Memories

I’m often coming up with things to keep and save to show to Jackson when he’s a bit older and when I mention them to people they tend to go ‘oh I hadn’t even thought of that’ so I thought I’d compile a list:

  • My pregnancy test! I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it away! The start of the journey.
  • The hat the hospital put him in – not that it stayed on for 5 mins, big head!
  • The sensors from the tests he had at the NICU that the nurse kindly gave to me.
  • His umbilical cord clip. I drew the line at the actual shrivelled cord and threw that out in disgust!
  • His first size nappy (unused!) even looking back now I cannot believe he was that small!
  • I wish I had managed to get a newspaper the day he was born but I only thought of this a week later and it was too late by then.
  • I saved the Argos catalogue from the season and year he was born (spring/summer 2014) so that when he is older he can look back at what was around when he was born, how old fashioned the people look, how low tech the toys are and LOOK at those phones, they’re huge!
  • His first size nappy (unused!) even looking back now I cannot believe he was that small!
  • His first shoes. Everyone does this right?
  • Any currency that disappears during his lifetime. I’m going to keep a purse filled with it, starting with the old paper £5 note. Otherwise when he’s a bit older he won’t believe that notes were once paper and we all hated the plastic replacements! And now I’m adding an old £1 coin, round and one colour? He will never believe it!

 

Have you kept anything else? I’d love to get more ideas, and I might add them to this list so please let me know!!

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2014

2014 is over.
It’s going to be a hard year to top.
I successfully carried and delivered my son and I have spent the last few months developing with him and getting to know him.
How can that be beaten?
It’s a stark contrast to 2013 which was the worst year of my life, losing and burying my daughter.
I feel like my life up until last year was nothing, was bland.
Since last year I’ve lived life in full colour feeling the total immense pain of loss and experiencing the absolute highs of life with my son.
I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer me.
Bring. It. On.

End of the Fourth Trimester

The first 12 weeks after birth are widely known as the fourth trimester, following on from the 3 12 week trimesters of pregnancy. These 12 weeks are the adjustment stage for both mother and baby.
Jackson is now 14weeks old so we left the fourth trimester a couple of weeks ago. According to theories I should now be accustomed to being a mum and Jackson should be used to being on the outside, not surrounded by fluid in my tummy. All in all I think we are getting there.

I wrote before about our issues with sleep and spent the first 12 weeks cosleeping with him. He rarely settled in his crib for longer than a couple of hours at the start of the night. I mentioned it to the Health Visitor and she told me that if I stuck with returning him to his crib every time – cuddling him when he cried and then returning him (it could take hours each time) then after 3 weeks it would start to sink in. She suggested I started when I had a few weeks with no prior engagements as I had to do the same thing each night and would probably end up knackered. On the first night I tried he settled easily in his crib, allowing me to take the monitor downstairs and have an evening to myself, and then after every feed, even going in awake and settling himself, finally coming into my bed at 6am and sleeping with me until 10am. As I suspected it was a fluke. The second night was still ok, but he was harder to settle, but by the third night he took 2 hours to settle! Since then he has varied from an hour to five hours to settle which gets quite frustrating, and I must admit that I have occasionally fallen asleep after feeding him in the night and kept him in bed with me. On the whole, however, he has been so much better that I ever expected. I don’t know what has changed as I have always tried to put him in his crib, I suppose the key is being persistent when he doesn’t go straight down.

He’s a good feeder now, after the first couple of weeks being a bit of a struggle with him not opening his mouth, but since then he has basically taken to it like a duck to water. It’s amazing how subtle I can be feeding him now, no more waving my boob around for 20minutes waiting for him to latch, I just lift up my top and he suckers on for 20minutes. I fed him in a restaurant the other day, (that being the most public I have been yet) and the doctors waiting room, but I am getting better at going out now I am more confident so I expect that list of places to get longer. That’s what I love about breastfeeding, there is no heating bottles, nothing extra to pack, no sterilising. It’s fantastic. Totally worth the first week of excruciating pain (in my opinion worse than labour. I dreaded him crying, but now it is completely pain free.)

