This was originally the blog of a first-time Mum to remember the ups and downs of my pregnancy - and chart the first year of my daughter's life. But I've kept it going, and am now a mother of two! More than anything, it helps me to get to sleep once I've emptied my brain of issues and concerns and emotions onto the laptop.
If you're reading this and also a mum- or dad-to-be, first time parent, or just someone who's thinking about it - I hope it gives a little insight into one person's experiences - good and bad....

Friday, 21 June 2013


Well we've had to start much earlier than I had hoped, but James was waking earlier and earlier for full feeds - so we've started weaning.

In his sister's hand-me-down bibs - better than her bright pink hand-me-down swim nappies :)

So far, so good - he's taken tiny amounts of baby rice and pear. And last night only had one nightfeed at 0230.

Once he's 6 months - so, another 6 weeks - I'll look much more at doing Baby Led Weaning, but think it'll probably be a combination of the two, as I'm more comfortable with the more traditional weaning, especially if he is really hungry and needs to be eating something.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


Dear Grandparents (specifically my children's maternal grandparents),

Thank You for all your help and for telling me I'm doing a good job with my beautiful children - I need to hear that occasionally - but please don't criticise and question my parenting the second my back is turned (especially as you don't do 'quiet' very well).
Just because there are things we do differently, or have new tools to help bring up our children, doesn't make it wrong. Just different. And sometimes actually better.
When I think my child is tired it's because I do actually know them better than anyone else. When I get frustrated at how little my daughter is eating, or over what it is that she's eating, it's because I really care about her well-being. And giving her chocolate half an hour before her tea really doesn't help.

I know how easy it is for us to look back already at certain stages with rose-tinted glasses, so I can imagine they must be even rosier 30-plus years on, but surely you must remember some of the boundaries you set for me and my brother; the discipline and some form of routine that you seem happy to forget when it comes to certain aspects of your grandchildren.

Oh, and while Charlotte and James are very similar to me and my brother - they are NOT us. They are completely unique little people that shouldn't be constantly compared.
I love how much my almost 2-year old daughter loves her Grandparents so much - all five of them - but the more I hear you bitching about how I'm certain aspects of how I'm raising her and her brother the second I leave the room, the less inclined I am to have them spend lots of time with you, because it's an added stress I could do without.
Please continue to love and cherish your only grandchildren - but please let me get on with being their parent without feeling I'm constantly being judged, criticised and questioned.
Thank You.

Thursday, 30 May 2013


So, I've actually managed to breastfeed 12 weeks more than I thought I would - albeit mostly in combination with formula. But now I'm really nearing the end, and - as I did at the same stage with Charlotte - I'm feeling really quite emotional about it.
Even though it's entirely my decision, I still feel guilty that I'm not doing it for longer, and that we've shifted to more formula over recent weeks. I'm still feeding James once in the day, and once or twice at night. But it kind of feels like I'm cheating, because I'm not whole-heartedly or exclusively breastfeeding. Part of the problem is that I'm surrounded by militant breastfeeding Mums - many still feeding their 20-month olds. But I must keep reminding myself that I've still managed to do more than many.
I think another issue is that it feels like the baby months are really quickly slipping away. While James is still way more a baby than Charlotte ever was,  with weaning looming on the horizon I know it won't be all that long until he's running around and talking back to me like his big sister does.
I'm really quite nervous about weaning this time round. Part of me really wants to give Baby Led Weaning a go properly - but another part feels I'd be more comfortable with the traditional purees and mashed food to start. I'll probably end up doing a combination of both. I just hope James is a better eater than Charlotte - I'm dreading having another child where most mealtimes are a battleground.
It's a very odd feeling: after nearly two years of looking into Charlotte's eyes and seeing myself reflected back, looking at James' fair hair and blue eyes, which is so alien to my side of the family, almost makes me wonder if he's part of me at all! But as Charlotte is a mini-me, James is a mini-me of his Dad - just a bit more gorgeous!
And I wonder if it's the winding up of me breastfeeding and James shaking off his really baby stage that is behind me constantly having a nagging thought in my head about.... having a third. I can't stop thinking about it. I'm 95% sure it won't happen - my OH isn't at all keen for a start. My head is saying NO (think of the practicalities - bigger car, getting three kids to playgroups and keeping an eye on them, taking them swimming etc.), but my heart is screaming YES (I long to be pregnant and give birth again, and have one last go at going through those crazy early weeks with a tiny baby).
I'm sure it's all hormones and I'm looking back over the recent past with rose-tinted glasses, and that's probably because James (so far) has been such a dream child. I just have to keep reminding myself that if I did have a third child, there's no guarantee he/she wouldn't be the massive handful that Charlotte is/was!
On a massive plus side, though - she's slept through the past five nights. It's only taken 23 months!

