There were three in the bed..Co-Sleeping with my newborn. Is it really THAT bad?

What is co sleeping? Co-sleeping means sleeping within close proximity to your child. It can vary from being in the same bed or even just in the same room. Families take on different approaches to co-sleeping.

There is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes down to sleeping arrangements with a baby as I have discovered. Some like to sleep with babies, while others simply don’t. Some of us don’t have much choice surrounding sleep arrangements, I have discovered, as some babies need more night comforts than others. It is down to the parents and what they decide to do with their sleeping arrangements and bed time routine.

I have found that with a newborn, you have to go with what works in the moment and re-address situations daily. Right now, Eleanor will not sleep alone in her cot bed at night. She cries almost from the get go of being placed in there. I don’t know the reason for this, during the day she will sleep in her cot without issue but when night comes, she kicks up such a fuss and the crying is almost too much to bear. The only way to get some sleep is by allowing her to sleep next to me in bed or on top of my chest; A decision which I was against but had to quickly re-think.

Yes, we have tried several options while trying to get her into a healthy sleep pattern in her own cot;

Swaddling,

Comforting,

Sleeping on her side rather than back and sleeping upright,

Playing music,

Introducing a night light,

It’s the same story ever night, nothing works and the crying is intense. The only way we could each catch solid sleep was to give in and make adjustments to our sleeping habits. I don’t intend for co-sleeping to last long and would like to gently ease Eleanor out of this habit as soon as I feel she will begin to cope. It may just take some time for her to adapt to being alone, I am sure as she grows older, she will become more independent and her current needs will change. This is a situation I must monitor for the time being and a habit I am keen to break. Hopefully sooner rather than later. The big issue that I hold over this is that I do worry regarding the risks that cover this subject.

There are definite issues and concerns with safety and risks surrounding co-sleeping. The big risk and issue for with allowing Eleanor to co-sleep is the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, more dangerous when falling asleep on the couch due to the high risk of her overheating and suffocating which can occur through the day or night. For that reason, I never fall asleep on the couch with her and I am always very aware that she is with me. I feel as though my sleep is disrupted due to having to constantly check that she is okay.

21878991_117548918934597_1894702394311180288_n(1) It has been claimed that if  breastfeeding and not under the influence of alcohol or any further substance or prescribed medication, co-sleeping with your baby shouldn’t increase the risk of SIDS. It is deemed safer to breastfeed in bed than to breastfeed and doze off with on the couch.

Our bedding is a light tog duvet and we don’t sleep with an excess of cushions or pillows, teddies etc. This is said to generally ensure better safety when co-sleeping due to the decreased suffocation and over heating risk.

Due to having to co-sleep, I decided to do some research on the issue for my own awareness and the safety of Eleanor. I wanted to know that so long as we are sleeping alongside one another she is as safe as can be and that the risks are reduced. Upon my readings I have found some helpful tips which I tend to follow rather strictly;

Sleep in the C position – Lie on your side, facing your baby, with your body curled around them in a C-shape with your lower arm above your baby’s head and  knees up under the feet. This position helps prevent rolling and is also convenient for when I breastfeed through the night.

Don’t leave baby alone – Never leaving Eleanor in the bed alone,not even for five minutes, as there is a risk that she could fall off the bed or get into some difficulties.

There are obvious issues that come with this sleeping arrangement that add to the main safety concerns. The issue that I struggle with other than the safety risks is the fact that, I feel you lose the intimacy of sharing the bed with your partner. I favored bed time hugs and kisses. I enjoyed the closeness that I would share with my partner and felt safe sleeping at his side. Now, I sleep at the opposite side of the bed to Euan with little contact, and certainly no bed time kisses. I miss having cuddles on demand and being able to wake to even more cuddles from his embrace. I had a cosy spot next to him and that no longer exists.

With having concerns about Eleanor and fretting that she will overheat, I now sleep with pyjamas and a night gown, to ensure while at the edge of the bed, I don’t freeze. As a cold fish, I don’t take too well to being pushed to the more isolated and cold side of the bed.

In my experience with co sleeping so far, I can’t say it is for me. There are some positives as I must admit I love having Eleanor so close and snug next to me, hearing and feeling her breathe as she sleeps and feeling our bond flourish. I know that she is close and love her being so, it makes my heart feel full and I beam with pride as I lie next to my daughter, knowing that I am her Mother.

21690763_1686484754757368_1905679931287797760_n However, my sleep is disrupted by the worry that surrounds her being next to me. I know, with my instinctive that she is well but I can’t help to continually wake from sleep to check on her and take note of her breathing. The risks of co-sleeping definitely have alarms ringing in my head and selfishly, I miss the relationship that I previously shared with my partner before this began.

I know with a newborn it is trial and error to begin with and that nothing will work out the way I wish it to. Certainly, with my experience nothing turns out as you would have hoped and you cannot really plan how life will be with a new baby. It is all well to hold expectations but in honesty, they don’t take shape.

