Friday, 13 September 2019

what's in my hospital bag? preparing for our baby girl

hey all, today i'm sharing my packing list for my hospital bag. i'm prepared for a long stay in hospital, because of my diabetes and the fact that last time i had a preemie at 35 weeks... so it might be more than a person really needs, but i'm prepared for a few nights stay and a baby in neonatal care with the amount i have!

hospital bag checklist

for baby:
a pack of size 1 nappies (we use Bambo Nature - UK/US)
biodegradable/compostable nappy bags (UK/US)
wet wipes (we love Water Wipes because they are just water and grapefruit extract - UK/US)
changing mat
clothes for baby, inc. socks, hat & scratch mitts
baby blanket
muslins & swaddle cloth
nappy change cream (Weleda is our fave - UK/US)

for mama:
slippers & socks
breastfeeding bra (i love the iLoveSIA ones via Amazon - UK/US)
3 tshirts (easy to breastfeed in and good for photos)
yoga trousers
large black panties
maternity pads
breast pads
water spray
giant water bottle, with sports cap or straw
fennel tea bags (my favourite is the Three Fennel by Pukka - UK/US)
2 bottles of energy drink
antibacterial hand gel
my expert midwife spritz for bitz (UK/US)
toiletries bag: body wash for sensitive skin, facial wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hairbands, earplugs
birth notes & birthplan

for my backpack:
spare charger
medical supplies
lip balm
music, hypnobirthing, tens machine, birthing ball, swimwear for birth pool - or other additional birth aids you need - i'm not taking anything other than my phone with a playlist ready to go!

also, read my living life with a newborn blog, which has so much useful info in, i would really recommend reading it, it's so juicy!

please note: i receive a small % of commission from anything bought via any amazon links above. it doesn’t cost you any more, but is a little way that you help this blog keep on going.

Monday, 9 September 2019

summertime and the living is (mostly) easy

hey everyone, i just wanted to check back in here with a round-up of my favourite summer photos and moments. because this blog here is a journal of sorts for me, and it's so lovely to look back on things. and also, let's face it, that last blog post was sort of a downer, and i wanted to show you all that we're doing well and we had such a happy summer.

this was the first summer where we've experienced it as a 'summer holiday' from school. our boy has been at preschool since this last February, and was doing quite a few mornings by the time summer rolled around. so it was equal parts nervous about having him full time and excited that i would get to spend this precious time with him before our girl arrives this autumn.

well, the time flew past, and was absolutely filled with happy friends and families, new experiences and lots of great bonding time between us both. it's been so lovely to go through the summer album and look back at all of those memories we shared - i will treasure them forever...

at the beginning of this year we moved into our new house, and with it, a new garden. so this year was my year to experiment with growing a few things and see how they went...


...this summer was fairly productive in the garden - there are two main issues with the garden, firstly there's a huge oak tree which means the garden is in shade for half the day, which means that sun-loving plants just didn't thrive. secondly, the soil is terrible! the garden hasn't been loved on in a long time, and so it will be my mission over the coming years to add good nutrients back to the soil, but all these things take time.

things that did do well: wildflowers (they love poor soil), edible flowers (see borage and nasturtiums above), peas + sweet peas, tomatoes (ish), herbs & flowers in containers.

we started the summer holiday by making some new friends, and meeting up with some lovely insta-friends in real life at our local gardens. it was a really special moment, confirming to all of us that went how social media can be amazing if used correctly. it was amazing to be in the company of other stay-at-home mums, talking about transitioning to two, how we were all coping with little ones and sharing similar stories. it was such an encouragement to me, and a great way to begin our summer.

there was a looooot of baking this summer, which was odd given how hot the whole summer was really. but i felt like i was in my groove with baking, and that i just needed to keep practicing. red bean paste buns (pictured below, basically cinnamon roll dough with red bean paste spread on instead), marmalade brioche, loads of cookies and brownies too.

i also made 45 jars of jam/jelly over the summer! the blackberries appeared in our southern neck of the woods at the very end of July this year! so i started to pick and didn't stop for a couple of weeks. and then fortune had it that just up the road, literally a 1 minute walk away, was an abundant apple tree where i was allowed to scrump to my hearts delight. so blackberry and apple jam it was, all i had to buy were jars and sugar.

one of the most fun things we did was to that my dad sent my son a pot of caterpillars, and we got to watch them turn into butterflies... a really quick process, and so incredible to watch with little ones. we loved it and would definitely do it again another year.

we didn't go on holiday as such, but we did get to go and stay with some friends down in Devon, and so we got to stroll the cliffs and beaches, eat cream teas and enjoy the fresh sea breeze.

we also discovered our local lake, completely man-made but still beautiful. we visited a couple of times, and will continue to do so on nice sunny days, it's just such a peaceful spot...

we did a lot of hosting in our new home - there were even several weeks straight when the house was not without a guest. it is our greatest joy to host friends and family, to feed them food and to enjoy their company. we always particular love a good weekend breakfast with friends, especially when we get to eat outdoors.

of course, i spent a while growing our little girl! thankfully the heat didn't get to me much, thanks to great insulation in our house, and also the giant tree in our garden providing much-needed afternoon shade. it was miraculous to watch my little bump grow into a big one throughout the summer months.

home improvements and DIY projects were abundant this summer - my husband and i both took on so many different little bits and bobs, so we would feel nice and cosy in our home this winter, and not feel like there was an abundance of things to do around us. and really enjoy our home together. most of our home diy's are on a highlight on my instagram stories, if you're curious.

we got the pleasure of meeting our new nephew, who was born in the middle of August, and we got to share so many cuddles and precious first moments. he's so gorgeous...

