Saturday 20 October 2012

4 years

I can hardly believe that it's been 4 whole years since I looked at my tiny little boy, kissed his nose and said "I'm sorry".

Today we are going on an adventure as we have done for the last 2 years.

Only this time it will be different.

We DO have the baby in the back seat.

We DO have the tons of accoutrements that follow us around these days. This year we DO have the sleepless nights, the worry, the joy and the love.

Oh so much love.

But just for one.

Where there should be three.

Dear George,

You have not been forgotten nor replaced. How could one person replace another? Impossible.

You are you, the only you there ever was or could ever be and you are missed for all that you might have been. 

For the role of big brother that you should be playing now. For the joy we should be anticipating at seeing you grow into a big boy, a teenager, a young man, an adult.

Dear George

I think of you every day. Watching Felix develop and grow makes it even more obvious just how much we have lost. A whole world.

For every kiss I give your brother there is one looking for you.


Your Mummy

Monday 8 October 2012

16 weeks

Our beautiful boy is 4 months old, oh my. Can you believe it!

Felix is full of smiles these days and it catches my heart every time he looks at me and smiles spontaneously.

Yesterday he laughed properly for the first time and both Ray and I went a bit gooey and weepy!

He still loves his baths and is almost too big for his little tub! He can empty a couple of inches from it with all his kicking. I have been using ideas from this online swimming class and he now closes his eyes and takes a breath when we say, "Felix, ready, go!" and pour water over his head and face. He doesn't mind in the slightest.

He is generally a mellow baby and will happily play by himself on his mat or in his bouncy chair for almost an hour without caring who is or isn't with him, as long as his toys are smiling at him and there is something to grab and pull to his mouth. But of course he loves it too when we play along, and we love it too. Until we flip him to his tummy...

He hates being on his tummy and manages between 5 and 10 minutes before starting to complain. We keep trying though.  He can lift his head easily but also tends to lift his arms back and up too not taking his weight on them very often. Any ideas?

I have found that, despite being a big baby, being 3 1/2 weeks "early" many of those "milestones" you read about and are emailed about are coming a couple of weeks "later" and are therefore, going by gestation, probably "early" and by my own dating, even earlier!  So we stopped reading and just concentrated on playing!

He has a slight tendency to turn his head to the left. He can and does turn to the right quite easily and there's no flat spot on his head but it does concern me a little and I'll be bringing it up again at Felix's next jabfest. We've been doing some exercises and when he's on his play mat we place his toys on his right side. We also turn his head while he is sleeping during the day. At night we leave him to be comfortable where he wants!

Not that anyone is interested but in the spirit of docuemtation: Things we have found essential in the last 4 months!  

Muslin cloths. We have about 25 (bought second hand from fleabay) and there are never enough! Burp cloths, bibs, changing mats, comforters, spill wipers (damn I am clumsy!) and in a crisis an emergency nappy. He twiddles one in front of his face as he's falling asleep and often prefers this to his dummy.

Super-large muslin cloths. We have 4 which were his swaddles and are now sunshades, blankets, pillows, burp cloths and comforters. We always have one with us.

Can you believe he was this tiny?!

Tippeetoes mini-bath. Brilliant little bath with a moulded seat. We used this from the beginning and as baby is positioned you don't worry so much about slippy babies sliding around and off your hands. From 4 weeks old or so he reclined in it with a hand nearby but not on him. Can't recommend this enough! (Read the reviews on amazon if you don't believe me!)

Dungarees. Preferably soft ones with a vest underneath. I've never liked trousers on tiny ones and tops just seem to constantly ride up. Dungarees generally have adjustable straps which gives more room around the crotch area for cloth bums and the stretchy ones seem more comfortable.

Fleabay. Seriously. His enormopram, many toys and nearly early all of Felix's clothes are second or third hand and there are some great bargains out there. I also sell on his clothes as he grows out of them (quickly!) Most of our cloth nappies have come from there too.