Monday, 13 May 2013


The Baby Bible claims 2-year old toddler's should be able to say around 20 words, and early talkers don't put three-word sentences together and count to 10 until around 24-months. Charlotte had 50-words at 11-months, and has been counting to 10 since she was 14 months. Hmmm...
Now we know she's not unique - we have friends with equally talkative and bright children. But right now I'm trying to remember and savour this brilliant time where we're having full-on conversations, but she gets things just a little bit wrong which makes me smile. The innocence of trying. And I don't always correct her, because it's so cute how she gets things nearly right, and she gets so much right I want to cling on to the rare baby-ish bit of her just a while longer.
Here are a few of my favourite Charlotte-isms:
  • "See soon, later" (when she says Goodbye)
  • "'Ow 'bowwwt" (trans. "how about"... to pretty much everything - choosing a book, choice of CD in the car, what to have for tea, when we're going round the supermarket)
  • "Oh No - his milk fell over" (when her baby brother brings up a bit of milk)
  • "It's MINDS" (mine - claiming possession of most things these days)
  • "Mummy Sofie, Mummy Kobi" (talking about her friends' Mum's)
  • "Cue-bunger" (cucumber)
  • "Beeeeeeez" (instead of Buzzz for a Bee)

The only thing that worries me... is that it's another year and a half until she goes to pre-school!

Sunday, 28 April 2013


I keep waiting for James to suddenly turn into a monster child... he continues to eat, sleep and smile, and very little else. He's making it so easy, which is just as well as his big sister makes up for it!

He's had a sleepy couple of days after having his second set of jabs - but they didn't bother him enough not to enjoy his second swimming lesson, just an hour after having them. He seems to have taken to the water just as his sister did - getting those big, beaming smiles through both lessons he's had so far.
Fridays has become Mummy and James day, and I'm really enjoying it. with Charlotte in nursery, we do Baby Massage in the morning and swimming in the afternoon. Although I can remember all the massage stuff from when I did it with Charlotte when she was tiny, it's really nice to have some bonding time with James and meet some more Mums with similar aged babies.
It's funny though - because I keep catching myself talking about his big sister when we're discussing things like feeding, sleeping and behaviour. It's supposed to be just about me and James, but she still dominates much of our time even without being there. I guess I'm just bringing up my experiences from both ends of the spectrum.
After a couple of really good weeks (including one down at my parents' for a 'holiday') Charlotte's back in a non-eating, bad behaviour phase. Assuming it's teething once again, and we know it will pass, but it's so frustrating just days after she was merrily eating my home-cooked food for once, and been an absolutely hilarious, entertaining angel for her grandparents.
We also had a glimpse of what her sleeping through would be like, with three full nights last week. But coupled with the loss of appetite, sure enough the bad nights returned too.
All the tough stuff aside though, I do keep catching myself recently marvelling on how lucky I am to have two such beautiful, amazing, (mostly) happy children. James is definitely bringing out the best bits of the maternal me that I didn't know existed - buried somewhere beneath the constant battles to discipline and get his big sister to eat and sleep.

A couple of holiday snaps - a day by the seaside...
... and lunch out with the grandparents

Sunday, 31 March 2013


This is my little girl who NEVER just chills out on the sofa - let alone fall asleep there for several naps in one day.

