MiniRegz at 20 Weeks

MiniRegz in tinfoil

Taking a break from sifting through design bids while bouncing a grumpy teething baby on my knee. I swear I’m working harder at the moment than I did when I was at work! I’ve recently got involved as the lay person on the team revamping the information sent out to pregnant women and new mums in Wales. Really interesting project, and I’m really excited to be involved but trying to keep MiniRegz entertained while sitting in an office going through a PowerPoint presentation of all the bids might have been asking a bit too much of her! So I’m having to finish off at home.

I got involved in the project through being involved as a co-applicant on a research bid looking at breastfeeding peer support in deprived areas. Which I got involved in through my lovely friend (and service user activist extraordinaire) Bethan. I’m starting training myself next month to help out as a breastfeeding peer supporter which I’m excited about. I’m also part way through an OCN course in Working with Children Under 5, which I signed up for simply because a guy approached me about it when buying my vegetables! It’s been handy when thinking about future childcare arrangements though. And it’s meant I’ve had to leave MiniRegz in the creche next door which I guess has been good practice for next year. I’m starting to look at nurseries this week ready to go back to work next year. Feels far too soon!

So yes, when people ask me what I’ve been up to, and I say that I’ve been busy but that I’m not sure what I’ve been doing, I guess I’m being a bit unfair on myself.

MiniRegz has also been busy. She’s learnt how to roll on her front, but not back yet, causing me to spend half my days rolling her back again after she does her frustrated skydiver thing.

She’s been a pirate

pirate

And a pumpkin (I’m supposed to be Velma in case you’re wondering)

pumpkin baby

She’s chatting away to her teddies (although I think all she’s doing is warning them she’s going to eat them as they then just go straight in her mouth). And playing with new favourite toy, a space blanket I got for a quid.

Weaning next!

(I’ve just noticed how surprised MiniRegz looks in all these photos. I guess the world is a surprising place when you’re a baby).

 

New and Old

Last weekend we tried out some of the new and old attractions around here. Burrito has finally landed in Cardiff! Ever since Bar Burrito in Manchester was our pre-gig eatery of choice, and trips to Boojum in Belfast and Illegal Jacks in Edinburgh, I’ve been wondering when we’d get one here. The possibility of setting one up was a regular topic of conversation. Fortunately/unfortunately we no longer have to. Mission Burrito opened on Saturday so we popped along. It was good, and I’m glad Cardiff has finally entered the burrito ago. But I felt there was something missing in the vegetarian burrito (yes, meat, haha. Not that, silly). It almost tasted too healthy. At Illegal Jacks I had a veggie haggis burrito – which might not really suit Cardiff but something different might be nice. Anyway, this is just an excuse to talk about burritos (mmm, burritos), and to post this photo of MiniRegz gazing longingly at some nachos.

MiniRegz at Mission Burrito

On Sunday we visited the National History Museum at St Fagans, an old favourite. Goodness knows how many times I’ve been there now, I even did my school work experience there. It was such a gorgeous autumnal day. We’re so lucky to have such a lovely (and free!) place nearby.

It was also a good opportunity to try out our new baby carrier, the Moby Go. We’ve been using a Moby stretchy wrap which has been great, but the little pudding has started to get a bit fussy in it. As you can see, Andy did the carrying on this occasion and he said it was really comfy, and little MiniRegz slept for most of the way round, so she obviously likes it. You can’t do back carries in it, so it won’t last us as long as some other carriers, but for £30 in TKMaxx, you can’t go wrong really. I’d recommend it if anyone’s looking for a decent and reasonably priced baby carrier.

st fagans

Happy International Babywearing Week! (Weird term, makes the baby sound like a pair of shoes, but a handy thing – not sure how I’d have got anything done without the Moby in those early weeks).

MiniRegz at 16 weeks

As I write this I can hear little MiniRegz screaming from upstairs as her daddy tries to sing her to sleep. Unfortunately our baby seems to think sleep is for the weak, and there are far more interesting things she could be doing.

MiniRegz

But, if I’d wanted peaceful nights of sleep, then I wouldn’t have chosen to have a baby. The fact that many of them don’t sleep well is not unknown. I love being a mother. It’s cracked me open and changed my life and my outlook in so many ways. However, there are aspects I find puzzling. Like this total obsession with how babies sleep. Now, I love sleep. I used to be the queen of naps. Working night shifts killed me. But really, if my baby wakes up in the night, she has her reasons. I didn’t bring her into the world to wish her away 50% of the time.

