21 May 2016

Bringing the little ladies into the world - Part Two

This is the second part of my pregnancy, labour and birth 'diary' post series. If you missed it you can read part one here.

Welcome to the world Phoebe

I can't remember exactly when we decided that we would add to our family but I know that I had always hoped to have a least one sibling for Ellie and that I wanted them fairly close together if possible. It was probably around the time she started sleeping a bit better as before then I couldn't have possibly contemplated it, although hormones are funny things. 

I found out I was expecting Phoebe when Ellie was 18 months old. We had been to Norfolk for three days with my family for a special celebration. I totally missed all the signs as to be honest I had been hoping to fall pregnant for about 9 months and had convinced myself yet again that I was every single month until then. We were so busy this particular weekend with beach trips, farm visits, lunch trips, dinners etc that it wasn't on my mind at all. On the Saturday night I poured myself a glass of wine at dinner and nearly spat it out after taking a sip, for anyone who knows me I would not do this lightly but it tasted disgusting! I remarked that I thought the wine was off at which point my whole family took a sip from their glass and said they didn't know what I was on about. The next day after getting home and unpacking I popped to the supermarket to get a few bits, I don't know what made me do it but I walked past the pregnancy tests and picked one up. I went upstairs and took the test just as my husband was coming up the stairs. I hid it under the bath mat as we had recently had a discussion about only taking a test if I was a week late (it can get quite costly after a while this stick peeing thing!) he asked me what I was doing and I said 'nothing' before popping back into the bathroom and sneaking a look at my secret pregnancy test to see two very strong lines... This was going to be awkward... I went into our bedroom with the test in my hand and sheepishly told him what I had been doing in the bathroom. 

I spent the next 16 weeks throwing up 3-5 times a day again and feeling pretty dreadful to be honest. It's a different ball game second time round when you have a busy toddler to look after and I'd completely forgotten how tiring that first trimester, in fact scrap that.. all of it is. Ellie and I watched far too much Peppa Pig and I napped and went to bed when she did. I knew from experience that it would get better and I would hopefully stop being sick soon.

20 week scan
We decided the day of our 20 week scan that we'd quite like to know whether the baby was a boy or a girl this time, but Oli really loved announcing our news when Ellie arrived so we decided we wouldn't tell anyone, not even Ellie that we knew. Friends and family had asked us before the scan if we were going to find out what we were having and we had said no, so nobody asked us really so it was easy to keep a surprise although quite funny when people told us we were 'definitely having a boy'. 

Daddy and Ellie decorating the 'big girls room' she now shares with her sister
The preparations for Phoebe's arrival included the usual washing of baby grows and hospital bag packing (although this time there was much less in it having used barely any of what I took in last time) and preparing Ellie to have a sibling. This involved lots of story books about new babies, multiple re runs on the Peppa pig episode where Miss rabbit has babies and moving her out of the nursery into her 'big girls room'. I felt apprehensive about how she was going to feel, whether I would be able to love another baby as much as I loved her and nervous about making plans for her care when I went into labour. I kept reassuring myself that we were giving her a great gift and both being from a close family of 4 children my husband and I knew this would absolutely be true. I bought Phoebe two newborn pink sleep suits of her own to take to hospital, although we had tonnes of newborn girls things I wanted her to have a couple of things that were hers first, although practically the hand me downs were so handy as they are in them in no time at all and they had only been worn a couple of times if that.

I hadn't gone back to my old job after having Ellie but had got an evening job in a local country pub two nights a week. I had to give this up when I was 7 months pregnant as being on my feet after a full day of looking after a 2 year old became a bit of a struggle, although my bump was very useful to rest plates on when clearing tables from the restaurant to the kitchen :) 

39 weeks pregnant
With a 2 year old at home there was no maternity leave as I knew it last time, however the pregnancy went much quicker than my first and because I sort of knew what to expect I felt more relaxed about it all. Miss Tibs was due mid January which meant I didn't have much room left in my tummy for all the lovely Christmas food that year. I had also convinced myself that because Ellie had been 4 days early that this baby would be early too which meant I banned Oli from drinking over the festive period just in case. As it turned out, Phoebe wasn't early, she actually arrived 4 days past her due date. 

I didn't get to my due date with Ellie and it's a funny old feeling when it rolls round. Towards the end of pregnancy people often ask you when you are due, the state of panic on the lady's face at the supermarket check out when she asked and I replied "today actually" was priceless. I pretty much went to bed every night from 37 weeks wondering if the baby would make an appearance and what her birthday would be. Nine months goes so quickly yet a few days can feel like an eternity. I felt really calm despite being a little bit impatient this time because I knew what to expect, I knew what a contraction felt like, when it was the real thing and not Braxton hicks, when to go to hospital and ultimately that I could do it and it was all so, so worth it.

