Three Is Family


I have been wanting to write this for weeks now, funny how you can never find the time with a newborn. So I am taking advantage of Daddy daycare courtesy of the Easter weekend and finally getting round to posting my birth story.

Tuesday 14th March, I didn’t wake up feeling different like a lot of women say they did. However, I did wake up pissed off with the amount of pain in my hips and the mahoosive size of my feet. Seriously, they were ridiculous, even the giant grandma style shoes I had bought could barely contain them. I also knew I HAD to get to Sainsburys and stock up on essentials – just in case.

I had a couple of obligatory ‘any sign of baby’ messages during the morning. At this point I am going to state that these texts do not help at all, so please, please stop it. The last thing a heavily pregnant lady needs is to have to reply to messages like that. Anyway, I digress….

Back from shopping I had lunch and settled down to yet another exciting afternoon of general knowledge starting with Fifteen to One. However, about 2:30pm I rapidly developed horrendous back pain. “Oh how wonderful, yet another delightful symptom of being 9 months gone” I moaned to nobody but myself. I didn’t for a second think that anything was starting. I decided to listen to my hypnobirthing CD but couldn’t concentrate on it. Then just after 3 pm there was a twinge, and 5 minutes later there was another one. I started to wonder if things could be kicking off, but decided to leave it a bit before calling the hospital. When the twinges continued I decided to make the call. Only to be told that it was probably false labour, and would stop soon. Silly lady on the phone…….

Chris arrived home about 5:15 and said that I was very red in the face as I bounced up and down on the birthing ball. That conversation went as follows….

C: Are you okay babe, you look very red?

Me: Yep I’m okay, I’m having contractions

*Cue husband turning into an excited puppy and leaping about the front room*

C: Really? Okay cool, how far apart are they?

Me: Every 3 minutes

*Cue husbands colour completely drain from his face, and no more leaping*

We were on our way to the hospital at 6:30, its about 50 minutes away and we did it a tad quicker oddly enough. When we arrived we went straight up to the birth centre, I had wanted a water birth and the pool was available. I was examined and was 5cm dilated by that point. The midwife said my waters were bulging and babies head was right behind them. In my birth plan I had stated that I wanted gas and air, but decided not to in the end. I didn’t want to miss anything, or be groggy and not be able to follow instructions should they be needed.

I got in the pool at 7:30pm and was immediately soothed by the water. We had our wedding playlist on, and Sheryl our lovely midwife just left us to it. Between contractions  I was able to carry on conversations and wasn’t feeling any discomfort in those moments. The contractions got stronger, and I began mimicking a cow by moo’ing my way through them. Just after 8pm my waters went – thank fudge I was in the pool already, I’d had increased fluid around the baby and it would have made a hell of a mess if they had gone on dry land. The force of those waters going were pretty violent, they could have propelled me from one side of the pool to the other if there was room.

I sent Chris to get Sheryl as I immediately felt the urge to push. From that point time went by very quickly, I was still managing the pain myself, and baby’s heart rate was stable throughout, but I knew I didn’t have long to go. The moo’ing got louder and the respite between contractions was down to about 45 seconds. I’m not sure when exactly I started pushing, but it didn’t feel like long at all, and at 9:45pm our little Edward entered the world.

Now at this point I am going to big myself up for doing this without any pain relief, and I know thats probably not popular, but its my story so I don’t care. I am a woman that had a baby without drugs to help, and I am so proud of myself for doing it that way. Thats not a slur against anyone that does take advantage of whats on offer at all, perhaps if I had a longer labour I would have been screaming for the entire contents of the pharmacy to be brought to me immediately. I don’t necessarily think I have a higher pain threshold than anyone else either, I just believed that my body could do what it needed to do, and I just had to have faith and go with it. I also wanted to offer hope and positivity to other ladies out there waiting to go through this process who might be scared. You have so got this, and even when its hurting like hell, keep in mind what you get at the end of it. The pain literally does stop straight away. My boy was 8lb 5oz, so a decent size. I suffered a second degree tear, which I did not feel happen either.

