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Baby Robin Prep

I am scheduling this post for inbetween Christmas and New Years, as I reach term on Christmas Day (37 weeks) and then in the New Year I will have a schedule of posts for up to 2 months just to cover me in a labour/new-born/waiting game haze. There will also then be random other blogs that I write as I sit exhausted or frustrated!

Thank goodness, we have finally figured out what we are doing with the bedrooms in our house! Now, to actually sort them and hope that we have enough time especially with Christmas right around the corner. When we had Elvis, we lived in a small and simple 2 up and 2 down house. There was just about enough room to squeeze a Moses basket by the side of the double bed in our bedroom and certainly no space for a cot. It meant we had a tight squeeze for those first 4 months until Elvis was able to go into his cot — there wasn’t room in his room for a decent chair so I refused to do night feeds in his room. For those first 4 months, the Moses basket completely blocked my husband’s wardrobe. I cannot even begin to remember where he kept his clothes. It’s far too much of a haze. Since we’ve moved, we have 3 bedrooms, all of which have ample space for pretty much any furniture that we want, except that seemed to be causing a dilemma all of it’s own!

We have three double bedrooms. The Master bedroom is at the front of the house and currently has (it’s our store room at the moment) a six door wardrobe (filled with my nursing clothes, newborn – 6 month neutral clothes and my dresses), 2 3 door wardrobes (empty aside from baby toys), 2 large chest of drawers (empty), 3 bedside tables and a double bed. Even with all of this stuff (and the bags of clothes that I’m in the process of sorting) there is still ample room to move around, even to play in really. This bedroom used to be my mum’s and hasn’t been decorated in almost 20 years. The middle sized bedroom is what has always been mine and is now my husband’s and mine. This has a double bed, 2 3 door wardrobes, a chest of drawers, a vanity table and a bookcase. It seems quite full because of the furniture, but there is still plenty of space for the Moses basket (or co-cleeping cot I bought) by the side of the bed. It just isn’t a very practical nursery. The final bedroom has always been the middle bedroom, the spare bedroom. It was where guests stayed or mum’s foster children lived. It has the space for a double, but currently has a cot, wardrobe, changing table, bedside table and then Elvis’ toy storage furniture. Oh, yeah, and the carpet has Disney’s Cars on it so it is clearly his bedroom (Nanny did this before we house-swapped). My bedroom was decorated somewhere in the last ten years, Elvis’ room (carpet aside) I don’t actually know when. But it means that the two rooms with double beds in are due a decoration.

The dilemma is this, what if we want Robin to move out of our room at 4 or 6 months, similar to what Elvis did. What room is s/he going to move into? What if, at that age, we feel they aren’t ready to share a room with Elvis yet? What room can be Robin’s alone before they can move in with Elvis?

If the baby stays/goes in to our bedroom, the smaller of the two “empty” rooms, the one with all the furniture that is actually a bit cluttered, then it will never feel like a baby’s room, it will never seem like a nursery. There won’t be any room for toy storage. There won’t be much room for playing on the floor.

If the baby stays/goes into the front bedroom, the biggest room, well then they have a massive room that is far too big for a child let alone a baby. But, with a bit of rearrangement of the furniture (impossible in our bedroom), an alcove can be decorated for the baby. It can feel like a nursery, even if in just one corner. Even with all of the junk that we keep, ahem, sorting out in there, there is ample floor space so with tidying and preparing, it could be a really nice, over-sized room. Only for the short term really, for the interim period that they don’t need to be in with us and before they are ready to be in with Elvis (I do not want one child waking the other all of the time and Robin may not be as good a sleeper as Elvis). There would still be a play area, and there would be a lovely spare bed for any occasion that Robin is having an awful night, teething really badly or ill, that one of us can sleep close by. We could also room share if we had family to stay and put the family in our bedroom.

If Robin is anything like Elvis, we’re only talking about for 6 months and then I’d be happy to let them share. If Robin isn’t as good a sleeper as Elvis, then it might be a lot longer and I’d like the room to look and be suitable. I think we can achieve that by essentially giving the smallest member of our family the biggest room in our entire house!

