Those of you who know me or have followed me on twitter for a long time will know that pregnancy doesn't really come easily to me. I am lucky enough that falling pregnant has never been an issue however staying pregnant is. I had 3 miscarriages before I had Henry, and I had a really tough pregnancy with that included Hyperemesis Gravidarum (you can read about my personal experience of HG here
or find out more about Hyperemesis at www.hyperemesis.org
) , 3 unexplained bleeds, then being told that Henry may have had a heart defect that wasn't compatible with life at his 20 week scan followed by catching swine flu at 8 months pregnant! I mean seriously it really felt like I couldn't catch a break, but then Henry was born after a quick & relatively easy labour and all of a sudden the trials and tribulations of pregnancy paled into insignificance. I was finally a mama to the most beautiful baby boy I had ever seen and he was totally worth it! However I wasn't in a hurry to repeat the experience. But over time the memories faded and my mama hormones kicked in! I really wanted a sibling for Henry and I convinced myself that I might be lucky with my second pregnancy and only have normal symptoms.
It was never going to be that simple though was it?! However here I am after 3 more miscarriages (yes that's 6 in total now....I must be mad right?!) and I am now nearly 16 weeks pregnancy with what will hopefully be baby number 2 due in October, and we are so relieved & happy to have made it to the second trimester. However it seems my body really doesn't like being pregnant AT ALL because I have Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) again, and it's actually been worse this time! I have 24/7 nausea and haven't been able to keep any food or drink down even with a cocktail of anti-sickness drugs in my system. Because of this I have so far been hospitalised twice due to severe dehydration and my body going into ketosis (where your liver produces ketones as a result of your body having to burn it's fat stores because it's not receiving any nutrients due to starvation). I have no energy, I'm often disorientated due to dehydration, I don't really like to leave the house because i'm so sick all of the time and weak, I am unable to drive or travel any distance in the car because it makes the sickness worse and I am unable to work (which isn't great at all when you are self-employed with a new business). In short it feels like my body is struggling to keep going and life has stopped since this pregnancy began. I know that all sounds very melodramatic but after 12 weeks of this I am left feeling exhausted and depressed by it all. That really doesn't feel right after wanting the pregnancy so much, I feel like i should be walking on air and smiling constantly not crying and vomiting constantly.
I feel so awful because I am constantly letting people down, my students have been left without a teacher suddenly, people who I work with who I have had to cancel events, friends and family have been neglected, and my partner Ken who has suddenly had to become the sole bread winner & main caregiver to Henry as I have been unable to work or help out much at home! However nothing compares to the guilt i feel because I am letting Henry down. As his mama can no I can no longer play all of those energetic games he is used to, I cannot carry him for long, or cook his favourite meals. But worst of all I keep running away from him to be sick. I think my lowest point so far in this pregnancy was when Henry started to cry as i was being sick and came up to me, put his hands around my waist and said "I'm sorry mummy, please stop!" because his toddler logic tells him that saying sorry fixes everything and maybe I was being sick because of him. It's heartbreaking.
Sorry for the long rant, I know pregnancy posts are normally full of beaming smiles and women lovingly rubbing their bellies, but that will all happen soon.
I'm hoping things will improve over the coming weeks and life can get back to normal for a while (at least until the baby arrives) and I can get back to work with all of my lovely students who I haven't been able to see since late February/early March and to start being a good Mama to Henry again. Hopefully then I can also enjoy being pregnant for a little while too, because I'm sure as hell not planning on doing this again!
Believe it or not I started writing this post a month ago, however life has been really busy for us this month (in a good way!) and I never seemed to manage to finish it! However After a fall down the stairs this morning I have injured my back so have been ordered to rest. So the silver lining is that I finally have a reason to lie still and finish telling you all about Henry's birthday!
January was a HORRIBLE month and I was dreading 2013 if it was going to continue the way it started. However I have to say that things improved 100% in February! I have been really busy with Knitting tuition and am now teaching at least 3 days a week which is amazing! I cannot tell you how much I love my work and how being busy with it really does make me a happier person. I have lots lined up for March & April too so i'm really excited.
