This post is some what delayed, but hey aren't all my blog posts!! But as lots of you will already know our baby girl arrived safe & sound on 30th October 2013 at 9.28pm weighing 8lbs 2oz. So welcome to the world Niamh Seraphina Beatrice!
Her arrival came as a bit of a shock in the end. At 4 days overdue we had gone into hospital for monitoring as the baby had stopped moving. An examination revealed that despite not being in any pain or having any regular contractions I was 4-5cm dialated. It was then decided that seeing as the baby wasn't moving very much & my body seemed to be ready to labour we would break my waters to get things started.
It was such a bizarre experience waiting in the waiting room to be moved up to labour & delivery. I wasn't in active labour so didn't have any pain to distract me from my nerves. Would it all be ok? Would I cope with labour as well this time? How would we cope with 2 children?! Ken managed to calm me down which was lucky as I really started to talk myself into a bit of a panic!
Here I am just before a midwife came to take us up to Delivery ward:
I was quite upset not to be labouring in the midwife led unit as I had hoped, but I soon recovered when we were shown to our room which was the same one I had delivered Henry in. I was quite overcome with all of the memories & happy that my babies would be born in the same place. My waters were broken & I was told to stand up to help gravity work it's magic....well gravity did it's job pretty well as within minutes I was experiencing mind blowingly intense contractions that had me questioning how I had coped last time!!
I know you forget a lot about labour, but I really didn't remember the pain being as intense in my first labour. I couldn't bare to be touched & the contractions were coming every minute. I was given gas & air which didn't seem to ease the pain, even though it had been a great help when I laboured with Henry. I could feel myself starting to push as the pain got worse.....but the midwife didn't seem to think I could be ready to deliver yet. At this point I begged for an epidural as I really felt like I might lose my mind if the pain didn't ease up soon. My midwife calmly informed me it was too soon to have one as it would slow down labour to which I responded "Pleeeeeaaaassssseeeee!!!!" I wasn't above begging at this point! She said she would need to examine me before requesting the epidural so forced me to move from my crouching positing on my knees on to my back.
This move was not a welcome one & I think this was the point that I started to throw the F word around at top volume! Over my swearing the midwife informed me firmly that I wouldn't be getting my epidural as I was 10cm & the baby was crowing. I appear to have lost my mind slightly at this point thanks to the shock of how quickly things had progressed. I had only been in labour for an hour, there was no way I was having the baby yet! So I refused to push until I had an epidural....yes that's right folks, I announced I wasn't doing it anymore & clamped my legs shut! A completely rational reaction I'm sure you'll agree! Luckily at this point there were two midwives in the room, so between them they managed to prize my legs apart & shout at me to get a grip! Luckily I listened to them long enough to push 3 times & after a whirlwind 1 hour & 15 minute labour baby Niamh was born.
Ken says that I looked totally shocked & confused when they placed Niamh on my chest. She looked exactly like Henry had when he was born & I wasn't entirely sure that I wasn't hallucinating. It really had been an intense & crazy hour!
The midwives told me that Niamh had been back to back which can cause very painful contractions & slow labour down as the baby is born facing up towards the sky. It's nice to know there was a reason it felt more painful this time but I hate to think how quickly she would have arrived if she had been in the correct position!! I'm really not sure how she managed to be in the back to back position as I had spent weeks avoiding the lure of our comfy sofa in favour of bouncing on the birthing ball & long walks. Oh well!
I didn't get much time post birth to cuddle Niamh as I required stitches & had a lot of blood loss. I was hooked up to a drip & had lots of people working on me. After Henry's birth I had suffered with retained placenta & had a to have an emergency ERPC when he was 4 weeks old due to an infection & extreme blood loss. Nobody wanted a repeat of that so they were very careful not to let me go up to the ward until my bleeding had eased. However I was still in total shock & hadn't really had any time to bond with my baby who had been busy cuddling with her Daddy. After Henry was born all I remember was feeling totally euphoric & cuddling him constantly. There was no euphoria this time, just shock. I don't think I registed that she was really here & mine until the next day!
So although Niamh was born at 9.28pm we weren't transferred to the ward until 4.30am by which time all she & I wanted to do was sleep. I had managed to breastfeed her twice amidst all the post birth chaos but she was quickly taken off of me afterwards to enable the doctor & midwives to continue working on me. There were no post birth cuddles for us which i am still a little sad about. However the next morning as we waited for Ken to arrive back at the hospital to take us home I finally got the time to cuddle & bond with my baby girl. Breastfeeding came easily again to us both which helped build the bond that we hadn't managed to establish at birth, but even so it took a few days at home together as a family before I felt that huge flood of love that had come so quickly with Henry. I know people think a quick labour is ideal, but I really wish my body & mind had a little longer to adjust to what was happening before giving birth as the shock of it all really knocked me for six & stopped me from really experiencing how amazing my baby girl was.
