Saturday, 4 January 2014

Big gap! Catch-up to 5 weeks old! :)

I've had lots of emails and comments asking if everything is okay, and saying that it isn't like me to leave such a gap on this blog - TRUE! I'm so sorry to be away this long, and leave all my bloggy peeps hanging! As always (sigh) it wasn't intentional, but I know I have to carve a good chunk of time to update here, because even if I try and make it brief, I end up typing into the night (with breaks to breastfeed), so although I found time for things like Facebook, I never seemed to have the time to update here. I wish I had just DONE it because then I would have some sort of ongoing record instead of a huge gap and a catch-up. I wish the same for my other, much-neglected blog. But such is life, or the nature of it these days, for me anyway! :)

So, around the middle of November, I blinked and pretty much when I opened my eyes it was almost Christmas, and then I blinked again and here we are today. Life is going at a frantic pace these days! I so wish it would slow down!

The last post I made here was when Lydia was 10 days old. Now she is 10 WEEKS old! :S So hard to believe! And I have so much to say, and ridiculous quantities of photos to share. I daren't try to do it in several posts, because I know me - I will do a starter post and that's the last you'll hear of me for 6 months, haha! ;)

So, maybe I will say how things are NOW, and bullet-point any bits and pieces that pop into my head from the past couple of months. Right? Okay. Here goes! :)

How ______ (insert word that's sort of like marvellous and incredible, but isn't those words because those aren't quite as "squeeeee!!!" as I feel) it is to have a baby GIRL!! I am loving loving loving it so very much! I would also be loving having a baby boy, you know I would. But I am just delighted with my little girl. I don't know how I could ever tire of little dresses, baby tights, pink, flower and heart prints, teeny co-ordinating shoes, glittery detail, hair clips (OH HAIR CLIPS!!! I will come back to that later, hopefully!), etc.

I mean, of course, it's LYDIA that I am in love with, not the accessories! She's - I warn you in advance, I am so very besotted. I will talk about her like nobody else's baby exists, or something, lol! Not true, but yeah, I might come across that way. Fair warning! :P - She's so beautiful. I love her so much! I still spend ages gazing at her, and her features are so much more girly than any of my boys' features were at this age. I just delight in seeing her change week by week, because she seems to me to be getting MORE feminine in her features as time passes. She has such a head of hair! I mean, you know she was born with it (maybe it's Maybelline? Ugh, sorry, I couldn't help it.), but she is my first baby not to lose any newborn hair. I love that! I want to laugh for joy every time I think of it! I mean, my first baby girl, and she's the one who has alllll this hair, AND doesn't lose a single one! All my other babies were mostly bald by now, or patchy with a mullet, lol! They had a sort of male pattern baldness thing going on, and I confess I was slightly apprehensive about that, given how much hair Lydia had when she was born. I knew it would be really visible when it fell out in patches! I know it grows back in pretty quick, so it's not like it mattered really, but anyway.

But she has all the hair she originally had! I have never seen a single hair on the sheet when she wakes in the morning. No tiny hairs in her little fists from clutching at her own head, like some of my other babies. Nothing! Lydia's hair is growing! :) It's probably going on for 2 inches long now, all over her head. It's so thick and fluffy on top that it stands up and won't lie down, but it's much more tame on the sides and at the back. When I wash her hair in the bath it floats out everywhere, and when it's wet it goes down her back a little and she looks so so girly and wonderful, and - see, even now I am just mentally clasping my hands together with awe and glee, since my actual hands are typing. *sigh* I'm so in love with her.

She has dark blue eyes. I think. They have lightened up since she was born, but they are still dark, and I can't decide whether they're dark blue or dark grey. Her new hair is already starting to grow, just in the last week or so, and already it's several mms long under her wonderous newborn hair. It's exactly the same colour as her dark dark newborn hair, so I think she is going to be as dark-haired as Nathan! He has dark blue eyes to this day, as well, so maybe her colouring will be exactly like his? Her eyebrows are dark brown. She has the most gorgeous eyelashes. All the children do - they have Neil's long eyelashes, but Lydie's curl up. So very girly!!! :) I was watching her sleep in my arms today and smiling at her eyelashes. I love them soooo!

She is smiling and cooing almost constantly - she's the happiest baby! She hasn't had a single colicky moment, ever, which I think is a first for my babies. Samuel was also very happy and laid-back and smiley, and his personality still reflects that (with the usual frustrations of his age added in - can you believe he turned THREE a few days before Christmas?!?!), but I remember he had fussy times and certain stages within the first couple of months where he cried and wouldn't easily be comforted. Lydia is always settled, except when she has wind, is hungry, or wants to talk.

The talking! This girl is a major talker, lol! Is this a girl thing?! She has been cooing since before the Health Visitor would believe it possible, but the main thing is how much she loves to do it. She gets a bit upset if the conversation is ended abruptly or before she's ready to finish, and she has such a huge range of sounds and pitches. She "talks" in long sentences of different sounds, with inflection involving eyebrows and body language and everything - such a sweetie! I MUST try to video her for prosperity - I would hate to have nothing to look back on when I have all but forgotten it one day.

Another thing that is super girly about Lydia is her voice. At first I thought I was being daft, looking for ways to "see" feminine qualities that were different from my boys, but seriously, her voice is SO girly. She cries in a girly way, totally different from the boys. I can't describe it properly in words, but she is so much more high-pitched and delicate. I have never heard one of my babies cry like Lydia does, it's not just a bit different, it's totally different. When she cooes and talks, she will make her voice swing up really high-pitched and then back down to normal again. It's so frustrating not being able to describe what I mean properly in words!! I will have to try to video her. Hopefully I can capture what I'm talking about. I love talking to her. Her eyes are so expressive and I love the shape of her little mouth as she's telling me all sorts of important things! :)

I haven't had her weighed in a while. The last time was at her 6-8 week check with the GP. That was at 7 weeks old - 3 weeks ago. She weighed 9lbs 5oz. I know she has gained weight pretty well since then as well, because she suddenly has rolls on her thighs this week (I just want to squeeeeze them constantly!), and she has started to look roly-poly rather than newborn-ish, just this past week. She has almost completely outgrown all her newborn size clothes (up to 10lbs), and is comfortably fitting 0-3 month sleepsuits and vests and things. I am still putting her in newborn size dresses as most of them seem to fit longer than the age range they state. A few of her newborn dresses are too small now, sadly! But some are generous sizes and fit her fine. She's also wearing some 0-3 month dresses. I put her in dresses and tights as often as I can get away with it! ;) She has some gorgeous outfits and I love to see her in them, so while I was only really putting her in them when we were seeing people, like going to church or something, early on, now I am just putting her in dresses for US, even if she spends the first 30 minutes in the bouncy chair, naps in the outfit for the next hour or so, and then brings up milk on it and needs changing out of it! Still worth it! :)

I have continued to add to her wardrobe since she was born, always from eBay - there is SO MUCH choice and many brands that are great quality or gorgeous designs that I would never afford brand new from the shop, all at crazy cheap prices. Everyone seems to be selling little baby clothes, and not so many people want to buy second hand, it seems. So I am snapping up (for example) something like a Monsoon embroidered dress and matching bolero for less than £5. I got her a gorgeous dress in size 3-6 months (Monsoon again) that was 99p! And since the outfits are so scrummy, I'm discovering that they absolutely cannot be let down by their accessories! ;) So, she has more pairs of shoes (in her current size!!) than any of my babies have had! She has a pair of red glittery shoes (which she wore on Christmas day with her red dress, cream tights, and sparkly red heart-shaped haaaiiir cliiiiip!!!! Yes, yes, I've got it bad. I don't care!!), cream suede shoes with faux fur lining and pink flowers embroidered on them *happy sigh*, red cord shoes with hearts and buttons on them, pink fluffy slippers, purple knitted booties, tiny cream cable knit booties, and brown faux fur ankle boots! Also, it became necessary (*cough*) for her to own more than just a newborn sized snowsuit. See, pink and lovely though it is (and we do use it!), it wasn't ideal for stuffing dresses into the leg parts, and rather hid her outfits! :P So, thanks to eBay, and at very little cost, she has a red padded coat with hood and red "fur" lining (and ruffles on the sleeeeeves!!!!), a pink quilted coat with the quilting in the shape of heeaaaaarts (!!!!) - [please feel free to stop reading if you are becoming light headed or nauseous] - and a padded purple coat with flower shaped buttons and gorgeous embroidery!! Just in newborn size, so far, lol!

*sigh* I am having SO. MUCH. FUN.

I have never been big on hair accessories for little babies, but then I had a baby girl for the first time in seven babies, and quite unexpectedly found myself squealing with glee at the confirmation of my first purchase from Yes, I said my first purchase, lol! ;) She has a good collection of hair clips, snaps, and hair bands (not the head band type, the small elastic "bobble" type) now. She wore some of the clips around Christmas, but since then her hair seems to be thicker and springier than ever and these clips seem tiny and lost in the great forest of her hair, so they don't look as cute as they used to! A friend sent me a bigger clip, which was the first hair accessory I have ever had for her (and the thing that sent me delving about on the internet for baby hair accessories, "just to see what might be available"!), and it seemed quite big on her at the time, back in November.

I had better post some photos of my darling girl! :) I have so many, so I shall choose some of my favourites and post them in chronological order, picking up where I left off at my last entry here so long ago. I will also see if I can catch up with how she's been doing in chronological order too (maybe I can use some FB posts to help me?) as that would be nice to have recorded here to look back on.

