The Mummy Tag.
I for one am so glad that January is over and done with. It’s like month full of Mondays and it just keeps going and going and going…For me it was a dreary, post-Christmas slump of a month and I couldn’t wait for it to be over and to move on to Feb, a month closer to spring!
It was my first month without my measly statutory maternity pay (It’s not much, but you miss it when it’s gone!) I think it rained & stormed pretty much the whole month, I had to start thinking about work and nurseries and dreaded Aunt Flo came to visit me for the first time in 18 months!!! (TMI?!)
But we all made it through, and I celebrated at the end of it with one of my oldest, bestest friends 30th Birthday. (and reminded myself just why I do not do shots any more – ouch!!)
February is already off to a great start with our little boy finally finding his way to put one hand in front of the other and crawling!! It is true what they say…now the fun really starts!! Trying to get ready with a very inquisitive little boy who finds mummy’s make up and hair styling wires far more interesting than the smorgasbord of bright coloured toys I lay out in front of him is proving to be very tricky indeed! He seems to have developed so much over the past week or so, making lots of conversation with new sounds and syllables, pulling himself up in his cot, spinning around happily in circles on his bottom and of course, crawling.
This month I want to take Henry to a lot more group activities as he is now mobile and less likely to be squished by bigger babies. My NCT friends and I went out to the under 18 month session at Active Tots in Stratfield Saye last week (http://www.activetots.org) and loved how clean it was and Henry got so much more enjoyment out of it than I thought he would. He loved freely sliding down the soft slides and playing with the babies in the ball pit. This week I want to take him to Bouncing Tots which is in Basepoint, off of Wade Road (http://www.bouncingtots.co.uk) . We’re also going to be independently taking him swimming again more, after having had to cancel his swimming lessons due to them falling bang in the middle of his morning nap time. As hard as it is with this weather it’s so nice to get him out every day to one thing or another.
I love sites such as http://northhantsmum.wordpress.com and www.mumsintheknow.co.uk/basingstoke for finding out all the fun things to do with little ones week by week. I also vow to go to more Sure Start stay and plays which are government funded as I hardly ever go to them and Henry loves to play with the other babies and get filthy at the messy plays!
I’d love to know what things you’re going to be doing with your baby this month and what ideas you have to keep them entertained!
- They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.
- They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so that they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.
- They can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths.
If you asked my husband he would probably tell you that a push present was just another idea that I have made up; like when I told him 2 days before our wedding that we obviously gave each other a wedding present…Something he had never heard of (?!) However, the idea of getting your loved one a present for that 9 (and a half) months of carrying and nourishing your darling child, caring for it from the outside, to the days (week) of pain getting the poor cherub out of you at the end of it, not only seems justifiably present worthy but it has actually long been a tradition to mark the occasion of the first-born child with an eternity ring. The push present being the modern-day version, and who am I to turn my back on years of tradition?!
Here’s a few Push Present ideas for you, or for any adoring fathers-to-be out there who are wanting to mark this celebration for their partner with a gift;
Now, you’ll need to come to terms with the fact that you will not be using your favourite handbag for a while…You will have so much baby paraphernalia to contend with that an extra bag for all of your stuff will pretty much be out of the question! All that comes with me now is my purse and phone, the rest is all Lord Henry’s. So a purse could make a very good push present as it’ll be your main piece of your old identity you get to take everywhere; Mulberry do a stunning range from around £125 for a small zip purse to the more iconic option at £275 and above. They also have a fab sale on at the moment for some great bargains!!
There are some lovely options out there if you like jewellery, and a necklace can make a different choice to the traditional ring. This one from Links is £150 and I think symbolises the eternal love for your family with its never-ending circle. Or this beautiful infinity style in yellow gold from Etsy; a steal at just £20!
