BabyBoardy Blog

You are invited to follow the developing life of Baby Boardy as the BB ventures from life in the amniotic swamp to the bright city lights of Melbourne.

Monday, February 27, 2006

BabyBoardy Blog - Over and out

Well, we do hope that you've enjoyed our journey into parenthood. But now that the BabyBoardy is a real, live person, we think that Genevieve deserves her own blog.

So feel free to take a look at her new Now and Gen blog. On this, we'll keep you up to date with what's happening. In these first few weeks, I'm sure that'll be a lot. Afterwards, perhaps when something interesting happens. (If we aren't posting often enough, just let u
s know). Also, if you have any further questions, feel free to ask. In particular, as you have read, we're a big rap for a few things we've discovered during the pregnancy, and are only too willing to spruik their praises. And of course, you can delve back into the archives to where it all began, in March 2005 (see right).

Signing off, Cory, Naomi and Genevieve. xx

Monday, February 20, 2006

HypnoBirthing - Was it worth the effort?

To answer that question ... basically, yes it was. The effort was pretty much minimal and although the birth didn't necessarily go according to plan whilst I was in labour using the breathing techniques, things went very well. The breathing kept me focused and enabled me to get through the surges. It also enabled us to remain calm and rational when we knew we were going to have to have assistance in the birth. Given that Genevieve was posterior, the level of discomfort would have been much greater than if she was facing the correct way. Had I not been using the techniques I think I would have been calling for drugs pretty quickly.

From a pregnancy perspective the breathing practice kept me calm and taught me how to fully relax quickly and easily. Post partum this is turning out to be a blessing as I can drop off to sleep or have a deep relaxation session whilst Genevieve has her sleeps. Genevieve is also quite a calm baby and seems to have little trouble sleeping so far. From what other people have said, this seems to be a characteristic of babies born to mothers who have used the Hypnobirthing techniques. Cory also gained a lot from the experience, and definitely felt he took a very active role in the birth - certainly not just a bystander. I couldn't have remained focused without him. A good birthing companion is essential to the process (and no... you can't have mine).

So I would definitely recommend Hypnobirthing to anyone who is looking at ways to improve their birthing experience and wants to keep things as natural as possible. As a practitioner, we also highly recommend Kayte Walton (see link on right of blog).

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Pilates - the verdict

I'd have to say, of everything I did during my pregnancy, the single best thing would have to be the Fit-to-Deliver pilates program.

Not only did it keep me feeling fit and healthy during my pregnancy, but it really came into its own after the birth. Given that having a caesarian is a major operation (they equate it to having a major car accident) it makes simple things like sitting up and getting in and out of bed quite difficult. Having built up the strength in my upper body, core and legs it enabled me to these things much easier than I would have expected. The ability to support my body just my arms and shoulders was a major benefit.

I'm reminded of the muscles I'm using during the day, and from the pilates I can focus on which ones to use. For example, when I first came home and had to climb the stairs up to our front door, I realised I couldn't use my stomach muscles to brace me and had to rely solely on my quads and glutes.

What's more, as it is run through a physiotherapy practice, I could claim most of it on my health insurance. You can also get the DVD to practice at home, which I also found good when I couldn't be bothered leaving the house.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Home again, home again, jiggidy jig!

We'd been told that Thursday was our day of discharge (not the best choice of word in a maternity hospital if you ask me!) Anyway, I'd ridden home on my bike and swapped it for the car so we could bring Genevieve home. I'd also had her car capsule professionally fitted by a guy in Arden St, who said that our capsule was one of the best models. Well done Naomi - the eBay queen strikes again!

So, we had to get the thumbs-up from Dr Lionel, the midwives and our paediatrician. Everything was going well, but Gen was still a little yellow so they wanted to do another (that's three now) heel prick and blood vial to check her levels. Although we were keen to get her home, we were also more focused on her being healthy to do so, so we went through the rigmarole again. Better for her to go under the UV lights now, than have to bring her back later.

So while we were waiting for the test results to come back, I loaded up the car with all of the non-essentials, and grabbed us both a decent coffee (Nai's first for 5 days).

Without any sort of congratulatory fanfare, the results came back OK so I ran down and grabbed the car. We'd already tried the little girl in her capsule earlier that morning, so we loaded her up again and took the lift down to the car. Nai sat in the back with her and I chaffeured the girls, in a somewhat paranoid drive, to our home.

