Happy tears

Today we went for afternoon tea with B. It was arranged at our local nursery where B is signed up to go, which is also a children’s centre so does a lot of kid activities. It was within walking distance and cheap, so we thought we’d give it a go. 

We had signed up to go with the grandparents – his paternal ones, as we are going to see mine on Sunday – but unfortunately they weren’t able to go as T’s dad unexpectedly landed in hospital the day before. 

Fortunately they didn’t find any signs of anything although he had been taken in with a suspected stroke, and T had driven an almost 4hr round trip to see him the previous night and he’d been reassured he was in good hands. We had already paid in advance for the afternoon tea so thought we wouldn’t waste it. 

Well, it was much nicer than I’d expected! Of course there were lots of children there but it wasn’t too hectic given the main event is tomorrow. Think we made a good choice to go on Saturday! They’d decorated the room really nicely with vintage crockery and so on. They had Alice and Wonderland on the projector (one of my favourite Disney films!) and a load of activities for the kids. Sadly B was still too young to take advantage of the chocolate fountain and cupcake decorating! The kids even had mini teapots of orange squash. It was all very cute. 

So we had double servings of afternoon tea – luckily we were given boxes to take the excess away at the end, so we could have it for dinner! And two glasses of bubbly each which contributed favourably to the mood. B snoozed away in his buggy until he woke up near the end. 


Whilst it was really meant for T’s mum, it was nice to have a little Mother’s Day advance celebration. 

Then a guy came and started singing some classics. B woke up and T had him on his lap. They looked adorable because they were wearing matching tops! T has this jumper he wears all the time with stripes on, and we found a babygro that is in the same colours so they can be cute matchy matchy. (I am so cheesy and I make no apologies… I’m trying to find matching mum and baby outfits that we can wear, haha!)

The singer started singing “You’re just too good to be true” and I was waving B’s arms around pretending to dance with him. 

And then he smiled – he’s been doing it on and off for the last week or so. We weren’t sure if it was random or not, wind or something, but it’s been getting more regular. 

Then, after smiling a bit, he started laughing! His first laugh, looking at me dancing with him. 

It was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. 

I started crying a bit… and T started to feel emotional because I had tears in my eyes, and B was just there giggling whilst I was pretending to dance with him and sing “You’re just too good to be true”, and really that’s the best Mother’s Day gift ever. 

The Big Scream

Beauty and the Beast live action is finally out in the UK and we went to see it. Hurray! It is my favourite Disney film and I’ve seen the cartoon like a million times. 

We went to baby cinema which is called The Big Scream. Once a week they show a baby friendly film and you can take your baby along and not worry if he/she cries. Now, we have unlimited cards for the local cinema and I’ve taken B twice to the local showings but T was keen to try it and I thought, Why not?


So… Let’s just say The Big Scream involved a lot of screaming! 

OMG. So in a way it’s good because you really don’t worry about your baby screaming. They all do. Usually quiet B did too! The last two films we went to see in our normal cinema, he slept through. (Lion and Hidden Figures.) This one he decided to get a bit annoyed and cry, even though he had boobs available and was being fed! Poor B – not sure he enjoyed Beauty and the Beast that much!

Would I go back? Personally I’m not in a rush. T says he would when he’s on his own with B. I’d rather just sit in a nice dark mostly empty cinema in a normal morning screening that hardly anyone goes to. (I also prefer complete darkness but they had the lights partially on for the babies.) I find other parents kind of annoying too! I was on the end of a row at the back and people kept standing next to me with screaming babies! I figure it’s easier to cope with one baby and take him out if he starts crying. 

It’s not all bad though. You definitely do relax. And it’s good because you really don’t worry about anything – if your baby cries, it doesn’t matter. You can get up and rock them. You can feed them. You can do whatever. So it’s easy that way. 

My long awaited viewing of Beauty and the Beast was… entertaining, but as expected, not a patch on the original. I thought that Emma Watson was well cast – I usually don’t like her particularly but she was suited to the role of Belle… She is very pretty and has the kind of innocent look about her. And for a peasant she sure does have a nice line in dresses. 

It’s an all star cast. I thought it particularly amusing how Cogsworth (the clock) even looked like Sir Ian McKellen! The weirdest thing was The Beast. He’s the guy out of Legion, a series we are watching… It is really good but very odd and couldn’t be more different than Beauty and the Beast! I really couldn’t change my view of him as a mental patient, so that was a bit funny!

The biggest thing I missed was – minor spoiler alert for immense fans – skip to next paragraph – the song Beauty and the Beast (Tale As Old As Time). They did it, but for me (superfan) the best part is that song (as well as Be Our Guest and Something There) and it just didn’t have the same emotional resonance, especially where the camera pans up through the chandelier at “as the sun will rise”, which is the bit where I usually gasp and feel emotional. 

In general, I think the entire film had too many fillers in the form of back stories and justifications, when really it’s based on a cartoon that works perfectly well without them. And that cartoon was a very good cartoon which was almost perfect so didn’t really need improving on. Also I may have been distracted by babies screaming!

After that excitement, we had to go for my favourite meal of the day… breakfast! I can eat breakfast at any time of day! I actually think maternity leave should be renamed breakfast leave… 


Note the rosé and the hot chocolate! We know how to live!

Mothering

Everything changes in a year. This time last year we were on staycation prior to starting our second cycle of IVF, in the hopes of having our rainbow baby. 

This year, our rainbow baby is here. 

Here in the UK, it’s Mother’s Day at the weekend. It will be my first Mother’s Day as a mother. 

I still equate Mother’s Day with my mum, the only mother I’ve ever known (since I was adopted at a few days old). Every other year I’ve just been me – a person with no biological relatives. This year, I have my first biological relative in B. I have a child! I’m a mother. It still feels surreal. 

I’m sort of amazed by motherhood, in that I never really saw myself as the maternal type. I knew I wanted a kid, but I expected this first part to be the tiresome and boring part – before the baby turns into a toddler who can express himself. But here’s the thing – B can express himself just fine! And there must be some sort of hormones, or biology, that makes you love your own child. 

I’ve spent years primarily being defined by my work. After over a decade of infertility I never defined myself by the typical female traits. Instead I was always about achieving stuff in a mainly male world. I was the female of colour in a white guy’s world and I ploughed my own furrow. 

And now I’m “one of the mums”. And to my surprise, I don’t hate it. I relish it. I find it all the more precious because I know I have less time than the others. Most women in the UK take a year off when they have a baby. More than a year because they accrue holiday when they’re on maternity leave. I could take a year – I’m entitled to it – but because I started my job pregnant, I am unpaid by my company for all the time I’m off. And I can’t really afford more than the four months I guesstimated we could do without my salary. 

Mum life is fun. And it’s even easier because T is off at the same time as me. Although we realised that a lot of stuff is geared just towards mums and babies and not dads. On the one hand I think that’s unfair, but on the other – I’m only just seeing how there’s a biological imperative and it makes sense for the mother to be the primary caregiver.

I knew it intellectually but I never really knew it. B knows I am his mother. He looks for me, and he’s comforted pretty much only by me. He likes T, but after a while he will look for me. And I’m the only one who can feed him. That’s such a big thing I hadn’t really fully understood. I see with B that instinctively he searches for me and wants to be with me. 