I always always get complimented on my Return To Tiffany tag bracelet which Stuart bought for me one Birthday, and they do several different styles in it depending on your preference; Mine is the small bead plain heart tag, there’s larger bead options, rose gold heart tag, circle tags, I love you tags, there is a pretty one with the pink heart tag and thicker beads, or the Tiffany Blue heart tag perhaps if you have a boy. All start from around £125 from tiffany.co.uk
After deliberating over what gift I wanted to celebrate the birth of my Son I eventually decided on this beautiful 3 band diamond ring from Goldsmiths. I like the symbolism of the 3 bands representing the 3 of us and loved how the delicate ring sparkled. Our wedding bands were also from Goldsmiths so I also liked that connection. Lots more options are available on their website.
Henry is now 5 weeks old and as everyone says, we can’t believe where the time has gone! We’ve had a fantastic month getting to know our beautiful Son who has grown and changed so much already! He has been a hungry boy and the weeks have been dominated by feeding and little sleep!
Myself & Henry, aged 2 weeks.
If you are approaching parenthood, then I am sure you have lists and ideas coming out of your ears of what you will need to get for your baby’s arrival, so I thought I would share with you a few of the things which have got us through the blur of the last 5 weeks and the items we use all the time.
A compact changing bag;
We don’t leave the house without it!! I wanted something which was unisex for both Stuart and I to take out separately and to suit the sex of our yet unknown baby. After lots of deliberations we eventually settled with this Cath Kidston polka dot bag.
It is not too big and yet holds everything I need, including the endless amount of muslins I collect along the way! It has 3 internal pockets for spare clothes & bibs an additional bag for the changing essentials and an easy to grab change mat on the outside.
Lansinoh Nipple cream;
Breast feeding was a learning curve for both myself and Henry and he didn’t latch on for the first couple of days making it very painful and sore while we were trying. As time went on he suddenly turned into an expert and was constantly feeding – also sore for me! I was delighted he was feeding ok and was happy to latch him on every hour to begin with and he soon regained the pound that he lost early on. I was so pleased to have been given Lansinoh Lanolin cream by a friend at my baby shower, it was a complete lifesaver and it got me through the pain! I still use it now as Henry has a habit of yanking my nipple around in all directions sometimes and it’s always good to have in the cupboard for his growth spurts and those hourly feeds!
I discovered Derma H2O wipes through a sample and I haven’t turned back! They are almost 100% water so they are so gentle for Henry’s newborn skin, which is 5 times thinner than my own. Henry has very active bowels (probably due to his insatiable appetite!) and we’ve found he has had nappy rash a few times and the wipes really help clean him during changes without putting any chemicals on his sensitive botty! If you, like me, want to use something as gentle as cotton wool and water but want the convenience of a wipe, then have a look at their website for info on their great products www.waterwipes.com
Recommended by so many friends these little sleeping bags help us through night times, available in many different togs they are perfect all year round. The site has a useful chart to help you decide how many other layers to put your little one in. We also love the Gro Egg room thermometer to get us through the paranoid early days of whether the room was too hot, too cold etc! It’s simple but cleverly designed nightlight changes colour to let you know how the temperature is as well as a digital display.
It’s worth a mention that there are some great swaddle blanket brands out there which can really help settle babies as it keeps them nicely wrapped up and feeling secure.
Selection of vests, baby grows and muslins;
I will write more on clothing as we go along as I have discovered some fab brands already, but for now I will say we have a big selection of soft cotton clothing, sometimes 3-4 outfits a day depending on how many explosions (either end!) we have!! Don’t stock up too much because your little one will be out of it before you know it – cliche but true! Next, Mothercare and many others all have built in scratch mittens with their baby grows which are really handy for those nails which do so much damage with the uncontrolled arms flapping all over the place! Muslins have found their way into every corner of most rooms in the house – and for good reason!! They are perfect for any sicky spills, or dribbles, laying down on the changing mat to stop the cold shock of being laid down on it. How ever many you think you need, double it! (We had around 30 on the last count!)
By far the best brand we have come across – and this is echoed by so many of my friends, are Asda Little Angels. It’s very rare we get leaks with these ones unlike some other very well known brands, due to their design, shape and material, and they are a third of the cost! Definitely stock up on these, I am sure you won’t be disappointed!
