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All is not as it seems…

I am not an organised Mummy. I’m generally the one borrowing a nappy after a poomageddon, stuffing a questionably clean muzzie into my daughter’s top as a makeshift bib or spending a small fortune on lunch as yet again I’ve forgotten to pack my son’s lunchbox!

We manage. We do OK. We muddle through. However I’m often self conscious that other mums are looking at me and wondering what on earth is happening, especially when in the midst of all of this my toddler is having a melt down about something crucial like me breaking his biscuit in half (or my favourite to date, that I didn’t pour him a glass of prosecco too)!!

Last week however I was the other parent. I was that calm, collected, together, organised Mummy.

Last week my babies napped at the same time as each other, I tidied my house in the afternoon, I prepared dinner in advance, I made lunch for the following day and I restocked the bag with nappies and other essentials. We were in the park later that day and I overheard another Mum tell her little girl they would need to go home as it was too hot for her to play any longer without cream and a hat, so I offered her spares that were in my buggy and then quickly reassured her this NEVER happens!

I realised in that split second that it isn’t a case of organised and disorganised, it isn’t good and bad, it isn’t right and wrong…it’s just the same as every other aspect of parenting, it’s good days and bad and even those Mums I hold on a pedestal have both too. No matter which one you’re having everything is made better by a knowing smile and a helping hand (or a nappy/bib/*insert other*)  from somebody who understands.

On that note…my awesome Parent Apparel jumper arrived today, I love it! Today’s arrival is appropriate as I’m celebrating the duo napping at the same time again, getting to drink a hot coffee and blog for the first time in months…however on other days it will serve more as an affirmation! 🙂

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7 weeks – Things we love…

We have almost made it through the first two months of life with a baby and a toddler, there have been a few things have been instrumental in maintaining my sanity levels during these past few weeks…

Nipple Shields and bottles – these have been the main reason I’m still able to feed. There is so much advice around that tries to dissuade us from using shields (without them I know I wouldn’t have been able to continue as I would have been upset at my inability to occupy and entertain Ted while I struggled) and from introducing bottles too early but in my experience doing both these things has enabled me to continue feeding Cora. They have meant that from week 2 I have had the chance to get some rest while Daddy takes over a feeding shift or two, leaving me with energy to look after the two little ones all day…all credit to you sole feeders out there, it is such hard work.

Lanolin – the nipple saviour, I need say no more!

Aldi Nappies and Wipes – bargains and never a leak, I can’t recommend them enough and just think about what you can treat yourself to with the savings! I recommend…

Origins Vitazing tinted moisturiser – it’s like a magic wand for my face! That and Laura Mercier Eyebrow Definer eyebrow gel mean I look vaguely human in a couple of minutes and we all know time is of the essence!

Cbeebies – one of my ‘I will never…’ claims I hold my hands up to breaking, Mr Bloom and Bing bunny are my toddler sitters during Cora’s morning feed and I’m not even sorry, sometimes they mean I even get to drink a hot cup of coffee too!

A cosy baby Blanket – once feeding is complete if Cbeebies is still working it’s magic I get Cora all cosy in her lovely soft mokee blanket and sit back for a sofa snuggle with my boy. I love the colours, the peach makes it feminine without it being pink and sickly, something that is often difficult to find for baby girls, it is also lightweight but cosy and is perfect to keep her warm in the car seat too – thank you to Mokee for sending it for Cora.

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Close Caboo – I’m far from a religious sling wearer but I do love the flexibility of choice and some situations are made a lot harder by a buggy, for these times the Close Caboo is perfect, Daddy can join in too!

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Ted hated being in a buggy as soon as he could walk so a double was never going to be a justifiable investment for us however the compact single/scooter/buggy board/sling mix and match seems to be working for us so far!

A biiiig baby bag – I only want to be taking one bag with me so I need it to be big enough to store all the essentials that a mum of two will need…

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I love my Tiba and Marl bag – so much space and a variety of cool designs.

