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Back to hospital

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Happy little soul

As April was 10 weeks premature, she will be monitored until she is two years old to check her development and ensure she is reaching her milestones.  On Tuesday we visited the consultant for the second time since leaving hospital.  I didn’t feel too nervous about seeing him, which I though I may.  I don’t know if this is because of Phil’s calming influence and continual positivity or that she seems to be doing well I didn’t feel I needed to worry.

I think you get so busy each and every day that sometimes you don’t have time to worry and sweat the small stuff, because you spend so much time planning ahead, questioning if you have packed everything and if you have enough milk to cover the trip.

It was an early appointment, so we got seen right away, which was good.  First April was weighed and she was a healthy 15lb 1oz.  Then we were seen by the consultant.  He is a very nice doctor and again has a lovely calming tone of voice.  I guess he needs to when dealing with children and babies all the time.  he sat for a while just looking at April and smiling at her.  he explained that her weight is where he would expect for a 5 month old baby (even though she is 7 1/2 month old), she had good head control, was alert and smiling.  He checked her chest and felt around her stomach and has no concerns that she has any problems.

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No worries

April still struggles to go to the toilet properly and without lactulose she would probably only poo once a week.  He was happy for her to continue on it and explained that sometimes some babies and children that get constipated are in pain, so stop trying to go, which can cause a whole load of problems in the future.  We don’t want that, so she will continue to take laxatives. She’s also continuing with her medicines to help her grow and keep strong as well.  I asked if she still needed to stay on prem formula and he said we could try normal if we wanted (which is less calorific) however at £10 a pop I’m quite happy to continue getting prescription formula for a while 😉

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With SCBU nurses Diane, Chris & Becky

After we’d finished with the doctor, we decided to pay a little visit back to SCBU.  I actually felt more nervous going there than to see the doctor.  As soon as we walked in, they knew who we were and were all delighted to see April.  They couldn’t believe how much she’d grown and how well she was doing.  She was so well behaved as well and just smiled, giggled and chuntered away.  At the time, i felt fine going back in…a little strange walking down the corridor, but proud to show off how well April was doing!

We’ll be back in another 4 months for another check and hopefully April will hit all her milestones again.  She is doing amazingly well, so we have no doubt she’ll do fine.  It is reassuring though to know she is being monitored – I’ve not got a clue what she should be doing or when, so it’s nice to know for sure she’s doing good 🙂

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My post pregnancy body

There are so many pressures on women to get their figure back after having a baby.  Since April was born I’ve noticed this even more; reading articles in magazine, seeing interviews on TV etc.

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Around 23 weeks pregnant

When I had April I didn’t get chance to get too big and had quite a neat bump.  I’m not sure exactly how much weight I put on as I was in hospital for the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy.  However, when April did arrive the thing I noticed more was my ‘shelf belly’ – aptly named by Phil.  We used to joke that he’d have somewhere to rest his pint from now on.  It was odd – this new ridge had appeared on my stomach.  Apparently it is quite common with a C-Section.  Initially, I was more concerned about healing and getting stronger for my little baby, than loosing weight!  Read my blog about post C-section body here.

Of course things didn’t fit me too well, but it’s hardly a fashion show in NICU or SCBU.  However, as I started losing a bit of the baby weight I realised that shelf belly wasn’t going anywhere.

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When I was younger (guess who!)

I’ve always battled with my weight since I was a teenager, so always have this ‘niggling’ when I start putting on weight.  Of course being pregnant I didn’t worry about my weight at all, but at the beginning of the year I knew I needed to get back to my old self.  Mentally I’d been through the mill, so I didn’t want the little voices in my head to start nagging at me about not feeling good about myself.

So, at the beginning of February I decided to start Slimming World.  I am happy to say today that I hit target and lost 1 stone 5lb (or about 2 stone since giving birth).  I’m actually almost back down to my pre wedding weight.  I can fit into old clothes, have gone down a dress size and feel so much better about myself!  I didn’t lose weight for anyone else, but for me.  There wasn’t pressure from anyone else, but me.  I know in myself when I don’t feel right and it was just right for me to get back to myself.

There are obvious health benefits from losing weight as well.  Since having April I’ve been taking medication for a high blood pressure and monitoring my BP…I don’t know if it was coincidence, but this morning my BP was the lowest it’s been at 93/78!!

Despite loosing weight, shelf belly remains.  It has certainly got smaller, but my body has definitely changed shape.  Now though I will embrace the changes as I have a beautiful baby girl to show for it…at least I won’t beat myself up about my ‘muffin top’ or not feeling good about myself now I’m back to normal.

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Before and after photos

 

Shelf Belly photos – before and after.  It’s still there, but gone down a lot 🙂 whoop whoop!

