Monday, 20 November 2017

10 month update!

I can't believe that in less than 6 weeks my baby will be one year old! Everyone tells you that it goes by so quickly, but even that seems an understatement. I was looking for a photo that I thought I had taken recently, turns out it was from when Squish was 11 weeks old! That's MONTHS ago but it seems like only yesterday.

I continue to be amazed by the little person I see growing before my eyes. She's walking everywhere that she can get a hand hold, and crawling everywhere else. She talks non-stop all day and has even started singing. No idea what she is talking about most of the time but it is super cute.

She loves reading and will sit and read books to herself, turning the pages backwards and forwards, occasionally still taking a bite from the corner of the book. We still go to story time at least once a week and were lucky enough to go with a friend and her 11 week old for her very first story time.

She still loves the pool and is enjoying water play at home. She's getting a paddling pool for Christmas and she has even started having showers by herself! Mum sits right beside the door of course, for safety and for the actual washing, but she gets in herself and gets out when she's done. So clever!

We were in the city for an appointment so used the chance to swing by the Myer Christmas windows. She was absolutely enthralled by the lights, movement and colour. I have to admit I got a little teary seeing her with her dad and thinking how blessed we were to finally have a baby to share traditions like this with.

It is so hard to believe that this time last year I was preparing for a baby shower that I thought I shouldn't have because there was no possible way I would actually get to keep this little one. And now here we are preparing for her first Christmas and her first birthday. Amazing!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Finger Paint!

Finger Painting! I had been looking forward to this for the longest time! I knew that I wanted to wait until Squish had started solids, there was a more than even chance the paint was going to end up in her mouth at some point! I also knew that I wanted to make my own paint, but didn't want to use fruit or vegetable based 'edible' paints at a time when Squish would still be working out what was food and what wasn't.

I followed a simple recipe that uses only cornflour, water and food colouring. as you can see, we only needed the tiniest drop of colouring to give us some vibrant colours. I was a little worried about colours staining her hands, but in the end it was just a little of the blue colour around her fingernails.

We covered the entire area in a towel and I had her stripped down to just her nappy. I had considered using a sleeved bib, but they're all too big on her and I didn't want the sleeves trailing through the paint, I wanted to see those cute little finger prints! 

I just plopped a blob of each colour on to the canvas and let her go at it. She kept swiping and mushing away for quite a few minutes. Then once she reached for her mouth I grabbed her up and took her straight to the bath.

She loved every second of it and I want wait to do it again. We also have water painting on the list of things to try once the weather warms up a little more!

Friday, 20 October 2017

9 Month Update!

Well, we passed 38 weeks and 1 day, baby has officially been on the outside longer than she was on the inside! :D

She's crawling around and getting into everything! We have made her bedroom a "Yes" space - she can play in there independently and there is nothing for us to say "No" to within her reach. We also had to get a gate for the kitchen, strange but as we installed it I actually felt like a parent for the first time!

There will be a lot of other firsts this month, too. She's about to go on her first plane trip (super nervous for this one!) and go to her first "Show" when we visit her grandparents.

She's talking a lot, she says dadada the most, and will say it almost all day, but she also seems to associate it with her dad. If I ask, 'Where is Dada?' she looks at him, or for him if he's not home. She only seems to say mamama when she's complaining about something!

We have been putting seeds out in the courtyard for the birds and she loves sitting and watching them. They are getting used to her and don't fly away when she flaps around or screeches out to them. She's fascinated by the dogs we see when we go for out nightly walks, and videos of cats meowing (thanks Dad) crack her up.

We're back in to swimming and looking forward to going with Dad again as he's on holidays for two weeks. Lots more family adventures to come!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, 2017

This day is so important to us, and to many bereaved parents. It is a day for honoring the memories of little ones lost, and for trying to break the silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss.

I have posted many times in the past about this topic, and now, parenting after loss is bringing a whole new perspective to this date. I often look at our little one and think about the siblings she sill never meet. She could have had a big brother or sister two years older than her. How would they be together? Would they look alike? Would they play together or antagonise each other? How would our lives as parents be different with two instead of one? It's even possible, given the timing of our losses, that she could have two older siblings, what would THAT look like for us?