Wellies – regardless of the weather, fresh air and the release of some toddler energy makes everything easier so wellies have been an essential for us both. One day last week we only made it as far as the quiet puddle covered gravel car park at the end of our road but we both got soaked and had lots of fun while Cora slept next to us!

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Coffee/Babychino – if the rain is torrential we have the fall back option of a Babychino date, although an almost two year old that chants Babychino with glee is embarrassingly precocious (and a little bit funny)!

Friends/Playdates – the ultimate sanity saver, friends. It’s great meeting up with those that have their own children so they can all play but equally it’s lovely seeing those without who love to lavish attention on mine and give me the chance to have 1:1 time with either of them or like last week spoil me with the chance to slip away for an indulgent, undisturbed shower and hair wash – now that’s a friend!

Photos – in this sleep deprived haze I have little chance of remembering these times very clearly so I’m loving photos and keepsakes (even more than normal) to jog my memory and to show the children when they’re older. We had a professional at home shoot with Nicola Streader and were so pleased with the natural pictures she captured.

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We have also used Memory Makers to create 3d prints of Cora’s hand and foot, we will be able to collect these in the new year and can’t wait to have them on the wall next to Ted’s.

As Cora’s early days have also coincided with the festive season we visited our local craft centre Poppies and had fun decorating a plate – we will definitely return each year now and build a collection.

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And today we did the obligatory Santa visit complete with real reindeer,  pretty grotto and family shot with the big guy himself. We would highly recommend Stewarts Garden Centre.

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We have a second date with Father Christmas on Christmas Eve, Breakfast with the man himself at Fair Oak Garden Centre.
The garden centres definitely seem to be the places to go for reasonably priced festive fun but booking what seems crazily early is essential, the Christmas Eve sessions sold out within hours of sales opening in September!

Sleep (Inc naptime) – who remembers that? We have been spoilt with a couple of 5 hour stints over the past week and it feels amazing to wake without a headache and stinging eyes, here’s hoping for more! Ted still naps at the moment so most days I get an hour and a half to two hours with just Cora unfortunately for her (and me) this is the time I have to use to run around like a crazy person trying to maintain some sort of order in the house, talking to her and/or bouncing her about as I go!

An awesome husband – credit where it’s due, it wouldn’t be fair to not give my partner in crime, OK less crime or trouble these days and more poo, sleep deprivation and toddler management but my partner none the less and I couldn’t do it without him!

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I’m not sure if things will get easier or just different, either way I think we’re adapting OK and it feels now like our little lady has always been here and we’re enjoying every second.

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Cora’s arrival – Our Birth Story

It’s taken me a while to get settled into being a Mummy of two, breastfeeding and trying to give Ted enough attention are a full time job in themselves let alone keeping on top of all the washing a newborn creates, how did I forget so quickly?? I’m hoping now I’ll be able to dedicate some time to writing again too and Cora’s arrival seem as good a place to start as any.

Cora arrived on Friday 30th October, unfortunately on labour ward after induction as there were concerns around her size and my placenta function. I delayed induction for a week with monitoring every second day to ensure she was happy – she was on every trace so I asked to speak with a consultant the day before the planned induction appointment so I could be involved in the decision making based on the information they could give me.

The doctor felt she couldn’t be confident that my placenta was functioning fully and recommended induction as the safest option – after a fully natural homebirth with my son I wasn’t keen but both my husband and I felt if we were advised out was safer than in for our baby, to ignore it would be foolish and selfish…so our induction appointment for the Friday morning remained and I went home to prepare practically, physically and mentally!

Once Rich was home from work we went out for our last meal as a three – it was so emotional spending that time with Ted, knowing it was his last evening as an only child and it felt really odd knowing the day our baby would be born in advance.

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I practiced Hypnobirthing methods throughout my pregnancy and knew I would need to call upon them even more now in order to remain calm, positive and in control. My husband was so supportive of the methods and knew I wanted things to be as natural and intervention free as possible, I knew with complete confidence he would be my advocate throughout and make sure nothing happened unless it was necessary in order to keep myself and our baby safe.

