Posts in pregnancy
A Tale of Two Babies

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Baby A was born at 35 weeks gestation, without the ability to coordinate sucking.  The first few weeks of his life were spent with his mother in tears attempting to breastfeed on a rigid 3 hourly schedule of try to breastfeed, top baby up with a cup of breastmilk or formula and then pump milk for 30minutes, all to begin again 3 hours later.

Baby B was born at full term, breastfed beautifully within an hour of being born, and other than being quite a sicky baby, never an issue with breastfeeding.

Which baby was being formula fed at 6 months and which one breastfed until over the age of 2?

Its a bit of a trick question, isn't it? All evidence points to baby A, Ellis, but of course the answer is B, Georgia.

As my pregnancy progresses, my milk supply is dropping, no matter what I do. Normal rules of breastfeeding fall in the face of the hormones that govern a pregnant body.  I was told this was a liklihood.  While many women who are pregnant with older babies and toddlers are able to breastfeed successfully whilst pregnant, most experts in the area warned that such a young baby is still 100% dependent on my milk for nutrition and a drop in supply would have to be compensated with formula.

I had hoped I would be lucky, that my supply would be ok.  Weeks of Georgia wanting to feed every 45 minutes then sobbing at the breast plus a steep drop in weight centiles that coincided with my pregnancy told me the truth.  She needs formula supplementation.  

And so, special formula was organised and she's taken to it fine.  I, on the other hand, am not so fine--but I will be.  Mixed feeding is working for now and the future is looked at purely on a day by day basis.  A couple of bottles a day satisfy her hunger and she is back to her lovely, happy self.  The formula stinks to high heaven, but it is what she needs.

I get it now--the guilt women feel when they want to breastfeed, but can't.  Innocent comments from friends send hot pokers of embarrassment and sadness through me.  I am afraid to give Georgia a bottle in front of one lovely friend who has previously described formula as poison. The health visitor's remarks about Georgia's weight gain and obviously needing the formula made me feel I was somehow hurting her by breastfeeding in the first place. Logically, I know none of this is true and that we are in a completely unique situation. However, when I put my brain aside and feel the issue with my heart, it hurts.  More than anything, I hope that I've never made anyone else feel this way.

Change is scary and hard, and as with this entire journey, it is full of ups and downs and heartache.  But we will be fine...in fact, we are mostly there already.

I Think You Should Probably Sit Down...

Eight weeks ago, Kevin and I were walking with the kids through the park.  As we walked under the big tree at the far end, our conversation turned to what we would do next with our lives.

"I can feel that there is a big change coming, something huge" I replied.

That night, I stepped out of bed and landed on a foot that didn't hurt* and I knew instantly what that change would be. I walked into the bathroom and dug to the bottom of the drawers and found what would confirm the thing I already knew.

Two lines told me in one second that...

...exclusive breastfeeding every two hours day and night...

...having extremely limited "couple time"...

...having had to give up breast feeding and trying for a year and a half for baby Georgia...

...co-sleeping...

...were not contraception enough.

A new little life will be joining us in early April 2011. For anyone counting, I am due just days after Georgia's first and Ellis' fourth birthday. 

I can not tell you the news was met with open arms.  There have been a lot of tears, a lot of heart ache, a lot of guilt. We had to begin telling people almost instantly.  I needed to see about special formula for Georgia, in case my supply dropped.  We needed more help than just having two children normally neccessitates.  I needed people to talk to as my focus careened to a new world view, to being a mother of three.

The responses we received have been mixed, to say the least.  Congratulations are weighed equally against the "I didn't know that was possible" and "How are you going to cope?".

We have heard a lot about our "bad luck". 

At first, I believed that it was bad luck.  I focussed on it. No, I obsessed about it. I cried over it. I yelled it as I slammed the door.

