Monday, 11 July 2016

Cycle update - 6 months postpartum! :)

Thank you all SO much for the lovely encouraging comments on my last post! I was so uplifted by them, and they made me think not to make my blog private over some horrid people and their comments. Thank you for the perspective! :) I really like my blog to be open anyway, so I'm glad to have felt comfortable with keeping it open for now. THANK YOU! <3 p="">
So Rosie-Posie is SIX months old!! Already! Half a whole year has passed since she was born. She is rocking on hands and knees now, and rolling over and over in both directions to get where she wants to go. I am obviously getting more slack now that I have had 8 babies, or else just more relaxed and wise (!!) because she hasn't had any food yet. Normally I whip out a half peeled banana on the day they turn 6 months old, and it has become a tradition, whether they want to start trying food yet or not! I don't offer food before the day they turn 6 months, and some of them have chosen not to be interested for another few weeks or even a few months after that first banana. I think Lydia and Elijah were both more like 8-9 months exclusively breastfed, so I am honestly not in a hurry with Rosie. On the day she turned 6 months, all the bananas were not quite ripe, so I waited. Then, having blinked briefly, locusts - ahem, *children* - must have descended on them because several bunches went within 48 hours. Fast-forward two weeks and I still haven't got around to The First Banana! I did order a new booster seat for her to sit at the table like a big girl (*sob-gasp*!), which arrived this morning, so if I ever have a ripe banana in the house which isn't being devoured, I will be able to make a big deal of her first food and take some photos! :) I'm expecting her to show interest, mostly reject it, and prefer milky for a while longer yet, and that's fine with me. :) She's sooooo chubby and squishy and yummy! I think she is my squishiest baby yet, which is saying something! Benjamin and Arthur were probably equally squishy, but she's my squishiest GIRL for sure! ;)

I haven't been charting because... I think I said last time I wrote here. I just didn't feel the need. Which, of course, only lasts until I have the urge to KNOW what's going on with my cycle a bit more closely. Last few cycles my luteal phase has been 3-4 days. Reeeally short. I haven't confirmed with temps, but I had ovulation pain and obvious fertile signs leading up to ovulation (and sudden cessation of said signs right after the ovulation pain), so I've charted those.

I had one cycle in there which was like 23 days long or something crazy. It made me straight away think of menopause... apparently cycles get shorter towards menopause, and it's one of the signs to look for. Hmmm... That was the cycle before this one. This cycle has been longer because I didn't ovulate until Cycle Day 28 (normal for me this soon after having a baby). Worst ovulation pain I ever had, for some reason. Because parsnips occurred in the obvious fertile time, it sort of triggered my memory to temp from the next day onwards, but not to check whether I might be pregnant, more to confirm when I ovulated and also to see exactly what was going on with my luteal phase.

So now here I am at 7 (seven!) days past ovulation. My temps have been flat (FLAT!!) - as in 36.4-something - for the last FIVE days straight! :-O I was bizarrely hormonally weepy at 2DPO, which is obviously too early for pregnancy symptoms, but which nonetheless occurs for me in many of my pregnancy cycles at specifically 2DPO, and sometimes 4DPO too. Yesterday and today I am craving Belgian buns. Like I woke up, came downstairs and opened the kitchen cupboard to start breakfast, and literally could only think of eating a Belgian bun IMMEIDATELY, which of course we didn't have. Today I wasn't overwhelmed with the thought of Belgian buns until mid-morning, when I actually ended up phoning Neil at work and asking him to please please bring me some home from work. ;)

Late last night I was minding my own business when out of the blue I had a sharp pinching pain in my lower back on my right side. After maybe 30 seconds it bored right through to my front over the right side of my pubic bone. That gave way to a general periody crampiness for an hour or so. I wondered if I was getting my period, but there was nothing when I went to check. Today I have had the same kind of discomfort on and off, but it feels more like one-sided period pain, and I would go so far as to call it "bad cramps" this afternoon. I went to resettle Rosalie when she woke too early during her nap, just maybe 30 minutes ago, and while I was lying in bed with her and breastfeeding, the discomfort I was already having increased until it was a sort of nauseating hot vice-like cramping, like actually having my period. I so hoped she would hurry back to sleep because I didn't like the idea of having my period and just lying there for ages before being able to go to the toilet and deal with it! At last she settled back to sleep and I hurried to the loo, to find absolutely no sign of my period. I still have the cramps. It was right sided (back and front) in bed, but it's settled to more general across the whole of my lower back and the pit of my abdomen now.

I lay there feeding her, thinking, "But I can't be!... I *can't* be pregnant already - she's only 6 months old!" The earliest I was pregnant before was when Elijah was 7 months old, but I checked my chart and I did have a chemical pregnancy the cycle before when he was 6 months old. I got a faint positive at 8DPO the day before my period showed up.

I totally expected nothing from the parsnips that occurred this cycle - didn't even give it a second thought, because as far as I recalled, I don't conceive at 6 months postpartum. I forgot that I did conceive before Elijah, but I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain a pregnancy at 6 months in any case.

But, 2 days in (I don't care what anyone says), I knew. The other things that are typical of my pregnancy cycles - the flat temps, the weepy day, the pinching pain at 6DPO and the cramping, especially today at 7DPO, only serve to convince me more, but none of them surprise me because I have that feeling in my knower, which is more sure and reliable every time, it seems, as I've been there and felt that more and more times.

I haven't mentioned it to Neil because a) he will totally not be expecting it and therefore *may* ever so slightly freak out, lol! ;) and b) I'm pretty sure it can't stick. Never had a sticky baby with previous cycles having such short luteal phases. :( Also, c) I don't know... I just like that it's a secret deep within only me, and nobody else can know unless I tell them. I won't get to keep it for long, so I'm indulgently enjoying and cherishing it while it lasts. I think I was only 3DPO when I talked to my tummy - I told myself "just in case it's true", so as to avoid the feeling of daftness that came over me, being only 3 days after ovulating with no actual proof of conception and a history for doing this whenever it feels like I've conceived. But, I'm right, just like I was right the other times. A mama knows. Well, this one does, anyway! ;) Talking to my little one and saying hello and I knew this hello would only last a few days, but that I was so glad that he or she had the chance to LIVE, and I would see him or her one day, eventually - I realised that, for me, that's another sign of my "knowing" that there's someone in there in the first place. I don't just talk to my tummy on random other cycles, in case pregnancy occurred! ;) I didn't sit and think about doing it before doing so - I was lying
and just realised I was doing it without thinking.

I didn't expect to get to 6DPO, let alone 7DPO, and I guess now that I've blogged about it, I pretty much guarantee myself a temp drop and a period tomorrow! ;) I am also beginning to be wary of bleeding that looks like a period - I have had that enough times at implantation to know that I shouldn't presume it a period until my temps agree in a *sustained* manner! With Elijah my temp dropped like a stone the day I started bleeding heavily (7dpo), and I stopped temping and felt sure it was a period. It wasn't! ;) So I temp until it stays down!

I ordered 2 packs of First Response Early Pregnancy Tests today, but they won't be here until probably Wednesday (the day after tomorrow, and thus 9DPO, which I can't fathom actually getting to, so I might not need to use them after all). When Rosie woke from her nap (I had to stop typing this to get her while the kids were playing in the garden, and am now back to finish off, an hour later), I carried her into the bathroom to rummage through the cabinet in search of pregnancy tests. I had boxes and such left over that I hadn't thrown out (tsk! So disorganised!), but I was delighted to see that one of the boxes has a FRER still unused inside, AND in date! Yay! So, at least I have that to use if I should want to, but I fully expect to get my period, maybe even tonight, or if not then at least a drop in temp to herald it in the morning.

It feels weird ordering pregnancy tests, like... almost like I feel guilty and like I want to do it as secretly as possible. I am surprised by my own response - I've realised that I have this bizarre expectation that it's All Change now I've hit my 40s - no more easy conceptions, no more babies, even - maybe? And I feel self-conscious about being pregnant in my 40s even though I totally disagree with my own brain on that one!! Such a weird feeling, lol! Being pregnant in one's 40s is a true blessing, and you're not to old to bear children until you're too old to bear children, in my opinion - by that I mean physically incapable of conceiving due to menopause. That's God's design right there, so before that point, it's all good as far as I'm concerned. But I guess society (darn society!!) has strong opinions and they seem to have filtered down into my subconscious. Otherwise there would be no reason for me to feel odd about being pregnant in my 40s.

