Friday, November 16, 2018

NaBloPoMo 16 pork

Up around 6 with Lydia, had a play and got dressed fairly sharpish as lots to do today. Lydia needed lots of cuddles and attention today so she had to come and sit on the bed and watch me get dressed today.

Once we'd had some breakfast of spiced apple porridge, Lydia played in her highchair between feeds and nappy changes whilst in made curry for tonight and got the nappies on to wash.

We had an really early lunch and then went to Testwood Lakes to meet our friends Louise and baby Chloe and Hannah and baby Lily for a walk. It was nice to catch up, though note to self it's a carrier not a buggy walk. We went for a coffee after at the Morrisons cafe. Supermarkets are the safe bet for baby friendly snacking.

Then off in the car for an hour to pick up the Southampton pork delivery for our friend from my mother-in-law. I was super early so drive around for half an hour whilst Lydia slept.

Pork acquired, we had a long journey back due to very bad traffic. Lydia was very sad, so we stopped as soon as we could so she could have a feed to keep her going. I was quite stressed by the time we got back.

Our usual Friday night crowd had come over, and Tom had made Persian rice and lentils to go with our curry. We let Lydia stay up a little to play as lots of people hadn't seen her for a while. Charley arrived just in time to read Lydia her bedtime story.

Once she'd gone to bed, I ate my curry and then we had excellent rhubarb and lemon cake that Charley had baked.

We're currently playing the Times Quiz. It's really nice to see friends and hang out. We did amazingly well in the first half but it's not going so well now.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

NaBloPoMo 15 pyjamas

Lydia woke up at some time I can't remember, apparently on her front so that was ok. I fed her and then changed her nappy and had a little play. We didn't need to get dressed today as it was a Children in Need Pyjama Party at Hartbeeps today. The Ocacdo delivery arrived at 830am, mainly Christmas presents as I had a 15% off voucher

We shared Weetabix and Banana for breakfast and Lydia had another long sleepy feed. When we went to leave, nearly forgot the teddy we were supposed to take, so had to go back and get it.

Arrived just in time for the start, most of the babies were in their jimjams bit only a few of the parents had, boo! We had fun singing and dancing about with teddy bear ears on and entered the raffle. It's carnage with all the babies crawling about, and the songs are earworms, but I love it.

Walked home with a detour around the Travel as Lydia was starting to nap. Was feeling a bit low when I got in, so put my salt dough on to cook and watched some Netflix whilst I ate my lunch during nap time.

When Lydia woke up, it was time for a feed and a nappy change, then set her up with her toys in the family room whilst I wrapped presents. Aware she's not heard much music around the place as I prefer Radio 4, so put on some advent tunes and the Misa Criolla which she seemed to enjoy.

After another sleepy feed at 4pm, popped some Sarah and Duck on the telly to entertain Lydia whilst I started dinner. Fish pie tonight, and with Sarah and Duck's help, had it in the oven when Tom arrived home just in time for me to go to Pilates.

Pilates was hard tonight, and I didn't really enjoy it. I had Hartbeeps songs going round my head and I'm not sure I was in the right place for it. Still, probably did me some good.

Ate dinner as soon as we got back, Lydia joined us at the table and ate some finger food. She was fascinated by the pepper mill tonight.

When Tom took her up to bed, I did some washing up and a bit more wrapping. Now feeding again, hoping Lydia goes to sleep soon!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

NaBloPoMo 14 parcels

Lydia woke up at 630am again. I got up and fed her and changed her nappy. I quite like the quiet early morning feed watching the sun rise over the city. I bought her back into bed for a cuddle with Daddy as Tom didn't have to rush off this morning because his car was going in for a service.

After Tom had gone to work, I got Lydia dressed. The first lot of clothes I tried on her were way too small, so they went in the 'to pass on' pile and we tried another outfit. She's currently between her 6-9 and 9-12 months clothes and some of the 9-12 vest barely fit over her cloth bum without vest extenders. I've decided baby clothes are communal property like hair ties or lighters, and am passing on most of her clothes as most were hand me downs to us. They're in them for so little time. I'm sure if we have another then a batch will make its way to us. I've kept a few favourites back of course, but less than I thought I would.

Once dressed we went down for breakfast, today's was porridge with grated apple and mashed banana. I tried the fancy granola that was a welcome present at the cottage we stayed at the past weekend. Got some washing on, had a little play and then went out to drop off and pick up parcels.

We have a Quinny Zapp X pushchair and the end of one of the frames in the hood had worn through. We've got their lifetime warranty on it, so after a short email, they'd posted out a new one. Which is great. They'd accidently posted out the wrong part, and I kept missing the DPD driver, so I'd arranged to pick up the new parcel and drop off the old one at the depot in Hedge End.

When I got there, there was a bit of palaver getting in as I couldn't take the buggy through the turnstile, so need to use a gate, and then they couldn't find the paperwork for the parcel I was dropping off. But we got there in the end. Autumn Socks Day approaches, so I had sock parcels to send to the godchildren. As we were on Hedge End anyway, I decided to go into the village proper and use their post office.

Inevitably, Lydia fell asleep on the short drive, so I kept the carseat on the pushchair wheels and she slept through the post office and most of a charity shop browse. I picked up a bargainous new santa hat for £1, and then we had a little walk around the high street back to the car. She fell asleep again in the car, so I treated myself to a Pepsi from the KFC drive through and sat on our drive again to make sure she got a good nap.

When she woke, we then went up to the pharmacist and the doctors to get my online patient access login. For some reason I'd been deleted!

Once home, it was time for a feed and nappy change, then lunch. Lydia had cheesy mash, with carrot sticks and cabbage strips to play with. She wasn't in to using a spoon, so I put her mash on the table and she ate a bit with her hands. She got fed up eventually, so I got her cleaned up and we went to play again. I put some Advent music on Spotify on the family room TV, and she had a nice time playing, rolling around and then quietly lying back to listen every now and again.

Whilst she was playing, I wrapped some Christmas presents, stopping to join her on the floor when she wanted a feed. I do worry a bit about how she'll cope with no feeds at nursery when she goes but that's still 3 months away, who knows what her feeding pattern will be like then.

Tom got home relatively early, and he and Lydia played together for a while. She's obsessed with his retractable work ID holder and makes a beeline for it if she can see it. She's so determined to get it. We started dinner together, and Tom fed Lydia her tea and rang his dad for a catch up. I made some salt dough whilst we were waiting for dinner to cook, and made some Christmas decorations to give as presents. I'm going up paint them blue and get Lydia to finger paint or hand print on them in gold paint.

I've wrapped a few more presents after dinner, done a little more knitting, tidied the kitchen, unloaded the tumble dryer and done my physio stretches. Lydia was on her front when Tom went to check her before bed, so we tried rolling her over, but she woke up and rolled straight back. Where she can roll both back to front and front to back in the day, hopefully she'll be ok on her front. There's been a few cries, but I think they were more like when she cries in her sleep teething.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

NaBloPoMo 13 Cinema

Lydia woke up at 6:30am today - score! My boobs were so sore and full where she'd slept through. Got up with her, fed her and pumped at the same time - much harder these days where she tries to grab the tubes compared to when she was littler. Got her dressed, then she wanted to feed again. She's taken to grabbing my top and pushing her face down it, so very easy to tell when she's hungry at the mo. She then fell asleep whilst feeding, and when I tried to put her back in her cot, she woke up. Left her to play in her inflatable ring whilst I got dressed, Then shared a breakfast of Weetabix and banana.