Multi purpose for newborn skin. Try and stay away from lotions and potions in the first few weeks (we still haven’t used them) because no matter how “gentle” they are, they will still contain ingredients which are harsh on your newborn’s skin. Olive oil can be applied to the dry scaly skin your newborn may have (after being in that water balloon for 9 months coming out is a bit of a shock for his skin), massaged on after bath time, and applied to his scalp to help with cradle cap – the sebum glands begin to work from around week 2 and they can get blocked, so adding oil to them really helps clear them.
We have a lovely rocking one from Mothercare which shockingly he already looks like he is getting too big for!
Bare in mind this list is for a newborn, it won’t take long before other things will over take and dominate our must have lists so keep an eye out for the next instalment!
Bath time for our little boy, 2 weeks old.
I wanted to share with you my birth story, purely because while I was going through it I was constantly Googling for similar stories to make sure I wasn’t the only one to be going through what I was, and hopefully if anyone is in my position and they come across this blog they will feel the same amount of comfort as I did with what I was reading. I realise it might be a little too much information in parts and it’s also awfully long, but I was so desperate to know other ladies had gone through a similar experience so hopefully this will help anyone else in my position.
I was due on Monday 6th May, I was adamant I would give birth a week early, so with my mind set on that and it passing with no sign of a baby the delay already felt like a lifetime of waiting!
My last few days of being pregnant!
It all started at 4.14am on Wednesday, 8th May. I had gone to bed with a headache after going for one of our many walks to try to start labour (I’m pretty confident I can say from my experience that walking did not help kickstart my labour whatsoever, but it was good to take my mind off of the fact that I was STILL PREGNANT I guess!) I woke up with very mild period pains and needed a wee desperately (no change there of course!) I laid awake with the pains beginning to feel like they were progressing in strength. To describe these early pains I would say they were like a really intense period pain for around 20 seconds and then they would entirely disappear for around 8 minutes where I wouldn’t feel anything and felt like maybe I had imagined the pain because there was nothing in the gap between. Then after 8 minutes I would get another short sharp pain and realise actually no, this is definitely happening!
At half 6 I told Stuart to go ahead and go off to the gym as the pains were so erratic now and no longer always every 8 minutes I knew it wouldn’t progress quickly enough to be a problem if he weren’t there immediately. They were becoming longer in length but the gap between would be all over the place…I knew I was still in for a long wait.
Thursday came and went and still there was no sign of baby. From 10pm they had returned with a vengeance and they didn’t stop until 7am when they tailed off a bit – it was so frustrating as I really thought that might have been it as they were constant all night. This pattern continued for days and I would find myself really struggling to cope with the pain and the now lack of sleep. By midnight on Saturday they were back to every 10 minutes again all through the night and at 8.45am having been up all night again I found it really hard to relax in between the pains. I succumbed to the pain and had some paracetamol which surprisingly seemed to take the edge off, perhaps because they were the first I had taken throughout the whole of my pregnancy; they would vary from every 5/7/9 minutes and last around 40 seconds. I used a contractions timer app on my phone which helped me track it and in a way it was good to keep my mind occupied on timing them.
Messing around with Jess our midwife.
Monday came and we had our sweep booked in, as soon as I left the GP’s surgery at 4pm they came thick and fast and I really thought it was show time (Oh, speaking of which, I had a show on the Wednesday before, so if you have yours this isn’t always a sign that you will have your baby imminently, mine was a whole week before) But by the time we got home and Stuart had made dinner my contractions were every 4 minutes. I had a bath to ease the pain, but frustratingly this really slowed everything down to 7 minutes again which was so disheartening. At 11pm we went up to bed despite the pain being really intense but at 2am I stopped being able to cope with the pain at home with just my TENS, water and paracetamol so at 3.30am Stuart took me up to the hospital and I hoped that they would not turn me away!
After being hooked up to the monitor I was examined at 4.15am and was told I was only 2-3cm, they let us stay as it was really quiet up at the hospital and at 5.30am my waters broke. There was so much of it, it just kept on coming! Every contraction more would gush out I couldn’t believe how much there was. (This actually continued right up to a few hours before he was born!)
Just before my waters went.