One night, I realised I was wrong.  My pregnancy isn't bad luck at all--it is a miracle.  Against all of the odds and precedent, this little life was formed.  As a friend wrote "This is a little soul who obviously wants very much to be part of your family."  Yes indeed.  And who am I to do anything but welcome him/her with open arms? 

Slowly hope has built, along with the nausea and exhaustion.  Its not something we were expecting, in fact the odds were essentially against us. But its here, this new life, ripping our plans to shreds and turning our world upside down.

We needed some time to get used to the topsy turviness. Now, upside down turns out to be OK.  It has forced us to ask ourselves lots of questions and to look hard at where we are and what we are doing.

As I write this, we don't have the answers.  I don't know when or if we will, but the fear that came with the realisation has faded. We are stepping forward into a new world as a family of five. And its a good world...and scary and full and overwhelming and exciting and exhausting and good.

Plus, I've never met a baby I didn't fall hopelessly in love with, so we'll be just fine. 

* I suffer from plantar faciitis in my left foot.  The only time it doesn't hurt is when my body is flooded with the pregnancy hormone relaxin. 

Stretch Marks
stretch marks bw

I am bigger now than I ever was with Ellis.

With the growth, new stretch marks have etched themselves across my pale belly, often extensions of the now faded silvery trails left by my last pregnancy. I know I am supposed to be disgusted by them, buy expensive creams, worry endlessly.  But I can't bring myself to hate these small bits of myself.

Overwhelmingly, every time I look at them, I am grateful they are there.  Grateful to have these permanent marks of this baby written somewhere that will never go away, no matter what happens.  Morbid, maybe, but if nothing that last year taught me that pregnancy, even a full term one, is no guarantee of a baby to hold at the end. 

I am bigger now that I ever was with Ellis, but I am thinner too.  The stretch marks are more than just an indelible tattoo of this wee life, but also an outward sign of the thinning of the shell that I wrap myself in to get through the day.  When I was pregnant with Ellis, I didn't know what I had to lose.  Now I know all too well the joy and deep love a child brings with it into the world and I also know

the dangers

the worries

the potential that can so quickly take over and harm these small little lives we are responsible for.

I am thinnest in the deep of the night, when all of those worries creep through the cracks and sneak into my mind, playing over and over the: "what ifs" and the "I can'ts". I know that much of it is biological, hormonal and primal.  I know it is a natural element of pregnancy.  I know that I am not alone.

And after the tears of fear and sadness that grip me in the wee small hours subside, I am still grateful for the thinning because above and beyond everything else it is a reminder:

of the miracle that is a new life entering the world

of the preciousness that every moment we get to share with a child...inside or out

of how remarkable the role of parent is.

If stretch marks are part of the price I pay for the knowledge, then let them be.

This Is What Denial Looks Like

Notice the new blog layout?

See these lovely granny squares?

baby granny circle blanket

Dare I tell you that the photoshoot for said granny squares that took me an hour, including re-winding the balls of yarn and editing the photos? And I don't like the picture and actually contemplated retaking and re-editing them?

granny circle square blanket

yarn 2

None the less, isn't denial pretty?

This weekend past, Kev and I went to the local store for baby goods to buy a fair few items on our "list" for our impending arrival.  Kevin kept holding up various items on said list for my comment and I would go blank and respond something to the effect of "I am not buying that at that price" and walk away (honestly though, who spends £21 on a bucket to give their baby a bath in??  Its a bucket?**).  Or I would go slightly glassy-eyed and say something to the effect of..."mmmmm...hmmmm..." He'd sigh, roll his eyes and walk away. We left with a bed guard.

I mean, its not like I am 34 weeks pregnant with a history of pre-term labour or anything?  I have plenty of time to get ready for the baby.

34 weeks pregnant

Wait, what!?!  I AM 34 weeks pregnant with a history of preterm labour??? 