Got a load of washing on and sorted out washing whilst she played, and packed the car up ready to go out. We were off to the cinema today. I've been going to baby cinema at the Harbour Lights every now and again since she's been about 8 weeks. They call it the Big Scream showing, and the lights are up a bit, the sound is down a bit and they put the subtitles up. You get to see all kinds of films, not just kids films, and it gives you something else to talk about other than the baby, That's on Wednesdays. I mentioned this a new friend Tammy who has a little girl a little bit older than Lydia, and she said to let her know the next time I was going. Well I fancied it this week, and as she couldn't do Wednesday, I looked into the other cinemas. Odeon do Newbies on a Tuesday and Showcase do Baby Pictures on Thursdays. The Showcase and Odeon are the cheapest, but there's a nice sense of community at the Harbour Lights and people often stop for a coffee afterwards.

Once I'd picked up Tammy and Sofia and had a chorus of baby singing on our drive, we successfully negotiated ticket pick up and registering for parking. We got settled in the cinema, thinking we'd have the place to ourselves but three other sets of people arrived just as the adverts started. Lydia watched for a bit, then had a feed and slept for an hour. She then needed a nappy change and had her lunch. Sofia made friends with one of the other babies who I think was actually after her snacks and then had a nap too. I quite enjoyed the film which was the new Disney the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Would have liked more ballet in it, but that's me. Lydia liked watching the dancing at the end and was bopping to the music.

After the film, Sofia was still napping and we had a bit of parking time left, so we walked over to John Lewis so we could buy Tom his autumn socks. Lydia wiggled more enthusiastically when presented with one pair over another, so I hope Tom likes them.

We dropped off Tammy and Sofia, and then went home. Lydia inevitably fell asleep on the short drive, so I locked us in the car and had a nap with her parked up on the drive way as she would only have woken up if I tried to move her inside. Once inside, she played for a bit whilst I sorted nappies, unpacked a bit, and started wrapping Autumn Socks and addressing Christmas cards ready to post.

Tom got in relatively early today as he'd been on a course, so he had a good time playing with Lydia before her tea, and fed her her tea tonight. I cooked sausages and mash for tea. with some of the really tasty French sausages we'd bought back and frozen from our last trip. They're all meat and onion and slightly cured so have a really delicous taste. After dinner, Tom got Lydia ready for bed and I fed her. Got her into her cot but then she woke up and was wide awake so had to feed her again. There's been a couple of crying very short crying spells, but she's not actually been awake, so have left her to it tonight.  Have finished wrapping the autumn socks parcels and knitted a bit more of Lydia's Christmas cardigan. It's using up scraps from the jumper I made myself.



Monday, November 12, 2018

NaBloPoMo 12 shopping

Lydia woke at 530 today and had a feed and a nappy change before going back to sleep till 8am.

We got up and dressed and I chatted to her about what we could see out the windows. She was a bit snotty this morning so we gave Tots a miss to avoid infecting anyone.

Once we'd had our breakfast of toast and fruit and yogurt, we started our mammoth day of shopping. First to Lidl as I'd seen them advertising fabric advent calendars but alas, I think I wasn't quick enough. Lydia like to look at the bright lights in supermarkets. Got some bits for Christmas presents.

Then on to IKEA with Lydia napping in the car, taking a roundabout route to prolong her nap. There we met up with Laura and little Tamsin for a free IKEA Family cup of tea and a chat whilst the babies lunched. Lydia was very keen on the pasta and tomato sauce pouch I'd grabbed in a hurry. Had to make sure I saw someone today as Tom is on call. We did a bit of IKEA shopping together afterwards and then went our separate ways around 3pm.

On to Sainsbury's, again with a parking bay break to allow Lydia to sleep before picking up some bits I couldn't get in Lidl. Lydia was quite grouchy by now, but she'd charmed some cute older kids who kept coming to say hello and coo at her. Stopped at the seats after checkout for a feed and charmed the older chap who'd stopped for a rest as well.

Then home via the sorting office to collect a parcel. Some Sarah and Duck for Lydia whilst I unloaded the car, then a feed and Strictly Come Dancing for mummy. Lydia had her dinner whilst I unpacked the shopping. Only half a story at bedtime tonight as she was so keen to feed. She's taken to grabbing my top and burying her head in my chest when she wants food which is a pretty obvious sign.

Tom's been out on call all evening, so I've tidied the kitchen and sorted washing after my dinner. Now sitting down to some knitting before bed.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

NaBloPoMo 11 villas

Lydia woke up at 1:30am but Tom managed to settle her, then again at 4:30am with a wet nappy but needed a feed to settle her and then slept in till gone 8am.

I got up at 7:30am, got washed and started the packing. Then fed Lydia her breakfast whilst Tom cooked breakfast for everyone. The rest of the morning was a whirlwind of packing up cars and cleaning the cottage in time to leave at 11am checkout time. Jess was on child wrangling duty, and Tom used the plentiful left over food to make packed lunch for everyone.


A short drive northwest from the cottage to Chedworth for a cost effective NT members visit to the Roman Villa. It's properly tucked away, you'd never stumble across it. Gorgeous autumn colours on the hillsides as we drove there. Lydia a bit grumpy when we got there, so I had a quick look at the new building covering the mosaics that's gone up since my last visit as a teenager, then settled in for a feed whilst Tom looked round.

Our party reconvened for our picnic lunch, then I looked at the little museum and went to change a nappy in the nice warm visitor centre out of the wind. When I got out the loos, everyone else had drifted in to the shop too, so we grabbed some hot drinks and the Treharnes made the first move home. Once we'd finished ours and we'd had a chat with John and Adele, we hit the road too, leaving around 2pm.

A couple of stops on the way back so Tom could rest, but we made it home for around 4:30pm and spent the evening unpacking and sorting between feeds and playtime for Lydia. Put some toys in the bath for her for the first time today and she enjoyed those, and splashing really hard, soaking Tom!

We had cheese on toast for supper, and watched some Doctor Who - enjoying the wide eyed wonder of the new Doctor. Then have been typing up Bradshaw notes for Tom as I type faster. Think they're all caught up now. Bed in a minute!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

NaBloPoMo 10 gentle

Today Lydia woke at 1:30am, Tom wasn't able to settle her, think it was teeth so she had a feed and went back to bed. She woke up again at 6am for a feed and then stayed playing in our bed whilst I got up and had a shower.

The main bathroom here is in a gable so you have to sit in the bath and use the shower head attached to the mixer tap. Took me ages to get the right balance of hot and cold, but I got clean in the end.

I got Lydia dressed and took her downstairs for breakfast whilst Tom dressed. Our friends Jess and Andy and their kids were up breakfasting already, so I got Lydia set up in the highchair to join them. She demolished a Wheetabix, some toast and some Apple.

When Tom appeared, he started cooking breakfast with Andy and all the adults gently breakfasted on a small full English as they came down stairs. Lydia sat and played on the floor with the Duplo and the other kids whilst we ate. The smoke and steam looked rather gorgeous on the morning light.




