5 things no one tell you about childbirth and having a baby

1: Epidural failure and the pain that comes with it!

My delivery story, if you’ve read it, was a little complicated and crazy towards the end. But what no one prepared me for was my epidural failing and having to go through it a second time and be topped off with a spinal block! That pain that shoots through your body when your epidural fails is like no other pain I have ever experienced. The shooting pain down my back, the extreme sciatic like pain through my hips and then feeling delirious and completely not in control. I couldn’t communicate with anyone around me, or understand what anyone was saying to me. And having to sit up and go through that process again! I’m just glad it all happened towards the end of my labour!

2: The wonder of Entonox (Gas and Air)

Laughing gas, sounds wonderful right? The light headedness, the feeling of drifting, the pain slowly being dissipated….then the nausea and vomiting! Yup! That too. I wanted to be on it for as long as I could, and have my birth as natural as possible (we know how that turned out), but I just couldn’t do it. The gas just made me feel so light headed and nauseous to my core. I lasted all of half an hour on it! Wow. It was like my first trimester nausea all over again, just amplified. In the end, I was glad to be wheeled up to the ward.

3: The twisted cervix!

You learn about a lot of complications during labour and delivery, but what I wasn’t expecting was to be told I had a twisted cervix which was up and to the left – not straight down for my babys head to engage fully. Also, how painful the examination would be to try to pull my cervix to straighten it. It felt as horrifying as it sounds while your reading this. I wont lie, it hurt, a lot. It felt as though the midwife was reaching up into my rib cage to pull my guts out. That pain, that discomfort, that space which leaves you at your most vulnerable, nothing prepared me for it. It was the only time though my entire labour process I broke down and cried. This is the point you realise, no matter how hard you try to control the situation at some point you have to just let go and submit and go with the flow.

4: On/Off emotions

We all know that this is the most emotional time as a parent, seeing your baby for the first time. But I don’t think you, or your partner, are prepared for how quickly you go from immense pain to uncontrollable tears of joy in a split second! I went from not being able to talk, vomiting between contractions, to just utter tears of joy in a second. I feel this is more for partners, because my husband, bless him, couldn’t handle and understand this sudden emotional change in me. After seeing me at my lowest in so much pain, to then seeing me at my highest with such joy and happiness… he had to step outside for a minute to take a breather. It’s not something you’ll ever understand until you’re in that room experiencing it.

5: Your night in hospital

if you’ve had any kind of procedure, and a spinal block, the chances are you’re spending a night in hospital. Here’s the thing, for me it was amazing! And no one quite tell you that. My experience was very positive. The nursery nurses were fabulous throughout the night when I was having trouble breastfeeding. They were so supportive and gave me great tricks and tips to feed my baby that first night and next day. I was helped to the toiled and back because my legs were still weak from the spinal block. The food was ok, it’s a hospital not a 5 star restaurant ok, and I truly wish I had stayed another night.

The bottom line is, it’s bloody hard work having a baby! But just go with the flow, listen to the experts, and go in with little or no expectations so you don’t feel let down if things change. And most of all enjoy the entire experience because once it’s over then its over.

All for now!

 

A poem for mums

I am a first time mum,
juggling life with a little one,
my support network far away,
so please give me a break.

I’m sorry if i’m late, or if I look a state,
please don’t remind me or clock watch.
I am trying my best – it’s all I have to give,
I’m a first time mum, taking it one step at a time.

I learn everyday, always a new phase,
please don’t judge me, it’s all unchartered territory.
I’m a first time mum, just plodding along,
instead of sarcasm, I need your compassion.

I know i’m late again, I’m sorry, I tried,
A last minute diaper, spillage and tantrum,
it all ads up, the minutes and hours,
I am trying my best – a hug would be appreciated.

I feel all alone – eyes watching me constantly,
yes i’m still breastfeeding, no he isn’t sleeping,
there is no one rule fits all, he is a baby not a toy,
I am trying my best – A cuppa? Some rest?

No sleep for us mums, none for me,
it’s been 1 year and 3 since any decent sleep,
I’m running on empty.
My wall is up – happy and collected, calm and with it –
Look deeper and you’ll see, I am in desperate need,
for sleep and for no one to judge me.

I am a first time mum, learning all along,
how to juggle life with a little one.

  • Aradhana Kapur

Nappy rash, baby products and whats worked

As a new mum, I found myself standing in the aisle of baby products, looking at various products and labels and what each claim to do for a baby’s skin and hair.  Yikes! I felt overwhelmed to say the least.  Reading endless labels was driving me crazy.  So, by the power of elimination here are the 5 products I use with Neel, my 14 month old son, and have used since he began taking baths.  They work for us, they are not expensive, and they last a long time (which is great for the wallet!).