Somewhere under the surface, I must have honestly thought that there would be some sort of switch going off as I turned from 39 to 40, haha! I don't know... I guess I did not expect to just carry on as usual once I turned 40! Not sure why not, now I think about it, and my body seems to be doing the same thing as it did at 37, 38 and 39, sooo....

Anyway, I'm sure I will get a period - my body surely can't sustain a pregnancy yet, but I also feel sure that I've conceived (slightly cringing because of the mockery I've had for always saying that - it's just that when I feel that way, however often it has happened, I'm always right!!! ;) ). So I will update tomorrow probably. I didn't want to miss blogging about any of my little ones, whether they stay with me or not, and also I had a private message about my chart, urging me to update my blog! ;) Thanks, sweet! :)

I'm just going to save this and not post it until I've been to the loo to be 100% sure that my period isn't starting, lol! I feel so paranoid now I've written this, and also have that feeling that I am starting my period. So far it hasn't been, it's always just CM. Incidentally, my usual "pregnant" CM. :)

Finally had chance to check (an hour later!), soooo sure I would see at least some spotting, but nope! :)

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Update on Rosie at 5 months old, and other stuff...

So, this was fun to read:

A real-life friend has started blogging for the first time, and I was about to encourage her saying that I have been blogging for a long time and found it a blessing, but then wondered how easily a real-life friend in the know might find my blog. So, all light-hearted, I googled my full name and the word "blog". Nada. Then I googled "Alice Neil blog" and found stuff, including the link above to a site I've never heard of, called "GOMI" which appears to stand for "Get Off My Internet" - in other words a place for gossiping and bitching about people who are on the internet, I assume. Ugh.

I started out with amused curiosity, but just, ugh. I have no idea how many total strangers are keeping up with my personal life whenever I post here, but it's not a nice feeling to see a bunch of total strangers discussing what they do or don't like about you (on a much deeper level than that - I'm generalising) in a forum. And knowing as I write this that some of YOU are them, and there are probably many more people not in that conversation who share their opinions and still read my blog with the fascination of a car wreck.

The worst thing is, even though I am very transparent and open in my writing, and so there shouldn't be much room for error - these people have a lot of stuff wrong bout pretty much everything they are talking about! If true, those things would be cause for concern, but it bothers me that apparently I have given these impressions here about my parenting, my kids, my motives, and my choices, so what if everyone thinks these things are true of me as well?!

There are a few, "She said..." about things I never did say (because they aren't even accurate!", and everyone is on about my choice to unschool, and then a ton of ignorance about the perils of unschooling. Do I really give the impression at my blogs that my kids run wild? We have never officially unschooled - been using curriculum from 2009 (Arthur was 4.5) until 2016, so I can't think what they're on about. We do unschool in part. So what? The neighbours never called social services - what the?! Uggghhhh.... I can't even be bothered to explain AGAIN about all the whys and wherefores, not that there's any need really, but yeah...

Also. I do not write much about my older kids because I do not have any time to blog. BUT, when a new life is in the works, a) YES, it is exciting, and b) I want ALL of my children to have had their pregnancies journalled. I write less and less each pregnancy, it seems, in terms of number of blog entries, because I can't find the time, but what I DO write, I have to FORCE time to do it. And I do it because I have a huge guilt-trip about needing to have the details blogged for memory's sake. I know I will forget it, and I don't want to. I don't want any of my kids growing up and wondering why there's nothing much to detail what my pregnancy was like with them, when there's a ton of detail about all their brothers' and sisters' pregnancies. So I do it. I love rejoicing in new life. It's so exciting that I have to share it. The time is squeezed out to get to write about family life and the older children's milestones. It's both infuriating and hilarious to me that people think I don't think much of my older children (and how sad it is that I only care much about them when they're little) based on the "evidence" that I don't mention them much in my blogs, only the little ones. Seriously, delusional people??

I am hurt by what I read, but I kind of laugh about it as well because oh how little people actually know of my life, my heart, my thoughts, my family. I thought because I blog really openly, that I'm like a book and readers must know me pretty well (weird and not always comfortable thought!). But I guess *I* know me really well, since I'm living the actual life of "me", and when I write I only write bits and pieces of my life, and because my brain knows the rest of it, I don't really think about the bits that are missed in my writing, or the effect the overall view might have as I have written it.

I write for me, not you. I love my children. I love all of them exactly the same, every age, both genders, all personalities and abilities and individual difficulties. They all know I love them dearly. None are struggling with abnormal issues or neglected in any way. We are not conventional in our schooling and we are not wildly social as a family. We do see other families, the kids do learn how to behave in public, and I am sad that I have in the past had a lot of flack for struggling with children who - as it turns out - are on the autistic spectrum, not just wild and out of control, and the result of me having too many kids to handle properly. Now that I have younger kids who do not have those same behaviour patterns, I am less self-depreciating over my ability to parent and do it well. Now that I have learned that not all children can learn on "schedule" - but guess what?! They DO learn eventually, just like the encouraging mamas assured me! - I am not so anxious about that.

Dear readers: I do not "care more about getting pregnant and being pregnant than the actual kid it creates". Has it not possibly occurred to you that I write about pregnancy to the extreme (and pretty much no other aspects of my life) because, ohhh, I don't know - this is a PREGNANCY journal? One that I started so that I could write about all things pregnancy, on purpose? And that I have an actual life outside of the blog?"! This is a snapshot of a part of my life. Would have thought that would be obvious, but whatever.

Also, what the heck about not having sex for 2 years due to vaginismus at the beginning of our marriage?!?!! Where do these people get this stuff?!! Housebound with M.E. people. Chronic fatiiiiigue. Get your facts straight, they make a difference.

If your husband calls me "mad Alice", stop reading my blog. I mean actually just go away.

I'm SO READY for making my blogs password-protected now. Never wanted that before, because I like people to be able to find me and read about the joys of things I hold dear. Also I have a lot of sweet readers who I don't know, but would not be able to give them a password to read because apparently who can be trusted with my vulnerability? Ugh.

In other news, I'm so sorry I haven't updated since Rosie was born. This must be good evidence that I don't care for her as much as my other babies because I used to blog about *their* early months, hey? Poor little neglected baby.

She is darling, smiley, contented and lovely. She is 5 months and almost-three weeks old, breastfeeding as I type this, rolling and laughing and delighting in all her siblings all day long. She is my rolliest, chubbiest baby with the best cheeks ever, and dark hair growing in beautifully. She started sitting without support this week, three day after Matthew's 10th birthday.

We are all doing well - kids are happy and growing like crazy, loving our not-so-new home and enjoying their own interests and each other. Neil has a long commute and is tired, and I hate that for him. He's so involved and helpful all the same and I love him. I am healthier, I think, than I was after Elijah and Lydia. No anxiety breakdown this time (so very grateful!), and my hormones feel way better balanced than they have after the last THREE babies before Rosalie. I don't know why, but who cares! ;) My periods came back at 3 months and I have just finished my 3rd so far. I am not charting, not temping, very aware of when I ovulate (super obvious signs leading up to it + pain on the day) and vaguely aware that only a few days pass from ovulation to period. I am busy enjoying my life, enjoying my children, doing the mummy thing, soaking up my babies at their fleeting precious stages, and enjoying my husband. ;) I turned 40 in February and for the first time I have no expectations or hopes or plans. Sometimes I hope for more babies yet. But I no longer plan on it, and I no longer expect it. In a way, I am MAYBE expecting my cycles to even out to normal again and to possibly conceive again. I know the risk of miscarriage goes WAY up after the age of 40 and I have no plans in mind of how anything will be from now on. So far I could have potentially conceived a couple of times, but with the short luteal phase I wouldn't get pregnant anyway, and I'm not expecting that to change any time soon.

Breastfeeding is going great. Elijah self-weaned when Rosalie was born, though he has asked twice since to try (once just today, actually, totally out of the blue!) and I have let him. He turned 4 last month. Three of his brothers were older when they self-weaned though. :) Lydia still nurses as often as I'll let her during the day, and not at all at night, ever. Rosie nurses on demand, day and night and I'm sure she will do for some time to come. I am loving it.

I can't think of what else. I wish I had time to update regularly, and post a ton of photos, but life is more important, you know? *sigh* A blog is a very narrow view of what I am actually like as a person. If you take it as the full picture, that's pretty narrow-minded. Ironically what they called me.