Car boot sales. We've bought toys, his bumbo seat, books and bits and bobs. Great for the heavier things that you wouldn't want posted (not including enormopram of course - I wish I'd taken a photo of the enormobox it arrived in!).

For us, the Yoomi bottles have been great. When I finally had to give up on breastfeeding and sold the small Breastflow bottles (brilliant as they mimic the suck/compression of breastfeeding) I wanted something special and they are made in the UK. Yoomi bottles come with a warming pod which works in a similar way to a pocket hand warmer) that sits inside the bottle and warms the milk gently in 60 seconds. Perfect for our days out and adventures when we are no where near a heat source!

Toys with big clear smiley faces. He grins and shrieks at them and I even drew a smiley face on a carrier bag hanging next to his changing table.

 And our family of smiley faces too of course - absolutely essential!


Wednesday 3 October 2012

In which I have a minor breakdown.

I am reading blogs this morning with Felix sleeping on my chest. He's getting heavy, my breathing is becoming laboured but I don't want to move him because I love the living breathing humming grunting weight of him. I look at his face and see his brother and there's that familiar pain. Duller, yes, but still there.

I haven't written on my blog for a few weeks and you will see a HappyFelix post next week when he is 4 months old (I know!).

But I want to write about George and I have no reference point. I have no words to describe this new feeling. This holding-a-living-baby-after-so-much-pain-and-longing feeling. This missing-the-son-that-isn't-here-whilst-rejoicing-in-the-one-that-is feeling. I'm struggling with that.

I am happy, overjoyed, in awe, amazed. I look at him and laugh. He's real. He's really really real and he's mine! But then that old familiar dreary friend gives me a nudge. The friend I thought I had left behind somewhere between the hospital and home. Depression? Don't be silly: look at my life! I have a perfect little person becoming himself in front of my eyes. And yet.

I switch into practical mode. I'm not depressed (I hate that label) I'm tired and run down. I can tell that my iron levels are low because I felt like this the last time I was anaemic (before I became pregnant with George) so I'm taking my iron again. It was nice for a while, not taking my vitamins, not caring too much about what I ate, because I was only eating for me and not for his health too. But in the end it IS for his health too even if we're not physically connected and I can't breast feed (still breaks my heart). It's gone on too long. I've gained more weight, my bones ache, my feet hurt, my muscles scream at me and I need to get a grip.

I had a bit of a meltdown on Sunday, threw some toys from my own pram, cried as I haven't cried in a long time and got sent to bed at 9.30. And I slept. Oh how I slept. Glorious wonderful sleep. I woke at 6am listening for breathing sounds and shot out of bed when I heard none. Ah but there were no breathing bodies to check. Bless all that is Ray for staying up all night with Felix sleeping restlessly in the living room to give me some peace. Poor chap, I think I frightened him with my freak out. I'm normally the calmer one.

I sent him to bed, finished feeding our son, who went immediately into a deep 3 hour sleep, and took a handful of vitamins.

Life is good. Even when it isn't.

Monday 10 September 2012

12 weeks old. Oh my.

See. See. I told you... whoooosh... 12 weeks gone in the blink of an eye!

 This is his first babygrow. It was big on him when he first wore it. Oh my how he has sprouted!

He smiles and smiles (in between the sleeping, pooping, vomiting and screaming) And waking up, however early, to a big gummy grin is always lovely!

The pleasure of holding this warm cuddly body so full of noisy life is something that I never ever thought I'd be able to enjoy. And I do enjoy it. Every moment. Treasured.

I remind myself every day that he is here and he is mine.

He is wonderful.

He is gorgeous.

He is lovely.

I am lucky 

And still, and yet, every day I think and I wonder. There should be three.

Sunday 19 August 2012

Felix's handy hints and tips on how to rule the world.

(or how to get your lazy parents out of bed on a Sunday morning)

1. Summon up the biggest poonami yet on Mummy - squidge as much poo out of your nappy and onto mummy's belly as possible (the stinkier the better) bonus points for getting it on the clean-on-last-night duvet cover.

Then, whilst Mummy runs screaming naked to the shower...

