As I think back at how life has changed since January 2020, it’s amazing the opportunities it has also presented. The greatest one for me is having my husband working from home.
I say this a lot but these times are unprecedented. When I fell pregnant in September 2019, the world was pretty much a normal place. Yet, I spent my entire last trimester going to my baby scans alone, staying indoors to stay safe and popping out just for the necessary walks.
Recently I watched a documentary that talked about the strange blessings of Covid. How it’s bought people together, families looking out for one another more than ever. Friends and communities helping each other out, posting care packages or simply being a listening ear.
Having less outdoor activities with the kids forced me to pull out all the creativity I had in me lol. It was fun, as it created additional opportunities to teach and to bond with the kids.
Of course I did wonder when things would get better. What implications this pandemic would have on their experiences? When would they get to meet their family. Will they be able to make friends in the same way? When will play dates be a safe thing to do again? There were so many questions and as I type this I still wonder about these things. However, faith gives me peace in the midst of uncertainty and I have seen that although things are evolving, time is still moving forward and therefore life still has to be lived in a slightly different way.
Faith has played a role in me being able to remain calm whilst being cautious in these strange times. As parents our children look up to us and although they may not know exactly what’s happening they may get a sense that something is going on. Recently my two year old asked me why she isn’t wearing a mask when mummy and daddy are wearing one.
Faith to me looks like resting in the knowledge that whatever happens God is in full and absolute control. This means that I follow all rules of distancing and mask wearing but I’m not fearful. It also means that I trust and am hopeful that there will be better days, things won’t always be like this. Lastly it means that regardless of the circumstances I rejoice because the one who made the whole world has us all in the palm of His hand, how amazing is that?! 🙂
Hello hello! It’s been a while and I’ve missed blogging. Parenting two young kids has been a big adjustment and the adjusting is still taking place lol.
It’s been a few weeks now since I started potty training my daughter and I wanted to share some real life lessons that I’ve taken away from it.
1. Patience when trying to reach your goals is key. When your patient you’re less likely to become frustrated and give up. Patience helps you to see the bigger picture and keep the end goal in mind. I’ve learnt to understand that I’m steering my daughter into a new way of thinking and also negotiating with someone who is very independent lol!
2. It’s okay to change strategy. Changing your mind and being innovative keeps the challenge fresh and less laborious. I’ve asked for lots of advice from mums and I’ve implemented them at different times to help reach the end goal.
3. Stay positive. Even when my daughter has an ‘accident’ I assure her that she’s going to get there. I never make her feel bad for what she has done, make a scene about it and I most certainly don’t tell her off. Positivity and a smile goes a long way and will actually help in progressing with the training. The way we talk to ourselves and the thoughts we entertain are important, say good things about your plans and ideas, use scripture if you’re a believer.
4. Celebrate the small wins. There has been more dancing’s between singing in our home these past few weeks than ever before as we celebrate each successful use of the potty and the same can be said about life too. Don’t demote something to mediocre when actually it should be celebrated. It gives you motivation to continue and reminds you that progress is being made.
5. Stay the course. It would be easy to give in and put a nappy on but we are so determined to stay the course and finally have a potty trained child. The reward at the end far outweighs giving in now into what’s more comfortable and familiar for her. The same goes for any other goal you have, put in the work and the results will be something you’ll be so so proud of.
I haven’t posted since April 29th, in those 8 weeks things have been pretty busy. I’ve had some major realigning to do as I get to grips with raising a toddler and a new born but I’ll save the in’s and out’s of that for another post! What I wanted to talk about today is breastfeeding as its something I had always thought came naturally to every woman without any required effort on my part which isn’t really the case. So here goes my list, I’d like to say before starting that the breastfeeding experience is completely different for everyone and how your baby is fed has no baring on the type of mother you are.