The day I went into labour was a wet, rainy January day, after an afternoon nap we walked down to the park around the corner from us to take Ellie puddle jumping. I felt quite achey and was beginning to niggle. We went to my parents for Sunday dinner, I knew I was in early labour but didn't say anything there were a lot of us there and the noise from the chitter chatter made me quite irritable and I found myself having to leave the room every now and then. The contractions were sporadic with no real pattern to them but by 8pm we were home and I was bouncing on my ball knowing that we would soon be meeting our new daughter. After organising for my mum to come and stay with Ellie we headed to hospital about 2am. The contractions felt strong, like they were when I was well on my way with Ellie. 

When we got to hospital I was actually only 3cm dilated but 'could be stretched to 7cm' whatever that means?! Probably too much information but never mind. I was tired and my contractions had gone from every 5-10 minutes back to every 15-30 minutes. Our midwife was amazing and could see that I just needed to relax. She sent me to the antenatal ward at 5am to get some rest and was pretty convinced that as soon I got some things would be back up and running pretty quickly. Oli wasn't allowed to come with me so he went to the car for a quick power nap. Now, it was a very cold January night and if you ask him about Phoebe's' birth he will tell you that his eyeballs froze while he attempted to sleep in the car... Poor him... Meanwhile I was on the ward having very intense contractions again, by 7:30am I really needed some gas and air and rang the bell to see the midwife. I had reached 8cm and was promptly put in a wheelchair and wheeled down the corridor back to delivery where we just happened to meet my chilly husband and his frozen eyeballs. As the birthing pool was filling up I finally got some gas and air before climbing in at 8am. The relief was immense, it felt familiar, I knew what I was doing and felt so calm all of a sudden and of course the gas and air helped a lot. My waters went at 8:15, and after just 3 pushes Phoebe entered the world rather speedily at 8:27am. All my worries about whether I could possibly love another baby immediately disappeared, she was beautiful.

Phoebe just a few hours old
I expected the placenta delivery and stitches this time and I think they were marginally worse for my husband who was sat in a chair snuggling our new baby at the opposite end of the room directly facing me...  You get the picture.

After tea, toast, shower and checks we made our way home in time to introduce Phoebe to her big sister before her bedtime. We put a present in the bottom of the pram top which Phoebe was in for Ellie. When she got home she ran to see the baby and was so happy to have a little sister. She saw the present and said 'oh look there's a present for her, can I help her?' She couldn't believe it when we told her it was actually for her.

When Ellie met Phoebe
It felt lovely, the four of us together in our living room and just like it had always been that way. I didn't have to divide my love between my babies, there was just more of it.

Me x

You can read Part Three HERE

18 May 2016

Bringing the little ladies into the world - Part One

I attended a baby shower recently and was asked by the lovely mummy to be how the little ladies came into the world and how I knew when they were on their way. When I got home I reflected on actually just how amazing it is to grow a little baby and bring it into the world, no matter how they arrive. I'm acutely aware that everyones pregnancy, labour and birth experiences are different, this is quite simply me documenting my experiences and backing up my memories of the days my world changed forever as they are already fading, which is probably how i've ended up with three babies! Anyway here we go, i've decided to write three separate posts as once I started I realised there was quite a lot to document.

Welcome to the world Ellie

Having your first baby is a whole host of unknowns. I hadn't really thought about what pregnancy would be like, I just knew I wanted to have a baby and that was as far as I got. I got home from work one day and was feeling a bit yuck, I don't know what made me do it but I took a pregnancy test. I left it on the side of the bath and went to make a cup tea and thought nothing of it, i'd become a monthly stick pee-er ever since we had decided to start a family, I was just too impatient to see if i'd be 'late' or not and was driving myself crazy trying to spot every tangible symptom. Anyway, the negative lines got a bit disappointing after a while but also what I expected each month after a while so when i walked back into the bathroom I was completely and utterly shocked to see two lines on the test. I remember bursting into tears, feeling mild panic and sheer delight all at the same time. Literally minutes after my mum called me (she seems to have a 6th sense...) I hadn't told Oli yet and so wanted to tell her but held back and rushed her off the phone. It didn't feel quite right telling my husband he was going to be a dad over the phone while he was at work, or on his train journey home (which was consequently delayed!) so rather than calling him I decided to tell him in person when he got in, which was super late and i'd fallen asleep waiting. When he climbed into bed I woke up and remembering I flung the pregnancy test at him excitedly and told him he was going to be a daddy.