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Babies and socialising

The dreaded hangover.  Oh yes, it’s bad when you’re a carefree childless twenty or thirty something year old…but oh my lord the dreaded hangover is on a whole other scale when there is a baby in tow.

So far I’ve not had many opportunities to “break free” and enjoy some time to myself since April arrived.  There was a meal in the local pub with old friends, a couple of hours in a spa, a few friend’s popping round for a drink (with April upstairs) and a BBQ next door…but honestly in 7 months that is about it.  So, when Phil surprised me with a “date night” I was very excited to say the least.  A chance to go out and eat at the same time as my husband, rather than taking shifts and a few nice glasses of vino to boot.

A few weeks ago friends came round for drinks and the next day I was fine…a little tired, but OK considering I’d not really drunk much in a year (not like me I hasten to add).  However, date night was a whole other story.  So, it’s like April knew we’d gone out.  Yes, I’d fed, bathed and put her to bed, but she decided that I didn’t need as much sleep that night and woke up an hour earlier than usual screaming the house down.  So, maternal duties ensued and I jumped out of bed with a start…what a mistake!  April normally wakes up calmly, singing to herself, but not this morning…like I say I think it was punishment for going out.

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Keeping me entertained

So, as I jumped up and ran through, it wasn’t until I leaned over the cot that the pain hit my head and the hangover reared its ugly head.  So, I thought I heard Phil get out of bed and say ‘Do you want me to’…almost crying I was like ‘Yes please’.  I carried on getting April up and starting to give her her morning bottle.  Phil had gone to the toilet.  I sat there feeding her, with my head resting on the back of the chair feeling dreadful!  Eventually she finished, but needed changing & wanted to play.  I took her downstairs, laid her on the changing mat & lay beside her.  Every now and then I’d waggle a rattle in front of her, but I felt like I was dying!  One quick sudden movement & there was no going back…I had to go & say hello to the toilet bowl!

At this point Phil still hasn’t come downstairs & April was crying.  I had to pick her up & we both fell asleep on the sofa…well if you can call it sleep.  You know the kind when you lie there heavy breathing trying not to move as everything hurts & you’re worried about throwing up again! 2 hours later Phil came downstairs…yes 2 hours later.  What a relief.  He hadn’t heard me and thought I was ok :/. I headed straight to bed…well briefly as Eve had a football tournament later that morning, so I was back on duty.  Needless to say I didn’t get much done the rest of the day!

So, another thing is lie ins…what are those?  If you know me, you know I love a lie in on a Saturday or Sunday.  Especially since April came along, that extra hour or so at a weekend when Daddy takes over for a few hours is so precious.  All mums will know you don’t need an alarm clock anymore as your baby is now your alarm clock!  It’s just not very helpful when you have a hangover & it’s an hour earlier than expected!

Anyway, April is now my social life.  If I’m not looking after her, I’m working (or trying to do both at the same time) or cooking/cleaning/washing etc.  I sit down at 8.30pm at night, then feel like going to bed at 9pm!  Someone asks you to do something & your mind starts whirring about will it fit in with feed time, how long do you need to prepare, what do you need to pack?

The majority of my friends are spread across the country (& world) so I don’t see them very often.  I’ve been going to baby groups and meeting new people, which is lovely as you have a lot in common.  This weekend it was one of my uni friend’s Hen parties.  I would have loved to have gone and seen all my girls and spent time with them on my own, but I am just not ready to leave April yet.  Date night was fine and it was nice to get out for a while, but a whole weekend, or even a night away would have been too much.  I thought I was fine, but I felt quite sad this weekend, seeing them all together and not being there with them to enjoy a special occassion & catch up.  However, I think it’s a good job I didn’t go…if I was emotional about not being with them, imagine what I’d be like not being with April!

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April’s development

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Holding myself up

Last week it seemed like April started doing lots of little things.  You can really see her coming along now and is developing steadily.  however it just seems some weeks she flies.  it was like this in hospital.  It felt like she would do nothing for weeks, then all of a sudden lots would happen and I would say this trend has continued.

One of my favourite times with April is once she’s had her milk in the morning, we lie on the bed for a bit and cuddle, chat to each other and have a play.  Last week we were doing this and she rolled over on to her front.  Now, I wasn’t sure if My helping hand had caused this, but she has done it several times since…and lifts her head and shoulders right up; rather than face on floor with screaming ensuing!  Her little face when she does it – she grins as if to say “look at me Mammy!”   She often tries to roll over now, she just can’t figure out what to do with her arm and how to get over it, but with a little guidance she’s over.

She is also starting to sit up much more and supporting herself.  When we bought her little chair, she would sort of slump over, but now she will sit up and play.  And, when holding her, you don’t need to support her or hold on as much.  Head up, back straight and sitting tall…it won’t be long before she is able to do it with no support.