He still a bit of a limpet, and doesn’t like being put down. He is getting better in his bouncy chair as he can now be distracted with toys, and he was ok in his pram as long as he was moving, however he is so nosey that he preferred being up on my shoulder looking around at everything so I made the decision to turn it into a pushchair. I almost cried as it seems like my little boy is growing up so so fast, but he prefers it so much. He tries to stay awake as long as he can just to look at everything around! I make sure to flatten it whenever he is asleep to keep him flat as much as possible.

I can’t get over how much I love this little boy! It’s totally crazy. I miss him after a couple of hours of someone else holding him!! When I’m looking after him I can’t remember or imagine my life without him, but when I sit back and watch someone else cuddling him I can’t even believe he is mine!

And so now my baby is no longer a newborn!

Parents

For as long as I’ve been alive, my parents have been there for me through everything. I can’t recall a single time that they haven’t been there to support me.

I now have to be this constant in Jacksons life.

I have been a parent for over a year now, yet only for 2 months have I had to play a parental role in a childs life. I lost my first child during pregnancy, making me a mother but never having to change a nappy or wipe away a tear. I had my second child, a healthy baby boy 2 months ago and it has changed my outlook on life more drastically than I ever expected.

Every night when he goes to sleep I sit and watch him, and am filled with great pride at the little person he is becoming with my love and encouragement, and massive fear that I don’t have a clue how to be a good parent.

I have amazing role models. As I said I cannot fault my parents at all, they have taken everything their three children have thrown at them (from teenage tantrums to becoming a single parent at 7 months pregnant with a house to run) and been supportive and understanding throughout, but am I ready to do it myself? The answer is I have to be. I brought my son into this world and I cannot let him down now. I shall learn as I go with the support of my parents still by my side guiding me along.

I only hope that when he’s older he will feel the same about me as I feel about my parents.

Feed, Feed, Feed

A couple of weeks ago the health visitor paid us another visit – her third. She weighed Jackson who was 9lb 4oz. She noted that he had dropped a centile, from 25th to 9th (noone had explained what centiles were so I had to ask my friend to explain them later) she told me that he was still gaining weight just that it had slowed so to feed him more and to make sure he was getting enough of the more calorific milk. I had also told her that he seemed very gripey, often crying when he had been fed and changed and was being cuddled. She explained that breastmilk is the only cure for gripey tummys – atleast that it comforts them and does no harm, often putting them to sleep so they don’t cry. So basically from that visit I was told to feed him whenever he opened his mouth. This should bump up his weight and also help with his incessant crying.
I worked hard at feeding him more – it meant I got even less done around the house as I spent longer feeding him. I gave up recording when and for how long I was feeding him on my app as at times it was nearly constant! (Plus it’d have been depressing to see how many hours a day I was spending feeding him!)
A week later I went to get him weighed at our local clinic and despite my best efforts he had only gained 3oz. I was however assured that babies are only expected to gain about 1/2oz a day so this weight was on track for a week, however it kept him firmly in the 9th centile.
Yesterday, a week later the health visitor weighed him again and amazingly he was now 10lb! Although this was a great weight gain he is still in 9th centile and she now thinks it will be hard to get back up to the 25th.
Aside from the weight gain he seems a far more contented baby. He no longer goes for long periods of crying for no reason, as I feed him as soon as he starts, which can only be a good thing, helping with weight gain too.

Will I Ever Wear A Bikini Again?

I used to have a nice body, before my pregnancies I was body confident and I have lots of pictures of myself in tight fitting clothes, with my tummy out, not wearing much.

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During my pregnancy with Effy-Mae I didn’t grow too big, I got to 21 weeks but honestly just looked bloated, though to me I felt enormous and proudly took pictures of my tummy.

