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Gigglebum

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Having fun at baby sensory 

Time just seems to fly at the moment – mind I’m sure my Mam would say that about the last 35 years! When we were in hospital every day rolled into one and progress was slow. We were just waiting for April to grow and learn to breathe and feed on her own.

The past 3 months she has come on leaps and bounds, but it still felt like it was taking ages for her to be anything more than a newborn baby that eats, sleeps and poos. Every day I see changes in April – but not always loads to write blogs about!

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Holding a rattle

 

 

 

 

In the past couple of weeks though, April has really come on and developed lots. She has discovered her hands and she now reaches out to touch things. She can’t hold anything yet, but I don’t think it will be long until she is grabbing things. At Baby sensory last week, she held a rattle for the first time and kept hold of it.

She is also very very smiley. Her little face just lights up when she smiles and it just melts your heart! She loves people and is very happy to be held by anyone…I think she saw so many nurses, she got used to people other than me. She is also starting to do a little chortle – it will soon turn into a laugh and I can tell she is going to be a little giggle bum!

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Gigglebum

There are little times of days that I love and the little rituals and routines we have. In a morning I lay April on my bed and we have a little snuggle. She generally falls asleep and that is my chance to jump into the shower and quickly get ready. I often play her baby Mozart and she generally stays chilled out until I’m ready. I also love bath time. The strength in her legs really shows in the bath as we play a little game where she pushes off the side of the bath and I whoosh her through the water. She loves it!

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Water baby

Last week we took April swimming for the first time. Nana Linda had bought her her first swimming cossie – size 6-9 months…the biggest thing she fits in. Everything else is newborn still!! When we got there the baby pool had been closed as it was too cold, so we took her in the big pool. She didn’t have much of a reaction – it could have gone 2 ways really…tears or giggles. Luckily it wasn’t tears. She just lay in her Daddy’s arms as we passed her through the water. A few smiles later she was loving it – she probably just thought it was a big bath. We only stayed in the water for about 5 minutes as she started shivering. If she loves swimming as much as she loves a bath, she is going to be a water baby like her big sister!

After swimming she was worn out! She had a bottle at 3pm, then slept until 6pm and then she slept right through until 3am! I couldn’t believe it…just not like her. She fights sleep every day. You maybe get an hour out of her, but that’s about it, so I couldn’t believe she slept so long!

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Sleepyhead 

She is generally sleeping well. We’re getting her into a nice little routine where she has a bottle about 6pm, followed by a bath, then bottle top up a snuggle and bed. We’ve also started taking her upstairs once she’s asleep. Her 10pm feed has completely dropped now and sometimes she’ll wake at 2am or 4am. It is so nice to get a little extra sleep now – thought I do love a lie in on a Sunday when Phil relives me of the 6am feed!

We think she is also starting to teethe – she constantly chews her hand and dribbles loads. I can’t feel anything on her gums yet, but it might not be long until something pops through!

We’re also debating weaning soon as well. It feels like milk might not satisfy her for too much longer and she will need something else. She sits up, but still needs support, so we’re going to wait till she can support herself a bit more. I am getting prepared though. Bought a blender the other day, loads of fruit and I’ve armed myself with a Gina Ford weaning plan and recipes. I plan on doing loads of blending this week ready for when we start. I didn’t just want to do it willy nilly – I mean how do you know what to do, so I’ve got a little plan to follow now. I tried her with some baby rice last week and she hated it, so gradually does it!

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Not impressed 

I feel so proud that 3 months ago she only learnt to breathe on her own and now she is doing all this. You always have in the back of your mind that something isn’t going to go right or she’s not going to develop properly. She had scans and checks on everything and will be closely monitored…so far so good!

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Reflection

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Bath time

Having a premature baby is a real rollercoaster.  First of all you have the intensity of NICU & SCBU, then the fear of coming home with a tiny baby, the worry that something is going to go wrong, then trying to process everything that happened.

