Two Months Old

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Well my beautiful boy, you are now (as of yesterday) officially two months old (9 weeks old tomorrow)

Two months since we welcomed you into our world.
Two months since I first held you and gazed into your beautiful face and soaked in every one of your beautiful features for the first time.
Two months of watching you grow.
Two months of needless worry over your health and development.
Two months where my love for you has grown beyond comprehension.
Two months of wonder and joy alongside a lot of angst.

I can’t believe how fast it’s galloping along and how much you are changing. Each day seems to bring something new to the table which amazes us and makes me fall that little bit more in love with you, if that’s at all possible.

Character
You’ve been a little fractious this month my darling. I blame this on the antibiotics I’ve been polluting your perfect little body with. They’ve upset your little tummy and given you some proper bouts of tummy ache and vomiting and for this I apologise to you sweetheart. You’re so inquisitive and thus you’re easily bored and we can see that you’re going to be quite independent though I’m pleased to say nothing settles you more than being in my arms. We see you pushing yourself physically, ever eager to test your muscles.

Smiles
This month has brought us tonnes of smiles, from little smirks to proper eye and mouth ear to ear grins. We get most of these first thing in the morning when you wake and see me smiling down at you and after you’ve been fed, washed and dressed. What a beautiful smile it is and each time I’m privileged enough to be the reason for this it melts my heart.

Muscle Development
Your neck and leg muscles are getting amazingly strong. You are constantly holding your head bolt upright and holding it for such a long time when in our arms. You do this and take in your surroundings and catch us by surprise when you let your head loll, usually to the detriment of my lip, you thankfully remain unscathed. There’s nothing you love more than combining this with using your legs to ‘stand’ (with obvious weight support) on our laps with your hands on our chest and have a proper look over our shoulders. Your grasp is so strong and you love to hold my hand when feeding.

Speech
Vocally you are coming on in leaps and bounds. Over the last few days you’ve started properly finding your voice and what a beautiful voice it is too. It’s taking me some time to get used to these and recognising that you are exercising your new found skills and not starting to ‘kick off’.

Entertainment
You still love to be held and walked around, I’ve recently bought a Boba Wrap to give my arms a rest and you are fast getting used to it. There are a couple of small windows during the day where you happily sit in your bouncer or on your play mat while we entertain you. You love me playing with your hands and feet and giving you different textures to feel. You are fascinated with watching me eat my cereal and two days ago I swear you laughed for the first time (I wasn’t aware my eating was so humorous). At times you are fascinated with the television and as much as I don’t want you to spend too much time in front of this I have to admit I’m using this time to enable me to wash and dress and enjoy a hot cup of tea. You are infatuated with watching me brush and straighten my hair and often find it quite amusing. If I turn my back on you you coo to get my attention and greet me with a smile when I turn back. You are easily bored though and soon tire of any activity after 10 minutes or so. You have well and truly discovered your hands now and like to bat at the animals dangling from your bouncer and like nothing more than to suck your hands when you’re hungry, often getting in the way of your latching.

Sleep
Sleep evades you during the day at the moment. I think you are too intrigued with the world around you and don’t want to miss a thing so fight your tiredness with passion until you become so irate you’re inconsolable. I literally have to force you to sleep by either getting you in the car and taking you for a drive or taking you to bed and nursing you to sleep. Taking you for a walk doesn’t lull you to sleep anymore, I think it just stimulates you even more so we have to make sure you’re asleep before we put you in your pram to get some fresh air. At night though I can’t complain. You still wake at midnight, 3 and 6 but you feed and settle back to sleep so quickly it’s a godsend. We still struggle settling you in the basket or crib we have to make sure we warm the blanket you lie on first and play you white noise and invariably you end up wide awake again. I have noticed that you are paying more attention to your cot mobiles over the last few days so hopefully you’ll soothe yourself to sleep soon enough.

Routine
What routine? We are still being baby led thus following your lead where routine is concerned. The only time we interfere with this is when I force a nap on you in the afternoon and we do implement a ‘bedtime’ routine in the evening where you’re bathed, changed and fed for the wind down to bedtime.

