Friday, 31 October 2014

Me and Mine {October 2014}

I'm delighted to be joining in for the second time with the Me and Mine linky. I have two special photos this month.

October has been a momentous month for our family: we made the gigantic leap from being a family of three to becoming a foursome on 12th October when our beautiful second son was born.  My first family portrait for this month is the very first photograph of all four of us together, taken in the hospital.  It's just a phone shot, and I look terrible in it, but it means the world to me.

The second of my family portraits was taken ten days later on my husband's birthday, complete with a Colin the Caterpillar Cake. I love the way the candlelight is catching our faces.

It seems so weird that at the beginning of October I was 35 weeks pregnant, just started maternity leave and ready to get some much needed rest before the arrival of our second child.  And now, at the end of the month, I am mummy to two little boys.

October has been so busy; the second half of the month has gone by in a complete blur.  We have experienced such joy, yet such terror.  We now have the most beautiful second little boy to love, but we went through such anguish when he was admitted to hospital with suspected meningitis at 5 days old, something which I will be blogging about in the next few days, when these crazy newborn days give me some more time. 

We also celebrated G's 43rd birthday, and took the Second Boy on his first family outing to pick a pumpkin.

This month, I have loved:

* Kissing my baby's velvety little head over and over again
* Being able to reach to fasten my shoes at last
* Not having to go to work
* Watching my First Boy cuddle my newborn
* Having so much support from G on paternity leave
* Taking photos of my two boys
* tiny baby outfits filling the house with the scent of baby washing powder

G has loved:

* Celebrating his birthday with his two boys
* Terry's Chocolate Orange
* Cuddling the Second Boy on his chest
* feeling proud of his First Boy's reaction to his new brother
* Family Autumn days out

The First Boy has loved:

* Being introduced to playing games on the Wii
* Baby brother being out ('I didn't like him when he was in your tummy, Mummy, but I like him now he's out.')
* Getting his very own box of Guylian chocolates as a present from his new brother
* Learning new songs at pre-school ('I had  a little turtle, his name was Tiny Tim')
* Beans with Sausages on toast
*Stroking his baby brother's head

The Second Boy has loved:

* Mummy's milk
* Doing lots and lots of sleeping
* His comfy Moses basket
* Listening to the sounds of his Daddy's voice
* Being snuggled up tight
* Looking at his black and white baby books

I am really looking forward to life slowing down a little bit and to getting into more of a routine.  October has been amazing for our family but also so stressful.

dear beautiful

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Settling in with the second boy

After a night's stay in hospital, we were ready to take the Second Boy home.  My blood pressure was stabilising and the Second Boy was doing well, although he was very sleepy.  I felt much better than I did after delivering the First Boy - no stitches definitely makes a difference!
Skin to skin with Daddy
My mum came to visit, bringing the First Boy with her.  It was a beautiful moment when he walked in holding a 'It's a Boy!' balloon (which he afterwards lost to the blustery wind when we walked to the car), his little face searching for me amongst the hospital beds.  He didn't seem at all phased by our new addition to the family, and gave his little brother a kiss on the head.
Meeting his little brother

Meeting Nanny S

Going home in his star suit
When we got home, it felt kind of strange.  We were now a family of four and had the demands of two little people to attend to.  The First Boy was excited but showed no signs of being put out or jealous, and the Second Boy was just sleeping, sleeping, sleeping, rousing only when I woke him up for a feed.
Not enjoying his first ever bath!

Happier now he's all wrapped up

Feeling so happy and blessed

Bonding with Daddy
We had a blissful few days just settling in, figuring out our new foursome, trying to get breastfeeding off to a good start, and rediscovering how to bathe, change and hold a newborn.

