Tuesday, 21 March 2017

40 weeks in, 40 weeks out

This week marks a very special point in the life of Baby B. She is 40 weeks old - 40 weeks in me, 40 weeks out of me, so I thought it would be a perfect time to record some of my favourite images of her and the memories I have of those times.

June 2016 & March 2017

Of course I had to include my final bump photo. We took this on a warm summer's evening the night before B was born. I remember telling Sion to make sure not to show my feet! I suffered with swollen feet so badly, my ankles disappeared around 28 weeks and even flip flops left deep indents towards the end. Looking back my bump was HUGE, but I loved it...I think that's something that I really miss about pregnancy - the little strokes I gave B throughout the day and the little wriggles and kicks she gave back. We had a lovely meal that last night, of medium steak and a glass of champagne, soaking up our last night as two...and still trying to think of boy's names!!

Next to it B at the weekend, looking so big and grown up in her highchair - yet still needing a towel underneath her as a booster cushion! The new favourite is crumpets loaded with soft cheese or marmite and always her own spoon! she's not quite able to feed herself so we distract her with a spoon and quickly slip a loaded spoonful into her mouth. We always listen to music when she's eating and just this last week she's started to adorably bop up and down when she hears something she likes.

The Early Weeks - First Day to August

Oh my, those first few weeks were a blur of trying to feed Baby B, trying to feed ourselves and so many tears from us both! Baby B was born via C section on 15th June 2016 at 9:25am. We had found out the week before she was breech and because of my subseptate uterus, external manipulation was not an option. Unfortunately she was completely squashed up in there and the consultant struggled to deliver her. She was given help with her breathing and it was 7 minutes before she took her own breaths - the longest 7 minutes of my life. Once we were back in recovery she fed for an hour then slept for four...we thought she was the worlds easiest baby!!!

She was born during last years heat wave so the first few weeks were spent indoors in just a nappy playing with her toy octopus.

Getting Bigger - August to October

At 10 weeks old we started going to a baby sensory group once a week. B loved the songs, I loved dressing her up! We got our first smiles in this time which made up for the horrendous battles we had with reflux. At one point poor B was on four types of medication, all giving awful side effects and not really managing the root issue of her awful pain. As our consultant explained, despite all the medications the only thing proven to cure reflux is time. Unfortunately for the eight weeks that she really suffered with symptoms she put on less than a pound in weight. She's never really caught up and is still rocking the 3-6 month clothes, despite being 9 months old!! I found this time really difficult, to the point that I was prescribed anti-anxiety medication. This really helped me, as did talking to my other mum friends and family.

Out and About - October to December

This was when I actually started to enjoy being a mum! We went to CenterParcs, just the three of us. B learnt to fall asleep by herself even without a dummy (she has one again now though!!) and she really started to interact with people around her. We went to Cardiff to watch Wales play international rugby. She watched fireworks, military bands and thousands of people without crying once...she even got a little nap in during the second half!! It was around this time that B started to pick objects up and play with them. Her favourite place was in her chair with us in the kitchen, watching what was going on!

Fun Times - Christmas and Family Holiday to IOW

Unfortunately we didn't get one photo of us on Christmas Day - such a parenting fail! B had a nasty chest infection the week before Christmas and ended up being admitted to hospital. she came home on the Wednesday before Christmas and so still wasn't quite right over the holiday season. She did start to get her appetite back and finally ate something other than baby porridge...Weetabix!! It seemed to be a hit and she soon moved onto pureed sweet potato & parsnips.

We spent a few days on the Isle of Wight with B's cousins, taking lots of strolls along the beaches and catching up on sleep!

Little Miss Independent - January to March

And so here we are up to date. Recently B is sitting confidently by herself, no sign of crawling or moving yet and most definitely no teeth, despite teething since November! She now loves to sit in the trolley whenever we go shopping and loves being in a swing at the park. She babbles away with Dada and Nah (no) her first words. I'm sure Mama isn't far behind! B loves spending time with her childminder every day when I'm at work, she is coming on so quickly now she spends time with other children and in spite of working full time I'm finding parenting just that bit easier.