I unclipped the capsule and after Nai, cautiously, went up the front stairs (yay for all the pilates she did), it was Genevieve's turn. It was quite amazing to finally have her home. Now the fun starts. No midwives. No hot and cold running support. Did we have the house set up OK? Time would tell I s'pose!

Thankyou Dr Lionel!

You may remember that Kellie put us on to Dr Lionel Steinberg, after we SMSed her all the way from Dublin with the news that Naomi was carrying a little-un.

Once we returned from overseas , we met with Dr Lionel every month, and then every fortnight and finally every week. He suited us to a tee - he was very 'matter of fact' and called a spade a spade. But he was also very kind, and happy to answer any questions. He was always very encouraging. This picture was taken early on the morning when we left hospital, after he gave Naomi and Genevieve the all-clear. (The previous day we were asleep, so he told us he stuck his head in, but we didn't stir so he let us be).

One of his main characteristics is his non-intervention stance. He is quite vocal in his opposition of the level of intervention these days. He believes there is far too much pressure on mothers, and therefore also on children today when it comes to childbirth. It is a natural process, when it can, it should be done as naturally as possible.

Consequently, he was supportive of our decision to give HypnoBirthing a go, and was very happy that Nai was staying active, going to gym and doing the Fit-to-Deliver pilates.

When the time came that Genevieve was coming out through the side entrance, he explained what was going to happen and the reason for it. Again, he didn't "pretty it up" - but just laid it bare the way it was. We always felt very calm, and very confident that everything was going to go well.

So a BIG thanks to Dr Lionel, and Jane and all of the other staff at his offices at St Vincent's private. We heartily recommend him.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mother's Milk

In Ireland, they supposedly send new mums home from hospital with a Guinness. We'd always thought that if this was in fact true, it must be for the iron and B12.

However, it seems that Guinness is called "Mother's Milk" as it reputedly aids in bringing on the milk production. So as I was still waiting for my milk to fully come in, another well-knowing midwife suggested that if I liked stout, I should have a glass. Any excuse hey?

Now it just so happens that Cory had brought in a bottle of Mountain Goat's Old Surefoot Stout, June '03 vintage. Now although beer is generally better served fresh, bottle fermented beers can age well.

Cory had brought this in to wet Genevieve's head - but little did we know that it would serve a higher purpose. The next day, my milk slowly started to come in. It could have been the stout - it may have been happening anyway. But who cares, it tasted good. Still all fresh and roasty, like eating grains of chocolate malt.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Third day blues - fact or fiction?

It's commonly talked about that on the third day your happy pregnancy hormones disappear and the 'third day blues' strike. I thought that this could be a bit of a myth, or one of those things that can happen to some, but like many other pregnancy-related symptoms, perhaps not me.

However, day three arrived, and so did the tears. Rationally, I knew that I was teary because my hormones were all over the shop - this also meant that my milk was probably coming in some time soon. But I still couldn't stop crying - for pretty much no reason.

I looked a mess and visitors were arriving. So the prospect of hordes, no milk yet, a jaundiced little girl and looking a mess all added to it.

Thankfully, the all-knowing midwives, again, came to the rescue. "Have you had any alcohol yet?" asked one. I hadn't, so we quickly grabbed one of the complimentary piccolo champagnes we'd been stashing away over the past few days, and cracked it. One glass of champagne, combined with a few choccies and 20 minutes later I was all smiles, ready to greet the world!

What's more, wine tasted good for the first time in 8 months! Yay!

"Look at the stars... look how they shine for you... and everything you do..."

Everything seemed to be going quite well, although poor little Genevieve was starting to turn somewhat yellow. As is (incredibly) common, she was slightly jaundiced. This tends to fix itself once they are feeding well and getting lots of fluids (read... milk) through them, so the kidneys can do their job.

But Nai's milk was taking a little time to come in. It can be anywhere from 2-3 days all the way to 5-6, and if you have a caesarian, it generally is on the higher end of this scale.

So Genevieve was the not-so-willing recipient of another heel prick. This time, they had to fill a little vial with her precious blood. Now I'm not being all paternally protective there... but I'm just suggesting that it must have been quite valuable as she was holding onto it as best she could. Lets just say that she definitely isn't a haemophilliac, as it took quite a lot of squeezing (with Mum and Dad looking on with tears in our eyes) to fill that small vial.

The test results came back that she was thankfully below the threshold for putting her under the UV lights in a humidicrib (one of the ways they treat jaundice). Pretty cool how they do that these days, as the kid gets these cool little towelette sunglasses to wear - complete with printed 'Rayb
an Wayfarer' style shades on them. Yep... they're a 3 day old Blues Brother.

