I’m a Planner

This is what the side of our fridge looks like now. I also have a number of notebooks on the go…

IMG_3633

With my husband able to work from home this has already been very useful for us.  He has an idea of how I see mine and Aidan’s day going and he can plan little breaks into his working day to come and play with us. For example I’m not really able to run around the garden with Aidan at the moment ( I’m 28 weeks pregnant and feeling it!) so Daddy can take a break, run around a little bit and then we can all go out for a walk.

The daily break downs are a memory jog for me, I put some cars in the freezer for an activity and completely forgot, but when I saw ‘frozen cars’ on the note for yesterdays PM activity I knew what I was planning to do! (And that precious freezer space could be freed back up should we need it)!

It’s also helpful to have all this there so that if I got sick Daddy would have some inspiration for things to do.  I wouldn’t expect him to “do it my way”, he’s creative and perfectly capable of thinking up activities for the themes, but anything I can do to help ease the stress of a situation like that puts my mind at ease too.

I have planned which themes we’ll do each week all the way up to the end of June, this just helps me focus on the themes for the closest weeks when I’m scrolling Pinterest for inspiration.

60623337679__89BEDB7D-C54A-4DFC-94C9-054F624F144D

I’m particularly looking forward to the At Home theme, I can’t wait to teach Aidan how to do all the chores I hate… ;D

Follow me over on Instagram to see what we’re doing day to day and check back here for more of my planning posts soon!

 

Charity Shop “Haul”

So in my last post I said I’d been to our local charity shop to try and get a hold of a few bit to help me with our upcoming themes and activities. I thought I’d show you what I got and give you an idea of what I’m going to do with them.

I’ve also done a few Amazon orders and so I’ll do a post about those items soon.

IMG_3599

I was pretty pleased with what I found, I’ll be keeping these things hidden away until they are needed so that they are new and interesting to Aidan when they come out. I’ll break it down into themes.

IMG_3600

I got a farmer and tractor, these will probably end up nice and muddy. A book of various stories and rhymes about Old McDonald and Farmyard bingo.  I’m not expecting Aidan to be able to play this, but we can use the tiles as flash cards so he can learn the animals names and sounds.  I’m also just noticing that there’s a storybook included in that, I’ve not actually opened it yet so we’ll have to see if it’s in there.

IMG_3601

The zoo was a topic I was planning to do very soon, in the hope that we might still be able to get out to the zoo, with the ever changing guidelines and recommendations for high risk groups (I have asthma and am pregnant so currently fall into two of the three groups) I thought it best to put it off until later in the year, even if I can’t get out maybe Daddy can take Aidan out to see the animals.

IMG_3604

This one was a little more for me than Aidan really, I wanted something with some dino facts and nice pictures to inspire me.  It does have flaps though so Aidan will be happy to sit down with me and have a look through. I also managed to grab a few plastic dinosaurs on a more recent trip out. I’ll be doing some messy play with those.

IMG_3603

A few of these things will be usable over multiple topics, these will all get used for our Animal theme.  The puppies at the back will be covered in sticky back plastic and made into puzzles.

These three are just a few extras that caught my eye.  I thought they could be extra visual aids to support themes.  Nice pictures and even though I’m not, for example, expecting Aidan to lean the alphabet from the large flashcards, they can be out and we can still talk about the letters and pictures.

A lot of these things will probably act as more of a prompt for me and help me think about what things fall into certain themes and topics.  In the end I want Aidan to have fun and enjoy playing and I can tell that he enjoys playing more when there’s not hundreds of toys all over the floor and mummy is say on the sofa watching.  Having the themes helps me focus what tops and activities I provide for him and the displacement activity of planning and organising our week around the themes is giving me the mental peace to continue to enjoy playing with him.  I feel like I’ve been productive and have helped make the world a little better for Aidan by planning thing for him to do and so I can allow myself the time to play with him, instead of worrying about things I cannot effect.

Follow me over on Instagram to see what we’re doing day to day and check back here for more of my planning posts soon!