1. If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again. Yes in the famous words of Aaliyah if you don’t quite get the hang of it try again. My first attempt to breastfeed my first born was a long tale of tears, sore nipples, frustration and basically not really getting the hang of it. By the time I did get the hang of it, it was too late. May daughter by then had developed a preference to formula milk and I only fed her breastmilk in the mornings and evenings for about 10 months before stopping completely. Second time around? A totally different story, I had milk from the very beginning and have had no issues whatsoever with feeding.
2. Be prepared for an increase in appetite. No one told me about this and I was surprised to find how ravenous I became when feeding the little one. I have noticed that the hunger levels are increased when I haven’t had sufficient sleep. It makes sense as the body is making milk plus breastfeeding itself takes up about 500 calories too so the body needs a lot of fuel.
3. I’ve found it harder to loose weight. Breastfeeding has increased my appetite coupled with looking after two young kids and interrupted sleep the motivation to work out has been pretty low. My midwife says the body sometimes actually reserves some fat during breastfeeding which can also make weight loss pretty difficult, so I guess it’s time to embrace these love handles a little longer lol!
4. My let-down responds to baby’s nap times. I found it interesting that around the time that my baby is about to wake up I feel my let down. It feels like a heavy prickling moving from my chest down towards the nipples and can feel a little uncomfortable until he begins to feed.
5. Breastfeeding tea has been a big help in keeping my supply up. The main ingredient in the tea is fennel which you can also buy as seeds and pop into some hot water and drink just the fluid.
6. 3 litres of water a day keeps me hydrated. I feel so dehydrated after a feed and as breast milk is almost 80% water I need to keep my body topped up. I keep a 1.6litre bottle of water with me at all times to ensure my body is getting what it needs.
7. My body makes more milk when I get some rest. As hard as it can be to fit in having a mini nap or a little rest helps me to produce more milk. I find that when I am stressed or rushing around I still make milk but it’s less than usual.
I really did feel that breastfeeding the first time around was a minefield. Even after all the help I had at the hospital from breastfeeding consultants I couldn’t quite get it right. After navigating sore nipples, working out my water and food intake I’m pleased to have mastered it second time around. If you’re on your breastfeeding journey some of these tips might be familiar to you too. Either way I hope it’s been an interesting read.
Having had a planned c-section with my first child the entire experience of having braxton hicks let alone contractions was totally new to me. To prepare myself for what was to come I watched videos (some rather graphic 🙈) and read up as much as I could. Little did I know that this wouldn’t really do much for preparing me for the pain lol.
In the latter stages of my pregnancy and during the birth I was aware that there was a pandemic going on but chose not to dwell on it. I only stepped out for my compulsory walks and appointments and focused on preparing for the baby’s arrival. I felt like either way the baby was still going to come and I was at peace trusting in God’s protection during this season.
Anyway fast forward to 21st April, my due date was the 22nd and my hospital bag was packed. I was ready for the arrival of our baby boy. We had an appointment for me to be assessed at 10:15 in the morning and a decision would be made whether I’d be induced or not. I had a nervous excited feeling in my stomach that I probably wouldn’t make that appointment. I had been having pretty strong braxton hicks for about 2 weeks prior to this day and were always really regular in the evening.
I prepped my clothes the night before and went to bed. At exactly 2:45 am on Wednesday 22nd April I had a contraction that woke me up out of my sleep. I’d never had one before but at that moment I just knew. The pain went from my back reached around my waist and hardened my bump in a way I’d never felt before. I grabbed my phone and started timing the duration and frequency. After an hour of contractions I woke up my husband and told him to get ready, it was time.
At this point my contractions were not too strong, I was able to have a warm shower and get ready to go to the hospital. I was smiling and laughing with hubby and thinking about how I’d finally be seeing my baby after 40 weeks! As I waddled to the car it crossed my mind that we still hadn’t decided on a name and I started to run through the shortlist we had picked in my mind.
Upon arrival at the hospital we were taken into one of the assessment rooms where the baby’s heart rate was monitored for an hour or so. My contractions continued but were okay enough for me to not need the medicine they were offering for the pain. As the contractions weren’t getting closer together we chose to go home. By this time it was 7am and I was feeling both hungry and tired having been up since almost 3am.
