BABIES

Sep 21

Being a working mum, so far

0 comments

by LifeLoveLaura on September 21, 2013

I returned to work on Monday 22nd July, 2013 after 19 months off from my normal job. My return to work is a date that has been etched into my brain and it’s likely to stay there for a long time yet. I had a year off work as maternity leave but due to the nature of my job, whilst I was pregnant I couldn’t carry out my usual duties, hence the 19 months off in total. Unfortunately, I can’t go into detail publicly on my blog about what I do for a living, but what I will say is that my job is not easy going. It is something that many people are curious about but when you are working in it across 7 days a week, 365 days a year, working in this field isn’t as fascinating as people assume. The fact of the matter is, I would do absolutely anything to be a stay at home mum. Please note: in this post I won’t be using the term ‘full time mum.’ To be quite honest, that term offends me – I am a full time mum who also happens to work full time. Just putting that out there.

I’m not going to moan about having to go to work, that isn’t the point of this post. This is merely me, Laura, writing down my experiences of being a woman that has recently entered the brand new territory of being a full time worker AND a new mum. During the past couple of months or so I have come to this conclusion – it is not easy.

The beauty of my job is that I can work my full time hours in three days. This means that my working days are loooong but I get some quality time off during the week with Little T. After 19 months of more or less sitting on my arse on the sofa, watching crap TV, eating pizza and nursing a newborn, on my first week back these long shifts, where I am mainly working on my feet, were KNACKERING. Like, ‘not even able to reply to a text when I got home from work’ knackering. I’m not really a drama queen but I was well and truly drained. Getting used to the long shifts didn’t take long though, and now most days they seem to fly by, leaving me with enough energy to cook tea, walk Daisy and see to my Springfield in Tapped Out when I get home. Hows about that eh?

The down side to working like this is, if I work a few long shifts on the trot, I have to go a few days without seeing much of Little T. I go to work at 6.45am and get home after 7.30pm. Nine times out of ten he is still in bed in the morning before I go to work and he’s in bed again when I get home. A perfect example of this is last week when I was on my first set of night shifts since 2011. My week went like this:

Wednesday – say a big goodbye to Little T by putting him to bed at 7.30pm.

Thursday – Little T goes to grandma’s early in the morning for the night. I sleep during the day and start work at 7pm but pop to see Little T for an hour before I start my shift.

Friday – I come home from work and go to bed after my shift. Little T is still at his grandma’s. I pop to see Little T again for an hour before work that night.

Saturday – Come home from work and go to bed, hanging out of my arse tired. Big T takes Little T back to grandma’s so she can take him out for the day whilst I sleep. I pop to see Little T for an hour, once again, before work.

Sunday – Come home from work at 7.30am. Breathe a massive sigh of relief. Go to sleep. Get up and go out for lunch for my dad’s birthday, enjoying every waking minute seeing my beautiful boy. Go to bed early for my return to day shifts the following day.

Monday – After a ridiculously quick turn around from night to day shifts, I go to work at 7am whilst Little T is still in bed. Come home after 7.30pm, Little T is back in bed.

Tuesday – Finally, a full day off with Little T – yesssssssss!

So, it doesn’t take Carol Vorderman to work out that from Wednesday night until Sunday afternoon, I saw my baby boy for a grand total of three hours. Good old shift work. Thankfully, I have quite a lot of annual leave that I have accrewed during my maternity leave so using that up has been my only saving grace at times when my shift pattern has been nothing but cruel.

Last week also saw Little T standing up on his own for the very first time. Granted it was only for a few seconds, but even still, this is a huge milestone for him. And guess what? I missed it as I was at work.

Little T standing on his own

Little T and Big T were at my brother’s house as it was my brother’s birthday and thankfully, my bro had his phone at hand and quickly took a photo for me but it just wasn’t the same as being there. I would’ve loved to have seen it, been able to share that moment with Big T and my brother, being able to clap and cheer on Little T, being able to pick him up and give him a big kiss and a ‘well done baby boy.’ This makes me wonder what else I might miss by spending such long days and nights at work. His first steps? I would be devastated. I understand that this is something that most working mums go through but I am speaking on behalf of them, not making this a problem exclusive to me.

Big T is currently a student, training to be a mental health nurse. He is on a theory period at the moment so he has been off Wednesday to Friday. This means that Big T, in between doing his theory work, has been able to spend a lot of time with Little T since I have been back at work. I love that Little T does get to see his daddy a lot at the moment but this will change in a couple of weeks when Big T is back on his full time practise period. It has become obvious that spending a lot of time with his daddy has had an effect on the words Little T uses. When I was looking after him most days before going back to work he had dominated the word “mama.” It was pretty much all he said. Since I went back to work, “mama” has been well and truly shunned, in favour of “dada” or “daddy.” It’s a real struggle to get T to say “mama” any more. I don’t know if it’s because he’s realised that “dada” is easier to say or that he has realised that he is spending a lot more time with his dada than his mama. Either way, although being something so small, this is something that has really got to me. Does he favour his daddy? Does he feel like he knows his daddy better than his mummy? Does he not like me any more? Ah the insecurities of a new working mother.

I aren’t even going down the path of feeling lucky to have a job. We shouldn’t have to be lucky to have a job, everybody who wants/needs one should have one (but that’s a whole other blog post!). I just can’t help but think that being a stay at home mum would be perfect for me, if only finances allowed. The insecurities and worry of not seeing my child on a daily basis is something that I am finding hard and I am only two months into the start of my life as a full time working mum. Yes, I do get days off during the week with T but there are also times that I have to go without seeing him properly for days. I don’t want to be that mummy that has to work on Christmas day or on Bank Holidays when daddy is off and other families are having BBQs and ice cream at the beach. The nature of my job also means that I have a whole new perspective on life after having T and having no choice but to work, in an ideal world I’d be doing something a lot more cheery. Little T is being well looked after whilst I am at work, by his child-minder, Big T, my mum and Big T’s mum, but for a baby, nothing is the same as spending your days with mummy. In the past I have seen stay at home mums moan about how hard it is to look after children all day and I just want to scream at them. Yes, I know some people wouldn’t want to stay at home all day as going out to work is what keeps them sane. In my eyes however, stay at home mums who moan don’t know how lucky they actually are. I would give a kidney, and probably an arm or two, to be able to stay at home looking after my Little T, making sure I don’t miss out on the amazingly important moments in his life. I totally appreciate that looking after children isn’t easy. There are days when I feel wiped out after a mummy and Little T day but my God, would I rather be at home. Sadly, it is in no way an option and neither is changing my job. At the moment it is a case of putting up with the situation but I do hope that once Little T goes to school it will get easier. When this time comes I will have no choice but to miss his happy days at school as school is something that can’t be avoided but until then, I am keeping my eyeballs, fingers and little toes crossed for a lottery win.

What were your experiences of returning to work after your maternity leave? Did you enjoy the work life – mummy life balance or did you long to be at home? I’d love to hear from you!

Laura x

READ MORE

Sep 9

Smash!

12 comments

by LifeLoveLaura on September 9, 2013

Pinterest has a lot to answer for in our house. It has made me spend money that I don’t particularly have on slight home improvements, it made me want everything under the sun on our wedding day and it forces me to lust over homes from my wildest dreams. My massive lust for unachievable things aside, it is great for anything to do with little ones and can give you some brilliant ideas for things to do on rainy days and ways to remember those precious moments. Let’s face it, there are many a precious moments in a child’s life.

One thing I saw when browsing Pinterest when Little T was a few weeks old, was a smash cake photo shoot. It looked so much fun and I knew straight away that it was something I wanted to do with Little T when the time came for his 1st birthday but I knew I wanted to do it myself rather than paying for a photographer and studio time. Cake smashes seem to be very popular over in America (they’re full of great ideas over there aren’t they?) but not so much over here, so for those who don’t know what a cake smash is, here goes:

1. Dress a baby up in a cute outfit.

2. Bake/buy a cake.

3. Give baby the cake.

4. Watch him/her destroy it to their heart’s content whilst taking photos.

5. Job’s a good ‘un!

I brushed up on my baking skills (as we know from Little T’s rainbow cake!) and baked a small plain Vicky sponge for him to get stuck into and I bought him a lovely personalised bib from Esty. His bib was quite expensive but he’ll only have a 1st birthday once so I went a bit all out. We decided, rather than using our lounge for the shoot, we’d go to the university gardens next to our house and Little T could then make as much mess as he wanted and the ducks could have a treat and help themselves to the mess T left!