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After I lost her I quickly returned to my pre-pregnancy body, maybe a little bit larger but that was all over and I could have lost that weight if I was so inclined. (I have never been into fitness – infact I am one of the biggest couch potatoes ever – but am blessed with a metabolism that means I don’t gain weight easily)

I was happy as this slightly heavier me, still body confident and still in my tight fitting clothes (though no semi naked photos)

I took lots of pictures throughout my second pregnancy, not wanting to miss a thing. (See all the photos here)

I have carried this on since giving birth and have become very aware that I will never look the same again! I know that I am only 6 weeks on from delivering my gorgeous, healthy 7lb 9oz boy at 38 weeks 3 days and that I have a long way to go, but from 30 weeks stretchmarks appeared on my tummy in droves and I know they will fade and become silvery, but they are here to stay.

 

I also don’t think that the spare tyre of excess flappy skin around my midriff will disappear completely. I am hopeful it will improve from how it is now, but I don’t think I will get back my tight flat tummy!

22/08/14 25 days after birth

22/08/14 25 days after birth

This all said, I knew it was a possibility when I got pregnant and it was a decision I made. I wouldn’t swap my son for my flat tummy (no, not even when he’s screaming) I can go swimming in a full cozzie and still have more fun now because I’m with him (unless he screams as much as when I bath him!) He was worth every stretchmark and every inch of the 4 I can now pinch!

 

My Fluffy Baby

A year ago yesterday my fluffy baby was just a kick in her mummys tummy and today is her first birthday!

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Last year I wanted (needed) an animal, something to take the edge off the emptiness of the house. It was meant to be our family home, I should have been moving in with my newborn daughter and my fiancé, but I moved in on my own a week after Effy-Maes due date. I chose what I was after carefully, a cat because they’re independent and don’t need walking, and then I researched breeds. Ragdoll cats are BEAUTIFUL, are known to be cuddly, loyal cats that act more like dogs, and are happy to be house cats, which was important as I live near a busy road.

I got her at just 7 weeks old, we travelled from Norfolk to London to get her, being unable to find her colouring anywhere closer. I knew she was the one as she sat by the door waiting for us to take her home with us.

I had already named her before we got her, Luna, after the character in Harry Potter (my favourite book). It suits her perfectly.

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Since then she has seen me through so much, furnishing an empty house,

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a trying pregnancy, during which I was bedridden with sickness for a couple of months,

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the breakdown of my relationship and the introduction of Jackson into our lives.

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She has been my constant companion and at times my fluffy handkerchief.

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I can’t believe she’s a year old already! She is growing up so fast. I have probably been neglecting her a bit in the last few weeks with a newborn in the house, but she has spent every night cuddled up close.

I think this year would have been a lot harder without her around, and I will be spoiling her today to say thank you!

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Lunas first birthday cake – yes it is real cake – no she isn’t allowed to eat it, she got a lick of the icing but there’s no way I’d be cleaning up her poos if she actually had some cake!!

Sleep

When we got home from hospital, the first few nights were amazing. I had expected to hardly sleep, constantly being woken by him wanting a feed, but infact the first couple of nights he only woke a handful of times and slept soundly in his crib.

The next couple of nights couldn’t have been more different, with him waking every hour or so for a feed, but the midwife reassured me that this would just be a growth spurt, a couple of nights of solid feeding and then it would go back down to more manageable levels.

We never returned to the low levels of feeding that we had experienced on the first couple of nights, I assume he was as tired from the birth as I was and was just sleeping it off, but it was possible to function on the amount of sleep I was getting. 

Then about a week or so ago I had the night from hell, he cried the whole time. He fed and fell asleep in my arms, but as soon as I put him down in his crib he cried so I fed him again assuming he hadn’t had enough and then he overindulged and threw up. He went all night not settling and crying constantly, and by the morning I was a total wreck.

I assumed it was a one off and was hopeful that the next night would be better. It wasn’t. After one of the feeds though, I accidently fell asleep with him on my chest and we both slept for four hours without stirring. This kept happening over the next few nights and I felt endless guilt that I was risking him like this. I hadn’t looked into cosleeping, I just knew it wasn’t recommended and I was terrified of rolling on him or smothering him, but with him not settling easily in his crib and me being exhausted I could see me keeping falling asleep with him. 

