Saturday, 19 July 2014

Continuing update on Lydia - from 4 months...

Starting to add another entry, bit by bit when I find the time. Sooooo many photos! It's hard to narrow it down to few enough to post here in one go!

So, last entry I didn't get to do any more photos than the one where Lydia turned 4 months old - seems like such a long time ago now that she's only days away from turning NINE months old!! By this time after ALL my other babies, I was already here talking about charts and tests and the first few weeks of pregnancy even! But that's another story for another post, I think. For now, photos!

I like this one, so I'm posting it! :) Lydia at 4 months old, wearing her outfit-for-the-day, while her brothers spontaneously ran for the little pink organza baggies that hold her hair clips, and laid them out on the floor to choose the perfect clip to match her outfit! LOVE this! :)

Two photos of Elijah (21 months) and Lydia (4 months) - my tiny sweet peas! In this photo, they happened to both be wearing tights (long story, but in a nutshell, Elijah climbs the safety gates with his toes, so tights were the solution while it was cold weather!) - the tights were from the same pack, sized 6-12 months! Elijah is such a peanut and Lydia is the squishiest chunkiest baby girly! The tights fit them both, but they were a little tight on her thighs! ;)

Look at those cheeks! She was getting so much stronger on her tummy by this age (4 months and 2 weeks old), but still had to dip her head a little to use "smiling" muscles! :)

Gorgeous girly at the park, a couple of days running. We FINALLY had spring weather, and went to the park every day to bask in it. She loves the outdoors - actually she's just generally a really happy girl in most situations and smiles a lot - LOVE her! :)

Took this photo specifically to make a record of her neck rolls!! Yum! :)

Lydie and Mummy! :)

I really don't have any breastfeeding photos of Lydia, which makes me sad! So I took this one - she was tired and getting cranky by the end of the afternoon, and before I called the boys to go home, I sat under a tree and breastfed her until she fell asleep. Since I had my camera round my neck, I decided to capture the moment! :)

Four months and three weeks old - this was taken when she first found her feet and started spending lots of time playing with them! :) Beautiful girly...
Another day at the park, this time 5 and a half months old, with Nathan (6), who kept asking me to let him hold her and take their picture! :)

Five months and 3 weeks old - she was allllmost at the point of being up on her hands and knees at this point, and spent lots of time each day trying hard to do it! She was being entertained by Elijah here - he kept trying to show her how to push a toy car along, and she was giving him plenty of attention over it, lol!

Then look! Later that same day, she did it! :)

Six months old today! :) This is one of Lydia's many "girly" looks, and I love that I caught it on camera for prosperity! She's SO girly, or at least, as far as I can tell from a baby... :)

Felt food! ;) Actually it was the pre-empting of a big traditional event which always takes place the day my babies turn 6 months old - their first food!

We do Baby-Led Weaning here, which means no purees, just "table" (or, real!) food that we eat. I tend to start my babies with a partly peeled banana. Here are a set of photos of the big event - Arthur holding Lydia while we got the booster seat ready for her to sit in, and then Lydia trying her first banana. She was not impressed, lol! She spat it out in the end and intentionally dropped the rest of the banana on the floor with a very cheesy expression, hehe! Incidentally, after a couple more tries, I gave up offering her food for another month-ish, because I deemed her not to be ready. From 7 months on, she has devoured everything I put in front of her with great joy, including banana, and she even cries when it's finished! :) She was definitely not ready at 6 months, but it was a fun first try all the same. :)

And after the first food ordeal, Nathan wanted to hold her and have me take their picture again. Matthew was busy loving her too, so he's in it as well. :) She is SO well loved by her brothers, and she adores them all!