I am a bit of a soap queen and the storyline at the moment about Megan having a baby in NICU gets to me every time I watch it.  Tonight she said about how she imagined her pregnancy and what her new baby was going to be like, but having to deal with a differnt reality and a differnt baby to what she had imagined.  She was also struggling with the name, just like us.  It is something I can’t explain, but like Megan we couldn’t decide until we held her and could see her little face did it feel right to give her a name.

I still sometimes find myself crying about what happened to us, as it still feels really raw.  It is more of a thankfulness than feeling sad…a thankfulness that we’re both still here; that I have a beautiful baby and that she is growing and doing so well.

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My little fighter

Every new Mum will know that people are full of advice and everyone has ‘been there’, but sometimes you don’t really want to hear it.  The amount of times that people say ‘ohhhhh you have it all to come’ – I sort of smile through gritted teeth at things like this.  I’m like, I don’t care that I have it all to come – bring it on.  I got so close to loosing my baby that I treasure every single moment.  If she wants to draw on the wall with crayons; she’s artistic.  If she throws her food all over the floor; she’s a spirited little soul.  If she screams and causes a scene; bloody hell those lungs did well at developing – she used to survive on oxygen you know! (I say that now haha; but honestly that’s how I feel at the moment!)

Then you get the people whose friend’s, sister’s husband was premature – born 4 weeks early you know and only weighed 5lb.  I’ve only actually met one person (apart from all the amazing mums in NICU) who I felt really ‘got’ how I felt.  It’s like she looked right into my eyes and just had such an empathy with how I felt and what I had been through.  She didn’t need to tell me her story; she just knew.  You could tell she’d felt the same pain.

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Giggles with Toby

I went to playgroup again today and it so lovely talking to other mums, getting out of the house and meeting new people.  It feels refreshing to talk to other mums who are going through having new babies, or toddlers at the same time.  Hearing stories of what their kiddies get up to – it makes me excited to for each and every new day and what it will bring – seeing how April will grow, watch her little personality develop and seeing her learn new things.

I read another blog recently about a ‘Preemie kind of proud’ – this was written by a Mum who had a baby 10 weeks early like me.  She hit the nail on the head with trying to explain how it feels every day having a premature baby.  There is no disputing that all babies are miracles – I mean we actually grow them…the human body is amazing!  But, when you’re a NICU Mummy every tiny thing your baby does makes you feel a ‘Preemie kind of proud’ – when they take their first breath on their own, when they take another ml of milk, when they grow body parts, when they pass their eye test, when you find out all their teeny tiny parts have developed.  These babies are fighters – they learn how to survive.  So, I guess what I am trying to get across is that on reflection every moment I feel ‘a preemie kind of proud’ – April amazes me every single day!

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A Preemie kind of proud – Mammy & April

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Happy Mother’s Day

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All dressed up

Today was my first Mother’s Day. I normally think these made up days are commercial bleep, but I reveled in my first day of celebrating being a new Mummy.

However, all week I have been feeling quite reflective and thinking about all the Mummies who will be spending their day in NICU or SCBU. Every day is hard in hospital, but I know I would have found Mother’s Day sat by my baby’s cot really difficult and very emotional. I feel thankful that I am back at home and that we were home for Christmas and not in hospital on this special day as well. So, I am sending my love and thoughts to those people who are in hospital with their poorly babies today – and for all the new Mummies who are celebrating their first Mother’s Day with their precious baby.

I have felt quite emotional today. On a Sunday I usually get a little lie in…my one time in a week to catch up on a couple of hours sleep I’ve missed during the week. This morning Phil let me have my usual lie in, but I was woken up to breakfast in bed, which was lovely. I was given a gorgeous bunch of flowers and some lovely cards. There was one from April (beautifully written by Eve), one that was made at playgroup on Thursday (which the ladies who run the group had written in) and the most beautiful card off Phil and Eve – the words were perfect…

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Lovely Eve & April

“It’s your first Mother’s Day
with your little one by your side
your very own tiny miracle
it’s like a rollercoaster ride!

