Posts Tagged With: babies

My birth stories: The arrival of Little Miss

This post probably should have been one of my first! It’s one I’ve been meaning to write for absolutely ages. There are so many little details that I don’t want to forget as the years pass by – almost four already. So, with it now being Little Miss’s birthday month, here it finally is – her birth story.

My birth stories 1

It all began on Tuesday 27 March – three days before both my birthday and due date. I woke early that morning with a mild crampy feeling and when I went to the loo, realised I’d had a show.

I knew this didn’t necessarily mean I would go into proper labour instantly, and even if I did it was likely to take a while, so we carried on as usual. I’d read the books and been to NCT classes, I knew what I was doing – or so I thought!

The husband went to work and I went over to my morning midwife appointment as planned. I was still only getting the odd crampy sensation at that point. This continued throughout the day and by about 4pm the pains were starting to feel more intense though still very bearable.

Things carried on much the same that night. We let the hospital know and they predicted they would probably be seeing me in the morning. I bounced on a birth ball a bit while watching TV. At some point late that night I think I cracked open the TENS machine. I felt excited but calm, in control and relieved that something was happening as I’d been dreading the prospect of going overdue – though had assumed I would as I wasn’t convinced they had my dates right.

I slept a bit that night, not wonderfully but  I managed to get some rest. Then we got through the morning – using the TENS machine, distracting myself, keeping mobile like I’d read in the books and learnt in the classes. This was ok, I thought. I can cope with this (it gets more interesting later!).

After lunch we both felt it must be time to go the hospital. My contractions were getting stronger and closer together. This must be it, I thought. And dare I say it, I was probably feeling ever so slightly smug at how well I thought I was dealing with what, I thought, by now must be full-on labour pain.

Only two centimetres – you’re kidding me!

And so we arrived at the antenatal day unit. The midwife examined me and pronounced that yes I was in the ‘early’ stages of labour – and congratulated me on being two centimetres dilated. TWO! She seemed happy with that. I definitely was not! Two measly centremetres! And then it started to dawn on me that I was not as in control as I thought. My sense of calm was somewhat premature. My body was only just getting started. Sh*t!

The midwife initially suggested we went home for a bit. But given that we were over half an hour drive each way from the hospital (and the husband was pretty nervous about the possibility of an in-car, roadside delivery), there was no way either of us planned on leaving that hospital.

So she moved to plan B and offered to give me a sweep to try and speed things along.

Let’s just say it did the trick.We were sent off to walk around the hospital corridors for an hour or so to see how things went. They went painfully! After several episodes of me leaning over various walls, ledges and garden benches as the pain started to overwhelm me, it became obvious that the sweep was having the desired effect.

By the time we went back to the antenatal assessment ward I was feeling sick and pretty desperate. They offered me gas and air, which I couldn’t get my hands on quick enough. I was hot and sweaty and have vague memories of pretty much stripping off by the bed, cubicle curtains wide open, not giving a damn who could see me!

I feel sorry for the women who were on the ward for observation that day and not yet in labour. I didn’t do a very good job of selling it to them. My sense of self-awareness had long left the building! A healthy dose of realism was all I had to offer.

They hooked me up to monitor to check the baby’s heart rate and my husband did an annoying thing I’ve since seen repeated by other men on One Born Every Minute. He kept looking at the machine and telling me when contractions were starting to build from the change in the wiggly line. The only useful aspect of this was his being able to suggest when one might be coming to an end.

Anyway, while I might have scared/annoyed/amused the other women on the antenatal ward, my hollering finally got me admitted to the labour ward (And, on a serious note, I do stand by it as  a coping mechanism – yelling propelled me through the birth of my second baby too!).

Making an entrance on the delivery suite…

So at 5pm exactly, my labour was finally deemed ‘established’ and I was granted access to the delivery suite. One of the first things I did when I got into my room? Threw up down the back of the bed! That’s gratitude. The midwives, as they were throughout, were wonderful and kind and quickly cleared everything up without a murmour.

At this point I seriously started to question my all-natural birth plan and ability to get through labour without stronger pain relief. I started to make inquiries about what an epidural would entail. They put my name on the waiting list for an anaesthetist to come and see me. It was suddenly so much more appealing.

It was incredibly busy that night on the labour ward – we were later told that we were the last to be admitted and if we’d been any later we would have ended up being transferred to another hospital. And it wouldn’t have even been one of the next closest hospitals as they were full too. We could have ended up in London or over in Kent.

