Tag Archives: pregnancy

Preparing for Baby Number 2: Then and Now

Oh how times do change between your first and second baby…..

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Preparing for Baby…..Then and Now……

Purchases

Then: Buy everything new. Shiny and new.

Now: De-moulding the car seat that’s been sat in the garage for 3 years

Baby Fashion

Then: Buy a special ‘just been born’ outfit, as well as a ‘leaving hospital’ outfit, plus spares if required

Now: Finding the old baby clothes and doing the ‘sniff test’ – if they smell OK, chuck ‘em straight in the drawer

Clothing

Then: Spend so much time and money buying baby stuff you forget to buy anything non maternity that will fit post-birth

Now: Buy yourself about 50 pairs of new pyjamas

Cleanliness

Then: Carefully wash (on a gentle wash with Fairy) every soft toy then go over with an anti-bacterial wipe when dry then finish off with a spray of dettol

Now: Use a wet wipe to wipe over a few of the baby toys lying around in the back of the cupboard

Nappies

Then: Research every nappy on the market, only buy those which are gold rated by at least 3 parenting magazines. Spend hours agonising which size to buy for a newborn

Now: Pick up a packet of essential/value nappies each time you shop, in various sizes

Cooking

 

Then: spend your early pre-baby maternity leave days cooking batches of wholesome slow-cooker meals and freeze them in little tubs with labels on

Now: Chuck a few packets of pizzas and oven chips in the freezer, concentrate on stockpiling tea and coffee like a nuclear war is pending

Hospital Bag

Then: Pack about 3 hospital bags because you just can’t fit everything into one bag!

Now: Chuck a toothbrush, PJs, pack of maternity pads, 5 nappies, wet wipes and a handful of used baby clothing in a carrier bag

Knowledge

Then: Read a lot of books about pregnancy and birth. Download baby apps, pelvic floor apps, labour apps until your phone memory is full

Now: Download the Domino’s pizza app and whilst waiting for said pizza do a pelvic floor exercise. If you remember

Birth Plan

Then: Write a very descriptive birth plan, covering every eventuality and including a spotify playlist. This should include Kate Bush ‘ This Woman’s Work’ and with two choices of song to play once baby is born dependent on gender (Isn’t she lovely by Stevie Wonder and Father and Son by Cat Stevens).

Now: Forget to write said birth plan, and you don’t care what music is played as long as it isn’t Now That’s What I Call Disney

What other preperation have you done for baby number 2?!

Dear Baby 

Sorry baby, we haven’t meant to totally ignore you for the past 7 months…..

Dear Baby

I’m sorry you’ve taken a back seat 

I’m sorry I’ve sort of forgot 

I’m sorry you’re soon to be wearing castoffs 

And sleeping in a second hand cot 

I haven’t bought any nappies 

I really am quite far behind 

I haven’t even thought of your name 

I really am losing my mind

I’ve been quite frankly knackered 

And life’s just so busy and fast 

It’s not that you are not wanted 

At bedtime your sisters a pain in the….bum 

I’m not sure how we will do it 

But they say you should just slot in

Whatever you do, I’ll have my back up

Of chocolate and a bottle of gin 

We are excited to meet you

Just a quiet excited you see 

So please let me get a bit of sleep

And maybe one cup a day of hot tea 

Finding Mummy

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I feel more like myself now than I ever have. Before I had Nancy,  I worried that I would lose myself, but to be honest I feel like by having Nancy, I found myself.

I feel more confident, more sure of my decisions and I am not afraid to express them. I think the first initial months with Nancy taught me that no-one has the “right” answer and that you need to go with your own gut instinct.

I like how I look like now. Yes I could lose a few pounds but I actually like what I wear and I’m confident in what I choose to wear. I wear the make-up I want to, and when I wear lipstick,  I don’t feel stupid.

