Thursday, April 14, 2022

Things to remember from parenting Phoebe

 At two weeks:


Sheer elation after delivering you, couldn't believe that I'd done it vaginally and that you were actually here after being so worried.


Finding out you were a girl and being relieved as we hadn't had any boy names!


Everything coming back to me about feeding and sleeping and changing nappies. 


Getting to come home very quickly because of Covid and your granny and grandpa being here to welcome you.


Your big sister Lydia being so excited to meet you, wanting to hold you right away, saying " I love you, you're so little, you're so cute" , wanting to try and carry you, change your nappies, helping me try and feed you, so proud of being a big sister.


Your little turtle head and neck, trying to lift your own head, so strong, looking out at us through one half open eye 


Your grunts and squeaks, the sheep like maa noise when you cry.


Lydia calling you "Pheebs" or "Pheeb"


Moving slowly like a sloth in treacle


 First smile 4 September


At 5 weeks:

Holding on to my clothes when you feed.


Batting my breasts between your fists to make it the right shape to feed from


Saying "a goo" when smiling


Slept through 15 sept


7 weeks

All calm and wide eyed at first swimming lesson, happily going under the water


Talking back to us and smiling, with lots of goos 


8 weeks, lots if chats whikst you sit in your bouncy chair. Grinning for Lydia when she comes to entertain you by leaning over and tickling you with her curls


9 weeks recognising Lydia and bring very happy to see her. 


Story time with daddy, at bedtime, how good he is with you


13 weeks, 'knitting' your blanket or muslin.


First laugh playing shaky hands with mummy Tuesday 9 Nov


When I pick you up at night for the dream feed, you are lying with your hands by your ears, keeping them there whilst I pick you up.


Grandpa Bear, my Dad, spending ages sitting on the floor talking to you whilst you're on your playmat, trying to get you to smile.


16 weeks

Giving you your morning kisses, lots of kisses on each cheek, or nomming your cheeks, making you smile and blissfully close your eyes and sometimes even laugh


4 months


Watching daddy read you a story, you trying to turn the pages, all bundled up cosy in your sleeping bag


Lying on the floor together with our legs in the air playing whilst you burble and smile


21 weeks

26 Dec, rolled onto side for first time


Positively vibrating with excitement when people are playing with you


Your huge wide mouthed gummy smiles of joy 


Reaching out to touch my face. Stopping feeding to grin up and me and purr with happiness.


5 months


Just about sitting unaided

12 Jan rolled over back to front

Making cooing noises like a pigeon


Sitting up to the kitchen table in the highchair with a pile of toys in front of you, chewing your narwhal vigorously and reaching for the next toy as you knock one on the floor, whilst watching all the action in the kitchen excitedly


Beaming up at me whilst strapped on my front in the carrier, cooing and laughing at the trees


Loving Friday night disco night, laughing and singing whilst I dance you around on my hip, watching the coloured lights on the ceiling


Sitting in your highchair at Wickens Wednesday dinner waving your arms as you babble 'mamamamama' almost as if your were conducting the dinner party conversation

Holding the tail of the plait in my hair as you feed.

Making happy faces at me in the dark whilst feeding when you should be asleep

Charming waiters and shop assistants by being so happy


Huge belly laughs for Lydia

Looking just like glitter granny


Making very confused faces when eating for the first time


Holding your own hands like a great thinker


Sitting up strongly from 6 months onwards


7 months and flapping your arms and bouncing on your bottom trying to move to get to things, launching yourself forward and rocking back and forth, one single crawl forward then flop


Growling with joy like a little bear, shouting with joy when you see other babies or people talk to you, with your huge gummy smile


Tipping your head on one side when playing like you're acting coy, copying if other people do it


Protesting loudly if you're sat up to a table and other people are eating but there's no food for you


Very slowly signing milk sporadically at 7 months


Making concerned 'mumumum' sounds if you're hungry or wet, or if we leave the roo


7.5 months starting to clap hands


Happy to sit on the floor bashing toy pans together, making a big noise as I do house work around you


Leaning out of a cuddle stretching out arms if you want to go to someone n


8 months, crawling backwards and getting stuck under the so


The utter intimacy of you sleeping on me after you finish your bedtime feed, your little hand resting on my chest, the rise and fall of your breath, the huff when you sigh in your slee


Starting to cuddle us back.









More things to remember from parenting Lydia

17 months:
Granny and mummy taking about the snacks in the boot of the car, you start looking in your Welly boots for them.

Getting the step stool and dragging it up to the kitchen counter so you can teach the butter dish and help your self to chunks of butter with your finger

18 months saying: "bye bye bye" instead of bye-bye.

Staying "Grandad Sleep". Every time grandad was napping when we visited him in France.

20 months: 

caring for your baby doll making beds for her and patting her, carefully spreading out the blankets so they are perfectly flat. ep-pant for elephant. 

Saying "O-kay" all the time instead of yes

Stopping breastfeeding to say "hey" during Jingle Bells 

Saying "Farmer Christmas" for Father Christmas

Saying "Fairy Liii- gghts" . And saying 'more' when you see them. And wow and pretty

22 Months:  saying "Hello Moon, Hello Venus Hello stars" when looking in the sky. 

23 months:
favourite foods of pomegranate and olives. 
Saying "Little person" instead of girl or boy when playing with toys. 
"Dank oo"  

24 months
" The phone is singing" when the phone rings.
Wanting to do things 'togebba' together.

Lydia just having an afternoon bath. Asked for 'champagne on mummy' she meant shampoo... 😂

25 months: 
Calling cockle shells "clapping shells"
Saying "Oh my goodness" And "how exciting"
Playing runaway run together and walking backward beep

First story:  "there's red dinosaur, it's playing hide and seek, it's in on my fingers, it's eating them hungry dinosaur eating strawberries"

Putting all my hairpins in your piece of bread and declaring them candles in a birthday cake

2 years 6 months:

I'm a dancerina

It's a bouncerine

My hair is like a tunnel mummy ( ringlet)

Using "actually" and "I expect" in sentences

Patting your back when giving you a cuddle.

Cuddling mummy and daddy 'togebba'

Last breastfeed feed Sunday 25 October 2020

'Bears go grrr and cuddles'

2 years 9 months

"It's all ankley" for its all wrinkly
 'Ahoy Misshapes' when playing pirates

2 years 10 months

Starting up give complements
"I think I did that another week"
Aren't we the pair" when all dressed up to go out
Having a dance off at the Friday night family disco

3 years old I'm Elsa, you're Anna, Daddy's Kristoff, and you need to have two babies, one to be sven and two to olaf

Saying Hello Baby and cuddling my bump

Asking Granny and Grandpa if you could go on a walk with them on your own, and leave mummy and daddy at their house.

Farm sensory for pharmacy

Asking "can I see your nipples?" To auntie Ellie.

Telling uncle Andy to be careful not to drop a glass as you might cut someone and they might die!

I'm the picker, mummy's the milker and daddy's the cuddler for the new baby. (Picker of clothes)

The electrician man (politician?) On the radio says we can go in people's houses again

3 years 4 months: after big school, you're a grown-up and you go to work. I want to be a tree cutter downer for my work ( tree surgeon? )

Cinderella cheese for mozerella cheese

Cutting own fringe and trying to glue the hair back on at the back

Asking Daddy to draw a picture of herself holding Phoebe in golden syrup on her porridge

Wants to be a car fixer - person who mends cars (mechanic)

 rubbing your cheek on Phoebe's hair and cheeks 'like you do mummy, she's so soft'

Telling granny all her preschool children could live here so she could stay and not go home

Tickling Phoebe with your hair to entertain her or giving her your knuckle to suck to test if she's hungry

My lip is healing down

Why is there a statue of a postman ( lord Mountbatten statue in town)

Look at my electric bottom for sliding down the stairs

3 years 11 months
The sun is leaking

Being so loving to Phoebe, wanting to hold her all the time

Grandpa we've got your tea ready, I carried your spoon.

Granny I want to keep you at my house.

I always want to go on the left side because I begin with a L

Your excitement at going on the boats on Scilly

Playing fancy cafe at bedtime, asking daddy very seriously what he wants to order, we've got sausage rolls and sandwiches. And for your wife?

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

NaBloPoMo 29 & 30

29 Nov

Tom sleeping off last night, so took Lydia to preschool. Home to feed Phoebe, then coffee with Hetty, my mum's goddaughter who is in her first year studying law at Southampton. Don't think I've seen her since she was a small girl. Channelled my mother and rustled up plenty of small talk out of thin air. The gift of the gab or blagging. Offered use of my washing machine, proper home cooked dinner. The usual.

Then much needed chiropractor appointment. Tom off today so he and Martin arrived to look after Phoebe. Feel sore but in a better way today. Still not used to the crunches and cracks. Really need to find time to squeeze in my exercises.

Lunch with the boys at Diego's Rotisserie, very nice, not been there before. Went halves on a skewer of prawns and sea bream with Tom. Phoebe charmed the wait staff.

Home to feed Phoebe then off to the Christmas tree farm near Hinton Ampner for a car load of offcuts for £20. Absolute bargain, stopped to get extra wreath base on the way home.

Leftover lamb and mushroom stroganoff for tea, then made a fascinator for the baptism out of some red ribbon. Not sure about it.

30 Nov

Phoebe up very early for milk, then got Lydia dressed. Tom sorted her breakfast whilst I got ready to go. Lydia chose all Christmas things for Phoebe, very cute if a bit early. Squeezed her into the 3-6 elf outfit from my mum, don't think it will fit by Christmas!.

Off to the 16 week jabs. Receptionists and nurse all very taken with festive Phoebe. Jabs went fine, in a change since Lydia you give 3 lots of Calpol as standard after the meningitis jabs now. Makes for much happier babies.

Tom's mum had arrived by the time I got back, off to climbing for her and Lydia again. Another feed for Phoebe and then I went to collect some shopping I'd ordered and to take some food and clothes to someone from one of the free FB groups.

Home to lunch of cold bits with mum and Lydia, then a walk to the baker for bread, and cakes to eat in the park. Phoebe mainly asleep in the carrier. Quick play in the playground before Granny needed to leave to get back to the  puppies. Tom arrived home just as we got back and started dinner. TV for Lydia and another Phoebe feed. 

Went to feed Phoebe lying down as back hurting. Tea at 5.15 ish when Martin got back, pork and lentil Curry with paratha.

