You kind of expect the guilt the impact having a second child may have on your first born. The feeling left out. The jealousy. Not having that ‘one on one’ time. It's tough. Tougher than I imagined. But I never really thought about the guilt I’d feel for my second child. With Rafe it was all about routine, getting him to sleep (trying) at the same time every day, making sure he has tummy time, goes to a few baby classes, make sure he has ‘play time’, gets some fresh air, a feeding routine....but with Elijah. Some days I just feel so guilty because it still is all about Rafe. He's in and out the car seat, off to one of Rafe's classes, in the pram at the park, breastfeeding him on a bench on the beach while almost getting blown away because I wanted to take Rafe to the beach, can't even attempt any type of nap routine, still just breastfeeding totally on demand and if we are in the house some days he just sits and watches me run after Rafe. And although we do have days where we have some alone time, we squeeze in some tummy time and he does have a baby class on his own – there are days where the only time I feel like I’ve paid one on one attention to him, is when Rafe is asleep and he’s lying on my chest before I put him down to sleep. And I leave him to cry more than I did Rafe as sometimes that's all I can do. Oh and at the moment he doesn’t have any of his own toys, or books, most are/were Rafe's – and so many of his clothes are Rafe's too. And I know he won't care or even remotely understand any of that but I just don’t want him to ever feel he was second best. I just feel guilty. Like I’m not giving him all of me – but likewise I’m the same with Rafe. If only you could split yourself in two ay?
So yeah, the mum guilt lives on. I haven’t written a post in a while as been a bit manic with husband away and both kids and me having a cold. Rafe was back at nursery one day and had a full on snotty nose which he gave to me and Elijah so it really wasn’t overly fun for any of us. Nights were pretty rough especially when Rafe was waking up crying and I had to basically run between them both to settle them. Or dealing with Rafe’s horrendous nappies that ended up all over his bed, his hands – the carpet downstairs. And his final tooth has come through which has been a mother fucker. Poor thing has been really upset with it and must have been in pain. Put that’s all teeth in now! Amen. Just got to wait for Elijah to start teething...
Husband has been away for a few weeks but came back on Tuesday for the week and when I took Rafe to nursery he had Elijah for literally half an hour to try and get him to sleep. Came back and he looked broken and simply said – I couldn’t do this all the time like!” “I’ve only been away fucking half an hour!!!” Haha. To be fair Elijah was refusing to nap which can be really frustrating. Honestly my kids hate naps. I must be doing something wrong. 🤦🏻♀️ Some days he will just fall asleep on his own, other days I need to pop him in the pram, other days shush him – or the car normally does the trick – normally only for 30 minutes like Rafe used to knock out. Or some days he screams and screams and fights it – or the other day he fell asleep in the car, brought him in the house and slept for two and a half hours. I was in shock! I don’t know whether he just hates naps like Rafe did, or whether because I haven’t really for a nap routine down yet he is just all over the place, or because he just wants to sleep when he wants. I just really don’t want to be obsessively googling sleep schedules again but might have to be done. Anyone got a good routine for a 3 month old or is it impossible with a toddler in the mix too?!
Can’t believe Rafe will be two next week. Actually want to cry. Just want time to slow down. He is growing so fast. Everyday he seems to learns a new word and he is such a character. I asked for recommendations for birthday presents (thank you!) and we are doing the four present rule which I think is such a good idea (again thank you!). Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. So we have for him a balance bike, some wellies, an outfit and a pack of Gruffalo books. Someone asked me to share other ideas from people so here you go:
Went to the doctors about Elijah's reflux and at the time it had been a bit better a few days. He was still being sick quite a bit but wasn’t screaming like he was in pain or constantly crying. The doctor said sometimes with reflux or colic, 12 weeks was like a ‘magic period' for some babies and it settled itself so I have been monitoring him to see when it is worse and if it happens more when I have eaten something (cow's milk in particular the doctor recommended). He still has moments of crying after a feed but a good burp normally helps and he can be squirmish on the boob, especially in the morning when boobs are fuller so have been taking him off and burping him and then popping him back on or giving him a break. Also keeping him upright after a feed which many of you recomended which helps. He is still sick quite a bit but kind of accepted I will be covered in baby barf for quite a while and as long as he is putting on weight and not distressed then nothing to worry myself over. Doctor said could give him gaviscon or ranitidine if still bad but will see how we go. Really feel for people whose baby has colic or really bad reflux and doesn’t settle as that week where he was screaming pretty much constantly was so tough. It really does affect you so I hope anyone going through that is getting some support as it is relentless.
Just having a small family party next weekend. Feels like yesterday we were celebrating his first birthday. I actually want to cry at how fast he is growing up. He is a proper chatter box, loves to sing makes my heart explode when he tries to say certain words. He is obsessed with the free hero cards from Sainsbury’s at the mo. He loves saying Peter Pan which I can hear him saying as he goes to sleep which is bloody cute. Or when he says ‘big truck’ and is sounds like something else...My friend’s son when he was a bit younger (for context her husband is called Paul) turned around one day and said: “for fuck's sake man Paul!!” So best start watching what I’m saying! Has your child said anything funny/copied you?
Best go give my husband a few jobs to do till back to work. Till next time,
You may have your brother's babygrow on – but that doesn’t make you second best,
We may only have stolen moments of quiet - when you’re lying on my chest.
