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Bedtime Routines: The First Baby Vs. The Second Baby
Baby, Breastfeeding, Parenting

Bedtime Routines: The First Baby Vs. The Second Baby

I was recently chatting to some of my mummy friends about the bedtime routines we have in place for our babies. This particular group of friends (mostly) consists of first-time-mamas. There was talk of nightly baths and baby massages and it was then that I had a sudden pang of guilt. I realised that I don’t put half as much effort into E’s bedtime routine as I did with J’s when she was the same age. I thought it would be interesting to compare the two different bedtime routines that I had/have for my first and second child (at around the same age) and to see if they slept any differently because of them. Read on to find out…

The first baby’s bedtime routine:

Jasmine was doing 5-6 hour long stints of sleeping at night by 9 weeks old and it was around this time that I decided I would implement a ‘proper bedtime routine‘ which went as follows…

Bath:

Every. Single. Day.

Heaven forbid we missed her evening bath.

Baby Massage:

After her bath, Jasmine was then treated to a full body massage – she’d be smothered head to toe in baby oil whilst I used the techniques I’d learned at our baby massage classes.

Bottle:

Her massage was followed by a feed. Jasmine was fully formula fed from around 6 weeks old. At 9 weeks old she’d have 4-5oz of milk at each feed.

Bed:

Jasmine would often fall asleep whilst having her last bottle before bed. I’d then gently slip her into her bedside crib. If she was still awake at the end of the feed, I’d pop her into the Bednest and turn on her ‘Freddie the frog’ Slumber Buddy (she still uses this now sometimes). She’d then eventually settle down to sleep.

4am: Jasmine wakes for a feed. She guzzles down her milk and then falls back to sleep.

6.30am: Jasmine wake ups and is ready to start the day!

Bedtime Routines: The First Baby Vs. The Second Baby

I blogged a 7-day diary when I introduced this bedtime routine – if you want to read it, you can find it here.

The Second Baby’s Bedtime Routine (or lack thereof):

Bath? (Ha!)

I give Elowen a bath about once a fortnight with ‘top and tail’ washes in between to keep her fresh.

Baby Massage? (Double ha!)

Sorry, baby girl – but I’ve spent the best part of the evening fighting with your sister to get her PJs on and brush her damn teeth. She’s finally down for the night so I just wanna chill. Is that cool with you? Cool.

The Dinner Time Feed: Elowen will demand a feed as soon as my dinner is ready (around 6.30/7.00pm). I stick her on the boob and watch my dinner go cold. I then pop E into her NUNA Leaf chair and crank that bad boy up to maximum sway. She might fight sleep for a little while but then gradually drifts off (usually whilst sucking her thumb). That’s her out for the count until I go to bed myself. I veg out in front of the telly or catch up with some blogging.

Bedtime: 

I tend to go to bed anywhere between 10pm and 11.30pm. I grab Elowen out of her chair and take her up to bed with me. This usually wakes her up so I take the opportunity to put a fresh nappy on her and change her clothes ready for bed. I boob her back to sleep again and then pop her in the Chicco Next-to-me crib. She’s still using her Purflo Nest but has almost outgrown it – this saddens me greatly.

Bedtime Routines: The First Baby Vs. The Second Baby

4am: Night feed. I usually end up latching her on and falling back to sleep.

6/6.30am: I wake up (usually by my toddler alarm clock) with Elowen still cuddled up in my arms from the 4am feed.

Time to get up!

Conclusion:

It wasn’t until I read this post back that I realised how similar Elowen’s sleep pattern is to what Jasmine’s was at around the same age. And that’s despite Elowen forgoing nightly baths and baby massages (poor, poor second child). I’ve definitely been more relaxed about bed-sharing this time around (although, I still follow the safety guidelines). I would have Jasmine sleep in bed with us during the fourth trimester when she was still adjusting to being ‘earthside’. And to be honest, it scared me, but sometimes it was the only way we got any sleep. Elowen on the other hand, is almost 4 months old, and I’m happy to bring her into our bed. I’m breastfeeding this time around so I find I can get a bit more extra sleep whilst she feeds.

You can tell from reading these bedtime routines that we very much dedicated our evenings to Jasmine’s bedtime routine. It’s clearly true (in our case at least) that the second baby has to fit around us as a family, and not the other way around. So yeah, the littlest lady of the family might miss out on nightly baths (she has majorly dry skin anyways) and doesn’t get those full body massages (I feel a bit guilty about that) but ultimately, it’s made no difference. They sleep exactly the same!