Niamh is now 5 weeks old & despite her love of staying awake all night she is wonderful! I love being a mama to two children, it's mind blowing to think I made these two perfect & amazing little people. Don't get me wrong, it's not a walk in the park.....it's exhausting trying to give them both all the love & attention that they need sometimes, but to be honest most days they're both very patient with me and make it as easy as possible. I'm much calmer than I was when Henry was born & enjoying having both a newborn & a toddler much more than I thought possible! I get to carry a snuggley baby around in the sling whilst having funny & very entertaining chats with my toddler, what's not to like?! The washing & housework can wait for a while right????
The most bizarre thing happened to me today & although I have other blog posts planned for this week I really just wanted to write about this mainly to get it out of my system!
Today was the first day in nearly 3 weeks that I haven't had Henry with me, so I was feeling a little soppy when he left with his Daddy this morning for a day with his Nanna, but as soon as he was gone I was actually relieved that I would be able to sit down and get some admin work done without a little 'helper' demanding I hand over the laptop so he can play Cbeebies games! The day went on as planned, and I certainly wasn't feeling overly sad or emotional. I was teaching a private tuition student in Clifton this afternoon which went really well and I was in a good mood as I walked to the bus stop on my way home. However just as I boarded the bus a song came on my iPod that really reminded me of Henry's first few months. I sat down and was overwhelmed with the feeling that I was about to cry, I'm not normally an overly emotional person and I absolutely hate crying! I will avoid it at all costs if I can as it really makes me uneasy, but thinking of Henry as a baby and how fast the time has passed since he arrived had me choking back tears. Then the thought that everything is about to change for all of us had me actually sobbingand the more I tried to stop the worse it became.
I could not shake the feeling that having a second baby is going to affect the special relationship that I have with Henry. We are so incredibly close, and he really is a Mama's boy. I'm there whenever he needs me and he knows this. The only nights that I have been away from him were when I was hospitalised at the beginning of this pregnancy. He really is my little shadow and my little buddy. Sitting on that bus today I suddenly realised that our lives are about to change so much! I felt so guilty and worried that the arrival of a new baby would break Henry's heart and make him feel less loved somehow, and scared that I would struggle to give him everything that he needs from me with the demands of a new baby as well. I know that I have enough love for both of them, but that doesn't mean that Henry will know that does it? He's growing up so quickly and It looks like he will be starting a local Pre-school soon, what if having a baby around means that I don't get to savour these last precious moments of his toddlerhood?
My reasons for having a second child were never because I didn't feel that Henry was enough. He is, and if I had only been able to have one child I would have been so happy and thankful that I got to be his Mama. My reasons for having a second child were because I wanted Henry to have the same close relationship with a sibling that I have with my sister. My parents are divorced and during so many occasions in our lives my sister & I have been each others support system. Very often in times of crisis we are each other's first port of call, and when nobody else seems to understand what we are going through we seem to be able to have that understanding for each other. Don't get me wrong there have been many times where we could have happily throttled each other, and many, MANY arguments over the years, but all is forgiven quickly and no grudge is held. Even when we are mad at each other if something were to happen we would always be there for each other in a flash. I think it's rare to find that closeness & level of forgiveness in friends. I want Henry to have the chance to have that close relationship with a sibling and I know that he will be a fantastic big brother.........but right now all I feel is guilt for the fact that I am about to turn my precious little boy's world upside down!
So I sat on the completely packed bus in rush hour traffic and cried the whole way home! I was the crazy pregnant lady sat at the back of the Number 90 bus sobbing silently.....the women in front of me turned around to offer me a tissue and ask if I was ok! I don't think I have ever been more embarrassed! Rather than explain to her that my hormones had turned me into a emotional mess over my ability to be a good Mama, I lied and said that I had had a hard day at work and was feeling overly emotional thanks to pregnancy hormones. I cannot believe that I had such a meltdown on a packed bus in rush hour traffic, I couldn't have managed it in the privacy of my own home?!
I guess I wanted to write this down so that in a few months I can write another post telling myself that everything was OK and Henry is fine with the arrival of his little sister.
Because I am being silly aren't I?
