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Baby, Home, Motherhood

5 Ways to give up the old baby clothes
(even if you really don’t want to!)

When Jasmine was just 4 months old I wrote this post about how I was finding it hard to get rid of her outgrown baby clothes. As we had always planned to have two children I was able to justify hanging on to them for our next baby. Well, now our ‘next’ (and last) baby is here and is growing out of those clothes just as rapidly as Jasmine did. Despite the girls being born in different seasons (damn it) we’ve still managed to re-use lots of vests and sleepsuits for Elowen. Trouble with that is, now it’s doubly hard for this sentimental mama to get rid of them! We’re done having babies so I can’t use that excuse to keep them anymore.

In the next few months we’re going to be moving to our new home and with that in mind I’ve slowly been working my way through the house to declutter each room. I don’t want to take all of our old junk with us to our new house so I’m binning stuff, recycling it or giving it away to charity and so far I’m doing really well. But those teeny, tiny baby clothes? Well they’ve been a little harder to ditch.

That said, I am still getting rid of the old baby clothes (even though I really don’t want to).

Here’s 5 ways you can do it too…

1) Choose just one item as a momento.

Babies grow quickly and before you know it they’ll be at school, college, moving out, getting married… having babies of their own. It will be hard to believe they were ever tiny enough to hold in your my arms. So, let’s allow ourselves one little keepsake, yes? I’ve picked one item of clothing for each of the girls (the sleepsuits they first wore when they were born) and I’ve put them into their keepsake boxes. That way I can still get them out every now and again, when I’m feeling sentimental, and marvel at how small my girls once were. Keeping a couple items of clothing made it much easier for me to get rid of the rest.

2) Turn them into something useful

If you can’t pick just one item of clothing to keep then why not turn that bundle of old baby clothing into something useful? A quilt, for example. Don’t worry if you don’t have a crafty bone in your body (although, props to ya if you can make one yourself) there’s lots of talented people out there who can make a quilt for you and it won’t cost you as much as you might think.

3) Give the clothes to those who need them more.

I always find it’s easier to give things away that I have a sentimental attachment to if they’re going to people who really need them. It’s hard to justify keeping bags full of unused baby clothes in the loft when they could be passed onto families who have nothing. Perhaps you could find out if your local Women’s Refuge are accepting donations of children’s clothes. Or give them to a charity shop which supports a cause close to your heart. Either way, giving your beloved baby clothes to those who need them will give you that feel-good factor. Hopefully it will dampen any sadness you have about getting rid of them in the first place.

4) Sell them… and then put the money towards making memories with your babies.

Part of the reason I find it hard to get rid of the girls’ clothes is because of the memories attached to them. But what about using them to help you make more memories? I’ve sold some of the ‘fancier’ items of clothing using my local Facebook selling page. With the money I’ve got from that I started a ‘holiday fund’. OK so we’re not going to be jetting off to Disney World any time soon but it’ll be spending money we can use on our holiday to Butlins later this year. So yeah, that few quid for an old dress might not seem like much but it’ll pay for us to have fish and chips on the beach or a couple of goes on a fairground ride.

5) Swap them!

As I mentioned earlier, my girls were born in two very different seasons so a lot of Jasmine’s old clothes aren’t appropriate for us to reuse for Elowen. But there’s gonna be plenty of mamas out there who kept their firstborn’s clothes for baby no.2 and also had their second baby in a different season. So scout them out! Ask around your baby groups or your local Facebook selling pages and find yourself a mama to swap baby clothes with. You might even be able to swap them for other items such as age appropriate toys for your little ones. Everyone’s a winner. :)

I really hope you’ve found this post useful. 

If there’s another way of parting with my little ladies’ threads that I haven’t thought of, I’d love to hear it? 

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You Baby Me Mummy
Family, Motherhood

Life Lately:
Selling up, coping with two and a career change

Selling up:

If you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know that I’ve really struggled with being lonely and isolated over the last couple of years. Motherhood can be lonely at the best of times but living hundreds of miles away from my support network has been incredibly difficult. I think it was the main factor in me developing antenatal depression whilst pregnant with Elowen. I’ve been desperate to move back down to the South West, closer to my friends and family, for so long. Finally, at long last, the wheels are in motion. We put our house up for sale over Christmas and last week we accepted an offer. I’m trying not to let myself get too excited because I know that selling and buying houses is rarely straightforward, things happen – buyers drop out, sales fall through – but we’re on the right track. Keep everything crossed for us, please.

‘Coping with two’:

We’ve been a family of four for over two whole months and I feel like I’m getting into the swing of things now. Whilst pregnant with E, I worried so much about how I would cope with two children (probably because I was in such a bad place, mentally). I didn’t believe I was cut out for it. But you know what? I feel more capable as a mother than I ever did before. It’s as if, with the birth of my second child came this new found confidence and belief in myself. I wouldn’t just ‘cope’ with two. I’d thrive. I’ve come to accept that I don’t always get it right but I am, undoubtedly, always trying my best. And my best will always be good enough.

Don’t get me wrong, adjusting to having two children is hard. There are days when I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve fallen asleep whilst sat upright playing dinosaurs with Jasmine (genuinely) or I’ve googled “Can you die from tiredness?” (genuinely). Some days, both girls will be crying at the same time and I still haven’t worked out who I should be dealing with first. Some days I want to lock myself in the bathroom and not have a 2-year-old ask me to fetch her a snack for the millionth time that morning. Or have my nipples yanked every which way by the mouth of a fussy baby. But they are just some days. The rest of the time I am so utterly besotted with my two girls and I could not imagine life being any other way. I’m embracing the chaos.

A career change: 

I’ve never really mentioned much about my work life before children on my blog before. But for those who don’t know, I’m a qualified Youth Worker and for a while that’s what I did for a living. When I moved to the other side of the country to move in with Stephen, I struggled to find paid work in the Youth sector and so I ended up bumbling through several dead-end (mostly retail-based) jobs before becoming a mum. I didn’t mind all that much, I liked going to work, doing what I had to do and coming home and thinking no more about it. I’ve never been particularly career minded. Work was a means to an ends as far I was concerned. As time went on I realised that actually, I wasn’t really missing being a youth worker. Yes it was rewarding (most of the time) but once I had children of my own, my focus was on them and I was less keen to spend my evenings being spat at and called unrepeatable things by a group of angry-at-the-world-and-all-who-sail-in-her teenagers (it wasn’t always like that but you know, it did happen).

