My Cesarean Journey…..

So April is Cesarean awareness month and lots of posts and affirmations have been batted about on Instagram, Facebook and the likes.

So here’s my tuppence worth. As with many of my social media counterparts who have given birth via C-section whether through personal choice or in an emergency I very much agree that there is still a stigma surrounding it.

Through most of my pregnancy I was very aware of not wanting a c-section. So much so when a midwife suggest to me and my partner we discus what we would want to do in that situation, I was astounded. In my head I point blank refused to accept or admit that it may be a scenario. I strongly believe this is a lack of education.

I’ve spoken before about the fact that we did classes with NCT antenatally. I honestly don’t remember C-sections being discussed in any depth. I didn’t go to my local NHS antenatal classes so I can’t say that it came up there. One midwife broached the subject with me and she wasn’t even my usual person. Frankly in hindsight I’m glad she did.

When filling out a birth plan, nobody goes beyond their ideal. I certainly didn’t have more than get the baby out safely, try not to use all the drugs and the less intervention the better. I really think that it’s not just Cesarean that gets a bad rep either. I think intervention in general. Some women feel ashamed that they needed to get pain relief. Some feel that any assistance makes them a failure.

For me there wasn’t really a comprehensive plan when there probably should have been. Due to a strange medical sensitivity with an anaesthetic drug I was advised to have an epidural to reduce the chance of needing GA if there were post birth compilations. Wouldn’t have been my first choice but i accepted it and moved on.

My labour was by no means straight forward and frankly when your in the moment you just want the safe delivery of your baby by what ever means gets your both through it. I had an emergency cesarean. I can’t tell you what happened and due to many different things I had to have a general anaesthetic.

My acceptance of having a C-section wasn’t an easy mental road for me. I had never had any form of surgery up until this point and definitely was not prepared to take it slow and recover. I wanted to bounce back. There was no bounce I can assure you. I didn’t struggle to accept I had given birth that way. It wasn’t my first choice by a long shot but my baby girl being safe will always be a bigger priority.

The actual recovery itself I didn’t find all that bad. I was lucky that I responded well to the pain killers and with some well timed warnings from family and friends to slow down and take it easy, on the whole I was back to myself quicker than most.

I still don’t have feeling in a lower part of my stomach. Yes I have an overhang. My scare is what it is. But my baby is thriving. She’s the best thing I’ve ever done. She fills me with more joy than I ever thought imaginable.

I didn’t fail. I grew her for 9 months. She was born safely and soundly by professionals. If this was 100 or more years ago I maybe wouldnt be here to tell this story. But I am. And I am grateful for every person who made her arrival into this world safe for not only her but me.

It would be easy to beat myself up and trust me I have. There have been days when ive felt lost or overwhelmed. For a long time I was worried that not having had skin to skin ment I had no bond with my baby.

I know if we went on to have another child we would most likely be advised to have an elective section. What would have previously worried me no longer does. If that’s what needs to be done then so be it. Having a healthy baby is the main priority, not whether or not narrow-minded people think I failed.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Mothering Sunday……

Here’s to a day of celebrating the mums. Every single one. To the first time mum’s, the multiple mum’s, the twin mum’s, step mum’s, grandma’s who are out mum’s, foster mum’s, adoptive mum’s, dad’s who are mum’s, mum’s who are no longer with us, auntie’s who are our mum’s, godmothers,great grandmother’s. The lot. Those who parent from every angle. Those who encompass mum, dad and confidant.

Being a mum is more than having a child. It’s choosing to give your everything to a child.

Now that I’m a mum, I can truly understand everything that my mum did for me. I finally appreciate the sacrifices she made to give me better. I can see the times that my dad had to be mum as well as dad because he was a stay at home parent. I understand that it’s more than a title.

Mothering Sunday is not always the joy filled day that retail portrays. There are those are mum’s to angels and those who’s mum’s are angels. For them a day of reminders. A pain I can neither understand nor begin to imagine. To those I send my love. My best wishes.

For myself, this year is my first as a mum. I will spend it with my daughter. It will be like any other day for us. I look forward to years to come when she will undoubtedly come home from nursery with a glitter embellished card but for today snuggles will suffice.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Our Holidays……

Well it will come as no surprise that 90% of the ‘stuff’ that was crammed into the back of our car was neither mine nor my partner’s, but for the smallest member of our family. Thankfully my dad was carting the travel cot for us,as we genuinely wouldn’t have had room for it. 4 nights away and if I could have packed the kitchen sink then I may well have done.

