Gossip Girl, sleepless nights… Oh, and a baby!

 So… It’s been a while! But for all who we’re waiting and wondering, if you haven’t already heard, we added another little boy to our bundle on the 31st March! A scheduled induction due to medical issues that resulted in a hard and fast labour and a baby boy who shot out like a rocket (though I distinctly remember saying “I don’t think I can push one more time”) resulting in a beautiful miracle who doesn’t sleep. Or at least, doesn’t sleep during the night!

I’m tempted to write my birth story this time, because I didn’t with my first, but I don’t know of people like reading that sort of stuff! And I would never impose that on any still-pregnant lady, although funnily enough they’re often the ones who want to hear those stories the most!!

But in between the marathon sessions of Gossip Girl that cover the marathon middle-of-the-night feeding sessions, I thought I should at least let you all know I’m alive and well! With three amazing boys who I love with all my heart. Outnumbered indeed, in the best possible way. 

So expect posts on how breastfeeding the second time around is completely different to the first, ways to settle a newborn that do (and don’t) work, what it’s like having two under two (for at least a couple of months), and how wonderful my boys are and how life would be so amazing if I could just sleep for more than two hours straight!

Thanks for reading! Come find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/mumwriting or on Twitter at @mumwriting and let me know what else you’d like to hear about! The first few weeks with a new baby at home are full of things people are Googling every day at 2am!! I’d be happy to add my voice to the list of opinions! 

Advertisements

Friday Five 20/03/15 – Five Things I’ll Miss About Being Pregnant

When it gets to this stage in a pregnancy, it’s so easy to start saying “I can’t wait for this to all be over” and “as soon as possible please baby!” I know, because I’ve said them and I’ll probably keep saying them! Because pregnancy can be hard, and by this point, you really want to meet your baby and have your body back, minus the sickness, fatigue, swelling and other symptoms.

So, in this week of spicy food eating, gym ball bouncing and hopeful prayers, I wanted to try and be a little positive and remember the good things about being pregnant. These are the top things I’ll actually miss about this time…

1) Knowing my baby is completely safe at all times.

When he’s inside of me, wriggling away, not only do I know where he is, who’s holding him and that he is safe and sound, I also don’t have to worry about when he was last fed, or last slept. He’s completely taken care of inside me. I don’t have to worry about his big brother driving cars over his face or waking him from an elusive nap. He’s protected in there.

As soon as I had my first baby, I had probably hundreds more things to worry about than I ever did while I was pregnant. That’s only going to double when I have this baby. At least, for now, I can relax knowing he’s safe and sound and completely at peace inside me!

2) The lovely things people say.

In all honesty, I’ve never felt that pregnancy makes me “glow”… but it doesn’t stop people saying it!! Nor does it stop people saying how little weight they think I’ve put on or how lovely my bump looks. People are very forthcoming with compliments when you’re pregnant and even when you don’t feel it, it’s lovely to hear. 

I’ll miss the regular compliments because, let’s face it, once the baby is born it’s time for the dry shampoo, hair in a bun, leggings and vest tops that are so easy to live in post-birth! And that’s ok, you have to feel comfortable for the first few months after baby while you’re settling into this new life. And after that the hard work starts to get back into some kind of shape!!

3) Never being alone. 

I love that being pregnant means I’m never alone. I recently had a nights stay in hospital and, even though I welled up when my husband left and I thought of my little boy going to sleep without a goodnight kiss, it was lovely to feel the baby squirm and know that I was still with my family. You’re never alone when you’re pregnant, you’ve got constant company.

And  it’s company that doesn’t mind watching Gossip Girl with you and going to bed early. It’s company that is happy if you take a nap in the middle of the day or just relax on the sofa for an hour in your pyjamas. And that’s the kind of company I love!

4) Feeling the complete essence of “girl power”. 

No, I don’t mean the Spice Girls version of girl power (although, #vivaforever – I ❤ the Spice Girls). No, I mean that being pregnant, growing a baby inside me and preparing to somehow (!) push it out is what my body is made to do. 

I know there are many women out there who can’t give birth and I could never understand their pain, frustration, anger or sadness over that. It is another of life’s mysteries that I will never understand. Only God knows why these things happen and I’m sure those ladies will have deep conversations with God one day about it. All I can do is be thankful that I have been given this opportunity and make the most of it on behalf of all those women who can’t do this. I admire them.