We had some playtime whilst John and Adele did the washing up. But it was soon time to eat again. We drove the short way to Burford for lunch at the Cotswold Arms which was super jolly. Very busy, so really glad we booked. I had a fish platter, and Lydia ate most of my salmon pate! I couldn't manage dessert, but the huge portions of bread pudding looked amazing. The building was very cosy and quaint too.

Burford was a very busy village with a never-ending stream of traffic going through it, but it was very pretty. The heavens opened as we left the pub and we stoically had a mooch looking in shop windows. I was taken with the Mad Hatter shop that sold both books and hats, a very Alex combination.






Once we got home again, we had a little walk around our village. It has an outside pool open in the summer, allotments, bowling green, play area and a little shop. We were hoping to have a look in the shop, but it didn't open despite what it said on the website sadly. Tom and Lydia had a little swing on the playground.



The rest of the afternoon has been spent playing and napping whilst the boys type up their railway trip. We've sampled Jess' epic dairy free chocolate cake, and I'm just feeding Lydia again.

All about the food when I'm away with this lot!

Friday, November 09, 2018

NaBloPoMo 9

Blogger ate my post!

Traveled up to the Cotswolds today for Tom, John and Andy's Bradshaw railway weekend planning weekend number 1. Had a pub lunch on the way and stopped to get supplies near Swindon.

Cottage built in 1714, very hidiggly piggly. Curry and lots of wine for tea when everyone finally arrived after bad traffic

Here's Lydia's epic baby mohawk bed head from the morning.


Thursday, November 08, 2018

Eunice's chicken and leek lasagne recipe for Robin

Serves 6 people

Ingredients:
  • 1.25kg cooked chicken or or turkey, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 200g lasagne sheets
  • 450g leeks, sliced into thick rings
  • 100g butter
  • 115g plain flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 750ml litre chicken stock
  • 250ml white wine
  • 115g gruyere cheese
  • 55g cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 255ml single cream
  • 2tbsp grated parmesan
  • Handful pinenuts

Directions:
  1. Pre-cook lasagne sheets if necessary. 
  2. Pre-heat oven to 200C
  3. Fry leeks in large saucepan with 15g butter until soft, then remove with slotted spoon and put to one side in another dish.
  4. Melt rest of butter in saucepan, stir in flour and cook over medium heat stirring for a minute. 
  5. Take pan off the heat, whisk in stock and white wine.
  6. Then return pan to heat, bring to boil and cook stirring for around 5 minutes until thickened.
  7. Remove pan from heat again, stir in 100g Gruyere cheese and cheddar cheese, season and add single cream.
  8. Spoon a little of sauce into ovenproof dish (approx. 3L in size) and top with lasagne sheets. 
  9. Follow with  a layer of chicken and leeks and sprinkle with parmesan, repeat layers but finish with lasagne and sauce.
  10. Sprinkle top with remaining cheeses and pinenuts
  11. Cook at 200C for 45 minutes and leave to stand for 15 mins before serving.
Robin - could leave out cheese and use more stock cubes in your stock for flavour?

NaBloPoMo 8 failed potato cakes

Up bright and early again today. Bit chilly, so Tom bought my dressing gown into Lydia's room to cover my legs whilst I was feeding. Lydia wore her Frugi Parsnip Pants with the farm print today, that were a present from Jo and Sarah. They looked super cute and had plenty of space for her reusable nappy!

She played in her inflatable play ring whilst I got dressed, then we went downstairs for breakfast. Toast and pear for her, and toast for me. I had a go at making cheese and tomato potato cakes for her lunch, but I only had one egg so they didn't bind together very well. I ended up zapping all the mixture in a glass dish in the microwave the way you make porridge fingers, which worked a bit better. I was trying to use up left over mashed potato and didn't want to throw away all the other ingredients I'd added once I'd started.

After some more milk, a very short nap and a nappy change for Lydia,  we were off down the road for Hartbeeps, the baby singing/sensory group we go to on Thursdays. She's just gone up to the class for babies who are sitting and crawling so it's a bit louder and more boisterous. I love how chilled the sessions are, and she loves the activities. Today it was all fireworks themed, and we had fabric logs and sparkly bits like tinsel and foil blankets to make baby safe bonfires and flashy light tubes to make indoor fireworks.

She napped a bit on the way home, and has it was a bright autumn day, I treated myself to an iced current bun from the bakers on the Triangle for my lunch. She didn't stay asleep long, so we were then back into a a round of feeding and another short nap before she had some of her own lunch. The potato fingers were very crumbly, but she seemed to enjoy them. Then intermittent playing and housework again.

Tom's mum arrived around 3pm, and I took the opportunity of her being her to baby wrangle to pack a bit for our trip this weekend. Tom's meeting up with Andy and John for their annual Bradshaw train trip planning and we're making a weekend of it with WAGs and kids and staying in a cottage near Swindon of all places. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone.

Mum was telling us all about her recent trip to India and had bought us souvenirs, a t-shirt from the tiger sanctuary for Lydia, a silk scarf for me, and tea and saffron for Tom. We had a look at her holiday photos when Tom got in, using the Chrome Cast to put them on the telly which was fun. It looked very busy and very colourful, and she said the food was amazing and that she wouldn't eat an Indian takeaway here again!

Tom and Mum gave Lydia her tea whilst I went to my pilates class at 6pm. A different teacher again whilst we wait for the usual one to come back from maternity leave. This one was much more hands on and gave lots of adaptions to each person which was good. It was much more advanced than I was expecting so I'm a bit achy now.

Chicken and Leek lasagne for dinner once I got back, then a bedtime feed for Lydia. Mum went home just after Lydia went to bed, and I've spent the rest of the evening sorting the washing up, hanging up wet nappies and adding things to Lydia's Christmas list at Mum's request. Off to bed now.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

NaBloPoMo 7 London

Lydia and I got up sharpish this morning as we were off to London for an adventure.

We had some fruit and porridge for breakfast and Lydia bashed her toys and cups on the kitchen table whilst I packed the car with the travel highchair, the changing bag, the baby's packed lunch and bib, food for lunch, presents, sewing things and bridesmaid dresses. You know the usual.

We were going to visit my school friend Amey and her partner Adam and their new baby Harry. We managed to get to their bit of London in a couple of hours and there was even a parking space in front of the house!

Once I'd unpacked the kitchen sink, we had a lovely time catching up, cooing over babies and swapping parenting stories. After lunch, we walked around the block to try their baby carrier out, and altered some dresses.

There's something very special in seeing your oldest friend with their new baby. I've known Amey since I was about 3 and we went to ballet lessons together.

Lydia had napped on the way there and napped on the way back too. Unfortunately there was lots of traffic on the way home so she wasn't very happy on the last half an hour as she was hungry but there was no where to stop.

When we got on, we had a long feed, then she had a late dinner whilst Tom and I cooked ours. I managed to wake her up when I went to put her to bed as we'd forgotten to put hey sleeping bag on before her feed, so she had to have another, but she's sleeping now.

Tom had a slow journey back too, so we had IKEA meatballs and mash for dinner, pimped with cabbage and nigella seeds and carrots and cumin.