1 Avoiding that dreaded nappy rash
I feel truly lucky that I have been able to avoid Neel getting a nappy rash in his first year, woohoo! No sore bottoms, no cranky baby because of having a sore bottom.  And this has all been down to 2 main things I’ve done right from the day we brought him home from the hospital.  The first is to always wet your nappy wipes before using them.  Nappy wipes are great, but they can get a bit dry.  Those first few weeks and months when their skin is so delicate rubbing away those 100 poos (yes that’s what it feels like) a day can take a toll on their little bottoms.  Try running your wipes under warm water so they are nice and soaked and that way baby gets a warm wipe and avoids the friction of a dry wipe.  I also always make sure his bottom is dry before then applying nappy cream and then a fresh nappy.  The 2 nappy creams I love to use are Bepanthen and boots own brand nappy rash spray.

Bepanthen is amazing!  I love it far more than Sudocrem for an everyday barrier against nappy rash.  It is creamier and it sinks into the skin rather than sitting on top of the skin. It keeps Neels skin protected and soft through the day and night.  In my mind, using this everyday has helped me to prevent Neel from every developing a nappy rash.

The other barrier cream is the Boots own brand Nappy Rash Spray.  This product is really cool.  And it is especially good for those who don’t like to use their fingers, or dads who get a bit squeamish doing so like my husband!  You don’t have to rub this product in, just spray the area and pop on a nappy, that simple.  It’s light, it sinks into the skin and again protects Neel through the day.  It is also handy to keep in your nappy bag for on the go and for travelling.  It saves you getting product on your hands, and the whole process of changing a little simpler when you are out and about.

2 Baby bubble bath
Hands down, this category is hard!  So much choice, so many claims, so many fragrances or no fragrance, sensitive skin, normal skin, good for this or that.  Hmm,  I’ll be honest I went with my gut on this one.  Ok ya I did do a bit of research, and looking around this was the best option I found.  The Child’s Farm bubble bath for sensitive skin.

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This stuff smells amazing to begin with!  It has organic tangerine and the moment it hits the water the entire bathroom fills with that sweet smell, it is gorgeous!  I love it because it is so gentle on Neels skin.  It is good for sensitive skin and eczema prone skin.  It has Vitamin E to gently moisturise the skin and organic tangerine oil to calm and soothe the skin.  It has no artificial colours, free from parabens, SLSs and mineral oils and has over 98% of naturally derived ingredients.  It’s simple, smells amazing and doesn’t leave Neel dry after a bath.  This bottle will last me months! A good 2 months of everyday use.  You don’t need a lot of it, a little goes a long way and gives off lovely bubbles in the bath too for baby to play with.

3 Shampoooooo 
Again, so much choice, and I followed suit with the Child’s Farm baby shampoo which fragrance free and for sensitive skin.

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It is a lovely shampoo which doesn’t make Neel tear up at all.  It is suitable to use from new born and upwards, just as the bubble bath is, and is free from all the nasty things like the bubble bath.  It is fragrance free and very mild and gentle, but still effective in lifting off any mess from the day.  It is simple, and effective.  This bottle lasts me around 3 to 4 months depending how often I have to wash his hair.  You don’t need a lot, a small squeeze goes a long way!  Me love!

4 Moisturiser for babies 
When Neel was a new born i used Aveeno baby moisturiser on him for the first 4 to 5 months.  I just felt safer using it, and it smelt amazing and suited his skin really well.  However, it isn’t the most cost effective product around.  Not so long ago Dove launched their Dove baby range, and in that range is their Dove baby lotion for sensitive skin.  It is fragrance free, and gently moisturises baby’s skin all day.

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It is hypoallergenic, dermatologically tested and Paediatrically approved.  It’s not thick which I like, and it sinks into the skin pretty quickly and doesn’t leave Neel all sticky when I’m then trying to put his clothes on after.  I use it on his face and body and it suits him really well.  It isn’t expensive, and it lasts a fairly good amount of time.

 

Those are my 5 favourite products I’ve been using with Neel.  There are others I have used and loved to, the Aveeno baby range is beautiful, the Burts Bees baby bubble bath smells divine and is gorgeous too.  I have used the Simple baby shampoo and found that very good for a baby as well.  If you are a part of the Boots club it is a great way to trial out a bunch of products with 3 for 2 offers or buy 1 get 1 half price offers on certain products.  It’s also a great way to stock up on a few products that you may need, or split them for gifts as well.  My biggest tip, don’t feel overwhelmed by choice.  Find a product which is simple, not too many ingredients and that works for baby and you.