I really should get off the computer and deal with the not so pretty side of denial, like the cupboard under the stairs, washing baby clothes and nappies, vacuum up the golf-ball sized dust bunnies that have accumulated between the printer and the wall, cooking some meals to put in the freezer, organising who on earth is going to watch Ellis if I have an emergency transfer to hospital in the middle of the night.

big mess

But you know, the baby DOES need a baby blanket...and it'd be a shame if all of that gorgeous soft yarn I got in the bargain bin at the yarn store went to waste...

(**I am really sorry if any one reading has spent £21 on a bucket to give their baby a bath in...I am not judging you, it is one of those things that my brain can not grasp.  Like why Kate Bush wrote a song about a washing machine or who exactly thought that scented baby wipes would enhance a nappy changing experience.)

Oh, by the way, are the pictures too big on the blog?  I don't want people to have to scroll around too much to see them.  I may have another play to make sure.

And Dearest, Dearest Mother- please note that I wrote a really sappy post about how much I miss you and I want to spend your Birthday with you, but a) it too involved an elaborate photoshoot and a stuffed chicken and b) I didn't want to make you cry while you are on a business trip.  Happy Birthday anyway!

OK, now I am really going to go clean.

After a cup of tea.

Dear Brain

Dear Brain of Kathryn Elisabeth Goldin (aka My Brain),

I am writing to discuss a relatively recent, yet worrying, trend.  In the last few weeks, you have shown diminished, if not completely absent, capacity for

::stringing a coherent sentence

::remembering where you last put your keys/wallet/child

::speling

::remembering any appointments or dates

::cooking anything without setting off the fire alarm

::put your clothes on right side out

While, this is normally forgiveable given your hormone-laden state at 8 months pregnant, the worrying issue is what has taken over your synapses.

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Laying awake at night obsessing about a seed or garter stitch hem...not ok.

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Queueing patterns on Ravelry at 3am...unacceptable

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Ignoring your husband's entrance into the house until you "just finish this section"...selfish and rude.

Perusing Texere and Fyberspates and drawing up a "wish list" whilst your son climbs on your lap and says, "But I am SO hungry, Mama!**"...unspeakable.

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(Oh and Hand of Kathryn Elisabeth Goldin, don't think I don't see your part in this...constantly wandering around the house with the latest project in your fingers, or when hands are needed, tucking said project into the front of your shirt.  Not good.)

Now, I do realise that I was warned this might happen.  In an email conversation with Claire, you were told that knitting for a baby was what got her addicted. Obviously, that got lodged somewhere within your grey matter and began to spread like a fungus.

You need to get some priorities straight and you need to get a life...or become obsessed with something lucrative or useful, such as finding a cure for hangnails or doing the laundry.

In Hope,

Kathryn Elisabeth Goldin, Esq.

**Please note: no children were starved in the making of this blog post. 

How We Do Things

::Complex photoshoots take place here...mostly involving yarn and food (sometimes both in the same shot)

yarn

:: A combination of an over the door shoe organiser and old jam jars makes a great children's craft supply organiser (whilst shoes most often lay piled at the bottom of the stairs, making it impossible to open the front door all the way).

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::'Grumpy' is Ellis' favourite new word.  And if he doesn't want to do something, he's "sick and needs to lie down".  Where does he get these things?

::These shelves from ikea make great book display/library book collection so I don't pay Stirling Council even more money in fines (Ok, so that doesn't work that well, but, you know, I consider my library fines charitable donations at this stage).

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:: Seashells are our bath toy of choice (when I am able to hide the sharks).

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Hmmm...feeling a bit grumpy this morning, think I'll go lie down.

Apparently Its Entirely Possible

to have a lung/chest infection and not know it.  Its seems that my breathlessness, rib pain and general crappy feeling wasn't just normal pregnancy discomfort, but an actual infection that I may have been harbouring for weeks.  So its bed rest and antibiotics for me...neither things I agree to lightly.

And so, if you are looking for me, I will be upstairs with this

bed rest and cake

finishing this

bed rest

and trying not to worry too much about my career going down the toilet with yet another pregnancy related absence.