5) … 

I’m actually struggling to think of a fifth thing! As much as all of the above is true, I really do just want my baby to be here and to see him interacting with his big brother. Pregnancy has not been easy for me, but I must must must try to stay positive in these last weeks! 

What are the things you will/do miss about being pregnant? Maybe your ideas will help me to think of something else!!

Thanks for reading! Please comment, like, share and retweet because every single one of those things makes me smile 🙂 come find me and have a chat on Facebook at Facebook.com/mumwriting or Twitter at @mumwriting. Let me know your positives from pregnancy! I can’t wait to hear them…

How to Dress Post-Baby

dress
Aside from the “Great Dress Debate” of the past week or so (don’t ask me what colour it is – I’ve seen it both ways!) fashion is always something people are talking about. Whether it’s what someone wore down the red carpet or the tracksuit a celebrity was spotted in when they popped out to get milk, you can pretty much tell that someone is always watching.

When you make the decision to start having kids, you almost have to accept straight away that your wardrobe will change and evolve with your role. To start, there are the short-shorts and the bikinis that you know will have to go away for at least a while (if not forever – as a mum of boys I feel I may have to re-evaluate some of my pre-baby clothes).

Whilst pregnant you will, of course, opt for comfort over fashion, though it is possible to achieve both. However, there will inevitably be times when you can’t be bothered to put together an outfit and instead you just want to pull on pyjamas or leggings and a t-shirt. Fair play, I think, in pregnancy. Just the other night I spent half the evening in actual trousers (comfy ones) but switched to leggings because the waistband was digging in where I think the baby’s head has dropped to. Comfort is the name of the game, especially at this late stage!

But after baby comes a choice – return to fashion, stick with function (especially if breastfeeding) or try to merge the two. Having been through that period once before, here’s how I plan to handle it this time around.

Strappy vests and floaty tops: I’m not shelling out £15 for a specific nursing vest top. Call me frugal but I would rather buy 6 or 7 cheap vest tops from (shock horror) Primark, knowing that they’ll probably get stained with milk or baby sick and I can throw them away afterwards. They pull down easily and, with a range of colours, you’ll always be able to at least match something with them. Over the top of a strappy vest, I would pick a floaty top. That way, if you are nursing, you can pull that top up and the vest down, giving you great cover to be discreet and not draw attention to yourself.

Long cardigans: Again, great for nursing and gives you fantastic cover, but they are also great for your figure. Post-baby there’s always bits that you’d rather hide and long cardigans do a great job of that. Not only do they elongate your figure (especially if they come down past your bum!) but they will make whatever’s inside the cardigan seem smaller, so that post-baby tummy is buried beneath the woollen layers!

Tight bottom halves: whether it’s leggings, jeans or skirts, figure hugging bottoms can do wonders. For a start, wherever you’ve put weight on, you’ll lose it first off those places it wouldn’t normally be, like your face and/or legs. So choosing slim-fitting bottoms evens out the whole image, especially if you’re going for the layered look on top. If you feel stuck between your pre-pregnancy jeans and your maternity pair, think about borrowing or investing in a pair that feel good now, rather than ones that used to fit or ones that you’re aiming to fit into. You’ll always feel good if you have a pair of jeans that fit well.

Flat shoes: Carrying a baby and all their paraphernalia can be tricky, even more so with a toddler in tow as well. Think flat, comfortable but stylish. I will probably continue to live in the flat shoes I’ve been wearing throughout pregnancy – boots, ballerina-style pumps and converse-esque trainers. All flat, comfy and still fashionable.

Jumpers: There will be some days when you’ll feel so down about your body that you will just want to hide away under a jumper. That’s OK, on some days. But these will be the days when your husband needs to step up his game, tell you that you’re beautiful, how proud he is of you and how he can’t believe his luck. It’s good to have a few cosy jumpers on hand, but it helps if they’re ones that you like, rather than ones that make you feel frumpy.

