Saturday, 26 September 2009

Baby E and his Daddy dancing to the music at the Leeds Festival.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Mud Mud Mud

There is no doubt we had an amazing time at the Leeds festival with Baby E. There were however moments that were a little tricky. On the last day the rain started. We knew it was forecast after weeks of reading weather predictions and were armed with waterproofs, pushchair covers, tent and groundsheet. We considered ourselves lucky that whenever it rained Baby E was asleep. We were able to avoid a wet cold Baby E. We were very happy and confident we could live the festival life with ease come rain or shine.

It was only when we came to leave that we realised just how muddy the rest of the festival ground had become. My Fabulous Boyfriend laughed at me every time I made a comment about it being a 'nightmare in the mud'. My Fabulous Boyfriend correctly pointed out that I was not the one carrying a heavy rucksack on my back while pushing a pushchair through the mud at the same time as being jostled by merry festival folk.

We were helped out by one lovely security man who escorted us through service road that relieved us from the crowd and mud for a very short time. Sadly this was not to be repeated on the long 1 1/2 hour walk back to the car from the main arena!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Baby e is a festival baby!

It seems complete madness now to think we took baby e to the leeds festival. Despite this reservation after the event we had a fantastic time and baby e loved every minute of it. We bought tickets for saturdayand sunday with an overnight stay in a hotel close to the site.

Baby e was the model festival baby wearing his ear defenders and dancing along to the tunes. He loved interacting with all the happy festival folk who wanted to take his photo, give him cuddles or play boo!

Baby e was happy crawling around chasing blue bottle tops, pulling up grass and attempting to eat everything within his reach. Thankfully we were always watching to prevent anything reaching his mouth.

When it was nap time baby e would tell us he wanted to lie in his pushchair where he calmly slept while we rocked him gently.

The weekend was every bit as easy as being at home. We are already planning to visit another festival next year with baby e. Perhaps this time we will give camping a go as well!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Baby e's new words

The time has come to keep a check on our language. Baby e is adding new words to his vocabulary every week and it can only be a matter of time before he starts to copy everything we say.

Every evening baby e counts the minutes until he has his bath. It is one of his favorite activities of the day, and he will happily stay in the bath playing for up to an hour!

But how do we know he loves it so much?

Asside from the excited screaming as the bath is being filled, and the climbing up the side of the bath in eagerness to get in we have more clues. Last night after baby e finshed his dinner, he crawled from the kitchen, through the dining room, up 10steps on the stairs (supervised but not helped by me of course) saying "ba ba ba" over and over again.

Baby e was beaten after 10steps, however it will not be long before he can climb them all and probably into the bath as well! Stair gates at the ready! Here we go!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

The mysterious case of the travelling poo!

A funny thing happened to me this week, late on Monday night. We had the rare occurrence of Baby E waking in the middle of the night. This is so rare that it had only happened once before since he was 8 weeks old and has been sleeping through the night. I know we are very lucky to have a Baby who is so happy and calm at night and is comfortable to settle himself on his own when he wakes up so I don't mind getting up to help him when he needs us. Normally he only wakes up if he is feeling poorly, and true enough he was very hot and had a little temperature.

A quick application of Calpol, and he was back in his cot yawning and cuddling his teddy. My baby brain memory is guaranteed to let me forget something just 2 seconds after it has happened, and on this occasion it was on top form. I had forgotten that moments before it looked as though Baby E was having a poo. Sure enough, within half an hour of Baby E being in his cot, and just as I was dropping off to sleep I was summoned again.

Something clicked in my brain ... oh ... I think he has had a poo. My thoughts were correct, and I found Baby E with a dirty nappy. I kept the lights dim to remind Baby E that it was still night time, and quickly changed his nappy. With Baby E's bottom now clean and a new nappy in place, I began folding up the dirty nappy to place it in the bin. Just as it was nearly wrapped up I noticed the lump of poo was on Baby E's chest. It was sitting there, winking at me. Was it a relative of Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo? I felt like it was sitting there on Baby E's left nipple mocking me, saying 'ha ha, bet you don't know how I got here'.

I was completely taken by surprise, how did it get there? The last time I saw the poo it was in his nappy that I was folding up and was holding in my hands. Did the poo leap through the air and land on his chest? Was my nappy folding action too forceful and I had inadvertently flicked the poo into a trajectory that would make it travel a whole foot up the changing stand? Maybe I was mistaken in thinking I had seen the poo in Baby E's nappy? Maybe it had been sat on his chest since I first opened the nappy. How long had it been there?

Was it possible that Baby E grabbed it as soon as I opened his nappy. He had very grabby hands that were reaching for his willy, and on a previous nappy changing occasion he had grabbed at the wet wipe that I was using to wipe his bottom. My mind turned to visions of him picking up the poo and playing with it. Turning it in his hands like it is one of his toys or even worse some food! Help! What had happened to the poo???

Fortunately there was no sign of poo on his hands (or face) so I must live with the belief that my forceful nappy folding set the poo on a trajectory leading to Baby E's left nipple. Baby E seemed perfectly happy with the situation, and not at all traumatised with the poo/nipple incident. It shall forever remain the mysterious case of the travelling poo!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Baby E's First Tooth

Hooray Baby E has his first tooth. It arrived on Tuesday 23rd June 2009, and I simply can't stop looking at it!

His first tooth to come through was the bottom middle on the right side. I am amazed by how sharp it is, and how little fuss he made as it came through his gums. We had a few restless nights (aided by Calpol or course), and a few days where he had a red bottom, but nothing worrying. He was so relaxed I hardly think he noticed.

First the gum looked like it had a little indent on it, as if it were parting to let the tooth come through, then after a few days we could feel the tooth, but not see it. This was very frustrating for me as I was so excited to see what it looked like.

Now just over a week later there is a lovely white tooth shining out for all to see. It looks a little crooked, however I am sure it will straighten up when it has lots of other teeth to keep it company. Next his little tooth is another indent as the gum is preparing for it's neighbour to break through also. I think it will still be a few days until we meet the next tooth, as we are yet to see a sore bottom, but it is definitely on its way.

Both myself and my Fabulous Boyfriend have no cavities, and have never had a filling. I will forever be grateful to my parents for teaching me good dental hygiene, and am now feeling the pressure to pass this knowledge onto my son. I know I would feel a failure as a parent, and that I was not looking after him properly if he were to have poor teeth and heaven forbid a filling. So the day his tooth came through I set off on a mission to get the best toothbrush and toothpaste my wallet could buy. I went to my dentist and chatted to the receptionist who had been trained in children's nutrition and dental hygiene. She explained what snacks were safer to give him through the day as they are sugar free, and recommended some toothpaste and toothbrush. We (Baby E and I) left the dentist feeling satisfied with our purchase and a handful of leaflets on children's dental hygiene.

So now we have added teeth cleaning to our daily routine. Baby E has his own little toothbrush which he cleans his one tooth as I am cleaning mine. I must admit he mainly chews on the wrong end, but we help him out by turning the brush around and positioning the bristles over his tooth helping him to give it a little wiggle in the right spot.

Along with the tooth we have a new sound. Baby E is exploring his changing mouth and discovering he can make little clicking noises. They are so perfectly crisp and clear and very cute. This is a very exciting time, and he is changing almost every day, new noises, new teeth ... what will come next???

Monday, 29 June 2009

There's no place like home.

We have been away from home for three weeks now while the house is being rewired and the loft is converted into a third bedroom. Whilst some of my time away has been fabulous i.e. trips to the beach, visiting relatives and friends, I am now starting to get frustrated at not being in my own home.

I am very grateful to have relatives that want to have us stay with them, and know how lucky we are that they have large enough houses to accommodate all three of us. Baby E does not travel light!

I really miss toasters that have a high lift function so I don't have to burn my fingers getting my hot toast in the morning.

I really miss a smoke free house, where I can wash my clothes and they smell more clean after I have washed them than before.

I really miss my wireless Internet connection, where I can log onto my laptop where ever I am in the house.

I really miss my T.V. where I have many hours of programmes series linked waiting to be watched.

I really miss some privacy, where I can play with, feed, change Baby E without running commentary.

I miss my lovely big comfortable bed, with my fluffy pillows and marshmallow like duvet.

Hopefully we are coming to the end of our nomad existence. I want to return to living in my own home this week. I return to work in two weeks and would like Baby E to be settles in his own home once more before his world is changed once more by spending his days with the childminder. Before that is possible, I need to clean and tidy a whole house that is still in the middle of being developed. Fortunately I have a strong will, and the determination to see this project finished.