However that's enough about me, I only mentioned work because I think it's the only thing that stopped me going a little bit crazy over the last few weeks because......The main event this month was that our lovely little boy turned 2! How did the last year pass so quickly?!?!? I've only just recovered from the fact that my baby turned 1 and now he's 2! Don't get me wrong i absolutely love the age Henry is now because he has become the funniest & cleverest little boy i know (He can count to 20 & knows the alphabet!) and really is my best little buddy, but i really am in shock at just how quickly time is passing by since he was born. It feels like somebody has pressed the fast forward button on our lives. Is it the same for everybody? Does life ever slow back down again? It never feels like I get enough time to savour each stage of his development before it has passed like a flash of lighting & we have moved on to something new! I'm hoping that the millions (and that's not an exaggeration!) of photos that we have taken since Henry was born means that we will be able to look back and remember everything clearly even it does feel like we are zooming through his childhood at 100 miles an hour!
Because both me & his Daddy feel that life gets too hectic & we don't all get enough quality time alone as a family we kept Henry's birthday to ourselves without any Grandparents, aunties or friends around. It was a lovely day filled with all of Henry's favourite things. He had blueberry & banana Pancakes for breakfast, followed by presents which included more brio sets for his ever growing train collection and some new books. We then all set off for a train ride on the Avon Valley Steam Railway
. It was the perfect treat for our train obsessed boy & he loved it! I highly recommend it to any local parents!
We ended the day with dinner at Wagamamas (Henry's favourite) and then our little guy was exhausted so had an early night. I spent all of Saturday night baking in preparation for the little tea party we threw at home on Sunday for family so we were forgiven by the Grandparents for not inviting them over on the Saturday. I made a blueberry & mascarpone birthday cake, loads of cupcakes & a chocolate & cherry trifle (A nigella lawson recipe that was AMAZING!) plus the usual mountain of sandwiches. The party was great fun & Henry really enjoyed himself, but it's amazing how small your house feels with 20 adults & children running around in it! It was Mummy & Daddy's turn to be exhausted on sunday as we had family & neighbours around from 11am-10pm! Henry sure knows how to throw a party! :)
It was a lovely weekend full of laughter and generally a much more relaxed affair than his first birthday that fell in the midst of renovating & moving our house. However I have to say I have been left a little shell shocked now because since turning 2 years old all of a sudden there is talk of which play school & school we want him to go to and all of these decisions and events that seemed like forever away as I sat staring at my beautiful newborn baby 2 years ago now seems to be approaching at high speed. I enjoy and embrace every single day I spend with Henry but I guess what I'm trying to say is stop growing up so fast little boy, this Mama just isn't ready.
I feel like I haven't blogged in ages! In reality it's only been a week, but it's long enough to give me blogger's guilt! I've been really busy with knitting classes as well as breaking one of my teeth and looking after a toddler (and his daddy) with a cold so have been savouring my free time by doing important things like sleeping! I'm also on a mission to organise my life, which has taken up lots of time but there will be more on that shortly!
As I promised here is this weeks free pattern. As you can see I have taken the official start of autumn to heart & have gone all out making a pumpkin baby hat! Yes that's right you too can now be mean and dress your baby or toddler as a pumpkin! I hope that if anybody actually makes this they'll send me a picture of it in action as what could be cuter than little ones looking like pumpkins?!
I made this using Debbie Bliss ecoaran
which is a lovely 100% organic & fairtrade cotton & it's so soft! It's on sale in most places at the moment, I got mine from John Lewis
. I love a bargain, but I hope it's not disappearing forever as I love that they offered such lovely eco yarns!
I hope you like the pattern, it's a fun little one!
Pumpkin Hat Pattern:
Size:6-12 months Abbreviations:k= knitp= purlk2tog= knit 2 stitches togetherGauge: 18 sts & 24 rows (10cm)Materials:2 balls of aran weight cotton. 1 orange & 1 green coloured. (I used less than 1 ball of orange & only a tiny bit of green!)4.5mm (30cm) circular needle 4.5mm DPNsstitch markerneedle to darn in ends.Directions:In the orange yarn Cast on 72 stitches using cable cast on method on circular needle or 4 DPNs. Join in the round marking the beginning of the round with a stitch marker.Work *k4 P2 rib until work measures 4.5 inches from current row to cast on edge.If you are working on a circular needle, now knit the stitches onto 3 DPN, placing 24 stitches on each needle. On the next row you start decreasing.1. *k2tog, k2, p2 repeat from * to end of the round. (60sts on needles)2. knit all stitches.3. * k2tog, k1, p2. repeat from * to end of the round (48sts on needles)Change to your green yarn.