Your brother may seem jealous some days and poke you in the eye,
But I promise one day son, he will be your best friend for life – just give it time.
You may not be the first we cheered on those wobbly first steps,
But that doesn’t mean we won’t be cheering as loud - or they’ll be celebrated any less.
You may not have been the first to make tiny footprints in my heart,
But I will love you always - and will forever hold your hand in the dark.
You weren’t our first - but you’re our missing jigsaw piece, you’re exactly where you belong,
You may not have made me a mum my son - but you’ve made me a braver one.
Remember when you would climb into bed and think ‘I’m going to have the best night's sleep tonight'? And you'd wake up after 8-hours sleep and feel like a million dollars. Or when 5 hours sleep was a ‘really bad' night where in reality now, 5 hours would be the DREAM. With us all full of cold (cheers first week back at nursery), Rafe also teething and Elijah who I think may have reflux (doctors next week) and husband away, I’ve been living on broken dreams and gallons of coffee, running between two bedrooms throughout the night like some kind of Benny Hill sketch which isn’t remotely funny.
I have a recurring dream where I get to escape for the night. Not to anywhere exotic, literally the Premier Inn up the road (cheap date 😂). Where I can check-in, just me and sleep for 12 glorious hours. What a dream. I have said before how amazing it would be to have sleep clinics for mums to go and just rest and sleep, have a hot cup of tea, a poo in peace and to not have to put a load of washing in as soon as you peel your eyelids open.
I’ll never forget during Rafe’s four month sleep regression when I sent my dad out into the street as I swore the neighbours chimney was on fire. Totally hallucinating. And this week, although no fires, I’ve just felt like I’ve had permanent sand in my eyes moments.
Although this week hasn’t been all #cherisheverymoment days, we’ve had some great moments. Went for a long walk on Friday and my uterus didn’t feel like it was going to fall out so all good. Kids even slept for some of it and I didn’t once say ‘for fuck's sake Yankee’. Elijah, despite crying A LOT has been giving some amazing smiles and Rafe is keeping me entertained on his keyboard and could give the Backstreet Boys a run for their money. Also spent the day at the farm yesterday with my mum and dad. Rafe LOVES animals. My dad almost fed Elijah to the goats but think he had fun. It's amazing how good you feel just getting out the house, however long it may take to get out the door, it does you good in the end. Oh and took Elijah to Rafe's hartbeeps class on Friday and he loved it! So yeah tears and exhaustion this week – with a few amazing memories thrown into the mix!
New blog post hopefully next week! X
P.s More photos from the week on my Facebook and Instagram page!
Going on holiday with a newborn and a toddler is not a holiday. It’s basically all the stresses, lack of sleep, need for wine, washing, chances of a divorce – doubled. In a hot country. So you are sweating more when you are muttering under your breath: “for fuck's sake". So my tips for going abroad with 2 under 2 are simply...
1. Don’t do it.
It would be like War and Peace if I wrote down the things that went tits up on this holiday. In a very short nutshell I’ll give you a brief rundown. Couldn’t book Elijah on to our flight as flights had changed to a different airline so had to cancel original flight and rebook, told we would be reimbursed, this has not happened so going through a complaint procedure as owed almost £2,000. UNBELIEVABLE. As you can imagine this was not a good start to the holiday. When my parents got there a day before and picked up the hire car, there were no car seats in it. Told they weren’t sure whether there were any available despite booking a car with two car seats, so they had to cancel and go to another provider which cost more money. (There is a theme here). I had to sit next to random strangers on the flights as there was only one infant oxygen mask per row with the airline we were flying with. So having to whack my boob out next to a stranger (always a man) was slightly uncomfortable but my husband made it better by shouting: “go on man, just get them out...” On the day of the wedding me, my dad, husband and kids got completely lost in the car and drove around Porto for over an hour (kids screaming obviously) while sweating in a bridesmaid’s dress wanting to bang my husband and dads' heads together. It was a fucking nightmare. And the list goes on. Honestly those tit bits only touch the sides! So as you can imagine if someone asks would you recommend going abroad with 2 under 2 I would say NO. I think if everything went right it would still be stressful but I think as long as you are aware that it might be slightly challenging and not go to plan – you'll be fine. And probably not helped that I was 8 weeks post-partum, hormonal and I'm a ‘bit’ of a stress head anyway. I think the heat as well, it wasn’t a pool holiday and they are still too young to be out in the sun with limited shade so when we tried to venture out to look around Porto with a double buggy, cobbled streets on quite a hot day – it was always going to end up close to divorce. But not to panic people who have booked to go away – we were lucky to be treat so well by all the airline staff and other passengers too. On one of the flights a couple I sat next to offered to take Elijah while I got myself sorted and the lovely old man put my backpack on my back which made me almost cry. And we can sit and laugh about it now...kind of. And it was my brother's wedding and they had an amazing day so that is all that really matters. Just well aware you can never call it a holiday when you have kids!! Even though they actually were pretty fantastic. Though we have decided to explore the UK (which to be fair isn't too shabby) for our holidays until kids are a bit older....
I said I would write a few tips to anyone flying with 2 under 2 so here it goes...