I had expected that my baby would sleep in her own cot from the day we brought her home and no issues would arise, we would maintain a lifestyle similar to what we previously had and our personal relationship would not face change. I realize now that this was foolish.

Becoming a new parent is a learning curve, we all learn and grow daily and learn more about our baby as the days go on. Within time, I am certain we will find the perfect method that works well for each of us, we will find some form of balance and I will once again be able to sleep without worry.

No, the housework can’t wait.

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I have chosen to share my views today surrounding becoming a new Mother and juggling the daily household tasks and general maintenance around the home. Something I am sure that all Mum’s dread. I have decided to write about this as it plays a big part in my life, perhaps more so than it should. Or I should let it.

Housework, a drag to each of us on any regular day. Throw a baby (literally) into the mix and it becomes a race to complete the daily chores. You feel that it is never ending and these days, in my case.. it really is never ending. I find that I get through one lot of chores only to have to begin again. It is an endless and thankless task.

All too often, especially of late, I have been told that the housework can wait. That it will be there for another day, during this time period I should take it easy. Strangers when out shopping have even warned to take it easy. Weird, I know.

I should sleep when my baby sleeps. Take all the rest I can. In my experience, this is much easier said than done. It is all too easy to tell someone to rest or to sleep when they can. I, as a breastfeeding, mess obsessed, Mother of a two week old, cannot rest. I cannot go for a nap knowing that the bathroom is waiting be cleaned or that the bedding is to be stripped and washed. It is not my nature. I can only settle when all is in order.

I am definitely obsessed with mess and cleaning up, my obsession frustrates me and those around me. I hate being surrounded by clutter and the sign of a mess building up builds a great anxiety within and sends my OCD; obsessive compulsive disorder, into overdrive. I cannot simply leave things be, I must interfere. As soon as I notice any crumb or dog hair, I’m at it with the Dyson. No matter what time of the day (or night) it is.

 I  am a maniac for hoovering and have recently discovered that I can hoover as well as do a good surface wipe down as I breastfeed my baby. This is super convenient,  if not a little risky (there have been no accidents yet, Eleanor is fine, don’t worry)

I know that with a new baby, I should try to relax and catch some alone time. It is important, especially to take are of myself. Mess is imminent and cleaning up CAN wait, it is my mindset that cannot. I’m on edge knowing that I should be doing something. I do feel that I’m wasting my time when I’m on a manic clean spree and I do feel guilty that this is time where I could be lying with my baby and sneaking in some cuddles as she sleeps. There is simply so much else to be doing or worrying about. Life doesn’t wait and I am missing out on those precious little moments with Eleanor, I am very aware of this.

 

Yes, newborns don’t do very much and there is not so much to be missing out on. Though, I don’t catch every whimper, ever grimace, smile or even snore due to the fact I am running around trying to extend my capabilities and get whatever it is I must get done. Important or not. This still brings me guilt and I wish I could just relax push the over excessive anxieties aside and just take the time to chill and watch over my baby girl.

I simply cannot help this cleaning obsession I have been struck with. I don’t know when it really began, I suppose I’ve always been a neat freak and had set ways, I like things to be tidy and in place. If something is ever out of place, I have to fix it there and then. Dining table place mats, coasters, photo frames, I could go on.. and on. I just can’t relax when there is mess around. Some will perceive mess in a much different way than I do, what I think is messy doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will.

I need to try to find a way to relax my mind and break this horrible habit. I don’t want to miss out on time I could be spending with my baby due to some crazy obsession. I know there is a happy medium out there and I know that mess isn’t the end of the world. I just have to work on chilling out and taking that little bit of extra time for myself, and for my baby girl. I need to work on this unhealthy routine I have got myself into and improve myself for the benefit of my baby, my family and finding the right balance. As far as balance goes.

Let’s be honest, spending the weekend worrying about the household chores is no way to be spending time with the family. Especially now, with Euan back at work and family time being so strained. I’ll post an update soon with my thoughts and how I am getting on as I try to break old habits and get into a healthy mindset. Here’s hoping come a little time I will be able to kick off those shoes, get my slippers on, and sit back with my family to embrace full relaxation mode – without eyeing up potential spots to polish!

 

 

Please Sir, may I have some more? The struggle with newborn feeding on demand.

Since having discovered I was pregnant, the one thing I really wished to do, exclusively for the first six months of my baby’s life was to breastfeed. I don’t know where this idea had initially drawn from, I, nor any of my siblings were breastfed and I didn’t openly know of any babies who were. Perhaps the media had a big impact on my decision to breastfeed and subconsciously it was an idea planted in my mind from reading articles, hearing news stories or seeing glamorous images of new mums feeding their babies in the glossy magazines. Perhaps the midwife swayed me with all of the bragging and the encouragement surrounding the topic. Regardless, it was something which I wanted to do from the very beginning and can happily say started off on a good note.

