Nil by mouth

Missing words

My last proper blog was January! I can’t believe it’s been so long – but I think that’s because there’s only really been one thing on my mind, and it’s been something I’ve not been allowed to talk about.. until now. 

Jude is going to be a big brother! (And we’re going to be parents to TWO! Oh god – every time I see a mum with two, I just think ‘What have we done??!’)

Our 12 week scan – they all look like blobs really, don’t they?!

     

I’m almost five months in now and finally, FINALLY feeling slightly better; more energetic and less hungover! I definitely don’t remember feeling this awful for such a long time when I was pregnant with Jude. The first trimester is by far the worst: sickness, tiredness, been off food, being on food – I was ill with an awful cold too, which was a nightmare. And all this, without being able to tell anyone – to explain myself – to anyone! I was cancelling plans with friends, turning up to work looking like I’d been out on the razz the night before, sleeping during the day (when I could), and was unable to explain that it wasn’t me being lazy and gross, it was just my body, coping with the early beginnings of a baby.

  Having a second baby is so weird. I have had lots of overwhelming feelings of guilt. Guilt for Jude, and feeling too tired and sick to play with him; guilt for the new baby and the lack of time spent thinking and being excited for him/her – there simply isn’t time this time!; more guilt for Jude and how much his life is going to change when he has to share his parents with a new sibling; more guilt for the new baby, and how different his/her first year will be in comparison to Jude’s. The list goes on. 

A little light reading – my mother’s day gift from bump

     

And then I pulled myself together. 

  I simply cannot spend the next 4.5 months worrying and fretting about what’s to come. Now is the time to enjoy the time we have with Jude (and on that note: summer holiday at 7 months preggers is already booked), look forward to the amazing time we have ahead of us – help Jude to become an independant little boy, who will be an AMAZING big brother, and generally chill out

  
   I’ve been feeling funny, not only about the concept of two children, but also about the actual birth. Most people would say that I had a great first labour. And, I know that in comparison to some births, I definitely did. The most important thing happened, and that is that Jude arrived healthy and I remained healthy. However, I was induced and had an epidural, which meant that I slept through almost my entire labour and didn’t really have to deal with any contractions or any pain during pushing (some people’s dream!). Prior to giving birth, I had hoped for a spontaneous labour, natural birth and as little pain relief as possible – I trusted my body 100% and wanted to connect with my baby through a relaxed, natural birth. The opposite happened. My body didn’t do as it was supposed to (possibly because Jude wasn’t ready to arrive and should have been left where he was?), and I had to have a lot of drugs in order to have him arrive when the hospital said he should. So this time around, I feel much MUCH more nervous about the actual birth – can my body do it this time? 

And so the ‘bumpies’ start again!

I have also considered a home birth. The last time, I was convinced that water would really help me in labour – I had a bath at one point in early labour while being induced with a pessary, and the pain from the contractions went away while I was in the bath – it was amazing! So this time, I would really love to have a water birth at home. But, I am very worried that my body simply wont be able to do it. While writing this, I am also very aware that I may well be wrong to be this nervous. I certainly know that I now have approximately 20 weeks to sort myself and my mental state out – my body can do it – it just needs the time it needs! 

   

Anyway, there you have it! Baby number 2 is well and truly on the way – second scan next week and we’re having another surprise – no finding out the gender for us (or you!). The only way is up…! 

A Grand Day Out

“Night feeder, night feederrrr….”

Last night I deliberately breastfed Jude until almost bedtime so that he couldn’t have a bottle before bed and I would have to get up in the night to feed him. How crazy is that?!

We’ve recently been giving him a bottle of expressed milk before bed and he’s been lasting though the night (and I mean 6-7 hours). Amazing! We think it’s because he’s taking more milk and not falling asleep like he often does at nighttime on the boob. 