Thanks for stopping by!

until next time xoxo

Mum hacks for busy mums

We all know how hectic and busy it gets with a baby.  Whether you have 1, 2 or 3 children, working, stay at home, or a combination of all, life isn’t straight forward!  So to keep my sanity and my household going at a relatively normal pace here are a few things I do so that everything doesn’t pile up on me.

1 The diaper change
Changing a toddlers nappy is a challenge, getting them to stay still, stay lying down and to not get their feet or hands in the nappy…dear lord!  My biggest tip is to always change their nappy in the same place at home.  I always change Neel in his bathroom.  Whether it’s his nappy or clothes, it happens in his bathroom.  This way when I say nappy change to him now he recognises that he has to walk into the bathroom.  It also keeps the mess contained.  If anything should spill over i can mop the floor rather than carpets getting dirty.  I keep a few toys in the bathroom for him to mess about with and keep him distracted to make the whole experience for me smoother and with far less tantrums.

2 Clean as you go
This may sound silly but it really does help stop everything piling up on you at the end of the day or week.  For example, as I’m cooking and feeding Neel, I’m also cleaning as I go.  I’ll wash dirty dishes, put away dry clean dishes and clear away whatever needs going in the fridge so the counter tops are clear.  This way once Neel has finished eating I just have his high chair to clean and mop the floor quickly.  It also means that when Neel goes down for a nap or to bed I’m not wasting precious relaxation time tidying up and cleaning the kitchen!  Let’s face it, a hot cuppa is far more comforting to think about than cleaning a kitchen when you’re putting your little ones to bed!

3 Tidy up with your toddler
This tip is also so that once I come back down after putting Neel to sleep I can just put my feet up for a bit.  Before heading up for bath and bed time, I ask Neel to pass me his toys so we can tidy up the living room.  He understands the word “Pass” now so he will happily make a game out of it and pass me one toy at a time to put away in his toy chest.  I’m secretly hoping this gets him in the habit of doing it himself when he is a little older!  This way when I come back down the living room is all tidy and I can eat my dinner or just put my feet up for a bit.

4 Keeping the bathroom and bath tub clean
We all know NOT to leave your baby unattended or unsupervised when they are in the bath at any point.  But this doesn’t mean you can’t be productive while watching them and singing songs together.  When Neel is in the bath I will give the sink a quick wipe and clean, disinfect the toilet and wipe the outside and mop his bathroom floor all without walking away from him.  When he is done with his bath, I drain the tub and turn the shower on low.  He loves playing with the shower, so I’ve turned it into a bit of a game.  We give the toys he has used a shower to get rid of any residual soap from the bath, we shower the bath tub down and shower down his non slip mat till all the bubble bath and soap has gone.  Neel loves doing this,  then It’s out and ready for bed!  All clean for tomorrow :).

5 When baby goes to sleep, SIT DOWN!
This really saves me from going insane.  No exaggeration!  When Neel goes to sleep, before doing anything else, I sit down and have a hot cup of tea or something to eat in peace.  This gives me the mental calm which, lets face it, is very needed to then get going with whatever needs doing and before he wakes up for the madness to begin again.

6 Multiple toy boxes
We all have jobs to get on with at home, there is always something that needs doing, and it couldn’t be more boring for toddlers.  To stop Neel getting cranky on me during these times I keep multiple little toy boxes in the areas I need them.  I have an old large biscuit tin in the kitchen with a few toys, I have books by the side of my bed for when I’m changing sheets or tidying away clothes, and a few in his bathroom for changing times.  By doing this he doesn’t get bored when I’m cooking, hanging out laundry, tidying away clothes or changing sheets etc.

7 Be organised the night before
This is simple, keep bags packed and ready to go the night before.  I keep Neels nursery bag, his sweater and coat, hat and shoes all together on the sofa so we aren’t running around in the morning.  I keep his set of clothes he is going to wear in the morning ready in his bathroom too.  Also keep your own work or day bag ready.  I pack my work bag and keep my lunch ready boxed in the fridge so I just have to grab and go in the mornings.  It just makes your mornings go smoother and you don’t forget anything in the hustle of things.

8 A family calendar 
This is by far my favourite.  Get a family calendar!  I have one which has columns for each of us.  It keeps my husband and me on the same page as to who is doing what and what appointments we have.  Everything from our work shifts, Neels nursery times, doctors appointments, any upcoming events or groups we go to,  meet up with friends, it all goes on the calendar.  This way there is no confusion on dates, and we can both refer to the calendar at any point to know what is happening that week or month.

So folks, these are my words of wisdom!  There is nothing ground breaking about my little tips, but they are small steps which have really helped me keep on top of things at home while working.  There is no handbook, just us mums and dads who can share what has worked for us.  What works for you?  Share away!

