Archive for April, 2009

White Noise : The Hairdryer Trick for Soothing Babies

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

There’s a certain stage a newborn baby gets to, where they’re obviously tired, but have worked themselves into a state and so can’t get settled.

One thing that’s consistently worked for me when my daughter gets to this mood, is to plug in a hairdryer and turn it on. You don’t want to point it at the baby, just have it on and in audible distance. It’s amazing the effect this can have on soothing her to sleep.

Other parents I know report similar effects from the vacuum cleaner and washing machine. You can apparently buy CDs of white noise and gizmos that generate special tones, but frankly if you have a hairdryer anyway, and it works, those seem a pointless extra spend. Though they do negate the risk of accidentally burning your house down by falling asleep yourself with a hairdryer running…

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A Caesarean Birth

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The consultant advised us that our twin girls had arranged themselves one breech and one sideways. Not terribly cooperative of them and maybe a sign of things to come. The consultant told us that basically a caesarean would be less risky for the babies but more risky for mum and a natural birth was vice versa. The decision was left to us although I felt it should be more my wife’s choice as it would be her going through with it. It seemed strange that the consultant didn’t advise one way or the other but he seemed satisfied when we decided to have a caesarean and booked us in for 39 weeks.

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There were a number of false alarms whilst waiting for the caesarean date and the house was littered with bits of paper with times written on them. After the first few though we became more relaxed about it. The girls had obviously decided to stage some sort of sit in and were not coming out by themselves. We were scheduled to arrive at the hospital early, 7am I think, but someone rather rudely jumped the queue by having an emergency caesarean. Lots of waiting around wasn’t good for either of our nerves and I just wanted them to get started. It was nearly lunchtime when my wife was wheeled away and I was left alone on the ward. Later a tiny midwife took me to the operating theatre and we waited some more. I’m not the most talkative of person at the best of times but she tried in vain to make small talk as ever more midwives, doctors and students kept walking past into the theatre.

I was dressed up in scrubs and then escorted in where a little stool was waiting for me by my wife’s head. She was surprising cheerful, but told me she had had lots of drugs. I couldn’t believe how many people were in the room. There was a huge blue screen across the bed so we couldn’t see anything, but there must have been 10 or 12 people. The operation was over very quickly. The bed swayed surprisingly violently and I had visions of the babies holding on refusing to come out. A small cry was soon heard, quickly followed by another. They bought the babies for us to see one at a time and I shall never forget my first glimpse of their little faces. I was then escorted out back to the ward. I had a long list of people to phone and text to say everyone was ok and what the girls weighed. I felt slightly removed from everything that was happening and none of it was really sinking in. Only when they all arrived back on the ward did it start to seem real and it was a strange feeling of excitement, fear and smugness.

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