It’s weird to think that I was once his age and that even before I was the age he is now (just two months old!) I was taken from my first mother and given to a new one. Because I see now how B knows me, knows my smell, is comforted by me. Quite aside from looking like me. He knows me from being inside me for nine months. It’s a real big thing to think that happened to me at such a young age, a fraction of the age B is now. I wonder what that must have felt like to me as a baby. 

The funny thing is, I have almost a deeper relationship with my parents now because of B. They want to see him every week. We bond over our shared love of him. They don’t love him any less than their biological grandchildren – they are super proud grandparents of all of them. And I feel like we’ve had deeper, more critical conversations lately, especially about adoption. The fact they’re able to do that and to listen to my musings without getting defensive has been really a bonding experience for us. 

Having my own biological child has thrown up all these thoughts and feelings. I’ve had time to think and I’ve had time to bed into the idea of having a biological relative. It’s still so new and yet he feels like he’s always been here. It’s so huge in one way and so little, quotidian in another. In one way I feel like I’m still just me and in the other, I feel like everything has changed. 

I’m still active on adoption groups and lately a lot of adoptees I know have found their birth parents and families. It makes me wonder about looking for mine. I’ve thought about it a lot. But also I’ve seen how it doesn’t seem to make them happy. It seems to make them sad a lot of the time and yet they feel compelled to search.

For me, I don’t feel compelled to search. I wonder if I should feel it and there’s something wrong with me that I don’t. I wonder if I found my birth family whether I’d recognise myself in them. I’ve seen pictures of adoptees and the family resemblance and I wonder about that. Maybe B is enough for me. I feel like my birth mother would be like me – accepting of life, not really looking back. Not expecting me to go back. I don’t want to drag up difficult feelings because I don’t want to ruin the happiness I have now. And I hope she’s happy and I don’t want to ruin that either. 

T is also adopted and I wonder how much his experience has shaped mine. He found his birth mother a long time ago. They’ve only met a couple of times. It’s like they just needed to do it and then go back to their lives. Since B was born, we were supposed to see her and it seemed really difficult to arrange it. Lots of tangled communication. Then she cancelled. 

I wonder if she’s cancelling on purpose because it’s too much or whether the excuse she said is true. I feel slightly defensive and miffed on his behalf and on B’s behalf because I don’t understand why someone’s biological mother and grandmother doesn’t seem to want to see them. Maybe it’s too much emotionally. 

Part of me feels like she’s not entitled to see B because she’s not his “real” grandmother, as she hasn’t been an involved mother to T. But that’s just me being defensive for him. I guess I don’t understand why she doesn’t want to see this beautiful man she made. I think maybe a lot of adoptees have complex and angry feelings towards birth parents and we can’t know the circumstances. 

I feel compassion towards mine but it’s easy because they’re abstract and not real right now. If they were in this country and easily accessible I would feel mad if they didn’t make the effort to see me. And I kind of think feelings like that are why I have never searched. I don’t want to go down a rabbit hole of hope and disappointment. I’m fine and happy with life as it is. I kind of can’t believe how it’s worked out lately, how I have these three amazing guys I live with (if you count the dog as a guy!) and why would I want to change that, to drag up difficult feelings? Maybe that makes me a wuss.

So those are the thoughts that have been at the back of my head. At the front of my head have been the happy thoughts. The “I can’t believe that title now belongs to me” thoughts. The thought of my first Mother’s Day. On Saturday we are seeing T’s parents. And on Sunday (Mother’s Day) we are going round to my parents’ house with B and having a double. 

Mother’s Day still feels like it belongs to my mother, because I’ve had thirty-odd years of celebrating it as an honour for her. This year my dad is taking us all to a restaurant for lunch for my first Mother’s Day, so it’s about me too. And it’s about T’s mum, my mother in law, and her first grandchild. And it’s our time to think of our first mums who gave birth to us all those years ago. And I think of the mothers without babies too. The unacknowledged mothers. They matter too. 

As a new mum, I know I’m not special – hundred and thousands of women do it every day. And yet this year I have joined that circle of life, of women who have given life, our ancestors and the women to come down the line. I imagine I’ve joined that lineup of women, a line I never thought I’d join – through not inconsiderable effort and medical intervention – and I feel significant and insignificant at the same time. 

I am me. The child of two mothers, a shadow mother and an everyday mother. The partner of a wonderful, kind, funny man. The flatmate of a brilliant dog. The mother of baby B. 

Life is good. 

A new normal

It’s been eight weeks since our little B was born and it feels like we are slowly settling into our own way of being a family. It’s a weird dichotomy… In one way, time is going by slowly and dreamily as the days merge into one another, unbroken by the routine of going to work and office life. In another, time is flying past at the speed of light. It seems like only yesterday B was a tiny newborn nestled on my chest and now he’s a big hulking boy – or at least it seems to me. 8 weeks! How life has changed, and yet it feels so natural it’s like he was always meant to come and slot into family life. 

Of course we were a family before B. And I’m not so far out of infertility-land that I have forgotten that we were whole before then, that we had a great life and we were going to have a good Plan B. (Ironic that I call him B!) I am so happy this happened and still can’t quite believe our luck – I thank my lucky stars every day I wake up to see his sweet chubby little face. 

One of the things I’ve been hugely conscious of is to make sure Dog still feels loved and cherished. After all, he’s my first baby. He definitely has less attention from me, but more from T, and we are keeping up his schedule of walks so hopefully it will all even out. I always make sure to give him special cuddles when B is off me, which isn’t very often but I hope he understands. Dogs are pretty amazing like that. 

The big news is that T started his Shared Parental Leave. This is a process in the UK where the mother can give up some of her maternity leave and the father or other parent can take it instead. So we are both off work together for around three months. It’s pretty amazing and we are becoming a proper team. T has been great around the house as I am usually hooked up to a baby, being a milk machine. But we’ve gotten into a bit of a routine. 

The first day T was off work we went out to a local village for a celebratory breakfast. I love breakfast. The most important meal of the day! Only I tend to have it in the afternoon! I had French toast with bacon and maple syrup and T had egg and bacon muffins. We went shopping with B and I got some more nursing tops because, well, I seem to spend my entire life nursing. 


On that front, breastfeeding is going astoundingly well. I’m amazed because I figured it would be awful and was all prepared to give formula but it turns out if there’s one thing that comes naturally to me, it’s breastfeeding. I am massively grateful as I know a bunch of mums having difficulty and I know it makes for a lot of stress. B is piling on the pounds being exclusively breastfed – we joke it’s the only time in your life that people give you such praise for putting on weight!

I’ve been expressing off and on and banking some breast milk in the freezer. I went to a breastfeeding clinic to understand how to introduce it as I’ll be going back to work in a few months and it was kind of stressing me out. Turns out that I can produce a decent amount of milk per session which is a relief. Also apparently it’s easier to do it when you’re also feeding the baby so that’s what I’ve been doing. Then when I’m back at work I will have to pump a few times during the work day. I was worried about how often to do that etc but I think I’ve worked it out. I invested in a double pump at the baby show because I was worried about how I would do it within time constraints at work with a single. The things you don’t know about before they happen! It had never occurred to me to get a double pump. 

We went to The Baby Show and it was so much more fun once you have a baby! I kind of thought it’d be more about the anticipation whilst pregnant but I really didn’t have a clue back then (hence the single pump I bought last time round). We got some little useful things for B like a little cup shaped like a whale to use to wash his hair. We had been using a ceramic coffee mug! We are those kind of haphazard parents! We also splashed out and got him a rocker which automatically rocks him. (The Joie Serina 2 in 1 arrows.) It’s amazing! He seems to quite like it!


