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Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Long Time No See!

Hello everyone, and as the title says long time no see! I hope that you are all well! I can't believe that it's been just over a year since I last blogged, and boy what a year it's been! So much has happened and changed in that time, way more than I could possibly ever put in a blog post, but I'll try to summarize, and it's good to be back!

I was never planning on having such a long break from blogging, but with the pregnancy, and then having our flat flooded (this time by our boiler) for the second time in July last year, life kind of took over! Most of my time from then on was taken up by me trying to get the baby's room sorted, as not only did I need to change it from a studio space to a functional nursery, but from where our boiler had flooded our long and packed cupboard all of the stuff that was in there had to go into what would be the nursery.

At it's worst the room was pretty much piled to the ceiling from my years worth of hoarding, all of which needed to be sorted through before the baby's arrival! That paired along with the fact that nothing could go back into the cupboard before months worth of the floor drying, led to many anxious nights of me worrying that I was never going to get everything sorted before the baby was born! Hence why I ended up having to stop blogging for a bit and put my Etsy shop on holiday for the foreseeable future!

Thankfully though I still had a fair amount of holiday to be used at work, which meant that I was able to add it on to the beginning of my maternity leave and finish work at 32 weeks, which was a godsend otherwise I would never have got everything done! I was also fortunate enough to have a pretty good pregnancy and was still feeling well and active right up until I gave birth, and because I had so much to do I never hit that I've had enough stage of being pregnant! It was more like please stay in there for as long as possible as I'm not ready for you yet!

It all worked out in the end though and I did get the nursery pretty much sorted in time, and the few bits that weren't just had to get shoved back in the cupboard for the foreseeable! Which is where they have remained ever since due to the demands of my small person!

It was also about this time last year that that we had our 20 week scan, and found out to our surprise that we were having a girl! In fact we were so surprised that I had to ask the Sonographer if she was sure, to which she replied that "unless it was hiding something I'm pretty sure it's a girl." To be honest though even then I still wasn't completely convinced until our little on one's arrival, as I had such an outward neat bump that we and everyone else were so convinced that it was a boy! Plus we kept hearing about stories about where the Sonographer's had got the sex wrong, and also there were so many boys in my hubby family! Not that we minded either way, but we were delighted to be having a girl! Below you can see our 20 week scan pic which I find so surreal to look at now that our little girl is here, as it's weird to connect that she was the bubba in the picture!

Our little one was then born at the beginning of Nov, three days before her due date, and weighing a healthy 7lb 9oz. Everything went pretty smoothly starting with my waters breaking at 7am, just as my hubby's alarm went off for work! My contractions then started an hour later and progressed well, with us being asked to go into hospital for a check-up at 3pm. By 4pm my contractions were really ramping up, but as I was only 2cm dilated and being that it was my first baby I was told that I'd be better at home as thing's could take hours. I really didn't feel comfortable going home though as I could feel that the contractions were getting stronger and closer together, was worried about misjudging coming back as the hospital wasn't particularly nearby, plus the weather had also turned for the worse that evening. I couldn't however have got out of the room even if I tried at that point though, and this was probably the point that I felt most out of control, but I managed to regain my composure and got out of there eventually! Leaving with a lollypop, like a child as my blood sugars were feeling low!

It did however take us an hour to get from the labour ward back to the car park as I was contracting so frequently, to the point that we had a nurse come up to us at one point with a wheelchair thinking that we were going up to the labour ward! We got there in the end though, but by this point I had decided that I wasn't going anywhere and that I didn't feel comfortable going home. So from there I proceeded to labour in the back of the car for four and a half hours until 9:30pm, at which point I thought that I might be 4cm dilated and that they'd take me in! Thankfully the wheelchair that the nurse had got us was still at the entrance to the hospital when we went to go back, so we managed to get up to the ward pretty quickly this time! Which was just as well because it turned out that to my, and I think the midwives surprise too I was fully dilated!

From here things should have been quite simple and baby should have been out in a few pushes, but no not our little one! Instead she decided to be stubborn and didn't want to come out! After two hours of pushing I was still feeling ok so the doctor let me go a little longer and gave me a drip to try and ramp up the contractions, but it did no good and if anything appeared slowed them down! The midwife said that baby wasn't stuck, that her head was there the whole time from when we went back up, and that she would pull her out by her ears if she could! But baby then started getting in distress which is when everything got taken out of my hands, and I was told that it would either have to be a suction cup, or forcep delivery, and that I'd have to have a spinal block. At this point I felt so disappointed as I'd gone so far on just a couple of paracetamol, and hadn't even used the gas and air, plus I still felt like I could go on, but the main thing was to get baby out safely.