my hair grew like wildfire, thanks to pregnancy hormones and prenatal vitamins... and i kept it curly all summer long, often sporting some sort of braid or bun on days 4/5/6 of course!

most of all i was so happy to spend the summer with my little boy, who i so enjoyed spending time with and nurturing into the man he will become one day. we spent a lot of time outdoors, playing on his 'tractor' and digging up his little corner of the garden. we read a lot of new books together, and he really got into longer stories with fewer pictures. he learnt so many new words, and his conversational skills improved loads. he was a pleasure to be with, and i'm so pleased i get to call him my son.

the last thing i did was to make sure to spend a little bit of time faith journaling every time he napped (which was about every other day). when i didn't get to do it, i noticed a distinct difference in my attitude and temperament - and i'm thankful for the coming cooler seasons where i get to do it more. it's my daily way to connect with something greater than myself, to align myself with truth and to fill myself with His word.

so there you have it, our summer. chilled and lovely and homely. everything i could've wanted it to be. i feel so blessed.

currently listening to: bloom by the paper kites

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

i didn't want my baby

today i want to admit a feeling that is controversial, perhaps arguably just plain wrong, but i felt it, so that makes it real right?

and i wanted to share it out loud, because it's good for me, and it's good for anyone else out there who has struggled with similar thoughts.

this is a very vulnerable thing to express, so i hope you treat it with respect, kindness and gentleness above all.

let's begin...

we've wanted a second child for a while now, but we weren't really in a practical position to be able to have one. our house was "too small" - really, we could've fitted in there, but it wouldn't have been ideal or very relaxing - and more than that, we knew we wanted to get our 'forever home' so that we could set roots near schools we loved.

so we waited. we waited through all of the trauma of last year - and thank goodness really, because the emotions of that were so deep and difficult that fluctuating hormones on top of that would've been too much to bear.

we moved late January this year, and decided to start trying for a baby once we'd packed away the last boxes (which didn't take long).

somehow i'd got it stuck in my head that this pregnancy would take longer. the first was instantaneous, but i'd known so many people that had struggled with their second, and lots of people who are still struggling to conceive after years. it seemed too much to possibly conceive the notion that it could be just as simple once again. and so i got it fixed that it would take some time this time...

but of course it didn't. it was another instant pregnancy.

now, i know at this point i should've felt super happy that there was no struggle, i should've been feeling so extremely blessed that i didn't have to go through the hardship of miscarriage or time spent waiting. but i didn't right away. instead i felt tremendous shock.

shock that i would be blessed this way. shock that i was having another baby. a second baby. shock that our family would expand to four. shock at the fact that i would have another person to look after, all the time, forever. shock that i would be doing pregnancy all over again. a type 1 diabetic pregnancy nonetheless. what had i gotten myself into?

it's not unlike me to do things fast. i got engaged after 8 months of knowing Pete, and we only spent 11 weeks being engaged before we got married. i moved to Belgium at the end of my first trimester with my son... i'm used to doing things at a different pace. so why did this one rock me so much?

honestly, i think the hormones got the better of me. the exhaustion and the nausea of this pregnancy took me right out of the world of regular understanding. it had me at my absolute worst. i wasn't able to rationalise much, and it was also at my husband's busiest time of year at work, so i didn't have many people to confide in.

i remember calling my mum and crying down the phone saying literally 'i don't want this baby'. i even googled abortion laws. i didn't feel remotely capable or ready. i didn't feel like i had any support. it spoke only to another couple of friends about how i'd felt, and none of them knew what to say, and thankfully sidelined it and moved the conversation on.

it was just the hormones. it was often a bit of an outer body experience. exhuastion + hormones are a treacherous combination. it can make you think thoughts that are unlike your regular self.

so for me, i waited. i prayed. i waited. i waited for my body to regain its balance, and to stop feeling so tired all the time. i didn't listen to myself. i trusted in God rather than myself.

and it got better and i was able to think clearly, with my head and with my heart. once i passed week 16, i could focus. i could think about the positives a little bit more. and although i'm still apprehensive about being a parent to 2, i'm looking forward to it too.

i'm glad i didn't give in to those fears and feelings. i'm glad i knew somewhere inside me that it was a lie. i'm so very glad i waited.

it's terrifying when you feel like your hormones have the better of you. and it's even scarier when you genuinely believe the feelings to be real. when you believe so matter-of-factly. i guess it's what a lot of people describe when they experience postpartum depression? only mine happened when i was pregnant? i guess if i googled it, it would be a thing.

so, the only thing i wanted to say, was to say this out loud, because i felt so incredibly LONELY in my feelings. NOBODY understood. they all said 'it's great that you're pregnant', 'it's so amazing it happened so easily', and the few people i told looked shocked and had no words for me when i said 'i don't want this baby' and 'i can't do this'. i want more people to know that people feel this way, so that if someone says this to you, you can look at them knowingly rather than confusedly. you can say 'i once read a blog post about someone that felt the same as you'. and then ask them if they need practical support - maybe some food? maybe some time away from toddler? maybe some time to themselves? maybe they need help finding more sleep? because i reckon if i'd have taken a bit more time for myself, to rest, to reflect, i would've been better faster. but no-one saw me or knew how to help.

so i've now googled it and yes, depression in pregnancy is a thing. seek help. call your midwives or speak to someone. apparently it affects a good portion of us, but somehow i'd never heard of anyone else feeling like this. a bit blue maybe, but not to the extreme i was feeling.

anyhow, peace out. that's enough for now. i hope this has been helpful or informative, or both. and i'm sending a lot of love through my typewriter to you today xxxxx