As it was, the busyness helped me. With the delivery suite at full capacity and several emergency c-sections happening, there wouldn’t be an anaesthetist free to see me any time soon. This, it transpired, was a turn of luck (I know that might seem an odd choice of words). It forced my hand and put me back on track with our original plan. My mindset had to shift – knuckle down and get on with it, the pain will pass.

By the time an anaesthetist became available, I’d got through the hardest bit, with the unflinching support of my husband. I had been very sick and had struggled to keep any fluids down for a few hours, which hadn’t helped when I was wavering. But at some point I was offered a drip to rehydrate me, which was a huge help. I got some strength back, felt more in control again and, knowing I’d now got to 8cm dilated, I was happy enough to carry on as I was.

Finally she’s here

FirstPictureLittleMissAt 9.49pm our baby, a beautiful daughter, was finally born (we hadn’t found out the sex beforehand). My hospital notes described my time in labour as just 4 hours 49 minutes – I beg to differ! But, overall, I can look back and say I was blessed with a straightforward, intervention-free delivery.

Looking at my notes from the time, apparently my waters didn’t break until 9.15pm and the second stage of labour (the pushing bit) lasted 29 minutes.To me that last bit, which I’d expected to find hardest, wasn’t so bad. Knowing I was so close made me feel so much better. The time went quickly.

Little Miss was perfect, weighing 7lb 8oz (3.4 kg). She aced her Apgar score – 9 at one minute and ten at five minutes once her little hands had pinked up. It was wonderful to be able to hold her straight away.

Of course, we were completely elated. And overwhelmingly relieved that she’d arrived safely. I’d found pregnancy a huge mental challenge. Physically everything had been fine but having suffered a late miscarriage 16 months before, I had been terrified that things could go wrong. Much of the time I just counted down the days, willing myself through it.

I was amazed at how quickly we decided on her name. We’d had a clear front runner for a boy – which we used two years later – but several potential girl’s names were on our list and we’d by no means made up our minds. Beforehand it had felt like a such a big decision to grapple with, hence we had decided to wait until we saw her. I imagined it taking hours, possibly days, so we were both surprised when very quickly we had a moment of clarity and agreed within the first five minutes of her arrival.

Our first night

After an hour or so finishing up in the delivery room, I was wheeled through to the post natal ward. I was given the option of walking round – hell no! I’ve just pushed a baby out thank you, I’ll be putting my feet up now, thanks!

I got settled on the ward and then all too soon the husband had to leave. Well, he was politely thrown out as those were the hospital rules back then.

I remember having a hunger like I’ve never felt before. Mars Bars were consumed – along with all the other energy-rich snacks I’d packed, thinking I’d be eating them during labour.

Then alone on the ward, once I’d satisfied my chocolate craving, the enormity of it all hit me. That night was such a mixture of feelings. I felt pretty  invincible, amazed that I had got through it all unscathed and without an epidural. I felt proud of what my body had achieved. I had, with my husband of course (as he’ll be reading this!), created the tiny little, living, breathing, perfect human bundle laying next to me in her hospital crib.

But along with the euphoria, I also felt a huge feeling of responsibility. Of course, I expected this but you can’t quite imagine it until you’re finally left alone with your new arrival.

Within twenty minutes of me finally laying back in bed to try and rest and get some sleep, Little Miss gave me an ill-timed dose of reality on the joys of parenthood to come when she suddenly started coughing and spluttering and threw up a load of phlegmy green muck. “Ah yes,” said my friend, who’d given birth to her third daughter the day before me, when I replied to a text later in the middle of the night “that happened to me, they don’t warn you about that”. Too right they don’t. For a moment I was terrified that Little Miss was seriously ill. But apparently it’s very normal, she was just clearing out nine months of muck. And so began the first of many outfit/bedding changes/clean up jobs.

Hard work.jpg

After that, I was too scared to sleep in case Little Miss needed me again. So I vowed to stay awake all night – and ordered three new parent books on Amazon in the early hours! I was on the hunt for the best possible manual to go with this new thing in our lives

I was relieved when morning came. I managed to successfully navigate through breastfeeding and a major nappy change, and then Daddy came back. Little Miss passed all her checks and we waited to be discharged to go home – which took all day as the place was so busy. Both sets of grandparents and one new aunty and uncle came to the hospital. I continued to be absolutely ravenous and wolfed down all available food!

FirstDay

Finally, almost 24 hours after her birth, we  left the hospital. Little Miss looking far too small for her car seat, me sat in the back next to her. On the drive home I finally got some rest. And then our parenthood journey truly began.

Car seat

I’m linking this post up with…

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Mudpie Fridays

Super Busy MUm

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Categories: Baby days, Motherhood, Mummy memories | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

Not his six-month birthday!

