Birth Story

After having my waters broken and beginning contractions almost immediately I began to panic. I wasn’t ready. I had been told I’d have another 2 hours before anything like this. I had relied on having that time to prepare myself for what I knew was coming. The intense pain of that first contraction took me straight back to my last labour, birthing my sleeping baby with no guidance from a midwife, only a nurse coming in right at the end and telling me to push then taking her away from me, the unbearable pain that I didn’t understand, the panic, the fear and within that one contraction I had processed all of these thoughts and knew I had to make this experience a different one. After one contraction of panic and fear I knew I was strong enough for this, I knew I had to control my emotions because I knew I was strong enough to do this – I had done it before in worse conditions and survived and this was a totally different situation. Here I was having my rainbow baby who had defied every obstacle thrown at him and was still with us at 38 weeks, I wanted my healing birth. One that it would remember as a positive experience, one that would reassure me that pregnancy and birth could be alright, could have a happy ending.

I breathed through my contractions. Not deep breathing, in through the nose, out through the mouth type breathing, but I made sure I breathed sensibly and I concentrated very firmly on thinking “I am a strong independant woman” (which I ridiculously think I stole from an episode of friends) “and I will not panic” and every time the pain got bad I repeated the last section concentrating on the words and what having control over this birth meant to me.

I couldn’t talk or make any sound at all through my contractions, I think I physically could have, but if I stopped repeating those words and concentrating on my breathing I would have panicked and completely lost control like I did last time. During my last labour I didn’t know what the contractions were, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t get comfortable in any position and I threw myself around the room trying to. I had never been in a situation where nothing is right, nothing makes any difference, and it was terrifying. I was more prepared for this labour, I knew what to expect and I knew what it all meant so I refused to lose control.

Every two hours I was strapped to the monitor to check Jackson was coping ok, and the first time she did this fairly early on I was leaning forwards against the bed. She made some comment about the contractions not registering on the monitor, at which point I almost gave up! I told her that if these weren’t registering I would be giving up and having an epidural, but she reassured me that it was probably just the sensor not picking them up because of how I was sitting.

I was shattered by this point, a few nights of not sleeping very well in hospital, a lot of walking around to try to start labour and I was almost a zombie. Mum said she could see it in my eyes I was tired, and indeed I started falling asleep between contractions. The gap between contractions not being very long I’m not sure the falling asleep actually helped, but it made time pass incredibly fast. Each time she told me it had been another two hours and she needed to put the monitor back on me I felt like it had only been about 15minutes!

When she examined me I was 4cm dilated and finally in established labour. This unfortunately meant constant monitoring on the machine, which limited movement and positions for me. I think I spent most of labour kneeling on the floor leaning against the bed, it seemed most comfortable, even though there really is no comfortable position for contractions! When she told me I was 4cm I asked when I could have gas and air, not wanting to start too early before I really needed it, she told me I could have it whenever I liked, so I decided I would hold off, after all I had another 6cm to dilate!

Time went weird in the delivery room so I’m not sure how long it was but I don’t reckon any more than a couple of hours, if that, after she told me I was 4cm I felt an unignorable urge to push. I told her this and she told me to ignore it as I was unlikely to be ready as it hadn’t been that long since I was only 4cm. I tried to ignore it but as the next contraction came I realised I couldn’t. This is the only point in the labour that I completely lost control. I was terrified, not of pushing, not of the pain, but of messing up, of doing it wrong, of not being strong enough to not push when I shouldn’t be, scared of hurting Jackson. But the midwife was there in seconds reassuring me and calming me down. I didn’t even panic for the whole contraction. She told me I wouldn’t hurt him pushing too early and that she would check to see what was happening. This involved getting me on the bed, which, when contractions are one on top of the other and no complete loss of pain between them is easier said than done! I managed it and then needed to push again. I’m not sure if she examined me or not but somehow she estimated I was about 8-10cm and ok to push but that now she really needed the monitoring to be reliable for baby’s sake (it had been temperamental with me kneeling) so I’d have to stay on the bed. She suggested lying on my side as this apparently reduces tearing and I eventually managed to roll over and lie on my side.