4. knit all stitches5. * k2, p2tog, repeat from * to end of the round (36 sts on needles)6. knit all stitches7. *k2tog, p1, repeat from * to end of the round (24sts on needles)8. knit all stitches9. *k2tog repeat from * to end of the round. (12sts on needles)10. knit all stitches11.*k2, k2tog repeat from * to end of the round. (9sts on needles)12. Knit all stitches13. *k1, k2tog repeat from * to end. (6sts on needle)Now place the remaining 6 stitches on one DPN & start to knit an i-cord, but on the first i-cord row you will decrease stitches: k2tog, k2, k2tog.Then continue to knit the i-cord as normal until the cord measures 3 inches long. Cut the yarn & using a tapestry needle thread it through all of the stitches twice. Now bend the stem off to the side and stitch it into the i-cord base & down into the hat. Now weave in all of your ends on the inside of the hat.
place it on the head of your unsuspecting baby & take lots of
This weekend has been a bit of a non-event on the whole. We had lots of plans to make the most of the lovely weather & a few belated birthday celebrations, but I came down with something nasty on Friday night & ended up having to spend Saturday mainly in bed feeling quite sorry for myself. I'm feeling quite a lot better this afternoon so hopefully I'll be back to 100% for the week ahead.
Despite me being ill, one major thing has happened this weekend.......Henry, who turns 19months old today is no longer in his cot! We turned his cotbed in to just a bed! Argh!!! How is my baby big enough to be in a bed?!? He slept on just a matress on the floor when we were away last weekend & seemed to sleep better than in his cot because he wasn't bashing himself on the bars all of the time, so the time seemed right to make the change at home too.
He loves it already & has spent all evening climbing on & off the bed & having a good time showing Daddy his new bed. He's just got out of the bath & run over to his bed straight away & jumped on it completely soaking wet & naked!
We have bought a mesh side to put on the bed because he seems to do some form of toddler gymnastics in his sleep & I'm convinced that he'll roll out of his little toddler bed. I'm sure I'm being over protective & he'd be fine without it, but it makes me feel better having it there.
So there you have it.....my baby really isn't a baby any more! I will feel a little sad as I put him to bed tonight knowing that we really are leaving behind his baby days, however I'm so proud of how well he seems to handle all of the changes & developments that toddlerdom brings him. I guess tonight will be the real test as to whether he actually stays in his bed! Wish us luck!!
Ken remembering how to hold a tiny baby! Cute!
Tonight I got to cuddle a newborn & It was lovely! There really is nothing like holding a tiny baby to melt your heart. I have been feeling rotten all day with a kidney infection & was in a bit of a grump if i'm honest. However after a cuddle I was feeling too full of baby love to be grumpy! We have been waiting to meet our friend's Sue & Rich's newborn daughter Abigail for weeks, but the influx of viruses that we have had, has kept us at bay until now. She is 4 weeks old now, and was born at over 9lbs so is quite a bit bigger than Henry was at that age, but to me she seemed tiny! I don't remember Henry ever being that small.......her tiny fingers & toes are heart meltingly small & her newborn cries a blast from the past that remind me just how much & how fast Henry has changed.
While I was knitting my gift for her I was convinced that they were tiny & then I worried that by the time we actually got the chance to see them she would have out grown them all. I was however worrying for nothing, she was still too tiny for them & will have room to grow! I cannot believe how quickly I have forgotten what the newborn stage is like & just how small babies are!