So, instead, we gave her extra fluids. This was formula, but in little pre-mixed bottles. No waiting until she's 15 to get stuck into the ready-to-drink vodka UDL croozers, she was onto the hard stuff, ready-to-drink NAN!

So how do you administer it? Well, one preferre
d method for non-bottle-fed kids is for them to suck a finger and to slowly syringe in the required amount. This also makes it easy to measure what they take. So, while Genevieve sucked her Daddy's pinky, Mummy slowly squirted in the pseudomilk.

Now I've gotta tell you, as a bloke, this was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. I can start to understand how breastfeeding must be such an incredible bonding experience. As Genevieve slowly sucked my fingernail loose from its mooring (not really, but it sure felt like it), I think that's about 10% of the feeling that Nai must get while feeding her. I know my pinky wasn't providing the sustanance, but it was pretty awesome nonetheless.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Classifieds schmassifieds

Back in the day, you let the masses know about your fresh kid via the newspaper classifieds. Now although we did eventually get around to putting one in the paper, it was far more effective and far cheaper to SMS everyone in our phone contacts.

Of course, it didn't help that the first SMS went out after a very long day, so Daddy managed to spell her name incorrectly. On the plus side, the next day, people who we knew had photo-capable phones got a photo too!

And better yet, you get their responses! (As follows)

Brendo - Congrats guys - we are so happy to hear that bb finally has a name & is here to play. Look after yourselves and the little 1 mum & dad. Lots of love b & k :)

Thelma (who is Nanna) - Congratulations 2 Mum and Dad. Cant wait 2 c her. Boardy would like 2nd name. He he. Try and have a good sleep.

Kellie - Oh my lord i am so pleased. But is everything ok? Can i call? love to you all xox

Thelma - Oh she is gorgeios and black hair like U had when born. Sue's dream was right

Nina - Congratulations! Cant wait to see her...

Jane Salmon - Many congrats! Hope all family is well. Lovely name. Call me tomorrow.

Andrea Dennett - Whohoo!! That's great news! Congrats. Looking 4wd 2 meeting her in real life! love2 the 3ofU. Andrea X X X

Donna - Congratulations! Another great aquarian enters the world

Tania - Oh my god!
Congratulations! How is mom and baby doing?

Vicky - That's fantastic news, congrats! Which hospital, if up for short visits? I'm so happy about this, love Vicky

Tracey - Great news! They rarely come how you have planned - something about having a mind of their own! Get lots of rest. Trace xxx

Emily - oh my god that is fantastic news. well done i will pass on news to all! x x

Iain - Congratulations! Hope this isn't a taste of things to come! Very happy for all 3 of you!

Keri - CONGRATULATIONS! So happy for you all - can't wait to meet genevieve! I'll call you when I get back to Melbourne. Keri xx

Kevin -
Congratulations! That is great news. Cant wait to see you all x x

Miss -
Congratulations nai and cory. We're so happy 4 u! Which hospital r u in? Luv miss and john xoxo

Mel - A big
Congratulations 2 u all, beautiful name. Want all the details y so early. Will call tom. Melanie

James McIlvena - Congratulations Mum. I'm sure you, Cory and Genevieve will all get along beautifully. She will love her sleep and crying will be too much effort.

Sally - Fantastic news. Hope to see you all soon.

Chris Pegler - Congratulations!!! Hope to meet Genevieve very soon. Love & best wishes from Chris, Juli & Benjamin

Paul Siegemund - Congratulations on becoming a Dad! How's Nai doing? Can I come visit her in the hosp 2 wish her well or is it best 2 wail till Mum and daughter are home? P

Dean - Hey dad a big congratulations to you both! Cant wait to meet your gorgeous baby girl kylie and dean X

Jane Hockley - Congratulations!

Leanne Kerr - Congratulations to you both. Great news!

Matt Baird - Congratulations mate...just heard the good news!

Mish Hogan - What fantastic news! Big congrats guys... enjoy! Luv mish, kev & Katie xxx

Belinda Hillard - Just heard the news about your baby girl - you both must be absolutely rapt. Congratulations! Hope mum, dad & bub are doing well... Bels

Andrea Athanaileas - She is gorgeous!

Mick Leyden - Hey mate congrats on The happy news hope Nai and bub are well!