I’ll tell you, there is nothing glamorous about breast feeding, not behind the scenes anyway! Hell, when Euan proposed, I was standing in the kitchen and drying myself off from profoundly sweating – which apparently goes hand in hand with breastfeeding, Yep, that’s one the midwives kept quiet. I also have to change my top several times in a day for milk spills and baby spit up. Real glam..

I suppose what really had encouraged myself to begin breastfeeding were the health benefits and to develop a strong bond with my daughter, I felt that this was the best option for feeding my baby. The benefits seem endless.. protection from infection, building a strong bond, a formula designed specifically to my baby’s requirements. Not to mention the health benefits it has for myself; lower risk of certain cancers and a reduced risk of osteoporosis. It seemed like a win, win and the first time I was given Eleanor for nursing, she immediately had taken to it and found the perfect latch. This gave me the drive I had needed to continue to feed.

All was good and well, however.. nobody warned me of the effects of cluster feeding and what this meant for me. A one time independent woman had now become unable to make herself a cup of hot tea, or even use the bathroom without having a baby attached to her boob. After a few weeks of feeding, I have actually mastered the challenge of opening the biscuit tin and making the tea with one hand, baby in the other. This is a life saver during those late night/early morning feeds.

I didn’t know about cluster feeding and was never made aware of this until I began to do my own research after reaching my wits end with the round the clock feeds, these could take hours and would often leave me feeling drained and inhumane, especially come 4AM and I would still be awake, having not yet gone to bed, sat around the kitchen table, nursing. Surely, I couldn’t go on like this.

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What exactly is cluster feeding and what did this mean? Breastfed newborns feed often  – up to twelve times in a 24 hour period because breast milk is more easily digested than formula. A Baby’s stomach is the size of a small marble when first born and needs to be replenished with frequent feedings. Cluster feeding happens when babies want to feed more often, in a condensed period of time. In the first week, Eleanor cluster fed for at least three hours a night, every night. I have been told this will pass. This stage of newborn nursing is frustrating and exhausting but I have faith it won’t last forever. I just have to push through and make myself comfy for all of those late night feeding sessions.

I find that I don’t often have the luxury of sitting down. Eleanor does tend to be unhappy unless she is held upright and can have a fussy time during the day’s. I usually spend most of my time with my newborn attached to my breast unable to even take five minutes out from my day to have alone time. As I write this, I have Eleanor on my lap. I understand that it is comforting for her and that she is still so young that she needs the comfort of being held close, however a little space would be nice from time to time. It does begin to take it’s toll and become lonely sitting awake through the nights nursing her and spending the days unable to do much for myself due to having to feed on demand. I get as far as a shower; drying my hair, applying make up, choosing a nice outfit to wear.. that is all put on hold. I am ensured however, that this will pass.. I just have to see it through and break the barriers to get to a stage that I need to be with her nursing.

Knowing that this phase shall pass and that Eleanor is getting the benefit of milk specifically suited to meet her daily requirements and needs so that she can thrive, helps me get through the marathon feeding sessions and deal with the lack of a normal sleep routine. Although, what exactly is a routine with a newborn? I’d like to hear from any new mum who has a set daily routine that they follow. It just doesn’t happen… at least not in this household.

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For now, the knowledge that this stage will get better and knowing that I have a happy, healthy and content baby is good enough for me to get by. I’ll get a good night sleep again, one day.

 

 

 

 

Mum style? What Mum style??

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I am definitely a self confessed poser AND clothes horse. I love nothing more than a good shopping spree and shopping for clothes comes top of the list. Style and fashion has always been a passion of mine since my teenage years, I have spent many hours with my head stuck in the wardrobe or checking out my outfit in front of the mirror. Equally, I spent much time watching sex and the city, falling in love with Carrie Bradshaw and her love of fashion ( and a good pair of Manolo’s).

I don’t have a particular niche when it comes to what I wear, I just throw on whatever I feel like wearing. I tend to be drawn to anything faux fur, structured blazers, leather/wet look, girlie tea dresses, ANY glitter items, slubby t-shirts and denim. Especially denim shorts, I don’t know how many pairs of denim shorts I own, there is a drawer full. I’m not kidding. Don’t even get me started on dresses..

I also have a thing for ‘fun’ socks. Any glitter, sparkling, printed or colourful socks, I’ll take them. I love to team funky socks with my outfits, it just adds a little fun. This Autumn, I particularly like trousers, printed vinyl, smart.. I can’t get enough and love to play around and team each pair with different tops and shoes to mix things up. I quite like to clash with prints and colours.

I don’t think that becoming Mum will force me to have to make any changes with my style, perhaps just to put the provocative dresses and mini skirts on hold, for now. A mini skirt teamed with a baby is not really practical. I’ll save those for a time when I don’t have to be bending over frequently. Oops.

When it comes to shopping I do tend to prefer high street stores such as Topshop, Urban Outfitters, Office, Schuh, Zara and the online retailer ASOS. I do like finding small businesses online and purchasing cute garments and one off pieces too. I can’t wait for Eleanor to grow up a little and come for shopping trips with Mum. We will have so much fun playing dress up together and bonding.

