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12 week Secret

I was directed to an article on the Daily Mail a few days ago about why we keep pregnancies a secret for the first 12 weeks, written from a mum who has had a miscarriage. I will state immediately that I have never had a miscarriage so cannot comment from experiencing that directly. However, I can still discuss the act of secret keeping. Why do we not announce a pregnancy until after 12 weeks? There’s something about there being a higher rate of miscarriage before that point. This is when we have our first scans over here, so when we first hear a heartbeat. However, you can have earlier scans – out of choice or medical necessity – does this mean you can announce the pregnancy?

Meanwhile, if you don’t announce before your 12 week scan, you suffer those 12 weeks alone. With Elvis, due to the treatment, everyone knew I was pregnant. Most people knew what day I had to test. There was no 12 week secret. With Robin, it was our choice. We chose to tell our parents and closest friends before the 12 weeks. With both, my theory was, if the awful happened, the people who knew were the people I would turn to. As I mentioned, I have never suffered a miscarriage. I have suffered through trying to conceive, having unexplained fertility and then a treatment based conception. Along with a natural conception. Ignoring the miscarriage, or potential for it, aspect of a pregnancy, for a lot of people those first 12 weeks are the worst and you have to suffer in silence. Or you’re advised to. Personnlly I subscribe to the theory that I used – no matter what the guidance or advice, you can choose to tell those closest to you, those that you would expect support from if the worst happens. The two best friends that I chose to tell do not mean more to me than the two best friends that I chose not to tell. The colleague at work that I told (because she announced her pregnancy a week before I was scheduled to announce) means no more to me than the colleague I didn’t tell.

But even if you choose to tell those closeset to you, those that will be able to support you, there are still plenty of people that you have to lie to. I actually consider myself lucky with Elvis because everyone was aware that I was due for the fertility treatment, I lied to no one – they all suffered alongside me! With Robin, I lied to mummy-friends for almost two months. And they were the people that I saw all of the time. There I was at a toddler group, feeling like death, wanting to nap, desperately wanting to ignore my son and just sleep (hence why I went to the group!) and lying to everyone around me. I really did feel awful. I have no idea if any of those mummies noticed or guessed.

I know a mum-to-be who had told me she was expecting but no one else, and she was having a terrible time during early pregnancy. Well, her social comments would have had other friends thinking that she was dying without the background knowledge that she was expecting. I started to worry that people would think she was dying! Trust me, I hate the family motto the generation above me seems to have – you’re not ill, only pregnant (which is true, but some people have far harder pregnancies than others so don’t judge), but my friend’s online persona did not hide any of her pains, because it was too early, leaving friends and family thoroughly worried. On the flipside I know a mum that announced her pregnancy on social media at just 6 weeks. Very sadly she did miscarry within just a few weeks. She would have had support and love from everyone who knew her though because of her announcement, whereas the mum who was suffering and didn’t announce or share with anyone, sufferned alone for those 7 weeks.

Would or did you announce early? What do you think of mums that do? Or don’t?

~ P x

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The Second Time

We’re only two weeks in but it’s all so very different. And I don’t just mean because I’ve done it before.

No, I don’t mean things like she sleeps more than he did. Or she roots and wants milk more than he did. Or she’s already a faster feeder, he took a few months.

No, I mean I’ve noticed more about her than I ever did with him. Probably because of how I felt over his birth. She has amazing hair. A small forehead and cute downy hair sideburns. She also has tiny black hairs on her ears. And her hair is so soft. I kind of want it to stay dark, the hair on her head anyway. I doubt she’ll ever have amazing mega eyelashes like her brother (Elvis’ are amazing) but they’ve grown since birth. Or have popped out from gunky eyes.

She has a screech that she does. Loud, high pitched and definitely girlie. She also hates having her nappy changed. She hates the cold baby wipes. I can’t remember any of these things about Elvis.

Have I forgotten? Did I never notice?

~ P x

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Days 11 and 12

Day 11and Baby Robin finally seems to have some awake periods, some times she can go in her rocking chair and lie happily staring. It’s only for small periods, but it’s more than just sleeping. Last night she finished her bedtime breastfeed at 11pm and didn’t feed again until half 6. It beats the 2 mornings of 4am cluster feeds, but will be a one off. She’s changing day by day and does some independent sleeping during the night  – by independent I mean next to me and not on me.

Daytimes she can be put down asleep but it doesn’t last long. She has an almost constant need to suckle during daylight hours. But even with night wakings she’s a far faster eater than Elvis was at this age so I’m pretty rested.

I have a shoulder pain, I got it with Elvis, too. From holding her, sitting and feeding her. I’m a tad resentful of breastfeeding at the moment. Meanwhile my scar is hurting pretty much whenever I move. It makes night feeds even worse. Perhaps she realised his and gave me last night off. I’m trying the biological nursing or laid back feeding position more to try and stop her incessant dribbling and decrease my shoulder pain.

She gained weight again today – 8lb 13oz up from 8lb 4 but still not at birthweight of 9lb 1oz.

Elvis’ pox are clearing up, they’re all scabbed over and he’s not on as much medication any more. But he’s still not himself. He refuses to walk anywhere and we’re not sure if it’s because he’s tired still or used to it or jealous of the baby. He has taken to Robin very well, careful around her, kisses her and tries to share his toys so it isn’t all bad.