Now time to tidy up before bed. Lots of fireworks tonight, I think for Diwali.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

NaBloPoMo 6 werk werk werk

Lydia and I got up gently again today and breakfasted slowly which was very chilled. She had an early nap so I got on with some house work before a new friend Jon came to visit.

He was looking for some help with setting up a website for a new community project he's working on. So I got to exercise the consultancy part of my brain, helped him think through a comms plan and initial website planning. He has a little girl a just a little bit older than Lydia so he was a great help in playing and distracting her whilst we worked.

Once he'd left, Lydia and I spent the day playing and feeding, and whilst she napped, I was washing nappies and putting them back together. I caught up with another episode of the Bodyguard over my lunch.

Tom is on call today but came home in time for dinner. Whilst we heated up a freezer dinner of Pho, we had a video call with Lydia's godmothers, Jo and Sarah. Lydia was trying curry for the first time and they enjoyed laughing at her reactions. It was paneer curry with lots of yogurt stirred through, and she made some great faces as she ate.

This evening once she went to bed we tidied the kitchen and made packed lunches, and now I'm here writing.

So a not very much kind of a day but a day.

Monday, November 05, 2018

NaBloPoMo 5 poppies

Today Lydia woke at 5 am for a feed and was freezing, will make sure she has an extra blanket tonight.

Got up and dressed, put Lydia in my favourite red rosebud onsie for the last time as she's too big for it really. Mothercare seems to run small really as it's 6 to 9 months. She's long bodied but I'd expect it to last a bit longer.

Had a breakfast of toast and made Lydia a packed lunch before going to Tots at church. Lydia had fun playing with some toys, having a go at painting fireworks, listening to a Bible story and singing. She's started bobbing along to music recently and was shouting and chatting to the bigger kids. I did my good turn for the day by lending a muslin to a mum with another smaller baby who'd forgotten one.



There was an impromptu soup lunch after which was nice, and I got to chat in-depth with one of the other mums for a bit. Then I fixed an email issue on our church outreach workers laptop, before coming home to feed Lydia and pick up my dress makers dummy.

I got the dress makers dummy loaded up in the pram and Lydia in the sling, and enjoyed the funny looks on my way back to church as it was flower arranging time. I've made a rod for my own back with the remembrance Day flowers and it being the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, I thought I should do something special. My friend Emma has lent us her period nurses uniform with a clever design on the apron which shows the archaeological record of a battlefield which I've incorporated this year. So that covers land, we've got a blue attachment in the font for the sea, and a flying dove for the air.






Tom joined us at the end of the afternoon to help baby wrangle which was useful. Since we've got home, we've been tag teaming on baby entertaining, and cooking tonight's dinner and lasagnes for later in the week. Lydia has just gone to bed after a splashy bath and a spot of fireworks watching.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

NaBloPoMo 4 swimming

We all survived Lydia's first night in her own room. She woke up at 6:30am which was nice! After her first feed, we got up Harry promptly and breakfasted fast enough to get to church just as the first hymn started.

I enjoyed Nicky's sermon on how to find ways to pray throughout your whole day, and Lydia was only making happy noises which was nice. She did manage to need a complete outfit change after the service so we made a quick exit!

We had to sing one song to the tune of another in the last hymn, as we used the wrong track off our CD of organ backing tracks. It was a pretty hard tune to sing, not sure God would have been enjoying it much!

Lydia fell asleep on the short walk home so we let her nap and I sent Tom off for a lie down too as he looked knackered. I sorted out washing and prepped to go swimming until Lydia woke up.

Once she'd woken up and had a little feed and a play, we packed the car and trundled off to Oaklands Swimming Pool in Lordshill for their Floats Fun Swim. Lydia seems to like being in the water, and would kick her legs when floated along on her back or front, or whilst holding a float. It's lovely watching her get so excited. We have a little baby wetsuit/swimsuit for her that keeps her nice and warm which is great.

Eventually she started to look tired and a bit cold, so it was time to go. I wasn't sure how to manage changing her and me, but as she seemed happy wrapped in her damp towel and it was fairly warm in changing room, I decided to get me changed first so I didn't do drip water all over her.

She inevitably fell asleep in the car. Tom impressively managed to get her from car to living room floor whilst still asleep, so we tucked hey up in a blanket there and got on with preparing lunch. Fish finger sandwiches for us, and mash, fish fingers, cucumber and apple for Lydia which she seemed to like very much. Only just managed to avoid setting fire to the fish fingers by getting distracted by emptying the washing machine!

For the rest of the afternoon we bimbled around the house taking it in turns to amuse the baby and do chores. I made an apple crumble for dinner later, and some breastfeeding breakfast bars for a friend who's just had a baby. I enjoyed peeling the skins off the lightly defrosted whole frozen apples with my fingers. The flesh just under the surface had gone mushy and the skins came off really easily. No good for eating as is but perfect for crumble.

The breakfast bars are a Nigella recipe similar to flapjack that uses a tin of condensed milk warmed through in place of butter and golden syrup. She adds oats, cranberries, dessicated coconut, and mixed nuts and seeds to hers. I made do with the random content of my cupboards, berry museli, nut museli, ground almonds, sesame seeds, and raisins. Came out well though!

Tom prepared veggie stew for dinner, and took Lydia out for a little walk to get leeks whilst I made the dumplings. Our friends Dee and Sam came to be dinner, which was fab as we'd not seen them for ages. Stew, dumplings and crumble all turned out fine, phew! Lydia joined us at the dining table with her dinner which was fun and got put to bed between the main course and dessert.

We had a wonderful evening setting the world to rights with Dee and Sam. I'm just madly writing this in bed to squeak in the deadline, after some online Christmas shopping and Strictly Come Dancing. Remembrance flowers tomorrow.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

NaBloPoMo 3 custard

We got up gently today after a random 4 am wake-up for a feed from Lydia. It was a nice change to have a weekend in Southampton so we weren't rushing anywhere.

Tom and Lydia played in bed whilst I had a shower, then I took Lydia downstairs for her breakfast whilst he had his breakfast. She stayed in her PJs today so her costume for the baby Halloween party later on stayed clean!

We had time for a nice quiet sit down whilst Lydia played which was good as we're both shattered at the moment. When went for a short nap, I got some washing sorted too.

Then it was time to get changed into our costumes and go down to Rachael and Dan's for the baby Halloween party. We know them from our NCT classes, and they'd kindly invited all the babies and parents round. They'd gone all out on the decorations and amazing food, and had everything the babies might want too which made for a fun afternoon. All the babies were dressed up, we had Lydia as Tinkerbell with a matching mummy and daddy as Wendy and John from Peter Pan, a baby parrot and some pirate parents, a pumpkin, a skunk, a lion, a monster, and a couple of skeletons.

Lydia turns out to her father's daughter in not liking custard, as she cried when I made her try the sensory activity of custard with plastic bats and jelly with plastic eyeballs to play with. Tom has an aversion to slimy things which Lydia seems to have inherited. One of the babies was really into the lime jelly, and was trying to crawl headfirst into the bowl!

By 330pm, Lydia was shattered but way to excited to nap a the party, so we made our excuses and left. She conked out as soon as we started driving, so we went to get some shopping on the way home to prolong the car nap.