Anyway. Here is Rosalie at 3 weeks old. :)



At 2 months old - Arthur was holding her and she was fussing, and this is what happened! So precious! They all love her so much. :) (eta: He is not making that face because he is a) unhappy, b) unloved, c) overwhelmed with the burden of too many siblings. He was making his stillest face while wanting to be looking at the camera (his chin was resting on her head when I arrived with the camera) so that he didn't risk waking her. He would laugh and roll his eyes  if you suggested to him that he has too many siblings, and by the way my eldest children are already hoping "so very much" for another baby, "hopefully a girl" and according to Matthew, "hopefully TWINS!!". Not neglected.)
Rosie at 3 months old - her hair did not fall out! Only the girls have done this - all 6 of my boys lost their newborn hair, isn't that odd?!
My little girls - Lydia at 2.5 and Rosie at 4 months old. Lydia had chosen both their outfits herself from their drawers and been totally insistent on them! She did a great job! :)
This photo was taken a couple of days ago, of Rosie sitting unsupported for the first time (5.5 months):
And finally, here's a photo that I took of us on one of our family outings last month, at the woods. We rounded a bend and the pathway and the light looked so beautiful that I insisted everyone set up for a quick photo! I set the camera timer and put it on the front of the pushchair, and took one shot, and this is it. :) All my loves together. I love it so much.
I don't know when I'll be back, and I may yet make this a private blog. I'm too tired to think about it for now. Thanks so very much for all the lovely comments asking how we're doing, and I'm sorry it has taken this long for any sort of an update. You are lovely! xxx

Friday, 1 January 2016

Baby news before 2016! :)

I'm so sorry to be such a long time in updating. I had a new post open that I was typing bits into for the last THREE days, because I know me, and if I just post a quick thing then I'll NEVER get around to the details that I wished I could have posted, and I didn't want that. But it looks like I am just not getting around to it quick enough and everyone is waiting for news, so I will have to do the quick news update and hope I eventually manage the details! :/

Rosalie is here! :) She was born something like 19 hours after my last update, wondering if my waters had broken! Everything went fine, and she was born at home, in my bed, at 10.40pm on December 28th. She had a really short cord (just like Lydia!) so I couldn't pull her right up onto my tummy and chest to hold her after she was born, I had to just hold her around hip level, but it was fine. The first thing I noticed was her cheeks! She had such chubby cheeks for a 39 weeker! They didn't measure her length, but mentioned she looked quite short in length, just really chubby for such a little baby! :)

She weighed 8lbs 1oz!! The same as Arthur (he had an extra half ounce on her though)! At 39 weeks! They are going by my scan dates (mine are more accurate as I know when I ovulated), so she is officially down as born at 38 weeks and 6 days - really surreal to consider, for me, since I "only" go into labour and give birth after my due date! :)

She has chubbier cheeks, but she looks to me EVER SO like Matthew (and Samuel, who also looks most like Matthew - he had the newborn cheeks that she has, but he was 9lb 9oz!). I love this because I haven't had a Matthew/Samuel-looking baby in 5 years, and also I feel vindicated because I KNEW we had a pattern going, lol! ;) I find it fascinating and almost unbelievable how this pattern is playing out predictably with every baby we have! There is no reason why it would, but it is! After Lydia (who was an Arthur/Benjamin pattern, right on schedule), the next baby "should" have been a Matthew/Samuel pattern. The only thing that threw me was the bleeding in the first trimester, which was a Nathan/Elijah thing to happen. Also Matthew and Samuel were my 41 weekers, which I expected this baby to be as well, but she has made herself a first and broken all patterns! :P BUT she definitely is like Matthew and Samuel, just exactly as predicted. Amazing! :)

She is 3 days old on this New Year's Day (will turn 4 days old this evening), and doing fine. I need to write more about how she has been and all about the birth, but I can't write any more just now, and I am honestly not sure when I will get to it. :/ That's why I wanted to wait until I'd finally written a whole big post about it all, so that I knew it would get done, but it was just taking too long.

Here are some pics of Rosalie meeting her siblings (they were thrilled to meet her when they got up the next morning!), and then a couple from the next day or two. I am so so pleased with my sweet new baby girl! She's perfectly precious! I will write more when I can...




These two are from the next day - about 36 hours old. :) Her cheeks make her look bigger than she is in photos, so I put my hand there to show how teeny she really is! I took one of Samuel at a similar age just before Christmas 2010, where he looks very similar to her in the second photo, just more swelling in his face from the birth. :)


This last one is from the same day, just a few hours later. I was burping her after a feed, leaning her chin onto my hand to prop her up, and I looked down and saw her sweet sleeping face and could not get over her CHEEKS, lol! So here's a memory record of that! :)

Here we are last night as the midnight struck and fireworks went off outside our windows. :) Love that I am here breastfeeding a newborn baby, when I thought 2015 would be all about gestating and it was 2016 that we'd be looking forward to meeting her in! :) So happy she's here in my arms!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Update on the post I wrote 3 hours ago!

So I just wrote a big post a few hours ago before going to bed, about how I'm 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow and I never have a baby before my due date, etc. etc. And then I went to shut the laptop down to go to bed, and leaked some fluid! And then it happened again! I thought maybe I should have been for a wee earlier (lol!) so I went  to the loo, only to find LOTS of clear fluid which was completely pink stained!!!

Waaaay too much adrenaline kicked in and I became really anxious about what lay ahead, and being on my own to do it all. Everyone was asleep, and I didn't know what to do. No contractions other than random very uncomfy Braxton Hicks. When I wiped, there was a cm or 2 sized piece of mucus plug with pink fluid. Wiped again and had pink streaked "goop", which has continued to be there every time I have wiped over the last few hours since then. Fluid seemed to clear up and not return, but I texted my midwife and she came over.

Baby sounds fine - now 3/5 palpable so more engaged than on the 23rd. She is very wiggly and seems to be twisting and shifting - good sign that she's getting in position for something! ;) Her heart rate was great, and all my vitals were fine too, except for a bit of blood in my urine (not surprising if I'm losing blood-stained plug). I did a GBS swab which the midwife is taking to the hospital lab tonight so it will be ready in 24 hours for a result. In the morning I am to go to labour ward for a swab for amniotic fluid again, and if it's positive they will offer me induction on the spot, OR to go home and wait for 24 hours (which I will obviously choose). This hospital's policy is to wait 24 hours and then induce if no labour, but I have done 48 before with Elijah and thankfully gone into labour right at the 48 hour mark! I wouldn't want to wait longer (or maybe even that long...) this time though. If I am contracting by the morning then no labour ward, just midwife over here and have a baby. :)

It might have just been adrenaline, but my bowels got kind of aggravated so I had to go to the loo a couple of times - that can also be a good sign of impending labour, but we'll see.

ANYWAY, after the midwife left, I was updating various places where people are praying for me over about 20 minutes, and during that time I had 3 contractions - mostly the same old strong BH type feeling, but the 2nd one lasted longer (about 50 seconds rather than the usual 20-30 seconds), and during the 3rd one I had a sudden "welling up" of fluid - sorry for the descriptive detail! ;) So my pad is officially properly wet and it's NOT urine, and I'm actually excited about it! :D I have continued to have the odd contraction since then, so I'm hopeful that labour isn't too far away. I am dumbfounded that it's happening in my 38th week though!!! :-O Never fathomed such a thing, lol!

So I am going to bed now, and hoping for some good sleep before morning. It's almost 4am. If I start having contractions that feel like "the real deal", even just a few in a row, my midwife said to call her and she'll come straight over. If I have ONE that's a doozy, I have to do the same! ;) She said no messing about, it's my 8th baby, lol!

So Rosalie may be coming tomorrow! December 28th - phewee, so close to Christmas! One right before and one right after! If my waters have indeed broken (and honestly I can't imagine the test would be negative, it seems pretty obvious to me right now), but I DON'T go into labour, then she will be here before January for sure, all the same. December 29th I would think, at the latest. Such a surreal thought!

Neil has been up with me while the midwife was here, and he went a bit frantic putting the dishwasher on and a laundry load (he gets really embarrassed about mess with people coming round), but he has gone back to bed. He wants to "totally blitz" the house tomorrow getting it tidy for "company" (sigh) but I have hopefully made it really clear that my absolute priority for him to do for me tomorrow is to get the newborn baby girl clothes out of the garage and WASH THEM ALL!!! I have one sleepsuit that I bought at eBay recently, that is washed and on my bedroom floor in a pile to put away, so thankfully if she comes before her clothes can be washed, at least she has *something* to wear, lol! And I finally got around to buying newborn nappies, maternity pads, breast pads, etc. etc. 2 days before Christmas. But I haven't packed a bag. And I will not really relax until I know her clothes are washed and dried ready for her, so I hope Neil will be okay with doing that first thing rather than random housework.