We got home and I had a lovely breakfast (this was a bad idea) the breakfast actually made me nauseated as I was in the early stages of labour. At around 7:30am that morning I had a contraction that caused me to loose my mucus plug but my contractions were still not getting closer together but they were getting more painful.
By 7pm the contractions were so painful that I couldn’t speak whilst they were happening. I’d get on all fours and breath in as deeply as I could till the minute had passed. As the contractions grew stronger it became harder to practice these breathing techniques and I just wanted to scream to be honest lol. My daughter kept looking at me and saying “mummy is sooo tired” ha ha! She was right, I was exhausted and I thought to myself if this baby comes tonight will I even have the energy to push?
We left for the hospital that evening around 8 and I was given some painkillers via transfusion which helped me to sleep a little and numb the pain of the contractions. This soon however wore off and I was left to remember my breathing techniques again. As soon as I woke up from my nap my waters broke and I felt a small sense of relief that my labour was progressing and these painful contractions would soon be a distant memory.
Looking at how my stomach made all of these distorted shapes during contractions and marvelled at how the body was doing all it could to get the baby out. I was still feeling very nauseated so was given another medication via infusion for this and it went almost immediately.
At this point it had been 13 hours since my contractions had started and I was 5cm dilated. I decided to get into the water bath and see if that bought any relief. It did for about 30 minutes but I then began to feel so hot and uncomfortable.
As time progressed my contractions finally began to be closer together and were so intense I wanted to cry. I was checked to see how dilated I was and the midwife told me I was still 5cm! I felt so deflated. After all this time I didn’t get why my labour wasn’t progressing and there was now talk of having a c-section. I was fed up and felt as though I had come so far only to now go through a c-section.
When the midwife left the room hubby and I prayed. We prayed that the Lords will would be done and that He would be with us. As soon as we had finished praying our midwife came back into the room with her colleague. She told us that she wanted to get a second opinion on how far along I was. The second midwife checked me and said “no, you are actually 9cm dilated!” I was in shock and thanked God for the second opinion of this midwife.
I couldn’t believe it, if this midwife had gone with her first opinion I would have had a c-section when I didn’t need to! God is so faithful and I’m so glad he turned this situation around within minutes and completely changed the outcome of this birth.
By now it was around 9am and I had had an epidural but could still feel each contraction. I started to feel the need to push at this point. I was advised to breath in deeply through my mouth and hold my breath, lower my chin deep into my chest and push as hard as I could as though doing a number 2.
It was so encouraging to have hubby and a well informed midwife in the room, they both motivated me all along the way. At just before midday )and after much pushing) our baby boy was born and I felt so many emotions, relief being the biggest of all. I was also excited, tired, proud and just so so happy. All tiredness seemed to leave my body as I had this precious boy in my arms.
So as my pregnancy develops and my baby bump becomes bigger I’m having to adjust my wardrobe quite a bit. Finding what is comfortable and also looks nice can be a bit of a challenge.
They say everyone carries differently in pregnancy which is indeed true even for one person your bump can be different from one pregnancy to another.
The biggest change I’ve noticed is how soon I was showing with this pregnancy. Having an elongated bump means opting for longer tops that cover my bump in its entirety. This also meant going for over the bump maternity jeans and midi-length dresses.
As I don’t have much longer to go I won’t be adding any new pieces to my wardrobe but I have started thinking about my wardrobe post baby. Especially the weeks/months following the birth which I remember were filled with lots of breastfeeding! Being a nursing mum means ensuring that I’m wearing items I can easily feed in whether I’m at home or out and about. For me tops that button up are the most convenient. I’m not a fan of having to hoist up my t-shirt in order to feed my child so having to just undo a couple of buttons to allow baby to quickly latch on worked best for me.