We have a very poorly little girl this Easter. Since Thursday she's not been able to keep anything down - not even the usually fail safe Dioralyte. The doctor, in a phone consultation, says the virus may last 3 or 4 days. We're currently on day three. And it's heartbreaking.

It's so quiet in the house without Charlotte's constant chatting and singing. She doesn't want to play with any of her toys. It's just Peppa Pig or Raa Raa on the TV, dozing on the sofa and cuddles with Mummy and Daddy in between throwing up.

So far, the virus seems to have avoided James, which is good news. I'm told the antibodies in my breast milk should stave it off. So thank goodness I've kept at it.

One thing Charlotte did yesterday had me in tears. While her speech is excellent for a 21 month old, there's plenty that she still gets endearingly wrong. The other day while playing with James on his playmat a bit of milk came out of his mouth, and Charlotte said: "James' milk fell over"! Well, yesterday when she was being sick into a bowl, she - very wearily - said: "my milk fell over". Bless her heart...

Thursday, 28 March 2013


James had his 8-week check up and first jabs today - and all went brilliantly. He's a smiley, healthy, happy chappy. And despite being in some discomfort from his jabs, after a nice bath, he went down to sleep as beautifully as he (almost) always does.

He really has been a dream child the past few weeks. He only cries when he's hungry (still at least every 3 hours) or tired. And when he's tired, he goes down to sleep really easily (often only for 25 mins and with the help of a dummy, but still...).

And I can't believe that after writing at just less than 5 weeks I had more or less decided to give up on the breastfeeding - we're still going. And it's improving. We're topping up a some of the feeds when I know they've not been good, and he gets formula at least one night-feed, but other than that it's all me. And he's piling on the pounds - 13oz in the past week alone.

Yet why am I still totally knackered? Yes - his big sister, as ever. After two nights of properly sleeping through, we're back to the up several times a night norm. And I think we managed about a week without a cough and a cold . They're both back with a vengeance again.

Plus Charlotte's got some new teeth coming through - making her a whinging, crying, unhappy, shouting, non-eating little girl once again. I do feel sorry for her, but at the same time there are days when she is really trying my patience and it makes everyone miserable. But we know it'll pass eventually - and at least there's evidence of actual teeth this time, and therefore a reason for her behaviour.

But tonight she's at her Grandma's. James is asleep for a few hours. So I'm treating myself to a curry and glass of wine, and it feels well deserved :)

Nap time

Thursday, 14 March 2013


Getting loads of proper smiles now :)

So I haven't given up breastfeeding after all :) Was so close last week, but pushed on through and each day things seem to be getting a little better.

I've had great support from the local hospital's breastfeeding 'guru' - she's been very encouraging, checking I'm doing everything right and not having a go at me for introducing the bottle or the odd bit of formula. The suggestion from her is that James is simply a hungry baby that needs feeding a bit more than we were used to with Charlotte. So that means top ups, or more frequent feeds - the latter of which isn't conducive to also looking after a 20-month old toddler.

So at the moment - I'm feeding James myself when he's awake enough and we've got the time, otherwise it's a bottle of expressed milk (or formula if we've not got enough), with top-ups from the bottle if he doesn't seem satisfied despite coming off the breast.

So a mish-mash of everything, which is hard work, but should get easier the more he's simply taking from the breast. And if he's full and winded, we have one very chilled out boy. In fact that's how both the bf woman and the health visitor described him - "chilled". Rather different to the "strong personality" we often heard to describe his sister!

Talking of her - she's having horrendous nights because of her constant cough once again. She's on another course of antibiotics after the doctor said she's got a lingering chest infection. But she seems happy enough in between coughing fits. 

Despite her rough nights, she's now sleeping in her 'big girl bed'. She kept ending up in it after cuddles to ease her cough anyway, so we thought we might as well try the full night. Unfortunately we've had one falling out incident, thanks to an ill-fitting bed guard (now rectified) - which ended up waking her up to the point of her thinking it was playtime, so ended up back in her cot. 