I can't wait for our little family to be back in our own home.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Baby E is crawling

Baby E is now 7 months old. After a month of rolling around to get to where he wants to, this week Baby E has started crawling. Nothing is safe that lies in his path. So far we have had;

* Magazines ripped up (Baby E was caught enjoying a copy of OK magazine)
* Shoes being chewed (Baby E loves flip flops and the rubbery soles of trainers)
* Cables being chewed (Baby E likes to eat black cables and especially loves the black box of the laptop lead)
* Tables being pulled over (Baby E attempted to pull himself up on his Grandads fine legged coffee table. A big crash followed but no harm was done to any babies in the process)
* Buttercups in the garden (Baby E loves to pick the flowers)

So now we have to baby proof the house. This is proving hard as we are staying at relatives for a few weeks while the builders are re-wiring and converting the loft into a master bedroom for me and my Fabulous Boyfriend. The only time Baby E is out of trouble is when he is strapped into his car seat on the long journey between his Grandma's house in Dorset and his Bonne Maman's in Staffordshire.

Soon we will be home, and Baby E can explore in a new exciting way.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Are you pregnant? ... Let me give you some advise ...

Why is it as soon as you tell people you are pregnant, they start offering you advise? It is normal to wait until you are 12 weeks pregnant before spreading the word, however people seem to forget that you have spent the last 3 months swotting up on all things pregnant and they start offering helpful hints. I was told both the bizarre and the obvious.

Here is the First Are you pregnant? ... Let me give you some advise. This falls under the bizarre advise category. Here it is ...

'The best thing I ever did when I had a baby was buy a second kettle. That way I could always have cooled boiled water to hand when I needed it. I found my husband/boyfriend used to either use the freshly boiled water for his tea, or just when the water was at the right temperature for me to use he would click the kettle on again and ruin the whole exercise. I was then left with no cooled boiled water for the baby. Nightmare!'

The polite response is always to say 'Thanks that is great advise, I will remember that'

What you want to say is 'Whaaat! Why??? It is surely cheaper just to buy a jug, or use the lovely blue Thermos jug I have in my pantry, but never used. I knew it would come in handy'

My lovely blue Thermos jug is perfect. We fill it full of boiled water every night, and there is the perfect amount for the next day. When I was feeding Baby E at night it was perfect for keeping next to the bed for the feeds. If we filled it the correct amount of time before going to bed the water was the right temperature to make up a bottle just when he needed it. There was no waiting for a bottle to warm, or for a kettle to boil.

Thanks to my fabulous friend 'Are you staying for dinner' for the night-time feeding idea. It saved loads of time and stress from Baby E.

Thanks to the person who gave me the double kettle advise ... I would rather save my money and use a jug!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Baby Brain Incident No.1

The most surprising and unexpected change to my body when I was pregnant was my Baby Brain.

Baby Brain can be very stressful. It is clear to everyone around you and yourself that you are slower, more emotional and very forgetful. Most of the stresses related to baby brain are imposed by ourselves ... by ME! No-one wants to admit they are not keeping up with the pace in life, and I constantly worried that people would not think me as capable or balanced.

So, I decided to appreciate the comic value of my pregnant behavior. It is true that Baby Brain can be all of the above and more, but it is also very very entertaining.

Here is Baby Brain Incident No.1

Crying at the TV Incident No.1 - Animal Park
When - 2nd Trimester - 18weeks pregnant. 8th June 2008.

Animal Park = behind the scenes stories of Longleat Safari Park and Stately Home. Whilst I have great emotional ties to the surrounding area of Longleat having grown up only 25miles from the beautiful park, scenes of the west country are is not normally enough to make me cry.

It is worth noting that this particular episode of Animal Park was being shown during the CBBC Sunday morning schedule. It is therefore assumed that it is child friendly and does not contain any distressing scenes. The episode featured a poorly tiger who was undergoing treatment for an illness. I have no memory of what illness the tiger had which I think demonstrates the importance of the programme to me in my everyday life. Whilst the programme left the tiger recovering from his operation to visit another part of the park, my Fabulous Boyfriend popped to have a shower, and asked me to let him know how our new fury friend fared.

Animal Park announced they were going back to see how the tiger was doing. I shouted to my Fabulous Boyfriend 'the tiger the tiger, he's OK', but I spoke too soon. Ben Fogle put on his most sympathetic voice and told us that sadly the tiger did not make it! 'Oh no!' I shouted again, and, as I said the words I started sobbing in a comedy manner fit for a Jane Austin novel. If you have ever seen the famous BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (no ... not the scene when Mr Darcy emerges from the lake with his shirt all wet ... that is another story!), I mean when Alison Steadman playing Mrs Bennett finds out Lydia has eloped! She sobs in a comedy over the top stylee. There I was doing the same at the TV! I shouted/sobbed 'the tiger has died' although my Fabulous Boyfriend could barely understand me as I was almost inaudible at this point.

BBC Animal Park then showed a montage of the tigers life and the powerful bond he had with his keeper. They had literally grown up together in the same house. The keepers father used to work on the park and helped to raise the tiger at the same time as his son. They both played together as children/cubs, they were practically brothers (if that is at all possible between a tiger and a boy). As the music played over the film/photo montage, I knew there was no going back, my Baby Brain was now in control!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow - Post Birth Hair Loss

It is official. My hair is falling out. I am sure this has something to do with post birth changes to my body, however my Fabulous Boyfriend thinks I have the early on-set of alopecia. I can picture him every morning making a mental note to google the local baldness clinic when he finds yet another hair ball which he has named 'hair turds' on the side of the bath.

Before I became pregnant, my hair was completely predictable. I have very straight hair with no life or soul of its own to argue with me in the mornings. One quick shake of my head with the occasional threat of a brush and the bed head is gone to be replaced with smooth shiny hair in the style last cut by the hairdresser. I have no wild moments, no sticking up cows-licks and there is never a bad hair day to be seen.

This all changed towards the end of my pregnancy when I began to notice a subtle change in my hair. I preparation for the birth of Baby E I booked myself a hair appointment when I was 38 weeks pregnant. I knew it would be the last time I would put my feet up and enjoy being pampered in peace. I went to a fab trendy hairdressers in Derby called Eye'Candy (no expense spared) and enjoyed some girly hair talk with the gay Latvian stylist. He made me feel so fabulous darling with lots of compliments and excited talk of the impending birth of my Baby E. I told him about my suspicion that my hair was getting thicker and slightly less tame now I was in my third trimester. My stylist confirmed I had lovely thick hair (something I have never heard before ... ever!), and he reassured my that it is a myth that I would see any post birth hair loss. He told me my new thicker hair was here to stay and I would forever be left with what I considered to be a slightly out of control hair.

How wrong could he have been? My new haircut complimented my thicker hair, and so for many weeks I enjoyed having a little more body (great for all those post birth photos). Then everything changed when I stopped breast feeding about 10 weeks ago. Baby E was 17weeks old at the time. Now, every morning when I brush my hair I am left pulling hand fulls of hair from the bristles of the brush only to deposit them into the bin. I make sure to do this before I wash my hair in a failed attempt to prevent my hair from blocking up the plughole. I am confident this must help to minimise the clumps of hair I pull out while washing, however I am still left rolling hair turds to leave on the side of the bath as a present for my Fabulous Boyfriend. The hair turds are a great measure the volume of hair loss each day and so far the most I have made is 3, all about the same size as a large woodlouse.

The hair loss is not restricted to the bathroom. Baby E is often found with lengths of my hair in his neck, hands, and rather strangely his nappy! It would seem that my hair is not fussy where it falls, and is aiming for global domination. My Fabulous Boyfriend recently decided to vacuum the spare room/nursery. It needs to be mentioned that this is the first time the Dyson has been used since before Baby E was born (my nesting phase was limited to the two weeks before my due date). Sadly the Dyson could not cope with the amount of hair that was embedded in the rug so my Fabulous Boyfriend resorted to using his fingers as mini rug rakes dragging all the hair from the rug into his hands. He was able to make hair turds large enough to make a grown man cry! The long lengths of hair in the Dyson cylinder have been spun into little Dyson Cylinder shaped nest with dust filling the gap. It is so perfectly formed it would look perfect in a tree in the garden ready for a little family of robins to move it!

I am hoping I have turned the corner and think my hair balls are finally decreasing. Today I was actually disappointed when I was only able to make one hair turd in the shower. Making hair turds is fun, however am grateful to reach a plateau. I would rather not sacrifice all my hair for my baby boy, I have already lost my firm body so think he owes me a full head of hair.

