Tuesday, 2 December 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Last weekend turned out to be a very festive weekend! We hadn't planned it to be that way at all but we certainly ended up starting December super excited about Christmas.

I heard about a local garden centre having Santa's reindeer there last minute, which I knew Lily would absolutely love to see! So we bundled our little family into the car and off we headed very excited!

The garden centre was so lovely, with very Christmassy scenes of the North Pole to walk through, with life size moving polar bears and woodland animals, gingerbread houses and snow covered trees. Lily was absolutely amazed by it all, and when we reached the end and found the real reindeer waiting for us, her face was an absolute picture. It really was magical for her! We then stopped for lunch and had a browse of their Christmas trees before heading home.

Sunday morning, still feeling very full of Christmas spirit, I suggested going and buying our tree to David. To begin with he thought I was mad, with it still being November, but I managed to persuade him, and loving Christmas as much as I do, it wasn't too difficult!

Once we picked our perfect tree, we took it home and began decorating it as a family, with The Santa Clause on in the background and our roast in the oven. Lily loved putting decorations on the tree herself and spent so long admiring every little detail once it had all finished. Christmas this year will be extra special now she is old enough to understand everything that bit more and really get excited!

We ended our weekend with belly's full of roast dinner and the fire on as we relaxed in our cosy, Christmassy living room with a glass of wine, very much ready for December to begin.


Thursday, 27 November 2014


I'm back!! I had a bit of a break from blogging. The last few weeks of pregnancy were rough for me, then once I had our little man I wanted to focus on family and settle into a new routine being a mum of two. But I feel like its finally time to get back into blogging properly. I really want to make time now to start regularly posting again. I miss it and have so many ideas for my little space on the internet! So today I wanted to start with our new little additions birth story. Make yourself comfortable and get yourself a cup of tea- its going to be a long one!

Some of you may remember Lily's birth story. My labour with Lily was very long- I was in early labour for 5 days and made little progress in that time but the contractions were consistent and exhausting. I was preparing myself this time for a long early labour again, as I now knew it could take up to 6 days for things to get going properly so told myself I wouldn't get as disheartened as I did last time.

My labour started on Tuesday 23rd October. I was 37 weeks pregnant and had been getting random contractions for a few weeks by this point. But on this day I woke up feeling sick and like i had a fever with LOTS of pressure. My back and hips were sore and by 5pm my contractions began. They were quite uncomfortable but only short ones and I was only getting about 4 every hour. Gradually however they became more and more frequent and by 10pm I was contracting every 3 minutes and they were lasting a lot longer. I sat myself on my birthing ball, bouncing, rocking and breathing through them. David was quite excited that this could be it however I was realistic after our last birth experience and was in no rush to get the hospital, I knew it could be up to a week yet and did not want to go to the hospital to be turned away. By 1am they were still coming regularly, but I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep so I was actually pretty happy when they began to die down a little. I was able to get to bed and have a few hours of broken sleep, waking up to contractions every 20mins or so.

The following day they continued to come quite infrequently and were painful but not enough for me to feel like I couldn't cope at home anymore. I was determined I would not go to the hospital until they were very regular and I couldnt cope with the pain because one of the most disheartening things about my labour with Lily was our trips to the hospital thinking it was time and being sent away because I was progressing so slowly. I carried on like this until Thursday evening when they started picking up again. they got to 3mins apart again and were getting more and more painful. At 2am, after hours of doing everything I could to try and stop them to check it wasn't false labour, I decided it was time to call the hospital. We got poor little Lily out of bed and took her to my parents house and made our way to the delivery suite at the hospital. I had a very lovely midwife do my checks. With Lily, I seemed to get midwives who thought I was making up how much pain I was in and being silly. This midwife was really understanding and lovely. I had barely dilated at all, however she explained that with all of her children her labours were exactly like this, with days and days of contractions and not much happening. She did confirm that labour had definitely started and it was not false labour, and gave me a stretch and sweep to try and hurry things along for me. Although a little frustrated I went home still feeling quite positive, I think mainly due to the midwife being so lovely and encouraging. A while after returning back home the contractions became quite all over the place, I'd have a few close together then some more than 30mins apart.

For the third night in a row I had a bit of broken sleep, then the next morning decided to actively try and help my labour progress. David took the day off work and we went to a local lake and spent about 4 hours walking around. I am so glad we did this. It is such a beautiful place and so peaceful, it really helped me cope with the pain and keep in a really positive frame of mind. It was also lovely to spend some time with my husband, just the two of us. By the time we were heading home my contractions had been 4mins apart for a few hours and getting more and more intense. Yet again though, by that night, they were fizzling out and became weaker and further apart. 