There are now just under 10 weeks left until baby girl is due to make her big entrance in to the world. It's odd as by this stage in my pregnancy with Henry we were so organised and prepared for his arrival that it really felt like the world revolved around my pregnancy and our impending parenthood. We had shopping trips most weekends to look at baby stuff, we were going to NCT classes and I went to a pregnancy yoga class every week. This time things have been very different! We are busy looking after Henry, we now own a house that constantly needs things doing to it and we both have been very busy with work.......this doesn't leave us with much free time to daydream about our new baby.
We haven't really bought anything new for her yet (apart from 2 sleepsuits that i bought straight after finding out that she was a girl) and I don't think that we will be buying much for her to be honest. It's not because I don't want to, but because we just don't need as much this time around. Not only do we have most of the essentials left over from when Henry was a baby, but we are also a lot smarter in terms of the difference between what you actually need when you have a baby and what the shops, books & magazines tell you that you're really going to need. We bought so many things when Henry was tiny that we hardly used because we thought it was essential, we could have saved a small fortune if we had known just how unessential these items were! The only things that we really need are:
- Clothes for the baby (obviously)......but instead of the cute & every expensive Baby Gap outfits that we had in newborn sizes when Henry was born, this time we will just be stocking up on plain sleep suits, vests & cardigans. Cute looking clothes were all well and good & they make your hormonal heart melt when you're shopping at 8 months pregnant, but they are a pain to put on the baby! Clothes need to be easy to put on & get off because they get covered in baby poo & sick several times a day!! We have been so lucky this time as work colleagues & friends have recently had babies and we have been given lots of clothes for her to puke & poop over to her hearts content! :)
- Somewhere for her to sleep. We have a cotbed & Moses Basket that she will inherit from her big brother, so the only thing we need to get is a new mattress (although this does pain me slightly as Henry always preferred to sleep in with us so the mattress that we have is practically unused). We will probably co-sleep a lot again, just because it is so much easier when you are breastfeeding, but I think we will be turning the cot in to a co-sleeper this time as i really don't think there is enough room in our double bed for 2 adults, a baby and a toddler who somehow manages to take up 90% of the bed by himself!
- Muslins!!! You can literally never have enough! Henry was a very sicky baby& he seemed to take enjoyment in returning half of his feed back over us on a daily basis so we needed lots of muslins to protect us from the post feed explosions for quite some time. However they came in handy for so much more too! Until Henry was about a year old we never went anywhere without a good stash of muslins on us. They were used as breastfeeding covers, changing mats, sun shades, blankets, bibs & floor mats when we started weening, and general cleaning up. I LOVE these large muslin blankets from Aden & Anais! I bought about 10 of them when Henry was tiny & although they aren't cheap they are one of the few things that I can honestly say have been worth their weight in gold! If you are expecting or know somebody who is these would make a great present!
- Sling/Baby carrier. Last time we went through quite a selection of slings and carriers before we found ones that we liked, were easy to use and comfortable for all of us. When I was pregnant I bought a Baba Sling convinced it was perfect for me.....it wasn't! I hated it & Henry hated it so it was only used once & then promptly sold on eBay. I also bought a more traditional carrier from Mama's & Papa's that was very similar to the BabyBjorn style that you see a lot. However once again this just wasn't right for me, I didn't like all of the straps & buckles and Henry never felt secure against me & I needed him to be secure as I was often bending over to pick up the dogs ball or his mess too! In the end we found the Moby Wrap & it was perfect! Henry loved it & I finally had my hands back. I could carry him around so comfortably that we used it a lot....when i was cooking dinner, hoovering or out walking! It was invaluable during those first 6 months & I intend to use it again this time, especially as I'll be needing my hands free to entertain a toddler too this time! We also have a Ergo Carrier that we used once Henry became a bit too heavy for the Moby Wrap. We have only just stopped using this now, and that's only because our independent toddler wants to be free to roam rather than in a carrier now.
- A Breast pump & a few bottles: I used my breast pump a lot in the early days with Henry as i had some supply issues, but I must admit that I got a little lazy with it once we had an established routine. I wish i hadn't done this because a 3 months old Henry decided that he hated bottles of any kind and refused to feed any way except straight from me! This meant that I had very little time away from him until he had weaned enough to give me a few hours off without him screaming the place down in hunger. This time I will be returning to work much sooner so will need to keep up the pumping and hope that little lady is much happier with the bottle than her Brother was! I bought 2 pumps last time, an electric one and a cheap manual one. The electric one was rubbish! I never got a good amount of milk out using it & it was always very slow. My cheap manual one was excellent though and I could get a bottle of milk expressed very quickly with it. Lesson learnt that expensive & fancy is NOT always better! The pump i used was the Phillips Advent manual pump. I also bought their storage cups that were great for freezing milk, and also for storing baby sized portions of food once we weened Henry.
