Saturday, 1 August 2015

Return to work after maternity leave

Ah, the inevitable return to work. I actually started a week early, going in for a few days to do a handover with the girl whose job I'm going to be doing for a year, while she goes on maternity leave. I'm not officially starting until this week. So not only am I going to have to juggle the nighttime routine after work for two children now, but I'm also going into a new job. Funnily enough, after all I've experienced with my two different births and now looking after my two boys, a new job seems so much less daunting than it would have several years ago!

Still, I did struggle with those two days I did last week. With the first day, I finished work at 5 and picked up both kids, but with the extra pickup (2 diff daycares) there was an extra 15 mins of time added on to my journey. Got home after 6, hubby was working that evening and so that left me to settle a tired baby, cook dinner, feed both of them, shower one and bath the other and get the first to bed, breastfeed the second, tell the first off several times for sneaking down the stairs, and get the second to bed, then eat dinner myself. This did not leave much time for anything else before bed and yet I still had nappies to fold, daycare bags to repack, bottles to wash etc plus the usual day's chores that I would normally have done during the day, all crammed into the evening.

I decided I'm going to have to get to work earlier, so I can leave earlier and not be so rushed with the kids' bedtime routines. It was a good idea, and I tried it on my second day, getting to work at 8:30am, but on the return journey there was a breakdown causing heavy traffic on one of the roads I take so it took us an hour and a half to get home. Still that won't be the case every evening so I'll keep preparing everything the night before and get up early so I can make it to work by 8am.

I'm going to try prepping the meals on the weekend, ready for the week ahead. This will mean washing and cutting the veggies and sealing them in containers on the weekend, and getting the next night's meat out of the freezer the night before, so I can start the meal as soon as I've got home. If this helps smooth the evening rush it'll be worth all the preparation.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

7 months old - and a big decision

Clearly I shouldn't have been so smug about his sleeping in my last post; now, at 7 months old, he wakes 3-4 times a night on average. He's still a good day sleeper with 2 naps averaging 2 hours each, and even if he doesn't get that he's still such a happy baby :)

He's started commando crawling. We have to figure out what to do with the power cables that run across the lounge room floor to our laptops. He loves them and pulls himself towards them to attempt to chew on them. E knows G's not supposed to be near them and is a great help in alerting us if we haven't noticed. He also loves tissues and will pull himself across half a room to get to one... which he will then chew and eventually gag on. Lovely. :)

And in about three weeks, G goes to daycare for the first time. We had a real struggle with daycare; I had his name down at the one near my work which E goes to since I was three months pregnant. As of now, we still do not have a place for him there. Luckily the one near home, which E went to for a few months before we got a place at the work one for him, had a full-time babies spot and also had a place two days a week for E (also have had him on the wait list since taking him from full-time to 3 days a week, but no vacancy at the work one). I took them for a booking visit a few weeks ago. E took a little while to warm up, clinging to my leg, but soon warmed up enough to play with some toys. Didn't play with the other children but hopefully he'll settle in quickly when he's there without me. G wan't fazed at all, had a great time playing. My concern with him is taking his bottles, he'll probably be like E was. E refused the bottle his first half day, took a little the second, then drank most the third half day. after that he did a full day and was fine with bottles after that, although still reluctant to take them at home.

We went ahead and started selling clothes that he'd grown out of, right up to 00. So sad. I have been thinking, every time G attains a new milestone, that that is the last time I'll see my own babies achieve that. My whole life I've only wanted two children. I was the oldest of three and really didn't like the family dynamics once the third came along. That could also have been because of the large gap between us all, but whatever the reason it affected me enough that i still don't like the idea of having three children. Four children would be the only feasible number for us because of that (and also just because I like the idea and look of families with four children), but four is a huge mental leap from two. Also, a rather large expense with daycare. Excluding the expense, and the probable lessened likelihood of frequent family holidays, we both like the idea of four children!! So I've stopped selling off clothes, and we need to do a bit of number crunching. We have time yet - we like the 2-3 year age gap and I have to be back at work for 12 months before i'm eligible for the long maternity leave that I've now enjoyed twice. But, not too much time, as I'm approaching 40 (eep!) and we'd like to have both children before i reach that age (because of the increasing risks once the mother reaches and surpasses her 40s).

I also have my wonderful HBAC to thank for this new idea. I doubt I'd be considering more children if G had been born the same way as E. Amusingly enough, my midwife had been asking me each time I saw her at mother's group if we had changed our minds and would be having more. Each time I told her no, but now that we've really thought about it and almost made our definite decision, she's got used to my previous answer and now just says to the other mums, 'Jel's not having any more,' with her resigned look! She may read this; but if not I will look forward to seeing her expression when I ask her to be our midwife again :)

But for now, we really have to look at ways to save. We're considering enrolling E in Kindergarten next year, which will save us at least $40 a week in daycare fees, assuming kindy is 2 days per week and he needs before and after school care at the local daycare, who pick them up from the school. They do say 5 and up however so I need to find out if they also pick up the kindy children who are 3-4 years old. If we cannot get after school care we can't send him to kindy.

