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10 Things

10 things about Sojourner Truth

I did not run away; I walked away by day-light

Sojourner Truth is an inspiring person. There is no other way to put it. After she escaped slavery with her infant daughter she fought the system to regain custody of her son and won. Not only that but she continued to campaign as an abolitionist and human right’s activist. This won’t even begin to cover how amazing she is but here are 10 facts about her and her legacy: 

  1. NASA’s first rover on Mars is named Sojourner
  2. June 1, 1843 is when she changed her name from Isabella Baumfree to Sojourner Truth and became a Methodist. 
  3. Growing up she spoke only Dutch and didn’t learn English until she was 9 when she was sold to new Masters who only spoke English. They would frequently beat her for miscommunicating.  
  4. In 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio she delivered her famous Ain’t I a Woman speech.
  5. In 1864 she met Abraham Lincoln 
  6.  During the Civil War she worked for the National Freedman’s Relief Association as a counselor to the “freed people.” 
  7. During her lifetime she brought and won three lawsuits – for her son, a slander suit and a personal injury case. 
  8. She was active in helping with relocating former slaves and petitioned the federal government to grant free land to help them settle in the ‘New West’. 
  9. She will appear on the back of the new $10 bill alongside Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul and Lucretia Mott. 
  10. She moved to Battle Creek, Michigan in 1857 and joined the growing abolitionist movement – the Progressive Friends. 

You can read The Narrative of Sojourner Truth written by Olive Gilbert online.

Is there a mother you find inspiring? Let me know in the comments 👇

Categories
Pregnancy Talk

Yet another birth story

tl;drno signs of labor before contractions & long pre-labor, gave birth in a midwife birth centre, no epidural because of scoliosis, labored in the tub and birthed on a birthing stool. 2nd degree tear and blood loss resulted in longer hospital stay.

Is this labor?

It started when I woke up to use the toilet around 1:30am. It turns out it was a strong contraction that woke me. I tried to go to bed and ten minutes later I felt another one. And then ten/fifteen minutes after that another one. Not able to actually sleep I started timing them. At this point I’ve had no bloody show or any other signs of impending labor. The contractions continued getting stronger and following the ten minute pattern throughout the night. My husband eventually woke up to ask if I was okay because he noticed how agitated I was becoming. I told him I think that things were happening and he should get sleep if this is the real deal.

Around 8am I message my midwife to say I’ve been having consistent contractions that having been getting stronger and lasting a minute each time but not shorter between. She confirmed it sounded like pre-labor and that if it gets to 3-5 minutes between to call the community midwife number. So this continued until the afternoon. I decided to take a bath during that time (btw I really recommend this), tried to eat when I could (I should have eaten more in retrospect), and my husband and I went for a short slow walk.

The walk wore me out and I slept for about 40 minutes. When I woke up the intensity of the contractions ramped up but the pattern still held. And this part continued until 6pm-ish when it was clear that they were quite quickly becoming very overwhelming for me. So even though the contractions were coming every 8-9 minutes we decided to go to the Birth centre to check on the progress. At 6:30pm they do the inspection and it turns out I’m already 4cm dilated and in active labor. They wanted to delay checking me in until 9pm because of staff issues but I guess my midwife caught wind of that (she was meeting me there) and kicked up a fuss. A bit before 8 another midwife came and took me up to the room and started filling the giant tub.

The check in was my only real negative experience in regards to the NHS. At this point my waters still hadn’t broken and there still was no show. When they (not the midwives) did the check to see how dilated I was, they asked if they could do that which is fine. What they did not ask and what they then proceeded to do was a membrane sweep and attempting to manually break my waters. Which sucks when:

  1. You are in the middle of a contraction and

  2. Don’t no why someone is continuing to shove their entire hand around up there.

After listening to me screaming stop, stop, stop my husband stepped in and was like please listen to my wife she is distressed. And then they explained that they were trying to break my waters. It was completely unnecessary. I’m glad my my husband knew to stand in and speak up for me.