Al Venn - Congrats from sarah and myself to you and nai on the birth of your baby daughter! Great news - Chat soon :)

Dave Becker - Congrats to you both

Bobbie - Oh wow... beautiful photos and a great website. Congratulations to both you and Naomi on the arrival of Claudia-wonderful news!! Take care all :)

Jamie Leathem - Congratulations, that is fantastic, only who is this? Cheers Jamie.

Andrew Temmhoff - Great news mate, we will have to catch up soon. I have 2 of my own too. Regards andy

Ken Kroeger - Congratulations - I was out of range over the weekend. I hope that all went well.

Sorry if we missed anyone there - but as you can see, we did receive quite a few. Our phones filled up pretty quickly! And of course, there were plenty of old-school phone calls, and even older-school visits as well. A big thanks to everyone!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The two most gorgeous girls in the world!

Ok... so what do we do now?

As soon as we were settled in the room, it was time for Genevieve's first feed. This is to get the colostrum going, and hopefully the milk in a few days shortly after. It also brings about further, smaller surges which aid in getting the uterus back from watermelon, to grapefruit, to orange.

That evening I slept on one of those horrible fold-out
beds. You know the ones... you would've slept on one at a friend's place at some stage. Wheel it in, open it up. Yeah... THEM! Suffice it to say, that I must've been tired, as I slept like a log!

The midwives actually prefer it if you don't 'bed-in' with your kid the first night. It's combination of you needing your sleep - or alternatively, if you are a very sound sleeper, you may sleep thru the cries of an upset baby. So we shut our eyes at about 12:15 and then were awakened for a feed a few hours later. Of course, Nai had to be somewhat more awake than I, but both of us only have the haziest of recollections that early-morning feed. Next, we were awakened at about 7, again for a feed. So although we didn't really feel like much time had passed, the time we did sleep was very effective!

During the course of the day, we were :
  • given ongoing 'lactation support'. This is the official way of saying breastfeeding assistance. It's amazing how many different tips (and sometimes conflicting information) you get from the different midwives. The trick is, to listen to it all and latch on to the stuff that works for you
  • shown how to change her nappies (in particular, how to ensure she is clean before putting the next one on)
  • ate
  • shown how to bathe her - which was started by a midwife but finished by me
  • had a hearing test (and came up with a pass)
  • Met Nana (pronounced nar-nar... think Banana) and John, Nanna and Aunty Sue and later, Dean & Kylie and Kellie
  • slept
Nana and John were staying at our place, so they gave Ben a feed and a walk and tidied up the place a bit.

From that day on, I rode my bike home (I'd dropped the car back at some stage), gave Ben a walk and a feed, and quicky rode back. The bike proved to be much cheaper (of course), but also, generally, faster - especially if you factor in the time to park.

So each day, as I got on the bike and started down Grattan Street away from the hospital, the tears of joy would well up into my eyes, to the point that I would be quite literally sobbing. The first day it finished at Kensington. The second, it subsided while riding through North Melbourne. It's so wonderful I can have such love in my life!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

"So... is she a Genevieve?"

This was a question that Naomi asked of me pretty soon after we all moved into our room. We pretty quickly realised that this gorgeous name came close expressing how amazingly gorgeous this little person was. Genevieve was a name that both of us had come up with ourselves, so it was a dead cert that it would have been one of the front-runners.

Claudia? My father's second name (which he later disowned) was Claude, after his father, Claude Oswald Bxxxxxxx. And although I love him dearly and do miss him, I couldn't quite bring myself to name a child after him, and give it the burden of 'Barry Bxxxxxx' for its life. But we both liked Claudia, so that sort of worked. Fennell was chosen as a third given name, as it does work for a girl, and means that we don't have to go with the hyphenated surname.

So, for the record -
Genevieve Claudia Fennell Bxxxxxxx was born at 9:21pm on Saturday 11 Feb at Frances Perry House in Carlton, Melbourne. She weighed 6 lb 7 oz, or just a shade under 3kg.

Oh... and yes, my apologies for the spelling mistake in the group SMSs I sent.
does come before E unless after C!

Hello little Genevieve Claudia!

The procedure to get a kid out of your belly is actually quite quick. Although there is a lot that goes on, I suppose it really is just getting in there and getting it out as quickly and safely as possible. It ends up that she was 'posterior', meaning head down, but spun around so that she's facing out, not in, with her spine against Naomi's. That brings about a more difficult, and generally more painful birth. Most posterior babies require some sort of intervention (often suction of forceps, or caesarian).