Well, I know I have only gone from 4-6 months old here, and there are obviously more months yet to cover, but I think I will stop there again. There are so many photos! It's a relief to catch up a bit more, and I want to make a post in one night instead of adding bits over various evenings as I find time. And it's late and I'm tired now. I have lots I want to write about here at the moment, so I will try to be motivated to come back soon and finish catching up on Lydia - she has changed SO much in the last two months! She is eating, crawling, pulling to stand, cruising, and she even stood for a few seconds unaided this week! She cut her first tooth a couple of days ago (top middle left, like Nathan, Benjamin and Samuel), and the one next to it looks ready to come through maybe tomorrow or the next day. She is getting into things now, pulling books off shelves and eating everything off the floor - she particularly has a passion for paper! Her hair continues to grow, and the photos I have yet to post will show more of the joyous things I have been able to do with it as a result! :)
I love her and am enjoying her so very much! She's a darling. She breastfeeds on demand, still wakes at night, but I don't count - she's easy to re-settle and we co-sleep so I try to stay as asleep as possible! She naps twice a day right now - again, very easy to settle. I nurse her to sleep for naps, or we still (STILL!) use the bouncy chair to rock her off if a feed doesn't do it. She's placid, determined, happy, and girly. We all love her SOOOO! So very blessed to have our little Lydia Jane in our family. :)

Friday, 13 June 2014

Long overdue update (7 months old!)

[I started this over a week ago, and have been adding bits to it ever since, but I've had more messages since then and I'm just not getting to the end of alllll that I wanted to write and photos I wanted to post! So I'm just going to post what I've started. I originally wanted to catch RIGHT up in one post. Whenever I catch up a bit and then say I'll finish the rest soon, I never do! So I wanted to do it all in one go, but I'm exhausted and Matthew's birthday is tomorrow, and another concerned comment was left today, so here is what I've done up to 4 months old! :) ]

I'm so sorry! I have seen messages come in asking if I'm okay, when I'll update, etc. I really appreciate all the messages, and I'm truly sorry that I haven't updated in so very long. I have put it off for AGES because I knew it would take too long to update, and I've become less and less able to write a long update, so...

Lydia is 7 months old! I feel so sad that I have no way of really making up for lost time here - there's just a gap. I don't have any time or energy to post the catch-up photo posts that I originally planned to do, and now there's just NOTHING between her being 5 weeks old and now. :( Such a shame!

My health is not good. I have been to the doctor SO many times (every month) since January with this or that mystery symptom. Not little symptoms but big ones that have been a bit debilitating, or at best, extremely distracting to the things I need to do with my days (and nights). We have been trying to move house. We have travelled all over the place viewing houses with a van full of very uncooperative children, nearly every weekend for months. I think we've settled on where we are going - in fact we even made an offer on a house, but it wasn't accepted in the end. We have lost our buyer, and got another one - just today we found out that maybe she isn't as interested as she thought (?!) so we have 4 more people coming to view our house on Saturday. It's tiresome!

Samuel turned 3 in December! Nathan turned 6 in January (seems ages ago now), and last week, my tiny little 'Lijah turned two! He is weeny teeny - average height and weight of a 12-month-old, but ohhhhh the energy and the mischief! He certainly keeps me on my toes! He is talking in sentences, climbing and running, doing everything he should be. He is still breastfeeding as often as I will let him (which is any time during the DAY but not an hour or so before meals). Matthew turns 8 (!!!) the weekend after next, and then Benjamin will be 5 (!!!!!!!) a few weeks later. Everyone is doing fine.

I wish I had great things to say about all aspects of life, but I am not doing well. It's such a long, drawn-out, and frankly BORING story, that I won't dwell on it for ages. I've had gastrointestinal troubles that I've tried various meds for since January but none have really helped. Nausea has prevented me functioning for a couple of months, and the various "safe for breastfeeding" meds didn't work, but it eased off in the end, inexplicably. Dizziness and ringing ears took over (debilitating, ugh!) and meds didn't help that either. It eased off after many weeks. I have had soooo many blood tests done, even an abdominal ultrasound, and all have been normal except that my Vitamin D levels are very low (33 in UK measurement - 13 if you convert it to US measurement), and my progesterone was too low.

