I've been poorly this week (hello all-day sickness, you're back) and feeling like an exhausted whale (been up since 3am with Rafe) so I'm cheating a bit with my blog post this week. A friend shared this post a few weeks ago and I ugly cried. It was just what I needed to read after another exhausting night with Rafe - and I know a few of you mums might need to read this too. Prepare to ugly cry. It's beautiful. To all the exhausted mums. You're amazing.
Till next week,
Could you wake up for a minute? I know it's hard for you to open your eyes - we haven't slept a lot yet tonight. But mama, I kinda need you right now. You see, the thing is, I feel a bit lonely at the moment. I'm laying here in my crib and I'm somewhat cold.
I didn't mean to cry so I'm sorry I did. I've been trying to get your attention by making some noises for a while now but you were in such a deep sleep, you couldn't hear me. I don't know how else to get your attention. During the day, I see and hear you all make noises and I see you respond well to each other. You talk to me like that too. And I try very hard but I don't know how to do that yet. So I cry so you'd listen to me.
Mama, I'm sorry for crying. Like I said, I feel a bit lonely. I just spent nine months inside your belly where I've always felt safe. It's a bit scary to me to be in such a big bed all by myself. I miss your heartbeat, the rushing of your blood, the warmth and the food.I miss your breathing and your hands you put over me to protect me when I still was inside your belly.
So mama, would you please listen to me? I'm calling for you in the only way I'm able to. I feel really alone. I need your warmth and your peace for a moment. I need to know for sure you're still here. So can I come lay with you for a little while to feel your warmth?
Some cuddles first. Mama, this feels so nice. When I feel you holding me while you gently rock me and when I can smell and feel you, I feel so safe. I can feel your hand on my back and my ear is placed just right on your heart. Mom, this is home to me. Do you remember back when we were always together? I always felt like this back then. Sometimes I miss that time. It was so nice to be close to you.
I hear you softly whisper into my ear "Everything is okay little one, everything is fine". Your voice is so soft and familiar. You smell good mom. A bit like me and a bit like you.
Mama, will you hold me just a little longer? I'm really tired and I feel so relaxed in your arms. It almost feels like before. I'm going to close my eyes for a little while, okay? Can I please stay with you here a little longer to enjoy your love and your presence?
And can I drink some more? Mama, since we're laying like this anyway...I'd like to ask you something. I know, it sounds pretty sad because I can't talk like you can yet so I'm sorry for crying again. But mama, can I please drink some more? My throat is dry and my tummy is empty and since we're here anyway...maybe I can have a few more sips? Your milk tastes delicious and is so warm and familiar.
Thanks mom, that's exactly what I needed. I was really really thirsty. Your finger on my cheek feels great by the way. And you're smiling at me. Nothing makes me happier than seeing your smile and feeling your presence. I'll close my eyes again, okay? Please don't put me away straight away, I really enjoy falling asleep here. This feels really good. Can I stay with you for another hour or so?
My tummy hurts. What is that?! Mama! Can you feel this? Mom? My tummy hurts so bad. What is happening? Please help me mama, I don't know what's happening. I've never felt anything like this.
Thank you for rubbing my belly mom. It's late and everyone is asleep. I'm so happy you're here for me. I don't know what I'd do without you mama. My tummy already hurts less and when you hold me like that...I feel pretty tired. Maybe I'll close my eyes again. Please hold me a little longer?
Can I have more cuddles? You won't believe this mama! I'm a bit scared. I just woke up and I didn't know where I was for a second. It was all dark and a little cold again. I know you're tired mama. But I really missed you, can I please be with you again for a while?
Mama, I can see that you're tired. There are tears in your eyes and every now and then a tear rolls down your cheek. I'm sorry mama but I feel really strange in this new world. I miss home. I miss always being close to you.
Sometimes I feel a tear fall on my head while you gently rock me. You're singing me a song so that I can go back to sleep. You softly dry the tears that fell on my head with your hand. That feels nice mom, do that again?