I spent the first 16 weeks of this pregnancy throwing up, which made it very hard to disguise, particularly at work in a large open plan office, with the bathroom at the opposite end of the room, meaning I was regularly running down it and once i was sick in my bin under my desk, delightful. I remember a colleague asking me if it was 'happy sick' after I emerged from the cubicle after one of these occasions. My lack of wine drinking and suddenly enormous boobs meant our friends guessed very early on in the pregnancy. We had planned to keep our news to ourselves until after the 12 week scan as I had sadly had a miscarriage 6 months before which was devastating. Seeing our wiggly baby at that scan and again at 20 weeks was incredible, and made it all very real.

20 week scan
We didn't find out the gender at our scan, which looking back was a good thing or I might have gone slightly crazy with the baby shopping! I loved choosing my pram, picking out bits for the nursery and folding up tiny vests. I spent my lunch breaks wandering around baby sections of shops and imagining what our baby would look like. I started pregnancy aqua yoga and antenatal classes to try and prepare myself and met some lovely friends along the way, little did i know they would become a very important part of my life.

I finished work at 35 weeks, I was shattered, come 3pm I couldn't keep my eyes open, I was having naps in my car in my lunch break and going to bed as soon as I had got home and had dinner. I loved those 4.5 weeks of maternity leave, I slept in, read magazines and watched tv, cooked and sorted out baby bits and nested, in fact I don't think my skirting boards have ever been so clean! I'm so glad I did that, especially having had two more babies since, with no maternity leave!

38 weeks Pregnant
My labour started when I was 39+1 weeks. I had a 'show' in the morning and excitedly rang my mum, she said it wouldn't be long but feeling absolutely fine I thought nothing of it. She popped over and we walked into town and had lunch, I had a thai green curry just in case! That afternoon I started to feel a few niggles but again didn't think much of it. It was my dad's birthday and he was due home in the morning from working away so I made him some cupcakes. I remember having contractions while I was icing them but I didn't want to jinx it so kind of brushed them off as nothing. By tea time they were perhaps coming every 20-30 minutes so I sat on my birth ball and put a film on as a distraction, I chose the longest film i could - 'Inception', looking back a strange choice as I couldn't tell you what was going on now let alone whilst in labour.  Oli video called me from a event he was working at in London and cottoned on straight away when I wouldn't make eye contact with him, he knows me too well. I didn't want him to panic and rush home as somehow I knew it would be a while yet, I played things down and just told him to come home once the event was finished. When he walked in the door at about 8:30pm we were both so excited and with the contractions coming ever 15-20 minutes I finally acknowledged that I might be in labour. We went to bed to try and get some rest about 10pm but I couldn't settle. I went and got in the bath for an hour or so which really helped but by about 1am I was quite uncomfortable and the contractions were getting much more intense. We got organised and rang the hospital to let them know we were coming in soon.

I suddenly felt quite nervous when we got to the hospital as I think I finally realised that after 9 long months we were going to meet our baby soon. I  had hoped for a water birth and was relieved when the midwife told us the pool was available and also extremely grateful to have some gas and air. The gas and air really took the edge off things for me and I remember laughing my head off because I sounded like Darth Vader (Oli is a big Star Wars fan so this was a particularly funny reference at the time) Shortly after that i was sick all over him when i asked him to get me a sick bowl and he returned with a plastic cup from a water dispenser... I got in the birthing pool just after 7am and felt instantly relaxed and it did really take the edge of. It felt like my own little private space and I was really able to focus. I have to say Oli was a great birth partner, apart from when he ate a cereal bar and dropped crumbs on my head.

The bit I really needed him for was 'transition' when I was completely adamant that i couldn't do it and that I didn't want to do it and needed ALL the drugs. He calmly told me that the baby would be here soon and I realised that he had actually been paying attention in the NCT classes we had been to and that he was right. My waters had remained in tact bulging for a good hour or so which was quite uncomfortable, they didn't go until I felt the urge to push. I will never forget the feeling and relief when they went and of that all encompassing feeling of needed to push, it completely took over. 15 minutes later at 8:57am and Ellie was born into the water and lifted up onto my chest. She didn't cry, she just looked up at me. I couldn't actually believe it, there was a tiny human there which we had made and I had grown, it was a shock. It was a few minutes before we even checked to see if she was a girl or a boy, we were both just a bit in awe and I was exhausted and to be honest relieved it was all over. But she was here, our lovely little Ellie. Then there was the placenta delivery and the stitching... I won't go into detail don't worry, but these are aspects of the birth I hadn't got my head round or given much thought to, it had all been about getting the baby out. I felt quite raw and vulnerable and so, so tired yet at the same time really proud of myself. I had a shower, which felt amazing and some tea and toast before putting my comfies on and staring at our beautiful baby.