Our days are kind of peaceful and kind of full. I’m sort of embarrassed to say that B has a fuller social life than I ever had! We tend to get up slowly – although he wakes during the night, we can usually lie in a while. I usually allow two hours to get up if we are going anywhere. T tends to take Dog out and I feed B. Then we get up and either see visitors or go out. My folks come by once a week and I see my small group of mums from NCT (antenatal class) maybe once a week. We go to Baby Sensory once a week too. And maybe go shopping a few times a week. It all adds up. 

Plenty of food opportunities!

Pancake day we went to the local “bumps and babies” meet and I had huevos rancheros pancake. Omg! So good!


Our local farmer’s market does Street food and I love their raclette – melted cheese over potatoes and bacon! Divine!


I’m really not bored in the least. What I found seems to help not to be bored or stir crazy is to make sure we go out every day. Even if it’s just to the local shop to get something for dinner or to Starbucks for a hot chocolate. But usually I don’t have to resort to trying to fill time because of appointments and social engagements and all. Of course it can get a bit tiring if he’s going through a crying spell but I tell myself it’s probably a growth spurt and it won’t last forever. On the whole he is a pretty easy baby who can usually be calmed by a cuddle or milk. Or a good burp! Takes after his father!

Everyone seems so happy for us! It’s really nice. We’ve had various visitors wanting to come and see him so I’ve frequented the local coffee shop a lot. They know me as the girl who has two hot chocolates with all the trimmings! (Whipped cream and marshmallows!) They also do a fine line in bacon baps! (Bacon rolls.) My parents treat me to breakfast every time they come round so it really could be worse! Our flat is really a bit on the small side for entertaining and it’s good to get out. 


The funny thing is that I feel like I have lost a fair amount of baby weight. I’ve been congratulated on this by various people but I really haven’t tried to lose it. As you can see by the multiple hot chocolates with whipped cream and marshmallows! I think breastfeeding just makes me super greedy. I still have weight to lose but I refuse to stress about it. My boobs are out of control as I’m breastfeeding and my stomach is a bit of a disaster zone post c section so I think there will be some gym work required in the long run. Right now I’m doing a decent amount of walking and babywearing which possibly helps. 

Another weird side effect post pregnancy is I got a weird sense of vertigo(?) for a while. It meant that when the washing machine was on spin and the floor would shake a bit that I would feel really queasy and anxious like the floor might give way. We are right at the top of the building. I started worrying the floor could collapse which was super irrational. It was so odd. I’ve never had vertigo before but I assume that’s what it is.

I also got worried about Dog being trapped in the house in case of fire and so I ordered these emergency pet cards / key rings which tell people in case you have an accident that there’s a pet at home who needs looking after. I don’t know if those anxieties were post partum effects. Generally I’m not an anxious person (I know, my pregnancy probably notwithstanding!) so it was really weird. But it’s sort of passed / calmed down over the past few weeks. 

I do think I think of bad things that might happen to people I love more than I did before I was pregnant. But they’re not out of control anxieties or anything and I don’t dwell on them – I’ve just noticed I feel differently and maybe it’s a side effect of pregnancy/birth. For example I feel really terrible if I ever hear of bad things happening to kids, particularly little boys. I think someone said that having a child is like having your heart placed outside your body. It does feel like I’ve turned into a pile of mush!

Anyway I think the reason I don’t stress so much about the body image thing is that my body had never worked properly before. And now I have B and I can’t quite believe it. So I refuse to feel sad or worried about the body that gave me my child. Even if it’s a bit of a wreck right now! I had such body image issues before pregnancy and now I’m heavier than I’ve ever been and I just don’t care – this body is the one that’s feeding my child. It seems sort of miraculous. There is plenty of time later to slim down!

Sometimes I feel too happy when everyone else I know with a baby seems to find it hard or tedious. I guess maybe because they didn’t struggle to get pregnant. (Also luck on the breastfeeding front.) I keep wondering about post partum depression and whether I could see the signs if I had it. Thankfully doesn’t seem to be any sign of it right now.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows of course! T and I have discussed a lot about feelings. I’ve definitely been more grouchy and snappy at him, which isn’t ideal. He’s taking it in good grace. We definitely have had small arguments more than usual but we make them up pretty quickly. I think the thing is that regardless of your feelings on gender roles, there are limitations to breaking out of it – I’m the feeder which leaves me very little time to do anything else. And B isn’t dependent on T in the same way, which can lead to tensions. Either way, we are coping okay and making our feelings known! I think post partum hormones are definitely playing havoc!

I’ve barely thought about work. Which is nice but also weird when it defined me for so long. I mildly hate myself for saying this but I can see why mothers get consumed with being mothers and stop caring about the other stuff. I can see now why you usually get a year off for maternity leave (in the UK). I seem to have slipped into this new identity and put the old one on the shelf and I don’t even feel tempted to pick it up before time. 

I had to reconnect this week as there’s a consultation at work. Hopefully my job is not in danger but I had to have a call with my boss and HR even though I’m on maternity leave because the role I do is changing. (The overall role not my job specifically.) It was actually fun to speak with them and reminded me I really like my boss and my job. So at least didn’t make me feel bad about having something to go back to. My boss was really nice and said take all the time you need… I can’t afford to stay off unpaid though! I am getting the maternity allowance from the government but it is a lot less than my salary and just about covers my Starbucks habit! But at least aside from the hassle of pumping and the cost of nursery it will hopefully be nice when I go back. 

In a way, being off work actually gives me more time to spend connecting with friends. A really nice thing happened a few days ago. I got an email from a very old childhood friend who I haven’t been in touch with for years. She now lives in America.  It was so nice to hear from her! I’d gotten in touch with her years ago via her brother on LinkedIn and we had spoken via email really briefly but didn’t keep it up. 

She said she’d been thinking of me a lot lately because her kids remind her of us (my siblings and me) so that was really sweet. It’s funny as I always thought of her and would periodically search for her on Facebook, but she’s not on Facebook. It was so nice to reconnect and see photos of her and her family – she’s in an interracial relationship as well (married to a white guy) so it just felt nice to see that we have something in common – and be able to send my own family photos. 

I’ve also spent longer talking on the phone to people who don’t live locally like my best friend who lives overseas. Or my friend from uni in the US who called me the other night. It’s cool to be able to catch up! I think when I’m at work I never take the time to speak on the phone with people very much any more. It’s nice to connect. My folks want to FaceTime with B all the time!

Our so called “splinter group” (a few of us from the NCT – antenatal class, not everyone) meet up once a week and also talk a fair amount on whatsapp. It’s good to have others who are sharing the experience especially when you have a question along the lines of, “Is this weird?” 

We have joked amongst ourselves that there really should be some book or app that tells you all the stuff they never tell you about having a baby. It’s kind of nuts. Like did you know their skin peels off around day 10? (The depickling!) Is it normal for them to be cross eyed? Bow legged? Etc. Humans really are a bit strange!

My sister is still pregnant! I gave her a load of my maternity clothes as she’s getting to that point of showing. We are all treading a fine line with her right now. She’s very highly strung and if you add in pregnancy after loss, it’s kind of a grenade waiting to go off! (She makes me look positively chilled and I was really stressed during pregnancy, worried about loss.) 

I’m hoping now she’s coming up to halfway that she will start to relax and accept it a bit more as that’s how it was for me. I have a huge stockpile of gifts for her baby! Did I mention she’s having a girl? It means I get to shop for cute girly things too! (I’ve done a run on Mini Boden and Little White Company!) I just feel so relieved for her. 