And I can hardly believe her speech can have improved even more week by week - but the full sentences she now comes out with astounds me. "Look Mummy - it's a breadstick", "Look Grandad, my jeans fell down!". The talking of a 3-year old if the experts and books are to be believed.

Lastly, for this post, we're trying to establish a bit of routine with James already - otherwise we have no idea where we're at. So we've started with bedtime. Bath, massage, feed, story, bed, starting at 6pm - just as we did with Charlotte from a similar age - and so far it seems to be working.

He definitely gets his longest sleep when he's gone down (usually between 7.30-8pm), and up for feeds roughly every 3-4 hours after that (usually around 11-30pm, 2am, and then anything between 0430 and 6am). But it's proving trickier in the day as he doesn't follow very much of a pattern from which to take his lead - other than alternating one very awake day and one very sleepy day. So any kind of napping schedule will have to wait, and I'm just feeding him when he's hungry or every 3-4 hours if it's not so obvious.

Oh, go on then - another picture of my smiley 6-week old:

Thursday, 7 March 2013


I have all but made the decision to knock the breastfeeding on the head.

James' sleepy, non-interested feeds are just getting worse and worse - to the point that most of them end up with a full bottle rather than just a 'top up'. Even when he's wide awake, he'll just lie there with the breast in his mouth, or very half-heartedly suck.

It's clearly a result of introducing the bottle and him finding much less effort than the breast. But we were left with very little choice a few weeks ago when he was losing weight, not pooing and clearly not getting what he needed from me.

Either way, whatever anyone says about me having done well to get this far - I still feel like I've failed him. I am so disappointed not to have even made it to six weeks, let alone three months or the four and a half months I managed with his big sister.

I so wanted to give him the same start as her - and it's all the more disheartening because it had started so well in the first two weeks. I was optimistic from the outset that breastfeeding would be a success this time, as it mostly was with Charlotte - and every morning recently I've tried to think "today will be better" - or even more recently "this feed will be better". But it never is.

The compromise at the moment is to give him as many bottles of expressed milk as possible, and formula when I haven't been able to express enough. But it means going through the rigmarole of feeding, expressing and sterilising even more so than if we just gave bottles of formula.

Everyone is telling me not to be too hard on myself and beat myself up over this - and I keep trying to remind myself that surely a more relaxed and happy Mum is better for James (and Charlotte) than a miserable one who is stubbornly trying to persevere.

But I can't help feeling a failure - it's such an emotional decision. Is not breastfeeding denying James what's "best" for him? Or is what's best for him actually a Mummy that's not stressed out over every feed...?

Oh, and he remains a very lazy, sleepy little boy - but we've definitely had smiles and a little more lovely awake time in the past few days.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


James had his tongue tie clipped yesterday. I found it pretty traumatic because they took him away to do it, so I couldn't see what was going on. But I fed him as soon as they brought him back, which stopped the small amount of bleeding straight away - and the feeding seemed a bit better.

It seems to have had an effect already - the afternoon/early evening feeds seemed a lot more successful, though I'm still having issues with having him awake enough at night for the night feeds. With any luck though, we'll soon be able to reduce the amount of bottle top-ups (and therefore expressing) we're giving him.

But that seems to have brought his weight up over the past week. He put on 120g between Tuesday and Friday, and 110g since Friday to bring him to 8lb3oz, which is fantastic. No doubt helped by the top ups, but hopefully that weight gain will continue with more efficient feeding now.

One thing we're really lucky with is that he seems to know night from day. After his 9/10pm-ish feed (after a fussy couple of hours where's on and off the breast) he's mostly been settling himself to sleep for the longest of his sleeps (or it would be if I wasn't still waking him after 3-4 hours for a feed). And will go back down after his nightfeeds for nice long stretches until 8.30-9am-ish.

Still early days for getting him to go down easily for a nap - that's the only time we're using a dummy at the moment, when it's not feasible to take him out in the pram or we're not in the car. And he'll often wake after 25 minutes - just as Charlotte always used to do - but unlike her, mostly goes back down with a bit of help.