Just had to update, in case things happen! Will update again when I can. For now, my focus is sleep.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

38 weeks and 6 days!

I'm still here!! So sorry for the long silence! Just crazy busy with Christmas coming up, and Samuel's 5th (!!!) birthday a few days before that. Everyone caught a cold that Neil brought home from the office right before Samuel's birthday and of course I am the last to get it - on Christmas Eve. I have been down and out since Christmas Day feeling grim, but apart from still having no voice, I am doing better since this afternoon. :)

So much to say, but no time! I am tired out, and it's nearly 11pm. I am trying to listen to my body more and rest, but I'm not very good at it!

I have had 2 scans since I last updated - one at 34 weeks because my routine midwife appointment gave the midwife concern that maybe Rosalie was on the small side, as my bump measured 33 weeks (really not something that concerned me at ALL, but they seem a bit paranoid here about my baby's growth, so hey ho). I went in the next day, and she was fine - measuring pretty much spot on. They estimated her weight as 5lbs 1.5oz at 34 weeks. Her tummy was the biggest for dates, and her little leggies shorter than her dates, bless her! :) I do have some children with my short legs, so it looks like Rosalie is another of them! :)

Then I had my 38 week appointment (all of these are at home, as I am under the homebirth team and they only do things at home, yay!), and everything was fine, my bump measured 38 weeks, and the baby was 4/5 palpable (starting to engage, which is good/unusual for an 8th baby), but she couldn't be 100% sure that she was head down. Because she didn't want me to go into labour and THEN have a query over the baby's presentation, she sent me for a scan on Christmas Eve, late in the afternoon. Neil worked from home, thankfully, so I could go, and honestly I think it was just about God providing me with my hubby close to home on Christmas Eve, without a 2 hour drive back! I was already stressing about the chaos of organising overly excited children for some nice Christmas Eve traditions and stockings and all that, without Neil home from work yet! But, because he worked from home and they let everyone off at 2pm, it was as though he had the day off by the time that time of day rolled around! :) Slightly frustrating to have to be away at the hospital having a scan close to stocking-hanging time, but never mind!

Of course she is head down. :) Her tummy is the biggest-for-dates measurement as before, measuring 39 weeks! :) Her leggies measure 37 weeks, and her head, which was 35 weeks last time (at 34 weeks gestation) measured 36 weeks this time... They wanted to double check, but it was the same, and they said everything was fine... I hope it is! :/ They estimated her weight on Christmas Eve as 6lbs 9oz, which is lovely! :) Now I hope she won't take until 41 weeks to arrive (which she very well could), because I would love her to be 7.5lbs or less! I love teensy babies, and she has some sweet little hand-me-downs from Lydia that she won't fit if she's over 8lbs! ;)

I have gained a LOT of weight this pregnancy! More like my earlier ones. I now weigh 12 stone 5lbs, which is something like exactly 4 stone from my pre-pregnancy weight (I *think* I was 8 stone 5lbs, but I can't remember if I was 8 stone 7lbs... I think it was 5...). That's 56lbs, people!!!!! That's what I gained with my first two or 3 pregnancies, and at least one other (Samuel??). I didn't gain as much with Elijah or Lydia, but I was at my lowest pre-pregnancy weight before this baby, and frankly I don't think 8 stone and 5lbs was good on me. I need to be a bit heavier, but I had health issues and lost too much weight, in my opinion. So maybe I needed to gain more this time? I hope I don't lose too much too fast again after this baby. I look and feel better when I am between 8.5 and 9 stone, I think. So yeah, big weight gain this time! ;) I don't caaaaaare! :D It's all in a good cause and it'll fall off. Not straight away, but most definitely after a while, and then I can't stop it once it starts, even when I want to. Right now the down side is feeling very huffy and weighty when getting about. My thighs are huge, and I have more chins than I used to have! :P Getting upstairs is pretty exhausting, but other than all that I really don't care one bit about how much weight I've gained. It's great for my upcoming milk supply! :)

My haemoglobin levels are fine, and have remained fine at various checks, but my iron stores (ferritin) were low when I asked them to check at 28 weeks - at 14. I got my results back at 34 weeks from the re-check, that they had DROPPED to 10!! :( That was a bummer because I had been supplementing with Floradix, so I couldn't understand why they had gone down. It explains my exhaustion and ringing ears, dizziness, and breathlessness that I'd been putting down to "just pregnancy". Also I learned that I probably have had very low iron stores for many years, with back to back pregnancies and bleeds and so on. I was put on proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole) for 2 years for GERD, which I took myself off last year, when I was feeling so unwell all the time. I haven't had GERD trouble since really, but since then I have learned how much those drugs mess you up! They prevent iron absorption (amongst many other things), so I probably have not been able to absorb whatever iron I was getting in my diet anyway, along with many reasons that my iron stores were being depleted as well. I hope that now I'm off the PPIs that I'm absorbing iron again, but I'm not so encouraged by the drop in my ferritin levels even with natural supplements... The baby is taking more iron from me than ever before in my 3rd trimester, so it could just be that what I'm getting is going straight to the baby and then some, at the moment. The doctor wanted to put me on iron tablets, but my bowel and general digestive tract is not a cheerful part of my body at any time (!!) and the side effects from those tablets can be horrible. I decided not to take them. If I was anaemic with low haemoglobin, I would take them and hope it didn't do a number on my bowel, but since I'm not, I decided to double my Floradix AND take a double dose of Spatone daily, which is something I haven't tried before. It's spring water with a very high natural iron level. The only thing is, I have been really poor at remembering to take it since I started! :/ So it hasn't been consistent at all. I am trying to eat red meat 3-4 times a week minimum, and not take calcium with it, make sure I have vitamin C with it, etc. I'm hoping it's coming up, but I will keep taking as much iron as I can naturally well beyond the birth, so hopefully it'll rise if it hasn't already. I think the midwife will test my blood again before I'm discharged, maybe even before Rosalie is born... So we'll see. My Vitamin D levels were great though! :) First time in years for that, so yay! :)

The week before Christmas, I had some crazy strong Braxton Hicks contractions that were very regular, every 5 minutes for a couple of hours, and many of them painful. The ones that weren't were unpleasantly tight and very distracting. I didn't want the children around me, and it reminded me all too much of the start of Lydia's labour. It was late in the day so Neil was home part-way through, so at least that wasn't a stress. Eventually I decided that no way was I ready to have a baby yet (Samuel's birthday was like two days away, lol!) with so much to do, so I got stuck into the bedtime routine with the children, and the contractions gradually faded out, thankfully! I SO did not want to have a baby before Christmas! Especially right on top of Samuel's birthday. His birthday has been so stressful to prepare, AGAIN - every year it is. I don't seem to cope too well with a birthday so close to Christmas, and the thought of adding another one was suddenly overwhelming! I'm SO relieved to have both his birthday and Christmas out of the way at last. I don't want Rosalie to arrive too close AFTER Christmas either, because I think it's going to be nicer for her to have a birthday that's separated from Christmas a bit. I am hoping to go to my due date or a day or so later, but then NO FURTHER, lol! Because Nathan's birthday is Jan 12th and I like my sanity gaps between preparing big family events! ;)

Since that contract-y evening, I have had some evenings of very strong Braxton Hicks contractions, but nothing as regular as that first one. I also thought I was getting a dental abscess after 3 days of a really sore gum at the back, which developed like a blister-type-thing on top on Samuel's birthday (the 21st). So the next day I went to the dentist and he said no abscess. :) It's much better now, so I guess it was just gum irritation like he said. After my appointment I went into town to do some last minute Christmas shopping, which I would otherwise NEVER get the chance to do alone. People stared at me everywhere I went, lol! I guess I am looking VERY pregnant now! ;) My bump is big, and also very low (like I usually carry). I must have looked ready to give birth right then and there in the shopping mall! ;)

Anyway, not being used to walking for any extended period of time, I pretty much had contractions and back pain for the rest of the day. Also Rosalie was SO quiet, I was getting nervous. I hardly felt her move at all, and when I poked her knee, she at least responded but it was just to lift it up slightly and then put it back again. After a whole afternoon, I was about ready to call the midwife. I had already tried orange juice and lying down, and so on. All of a sudden she seemed to wake up and move more normally, so I don't know what that was about. My midwife came the next day anyway and she was fine and wiggly then, with some hiccups too, and fine again at the scan, so... She has been quiet this morning, making me nervous, but wiggly and active ever since. She seems to be completely out of space in there right now. All her movements are squirms or slight part-way stretches of one leg, etc. She really doesn't move vigorously at all like she used to, and it makes me so nervous! I have counted the times she's moved since I got up this morning and so far she had 10 different sessions of movements, so I guess she's fine and I need to stop getting frantic about it!

