Monthly Archives: September 2013

Childrens centres

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Week 3 today!

Today I’m feeling a bit frustrated about Children’s centres. We have quite a few where I live, and I was delighted to find out that there are two within easy walking distance of my house (about half a mile).

The Rowans is closer, and technically that is the one I should be registered at. However, my antenatal class was at The Oaks, and they send us lots of information about their events and schedules. There was an open afternoon at The Oaks last week which I went along to. Everyone was very nice but I had been hoping that there would be more other mums and babies there (I think I was the only one). The staff also said that really The Rowans is my local centre so I should be attending sessions there. I filled in a registration form and I’ve emailed The Rowans to try to find out more about their sessions but no luck so far. Some of the sessions (the ones I want to do!) you have to book onto in advance- baby massage (to help with the colic esp), paediatric first aid and mums and baby yoga.

What’s more annoying is that out of all the sessions they run, I’d really like to attend a Bumps and Babies group. I planned to do this before baby arrived but ran out of time. Having looked, the Bump and Babies groups are not held at the Childrens Centres but elsewhere. One of them is too far to walk (and I don’t have the car every day) and the other one looks do-able if I can work out where it is! They don’t like to make things easy! Thankfully facebook has made things easier as I’ve found a group page for the specific Mother and Baby Group and for the other childrens centre too so hopefully I’ll hear more about upcoming events and sessions.

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Colic

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Colic is one of those things you hear about but never really know what it is. So when people suggested (after a few hard nights) that baby D had Colic, I was a bit surprised. Then did a bit of research. It’s a bit weird really- no-one really knows what it is or why it is- though there are theories about what causes it.

Baby D had a few nights which were awful from 10pm until 2am or midnight until 4 he was inconsolable. We’d feed him, burp him, change him, cuddle him, put him down, swaddle him, put a layer on, take a layer off, try skin to skin contact… nothing really worked. Eventually if he did settle, it would only be on me, and then with all the warnings from midwives etc about co-sleeping, I was too terrified to fall asleep with him on me…. so I lay awake for hours as if I tried to put him in his moses basket, he’s start screaming again.

The health visitor talked it through with us and said it was sounding like colic and gave us some ideas of things to try (massage and colic drops in particular). We bought the colic drops (Dentanox rather than Infacol as it’s what the pharmacy had)- it smells utterly disgusting a mix between sambuca and gaviscon! Gross. He doesn’t like it

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(as you can see from this face)

Wednesday night was another nightmare one, but Thursday afternoon and evening we tried lots of tricks including some tummy massage, sitting upright in the bouncy chair, having a bath with mummy and kept up the colic-drops. I’m not expecting it to last or happen every night but he slept beautifully last night- sat awake but happy in the bouncy chair until 11pm ish, then fed at three, six and 8:30am. And inbetween he slept in the moses basket and mummy got to sleep too! This morning he was too chilled out and happy to feed properly!

Two weeks!

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So baby D officially exists, as we took him to be registered on Monday. We were so worried about the faff of getting a baby out of the house that we ended up being 30 minutes early! Whoops!

I’m glad I got all the feeding woes off my chest early on as it really is extremely stressful. No matter how hard you think it will be, it’s harder. And more frustrating. And add in a serious reduction in sleep… it feels impossible.

Now baby is feeding better, life feels a bit easier. Husband is still home with me at the moment, going back to work on Thursday which will no doubt be really stressful as things all change again. Stressful for us both- and working out a new routine to ensure he’s not to tired to work.

Our current main problem is the night. We saw the (unexpectedly lovely) health visitor today, who says it sounds like classic colic- so we’ve bought some colic drops to see if we can reduce the 4 hours of screaming between 10pm to 2am or 12 midnight to 4am which have been happening the last few nights in a row. Fingers crossed.

Baby was back up to birth weight when weighed last monday, and has put even more weight on now! Phew- even though he’s not fed much today that doesn’t worry me as I know he’s producing wet nappies and has put on lots of weight! 🙂

I finally got around to taking a decent photograph of the three of us today.
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Next time I’ll try to get the cat in too!

