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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Survival Tips When You’re Sick

We have been quite unwell this week. First, Reuben was sick through the night and then when he started to recover the next day, we went out, but then by the time we came home, it was my turn! It’s not been fun. I’d like to add Reuben has had a mild case of the sniffles and is teething too which hasn’t helped matters, but it’s nothing that can’t be eased with mummy cuddles (and Anbesol).

Anyway, we both recovered within 24 hours so I am assuming it was a tummy bug – which is a the technical term, for having an upset stomach. There’s been a lot of sick you guys, it’s not been nice.

It isn’t surprising that getting through the day (and the night!!) when you’re unwell and your child is too, isn’t a bucket of laughs. But I thought I’d write a list of tips on making it as bearable as possible – and it might just be a good reference to me in the future, but it might help you too!

  • Everything can wait! Stop worrying about the dishes in the sink and Mount Laundry Basket. It can wait. Same goes for the laundry waiting to be put away or the vacuuming. The moment you feel better, you can tackle it. For now, bare minimum (such as rinsing cups and plates and leaving them in a stack, or putting the sicky clothes and bedding in the washing machine) is a good start. I know we can’t all stay home and do barely anything because we have other kids and commitments, but if you can, I recommend using the little energy you have on looking after you and your child.
  • If you can get any help at all, accept it! My sister was visiting when we got sick which was quite the coincidence but this meant there was someone their to lighten the load. Whilst Reu and I took a nap, she did the dishes and tidied up without being asked and then we woke up to a little snack plate and drinks. This was appreciated since I hadn’t eaten in what felt like forever after a night of throwing up. So yes, you may have to ask for someone to help you but you even if it’s just someone picking up some groceries or running you a bath and watching the kids, it’s worth it.
  • Drink plenty, stay warm, and take your medicine… You don’t get any medals for not taking your damn medicine/painkillers, so do it! Rest is important but you’re not going to rest at all if you’re aching everywhere. I timed taking some paracetamol in time for Reuben’s naps and we snuggled up in bed together. I really did ignore the fact I needed to do housework and studies because I wanted to rest and sleep as much as I possibly could. I think the more you rest, the quicker you get better. So take the painkillers to help make yourself more comfortable (my body ached so bad this time around I felt like Mr Potato! I don’t know, if anyone will understand how that made sense to me).

Also…

  • What you eat when you’re poorly is important. Reuben lost his appetite for a while and so did I but when we ate simple food, we started getting better quicker. Things like fruit and chicken soup, in small amounts frequently, really helped. I always think eating whatever form of protein is best for you really helps you to recover.
  • Humidifiers, saline drops, baby paracetamol… These all help you and your baby lots but please, if there’s one thing that’s made this whole thing easier, it’s that I was able to snuggle up with Reuben pretty much all the time. I let go of a lot of rules… I let him watch TV in the early hours in his travel cot so I could throw all the sicky blankets, bedding and clothes into the washing machine (we were very low on wipes so I ended up using a blanket or two to catch and clean up sick) and he actually fell asleep in there.

I guess what I’m saying is, it’s best to just snuggle up and ride it out together. Everything else can wait. And if you have to go out, bundle up warm and don’t stay out too long. The fresh air will help but at this time of year, try not to be out too long if you are poorly. Eat nutrious food (when you can), keep yourself hydrated and stay warm. Those are my survival tips beyond the medicine.

Thank you for reading!

With love, Rebecca ♡

Letting Go: Mama Standards

I wanted to blog every day this month, for no reason other than it was a goal I set myself. But for the last two days, I couldn’t.

Now I have decided that I don’t blog when I don’t have Reuben. This is because I really struggle with my mental health when he’s away from me. It’s become apparent that’s it’s more than parental separation anxiety, although that does play a part, it’s also the weight of depression. But I don’t want to talk about that today. I don’t want to dwell.