And then I get to thinking that if we hadn't lost those babies, maybe we would never have had her. Our little Squish might never have been born due to spacing gaps between siblings or a whole range of other issues that can come with bringing home a baby.

Parenting after loss can bring such guilt too. There have been so many times when we have been struggling with sickness, sleep deprivation or simply not knowing how to ease our little one or what she needs, that we have been cross with her or with each other. And then to feel such guilt for not always being 'happy' with our little miracle. We love her more than anything, but she's still a baby! And babies can be a challenge!

If you are grieving the loss of a little one, our thoughts are with you. Especially to those who suffer in silence and have not told their friends or family about their loss. love and hugs to you x

Picture from Luminous Light Studio

Sunday, 8 October 2017

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

 Just a quick post to share how much Squish and I love the Very Hungry Caterpillar series of books. We read a lot, but she always comes back to these and her face lights up as she turns the pages.

I have always loved Eric Carle and no matter what year level I was teaching I would always do a unit on his books with my class during library. For the littlies it would just be from a pure story point of view, for the older classes, we looked at how his illustrations were crafted and used in the stories (Hello, Red Fox is amazing!).

There is so much vocab in the original story, from days of the week and counting, to common fruits and other foods. Throw in a bit of science with the life cycle of a butterfly and you have such a rich learning opportunity outside the fun of the story itself. Because it is so great for vocab I even had a copy in German (Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt) when I was teaching German classes.

The Touch and Feel Playbook was fabulous for tummy time. Putting the book flat on the floor in front of her gave her something to do with her hands, standing it up in front of her encouraged her to lift her head.

The Where is book and the counting book are recent additions to our collection, and Squish loves lifting the flaps on each page to look for the Caterpillar and counting the animals on each page - well, I count, she watches :)

I had planned to do a Totoro cake for her 1st birthday, to round out the Baby Shower theme, but now I am thinking it might have to be a Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Friday, 6 October 2017

Spinach and ricotta pinwheels

These have become a new lunch time favourite, and so easy to take out when we are on the move.

Spinach and Ricotta Pinwheels

Makes lots! 40+

6 sheets puff pastry, thawed
I tsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic (or more to taste)
180g spinach, shredded
300g ricotta
Parmesan to stop (optional) 

Preheat oven to 180C
Step 1
Lightly fry onions and garlic until transparent. Add roughly chopped spinach and stir until wilted. Set aside to cool.
Step 2
Stir ricotta into spinach mix.

Step 3
Spread spinach and ricotta mix onto pastry sheets, leaving a 2cm gap at one end. Roll into a tight log, starting at the opposite edge and sealing along the plain edge. Repeat with remaining pastry sheets.

Step 4
Cut into 1cm widths and place on baking tray. Sprinkle with parmesan if desired. 

Step 5
Bake at 180 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
We loved these fresh from the oven, but they are also great cold. We freeze in meal sized batches, then I just pop a container in our bag as we head out, and they are thawed by the time we are ready for lunch!

Friday, 29 September 2017

8 Month update!

I have a terrible habit of writing these just as baby is about to reach the next monthly milestone!

This month has been a tough one for out little squish.  She's been teething almost constantly, with her bottom two teeth coming through first and now it look like all four at the top are going to come one after another!

She's still not crawling (forwards at least!) in the traditional sense, but she's mastered her army crawl. She loves standing and will scoot along furniture with ease. She can pull herself up on things that are just a little above her head height, using her legs to push up rather than using her arms to pull.

Eating has been a little on and off with the teething. When it is really bad she loses her appetite completely and just wants to nurse, which we do a lot! At her 8 month check up I was asked if I was feeding her three times a day! More like 6-8!! Or even more on some extra fussy days.

We've been trying lots of new tastes and textures, but her favourites are still potatoes in any form and avocado. It was really been helping me to think more carefully about what I eat, now that I am sharing three meals a day with her. She also enjoyed her first free fruit from Woolies, chomping on an apple while I tried to shop with one hand and protect the apple from falling with the other.