Thanks for stopping by,
until next time xoxo

Top 5 baby products I’ve loved using

The list of ‘must haves’ and what you should buy when you have a baby is endless! Every advert, every store, every person (like me now) will have their opinion on what you must have if you’re having a baby. And each of us is different. Some mums like to have it all, and some mums like to keep it minimal and simple. But here is what I’ve genuinely enjoyed using over the past year with Neel. Hope it helps!

Baby swing:

Now, Neel didn’t use it for very long I’ll admit. But for the first 4 to 5 months it was extremely helpful. Especially the first 6 weeks while recovering from my episiotomy and not able to walk much.  When he was a newborn up to about 5months I could put him in and gently have it swing and play music while he slept. I would put it in the kitchen if I was busy in there, in the living room, outside the loo (we all need to go!). I was grateful to have it because I knew he was strapped in and safe and not going anywhere while I got some jobs done, or even just needed a cup of tea!

Product: Starlight swing

Store: Mamas & Papas swing

Price: £99

 

Baby changing unit:

I loved mine. I used it right upto Neel being almost 11 months old and not wanting to lie on it anymore. It was extremely well used. We bought a unit with open shelves underneath which was great. It stored all his nappies, wipes, creams, shower things. I would keep towels on the bottom shelf and spare cotton pads and other things all self contained in one place. It also has a baby bath which sits neatly underneath the changing mat. It was very handy when Neel was a tiny baby. I would either sit it in the big bath tub or keep it attached to the table. It was a good height too, up to my waist, which meant I wasn’t breaking my back bending down to change his nappy or get him ready every time. And when he could sit up it was perfect too.  In the picture you’ll notice i used to line the table with a waterproof mat.  This was a clever way to catch any leaks and also keep Neels back a little warmer while on the mat.

Product: Babylo changing unit with bath star pattern.

Store: Babies R Us

Price: On sale £69.99

 

Play mat:

I wanted something colourful and full of fun things. And this was the perfect one. It was bright and colourful and came with so many attachments to hang from it. Neel loved rolling around on it, lying down and listening to the music, getting his tummy time. I liked it because it was compact, for our living room it was tidy. I could fold it up and slot it away in the cupboard to problem when he wasn’t using it too.

 

 

Snuz Pod:

The best bedside cot in the world for me!! I loved it! It’s so nice and slim, very sturdy, lovely storage shelf underneath and most of all safe and comfortable for baby. I loved that the side zipped down and attached right up to my side of the bed. Neel felt cozy and slept well in it. I would also detach the top bed part and take it downstairs for him to nap or play in it during the day. For me, best invention ever! We bought the mattress to go with it and the bedding too. Cute and practical, in my opinion anyway. And the little duvets don’t go to waste once they outgrow the pod! I keep them in the car, perfect to cover his legs and feet in winters and keep the crumbs off his clothes!

Product: Sunz Pod in white

Store: Fenwick

Price £129 (bought during sale time)

 

Silver cross travel system:

Prams…oh the world of prams! Whether you have a £30 budget or a £1million budget, there is something for everyone! Lets face it, once they start eating and drinking that pram is going to get messy! Drool, drink, crumbs, sticky fingers, the lot! So for me, it had to be good quality but not crazy in price. Our travel system is lovely. For some it may be heavy, but I didn’t mind that…the price tag swayed me! It came with the basinet attachment and the car seat. It also came with the rain cover, a tiny changing bag (you will need a bigger one!), sun shade, foot muff for the basinet and has a decent size basket underneath.   I went for black and white and kept it simple. It’s still going strong 1 year in and I’m glad we chose it!

Product: Silver cross 3D monochrome travel system

Store: Mothercare

Price: £249.99 (bought during sale time)

There you have it, my most used and most loved products this past year.  Thank you for stopping by!

until next time xoxo

Just like that…he’s tuned 1!

I feel like its time I introduced you to my family, and I feel like I’m ready to now. It is my pleasure to introduce to you the love of my life, my husband, Gaurav, and the centre of our universe, our baby boy, Neel.

 

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Gaurav, Aradhana and baby Neel

I cannot believe we have just celebrated Neels first birthday. It’s so strange to think that I have been a mother for an entire 365 days! It feels like I’ve been doing this forever though, both my husband and myself talk about how it’s hard to imagine what we used to do before Neel came along. All those sleepless nights, the endless nappies, the sleep training, the weaning, nursery, going back to work, 2 holidays in the middle… all this in 1 short year. Neel, this blog is for you.

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Daddy and Neel just a few weeks old
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Can’t believe he is 1!

