9 months in, 9 months out… First holiday, Sudocrem and faking it!

I am feeling incredibly chuffed right now! We have, successfully, completed two flights without issues! OK, so she slept throughout both flights and they were both less than 2 hours but hey, we did it! This isn’t the only milestone we have hit, a few weeks ago she crawled for the first time and now she is unstoppable. She also has an unbelievable determination to be on her feet! More often than not her crawling goal is to reach something (or someone) to pull herself up on. Well, either that or to chase the poor cats. The fact that she is now mobile has not gone unnoticed by the cats! They are now finding that up high is the best place to be and not backing themselves into a box!

As well as becoming more mobile, it would appear we are becoming more and more inquisitive and I think I may have to send a suggestion to the makers of Sudocrem! The lid is definitely NOT baby-proof! Fortunately, I spotted the issue before any major disaster could take place but I now make sure the cream is up high! It’s great stuff for nappy rash but the idea of having to clean it off carpets and clothes fills me with dread!

Somebody is also becoming more and more vocal as she gets older and louder! Something my dad and stepmum experienced during our week away! She has also learnt to fake noises that get me to come and check on her, for example a noise that sounds like she’s choking! How do I know it’s intentional? The smile she gives me when I look at her!!! Madam!

But, she’s my madam and I am so grateful every day to have her in my life! Every pinch, bite and kick is worth it. Every 5 o’clock wakeup. The people who helped me get to this point will never know how grateful I am because there are no words to describe it. Motherhood is everything I dreamed of and so much more.

I started this blog to help others but I feel like it’s just the ramblings of a hormonal emotional woman. Because of that, I am asking people to send me questions so that I can do a Q&A. You can ask anything about becoming a solo my by choice or fertility treatment. So, what do you want to know?

Stay safe and ciao for now! 👋

8 months today… 8 months going on 18!

Every morning I say to myself, “When Lily has a nap today, I will sit and write my blog.” Then I finally get her to have a sleep and I realise that is my only opportunity to get stuff done… or I fall asleep myself! Or, if I’m completely honest, I have so much going around in my head, I forget!

Baby brain is real. I promise you. It’s been confirmed by scientists, and they say it can go on for up to 2 years after birth. My problem is, I was pretty forgetful before pregnancy so now I am a nightmare! I have to put arrangements and appointments in my phone the moment I make them, or the chances are, I won’t turn up! And it’s not just putting them.in my phone, I need to set alarms 1 week, 1 day and 1 hour before each event!

Anyway, that’s my excuse for forgetting to write in this blog… baby brain!

The thing is, I started this becuase I wanted people to know what it is like to be a solo mum. Or at least my experience. It’s never going to be the same for everyone but I wanted when I started all this, I felt like I was going in blind. And here is the reality, now I am a mum, she comes first. Everything gets put on the backburner, even when she’s asleep. There are maps where I will just sit and watch her sleep. Mainly, I think, because I still can’t believe she is actually mine. I’ve spent so much of my life handing children back to their parents but I don’t have to do that now.

I am currently sat in a retail outlet having a drink whilst she is asleep and I am waiting for my cat to have dental work (I could write a whole other blog on my little feline friend!), I am looking around at the different families around me, wondering if they feel as truly lucky as I am, to have their children. So much so, I am already desperate to add to my family!

Don’t panic! I’m not going there just yet. Partly, because we are going through the joy of teething right now and I’m not sure I could handle another but also becuase I really want to get my career back on track and feel more stable for number 2. I don’t want to wait too long but the reality is it would most likely break me financially. Before I started fertility treatment, I sat and made a budget, I allowed for things to be more expensive but I never imagined that things like my energy bills would increase by 300%! I mean, who would! But here we are, cost of living crisis and it’s definitely going to make a difference to my plans.

Right now I am applying for jobs, I need stability for us and if I can somehow find a way to save it will make all the difference. The problem is, I don’t want Lily to miss out. I want to take her places and buy her things, I want her to have swimming lessons. But it would appear the financial gods feel that everyone should be living on a shoe string. So I compromise. Lily will have swimming lessons, bit we won’t go to the singing and sensory groups. Second hand apps have been a revelation! And thank goodness for pet insurance!

Of course, it’s not just finances that are a cause if concern! As I said on today’s title, Lily is 8 months today, that means we have had 2 months of weaning! I was really looking forward to introducing her to the works of food and all the different flavours and textures.