He doesn’t seem to mind sitting next to me as I feed or at least just nurse. But we watch far too much tele to keep him calm (maybe more due to him being ill) and feed him biscuits. So I feel guilty.

Perhaps if we were formula feeding I’d feel less guilt towards him. But more to her.

Well, the 11th night made everything worse. I woke up at 1 with diarrhoea and vomiting. Of course, I’m the only one who can deal with Robin. This has then led to back cramps and dehydration headaches. I am so tempted by formula.

The only things stopping me are I remember it all getting better last time and then it all just became easy. She’s already starting, slowly, to fall into 3 hourly feeds with periods of alertness in between. So things are improving, but I feel like crap. Utter, twisty, cramping crap. I need to figure out more comfortable ways to feed in bed and sleep either with Robin or figuring out a way to put her down.

The only really comfortable places I can feed are the nursing chair and reclined on the sofa, but can we stay there all night?

How do you get a baby to stay asleep in their Moses Basket?

~ P

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How Do Children Cope?

I know that they do, they must do. But how do children cope with new siblings?

Aside from my worries about being paid correctly, about how I will actually give birth, about making the wrong birth decisions, about how I’m going to cope with two all day on a Friday and all afternoon 4 days a week, about how I will cope with little sleep and a toddler in tow, my biggest unknown worry is about Elvis.

How will he cope having his world turned upside down?

How will he cope with this little baby who comes in to his home, his world and takes over things?

How will he view his sibling when everyone wants to come over and cuddle the new one?

Will he feel ignored? Will he feel left out? Usurped?

Will he even care, or just continue playing with his trains?

Will he eventually love a little brother to play football with? Or hate the little brother that steals his toys, that takes over half of his bedroom?

Will he care immediately for a little sister and become possessive from day one? Or will he hate all of the pink that she brings in to his world?

Will he feel like he’s getting less love, less attention, less time from mummy, daddy and nanny?

Will he notice when mummy is missing for a few days, labouring in a hospital?

Will he notice that daddy has suddenly started picking him up from nursery for a few weeks, allowing mummy to rest with the new baby?

Is he too young?

I know there is no optimum age-gap to have. Some people prefer very close together to either get all of the nappies, sleepless nights out of the way or to enable an amazing bond between two children with only 18 or 24 months between them. Some people prefer a good few years, so only one is in nappies, so the older perhaps understands more and can be involved in the journey of pregnancy. I tend to side with the former – smaller gap because, selfishly, I do not want to go back to the newborn hassle after a few years. It is something I would hate in my current mindset. I truly do not see myself getting broody when these two are over 10 and going for a third. But, would it be better on the children? With only one at home all the time, you get to bond better with each child. You might get more rest. And they would understand more. I would love Elvis to feel my belly kicking and understand what it is.

Everyone tells me that he’s resilient and adaptable, but what if he isn’t and I have to see him in pain and frustrated because I changed his world?

~ P

P.S. This is a scheduled post written before Robin’s birth, but as it is scheduled for February, Robin really should be born already!

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Ever Improving

Things are definitely getting better. Elvis slept last night, so did Daddy. Robin and I slept as normal, well, a bit of a cluster feed at 4am that I found annoying, but it was only for an hour. And some of that hour was taken up with me wrapped tightly in the duvet having one of my cold shivers as Robin stared intently at the lamp. Before and after that we co-slept as normal but with some side by side sleeping, not just tummy to tummy.

Robin has had a weight gain. Elvis is warming back up to me – he cried when I left the house today and wasn’t bothered by Daddy leaving so much. But he then had a meltdown when I picked up Robin for a feed. He is still ill with chicken pox but I really just want a bit of normality for the 4 of us. Robin will only suck to sleep and will only stay asleep on or next to me.  How am I supposed to give Elvis any time?

I might have to break out the Moby Wrap a friend gave me.

Daddy,  Robin amd I went out today, leaving Elvis at home with Nanny. We needed to get Robin’s hearing checked at a local pre-school for hearing impaired children so we couldn’t take Elvis there even if he is past the contagious phase of chicken pox. Robin passed both ears. Then we cheekily headed into town so I could buy new bras.

None of my old bras fit at all. Not even the sleep ones, although maybe once my ribcage goes down a bit. There’s no point in me wearing bras, or clothes in general at the moment. I haven’t had any mass leaking today, but Robin still guzzles either too much,  it’s too fast or she gets milk when she just wants to suck to sleep – whichever, I get mass leakage from the boob she’s feeding on.  Elvis quickly decided he wanted to suck to sleep but kept getting unwanted milk from me, hence why we intrpduced a dummy for him. So far, Robin could be similar with regards to my supply, but she seems happy to waste it! And chew me as she gets sleepy.

I’m not used to that in a newborn! How do I stop it?

But at least now I have a bra to wear when I have to leave the house, I’d rather stay at home right now with the milk dribbles! Tomorrow it’s the registry office and hopefully no milk dribbling followed by Daddy going to work for the afternoon despite him being on paternity leave. Luckily Nanny’s coming over to help! I still feel rubbish that I can’t do lots with Elvis, but I feel better. My boobs seem to be calming down and I’m either going to try putting Robin down for naps, to play with Elvis, or ise the wrap. She sleeps a lot right now.

One week left before Daddy goes back to work!

~ P

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