On Saturday we have a big reunion of the NCT group – including the dads – so instead of being pregnant we will all have babies. The final baby was born about a week ago. She was the one who wanted a home birth but ended up in hospital and is having some post partum problems, poor thing. I guess if we’ve learned anything from this whole thing it’s that nothing goes according to plan. But… It’s all worth it once they are here. 

I organised a baby first aid course for before the reunion. (I’ve somehow turned into the organiser of the group. I guess I need to get my kicks somewhere!) It turns out everyone wanted to do it so we can get a private class just for our group. I figured it’s worth finding out especially given the situation that happened with my mother in law at my baby shower! I had that weird reaction when I was pregnant and cried when I thought about having to give B CPR! Assuming this won’t happen again!

For the reunion I have a plan to make some cupcakes. I was going to do something more ambitious but realised that was a bit nuts to try and do if you have a baby. So I’m just going to go with swirls but I got some toppers printed with photos of each baby on, so hopefully they’ll go down well. It’s funny seeing the photos of all the babies when they were first born. B is almost two months old and much bigger! I wonder how the parents will feel eating a pic of their baby?!

The final thing for this week is that the wrap I ordered arrived. I completely love it! I started using it the day it arrived and it was awesome. I thought it might be really difficult to tie but it was fine and I managed it first time! It obviously takes longer than a sling that you can just plonk them into, but the fit is much better and it spreads the weight across both shoulders which helps as B is a little chubber! 

First attempt bathroom mirror selfie!


It means we can do more of the attachment parenting type stuff (whatever that is… I interpret it to mean he’s always attached which he pretty much is) plus on a purely shallow note I love the pattern – stars. B now has a whole selection of stuff with stars on and most of his clothes are stripey so I guess that covers our Americophile predilections! (Although we will be steering clear of Trump land for a bit!)

Stuff with stars on has become our unofficial motif. Aside from the wrap (and the sling before then) he has clothes with stars on and I managed to get a good deal at the baby show on a blanket I had been wanting for ages from MORI which is covered in stars. It will be fab for sitting out on the grass in summer. (Hit me up if you are in the UK and want a referral code for £10 off!) And I got a lovely light scarf that I can use as a nursing cover if I need to, from The White Company. I think it just cheers me up to have all this starry stuff!


And it reminds me of the cake I made when recovering from the loss of our first baby… Starry Night (*Dr Who edition). The sadness I had whilst making this cake in direct contrast to the happiness I feel now when I think of how things worked out since. What a difference a year makes.


We already tell B he was 4.5 years in the making. (And that’s just my current relationship not counting the 10+ years of fertility problems before then.) Out of 19 eggs retrieved and around 11 fertilised over two cycles, he was the only one who made it. He’s amazing. A miracle. 

He is my little star!

Things I want to remember 


I’ve been a mother for almost seven weeks and I don’t know where the time has gone. I think I’m still in the phase where I can’t quite believe that it’s happened, but it has. Our lives have changed irrevocably and I’m still in a state of disbelief that finally it has happened for us. 

Here’s the thing: Every drop of this life is precious. I never thought this day would come so I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about it other than in the abstract. But here I am, living it. I’m snatching time to write this blog when it’s past 1am and B is snoozing in his side sleeper cot next to me. And on the other side, T and Dog are snoring away. I couldn’t be happier. 

I only get four months off before I go back to work and I can already see it slipping away and I kind of want to stay in this bubble forever. A secret: Everything is so much easier than I’d been led to believe. I’m not sleep deprived. I don’t feel exhausted. Breastfeeding is relatively easy. Weight seems to be coming off. 

The way people talk about new motherhood and being a parent is that it’s a massive drag. I had super low expectations. I kind of thought it was a means to an end before the real fun started (when the kid could walk and talk) but I’ve been blown away by how much I enjoy it. 

I absolutely didn’t think I’d be a natural mother. And yet if I didn’t have a decent job that pays the bills, I’d be tempted to jack it all in and spend every waking moment being B’s mum. I wonder if I have a massive dose of hormones or something making me go all doolally. What happened to the stone cold hearted me? I’m not sure. I’m kind of mushy nowadays. 

I love him being here. My only biological relative. He looks like me. My genes. I’ve never had that before. Being adopted, never knowing a relative who looks like me – it’s a huge thing. Life changing. 

I think it’s been easier for me to adjust partly because breastfeeding has been pretty smooth. Of course there are some teething problems (not literally!) but on the whole it came naturally to us and B has put on loads of weight! He was 5.44kg a few days ago, up from his birth weight almost seven weeks ago of 3.61kg. 

My friends from NCT have all had problems breastfeeding so I’ve been really lucky. Although they all had easy births so they joke I was due something easy! All but one of the babies has been born although we think the last one has just been born but not announced. B was the second biggest at birth. The only caesarean! It means he has a nice unsquashed head! Also the only boy so lots of girlfriends to choose from! (I’ve told him it’s perfectly fine to have a boyfriend!)

I don’t feel smug. Maybe it is because we wanted him so much. I don’t take any of it for granted. To be frank, I really doubted I’d even be able to breastfeed so it surprised me it came so naturally. And gradually other “hippy dippy” stuff has snuck in. I’m totally not the mother I expected! I can’t let him cry and I carry him around a lot. My Earth mother friend (you know who you are, haha) finds this hilarious, I think. I keep messaging her one more concession to earth-motherdom so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I become a full blown hippy!

We kind of have a focus group because of NCT, our antenatal class, where all babies have been born within a few weeks of each other. It’s been really interesting especially as one of them who I’ve mentioned before is really negative. I sort of feel like it is my job to perk them up a bit! (Not her though. She’s beyond redemption. She whines about everything.) 

It’s interesting because I feel like our experiences are similar but how we experience it is different. Like if you look at it, I actually had the most traumatic birth. I also got an infected c section scar and B ended up in hospital with bronchiolitis. So really we’ve probably had more than the others to deal with but we do seem to be the most happy. 

I think I just expected it would be really hard and it’s much less hard than I expected, so I feel kind of giddy rather than depressed. Like the sleep isn’t that bad if you don’t have to get up and go to work! And I’m used to interrupted sleep because Dog sleeps in the bed and regularly shuffles about! And although I do get tired feeding during the night, I think of it as a phase that will pass. 

I just don’t resent it at all. I feel hugely lucky to be able to be doing this. I just never thought I would get the opportunity and I love it. And the hard part won’t last forever. The others have talked about how they’ve been crying and stuff and I haven’t done that at all, not through stress or exhaustion. Only slightly teary eyes through a bit of happy emotion!

The other funny thing: Other people’s babies leave me kind of cold. I have met some great friends through NCT. Out of the seven couples in our group, I’m good friends with two of them and we recently added a third to our “splinter group” (after a gruelling audition process, haha). I get on great with them but I definitely have that thing where I love my baby but I am not gaga for other people’s. I like them but I don’t go mad for them like others do. I guess the baby madness only extends to my own! But it’s great to have some friends in the same position. We meet up once or twice a week. B actually has a better social life than I do!