I’m starting to explore hobbies, interests, things that I can learn and grow and develop. Things I never did before. What did I used to do before? I had so much time yet I never did anything remotely satisfying with it. Now I’m crocheting, reading, gardening. I’m getting interested in politics and I’m interested in learning sewing, knitting and whatever else pops into my head.

And now, things are going to change. I’m pregnant and due in August. Now the ground will shift and we have to adjust to “normal” again.

Will I have to find myself again?

Maybe it won’t be as bad this time. Things won’t change as much, but things will shift. Being a mother to 2 will be different to 1. I will have to devote myself to another for as long as needed. I will have to forgo sleep and put my life on hold.

A part of me doesn’t want to do that. A part of me wants to just be me. The me I have found these past 3 years.

But this time, I will be in control. I will know what to expect. I don’t have to let go so much. I am looking forward to this time, I really am. Focusing on my family, a baby to love and be a sibling for Nancy. Completing my family and just taking time out to live in that delicious postnatal bubble.

The unknown is worrying, unsettling. But I have to see the positive in this situation and remember that I am stronger, more confident and more sure of myself than I ever have been in my life so far. Right now.

This baby is lucky in many ways because I know who I am now. Me and Nancy had to work that out together. We had to figure out what it was that made me a mother. It was tough, but what a journey we’ve had, and are still having and I’m looking forward to sharing that with someone else too.

How Did I Do It?

No seriously……how?

I look at Nancy and wonder how the hell she is 3 years old. And then I think something else: I bloody did it.

I fed, I clothed,  I stayed awake, I sang, I cried. 3 years and here she is, telling me I’m wrong and some other rubbish about Blaze the Monster Machine.

Seems weird to me to say that I have successfully brought up another person for this time. That really her survival has been down to me and Dan (with help from relatives and Nursery of course). I don’t really know how we’ve even done it, not really. I have no nuggets of wisdom other than don’t drink too much.

The thought of having to do it again, go back to square one, is daunting. I can’t really remember much apart from feeling very tired and being covered in sick. Maybe I have suppressed memories which will come flooding back to me.

This time I am much more laid back. I haven’t even thought of names yet. I get confused as to how far along I actually am. I haven’t panicked yet but maybe that’s me being cool or maybe that’s me in complete denial.

It won’t be a shock this time. I’m already at a level of tired constantly so a bit more won’t hurt as much as last time. Last time the first week or so felt like I was being hit by a train at full speed. Im thinking this time it’ll be more like a car at 20mph.

Everything that felt alien to me before, and new is now my normal. Poo is normal. Sick is normal. Being tired is normal. I’m not quite sure how I’ve got to where I am, but it’s not a bad place to be. I feel quite honoured I get to do it all again. I know every baby is different but the fact I can look at Nancy and see I have actually brought her up so far and she’s actually not been scarred for life as a consequence, makes me feel quite proud.

Pregnancy Cravings

Everyone knows when you’re pregnant, you get loads of cravings, right?

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I’m craving……

-Peace and quiet

-Cereal

-A lie in

-A day free from frozen

-Maternity clothing that actually fits

-Lots of warm tea

-Brie

-To be able to sit and watch Netflix for a few hours…or days

-Sleep

-A day to myself

-Energy

-A roast dinner

-A clean kitchen floor

-90s music

-The Archers

-A packet of Haribo. No sharing.

-An evening just lying on the sofa

-Er did I say sleep already?

-A bath. Without visitors or plastic tat

-A house that I can instagram

-A sequin bomber jacket like Taylor Swift

-Jelly

Keeping Schmum

A few friends are having babies at the moment, and I am finding that I am increasingly having to keep my mouth shut when they speak. I am trying to keep schmum.

You know, I am sure loads of people were dying to roll their eyes at me when I was pregnant. But it’s so hard not to start chuckling and to start pissing on your friends pregnant parade. I’m smug – I know how it goes, what happens, the reality. Of course some aspects such as birth are individual but there are always relatable aspects. It’s not fair I don’t think to keep chipping in and telling people how it happened for you. Sure, if they ask for advice, then by all means give it. But it’s pretty hard not to feel smug that you know how it feels, and they don’t, but they soon will, the poor buggers.

