My Wedding – Its Who You Know!

As you have read from my first wedding blog, our venue was the most expensive aspect of the whole day. But after we got engaged, I knew there would be a lot of friends and family I could turn to for help and to save us money. We were so lucky as to how much help we actually got with a lot of the wedding, it really is who you know in this world!

The Cake. I am a very very lucky person in the fact that my auntie and uncle are the most incredible cake makers. It isn’t their job, they just have one fantastic talent! They have been making our birthday cakes for as long as I can remember, my 21st being incredible (A barbie with a cake dress, on a ‘sea’ of vodka jelly – unreal), and so I knew I would ask them to make our wedding cake. I was never set on an exact design as this was one thing I was struggling with, so I gave them a few hints but pretty much left them to their own devises. We wanted the cake to be in keeping with the colour theme and I had seen on Pinterest a few cakes which included quotes or song lyrics. We have a quote from a film called ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ which means a lot to us and so we knew we had to include that also. The weather on the day was over 30 degrees and my poor Uncle was so worried the cake had melted on the way up, he spent most of the day making sure it wasn’t tipping over. But they really did deliver the goods, it was better than I ever imagined and I was over the moon with it!

Cake

Hair. My god, the one thing that stressed me out the most about my whole wedding was how I was going to have my hair. Tradition and etiquette practically tells you it must be up with some kind of curl or plait and a birds nest in it, well not quite but you get what I mean. I’m so conscious about my hair and my ears, and I could never find a style online that stood out for me. Luckily, my amazing hairdresser Hannah, also happens to be my future sister in law (she is Marc’s brothers fiance), and so I could be as much as a bridezilla to her as possible. I wasn’t a bridezilla lets just get that story straight, but if I had someone I didn’t know and couldn’t be completely comfortable with, I would have found it awkward to say what I did and didn’t like. It was literally 4 days before the wedding that we decided on my final hairstyle and it couldn’t have been more perfect on the day. Hannah had 3 adult bridesmaids, one flower girl and myself to do, and we were all complete with plenty of time, in a very smooth and calm conveyor belt. Us leaving early meant Hannah had time to get herself ready for the wedding and all of our hair stayed perfect for the whole day! Girls Hair

Hair

 

 

 

 

 

Make up. So for those who follow me on here and Instagram, you’ll probably know I’m really not a girly girl and I haven’t the faintest idea about make up – I wouldn’t know what a highlighter is if you put it in front of me and I don’t think I’ve ever really owned a foundation. So the thought of wedding make up was a bit daunting. Luckily, two of my bridesmaids are very savvy with a make up brush and were happy to help! So as there were four of us, Holly did my make up and her own, and Sarah did her own make up and my MOH (who also happens to be her sister). This way we all felt really comfortable in what we had on make up wise, there was no over the top faces, everyone was very pretty and almost natural and I was so happy with all of it!

Entertainment. I always knew I wanted a live singer for during the reception drinks and to sing my first dance, and once I picked my singer, we discussed more options such as the bridal entrance song and singing during the signing of the register. The singer I chose had the most unreal voice, I had heard her a few times before and pretty much contacted her as soon as I got engaged. She also happens to be a friend of mine who I have known for many years!  And the best bit? Wedding singing isn’t even her profession, this was simply a favour to me as a friend. How amazing? For the Bridal Profession she sang Bruno Mars ‘Just the way you are’ acapella, during the signing of the register ‘I’m kissing you’ from Romeo and Juliet, our first dance was John Legend ‘All of me’, and the father daughter dance was Barry Manilow ‘who needs to dream’. She then sung an array of songs during the drinks ceremony, with a few musical numbers which you can see on my instagram! Every guest came up to me and commented on how amazing and talented she was, and some (including the male guests) got emotional at a few of her slower, love songs. Thank you Emma, for being the best wedding singer I could have asked for! Along side this, I have to thank my brother for pulling out the stops to ensure we had the best technical equipment for Emma, so thanks bruv!

Cars. So because I was already at the venue before everyone else I didn’t need to show up in a fancy car, infact, myself and 4 others crammed into my punto to arrive to the venue! Marc and his boys on the other side wanted something stylish. My MIL and her husband have good connections in the car dealership industry, meaning a nice little vehicle could be borrowed for the day to ensure the boys arrived in comfort and class. So in their gorgeous suits, my hubby to be, the best man and the ushers turned up in the nicest white Range Rover, perfect for them!