And I’ve done things I didn’t think I’d do. One of my friends persuaded me to try Baby Sensory classes. It’s so odd and I laugh to myself thinking of what my team would say if they could see me singing “Say Hello To The Sun” (with actions). I didn’t think I’d be mad on breastfeeding but I am. I feel like I want to do it for a year if I can. I’m going to have to pump when I go back at four months. I want to do that for him. And I wear him in a sling a lot of the time. I really didn’t see myself doing that but it just makes sense. I’ve even ordered a wrap to try! I’ve gone full on Earth mother! I’ll probably be puréeing his food later!

So yeah. I’m in a baby haze. I’m not bored. I don’t resent him. I don’t dislike this phase at all. I’m loving it. 

We reached the six weeks milestone which T was avidly waiting for! We had to mark it in the way of resuming (extra)marital relations! It was kind of comical and kind of reassuring it all still works. On the plus side, an emergency c section means my pelvic floor seems fine! Don’t think my stomach will ever be the same though! The weight has dropped off but I still have a saggy stretch marked pouch. I suppose the caesarean does that. I thought I would really upset about it but I’m not letting it bother me now. That saggy stripey pouch gave me my baby! 

They keep asking in hospital and appointments about contraception. We discussed it and I said I wasn’t worried as it never happened for 16 years. T said, “I didn’t realise we were having another baby!” Truthfully I would see it as a miracle but I really don’t yearn for another child. I am over the moon at this one. And there is no way I would put myself through the mental and physical pain again, if we were actively to try. I think we are just going with “What happens, happens” approach! So B will be an only child then!

So B is here and I think of him as perfect. I wonder what he will be like as he gets older. He’s outgrown two, almost three sizes of clothes. I realised that the sizes on clothes don’t correspond to ages at all! He’s in 0-3 months now at 1.5 and I can’t see him getting much more wear out of them!

The grandparents are super proud. Both sets are loving it. My folks come round once a week roughly and they just want to hold him and grin. It’s been great though. A very bonding experience for us. I’ve found myself talking to them about adoption a lot. That’s probably a whole other post. I can’t believe B is now older than I was when I went to live with my parents. He’s still so tiny and he still needs me so much and he will only settle being with me. I think of the few days old me and wonder how that must have felt to me. My parents are actually really great about talking about this stuff. I think they realise in a way that having B has given me a lot of peace. 

My sister is still pregnant! I’m so glad. I was dreading how it would pan out if it went wrong but they are approaching the halfway mark. And she’s having a girl! Which means I get to buy girl stuff for her kid so I don’t miss out on girly things. Truth be told I love having a boy. Although I’m sure in future I’ll be able to take my niece to do the girly things! Spa days and afternoon teas hopefully. Although no reason why B wouldn’t like those things!

My brother has been having a really difficult time. The other siblings and my parents and I have tried to help but he is at the point where he refuses any help. My folks are so upset. I think partly it is pride as he wants to provide for his family himself. Also I’ve said on here before, I always called him The Golden Child as he had a charmed life. He’s in his thirties and this is the only bad thing that has ever happened to him. But it’s really bad. 

I feel bad for ever feeling jealous of him because I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. (His child has a serious health problem.) We are all trying to help but I don’t know what we can do when he keeps refusing. (Including financial help.) We are just all hoping that they can get help and that things aren’t as bad as we are fearing as right now everything is unknown. It is really sobering as I know that this time last year I was feeling terrible that our previous baby’s due date fell around his baby’s christening. So much has changed in a year. 

My other friend is still going through chemo but the good news is that the tumour has shrunk! I’m really hoping this is it for her. She’s had a tough time dealing with chemo as she’s been really ill. I’m very aware that we’ve had this huge exciting wonderful thing happen in our lives but others are dealing with some horrible stuff. We are just trying to be there for her. 

So that’s a bit of an update typed on iPhone in the middle of the night. People ask what I do all day and I reply, we are so busy but I’m not sure what we are actually doing. Being a family. We were three and now four. Dog is being a big brother. We have new roles. I’m learning how to be a Mama. 

In the blink of an eye more weeks will have passed. I already can’t remember what it felt like to be pregnant… I know I had years and years of pain before then but it feels like that is healing. Just as the scar from my caesarean is healing, so is the pain of infertility, the pain of thinking I could never have this, and the pain of losing our first baby. I can still remember it but it’s not such a deep stabbing pain any more. And the other pains I’ve experienced in my life… the sadnesses… They all pale in comparison to the love and happiness I’m feeling now. 

Baby listmania

So I said I’d do a post for those who are interested on what we actually needed / have used for the baby (B) versus what I thought we would need. This has been sitting in my draft posts for ages so I’m going to post it! 

(I have about a million thoughts and feelings swirling around in my head that I need to blog about, but somehow don’t seem to be able to formulate much right now. Suffice to say we are really enjoying parenthood. It’s better than I’d hoped for. I really hope all my friends still in the trenches get to experience this. I’ll try and do a post on that stuff soon, if I ever get comprehensible.)

So, recommendations for Stuff. I know all babies are different yadda yadda and we are definitely not experts or the first people in the world to have a baby! So feel free to ignore!

In fact both T and I were amazed we didn’t really need a lot of stuff in the first place, although you do need to go out to the shops fairly early on. This was quite easy for us as we have shops onsite on our estate plus other larger shops just outside in the town, so it wasn’t difficult and was a good excuse to get out of the house in week 1. 

Anyway, I’ve broken it down into a few categories and we’ll see how it goes…

Hospital bag and antenatal stuff 

I really think we ended up bringing a lot of unnecessary stuff! But I had gone off lists from NCT (antenatal class) as we had no idea. I think they’re slightly into overstating it as we traveled fairly light and it was fine. 

What you need:

  • Hospital notes. (I kept forgetting these – best to leave them in your bag!) In the UK they ask you for these at every appointment and tire meant to carry them around with you so may as well stick them in your bag. 
  • Something to sleep in x2. You will probably labour in something else and you don’t want to sleep in that later. I took vest / shorts as that’s what I sleep in. I just got a couple of cheap sets in a larger size than pre pregnancy size. 
  • Something to labour in. I brought a swimsuit / tankini but didn’t end up using the birthing pool due to the birth not going according to plan. I just wore the t shirt I was wearing to the hospital and pants. I thought I would care what I was wearing but I really didn’t!
  • Pants! (Not trousers – knickers / panties) Ideally big enough to fit hospital pads in, which are huge. They give you disposable ones in hospital. I had also bought some disposable ones but they were awful – too big – so I preferred wearing my own normal pants, which are bikini style so can just about take a big pad. I later bought some “granny pants” (big knickers!) to wear during recovery… well, more (seamfree) boy shorts than anything else. I’m still wearing them five weeks on! They do help with healing after a c section as my normal bikini pants aggravated the scar. 
  • Maternity pads. They did provide some in hospital but the ones I brought myself were better – they had sticky on and the hospital ones didn’t, and were a better shape. NB In Boots (UK) they have two types. You need the big thick ones initially but then you can use the smaller thinner ones by week 2. TBH I have not been able to work out much difference between maternity pads and normal pads, except you want long ones. So Always Night are also fine. And eventually, pantyliners are fine (end of week 2 / beginning week 3 for me).  
  • Slippers. I brought some fold up ones shaped like mice that my best friend got me for Christmas!
  • Dressing gown. I brought a light maternity one which I got in the Mothercare sale for £7. Hospital was sooo hot so it was good I didn’t bring a heavy one but nice to wear rather than the open back hospital robes!
  • Nursing top and bra. Came in handy for when we had visitors. 
  • Something easy to slip on to sit around once you are up and to travel home in. I really didn’t want tight fitted stuff as I had a caesarean. I wore tracksuit trousers or maternity jeans, t shirt, coat / sweater, slip on shoes (I live in TOMS). 
  • Basic toiletries like toothbrush/toothpaste, hairbrush. 
  • Contact lenses if you wear them!
  • Bottles of water and bendy straws. This was a tip from the midwife and we drank the entire 12 pack. Straws definitely came in handy when I couldn’t easily sit up / was nursing. 
  • Camera. You’ll want to take pictures. Also camera phone but now is the time to take the proper pics. 
  • Chargers. All of the chargers for phone, etc. 
  • iPhone. I have become dependent on it. iPad is too big / heavy when dealing with baby!
  • Baby bag (see below). 
  • Car seat. Make sure you know how to fit it in the car and also how to put baby in! We almost didn’t and had a mini argument in hospital about how to do it!
  • Blanket. For baby in car seat and you can also use it in hospital if you’re staying in. I now leave that blanket in the car. I also have a collection of blankets like one on the sofa, one in the cot, one in the baby bag, pram, etc. 
  • Optional: Contraction counter app. I had this on my iPhone and used it linked to my Apple Watch to time contractions. It did help with this setup as it got to the point where I couldn’t really speak. 