So, at 9:21pm on Saturday, Feb 11th a wonderful, healthy, noisy little punk angel monkey was brought into our world. I was escorted over to a side-area where she was checked, sucked, crimped and wrapped. That was all quite sp
eedy, so that they could get her back to Naomi as quickly as possible.

So this is where our little girl met her mummy. You've gotta love the look on Naomi's face!

After around 10 minutes, it was time for her to head down to the nursery area to get weighed etc. Dr Lionel and the gang also had to keep going with stitching up the seven layers they'd gone through to get her out.

So she was put in a humidicrib and I escorted her back downstairs to the 11th floor. Although Naomi couldn't be with her at that time, from th
e point she was born until the next day, I never left her.

Naomi and I had our preferred names, but we didn't want to actually 'call it' until we saw the BB to see if the name(s) suited. So, when I was continually asked "Do you have a name?" My response was "Genevieve, pending". This, generally, brought about a pretty confused response, while they slowly realised that 'pending' was not going to be the child's second name. Having said that, while reviewing some video I shot at the time, I'm calling saying "Hello little Genevieve.... aren't you gorgeous?"

I was told that Naomi would be around 30-45 minutes. After around 45 I was starting to get a little worried. Again, the video shows me asking Genevieve "Where's your mummy?" By about 60 minutes I was asking if someone could go upstairs and see what was keeping them. By one hour and 10, I was working out how I'd cope as a single parent, and the loss of my wonderful Naomi. (I'm sure this was just biology messing with me).

Finally, after around 75 minutes, I saw Lionel and he said that it'd gone very well and Naomi would be down very soon. And indeed she was, and I carried our little girl out to again, be with her mummy!

The longest wait of my life

As you can imagine, it only takes a few seconds to get changed into a lovely fetching blue number. But it takes a while to make sure that Naomi is ready for surgery. So I was asked to wait just outside the change rooms, in a small hallway.

So this is me, waiting while Naomi was being prepped for the Caesarian. How 15-20 mins can feel like a few days is quite astounding!

During this time I went though a whole heap of different thoughts. I hope that Naomi didn't feel like she'd failed, as I certainly didn't think so. It's just that the BB has inherited her lack of patience and wanted out.

I was a little excited - knowing that the BB would soon be with us, as well as being excited about actually being there during the birth. I also thought long and hard about whether I wanted to actually watch. I had thought about this before, and when faced with it I came to the same conclusion. Although I would love to watch the procedure, and I had in fact seen quite a few on TV, it was not something that I wanted to associate with Naomi. That was a mental image that I decided I didn't need.

Of course, in the 15 minutes/lifetime I had in my lonely hall, I also had my moments of fear and doubt. This was, after all, a major operation. And the BB was showing signs of distress. And where the hell was Dr Lionel and why is this all taking so long!?

So... after a wait that did seem longer than the queue for Space Mountain at Disneyland, Thea came and escorted me in.

The Birthing Starts...

After a light lunch of a sandwich, and a little more monitoring of the surges and the BB's heartbeat, we were encouraged to head on down to Lygon Street for a coffee, or in our case, a hot chocolate from Koko Black (we didn't realise there was one in Carlton!)

Through all of this, it seems that the techniques we had learned through the HypnoBirthing classes were working - and even though we knew we were at the early stages, it was still comforting to get that encouragement from what we were experiencing. The photo, below, was taken during surges that were coming around every 2.5 mins, and were quite strong.
There was a point, at round 4pm when Nai started to lose her focus. Pretty much, within a few 'surges' they started becoming 'contractions' - ie: they were really hurting. The colour drained from her face, and she was starting to groan. I was getting really worried, that all of the effort we had put in would have only got us this far. But I managed to talk her through it (as I'd been instructed) and bring her focus back upon the breath and her awareness that her body knew what to do. Within 20 seconds she relaxed again - much as she appeared above.

Every hour or so, the midwife (who, by that stage, was Thea, as Ruth's shift had finished) was monitoring our progress. She'd put the monitor on to see the BB's heart-rate and occasionally also monitor Nai's surges. She was also taking Nai's temperature, which thankfully had gone down. Unfortunately, Nai was feeling a bit ill (which is common during birthing) and so I don't think lunch really got used per se.

By about 7pm, although the surges (and other indicators of labour) seemed to be progressing extremely well, the BB's heart-rate was starting to go down during the surges. This is generally known as foetal distress. This is often a key indicator that there is going to have to be some sort of intervention. This was monitored over the next few hours and Dr Lionel, who as you have probably read, has one of the lowest rates of Caesarians in Australia, said "I can't keep watching this. We have to get this baby out".