At a time when we're still surviving each day and ticking off each week with a newborn, we had a really good day on Saturday: Charlotte had a nap, James had a poo, I had a bath and we made it out of the house!

In my book, that's quite a successful day in between feeding, expressing, and trying to get both kids to sleep. I think I even managed to put the hoover round. It helped that I wasn't worrying that my OH wasn't getting any work done. He is such a massive help during the week, but it's an added stress when I think he's not getting his work done.

And we're even convinced we might have seen a glimpse of a few very early smiles :)
Nearly four weeks in and we're starting to think about getting James on a bit of a routine. Nothing rigid - we'll give the EASY (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You Time) routine a go as we did with Charlotte. It really helps to give us a clue as to whether he's hungry or tired. Plus, the biggest thing we ever learnt from the early months with Charlotte was to watch for the tired signs as early as possible, because she was so difficult to calm and get to sleep once she got to overtired/over-stimulated.
The only down side of the past few days has been Charlotte's waking in the night. She just cries and cries for cuddles - often woken by James crying when he's up for a night feed. It means while I'm feeding, my OH has to deal with her, so neither of us are getting any sleep to relieve the other the following day.

On Sunday night my OH ended up sleeping on the floor in her room because she just would not settle without one of us in there. I know it must be a reaction to the big change in her life, so we're trying not to get angry about it. But we did jump at the offer from her Grandma to have her stay there for two nights this week - mostly so I can get James' feeding back on track and catch up on some rest.

Thursday, 21 February 2013


We've been really struggling with breastfeeding this week. It had all been going so well for the first couple of weeks with James putting on weight and having plenty of dirty nappies. But since the weekend he's really struggled to feed properly which in turn is affecting my milk supply. And he's dipped below his birth weight - which is heartbreaking and totally demoralising.

I had a lactation consultant come round today and she says James has tongue tie which is affecting his latch. Although I don't know why that wasn't an issue in the first two weeks. On top of the feeding problems Charlotte and my OH have been suffering with a vomiting and diarrhoea bug since Saturday. All adding to the stress, lack of sleep and me probably not eating enough either.

Even when he seems to have had a decent feed from me, James just doesn't seem content and settled. And those decent feeds are becoming few and far between. I think it's a vicious circle of poor latch, not stimulating milk supply, making me worried, also affecting milk supply, and if he can't get what milk there is there from his latch then it all affects each other in turn.

For the past couple of days I have been expressing after every feed and giving James a top up of that or formula when I really don't think he'll take anymore from me. But that  means a continual cycle of trying to feed, offer a bottle, express - all while trying to occupy and look after a 20-month old. No wonder I'm tired and anxious. And it's stirred up all those conflicting feelings about giving him formula/bottles. 

On that issue, this article and this one make interesting reading.

So the answer for me at the moment is: offer James the breast and really try to get that latch right; once I think he's either satisfied or really not getting anything, offer him a top up of expressed milk if I have it or formula if I haven't, until he's full. And hope the (what feels like constant) expressing and fenugreek supplements will increase my supply. Oh, in between all that, try to eat more and sleep and look after Charlotte!

Thankfully I've had an awful lot of help from Grandparents this week, which has taken a tiny bit of the pressure off.

And when I really think he's not interested in food, but won't still won't settle, I have caved in and tried him with a dummy. Seemed to work for a short nap this afternoon, but until we get the feeding and latch back on track I am a bit loath to keep using it.

On a positive note, if I do need to get anyone else to feed him, James seems more than happy to feed from a bottle, and no apparent aversion to formula in an emergency - both potential pitfalls I know others have had a problem with when trying to offer an alternative to the breast.

And Charlotte's virus seems to have finally gone - she's getting her appetite back a bit, but that also means she's back fighting or completely refusing her naps once again.... just when (on the rare occasion James is also down) I need to be able to nap more than ever!

Thursday, 14 February 2013


I'm kicking myself for worrying about how much James was sleeping - it's now a horrific battle to get him to settle and sleep.