Now to plan the decorating for Robin’s little alcove nursery!

~ Px

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Psyching Myself for the End

I’ve decided to lie to myself. I started thinking about it when I hit 30 weeks and posted on facebook “30 weeks done, 12 left to go”. It’s the curse from Elvis being two weeks late – I remember being so frustrated in those final two weeks.

I remember constantly telling my unborn son that I was on maternity leave now, he was losing his time with me after his birthday. And it was hot and I was huge and I had a rash in between all of my since gone stretch marks. And then I spent three days and nights (worse at night) with painful Braxton Hicks (or perhaps it was pre-labour) and I was just fed up.

So, to ease my mental state, I’m considering changing my EDD to the end of term due date. This time around I’m not sure of my dates, I think my EDD might be a week later than my dates, which puts the flexibility in my hands rather than medical. Although from all the reading I’ve done I feel like more of the choices and decisions are in my hands.

Here in my NHS trust, at 40+12 for a prior cesarean section mum, an induction or c-section is booked. Because the general medical thought must be that at 40 weeks your baby is ready. Except people have different gestations and you don’t have to do what they tell you until it becomes a dangerous circumstance.

I’m still undecided about what I want (because it is about what I want, no one can force me into anything unless I let them) when I reach the end of term date (roughly the end of January, 27th). I might feel like last time, so big, in pain and fed up that I say to hell with it, intervene! I still haven’t decided what intervention I’m happy with – sweeps, foley induction, elective c-section. I think I would far prefer an elective over “emergency”, but I don’t think I want to make a decision, to pick a date that my child will be born. Surely it should be up to them?

I might even change my mind when I reach the EDD and beg for interventions, scrapping the end of term date, but for now I’m counting down to 2 weeks late!

Although with Elvis, I wanted him quicker and a friend who was due around the same time wanted to enjoy a little summer holiday before her bubba arrived. Well, she got no holiday and I got about 6 weeks! By that logic, Robin will be early because I would really like some time off before he/she arrives!

~ P

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Sharing The Journey

How come I always seem to end up pregnant at the same time as thin people? Seriously! Maybe it’s my own fault for knowing people 2 or 3 sizes smaller than me. Before getting pregnant with Elvis, I was about a size 12, possibly 14 in trousers for comfort. Now, I do remember weighing myself for the first few months post birth and I did lose the weight. I just never lost the tummy! I never exactly tried.

But, this time around I feel like I’ve exploded. My pre-pregnancy weight this time was 5kg above my Elvis pre-pregnancy weight – the problem I have is they record this weight at my 12 week scan, after the nausea filled crisp fest! I’m not too sure where the new 5kg had come from, maybe my decreasing breastfeeding? Or simply a love of junk!

The annoying thing is probably my family who constantly make a huge deal about my pregnancy size. I was big enough to have twins last time. I was just a giant belly last time. Thankfully I have a lovely husband who never makes me feel so self conscious about my pregnant body.

I guess the worst thing for my self conscious pregnant self is being a 12-14 pregnant mumma next to size 6-8 pregnant mummas. Both times! None of them ever got as big as me, especially 42 week pregnant me! And I just look huge in comparison. At 4 months, I was bigger than a size 6-8 full term mumma! Or then the random, incredibly insensitive comments — it’s one thing when it comes from family and friends (most of whom seem to have learnt this time around!) but somehow even worse when it’s from a stranger. I can be bitchy back to family and friends, I can tell them their comments have upset me, I can be sarcastic back, even hurtful to them in a hormonal fit, but to random people? I can’t be rude back even though they’ve been rude to me. This pregnancy I’ve had “Oh, did you carry big with Elvis?” and “The PE teacher is only 6 weeks less pregnant than you, but you can’t even tell she’s pregnant. Are you sure there’s not two in there?” How rude are those people? People I don’t even know the name of! Well, people like that, let me explain a little bit of science to you – abdominal muscles are stretched during a pregnancy. Sometimes in a second + pregnancy, those muscles can separate a lot because of the first pregnancy. Especially when two pregnancies occur close together. It all depends on what your muscle tone was like before each pregnancy. Mine before Elvis would never have been as good as a freaking PE teacher’s so, yeah, I look far bigger. Or, perhaps there’s something wrong with the growth of my unborn child, thanks for bringing it up. (There isn’t as far as I’m aware and my fundal measurements are spot on so if I am too big, it is actually fat and not baby).