Our favourite baby bedtime products*:

If you fancy reading more posts about baby sleep routines and co-sleeping, check out these posts by some of my fellow mama blogger friends: Lucie // Kirsty // Georgina // Rachel // Rebecca

I’d love to know how bedtime works in your house if you have more than one child?
Or if you just have the one, what does their bedtime routine involve?
How do you feel about co-sleeping?

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*Contains affiliate links.

 

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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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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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.

Baby, Parenting, Reviews, Toddler

A Moony Nappies Review and Giveaway

We were recently asked if we would like to try out and review some Japanese nappies. I raised an eyebrow too when I read the e-mail but curiosity got the better me and so I said “sure, send some my way!” For the best part of two years, we have tried a lot of different nappies in order to find the ‘right’ ones. I never would’ve thought it before becoming a mum – but’s pretty hard to find the perfect nappy for your little one. You want them to right fit, you want them to be able to keep your baby/toddler dry and comfortable and you don’t want to spend a fortune on them. It doesn’t seem a lot to ask when I write it down. Could these international pants, named ‘Moony’, be our answer?

A Moony Nappies Review and Giveaway

We were sent a pack of 38 Moony pull-up style pants in a size suitable for toddlers who weigh 12-17kg. They were the pack designed for girls, which basically meant they were pink. Personally, I don’t particularly care if Jasmine’s nappies are pink, blue, orange or green and I’m fairly confident she doesn’t either – seems silly to genderise nappies but hey-ho, some people like that kinda thing. Both the ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ designs have Disney’s Winnie The Pooh images depicted on them so essentially as far as I’m aware, aside from the colours, they are the same design.

A Moony Nappies Review and Giveaway

Fit: This is probably one of the things I’ve been most impressed with when it comes to the Moony Nappies. Despite them looking almost identical (in shape) to Pampers Baby Dry Pants (which is what we currently use) – they seemed to fit Jasmine so much better. They’re a bit more streamlined around her upper thighs and don’t tend to bunch up around the crotch like I find the Pampers do. They are made of a soft material and have plenty of stretch in them around the waist and legs.

Here’s a picture of both the Moony Nappies and Pampers Baby Dry Pants side-by-side for comparison.

A Moony Nappies Review and Giveaway

Day-time use: I generally change Jasmine’s nappy every 4-5 hours during the daytime. The Moony nappies have been absolutely fine. They keep their shape, absorb liquid well and are easy to remove. I gently tear the sides apart and pull the nappy off, roll it up and use the sticky tab to keep it in place before disposing of it. One of the things I’ve noticed about the Moony pants is that they don’t have that horrible chemical smell that some other nappies do. They also have a wetness indicator strip that runs down the outside of the center of the nappy which is quite handy.

A Moony nappies review and giveaway

Night-time use: We’ve really struggled recently to keep Jasmine dry at night. She’s a heavy wetter which often leads to her nappy leaking in the early hours of the morning. We’ve had to ditch using pull-up style nappies overnight as they often were the worst culprits so I was almost reluctant to try to Moony nappies overnight.

It turns out that I needn’t have worried because since using the Moony nappies for bed times, we’ve had no soggy pyjamas in the morning!

Price: This, unfortunately, is the biggest draw-back for me. The price of a 38 pack is £22.50 (on Amazon at time of writing this post) which is very expensive. Usually I can get two large packs of branded nappies for less than that. Although I am really impressed with the quality of the Moony nappies, and I think they are by far some of the best nappies we’ve ever tried, I couldn’t justify paying double for them – which is a real shame.

Bottom line: These nappies are a great for both day and night use. They’re good quality and are well designed. Sadly, the cost of the packs is their downfall.

To find out more about Japanese Nappies check out their website here and the online shop here.

I’m also giving my readers a chance to win a pack of Japanese nappies (in a size of their choice). Just enter using the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

  • All entries will be checked and verified
  • The competition closes at midnight on the 31st March 2016
  • There will be one winner chosen at random.
  • The prize x1 packet of Japanese nappies
  • UK entrants only
  • The nappies will be dispatched by Japanese nappies– blogger assumes no responsibility for delivery.

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Baby, Family, Miscarriage, Motherhood, Parenting, Pregnancy

Trying again

There is something that consumes my thoughts every day at the moment and that is, trying for another baby. I’ve always wanted at least two children, probably because I grew up with a younger brother and I can’t imagine having not shared my childhood with a sibling. I want Jasmine to have that too, I want to give her the gift of a brother or a sister. I often watch her as she plays with her babies and it makes me realise how much she would dote on the baby of the family. I’m not naive – I know there would probably jealousy and fighting, just as there was between my brother and I, it comes with the territory. But I do know, she would make the best big sister ever.