What are little boys made of?
Squishy tummy's and hair from his Mummy,
That's what little boys are made of.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Baby E - First solid Poo

Baby E has had his first solid poo. Strike up the band, grab a drink and celebrate. It happened at the weekend and was quite a memorable event. I had been anticipating this moment for a while, and was quite excited about it happening. In my mind it means the end of leaky nappies, no more poo running onto clothes, car seats, laps or floors. I will never forget the time I took Baby E to the cinema and thought his nappy had leaked poo on my leg. This is not ideal in any situation, and especially pertinent when you are in a dark environment and you have to squeeze past half a dozen other mums with wriggling babies to make your way to the changing facilities. Thankfully, on that occasion it was just a pool of baby sick in my lap, I was relieved it was not a repeat of Christmas Day when his nappy leaked all over my finest clothes and my mothers table linen!

Despite this, I was apprehensive about the conversion from runny poo to solid poo. I had recently witnessed my friends little boy straining and stressing about his solid poo. The poor baby had to squeeze out mini boulders from his small bottom. My friend 'Man Bag' and his wife spent most of a day with their screaming constipated baby. This was not on my agenda of things to do this spring, and I am pleased to say we have not had to join them yet in the game of how to get giant poo out of a tiny baby's bottom. Ouch!

Baby E had not given me the delights of his morning poo on Saturday, so I was expecting the largest, widest spreading poo in the world ever. A poo that was far reaching from his knees up to his neck, and when he finally made his usual grunting noises after his 4pm feed I prepared myself. Fearing this may be a poo requiring two adults to start the clearing up process (one for the head end to stop the grabby hands from smearing poo all over his body, and surrounding furniture), I ventured upstairs rather despondently on my own to the changing mat. It was a bank holiday weekend so my Fabulous Boyfriend had volunteered to take some things to the tip (what else would he rather do on the hottest day of the year???). I was pleasantly surprised to find a little lump of soft poo in Baby E's nappy, and not the fast moving korma like poo that is normally there. This would be easy I thought. A quick little wipe with some washable wipes and we were finished ... or so I thought.

'Good Boy Baby E' I said smiling, 'you have done a big boys poo ... have you finished?'
As I reached for a new clean nappy he silently squeezed out more poo onto the changing mat.
'Good boy, you had some more poo' and I wiped this up with the washable wipes again.
'Good boy, you had some more poo', and I am sure you can guess what happened next ... more poo!
This little game went on another 4 or 5 times, until I had a neat little pile of washable wipes with lumps of poo on them. Baby E looked so proud, he was able to please Mummy now with both pooing and weeing on request. It then occurred to me and my small baby brain that washable wipes may not have been the wisest choice for solid poo. What am I to do with little towelling wipes matted with poo? I was not sure my 10 year old washing machine would cope with something so well formed.

Ah, I remembered something I had read. The washable nappies and wipes are made so the poo just 'falls off' if you stretch them over the toilet. With Baby E dressed and safely sat in his floor rocker, I began the simple task of stretching shaking the wipes over the toilet. This was easier said than done, and resulted in soft poo splattered all over the toilet bowl, and rather unfortunately my hands. I had not bargained for this. It is one thing to get the sweet smelling runny baby poo on my hands, but a whole other matter when it is solid grown up poo, even more so when it is solidt rown up poo that is not your own!

Sadly my small baby brain did not learn from this, and today we had our second grown up solid poo incident. This time I learnt my lesson and used disposable wipes, however at the time of pooing, Baby E was wearing a washable nappy. 'It will be OK' I thought, I just have to stretch and shake the nappy over the toilet. It will be different than the wipes as the organic velour lining was made especially so the poo would just fall off. Who was I trying to kid? The result of course was more poo on my hands and not so much in the toilet. I tried using some toile paper to pick off the poo but this was no more successful and so I was beaten once again. I need a plan. Clearly I do not want to use disposables all the time, and it is not always possible to predict when Baby E is going to poo. I need to find a way to solve the solid poo in washable nappy situation. I most certainly do not want a repeat event of poo on hands again. I am hoping the answer is flushable nappy liners. So far they have not porved very successful, however maybe with solid poo they will come into their own.

On another poo note, Baby E has a new 'I'm pooing' face. Gone are the grunts and strains of runny poo that we all think are rather unnecessary. The new solid poo needs a silent more controlled pose with pouting lips and a stare fit for practicing the yoga relaxation golden thread breathing. Maybe all those weeks of practicing yoga while pregnant have rubbed off onto Baby E as well. And relax!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Maternity leave is not a holiday ... honest!

Maternity leave is fantastic. What other chance in my life will I have to spend time bonding with my new baby, making new friends, visiting old friends, visiting family, relaxing, walking in the countryside, and joining social groups? Add to this the bonus of SMP so there is some money coming in, and the answer is easy ... none. This is a great time in my life where I have taken the opportunity to recoup and rejuvenate and recover some balance in my life.

When my Fabulous Boyfriend came home last night to a messy house with dirty dishes everywhere, clothes on the floor, baby toys strewn all around, nursery black out blind not finished, and dirty real nappies still not washed he made a subtle comment that even my baby brain managed to process. 'Maternity leave is not a holiday you know! You will not be allowed to play with your friends is you don't wash those nappies'

My Fabulous Boyfriend is right. Maternity leave is not a holiday. In between the joyful moments of playing with Baby E, feeding him, changing his nappy, going out for walks and visiting friends, I squeeze in time to shower, eat and if I am lucky I do the laundry. The fact that when Baby E is asleep I sit and relax, do some writing, sewing or just watch TV rather than do boring chores means that I am no more organised than when I was at work, but it makes my time on maternity leave that little bit more enjoyable.

It is easy for me to procrastinate and put things off until tomorrow, tomorrows tomorrow or even tomorrows tomorrow tomorrow. Life will not stop because I have not done the laundry, we will just not have any clean clothes to wear.

Things I have learned to do in an attempt to achieve more in less time
* Don't answer the phone ... that is what the answer machine is for. If I were at work, no-one would be here to answer it.
* Don't think about it ... just do it. Try to do each task in 15 minutes, no matter how big.
* Organisation takes commitment. I am still working on this one. I simply have not inherited the nesting gene

So yes, my maternity leave is a little like a holiday. A holiday with no all you can eat buffet, no lying doing nothing but readying a book, no sun bathing, no alcohol any time of day or night, and most importantly no lie-ins! Mmmmm maybe it is not really a holiday after-all.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

A river of snot.

Poor Baby E has been unwell.

We noticed on Tuesday last week that he had some snuffles in his nose. When we put him to bed he was unhappy and would not settle in his usual way. We reached for the Calpol and attempted to give a small dose. This sounds easier than it actually is as Baby E refused to take it from his syringe so we tried the spoon. The battle of the medicine started ... who would be the winner? Surely the parents, after all we know best ... oh no ... how wrong can you be? Baby E started fighting our efforts to calm him and his first move was to bring out the bottom lip. We had quivering and crying, bit as that did not stop the medicine attacked he moved onto the secind stage of the assult and started coughing. This was a tactical move to bring up his milk which he deposited into the bag of clean clothes that were lying on the floor next to him! Ha! That will show you, evil Mummy and evil Daddy for trying to make me feel better. Now you have to work out how you are going to get baby sick out of a travel bag!

Another bottle of milk and lots of cuddles and Baby E was back in bed for a disturbed nights sleep. Poor little baby, he was up at 5.30 when I forced more medicine into him and put him back in his crib to sleep. By morning he was completely congested and had been mouth breathing all night, he was all dry mouthed and sore lipped.

Wednesday brought food and milk refusal, bright red cheeks and more medicine fights which resulted again in coughing and vomiting in comedy places. This time it was in his floor chair and down my jeans. This does not sound too bad, however we were getting ready to go out. I had tickets for the theatre and was meeting the girls for dinner. Baby E was about to be taken to the childminder, and this second vomiting incident made me doubt weather I should leave him. A quick phone call to my Fabulous Boyfriend calmed my anxiety (after a few tears from me), after all the childminder is an expert and would not let anything happen to Baby E when he was on her watch. A quick wet-wipe of my jeans (I'm sure some perfume would cover up any smell), and I was off. Baby E was very happy with the childminder, and had a slight temperature, but was OK. My Fabulous Boyfriend had stopped on the way home to buy a Calpol Vapour Plug to help Baby E breath more easily at night, and it has been a miracle cure to sleepless nights. It was clear that Baby E had a better night, however he was still awake very early.