- Carseat & Pushchair. We bought our beloved Quinny Buzz pushchair & Maxi Cosi Carseat second hand (In excellent condition!) and I'm so glad that we didn't waste the extra £500 buying new, even though some people were a bit snobby about it! It lasted us for years and we recently sold it to put some extra pennies towards a new double pushchair. We have opted for the Britax B-Dual pushchair & matching carseat as it can be used as a single or a double, and it's really easy to use (A must when you've got two children in tow!). Once again though we bought the travel system second hand. We were very lucky as it literally has never been used so is in perfect condition!
So as you can see most of the essentials we either still have from last time or we have been lucky enough to have been given second hand by friends or family. The only new things that we needed were the pushchair which we have now bought and we need a new mattress for the Moses basket. Obviously we will be buying nappies etc, but they have become part of our day to day life as we still need them for Henry so I don't really think of them as a big purchase. However I don't claim to know it all just because I've had one baby already, and I'd love to hear from some other 2nd or 3rd time Mama's to find out what they couldn't have survived without whilst trying to raise 2 or more little ones!
The great thing about not having to shop much for little lady is that I have been able to focus my energy on making things for her. I have been knitting and crocheting up a storm lately making little things for my winter baby to keep her warm! I know that being a second child can be tough as you get so many hand me downs so I hope that making all of these one off handmade items for her makes her feel special. I also love the idea of keeping all of the things that I made for my children to pass on to them if they have children. There is something so special about something that has been made with love especially for your family isn't there?
I must admit that my knitting & crochet got off to a very slow start thanks to a mixture of my sickness and the extreme heat that we have had this summer! Knitting in 30 degree heat just feels a bit strange even for me! However now that the weather has cooled down i'm on a roll. She has a selection of hand knitted hats, like the one below:
I've also been knitting cardigans to go over her sleep suits as she'll be so tiny this winter & need some extra warmth. My favourite one so far is the garter stitch wrap cardigan. I'm not normally a huge fan of garter stitch, but i just love the simplicity of it, and the colours are beautiful. I used some ribbon that I got free with Mollie Makes Magazine ages ago, so it's a stash buster too!
I've also been knitting up lots of booties for her, mainly because they are so quick to make. When I'm tired & knitting something before i go to bed I need something quick, easy but satisfying to make & these fit the bill. You can find the pattern here on my blog
from last year.
Also after FINALLY learning to crochet last year after over a decade of attempts it has been lovely to be finally able to make a granny square blanket for the baby. I love the look of crochet blankets and the main reason I wanted to learn to crochet was so that I could make them for myself. I have to admit that making a winter blanket in the heat that we have been experiencing was a bit of an experience (especially when I'm already boiling hot because it feels like I have a hot water bottle strapped to my stomach!) but it was worth every minute I spent crocheting! I'm rather in love with it & I hope that it gets many years of use in her bedroom!
I have also made her some granny square bunting to hang over her cot, and a selection of other hats, cardigans, mittens etc, but I haven't had time to photograph them to show you all. I think I'll have to do another post to show off all of her handmade gifts from her Mama.
Not one to be left out either I'm also making myself a new pair of slippers & a lace shawl to use whilst Breast feeding in the colder months. Mama needs some presents too!! :)
If any of you are interested in knitting something similar to the baby clothes pictured here there are still some places left on August's & September's Baby Knitting Classes.
(sorry for the shameless plug, but I'm really excited about these classes for obvious reasons!).
I hope you all have a lovely weekend & I'll be back with more baby and craft updates soon!
It's been a long time since i have posted anything to the blog again hasn't it?! I cannot believe how quickly time is flying past at the moment.....where did July go?
July was the month of getting organised on all fronts really! I have planned my autumn/winter knitting classes
so that I now know when I will be going on maternity leave and can plan accordingly. It's actually quite terrifying how quickly this baby will be arriving. The first half of the pregnancy dragged by slowly thanks to months of sickness, dehydration and hospital stays as a result my Hyperemesis. Since I have started to recover from that time has just flown by as I have been manically trying to catch up on all the things that I couldn't do during that time as well as working, housework & running around after Henry.