You came into our lives and instantly filled a gap that didn’t seem to exist in our lives. Our home and family suddenly felt a bit more solidified, and our purpose changed. We were now parents first, putting you first, placing you above all else. And rightly so! The hours Gaurav and me would just sit looking at you sleep, watching you blow bubbles, giggle and laugh and try to communicate with us were the best hours of our life! How you just drew us in and kept us mesmerised with your big (at the time blue!) eyes, which then turned to dark deep brown. Watching you grow and learning to do new things everyday has been so magical. Of course its been tough too, I wont lie, there were days Gaurav and me felt like we couldn’t do this, that we were failing or not doing things right. There were days I felt lonely and wrecked and beyond exhausted. But I always remember what our antenatal class teacher, Linzy, would keep reminding us… “always remember that its just a phase. Today may be hard, but get through this phase and conquer it, then get ready for the next phase”. It’s just a phase. And babies go through a gazillion phases! But that’s the only thing that’s kept Gaurav and me going to be honest, remembering how helpless Neel is as a baby, and that it is just a phase as he learns this new skill or that new skill.

 

 

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Proud parents

Our first year has been incredible. We have been through two holidays, adjusting to life together, starting nursery, going back to work and just like that you turned 1. You’ve been on 9 flights, visited Germany and India, spent time with grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and great aunts and uncles and made new friends. You’ve learnt to walk, learnt to eat on your own, learnt to play on your own. You’ve gone through baby massage, baby yoga and love swimming. Your first word was “Uh oh”, you try your best to say Daddy… we’ll keep working on mummy…you say hi and bye and wave to everyone. You want to put on your own socks and hat, and love story time. You even finallyyou’re your first haircut!

Neel, you are just a happy baby who loves to smile and laugh and keep everyone around you entertained. Your spirit is so positive, your demeanour calm and collected, your walk confident and filled with a purpose. Your journey this year has filled us with memories we will cherish when you hit those teenage years of not wanting anything to do with us! And yes, they will all be revealed on your wedding day for that all important embarrassing moments by mum and dad. So Neel, thank you for coming into our lives. We hope we do you proud as you grow up, we hope we give you the best we possibly can, and do the most we can for you. I couldn’t be happier that your little soul chose me as your mummy, and you chose us as your parents. We love you more than you’ll ever know, and will always stand by you.

Xxx mummy and daddy.

 

When it all got a bit much…

It’s been my toughest week yet. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’m still trying to get into the swing of it all. It’s been 4 weeks since I’ve been back at work, and for a first time new mom…WOW! I don’t think I was prepared for it at all.

Starting back at work scared me, I was nervous being away from my son, placing him in nursery, not hearing from him all day for 3 days in the week. My little shadow was missing, my right arm was missing! Was he eating? Did he nap enough? Was he engaging and playing? I hope he isn’t crying too much…all this going through my mind all day at work. Sound silly? I had major parental separation anxiety.

What I found the most exhausting was trying to be prepared and keeping up with it all. The routine of home-work-nursery has had me twisted and muddled to no end. I’m no perfect mother or woman, but I used to think I was a pretty organised person anyway. My son has just about started sleeping through the majority of the night going to bed at 7:30 and not waking up until 3:30am for his early feed. He then goes back to sleep till 7:30 in the morning. Not all that bad.

But we all know, as mums, we don’t go to sleep at 7:30 now do we? When my son goes down I’m cleaning the kitchen ready for the next day, sorting out my bags and lunch for work, getting my sons bags ready for nursery and his clothes out for the morning. I’m tidying the living room, sorting out laundry, cleaning the bathroom after bath time. Then thinking about my own dinner, shower, and wind down for bed. By the time I’m done with all this…10:30pm!

By the time Sunday had come around I was past myself. My husband worked ridiculous shifts all week last week, leaving home by 8am not getting home till 2am. He was only around for the morning nursery run with everything else left up to me. And lets face it, there’s only so much you can leave for another day which ‘isn’t important’ around the house. The bathroom does need cleaning because your baby has to use it, the kitchen does need to be clean to cook in it and to feed your baby, the laundry does need doing so we have clean clothes! When you have a child you can’t ignore your house and leave it for another day. It all needs to get done.