After a few days of high temperature, and finding the forehead and under-arm thermometer practically useless with a wriggling baby, I took Baby E out on Thursday morning to buy a Calpol Digital Thermometer. We are now a fully signed up member of the Calpol club, well ... except Baby E who is the only person who should like it, but actually hates the stuff. Armed with the medicine, vapouriser and now the thermometer we are fully primed to fight anything! I also bought some Ibuprofen medicine for him in an attempt to try an alternative tasting medicine ... this was all in vain as Baby E also hates the taste of this also.

By the time my Fabulous Boyfriend came home Baby E's was 39.5degrees. We also found some pink colour in his nappy so were concerned about his health and possible infection. After a phone call to NHS direct, we were called back by a nurse, and then a doctor, and were advised to visit the Loughborough NHS walk in centre to get Baby E checked out. I started to worry that I had left it too long to amke the call, however everyone we spoke to was satisfied we had given Baby E the advised 48hours to see if he was going to get better. Several hours later at the NHS walk in centre, Baby E had been seen by a Doctor, spent time in a room naked in front of a fan with a plastic sample bag taped to his willy to collect a urine sample, had his wee checked for infection and was given the all clear. The doctor said he will be poorly for a few more days, so I am looking forward to the weekend when my Fabulous Boyfriend is home. The doctor advised that we can give him almost double the amount of Calpol and ibuprofen than we had been which would help Baby E to feel better. Now the only challenge is to get Baby E to take the medicine.

Baby E slept a little better on Thursday night after lots of medicine, however was up very early on Friday morning. It was at this point that I realised I had forgotten to shower yesterday. Mmmm will I get the chance today??? Baby E fell asleep in his play nest after his breakfast he was so tired. One minute he was playing with his fun activity cube, the next he is slumped with his head on the side snoring. I have been moving the Calpol vapouriser to each room we spend time in to help his breathing, and that has made a difference. Baby E took the rest of his morning naps cuddled up on my chest as he would not let me put him in his crib to sleep. We took a very long walk in the afternoon where Baby E slept in his pushchair for an hour and a half. This was a welcome relief to rocking him to sleep on my chest ... Baby E is getting heavy.

A week has now passed, and I have finally relaxed. Yesterday was the first day that Baby E seemed to be back to normal. While he is still a little snuffly and we are still using the Calpol Room vapouriser, Baby E has his appetite back (after a week of only eating half his normal amount), he is laughing again, and wanting to play with everything. His day naps are all spent in the crib in his room, and Baby E is recovered. And time to relax ... now where did I put the Gin!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Baby E is 6 Months old!!!!

Baby E is six months old today. I thought it would feel strange or scary, or emotional however it feels quite normal. Baby E is growing up to be a cute, inquisitive energetic boy who is always entertaining and like most babies loves being the centre of attention.

Big changes over the last month are;
* Weening. Baby E is now eating some food each day. His favourite seems to be Apple and Pear Puree, however I think Parsnip and Carrot may be a close second.
* Drinking water from a two handled free flow cup. In the last week there seems to be more drinking than spitting. Suddenly I can see an end to soggy t-shirts on the horizon.
* Less milk coming up after a feed. It may be my imagination, but we seem to be less soggy from deposits of milk everywhere. Baby E is being sick less and less!!!
* Showing initial signs of sitting up. Last week Baby E sat still long enough to be un-supported for a nano-second. This is quite an achievement as he is always moving around, standing, sitting, rolling, reaching, grabbing. There seems no time to be still!
* Showing initial signs of being able to support himself on all fours. This seems to be a long-time coming as it has been months that Baby E has supported himself on his arms when lying on his front. Baby E is very happy to play lying on his front, so he is slowly building strength in a build up to crawling.
* Baby E reaches for the toys he wants even if they are behind his head by wriggling and turning to reach them. He seems to reach for them quite happily even when they have fallen out of sight.
*Baby E climbed out of his ELC Donkey next this morning. He is becoming alot more active and I have visions of him wanting to climb on everything. His favourite reason for climbing at the moment is to chew on electric cables! This is very strange. I have hard of rabbits chewing through electric cables, but I have never heard of babies wanting to get their gums on thin black cables.
* Baby E has started pushing you away with his hands when he is being cuddled. This is a break for independence, and is slightly annoying as you have to hold on to him tight to stop him falling out of your arms while he is wriggling, twisting and turning all at the same time.
* Baby E is now in his own room. This is a great result as my Fabulous Boyfriend and I have our bedroom back, and we all know what that means!!!

Life is definitely good with a six month old baby.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Leaking Nappies

I love using my Washable Nappies. I feel good knowing what I am putting next to Baby E's bottom. He has been free from nappy rash, and never had any problems.

Some days, no matter what type of nappies he is wearing, washable nappies or eco-friendly disposable nappies Baby E seems to have leaking nappies all day. Yesterday was one of those days, where it seemed that every washable nappy he wore leaked. We had four leaking nappies throughout the day, and to go with that four changes of clothes, and four period of unhappy crying Baby E.

Each leaky nappy could not have come at a worse moment.

Leaky Nappy 1. During Baby E's morning nap. This meant waking him up early as he was wet and cold.
Leaky Nappy 2. During a lovely walk around the country lanes. This meant crying baby who would only stop if he was carried all the way home, this is not easy as I still had to push the push-chair. This could have been solved by taking spare nappies out with me!
Leaky Nappy 3. During Baby E's afternoon nap. Oh no! Not again! This time Baby E woke early from his nap and was not impressed with being wet.
Leaky Nappy 4. During play time. This was minimal as Baby E just had to wait a moment to be changed and then he could carry on playing with his lovely toys.

I am hoping it was just one of those days, and am grateful it was only a full wet nappy and not a dirty nappy.

Maybe now Baby E is eating more, and drinking more he will be filling his nappies quicker. Only time will tell.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Early Mornings

We have always been lucky with Baby E as he has slept through the night from 8 weeks old. Before this age, he would only wake once or twice in the night for a feed at 1am, and 3am and Baby E would then sleep through until 7.30am like a perfect angel.

Baby E moved into his own room last week, and into a full size cot for the first time. This has meant a less disturbed sleep due to no road noise, and more room for him to move around in his sleep without waking himself up. We have however found for the last 3 nights he has woken early. This morning he awoke at 5.30am. When I walked into his room he was crying, but still had his eyes closed and was wiggling around in his crib in a most unhappy manner. I picked Baby E up, and changed his very wet nappy, gave him lots of cuddles and reminded him that it was not morning and he had to go back to sleep. This seemed to work as he went back to sleep once I put him back in his cot.

Baby E has been eating potato for the last 3 days, so this may have affected his sleep, however we are more inclined to think he is now waking up with the sunrise. We have been lucky at night up to this point that Baby E was born in the winter so we have never had to worry about the bedroom not being dark enough for him to sleep. We have a black out lined blind in our room as we overlook a main road with street lights. Baby E does not have a blind in his room to block out excessive light, and I have been meaning to make one for several months in preparation for him moving to his own room.

I love my sleep, and am finding it hard after only 3 days of early mornings to make it through the day without a nap myself. However today, when Baby E is taking a nap, or playing with his toys, or swinging in his electronic swing, I have to start making his blind for his room. Eve Upshall Interiors is open for business!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Real Nappy Week

Real Nappy Week seems to have passed me by. Real Nappy Week 2009 ran from 27th April - 3rd May. I had every intention of picking up some bargains in the sales and discount offers that some of the websites were offering.

I already have about 18 washable Nappies, however there is a part of me that thinks I need more. I have some that I love more than others, and I think this is my motivation to purchase more Washable Nappies so that I don't have to use the ones I am not so fond of.

I keep running over in my head the reasons why I should buy more Washable Nappies
1. I have only 12 Washable Nappies that I enjoy using and this is not enough to use Washable Nappies full time.
2. One of these Washable Nappies is a small size, and Baby E will soon be too big for it. The rest are 'Birth to Potty' Washable Nappies so will always fit.
3. I have 3 Nappies that I prefer not to use. They are big and bulky and do not provide the level of absorbency and containment that you would expect. They are always used last when the other Washable Nappies are in the wash.
4. Baby E is going to the Childminder full time from the middle of July. I do not have time to wash my Washable Nappies as much when I am at work all day. I will need more for Baby E to stay in Washable Nappies when he is at the Childminder, so I can wash them less often.
5. I will be buying more Washable Nappies for my next baby, so it will be more cost effective to use them on Baby E as well therefore saving money in the long run.
6. I can claim some of the money back from my local council who have a grant scheme for people who buy Washable Nappies.