Growth
This month has seen your 6 week check up at your doctor’s it saw you weighing in at 9Ib 3.5oz, measuring 53.5cm in length with a head circumference of 39cm and you passed all your checks wonderfully. Of course you decided to play the doctor and refused to open your eyes or mouth for him until he was concentrating on somewhere else. A subsequent weigh-in two weeks later saw you at 10Ib 1oz. I have, this week, packed away your newborn clothing and you are officially in your 0-3month ones, I can’t begin to tell you how it broke my heart packing away those tiny little babygros and vests, silly I know. You have to grow and I want you to grow it’s just a small insight into how time passes so quickly and I don’t want to miss or forget a moment of it.

Today I’ll be taking you to the doctor’s for your first set of immunisations against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, haemophilus influenzae type b(Hib), pneumococcal disease and rotavirus. I’m terrified! I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch them give you an injection and would rather be shot so you didn’t have to go through it, unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. Your father is coming with us for moral support although I’m not sure he’ll cope any better than me but he may just surprise me. It seems more of a shame because you have slept beautifully today allowing me to do a bit of housework, some yoga and eat lunch, though as I write this you are stirring and gently grunting yourself awake so this is where I sign off.

Two months… Wow!
We are privileged to have had
Two more months into the most terrifying, scary yet rewarding time of my life.
Two more months of loving you unconditionally.
Two more months of you, my beautiful wonderful little man cub.

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Weight Watchers

It would appear weight is an issue that becomes public fodder right from the start of anyone’s pregnancy.

Be it the sonographers and midwives guesstimating your baby’s weight in utero giving you cause to dread your impending birth and crossing your legs. Then it turning out to be so far off the mark it’s a joke.

Colleagues, family, friends or just random passers bys remark on your bump size and again remarking on how massive you are at 38 weeks pregnant which, quite frankly, got my back up. One; I wasn’t MASSIVE, yes at the end I looked full term and there’s no denying it but massive is just an offensive remark to make to a woman who’s hormones are already making her an emotional wreck.

Then there’s the people who remind you of the pressures you’ll be under to ‘lose the baby weight’ before you’ve even met your child. You start researching the best way to do this and, let’s face it the only examples you have access to are celebrity examples which are simply unachievable especially whilst breast feeding given that you don’t have an entourage to help look after the baby and personal trainers to drive you back into shape in an unrealistic time frame.

Now I was lucky enough to actually lose weight whilst pregnant… Weight I have subsequently put on due to an over zealous appetite and penchant for chocolate (those who know me know I HATE chocolate, go figure, the only cravings I receive are after birth). One simply can’t diet when breast feeding, it is impossible, you’d pass out if you did and vigorous exercise is just a no go for reasons of breast control and time. The most I can manage is a vigorous walk when taking N for a stroll (and let’s face it the weather has been far from ideal for many of these lately) and a tiny bit of muscle fixing. A supposed ‘friend’ said to me 4 weeks after birth (her child being slightly older) “I could tell it was you by your fat arse” WTF? A hurtful thing to say to someone at the best of times, but to a sleep deprived new mum who feels like a total failure anyway it’s down right cruel and from a new mum themselves. What gives people the right to make such remarks? And by other women who’ve been through the same process. I’ve never once heard a man refer to mine or N’s weight when meeting our little man cub.

I’m desperate to exercise properly but am realistic that this may take until he sleeps through better for me to do as I simply don’t have the time nor the energy and although I fret that I’m a bit ‘baggier’ around the middle i know that this won’t be forever and I have more important things to worry about like raising and loving my child yet still it’s one of the first things anyone enquiries about. Yes I’m back in my pre maternity clothes but I can tell you now they don’t fit the same and I’d rather brag about the fact that my beautiful son is smiling, cooing and thriving than I’ve squeezed myself back into my jeans.

