Passing our probation…

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Two minutes max, that’s usually how long it would take to pack up the car and go for a break away…two minutes.

Yesterday, it took us near on twenty to put the stuff in the car, ‘with the pram in the boot, is there space for the Moses basket?’ , ‘will we need the rain cover or shall we not bother?’ , ‘no no, that needs to be put down by my feet, it’s got changing and feeding stuff in there in case she wakes up.’ I think there’s probably military operations that have gone quicker! In our defence, in what is our first trip away since having the baby, we are needing to pack for two weeks, with a family wedding weekend in the middle of it, not to mention two bouts of work (plus stage combat equipment for said work) that my husband is doing within those two weeks. And having been relatively house bound for the last month, our ‘leaving the house,’ practise has been slim to none.

But this week marks both the end to both sets of antibiotics and a slight cooling of the intense weather, two things that have kept us more confined (Read – hiding!). So we are re-emerging into the world with a rather steep re-entry experience! The packing part wasn’t quite as complicated,

‘what do we need?’

‘All of it!’

After stumbling through the packing and car loading process (which was more like a game of Tetris really), we headed off for the three hour journey. Well, at least, it’s normally a three hour journey; this of course is the first time we’ve taken our new life manager; baby Scarlett slept like a dream for the whole motorway process and we smugly thought we might just get the whole journey done without incident. Her screams three quarters of the way gave us our answer to that particular question. We’d passed all the services so for the last bit of the journey, we stopped twice for roadside feeds, one of which included a rather cramped ‘roadside nappy change waltz,’ where I tried to ensure the contents of the nappy stayed nappy based, whilst also trying to keep the sun out of our little girls eyes; I can’t really count it as a win per se, but we got through it relatively unscathed! We then also had ten minutes of solid screaming just towards the end but I was able to calm her in time to avoid another lay by stop. A three hour journey became a four and a half hour journey. But we made it. And we’re officially on holiday with family on the coast.

But as a new parent, it feels distinctly different to holidays of the past! Scarlett is still very much in charge of the schedule, and lie ins are not something we’re anticipating being able to make use of!

It does however mark the end of that first crazy ‘four week hibernation from regular life,’ stage of proceedings. Now a new learning process commences, being parents in the real world! Starting to do more than just responding to cries, trying to fit in some regular activities round those cries. At one point today when I was frantically trying to put a breast away without anyone seeing with one hand, and holding her as she was crying in the other in a beach side cafe, I wondered why we’d left the cocoon – we’d barely got used to doing it all at home, what the hell were we playing at going to the outside?!

But then we also left the beach with a video of her first little dip in the sea (and by dip I mean the merest of touches of water to her feet!) and we managed to have a drink with my Dad, Aunt and Uncle. We felt tired when we got back in but also refreshed. We’d done it, we’d started parenting in real life and everyone had survived! Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be the least relaxing holiday I’ve ever been on but it’s going to be a lot of fun!

I do feel a little bit like we’ve passed our initial probationary period, the child is developing as she should, we’re both in one piece, all is going well! Its yet to be seen how well the next couple of weeks go, especially the second week of the holiday when my husband goes away with work and we may retreat back to stage one – house arrest(!) at the end of it! But for now we’re moving on forward and on Friday she turns one month old. Sadly I don’t think we receive any kind of achievement badge or certificate; as a keen gamer, I feel like we should pick up some experience points or unlock a new bonus (an extra hours sleep potion maybe?!) but we do at least get rewarded with watching our baby grow and now we start having real experiences together as a family. And it’s not as bad as I make out really, in fact as I type, she’s fast asleep and I’m even managing twenty glorious minutes in the bath! I truly am on holiday!

For any mothers similarly starting to emerge from the other end of the newborn tunnel, congratulations! We made the first four weeks!! We did it together, but no time for celebrating, it’s onto stage two…parenting in the outside world…

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Breast Foot Forward…

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Breastfeeding. ‘The most natural process in the world’. But boy oh boy, it’s a minefield; a minefield for discussion and in practicalities. I always assumed unless there were any extreme circumstances, the only obstacle in the way of breastfeeding was the decision not to. I have many friends with kids and you know whether they breastfeed or bottle feed, but I had never delved deeper than that or even asked why they made their decision. And outside of your circle of friends, you have your ‘breast is best’ warriors, and you have the formula fans but even they don’t go into much more detail than the sales pitch; ‘it’s more natural/cheaper’ or ‘you can share the load more/its easier to get into a routine.’