At 9am on Tuesday 14th we were sent home because much to my dismay I wasn’t progressing past 3cm. I found I was getting chest pains every contraction so I stopped using the TENS machine, as I can’t take codeine I was just back to the now pretty ineffective paracetamol. Without the waters to cushion each contraction I found them so unbearable, I was also so exhausted at this point I really just wished the baby would arrive. We were booked in for an augmentation on Weds at 8am because my waters had broken and they don’t let you go too long after this happens. By 10pm though I had reached my limit and had to go back in to the hospital.
Stuart wasn’t allowed to stay as I still hadn’t progressed past 3cm but I was so distressed with the pain they let me stay over night and gave me Pethadine to help me sleep. I found this didn’t help me whatsoever and the pain was still so intense but the couple of minutes in between each one I could feel I was on something, I tried a bath and at around 4am I was still walking the halls and felt like I was climbing the walls with the pain so they tried Diazepam again to help me sleep and that didn’t seem to have any affect on me either!
Just before I started pushing.
By 8am I was desperate to go into the delivery suite. Stuart and I had discussed it and decided that I would ask for an epidural; something that was my absolute last resort on my birth plan as I was really desperate to have a water birth and I was concerned about the link epidurals had to an assisted delivery with forceps or caesarean which I really didn’t want. The midwives didn’t even push back on me and agreed to organise one for me straight away. I was also put on a Syntocinon drip to speed up the dilation of my cervix (still ruddy 3cm!!) due to my waters breaking over 24 hours previously. By 11am on Weds 15th I was all hooked up to my various drips and wires and with the pain slowly dissipating and the sun filling the large delivery suite I finally began to enjoy this wonderful experience.
All hooked up and ready to go!
After a final examination they told me baby Jarvis was back to back, which was why I wasn’t dilating on my own and why the pain was more intense than a cephalic presentation, but the Syntocinon soon got to work on the dilation and by 5pm I was told I was 9cm – HURRAH, at last we thought we would never get there!!! Throughout the day I would stop the epidural top up so I could still feel the pain but was able to manage it a lot better and by 6pm I was told I was all ready to start pushing, by which point the epidural had completely gone from my system so I could really feel what I was doing and when the right times were to push. I was scared about how much this would hurt with just gas and air, but the pushing part was a walk in the park compared to the contractions! I guess because you’re pushing away the pain and pushing against it. I sat up with a midwife on both legs pushing back on them (as glamorous as it sounds!!) and I gave a determined 5 pushes per contraction, and at 6:42pm Stuart and I watched in awe as the most amazing experience of watching our child born occurred right in front of our eyes. It was unbelievable and I can still see it now. Unfortunately he wasn’t breathing when he came out, as they explained later; because his whole body came out while the head was still crowning the motions didn’t quite clear his chest of mucas as it would do normally so they had to whisk him away to the re-suss trolley, but not before Stuart cut the cord and announced to me that we had ourselves a Son – I was thoroughly gobsmacked with the happy surprise as I was so sure we were having a girl. After what felt like a lifetime, but was in fact only around 20 seconds I imagine, baby Henry James Jarvis was brought back over to us looking pink and shocked and utterly mesmerising!
I would like to think that if I hadn’t had such a long latent phase I would have coped a lot better with the pain, but the amount of days I was in continuous pain with barely any sleep really affected how I managed the pain in the end. But what I would say is that you don’t get a certificate at the end of it for not accepting the drugs, and on the day I really got to enjoy my experience and loved every second of that very magical day that we got to meet our Son, so don’t feel you’re a failure if you also have pain management drugs.
Thank you to my darling husband who was absolutely brilliant throughout the day, in fact for the whole 32 weeks, and was so supportive, and the fantastic midwife team at Basingstoke hospital “Jess and Jess” our dream team 🙂
Leaving the hospital to begin our new adventure as parents.
Sorry I have been MIA for a little while…I have been busy having a baby!! Finally, 9 long days after my due date we got to meet our beautiful baby BOY! It was a huge surprise and utterly magical as I was adamant we were having a girl most of the way through my pregnancy. The surprise on the day was amazing and I loved the excitement of not finding out, not just for us, but for everyone else who were all kept guessing until the day!