Back to the story, Ed didn’t come into this world loudly, in fact he was very chilled out. He had a cuddle with his very proud Dad whilst I was stitched up (again, not painful). What did hurt was the injection in my thigh to get the placenta out. Chris decided to FaceTime his Mum at this point, not great whilst I’m in stirrups with everything on display, thats not something that anyone needed to see, especially my mother in law.

Just after midnight we went down to the ward, I was lucky enough to give birth at a hospital that allowed Dads to stay too. For anyone thats interested it was St Richards Hospital in Chichester and I would recommend it to anyone. That first night was surreal, we were both knackered, but couldn’t sleep as it was too exciting that we were now a three. We stayed in until late afternoon the day after he was born, and then we were released out into the world, ready to come home and start family life.

As any new parent can imagine, life since that moment has changed dramatically and I have so much more writing to do about my/our experiences already. I’m still working out how to find the time, as first and foremost I want to be there for my son, and everything else is taking a back seat. A month has passed us by already, those early days are all a bit of a blur, I have struggled a lot with my hormones and being very emotional, but that fog is starting to lift and I am feeling more confident as ‘Mum’ all the time.

This post will never do justice to the experience that we had, the day that a couple became a family, the day that our tiny human started his own story, the day that our beautiful Son was born.

x

To The One Who Kicks Me


It’s a totally bizarre feeling to completely and utterly love someone you’ve never met, but that’s the current situation.

I’m now 34 wks pregnant…time flies right? I’m in this very weird place of wanting to meet you so badly, but not wanting this bit to end. You see, you might be the only time I do this, the only time my body works actual miracles, let’s face it ladies that’s exactly what we’re doing here.

Every little move you make pulls on my heart strings, you make me feel superhuman, I know that whatever lies ahead, you will always be the thing that I am most proud of. I never thought I’d get here you see. For a long time I convinced myself that you were not part of the picture, and that I was okay with that. That’s a big fat lie your Mums just admitted to.

You were always in the picture, in the background or on the edges, it’s just meeting the right person to help get you here was the hardest part, and letting myself believe that as a result of that you could actually go from a picture in my head to an actual little person was no easy thing either, I’ll explain all that to you someday.

There was the tick tock of time too, we don’t get an endless amount of it to do as we want, but fortune favoured us and now you are on your way. In no time at all you’ll be out in the world and not warm in my tummy.

I do wonder what you are doing in there. You feel like a little Octopus sometimes with kicks being felt in all directions, like there’s a rave going on…now I’ve been to a few of them and I know what goes on – just saying!


What do I know about you so far? Well you’re very contrary, you’ll kick the bejesus out of me but the minute your Dad touches my stomach you’ll play musical statues. That’s something else I know, you like your music. You seem to favour Mumford & Sons, Offspring and the Foo Fighters in particular. This pleases me – these are good choices, although there was that one day you went wild to Whitney Houston…there will be none of that under my roof. Your Dad thinks/hopes/prays that you’re a budding drummer, he’ll show you the drum room soon enough. He’s getting pretty good. If ever I can’t find the pair of you, that’s where I’ll look first.

You like to keep me awake, and do you know what?  That’s absolutely fine. In those wee small hours when your Dad is snoring his head off next to me, I lay in the dark and think about how lucky I am, what a phenomenal, wondrous and huge privilege it is already to be your mum, so you kick away my little one. Right now, I am solely responsible for you, Dad looks after me and therefore you, but making sure you get here safely is down to me, and I want to do what’s right by you.

Oh, you should also know that Dad and I have nicknamed you Norm, and I’m afraid that no matter what goes on your birth certificate, that’ll probably be what you are called the most. Look you might not like it, but there are far worse things to be called, you can trust me on that….