I discussed the decision early on with my partner and we were immediately agreed that I would breastfeed. My personal reasoning is essentially that I’m quite traditional in nature, the whole point of breasts is to feed a baby…and I truly didn’t give it more thought than that.

Cut to nine months later and I’m sat in recovery after the emergency c-section and it was time for that first feed. As always, it’s not quite like they portray in the films, or even how they portray in the leaflets. Being two weeks early, I was told it might take a bit longer for my milk to come through. However what I never even anticipated, somewhat naively and arrogantly, was that my little one wouldn’t be able to latch on and there was some manual expressing to be done to get things going.

I won’t go into too much detail, but my memories of the hospital based breastfeeding include quite a lot of bleeding, a lot of pain, a tiny syringe pulling places I’d never expected a tiny syringe to go. Still my milk supply came through and with the aid of shields to help baby latch, I was breastfeeding. I have to quite shamefully admit that when two mothers in my ward gave up at various points, I also felt a ridiculously undeserved sense of pride at persevering. And a pride that had me believing that at least the hard part was over. (Oh how deluded I was!)

Nearly four weeks on, I’m still using the shields despite hoping to have ditched them by now. There’s still some bleeding, there’s still a lot of pain but there’s now an added side to things.

Sleep deprivation is a completely expected side effect of having a baby and so that wasn’t a surprise. What I hadn’t anticipated was quite how draining feeding would be on my body. It takes 500 calories a day to breastfeed which apparently is the equivalent of how many calories running a 5k burns. I also didn’t realise how relentless it was. At the moment, Scarlett is a constant cluster feeder, over the last few days, apart from in the morning for maybe two stints of two hours at a time; she wants to feed…constantly. I’ve had to get my husband to do all manner of ridiculous things even just to occupy her long enough to run off for a quick toilet break! The most she seems to stand, is to allow us to change her, then the familiar mouth cue followed by screaming if a feed doesn’t immediately follow!

At first I was worried, she was underweight for the first few weeks, did I not have enough milk? Was I just not able to provide for her? I started having thoughts creep into my head that I obviously wasn’t a ‘natural’ Mum, breastfeeding is the most natural process in the world and I was clearly no good at it. What I didn’t realise is that I hadn’t done one of the simplest of things…I hadn’t asked any other Mums about it. Worried they’d look at me in abject horror at my confession, I imagined them confirming my fears, “she feeds constantly?! My God the poor child needs to be taken from you, you’re starving her,” (I also imagined this being said whilst they casually fill up a few milk bottles with their own ample breasts because…you know, it’s that natural.)

I first tentatively looked online, and…immediate relief. Not only did I not receive hate emails, I wasn’t the only one, in fact the only thing I could be sure of, was that I was boringly average! It instantly made me feel better, and a bit stupid to say the least. But being the over thinker I am, I then immediately realised I had a different issue – this is something nearly all breastfeeding mothers go through, so why did I feel like I couldn’t hack it?! Yes ok so I’d been back in hospital for a second operation and was fighting off an infection but Christ, I certainly didn’t have it that bad realistically! But on closer inspection, it seems most of us feel like we can’t hack it from time to time, and, as it turns out , that doesn’t necessarily make us awful people!

You may be asking yourself whether I’d opened any books or found out any of the (now seemingly) obvious, whilst pregnant? Well, yes I did, but the benefit of google searches once you actually have a baby is that you know what you’re looking to find out. There is so much information about, before you have a baby you have absolutely no idea which bits will apply to you. You wonder, will my child have allergies? Skin conditions? Colic? Cradle cap? You can’t possibly find it all out when you may only need to know 10% of it. God knows I didn’t have enough brain power whilst pregnant to look into it all. (and even know all the possible things to look into!) it’s only really reactively you can learn along the way.