Breastfeeding Journey – Part One

I want to start of by saying that this topic and my story are, of course, very personal.  I have struggled, not only physically but mentally with breastfeeding.  Please be respectful of the decisions I and my husband made.

As part of World Breastfeeding Week 2018 I’d like to share with you our breastfeeding story so far.  I can see there being three parts to this story, hopefully the first two will be this week and the final one will come in a few weeks.  The second part will cover breastfeeding and mental heath as I have experienced it. This post will be our journey up to today.

Today Aidan is 6 weeks and 2 days old.  We have an appointment at the tongue tie clinic to, hopefully, have a tongue tie division.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Within an hour after Aidan’s wonderful and beautiful birth I asked the midwife if I should try and feed him.  First we tried a cross cradle hold as this felt the most natural.  My midwife was very supportive and gave me a few tips but Aidan didn’t seem interested. Vicki (the midwife that had taken over after his birth) suggested we try lying down.  I managed to get him latched for only a few little sucks.  He was considered a ‘reluctant feeder’.  He was born at 0640, this first little feed was probably around 0715.  He didn’t eat again until much much later that day.

For various reasons that I’ll talk about in a different post, we were separated around an hour and a half after his birth, and between me being away from him and him being away from me we couldn’t have any more skin to skin until after lunch time.

At no point was I prompted or encouraged to try and feed him again.  Of course I’m aware that he’s my baby and I need to feed him but in retrospect I felt unsupported in the early hours with breastfeeding.  He was known to be reluctant to feed and we had had trouble with latching, I’m very surprised no one came to see us try again.  It wasn’t until we were on the ward that I tried again to get him latched.  It became apparent at the point that it was going to take some time to get him feeding from the breast and so I was encouraged to express into a syringe* in order for him to get the colostrum.

Very late on his first night he was taken to NICU where he spent around 24hrs.  In the morning I didn’t get to him until 11am, I was given some support by the NICU staff to try and get him feeding but again in the end I expressed into a clean syringe for him.  The staff suggested trying to use a machine to express so that we could get a little more into him.  We still used the syringe to give it to him, but this way he was getting close to 5ml a feed rather than 1ml here and there.  Andrew and I were so proud when I started getting serious amounts of colostrum.

Once Aidan was taking around 10ml they suggested we use a cup to feed him instead. Feeding more than 10ml with a syringe isn’t very practical. The cup is just one of those small plastic cups they dispense medication in (a clean one every time).  Its a little bit squishy and your baby kind of laps the milk up like a cat would. It’s a bit scary to do as there is a risk they could breath it in and asphyxiate.  I think I only managed to cup feed him once and not very successfully. Not all the staff were happy for me to syringe or cup feed him unattended and some didn’t want me to cup feed him at all and so they would do it.  The number of different people who had fed him in his first few days was somewhere in the region of ten.  We were told in our parenting classes that the number of feeders should be kept as small as possible. Ideally, in a non breastfeeding situation, it would be no more than mum and dad.

This, along with a very hungry baby, led us to the decision to formula feed him on day 4.  We were warned of nipple confusion and told he might not ever latch if we started with a bottle, but we had seen no progress with breastfeeding and they wouldn’t discharge a baby that was only cup feeding.  I continued to express and we topped up with formula, he very rarely had more formula than expressed breast milk.

This decision was so hard and so easy to make.  Breastfeeding him was so important to me but he needed to eat and we needed to go home.  After a quick trip for Andrew to pick up everything we’d need for expressing and bottle feeding at home we were discharged after 5 days in hospital.

Expressing is hard work, I felt like I was doing it constantly, and it was really tiring.  Expressing took about as long as feeding him would take so it could take me an hour to express but then he’d drink it all in seconds. If people visited I would take myself off to express, sitting alone for an hour every 2 or 3 hours while we had visitors was pretty grim.