Well, I started writing this 3 days ago then Lily woke up and it has taken me until now to pick it up again!

Back to the joy of weaning. I can honestly say it has been the most stressful part of parenthood so far! I can handle to gagging and retching what has been hard is that she has had allergic reactions but we don’t know what to! Things she had no problems with before seem to cause a reaction then next time can be fine! Fortunately it hasn’t been a full on anaphylaxis but we are talking hives all over her body. Trying to get to see a doctor has been a nightmare. I have had many phone conversations but no one has actually physically seen her during one of these reactions. I have driven down to A& E but by the time I found a parking space (no where near the hospital) the antihistamine had finally kicked in. I was asked to keep a food diary, which I have, and since then, no reaction!! Having said that, I haven’t given her the foods I suspected have given her a reaction.

She has eczema which can flare up with certain foods but that would cause the hives. Poor thing is also teething which she is really not loving and my fingers seem to be the teething toy of choice! We have plenty of other options but nope my fingers are the go to! I’m not going to lie though, it was an exciting moment when O felt that first tooth poking through and as we are doing baby led weaning I feel like it will open up a list of new foods for her to, literally, sink her teeth into!

Ok, we are off to get ready for our first swimming lesson, another exciting first! Hopefully I will be back with another blog a lot sooner!!!

Ciao for now and stay safe!

Times change

I can’t believe a year ago I was giving myself injections waiting to find out when my egg collection would be, if I would even get any eggs! And now, I am sat in a coffee shop with my 13 week old daughter… I have a daughter!!! I still have to pinch myself! Admittedly I was hoping said daughter was going to be asleep but instead she is laughing at me making funny faces. I am sat in a public place making funny faces with people looking and I don’t care! OK, I’m writing this at the same time but I am a mum now and mums multi-task!

I’m going to say it… I love being a mum!!! It is everything I thought it would be and so much more. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s easy! Heck no! But it was worth every injection, every palpitation, every contraction, in fact every pain and every stitch. I would do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, I’m already thinking about it! Don’t panic! I am not intending on phoning the clinic for round two just yet, but having just hit the big 4 0, I’m contemplating the options!

Of course I have to face the big hurdle of going back to work! Again, not yet. The idea of leaving that little smiley face is unbearable but I do miss the classroom. I’m already looking at jobs coming up but I can’t bring myself to apply for them as they all start in January and there is no way I can leave her so soon. I feel so lucky to live in a country that appreciates the time a new parent needs with their child. For all the governments faults, our maternity leave is still pretty good!

So what is my life like as a solo mum? Well, I spend more time in coffee shops than I thought I would. I spend a lot of time with a baby attached to my boobs and I have indigestion from trying to eat a meal before the screaming starts… I swear, the moment I think about eating, no matter what she’s doing she will want my attention! But, I don’t mind. I’m learning the art of eating one handed… oh and only eating food that needs to be cut with a knife when I’m with other people! I’ve been living off sandwiches, toast and salad. I’ll admit more of the bread based than the veg based options so far!!

I feel tired, all the time! No matter how much sleep I get, I wake up tired. I had a joyous night of 10 hours sleep, still felt tired the next day! (By the way, I am not ignoring her, she has gone to sleep!) I contemplate copious amounts of coffee but I limit myself to two caffeinated cups a day, then I try and fool myself with decaf! It doesn’t work.

Showering is another thing I try and do at breakneck speed… almost literally the other day when I slipped! Reflexes seem to be pretty good at the moment and I managed to hold on to the wall. Not sure Lil has mastered the art of the 999 call yet, nor the cats! The interesting thing is Lily’s reaction after I shower. She screams! It’s like she objects to me being clean! I have tried using the same stuff that I use on her but she still screams. Sorry kid, but mummy is not sacrificing her personal hygiene so I smell right… well not anymore anyway. That was OK in the first few weeks but not now I’m back out in public!

One thing I do love though, I only need ro wash my hair once or twice a week. This is alien to me as I have always had to wash my hair every other day or it looks like I’ve taken a shower at the petrol station. Now, I can freshen up with some dry shampoo and all is well. Not so keen on the clumps that are coming out though. Every silver lining has a cloud!