Breast feeding

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I am too tired to think of a snappy title! !

Baby D is now 9 days old!

Feeding had been a huge issue and I want to talk about it because not enough people do publicly. I was lucky in as much as no one had led me to believe that it was going to be easy. I appreciated that we would have to work at it. What I hadn’t appreciated was how hard we would both find it and the effects mentally.

My sole aim for feeding was exclusively breast feeding with potential to express if I needed to. From the very first day in hospital it was clear that baby D didn’t quite share that aim. He struggled to latch on and found attempts to put him to the breast very distressing. Numerous midwives tried to assist with positions and ideas to get him engaged with the process but he either fell asleep or fought me. Eventually I had to hand express and then by day 2 in hospital we were recommended a formula top up. Although this was entirely against my ideals, we worked with the hospital staff to look at ways of using the expressed feeds and top up feeds to encourage him to feed further from the breast.

By the morning of day three we had got it and he fed really well from me. I was elated and we were discharged that evening. Our discharge was a bit of a shambles which ended up with me in tears and a very grumpy midwife demanding to know what she hadn’t told me (having never done this before it was rather hard to know! ). During our discharge it became clear the midwife wasn’t sure of our ability to feed and forced me to give him a big formula feed. 

When we arrived home we had no idea what we were doing and tried to wake him up for feeds as he didn’t seem to be doing so himself, despite apparently having got it when we were at the hospital.

During the first week the midwives visited frequently and baby D was starting to cause then a bit of concern. The feeding process was getting complex and long, we were tired and he wasn’t waking up to tell us he was hungry. He was put on a three hourly feeding schedule which we had to rouse him for.  Each feed included skin to skin time, then attempts to breast feed, then warming expressed breast milk for the majorities of his feed and then making up and cooling formula for the top up if needed.  Then I’d spend an hour or so keeping him awake long enough to get the feed into him which was an exhausting procedure. Once that was over there was about enough time to sterilise all the equipment, grab a snack, express milk for the next feed before starting the cycle again.

The midwives advised us to visit specialist breast feeding clinics which are run frequently where we live. They were brilliant and gave great advice and encouragement. However, despite being told we were doing everything right, baby D was getting increasingly jaundiced.  In a way, being told you’re doing everything right is frustrating as it leaves no ideas to try out and no room for improvement.

On day 5 the midwife took some extra blood from his heel prick test for some jaundice blood tests. To give you an idea of how sleepy he was, he only cried out at the third time his heel was pierced but didn’t really wake up until he urinated in his own face during a nappy change.

The boys results were rushed through for our peace of mind and came back clear.The other good news was that his weightloss was minimal-just 200g in the first 5 days which was just over 5% of this birth weight. At ten percent is where they start to worry so he was easily under that threshold.

Great news. But baby still not feeding well. So days 4 to 9 we were setting the alarm for every three hours to wake him up for feeding. Over time we were able to cut out the formula top up as I was able to express more, so that was one less complication. He had good and bad days. All in all tiring and frustrating.

Add into the mix a cracked nipple (probably due to the wrong size flange on the breast pump) which baby D likes to grab during a feed…. but apparently the way through the milk blisters and cracks is to keep using it for feeds-and using it first. Latching on hurts but once he is seeks it is fine.

On day 9 (now yesterday), the midwife weighed him again and we were all surprised and pleased to find that he had put on a huge 250g so was back up to above his birth weight! Very unexpected!

As of last night we started baby led feeding (ie normal) )so letting him cry and wake himself when hungry. We set a just-in-case alarm too for 4 hours after his feed. During the day he had some gaps without a feed but over night he has done really well and throughout the day too.

Everyone says it gets better and you do belive them….. is just so exhausting and intense at the time that the small improvements are hard to see.

I’ve tried to be rational throughout and even in tears with a sleepy jaundice baby that refuses to feed I have known that I’m ok and we are ok 🙂

He is amazing, even if it took him a while to work out the feeding thing!

I guess it can all change again in a second though. ….

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O Hai!

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Sorry I’ve been a but quiet…I had a baby!