One thing that really has been starting to stress me out in a big way is that my tax return for my first full year of working for myself is due at the same time as Baby no2! I have never been confident with accounting, and really don't have a head for figures so was dreading having to sit down & organise my books so that I was ready, especially after months of not being able on top of everything due to ill health! Being disorganised and under prepared was making me lose sleep, but the more stressed I got about it the less I felt able to tackle it. It really was a catch 22 of stress & avoidance. Not really the best way to approach running a business.....at times I really am my own worst enemy! I also had no idea what maternity rights I had as a sole-trader which again isn't ideal when you're 6 months pregnant. So In June I gave myself a really big talking to after a long and inspiring chat with my friend Maria who runs Cordial & Grace.
I decided that rather than continue to ignore it all & hope that it went away I was going to get organised & find some help. Thankfully that same week I saw a tweet from Outset Bristol
who run courses & business advice sessions. I started a business start-up class in July aimed at helping self-employed people get to grips with accounting, economics and business planning. It was really useful to get to grips with how to manage my own accounts, but it was quite strange being in a classroom environment quite heavily pregnant! It was a free 3 week course funded by Bristol City Council & The European Regional Developmental Fund and I really cannot stress enough how much it helped me! They also provide 1:1 support after you have completed the course if you need business advice and knowing that I have them to turn to for advice if i get stuck in a rut again is a great confidence boost.
Being self-employed isn't the easy option, and having the responsibility for everything lie on your shoulders can be overwhelming at times. But I really love what I do and didn't want to let my fear of the red tape & official forms put me off continuing with my business. Thankfully now I'm feeling more in control & it's had a really positive effect on how I'm working too......I just feel lighter now that I have a plan and the stress of the unknown has been lifted! I really wanted to share my experience as I thought somebody else may be in a similar position to me and need the same help/advice. I certainly know that in this economic climate and with the cost of Childcare being so high many people, especially parents like me are turning to self-employment as a way of earning an income with more flexible working hours so that they don't have to sacrifice everything to care for their children. But it can be daunting and knowing where to start can be hard!
The one thing that did disappoint me was the number of people who had booked on to the course and then didn't attend, or only attended for one day. This is a service being offered to people for free to help them, but people seemed to take it for granted. Just because something is being offered to you for free doesn't mean that it doesn't have value. It would be really sad if the funding was cut or taken away because of people wasting their time.
Anyway if you're running your own business or are thinking of starting and need a bit of help i really recommend getting in contact with
I've never really been very vocal about my breastfeeding experience with Henry, because although I know that it's a very 'hot topic' for many mothers for me it was just a very personal experience that just developed over time between my son and I. However lately I have been reflecting a lot on the experience, partly due to the fact that I will shortly be starting the experience all over again with a newborn, and partly due to the fact that it wasn't that long ago that Henry and I stopped breastfeeding all together, and I wanted to note down some of the experiences I had on that journey with him before they get clouded and blurred with that of my next baby. Today marks the beginning of National Breastfeeding Awareness week so it seems like a pretty good time to write some of my memories and experiences of breastfeeding down.
When Henry was born in February 2011 i knew that I wanted to try breastfeeding and that giving it a really good attempt was important to me. My mum breastfed both me and my sister for the first 6 months of our lives so it only seemed natural that I would do the same. It wasn't the easiest of starts as due to a retained placenta my milk didn't come in for nearly a week & Henry was losing a lot of weight & crying in hunger 24/7! I didn't know that I had retained placenta at the time and I was so upset that I didn't seem to be providing my baby with what he needed most.....the temptation was there to give up. I remember sitting in the bath crying listening to Ken trying to sooth a distraught Henry and feeling like a total failure. Luckily later that day my midwife came to visit & spent over 2 hours with me showing me different ways I could stimulate milk production and calming me down. Later that night Henry was still crying and I was at the end of my tether, so I tearfully begged Ken to go out in search of some formula to feed him. Ken was gone for over an hour as it was a Sunday night and most places were closed, and I am so grateful for this because during this time all of the attempts at feeding & stimulating my milk production paid off and I was able to feed Henry successfully for the first time since he was born. Ken returned home to me holding a sleepy milk drunk baby, and the box of formula that he had searched high & low for sat unused until I gave it away a few months later.
I had to work hard for the first 6 weeks to keep my milk production up, feeding on demand & pumping when Henry slept. However once my retained placenta was diagnosed & removed my boobs really changed! I hadn't suffered with any engorgement initially and thought I had escaped that experience, however I woke up in the middle of the night after the operation to find that I had boobs like pamela Anderson all of a sudden! They were HUGE and rock solid! I lifted my top to examine these new arrivals only to squirt myself in the face with milk. It's funny looking back on it, but at the time I was a bit weirded out by it all. After weeks of worrying I didn't have any or enough milk in there I was now so full of the stuff it was making a bit for freedom in my face! I attempted to feed Henry to relieve some of the engorgement but my milk was coming out so fast that the poor little chap couldn't keep up. In the end with the assistance of gravity we managed to feed properly with my lying flat on my back & Henry lying across my chest.