So for some, breastfeeding does come naturally and without much incident and without the intense frequency. For me, one of the challenges has definitely been breastfeeding, but after driving myself insane, although I’m nowhere near having cracked it, I am at least a bit more relaxed about it. If she’s still screaming at me every 5 minutes for a feed in 10 years time I’ll know something’s gone horribly wrong(!) but in the meantime, a few points that currently help me, please feel free to send me some of your own!

1) Above all, relax as much as possible. We will all get through it, whatever the problem; and every day we’re one step further along.

2) Drink and eat little and often, you need the extra calories and it’s so easy to forget to eat when you’re constantly otherwise engaged with a child attached to you. But having being close to fainting on a few occasions only to realise I need some more water or a snack, I’m now putting my husband in charge of making sure I eat and drink enough.

3) Whilst feeding, read magazines/watch TV/catch up on films/start a blog, anything to keep your mind going enough to not make the time drag or be too void of activity so as not to distract you from any pain. Personally, although an avid reader normally, reading doesn’t work for me as it often just makes me even more tired so find whatever works for you.

4) Savour the time, if I have a second child, I may have to try and keep up with a small toddler as well as having a baby permanently attached..or whatever individual challenge the second brings. It seems like madness right now but as tiring, and as painful as it is, it really won’t be long before she doesn’t need or want her Mother, and I’ll look back at this time and cherish the closeness. I’ve mentioned my little brother almost a decade my junior many times before, but I will forever painfully remember a moment when he was about 5 and I was a teenager and he desperately wanted to spend time with me and I wanted to go and see my boyfriend; he came over playfully for a cuddle and uncharacteristically I pushed him away and walked out. The noise of him crying and looking up at the window and seeing his heartbroken crying face pleadingly looking out at me will forever haunt me. The boyfriend is long gone, but so is that precious time with my baby brother who is very soon to turn 21 and not all that bothered about me anymore. (rightly so!) That one experience is enough to bring tears to my eyes every time I think about it and ensures that despite anything, I never take this time for granted.

5) Talk to others, whatever the issue, you are definitely not alone!

Five is all I have I’m afraid, I’m still trying to find ways of making it easier, still learning and having huge highs and challenging lows. But one thing I vow never to do is tell any new Mum that breastfeeding is ‘the most natural thing in the world.’ That’s as may be but there’s no quicker way of making an inexperienced Mum feel inadequate!

Motherhood IS an innately natural thing, but it takes time to find your own style, work out how it works best for you. Each tiny new creature is brand new, doesn’t come with instructions and will come with their own individual issues and difficulties. Nobody will go on the same journey you do, but reassuringly at the same time; I’ve said it hundreds of times (and even then I keep forgetting!) we’re all in it together.

Whatever the problem, chances are you’ll be dealing with it or thinking about it in the middle of the night, which is a lonely time of day when you can’t settle your baby, but one of the wonders of the internet is that if you want to, there will always be someone also awake somewhere in the world with a similar problem. So if you happen to be struggling with feeding, put the kettle on, get comfy, I’ll meet you in cyberspace later…

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Mummy’s Magical Moment…

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Following on from my last entry and to complete the update; the day after writing I was back at the hospital for more tests and the results came in. Scans showed that I had (again, not dinner eating friendly reading…apologies!) a rather large blood clot which wasn’t budging and some leftover placenta, both of which were causing quite a bit of pain as well as causing an infection of the womb lining. Quite the relief in one way as we finally had an answer for the pain, but it did mean that another minor operation was needed to remove everything that didn’t need to be there.

With a two week old, we were thankfully given a private room and my husband could ignore the visiting hours whilst I was taken down to the theatre and recovery to make sure our baby girl was affected as little as possible. Again I have to say, all the staff were brilliant and once the diagnosis was made, we then had only a couple of hours to wait before the op took place.

As I came round from the general anaesthetic just an hour after going under; I sent not one, not two, but a total of four members of the medical team to go and tell my husband that everything had gone well, ‘as he worries.’ I’m pretty sure if the first two nurses hadn’t reassured him, the second two probably did the job…! Also in my drug addled state, I held the anaesthetists hand telling him that we meant to write a letter to say thanks for how well we were treated by the c-section team (he had been our anaesthetist then as well!) he apparently assured me it wasn’t necessary but I insisted that this operation would be added in our thanks..!