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Some days, I can find myself change up to three times. Previously so for leisure, these days it seems to be down to the fact that I end up doused in baby spit up and milk – feeding time is messy!

Upon becoming pregnant, I had sworn I would not wave goodbye to my wardrobe and style that I like to call my own having adapted over the years. I didn’t want to suddenly become a new mum and get so caught up with daily surroundings that I forgot about myself and the things which I enjoy – in my case, clothing, shoes and of course accessories.

I think that it is important to still remain true to yourself and have a little ‘me time’ no matter how little that time is. I choose to spend the time I have without Eleanor joint at my hip, playing with my wardrobe, mixing and matching outfits. Even if I only get to wear something for an hour, it is still important to me.

Throughout pregnancy, I remained in my own clothes and did not have to purchase any maternity wear. It was definitely a stretch toward the end of my third trimester, but we made it no matter how boring leggings and an old t-shirt became. Now that I am no longer pregnant and can experiment with a whole range of clothing and my dresses without fear of stretching them, I am sure going to make the most of it.  I have so many dresses, coats, blouses – the lot to get through. My wardrobe is pretty extensive and over the years, I have built up a strong collection of items and accessories that I am proud of, glitter socks included.

I can’t wait to get dressed up again and play around a little even to just parade around the flat. I am just beginning to feel normal and back to my old self at 14 days postpartum which is great, it is nice to have reached the stage of my recovery where I feel that I am finally becoming more able and regaining my strength after a difficult labour and a episiotomy. We even made it out of the flat today for a good walk around the River – something I haven’t been able to do for too long. I’ll be back to my best soon enough and ready to get mixing and matching my style, trying new looks out and spending my free time with my head stuck in my wardrobe. I’m sure I will soon have a mini fashionista sticking her head in there too and trying to steal my clothes.

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BRB, I’m off to get changed…

Body positive and pregnancy. The postpartum race to recovery.

From the moment I discovered I had fallen pregnant right through to the end of pregnancy, I battled with many insecurities. The inevitable weight gain, the swollen feet and wrists, the bloating and the terrible acne. The lot.

I was not one of those women who suited being pregnant – disappointing enough, I never had that whole ‘pregnancy glow’. I was more drained than ever, my skin was dull and covered in acne and my body was slowing down. I lacked sleep and it showed, I couldn’t get more than four solid hours at a time.

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I don’t think there were many days during pregnancy where I felt good.

I chose to document my growing bump through photographs. This distracted myself from the chnages my body was making, especially the weight gain – something I daunted, and allowed myself to learn to embrace the time and not to feel so low about my self image. I was growing a life inside, what is more precious than that?

The images I have taken throughout my pregnancy will remain close to me forever, it soon became a little hobbie. The weekly ‘bumpdate’. Toward the end of the third trimester, growing close to my due date, I finally began to love my bump and appreciate my body for all of the work it was doing. The body really is amazing and a little TLC really pays off.

I had days where I was very upset looking at my reflection, my body didn’t seem like it belonged to me anymore. I was more just a machine made to carry a life and I had no control over my ever changing body nor the weight gain. Looking back, it was silly and I only wish I treated myself a bit better during my pregnancy, I should have ate that doughnut, I should have enjoyed take away. Rather, I chose to survive on a diet that was mainly fruit and fiber based with plenty of yogurt for calcium and a lot of raw vegetables and vitamins.

I would cook meals for Euan and sit at the dinner table for our evening meal with a bowl of fruit and yogurt – the same meal I would eat for breakfast and lunch almost every day. I didn’t like to eat out as that meant stepping away from my comfort zone. If I was feeling real adventurous, I would have a sandwich, providing it was marked “Low Cal”. Not quite the solid  healthy diet required for growing a life.

I feel shameful and I do wonder, had my eating habits and concerns over my weight not been so drastic, would my baby have stopped growing at week 34 and have been classed in the fifth percentile, smaller than average and forced to arrive early over fears of her growth? I will never know for sure, but I feel guilty that I didn’t allow the life inside to thrive to her full potential due to my own selfish ego.

I am currently exclusively breastfeeding and my daughter is thriving, she feeds well and within five days she was back up to her birth weight! The midwife claimed that this was amazing. High five, go me!

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It brings me great pleasure to know that am providing my baby with the nourishment she requires and grows from. The sleepless nights, are all made worthwhile, knowing that they are paying off and  that I am solemnly providing for my daughter Something which I am both delighted and proud of. I have no fears or concerns over her health and I am sure that I have a healthy baby who is most definitely loved.

 

Now that I am no longer pregnant, my beautiful baby girl is in the world, happy and healthy, I can begin to work on my body image again and get back to a place that I am happy with at a pace I can safely manage and maintain. Since the birth of Eleanor, my skin has almost fully cleared up – something which I am delighted with as this had bothered me a lot. So much so that I would spend some time looking at my reflection and crying. It is silly, I know.