There was never any stress, or real urgency communicated towards us. Even Dr Lionel's statement was more 'matter of fact' (as is his way) than made in exasperation. Consequently, we do prefer calling it an 'Unplanned caesarian' rather than an 'emergency caesarian'. We didn't see any flashing lights, no-one said 'STAT' and there was no machine that goes 'Ping'.

So Thea and Lionel wheeled Nai's bed to theatre, with me walking beside. Lionel and I went to get changed, and Thea and Nai went into the theatre proper so she could be prepped.

Naomi all hooked up

We got a bit of sleep (Naomi more than I, as I was pretty excited and had a bit of last-minute cramming of various books to do anyway). Nai was awoken at about 5:30am with the stirrings of the first little surges. So we took Ben for his obligatory walk (dodgy photo taken via phone), and then I made her a nice fluffy omelette.

We phoned the hospital and they suggested that they normally wouldn't say to come in, but because we lived so close and Dr Lionel was doing his rounds soon, we may as well. So we packed up all of our stuff and bid farewell to Ben and the house, with the realisation that we could be coming back in a few hours, or the better part of a week!

After finally getting a park (OK... it wasn't that bad, but all of the 'emergency' parks which we were legitimately supposed to use were full) we took the lift up to the 11th floor and lugged our stuff towards the birthing suite desk (I lugged bags, Naomi lugged the BB). By this stage, Naomi was walking somewhat differently, as the BB had finally dropped.

A lovely midwife named Ruth escorted us to our suite (even if we left and came back, we'd be in this room). She then hooked Nai up to a monitor so that we could see how she and the BB were progressing, as shown below.

The surges were still a little spasmodic, and went from 5 mins to down to 2.5 and then back up a bit, so the actual 'labour' was still a ways off. However, Naomi's temperature was up slightly so Dr Lionel (who had dropped thru by that stage) suggested he'd feel better if we stuck around. So it looked like we were in for the duration!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Umm.... Cory!!!?....

Nai had had a nice relaxing day at home, and I rode home from work at the normal time. We were just in the throws of sorting out what to have for dinner when Chook (Anthony) dropped by with a letter. He said he was headed to Carole and Matt's, and suggested we join him.

So at 10:50pm after some wonderful conversation and some pizza (Naomi downing all of her Vegetarian Deluxe), Naomi - both calmly and quite energetically at the same time - exclaimed as she stood up, "Umm... Co
ry!!!?... I think my waters just broke!"

So Matt ran to get some towels and yes, by the magnitude of the gush it was pretty obvious that this is what had happened.

Chook drove us home and Nai hit the shower. We started a final pack of the stuff we are going to take to the hospital, and consulted the various books, brochures and dodgy photocopies to ensure what we should be doing at that time. One of those things that we were to do was ring the hospital, which is exactly what you can see Naomi doing in the photo.

From this point, it's just kicking back and monitoring what happens. From the breaking of waters to the onset of birth is normally around 12 hours, but it can
actually be days (although many well-meaning doctors like to induce before this time).


One thing which many of you are already aware of, but we thought that we'd better say anyway, is that Naomi and flowers aren't a great match. I mean... she does love them, and I do buy the occasional bunch (at random times - "Just for", when they have the maximum effect - ha ha!). But a whole roomful of them will unfortunately be less likely to bring about smiles, and more likely bring about sneezing, tears and forced smiles.

So, after it all happens, when you come to visit, don't feel the need to bring flowers. Perhaps buy your loved-one flowers instead? Or, of course, feel free to bring something else!?

And while we're at it - it's fine for you to visit us at the hospital (or Sofitel Hotel, if we end up there in the final days of our stay). But keep in mind that it isn't like the good/old bad days of staying 2 weeks in hospital. We'll most-likely be in there for 4-5 days tops. So feel free to drop by, but don't feel rushed - there's plenty of time afterwards.

Secondly, we really do love to see you, but don't stay long. We're told the first few days after the birth are vitally important for us, so we can learn as much as we can. The hospital suggests you plan on 30 minute visits, which sounds like a good idea to us.

Finally, if you turn up and Nai is trying to feed (or should that be the BB is trying to feed?), you may find I'll turn you away. That's fine... go have a coffee for 45 mins or so then come back. Of all the time post birth, it is during feeding where it is most important that Naomi and the BB get to bond, and if possible, get this whole breastfeeding thing dialled. It's not difficult, but it is tricky and takes some practice.

So yeah... I'm sure you understand all of this and will support our wishes.