Just when you think you’ve covered all weight related issues people start attacking the last, and worst thing they can… your baby! Now I have a very sicky baby so have been obsessing over whether he is getting enough sustainence so have been reassuring myself by getting him weighed quite often and am proud to say that he is indeed gaining weight. However when remarking on his weight it is questioned by complete strangers with remarks such as: oh isn’t he small; are you sure he’s getting enough milk?; Only the 9th centile? Mine’s on the 90th. Holy cow… When does it stop? What is it with people’s fascination with weight. Look at him, he’s bright eyed, happy and thriving. If he was on the 98th people would people brag there child was on the 2nd and probably refer to him as chunky? It’s never ending.

It’s no wonder we grow up with weight issues when criticisms start when one is 5 weeks old, or even at birth. I’ve found myself asking other mothers about their child’s weight because people keep saying N is so small just so I can compare. When did we become so obsessed with growth charts and centiles and become so bloody competitive?

Weeks ago a midwife on Twitter said to me “watch the child, not the scales” and I didn’t understand what she meant, now I do and she’s absolutely right and I thoroughly intend to and when I tweet about his weight it will be with pride that it’s proof my baby boy is healthy and thriving.

Does He Love Me?

My beautiful boy is 7 weeks old now, the fastest, yet slowest 7 weeks of my life.

I’m sure time only moves in this way when you have a baby. The broken nights’ sleep and seemingly endless, lightless nights and the inconsolable cries during the day make time move at a snail’s pace. Yet the constant inability to get things done, basic things like getting yourself dressed before midday, preparing to go out for a simple walk and when you realise your tiny baby is growing out of his newborn clothes makes time seem like it’s racing by at warp speed and you have that overwhelming need to stop it and get off.

Here we are, in our 8th week as parents, Noah’s 8th week of life and I truly couldn’t be happier, despite the constant state of exhaustion I know it won’t last forever yet it still manages to affect the way you think.

Gone are the dreamy days of a milk drunk baby sleeping away the day only waking to be fed then collapsing into that stupor once more. We have welcomed a new phase. A phase of beautiful alertness, an alertness that sees him locking his eyes on our faces and gracing us with the most beautiful smile we’ve ever seen when he deems fit. Soaking in his surroundings and finding joy in certain things around him. He’s truly captivating, yet the last couple of weeks haven’t been easy to say the least.

N has been particularly fractious. With this new found alertness comes boredom. He rarely naps in the day now and after feeding and a little playtime the wails and screams begin. He’s been fed, changed, entertained, fed some more, nappy checked again. He’s apparently inconsolable for what seems like a large proportion of the day. Nothing seems to pacify him.

We’ve bought bouncers on the advice of other parents; “one that vibrates is a must”, they say; “They absolutely love it”, they say; “he’ll drop off in it in no time”, they say. He HATES it. He lasts five minutes at most til he’s crying once more. We’ve bought an activity mat, another recommendation, another total failure. We’ve tried dummies despite our hatred of the, he spits them out. We’ve tried colic drops despite not being totally convinced it is colic. He just wants to be held, then that becomes boring to him and so starts the squirming and wriggling and flailing head with the onset of more screams. I sing lullabies, read stories, read my twitter and Facebook timelines to him (ok, so that would make anyone cry). Carry out activities that I’ve googled are good for babies of this age. I’ve taken him for long walks that only result in me having to endure the looks on passers bys faces when they hear the screams, screams akin to that a victim in a slasher movie makes. Nothing, nothing seems to work. Now during the day I can cope, to an extent, with this tired as I am and usually I can take him to bed with me and nurse him to sleep and by 3 he’s managed to nod off.

Then the OH comes home and the whole thing starts once more only it’s doubly as fractious as we argue between ourselves over what could be wrong. We misunderstand what each other says in the heat of the situation, taking each remark as a criticism which then makes the whole situation 50 times more stressful. Then I give in and take him to bed at 8.30. I don’t care that I’m making a rod for my own back, it’s the only way of preserving my sanity. My relationship with D has changed beyond anything I could ever have imagined.