I had three periods like clockwork including the one I mentioned last entry, and then haven't had one since the end of January. I know many women would find that normal whilst breastfeeding, and mayyyybe it's to do with that, but I don't buy it for myself, personally. Especially since they'd started back up and I'd had several, and now nothing for 5 months. :/ I am taking high dose Vit D and natural progesterone.

I've been to see Heather's herbalist, and tried a truly revolting tincture, lol! That was supposed to help with the low progesterone and the digestive issues, but I'm not sure if it helped much. I did feel a bit better for the progesterone help, and so I switched to an oil that a sweet friend in the US bought for me and had it shipped over! :)

Two weeks ago I had been getting progressively worse. Every weekend I would be worse than the one before, in terms of energy and weakness, which were my most recent troublesome symptoms. My muscles are fatigued so quickly, and I'm exhausted to the BONE every single morning when I wake up. It has become very disheartening, and I have had terrible trouble with panic attacks and severe anxiety. I have always been an "anxious type" and have had issues with anxiety and phobias in the past since childhood, but this has been off the scale even for me, and sustained for not just days and weeks, but months! :/ It has been horrible. My thyroid is fine, I have checked off a ton of things that would leave antibodies in my blood, I am not anaemic. My white blood cell count was really low, two months running, and the doctor started to talk about referring me to a specialist because of that, but I had a retest two weeks ago and it had come right back up to normal! :) So I don't know what that was about...

Anyway. Two weekends ago, Lydia wasn't well - she had a temperature for 3 days and was really acting unwell in herself. I still have no idea why - nobody else got ill or anything! Anyway, so I had to stay home from church with her, but I remember thinking how I didn't actually feel up to going in any case. I felt like I would not have the energy to stand and hold Lydia, or to sing. Even having conversations at the end of the service felt like it would exhaust me, even if I was sitting down. I was really worried about it.

This past weekend I was worse. I was worse on the Friday than I had been the day before. Instead of feeling worse week by week, I was starting to feel worse day by day, and SO scared about it too. Saturday was worse than Friday. Sunday I was absolutely unable to go to church. My muscles were so exhausted. I have jaw pain constantly that is so bad I can't smile or talk sometimes. Other times it lifts somewhat, but it's always there. I have had TMJ (jaw joint) malfunction for yeeears, but it seems crazy bad now. Finally I got to the point where I had to begin accepting what I'd been afraid of, but which I couldn't bear to admit - that my symptoms were identical to the ones I had all those years ago when I became housebound with M.E. (CFS) for two years before we had children. :( So terrifying and heartbreaking, now that I have all these beautiful children to look after, and am completely incapable.

Monday this week, Neil went to work. I tried parenting from the sofa while I felt so awful and weak, but by 9.30am I had got myself breakfast (Neil did the boys' before he went to work), changed two nappies and wiped the bottoms of two little ones who had done poos (Samuel is potty training, very successfully! Yay!). And my body just felt in full "crash" mode. I couldn't sit upright, my torso was too weak. My tongue felt too weak to talk or swallow properly. The boys began acting up and fighting over things they were playing with, and the phone rang. I managed to get into the kitchen with the phone so that I could hear over the noise of the boys, and it was Heather calling to talk to me about various things to do with my illness. She heard their noise and asked if I ought to go and sort that out, and I said, "Um... uh.... I can't..." and burst into tears. I told her that I 'd wiped two bottoms and was done for, lol! I was just soooo struggling at that moment. She listened to me sobbing for about 10 seconds, and then said, "I'm coming. I'm coming now. I'll be there in a minute." She was here within 10 minutes and totally took over. I lay on the sofa (though she asked me if I wanted to be in bed instead - I didn't. I wanted to be involved with my littles as much as I could.) and she brought me drinks and lunch. She made lunch for the boys after giving them a talking-to about their behaviour and involving them in making lunch, laundry, doing the dishwasher, and generally tidying up. She wiped their faces and then cleared lunch away. While they ate lunch I heard her say to them, "After lunch I am going to read some stories, and then we'll go out." She's AMAAAAZING. I love her! I'm so very glad (thanks Michelle, if you're still here reading!) that I decided to get a doula all those years ago when I was expecting Benjamin!! I can't fathom what I'd have done without her since then, but God knew, and that's why! :)