But last night I purposefully made it so that he would wake in the night because I missed the night feeds.  (And I’m secretly worried that he’ll prefer the bottle to me). Let me tell you that I definitely regretted it this morning! I will be doing it again as when Steve is in work in the evenings I feed him entirely myself, but we now seem to have quite a nice routine when Steve is home in the evenings whereby he gives Jude a bottle of expressed milk before bed and the little superstar will then sleep for up to 7 hours. Yippee! 

I can finally not worry about Me vs The Bottle (although I still do a bit!). Oh yes, and the bottles in question are the ‘easy’ ones. We gave up on the difficult ‘breast-bottle-breast’ one as it was just WAY too stressful for all involved. 

   
Date night

chin chin!
 
Giving Jude an expressed bottle from time to time means that we were able to go out on our for an evening without him. My parents came to our house and we went out for a few hours. We managed a meal, a walk,  an alternative dessert venue and a nice, rounded 2 bottles of wine. That’s a bottle each. Now, there was a time when that amount of alcohol wouldn’t have touched the sides. However, 11 months of drinking only very small amounts at any one time meant that I felt all giggly and ‘free’. Steve and I went for sushi, which is something that we used to do bJ. We had chats (mostly about Jude) and I giggled a lot. I think I was in shock. I giggled when they handed Jude to me after a 54 hour labour. So I can see a pattern emerging: Shock = Giggly ridiculous me. I’m very proud that I only phoned my mum once, and that was to let her know we had eaten and were going elsewhere for dessert en route home. Obviously I checked how things were going at the same time, but I wasn’t a ridiculous, worrying mess the whole time (the wine probably had something to do with this). 

Anyway, we returned home to a contented baby and two rather frazzled looking parents. We had left them the Netflix password, but they had barely managed to watch or listen to any normal telly, let alone concentrate on a film! Jude really isn’t a bad/grizzly/difficult baby, but a cycle of ‘feed/ wind/cwtch to sleep’ can truly take 2-3 hours. And we were only out for about that long. So a big THANKYOU to my mum and dad for helping out!

 I immediately switched from being slightly tipsy to stone-cold-sober-mummy in seconds, it was incredible! We had also saved another bottle for his next feed so I expressed before bed and again in the morning to ensure all alcohol was gone (although there has been research that says alcohol doesn’t go into breast milk at all). What harm will a drop do anyway? In the old days brandy was a popular method of getting teething babies to sleep and it never did them any harm! 

So all in all a successful first night out alone which was also good practice for our night away which is happening at the end of September…… Eek! 

    
Besties

the ultimate ‘besties with babies’ picture
 

One of my oldest friends came to visit and meet Jude this week. She lives 4 hours away from us so this was the first time she was meeting him. And he was not on form. This is something I’m finding is happening more and more; he is such a happy, fun baby so much of the time that if people meet him when he’s not I feel gutted that they didn’t see his true, happy self. 

So I videoed Jude laughing and ‘saying hi to Auntie Lucy’ later in the day after they had left so I could send it to her and prove that he’s “honestly a really happy baby most of the time”. 

Lucy has a little girl that is almost 1, so she knows exactly what babies are like and I shouldn’t have been worried about Jude being grizzly, but we don’t see them very often and I was just gutted he wasn’t feeling happy and fun at that time. Especially as when I’ve met Lucy’s little girl she’s been on form. Crazy how people compare themselves and their babies isn’t it?! But also something I think happens all the time – it’s difficult not to I guess..?

I’m finding that I’m getting worried when I take him out and I know he’s not going to last without a feed. Although I’ve never minded feeding in public, it’s the crying that I’m beginning to get concerned about. It’s so loud! The other day we met a friend and her little one – who is 4 weeks older than Jude – for coffee, and Jude was not in a good mood. He cried in the coffee shop. But he cried so loudly that the bloke sitting next to us doing something on a laptop (working?), moved tables! We hadn’t realised he’d moved until we left as he’d gone nearer the door, but still! I found it quite funny, but is Jude really the kind of baby that makes people move seats?! The bloke had even moved after I had fed him and he had fallen asleep! Do babies really do that to people? 