People say the first 6 weeks are the hardest after that they find their own routine, well those I would say, in our experience have been the easiest and those weeks have been and gone and no sooner do we seem a glimmer of a routine it all changes again, and now people say 12 weeks then some helpfully say 16-20 weeks. I think forcing a ‘routine’ will help, HA!! I’ve even resorted to buying Gina Ford’s book which I’m currently in the process of reading and have to admit some of her points are quite valid and wish I’d done some of the things she said from birth, but I didn’t. Anyway, the only routine we now follow is N’s apart from his bedtime routine I have decided to carry on being baby led. And as far as his bedtime routine goes it consists of a bath, feeding and hopefully settling. I am very lucky in the fact his nighttime routine is set and has been for a while now. He still wakes three times but feeds, winds and settles within half an hour and reading others’ stories I’m glad he has his unsettled time in the evening but it’s hard to see that when he’s been screaming for hours on end.

It’s frustrating that I can’t calm the one person I should be able to soothe. He’s part of me, how can I not soothe him? The only conclusion I come to in this tired, anxious, overwrought state is he hates me. The love I feel for him isn’t returned. Every time he sees my face he thinks he’s looking into the eyes of a monster, it’s the only answer. The only reason he’s behaving like this.

Then comes my saving grace… In a particularly bad episode before I broke down into floods of tears knowing the OH is out on the road for the night, knowing I’m on my own until he returns the next evening, knowing I have to keep it together, I put him in his car seat and put him in the car. As soon as he was locked in, silence. And so I drove and drove and drove. A 50 mile round trip to North Devon and he was finally asleep… My partner and I have, over this weekend, found this time driving around great for all three of us, N gets to sleep, or atleast have a period of no screaming whilst D and I get to talk like adults. I have found our Holy Grail!

I am currently awaiting the arrival of a Boba Wrap so at least I can walk around the house when N just wants be held. Another purchase, another promise of hope, I’ll keep you updated as to it’s success.

No one tells you how hard it is looking after a baby. You expect the sleepless nights, you expect to be sleep deprived for a few months, you expect the loss of a social life and a change in your relationship and you welcome these. What you can’t comprehend or prepare for is how much it hurts when you can’t seem to calm your beautiful baby, it tears at your heart, at your very soul and when you see your beautiful child’s first tears rolling down his cheeks you want to sob and sob and berate yourself for being so totally and utterly useless. You feel like such a failure and this feeling you don’t expect.

Yet with these seemingly horrific moments have come the most precious ones. Ones like when you can pick him up when he’s grizzly and with that one action you can calm him and when you watch him rouse from sleep and in that moment he opens his eyes, sees your face and rewards your efforts with the most endearing smile that lights up his face it wipes the slate clean once more.

So in hindsight… does he love me? Yes, I think that maybe he might!

Breastfeeding #2

So I thought today would be a good a day as any to update you on my breast feeding journey.

I have now struggled through the blanched nipple thing, perseverance and brute force to ensure Noah was latching properly and not giving into lazy feeding at night has won out… HOORAH! Although my nipples are still a little sore, especially at the end of the day and when they get cold, they are so much better and the relief is unreal. It’s taken some time but we’re getting there.

I’ve bought new bras from good old M&S to give them some much needed ‘leg room’ whilst still keeping Lansinoh in business with their amazing Lanolin nipple cream, I really can’t recommend it highly enough, Noah doesn’t bother about it and in fact it doubled up as a moisturiser for him when he was born with really dry, flaking skin as I didn’t want to use olive oil on his hands in case he ingested it.

It really is the most amazing feeling to breast feed. The connection you feel with your baby is beautiful and when you see the weight piling on and know that it’s all down to nature and your wonderful and clever breasts the sense of pride is rather overwhelming. I’m so SO pleased I struggled through that dark time, I could very easily have given up as there really was/is no quick fix for that problem.

So it pains me to say that in the early hours of this morning, after having an A* report from the doctor yesterday about our progress, I noticed that one of my breasts didn’t seem to be ‘letting down’ after he fed. By four this morning it was so engorged I could barely touch it. I let Noah feed from it again and massaged it to release any possible blocked ducts, no joy. He had a large and satisfying feed yet still it was swollen, hard and painful to the touch. Out came the cabbage leaves and hot water bottle once more and I sat waiting til 8.30 so I could ring the doctor.