I still think of Henry as my baby, but in reality he's a boy now & a fully fledged toddler! He was in quite a wilful mood after spending the day with his Nanna as he forgets what it is like to be told 'no' and not to get his own way all of the time. However he was soon distracted by his new found love of Jake, Sue's 7 year old son. Henry was captivated by Jake & seemed in awe of everything this bigger boy did, following him everywhere! It was so cute to watch, especially when Jake had Henry laughing his head off playing a very excited game of peekaboo! So despite me having a bit of a 'moment' realising just how big Henry is now, I love watching him interact & play with other children now. It would be nice if he would stop having a strop every time he is told no though, but
Here's the little gift set I knitted Abigail. I'm not a big 'pink' fan normally, but I know that after 2 boys Sue is loving everything girlie so I indulged in a bit of 'raspberry ripple' coloured yarn for once. If you fancy learning to knit something similar you can book into my Beginner's baby knits classes running over the next 2 saturdays 10-1 £12 per lesson. Contact me
if you are interested!
I feel like I haven't really been on the internet in weeks! I haven't blogged, and I've barely tweeted or used Instagram which if you follow me on either you'll know is quite out of character. The brief times that i have been online, especially on Twitter i have been overwhelmed with the support and caring messages that people have sent! I haven't managed to reply to many of them but every single one was greatly appreciated and has been a boost to my very low spirits! So Thank you to my lovely followers you are all amazing!! However apart from catching a few minutes to tweet on my phone I haven't had time to have any real online presence lately, in fact I'm at the point where I cannot remember the last time that I just sat back and relaxed.......Me time just doesn't exist anymore! Don't get me wrong, I'm not moaning about it, and I know it will pass soon enough but I have struggled to keep up with the demands of life lately. In between looking after a very poorly toddler, trips to hospital & the doctors, sleepless nights, feeling poorly myself and then running knitting lessons I have fallen behind with everything! Emails have gone unanswered, blog post remain unwritten & I've done next to no promotion for my upcoming knitting classes and don't even get me started on housework!
I was only just starting to find my feet and get in to a good routine as a self employed Mama when Henry got ill and I feel a little bit like all of my hard work has been undone. There have been several times over the last few weeks where it's all got a bit much and I've questioned whether it is possible to balance being a stay at home Mama and trying to start your own business......there are no sick days, no parental leave to look after children & there is no nursery to drop Henry off to when I need to get stuff done. I have wanted to cancel all my lessons and just tell people that I can't do it anymore! I can't keep up with trying to promote the lessons, doing admin, and teaching while looking after a very clingy poorly 17 month old. Add this is the stress and worry of seeing your child suddenly get really ill and not knowing how to fix it & what you get is a Mama who has cried ALOT lately!
I also get quite scared when I get this tired & run down because tiredness has always been one of my major epilepsy triggers. Whenever I have been run down in the past it has had a direct effect on the number and severity of seizures that I have had. So I have to remind myself that even though things are tough i need to look after myself especially so even though I'm tired and can't be bothered to cook I know I have to carry on eating (especially as I'm breastfeeding so much to make up for the lack of food in Henry's diet!). I thought i would share with you the recipe for one of the few meals that Henry & I have enjoyed over the last weeks! They were vegan banana pancakes......if i'm being honest the only reason they were vegan was because I had run out of eggs & couldn't be bothered to go out & buy some more!
Vegan Banana Pancakes:
175g Self Raising Flour
220ml Soya Milk
1 large or 2 small ripe bananas
1 tpsp Vegetable oil
1 tbsp Maple syrup
pinch of salt (optional)
1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together
2. Mash up the banana with a fork then add the soya milk & oil.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients & stir well until fully combined.
4. Add 2 heaped tablespoons worth of the mixture (per pancake) to a hot oiled frying pan frying on one side until air bubbles start to form in the pancake & underside appears golden in colour.
5. Flip pancake & cook until golden on other side.
6. Serve with lots of maple syrup!!
Anyway I hope you enjoy the pancakes & I hope to be blogging a bit more over the coming week as I'm sure things will improve for Henry health wise very soon! xxx
The View from the children's hospital....
Henry is ill for the first time & It is horrible! Yes he has had colds before and like everybody we have struggled with the side effects of teething, but he has never been really poorly before. I guess at 17 months old we are quite lucky to have gone this long illness free, but to be honest I don't think that any of us are feeling very lucky right now! He isn't eating & doesn't really want to drink anything except breast milk. Although I am not entirely comfortable with the fact that Henry is still breastfed at 17 months (I had not intended to feed past 6 months, but Henry had other ideas & has refused every alternative offered especially at bedtime) it hasn't been too bad as he only usually feeds twice a day, once in the late morning & once at bedtime. However going back to feeding him every 2 hours or so has been a shock to my body! I'm feeling wiped out! It's like having a newborn again, except his drinks more milk & sleeps less!