Her sleep is all over the place. Some nights she'll sleep right through, maybe waking once to feed. Other nights she wakes every hour or two. Some nights we still have the 2 hour middle of the night party when she just wont go back to sleep. I don't know how I would be able to cope if I was working. As it is, it can be incredibly exhausting, I just try to remind myself that she must be having a much harder time of it than I am.

We went to the museum for the first time which was amazing. She loved the new Children's Gallery and the outdoor area was a big hit. We still love story time and playgroup, and we are spending much more time playing outside now that the weather is starting to warm up and she's becoming more mobile. We have some rosellas that visit our little courtyard and she loves to sit and watch them. Sometimes the little babbles she makes sounds like she is trying to mimic them!

I can't believe in less than 90 days it will be baby's first Christmas!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Blueberry Coconut Breakfast Balls

After posting this picture to Instagram I had heaps of requests for the recipe, so here it is!

Blueberry Coconut Breakfast Balls

Makes approx 12

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup berries of choice (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp melted coconut oil

Step 1
Mix all ingredients in a blender/food processor until well combined

Step 2
Form into balls and refridgerate until needed.

I used fresh blueberries this time, as they are Squishes favourite. I have some frozen mixed berries ready for the next batch. I also ended up making making the balls much smaller when she actually ate them, breaking in half and reforming them into balls as she ate. 

Recipe inspo here :)

Monday, 28 August 2017

Our 1st Month of BLW

Our first month of BLW has been a huge success. From baby's first meal to her first time eating in a restaurant, she's learned so much, so quickly and has blown us away.

The pictures below document everything our girl ate in her first month of BLW, I post them daily on Instagram. There were (and still are) a few days when she only has one or two meals due to sleeping through meal times or through us being out and about. Most days we try for three meals and she eats as much, or as little, as she wants to.

For interest, I'll list her meals after the images.

Obviously some meals fit more than one category, I've tried to be as clear as possible! :D

Whole grain toast (plain, vegemite and peanut butter)
Banana muffins
Baked Porridge finger
Cheese Pizza
Naan bread
Yorkshire pudding



Green onions
Red Capsicum
Cos lettuce stalks
Butternut Pumpkin
Brown onion
Snow Peas
Green Beans


Eggy Banana Bread
Greek Yoghurt
Scrambled Eggs
Cheesy Omelette
Cream cheese

Minced Beef

Friday, 25 August 2017

7 month update!

If I don't get this done now she'll be 8 months before I know it!

Our girl is coming on in leaps and bounds. She babbles away almost non-stop and is so curious and interested in everything around her. She loves being outside and we have started to play in the backyard as the weather warms up - well, it's not raining at least!

She has a fairly set routine that she has worked herself into, sleeping 8-8.30 and waking only once or twice to feed. She has two naps and the 2-3-4 routine seems to work for her, although its more like 2-2.5-3.5 most of the time!

A lot of nap time is made up of meal prep at the moment, I am still cooking two different meals, one for me and baby, and one for dad. He's slowly starting to be a little more adventurous with his eating and I have managed to introduce a couple of new meals to his rotation! I am trying to set a routine for myself of household chores during her morning nap and "me" time during the afternoon. Planning anything at all for the afternoon nap seems to be a surefire way to guarantee she'll only sleep for 30 minutes!

Playgroup and story time (the photo above is from Story time at the library last week) are going really well and she loves interacting with the other little ones. It's good for me too, a chance to catch up with some new friends and a regular opportunity to get out of the house.

We had lunch at a restaurant for my uncle's 60th and it was her first time eating out. I ordered a chicken burger and veggies and we shared. She did so well and I was so proud of her sitting feeding herself. I am planning to post a bit about the different meals she's been eating, so keep an eye out for that in the near future!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Hulk Muffins (a BLW favourite!)