After that night I never really looked back. I was very lucky that sore nipples were never an issue for me, and feeding was never a painful experience. In fact I loved it! I adored the closeness i felt with Henry, I loved how convenient it was, especially at nighttime, and I loved that I didn't have to carry lots of stuff with me when I went out in order to feed him. In fact it was such an easy, pleasant experience that when Henry was approaching 6 months and the questions from Friends and family started regarding when I was going to stop I suddenly didn't know how to answer them! I had not intended to extend breastfeeding beyond 6 months, but I knew that neither Henry or I were ready to stop, so I carried on. In fact we carried on for much longer than I had ever anticipated, and I am so glad that I did. Breastfeeding really worked for us, and there were times when Henry was quite poorly last year and refusing all food and drink that I would have found impossible to deal with if i hadn't had the option of offering breast milk.
Despite some criticism from some friends and family members I breastfed Henry until just past his second birthday in February this year when he finally self-weened. It was a good thing that he did at that time because I was just starting to suffer with Hyperemesis and became so dehydrated that I doubt I would have been able to continue feeding him anyway. I think that being pregnant this time may have affected the taste of my milk because Henry seemed to want less and less milk from me almost immediately after i conceived, and had completely stopped 2 weeks later when I found out I was pregnant. However it had been coming for the previous 6 months and he had slowly reduced his feeds to just being at bedtime anyway. We were both ready and happy to stop.
Despite the negative comments that my extended breastfeeding would make Henry clingy, wimpy or unable to make friends, the opposite has been true! He is a happy outgoing little boy who doesn't feel the need to cling to me, because he knows he doesn't have to . Years of feeding on demand have meant that he is confident that whenever he needs comfort from me he only needs to ask. This means that he rarely cries or acts out to get my attention and is generally a really calm little guy. He is also fiercely independent and I think that trusting your baby/toddler to lead the way with breastfeeding helps you as a parent to trust both your child's and your own instincts in other areas of development as they get older and try new things. I'm not saying that the same could not be true of a bottle fed baby and I don't think that comforting your child is solely linked to the act of breastfeeding, but i do know that it really did shape our relationship into the one of mutual trust and respect that it is today.
I hope that I enjoy breastfeeding my daughter as much as I did my son and I am excited to start the process again, but this time I hope to be more relaxed about the whole thing. I'm not going to give myself targets of stopping by a certain date or even reaching a certain age and still breastfeeding. I'm going to hopefully relax and just take each day as it comes and concentrate on whether it's right for me & her as we go along. I strongly believe that it doesn't matter how a baby is fed as long as they are fed by a mother who is happy. The only negative thing i have to say about breastfeeding is that I hate how the topic can often turn women against each other when really regardless of what decisions you make on feeding your child what we need to do is support each other.
I appreciate this is a rather long post so if you've made it this far thank you for reading *
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.
Well January was one hell of a month & not always in a good way. A kidney infection really knocked me for six over the last few weeks so at times this month has felt a little bit of an up hill struggle. That combined with some pretty arctic weather means that much of last month was spent inside curled up in the warm crafting from the comfort of my sofa. This is not all bad as it has given my body a bit of time to rest & recuperate as it has taken a bit of a battering over the last few months with infections & illnesses. It's really has felt like my body was telling me it was time to slow down & rest so that's what I tried to do.
One side effect of all this 'resting' is that I am now totally addicted to crocheting! I never thought that I would ever say that, but it's true. It's such a welcome change to have a new hobby. I love knitting & it will always be my main & first craft love, but I have found that having a new outlet for my creative ideas has not only been great fun but also really energising! I am a life long knitter so i don't really remember learning the skill properly (I think i was about 4 years old when my Granny first taught me) so I think that learning something new will actually make me a better knitting teacher too as I am experiencing the total confusion that comes with starting to learn a skill from scratch & also the joy that comes when something finally clicks.
I have wanted to make my own granny square blankets for the longest time. They always look so beautiful & colourful in that comforting granny chic way don't they? So I'm loving working on a giant blanket just for me as it's very rare that I make something for myself & it's been something I've yearned to do for the longest time. This is going to be a year long project I suspect as I want it to be huge so that it uses up a lot of my 'left over yarn' stash that is taking over my craft room at home and also I always have several projects on the go!