Lydia was weighed at 12 days old, by the midwife.  She hadn't regained her birth weight yet as she weighed 7lbs 2oz (and was 7lbs 5oz at birth), so they didn't discharge us that day. I had an appointment for her with the Health Visitor 2 days later at the doctor's surgery, and she weighed 7lbs 4oz then (soooo close!). The midwife was coming again 2 days after that, but the HV wanted me to bring Lydia back in 2 weeks anyway for another weigh-in, because she wasn't quite happy with her length-to-weight ratio. Her length and head circumference put her at the 75th percentile, but she was at the 25th for weight. So frustrating, because I know that pattern from some of my other babies, and there's nothing wrong with them! She's just like Matthew, Samuel and Elijah!

The HV also wondered if Lydia might have an infected umbilicus, as her cord stump had fallen off and was healing, but it was increasingly smelly even though I was cleaning it carefully. It had been looking okay but on the day of the appt, it was looking pink and a bit swollen, so I knew something was up. I started immediately with breastmilk on it every time I changed her nappy, but the HV wanted me to bring her to see the GP the next day, in case she needed some treatment. Of course by the next day, after multiple breastmilk applications, it was looking WAY better, but since it wasn't 100% and it still smelled funky, I kept the appointment. I wish I hadn't, because the GP said he thought it was fine, and we sat for 20 minutes in the waiting room next to a toddler who looked REALLY unwell and had an awful cough. :/ I cradled Lydia to my chest and felt constantly like I was trying to shield my brand new baby from all the germs! Lydia didn't catch anything, but I did. Two days later (on Arthur's 9th birthday) I felt grim, and I bore up well for a trip to the farm with the family, but the next day I was pretty much confined to bed, and wasn't up to much at all for the next week. All the children ended up catching it from me, including my poor darling girlie. I was so worried that she would get the awful cough and with her tiny airways, she would be in danger. All the kids had a horrible cough like me (Neil somehow didn't catch it at all!), but although Lydia had a horrid cold with soooo much congestion, and seemed unwell in herself, she didn't cough once! :)

My cough unfortunately turned into double pneumonia, which I recovered from with antibiotics, after which we all got another cold, followed by me getting an attack of gastritis - I guess that is part of my ongoing issues with GERD, but I had never had gastritis before like that. I lost a night's sleep from the pain and unbearably intense nausea, and added regular doses of gaviscon to my daily regimen (I am already on a prescription medication to reduce stomach acid, which unnerves me somewhat, since things are getting worse. :/ ). I'm better now than I was, but gastritis is still bothering me to varying degrees each day. Ugh. I think I will HAVE to get an endoscopy, to see what on earth is going on in there. Hate the thought of it, but there we go. I also want to get tested for H. Pylori in case that's the culprit, but the doctor told me that I have to come off my meds for 3 weeks before the test, and right now my symptoms are bad enough that I can't afford to. Anyway! Neil caught a nasty coldy thing before Christmas that was very much like the one we'd all (except him) had, including the horrible cough. But all the kids caught it from him so it was the 2nd similar virus they'd had, both with bad coughs. Some of them are STILL coughing now, but we're mostly better. Neil is still coughing. Lydia caught that cold too, and this time she did get a horrible cough, and I was so worried for her! But these last few days, she has been markedly better each day, and she never developed any worrying signs, so I'm relieved! I am also relieved that I didn't catch the 2nd yucky cold virus - I was taking Echinacea every day, and had a sore throat for several days but that's all it has been so far. THEN yesterday Benjamin was sick on the sofa! He had diarrhoea the day before, and I went into panic mode about a new illness in the house, and a stomach one at that, urrrrgggghhhh!!! But, he only threw up the once, and it was a strange one because he was eating throughout and seemed generally okay, just like he didn't feel well here and there, and then one of those times he threw up. We hadn't been anywhere he could have caught anything, except 3 days before to the playground (where there weren't any kids, apparently). Nobody else is showing any signs of illness, so far, so I don't know what it was about. But anyway. ENOUGH with the illness thing already! I feel like we haven't had much of a break since Lydia was born!

In the midst of all this, guess what else happened?! My body decided giving birth, having a few viruses and double pneumonia was clearly a sign that it needed to get back to baby-making prep, because lo and behold, I ovulated at 6 weeks postpartum, and got my first period 5 days later. That is absolutely CRAZY, and also a personal record - last time was my previous personal record at 8 weeks postpartum. I am pretty sure I can't possibly beat this one! ;)

My lochia stopped at 5 weeks (hooray!) and within a few days I noticed my CM changing, and over the next few days I had a lot of EWCM and felt crampy and weird, so I thought, "Hmmm..." I thought it a lot more when I got some spots on my face and bizarrely got a couple of strange things back that I'd had during pregnancy - my craving for extra strong mints, and the amazingness of brushing my teeth. I remember thinking how weird that was, and then it dawned on me that maybe my hormones were shifting, and I remembered the EWCM. I started temping pretty much instantly, and was just in time to confirm ovulation. My luteal phase was 4 days, exactly as it always is on my first cycle or two, and it was a proper period - not awful, but definitely not a "breakthrough bleed" as some might insist it had to be at just 6 weeks postpartum. I definitely ovulated. I had 2 hours of really obvious ovulation pain on the actual day, followed by a temp spike the next day which was maintained until my luteal phase ended. So I am vaguely charting right now, just to keep track. I am not temping unless I get fertile signs, because my cycles could be all sorts of lengths for a while. What I found really strange was seeing my latest "cycle" chart - it began the day Lydia was born, and I charted my lochia, approximately, and then my ovulation and my period. It was a 50-something day cycle!!! That feels crazy given that it wasn't a cycle, it was the time from when I gave birth to my first period! Tandem-nursing day and night!!! :-O I love that my body is raring to go go go, more babies, more babies, lol! ;)

Okay, where was I? Oh yes, so Lydia was weighed again at 16 days old and she was 7lbs 6oz, an ounce over her birth weight, yay! So the midwife discharged us, saying they would miss us if we moved away, but they were sure I would keep the local maternity unit busy, lol! ;)

Here she is at nearly 3 weeks old, wearing the Mr Bump sleepsuit that ALL of her brothers wore. I had to put her in it and take photos, I just had to! :)

Lydia had her newborn hearing test at 3 weeks old, FULL of cold, but passed with flying colours anyway, thankfully! She had her first proper bath (sitting in a tub, that is) at 2 weeks and 6 days old - here are two photos - one of her wrapped up in a towel (she loved her bath!), and another of her freshly clean, dry and SO fluffy!! Did I mention I love her soooooooo?!

She is a little dolly-girl, isn't she?! I just adore her! :) That sleepsuit I put her in after her bath was the first thing I put her in after she was born. It was one of the first things I bought for her after the 20 week scan, when we found out she was a girl, and I put it spread out on a box of clothes in my bedroom from that day onwards through the rest of my pregnancy, just to make me smile every time I saw it. It isn't a fancy outfit or anything like that, just a sleepsuit, but I fell in love with it the moment I saw it, and I knew it had to be her first outfit. it has pink, little rosebuds, a tiny ribbon bow at the neckline, AND slightly frilly cuffs on the sleeves, so it was PERFECT for my first pink little girly person, and I got so much joy from looking at it and stroking it each day, as my baby grew inside me. I loved dressing her in it after she was born. It was extra special because of all that lead-up, and I'm really sad that she has outgrown it! It was size tiny baby (up to 7.5lbs). I managed to find one on eBay in size 0-3 months which is still a little bit big for her, but I'm excited that I'll get to see it on her again soon! :)

At 4 weeks old, I took Lydia back to the HV to get her weighed again, and she was still at the 75th percentile for height and the 25th for weight, but the HV was satisfied that she was gaining weight - she was 8lbs 3oz that day! :) And of course 9lbs 5oz three weeks later, just below the 25th percentile, but her height and head circumference had come down to the 50th. The GP said she was perfectly in proportion for a breastfed baby, which was very nice to hear! :)

Some random pics from 3 and 4 weeks old: Lydia fast asleep in her sweet little pink snowsuit, which I love so much and feel sad that she's outgrown it already! :( I remember the squeeee factor when I bought and washed this before she was born! :)

Lydia sleeping on Neil one evening at 3 weeks and 3 days old. He was set up to watch a movie on his laptop, and she was sleeping so soundly. I wanted to have a bath, but I didn't want to lay her down and leave her, I just couldn't bear it! So Neil held her for me, until I was out of the bath. She looked so cute conked out on her daddy, and I liked the fact that she was wearing pink, and he had a pink shirt on too! :)

She really started to gaze at the windows a lot around this stage (4 weeks old here). She likes the bouncy chair, and will happily coo at people or watch the goings-on around her, or she also naps in there a lot. Usually just shorter (30 mins-ish) naps in the midst of noisy chaos, but she has occasionally taken long naps (2-3 hours) too. Arthur can bounce the chair just right if she is unsettled and I am up to my armpits in pooey nappies or making lunch very late or something like that, and she will go to sleep.

Sleeping in the bouncy chair at 4 weeks old - Samuel and Elijah were both asleep too, on the sofa next to her chair! :) Her hair already looks longer from when she was first born, but I didn't notice at the time - only now in hindsight can I see it.

Spending a weekend afternoon in my favourite way - reclining in bed with a sleeping newborn across my chest! :) Just took a photo to capture the memory, as it was a wonderful feeling and I knew it was a fleeting one. She was 4 weeks old here too.

