Ready for round two!

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We had a pretty short conversation about more children once we’d found out we were pregnant with Toby. Since he was a wonderful accident, we decided we’d quite like to plan the next one and get them all in with a relatively close age gap. We agreed to start trying again when Toby was around 6 months old. However, if you’ve read some of my other posts you’d probably know that this didn’t go to plan following the birth.

I made the decision that I would like to be “back to normal” before we started trying for another baby. But, since the NHS are so bloody slow, it got to a month or two before Toby’s 1st birthday and we decided to give it a go anyway. If it happens then it happens. If it doesn’t, then I get some more time to get back to me. We hadn’t been using contraception anyway, purely because my body didn’t take to it very well after giving birth.

We got our big fat positive on 25th September! You know when you just know you’re pregnant? I had only missed my period by a few hours. And there it was, in a matter of seconds and clear as day..

PREGNANT. 2-3 WEEKS.

I’ve since had my booking in appointment with the midwife and two scans. We wanted the nuchal translucency test but as the baby was doing a headstand, and wouldn’t move from that very comfortable position, the sonographer couldn’t get the measurements and we had to go back a week later; not that I’m complaining because we got to see our wriggler on the screen again. I was also convinced I was having twins, which we now know I’m not. It started as a hunch and came on very suddenly, then I kept going over things that seemed as though they were “signs”. I was a little bit relieved that we wouldn’t have three children under the age of 2, but a little disappointed that my instincts were completely wrong.

Say hello to baby number two, due at the end of May! We’ll be finding out in the New Year whether we’re having a little brother or sister for Toby.

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J

My blogging break

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Not literally. Just from blogging; a nice 6 months.

I don’t really have a reason other than I suppose I felt like I didn’t have much to write about anymore. It was really beginning to stress me out and that’s not what I wanted. I didn’t want to write content just for the sake of it and not really have any sort of passion behind it.

I was aware I would probably lose my, rather intimate, audience. Yes, I could’ve asked people to do guest posts for a month, maybe two, but then my blog may have been taken over by them and lost its way. And it turned into 6 months anyway. However, that’s not to say guest posts aren’t great. They’re a brilliant way to get other peoples’ perspectives, build a community and give yourself a bit of R&R.

I guess I’ve had a good chance to gather my thoughts and reflect on where I want my blog to go, and what I would like to get out of it too. Though I wasn’t blogging for that long before I took my unscheduled break, I really felt like I needed to catch my breath and gather some inspiration.

Lots has happened in 6 months. We had our first family holiday to Morocco, more hospital appointments and disappointments and I’m pregnant again! Of course we’ve had some lovely days out too.

I’ll try not to drop off the face of the Earth again so soon and so suddenly. Now.. what shall I post about first?

Have you ever taken a break from blogging, intentional or not?

J

Fill ‘n’ Squeeze -Review-

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They say it’s “baby food made squeezee”, so I decided to give it a go.

Toby has always loved the pouches of food that he’s had, except I’d never actually bought him any. I’d always used vouchers, or had lots of free samples, so when it actually came to buying them, I realised just how expensive pouches could be. I was actually really disappointed, because the ingredients really don’t cost that much to buy, so really you’re just paying someone else to put it in a pouch for you. Pretty lazy really.

I’d been toying around with the idea of buying ‘Fill ‘n’ Squeeze’ ever since I saw their demonstration at The Baby Show in May 2012, when I was 6 months pregnant. We didn’t buy one there and then, purely because we didn’t know if we’d ever actually use it and we didn’t want it to sit there and be forgotten about. However, I made the decision to buy one a few weeks ago and start using it. I figured they’d be handy to use now Toby was having regular desserts and is starting to learn to feed himself, so we ordered the starter pack.

You can basically make everything from purees to yoghurts for the babies, and use them for smoothies for the big kids. This is a genuinely genius product with no age limit attached. You could even use one yourself if you really wanted to.

I first used it to make apple and mango puree, and I have to say I made the mistake of not cooking the apple enough and ended up with apple and mango all over my worktop, my floor and my top! I can not stress enough that you need to cook until you can squish it with the masher. Alternatively, I’ve found that for chunkier foods (such as our leftover spaghetti bolognese) we pop it in the food processor and then pop it in the container for squeezing in the pouches.