I had been meaning to post a six-month update on our Little Mister but as his half-birthday was on New Year’s Day it didn’t happen. So I thought I’d save it for his seven-month birthday a few days ago.

I can’t quite believe our happy little man is already seven months old! He’s changed such a lot in the last few weeks. Given his size – 9.5lb at birth – he was never going to stay a teeny tiny newborn for very long. Now, at more than 21lb, he seems to get stronger every day and he’s desperate to be on the move!

Seven months collage

He’s not quite crawling yet. He certainly has the upper body strength – and we’ve already caught him reaching up pretty high while balanced on one elbow – but he hasn’t worked out what to do with his legs. Once he does, we’re in for trouble! He has already discovered the low down drawers in our living room.

His cheeky character continues to develop. He loves being on the floor, exploring, playing and trying to get his hands (and invariably mouth) on his sister’s toys. Little Miss is fairly tolerant but we are now hearing regular disgruntled shouts of “no, he’s ruining it!”. Plenty more of that to come I’m sure. He’s certainly not the most polite guest when it comes to her pretend picnics! Smash and grab pretty much sums up his style.

He’s now finding his voice much more as well and loudly objects to being removed from the scene of his more prohibited explorations. And if his sister snatches something away from him he will screw up his little face and do a full-on cry in protest. His angry face is actually very cute!

Also on the vocal side is his growl. This can be the funniest or most annoying noise depending on the time of day. He’ll growl when he’s excited or really enjoying himself. He also growls himself to sleep. And he also growls to resettle himself if he stirs in the middle of the night. While I suppose it’s preferable to inconsolable crying, it would have been nice if he could have discovered a different self-soothing technique – it’s like trying to sleep next to a baby lion sometimes. Usually his eyes aren’t even open. Mine, obviously, are though. Grrrrr!

Of course, all is forgiven when first thing in the morning he looks up at me all smiles, flapping his arms in delight. He is now starting to hold his arms up towards me to be picked up, which is so lovely.

He also now sits very well and is generally pretty steady on his own. One of my highlights from the last month has been how he is able to join in so well at the music group we go to on Mondays. He absolutely adores the parachute play and very happily sits on his own next to me and Little Miss and helps shake it (combined with trying to eat it, of course!). And his sister’s reaction to his new abilities is lovely too. She is delighted he is joining in with her.

We started weaning just after Christmas and, as you might guess for a boy his size, he’s taken very well to solid food. We’re probably more confident too this time around and he’s definitely progressed to three good meals a day much quicker than his sister did. She’s never been a bad eater but her first spoonfuls of baby rice were spat straight back out whereas he finished a small bowl on his first sitting!

It’s lovely that we are now able to sit together at the table for family meals and Little Miss likes to feed him the odd spoonful. She also loves to feed her beloved dolly in the highchair she got for Christmas. In fact, so much of her play at the moment seems to be inspired by what her baby brother is doing.

And despite the odd grumble, Little Miss is genuinely affectionate with him. She always likes to cuddle him before bed, often holds his hand and today at lunch I came back to find the pair of them at the table giggling at one another. So sweet and long may it last!

Super Busy Mum
Categories: Baby days, Mummy memories | Tags: | 6 Comments

Our first fantastic month as a family of four…

So the ‘Babymoon’ – a daft word but it seems appropriate right now – has finally come to an end. Last week saw Daddy going back to work and the routines of everyday life beginning to resume after three lovely weeks all together. And this morning Little Mister turned four weeks old, before officially becoming a one-month-old on Friday. But before these magical early days become too distant a blur and I’m overcome by the exhaustion of looking after two little ones on my own, I wanted to share some of the memories and milestones from the first 28 days of Little Mister’s life. It’s taken me a week of snatched moments to finishing writing this post, such is the daily juggle now!Our first month as a family of four

Our baby son’s arrival coincided with a spell of decent hot weather and we’ve been out and about much more this time around than in the weeks after his sister was born. I suppose we’re more confident and a bit more relaxed having successfully reared one newborn! And staying inside with a boisterous toddler is a surefire way for everyone to go mad.

Little Mister has already enjoyed a family barbecue to celebrate his cousin turning seven – I blame her for his late arrival and my subsequent discomfort since she was so desperate for the new baby to share her birthday month! He wasn’t much interested in the fabulous Narnia-themed chocolate birthday cake but Mummy was and I’m sure it was good for my milk supply! It was a lovely family occasion and, of course, a chance to show him off.

There have also been several picnics, one in the park and one at our local vicarage. Little Mister has already felt the air on his cheeks – yes, those ones – as we’ve got to grips with his lunchtime nappy explosions! But it’s been wonderful to sit back on the picnic rug and enjoy our little family.