FINALLY after weeks of smiling (already, at only 4 weeks and 3 days old!), I managed to get the start of a smile on camera for the first time! She was making really good eye contact with me here, and smiled quite big (though now it seems small - she smiles REALLY big now! :) ), but I snapped the photo too early, and only caught the start of it. Ah well, at least it's captured! :)

I took this photo of Lydia's feet at 4 weeks old, because I felt pretty sure she had mild talipes. :( Arthur has had treatment for that, well, his manifested more as "curly feet", but it's basically Neil's foot gene thingy. Any baby who has his feet will have issues of some sort, unfortunately. Arthur, Samuel and Elijah have Neil's feet, and Lydia does too. Arthur's were the worst affected and he needed plaster casts several times over. His feet still curl and aren't "normal" feet, but he's able to use them normally, and he will have to do exercises probably forevermore to keep them flexible. I HOPE that's all it will be. Neil and his siblings had surgery on their toes in their teens, and since Arthur isn't that old yet, we'll have to see. His mum has talipes and hammer toes. Lovely. It's nobody's fault but I can't help but really hate that gene! :/ Anyway, Samuel needed referring to a physio, but didn't need treatment in the end. Elijah saw the physio when I took Arthur one time and she said he was so mildly affected that it didn't need a referral even. Lydia's feet were still uncurling from having been in the womb, but I still had my suspicions. Here they are at 4 weeks:

Lots of people said their baby had that at that age, and I know it can be normal, but I'm just paranoid with this particular gene, and knowing that Lydia has Neil's feet (toes and foot shape - nothing like mine). At the GP check at 7 weeks, I mentioned it, and she said she had noticed mild talipes, but nothing too bad. She said Lydia might still be "uncurling" yet, and to bring her back in a month if I was still concerned. I haven't taken another photo since, but I don't think she looks a lot different than this really. :( She can flex her feet straight very easily, and has plenty of flexibility, so it's not a major deal. I think I would prefer Arthur's physio to see her though, so I'll have to sort that out sometime.

This is getting really long, and Lydia is stirring so she is probably about to wake and want a feed. I will have to stop and post it, since it's long enough already. At least I've covered up to 5 weeks thoroughly! ;) I will TRY to come back and post more about the next 5 weeks, hopefully tomorrow, unless illness invades again and I have no time to after all. Please pray that doesn't happen!!

I'll just finish with this photo of Lydia - a proper smiley photo, taken the day she turned 5 weeks old. Such a gorgeous happy girly-whirly (I call her "girly-whirly" or "girl-whirl", or even "whirly-girly" ALL the time).

And on the same day, I posted a sweet memory on Facebook, which is well worth copying and pasting here for prosperity, about Arthur and how wonderfully he cares for her (and how amazingly capable he is!):

"I was in the midst of nappy changes early this morning when Lydia woke up for the day and started crying. I sent Arthur upstairs to keep her company while I finished the nappies. It took me a few minutes to finish up and she sounded pretty cross, so I rushed up as quickly as I could. I found Arthur standing in my bedroom with Lydia snuggled against him with her tummy to his chest, his cheek resting on the top of her head, shhing and bouncing and swaying to calm her down (he's 9!). When he saw me, he handed her over like an experienced parent would (he's 9!), and said, "She had wind. I could tell by the way she was moving her mouth, so I picked her up and I managed to get her to burp." (he's 9!) - and as he left the room, he said, "She's hungry - she was rooting on my arm so you'd better feed her." He's NINE! And awesome. I fed her." :)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Ten days old, more photos and updatey stuff

Trying to find time to catch up and continue from where my last post left off, as I still had so much more to write about! Lydia is asleep against my leg on the bed with me, all snuggled up in a blanket. Any sleep she's had today (lots!) has all been taken on my chest or in my arms. I SO love this stage, but it's over far too quickly. I told her today, that it would just be for a little bit longer, and then Daddy has to go back to work, and Mummy has to be busy with allll her big brothers as well as snuggling her. So we'll be downstairs all the time. I do not get on well with slings and carriers, although I have a few of them in case I get desperate. When my babies are tiny and I'm the only parent around, I use a bouncy chair (with a vibrate function - essential for some of my littles!) as a safe place to put them while I am in the room needing my arms, hands, and sometimes milk department free and available for other little ones. If I'm in the kitchen making food, I have the bouncy chair in there with me. The problem is, we haven't got a working bouncy chair (again!!)! The last one we used for Elijah is missing a part to put it together. I am SURE I packed it all away complete, but hmmm, some little people have had access to the bag and now it's NOT complete! It's quite an old bouncy chair and a bit leany due to non-babies sitting in when they weren't supposed to, and also it's royal blue. And I am on a seeeerious girly kick, even if it's crazy of me. So there! ;)

So, I am on a mission for a new (second-hand) one at eBay. I actually want to get a "gender-neutral" one that's not so dark in colour, and it MUST have a vibration function. Otherwise I'm surprisingly unfussy! ;) But I need one reeeally soon.

Aww, my tiny 'Lijah is crying at the bottom of the stairs for his "Da-deee" so forlornly (Neil has gone to the toilet), so I am going to stop this and cuddle him as long as Lydia sleeps. Back later (maybe?!).

Back. I picked him up and he immediately wanted milk, so he has completely emptied me on one side now, lol! Samuel snuggled up to my other side, but he doesn't seem to want milky any more. I am pretty sure he has no idea there's lots of normal milk there now - he went off it when it turned to colostrum. Benjamin still usually has bedtime milky, but often goes without if he falls asleep before I get to him, and he hasn't any any since Lydia was born because I have been feeding or holding her whenever their bedtime has come round.

Lydia is still sleeping (so sweetly!) on the bed so I will carry on for now. I think I got to the part where she was 4 days old. This photo was taken when she was 5 days old, the day when the midwives came to do her heel prick and weigh her. She weighed a teeny 6lbs 12oz, which is fine as she'd lost 7% of her birth weight (normal is 7% to 10% in breastfed babies). She was still 4oz heavier than Elijah was at birth, but size-wise she seemed just as tiny.

The tiny baby size clothing (up to 7.5lbs) was still a generous fit on her, and I'm sure she's gained weight now since then, but she's still fitting her tiny baby clothing at 10 days old. I have had to put her in a few newborn things when we ran out of clean clothes - the tumble dryer set something on FIRE a few days ago, and died spectactularly! Thankfully it was just one item and Neil was here, and the smoke alarm went off, and everything was okay, but it was a bit scary for a while! Neil had a MASSIVE clean up job to do, and he put the tumble dryer out of the house on his own (heavy!) because it was giving off smokey fumes. He found us a new one and got the old one taken away, and now we have a really snazzy efficient tumble dryer which dries things much faster than before, and has various safety features to prevent overheating and fires. Phew. But we had a LOT of laundry piling up for a few days there!

So anyway, she wore some newborn sleepsuits, which just were tooooo big, and her feet kept being all bunched up in the torso by morning, lol! Some are just about okay, too big, but wearable, if they are brands that come up a bit small for size. She did wear a dress and tights set (her first one - I was sooooo excited, hehe!) that is newborn size - I am having to bear the suspense with various dresses in the drawer still, because they are all newborn size and she's not that big yet, bless her! I put her in the smallest of the newborn dresses and some newborn sized pink tights, and they were a bit big on her to be honest, but I had a lovely time dressing her up and snuggling her anyway! ;) This is Lydia wearing it - she's 8 days old here. I took this photo to show a little girl who had made and sent a card, but as it's a photo of Lydia I will include it here as well! :) See how the newborn tights are all baggy and too long?! Bless, she's so weeny!

And one of me gently squishing my little sweetie. She is getting stronger with her neck muscles now, but her head still prefers to flop to one side if I hold her like this, and her cheek is sooooo invitingly buttery-soft. It aches somewhere in my ovaries when I lay my cheek on hers and especially when she involuntarily roots for milk at my cheek. *sigh* Such blissful times, these fleeting newborn days...

These next photos are also from 8 days old. She was fussing that morning, a bit (she doesn't usually fuss that much - well, saying that, she has started to be a bit more fussy of a morning since then), and I was rapidly shovelling down a bowl of cereal so I wasn't instantly picking her up and soothing her like I usually had the luxury of doing. Arthur came strolling into the bedroom to say hello to Lydia - he does this every morning, as do Matthew and Nathan, and often Benjamin. They are always soooo happy to see her, and ask what she's doing, whether she's had a nappy change yet, and whether she's had her "breakfast". :) Anyway, he went straight over to where she was lying, and laid his cheek down the recommended 12-inches away from her face (he's very particular about details, knowing exactly the distance a newborn best focuses!) and said, "Hello! Hello Lydia!" in a soothing voice (he always talks to her in a soothing voice, it's so lovely to listen to!). When she fussed a bit more, he instinctively reached out and began stroking her from the tip of her nose to the top of her forehead at the hairline, with his thumb, very gently. She calmed right down, and he kept doing it for a while, so I took a couple of photos while he did it. After a while, she was all still, and he stood up and said, "Well, she seems calm now." and off he went! He keeps amazing me with how easy he is around babies - although my mum reminds me that I shouldn't be surprised, he's had a lot of experience! ;)


Something else that has amazed me, is that Lydia is already cooing and smiling! Samuel started smiling (proper social smiles, not wind) at 8 days old, as I have written about here before, and he maintained that afterwards too. But not cooing until a bit later. Lydia smiled for the first time at FIVE DAYS OLD!!! :-O Seriously. Neil told me that morning that he thought she had smiled at him, but I
have to admit (I feel a bit ashamed!) that I doubted him. I thought, no way, that's not possible at 5 days old. She hadn't really focused on our faces properly yet, even. But later that morning she was fussing a bit, and I put her back to the breast in case she was hungry. She didn't want it, so I held her back in my hands to look into her eyes, and she made eye contact, and it's like she had only been waiting to be able to focus enough to make eye contact, to start with the social stuff! She looked right at me, and her eyes went wide as though she recognised me, and she did a BIG smile, not a little "maybe" smile, a real lovely smile! :) And while I was speechlessly taking that in, she stopped smiling and looked very focused, and I noticed she was moving her lips differently, as though she was intentionally trying to do something with them. She suddenly said, "Coo-gah!" as carefully as she could, really intentionally, like she was putting the two syllables down ever so carefully, one after the other. That's all she said, but OH! Bring on the proud mama!!! I was fit to bursting over it, I was soooo proud of my tiny new baby girl! Five days old. I still can't believe it.

