This Time Last Year

I remember the way I felt this time last year. The way the air felt, the white noise of something mechanical humming at night (I still can’t figure out what it is), the way the lights across the city seemed crisper… It all reminds me, like the most wonderfully enchanting memory. There is no doubt in my mind that I’m remembering with rose-tinted glasses. But I know for a fact, also, that I remember that the person I was before Reuben was born felt a kind of excitement, naivety and apprehension that I’m scared I will never feel again.

The selfie I took before heading to the hospital to be induced.

I remember feeling dreadfully uncomfortable, completely DONE with being pregnant and massive. And moreover, I was done being told how massive I was. As if I couldn’t tell!? I was sick of the sickness, the acid reflux, the endless peeing, the pain I was feeling around my ribs, the ridiculous amounts of discharge and the sweating. You know, I was still trying my best to cherish my pregnancy but I think I spent more time trying to film baby kicks than I did actually appreciating the moments (something I will remember if I’m lucky enough to have a second). I would rest my hands on my bump, take endless photos, but by 37 weeks I was done. So when I was offered an induction days before my due date, I leapt at the chance.

I’d seen a lot of inductions on One Born Every Minute and I’d read the leaflet but nothing could have prepared me for the days that followed. I felt like I’d been in hospital for a week before I was actually induced – in a different hospital – on my due date.

But my mind seems to have fixated on the little details of the hospital I was supposed to give birth in, when I was waiting to be taken to delivery suite to have my waters broken. In all honesty, it was quite lovely but I was so impatient and being in a hospital bay all day waiting around was driving me a bit nuts. I wasn’t very well prepared, I hadn’t brought much to entertain myself – which is probably why I remember the space around me in vivid detail. From the way the light hit the blue flooring during the day, to the way the overhead lamp created a calming ambience at night. I remember bouncing on that big purple gym ball for hours hoping labour would come on spontaneously but I now realise, it was doing very little for me, and it was probably making me all the more impatient.

I was offered a transfer to the other hospital where I had a bed on delivery suite waiting for me on my due date, a few hours after my mucus plug went, and I jumped at the chance. I now wonder if my experience might have been different if I’d have stayed at the hospital that I wanted to give birth in. But nevermind, what good are what ifs? No good at all.

So there I was, in the delivery suite of this other hospital, taking a quick video of the room for my Instagram. I was telling people I’d no longer be replying. Although I did later on, at some point, I can’t remember when. And I had no idea what was coming as far as the syntocin drip was concerned.

I love that before they broke my waters and put me on that drip, I was blissfully unaware saying “whatever happens I’ll deal with it, as long as baby is okay”. I mean, that wasn’t a bad mindset to have but… Yeah… the girl on the ball in her nightie who just had her waters broken, and the girl on the bed who just got given the epidural were a couple of hours apart, and I can assure you the girl on the bed felt like she’s been through a kind of hell that she knew had changed her forever. The rest of it was a breeze though, if that’s any consolation – it was to me!

I gave birth to Reuben just over 12 hours after they’d broken my waters, and it was incredible. I felt the love instantly – it was euphoric! I felt the rush of love which I’d heard people say is indescribable and I was so relieved. I was so, so happy. When I had been waiting to push, I remember thinking “this is it, my dream is about to come true, I’m gonna meet my baby!” and that was an unforgettable moment too.

So is it any wonder that I feel this way now that Reuben’s 1st birthday is a day away? It’s so bittersweet. I feel happy and sad at the same time. I feel my heart aching so badly when I think back to it. I know this is common in mothers but I never really hear or read anyone talking about it.

Maybe it’s because I feel cheated out of enjoying those newborn days, maybe it’s because I had a vision of how I wanted things to be during pregnancy and it wasn’t like that. It’s not like my expectations were high but when you’re poor and feeling unsupported through both pregnancy and your newly made mother days, it’s very hard to feel like I got anything right at all back then… I don’t know. I guess I am overly critical but when I think back, I have regrets and I find myself saying “here’s what I’d do differently”.

Anyway, it’s hard to believe Reuben’s been on this earth for a year now. He’s turned into my little best friend & he makes me smile all the time. Even though we have been poorly recently, there’s still been smiles. And I’m far from perfect but I know I’m a good Mama.

I’m feeling very nostalgic and wistful about this time last year but don’t worry, I’m also concentrating on making this year’s memories count! Reuben’s presents are ready for Thursday, the flat is looking nicer than it ever has done (apart from the kitchen right now) & I’ve even put the Christmas tree up!

