Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that it’s a year full of love, health and happiness for you. We hope you’ve had a brilliant Christmas and Santa delivered everything you wished for. My two (and me) have been spoilt and got to spend some gorgeous time with our family too. We’re feeling blessed.
I have mixed feelings about 2021. I mean another covid year for a start, but it gave me my wonderful son. So who could be happy to say goodbye to newborn days, the new baby smell and all the newborn cuddles? But besides the loveliness, there’s been some moments I’m happy to be leaving behind in good ole ’21.
With January 1st comes the refreshed hope for the new year and version 6.8 of our best selves. And for the last few years I’ve not taken part. I’ve well and truly left the resolution making to the well meaning and permanently optimistic among us. I’ve honestly not made a single resolution, for at least three years, because I’ve given in to the forgone conclusion that by the 8th I’ll be no longer doing my best or chasing the resolution. On lucky years, I have probably last till about the 23rd of the month max, then those old habits have crept back in.
This year however, I thought I’d give a no spend January ago. Its only and month, that’s simply 31 days to not buy anything absolutely necessary. So here’s the plan. Pay the bills, meal plan and stick to a list for shopping, and anything apart from the essentials will be staying in the shops while my pennies stay firmly in my own pocket for a change. Anything saved from this endeavour will be planted into savings.
I intend to meal plan weekly, I’ll share my plans as I do them. They’ll be in keeping with slimming world and family friendly meals so I’ll link any borrowed recipes and share any I make up too. Weekends we will utilise local haunts and free things to do, packing picnics and snacks if the rain holds out or we find indoor picnic spots.
I’ll be plotting out my incoming and outgoings for the month with you, which I know will be tight as I’m currently on maternity pay, coming off that and going back to work which will leave me brassic for a week or two because where the mat pay stops and my wage starts there’s a lull in the middle. This will actually be the first time I’ve ever committed to a no spend month, and I know my bank account will be looking forward to it. I’ve always found money difficult to manage and talk about(I’ll go into why another time), but I’d really like to change that this year.
How about you? Will you join me? Have you done a no spend month before? Do you think I’ll stick it out?
Euan is sixteen weeks this week, and our breastfeeding journey started a few moments after he was born. It’s luckily been, after his initial weight loss, a pretty straightforward journey. Not that it particularly felt that way at the beginning.
I am, as you know a second time mum this time round but it made me none the wiser on breastfeeding. Delilah never took to it, she had a tongue tie and due to not holding out in fear of her losing too much weight I took to pumping and combi feeding for her. Pumping lasted 6 months and then it became too time consuming along with everything else I was trying to do at the time.
This time, I had read up a whole load, I was so much more determined and I knew it was a normal occurance for a newborn to lose some weight a few days after birth (because these are the things they don’t tell you before you have babies). Euan was pretty easy to latch, we didn’t struggle but despite this being the case and havijg our latch checked by every midwife we saw, he lost 9% of his birth weight over the first 2 weeks. We were referred to “the feeding team” who failed to help in the slightest, not even a phone call. It was suggested that I use formula to top up initially to get his weight in check, this bothered me no end. It was however the right thing to do for my boy to help him get started.
Along with pumping after every feed, topping him up with the expressed milk and one bottle of formula every day, we managed to get on track but the help and support was somewhat none existant. Hubs bought formula and heavily suggested to go that way too, which killed me inside even though I knew he meant well. Failure this time round was not so option in my head, so I battled it all. Even my grandmother who had 2 kids herself bluntly ask “why the bloody hell are you doing that?”. I’m still met with “well how long are you going to feed him” to which I now simply say un-flustered, “till he decides otherwise”.
Being stuck to the sofa for weeks with our newborn schedule was tiresome but I was so determined not to give into the formula pressure from all sides. I just knew it wasn’t the end of our journey, I knew formula wasn’t right for us. And because of that I will be forever proud of us for sticking with it, the lack of support has been the hardest thing to get through. For a community of midwives, Dr’s and health professionals I was perplexed at how easy it was for them to all say “formula” despite me being so avid about breastfeeding.
Dont get me wrong, I’m on the side of “fed is best” but I was 1000% sure I wanted to breastfeed my son, so the lack of guidance or help postpartum has been diabolical. Maybe it was just because of lockdown? Postpartum care in fact has been lacking. As an individual I’ve been lucky enough not to suffer with any baby blues or depression despite having a history of mental health issues, but one phone call asking “how are you” in regard to the purely physical aftermath is not enough.
Why are we not looking after new mams? The lack of care for us mums after this monumental change is possibly the most shocking thing. We’re checked up on at regular intervals over our pregnancy, yet as soon as baby is born we get one phone call and no further check ups. What has your experience been like with postpartum care? Was it the same as mine? What’s your postpartum story?