The advice I’ve received from Twitter and Facebook has been amazing and I thank everyone for it, not only did you help me in short term pain relieving suggestions you also *virtually* wiped my tears and hugged me until I felt less upset. I didn’t think it was mastitis as I didn’t have a fever (though I have felt off colour these past few days) but a MW friend said it sounded possible and to visit doctor.

My OH was wonderful, despite having to get off to work he filled another hot water bottle and made me a cup of tea whilst I got dressed when I could. Offering to take time off to rush me up to the doctor as soon as I had a time.

For once I can honestly say the doctor’s receptionist was helpful and kind. As I burst into tears on the thought of a late afternoon appointment she got me in at 0910. Noah having a well timed feed and change, no waiting time on arrival to surgery and a lovely lady doctor just made my morning complete. She took one look and diagnosed mastitis. Great. Anyway, antibiotics should kick in within 48 hours so fingers crossed I’ll be back on form by the end of the week as I am braving baby massage class on Friday and really don’t want to cancel.

So here I am, having thought I’d cracked this breast feeding malarkey again I find myself struggling. However I am aware that in 48 hours I should be clear which is comforting.

What am I doing?

I have been given a week’s course of clarithromycin which should kick in within 48 hours.
I am currently harbouring a small cabbage patch in my bra…. Sexy!
Will submerge swollen bosom in hot water later and have a hot water bottle on 24 hour call.
I’m rocking the rugby ball baby feeding position to try and drain that quadrant of breast. Having just mastered one feeding position Noah is staring up at me with a look of utter confusion, though I’m sure he’s grateful he doesn’t have to stare at my unkempt armpit for a bit.
Feeding as usual, alternating breasts, but I’m massaging breast throughout his feeds.
Paracetamol.
Rest… Sod the washing, we’re going to snuggle all day.

I’m hoping this is it now. I’m hoping it’ll ease up and give me a break.

I’m not going to be beaten!

6 Weeks Old

Time is going too fast.

My pregnancy dragged, like REALLY dragged. Every week seemed to last a month and it literally felt like FOREVER for Noah to finally be handed over to us safe and sound way back in November. Now he’s here time has suddenly sped up. It’s now a whole new year, we’ve seen two new months in, it’s like labour presses the fast forward button and there’s no way of turning it off and I want to cherish every second like it was an hour.

He continues to amaze us everyday. He’s such an inquisitive soul, always intrigued by his surroundings with great big doe eyes. The downside of this however is he rarely sleeps during the day which then leaves him a little grumpy and stressed in the evenings and we have to concede and take him to bed to settle, this isn’t such a bad idea as I get to shut my eyes too ;).

He’s holding his head up so strongly now and looks around surveying his surroundings, although he still let’s it flop quite suddenly when we’re least expecting it resulting in a few injuries to our faces.

He’s discovered his hands properly now and takes great delight in grabbing at everything, mainly my hair, necklace, glasses, lip and nose and has given his father a nice bindi on a couple of occasions. He also loves to eat them though he still fails to have found his thumb. He loves to mimic our hand and face movements which helps to entertain him on the changing mat and in the bath.

He continues to make the most incredible noises when asleep. The pops, whistles and squeaks constantly have us in fits of laughter when they wake us in the middle of the night in utter confusion or interrupt a conversation we’re having whilst he’s dosing in his basket.

We recently bought a Mamas and Papas Capella bouncer to try and entertain him as he is getting a little bored with our stupid faces and silly noises. He hated it. After much perseverance we’re slowly cracking it and he seems to be enjoying it more now, though I think the reason he doesn’t like it is because he’s strapped in. He likes to be free to wriggle.

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Of course we have the bouncer to thank for his first smile, that moment where your heart melts once more and I managed to catch the moment on video, I couldn’t believe my luck. Of course he doesn’t give them away freely and is yet to smile at every given moment but we’re getting there and it just means we treasure them even more when he does feel the need to treat his old mum and dad.

