As to whether being engaged will mean she’ll make an early appearance, no one can really tell – but (and a massive part of this is due to the wedding being less than two weeks away now!) I’m more than happy for her to stay put for the time being. I’ve seen lots of expectant mothers get to 37 weeks (considered ‘term’) and then start doing everything they can from gulping down whole pineapples to walking miles to get the baby out. But right now my focus is on having an amazing wedding day! I think it’s an excellent distraction from just how massively pregnant I am. Of course I’m not saying that come 39 weeks when I’ll be a married lady that I won’t then be desperate to induce labour and not go overdue!

Physically I’m still feeling tired and very cumbersome at the moment but I wouldn’t say it’s got any worse in the last couple of weeks. I have been having all sorts of odd sensations though – which I believe are as a result of her dropping down and engaging. I could definitely tell she was lower down and there’s a lot of pressure and movement which sometimes isn’t fun. It’s got to the point where some of the kicks and rolls are quite painful as she’s got a fair amount of weight behind her now! But it’s not long to go until I’ll be watching her kick and move around outside my belly and not inside!

Harriet and bump x

Massive Milestones


These baby milestone cards seem to be all the rage these days – with people getting them so they can document not only age milestones (one week old, one month old etc) but also other events like first smile, sitting up unaided and so on. We haven’t got any yet although I think they’d be really lovely to have for photos – but seeing them so often got me thinking a little bit about what milestones I’m most looking forward to in the first weeks of our baby’s life.

First daddy cuddle – I absolutely cannot wait to see Dylan hold our little girl for the first time! I think I’m almost as excited to see that as I am to cuddle her myself. I just think it’s going to be one of those magical moments you remember forever.

First night at home – I’m actually dreading having to stay in hospital after the birth, even though loads of people have told me they really benefitted from being there for a couple of days. Maybe I’ll feel differently when she’s here and really want that professional support on hand but right now I’m looking forward to her coming home for that first night where it’s the three of us together – no matter how exhausting it might be!

Meeting my goddaughter – Of course I can’t wait for her to meet my entire family and all my friends too, but my goddaughter is almost four and the way she talks about the baby is so cute! Seeing them meet for the first time is definitely going to melt my heart.

First swim –¬†Both myself and Dylan are definitely water fans – we love swimming, both have sailing qualifications and Dyl is also a regular diver. So for us it’s important to take our little one swimming and get her used to the water as soon as possible! We hope she’s going to be a little water baby and as she already has three swimming costumes she’s definitely got the gear already!

Harriet and bump x

The Week That Was: Week 35

35+5 bump

35+5 bump

Apologies for a very late update this week. It hasn’t been the best of weeks health-wise although it could have been a lot worse and thankfully baby is absolutely fine. In my update last week I spoke about the pesky ear infection which had invaded my life completely uninvited, unfortunately it’s been lingering on this week too and that’s resulted in two hospital visits over the weekend.

I started getting really blurred vision and dizziness yesterday so called up the day assessment unit and they asked me to come and get checked over. Everything was fine with the little one but after three and a half hours of being monitored and waiting around for doctors etc I was definitely feeling worse for wear. They wanted me to stay in but weren’t actually going to monitor me overnight, I was just meant to have a blood test and then wait for the ear, nose and throat doctors to visit me this morning. Instead I decided going home would be much more beneficial to try and get some sleep – and to let poor Dylan sleep as he wasn’t well either and it was nearly 11pm by this point.

So we went back this morning and eventually after another four hours got prescribed some stuff by the ENT doctors which will hopefully shift the fluid which has apparently built up behind my ear and is causing the pressure and headaches in the left side of my head.

Thankfully I also got the bump remeasured – the midwife yesterday measured me as 32cm which is obviously behind what I should be and is also lower than I’ve been measuring for a few weeks. Cue the need for a growth scan, both myself and Dylan were puzzled wondering how the bump could have shrunk?! But this morning a different midwife got 37cm which is perfectly fine and thus she was happy to cancel the scan and let me see my own community midwife on Wednesday to be measured again.