I used my phone to take the photos, maybe not as professional as some but hey, I’m not a photographer! Little T was a little bit more reserved with his cake than I thought he would be. It’s typical really, most days we’re asking him to not make a mess with his food and then when he can get as stuck in as he wants he’s all dainty with it! We got some great snaps though, and here they are. I couldn’t decide which to post so what the hell, I’ve posted most of them. Enjoy!

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

1st birthday cake smash

Big T and I were very happy that there was a little bit of cake left for us at the end of it too!

Laura x

I linked up Little T’s 1st birthday cake smash with #MagicMoments over at The Oliver’s Madhouse

Oliver's Madhouse Magic Moments

READ MORE

Sep 8

A party fit for our little prince!

7 comments

by LifeLoveLaura on September 8, 2013

A week ago today was Little T’s 1st birthday. When I was thinking about how to celebrate his birthday so many people told me not to bother as ‘he won’t remember it.’ The massive party poopers!! This made me even more determined to do something special for him. Nothing overly extravagant but something that Little T can look back at the photos of and also so Big T and I will have something to remember. After all, it’s a very special birthday!

With the weather being quite impressive the past month or so (ok, I know it has started to go downhill this weekend but it HAS been nice!) we decided that we didn’t want to risk being stuck inside in a function room on a good day so a garden party it was. The only stumbling block there, we don’t have a garden. Bummer. Little T’s uncle came to the rescue though and offered us his, complete with a humongous trampoline. Score!

We invited close friends and family as we didn’t want it to be too rowdy and overwhelming for T. He takes after his mother being a nosey little monkey and he loves people watching but he is only a baby after all. Too much attention might have been a bit scary for him. I decided that, as it was a wee one’s party, only retro party food would do. Party rings, iced gems, cheese and pickled onions on sticks, the lot! I have to admit, we did put on a good spread, the grub went down a treat!

Retro children's party food

The spread – minus a few sarnies!

Rainbow kebabs

Rainbow kebabs

 

Homemade paper bunting

I didn’t organise any party games or anything, Little T is still a bit too young to play games but we bought all of his kiddie friends bubbles with their names on and there was plenty of music, eating, chatting and trampoline bouncing going on. We opened Little T’s presents with him in front of his guests as a few people asked to see him open them, although this job was more or less left to me. I didn’t mind though, I think I was just as excited to open his pressies as I am to open my own on Christmas day!

Pressie time!

Pressie time!

Our little family

Our little family

I have to say, I am quite good at organising things but I’ve never been particularly good at cooking or baking. Even still, I was determined to bake Little T an extra special birthday cake. The cost of cakes these days is extortionate and also something home made by mummy would mean a lot more. With his birthday having a little bit of a rainbow theme, only a rainbow cake did the trick! I wrote about my trial run of baking Little T’s cake here but the real thing was a hit! It got lots of compliments which made my hard work pay off and it ended up looking fab. I did, however, have to apologise in advance for the amount of colourings it contained, E numbers plus children aren’t the best concoction! Nevertheless, everybody had a bit and it went down a treat.

how to make a rainbow cake

how to make a rainbow cake

All in all, Little T’s party was a big success. It wasn’t anything over the top but it was special to us. I would never have forgiven myself if I had taken the party poopers’ advice and ‘not bothered.’ Little T enjoyed having a dance with his friends and family around and we all loved seeing him enjoy himself. He had no idea what a special day it was for him but he will in good time! I hope he doesn’t remember his trip to A&E in the evening though. About 6pm we noticed a red rash covering his tummy and his back so straight to the new children’s A&E department for Family K it was! After waiting around 3 hours, it turned out to be as we suspected – a bad reaction to something (we don’t know what exactly) but I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to rashes, you can never be too safe!

Little T was still smiling whilst seeing the doctor though, he’s such a good boy!

Still smiling in A&E

Still smiling in A&E

We love you so much Little T and you were a star on your very 1st birthday. Mummy will have to come up with an even better cake idea for birthday number two!

Laura x

I linked Little T’s birthday party up with #MagicMoments at The Oliver’s Madhouse.

Oliver's Madhouse Magic Moments

READ MORE

Sep 1

To my beautiful Little T, on your first birthday

5 comments

by LifeLoveLaura on September 1, 2013

Happy 1st birthday, our beautiful baby boy. You are the best thing to ever happen to us.

Baby's 1st birthday

Little T's first birthday

I can still imagine myself in the hospital bed after having you. The sounds, the smells, the feelings and it gives me butterflies in my tummy to think how quickly it has passed. I was in hospital for five days after you came into the world, so bringing you home to your new life outside of our private hospital room was the best thing ever. You have made every day of our lives so far so much brighter with your amazing sparkly eyes and beautiful smiley face.

You were born almost two weeks late, at 10.45am and I fell in love with you instantly. You looked just like your daddy with the dip in your top lip. You went from being induced on 31st August and being the youngest in your school year to arriving on the 1st September and being the oldest in your school year. Because of this you will have a whole new experience at school and be blessed with a different set of friends to if you had arrived a few hours earlier.

Our first family photo

Our first family photo

I couldn’t believe it when daddy told me you weighed 8lbs 15oz when he went to weigh you just after being born, no wonder my bump was so big and I waddled like an oversized Emperor penguin! You didn’t even lose much weight in your first week, 8lbs 13.5oz you totalled, but that didn’t surprise me as, once you got the hang of it, you loved your grub. Even though you were such a big baby, I look back at photos from the day you were born and I can’t believe how tiny you were.

Our first night together

Our first night together

On our first night together I was so exhausted and wanted your daddy there so much but I stared at you all night, inspecting your tiny fingers, your little button nose, the hairs on your head and your gorgeous long eye lashes. I couldn’t believe that you were mine and that I had made something so amazing in my tummy. YOU were the one kicking me under the boobs and hiccuping away in there for months. A year later you’d think that this would have sunk in but even now I look at you and tell your daddy that I can’t believe you grew in my tummy. It is such an overwhelming feeling.

I couldn’t wait to get you home from the hospital to meet Daisy but on your first night home, Daisy spent the night in the kennels just so we could get settled in with you. It’s a good job because you cried non stop all night. You didn’t want to feed from me so we had to get you some formula in the morning. You were so hungry and you wolfed it down. Daddy and I will never forget our first night at home with you! We were nervous introducing Daisy to you but you both became best friends straight away. Daisy always made sure she walked next to you when you were in your pram and she was so proud to be by your side.

Their first outing

Their first outing

Ever since meeting, the pair of you have been best friends. When you were in my tummy we used to joke that you would both come as a package and it’s true!

Within the first few months of your little life you had your first holiday abroad to Spain with mummy, daddy, Grandma and Uncle Lee, you had your first trip to Center Parcs for mummy and daddy’s first wedding anniversary and you enjoyed your very first Christmas at Grandma and Grandad’s house – lots of very special firsts for you. You were a busy baby! You got some teeth and started to eat real food when you were six months old, which you loved but your tastes changed all the time and they are still evolving. You adore listening to music and you make it clear that you’re a little rocker! You hate having your nappy changed, it’s almost an impossible task for mummy when you are rolling around the floor, trying to crawl away but with a bit of distraction we always get there in the end. You are very nosy and love being out and about in your pram so you can people watch and take in the world around you. You definitely take after mummy there!

One of your new favourite things is visiting the soft play, you just love rolling around and crawling away and hiding from mummy.

Little T's first visit to softplay

Little T’s first visit to soft play

I don’t think it will be long before you are walking as you are already pulling yourself around the living room and climbing onto the sofa. You are even onto your second pair of proper shoes! You are an adorable little boy T, living life to the fullest. Your cheeky and determined character shines and you bring out the best in me every day. You have changed me for the better and I am so grateful for your beautiful smile and sloppy tongue-y kisses every day. I love you so much Little T, you are my world and it is such a better place with you in it. I think about your future, who you will meet and where you will go but I don’t want to wish your life away. You are just starting out and I hope that daddy and I have given you the best head start that we can and that we are teaching you to be a good person. You are surrounded by people that adore you – your grandparents, uncles and mummy and daddy’s friends, and you are loved more than you will ever know.