I now have to be a role model for my baby girl and have to ensure that she picks up healthy eating habits and a good self esteem. I would hate for her to think that she is simply not good enough or meeting unrealistic expectations in any way, shape or form.

I am certain my baby is well, her feeding is coming along great and she is growing and changing by the day. I can’t wait to grow with her. I think that having my baby, has made me realize that it is not about looking good. Sure, it is great to feel good about yourself but I shouldn’t have to set unrealistic goals or undertake a crash diet to meet the needs of my ego or the expectations and pressures that new mum’s face when losing baby weight.

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I am going to take my weight loss by the day. Slowly but surely and some day I will reach a goal that I am happy with. I am in no rush to jump back into shape, I have a baby to care for and that means I must care for myself now too. I cannot be selfish anymore, I must become a healthy role model. It will take some time, I won’t be happy overnight but I will get there and I will teach my daughter to love herself, to be strong and wise and to have a good self esteem.

 

(39 weeks + 3 vs 5 days post partum –  I got this)

Eleanor Paisley Ross – Through the lens. Week one.

I have chosen to share some of my favourite photographs of Eleanor in her first week as a newborn. I couldn’t wish for a better baby, what a little gem. Yes, she cries. Yes, I have had sleepless nights but that’s all part of the package and the fun. I couldn’t have wished for a more content baby girl. My little acorn. 

I am completely smitten. 

The first days ♥

Snuggles with Dad ♥

Precious sleepy moments – as rare as they may be! ♥

Approving our engagement (I think) ♥

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I can’t wait to document life with my baby girl, my new best friend and share my experiences, joy and photographs on a regular basis. The highs and lows. The good and the bad.

Family life is going to be an adventure,that is for certain.

 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Five years of friendship, two years of bliss, one baby and an engagement later..

_20170907_211238.JPGAround five years ago by a chance encounter on my birthday night out, I bumped into Euan who was out on his brothers stag do. Now I don’t recall much details of this night, it was my birthday. I was young, drunk and celebrating. Euan claims he can recall the whole night, much of it spent propping me up to stop me stumbling. My bad.

From that night forward we remained in touch and built a firm friendship online yet never went on to be anything more. We would spend days and evenings chatting on Facebook or texting but didn’t get around to meeting up. A lot of it was down to my reasoning. I didn’t want to be involved with anyone in a romantic way at that stage of my life. I was having too much fun with my friends to care for another. It was silly. Had I taken up the advances sooner, we may have been celebrating a seven year anniversary! Scary.

After several attempts to try to meet up and many conversations, I finally bit the bullet two summers ago and decided to meet for coffee and cake. I was certainly very hungover and not feeling my best, I didn’t know what to expect of the date. We chatted for a few hours and instantly, I knew. From the moment we began to converse to being dropped off back home afterward. I knew that someday we would be married.

Since the first date we were almost inseparable spending as much time together as possible. Weekends were spent going to the cinema, taking our dogs out for long walks to the beach, chilling at each other’s home and generally just enjoying getting to know one another more and more. I think for the first time I was truly at ease in someone else’s presence and felt happy. He made me feel special and continues to do so on a daily basis. Even if I don’t always tell him that. Shh.

After months of dating and relaxing together, we finally got together on September 4th 2015. Euan had just moved into his home and little did I know, I would soon follow. In the March of 2016 on our way to out first holiday together to Tenerife, I was asked to move in. It wasn’t long into our relationship and I was a bit uneasy. I had never lived with a male partner before and didn’t know what was to come of this. However, being with Euan was where I wanted to be and since we spent each day together it seemed right to give it a try. I am so glad that I did and proud of all that we have achieved together since doing so.

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Several holidays were enjoyed. A visit to London to meet friends and attend a star wars convention, a birthday trip to Prague and a valentine trip to LAS VEGAS. (I really am spoiled, unnecessarily too!). We have owned a dog together but that didn’t work out and sadly, we had to say goodbye to Penny as her temprament was just too wild to keep up with and when we found out we had a baby on the way, it was the sensible approach no matter how difficult.

In December 2016 I fell pregnant with our first and only child, Eleanor. It was a time of mixed emotions and feelings. It was testing and hard. I couldn’t get my head around the idea of becoming mum and dad, especially not so soon and I didnt know the pressure that this could put on our relationship. I was so wrong, if anything our relationship became stronger and better. I have never been more loved nor have I been so in love. Getting through a pregnancy and child birth with Euan by my side made me realise how lucky I am to be as fortunate to have someone like him in my life. So compassionate, so kind, loving and gentle. I was, I am in love with my best friend.

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On 31.08.17 at 7.36pm we welcomed our gorgeous little baby girl, Eleanor Paisley Ross into the world. Instantly my heart was full. It was happy tears all around. I am so excited for the future together and family life. I have a feeling it will be pretty great.