Since then she has had one or two short moments each day where she has connected with us - eye contact like that, and then that intentional look, and a smile or two, and various little very carefully placed cooing sounds. Just a little thing, and then that's it. Often she is exhausted after the smile and tiny coo, and yawns and yawns from then on until she is back on the breast and falls into a long sleep! Such a lot for a new new brain to be doing, no wonder she's tired from it! Today, at 10 days old, she has smiled quite a lot of times so far, some of them little sweet smiles, and one or two really big wide open-mouthed smiles that she's held for a few seconds, looking right into my eyes. She has also cooed at the water glasses on my chest of drawers, lol! ;) The cooing is never for very long, but it's definitely proper "talking" - all the sounds are the same as the others when they have started cooing. I'm just amazed (have I said that enough times yet?! lol!) that she's started both cooing and smiling so early. I can't WAIT to catch her smiles on camera. I am soaking them up right now since once she's smiled once, she's tired and finished smiling, so far. If she smiles, there's no point reaching for the camera because there isn't likely to be another one for a while. Soon though, hopefully! She has done so many more smiles today than any of the previous days, so I'm hoping she'll be beaming for the camera soon! :)

For now, here's my sweetie pie this morning - 10 days old. She is making eye contact a lot more now. Her eyes are lightening up in colour, and there isn't a trace of blue to them. They are grey, right now a mid-to-dark grey, but they will probably continue to get lighter as they days go by. The grey thing makes me feel pretty sure she won't have blue eyes though. Arthur, Benjamin and Elijah had dark grey eyes at birth, and Arthur's are brown now, while Benjamin and Elijah have grey eyes with a brown/hazel ring in the middle. I think Lydia will have some brown to her eyes, but I'll have to wait and see how much. I love this, because it's my mum's gene (all the other grandparents have blue eyed genes) and Lydia's middle name is Jane, which is my mum's name. :)

I put her in a newborn sized outfit this afternoon - it's a tutu!!! I can't believe I'm a mother who has a newborn sized tutu for her daughter, lol! I tried to take some nice photos of her, but I'm a bit of an amateur, and she didn't stay asleep for long while I took photos, and got rather cross quite quickly! These are the three that came out the nicest:

She is more fussy in the mornings these last two days, and doesn't settle to sleep for long. I don't know if it's to do with a growth spurt, needing to feed more therefore, or whether she just isn't into sleeping in the mornings?! Around mid-afternoon, every day without fail, she feeds into a REALLY deep sleep for 3 hours at least. If she isn't waking by then, I tend to wake her to feed her. I would prefer her not to sleep longer than 3 hours without a feed right now. Then, she wakes for a little bit but seems really sleepy, and then goes back to sleep at the breast for ANOTHER 3+ hours, so into the evening. And there I was worrying that she'd be super busy in the evenings because that's how she was in the womb! ;) She's really sleepy in the afternoons and evenings, and I get worried that she'll suddenly perk up for a wakeful/fussy spell around midnight for a few hours like the mornings are becoming! But so far, so good. She sleeps pretty well at night like the afternoons/evenings, so far.
Her cord stump came off when she was 6 days old - well, in the night between 6 and 7 days old, but she was born at night, so yeah, 6 days old. I found the stump (with its clip on) in her armpit in the morning, lol! I'm always happy to see those go, and glad that my babies generally lose them within the first week, because they get kind of stinky before they drop off. Her tummy button is healing nicely now.
I am doing okay - being looked after wonderfully by Neil, as I am still mostly resting in bed upstairs while he takes on everything with the boys, and he even brings me my meals in bed! He's wonderful! I am trying to do a little more these last few days, going downstairs for a little bit with Lydia, or to snuggle some boys on the sofa, etc. Not much. Neil goes back to work on Thursday, so I need to ease myself back into normal (ish) activity by then. My parents are coming from France to meet Lydia on Wednesday - yay!!! It's Arthur's birthday a week from today, on Saturday (he'll be NINE!!!), and they are spending the day with us then too. I'm not sure what their plans are for the two days in between, when Neil is back at work.
This evening (it's evening now, and the boys are in bed), I had a bit of a scare. My bleeding is still going strong, and while it's still normal, I'm sure it was a lot less by 10 days postpartum after some of my other babies. It is still red, and at times, quite heavy. I have had a day or half  a day here and there where I've had very little bleeding, which has turned to brown, but red is still the norm for the most part. Tonight I went to the toilet for a BM (adding that tmi in case it's significant), and changed my pad. Then I got back in bed and Lydia was waking up, so I fed her. While I was feeding her, I started to feel a continual flow going on. It wasn't torrential, otherwise I would have put Lydia down to investigate. But I sat there aware of it, feeding her, and getting more and more anxious. She fed from both sides, so about 20 minutes (at most) after putting the pad on, I finally got chance to check it. I had soaked through it, and onto my pyjamas, and could still feel bleeding. I changed my pad quickly, found some clean pjs and got back in bed, soooo nervous. I hate bleeding. :( In the end I phoned Heather. She's in the middle of her craft fair still, but I knew I could ring her at home as usual in the evening, for advice or reassurance. I had probably half as much blood on the new pad by then, but it seemed to be slowing. Heather said I should ring the labour ward to speak to a midwife about it, so I did, and the midwife thought it was probably okay, but that I should call back if it hadn't slowed down in an hour, or if it got heavier. It hasn't stopped completely (though I guess it wouldn't anyway, entirely) but it has slowed down, so I haven't called back.
The other thing is that I am feeling more and more anaemic as the days go by. I feel quite weak and breathless getting out of bed and just walking downstairs or to the other bedroom, and I didn't feel that way a few days ago even. I feel more tired, and Neil says I am "all one colour" - he mentioned that the last couple of evenings, in a concerned way, but I felt okay then. Tonight I feel quite light-headed and just like I really need to fix my iron again. So I'm wary, with more blood loss than usual. I was borderline anaemic before giving birth, and then my blood loss was 350mls - not the smallest amount, but not excessive either. I've had smaller blood losses at birth, for sure. Arthur's was 400mls, the most I've lost at any of my births, and I was anaemic (I think) after his birth. Anyway, so then to have heavier blood loss AFTER the birth as well... I am a bit worried about it, because that's my nature, but I'm going to do what Heather said next, which is to ring the midwives tomorrow and request a home visit to do a blood test for my iron levels. I would also appreciate a check in general, because they weighed Lydia and did her heel prick test, but they didn't actually check me at all! So I would like it if they did that too!
Okay, Lydia is awake now and it's late, so I need to finish this and go and get ready for bed, so I can feed her and fall asleep myself! I will update again when I can! :)

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

One week old already!

A whole week has gone by! I can't believe my tiny girl is a week old already! I have been gradually adding to my birth story (in draft), bit by bit as I've had a moment, and each day I'm getting a little more done. I really want to write a proper full birth story this time, as I haven't really got round to it that last two times, although at least I did write a birth story to some degree for them. I keep thinking I'll write it TODAY and post it! But I'm being really long-winded with the detail, and enjoying doing that, and there are only short times when I have both my hands free for typing. I can't stand typing when I have only one hand to do it with, and a lot to say! ;) Hence no updates until now.

Right now, Lydia is sleeping on the bed next to me, wrapped up in a little fleece blanket. She's been asleep for an hour or so, and I've managed to email some photos to my parents (at last!) and have a long talk with Neil, but I've only just now realised I could have been finishing my birth story!! When I came to do it, I decided I probably won't have long now before Lydia wakes up, so I will just throw in a quick general update here for now instead. With photos, if I can get those up in time! :)

Here's a photo taken on the 25th, so I guess she was 2 days old (though she was born at almost midnight on the 23rd, so she wasn't quite that old yet!) - I was holding her in my lap, fast asleep, and just GAZING at her, and marvelling that she's REAL, and she's here and she's mine! I just couldn't believe it, it was such an amazing feeling! So I took a photo to capture the memory of the moment:

And here's a photo of her from earlier that day. She wasn't all that settled so most of the photos I took didn't turn out great, but I took them to show my mum how she looked in purple/lavender - my mum is shopping!! :)

I am SO enjoying the girly clothes!! :) Lydia doesn't have a big selection of clothes in her current size - MUCH to my delight, she did fit the tiny baby size clothes after all! :) She only weighed 7lbs 5oz at birth, and "tiny baby" fits up to 7lbs 8oz, but some brands are quite generous as well. There's absolutely no point in me putting her in the newborn size (up to 10lbs) because they swamp her, and the shoulders slip off her tiny slender shoulders, etc! Bless her, she's so tiny! I adore having tiny babies - I like big chubbly babies too, but when I have a tiny one, I get to have both! ;) They start tiny and go through the bigger, chubbier stage after that. Even though she's near the top end of the weight range for the tiny baby size clothes, some of them are still a bit big on her. As far as the million cute little outfits go, nearly all of them are size newborn or above, so right now she has some sweet little girly sleepsuits, a couple of dungaree outfits and lots of whites and unisex stuff that the boys have worn (I confess I haven't put her in a single unisex outfit yet! ;) ). She has long arms though, and the sleeves on the tiny baby size clothes are a bit short. Many of the boys have had long arms as new babies too, with the same issue with clothes. Neil has longer than average arms, so it's his doing! ;)

Lydia has Neil's hands and feet - she has SUCH long fingers! Her fingernails were really long when she was born as well, and in the first two days she was quite unsettled and didn't sleep much. She breastfed almost all the time, and if she wasn't feeding she was crying, and the unsettled thing meant that she scratched her face a bit, and I had to put her in a sleepsuit with those foldover sleeves so that she couldn't scratch herself. I am always so nervous about cutting new baby nails! They are still long, but she isn't scratching herself at all. In fact, she's such a totally calm and laid-back baby now.

