Friday, 29 July 2011

Back to the future

I wrote an entire blog this morning, and in my bleary eyed state I deleted it, with no way of getting it back, in hindsight it wasn't that great anyway, here is the jist of it
  • I still cant fit into my pre-baby jeans
Which probably isn't a surprise to anyone who knows me (I enjoy eating Cadburys Twirls, and a supermodel body they do not make) and is of no interest to those who don't know me, so i decided to skip the entire subject.

This week i have been filling in Tilly`s baby books, listing all her details such as birth weight (7lb 15oz) eye colour (unconfirmed, dark blue, could go hazel or brown) birth mark (none) you get my drift. But then i came to my favourite part of the book."What happened the year of my birth" its only July and 2011 has been quite an eventful year and i love that Tilly will have a record of pivotal events.

It occurred to me that my record of events or indeed what i consider to be important will be vastly different to others, but i want to i record the things that effected me or that i found interesting so that when she is older she gets an understanding of who i was, and what my world was like.

Media events for 2011 will of course include the Wedding of William & Kate, will the frenzy of P-Middy and her pert posterior make history i wonder? The Alexander McQueen dress by Sarah Burton will of course, i will be sure to fill my mini fashionista in on the legend that was Lee McQueen too. Next up, Kate Moss marries her rockstar, wearing Galliano, i wonder will Tilly pore over pictures of these magnificent dresses like i did...will she even be interested in fashion??

I also wondered if i should include any of the sad events, i decided that the death of Amy Winehouse should make the book, as the album, Back to Black, was the soundtrack to my year in 2006/7 and her look and sound was so iconic. Am hoping Till inherits some of my musical taste, i grew up loving Patsy Cline, just because my mum did.

The boyfriend and I have already laughed about how boring and embarrassing Tilly will find us when she is a teenager, when i make vain attempts to tell her i once had a career in fashion i can imagine her scoffing, wondering why i am such a geeky frump now, and can you imagine her face when she sees her Daddys vinyl collection?....even CDs will be obsolete by the time she is old enough to use them, what will she make of these giant black discs that only hold 12 songs when her generation will probably have micro chip sized i pods storing 4 million tracks and drive flying cars!

My intention is to fill the book, including some profound information, i don't want Tilly thinking her mum was totally i have written that in June 2011 Beyonce headlined Glastonbury.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The girl who looked for lids

The first week at home with our bundle of joy would have made an amusing reality TV show, i can now tsee where the writers of the "Look Who`s Talking" Movies got their inspiration from, while Boyfriend and I ran around tending to Tilly`s every need and whim i often felt she was staring at us thinking "what a pair of whoppa`s, Ive got them wrapped around my little finger and am only a week old, god help them when am older!"

It is well known that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture, and for me with my love of snoozing this was set to be my biggest challenge. My memories of the first week are mostly of Boyfriend and I squinting at each other as I turned on the night-light for yet another feed. The only way to describe the routine of broken sleep is liken it to someone waking me up blowing a whistle down my ear every 2hrs, forcing me to stay awake for approximately 40 minutes then starting all over again 2hrs later.

We quickly decided a 2 man tag team was the best course of action for coping, If a nappy change was particularly messy we would call for help or "back up" as we called it, and as we shuffled around like Ozzy Osbourne, the tiredness left us bereft of humour and unable to see how hysterically funny the whole thing must have looked, its like Tilly is the most demanding A-list celebrity and we are her loyal slaves.

"Feeding on demand" is the phrase used to describe how often you breastfeed your newborn baby, which means when baby cries or indicates hunger you feed her. Tilly is now a month old and only now am i able to say this out loud without getting very tearful and a little embarrassed, I struggled to breastfeed. I admit i am no earth mother but as i have said before I wanted my baby to get all the nutrients and antibodies from my breast milk as well as the bonding and closeness breastfeeding encourages.

Once i got over the shock and discomfort of engorgement (the word to describe your boobs when filled with breast milk) we attempted to master "latching on" (this simply means baby is latched onto your breast in the correct way to ensure they can extract your milk and to minimise discomfort for you) I lasted just over 2 weeks in total, in those 2 weeks i cried more times than Tilly, tears of frustration and feelings of inadequacy, I couldn't understand why something that should have come so naturally was so difficult.

My emotions sent me crazy, I would go from feeling like the master of the universe when we managed a successful feed to the depths of despair when Tilly would feed for 2hrs in the middle of the night and still cry out in hunger, i can laugh at my lunacy now, but i cut a pretty sad figure desperately propping myself up on dozens of pillows (with no top on) dripping big fat tears onto Tilly's head, pitifully wailing, mid sob, to the Boyfriend that i was barren, when i wasn't doing this i was attempting to express into a bottle. The whole episode was overwhelming, and even though Tilly is now a very contented baby on formula milk, i still feel very envious of those who find breastfeeding a breeze.