If you have ever read anything about Baby Led Weaning, then you have probably seen a reference to "Hulk" Muffins - so called for their bright green colouring. There are many recipes about, and many that I have seen call for honey, which is a strict no no for under 1s, and often salt which should also be limited. The fact that these muffins are PACKED with spinach which is great for getting in the extra iron that baby needs meant that I needed to improvise a little. After looking at a quite a few recipes (including many shared on Baby Led Weaning for Beginners) here's what I came up with.

Honey Free Hulk Muffins

Makes approx 12

2 cups whole wheat flour plus 2 tsp baking powder OR 2 cups whole wheat Self Raising flour
1-2 tsp cinnamon (I like a little extra!)
3/4 cup full fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
1/2 cup golden syrup (in place of honey - you could use honey if your little is over 1 year old)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 large banana
180g baby or regular spinach (as close to this as possible - some bags I have seen are only 160g)

Step 1
Preheat oven to 170C and prepare your muffin pans. You can use liners or spray with cooking oil. Next time I make these I'll prepare a few mini muffin size as well!

Step 2
Combine flour (and baking powder if needed) and cinnamon in a bowl.

Step 3
Blend all the remaining ingredients together until completely mixed. You may have to stop to scrape down the sides occasionally.

Step 4
Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and fold together until just combined.

Step 5
Spoon batter into the muffin pans, filling about 3/4 full. 

Step 6
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until muffins are firm when pressed on top. If you choose mini muffins, check them regularly. Mine did start to brown slightly as I left them a little too long!

Step 7
Cool on a tray before serving
or not! we shared one still warm with melted butter!

My little girl loves these. I am considering a savory version too, somehow working a little cheese into the mix and omitting the syrup. But for now, if you try these, let me know what you think!


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Baby's First Meal!

 We had been planning baby's first meal for a long time. Initially we thought it might come later, around Christmas or her 1st birthday, when all we knew about was the 'traditional' way of introducing solids.

Once we learned about Baby Led Weaning, we knew right away what the first family meal we would share would be. The first meal hubby ever cooked for me was a roast chicken dinner, and that would be the first dish he would cook for our girl.

After all the build up, I had to keep reminding him that it was possible she wouldn't eat anything. Some babies don't really self-feed much until 8 or even 10 months according to what we had read. He was fine with that, you only get one first meal, so we wanted to make it special either way.

The next step was a matter of when. There are certain markers for readiness when it comes to starting solids, not just with BLW. Baby had been sitting up independently since 5 months, so we had that covered. She had lost her tongue thrust reflex. All we were really waiting for was to reach the 6 month mark.

The meal was a huge success. She was right into it! They say that one of the signs of readiness is interest in food. She had been watching us intently during meal time for the past few weeks, she put all that observation to great use! She not only picked up the food and brought it to her mouth, she actually ate some of it! We also learned some useful info on how to prepare food for her in the future (finding the balance between soft to eat, but not too soft to squish as she picks it up).

We were apprehensive about baby's 6 month appointment, wondering what they would have to say about the fact that we had only started solids the day before not two months earlier, and that we were doing BLW. When asked about solids, I said that no, we hadn't started cereal, we were going stright to 'table food' - the MCHN suggested we look into BLW! I told her that's what we were doing, I was just used to people not understanding. We showed her some photos from the night before and she was thrilled. Just popped in the reminder of no honey under 1 and to make sure that everything else was prepared appropriately. She also reminded up to offer lots of iron rich foods, and to breastfeed before meals.

We could not have asked for a more positive experience for baby's first meal!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Starting Solids

I absolutely love to cook. Being married to a fussy eater, being able to cook for baby was something I was really looking forward to. Then just before her 4 month appointment, someone mentioned that I would soon be able to feed her rice cereal.

I didn't really know much about that, but could vaguely remember mum mixing up bowls of mush for my two younger sisters. Googling "baby rice cereal" sent me down the rabbit hole that is starting solids and the conflicting advice parents are given from every source.