What you don’t need that I took:

  • Breast pads. You don’t need them until your milk comes in which is Day 3ish and I didn’t stay in that long. But I guess you’d need them if you did. When you do need them – Lansinoh are far and away superior. The own brand ones didn’t stick properly and bunch up. 
  • Vast quantities of toiletries. I didn’t end up using them. Thought I would but waited until I got home for a shower as I didn’t want to leave B alone. Maybe a bit crazy as they had showers but it was fine for me to wait. 
  • Makeup – ha! Totally expected to want to wear it but don’t think I even thought about it until week 2. I felt fine. Must’ve been new mother glow! Confession: Didn’t brush my hair until day 2. Was needed after labour!
  • Snacks. They said we’d want them but I really didn’t bother with much.They have food at hospital and I was just too busy. It maybe depends how long you stay in but B was delivered late Sunday night and we just stayed in Monday then left on Tuesday so didn’t eat much. I had a bag of crisps plus the hospital food! I had some Haribo sweets the next day. 
  • Lots of clothes. Didn’t end up wearing them. Kind of slummed it in hospital and then just wore something light to go home in. 
  • Biscuits / chocolates for nurses / midwives. It’s a nice thought but because of what happened we didn’t really have continuity of care. So didn’t know who to give them to. I think we will send a thank you card when I get round to it. 
  • Champagne was suggested but wasn’t really in the mood as there was no fridge and who wants warm champagne?!
  • Mood lighting. They suggest battery tea lights and fairy lights for a natural birth but I had an emergency caesarean so it didn’t work out that way. T did get them out during my labour and I barely noticed them. Same goes for the music which I didn’t use despite having hypnobirthing tracks downloaded. I just never really got to that stage of having my own room to set up for birth, so it wasn’t really necessary. I also had photo books that T had made me as they suggest having something nice to focus on during birth, which was a lovely thought but never happened. The books are nice though!

Baby bag 

We took a separate bag for B which we’ve carried on using as his baby bag. We think we have it down to a fine art now and have streamlined it. It’s a rucksack which is for babies but is quite neutral just with lots of pockets and space. 

  • Baby clothes. We took quite a few for B for hospital and only just had enough. You need (in the UK, winter): 3 short sleeved bodysuit vests, 3 long sleeved bodysuits, 2-3 sleepsuits, hat, scratch mittens, jacket/cardigan, socks. Usually in his nappy bag I have one change of clothes for the day. 
  • Nappies. He wasn’t small so didn’t need mini, and he uses size 1 Pampers. We just brought a whole pack to the hospital. Usually in the bag I keep at least 4. (Update: This has sat in drafts so long he’s now in size 2!)
  • Wipes. We use Water Wipes as he seemed to get an irritated bum from anything else. I just take a whole pack. 
  • Nappy cream. We use Bepanthen and seems to work fine. I got travel size to go in the bag. 
  • Changing mat. Turns out he hates having his nappy changed and especially hates being on a changing mat. I guess it’s cold on his back. At home we use a towel which can be washed. Out and about we have a small fold up mat (Polar from Amazon, under £10) and also you can get disposable changing pads from Pampers which can be used a few times depending on if they get dirty. They are nice and soft. From hospital they give you bed pads so they also work as nappy changing pads, so take any spares! Also it turns out you can use puppy training pads as disposable changing mats! We have hundreds!
  • Dummies. Spare ones clipped into inside pocket. 
  • Muslins. They do come in handy although you can get away without them. They are cloths you use to wipe up baby milk / sick / drool. I tend to tuck one in the sling and a couple in the bag. 
  • Red book. In the U.K. all babies get a red book which is their medical records. We keep it in the nappy bag. 
  • For shorter trips I use the Skip Hop changing mat pack which is a mat and smaller case which holds a few wet wipes and nappies. It’s good if you don’t want to take the whole big bag out with you. 

Stuff for baby at home

What we needed in the beginning:

  • Sling. I have used this so much. The one we have is the Soohu sling from WeMadeMe. It was tricky to set up but now it is, it’s easy to plonk him in for toting about the place and you can even use it as a discreet breastfeeding cover. So works for me. I might even consider wraps later down the line now I’m feeling more adventurous!
  • Cot. We have the Snuzpod side sleeper cot which is joined on to our bed. Would I buy it again? Well my in laws bought it for us. It’s quite expensive but it’s a nice style. He is not keen on sleeping in it yet – he wants to sleep on a person! But hopefully he will get used to it. It suits him until six months and then we will have to figure something else out. TBH I can see us cosleeping (which is soooo bad) although may try to get him into a pack n play. He’ll be in our room for a while as we don’t have a spare room (it’s currently a walk in closet). Update: He now sleeps in his cot for longer during the night and we use it in conjunction with the Cosydream sleep nest. 
  • Newborn baby clothes. We totally didn’t appreciate that newborn size is different from 0-3 months. There’s even an in between size called Up to one month. So we ended up needing a load of newborn clothes which now at three weeks he’s kind of grown out of. For what it’s worth, I totally didn’t know what babies need clothing wise. In the UK, babies tend to wear shorty vests underneath (short sleeves and short legs). At night they wear a sleepsuit over that (long arms long legs, all enclosed). During the day they wear a long sleeved babygro (long arms short legs) over the vest, plus some trousers and socks or shoes. I guess girls maybe wear something different. Anyway I totally thought the vests were actual outfits but they’re not! And you need a few changes in case they get dirty, which happens! He moved to Up to one month size at about three weeks and I think he will move to 0-3 months in a couple of weeks. For me the best baby clothes for boys (as there seems generally less selection) are from M&S and baby Boden. 
  • Nappies and changing bag. See separate section!
  • Blankets. We used a baby blanket in the car seat that I just leave in the car. And tend to wrap him in soft blankets if we are on the sofa with him. Not baby blankets. But in bed we moved away from blankets to the sleeping bag and then the swaddle bag. It seems an easier way to get him to sleep. Blankets are handy when out and about too. I have a cute small one from Tobias and the Bear that I take with me in his baby bag and he can lie on when we are out and about. I’m also eyeing up one from Mori. 
  • Muslins. They say you can’t have too many. I got some half price in the sale and pop them all over the place. 
  • Nappies. They’re always on offer in various shops, up to half price. So it’s worth buying them in bulk!
  • Nappy disposal bin. I’ve had debates with friends over this. I think it depends if you live in a house or a flat. We live in a top floor apartment and so we don’t take rubbish out all the time. It definitely helps to have somewhere to leave stinky nappies which contains the smell! We have the Tommee Tippee Sangenic bin and it seems to be working fine. 
  • Room thermometer. We have the gro egg which is a glowing egg. It means you know how much clothing he should wear to sleep in. As a rule of thumb, it’s one layer more than you. 