I'm now typing and feeding Lydia after quickly giving her some dinner and starting ours. We're trying her in her own room tonight, though picking to do this around Fireworks Night may have been a mistake!

Friday, November 02, 2018

NaBloPoMo 2 trees

Up bright and early today for a physio appointment at 730am. Tom looked after Lydia whilst I was in my appointment. Since Lydia was born I've developed a pain in my left hip. It was both a stabbing pain in my left groin and an ache in my left sacroiliac joint, but the physio seems to be helping.

Once we'd got back send all had some toast, Tom went to work and Lydia played whilst I put some washing away. I had hoped to go to a messy play session with some baby friends but Lydia decided to nap at just the wrong point. So I arranged to see people for a walk later instead.

Whilst Lydia napped I sorted and stuffed the washable nappies, then when she woke up, we had lunch together and played for a bit until it was time to go to the Common. We had a short feed in the hope she'd nap again whilst at were out.

She duly obliged, and I even managed to transfer her from the carseat to the buggy with minimal stirring which is always a win. I met up with Laura and her baby Tamsin, and we set off across the gorgeously autumnal Common. We found Louise and Chloe, and had a fab stroll in the crisp air and a good old natter too.



We know each other from our NCT classes and we're just reaching the point where we're getting to know everyone a bit better and can talk about more than the babies which is lovely. We stopped for a quick drink on the Cowherds, and had fun watching the babies talk away to each other.

Once it started to get cold, we went our separate ways. Lydia and I collected a few leaves on the walk to the car which she duly decided to eat. We had a quick phone call with Tom to through evening plans and then popped home to pick up more baby stuff so we could go to Jon and Hannah's.

So here you find me, lying on the floor of their empty lounge as Tom helps them move furniture ready for their house move and I feed the baby. I have done nothing useful but hopefully Tom has!

....NABLOPOMO.... It's #nablopomo ! I don't even know if that's a thing anymore, but I'll be posting about my everyday life on my blog all month. I've done this every November for years, so it almost feels like a social history project. Here's a pic of the lush succulent the lovely @mrsannafabulous bought me from yesterday's post. Link in bio #blogging #blog #dayinthelife


via Instagram https://ift.tt/2SDhSRP

Thursday, November 01, 2018

NaBloPoMo 1 grinning

"It's the most wonderful time of the year...."

The one where I crank out the old blogging mojo and get to it again.

Today, I tried to snuggle in bed with Lydia for as long as possible but she was having none of it. So I got dressed whilst dancing around to the Archers theme, as is our morning routine, bedtime clashing with live listening. She grins at me like a loon, I love it.

Then we went to Lydia's room to get her dressed. Today she was wearing the Snow White costume Glitter Granny (my mum) had bought for £1 in her local charity shop. It was Halloween themed week at Hartbeeps, our local baby sensory singing thing I go to, so I thought we could get away with some late dressing up.

Next up was breakfast. Lydia is enjoying exploring food, so we shared Readybrek and a persimmon. Lydia was quite keen on both which was great. She got to go and play on the family room carpet at this point and I sorted some washing and tidied up before getting ready to go. A quick feed and Lydia was bundled up into the pushchair for our walk to St Denys church hall. She had a little nap on the way which is good!

We arrived at Hartbeeps in plenty of time for a fun session of singing, autumn leaves, inflatable pumpkins, and gnome hats. Hartbeeps is my fave of the baby groups we've tried so far, as it's really chilled out and creative and the lady who runs it in our area is so kind and friendly.

We walked as far as the park on the way home with our friends Marika and baby Micah. I'd met Marika at pregnancy yoga so it is lovely to see the babies our bumps have become. I had to rush then as our lunch guests spotted us at the traffic lights and I didn't want to keep them waiting.

Anna and Valerie are another mum and bump/baby I met at Yoga. We had a lovely lunch catching up, and watching the babies play. She'd bought me a succulent which was really sweet of her. Got to decide the right spot for it now.

After they'd gone, Lydia and I spent the afternoon playing and feeding. I'm trying to encourage her to nap in the afternoons properly, so we tried that. Whilst she was sleeping I renewed my car insurance and got more washing on.

Hannah popped by to borrow our DIY vacuum cleaner and have a quick play with Lydia. Tom came back nice and early from his volunteering meeting so I had plenty of time to get ready for Pilates. Unfortunately when I got to my class, it looked like the teacher had forgotten about it, so I toddled home to Tom giving Lydia her dinner and making ours.

I'm writing now after her bedtime, having done the first feed, and now trying to encourage her to go to sleep sleep. Tom spotted her 5th tooth had started to come through which might explain all the dribble we've seen lately. Best go and write that in her red book.

Need to start my Christmas shopping and work on the christmas baby cardigan I've started for Lydia. Christmas falls over the months when I won't be getting paid so lots of second hand and homemade presents all round.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Travelling with babies. My top tips from experience so far

We've been to France twice on the ferry, and to Portugal by plane with Lydia so far as well as a fair few car journeys in her 6.5months on the planet. Here are my top tips so far based on a fair amount of Google research and then my own experience.


  1. Manage your expectations. Weekends and holidays don't feel much different apart from week days (from hopefully better food and weather) as the mummying doesn't stop. The pace is much slower than pre-baby holidays, don't try and cram all the sight seeing or beach lazing in as babies will eat up all your time just like they do at home. I usually read about 4 books on a week's holiday as I love reading, but I just about managed one in a whole week. If you go with this in mind, you won't feel disappointed.
  2. It's worth getting a self-catered apartment or house so you have somewhere to sit in the evenings without waking the baby, especially of travelling with friends and family. Otherwise one of you has to go to bed when the baby goes to bed in the hotel room - you might want to do that if you're catching up on sleep of course! With an older child it can be nice for them to have their own room if that's what they do at home as well, so you don't disturb them when you go to bed. We manage fine with her in the room when we're away so far.
  3. Get a cheap second hand lie flat umbrella stroller/buggy from FB Marketplace or Gumtree for holidays if you're worries about your nice one getting trashed on the plane or get a stroller bag. This can also be handy for UK trips away in the car as they can take less space than a standard buggy in a car boot if you need to take lots of stuff. I got one on FB marketplace for £15.
  4. Lots of airlines let you take two bits of baby kit for free like a carseat and a buggy on top of your luggage allowance. Check to see what's covered. 
  5. It's worth contacting your accommodation to see if they can supply highchairs or travel cots to avoid having to take your own even if they don't mention anything on their website or brochure as it saves taking your own.
  6.  Overnight ferries with a cabin are awesome with littles as they can travel in their PJs and you can put them to bed as soon as you get on board. We've paid for £5.00 to hire a travel cot from Britanny Ferries each time as it saves us having to unpack the car to get ours our when we're on the boat. We just take the baby, the nappy bag and a rucksack with PJs and washstuff for us all, a change of baby clothes, clean pants and socks for us and a blanket
  7. Top tip for any journey is but 3 or 4 wet wipes in a ziplock bag and then put that and a nappy inside a nappy bag so you can just grab one of those rather than the whole nappy bag if on a plane or train. This also worked well when we went to a friends wedding.
  8. If it's a hot day and your baby is travelling in the car in a single layer of clothing, it's worth sticking a muslin under their bum to catch any poosplosions - something I learnt the hard way.
  9. Definitely worth paying for speedy boarding or similar on airplanes and allocated seating near the toilets to help get settled before everyone gets on board and to make nappy changes easier.
  10. Check with airport transfers and hire car companies about whether car seats are included, and if not, take your own that can be fitted without Isofix. You can get covers to go over them to help protect them in the aircraft.
  11. Portugual was a great holiday location as the Portuguese on the whole seem to love babies. Like cross the street to talk to a baby love babies. All the staff in the museums and on the boat tours etc were chatting away to her. And the supermarkets stock everything you might need. We saw babies of all ages out late for dinner and no one batted an eyelid at breastfeeding in public.
  12. No issues with breastfeeding in public in rural Normandy either.