I decided I wanted to be at home with my own children until they were both at school and that’s still very much the case. I’ve spent most of my adult life looking after other people’s offspring, I kinda want to take this time to be there for my own. And I realise that I am very, very fortunate to be able to do that. (I won’t say ‘lucky’ because my husband works hard to support us and allow me to be a SAHM – that’s not ‘luck’.) I’ve been very conscious of how quickly the time has been going and before I know it the girls will both be at school and that’s got me to wondering. What do I want to do for a job when that happens? I was worried I would never really feel that there was a particular career path for me – one that I’d feel passionate about. One that would have me jumping out of bed in the morning. I felt destined to continue going from dead-end job to dead-end job until I retired because it ‘brought in a little extra cash’. Which, in times like these, does make a difference. I think we’re all feeling the pinch and I suspect with Brexit and alike, things are probably going to get worse before they get better. But lately I’ve found myself wanting more for myself. I don’t just want ‘a job’ – I want a career. I want the opportunity to learn and grow.

This week I had a lightbulb moment. On the verge of turning 30 years old, I finally realised what I want to do ‘when I grow up’. It’s been staring me in the face for so long and whilst the thought of following this path had occurred to me the past, I brushed it off as ‘impossible’ because I wouldn’t be good enough at it, or be able to make it work around my family, or there would be people better at it than me… These excuses had always stopped me in my tracks. I was paralysed by self doubt.

A twitter friend, Nicola, recently recommended an audio book to me – ‘You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life’ by Jen Sincero. You’ve gotta love that title, right? Well anyway, I dutifully downloaded the audio book to my phone and began to listen to it whilst doing chores around the house. At first I found it a little cheesy. But by chapter six I had an epiphany, my light bulb moment. I stopped whatever it was I was doing, I paused the audio book and I just sat with happy tears streaming down my face. It’s at that moment I decided I wanted to become a Birth Doula and not only that, but I was going to do whatever it took to make it happen. 

Since then I’ve been researching courses, making contacts and coming up with plans. I don’t want to waste any more time talking myself out of this.

I can’t think of anything better to do as a ‘job’ than helping women through their pregnancies and labours. It wouldn’t just be a job. It would be a privilege. And an opportunity for me to learn and grow.

I’m sure I’ll be writing more about becoming a Birth Doula over the coming months and years. I’m thinking about maybe even starting a separate blog for that – it would great to record my journey.

But for now I am so very, very excited.

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Family, Letters to my girls, Motherhood

Letters to my girls {January 2017}

 

 

I want to tell you how proud I am of you. You’ve taken to being a big sister so well – better than I ever could have hoped for. From the moment you walked into our bedroom that morning to find our newest member of the family laying on the bed, you have been obsessed with her. Several times a day you will ask me to let you hold Elowen. You sit on the sofa, hold your arms out together expectantly and say “I hold baby!” I place her in your arms and you tilt your head to look at her. “Hello Eh’wen! Hello sweetie. You’re sooo cute!” You say in a high-pitched ‘baby talk’ voice that I thought only adults were capable of.

You are so proud of your baby sister and you love to show her off to just about anyone. Not a day goes by where you haven’t gotten the attention of a stranger to say “Look – my baby!” Every time I pick you up from nursery, when you spot me standing in the doorway with Elowen, you run over to us and it’s her you are most pleased to see. “Baby, my baby!” you shout. “Look, it’s my sister!” you announce to the nursery staff, as if they had never seen her before. My heart bursts.

I know it hasn’t been easy for you, adjusting to sharing me. Trust me, it’s been hard for me too. I miss that we don’t get any one-on-one time anymore but this won’t be forever. It’s just that Elowen is so dependent on me right now (I’m exclusively breastfeeding) and I know it must be so frustrating for you that I’m always saying “In a minute, Jasmine” or “Not right now, I’m feeding baby.”

Despite all of this, you have never taken your frustrations out on Elowen. Yes, you get upset. Yes, you start to act like a baby yourself at times. And of course, you have tantrums (you are still only two-years old, after all). But you have showed nothing but kindness to your sister and I don’t think it’s ever occurred to you to be anything but gentle to her. (We’ll see how long that lasts when she starts stealing your toys!)

You often get quite upset if Elowen is crying. “Oh no poor Eh’wen. She’s shying!” You’ll tell me, as if I hadn’t noticed the wailing. “You need to calm baby up, Mummy” (I love this turn of phrase of yours). You are so incredibly caring. Elowen is lucky to have you as a big sister.

You have become so chatty over the last few months. I love the utter randomness that you come out with. There’s never a dull moment when you’re around. You like to pretend you’re a superhero and will charge around the house shouting “I’M SUPER SPEEDY!” Which, is pretty accurate to be honest.

Last weekend I took you the cinema for the second time to watch Storks. The last time I took you to see a film I was still pregnant and I remember feeling sad that we wouldn’t be able to have these mummy/daughter dates anymore once the baby arrived. I realise now that I was being silly. OK, so it’s not quite the same now that it’s the three of us but it doesn’t mean our mummy/daughter dates are any less special. I held Elowen on my lap whilst we watched the film (she slept through the whole thing) and every now and again you would turn to us, lean over and kiss her on the head. Clearly you are less bothered about sharing me than I sometimes think you are.

Every day I marvel at how cool, funny and beautiful you are. Although I’m not allowed to say any of those things out loud because you do not take compliments well! The other day you corrected me after calling you ‘cute’. “No mummy, I’m not cute. I’m spiderman.” I think that sums you up perfectly.

I love you, Spiderman.

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

 

 

 

Or should I say Smooshy? As that is what I’ve nicknamed you – sorry about that!

You are such a mummy’s girl. I don’t know if it’s because I’m breastfeeding or it’s just the way you are – but you are one clingy baby. You cannot bear to be more than a couple of metres away from me. Poor Daddy gets frustrated that he cannot ‘calm you up’ like mummy can. And when you first started smiling – they were reserved only for me. That’s changed now though, I’ve caught you giving huge gummy smiles to strangers on the bus stop! Although, we all know you give your biggest smiles out to your sister.

Although I have started putting you in your co-sleeper cot when we go to bed at night, every morning I wake up with you in my arms. We’re both happier with that arrangement. You will spend most of your life sleeping in your own bed so I’m going to soak up those sleepy snuggles for as long as I can. (I guess this whole ‘clingy’ thing is mutual, huh?)

You will, almost certainly, be my last baby. Because of that I’m finding the speed at which you are growing a little unbearable at times. I’ve a bin bag full of outgrown baby clothes that I keep meaning to donate to charity… and yet, can’t quite bring myself to do it. The thought of it makes me feel physically sick. It’s silly really, keeping a load of too-small-for-you baby grows doesn’t achieve anything.  But I’m not ready to let them go.

I don’t like comparing you to your sister because you are two separate people. But it’s funny how differently I’m parenting this time around. At this stage with Jasmine, I’d already started implementing a bedtime routine which involved a bath every night. I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve given you a bath since you were born. Rest assured, you smell devine. Well, most of the time anyway! ;)

But seriously, routine schmootine. This time I’m just rollin’ with it…

You have recently started to coo when you smile and it sounds like you are on the cusp of producing a giggle. You are such a happy, little soul.