The next night it got to 4am and he still hadn’t settled in his crib. I was trying really hard to keep him in there, replacing his dummy every time he spat it out and screamed and shushing him, but by 4am I was shattered and he was showing no signs of relenting so I took him into bed with me, snuggled him down on my chest and the next thing I knew it was 7am.

I knew that this couldn’t continue, he either had to stay in his crib or I had to find a way to cosleep more safely. I decided to look into how to make cosleeping safer incase the need arose again, not out of choice, out of necessity, for my sanity. I think that if there were two of us to take it in turns to settle him this wouldn’t be so important, but as it is I need to be awake the next day to look after him, and therefore cannot be awake the whole night before trying to settle him!

I found a list of things to do to make cosleeping safer and most of them were fine, I was already doing them – no smoking, drinking or drugs, sleep between baby and partner – well I am on my own so no issue there, tie your hair back, fine, no duvets – this is where I had to change what I was doing. There had been one occasion where I had woken up to find him curled up on my stomach, under the duvet, when he had fallen asleep on my chest above it. He’s a proper little wriggler, so before I let him sleep with me again this had to change. (The site suggested wearing a onesie to keep warm and putting baby in a sleeping bag)

I fully intend on keeping him in his crib if at all possible, starting every night putting him in it and trying everything to keep him there, but I will not drive myself crazy if he just won’t settle, I know I have another option.

Catching Up

Following straight on from my Birth Story, they brought in some tea and toast (where did this tradition come from?!) but I needed a couple of stitches and the midwife didn’t want me to eat before she did it incase I threw up over her! I had to pass my son to his dad while she did my stitches (I literally had to force myself to let go!)
The midwife told me to take gas and air (finally I got to use it after not getting round to it in actual labour!) and to be honest I’m still not sure I needed it. She had given me local anaesthetic so all I could feel was a bit of tugging. Eventually I was all sewn up and allowed to eat my toast! The gas and air however had given me a tingly feeling down my arms. I mentioned this to the midwife who looked very confused and told me this was not a side effect she knew of. Thinking back I seem to remember getting that feeling after the last time I used it, but at the time there was too much else going on to think about it. Maybe I should steer clear of gas and air in future!

After tea and toast we dressed Jackson and my mum went home to get some sleep. Jacksons dad stayed to look after him while I went to get a shower. It felt amazing, getting clean after three days in hospital and a sweaty labour. It was the first time I had got to properly see my post baby belly as well, and my was that a shock. I still looked about 30 weeks pregnant, but it felt like a semi deflated balloon! Once I was clean and dressed I headed out to see my son again.

Eventually the mornings midwife came in and asked how much I had weed (random) I told her I hadn’t and she then informed me that I had half an hour until it was 6hours after I had given birth and that if I hadn’t weed 200ml in that time I’d have to have a catheter put in. I told her that it wasn’t that I couldn’t wee just that I’d only had a cup of tea since giving birth and that’s not even 200ml in itself! She brought me another jug of water and told me to drink it in half an hour and pee otherwise she wouldn’t have a choice. I spent the next half an hour desperately drinking 2 jugs of water rather than bonding with my son. I still hate the midwife (or atleast the hospital rules) for that. I then went to the toilet and only managed a little. There was no way the water could have gone through me that quickly. The midwife eventually listened to me and allowed me to be transferred to the ward without having weed (I later showed them by doing 700ml and avoiding a catheter)

Before we were transferred the lady came round to check his hearing and everything came back clear (after she had removed a load of gunk from his ears!)