I have spent a lot of time watching TV! Whenever I would sit to breastfeed, I would put the TV on. I still used to the time to connect with Lil, but as soon as she falls asleep, and that is pretty quick, I need something to occupy me. So I got through the whole of The Big Bang Theory, started Downton Abbey and Call The Midwife from the begining, rediscovered NCIS and found a new series on Netflix with Tia from Sister Sister. But I decided I should use the time a bit more wisely and downloaded Duolingo and am trying to brush up on my French and learn some Spanish! I’ll let you know how it goes! I’m on day 10 so far!

Now that Lily is sleeping less and needing more stimulation, I am looking for things to do with her. I just wish things didn’t cost money! I’ve been asked what I want for Christmas and I am thinking money for groups and classes. My direct debits for my fuel are seven times more than they were two years ago. And I have barely had the heating on this year. Food costs seem to increase weekly, at least Lily is free at the moment but it won’t be long before she’s on solids and I need to provide more than just toast! Insurance prices have gone up, my pet insurance has doubled. Although, this isn’t a massive shock, considering one if my fur babies has a problem with clotting. Having them as house cats seems to have helped though, no major bleeds lately… touch wood! (Yes, I did touch the wooden table I am sat at!)

I hadn’t intended on writing about money, but I guess it’s on the forefront of most people’s minds these days.

So, no things aren’t easy. But I wouldn’t change them. I have the cutest little girl in my life. How she came from me is beyond me! She really is adorable. I am obviously biased but I have had many strangers stop me and tell me so it must be true! Well, the bundle of cuteness has now woken up so I must return to my motherly duties and start pulling faces again!

Stay safe and ciao for now.

Time flies…

When you’re not sleeping!

I can’t believe it’s been 6 weeks since my little miracle came into my world. I’ve been meaning to write and tell you all what happened but I’ve been somewhat preoccupied! So, here I am, little lady is in her chair currently settled and I can tell you about the last few weeks!

The last time I wrote it was a waiting game. My waters had well and truly gone and I was hoping for things to happen. I started contracting but they were irregular. This went on overnight and throughout the next day. I was examined and was 3cm but, becuase it was over 24 hours since waters breaking, the plan was to take me down to the delivery suite so I could have the hormone drip to get things going.

I had to wait due to delivery suite being busy but I finally made it down there. I was contracting about once or twice every 10 minutes so not enough. After using the TENS machine on the ward, the contractions were now more intense and it wasn’t cutting the mustard. I called my Mum and she came in and I finally gave in and embraced the gas and air. Oh I do love that stuff!

When you are on delivery suite, your observations are taken regularly. Mine showed I had a temperature and my heart rate was up, every for me. These were signs of a possible infection so I given antibiotics and paracetamol. After a while I was examined and I was still only 3-4cm so, after seeing the obstetrician, it was decided we were definitely going for the oxytocin drip. Having been a midwife, I knew that meant the contractions would be a LOT more intense, so I asked for an epidural!

Before the epidural the doctor checked baby’s heartbeat to make sure things were OK and then the anaesthetist came in and the epidural was sited. After half an hour I could no longer feel the contractions. The only problem now was baby wasn’t looking quite so happy. The obstetrician came back in and decided to examine me to see if anything had progressed. I was still only 4 cm and the baby’s heart rate didn’t increase during the examination, which isn’t what you want. If you think about it, if someone started touching you on the top of the head without warning, your heart rate would increase. I knew what this meant, the trace was classed as pathological and baby needed to be born, I looked at my Mum and said, “c-section”. The obstetrician then said she felt it was best to go for c-section! I was obviously gutted but I knew what was best and said, let’s do it. I was what is classed as a category 2 section, urgent but we had time. Fortunately, there was no one else waiting so we were able to go straight to theatre.

Now the problem was, as the epidural had not long been put in, there was a big chance that it wouldn’t work well enough for the section, which would mean a general anaesthetic. The anaesthetist tried to top up the epidural and when he tested to see what I could feel, all seemed good. That was until the operation started. I was told I would feel tugging bit shouldn’t feel pain… I felt pain! The op was stopped and the anaesthetist tried again to top up the epidural but as soon as they restarted, I could feel it. It was stopped again and this time, it was decided to go for a general anaesthetic. It felt like another kick in the teeth but all I could think was how important it was my baby was delivered safely.