Once fully back from the general anaesthetic haze, the midwives came and let us know that the op had successfully removed everything that didn’t need to still be present, and I got cuddles from my poor baby daughter who was desperate for a feed!

It had been a rather difficult week but realistically was sorted relatively quickly. However it did provide me with a wonderful moment of Motherhood. When I kissed my husband and baby goodbye, Scarlett seemed quite peaceful. Allegedly however, when I left, she became very agitated and difficult to settle. Now the more cynical amongst you could quite happily argue that with antibiotics already being passed into her system, and she may also have been able to pick up on Daddy’s more stressed and worried feelings, it’s understandable that she’d be more irritable.

However, after feeding her on my return, I then put her up against my chest to burp her as normal, and that’s when, for the first time, she grabbed hold of my hair in both hands and refused to let go. She had such a tight grip, I couldn’t turn my head to the left! It was almost as if she missed me when I’d been taken away and was now clinging on tight to make sure Mummy didn’t go anywhere again. It made me instantly well up and in that position we both happily stayed for the next few hours, with her staying content for the rest of the day and evening. And with Daddy by our side, despite the situation that had got us there, we were a very happy family unit indeed.

I’m now back home on a ridiculous amount of painkillers and antibiotics, recovering slowly but surely with, as ever, the tremendous support of our family and friends. And I’m now hoping for a bit more plain sailing to concentrate only on baby Scarlett. So that closes that particular post baby road bump!

However, as painful as Friday was, the moment that I suddenly felt like a mother that was desperately needed by her little girl is one I’ll remember forever. It’s a cliche, and I’ve said it before but life is made up of moments and for me, those little hands gripping onto me, tucked up close against me was one of the most magical moments of my life.

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First Weeks Worries…

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Once baby arrives, that’s the end of the pregnancy bits, the pain, the nausea, you become a human again, excellently placed to take care of your new infant with gusto. We all know babies are hard to look after, so thank goodness you can do it once the hard part on your own body is over…right? Ladies? Right…?!

What’s not written about so much or shown in films is that after the baby is born, you don’t instantly transform into Mummy and cut to the adorable toddler montage, full of laughs, slow motion/black and white pictures of pure joy. I can’t speak for every other Mums but I can certainly fill you in on my experience…if you’re eating your dinner, it might be worth coming back to this entry a bit later…you have been warned.

I had an emergency c-section and knew there would be some recovery time, in my head I thought, a few days of aching which I would barely feel due to my euphoria of having a baby and then the next couple of weeks would be filled with days out in the sunshine with my new family and we’d all settle into family life…

…I know I know, sickeningly naive, and surely accompanied by an equally twee soundtrack!

Skipping the four day hospital stay and cutting to getting home, the first two weeks have consisted of a continuation of bleeding, a lot of pain and a frustration when I have to ask people for help when it comes to things I want to do for my baby. For instance, it still hurts when I stand up, I can’t lift things, and I still get dizzy quite quickly when I’m on my feet. My husband has been doing the cooking and cleaning (I have to also acknowledge – endlessly helped by my wonderful Mum who has cooked and dropped round several meals, does any bits of washing up there is every time she comes round and never leaves without more washing being taken home to be done. I regret every teenage strop she had to endure – the woman is a Godsend!) Anyway, my husband has been doing all the household things whilst also helping in the middle of the night when he can AND going to work, albeit only the odd day but as his job often takes him on quite long journeys, I am constantly in awe of how he’s doing it all and still managing to always have a smile and a cuddle for me left at the end of the day.

Baby Scarlett has been marvellous, realistically, although we are course being kept awake at night, she is a good baby. And medically, she’s progressing ideally, still slightly underweight but growing daily, and has so far passed all her checks with flying colours.