Happy birthday Little T. Mummy, Daddy and Daisy love you millions xxxxxxxxxx

READ MORE

Aug 27

Eviction day: My labour story

4 comments

by LifeLoveLaura on August 27, 2013

My labour story is something that I’ve always wanted to write but just haven’t got round to it. Whenever anybody asks me about how it went I’m always happy to share it so it’s surprising that I haven’t yet blogged it. I guess a baby and a dog can keep you too busy! Now it’s almost Little T’s first birthday I thought it was about time that I shared Little T’s entrance into the world, as something to look back on when I forget the tiny details if anything. I’m sure that now it’s a year on there are lots of things that I’ve forgotten already but I don’t want to forget any more so here goes, it’s a long one!

Little T, or Baby Dave as he was nicknamed throughout my pregnancy, was originally due on 19th August 2012 but he well over stayed his welcome in there. Almost a year ago to the day, on Friday 31st August 2012, I was going to be induced or “eviction day,” as I called it. Big T and I got up at 7am, nice and bright and early, got our things together as well as the hospital bag I had packed for Little T. We dropped Daisy off at the kennels and I nagged for a McDonald’s breakfast on the way to hospital – after all, I didn’t know what the process was going to be once we were there or when I was going to get to eat, food being my main focus of course! When we arrived at the hospital at 8am we were shown to a bed on the assessment ward. With extra pillows, a pull along suitcase, a massive bag of food, a bumper pack of Dettol wipes a box of orange capri-suns and a pack of bottled water, we looked like we were moving in for a few weeks. Fortunately we were the only ones in the four bedded room for a while so a) we didn’t look like a couple of idiots, rocking up with our tonne of luggage and b) we could sprawl ourselves out, making ourselves comfortable with our magazines. It was a lovely sunny day outside and it felt weird, like we were waiting in an airport lounge to go on holiday or something. I didn’t have a clue what to expect so I wasn’t in any way nervous, more excited and anyway, there was no point getting myself worked up about something that I had no control over.

Induction day, my labour story

My very last bump photo, taken on the morning of Eviction Day

A young midwife came in and introduced herself, I can’t remember her name now, but she explained the induction process to me. She said that upon the initial examination, depending on if I had progressed at all on my own, I could be ready to go up to the labour ward or if not, they would have to give me a pessary for 24 hours to get things going before things could get going any further. Having not really done much research on the induction process (because people are so quick to offer their horror stories my view was “ignorance is bliss,” and I still stand by my theory. The less you know, the less there is to scare you) I didn’t realise that I may have had to wait a full day without things even starting to kick off and I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit disappointed. The midwife then asked if she could examine me to see if I needed the pessary. Other than my stretch and sweep on the Monday of that week, this was the first internal examination I had had and it wasn’t the nicest experience. I remember telling myself to get over it as there was bound to be worse to come! Much to mine and the midwife’s surprise I was already 3cm dilated so I didn’t need to have the pessary, I could go up to the labour ward and get cracking! Being told things could get started straight away was music to my ears, I did not expect to have been that far along on my own at all. The prospect of having to wait around with a horrible giant tampon stuck up there did not appeal to me one bit. We did have to wait around for a bed but fortunately I could stay put on the bed I already had on the assessment ward as beds on there weren’t in demand that day. Big T and I had already pigged out on a lot of the grub that we took by then but I was offered some tea – fish and chips to be precise, so I thought I’d give it a go as my very last meal before becoming a mum. It was disappointing to say the least.

Waiting around

Waiting around

My last meal before becoming a mum

My last meal before becoming a mum. Appetising!

Handily, my mum was working at the hospital so she came to see me whilst on her break and I told her the good news. It had always been the plan that she would be there with Big T when I was in labour so she agreed to come back over to me as soon as she finished work rather than going home and having to come back again. She was SO excited. We waited until around 5pm for a bed on the labour ward but we didn’t mind, it was just good to know that once I did have a bed things could get moving. Once I got up to the labour ward I was greeted by another lovely young midwife called Emma (I think). I remember her having long dark hair tied in a ponytail, it’s funny the things that stick in your mind, isn’t it? She weighed me, which I remember being embarrassed about. I told her I wasn’t a fan of being weighed and she was lovely, she didn’t judge me at all unlike some midwives I had encountered, she reassured me and explained that the anaesthetist would need to know my weight for when the time came for my planned epidural. She also said that she was keen to get things started which I was more than happy with so I got changed into my brand new cotton black and white polka dot M&S labour nightie, put some make up on (as ya do!), clipped my fringe up and tied my hair back. I meant business!

Niagra Falls

First things first, Emma asked me if she could break my waters. Keen to get things moving, I was hardly going to say no! I laid back and thought of England whilst she did the deed but all I could think of was the examination that the other midwife had done earlier. Because of this I didn’t fully relax and it was a bit more uncomfortable than it needed to be. Straight after my waters had been broken I needed a wee, more fool me! I got up and ran to the bathroom and then all hell broke lose. There was so much stuff leaking from me that I had to call Big T into the bathroom to help sort me out. We were both laughing our heads off at the state of me, how undignified it was and how neither of us could tell if it was wee or my waters that was leaking from me! My mum and Emma wondered what the hell was going on. It certainly helps to have a weird and inappropriate sense of humour in labour.

When Big T and I had managed to clean myself up a bit I got back on the bed, my bump was hooked up to a monitor and it was time for the cannula to go in for the syntocinon drip. Just like when I had my ears pinned back when I was seven years old, the doctor came in and tried to put the cannula in my left hand without even looking for a prominent vein. My hands are really small and quite childlike so there aren’t actually any veins that stick out. When I was seven and being prepped for my operation they couldn’t find a vein and it was exactly the same now, at 28. The doctor realised she had been quite slack by not inspecting my hands first and tried again in my right hand with a little bit more success, thankfully. Once the cannula was in properly and the drip had been hooked up it was purely a waiting game for my contractions to start.

My labour story

Sometime around now it was the end of Emma’s shift. I felt a little bit disappointed that after getting to know her I was going to have to get to know somebody all over again but it’s just one of those things I guess. My new midwife, Carol, was an older lady in her 50s with a blonde bob and glasses. Before Emma and Carol had their handover Carol came in to introduce herself to me and I could tell straight away that she was lovely. As soon as she came in, I told her that I didn’t have a birth plan, the only thing that I did want was an epidural, as recommended by my consultant, and she said that wasn’t a problem, I could have it whenever I wanted.

It sounds daft now but throughout my pregnancy, the thing that worried me most was getting an airy fairy midwife that didn’t listen to me, something I had seen a lot of on programmes like One Born Every Minute. Fortunately I had lucked out and ended up getting the most amazing midwife who was completely on my wavelength. Whilst waiting for the drip to bring on my contractions Carol and I chatted about my experiences of community midwives – how I had a different one at almost every antenatal appointment (continuity of care?) and how judgemental I had found some of them whenever I asked about pain relief or asked about what happens if a c-section is needed. So many of them were almost in denial that c-sections happen and my questions were always answered with something along the lines of “oh that won’t happen, we like to do things naturally.” Absolute and utter bollocks. It’s no secret that I am no Earth Mother. I do not say this is a negative way, fair play to them! I just aren’t wired that way unfortunately, birth was never going to be a beautiful experience for me. Whale music and meditation was never going to happen. I only ever saw it as a means to an end, having the baby in my arms would the most beautiful moment in my life and as long as he got here safe I wasn’t bothered how he got here. Carol told me that by working in the labour ward, she couldn’t believe how obstructive the community midwives had been with regards to any medical information. Yes natural births are the ideal but she knew how often births don’t go to plan, ending up in emergency sections and I was so grateful that she understood me and my concerns completely. She wasn’t one of these ‘we’ll wait a little bit longer to see if it happens on its own,’ midwives, she was one who worked on the principle of ‘if something needs doing, it’s getting done’ – my kind of midwife.