Because we were now going for a general anaesthetic, my Mum could no longer stay, so she was taken back to the labour room. Next thing I knew there was a second anaesthetist! For some reason I was feeling incredibly sleepy, I hadn’t had the anaesthetic yet. The last thing I remember is the second anaesthetist telling me to keep my eyes open. The next thing I remember is someone asking if I wanted my glasses and then seeing my Mum and midwife coming into recovery with a cot. Apparently,the first thing I said was,”What have I got?” 🤣 So many people had told me they thought I was having a boy I was genuinely shocked when my Mum told me I had a girl!! She was put into my arms and, after days of questioning my choice of names, I knew I had my Lilian. I have heard about that rush of love when you see your baby for the first time, despite the anaesthetic, I felt it! Here was a tiny human being who was completely dependent on me and I would do anything for her. The midwife asked if I wanted to try feeding. I was worried that the anaesthetic would affect her feeding. It turned out I didn’t need to, she fed for a full 40 minutes. It looked like she was already taking after her mum!

I stayed in hospital for a few days which was ideal becuase it gave us a chance to get to know each other. Having a new baby is a massive learning curve, for both! After the initial epic feed, it was than hit or miss as to how she fed. Plus she wanted to be on me all the time. When you are in hospital, you need to put baby in the cot if you feel like you are going to fall asleep… easier said than done when she won’t sleep in the cot and you are so tired you can’t keep your eyes open!

I genuinely can’t thank everyone at the hospital enough, I was so well looked after. And then I went and stayed with my Dad and stepmum where I was also looked after! I only had to think about Lily and what she needed! Food and drink appeared from nowhere! It was amazing.

Things haven’t been plain sailing though. At the end of the first week I felt shivery and had a temperature. It turned out I had an infection in my section wound. (Warning for anyone with a weak stomach) The infection was really quite nasty, it wasn’t just oozing, it was dripping with ick. Now, when I was a midwife I could deal with anything, turns out not so much when it’s me! I couldn’t even look at it! After a visit from the midwife, I visited my third hospital and was given more antibiotics and advised to put a sanitary towel on the wound both for the ick but also to stop the two sides adhering together. It’s taken a few week but my wound is now finally better!

One of the best things over the last few weeks has been introducing Lily to her family. We had an amazing lunch with one side of the family and then we had a beautiful wedding where, having said I wouldn’t be dancing, we spent most of our night on the dance floor! Admittedly, she slept through most of it! Proof that loud noise doesn’t wake her up when she’s sleeping!

The last six weeks have shot past but at the same time I can’t imagine life without my little bundle of gorgeousness! I have forgotten what it was like to be able to eat food when it was hot; being able to go straight back to sleep when you wake up in the night; having a shower without shouting, “it’s OK, Mummy’s nearly finished”; playing white noise at night in the hope it might help with getting a little extra sleep; and doing washing every day! I wouldn’t change it for anything. I feel like things are finally as they are meant to be. I have the most beautiful, perfect little girl. I am so in love. I am so exhausted but when we are in bed at 3am and I have my baby feeding in my arms with my two fur babies lying next to us, life feels complete.

Well, it has taken me pretty much all day to write this! I’m sure there are probably things I have forgotten to mention. Baby brain is real! For now I am going to try and grab something to eat before she wakes up again!!

As always everyone, stay safe and ciao for now. Xxx

Today is actually the day!

Advance warning, we are now at the business end and therefore there will be details that may be too much for some!!!

I am currently sat on my bed in the hospital having come in for induction! I was very excited to get the phone call this morning to invite me in. I arrived about lunchtime and we came up to the ward where I had a covid test before I could go anywhere. I had already done a lateral flow this morning so was pretty sure it was negative and it was.

Then I was taken to my bed. I love how our hospitals are not made for the heat! 🥵🥵

Knowing that this could take some time I suggested Mum went home instead of hanging around the hot hospital so they left. I then was put on the monitor and with baby looking good I was examined. Still the same and yesterday but ready for induction via the balloon. This is where a tube with two balloons is inserted with one balloon sitting inside the cervix and one just outside. The idea being that it will help the cervix to dilate. Baby seemed to be protesting a bit by trying to headbut the midwife out of the way!

It takes two midwives as it involves lots of passing of bits, so when we were ready the balloon went in. Both balloons were inflated with water and I thought some of that water had escaped as it suddenly felt a bit wet! Just as the midwives were checking it was ok they noticed a nice pool of water, only it was just water, it was my water!!!! During the process my membranes had ruptured and my waters were leaking! Out came the balloon!

I think it is safe to say there was a lot of fluid that came out and had I been stood up it would have been like Niagra Falls!! And boy do those waters keep coming and coming!