Family picnic

Family picnic fun

Food actually features quite heavily in the last few weeks. I’m a nervous eater when pregnant. I worry about everything, especially food that’s been prepared outside the home. Eating anything more adventurous than a cheese and tomato pizza in a restaurant was out of the question.

So I’ve been making up for months of self-inflicted food tedium… starting off with a takeaway curry binge the night Little Mister was born – a tradition started when Little Miss arrived. I have to have the sweetest, creamiest, sickliest curry on the menu. We followed up with takeaway Chinese the next night, fish and chips a couple of days later and several lunches out before returning to the Indian menu and a lamb biryani, which it turns out Little Miss will happily eat!

We also has a trip to Wagamama as a threesome on one of Little Miss’s nursery days. Little Mister was impeccably behaved, sleeping throughout the whole meal, so it was a chance for Daddy and I to feel like a proper grown-up couple again for an hour or two. It’s been a while! It also brought back fond memories of us eating out together when Little Miss was the sleeping baby in the pram.

Food, we can already tell, is clearly going to be very important to Little Mister too. After a slightly slow start, he’s taken to breastfeeding with great enthusiasm! He almost beats his little fists on my chest when he’s hungry and will try and nibble the shoulder of whoever happens to be holding him when that tummy starts to rumble.

Post-feed calm and cuddles

Post-feed calm and cuddles

When he was weighed at six days old he had lost less than an ounce – his sister, at the same stage, had dropped more than half a pound. He obviously takes after his father, who apparently actually gained weight in his first week! By his most recent check, at 13 days, Little Mister was up to 10lb 1oz, a weight it took Little Miss more than six weeks to get up to! He definitely has his Daddy’s long limbs, while our daughter has inherited my shorter ones!

But although our baby boy is bigger than his sister was, and has more hair, they do look very similar as babies. We’ve got very similar photos of the two of them, as you can see…

Spot the sibling difference

Spot the sibling difference!

Little Miss has taken her brother’s arrival pretty well for a 2-and-a-quarter-year-old. It must be hard having to suddenly share Mummy and Daddy. It probably helps that she was already obsessed with ‘dollies’ before he arrived so she now loves pretending to look after her own babies, copying the things we do for Little Mister. It’s very sweet. She has a few dolly-sized nappies and we’ve let her have a few of her old tiny baby clothes – they never fitted her ‘big’ baby brother anyway. But I constantly have to stop her stealing more of her brother’s stuff – nappies, muslins, the car seat, his bouncy chair, all of them are nabbed for her dolls given half a chance! That said, her dollies are proving a very useful distraction for when I need to change poopy nappies without a toddler’s help!

Mini me nappy changing

Dolly needs her nappy changing too!

Little Mister’s early milestones have included his first experience of water (excluding his unfortunate habit/our parenting fail of weeing in his own face on the changing mat) when he had his first bath. He was a bit angry about it to start with but since then he’s become pretty chilled in his little tub and we think he takes after his sister in enjoying a nice warm soak now.

Another milestone saw the little man being made all official when we registered his birth. He greeted the occasion with a demand to be fed while we gave all our details to the registrar, followed by a loud poo just as we were handed over his certificate!

It’s been a lovely laid back first month. Of course we I’ve had my moments of feeling completely overwhelmed – with love, responsibility, exhaustion and frustration – but I’ve surprised myself with how well I’ve coped most of the time. Looking after a newborn baby does feel that little bit easier second time around. Keeping a bossy toddler happy, now that’s the real challenge!

Little Mister 3 weeks old

Little Mister at almost 3 weeks old

Categories: Baby days, Motherhood, Mummy memories | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Introducing our new arrival… not-so-little Mister!

Regular readers may have noticed this blog has been pretty quiet of late. Well, behind the scenes I have in fact been rather busy… growing and now looking after a new addition to the Mummy’s to do list household! I’m thrilled to finally be able to introduce the lovely Little Mister, born on 1st July, weighing a not-so-little 9lb 8oz.

Little Mister collage

Unlike his early bird big sister, who conveniently timed her arrival two days ahead of schedule, our latest bundle of joy kept us waiting more than a week over his due date. But although I felt far more uncomfortable for the last trimester of this pregnancy, I was at least blissfully unaware quite how big he was and had a relatively calm (as far as these things go!) and quick natural delivery. I’d been due to be induced the day after he arrived so big cheers for the midwife that did my third sweep when I was getting really desperate!