In a blur of removing every baby item from our flat, packing it in a bag and ramming it in the car – I forgot to pack for myself. Cue a mad dash to grab as many things that kind of go together, seem clean and might be comfy. This resulted in another luggage bag bursting at the seems with a lot of ‘just in case’s clothes.

Before we had even left I was wondering why. How could this be enjoyable? We were only going 3-4hrs down the country, we would have the car, there are shops (again just in case), but I’d never felt so stressed. You’d think I was going to the moon for a month and found out that they didn’t have tea or wine or worse gin.

Finally we set off and Peanut fell asleep. The journey went pretty smoothly. A few we times stops meant that we managed to stick to routine and when travelling Peanut just napped.

I arrived feeling more happy about the prospect of having a break. The holiday home was lovely. Then we realised we only had half of the monitor so the travel cot would be in us. Not a big problem you say – well you’ve not met our delightful snoring, rustling, leg thumping child. In all honesty though she was actually really good although restless at night which is to be expected in a new place.

Our first full day we made us wife the facilities – going swimming and my dad playing some golf with my other half. We then went and explored the area and stopped for some lunch and shopping.

Day two we decided to venture further afield and took Peanut to sealife. It was amazing. She absolutely loved all the fish tanks and would have happily sat and stared at them a day. Again Mummy did some wondering round the shops although nothing was bought. It was nice to just have some time out as a family though as it doesn’t happen as often as we’d like.

On our last full day we again went swimming, some golf was played and I treated myself to Neon Organics treatment at the spa. We went for a walk round the holiday park and I made dinner for everyone at night. It was really chilled out day but exactly what we all needed.

So the car was jammed full again, the holiday cottage was swept for any stray bit and bobs. Off we toddled home. We stopped a few times just to make sure Peanut was ok and so we could stretch out legs. The journey wasn’t too bad although I think I’m always desperate to get home not matter how long I’ve been away.

I think for our first break 4 nights was long enough. Peanut was fab through the day but unsettled at night which made both me and her dad pretty tired. Short of packing the kitchen sink we had everything with us. In hindsight I should have booked a cottage with a washing machine so we didn’t need quite so many just in case clothes or bibs.

We had a fab time as a family and it was lovely to spend time with my parents too. I only managed one run while I was away but I’m not gonna get hung up on that.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Finger food – the reality

Well weaning is an interesting journey of discovery not only for Peanut but for me too. We started with what may be seen at the more traditional way to weaning by spoon feeding purees – trying one vegetable at a time. Now we have passed the 6 months mark our weaning world has opened up to a whole new array of things it is deemed safe for her to try.

In a bid to follow the baby led weaning example I thought that now would be a good time to try finger foods and allow Peanut to try and feed herself. Well…..it was an experienced of nothing else. Trial and error play a big part in this. My advice be prepared.

We are not lucky enough to have a dining kitchen with lots of space for a high chair and wipeable surroundings (frankly we don’t even have a dining space – good old plates on knees in our flat). This resulted in my already questionable disgusting living room rug now being splattered with whatever attempts at culinary delights I thought peanut would like (safe to say the rug should probably come with a warning, it now has a lot of interesting stains and I ruined it with shake and vac).

In my wisdom (well what I thought might be a slight moment of wisdom – was wrong), I though broccoli was a great place to start. Peanut has no invented a new game. Squish broccoli into high chair table, sook broccoli til all the tiny florets come loose, smash broccoli off of high chair and drop off the side of high chair table. This ensures she is covered, her high chair is covered and aforementioned rug is covered. Short of throwing it at me up until this point I have got away with not being covered.

My next plan was to buy one of those lovely bamboo sectioned plates in the shape of an animal that suctions onto the high chair. Surely this would reduce the instances of food being unceremoniously dropped over board as it were. Nope. Instead we now have multiple different veg in the go, being smooshed, battered and the disguarded.

We continue to do a mixture of weaning dependant entirely on time,what’s in the house and whether or not I can take the clean up. You may question my motivation – trust me I do on a daily basis. It works for us. She loves food and I’m glad that she does, but I’m never going to be the homemade granola bars mum.

So with hindsight here are my top tips for getting started with baby led or finger food weaning:

1- Put the high chair on a wipeable surface – be it on a kitchen floor or buy a wipeable table cloth and put it under. Nobody wants to pick mashed food out their carpet.