Now, on the other hand, Mummy has been slightly letting the side down; recovery is hard but I was half prepared for that (I say ‘half’ as I admit happily I clearly had scenes from ‘Little House on the Prairie’ in mind when I imagined the early post birth days.) but after two weeks, I finally mentioned to the midwife that I was struggling; feeling fevery, achy and my tummy was in quite a bit of pain. I still felt like a wimp saying it – after all, some of the things I was mentioning: exhaustion, pain, headaches, were surely down to the c-section. And as the weathers so hot at the moment, the temperature and sweating were both presumably down to that. After an examination however, the midwife agreed that my stomach wasn’t feeling right and I started a course of antibiotics. By day 4 of those antibiotics with no improvement, the GP referred me to the hospital for blood tests and scans as the suspicion is that there may be some leftover tissue causing a bit of a problem, and it will soon be decided whether to just blast it with the stronger antibiotics that I’ve been put on or have another op to remove whatever’s there. We’re currently awaiting more test results.

So now on top of the normal recovery, I’m fighting off ‘infection unknown’, whilst trying to be the supermum I had on my first time Mum plan of action. Again, I’m surrounded by endlessly supportive friends and family so I have it significantly easier than it could be. But before having children, I never considered just how much there was going on after the birth date and even after you get discharged from hospital. Your body, your brain and your sanity are thrown in at the deep end. The sleepless nights are talked about, but not so much the pain in sitting up still after a week and beyond. You see serene pictures of happy Mums breastfeeding, not a little clip of a woman crying as she tries to get her baby to latch on to cracked, often bleeding nipples!

Whilst recovering from a major operation (in the case of c-section births) you have to suddenly know how to soothe a screaming baby, find a way to try and rest to avoid further illnesses or straining your wound, and deal with the emotions of it all as your hormones ride the waltzers all round your body. And at the same time, life keeps happening, bills still need to be paid; if the plumbers due, you can never guarantee to be dressed/without one or both boobs on show/be able to time it when babies not crying! You want visitors for sanity, but on the other hand you want to disappear until you’re human again. And if you do have visitors, you half want them when baby is behaving and/or sleeping so that they don’t have to witness the madness; but you also realise that with every minute you have guests and baby is sleeping, you’re missing out on potential minutes you too could be sleeping!

And all of this…and we only have one!! How people do all of the above whilst attempting to keep up with a toddler, I have NO idea!

In all honestly, I expected it to have more strain on my relationship with my husband but that’s the one thing that’s been much easier. We’re a team, comrades trying to get through each day as smoothly as possible! Through the first two weeks, we’ve laughed together , cried together, taken it in turns to give pep talks when necessary, and made sure we at least have a five minute cuddle at the end of each day.

The first two weeks have been madness, and we are more than aware that we’re nowhere near the end of the tunnel for this particular stage. But for every time we finally get into bed only to be welcomed by another scream – we have several moments of pure joy just staring at her beautiful face. For every time I cry at the pain because baby kicks me in the very painful stomach whilst breastfeeding – we’ve laughed ten times at something we’ve just done or she’s just done. If it was just as hard as it is, I don’t think the human race would have survived, no-one would have kids! But it’s usually the hardest things in life that are the most rewarding. In ten years time, I probably won’t remember the four tries it took them to get my blood in hospital earlier today, and the pain I was in as they tried, I’ll remember looking at my baby and my husband, both bent over sleeping whilst we awaited more tests and being overcome with just how much I love them both and wouldn’t be without them. If we’d have know how hard it would be during pregnancy and in the weeks after she was born, would we have still done it? Abso-bloody-lutely.

(Pictured below, my poor family take a nap whilst we find ourselves back in the familiar ward)

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It’s such a hard thing to explain, it’s been the best and hardest two weeks of my life. I’ve cried at trying to breastfeed but been happy persevering, I’ve been bent over in pain with a post op infection but am perfectly calm about it being sorted. I’ve developed patience I never imagined I was capable of, a tolerance I would have put money on never having and in some weird way, I’ve enjoyed every second.

In books and films they end at the birth scene with a, ‘they lived happily (and pain free) ever after.’ Because you can’t explain the after experience without sounding a bit deluded when you say, ‘oh but it’s all worth it.’ If someone had described these two weeks to me and then told me I’d be happy about it, I would have assumed they were drunk or on too many painkillers to see straight!