All in all ladies, post-baby, you have to do whatever you can to make yourself feel comfy and good. The two can mix, and when you hit the right combination not only do you feel more like yourself, but you can see that hint of yummy-mummy appearing. And the more you see that, the bigger it’ll get until you can give yourself that title and feel proud of it.

Because you are a yummy mummy – after all, someone found you attractive enough to put you in this position in the first place!!

That’s my fashion-plan for the next few months – what are your tips and tricks for a post-baby wardrobe?

Friday Five 27/02/15 – Five Things I Want My First Child to Know Before My Second Child Arrives

IMG_5474 - CopyIn just a few weeks we’ll be welcoming the arrival of our second little boy. As yet, he remains nameless but healthy and that’s all that matters! He has been a wonder to carry but it will be another nine months of health issues and anxiety that I’ll be happy to put behind me as we start the next chapter of our lives.

But in doing so I recognise that there are a few things I really want my first child to know before baby number two makes his appearance. After all, I doubt he’ll remember anything of these first two years with us before our family of one-two-three became four. 

It’s lovely that he’ll always think of us as having been a unit of four, a solid square that can withstand anything, but I guess in these first two years we’ve been more of a triangle. My husband and I have poured more love and energy into this boy than we ever did with anything before. No project was ever as big as this, no mountain was ever as tiring, no achievement was ever as rewarding. 

 So, baby boy (I won’t be able to call you that for much longer!), here are five things that I want you to know before your baby brother leaves the safe space of ‘Mummy’s Tummy’ and enters our world. 

 1) You were (and still are) so wanted.

We planned and prepared to change from a one-two into a three. We wanted you so much and were so sad when our first pregnancy ended in loss. But we know now that if that first baby had survived then we wouldn’t have had you. We would have loved that baby with as much ferocity as we love you, but he/she would not have been you

 Our tears shed on that day only served to lead us to the point of wanting you more. The fear when I started bleeding at 7 weeks, and then again at 11 weeks, of my pregnancy with you will never compare to the complete and utter love we felt when we saw your little face on the ultrasound screen – and even more so when we saw it on the day you were born. 

 2) The day you were born was hard.

I won’t lie. I generally don’t tell people about your birth, and will probably never tell you unless you ask. But it wasn’t an easy one. Nor was it easy for your dad who had to watch me go through so much pain. I steer clear of “birth story” sharing with other pregnant ladies because I don’t want to scare them. It was tough and probably (hopefully) the hardest day of my life. I pray every day that your baby brother comes out with more ease than you. 

 You are a fighter and a survivor and I am so thankful for that instinct in you. I hope and pray it grows to make you a resilient and dedicated man. Your wife and children will appreciate those qualities. 

 3) The day you were born was worth it.

Despite my prayers of an easier second birth, I would go through that day every day if it meant keeping you safe and well. It may not have been easy but it was so worth it. We have one photo from not too long after your birth where I am holding you and there are smears of blood on my hand – I love it. It encapsulates everything from that morning. As does the photo of you asleep, cradled in the curve of my arm with the cannula in the background, transfusing blood into me so that we could go home as soon as possible.

They tell the story of you, me and your Daddy – and I would do it all again every day if it meant keeping you safe and well. 

You, and the life ahead of you, were worth every moment. Never forget that. When a kid trips you up or a girl turns you down, when your grades aren’t great or an employer says no – remember that you are worth so much and always will be to me and your Daddy. 

 4) Our family of three was great.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with our little family of three. I know you’re probably too young to understand a lot of what is going on, and maybe we’ll be lucky and skip the sibling jealousy, but we’re not having your baby brother because three wasn’t enough. There were nights we lay in bed and marvelled at the fact that we were a three, and how lucky we were that the third was you.

Your baby brother will enhance our family. He is not coming to fix us, but to improve us. Had we forever been a three we would have been just as happy with our lot. 

God granted us a little number four and we know that the experience of having a sibling was and is something we want for you because we had that experience ourselves. One day we may well find ourselves a one-two-three-four-five, but there are no plans for that. Your baby brother will make your life even better, the way you made our lives so much better. Our one-two-three was amazing – never doubt that. 

 5) There will always be time for you.