Going back to breastfeeding, we’ve hit leap 4 and I’m not going to lie I’m finding feedingbcrazy tiring. Euan constantly wants to be feeding. He will not nap and it’s so hard to put him down for even 5 mins. Trying to go for a wee holding a baby is all kinds of hard, pulling up your jeans after is beyond difficult. He naps on boob, as soon as he falls away I’ll try put him down but he will be right awake within seconds most of the time. Mix that with very nearly 4 year old who would like all the attention still, it’s been a rough leap so far. It seems delivery drivers always call when he needs feeding or mid feed too. Typical.
I’d just like to say, to mums (dads) all over, breastfeeding or not, well done! Parenting is hard. Bronze, silver, gold awards for breastfeeding boobies, higher awards or not at all, you are doing amazing things everyday just raising them little humans. As long as they’re loved, fed and cared for you are winning.
I’d love to hear your feeding stories, share them in the comments with us and know that this is a judgement free, safe space.
Hubs surprised us on Friday by having the day off work and we made the most of it.
We packed up the kids and headed straight for Bolton Abbey. We haven’t been in an age, and absolutely love it there. Delilah hasn’t been since she had just gone one, it was great to see her in the same spot a few years later along with her new baby brother too.
We quickly pre-booked parking for the Riverside carpark online because its pre-book only at the moment. Dumped the car and had lunch at the cafe. Delilah played on the pirate ship playground then we headed off into Strid Woods for a walk. There’s something about being in the woods and near water that’s so grounding. I really just feel like it’s so good for the soul, and if I could choose to live anywhere it would be close to the River Wharf. This stretch of the Yorkshire Dales is honestly my hearts home. It is so calming to me.
An ice cream for us and feed for Euan later we walked the other direction and headed up to the Abbey. Hubs wanted to do the stepping stones and after we explored the Abbey, he and Delilah gave them ago. Less than a minute in, and probably about 2 steps across Delilah got wet and Hubs ended up carrying her across. She is the most uncoordinated little person I’ve ever met; but all in her good spirit she thought it was funny and kicked off any water in daddy’s direction. They did get to the other side only to come back across the bridge so Delilah could feed the ducks with the crusts from the sandwiches we had saved.
Homeward bound, one hungry babe was treated to McDonald’s for tea. She scoffed the lot and then on reaching home way passed her normal bedtime passed out pretty soon after hitting the pillow which for anyone who knows Delilah is not normal. She’s a night owl which causes some bedtime issues occasionally.
Saturday morning brought a cake make for my niece. Well decorating it at least. My niece has an allergy to dairy, so ovbs I can make her a dairy free cake for her cake smash to celebrate her 1st birthday. For what ever the reason the dairy free “buttercream” was not cooperating in the slightest. I had bulges and setting issues all over the joint. No matter how much I smoothes and reset, remover and readjusted this cake was just not doing ad it was told. There was a point I was so worried it wasn’t going to turn out edible let alone photograph-able I text my sis to tell her. Anyway it turned out okay in the end, but by no means perfect. I think it just goes to show if you roll a cake in enough sprinkles really hard you can fix pretty much any issues. So here is wishing little A the happiest 1st birthday. We love you and can’t wait to celebrate with you this weekend coming.
Saturday evening brought movies on the projector after dark. It was just so nice to be sitting in the garden with the air getting cooler; film on, fire pit burning and a glass of wine in hand. Laterally the perfect at home date night even it was crashed by a tiny human who feeds on demand (constantly at the moment).
Sunday was salmon brunch and introducing Delilah to retro games on an emulator via the projector. She adored it. She’s a huge sonic fan, so having her play the game and see her excited little face was so good. She got so involved, jumping up and down and shouting at daddy to “whack it with the sword” when they were playing a fighting game. We only really got it out because we were expecting rain to be honest. It didn’t rain, but we had such a good Sunday we don’t regret a second.
How was your weekend? Do you plan in advance or are you like us and just wing it?
I got pregnant July last year, and listening to government guidelines we were full expecting to have been out of lockdown shortly after. As months came and left just as quick, lockdown was reinstated.
Even as an introvert the news on Halloween was dread inducing. We debates about pulling Delilah out of nursery just because hubs is classed as high risk with being type 1 diabetic, and with me being pregnant too. It was a real debate.
I’d been working on flexible furlough since maybe August when I had gone back after the first lockdown. Every thing came to a stand still yet again. I was back on furlough at 3 almost 4 month’s pregnant. As much as I felt safer having less chance of collecting any of the nasty bugs as we refer to them in our house, I also felt isolated.