How far in advance can you apply for Tax Free Childcare in the UK?

I've had a good old Google trying to find the answer to this question as I like to have things planned in advance. We're currently trying to finalise our childcare arrangements for when I return to work, and I know the UK Government helpfully gives you up to £500 every three months towards childcare if you pay into their system and then use it to pay registered child care providers.

But in all the bumpf, I couldn't find the answer to the question, how far in advance can you apply for Tax Free Childcare.

So I gave it a go in Tom's name today. Here's the answer I got:

You're not eligible if your partner is on maternity or paternity leave for all the children you're applying for, unless your partner is due to start back at work within the next 31 days.

So there you have it. You can't apply for Tax Free Childcare until 31 days before the date you or your partner are due to start back after maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave.

Hope that helps someone else out there!

Alex

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Things to remember from a few months of parenthood

A few weeks in:

The first day after Tom went back to work, the hum and squeak and huff of my tiny girl's breathing as she lies on me.

The ah-ah-ah noise and head bobbing she does as she prepares to feed

Not being sure if her first smiles were really smiles at 6 weeks old, as we didn't know what her smile looked like.

The joy of her gurgling and trying to chat when you play with her.

3 months in:

The flailing little free arm as she feeds at 3 months trying to grab my clothes or patting my breast

The first outright laugh on 1st July whilst sitting on my stomach after playing row-row-row-the-boat and airplane baby.

Her stopping to chat whilst feeding, grinning and gurgling whilst looking up at me.

Discovering the bristles on her daddy's face as they play together

First tooth coming through on 27th July whilst we were away at Granee's flat in Weymouth for her birthday, then rolling from front to back.

4 months in:

Lying watching her sleep on the bed after feeding when she should be in the cot, daddy's on call, so it's been us two all day. Crying happy tears at how beautiful she is and stroking her eye brows.

This tiny body, bundle, of treasure that's been carried from place to place for people to worship.

Reaching out to touch my face when I come to pick her up, trying to turn the pages of books at bedtime story time, laughing at people blowing raspberries at 4 and a half months old. Starting to recognise family members.

Her looking regal in the family heirloom christening gown before our family lunch after her baptism. The dirty look she gave the curate after he poured the water on her head.


Monday, June 04, 2018

A birth story and the first two weeks of parenthood.

I've been writing this post on and off for the last two months! Babies eh?

____________________

Lydia is 13 days old today.

We've been home since last Tuesday, and we're managing well so far. She is feeding like a champ and mainly only screams if I'm not quick enough getting my boobs out or when we change her nappy or clothes.

Tom's off work for three weeks with a combination of statutory paternity leave and annual leave, and we're spending lovely times just worshipping the baby when she's awake. She's learnt to follow your face when you're talking, and stares at the high contrast between the wall colour and the picture rail.

As I use this blog as a memory repository, and I'm pro- honest sharing, here's our birth story. It was a complicated birth, but I do feel like I've had a really positive experience.

Our Birth Story

As I was approaching two weeks overdue, the NHS prefers you are induced as the risks of stillbirth or placental deterioration increase marginally. You can choose to be monitored daily rather than going for an induction. I had tried nearly everything else I could before agreeing to a chemical induction, including all the old wives tales, accupuncture, two sweeps and an NHS aromatherapy massage. I had been really well right up to the last week of my pregnancy, but at 41 weeks + I was getting very bored of being pregnant and physically much less able.

I had been dilated slightly at my sweep appointments, so Tom and I decided to have the examination at the induction and then decide how to proceed. If I had progressed and it looked like things might start naturally soon, we'd wait and go for the monitoring, if I hadn't progressed, we'd see if I could go for the Propess induction pessary, which is the more gentle of the two induction pessaries, and in our NHS Trust, means you don't have to be monitored, can go home and wait for contractions to start, and still go to a birth centre and have access to a pool etc...

So on Wed 28 March, we went off to the induction suite bright and early. After my examinations, I hadn't got any more dilated and the baby wasn't any more engaged. I was one day over their limit for using Propess, but the midwife discussed this with the consultant, and as I had been fit and healthy and low risk throughout my pregnancy, and was only there after the time limit as they didn't have an appointment on the Tuesday, we were ok to proceed. Insertion was painful, as it seems to have scratchy, sharp edges where it's a flat tape, so I used my Clary Sage oil hanky and my yoga breathing to get through. I was then monitored to see how I was responding. We had to wait a while as it took time for my heart rate to stabilise. Once they were happy, we were released.

After being in the heat of the hospital, we stopped on the way home for a walk around the Common to try and get things going. As it started to rain about 4:30pm, I started to feel my first non-Braxton Hicks contractions. These continued sporadically throughout the evening. I managed to eat a good portion of a tasty curry Tom had made - which was good as it was the last food I'd eat for a while!

By about 8:30pm, the contractions were getting more intense, and over the course of the rest of the evening, we strapped on the Tens machine we'd been lent by a friend and I paced around, spending lots of time on my hands and knees and using my yoga breathing again. About 10:30pm we went to bed. I only managed an hour of sleep before needing to pace around again, but Tom got a bit more sleep which was again a good thing based on what was ahead.

At 1.00am, the contractions whilst not regular were very close to the 3 in 10 mins when you're supposed to call Labour Line, so that's what we did. They could tell over the phone that I was definitely in pain and in labour and needed to move to the next stage. I was managing with the Tens and the breathing, but something was changing. Because I'd had the Propess, I couldn't go to the New Forest Birth Centre, but I could do to Broadlands, which is the alongside midwife led birth centre at the Princess Anne maternity hospital.

We probably arrived just about 2.00am and were ushered in to a nice, warm and dimly lit room. We handed over the colostrum I'd been expressing antenatally in case I had problems breastfeeding with my PCOS to go in their fridge . I continued to labour using the Tens and my breathing, and found standing up clinging on to Tom's arm to be one of the most comfortable positions for me. He was very good about reminding me to drink and use the loo! My pains started to go into my back at this point. Having been examined, I was reacting too well to the Propess and was over stimulated, so this had to be removed. After it had been removed, the pain eased off a little, but I still wasn't in established labour, so couldn't go into the birth pool yet. Tori, our midwife suggested a bath instead at this point which was genius. So off with the Tens and away we went to the bathroom.