A very tired Mummy, more than 48 hours with no sleep.
Eventually, after a very long latent stage, the day of the birth was fantastic and I will write up my birth story soon to share my experience with those who are interested. (I tried to read as many as possible when I was going through the early stages so I knew I wasn’t alone with what I was going through!) But I wanted to update you on the news and share a few of the first moments we have had with our darling little boy.
Skin to Skin with Daddy a few minutes old.
Weighing 8lb 3oz (with super long limbs!) Henry was born on Wednesday 15th May at 18:42.
First family snap.
After a tour of the house, Daddy settles Henry in to life at home.
Walk in the sun on the first day at home.
Here’s us at a close friend’s wedding, day 10.
Now, 2 weeks in our little man is growing and gaining weight well after a slow start and we are learning on the job how to be parents. He has been such a good little boy so far and we are so proud of him.
As I am sure any parent or Mummy to be would agree, sleep is precious – and sometimes rare! For me, I haven’t slept properly since about 20 weeks and over the past 10 or so weeks getting more than a couple of hours is a complete treat. Yes, I know it’s preparation for when the baby arrives and yes, I am “making the most of it” But it still doesn’t make going to work like a zombie every day any easier!
In fact I seem to sleep best in the morning stint between 5am and when the alarm goes off at 7am which is typical as when I have to get up for work I feel like I’d be able to sleep for hours – roll on maternity leave!
It’s said around 8/10 pregnant ladies have insomnia and sleeping difficulties and it is down to a plethora of reasons;
- Physical Discomfort – your body has changed shape and you have to find a new way to get comfortable (is there such a position?!) in between the leg cramps, heartburn & restless leg syndrome.
- The constant need to empty your bladder – every couple of hours! I try to drink most of my few litres during the day so I don’t have too much in the evening which helps combat this. (Or reduces it to just 2 or 3 times per night – this will get worse as the time goes on regardless of how much you drink!)
- Too hot or too cold – That internal hot water bottle doesn’t help when it comes to regulating your temperature. Wear loose fitting clothes and have an extra blanket to hand in case you wake up freezing cold.
- Anxiety – thinking about all the changes coming your way and the many to do lists can often keep you awake. Try to make a list during the day to save doing it in your head at night. Clear your mind and concentrate on your breathing to help calm & relax yourself.
- Kicking and shoving from the little cherub inside of you doesn’t make it easy to drift off, and unfortunately there is little you can do to stop this – your baby is in tune with your own heart rate and stress levels, so enjoy those movements and relax knowing they are perfectly happy in there practicing their dancing/football skills.
- Vivid dreams – and boy are they insane these days! Strange, disturbing, erotic, scary…You will probably encounter them all, they are down to the increased Progesterone and REM your body is experiencing and the all of the extra worrying bringing a new life into the world brings.
- Hunger or queasiness – try to have a little snack before bed to stop yourself from waking up hungry – or not nodding off because you feel sick. Make sure it’s not a high sugar snack though, so stick to a rice cake or piece of wholemeal toast.
Try to have a warm bath or shower before bed, listen to some music and turn off electrical devices an hour before you get your head down; swap your phone, TV, iPad etc. for a magazine or book. If you haven’t drifted off after around 20 minutes of trying take a little wonder to another room and then go back to bed, sometimes this really helps. Some of my friends swear by a white noise app on their phone such as Relax Melodies or Sleep Pillow Sounds so maybe give one of those a go if you’re really struggling?
My main piece of advice when it comes to comfort at night would be to invest in a good quality pregnancy pillow. My ultimate recommendation would be for the multi award winning Dreamgenii Pregnancy Pillow.
It costs around £45, although some stores such as Mothercare often have £5 off; whatever you pay for it, it is worth every penny! It supports your back, knees, hips, pelvis and bump and encourages you to sleep on your left side which is recommended by professionals. It also promotes the best position for your baby to adopt which gives a better chance of a shorter and less painful labour. I have not heard a bad word said about these pillows, so invest early, I am sure you wont regret it!
Sweet dreams 🙂