I had been told that I was being transferred to the ward only to allow them to sort out my medication to take home, however I ended up spending 2 days there awaiting a paediatrician to check Jackson over!
As soon as I arrived, and he knew where we were, Jacksons dad left to go get some sleep and I closed the curtains to feed as this seemed to be what everyone else on the ward had done and honestly I didn’t want to make a fool of myself, but before I’d even got started the midwife had pulled the curtains open telling me that curtains were to remain open otherwise it got too hot, ignoring the fact that out of the 6 beds another 4 had theirs shut! So I sat attempting to feed him in plain view of everyone feeling a right fool.
After latching on and feeding so beautifully straight after birth we had a few issues with feeding, not that any of the midwives noticed or helped, despite the curtains being open! It got to the point early the first day that he was screaming and screaming and I assume he just wasn’t getting anything. Eventually a volunteer came round and told me how to hand express some, but not being a midwife she wasn’t allowed to touch me to show me so she demonstrated on a knitted boob. She gave me a syringe to collect it and left me to have a go. Obviously not producing milk yet I wasn’t producing much, but I managed to express four drops which didn’t even reach a measurement mark on the syringe! I felt so silly but she told me to give it to him anyway. Within a few minutes though he had thrown that back up!
A midwife came round and asked when I had last fed him and for how long. No one had told me to remember this so I hadn’t been taking note! I ummed and guessed and she left again, then the next time she walked past I had just finished feeding and she asked in a rather condescending tone whether I had called anyone to tell them he was feeding. Again no one had told me I should, so of course, I hadn’t!
The only other ‘help’ that I got in regards to breastfeeding was a midwife coming round when I was feeding, walking up to me asking if I was feeding (no I have my boob out for no reason) then she glanced at him, said that he was latched on ok and walked off to make a note in my book.

Towards the end of the first day, I was still expecting to go home until the paediatrician came round to do his checks. Everything was going well until he listened to his heart and told me he heard a murmur. Obviously at this I panicked a bit, but he assured me that it was fairly common and would likely disappear in a few hours but he would order a few extra tests just incase, then check again the next day so I would be staying over night.
Later that evening tea arrived just as they prepared to take him to have his tests. The midwives tried to persuade me to stay and eat ‘you need to eat because you’re breastfeeding’ but there was no way I was letting my less than 24hour old baby out of my sight. NO WAY. After two of them had tried to persuade me to stay and eat they realised that was not going to happen so they let me go with him. We were taken to the NICU and left with the nurses there. They checked his blood pressure in all four limbs and his oxygen levels. I talked to the nurses there about Effy-Mae (a subject that always comes up when someone asks if this is my first baby) and grumbled about the midwives trying to get me to let them take him on his own and they totally got it, it’s a shame that not all hospital staff understand that not all mums are comfortable with letting their newborn babies out of their sight! Jackson screamed when they did his blood pressure, but quickly calmed down when I was allowed to cuddle him after. All his results came back perfect and they were pleased and hopeful that they wouldn’t hear the murmur next time he was checked. The midwife was called to take us back and she spent the whole journey back trying to tell me that they would have been back to take my food away by now – we couldn’t have been more than 15 minutes and they normally give an hour or so to eat so I knew she was being stupid (she didn’t know I’d spent 3 days there already and knew how things happened!) as expected my dinner was still there when we returned and she quickly left me alone to eat it.
That evening I had to leave Jackson alone while I went to the toilet and brushed my teeth but I have never tried to be quicker (easier said than done now the anaesthetic had worn off and peeing hurt my stitches!) but it was almost physical pain to leave him on his own. When I got back he didn’t seem to have stirred which made me feel a bit better but the next morning I waited for a visitor to arrive before I ventured to the toilet.

The next day all I was waiting for was for them to recheck his heart and test his thyroid, but I ended up waiting for an entire day! I spent the day with visitors coming at visiting times and the rest of the day feeding and bonding with my son. I noticed that all the other mothers left their baby’s in the cribs by their beds while they read or slept, but I couldn’t put him down, I spent the day cuddling him and just staring at him! Eventually the paediatrician came and checked him at 5pm! They checked him over for symptoms of an overactive thyroid and couldn’t see any, they pointed out that he was slightly jaundiced, but that the midwife would keep an eye on this as it wasn’t too severe. She also listened for a murmur and thankfully reported that she couldn’t hear one so he got the all clear. She booked us in to be checked for thyroid symptoms again in a week, and then she went and told the midwife to discharge us! I was finally going to take my son home!