While I won't compromise on hiring a private midwife again, this time I'll save money by getting a referral to her by a GP Obstetrician, which means I can then claim part of the fee back from Medicare. I was reluctant to do it last time as I didn't want to appear too much on the radar of the maternity hospital; even though they didn't know I was planning an HBAC I was concerned about anything interfering with my VBAC. Little paranoid in hindsight; but hey I got my HBAC and didn't get hassled by the hospital! Now I have achieved it I am a lot more confident. Even if we have a breech again and have to birth at the hospital I'm a lot more confident; because I know i've birthed a head down baby, then I can birth an upside down one. But hopefully both future babies, and both placentas, will behave and I can have home water births again :)

I would really love to have a photographer present at the birth again too... the pictures we got back from G's birth were just gorgeous and I love looking at them, reliving his birth and seeing what I couldn't see while i was labouring. But that was quite pricy and my little photography business will have to start getting a lot busier before we can afford non-essentials like that.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Starting solids - purees

weaning, purees, baby-led

I had read up on baby-led weaning when E was young, and that's how we started him on solids. It made a lot of sense to me. Unfortunately, and I don't know if it was the method that didn't suit him or if he'd have been fussy if we'd started the traditional way, we didn't have much luck with him eating. He'd happily chew on a bit of apple, but never swallowed much at all, and there wasn't much change with this up until 9 months.

With G, I decided to try purees. I was going to wait until 6 months, but at 5 months he was attempting to grab my fork when he sat on my lap at dinner. One night he lunged forward and managed to hit my plate with his fist! I figured that meant he was definitely ready to start weaning onto solids. (A note for my US readers - weaning in UK and Aus means to start feeding solid foods, not necessarily stopping breastfeeding/formula).

I started off with boiled pumpkin around 5 1/2 months - just a taste. He made the funniest face at the start but I managed to get half a teaspoon or so into him. He's been so easy to feed since (compared with E). He's eaten avocado, sweet potato, chick peas (too lumpy, he didn't like it), mashed baked beans, stewed plum, stewed apple, banana, a tiny bit of curried rice (as it was lumpy I didn't wash to push my luck), Shepherd's Pie, and lentil and bacon soup (the last two blended with a stick blender).

It's been about 3 weeks now and he's got the hang of it, the last two days he's even started opening his mouth for the spoon and lunging towards it. Trouble with the lunging is sometimes the spoon goes too far back and hence the food is too far back, he gags, and if he can't clear it he throws the whole lot back up... milk feed and all :(

We've worked up to about a tablespoon and a half (at 6 months and 1 week) and sometimes lunch of 2 teaspoons, and that's about all I'm willing to do at the moment. I don't want to reduce his demand for milk and therefore my supply.

I plan to introduce lumpy textures, slowly, around 7 months.

The trickiest part of doing this the second time round, is juggling E's dinner, shower and bedtime, G's dinner and bedtime, and me having to cook and usually do all of it by myself, yet still manage to eat my own dinner. I haven't yet managed. On the evenings when hubby is home, I still have to cook, feed & breastfeed G and get up and down getting water/cloth/whatever for E... so I end up with a cold meal and an exercise routine in the middle of it. Hubby won't do it unless I prompt him several times so there's not much point. Will have to try to figure out something that works, and still get them to bed before 8pm to avoid fatigue meltdowns (like the one tonight from E... massive).

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

6 months old!

Wow! So much for getting back into blogging. I can now see why bloggers i'd followed after E was born, after having their second child really slowed down their posts.

So, G is now 6 months old. He's growing up so fast. Three days after his half-birthday, I put him on an unpadded carpeted floor while i put his nappy in the bucket and washed my hands. He sat for a minute or so then fell backwards as he usually does - but this time received a tap to the head from the floor instead of a soft mattress. He was surprised by this but all of a sudden, when i sat him on something softer, he stayed sitting up for quite some time! He clearly had had the skill but found lying down was easier until the tap on the head made him think twice.

Speaking of nappies, our cloth nappies are still going strong on their second child :) I tried him in them at 5 weeks old, but he was leaking through a lot. I figured it was because he was still too small, so back into disposables and I tried again at 7 weeks, and this time was successful. Almost straight away i needed to put him up to the larger insert for the BumGenius, but the newborn insert for the Blueberries was sufficient for quite some time. I changed him to the large insert around 4 months old.  When he was 5 months I had to extend the rise snaps on the Blueberry nappies to the middle setting, but BumGenius lasted another few weeks on the newborn setting.

We're currently using disposables at night as he was leaking right through the bamboo inserts on his night nappies, even with a wool cover. The disposables are only a bit better though, i think i need to get specific night time ones. As he doesn't wake much at night, and will cry if not given his boob straight away, I leave him in the one nappy all night. I don't like to change after a feed as it wakes him right up and then he has trouble settling back to sleep again.