As I write this letter, you are asleep on my lap. I’m listening to you snore and I cannot imagine life without you. Daddy often asks why his snoring doesn’t have the same effect on me!

Elowen, you are the baby that I had been waiting for. You have brought so much joy to our family.

Thank you for making Jasmine a big sister.

Thank you for giving me and your daddy another reason to look at each other say ‘Aren’t we lucky?’.

Thank you for making me the happy, content and confident mama that has always been lurking within me. You’ve brought her to the surface.

Buckle up my girl, because our adventures have only just begun…

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Baby, Baby Button Nose, Breastfeeding, Elowen's Updates, Motherhood, Parenting

The Newborn Diaries:
Elowen’s Fourth Week

After keeping a diary of Elowen’s first week earthside, I have decided I would carry on keeping daily notes for the next few weeks. The days all seem to roll into one at the moment (sleep deprivation will do that) and I know these early weeks will become such a blur all too soon. I want to be able to look back on them and remember as much as I can – the good days and the rough days.

Elowen’s fourth week:

Monday – Day 22:

I’m pleased to say that we made it to the church playgroup again this Monday morning. I love that it doesn’t start until 10am (lots of baby/toddler groups seem to start at 9/9.30am which is madness). Elowen slept the whole time we were there on my lap whilst Jasmine and I made paper crowns (ala the three wise men).

I’m so glad that Stephen has been making my lunch in the mornings before he goes to work. We got home from playgroup and I was starving (I’d had breakfast about 6am) but Jasmine needed feeding and Elowen was screaming for boob. Thankfully, I could just pull some chicken and salad wraps out of the fridge and chuck them down my throat. It’s the little things that make a big difference when you’re trying to juggle the demands of two tiny people.

Tuesday – Day 23:

Stephen’s using up some of his annual leave over the next week or so which meant he was off work today – woot! Jasmine was at nursery for the morning which meant we had some time to get some chores done. We had another estate agent round to value our house first thing. She told me I didn’t look like I’d just given birth three weeks ago. I could’ve kissed her.

I think Elowen is going through her 3 week growth spurt because she’s been on the boob pretty much ALL day. She’s quite fussy too – keeps latching on and then crying and pulling away. The lactation consultant I saw the other week warned me about this and reminded me that her constant feeding isn’t a sign that I’m not producing enough milk but a signal to my body to produce more. E has also been awake for most of the day which is very unlike her.

E had her first proper ‘Poonami’ today. Is there a milestone card for that? Anyway – bright yellow poo all the way up her ‘Best Little Sister’ babygrow. Sad times.

Wednesday – Day 24:

Just when I thought that Jasmine was over her little night waking phase – she was up at 3am again last night. Stephen ended up going downstairs with her again. I know you’re ‘meant’ to try and put toddlers back to bed but trust me when I say, it ain’t gonna happen. Once Jasmine’s awake, that’s it. Elowen on the other hand slept well between feeds (which were fairly short and frequent throughout the night).

It’s safe to say we are all feeling the effects of lack of sleep today. Jasmine fell asleep watching a film on our bed 9am. I left her to it and took Elowen downstairs – she was still cluster-feeding like a crazy baby as I worked my way through a tub of Celebrations. Whoops!

I had to wait in for some online shopping deliveries (the only way I’m getting any Crimbo shopping done this year) so it was a good excuse for a film and duvet day… not that we needed an excuse after last night’s shenanigans!

Right… Elowen needs feeding again…

Thursday – Day 25:

My poor bubba has a cold. I knew it was inevitable because the lurgy has been going around our house for weeks. Elowen has really been struggling with feeding and cries after latching on because she can’t breathe. I felt so helpless. I jumped on Amazon and ordered ALL the baby cold supplies – Snuffle babe drops, nasal aspirator and saline spray.

Friday – Day 26:

Elowen just wanted to be held today (as per usual) so I popped her in the carrier and made Paw Patrol cupcakes with Jasmine. The day went a bit downhill after that. Jasmine’s been particularly needy and attention seeking today. It’s been exhausting. At several points throughout the day both girls were crying at the same time. It was the sort of day I has been dreading before becoming a mama to two. To be fair, I thought I would’ve had a a fair few days like this already so far but coping with two hasn’t been as bad as I feared. (Famous last words.)

E was still suffering with her stuffy nose, especially when laying on her back so bed time was… interesting. I used the Snuffle Babe drops in my diffuser which seemed to help ease clear her airways a bit. I really hope she’s feeling a bit better soon.

Saturday – Day 27: 

Elowen had her first ever bath this morning! I was so worried about her losing that ‘newborn smell’ and her super soft skin that I had been putting it off. Basically I didn’t want to wash away her new-ness! She was so chilled out and hardly seem phased at all. I’m happy to report that she still has that new baby smell and her skin is still super soft! :)

My dad came up from Bristol to visit us today which is kind of a big deal. We’ve had a pretty crap relationship over the last few years and to put that in to context, until today he hadn’t seen Jasmine since she was 6 weeks old. We’re both making more of an effort to stay in touch these days though and I’m glad my girls will get to know their grandad.

Sunday – Day 28:

Slept in this morning and felt better for catching up on some sleep. I feel like I constantly need a shower at the moment as I seem to wake up smelling of sweat and sour milk (E has a habit of spitting milk back up all over my bra!). My skin and hair are both awful at the moment and I just feel a bit ‘meh’.

Anyway, enough of my whinging…. my baby is 4 weeks old. 4 WEEKS! I can hardly believe it. I’ve noticed in the last few days that some of her newborn babygrows are already becoming a bit snug. My Baby Button-Nose is growing like a week.

I’m so happy that I’m still feeding her and on that note, I’ve not used the nipple shields for at least 24 hours so I think we’re pretty much weaned off of them now. VERY happy about that.

Here’s her ‘4 week’ photos…

The other night I sent a message asking my one of my best friends, who is a neonatal nurse, how long a baby is classed as a newborn for. (Google gave me lots of different answers). She told me that at her work they classed babies as ‘newborns’ for 28 days. Waaaaaaaah! I wish I’d never asked. ;)

I’m probably going to stop writing these weekly ‘newborn diaries’ now and give myself the chance to write some other kind of blogs posts (I’m only finding enough time to do about one post a week at the mo). I’ve really enjoyed keeping these little notes over the last 4 weeks and no doubt they will make for interesting reading in months/years from now  (basically when I’m feeling broody and nostalgic).

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Baby, Baby Button Nose, Breastfeeding, Elowen's Updates, Motherhood, Parenting

The Newborn Diaries:
Elowen’s Third Week

After keeping a diary of Elowen’s first week earthside, I have decided I would carry on keeping daily notes for the next few weeks. The days all seem to roll into one at the moment (sleep deprivation will do that) and I know these early weeks will become such a blur all too soon. I want to be able to look back on them and remember as much as I can – the good days and the rough days.