My daddy. Okay so from my previous blog you would’ve heard me mention my Dad making me something. That wasn’t the only thing, my dad really went above and beyond when it came to his skilled handywork! First of all, he made me the M&C you may have seen in my photos, which were displayed in our ceremony room behind us. They were simple yet put that personal touch on the wedding room. He then made the wedding favours for all the children/babies, which were a heart or football keyring, engraved with a message from the two of us. Lastly, he made my photo booth frame, painted it white and had it engraved with Mr and Mrs Irving, perfect for those selfies! He did so much and I cannot thank him enough!

Marc and Clare FINALS 011.jpg

So overall, we got a lot of help from people who really made the day that bit more personal, and I really was so thankful for all of the help from everyone! My advice for planning a wedding really is find out who and where you have connections, because the smallest gesture will go a long way and save a lot of money!

x

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My Wedding – DIY Bride

Even though I was very unsuccessful in my art classes during school, I am partial to a bit of creativeness and arts and crafts. I love making birthday or Christmas presents for people (whether they like it may be a different story), so I knew I would do as much DIY as I could for the wedding to save on money. If you do have a creative hand, why not try and do your own decoration! If anything, it gives it more of a personal touch, and I had so many compliments on things as my guests couldn’t believe how much effort I had put into it all! See below my DIY Wedding and how you can achieve something similar…..

Flowers. Okay, so for those who don’t know me, I am NOT a flower person. Everytime I go to a wedding, I think the flowers look absolutely stunning but I can’t help wonder what happens to them after? Some people easily spend up to £1000 on wedding flowers, often even more, only for them to be thrown away or left to wilt. A huge thing now is artificial flowers, they are much cheaper and still look as good, but you can still end up paying around £150+ for the different bouquets, decoration and button holes. So I went that one step further, I made my own artificial flower bouquets. I went onto a well known AB (artificial bouquet) site and roughly estimated the amount of flowers needed for each bouquet. Went onto eBay, found a site that sold single artificial roses, bought 50 blue, 50 white and 10 silver glitter roses all for £20.97. I then went onto hobby craft and bought a thin silver ribbon and a a larger mesh ribbon for less than £3 (15% off your first order when you sign up!). Sat down in my living room for 2 hours somehow putting them all together, and Ta Da! My bridal bouquets were complete…..

Flowers

Table Plan Display. The dreaded table plan. The plan you have spent ages on only for it to be changed last minute and ruin the whole thing. Table plans are usually plain and simple, rustic with a flower decoration or somehow in with the theme of the wedding. Online, a table plan can start from £70 upwards, depending on the size and how much text you are adding to it. Now, this isn’t too horrendous of course, but if you do have those last minute changes, it’s going to be costly! Although we didn’t really have a theme for the wedding, our table names were places that we have been or meant something to us e.g Berlin, where we got engaged, Epsom Racecourse where we first met etc. Again, I knew all along I would hand write my table plan because I knew there would be last minute changes. Lucky for me, my Dad is an engineer and can make pretty much anything from any kind of material. So he cut out a large and long piece of wood and painted it with chalk board paint. I went onto eBay (literally my best friend during wedding planning) and purchased 6 chalk board markers for £2.80 each, and spent 2 hours on my DIY Table plan. Lucky my hand writing isn’t too horrendous, so it turned out pretty well…

Table Plan

Order of the Day. We’ve probably all been to many weddings where we know exactly what time the ceremony is, but we don’t know whats happening for the rest of the day and we often sit wondering how long it is exactly until we get to eat!! My venue were great with giving me the timings of the day, it meant I could then display this as a kind of decoration to give people an idea of how the day would go! It wasn’t to be precise or regimental, it was more an outline of when is food and when is drinking time! For my order of the day I simply got a wooden pallet (again, thanks to the father) and used my chalk pens which worked perfectly on the wood. If my dad wasn’t able to get some, I knew they would be easy to get hold of. Many houses down my road were having work done and pallets were just left in among the mess, otherwise I advise getting in touch with friends who work in places with warehouses, or heading down to the local Homebase or B&Q and enquiring about any spares. So as I had already bought the pens and the pallet came from my dad, this decoration cost me zilch….