I did Phoebe bedtime, need to pack car for ballet, swimming and seeing Ellie, Andy and Aoife, lateral flow tests willing.

And that's the end of NaBloPoMo for this year. Feels like another small insular year. 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

NaBloPoMo 28: cosy

Lydia in really really for a cuddle after Phoebe woke really really for milk. Tom got Lydia dressed before heading out for the day as he was on call.

Bit of TV time after breakfast to catch up on Strictly whilst Phoebe had second breakfast. Lydia and I liked John and Johannes' Argentine tango with the 'lucky legs' 

Then chores time. Lydia helped unload the dishwasher a bit, and hang up washing a bit, and clean lay the table for lunch a bit, not bad for a 3 year old. Shout out to Martin for washing up and keeping an eye on Lydia whilst I squeezed a shower and cleaned the bathroom to a cursory level. Phoebe bounced in her bouncy chair whilst I scrubbed grout and enjoyed watching the dirt rinse away.

Made chocolate cup cakes with Lydia, she revelled in using the electric whisk and spooning out mixture all by herself whilst I kept stopping to feed or change Phoebe. Came out really nicely.

After a bit of a haphazard lunch of cold bits out the fridge due to Lydia being a bit testing and lateral flow tests all round, we took the cakes to Jon and Hannah's. Jasper had asked when 'my Lydia' could come and play again after Wednesday. Very cute.

An afternoon of kids playing relatively nicely together followed suit whilst grownups drank tea and babies fed and were passed around. Life almost felt normal for a bit. I love having some friends with kids a similar age to ours, it's so nice to be able to socialise regularly without fear of being judged for what your kids are doing.

Tom made it back to join us for most of the afternoon with a short break to take a generator in Fair Oak off supply. Fairly busy on call for him after the storms,  he's only been back on call a few times since moving back to networks after a stint in contacting, and most of those have been quiet. Delicious roast lamb for tea.

Home after tea with a grumpy Phoebe ready for bed. Boys did Lydia's bedtime whilst I sorted Phoebe, Tom back out on call after Lydia in bed. Watched Strictly results with Martin about 830 when Phoebe done feeding, put washing on, and sorted out clean washing.

Enjoyed Phoebe's little grins today and her face of joy when I alternately kiss her cheeks very quickly or nom her cheeks.




Saturday, November 27, 2021

NaBloPoMo 26 and 27

Tom took Lydia to nursery whilst I sorted Phoebe, tried to do Pilates and failed as Phoebe needed feeding right at Pilates time. Read tweet from Ireland account that reminded me to check if Irish Foreign Birth registrations are open, which they are with a two year backlog. So took some pictures of Phoebe for her British passport application. Couldn't find my passport which meant I needed to attempt the filing pile to find it.

After breakfast, eventually got dressed, went up to church to do the advent wreath. Happily Jenny was there setting up for the quiet day, so she played with Phoebe whilst I worked which saved some time. Need to go cut some more Holly for wreath making too. Fed Phoebe before I left.

Went and got bread and posted out the godchildrens' autumn socks at last. Got soaked in the rain so went and had my free cup of tea at Mbuntu and fed Phoebe, as I won a years free tea earlier in the year. They're not open in the mornings so I don't get much chance to make use of it.

Tom had been to collect Martin and Lydia, we all arrived home at pretty much the same time. Had a late lunch of cheese and crackers all round then went shopping as we had nothing but cheese in the fridge. Lydia ate her tea in the car, had short Friday night disco before kids bed, nice to dance with Martin. 

Started the filing before bed, made good progress.

-----------

Very windy in the night, Lydia woken up twice by the wind. Phoebe woke up earlyish, fed her until Lydia came in at 730. Got everyone dressed, breakfasted then off to the Vyne.

Had to change Phoebe's nappy in car park before we went in. Weather cold wet and miserable, some sleet and snow. Phoebe wrapped up in snow suit and waterproof cover on carrier. Went straight to house and briskly went round looking at Christmas trees. Had to feed Phoebe again at the chapel then again in the tea room. Sausage rolls, pasties hot chocolate and cakes all round. Then a brief walk around the garden before home. 

Tom and Martin made fish pie whilst I fed Phoebe and hung some washing up, and Lydia had some telly and crafting time. Baths for both girls after tea. Will finish the filing when I put Phoebe to bed. 


Thursday, November 25, 2021

NaBloPoMo 24 and 25

Phoebe up super early, I went back to bed for a once Lydia sorted. Tom off work yesterday due to having minor surgery. Took Lydia to swimming, Tom took her in whilst I fed Phoebe.

Took Tom to docs at Chandler's Ford at lunchtime, Lydia and I played in park till we got cold, bought hot chocolate to warm up, which Lydia loved.

Home to drop Tom off to rest, then got Lydia ready for ballet. After her class, took her to play at Jon and Hannah's and have her tea whilst I went to parents evening at nursery, nursery very pleased with her progress. Likes playing babies and with dolls, crafts and playing in the garden. Next steps are to work on sharing and writing the letters of her name.

Late difficult bedtime all, I got very shouty.

Today, had to wake Lydia at 7, but she got dressed without too much struggle, then got Phoebe and myself dressed and drove Lydia to preschool. 

Home to make Tom some breakfast, got some washing on. Fed Phoebe. Had abortive attempt to take Tom to Andover to see his dad, realised we didn't have enough time and Phoebe was screaming for milk. Had meltdown about feeling like a failure at being an adult on way back and had a big cry when we got in.

Once Phoebe fed and changed, left her in her bouncer near Tom so he could entertain her whilst I hung up washing and put more on. Emptied bins. Sorted out one bag of clothes to give away. Made Tom some lunch.

Went to swimming, Phoebe went under the water 4 times today. 

After swimming picked up Tom and went to see Jon and Hannah for a chat. Cut lots of greenery from their shrubs for making the advent wreath tomorrow. 

Picked Lydia up on way home, Tom went to see his dad, played with Lydia making silly faces with my camera app then bedtime. She was really sad so cheerrd her up with my Barry the Badger hot water bottle cover.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

NaBloPoMo 23: nothing much

Phoebe awake at 530, fed her in bed until Lydia came in. Tom got her dressed and have gave her a croissant whilst I sorted Phoebe. 

Tried to put some clothes away before Tom's mum came, but only really managed to have my own breakfast and put the tumble dryer on. 

Tom's mum took Lydia to preschool climbing club again, apparently she enjoyed herself and was braver than before. 

Lots of feeding for Phoebe, didn't manage to do anything else before they came back for lunch.

Went to Deepdene or helicopter park as Lydia calls it all together after lunch with Phoebe in the carrier. Very involved imaginative game from Lydia about being a coastguards helicopter pilot.

Home for hot drinks and snacks, more feeding and playing. Tom's mum left early, as they're housetraining their puppies, just as Tom came home.

Trains for Tom and Lydia whilst I started dinner of leftover roast lamb curry around feeding Phoebe.

Feeling very washed out today.

Monday, November 22, 2021

NaBloPoMo 22 and 23

So busy yesterday I didn't get to writing. First breakfast of pastries for kids, then cooked breakfast for grownups. Lots of playing and a walk to the park, all organised chaos. Huge shout out to John and Adele who kept on top of the washing up all day, much appreciated. Tom roasted some hogget for lunch with a Persian spice rub, an absolute triumph.

Everyone left mid afternoon then Lydia watched a bit of TV whilst we tidied up a bit and I fed Phoebe. Leftovers for tea and a bit of Christmas planning.

Today I've made lasagna for Ellie and Andy around Phoebeing whilst watching the 'An Audience with Adele' and catching up with Strictly. Then drove over to Totton to deliver the lasagna, and took some tins of pilchards to my granny that my mum had left for her at Ellie's. Also took home a load of vintage bonnets to try on Phoebe for the christening.

Phoebe very happy and smiley today and had a good old play with the pram toys whilst I was cooking, carefully bringing things to her mouth to explore now she can grab things.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

NaBloPoMo 20: friends

After an evening of takeaway and sharing wine, life almost felt normal when I went to bed last night. Even did my trick of getting all the breakfast things out the night before like I used to.

Up early with all the children, pastries and Jess' cinnamon rolls all round.

Then off to Town Quay for a day trip on the Hythe Ferry and electric train on the pier, a perfect day out for all the transport fans. Got to see all the big cruise ships and containers ships whilst we were on the water and the Queen Mary 2 was on her way out whilst we came home. 

We lunched at Seashells on Hythe High Street which also had good views of the water and excellent food, and was relatively child friendly. Also had a fun run around in the memorial gardens and on the waterfront.

Home for tea and cake and a pickybits tea for the children then extensive cheese board and chocolate for the adults after kid bedtime. The chaps planned their next Bradshaw trip, think they're off to Norfolk next summer. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

NaBloPoMo 19: honoured

Everyone woke up late this morning where Tom didn't have to go to work for to annual leave to take his dad back to the opticians. I fed Phoebe then raced around getting Lydia and myself dressed. Pijamas and spotty clothes for Children in Need for Lydia today. She wore her giraffe pijs and I put her hair up in space buns to look like girrafe ossicones which she liked.

I took Lydia up to preschool as Tom was still getting dressed and he got Phoebe ready. When I got back, he was getting breakfast for everyone so I had some toast and did my lateral flow test then packed the car to go and see Ellie, Andy and Aoife. Inevitably Phoebe did a huge poo then wanted feeding as I tried to get out the door. 

An hour later than I planned, made it to Waitrose, abandoned all thoughts of going to multiple shops to keep prices down and bought some supplies for us, Ellie and Tom's dad, then walked down the road to get some bits from Boots for Ellie. Phoebe was all smiles till the end of my shopping trip when she needed a sleep and got grumpy.

She did eventually sleep while I raced her up and down Portswood High Street and in the car on the way over to Totton.

At Ellie and Andy's, Andy helped me unload all the bits and bobs, then I did exactly as my mum did for me with my babies, making tea, sending them to rest, making snacks, cuddling Aoife and sorting bits out. I was also honoured to be asked by Ellie for some advice on breastfeeding. Helping my sister with feeding was a 'woah the great continuum of women' moment, the almost holy feeling of passing on millennia old knowledge. 