2- Use the bibs with the plastic backing. They are going to get stained with whatever foods your little one attempts to put in their mouth, rather them than their clothes.

3- Be prepared to also get covered in food. It’s inevitable that you will be hit with a piece of rogue, wet, mashed something.

4- Marks And Spencers Antibac spray – it’s non toxic and can be used to clean food prep areas. Ideal for cleaning the high chair, it smells nice and is considerable cheaper that Method.

5- Try and enjoy the experience. I got stressed and ended up spending a lot of the time Peanut was smooshing worrying about my poor flooring. Mess is gonna happen, just give in to it.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Being a mum – 6months in…..

Well if you were hoping for some light hearted chat then unfortunately this is not the post for you. This is almost an extension of my last post. Most of the time I’m pretty easy going and will make a joke about something to see me through but the truth is that being a mum is bloody hard. 6months feels like not only a massive milestone for her but me as a parent.

I don’t think I misconceived the job, I just don’t think I had seriously thought about it. Never did I ever consider that I wouldn’t one day be a mum – my whole life has probably been built up to this. If people asked me what I wanted to be most in this life my answer (apart from obviously a millionaire) was always a mum. I don’t come across as the most maternal person (well I don’t think I do) although I do like to know everyone around me is ok. I don’t think I’ve ever excelled at childcare (having only babysat a handful of times). I was a rainbow leader for a short period in my teens. None of this prepared me (or made me think twice) about becoming a mum. I think in my head it was forgone conclusion.

I understand now that actually, nothing in life is a forgone conclusion (I have my divorce to thank for that). I was lucky, we didn’t struggle to have our daughter. We so easily could have. So many do and go through what I can only imagine is gut wrenching misery to seek the joy that is parenthood.

So let’s be honest about the first 6 months of motherhood (parenthood if you will). It’s a bit repetitive, you don’t really know what day it is unless your going to work (those who are lucky enough to escape for a few hours), you drink a lot of coffee (if you didn’t drink coffee before this will definitely make you learn quickly how to) and you spend a lot of time jingling maracas (not a euphemism) at a baby whose not even looking at you.

Obviously there are the cute highs – the first smile (that you know isn’t wind), when they giggle (like a proper belly giggle) and then the love (they love you even when you put their nappy on wrong, dress them in a questionable outfit and haven’t washes your hair for what seems like weeks).

The first six months is hard. It will out pressure on your relationship. You will wonder what you did this for. Then one day the will roll over and your heart will feel like it’s gonna burst with pride. Every day is a new adventure and frankly the next six months will no doubt be doubly as hard (she will started moving and we are not even close to baby proofed) but hey nobody ever called parenthood boring, it is

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Half a year …

Peanut is 6 months, 26 weeks, 1/2 a year, how? I mean 5 minutes ago she was born. Tiny little helpless bubba just needing love (and all the food). Now we have a little independent lady. She can sit, she eats real food (albeit mashed),she reacts to her name, she sleeps through (most of the time). I love that she is growing and finding her own way but where is my baby. Now I know that it’s not like she doesn’t need me but I’ve become very aware that at some point she won’t want to hold my hand anymore or have a snuggle.

Yes I am overreacting but it’s true. My other half often asks why people have more than one child when we’ve been woken at an unreasonable hour to change a very stinky nappy and often I agree with him. I think I get it know though, who doesn’t love the baby bit. Ye it’s hard but soooo worth it.

It would seem my growing baby has made me broody and I hadn’t realised. Although I’m in no rush I actually am now begining to think maybe I do want more than one. This is a complete contradiction to all my previous thoughts and let’s be honest of she is up tonight I will probably be back at – nope, never again.

Ok so I had a crap pregnancy, the birth was definitely not average but that’s all forgotten in the cuddles of a baby. My little pride and joy. The apple of my eye. Dare I say it – my little princess.

The last 6 months have been a whirlwind. There have been highs, lows and everything in between. She has tested me, I have tested me and we have still made it this far. Here’s to the next 6 but please don’t grow up too quick baby girl.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Running through my head……

So it’s 4am and I’m awake. Not because Peanut is up or because I have somewhere to be but because my good old noggin has decided. Why has sleep decided to evade me? I’m tired, yawning and sleepy but nope, not tonight sunshine, tonight you shall be awake and lying wondering why the cow jumped over the moon or did Humpty Dumpty fall or was he pushed?