Elowen’s third week:

Monday – Day 15:

I survived my first day of solo parenting with two kiddos! I must admit, I had been really nervous about Stephen going back to work but today went a lot better than I hoped. I managed to get us all fed, dressed and out of the house. We went to the local church playgroup in the morning. Jasmine and I did some Christmas crafts whilst Elowen snoozed in the her carrycot. I felt like super mum! Pride before a fall?!

Tuesday – Day 16:

Jasmine had nursery this morning which meant 5 hours of guilt-free time with my littlest lady. It was nice to be able to feed Elowen without having to say things like “I can’t do that right now” and “I’ll do it in the minute, Jasmine”. At 12pm I had the Health Visitor round. I now have another bunch of leaflets to read… I’d only just finished reading the ones the midwife gave me last week! Elowen weighed 8lb 11oz today so she’s putting on weight nicely. The HV asked me if I’d thought about my contraception options. Honestly? It’s the LAST thing on my mind!

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Also today this happened:

Wednesday – Day 17:

Today has been exhausting. Elowen was quite unsettled last night and was waking up for feeds very frequently. I felt like Jasmine was really pushing my buttons throughout the day but my tiredness didn’t help matters. We went out for a walk to the shops in the morning, just for something to do. Jasmine kept running off down the aisles despite me asking her to stay close to me. Later on in the afternoon I snapped at her because she was pushing Elowen too roughly in her Nuna chair. She got tearful and her bottom lip wobbled which made me feel like a horrible mum because really she was only trying to comfort her baby sister.

I’ve consumed a silly amount of chocolate today. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Thursday – Day 18:

I’m feeling more human today. Last night E had her last feed before bed at around 11pm and then didn’t wake again for another one until 3.30am. Not only that, but she also slept in the Next to Me for most of the night which is a first! *fist pump* Normally she will only settle to sleep when she’s next to me in our bed which I don’t mind but I don’t think I sleep as well/deeply when I know she’s in the bed with me.

Jasmine was at nursery this morning so I took E to the cinema for the parent and baby screening of ‘Sully: Miracle on the Hudson”. I felt like I should’ve been doing something else ‘more important’ but once I got there, I enjoyed the film and uninterrupted baby hugs. Plus the walk to town and back (half an hour or so each way) probably did me some good.

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I’ve been using the nipple shields a lot less today and whilst it takes E a bit longer to latch on without them, feeding is still going well.

Friday – Day 19:

Whoa, I’d totally forgotten how tiring it is having a newborn. I am beyond exhausted. I managed to convince Jasmine to snuggle up in bed with Elowen and I a little longer this morning. I needed a bit more time to wake up so I stuck Blaze and the Monster Machines on the telly and semi-dozed for a while.

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I realised once I was up that I’d ran out of my medication (in fact, I missed a day yesterday) so we needed to take a trip down to the doctors surgery to pick up my prescription. I wore Elowen in my Boba 3G carrier and Jasmine walked. We popped into the coffee shop on the way home for milkshakes which made me realise how much more grown up Jasmine has suddenly become.

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The afternoon passed by in a blur – there’s always something to do or somebody who needs attention. And before I knew it, it was 6pm and Stephen was walking through the door. I survived my first week with both children! We’ve gotten outside every single day and dare I say it, but I’ve actually enjoyed having the two of them to myself. Well, except when they’re both crying at the same time – that’s headache inducing!

Saturday – Day 20: 

Well last night was PANTS! I’m not sure I got any sleep at all, I certainly don’t feel like I did. Elowen was waking constantly for feeds and would not settle after them – she just kept crying. She seemed frustrated for whatever reason and I was getting irritated because I couldn’t do anything to calm her down. I’d shove a boob in her mouth but that only worked temporarily.

I’m so glad it’s Saturday so that Stephen was able to get up with Jasmine (at 6am) and I could stay in bed. Elowen and I didn’t get up until gone half past ten! It meant that today was a bit of a write-off because I was too tired to do anything. I managed to order a couple of Christmas presents online but that was the extent of my productivity.

I can’t believe E will be 3 weeks old tomorrow. I feel so sad about how quickly the time is going – I think it’s because I know she will my last baby. She already seems so much bigger than Jasmine was at this age (because she is).

Sunday – Day 21:

Ahh look at my gorgeous girl…

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It’s so crazy to think that she is three weeks old already. I feel a bit guilty that I don’t take as many photos of her as I did when Jasmine was a baby. I try to make a special effort to get some nice ones every Sunday so I can at least see how much bigger she’s getting each week. Today she seemed really alert when I was taking her photos – she was taking everything in and wondering what on earth Mummy was doing. It’s something she’s going to have to get used to! ;)

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We’ve had a nice chilled out family day today. We took the dog out for a walk this morning – it was freezing! Annoyingly I can’t do my coat up all the way when I’m wearing Elowen in the carrier. I have ordered one of those fleecey jumper tops though with the hole in the front for baby! The sooner that arrives, the better!

We also put up the Christmas tree… well, Jasmine and Stephen put up the tree. I was stuck on the sofa feeding Elowen (who I swear, has been non-stop feeding today). I did hang a few baubles up at the end so that was something I suppose.

I’ve been struggling to do the online food shop this evening because E screams the moment I put her down. I secretly love having a clingy baby but it does make simple tasks a bit difficult at times!

I’m sad the weekend is over but looking forward to what the next week with my two babies holds. I’ll be trying not to get too emotional as my littlest lady approaches the one month old mark! Waaah!!

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Baby, Baby Button Nose, Breastfeeding, Elowen's Updates, Motherhood, Parenting

The Newborn Diaries:
Elowen’s Second Week

After keeping a diary of Elowen’s first week earthside, I have decided to carry on keeping daily notes for the next few weeks. The days all seem to roll into one at the moment (sleep deprivation will do that) and I know these early weeks will become such a blur all too soon. I want to be able to look back on them and remember as much as I can – the good days and the rough days.

You can read about Elowen’s first week here.

Elowen’s second week:

Monday – Day 8:

Felt like I saw every hour last night. Stephen took Jasmine to playgroup. I rested in bed for a while and tried to nap and E slept all morning. I had a shower and put make up on for first time in ages.

Went to the garden centre in the afternoon. The pushchair had it’s maiden voyage! Jasmine was chaos, running around all over the place.

I breastfed in public for the first time. It felt really awkward.

I tried a feed without a nipple shield – E did latch on but was fussing and kept coming off the boob. Has spurred me on to keep trying though.

Tuesday – Day 9:

Busy day today. Stephen dropped Jasmine off at nursery and then we headed into town with Elowen to register her birth. We were both too sleep deprived to remember what year we got married (2015). We went for celebratory hot chocolates after and I breastfed E in public again. I felt a bit more relaxed this time but I’m still finding using a nipple shield whilst trying to maintain my modesty a bit tricky!