Blissed out after a feed

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Birth Story {Part Three}

Click here to read Part One and Part Two of the Second Boy's Birth Story

 I had arrived at the hospital for a routine CTG, but due to high blood pressure and protein found in my urine, I was told I was being admitted overnight for monitoring.  A consultant then informed me that I would be induced that very evening.  Once in the Labour Suite my induction was started early Saturday evening, and, as nothing seemed to be happening, G went home at midnight to get some rest . . .
At 4am I was woken by some mild tummy pains, and realised that this could be it, the start of labour. The pains got steadily stronger over the next hour, and at 5am I called Emma in to let her know that I thought things were starting.  She examined me a short while later; I could hardly keep still on the bed as it was incredibly painful.  Emma became a little impatient with me squirming about, but I just couldn't help it.  She discovered I was 3cm dilated. Things really were starting.
At about 6.15am I rang G to let him know that it was time to come to the hospital, and that I thought he should be there before 7.30am, but not to rush.  As soon as I'd made the call, my pains started to ramp up to the point where I needed some gas and air to help me cope.  Having previously expressed a preference for an epidural, a doctor arrived to insert a cannula and take some blood which, due to my high blood pressure, they needed to test before an anaesthetist would administer an epidural.  By this point I was really having to concentrate on getting through each contraction by pulling heavily on the gas and air.  I was surprised that, in contrast to my labour with the First Boy, this time I did feel some benefit from the Entonox.
Soon I was wheeled through to a delivery room which I was told was more suitable for epidural births.  But there was still no sign of the epidural, nor of G.  The contractions now began to merge into one continuous pain with no respite between them, and I started to demand and then beg for my epidural.  It couldn't be given, the midwives explained, as the blood test results were not ready yet.  I realised that I was going to have to give birth with just gas and air.
G arrived at 7.15am, as I was puffing furiously on the gas and air.  He looked shocked to see me obviously so far advanced in labour.
Then things started to go wrong.  My baby's heartrate plummeted suddenly. I could hear the reassuring rapid thud of his heart slow to one beat every couple of seconds. I was yelled at to get on my left side.  I struggled to do so but it made no difference to the heartrate.  The atmosphere in the room changed to panic.  G was ordered to remove my jewellery, but couldn't get my watch to unclasp.  I screwed my eyes tightly shut and didn't open them again throughout the whole thing.  Medical staff rushed into the room and spoke in urgent voices about an emergency Caesarean section, when suddenly, I felt a gush as someone broke my waters and I heard the words 'fully dilated'.
I felt my legs being pulled back and I was yelled at by several different voices to 'Push!'  I bore down with all my strength, so terrified that we were going to lose our baby son.   After only a couple of minutes I felt an intense whole body pressure and I pushed out our second precious son into the world at 7.50am, swiftly followed by his placenta.
He didn't cry and was whisked over to the resuscitaire.  Thankfully, all he needed was a brisk rub-down before he took his first breath and was delivered onto my stomach.  He was weighed at 5lb 11oz. So tiny.  At this point I opened my eyes and saw our little boy for the very first time.  Love at first sight.  And such incredible relief.
Just born

Birth story {Part Two}

 I had arrived at the hospital for a routine CTG, but due to high blood pressure and protein found in my urine, I was told I was being admitted overnight for monitoring.  A consultant then informed me that I would be induced that very evening . . .

I arrived in the Labour Suite in the early evening.  I must have looked stunned as the midwives waiting to greet me asked me why I looked so shocked.  We explained that I had only come to the hospital for a CTG and that I was only 37 weeks pregnant.
I was taken into a small but cosy room by a brisk but kind midwife called Jackie and waited for my mum to arrive to stay with me while G went home to collect my hospital bag.  I had a relaxing bath and tried to gather myself for imminent labour.  It felt very strange, knowing that my son was shortly to be born yet I was not feeling any signs of labour.
Jackie gave me a steroid injection in my thigh to ensure that the baby's lungs were mature enough, which was quite stingy.  Another midwife called Emma then arrived to administer the Prostin gel for my induction.  I have to say that this was one of the worst parts of the whole experience. It was so painful, and I'm not sure why.  I think they thought I was making a bit of a fuss, but I actually have quite a high pain threshold.  My first midwife, Jackie, then said goodbye as her shift was finishing, and left me with Emma.
Mum and I then read some magazines, chatted and, having obtained a TV, watched a bit of the X Factor.  G then came back and Mum left us to it, although she looked reluctant to leave!  As nothing was happening by about midnight, we decided that G should go back home and get some sleep in preparation for what was to come.  We said an emotional good night. 
At 1.15am I was given another, stronger dose of the Prostin gel, which was even more excruciating than the first.  It made me cry.  After that was done, I asked for something to help me sleep and took some Temezepam.  I wanted some energy for the labour ahead of me.  Emma said that she'd leave me to sleep and come back around 5am to check on me.  I think I fell asleep around 2am.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Birth story {Part One}