Today saw the arrival of his Mamas and Papas Tummy Time Octopus which I am waiting to use (he’s currently sound asleep) but looks incredible. I decided to purchase this (with the help of a voucher from his Uncle) as he is getting to the stage where I am in no doubt that he’ll soon be rolling over, he’s making all the right motions and he’s so bloomin’ determined and he tries his hardest twisting away from us on his changing table (unless he’s particularly messy he doesn’t relish his nappy changes).

We had baby clinic yesterday and in preparation for our 6 week GP check up on Monday Noah had a full set of measurements taken:

Weight: 9Ibs 3.5oz (despite him being a particularly sicky baby that’s a massive 1Ib 11.5oz increase that I mainly feel in my arms)
Length: 53.5cm (3cm growth)
Head Circumference: 39cm (5cm growth – that’ll be his Dad’s fault then)

I am in no doubt that’ll he soon outgrow his newborn clothing, I give him a couple more weeks if that. Not bad for a baby that I’d given up buying newborn stuff for after a couple of sleep suits and vests as all the professionals said how he was going to be a 9Iber+. It’s going to be a sad day and I’ve been deciding what to do with them. Do I sell them, donate them to charity, bag them up for baby no. 2 (if we’re granted such luck a second time round) or get creative? I saw a lovely article on making things out of baby’s favourite clothes; patchwork blankets, bunting, etc. so you, and baby, have a constant reminder of those first few precious weeks of life. I totally love this idea, it’s like a keepsake in visual form, just need to get the sewing machine up and running.

We’re still having issues with sleeping arrangements at night. He’s used the bednest a handful of times. He still needs to be settled with me and this means I fall asleep with him so fail to slide him across into the bednest. When he wakes for a feed I tend to get up with him and we stay in the lounge for the rest of the night as I don’t wish to wake the other half up as he’s back at work at the moment and he needs the sleep. I’m hoping when he starts working away again I’ll be able to feed in bed and put him straight into the bednest afterwards as he settles so quickly after his feeds at night and it won’t matter if he grizzles a bit. That and the introduction of a grobag when he’s a little bigger may just solve the issues of a cold bed. We’ll see, watch this space.

We’ve had a few evenings (all over Christmas) of constant crying; colic, reflux, over tiredness, cluster feeding? The reason remains unknown but my nipples were suffering and my OH bit the bullet and purchased some dummies. We both hate dummies so this was a huge step and not one we took lightly. Noah hates them! Constantly spitting them out as he’s gaping wide as if he was on the breast. This breaks my heart every time because we took a long time getting him to latch on so well and now I was confusing the little mite. Needless to say I don’t persevere with the dummy thing I give up as soon as he spits it out. OH, thankfully is the one with the perseverance and continues to hold the dummy in his mouth in a bid that he will, soon, self soothe and not need me nor my sore nipples to lull him to sleep. We’ve now tried 2 different types and I’ve been recommended another which I shall try but I still live in hope he’ll find his thumb.

In a nut shell we’re making progress. He continues to fill our hearts with the deepest love, I don’t think I could love him any more deeply and then he does something new which just strengthens and deepens the feelings I have for him even more. I never knew our hearts were so deep. We are still totally besotted. A little tired I admit but I wouldn’t change it for the world. He is my life and I leave you with this, his first smile.

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New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought this year as opposed to the usual inane last minute and annual pledge to: give up smoking (if I was smoking at the time), cut down on the booze, get fit, crash diet to get back to my 20 something body *coughs*, be nicer, don’t let nasty people affect the way I see myself, try something new.

This year is slightly different, this year my priorities have changed, this year my decisions and actions don’t only affect me anymore, this year I’m responsible for another human being, this year is going to be the start of the most amazing experience ever, and this is what I’m thinking…

Obviously I haven’t smoked or drunk alcohol for quite a long time now (smoking even longer) and can’t see that changing for at least the next 6 months due to breastfeeding. I can quite happily assume my liver has fully recovered from the abuse it’s suffered and haven’t missed my “Ouchy” statuses one iota.

