Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Early days {the 4th trimester} {Part 1}

The babies have arrived, so what’s next?

After lots of cuddles, tears, routine checks, possibly the best shower of your life (seriously better than a post ‘I’ve just crawled through 10 feet of mud’ shower) and copious amounts of tea and toast we were all cleared to move to the maternity ward at 2:30am on Sunday morning (a bit like getting in from the craziest night out you’ve ever had).  Then went straight to bed to recover right?  Ha.  Hahahahahhaha.  This is one Saturday night hangover that won’t be slept off.  We decided it would be best for Mr H to go home and get some sleep so he could be more use the next day (poor man had had a hard day and can’t cope without sleep….!) and leave the babies to me and the midwives. 

Your body has been through a hugely traumatic experience and your emotions are shot.  You still can’t get your head around what’s just happened in the last 24 hours  (even though you've been preparing for months) and you’re on a massive comedown from the copious amounts of painkillers pumped into your system.  All you want to do is curl up into a little ball and sleep for the next 12 hours.  But now you have these two little people sharing a cot next to your bed who you simply can’t stop staring at in wonder.  You know them but they are new to you.  Strangers you’re yet to get to know.  Part of you but somehow so alien. 

Just as your eyelids drop a baby lets out a heart retching cry.  Your mummy instincts kick in and you’re up with your baby in your arms before you can say more tea and toast please.  This tiny little being so fragile and, apparently, not at all happy with life out in the big wide world.  His brother still sleeping peacefully.  Is he still breathing.  Is he warm enough?  What if he’s too warm?  Is he hungry?  Does he need a new nappy?  How do you even change a nappy?  How do you know what this new little person wants?  Why aren’t my mummy instincts working?!

You ring the buzzer and in comes the midwife (thank the Lord for midwives! In fact thank the Lord for all hospital staff!).  She helps you feed, change his nappy and puts your mind at rest.  Ok so the baby is sleeping again.  Time for more staring.  Your eyelids drop.  The other baby wakes.  Welcome to the 4th trimester. 

Needless to say those early days were a bit of  blur.  We were in hospital for 5 days and after O dropped too much weight we were put on a strict 3 hourly feed schedule.  To be honest I loved the routine!  I felt like I had some control over this completely new and chaotic life.  Alarm set for 11:40pm, wake up, potter to the hospital feeding room, sterilise equipment and take tub of previous expressed milk out of the fridge.  Back to babies, wake them up, change nappies (to their tandem chorus of ‘why have you woken me up’ in A minor), ring the midwife buzzer, tandem breast feed by 12am (with some help from the midwife), then top up with expressed milk cup feed.  Attempt to wind babies (aka the impossible task), quick cuddle and put back down back to sleep by 12:50.  Express for 30 mins.  Wash up equipment, label and put expressed milk in the fridge.  Back to room and in bed by 1:40.  Alarm set for 2:40.  Repeat.  Forever. 

Ok so maybe not forever but this basically became our life for the foreseeable future.  Our babies fed every three hours for months.  We changed their nappies after every feed.   We had a system, worked as a team, slept whenever possible.  We could do this! 

But apparently hospitals are full of fairy dust that makes babies sleep.  Coming home was a different story!  (watch out for part 2 coming soon!)
Two little sausage rolls

Top Tips:

-          Everyone says this but seriously get as much sleep and rest before your baby/babies arrive because newborns are HARDWORK!

-          Pack your hospital bag early and try to keep it packed i.e. have a spare deodorant rather than expecting to remember to throw in the one you use every day last minute

-          As you approach your due date it’s nice to have a bit of a pamper but try to be relaxed about keeping your dignity

-          Buy a maternity/nursing bra with a bit of room – by approx.. day 3 your boobs will think they’re getting ready to audition for a FHM shoot

-          Make the most out of the hospital staff – they are amazing and a fountain of knowledge and experience

-          Try to get out of your hospital room to potter around the ward everyday – my favourite time of day was breakfast.  I’d wheel the babies out to the day room in their cot and eat my body weight in toast.  After a long night it was a.maz.ing.  Plus gives you an opportunity to meet expectant and new mums and have a good natter and feel a bit more yourself again

-          Think carefully about how you want to share your news and who you’d like to visit you in hospital.  You may think you can’t wait to show off your new bundle/bundles of joy but don’t underestimate how you may feel post birth i.e. like you’ve been 10 rounds with Mike Tyson

Top buy:

-          V-pillow.  Seriously the best thing I ever bought.  Great during pregnancy for your aching back and to use as a maternity pillow between your legs or under your huge bump at night and ideal for feeding in the early days.  I still use mine to prop the babies up to feed and now they’re sitting up I use them as a buffer in case they topple over.  And you can pick them up quite cheap from amazon! 