It all started yesterday morning after a rough sleepless night which I assumed what the result of teething. Henry had been restless and upset during the night but there was nothing indicating this was anything serious. But then when we were all up and moving around we noticed that there was something wrong with Henry. He was limp, dopey, his eyes kept rolling around in his head and he was burning up with a fever. I felt sick seeing my normally active and loud little boy so quiet & lifeless. So I did what most mama's do in times of trouble.....I phoned my mum for advice! My gut was telling me to get him to the hospital, but I didn't want to overreact. However after reassurance from my mum & a quick phone call to my doctor's surgery we took Henry straight to Bristol Children's hospital.
The staff there were amazing and after discovering is temperature was between 39-40℃ which is considered dangerously high they reassured us that we had done the right thing bringing him in to be treated. Henry was then examined & we were told that he had a nasty viral infection in his ears & throat. Holding him down so that his ears & throat could be examined was horrible as he screamed in pain & looked so hurt that we were letting him be poked & prodded by the nurse. I had to fight back tears as I clamped him still. We then had to strip Henry naked so he could cool down & also try and get a urine sample. Henry promptly fell asleep on me & while watching him sleep in my arms the events of the morning hit me & I began to cry my eyes out! I know that all Mama's feel protective over there little ones, but after so many miscarriages and the scares during my pregnancy Henry really is so precious to me.
I find just being in the Children's hospital quite hard! I get very emotional just setting foot through the door there. When I was pregnant with Henry we were told that there was a high chance his heart condition wouldn't be compatible with life or that he would be very sick when he was born. We mentally prepared ourselves for the worst, but thankfully his heart abnormality wasn't as serious as expected and he is as fit & healthy as any normal child just with a slightly different heart. However we had to have a lot of tests conducted over the first few weeks of his life and spent a bit of time in the NICU & children's hospital. During this time i realised how lucky we are! We saw parents dealing with the fact that they have a seriously sick child, you don't understand the fear & desperation that they must be feeling until you too have a precious child and imagine yourself in that situation. You see them crying in the hallway on the phone to loved ones & then smiling and putting on a brave face for their child so that they don't see how scared their Mama & Daddy are. The strength they find in such situations is something that I have the post admiration & respect for, it's something that i'm not sure I would be able to handle to be honest! The idea of anything happening to Henry can bring me to tears & fill me with a dread that I have never known (and that's just me thinking of hypothetical situations!)..........my own health and safety means nothing in comparison to how much I care about his!
After it was confirmed that Henry had a nasty viral infection in both his ears & his throat we were given antibiotics and a list of things to do for him. They offered us the chance to stay in hospital with him longer, but we decided that it would be best to leave as Henry wasn't sleeping well there and would be more comfortable at home. We questioned this decision later when Henry's medication started to wear off & his temperature spiked again causing his whole body to start shaking uncontrollably! This scared us more than anything else that had happened that day & we were ready to scoop him up & race back to the hospital. However I tried to stay calm as the nurse had warned us that this may happen if his temperature rose over 40. We gave him a dose of calpol & started his antibiotics. Stripped his clothes down & gave him some breastmilk........thankfully all of the above worked and after 15 minutes he stopped shaking and started to perk up.
He's still very poorly today and the lack of sleep is starting to affect us all. I feel terrible about this but I find myself getting annoyed that he's so ill. I get frustrated that I have so much to do work wise as well as a pile of washing as tall as I am, yet my poorly boy screams his head off when I'm not cuddling him. How selfish am I right?! Of course he comes first, and I will do anything he needs, but the selfish part of me flashes up every now and again & thinks "This is the worst time for you to be ill Kiddo! Mama has so much to do", but then I remember that there is NEVER a good time for your baby to be ill.