I fall asleep on your chest. You feel so soft, so familiar. There's nowhere I sleep better than here. My legs are pulled up, just like they were back when I still lived with you. I can hear your heartbeat again and I move along with your breathing.
I will learn soon. Mama, you're the best place to be. I'm so glad I get to come to you over and over again. I don't like being unable to just ask either but I'm really happy you listen to me when I call for you.
Soon, I'll be able to be there for you. Or for my brothers or sisters. Or for my friends in school. You're teaching me how to take care of someone. You're teaching me that you listen, even when I can't ask. You're teaching me I'm safe, even when sometimes it feels like I'm not. You're teaching me that you love me, even when you're very tired. Thank you.
And mama, I love you.
Breastfeeding a toddler:
“Ow, you're pulling my hair.”
“Okay, now you’ve just punched me in the face.”
“Why are you upside down?”
“How are you upside down?”
“What’s so funny?”
“You’ve just kicked me in the face.”
“PLEASE DO NOT BITE MY…”
Ahh, remember the days when baby would nurse quietly, so peaceful, then fall asleep? Yup, I’m struggling to remember too.
Breastfeeding a toddler: Also known as – wrestling.
This week Rafe has been a bit of a terror when nursing. In the morning, he’s been his ‘normal’ self and nursed like a dream. But the before-bed feed. Mother trucker. My boobs! My nipples! My face! He’s wriggling all over. He’s coming off my boob. He’s pulling my hair. He’s turning upside down while still attached to my boob. He’s laughing. He’s blowing raspberries. He’s sitting up. And he has bit my nipple a couple of times which is well, not pleasant. I think he must be going through a phase – please tell me this is normal and that it only lasts a few days?!!
Although he seems to be having a party before bed, he is still loaded with cold and still has a pesky cough. He has been fine within himself though, appetite back and generally a happy chappy. Just a bit of a snot monster. (Honestly, his immune system better be like Superman's by the time he is at school). He went to nursery as just had a bit of a snotty nose – but I had major mum guilt as I had to pick him up early. They said he had been happy as Larry but then suddenly got quite teary, wouldn't settle and he had a temperature. I walked in and he was sat just in a nappy (to cool him down) crying and I felt so bad. Like punch in the stomach bad. Firstly, I thought nursery would think I was a bad mum for sending him in the first place – but he was fine that morning, just a bit snotty. Secondly, seeing him upset and he had obviously been crying for me was really tough. I just wanted to scoop him up and cry with him. Just feel like he never quite gets better and then bamb another bloody cold. I had to go back to work – but my dad was around to look after him. It’s just shit sometimes. And getting the balance of, 'well he had to go to nursery, it's good for him to mix with other children, I have to work, I wish I didn’t work, but I do want a career, but I want to spend as much time as I can with my boy, I don’t want other people looking after him, I know it’s good for him not to be with me all the time, I know it’s good for me, I just want to cry'. It just sometimes feels incredibly difficult to be the best mum I can be, as well as wife, 'a working woman', ‘running’ a house, trying to still be 'me', looking after myself – and my baby bump. This quote came into my mind: “we expect women to work like they don’t have children and raise children as if they don’t work.” Sometimes it just feels a bit impossible doesn’t it?
I wasn’t able to speak to my husband for over a week this week which was tough. Although I am distracted and busy, not being able to text – or hear his voice was hard. I think I’m just really hormonal and emotional at the moment too and know hearing his voice always helps. He’s ‘out of reach’ again for about 10 days, but then won’t be long until he’s home and maybe I’ll stop being so emotional...
Bit of a shorter one this week as haven’t had much time to be honest - but I have managed to eat a considerable amount of chocolate and biscuits – so this week hasn’t been too bad. Eating for two right?
Till next time,
Hands up if your child went back to nursery after Christmas break and is now poorly? Damn you nursery germs.