The pouches themselves are very robust and appear to be very durable, although only time will tell. I find that 5 is quite enough for us at the moment, but you are able to order more separately from the product. These are easily cleaned (yes, they’re reusable) with some washing up liquid and some water (you may even be able to get a tiny bottle brush in there), although one thing I noticed is that sometimes it takes a bit of effort to clean around the spout if the food is mushed in there well enough; I just pulled a couple of bits out with a sharp knife. They’re just the right size and have measurements on the side if you want to keep track of just how much your baby is eating.

There's only 3 pouches here (2 are in the freezer).
There’s only 3 pouches here (2 are in the freezer).

When actually filling the pouches, you need to apply just the right amount of pressure to the food going in, if not, once you remove the pouch to attach the next one or put the stopper in, it just comes spewing out and you end up having to tilt it. It’s one of these products that you get better at using, the more familiar you become with it. Either that, or I am just completely useless when it comes to these things!

The pouches can be stored in the fridge or the freezer, heated up in warm water (if you wish to serve the food warm), and babies can easily grab hold of them. Once they work out what happens when they squeeze, they’ll be feeding themselves in no time. I also found it was really good when differentiating between milk feeds and food feeds, because they’re coming from a different spout/teat. It’s also really good for squeezing food onto a spoon if you don’t want the baby getting too messy, or you’re out and about.

This is one of my mummy must haves – baby food made squeezee (and convenient) indeed!

J

I’ve returned to work!

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Nine months of maternity leave bliss has ended and it was my first week back at work. I can’t even begin to tell you just how sad I am; it means my little boy is growing up – way too fast!

Everyone tells you to enjoy them while they’re so little and to cherish every second you get with them while they’re still babies, but people will never be able to tell you enough until you’ve been through it yourself and realise just how quick time goes.

Friday was the killer for me, only because Toby wasn’t awake before I left and I didn’t get to give him a full on cuddle or kiss. All I could do was give him a quiet wave goodbye at his bedroom door while he was still asleep. I was literally wishing all the time away so I could get home.

However, there are certain things I do enjoy about being back at work. The first obviously being that I will no longer be on maternity pay (hip hip hooray!) so it means more pennies in the bank, which will help with the wedding savings, and first birthday presents for T (oh my god, will he really be 1 already?).

Secondly, who misses adult conversation? Someone who doesn’t just say ‘da da da’ back at you, and people who don’t want to talk about bottles and bum changes. It’s nice to have a bit of normality back and remember you had a life before you had your baby.

Thirdly, a bit of structure never hurt anybody. I enjoy knowing what I’m going to be doing for the time I’m at work. I’ll be doing ABC between X hours and DEF between Y hours – simple yet effective. It further encourages me to make the most out of the time I’m not at work, and plan things to do with Toby when I’m at home.

You don’t have to think about anything else except yourself and your workload. Being back at work isn’t all doom and gloom. Yes, you do have to be more organised about when you’re going to do that load of washing, and who’s going to be cooking that night. But, and this is a HUGE but, you really learn to appreciate the time you have at home with your children. You forget what it’s like to be away from them for extended periods of time, and I know when I’m not around my son I literally feel like I’ve lost a limb.

But we must all remember the best, and most rewarding, job you could ever do is be a mummy!

How did you feel when you went back to work?

J

Finally.. some answers!

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It’s only taken 8 months to get them, but finally I have some of the answers I’ve been waiting for.

If you’ve read my other post, “What they don’t tell you“, you’ll see a few of the things I’ve been experiencing since giving birth, and this is a little extension of something else I’ve had problems with. I’ve been passed pillar to post, and back again, when it comes to doctors, but I finally received a referral to see a Physiologist in April.

In my last post, I told you about struggling to hold your wind, and the importance of pelvic floor exercises. However, following all my tests and the preliminary results, nothing I had been doing would have been able to help with this at all. There are mainly 3 things that have gone wrong (all caused by childbirth) and again, I think it’s important for those who are expecting to know that things can go wrong.

I had 4 tests done to determine the working order of my back passage since I’ve had several issues with going to the toilet, or not as it happens. The first thing is that I have something called a small ‘rectocele’. This is where the the front wall of your rectum effectively bulges into the back wall of the vagina. It forms a pouch, so when you try going to the toilet, your poo gets stuck. Although she told me mine is only small, I’m having lots of problems with this at the moment, so hopefully there will be a ‘next step’.