In November we went through a second agonising miscarriage and suddenly my dream of having another child feels like it’s being snatched away from me. As far as I know, there is nothing medically wrong with me and the fact that I already have a daughter proves that I am capable of carrying a baby to term. It’s more the mental aspect of trying to conceive another baby that I’m struggling with. In the last four years I have been pregnant 3 times and only have one child to show for it. And honestly? I’m just not sure I could cope with losing another baby.

Having a miscarriage makes you feel many things…

It makes you feel like a failure. The moment you see those two pink likes you feel a duty to do whatever it takes to bring that baby safely into the world. When my pregnancies failed, I couldn’t help but ask myself what I did wrong. Did I eat healthily enough? Did I take all the right vitamins? Was I too active? Not active enough? You can go around and around in circles but most of the time? It’s just shit luck.

I felt guilty. I felt guilty that I’d told my husband he was going to be a dad again, only to announce a week later “I’m bleeding, I think it’s over”.

I felt guilty that I have the most wonderful little girl and I still long for another child. I felt like I should be happy with my lot and accept that I’m always going to be a mum of one.

I felt lonely and isolated. My husband and I deal with things in very different ways. He likes to just crack on with things and get back to normality. I like to talk things though and grieve openly. But we’re not meant to talk about miscarriage, are we? It’s not like losing a real person, right? Chin up, get on with it.

It’s the months that follow a miscarriage that I find the hardest. When people expect you to be ‘okay’ again. Over it. Oh, how I wish it worked like that.

I felt angry and bitter. After a miscarriage it often feels like everyone else can seemingly fall pregnant ‘first go’ and have a healthy baby 9 months later. Obviously, I know that’s not the case and I know others have struggled far more than I have. But it doesn’t make it any less difficult when babies and bumps are everywhere, as if they only exist to rub your nose in it. It seems so unfair that others can have child after child so easily and whilst I wouldn’t wish my bad fortunate on anybody, I hate being told “I can’t imagine how it feels”. I roll my eyes and I utter “Well, lucky you.” This is me, telling you how it feels.

I don’t like the person I become after miscarriage.

Is it any wonder I am frightened to try again?

I don’t want to call the hospital, sobbing down the phone, to cancel another ultrasound scan.

I don’t want to spend weeks checking for blood every time I go to the toilet, constantly on edge because I fear I will miscarry again.

I don’t want to feel like a failure. Or feel guilty for not giving my husband and daughter what I promised them. I don’t want to feel lonely and isolated anymore. I don’t want to feel angry and bitter about other people’s happiness.

And yet, I still desperately want another baby.

I still want to pick myself up, dust myself down and try again.

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Miscarriage, Motherhood, Parenting, Pregnancy

When it happens again… {Miscarriage}

I sat in A&E amongst people with broken limbs, cuts and bruises – a sorry looking bunch. And then there was me, no visible clues as to why I was sat in that room, waiting to be seen on a Monday night. I wasn’t there to get an x-ray or to have stitches. I was waiting to be told what I already knew. I was losing another baby.

I wanted to do this at home, in private, but because I’d been having lower right-sided abdominal pain there was a chance I was having an ectopic pregnancy. I spent several hours being moved from room to room – poked and prodded, blood taken, swabs taken, internal examinations, external examinations, moved into another room, wait here, wait there… on and on and on. I just wanted to go home.

I really, really just wanted to go home.

Thankfully, it turned out not to be ectopic – I got to go home and await my lab results. I have to be honest, at this point I held on to a glimmer of hope. I hoped the blood was something else. Anything else. But not because I was losing another baby. Surely I don’t deserve for this to happen again?

The next morning, I eventually got the call. “Your pregnancy hormone is down to just 2. We count that as a negative test. Wait a few months and try again… if that’s what you want.”

Right now, I just can’t think of anything worse. We could try again and it could all be OK. I know it can happen. I have a 19-month-old who proves it can happen. But if it doesn’t? It could break me. This is breaking me.

I’ve never smoked in my life and I rarely drink. I try to take care of my body.

It just seems so cruel that this should happen to me… again.

All I’ve ever wanted to do is grow babies, give birth to them and nurture them. And I can’t. It’s not working. I’m not working. Or at least, that’s what it feels like. My body is broken. My heart is broken.

What do you do when it happens again?

I’ve removed myself from social media for self-preservation, the pregnancy announcements (which seem to appear almost hourly at the moment) are too much to bear. I feel angry and bitter at the world. And then I feel guilty for feeling so angry and bitter. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. But why should I have to go through this? Again.

Jasmine won’t be having a sibling in the summer.

I won’t be having another child.

We won’t be a family of four.

It seems so simple for everybody else.

But not for me. Not for us.