To make me feel less guilty about all this time spent crocheting when I should be doing something more industrious I have decided to start making everybody Crochet presents & also start selling some of my projects. I recently made one of my best friends a lovely crochet collar for her birthday made from a lovely silk & cotton blend yarn, I think she really liked it which was a relief! I enjoyed making it a lot and may pop a few up for sale in my Etsy shop soon.
I am also just putting the finishing touches to a baby/toddler blanket which will be going up for sale this week. It's a rainbow coloured granny square blanket made from Eco friendly, organic cotton. Perfect for little ones skin. I'm so excited to share the finished product but until then here is the work in progress:
So what projects have you all been working on while you hibernated through the dark, cold & snowy January?
I've also been baking a lot of cakes (yep January is most certainly not a diet month in my household!) but I'm not sure if cake recipes are a good thing to share or not at this time of year. Is everybody else still healthy eating?! Well whether you make them or not I have been so pleased with some of the results I'll be posting a few recipes this week. I think My Mr's work colleagues think he's trying to sabotage their healthy new years resolutions by plying them with homemade cakes lately, but hey why not share the cake love? Plus valentines day is coming up isn't it & homemade cake is a great cheap but heartfelt gift for your other half or best friend!
So Christmas has been & gone! Did you all have a lovely festive period? I hope so! I had a lovely Christmas! We saw lots of friends & family in the run up to the big day including a full christmas dinner and celebrations on Christmas Eve with Ken's family. We then enjoyed a quiet Christmas Day at home on Christmas Day (Ken especially who took the opportunity to stay in sweat pants all day!). My sister joined us on the day & we cooked our first Christmas dinner, and without wanting to sound like i'm boasting WE RULED!! It went without a hitch or a single argument which surprised everybody because my sister & I have never managed to share a kitchen without bickering in the past. We then traveled home to visit my Mum & Step-dad on boxing day for another round of food, drink & presents!
I feel very lucky to have been able to spend Christmas in my own home with my family and also to have received such lovely & thoughtful gifts from my loved ones. My favourite surprise gift was this beautiful print
from my sister. I have been admiring it for ages on Etsy so was so pleased to open it on Christmas Day! It's by Lucy Smith who often frequents the Tobacco Factory Market if you fancy a look at her work. I also received some lovely clothes from Ken all of which were items I've been lusting over for a while......It would seem that my not so subtle hints weren't wasted after all!
To be fair though I enjoy giving presents the most, I love seeing people's faces as they open the gifts I have bought or made for them. It really makes me happy. This Christmas was the first year that Henry has really understood that something exciting was happening so it was great to witness his wonder at all of the presents, food and lights! His young mind was on overdrive, and eventually we had to call a Christmas time out depriving him of sweets & presents after boxing day as he was HYPER! I think it's fair to say that christmas is a big hit with this boy! He has also made his poor dad & I watch the Polar Express on infinite repeat throughout December so I think he'll be bereft when we cut him off!
Here's a few pictures from our Christmas:
Colour in christmas table cloth = fantastic idea if you have a toddler!
So it's 2013 already! Wow! Where is the time going? I remember having a conversation 10 years ago with a university friend on New Years Eve laughing that in 10 years time we would be toasting 2013's new year as responsible 30 year olds drinking expensive wine instead of our homemade Cherry Cola cocktails using Lidl's finest & cheapest vodka & cherry brandy. Well some of that was true....I am indeed 30, but I didn't toast the new year with expensive wine, in fact since buying our house & having to tighten our purse strings as a result, most of our alcohol purchases are once again from my trusty Lidl! In fact here's the sad truth: If left to my own devices I wouldn't do anything for new year & would be in bed asleep at the stroke of midnight! I love Christmas & all of the festivities surrounding it, but by New Year I'm over it all to be honest & just want a bit of peace & quiet and to crack on with the new year ahead. Does that make me a grumpy old lady? Oh Well! New years day sees our decorations come down & the January spring clean begin and as much as i love seeing the tree go up & filling the house with festive cheer; i also really love how clean & spacious my home is once its all gone.