The morning of our second anniversary September 4th 2017, four days after our baby was born and two days into settling at home,  I had assumed we would be celebrating quietly at home and enjoy a take away in the evening. I was in for a shocker. Standing half dressed and frizzy haired in the kitchen, desperately trying to cool myself down (breastfeeding is sweaty business), Euan approached me with a sleeping Eleanor in one hand and before I knew it, he was down on one knee and had asked if I would be his wife. EM,  WHAT?

A proposal on our anniversary. I was to be engaged. A fiancée and someday a wife. My heart can’t handle all of this love. I’m hopelessly tired and full of excitement for now and the future. After the good news and a lot of squealing, we decided to take Eleanor to the Registrars and register her birth on our anniversary.

September fourth will now forever remain the most important day of the year, our anniversary and the day we registered our baby girl. Who knows, when the time comes for wedding bells this could be our save the date!

For now, I am going to take it easy. We will take it easy and enjoy the time out we have as a family and getting to know our Eleanor. Already at one week old she is changing daily. Wedding planning is definitely on hold, there is simply too much going on and we are in no rush to walk the aisle. I can’t take any more excitement, I’m all out for now.

What a week it has been and one I will forever hold the closest. I couldn’t be any happier or more in love if I tried. I’m ready for family days building forts, long walks with our dog Fern, playing dress up with Eleanor and bedtime stories.

2017 has been the best year in my life to date and it isn’t over yet. Already I can’t wait for what 2018 has to bring.

Here’s to family life and a whole lot of love.

Keren x

 

My induction to Labor. Meltdowns included.

When you think of the birth of your first child, the first thing that you think of is the excitement and the adrenaline rush. The waters breaking, running off to hospital in the early hours with your partner in a mad rush. How naive was I to think that it would be so easy?

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In my case, I feel like my first experience of child birth was taken away from me and planned in a way which was nowhere near the expectations that I had built up and  made me feel less excited bout the whole experience. Three long days in a ward, being awoken every three hours to be monitored or have your cervix examined is not exactly what I had in mind and I feel this drained myself, my mind and my body for when child birth was imminent. I was admitted on Monday the 28.08.17 for an induction process due to my baby being small and having raised concerns as her growth had stopped. It wasn’t easy news to take but I went with the advice I was given with little understanding of what was next to come and the tests my body would face.

Over the course of three days and sleepless nights, I had hormones inserted into my body to try and force  the onset of labor. Not only did I find this unnatural but it was undignified and draining. Both to myself and to my boyfriend. I tried to remain in high spirits but with being stuck in a ward and unable to leave bed for long periods due to being monitored every four hours it took it out of me. My excitement was taken away and I just wanted the whole process to be over. I didn’t feel like I would ever meet my baby. It was tough at nights. Lonely and the sound of babies hearts being monitored was ongoing all through the night. Needless to say, I rarely slept. The anxiety just kept building around what was to come.

I felt a failure, I had kept so well over my pregnancy course. I exercised daily right up until the day of induction, got plenty of fresh air, ate well – some days I exceeded ten pieces of fruit. I took vitamins daily and kept my spirits high. I didn’t understand. It felt like my body was failing me and my baby. An induction is not natural and babies shouldn’t be forced. All I wanted to do was to go home. Euan was with me, by my side daily. Had I not had his support, I’d have went crazy. The hospital was no place for me and was making me feel unwell.

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When the consultant gave the all clear it was just a matter of waiting anxiously to be taken to the labor ward when a space became available. I had never been nervous about labor until the induction began and concerns for my baby were raised, now I was a wreck. Worried and scared. I couldn’t even picture myself holding my baby. A story I will save for another day.

 

Fifth percentile baby. What does this mean? The last weeks of my pregnancy spent full of worry and anxiety.

 

 

At 37 weeks pregnant, finished up with work and newly enjoying a spell of maternity leave, I didn’t expect one of my last midwife appointments to have me leaving teary eyed, panicked and uncertain of what was next to come. All being well and keeping in good health; eating well, getting my 5 a day and then some, the vitamins, exercise.. I had presumed that my baby was safe and sound, cooking away nicely until she decides to make her appearance in the world..

I was in for a shock when I went to my midwife appointment last week, how was I so naive to believe that everything was going perfect and I’d be sent on my merry way after a quick check? How did I not sense something was wrong? Throughout this whole pregnancy I have had such little issues or health fears. Alone and with a new midwife for the first time, the usual questions were asked; how am I? how was I feeling? and the usual checks were made of baby. Heartbeat strong, measurements not quite adding up to expectations. After some prodding and accurate measurements taken by two different midwives, I was told that I had static growth of baby, meaning she has not grown for the past two weeks since the last appointment and was referred to the hospital for a scan come two days time. Hearing those words “static growth”, “scan”, “hospital”….immediately my heart was racing and my eyes were filling, thinking something quite terrible was wrong. I kept it together for the remainder of my appointment, though further information was not taken in, my mind was elsewhere and in a state of panic. I didn’t know if my baby was OK, if this was something I had enforced or if I would even get to leave the hospital upon arrival when I went. I was afraid and worried about the welfare of my baby. I didn’t know what this would mean for the future or family life.

