My only experience of labour was a rather different to ‘normal’ one. Everything seemed to be going very well, then we hit a stumbling block and things went from being lovely and calm and straightforward to being rushed into theatres for a spinal block and forceps delivery, a team of medical staff hurrying around, concern for the health of baby and myself, and the result was that although baby was delivered safely and was absolutely fine, my lady bits were in a mess and I needed a vast amount of stitches afterwards.
Anyone who has ever experienced stitches will understand what I mean when I say that for a long time afterwards, things just didn’t feel right. The simple act of walking upstairs was agony – getting in and out of an armchair or sofa was a tedious task requiring careful planning and something to hold onto at all times – getting in and out of bed was even more difficult. My bundle of joy was such that I managed to smile despite the pain – but one thing that really, really upset me was that I couldn’t use the rocking chair.
Ever since I was a little girl and I saw some film (It may have been Lady and the Tramp come to think of it) with the Mama in a rocking chair soothing her little one to sleep, I wanted a rocking chair in the nursery for my baby when the time came. When I became pregnant, I looked everywhere for one, but sadly as beautiful as they were, they were out of my price range. My pregnancy progressed, and we decorated the nursery just as I imagined it would be – but there was no rocking chair. Instead as the pregnancy reached the final stages, I wondered what we would do instead, to sit and feed our tiny newborn in the wee small hours of the morning, to rock and hum soothing lullabies to get them back to sleep. I wasn’t happy with any of the other solutions (a regular chair just didn’t cut it as far as I was concerned) so I resigned myself to the fact that my beautiful dream of sitting there inhaling the scent of baby talc and shampoo on my little bundle just wasn’t going to be done in a rocking chair as I had dreamed of for so long.
Literally a couple of weeks before I gave birth my mum was walking past a charity shop near to where she works, and she noticed the lady bringing a rocking chair out the front of the shop. It was a little worse for wear, looking a bit sorry for itself, but mum asked the lady how much they were selling it for. The lady looked surprised. “We’ve had it here for months,” She said, “I was just taking it out the front for the binmen to pick up. If you want it, take it!” Mum couldn’t just take something from a charity shop without paying for it despite the kindness of the offer, so she made a donation and took the rocking chair home. She sat and made a cushion for the seat bottom, and one to go on the headrest part, to make it comfortable, and she covered the cushions in the same fabric we’d used throughout the nursery. She added ties onto them so that they would stay in place and once finished, she brought the chair and the cushions to our house. The Hubby gave the chair a thorough clean, sorted it out so it was once again sturdy and squeak-free, and it was installed into the nursery about four days before my due date. I sat in it, hugging the teddy bears that had been brought in anticipation of our baby arriving, and gazed around the room, rocking in the chair. Now, it was ready, I thought. Now, it is perfect.
After the delivery from hell, when I returned home three days post-labour, we had the Moses basket in our room, next to the bed, so actually I didn’t really need the rocking chair ready in there, because The Boy wasn’t actually sleeping in there. But one afternoon, a couple of days after we first went home, he wouldn’t settle, so I was wondering what I could do to help soothe him. It suddenly struck me – the rocking chair – so I went into the nursery with him and gazed at it. Then reality dawned; the seat was a lot lower than a regular chair, and regular chairs were hard enough to get into and out of at that point in time. Plus, I needed to hands to help myself in and out of a regular chair, but I also needed to keep hold of The Boy as I sat in the rocking chair if there was going to be any point to me getting in it. As he cried in my arms, I almost cried myself as the reality dawned on me that I was simply in too much pain to get to that level and rock with him, as I’d dreamed of doing for so very long.
It wasn’t just the whole rocking chair situation, obviously. Initially, at the hospital, I couldn't get him in and out of the cot without assistance, which was quite upsetting - if he cried and I had no visitors, he had to cry til a member of staff responded to my pressing the call button and they'd have to lift him from the cot to me. I couldn't change his nappy - I was reliant on the staff for that, too, unless I had a visitor there. Back home, there was lifting him in and out of the Moses basket – in and out of the pram – I could set the carseat down somewhere high enough that I could get him in and out of that easily enough, but I couldn’t carry it and remain pain-free, and while I was getting it ready he had to be somewhere, so I’d put him in the cot in the nursery and lifting him in and out of that was pretty awful, too. A friend suggested putting a blanket down, lying him on that, and then lifting it – I tried this trick a few times and when it worked it was great, but a couple of times the blanket slipped in my grip and though I never dropped The Boy or anything like that, it was such a near thing it meant I didn’t use the trick often.
As time went on, the stitches healed, things became less painful and I eventually could do all the lifting and putting down, getting up and getting down that I wanted to without wincing in pain every time I did so. I almost forgot how bad it was – almost, but not quite. What I wanted to have for next time, I thought, was some way of being able to do all that lifting and putting down of the baby safely, without the blanket trick and risk it slipping out of my grip.
In March 2012, another Mummy Blogger and very good friend of mine asked me along to The Baby Show at the ExCel centre in
– she’d been given tickets from a company she’d blogged about, and off we went. Mummy, Not Big Milk Thing has a SnuggleBundl herself, and through e-mails and phone calls is quite friendly with a couple of the SnuggleBundl team, so she wanted to find them and say hi. London
We found them, and while she chatted, I perused the goods. I admired the funky fabrics, the soft comfort of the materials used, and the basic simplicity of a genius design. SnuggleBundl founder David Solomons had found the same issue of lifting his baby daughter as a newborn due to his bad back, and his wife’s difficult labour, in much the same way I’d struggled, they had.
Here’s what SnuggleBundl have to say about the product:
The Boy is now too old for me to benefit from and use a SnuggleBundl blanket – but if you’re pregnant or have a newborn, or if you know someone who is, then I honestly believe one of these blankets would make a huge amount of difference. I am definitely aiming at getting one for when Baby #2 is on the way.
SnuggleBundl have provided a fantastic offer to any fans of Summer Mama. If you simply use the code SUMMERMAMAsentme at the checkout for your SnuggleBundl order, you will receive a 15% discount on your order. What are you waiting for? Now you know all about the SnuggleBundl, the only choice you have is which one (or two, or three …) you want to order!
Please note I have not received payment for promotion of this item – all views are my own except where specified as SnuggleBundl’s own product points. Please visit SnuggleBundl for further information / queries or comments about the product.