We arrived at 7.30am and after all the checks it was decided that I was advanced enough already to just have my waters broken and then see if everything else could progress naturally.

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Initially the most uncomfortable part was having liquid trickling for the next 7 hours!! We walked, we ate, we chatted and we laughed – Rich even said how much he was enjoying the time together as it was so rare (and about to become even more so!) We popped back to be allocated a room and have traces done every few hours to ensure baby was happy.

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Doctors did their rounds at about 2pm and suggested an oxytocin drip to speed things up, something I wasn’t keen on, they were accepting of this and it was agreed we would review the situation at 9pm.

We kept active, pacing the corridors and stomping up staircases, I could feel things progressing slowly and had confidence in my body, I was controlling everything and maintaining a calm approach even when a pushy abrupt doctor tried to force me onto an oxytocin drip when my contractions slowed due to monitoring despite the earlier arrangement. I knew I was progressing and that the machine was just failing to pick up my contractions despite his claim “these contractions are not going to get your labour started”

I refused and got quite upset at his approach and insistence without examining or talking properly with us or the midwife with us. Rich stepped in though and was amazing, asking them to remove the monitor and leave me to my own devices for another hour and a half (the agreed 9pm) unless there was a concern for either myself or Cora, which there wasn’t.

I then refocussed, plugged myself into my hypnobirthing mp3 and refused to let an appalling bedside manner ruin my focus. We then paced the floors, climbed the stairs and removed ourselves from the ward to be able to work together on what we had practiced in an environment we felt safe in…

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I was in established labour by 8.30 stopping approx every 2 minutes relaxing into and breathing through each contraction, we returned to our room just before 9pm and were told the ward was really understaffed at the change of shifts which would work in our favour as they would allocate us last and leave us to our own devices as we had requested but told us to buzz if we needed anything. At five past 9 I told Rich I thought I wanted some gas and air so he grabbed Nina, the midwife who had been looking after us before she clocked off and asked her for a mouthpiece, as she left at 10 past she appologised she couldn’t stay until our baby arrived but we all thought it would still be quite a while and it was Friday night!

As my next contraction came I took a drag on the G&A and told Rich I thought I needed to push!!

He had a quick look and quickly whacked the buzzer for help, as I guess they thought we wanted water or something unimportant nobody rushed to us so Rich had to stick his head out of the door and shout “Help…I think we’re having a baby in here!”

A lovely old school midwife came to his rescue and encouraged me onto the bed (apparently kneeling ready to deliver a baby onto a hard hospital floor isn’t deemed the safest!) I managed to make it onto the bed, staying on all fours and rocking. The  midwife told me she thought one good push and I’d have a baby…it actually took two and at 9.28 our darling daughter arrived looking the image of her big brother. I used nothing but the techniques we practiced and about 10 puffs of gas and air for pain relief and I cannot explain how proud I am we were able to manage the situation and the labour in the way we did. I know without the relaxation techniques and the confidence they gave us I could very easily have lost control and ended up with a very different delivery.

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Thank you so much to Barbara of Romsey Relax for her support and enabling both me and Rich to be sitting here today feeling empowered rather than deflated and bullied.

I know I have been very lucky to have relatively straightforward labours and that hypnosis techniques would be unable to prevent any inevitable complications, I do however think that Natal Hypnotherapy truly is a wonderful tool that can benefit everyone who is interested in it and that they should be given the opportunity to experience it.

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And then there were 4…

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Our beautiful daughter, Cora completed our family with her safe arrival on Friday 30th October at 9.28pm. She weighed a dinky 5lb 4oz but is perfectly healthy.

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Big brother Ted thinks she’s pretty cool and we’re all very pleased to have her home now.

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Hopefully sometime soon I’ll have time between feeds to share the story of her arrival and the fortnight before – it wasn’t quite as simple and straightforward as first time around but with an equally perfect outcome.

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Off for more baby snuggles now…Lots of love xx

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36 Week Update – almost there now!

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Slightly late with this update but we’re nearly there now – 4 weeks and counting!