And that’s whilst pregnant, when I lie to myself that I need the chocolate, crisps and cake, when I feel revolted by meat but will eat pizza after pizza, when I decide to nap or relax rather than exercise. What’s probably worse is after the birth as I watch my size 6-8 mummas shrink back to that pre-pregnancy size and I don’t. I’ve never been able to lose weight. I’ve always cared but always been lazy! I can’t diet. I can’t exercise for weight loss, only fun. But how will I fit in swimming or jogging with two kiddies? And now I can barely walk around!

I have found an amazing new pregnancy hero though (through her breastfeeding photos) – Alyssa Milano. I was a huge fan of Charmed and did love all 4 sisters, although Phoebe may not have been in my top 3, and I recently saw a breastfeeding picture that she posted online – she looks fabulous! But then, after following her on facebook, I went back through a few images and found ones when she was pregnant. She wasn’t a stick-thin preggo. It feels kinda reassuring. Famous people are real, too.

Maybe I’ll just stay a blob forever. Or get the diet willpower. Or find friends who blow up and don’t snap back in days!

~ P

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Will the Real Robin Please Stand Up?

Naming my first born was easy. Before hubby and I even married we had randomly decided on a boys name. It begins with E as does my real name, my mum’s and her mum’s. We all have the same middle initial, too. For security reasons, online he became known as Elvis (which is also what I called my bump as I hate it being called bump, hello, originality!). We never planned a girl’s name so it was probably fate that IUI has a slightly higher chance of boys.

Well, Robin is a whole different ball game. Again, I hate the term bump. Those cards signed X, Y and bump. Nope, it just isn’t for me. So, Robin was chosen as the sidekick for Elvis, Batman has one afterall. But Batman also has Batgirl, so Robin could be a girl or a boy.

And we don’t have a name for either.

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My Body Did Not Fail…

You wouldn’t believe how much I want to say that and believe it. I guess I thought I’d gotten over my birthing failures but being surprisingly pregnant a second time, discussing and thinking about a second birth, obviously it’s brought it all back to me.

For a recap (and because the VBAC midwife confirmed what happened), I was induced at T+12 with artificial rupture of my membranes at about 7am ish. Somewhere around mid-morning or lunch, I was put on the induction drip due to nothing happening. Within 4 hours, I had still not progressed any further from 7am and the decision was made for C-section. Due to the induction, I was under constant fetal monitoring, which is restrictive in itself, but Elvis was a pickle and his heartbeat could only be picked up when I was lying on my side. I couldn’t even swap sides!

Meanwhile, the gas and air made me incredibly high. I have never taken any sort of drug before. Other than medically given anaesthetic for operations, paracetamol and alcohol! The first time I took co-codamol for a migraine, I passed out for two days! So, I think gas and air made me loopy. I can remember the room spinning. I can remember hubby and midwife maniacally laughing at me, spinning in a 60s type of vibe. It was all a bit psychedelic and flower-powery for me. I became convinced at some point that hubby was having an affair with the midwife we met that morning and he was never alone with. I don’t remember opening my eyes at all. I only realised that I was missing time when a song came on my ipod that I know off by heart and realised it was missing lines. The music from my ipod all got a dance-remix with heartbeats. I was not on this planet!

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Bumpity Bump

Is there some sort of rule when you’re pregnant? An unwritten one perhaps? One that says that everyone must name their unborn baby something? Some people choose something like Bean because it’s what their growing baby resembled on a scan. As someone who had a 7 week scan, I can attest that those 12 week babies look nothing like beans!

I completely understand that my actual naming of my bump is odd, but I do it because, personally I hate the term Bump. Am I the only one who gives the foetus an actual name? Elvis and Robin are not the true names of my toddler and foetus. Am I the odd one or are the people who call it Bump, Bean, etc?