Today, I’d like to talk about how lovely it is when Reuben comes back and I’m so excited to be back on parent mode. I can give 110%. I can be more patient, more loving, more energetic – and that, dear parents everywhere, is why taking breaks is important.

I didn’t stress at all this morning. I thought “we will be ready when we are ready and that’s that on that!” because I realised there was no point in rushing around just to go out to the shops and back, what a waste.

I made sure Reuben was napping before I started to get ready and I took my time getting ready when he did. I had the changing bag and buggy sorted by the time he woke up which made it really easy.

He woke up around 12:45 so we went straight to the Asda cafe for some lunch. I gave him half a ginger bread man to nibble on (which had gone a bit soft – but I like it like that more) and we made our way there.

I ordered my favourite hot sandwich and chips with a diet coke, and for Reuben I got him the chicken nuggets meal with carrots and sweet potato waffles.

For once I wasn’t scrambling around, I always get a bit anxious in these situations but I felt like I was managing it well. I have read that when we suffer with anxiety, we think it’s really visible to the people around us, but apparently that’s not true. So I tried to reassure myself by remembering that. It’s just hard when you think people, the older generations in particular, are watching you, critiquing you. And I wish that was paranoia, but I’ve had a comment or two thrown my way at the worst of times. I do get nicer comments too though, or at best, nothing at all!

So we finished up our lunch… Don’t worry I was holding the plate! In fact most of the time I just passed Reuben bits of food so he didn’t have the option to send things flying. You need to do that, in a public place, I think. It saves a lot of trouble to the waiting staff!

Then we did our shop, which I have posted a haul video of on my new Facebook ‘Aspirebelievemama’ page (self promo alert!), and once home and settled, I put Reuben down for a nap. He’s currently sleeping now. And I opted to do this instead of studying because tomorrow I will be studying my ass off. I have promised myself that. Cleaning can wait until tonight, and speed cleaning is enjoyable exercise I like to do every other day or so.

I feel like I’m finding the balance on days like today – you’ve got to let go a bit, when you’re a parent. It’s taken me 50 weeks of motherhood to realise that.

… Yep, I really REALLY need to invest in a camera. I have fallen out with Android, to my dismay, so you might find that I upgrade to an iPhone next year! I just think Apple are a bad company for creating expensive products that break so easily, need replacing often and *breathe*… if you can’t beat them, you’re supposed to join them, right?! Unless anyone’s got any android recommendations?

Thank you reading!

With love, Rebecca ♡

November!

Hello November,

I love this month. I mean, there was always something about November that I loved. But this year, its not just home to Bonfire Night and the festive season kicking in, it’s also Reuben’s 1st birthday too!

I mean, I’m all kinds of sad that Reuben is growing up but first birthdays will do that to you! This the marker that my baby is no longer a baby. I mean, he will always be my baby but he’s nearly walking and is starting to cause mischief. So, he’s really officially becoming a toddler on that day.

I’m also going to slowly start decorating for Christmas. Last year I put fairy lights and the Christmas tree up in time for Reuben’s arrival because that’s what I wanted to bring him home to. I want this to be a little tradition so I’m going to make sure there’s decorations up for his birthday.

Wow, I am already emotional realising that it’s very nearly one year since I welcomed my little one into this world with a fierce and healing kind of love. I’m so excited to see him open his presents (and take interest in the wrapping paper in boxes, not the gifts hahaha!) and play with balloons and bubbles. It’s going to be lovely!

A personal goal now is to blog more frequently, find more time to study and not get my knickers in a twist over the housework building up. It’s overwhelming but it always takes a lot less time than I think it will.

So, hey November, be good please!

Thank you for reading!

With love, Rebecca ♡

Doesn’t It Make Your Heart Ache?

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Oh baby, who made it this way?

I knew you would grow but I thought time would pass a little slower, I thought I’d remember all of our memories. But I don’t.

Thank goodness I took a million photographs. Moments captured, often terribly, trigger the most precious memories.