I lost a little bit of mucus plug the day after my Braxton Hicksy evening, nothing since then until this morning I had a tiny bit more when I wiped. NOT blood-stained so it doesn't really mean a lot, other than my cervix is maybe possibly thinning out a little bit. The midwife said with all the contractions I've been having, and it being my 8th baby, I am to text her the MINUTE I think it's the real deal, lol! She lives in the next road and will be right over! ;) The only thing is, my midwife only works 3 days a week, and even then she is going on annual leave from right before my due date to 6 days AFTER my due date! :( I am sure she won't be around when I do go into labour, and I don't know anyone else from the midwife team! I won't have Heather with me. :( She is finally starting to feel better since the week before Christmas but she has made it clear that she can't be a doula for me this time. I am so sad and anxious about it, but I can't really tell her that. I have asked my best friend from school to come and hold my hand. I haven't seen her since Arthur was a baby, and before that, not for close to a decade, so we haven't really kept in touch much outside of Facebook. BUT she was always the most steadying influence for me, especially with my tendencies to be anxious about everything. She hasn't had children and has never been at a birth, and is worried that she won't be any use, but I know my body and my labours, and I told her I just need someone WITH me, to hold my hand through the hard contractions, etc. Neil will be doing the childcare, or could be needed at any moment, so I need someone like a doula who will be 100% dedicated to being by my side at all times, just so I have that security to look forward to. If I have to go into hospital, then I would want someone with me, and it wouldn't be Neil because he would have to stay home with the kids. I wish SO MUCH that Heather could be okay and come to be with me... My friend Katy lives just over an hour away from me by car, and she said she is on annual leave from my due date for a week, which is perfect really. She's willing, although she would need 2 hours notice to get to me, and I hope that I would have enough time... I tend to be in denial for AGES in early labour, that I'm actually IN labour, so would have a hard time deciding to call her until I was sure, and by then I think 2 hours might be too long....

Anyway. I am praying it all goes smoothly. I am getting nervy about the actual process of getting Rosalie into my arms! It's so hard to bear the hard stage of labour and the actual pushing stage is overwhelming, but OH SO WORTH IT!!! I can't WAIT to hold her and have her actually here in my arms at last, but I'm apprehensive, shall we say, about the slight hurdle of getting her here! ;)

Okay, I absolutely have to go to bed! I tend to do better at updating here in the last days of my pregnancies, so hopefully I'll update again much much sooner. I am 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow (only 8 days to go, today!!!) and it's absolutely surreal to have arrived at the very end of my pregnancy already! So blessed to be ripe with child, with a lovely round tummy and a wiggly new life on the inside, and I know that maybe this is my last chance to experience it. I am not in a hurry to get any of this wonderous privilege over with, even though I am looking forward to meeting my baby girl so very much. It's such a blessing, and really way too fleeting!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

32 weeks pregnant!!! :-O

Aaaargh, I keep trying! Honestly! I tried an update when I reached my 3rd trimester at 27 weeks, never got to write enough worth posting! Then I have had a draft post titled "30 weeks (THIRTY!!!)" sitting here not getting finished, and it's just NO GOOD! I can't get a blog post written, much as I want to, and see the comments coming in wondering if I'm okay! :/

I am dizzy and headachy with exhaustion tonight and it's already nearly midnight, but there is NO other time to write for long enough to make a blog post with everything I need to update about! So I have to push into sleep time to do it. I know I will want these posts to look back on in any case, so it IS worthwhile. Just a way of explaining why on earth I haven't been here in so very long! First I will copy and paste the little I'd written for the 30 week post:

"Such a long time since I updated - so sorry! I just can't seem to make time for updates, as they take a block of my time and I don't have any spare blocks of time! :/ I will try this entry in bits and pieces and hope I remember to return to it to continue instead of leaving it as a draft until next year, lol!

Thanks so much for the comments on my last entry, and for chasing me up to see where I am! :) Jane, I would be happy to help if I can re. the little one on the autistic spectrum - can you email me (I think you can click a link on my profile)? I will try to reply as soon as I can.

So I have shifted gear from the 20s to the 30s ALREADY!!! I am 30 weeks pregnant, three-quarters of the way through my pregnancy, and therefore less than 10 weeks from my due date! I can't belieeeeeve how fast it is suddenly going, though I expected it, because I knew from previous pregnancies how fast it goes as we get nearer to the end. I know the next 10 weeks will flash by, getting faster and faster, and there is SO MUCH TO DO in that time, I can't tell you!! It's a bit unnerving actually, but exciting too.

Lydia turned 2 last week! She really did! I have never had a two-year-old without also having a younger one. It also means it'll be ages before I have a one-year-old again, now that Lydie isn't one any more. Usually it's only a few months before the next little one turns one. Things feel quite different this time around, with a bigger gap than I've ever had between babies! Lydia is very "grown up" in her ways (this could be read as "bossy", "assertive", etc. lol! but she's very sweet with it!). Her speech is more advanced than any of her brothers at her 2nd birthday, which helps. She can tell tales on her brothers in sentences (sigh!), explain why she is saying no to something, tell me what she wants to do and what she needs to do it, etc. It's so lovely for her to be able to communicate so much at this age. Now that I've seen it, I can only imagine how frustrated my boys must have been (especially those who only had a bunch of single words at their second birthdays!), having all these same things in their heads to say and yet no method of communicating them. She isn't having tantrums like they were, though she can definitely throw a strop if she needs to! So I'm wondering if that was what the tantrums were about? SO different having a girl, and it turns out to be true about girls and language skills, although the other side of the coin (boys being quicker at motor skills) is 100% untrue in Lydia's case. She is advanced on motor skills as well - walked earlier than the boys, threads laces and cuts well with scissors, and has somehow taught herself to hold a pencil in a perfect writing grip, to draw! She's SO girly, sings all the time, has a very definite opinion on clothes (hers and mine!), and still has sweet high pitched little giggles that none of the boys have done, when she's being cheeky with her daddy, or being tickled. :) We all love her SO, and we're so happy to have a little girl in our family! I am absolutely pinching myself at the moment that I get to have TWO girls! I mean, one is just the most amazing gift and blessing, but TWO?!! I can't get over it. Amazing God."

That is all I managed to write, and then my time was up, and though I kept meaning to find time to continue, it never happened. So that's not a method I will try again - adding to a post bit by bit to get it done. I will try to say as much as I possibly can as quickly as I can right now, lol!

So I am 32 weeks pregnant! How surreal is that! I feel like just yesterday it was completely surreal that I was entering my 3rd trimester. I know my due date will be upon me LIKE THAT. And I'm not ready, and so it's starting to stress me a little!

We have so much to get ready, and honestly I cannot fathom how we can get it all done - but it MUST be done!

* Samuel (nearly 5), Elijah (3.5) and Lydia (2) sleep in the big master bedroom with us. The boys have a shorty "bunk" which is really a cabin bed with a mattress on the floor underneath for the "bottom bunk". We keep our little ones close at night while they are still waking and needing us, and the older four boys rarely wake, but come to us if they need anything. Samuel wakes most nights just from a bad dream or needing a drink, or cold and tangled in his covers, etc. Some nights he's restless and wakes more often. He is starting to get up and get the drink from the shelf himself now, without disturbing us, and he can also put his covers back on himself some of the time. Elijah wakes sometimes, and cries like a little one until someone comes. They are almost ready to be in their own room now, and I would not have been comfortable about it any sooner, honestly. I think they will be able to learn to come to us if they need us, or hopefully we'll hear 'Lijah cry and get up and go to him if needed, if they are in their own room. Anyway, they NEED to move out of our room in time for the baby to arrive! Our smallest bedroom (we have 4 now) has been a "junk" room since we moved here, because we had a ton of boxes and stuff to sort that we never had time to do, and that particular room was used as an office by the previous owners, and that was the only room in the house that they smoked in, ugh. It was not awful, but you can still smell the yucky smell if the door has been closed for a while, so I want to strip it of EVERYTHING - wallpaper, carpet, lightshade, blind - that was left by the last people, and rip out the fitted wardrobe which is just taking up space (and harbouring the smell), and re-decorate it completely. We have been here 14 months now and STILL haven't found time to get it done, but our time is officially up so we have to get it done somehow. The little boys need it for their bedroom. I am panicking about how on earth we can do it. We can't afford decorators, Neil has zero time off work between now and Christmas (I will be 38.5 weeks at Christmas and it DEFINITELY has to be done well before then!), and we are up to our ears in parenting small children for every waking second that he's home! :/  We are slowwwly getting the junk and boxes shifted over many weekends, but there aren't enough left now!