After talking to a few friends and getting some advice from other mums on Instagram, we contacted a lactation consultant and asked her to come out to our home to give us some advice.  I just needed to know if I was ever going to breastfeed him, I was still trying and by this point it was just upsetting me and Aidan.  I needed to know if it was worth pushing through or whether it was going to be better for both of us if I just accepted it wasn’t going to happen.

The day before we saw the consultant I spoke with my midwife. I asked her if she had any more suggestions for me. She said that at that point it might be worth giving nipple shields a go. There’s still a risk of nipple confusion but he was already using a bottle so he was likely already confused if he was going to be.

On the 28th of June I sat down with him to try the nipple shields, I was fully expecting it wouldn’t work, at least not first time.   He latch immediately with no problems and had his first proper breastfeed at just over 2 weeks old.  I cried, I was so happy to be feeding my baby boy the way I’d dreamed of.  That night he fed mostly on the breast with the help of the shields and only had a bottle on one occasion.

The following day our lactation consultant came round and she was fantastic, she was so supportive of our decision and felt fairly positive there was still a chance he could feed without the shields in the future.  She referred us to the tongue tie clinic because of a mild tongue tie (which, I might add, we’d been told by a midwife he didn’t have).  The LC recommended waiting until his tie had been cut before trying without the shields, she thought he might find it easier and it would be less painful for me.  When she left she said to try and not give him a bottle unless we really needed too.  I think he had 2 bottles over the few days that followed and since then we have packed them all away.  I did try him on my breast a few times and on occasions he was feeling co-operative we were able to get a good latch and even have a few sucks.

There are definitely times when I find the shields frustrating and want to pack them in and go back to bottles, but all in all they have improved our day to day life.  I feel able to go out for the day, not needing to worry about finding somewhere to express and storing milk.  The shields still needed to be sterilised so sometimes things can get a bit frantic if I’ve been a bit disorganised but we’re getting into a pretty good routine.

I plan on doing a follow up post once we’ve had time to see if there’s been an improvement after his division.

*I was doing this by hand, sucking up any little drops from my nipples with the syringe.

A Positive Birth Story

I’ve been amazed at how many people have said ‘oh it’s so nice to hear that it doesn’t have to be horrible’, or something similar, after hearing my birth story. Some people seem to think I’m mad for enjoying my labour and birth! So here it is, my positive birth story.

I’m going to be really honest, the four weeks or so before Aidan was born were tough, I’d been in and out of early labour since around 37 weeks, I didn’t find it at all painful and I was able to get sleep, but it did make those last few weeks drag on a little. My last midwifes appointment was at 40 +3, I accepted a membrane sweep and my midwife was very surprised to find I was already 3cm dilated. She was pretty sure she wouldn’t see me again. At 40 +5 we went up to the hospital to get checked out, I’d felt as if things had begun picking up. The midwife checked me and said I was 3-4cms but baby’s head was at a bit of a funny angle which might be preventing things from moving on quickly. After a bit of gymnastics including what was pretty much a handstand off the side of the bed and a second membrane sweep I was sent home to bounce on my birth ball.

At around 1am on the 18th June (41 +1) I woke up with my first real contraction. Everything before this had really only caused my tummy to tighten and given me a bit of a crampy feeling. This was much more like an intense period cramp, not painful, just very achey. I had 3 of these before I woke up my husband at 1.30am. I’d wanted to let him sleep for as long as I could and even though they hadn’t really gotten any more intense I felt I needed him and asked him to rub my back. I think we lay in bed for about another 5 or 10 minutes before I felt I wasn’t comfortable lying down. I wanted to try getting in the bath. Between half 1 and 2 my contractions had started to really intensify and I was needing to stop and crouch down to help ease the discomfort. I was only in the bath long enough to have one contraction as I found it too restrictive. Andrew helped me apply my TENS machine and started gathering any last minute bits we might need at the hospital. Personally I found the TENS machine distracted me and I’d lose my flow, I used it for about an hour but didn’t really get on with it.