It’s impossible not to imagine what you’ll look like, we both have our theories on this, will the ginger gene win through and you’ll be a redhead like me? Here’s hoping! You are likely to be tall though Norm, it runs in both families. You could be a long baby as well, both of your parents were.

We love laughter and silliness in our house, and we both have everything crossed that you’ll inherit my sense of humour, as I am blatantly the funnier parent. Your Dad is the brains of the operation, full of so much knowledge and an unnerving number of random facts. If you ever play against him at trivial pursuits…well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In all seriousness though, we don’t want to push hopes and dreams on to you, because they are ours and not yours. I don’t want to steer you in a certain direction, or to tell you which path to follow. I will never make you a promise I can’t keep. All I want you to know is that your Dad and I will be by your side in whatever you do, we’ll teach you and arm you as best we can. When life hurts you, and it will my darling, we’ll be the arms that will make you feel at home. Now, whilst I am always available, may I suggest that you go to your Dad for the greatest hugs – top tip there. Above all else, we will love you, without condition, for all of our days.

It’s not going to be plain sailing, we’ve never done this before, and neither have you. Plus, we really like our sleep, so if you could keep that in mind it would be appreciated. However, we are already a family, and you are the best addition we could have ever asked for.

So, you keep on doing what you’re doing, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and soon enough we’ll get to meet. Soon enough two will become three and life as we know it will change forever. May you stay safe in there for a little longer Norm, I don’t want to see you for at least 3 weeks okay?! You do as your Mum tells you, for the time being anyway.

Before I sign off I just wanted to say thank you, I can’t put the reasons why I’m thanking you into any logical order, or even into words, but one day perhaps I’ll be able to, right now all I know is that you are bringing me, well us, to the start of something that we are beyond excited about.

With untold amounts of love to you my baby

Mum xx

PS when you arrive it’ll be bright and loud and scary, but we’ll both be there with open arms for you. There could be a few people around, I’ll be the one looking like an exhausted mess, and your Dad will be sobbing in a corner. X

Body Swap

Not so long ago, I wrote a post shouting cheerfully about how I was sailing through my pregnancy. No horrible sickness, not looking like a marshmallow etc etc.

However in recent weeks I’ve felt a shift. Actually its more to do with what I see than a feeling, and that vision is bewildering.

Before getting pregnant I was, without question in the best shape of my life. I was lean, strong, had actual abs (there’s even a picture to prove it) and felt pretty fucking good in my own skin. It was hugely empowering for me, because I had grafted for months and sacrificed a lot to get to that point. Never in my life had I particularly liked my reflection, but for a brief period in time, I really really did.

In a way it made me feel like I had won out over the bullies I had previously encountered. Those people that had told me I was ugly, fat, useless and far far worse. Those that had harmed my self belief and self worth in ways I still can’t explain. In the process of physically transforming, my mind had transformed too. I liked having my photo taken, the family chins and pudgy edges of my face had gone. The long curly hair I had sported for 20 years was chopped off into a bob, the hemlines got shorter, and the clothes more figure hugging. Honestly I felt like I was totally rocking it.

My husband and I had decided last Christmas (no singing) that we would start trying for a family. After suffering our own heartbreak in that area in April when we miscarried, we had a time out and then tried again. I’m now 24 weeks, and everything so far is going well.

The thing is, lately I’ve been feeling odd about my figure, that’s probably as good a word as any to use. When I look in the mirror I feel super proud of my bump, I absolutely adore it, knowing that my body is providing a healthy, safe space to grow our baby is a wonderful privilege, and I wouldn’t change where I am now for anything. However, there are down sides.

Those have been showing themselves to me in the last 3 weeks in particular. It’s very hard to describe, but I am sure that millions of women out there will resonate with some, if not all of this.