I love motherhood, it puts a kind of joy and resilience in my soul that nothing else can. I mean, there’s obviously sadness and mum guilt in there too BUT! Let’s focus on the good!

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca ♡

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Calmer: My Day

I don’t know if this will be interesting to anyone but todays’ post is just going to be about the day itself.

A morning shower, whilst Reuben napped, meant that I went from lethargic-mother-in-nightie to feeling energised and motivated. I tried this new, beautiful Dove shampoo and it has changed my life (and the condition of my hair) and even though I just felt uncomfortable and weird in the shower when I got in, I emerged feeling like a Goddess. That feeling lasted until I got dressed and cracked on with housework but, funnily enough, I still felt calm.

I put my phone on charge and said I would not go back on my phone, or even check it, until I’d completed my checklist. I have been so annoyed with myself for wasting time scrolling when I could be productive or, idk, present in my life.

Luck was on my side, I got the vast majority of that list done during Reuben’s nap (including the shower!) and then on his afternoon nap, I could have cleaned the bathroom but I decided not to because of my hands… My hands are sore you guys, the cold vs hot water vs cleaning chemicals is not a good mix. I do moisturise my hands but they’re struggling to repair. If anyone has any recommendations please let me know?

I wanted to do some studying instead because that was overwhelming me more than the cleaning was. So I began active reading the chapter of the week and I stopped when I felt like my brain couldn’t handle anymore.

And then I got a nap!!! What a win that is!

I never nap like I did today; I was resting on the sofa after studying and suddenly I was fast asleep. This is super weird, I didn’t even have a blanket. I didn’t even feel that tired. But my brain, I was feeling so sad from what I’d studied. But how lucky was that? I got a good 20 minute nap after studying!

For tea, or dinner as it’s more commonly known, Reuben was also well behaved. I couldn’t believe it. In fact he’s been good all day.

I can’t help but think, has he been calm because I’ve been calm? Is this a knock on effect or is it coincidence?

The only time he rebelled was after his bath. He hates getting out of the bath, he detests the new nappy going on and he revolts entirely against being dressed. He was pretty tired whilst waiting for his milk, I felt bad that it was way too hot… For like five minutes… But those minutes last a long time when your baby is crying for their bottle!

He’s now asleep. And I decided to write this post, despite suspecting it’s actually a boring one, because today’s just been so nice.

I know that picture is out of focus, my phone camera is temperamental. Its either decent or complete poo (usually with long distance shots). But look: pretty!

We did have an accident today, whilst I was putting the fairy lights up – I was reaching up, trying to hook the lights onto the net curtain hooks – and I heard a cry. I looked down and quickly noticed something had hit Reuben in the process. On further inspection, I realised the plug had hit him and I felt horrible. I picked Reuben up and held him so tight, I wanted to cry, I was so busy trying not to fall to my death (which is how I feel standing on a chair with the insane feeling that I’ll fall out the window) that I forgot to check behind me. Reuben was okay, barely cried, but when I see the mark above his eyelid I want to cry. I know accidents happen but I felt so bad.

Cuddles helped!

Cuddles help everyone, but our cuddles just make me feel so happy.

I am sad that Reuben is no longer a baby, he is nothing like the 8lb 6oz baby he once was. But, he’s got this awesome personality and he laughs so much. Even his angry “arrr” and “dixhskgxjsbsush!!” complaints crack me up sometimes. So often I get those oh my I love you so much! moments.

I need to go tidy the living room, see to the mess in the kitchen (dishes and food spillages – made by yours truly!) and then it’s bedtime. I might go WILD and spray some cleaning shit on the bathroom before I go to bed. Exciting times, huh?

So, thank you for reading!

Let me know if this was a hit or not, I’m experimenting with my blog and the overall vibe.

With love, Rebecca ♡

Next Time (Part I)

Next time I find myself pregnant, I can’t promise I won’t stress, but if I’m lucky I’ll stress a little less. I’m too aware of what could go wrong but I am hoping I won’t be stressing over what I get to eat this week. I hope I don’t have to eat beans on toast and jacket potatoes 3 or 4 times a week again. I hope when I crave something I can go get it. I’m hoping I won’t get Hyperemesis again but if I do, that’s just something I know I have to get through. Suffering last time didn’t effect my bond with my baby, I doubt it would again. Hopefully it’s not any worse, if anything I hope I don’t get it at all. But no matter, I’ll find a way to manage its only important that my baby makes it.