For the first two nights I really didn't get any sleep - none at all the first night, but for 30 minutes near the end of it, I think. Lydia fussed and was unsettled all the time, and I was a bit uncomfy from the birth still. The second night I didn't get to sleep until 3 or so in the morning, and I was starting to feel a bit frantic and desperate about getting some sleep by then! She was feeding or crying, or seeming uncomfy in her tummy all the time. Then suddenly she slept a couple of hours straight and so did I, thankfully.

I wrote the last entry here the next day, and by the end of that day, I could tell my milk was comimg in. My breasts were much more full and heavy, and I was delighted to get instant liquid when I did a quick check by hand expressing. Lydia took long swallows when she fed and seemed more settled, so I figured she must have been hungry for more than colostrum by the time the milk arrived! :) Well I think that was confirmed that night, as the two of us slept for TEN HOURS!! Such a difference compared with the nights before! Not ten hours straight of course - she woke to feed several times, but soooo peacefully. I was brought to by the sweetest thing - a pair of tiny rosebud lips sort of "pecking" hopefully at the side of my breast! Even half asleep, I still completely melted at the cuteness of it! :) No sounds with the sweet pecking as such, and I only had to position myself a bit better, tummy to tummy with my sweetie-pea, latch her on, and fall asleep again! She must have fallen asleep as she took her fill because the next thing I knew, there was that darling nibbly-nibbly thing going on again and the clock said it was 2 or 3 hours later. So lovely! :)

And since then, Lydia has been a different baby! Calm, relaxed, easy-going... She feeds plenty, and sleeps when she isn't feeding, usually for 2-3 hours at a time. I know it's still early days, but I'm hoping she'll stay laid-back and happy! She has alert times as well, for a short little while before sleeping again.

Here is a photo of her being peacefully asleep the day after my milk came in (look how long her fingers are!!):

That night I got photos of Arthur and Matthew holding Lydia at bedtime. They all love her SO much! Arthur is especially taken with her and constantly asks to hold her. The first time I handed her over to him, I was astounded by how confidently he handled her! He just took her from me in a second, no hesitation or awkwardness about where to put his hands or how to pick her up. He handled her like an adult, and an experienced one at that! Look at him loving his baby sister... :)

And here's Matthew holding her. Nathan was patiently waiting his turn, bless him - sooo keen to hold her and have his photo taken too, but things were melting down in the bedroom and Neil needed everyone to come to bed NOW, in the end, so Nathey had to wait until the next day.

And there's much more to write, but Lydia is awake and fussing now so I will stop, post this, and hope to add more tomorrow.

Thanks for all the lovely comments and congrats! :)

Friday, 25 October 2013

Lydia is here! :)

I had a baby!!! :D I wrote this last night (she was born the night before - 13 minutes to midnight on Wednesday 23rd October) but I REALLY wanted to write about her birth with it, otherwise I knew i would struggle to actually get around to it if I just did a quick birth announcement here first. But alas, I never did get time to finish the birth story part, so I cut it out of this post and pasted it in draft form in a new post. Hopefully I'll get chance to finish it soon and post it separately.

Anyway! Baby news, yay!! Lydia Jane was born at home on Wednesday 23rd October, at 11.47pm. She weighs 7lbs 5oz (3315g) and measures 51cm (20 inches) long. Here are three photos which I took at lunch time the next day (yesterday) at about 13 hours old - first opportunity with enough daylight and Lydia actually sleeping and not feeding or crying! ;)

Labour and birth went well, no complications, tiny first degree tear which didn't need stitches, exactly the birth I hoped for with zero direction and me feeling like a ROCK STAR immediately afterwards (I think I did actually say to everyone within 20 seconds of pushing her out, "I rock!!!" lol!). She's HERE, and oh she's a GIRL, really and truly (I keep checking!), and all the boys are so ecstatic, and we love her. She cries a LOT and seems uncomfy in her tummy quite a bit, and it groans horribly like she has wind or gunk or something she can't shift. She feeds most of the time, and hasn't let me sleep much more than a few hours in the almost-48 since she arrived, but hey ho, I am able to rest up in bed, and I feel pretty good.

More soon! I'm eager to share more detail, just finding the time is difficult since she is in my arms all the time and if I put her down she doesn't stay asleep for long - see, she is now making little squeally snorty noises and NOT looking happy! ;) So I will pick her up and feed her again. My milk isn't in yet, but I would think it might come in tomorrow sometime, or even overnight if it gets a move on. Sometimes my milk has been in by now, with other babies, so it shouldn't be long since she's feeding a lot of the time. Okay, cross baby - going now! :) Thanks for the comments and for keeping up, especially since I've kept you waiting if you don't know me at Facebook! Sorry! :/

I will post the birth story and more photos soon!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

40 weeks!! Due today! :)

Yay, I've arrived!! Allllll these weeks and months, and I've finally arrived at the coveted date on the calendar - October 22nd 2013, my due date!

And no baby yet! ;)

I guess the sweep didn't work for me this time, as the 24 hours have elapsed without me being in labour. I have been SORE all day,  not as I expected in my cervix and general nether regions, but like pre-labour in my lower back and bump. My lower back feels like a constant period cramp, allll day long. It hasn't let up at all, and most of the time my lower bump (underneath) feels the same, like a dull period cramp. That's all encouraging, but it hasn't progressed to anything, and is still exactly the same, just sore. It's hard to move about at all with this kind of discomfort, but I'm getting on with it. Because nothing was happening, Neil went to work this morning, which was a bit of a disappointment, especially since I was sore and really really REALLY not in the mindset to get on with a normal day of parenting my little ones on my own.

Matthew spilled some orange juice at breakfast time, and I lost my temper INSTANTLY and shouted at him in such a horrid way! :( I felt so bad, even seconds later as I was wiping it up, and he looked taken aback. I apologised, but then went out of the kitchen to calm down and became unexpectedly really tearful and felt absolutely torn up inside, like I'd done something DREADFUL that I could never forgive myself for! When he came out of the kitchen I called him over to me and gave him a cuddle and said I was so sorry and I didn't mean to hurt his feelings, and he said, "I forgive you, Mummy." and went off happily, but it took me a while to get over the hurty feelings inside. :( I guess I have hormones!

After that I really tried to pull myself together for the rest of the day ahead - it was a good kick up the backside for me, and the rest of the day went MUCH better. I have had Braxton Hicks contractions all day, but randomly and just here and there mostly. Sometimes several in a row, especially when breastfeeding Elijah (lots of times today as he refused to settle for his nap twice, and then finally went down in the afternoon instead, woke grumpy (the joys of afternoon naps versus morning ones!) and thus wanted to breastfeed a lot in the afternoon) - breastfeeding actually produced some pretty good contractions, and most of them have hurt somewhat because I'm already sore and crampy, but otherwise they haven't been real labour contractions or anything, and they've faded off quickly.

This evening I had got the boys ready for bed when Neil came home from work, and he was just sorting out all the toothbrushes for the next stage of bedtime prep. I was sitting on the sofa with Matthew, and he was talking to me about something when Benjamin came over and interrupted. I asked him to wait and he immediately melted down into a mega tantrum right in my ear (this is typical of Benjamin lately, and rather wearing!), and at that moment I started to have what I thought was a Braxton Hicks contraction, but quickly became aware that I couldn't stand Benjamin's noise or movement next to me. I got very firm with him and he moved away, but then Matthew resumed talking about what he had been telling me before, calmly and normally, and I realised that the contraction was intense like the previous ones hadn't been. It felt like a proper labour contraction, hot and painful and too tight, and I discovered I couldn't concentrate on what he was saying at all until it was passing. So that's new! But that was that - no more after it. Odd.

Putting them to bed was difficult because of how sore and uncomfy I was, and afterwards I came downstairs and sat on the sofa to relax a bit. I had felt all day like I was too busy for my body to be able to "concentrate" on going into labour, like the busy-ness of running around after 6 kiddies was actually going to be a preventative thing for labour. It doesn't sound rational, but all day that's how I felt. I kept myself busy with productive things, the usual stuff with the boys, and then I made 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies, and a lemon cake with icing and sprinkles! :) I may have eaten a few cookies... ;) The boys were ecstatic about this, and those cookies will not last long: 6 boys + 1 snack time + 1 dessert after dinner = 1 dozen cookies less already! Plus the, ahem, *few* I ate. I think they'll all be gone by the end of tomorrow! Kind of hoping that there will be a reason for some of them to be eaten by the odd midwife or two before then...