I spent the entire car journey looking at him, so tiny, in the car seat, feeling the whole time like I was stealing a baby!

The midwife came three times over the next few days and checked my stitches, weighed him a couple of times and did his heel prick test, which he didn’t enjoy. His weight went down from his birth weight of 7lb 9oz to 7lb 3oz on day 3 but by day 5 he was already back up to 7lb 6oz! After day 5 I was asked if I could go to the clinic on day 10 for our last visit, at which he weighed 7lb 13oz. She checked my stitches again and after that we we discharged from the midwife!

When he was a week we returned to the hospital expecting a quick trip to check his thyroid again, but the paediatrician was confused as to why his cord blood hadn’t been collected and tested, so he decided to test his blood. This involved sticking needles in the backs of his hands and squeezing them until he collected 10ml of blood! He hated it and screamed so much. He was given some sugar solution which distracted him for some of the time, and after that he sucked on my knuckle, and my goodness he must have been in pain as he was sucking SO hard! I also pointed out that he had had a gunky eye for a few days so they did a swab of that for us.

I got a phonecall a few days later letting me know that his thyroid levels had been normal and that he was given the all clear, but that he had a ¿staph aureus? infection in his eye that he would need ointment for so I should book in at the doctors, but that it wasn’t dangerous.
Thankfully after a few days of treatment his eye is now clear too.

And here we are up to date with a healthy baby!

Newborn

I have been neglecting my blog a bit recently – not because I don’t have any time, but because the time I do have I tend to have a baby snuggled up on my chest making typing difficult, so I have been watching a lot of TV and spending a lot of time just watching him sleep!
Jackson is now 3 weeks old and I am so totally in love with him it’s crazy!
I’m not going to deny that it’s been hard. There have been times that I’ve wondered what on earth I’m doing (admittedly these times tend to be 4am when he’s screaming with hunger and won’t latch on and won’t be soothed and I’m on my own and I just end up in tears) but these times go, soon to be followed by a time when I look at him and realise I wouldn’t swap this experience for anything.
Small everyday things have become a real feat with a newborn in the house. Cooking dinner for example has to wait until he is asleep in the crib or happy in the bouncy chair, which is not a common occurrence – he doesn’t easily settle anywhere apart from on people! And it’s a small miracle if I get a chance to have a shower – the one time I’ve tried to shower while on my own I had to get out 7 times to resettle him, so I wait for people to come round to look after him while I have a quick shower – choosing between washing my hair or shaving my legs is a hard choice, however my family have been amazing, popping in to see if I need any help and I know they are just a phonecall away and there have been a couple of times that, with a colicky baby and my head about to explode that I have used this.
It is amazing though – in three weeks he is almost unrecognisable from the baby I gave birth to, looking back at pictures now it’s scary how much he has changed so quickly.
I find myself taking hundreds of photos, but I’m also afraid I’m not taking enough, with him changing so quickly I don’t want to miss a thing. We are having a professional shoot next week so hopefully I will get some lovely shots of him as a newborn so I can stop panicking quite so much that I haven’t got any nice high quality ones.
We have been to visit his sisters grave a couple of times already. This is somewhere he will be visiting frequently as he grows up, as he learns about his older sister. Ever since I learnt I was having a boy I was glad in a way that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to compare him to Effy-Mae in the same way that I would if I was having another girl, however as soon as he was born both myself and my mum commented that he had his sisters mouth. I like this fact that you can see her in him, that in a small way she lives on through him.

 

The last few weeks have been an amazing experience, one that has made me grow as a person and get to know my little boy. He knows me now, the health visitor commented today that he wouldn’t take his eyes off me when she was doing her observations on him which obviously, as his mummy, makes me feel amazing!

       

  • An 'Angel Baby' is a baby lost during pregnancy or early childhood, who sleeps in the clouds instead of our arms.

    A 'Rainbow Baby' is a baby born following the loss of an 'Angel Baby', a beacon of hope after a storm, while not denying the storm happened.

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