Epidural time

Now, I can’t remember how long exactly my contractions took to kick in but when they did start to happen I remember thinking “ooh, these aren’t that bad…” but then they got worse. Still tolerable but a lot worse than at first. I was holding out for them getting really bad before asking for my epidural but then Carol could see that I was struggling a bit. She asked me if she wanted me to go get the anaesthetist which I couldn’t believe! So often had I seen women begging for epidurals on One Born Every Minute that I was expecting to have to do the same. Another big worry of mine was my midwife waiting too long and it being too late to get an epidural in but good old Carol didn’t let me down here either! She actually asked me if I wanted one, Carol and I were soon becoming best friends. I remember saying “really?!” and then telling her that I was going to wait a bit longer before asking as I didn’t want to come across as a wimp but if she as she was offering, I’d take her up on it. Soon after, a young and quite good looking anaesthetist called Leon came in along with an ODP who had a big moustache and loads of tattoos. “Great,” I thought, “here’s me looking like a big sweaty moose with no bra on and boobs hanging down my sides whilst this fit bloke has to stick a needle in my back and get a flash of my fat white arse whilst he’s at it.” In fact, I think I might have even said that out loud which was greeted by a tut from Big T. When Leon came in to explain the procedure to me I was in the middle of quite a big contraction and was trying to ‘breathe my way’ through it. This was something I had heard about in a lot of films but in reality I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. The deep breathing through my mouth did seem to help a tiny bit but that’s probably more because I was focusing on doing that rather than the pain itself. I was worried about having another contraction halfway through having the epidural but fortunately they got on with it pretty quickly.

I turned to sit on the edge of the bed with my feet on a chair and my back was wiped down with something cold. Shortly after, Leon told me that I might feel a shooting pain in my legs, which I did. I squinted and tensed up a tiny bit when it happened. The needle going into my back didn’t hurt at all really, the quick shooting pain was the most unpleasant thing about it but it did soon pass. And that was it, the epidural was in! They taped a wire to my shoulder which was hooked up to the epidural drugs and when they put the drugs into me it felt really cold and actually quite nice. With my electric blowy up and down circulations stockings that I had to wear because they couldn’t find any DVT stockings big enough to fit my short but chunky calves, my catheter that was put in at the beginning, my cannula for the drip and my epidural line, by now I had wires and pipes coming out of all orifices, I couldn’t move without worrying about pulling one out!

The epidural didn’t take long to take the edge off my contractions but it didn’t take them away completely. I was a little bit confused as I was under the impression that an epidural was supposed to take the pain away completely. I asked Carol and Leon why I could still feel everything and they told me that they wanted me to still feel a little bit of pain so they knew everything was still working as it should be. Whether this was right or wrong, I don’t know, but I was freaking out. “If it still hurts this much with an epidural, what is it going to feel like when this baby is on its way out?!” I kept saying but being quite calm and comical so far in my labour, I think everyone thought I was joking. It was a genuine concern! I just had to make sure that my epidural was always topped up. As Leon was the only anaesthetist on shift and it being a full moon so a VERY busy night, I worked out that from asking to getting more it would generally take about half an hour. I made sure I asked for a top up a bit before it started to work off so I still had some pain relief left in the half an hour I had to wait. I’m not a wimp when it comes to pain, I have a very high tolerance and pain threshold but in a situation when you’re totally out of your comfort zone and not in control, to be in pain is quite scary.

The waiting game

Now, with contractions off like the clappers and epidural in it was purely a waiting game for Little T to arrive. It was a very slow process. I remember checking Twitter and Facebook although I hadn’t officially announced anything about my labour as I didn’t want to worry people, although there were a few DMs and texts going on with my Twitter ladies and best friends. I took a few photos from my bed and my mum, Carol and I chatted about all sorts whilst Big T read his book. There wasn’t much going on at this time so he had my full support with this!

Big T multi-tasking

Big T multi-tasking

My labour story

Labour selfie

My labour story

Tired T

After a long time on the drip I was examined to check my progression which was quite exciting. After being already 3cm dilated when I arrived at the hospital that morning before doing anything, surely I’d be a lot further on and one massive step closer to meeting my little man? It was quite the contrary. I was still only 3cm dilated and it was now around midnight. Great. I was really pissed off but not disheartened. I wasn’t giving up, just annoyed at having to wait even longer to greet my man. Labour tests even the best man’s patience! We also realised that within that hour, Little T had gone from being an August baby and the youngest in his school year, to a September baby and the oldest.

The disappointing find of still only being 3cm dilated meant carrying on waiting. Little T’s monitor was constantly being checked and everything seemed fine, which was a relief. As long as he was fine, I was fine. Come around 1am, Big T and my mum got hungry but we were more or less out of the food that we’d brought with us in the morning so I suggested that Big T went to McDonald’s. Not ideal but it was quick, at least. So off he went, he certainly wasn’t in danger of missing anything considering I was still sat at 3cm. Leon couldn’t hide his envy at Big T sloping off for a burger and neither could I but I wasn’t allowed to have anything to eat. Bastards. I just wish I’d got a photo of my mum and Big T chowing down on their burgers whilst I was laying there in labour. Classy! Around this time was probably the calmest time during my labour, not long after, things started to go a bit tits up.

My stubborn cervix

Around the time of Big T and my mum filling their faces was when I started to lose track of time. It was probably down to the fact that I was exhausted and the fact that this is when things started to go downhill quite quickly. I was examined again, a few hours after the last, and I was given the bad news that I was STILL only 3cm dilated. My cervix was not shifting which in turn meant that Little T was not shifting. The only place that he had shifted to was on top of my bladder which HURT. Even with the epidural in the pain of Little T setting up camp on my bladder was quite unbearable. I constantly felt like I needed a wee but there was nothing in there to empty. Because everything had been quite calm up to now I hadn’t realised that Little T was getting into trouble in there. I am usually quite a fiesty and intuitive lady but labour did something to me – it really chilled me out and everything seemed to go over my head. It’s probably a good job really as my mum, being a nurse herself so quite aware, was doing a lot of worrying. Not to me as she didn’t want to panic me but she was freaking out to Carol.

It soon became clear that Little T was not happy in there as his heart rate was all over the place. My mum noticed this straight away and the colour from her face drained. A doctor, junior doctor and the midwife sister all came into my room and the decision was made to try to put a clip onto T’s head to monitor him more closely. This was probably the most unpleasant experience for me throughout the whole labour process and it was fucking horrific. T was stuck so far up so it was near on impossible task to get this monitoring clip on his head manually but it was the only way. I can’t describe how much this hurt, thinking about it now is making my foo shrivel up with fear. The doctor, junior doctor, Carol and the midwife sister all had to have a go at trying to attach the clip. I don’t know which one got it on in the end but they managed it just before having to give up. The doctor also made the decision of taking a little bit of blood from the top of Little T’s head but this was soon poo-poo’d because of how difficult they had found it to get the clip on his head. I was also quite adamant that they weren’t going up there again in a rush!

This was the point where I heard the word “caesarean” being thrown around. Not to me directly but between themselves whilst discussing me in quite a panic. I remember my mum asking if a c-section was an option and before the doctor had discussed it with me Carol said “there’s only one way this baby is coming out.” She had summed me up enough to know that by her saying that it wouldn’t worry me. Yes, Little T being in distress was a massive worry but having a section wasn’t. Like I said before, I was always willing to do anything to get him here safe and the fact that I had got to this point and been epically unsuccessful meant that I was actually relieved to hear the docs and midwives talking about the possibility of whipping him out of there! They agreed that I needed to wait another hour with T on both monitors before making any firm decisions but in the meantime he just got a lot worse. They asked me to move positions to see if it would make T any happier in there but when it came to trying to turn over I couldn’t. Because Little T had planted himself quite rudely on my bladder, attempting to move was so painful. With help from Big T and Carol, I tried to flip over but it was not happening. I couldn’t even sit up properly as the cannula in my hand was stopping me from putting any weight on my hand to push myself up. I was well and truly stuck but determined as the monitor was showing that moving onto my right hand side from my left side was making T a tiny bit more happy in there. Not happy enough to solve either of our problems though and at about 5am ish the junior doctor came to give me the consent form to sign for a c-section. The consultant came in shortly after, whilst the junior doctor was going through the risks etc and he pretty much pushed her out the way saying that she didn’t have time for that, I just needed to sign, Big T had to get his scrubs on and off we were going. In the meantime, however, another lady must’ve taken priority as a few minutes later the doctor came back to me and told me that I was going to have to wait another hour but I was next on the list for an emergency section.