On Tuesday 7th October, at 36+3 weeks pregnant, I went for my last routine growth scan. I'd had three of these scans in the preceding weeks, standard procedure when you're classed as having a high risk pregnancy.  The sonographer seemed happy, but when we spoke to the doctor afterwards she was a little concerned that the baby's growth had slowed down a little and crossed a centile line on the growth chart.

It was nothing to panic over, she assured us, but we were advised to come back in several times over the next week to monitor the baby's movements and heartrate. I asked to be hooked up to the CTG machine there and then for reassurance. I was connected to the machine and had to press a button whenever the baby moved.  All appeared to be fine. 

I went back in for another CTG on Thursday, and, again, there seemed to be no problem with the baby.  But I was becoming increasingly concerned with the level of swelling I was experiencing in my legs and feet, and which was now starting to also affect my face.   I asked the midwives to test my urine and they found some protein in there. Just a small amount but more than a trace. My blood pressure was also higher than it had previously been.

Week 36: Resting my poor swollen feet and legs

Cue lots of Googling about pre-eclampsia from me.  I know Google can be your worst enemy in self-diagnosis but I am not able to resist checking!

On Saturday morning, at 37 weeks pregnant, I trekked off to the hospital for the third CTG. As I lay on the bed, my bump hooked up to the machine, I felt very tearful and vulnerable. Something felt wrong and I felt scared for my baby. I just wanted him here, safe in my arms.  My face was looking so puffy by this point, and more protein was found in my urine. My blood pressure had crept up to 145/95 and the midwife called a doctor to examine me. 

37 weeks pregnant: at the hospital, ballooning up and feeling scared
The decision was taken to admit me to the antenatal ward overnight for observation.  G arrived a few hours later with some overnight things and we waited for the consultant to come and see me.
After a couple of hours, the consultant arrived on the ward.  'Well, you have pre-eclampsia,' he said in a very matter of fact way.  'And the only way to cure pre-eclampsia is to deliver the baby'.  I'd been informed by the junior doctor from earlier that they would probably try to bring down my high blood pressure by medication over the next few days before considering any other course of action. 
'So, we're going to try some medication before thinking about induction, are we?' I asked.  'No.  This situation is only going to get worse, and, you're full term, so we're going to induce you.  Now.'
I think I must have audibly gasped.  'Now, as in tonight?' 'Yes. We will be taking you down to the Labour Suite soon'.
I was so shocked that things were happening so fast.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Park life

Since he turned three in early July, I've noticed such a physical change in the First Boy.  Not only has he shot up in height and his chubby baby face is morphing into the face of a child rather than a toddler, but his physical confidence has sky rocketed.

Although he has always, from babyhood, loved visits to the various parks around where we live (and we're lucky that there are some lovely ones), it's only in the past few months that we've seen him blossom in these environments.

Enclosed, 'tube' slides used to be greeted with a firm 'no', 'big boy swings' didn't get a second glance, and the presence of boisterous children on climbing frames was enough to send him scuttling back to us.  He cautiously explored and had fun but never threw himself into it.

The change in him recently is amazing. On holiday this summer, out of the blue one day, he decided to confront his nemesis, an enclosed slide, and now they pose no worry for him.
He's now happy to forgo the baby swings for the big boy ones, or even better, the tyre swings; he hauls himself up climbing walls with confidence and strength; he loves dangling from monkey bars, and even those high wavy slides that require sacks see no hesitation.  
He still needs us around for a bit of a shove up and some encouragement but most of the time he's happy to tackle the challenges of any playground without hesitation.