The pushing was the hardest part of the whole labour. I have learnt since that the midwife controlled the head coming out, stopping it coming out too quickly and reducing tearing (I ended up with a tiny tear and 2 stitches that apparently are not necessary, only make it neater – a head circumference of 36cm is fairly large!) I didn’t have a strategy for the pushing part, just push as hard as I could and get him out safely. After what felt like hours both the midwife and my mum were telling me the head was nearly born and that he had a lot of hair (the lady who did my 34 week scan had told us this) I was told just one more push so many times I felt a little lied to but I could tell he was close. Then with a slight pain sensation (my little tear) his head was out. The midwife went to get another midwife at this point to oversee the birth as with my blood clotting issues complications could arise. The next contraction seemed to take ages to come, knowing my sons head was in this world and still hearing his heartbeat on the monitor, all I wanted to do was meet him, but come it did and with another couple of pushes he was out.

I looked down and absolutely ridiculously the first thought through my head was ‘oh my god it’s a baby. An actual baby.’ I suppose the mind games I had played on myself for 9 months had worked. I had totally tricked myself into believing that this would never happen to me, that it would be something that I would forever watch on TV but never get to experience, yet here he was, they placed a towel on my tummy and put him on it, rubbing him to get him to squeak, I had a heart in mouth moment when it was all silent, the midwives were both rubbing him, I was staring at his beautiful face with his mop of dark hair willing him to scream and then he did and I relaxed. I had done it. I had my rainbow baby and I’d had my healing birth. In one night I had proved to myself that I could do it. That 9 months of worry and fear and stress were worth it, has culminated in this, this moment, in him.

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Because not everything could be easy, my placenta decided it didn’t want to come out! I opted for the injection, but after half an hour it just wouldn’t come out! Another midwife came in and had a go and after a lot of wiggling and gentle encouragement and pushing from me it slithered out. Apparently it was rather large, but it’s still a mystery why it was so hard to get out! After this she set about doing my stitches and then I was all done, we were brought tea and toast and I marvelled in the fact this was the start of a whole new chapter of my life.

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Birth Announcement

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Name: Jackson Theo
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 28/07/14
Time of Birth: 03.02am
Gestation: 38 weeks 3 days
Type of Delivery: Natural (No pain relief just positive thoughts!)
Weight: 7lb9oz
Hair Colour: Brown

My First Week: A Week of Firsts

Just over a week ago I was still pregnant and now here I am a week on with a tiny little baby who relies entirely on me and I’m going to be honest it is terrifying.

Up until a week ago, apart from my daughter who was delivered asleep at 21 weeks I hadn’t held a baby, so when I delivered him and he was placed onto my chest I had expected a second of “what on earth do I do” but it didn’t come. As soon as he was there I knew exactly what to do. Almost straight away he was making feeding cues which I picked up on and within half an hour he was happily suckling at my breast. It was the most amazing feeling in the world and the maternal instinct hasn’t gone away.

Having never held a baby I had obviously never changed a nappy or breastfed or anything and the first time for each was terrifying. I was totally on my own for my first nappy change and talk about a baptism of fire, he had done a massive poo, as soon as I had cleaned that up he weed on the the new nappy I was just doing up and when he was finally clean and in yet another new nappy he puked on me, all the while screaming his little head off. Needless to say I had a moment of what the hell am I doing here, but as soon as he was cleaned up and happy again that feeling quickly went away.

Even the first time getting him dressed was scary, he seemed so delicate. What if I bent his arm and he cried or I got the baby grow stuck over his head or something, but what I have learnt is that babies are sturdier than they look. He hates me changing him, he cries the whole time, but as soon as he’s dressed and back in my arms he is docile as anything again.

Feeding on my own was scary, and even though I was on the postnatal ward, support was scarce. I had one lady come round who told me to hand express some. I got about 4 drips and he promtly puked it all up again anyway but other than that I was left entirely on my own. One midwife came round looked at him latched on and walked away again saying he was on ok. That was all the help I got, but atleast being told he was latched on ok gave me some confidence in my own abilities.
The first night was the worst. He was tired and struggled to latch on (something he still struggles with) but I, not knowing any better, let him latch badly, and my did I pay for that for the next few days (my nipples then bled everywhere each time he fed giving my baby the look of a baby vampire and when he threw up (which was after most feeds for the first few days) it was all bloody and stained his clothes really nicely!) Thankfully I now know that it is ok to wait 20minutes for him to open his mouth and latch properly, that as frustrated as he gets he won’t get what he needs if he doesn’t and that actually if he’s that tired he won’t open his mouth there isn’t much I can do to encourage him. Sometimes at 5am when we are both tired, waiting 20minutes for him to open his mouth only to take a couple of sucks and let go again gets pretty frustrating, but I have been assured he will learn, it’s just a lot for him to take in and learn.
I didn’t expect myself to be so comfortable feeding around people. I have always been quite body shy, not that I didn’t like my body, I just didn’t show it off, but I suppose after the indignity of labour, showing a boob isn’t a big deal. I find myself getting him latched on in a different room to guests – I think this may be a different story if he didn’t have such issues, but I find myself waving my nipple around for 20 minutes to be fairly embarrassing. But once he is latched on I am happy to come back and join the conversation. I even answered the door with him feeding – I did have a moment of should I, shouldn’t I as I didn’t know who it would be but I decided to give it a go and thankfully it was my friends mum. Having said this I’m not sure I would have been embarrassed whoever it was. Everything was covered and as I look at it, it’s the most natural thing in the world (if still a little painful)