Secondly, I have weakening of my inner sphincter muscles, also not helped by the third and final problem of irreparable nerve damage. If I try to stop myself from passing wind, I have to shift position as the nerves don’t respond correctly and don’t ‘pull up’ in the right place.

This isn’t a long post, but I still want to make women aware that things like this aren’t right, even if it seems like something very normal after childbirth.

What problems did you suffer with, or do you still suffer with?

My follow up appointment has been made for mid-July, the NHS are so slow!

What they don’t tell you

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This post might end up having ”too much information” for some of you, but I’m going to be brutally honest. When I was pregnant I was told of all the different things I could expect to happen to my body and yes, some of those things did happen, but there were other things which happened which I had no forewarning or idea of whatsoever. So these are my ”what they didn’t tell me’s”.

I had an assisted birth with forceps which, in itself, can bring on more problems than you’d expect. Unfortunately for me, 7 months on, I’m still not sorted and am currently waiting for an appointment to come round! Anyway, I digress as that’s a whole different blog post.

The first thing I had to do was learn to inject myself with ‘Clexane’, an anti-blood clot drug, for 7 days post birth. I think this is because I’d had an epidural and the anaesthetic had taken ages to wear off. I know some women have to inject this for a longer time than me, throughout their pregnancy even, but nonetheless, something I didn’t expect I’d be doing.

The second, and probably most obvious, was the post birth bleeding (Lochia). Some people don’t bleed for very long, others for ages. I bled for about 3 weeks. I found this so hard since I cannot bear sanitary towels of any description, and since you’re not allowed to use tampons, I had to put up with them. They made me feel so unhygienic, were uncomfortable and just generally disgusting. It also doesn’t help that I was paranoid you could hear it ‘rustling’ around. Yuck.

Incontinence is a new experience for me. I only really suffer lightly with it now, mainly when I’m playing sports or in the gym. But the first few weeks home I genuinely couldn’t hold my bladder for very long, if at all. Not only are your baby’s nappies wet, but you might be changing your underwear a lot too. And don’t even mention going for a poo – when I had the urge, I really had the urge and had to go, there and then! Don’t even think about trying to hold your wind in. All the health professionals tell you to do your pelvic floor, and you really ought to make the effort. I only did it when I remembered, and I even had reminders on my phone using a “Kegel” app.

Big milky boobies! Yes, they’re coming with a vengeance whether you choose to breastfeed or not. I did breastfeed and went from a ‘B cup’ to an ‘E cup’. Super leaky, I’d suggest putting down a maternity pad between your sheet and mattress, otherwise your milk will stain it if you leak through.

I have never lost so much hair in my life. I could literally pull out a whole handful of hair at least twice a day. You don’t lose as much hair when you’re pregnant, and it’s all glossy and shiny and lovely, so when you’ve given birth you lose everything you would’ve done, plus more! My poor hoover must have collected a good few wigs. It gets absolutely everywhere too. The only problem I’ve got now is lots of frizzy baby hair where it’s all growing back.

My episiotomy was absolutely horrendous. Not only did I have the general pain you’d get with a cut down there, unbeknownst to me, they had stitched me up wrong, although it took forever for it to actually get sorted. Sitz baths with some liquid Savlon helped as much as they could, and I found that changing sanitary towels and underwear regularly helped lots too. I never dried it with a towel after a bath/shower, I’d either air dry it with my legs open on the bed (men, this is NOT an invitation for sex, or for you to have a good look at the damage) or used a hairdryer – on a low setting please ladies!

I’m convinced I’ve had a slight prolapse, but the nurses and doctors don’t seem to think I have. It’s not protruding out or anything, but it’s just kind of there. I’m also 99% sure this is adding to the other problems I’ve got “down there” for which I’m due to attend an appointment. I just know that it’s not what was normal for me (not that I expect miracles and to have no lasting effects) and surely you know your own body, right?

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what kind of things you can expect, but these are what I have experienced since having Toby.

What did you experience that you wish you’d know about before? Is it ongoing or resolved?

J

‘Liebster Award’ nomination

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The Liebster Award

I am SO excited to have been nominated to receive the ‘Liebster Award’ from a lovely blogger called Mollie. You can find her blog here! Please have a little read, follow her and leave her a little comment or two. For those of you who don’t know it’s usually given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers as a ”welcome to blogging”.