The majority of my besties are at work, the girls I finally clicked with and have the best relationship with. I cherish the relationships I have with each one of them, because I’ve simply never had that group of friends to turn to. I’m a one on one person normally. I have, I would say two very close bestest besties but even then we go weeks and months without talking sometimes. This works for us. My work besties, pre-lockdown, I saw every other day if not every day. So to be away from that friend/adult/coworker contact and not be able to share my pregnancy with pretty much anyone outside my household was hard.
Pregnancy was hard without peers to make me feel like I was normal. The contact once we all got put on furlough again slipped as it does/would with everyone. We all have our separate lives, our families because we’re all mums, and we all have different situations that take up our time so naturally our chat slipped. It just meant going through it without them, which makes me a little bit sad to be honest. These girls helped make my hen do good after the shit show it started out being, they turned up the morning of my wedding to help me celebrate even though they couldn’t be there at the actual event, to not be able to share this pregnancy with my besties is just a little bit crap. Okay, not a little bit. More like a monumental amount of horse shit.
Being an introvert I have the tendency to withdraw from social situations as it is, and with a full year of being home alone with a toddler 85% of the time I’ve become accustomed to dealing with everything alone. Don’t get me wrong I see hubs every day when he gets in, but he’s knackered and there’s no way he’s going to understand the utter tribulations of the day. A small girl saying “mummy” 3986 times a min every day, or how touched out you get from having a newborn feeding from you every 30mins on a cluster feed day. Mum friends get it. But I, like every other pregnant and stay home mums have not had that over the last year. It has damaged my relationships. To what extent, I’m not sure yet. I will certainly try my best to step away from my introverted tendencies once it’s through and try and rekindle paused friendships.
Hubs worked pretty much the full lockdown. He had a couple of weeks in March after the NHS sent a very late letter saying he should be isolating. I was so thankful for the adult company and the extra pair of hands near the end of our pregnancy. Delilah loved having Daddy all to herself too when he was home. More time to play and hottub together. She misses him like crazy when he’s working his long weeks and not getting in till six sometimed later most evenings.
We made the decision to pull Delilah from nursery at the back end of 2020, so I feel like lockdown has in away been impact full on her social life too. Where she was making friends at nursery, she’s now been out of the childcare/early years settings for (by the time school rolls round) 9 months. She will also be the youngest in her class. I’m a little worried it will put a blocker up for her in regards to making friends and school and just coping with the fact she’s there every day. I think there will be an adjustment period, a hard one and I hate that it is that way for her. Don’t get me wrong she’s the most friendly and social little miss ever, we only have to pass the park with another child in and she’s made a buddy. I know she’s going to catch up qns probably surpass some kids in her class as she’s very confident socially, but mum’s worry. It’s my job to have cogs constantly turning in prep for any situation for her, trying to prepare her, even just getting her saying please and thank you without having to ask her.
Once Delilah is in school, Euan and I will be embracing whatever is on offer in terms of baby classes. I feel like I need it this time, I never did with Delilah. Its been so long between seeing others in my peer range I do feel like I need to get out there and make mummy friends for sure.
I felt like I was duped this pregnancy. I feel like I missed out on a lot. The appointments were slashed more than in half, I think I⅔ had maybe 4 my entire pregnancy. Sharing with family and friends, a baby shower or get together. People, minus a little handful ended up being not interested, and that’s okay I guess we all had our things going on; but if there hadnt had been lockdown the outside interest would have been there. I might be an introvert, but it would have been nice to have that little acknowledgement I guess. A kind of break for myself was out the window at any point. Any kind of break for hubs and I was certainly out the window too, although luckily we did get out anniversary night away when lockdown had ever so slightly eased back in October.
So yeah, lockdown pregnancy wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It was hard, some days more than anyone will ever care to know. I am however thankful for the extra time I got with Delilah, the weeks Hubs was out on furlough and the bond with my newborn which I probably wouldn’t have had if it hadn’t have been for c-19. There are always silver linings!
I feel like this has been a bit of a moaning post and I’d rather keep positive on my social platforms. On the other hand, I also feel like it’s the truth and worth noting down even if its just for me to read back and remember how it was.
Have you had a lockdown pregnancy or birth? What was your experience?
It’s taken a while, but here it is. A play by play of the last year. In bullet form because a full year is a lot and nobody has time for that.
• July ’20: Bloomed a garden. The veg patch was amazing. I didn’t see any tomatoes because my small girl ate them straight off the plant. We also got a new kitchen!!
• August ’20: positive pregnancy test, small girl turned 3, the blooming veg garden made my morning sickness peak. Oh the vom inducing kale nightmares I had then.
•September ’20: First scan and baby announcement. My 32nd Birthday. Working on flexi furlough. Morning sickness was real, it certainly wasn’t just mornings. Little Miss started nursery.
•October ’20: Halloween hosted as a mini treasure hunt in the house for little miss because of covid. Another Lockdown announcement. Our 1st wedding anniversary, we managed to stay at our fave hotel for the night.