Aoife is an absolute fairy child and feels so tiny compared to the giant babies I grow, even though she's a nice average weight. I got some lovely cuddles and told her we are going to be best buddies. It feels very special to have Andy and Ellie nearby whilst we have our children. I always thought I'd move away from home and have my own adventures, content with seeing family at Christmas or similar, but especially since having Lydia, and since the pandemic, all I want to do really is see my family. I hope the girls enjoy having a cousin so close and we all play together.

Tom had been ringing me to try and arrange handover of his Dad's shopping but I was distracted. When he got through, he'd sweetly decided to buy dad's shopping again and leave me to it. Most of it was store cupboard stuff so it doesn't matter if he has it twice. He went to pick up Lydia and then took her to take his dad back home.

I went home when Andy's mum arrived, got myself some lunch on the way home, and tried to unpack the shopping a bit and prep some tea for Lydia before Phoebe needed a big feed.

When Lydia and Tom got home, we had Friday night disco after Lydia had her tea which was so much fun. We also prepped rooms for friends to stay in as the Treharnes and John and Adele were coming for a Bradshaw write up weekend. 

Jon and Adele arrived around 8pm and we had tasty Indian takeaway for dinner and the Treharnes arrived about 9pm

NaBloPoMo 18: nothing much

Adorably, Andy phoned at bedtime to check if you needed the heating on all night with a new baby. It made me feel very special to be asked.

I got up with Phoebe and fed her this morning, Tom got Lydia dressed. Did Lydia's hair in 'fountains on the side of my head' as requested. Tom took her to preschool whilst I finished Phoebe's feed.

Then off to church to meet Anna who runs the running community to talk through some Comms things.

Back home to feed and change Phoebe then off to swimming for us. She seemed to enjoy today, was busy watching everything, and only was a little bit sick right at the end of class. She didn't cry too much whilst I changed her either.

Went into Shirley after to pick up some Milk for Jon and Hannah, then on to theirs for a cup of tea and sensory time for the babies. They had out the load of baby toys they'd been given from a friend clearing out and Phoebe did a good amount of tummy time.

Home just about in time for my counselling lecture, counsellor was flustered because his computer crashed just as he was calling me. Only useful think I learnt was the difference between a flashback and an intrusive thought. I'm wondering if I'd be better off finding some private psychotherapy as I want to talk to someone about my thoughts and feelings rather than be taught coping mechanisms, which I already knew and mostly used. 

Walked up to collect Lydia from preschool after this, Tom had gone to collect his dad from a cataract operation. Stuck a hivis vest on the buggy hood as it was completely dark when I was walking up. Took a while to walk back as we stopped for Lydia to finish her snack and Phoebe needed a feed. Tom rang to see where we were just as we were at the front door. 

Bit of playing with Lydia before bed, then we had some Beef Bourgogne for dinner and tried to convince Tom's dad to sleep on the sofa bed but he insisted he wanted to sleep in a chair. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

NaBloPoMo 17: busy

Woke up with Tom's alarm of 6:45 and fed Phoebe, Lydia came in for a cuddle. Tom got her dressed and took her down for breakfast whilst I sorted Phoebe out.

Had breakfast myself whilst sorting many bags out for going out for the day. The plan was dentist, walk, swimming, walk, ballet. Pretty much nailed it but I'm knackered now.

Left early for the dentist as Tom had said traffic was bad, but got there in good time. Lydia's teeth all fine, she did a great job and was thrilled with her sticker.

Stopped for snack time and fed Phoebe on the common then had a bit of a walk about, enjoying the autumn sunshine and trying to catch leaves. Which she actually managed once. Saw squirrels and birds too.

 Shame about the dog that ran up to Lydia from behind when she'd walked on a little ahead of me and tried to jump up and lick her face. She was petrified but unhurt and it took all my of strength to stay calm and reassure her after. It was mere seconds, but felt like a lifetime as I tried to run to her with Phoebe strapped to me. The owner tried calling the dog off whilst running to intervene too, and I was like' no just get your dog' in my head. They did the classic 'he's just trying to be friendly, we have kids at home' and his partner did stop to check we were ok. But dog owners, please put your dogs on leads in public places, even on the Common. My kid is not the problem, she was just minding her own business dancing and singing to the falling leaves. 

We chatted about what happened and how she felt scared, and to stop and turn her back on the dog if it happens again. And she was inevitably very scared of any dogs walking past after. I don't particularly like dogs myself, but am able to grab a dog collar and put it away from me now if they're jumping up after years of practice.

We had picnic lunch in the car after that, then went on to swimming. We were a bit early there too, so I let Lydia shower extensively before the lesson and changed Phoebe's nappy to fill some time. Fed Phoebe whilst waiting. Lydia did well in her lesson, and then I got her changed into her ballet things. 

After that, I was gasping for a hot drink, so we went to Portswood and had a hot chocolate and a babyccino in the garden at Trago Lounge, fed Phoebe, and used their baby change and loos. Lydia loved this, going to a cafe is such a big treat for her.

Then it was off to ballet. Which she enjoyed too, and I had a natter to other ballet mums. 

Home by 5pm. Tom did cold bits for Lydia's tea whilst I unpacked bags and fed Phoebe. 

Am giving Phoebe another bedtime feed as she had one at 7 and settled for a bit before being grumpy. 

Laura's here now to help us clear out stuff.



Tuesday, November 16, 2021

NaBloPoMo: art

 Lydia only up once in the night - bit better!

Woke up at 6:45am to Phoebe grinning at me. So cute! She'd weed through her night nappy so had to completely strip her and the cradle before her feed. She was starving so wrapped her up in a blanket over her nappy to feed her. I soaked through my PJ top with milk whilst trying to get her changed so I was topless too for our feed, accidental skin to skin time. Good job having a baby on your lap is like hugging a hot water bottle. Spent a lot of time all morning praying and anxiously checking my phone to see if my sister Ellie had had her baby, as we'd been texting yesterday and last night as she went through a long labour.

Lydia came in for a cuddle for a bit, then I got her dressed whilst Tom sorted Phoebe's outfit. Lydia had her hair in little plaits today, which looked adorable. Then downstairs for breakfast, pancakes again. I was looking after both girls today as Tom's mum is having a well deserved holiday. I did the world's smallest amount of washing up and sorted bags ready to go out whilst Lydia played and had a bit of TV time, then fed Phoebe, who had been having a kick and play whilst I worked.

Next up we tried to get out the house to go to the art gallery. Lydia has really been enjoying the Mister Maker's Arty Party programme so I thought we'd go to art gallery and have a look about. I have so many happy memories of going to the gallery as a kid whilst my gran worked there as a gallery attendant. My favourites are dancing about in front of the hidden camera that fed a TV in a filing cabinet in some installation, advising fashion students from Solent Uni or the Institute as it was then that putting 'Blue with a Black Border' on a hat was going to be easier than copying something figurative and gaily being sat there copying a painting when some bloke came to tell me I was doing a good job. Turns out it was the artist of the work in in question though I forget who!

However just as I was pulling off the drive, a warning light came on in the car for the engine coolant, so we had to go to get some of that first. Whilst Tom was ordering what I needed, I changed Phoebe's nappy and took an extremely happy video call from my brother and sister-in-law to show me that my first niece, baby Aoife Hope had safely arrived. I was completely overwhelmed with emotion as I'd been so worried for them, and was also up to my elbows in poo which made for quite a short but funny phone call full of happy tears. She is absolutely beautiful, and they are all currently doing well but are very tired understandably. Lydia was so excited too, and wanted to video call them but I convinced her to do a video message instead so as not to disturb them, in which she told them she loved the her name, so sweet.

Got the coolant, filled the car up with it, and it was lunch time already, so went to IKEA first for some lunch in their cafe and to pick up some photo frames. Was much busier than I expected, but managed to steer clear of most people and Lydia was amazing about wearing her mask. She had chicken nuggets and chips and I had a prawn open sandwich and some salmon, followed by donuts. Think Lydia ate most of mine though! It was really nice to have a positive time with Lydia. She does love a cafe lunch. Phoebe amenably slept through all this.

Then we walked up to the gallery. I'd forgotten how far it was for little legs but Lydia managed admirably. Where we weren't in a rush, I let her kick all the leaves and walk on all the walls. Something I used to do around the civic centre too as a kid. Once we arrived Phoebe had woken up and was a bit grumpy, so we went to get the baby change/disabled loo key from the library. Phoebe was dry, but Lydia and I both needed to loo. Top town centre tip that, the loos in the art gallery are nice and clean!

 Turns out Phoebe was hungry, so I worked out a way to kind of feed in her the carrier, advanced parenting skill unlocked there. We had a quick look around the gallery at 3 year old speed. Her favourites were the one with the elephant dung and one of a man in a fedora hat. I had a speed read of the interpretation of the Arthur Jeffress exhibition, which was very interesting, would like to go back and look in more detail.

Phoebe needed a proper feed, so on the way back from the gallery, we stopped in the Millvina Dean memorial garden for a sit down and a snack. It was a great place to stop for a little while, Lydia was entertained by finding conkers and the traffic going by. 

We went back to the car via Asda so I could buy Lydia her 'well done for completing your sticker chart for good behaviour' comic. She chose a Paw Patrol one this time with a plastic tat spy kit, she was very taken with it. Lydia also adorably insisted we needed to buy Aoife a cuddly toy, so we chose her a nice soft rabbit comforter. Found a lonely IKEA trolley all the way up by Decathlon on our way back to the car, so gratefully took my rucksack off and stuck it on the trolley and put Lydia in the child seat, which saved my back a bit. I'm suffering now from carrying all 7.5kg of Phoebe all day.

The parking machines at IKEA were on the blitz so our parking was free for the day which was a pleasant surprise. Home for a bit more TV time for Lydia whilst I had a cup of tea and sit down and Tom made dinner. Bacon, crispy kale and roast veg warm salad for tea. Then playing with both Lydia and Phoebe and sticking my pictures in picture frames before the girls bedtime. Phoebe had missed the 5pm nap so was very grumpy just before bed, and has gone to sleep on a very lumpy mattress where I was trying to get the foam filling into the freshly washed and barely dry cover whilst she cried.

Have been helping a friend with a job application this evening since, and then hopped on here to write up. Bed time very soon. Am so happy and excited for my sister and brother in law. They are such lovely, kind, generous people and they are going to make wonderful parents. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

NaBloPoMo 15: extended family

Lydia up in the night about 4 times. I kind of love the way she comes to find me and snuggles up right into me, fitting perfectly somehow, even though she's all arms and legs now. She wraps herself around my neck almost fiercely, not really awake and soon fast asleep again.

