Sunday, 18 December 2011

We're moving!

You can now find us at http://adayinthelifeofh.wordpress.com/

Thanks very much

Reflections, 6 months on...


I can't believe she's 6 months old already, the time has just flown by and I am so proud of my little Smoosh. The weirdest thing is, I'm still on a high from her birth; I didn't realise just what a difference there would be in post partum feelings. While I obviously adored Claudia, with Amy it's a more visceral reaction: I need to be with her, I need to smell her and I need feel her close to me. I could spend hours just sniffing her head. With Claudia I never had that. Don't get me wrong, I loved her to pieces but with Amy it feels more deep-rooted and instinctual somehow.

I have also found the transition from 'pregnant' to 'new mother' far easier. Now part of that might obviously just be down to the fact that I've done it once before but I really struggled after Claudia's birth to come to terms with the fact that I wasn't pregnant any more. There was no 'process', I felt like I was still waiting to have my baby, even though she was there in my arms. It's a tough thing to explain to someone who hasn't experienced it but I do think there's a lot to be said for pushing your baby out as I didn't have even a hint of that this time around.

I still can't quite believe I managed a VBAC, I mean really how the hell did that happen?! I recently read back over my birth story and got all emotional; I'm still reeling from the fact that I had no drugs, no interventions, nothing. Just me, a husband, a baby ,a stressball and a whole lot of swearing ☺ I was thrilled that I was able to have the birth I had wanted as I was worried that I would end up needing pain relief and, not wanting to go with opiates it would have been straight from the gas to the epidural. Which I didn't want as I was worried it would be a downward spiral to another C section, blah blah blah. As it turns out I was perfectly able to labour with no pain relief aside from squeezing a little juggling ball, breathing and visualising numbers as my darling husband read them off the monitor to me.

Me, the person who cries when she stubs her toe!

If I was a religious woman I would be saying that God was with me that day. But I am not so much as slightly religious; I fully believe that it was luck, preparation on my part and the fact that the poor hospital staff were so busy that they simply didn't have time to give me those unnecessary interventions and checks. It was just a raw, instinctual process that resulted in the (rather speedy) arrival of a perfect, healthy baby.

In fact, the whole thing has made me really want to do it again. Not the pregnancy (I couldn't cope with another; emotionally or physically) or the baby. Just the birth. Is that weird? I actually really enjoyed it! I mean yes, I suppose it must have hurt (not that I remember any of it hurting, oddly. The power of oxytocin!) but it was never the sort of pain that left me feeling like I couldn't cope. In fact at no point did I even consider pain relief aside from wanting a shower right at the end, despite them offering me drugs a few times early on. Don't get me wrong, I hadn't ruled it out, I just didn't need it at that moment; I never felt like the contractions were overwhelming me even when she started coming and they were one on top of another. Then it was just a case of hanging onto the bed and riding it out, it was such a primal thing that I really had very little control - I decided early on to surrender to my body and relax into it and the 'cavewoman' in me truly emerged!

All the birth sites are right - you actually can do it! Who knew? It's always been one of my greatest fears, as I'm sure it is for other - "the agony of childbirth"- and that is a testament to how it is portrayed in our society, I think. I viewed it as "the most painful thing I will ever do, but worth it to have a family" and honestly, my C section recovery was far, far, FAR worse! Ok, obviously that's birth too, but the point I'm trying to make here is that a natural, drug-free birth is really not as painful as films and the media make it out to be. At no point was I lying on my back screaming "give me the drugs!": ok I may have been moaning like a porn star but that was just my body taking over and pushing away the pain and it was surprisingly effectiv.

I have never felt more empowered. I hate that word as it has real hippy connotations but it's true; no other word adequately sums up how I felt after that birth. I even texted a friend saying "I feel like superwoman!" and I did. I honestly felt like there was nothing I could do after that and I couldn't stop smiling.

I still can't.