Order of the Day

Place Cards. I always find name place cards a funny thing, because they are there to indicate where you are sitting for the meal and then everyone Instagram’s the place card and the favour to show they are at a wedding, and then they get thrown away. Another thing that I wonder why people spend so much money on them. To get name cards printed, you are looking at around 80p per person on places like Etsy, and obviously the more guests you have the more you are spending. I went onto amazon (another best friend of mine whilst wedding planning) and found a gorgeous pack of white place cards with a silver lining and decorative heart, 100 for £5.38. I bought a fancy pen from Scribbler for £1.99 and as I did with everything else, I simply hand wrote every single name card. Easily done, cheap as chips and successful from the ‘gram!

Place card

Centerpieces. Ahhhhh the centerpiece, the ‘most important aspect of the wedding breakfast and the table and your whole wedding!!!’ according to a ridiculous amount of brides and wedding websites. Since when did the middle of a table become such a big deal? It’s only there for about 3 hours and then its gone. As mentioned , our table theme was to do with places that meant something to mine and Marc’s relationship. I always had in my mind what I wanted on the tables and so I got to work on them. Although not quite DIY, it was all still a bargain. First I went onto LaLaLab, a photo printing app which you can print retro looking/Polaroid photos, and I printed off a photo of the place itself and a photo of me and Marc at that place. You can also add wording to the bottom of the retro photo. Back onto amazon and I found mini paint easels, 10 for £5.99, which the photos would stand up on. First part complete. I then decided to have small clear jars, filled with sugared almonds (again all found on eBay) tied with a personalised ribbon. A simple decorative center piece but personal to us, and it means I can keep the photos as memories of the day.

centre piece

That was probably the extent of my ‘DIY’ for the wedding, I loved creating things myself and putting my own personal touch on our special day, it really made me feel good inside that I had achieved so much in the planning and organising

x

My Wedding Day – The Venue

On the 27th July 2018 at 1.30pm, I married my best friend and soul mate and became Mrs Clare Irving. After 2 and a half years of planning, the day had finally arrived and it went by far too quickly. So what better way to re-live it, then to write a few blog posts about all aspects of the day including the venue, DIY and my wedding bargains! So please enjoy post 1….

Our Venue: Gaynes Park, Epping

Marc and I got engaged in December 2015, and even though we planned to get married in 2018, we wasted no time in looking for venues. Marc sent me the link to Gaynes Park and we arranged a viewing pretty quickly. As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, we literally fell in love with the place as soon as we got there. Even on a cold January morning, there was something about it that just said ‘you two must get married here’. We attempted other venues but Gaynes Park had our heart from the offset! A provisional date was booked and just a few weeks later, we made it official! Now I won’t lie to you, its not cheap. The venue itself is a set price and the catering is then worked out per head, but you can make this as cheap or expensive as you like with up to 7 different packages available.

What’s great about Gaynes Park, is it’s an exclusive wedding venue just for you, which means no other weddings are happening, no random strangers will be walking about, its just you and your guest’s for the whole day. On site, and included in the package is an Apple Loft Cottage, a small but cosy property where you and your new husband get to spend the evening. The bride also has access to the cottage from 12pm, meaning I could get my dress on just 20 minutes before I walked down the aisle. There is a 10 bedroom coach house on site for guests but this is extra and I wanted just me and Marc to enjoy the venue ourselves for that little bit longer.

At Gaynes Park your ceremony is held in a beautiful Orangery and again, there are multiple lay outs you can choose from to make your day how YOU want it. It is located inside the walled gardens, a large garden full of gorgeous spring flowers and a comfortable seating area for guests during the reception drinks. When you leave the Apple Loft (as the bride), you enter through a gate with a heart shaped hole cut out in the middle, which makes for romantic photos, and get led down a graveled pathway. From here there is a left turning, where the long aisle and your walk to your husband to be begins. The walk is around a minute long, but the feeling of walking with my Dad for the last time as his little girl whilst at the same time watching Marc’s eyes on me, was the most amazing feeling.