At 2.54am Andrew called the hospital. My contractions were about 4 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds to a minute, the midwife wanted to speak to me, I had a contraction just as the phone was handed over. She advised me that I was welcome to come up and get checked but that I might be sent home. I had another contraction (3 minutes after the last) and she asked if I’d like them to start running water into the pool… I said yes. We didn’t rush into the car but we were on our way by about 3.10. I remember telling Andrew I didn’t want to wear my seatbelt and being very grumpy about it when he told me I had to. I definitely found it much more comfortable being on all fours so the car journey was tough as sitting was quite uncomfortable, I’m not sure there’s much that could have been done about that, I was still wearing the TENS machine at this point. I wish I knew if I’d have found it more comfortable without. We were at the hospital by roughly 3.30 and walking to the birthing unit seemed to take forever. I’d been a few times before but this time it seemed to be further away. I had to stop a few times to have a contraction. During my pregnancy I’d been worried about contracting in the halls of the hospital, what if someone saw me or heard me?! I was so in the zone I didn’t care.

Into the unit we went and I was so glad to get into a dimly lit room and the birthing pool looked so inviting. The midwife needed to check me before we could make ourselves comfortable, just in case I wasn’t progressing enough. We handed over my notes and after a quick examination she said there was no way I was going home as I was 7cm dilated! I couldn’t have been happier, I think I told her that if she’d said I had to go home I might have killed her. I was ready to have this baby. I spent the rest of my labour in the pool, Andrew holding my hand and stroking my back. I had gas and air which helped me focus on my breathing. Between contractions I was able to chat with Andrew and the midwife, but we all knew contraction time was encouragement or silence only.

We had been to a hypnobirthing class and I really cannot recommend it highly enough. It helped me understand what was happening within my body and it allowed me to feel respect for my body that I’d never felt before. At no point was I in pain, it was intense but never painful. If you have the opportunity to do hypnobirthing do it! I’ll leave some useful links below.

At some point, around 530, the midwife told me that at some point I’d start feeling the urge to push and that we should let her know when that happened. At about 545 I told Andrew that I wanted to push and he called her back. She gathered a few bit that she needed and after an external examination with the help of a mirror that looked like a fish slice, she told me I was definitely fully dilated. Sonia (the midwife) was fantastic, she was really hands off which is what we wanted and she encouraged me through every contraction and gave me the space to let my body do what it needed to do. There was a point I realised I was trying to hold back on the pushes. At some point during the pushing my water broke, which was a very odd sensation, like a sudden gush of very high pressure water. There was some definite discomfort during the crowning, a burning sensation and I think that was causing me not to push as much as I could have done. His head come out at about 6.35 and after another push he was born into the water at 6.40am. I was the first person to touch him and was able to lift him out of the water myself.

We stayed in the water for a little while before getting out to deliver the placenta and cut the cord. I was concerned about the amount of blood I was losing but the midwife was very reassuring and in the end it was only about 300ml (which sound like a lot but is fairly normal I believe). Sonia cleared up and left us to bond as a new family of three!

I ended up having a 3rd degree tear, which I think was a bit of a surprise. It’s possibly down to how quickly he arrived. Leaving my baby and hubby to go down to theatre was hard but the hypnobirthing and all the oxytocin helped keep me positive and upbeat, I knew I’d be back with them soon.

I’m going to do a few more posts about the rest of my experience, I’m very keen to keep the birth separate from the rest of our 5 day stay in hospital. Everything seems worse when you’re tired and full of hormones. Everything and everyone was fine and healthy which is, in the end, the most important thing. But those extra days were hard and I don’t want them to interfere with my birth experience.

My birth was everything I could have wanted and the 6 hours it took to get our son here were so empowering and amazing.

Aidan Mundy. 18th June 2018, 0640. 9lbs (4.101kg).

The Positive Birth Company

Spinning Babies

What is hypnobirthing?

