Baby, Baby, Baby

Mum, Mum of 4, pregnancy

Written by Sabrina Reid

You may have noticed that I took a bit of a break. Given that the break came only three posts into my blogging life you may be forgiven if you concluded that I had laid my pen to rest and allowed this phase to pass. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

My last post was a goodbye to pregnancy and a tribute to my third and final baby. But as most of you know by now I am pregnant! 

Pregnant for the fourth time, pregnant and totally unprepared, a pregnancy unplanned that catapulted me into the depths of despair and so please excuse the unexpected interlude as to put it frankly I just needed time to get my shit together. 

I’ve had the experience of an unplanned pregnancy before. My first 18 years ago was totally unplanned and yet failed to rock my world in the way that this one has. Maybe walking into the unknown that first time round mixed with the naivety of my youthful self made it a little less daunting. Maybe knowing the true realities of parenthood especially with four children is the culprit of the fear that has gripped me for the past several months. It’s probably also the lack of control. 

😂

Since having my eldest I’ve been careful to take tight hold of those metaphorical reigns of life and have tried to guide my journey and life outcomes with care. So what happened? I let my guard down. Longed to feel like myself again following a difficult and testing pregnancy, wanted to feel close to my husband after months of illness and carrying what felt like the biggest baby ever, not to mention those early sleepless nights that new parents endure. And with that I convinced myself that exclusively breastfeeding would offer me guaranteed protection and had a night of unforgettable passion! (Well let’s just describe it like that ) I mean the ridiculousness of that last sentence is enough to make me want to slap myself around the head. I got caught up in the moment and got caught out! 

Feeling normal again after a gruelling 10 months of pregnancy is not to be underestimated. So as time went on and the next few months passed I was in heaven feeling like myself, adapting to new motherhood all over, enjoying life with our new baby,  until a dirty craving for Mc Donald’s came over me in a Sainsbury’s car park and a faintness that I knew could only possibly mean one thing!

And like that at 4 months post-partum my worst nightmare came to life. I was pregnant. Again! 

Each of my pregnancies even my first as unprepared for it as I was filled me with an inner joy and peacefulness that only comes when a lifelong hope is actually fulfilled. I always wanted to be a mother and each pregnancy touched my heart. Not this one! How terrible does that sound? I mean even writing it down fills me with guilt. But it’s the truth! The understanding that this is a blessing, a life and my beautiful child did not kick in until recently. No the initial feeling was one of panic! I’ve never had to deal with more than one baby at a time thanks to my almost decade size gaps between each of my children and whilst leaving it so long to have another offspring has its own downsides it’s what I am used to. 

My lacklustre feelings towards this pregnancy were also driven by the fear that my time with my newborn was going to be ripped from my grasp. I’ve documented before my difficulties with pregnancy. Suffering from Hyperemisis Gravaderium and having spells in and out of hospital with uncontrollable sickness. How was I meant to nurture my baby whilst being so physically sick? How would we cope with two babies at once? Where would we put them? (I mean the logistics of housing 6 people in a 3 bedroom house are not to be taken lightly) what would happen to my own mental health? 

Selfish you may say as mostly that list is all about me. But lets face it. It’s me who had to be pregnant for two years in a row, me who will nurture, childcare, clean, cook and maintain our lives in the practical sense. Whilst my wonderful husband is the biggest means of support in every way and even though this pregnancy filled him instantly with happiness, I know that his words of comfort are only that. Again I’ll need to be physically and mentally strong, to get through pregnancy whilst nurturing a baby and running a family and so I don’t lose my mind. 

I’m just tired. Tired of being strong, unbreakable and looking like superwoman (well at least on my good days) I’m worried about falling apart and the consequences for all if and when that happens. But as my husband pointed out that the fact I’m aware of these things means we can be proactive and put things in place that will make things easier. Making my breakdown less likely to happen. Even sharing my honest feelings about this after months of anxiety and fear is helping me to feel more in control. 

We have arranged childcare for the baby on a part time basis for the early days when the new addition arrives. Just to give me time to adapt, sleep when the baby sleeps and to help with bonding. Our family yet again have been marvellous offering to help with the baby and around the house, checking I’m not feeling too unwell etc and just being a general means of support. 

Whilst the shock for me was next level it was equally interesting to gage the reactions of others once the pregnancy as close as it was to the previous one was announced! I mean I could write a comedy book with the one liners we’ve been on the receiving end of. Going back to work pregnant despite the fact that others have done the same before me also filled me with a mixture of dread and relief. However, now it has all sunk in for us and everyone else the idea of my large family seems more and more like the blessing I know I will forever cherish. I have beautiful children who are thoughtful and kind, vulnerable, inquisitive and who keep me on my toes. Life with them and raising them has been far from a walk in the park but it’s our journey. We are all looking forward to welcoming another precious life into the fold and I’m grateful to be a mother of four. Let’s see where the journey takes us next!

Pregnancy Stories: Amy Grant

Mum, pregnancy

Written by Amy Grant

Finding out I was pregnant for the first time was one of the scariest yet exciting moments of my life. I had no symptoms, just a pure gut feeling and a stick I had to pee on. It was faint but DEFINITELY positive!

The first weeks of sickness, tiredness, headaches and mood swings flew by and before I knew it I was bloated out and stuck into maternity jeans – which F.Y.I are the comfiest trousers ever..

The first scan then came around, Kieran and I were so excited to see our little baby even if it was just on a screen. I was in total awe watching this little baby wriggling and somersaulting around inside my tummy. My due date was estimated as the 27th May 2018.

