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 www.babyhair.co.uk. 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." :)