You’re such an amazing person
for all the things you say and do
your little one is so lucky
having a wonderful Mum like you!

So celebrate your ‘Mummyhood’
and enjoy yourself today
you make us all so very proud
you’re loved more than words can say”

I burst out crying when I read the card – it was just perfect! We then went out for a lovely dinner…diet went out of the window! I’ve been so good for the last 5 weeks, but I thought ‘why not’ I deserved a treat! God help me at weigh in tomorrow! I was beaming all throughout dinner though – so proud to have such a beautiful family…and to be celebrating my first Mother’s Day. I never take anything forgranted these days.

imageOf course, I am also thankful of having such an amazing Mam today. I know everyone says their Mum is the best, but mine is very special. She is selfless and puts everyone before herself. She would give me her last penny and do anything for me. I know that if I am half the Mum to April that she has been to me I’ll do a great job!

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Playtime & smiles

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Smiles for Mammy

I’ve started getting out and about with April to some mother and baby groups in the past week or so.  It is really nice as there are a couple of other new Mums on the development we live on, so we’ve been catching up and I’ve been to a few things with them.

Last Friday was Baby Sensory.  I was really looking forward to it; although I didn’t really know what to expect.  I met with my friend Hannah and her new baby Chester and we went together.  We all sat round on mats and laid our babies down in front of us.  The class teacher gave a brief introduction, before she belted out the ‘sun’ tune.  I wanted to laugh initially…you have to remember this is my first foray into the world of baby groups, singing and talking baby.  The others seemed to know the words, apart from me and the lady next to me, so I just sort of waved around in front of April.  Sure she was laughing at me or thinking ‘Mammy what are you doing!?’  I whispered to the lady next to me we’d need to do homework and watch it on YouTube.

Anyway, the rest of the session was really nice.  We had a TeleTubbie puppet show, played with musical instruments, balls and feathers.  We also had a bit of free play time, which was nice for me and Hannah just to have a catch up.  April seemed to really like it.  She is so inquisitive, so spent most of the time looking round and taking it all in.  I felt a bit smug as all the other babies cried at one time or another, but April was a little Angel.

The rest of the day she just slept, so she must have been worn out from all the fun!

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Worn out after playgroup

Then today we went to Clifton Little Tinkers with another neighbour Jo-Beth and her little boys.  When the group found out that we had been in hospital we got a card from them, which was lovely and I’ve been wanting to go and join in for a while. With April initially having low white blood cells and not having her immunisations I didn’t want to take her out too much; particularly with her being prem.  However, I felt ready now to take her down…I also think it is good for me to get out and about and meet other people.

For so long I’be been Lisa from Acorn Marketing, the business woman, but now I am Lisa from Acorn Marketing, the business woman and a Mummy and I want to explore that more.  It was so lovely to go to the group and it was nice to show April off.  Although she is 18 weeks old, she is still so tiny and everyone ohhhhhs and ahhhhhhs.  It always makes me smile when people say how small she is, though she is big to us now and they should have seen her when she was only 2lb 5oz!  The group was really nice as well and it is really nice to talk to some other Mummies.  April even made me a Mother’s Day card (well I did really, but we can pretend  – anything to do some crafts hehe!)

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I’ve not got loads of time to go to groups juggling running a business and looking after a baby, but I think I’ve found two we’ll both enjoy going a long to 🙂

Not only am I Mammy to April, but I am Step SuperMum Extraordinare (if I do say so myself) – looking after April AND helping transform my gorgeous Step Daughter Eve into Gangsta Granny for World Book Day.  She looked ace complete with wrinkles, granny tights and swag bag.  I’ve always had such fun doing things like this with Eve and feel so privileged that I have such a lovely little girl in my life as well as April!