After breast came bottle, which presents its own challenges, i sustained several bottle related injuries in the first fortnight including burning myself with steam from the steriliser, and catching my finger in the lids of bottle causing a very, very small but painful blood blister.
Bottle feeding requires military precision planning, ensuring all bottles and all the related paraphernalia (teats, lids etc) are sterilised for the day, for the night feeds i make sure i have everything i need to hand  to get through till 6am, i have a rather fetching little thermo-bag (cross body, pale blue) i carry up stairs to bed which contains the next feed, i have morphed into a Roy Cropper character trudging up to bed with my little bag, and my bedside table is like a milk themed cocktail bar (bottles, formula, ready made cartons, dozens of muslins and scissors) last night the Boyfriend wore ear plugs, not to drown out the baby but to avoid being woken repeatedly by the sound of me dropping something in my frantic rush to grab my feeding apparatus and the inevitable profanity which follows the sound of yet another thing crashing to the floor.

Ive also developed a disturbing obsession with bottle lids, if i am not looking for them, i am asking boyfriend to look for them, its developing into a paranoia that people are hiding them from me, Ive decided to buy twice as many lids than i have bottles, just to make sure.

On a more fashion orientated note, apart from being rather a long way away from fitting back into my skinny jeans, Ive also amassed a list of things i now cant wear for reasons other than my weight. Number one on this list is Silk, silk and babies don't mix, it isn't machine washable and if a silk blouse and a bottle of formula get into a tussle, the bottle wins, hands down.

I have also started to compile a list of articles i would like to see in baby magazines rather than the mundane and repetitive Top 10 of buggies, i would like to read articles that help me maintain as much normality in my life and avoid turning into a complete frump, i suggest .."How to perfectly blow dry your hair in 5 minutes" or how about "Healthy foods you can prepare with one arm while holding baby in the other"

Thats all for now, I`ve got lids to look for.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Cloud Cuckoo land

I have to confess to the faux par i made when preparing my "labour / hospital wardrobe" along with 2 pairs of sensible pyjamas i also bought a long white embroidered nightie more suited to sitting in a field with daisy chains in my hair playing acoustic guitar than shuffling around a hospital room post partnum, needless to say i didn't wear it.

My naive vision of myself freshly showered wearing a dash of Bobbi Brown tinted moisturiser (for the glow, of course) applied just in time for our visitors didn't quite materialise, i was showered but my hair looked like Pat Sharpe circa Fun House and as for the make-up i would have needed something a little heavier duty than a tinted moisturiser to make me "photo ready", the light weight cotton dressing gown i packed however was worth its weight in gold, the temperature in the hospital was tropical (candy coloured fleece was the top choice for dressing gowns on my ward, i got hot flushes just looking at them) and as i had chosen to breastfeed (make that attempt to breastfeed) this was the perfect cover up (it was quite fetching too, a soft dark berry modal with a contrasting cherry coloured trim for those who like the finer details)

Like i said, i chose to breastfeed, after all its the most natural thing in the world isnt it?? What i didn't know is that not all babies are natural breast feeders, and that for the Mummy its about getting it right (ensuring baby is latched on correctly, that your position is comfortable for baby) and its also necessary for you to have absolutely no shame (in my case anyway), as i spent the first 2 days in hospital with various midwifes physically guiding my nipple towards Tilly`s mouth, i heard the mantra "tummy to mummy, nose to nipple" so many times i started reciting it to Tilly, like she cared!
I desperately wanted to breastfeed my new baby, the benefits of it for her are endless and there was the adittional Brucie Bonus for me that it may help me shift my baby weight, there is a service called Bosom buddies at the hospital who are a government funded support group who are there to give guidance and encouragement, unfortunately they aren't available at 2am when you most need them (my assigned Bosom buddie had 8 children and breastfed them pressure then?)

On the 2nd night in hospital a wonderful midwife took a very frantic Tilly and nursed her for over 2hrs to allow me to get some sleep, i was so grateful i kept muttering thank you, thank you so much , thank you i really appreciate it, long after she had left my room. When i woke up a couple of hours later they hadn't wheeled Tilly`s cot back into my room, panic stricken i shuffled into the hall to find her fast asleep swaddles up next to the calm and collected midwife, i shuffled back to my room, feeling a little sheepish, with my Pat Sharpe hair, pushing my little bundle in her plastic cot on wheels.