All day he has been on and off the breast as it's been the only thing to calm him - and every time we put him down in his Moses basket he's awake and screaming his head off. We're desperate not to repeat the mistake we made of letting his older sister sleep on us, so persevering. And I'm also holding out on the hope that the past day of such unpredictable feeding and being so hard to settle may be his first of the dreaded growth spurts.

Having said that, he's asleep on me now. I'm desperate for him to get some sleep at least - and if that means one night of tag-teaming him sleeping on us, we may have to bite the bullet just this once (famous last words).

It also means his crying and screaming doesn't keep his sister up - who has been a bit of a nightmare herself this past week. Lots of waking in the night, mostly emotional - needing lots of cuddles. But two nights at her Grandmas seems to have helped, and she's slept much better the past couple of nights.

I'd forgotten quite how draining the unpredictability of a newborn was - the sooner we're into some kind of routine, the better - but that won't be for several more weeks at least, I don't think.

Saturday, 9 February 2013


The Baby Blues and/or the culmination of more than a week's sleeplessness is/are definitely kicking in.
Had a terrible day yesterday - very teary and worrying over everything from how much James is sleeping (lots) to how little he feeds for (often just a 5 or 10 minute 'snack') and not spending enough time with Charlotte. 

It was all compounded by the fact we were missed off the midwife's list of visits, so stayed in all day for no reason, when we had plenty of other things to be doing. After chasing them up, a midwife finally came round at 7pm, and thankfully put my mind at ease over most of my concerns. How different the day could have been if she'd come earlier.

James has put on a bit of weight - but not up to his birth weight yet, so we're getting another midwife visit on Tuesday before we're discharged. When he does feed properly he is just a much more efficient feeder than Charlotte ever was, but the 'snacking' is normal too. And some babies just sleep an awful lot more than others. He's just soooo different to Charlotte, I find it all a bit disconcerting. But we have had a bit more awake time in the last couple of days - and he seems a very chilled out, content little chap.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Charlotte has amazed me as to quite how good she's been with her new baby brother, James.

 When she very first came to see us in the hospital, she looked into his cot and said "Baby James. Silly James!" - with such affection and lent in to stroke him gently.

Since then, the first thing she says when she's come into the house from nursery, swimming or being out with Grandparents is "James". She's happy to give him kisses and stroke him, and when he cries she says "it's OK James".

She'll look on with concern and interest when we change his nappy (the only time he really, really cries), and only once or twice has she said "No James" when she's wanted my attention when I've been busy feeding him.

I think she's going to be a wonderful big sister... until (from personal experience) they hit the teenage years!


Oh my Goodness - what a difference having a newborn baby that actually sleeps in their Moses Basket makes! With Charlotte, she would only sleep on us for the first three weeks, which made doing anything virtually impossible. But James will - on most occasions, especially at night - sleep where he's "supposed" to.

In fact I can't believe quite how different he is to Charlotte. I know comparing the two of them isn't fair or helpful, but it's also natural to draw on our previous experience. Where she would feed for more than an hour most times - he seems happier with a good  15-20 minutes most feeds, but perhaps more frequently.

That's not to say I'm not still concerned about how much he's getting - all the wet/pooey nappies and weigh-ins in the world won't stop my anxiety over that. And I've started wondering if he's sleeping too much? Never happy, me!

James is also far more like a newborn baby than Charlotte ever was. Six days in and he's only really just starting to open his eyes and focus on things. He's still mostly quite curled up in the foetal position, and his cries are still very "mew-ing" as opposed to the much more powerful wails of his big sister at the same stage.

I'm sure we're much more relaxed having been through it before... in the middle of the night, I just have to think about the 19-month old in the next room to know we'll get through these tough first weeks/months, and things will get easier. But they feel easier already - partly because we're in a much more conducive environment (a nice big house rather than a poky little flat), and partly because he's seemingly eating and sleeping well.

Or he's just lulling us into a false sense of security....


Here he is - introducing James Ramsay. In the first couple of hours after he was born, we couldn't believe how much he looked like his big sister. But it wasn't very long before he looked much more like his Dad than she did to start with - and he's certainly a totally different personality. More on that in a later blog.