Scarlett is 16 days old and doing amazingly, Daddy is a pillar of strength and also doing amazingly. Mummy is the weak link dragging a bit behind but getting there slowly but surely. There may be another op looming, there’s definitely some more extra pain as we get rid of the infection, but in the future, the photos and memories will highlight the moments that make it all worth it. We’ll be those annoying parents who don’t warn new parents of the reality of this time because we’ll know they too will come out of it having survived and looking back with the same rose tinted glasses that get passed through the generations.

For now I’m going to try and sneak in some shut eye as my beautiful baby daughter is finally sleeping having fallen asleep on my chest whilst I write, but I know I only have a couple of hours max, the painkillers have kicked in so for a few wonderful minutes, I’m just going to soak up the fabulous feeling of being a new Mum. It’s really tough but this is the first and only time that all this will happen so these precious moments need to be cherished, they’re the moments that get us through.

If any new Mums are reading, I salute you, it really isn’t easy, but somehow we all know we’ll get through it, there’s a tiny new person depending on us, so throw sleepless nights at us, add in some pain, mix in any challenge you want; there’s a supermum in all of us and we WILL succeed!

Baby on board…

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As promised, the full story of our rather more dramatic delivery…

My husband and I, on Monday 30th June had dinner with my Dad who was up from Brighton in preparation for our planned C-Section the following Tuesday 8th July. I made us a dinner of steak, stuffed mushrooms and crushed new potatoes and we half watched a 2014 World Cup match between Germany and Algeria (Germany won 2 – 1) and we chatted about how strange it was that only one week from the next day we’d be meeting our baby. I list these seemingly meaningless details because in years to come, they certainly won’t be the first things that will come to mind about that evening.

All day I’d been feeling uncomfortable with an increase of pressure all over and so we headed home about 9pm that night and we were both restless. My husband had spent that day really blitzing the house, cleaning it and finishing up the nursery as I had spent a couple of days in hospital the previous weekend and was on bed rest and it was the first day off he’d had since. The place looked sparkling and the nursery was amazing, we stood in the middle of it in a bit of a daze, in 7 short days, we’d be meeting our baby and there was now officially nothing left for us to do before her arrival. We finally went to bed at about midnight and went to sleep, after having a conversation about how impossible it would be to sleep the following Monday….ironically.

Around 2am, I woke suddenly, feeling a sudden release of pressure and then a sudden gush of fluid between my legs. It was a real shock and two things came to mind…I’d either developed a really severe and sudden onset incontinence problem, OR (and to save my embarrassment I was sort of rooting for the latter) my waters had just broken. And I had always thought they broke and that was it. Not so, they broke and seemed to just keep on going. (At this stage I should apologise for the details, I can only hope you’re not eating your dinner whilst reading this..!)

I woke my husband with the not at all dramatic, “oh my God my waters have broken, the baby is coming, I’m so sorry about the sheets!” (I’ve put punctuation in that statement when in fact it came out in one rather loud and frantic yelp.) We stared at each other for a few seconds and then went into slightly dazed action stations! We grabbed the hospital bag, maternity notes and then after calling the hospital to ask what we should do (and being told to come straight down) we then just held onto each other for a bit. It was 2.30am in the morning and we were about to have a baby!! There was such a wave of emotion, and we both welled up…before realising that with our situation, a baby trying to be born naturally was quite a dangerous outcome for us and Mummy and Daddy had to get their act together!

We got in the car and arrived at Gloucester Royal just gone 3am and I was hooked up to a machine that measured contractions. It went very quickly from, ‘ok so the Dr’s busy at the moment but once she’s free she’ll come up and we’ll assess the situation and go from there,’ to, ‘right we’ll go through the procedure in the lift and the Dr is going to meet us in the operating theatre and if your husband wants to follow me, we’ll get him into scrubs.’

Now, apart from a brief glorious first sighting of my husband in scrubs and a quick nervous joke about how I didn’t realise he was part of the surgical team; we had no time to really think about what was happening. We’d managed to send off two text messages each, to each set of parents and our two siblings which amounted essentially to, ‘waters broken, going into labour, baby on way.’ But apart from that little bit of communication, after stepping foot in the hospital, we had absolutely no control over what was happening. And thank God for that!

