I really mustn’t be one of those Baby Bore Mummy’s … whoops! #toolate

The best first passport photos ever!

The best first passport photos ever!

It amazes me that when I started this blog, I was at the very beginning of my journey with Freddie. I didn’t even know he was a he, let alone that he would be called Freddie; or that my body possessed the ability to propel him from my vagina. He’s 18 weeks on Thursday, and I continually exclaim how fast time is going, and how fast Freddie is growing. We’ve been out most of the day with friends, and when I was tagged in some photos this evening, I looked twice – because as you can see, Fred is looking less and less like a wobbly baby and more like a chunky cherub of a little boy! So many emotions! I had to remove the newborn insert from the car seat last week; and then I’ve moved the seat on the pram higher so he doesn’t lie down flat anymore. Today I bought size 3+ PLUS nappies. I’m so aware of the fleeting nature of babyhood … how these 18 weeks I’ve wanted to hold him and love him and get to know everything about the little boy who grew in my tummy. I hope his smiles show that he knows how loved he is …

Happy Boy in his pram

Happy Boy in his pram

We’ve had a jolly few days, although the heat has been challenging for a warm baby … lots of coolish baths and no nappy time lying in the direction of the fan [yes, I’ve had a few wee-wee-fountains!!] He is such a joy; such a happy chuckling bundle of baby celluliite. I constantly awake in the morning to him in my arms [yes, haven’t quite mastered the sleeping in a cot thing yet, much to the detriment of my neck, arm and shoulder muscles] and look down on his chubby cheeks amazed that I could’ve grown someone so beautiful. Every day his personality emerges a little more … his squeals of excitement as he jumps in his Jumperoo … his recognition of the ducks in the bath, his engagement with Baby Sensory classes. It’s all amazing, and I feel so lucky. So lucky. Pinch. Pinch. For this, for him, I can forgive my own wobbly thighs and the bags under my eyes … [thankfully the post partum piles have now receded]

I remember writing a post when pregnant about little annoyances such as strangers fondling my bump. Well, current new mum annoyancies include those pesky, akin to gold dust, few and far between “parent child” car parking spaces. Personally, I think they should bring back hanging just for the ignorant, lazy, selfish oafs who use them without a child. In fact, I think they should solely be for those mums lugging car seats and prams around … who find themselves jammed in and unable to get said car seat into car, because some lazy sod can’t be bothered to walk a few more metres for their super size multipack of skips and tesco value burgers. Hmm. AND, more’s the point, there should be more of those “parent child” spaces. More of them, I tell you! More! Lots more! Get onto it Mr Cameron.

Secondly, it can be quite frankly traumatic walking around K-town with a pram. I’m not the best driver out there, but seriously – some people are just vacant. I’m fairly sleep deprived at the moment, yet have to be spot on with the reflexes to avoid ramming said pram into old ladies and [most annoying of all] PEOPLE WHO JUST STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE F*****G PAVEMENT.

THEN, there are those days when baby Freddie REALLY doesn’t like Boots. I mean, REALLY doesn’t like Boots. He will wail and wail, usually because he needs a nap and would rather cry about being tired than close his eyes [bless him, he’s a stubborn one my boy] – and somehow the lights and smell of Boots sends him into meltdown. But I need nappies and Diprobase and yet more breast pads … so we venture into the world of pushing a screaming baby around a shop. Now, dear friends who don’t have children – I remember being you, giving the dirty looks and rolling the eyes … I remember thinking how inconsiderate it was bringing a wailing child into a shop whilst I’m busy deciding whether to go for the teal or brown eyeliner. Well, I tell you … it’s pretty hellish being the mum attached to that pram. I can feel my cheeks going red, my heart pounding, as I hurry to the baby section and knock entire displays of nappies over trying to find the right size …. “someone’s not happy today” says an old lady looking at a purple faced Freddie, mouth wide open. I immediately take this as a criticism of my mothering skills, but smile and tell her he needs a nap …..

Baby needs boob. Will return …

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Happy Pregnancy Anniversary to my Uterus

My boy 27.06.15

My boy 27.06.15

It is 8pm on a sunny Saturday. I’ve been up since 4.54am when a wide eyed smiley baby sqwaked in my ear and poked me in the eye. I’m now propped up in bed [finally, my bed, my bed!] beside a sleeping Fred, looking forward to joining him once I’ve fulfilled my blogging duties. I wanted to blog today because I realised it is exactly one year since I found out I was pregnant … a whole year since I spent a day sat at my desk with a strange metallic taste in my mouth, a strange desire to drive to the Co-op after work for a pregnancy test because a banana tasted funny at lunchtime, and upon googling – discovered the word pregnancy featured heavily. The story goes that when I got back to my house share [it was a hot day too] we had someone coming to view a room. I raced upstairs, peed on the pregnancy test, which turned positive immediately – and within minutes there was our potential roomie knocking on the door. Awkward. Needless to say he didn’t take the room. I think I took about 6 pregnancy tests over the coming days …. all confirming that there was a teeny Freddie-seed in my tummy. Despite accusations to the contrary, this was a huge shock … but from the very first glance at the “pregnant” symbol on the test, I knew that I wanted this baby more than anything – that somehow, I would make it work.