After the ceremony and reception drinks in the garden, the wedding breakfast takes place in the Mill Barn. This is a gorgeous brick walled barn, with four rustic tree trunk pillars in the middle and a decked terrace with casual upper seating. Apart from a few fairy lights, the barn is decoration free meaning you can do what you want with it. For me personally, I fell in love with the barn how it was and thought any kind of elegance or fancy decor would simply ruin the natural beauty of it. The breakfast can hold up to 150 people, though I don’t know that many people, so it comfortably held all 78 of our guests. After the gorgeous food, which I will come to, it’s off to the Gather Barn, an open area with seating, for more drinks whilst the Mill Barn was set up for the evening.

Gaynes Park collaborate with Galloping Gourmet to provide the most exquisite wedding food. Now we’ve all been to weddings where we think something could have been better or the food wasn’t up to everyone’s liking, but luckily for us, we have been praised for our menu. As mentioned, there are a variety of packages available for catering. We selected the Deluxe Package which included 3 reception drinks, 4 canapes, Prosecco for toasting, half a bottle of wine, a 3 course meal from the deluxe range and unlimited tea and coffee. How I even managed to select the 3 courses I will never know – the variety of dishes to choose from is unreal, and if you are a vegetarian, you would literally be in heaven with the choices. We opted for asparagus with poached egg and hollandaise sauce to start, fillet of beet with potato dauphinoise, vegetables and green peppercorn sauce as our main, and a triple chocolate brownie with ice-cream to finish off. Due to personal reasons we had a few no-shows, but even their food got eaten!! One guest even went to the toilet, only to come back and find someone tucking into her dessert because it was so good! We really cannot fault the meal we had and I was so pleased with my decisions.

Due to the fact it is an exclusive and high rated wedding venue, there is only really one styling company they trust with any major decoration, these are called Mediterranean Occasions Venue Stylists and they provide anything from chair covers to LED Lights and even curtain drapes and glitter balls. As I mentioned, I fell in love with the natural decor so for me I simply opted for a sparkly dancefloor for the evening (because who doesn’t want to sparkle whilst dancing, come on) and a projection on the brick wall which said ‘Mr and Mrs Irving’, something I found very unique, and something that got a lot of compliments. MO were great at communication and got the job done discreetly in the turnaround so no-one knew it was all coming when we went back in for the evening

Gaynes Park honestly just made the wedding of my dreams. The events co-ordinators Hannah and Chloe were there for me anytime I needed them before the wedding, and on the day Hannah was unreal. The whole day flowed perfectly, there was never a lull or a moment where you worried guests were bored, it was truly the most perfect day and it was worth every single penny. Thank you to everyone at Gaynes Park for the best day of my life

x

Gaynes Park

Birth Trauma – I’m fine, but am I?

On the 2nd July 2017, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl in a horrendous and traumatizing fashion. I know I always repeat myself and most have read my labour story but to break it down it was 3 inductions, infection, theatre delivery, 3rd degree tear, post-partum hemorrhage, blood transfusion. For a first baby, it was horrific and quite frankly has petrified me into having another on incase I go through it all again.

Last week a close friend of mine s mum had an intense operation, which came to be life threatening, but thankfully she is doing really well.  My friend and her dad have been through a rough time dealing with it, and as a result, they have been offered help and support through the PTSD clinic at the hospital where her mum is. And to me, I was amazed that as victims of purely watching what has been going on, they would be offered support and counselling on how to deal with it all as family members. Because it isn’t just the patient who is the victim. And it got me thinking about what I was offered after my birth in terms of support and help. And I realised, it was sod all.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are so many of us that do suffer from traumatic births, and I’m sure a lot of people have read my birth story and thought ‘well mine was much worse’. My best friend had a ruptured placenta, lost a lot of blood and gave birth under anesthetic 6 weeks early to the most handsome little boy. But was she offered any support after that? No. She got sent home after a week and was simply put as high risk for her next pregnancy, constantly told placenta rupture will 100% happen again (thankfully it didn’t). Where was her trauma support?

At my 10 days post op appointment with the midwife at my house I got asked 6 questions to determine if I had post natal depression. 6 questions for some woman who has never met me to make a decision on my mental health. Was I asked about my labour and my birth story and is it affecting me? No I wasn’t. Was I asked if my 3rd degree tear was affecting my mood or having a bad impact on my life? No. Was I asked, how do I feel when I look at my ridiculously bruised arm thanks to the 45 minutes it took to find a vein to carry out my blood transfusion? No.