Of course eight hours of unbroken sleep sounds amazing right now, and part of me may be jealous of the smug mummies at Baby Massage class who took every chance they could to declare loudly exactly how many hours their ‘clever’ babies had slept the previous night. But at 3:30am, when it feels like it could just be me and her awake in the world, and I’m nursing her back to sleep and knowing I’m giving her the comfort she needs, or when she wakes up far too early and greets me with a gummy chuckle – those moments are precious.

I think part of the problem is how much pressure we feel under as mothers, from society and ourselves, to accomplish so much on top of the all-encompassing task of raising our children. As well as the myriad of baby classes we could be carting our little ones around to (and spending money on), we ‘should’ be keeping a perfect house, losing the baby weight, making ourselves presentable every day and jumping back into our old life and routine. And isn’t that what makes the elusive sleep so important? If we felt able to just go with the flow of focusing on mothering, and were supported by society to do that, we probably wouldn’t be so obsessed with the sleep we’re not getting!

Alas, the baby sleep industry is a lucrative one (check out these ‘15 great ways to help your baby sleep safe and sound’ – your baby will sleep as long as you have enough money to chuck at the problem), so I don’t think managing expectations is an approach that will be promoted too much any time soon.

‘Does she sleep through?’ is a question that’s usually preceded by ‘Is she good?’. And I know I must have asked these questions in the past, and probably will in the future, as really there’s only so much to say about a baby you don’t know. But ‘Is she good?’ really is a daft question. Good at what? The high jump? Quadratic equations? Or do you mean is she compliant and fits conveniently into my life without requiring too many changes from me?

Yes, she is good – at being a baby, at letting me know when her needs aren’t being met, at ensuring her own survival. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t cry, it doesn’t mean she STTN – sleeps through the night – a concept deemed so important that it has its own acronym on the forums I frequent during the wee hours with my free hand. (What did breastfeeding mums do before smart phones and Kindles? I’ve tried reading a hardback but was scared of dropping it on the poor baby’s head!)

And gosh, don’t think this means I don’t think sleep deprivation is a bitch, and ask me in a few more months (or even at 5:30am tomorrow morning) and I may not sound as laid back about it! Just some random thoughts that have been swirling around my tired brain in the small hours.

MiniRegz at 8 weeks

MiniRegz

Looking through my photos I can’t believe how much she’s changed in 2 months! In some ways those two months have gone really quickly, in other ways it feels like she’s been around forever.

She’s had a pretty busy schedule, with baby yoga, rhyme time at the library, sling meets, picnics, a hen do and a wedding, and many coffee shop dates. I have become one of those mums who causes traffic jams with their pushchairs in the coffee shops of Roath while discussing poo with NCT friends. Such a cliche.

The last couple of weeks she’s started smiling, and not just when she’s windy, and discovered her fist, her tasty tasty fist.

MiniRegz

 

 

MiniRegz at 4 Weeks

Arianwen

You like:

  • Feeding
  • Staring at the right side of the inside of your carrycot
  • Early mornings
  • Boards of Canada
  • Sleeping on daddy

Arianwen

You don’t like

  • Sleeping anywhere else
  • Having a wash
  • Having clothes take off
  • Having clothes put on
  • Having a poo
  • Getting your nappy changed

Arianwen

You can be a pesky little chickpea sometimes but we love you.

Photos by the ever brilliant Simon Ayre.

MiniReegz’s arrival

Aside

So it wasn’t the natural, calm, private home birth I would have chosen, but our little MiniRegz arrived safe and well and in the end that’s what matters.

The due date sailed by and although I knew the date was pretty arbitrary really, I couldn’t help feeling impatient. I had an appointment with the obstetrician on the Thursday, three days after the due date, where they told me there wasn’t much sign of anything happening. They booked me in for an induction a week later.

So that weekend was spent downing raspberry leaf tea, eating as much pineapple and curry as I could, walking and getting busy making plans so that baby could spoil them. In desperation I even booked in for a reflexology appointment the day before I was due to be induced. This seemed to do the trick, as on Tuesday, the day before the reflexology  appointment my waters broke!

Well, sort of. I was on my way to see the midwife when it happened. It turned out it was just the hind waters that broke apparently. She moved my induction forward so it would be 24 hours after that, with the hope that I’d go into labour naturally in that time. A couple of hours afterwards, my contractions started. Excitedly I started recording them on an app on my phone. My excitement started turning to frustration as I realised, although they were blimmin painful, they weren’t really getting any closer together. I had plenty of time to listen to my hypnobirth CD, practice the breathing exercises I learnt at Daisy Birthing classes and watch episodes of Spaced. But the time for me to go into hospital for the induction drew nearer, with no sign of anything happening.