So, we’re now back in newborn baby mode, only this time with a curious toddler in tow which can only add to the fun and games. Little Miss has so far taken it all in her stride and says she loves her little brother. She is very intrigued by it all. The latest source of wonder has been the new belly button that emerged from what she called his ‘sore bit’. And she’s been very keen to help where she can, like bringing him little toys and undoing the poppers on his babygro when his nappy needs changing. We’ve been so proud of how well she’s adapted so far. Mummy and Daddy, meanwhile, have had to get used to the technicalities of changing boy’s nappies! I’m still learning the art of this one!

Clearly I kept the news of my pregnancy under wraps on this blog. At times it was tempting to spill the beans but I decided to hold back. Before Little Miss was born, we lost our first baby five months into the pregnancy. Naturally we were devastated and unfortunately it forever changed the way we would experience our subsequent pregnancies. While we have been totally blessed since then, with two healthy babies, each of those long nine months has been fraught with fear that something could go wrong. Hence, my reluctance to share until now.

But let’s not dwell on that… this baby is finally here, Little Miss is now a big sister and our family adventures as a foursome are just beginning. Life is great – even on just a few hours sleep a night! And on that note, I’d better get to bed!

Categories: Baby days, Motherhood, Mummy memories | Tags: , | 21 Comments

Notes of a new mum – my best ever list!

So, as you’ve probably gathered from my blog’s name, I’m a bit of a list maker. Well, this weekend I re-discovered what must be my all-time-favourite list, the mother-of-all lists if you will. I can’t take all the credit for this little beauty. It was written in cahoots with my sleep-deprived, first-time dad husband (in fact, he did most of the actual writing). It makes for hilarious, heart-warming and ever so slightly worrying reading!

Charlotte3 006

This list was made during the first five days after bringing our newborn daughter home from the hospital. It details her every activity. Every nappy was analysed and compared against the NCT poo colour chart we’d been given as a handout during antenatal classes. Every feed was timed and written down, along with which breast had provided the said sustenance.

For some reason, in the new baby blur, we both became convinced that when the midwife came to check in on our tiny charge she was sure to give her hapless, exhausted parents an FBI-style grilling. I’m not quite sure what we thought might happen. It was as if  we expected to be asked to sit some kind of parental exam to assess our fitness to take care of this helpless little person.

Since we were both in a sleep-deprived, emotional haze we must have decided that neither of us, not even my usually cool-as-cucumber husband, could be relied upon to provide an accurate enough account, so we’d better just write it all down, just in case.

It seems so funny reading it now, almost two years on, but back then it must have felt like a totally sensible thing to do. Another thing that had seemed entirely logical at the time was ordering another three baby care books from Amazon at 3am in the morning from my hospital bed, just hours after I’d given birth! I already had at least two at home but as the enormous weight of responsibility hit me it was all I could do to feel that little bit more in control. And I couldn’t bring myself to sleep when I had such a precious bundle lying next to me.

So here is the first 24 hours from that list, our daughter’s second day in the world… it may be a tad repetitive!

1.15am (when the list appears to begin) – Big nappy change, dark.

1.25am – Right side feed, ten minutes.

1.45am – Left side feed, 20 minutes. Unsettled until 2.40am then another feed, right side 20 mins.

3-4am – Husband settling her.

4am – Sleep on/off, 5.45 am swaddled.

6am – Unsettled.

6.15am – Big nappy change.

6.25am – Swaddled.

6.45am – Left side feed, 20 mins, then swaddled (after a few more days we realised that Little Miss actually didn’t like being swaddled, she much preferred to stretch out all her limbs and kick her feet!).

7.05am – Sleep.

9.40am – Right feed, 15 mins.

10.10am – Little bit sick – uncomfy (windy?)

12pm – Left feed, 20/25 mins

12.45pm – Right feed, 30 mins. Bit of a struggle getting into position.

1.45pm – Nappy change, dark poo. No smell, poss bit wet?

3.10pm – Midwife visit.

3.30pm – 15 mins feed each side. In-laws visit.

5.45pm – Feed, 20 mins left, 15 mins right.

6.45pm – Left feed and right (15 mins each until asleep).

7pm – Nappy change – poo bit lighter. More poo while being changed.

9pm – Left feed 10 mins.

9.30pm – Cleaned top and tail and changed wet nappy – pinkish tint, no poo.

9.50pm Right feed 15 mins, then sleep.

And so it continued. Poo became green, then yellow. We had some hiccoughs, some grunting and a few more sick spells. As the days go on, the lists get that bit shorter until we finally realised that, actually, we are doing ok and don’t need to do this.

Are we the only new parents to have done this? Did anyone else do anything similar?

And hope you like the early picture of my gorgeous Little Miss.

Categories: Motherhood, My 'to-do' lists | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

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