Before we knew it, I was having an injection in my spine, my body started going numb and the anaesthetist went through very speedily what was about to happen/what our specific choices were and told us to ask him if we had any questions. I had a hundred questions, I just couldn’t remember any of them. There was then a little bit of a tugging sensation and in what seemed like mere minutes (probably because it was a mere ten minutes later) the surgeon held aloft this tiny purply coloured creature who, at her very first cry, had the two of us utterly in love with her. It took a further 45 minutes for me to be sewn up and sorted (we discovered after that I’d lost a bit too much blood but apart from subtly getting my husband to hold the baby instead of me, we had no idea anything was wrong) and within that time we both held our baby for the first time. The emotion of doing so is utterly indescribably euphoric, baffling and amazing all at the same time. We both cried, laughed, smile, stared, we didn’t really know what to do. We’d woken at 2am at home and at 5.57am, we were holding our baby girl.

We were led into recovery and had our first minutes alone. She has my nose and mouth, and my husbands colouring and, for now, a full head of very dark coloured hair and we couldn’t get over how tiny and beautiful she was.

We spent the next four days in hospital in a whirlwind of breast feeding efforts, visitors, nappies and getting our heads round what had happened; and on Friday afternoon our mini family were able to head home. Scarlett Lois Lade Jordan turned one week old on the day we were due to have our C-Section. The last week has been seven days of staring down at her beautiful sleeping face, doing any manner of things to stop her crying, and getting used to sneaking in half an hours sleep when we can. Add to that, the apologising to visitors for whatever state the house or we are in, and realising quite how quickly a one week old can go through nappies! But I can honestly say that it’s also by far, the happiest week of my life. The recovery for a C-Section is 4-6 weeks and the first week has definitely been painful, and the sleep deprivation doesn’t help. But it’s a small price to pay and I am so lucky to have such a supportive husband (not to mention endlessly generous and supportive friends and family) but even more lucky to have been absolutely blessed with a healthy, happy (in the daytime at least!) baby girl.

The pregnancy wasn’t straightforward, and in it’s hardest moments we had frank discussions about how we would have to seriously discuss going through it again. However, even just a few hours after the birth, we both said that absolutely every second was worth it and I think all parents would agree.

Whilst eating dinner that Monday night which now seems like a lifetime ago, we had no idea how quickly our life was going to change. Tuesday 1st July became a huge landmark date in both of our lives and it brings the pregnancy portion of our story to a close. And I cannot wait for the next chapter of our ‘Bumpy Ride.’ The journey of parenthood continues as we try our best, inevitably make our own ridiculous mistakes and bumble our way through helping Scarlett become whatever she wants to become. Thank you to you all dear friends who have been part of the journey so far and I cordially invite you to join us for the next chapter as I continue to blog the ups and downs for Scarlett’s first year; we still don’t know what we’re doing, we’re still learning along the way, and we’ll still be sharing it all with you, but now comrades, there’s a baby on board…

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Picture Perfect…

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Before I had a baby, when other friends posted hundreds of pictures of their children, (especially as babies, and usually in very similar poses to the photo posted five minutes previously) I was amongst the cynically minded. Yes they were very cute and all, but I don’t need to see a picture of them from every angle not doing anything specific so stop clogging up my news feed thank you very much.

In fact, cut to 9 months ago and I would have adamantly told you that I would never become one of those parents who constantly posted pictures of their baby, or even took hundreds in the first place.

Baby Scarlett was born 6 days ago and I have 112 photos of her on my phone…that’s nearly 20 a day, and as any parent will tell you, all she currently does is sleep, poop and cry, and we don’t take pictures when she cries or poops as a general rule. So essentially we have 20 pictures a day of her from slightly different angles…woops. Phone for you; it’s pot, asking for kettle..!