I was annoyed to say the least. The midwife sister came back in and I really didn’t like her. She started rubbing my legs and reading me the riot act about women dying during c-sections and how they don’t always go the way you want them to. I have no idea why this woman came in and felt the need to do this, my mum was fuming but I had told her that I didn’t want her to take the lead in my care so mum thought she’d be best to keep quiet. The mum I know would’ve told her to sod off had she have had the chance but to be honest, I wish she had! I remember asking her what she was on about and why she was there. “Are you telling me I can’t have a section now?” I asked her in panic but she didn’t give me an answer. To this day I will never know what her motive was but way to go about making a petrified woman feel more at ease! Maybe she was trying to get me to think that a section wasn’t the answer to mine and Little T’s problems? Fuck knows but whilst she was spouting shit at me, Little T was getting more and more distressed but we had no choice but to wait for a slot in the theatre. Whilst the sister was around she decided to do another examination on me and it was the same old story – I was still only at 3cm. I farted on her during this examination too which I was mortified about but it was a little bit of retaliation.

An hour passed and the doctor came back in. I was so relieved to see him and couldn’t wait to get on with it. Little did I know that he was coming in to say that I was going to have to wait even longer as another lady’s section had taken priority. This was beyond a joke. When the doctor left, Carol disclosed to us that there was only one theatre open which is why we were having to wait so long. ONE FUCKING THEATRE! Seriously, who makes these decisions? Women and babies lives were literally having to be prioritised onto a list. Call me stupid but isn’t this how fatalities and serious incidents during childbirth happen? My mum was freaking out by now and so was Carol. We could tell that she was not happy with the situation but there was literally no other choice but to wait and for me to be as comfortable in the mean time. Chilling out and being ‘comfortable’ was easier said than done considering the circumstances. Little T’s heart rate was up the shoot enough, me panicking didn’t help matters but it was unavoidable. It was a fucking scary time.

Another hour passed and the doctor came back, only to be told, once again that we were going to have to wait for another lady’s section to go ahead. You couldn’t make this shit up. It was starting to be like a really unfunny Fawlty Towers episode. I was so unbelievably exhausted and was still worried that my section was going to be cancelled. Doctors also kept taking my blood as my platelets were also becoming dangerously low so surgery should not have been an option, had they have fallen further. Little T had made it quite obvious that he was not going to come out any other way so surgery was, however, the only option – it was a double edged sword. I just wanted him out and safe in my arms, the time couldn’t come soon enough. Then Carol came to tell me that I was definitely next on the list. Massive relief set in but I wasn’t going to believe it until I was down in that theatre.

Goodbye Carol

Me being prepared for theatre coincided with the end of Carol’s shift and I was well and truly gutted. This amazing lady that had understood me so well, been on my wavelength throughout the night and chatted so freely about hers and our personal lives was about to leave me at the time we had all worked so hard to get to. A midwife called Karen came into the room to introduce herself before her and Carol went for handover. I didn’t want Karen to come to theatre with me, I wanted Carol.  Earlier in the night she asked me if we have a name picked for our little boy but with my mum being there and us keeping the name a secret from our parents until Little T got here, I had to tell Carol that I couldn’t tell her but she laughed and totally understood.  Before Carol left she gave me a big hug and told me how amazing I’d been. She said that she was on the following day so if she had the chance, she would come and see me on the recovery ward but sadly she must have been too busy as I never saw her again. Thinking about it now, I’m still a little bit gutted that I never got to say thank you personally or show off my beautiful Little T to her *sniff sniff* I’ll forever be grateful to Carol for helping me get through the toughest night of my life.

Just before going down to theatre Karen brought me a little chilled bottled potion. She told me that it would help get rid of any stomach acid during my surgery and that I needed to knock it back like a shot. I warned her that I’ve never been a shot girl and if I knocked it back I’d be highly likely to spew it back up within seconds. This is from experience, I have been known to do this in the middle of dance floors in the past. Anyway… I knocked the drink back and it was time to go. By now it must’ve been about 10am on Saturday 1st September. I couldn’t believe that my time was here! I was excited to meet my baby boy and my mood instantly lifted from panic mode to sheer happiness. I couldn’t care less that I was about to be cut open and the prospect of a longer recovery was becoming a reality, that did not bother me one tiny little bit. Meeting my little boy in once piece did bother me and we were on our way to it!

Before I was wheeled away I looked at my mum who was so upset. I kissed her and told her I was going to be all right. I knew I was and I knew Little T was too, I could feel it in my bones. She said she wasn’t going anywhere until she saw me and my baby. On the way down to the theatre I could feel my mouth fill up with spit, you know the feeling – just before you’re sick. It was the horrible stomach potion taking it’s toll. Whilst being wheeled along the hospital corridors I told Karen a couple of times that I felt like I was going to be sick but I don’t think she thought I meant it literally. She thought I meant I was nervous. As soon as we got into the theatre I shouted that I was going to throw up, and with no control I hurled! Thankfully this time I was taken seriously, somebody sat me up and Karen had grabbed a sick bowl and held it to my face. After this I felt fine, it was literally because I’d knocked back the stomach potion and I’m a bit of a lightweight when it comes to shots!

I was terrified that because I’d been sick in the theatre they were going to make me wait even longer for my section but thankfully they carried on. I was transferred onto the theatre bed and they stretched both of my arms out like I was on a crucifix. It was a very peculiar feeling. Big T was resting on one of the arms, holding my hand and I distinctly remember one of the theatre assistants, a butch woman with short bleach blonde hair, telling him to “get off her bed.” This pissed him off but he wasn’t going to let it ruin the moment we’d both been waiting for. Another anaesthetist explained that he was going to top up my epidural to the point of not being able to feel anything below chest area. The numbing felt almost instant, it was a really strange feeling in that I could move my toes but I couldn’t feel them. He poked me on several areas of my body and asked me if I could feel anything. As soon as I said I couldn’t that was a green light to go. I couldn’t hear much and I couldn’t see as there was a screen up but what I did soon realise was that I could see a reflection of everything in some metal on the theatre lights above me. Being an incredibly nosey individual I loved that I could kind of see what was going on. Albeit a bit of a red mess but I could still see that they were in there and Little T was on his way out but I didn’t tell them, being surrounded by a mass of people I didn’t know at such an intimate time, it was something that I wanted to enjoy on my own. Whilst they were fishing around to get Little T out we chatted about the tattoo on my leg and where I got it done, small talk to pass the time. I felt so at ease, it was weird.

Come 10.45am, Little T was here! I heard him crying and was SO relieved. Whilst the doctors carried on doing something with me, Big T went over with Karen to weigh Little T and get him wrapped up. I couldn’t wait to see him as when they lifted him out of me, I couldn’t lift my head to see him fresh out of my tummy. I was the last to see him but when Big T came and sat down next to my head with my son it was the most magical moment in my life so far. I couldn’t believe that this beautiful little lump of baby had been stuck in my tummy just minutes before. What I didn’t realise was, whilst the doctors were sewing me up, they were also clearing out my womb of meconium that little T had passed whilst he was so distressed. No wonder, the length of time he had to wait to come out! One of the doctors also kindly informed me that everything was in order to have a vaginal delivery next time. I asked her if she was having a laugh to which she chuckled and replied “oh, they all say that.” This woman obviously didn’t know me well. I don’t remember being in the theatre a long time, after all, as there was only one open it would’ve been a case of getting women in and out as quickly as possible but I didn’t mind, I just wanted to get back to the ward and have a proper look at my amazing newborn son.

My labour story

One of his first photos

I don’t remember much about being wheeled to the recovery ward, by this point I was like a zombie – so incredibly exhausted and I just wanted to sleep. I do remember seeing my mum’s face when we arrived though. She met us, looking physically exhausted, teary and so relieved to see us all. She sat by the side of my bed and I introduced her to her brand new grandson. I passed him over to her and told her his full name and she sobbed, she was so touched that we had chosen mine and Big T’s dad’s names as Little T’s middles names too. Throughout my pregnancy my mum had tried to guess Little T’s name but she was never successful. She told me that she would never have guessed T in a million years but she loved it. Only one person was allowed to stay with me in the recovery ward so mum didn’t stay long, she wanted to let me and Big T have some rest and get to know our new son so she went home to share the amazing news with my dad and to catch up on her sleep. After all, she wanted to come back later on in the day for another snuggle!