But his arrival into the world started off much the same as Charlotte's. I had a sweep on Tuesday, and my midwife told me my cervix was very soft and already a couple of centimetres dilated, so labour was likely to be only a few days away - if that. 

But then she couldn't properly find a heartbeat, and when she did it had slowed right down, so she told us to get to the hospital immediately. All very panicky - thankfully Charlotte was being looked after at our house by her Grandad, so we headed straight to the hospital and were seen straight away. They got his heartbeat on the monitor seemingly fine, and I was hooked up for about an hour and a half - during which time it only slowed slightly when he was having a sleep.

But the trace also showed I was having very small contractions every 10 minutes or so. So we were confident he/she was on his way. But after resting in the car to get Charlotte to her Grandma's everything seemed to stop. We went out for dinner (during which time we agreed on a name if it turned out to be a boy - we'd already decided on a girl's name a week or two ago), came home and had a really early night because we were shattered, not because we thought anything was imminent.

But I woke at 0430 with mild back ache and the odd cramp. Very quickly that escalated to full on contractions and I had the 'show' at 0520. But the contractions were really irregular - 2minutes apart, then 6 minutes and of varying degrees of pain. So we rang the hospital anyway and they said to go in just to check where we were at just in case things were progressing quickly.

By the time we got there - with the aid of a TENS machine for pain relief - I was actually 6cm dilated and was told to make myself comfortable in a delivery room. It was all so different to our experience in London. The room had soft lighting and a really low, non-hospital-type bed, and we only saw one midwife the whole way through. And I was only monitored every now and then instead of constantly, which I was pleased about.

In fact my birth plan pretty much ended up going to plan. I used TENS right up to the pushing part - and gas and air in very late stage of labour. The midwife had to break my waters when, after 4 hours, I'd only dilated a further 1cm. But after that it didn't take much longer at all - especially the more I got up and moved around. Things really slowed down everytime I lay down and rested.

And within about 8 massive pushes on my hands and knees on the bed, James was out. We'd got to the hospital just before 7am, and less than six hours later, my son was in my arms having his first feed :) Things were going so well, I was told once we'd both been checked over we may be heading home in a couple of hours.

Unfortunately when they checked me over, it turned out I had a third degree tear, and I needed stitching up in the operating theatre as it was too tricky for the maternity staff. So my elation quickly turned to fear, as I'd never been anywhere near surgery for anything before (my episiotomy last time was stitched up in the delivery suite), and it meant having a spinal block.

It took the anaesthetist several attempts to do the spinal, but once it was done it was the most strange sensation - seeing my legs being moved without any feeling in them, for example. It also meant I had to stay in hospital overnight. But I ended up having a post-natal ward to myself until the following day, and the staff were all so nice, I didn't mind quite so much as I had done in London.

James seemed to feed and sleep well that first night - and we all went home as a family on the Thursday afternoon :)

Monday, 4 February 2013


Charlotte is now a big sister! Or more importantly, James Ramsay came safely into this world at 1243 on Wednesday 30th January, weighing 7lb 10oz.

I will update my blog properly with the birth story and how the early days have been (and a picture) once he's not almost permanently attached to my breast and I can use something other than my mobile.

But so far, so good really - and Charlotte has been a star in accepting her baby brother into the family. :)

Friday, 25 January 2013


As not in the least bit unexpected - we have passed our due date for Twiglet. It was yesterday, and - just as when expecting Charlotte - we had fun stuff planned to focus on instead. We went out for a really nice meal and to the cinema while Grandma babysat. Sadly, not even a second fix of James Bond brought on any sign that Twiglet's coming any time soon.

Last time round I was able to do quite a lot of walking - but the past week has been reallly snowy and icy, and as I'm pretty clumsy at the best of times I've been hibernating a bit. Not been totally lazy though - impossible with a 19-month old - so running around after her at home and at various playgroups means I'm on my feet quite a lot of the day. Time to break out the Raspberry Leaf Tea, I think.