Some things I learned on my first day of research:
- the majority of baby's nutrition before 12 months should come from breastmilk or formula
- baby should have nothing but BM or formula before 6 months
- there is almost zero nutritional value to rice cereal (arguably the added iron)
- there are signs of readiness such as being able to sit unassisted and loss of the tongue thrust reflex that should be met before baby starts solids
- there are no 'first foods' and baby can eat anything that is prepared appropriately, with the exception of honey
- there is no need to introduce foods in a certain order, or one at a time
- foods known to cause allergies should be introduced as close to 6 months as possible, and under medical guidance if there is a family history of allergies
- baby doesn't need to eat purees if she waits until 6 months to begin solids.

The last point was interesting to me and led me into the world of Baby Led Weaning. I was pleased to see that sources including the NHS and the Australian Breastfeeding Association recommend beginning baby with finger foods. I was also disheartened to learn that although the WHO recommendation clearly states no food before 6 months, many guidelines still mention starting puree at 4 months. And I suppose that makes sense, if you introduce baby to solid food before they have lost their tongue thrust reflex, and before they can sit unsupported, the only way you can possibly feed them is to mush everything up.

Following all my research, I was disappointed to turn up to our 4 month appointment and be told to start baby on rice cereal. When I said that we weren't doing that, and that we would be waiting until the recommended 6 months to start solids, I was given a sheet of which foods I should start first, in which order, and how long to wait between new foods. So much outdated information!

 I then had to endure two months of being asked by family why I was making baby 'miss out' on solids, as my cousin's little boy who is three weeks older started at 4 months. I just repeated the same line over and over, "We are waiting until the recommended 6 months so baby can share family food right away." I then had to deal with my mum defensively telling me that she just did what she thought was best when we were little, and we turned out ok. All I could say was, yes, you did your best at the time, now I am doing my best with the information I have available.

With all that in mind, I grabbed the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook and got planning!\

Monday, 10 July 2017

6 Month update

Our little girl is six months old. I can't believe it. I think back to the anxiety I was suffering this time last year and I just can't believe how much our lives have changed. The time has gone so quickly, but it truly feels like she has always been a part of our lives.

She loves sitting up and playing with her toys, tummy time is still a hassle. She just rolls over immediately any time I try to put her down on her tummy! She rolls side to side on her back, she actually sleeps on her side, but she has yet to roll all the way over.

We've been out and about so much. Story time at the local library is a huge hit, and it's probably nice for her to hear someone else reading besides us. We've been out walking a lot, although that is hard as it gets colder. We ventured out on a train trip to a local shopping centre with a mum and bub from our Playgroup. Playgroup has been hit and miss as it is such a small group there often ends up being only 2 or 3 of us.

One not-so-great milestone I guess we had to hit eventually was that she picked up her first virus. We had visited Nan Nan and my cousin was there with her bub who is 3 weeks older. They shared toys and drool. He fell ill the following day and our little one followed soon after. The first day that she was full coughs and snotty nose she just looked at me and I felt so helpless. I didn't know how to make her feel any better and it really shook me up. I got over it soon enough, but it was a terrible feeling to be so helpless to give her any kind of relief. I did the next best thing and gave her the comfort she needed.

Unfortunately, this virus threw her new found sleep routine out of whack. She had JUST started two day naps of about 2 hrs each, and only waking once each night to feed. Bliss! Then she fell ill and was waking every hour, sometimes hysterical at being unable to breathe through her nose.

So she's turned 6 months, had her check up and has more than doubled her birth weight. So proud of her (and have to say, myself!) for getting past the initial setbacks when she was born and fighting on with breastfeeding. We have just started solids (for a post another day) and I can't wait to see what she shows me next!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

DIY Sensory Board

Since learning to sit independently, Miss 5 months was having a hard time with Tummy Time, I decided to expand the list of activities. We had done books, mirrors, water play (love this one!) but I hoped that something new would interest her for a few sessions at least!

In my travels through the world of Pinterest I had seen a lot of sensory boards for babies, basically a variety of textures for them to explore. I had a quick scout around the craft stash while baby slept and came up with a pile of goodies.

Paper muffin cases, seeded paper, ribbon, straws, a small plastic tub, bubble wrap, string, masking tape sticky side out and some bright material cut in strips.

 I arranged everything, glued (used PVA but should have waited to find my glue gun in the shed - the straws didn't stay stuck for long!)