This is active labor.

Earlier on in the pregnancy I said I was okay with a student midwife being present as well to help out and I don’t regret it at all. After we moved into the birth ward it was nice to have someone focused on you while someone else handled all the behind the scenes checks. They got the tub filled for me and finally being able to slip into the deep water was heaven. It brought the intensity of the contractions down to what it was earlier that morning and was such a relief. I spent about 3 more hours in the tub before they checked on my progress. It turns out that I was then 7cm dilated. My waters still hadn’t broken at this point but there midwives weren’t too fussed because things were progressing well. See what I mean about earlier being unnecessary? A bit after that the pain definitely ramped up again and I asked for gas & air. Laboring in the tub with gas & air is all I used for pain management. It definitely got worse but the nice thing about the gas is that it gave me something to focus on to get through each contraction.

From here it all became a blur that had to be filled in by my husband and aunt. I do remember the concerns about my blood sugar being dangerously low and they had to feed me honey for quick energy. I also remember throwing up a lot from the pain. And my waters breaking really late. At some point I was saying over and over that I couldn’t do it and would someone please for the love of God rip this baby out.

Pushing is really hard

They brought in a third midwife to help because I was stuck in the just before having to push phase. I couldn’t work out how to do it and the pain was rolling in where I wasn’t hearing much. She took stock of the whole situation and somehow got me to listen to her and focus on pushing. According to my husband she was also good at telling him how he was helping and making him feel less helpless. So I finally started pushing in the tub but I was too relaxed in the water and wasn’t making much progress. So she had my husband support me to the Birthing stool and hold me up from behind. At this point I was just going to do anything to get this baby out.

I didn’t have any pain relief for the pushing part. Just my husband holding me from behind. Looking back I think that did so much more for my mental state than anything. Since his arms were around me I knew I was safe and I could rely on him. Pushing still sucks and feeling the head come out lower and lower is more than painful. Honestly the word painful doesn’t even describe it. The good thing was that I was doing something and the baby was moving out. Again – having something to focus on helped so much with getting through it. And around 40 minutes after they moved me to the birth stool I had a baby placed in my shocked arms and was told it was mine.

A baby is here

I lost a lot of blood due to a second degree tear which had to be stitched. So they couldn’t wait for the placenta to be naturally delivered and gave me an injection to speed it along. They also couldn’t do the delayed cord cutting because the baby’s cord was actually really short and I was losing too much blood too quickly for it to be safe. They still put the baby on me right away for the skin to skin contact.

Post-partum recovery is definitely a challenge, especially when you also have a tiny infant relying on you for everything as well. But really, this is just the beginning.

Categories
That mom life...

Some prepare for their little one by creating extravagant nurseries. I knit.

As you’ve already found out, I knit to manage my anxiety. This past summer was no different so I channeled it to knit all sort of cute baby things. Links to the patterns are below the image. 👇

Entrelac Blanket 

This was free hand because I wanted to learn how to knit entrelac. Half way through I figured out that I had been picking up stitches completely wrong but at least I got a cozy baby blanket out of it. Here is a tutorial

Ugg Baby Booties (free)

These were adorable to make. It took me maybe 4 hours on an off total for the set. And I’m not the fastest knitter. Easiest and fastest Ugg booties pattern

Yellow Baby Socks (free)

These are also really easy to make and quite addictive. I definitely will be making another couple sets in bigger sizes. Cozy little toes pattern

Bear hat (free) 

This one is actually a bonnet and since I’m having a winter baby the idea of having a little snow bear hat was to cute to resist. Bearly Bonnet pattern

Red Hat with pinwheel flower (free)

The hat was a basic baby hat and I knitted a pinwheel flower to go with it. Pinwheel flowers pattern

Pink Dragon (free) 

This is my favorite project from the summer hands down. It was so much fun to do a more technical knit and watch it all come together. Tarragon the Gentle Dragon pattern

Striped sleep sack (£3.90) 

This was the only pattern I ended up buying but it is so worth it. You can find the pattern on Ravelry and the version with should straps is sold in the creator’s Etsy shop. Hungry Caterpillar Baby Cocoon and Hat pattern

Categories
Personal

My London Commute from Hell

It was one of the hottest summer days in the hottest summer in London in the last 50 or so years. I decided to leave work a little early so I can spend some quality time with my husband. Leaving work early never works out for me. 