Got a sweep booked for Tuesday, which is how it all kicked off with Charlotte so we'll see if that works this time. It's difficult not to get too fixated on it all being exactly the same as last time, so perhaps we should have something nice planned for Tuesday evening or Wednesday that's easy to cancel.

The one thing that's preying on my mind far more this time round than last is the knowledge that things can still go very wrong even at this very late stage. Not a day has gone by since last March when I don't think about what happened to our friends. The post-mortem inconclusively suggested the placenta just 'ran out of time' and stopped working, so of course the more overdue you are, the higher the risk. Those sort of thoughts tend to go through my head on the rare occaisions that I've got really comfortable in bed and suddenly think "I don't even feel pregnant" - just for a moment.

And of course sod's law - Charlotte's started sleeping much better through the night (had a couple of full nights recently), while I'm up every two hours for the loo or to get comfortable again! But she's refusing her daytime naps more and more, so getting rest in the day is at a premium.

Here's a cheeky picture of Charlotte enjoying the snow:

Thursday, 17 January 2013


Virtually nine months pregnant is not the best time for my 19-month old to start ditching her naps :(

As if I'm not exhausted enough from lugging her baby brother/sister around in my tummy, add to that a couple of really rough nights (combination of insomnia, Charlotte up at all hours coughing and Number Two doing the tango in there) - I'm now barely getting any rest time in the day.

Charlotte's been really really fighting her post-lunch nap for about a month now - needing to be rocked to sleep. I don't think we even did that when she was a tiny baby. But now even that's not working. After 45 minutes of just leaving her, rocking, lullabies etc I've given up (and invariably let her have some restful - for me - TV time instead).

My OH is very good at trying to help out by letting me have a nap or relaxing bath and he watches Charlotte for an hour or so - but with the impending arrival he's pushed with work to get as much done as possible before he goes on paternity leave. Plus he's doing most of the night duties with C, so is also knackered.

Charlotte always used to be a terrible napper - but it improved dramatically when she was about one. I guess it co-incided with her moving much more, but now that doesn't tire her out so much she's just not that tired. Having said that, on the occasions we do manage to get her down, she'll sleep for up to two hours, so she must be pretty tired.

It's just another battleground I could really do without - on top of the 'throwing all my food on the floor' battle, 'throwing all my toys' battle, Ronaldo-style roll-on-the-floor tantrums and a return to bad nights. I imagine it's only going to get worse once Number Two arrives and she's fighting even more for attention. Oh joy...

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


Hurrah - for the first time in ages I've actually managed to read Charlotte a bedtime story that wasn't either The Gruffalo, Gruffalo's Child, Room on the Broom or The Snail and the Whale. Alright - it was still a Julia Donaldson (Stick Man) - but every minor breakthrough....

The thing is, she can finish off nearly every sentence of any book we've read more than 3 or 4 times now - so she demands certain books ALL the time (the aforementioned, Ugly Duckling, Three Billy Goats Gruff and A Squash and a Squeeze are among the favourites). Hoping that the veritable library of books she got for Christmas might give us a bit more variety - but think that might be wishful thinking!

Not surprisingly perhaps with all the book-reading that goes on in our house, her speech continues to astound and amaze us. Forget the "expert" books that say early talkers will start creating three word sentences from ages 24-36 months... try 18 months! And loving hearing her starting to really sing along with nursery rhymes and other songs (e.g. all the songs of the various In The Night Garden characters) :)

Charlotte was an angel on Christmas Day - playing dutifully with every present for a little while, which made ALL the grandparents (and great-grandparent) that were at ours for the day very happy. 

C's even been sleeping much better the last couple of weeks (except for suddenly needing to be rocked every nap time - but I'm just grateful she's still having a decent nap time even if it takes a little encouragement, because at one stage she looked like giving it up entirely). 

As for Number Two - just three weeks to go... and I'm measuring big. So fully expecting it to be a boy. Feeling very heavy and slow now - so won't be entirely surprised if he/she is early. To honest, I'd be quite happy with that to put an end to the worry about how I'm going to cope with two - I just want to get on with it now...