My biggest fear when I fell pregnant was ‘ how am I gonna cope with no sleep?’. I’ve always been good at it. Solid 8 hours kinda gal. I should not have feared as my pregnancy certainly geared me up for it. I mean I’d quite happily settle for a solid 5 hours now. This still doesn’t explain why my brain thinks that in the early hours of the morning (given peanut has been successfully sleeping through for quite some time now) it’s time to consider life or make lists I will forget because is 4am!

Weirdly other blogs or Instagram feeds have become my 4am splice. This may not be helping my brain want to got back to sleep because of the screen time – I get that – but what’s a gal to do. No I’m not getting up to start my day, it’s too damn early. Any hour between 11pm and 6am is bloody uncivilised these days.

I know that a little bit of my 4am wake up call is worry. Truth be told there is a lot of things I probably don’t wish to consider worrying about. I’m quite happy to just shove the whole pile under the rug and deal with it some other more considerate time. My brain it would seem has other ideas. I’m pretty sure that no counsellor ever offered 4am appointments – for the aforementioned uncivilised nature of the bloody time.

My other half in a bid to be helpful suggested I take myself off to the gym given its 24hours and I’m awake. Again I’m not keen as I frankly don’t want to set foot out of the bed I want to be asleep! (Also I’m cosy in bed, going to the gym means going outside which I can guarantee will not be cosy in February).

So what’s the plan – beyond attempting to not reach for my phone when I awaken or contemplating the nature of every child programme I have allowed myself to endure that day (or beating myself up for the amount of TV I have allowed myself to just sit in front of). Well sleep is the plan. Maybe it’s time I got myself a bedtime routine – something to say ‘right brain, time to have a rest’. Maybe I need to try lavender oil or white noise or maybe (dare I say it) my other half is right and I need to get myself to the gym. Right now is no hour to make concrete plans but for now I’m tired (yay) and I may have exhausted my brain just enough for a couple more hours on the land of nod.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Co-Napping……

Its not new to the world that Peanut isn’t keen to nap until she can’t fight it anymore. I’ve tried to put naps into her routine but she has absolute FOMO (fear of missing out), that she either sleeps for only 15/20mins or just rolls around in her cot.

When I was ill with the cold and really choked up and feeling sorry for myself, I wanted her to nap so badly so I could. This resulted in me taking her into our bed for an afternoon nap. She slept for an hour or more, not only was ill me very happy but I thought it that’s all it takes then we could be on to something.

So now in the afternoons of we are at home we co-nap. I was also very against bringing her into our bed as I didn’t want to start something that I maybe would struggle to stop, however, she still sleeps absolutely fine in her own bed at night, so no current issues.

I am aware that it’s something that I’m gonna have to stop at some point but it we can at least establish some kind of afternoon nap routine, then I will try and move her to her own cot.

If being totally honest though I really like have snuggle time with her. I read a poem that someone shares on Instagram about not knowing when something will be the last time, i.e the last time they hold your hand or need cuddled when they are ill, for now I’m just cherishing that she needs my comfort to nap and savouring every moment before she’s too wriggle or inquisitive to lie still from cuddles with mummy.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Roly Poly Baby…..

She rolled. I mean we knew it was coming and she’s been at a half way house for weeks but finally she did it on purpose. Now there is no stopping the little roly poly. I mean originally she rolled over and couldn’t get back which was a lot of me putting her back and her rolling over again, for her a fun game, for me a constant game of turn the baby over. Thankfully now she has figure out rolling back because she was so frustrated with getting stuck. We haven’t hit the rolling again and again and again yet but I’m sure it’s not very far away.

I absolutely cherish every milestone that she reaches. Its too often we take for granted that our little ones will obviously make those milestones that might seem trivial. We need to spare a moment for those little ones whom take a little longer to reach them. Those babies who fight to roll over and when they make it, it really is a milestone. Everbody has their own mountain to climb and every baby is the same. People may say I’m lucky as I have a healthy happy child who is developing as expected. I say yes I am but every parent is lucky to have their little one. Every baby is cherished, hoped for, wished for and loved with every fibre of their parents being.

Peanut is developing every day, way more quickly than I realised. I never understood how little time you have a newborn for. She wants to explore and understand her world. Everyday is a new adventure and frankly I wake up every morning wondering what the day will bring, excited to see what she will conquer.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags