My brush with the baby blues

The ‘baby blues’ is perhaps the most misleading name used by the NHS website in all of history. Seriously, I suffered big time with the baby blues/ I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus/can’t stop crying with Georgia. In fact, I pretty much cried for 7 weeks solid, until I finally came out of the brain fog and started to see the light, so I felt almost prepared for it when I had Neve. I was actually far more frightened of going through the ‘blues’ again than I was of going through labour! So when Neve arrived and I managed to get through the first couple of weeks feeling pretty damn happy I thought I’d got off unscathed.. we were going out every day, hell we even managed a family photoshoot at 5 days old- I thought I was winning at life! Everyone was asking how I was and I would give an honest reply of how good I was, how great a sleeper Neve was, how chilled out she was and… well… A few days later and I was left feeling a bit of a dick for speaking too soon, looking a lot like a zombie and crying a river! Yay!

Once the two week mark hit my previously great sleeper of a baby turned into a vampire. Day night confusion had officially arrived, as had the wonderful witching hourSSSS! The witching hour, where babies scream their head off for what feels like an eternity while you walk them round the room rocking them like a mad woman at a certain time EVERY DAY, usually hits in the early evening. Annoying but manageable right? At first Neve’s witching hour started off about 1am and lasted till around about 4am. Not so manageable, unless your nocturnal/can cope on very little sleep (I can’t) or have soundproof walls (we don’t). So started a vicious cycle of Neve screaming, Georgia screaming that Neve had woke her up, Danny screaming for us to put Neve in the shed (he was half joking) and me just plain screaming! We were one very tired household.. and that’s when the baby blues hit!

After our first night of the witching hourSSS I cried pretty much all morning. I desperately tried to avoid Georgia seeing it but a toddler is like a permanent shadow and hiding tears from your shadow is not easy, so when she asked what was the matter we told her I felt sick (future reference NOT the wisest idea I now have a toddler who tells me she feels sick all the time or asks me if I’m sick all of the time. I was far too exhausted to think of something more child appropriate). That morning the healthcare visitor arrived, asked how I was, I replied that I felt a little wobbly today (complete lie- I felt as tense as a turkey at Christmas time) and she asked if I was feeling a little blue… A little blue? Mrs healthcare visitor I feel like a full blown smurf.. but of course I replied that yes I was a little blue and she told me it will pass. The thing is pre baby blues you knows it will pass, knows everything’s just a phase, knows how quickly time goes, but current you is convinced you will never ever sleep again, your baby will cry forever more and your toddler will be mentally scarred for life because of the attention new baby demands ALL of the time!

My baby blues this time probably lasted 2 more weeks. By 6 weeks we all started getting a little more sleep, time is going far too quickly, Georgia has become pretty much immune to Neve’s crying and is definitely not mentally scarred. Neve has turned back into a fairly chilled baby, if you don’t count the hours of 6pm-9pm (the new witching hours, the sheds still tempting, one battle at a time…) We’ve almost got into something vaguely resembling a (dare I say it?) routine and we’ve found a new normal in life where I can give both girls the attention they need (often includes having to feed Neve in the toilet while Georgia’s doing a pop goes the weasel-as she likes to call it, or the longest shit in the world- as mummy likes to call it. Bon appetite Neve!)

After suffering the baby blues twice over I’ve come to realise there’s definitely nothing you can to do avoid them but there are things that make you feel worse:

1) unsolicited advice- not so bad when you have your second, but when you have your first literally everyone under the sun wants to advise you on how to bring up your baby , how you should feed them, whether they should have a dummy, where they should sleep. The baby blues make you doubt your own instincts and all the advice just leads to massive overthinking. Then of course you turn to google, which makes the problem even worse because you now have the wealth of Internet forums also giving you advice. Babies are tough, they don’t come with instruction manuals and it takes a good few weeks to decipher what each cry/scream means. Avoid judgey mums at all cost!

2) Feeling guilty- when I was in the blues with Georgia I felt horrifically guilty that I was feeling so low when I should be ecstatic with my new baby. When I was feeling blue with Neve I felt horrifically guilty that I couldn’t give both girls attention without sacrificing time with the other one. It passes. Ish, part of being a parent is feeling guilty! Avoid parents who rave about all the crafts they do with their children every single day, glitters banned in our house!

3) exhaustion- literally nothing you can do about this but accept that you will be tired forevermore and hold back from punching friends who don’t have babies that complain their tired!

Disclaimer: we never actually put our baby in the shed nor do we condone the putting of babies in sheds.

‘Up sh*t creek’

Anyone whose had a baby knows that you literally become obsessed with poo! Baby poo is crazy, it starts off black then turns yellow, green, pretty much any colour in between.

Two weeks into Neve being home and we had already had our first poo drama. My poor babba went from being a normal newborn explosive pooper to just passing hard rabbit droppings in a matter of days- it was time to consult Dr Google.

According to Dr Google we must give our baby cool boiled water after a feed and this would fix all constipation problems. Hooray, we thought, an easy fix! Cool boiled water! Simple right? Not so much.. it turns out that after drinking warm delicious milk a baby doesn’t much fancy cool boiled water. So, after finally getting Neve to swallow the smallest of sips (the rest got spat in my face) we eagerly awaited the poo that Doctor Google had promised would come…

The next day, still no poo! Nada! Cue stroppy baby and time to consult Doctor Google again. Aha! I exclaimed to Danny, I had found the answer to our problems- we must bicycle her legs!!

An hour of bicycling her legs later whilst singing I want to ride my bicycle and slowly going insane; still no poo… it had been a few days and Neve was rapidly going from stroppy baby to screaming banshee (and it wasn’t just my singing)!

Doctor Google clearly wasn’t cutting it, it was time for the next step! Now every parent has a hierarchy to consult before actually seeking proper medical advice. We wouldn’t want the real life doctors to judge us for being hypochondriacs after all. Doctor Google is at the bottom of our hierarchy (actually let’s be honest, Danny’s at the bottom ‘do what you think’ offers absolutely no reassurance at all!!) and when Doctor Google fails, its time to ring the Mumma!

So Mumma comes round in a jiffy (hero that she is) gives Neve lots of cuddles, calms her down then tells us that we probably should go see an actual doctor and seek real medical advice (not so heroic, I was secretly hoping she’d come round, play the fiddle or something and rainbow coloured poo that smelt like flowers would dance out of my daughters arse)…

Three hours later and we’re sat in the out of hours waiting for our appointment. One problem: the car journey had sent Neve to sleep! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I wanted my baby to be crying or in pain, but I was about to go into the doctors, explain to them that I had taken one of their precious appointments because my daughter was so constipated she was severely distressed, and there was Neve sleeping like an angel. And that’s exactly how she stayed, through the WHOLE appointment. The doctor clearly thought I was the fussiest mum in the world, but after a while of me trying to reassure her that there was an actual problem she sent us on our merry way with a prescription for medication to help!

After leaving the doctors we stopped off at the chemist, picked up the medication we thought would so easily solve our problems and headed home. Once we’d arrived, I opened the medication expecting to find some powder I’d perhaps have to mix into her milk or maybe a syringe with some liquid laxatives… but no… what I actually found was 12 tablets with a jelly like consistency shaped like torpedos… what the?! Surely we’d been given the wrong medication! How was a newborn supposed to swallow these?! Once I started to read the instructions, realisation dawned on me- these tablets were NOT for Neve’s mouth…So after not much debate about who was going to have to stick the tablets where the sun doesn’t shine (Danny flat out refused) we were set! It was like a military operation:

  1. lay Neve on side on changing mat.
  2. Danny: lift Neve’s legs up to her knees
  3. Jenna: somehow insert this slippery torpedo into tiny arsehole
  • This is the complicated bit, the instructions clearly stated that our child would want to ‘have a bowel movement’ immediately after inserting the tablet, we must discourage them from doing so as the tablet takes 15 minutes to work and it would not clear effectively. WHAT?!? Please mr pharmacist instruction writer, explain to me how I can tell my two week old baby that yes I understand you feel the urge to go for a shit with this tablet up your arse but please refrain from doing so for 15 minutes!!
  • Once I had finally managed to get the slippery torpedo tablet inside its required destination, Neve had pushed it out within seconds, SECONDS! And I needed it in for 15 minutes!!! So started a vicious cycle of Danny shouting at me to put it back in, me shouting that I didn’t want to anymore, Georgia shouting at us that she couldn’t hear Paw Patrol until finally, after about 10 ‘reinsertions’, Danny suggested that I would have to hold it in there. Great suggestion from someone who doesn’t have to do the deed hey! But I took another one for the team and held it in place until 3 days worth of shit literally shot out like a rocket at me and covered me and the entire changing mat!
  • So all was a success in the end- Neve has pooped like a trooper ever since! I am, however, scarred for life…
  • Disclaimer: no babies were harmed during this, Neve slept through the whole thing, I assure you, Danny and I were the only ones who suffered in the ordeal (scratch that I was the only one who suffered, Danny found the whole thing pretty hilarious)
  • Neve’s Birth- ‘Windy Balls’

    What woman doesn’t love a good birth story? In the interest of giving a truly honest account of motherhood I’ve decided to share my birth story with the world/anyone bored enough to read my blog. So if you’re a prude or are someone far more ladylike than myself, you’re probably not going to enjoy this one…

    It all started on the evening of the 29th July. As I mentioned in my previous blog we were mid heatwave and I was ready to try just about anything to get this baby out of me. I say just about everything, I was far too fat and sweaty to try the one sure fire way (much to Danny’s dismay). So instead we decided to get an Indian. My brother came over, we all ate, watched a film, brother left then we went off soundly to sleep… until about midnight, when I woke up with something trickling down my leg. Now in the third trimester of pregnancy this wasn’t altogether uncommon, a sneeze, laughter, a cough could bring about said trickling. So I dashed to the toilet (I say dashed, I was the size of a whale…) and upon sitting down, the River Nile literally gushed out of me! I had drank a lot of squash though, so I wasn’t convinced. I went back to bed to inspect the sheets and there was a huge wet patch, so of course I woke up my darling husband and made him smell said wet patch to make definitely sure it was not wee! Poor Danny in his barely awake state didn’t really know what was going on but of course he obliged because he knew better than to cross a heavily pregnant woman.

    After confirming that no it did not smell like wee and yes my waters probably had broken we both looked at each other, panic spreading across our faces- we’d done this before, we knew what to expect, we were going to have to do it again (I say we, I really mean me because, let’s face it, I was the one that was going to have to push this baby out of my fanny! Danny was just panicked because he was supposed to have a futsal match that morning and was now more than likely going to miss it).

    So we rang the hospital and were told that providing I didn’t start contractions we could come in in the morning. Low and behold five minutes later contractions start (cue more panic from myself because I had forgotten that a contraction felt like you were being squeezed so hard your insides would fall out- like period pains my ass NHS website!!!) and the hospital wanted us to come in straight away (my labour with Georgia was rather rapid). Now of course 1) we have a sleeping toddler upstairs in bed and 2) there was no way I was doing labour without my Mumma there too. So poor old nanna and grandypops got a call at half 12 to come round asap!

    Once they arrived and dad had been reassured that Georgia would be fine in the morning providing you stuck ‘Tinkerbell and the Lost Pirates’ on and gave her some hot milk, we were on our way!

    After arriving at the hospital we were admitted into triage where there were 2 other beds with ladies being monitored and trying to catch a little bit of shuteye in the early hours of the morning. It was around this point I began to seriously regret having that Indian earlier on… To say I had a wind problem would be a vast understatement. Every time I had a contraction I literally erupted. I sounded like an old man after a Christmas dinner and I smelt even worse. These poor women trying to get a little rest in the ward, then there was me waking them up every 3 minutes with the worlds loudest farts and of course we were all in absolute hysterics about it.

    Then came the time for the first examination, for those of you who don’t know, this is where a midwife sticks there fingers up you (but honestly it feels like a whole fist) and has a good root around to check how far dilated you are! I can’t even remember how far I was at this point, I was that terrified of farting in this poor midwifes face that I really wasn’t paying much attention! But finally we were sent to the birthing unit where we were given a room of our own and I could fart to my hearts/stomachs content! Bliss!

    So with contractions now coming every few minutes so came the ‘pre labour empty out’ where your body literally gets rid of everything inside you in preparation for squeezing babba out! Another reason to regret the Indian… I was seriously starting to worry that I was going to have a curry poo during the birth.

    A few hours later with contractions in full swing I was given another examination which pushed me to 5cm. At this point I was able to get into the pool for the water birth. Now I hadn’t had a water birth with Georgia and I had visions of a relaxing birth, feeling as light as air in the warm water, classical music maybe playing in the background- in reality I went to 10cm in two more contractions, I could barely climb in, it was far too hot in there, I was a sweaty mess and to top it all off I wasn’t tall enough to lean back on the headrest so Danny spent the rest of the labour holding my head up so I didn’t drown (I was pretty high on gas and air at this point).. Then, at that point, when there was no way I would be able to get out of that bath because I had the ‘I need a poo!!! I need to push!!!’ feeling going on down there, the midwife proceeds to tell me that, because I’m in the bath she can’t really help with the delivery and I’m pretty much going to have to go with my body and do everything myself! WHAT THE ACTUAL …?!? Should she not have explained this to me before I decided to get in the pool of doom I was now stuck in?!?

    Fortunately I didn’t have much time to panic because by some miracle, my body did know what to do and I started pushing Neve out, this was all while the midwife was faffing around getting things ready and Danny was shouting at her that I was pushing! 2 pushes and I had that ‘I’ve got a bowling ball stuck between my legs’ feeling so I knew it was time to pant! So, armed with gas and air, I breathed Neve out. (Just Neve, no curry poo- go me!!) Once she was out she floated up to the surface and the midwife caught her and planted her on my chest. I cried. A lot. There was one scary moment (for Danny and my mum) where she had got her cord stuck round her neck in some sort of fancy gymnastic twist she did as she swam so elegantly up, but I was clueless to all this as one quick twist from the midwife and she was free.

    Then came an excited shout from Danny…

    ‘I think I know what it is!!!’ Now I was confused, because for Danny to say that surely he must think Neve was a boy and he’d got a quick glimpse of a willy. But I had been fairly certain through the whole pregnancy that we would have another girl, I don’t know how I knew but I just knew that we had not had a boy. So I looked at Danny pretty gone out, before the midwife announced we had another girl. Then he looked at me really gone out. ‘But she’s got balls!!’ Danny spurted out… it turns out that my poor, innocent little girl just had a rather swollen mini moo mars (as Georgia likes to call it). I was delighted we had another girl, Danny was still fairly concerned our daughter had balls and my mum had a fourth granddaughter to spoil!

    Now a couple of ‘cosmetic stitches’ ,an ibuprofen up the bum (childbirth is SO glamorous) and baths full of badidas later and everything is right as rain- if you don’t count the postpartum bleeding, the first (10) postlabour poos (like pooping glass) and the pain in the ass pelvic floor exercises… But it was all so worth it in the end!

    So there you have it, my birth story, the good, bad and the just plain embarrassing. Moral of the story, do not eat spicy food in the hope of going into labour- if it does work you WILL regret it!!! And do not trust your husband in finding out the sex of your beautiful baby. They will more than likely get it wrong!

    Please feel free to like/ comment/ share and if you feel like it share some of your own labour experiences. I love a good birth story!

    Double Trouble

    So it appears it happens to many parents…you forget the morning sickness, sleepless nights, newborn anxieties, teething and not to mention the actual labour. You look back at it all with rose tinted glasses and, as soon as things have started to get easier with your first/second/third/gazillionth child, boom- broodiness smacks you in the ovaries!

    This happened to me about a year ago, already a mummy to Georgia who slept 7-7, napped 2 hours a day, we’d done the toilet training and I’d finally got to the stage where we could go out for the day without bringing a backpack full of things a toddler could possibly need (spare clothes, spare entertainment, spare food…). I could use an actual handbag!!! We thought we’d nailed this parenting malarkey!

    Cue the ‘let’s try for another’ conversation… Danny and I were fortunate enough that we fell pregnant pretty quickly and had no complications. Then, this summer, mid heatwave might I add, Neve decided to grace us with her presence and so began the whirlwind of having a newborn once more! Yes I burst with love every time I look at her or sniff her baby smell and yes I definitely know how lucky we are to have two beautiful, healthy girls, but let’s just say it’s been an emotional rollercoaster and we certainly don’t have this parenting malarkey nailed!!

    So during one of my emotional, absolutely exhausted moments, after spending the 3am feed over googling, every mum does it right?! I decided to blog and give an honest account of our journey going from a family of 3 to a family of 4 including all the laughter, smiles, gory details and sometimes tears. I have no idea whether people will actually enjoy reading about us, but please feel free to share/comment with any of your own experiences or just to share the love, after all it takes a village…