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Thankfully he is quite a contented baby, once he has been fed he will go back to sleep or just lay there looking around, he doesn’t complain for no reason, so if he is crying you just have to work out why. If he’s just been fed it will probably be wind, and if not then check his nappy. Sometimes he just wants cuddles and if that’s the case then just walking around bouncing him does the trick. I’m so glad he’s not a fussy baby who cries the whole time, if he was I think the tone of this post may be slightly different!

This first week has been made so much easier by my mum staying with me at my house. It’s just little things like she makes sure the cat is fed so I don’t have to worry, and also when he’s crying in the middle of the night she will suggest winding him or bouncing him, things that in my sleep deprived state haven’t even crossed my mind, it’s also nice to have someone else there for if we have tried everything and he is still crying (admittedly this is rare) just for them to take a turn bouncing him.

All in all I have loved every minute of this week, it has been hard, don’t get me wrong but the love I feel for this tiny little person who is going to (already is) grow and develop under my watchful eye is amazing and makes every hard moment totally worth while. I often find myself just sitting watching him sleep and marvelling at the fact that he came out of me, that I made him.

This has honestly been the most amazing week of my life.

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!

       

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

Social Media Overshare

No, I’m not one of those mums.
At least not on Facebook.

(My Facebook is reserved only for my real life friends. People I have actually met, and I delete people I no longer talk to. It may seem harsh, but I’m not interested in what someone I went to school with when I was 4 is doing now. By sticking to this I always care about what’s in my newsfeed.)

I use my Twitter account to share Jackson updates, after all, it’s what I made it for, while my Facebook account is saved for special updates and momentous occasions.
I’d never have believed this a few years ago.
I didn’t ‘get’ Twitter. I didn’t have anything to share. My updates would have been “Got a cup of tea” and I would have had no followers, because, in all honesty, who wants to read that?
Facebook, however, got everything. The people who were friends with me to keep up to date on my life were subjected to my mundane, pointless, cryptic statuses. I literally cringe now when I read my daily ‘Timehops’ why on earth did I write that? Why did I update my status 7x a day? Why did I think people cared?!

Back before I was a mum I hated people who shared everything about their child on Facebook. It bugged me. I’m not sure why, but every other update on my Facebook was baby related and I just didn’t care.
Now I guess the rest of my friends feel the same.
The few updates I have put on my Facebook have been ‘liked’ and commented on by the few of my friends who have kids and my family, rarely my childless friends.
I’m not upset.
I totally get it.
To this end I don’t overshare. I get the sharing of those ‘have to share’ photos out of my system on whatsapp to family or on Twitter, but only very occasionally to Facebook where the majority of my friends just don’t care!

I love Twitter, but I’m not the most social person.
I still lack confidence and find myself reading and rereading and redrafting tweets multiple times before I reply to people to make sure it reads right, that I won’t offend them, that it’s worth sending.
That’s me all over. In real life and online.
I go over any conversation with people I don’t really know in my head multiple times before I speak, sometimes missing my chance to speak because I wasn’t sure on what I was saying.
With friends I can be silly, be myself and fire off a reply instantly, knowing that they will take it right, but if I don’t know someone I am terrified of upsetting or offending them, especially as one of the main topics I talk about online is Babyloss.
I’ve never been a particularly sensitive or sympathetic person. What I mean by that is that I don’t know how to express it. Whatever I say I feel like it sounds like I’m being insensitive. I feel everything, I’m sad when people tell me about their losses, but I don’t know how to express it.
I’m working on this, trying to put the ‘social’ back in my social media (however hard this is with a baby around making time scarce) I’m trying to get over my lapses in self confidence with strangers by throwing myself into the conversation. Something I’m also working on in real life, going to baby groups and meeting people. It’s terrifying but also a bit exciting.

Whether online or in real life a baby is a great ice breaker. He is a way to meet people. Photos online draw comments and taking him out in his pushchair I get stopped in the street by strangers who comment on him. Maybe he will be the key to me growing my self confidence.

  • 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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