My body is no longer my own, it isn’t something I can train hard 6 times a week, it isn’t something that slides into a size 8 with ease, right now it is entirely functional, and it’s functioning for another human being. I am expanding, the abs disappeared weeks ago, my hips are widening, my face is fuller (damn & blast) so once again anyone wielding a camera can fuck right off, and I look shitting knackered most of the time.

I remember seeing Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity fair when she was pregnant with her daughter and thinking that if ever I was pregnant, that’s the way I’d want to do it. I’d revel in my amazing body, embrace all my new curves and feel totally sexy. When the reality couldn’t be further from that. I don’t feel sexy, I feel frumpy. I’m not embracing my new curves, I’m feeling bloody awkward about them, and with 16 weeks still to go, I know those changes are only going to become more and more apparent.

There’s something else too, my reflection and my perception of that image are playing tricks on my mind. I’m anxious, that’s nothing new, but there is a new fearfulness about it that I can’t shake. It’s no secret to those that know me that I think my husband is a grade A hottie. Many times I’ve wondered how he chose me, when, to my mind, he could have had his pick of the ladies.

That little niggle that I had put to bed years ago now, has decided it’s time to get up and get busy. It’s official, I feel insecure.

Last Friday we went to the pub, there’s a new barmaid there. A younger than me and very attractive barmaid….and she noticed him, and quickly too. To be fair he’s 6ft 4 so he does stand out, but as soon as I clocked her clocking him I felt sick to my stomach. For the record, I trust my husband implicitly, and if it was 12 months ago she wouldn’t have even been a blip on the radar. Now though, I feel threatened, like he could be taken away, because I’m the frumpy and emotional wife right now, not the fun loving & ballsy one he fell for.

In many ways I feel our union is stronger than ever, we are happy, we love each other and we’ve created life, the majority of the time those thoughts make me feel invincible. Sometimes though, the devil on my shoulder whispers to me that he’ll get fed up of this and go after something freer, someone that doesn’t cry every day and look like they need a weeks worth of sleep, someone that doesn’t leave things half done because they forget about them, and someone that can go past 9pm without falling asleep on the sofa.

I guess that one positive I can take from this is that I am aware of how I’m feeling, I also know that it’s all down to hormones, and that hopefully in another few months, I’ll start to feel back to my old self. I do wonder about my post baby body. I’m not niaive enough to think it’ll ever be as it was before, but what will it be like? Will I have those infamous Tiger Stripes you hear so many women talking about, will I ever have a flat stomach again? What about the old pelvic floor, will I ever be able to laugh without fear of an accident? Am I going to find it a nightmare to shed the baby weight…for anyone’s that cares I’m up 17lbs already. All very real fears for me right now. Perhaps one day I’ll look back at this and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. But in this moment, it’s a scary unknown quantity, and I’m not a fan.

I guess I’m writing all this down so it’s not in my head, but also to be honest about what this process is like, that whilst on the outside you might look and sound like you are winning at bump life, in truth you are floundering a little bit. Caught somewhere between the woman you were and the mother you are becoming.

X

Halfway There

I’m now officially half way through my pregnancy, and I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone.

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In the last couple of weeks my bump has really popped out, according to my husband there’s more junk in my trunk and my nipples are huge. Too much? If it is I’m sorry, the line between what’s appropriate and what’s not has become very blurred. My memory is officially shot to shit.

Now, I’m not a pregnancy blogger, and don’t intend to fill this space with baby related posts. However, it is the most prominent thing happening to me, well to us right now, so it seems a good time for a round up.

There are loads of pregnancy blogs out there, some filled with tales of poor women who haven’t lifted their heads out of the toilet for 3 months at least, those ladies who are pregnant whilst having another baby or toddler to contend with. Then, there’s the Mum like me. The Mum who is seemingly breezing through all of this.

I’ve had no nausea, no sickness, not even a hint of indigestion. I don’t say that to brag, I say it to bolster. To anyone reading this who’s not yet created a bun to bake, it’s not all bad. So far my hands and feet have remained “normal” in size, and don’t yet resemble the Michelin man…although there’s a long way to go.