All of us woke up properly with the sunshine alarm clock at 645am. Lots of milk for Phoebe, Lydia very sad that the pants she wanted didn't exist. Managed to get Phoebe to lie looking at her mobile, so went to help Tom with Lydia. She calmed down eventually. And apparently was much more with it once she'd eaten a pancake whilst he took her to nursery.

Got dressed slowly around sorting Phoebe out, then had my NHS counselling/guided self help call at 9am. Overall I'm feeling way more positive mood wise, so we looked at ways to manage letting go of the intrusive thoughts and worries. I'm at my best when I've seen people, and I've been focusing on making that happen. Along side the scary 'What if?' type thoughts, I've realised that I've missed having opportunities I got with Lydia to show Phoebe off and get positive feedback on how cute she is and my parenting. This is probably one of the reasons I love seeing family so much at the moment as they tend to coo at the baby and be really positive about her, which makes me feel more positive.

After going shopping in the morning to get the bits I didn't pick up at the weekend, I dropped the food back home and went on to see my grandparents and then my aunt and uncle. They all cooed beautifully over the baby, and my grandparents were on great form after having been knocked for six by health issues in recent months. Thinking about the kind person who offered to unload my shopping into my car because I had Phoebe in the carrier.

Ran some errands for my brother in law on the way home, then home to do bedtime for both girls. Feeding Phoebe to sleep at the moment. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

NaBloPoMo 14: family

Phoebe woke at 5ish for milk. Lydia came into our room asking for help with getting clothes out. Think she'd forgotten my parents were here, was surprised when my mum put her head round the door to say good morning.

Packed Lydia and Mum off downstairs to have breakfast, tried to go back to bed but Phoebe wanted feeding non stop. Got up for loo and breakfast at 830. Lydia and my mum were putting up her toy tent in the garden.

Had breakfast with Dad then went and showered and got dressed. Dad was doing cafe church on Zoom this morning, spent rest of morning playing with mum Lydia and Phoebe whilst Tom made roast beef for lunch. Had quick walk round the block en masse to try and get Phoebe to nap but she was having none of it. 

Tried again after lunch on a walk to the park and she did actually drop off and stay asleep from about 3 to 6,  having all her naps in one go today. Mum and dad went home not long after the park after a cup of tea. Was so nice to spend time with them. We had fun telling Tom all the food we wanted him to cook for Christmas. My dad was clearly in a lot of pain with his back though.

Lydia had sandwiches for tea, then we did a spot of facepainting and she had a bath. Phoebe bath time after and I got to read Lydia both her bedtime stories. It's 8:30 now and Phoebe's just fed to sleep. Heating up some leftovers for my tea.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

NaBloPoMo 13: breathe

So I went to sleep after Phoebe's bedtime feed last night and almost missed the dream feed too, Tom had to wake me when he came up to do it! Clearly I needed sleep.

Both girls slept in a bit this morning. Lydia not massively keen on getting dressed but got there in the end by getting her to choose both mine and Phoebe's clothes. Lydia wanted pancakes for breakfast so humoured her whilst Tom was getting Phoebe changed. Inevitably Phoebe wanted milk so I fed her with one hand and got Lydia to do more of the cooking whilst I supervised. Fortunately Phoebe went to sleep pretty quickly as it was 830am and first nap of the day time, and I was able to finish cooking the pancakes by the time Tom came down from getting dressed. Made scotch pancakes/drop scones so I could make shaped ones at Lydia's request. Today's most complicated ones were star shaped and person shaped ones. I hope this is what she remembers of her early childhood and not me and Tom getting annoyed with her.

I'm a very empathetic ( think that's the right word), sensitive to other people's moods, and both Tom and I were pretty grumpy this morning and Lydia's behaviour was winding us up. Then I got in a loop of being grumpy because Tom and Lydia were grumpy with me. In the end I asked to start again  once I worked this out, in the car on the way to the country park, which helped a bit!

We took a packed lunch to Royal Victoria Country Park, and met up with some is our NCT friends. We had been meeting on Friday nights once a month for tea at IKEA pre pandemic, but that's not really possible now with people moving further away and school approaching, so we're doing a weekend meet up instead and it's a very much come if you're free kind of thing.

Had a nice time trailing after the kids and going on the train. Then home to get tea on before my parents arrived. Originally due to come on Friday, we'd been waiting on Dad's PCR test to come back after he'd been Track and Traced due to exposure to someone who was asymptomatic. 

I love having them to stay. Having kids really brought home to me how much they love me and I them. I think it's seeing how they interact with my children and seeing how they must have been with me when I was a baby and small child. The bit of my life I can't remember. And also being grateful for the enormous amount of work they put in looking after me at that age, which I appreciate now I have to do it for my own kids. Dad spent ages sat on the floor trying to get a smile out of Phoebe whilst she was on her playmat, and Mum played a board game with Lydia, even though I know she doesn't really like board games.

Chicken, leek and tarrgon stew with dumplings for dinner, then mum did Lydia's bedtime, I started Phoebe's early as she was getting grumpy. Tom tidied the kitchen and dad worked on his cafe church presentation for tomorrow.

Once Phoebe was asleep, took mum to Sainsbury's to get their groceries as they were going to get them on the way home but I thought getting them tonight would save some time that we can all spend together. Mum enjoyed going round a massive supermarket after a year of not really going round one.

Then home for bed and the dream feed. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

NaBloPoMo 11 + 12: managing

Yesterday, got Lydia up and dressed and walked her to preschool with Phoebe in the carrier which was way easier than pushing the pram. Will do that again. Phoebe had nice long sleep in the carrier on walk home too.

Rest of the days naps were in the wrong place though. Need to work a bit harder on lining them up. Went to Shirley early before swimming to stay out the way of the cleaner and got a cute Christmas dress with robins on it for Phoebe for £2.00 in a charity shop. She then needed a feed and change and the baby change in Sainsbury's was closed so had a cheeky chai in Costa to make up for using their loo.

Went on to swimming, only two of us in the class this week, Phoebe made it through the whole class without needing a snack or being sick which made things less stressful. Fed her in the car for a long while after then on to Jon and Hannah's. No Rebecca today so we ended up just chatting about babies and drinking tea.

Home just in time for my counselling call. Today's mini lecture was on self care. No useful advice on how to actually fit stuff like that in. Some stuff on thinking about your values and living them, again not sure how that works with a tiny baby.

Tom got Lydia from preschool then went off to see his dad. Lydia had extensive evening snack whilst listening to Sarah and Duck radio until bedtime. She went to bed relatively smoothly for her at the moment.

Phoebe was still feeding when my friends Jo and Claire arrived for dinner about 8pm and wouldn't settle. Ended up feeding her at the kitchen table as I was starving and she eventually went to sleep about 9pm. Lydia came down once crying because of a bag dream too.

Jo had bought nibbles and Claire onion tart to go with the pear and walnut coleslaw I'd made earlier. We'd all had days of it so it was good to have a moan together. Tom joined us for a glass of wine when he got back and they left about 1030. Phoebe fed to sleep ok, Lydia in to our room once in the night.

Today, Lydia came in around 645am and I helped her get dressed. She was a bit of a pickle. Hasn't been very good at listening to instructions recently. Tom took her up to nursery on his way to work.

I then got Phoebe dressed and tried on some of the clothes from my maybe pile. Phoebe needed a long feed so I missed the first 20 mins of my live Pilates class. Decided to do 20 mins of a prerecorded one as something is better than nothing. 

Did a nappy change and as I was getting things from the car ready to go out, Tom arrived back from work and carried some stuff in for me. Made it to church for v about 1030am and arranged my Remembrance flowers around feeding Phoebe. Was pretty hard work as she wasn't very happy to settle for a nap. Think the flowers came out ok.





Home about 1pm, Just enough time to grab some food before Tom and Lydia collected me on the way back from getting Lydia. Then off to Andover to see Tom's dad. Had to stop once in the way to wake Lydia up.

Spent about an hour and a half with Tom's dad. He seemed much brighter compared with when I saw him the other day. Lydia did really well but was climbing the walls by the end. We went for a walk around the town centre after to try and tire her out. Had said we could have chips for tea, so picked up some of those on the way home for a car picnic. Phoebe had more milk whilst everyone else ate.

The chippy is in the parade of shops in the new housing development on the land that was Tom's grandparents' farm. He did a bit of the 'when I were a lad, all this were fields". Drove home in time for Lydia bedtime. Kept Phoebe up an extra 30 mins to allow for her last nap being late due to being in the car. Let's see what happens when I try to put her down....

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

NaBloPoMo 10: terrible

Tom left early again, girls both up late again. Got Lydia dressed eventually, she upset we didn't have time to make pancakes before swimming. Think she has a latent memory of us doing that on Wednesdays before Phoebe was born.

Got to swimming nice and early, Lydia managed to put face in water at the end after my prompting before the lesson.

Packed lunch in car on way home, window fitter came to measure up the bay windows, half heatedly managed to do some housework, then out to ballet.

Found myself being invited with some other ballet mums for a very quick cuppa at one of their houses nearby whilst the lesson was on. I needed that cuppa today. Lydia has been extremely argumentative and I am feeling extremely drained and physically achy which has led to me being very shouty. Lydia told me she didn't like me because I was shouting. I did apologise and she's just come in for a cuddle whilst I do Phoebe bedtime as she was scared so I hope I'm forgiven. Just can't cope with much today.


Tuesday, November 09, 2021

NaBloPoMo 9 : tired

Getting weary, so a quick one tonight.

Laura helped Tom and I a lot and I bit have a large give away pile of clothes and a maybe pile. Going to photograph the give away pile to see if anyone on the local Facebook groups wants them.

Tom out early for work, Lydia didn't wake up till 730am. She wasn't that interested in getting dressed but liked the idea of having a shower with me. Phoebe hung out in her bouncy chair whilst I did that. Quite a good way of fitting in a shower, might do it again

I don't know how normal capable people fit stuff like having showers and doing the washing up in to their days everyday.

Tom's mum arrived to us making porridge for Lydia for breakfast at 9am. She had a coffee whilst Lydia finished up then they went off to Finkley Farm for the day.