•November ’20: nothing particularly notable. Still sick, preparing for a lockdown Xmas.
•December ’20: Found out our bump was a little boy, Delilah thought it was the end of the world because she wanted a sister. Santa visited and we got to spend Xmas with my ma and step pa.
•January ’21: soaked in all the mama of one moments and pulled little miss out of nursery. On government guidelines, from 28 weeks pregnant we were supposed to shield so she stayed home with me and we barely saw a soul.
• February ’21: we saw snow, and a 7 month (still sick) pregnant mama hauled delilah about in a sledge. We also baked alot this month.
•March ’21: my little brother hit 30, there seemed to be tulips in every vase I owned and I’d finally started buying baby stuff and packed the baby’s hospital bag.
•April ’21: the strangest weather month. One day delilah was in a swimming costume, the next a warm coat. Baby arrived exactly 1 day before his due date. Life as a family of 4 began. Found out about delilah’s school.
•May ’21: the month that seems to have just disappeared. Between getting established with breastfeeding and baby bonding the month just vanished.
•June ’21: we celebrated hub’s birthday, had a holiday.
•July ’21: celebrated my dad’s birthday. Visited delilah’s school and here we are.
So there it is in bullets. Big year right?! And all through a pandemic.
So, let’s talk pregnancy and birth.
My second pregnancy was clinically speaking straight forward. My experience on the other hand was borderline painful. Sickness started immediately. It was the first thing that made me suspect I was pregnant. I must have only been about 3/4 weeks, and the sight of the kale I had grown made me actually sick. Hence the demise of my veggie garden last year as well as my blogging. It also lasted till about 30ish weeks.
This pregnancy was lonely too. Pregnancy through a pandemic was dark some days, but I’ve far too much to say on that subject; I’ll save it for another post.
Baby made me craved kebabs which I’d never dream of eating before. Like the really unhealthy takeaway versions, with hot sauce despite having the worst heartburn for the entire pregnancy. Veggies made me heave, not ideal especially when you invite over family for a Sunday roast and end up gipping at the sight and not eating it. Energy levels were so low, turns out I was anemic. Weeks of iron supplements my energy returned thank goodness.
The little bugger then decided to lay on my sciatic nerve. This left my hips, lower back and butt in agony on waking. There was literally no way of being comfortable throughout, especially for the later end when he positioned his but and legs right up in my ribs. This made it hard to breath when walking anywhere.
I can not tell you how much I wanted him to arrive. I walked, I bounced on the ball, I drank all the raspberry leaf tea, ate the hot curry in hope to help bring on labour. But let’s face it, these babies arrive when they feel like it.
Finally my waters broke on the 13th of April at 5.10am with super mild contractions. Just one day before my due date. Went into the birth unit, checked over and sent us home to progress naturally. A film, coffee and cinnamon bun later the contractions were stronger and a ton closer together. I pre called the unit to let them know we were on the way. I followed the instructions, but as you will find out there wasn’t much point in the end.
On arrival the parking attendant watched me get out the car as hubs reversed parked it, then told us we couldn’t park there – then despite being mid contraction asked me if I was there for a covid jab. And in all honesty I couldn’t help but laugh in his face mid contraction as I told him “my son is about to pop out”. Needless to say he didn’t really know what to say to that. Got in the hospital and despite calling prior to going, we ended up in maternity assessment unit because I totally needed to be told I was having contractions and progressing towards active labour.
Prodded and poked (joy) and finally get the all clear to move to the birth centre after being told I was only 3cm (which I swear was such a wrong diagnosis). When they said I could move I swear I heard a chorus of angels, after being verbal that I wasn’t about to give birth to my son in a curtained cubicle with an audience. We grabbed our stuff and walked through the cafe. I had nothing but a bed sheet wrapped round my none existing waist, no pants on cos I lost a ton of my waters in the assessment unit and I was still contacting like you wouldn’t believe. There was no way I was going to put pants on at that point. There was no way I could.
Finally in the birth unit room, I had a contraction as soon as I got in there. Midwife wanted to examine me again; my little one is thinking ‘sod that, I’m coming out’ and boy, did he gave me all those feels too “nope he’s coming now”. Student Midwife delivered him (supervised). 2 contractions and he was in the world.
Practically perfect. Although how he got away without any complications because of the true knot in his cord is beyond anyone! Even surprising a midwife or 3.
No water birth as I had in my head, but got away with only gas and air and a slight graze (no need for stitches – whoo). Discharged within 4 hours because I was damn sure I wasn’t staying in. So we all trekked home and got settled into life as a family of four.
Euan Peter Douglas has arrived and is now currently 13 weeks old as of today.
So yeah, thats how that part of my year has gone. How did you get on? What’s new? I’ve very much missed writing, so here’s to getting back into a weekly post again.