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Pregnancy Yoga: Breathing Out the Pain

I started yoga last week and today we focussed on relaxation. During a deep relaxation technique we were told to think of pain, the worst pain you’ve ever felt, excruciating pain and then breathe it out. Then think of pleasure and breathe it in. To think of a stormy sea, thunder and lightning, dark gloomy skies and snow peaked hills, then lush green valleys, a calm ocean and bright blue skies.

It was all so relaxing,  I completely zoned out at some point. I lost track of time. I couldn’t hear the traffic or unfortunate building noise; I could hear only the instructor and CD. I left the whole session feeling so lifted and pain free.

Do you know what though? The pain I imagined, the pain I thought of that is the worst pain ever, it wasn’t the induced labour pains, the Braxton Hicks I had for nights before my induction. The pain I imagined wasn’t anything to do with the physical pain of major abdominal surgery. I briefly thought of the pain from initially breastfeeding. I had a few thoughts of the pain I felt every month when, once again, I started my period and had been failed by my body. The things that kept coming into my head on every exhalation were words.

Words that other people have said to me.

On every inhalation, I was repeating my mantra and on every exhalation I had another sentence, another remark that someone had made to me without probably any conscious thought, but never the less were words that hurt me, that stayed with me. They were words about me, words about my son, words about my parenting, words about my abilities, words about my choices, words about my weight, words about my failings. I could hear all of their voices – my mother and her insistence, my in-laws and their questioning, my friends and their criticism, my family members and a passing comment. I could list them all here, each instance that I vividly remember and they have all forgotten if they even knew that they had said those words to me.

But I don’t need to list them, because I breathed them out. I let go of them all. I will no longer keep a mental tally of how someone has upset me because I will just release it as simply as you release a breath. And I truly did feel so much better as I left yoga and headed to work. I felt so much lighter.

There’s still nothing I can do about worrying over labour, hoping for a VBAC. There’s still nothing I can do to organise my working hours and pay until I get some answers, but I can give up everything else.

The thing that is sticking in my mind though is that my pain is words. None of my pain that I hold on to is physical. I can barely remember what physical pain feels like (except for my pregnancy back pain), but I remember every single word. I become haunted by words and I doubt a lot of people know or understand that about me, but in the grand scheme of things, I can only change myself and not everyone else. So all of those people whose words I heard when told to imagine pain, maybe if they read and understand this, realise this about me, they may work to change themselves, but I have no power over that; I can simply breathe out what they say to me and refuse to let them hurt me, refuse to allow myself to become bitter. I am strong in my life. I am free.

~ P

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Can I give up Now?

For anyone’s information, this entire blog is now censored and amended to no longer be accurate to my thoughts and feelings for the sake of everyone else in the world as I am not deemed important enough to have feelings. So feel free to simply laugh at the post below.

The pains and aches are too much. It hurts to walk, not my pelvis anymore, my lower back. And my upper back aches when I try and relax my lower back. My bump has just got harder, like, overnight and it’s uncomfortable to lean forward. I’m tired all the time. 15 months ago, I was yearning for a time that Elvis would have an actual bedtime and when I would get a bit of time after he was asleep before I would go to bed. Now? Now, I would happily go to bed before him.

I can’t get a straight answer out of my bosses about my annual leave and I’m really worried that I’m going to lose a whole load of leave or be refused it. Meanwhile I’m trying to cling on until Christmas holidays. I’m beginning to doubt myself and the ability to last that long. I’ve already brought forward my help me date — I can’t deal with the 80 minutes of solid walking and hubby is happy to take his lunch ferrying Elvis and I around. I was hoping to not take advantage of his lunch hour, but now am hoping to at least the end of November before giving up.