I’ve found myself saying ‘get some sleep!’ Or ‘you won’t know what hit you!’ And I cringe inside. It’s so annoying when someone says that stuff. But I can’t help it. There’s other stuff I could say, so it’s probably better I say that, than the other stuff flying around my head.

Here’s just some of the thoughts I’m just dying to tell people, but I know I shouldn’t. Probably because they’d think I was insane.

Keeping Schmum:

– my initial thoughts on motherhood was that it was the worst thing I’d ever done. No unicorns farting rainbows here.

– Breastfeeding was not easy. And you just start walking around naked because it’s easier.

– yeah you’ll be awake for probably the first 168 hours after birth. Nothing can prepare you for that, even a week or two lying in till 11am watching loose women

– take full advantage of the only time you can ever justify takeaway 7 days a week

-You’ll smell sick and/or poo wherever you go. You WILL smell of poo. And sick. And it’ll be in your hair. And you won’t even care coz you’re too tired.

– Poo. In a few weeks all you’ll actually care about is poo.

– In 18 months time, no one will give a hoot how you fed them, trust.

-Meconium only comes off with sandpaper. (Well, it seems that way, or use at least a bag of cotton wool per poo)

-Try not using you’re arms for a few weeks before the due date. Get nifty opening doors and packets of crisps with your feet.

-you will never be alone, ever again. Even in the toilet.

– Yeah, sure you’ll take turns. It’s just you’ll have way more turns than he does.

-I guarantee you’ll argue about washing up within 2 months of the birth.

– but it’s all great and lovely and almost 2 years later, I can look back without flinching.

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One Year: Reflections

I have almost forgotten what it was like to have my baby with me, inside me. It feels like that was a different person, a different being. I look at Bubs and can not relate the feelings, the kicks, the rolls, the hiccups with this person that is running around my living room. Being pregnant feels like it was a lifetime ago. Am I different? I think so, but not so different, if you get me. Just older, wiser and probably more tired. I feel sad that this connection is fading, but on the other hand it is so exciting watching her grow and change, and be herself, her own person. I can’t remember a time that she wasn’t here – everything feels so natural and everyday. Things are much easier now, and we all sail by in our little boat through life without too much rocking or bad weather. I am relieved about this. But also, now I have time to reflect, I want to make sure I don’t forget anything.

I sometimes think back and wonder about it all. My pregnancy was so easy, and I enjoyed it. I didn’t really feel that bad (I did feel a little sick at times) but I was healthy, happy and it sort of suited me. I was in no way prepared for the birth I had or what happened next. All the difficulties I experienced, that many experience, the stress, the tiredness. Even that all feels like it was a long time ago, and you know what? It was. Almost a year ago.I sometimes wonder to myself, will I ever get the chance to do it again? To learn from my mistakes, to correct what I feel went wrong? My honest answer is I am not sure. I don’t know. I am not sure if I want another child, and if we did, it won’t be anytime soon anyway. Why do I feel like I want a second chance? I want to do it right – but it may never be right. I may never get to do what’s in my head, I thought I would. It is so unpredictable, you would never be able to say that. And yet I feel if I had another chance, at least I could give it a go. I feel sad that I will never have that ‘first chance’ again. I am not sure I appreciated it all enough at the time – but then again, does anyone? In the heat of the moment, do you take time to breathe it all in and remember that time as you may never have it again?

So for me, seeing her grow, and smile and laugh is lovely. But I can’t help feleing sad that this time has come to an end, this first year. But of course it will, and of course it should. Pregnancy and newborn babies are all consuming, and I feel like the last few months I have been coming out of a bubble. She doesn’t need me the way that she needed to in the beginning. She is learning, and thinking and doing what she wants to – not what I want to. It’s fabulous, it really is, and of course she still needs me, but not in the same way. I guess it is only now I here at this point, I can stop look back and appreciate those first few weeks and months. How I thought I’d never want to think back to those times. But I can barely remember her as she was, so small and frail and newborn, and I need to try and grasp that memory before it fades away. I need her to know that I did love and appreciate that time, even though I found it so hard.