On the Friday I remember just breaking down. As hard as I had tried to keep my shit together once I got my son off to nursery, no sooner was he out the door that the water works began. I couldn’t help myself, so crying my eyes out I rushed to catch my bus to work. I was even more annoyed at myself for crying on the bloody bus! Oh for Gods sake! I couldn’t even keep it together on the bus! I’m stronger than this! I’ve gone through tougher times than this! So why was this so hard!? It is hard! It’s hard because he is my child. And if I don’t look after him, my own child, who else will?? I love him more than he will ever know and I will always do anything for him, but to constantly be happy around your child and to have a bundle of energy all the time is bloody exhausting. I felt like a balloon stretched to the max about to explode. Emotionally drained, physically exhausted, and to top everything off I had an unexpected visitor – someone I hadn’t seen in 1 year and 10 months – my beautiful (NOT) menstrual cycle! Why thank you mother nature for your impeccable timing! HELLO HORMONES! So on top of having a tough single mom life week, I now had this to deal with!

Anyone tried going to the bathroom to sort yourself out during a heavy day with an 11 month old following you in to keep you company? Oh boy! From keeping 1 foot on the bin so wouldn’t empty it out everywhere, to stopping him from playing with the toilet cleaning brush, to keeping him from climbing all over me – go on, give it a try. Anything else want to happen in my life about now?!?

Well folks, that’s been my crazy few weeks. My adjusting to the new phase of a working mom, with a child in nursery, balancing home and work and family life. I am trying my best to be more organised, to get more balance, to find a flow to keep everything moving like a well oiled machine…well, 1 day at a time eh?

So, until next time! Xoxo

Sleep training…Oh joy!

It’s wonderful isn’t it? When you hear of little ones sleeping soundly from the get go, or from the 3rd month and parents are joyous and full of energy? Well I’m not one of them! I wish I was. I waited till my son was 11 months old to start sleep training him. And for a lot of parents this is way too late, and for a few it’s too early.

I did contemplate starting earlier when we begun weaning onto solid foods. But I quickly realised that with me exclusively breastfeeding my son was having a hard time letting go so early and so quickly. So why rush it? I wont lie, a part of me didn’t want give up the cuddles and snuggles and co-sleeping. But yes I was getting to the point of being exhausted and surviving on little or no sleep. Not healthy for me, does my baby no good, I know. So, come almost 11 months it’s time! But here is the fun part, I didn’t do the training!

Sleep training is hard! It is emotionally exhausting, it pulls on every heartstring, it makes you feel like you are the worst mother on this earth. You hear your baby cry and of course you want to run to them and give them a cuddle and a million kisses. When I had tried to do it myself I felt like a monster and I couldn’t bare it. So, I decided that I needed help. And who better than my mummy to the rescue! I had read so much about the different methods of sleep training, watched numerous YouTube videos (as you do as a first time mom!), spoke to health visitors and other mums, and even looked at all the many gadgets you could buy to help your baby sleep! Different methods work for different babies, and it also depends on you and how you want to handle the training process. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way. And I cannot sit here and say my method was the best or worst.   I just know it is what worked for me and made me the most comfortable. I felt safe and secure knowing my baby was in the best possible hands, my mother! I felt reassured and calm and supported about the whole process.

I had asked my mum to come to me for a couple of weeks to help us get the sleep training process started. I knew it would probably take longer than 2 weeks, but at least this time would get the basic screaming out the way! And with my mum having the experience of doing it with me I knew she wouldn’t have an issue with my son. It has been two weeks now, and can I say, for the first time in 11 months, I am sitting downstairs in my living room at 8:50pm, after having a lovely shower and getting into fresh PJ’s, writing out this blog in peace! What bliss. All thanks to mother dearest. So I thought I would share a few things on how we managed to get here.

The first 3 nights were the hardest. My son had to get used to sleeping in his own room, in his own cot, and learn to self-sooth if he woke up. The way my mother made this happen is my favourite technique by a mile. I would get him into his sleep sack, give him his night feed and rock him to sleep. I would then put him down in his cot by which point he would wake up screaming. And boy did it take every ounce of emotional energy to not pick him up. Mummy would order me to go downstairs, and she would just sleep on the floor next to his cot in the dark room and hum gently. She also would put her hand through the cot bar so he could hold her hand and fall asleep. The first night it took all night! He kept waking up, and my mum would just gently pat him through the bars and hum till he fell asleep again. I decided that between 5am and 6am if he woke up I would pick him up, take him out of his sleep sack and give him his morning feed and he could then come into bed with my husband and me for the morning for an hour or 2 till we would all get up to get ready. That seemed reasonable to me and also reassuring for my son to know that in the morning when he wakes up he gets to spend cuddle time with mummy and daddy before nursery and work.

The first week, again the same routine, with slightly less waking up in the middle of the night. And now, 2 weeks in, I have put my son to sleep and down in his cot and he is fast sleep! WOOHOO!! Now I will add that if he does wake up crying in the middle of the night, I bend over his cot and I give him a tight cuddle and a kiss. He should always know that I do love him and that I am there when he needs me, but yes it is bed time so he needs to sleep. So I simply lie down on the floor next to his cot and place my hand on his bed through the cot bars till he falls asleep. And this has worked amazingly well for us.