Then there are the reasons why I do not need to by more Washable Nappies
1. I have managed for 5 months with the Washable Nappies I have, so there is no reason why I need more.
2. I buy Eco-Friendly Disposable Nappies Nature Babycare Nappies which are 100% biodegradable. We currently use these at night or when we are away on holiday. We could use these at the Childminders if the Washable Nappies are in the wash.
3. My income is now down to SMP, so we have less money to spend on extravagant purchases like more Washable Nappies. We need the money to buy food!
4. I can apply for the local council Nappy grant to help pay for the Nappies I already have.
5. Missing the fabulous discounts available for real Nappy week is a sign that I should not be buying more Washable Nappies. I have saved myself money.

So for now I shall be resisting my urges to buy more Washable Nappies. I will keep reminding myself that I don't need them, and at the moment I don't have enough money to justify buying them. Maybe when I go back to work!

Friday, 8 May 2009

The Birth of Baby E - Part 3

Here is the third part of the story of the birth of Baby E. It was about 1am on Wednesday 19th November 2008. We were in the labour room, and I was losing control over the gas and air. I was completely off my head on the stuff and loving it. My head was spinning, and my Sergent Pepper internal sound track was perfect. Lucy was definitely in the sky with diamonds!

Suddenly I felt sick. The midwife was out of the room, so we would have to deal with this on our own. All good things must come to an end I suppose, and this was the end of my love affair with the gas and air. I motioned to my Fabulous Boyfriend that I was going to be sick, and he reached for some paper towels to help catch the fallout. What was he thinking??? Paper towels to catch the vomit of a woman in labour??? It was indeed a futile exercise, as the contents of my stomach and all the snacks I had been eating in the bath ricochet off the paper towel spraying the floor, my bags and slippers on the way out. I felt much better, however did not like the look of the devastation on the floor of the birthing room.

My fabulous boyfriend pressed the call button for the Midwife, who dutifully cleaned up the mess, and provided us with some cardboard containers if I felt the need to be sick again. She also gave me an anti-sickness tablet. I was slightly confused by her intentions in giving me something else to fuel my stomach and had no doubt this would be hitting the floor in a few minutes (or hopefully the cardboard container). True to form, I was sick several more times, but we were prepared for it, and my Fabulous Boyfriend was on hand to catch anything that came up. He then offered me my toothbrush and toothpaste to freshen my mouth, I may be giving birth, but dental hygiene is still important!

Over the next few hours I focused on my breathing to help with the contractions. As the pain intensified, I started telling myself 'the pain was nothing, and it did not last long', over and over until the contraction finished. This positive attitude really helped to get me through the contractions which were becoming longer and coming harder with not much of a break in between.

The gas and air was making my mouth dry so my Fabulous Boyfriend was on hand with lip balm and water whenever I demanded it, and I was becoming quite demanding. He still reminds me of my efforts to politely ask him to give me more lip-balm or more water. 'More lip balm', 'More water', 'You don't have to put the lid back on the water you know, then you could get it to me more quickly'.

The worst moment during the early hours of the morning was the one and only time my Fabulous Boyfriend left me to use the toilet. In these short minutes that seemed like hours, I felt a contraction coming. My fabulous boyfriend returned from his trip to my en-suite bathroom to find me cross and in some discomfort. He explained that in my attempt to boost the tens machine, I had managed to turn it off! Thankfully, my Fabulous Boyfriend held in any other urges to use the toilet until after Baby E was born.

From this time until 4am, the contractions came faster and faster. The consultants want to see 4 in a 10 minute period, and I was spot on target, sometimes I was having more! I knew when a big contraction was coming as I would start shaking, and my teeth would chatter with the shock. While these contractions were forceful, they did not last any longer than normal so I knew with my mantra I could get through it. 'They did not last long, and they were not that painful.' The Midwife encouraged me to use visualisation to help with the bad contractions, and the shaking. Her suggestion was to visualise candles on a birthday cake, and I am pleased to say it worked. I was able to see the flames flickering on the top of the candles on the cake. I could blow out the candles when the contraction subsided. I felt like I was maintaining control, and had no worries in believing I could give birth in the way I wanted.

I was looking forward to the next examination at 4am. I was progressing well, and the midwife was being very supportive and kept telling me how well I was doing. I really hoped we would be a good 8cm dilated, and was pleased when finally 4am arrived and the Midwife said it was time for my examination.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Adventures at the Childminder - Part 2

Yesterday Baby E had his second official trip to the Childminders. We were due to go round at 11am and I would stay with him the whole time showing the childminder how Baby E takes his late morning nap, and how he likes to have his lunch.

True to form Baby E fell wanted to go to sleep at 10.30am and remained asleep for 2 hours. Why do babies have a talent for interrupting perfectly formed plans??? Meantime I was sending texts to the Childminder to tell her he was still asleep and hoping she would still be available at lunchtime for us to visit her. The Childminder was very amenable (as always), and was kind enough to let us change the time of the appointment.

As soon as Baby E woke from his morning nap, I bundled him into the car along with his lunch, his stuff for napping and I crossed my fingers that he would need sleep early afternoon so we could continue our plan to get him accustomed and settled in another environment.

Baby E was delightfully happy and smiley after his long morning nap, and impressed the childminder with his giggles and cheeky grins. He ate his pureed apples like a pro, and then drank about half of his milk. This was not bad considering he was in a different environment with lots to look at and dsitract him. After lunch Baby E played with the Childminders toys, did lots of roley poleys and chewing of anything he could grab with his 'go go grabby hands'.

Despite his long sleep in the morning, all the excitement must have tired him out as it was not long before he needed another nap. I was a little nervous that he was bluffing, but once again he performed perfectly for his audience. I changed his nappy, put him in a Grobag, gave him cuddles and kisses while the childminder put his lullaby CD on to play. Once he was tucked into the travel cot with his teddies and blanket he needed only a few minutes to fall asleep like a perfect angel. There were no tears, no crying, only a few tired noises as he drifted of to sleep.

I felt so proud of my little boy. Even though it did not show the childminder what to do if he does not want to settle straight away, she now thinks she has the perfect model child coming her way. Whilst life is always a joy with Baby E, it requires a great deal of patience and calmness to instill the confidence in him that he is safe and loved. We chose our childminder because she seems to have the same air of calmness about her that we have, and I am hoping she will easily be able to fill in for us when we are at work.

Baby E slept at the Childminders for 2 hours. By the time he awoke, more children had arrived from the local primary school. They were buzzing with excitement to meet Baby E, and he gave them lots of smiles to reward them. He is shaping up to be a little performer just like his Daddy!

So we were very successful at the Childminders yesterday. Next week I am planning a trip out for dinner and theatre with the girls so Baby E is spending a few hours with the Childminder on his own. I am confident he will be very happy there, and not miss me one little bit. It is a good feeling to trust that your baby will be OK when you leave him with someone else, and I think we have found a great Childminder who will give Baby E the best care (next to his Mummy and Daddy of course).

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Moving Baby E into his own room.

We passed another big milestone yesterday. Baby E is now 5 1/2 months old and last night he spent the night in his own room for the first time. There is a part of me that is mourning the loss of my little baby sleeping by my side, and another part of me that is celebrating getting my own room back.

Before I gave birth to Baby E I had every intention of him sleeping in his own room as soon as we brought him home. The FSID (Foundation for the study of infant deaths ( recommend that baby's sleep in their parents rooms for the first six months. This is sound advise, however I had ideas of giving my baby independence and did not mind the thought of getting out of bed every night to feed him or cuddle him if he needed me. Several of my friends who had newborns had successfully put them in their own room from a few days old, so I felt it was the normal thing to do for me.

The first night we brought Baby E home, we placed him in his crib at the foot of our bed. Baby E did not like this one little bit. In the hospital, Baby E had spent the first few nights of his life in the big scary world next to my bed, spending most of the night looking at me, rather than sleeping. Now he was in a strange house, in a new bed in a place where he could not see his Mummy. He was not happy and spent most of the time crying. Finally at 3am he fell asleep for about 6 hours, and my Fabulous Boyfriend and I knew that something had to change. We wanted a happy baby, who was contented and felt safe. The next day while I was feeding Baby E, my Fabulous Boyfriend moved the bedroom furniture round so Baby E could sleep next to me. Suddenly all wishes of Baby E sleeping in his own room were gone. I knew I wanted my beautiful Baby to sleep next to me for as long as was needed. That night we had a happy, contented Baby who could see his Mummy and Daddy whenever he awoke. For the last 5 1/2 months he has slept by our sides perfectly happily.