Bagel with pate and fruit for breakfast for me, put washing on and then long feed for Phoebe before going out to church Comms meeting in the car as had to drive to doctor's appointment after.

Doctor prescribed some emmolient for Phoebe, said to keep up food diary for a bit longer to see if any allergy correlations but was happy eczema was all mild. Phoebe was making eyes at the med student in the appointment which I think made him smile, and the doc wanted to know if Tom was tall given his big Phoebe is! I said, no, I just grow giant babies.

Delivered some tie dye to a friend, a little just because present to another friend, bought bread and some red fabric for Phoebe's Christmas stocking. Then home to hang washing and feed the Phoebe again

Lydia and Tom's mum back at 3pm and she left pretty sharpish as she was tired. Hung up washing and started dinner whilst Lydia had telly time, and tried helping one if the church wardens set up their email. Baked risotto wasn't going to be ready in time for Lydia tea so she had curry leftovers from yesterday.

Had first CBT call with NHS counseling team, asked me lots of questions, but felt the practitioner was really listening to my answers. Had to do it on headphones whilst Phoebe was feeding and Lydia watching TV.

Played a board game with Tom and Lydia after, Lydia a bit too tired and got cross when things didn't go her way. Read first bedtime story to Lydia at her request whilst Phoebe attempted rolling in the floor, then did Phoebe bedtime. First Phoebe laugh today whilst I was playing and shaking her hands. Long feed finished so hoping she'll go down now and I can go eat.

Monday, November 08, 2021

NaBloPoMo 8: shopping

We all overslept this morning as hadn't turned on our daylight alarm clock last night. I fed Phoebe whilst Tom got Lydia dressed and first breakfasted then took Phoebe in her pijamas to take Lydia to nursery. Squeaked in at 8:15am so she got her second preschool breakfast.

Had taken shopping bags with me so went straight to Aldi after. Another feed for Phoebe in the carpark, then into the carrier for her. She was a bit unsettled but then fell asleep as I walked around.

Going shopping still feels like a bit of a treat after not going much last year. Where we're in the bit of my maternity leave where my pay is reduced, we need to be sensible about our outgoings and food and eating out is easily some of the largest after bills and childcare. So I was merrily buying the Aldi version of as much as possible on the shopping list, then on to Waitrose for the other pieces. 

We do shopping for Tom's dad now too, and one of the things he wanted was a nailbrush. None in Aldi or Waitrose, or Superdrug and Boots only had giant wooden ones. Ended up getting one in Portswood Hardware Store, which like all such Aladdin's Cave type stores has everything you might ever need. Whilst going around it I found a small can of brass colour spray paint we can use to spray the toilet flush button so they match the brass fittings in the rest of the bathroom in the loft.

Had to abandon ship half way around Waitrose as Phoebe was sad enough to be worrying the staff, and go and feed and change her nappy in the car. They kindly held by shopping trolley at customer services until I came back.

Went and got a cuppa at McDonald's drive through to drink with a couple of reduced hotcross buns for my lunch whilst feeding Phoebe again after that bout of shopping. Pondered the Aldi Christmas catalogue, much like the Waitrose one, seeing a much smaller/simpler range of Christmas food this year, probably Brexit and Covid related. 

Also took a jaunt through October Books whilst in Portswood and bought Phoebe a nice board book about community for her Christmas stocking. As the second child and only being 4 months old at Christmas, she doesn't really need anything, but I wanted something for her. 

Shopping done, came home with Phoebe asleep in the car mid afternoon, so brought in the shopping and unpacked it whilst she woke up. She watched the washing machine for a bit when she did wake. Then it was nappy change and milk time and lunch and Strictly Come Dancing for me.

Next up was bath time for Phoebe. She really likes her bath. Lots of smiles and spent some time trying to moisture her eczema on her scalp. She liked playing with the towels too. 

Was giving Phoebe her 5pm feed when Tom and Lydia got back from preschool, and spent some time chatting with Lydia and playing. Then we all came back downstairs, and Laura arrived about 6pm. She's come today to help us tidy up our bedroom ahead of the move to the loft as we're going to be a wardrobe down due to the sloping ceilings.

Tom did Lydia bedtime and I and Laura took over making the curry Tom had started until I needed to do Phoebe bedtime. I'm currently feeding Phoebe to sleep in front room as we're going to put her to have her first night sleep in the carrycot so we can tidy the bedroom.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

NaBloPoMo 7: homeward

Phoebe woke at 545, and I fed her, then tried to get her back down which was partially successful. Tom was going to take her for a bit but in the end I got her dressed and took her down so I could eat and she could have a play on the playmat around 845 after the second feed, as Tom wanted a shower. Lydia was watching telly as Granny had got up with Lydia and they had already breakfasted. Crossiants with jam, butter and blueberries for me.

Swapped when Tom came down and went and got washed and dressed and packed up as much of our stuff as I could. Then back downstairs to feed Phoebe again.

Tom and Lydia and Phil went out on the ATV whilst I fed Phoebe and Granny started lunch. They love whizzing about the fields in the mud. Back in time for Lydia snack time, I did another round of feeding and trying to get Phoebe to nap, then cajoled Lydia into playing and listening to Sarah and Duck radio. I know I'm really bad for it too but the other grownups don't get down on the floor to encourage her to play and then she just wants the TV.  A good reminder to me to start imaginative games with her etc.

Lunch was roast chicken and apple crumble, mainly from the in-laws garden which is awesome. Another round of feeding for me whilst Tom packed the car. I made Lydia a little packed tea for the journey home later, then it was time to go. Loved all the family singing together to keep Lydia awake!

We went home via Andover to have a short visit to Tom's dad.  He'd been in hospital for a couple of days to have some IV antibiotics for yet another lung infection and he's still not in a good way, so Tom had wanted to take the girls to see him to cheer him up. When we got there at 3pm, he'd not eaten the lunch his carers had left him, and was asleep in his chair. He was pleased to see us, and mainly spent the hour we were making conversation about Phoebe as Lydia and Tom sorted through some old photos. He won't wear his hearing aids though which makes chatting challenging. 

When I could see him getting tired, I got us to make a move home. Lydia ate her packed tea in the car, and the journey was packed with i-Spy to try and keep her awake. Once home we unpacked the car and I popped Phoebe in the baby gym whilst Lydia and I did some painting before bed. 

Tom's done Lydia bedtime which went pretty smoothly. I'm doing Phoebe's and she's been doing a piercing cry like something is hurting and not settling. Hoping she'll settle soon, can't see anything obvious.


Saturday, November 06, 2021

NaBloPoMo 6: Roboshop

Phoebe fed this morning on and off from about 5am, so I decided to get up when Lydia got up and leave Tom to enjoy the lie in that his mum had kindly offered us. Once dressed, Phoebe and I came down to Granny and Lydia enjoying fruit and Weetabix.

We set up the highchair Tom's mum has in the baby position so Phoebe could sit up to the table whilst I ate breakfast of toast and blueberries.

Whilst Phil was out doing the animals and Tom was sleeping I went with the girls and Tom's mum to the local milk station at a nearby diary farm. They have one of those milk vending machines, and now vending machines selling ice-cream, coffee, dairy  products like butter and cheese and one with things like cold meats and sausage rolls. Such a good idea. We were able to see some of the little calves which Lydia enjoyed looking at, one of which was being halter trained by the farmer and her daughter. 

I tell you though, nothing makes you think about going vegan like trying to explain how a dairy herd works to a three year old. Lydia thought it very odd we'd take calves away from their mothers.

Once home, and after some telly time, Lydia and I briefly painted some of the Frozen models from a painting kit her step cousin had brought for her and left with Tom's mum. It was quite detailed though and she got a bit frustrated by it. 

Then one of Tom's colleagues arrived with his wife to collect one of the puppies so we said goodbye to Olive as she's now known. 

After that it was lunch time of crispy tofu and stir fry, and a special treat of a chocolate pudding for Lydia. We took her out for a ride on her bike in the yard for a bit and then came in when she got frustrated by that. I went off to feed Phoebe whilst Phil's daughter arrived with her family to pick up their puppy.

Lydia was very funny following Sophie, her step cousin, around adorably. Sophie was a very good sport about it. Lydia also showed everyone her dancing to the Stick Stick Stick Sticky Sticky Stick musical Hey Duggee toy that Tom's mum had bought for herself.

I did some more sewing this afternoon between feeding Pheebs. I feel like I should have been making some offering to my ancestors cutting into the tiniest stitching done by generations of women.

Lydia had tea at Lydia tea time, then we went out to walk the younger of Mum and Phil's dogs with Mum whilst Phil sorted live stock and puppies. Had some nice quality time with Lydia walking in the dark whilst she played with her torch and I did her bath when we got in as don't actually get much time just the two of us at the moment.

After delivering Lydia to her room for granny bedtime stories, fed Phoebe to sleep and was downstairs for 7:45pm for Thai takeaway and a really lovely evening chatting to Mum and Phil over some glasses of wine.

Giving Phoebe the dream feed now. 🌜

Friday, November 05, 2021

NaBloPoMo 5: fireworks

 Got up with Lydia and got her dressed and left Phoebe with Tom whilst I got Lydia to preschool. She had to wear all bright colours as they were doing special activities for Fireworks Night and selected red rights, red skirt with white eyelet trim, yellow t-shirt and rainbow cardigan, not far removed from her normal taste. 


Lydia dropped off, I came home to retrieve the Phoebe, give her a short feed and go off to my smear test. The doctors surgery is 5 mins walk from my house, so not far to go at all with the buggy. Lovely bright crisp day here, just right for walking about. Phoebe needed feeding again in the waiting room but was interrupted by me needing to go in. She chirped grumpily all the way through, but held off from screaming which was nice. 

Smear test successfully completed. Having had so many gynaecological examinations over the last few years I'm an old hand, but it's never fun. 

Home again and decided to walk around the triangle to see if a Phoebe would drop off for her nap, which happily she did. She stayed asleep for an hour or so once we got home, which allowed me to eat some breakfast, put a wash on and hang some up and hang some decorative tiles my mum had made with the girls, with their handprints on.

Next up was some more feeding and an early lunch for me of cheese, crackers, tomatoes and grapes. Tom came home from work and we packed the car ready to go his mum's before we went to pick up Lydia. I made him some tuna sandwiches to eat in the car on the way.