   
The lengths he goes to to

 

Yes, our little one is not so little anymore! He’s gaining weight like you would not believe and seems to be getting longer. Much longer. The other morning he pushed off the bottom of his Moses basket and his head touched the top! I felt he was too small to go in the big cot yet, plus he still needs to be in our room and I wasn’t about to share with another massive piece of furniture, so we invested in a second hand swinging crib. It’s lush! £20 on eBay and it included the waterproof mattress – can’t go wrong! 

He’s not slept in it yet. I put him in it and he cried, so I’m going to wash the fitted sheets we bought in our own, familiar washing powder and hopefully he’ll find it better. We have never had a problem with him disliking where he sleeps (his Moses basket), although hearing others struggling with fussy babies makes me worry; I hope he doesn’t end up disliking his new crib. 


8 weeks old

Almost 2 months old! And sooooo grown up! I re-read my first few blogs the other day and I can’t believe how much has changed. He chats to us a lot now. We can talk to him, wait, then he will reply. It’s lush! Also, I found a great app called Knoala, which has developmental games and things to do with your baby to help develop their fine and gross motor skills, social and emotional development, cognitive and sensory development etc. It just gives ideas of things to do a few times a week, or every day to help develop different areas. Most of the exercises we do already; second nature! But it’s still a great app for checking you’re doing things right! It is appropriate for children up to the age of ‘late preschool’ and I’m sure it will come in handy over the next few years. 

I think Jude might be getting bored of me. Ha! What a stupid thing to say! But it’s true! He finds other people’s faces much more fun than mine! He likes to look at a ‘new’ face. It makes him smile… (I still get lots of smiles, I don’t know what I’m moaning about.) I guess everyone likes new things. I do play with him a lot, perhaps the new baby gym that I intend to make for him will help. I made a patchwork quilt when I was pregnant and I figured I’d make a baby gym to go over the top. He still has the arch of entertainment (see blog ‘Ch ch ch ch changes’) and it is still very much in use, in fact, he can now grab the ring on one of the dangly bits (!), but perhaps something new is the next step…? Watch this space……..

So life goes on…

Disclaimer: All of the gifts we/Jude have received are lovely and we appreciate each one. Any comments stating otherwise are for comedy value only. Please don’t be offended. Ta;)

 

Sentimentality

After weeks of visitors and tonnes of beautiful gifts (and some not so!) I finally managed to put the cards up and keep them on display without them getting in the way of life (i.e. not on the dining table). I don’t want to put them away, I’m just not ready! It’s along the same lines as when we took Jude to be registered. I got really worked up and cried en route to and whilst at the registry office as it was ‘too soon’. I wanted to keep him as ‘our little secret’ for as long as possible (although, as Steve pointed out, we had already announced his birth on social media), and I had convinced myself that if we didn’t register him, he didn’t officially exist! I fully admit these ideas and emotions may well have been to do with hormones, but still. 

Therefore putting his cards away will be admitting that he’s going to grow up.. And my, it is happening so fast! He’s 4 weeks old today. We have managed to keep him alive for 4 weeks! 

We have been PARENTS for 4 weeks. Wow.

  ….So of course, we took photos of him with the obligatory ‘4 weeks today’ card (one of the better gifts) and put him in the same outfit that he wore home from hospital so that we could compare how much he has grown. Just to highlight the fact that he’s growing.. Getting older.. Changing every day.. And we’ll never get these days back. 

Weirdly, we want him to grow, get bigger, gain weight (which he is doing VERY successfully), because that shows we’re doing a good parenting job and he’s doing a good growing job. But the more he does this, the more our brand new, little, tiny baby moves away from being our brand new, little, tiny baby… How terribly sad. 


Breastfeeding update.