* Lydia has always slept by my side in the double mattress on the floor. Neil is next to our bed in another double bed (proper frame, not on the floor), but mine is the "nursing bed". :) Safer for her so she hasn't got anywhere to fall out of. So she has never slept apart from me, and she is still nursing on demand day and night. She wakes at night maybe once or twice, though if she's unwell or having a bad night, she might wake several times and be very clingy and whimpery. She doesn't like Neil to lie with her instead of me, like when I'm unwell and can't be next to her because I'm pacing around nauseated downstairs (it turns out that I'm having fairly frequent attacks of IBS or something, but with SO MUCH NAUSEA, urgh. I was sure it was a tummy bug the first time, but it's recurring and seems very IBS-like, so probably not. :/ ). She just cries and stays awake until I'm there! Which is also a nerve-wracking thought when I think of how soon the new baby will arrive.

* For the first time we plan to have Lydia stay in the room with us, the same room as the new baby. The only time we ever did this was with Arthur, when Nathan was born. Matthew and I went into a different room and left Neil co-sleeping with Arthur, when Matthew was born. I meant to move Arthur in with Matthew in time for Nathan's arrival, but of course he came at 35 weeks (PLEASE NO, BABY!) and Arthur was still where he was! He stayed a few weeks and was disturbed at first by Nathan's wakings, and then got more used to it and slept through most of them. I was glad to have a space for just the baby and me though, and after that we had "the boys' room" at our old house, and every time a new baby was nearly due, we moved the previous baby out of my bed and into the boys' room with his older brothers. Because they were so little when moving in (less than 18 months old), Neil slept on the floor in their room so he could attend to their wakings, which they continued to do frequently until they were between 2 and 3. Neil actually got better sleep that way anyway, because I was up a LOT with a tiny baby. Soooo, this time, we're in a new home. We have no "boys' room" for the littlest to move into, and we don't want to go back to Neil moving onto some child's bedroom floor to attend to wakings! BUT we don't feel right making such a huge transition for Lydie. Away from my side, night weaned, and out of our room completely, very obviously "replaced" by a new little person! Nope. So the only option we can think of is that the boys move out, and she gets a fancy new toddler bed to entice her to sleep where their bed was, in our room. I need to night-wean her the moment we get her in there, and hopefully she will adjust to the disturbances of the baby waking at night for nappy changes and milk, etc. If it doesn't work, I guess we will have to think of an alternative, after the baby is here and we've tried it for a while. The alternative would have to be me and the tiny one moving out of the bedroom, I think, but I am not sure where we would go as all the bedrooms are full! :/

* Before that, we have to redecorate our bedroom! The blinds that were fitted when we moved in have pulled the plaster off the wall and fallen down, exposing brickwork! So they are "pinned" up and taken down every day which is a huge pain, and we need those areas replastering. NO IDEA what we are going to do! Plastering isn't something you can just hop up and decide to do, and we can't afford to get someone in to do it! :( We have wallpaper here (I hate wallpaper with small children!) and the little ones have peeled it in places so it looks awful! I plan to give birth in that room (unless it's night time of course, and then I guess I'll be downstairs?! I hope it's day time. I would MUCH rather give birth in my cosy familiar bed...), and therefore midwives and various others will attend me in there, so it CANNOT look like that still when my due date rolls around.

* Then there's the various things I have not even turned my mind to yet, like writing a birth plan (new midwives here, new hospital, so much that I'm not familiar with!), packing a hospital bag, planning what to do if I end up transferring to hospital for any reason, etc.

* Big spanner in the works right now: My dear and lovely doula, who we haven't seen in over a year (well, briefly for an afternoon at their wedding anniversary renewal of vows in September), is suffering terribly from depression and is completely debilitated by it at the moment. She wrote last week to tell me she's SO sorry but right now she cannot doula for me, she is just not able. :( I feel for her so badly. I have been there with debilitating depression, and know how awful it is. Also I just love her so much and wish her better! MUCH less importantly, but still valid, I am not sure what to do about not having someone to count on when I have my baby! :( Of course I wrote back telling her not to worry about a THING from my point of view, that I would be absolutely fine if I needed to do it without her, and she must not feel guilty. But I am starting to get anxious! Neil can't be there for me, at home or in hospital, even in an emergency, because he's needed for the children day and night. My parents can't (and probably won't) come all the way from France. They were my support plan for my 3rd baby, but they were in France when he arrived early and so we realised that it really wouldn't work. My labours are quick. And I don't like to have it hanging over me that my desperately needed support very likely won't make it to me in time - it's a stress leading up to the birth, and I don't want that. Heather lives an hour or so away by car, which is already a new thing to work with, but she was planning to come and stay with us for a few days leading up to my likely time of labour, and then stay afterwards for a few days as well. Now she won't be able to be here for me at all, and I feel rather lost and scared wondering what will happen.

* Soooo, I need prayer! Please pray that Heather will respond well to the new treatment she's started for her depression, and feel so much better in the coming couple of months that she will be able to come and be here after all. I don't want to be selfish about it - her wellbeing is more important! But I so hope she'll be okay, and I won't have to be alone... Also, please pray that I will have a perfectly healthy, safe, straightforward homebirth. I would hate to transfer to hospital ANYWAY, even with Heather by my side. It upsets me hugely to leave my "nest" and my little ones when I'm in labour. But I can't fathom doing it without someone by my side to support me, help me breathe and pray for me when I am having a panic attack (which, likely, if I go into hospital, especially given that to do that I would have to be having some sort of worrying complication in the first place), and hold my hand if I cry. Neil absolutely can't. There's nobody we can leave the children with, and it would be for too long to have someone at our house who they are not completely used to (for overnight, or bedtime routine, etc.) - they just wouldn't cope with not having a parent at home, especially the Asperger's ones, and the tiny ones. :( Also please pray that the timing of the labour and birth would be perfect - not just at home and uncomplicated, but at a time of day or night that means I am able to get on with it feeling supported and surrounded, even if I don't have a doula with me. Right now I am thinking it would have to be day time. Night time means that Neil would be on hand for me more, but he isn't the best birth support person, I feel awkward saying it, but it's true! :/ He doesn't know what to say or do, isn't tuned into me to know when I need comfort, or calming, or just a hand to hold, and comes over faint even before the birthy part arrives, lol! He hasn't been there for the last 3 babies at all, and just nipped in for Benjamin's (4 babies ago) to see him born as I really wanted him to. So it isn't as straightforward as all that to just hope for night time and having Neil with me - he isn't as comforting to me as even a midwife, let alone a doula, and I would constantly be distracted being concerned that he was feeling faint or funny. *sigh*

I currently feel like day time labour and birth would suit me best. I get anxious easily at night, even in the evening like with Lydia's labour, I was strangely anxious and uneasy with the time of day - even in my familiar room that I always gave birth in (don't have that any more!), and Heather by my side. I just put it down to it being a different time of day, one that I am most prone to anxiety in. Day time would mean I would feel more in control, more surrounded by normal life around the house, and people coming and going - not hushed and "strange" like night time. I would feel comforted that Neil was looking after the little ones having their normal day, and I could hopefully tune in to my midwife (who I may not even have met, as I only have one named midwife that I see every time - nice idea but not that useful when she only works 3 days a week and therefore isn't likely to be on hand for my birth!) as my source of support.

Urrrrghhhh. The whole thing is making me anxious. I just hope it all goes smoothly, and I somehow manage the difficult parts of labour where I typically panic and need MAJOR support (transition and actual birthing), without anyone to give me that support. Even with a good "chin up!" attitude to it, I realistically know that I won't cope well in those moments without a doula or similar support. Heather doesn't charge us any more - she doesn't take doula clients any longer, and only comes to us because we are close friends and she wouldn't miss it for the world! :) I'm so blessed to have her! We can't afford to just get another doula. We couldn't afford Heather if she was still charging us either.