I have been so lucky this time and really haven’t had much to grumble about but this past fortnight has been a bit stressful, I’ve been to the midwife twice and the hospital three times to monitor baby’s growth as I am now measuring 7 cm under (how measuring the bumps of all women and expecting a similar result, regardless of their body size/shape can be accurate I have no idea?!)

Thankfully everything is fine.

However, little one is exactly that so the monitoring must continue. I have a week off but then at 37/38 Weeks we’re back in to another round of midwife and scan appointments.

Our new addition is definately going to be dinky but not super tiny, around the 5-6lb mark they’ve predicted. Everything is showing as perfectly healthy at the moment, there is enough fluid and the placenta function is fine but because now I haven’t grown at all for 8 weeks (that’s me – I know baby has as I’m soooo much more uncomfortable with every kick and squirm!) it has to be checked that all continues OK.

I’m really pleased everything is being taken seriously now after my earlier concerns and as I’m hoping for a home birth still it is great that so far everybody I’ve encountered has said there is no reason as things stand that we can’t proceed with those plans. In fact, after feeling my midwife was not concerned enough she now seems more so than my first and has been very thorough in going through with me the reasons why I or baby may need to be transferred either during or after delivery, one being if baby is under 2.5kg as they will want to monitor blood sugar levels.

I’m trying to block out a lot of the ‘what ifs’ as although I understand it’s necessary to touch upon things I don’t feel it’s very helpful to dwell. I’m going to plug in my Natal Hypnotherapy and drift off into my little bubble where I’m in control.

In other news…we have been continuing to turn the house upside down with reorganisation, part of this has been turning the ‘spare room’ into Ted’s new bedroom, complete with new big boy bed (and bed guard!) We had no idea how he’d take to moving to a bed and swapping his beloved sleeping bag for a proper duvet but he couldn’t have responded better – we’ve had no resistance or disturbances at all which at only 20 months I thought was pretty amazing. These little people really are awesome!

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How gorgeous is the Next Car Bedding??

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The baby’s room looks like a storage dumping ground at the moment but actually it’s just all the things we’ll need when they arrive complete with birthing pool and homebirth boxes and a lifetimes supply of towels! We are 100% ready now and have nothing left to buy…just the final bit of waiting to do!

Ted and I have been having a lovely time together recently and I am having twinges of sadness that we don’t have many more 1:1 days remaining. I have been encouraging him to concentrate on activities like painting, drawing and reading in the hope that these will help in the early days. He’s loving them all, we’ve always shared books but now he really listens and points out things in the pictures too and he loves climbing into the book box to pick the next story!

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As for making a mess and then getting to sit in the sink and help wash up after too…that’s been a massive hit! 🙂

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So, on to things I’ve loved over the past few weeks…

Omperazole – oh my do I love this stuff! When gaviscon just isn’t hitting the spot these little magic pills make all the difference. Without them, nothing stays down but one little yellow tablet and I can actually enjoy both my meals and sleep at night, bliss!

The Mokee Woolnest

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Wow, finally a stylish moses basket that isn’t covered in gross frilly covers! This is what we have been waiting for, well what I have been anyway and I can’t be alone, surely? My thoughts…
– They’re a great price,
– I love, love, love the coloured handles,
-The liners and sheets are gorgeous and ridiculously reasonable
-AND I can’t believe the stand is included too!

I think it’s fantastic that the brand has shunned the big stores to allow them to keep prices lower but they really need to up their advertising as people need to know about this cool, stylish alternative to the standard frill fest baskets! Mokee, take note – step 1, get with the times and start tweeting, your silence is madness!!

Finally…the Sunshine, it has made washing and drying all those final bits (that there are so many more of than I realised) a lot easier so thank you Mother Nature for that final burst of October sun!

Until Next time…38 weeks, eekk!

These opinions are purely my own and completely independent, no products or financial gain have been received from featured companies.

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33 Week Update

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7 weeks to go!

The end really is starting to feel in sight now and I’m in a good place.

I’m feeling really happy and positive, I’m not too tired, not feeling too fat, am only being sick on average once or twice a day and I’m sleeping pretty well generally – life is good!

