Take #2 ( but actually #3)

11 weeks and 5 days ago, the small, windy human currently lying next to me, decided he had had enough of being snuggled up in my womb and made a rather abrupt appearance after 30 hours of getting himself “just right”. 

The last 3 ish months have been so very, very different to those we experienced with his sister. The fact that he came out 2lbs heavier than her and 12 days late probably played a part in it.

Things haven’t been perfect, dont get me wrong, but it’s better. It was only a 30 hour labour instead of 72 this time, so I was already 2 night’s sleep better off going in to it. I had a planned home birth, instead of an accidental birthing of the baby on the spare bedroom floor, and I was as prepared as I could have been. I learnt to feed lying down from day 1 which was so much easier than trying to hold up a 10 and a half pound baby and not fall asleep sitting up. In essence, I’d worked out what I didnt like from the last time round and changed it.

Everybody told me that it was a given that Elsie was going to start acting out because the new baby was here and that she’d resent him. I planned for that too. I filled a box full of things for us to do together on the sofa whilst I was feeding the baby. It worked. We played, we played with the bits in the box and we played make believe that the sofa was a train taking us to the beach. We played during nap times and we got to have sling cuddles again becuase Mummy wasn’t broken any more.

What I hadn’t planned for was that”resent” was the wrong word and I had utterly failed to realise how it would affect me. She wasn’t resentful, she was hurt. The person that was always there without hesitation when she was scared or lonely or over whelmed or really, really excited, suddenly wasn’t. She wasn’t there to cuddle up with in the middle of the night when bad dreams came, she told her to be excited a bit quieter please when the baby was sleeping or feeding, she couldn’t give her a spontaneous cuddle because she was elbow deep in poo filled nappy/covered in baby spew/ holding the baby/ trying to drink a cup of scolding hot tea in under 19 seconds before someone started yelling.

I know that these things are normal and I know that I haven’t broken my daughter by having another baby but it’s a very big thing for a little one to deal with. I am struggling at the moment not to get upset by it. I miss my little big girl. I miss my night time snuggles and I hate that she’s pushing away from me because she’s sad. I hate that the person she goes to now when she has had a bump is Daddy because as soon as I cuddle her Ed starts crying. 

I don’t resent having another child, I wouldn’t swap it for the world. I am overwhelmed though by trying to work out how you can be two people’s absolute everything without upsetting one or both. I guess the answer is that you can’t but it’s all about trying to minimise the impact on everyone until you’ve all adjusted to the change. It’s the same when any big change occurs, there is a period of adjustment and unsettlement whilst you work into a new routine and mindset. The only difference is that you are doing this change whilst sleep deprived and with people who’s emotions and wellbeing  are so intrinsically connected with your own that you can’t help but feel their feelings with them. As well as your own.

I had started writing this because I was listening to Elsie asking my husband if he could come and get me for a mummy cuddle. I had Ed on the boob and he was just drifting off . I couldn’t be in two places at once and I find having to let one of them down heart breaking. I took a break from writing and was ambling through Facebook during the 10pm feed and I came across Giovanna Fletcher’s post about Baby Loss Awareness Week. I realised it wasn’t just my Little Big Girl in the next room I miss snuggling, it’s my baby I never got to snuggle.

In 2011, I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks. I didn’t know I was pregnant until I realised that what was happening meant I wasn’t any more. I hadn’t been trying for a baby but there was still an enormous feeling of loss. It was such an overwhelming and incomprehensible thing to feel for something I didn’t even know I’d had but it was gone and there was nothing I could do to get it back. I still feel guilty about it and more so, when, like tonight, i remember I should be kissing 3 children goodnight instead of 2. Then I feel awful, because I forgot. 

I went through both subsequent pregnancies utterly terrified that I was going to lose my baby again. I checked and double checked the chances of micarriage as we ticked another week off. I panicked about the kicks in the last few weeks.

Up until now 5 people knew I’d lost a baby and two of those were midwives at my booking appoinments. No one knew about how worried I was with the other two. 

We don’t talk about this. We should. Whether it’s very early in the pregnancy or post birth, the loss is huge and has an enormous impact on people’s lives. Not talking about it compounds the feelings and leaves you dealing with them alone. 

This wasn’t the direction I planned to go with this post and I wasn’t sure that I felt comfortable sharing but we need to start talking about the big things. We need our village and we need to know we are not alone. 


Made by Hand

Stressful day at work? Do you come home and slip into your running shoes, put the beats in your ears and disappear into a world where the only thing that matters is the pounding of your feet on the pavement and the cold breath in your lungs? Maybe you prefer to turn the volume up loud, dance around in your pants and sing I Will Survive at the top of your lungs. Or maybe, it’s cracking open a bottle of something cold and inebriating, sticking your feet up and watching your favourite soap.

What ever your method, we all have a preferred way to unwind after a hard day. Sometimes that hard day lasts for more than 24 hours and you feel yourself becoming more wound up and disconnected with things. This, for me, is where making things comes in.

I have to be doing something with my hands. Not fiddling with something but doing something that has a purpose. It can be a task as simple and small as making a cup of tea. Holding a cup in my hands and then turning teabag and milk into the perfect brew.