Having told Euan, my mum and some close friends, I felt a little reassured by their words but without having that all important scan and speaking to professionals, I was none the wiser as to whether something was up and spent the next two days worrying and going over scenarios in my head. Was I going to be induced? Would a section be required? Was my child developing well? Had I caused this pause in growth somehow? Why had this happened? There were so many questions and no answers. I was at a loss.

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Being a new mum and having no experience of this situation or having even heard of this before I was afraid. When carrying a child, they become your main priority and the welfare of that tiny human is all too important. You get on with your pregnancy and unless you in yourself feel unwell or notice a change, you just presume that it is all going good and the baby is well. I was wrong to have assumed this was the case. To think that my childs health could be in turmoil, it was devastating and equally heartbreaking. I was worried.

I have no idea what to expect with this news. I know that myself and Euan are both small, under 5ft 5in and did not exceed 7lbs as newborns ourselves nor did any of my siblings, so with that notion, it could just be that genetically our baby is due to be small. I mean, we didn’t expect a giant nor our newborn baby to exceed 7lbs by any means. However, there is a chance that something more sinister is going on inside and that is what threatens me. Will my child require special care? Neo natal care? Will they perhaps grow to a certain point and stop, never making it to the full adult size? Are there any issues with their brain or other vital organs?

That evening, late on, I spent some time in the Westburn ward at the maternity hospital. I had concerns about the baby’s movements and felt that she had almost stopped moving around. I certainly didn’t feel her move as ferocious as normal, no big rolls or heavy kicks. It all seemed quiet, too quiet. With the news I received earlier that morning, I didn’t want to leave it to chance or presume she was OK and so went to the hospital for some checks. I don’t know if due to my mindset I was led to believe she wasn’t moving the same or if the movements had changed, it’s quite a blur but I am glad we had the required checks done. It brought some peace of mind. Thankfully, everything was good on paper, heart was ticking away, strong as ever.  I was reassured and able to go home to rest, wait until the ever important scan.

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  (these were the fabric straps from the night at hospital which the heartbeat monitor was hooked up too and stuck around my tummy, these mean so much and more. They gave hope when I struggled  and will forever be important,)

At the scan, the sonographer was concerned with the growth and wanted us to be checked over by a consultant. Not exactly the all clear we had hoped for, but glad to be in the right hands and cared for. Our baby was measuring at 32 weeks, five full weeks behind on the head and femur,and estimated to weigh just a teeny 5lb 3. Our baby is in the fifth percentile – below average size of babies. We didn’t know anything about the fifth percentile or what this term would mean until some further investigations. Unsettling as this was to hear, there was still the potential that this was all just down to genetics and nothing too crazy was ongoing. Baby looked well, and the heart was going strong. There was nothing pointed out, besides her size that was expected to be a potential issue.

After an anxious wait, we got to chat briefly with a consultant who had said that yes, our baby is smaller than average but may come fine within a few weeks and catch up. They did not really have any answers nor know if we would be looking at neo natal care or any other issues with our baby.  We left almost none the wiser to the situation as we were when we entered the hospital. The outcome was that we have to return for two further scans to monitor the growth and take things from there. Wether I will be induced or expect a section is still unknown and scarily, we still don’t know exactly what is wrong with our baby, why growth has paused and if this will be able to be recovered from or if there will be lasting effects that may be damaging for our child. There seems to be little that we can do in this moment but wait and remain healthy and positive for the sake of our child’s health. As the consultant allowed us to leave and didn’t seem to have great concerns, I’m taking this as a positive and hoping all is well. Surely, if there was anything of danger or causing harm on the scan, action would have been taken sooner? Providing I feel baby continue to move around and eat plenty, we have been told not to worry, any concerns and we can call up the midwife unit.

I really don’t know what I would have done without the support of my boyfriend by my side. His calm and understanding nature, positivity and light have helped so much at this time. Every cuddle, reassuring word, the gentle kisses, it all makes this uneasy time a little easier. I can’t imagine a better life partner to have by my side or to be going through this with. It confirms that I am with the perfect man for me and our baby will be well and truly cared for. They will have a wonderful father in their life to raise and teach them, knowing this makes me so happy, I cannot express in words or writing how much that means.

The past week has been a whole whirlwind of emotions and stress to say the least. I just want to know if my baby girl is healthy and well. I cannot express how terrible I will feel if she has been suffering inside, especially if I haven’t been able to sense this. It is one week until we have the next scan, I will be just over 38 weeks pregnant, basically ready to pop! I am interested to see if there has been improvements with growth but equally nervous in case there is no improvement or growth has even deteriorated. There is know way of knowing until the scan and until that time, I am working on eating as much as I can to keep baby strong, taking in plenty of calcium and vitamins and just generally remaining healthy. I am keen to remain positive, and I am hoping that this is all a big misunderstanding and that our baby has made it up in size or at least, the only issue is that we are to expect a smaller baby due to the genetic make up.