But I have come up with a theory. Having a baby has changed my life and my husband feels the same, we are ridiculously happy and feel love in a way we never have done before. We cannot believe how lucky we are to have this little miracle that we made together and we just can’t stop looking at her. There’s moments when you just get overwhelmed by how in love you are with that little baby, moments where they just look so perfect. And you’ll do anything to capture those moments, and keep them as long as possible. As soon as I became a Mum, I became suddenly aware of how fast time goes by and how quickly my baby girl will grow up, my husband and I have these precious moments for a very short amount of time. It feels as if the only possible way of having any control of keeping hold of those moments in any way is to photograph or video them. Enable ourselves to relive them.

I’m lucky in a way, I had a practise run which somewhat prepared me for how fast this time goes. My ‘baby’ brother (now 20!) is almost a decade younger than me and when he was born I was completely taken with him. I have felt maternally towards him most of his life and now, as I’ve mentioned before, he owns his own flat, has a stable job and is in a serious relationship. In a blink of an eye, he’s gone from being a toddler who would burst into giggles when I blew a raspberry at him, into an adult who would probably be less amused at the same tactic! I love looking back at pictures and videos from when he was a child although I certainly don’t have 20 photos per day from that time!

But it’s why I think it’s helped me cherish each moment in these early days when everyone warned that it’d be overwhelming and really rough to deal with. Soon, not only will she not need us trying to hug her every five minutes, she won’t want us to! And rightly so. As a small child, my brothers eyes uses to light up when I walked into the room, now his eyes light up when his girlfriend walks into the room; and that’s how it should be. And that’s how it will be with my baby girl. In fact, my brother now looks at Scarlett in a similar way I used to look at him, he is quite taken with her and as soon as he held her and had that quiet little smile on his face, I knew he was going to be a fantastic Uncle.

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(Pictured above, introductions are made between my little brother and I)

My husband and I are currently the most important people in our daughters life, but we will be replaced in time. Not in a sad way, in a natural way; we’ll still be important but it will hopefully show us we’ve done our jobs well as she develops other important relationships and one day has kids of her own, that she will then take 20 pictures a day of!

What I am saying (in an extremely long winded way..!) is that I now understand how easy it is to get carried away at all the picture taking and wanting to show them off to the whole world. It’s capturing this time, cherishing those moments. We have restricted ourselves (or at least really tried to!) to the number of uploads. But we’ll be keeping most of them to ourselves, in albums where people can see them if they’re interested, (in person, over a cup of tea to really stick it to social media!) instead of forcing them to see every angle of her face every half an hour in their newsfeed. But we are also going to try and reduce the number of pictures taken in the first place, the problem with it being so easy to take so many pictures is you spend more time looking at things through a lens rather than truly enjoying those moments in the first place!

So I suppose I can still be considered as leaning slightly on the cynical side when it comes to the ‘new parent over share’; but unlike before, I can now relate to it. After all, Scarlett does have the cutest little nose, and makes the most beautiful facial expressions whilst she’s sleeping, and…oh, have you seen a picture of her when she yawns..? Adorable…

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Our Next Chapter…

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A much more in depth post to follow but for now just the below.

I’m delighted to announce to you dear friends, that our beautiful baby daughter Scarlett Lois Lade Jordan, was born by emergency C-Section at 5.57am on Tuesday 1st July. And as I lay in hospital gazing at her, the emotions my brain is capable of putting together are below before normal blogging services resume shortly…

We thought we knew the date we’d meet you,
But you had other ideas,
At 2am the waters did break,
Followed by elation mixed with our fears.

Your Daddy and I spoke about menial things,
To keep us both calm in the car,
We knew we were soon to gaze at your face,
Introductions really weren’t all that far.

No time to really fully understand,
It all went by as if in a blur,
We were all of a sudden in hospital gowns,
Scared about how healthy you were.

Daddy held Mummy’s hand, and never let go,
Looking each other right in the eye,
And then all of a sudden, it happened so fast,
Tears flowed as we heard your first cry.

Words can’t express what you mean to us now,
The love that just overflows,
We try to hold on to each moment we have,
We’re so aware of how fast the time goes.

So Scarlett our girl, if you know only one thing,
Make it how much you are loved by us both,
There’s a sparkle in our eyes that’s only for you,
A love stronger than any other oath.

We both fell in love all over again,
When our family grew from two to three,
Scarlett we love you ever so much,
You’re everything to Daddy and me.

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