2. Wait until Daddy places you on the bed after clean up and vomit copiously forcing Daddy to strip you bare (try to aim it at Daddy if at all possible).

And then, just as Daddy is about to bring you to Mummy in the shower...

3. Produce an impressive pee fountain on the bed (try to aim it at Daddy if at all possible).

4. Enjoy your shower, pretend nothing happened and be calmer than you have been in days.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

8 weeks and 1 day. Really?

They are right, aren't they? Time is whooshing past in a blur of nappies, screaming, cuddles, naps, pumping, playing, bathtime, screaming, sleeplessness, the occasional smile, aching arms, vomit, poo, pee and love.

 Felix is currently as grumpy as he can be. Crying, growling, screaming etc etc and sometimes only seems truly content when he is asleep. He is in the midst of a major growth spurt and seems to lengthen in front of our eyes. He is almost too big for his pram which is supposed to last until 6 months. Ha.

Breastfeeding is a bust. We have had appointments with the breastfeeding nurses at the hospital and they are wonderful. They think his traumatic birth might be something to do with his big-time-arched-back-screaming aversion to the boob with or without nipple shield but I think it was the many midwives who forcibly thrust him on a nipple all hours of the day and night whilst he screamed the ward down during the week we were in hospital.

They arranged for me to borrow a double pump and after many days of hourly pumping, twice hourly pumping, half hourly pumping, two hourly pumping and random what-the-hell-time-is-it pumping my supply did not increase. Not. one. little. bit. I get a dribble. Pah. My boobs don't like machines. He takes the boob less and less and less and then only as a dummy/finger substitute. But I'm not quite ready to let myself give up on the pumping yet and certainly not on the comforting. Some stubborn sense of what if I suppose.

We were sent to check out a possible non-obvious tongue tie situation with a maxillofacial specialist wherein I hid down the corridor as they checked him out (would have snipped there and then - brave Ray!) I heard him screaming which made me want to burst through the door and rescue him, but when they called me back in they said he was fine but his jaw is a bit "petite" at the moment, which may be the problem. Sigh.

We have tried "rebirthing" in the bath and surprisingly he wanted to nurse but was immediately frustrated at the lack of flow and ended up nibbling. Sigh. Although bathing with him is lovely and not something I will be giving up. At least not until he can point and laugh.

Oh I have been broken hearted and cried and cried. I wanted SO much to breastfeed. So very very much. On the one hand I am bereft. I feel as if I have missed out again. I didn't get the birth experience I wanted and now I can't breastfeed? How unfair is that?

On the other hand. Look. I have my Felix. My perfect glorious, fabulous, marvellous, wondrous son! Everything else is icing on the cake.

Felix is awesomeness personified. I look at him and... wow... he's here, he's real, he's alive! Pinch me. Every. Single. Day. Seriously. Pinch me.

I love his vigour, even in the midst of a screaming-for-nothing-obvious-tried-everything-might-as-well-join-in round. I love each scream that rips out of his lungs. I love the enormoburps, the fartipants, the spit up, poomageddon and the poonamis, the grunts and growls and howls. I love watching him develop and change. I love watching him sleep. I love the huge grins that herald sleep and are just, just beginning to show up outside of sleep. I love that my arms ache from holding him and my back hurts from rocking him. Selfishly, I love that it's me he wants. That family hand him back to me. That Ray hands him to me. That he's mine mine mine. For now anyway, until he discovers that daddy plays the coolest games.

Unconditional love is amazing.

Oh and how long does it take before I stop looking for the rise and fall of his chest?

Sunday 15 July 2012

Five good things - baby edition

Actually... more like a million billion trillion good things. But here are just a few... for now.

Overwhelming emotion - He's here! He's alive! He's real!

5am - just me and him, skin to skin under a duvet on the sofa.

He looks like Ray, like George, like me, like family past and present - he looks familiar.

His soft noises, his loud noises, his screams, his gurgles, his growls. All of it. (see no 1)


Stroking his soft skin, especially on the back of his neck.

He cries, one of us holds him, he is soothed.