When I got to hospital I was told I was 1-2 cm dilated, which was just a tad discouraging. To begin with they tried breaking what was left of my waters, but that didn’t do anything. So they put me on the Syntocinon drip. I’d heard this was supposed to make labour even more painful, and I was feeling a bit of a wuss by this point having not slept for a while and the contractions being blimmin painful despite not doing anything, so I opted for an epidural. When I’d seen the anaesthetist beforehand, because of my Long QT, she’d recommended an epidural and I’d been pretty against the idea. But I have to say, it was some pretty good shit! It even let me get some much needed sleep. It did mean I couldn’t really move, which was a bit frustrating (although not as annoying as not being able to eat for 20 hours – when I did fall asleep I had a dream about crisps), but it turns out MiniReegz didn’t seem to like me moving anyway. I tried turning on to my side at one point and little one’s heart rate dropped suddenly.

My view for 20 hours. Moustache sink face.

As it did every time they upped the dose of Syntocinon. This led to a few scary moments where I was nearly rushed for an emergency c-section. Although at the time I remember thinking at least it would all be over with if that happened! The staff were convinced MiniReegz was a boy because of all the mischief he was causing. Luckily, the heart rate kept going up again just in time.

It’s all a bit fuzzy, but this carried on until Thursday afternoon. By the time I was told I had to push I was knackered, and starving. This bit went really quickly though, which was helped by the fact they hurried it along with forceps because they wanted to limit this stage because of the dodgy ticker. I was a bit frustrated by this really, as I think I could have got MiniReegz out without the forceps if I’d been given with a little bit more time. But anyway, it was time to meet MiniReegz, who turned out to be a mischevious little girl! She was born at 13:52 weighing 6lb15oz. I wish our first encounter had been a bit more magical, but if I’m honest I had to hand her straight back as I was going to be sick. Lovely!

Poor little forcep face

We’d have plenty of time to get to know each other properly though. As I’d had a temperature during labour they were worried there was a chance we might have an infection so they admitted us for 4 nights to have antibiotics, with matching mother and baby cannulas. Andy couldn’t stay overnight with us so the nights felt pretty lonely. It did mean I got a chance to ask staff all the stupid questions I had (like, how do I change a nappy when I can’t get out of bed?!), and I got great help with breastfeeding. The staff were mostly brilliant, it has to be said. And there’s no way I could have got through it without Andy’s support, he was great through it all.

I can’t believe that was all nearly a month ago now. It was all a bit fuzzy at the time and even fuzzier now. Nine months of preparing myself for the birth, when it doesn’t seem to matter much at all now, and now’s when the real work starts!

41 Weeks Ramblings

Me at 41 WeeksCongratulations! After months of anticipation, your beautiful baby has finally arrived.

This was the message on my phone from the BabyCentre app this morning. Thanks app! Not quite accurate. I was hoping not to be writing another one of these posts.

I’m surprised how impatient and frustrated I’m feeling. Because actually I’ve been having a perfectly lovely time being off work with not much to do. There’s been lots of walking and ice cream (mostly ice cream). Ice cream down the Bay after walking down to meet Andy for lunch. Ice cream at Joe’s after walking into Roath. Ice cream in the garden during a lovely chilled out afternoon with friends. Having the sun out has made such a big difference.

And there’s been some making of things. I finally finished this little crochet jumper from Nicki Trench’s Cute and Easy Crocheted Baby Clothes. The seams on it are shockingly bad, but I got quite superstitious and convinced myself that the baby wouldn’t arrive until it was finished. Not that I think it will fit even when ze does arrive. But it’s done, and that’s the main thing.

Baby jumperI finally got round to hanging up the embroidery hoops I covered with fabric a while ago. I like the idea of being able to change them round pretty easily. Well, that might be true if I hadn’t knocked out a chunk of plaster while hanging them up. DIY is not a strong point of mine.

Embroidery hoopsAnd some cake! I’ve been feeling like I’ve lost my baking mojo recently but I was happy with this one. Even if I did have to make two cakes as the first came out too flat to split into layers. It’s Delia’s Lemon Curd Cake, but with lemon curd bought from Inner City Pickle at Roath market. I had a craving for lemon curd the other week and am now getting through my second jar of the stuff.

Lemon curd cakeI’m running out of inspiration now. And feeling more whale-like every day. But I’m booked in for an induction at the end of the week so if all goes to plan we should meet MiniRegz by the weekend!