An Interview with Clemmie Hooper from the Gas and Air Blog
What was your favourite part of being pregnant?
Watching my body change shape was incredible. Despite seeing and feeling hundreds of women’s bumps, my own bump was amazing especially when the baby moved. Oh and my hair and skin has never looked so great. My hair was thicker and so shiny and skin spot free for the first time in my life.
What was the worst bit about being pregnant?
I suffered with terrible back ache, from about 28 weeks. It was like a hot burning on the bottom of my back like someone was stretching all the muscles and ligaments. Nothing relieved it.
Did you develop any strange cravings or strong aversions to anything?
Ice! Oh my god I crunched the stuff from about 32 weeks. Huge pints of it. Our local cinema did the BEST ice chips ever. I couldn’t get enough of it. I suppose it’s not a bad craving to have as it’s essentially water maybe not so good for my teeth. I was also quite obsessed with certain cleaning products and imagined eating a sponge or flannel covered in Flash bathroom cleaner. Luckily I never followed this through.
Did you find outcome the sex of your baby before the birth? If so, why?
With number 1 no we kept it a surprise. With number 2 yes mainly for our daughter we though ti would help prepare her for a sibling.
Would you say that you got the birth that you wanted? If not, why?
I wanted a home birth with number 2 but ended up being induced due to Obstetric Cholestasis. I had a horribly painful and fast induction. Fast isn’t always good but I did manage to birth her in the pool with my midwife just catching her in time as she flew out after only 2 pushes.
What are your overriding feelings about the birth?
Happy and sad. I had no build up and felt let down by my body that it wasn’t at home. I wish I had more time to get mentally prepared but I suppose I was lucky as it was so quick and I was back home only 3 hours after she was born. I also know now looking back that having a baby 2 weeks early is not as easy to feed as a term +5 baby. She was smaller and feeding took longer to establish. If I ever have a number 3 I will definitely have a home birth
Did anything shock or surprise you about pregnancy, birth or after? Is there something you wish that someone had told you?
How swollen your labia become! As a midwife most things I already knew would happen but it still comes as shock when your peer down in the shower. After pains with number 2 when breastfeeding were pretty horrible for at least 24 hours. And the night sweats…. I had to sleep on a towel and mop myself down with a muslin it was disgusting. Oh and all that thick luscious hair started to fall out that was horrible.
How much weight did you gain and did you find it easy to lose?
I never once weighed myself with either pregnancies what’s the point? My theory is if your slim and healthy before you get pregnant then don’t worry. I eat well (bar the chocolate) a healthy balanced diet. Any weight I did gain was for fat stores for breastfeeding. Which by the way does burn it off. Once I felt well enough I started running again around 3 months post partum and attended weekly pilates which helped my pelvic floor and core muscles.
Did you exercise during your pregnancy?
Shamefully no. I was running around after a 3 year old, we walked a lot I suppose you have less time. With my first pregnancy I swam and did yoga.
Has your body changed in ways that you dislike? If so, do you want to do anything about this?
I have a wobbly tummy but hey it grew two babies I can’t complain (my husband doesn’t) and my boobs are saggier but again I’m not parading them around much. I see my body differently now and dresss differently than I did in my early 20’s but I’m much more comfortable now in my skin than I was at 21.
Did you attend any antenatal classes and what were your thoughts on them?
As a midwife it was pretty pointless to go so I just met pregnant mums through other ways.
What one piece of advice would you pass on to a pregnant friend?
Invest time into your relationship with your partner because that definitely takes a battering once the baby arrives. Go on loads of dates now you’ll miss them when you’re stuck in with a baby that won’t take a bottle
Do you have any fashion or beauty tips to share with other pregnant women?
I bought only a few key items: Topshop skinny jeans and a few dresses but I lived in over sized denim shirts, stretchy vests and printed scarves. You don’t need to spend a fortune a lot of things I bought were the size up from my usual clothes and they lasted fine. Like I said before my skin and hair were in the best condition ever so my beauty regime stayed very minimal through pregnancy. I used Bio Oil and Palmers on my bump and boobs for stretch mark prevention. I even waxed less which was incredible for me who usually has to wax every 4 weeks!