Ellie a couple of hours old
After establishing feeding and all the checks we went home later that afternoon, walking out the hospital with a tiny baby in a car seat which we were responsible for felt very daunting but also incredible. I don't think Oli has ever driven so carefully than when we've bought our babies home from hospital. After carrying her into our house and popping her down still in her car seat in the middle of the living room, we sat on the sofa and wondered what to do next, all of a sudden we were a family, not just a couple any more, a three, a mummy, a daddy and a tiny baby... and thats when the adventures (and sleep deprivation) began.

Me x

You can read part Two HERE

12 May 2016

Wishes for my little ladies

The little ladies change daily, and as they do, I often think about how I'm parenting them and what the end goal is. It's really important to me that these tiny humans grow up to be good humans and I do feel quite a responsibility in helping shape them to an extent. Here are a few of my wishes for our girls:

- I want to protect them but give them the wings and the confidence to fly. 
- I want them to love and respect their bodies and know that being beautiful inside is far more important than on the outside. 
- I want them to be strong, have opinions and hold their own
- I want them to be comfortable in their own skin, to love being them. 
- I want them to believe they can do anything if they put their minds to it, to be determined and brave.
- I want to nurture and love them in a way that it becomes innate in them to nurture and love others.
- I want them to be kind and thoughtful and respect and accept others
- I want them to have fun and do the things they love and have an interest in 
- I want them to enjoy and appreciate the simple things in life
- I want them to understand about working hard and the value of money and teach them to be careful with it. 
- I want them to know that whilst money is important to live, it's not the be all and end all and is not what makes you happy.
- I want them to work to live rather than  live to work 
- I want them all to leave home knowing how to cook and operate a washing machine
- I want them to always celebrate their birthdays, those 3 very special days where they first came into the world.
- I want them to know that daddy and I are always there for them and love them unconditionally, no matter what.
- I want them to always be there for each other and create an unbreakable sisterhood for them
- most of all I want them to just be them and to be happy 

Me x

9 May 2016

Feeling a bit lost...

Sometimes, when I'm on my own (it's very rare) I feel a bit lost. I am so deeply emerssed in being the girl's mummy and all that comes with it that I don't know what to do or who I am when I'm not with them. I have lost my sense of self somewhere along the way.

I am Taryn, 32.
A mummy
A wife
A daughter
A sister
A friend 

But who am I? What do I like?  I used to love travelling abroad going to gigs, eating out and going to the cinema, oh and sleeping in and lazy Sundays. I haven't done any of those things in such a long time. Life has changed and I've lost myself a little bit in motherhood, it's very easily done.

I like a take away curry, the odd glass of  prosecco and yoga. I like seeing friends - I don't care where, a cup of tea or coffee is fine rather than the big nights out we used to have. I like having my hair done and painting my fingernails when I get chance and trashy tv and hot baths. I like walking my parents dog across the fields on a lovely day. I love spending time with my family, immediate and extended. I like driving with the music turned up loud enough so I can sing along and not here my out of tune voice.  I like making my house a home, sewing and baking. 

The things I like now seem a bit boring in comparison, simpler maybe, but do you know what I'm happy, those things make me happy. I've changed somewhere along the way, I don't think it's possible to not change when you have children, it's a massive identity shift. 

I think part of the feeling lost is lack of 'me' time. I know I need more of this but I'm terrible at it and it's not very easy right now. I think it's because I never know what to do with myself and I don't feel comfortable leaving Miss Dot for long yet. I feel guilty for having it when there is always so much that needs doing. If I don't have the children I am so tempted to do jobs and house work, it seems indulgent doing anything else. Right now the girls are ALL asleep having a nap and what am I doing? After running round like a madwoman catching up on jobs I am sitting writing this having a hot cup of tea because I don't know what else to do with myself.  

My world currently revolves around other people (mostly little ones) and putting their needs first 24hrs a day. I'm ok with that, it's motherhood and loosing my old self is totally worth it for this new self. 4 years in and and I'm still getting to know the 'mother me', I'm stronger and tougher than I thought and it's ignited a love and fire in me that wasn't there before. I feel very at home with this part of me, it's the biggest part of me right now. Maybe that's why I feel a bit lost when I'm not doing it.

When Miss Dot gets older and less reliant I will make more time for the other parts of me; I would love to go somewhere for the weekend with my mr, out for a drink or coffee with a friend or even just alone for some time just to loose myself in doing something or nothing. There is plenty of time for that, to get back to me, right now I'm exactly who and where I need to be, maybe I'm not so lost after all. 

Me x

I actually wrote this post back in December when 3 children aged just 4, almost 2 and almost 4 months felt very overwhelming. We've finally found our new normal and although we have our tough days I can't remember life without three now. I was hesitant to share this post but a lovely lady, a fellow mama, emailed me last week to thank me for being so honest with my writing, so I figured seen as I wrote it, I should put it out there in case anyone can relate to it X.