Anyway, she read stories, and then walked all 6 boys to one of the local playgrounds (with the tandem pushchair), and they were out all afternoon while Lydia napped. She told me to phone Sozo Ministries, which is a Christian organisation that has a healing ministry particularly to people with M.E. I phoned them and they were SO encouraging and helpful! I have bought a set of CDs from them from a recent conference, which I'm now listening to. I am feeling way more confident to stand on God's truth for healing, and so I should be, since I was miraculously healed of M.E. twelve years ago! My faith should be high, but (ashamedly) it has been low - focused only on the horrible symptoms, what-ifs, and the thoughts of what will happen if I can't take care of my children! :( God is bigger, though!

Neil's work signed him off for the rest of the week so that we could figure out a plan of action while he cares for the children and the house. I hate this! But I feel more confident now than I did. Today and yesterday I have had a good part of the day and a bad part of the day. The bad part is very bleak and I have to lie on the sofa. The good part is more functional, in that I can walk about and hold Lydia for a few minutes. I can talk almost normally and read a story or two to the boys. I even did reading lessons with Matthew and Nathan yesterday! :)

Heather's herbalist now feels that I need adrenal support - so relieved to hear somebody say this! I've wondered about Adrenal Fatigue for a long time, but many doctors don't believe it exists. So he has sent me some adrenal support concoction, as well as more of the stuff I had before, of which I've taken the first dose today.

Heather and her husband are coming over tomorrow evening to help us plan and strategise for the weeks after this one, for a way for me to cope while Neil works.

That's about it really, in a large-ish nutshell. The rest of this post will be about my darling baby girl! I wish I could get back to normal in every way, but I want to get back to normal as best I can for the rest of this entry. I have forgotten so many little details of her last 6 months already - thank goodness I updated here about the first month of her life! That would be lost in the sands of time otherwise! My memory is very poor with my health being bad. :(

So! I must have left off at 5 weeks old. I will try to find my favourite photos from that point on and keep it to as few as possible, hopefully! ;)

In this first photo, Lydia was 7 weeks and 3 days old. I took it to show how she was suddenly lifting her head up properly and looking straight ahead of her to see things! :) She hasn't lost ANY hair, by the way! You'll see from the time line of photos that I post here that it is growing and growing! :)

I love this next photo! It was taken on Samuel's 3rd birthday, a few days before Christmas. I put Lydia in a Christmas sleepsuit that Samuel wore (and was photographed in - see him wearing it in this entry), because she fit it exactly! She weighed 9lbs 8oz a few days before the photo, and he was born weighing 9lbs 9oz! The difference was that Samuel was 3 days old when he wore it, and Lydia was 8 weeks, lol!

Nine weeks old in the next two photos - talking a LOT with brothers this week, and I loved noticing how different her voice is from the other babies I've had! She has always been so much more high-pitched and squeally than the boys. Some of my boys were squeally, but their actual "cooing" voices were never so high-pitched as Lydia's. :) Also, another one of her just looking yummy! I was LOVING the pink, the hearts, the frills, etc. It has been SO much fun! I am still not in the least bit tired of it! :)

Rolling over! This was on New Year's Eve - also 9 weeks old:

All seven of my babies! :) Lydia was 10 weeks old here. Matthew is growing his hair - it's getting pretty long now!