Recently we decided it was the right time to move Baby E into his own room. He was getting quite a disturbed sleep in our room which is at the front of the house. We think cars driving past have been waking him, and of course he always opens his eyes when we come to bed.

Finally, after weeks of talking about it, last night my Fabulous Boyfriend made the cot. We have borrowed the cot from my Fabulous Boyfriend's sister. Putting the cot together was quite an achievement as we had no instructions, and I was not sure if there were any screws missing as the bag containing the small parts had a big hole in the side.

Baby E watched his Daddy put his new bed together, and looked quite impressed when we let him lie in it to check it was OK. We moved his cot bumper and teddies from his crib so it was familiar to him, and set up the i-pod with the womb music. It was almost an hour past Baby E's bedtime when we finally put him to bed in his new cot, so I think he was so tired he was happy to sleep anywhere! Baby E slept perfectly in his new room. He did not stir once, and slept happily all night. We kept the baby monitor on in our room so we could listen out in case he needed us, but he slept like an angel.

This morning he has taken his nap in his new room. We shut the curtains together, put Baby E into his growbag, started the lullaby music, put Baby E into his cot, tucked him in with a blanket, gave him kisses night night, and Baby E happily fell asleep playing with his teddy. Bliss!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Weaning Day 2

Sunday 3rd May 2009.

The second day of weaning Baby E is here, and following his enthusiasm yesterday, we are all set for round 2.

We followed the same schedule as yesterday, with Baby E having his usual breakfast of 8oz formula. He drank this as normal, however he looked a little disappointed at the lack of carrot. Could I be imagining it, surely he does not expect food with every meal already??? The health visitor says to pick one meal a day to give food, and gradually increase it. I was already giving him two meals a day, surely he would not want more?

Baby E looked tired as usual at about 10am, however instead if going for his nap, he just cried and wined. What can be the matter? I mentioned my thoughts to my Fabulous Boyfriend regarding Baby E noticing the lack of carrot at breakfast time, and he just shrugged and said 'maybe he wants it all the time, maybe not'. Baby E was clearly tired, however refused sleep all morning.

My brother was visiting, and I had planned with my sister-in-law to go out for the day to a VW event so we could ogle and lust after some fine looking VW Camper Vans. At 1pm, with Baby E now extremely grumpy, I quickly packed a bag with his lunch, and we bundled the kids into the car and set off. I was confident that Baby E would sleep in the car, and we could give him his lunch when we got there.

True to form, Baby E slept lie an angel for the 45 minute drive to the VW event. He was perfectly happy in his pushchair as we walked round the show looking for a nice tree to sit under and give the kids some lunch. Baby E ate all of his carrot this time as though he was a pro! He then had a 7oz bottle, and looked very pleased with himself as we pushed him round looking at lots of old classic VW and the much coveted split screen camper vans.

With more carrot for his tea when we got home, Baby E was very happy. I am still confused about his not wanting to sleep this morning. Maybe his routine is changing now he is having a taste of solids? We will find out if this pattern remains in a few days when the visitors have gone and the novelty of food wears off.

Lots more orange sick today. I wonder if it will come out in the wash???

Weaning is here!!!

Saturday 2nd May 2009

The day of weaning is here at last. Baby E looks none the wiser as I peal, chop and steam some carrots and sweat potato. Baby E is still not impressed as I use my blender to smooth out the lumps, and then painstakingly push through a sieve to stop him choking on any lumps. This was much harder then I anticipated, and I had to accept my Fabulous Boyfriends offer to finish the task as my arm was beginning to ache. The sweat potato is put into ice cubes and frozen for later meals. First we have 3 days of carrot to make it through without turning too orange!

Lunchtime. Todays portions of carrot have been set aside and the rest frozen for later. Baby E got quite excited when presented with his new food. He grabbed the spoon filled with carrot and thrust it into his mouth, pulling a face similar to that of someone who had been given thistles to eat. He then choked a little mmmm perhaps the carrot is a little too thick??? Maybe I should have added more water.

Despite the fact Baby E did not look impressed with the food, he happily grabbed the spoon again and again to eat more carrot. His Daddy, my Fabulous Boyfriend was on hand to take some great photo's. When Baby E was bored he started to spit the carrot out and made his usual sound for 'bring on the milk'. He then consumed his usual lunchtime 7oz bottle.

Baby E had more Carrot at tea time, which he had less of, but still grabbed for the spoon to thrust it into his mouth and suck the carrot off before spitting most of it out.

I was surprised and pleased that Baby E was so enthusiastic about food, and glad that he ate it so nicely with no food throwing or tears or tantrums. Baby E has always been a sickly baby, bringing up lots of milk from each feed, pretty much until the next feed starts. I had however not anticipated for the new colour of orange baby sick! This is going to be interesting. I had been told by the health visitor that once babies are weaned the sickly period ends ... perhaps it takes a little longer than the first meal!!!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Are my Baby E's Eyes Changing Colour?

Baby E was born with quite dark dirty blue eyes. They have clarified a little and up until now have remained quite a bright blue colour.

We have been questioning how long they will stay this colour for some time as Baby E's eyes have started looking a light brown colour in the middle of his iris, while remaining blue on the outside.

It depends on the light as to the colour they look, and when looking from the side they tend to look more brown than blue. So will Baby E's Eyes change colour?

This morning they look particularly brown, and I was taken by surprise when I looked directly at them, and they no longer looked blue. Baby E is now 5 1/2 months old and it seems very late to me for his eyes to change colour, however I read this morning that some babies eyes keep changing colour until they are 9 months. It looks like we will have to wait a little longer to find out if his eyes will stay blue like his Mummy's or turn Brown like his Daddy's.

The Birth of Baby E - Part 2

Here is the second part of the story of the birth of Baby E

It was Tuesday 18th November 2008. We had attended our induction appointment, and had been having a lovely time relaxing in the bath in the labour ward at the hospital for about 3 hours when the Midwife came to collect us for the consultants 10pm round. It had been about 4 hours since our last examination. We moved to the delivery suite from the bathroom and I was connected back up the the machine to monitor Baby E's heartbeat and my contractions. After the examination I was disappointed to be told that I was still only 1cm dilated! How could this be? I had been having contractions for the last 4 hours, and nothing had happened! The Midwife explained that while I was still only 1cm dilated, the cervix had moved forward slightly so things were progressing, however things were going very slowly!

The Midwife told us we were doing very well, however they needed to take more action to speed things along a bit. Baby E was nearly 2 weeks overdue and he needed to come out into the real world. The consultant came to see us, and we agreed that I would have my waters broken. This was the last non-drug related intervention they could do to help encourage the contractions. I was connected to a drip so I could have some intravenous antibiotics (I have a non functioning spleen). The consultant then began a most uncomfortable procedure I have ever had to break my waters. I think because the cervix was still quite far back it was not an easy procedure, and I found it quite difficult to remain composed. It felt like she had been routing around for hours pulling by most intimate part around, but was probably only a matter of seconds before I had to ask her to stop.

I felt completely invaded, and was finding it hard to focus on my breathing and mantra. The consultant let me relax for a few moments before asking if she could start again. She must be joking! I had to refuse as I was feeling very shaky and I my teeth were chattering from the shock. Suddenly I could feel something wet running down my thigh and I told the consultant I thought it had worked. She gave me one of those patronising looks and said she would have to check. Soon enough the waters had reached her viewing platform and I felt elated when the consultant was able to confirm my waters had broken. Hooray, I don't think I could have composed myself enough to allow her to have another go.

Sadly the procedure of having my waters broken completely knocked me off course, and I felt like crying. I expect I had a little cry as my body was not happy. Emotionally this was very hard. I felt like I had put my body through too much already, how could I go through with the whole birth? Mentally I was still fit for anything, but physically? I knew I needed all my resolve to give birth to Baby E the way we had planned, and while it was not going to be easy, I still knew mentally I was able.

Thankfully at this stage my Fabulous Boyfriend had connected up the tens machine, and did a perfect job of managing the boost button when the contractions came, and he was able to use the machine that monitored the baby's heart beat and my contractions to time it exactly when I needed it.

At the next examination, I was still not progressing much further, so we agreed to let them accelerate the birth by using a drip. This was the first stage of true medical intervention, and we were disappointed, but realistic that we knew they had a job to do, and they were going to do it. We had negotiated with them to hold off doing anything since we were admitted about 8 hours ago, so felt we had had a good run on our own. As the contractions began to speed up accompanied by feelings similar to strong period pains, I sat on the bed working out how to use the gas and air. As the hours went by, and we moved into the night I melted into the bed with the Sergent Pepper album as my own personal soundtrack in my head. The room was spinning, and everything was becoming all blurry. Voices were muffled, and words merged into each other. I was completely high on the gas and air, this was fantastic!