1. Don’t do it.
2. Joke! If you can, try to just have one flight each way. We had to do Newcastle to Amsterdam. Amsterdam to Porto. And same coming back. It wasn't awful (Amsterdam had a great baby room with little private pods with seats and a cot in) but having to entertain a toddler in an airport for 4 hours is challenging and would have been easier if just one flight.
3. Find out about oxygen masks so you are at least prepared not to be sitting all together, rather than having a meltdown the night before as ‘someone I know' did...
4. I know this is hard but try and avoid an early morning flight as it just adds even more to the exhaustion you are already feeling. Our flight out was at 6am so had to lift kids out of bed at 3am. To be fair kids were amazing but you are needing coffee on a drip.
5. If you are having to get up early – or flight is late at night, pack the car in advance and literally the last thing to do is to get kids out of bed and straight in car. We kept them in their pj's until we got to Amsterdam.
6. I was surprised how much food I could take through (thanks to everyone’s advice!). Packed lunch, fruit pouches (any liquids I kept in a clear bag and some airports test apparently)...we just packed some oat bars, crisps, yog and fruit pouches and chocolate buttons for emergencies as we got sandwiches free on plane and wasn’t a long flight. I would definitely pack more food than you think you need!
7. To keep Rafe entertained I went to Aldi and bought a handful of cheap books and also sticker books which he loves. I also bought an aeroplane book which I gave to him before we flew to try and explain where we were going. None of the new things I gave until on the plane. Also bought some headphones and downloaded some of his fave programmes on to our iPad. Try to limit screen time normally but in reality iPads are a lifesaver and would stick a 70 inch plasma in front if him if stopped him having a tantrum on the plane. Other people recommended buying some bargain toys/puzzles too which is a great idea.
8. On take off I breastfed Elijah and with Rafe we bought some milk at the airport and popped in his bottle and also some juice for other flights. To be honest we never had any problems with ears popping.
9. We were lucky the boys didn’t really cry which was what I was stressed about but at the end of the day if they cry, it is understandable and we found people kind and helpful rather than knobs.
10. As much as I may have painted a bad picture, it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be. (Maybe for us haha...) Rafe was so excited most the time and Elijah didn’t have a clue what was going on.
11. Take advantage of any free alcoholic drinks on the flighy I wish I did.
12. Try and enjoy it. It's an adventure for them – and for you. Even though there are a few hold on to your pants what the fuck have we done moments.
So probably not ground breaking tips but if we can survive it and still come back married, there is hope for everyone. Oh and take photos! I’m all for living in the moment and may have wanted to wipe certain moments from my mind but I hardly took any photos which is a shame as was our first family ‘holiday’ as a four.
I feel like this post could go on for looonnggg time and haven’t even touched on other things that went Pete Tong while away, or the fact Elijah is like Rafe and loves a good 30 minute nap (if he has one), I’m going to be walking the streets for miles aren’t I? Cracked bedtime for one night at least. Felt like a Queen. Might never recreate that magic again but it was a fucking moment I tell you. Oh and Rafe has started to get really hands on with Elijah and ended up scratching him, although didn't mean too. So it’s like a wrestling match now when I’m feeding Elijah. Oh and first week back at nursery - guess who has a cold? FML. But will save all that till next week!
Till next time,
Flying with two under two...
My husband put it perfectly when he looked at me mid-flight and said: “This is fucking carnage. Absolute fucking carnage.”
To be fair, they were so so good but the reality was we were travelling with a newborn and an almost two-year-old, four plane journeys altogether - so it was never going to be beers for breakfast.
I was standing in the queue at Boots at 5am in Newcastle airport and some lasses were in a full face of make-up, hair rollers in their hair, while I was covered in baby sick and looked like Worzel Gummidge. That moment was the start of everything travel wise (planes and cars we left ni stone unturned) going slightly Pete Tong.
Just going through 50 loads of washing so haven't had time to do a blog post yet, it will come! In the end though all that matters is my brother and his wife had the most amazing wedding. And it's all an adventure right? Just won't be going abroad for a few years...
Oh Rafe. My first born. The one who made me a mum. The one who stole my heart and my sleep. You never asked to be a big brother. But now you are. But you’re really just a baby yourself. You took to the role so beautifully but you never really understood the ‘baby' in my tummy you kept pointing at would become someone who would take up so much of your mum's time. And maybe some days you do feel left out. Your face lights up when you see your brother but you’ve started to get quite jealous. And you love to poke Elijah in the eye. I read the second baby book, I googled, I asked for advice but nothing quite prepares you for not being able to simply split yourself in two and give both your children the attention they need - at the same time. That sometimes your toddler needs a cuddle so you have to leave your baby to cry. Or your baby needs fed so you have to stick on YouTube and leave your toddler to entertain himself. And when trying to get them both to nap at the same time will require the patience of a saint – which you don’t have. So you will all end up crying. And saying ‘oh flipping flip flip flipping flip flip’. Might have used a different swear word...But waking up with you both when nobody is crying and you’re both smiling at me is the best feeling in the world and I remember how lucky I am. Then Elijah shits up my arm and you have an explosive nappy. So sometimes we don’t always have #makingmemories moments but wouldn’t change it for the world. Maybe the sleep. Sleep would be good.