Having that VBAC has put a lot of my demons about my c section to rest. I still feel sad that I didn't get to experience this first time around (and for next to no good reason) but it's not the overwhelming bubble of anger and sadness that it once was. It's amazing what a difference it can make, really...

So thank you, little Smoosh, for being born. Thank you for doing all the work for me so all I had to do was hold on and enjoy the ride. And I really did enjoy it, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. It was the most amazing moment of my life, my greatest achievement and nothing else I do will ever make me feel as powerful and human as that day did.



Saturday, 17 December 2011

Making Banana Bread: a Toddler's Perspective

You will need:
4 bananas
Some plain flour
Some sugar (we used brown and white)
Some raisins
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder


Step 1
Put bananas in a bowl and mash. Get frustrated because mashing is difficult. Let Mummy do most of it and then wave the masher around, effectively spreading banana over the widest variety of kitchen surfaces.


Step 2
Add flour. It doesn't really matter how much as you'll add more later. Stir with a spoon. Pick up the spoon and let the mixture dribble off the spoon, preferably onto the floor as well as into the bowl. Attempt to eat the mix. Get frustrated when prevented from doing so and fling more mixture around.


Step 3
Add raisins. This is the best bit! You can vary between grabbing big handfuls and picking them each out individually.

 Stir in the raisins. Marvel at how they seem to disappear into the mix. Add more.


Step 4
Check on your sister.


Step 5
Add a teaspoon or so of baking powder and 3 eggs. Attempt to eat the eggs. When asked not to, try to sneakily touch the eggs without Mummy noticing. Learn what "yellow ones" are. They're called yolks. Giggle and call them "silly jokes".


Stir in the eggs and notice how the mixture goes really sloppy. Smell the mixture. Note that it smells like apples. No, wait, bananas; it smells like bananas.


Step 6
Add sugar. Notice how sugar comes in two colours: brown and white. Mix it in and watch it disappear.


Step 7
Add more flour until it looks a bit more like cake mix. Stir.


Watch it fall off the spoon again. You will notice that it isn't as dribbly as before but don't be deterred - it can still be flung around effectively when the right amount of enthusiasm is applied.


Step 8
Pour into a loaf tin and try to accept the fact that it has to cook before you're allowed to eat it. Put it in the oven for about 20 minutes (or until a stick comes out clean when poked into it).



Step 9
Watch Mummy attempt to clean up. Laugh.

Step 10
Get frustrated at the fact that the cake is in the oven and out of bounds. Cry.


Step 11
Rejoice! Time is up, let Mummy get the cake out of the oven.


Step 11
Eat a bit. Ask for some more. Finish the bit you've got and pose nicely for a photo.


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Festivities




I am finally getting slightly into the swing of Christmas. I am fast becoming slightly obsessed with starting traditions for the girls and I had a bit of a brainwave for a nice memento - baubles!


I bought some 'soap bubble baubles' from Amazon (which arrived in the least eco-friendly packaging I've ever seen - half a roll of bubble wrap each and an enormous box!), got my embossing bits out and went to town.

I did Claudia's first as I know how babies tend to clench their fists when you try to do anything even vaguely handprint-y and she had great fun. She couldn't understand why the 'paint' had no colour!


Anyway, it was easy as pie - wipe the embossing ink over the child's hand, sprinkle over embossing powder, tap/dust off excess and get the heat gun going on it. I used a different colour powder for their names (all colours chosen by Claudia) and I suppose you could decorate them with anything but I do like the idea that their handprints will be immortalised (on very fragile glass).



Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Wowls

I discovered this fab little tutorial the other day at New Green Mama and decided to give it a go. I always end up with lots of odds and ends after making a mei tai and I am a bit of a hoarder, never wanting to throw anything away, so this seemed perfect.

Now bear in mind that I am not all that when it comes to neatness. I'm great with straight lines but circles are not my friend. Anyway, here are the results.

A little blue wowl and a big pink wowl. Both have Minkee-lined wings so they're nice and soft ♥