Should you scare the life out of your pregnant friends about childbirth and parenting?

SCARED

 

I went to see a friend yesterday who is halfway through her pregnancy. I hadn’t seen her since I have had Bubs and so this was the first chance I had got to introduce her to Bubs and to chat about things to her. I also have a few other friends who are pregnant and with whom I am meeting up with in the coming weeks. These are all first time Mums. My friend asked me a question, it was: How bad is it?

Now. What do you reply to that? Do you tell them the stark, harsh, black and white truth? Or do you sugar coat it a bit, not wanting to upset them?

Now personally, I am a very straight talking person. I can tell white lies and I can sugar coat things but I feel a bit of a fraud doing it. Can I say that it wasn’t bad? Can I say it was easy? Can I make my terrified friend feel a bit better? A hundred thoughts rushed through my mind. And I do think it depends when you are asked this question. At the start, everything seemed so awful and terrifying, and yet so lovely all at the same time. Now, 3 months later, things are calmer, more relaxed, and I can enjoy things a lot more.

It got me thinking that when people ask you that question, it is so subjective. The old stereotype of women talking about their horror births, well, to each of us, I bet there was one part of the whole baby making and giving birth process that was a bit horrific. For me, being Induced was awful, as was the first few weeks when I struggled to breastfeed. How can I tell someone else what it is like, when the issues I was concerned about were so unique to my situation?

When I was pregnant, all I thought about was the birth. I never thought beyond that because it just blew my mind a bit at the time. I was terrified of going into labour, and the pain. Not knowing what this pain which I was told was awful, felt like, was anxiety inducing.

In the end I told my friend that birth isn’t that bad, but that the first few weeks are tough, and just get through them day by day. Because for me, actually giving birth was OK, the process to which I got to the point of being able to give birth, was not OK. But that was just my experience. I told her it will really annoy her as everyone will tell her it gets easier, which will really really piss you off, but then one day, you look around and realise that it is easier. Because it does get easier. And really that’s probably the only one consistent piece of information anyone can give any new parent.  I also suggested a few books I wish I’d read before the baby was born, which would probably be more informative and unbiased than myself.

If she has any issues once the baby is born, I can perhaps signpost her onto some of the support I had, or tell her how to avoid things going so badly the way they did for me. When you’re six months pregnant, do you really need to hear the ins and outs of it?

When my non-pregnant friend asked me this same question, I admit I think I let my mouth talk before my brain went into gear. I told her not to do it, and that she should enjoy her life and be at least 40 before she even thinks about it, because it is exhausting, tiring, you don’t sleep and your whole life is upside down and all you think about is this little person. It was only about 8 weeks after having Bubs and I was still a little raw from it all. I think she’ll probably need counselling if she gets pregnant after my little rant. I think because she wasn’t imminently going to do it, I felt more able to explain to her how I felt at the time, and to start going down the ‘horror story’ route.

I think really I just need to shut up, smile and nod, and just order another cappuccino next time.

What do you tell your first time preggers friends, or your friends who are yet to have babies, when they ask you what birth and parenthood is like? Do you tell the truth?

 

Drinks in Pregnancy – Pregnancy Tips

 Drinks in Pregnancy

Alcohol

Not that I’m an alcoholic but it was a little difficult to adjust initially to the sober lifestyle. My midwife advised me that current guidelines state that 1-2 units of alcohol per week is OK but then I had read other information that told me that it is best to abstain from alcohol altogether – advice on NHS Choices website. To be honest I felt so sick initially I didn’t fancy any alcohol anyway! But for me it was not the lack of alcohol but the lack of variety of alcohol-free drinks when I went out and about.