With husband being away and it just being the three of us, I think it has hit Rafe that maybe baby might not be as fun as originally thought. That maybe he has to share my attention. When Chris was home, he would be able to play/sort Rafe out. Bath him, put him to bed. But now it’s just me, although I have help during the day some of the week (thank the lord for grandparents), he doesn’t ever really get my undivided attention. Even when I’m bathing him I’m normally having to shout ‘it’s ok Elijah!” (I have tried Elijah in a baby carrier when doing bedtime routine with Rafe but I can’t bend down or lift Rafe with him in it – so any suggestions are welcome?!) So as I said last post, most nights I normally have to just let him cry, quickly bath Rafe, put him on my boob, Rafe has his milk and read him a book. Run Rafe in his room, continue story, put him down, back on boob, Rafe will cry...go back to settle him...run back in to Elijah...honestly the other day they were both having a cry off. So that was fun! But just got to roll with it. At least I have support near by if needed and know plenty of other people who are in similar situations - I guess you still feel lonely though some nights. It's not just about putting kids to bed on own, as many mums and dads do, it's the not getting to talk to someone after. To go downstairs and say 'fuck me, that was eventful!' and have a laugh/ugly cry about it. But the plus of this is I can still eat biscuits for tea and binge on whatever I want on Netflix.
So I’ve digressed a little...but Rafe has been getting a bit jealous. When I’m feeding Elijah he tries to climb on me/Elijah. Or there are times where he tries to pull my hands off Elijah. Or he cries as he wants me to cuddle him or dance with him and I can't at that exact moment. You forget how much of a change this must be for him and he is obviously upset/affected by it. And still so young. He has been so upset when dropping him off at nursery, hysterical. It has been awful. Have a 3 week break now so hoping he settles before nursery starts again. But his reactions and emotions are understandable. He was my total focus and got attention off everyone – now he has to share that. So I’m trying to have some time alone with him as much as I can. I went to the park without Elijah this week and had a couple of hours with Rafe, which was so lovely. And when I’m not feeding Elijah and he is settled, I make Rafe my focus but the guilt still lives on. But don’t think mum guilt will ever go away. I keep reminding myself that when they’re older they will be the best of friends, in the meantime Elijah will just have to deal with getting a poke in his face everyday...
Last week our 6 week check-up went well. Nothing to worry about for either of us. Though I am going to see someone to talk about the birth but will go into that another time. I basically got quite emotional when speaking about what happened so I know I need to go over it properly with the birth reflection service I spoke about previously. So I'm going to book an appointment when back from Porto.
So yes. All great with the little man. Elijah is huge! I swear he is going to catch up with Rafe soon. When weighed a couple of weeks ago he was 12Ib 16oz. Such a chunk. And as for me, I’m at that awkward stage where I don’t fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes, but my maternity clothes are baggy, so living in tracksuit bottoms and oversized shirts - so the bird lady from Home Alone 2 lives on! I forgot how you don't just put on weight - you get wide! Going to Portugal next weekend for my brother’s wedding so can’t really wear Adidas pants everyday – maybe get away with pj's? Oh and don’t even get me started on how slightly stressed I am about getting through the flights with a baby and a toddler – think I’ll be doing a new post about that!!! Rafe also had a check-up and was at the hospital this week about his heart. Rather than 6-month check-ups we need to go back in a year which is great news. Thr hole is getting smaller and still not affecting him. And hopefully next visit the hole will be closed, but if not consultant said he would still go on to lead a normal life and will not affect him. Which is such a relief.
I feel like I have a million other things to say/ask so might have to do a mid-week post! Also waffled quite a bit but some days I forget my own name. But it's all fun and games, until someone shits up your arm right?
I'll be in Porto next weekend so no blog post but hopefully still be able to post some photos on social media of me relaxing and enjoying cocktails. HAHAHA. Who am I kidding?! The dream though. The dream...
Till next time,
Little update...Elijah's face pretty much sums up this week. ❤😂 We've had some highs - lots of smiles from Elijah and when Rafe isn't trying to choke hold or poke Elijah in the eye he is so lovely with him. A few lows - bed and bath is still a bit of an epic. Half an hour of 'hold on to your pants kids, it's going to be a rough ride'. I've tried the sling but find it difficult to lift Rafe and have Elijah on me, feeding Elijah before and during Rafe's story - me rocking in the corner of the room 🙈 but we always have tears from one or the other but just rolling with it for now. Counting down the days till husband is back - so lucky it's only 5 more sleeps. Though he went on the drink last night and haven't heard from him so normally means he has lost his phone (WHY DO GROWN MEN STILL LOSE THINGS?) so may see red and not want him home. 🙈 Do miss him though. Despite it like having three children.
New blog post will come next week, just need to unglue my eyes long enough to write something!
First week on my own with two under two...
Week before husband's leave is over and he goes back to work.
1. Right, I’m going to meal prep on the weekend so I don’t have to cook during the week.
2. I’m going to make sure I get out the house and do some gentle exercise.
3. Going to start eating healthy – I have a bridesmaid dress to fit into in a few weeks.
4. Won't get stressed or swear in front of kids.
5. Try not to tell Rafe off as much, even when he pokes Elijah in the face for the 50th time.
1. Haven’t had a proper meal all week. For my tea every night, no joke. I’ve either eaten a full pack of biscuits or a large bar of chocolate, sat in bed, in the dark, trying not to wake baby.