So, I have come to learn that breastfeeding is possibly the most stressful and difficult thing to do in the world. And I mean worse than giving birth. I am in touch with many other women in my situation through antenatal classes and the like, and it seems to me that breastfeeding is the one thing that new mummies really struggle with. But it was, after my stressful labour during which I lost all control of what I wanted, the one thing left on my natural plan that I could continue to do after Jude arrived. So I have to stick at it. 

My motto is as long as he’s still producing enough dirty, wet nappies (queue EXCELLENTLY timed fart to my right hand side), and gaining weight, then we’re doing alright. 

But it doesn’t stop at whether we can actually feed now, today. Every day I seem to be finding a fresh, new worry about breastfeeding. Why isn’t he latching properly? Why are my nipples so sore? Why is he sick after feeding? What have I eaten to make him so windy? Am I producing enough milk? What if my milk runs out?! I must express more! Maybe I should express less? Surely expressing helps with milk production? Can my milk run out? It seems to be ‘drying up’! 

You get the idea.

However, on a daily basis, I feel the overwhelming joy and happiness of watching him suckle. It’s an amazing feeling. Like, nothing will EVER live up to it. And then every now and again it’s toe-curlingly painful (ever heard of ‘clamping’??). But my god it makes me feel like I’m doing something amazing. And, provided my milk doesn’t dry up (don’t even know if this can happen), I will continue to do so until he has so many teeth that ‘clamping’ could become dangerous. (Ouch).


We have Einstein on our hands.

I’m sure everyone thinks this about their baby, but this time it’s definitely true. Jude is the most intelligent baby I’ve ever met (although I’ve not met many). But honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was walking by September! (I jest). Let me explain myself…

We’ve been very lucky in that Jude (touch wood) is a very laid back baby. Since we brought him home from hospital he has been pretty good throughout the night. There hasn’t been one night where we have been up ALL NIGHT with him. I know we’ve been very lucky. Good job too as BJ (Before Jude), I was an ‘at least 8 hours’ kind-a-gal. So Jude’s arrival has been a bit of a shock to the system. I love my sleep. So earlier this week when he had 2 poor nights on the bounce, I was beginning to fret and think this was ‘the next stage’ and he was going to be grizzly for the next few weeks at least. ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE. So yesterday was spent in a foul mood, thinking that my sleepless nights had started already and were going to continue for the next 18 years (at least). To add to the tiredness, Jude was clearly also tired and therefore there were more Tears of Despair. From both of us. Not good. 

 
So it seems that Jude can be likened to a dog. He has a sixth sense. Those of you that know me will know that I often refer to children as being ‘like dogs’. Being a teacher means I know that children can sniff out stress. Like an animal. And Jude appears to have learned this skill at an extremely young age. 

So he pushed and he pushed and there were Tears of Despair (as mentioned).. Until last night.

Last night he slept from 11.30pm until 4am when I fed him for half an hour. Then he slept from 4.45am until 7.30am. WHAT A BEAUTY.

It’s like he pushed me to the end of my tether. I was basically at breaking point. Then he let me recharge for a night! Last night he was great! 

I post these blogs on Sundays so you’ll have to wait until next week to find out whether it was for one night only……. Fingers crossed it wasn’t!

I think it’s safe to say that not one person with a newborn can tell you they know what their baby is going to do within 4 weeks of them being in their lives… I certainly don’t expect to any time soon. But we are learning.. And (thanks to last night’s sleep) we will persevere and learn about each other more and more as he grows up… Can’t wait! (But I can wait. Ifyouknowwhatimean.) 

Life after birth

  

  
The unglamourous reality.

One morning during the first week home I realised the true extent of the damage, measured by the amount of products I use every morning. No, they’re not Clarins or Dior, or even beauty products, but my god they make me feel better! I used to see pregnant women and feel broody. Little did I know just how ghastly and unglamourous pregnancy can be. I loved it, don’t get me wrong, I was growing another little person and the miracle of life etc, but I moaned and winged A LOT of the time. According to my mum, this is because I am a) a drama queen, and exaggerate everything and b) a hypochondriac, so found a lot to complain about! 