Saturday morning they were 20mins apart and I was still trying my hardest to stay positive. From my first contraction Lilys labour was 6 days long, so I kept thinking that by Tuesday, he should be here as that would be exactly a week since all this had started. I decided instead of walking lots again which hadnt worked, I would take the day to rest. We were missing Lily who had been staying with my parents since our hospital visit so we went there for the day. Seeing that my contractions weren't going anywhere and each one was pretty painful for me, my mum said they would keep Lily again another night as she was sure our boy would be arriving very soon. After yet another night of waking up to contractions , we went and picked up Lily. 

That Saturday night was hard. After doing this for so many days, I was so, so tired, and would wake up panicked and upset by the pain I was in during the contraction. Its much more difficult to cope with that pain if you aren't awake to enough to prepare yourself as the contraction builds and so I was very glad for that night to be over. I was definitely feeling a lot less positive after it though, and decided Sunday was the day to do everything I possibly could to Get. Him. Out!! the amount of googling I had done that week on ways to make labour progress meant I was an expert and in that one day tried every trick in the book. We walked around the park, I went on the swings, I did star jumps, I bounced on my  ball, I tried an exercise laying on your side that's supposed to position your cervix to allow the baby to move down, I ate spicy food, I made a chilli hot chocolate that nearly blew my head  off, eating pineapple,  I watched sad films to make me cry lots. Nothing had changed by that evening and I went to bed feeling disappointed and frustrated for another rubbish nights sleep.

Everything carried on as it had been on the Monday. Then Tuesday came, my day I had been sure he would be here by, and no baby. I woke deciding to try and ignore what was going on as much as possible. Instead of focusing on timing contractions and how my body was feeling as I had done for the past week, I wanted to get on as much as possible.I refused to time the contractions and instead got on with cleaning, cooking, bathing Lily, I even did my hair and makeup and painted some tiles! I was suddenly full of energy, despite having to stop what i was doing and breathe through some rather intense contractions. By the evening, however, I was unable to ignore what was going on. These contractions were getting really intense and coming pretty close together. I still felt like I was coping, but things were feeling different now. My hips were on fire and it really felt like something was finally happening. I was still reluctant to phone the hospital, but I rang David at work and my parents just to put everyone on standby. Although I didn't ask them to, my parents came over to sit with me and help with Lily, just in case, and by the time David came home, I was definitely finding coping harder. I reluctantly started timing again. 3 mins apart lasting about 90 secs. I called the hospital and she wanted me in as fast as possible after speaking to me. So off we went again and I felt sure this time, this was it.

I got taken in for an assessment with a midwife and a student midwife. This midwife was not as encouraging as my last. She treated me like I had no idea what I was talking about. She checked me and told me no progress had been made since I came into hospital 5 days ago. She gave me another stretch and sweep and tried to explain to me when i need to come into hospital, telling me to come back when 'the contractions get closer together and are actually painful', as though she thought I was acting and making things up. This was my breaking point. After everything my body had gone through in the past week, nothing really had happened, and to top it off, the midwife was treating me like a liar wasting her time. I cried and cried. I didn't really stop crying until the next morning. I went to my parents house still contracting, breaking down in tears every few minutes, and had just had enough. My mum looked after Lily while I spent most of the day in bed. my contractions had slowed to 10mins apart and I was completely disheartened. I felt like at this rate I would go overdue and have to be induced. My whole body was sore and exhausted. I felt sick, shaky  and weak. I wasn't eating or sleeping properly. everything ached and I just wanted it all to stop. 