2. Walked to the shop – to buy more chocolate.
3. See point 1 and 2. Epic fail.
4. Oh for f's sake has been thrown around a few times...
5. “Rafe don’t poke Elijah in the eye.” “Don't eat my nipple cream.” “Or the infacol...or your book. Why are you eating your book?” “NOT THE SUDACREM!!!!”
But hey. They were fed and dressed every day. So pretty happy with that.
So my husband being away has been slightly challenging. But also the thought of it was worse than it was. Because at the end of the day, I’ve just got to get on with it! When my husband left on Sunday night there were many tears. As well as knowing I would miss him, I felt so sad for him. He’s had five weeks with us which is like a year in military terms and him and Rafe had bonded so much, it was so lovely to watch them together. Proper best pals. And I knew they would both miss each other. We Facetime everyday so we are lucky we can do that. I remember when we first got married, we moved up to Scotland, where I knew nobody, a week after we moved, my husband was away for what was a three month deployment, that turned into 6. It was pretty tough – but now with children in the mix, even if it’s for a few days, it is equally as hard and lonely as that long stint. Because you are feeling it for them too. Although they are still so young to really understand, Rafe has definitely felt it more than he has before. And has been crying for dada at night as he is used to him putting him to bed. But he has been back this weekend so lucky it was only a super short stint - he's away now for two weeks but in the scheme of military life that’s nothing. Though not looking forward to it!
So it’s only been four days (and had help with Rafe through the day - grandparents/nursery) so it’s not like I deserve a medal or anything, although Elijah has been particularly challenging this week so if people want to give me a medal, then I won't refuse. He has gone from being a nap king, to well no offence son – but Rafe. Not napping great, getting over tired. Not able to settle him. On Monday he literally cried all day. Not sure whether it is reflux, or just being fussy/over tired as it isn’t after every feed he is unsettled or sick - so just going to mention it at 6-week check next week and see what doctor says. He has stopped (for now) the epic 6 to midnight cluster feed which is a blessing. Still feeding every couple of hours through the day and on an evening (a good one) - cluster feeding from 5-6 to 8ish, goes down till 11.30-12, then between 3-4, then wakes between 5.30-6. So not horrendous but a few sand in the eyes moments at 3am. And still have rough nights which will continue I'm sure. What I’ve found most difficult this week is the bath and bed routine. I can distract Rafe with books, TV, YouTube when on my own with them both and feeding Elijah – but at night it's all about survival (such a drama queen). And the fact I have to more than likely leave one to cry for the other one to settle. It's hit or miss whether Elijah is going to be awake during Rafe’s bath, only ever been asleep once which was a dream. So he pretty much cries through Rafe's bath, book and bed. Then Rafe cries when I put him down as can hear baby crying and that upsets him and knows I’m going to leave him. When I put Rafe down, put Elijah on my boob I then have to listen to Rafe cry (thankfully not for too long). Makes me feel pretty shit to be honest but not a lot I can do. I’ve tried feeding Elijah before Rafe's bath (I try and bath Elijah earlier in the day for now) and bed routine, feeding him during, trying a dummy (he is refusing it a lot of the time) but because 6ish is the time he starts to get fussy/that delightful witching hour he just doesn’t settle. I’m going to get him in the sling to see if that helps. I feel guilty for leaving Elijah but also guilty for rushing through Rafe's bath and story time but we will get there. In the morning I just pray they don't wake up at the same time which inevitably means they do. It's just about winging it for now – well forever really. Thank fuck for Mr Tumble and YouTube.
My plan to prep meals before husband goes away was a pie in the sky idea. And no word of a lie I have lived off biscuits and chocolate for days. But got to be done. Going to try and be more prepared over the next two weeks as I am bridesmaid at my brother's wedding at the end of August (in Portugal) so don’t want to look like a teletubbie.
Back to mum guilt – I do feel like I’m telling Rafe off constantly as hard to keep him entertained all the time and feed/comfort Elijah. And Rafe is naturally starting to push boundaries so it’s a constant battle to stop him covering himself in sudacrem. Rafe has been amazing with Elijah though, there has been a few jealous moments when I’m feeding him and he wants attention or he looks a little sad (well I think he does) when I’m feeding Elijah and can’t give him a cuddle. He does love him though as his face lights up when he sees him which is so cute. And the photo of him cuddling him, he was smiling and laughing - he was so happy. And he tries to help by bouncing him in the bouncer/give the poor lad whiplash.
Had some back pain and a really sore tummy as think I’ve just been doing too much. But can’t not pick up Rafe (I had to basically drag him into nursery on Wednesday which I think caused the pain, he is hating it at the moment but think he is just unsettled with all the change. Only in one more week, then a break for 3 weeks) and do things around the house but have tried to take it easy this weekend.
Could write another essay but will stop for now as Elijah is crying and refusing to nap so losing the will. Love them – but hard bloody work! People who raise children with no support network around them are superheroes.
Till next time,
So almost a month with two under two. WE ARE ALL ALIVE. And still sober. Miracles do happen.