Anyway, this evening I have had Braxton Hicks fairly constantly, which I'm not surprised by. They are sore and tight, not necessarily because they are early labour or progressing anywhere, but probably more because I am just feeling constantly periody even without contractions. It's not mild period-type pain either. I'm trying to remember if I have had this before in previous pregnancies at this stage, and I think feeling crampy and periody has happened before, but I don't recall it being this bad or for this long without something happening. I've been checking my pantyliner every time I go to the toilet, and to my surprise I haven't had the slightest spot of any sort since my sweep! Not a thing, and no show of any sort either. I had a little bleeding at the actual sweep, so I was expecting to at least see a little spotting afterwards, but nope! At least now I'm past the 24 hours, if I have a show (particuarly a bloody show) now, it will mean something again! :)

I am feeling a bit yucky and queasy this evening, and tried to eat dinner but just did not want it, so I ended up leaving it. I don't want to push things if labour is around the corner - lots of women throw up in early labour (or later even), and especially after trying to eat something. I always err on the side of caution given my anxiety about vomiting, and eat NOTHING once I know I'm heading into labour, even very early on. So if I'm crampy and stuff, and feeling queasy and my tummy just says NO to what I'm trying to eat, I will not eat! I'll get hungry if I need food, I'm sure, so it's fine.

Right now I am going to go to bed - or maybe have a quick bath to see if it helps my crampy backache before I get in bed... That might be a good idea, and it's what Heather would recommend I'm sure.

I have never laboured at night before, except when I was induced late in the day with Nathan. Naturally, I haven't done that. I prefer daytime labour! Night time makes me feel uneasy for some reason. BUT, having said that, it's so quiet and undisturbed at night, and there's so much chaos in the house during the day to distract me, even behind closed doors upstairs. There always has been with homebirths, but obviously more so with each new baby, as there are more kiddies downstairs to make noise! ;) So I wonder if my body might choose to do that after all this time? There is a sense of relief thinking that the boys would all be quietly sleeping, and my labours are pretty quick now so HOW LOVELY it would be to put them to bed at night, and when they wake up they have a new baby sister?!! Arthur told me that would be so lovely, tonight at bedtime. He is constantly asking me (like every 2 hours) if I have any signs of Lydia coming yet. It's driving me a liiiittle bit crazy, but so far I'm tolerating it okay! ;) He says he just can't help asking all the time, because he's just so excited and constantly wondering if it might be today, or tonight, or tomorrow. I am starting to find the question, "Mummy, when do you think she'll come?!" a bit wearing now though, as I can't answer it! I always answer the same (along the lines of I don't know, or, there's no way to know when, only God knows her birthday, we'll have to wait and see, etc.) but the question is still asked many times a day all the same! If I'm still here waiting in a week, that is going to be one question that pushes my buttons just TOO much, even from my sweet eager children, I think! ;)

I am happy waiting at the moment, after my initial "blip" this morning, eager to meet her and have the labour and birth over with (looking forward to it in other ways too, though!), but also just happy to wait until the day that God chose arrives. I know that will change as the week goes by, because Heather is available only until Saturday, and MAYBE Sunday until late afternoon, if she gets enough preparation done before then, for her craft fair. IF. Sarah, the back-up doula, is on call for me officially from Sunday, and Heather is busy for a full week from that point. So I know I am going to find it almost impossible to relax about still not having gone into labour as the weekend approaches - even though I know it's a good possibility with my history. I will only be 40 weeks and 5 days on Sunday, and I have had two babies beyond that time, and two more only the day before that point, so... I am so hoping and praying that I won't need to worry about it by then though, and that I'll be snuggling my new baby girl instead! :) I am putting it out of my head until then - no point thinking on it now. Who knows what tomorrow or the next day will bring, and I'm SO crampy, that I hope either that eases off or turns into something SOON, because it's really really sore and uncomfortable. In my personal experience, it's pre-labourish, not late-pregnancy-ish. But I'm often proven wrong by my own body, haha! ;) So we'll see.

I meant to do a belly pic for my due date, but it's late and I'm too sore to be bothered to go upstairs for my camera! :P So hopefully I'll still get one done before she's born, but not today. I am having another painful Braxton Hicks contraction right now and it's distracting (yay!), but I'm going to try having a bath to see if things will ease up so I'm more comfy for sleep. I will update tomorrow! :)

Monday, 21 October 2013

39 weeks and 6 days - midwife appt update

[Started late afternoon, finished late evening!] Just a quick post in case I don't feel up to it later. The midwife has been this afternoon, and done my due date antenatal check. Urine was fine, blood pressure was 94/60 (pretty low!) but she said I haven't been drinking enough (true), so I'm trying to drink more now and hopefully it'll come up a little. It's low for me! But low is good. :)

Heather was here for the appointment too, and Neil stayed home and took the boys out to the park as they arrived for the appt. The boys have been a NIGHTMARE today, really really impossible and rude and going out of their way to cause trouble - the older kids more than the younger ones, frustratingly. Urgh.

We've cleaned a bit more in my room, and cleared everything that isn't birth supplies out of the room. I still have to hang the curtains back up that I washed, but otherwise the room is nice and ready for having a baby in! :) I hope everything goes smoothly and that I will have a homebirth. I love having homebirths!

Mandi felt my tummy and immediately commented on how the baby feels like she's grown since last time, which was nice! I do feel like both she and I have had a big growth spurt this past week! My tummy seems so much more round and large just today and yesterday, and I feel awkward moving about in any way, even just getting up from sitting and walking across the room.

Lydia is still head down, and still 3/5 of her head palpable above my pubic bone, so she's nice and stable. She had her back on my right side for the appt and feet pushing out on the left. She does change sides now and then, but is nearly always with her back on my left side and feet pushing out to the right. She IS bigger, but the bump measurement still came out as only 37.5cm (which correlates to the number of weeks pregnant, so the bump measurement is small for my gestation). It has come up from 36cm at 38 weeks though, and we know that she was growing fine at the scan I had then. Her heartrate was 135 to 140, what it has ALWAYS always been every single time I have ever had it checked from about 20 weeks onwards! Such a steady girlie! :)

Then Mandi asked if I wanted to go ahead with the sweep, and I said yes. It wasn't so bad. Heather held my hand, but it didn't really hurt, it was just uncomfortable. I am 2cm dilated, and my cervix is soft but fairly thick still - she wrote 1cm thick in my notes, so there is still some effacing to be done yet. It starts out at about 4cm thick though, so there has been some progress! ;) Mandi said my cervix was favourable enough for a sweep, so I said okay. She checked Lydia's heartrate again afterwards in case the sweep bothered her, but although her little feet were shovelling about a bit, her heartrate was still 135 to 140, so she was happy and unbothered by it! :) Hopefully she'll be this laid-back about labour and birth as well.

So now I wait. Mandi is on call tonight and working tomorrow, but then that's it until Saturday I think. There is a 30-40% chance of a sweep "working" - that is, starting labour within 24 hours. My own personal stats on it are good, but I know it doesn't mean a thing really. I also won't know if any bleeding is a bloody show (exciting!) or just the side-effects of the sweep (UNexciting!). She did mention that there was some blood from the sweep, but that's normal and I may have spotting for a bit today, and I shouldn't worry about it.

Last night I had nosebleeds in the night! I couldn't sleep until crazy late again, and then woke a fair bit, as I was a bit sneezy and allergy-ish. At one point I woke and my nose was itchy so I just instinctively pressed my nostril shut on the itchy side, and then felt this "swill" of hot fluid, so sat up quickly. Yeurgh. I never get nosebleeds that run or pour, in my whole life, except for during Arthur's pregnancy, but that was due to a pregnancy polyp which (very rare!) grew in my nostril and ended up blocking it and needed surgical removal at 36 weeks! It was really prone to bleeding, and I'm suddenly paranoid that another one is growing this time around, however extremely rare it was to have it happen before. There doesn't seem to be anything there though, and I have had little nosebleeds a few weeks ago when I was at the end of a cold and blowing my nose a lot - not running nosebleeds though. It took a while to stop last night, and wasn't very nice, and then I didn't sleep well because I was anxious about how I should lie and trying to make sure nothing put pressure on my nose. I woke a couple of hours later and touched my nose by mistake and the pouring nosebleed started all over again. Weird, and not fun! I was worried that it would be an ongoing problem during labour, but I've been really careful with it today and so far no new bleeding. It's difficult as I'm a bit sneezy and my nose is running a bit (allergy to something or other), but I daren't blow or wipe it! Awkward! :/ Hopefully it'll heal up and I won't have another episode of it tonight (or during labour, whenever that might be). I hate nosebleeds!

Well, it's now really late, and I need to go to bed, so I haven't got time to write any more really. By the boys' bedtime I was really feeling sore in my bump and lower back, and didn't want to move around much at all. I was having Braxton Hicks quite a bit but they hurt - I think because I'm generally sore and aggravated, probably, rather than because they're early labour contractions.