Hubby decided that since I'd had a natural birth this time I didn't need as much help at night, or changing nappies. Somehow that's translated into me doing all the nappies! He'll do one if i ask. G is a MUCH better sleeper than E though - he has woken on average twice a night for the last few months. E was waking 5-8 times at this age.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

4 months postpartum

Yeah... it's been a while! I'm still here, so busy with two kids and trying to get my photography business up and running. But it's all been positive, I've had my first paid clients this year and we've settled into a routine of sorts at home... the kids are doing well together but the house is a mess. Oh well. Still room for improvement.

What there isn't much time for is blogging. I'm hardly reading any blogs, let alone writing, most of my time on my computer is spent either on Facebook or on my business - editing photos or researching props (I photograph newborns so use bowls, fabric backdrops, basket fillers, tiny gorgeous clothes and hats). Today i've finished cutting and sewing 224 yards of tulle for one adult size tutu, and have another 76 yards to go for a baby size one.

Baby is currently asleep but the toddler now wants me to go play Lego with him... I think most of my posts from now on are going to be short. I'm going to start with the first month settling in with two children, because it was trickier and more tiring than i thought.

Copycat Starbucks double chocolate muffins

This recipe is from Honey and Fig's Kitchen, I've just adapted it to use cup measurements. Makes some quite tasty muffins! I got 8 large and two small muffins from the recipe.

It uses a whole half cup of cocoa! Oh yes... this is a chocolately muffin and no mistake :)

1 2/3 cups SR flour
1/2 c cocoa
3/4 c sugar
a pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons fresh espresso (or 1 T instant coffee)
2 large eggs
250 grams greek yogurt
4 tablespoons buttermilk
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 c chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips together until just moistened (a few lumps are ok). Fold in the chocolate chips. Bake for 8 minutes at 220c, then lower the temperature to 180 and bake another 15 minutes.

Makes 9 large or 12 medium muffins.

I chose to use a mix of caramel and dark chocolate chips.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Birth story part 3

...continued from Part 2

So to finish up, my midwife put the catheter in (my bladder wasn't as full as she'd been worrying) and we waited for the cord to stop pulsating before i pushed out the placenta. (by the way inserting a catheter without an epidural is not painful, just a bit uncomfortable for a few seconds). Cord took quite a while, at least half an hour. I think it was because my uterus and body were tired from the prolonged second stage. Finally it stopped and hubby got to clamp and cut the cord.

I wasn't feeling any contractions, but i tried pushing the placenta out. Nothing happened. My midwife had a gentle pull on the cord and said she thought the placenta had separated fine. I kept trying, but no luck. I asked if i should try an upright position so they helped me up to lean over the back of the sofa. At this point i told them i was quite dizzy, and i lay my head down over the sofa back as i pushed. They were watching me carefully after i said that... and good thing too as the next thing i know i was looking up at unfamiliar faces and wondered if i was in the hospital.

But my midwife's face swam into my view and recognition came back to me, i saw my team and that i was at home and they were laying me down on the sofa and pushing a straw from a glass of water towards me so i could drink. My blood pressure had dropped so much i'd passed out.

We decided at this point that the syntocinon injection would be a good idea. It went into my thigh - bit stingy, but i could now feel contractions and was able to push the placenta out pretty easily. What surprised me was that it felt huge to push out - and yet i knew the baby had been much bigger!

It came out all in one piece. My midwife examined it to make sure and then put it aside in the container i'd washed out ready for it, while she repaired the episiotomy. Took a little while and required another local because it had been so long since the cut was made. She and my backup midwife determined it to be a second degree episiotomy, which was a good thing as a third and fourth degree would have to be repaired in hospital, because of the degree of muscle cut and the location. It took some internal, some muscle and then some external stitches. My doula held my hand for support while this was being done. Hubby was holding baby and keeping the toddler occupied.

Once this was complete, i was able to hold my baby again and my midwife showed me the placenta and explained the different sides and their function. Pretty fascinating stuff really. I was surprised at how big the hole in the amniotic sac was (much bigger than with our toddler), as it had only broken while i was pushing in the pool and so it had felt like just a small hole. Clearly it had enlarged a lot when he came out! She would take it home with her and encapsulate it for me.

My backup midwife and photographer left about an hour after the birth, after congratulating me. My doula helped hubby tidy up and get sheets into the wash etc then she left also. My midwife stayed a few hours, keeping an eye on me, then also left to go about her daily appointments and returned in the afternoon to check on how i was doing.

So that was it - it was all done and over and i had achieved my HBAC and had my beautiful new son next to me. My CS scar had held up beautifully even after four hours of pushing - so much for the 'high risk' label hospitals try to put on mums with previous c sections! My husband was over the moon that he'd been able to see one of his children born naturally, and even better to have been the one to catch him. And our toddler was fascinated with 'his baby', and even now tells me how he was in my stomach and came out between my legs :)