Changing the subject! :/

* We finally decided on the baby's name! Neil wasn't sure about it STILL, but he gave in in the end because he had no ideas - he liked Sophie and Amy, but I really didn't like Amy and Sophie just didn't feel "right" for this baby somehow. I kept coming back to how the boys have wanted a sister called Rosie. Time is just passing and we were getting nowhere, and I started to fall in love with Rosalie again (which I previously loved but then became unsure - this baby has been the hardest to name by far, lol!). Neil said he wasn't sure if he'd ever like it (!!) even after saying it was really nice just a few weeks earlier!! It's hard to work with him on names! ;) Then this week he said he had sat in the car and tried it out, as though calling her or telling her off, lol! And he likes it well enough. So that we don't change our minds again (I REALLY don't want to anyway, I love it!), we officially told the children yesterday after cutting Arthur's birthday cake (he's ELEVEN!!!! *gasp*).

Our baby's name is Rosalie Averil. :) She will likely be called Rosie by her brothers (they are just SO pleased!!), but I also want to call her Rosalie, and Rose. I am really happy with her name, it's girly and pretty and versatile enough to change about if I want to. We haven't used the letter R before, so it works well! Lydie pronounces it, "Rosie-Rosie" :) I LOVE having a name to use now, as I coo over her and talk to her when she pushes her feet about in my side! :)

PLEASE DO NOT mention her name at all if you know me on Facebook! I desperately want to keep it a surprise for the birth announcement! Sometimes friends have slipped up in the past, so I'm just asking again, please try not to let it slip! Thank you! :)

So, Rosalie (yay!) is very active and busy in there. She gets hiccups several times a day, and is now very vigorous with her feet, always pushing them out of my bump on my upper right side. She is always head down with her back always on my left side. Occasionally she swings round to my right side, but never stays there long. :) A couple of weeks ago, we discovered that she's exactly the same size (to the cm!) as the baby dolly that Lydia got for her birthday from her Grandma (the one named Averil!). We even measured the doll's head circumference and found it was the same measurement as a baby in the womb at 30 weeks! So we had a good life-size reference, and I curled it up and placed it over Rosalie's position on my tummy. It was really eye-opening to see, and I think the children really "got it" when they saw that example! The doll's bottom was in the same exact place as the solid bump they could feel right underneath inside my tummy, and the doll's feet were an inch from where they could actively feel our baby's feet kicking at their hands! They got to see that her head must be way down in my hips. It was really great to have that visual! :)

I am tired and generally feeling more yucky this pregnancy. Not terrible (except when these rounds of horrible nausea and bowel issues kick in), but worse than I'm used to at this stage of my pregnancies. I didn't feel so good with Lydia either, and some of my friends have said that they felt worse throughout the pregnancy with their GIRLS, than their boys. So maybe that's all it is? I wondered if it's just that I'm getting older. Maybe...

I had a midwife appointment at 28 weeks, unwell at the time because I'd been up ALL night trying not to be sick (happened to have a bout of whatever this IBS-type issue is, which has recurred several times since). She did my routine bloods and I asked her specifically if she would test not only my haemoglobin, but also my ferritin (iron stores). I felt that with allllll that bleeding I did early on, I may well be low on iron. Sure enough, my haemoglobin came back okay, but my ferritin was low. I have been taking Floradix iron supplements since then, though not always consistently if I am feeling sick.  She wants to re-test at 34 weeks to see if it is coming back up, as low ferritin might not be a good idea at the time of birth. :/ I hope it's coming up.

My midwife phoned me yesterday and asked to pop in and see me that afternoon, but it was Arthur's birthday so she is coming tomorrow instead. I am slightly unnerved, because she was really clear that there are no appointments until 34 weeks, as a routine. I wonder why she is coming?

Okay it's so late and my head really hurts. I was up most of the night 2 nights ago decorating Arthur's birthday cake, and then I had another late night last night, so I was DESPERATE for an early night tonight, but alas! :/ Nearly 1am now. I will try to go to bed with the children tomorrow, and hope I manage through the day  - they have swimming lessons tomorrow which will be a challenge!

I remembered I never posted the last 2 belly pictures I took (25 weeks and the special one I always take at 28 weeks with the children around me), so I am going to finish with those tonight. I randomly grabbed the camera and used the timer to take a quick one for 32 weeks tonight too, so yay, at least I've covered a few weeks now! :) It's so easy to forget to take belly pictures! Here they are (I think photobucket has made my photos poor and grainy looking for some reason, which it didn't used to do!):

25 weeks:

28 weeks, with all my lovely treasures! :)

32 weeks:

Random thing I almost forgot! - I now weigh exactly 11 stone, so I have gained 35lbs (I think?? I can't remember if I was 8st 5lbs or 8st 7lbs at the start!) so far. My weight gain is odd (to me!) - I didn't gain a thing for several weeks, not one pound, and then in one week I gained 6lbs and felt dreadful the following week - exhausted and achy with my leg muscles in particular trying to catch up with their extra load, lol! I wish I could remember how many weeks I was when that happened... I think it must have been before 28 weeks because I remember mentioning it to the midwife and she just nodded and said weight gain can happen like that - so long as it slows down again, it's fine. And I *think* it had JUST happened, so maybe 27 weeks was when I gained 6lbs? Anyway, for 3 weeks following, I gained NOTHING, no lbs at all! Again! I was bracing myself for another 6lbs after those 3 weeks, lol! But, I have gained just 2lbs since, and have held steady with no weight gain for most of this past week. Interesting!

I will TRY, I really will, to update again! I am just so pushed for time. I forgot to say that never mind all the baby prep listed above, Samuel's birthday is less than 6 weeks away, with Christmas 4 days after! And I need to have everything ready for Nathan's birthday by then too (Jan 12th) because I know I won't have time to focus on it once it's baby time, and it will be a stress hanging over me if it's not all nicely ready and packed away before Rosalie is born. :/ Please do pray for me, getting everything done, and not going insane stressing over things! Thank you! :)

Friday, 18 September 2015

24 weeks pregnant!

Oh this is terrible!! It has taken me so long to update - a whole month has gone by! :/ I just can't seem to find time to update this blog, because I know I will need a good bit of time every time I update, with all the long-windedness and news from my head that I always like to write. I am no good at short updates, lol! I'm starting this even though it's mid-afternoon, someone is working on a pooey nappy that I'll need to change in a minute, and I need to get on with the next thing to do (some school lessons, and also making spaghetti Bolognese). It's the absolute worst time to sit and start writing a blog update, but WHEN am I going to aside from this?! I know I may only get a paragraph in, and then stop for days, but at least I'm making a start from which I can continue (and maybe be more motivated to remember, as I've made that start) any time I get a moment.

I have been so tired, and going to bed with the children about half the nights in a week, every week, just to maintain life. That means my only waking hours are the ones where I'm on the go constantly with all the children - most of them get up before I do in the mornings, and if I go to sleep before some of them doze off, well, I just have no time for my own pursuits, aside from much less time-consuming updates on Facebook. (Julie from Heartlight, I haven't forgotten your request!! I don't have a way to contact you, but yes I would love to friend you on Facebook, after all these years! :) I am generally picky about friending anyone I do not know, and never accept a friend request if it's not accompanied by a personal message - because honestly, I have no idea who most of you are, lol! It's nothing personal, but if I don't know you I'm unlikely to accept a request - I am pretty open on Facebook, but my name and location and such are there, so I'm picky.)

So I am getting bigger. Much bigger, these last few weeks! I feel "properly pregnant", which I guess is my way of saying that I feel "really pregnant", but I know I can't really say that yet at 24 weeks, since it pales into insignificance compared with 35 weeks and beyond, in my experience, lol! I feel physically more restricted now. Uncomfortable a lot, and my bump gets in the way of my diaphragm when I am sitting down - I have to keep straightening my back to take a deep breath. Bending over sharply without thinking results in pain low down under my bump, and I'm slowly learning to remember not to make that sudden move any more. It's hard to cut my toenails, and I feel breathless a lot, and night time isn't very comfy at all, getting a good position to sleep in. I still have a lot of searing ligament pains, even at night when I'm in a perfectly comfy position and not moving at all! I guess the baby suddenly moves and then my ligaments are pulled on differently, so they complain. It's harder getting up from my mattress on the floor that is mine and Lydia's bed, now. In the coming months, we'll figure out and implement a plan for where she'll sleep, and get ready for the new baby moving into bed next to me. Neil is nearby but Lydia still breastfeeds on demand at night, so it affects his sleep less when he's not on the same mattress as us! As it happens he's a terrible sleep-mate, lol! I have never had a night's sleep as good as before I got married, mostly because I'm attending little ones every night for the last 10 years, and then pregnantly disturbed (!!) for the months before that, but in the few years before we had children, I was constantly disturbed by Neil. He thrashes about, has no awareness of another person in the bed, and snores. He talks, mumbles and shouts in his sleep, and wakes violently from bad dreams! I thought I would get used to it over the years being married to him, but nope. I am thinking of separate beds in the same room after we've finished having little ones in the room, lol! Need my sleep!