Now I know things like teething, bad colds and fevers etc will all get in the way and interrupt this process. For example, my son gave himself such a sore throat the first week and a cold with the crying and learning to settle. But I just had to stay strong and trust that this process would work and benefit all of us in the long run. It has made things happier at home and less stressful. I don’t have to go to bed at 7pm with my son anymore leaving my husband downstairs alone. I can now sit down with him and catch up on our day and have some quality time together before bed. We both sleep better…mostly because we have our bed back to just ourselves! No little man in the middle kicking us in the face or pushing us to the edges of the bed. I wake up happier and with more energy to give my son, and also more energy to do a lot more for and with my family. I can’t thank my mother enough for her help, and I am glad I had her support through it. And from her point of view she was happy to be a part of this journey of his.

So if you are someone like me, a big softie, don’t be shy or afraid to ask for help.

I would love to hear from those who have been through this journey. What worked for you, what you found helpful.

Until next time xoxo

Anxiety? Me?

I sit here having proudly gotten through 3 days of my sons induction into nursery.  It’s that time already! I mean he was only in 1 hour the first day, 2 hours the second and 3 hours the third day.  But oh boy it felt like an eternity each day! I feel I have major separation anxiety when it comes to my son.

We know children face it, but I didn’t realise that we as parents and mums face it too.  Not until I heard and read about other mums going through this.  I love my son to bits, I know how important nursery can be for his development and independence and all that fun stuff, but no one tells you that you are going to be the biggest basket case the day you have to start dropping them off! WHAT!?! My stomach would be in knots after dropping him and walking away, I would feel sick, constantly wondering if he was ok, was he eating? Did he have a nap? Is he crying or scared? What if he doesn’t go to anyone?!? SO MANY QUESTIONS! It literally took every ounce of energy I had to not keep ringing them every 20 minutes.  NO NO NO! I won’t be that person.  Trust they are professionals and they will look after my son.

Now this anxiety can stem from many different places depending on you as a person and your circumstances and experiences in your life.  Mine, I think, comes from the fact that my parents divorced when I was very young.  And as much as it has never bothered me till this day, I suddenly realised that my parental anxiety comes from the fact that I only saw my mother during holidays and whenever she had holidays from work to fly to me.  So the thought of my mum having to go back, or me having to go back, scared me to tears.  I hated it when after a holiday mum would have to leave to go back to her job.  So for me now I never want my son to have to face that.  And the answer obviously is to strap him to me till he’s 30! ummm….ya I know I can’t, it’s silly.  But that’s where my anxiety comes from anyway.

So how do I address this?  I need to do some major soul searching and deal with my inner demons.  The last thing I want is for my son to pick up on this energy and not want to leave my side.  To miss out on fun adventures because mummy doesn’t like being away from him.  No no, absolutely not.  This matter has to be dealt with.  They are my demons not his.

So if any of you lovely mums and dads have any tips to help with this, or experiences to share on how you dealt with this, I would love to hear it!

Until next time xoxo

From Mrs. to mummy

**Please let me say again that this was my experience, however you may interpret it as being too dramatic or not dramatic enough, for me this is how it was and how I felt at the time**

I feel like I should begin this post with a little background first. As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog post my mother is a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse and has been for the last 25 years. Now this has put me in the company of other nurses, midwives, registrars, doctors etc. for as long as I can remember. So I have heard it all, and also well equipped on what to expect in a hospital.

I chose to give birth in the hospital my mother had worked in for many years, and one where many of her friends, some who have known me since I was 12, still do work there. This gave me confidence that should any complications arise with my baby he would be in excellent hands. I also knew not to go into labour with some long utopic idea of what my labour journey should be like. So my birth plan read as follows:

I am going into it with an open mind. Ideally I would like my plan to be as follows:

I would like to labour at home for as long as possible with the aid of my hypno-birthing, music and TENs machine.I would like to be in the birthing centre. To have an active labour. The use of Entonox only as a method of pain relief. If the pain gets a bit much then the use of diamorphene.If, for any reason, I need to be moved onto the ward then that is fine too. Open mind.

That was my birth plan. Short right? I have heard stories of birth plans being pages long, detailing every part of a labour journey. And I’ll be honest, it would be lovely to be able to map out your journey to the last detail, but lets face it life doesn’t work that way. Our bodies decide to do their own thing and react in ways we cannot predict sometimes, and delivering a baby is definitely one of those times you CANNOT predict ANYTHING! So, now that we have the basics down, lets get into what happened on my journey to delivering my little boy.