There has been a lot of “growing up” in the past year. At the grand age of 32, it really was time to settle down. I’d lived a fairly hedonistic lifestyle, and from the moment I held that positive pregnancy test in my hands I knew things had to change. I never imagined being a single mum; but I stand by the fact that it’s better to be on your own than in a wrong relationship with the wrong person, for the wrong reasons. I do miss being in a relationship – I think I will always feel a bit guilty that Freddie doesn’t have a mummy and daddy living together – but he is unconditionally loved and always will be. I’ve learnt a huge amount in the 12 months between last year and this … I’ve grown stronger; I think this is the key quality a single mum needs; the ability to get on with it without the emotional support of a partner; without someone who is unconditionally there for you; someone who has your back. I am much more resilient now than I was, and besides – I have become tiger mother – fiercely protective of her little boy …

I’m sitting here looking down at my sleeping bundle; his little hands clasped together – so pure, so innocent. It’s incredible to think that I didn’t know him this time last year, when now I can’t imagine life without him. Never has the miracle of life been so apparent. And neither has the beauty of sleep. I have moved Fred’s cot into my room, but he’s still in bed with me – these are precious months which will soon pass into years … and I intend to savour every moment with my growing, happy baby boy. He is undoubtedly my greatest achievement in life, and I never imagined just how much I would love him. My little boy.

Never has the now been so important

11128608_1751885085037922_2075103722266527772_nIn the quieter moments, stroking his soft chubby cheek whilst he’s sleeping, or planting a kiss on on his forehead; I wonder what this life will hold for my little boy. I think of the twists and turns in my own which have led me to this beautiful place; and I imagine the journey he will have. In the noisy moments when he’s grizzly or playing with his jingly lion; I catch myself hoping he’ll be okay … that when he’s an old man, he looks back on a happy life; that I’ll have equipped him with the necessary skills and sense of humour for survival. Most importantly; wrapped him in a love which will never die.. The profundity of the cyclical nature hits me; sometimes I look at my own parents, irrationally surprised that they are getting older – not stuck as a perpetual 50 something. Nothing stays the same … and as I try to treasure every moment with my ever growing baby boy, I am filled with a sense of urgency, an appreciation of Tempus Fugit. Never has the now been so important. This is what I was born to do, or so it feels …

When Freddie and I arrived on the post natal ward thirteen weeks ago, he began to stir a little, and as I was being prodded by a midwife, I couldn’t get to him. I turned to my cousin and said “I don’t want him to cry“. She laughed and reminded me that he was a baby, and that by nature he would cry. I still don’t let my baby boy cry. I pick him up, I cradle him, and if I can’t get to him immediately I explain to him why mummy wasn’t there. It is amazing what you can do one handed. Many people have used the line “rod for own back” – yet for me, there really is such a thing as the fourth trimester. After 9months snuggled in the recesses of my womb, the world must seem so bright and noisy, so huge and alarming; so cold. Babies need the warmth and security of their mothers embrace, the sound of their heartbeat, the knowledge that momma will be there when you cry. This is essentially why I co sleep with Freddie; because I think it’s the natural way. I remember when I worked in Kolkata and would walk past families on the pavement and in the slums, sleeping curled up together. I realise this was out of necessity – yet their family bonds were far greater than most are here. It feels right to me, sharing my bed with my baby; it is certainly easier to feed him at 2am … and he has never had to cry for his milk.

Never did I realise the depths of love and worry that a mother carries around with her.

The beautiful reality

11249308_1767432720149825_8086319384727243268_nIt is 8.26pm and I’m sitting in bed with a sleeping Freddie beside me, full of momma’s warm milk. I look down on his beautiful little face with wonder; just as I did that first night in hospital; amazed, in love, proud. I’d heard people talk of this love, but I never imagined it could be so strong. How precious, how animalistic is this surge of maternal protection and devotion. My baby boy. I want to treasure all these moments, because I know they are so short … that one day my little boy will sleep in his own bed, will move out and live his own life. When he does, I want him to have had the happiest, most loving childhood I could give him. I always want my boy to look back on memories of fun and laughter; of fairness and adventures. I want him to know his momma loves him so very much.