Why was I not asked these things? Why was I not offered any kind of support or help to even discuss what the hell happened! In recovery when in my head I was in a galaxy far far away, I was briefly told about my tear, and then simply given a leaflet to explain it. But since I gave birth not one person, not a doctor, not a midwife, no-one has sat down and explained to me what actually happened.

As for my husband. He was in theatre when I was throwing up and convulsing, and he had to sit there and listen to the medical team COUNT the amount of blood that I was losing. It was only when they got to 2000ml they decided that he should perhaps leave as it was quite serious. But again, he never got a full explanation of anything, so he had to explain to my mum and dad that I had a baby and the baby was fine, but he had no idea if I was. So where is his support? To watch your wife go through that and for everyone to think that it won’t affect you – why is that okay?

I was very lucky to heal quickly and once you get home and the baby is your life, you push it to the back of your mind, but that doesn’t mean to say I’m completely find with it all. There isn’t a day that goes by without me thinking about it, and when I think about it, I don’t think me and Marc have every really sat down and spoken about it, because why would you? Having gone through it together, you don’t want to relive it with eachother, but that doesn’t mean to say I couldn’t relive it with someone else, someone who may be able to make me understand in medical terms what happened.

It saddens me that there isn’t enough support given to birth trauma victims and that consultations are not made post partum with specialists to give the parents and insight to what went on. Why is birth trauma not recognised as something that can affect us? If we do decided to have another baby, I’ll be seen as high risk. But all that means is more appointments and I’ll probably be given a chance to elect for a C-section. I don’t want that, I want answers, I want proper medical support, I want someone to be honest about the statistics of me going through that again. But most of all, I want birth trauma to be considered a good enough reason to be offered help and counselling. Too many mums go through it, but of course, we are fine aren’t we?

x

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Mummy and her offensive body

This is a blog post to formally apologise to all the people who I seriously offended on Friday 3rd August on Instagram. I don’t know what I was thinking putting up a bikini photo, but it was clearly a disgust for a percentage of you who decided that you could no longer put up with me and my posts and therefor followed me as soon as my post was viewed by your little eyes.

You see, on honeymoon with my new husband, I decided to take a photo of myself in my fabulous new Missguided bikini and post it to instagram. I did this because its been over  a year since I popped ol Chops out, and its the first time since that day that I’ve genuinely felt pretty good about how I look. Each day I see other mums posting their post partum bodies, so I thought, why the hell not, we all empower each other on here, we all comment on how amazing each other looks despite the jiggles and marks that comes with it. But apparently, my bikini body, was not what a good 30-40 mums wanted to see.

Now about 4-5 of these were ‘fitness mum’s’, which confused me as I thought, well hang on, you put photos of your body on instagram every single day? Is it my lack of abs offending you? I’d love to know! Another 4-5 were small business, fair enough, I’m not sure why you felt the need to unfollow but I won’t hold it against you. The rest, were simply normal mums who I followed, who simply did not enjoy my post partum bikini body.

And it baffles me as to why the world of Instagram is like this. When a celebrity loses their baby weight in 3 hours, we all kick off and write blog posts about it. When other mum’s post their c-section scars, we praise them to the high heavens. But why is little old me with what I would call a ‘normal’ body, seen as a reason to unfollow? Personally, I did not feel like I was bragging about how I look, at all. I’ve written a blog post on my body confidence so you would know that isn’t in my nature. I was simply writing that for a long time I was confident in my own skin even with the non-abbed belly and the fake boobs  that don’t fit around the implant properly.

Is it trauma and stretch marks that you Instagram mum’s really want? Because I think taking a picture of my 3rd degree tear is taking it a bit too far and I would probably get reported for it!

Don’t get me wrong, each and every one of you who commented gave me a massive smile on my face and I think even my lovely husband could see the difference in me regarding how I felt about my body (even though he tells me everyday I look amazing). So thank you to those who did empower me and did make me feel like I can upload what the hell I want.

But to all those who did unfollow…….for whatever reason my bikini picture made you swiftly click that button, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I’m a happy mummy who thinks ‘well why can’t I buy a small like the love Island girls’, I’m sorry that my surgeon in 2011 did such a good job that even after a kid my boobs aren’t that horrendous, I’m sorry that I had a big smile on my face because my husband thought ‘damnnnnn girl’. I’m not saying people are jealous because I don’t think anyone has a reason to be, but as the saying goes, haters are going to hate, so I’d like to send love and positive thoughts to all those offended 🙂

x

 

Girl Power and the World Cup!