Life with a newborn can be hectic and foggy. Sleepless nights, tiring days, visitors who come all at once and then go, leaving the four of us to muddle through the best we can until we find our rhythm. But know this – there will always be time for you. Though there will be feedings and more nappies and maybe a baby who won’t sleep anywhere other than on Mummy or Daddy, there will always be time for you. Whatever you want to tell us will be heard, whatever you want to show us will be seen, whatever you want to do with us will be done (within reason, baby boy – I’m not eating Cheerios off the carpet with you!) 

 We are fortunate enough to be surrounded by family. Your grandparents will always have time for you. Your extended family will always have time for you. Our friends who have become like family will always be there for you. Whether it’s a drum lesson or some cuddles you’re after, a kick around or a place to crash when you’re mad at us… both we and they will provide that space and time for you – for your beautiful little face and your amazing big personality. 

 Our love for you will not split with the arrival of your brother. Rather, our hearts will grow to accommodate extra love, extra time, extra vitality and strength. Your space will not get squashed. Our triangle becomes a square. Our one-two-three becomes a four. You were a fantastic only child but you’ll be an even better big brother. 

Thanks so much for reading! Please like, share, comment and retweet – your encouragement means so much. Come and find me on Facebook at facebook.com/mumwriting or Twitter at @mumwriting. Have a lovely weekend 🙂

Friday Five 13/02/2015 – Five Reasons I Won’t be Seeing Fifty Shades of Grey this Weekend.

P0052_036Five Reasons I Won’t Be Seeing Fifty Shades of Grey This Weekend

So there’s this film coming out. You’ve probably heard about it. It’s based on a book written not too long ago. I know plenty of people who’ve read it. In fact, I started to read the first one because it came preloaded with some other best sellers on my Kindle. I think I probably read just under half of it.

And then I stopped. And despite “Mr Grey” being a Once Upon a Time actor whom I would have liked to have seen act in something else, Fifty Shades isn’t on our list of things to do this weekend. Why?

1) My husband and I already have Valentines plans.

They are to sit and watch the most recent episode of the Blacklist, to tick off another idea pulled out of our date night jar (which is to do a couples quiz and then discuss our answers), and to eat our favourite foods. That’s it, that’s all we have planned. Some may find that a bit sad. It’s not sad. Nor is it comfortable. We will be doing something we enjoy together, learning new things about each other and enjoying eating things without sharing them with our child!

We will be spending time together – time that matters in a busy life with a new-born on the way in a few weeks. What better Valentine gift to give than our time, that so easily slips away from us to other things?

2) I respect my husband and he respects me.

No one can escape the Fifty Shades articles that have been flying around recently, but I’ve done my best. Why? Because I’m not interested. I respect my husband too much to expect him to sit through what is essentially a film from a book written so that women can swoon and imagine what a different life would be like. I don’t need a different life.

Nor does my husband, and it’s not just the idea of the book/film, it’s the content. I think we’re all pretty clear where Fifty Shades goes. My husband respects me too much to want, need or expect me to act the way the characters in the book/film do. And I love that about him.

3) Things change when you have kids. Or maybe sons? I’m sure other mums can give their opinions on this, but I want to bring my sons up in such a way that I teach them to respect women. That will start with them learning to respect me and continue, eventually, with their future wives.

How the character in this story acts is not how I want my sons to act. It’s not how I want them to treat women, so why set that example for them now by going to see this film that’s whole intention is to make me want to be treated that way?

4) I am heavily pregnant and the girl in this film is a stick.

Nothing against skinny people – I used to be one! (Isn’t the word skinny awful? Slim, I should say.) But at 32 and a half weeks pregnant, I’m not sure seeing a tiny girl writhing around is going to make me feel any better about how I feel right now. My aching back and pelvis, the extra weight I’ve put on my face, my daily changing body shape is all a hugely amazing gift from God because it means I’m carrying a tiny (pretty big) boy.

But that doesn’t mean I want to be reminded of it by seeing a slim (see, that’s better) brunette, in gorgeous clothes who’s had her hair and make up done by a skilled team of professionals, being seduced in front of me. Because it reminds me that right now I am huge, aching constantly, dealing with Braxton Hicks regularly and feeling feet digging into my ribs. Happy Valentines Day (not)!

5) For me, Valentines Day means something else.