That evening we went home, my contractions still 10 mins apart. from about 6pm that seemed to be getting a bit more intense but I didn't think much of it. That had happened a few times lately and meant nothing. However, by 10pm, they really stepped up a gear. They weren't just I-cant-speak-and-need-to-really-focus-on-my-breathing-and possibly-squeeze-something painful, they were all consuming, grunting and moaning through them painful. The kind I remembered from the very end of my labour with Lily. But I knew that just the night before I had barely dilated, so thought there was no way I was getting towards the end of labour. And they were still 10mins apart- my hospital don't want to know unless they're every 3mins. I was hoping they would stop so I could get some sleep, but each contraction that came was more and more painful. by midnight I was biting down hard onto a towel through each one, muffling my shouts of agony. In my 10mins of rest between each one, I'd tell myself I was being ridiculous and needed to get a grip, as I had been no where near this noisy with Lily until it was time to push, but then a contraction would come and I would lose all control again. I cannot describe how painful they were. Obviously my labour with Lily was extremely painful, but not like this until she was almost here, as in the last 30mins. But the midwife had told me the night before I had barely dilated so I thought I was ages and ages away from having him yet. At 1am I tried to ease the pain with a bath, but didn't last long in there. I needed to be moving around, I wanted to be on all fours, and sitting in the bath was too uncomfortable. At this point I was screaming through contractions-even the towel that was being chewed to pieces couldn't muffle the sound. I couldn't believe the amount of pain i was experiencing while still only contracting every 10mins. David kept mentioning the hospital and I would say no, there's no way i can be ready yet. Lily, bless her, would wake up to my screams scared and by 5am I couldn't do it anymore. The pain was too much, I was screaming and screaming and couldn't cope. The contractions had started coming ever 6mins apart but I couldn't wait until the 3 mins as the hospital tell you to do. I phoned the hospital and started explaining what was going on, then screamed down the phone as another contraction hit. I could hear the midwife panic. She asked if I wanted her to send an ambulance because it sounded like I was ready to push. I felt ready too but didn't want to get my hopes up, so told her we'd get there. After dropping Lily off at my parents house, we made our way to the hospital and it was during a contraction in the car I knew I was ready to push. I could feel him and my body wanted me to push. Finally!

When we arrived at delivery suite, David buzzed the intercom. When the midwife answered I was screaming mid contraction and David panicked  not knowing what to say, and eventually blurted out 'My wife is pregnant!!!' If I hadnt been in such horrific agony, I'd have laughed so much at him! A midwife came running when she heard me and helped me to the assessment room. She told me I was 6cm however said my cervix was super stretchy and that she felt I was ready to push. With Lily I was told I was 7cm and she was out within  half an hour so I was encouraged to know I was this far along and felt for sure he would definitely be here soon. This was at 6:30am. David told her I wanted to be in the birthing centre and not delivery suite and that I wanted gas and air, but she told him there was no time for that as I would be having him any minute and I'd be lucky to make it to another room on delivery suite. I didn't even have time to change. she held a towel around me and helped me to a room down the corridor. I was pushing by this point and got on all fours on the bed. I pushed and pushed, and began to get frustrated when it didn't seem to be doing very much. my waters were still intact and he hadn't started crowning. The pushing part with Lily happened so fast, but this time was taking longer and I was so desperate to meet our little boy. The midwives changed shifts not long after and I had a midwife and a student midwife take over. shortly after they arrived when it seemed I was putting in a huge amount of work for nothing to be happening, I turned round and laid in the bed exhausted, and asked for water. I was so so so tired and felt as though I couldn't do it. I was pushing as hard as I could, my body was willing me to push, yet no baby yet. I had a drink and a rest, thinking the whole time 'I can not do this.' but never once saying it out loud because I didn't want to give up. My next contraction started and I tried pushing while laying on my back but it was absolute torture, so I turned back around and got up onto all fours again trying to tell myself I can do this. With the next contraction I pushed so, so, so hard, so determined, so desperate, and splash- my waters went! They didnt break, they shattered. The noise was incredible and made everyone in the room jump! My midwife aid she'd only seen one other person in her whole career who managed to shatter their waters rather than break them as normal! 

My waters breaking was the bit of encouragement I needed. My efforts were working and with new determination I pushed with all my strength through the pain and soon felt that familiar burning. That burning that is hell but also a sign your baby is so so near, I pushed and pushed and finally, he was here!

At 7:36am, weighing 7lb6oz, Charlie Robert Benjamin Gower finally entered the world, making me the happiest person alive. Holding him in my arms, taking in how identical he looked to his older sister, even down to the ginger hair, all of the pain and struggles of the last 9 months became absolutely totally worth it as I was filled with that overwhelming love for a second time. 

He is looking more and more like his daddy every day and I've been amazed at how well he has slotted into our little family, I cant imagine our family without him now. Lily absolutely adores him and has taken to being a big sister perfectly. There have been hard days, where being at home with a 2 year old and newborn hasn't been easy. Its a lot of work but having the two of them is absolutely amazing and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Just while writing this I have been interrupted 7 times for feeds and nappy changes etc so its taken me most of the day to finally put it all together! I want to try and set myself the realistic aim of blogging at least twice a month. Ive got a few posts planned that im already super excited about so watch this space!


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Berry picking

Hello everyone!

As I mentioned in my last post, I haven't been able to do very much at all recently, which is incredibly frustrating! So when we had spontaneous family day out at a pick your own farm this weekend, it was such a treat.