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How to get on with a baby in tow

She has also really found her voice; I think she is going to be a little chatterbox like her Mammy!  it feels like you can have a conversation with her now; the only problem is she knows how to use her voice all the time.  As soon as I leave the room she is calling for me to come back (or should I say screaming for me to come back.)  She is so alert and doesn’t miss a trick…she knows if you disappear to the toilet!  It’s hard work sometimes.  her little gurgles in the bath are the cutest, or when she’s talking to herself in the cot in the mornings.  Her new trick is blowing raspberries, very cute…apart from when i am trying to feed her and have to dodge bits of carrot flying in my direction!

April is still sleeping through.  I have a lovely routine at night, which has really helped.  She generally has her bottle/solids about 6-6.30pm, followed by a lovely relaxing bath.  I then get her dried, with a little baby massage, dressed and into her sleeping bag.  If she has left any milk at tea time, she sometimes finishes off, before a little cuddle and bed.  She is normally tucked up and asleep by 7.30pm and we generally don’t hear a peep until 7am – bliss.  Occasionally there is an odd scream through the night, but generally she’ll go back to sleep once I’ve checked on her.

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My little sleepy head

Since she has been taking lactulose every day to keep her regular she’s been pooping OK.  i know I will usually have a little present waiting for me most mornings, but earlier this week her lactulose ran out and she got a bit bunged up.  All morning yesterday she was just really irritable, wanting attention all day and not herself.  You could see she was straining bless her and looking like she was going to explode.  Luckily our stocks were replenished, I gave her a big dose with tea and there was a lovely package waiting for me this morning.  I didn’t know you could feel so happy about someone else having a poo! haha.

 

 

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6 months on

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Wha’ you lookin at!?

Time certainly does fly and I can’t quite believe it has been 6 months since April was born. It has been such a whirlwind from the trauma of being poorly, sitting beside April’s bedside each day and then nurturing her and learning to be a Mammy.  She has really come on over the past few weeks and she is thriving.

Last week I turned 36.  When I t urned 35 I was fine, but 36 seems so much older…and much nearer to 40.  You know when you have to tick the next box up on forms :/. Anyway, what could make my birthday more special than by April giving me a hearty giggle from her gut on my birthday morning (click here to see video). It made me remember that age is only a number and to be thankful I’m here to see my 36th birthday.  To my delight she also sat up in a little chair for the first time as well.  Two major steps on my birthday…it was like she knew!

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Today I sat for the first time

She is also very alert and reaching out for things more, playing with my hands, kicking and splashing, giggling and even starting to roll.  We went to see the health visitor yesterday and she was really happy with April’s progress.  She was weighed and is now 13lb 14oz.  She said that if we compare her to another 4 month old baby (her corrected age – as if she was born term) she is doing everything she needs to do and more.  She is also a good weight for her corrected age.  I’ve just learnt that I cannot compare her to any other baby that is 6 months old.  She is unique and will develop at her own pace…and that is a pace that is right for her.

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Bath time

I have also made some developments myself.  I joined Slimming World in February.  Not because of the pressure of loosing baby weight, but more for myself.  If you read my blog about my post natal body, I was very conscious of how my body had changed.  I just didn’t feel like myself.  The whole situation; being in hospital for so long, wearing baggy, scruffy clothes, no make up, hair swept back it just wasn’t me.  I needed to re-find myself again and for me that was by feeling like my body was more my own again and to feel myself.  After a difficult couple of weeks I am pleased to say I reached my 1 stone mark, and I have 3 lb to lose until I reach my target.  I didn’t put on loads of weight when I was pregnant and didn’t have a massive bump (April was only 2lb 5oz after all), but the C-Section messes up your body and you get this awful overhang.  Despit loosing weight, the overhand is still there, but it looks so much better than before.  I am almost down to my wedding weight, can fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans and am starting to feel like my old self again.  And it is funny to think I have lost just over what April weighs!  I’ve lost a whole baby!!!!

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Messy eater

Weaning is generally going well.  However, I have to say it is the most confusing thing about having a baby that I have found so far.  We started weaning April at 5 months as she was premature and it is recommended you wean them earlier than a term baby.  I initially followed a book that had a great guide in for weaning early, with plans and recipes etc.  April has progressed quickly and I’m now sort of winging it.  She has tried a variety of fruit and vegetables, now we are ‘upping’ quantities and in the next couple of weeks will introduce protein.  I still like to use my book as a guide, but I’m just going with my gut and see how we get on…I’ll follow April’s lead.  I’m making most of my own things for her, but I think as we continue it might be difficult to make things for her and then others for us…hopefully she’ll start having what we have soon and it’ll get easier.  Watch this space!