It was a hit! The only downside was when she started getting frustrated that things were stuck in place, rather than being able to grab them to try and stuff in her mouth. She loved feeling the muffin cases (crushed them pretty quickly!) and was fascinated by the flappy material.

Feeling pretty good about my first baby DIY effort!

Monday, 19 June 2017

5 months old!

As I write this my little squish is napping. She's recently gone from taking 30 minute naps to sleeping up to an hour and a half. Amazing! I suddenly have all this time I don't know what to do with!

When she wakes we do breakfast and get dressed for the day. At the moment, she sits in her highchair and watches me eat. We're holding off on solids until the recommended 6 months so she just practices holding her spoon for now. She's quite the pro at getting it to her mouth!

After the first nap we usually go out. Sometimes playgroup, sometimes a walk. We also go swimming, shopping or visiting.

Afternoons are for play time and its amazing the change that being able to sit independently has made!

After the last nap we have quiet time, usually reading or looking at books. I find this helps her wind down and not get too overstimulated. Then dad comes home and its bath and bed.

The days really seem to fly now. I feel like I just get used to one stage and then everything changes!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

NOT my 1st Mother's Day

But it sure feels different.

In the past, hubby and I have not exchanged gifts for Mother's or Father's Day but have acknowledged each other and spent some time talking about our angels.

This year, our beautiful rainbow baby girl is here and hubby has picked out a gift and card from both of them. I am looking forward to spending Mother's Day with my little family.

What I'm dreading are the comments regarding my "First Mother's Day" and how to handle them. I want to try to keep it simple, something like, "Thank you, but this isn't my first." People might be upset or feel awkward, but as a lovely mother on the PALS Parenting after loss forum wrote, acknowledging our angels is more important than their mometary awkwardness.

Happy Mother's Day to all the lovely mothers out there x

Friday, 12 May 2017

Four month update!

I cannot believe my baby is 4 months old! Time truly is flying by.

The first month -

A haze of sleep deprivation, latch issues, formula top ups and pumping is the best way to describe the first few weeks. I was almost ready to give up on pumping as it was using up the little time I had between naps, but then suddenly after multiple lactation consultant visits, something clicked and baby and I both got the hang of it.
Time not spent feeding or pumping was equals parts sheer amazement that our little girl was home with us, and severe anxiety that we wouldn't be able to keep her.

The second month -
Baby reacted badly to her 6 week vax and spent the night in hospital with vomiting and diarrhoea. I spent the night with her terrified that something else would go wrong. She was fine in a few days.
Her little personality really started to show and we would see little smiles and watch her fascination with the world around her.
Baby and I also took our first big trip away without dad. I was so anxious, but also really proud of how well we all managed it. Not that I'm in any hurry to do it again!

The third month -
Hubby had been back at work a couple of weeks and it was so lovely to see our little one's face light up when she saw him each night.
We celebrated our first Easter and, although we had a moment of grief for our angels, it was a lovely family event. It was super hard to see how spoiled she was by her grandparents and thinking of how her older siblings are very much ignored. She was given chocolate which we ate, and Easter books which she loved and we'll pull out each year.

The fourth month -
She's growing so quickly! She's laughing and learning almost by the minute it seems. She babbles away, and her little giggles are the most delightful thing.
We go out as much as we can and it seems she's finally getting used to the car seat. Other times we just walk in the stroller or the carrier. 
She's started sitting in her high chair as she loves being up high. Tummy time is fun when I can come up with ways to keep her distracted!

I never really believed that we would get to keep this little one. Every day with her really is a blessing and it's so thrilling watching her grow x

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The day she arrived

The morning of our c-section I was beside myself. We had packed everything well in advance as I had been worried about reduced fetal movements a couple of times so there was a chance, in my mind at least, that we might not make it to delivery day. Our pre-admission appointment was for 11.30 and my lovely aunt dropped us off just in time. In less than an hour we had been through all the checks and tests and I was told that I was the first on the list. By the time I was in the bed, waiting to be wheeled around I was sobbing uncontrollably, I couldn't believe we were here and I still had the horrible feeling of something going terribly wrong. It was either going to be me or her, I just couldn't imagine both of us being ok.