I had this idea in my head that I would immediately throw the planet into a global drought when I fell because I would be retaining ALL the water, but no. All is calm and serene, and the utility companies haven’t rocked up at my door demanding I return their reservoirs to normal levels.

My boobs are bigger *mini celebration time* and as of right now I still only have one chin too, although the face is definitely a wee bit rounder.

What would my husband say the first half has been like? Well I think he’d say he’s been pretty lucky. Absolutely shitting terrified, but lucky. Yes I’ve had a few days where my emotions have put me to shame, and he’s wondered what the fuck is going on, but I think that’s just because I’m a bit more tired than usual.

I’ve realised that being pregnant seems to give other people licence to give their opinions on everything. This will range from guessing baby gender based on the shape of my bump, or the fact I sway more towards savoury food, to telling me/us we definitely shouldn’t give the baby a dummy. Then there’s just those that love telling you that life will be shit once the baby is here. All exceptionally unhelpful. Especially that last one…

The tiredness is the worst part, and I only realised the other day how much I’m doing. I feel like super mum already. A horribly long and unreliable commute, with a day that starts pre 6am, a full time job which is full of potholes, study towards a qualification that I’m thrilled to be going for, but does take up a lot of time. I’m doing as much as I can, whilst also trying to be a good wife/friend/daughter….it’s a pretty draining period of my life.

This is not helped by my ridiculous pregnancy pillow,designed to help me sleep a little easier, it’s shaped like a ginormous kidney and is like having another person in the bed, so I’m finding sleep harder than before. Perhaps that’s the point, get used to not sleeping now right? I have enough people telling me that already, I don’t need my pillow to start getting in on the act too.

This Wednesday is our anomaly scan. I’m being brave and saying it out loud. So many people refer to it as the “gender” scan, when in reality it’s a lot more important/serious than finding out if we have a Norma or a Norman on our hands.

Which brings me onto the worst thing about pregnancy. The worry….it is relentless, and it’s hard work keeping it at bay. We have both been worrying and that anxiety is spilling over into other areas of our lives. Of course it’s natural, and pointless, but at this stage it’s constant. It’s almost debilitating. We’re both excited to see Baby M again for sure, but also both desperate to hear the words “everything looks great”. My mind can go no further with that right now. There is no point after scan that I can picture until we hear the verdict.

A few weeks ago I went for a consultant appointment and heard the heartbeat for the first time. There are no words for that, but it was the most beautiful sound ever. I’ve been aware of Norm moving around properly for the last few days. It’s a surreal but wonderful feeling, occasionally accompanied by mild panic…honestly, knowing that a wee person is kicking about inside of you is about as weird as it gets.

Lots of women are nesting by this point, but not this mamma. No, I’m more focused on sitting on my arse and eating. I’ve no interest in sorting out a nursery, I’ve bought no baby clothes (hoping for donations thanks). I’m not even thinking about breast or bottle. I am overjoyed to be pregnant, and to be here right now on the train feeling little kicks and flutters. I’m just not that fussed about all the stuff.

Honestly right now I’m just trying to enjoy the time I have left with just me and my husband, I hadn’t realised how much I was going to miss that until my bump appeared.

I’m of the opinion that there is no right or wrong way to get through a pregnancy, because as much as its something to marvel at and enjoy, it definitely is something to get through.  Find your own way, love it cherish it, laugh at it, and know that it’ll all be worth it.

x

 

Just The Way I’m Feeling

So, today I am 15+4 wks pregnant, and I have to say, I have felt mighty smug up until recently. I’ve had no morning sickness, no nausea or indigestion, I haven’t craved anything I don’t already like, and I am loving the novelty of having huge boobs.

But lately I have noticed a bit of a shift in my moods, I think the pregnancy hormones have found me, and decided that I am a great venue for a huge chaotic call the police kind of party. I don’t know what the fuck is going on up there, but its proving a bumpy ride.