We had never been to a pick your own farm before, and arrived to find huge fields full of all sorts of different types of fruit and veg, with handwritten signs explaining what each crop was with a few handy tips here and there for the more inexperienced visitor. There were piles of baskets and punnets and sacks to collect your chosen fruit or vegetables in, excited children hunting for the biggest, reddest, juiciest looking strawberries and couples strolling hand in hand leisurely filling up their baskets as they went. Initially we were a little unsure and hesitant, not really knowing what we doing at all, but after a bit of advice from one of the lovely workers there, we were soon getting stuck in just like everyone else! For our first trip, we just stuck to the strawberries and raspberries. It didn't take long for David to lead the way having figured out the best location for the ripest fruit, and I soon discovered the parts of the bushes people had missed and big, juicy strawberries were hidden, waiting to be picked. Lily absolutely loved helping us hunt for the reddest berries, learning how to pick them off the plants and collecting them up in her own little punnet. She even managed to find a few muddy puddles that were perfect to jump in along the way! 

She was so, so proud of the fruit she had collected, and was talking all the way home about her 'barspberries'. We picked up some chocolate on the way home and planned to put together a fruit fondue in the evening, but Lily was absolutely desperate to get her hands back on her lovely 'barspberries' and they were gone very soon after we arrived home with many 'mmmmm yummy' and 'Oooh, delicious!' exclaimations from her. The strawberries then waited for later on, when after dinner, we sat around our table watching Jamanji and dipping them in warm, melted chocolate. 

It was the perfect way to spend a quiet Saturday afternoon, and we are now planning our next visit where we will be a bit more adventurous and pick some vegetables! I think it will be the perfect way to get Lily excited about veg she doesn't usually eat, and I'm sure will make her much more willing to try them if they are 'hers' she's picked herself! 


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

30 weeks

Hello everyone! 

I'm now 30 weeks pregnant, and, as per usual, things haven't quite gone to plan recently! I expected to finish work at the end of term for the summer holidays then go straight into my maternity leave. I imagined my summer at home with Lily blogging, getting back into doing something creative and crafty and preparing for our little boy to arrive. However, with just two weeks to go, I had an incident at work with one of the students. For those who don't know, I work in a secondary school as a learning support assistant to special needs children, primarily boys aged 13-15. 

I obviously won't go into details, but I had quite an unpleasant and stressful incident with a student, resulting in a couple of days off work. People were advising me not to go back and to be signed off work but I was determined to finish the term. However, just a week later, I had yet another incident with a student which was rather traumatic and stressful again. Yet again, I had everyone telling me I should just be resting and taking care of myself and the baby, but despite it being a challenge, I love my job and wanted to finish the term for myself and the students I work so closely with. However,  after experiencing some pains and contractions, I began to bleed (sorry if tmi!) and had to go into hospital. After many, many tests and seeing many many doctors I was told I had been putting myself under too much strain and pressure and my body wasn't coping, and I needed to stop. I was told I am no longer allowed to bend, lift, or do any physical activity for any length of time and needed I just rest until baby arrives, otherwise I was at risk of going into labour early. This meant no work, no cleaning, no lifting Lily. Just simple things like if I'm cleaning I'm not allowed to get pans out of the bottom cupboard, I can't bath Lily because of the bending involved, I can't do washing because of bending to put the clothes in the washing machine. It's extremely frustrating! I've felt so much better this pregnancy than I did with Lily's, but I'm now able to do less. I didn't finish the term at work, and am spending most of my time at my parents house while David is at work so they can look after me and Lily and make sure I'm getting rest, and David has had to take on most of the chores around the house. I feel so useless and restricted! My pregnancy was quizzing by but it's all started to go an awful lot slower now. I cant wait to have my baby boy here in my arms and my body back so I can regain some independence. 

Other than those issues though, baby G is growing well and very healthy. You can now see my belly moving around as he wriggles, which Lily absolutely loves and finds so exciting! She is understanding so much more than I was expecting her to. She talks about her baby brother lots of comes over just to give my tummy a kiss or cuddle several times through the day. Is so lovely. I have a huge craving now too- for ice! I get such sudden strong urges to crunch on ice several times a day, is crazy! I have been eating so many ice pops and just ice cubes, which has been great in this heat. I've also been living citrus flavours and drinking Los of lemon and lime drinks, whereas usually I mainly only drink water, but I just don't enjoy water at the moment and find it gives me horrible heartburn when I do have any. 

We have almost finished Lily and her baby brothers bedroom now too, and I plan to blog about it as soon as we do! I'm also putting together a well overdue post about Lily and how much she has changed and grown up recently. I may try and do some maternity style/product review type posts too. What do you all think? I don't do much at the moment other than read books, take baths and watch films with Lilypops, so I've been a bit stuck for ideas of what to blog about!

Hopefully I'll have some interesting posts for you soon!