At 17:30 I reach the station to catch my train and I hear the words that every commuter hates to hear, “This platform is closed due to an ongoing incident and we don’t know when we will reopen.” Dammit. But a platform at another station might be open. I just have to get to them. So I make my way to that station and find out… They’ve shut the whole line down.

Okay fine. I can take the underground to another station and the bus from there. It will double the commute but what do I have to lose. At this point it is almost 18:30. I should have been home half an hour ago. Naturally half way to my back up station we get an announcement in the carriage that they will not be stopping at that station. And, “We advise you to seek an alternative route where possible.”

😑
😑
😑

At this point I am beyond tired, hungry, thirsty, my feet have really started to swell from the walking back and forth. Have I mentioned I am pregnant as well? So I have to double back. So I take that same line back down to another station so I can switch branches and go all the way back north. I finally reach an area where I can get the bus to go home. It is now around 20:00. 

I get out of the station and it starts pour rain for the first time in weeks. I can’t find the bus stop. I try to find an attendant to at least tell me which way the bus stop is because I am not in the frame of mind where I can read the map and understand it. I am exhausted, hungry, hurting and have I mentioned exhausted? The attendant brushes me off with, “Just read the letters on the sign girl.” And walks briskly away.

I go back outside and this whole dratted commute hits me. Traveling for 2.5 hours because of bullshit. Me being drenched. People not being helpful. My feet hurting. And I started crying. I was that pregnant woman crying on the bus station platform. It was the only time I completely lost control of myself while pregnant. 

If you ever want to learn something about people this is a sure fire way to make them either feel bad or uncomfortable. When a younger man sees a crying pregnant woman, they react as if they accidentally aggroed an end game boss. They know they are completely unprepared for this kind of situation but need to fight it out anyway. 

So yeah. I’ve become an end game boss. But instead of dropping a high quality weapon with +CRIT, +DEX, +ACC and whatever other stats you need, I drop a locked crafting item with negative traits that takes up inventory. 

I eventually did make it home around 22:00 that night. A mother ended up helping me find the bus I needed and after a 30 minute wait it arrived. My husband, bless him, immediately made me sit down and put a home cooked meal in front of me and did everything in his power to help me relax. So this story did end well after all. 

Categories
Pregnancy Talk

A few things to make you laugh

Being pregnant is hard. The best way I’ve found to get though it is to just laugh at how ridiculous it can get. Luckily people are there laughing with us. 

Ice cream really could fix anything. 
Relatable of so many levels. 
I. am. done. 
Thanks baby for having a party and dragging me along at 3AM. I will remember this 16 years from now. 
My life in a nutshell. 

What have you laughed about lately? 

Categories
Personal

10 Things about Me

Because thinking of ten things about yourself is actually quite difficult.
  1. I have a MA in Digital Humanities.
  2. I’ve lived in three different countries.
  3. I am a dog person.
  4. I love to read and my favorite genre is Fantasy. It helps me escape.
  5. I live in the UK and still write the American way.
  6. I knit. It helps me manage my anxiety.
  7. My favorite color is purple.
  8. Yes I am a feminist.
  9. My favorite way to unwind is with a cup of tea and a new book. Have I mentioned I love reading?
  10. Chocolate and mint is my favorite flavor combination.
There you have it! Anything you want to know more about?
Categories
Pregnancy Talk

My most useful pregnancy apps

It turns out that finding out you are pregnant is a rather confusing time. If you then add on the fact that you live in a different country from your extended family and that the healthcare system works differently from what your friends experienced it gets a bit challenging to find that support. Luckily we live in the day and age where we have access to a wealth of information in our phones. So here is my short list of the best pregnancy apps I used. 💪

The Bump (Android only)

In the beginning this was the app I was checking everyday. They updated it with a new fact about what is happening to your baby and how they are growing. They also surfaced articles about what other women are experiencing at the same time as you. It was really handy to read in the morning on the way to work. 