Getting fit is a definite but I’m not going to set myself goals as I have no idea how easy it is to achieve them yet now that my life has changed so dramatically. I’m not pushing myself until Noah has a routine that will allow me to exercise without jeopardizing my much needed rest time. I will, however start my yoga again when the OH returns to work now my stitches have healed and lochia has finally stopped. Just need to get Noah to have a decent sleep at some point during the day.

I’m not likely to crash diet as I’m breast feeding and unless I want to pass out at any given moment I need my calories. That said I shall be returning to my fruit snacks instead of the cookies. This baking craziness that has possessed me since week 37 of my pregnancy I fully intend on stopping, or at least minimising. I was lucky enough to get through my entire pregnancy without putting on a single pound (in fact my post pregnancy weight was over half a stone less than my pre pregnancy one… The sins of alcohol!) and yet I risk ending up the size of a small elephant postnatally. I’m going to adopt a ‘nip it in the bud’ attitude. I never even liked chocolate before I was pregnant for god’s sake!

I will endeavour to adopt a ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ attitude when it comes to joining some mother/baby groups. I fully expect to shit myself before each one but I have to give it a go. I’m a total coward when it comes to doing things like this. I’m fine with back up but this I’m going to have to do on my own and that terrifies me. It would be very easy to stay in my comfort zone and not to bother but don’t think this is fair on Noah. This will start in the next week or so when Noah is old enough to take to baby massage, wish me luck!

I’m going to see/speak to my family and friends back home more.

Complete my course and look for a better position, I may even look into the logistics of re-training.

Above all else I endeavour to be the best parent to Noah that I can be. He is my priority now and I intend to do what it takes to ensure he is healthy, happy and above all else, loved. He is our dream come true, our miracle and 2014 and all the years that follow will be dedicated to his health and well being.

I’m well aware my success rate with New Year’s Resolutions isn’t great but if I only achieve 1 thing this year, 1 thing this lifetime it’s that last one. He is everything to me, my world and for that I would walk over hot coals the rest are just white noise.

2014… I’m ready for you and for once am excited to see what you bring.

Happy New Year

What a year it’s been!

I dreaded the year 2013 for a number of reasons. I dreaded it on superstitious grounds and I dreaded even more that it was the year I was to turn 40 and it seemed I hadn’t achieved a fricking thing in my 40 years.

The beginning of the year sucked. It sucked big time. It sucked because I wasn’t in a good place, not a good place at all and couldn’t see a way out of it.

I hated my job, now don’t get me wrong I love my clients and love the job I do but hate it in equal measures. I screwed up, I wish, oh how I wish, I’d done nursing years ago but I didn’t and that I’ll always regret. I haven’t been able to pursue a career that utilises my BSc degree for reasons I shan’t go into. Instead I’m currently, for the want of a job, working in the community for a living. I’ve regressed not progressed and this sickens, angers and embarrasses me. I remember my mum telling me not to waste my life like she did (not that she did, far from it, she achieved so much and was a success in whatever she set her mind to). I’m ashamed to say I’ve let my beautiful mum down and this shames me. She could see in me what I fail to. I know I can achieve so much more but fail in the courage and self confidence to start. She was my cattle prod and without her I’ve kind of turned into a lost soul just bimbling along with no direction. I screw up interviews for reasons I still fail to understand all I want to do is shout “give me a chance and I’ll show you”, I’m left barely remembering my own name I’m so scared. I have, however, started a management course so I can gain some good out of my current not ideal situation.

Things at home weren’t going well. The black dog seemed to be a permanent fixture in our tiny flat now and there really wasn’t any room for it. For four years the one thing that should be so easy had eluded us. Three failed pregnancies and months of living life by what a pee stick said had started a rot that was eating deeper and deeper into our very core with every monthly disappointment it just deepened and I don’t think either of us had realised how it was affecting us until we later reflected on it.