Apart from that, baby is moving well and her heartbeat is alway super loud and strong which is very reassuring. We bought her a baby bouncer this week but other than that I haven’t really done much cause I’ve felt so rotten! I’m hoping to write next week’s update feeling much brighter.

See you on Sunday when I’ll be term!

Harriet and bump x

Bangkok Bump

As you read this I will be in sunny Thailand exploring the delights of Bangkok! I am hugely excited about our honeymoon and will no doubt share some tales on my return. But for now I just wanted to share a couple of the things I’d picked up to wear while I was over there. As I mentioned in this post (Maternity wear, where?) I’ve found it really difficult to shop for my holiday and as I write this just a week before departure I still don’t have a few of the basics!


These basics were all from New Look – I thought they were useful as they could either be worn as they are or used underneath shorter pre-pregnancy tops (obviously not going to be layering on holiday!)

Grey top isn’t online anymore as it was in the sale!/white top/set of three vest tops (in different colours because those ones aren’t online anymore!)


Blue butterfly dress


Maternity Wear, Where?

My possible future. Image from

My possible future. Image from

Before getting pregnant (how many of my posts have this phrase in them?) I hadn’t really thought about the practicalities of clothing yourself while pregnant. I mean, sure, I’d noticed that you change shape and obviously I’d walked past maternity stands in the shop (in fact, they seemed to be everywhere a couple of years ago?). But I’d never really seen pregnant women running around covering themselves with leaves to stay warm and I’d always assumed those with their bump proudly hanging out in a teeny tiny top which probably didn’t even fit them before they were up the duff were doing so purely of their own choosing. Now, I pity all fellow preggos.

My first foray into maternity clothing came very early on, about seven weeks into my pregnancy. I had what one would call a ‘massive bloated belly’ and therefore couldn’t fit into any of my jeans. No bother I thought, I’ll buy jeans now and then I’ll get loads of wear out of them before baby. So I purchased a pair of ‘under bump’ jeans – first big error right there. In the shop they felt and looked okay, for about ten seconds when I first wore them they were okay, all of the times I’ve tried with them since have been horrendous (ie I have to pull them up about even seven milliseconds). Maybe I’m an odd shape (one of my many worries includes if my baby’s going to come out all bulgy in weird places cause my bump certainly isn’t smooth and perfectly rounded), maybe it’s just me but I cannot get the buggers to stay where I want them to be. I’ve now banished them to the top of the wardrobe and feel a bit angry every time I catch sight of them (so as not to leave you on a sad note jeans-wise, I’ve recently bought two over-the-bump pairs from the same shop and I love them! Total comfort).

Aside from one pair of maternity leggings, in the intervening weeks I’ve basically been squeezing myself into my normal leggings with long tops, hoping for good enough weather to wear an empire line dress and ignoring the fact jeans exist. But then about two weeks ago, Dylan pointed out the baby had far more clothes than I did and, especially given our upcoming holiday, perhaps buying some clothing for myself might be in order (other options included stitching together many of her tiny clothes or reverting to ‘leaf style’ as mentioned above). Easy I thought. Not so. WHERE are the maternity clothes? Granted, I haven’t gone to any major cities to try and find some. But the town I live in has a massive shopping centre and loads of surrounding retail parks and there’s hardly a stitch. There’s a Mothercare and about one rail in H&M but aside from that I really can’t see anything. I’ve reverted to shopping online which isn’t my favourite thing – I want to go into a shop, try stuff on and buy it in the knowledge it fits okay. Even then it’s been hit and miss and although I’ve now got a few lovely dresses to take on holiday (which I’ll share soon) I currently have no shorts and time is running out!

I just can’t understand this lack of maternity-wear out there (and some of the stuff when you do find it is extortionate, maybe I’m a cheapskate but the idea of paying close to ¬£50 for shorts I might get three months’ wear out of isn’t on) – do retailers not ever go out and see how many pregnant people there are in this world? Why has no one set up a maternity-only shop where we can all relish in the sight of comfy waistbands and extra material? We’re already putting up with swelling, sickness, aches and pains and the prospect of a small person emerging from our hoo-ha – why can’t we have nice clothes during this process?!

Please do share if you have any tips for maternity wear…or if you just want a bit of a grumble like me!

Harriet and bump x