So I know this post isn’t baby related but its something I’m quite passionate about. It’s about Women in football.

Now, I’ve always been interested in football as long as I can remember, I’ve watched every World Cup and Euros since about 1996 and I’ve been going to Fulham since around 2000/2001. Women and football has just never been an issue for me and I’ve never had the problem with it being a male dominating sport. It always has been and it always will. My family members have always encouraged it, my fiancé loves that I enjoy football and I know plenty of females that watch football, so the stigma behind women and football has never bothered me because I’ve never known any different.
I have a group of friends who I met at Fulham and go to games with, and we genuinely call ourselves the ‘NWAF’ which means ‘No Women At Football’ because we can laugh at any male who believes we shouldn’t be there and don’t know what we are talking about.
In secondary school, I was lucky enough to have after school training sessions with Fulham Ladies, and Rachel Yankey came in to talk to us about girls football teams in schools. I’ll never forget it, I looked up to her so much knowing how much she had succeeded in this profession – at the time Ladies Football Teams weren’t a recognised as they are now. After school I stopped playing but I never stopped watching.
Many years ago now Sian Massey made headlines when she became the first female referees assistant to be in top flight football, and she got so much abuse for it. It was horrendous. But not giving a flying F, Sian Massey still assists today, on a pitch with 22 footballers, male referees and assistants and surrounded by over 15,000 men in the stands. But she loves her job and she’s showing exactly what can be achieved.
Last year, The England Ladies national team got to the semi finals of the European Championship. Being heavily pregnant and not very sociable at the time, myself and my other half really got into the competition and couldn’t wait to cheer on the girls each time they played. The likes of Jodie Taylor, Millie Bright, Jordan Nobbs and Fran Kirby were making our lionesses so interesting to watch. Both Marc and I were gutted when they lost in the semi finals as we had loved supporting them through their incredible journey.
Now I’m not one for feminism and all that, I’ve written posts before that I’ve always been independent and I think if women want to achieve something they will, there doesn’t have to be a big hoo-hah made of it. But as girl power goes, this World Cup has made me seriously proud of the women in football today.
Eni Aluko has been a pundit on BBC for the World Cup and her analysis of games has literally shit all over half the blokes in those studio chairs. Patrice Evra was scolded for patronising her, but I genuinely believed he was impressed with what she was saying, and not because she was a female who knew about football, but because she was a female who could analyse a game in a way that no male pundit ever has. She didn’t need a fancy TV with touch screen special effects to show what she meant, she explained everything beautifully and it was such a monumental moment for women in sports punditry.
I’m so pleased this World Cup has been inviting women to be pundits, to be presenters, to be commentators, because there’s a lot of us that probably love football more than a lot of males you meet!
I would absolutely love for Ivy to be passionate about football when she’s older, so she can look up to these women and the next generation of England and club teams and know that women can watch football, women can play football, and women are bloody good at football!
Thank you for reading x

Giving you the 3rd degree!

After nearly a year of only letting my beauty therapist attack my eyebrow hair with her wax, I finally plucked up the courage to get my ‘down there’ back on track with the waxing, and in light of this momentous occasion, I thought I’d write a blog about my 3rd degree tear experience – because to be honest, all I can think about is it ripping wide open again from the wax!!

What is a third degree tear? Most women tear or get cut during labour to assist with the delivery of bubba, with most women experiencing a first or second degree tear which affects the perineum only. A third-degree tear is extending downwards from the vaginal wall and perineum to the anal sphincter, the muscle that controls the anus. Ouch right?

When I was initially informed I had a third degree tear (when I was completely high on drugs), I wondered what the bloody hell the nurse was talking to me about, then she shoved a leaflet in my hand which I knew I had to read when I was more with it. Do you get told about this before hand? Absolutely bloody not. This is the one thing that really really got my back up about my ante natal midwife and appointments. At no stage do you really get told about any of this! You only realise the extent of it when you google it – AFTER ITS HAPPENED!

Third and fourth degree tears cannot be prevented, and there are a number of factors which contribute to it. 1. Your first vaginal birth – check. 2. If you have been induced – check. 3. If you have a large baby – Check. 4. If Forceps or ventouse were required – Check. 5. If you had an epidural – check. So pretty much I was destined for this tear to happen! So what happens next?