Children are doing chores now. I can carry on for a few minutes.

We haven't settled on a name yet for this baby girl! We keep thinking that we have the one we're going to use, and I actually say it when I talk about the baby and things that I see that will be set aside for her (things that Lydia has outgrown, etc.). But then the next day I will think, "Is that REALLY going to be her name?..." and I feel not quite settled with using it. I still think it pretty much IS the name we'll go with, so I keep using it when I refer to her. But in the not-knowing, and therefore getting to 24 weeks and not having told anyone at all about a name we might use (except for the shortlist I mentioned here last time) I am feeling more and more drawn to keeping the name a secret for announcing at the birth, like I usually do for the rest of the world, only here and with close friends at Facebook too! :) Never done that before... I always like to talk about everything in my head here, as it happens, and that includes calling my baby by his or her name from as soon as I know what it is and it's therefore in my head all the time in reference to the baby. Maybe it's because I'm not quite 100% sure that we WILL use this name in the end, and maybe once I do feel sure, I'll want to use it here. But I'm quite enjoying the secret, and that nobody knows - everybody can't wait to find out, but nobody knows! :) It's nice! Sorry for the frustration, but it's nice, hehe!

It IS one of the names on the shortlist, but there's a chance we might change it for another one on the shortlist. Also there's a slimmer chance that from out of the blue, another name we hadn't considered will cross our minds and we'll end up choosing that. I *think* we are settled. The boys won't know until we've absolutely decided. Most of the time we are sure, but there are still moments of doubt for me, and maybe that can be normal in pregnancy, but it's not my norm so I'm unsettled by the feeling.

Meg asked how we'd pronounce Rosalie in the comments after last entry. If we use that name, we would absolutely pronounce it Rose-a-lee. I had a moment when I read that, of slight panic, thinking I didn't want a name that might be mispronounced! I had never even considered "Roz-a-lee" as a way to say the name, and went straight to as many baby name websites as I could find. After 10 websites in a row said that the only pronunciation was "Rose-a-lee" I was reassured! It isn't like Rosalind, it's a "Rose" name, and doesn't have an option for "Roz-a-lee" on the how-to-pronounce info, so hopefully not many people would think it was pronounced that way, if we choose it. The good thing about Charlotte, Rose and Hannah is that they are classic, obvious names that nobody will mispronounce or mis-spell!

Baby girly has had hiccups for the first time, a couple of weeks ago! I was so excited!! I love this stage, big walloping kicks (compared with the teeny fluttery ones of the early months), obvious baby bump, and hiccups! I love baby hiccups, I feel so proud of my little ones knowing that they are practicing their breathing in there, and that is why they are getting hiccups. In the past week I saw my tummy going up and down rhythmically for a moment, and I recognised it as practice breathing. :) Good girl!

She is now viable - hooray! I know it's still super early, but if she was born now, she would have a chance of survival outside my body. Bizarre and surreal thought - I really feel like I haven't been pregnant very long yet! But I'm so relieved to reach the 24 week milestone! :)

I haven't taken a belly pic in ages, and am not sure when I can get chance! I will if I can. I know that Arthur will NOT let me forget the traditional 28-week one with all the children around me and my littlest on my hip. :) He asks pretty much every week if I'm pregnant enough for "the family picture" yet. I am excited about that picture! It will be the third pregnancy in a row that I've done one, and it's building a sweet run of pictures that show how the children are growing and changing, which I love! :)

Lydia got kicked for the first time, a few weeks ago! She and Elijah were the first to feel this baby kick, other than me. Neil has since felt hiccups, and Arthur and Matthew have felt little tiny taps, but not big kicks yet. Lydia was kneading my tummy while Elijah, who asks to see my "big tummy" every single day, was having his viewing of my tummy while we sat on the sofa having a cuddle. She came over and squashed it about this way and that. I've been telling her there's a baby inside, but how could she really know?! ;) Anyway, baby sister kicked Lydia right on her hand, and she snatched it back with a sharp gasp, like she'd been stung, lol! She stared with wide eyes and open mouth at my tummy for a few moments, and then turned the same expression to me, for some reassurance I guess! I asked her if she had felt the baby move, and she said yes, in total amazement! ;) Now, on Elijah's daily viewings (!), she comes over and points to my tummy, and then says very seriously, "Baby. Baby indide." Yes, lovey, there is! :D She still can't understand until the baby arrives, of course, but it's a start! ;)

Lydia will be 2 next month. I have never had a two-year-old who is about to have a baby sibling before, except for those who are about to get their SECOND baby sibling! ;) Lydia will be two and will have never had a younger sibling before, which is totally new territory for us. She is more advanced and more aware therefore, than her brothers were when I was pregnant and due to have a baby, being that bit older. A few more months will make even more difference to her development. It's weird to me, lol! I'm used to much shorter age gaps! I hope it will be okay...

I am still in absolute awe that I am having another girl! So delighted, and just honestly shaking my head with disbelief that God has been THIS good to me! We were on a long drive last weekend to see family, and Neil and I were finalising the baby's name (or so we thought, lol!). Then we were quiet for a while, and there was a crazy huge influx of motorbikes coming down the motorway. Neil is practically obsessed with motorbikes, and military, and cars, and football. The boys (all of them) are following in his footsteps, shrieking with joy over the sight of motorbikes, asking, "WOW, what car is THAT!" at a fancy or fast car on the road, and having a fairly obsessive interest in military aircraft, which is mainly Arthur's but his enthusiasm for anything is always infectious to his brothers, so they all talk, read and draw about military aircraft every. single. day. NONE of which is a problem, and of course Lydia could share their interests, BUT.... I could not possibly be more bored with each of those subjects! My dad and brother have always been heavily into football, and to my mum it's like nails on chalkboard, lol! From early in childhood I seemed to identify with her over it, and football and cars and other "man" stuff really super irritates me. I just do my own thing when there's football on, and take as little notice as possible for my own sanity, as I did growing up, but now that all the children are joining it, it's impossible to get away from the constant talk of air strikes and code names for planes, and cars and motorbikes, etc. I love their healthy interests, but sometimes I reach a point where I want to SCREAM - it's SO boring!!! Aaaargh! I have some hope that maybe Lydia will be - at last! - someone to keep me company during the absolute boredom of all the male hobbies, lol! I know she might choose their interests too, but I so hope not! ;) Another girl makes me hope for double the companions, hehe!

Anyway, so this parade of motorbikes went on and on, and the boys and Neil got more and more excited about it. I tried to make interested comments and noises for a while but after 20 minutes (there must have been an event they were going to), I was honestly about to lose my MIND with the whole thing, stuck in a van with endless 2-wheeled vehicles and 20 minutes of maintained crazy excitement, mostly from Neil, lol! ;) I got to the, "Yes, yes, it's a BIKE." response stage (!!) and then lay my head back on the head-rest to close my eyes and try to escape. I think I had hormones going on as well, emotionally speaking, so that didn't help! ;) To distract myself while the excitement over parply-noised-vehicles continued, I tried thinking back on our conversation about the new baby and her name. Then suddenly it hit me that I was shortly going to be the mother of TWO daughters. Two girls. My GIRLS - girlzzzz! :D It suddenly was overwhelmingly amazing to me again, and unbelieveably wonderful, and in the face of all the blokey thrill of motorbikes, to suddenly think I would have two daughters growing up by my side with all these boys... I just suddenly choked up with tears right there in the van, thinking how GOOD God has been to me, how gracious and kind, to give me TWO daughters after all these precious sons. I guess he knew I would need them! :P

Well, that's all the time I have, and I am pleased to have been able to write more than I expected! :) I will try to update again like this, and get a picture up sometime soon as well. Thanks so much for all the lovely comments and congrats on my newest daughter! :)