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Countdown to Weaning - Part 2

The countdown to weaning in on. With only 2 days to go until Baby E has his first mouthful of food, he has started taking an interest in my food. This has been a long time coming and is perfectly timed. Yesterday Baby E was quite upset that I would not let him put my biscuit in his mouth, and he showed clear intention of wanting to get his hands on my breakfast cereal. He gave me one of those looks that speaks a thousand words ... 'but I want it Mummy, GIVE IT TO ME NOW!!!' He put up a food protest and refused most of his mid morning and mid afternoon bottle. Instead he had monster quantities of his breakfast, lunch and nighttime bottle. He seems to be showing signs of moving towards 3 meals a day. The proof is in the pudding, so we will find out today if things return to normal.

I hunted out the bamboo steamer this morning, as I have every intention of keeping as much nutrition in the vegetables as possible. We are planning to start with some carrot for three days. I am expecting carnage! No doubt Baby E will grab lots of food and smear it all over himself and me. The Steamer has 2 tiers so I shall do some sweet potato at the same time, and then freeze it for his next delicious taste of food. I have also ordered some apples and pear so Baby E can enjoy some delicious pureed fruit as well over the next few weeks.

Camera at the ready, stand well back to avoid the flicking of food. My brother is coming to visit with his Wife, 21month old little girl and English Bull Terrier this weekend. We better keep the dog out of the way or we will be licked to death as the food lands on us! Despite my earlier reservations I am getting quite excited about starting weaning. I may wash the steamer today in anticipation!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The First Childminder Session

Baby E visited the Childminder for the first time today. We spent a few hours with the Childminder to get him more accustomed to her company.

It is the 4th time Baby E has met the Childminder, and he seemed more interested this time. He is still not laughing when he is there, and I think this is his way of telling me he knows what is going on!

I felt quite nervous about visiting the Childminder this time. It feels so formal now we have confirmed that Baby E will be spending all his time there when I am at work. Someone else will get to cuddle him, play with him, and give him lots of kisses. This feels a strange concept, and not one that I warm to. I decided to stay with him today so he knew he was with friends, and we arrived at about 11am after his morning sleep. Baby E was very happy to be there, and was so occupied with what the Childminder was doing, he did not have much of his milk but instead wanted to play with all the toys.

Baby E had some cuddles with the Childminder, and played with the fabulous Lamaze toys for babies his age. The childminder helped him play, and he especially enjoyed the Lamaze toy with little horns. He got tired within an hour of being there, so we called the morning a success and prepared to go home.

Next week we are planning for Baby E to have his first sleep-over. I can show the Childminder how we take our day naps at home, and then once Baby E is comfortable sleeping there the Childminder can put Baby E to sleep. In preparation for this we are changing his day nap routing.

Baby E currently has the same day nap routine as nighttime, and it works exceptionally well. This is fabulous at home, however it is not favourable to carry an i-pod, lights and sound machine to the Childminder everyday. Today is Day 1 of using a Lullaby CD for Baby E to fall asleep to. So far Baby E has needed a little more cuddles before falling asleep, but it is no problem, and is going very well. Fingers crossed that by the middle of next week Baby E will have forgotten his womb music, and will be loving the Lullaby's!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

A perfect morning with the loose women

Sometimes I can not believe how lucky I am to have such a great life. I have maternity leave to spend time bonding with my new Baby who is absolutely fantastic and is always smiling and laughing. One thing I did not expect was to have met some wonderful friends during this time who I now see every week for girly chats and baby talk.

When I was pregnant one piece of advise that kept being given to me was to join groups to meet other mums. Most mums find maternity leave isolating compared to the world of work. Looking after a new baby can be a relentless and thankless job. Whilst I took the advise on board I knew I would be perfectly happy to spend time on my own with Baby E. I have found the whole baby experience relaxing and continually rewarding, whilst I wanted to join some groups to enhance my life with Baby E, the intention was to give Baby E the best start in life, and not for me to make friends. I am very comfortable in my own company and have loved taking time out from the busy working life to relax and spend quality time getting to know my baby. Meeting some friends along the way the icing on the cake.

After Christmas, I booked myself a place on a Baby Massage course (see previous blog), and was pleases to meet a group of Mums who share the same values. As the Baby massage course drew to a close, we planned to meet up at each others houses every Tuesday at the same time as Baby Massage. My house was so rammed full of stuff, that I could not see the wood for the trees. I had huge piles of things I was convinced I would find time to take to a car boot, or sell on eBay. I had also kept some baby things to give to friends when they had babies. I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to reveal to the girls my chaotic messy lifestyle. Even before I saw the other Mums houses, I was horrified at the thought that people would see my house at its worse, and judge me accordingly.

I went home and told my Fabulous Boyfriend something had to be done! I have had enough of being so cluttered that I can not appreciate my house. My Fabulous Boyfriend could not be more pleased, as over the next few weekends we embarked on a de-clutter exercise. I am so grateful he took a few carloads of things to the tip for recycling, and we were able to collect some items of furniture that his sister had been looking after for us. We moved the furniture round so my living room is now situated in the sunny front of the house and is much more spacious and airy. Thanks to our efforts, I have a new found love of my house, and am proud for anyone to visit. It may be in desperate need of decorating, but it is now free from the clutter that crowded both the house and my ability to enjoy relaxing.

Today was my turn to host 'loose women'. In my usual procrastinating way, I had not made any effort to do more tidying yesterday, so did a quick whip round this morning. Baby E seemed very excited that something was afoot, and so was wide awake through the time he would normally have his early morning sleep. We made the front room a little more presentable and laid out the play mats for all the girls to lie on. I had made a healthy treat to eat mid morning, which was up to my usual crazy cooking standards. I had once hoped that when you gave birth you naturally inherited an ability to cook gene ... how wrong could I be! While making the delicious frozen raspberry mousse I managed to break my hand blender and had to subject Baby E to more supermarkets whilst I bought a replacement and hunted for missing ingredients.

The Mums arrived with their girls. Baby E was the model baby, giving two of the girls kisses and cuddles. He did pull one little girls ear, but she did not seem to notice so everything was OK. As predicted, once all the Mums and Babies had arrived Baby E wanted to go for his sleep, which he did perfectly with no fuss or crying. I was very proud.

I had a fabulous morning, and am so pleased to find we have all become firm friends. My new found friends from baby massage have dubbed the group 'Loose Women'. We have all found like minded people with babies of a similar age. We can chat about what is happening with our babies and re-assure each other that everything is OK when we are feeling insecure and worried. It is great to find other mums who are sharing the same baby experience. We all gain a greater understanding of how we are feeling, and what are babies are doing.

I can not believe how lucky I am to make such good friends, and am so grateful that indirectly they have prompted me to get the house in a more organised presentable state. Every time the 'loose women' meet up we learn a little more about each other. It can sometimes be strange making new friends, but it feels so natural, and has meant so much to each of us to get together and chat about anything and everything. It felt great to have the girl visit me today, and I look forward to many more occasions where we will share experiences and our babies will grow up together.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Raspberry Blowing!

Baby E has found his tongue today for the first time. He was playing in his swing while I was in the kitchen making lunch. Above the delightful electronic classical music I could hear lots of raspberry's being blown.

I popped my head round the door, and found him with his tongue in full actions merrily blowing raspberry's and loving it! Until now the raspberry blowing has been using his lips only and he has easily bored of the novelty noise. Today he carried on blowing raspberry's for about an hour. He did not stop even when we were in the car on our way to visit the Childminder, and carried on the whole time we were there.

I love the noise so much, and he looks very cute having so much fun.

On a more somber note, my childminder reminded me that I have only 11 weeks until I go back to work. I am finding this more emotional than the countdown to weening. I intend to make the most of it, and enjoy every precious minute I have with Baby E.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The Birth of Baby E - Part One

Baby E is now 5 months old, however I want to make a record of the experience of his birth. My Grandma said that giving birth was the most wonderful experiences of her life. I prefer to say that while giving birth was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, Baby E is the most wonderful thing I have ever created and he provides me with the most rewarding memories everyday.

Baby E was born on the 19th November 2008. He was 13 days late to his due date, and enjoyed living in my tummy so much that we attended an induction appointment on Tuesday 18th November.