Can’t quite believe it's been a month already. Where does the time go? With the conveyor belt of nappy changes, constant changing of clothes, poo explosions EVERYWHERE, baby and toddler tears, mum tears and guilt, cluster feeding, no sleep, exhaustion, husband rage, eating mountains of biscuits, drinking cold cups of tea, eating boiling hot food at rapid speeds, I have blinked and we are four weeks in. Going through stages of - it's bloody hard – but not as hard as I thought it would be. To, Christ on a bike, this is fucking hard. (Last night's cluster feeding session was brutal). So some good, amazing moments vs. hold onto your giant kickers, in for a rough ride moments. What has made it 'easier' is my husband has been home and because of the c-section I haven’t been able to do much apart from whack the old boobs out. I haven’t even been able to hoover. SAY WHAT?! So my husband has been my bitch for four weeks and loved being asked politely to do something every second of the day. So once husband goes back to work next week (shitballs) I think the shit may hit the fan and I will be saying THIS IS FUCKING HARD while swinging from the ceiling shouting 'let's eyeball vodka'.
I do feel so different second time round though. Calmer would you believe? Well for now! Just taking each day as it comes. With Rafe, looking back I was totally neurotic during those first few weeks - and beyond. Worried, nervous, scared. Just totally blindsided and overwhelmed. Must get into a routine, must tidy the house, must get out everyday, need to go to a baby class, no time to rest...I just didn’t stop to breathe. And breastfeeding was such a struggle early on that didn’t help. And I didn’t know it at time but obviously his birth was affecting my behaviour too and we were miles and miles away from family. But I think becoming a first time mum was just a complete tornado and shock to the system and I felt quite lost. I wish I could go back and tell me to chill the fuck out. To just try and rest in the early weeks. To try and savour these newborn moments, even though they’re exhausting and bloody hard, emotionally and physically - they fly by. To just stop trying to get to every milestone so quickly. It has been hard not being able to do much, but it had also been a blessing. Actually having to stop, rest and let someone look after me makes me realise how much I never sit still. And this rest period has been much needed. Granted now I can hoover it is out at least twice a day but know I still need to try and take it easy. As easy as you can with a baby and a toddler! I think second time round too, although I’m not an expert, at least I kind of know what to expect. And changing a nappy isn't terrifying like it felt with Rafe. Ok, he is cluster feeding for hours, don’t panic – it’s normal. Up all night? Relentless but I know it doesn’t last forever. (Until four month sleep regression – excited to hit that one again). Can't leave house as he will need to feed in an hour – tough cookie pet, you have a toddler who needs entertained so get out the house and you will have to get your tits out in public. Feel like I have an essay to write but also not quite sure where to start but have wrote some ramblings down about the first four weeks! So here it goes....
You forget how unbelievably exhausting the early weeks are. I think you must block it out. The sand in your eyes kind of exhausting where you can't lift your head off the pillow and when you hear baby stir for what feels like the 100th time, all you can mutter is 'fucking hell'. At least (I hope!) I know it gets easier, although I will never sleep again – a two hour stretch will feel like a dream. Just got to keep swimming...
Fuck routine (ok not quite)
So anyone who has read my blog for a while knows I'm a bit routine obsessed but have been far more relaxed this time round. Well relaxed for me! I wouldn’t say we have one (well a strict one!) but I would say we have changed nothing about Rafe's routine, Elijah is just fitting in with him for now. We didn’t want to disrupt Rafe even more so we have kept his routine the same. So he still goes to nursery one day a week (though stops through summer) and grandparents have him on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. So know we are so very, very lucky to have family support. And means when Chris is back to work, I can still have just time with me and Elijah for those four days (between 8-4), or have them both all day, every day - I have the option, though inclined to take what help I can for now! Slightly apprehensive about the days on my own, the mornings, bath and night-time fun – but know of other military wives who do it on their own all day every day so know I just need to get on with it and once I get over the first few days, it should be a breeze...
Netflix and chill
Husband and I are changing the meaning of Netflix and chill to mean: husband sits on one sofa. I lie on the other breastfeeding until we go to bed, shovelling biscuits and chocolate into my face. Honestly the amount of chocolate I eat every night is record breaking. But got to do what you go to do. Cluster feeding is some serious shit.
Breastfeeding – tough but easier
Although I had a week of sore nipples and a few milk blisters which were horrendous, second time breastfeeding compared to the early weeks and huge struggle feeding Rafe , is so so different. Getting over the struggle with Rafe and then the 17-months feeding him has given me more confidence than I thought – so although it is exhausting, we have clicked and Elijah is feeding so well. Still playing around with different positions but not pulling my hair out in frustration this time round. And because I know how tiring these early weeks are – rather than losing more sleep over it, just trying to remind myself it is not forever. Two hourly feeds and mammoth cluster feeding sessions do end. I never used to really feed in public with Rafe, the odd time when he was older but I’ve been braver this time round. I can’t hide in the house all day – I have to get out and about and entertain a toddler so breastfeeding while out and about has to be done. I do worry when it is just the three of us as Rafe is on the go constantly so not sure how to get him to sit still/keep him entertained while I feed Elijah, as I think he does get a bit jealous. Well, he just wants attention off me too. Any tips to keep Rafe happy while I breastfeed, I’d be really grateful??!!