I’m making a montage of your life so far, and my heart could burst, oh how it hurts.

I’m proud and my love is fierce and strong. You’re my tiny best friend and I had no idea what others meant when they spoke about this, but I get it now. Sure, you drive me nuts. We had a shouting match earlier; a lot of raa raas and growling sounds. But we also had cuddles and you smothered me in big sloppy kiss, wrapped your arms around my neck and I felt so happy! Lots of giggles, lots of clapping, lots of praise, as you learn continually, amazing me every single day.

Your first birthday is fast approaching and I could sob.

I didn’t see it going so fast when I was holding you in the postnatal ward, 11 months ago, having experienced the longest day of my life to date. I know I was only in for two days, but I swear it felt like a week. But, from the moment you came home, time started  to go by so fast.

I do my best to treasure you. I try to not feel frustrated when you feel frustrated and won’t seem to stop yelling. I try not to get mad at all the mess on the floor because yes, I’m fed up of cleaning the high chair and the food that surrounded it after a meal, but one day I won’t have to do it anymore ’cause you’ll have grown and that makes me sad.

You’re my first baby.

I’ve made mistakes, but I know I’ve done well so far. There are things I would go back and change, but I shrug and smile because maybe I’ll get a second chance. If I’m lucky.

But with you, this has been our journey together. You and I.

There’s been a lot of crying (mainly from me) but there’s been so much love, so many adventures, so many learning curves and endless memories that I will remember. The photos will remind me of the rest.

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I can no longer imagine you being so tiny. You were in my arms, with your soft little breaths and your ‘awooo’ coos after sneezing. Those days seem like a dream when I think sit and remember the younger you. Because you’re this amazing little boy now, starting to take his first steps, and whatever mood you wake up in, and no matter how tired I feel – you always make me smile.

To the boy who made my life worth living.

To the boy who I named 7 years before he was born.

To the boy who made me a mother.

I love you so much, little one.

I’ve got all your presents, I’ve bought some balloons, but am I ready for you to turn one in a month? No, darling, I’m not ready for you to not be a baby anymore… but I’m ready for all of our adventures together. ‘Cause I’m sure you won’t always like me, and I know you’re gonna drive me up the wall as you get older – but I’ll always love you, and I’ll always be here for you.

Love Mummy xo

What’s New With Reu

Hi everyone!

What’s New With Reu?

👶🏻 He now claps his hands

👶🏻 Walks along the furniture

👶🏻 Bops to music

👶🏻 Is trying hard to communicate with noises such as ‘gaaaa’ and ‘ooooh’ and laughing noises when he’s happy or excited.

👶🏻 Can now eat out of a food pouch independently.

👶🏻 Doesn’t appreciate me trying to join in when he’s playing unless we are playing with the shape sorter

👶🏻 Loves his food, needless to say his pincer grip is coming along with all the baby-led weaning.

👶🏻 Loves ‘5 little speckled frogs’, ‘5 little ducks’ and ‘twinkle twinkle little star’.

👶🏻 Doesn’t really care for watching the TV unless I put on ‘Teletubbies’ or ‘In The Night Garden’.

👶🏻 Hates nappy changes! With a passion! Don’t even mention outfit changes. It’s pure wrestling at this point. With screaming. Ugh, the screaming.

👶🏻 Adores bath time.

👶🏻 If he bumps his head on something when he’s playing, he is most likely to keep on repeating the action to check whether it hurts until I move him away or take the item away from him.

👶🏻 He actually comes up to me for cuddles now which is the sweetest thing ever!

👶🏻… Which means all the hair pulling, scratching, grabbing a chunk of my face, and slapping is forgiven. 🤪😅

👶🏻 But most importantly he’s doing well and is very happy! And one of these days I might actually get him weighed again.

So I hope you enjoyed this update. Thank you very much for reading!

With love, Rebecca xo