I never thought I’d be so unlucky to have to suffer another miscarriage.

What do you do when it happens again?

 

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Baby, Motherhood, Parenting, Pregnancy

The Firstborn Tag

I really enjoyed reading Maddy’s answers to The Firstborn Tag over on her blog The Speed Bump . It’s one of my favourite blogs – Maddy has a great writing style and wicked sense of humour. But don’t just take my word for it – go check her out! You can also find her on Twitter here.

I thought I’d give the tag a go myself as I love nothing more than to reminisce about my pregnancy (well, the last two trimesters anyway) and Jasmine’s exciting entrance into the world.

All about your firstborn!👣

1. Was your pregnancy planned?  

I wouldn’t say ‘planned’ exactly but it wasn’t a total surprise either. After having an early miscarriage 9 months prior to finding out we were expecting again – we’d been NTNP (Not trying, not preventing). I guess we didn’t want to put any pressure on ourselves to conceive again but we were (cautiously) over the moon we we did.

2. Were you married?

Nope. In fact, I was adamant that I would never get married. However, Stephen popped the question to me whilst we were on our ‘Babymoon’ in Dublin and well, I couldn’t say no! :) We eloped and got married in June this year!

3. What was your reaction to finding out?

Overjoyed but obviously I was incredibly nervous of losing another baby. I don’t think I ever felt 100% relaxed about my pregnancy the whole way through.

4. Were you induced?

Nope. It was something I was really concerned about as I’d heard so many horror stories about induction. In the end I needn’t have worried – my waters broke spontaneously  at 2am when I was a little over 38 weeks pregnant and I gave birth later that day.

5. How old were you? 

27

6. Who did you first tell?  

After my positive pregnancy test, I actually kept it to myself for a few days, possibly even a week. I just needed to let it to sink for a while. I then told Stephen by writing it in a card with a baby chimp on the front of it. Before I moved in with Stephen, we were in a long distance relationship and we’d always send each other cards with monkeys, chimps and apes on the front. I’m not sure who started it first but it’s always been ‘our thing’. His marriage proposal also came in the form of a monkey card!

7. How did you find out? 

I was fairly sure I was pregnant before I took a test  – I’d been having twinges in my abdomen for a week or so but no sign of my period.

8. Did you want to find out the sex?

Initially, no. I was always sure that I’d be one of those people who wanted a surprise but by the time I was about 17 weeks pregnant, I caved in and booked a private gender scan! It was driving me loopy not knowing.

9. Due Date?

19th April 2014

10. Did you deliver early or late?

Early.

11. Did you have morning sickness?

Yes, awful (all freakin’ day) sickness for the first 3 months. I’d love another baby at some point but I’m not sure how I’d cope with that level of sickness again with a toddler to look after. How do people do it? (Genuine question!)

12. What did you crave?

I never had any cravings. I felt a bit cheated about that!

13. How many pounds did you gain from your pregnancy?

I never weighed myself but I don’t think it was much – I lost a lot of weight in the first trimester because of the sickness. I did put on quite a bit of weight after pregnancy though – whoops!

14. What was the sex of the baby?

A girl!

15. Did you have any complications during pregnancy or labour?

My bump measured small towards the end of my pregnancy but I’m 5ft 1 and I had a petite bump to match – there was a perfectly sized little lady in there. My midwife was also convinced baby was breech too. I was sent for an extra scan to check but it turned out that she was head down and raring to go… she arrived 3 days later.

As for the labour itself, other than being told that they didn’t have any room for me at the hospital (which is NOT what you want to hear) it was fairly straightforward.

16. Where did you give birth?

The Midwife Led Birthing Unit at West Suffolk Hospital – although I very nearly had a ‘car park’ baby. See above!

17. How many hours were you in labour?

I can’t say I was timing it! My waters broke at 2am but my contractions didn’t kick in until late morning/lunch time. I laboured at home until fully dilated (not through choice) and once I finally arrived at the hospital, I pushed for 45 minutes and my girl was born at 7.41pm.

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18. How much did your baby weigh?

6lb 7oz

19. What did you name her?

Jasmine (it was the only girls name that Stephen and I could agree on so we’re stuffed if we have another daughter one day!)

20. How old is your first born today?

19 months!

You might also like to read:

Jasmine’s birth story

Labour and Birth: What I would’ve done differently

Miscarriages, silver linings and rainbow babies

My Pregnancy Higlights

 

I am now going to tag the following people to take part in ‘The Firstborn Tag’ if they fancy giving it a go:

Amy at Everything Mummy

Laura at MummyLaLa

Lorraine at BabyyPebbles

…and anyone else who wants to take part!

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