But on a very positive note – I heard baby's heartbeat this week. Forgot how it is one of those moments where time really does stops still. ❤
So yes. Yet again – nursery germs strikes. Though could also be the toddler groups he goes too but either way, we have a snotty boy with an ear and skin infection. Started last Sunday where he woke up and was roasting hot and had a temperature most of the day. I was at work on Monday so my parents had to take him to the doctors (hello mum guilt). The dermatitis on his face is infected and he also had an ear infection, which he was given antibiotics for. So he is not quite himself, off his food, not sleeping great (send help) and is loaded with snot. And since Thursday he has developed a cough and the poor champ has been up all night coughing, which not going to lie. Has been pretty tough as kind of wrecked and I can't have wine - or cups and cups of coffee!! Hopefully he will be back to his old self soon though. He was off nursery this week – so kind of dreading him going back again next week. What will he catch this time round?! Yes, I know it’s all good for his immune system in the long-term, it’s just not so fun right now is it?
It has been a bit of a tough week, just not sleeping great in general thanks to needing to pee every five minutes – and also Rafe has been really, really unsettled. But we are one more week closer to my husband coming back (hopefully next month) so just slowly adding to the things he needs to do/help me with when he’s back. Basically – you do everything pal. I’ll sit here and watch Peaky Blinders. (Thank you for the recommendations on box sets – decided to start with Peaky Blinders – as Tommy, well he ain’t bad to look at is he?)
Had my 16-week midwife appointment this week. They never checked to hear Rafe’s heartbeat at my 16-week appointment in Scotland so it was a nice surprise they did this time. The midwife found the heartbeat straight away and I forgot how special that moment was. Like, there is an actual baby inside my tummy! I have to do another urine sample as my last tests showed either a) I have a urine infection b) I have Strep B c) It was a contaminated sample. If it is Strep B, I will have to be given an IV of antibiotics during labour. I was a bit alarmed when she put a big sticker on the front of my notes saying ‘ALERT!’ Group B Strep but the midwife assured me it was nothing to be worried about. Did anyone else find out they had Strep B when they were pregnant?
I started pregnancy yoga classes this week. Last time round I followed a DVD which was great – but there is literally a class round the corner to me so I thought I’d give it a try. It was just what I needed to be honest – although gentle, I was reminded about how unflexible I actually am – with or without bump. The class is very focused on breathing and hypnobirthing techniques which is so relaxing – but I must admit I did struggle a little. At the beginning of the class, the teacher had us focus on breathing and imaging the different stages of labour. Naturally, I started having flashbacks. But I was in the best place to try and ground myself which was what I was taught in my sessions but it did make me realise as much as I can think to myself “I’m fine now” – although I might be able to deal with the flashbacks better than before I got help, I don’t think that memory of the fear will ever disappear. The trauma may feel less painful and 'real' but will always be there in some form. And there is always going to be triggers and moments that are difficult for me. And that is why I am going to reach out to someone to enquire about hypnobirthing classes (thank you to everyone who recommended looking into them). They are pricey but I think for me, personally, may be really what I need. I don’t want to go into labour anymore terrified than I need to be. Without putting any pressure on myself to have 'the perfect birth' this time round. I'm not even thinking that far ahead yet to be honest, but don't know whether I'm doing that subconsciously or whether it's because I have so much else going on.
This week I have had really bad dizzy spells – did anyone else experience these during pregnancy? I can’t remember having these first time round. Also been extra moody too – but some might say it’s just my normal winning personality. Also feeling HUGE! Okay, I know I’m not huge but comparing bump photos, I look more like I was when I was 19-20 weeks. But I know people say you seem to show more second time round. But all the dizzy spells, mood swings and feeling podgy, don’t really matter when you hear that heartbeat – and also feel those first flutters, which I felt this week. It was around 19 weeks with Rafe but I think because I am more aware this time round as know what to feel, I’ve been able to feel movement this early, rather than thinking I’m just going to fart. There’s no other feeling like it. And suddenly makes it more real. Like I’m actually having a baby. I’m pregnant again. Madness. Good madness.