Here are some ‘breastfeeding friendly’ dresses that I quite like:
As always thank you for reading and I hope you found this useful if you’re an expecting mum x
I had to plan my outfits for our holiday quite strategically as I knew that my bump would grow during that time and I had to be mindful that we were going to a hot country and that above all I would need to be comfortable in what I was wearing too. For this pregnancy I wanted to avoid buying maternity wear specifically but instead go for things that I could still wear in the summer after the baby was born. So my criteria was trousers would need to be beneath the bump or elasticated in the waist. I also opted for stretchy dresses and skirts and loose fitting dresses.
I had many conversations about the birth itself with others going into real detail about what takes place. My birthing class had also prepared me for what would happen when our baby was ready to make her appearance.
I didn’t however have many discussions about the days/weeks immediately following the birth and what would take place. It was all added experience. How your stomach feels after pregnancy. My appetite increased rather rapidly after birth. Hormones were leaving my body at a rapid rate making me sweat profusely, it was really quite something!
After the delivery I felt exhausted and the pain set in in a big way once the spinal anaesthesia had worn off. I felt the cut with every single move but in the same breath was overcome with joy and relief that my daughter was finally here and she was just so perfect.
Being just over an hour old my daughter latched on for the first time and drew her first few sips. I was so amazed that a baby who was yet to open her eyes and really see her mother was able to make her way to my chest and feed. I felt a proud sense of responsibility to be her source of food, comfort and security.
I didn’t immediately have enough breast milk to meet her demands and had to supplement with formula milk. It took around 2 weeks for my supply to be adequate for a feed and for me and even longer to feed comfortably without pain and discomfort.
Statistics say that only 1% of mothers exclusively breastfeed after 6 months and I totally understand why. I’ll never dispute that breast milk is an amazing source of food and nutrition for babies and is 100% sterile you cannot beat that. However for me I did find feeding in this way incredibly strenuous and painful for some time.
I made the decision to feed my baby both breast and formula milk and that decision worked best. I knew that she was getting all that she needed from me, all the goodness and nutrients that my milk had to offer.
In the beginning I put a lot of pressure on myself to get enough milk and sometimes didn’t even trust that my milk was enough. I took fenugreek tablets and ate lactation cookies to increase my supply. The pain of the initial latch made me often not look forward to feed times but I equally also felt this responsibility to feed her.
As time went on I let go of this pressure I’d put on myself which made me more relaxed about feed times and allowed me to enjoy this precious time with my baby. What mattered was that she was fed, healthy and happy.
Ahh finally!! Third trimester arrived! The excitement had really reached its pinnacle lol. The waddle was in full effect, the nursery was ready and we had even filled our daughters wardrobe with some lovely gifted items as well as things we had bought for her. Each day felt like a week as I waited and I felt as though every little twitch could potentially be a contraction lol
During the last few months I had pelvic pain as the weight of the baby pressed down, which also caused lower back pain. I still had increased melanin on my neck and chest see pic below
Swollen ankles meant that slippers and more precisely single strap sandals or flip flops became my footwear of choice for the last 2 months before birth. It’s a good thing the weather was nice. I experienced braxton hicks from about 36 weeks and they were often pretty intense.
The simple tasks I once did swiftly and easily I now needed help with – putting on shoes, picking items off the floor, basically any action that required me to bend down towards my feet lol.
Interestingly I had even more energy in my last trimester and felt motivated to really tidy and clean up, I had read that this was common during the last trimester, this sudden urgency to have your home ready to receive your baby.
I had always wanted to find out the gender of our baby beforehand so you can imagine how I felt not finding out until almost 5.5 months! Each time we had gone for a scan our baby’s legs were either crossed or the position wasn’t clear enough to make out the gender. As my pregnancy progressed it became even harder to see as the bones became more dense. We finally did however get a scan which could give us a definite answer 🙂 it’s a girl!
From around week 35 our baby had gotten into the breech position and we were told there was a possibility that I would have to go through a c-section. Her head was tucked right up in my womb towards my chest, with her bottom facing down towards my cervix and her legs folded in towards her chest. I wasn’t worried, I still had enough amniotic fluid for her to have some shuffle room and turn around.