We did a bit of Christmas shopping and I even managed to squeeze in a well overdue eyebrow wax at the Benefit Brow bar! It’s the first time I’ve done anything for ‘me’ in months.

In the afternoon, Stephen stayed home with Jasmine whilst I took E to a breastfeeding clinic to see a lactation consultant. I want to be able to ditch the nipple shields! She checked for tongue tie (no obvious sign of any) and watched me feed Elowen. Sarah, the LC, told me that E’s jaw was quite tight and she wasn’t using her tongue as effectively as she could be. She explained that this was probably due to my fast labour and that E’s latch will probably improve itself over the coming weeks and that she’ll most likely wean herself off the shields anyway. Sarah suggested that an osteopath may be able to help speed the process up a bit but that could get expensive. All in all, it was a really useful and positive appointment. I got lots of answers to my feeding questions.

I spent the evening baby spamming one of my besties on WhatsApp. Told her that E is so cute I wanted to eat her. Bestie told me that there’s a name for that: “cute aggression”. You learn something new every day.
I’m hoping to find out that E’s had a good weight gain tomorrow and we’re discharged from the midwives…

Wednesday – Day 10:

Had my midwife appointment this afternoon. Elowen is over her birth weight and I’m absolutely thrilled. I’m so proud of us both. We’ve been discharged by the midwives.

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I’ve been a feeling tired and a bit snappy today – not helped by the fact that I’ve had a pounding headache. Both girls had a screaming match in the back of the car on the way back home from my midwife appointment. Paracetamol needed, stat!

In the evening I suddenly remembered about a mess-less footprint/handprint kit I bought when I was pregnant. I had meant to do when E was first born but totally forgot about it so did it today instead. Loving E’s iddy biddy footprints…

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I have a spare sheet so I’m going to try and do the same with Jasmine (that will probably be easier said than done) and frame both sets of prints together.

Thursday – Day 11:

Jasmine woke up in the middle of the night again last night. That’s the second time she’s done this since Elowen was born. We hoped she would settle herself to sleep but nope. She was sat up singing the ‘Paw Patrol’ theme tune. Then she started calling out “I miss my mummy! I can’t find my mummy’. She ended up in our bed again but kept us awake for several hours, wriggling around and talking. Stephen ended up taking her downstairs where they slept on the sofa. After a quick Google search, it would seem that it’s very common for toddlers around Jasmine’s age to start waking in the night after a new sibling is born. I hope it doesn’t last long, it’s exhausting enough having one child waking in the night, let alone two.

Elowen has been super clingy today and has not wanted to be put down AT ALL. I don’t mind, I’ve waited a long time for newborn cuddles. It did take me an hour and half to change our bedsheets though (duvet covers were soaked through with breastmilk again). I eventually wore her in the Caboo carrier in order to get sh*t done!

Today was the first day that I’ve felt sad since having E. I feel like I’ve barely seen Jasmine all day and had no one-to-one time with her. She was at nursery this morning and this afternoon I’ve had a baby glued to my boob constantly. Feeling all the mum guilt. I managed to read her a bedtime story at least but still feeling a bit pants.

I’ve been trying to feed Elowen without nipple shields every few feeds with mixed success. She seems to latch on much better on my left side than the right. I probably need to try a few different positions. Feeling positive that we’ll be able to ditch the nipple shields soon though. Practice makes perfect…

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Friday – Day 12:

Elowen met her granny (Stephen’s mum) for the first time today. We’ve held off having visitors up until now as I found it a bit overwhelming having people visit when Jasmine was born. I wanted a week or so to just spend time alone as a family and also be able to get to grips with breastfeeding in private. Jasmine’s doing alright out of being a big sister, she’s had so many lovely presents from friends and family. It’s a bit like Christmas has come early!

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It was nice to see my mother-in-law but I was struggling to stay awake towards the end of her visit. I could feel my eyes getting heavier and heavier. As soon as we said goodbye, I went up to bed with Elowen and had a long nap, waking up just in time for dinner which Stephen had cooked. I still felt tired and fuzzy around the ages – it was one of those naps that makes you feel worse!

I really want to start giving E some expressed milk in a bottle so Stephen can help with feeds but I think it’s probably a little too early still at the moment. My boobs still don’t know what they’re doing half the time and still seem to feel quite engorged for most of the day (other than just after feeds). Hopefully my supply will regulate in the next couple of weeks and then expressing will be more of an option.

My 3 best friends (who live in Bristol) are coming up to visit us tomorrow – I am so excited to see them. I just hope that I’m feeling a bit more awake than I have been today.

Saturday – Day 13: 

Ahh today was so lovely – it was amazing to spend time with my friends. They absolutely adored having Elowen hugs and of course, they made a fuss of my biggest girl too. We spent most of the day at home just catching up and having a good old chinwag! Once Jasmine went to bed we headed out to the pub for dinner with Elowen in the pram. I was a bit nervous about going out for the evening with a newborn but my friends convinced me it would be fine. They were right – E slept pretty much the entire time whilst I made a pig of myself. (I had the ‘Ultimate Burger followed by a Chocolate and Bailey’s sundae – happy days!) Elowen woke up just as I finished my pudding so I quickly fed her before we left. It always feels weird to go out and do ‘normal things’ when you’ve just had a baby but it was just what I needed.

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Sunday – Day 14:

After taking a while to settle last night, Elowen only woke up about two times for a feed so I actually don’t feel quite so tired today. The weather was gorgeous – cold but sunny – so we headed out as a family and took Jasmine to our local park. It felt strange being there with two children – very surreal.

Once we got home we had lunch and Stephen and I tried to get some chores done (he’s back to work tomorrow). Jasmine had a few emotional breakdowns today – at one point, curling up into a ball and saying “nobody likes me”. I know she’s only saying it to get attention but it’s still not a nice thing to hear. We reassured her that we loved her very much but that we sometimes had to do other things and not just play with her constantly.

I tried feeding Elowen without nipple shields again this afternoon (from both sides) and it went well. A little uncomfortable on the right side (as usual) but we are getting there!

And that brings us to the end of Stephen’s paternity leave. The last two weeks have gone way too fast but at least it isn’t long until Christmas now. I’m feeling nervous about tomorrow – my first day alone with both kiddos. I’m hoping to get Jasmine to playgroup in the morning – we’ll see how that turns out!

I can’t believe my baby girl is two-weeks-old already. *sobs*

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Baby, Baby Button Nose, Elowen's Updates, Motherhood, Parenting

The Newborn Diaries:
Elowen’s First Week Earthside

Just as I thought it would, Elowen’s first week ‘earthside’ has passed us by in a blur. I kept a few notes about each day on my phone so I could remember the little things that I would probably otherwise forget.