I had to go through on my own while they administered the spinal block. That was honestly the most painful part of the procedure as the junior doctor was having huge trouble finding the gap between my vertebra and kept hitting the bone. In the end the senior anesthetist had to do it. By this time I was close to a full blown panic attack and the nurses were trying to calm me as my blood pressure was skyrocketing and my heart rate was so high. When the block finally worked, I have never felt such an odd sensation. I can't even really find the words to describe it. But at that point, all I wanted was for hubby to come in. Meanwhile, he was waiting outside alone and starting to wonder what had gone wrong as he was waiting so long.

Thankfully once they began all the chattering in room (I never realised just how many people are required for a surgery such as this!) settled to busy noise and I just couldn't take my eyes off hubby's face. I'll never forget the look of horror on his face when I asked him if he could smell something burning. "Uh, yeah. They're cutting you..." And then, in what seemed like no time, our perfect little girl was out. They held her up for us to see before whisking her off to be cleaned up a little. Hubby had been sure he wouldn't cut the cord, but in the emotion of it all he was only too eagre.

I can't even begin to put words to the feeling of seeing our little girl for the first time and knowing that she was ours to hold. I know I cried for the longest time, first fear that she would be ok and not need to go to special care, then relief when they brought her over to us and then joy as I got to touch her tiny face and hands. Although I couldn't really move, the nurses freed my hand so that I could caress her and hubby held her safe on my chest.

To say I couldn't believe it was real is not as cliche as it sounds. I still have moments, most recently yesterday while feeding her, that I suddenly think this is all some kind of fantasy I have made up and she can't possibly be here, in my arms. I spent the first 24 hours or so waiting for someone to come and tell us that something was wrong with her, but every test they did was perfect. As during pregnancy, she was fine, it was me with the problems! But that's a story for another day...

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Time flies!

Dad is at work, the baby is asleep and I thought I would take the chance to try to gather some of my thoughts about the past seven weeks. Instead, I just spent ages looking at the hundreds of photos we have of our little one, trying to find one to use of this post. I don't know if it is the sleep deprivation or the fact that she's so cute, but i just couldn't stop myself from looking at one more, then one more, just one more...

To say the last seven weeks have gone quickly is an understatement. Of course, in the middle of the night when baby wont settle each minute seems an eternity, but on the whole, I can't believe that next weekend she'll be two months old!

I will hopefully have a chance to go into things in more detail in the future, but a quick overview is about all I can manage now.

The birth itself went really well, after an awful time trying to set the spinal block in during which time the repeatedly poked my bones and I ended up with a spectacular bruise. The moment she was born and they held her up for us to see, it seemed an eternity waiting for that first cry but in reality it was just moments. She was perfect and we were able to keep her with us right from the start, no need for special care.

We spent 4 nights in the hospital and they were willing to let us stay another night, but having shared a room with a terribly noisy family for two days, and another couple arriving, we decided that we would be better off at home. Baby had lost a lot of weight and we were sent home with a feeding plan which included regular formula top ups.

The first two weeks home are a blur of bottles, breastfeeding and pumping, interspersed with moments of sheer panic that I had only an hour at most before baby would wake and what should I do in that time? Eat? Sleep? Shower? Return any number of calls or texts? Sit and stare at my baby in wonder? (I did that more times than I can count!!) Try to have a conversation with hubby that didn't involve the content of baby's nappy or the state of my nipples?

After that, baby started to get the hang of feeding and we were able to drop the formula top ups and feed on demand. We started to settle into a bit of a routine feeding every three to four hours and introducing play time and story time. We experimented (and continue to) with different ways to settle our little one and get her to sleep. On the whole, she's been fantastic and will sleep in her moses basket by our bed for most of her naps, only needing to be held for maybe one nap each day.