Ovia

This app provided weekly updates but they were much more in depth. I loved checking in every week to see how baby was growing and catching up on what kinds of things to look out for. You can also schedule in your doctor appointments and track those crazy symptoms you might be having. 

Bounty  (UK) 

This one I didn’t find out about until later on and I wish I heard about it earlier. Unlike the previous two this app is UK based so the articles were relevant to UK experiences. Which as an expat was really helpful. You can also add your hospital to read the documents that they provide. And of course discounts – If you download this app you can pick up a mum-to-be pack at either Argos, Asda or Tesco. I ended up picking mine up from Tesco and this is what was in it: 

It’s so cute they do this! 
Reddit

This one you don’t have to download the app for but I wanted to include it because it is where I found my community of women going through the same thing. /r/BabyBumps is a general community to support pregnant women (and expecting fathers!) and there are also monthly sub-communities that are created based on the month you are due in. It was my monthly group where I was able to to get the most value in connecting with other women and not being afraid to ask if X thing is normal – chances are it is and plenty of us were wondering the same. 

So there you have it! This is what I used the most. Do you think I missed one? Please let me know in the comments! 👇

Categories
Pregnancy Talk

The ‘magic and thrills’ of being pregnant

It turns out companies love giving pregnant women freebies and samples. Magical and thrilling can be one way to describe being pregnant. It’s one of those things you really don’t know what it will be like until it happens to you.
A few things that was an absolute ‘thrill’ to have happen:
  1. Your definition of tired will be redefined. Multiple times.
    • There is the first trimester exhaustion in which you feel barely more alive than a zombie. The second trimester where powering through the mental fatigue is a success. The third trimester where you are just tired of being tired and waking up 7 times in the night to get up to go to the toilet.
  2. The bathroom will become your most used room in the house. It just will. Invest in a SquattyPotty. It’s worth it.
  3. First trimester nausea is no joke. I had to start walking a new way to the office to avoid Starbucks because the early morning smell of their bacon butty (sandwich) made me so sick. 🤢
  4. That fabled pregnancy glow? Yeah its basically due to me being so hot and sweaty all the time.
  5. My first baby kicks felt like I had bad gas.
  6. You will become intimately acquainted with having bad gas. Along with lightning crotch. ⚡️
  7. The more weird shit your body does the more you realize you don’t know your own body at all. At one point my skin was so dry that it was peeling off in chunks on my hands. No idea why 🤷‍♀️
  8. Sleeping actually starts to hurt. My hips end up sore from laying on one side for too long (usually half an hour) so I’m constantly tossing an turning. I invested in a body pillow from Lidl for £10 and it was honestly worth it.
  9. It can hurt when your baby kicks and rolls. It’s also really distracting.
  10. It is the weirdest feeling having another living thing with a mind of its own move inside you and have hiccups. Until its 1:30 in the morning and you desperately want to sleep. 😴
There is more. So much more and every woman and every pregnancy is different. What happens in one pregnancy might not happen in the next. It’s one of those few times where you just have to work at letting go and accepting that your body knows what it’s doing. Although a few panicked calls to your midwife or doctor just for a peace of mind never hurts anyone. 😊 What thrills have you experienced?
Categories
Personal

I’ve never been good at introductions

I’ve spent my life moving every 3 to 5 years to new places and meeting people from all walks of life but I still struggle with introductions. Most likely I overthink it. A simple question. A simple beginning.
Where are you from?
I stumble. I don’t know how to phrase this answer. I’m not from here, nor there. Not in the traditional sense. What do I say?
Oh I’ve moved around a lot. Where are you from?
I deflect. I turn the attention away from me. I should work on an introduction. Where do I begin?