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Saturday, 28 November 2015

We're expecting! {the unexpected} {Sept 2014}

On 9th September 2014 I had the most horrific stomach bug.  Or so I thought....

After 12 hours of puking (nice) Mr H said to me "are you sure you're not pregnant" to which I replied "if this is what morning sickness feels like I hope not!"  Ha.  Hahahahahahahaha.  Two pregnancy tests, a trip to the doctors and a third test just to be sure (you know, the one that states 'pregnant' or 'not pregnant') later I text Mr H.  I think it's pretty safe to say that we're expecting!

Daydreaming about being pregnant and actually being pregnant it turns out are very different things.  Daydream pregnancy = gorgeous flowing maternity dresses, glowing skin, pottering around Mothercare picking up cute outfits.  Actually pregnancy = uncomfortable maternity trousers, wanting to hurl at the most inconvenient times, heartburn from hell, piles (yes I went there) and gawking at the price of strollers.  Bye bye Mothercare, hello eBay!

Needless to say I spent the first few weeks of my known pregnancy (7 weeks onwards) pretty much with my head down the toilet.  Hurrah!  We decided to wait a couple of weeks before telling close family and friends.  As expected everyone was over the moon, and actually most people had already guessed - obviously didn't do a fab job of hiding the morning sickness!  I then broke the news to my boss - my exact words after a particularly rough morning being - "Hi Kerry, I'm pregnant and I feel like s**t".  Always one to be subtle. 

I don't know why they call it 'morning' sickness.  It should really be renamed 'can strike at anytime' sickness.  I basically lived off a combination of hula hoops and copious amounts of apple juice in those early days. 

As the 12 week mark loomed the sickness began to subside and I felt pretty good!  We went to our first scan nervous but excited.  Part of me thought they might say that actually I was having a phantom pregnancy and there was actually nothing there.  What actually happened is something I never would have foreseen in a million years!

There I was expectantly lying next to the sonographer watching the screen for a little blob of baby thinking "is that it? Is that our baby?" but they kept moving the scanner and not settling as I expected.  This is it.  This is when they tell me I'm having a phantom pregnancy.  The sonographer then asked the (I assume) more experienced sonographer to take over.  Oh no.  Something's wrong.  I kept staring at the screen.  Aware of Mr H now sitting forward in his chair wringing his hands nervously. 

"Do you have twins in your family?"  she asked.  WTF!!  Cue tears.  Tears of pure shock.  "No" I replied and stared at not one but two little blobs now visible on the screen.  Two little babies.  Twins.  Wow. 

The rest of the scan pretty much pasted in a blur.  We had some photos printed out and were told we'd need to see a consultant and book a separate scan for the following week.  We just sat in the waiting room, pale faced and staring blankly at each other.  Twins.  F**k. 

Then came the fun bit.  "Hi mum - we've just had our scan.  Baby is fine.  Baby number 2 is fine too"  Hehe.  Hehehehehehehehehe.  If telling your loved ones you're pregnant is fun, telling them you're expecting twins is awesome!  Neither of us have twins in the family so it was as big a shock to our nearest and dearest as it was to us.  That is apart from my sister in law who said I was pregnant with twins before I had even told her I was expecting.  A comment I obviously brushed off and didn't think twice about.  She knows her pregnant tummies that girl. 

I pretty much loved every part of my pregnancy from there onwards.  The sickness cleared up.  My skin began to glow, my hair got thicker, my bump grew gorgeous and round and I got to go to about a million scans and see my babies almost fortnightly.  At our 20 week scan we found out we were having two boys and we started preparing things at home, painting the nursery, finding a double buggy that would fit my tiny car (which we did!) and buying and accepting offers of baby clothes.  I remember mentioning to Mr H that we could have babies in 10 weeks time if they came early as so many twins do.  Three days later 7 (!) packages of baby clothes arrived from eBay.  Panic buying much Mr H??   

Nearer the end of my pregnancy things started to get tougher.  Ridiculous heartburn meant I could hardly eat, my bump got heavy and I couldn't comfortably drive or stand for long, my back ached and complications started to crop up which meant more visits to the hospital.  I may as well have lived there really.  But we got there in the end and at 37 weeks I was induced at Gloucester Royal Hospital. 

Then on 11th April 2015 we welcomed our two baby boys into the world - Noah William and Oliver Danny :)
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