Our little girl was then finally born via forcep delivery at 1:01am, eighteen hours after my labor started. But unfortunately as I lost quite a lot of blood afterwards and was very weak, I was unable to even hold our baby girl for the first few hours, so Daddy had to take over. Our little one was also battered and bruised after the delivery too with a blood shot eye, line down her face, and bruised eyes. The doctors were concerned about both her blood sugar and blood gas levels as well, which to start with they said was quite normal after a traumatic birth. But as time went on and they continued to raise and drop without them knowing why they became more concerned, so our poor little girl was up and down from special care whilst they investigated and prodded and poked her. All the while I was still very weak and not even able to get down to special care in a wheelchair to see her and find out what was happening, so I was quite a mess worrying about our baby girl over those first days. Eventually though they ruled everything out that could be causing it apart from an infection, so she was put on antibiotics through a canula 24 hours after she was born, which she stayed on for two and a half days until the cultures came back showing that it wasn't bacterial. Even now we still don't know what caused it, and probably never will, but the main thing was that they did the trick!

In all we were in hospital for four days before coming home, and in that time the ward went from being full to empty as other people took their babies home whist we remained. But we were later moved to a side room as we'd been there for a while. Luckily though I had packed everything bar the kitchen sink into my maternity bag, obviously not knowing at the time that we wouldn't just be in and out. But as lovely and amazing as the staff and midwives were I so longed to go home, not only so that we could start settling into life as a family, but also because I so missed my little Florrie bunny so much!

We got there in the end though and now nearly nine months on we have a beautiful thriving little girl who is just starting to crawl! I have no idea where the time has gone it's really just flown by, and in some ways I do miss those newborn days, as I feel like at the time you're in so much of a daze of sleep deprivation, adjusting and getting to know your newborn, and getting through the days, that you don't get to enjoy it as much as once they are that bit older and interacting with you. Plus they are so tiny and cute! But equally I wouldn't go back, as man those first couple of months especially were every bit as hard as I thought that they'd be, and even though I've helped out with a lot of babies and children over the years I don't think that anything could have prepared us parenthood!

Having said that from the word go we never had the most chilled baby! She's always been a little headstrong force of nature, and even from the beginning had so much character, a very strong neck and quite focused eyes for a newborn, and was a very clingy Mummy's girl from the off too! I don't know if this in part was due to her being separated from me quite a bit for the first few days where she was up and down from special care, but she's always known what she want's, and that's Mummy!

In the early months she constantly wanted to feed, and if she wasn't feeding she was either sleeping or crying with very few settled spells in-between, and at that point only vigorous physical rocking or the boob would sooth her! I couldn't put her down anywhere, or rarely give her to someone else without her screaming for Mummy! She also hated the pram base and the car, so for the first three months every car journey was a battle, with us always having to have someone in the back to try and sooth her. This generally involved trying to give her a dummy that you'd have to tap to try and get her to take, which she never did, but it was the only thing at the time that would sometimes marginally pacify her. But generally every journey from start to finish would involve her be inconsolable, the poor little thing!

This was until eventually one day when she was around three months old I went on a 20 min journey with my best friend to another friend's house, and I was dreading it as I knew that no one would be in the back with her as I didn't want to put my friend in that position. She was however amazing and we didn't hear a peep from her on the way there or back, and it was like she was a different child! I don't know if it was just an age thing or because we'd put the rear view car mirror in the back that day, but either way we'd cracked it! She's now been brilliant in the car pretty much ever since, and will generally fall asleep on most journey's, with a mixture of the movement and a bit of rock music!

With the way that she was during those few month's though, I honestly don't think that I could have got through without my trusty baby sling, which turned out to be one of my best purchases! It was one that I made before she was born thinking that I probably wouldn't make use of, but as it turned out it was invaluable! I first tried her in it on the off chance one day when she was around three weeks old as I was getting fed up of not being able to get off of the sofa in order to get the simplest of things done, and it was an instant hit both soothing and lulling her to sleep practically instantly every time! Like I say she never liked the carrycot but she'd sleep for hours in the sling if I went out for a walk, which was also nice as not only could I get a few bits done, but it was the only time that I got a bit of a break too! I think that it was a combination of the closeness and the motion that soothed her, perhaps in part because I walked a lot when I was pregnant. But either way it worked, and was a tool that I used for a good three or so months and still use in emergencies now too.

I do think that the breastfeeding definitely further added to our little one's clinginess towards me too though, and even now our little monkey is still a booby monster! But I am fortunate enough not to have had any problems with it, even though it didn't half hurt for the first month or so! It seems to have done her good though as up until we started to wean a couple of months ago she'd only ever been breastfed on demand, (as I was told that this was better for her and her blood sugar levels.) In-fact she fed so much in those early days that she'd only lost 1 percent of her birth weight at her ten day check, and is now a thriving little chunky bubba weighing in at 21lb 5oz!