Of course I had heard a lot of stories about how other people’s births had been and it did make me dream about my own. Was it going to be quick? Was it going to be as painful as everyone said it was?
I would have absolutely loved to have had a natural birth but as I reached closer to the 40 weeks mark it was becoming clear that our dear little princess wasn’t going to get into position. For one reason or another she simply couldn’t turn. Having done everything I could (in the safest way possible) the decision was made to deliver via c-section.
As the delivery via this method had been planned I had just over a week to prepare mentally for what would take place and to be totally relaxed throughout. I knew that I was in safe hands and that I’d soon be meeting our precious gift.
This I have to say was the trimester I enjoyed the most, I had energy (way more than in my first trimester) and I had begun working out. My morning sickness subsided around week 17 and I just felt so much better. As my body began to change I felt the effects if I stood for too long, I become thirsty incredibly quickly, needed the loo frequently, tiredness, chapped lips, peeling skin, a cold and increased melanin made the skin around my mouth and on my chest very dark. All of these changes were signals of what was happening inside of me.
I had to also give in and got myself some maternity jeans as the weather grew colder and I needed to make room for my expanding bump. ASOS came to the rescue and I was able to get some fairly nice over the bump jeans to see me through this season. Maternity fashion isn’t great, with many of the styles lacking in creativity and style. I stumbled across many a bootleg jean and unflattering top that made me want to squeeze into my pre-pregnancy clothes lol
Being creative with my wardrobe helped, for example buying 2 sizes up or baggy fit items from some of my favourite high street brands meant that I could still maintain my style even with my baby bump.
The shape of my bump as the pregnancy progressed did make it hard for me to fit even the maternity jeans as my belly grew outwards giving me a long melon shaped bump. I was even more excited though and couldn’t wait to meet my baby. Time seemed to drag on and i just wanted her to be here already. Quite a lot of people had been telling me to get lots of rest because when the baby came it would be tiring but I now realise that there is no way that you can ‘store up sleep’ and nothing actually prepares you for this unique experience.
I had so many pre-conceived ideas about what my pregnancy would be like and as my husband and I had begun planning about starting our own family I developed all of these ideas about how my body would change and what the birth would be like. For the most part my pregnancy was a smooth one for which I am grateful but there were so many other factors that did take me by complete surprise.
I found out that I was expecting at 4 weeks and for the first 3 weeks or so I was absolutely fine. No sickness. I felt so relieved that I had escaped morning sickness, the nausea and vomiting and couldn’t be happier to be honest.
Then week 8 came…and morning sickness hit me like a ton of bricks! I felt like I was living on a ship on rocky seas. It’s the only way that I can describe it really lol. It was just awful. Keeping anything down including water was a triumph and I lost weight. I’m so thankful that I had some medication which massively helped me to eat and drink normally.
Tiredness was also another symptom I experienced, feeling low on energy mostly in the mornings before breakfast and feeling tired by about 7pm!
This lasted well into my 2nd trimester. I remember whilst experiencing this it felt like forever!! Yet when it passed eventually it felt like a distant memory.
My first trimester also meant everything I ate made me feel incredibly bloated but that also went away in the 2nd trimester and was replaced by what felt like an insatiable appetite, this lasted very much up until our baby was born.
I started to adjust my wardrobe in anticipation of my growing bump although I didn’t start to really show until much later on. I downloaded a ton of apps, reading each week what was happening and how our precious baby was developing. It was amazing to think that even in the weeks when big changes were happening, I wouldn’t feel a thing, my body functioned as normal while this human was being perfectly created inside of me. It’s truly amazing.
My husband and I decided to wait until the 12 week scan to tell our family and friends which was tough because we were attending 2 weddings in that time and I was so sure that news would slip out some point. I’m glad we waited, it was so lovely to finally share and to see everyones excitement!