Really missing my husband this week. It's hard to try and fill in the weekends sometimes. It's a time where my friends have their own plans with their husband and kids, as I would if Chris would be back. And it's not like the 'good old days' of the 20's where I could always rely on one friend to go boozing with! But know this trip is nothing compared to the months and months he's been away before so just need to try suck it up! But it is hard. So if anyone has any stories about how annoying their partner has been this week, please share so I am reminded how annoying my own husband can be!!
Until next time,
Sometimes you can just have a bit of bad week and are left feeling well and truly sorry for yourself. You miss your husband. You just want a little break from being ‘mum’. You want your eyebrows back. You need wine. Your pay has all but disappeared already. You still have morning sickness. You have milk blisters – why? How? Why? Why do these exist? You're exhausted. Then something stops you in your tracks and you realise what really matters. I watched a little bit of Dirty Dancing (classic) the other week and Rafe was loving the tunes. One in particular – ‘Do you Love Me’. So after being a negative Nancy all day, before bath-time, I put on that song. And Rafe’s face lit up, no joke. He zoomed towards me, I picked him up and we danced around the room like absolute idiots. And he laughed and laughed and he didn’t want the song to end. I realise that sounds cheesy AF, but most days this week, we have danced. And every time he hears that song, he knows what is coming. And those few minutes are absolute gold. And everything else does not matter. In years to come, when Rafe is a teenager and he doesn’t want to dance with his mum anymore, I’ll think of those few minutes of us dancing around the living room and I will smile. Because those are the memories and the moments I won’t ever forget. I will be able to close my eyes and go back to that very moment like I'm right there. I won't remember the milk blisters, or the monobrow or the difficulty and challenges that being a mum brings. The three minutes of one song, where it’s just me and my boy, dancing – and his laughter. Those moments are what matter. Because those are the moments that make everything worth it. Oh and now I'm crying. HELLO PREGNANCY HORMONES.
But hey, milk blisters. Hurt like a mothertrucker right?
Thank you for everyone’s messages of congratulations, strangely made it feel more real now I’d written it down. Thankfully, haven’t been sick for a few days now, still feeling queezy in the morning or if I’m hungry but feeling so much better. I had to see a consultant on Monday as because of Rafe’s hole in his heart, they want to do a further ultrasound after my 20-week scan, just to check this baby’s heart – as it was never picked up on any scans with Rafe. Sure it will be nothing to worry about but reassuring just to have that extra scan – and means I will see baby again. My 20 week’s scan is in a few weeks and my husband will still be away – he missed Rafe’s 20-week scan too. We never found out the sex last time round – I wasn’t tempted at all. I love surprises (husband doesn’t!) and there was and will never be another feeling like the midwife handing me my baby and finding out we had a boy. Best moment of my life. (Though I had an inkling it was a boy all along!) And also when my husband rang the grandparents to say "you have a grandson", that was so incredibly special. But I must admit, this time round I am slightly tempted, although I have that same inkling again, I’m tempted to find out just so I know whether we need to buy much clothes as have so much of Rafe’s stuff packed away. And just more curious this time round – but also, loved not knowing last time....Anybody else not find out the first time, but found out the second time round? I might get them to put the sex of the baby in an envelope as wouldn’t find out without my husband being there. Either way – it’s exciting. Just in two-minds what to do!