8 days early baby D arrived in a bit of a hurry! On the whole it has been a really positive experience for which I am massively grateful. We are of course very shell-shocked as it really is something quite all encompassing and intense.

A brief rundown of the birth story:

9 am Monday 9 th Sept my waters went! I called Mr Bumpy back from work and called the hospital who told me to come in. They said I’d likely be sent home so not to bring all our stuff in but we already had much of it in the car so chucked the rest in anyway. Contractions started at ten am and by the time we got to the hospital at about midday, they were coming every 3 to 4 minutes but weren’t too strong and lasting about thirty seconds. The midwife got us into maternity triage, checked my waters and discussed  going home for a bit. I mentioned that I wasn’t too keen as genetics suggest that once I got going things might be quite quick.

We headed off to the canteen to grab lunch (slow going and someone gave us a wheelchair! ). I couldn’t eat and the contractions got worse and longer. When we got back to see the midwife she was quite shocked at how quickly things had progressed and on examination found that I was 7cm dilated at 1 pm.

I was hurried straight to the pool room (Yes!!) whilst Mr Bumpy grabbed all our things from the car. At 3.35 our gorgeous boy was born in the pool. It was magical and horrific and wonderful and crazy. The gas and air was brilliant and got me through it and also got me a little bit high! There was a point at which the midwives had to suggest gently that I moved the mask away from my face when I wasn’t having a contraction….

We were opting for a natural third stage but had some issues. Eventually they got me out of the pool and had to go for managed third stage with the injection and some massage/ pulling to try to get the placenta to deliver. This didn’t work either and I was losing blood and starting to feel very faint.  The next bit is hazy but there was a crash team of 14 staff in the room in the blink of an eye and they needed to get me to theatre for a spinal block to remove my retained placenta. I’d just like to say how amazing the NHS is. I really got my money’s worth! Must have been very stressful for Mr Bumpy- in a small, hot room, left holding the baby watching his wife being rushed out to theatre after bleeding out all over the room. To his credit, he got himself removed from the room when he wasn’t feeling very good to ensure he wasn’t a further casualty, and the head midwife even made him tea and toast!

By seven I was back with my husband and baby and by about ten we were moved onto a ward with 5 other beds. Husband had to go home so I spent my first ever night in hospital.

There’s obviously much more to tell, but I’m a little tired(!) So will try to keep this updated when I can.

The birth was every contradiction you can imagine, every emotion and every physical sensation you could dream of. It’s been described a million different ways by millions of people so I can’t compete with that. However, it was ours and he is ours!

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Batch cooking (kindof)

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One of the things that I was told to do on maternity leave was BATCH COOKING. The idea is that you cook extra meals and stick them in the freezer so you have something easy and ready when baby arrives and you’re too busy and tired to cook.

Our freezer is pretty full already (it’s only small), mostly full of Pies from Simon’s Pies Yum yum.

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However, rather than purposefully batch cooking, I’ve made a couple of extra big meals which I’ve frozen the leftovers of.

On top of that, my parents have an apple tree which overfloweth currently with appley goodness. In fact they are sick of apples and can’t get rid of them quick enough. I’m trading some with friends, but I spent the last couple of days stewing over 7kg of apples and some locally picked blackberries too!

First lot with blackberries
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Done! Lovely apples and blackberries stewed with about a pint or two of water and a bit of sugar.

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The second lot (with massive wooden spoon and hand for perspective).

Technically these were actually second and third lot as I did some last week too.

These apples are really yummy with some natural yoghurt, and I might also blend them with raspberries and fruit juice to make smoothies!

Baby shower!

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I’m not sure how I feel generally about the concept of a baby shower in the traditional (American) sense, however a friend of mine wanted to organise one for me. We decided together (with Mr Bumpy) that it would be more of a summer garden party- some kind of last hurrah before baby arrives.

Turns out, it was great fun! Over the course of the day about 40 people came in and out to celebrate baby D’s imminent arrival, to drink leftover champagne from Miss Rainstorms wedding (thank you!!), and eat cake!

Mr&Mrs

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Three of us