Meanwhile, after a few pay cock-ups and a house move, money has become tight. We’re still paying the mortgage and bills at an old address, but no bills at the new house yet. We need to finish and sell the old house. I need that mortgage money to pay the nursery — especially with my impending maternity pay. I have never felt money be this tight and at least last time I had savings to help me out. Until we sell our old house, I do not have that financial security. But there’s nothing I can do to speed that up. I can’t shift the few boxes remaining. I can’t drive there and back, emptying the house. And I can’t paint the one damn wall that needs painting!

And I would really like all of these things sorted before Robin comes along (obviously the pain and feeling uncomfortable will).

I would really like to fast forward time!

~ P x

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Prep for Baby Robin

Okay because we’re currently opting to not find out if Robin is a he or she, I am planning for neutral and making everything white/cream. I figure that the second one has to be easier. We already have the Moses Basket, the toys, the pushchair, the safety gates, the weaning stuff, the steriliser, pump and bottles. I already have the maternity wear and nursing clothes.

Yet there are still things that we need to sort out.

  • Our Moses Basket is Blue. So for £2 I bought 2 cream sheets. I plan on using my neutral sleeping bags so only need the bottom sheet. If Robin messes both cream, she can spend a night on blue sheets.
  • I need to check the newborn gro-bag situation.  I have a feeling Elvis had a sailor and pirate one for under 3 months. Not very neutral! But does that matter? Do pyjamas matter if Robin’s a she, as she gets older? I’m definitely swaying more to shoving her in boys things because it’s just a colour and I have some lovely dark blue vests! As long as she has hair or looks like a girl. Obviously, all of this sorting of clothes is redundant if Robin’s a boy! Haha!
  • We need a new cot. This is a particular argument I’m having with my mum. She believes that by 18 months old Elvis should be in a bed. Robin, obviously, won’t need a cot straight away, so Elvis really should be in a bed. Yes, he might be, I argued back, he’ll be in his cot-bed — the one you (Nanny) bought as a birth present and should last until he’s 7/8. But, yeah I’ll take away Elvis’ belongings at the same time as I throw him through a complete loop and change his whole entire world, and only give Robin second hand goods. However, after making this decision, we found a second hand co-sleeper cot. But Robin won’t be in Elvis’ hand me down bed.
  • Nursing chair – hubby’s decided that he wants me to have one to help with feeds this time. So we went and bought one in our local kiddicare’s closing down sale. £70 reduced down from £180. I’m quite pleased with it and I already love sitting in it, photo editing on my Mac or watching TV. It rocks and everything. So does the footstool!
  • Although I love Elvis’ pushchair, his Gravo Travel System was rubbish for newborn. The carrycot was tiny and not suitable for overnight sleeping. He couldn’t fit by 7 weeks so was stuck in a car seat attached until he was 16 weeks, which worried me then with the 45minutes a day rule and worries me more with Robin. I have already sourced a Mamas and Papas pushchair that has a proper carrycot part to it with replaceable mattresses. Perfect for nappy or tummy explosions and sleeping whilst I run around after Elvis. It needs cleaning. But I do need to check the rain cover fits and clean it.
  • Clothes in general! A few months ago, before I got pregnant, I organised all of Elvis’ old clothes into age and divided it by boys and gender neutral. I was pleasantly surprised a few days ago when I looked at the vacuum sealed bags and have 2 filled with neutral. They need sorting and hanging so I can figure out what else I desperately need to buy.
  • Due to the opposite seasons, I already know that I’ll need some newborn snow-suits. It will be January after all and I got a nice second hand Olive and Henri one for just £5.
  • Newborn nappies! I think I should be okay for other toiletries like bum cream, wipes and bubble bath. Although this time I plan on using cotton wool and water for the first nappies. I never did with Elvis. I’d read somewhere that you shouldn’t use wipes and creams on the newborn skin (so no bath products either) which included cotton wool and boiled, cooled water. Well, I was having a hard enough time trying to function in those first few weeks without ensuring that there was some boiled water always ready. However, after a recent bout of nasty nappy rash for our little teething boy, I spent the weekend using water and cotton wool (not boiled water, just simple tap water) and I found it quite nice and easy to use. I assume that as long as I rinse out the pot each time and always use fresh tap water, it won’t matter if it’s been boiled. Theoretically it isn’t the water that’s the issue, it’s the bacteria left in the bowl, in my logic. Hopefully Robin has skin like Elvis — the only issue we have ever had was the fact that bubble bath made his cradle cap worse.
  • Find the newborn inserts for the baby carrier, car seat. Find the baby bath seat and maybe remove some of Elvis’ toys so he forgets about them. Luckily Nanny left his playgym and rocking chair which he barely used so Robin can have them with, ahem, little issue.