So to all you Mama's & Daddies out there who have looked after poorly children and especially those who are living with ongoing conditions..........you are my heroes & I have no idea how you do it! Seeing the work that they do within the Children's Hospital and how dedicated the nurses and staff are there has inspired me to get fit again just so I can run the Bristol Half Marathon again and raise some money for them!
I'm in an exceptionally good mood as today marks the beginning of the Mr having 9 days off on holiday! So I thought that I would spread some of my good cheer by giving you all a free pattern to make over your long weekend! I love having a bit of extra time to craft over the bank holiday weekends, and seeing as the good old British weather ☔
seems to be letting us down again this weekend you'll have an excuse to stay at home & knit these beauties for somebody small in your life. As far as i'm concerned a girl is never too young to wear her first pair of Mary-Janes! I recently knitted these in scarlet red & they looked adorable.
This project is great for beginners who are just starting to get the hang of knitting & are bored of scarves! I was going to include this pattern in my "Beginner's Baby Knits"
course, but decided to go for a more unisex option as boys deserve to wear beautiful hand knitted shoes as much as girls do! 😊
However if you get stuck on this pattern & need help I'll happily cover it in the course as a little extra! ;)
I wrote the pattern for these booties about a year ago & have used it endlessly since as they are such a quick & simple present to knit. Everybody who has received them has loved them, so hopefully you'll enjoy giving them as presents as much as i do. I knit these using Debbie Bliss baby Cashmerino which is a cashmere & merino blend. At about £5 a ball it's not cheap, but you get at least 2 pairs of these per ball. I think £2.50 for a pair of booties containing cashmere is a bargain, as i have seen baby booties containing cashmere for sale for £28!!! You can of course use a cheaper alternative yarn, just check your gauge before starting the project.
Mary-Jane Booties (Size 0-3 months)
* 1 ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino
* Pair of 3.25 mm Needles
* Stitch holder
* Needle for sewing up.
*two small buttons for straps.
* k = Knit (garter) stitch
* kfb = Knit front & back of the stitch.
* SSK = Slip, Slip, Knit.
* K2tog = Knit 2 together.
* CO = Cast off.
* YO = Yarn over.
Cast on 31 stitches leaving a long yarn tail to sew up bootie.
Row 1: k all stitches.
Row 2: kfb, k 13, (kfb) x 2, k13, kfb, k1. (35 stitches)
Row 3: k all stitches.
Row 4: k1, kfb, k13, kfb, k2, kfb, k13, kfb, k2 (39 stitches)
Row 5: k all stitches.
Row 6: k2, kfb, k13, kfb, k4, kfb, k13, kfb, k3. (43 stitches)
Row 7: k all stitches
Row 8: k3, kfb, k13, kfb, k6, kfb, k13, kfb, k4. (47 stitches)
Row 9- 17: k all stitches
Row 18: k 15 (SSK)x4 k1 (k2tog)x4 k15. (39 stitches)
Row 19: k all stitches
Row 20: k9 CO 21 stitches, k9 (includes 1 stitch already on the right needle).
Put 1st set of 9stitches on a stitch holder.
Row 21-23: K all 9 stitches.
CO all 9 stitches & Cut yarn.
Rejoin yarn where you started to CO 21 stitches. Cast on 12 stitches.
Row 21: k all stitches. (21 stitches)
Row 22: (button hole row) k18, k2tog, yo, k1. (21 stitches)
Row 23: k all stitches.
CO all stitches.
Same as the left bootie up until Row 20.
Put 1st set of 9 stitches on a stitch holder.
Row 21: k9 then turn work & CO 12 stitches. (21 stitches).
Row 22: k all stitches
Row 23: (button hole row) k18, k2tog, yo, k1 (21 stitches)
Row 24: knit
CO all 21 stitches.
Rejorn yarn where you cut yarn for 9 stitches on holder.
Row 21-23: k all 9 stitches.
CO all 9 stitches & cut yarn.
Sewing up booties:
Using the long tail of yarn sew up the seams of the booties along the sole starting at the toe area & up to the top of the heal area. Tie of yarn & sew in the ends. Sew in the ends on the strap & top of the shoe.Sew on a small button where the button hole meets the other side of the shoe.You're all finished!!!
© The Homemade Mama
This pattern is to be used for personal use only and is NOT to be used for re-sale of any kind.