Meeting his grandma

Meeting his grandma

As much as I wanted to see my new son, I also needed to sleep as I couldn’t keep my eyes open so whilst in the recovery ward this is what I did. It was, however, so incredibly noisy – other new mums yapping on their phones and midwives shouting and laughing with each other in the corridor, both of which annoyed me immensely. After having major surgery and no sleep, this is not what you need to hear. I managed to get a little bit of sleep in spite of the noise and upon waking up, Karen came and offered to help give me a strip wash. I felt a little bit body conscious at first but I realised that I’d had numerous people seeing every tiny orifice of my body so I soon got over it and it actually felt nice to be clean. Karen then helped me to try to breastfeed Little T for the first time. I don’t know what I expected it to be like, but it was difficult.

I was on the recovery ward until around 6pm. I remember this distinctly as 6pm was visiting time and I knew that my parents and brothers were coming to meet Little T so I was chomping at the bit to get up to the post natal unit, regardless of if they thought I was ready or not. After a little bit of nagging, they finally wheeled me up to my own private room on the post natal unit. They hadn’t told me but it had dawned on me that I was going nowhere soon. Whilst taking me up to the post natal ward I bumped into my brother and three year old nephew in the corridor, it was so good to see a familiar face and to introduce them to Little T. My brother however, didn’t realise that children weren’t allowed in the unit so he was taking my nephew home and was going to come back the following day on his own. Thankfully through the chance meeting he got to see us!

Mummy and Little T's first night together

Mummy and Little T’s first night together

Writing this post really has brought it all back to me and I actually can’t believe all of this was a year ago. It feels like five minutes ago but then when I think about it, we have done so much in Little T’s first year of life. I just love my little man so much and he brings a whole new level of fun and joy to our little family. My labour, although starting off well, ended up being the most horrific and terrifying experience of my life. My mum, to this day, says that during my 28 years on this earth I have never given her any reason to worry about me but in that night, I gave her a whole 28 years worth of worry in one go. It wasn’t a pleasant experience and because of the trauma to Little T and also the trauma to my body, next time I will be asking for a planned section. There won’t be a next time until Little T goes to school, yes Big T and I have it all planned, but even still I will not be risking the same thing happening again. Going right over my due date didn’t help, the induction was unsuccessful and my body never actually went into established labour. Because of this, my body has never actually given birth, as such, and I will not be risking the same thing happening twice. It would be irresponsible of me to put another baby through the trauma that Little T experienced. I also had incredibly low platelets so had to take blood thickeners, rather than the usual Fragmin blood thinning jabs. I had a really bad womb infection because of the meconium so was on IV anti biotics for 5 days afterwards and I also couldn’t walk for well over a week. All in all, I was a bit of a mess and I wish I made more of a fuss about it. Instead I was way too focused on my new son and getting better. I never put in a letter of complaint about there only being one theatre open and things going a bit tits up, that would be the only way of preventing the same thing happening in the future, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Saying all of this, now one year on, I am actually looking forward to doing it all again. Not the labour as such, more having a teeny tiny baby that dotes on you. We just need Big T to finish his nurse training and to take Little T to Disneyland first!

Laura x

READ MORE

Aug 20

I love my wagon

3 comments

by LifeLoveLaura on August 20, 2013

I spent weeks trying to come up with a first birthday present for Little T. I wanted something that he could keep but also something he could get use out of. I toyed with with idea of getting him a bracelet or a similar keepsake but being the rough and tumble lad that he is, I would have been too worried about him losing it. Then I remembered that being a massive fan of Americana, before I was even pregnant I used to say “whenever we have a baby, they’re having a Radio Flyer wagon.” That was it, present found!

We popped to the proper hipster bike shop in our town where they always have Radio Flyer wagons in the window but they didn’t sell the model that we wanted for Little T. The hunt begun! We originally wanted the ‘All Terrain Steel and Wood Wagon‘ but it wasn’t available in the UK, booooo! After being a bit gutted at first (I can tend to spit my dummy out, who’s the kid here?) we found the UK equivalent – the ‘Big Red Classic All Terrain Wagon,’ yay! We wanted something that was a little bit more sturdy whilst out on dog walks so the all terrain wagon seemed perfect with its big chunky air tyres. It will also be perfect for trips to the beach so we don’t have to worry about getting Little T’s pram covered in sand (sand is EVIL stuff!) It will hopefully be something that we can keep for a very long time and T can pass it down to his future little brother or sister or better still, to his own littlies.

I was VERY excited when it arrived and was going to wait to give it to Little T on his actual birthday, wrapped in a big red bow. Ideal, yes but good for my impatience, no. So, off Big T went with his ‘putting things together’ skills…

Radio Flyer Classic Big Red All Terrain Wagon

I couldn’t wait for Little T to get up in the morning so he could see his new wagon. A little bit early with his birthday not being for a couple of weeks but meh, he wouldn’t know! I could still give it to him with the big red bow on on his actual birthday, we shall see.

We took him out in it that evening as, once again, I couldn’t wait to take him out for his first ride in it and he loved it! He sat back like Lord Muck whilst I pulled him along, until he realised he wasn’t strapped in, that is. He loved the fact that he could move about but we didn’t. He thought edging towards the sides and us moving him back again was a game! Nevertheless, it was a fun little family walk, out and about in the university gardens on a sunny evening.

Radio Flyer Classic Big Red All Terrain Wagon

Radio Flyer Classic Big Red All Terrain Wagon

Radio Flyer Classic Big Red All Terrain Wagon

Radio Flyer Classic Big Red All Terrain Wagon

Radio Flyer Classic Big Red All Terrain Wagon

Radio Flyer Classic Big Red All Terrain Wagon

I will wait to take him out again in it until after his birthday, promise! If it will fit in the car after we’ve filled it with junk we might even take it along to Center Parcs with us next month, perfect!

Laura x

READ MORE

Aug 19

Our new favourite breakfast

3 comments

by LifeLoveLaura on August 19, 2013

Becoming a mum comes has turned me into a Delia in the making. Before Little T was born I always thought I couldn’t cook but it’s turned out that I can cook, I have just always been lazy. Too lazy to get off my arse and prepare something that I already know how to make, often reaching for a take away menu instead, and too lazy to learn how to make new things. That is until I became responsible for the meals of my little man as well as my own. I don’t want him growing up with the same rubbish eating habits as me, I want him to learn to try everything offered to him and be willing to taste new things. So far I am winning in the non picky eater stakes, Little T is quite open to trying new things, although it is becoming clear that Yorkshire pud is one of his favourite things to eat. I don’t mind this though, as long as he carries on eating the veg that goes with it!

He has been enjoying porridge quite a bit for his breakfast until recently but because we don’t add any sugar, only fruit,  I thought he might be getting a little bit bored with it so we decided to make something a bit different. Porridge in a different form – oat and raisin pancakes, American style! Until Little T arrived, cooking something like oat and raisin pancakes at 8am wouldn’t have even crossed my mind, the things being a mum does to you…! But, I’m so glad I had a go, they were really easy and went down a treat, not only with Little T but with myself and Big T too. I’d go as far to say that something so simple has swiftly become our new favourite breakfast!

These are also great for anybody doing baby led weaning, they’re soft but filling and can be cut into handy strips for your little one to grab. If you would like to make some, here is my recipe:

100g plain flour

100g oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

250ml whole milk

2 small boxes of raisins (or equivalent in weight)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

oat and raisin pancake recipe

Method:

Mix the oats, flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl then add the eggs, milk and vegetable oil. Beat it all together with a spoon or spatula until it is all mixed well then add the raisins and mix again. Heat a little bit of extra oil in a frying pan, not too much as you don’t want them to turn out too greasy, then drop in a tablespoon of the mixture. Add more if you want your pancakes to be thicker or less for thinner ones. Turn over the pancakes to cook on the other side when you can see a few bubbles (see photo below), the pancake should now hold together when turning over. Each side shouldn’t take more than two minutes to cook. You can make a few pancakes at once, depending on the size of your frying pan.

oat and raisin pancake recipe

oat and raisin pancake recipe

The raisins add the perfect amount of sweetness to the pancakes without needing to add any sugar. You could serve them with some fresh fruit or for the adults, add little bit of maple syrup. The recipe makes quite a few pancakes so you can always save them for a day or so if you don’t eat them in one go, or better still, freeze them for a later date.

A hit with Little T!

A hit with Little T!