Occasional success with breastfeeding - appointment made with breastfeeding midwife - outlook fair to hopeful.

The faces he pulls: grimaces, practice smiles, "food face" when he hears my voice.

I've never cared to label myself but: Daughter, Wife and Mum birthday cards = awesomeness!

Watching Ray being a daddy.

What good things have found you? Please share!

Friday 13 July 2012

Due date

How surreal. He was due yesterday but would have been born last week by induction and he is four weeks old on Monday.

I called him George once. Just once.

In the second week, freed from hospital, I was suddenly overcome with how much Felix looks like his older brother and then I realised: well of course they look alike, they are brothers... duh.

Since his birth I have been consumed by all things Felix. Submerged in him. Drinking in his scent. Touching his softness. Lying with his skin stuck to mine listening to his squeaks and groans. Loving the sounds of his aliveness and the force of the air screaming from his lungs. The driving urge to fix whatever is wrong and needing to soothe. I didn't imagine the ferocity of that.

And he soothes me. My heart beats slower when he's lying on my chest, my thoughts slow down and there is a glimpse of peace.

I find it hard to let Ray "kidnap" him but I love love love seeing them together.

Poor Felix. It's such very hard work being new. Observing the drive to develop in him is exhausting for us, let alone for him. We have all three cried with frustration and exhaustion and not understanding and then Ray and I remember and remind each other that this moment will never come again.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

I could never allow myself to even imagine life with him...

Even with the crib in the house, even with enormopram, even with the piles of clothes, even with the cloth nappies (which still don't fit!), even with the scans.

Even when my waters broke.

Even as the wheeled me into surgery...

But now that he's here...

Oh oh oh my goodness.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Marmaduke arrives!

Felix Boucher Brown.
18th June 2012.
36 weeks 4 days

(Boucher is his middle name)

Oh my.

At about 6.30 am on Monday I felt a weird twinge in my ladyparts and decided I needed the toilet.

By the time I got to the bathroom I was drenched. "oh" was about all I could manage. I sat on the toilet and leaked for a while and then I finally woke up and realised that what was going on was actually going on.

"Ray, I think My waters broke"

Ray woke up in an instant and became super organised.

Called the hospital, got my bag, got my notes, fetched the car, forgot my bag, forgot my notes, got me, notes and bag into car.

It was a beautiful morning, the streets were almost empty.

We arrived on the labour ward and were put into a small room. questioned and strapped to the monitor.

An evil doctor explained that I needed an internal and proceeded to evilly torture me with his evilness. "Only 1cm but I did a little stretch" Owowowow!. I may sue. Or send the boys round after him.

 Before things became scary.

We were continually monitored for a while and just as they were about to STOP monitoring, and let me labour untethered, baby's heart decelerated. And again and again with each strengthening contraction. So the monitor was left on.

The day continued and the contractions became stronger and stronger.

I was given entonox to suck on. Ahhhhh. But what I really wanted was to get up and move.

Baby's heart kept decelerating.

By the evening I was in heaps of pain and being coached in efficient entonox use by Ray who had used it for both his endoscopy and otherendoscopy.

Baby's heart began deceleratiing below 60 bpm and the midwives began preparing me for surgery "just in case".


"My" midwife K (who was there for George and Little Poppet, and who I have had appointments with throughout this pregnancy) just happened to come on shift to cover for someone and stayed with us from then on.

There were some rather surreal moments with doctors trying to get me to make informed consent and me trying to bury the pain under the entonox.

Wow. No one told me that getting the spinal going took SO LONG. Contractions at this point were back to back (and I was only 2cm dilated!) and I couldn't stop sucking on the mask.

Finally there was no more pain. They laid me down and pulled up the curtain. Ray appeared at my shoulder and kissed me.

At 11:20pm we heard our son cry loud and long.

I think I said, "he's alive".

Ray went to see him and there it was. A large true knot in the cord. (we have video - coming soon)

The midwives were quite impressed.

They were also impressed with the "chunkiness of the cord".