The day of the induction arrived, and I was due to attend my appointment at 4pm in the afternoon. I spent the day with my Fabulous Boyfriend in his office in Derby so he would not have to take more time off before the birth than necessary. We walked into town to get some lunch, and sat eating our baked potatoes by the fountain in the sun. As we were walking back to the office I noticed the sensations in my tummy (something like a mild period pain) were becoming stronger. Over the next few hours as I watched a film in an office on my own the contractions became more regular, coming every three minutes, and lasting for 3 minutes.

My fabulous boyfriend and I were excited about this development as we set off to the Hospital for our appointment. We were hoping the doctors would tell us we were in labour, and I was secretly hoping a miracle had happened and I would be 8cm dilated and Baby E would give me the easiest birth in the history of giving birth.

We arrived and were shown the way to the induction ward along with another couple. The induction room could be my home for the next 24 hours if the doctors were to tell me I was not in labour yet. I was given the usual tests (urine, blood pressure etc), and we were allowed to rest until the consultant did his rounds.

With all our fingers crossed, we told the consultant that we thought something was already happening and he confirmed this with an internal examination, telling us that I was 1cm dilated. This was easy! If this was 1cm, then roll on the other 9cm, I was ready. The consultant confirmed there was no need to induce me, he performed a sweep, and then I was left to be monitored with a belt and heart monitor to measure the contractions and Baby E's heart.

During this time we chose to relax by watching a movie on our laptop. We chose a comedy as I had read it would lighten the mood, and laughter will help to combat any pain I may feel. The film we watched was so funny, that we struggled to contain our laughter! We had to turn the sound down low so as not to disturb all the other Mums. Some of them were already reaching for the gas and air so we were probably not too popular with our stifled giggles.

Once all the measurements were taken the midwife offered me a bath to help with the progression of labour. I felt like I was in heaven. I lovely deep bath was filled for me with lots of bubbles piled high to the top. The bath was wonderfully warm and was fitted with a temperature gauge so we could top it up with hot water when needed but make sure it was not too hot for Me and Baby E. We were allowed to relax for a few hours in the bath until the consultants did their rounds at about 10pm. I was closely monitored by the midwife for the whole time I was bathing, so we were happy that they knew if things were running to plan. My Fabulous Boyfriend took lots of photographs, and fed me food from the bag I had prepared. I took the opportunity to call my family to tell them we were all well, and that Baby E was on his way.

I spent this time practicing my breathing I had learned from my Yoga DVD. The golden thread breathing was working perfectly, and I could imagine myself at my favourite beach in Dorset watching the waves crash on the shore and then retreat back to the sea. I was feeling good about the pain management (as there was not much pain), and feeling strong mentally and physically to give birth.

We were thrilled that I did not have to be induced, and bubbling with excitement and anticipation at how the evening was going to progress. We had a lovely time, and were on a real high wave of emotions that we would very soon meet Baby E.

Countdown to weaning.

Why do I feel so emotional about weaning? There is a part of me that compares it to the emotions I felt about introducing a dummy, or moving from Breast Feeding to Formula Feeding. It feels un-natural to think about giving Baby E food, when milk has been his diet for all these months. It feels like a big milestone in Baby E's life, and seems to have come around much quicker than I thought.

Some Mums feel great about weaning. My friend the Competitive Mum, loves to mention her Baby is on solids (Competitive Mum's Baby is 5 weeks older than Baby E, and so much more advanced). Other friends with Babies of a similar age have started introducing tastes and small amounts of food to their babies, whereas I would love to freeze time now, and keep Baby E the same forever. Why do I want to stop him growing up all the time?

I have felt this way since Baby E was born. I have loved every minute of every day I have spent with Baby E, I don't want to lose the moment, I don't want to move on from the joy that I feel right now everyday. Baby E is so beautiful, I wish I could capture every moment and play them over and over again.

I need to face the facts and understand why I feel so emotional about weaning. Have I turned into one of those mothers who does not want their child to grow up? Will I still be calling him "my baby" even when he is 34! Will I be telling his girlfriends that no-one knows him like his Mum, and he will always be my Baby??? I am starting to feel this is not healthy.

I know that weaning him is one step closer to returning to work. I think this is a major fuel on the fire of my emotions. Hopefully once I have read my Annabel Karmel book, I will be feeling prepared, and excited about giving Baby E something interesting to eat each day.

All I know at the moment is that we are planning to start on the first May Bank Holiday, and I have not read the book, and I have not defrosted the freezer to make room for his meals. I am not feeling prepared, and plan to start in 10 days!

Baby E is 5 Months Old

Baby E is now 5 months old. I can hardly believe how quickly the time has gone.

Baby E is now enjoying active play, he likes to sit, then stand, then lean forward to grab a toy, then sit, and so the cycle begins again. He enjoys siting and watching me build a tower with his soft blocks, and then he stands up to grab one which knocks the tower over.

Baby E is starting to enjoy his door bouncer, and showed excitement for the first time today when I got the harness out to put on him. He plays in the door bouncer for about 10 minutes, and loves kicking up with his legs, and spinning around.

Baby E's sleeping pattern is changing. His day naps are becoming less predictable, with some days sleeping all morning (from 9am - 12pm), and then a light 30 minutes in the afternoon. Some days he does not sleep in the morning, and some days he has his usual 3 sleeps. This makes it hard to plan my day as I am not able to commit to see friends in the morning. Baby E has also started waking a little earlier in the morning, and last night he started chatting and moving in his crib from 4am! This is not good for my Fabulous Boyfriend who still has to work as sadly we have still not won the lottery.

This change in sleeping is both a sigh of a growth spurt (Baby E has less creases at the moment), and a sign that he is warming up to weaning. Another emotional milestone that feels bigger than his age! I have armed myself with my Annabel Karmel books and hope that knowledge will help with my sadness that my baby is growing up.

We are planning to start weaning on the first May Bank Holiday. Baby E will be 5 1/2 months, and so ready to take the next step ... I only hope I will also be ready.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Heyfever and pregnant or breastfeeding.

I have suffered from hayfever since my teens. Despite my efforts to tell myself it is all in my mind, every year my hayfever gets worse until I can no longer go outside during the months of April - August without taking antihistamine. This is fine if you are happy to take drugs for five months of the year, and spend lots of money on eye drops, inhalers and pills. It is another case entirely if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and suffer from hayfever.

Like many mothers, I chose not to take any drugs during my pregnancy. I wanted to ensure that the baby that I am nurturing and growing inside me was as perfect as could be, and had the best start in life. I knew hayfever would be a problem when I was pregnant or breastfeeding however I was determined not to succumb to the drugs, and had full resolve to go cold turkey for the season. Maybe I would not suffer from hayfever while I was pregnant, maybe my new healthy diet would help.

How wrong could I be! Within a few weeks of the hayfever season starting it was unbearable. I could not go outside for more than a minute without my eyes watering, my throat swelling, my nose running and constant unfaltering sneezing. I could just about make it to the car everyday to travel to work, and prayed that the air conditioning would work in the office so a window would not be opened. This was not the life I planned while pregnant.

Suffering from hayfever when pregnant or breastfeeding is so debilitating. I felt trapped, and hated the thought of spending the summer and so majority of my pregnancy indoors with no fresh air. I was even tempted to reach for the antihistamines! Fortunately my Fabulous Boyfriend was at hand to stop me. He promised to hunt the shops until he found a solution. My Fabulous Boyfriend found a herbal remedy for hayfever sufferers that was safe to use when pregnant or breast feeding. He return with "HayMax" in two varieties (Haymax Lavender, and Haymax Pure).

Haymax is a none drug solution to hayfever, and so is suitable for hayfever sufferers who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Haymax is an organic sunflower/beeswax drug free pollen barrier that you apply regularly around the bottom of your nostrils. It catches the pollen and prevents it from travelling up your nose thus stopping an allergic reaction. I was amazed that it worked ... it really worked. No runny nose, no sneezing, no sore or swollen throat, and no headache. I used Haymax Pure during the day, and Haymax Lavender for night-time. I slept much better at night than when using drugs, as Haymax does not stop working unless you wipe it off your nose, whereas drugs can stop working half way through the night, and you may not be able to take anymore until morning.

I personally found that Haymax worked better than any other treatment for hayfever. I find it amazing that it is not more widely known as a solution to hayfever particularly for pregnant or breastfeeding women. I found it to be such a good barrier against heyfever that I have already started to use it this year ... and I am not pregnant! I am still using the two pots I was given last year, so don't need to rush out and buy new drugs as last years are out of date. It is more cost effective, and wonderful to know that I am doing the best for my body and my baby.