Around this time, I ordered some baby hair clips online, and oh my goodness!!! I have never been a fan of baby girls wearing hair clips, so I never thought I would be getting excited about accessorising my baby girl's outfits with hair clips, lol! But I DID!! And I am! And having so much fun! :) Here she is in various outfits and hair clips over a 1 week period (age 10-11 weeks) - for a little while I took a photo of the daily outfit/hair-clip! :P

Happy baby girly in late January - she had turned 3 months old the day before. She was SO animated and chatty most of the time by then, and I wanted to capture it in photos:

These next two photos were taken 5 days later. Lydia had a cold, and was sleepier than usual, but otherwise still my happy smiley treasure! This was my favourite outfit on her at the time - so girly and pretty! I liked the little pink flower hair clips with it! :)

In January and February, we had 6 straight weeks of tonsillitis, covering 5 children (the older 5 - so thankful that my tiny two were not poorly with it, as it was nasty!). Benjamin's fever was finally down and he was feeling better, and he asked me to take a photo of him with Lydia at bedtime, so I did! It's grainy, but I love it because LOOK how alike they are! Lydia has always looked the most like Benjamin out of all of them. She's 3 and a half months here:

This photo was taken to remember when Nathan chose her outfit entirely by himself one morning - he is always so proud of how she looks, and in particular, likes her outfits and whether her hair clips look "nice" with them, etc! So sweet! That morning, he chose her denim dress, and especially liked that vest under it, and pink tights. He chose a sparkly heart hair clip which can't be seen in this photo. I love the care he took over it all!


Lydia's first real piggy-tails! She was 3 months and 3 weeks old, and had JUST started wearing her 3-6 month clothing. This dress even looked a bit big on her! She has well outgrown it now, so it's funny to look back and see her tiny like this, even though it wasn't that long ago! 

Lydie-baby on my birthday, two days before turning 4 months old, in February. She was getting quite mobile, rolling a lot to get places (over and over in both directions), and looking around. She was able to combine lying on her tummy and smiling at people, even if she had to dip her head a little bit for the muscle strength to smile, bless her! :) Her hair was starting to flop over with the increased length at last! Sweet darling girl!

This is Lydia the day she turned 4 months old. My baby dolly, as I sometimes call her. She's the perfect dress-up baby doll, except MUCH more squishy! I love her so!

That is where I finished, the last time I was able to add to this post. I soooo want to post more, about the three months (!!) that have followed this photo! Lydia is crawling well this week, and started pulling to kneel yesterday. She is eating - no purees. She ate cream cheese sandwiches, a piece of cheese, some carefully prepared grapes, and a pile of cheerios for lunch. And chicken and mushroom pie for dinner! :) She likes food, and also eats as much fluff and paper from the floor as she can possibly scrape up, bleurgh! She is babbling (da-da-da-da) and likes to screech and roar with a very loud forced raspy throat sound which HAS to hurt, lol! She shakes with the effort, but it's when she's really excited and wants to play with her brothers that she does it most. :) She loves her brothers, and they love her too. Her hair is in her eyes now and I am having to tie it up out of the way or clip it back, but it's sort of messy and uneven everywhere so it's not proper little girly hair yet, just growing out, and still thin and fine baby hair. She has delicious rolls everywhere - she's a chubbalub (my affectionate nickname for her when I kiss her rolly-ness!) like Benjamin and Arthur were as babies, and that makes perfect sense because she most resembles them in any case.
I am doing better in myself - quite a lot better actually, which is a relief and a surprise! :) Neil is working again and I am JUST about coping physically. I am still weak and don't feel well by about 4 or 5pm but doing so much better, and Heather is being wonderful and helping a lot.
I really want to continue the photos and stuff from 4-7 months, but I don't know when I will. I will try, but I don't have a great track record! I just wanted to get this done now while everyone is concerned and wondering why I haven't posted in SO long. Thanks for asking and thinking of me, and for hanging in there! :)

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." :)