They are so simple but something a little bit different to start yours and your little one’s day with. I’d love to know what you think if you have a go!

Laura x

READ MORE

Aug 16

What we did and didn’t need

4 comments

by LifeLoveLaura on August 16, 2013

When I was pregnant I would spend my days trawling t’interweb for the newest (and oldest) baby gadgets. There is so much out there that you want to make sure you’re prepared for your new bundle of joy and that he or she doesn’t go without.

We had pretty much everything ready for Little T’s arrival, we even had his high chair sorted for him coming out of hospital. We’re not daft enough to think that he was going in it straight away, we were just entering a whole new territory of parenthood so wanted to be super prepared. After all, heavily pregnant and on the cusp of being new to the parenting thing, I was hearing so many horror stories about how hard work children are, we didn’t think we would have the time to go out and buy a high chair when Little T actually needed one. I was wrong. Believe me, these horror stories aren’t true, phew!

Little T is now fast approaching his first birthday and I have found that you’re better off simply having the basics. There’s no point being super prepared as things change, just like I found with other aspects of bringing up a baby, like my desperation to do baby led weaning. Things you wanted to work for your baby won’t work for them and the things you didn’t want them to have, they’ll want the most! For this reason I have decided to write a little list of things that we found to be lifesavers and things we need not have bothered buying until we really need them or things we shouldn’t have bothered with at all. As new parents, you can get so caught up in what you think you will need, instead of waiting until the time comes. You might want everything there at hand but once baby arrives you might find that it’s nice to have a reason to ‘pop’ out to the shops to do a bit of baby shopping.

What we didn’t use:

The high chair (obvs)

Summer dark wooden infant high chair

Source

We bought a lovely solid dark wood thing that fit in with the furniture of our dining room so incredibly well. In reality, it’s massive, doesn’t fold up and is collecting dust in Little T’s bedroom, never to be used. Moral of our story, wait until you need one. We ended up with a £30 Graco one and it’s fab (I think it was on offer at the time.) Guess what? It doesn’t match our decor either! It does however, fold up into the corner of the living room and being short on space, this is all that matters.

Nappies

Obviously we did use nappies, it would’ve been slightly messy without them but… Most people don’t know what size their baby will be when they arrive or how quickly baby will grow so you don’t want to be stuck with a load of nappies that you can’t use. We were bought box after box of them and we ended up giving most of them away as Little T more or less skipped size 1 being a chunk! My advice would be to buy one small pack of newborn to take into hospital with you then buy the rest as and when you need them. Nappies are ALWAYS on offer at various supermarkets so don’t get drawn into buying 3000 of the same size whilst they’re cheap.

Baby bath

Mamas and Papas two stage bath

Source

We bought the MAHOOSIVE Mamas and Papas thing. I don’t know why, you can see that lifting it when filled with water is going to be a near on impossible task just by looking at it. From experience, if you’re thinking of buying a special baby bath, don’t bother. We used this massive thing once and ended up returning it. Naughty I know. There are so many bath time gimmicks out there (I mean look at this!) but to get the most out of bath time, just let baby get in with you! There’s no better way. It’s free, your house isn’t taken up by a stupidly large baby bath that needs its own mortgage and most of all, it’s perfect skin to skin bonding time for you and baby. Also, if daddy is around, he can dry and dress baby whilst you stay in a relax a bit longer, everyone’s a winner. Having a bath with baby is something daddy can do too. After all, in a day and age where dads only get a short time to spend bonding with their baby before they’re back at work, it’s nice for them to get some proper skin to skin time with their newborn after a long day ‘in the office.’ Even though Little T is almost one, we still sometimes hop in the bath and have a play with his toys together. I do think that him having baths this way have contributed for his love of being in the water and makes him so eager in his swimming lessons too. Being used to the water is something that I feel so strongly about. Teach a baby from the start that there’s nothing to be scared of and it’ll help them grow to up without a fear of water. Try it, it’s lovely.

Mobile

Source

Source

Being a stickler for things that match, I spent weeks trying to find a nautical mobile to compliment Little T’s room. I found one from the US but fortunately somebody on this side of the pond was selling one on Ebay that very same day. Consider said nautical mobile snapped up! A year down the line we’ve never used it. Little T has always been a good sleeper so putting the mobile on when he was trying to doze off only had the opposite of the desired effect. It was a case of “turn that thing off mummy, I want to sleep!” You might as well save your money at first and buy one if you think your baby needs it, don’t buy one because it’s the done thing like I did.

Changing station

Source

Source

We got special nursery drawers with a section on the top for a changing mat. Fact is, in those first few months your baby is still in your room. During a night feed when he or she needs their nappy changing, are you really going to get up and change them in their room or are you going to grab the nearest clean nappy and whip a new one on with baby laid on your bed? As much as you’d like to think it’s the former, it’ll no doubt be the latter. Anything that means you can stay in bed, move as little as possible and get back to sleep quicker. The same goes for during the day. You will tend to change your baby wherever you are rather than making a special trip upstairs to your purpose built changing station. All you need at first is a changing mat downstairs, one upstairs and your bed/floor. When the time comes that your baby is crawling or running away halfway through a nappy change, you won’t even use the mat, honestly.

Comforters

Source

Source

We were bought so many little clothy animal head things but the truth is, I have no idea what they are for or what they are supposed to do. Yes, I could ‘google’ it but Little T has gotten by just fine without them, they’re still in his bottom drawer. Maybe our next baby might want one and if so, we’re already stocked up.

Bumbo

Source

Source

Look, I’m gonna put it out there – I thought I ‘got’ Bumbos but I don’t. This is another thing that I was adamant I wanted to get for Little T after seeing my friend and sister in law bang on about them. Again, I went along with the trying to match thing, getting a red one as it would go well with our living room decor. It turned out we never used it in the living room, the only time we ever used the Bumbo was a couple of times when we were having a lazy day and decided to give Little T his breakfast in our bed. We sat him in front of us in his Bumbo and give him his porridge and left it in our bedroom for the next time we decided to have a lazy morning. Believe it or not, the red didn’t match our bedroom decor and I actually think it’s still in there, waiting to be used properly. Fat chance now T won’t sit still for more than a few seconds. If you have a bouncer for baby, I doubt you’ll bother with a Bumbo.

What we did use:

Bouncer

Source

Source

We got the Mamas and Papas Apollo bouncer for T and it was great! Granted, it is expensive so we bought a second hand one from Ebay at less than half the price. It was immaculate so as far as we were concerned it was new. You don’t necessarily need to get a fancy all singing all vibrating one like this one. Any bouncer will do and it will come in very handy before your baby is at an age where he or she can sit up on their own. It’s so much comfier for them than the Bumbo and they’re in a better position.

Source

Source

I can’t recommend this Mamas and Papas Stargaze mat (Little T’s disco mat, as we called it), enough. Lighting up, playing music and with an ipod dock, it is a treat for their little senses! There are hanging tags that baby can kick to set the lights and music off and you can buy other tags separately to make different sounds and music. It grows with your baby too, coming with a cushion for tummy time then turning into a play mat when your baby can sit up. It sounds expensive but it really is worth the money. Little T loved it and spent many hours kicking away at his own little disco under there. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little bit gutted when I had to box it up for our next little sprout!

Source

Source

A little bit of controversy here but WE LOVE SOPHIE! How many Twitter followers will I lose for that, I wonder? My 3 year old nephew adored his Sophie so I thought I’d try Little T with one. He took to her and her squeakiness straight away and so did our Labrador. Some say you might as well buy your baby a dog toy – I guess that is right but dog toys aren’t as cute and they aren’t made from 100% rubber. With her knobbly horns, ears and feet, she helped Little T through his first and second stages of teething, with many more to come. Even now at 11 and half months old she keeps him entertained on car journeys too, often squishing her to see how loud she can squeak (I haven’t bred a deviant, honestly). Of course there are plenty of other teething toys out there, we have a few types but Little T hasn’t given them the time of day. All I can think is that there must be something a lot more visually appealing about Sophie than your average round teether toy that you stick in the fridge. What I would say is, if you have the original Sophie (pictured) there’s no point buying the Sophie So Pure Teether, you’re essentially buying two of the same thing. Sophie stays attached to Little T’s pram at all times with this, another genius invention!