Feeling something solid, like a cup, in my hand helps ground me and gets me out of the little world of lists and worries in my head. The act of making a cup of tea and drinking the final product is enough to allow me a little check off the list. I’ve managed to finish doing something I started. This may seem like a ridiculous thing to cheer about, but when you have eighty billion things to do and some of them take weeks or you keep getting interrupted, then it can be quite rewarding to take the small victories.

If I need more than a quick fix, I turn to crafting. There is something very therapeutic about putting pencil to paper or hook to yarn. The movements involved are soothing in themselves, the smooth application of paint to canvas or the repetitive click clack of knitting needles. You can’t really focus on anything else at the same time either, so it is a wonderful way of getting the mind to switch off and focus on just one thing. The end of your project could be hours, days or weeks away, but there is a huge feeling of achievement when you do finish. You can sit back and look at it and think “I did that and there isn’t another one anywhere.”.

Small person and I were chatting in the car the other day about things we like doing. I realised that nearly all of mine involve some kind of sensory experience and few of them were visual. Surprisingly (to me) they were nearly all touch based too, making things, baking things, walking on grass or paddling with my shoes off, hugs and a nice hot bath.

For me, a wind down/destressing activity should be something you enjoy. If you have to drag yourself to do it or feel grumpy once you’ve finished, maybe it isn’t the right choice for that particular moment. Make yourself a list of things you like doing and choose one off the list. Just ensure that you have some small, practical things on there as “jetting off to the Bahamas” when it’s Wednesday, you’re in the middle of a mammoth work project and it’s still a week until pay day is likely to just make you more grumpy.

Stick the kettle on, feel the weight of the mug in your hands and enjoy a little sit down. This too shall pass.





Ding! Ding! Round Two!

Morning all!

In my last post in October last year I made an apology for having neglected my blog due to having a small child. I then proceeded to do naff all about it for the next nearly 6 months.

These past few months have involved further neglect to quite a lot of aspects of my life due to extreme tiredness and a lot of throwing up. Two weeks after the last post I found out that I was pregnant! After 18 months of trying for our second child and having pretty much convinced myself that it was never going to happen we got our much waited for positive.

We’re halfway through now, the sickness stopped on Sunday and I had my first cup ( read bath) of proper English tea on Monday morning and failed to projectile vomit over the kitchen. One of my simple but very much enjoyed pleasures is a nice strong cup of tea in my favourite enormous mug and five minutes of quite contemplation.

I wouldn’t say that it is deeply philosophical thinking. If it’s the first cup of the day, it happens around half 7. Thoughts can include anything from ” How can someone watch the same Shimmer and Shine episode 4 times in a row and not have their brain ooze out from their ears? ” to “I’ve got a fridge full of veg that needs eating. How can I hide it in something edible?”.

Lately though it’s been more along the lines of “My house looks like a bomb’s gone off in it, there’s only three of us, maybe we should just move before the baby arrives and not unpack anything.” As tempting as a completely empty house with neatly stacked boxes sounds, I have had to remind myself that this is supposed to be a stress free pregnancy (unlike the last one, moved house, got engaged, planned a wedding, got married, left work, had a baby).

So I’ve decided to get ruthless with our “stuff”. It’s actually a lot easier to do now I’m in the right headspace. The first thing I’ve hit is my crafting stash. I pulled out all my fabric and have given probably half of it to the local Cancer Research shop. I have no idea why I was so adamant to hold onto it as I didn’t like it. It seems I had gone through a bit of a hoarding phase and been oblivious to it. Three quarters of my craft magazines have gone too. A lot of them I was holding onto because they had pretty pictures in but unless I was going to plaster them all over the walls so I could admire them every day, it seemed a bit pointless keeping them. I took those to the craft group I go to on a Wednesday morning. Lots disappeared there, along with some books I no longer had need for.

I’m already feeling so much better for it, I just need to decide what to tackle next! Hopefully I’ve got a good couple of months now before I start to get too massive so by the time this wee sproglet arrives we should be sorted.

The main difference between this pregnancy and the last is that I also have a 3 year old to keep entertained which, when all you want to do is sleep with your head in the toilet, is no mean feat. On Monday I’ll be sharing my favourite recipe for cheap homemade playdough. This has kept Elsie entranced for hours and, most importantly, doesn’t stink like proper playdough and cause Mummy to vomit all over her small person’s carefully crafted snail farm. Stay tuned for further kiddie activities suitable for poorly mummas and papas.

You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. That’s my limit for social media and Snapchat just confuses me. Hop on over and say Hi!



A little catch up

Evening! I’ve been hugely neglectful of my blog since having had my small person. I most definitely haven’t been meaning to but somehow life just gets in the way. You think you’ll have a few hours free next Tuesday or tomorrow evening and the small creature decides bedtime is a no go or you forget you have to go shopping and all of a sudden there’s no free time.

A couple of months ago I asked a large group of ladies to share their baby feeding journeys with me. The response was incredible and the stories more so. Over the next few weeks I hope to be able to share some information with you around feeding and the impact it has on us mummies. If anyone would like to share and has not done so, please do contact me at katie@buttonsandpickles.com . I want to hear from everyone, whether your child is 1 week old or 50 years old. 

In the meantime, I thought I’d share some pictures of things I’ve been working on. (FYI, that’s not my bump!)

You can catch up with the day to day goings on on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/elsieandbear and also on Instagram @buttonspickles

Much love,