Poo. Sick. Wee.
It's constant and it is everywhere. I forgot when you take off a baby boy's nappy they decide that is the time to have a wee. And how it shoots across the room/all over you. Same with poo. And sick. I'm like a walking sewage pipe. Rafe was hardly ever sick but I’m not sure if Elijah has reflux as he does tend to be quite sick after some feeds. But not all. Any advice if it is reflux? He is feeding well, fussy sometimes. And he is putting on weight – a mighty 10Ib 6oz when he was weighed the other week. Had put on 20 ounces in one week! Knowing he is putting on weight and my boobs are doing that is a huge encouragement and gets you through the sand in eyes moments.
Husband rage – WHY ARE YOU CUTTING THE FUCKING GRASS NOW?
Chris has been amazing, pretty much taking care of Rafe (and me!) and making sure the house is clean before I have a nervous breakdown. So husband rage has been at a minimum apart from when I can hear him snoring while I’m awake for the 3445th time in the night and when he decides it is a good time to cut the grass as 4pm when both children need fed and then bathed. (Why do men , however helpful they are being, do things when it is the most inconvenient?)
Sleep when the baby sleeps
I used to laugh at this. Sleep?!! I need to walk the dog. Do the washing. Hoover. Cook...This time round however, I have been trying, while husband is here and still recovering, to get a nap in when I can. Although tough, having a section has meant I have had to pretty much do nothing for the first couple of weeks so I have been able to take the time to recover and to rest. Which I think I underestimated how important that was in the early weeks with Rafe. I feel well, have healed well and know what I feel comfortable doing (obviously back doing the housework! But feel fit to do so) but still taking it easy if get any pain. Just still not driving or lifting Rafe fully or anything too heavy. I guess it's just about knowing your limits and remembering I did have major surgery a month ago.
Caesarean – TAKE THE LAXATIVES
I totally underestimated how much pain I would be in and how difficult the first days after the section would be. Going to the loo, showering, moving out of bed was genuine agony to start with. Trying to get in to a good position to feed Elijah – Christ and having that first poo was fucking hard work I tell you. Thought I was dying. Take the bloody laxatives they give you in hospital!!
I haven’t really thought about the birth much at all to be honest. Don’t think it has quite hit me still. There is a birth reflection service I can use 6-weeks postpartum where I can talk to someone about what happened so I will be doing that. It’s so important for me to do that.
It's alive and kicking. Feeling like you’re being torn in two and not able to pay enough attention to one of your children is fucking horrendous and I know something I will have to live with for a long time. The first night home was so hard. I’ve always put Rafe to bed. Always. It was always our alone time for cuddles and a bedtime story. But because I can’t lift him, Chris was on bedtime patrol. Rafe screamed and I could hear him saying ‘mama' and broke my heart. He is used to his dad putting him to bed now but I still can’t really lift him up and I do feel like I haven’t spent much time with him though try and get some one on one with him when I can but when I can't pick him up, let him climb all over me, run after him it is hard. This I have found the hardest. Cried so much in the first couple of weeks. And I miss Rafe. I do miss our time together. And I can't believe how big he seems now! I do feel like he isn’t as cuddly with me and I don’t know whether that is because of Elijah and me not being able to be as ‘hands on' or he is just doesn’t want a cuddle. And I do feel guilty that he feels left out at times, especially when I am feeding Elijah and he is trying to cuddle him/nut him/poke him in the eye/pull his arm and I need to tell him to stop. And I’m sure it might be slightly harder when it is just me...but hey. That’s what my dad's homemade wine is for. But as I said, I know many other military wives who are doing it with far less support than me. And I will soon get into a routine I’m sure. Bath, bottle/boob, bed. Wine. Tequila. Done.
Bird lady from Home Alone 2
She is back!! With a vengeance. Hello beard. Sick in hair. Poo on clothes (Elijah's – not mine), wee everywhere. How women look so good in this early days is mind blowing.
Double the love
Seeing Rafe meet Elijah for the first time was one of the best moments of my life. Although Rafe might try and poke Elijah in the face daily – seeing them together makes my heart burst. I was worried I didn’t have enough love to go round, but it has doubled. And more. Oh and is there anything better than that newborn baby smell? And when they look up at you with their big eyes. Heaven.
So I’m no expert on two under two. Not even close and don’t think I ever will be. And to be fair, it is only four weeks in but for those about to go through those early newborn weeks with a toddler - I would just say – it will be ok. If I can do four weeks without telling husband to fuck off once, to stay sober – and be surprisingly positive when I am normally negative Nancy – well anyone can do it! May all change in a weeks time like but hey, it's going to be a fucking adventure and a half and isn’t that what life is all about?
Till next time,
I may never get the ‘dream' birth I want, but I am lucky to have had the best outcome both times. Two beautiful boys. And nothing beats holding your baby in your arms for the first time does it? Time stops still.