Source

Source

I have read mixed reviews about the Slumber Bear but this is another product that Little T found very helpful in the first few months of his little life. It was actually a present from my brother and his wife after they found it useful with their first baby. Making a selection of different white noises to help baby sleep, it’s great. With the slumber bear plus you can also record your own voice, if baby finds it soothing. I have to admit, although we used it every night, we only used the egg in his Moses basket rather than the full bear as I was bothered about suffocation. We mainly used the ‘womb’ setting as this is the noise Little T found the most comforting and in actual fact, it turned out that Big T and I found it quite relaxing too! I remember going away somewhere and we forgot to take the Slumber Bear egg with us. It was awful and Little T really struggled so from this we learnt that the Slumber Bear was a big factor in helping him get to sleep. I downloaded a white noise app on my phone with a similar womb noise which did the trick too but I wouldn’t want to leave my phone and it’s signals near my baby in the long term.

Source

Source

When I asked Big T for some ideas for this post, muslin cloths were the first thing he said. I can’t stress how useful they are in the first six months or so when you are mainly milk feeding. Babies are sick a LOT. If you are using wipes or tissues to wipe this sick up each time, babies could slowly become even more expensive than they already are. With a massive pile of muslin cloths, you’re laughing! Vom away baby, vom away. They have multiple uses – over the shoulder burp cloths, bibs, emergency changing mat, breastfeeding cover up, the list is endless. If you are stuck for gift ideas as a new mum or as a friend of a new mum, always ask for or buy muslin cloths, they go down a treat!

And there we have it. The main things with newborns are a clean bum, a full tummy and lots of love, anything else is a bonus. Most things can wait until after your baby is here, you just need the basics at first. Of course each baby and each experience is different, I am purely going by what we found with Little T. With our next baby, whenever that may be, I might be eating my own words but at the moment with him being our first baby, I can only go by what we have discovered this time.

Did you find any specific baby products to be a waste of money or to exceed your expectations? It’s a minefield out there!

Laura x

READ MORE

Aug 5

Speedy T

0 comments

by LifeLoveLaura on August 5, 2013

Recently Little T has found his feet. Not quite literally, he’s still learning how to walk, but boy can he cruise and crawl! A little too fast for my liking. He has gone from a slug like commando crawl to full on whizzing around the house on all fours in a matter of weeks. Not content with bombing about the house on his front, he can negotiate down steps into kitchens and gardens, no problem at all. This weekend, however, he went one step further (no pun intended) and discovered that he can climb stairs. Great.

He has been pulling himself up on the bottom step for quite some time but this we didn’t mind, what’s the worst he was going to do? Bump a few inches back down onto his bum once standing up? On Saturday, I stood with him whilst he tried to figure out what it meant to climb stairs. In no time he was up on step number two. ARGH!

I'm not sitting still for your lovely photo mum, I'm off!

I’m not sitting still for your lovely photo mum, I’m off!

Yesterday, whilst playing in the living room something came across him. A little light bulb of thought. “PING!” “Why am I playing in this stupid sensory ball pool when I can go and climb stairs??!” and he was off towards the stairs as fast as he could. I followed him and watched out of curiosity and in no time he was up on step five. STEP FIVE! As if! Where has my tiny little snoozy newborn gone? My baby that slept the whole way through a meal out? I’m not complaining at all, don’t get me wrong, but the time is passing way too quickly for my liking. He can now climb stairs! Where has that come from?

Consequently, Sunday was spent baby proofing the house. Now, baby proofing is neither a cheap do nor pretty. Safety gates are bloody ugly things but it’s something that has to be done. We have had to have the Lindam Sure Shut Orto gate  (£29.99) on the kitchen archway for almost three years to stop Daisy roaming the house whilst we’re out so what’s one more? (waaaah, my beautiful character filled house… *sniff sniff*) With the stairway opening being a bit different – quite slim and awkward for attaching something to it, we had no idea where to start. Big thank yous to the lovely Laura at Lobster Love (cracking handmade pearl bridal jewelry, have a look!) who suggested the BabyDan Multidan wooden safety gate (£25.99), we have something that is just right. It looks a little bit more pleasant than the metal gates, fits into smaller spaces and most importantly, adds the perfect amount of safety to our stairs. A gate that fixes to the wall, rather than a removable pressure gate isn’t for everybody but it was the only way we could fit a gate, there was nowhere for a pressure gate to fix to. Once the gate can come off, a little bit of filler in the holes won’t hurt!

From this...

From this…

To this - safety gate city

To this – safety gate city

Our stairs are really steep terraced house type so really, it’s a no brainer to have safety measures in place. When we moved in the stairs didn’t even have a bannister, just steep and scary open space down into our dining room. It’s a good job we had a bannister put in before getting pregnant and I’m uncoordinated and unsteady one my feet at the best of times so being a massive lump of baby didn’t help matters. Now Little T is here and discovering more of his little world, the bannister and safety gates are going to be priceless. And yes, I do realise this is just the start of it so let the fun begin!

Laura x

READ MORE

Jul 29

My working week

2 comments

by LifeLoveLaura on July 29, 2013

Last Sunday night I felt sick. Not because I’d eaten something dodgy for lunch, because Monday was my first day back at work. The thought of the job itself wasn’t the issue, it was more the getting up and out the door to start work at 7am. I don’t sleep well at the best of times, I am a light sleeper who wakes up at the sound of a pin dropping so how on earth was I going to get some proper kip in to feel set up for a 12 hour shift at work? Fact is, I didn’t. Setting my alarm when I went to bed was bad enough but when it went off I felt even worse! It’s not quite the same as being woken up in the night by your newborn, like I’ve been used to. Getting up and getting a bottle whilst in a zombie state isn’t that much of a big deal. At least you know you have nothing but baby duties all day. You can even stay in your pjs, there’s no obligation to get dressed. When your alarm goes off for 12 hours at work, it’s your first day back after 19 months off and you have barely slept, it’s a totally different story.

Work alarm

Now, I haven’t had 19 months off (I wish) but because of the nature of my job, as soon as I found out I was pregnant I had to tell my boss. It was horrible having to tell people so early but because of what I do, keeping it to ourselves wouldn’t have been worth my while. As soon as my boss knew I was taken off shifts and my usual work duties to be put in an office Monday to Friday 9-5 doing any sort of paperwork that I could find. I quite enjoyed it (and would carry on doing this if I was allowed!) but with my horrendous sickness I was neither use nor ornament really, barely at work through not being able to move without chucking up… for seven months. Think of the worst hangover you’ve had and times it by 3000. People who get through pregnancy with only a few weeks of sickness, I envy you.

When the time came to go back to my normal work duties on Monday after the best part of 9 months doing paper work and a year’s maternity leave, it was one hell of a shock to the system. With Tuesday being the only day of childcare we couldn’t get covered, however, it is now my set day off. With this thought in the back of my mind I did actually breeze through Monday. Little T and I celebrated our day off together on Tuesday with a mummy and baby date at Nandos. Classy!

Babies at Nandos

Wednesday and Thursday were a WHOLE different story – two 12 hour shifts on the trot. I am thankful that whilst I have been on maternity leave our shifts have changed from 14 hours to 12 hours but even still, they’re a bloody long day and on Wednesday night I was knackered, good and proper. I came in from work and thanks to my friends Phoebe and Rachel, I had over 131 texts to read but didn’t have the energy to reply. I had some tea and went to bed ready for the next 5.45am wake up call on Thursday. This is going to sound absolutely ridiculous but I didn’t even tweet for over 24 hours, shock horror!! Being off work for so long, I have gotten used to speaking to my twitter ladies everyday. I aren’t allowed my phone in the building whilst at work let alone have a sneaky check of twitter whilst on duty so I have been missing them!

Once Thursday afternoon came I had to take some annual leave and go home six hours early. Lightweight, I know.

All in all, with no phased return and thrown straight back into a pretty demanding job, my first week back was HARD. My manager told me it would be but I didn’t realise the extent of it. It has also hit home that this is now my life. It is totally new territory – I have never worked full time and been a mum so it’s going to take a while to adjust. The plus side to working shifts is that, even though I will be working full time, I still have the quality time off during the week with Little T but whilst being off making a start on bringing up a newborn I’ve realised that I could quite happily be a housewife! If only money allowed…

Here’s to my second, and hopefully more successful week at work.

Laura x

READ MORE