An Honest Opinion Of Myself – Pregnancy

My hands and ankles are swollen, my thighs and bum have expanded, my back hurts, I can’t get comfortable ever and I’m peeing about 100 times an hour.  And yet, I feel better about myself than I have in a very long time, possibly better than I’ve ever felt about myself.

Before I was pregnant, I would never have worn tight-fitting, figure hugging dresses and skirts but the second my bump popped I was in horizontal stripes, embracing every lump and bump I had. I’ve had my pale, poorly shaved legs out and my no make-up days have heavily outweighed my make-up days.  I imagine its partially down to hormones, partially down to “pregnancy glow”, but a huge part of it is down to – and please pardon my French – my body is doing something fucking amazing right now!

Being positive about your body is a choice, always, and when you’re on your knees at the foot of the porcelain altar for thirteen straight weeks it can be pretty hard to love yourself much. And not everyone enjoys being pregnant, and what it does to their body and that’s okay too! I’ve definitely had days when I needed something loose and flowy to help me feel comfortable – I’m about 4 weeks from D-Day, feeling a bit swollen from the heat wave we’ve had, and rapidly running out of even pregnancy clothes that fit comfortably.

Comfort, not ‘these shoes are really comfortable’ but comfort within myself has been my key to enjoying this journey.  Looking in the mirror and feeling like me. It’s not been about feeling pretty or beautiful everyday, but about confidence and respect for myself and my body and what it’s doing.  Pregnancy does not change who you are. You are still you.   

Give yourself a chance. A chance to see past stretch marks, swelling ankles and puffy eyes.  Look in the mirror and tell yourself ‘My body was designed to do this and I’m doing it beautifully’. Behind it all, there is a tiny little person (or persons!) relying on you for everything and you are doing a fantastic job of providing that for them.  So embrace it for all that it is, because it takes up so little time really and when it’s done, that little person will be worth it all…

… I hope, because the swelling is really starting to get on my nerves a bit…

What’s in Baby’s Hospital Bag.

I’ve had little one’s hospital bag mostly packed for a few weeks now.  I think it’s fairly safe to say that packing the bag for baby is one of the more exciting parts of prepping for your new arrival.  You get to go through their clothes and select the items that feel special enough to be their firsts. First socks, first hat, first vest.  For me it was the time when I really started to think about what our little man would look like.

As most first time mums do, I’m sure I’ve over packed but having all my bases covered has helped me feel calm about those first few hours with baby.

The bag we’re using will be our everyday nappy bag,  I got it from Amazon.  It’s got pockets everywhere which makes it a fantastic hospital bag.  I’ve got things tucked away so I can tell my husband exactly where to find the scratch mitts, rather than him having to root around the whole bag looking for anything.

img_7944

On top there’s a blanket for coming home.  This one was made by little one’s Granny.

img_7941

In the outside pockets I’ve put muslins and water wipes.  Will 2 muslins be enough?!  I have also packed a pack of cotton wool incase the hospital would prefer we use that.

Inside I’ve put six newborn size nappies and a changing pad, the changing pad is only there because I wanted to make sure it was in the changing bag and didn’t get lost.

There’s a swaddling muslin and hat in case it’s a little chilly.

img_7954

In the inside back pocket are a few small bits that could easily get lost in the main pocket.  These are also items we are less likely to need but that I wanted to pack just incase.

img_7952

We are still in discussions about the use of a dummy but I’m packing it just in case.  Look at those tiny socks!

Clothes next,  first I’ve got a selection of “emergency” vests in case we’re in for a little longer and he needs a change of clothes.  Two are 0-3 months and one is newborn.  We packed a very sweet long-sleeved vest that will most likely not fit him as it’s ‘Small Baby’ size, but if it’s ever going to fit him it’ll be on his first day and would make for some quite nice newborn pictures.