These two things in turn has made me miss home. I miss it desperately. I don’t feel like I belong here and don’t think I ever will. I’m a small town girl and love the small town life but since moving here I’ve realised that small town life can be tough when you don’t belong to that particular small town. You don’t know who to trust, people stab you in the back and make snide remarks behind your back whilst on the front of it appear to be your friend. I actually think it’s worse here than it is back home, or perhaps that’s because at home I know those are the people you avoid and this lesson you learn at school, you’re not fooled by their dishonesty because you’ve always known that’s the sort if person they are. I have however met three beautiful people (alongside my other half) who I am eternally grateful to have met, friends I class as true, for this I feel blessed and they keep me sane here.

In April things started to change.

I found out I was pregnant again.

This news was met with a kind of complacency. Here we go again. We were almost awaiting the disappointment. Every trip to the toilet was met with mild anxiety expecting to find blood once more. Fortnightly scans started at 6 weeks gestation. The biggy was the 12 week scan as this was the point we miscarried or discovered the pregnancy wasn’t viable. It was always going to be an anxious time.

Then came the whammy.

My Dad went into hospital to have his eyes checked as his vision had started to become blurry. To cut a long story short he had a scan which showed several tumours in his spine, skull and something in his chest cavity. My world seemed to fall apart. I couldn’t lose another parent to cancer, I just couldn’t. I hadn’t even told him I was pregnant. Needless to say, I told him. We had to sit and wait. He had biopsies and further scans and the results would be in on the same day as our scan.

The 20th May was always going to be an emotional day made more so now. It could turn out to be bittersweet, bitter or sweet. Thankfully it was a sweet(ish) day. The scan was fine, our bean was doing really well.

My dad, on the other hand, informed us that he had multiple myeloma. He told us that it wasn’t curable but it was manageable and thus started months of chemotherapy, bone strengthening and back surgery to ‘fill’ the holes the myeloma had created in his spine. The chemotherapy was set to end just before his birthday, just after my due date at the end of November. All this went according to plan and in October he told us that the myeloma was in remission for now and he could stop his chemotherapy a month early. Now we know that this is only a temporary thing and that the myeloma will return but it’s nice to know the drugs did work and when it does return his body should hopefully respond well to the next round of treatment. He has been so incredibly brave and bore this with such courage I am so proud of him and love him so much.

My fortieth came round in August, of course all my plans of an Alton Towers party full of adrenalin fuelled rides and alcohol had to be shelved and I wasn’t sure how I’d cope not being a fan of birthdays at the best of times. As it turned out I had an amazing day laid on by my amazing other half. The black dog had been well and truly banished from our lives, in fact from the instant those little blue lines appeared he did one and hasn’t been seen since allowing us to bridge the distance he had created.

As regards my pregnancy, of which you probably know the outcome, apart from a couple of scares at 16 and 20 weeks it all went well. I made it my job to be as fit and healthy as I could be doing daily prenatal workouts and yoga as soon as I was released from strict midwife instructions at 16 weeks. I strongly believe this is the reason my pregnancy was relatively pain free and labour was as quick and ‘easy’ as it was. It may well be coincidence but I like to think it helped.

My beautiful baby boy has captured our hearts and for five weeks has been the centre of our universe and will now continue to be for the rest of our lives and I can’t imagine a time that he wasn’t there.

My dear Dad continues to improve and is still currently in remission we are awaiting the latest biopsy results later in January.

The black dog continues to leave us in peace.

I continue with my study, although it’s on hold at this present moment in time, and hope to make changes in the new year where work is concerned.

Being forty isn’t as bad as I thought it’d be although I do wonder whether being a new mum at forty is easier or harder than if I was in my twenties. I’m just glad I got as fit as I could when I could to help me along.

In a nutshell the year started pretty shittily but has turned out to be the most amazing year of my life.

Thank you 2013 for the most wonderful things you have provided but I’m excited to see what 2014 has to offer in my new role.

An inspirational friend of mine wrote yesterday:

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one!” – I fully intend to Romaine.

Move over 2013, your time is up!