I’ve had a fab couple of weeks with Ted who is completely crazy  check him out here in Next today!! I’m loving all the fun we have so much.

I finally managed to get hold of my midwife who agreed she should see me again to check growth, I was just on the border of the 3cm’s they’re happy with but I’d grown a fair amount and everything else was good so she was satisfied all was OK to be left until my appointment this week.

Peanut has been wriggling and digging my hips and ribs plenty so I’m pretty confident all is well too plus we have a scan in 10 days anyway as part of the Vitamin D trial I am part of, can’t wait!

Since my last update we completed our Natal Hypnotherapy course which was brilliant and something I highly recommend – a full post on that is on the way. I’m now swotting up and practicing.

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Things I’ve loved this fortnight…

– Following on from above, my Natal Hypnotherapy CD. I loved using the Birth Prep CD last time and was surprised how much my subconscious remembered. I have eased straight back in to it and have loved treating myself to an hour lying down each lunchtime while Ted is napping, to relax and prepare myself. I’m also convinced it has helped my sleeping too as I pop it on at night if I’m struggling and drift back off.

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Pampering myself, this week I have had my hair cut, my eyebrows threaded and my toes gelled – I love how spoilt a good pamper has made me feel. I’ve also had a big splurge in Origins that my skin is thanking me for.

Nesting, my house has never been cleaner or more organised and I love it!

– These gorgeous Milestone Cards from Landmark Moments…we can’t wait to find out when we’ll get to use this one!

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I was lucky enough to be sent them for review but loved them so much that I’ve already purchased a couple of packs for expectant friends. They’re large, bright and have unusual yet attractive illilustrations on them, I really like that they contain a mixture of week/month and developmental milestones. They’re a bargain present idea at less than £10 too.

I’ll see you for the next update at 35 weeks…hopefully I’ll be feeling just as sunny then too!

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Rainy Day Cookery – Breakfast Muffins

If you’re anything like me and are used to spending most of your time outside, rainy days can be a bit of a challenge. We are more than happy to cover up and pop some wellies on when it’s a bit wet but when we have days where the rain is torrential and the thunder and lightning have set in, even the hardiest of us have to admit defeat!

When we recently had one of these days I decided it was time to introduce Ted to the delights of home baking. I have resisted including him in cooking until this point as I didn’t feel he was ready to follow directions and thought that his determination to be independent may cause problems however once we started I felt that I had really underestimated my little chap and was so impressed with both how well he did and how much he enjoyed the whole process.

My cookery style when it comes to healthy food snacks for Ted is very ‘chuck it in and hope for the best’ and thankfully so far it has worked well for us.

With this in mind I mashed bananas into the big bowl and then filled up Ted’s little colourful bowls with the rest of the ingredients we needed, I then tried to let him have as much freedom as possible.

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He loved being able to have it all in front of him, picking up and pouring all the ingredients himself…

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Obviously there was the odd cheeky taste test…

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The eggs could have been a messy option…

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But amazingly went straight in to the bowl without a hiccup!

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Before long we were ready to pop them into the oven and wait 20 minutes to find out how they’d turned out!

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Looking good…

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It seems our mini food critic has given them his seal of approval too!

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If you fancy giving our Breakfast muffins a go, our very loose recipe is as follows…

– 3 ripe bananas mashed
– A cup of porridge oats
– A cup of wholemeal flour
– 2 teaspoons of baking powder
– A cup of yummy ‘extras’ we used raisins, sunflower seeds and chia seeds but any fresh/dried fruits and seeds work well.
– A teaspoon of cinnamon
– 2 eggs
– Some milk

I mashed the bananas and then Ted added all the dry ingredients, stirring them in well.
We then added the eggs and enough milk to make the mixture a cake consistency (I did warn you I’m no Mary Berry!!)
In to cake cases and baked at Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes before allowing to cool and taste testing!

Please do share your pictures if you try these by tweeting @loz83g or using #thingsmytoddlerloves on Instagram.