Last year I blogged my new years resolutions & I actually stuck to them! I have learnt to crochet at last, blogged more and started to teach knitting & I also started to spend more time in the kitchen cooking for fun again. So I hope to have similar success this year if I once again make the resolutions more public. I love having little aims for myself as I really need something to push me to do more......I suffer under the black cloud of depression a lot thanks to my PCOS so very often need something else to focus on and push me forward and get me out of my slump. This years aims are:
1. To get out without Henry either for a run or a brisk walk with George my Collie 5 days a week. Neither myself or Poor George have got as much exercise as I would like recently thanks to 2012's never ending rain. However after a few long outing with just the 2 of us I remember how good it is for both of us! I love getting out & listening to my favourite music loudly in my headphones as we pound through the miles together, and George gets more of my time and attention in the process so it's a win/win really. So far so good with this one.....even if i have gotten soaked!
2. To get more organised with my admin. I hate paperwork, but avoiding it only makes it worse so i'm going to get on top of this in 2013.
3. To keep my washing pile small......at times when I've been exceptionally busy or exceptionally low my washing pile has managed to take over my bedroom & become a mountain. The bigger it is, the worse i feel.....it's a catch 22! So I've started the year with a washing marathon & plan to keep it down. Wish me luck as this is the one I'm most likely to fail in!
4. To learn to let the small things go so I can focus more on the big things. I get stressed about the silliest things sometimes and i really need to stop. It can be exhausting and they really don't matter in the grand scheme of things. I need to take a step back and learn when to walk away from something.
5. Have more family outings. Lack of funds often leave us doing the same things at home or in our local park most weekends. However we have been planning to go swimming as a family for ages, and take a weekend trip to M Shed together. After our family outing in December to the theatre
we realised how much Ken misses out on so plan to do more as a trio at the weekends.
6. To blog through the good & the bad. I only blog when I'm happy.....so when I'm low i go quiet. Not because I don't want to write about it, but because at that time i don't have any motivation to do anything really. However I'm hoping that by aiming for 2 posts a week regardless I'll force myself to keep going & not get stuck in such a rut of "nothingness".
So there you have it.....bye bye 2012 (you were full of real highs & extreme lows) & hello 2013! So far this year is going well & I am full of optimism which can only be a good thing.
I hope you're all having a great 2013 & I look forward to speaking to you more in the coming year!
I'm so excited for Christmas!! It's our first Christmas as a little family in our new home without our own parents doing the cooking etc for us so I'm getting really into all of the preparations this year! However as per usual I started a long list of hand knitted presents in October......then left them untouched for a few months while i was busy looking after a poorly toddler or trying to keep up with my long list of things to do so I am now in full on speed knitting mode trying to finish all of the homemade presents in time! It will be worth it though as there is nothing quite like giving presents that have been lovingly made especially for the recipient......also although I am usually quite cash poor, thanks to years of yarn, material & button hoarding I am craft supply rich so I may as well turn them into beautiful presents!
I've been wanting to share pictures of all of the lovely things I'm making lately, but i an't until after they have been given or else it will spoil the surprise.....I'll be doing a post Christmas post of all of my homemade projects & I'd love to hear what everybody else made too.
I cannot remember the last Christmas Eve that I did not spend manically knitting trying to finish the last of my homemade gifts, last year it was a giant knitted blanket that i made for my sister. But Christmas Eve to me is sitting in the warm with a glass of mulled wine watching the Polar Express knitting presents! Every year I swear I'll finish everything sooner, but really I do love that feeling of finishing & wrapping the last of those special gifts!
Tonight is the last knit club of 2012 at Cordial & Grace (seriously where did this year go?!) and I am really looking forward to a toddler free evening of knitting & chatting. I love my son to pieces but his idea of helping Mama knit is to run off with my ball of yarn shouting "Mummy's Ball!!".......not really very helpful at all! I think that quite a few of my students from my last Christmas knits class are coming too so it will be lovely to see them all knitting Christmas decorations!
If you are interesting in learning to knit something for Christmas it's not too late, I have places left for my class at the Making Things Pop-Up shop in Cabot's Circus On
19th December 6.30-9pm. It's £16.50 for the evening and this includes all materials and patterns and a glass of mulled wine or spiced berry cordial and yummy gingerbread (i don't like minced pies!). Also because I'm super excited about this class & Christmas in general I'm giving away a present to everybody who signs up to the class to make the evening extra special!! For more details about the class see here
. Also I don't know if you all know but I now offer Knitting lesson Gift vouchers.....so if you know somebody who wants to learn this would be a great Christmas gift. Vouchers are available from £10 and can be emailed so are a great last minute alternative to commercial vouchers. I think it's lovely to take a break from buying generic commercial presents for everybody and to either go handmade or shop local with independent makers You can get some lovely gifts from as little as £5 & they are so much nicer than something mass produced. If you are short of inspiration I would really recommend a trip to Making Things club when you're shopping In Cabots for some fantastic locally made beauties!