Now nearly nine months down the line we are finally starting to make progress with her independence! Like I say she will happily fall asleep in the car or pram now, and is much better going to other people during the day as she feeds much less. Plus she will take an expressed bottle well in the day if she needs too. She will also go in her bouncy chair for a bit if she's not tired without her screaming now too, and I can even walk out of the room without her crying sometimes as well! Especially if I have our go to song "Baby Shark" on repeat on YouTube for her! Being on the move has also definitely helped too, as she will play with her toys and cause havoc now!

She's also getting better at going to Daddy in the evenings whilst I make dinner as well, or she'll sit in her highchair and watch me. Whereas up until about a month or so ago she would just scream from start to finish if she was with Daddy or anyone else whilst I was cooking, even if she could see me, just purely because it was coming into that witching hour where all she wanted was Mummy! It was all pure rage with very little tears, but it made dinner times pretty stressful! We did try and let her cry it out for a while with Daddy, but she was just so persistent that it just made everything more stressful for everyone!

We are also in a better routine now, so everyday tasks are getting a little easier to do! Although getting to have a shower, or being able to get myself ready properly are still luxury's, as well as getting any time to myself! Especially since she still generally feeds to sleep and naps on me during the day, plus sleeps with me at night too! Which was never meant to be part of the plan! But where she used to feed continuously through the night and only usually slept for very short periods in her cot, I used to take her into the front room to feed with the lights down. From there I used to try and stay awake, but as much as I tried I eventually gradually ended up falling asleep with her. So as we all got more sleep and she was more settled we ended up co-sleeping, and still do now! Many people criticize me for it, but she's slept through the night that way for months, and it works best for us at the moment so I'm happy to do it. But does mean that I can't leave her of an evening yet, and that I'm not getting to share a bed with the hubby, but for now it's a small price to pay! We will get her in her cot eventually, but there's plenty of time for that, and I'll do it when we're all ready!

So we do still have some progress to make, and she is still very much a Mummy's girl! But like I say things are definitely getting much easier now! Which is good, because I'm due to go back to work tomorrow for three half days a week at my little gift shop job! I can't believe that it's come around so quickly and I am looking forward to going back as I enjoy it, but I'm also torn about leaving her, as I haven't been away for her for more than four hours since the day that she was born! I think that it will do her good to have a bit of distance from me though, and for me to see if my brain still works for other things besides caring for babies! Plus she's going to be with my mum too who she know well, which makes me feel better about the whole thing! If anything I'm more worried about her playing up for my mum than leaving her, but hopefully it will all be fine!

Despite how hard it's been at times though, and how much life has changed, I do love being a Mummy, and it's so worth it! But it still seems surreal sometimes, and even now and I often sit looking at her in amazement thinking how lucky I am to have and to have grown such a gorgeous, cheeky, headstrong little girl! Obviously I am biased but my hubby and I do feel incredibly lucky to have her, and love watching her grow and evolve! Especially at the moment as she's at the lovely interactive stage where she's saying a few words, babbling, trying to get on the move, generally being cheeky, causing mischief, and making us laugh! She is also a very loved and adored Grandchild, Great-Grandchild and Niece, especially as she's the first on my side!

On the Flo front she is all good and has adjusted to life with a baby too! She got a bit scared when we first bought her home, especially when bubba cried, as I knew that she would! But she actually adjusted to her much quicker than I expected, and within a few days she wasn't even bothered about the crying. At first it was hard to fit in time for both baby and Flo, but I made sure that it happened and now we are in a good routine where Flo will come out for a run in the morning just as our little one needs a nap, so that way I can still spend time with her too! When our little one is awake and out with Flo on the sofa though it's so cute watching them together. We first introduced Flo to our bubba at three weeks old, and she's always been so good with her, sniffing at her but not going to close and being mindful to jump around her. In fact even when I was pregnant Flo who isn't the most graceful of bunnies when it comes to jumping all over you was so gentle if she did jump on my bump when I was pregnant, and often avoided it all together. It may just be me, but I 'm sure that even bunnies have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing these things too! Our little one on the other hand has now got to the age where Flo is very exciting to look and and touch, but she's not as gentle as Flo is with her so needs close supervision when stroking so that she doesn't grab at her! Below you can see the first pic that I took of the two of them together when our little one was just three weeks old!

In terms of my illustration work things have very much come to a standstill since the flood and our our little one coming along, and as I mentioned earlier my Etsy shop has been on holiday ever since. But now things are starting to get a tad easier, and as I'm starting to get little snippets of time here and there I am planning on re-opening my shop in the near future, and also have plans in motion for some new product lines too so stay tuned!

I hope that you're all having a good start to the week wherever you are and thank you as always for popping by and bearing with the long post! Especially those of you that have continued to stick by me during my long break, it really does mean the world to me! I am going to try and resume blogging more often again now, but it will probably be less frequently and more illustration based, and likewise with my Instagram and Facebook pages too! But thank you for your support as always!