If I have one piece of advice for any mum (or dad) who's struggling a little it would be "remember it's just a phase, it might be a longer phase than you were expecting, but you will get through it!"

Now when are those teeth going to make an appearance?!!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

A New Chapter

On a traditional calendar 11 months have passed, but to one person it's been a whole lifetime, my daughter Baby B arrived safe and well in this time. She's now nine months old. In some respects she changes every day; learning, growing, interacting with those around her, yet in other respects she is exactly the same as the day she was born. Her hair has the same mohican quiff she rocked on the day she was born; she still turns her head to the side seconds before she drops off to sleep, exactly as she did when I stayed awake for the whole of her first night in earth.

To me at times it's like only a moment has passed, like a dream that speeds by in the seconds before you wake up. I'm back working full time in the job I was doing before my maternity leave. We are still living in the same house, abet with far more plastic stuff that plays annoyingly loud tunes. I'm even on occasions given the chance to get a full nights sleep as the night feed starts to drop off.

And yet in other aspects life has changed beyond recognition...we were two, now we are three; we were boyfriend and girlfriend, now we are engaged; we were living in rented accommodation, now we are (fingers crossed) about to become home owners. Every decision we now make is not what's best for us but what's best for Baby B.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Preparing for our new arrival

How has it been 3 months since I last posted anything?

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to put fingers to keys...perhaps I've been subconsciously hiding myself away, protecting this precious time with just the two of us for the most part? Each Monday I've taken in a relaxing lungful of air as another week gets ticked off and we take one step closer to having a baby in our arms.

I'm now almost 32 weeks pregnant, eight weeks to go, less than 2 calendar months. I no longer have an is-she-isn't-she bump, but a most definitely pregnant bump that causes strangers to give me a knowing smile as we pass in the street and what seems to be every checkout lady free rein to ask me how much longer I've got...I secretly love being part of such a special club.

Health wise I've had no more bleeding since 13 weeks. My blood pressure is reassuringly consistent and every entry in my notes following a midwife appointment starts with "mum is well". I've have found that my feet swell to epic proportions that even compression socks struggle to contain. More painful is the development of PGP that wakes me with a gasp when I turn over in my sleep. Warm baths are helping and I've been referred to the physio team for an assessment when I'm 36 weeks.

Our nursery is almost finished. I keep the door open so that each time I walk past I see the animal wall stickers and the cot our baby will sleep in. The three loads of baby laundry I did last weekend are folded away ready to be grabbed when we're sleep deprived parents changing the baby for the fifth time that day. We went out for lunch yesterday and found a little gift shop selling Jellycat soft toys. Baby's first teddy, a Monkey named Abe is waiting for the first introduction in Baby's crib.

I think the biggest thing that's happened is that we've started our parenting classes, nicknamed Baby School and we've completed two of the four sessions. Sion is now talking to baby and stroking my belly, hoping to get a kick or wriggle in response. This little one is a stubborn one though, seeming to sense exactly when someone is watching and so refusing to move...only to give a proper shake as soon as attention shifts to something else!

We were asked last week what we were each looking forward to. Of course there were lots of "finding out who baby looks like", "finding out if we're having a boy or girl" and "having lots of time of work". For me though, I'm looking forward to sharing this with Sion. Other than our midwife no one else in the world will share with us our conversation, our special looks, those precious moments that will pass between us, or that incredible moment when we each look into the eyes of our new born baby and see a world of opportunity and hope reflecting back to us. I tried to say all this to our group, but couldn't get the words out-the weight of parenthood and all it entails is a heavy one, but one that I've waited so long for...not long to go now.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Practising being a Mummy with Cuddledry

I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon with my niece & nephew when they came for a visit with their Mummy & Daddy this past weekend. We headed off to Victoria Country Park and rode the miniature train through the grounds before heading home for a hot chocolate (or beer for the big boys!).

While everyone was relaxing watching a spot of Ben & Holly I thought I would take the chance to grab some photographs of a gorgeous Cuddledry bath towel that I've been kindly sent.