A few people have messaged me since I mentioned Rafe was sleeping through. In particular, about whether I weaned him off his night-feed and that was why he slept through. (We’ve had a few unsettled nights this week but just had to cuddle him back to sleep – he has a bit of a cough and I think was unsettled still from his dad not being here, but haven’t had to give him any milk). I mentioned in my blog before Christmas that I was thinking about trying to wean him off the boob in the night. Another reason for this was, which I didn’t mention then, was because I had really bad sickness around that time and was vomiting in the night and even though he was just feeding once in the night, I was just pretty worn out. And breastfeeding was taking it out of me. It wasn’t a pre-planned decision, I was still debating it, when one night over Christmas I was feeling really sick and Rafe woke up so I told my husband to try Rafe with a bottle of milk. He did of course, protest and cry to start with and was looking for me, which was hard I must admit. But the next night when he woke, he was a bit better, same the following night and then I think the fourth night, I gave him the bottle and he was happy and then the fifth night, my husband just had to cuddle him to sleep – didn’t need a bottle. Then he started sleeping through. I have no idea whether this is a coincidence or because he wasn’t getting the boob, he was able to settle himself and sleep through – or whether it was simply Rafe being able to sleep through because he was ready. I’m not sure! If he does wake up now, he doesn’t try and get to the boob but again, is that because he knows it might not be offered – or because he isn’t hungry? It’s so difficult as of course, breastfeeding is also about comfort, not just being hungry. So I feel guilt there – and also, guilty because should I have tried self-weaning? But I just don’t think he will self-wean and will not give up the boob willingly! It was gradual though as I haven’t dropped a breastfeed for a while, so maybe that helped too? He does do hour long feeds morning and before bed so well and truly stocks up! I just know it will be hard if he gets poorly and won’t settle as I know boob helps. Someone has recommended Dr Jay Gordon’s night weaning method which I think is quite gentle - which I was going to look into before sickness started and made the choice quite abruptly - so might be worth having a look if you're thinking of night weaning? At the end of the day, you do what you feel is right for you and baby. It’s always going to be hard, especially the first few days. I’m thinking of weaning Rafe completely in a few months. I wanted to feed till he self-weaned or up until he was two and I know you can tandem feed both newborn and toddler but I honestly would find that quite tough. Also heard your milk supply start to drop in your second trimester, anyone found this? So yes, I feel guilty and feel deeply sad that my breastfeeding journey with Rafe will be ending in the next few months (going to wait to try when husband is back and drop morning feed then before bed feed) but I know, without sounding full of myself, it’s an achievement breastfeeding this far. And it's been amazing. So amazing. Oh dear, now the tears are coming…damn you hormones!
And still on the breastfeeding front. MILK BLISTERS. What the fuck? Those bad lads are hell. I’ve never really had then before, or at least I thought I did but cripes. So fucking painful. I’ve been bathing my nip in Epsom salts and then the blisters have naturally opened so basically I have open wounds on my nipple that are bleeding slightly and when Rafe nurses, it is horrendous. But they have started to clear up thankfully. Honestly, women are hard as nails, the amount of shit we put up with!
Think that’s enough blister talk for now....Till next time,
So we have some news….
Two under two. A breeze right?
So yes, that pouch isn’t just chocolate, turkey and more chocolate. Baby number 2 is on the way! Just got over the slight suprise but feeling so very lucky. We weren’t exactly trying – but also not exactly being cautious. (You can fall pregnant when not using contraception you know? Who would have thought it?!) But I’m a firm believer in ‘what’s meant to be’ and this was a very lovely ‘surprise’. I’m almost 15 weeks now and this first trimester has well and truly kicked me in the metaphorical balls. I didn’t have much sickness with Rafe but I am still being sick most mornings – but on a positive note, I just tend to wretch throughout the day and not actually be sick so winning on that front. I can eat – it’s just hit or miss whether I might barf or not. But I know some women can't even keep anything down and are so poorly so I know I'm lucky I'm not as bad as that. Pregnancy is so glamourous right? But I must admit, it has been quite a challenge looking after Rafe, especially when I’m breastfeeding and feeling/about to be sick but thankfully my husband has been back over Christmas so has been a huge support. And even though I feel like I was pregnant just yesterday, I have forgotten how exhausted you feel. And would you believe, these past two weeks where I haven't been able to sleep, RAFE HAS BEEN SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. I know, shut the front door. Finally! But I have major pregnancy insomnia + feeling sick + nèeding a wee + waking up expecting Rafe to wake up but hey, Rafe is sleeping through so let’s all have a moment of contemplation here to reflect on how this is an ACTUAL MIRACLE. I wish I could share some words of wisdom but it just happened. Yes, I’m annoying I know. But there is hope!! The only thing I do differently is the humidifier I would only use if Rafe had a cold, is always on every night. He has mostly been in his 3.5 tog sleeping bag as it really has been getting quite nippy in his room – and I guess we have been so busy he has been worn out most days. So don't know if any of these things have helped. But hoping we have just turned a new corner and he has finally learnt that sleeping is AMAZING. Still hates naps though. But hey, can’t win them all can you?