K bought the bit of knotted cord to show me: I saw his cord before I saw my son!

And then there he was on my chest in front of me.

Our son.




Are you crying yet?
I'm crying again!

2 hours later I was finally stitched up after what the surgeon described as "oozing" but which Ray described as a huge puddle of blood under the table. I don't think it was that bad because I'm not anaemic and I didn't need a transfusion.

Not the birth experience we wanted. But the very exact birth we wanted.

Because it saved his life.

If my waters hadn't broke early I wouldn't have been monitored so closely and the decelerations might not have been picked up. I might have laboured my beautiful natural birth and most likely delivered a dead baby boy killed by his own cord.

I HAD to go into labour early and I HAD to have that c-section to get my real live boy.

So that's ok then.

Felix had been a name on my list since I began making name lists for this boy. Ray wasn't keen, but then again Ray wasn't keen on any boy names. Despite hours of internetting on name sites he couldn't find one. Not one. And then he found one which he didn't really like but he felt he had to contribute to the list.

Felix means lucky or happy.

And this boy is lucky. These parents are lucky. The way the day went was lucky.

And he will be happy.


 Bundle of fluffy love

 A room corner of a hospital ward with a view.

 Skin to skin after one of our most successful booby feeds.

 Proud daddy. Very proud indeed.
Fatherhood has been a revelation so far for Ray.
He is overcome by the force of his emotions.

Just me in a hospital ward for 6. Bliss.
Midwives on tap.
Peace and quiet.
Sadly it only lasted one day! 

 Who needs a crib?

 Well I suppose sometimes I have to let him go...
But not far.

Felix is a sleepy little boy! He is jaundiced which makes him lethargic but he also has some weird aversion to the boob! He will launch himself at my nipples, suck briefly and then shove himself away with the most disgusted look on his face! It's so comical. And frustrating too.

I have had the most amazing help in the hospital from a team of midwives determined to help us breastfeed.
I have been woken every 3 hours to try this and try that, to pump, to manhandle poor Felix into all sorts of contortions. A special care baby nurse spent most of a night with us helping. They are wonderful.

We, on the other hand, are not there yet.

As of Friday morning I absolutely HAD to get out of that hospital. Most of the other women in that ward had been coming and going in a matter of hours, even other c-section women. 
And there I was, stuck.
I had a huge hor-moany teary meltdown and was scooped into the arms of a midwife who began negotiations to get us home.

We promised to feed our boy as often as we could. Pump, breast, formula. Goat tethered in the garden. 
Ray dashed out to buy supplies.
(no, you can't buy a goat at 8.30 pm in Torquay on a friday - whodathaughtit?)

We got home about 10pm.

And collapsed into a squidgy heap of family bliss.

I think we emerged from bed at about midday on saturday just in time for my Mum to turn up, rubber gloves in hand to "help". (Ray has been alone with a kitchen for a week - imagine)
And then a midwife visit to take poor Felix's blood once again to test his Jaundice levels - still below that line!
Woo hoo.

Right now our priority is a jaundice-free, alert little boy. And that means feeding lots. Pumped milk and formula. Oh and sun bathing by the window too. Not that there's much in the way of sun...

But we haven't finished wrestling with the boob yet!

Any tips on how to get my little sucker on the boob full time after using bottles for a few weeks would be much appreciated!

 Let's try a nipple shield.

 Nah, lets try daddy...


The very worst thing is that I have come out of hospital with an awful cold that seems to be seeping into my chest. Oh. my. god coughing with your gut trying to heal is so very very much NOT fun!

Last night Ray sent me to bed at 9.30 and I slept until 2.30am when he came to bed with Felix. 
the most sleep I have had in months.
There are definite benefits to pumping/supplementing.
As of last nights poonami Felix has just started pooing regular poos.  One rather scared Ray dealt with the poonami all alone too!
And as of this morning the jaundice seems to be improving.
Pure bliss.

Thursday 14 June 2012

36 weeks

Oh my.