The bath totally worked for me. I got in with Tom's help, and ended up lying on my left side with just my head poking out the water, holding Tom's hand over the side of the bath. As the contraction surges came, I would shake my legs and wiggle my toes, remembering something my mum had said about wiggling my toes if initial latching on whilst breastfeeding hurt. I don't know why I connected the two in this situation, but I worked for me! I almost fell asleep between contractions, and Tom dozed too. Even though the contractions were painful, this time felt restful and peaceful. We topped up the hot water a couple of times and I think we were in there for a couple of hours.

At some point I decided I'd had enough of the bath, and Tom helped me out and helped me get dry. We put the Tens machine back on, and went back to our room. I continued to labour mainly standing up and also started on the gas and air, which was brilliant, but the bath had done it's trick and I was in established labour - hurrah! This was just in time for shift change when we met our two new midwives who would look after us for the rest of the day.

So now it was time for the birth pool. We spent all day in here, with the gas and air and the water, I felt strong and powerful. The lovely midwives made up aromatherapy oils for Tom to rub in my hands and everything. I could have spent my whole labour in here. I thought I'd want music on whilst in here, but the first thing I asked for in the room was for the radio to be  turned off. I just wanted the peace and quiet and dim light. Something in this crawling into your cave to give birth thing. I would cling on to the handles during a contraction and push against them or cling on to Tom's hand and then sink back into the warm water to recover.

 But as time was passing, and I didn't seem to be progressing, I agreed to be examined and to have my waters broken.  They said that if they found meconium in the waters, I'd have to be transferred to labour ward and couldn't go back in the water. Little miss had indeed pooed everywhere, so about 2pm we were transferred to labour ward. I also was dilating more on one side, and the baby didn't feel very engaged externally.

Without my coping mechanism of water and the shock of the transfer made my contractions much more intense than I could cope with with the gas and air and I could not find a good position to labour in, not even on my hands and knees.I ended up lying on my side for most of this period as my NCT classes had drummed into me that lying on my back was the worst thing I could do for making space for the baby to come out. There was a lot of loud noise from me, I was convinced I would never give birth and I asked/begged for more pain relief. Tom and I had agreed in advance that if it got to this point we'd go straight to the epidural rather than trying the various opiates available, so it was the case of waiting for the anesthesist, which mercifully wasn't very long a wait. At some point I had a catheter fitted too, as I'd not gone to the loo since before I'd gone in the birth pool, and having a full bladder can slow labour. I can vaguely remember Tom being quite upset at this point too, but still checking our birth preferences plan to make sure we were following it as much as we could.

Through all this, our brilliant midwives Kate and Lynda had been coaching me through contractions, making sure we were well informed, always asking what we wanted to do next, and supporting Tom in making decisions based on my birth preferences when I was too out of it. They were amazing. I did ask if I could have the kind of epidural where its possible to be moved into a kneeling position to birth, but I was told they didn't do that in this hospital. Our midwives had to have a lunch break at this point, so a different one came in to look after us. She was very good at massaging my back whilst I clung on to Tom's hand whilst we waited for the anaesthetist.

I managed to get myself into a calm head space for the epidural and stay still for the insertion, I think knowing relief was coming helped me focus. I was intrigued by the cold spray they used to test where on my body I still had feeling.

For me, once I had the epidural, I couldn't feel my contractions, and only used the gas and air when the obstetricians were examining me as they had big hands! I could easily chat and joke with our midwives. The epidural made my contractions slow right down, and I agreed to have the oxytocin drip as they were concerned about the baby getting further distressed with the length of the labour, and I was by this point getting impatient to meet the baby! I had asked in our preferences plan for any drips I might need to be in my left hand to make sure my dominant right hand was free for wrangling babies.

Once we were hooked up, and contacting again, the baby's heart rate suddenly dropped. Lots of doctors and nurses appeared in the room, and the bottom of my bed disappeared so that it was easy to examine me or deliver the baby. Upon examination again, I was fully dilated, and so we agreed to try to push  and if that didn't work to go to theater. She had a fetal heart rate monitor clipped on her head around now. I was coached through how to push with the contractions I couldn't feel and she did come down some but then she changed positions and stopped. The obstetrician tried to rotate her manually, but she rotated back. Then her heart rate went back to normal. The obstetrician said that never happens, but as she seemed ok, we were ok to wait a bit longer.

Things get a bit hazy again for me after that, I think I was quite tired by this point. But after waiting for the synthetic oxytocin to do it's thing and a bit more pushing I think, the team felt it had all been going on long enough and were worrying about the baby swallowing the mecononium. So we were told that it was time to go to theatre where they'd try an assisted delivery first, and then move to a c-section if that didn't work.

There was then the scary quick ride down to theatre as the realisation hit me that everything was hotting up a bit. Up till then, I had kind of felt we had choices and were in control, just waiting for labour to kick in properly, but now it was medically imperative to get the baby out. Our lovely midwives were coming to the end of their shift but kindly stayed to see us into theatre which helped make us feel a bit calmer. Tom was sent to a side room to change into scrubs and I really struggled to stay cool without him in the theatre. We were very blessed by Osgar, our anaesthetist in theatre. Whilst I was on the bed freaking out without Tom he was reassuring me saying things like "My wife has had two c-sections, she thinks they're the best way to give birth, don't worry your partner will be let in soon, if you don't feel very well or something hurts, you just tell me, I'll be right by your head" and so on. I was also slightly reassured listening to the nurses and doctors going through their preflight checks, and for some reason by the obstetrician making sure everyone in the room knew everyone else. I know that was standard practice but it was comforting.

Once Tom was let in, he was sat by my head with the anaesthetist holding my hand. I was so grateful to have him back with me. We'd asked for the drapes to be up in the birth preferences plan as we didn't want to see any of the action. I had considered what I wanted to happen with a C section or an assisted delivery with Tom when we were writing our preferences plan, so I was less freaked out by the process than I might I have been and it meant in this more emergency situation we already had answers for things like "drapes up or down?"

They tried two times to deliver with forceps. The obstetrician warned us that I would be able to feel tugging internally and that it would look like he was being very forceful. Tom and I looked at each other rather than at what he was up to. After the second unsuccessful attempt it was time for the c-section. I'm not sure if they had to re-position the baby before the c-section but there was more rummaging internally which made me feel very sick and I vomited at this point. It didn't hurt but the sensation was very strange. I also had the shakes which is apparently very common. The anesthetist was able to give me an anti-emetic to stop me feeling so awful. He was also still reassuring Tom and I throughout. We were warned that where the baby had pooed, she might need suction to remove it from her airways after she was born, so Osgar was saying to Tom things like "Have you got your phone ready to take a picture of her" and was reassuringly talking us through each stage. And she arrived at 20:35!

She did indeed need suction immediately after birth, so was moved to the Resussitaire. This was a bit scary, but Osgar the anesthetist kept up his running commentary, telling us to be listen as she was crying which was a good sign, and getting a picture of her on Tom's phone and saying she was very big and pink which was also a good sign. I remember saying to Tom "a daughter!" and praying very hard "please let her be ok" and the Lord's Prayer over and over. We didn't name her then and there as we both wanted to have seen her before giving her a name in case she didn't look like a Lydia.