What am I forgetting? It wasn’t all that long ago!

Now, concerning gifts! I don’t mean this in any sort of cheeky way, like well, you bought Elvis a puschair, Nanny, spend the same on Robin! (although part of me thinks that would be fair), no I mean the personalised gifts. Elvis ended up with two name trains (where each carriage is a letter of his name) and a named truck. He has a personalised wall plaque with his birth details on. Oh, and a memory keeping journal. A small, delicate Noah’s ark, a silver plated dinosaur moneybox… That’s not including the comforter bought for him or the “Born in 2013” bear and photo frame. Or the dressing gown with his name on. Or the keyring and magic flannel with his name on.

I have no idea of the etiquette involved here – should family and friends buy the equivalent for a second? Is it all up to me? I’m not expecting it this time, which is why I bought a second hand cot when Nanny bought the cot, mattress, and changing unit for Elvis. We’re stealing the changer for Robin, but need a mattress. Should I expect, ask, enquire with Nanny?

Should you expect gifts for a second? Or does everyone think you have everything? And how can you have everything when the first born got personalised gifts?

Ignoring the financial aspect, if I’m already concerned about me treating them equally, how do I come to terms with my nearest and dearest not treating them equally? Although, on the other hand, if Robin doesn’t receive those gifts at least I get to pick the equivalent item myself. Right? Or, if no one buys the equivalent personalised gift second-time around, and I can’t afford to buy everything from the above mentioned gift list, can I tell Robin in a few years… what? No one thought of him/her? No one cared? Share the magic flannel, money box and “Born in 2013” teddy bear with Elvis?

~ P

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74 Weeks Old, 28 Weeks Pregnant

I have a photo for this pregnancy entry! (Elvis was much better behaved for these photos, and our next photo session is also going to be our Christmas ones!) Anywho, Elvis is 74 weeks old! He’s also just over 17 months old. It seems to have taken forever to get him from “a year” to “18 Months”. Not that time is dragging, far from it — there are only 7 weeks left until the Christmas holidays, which is hopefully when I finish work for another year. Haha! If I didn’t have 101 questions for my employer to answer. You’d think it would be easy having pretty much literally just returned from maternity leave; everything should be the same, right? Nope. We technically changed employer whilst I was on maternity leave for Elvis so they have decided to change all of the guidance (read: copied from another section of the UK where they have employees) so there are huge elements not even mentioned in the new guidance and new wording that throws up huge questions for me. My only real worry is that time is marching on and I have deadlines to request my maternity leave, deadlines to request annual leave. Oh, and making sure I get paid correctly and my childcare vouchers are paid promptly (I have very little faith in my pay being correct; it wasn’t last time).

On the pregnancy front, I am going through an exhausted phase. I could literally sleep all day and night. Last week, Elvis decided to take his daily 2 hour nap at nursery (I almost cried when I found out). Well, by 3pm, I gave up and put him down for a nap (he didn’t really nap) and I passed out in bed. I only got up when hubby got in. It’s the second or third time in 6 months that I’ve done it and I think it’s safer than me falling asleep on the sofa with Elvis running wild in the living room. Even now, I could just sleep. I guess that’s the benefit of Elvis still being so young (and loving his own sleep, routine and cot). My front pelvic pain has got a lot better. My lower back pain has not. I rang the physio to have a second appointment where she confirmed that my hip joint is locking with my spine as I walk (leading to me dragging my leg). She recommended to either use crutches, a hip belt that could make the pelvic pain worse, or to simply stop walking! Hubby would have killed me if I had turned up with crutches — he’s adamant he can drive me everywhere for the next 12 weeks!

 

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