I was on a lot of medication from delivering in theatre and my PPH, so I wasn’t entirely aware of the pain it would cause for a few hours, especially as they knocked me out with Morphine to get me to sleep. However, before this, I was lucky enough to had an ice pack shoved between my legs because my ‘vulva’ was swollen. Fantastic, thanks for sharing that news with the family that have come to visit me. Then at around 6am a nurse came to take out the vaginal pack that was keeping things in place. The event that then unfolded, can only be described as when a clown pulls a long line of flags out of their mouth! This thing was bloody massive!! It must have been about a metre long and I honestly wondered when it was going to stop. Oh, and it hurt. Shit the bed, did it hurt. This was the discovery of what a third degree tear meant….

When I was whisked to the post natal ward, I was quickly instructed to do a urine sample. Everyone had warned me about the ‘first wee’ and how AWFUL it was so I was dreading it. Quick was also something that would not be a part of my persona for quite some time. In absolute agony I waddled somehow to the bathroom. Holding the cup, Niagara falls mixed with the red sea came out of me (no pain, just absolute filth). This was it, I thought, this is my life now. This is what no one tells you about, the reality of the after birth body and its disgusting functions and features

Being in hospital was hard. The pain down there was excruciating, and the more I kept reading over my leaflet, the more down I got about it. Why me? Why this extreme? 9% of women this happens to, why am I part of that percentage?

Having suffered from the PPH, I was put on iron tablets. Now we all know the affect these have on you (oh hey constipation) and how painful and uncomfortable it is. I was also put on lactulose solution to help open my bowels. This did not seem like a good combination. After about 2 hours of my first doses of lactulose, the worst thing happened. I FARTED INFRONT OF MY FIANCE FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!!!!! The shame!! Yep, that’s right, in the 3 and a half years we had been together, such a thing has never happened. And because he laughed, I laughed and I couldn’t stop! and the whole ward could hear my laughing and farting and the pain from the tear was unimaginable and that 5 minutes of my life was probably up there in the top 5 worst.

When I was allowed home I had to continue on the lactulose and the iron and the gazillions of painkillers for my torn open vagina and arsehole. There is nothing worse than watching people try to walk at the same pace as you when your down below has been ripped to shreds. A tortoise would’ve beaten me home. Then having to sit in the car, sit on the sofa, just generally sit and stand was proving too much. Three days PP and I was alone in the house, my OH had taken his two girls out when it suddenly hit me. This was it, I was about to go to the toilet. I would be lying if I said I ran to the toilet, but I moved in what was a hurry considering the circumstances before my living room became a sewer. I was petrified. I think I even cried. But thank god for Lactulose Solution! It was painful, I won’t lie, but nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be.

Because of the extent of the tear you can’t bathe in anything. Anything at all, not even healing salts. But you have to keep the area clean. So what does this result in? The most disgusting bath you’ll ever have. You can’t use anything to wash the area, and the shower head alone is tender, so you have no choice but to run a plain bath, get in, and have it fill up with the unspeakable. I’m sorry for the TMI but its how it is. So my ritual would be, fill a shallow bath, get rid of the gunk, and refill for an equally boring but clean bath.

I made my OH look at it all the time, poor guy, I don’t know how he finds me sexy after doing that, but it really gave me a peace of mind because I was too scared to get a mirror out and look myself. Especially as well as you only see the health visitor 3 times and they really only checked it twice!

Lucky for me, after 6 weeks of wetting myself, unclean boring baths, keeping Superdrug’s business open single handedly by buying their complete maternity pad stock, the inability to walk properly and the terrifying thought I looked like something out of Jekyll and Hyde down there, my 3rd degree tear healed.

I do wish I had been informed of the risks and extent’s of tearing prior to childbirth, as I felt that my 3rd degree tear was something sprung upon me, and something so major really should’ve been discussed not only before but after too. A third degree tear is a major part in birth trauma and coupling it up with the labour I had, I feel there is no aftermath to help you deal with it. I have been lucky it healed quickly and that I’ve been signed off to have a vaginal delivery in the future, but it needs to be spoken about more and more openly and honestly.

Anyway, wish me luck for the wax!!

Mummy Ruby x