Dear New Pelvic Pain,
I do not like you. One. Little. Bit. Your friend Achy Hip Pain is bad enough but you make me feel as if someone has kicked me very hard in the external lady parts. Compound this with the occasional kung fu kick or jujitsu chop to the internal lady parts and I am squeaking and jumping with gay abandon. Eek.

Dear twitchy restless feelings,
Be productive for goodness sake. I need to finish the lining for the crib and tidy the mess make more space in the bedroom. Making me jiggle my leg up and down is not clever, funny or helpful.

Dear son-of-ours-as-yet-unnamed,
As of this time next week do feel free to drop in on us for some serious cuddles. In fact, please turn your dear little head in the right direction (down - in case you aren't sure) and get a wriggle on. I do not want to be induced and I do not want a c-section. I will take either if necessary, but oh my, wouldn't it be nice not to? And I promise on all that is chocolate that you will have a name.

Dear husband of mine,
I love you to infinity and beyond the beyond that is infinitely beyond infinity. BUT. Eating the remainder of a heavily pregnant woman's malted-milk-with-chocolate biscuits because you had a "snack atack" at midnight after visiting your friend is NOT ON. Even if you "tried" not to eat another and then another and then "tried" to save a few and then failed to save even a crumb.  They were given over to your care to ensure that I didn't eat them all in one go (as I cannot be trusted not to binge), not so you could break that sacred trust between husband and wife.

Dear mother of mine,
I love you but no, you do not need to hold me up on the way to the pool nor can you help me go faster than a slow waddle, undress me at the pool, stop me from falling at the pool side (I haven't) or dress me after the pool. I have mucho pain at times but I am not an invalid and seriously, you are 80 and would go down with me. Helping me with my socks however, is very much appreciated.

Dear hypnobirthing mp3,
Please stop putting me to sleep. Granted I am listening to you in bed. At night. When I am exhausted. But I am going to bed earlier to listen to you telling me that I will find the whole birth "experience" "enjoyable" *snort* and it is decidedly unfair of you to be this boring. On the other hand, thank you for putting me to sleep.

Dear boobs of mine,
Please work in the way in which nature intended. I will of course forgive you if you don't but pretty please?

Dear fleabay,
Please stop tempting me with your cute baby clothes bundles and bargains. Please. We need to eat too.

Dear bed and assorted pillows,
Please please please try to be comfortable for more than a couple of hours tonight. Mmmmkay?

Thursday 7 June 2012

35 weeks ( a bit of a moan and lots of wedding photos)

So anyway, theoretically Marmaduke could be here in as soon as two weeks time and no longer than 4 weeks.

Damn this boy needs a name!

I am increasingly uncomfortable, kicks huuurt and the Braxton Hicks are getting painful and more frequent despite copious amounts of water. I'm doing very little, walking even less and when I'm not weepily hormonal I can't quite get my head into gear to do much. I'm trying to eat small portions but sometimes failing because I'm starving. Followed by vicious trapped wind and/or vomiting which leaves my belly even more sore and uncomfortable... moan moan moan... etc etc.

And I wouldn't trade a single blinking moment of it for the world.

I'm getting fearful.

I'm getting excited.

The family crib is in da house.

Goodness I am SO ready for this boy to be here and SO unprepared for life-with-baby that it's jangling up my head something silly!

On the other hand.

A few lots of wedding photos:

Our rings

My Dad, me and my bridesmaid Jessica (Ray's... now my niece)

 Ray and his best man

 My Dad and Jess waiting while I fill in forms

 I sort of had to drag my Dad down the short aisle!

Gazing in adoration at hubby to be.

 All done!

The registrar who conducted our ceremony.

 Almost snogging...

 A motley crew

Family (mostly Ray's!)

 Me and him

Holy schmoly I look like a heffalump with my enormoMarmabump!
 Rings again

 The biggest chocolate cake I have ever had the privilege of meeting! 1 foot square.

It was delicious although I was plying folks with packages of the thing to take home or else I would be living on it until Marmaduke got here... hmmm... and oh the cup cakes! I wish I could have sent you all some!


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