At 17 weeks I felt the first movements. They were like tiny little bubbles at the bottom of my stomach – the cutest little bubbles. After that kicks were raging around my stomach left, right and centre (& in my ribs).

Things started to get a bit challenging when Theo’s movements started reducing every so often resulting in a lot of monitoring at the hospital and trips up in the evenings. Every time I would lie there with these things strapped to me hoping and praying that I would hear a heartbeat. Thank god I did every time.

At 37+5 they decided to induce me to bring Theo into the world a little bit earlier.

You can read about Amy’s labour story on Mum & Style, or over at her blog site here. Also make sure you follow Amy’s Instagram @that_mum_life_.

Gender Reveal Reflection

gender reveal, Mum, pregnancy, Uncategorized

This week on my Facebook memories, up popped a little reminder that last March, we discovered the gender of my little one. It is bizarre to think that little over a year ago I was still fantasizing about what the identity of my baby would be, and here I am sat with a 7 month old little boy napping on me.

I looked back at a blog I wrote at the time where I expressed my thoughts on gender and the importance, or maybe lack of, when it came to my child. The poignancy of his gender really came down to selfishness- I wanted to know what to picture when imagining my family. I wanted to know whether I was going to be running around with a little Ted or alternatively, a little Daisy (the girls name we had picked out ready).

Often I wonder whether when I have my next child (note the when- not if!) that I’d want to find out. Is that still important to me? Honestly, I would do it every time. I remember describing myself as a chaotic woman camouflaged as an organised one, and as that person I loved preparing for ‘Ted.’ Of course, having a ‘Daisy’ would be ideal… the creation of a perfect nuclear family. However, I also have a lot of boys clothes that could do with being worn again!

Then Im torn. I think, does it actually matter? I’ll be running around fighting with lightsabers and having wizard duels, curling up on winter weekends for Marvel movie marathons (also super thrilled that Disney’s Captain Marvel costume is uni-sex by the way) and that is regardless of who my next little one might be, and who Ted may become. Maybe he will be far too cool for all the nerdy things that me and his dad are interested in.

To quote myself a year ago:

What is important is how we raise our children. Whether male or female, I want Little Olding to grow up with a strong set of morals and to make his/her own choices. Both should learn the importance of love and kindness, respecting everyone regardless of age, race and sexuality and how to be altruistic. How they identify and the interests they choose are down to their own self-awareness and independence. Children should be raised the same, regardless of their gender, and that it what is important.

sm

Planning for Birth (In Hindsight)

birth, c section, Hypnobirthing, Mum, pregnancy

Written by Laura Grant

While I was pregnant I wrote a mammoth blog post over on life by Laura about why I think it’s important to have a birth plan. I was hoping for a natural, home, water birth in front of the twinkling lights of my Christmas tree. How picturesque! I imagined getting those early contractions and snuggling up to my husband on the sofa, all excited, watching Christmas films … and what did I get? The exact opposite, a stubborn breech baby and an elected c section.

So looking back, do I think researching birth and making a plan was a waste of time? Absolutely not!

I may not have got the birth I’d planned for but I was totally clued up on all styles, my options and was able to make informed decisions. I knew what questions to ask and could better assess the pros and cons of my situation. This was in a large part, down to the hypnobirthing course I did online via the positive birth company and from reading Milli Hills positive birth book (both of which I highly recommend).

My birth plan not only included my #goals scenario but also options for induction, assisted delivery and a c section should these be needed. Personally I think it’s much easier to have thought about this in advance, rather than trying to think about it in the moment when emotions are high and hormones are raging! I mean think about how difficult it is to make decisions when you’re hangry… then multiply that by a million.

A plan is also useful so that your birth partner can be completely informed and take over some of the communication for you, should you not feel up to it. And of course they need to be aware if you would like to be hand fed grapes and fanned with leaves like the absolute queen you are! (No request is too much, be bougie, it’s your last chance to make it all about you before the baby comes!)

We hear of too many women who end up having traumatic birth experiences and feeling out of control, I think this largely down to being uninformed and not knowing what on Earth is going on. Medical professionals asking you questions which you don’t understand, having decisions made for you. I think that if women took the time to do a little research, they would feel more empowered in their experience and have the best birth they can.

A lot of ladies decide to shut out the birth, choosing not to think about it and to just go with the flow and I totally get that! It’s a scary thought, it’s something we’ve never experienced before, whether we’re pushing a watermelon out a much smaller sized hole or having major abdominal surgery. But for me personally hypnobirthing made me feel so at ease and actually excited to have my baby. Knowing exactly what would happen to my body, what options were available to me and when I should ask questions made me feel less helpless. And not going to lie… having a plan laid out made the organisational freak in me extremely happy!

Your plan doesn’t have to be an extensive 5 page essay, in fact I discourage this ( no midwife will have time to read that ) but just a few things jotted down ( or you can use the icons Milli Hill suggests in her book which I absolutely loved! ).

Do you want pain relief? Do you want to be mobile? Would you like a birth pool? Are you happy to be induced? Would you like baby to have the vitamin k injection or oral drops? Would you like to birth the placenta naturally or have the injection to bring it on quicker? Do you want delayed cord clamping? Immediate skin to skin? These are all things to consider and again, it’s easier to do this with a clear fresh mind than a split second decision in the moment. Research what these things are and why they’re done so you will have an informed opinion and won’t feel silly when being asked your preference.

This is the biggest day of your life so far, reclaim some control, feel empowered and have the most amazing experience.

Good luck mumma’s!