From a very young age, my sister and I both received Valentines cards. Every year. I’m not being big headed – they were from our dad. We knew that and he knew that we knew. But it made the day special. We went to school with smiles on our faces. Ever since then, Valentines day has meant reminding someone just how wonderful they are.

It’s a day to feel loved, to be made to feel special and wanted – just like every other day of the year. But people forget in the day to day chaos of life how special they are and sometimes need reminding. So that’s what Valentines day does. In the whirlwind of life that gets us all stressed, emotional and constantly bombarded with real life, this is one day, maybe one card, perhaps even one person or picture or greeting as you walk into work that says “Happy Valentines Day” and reminds you that you’re special. You’re someone to be remembered and treasured and valued. I’ll write one card for the one person who, above everyone else, makes me feel valued to remind him just how valuable he is to me.

So why would I spoil that intimacy with a film about a book that was written to satisfy millions?

Thanks for reading! I know there are a lot of opinions on this topic, so from this I’ll keep my mouth shut, but if you agree with anything I’ve written please like, share, retweet or comment. Your opinions matter. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/mumwriting or Twitter at @mumwriting

<div align=”center”><a href=”http://mumsdays.com&#8221; title=”Mums’ Days”><img src=”http://mumsdays.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Badge-sml.jpg&#8221; alt=”Mums’ Days” style=”border:none;” /></a></div>

Reality Setting In – 32 weeks and counting…

IMG_3007
I’m registered with the What to Expect website, have the book and use the app when I forget how many weeks I am (apparently with baby number two it’s less “counting down the days” and more “where did the days go?”) Every so often I get an email from them. I usually delete it without reading them – after all, I read them all meticulously with the first. However, recently things have started to catch my eye.

Other mums due in April are packing hospital bags. If I’m 100% honest, packing a hospital bag hadn’t even crossed my mind yet. I mean, I haven’t been out to buy maternity pads yet or washed any baby clothes in readiness.

All of our baby clothes are in the loft.

The ridiculous amount of preparation that was a part of the build up to baby number one has drifted with baby number two. We said we were going to get our big kid in a bed before the baby arrived… no bed yet. Infant car seat? Loft. Pram attachment for pushchair? Loft.

The one thing I have done is ordered baby nappies – there was an offer. But only size 2 so we’ll probably want some smaller ones first anyway. I bought a nursing top to take into hospital with me. But only because it was on offer in Aldi. And now people are packing hospital bags.

Who are these people? And do they have two toothbrushes? Do they have special “hospital wear” that they can pack now and know they won’t need until then? Do they have an extra comb?

The other thing that I noticed the other day? Pain in my pelvis. Not in my ribs anymore, as has been the case for the past couple of months. Pain at the bottom, not the top. We’re moving downwards folks!

I got the gym ball out because it eases so much of the achiness and, when I can get it off my child who thinks it’s hilarious to throw around a giant ball, it’s really helpful. But I don’t think we actually bought the gym ball the first time around until at least 35 weeks and my stomach is definitely bigger now than it was at this stage last time.

“Have you got everything ready?” is the question people like to ask at the moment. “No!” The answer is no, because in my head I’m still somewhere between 12 and 20 weeks pregnant and think I have all the time in the world. I don’t even have anywhere for the baby to sleep yet. We could use the Moses basket from last time but if he’s another whopper he won’t fit in it very long and I’m not putting a 12 week old in a room with a two year old! I’ve been looking at BedNests but haven’t ordered one.

In fact, I’ve done nothing.

32 weeks and counting…

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read – take a look around to find posts on other parenting issues like the “Mummy Tummy” or how your friendships change when you have children. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/mumwriting or on Twitter at @mumwriting. All of your likes, shares, comments and retweets are appreciated – you’re stars!

The List

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Friday Five 06/02/2015 – Five Things That Scare Me about Being a Mum of Two

IMG_2413
I can’t wait to have two kids. I really, honestly, can’t. I’m so looking forward to seeing them interact and learn about each other and, eventually, play together. But I can’t say the prospect is totally fear-free. In fact, there are a few things that I’m scared of…

1) Mealtimes

This is probably my biggest fear. I remember not long after having my first, being proud of myself for managing to get the tea on the table and the baby asleep at the same time so that my husband and I could eat an evening meal together. How am I going to do that whilst entertaining a toddler as well? Yes, he’s getting better at playing by himself and the likes of Peppa Pig are often a blessing – especially when I’m trying to make dinner! But with a baby too? A baby who, in the first few months, is going to be totally unpredictable in terms of feeding, sleeping and pooing.