Retrieved Lydia, now with firework facepaint, and set off to Dorset. Phoebe very upset in the car so had to stop at Woodmill for a very pooey nappy change.
Drive down mostly uneventful, but with stop at the Blackmore Vale services for a dressed crab having seen hand painted signs for seafood for sale on various roundabouts in Shaftesbury.

Once at Tom's mum's, we unpacked, spent some time cooing at the puppies they'd bred from their black Labrador before they started going off to their new homes and Lydia had a play on the climbing frame and swings Granny had bought especially for her this summer. We also had a walk about the farm to check on the sheep.

Lydia had her tea at kid tea time whilst we had a piece of my banana bread. Then it was fireworks time. Firepit roaring for toasting marshmallows and lighting sparklers and a small display of low noise fireworks lit by Grandad. Lydia was very excited by it all, Phoebe had her feed and last nap of the day so bundled up in her snowsuit outside. Made me think of the happy memories I have of firework parties that my parents would throw.

After that it was pretty much kid bedtime, so Tom and Granny got Lydia ready for bed and I started Phoebe's. Both girls were sleep by 8, and I came downstairs for grown-up dinner, roasted vegetables and goats cheese. After dinner we retired in front of the log burner and I started the repairs on Tom's family christening gown that I'm hoping to alter so Phoebe can wear it. The first baby known to have worn it wore it in 1858. The fabric is wearing very thin in places so I have doing lots of little darns, and need to under line and patch in places. I also need to make the arm holes bigger as Phoebe is big and babies were baptised younger back in the day.

I was so into my sewing that I didn't go up to feed Phoebe till which meant she didn't feed very well for her dream feed and woke early in the morning for her first feed. Lesson learned!

NaBloPoMo 4: better

Tom on call last night, went out to work as I was doing the late feed, brought me up a cuppa and some love hearts before her left. He came home in the wee small hours. I'd put my clothes in the bathroom the night before, and when Phoebe woke up about 630am, I took her into Lydia's room so we didn't disturb Tom whilst getting ready for preschool.

Lydia dressed herself relatively quickly, whilst I was feeding Phoebe. She has a very eclectic dress sense. Today's outfit was a TV shirt and red checked leggings topped by a muted pink ditsy floral and Hello Kitty print dress 2 sized too big for her and heather purple hand knit cardigan, her hair scraped up in a bun with two pastel pink ribbons trailing down. She accessorised with yellow wellies that normally live at preschool but that came home on Monday when she'd soaked her shoes in a puddle. This necessitated taking in a pair of shoes alongside a new spare outfit today.

Lydia dressed and dispatched to find a first breakfast, I dressed Phoebe in her first outfit of the day as chosen by Lydia, pink leggings, pink ditsy print dress and grey jumper. As ever this did not last the day and she was an in all yellow by 10am thanks to an enormous poo again.

I just about managed to get myself dressed in time, with an interruption from Lydia to open the scotch pancake packet. She'd given it a good go, but could only get it open a tiny bit and had been trying to eat the pancake through the hole in the wrapper much as you would a chocolate bar.

Finally managed to get out the door at 745am which meant it was a guilty car ride to nursery rather than a walk. The sun was low and bright and Lydia skipped happily in to nursery telling the nursery worker about going climbing on Tuesday.

I then came home and began my rounds of put washing on, hang washing up, feed Phoebe, change Phoebe, chat to Phoebe, try and get her to nap, try and eat some breakfast, try and go to the loo and so on. I did manage to finish the Shrek hat as requested by the mother in law and make some banana bread to take away with us when we visit them this weekend.

When I sat down for the long midmorning feed, rang the doctor's to see if I could get a call back to talk about Phoebe's eczema on her head and her runny nappies as worried it might be a cow milk protein allergy. Also applied for Lydia's school place.

Tom surfaced about 11am and kindly reheated my beleaguered cuppa whilst I got stuff together to go out to swimming and baby singing, and he helped me carry her out to the car. Made it to swimming in good time this morning. Tom's idea for Phoebe to do baby swimming. Seems a bit silly taking such a little baby to me, and it is a bit of a faffv with getting all the gear together, but Phoebe seems to enjoy it most weeks. She goes all calm and relaxed in the water. 

Not this week though. Quite grumpy all the way through as she was hungry, so much so that we left the pool during the last 5 mins that is free play time and went to have a feed in the changing room, all wrapped up in towels. I never know if it's best to leave her ask wrapped up in towels whilst I get changed or change her first and end up doing some weird hybrid of a piece of clothing at a  time. I was the only customer wearing a mask again, the poor staff!

Phoebe still hungry and screaming as we left as I'd had to stop feeding her to get changed. Always embarrassing to be wondering around with a screaming baby. Thought she might drop off in the car and best to get to the Marchants for baby singing as quickly as possible. But she was having none of it, so ended up feeding her in the car park of the McDonalds en route and buying a happy meal to appease my guilt about using their car park thusly.

Whilst feeding, the doctor called me to discuss Phoebe's eczema and nappies. Arranged an appointment for next week to get the eczema assessed and I need to keep a food diary in the mean time.

Got to Jon and Hannah's 15 mins late, and Tom joined us for baby singing where he didn't have to go in to work after having been on call. We meet with an NCT friends if mine from first time round, Rebecca and sing some nursery rhymes and waggle some sensory toys at them, interspersed with parent chat. We started it as we were feeling a bit nervous about going to commercial baby classes and mixing with lots of people we don't know.

Phoebe was very taken with their baby gym, and they kindly sent us home with their spare one. I swear baby things are pretty much communal property, we have been given so much second hand that we then pass on to others.

Left about 3:44 in a bid to be back in time for my counselling call. Didn't make it and ended up in Portswood car park. Phoebe napped whilst I listened to his mini lecture on actions to stop unwanted thoughts. There were some good tips but he seemed to get stuck on my specific example of a thought when I was trying to get advice on how to manage a whole category of similar thoughts.

Arrived home at 5pm just as Tom and Lydia did from nursery. She was very excited that I had waved to her through my window whilst she was in daddy's car. In the house to set up the new play gym right away so Lydia could examine it. 

Phoebe napped on till 6:15, which was good for her. Lydia and I had some bread and cheese, topped up with prunes and nuts. Nice to spend a few moments just the two of us, and think Lydia felt the same. Then we went to pack her bag for going away, and she helped pick her and Phoebe's clothes.

Phoebe needed changing and milk when she woke, so we all went upstairs at the same time. Milk and pijamas all round for the girls, and 'Oh Dear!' for first story .

Although I had to tell her 5 times for the command to sink in, she was super helpful at bedtime today, fetching things for me whilst I fed Phoebe. Even managed to get her covered in emmolient which nearly never happens.

A story, a song and a thank you prayer later, timer set for a check-in 21 minutes later at her request, I left Lydia to go to sleep. She often sings a little song about things that are '...in my heart' and so I tell her I'm leaving her with all my love in her heart when she is not settling at bed time.

Then went to feed Phoebe for first feed of the bedtime at 7:30ish. She settled in for a long feed and didn't get her into the cot until 845pm. Looked at food costings for her up coming baptism, and getting something from supermarket looking more cost effective, but still waiting on some quotes from catering companies.

When she'd settled down, rushed around packing as many bags as I could for going away, and Tom came home at 930 to find me hanging up at Laundry.

 Up to bed at 10pm, and gave Phoebe her dream feed. And here I am now.





Wednesday, November 03, 2021

NaBloPoMo 3: survived

Phoebe went to sleep quite well last night,  so I managed to get out with my NCT friends for a drink,  which was fun. I fed her around 7:30 and then left her with Tom. He said she had half a bottle of milk about 8pm and he walked her round a bit but then she was asleep until I came home at 10:15.

Went to HarBar at the Harbour Hotel. No outdoor space open at the moment but everything very well spaced out. Took me a while to warm up, was feeling anxious. But enjoyed it overall. Going out with the NCT mums is good as it's designated talking about baby time which means I'm less boring about kids when I see my child free friends.

Think Lydia came in during the night but don't really remember.

Woke up about 6:45 with the daylight alarm. Tom went to get Lydia dressed and breakfasted. I fed Phoebe and got myself dressed and brought down some washing to go on, whilst Lydia played around me. Tom had made me some toast and left it for me before he left for work. Ate that and fed Phoebe again, then Lydia got herself ready for swimming whilst I sorted out washing. Phoebe did an enormous poo just as we were leaving which was helpful! Lydia adorably gave Phoebe her finger to suck whilst I was trying to load the car as she was crying.

Off to swimming at 10:10, with a grumpy Phoebe in tow. Bit late really, but made it there at 10:25. Lydia helpfully got her shoes off and got her clothes off nicely and happily made her way into the pool. The lessons are only 30 mins long, and spent most of it feeding Phoebe in the changing room after another nappy change.

Lydia had done a good job, apparently we need to work on putting her face in the water. Not sure how to do that in the bath safely!

She was very sad and cold whilst getting  changed but we got there. Then into the car for packed lunch whilst we drove into town to buy Tom's Autumn Socks. Phoebe fell asleep in the car, and stayed asleep during the transfer to and from the sling to carseat. She stayed also till we got back at 2pm.

We went to ASDA first to get the first batch of godchildren socks. Had a hard time dragging Lydia away from the racks of Disney Princess clothing and pink toys. It's like it's hardwired into small girls. I know it's societal. And feminine isn't bad. I just don't want it to be her be all and end all. 

Then on to John Lewis for Tom's socks. Lydia loved the escalators and the Christmas decorations. She picked his socks out carefully and took them to the till, and wanted to carry them separately home, which I talked her out of.

Tried M&S for the older godsons' socks but to no avail and then came home. Lydia asking for more snacks on the way home. Think she must be going through another growth spurt as she's always hungry.

Really enjoyed going to town with Lydia. I like listening to her little observations and chatting away as we go along. I might try taking her to the gallery between ballet and swimming another Wednesday as it was better than coming home and not really being able to play with her because of Phoebe.

When we came home, nappy change and feed for Phoebe and then telly time for Lydia. I madly dashed about making cauliflower cheese to bake whilst we were out whilst Phoebe sat in her bouncy chair and bashed her toys.

Just about squeaked out to ballet in time. Chatted to my ballet mum friends whilst Lydia was in, and Lydia came out happy. Forgot to ask her what she did, oops! She tripped up on the way back to the car and was pretty sad all the way home, probably because she was tired. Both her and Phoebe fell asleep, all cosy in the warmth of the car and with the soothing classical music.