As I watched him on the zip wire last weekend (a piece of playground equipment that has always been associated in my mind with 'big kids') I was struck yet again by how fast our little boy is changing and becoming more independent.  His delighted face as he swung through the air was a joy to see.

G is designing a climbing frame for our garden.  If the Second Boy is anything like our First, it's going to be well used!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Puerile porridge

It's standard mummy tactics, isn't it? The art of encouraging your child to eat healthily by hiding vegetables in sauces or making cute faces out of spears of broccoli, mashed potatoes and peas.

Our First Boy has a limited palate for breakfast. All cereal makes him retch, except for porridge. Our choices are pretty limited. So he has porridge quite a lot, which is fine by me as it's healthy. He often has fruit in it too, strawberries in the  summer and usually blueberries at other times. 

I almost always make a smiley face out of the blueberries. It makes him smile.

The other morning, however, I thought I'd misheard when he said 'Mummy, can I have bum porridge?'


'Bum Porridge, please.' Hmmm. I did hear correctly.

Perhaps the sensible side of me should have prevailed here and said something stern about not being rude at the table.  But I also know it's wise to pick the right battles with a three year old.  And I also have a puerile side.  So I actually fashioned a passing resemblance to a bottom out of blueberries on top of my son's porridge.

He was delighted.  And I couldn't stop chuckling!

I brace myself for requests for other body parts.

Baker boy {Ordinary Moments 14}

When we were struggling to have a family, and secretly making promises with the Universe to please bring us a child of my own, one of the things I used to picture me doing as a mother was baking with my little one.
And, happily, it turns out that the First Boy absolutely loves making cakes.
This week, when I asked him what he wanted to do with his 'Mummy and Me' day he looked hopefully up at me and said 'Baking?'  How could I refuse this little face?

So off he ran to get his favourite recipe book, 'Easy Baking', and took himself off to the sofa to peruse the recipes, concluding that he'd like to make a Lemon and Blueberry Drizzle Cake.  Slight problem. We were fresh out of lemons and the blueberries were looking on the dodgy side, so instead we opted for some good old cupcakes.
I'd bought him a new oilcloth apron with little rockets on it, which went down very well.

Increasingly, the First Boy is interested in maths and numbers, so baking is the perfect chance to talk about measuring, the concept of more and less, and timing.

To liven the cupcakes up a bit, I thought we'd make them multi-coloured, so we split the batter into two and coloured half pink and half yellow, dolloping one spoonful of the yellow on top of the pink batter once they were in their paper cases.  Of course, that meant food colouring went all over his face!

When they were baked, we made a suspicious looking green buttercream and smeared that on the top, along with the obligatory sweetie decoration.  Actually, they did taste rather nice!

It's just lovely that he gets so much pleasure about the most simple of activities, and I get so much enjoyment from seeing him so happy. 

I'm linking up with MummyDaddyMe and the Ordinary Moments linky for this post.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Me and mine {September}

I love the idea of summing up our past month as a family in connection with the Me and Mine linky.  I'm a couple of days later than the last day of the month, but look forward to joining in anyway.

For us, September has been a sad month, as the family all come to terms with the loss of my granddad, who passed away on 1st September.
But it's also been a month of milestones, with the First Boy starting at pre-school and me beginning my maternity leave. It feels like our little family of three is on the cusp of a brand new chapter. 

Here are the three of us, getting to grips with the timer setting on my camera. This took quite a few takes!  We are in beautiful East Devon, on our last holiday as a family of three.  We had a lovely afternoon out at Pecorama, with steam trains to ride and beautiful gardens to explore.

In September, I am loving the invention of leggings (comfort is key at 8 months pregnant!), new Autumn drama on the TV, starting maternity leave (yay!), Strictly Come Dancing, my new pearl jewellery, being very spoilt for my birthday.
G is loving school reunions, having more evening meals together as a family, building Marble Run with the First Boy, steak dinners, WBA making a good start to the football season.
The First Boy is loving watching Team Umizoomi on YouTube, doing things 'all by myself', Marble Run, baking cakes, caravan holidays, walking in the Autumn leaves, reading all the road signs, lots of cuddles, starting pre-school.

dear beautiful