I know its a cliche, but all the books in the world couldn't have prepared us for the mayhem that ensued after bringing Baby Tilly home,we followed all the recommendations including spending a day or so on our own with her, staggering our visitors, making sure we had everything ready for her and I have to admit the first 24hrs i think its safe to say we were slightly smug, we had our beautiful, healthy little girl home and we were pretty good at this parenting lark....

Lesson 1 of parenting. never speak too soon!!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

My Greatest Achievement

Here it is, the blog I've been gearing up to write for 9 months, even with 40 weeks to get ready, I can safely say i have never been more unprepared for anything in my life!

My daughter (am still getting used to saying that) Tilly Frances Jones arrived at 11.09pm on 18th June, weighing 7lb 15oz, born on her due date, with 51 minutes to spare, just like her mum she was fashionably late, but just in time for Fathers Day, the perfect present I thought?

My memories of my labour are all very positive (sorry to disappoint) I had manageable cramps and back pain the night before, the pains didn't actually start until 6am on the Saturday morning, for the first 6 or 7hrs (the latent stage as its known) I was at home doing my hypno, very serenely surrounded by my Heidi Klein scented candles, listening to music, I even managed to watch a movie (Stand by Me, one of my faves, I had a teenage crush on River Pheonix)

My labour team was made up of Boyfriend Mick and my mum, Joan, who were amazing, so good in fact, I think they should be available to rent by the hour as labour buddies, they were calming, patient and possessed the necessary good humour to cope with a sarcastic piece of work like me during my hour of need.

I will spare you the gory labour details but I will stand up and be judged over my final decision to opt for lots and lots of drugs when I entered full labour, I started with an appetiser of gas & air, my main course was a jab of diamorphine and for dessert I had an epidural, and I don't have a single regret.
I did my best for as long as possible to control and breath through the pain using my hypno, and I firmly believe the visualisation techniques i learnt were the reason I was able to stay calm but in the end (after initially getting on my moral high horse and even crying pathetically over the decision)  i realised i didn't have the threshold to cope with the pain, and a wise old owl told me there were no medals at the end for the least amount of drugs taken.

I was very lucky that my labour was uneventful, with no complications (other than having IV antibiotics and needing to be attached to a foetal monitor for the whole time which prevented me from using the birthing pool, sitting on the birthing ball or even getting up from the bed) This meant "team labour" were just passing time for much of the day, while i drifted in and out of consciousness, coming around only to beg Mick to sneak me the occasional Fruit Pastille.

My waters didn't break naturally so the midwife did the honours for me, before declaring i was carrying half baby/ half goldfish due to the volume of water that came crashing onto the bed, while she frantically built a tissue paper damm to prevent flooding the maternity ward, it was at this point i was VERY grateful my waters hadn't broken in John Lewis as i had hoped, as rather than receiving complimentary vouchers i would probably have received a cleaning bill!

When the time came for my baby to make an appearance, it was all hands on deck, my Mum on my left, Mick to my right, and me in the middle begging them not to look down the "business end" a plea they totally ignored (which now i am glad about, i would hate for them to have missed the most amazing part because of my prudish behaviour) The midwife (i went through 3 because of their shifts, the midwife who delivered Tilly was called Lisa and typically the first thing i noticed was that she had a lovely tan) Lisa was the calmest person i have ever met, and when the time came to push, her gentle encouragement (come on Jo, one more push for me...that kind of thing) made me feel like i was doing sit ups with a personal trainer rather than pushing something very big though a small exit.

15 minutes of pushing and Tilly Frances arrived, crying immediately before being placed on my chest for the first round of SOS (skin on skin contact) with her Mummy.

Shock, awe and wonder are the words i would describe the emotions i felt, i couldn't take my eyes off this beautiful little person, she had a mop of dark hair and has these incredible rosebud lips (she had obviously been practising her pout in my womb) the first thing i remember is holding my breath as the midwife checked she had 10 little fingers and 10 little toes, this was my first experience of feeling overwhelmingly protective, i know now this feeling wont ever go away.

A little later on when Tilly and I were cleaned up it was time to go to the Labour ward, Daddies are sent home, and it was just us, my daughter and I left to get acquainted, this is when the reality and enormity hit me, i felt totally overwhelmed, i thought when she cried that maybe she didn't like me, every time i picked her up i worried i might break her, but i didn't, and she seemed to like me quite a lot after a while, happily nuzzling into my chest when ever i held her, i must have kissed her a thousand times, and she smelt is that even possible??

Now for my next trick....motherhood!