Next time, I do things a little differently. I know what’s more important when you’re buying for little feet. I’ll take into consideration the weather and how I’m choosing to feed. I’m going to do cloth from the start now it’s not so overwhelming and I’m hoping I’ll be able to afford it. Ah, affording it. No matter how you want to dress up pregnancy and giving birth, the truth of the matter is its all expensive. Hopefully this time I won’t be crying because I want to buy a baby swing and pretty muslin cloths. Hopefully I can buy more new, or at least well cared for second hand. The stuff I can’t afford now.

Next time, I will invest in comfort, I will invest in equipment. I want to try to breastfeed but I didn’t have the support, physically or emotionally the first time around. I gave up for many reasons but the support bit was the part that caught me out. I don’t want it to be like that second time around. Now I know about the hunger and the thirst, about the backache and the latching, I think I’d be more resourceful about what the money goes into. I want it to work. Sterilising bottles when you desperately need food or sleep is enough to break your heart. It’s not dramatic, it’s the way it is, and I wish I’d known it from the start.

Next time I’ll share less and concentrate on the moments that I’ll share with my partner. I’ll watch my belly move instead of trying to capture the wriggles and kicks. Lord knows that’s the reason I’ve forgotten most of it. Don’t get me wrong, taking pictures is great, but I don’t need to tell the world every step of the way. I probably won’t have time but I need to remember that it’s far more precious to me than it is to any friend or follower.

Next time, I’ll trust myself more. I did with Reuben but I was unsure with all the opinions and picture perfect images of motherhood going around. But I knew, and this time, I think I’ll trust myself from the start. Babies may be fragile but they won’t fall apart if I don’t follow the rules. There should be no rules. I know I take very good care of my baby and do everything in their best interest, I don’t really care for the stuff you see on Pinterest. It’s not where reality lies.

Next time, baby will be planned, I’ll have saved, gotten healthier because now I understand that as much as unplanned babies are loved and wanted (my child as prime example) there’s no way I would want to struggle again. And if I want something for baby in a sale, I want to buy it. I don’t want to sit and sulk at home, wondering if maybe I’ll catch it next time. I don’t want to scrape by. It may sound materialistic but honestly it’s upsetting. You can’t enjoy yourself when you’re living on empty.

Next time I’m going to cherish those newborn moments more. The dishes will eventually done, the laundry can wait a bit longer, nobody cares that the floor hasn’t been vacuumed and forget about the social media for now. You over share and most people just don’t care, so I’ll post but be mindful that it doesn’t matter that I didn’t post today’s photos today. Instead, holding my sweet new cherub before he or she grows out of my arms is what matters. They stay small for not long at all. They grow so fast. It doesn’t matter that the days last forever and the nights are exhausting, it’s not like this for long. Not in the long run it’s not.

Next time I won’t just be able to focus on my new baby because I’ll be a mother of two. I need to remember that it’s not all about the new one. My Reuben will want attention too. So i will buy a baby wrap or a baby carrier so I can get on with what I need to do. I know it’s as important as a very comfortable sofa or a nursing chair. I know now that baby needs very little at first, a lot of it is about supporting you.

Next time we will have more scans, next time we will buy maternity dresses and pack the hospital bag better. Next time we will understand what a post natal ward is like and we will prepare for that eventuality too & hey you might not be so unlucky this time if you have to stay. It’s all about taking each day as it comes, from the two lines onwards, and trying not to be stressed. It’s about aiming to be calm parent, but to cry if you need to. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be really hard but you know you can do it. You know what’s what this time around. You’re going to have support and you’re not going to scrimp on basics, you’re going to make home made frozen meals too because you didn’t last time (being cocky weren’t you?) and you knew you’d messed up. Take advantage of the convenience of the modern world too, who cares if you have a microwave meal for dinner? Who cares if you order your groceries to your door? It’s what’s best, it’s what’s easiest, it gives you more time for what’s important and going out for better reasons.

It’s going to be ages before we have a next time. I don’t know when Reuben will become a big brother, or if he ever will… The truth is, nobody knows what life will bring. But if there’s a next time. Yes, IF, there’s a next time. I know what’s important next time. There’s things I do differently and there’s things I’d do the same, ultimately I’ll try my best, but you can guarantee I’ll still complain.

I know it’s too soon to be thinking about this, and I can’t assume I’ll get a next time either. It’s crazy because I know how hard it will be (well I actually have no clue but I can imagine because having one is hard) and life is very unlikely to follow my plan. But in an ideal world, here’s my next time.

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca xo