The rules for this award are as follows

*You must give us 11 facts about yourself*
*The person who nominated you should give you 11 questions to answer*
*Nominate a further 11 bloggers and give them some questions*
*Include the Liebster Award logo*

My 11 facts

I only started blogging late last year
I became a mummy in August 2013
I’m on Twitter most days, you can follow me here
I have my own Facebook page too and you can like me here
I have a younger sister and two younger brothers
I absolutely can’t stand coffee
I absolutely love Harry Potter
I was born and raised in Norfolk, UK (yes, the farmers’ county)
I am shockingly hopeless when it comes to fashion and make up
I would much rather buy baby things, than clothes for myself
I live for romantic moments (but don’t tell my other half..)

Here are the answers to my 11 questions

*What are your favourite blogs and blog posts to read?*
My favourite blogs, and posts to read, are those which focus on parenting, babies and pregnancy. As a first time mum, it’s incredible what advice and tips you can pick up from those who have already been there and aren’t necessarily professionals. Believe it or not, I also love reading fashion and beauty blogs, purely because I am ridiculously hopeless at both! I don’t have time to be a fashionable, dolled up mummy so I just like to pore over them!

*What are the best things that have happened in your life so far?*
Finding true love and giving birth to our amazing son.

*What do you do to stay motivated and organised when it comes to blogging?*
This is actually one of the things I really struggle with. Sometimes I’m so tired I just want to sit down and not have to think about anything, but then I remember that maybe people really enjoy what I read, and I enjoy writing my thoughts down.

*What are your favourite nail polishes?*
I don’t get time to do my nails very often but if I do, I try out lots of different colours. I’m not into bright, neon ones so tend to stick with pastel or nudes. Sometimes, if I’m feeling adventurous, I might put a bit of glitter over the top. I tend to buy from Barry M. I love their Gelly Hi-Shine polishes.

*What are your top 3 shops and why?*
Since I hardly shop for myself anymore, I’d much rather spend money on Toby or on getting the house done, this is a little difficult. However, if I had to choose for myself I’d firstly choose Primark. Relatively good quality, depending on what you buy, but also cheap and cheerful! Secondly, I’d have to say ASOS. Not exactly a high street shop I know, but it’s so much easier to shop online with a baby, plus they have amazing sales and the quality of the clothes is brilliant. Lastly, I’d have to pick H&M. We don’t have one around here so I either have to shop online, or go to Norwich, but they also do lovely baby clothes. Two birds with one stone, right?

*Do you have any app recommendations? If so, what do you use them for and why do you like them?*
If I had to recommend an app, it’d have to be ‘The Wonder Weeks’. A fabulous little app to try and determine when your baby will experience “sunny” or “stormy” periods throughout the various leaps in their development. It gives you an insight in to what you can expect your baby to be doing after these leaps have taken place. At last check it was only £1.49 too!

*I am thinking of getting a new camera for blogging, which compact cameras do you think are the best?*
Wow, I really don’t know! The only camera I really use is on my iPhone – quick and easy to whip out, take the picture, and upload to the computer. The only other thing we use is our video camera!

*What is your favourite drink?*
You can’t beat a good cup of tea can you? There’s not much it can’t fix. If I had to choose a cold drink, it’d be fizzy Vimto!

*What is your favourite event of the year? (Christmas/Birthday/Easter etc..)*
Anyone who knows me, knows I can’t be without Christmas, especially now I have a child. I literally get ridiculous! I love everything about it; family time, presents, excitement, food and drink. What more could you want?

*Do you know any good blog designers? Or if not, how do I create my own professional blog design?*
I genuinely don’t have a clue, I am SO new to blogging that this is a question I’d also like some answers to!

*What can I do to improve my blog?*
I love everything about your blog. The content is fabulous, and I love all the little widgets at the side.

My Liebster nominations go to..

Mummy Probs

All About U

And my questions for you are
When did you start blogging?
Who/what inspired you to start blogging?
What were your pregnancies like?
What’s your worst habit?
What’s your favourite film?
What’s your daily make up routine?
What’s your biggest regret?
What do you think makes your blog different?
How do you think I can improve my blog?
What’s your “go to” quick meal?
Local shops or big chains? Why?

That’s all I can nominate. Literally all of the other blogs I read have an enormous amount of followers and this award wouldn’t be appropriate.
I had a very quick look to find some new blogs, but it really is hard to find them. I guess you really do have to make your mark to get anyway. If you would like to be nominated, please let me know so I can have a little read of your blog!

J