Then I’ve packed six outfits, three newborn size and three 0-3 size.  That’s two babygrows for chilling out in the hospital (one in each size), a baby grow for if we come home at night (again one in each size) and an outfit for coming home in the day (yep, one in each size).  I’ve also packed a cardigan that should fit him no matter how big or small he is…

…unless he’s huge.  I hope he’s not huge…

A scarf would bring this together…

I kicked myself when I got into the city and realised I’d forgotten to wear my new favourite scarf. I think the outfit works without it but the scarf added something… I’m not sure what… oh wait. I know. Warmth!! I was so freaking cold taking these pictures!

This is my first real “put together” maternity outfit. I’ve been unconvinced by maternity wear, not sure if it’s a waste of money. I bought myself this shirt from H&M and I’m so glad I did. Putting on a well fitting item of clothing can really help you feel good. I’ve not wanted to post outfit pics because I’ve not really been happy with what I’m wearing, but on this day I felt like myself again and loved it. I’m not going over the top with maternity wear because I still think it can be a bit of a waste of money (except the jeans, they are so comfortable I just want to live in them forever). But having a few nice items in my wardrobe is going to be important for me I think.

Jeans – Jojo Maman Bebe | Boots (similar)- Clarks | Shirt – H&M | Coat (similar) – H&M | Hat -Accessorise

Casually Hanging out in a Multi Story Car-park

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Is this not the most natural place to take photos? No?…  I wondered why we were getting some odd looks. Hey look its those jeans again!  And these boots show up fairly often too…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAF9D5D1C6-C196-4DB8-BB1D-B6AE92A1DE01

It’s officially autumn and that brings with it the joy of coats.  This year I knew what I was looking for when I went out shopping, I couldn’t spend too much but obviously wanted a coat that would last.  This one is perfect, cozy, pockets, a nice collar and a good length. It has it all!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA828A4DC6-4913-402F-A11F-30E0094859A5

E2440370-4E29-46F1-80F1-A051A254B889OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here are a few other nice coats that have caught my eye.

coatcoat2coat3

 

Favourites September Edition – Summer Memories

This summer brought with it a lot of change and a lot of excitement. Of course my birthday should be the highlight of summer for everyone around me, but this year we had other things to celebrate.

Since I’ve been married I have been sharing my husband with another being.  I think it’s fair to call it a being because it’s taken up so much of his time and energy, has caused us excitements, stresses and disappointments. This summer my husband finished his PhD and is now officially Dr Mundy.  We attended his graduation in Manchester and it felt like some kind of birth/funeral hybrid. 


This trip also brought with it another excitement, driving. Earlier in the year I passed my driving test (second try, all the best drivers pass second time).  We bought an old car from a work friend and the 5 hour drive from Norwich to Derbyshire was the first long drive I made.  I had to do all the driving, it was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. 

We moved house (again. We have lived in a different house for every year we have been married). Moving brought us closer to our allotment from which we got our first (and last) harvest! We’ll still be eating the potatoes at Christmas.  We also abandoned the idea of an allotment in favour of a container garden.

Plus there was A LOT of great coffees and brunches with Laura from Rose and Weston. More of that in Autumn please!

Always the Same Jeans

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve noticed that I always wear the same pair of jeans…  At least in my blog posts!  I do have other jeans I promise.  My next outfit post will mostly likely also feature these jeans, but after that I’ll try and mix it up!  No guarantees though, I do love this pair.

The best thing about these jeans is that they are pretty easy to dress up or down.  This outfit was my second of the day, the first being a simple t-shirt and jeans job.  But with a switch of top and the addition of a jacket it went from casual to smart.  This has pretty much been my go to evening outfit the past few weeks because it’s so easy and comfortable.

These shoes are a bit of a killer though.  The first time I wore them they cut my heels so badly I was a little worried I’d bleed out… They are now stained with my blood and that shows up really obviously in some lights so I got very few close ups of the pretty gold heels…

F7D7FAB6-15DB-4F9C-8E6A-CA665CF0ADB9

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Shoes New Look Similar Here (I wish it were these…) | Jeans Next Similar here | Blazer H&M Similar here | Watch Elie Beaumont | Shirt New Look. I could find nothing similar but this would look nice