11390150_1767296210163476_8134550675833472040_nI’m sure most new mums ponder what they did before they had children; how they spent all that free time … and how they enjoyed that unbroken sleep and lie ins. This time last year I was living in a house share, returning home from work in an evening, going for a jog, pouring myself a glass of Sauvignon Blanc as I cooked supper … totally oblivious to the fact that in 4 weeks time I’d be peeing on a stick which told me I was preggers. Since then I’ve bought my own flat, moved in, decorated, and had a baby! Quite the year, really … my nails are now devoid of polish [you can guarantee baby would cry before it had dried, and given the amount of washing I do, it would chip within hours], I haven’t read a book in months, my legs are reminiscent of a blonde gorilla, my bikini line is like the Congo, and a showers main purpose now is to get clean, not indulge in Soap & Glory therapy. I haven’t worn heels since last autumn, and I caught myself debating which sick stained cardigan was most wearable the other day. No pregnancy book can prepare you for these absurdities … the beautiful reality of life with a baby. Everything, every last drop, is devoted to the wriggling, soft skinned person you carried in your womb.

Yes, I would like a little more sleep. Fredders is feeding every 2hours during the night, and sometimes it is hard to wake myself sufficiently to release the boob from it’s bra. However, as my little boy sucks and I stroke his head … I wouldn’t want it any other way. When morning comes, usually around 6am … he is full of smiles for Momma … so innocent, so delightful and pure. That old adage is proving true, it won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it. And now … I should snuggle down beside Freddie,and pray for the luxury of three  hours sleep!

Mastitis, Baby sick and lots and lots of breastmilk

My Hungry Little Caterpillar

My Hungry Little Caterpillar

Having the time to blog is now something of a luxury. I’m sitting in bed with my baby beside me, all plump and satiated; having drained the milk of both boobies [and puked the excess down my cleavage and new nursing bra!] THREE WEEKS; how is my baby boy THREE weeks old. Time has taken on a whole new concept in the past weeks; as have day and night … life is simply and wonderfully revolved totally around Little Lord Freddie.

The week hasn’t been without its challenges; last Saturday I found myself at the out of hours GP with mastitis after a sleepless and painful night. Ouch. Serious ouch. It’s also quite hard taking a 2 week old baby to the out of hours unit alone …. whilst they give you a specific appointment, such as 10.47am [really? 10.47?], you still have to wait 2hours to be seen, during which you need to feed baby several times through agonising pain … and realise you need to change a pooey bottom but don’t want to lose your place in the queue. Fred and I were both most relieved when the prescription was printed and we could go home chomping on the antibbiotics. I very nearly joined him in the wailing. Aside from a sniffly nose, I’m feeling much better and the boobies aren’t sore anymore [thank goodness!] Incidentally I did find it funny that the doctor asked if there was any chance I could be preggers … erm, NO.

Breastfeeding is amazing … despite the mastitis … I find it the most nurturing thing you can do for your baby. I feel like the 9months he was in my tummy, I sustained him through my food and the placenta … and now he’s here, I can carry on nurturing him. The unbilical cord may have been cut, but Momma’s milk can feed him. And feed him well, as he weighed in at 9Ib this week! I can definitely tell he’s put on weight …. getting heavier to carry up the stairs in his car seat!

As for the lady bits, I actually braved taking a mirror to the brutalised bits, and [continued several hours later; baby and momma now fed and changed and ready to face the day!] – anyway, ladybits – not as mashed as I thought. Looking quite normal. The human body really IS amazing.

Still, in the small hours when I look at Freddie beside me; I wonder how on earth I created anything so perfect … and ow wonderful the world is with him in it. He’s mine, he’s really my baby boy …..

Momma’s baby boy

Momma and Freddie, 12 days old

Momma and Freddie, 12 days old

These past two weeks have been the most enriching, exhausting, emotional, and quite frankly mind blowing of my entire life. It really is two whole weeks since I caught my baby boy in the birthing pool, and the world greeted my Freddie. There is no blog long enough to capture all the moments; except to say that life has changed irrevocably for the better with my little Fredders. He changes every day, and sometimes in the quiet darkness of night feeds, I wonder how I ever produced someone so perfect. I also wonder if I’ll ever sleep for more than 2hours in a row ever again …

I think when you’re pregnant with your first baby, you struggle to see beyond the birth. As your belly grows and the kicks get stronger, you realise the blossoming baby has to emerge from one’s vagina. I hadn’t given much consideration to the practicalities of day to day life with a newborn [after all, death by childbirth was always a possibility!]. I adore it. Yes, I’m tired, and there are times when I’d love a cup of tea or some lunch; but there is nothing more fulfilling than nurturing the little one who grew in your womb.