The only real trouble recently was following her 6 week vaccinations. The first two days she was just sleepy and vomited a couple of times, then she developed diarrhea and was in terrible pain when using her bowels. We ended up at the hospital as the nurse had told us to watch out for unusual crying and bowel pain as intussusception can be a side effect of the rotavirus vax. After a night in for observation, they concluded that she was just having a hard time with the pain of diarrhea cramps, as she is still so little and getting used to all these new sensations. I just have to keep a eye out for dehydration and make sure that she feeds as often as she needs to. We're going on 5 days now, so hopefully she gets some relief soon.

It is so amazing watching this little personality grow and develop. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Monday, 16 January 2017

A small sleep deprived update...

She's here!

We have had our share of troubles in the last 10 days, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. She is the most perfect thing I have ever seen and we are enjoying every minute getting to know her xx

Thursday, 5 January 2017

38 weeks

So the tracker I have been using for this blog conveniently stops at 37 weeks - thankfully the amazing was there to help me out! I wish I had known about this site earlier, a lovely mix of the factual and the slightly odd :)

The day I thought would never come has arrived. In the next 24 hours our little girl will be in my arms - unbelievable. I've been completely overwhelmed and it is no exaggeration to say that my anxiety has been worse in the last two weeks than at almost any point in the pregnancy.

Christmas Eve saw us watching the carols and baby was wiggling around like crazy. I suddenly had a complete meltdown, imagining this was the last time I felt her move, and I could see the entire thing playing out in my head from the ambulance to the heart-rending wailing... it was just so vivid. It took me a while to calm down and hubby was amazingly supportive. Part of what upset me so much in the end was that I could imagine losing our little one so easily, and so vividly, but I can't keep a clear picture in my mind of her being here with us.  He then decided that maybe there were too many babies on the carols and a dose of Die Hard was what we needed to get through Christmas Eve.

We ended up awake well into Christmas Day and hubby took some lovely pictures of me and the bump in front of the tree, her first Christmas as he said and he wanted to have photos to remember it.

A few more appointments helped the time pass and hearing her tiny heart pounding away during the CTG was enough to keep me going.

Then New Year's Eve. In talking about this last night I'm not surprised that the two big dates set me off. After all, we are missing our babies that could have been with us, and trying to focus on the one who IS with us - it's all a bit overwhelming really. Hubby said some lovely things about having our little girl with us to celebrate the New Year and gave both of us a kiss which set of tears of a completely different kind.

The bags are packed, the house is ready and now we wait. We have a quiet night planned tonight, before our world completely changes tomorrow.  Thank you to everyone who has followed and supported me on this journey through this blog, it has meant a lot to me.

I'll be back soon to post about the next chapter in our journey xx

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Antenatal expression of colostrum

AKA "Colostrum Harvesting" - fun!

Since 36 weeks I have been attempting to hand express colostrum twice a day for our little girl, to help stabilise her blood sugar should it be low when she's born due to gestational diabetes.

This is not something I had ever heard of and I was thankful that the midwives at the hospital arranged for me to meet with a lactation consultant for a one-on-one session prior to the regular breastfeeding class that the hospital offers. I was given a number of tiny syringes, told how to safely store anything I did express, and shown how to hand express. I was also reminded that because the amount would be so tiny, if anything, that a pump was out of the question.

I was optimistic that I'd at least be able to express something as I have noticed discharge since early in the pregnancy. The first time I tried I thought I had success, a few tiny drops from each side, but not enough to register in the syringe (disclaimer: the pic above is from the web - not mine!). The next few days - nothing.

I was getting distressed and disheartened, after all, this was to help our little one and hopefully keep her out of the SCN. I felt like I was letting her down. I watched as many videos as I could find of actual hand expression, not the fake pillow breasts that are usually used for demonstration, and I read all the info I could find. It reinforced to me what I had been told - ANYTHING I could collect was a bonus and many women, especially first time mothers, have no luck at all.

I kept trying and just after 37 weeks, it started up again. I always have more luck at night after a nice warm shower. It doesn't seem to matter how much I warm or massage in the morning, there's always less success.

I still have very little stored, about 0.2 ml in all, but it feels like something to me and that I haven't given up trying.

I found it hard to find information in one place, so I'll link below the pages I found useful, just in case anyone else is in the same situation!