So now we are back to sitting and waiting. Baby will be monitored every 6 hours and if no labour by 24 hours then I will be given a hormone drip to get things going!

I am now about to have dinner and hope for the best!

Stay safe and ciao for now!

Today’s the day… or not!

So, today was due to be induction date but due to a busy unit it’s been delayed until tomorrow.. hopefully! I always knew it was a possibility and I’m just making the most of more rest and my fan!

I went for a stretch and sweep on Tuesday. This is where the midwife attempts to put his/her finger inside the cervix and sweep around in order to get the hormones going. And before you ask, very uncomfortable! Unfortunately, my cervix was not playing ball and she was unable to do the sweep. But it did give me a good indication that induction is not going to be a quick process!

Fingers crossed for tomorrow! Stay safe and ciao for now.

It’s happening!!!

I had my 36 week scan and appointment this morning and I am more than happy to report that baby has decided to listen to mummy and is now in the head down position! Wahoo! This means I can now try induction instead of jumping straight into a caesarean section.

I now have my induction booked for 11th August… 2 weeks!!! I can’t decide if I am excited or freaking out! Of course I know that induction can take time and I could be in for days which means I may have to pack a few more bits in my hospital bag!!! I also need to work out feeding my cats!! I don’t want them to feel neglected!

Lots to think about and plan! And that’s assuming I don’t go into labour earlier!! I guess it’s all a waiting game now! 🙈

Stay safe and ciao for now!

36 weeks tomorrow… Well this is getting real!

I’m not sure how 36 weeks has come around so quickly but here we are! And of course now is the time the nesting is kicking in! I’m still getting exhausted easily and still feeling faint every now and again so I have to pace myself… ha!!!! Or get friends and family to take it un turns to come and help! 🤣

At least the heatwave is over. I know, I know, women in other countries have to deal with the heat but it’s not normal for us. We are not designed or equipped to deal with it! I spent 3 days sat in front of a fan drinking litres of water… and we know what drinking water means!!!!

Today I have re-packed my hospital bag for about the 50th time. I’ve also changed bags and I still don’t feel ready or that I have everything I need! I just keep saying to myself, as long as I have clothes for me and baby and toiletries I’ll be fine… right?!?! 🤦‍♀️

Now I’m reaching the end zone, I’m starting to look forward to some post-pregnancy changes. Obviously cuddles with the new love of my life and being able to eat carbs, but also things I never thought would be a thing. One thing I was never told as a midwife, didn’t know it was a thing until recently… excess saliva! Oh my goodness! Seriously, what is that about?! I have never been a night time dribbler, but I now wake up looking like Homer Simpson in a Krispy Kreme! I have taken to keeping a towel next to my bed. I thought maybe there was something wrong with me… I was actually on the verge of going to the GP. But then I saw an article that said, just as with blood volume, your saliva increases in pregnancy. So I thought I would see. I wrote a post on a forum I am on and it turns out it really is a thing! And there were a LOT of women who were relieved I had started the topic! Talk about opening a can of worms! I feel this is something we should be told! So there you go ladies, you might be one of the lucky ones but if you decide to have a baby you might have to deal with epic drool before the teething kicks in!

And speaking if dribbling (I have warned before about TMI so don’t blame me)… turns out, no matter how vigilant you have been with your pelvic floor, when there is a baby pressing on your bladder, nothing is stopping that pee escaping! I can sneeze, I can cough, I can jump up and down and nothing. Baby has a wriggle and there is zilch I can do! Tena lady are my new bffs! I know this is something I need to get used to but I have done pelvic floor exercises regularly, ever since I trained as a midwife, so it just feels so unfair!

So, 36 weeks scan and clinic appointment tomorrow. I will find out if baby has decided to turn the right way or not and what the plan is for induction or c-section. I’m trying lots of positive thinking for induction or even going into labour by myself! But what will be will be.

Stay safe everyone and ciao for now!

No Nat, you cannot come to the hospital!

Just as I thought!

Definitely wasn’t my waters yesterday! So all still going along nicely. I was absolutely exhausted when I got home and had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages. Don’t get me wrong, I still woke up but instead of lying there trying to go back to sleep I just crashed out each time! I’m making the most of that one!

I’m hoping that sleeps will have stored enough energy that I can sort some of the baby’s things out today. I’ve washed pretty much all of the clothes for the first 3 months, packed the ones for the hospital, so I just need to put the rest away in the wardrobe! Nesting time!

Any who, stay safe and ciao for now! 😁