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!