Home to another bit of telly for Lydia whilst I got tea ready. She's got into watching Mister Maker's Arty Party on Cbeebies which has given us some more craftv ideas and she joins in with all the dances. She really loves singing and dancing and has a good memory for lyrics, trying to get me to sing Supercalifragalisticexpialdocious from Mary Poppins all the time.

Tom arrived home to eat with us which was nice, and he played Lego with Lydia after tea whilst I fed Phoebe again. He did Lydia's bedtime and I got Phoebe ready for bed. She fed for a long time and I got her down at 8:30. Then I've come downstairs for a cuppa and some chocolate and a bit of Strictly before I tackle tidying the house ahead of the cleaner coming tomorrow. I'm so grateful for being able to afford the cleaner.

Felt like today was one of my better Wednesdays. I wasn't too shouty and we got everywhere at the right time near enough.


Tuesday, November 02, 2021

NaBloPoMo 1 and 2: gentle

Welcome back to my annual month of blogging everyday. This year finds me on maternity leave again. It's only just sunk in that's it's November, so here's two days as one.

1 Nov

All a bit late this morning, Lydia brought her breakfast croissant up with no plate and got crumbs all over the bedroom. Drove her to preschool where we were running late. Tried to take Tom's electric car to save the planet but it was full of with equipment where he had been out all night for work to help with faults caused by the bad weather.

Came back and fed Phoebe and changed her nappy and then walked down to the doctor's for her 12 week immunisations. She tried to spit up all the rotavirus gel again like last time. Another feed when we got back then packed the car to go and see my sister. She napped in the car from about 11 onwards and slept through our entire visit to Totton.

Picked up Ellie and tried a couple of cafés in Totton but both were closed so ended up at the Starbucks near her house. We could sit outside which was good as didn't want to infect her with anything we might have.

Starbucks might be an evil corporate giant but all the staff were great about asking about allergies and were very welcoming.

Spent the next couple of hours having a very nice chat putting the world to rights. I love spending time with my sisters. Very exciting that her baby is due any day now.

Home to Tom doing housework where he'd had the day off to sleep off his overnight work. All walked up to nursery together to pick up Lydia with Phoebe in the carrier.

Lydia had made a Dios de Los Muertos mask and had a lolly from a nursery friend who had bought them in for everyone after Halloween. She ate that half way home, and we had a nice walk through the autumn leaves in the dark. The smell of damp foliage, woodsmoke and dark evenings makes me feel cosy reminding me of my own childhood.

Once home, Lydia had a snack of some nuts and cheese, selecting from the leftover cheeseboard from the weekend and getting put out that we'd eaten all the Port Salut.

Usual bedtime routine for Lydia, with Tom at the helm whilst I fed Phoebe, then he made halloumi and courgette fritters whilst I fed Phoebe. After dinner watched an episode of My Beautiful Friend.

Bed at 10pm.

2 Nov

Lydia woke up in the night, came in for a cuddle, I took her back. Woke up about 630am to a naked Lydia asking us to help her get dressed. Tom went off to sort that out whilst I gave Phoebe her morning feed.

Tom left for work quite early, so there then followed a comedy of forward and back as flitted between Phoebe and Lydia whilst trying to get myself dressed. In between Lydia wanted to hold Phoebe and play with her, and pick her outfit which was sweet.

 Lydia was dressed first and went to help herself to a croissant downstairs whilst I finished up. We've trained her to do this to buy ourselves a bit of extra time in the morning.

Whilst I was sorting everything, Lydia reappeared in my room with the aforementioned croissant in a bowl. I'm was very pleased that yesterday's lecture about using a plate or bowl with your baked goods had sunk in, and we had far less crumbs. 

Eventually we were all dressed and make it downstairs about 830am. I ate leftover halloumi fritters for breakfast and Lydia had a nibble on half an old paratha she'd found in the breadbin for second breakfast. 

Phoebe threw up over me and her and in true second parent style I mopped it up as best I could but didn't bother changing any clothes just yet as I knew more was to come. Pumped some milk as hoping to go out tonight to see NCT friends.

Tom's mum arrived about 9am as Tuesdays are the day she looks after Lydia. She played with Lydia whilst I went about trying to get ready to leave and moving piles of crap from one room to another. I get such executive dysfunction with the house, knowing it needs a good tidy but not knowing where to start where I only have tiny windows of time for such things. 

The house is all topsy turvy from having the loft conversion done and I need to get rid of stuff from every room and find forever homes for things. I have an inability to put things away which I'm working on, and looking at the mess makes be miserable.

The plumber turned up unexpectedly as apparently Tom has arranged for him to come and service the boiler and balance the radiators, but he'd not told me or I'd forgotten. 

Inevitably Phoebe did a huge poo just as I wanted to leave all over her outfit, so just about managed to get her changed and out the door in time. Lydia and Granny Farm were off to Climbing Tots at the local climbing wall as their usual jaunt to Manor Farm is off now for the winter.

We were off to a Wonder Gig at the Point in Eastleigh, which consisted of a ukelele and piano playing singer singing gently moody covers of pop songs whilst a singer dancer type handed round glowing orbs and wafty scarves to families against a backdrop of arty projections on the floor for the children to engage with. We were late, and Phoebe was asleep for half of it. The older babies and kids seemed in to it, and when Phoebe woke up she spent a lot of time staring at the lights. As ever, I was one of only two people wearing a mask, and made sure I kept myself over to one side away from everyone.

She then had a leaky nappy so I had to leave sharply to get her sorted out. I had a quick look in the supermarket near my car parking after to see if they had any socks suitable for Autumn Socks Day but nothing caught my fancy. I did buy myself a new shirt for the grand total of 50p as had lots of Nectar points to use.

Lunch time for us all when we got back, left over cottage pie, with a nappy change and feed for Phoebe. Then Granny Farm and I did some tidying up whilst Lydia watched a programme. Just about managed to convince her to go for a walk, so we strolled down to Riverside Park and Lydia and Granny played in the play park whilst I fed Phoebe and rocked her to sleep in the buggy.

Walked back via the bakery and all had tea and buns when we got home. Woke Phoebe for her feed then handed her to Granny for cuddles whilst I sorted nappies. Tom came down about 4.30pm to start cooking dinner, fajitas and refried beans using the left over beef from Sunday, with Lydia 'helping' him. I tried feeding Phoebe and getting her to nap at 5.00pm. Trying to start earlier bedtime with her so need to crack last nap of the day timings. She did about 20mins which meant I could eat with two hands, and Tom tried rocking her in the buggy for a bit where she was playing happily with her blanket.

Another feed at 6pm for Phoebe and we're now watching Lydia and Tom playing with Lego.

Gentle background feeling of meh/impending doom today, which is a shame after feeling so happy yesterday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Dear Phoebe...

Dear Phoebe,

I didn't write you a letter when you were in utero like your sister.

I kept meaning to, but I was in so much pain and quite down and kept forgetting. 

I kept saying to people 'oh there's no time to commune with the bump second time around'. But really, I was a bit anxious and scared.  I struggled to feel connected to you. After early bleeding and miscarriage scares, I was worried I'd done the wrong thing bringing a baby into a pandemic, into a world overshadowed by climate change and conflict.

And sitting at my desk, working yet another day from home, I would honestly forget I was pregnant until you kicked me or I struggled to get off my chair. My colleagues would forget too, only ever seeing me as head and shoulders on a tiny video call.

But I wanted you know that despite all this, you were and are so so wanted. My vision for my future was always lots of family and friends around a big Christmas dinner table, including my own children. I wanted to make my wonderful eccentric glorious family someone else's family too.

And so, despite my infertility issues we persued treatment and were blessed with Lydia. And having had her, we wanted to give her the blessing of a sibling, the joy I am given over and over by my sisters. If you'd not come, we would have been happy with just her I'm date, but there was something there inside me saying you would come.

And you did arrive! You are my bonus, my extra unexpected joy. You were concieved on my first round of Clomid this time, another unexpected joy. You arrived unexpectedly easily for a big baby by VBAC. 

I've not been able to show you off to people the way i did your sister because of the pandemic. And I think the background level of stress that causes, along with running around after your sister has found me just surviving and struggling to connect with you.

But something has changed since you started smiling and cooing, which you did quite early at 4 weeks ish.

Suddenly I can see family resemblances in your face which prompt bittersweet pangs of love as we can't see them easily.

Suddenly I find myself wanting to play and sing to you, to make you do your purring burbling noise.

Suddenly I feel my heart bursting as your besotted sister asks to hold you and beams with pride at making you smile

So my little Pheeb, as your sister affectionately calls you, forgive me when I haven't filled in as much of your baby book or there are less photos of you. But know that you are loved, that you are wanted, and that you are the unexpected joy that completes our family.

All my love

Mummy

(as I feed you sleep, age 11 weeks)






Thursday, August 26, 2021

Another birth story

Phoebe arrived at 0801am on Thursday 5 August


After a sweep at 39 weeks, I'd been having back pain and painless Braxton Hicks for a few days, but they didn't seem to be going anywhere. I was very done with being pregnant after having such terrible pelvic girdle pain, but in the last couple of weeks, she'd dropped in my pelvis which whilst causing more groin pain, had less back pain and I could walk more freely. I'd been out to lunch with a friend, and on the Thursday took Lydia for a walk round the Common with one of her little friends and their mum, before going back to their house so the kids could play for a bit. I'd been getting lots of mucus discharge too, but nothing that looked like a bloody show.

We'd had a false alarm on the Saturday 31 July too, where I thought my waters had gone  and went to be assessed at the maternity assessment unit, but they hadn't, (probably just a urine leak 😲). My sister and brother in law had come to look after Lydia and ended up staying over as we didn't get back till gone midnight by the time the registrar was free to see us. My parents came to stay on the Sunday morning so that we'd have someone here to look after Lydia if we needed to go in the middle of the night.

On the Thursday evening I felt the baby's movements had reduced quite a lot, so we went to the assessment unit again to get checked out. We were there for quite a long time as we needed to wait for a registrar to be free to look at the results, but everyone was happy that the baby's heart rate was ok, and she had moved a bit whilst we were there. The registrar threw us a bit by suggesting that if I was still unhappy with the movements and didn't want to try the induction drip, we could consider breaking my waters. I wasn't happy to do this where I wasn't in labour, as my research led me to believe this could bring on an unnecessary fast and painful labour. So we agreed with the doctor to come home and wait and see, and proceed to the c-section if the movements continued to be reduced, as a c-section was my preference this time if there were any issues.