Elowen’s first week:

Sunday – Elowen was born at 7.55pm – she was so alert and awake for several hours before finally falling asleep for the night. I breastfed her soon after the birth as per my birth plan and she latched on and fed well. Stephen and I ate crisps and watched I’m a Celeb whilst cuddling our newest member of the family. Homebirths rock!

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Monday – Day 1:

Jasmine woke up at the normal time of around 7.30am and came into our bedroom to meet Elowen (more on that below).

We were hoping to have a midwife come out to the house and do our Newborn Check but I got a call in the morning to say nobody was available so could we go to the hospital and have the check done there. When we arrived we were seen straightaway and Elowen passed her hearing test. Another midwife came in and did the rest of the health check. She was worried that she felt a ‘clicky hip’ but couldn’t diagnose it herself, she needed a pediatrician to take a look. We spent the next four hours waiting around in a (uncomfortably hot) birthing unit room until a pediatrician came to see us. As it wasn’t urgent, we were constantly put to the back of the queue (understandably). It wasn’t quite how I envisaged our first full day as a family of four. Anyway, we finally got seen and E’s legs/hips were perfectly fine.

Whilst we were at the hospital the midwife took a look at E’s latch because I told her I was finding it painful. She pointed out that her lips weren’t flanged and she was just sucking on my nipple, rather than taking a full mouth of breast. The Midwife said I needed to take E off and get her re-latch until she got it right. Her latch is still a bit of a problem now (Sunday 27th) but it’s improving all the time.

Tuesday – Day 2:

By Day 2 my nipples incredibly painful, cracked and bruised. I spoke to a midwife on the phone and she asked me if I’d tried nipple shields. I had bought some whilst pregnant but hadn’t tried them yet. I used them for the next few feeds along with my trusty ol’ Lansinoh cream and it helped a lot.

I walked to nursery (with Stephen and Heidi) to pick up Jasmine. I used the Close Caboo carrier for the first time. Found it a bit tricky to put on but should get easier with practice. I felt a bit tender and needed to sit down for a bit. Probably getting a bit ahead of myself.

E woke up every 4 hours or so for a feed that night.

Wednesday – Day 3:

Had midwife come out in the morning and weigh E – she’d only lost 5% of her birth weight so well within the limit.

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Stephen took Jasmine to a toddlers gymnastics club so I had a couple of hours of peace and quiet at home. I hoovered the living room. I know, I know! *slaps own wrist*

It was a rough evening. My milk came in that night and my boobs were so engorged that E had even more trouble latching than before. She was fussing all night, on and off the boob and screaming at me. I caved in and tried to give her a ready-made bottle of formula. She spat it out so I persisted with boob. I got a grand total of 10 minutes sleep all night.

After having ‘after pains’ for the last few days since E was born, they finally seemed to peter out. They weren’t as bad as I feared they would be – just like mild period pains. My bleeding also started to slow down too.

I had my first post-partum poop – it was pathetic.

Thursday – Day 4:

Jasmine was back in nursery for the morning so I decided just to stay in bed with E. Do nothing else but watch TV, sleep, eat and feed my baby on demand. I needed to express a little milk off each side to help with the engorgement pain – used my MAM manual pump which arrived the day before.

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Stephen was particularly awesome today – doing the nursery runs, walking the dog, tidying the house, getting in the food shopping. He’s a good egg.

Friday – Day 5:

Slept well last night and only woke for feeds. E has been co-sleeping next to me so I’m awake and feeding her before she even gets the chance to make too much noise. Nappy changes are a bit trickier though! Jasmine woke up at 4am and came into our bed (she never does this but I was tired and weak-willed). She cuddled up to me, stroked my face and said “I love you, mummy.” It made me cry. How did I get so lucky?

Elowen’s cord stump dropped off this morning.

We had another Midwife appointment to have E’s Heel Prick test done. E slept through it and didn’t even flinch. She’s such a tough cookie.

I’m booked in for a group discharge from the midwives care on Day 10 (Wednesday 7th Dec)

We went out for our first family walk in the woods and then to visit the local Christmas Shop. Ate a big slice of Victoria Sponge in the cafe. YESS!

Boobs were still very tender in the evening, especially around under arms.

I stepped on the bathroom scales (what was I thinking?) – I weighed 9 stone 10lbs. Must stop eating cake.

Saturday – Day 6:

E woke up for about 3 feeds throughout the night last night. Slept contently next to me the rest of the night. Boobs are like a tap when feeding! I kept soaking my bedsheets with my non-feeding boob!

I spent the morning building blanket forts with Jasmine. She’s been so good this week. I’m unbelievably proud of my big girl.

I left the house by myself to walk the dog after getting a touch of cabin fever – it felt weird!

Sunday – Day 7:

The night feeds are catching up with me and I felt exhausted this morning. I fed E and went back to bed until 10am. Didn’t do much all day except lounge around at home.

WE SURVIVED THE FIRST WEEK!!!!!!

And how’s the big sister?

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One of the things that people have asked me about most since having Elowen is “How has Jasmine been?” And honestly? She has been amazing. Jasmine woke up her usual time on Monday morning, after sleeping through my labour the night before, and Stephen brought her into our bedroom to meet Elowen. She didn’t spot her at first and was too busy saying “Good morning, Mummy” to notice the extra person on the bed! As soon as she noticed, she gasped and said “Awwww, baby – pass him me!” (A whole week on and she’s still referring to her baby sister as “him” and “he”) Jasmine’s eyes were the widest I’d ever seen them – you could see that she was just soaking up every inch of this tiny, new person.

Jasmine had her first cuddle with Elowen and was instinctively gentle with her – lightly patting her back. She tilted her head whilst gazing at E and said “Awww, so cute”. My heart felt so full, watching them together. We gave Jasmine her two presents “from baby” (A Paw Patrol plate, bowl and beaker set and a Paw Patrol onesie!) – as you can imagine, they went down very well!)

In short – the first week has gone really well. Jasmine treats E like she’s always been here and knows that she is part of our family and is very much here to stay. She’s very caring and gets upset if E is crying – she’ll stroke her head or hold her little sister’s hand and say “Shush, shush baby” (She can’t say Elowen).

There has been a noticeable change in Jasmine’s behaviour though in that she gets incredibly emotional, very quickly, and seemingly over nothing. If Stephen or I leave the room for a minute and then come back in, Jasmine will run over to us, on the brink of tears, telling us how much she’s missed us. It’s sweet but very, very over the top!

I’ve also noticed when Jasmine’s been playing with her toys that she will act out scenarios with them – yesterday her dinosaurs were ‘fighting with eachother’ with yells of “NO, my mummy” and “That’s my daddy”. It seems there’s definitely some elements of jealousy going on, but she’s hiding it well. (So far.)

I think things will become a bit more challenging when Stephen returns to work and I have to split my attention between two little people – we shall see!