Tom had to go whilst they stitched me up, which neither of us was very happy about. Whilst this was happening the team from the NeoNatal ward came down with an incubator as they wanted to take her to the ward in case she needed more help breathing. She hadn't been intubated in theatre as she seemed to be doing ok, but they weren't sure if she might need to be later on. They bought her over to say hello to me before she went in the incubator and they'd put a very very bright pink hat on her. She was a bit swollen, bruised and cut up from the forceps, but I got to stroke her very soft cheek, and see she was actually nice and pink like Osgar said. With the birth ending up as an unplanned c-section with worries over her airways, there wasn't any skin on skin time or delayed cord clamping, but I'm not worried about that now as she was well which is the most important thing. Amusingly, I managed to make sure the NeoNatal team knew I had colostrum for her somewhere in the hospital.

After she had been taken to the neonatal ward, and I had been stitched up and topped up with lovely lovely drugs, I was introduced to the night midwife and taken back to my room on labour ward to be cleaned up and after a while Tom reappeared looking comical in his scrubs. About 11pm he was allowed to the NeoNatal ward to see her, and took some more photos for me.

I treasure the memory of sitting in recovery post labour after Tom had been to see her in NeoNatal talking about her curly hair and chin dimple just like Tom's and messaging friends and family to say she'd arrived.The curly hair turned out to be where she was covered in gunk, but we didn't know that yet! Our midwife suggested we tuck some muslins down our tops to smell like us to send down to neonatal which we duly did.

About 1am, they wheeled my bed down to NeoNatal, and as her bed was by the door, I could lie right next to her.Lydia hadn't needed to be intubated and was recieving oxygen through a tube. They did think she might need to be on the ward for a week, but in the end she was only there for 24 hours, and thanks to my antenatally expressed colostrum, only ever had my milk. I was so glad I did that. She also was on a bed rather than in an incubator which made me happy. They had her on her front to help with the breathing, and she had a lot of wires and monitors on her. It did all look a bit scary but the nurses explained what everything was and I got to stroke her. She just had her nappy on, and was using our muslins as a sheet. I felt so much better for having seen her.

After a while I was very tired, and though I didn't want to leave her, I asked to be taken back to the ward. Tom reluctantly went home to sleep, and I had a lovely strip wash with the help of the midwife as I was sweaty disgusting mess at this point. I also had the famous best tasting cup of tea and toast, as I was starving! I'd not eaten for over 24 hours bar some orange juice and water. Shortly after I was transferred to a ward with other mums who had babies in NeoNatal, was helped into my pjs and slept.

Tom arrived the following morning and we went down to see Lydia again. I was asked if I wanted to try breastfeeding and we gave it a go despite all the wires. Holding a wiggly naked bar a nappy baby with lots of wires and a cannula was hard word, but the clever girl knew exactly what she was doing, rooting around and latching on right away. Breastfeeding for me was an odd and tender sensation, but I was lucky that it wasn't very painful and soon all pain went away. Both my parents and Tom's Mum came to visit her in NeoNatal on that first day and where she was managing her breathing just fine, she came up to the ward in the evening, meaning we were apart for only 24 hours. Tom and I had a lovely hour or so with her before his visiting time was up.

My first night alone with her was a bit of a shock, and I could have done with a briefing on what to expect as I couldn't remember anything from my antenatal classes and was sore and wobbly from the c-section. I could only remember to keep her at the boob and that she'd fall asleep whilst feeding from the effort of sucking the sticky colostrum, so to try one side, change her nappy, and give her the other side and tickle her whilst feeding. If I was going to remember one thing, that was the right one as she took to feeding well, for which I am very grateful. She woke every hour and a half that first night which left me feeling drained and exhausted and counting down the hours till Tom arrived. The staff told me off for not buzzing enough for help lifting her, so I took their advice for the rest of the stay and buzzed for help getting her in and out the cot which helped with my c-section recovery. Especially as I found it more comfortable to feed in a chair, and so needed both hands to get out the chair.

We soon got into the swing of hospital life as she was kept in for 5 days for antibiotics to prevent a meconium induced infection catching on. I had my baby blues on day 2 and cried a lot for mainly happy reasons, like how adorable my husband looked holding the baby. My milk came in on day three, and my boobs were enormous and hard which freaked me out until she fed. As an extrovert I felt better for having visitors. I was also glad that our lovely midwives and anesthetist popped by to check on me so I was able to thank them in person. We're so grateful for their kindness and support and blessed by how they went beyond their duty for us. I don't think we'd feel so positive if it wasn't for them. Tom was an amazing support to me too, and I want to thank him for taking such good care of me, from helping advocate for me to helping me wash. You're the best.

Here's a link to my birth preferences plan in case anyone find it useful. I used the positive birth icons. I found thinking through all the possible scenarios helpful such as what I might want in instance of a caesarean and so on helped me feel calmer.


Other highlights from these early weeks:

Tom cuddling her on her quiet morning of being alert and telling her about all the things she could see out the window.

Watching Tom examine and adore her. Feeling overwhelmed and happy that he was bonding with her.

How smitten all her family is with her. Wanting to be near her and to touch her.

Coping with poo splosions on my own in the night

Working out that feed a bit then change a nappy then feed a bit would make for a good long feed

Little furry ears and back

Her little turtle neck stretching out when she's milk drunk

Trying to suck the hand in a splint with a cannula in

Headbutting you when she wants things like burping or feeding

Happiness being Lying on the hospital bed with Tom in the last half an hour of visiting time, with the baby asleep just holding each other, absolutely exhausted.


Other tips:
Tena lady maximum strength pads much nicer and better at staying put for post partum bleeding than other brands or hospital issue.

Take orange juice and prunes in your hospital bag and drink all the water going to prevent post partum constipation.

Antenally expressing colostrum is probably good for everyone, but seems to be especially good for people with PCOS or Gestational Diabetes.

Think through all reasonable possibilities on your birth preferences plan. Especially if you're a first time mum, as you're more likely to be overdue, be induced, and therefore need interventions. That's one of the reasons I decided to go for an epidural if the pain became too unbearable, as I knew I statistically more likely to have interventions and I didn't want to fanny around waiting for opiates to leave my system. 

Some thoughts on the early days of breastfeeding

Before the milk comes in, just keep feeding as much as possible. You will feel like you don't have enough colostrum, but you do. The more you feed the more comes in.

Swap sides each time, and tickle their neck or feet or change their nappy if they seem to come off and fall asleep after a short 10min feed. Then put them back on and don't stop till they come off of their own accord again. Even if it feels like they're on there for ages. Aiming for about 20mins feeding minus burping or nappy time. Sleep as long as they like in between.

After milk comes in, don't let them sleep more than 3 hours ish, then wake to feed if they haven't already. Feed from one side until baby comes off of own accord, burp nappy etc, then put back on same side and drain boob. If baby still looks hungry then offer other boob. Start from the second side the next time. So if left then a bit of right on feed 1, start with right on feed 2. Keep going till the baby stops.

If things are difficult, every midwife or support worker in hospital will end up giving you different advice, if you find something works, stick with it, and tell every midwife the thing that worked. Don't expect them to have put what worked for you in the notes or told the rest of the team mid shift.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Reminder to my self to think before I speak

"Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? If it isn't all three, it shouldn't be said."

From elmstreetlife

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Reasons my mum is awesome number 4567

She smuggled her guinea pig in her bag  into a carehome to visit an elderly friend who loved guinea pigs.