So yes, this pregnancy is already feeling so different. I feel so guilty saying this but unlike last time, where I was taking bump pictures every week, checking what size baby is, I keep forgetting this time round. Having a toddler – plus working and putting on 50 loads of washing a day kind of takes over. It’s like I sometimes forget I am pregnant, if it wasn’t for the being sick every morning, I think some days I would forget. Other mums have reassured me that this is normal and second pregnancy and baby is so different – but of course not less special. I’m just taking each day as it comes. I haven’t even thought as far ahead as the birth yet, I don’t know whether that is me subconsciously doing this because of what happened during labour with Rafe or simply because I just haven’t thought about it. It’s hard when it’s so early on, I remember it was only until after the 20-week scan with Rafe I started thinking – oh I’m having a baby. I'm really trying to be as positive as I can right now and focus on how very lucky we are but know I can get support if I need it.
I do feel worried about Rafe though. It might be the hormones but I do get so emotional thinking about how Rafe will cope when baby arrives. I just don’t want him to feel left out. He’s still my baby! I know having two so close together will be lovely for them (I think it’s another boy) and he will love being a big brother, but I do worry. But I plan to just try and chill the fuck out and try not to worry. But anyone who knows me will know I am chief worrier of the worriers...and my hormones are on another level right now!
So...the past two weeks. We’ve had such lovely family time. (Hope you all had an amazing Christmas and Happy New Year! How fast did it go? I swear I blinked and was back to work.) Rafe seems to have changed so much in such a short space of time. He’s still not walking yet but is more confident on his feet and he is chatting more (he basically has just been saying mum, mum, mum over and over, but has started saying dad, dada, hiya and then random other babbles). And he’s laughing so much more. He’s gone from being quite a serious baby to just giggling away which is just so special. He’s just turned into a proper toddler. And has developed a little temper. Not quite a tantrum but if he gets frustrated or you tell him no, he does this hilarious facial expression and basically has a little huff. I’ve been warned the terrible two tantrums are on another level though...
We had him at the doctors this week as he has had a little rash on his face for weeks but just thought it was sensitive skin as would come and go, but it got quite bad over Christmas so we have some steroid cream for him. Felt major guilt for not taking him sooner but hopefully it will clear up in the next few days. I feel like I have loads more to tell you/I have rambled on but I have also forgot what day it is – but baby news is pretty big announcement ay?!
My husband is overseas for a bit which has been a little unsettling for Rafe these past couple of days. Obviously he doesn’t understand but we’ve been so lucky to have my husband around for three weeks as the week before Christmas he was working in the North East so was able to bath Rafe every night and then for two weeks over the hols, he was with Rafe pretty much all day everyday. It’s hard as you get so used to them being around when they are on leave and then when they go away again, you have to get back into your old routine of just you. And baby and dog. It's hard/sad/lonely but you soon do. And you've just got to get on with it. I feel upset for Rafe as know he misses him in his own way even though he doesn’t know what it means but I play a video of his dad every morning and night and his little face just lights up. I know my husband will find it hard too but sure the time will whizz by. In the meantime – I need box set/series/documentary suggestions please?!
So I think that's it for this week...So yes, my blog will take a slightly different turn, it will be a mix of the adventures of life with a toddler, being pregnant and then when baby number 2 comes – what life is like with two under two....A pretty amazing adventure. But maybe a little bit tough?
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.