Elijah wouldn't go to sleep tonight. He had his usual nap late morning, and then they went to the park and he fell asleep on the way home (around 5.30pm). If he naps later than 3pm it's ALWAYS bad news for bedtime! He did that last week one day and was up until 10.30pm or something crazy, despite our efforts to get him to sleep. Tonight was different. Once the others were trying to get to sleep around 8pm, he had to go downstairs with Neil so he didn't disturb them. This is usual, but usually he's tired and goes off in Neil's arms while he walks Elijah about to some music. Tonight he cried and screamed and sobbed, REALLY distressed. After I finished putting the others to bed, I came down and gave him a cuddle, took him back up to bed and breastfed him, but he was still wide awake and wanting to climb all over his brothers' beds, so back down we went. He screamed and cried in the same distressed way for a total of about 3 hours straight this evening. It's 11.20pm now and Neil just took him upstairs asleep in his arms (at last) to put him into bed a few minutes ago (hence I can now go online and finish this!). He had snuggles with me on the sofa and various breastfeeds (all of which gave me some good strong Braxton Hicks contractions!), but basically it got too sore for me to continue after a while, or he'd want to get down and wander about and Neil and I are both really tired and couldn't just sit up with him while he played into the night! So we continued with the walking, feeding, etc. to try and settle him. Poor boy cried and screamed until he was nearly sick, but he was always in arms. Not like him... We turned all the lights off in the house eventually and walked him in the dark kitchen while the tumble dryer was running. It's like being back in the newborn colic days with him tonight - he seems okay in himself, just distressed about the sleep thing tonight. Maybe it's relevant to pre-labour things - that's why I'm writing about it. I remember after my sweep with Samuel, Benjamin spent most of the night crying, waking frequently and wanting me all night long. I couldn't go to him because I was back and forth to the loo with diarrhoea and other such lovely pre-labour fun! ;) I am hoping for none of that this time!

I did feel like my bowel was very uncomfy along with the general post-sweep discomfort and such, and went to the loo in the end this evening, and now I feel less uncomfy in that department, so that's good. I really need to get some sleep now, as I'm tired out. I have a sinking feeling about tomorrow, that I'll wake in the morning with a quiet womb (been there, done that!), and Neil will go to work, and my kids will be impossible to manage, and Elijah will be sleep deprived to a crazy degree, and I'll still feel really uncomfy and exhausted... Not sure how much I want to take part in that day, right now! :/ Plus it's always so discouraging when a sweep doesn't work, especially if there's a big reason (like Heather only being around for a few more days!!!).

Ah well. My nose still feels funny and "delicate" like I still need to be careful or it'll bleed again. It was horrid last night, so I'm really hoping for a nosebleed-free night tonight. I'm going to bed now, and will update tomorrow, no doubt - whatever happens! :)

Sunday, 20 October 2013

39 weeks and 5 days - nearly there! :)

Here I am again for a general update! :) Still pregnant, of course! The full moon finished yesterday and had no effect on me as usual! ;)

A couple of nights ago I asked people on Facebook to send me links to really lovely positive birth stories, preferably homebirths. I know there are a zillion positive hospital birth stories out there, and ones with interventions, pain relief, etc. But I really need to read stories that are all about totally 100% natural birth, the way it was meant to be, you know? No hospitals, no machines, no pain relief, just getting in tune with your body, going with it without anyone intervening or interrupting the process, and being somewhere familiar (ideally) like home. That's how I do birth, and I was nervous about how I do birth (!) so I wanted to read some soothing stories to get my mindset right again. I really wasn't enjoying NOT looking forward to labour and birth, and wanted to get to that place of feeling eager and excited to give birth. I didn't want to go into labour with a sense of dread.

Well, I got a lovely link from an online friend which took me to a blog written by a professional photographer/videographer. She does all sorts, but especially births, and there are some lovely births on her website (under "clients"). I ended up watching them all, and it was so lovely! Most were home waterbirths. Some were just photos, but there were several videos. The link I was sent was to a video titled "Welcoming Theodore", which is SO GORGEOUS that everyone must watch it! Anyway, the end result is that I went to bed that night feeling much more at peace and soothed over the thought of birth - hooray! :) I kept thinking of those pictures and videos the next day (yesterday), planning to watch them again if I needed to come the evening, but I didn't. Tonight I went to church on my own, for the evening service. I haven't been in a few weeks and have missed it - we're trying to avoid germs these last few weeks! Samuel STILL has a cough from the last cold, but everyone else seems finally well. I really wanted to go and make sure my focus was freshly on God for the week ahead, and worship God with others, and receive some prayer. The bonus was that Heather was going, so it was nice to be with her, more so than usual - comforting somehow, because of the stage I've got to, maybe? Anyway, I had a lovely time and really felt God pouring peace into me during the worship time. I went forward for prayer, actually the whole church did tonight! Everyone was prayed for, and the lady who prayed for me said she had a picture in her mind when she prayed, of my house. She didn't know my house at all, but she saw Jesus standing in the centre of my home, in the kitchen or living room (the centre of my home is right between those two rooms). She saw the activities of our days as a sort of sped-up time-lapse type video, high speed blurs of children's antics, meals, activities, discipline issues, bedtimes, etc. All whizzing about, but with Jesus standing still right there in the centre of it all. She said she felt it was about the fact that Jesus was RIGHT THERE with me in my home at all times. That he is always there to call upon for whatever is going on in my home at any time. I told her (she didn't know, apart from that I was obviously very pregnant!) that I was due to have my baby at home in just a few days, and I had been really really anxious about the birth. I am so thankful for that image, as I will try to hold onto it when I'm in labour, and hopefully it will be really helpful to me.

This weekend has been pretty good for getting things checked off the to-do list. We are finally down to a list that's about 2/3 of an A4 sheet of paper long! :) That feels good, considering the length of the lists I've written every weekend back to the middle of September!

This weekend we have worked mainly on cleaning. The weather has been soooo damp and cold and rainy, and the humidity in the house so high with the tumble dryer NEVER STOPPING, and my room (where I'm planning to have a baby) hasn't been actually CLEANED in absolutely ages. So I noticed that it was starting to smell mildewy, ew! :/ Neil cleaned the walls from top to bottom with a specialist mould/mildew cleaner which we have since aired out with the window wide open! I had allergies sleeping in there last night, so today Neil rinsed the walls down again today. It smells normal in there now! :) I've cleaned all the furniture and washed the curtains hot enough to kill dust mites. They need hanging still, but I don't mind sleeping without curtains tonight. I polyfilled the holes in the wall from shelves that were taken down YEARS ago, and the ones in the bathroom that certain children have been digging with pencils (sigh), and then I painted over the dry, sanded polyfilla this afternoon. It feels great to get that done! :)

My "in case" hospital bag is packed, the homebirth supplies are piled in two bags and a washing up tub (!) by the radiator at the foot of my bed, and Lydia's clothes are neatly folded into the chest of drawers by my bed. Yesterday I took a bath when the boys were at the park with Neil. I rarely get chance to do any sort of pampering, but yesterday I had such an urge to get myself ready for birth in a pampering sort of way. I shaved my legs (gasp!) and underarms, and exfoliated my feet. I cut my toenails, removed the old nail polish, and applied two coats of soft pearlescent pink. It seemed appropriate, and just exactly the colour I felt like wearing on my toes for my baby girl's arrival! :) I didn't feel like adding sparkles, unlike last time round with Elijah. Pearly pink is perfect this time!

I used cocoa butter silk moisturiser from my knees down and paid particular attention to my feet, as they get neglected and are usually all dry and rough! I had so much fun! :) I really want to cut my hair, because it has got SO long suddenly, and it looks straggly and out of condition (because it is), but I don't think I will get time to do that. The poor boys are a higher priority for their haircuts, and I am not sure if I'll get to theirs either! The shaggiest boys are Arthur, Matthew, and Nathan. Samuel just had a haircut, and Benjamin's was only a few weeks ago. Elijah's was cut a few weeks ago too, but could do with another as it's getting longer in the back now. I know it will be many weeks before I am able to get around to haircuts again after Lydia is born, so I really want to fit it in before she's born... but I'm doubtful about it right now. I've lost the clippers so using scissors only is going to make it a much longer job!

I freecycled a pushchair that we no longer need today, and that felt good too! Neil cleared the landing at the top of the stairs (there were some things waiting to go in the loft), and cleaned cobwebs from high places, and did wonders in the kitchen with the cluttered surfaces! :) The only things I need to do before having a baby are to clear the small piles of clutter at the corner bend in the stairs. The midwives get fidgetty about stuff there, in case I need to be "stretchered out" in case of emergency, from upstairs. I also want to declutter the surfaces in the living room, just because it looks messy and I hate it looking messy, especially when lots of people are going to be in and out of our house pretty soon!