There was such a lot to do when pregnant; move house, overhaul my house-share/student/Bridget Jones lifestyle … whilst working and becoming enormous. I’m glad I didn’t read too much … glad I wasn’t aware that I would be gushing breastmilk everywhere at regular intervals …. I’m also glad that I didn’t know the overwhelming LOVE I would feel for this little boy, because it is such a wonderful surprise to feel this way. I feel a huge surge of protection towards him; this feeling that if anyone ever hurts him, ever upsets him, I’ll want to kill them [harsh, perhaps]

I’m loving breastfeeding, despite the leakages. It’s the most natural thing a mother can do for their baby, and I wouldn’t swap it for the world. Freddie has a sucking action similar to a Dyson, and after weighing 7Ib 9oz at birth, and losing a few ounces in the first days …. he now weighs 8Ib 8oz, so he’s obviously guzzling the boob-juice. That would explain my hourly feeds last night! Actually, talking of milk, whilst I craved milk and steak when pregnant, I now can’t face the thought of either!!! BUT, thanks to breastfeeding, I’m now back in pre-preggers jeans!

I wouldn’t have chosen to be a single mother; but the love I have for Fredders exceeds anything I previously imagined. I keep using the word love – but there is no other word. I’m sitting here in my lounge, Freddie asleep in his moses basket. This morning we went to a baby group, and then the midwife came to discharge us … and then I put him in his sling for the first time and went for a walk around the park. My cousin and I walked around the park so many times when I was in early labour … it was quite nostalgic doing the same walk with my baby. Indeed, the same walk where I fell on my backside in the ice at 39 weeks preggers. They say sleep when the baby sleeps, but I wanted to blog … and as I remind myself during night feeds; I will never get these precious moments again. There will be time for sleep later … and here I sit, in a room filled with baby cards and gifts …. Freddie and I both feel loved, and my little boy will never doubt his Momma’s love for him …

Welcome to the world, Freddie!

Momma and her boy

Momma and her boy

This photo says, He’s Mine, my beautiful baby boy …my little Freddie, who arrived on Thursday 5th March 2015 at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, weighing 7Ib 9oz. I’m sitting here in bed [our first night at home last night] watching him sleep beside me in his moses basket after a long feed. I’m sipping the luxury of a cup of tea … and reminding myself to cherish every single moment. Needless to say it has been the most miraculous week of my life. It was the early hours of Monday morning when my “show” arrived, and for the next few days [including a fall onto black ice on my backside whilst trying to be healthy and energetic!] I was awaiting regular and stronger contractions. My amazing cousin Sarah, my birthing partner, came to stay late on Monday night, and didn’t leave my side until Freddie was born. We walked a lot, we tried to get to grips with the contraction application on the iPhone …. and ultimately on Wednesday afternoon we went to the hospital to be assessed. I am quite a chatty person, and the midwife who examined me on the triage ward seemed a little unconvinced that anything was happening as I appeared too “talkative”. I should obviously have been more melodramatic, but I find when I’m REALLY in pain I manage to give the impression that I’m okay.

[Contd several hours later; laundry done, baby fed, changed, I jumped in and out of the shower in approximately 50secons, got dressed myself, made bed, hugged baby, fed baby again, cleaned kitchen etc.]

11025812_1726138594279238_2382322602360524618_nAnyway, so where was I? Childbirth. Previous posts alluded to my anxieties about being able to keep calm and “do it”. I was absolutely blown away by how your body can take over, and you become Neanderthal earth mother who goes very into herself and manages to breathe, and grunt, and poo in the birthing pool. By 10pm on Wednesday I was practically delighted when a rather lovely midwife shoved a lot fingers up my chuff, swept them around and proceeded to break my waters in the process. Next stop was the birthing pool!

I had always dreamt of a totally natural no pain relief [not even gas and air] delivery – and by jove I actually did it. I have always loved water, and just getting into the pool was a huge relief. The things I didn’t expect about contractions for me, was that whilst they began in my lower abdomen, they centered in my backside and radiated down my thighs. This meant that lying/sitting down was unbearable, even the birthing ball was hard work. As soon as I got in the pool, I didn’t have that problem [after hours stood up jigging around and leaning over a bed]. The waves of contractions got rather furious as expected, but in those early hours of the morning it really was quite beautiful – there was a dim light in the room, and I had these supportive women [a midwife, a student, and my birthing partner] knelt around the pool as the waves of pain rose and fell ….

15890_1725298581029906_2026800609728213485_nWhen it came to pushing, I don’t think the English language has the words to adequately describe it. What I will say, is that for me, with the agonising crowning, and the subsequent almost involuntary push; the world, my life, everything I had known until that point – changed forever. Freddie shot into the water of the pool [only for me to pick him up upside down and wrap the cord around him!!] and a love was born which I didn’t previously know existed.

[Another break for more boob and a change!]

There can be no greater love; even if my ladyparts may never be the same again. Perineum anyone?