As most of you know, they discovered I had gestational diabetes a couple of weeks ago. After another growth scan last Thursday, baby was still measuring big and I was advised an induction was the way forward. I really wanted to go into birth naturally but equally took on board the doctor's advice. So I was booked in for Monday 24th June. So that weekend I was eating hot curry, bouncing on the ball, drinking raspberry tea, tweeking my nips – doing what I could to try get baby out (not all at the same time). I’d had a sweep on the Thursday and my braxton hicks were becoming stronger, I lost my mucus plug and I felt like my body was close to go into labour – if not already in the early stages. But I had accepted that I was going to be induced and felt positive (thanks to hypnobirthing and general excitement to meet baby). Rang up the hospital in the morning and told to go in for 12. I cleaned the house again (obviously), had a shower attempted to shave my legs and finished packing my bag. I’d been up since 3.30am in discomfort so in hindsight I should have just slept! It was surreal to go into hospital to have the baby – but not be in labour. But both husband and I were excited/couldn't quite believe it. Got to hospital and shown into our room and it was lovely this time round as because everything happened so fast with Rafe (went into labour natually), my husband and I were able to spend some time together, do some random quizzes as you do and talk about everything and nothing, which made everything more calm. I had some student doctors come in to try and hear baby's heartbeat in this old school instrument (scientific word for it I’m sure) and seeing their faces light up when they did was pretty magical to be honest. I was having mild contractions at this point so was quite nice to be distracted. I was popped on the monitor and they could see I was having regular tightenings and at this point a plumber came into the room to fix a tap!! Which made me and Chris piss ourselves laughing (me almost literally). Not quite the hypnobirthing experience I had in mind, hearing a drill and watching a tap get fixed, but it made everything even more calm - surprisingly. At about 3pm, they inserted a pessary to see if they could kick start labour. They explained could be 24-hours, may have to do another pessary, or may be able to break waters. Either or - I expected a long wait. Then about an hour later my contractions were getting closer together after a little walk round the hospital, then an hour after that they were becoming quite painful. I was put on the monitor and they were coming thick and fast. I couldn’t believe how intense they were and I wasn’t even in the second stage of labour yet. Was checked and was still only 2, almost 3cm dialated so was really disappointed. My midwife went to speak to the midwife in charge and they thought the pessary had overstimulated me and that my body was already in/ready for labour so basically I had two lots of hormones in my body that were causing the really painful contractions. So they took the pessary out and could see they could break my waters to try and ease the pain a little and give me a break. So that’s what they did. It was quite painful so I remember squeezing Chris's hand hard. Then I heard the midwife say to the midwife in charge – “the cord.” She didn’t hear her so she said again, “the cord.” And just like that everything moved at rapid speed. A button was pressed, my bed was tilted down and a team of people rushed into the room. My midwife had hopped on the bed at this point, kneeling over me with her hand still inside me. I could hear the doctor saying they needed to get the baby out now and I needed a c-section. I just nodded and was being wheeled along while an anaesthetist was asking me questions and explained what was going to happen. I was trying to stay calm and everyone else seemed calm and in control. But I kept looking at my midwife who still had her hand inside me and was thinking what the fuck is going on? Is my baby ok? I found out after it all happened that her actions saved my baby's life. The cord had come out of my cervix (cord prolapse) when my waters broke so she was holding the baby's head away from the cord as the baby would have squashed it and then would have lost its oxygen supply. Someone asked me for my verbal consent for the c-section, but basically said if you don’t - your baby will die. At that point I trusted every single person in that room. I had oxygen on my face and the anaesthetist said I would be going to sleep soon and would wake up in an hour. I was looking up at the big light above me and I remember my last thought being of tremendous fear that I wouldn’t wake up ever again. And I wouldn't ever see my Rafe or meet my new baby. I think that light and that thought will never leave me. Everything happened in seconds, I can't explain how fast it was. But while I was 'knocked out', Elijah Austin Copp arrived at 7.20pm, all 9Ib 4oz of him and that’s all that mattered.
My next memory was waking up with someone trying to put a tube in my arm and I turned my head and saw this bundle in a purple blanket. My baby. I can't remember if I asked or whether I was told – but it was a boy. A beautiful baby boy. My husband came in and I was just really out of it to be honest. I kept grabbing all the theatre staff saying thank you. It is a surreal moment to go into labour, still be pregnant, then wake up with your baby next to you. The midwife and my husband (who was outside in scrubs, he wasn’t allowed in as I was under general anthetestic) said that Elijah screamed the place down when he came into the world. Which was a relief for both and my husband said it was literally minutes after I went into theatre. It is hard to know I never heard his first cry. Or I wasn’t the first person to welcome him into the world, or hold him, or to comfort him and wrap him up warm. Chris wanted to wait to find out sex with me and they wanted to keep baby with me in case I woke up and thought the worst. But after waiting for an hour, he caved and the midwife told him, “you now have two boys" – and he burst into tears. He met him while I had just woken up.
I think after what happened with Rafe's birth, I am naturally worried I will struggle after what happened as it was terrifying - and traumatic. And I don't think any of it has sunk in yet and I can't really put it into words. But for now, that is my birth story.
I can't thank the staff at Northumberland Specialist Emergency Care Hospital enough. Their calmness and their care was outstanding, without sounding overly dramatic, they saved my boy's life. And I now feel like the luckiest (most exhausted) woman in the world.
Thank you so much for all your messages. Means so much. Two boys! 💙
P.s We chose the name Elijah Austin as we just love both names and my grandad (dad's dad) was called Austin, a lovely man, so a tribute to him - I think he was looking out for us.