There are a few more things I want to freecycle, to get rid of them quickly. I am freecycling our old bouncy chair as it's a bit tired and old now, and - slightly embarrassed to admit this in public! - it's dark blue with animals on. I am tempted by a pink replacement, but I am going to be sensible and replace it with a gender neutral bouncy chair, which is light in colour and has a vibrate function (apparently vital for my babies, especially if colicky!). Then I have somewhere to put my sweetie down in the early months when I have to attend to something and a big brother can watch her. I don't do at all well with baby wearing, much as I love the idea. I have washed the carriers and wraps that I have all the same, but I am not expecting to use them much, if at all. The Hug-a-Bub is the most likely, but I find it so frustrating when I'm wearing a baby, to be restricted from cuddling and breastfeeding my other littlest children on the spur of the moment, and also it's just much less comfy for me. It's less convenient to have to do things with one arm (constantly holding or carrying my baby in the other), but I prefer it anyway, and like the option to put the baby down instantly if I need to for a moment (hence the bouncy chair). I hope Lydia is happy with it - I always worry that they won't, and that they'll be the kind of baby who isn't happy unless attached to me in a sling, but so far I've not had any babies like that. I have had two (or three?) who hated being worn actually! ;) Anyway, bouncy chair - bidding on eBay currently! :) It's not urgent until Neil goes back to work after Lydia is born (he gets 2 weeks paternity leave), because for that time I will be blissfully occupied in my bed with my baby permanently against my front! I can't wait! How I look forward to that precious two weeks every time now! Neil is so wonderful to allow me to do it, as he has a BIG job of taking on full responsibility for 6 little boys - we started it when Benjamin was born and have done it with every baby since. I recover more quickly that way, and am way better off at 6 weeks than if I hadn't spent the first two mostly in bed with my new baby. The boys come upstairs any time, of course, and in the second week - near the end of it - I begin to venture downstairs more to ease back into things before Neil goes back to work. But Neil is fantastic. He brings me my meals in bed. He takes the boys out. He maintains the housework, to the best of his ability. He deals with bedtime for the first few nights on his own until I am up to joining in again (depends on the birth experience - last time I think I was back nursing the littlest on the 2nd night after Elijah was born). I sleep, breastfeed, eat, drink, rest, read a lot of books (I get a pile of books ready in advance, and look forward to my annual (haha!) opportunity to read for most of my pregnancy!), and do things online. Neil and I eat together in the evenings on the bed, with the sleeping baby on my front. It's such a precious time, and I am so excited to have the privilege of doing it again soon! :)

Well, tonight I am feeling very much at peace with the thought of giving birth this week. I don't TRULY trust it, but have a calm gut-feeling that it WILL be this week. Tomorrow is my midwife appointment, and I have decided to get the sweep after all. I also decided to check my own cervix after my bath yesterday, and was encouraged to actually FIND it, lol! Often I've checked my cervix at the end of pregnancy and found it discouraging because I couldn't even find it - meaning it was waaaaay up at the top or posterior (not pre-labourish, because it moves anterior for labour and birth). I couldn't reach all of it, so I couldn't ascertain dilation. I'm sure I am dilated somewhat - I can't not be, having had six babies already. The great news was that it's anterior, and very soft. Quite thick, but the softness is a very good sign. Mandi will check it anyway tomorrow before doing the sweep, as it has to be a "favourable cervix" to make it worth bothering with a sweep in the first place. 2-3cm dilated is the ideal, and soft. So I am thinking it probably IS favourable for a sweep right now. I know the sweep may well not work anyway, but I feel quietly optimistic if my cervix is ripe for it. My three previous sweeps resulted in three new babies within 24 hours, so I am hopeful. My due date is Tuesday 22nd, and since I will have a sweep at my "due date" appointment on the Monday, it's possible that I might actually have a due date baby this time! :) Wouldn't that be fun?! According to the scans I've had, TODAY is my due date, but yeah. I'm going with my own dates anyway! ;)

I have had a very quiet womb since I last updated, but today I have had more Braxton Hicks than usual, and during the church service this evening I noticed I was having uncomfortable BHs about every 10 minutes, quite regular for me. Maybe it was just that I was quiet and still for an extended period of time, so I was more able to notice them? I never have that opportunity otherwise, so that could be it. Lydia has been quieter than usual yesterday and the first part of today. She has moved enough but it hasn't been her norm. I started to get a bit concerned yesterday evening, but she started moving about as I got to that stage of thinking, so that was reassuring. Tonight she is back to more of her normal activity levels, shovelling about energetically and hurting my sides and cervix! :)

I weighed myself today as I looked in the mirror and realised I look much more "weighty" than I did a couple of weeks ago, mostly in the face. That's always a good sign that I've had a growth spurt! ;) Sure enough I now weigh 12 stone exactly, which I think is a total of 36lbs (if my starting weight was 9st 7lbs like I *think* it was). Up 8lbs from my last weigh-in, whenever that was (33 weeks??). I'm glad to be at the end of my pregnancy now, as I don't really want to gain any more after this!

I am wondering if Lydia will weigh about 8lbs? Going by the growth scan at 38 weeks (approx 6lbs 12oz), I am guessing that she has gained another half pound each week since, which would put her approaching the 8lb mark now, maybe? I can't wait to find out! :)

I had a visit from an old school friend on Friday, who has two little girls, aged 3, and 12 weeks. She brought the girls, and handed her baby girl to me straight away, saying that I needed some practice cuddling a baby girl! ;) The boys were very taken with her, and Arthur whispered to me that she was so cute that he almost wanted to keep her, and he was very glad that we were about to have a baby girl of our own! Bless his sweet heart! :) The funniest part was when my friend changed the baby's nappy on the living room floor. All six of my children crowded round and stared in amazement (the variety of expressions was hysterical!) as she had her nappy changed, even Elijah! They all know about the physical differences between girls and boys, and the proper names for those bits, etc. They've not actually SEEN the difference though, as they've only got brothers! ;) Benjamin came to me looking quite bothered, while the nappy change was still going on, whispering, "She hasn't got a willy!!" I reminded him why, but he still seemed perturbed by the actual evidence, lol! Nathan came to me later and said that he noticed she didn't have a willy, as well, but he told me he knew it was because she was a girl. Samuel and Elijah didn't say or do anything, but both wore a very disturbed expression as they watched the nappy change, lol! It was so funny to watch them! ;) Willies are very important to little boys, and it must be a TERRIBLE thing as far as they are concerned, if you don't have one! It'll soon become normal for them, I'm sure! ;)

I can't think what else... I have slept badly most nights recently. My restless leg syndrome is back to really bothersome and I have had a hard time falling asleep before 2.30am most nights. It's so QUIET without the fan on now that Elijah is in with the boys. I don't put it on because he's not there to need the white noise in case of being disturbed by his brothers (since he's in there with them now!), and also I want to hear if he needs me in the night. By 2.30am if I am still not able to sleep, I put it on the quietest setting and that seems to help me get to sleep. I guess I am too accustomed to the white noise to manage when it's properly quiet now! Shame, because going to sleep in a silent house is lovely!

Then I wake several times a night, usually because of sharp ligament pains, needing a wee, or some other random thing. Allergy bothered me all night last night, and the last two nights, Elijah has woken and cried, and not settled for Neil on one occasion each night, so I have been through to him and given him a breastfeed to settle him. He slept through the night for the TWO nights in a row before that, which is amazing for Elijah! :) He has already woken this evening and been very upset with Neil trying to settle him, so I've already breastfed him back to sleep tonight. Hopefully he'll get used to not feeding at night pretty quickly, and settling with Neil's efforts quickly too, as I can't go to him in the first few nights at least, after having a baby.

I have had a couple of nights of AWFUL trapped wind over the top of my bump, and I can't shift it for anything, so it just sits there sharp and awful, and invades my dreams if I sleep, and wakes me frequently. My bump is so big and full of baby that there isn't much room for air to shift if it's trapped - I seem to recall this from the end of previous pregnancies. Urgh. I hope and pray that I don't have that going on during labour, because it's such a sharp pain that sometimes I am not sure how to deal with it, and if I had contractions on top of it I am pretty sure I would find it unbearable! Hopefully it won't happen again tonight.

It's so hard to get up from anywhere, especially snuggling with my little ones in their beds at bedtime. The ligament pains in my sides, running round to the underside of my bump, are awful, and it's hard to shift position to get up, even if I'm reeeeally careful, without searing pain which doesn't fade away fast enough once I'm up! I still have lingering ligament pain right now from getting up from Elijah's bed 10 minutes ago. It's definitely time for my little miss to arrive! :)

Well it's late now that I've been to Elijah, so I need to go to bed (and hopefully to sleep) to be ready for tomorrow. I'm so thankful that Neil has decided to stay home from work tomorrow. He is going to take the boys out, as we were so busy cleaning today, and it absolutely poured with sideways rain as well (with thunder and lightning!) so the boys didn't go out today. I don't know what time my midwife appointment will be until she rings me in the morning to confirm - it's usually after she finishes her antenatal clinic in the afternoon, from 2 or 3pm, that she comes to do home visits, but last time she had a good window around 11am, so she came then. I am going to ask if she would mind coming in the afternoon though (after talking to Heather at church tonight) because in the past, when I've had my sweeps, they've been in the afternoons. With Matthew, I had the opportunity for a fairly good night's sleep that night before contractions started in the morning. With Samuel, contractions started within 20 minutes of the sweep, and I had a bad bad bad night of almost no sleep, painful cervix and erratic contractions, and diarrhoea and nausea all night long. The good thing was that proper labour got going from first thing in the morning and so I laboured and birthed during the day. With Elijah, I had a good night after my sweep, no contractions in the morning until I breastfed Samuel for his morning nap, and so I laboured and birthed quickly after a good rest and some breakfast. I much prefer to get a good night's sleep before dealing with labour! So I wonder - IF the sweep works - if I have a sweep in the morning, might labour be kicking in during the night and then I'll have to deal with that when my body really needs to be sleeping or resting. I would rather the sweep later in the day and the chance of some sleep that night before all the action starts, if possible. I hope it DOES work now, even though I feel apprehensive with how REALISTIC and SOON that is!!! Eep!

I have a painful contraction going on at this moment, and I had one like this about 10 minutes ago as well. Painful in that it's tight enough to feel vice-like and sore under my bump and into my groin while it's going on. That is encouraging, but I know the odd one or two don't mean anything much, on their own. I am going to bed now, and will try to update however briefly if I do go into labour before the appointment tomorrow. If I don't, I'll try to update anyway about the appointment, in the evening. I'm not sure how much I'll feel up to blogging though, so we'll see. I'll try, if there's anything to report! :)