What we didn’t need in the beginning: 

  • Pushchair / stroller. It’s week 3 and we still don’t need it. Although I guess I’ll start using it at some point soon. We got the Stokke Scoot. (Edited to add: We have started using this at 5 weeks. It’s great, but we definitely didn’t need it earlier and it’s still easy to use the sling on public transport. It’s nicer for strolls as B is getting heavy now!)
  • Dummies / pacifiers. I started using these around week three. They say not to until later in case it interferes with breastfeeding but I can’t see that happening as he loves to feed. I also got the clips that mean if it drops out of his mouth then it doesn’t fall on the floor. I have one clipped on the sling, one in the changing bag, one in his cot, etc. The only ones he will currently take are Tommee Tippee. (Update: Philips Avent are the currrnt winners.)
  • Older clothes. Like I said, 0-3 months is too big for a newborn. He’s three weeks now and has put on almost a kilo since birth but still isn’t in those yet. He’s sort of grown out of newborn but now in Up to 1 month clothes which are slightly bigger. Also, we got loads of hats as presents and they’re still way too big. One month on, my favourite clothes for boys are from (UK shops) Mini Boden, JoJo Maman Bébé, the Little White Company, Mark’s & Spencer. Also I got some cute clothes from Europe in Bruges and Italy, and when I was in the US, I loved the store Janie and Jack. I think it’s sort of harder to find cool boys’ clothes but I enjoy the challenge! I like him to wear funky / classic and animal stuff, not so much cartoony stuff that seems to be everywhere for boys. I’m sure he won’t care!
  • Mobile. We haven’t fitted it to the cot yet. We do have Whisbear (white noise teddy) which we’ve used although I’m not sure whether it works. He doesn’t stay in the cot for stimulation so we don’t use the mobile yet. 
  • Bouncy chair. We thought he could use it for when I need a shower etc but he hates it so far! I had high hopes for the vibrations but he just screams. Hope it works in future. (Edited to add: He is only now getting used to it at just over a month. It’s handy for when I want to shower!)
  • Baby carrier for Dad. We got a proper carrier from Stokke but he’s only just started using it. T felt B was too small for it initially even though it says suitable from birth. It was a lot more expensive. I’m thinking the sling has more ROI. (Edited to add: T started using this at around a month old and it is working well but definitely more fiddly than the sling.)
  • Sleeping bag. We got a cheap one in the sale and he did use it a while, as he really didn’t seem to take to the cot blanket and it caused him less trouble. Then I decided to try swaddling so got him a swaddle bag (I got one from MORI for newborns to 3 month olds) which seems to help as long as he doesn’t realise he’s in it. I use a mix of the swaddle sack until he wakes up and gets mad he’s in it, early morning, and then switch to the blanket. I have a bunch of nice blankets but use the Snuz branded ones in the Snuzpod because it looks cute. 
  • Bath stuff. The midwives said not to bathe him for at least a month! You wipe them down to clean them but apparently they don’t need it and the natural fluids from childbirth are apparently good for them! Have to say I felt a bit squeamish about this but he was fine. We bathed him for his one month birthday! We used the Angel soft touch bath support which is like a reclining seat the baby can lie in whilst you bathe him. It worked great. Also a Nuby turtle bath thermometer which helped get the water to the right temperature. It’s cute! And we used Burts Bees baby bath which I received as a baby shower gift. I felt like it was nice but left quite a strong smell. I was glad when he got back his new baby smell!

 

So that’s it for now! This has gone through a few edits as some stuff has become more useful as time has gone on, but it’s a representation of what we used in the first month. We are now at 5 and a half weeks. I can’t believe it! We seem to spend our days doing a lot and not very much at the same time. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m already dreading going back to work as I only get four months off, but trying to focus on the good stuff right now. 

I’m so enjoying motherhood and I can barely believe it has finally happened for me. B is a lovely baby and even though he’s a bit nocturnal, we have all settled in really well. It’s hard to believe that just over a month ago he was still inside me, and this time last year he didn’t even exist as we contemplated our second IVF cycle (and I was hugely pessimistic). In fact during February 2016 I was at an all time low as we passed the due date for our first baby, PB. 

I’ll never forget the pain of infertility and loss. It was something that went on for so long, over 10 years for me. And yet now, with baby B snuffling on my chest, Dog snoring and T snoozing beside me, I can feel the pain recede into memory. I feel at peace. I am hoping for others that they can find their peace. 

Bad things come in threes!

This is something my usually not superstitious dad always says. Bad things come in threes. So after B’s hospitalisation with bronchiolitis and the subsequent fire at the hospital, I should have expected something more. (Assuming my infected caesarean scar didn’t count, gah!)

So on Friday I woke up feeling ill. Really ill. The kind of moaning crying kind of ill. I’m hardly ever ill and definitely not motivated to be ill on Friday as we’d already had a rough week with the hospitalisation and I was due to catch up with some friends which I was really looking forward to but… I was ill. 

First sign was feeling sick. I do not cope well with nausea. I’m hardly ever sick. Like I have to be super ill to be sick. 

Then came the stomach pain. And diarrhoea. And fever. 

OMG. 

It was awful. 

I lost count of how many times I dragged myself out of my sickbed to the toilet, to have awful diarrhoea (sorry, TMI) and back to bed to moan and cry with pain. I also probably sweated buckets whilst also feeling cold or too hot intermittently. Miserable!

Luckily T was able to stay home from work as I seriously don’t know what I would have done. It was so scary. I thought I wouldn’t be able to feed B but I just managed. T even helped me to express one bottle so he could feed B. (I am so not looking forward to expressing when I go back to work. It’s not fun.) He brought me water and paracetamol but I gave up the antibiotics as I could barely stomach anything, even water. 

T changed B and looked after me and walked Dog. I seriously don’t know how single mothers cope. I felt like I was dying. I didn’t get out of bed for two days and nights other than to go to the bathroom because I couldn’t. I don’t think I could have kept up breastfeeding if T hadn’t been on hand to help place B by me in bed. I felt so listless I could barely move or even sit up in bed. 

Also, B was still ill with bronchiolitis too. So was struggling to feed. He can’t breathe very well. So it was all in all miserable. Luckily it was the weekend otherwise T would have had to have three days off work instead of just one. 

I’ve no idea what the illness I had was. Either diarrhoea, food poisoning, norovirus or something else. We’d had a dominos pizza the night before (as it was national pizza day and prior to pregnancy I loved pizza) so I wonder if it was that. But T was fine and he has a sensitive stomach! And also I wondered whether it was all the time we’ve spent in hospital lately. Who knows. It was awful either way. 

Today is the first day I’ve felt vaguely human. Day 3. So glad it seems to have passed. Although it means I have to restart the antibiotics for my wound and the UTI (yay). Hoping they clear up. B is slowly getting better but still really snotty. My research showed the best thing for him whilst ill (and me also ill) was to continue to breastfeed so I’m relieved I managed to continue that. 