Surely it would be better and healthier to promote different drinks especially in this day and age when people may not be able to drink as they are driving andso on.  I like going out and about and I still went to concerts, gigs and other events whilst pregnant. However there is only so much diet coke you can drink. It did make me a cheap date though!

water was one of the limited non-alcohol choices at Hard Rock Calling

water was one of the limited non-alcohol choices at Hard Rock Calling

Caffeine

As well as the well-known lack of alcohol in pregnancy, one thing I hadn’t realised was that in pregnancy you should also cut down the amount of caffeine you drink (200mg a day – the equivalent of two mugs of instant coffee). This meant that I had to cut down on my beloved tea. However this has meant I have widened the variety of drinks I consume. You should be aware that caffeine can also be in items such as Cola and chocolate – I found good advice at NHS Choices website.

Alternatives to Alcohol and Caffeine Drinks

At home and at family’s houses I was able to experiment a bit with drinks and some pubs also had a good selection. Some restuarants and pubs also do mockails which can be a good alternative and something a bit more fancy.  Some of my favourite drinks have been:

 

Enjoying a Mocktail on My Birthday!

Enjoying a Mocktail on My Birthday!

 

  • Crabbie’s Ginger (Non-alcoholic) Beer – this is the original John Crabbie’s ginger beer which is not alcoholic. I found this in the non-drinks aisle near other glass bottled drinks such as appletizer. This is a lovely refreshing drink and in my opinion extremely close in taste to the alcoholic version. It is lovely, refreshing and the ‘kick’ of ginger make you feel a bit perky.
  • Soda water and lime cordial – this is something you can get in most pubs and restaurants. It’s cheap, tastes nice and I can almost pretend I have vodka in there too (good when you’re keeping schtum in the early weeks and you don’t want people to notice you’re not drinking.). I bought loads of soda water at home and experimented with different cordials – cherry and lime were my favourite choices (not together I may add). I used this soda water and found it kept fizzy for quite a few days and tasted nice.
  • Elderflower Cordial – refreshing and a nice alternative which I found as a nice replacement to drink at dinner instead of wine
  • Tea/Herbal teas –  I found Yorkshire decaf tea the best substitute for real tea. I have always enjoyed herbal teas, but if you haven’t drank them before they can taste a little bland initially. I keep the teabag in my cup to ensure the flavour is strong, and you do need to leave your cup to brew for a few good minutes. Herbal teas are much more delicate flavour than regular tea so beware of this, brew well and give it a go! My favourite herbal teas are peppermint, raspberry and elderflower, lemon and ginger (nice if you feel a bit sickly), camomile (good if you feel a little stressed) and Liptons Moroccan mint but there are loads out there so experiment.
  • Water – sounds silly but drinking loads of water in pregnancy is a must! Keeping hydrated will help keep nausea at bay, help keep you alert when you feel tired, and generally make you feel healthy and glowing!
  • Lemonade/Sprite/7up – great substitutes for cola and  Sprite and 7Up are both caffeine free which is good to know!
  • J20 – I don’t particularly like J20 as they have a lot of sugar in them but at Christmas they do a lovely glitter drink which does make you feel like you’re having a special drink at this festive time of year!
  • Alcohol free wines and beers– Now I didn’t really drink many varieties of alcohol-free wine or beer but I do think you have to check the labels carefully as it does state some alcohol content – many alcohol-free wines and beers have 0.05% alcohol or similar. I tried Becks Blue at my work’s Christmas Party and found it to be a decent replica of a bottle of beer. I have also tried Sainsbury’s Non alcoholic sparkling wine – this was OK if you like the taste of what I can only describe as flat lambrini! (took me back to my university days! except with no hangover)

Anyway there are a few ideas that have worked for me throughout my pregnancy. What alternatives have you found worked for you? I really have enjoyed having different drinks, and I can honestly say that most of the time I haven’t really missed alcohol. This is good of course as I am intending on breastfeeding so I will mostly be continuing in the same style I have got accustomed to! But I shall look forward to grasping a great big mug of steaming tea after the birth knowing I can have as many as I like!