I asked my niece if I could borrow her Baby Annabel for a little while (seeing as Hippo still has a little while to go!) and of course she asked why? Rather than trying to explain the concept of blogging and product reviews to a 5 year old I just said "Auntie Carrie needs to practise using a special towel for when the baby arrives" With that my little helper said "Come on then Auntie Carrie, let's practise being a Mummy, I'll show you what to do!"

So for the next 15 minutes or so I was taught how to hold my baby carefully, how to wrap them up nicely in the towel and how to comfort them if they got scared. As bizarre as it was being taught how to be a mummy by my five year old niece it was kind of special too!

The thought of dealing with a wriggly, wet baby is a pretty scary one if I'm honest, but the Cuddledry is brilliantly designed to make bath time easy. It's by far the biggest baby towel I've seen and it clips easily around your neck to be worn like a big apron. This leaves your hands completely free to bath and look after your child as well as stopping clothes getting wet from all the splish splashing that will be going on! Then when it's time for drying off there's plenty of towel left to wrap around your little one and cuddle them in close to you.

The material is super absorbent and so soft, I kind of wish they made an adult sized one too! We may not have any clothes yet for Hippo when they arrive (or cot, or pram, or nappies..or anything else!) but at least I know those special bath time moments are covered.

If any of you like the idea of practising being a mummy, or you just want the chance to chat to the Cuddledry team, they will be at The Baby Show ExCel from the 19th February to the 21st February at Stand G48 with lots of offers & discounts. I'll be there on Saturday saying hi to them all, it'll be great to see any of you there too.

I was sent a complimentary Cuddledry towel for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own.
Family Fever

Thursday, 28 January 2016

19 Weeks...

How is it Thursday already?!

After feeling like days were as long as a week in the first trimester, the second trimester seems to be ticking along quite nicely. I don't know whether it's because I've got energy now to do things, or if it's because there's always something going on at home, but each week seems to whip by until I think to myself "well, where did that week go?"

Last weekend we babysat for Sion's nephew & niece on Friday night. They were no problem at all, although Sion was held hostage by a five year old who insisted she couldn't go to sleep until she practised her reading! I wasn't let off too lightly either. When I came to check that teeth had been brushed I had to use my excellent negotiating skills to get them into their own beds and at least pretending to snuggle down ready for sleep...it must have worked though, 30 minutes later one was asleep face down in a book and the other look like they had had a fight with their duvet until they passed out!

I don't quite know what came over me on Saturday, but I pulled everything out of the kitchen cupboards, washed them and rearranged everything. All the kitchen work surfaces were cleared & cleaned and lots of things thrown away. It's made such a difference, although I'm now the washing up police...5 days in and it still looks pretty tidy!

We went out on a date on Saturday night to Mango's Thai Tapas in Southampton for Sion's birthday. He's been working so hard recently, revising for his first set of engineering exams so a nice meal out was much deserved. As usual we ordered far too much, they serve the biggest tapas plates I've ever come across! We were back home again by 9pm but it meant we could relax at home before getting an early night.

On Sunday the cleaning/nesting frenzy continued with the bathroom and soon to be nursery being the next victims. A quick food shop was also done before I popped out to see my friends and their 6 week old baby boy. Sion cooked a roast with amazing potatoes for dinner to round off the weekend nicely.

Baby/bump wise it's been a pretty quiet week. I'm sure I can now feel Hippo moving around, with little fizzes and wriggles that seem to be more noticeable in the evening than any other time. We also had a listen in with our doppler to hear the loveliest, strong heartbeat ever! I'm most definitely in maternity clothes now and my bump is finally more baby than bloat.

This weekend I'll be spending time on Saturday seeing my brother and his family and on Sunday I'm catching up with an old friend and her two boys. I've got two exciting parcels in the post this week that I'm dying to try out, one for me and one for Hippo when they arrive (but I'll have a little play with it before then!).

Hope your weekend is full with lovely things too...next week it's our 20 week scan and I'll be doing a 16-20 week pregnancy post.