B is definitely out of sorts and wanting to nurse pretty much constantly and fussing if he’s not on me. I don’t know if that’s just because he’s sick or because I was sick or something, or a growth spurt. It’s definitely more often than the 8-12 times a day that’s apparently normal! He’s more like 20! But he seems to be growing well so hopefully he’s okay. 

Today I felt slightly better in the morning so T brought me a bagel in bed. (He asked me what I felt like eating and I said a sesame bagel toasted with butter so that’s exactly what I got. Man is a saint!) I also decided I could crack open the gigantic box of Guylian chocolates our friends had got us before Christmas as they might give me some energy (and I love chocolate). That made me feel a bit better so I had another bagel in bed for lunch and finally had a shower this afternoon (healing!) and even came downstairs for dinner. So hopefully this sickness is over!


Anyway, so that’s the latest. I really hope that’s the last bit of bad stuff for a while! I’m just grateful that little B seems to be getting better. 

It never rains…

So a quick update because you can’t even imagine what has happened in the past 24 hours. Thank you to everyone who sent get well wishes for B. He does seem slightly better. 

Story update (cut and pasted so you know some of this!)

After much faffing (GP to make an appointment then the actual appointment then told to go to A&E then referred to paediatrics) we got admitted to hospital last night for observations so have been in overnight. 

They think he’s okay – suspected bronchiolitis – it’s just because he had a lot of snorting and snuffling and he’s only three weeks old. 

Anyway as luck (or not!) would have it, we were evacuated from the ward about 07:45 due to a fire! Which is nuts. We were inside in another place but as you can imagine it was kind of chaotic. The staff were amazing. They all pulled together and spent the whole time trying to reassure us. Imagine how scary it must be evacuating a ward full of babies, let alone the older kids. 

I felt sorry for other people as they had sicker kids and B was just in for observation and did seem better overnight because they sucked out his snot using a machine! He really didn’t enjoy it but it seemed to settle him quickly. I need to get one of the mouth sucking snot suckers as apparently they’re the best. The things you do for your baby!

Apparently bronchiolitis goes away on its own and they don’t treat it in newborns unless they need oxygen – he doesn’t at the moment as he can breathe but is just snuffly. We were discharged and the more serious cases have been transferred to another local hospital. 

Then I went to the midwife unit to get my scar checked out as I got given antibiotics on Sunday and they told me to come back today. I got referred to the doctor as it’s worse than it was. She confirmed it is a bit worse and apparently I also have another urinary tract infection so I now have two lots of antibiotics and two lots of painkillers! Argh. I had a few UTIs during pregnancy and never really noticed them but it was worrying for the baby.  

We are just waiting on the prescription and can then go home and rest. Luckily B is just sleeping after being awake early this morning! Unfortunately it’s the hospital pharmacy which has a 1.5hr wait and we finally got to the front of the queue to be told they don’t stock that drug so they’re trying to get in touch with the doctor. Bearing in mind there’s been a fire in this hospital so they’re all a bit overstaffed. For certain meds you have to get them from the hospital pharmacy so can’t go somewhere else to get them. So we are stuck waiting… I last left the house yesterday. I want to get home and relax and feed B and snuggle with Dog! And poor T has to get to work having missed half the work day already. 

Agh, another update: They don’t stock breastfeeding safe antibiotics for what I need so I now have a note to take to the GP… who typically has a 3 day wait time for prescriptions. They have written urgent at least… agh. So we are on way home and then I have to go and ask the GP! 

It never rains but it pours! 

(Don’t get me wrong. I am massively grateful to the NHS for everything. And the fire and B’s sickness… Everything could have been so much worse.)

Kind of can’t believe B is having such drama and he’s only 25 days old!

The first trial…

Poor little B is in hospital. It started with snuffles last night and he cried all through the night. It sounded like he had a blocked nose so was having difficulty feeding which is what usually settles him. 

Also the night before I ended up starting antibiotics as my caesarean scar seems to have gotten infected, so he seemed unsettled then as well – I googled it and apparently antibiotics can give them tummy ache. I felt really bad but was told to continue to take the antibiotics. But this was nothing compared with his blocked nose and crying. 

So between us we are in the wars. I don’t feel terrible with the scar, but it was starting to hurt when it previously hadn’t hurt, and was making me worried it might get worse. So I ended up waiting a long time in hospital to get it checked out and they gave me antibiotics. 

Then yesterday T had a routine endoscopy so we waited another long time in hospital. He has one once a year to check out his digestion. It was all clear but he has a big bruise from the IV. 

Then today I decided to take B to the GP as he was still snorting and snuffling in the morning. I figured it was a cold but don’t know what you can do for a three week old baby so thought I would ask. 

The GP reception said to come back in the afternoon so I duly took B to the coffee shop where I had some breakfast, and then home for a brief sojourn with Dog, and then back to the GP. 

After waiting a longer time, I then saw the GP and he was quite abrupt, verging on rude. Mainly because I didn’t hear him calling for us and apparently he called five times. Well I think they call B’s name rather than mine so I’m not clued in to answer to it. And also he was over the other side of the room. Anyway. 

He was horrified when he saw the video I’d taken of B snuffling. I did a few so I could show them what was going on. He said to take him to A&E. I was surprised as I had thought it was a cold and not too serious but he told me to go to the hospital. 

So… I got the bus to the hospital. (T is back at work and I’m not allowed to drive post c section.) Waited at A&E and then went to children’s triage. Then got sent to the children’s ward. Got B hooked up to the monitor where they check his heart rate. It was a little high for their liking but his temperature was okay. T arrived from work. 

They kept him on the monitor for a few hours. T went home to walk Dog. (Poor Dog! I felt so guilty as only expected to be at the GP for about an hour.)

The doc said she thought he had bronchiolitis which is apparently very common. It means he has some swelling or fluid in the lungs. Because they can’t blow their nose or whatever it makes them miserable and can interfere with feeding. 

Anyway as B had been in the sling since the morning, he was less snuffly, I think because he was more upright. The doc said she could discharge him or keep him in overnight and monitor him. That he doesn’t need treatment now but if anything gets worse then to bring him in. 

Apparently they weren’t too worried as he was feeding well. She asked about sleeping and I said he had not slept well last night. Also that he prefers to sleep on my chest. But obviously I know co sleeping can be dangerous. She said when he has this that co sleeping was the most dangerous and definitely not to do it. 

Also I asked as I was really worried it might be an allergy to Dog. Which would just kill me. But she said it was most likely a viral infection and unlikely to be dog allergy. Thank goodness. I figure he didn’t have it when he came home for the first three weeks so hopefully we won’t have to deal with that. 

I wasn’t sure what to do but in the end we decided that it was probably better to monitor him. T agreed and he came back to drop some stuff off for me and stayed a while until we got transferred. We are now on the children’s ward and have a private room with a cot for B and a single bed for me to sleep in. His bed is slightly tilted at least so hopefully more comfortable for him. 

B looks so tiny. He’s hooked up to the monitor and so I feel slightly better that I’ll hear it go off if his heart rate goes too high or low. It does beep periodically but the nurse said it would be constant if anything bad happened, which they were not expecting. I have a call button and also an emergency all hands on deck button so I figure B is in the best place. He’s been weirdly completely settled and sleeping peacefully. Perhaps as he slept hardly at all last night. 

It’s B’s 24th night in the outside world and he’s spending it in hospital. 

Protected: Introducing B…

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