My labour had initially begun at 1am on the 15th of February. But it wasn’t until 6pm on the 15th that I actually decided to go into hospital. I had decided to labour at home all day on the 15th to be comfortable, to be able to move around, to eat and sleep and relax. I also wanted my husband and mum to be more relaxed than for all of us to be cooped up in hospital for longer than needed.

So 6pm, off we went to hospital! I was examined and I was 4cms dilated and so admitted into the birthing centre.

The contractions were strong and getting closer together, I was bouncing on a ball, squatting on the floor, lying down and doing all sorts to ease the pain and to breath through it. I had the help on Entonox, but after a while it began to make me feel very nauseous so I had to use it sparingly.

At 10:30pm I was examined again to check my progress. Here is where things get interesting. The examination was so painful, it was probably the only time during my entire labour and delivery that I cried. And this was just the start! I screamed for the midwife to stop, and she very patiently waited for me to settle down. She explained to me that as much as she would love me to have a natural birth it just wouldn’t be possible. The pain would be far too much. My cervix was up and to the left, which meant my baby was not engaging down directly and evenly against my cervix. Her advice was for me to get admitted onto the ward and deliver with the help of an epidural.

Now, remember my birth plan? Open mind. It is key. I smiled, held my husbands hand, and said lets do this. And by 11pm I was on the 4th floor admitted.

At 11:50pm my first epidural was administered. From the stories I had heard I was expecting it to be painful, for the needle to really hurt, but I couldn’t feel a thing. Amazing! Now to just wait for it to kick in!

My waters hadn’t broken naturally, so by 2am (Now the 16th of February) my midwife broke my waters. Couldn’t feel a thing thanks to the epidural! I felt great, and to top it off she told me I was 7cms dilated! WOHOO!! Baby on the way! I was in no pain, waters broken, and dilated with not much to go! So far going amazing! All going so well I decided to drift off and take a nap, because hey, why not!

At 3:50am I was given a water drip because I was getting dehydrated, and I believe I went through 3 bags of water drips through this! Yikes!

My midwife did another check by 4:15am and I was now 8cms dilated, and at 4:30am I was given a cintocinon drip. At this point in time by baby was facing the wrong way, but my midwife wasn’t worried because there was still time for him to turn around.

By 6am the doctors wanted to start a foetal scalp monitoring. Because my waters had been broken for so long, just to ensure that baby wasn’t distressed in any way. And boy did my midwife have a job getting that done! Turns out my baby had a head full of hair making it very difficult to get the monitor to stick to his head. Me on the inside – LOL of course he does!

By 6:50am I was fully dilated and soon ready with the urge to push. Now here is where it all goes upside down and slightly horrible for me.

Because I was running on an empty stomach from the night before, on drips and epidural, not allowed to eat, I was being sick. Lovely I know, but its all part of the territory! Not only that, by 8am when my active pushing began I was suddenly in unbearable pain.

I can remember humming loudly to distract myself from the pain, not able to focus on what anyone was saying to me. The room was full at one point with doctors and nurses trying to decide what to do, to see where I was at. Questions were being asked to me, and I couldn’t focus on anyone. The pain was so bad that I had to beg my husband to make a fist and hard push up against my right hip every time he saw a contraction coming on the monitor. As much as he hated doing it, it is what I needed at the time. I needed his fist to dull the pain.

They realised that my epidural had failed on my right side. So while my left side was pain free, all the contraction pain was being concentrated down my right side. They knew that just another epidural wasn’t going to do it. So I got a concoction of a second epidural PLUS a spinal block at 9:40am. Spinal blocks are usually only given for C-section births.

I was too far along now for a C-section, so I just had to wait it out and trust my body and those around me to do what was needed. Now, this was all fine and well, but it still wouldn’t help my baby out as he was now stuck in the same spot despite me pushing for a long while.

By 10:20am my husband made the decision for me to get an episiotomy and instrumental forceps delivery of our baby. The reason being that my little one had the cord around his neck, so every time I was pushing through a contraction he would get yanked back up again thanks to the cord. So the necessary interventions were, well, necessary.

Not long after, out into the world, our little pride and joy!

Now this whole journey of mine was traumatic, painful, scary and exhausting. But in the end, once they placed my baby on my chest for the first time, all was magically forgotten. It was as if I had never gone through any of the pain, as if he had just beamed out of me onto my chest with no bother at all. Isn’t it strange? How a woman’s body and mind just automatically make that switch from unbearable pain to unconditional tear flowing love for a child you are looking at for the first time? That look, that sensation, their little voice and cry and breaths, it just takes away everything that preceded that moment. I could now proudly call myself a mother. Our family was complete.

Until next time xoxo