2 weeks into the actual postnatal part and I’m still winging (I don’t want to be one of those people who ‘changes’ when they have kids now, do I??), but I’m just getting on with it. Currently sat with Jude lying on my bed in front of me, writing this with one hand, and expressing every now and again from my ‘bad’ boob. CLASSY.  

We’ve been out and about quite a bit since Jude arrived and everywhere I’ve been people have said “wow, you look great, you’re a natural” etc. now, I don’t know whether they actually mean it, or I look so bloody dreadful that they feel compelled to say something nice because they feel sorry for me. Similarly, during the pregnancy people were always telling me how ‘blooming’ I looked. Blooming massive more like. I put on 4 stone, so certainly didn’t feel great. But the point is, that both pregnancy and postnatal times can make you feel pretty gross, unglamourous and miserable, and that’s a pretty fair representation. But you also feel AMAZING, and people being nice, whether falsely or genuinely (you’ll never know) is great. Slap a bit of make up on and paint your nails every now and again and you’ll survive. It can only get easier. And I’m telling myself that one day I’ll feel glamorous again. One day. 

Going it alone.

Steve went back to work this week. 

This has been difficult, not only because I have had to keep Jude alive by myself, but because I have felt a huge amount of guilt for being the lucky one that gets to spend this extremely important time with him. 2 weeks is such a short period of time, yet Jude has changed so much already. I can feel myself becoming one of those pushy parents; I’m getting excited about the way that he follows my voice and can bash his car seat toy to make it jingle  (albeit accidentally).  

But Steve isn’t seeing this stuff. He’s working. And he’s working long, exhausting shifts (he’s a chef) which means when he comes home he’s shattered. He doesn’t complain, but I know he’s on ‘the edge’. That’s the thing with breastfeeding; I need to be here, on tap, to make sure our baby boy grows up big and strong. But it’s just sad for boobless daddies that’s all.
 
Exhaustion.

  

Speaking of tiredness, I am exhausted. It’s crazy how lightly I’m sleeping. Sometimes I feel like I may as well not bother going to sleep. I’d get much more done! I always thought I’d be an ‘active’ mother. Like one who has the house spotless when daddy comes home and has baked and cooked lovely, nutritious meals for us. No chance! Looking after a baby is actually more time consuming than you think! I mean, you have to feed (and breastfeeding on demand means that this can’t really be planned too rigidly), wind, change nappies. Jude will nap alone (thank goodness), but even then I need to be in the room so that I can check he’s still breathing every 6-7 minutes and feel the back of his neck to check his temperature. (Yes I do this approximately 47 times a day). So everything takes that little bit longer. Plus, there’s the ‘lovingly watching him because he’s just so amazing’ thing that takes up at least 3 hours of the day. So all in all ‘stuff’ just doesn’t get done as quickly as it should! 

 I have tried napping when Jude naps as loads of people have recommended that. The thing is, I don’t want to nap at 10am and 1pm, it’s 5pm when I’m shattered and he is the most active and awake he’s been all day! So I’m generally knackered. Which is normal (apparently).

 Hormones.

  

Every now and again I feel like my hormones are settling down…. I probably shouldn’t over-analyse these things, because then I end up crying about ‘not feeling like me anymore’ and just being so tired! The problem now is, that I can’t tell whether I’m tired or hormonal. OR BOTH?! 

Either way, stealing Steve’s Galaxy Ripple and then popping to the local shop to pick up 3 chocolate yogurts and 4 more Galaxy Ripples to replace the one I ate is reminiscent of being pregnant… Or breaking up with a boyfriend as a teenager… Or generally just dealing with hormones!! 

So, all in all, we’ve survived another week. 

Oh yeah, and Jude DOES NOT like it when I drink orange juice. My god, his poor tummy can’t cope with with orange juice-infused breast milk!