Regardless of what happens, I’m so proud of my big girl and how well she’s taken to our newest arrival.

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Home birth birth plan uk
Baby Button Nose, Homebirth, Motherhood, Pregnancy

My Birth Plan {Preparing for a Homebirth}

I never wrote a birth plan when I was pregnant with Jasmine. It felt a bit pointless writing a ‘plan’ for something that, let’s face it, can’t really be planned. Jasmine’s birth ended up being quite dramatic, I arrived at the hospital 10cms dilated and my body already pushing her out by itself. The midwife who looked after me upon arrival at the Birthing Unit didn’t have time to read the front cover of my maternity notes to see my name, let alone read a birth plan!

This time around I’ve felt more inclined to write a birth plan. For two reasons:

  • Because I’m *hopefully* going to have a home birth – I should have at least one midwife with me for the majority of my labour, meaning they will actually have time to read and follow my instructions! I also feel that because I’ll be setting up my own ‘birth environment’ that I will be more in control of how I labour.
  • Having experienced giving birth already, I have some idea of what to expect (granted, all labour/births are different) and therefore I found it easier to know what I do and don’t want to happen – especially when it comes to post-partum procedures such as cord clamping and the administration of Vitamin K to baby.

I’m sharing this birth plan as I found it helpful to read through other people’s when writing my own. It’s short and sweet (which is the best way to keep it if there’s any hope of it being followed) and doesn’t go into too much detail. I’ve based my plan on my own research and my previous experience of giving birth so I’m not looking for opinions on my decisions to do ‘x’, ‘y’ or ‘z’. ;)

Jenna’s Birth Plan:

Birth partner: My husband, Stephen.

The birth environment:

I plan to labour/give birth in our living room (furniture such as the coffee table will be removed to give me more space to move around and change positions). I may also want to have a bath/shower (upstairs) to help ease labour pains. I have prepared a music playlist that I may wish to listen to using either headphones or a speaker. I have put together a homebirth box which is full of items that I feel  I may want/need during labour.

Pain relief:

When managing contractions, I would like to use my TENs machine and Entonox as well as using my Daisy Birthing breathing techniques. I am keen to avoid using Pethidine. Please do not ask me if I would like pain relief, I will state ‘I would like x now please’ when I feel I need something.

Positions for labour and birth:

I intend to remain as active and upright as possible during my labour and birth (particularly during the pushing stage) and would like my midwife to help me to achieve this. I also have a birthing ball and a CUB support available in which to aid me.

Cord clamping:

I would like the cord cutting/clamping delayed until the cord has stopped pulsating. I have provided my own cord tie which I would like to use instead of a plastic clamp. Please offer my husband the opportunity to cut the cord.

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Placenta:

I would appreciate it if you could administer drugs to help me deliver the placenta quickly. We do not wish to keep the placenta.

NB. I was seriously considering having the placenta encapsulated but after a bit of research I decided against it in the end.

Skin-to-skin:

I would like to keep the baby unclothed and close to my skin immediately after birth, to maximise skin-to-skin contact.

Feeding Baby:

I would like to breastfeed our baby as soon as possible after the birth. I’d appreciate some assistance with this to ensure the baby’s latch is correct.

Vitamin K: Please administer an injection of Vitamin K to the baby after the birth.

Sex of Baby: We do not know the gender of our baby and would prefer not to be told by a midwife (sorry!) but instead, find out for ourselves.

Please note: Our two-year-old daughter, Jasmine, may be at home with us depending on what time of day it is and whether or not we’ve managed to arrange childcare. If I’m labouring at night then we are happy for her to stay in bed and sleep through.

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I had a midwife read through my birth plan at my 36 week appointment and she said “This is exactly the kind of birth plan I’d write for myself.” And then went on to ask “But do you have any special requests?” which I must admit, totally threw me. I joked that I wasn’t a diva and wouldn’t be asking to give birth in a room full of Labradoodle puppies!

But actually, the more I think about it…

Did you write/are you writing a birth plan?

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Baby, Baby Button Nose, Family, Motherhood, Pregnancy, Toddler

Life Lately: The Calm Before the Storm

With less than one month to go until Baby Button-Nose’s due date, I thought it would be nice to sit down and just write. Not about anything in particular but whatever springs to my mind in a period that I’m currently calling the ‘calm before the storm’. Before our lives change again. Before we become a family of four.

Yesterday we had our house deep cleaned in preparation for a homebirth and regardless of whether or not that’s the kind of birth I end up having, I’m glad we’ve had it done. It’s just another one of those things that make me feel a little more ‘ready’. I’m a bit of a clean freak at the best of times so you can only imagine what I’m like when I get into nesting mode. However, I’ve realised that I need to start taking it easy – this pregnancy has been so much harder on my body. Some days, walking up the stairs is a real struggle due to hip and back pain so scrubbing walls and floors myself isn’t an option. I have been going crazy with my label maker though – now that’s my kinda nesting!

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As the cleaners were working in our house for 6 hours, I decided it would be best for me and Jasmine to go out somewhere, to get out of their way. I thought it would be fun to take Jasmine to the cinema for the first time (if you don’t count the Big Scream showings I took her to when she was a baby). I was a little nervous as although I know she is able to sit and watch a whole film at home, I’m wasn’t sure how she’d behave at the cinema. Especially as she seems to have developed a fear of the dark. I booked tickets to a Junior showing of Ice Age: Collision Course which only cost £3.60 for the both of us (bargain!) so I figured if she played up or wasn’t keen on being there – we’d just go to the park instead and there was no real loss.

I needn’t have been so worried because she was as good as gold – sat through the entire film perfectly. She’d occasionally get excited and shout something like “Look mummy, a hotcano! Look everybody, a hotcano!” (That’s a volcano to you and me.) She munched her way through a big bag of popcorn whilst I spent most of the film watching her watch the film. I couldn’t stop from smiling. I also felt a little sad that our days alone together are numbered. Having another baby is so bittersweet. On the one hand, I cannot wait for Jasmine to meet her sibling and become a big sister but on the other, I will miss our time together, just the two of us.

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We had our annual visit to Undley Pumpkin Patch at the weekend (we’ve gone there every year for the last 3 years). It’s only when I look back at our photos of our visits that I realise just how much Jasmine has grown and changed. This will probably be our last ever visit to this particular pumpkin patch as we are relocating back to the South West early next year. I’m sure we’ll be able to find somewhere just as awesome to pick our pumpkins!

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I’m not sure how much Jasmine understands about the ‘baby in mummy’s tummy’. We try to talk to her about the baby but it’s a lot to take in for a 2.5 year-old. Hell, sometimes I can barely get my head around it. To think that I’m growing a brand new human inside of me – it boggles the mind. I do think Jasmine understands more than I give her credit for though – the other night she pointed at my tummy and said “baby”, completely unprompted. When asked “Do you want a brother or a sister?” which tends to be something that family, neighbours and strangers ask her a lot. She’ll either reply “no” (oh.), or more often than not, “a baby brother”. No pressure then.