 

 

I am hopeful that this will all blow over and turn out to be absolutely fine and our little baby girl will arrive safe and sound when she is good and ready. I am going to enjoy the last leg of my pregnancy, and my maternity leave as I should. They say you never get this time back, after all. I aim to take plenty of leisure naps, enjoy watching my baby wriggle and move in my tummy, morphing into all sorts of peculiar shapes. I will enjoy staying up a bit later and watching TV shows with Euan on the couch – something I haven’t really been able to do due to being tired an awful lot.I will treasure every last hiccup, movement and every kick as intense as it may be – she’s a tough cookie for sure.  I aim to take as much belly pictures and videos as I can, to capture this whole  journey in it’s full glory. My body has done amazing, I have grown a tiny human, a baby! I need to mark this moment. All the while, I aim to ensure that I get in as much desserts and ice cream as I can. Better make the most of this while it lasts, I can’t rock a baby bump forever!

 

 

Embracing the last few weeks of living as a couple. Taking time out with my man.

With my due date fast approaching, I have been keen to spend as much time with my partner as I can (in between naps and early bed times), doing the things which we love or doing nothing at all, it doesn’t matter, any time together is precious. It is so important to me that we take time out together and make the most of it whilst we can.

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I know that when our baby arrives, we will be limited to alone time, there will be so much focus over our little one and adapting to family life that we won’t have the same time as we do now to give one another.  Don’t get me wrong, it will be amazing to be a family but I do think at times I will miss the days where it was just us.During the past few weeks, we have been squeezing in as much time together as we can. To embrace and look back upon with happy memories, especially with this being such an exciting time. I suppose you could almost call it a baby moon. A slightly extended and less extravagant baby moon. No holidays unfortunately, just staying local and making the most of each day and enjoying life together, all the while, learning more and more about each other by the day and scarily becoming more alike! We can now finish each other’s sentences or let out the same word in the same moment. Uh oh.

In recent weeks, we have enjoyed days off from work together, spent a weekend away in Edinburgh – which was so nice. A well needed break for the both of us. It is great to just walk around a new City and take it all in, watching people go about their own daily business. You could say this was the last holiday before baby, it was exactly how I wanted it to be. Dining out at a Thai cuisine, listening to live music in a small and cosy pub until late, coffee mornings and a trip to the Zoo with an evening tour of the Cities underground. I missed out back in May when Euan went out to Malaysia to visit family, I was intending to go with him and the trip had been booked for almost a year. Sadly, I was unable to travel with the risk of Zika virus and had time at home alone instead. Which, I may add was horrible. I did not take well to being alone and became a whole bag of emotions, crying most of the time he was away. Silly, I know.

It is important to me to spend time with loved ones and I feel that you have to put effort into a relationship all of the time, it doesn’t have to be a huge effort but showing support and love can go a long way. Often we can forget what is important and get too caught up with other things that go on from day to day. Work commitments and issues, daily stresses, family problems, etc. It can become very difficult to balance your life and all that comes with it, and can become too much. I want to be in a strong and healthy relationship, have my child grow up in a happy and loving environment. Family is all that most of us have and it is imperial we hold the ones we love close.

Besides a weekend away and various other days out we enjoyed a gig from Blink 182 at a local event venue. A blast from the past you could say and yes, at 33 weeks pregnant, I forced myself out to listen to some live music. We enjoyed greasy gig food and obviously picked up a T-shirt from the merchandise stall to add to the collection. As the evening went on, I did begin to struggle with back pain and tired legs from standing so we ended up sitting at the back of the crowd on the cold concrete floor and listening to the set end from the sidelines. A world away from the gigs I went to in teenage years. I had a great evening and I am sure Euan did too. Getting out and doing something a little different from the norm can make all the difference. A breath of fresh air and another memory to add to the bag. We can tell baby that her first gig was Blink 182. Pretty cool. 

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We haven’t too much planned over the next few weeks, I wanted to keep things tame. I am becoming tired and sore, my knees begin to burn after long days so I think it is time to wind down and relax more. Off to see family this weekend for a night and we have booked to go out for a meal next month at my favourite Indian restaurant. I’m sure we will squeeze in as much cinema trips as we can which means lots of ice cream and pick n mix. Bonus. At this rate, the amount of time we spend at the cinema, I’ll be lucky if I don’t start labor during a screening.  I must say, I am excited to slow down and stop a little. To sit back and get ready to begin a new chapter. I can’t wait for my journey as a family to begin and to get stuck in my own little love bubble with the two people I will hold the closest. but for now, I am just enjoying the last days we hold together as a couple and falling more in love with my man than ever. I am very fortunate to have someone so genuine,good and caring by my side. I cannot wait for what family life will bring and to watch my best friend become a Father.

 

 

 

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