Mealtimes are something we’re working on with my little one at the moment. He loves finger food and hates actual meals like Stir Fry or Pasta Bolognese. So we’re working on a schedule with him at the moment where one day we eat a meal that I know has at least two preferred foods of his in, and then the next day we have a regular family meal. He’s just having to deal with it and it’s hard. (Strategies welcomed!) But doing all of that AND feeding a baby? Aargh!

2) Bedtimes

We have a great routine at the moment, but that will all change as we hope to get the first one into a bed before baby comes! So it’ll be all change there. But it’s so handy having two adults and one child to deal with. We tag team and it works well. But what do bigger families do?

Do two-child families have a kid each? Do you take it in turns so that each parent gets a night off? Or is it just all hands on deck, whatever goes? Again, strategies for this kind of thing would be great! Can we bath a baby at the same time as bathing a two year old? (The eldest only has oil in the bath because he has dry skin patches). Or will we have to do two bath times, two bedtimes and two routines entirely?

3) TV Judgement

Can we be honest here for a minute? Yes, our child watches TV. He also uses the iPad. Now, out of the two of them, we actually prefer iPad time because of the interaction, but he does have a couple of favourite programmes and (as I mentioned) Peppa is a genius at getting dinner ready!

Of course, we won’t just plonk the baby down in front of the TV. And there’ll be the new added element of sibling interaction to take some attention away from TV time. But when our two year old needs that quiet moment with Mr Tumble after an upset or an episode (or two) of Peppa so that tea can be ready on time… that’ll be when the health visitor turns up and sees a baby in the same room as a toddler and a TV. My second child’s first word will be Tumble. I can see it now. I’m not looking forward to the judgement (as there always is) about screen time.

We will be as adept as we can be at providing other activities for the two of them. But I think there may well always be time for Tumble…

4) Getting ready to leave the house

It’s already hard enough to get “coat, shoes, hat…” sorted for the boy whilst finding my boots, coat, scarf, keys, phone, purse and whatever else. I swear we carry the world around in that changing bag! I downsized at Christmas and got an absolutely beautiful, patterned bag in readiness for the new baby. I chucked out everything unnecessary that had found its way into that blasted thing and restocked and reorganised my beautiful new one. It works lovely at the weekends. Not so much on Grandparent Days (currently my working days) during which they might want his wellies, or posher clothes, or clothes for getting dirty in, or a waterproof coat, or extra nappies or… anything! I never know, so I try to stuff it all in there. We’re still using the old bag for that!

Will my beautiful new bag stay beautiful and not get completely ruined by the addition of extra nappies, muslins, spare clothes and bottles? I’m sure our old changing bag used to be lovely once… How is it going to be possible to get both of them ready, not sick or pooey or muddy, but dressed and clean AND myself on days when my husband isn’t in?

5) This may well be us.

Number four. This could be it. The last one. There are no plans for another. There were always plans for another after the first, despite how badly pregnancy and birth treated me! Now there are no plans other than to keep the four of us healthy and happy.

I’m not sad about that. If I was sad there would have been serious discussions and we would have come to some form of agreement, even if it was an agreement that for now we wouldn’t talk about it but maybe one day… There is no “one day…” discussion waiting to happen. So if I’m not sad about it, why does it scare me that maybe this is it? Can other mums shed some light?

Is it just that I need other friends to continually have children so that I can always enjoy new-born cuddles? Or is waiting for grandchildren my next round of nappies and muslins? I hope not, I’m only 25!!

Is this just the motherly instinct? Will that always be there? For now, let’s just deal with getting this one out safe and the eldest used to all the changes. Because there are a lot to come…

Thanks for reading! If you share some of the same worries, or have ways of dealing with them, PLEASE share your expertise. You can find me on Facebook at facebook.com/mumwriting or on Twitter at @mumwriting. You guys are brilliant, and your likes, shares, retweets and comments make me happy! Happy Friday!

The List