She’s also become quite protective over me, shouting “my mummy” at strangers in the supermarket. As if she suspects the lady buying milk and baked beans is going to pick me up and carry me away. To be fair, she reacts the same way with the toy cars at playgroup. (“My cars!”) But at least there, the threat is real. You’re gonna have to learn to share real soon, baby girl!

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I should probably touch upon my mental health, seeing as I’ve written about it a fair amount on blog over the last few months. I’m still taking my anti-depressants and I feel like I’m currently in a good place. Yes, I feel quite anxious at times but at 36 weeks pregnant, I think that’s perfectly normal. On the whole, I am excited about meeting our newest addition and whilst I know it’s going to be a big adjustment. I feel I will be able to cope – and if I can’t, I won’t be afraid to ask for help.

I ordered our last few baby essentials last night. I’ve packed our ‘just in case’ hospital bags. Put a box together for my homebirth. Bought biscuits for the midwives! Written a birth plan.  And so I’m feeling as ready as I’ll ever be.

There are a few things I’d like to do before baby arrives such as have a dental check-up (joy!), get my bump Henna’d and treat myself to a haircut and some reflexology. Time is of the essence so I need to get a move on!

Any advice for a soon-to-be mummy of two?!

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Antenatal depression, Motherhood, Parenting, Pregnancy

Antidepressants and pregnancy: My experience so far…

When it became apparent to me that I was suffering with antenatal depression, I spent a lot of time reading blog posts about others who had been in a similar situation. Reading those posts was what gave me the courage to walk into my midwife appointment and tell her everything I had been feeling. However, what I found frustrating was that nobody really talked about what happened AFTER they’d been to see their midwife/GP. Did they take medication? Did it help? Did they opt for some kind of talk therapy? Did that help?

I, of course, don’t expect anyone to have to write about such personal details for the whole world to read. But I was desperate to know what worked for people and what didn’t. Which is why I thought I’d write a bit of an update post for anyone who is the same same boat as me.

A little bit of background information:

I suffered with depression in my late teens/early twenties due to stressful family situations and although I was eventually prescribed antidepressants, I gave up on them in less than a week because I was scared they were going to turn me into some sort of emotionless robot. I taught myself CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) and through using the tools I learned, managed to find my way out of a deep, dark hole and become ‘happy Jenna’ again.

In February, I found out I was expecting another baby (after having a second miscarriage back in November 2015) and was cautiously excited to be growing a new member of our family. I had a much easier first trimester than I did with my daughter, only being sick a handful of times in the first 3 months, as opposed to every single day. Other being tired – I felt well, both in body and mind.

Unfortunately, shortly after reaching my second trimester things started to go downhill and I knew from past experience that I was almost certainly suffering with depression. I was crying every day and had stopped enjoying life. I was no longer looking forward to having another baby, and instead, dreading it. I felt like a terrible mum to my two-year-old because I, quite honestly, was hating spending all day, every day with her.

The cause of my depression is very much situational. I live hours away from my friends and family and I miss them all terribly. The isolation and loneliness of being a stay-at-home mum, in a town so far away from my loved ones, for over two years had finally taken it’s toll on me. Add to that, all the raging hormones and emotions that come along with pregnancy and I was broken.

At my 25 week midwife appointment, I broke down in tears and explained that I thought I was suffering with antenatal depression. I instantly felt better for having it ‘out there’ and that conversation has lead to me being where I am today. I booked an appointment to see a GP – who was wonderfully supportive and offered to help me in which ever way I saw fit. I asked for medication.

Type of medication and dosage:

My doctor prescribed me Sertraline as it is safe to use during pregnancy (and breastfeeding).

Sertraline is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Sertraline affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms.” – Source.

The standard daily dose of this medication is 50mg, which is the amount I’ve been prescribed. However, my doctor explained to me that because I’m pregnant, my body will break down the drug a lot faster, meaning I’m only really having half the dose. I was told that if I felt it wasn’t enough then I should let her know and she would up the amount. At this moment in time, I don’t feel the need to do so.

The side effects: 

My doctor warned me that for the first couple of weeks of taking this medication, it may make my anxiety worse. She told me that if this did happen, to continue taking antidepressants and plough on through it because it wouldn’t last. Fortunately, I didn’t experience heightened anxiety but I thought it might be worth mentioning it in this post as I got the impression that not everybody gets this warning from their GP when they start taking Sertraline.

For me, it’s been hard to tell if some of my ‘side effects’ are a direct result of Sertraline or whether they are normal pregnancy symptoms – or a mix of both.

In the first week or so of taking the drugs I experienced dizziness and heart palpitations (at the same time). As you can imagine, this was quite unpleasant, and I remember being sat in a restaurant with my husband, my heart racing and the room spinning, but feeling unable to talk. But, it passed quickly and I’ve haven’t experienced anything like that again for several weeks now.

I also had (and still get) hot flushes several times a day. I can safely say I am not looking forward to the menopause!

The side-effect that I’ve suffered with the most, and still continue to do so 6 weeks into my treatment, is the night sweats. These are very much like the night sweats I experienced in the weeks after giving birth to my daughter, when my body was expelling all the excess fluid I had left over from pregnancy.

Every night I wake up absolutely drenched in sweat – my duvet and sheets are sopping wet. It’s pretty grim and makes me feel disgusting. My bedsheets had never the inside of a washing machine quite so much as they have over the last month or so.

How is my mood now?

Better, so much better. I haven’t cried since I first walked into the doctor’s office 6 weeks ago. I haven’t become an ’emotionless robot’. I have days when I feel grumpy and fed up, just like anyone else would but the difference is that my moods are now on a much more even kilter. I’m finally starting to embrace pregnancy and look forward to having another baby. I feel like I’m a much better mummy to my daughter because we play and laugh together. I’m more inclined to take her out to the park or playgroups whereas before my depression and anxiety would stop me from doing so.

I still wonder how on earth I’m going to cope with two children but I think that’s normal, isn’t it? I know it’s going to be a big adjustment but I will cope.

I should also mention that since I’ve started taking antidepressants we’ve had some quite big news which will have also affected my outlook on life. My husband’s job role will be changing in the next few months which means we will be able to relocate back to Bristol in the New Year. It still seems like a long way off but it’s given me a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. In all honesty, I don’t think the antidepressants are 100% responsible for my change in mental attitude but they’ve certainly helped. I do not regret starting medication and I will continue to use it for as long as I feel I need to. I suspect once we’ve moved house and I have my support network of family and friends back, I will feel ready to stop my prescription.

If anybody reading this wants to talk about this topic further then do feel free to send me an e-mail or tweet me @_tinyfootsteps. 

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This post was originally published on the 29th September 2016.