First incident happened a little while ago now, I was out for a walk at lunchtime, I work in London so it’s always super busy. I know this, and I am regularly cut across by someone transfixed by their phone, or nearly tripped over by tourists. On this particular day I was hot, and already felt a little ‘prickly’. So I’m going about my business, when I am shoulder barged from behind by a city boy, mid 20’s, expensive suit, perfect hair. He gave me a very half hearted “sorry” as he glanced ever so slightly back over his shoulder. “You’re not sorry, you’re a C” was my unrehearsed and mortifying reply. Now I’m not going to finish the word, but it’s not pretty. He looked back at me very sheepishly and scuttled off, while I walked along slightly dumbfounded at what had just popped out of my mouth. I have very little in the way of a filter anyway, and pregnancy has ensured whatever was remaining has well and truly been stripped away.

Moving on to incident two on the roll call of shame. It was a week or so ago. It had been a warm evening and we’d had the back door open, when I went to shut it I noticed something on the step of the door, in the darkness I assumed it was a leaf. However I rapidly realised my error when I shut the door and heard a crunch. It was a snail, now if you’ve read my ‘about’ page, you’ll know I’m quite fond of snails, I actively try to avoid stepping on them when out walking, I rescue and relocate them if there is any gardening going on, dare I say it I even think they’re a bit cute. So on hearing that crunch I panicked. Full of guilt I wandered into the front room with tear-filled eyes.

Husband “Oh my god what’s happened”

Me (all choked up)“I crushed a snail in the back door”

Husband “Seriously? I thought something was wrong with the baby; get some perspective for fuck sake”

Me (now on verge of meltdown) “but you know how much I love snails”

There was no sympathy there, none, and quite rightly so, it was a monumental overreaction.

Next up, an incident last Wednesday evening, hubby and I were chatting about this and that, and he mentioned that when he’d been to get petrol he had been properly “checked out” by a woman, apparently it was very obvious; there was no subtlety there at all. I am aware that my husband is very much your typical “Fittie” and that whenever this has happened before I’ve high-fived myself for being the girl he married – go me! Not so on this occasion. After he told me I went off to my ‘Mummy Fitness’ class and I knew it was playing on my mind, I just didn’t feel right. On the way home I felt like something was building, and I knew it was to do with the tramp at the garage…..see what I mean?

So I get in and start pretty much straight away, I wasn’t angry with him at all, but felt unbelievably vulnerable, now that I am bun baking, I have never needed him more in my life, and here’s some bloody harlot who doesn’t know I exist, doesn’t know he is married, having a good old perv at him and I felt so threatened.

None of that is normal behaviour, far, far from it. Those are the main ones so far, I’ve also shouted at a man who turned into a road as I was crossing it, told someone to “hurry up and sit down on the train” and cried at a whole host of adverts, programmes and films including, but not limited to……

Dogs Trust

Lloyds TSB (the one with the horses)

Anything with babies in it

Great British Bake Off (poor Val)

Dog Rescuers

24 Hours in A&E

Dear John

Tangled

Bridget Jones Baby – actually I might let myself have that one.

 

Now I have no idea how long this ‘phase’ will continue, or what will happen next. I also know that there’s nothing I can do about it. I am at the mercy of the little person growing in my tummy who is currently behind the wheel or my heart, mind and of course body. So for any ladies reading this that are pregnant and feeling some of this too, don’t sweat it, take comfort in the fact that there are millions of other pregnant gals out there feeling exactly the same way, ready to lose their rag or blub at the slightest thing. To all the husbands, boyfriends, and significant others, stick with it, speaking for myself I admit that I don’t really know my arse from my elbow at the moment, and I’m guessing that your OH’s are dealing with that too. Hopefully we’ll all be released from this temporary madness in the very near future, in the meantime – we thank you for your patience.