We got home pretty late, around 11pm and I went to have a bath to help with the aches and pains which I thought were my PGP still, then got ready for bed, and stuck on my usual GentleBirth hypnobirthing meditation tracks which I'd been listening to for the last few months. I couldn't get comfy and tried lying in lots of positions, all whilst reading e-books on my phone. Gradually the intensity of the pains ramped up, and I thought they might be contractions after all, but I wasn't 100% convinced, but got tom to put the TENS machine on me which helped distract me.

By 2am ish they'd got into a regular pattern of pretty much 3 in 10 minutes and I decided I needed to go to the hospital. We tried calling Labour Line but they kept ringing out, which made me very anxious. we really didn't want me to give birth at home so we just went in. 

When we got there, the staff were a bit surprised to see us, and we had to wait in the reception area whilst they found us a room. I was clinging on to Tom's neck as the contractions came, and where they were quite painful I was feeling very anxious and sore, and like I couldn't do this. In fact I was pretty rude and grumpy throughout my entire labour, sorry Tom!

When we got into our room (as it happens, the same one on labour ward I'd used for Lydia's birth) with a very nice calm midwife, they only had the wired monitors available, but I consented to using them as it seemed like the right thing to do. I managed to lie on my back for an inital examination and I was already 8cm dilated which seemed hopeful. I think we handed over our antenatally expressed colostrum at this stage.

For the next 6 or so hours, I tried lots of positions, mainly on my hands and knees draped over the upright back of the bed, with a little standing up and side lying. I was very hot and sweaty, in just my pj top and socks, and the wires of the monitor kept catching in the crease of my groin/ overhand of my stomach which annoyed me no end, but I couldn't articulate what was annoying me about them amid the contractions other than to swear about them. Tom had my meditations on my phone and I was focusing on these as much as possible.

Spent a lot of time in this position - good one to remember if you need to have wired monitoring. Picture from the Village Midwife I think

Tom did a great job of holding my hand, wiping my sweaty brow and restarting my mediation tracks. I was very grateful when I started the gas and air, and used that to focus my in for 4 our for 6 breathing. I would set the TENS Machine to surge as the contractions started which again seemed to distract me from the pain/focus me on my breathing. I told Tom off for yawning at one point, but don't remember this - sorry Tom again! He'd been up since 5am the previous day for work with only a little bit of sleep whilst I was starting the contractions....

I wondered a few times about asking for the birth pool or the bath as that had been my initial hope in my preferences plan, but when Tom asked me about it, I said I didn't want to change rooms as I was too busy concentrating and was worried the shock of changing rooms would slow everything down. I was a bit surprised the midwives didn't mention it but I guess they're being led by you somewhat. Where I was also 8cm, I also wonder if they thought they didn't have time.

After 6 hours and a midwife shift change, my waters hadn't gone, and the midwives suggested this as a next step to progress things along. Where I was actually in labour this seemed like a good idea. This was painful as I had to be on my back again and the procedure is painful, but it was manageable with the gas and air. There was no meconium in the waters as far as I remember, and I went into transition pretty soon after my waters broke.

Transition was scary and painful and I really felt like I couldn't do giving birth after all. Tom said I went all erratic and shouty at this stage, trying lots of different positions again, like standing up holding on to Tom, and I threw up a couple of times. I remember focusing on the prompts of my meditation track, trying to relax my shoulders etc when it suggested through the pain.  But transition didn't last very long, and when the midwives encouraged me to push, I went into a calmer focused place. Tom changed my meditation track to a pushing focused one, and I ended up back on my hands and knees draped over the back of the bed again.

Pushing simultaneously felt more and less painful than I expected. It took me a bit of time to get my breathing in order, I knew I didn't have it right. I would push for a bit with the contractions and then rest for a bit and realised I was trying to contract my pelvic floor when breathing out, which is right for Pilates but doesn't help with pushing a baby out. Once I'd got breathing put with the contraction down I felt like I was making some progress. There were a few times where I thought she was going back in rather than coming out, and one if the few times I spoke in during pushing was to tell the midwives I felt this way, bit they reassured me that was normal and she had still ultimately going to come out. They were guiding me through my pushing, encouraging me as I had asked them to in my preferences plan. I did the common poo whilst pushing which I was not aware of at all at the time.

When I felt like Phoebe was close, probably the ring of fire burning point, the midwives and Tom helped me stop trying to push when there wasnt actually a contraction, I think to stop me tearing too much. At that point I just wanted to keep going to get her out! Once her head had been born, all the midwives seemed to have their hands between my legs helping to position her to get her shoulders out, and then suddenly in rushing sliding out sense of great relief she was here. I think she cried, but I'm not sure.

The midwives and Tom helped me take my very sweaty t-shirt and the monitors off, kneel up and put her on my chest. I was so full of relief and couldn't believe I'd done it. They told me what kind of genitals she had, and gave us plenty of time for skin on skin and delayed cord clamping. The student midwifes took a couple of photos of this in Tom's phone, and whilst I'll never share them publicly I think they're some of the best photos of me, I look so strong, naked, kneeling up on the bed holding her to my stomach saying to Tom 'I did it!' whilst he has tears of relief in his eyes above his mask with his hand on my shoulder.

When I was ready, we moved to a sitting position on the bed and propped me up with cushions to give breastfeeding a go, where I needed some pointers on how to feed her like a new born rather than a 2 year old. She and I were pretty happy with the feeding and we did that for a bit all covered up with towels whilst skin to skin and Phoebe wearing the same little blue hat I'd knitted for Lydia.

I agreed to the injection to get the placenta delivered as they were a bit worried about my blood loss, and once they cut the cord, Tom had some skin to skin cuddles whilst we tried to get the placenta delivered. I used the gas and air again and they did end up kind of pulling it out, but it was intact and they were happy with that. I had a second degree tear and needed stitching up too. Whilst some of this was going on they were weighing Phoebe and doing the new baby checks and taking bets on how heavy she was. At 4.945kg she was quite a bit bigger than Lydia and we found out later, the heaviest baby on labour ward in August! And I legend amongst the midwives for managing with gas and air and TENS. I think the Gentle Birth app really helped too.

Because she was big they wanted to monitor her blood sugars, so she got a special little red hat to wear or keep in her crib to let the staff know at a glance what was happening. Whilst they were finishing up those checks and then she was napping I had a much needed bath and some of my orange juice and a breakfast bar from home whilst waiting for my tea and toast. We did our covid swabs at this point as we'd not been swabbed earlier and Tom dressed Phoebe whilst I got dressed myself and ate. At some point my socks got binned because they were covered in blood and I didn't fancy taking them home to wash...

Tom couldn't come with me to the recovery ward until our test results came back so whe it was time to transfer, he went home to see Lydia and have a nap whilst I was moved to the ward. As it happens our results never came back due to an error so I spent the rest of the day, a night and a morning  on the Covid pending ward with no visitors.

Very strange on the pending ward and the two other women there were really struggling without their birth partners. I won't go into details, but I did send feedback which I hope the hospital took on board. I know there's a midwife shortage but I didn't get a ward welcome other than ' the toilets are down there, make sure you pee in a paper bowl so we can measure output, here's your buzzer' I had to ask another ward mate if we left the babies on the ward if we needed a wee or wheeled the cribs in with us. There wasn't much night time feeding support either.

Phoebe had a shallow latch but no obvious toungue tie signs according to the midwifes so I cracked on with feeding on demand and getting very little sleep, wiggling my toes through the painful initial latch as my mum told me to do last time. 

I think she was pretty chilly as all the ward windows were open for ventilation, and we didn't have hospital blankets, only towels to wrap them up, so I ended up with her on me sleepy feeding for most of the hospital stay. 

It was very weird being allowed to go home on day 2 after having been in for a week with Lydia, but I was desperate to get back to Tom and Lydia and to be looked after by my parents. Tom missed all the early colostrum cluster feeding nights as I was in hospital for those with Lydia so he had a bit of a shock once I was home.

Lydia was besotted with Phoebe from the off and kept saying " she's so cute, she's so little' and wanted to hold her right away, and sit right by me whilst I fed, and try and manoeuvre my nipple into Phoebe's mouth like a little midwife! She has had more tantrums etc.. as to be expected but none of it has been directed at Phoebe and she seems really proud and wants to 'my baby sister' off. We got a little kids digital camera for Lydia from Phoebe as a big sister present and Tom took Lydia to choose a cuddly toy for her at the big Smyth's toy shop, and she ended up choosing a pink Kirby got her.

We're at week 7 nearly 8 now and she's been putting on weight well. She's a bit windy and I went to get my latch checked at one of the breastfeeding support groups around 4 weeks as the midwife on day 5 thought she might have a very slight tongue tie and told me to monitor if I was in any pain. Once my milk came in gradually over days 4 to 5 my latching pain eased right off and it was only the windiness and shallow latch that concerned me. The workers at the sorry group were very friendly and gave me some different positions to try and said it might be oversupply which should regulate itself after 6 weeks which it has.

I've been a bit up and down emotionally as you might expect and my day 3 baby blues had a big anger component this time that surprised me. My PGP eased right off for a few days, then I got a spasm in my right glute a literal pain in the arse which made walking hard but has improved with exercises from the NHS physio and Chiropractic treatment.

Currently I'm struggling with Dysphoric Milk Ejection in the evenings where the dopamine drops due to the prolactin and oxytocin produced at let down. I get very anxious and sad for a few minutes at the start of a feed in the evenings. Apparently it can be exacerbated by tiredness, poor diet and caffeine so I'll be watching that. Definitely worse on days when I've tried to do too much.

I've also struggled to bond with Phoebe to begin with, I think due to the tiredness induced by having two children to run after, but she started smiling early at 4 weeks and having that feedback has made connecting easier. She's currently a pretty chill baby, likes it when you talk to her, especially Lydia, sleeps nearly all day if you're out in the fresh air and looks quite a lot like my mum which really tickles me.  She makes a very distinctive cooing "Ah goo" noise when she's trying to talk to you, and has this noisy bird squawk she does before it gets to full on crying if she has the mere suggestion of a wet nappy.


Think we'll keep her!