Brotherly love 💙

Half term is in full swing, I’ve got all 4 of our little darlings and we’re all still alive…. that’s a victory in my eyes 😂

seriously though, the biggest 3 spent all day yesterday playing so nicely together that it made my heart melt a little…. they all adore each other (at least some of the time)  and to be honest I don’t think we can ask for much more than that…. I’d be concerned if they were the best of friends all of the time (Though a little more often certainly wouldn’t go amiss!!)

Today though my biggest boy has made me very proud, the day started with an appointment for him that he REALLY doesn’t like…. that generally means tears beforehand and him being in a foul mood…. today was no exception! Trying to get out of the house with him this morning wasn’t exactly fun for anybody… in fact even getting him out of bed this morning was so much like hard work I could’ve quite easily dragged him out by his hair 😂

However, after all of that drama, middle boy (it still feels weird not calling him littlest boy 😬) was upset, and his big brother has spent all afternoon doing anything he can to cheer him up – he’s been to the shop and bought him sweets, and is now humouring him with a game of “building a den and turning it into a chocolate museum”… the pair of them have been hidden underneath the dining table cuddled up and giggling away to themselves for the past 2 hours…. it’s moments like this that make all the shite parts of parenthood disappear, watching him comfort and entertain his little brother when there’s probably a million things he’d rather be doing make it all worthwhile….

It’s times like these that make me take a step back and see just how lucky I am, we’ve created our own little army of strong willed, crazy, loud, hard work, frustrating, exhausting little people…. and half of the time their arguments, the constant bickering and fighting makes me want to cry….. but then out of nowhere, one of these perfect little moments comes along and makes me so proud of them, because they might be every single one of those characteristics…. in fact they most definitely are….They’re far from perfect and some days I would kill for half an hours break…

BUT they’re also fiercely protective of each other, loyal, loving and caring – we just don’t step back enough to see that everyday in the craziness of daily life…… we’re usually too wrapped up in hectic day to day stuff to stop for long enough and notice the little things…. im normally too busy shouting at them to get shoes on and brush their teeth… or like last night for example….frantically trying to cook their tea with littlest man attached to my boob whilst shouting through the house for them all to get changed and fill their drink bottles up so that we can all get out of the house for their taekwondo lesson in time… too wrapped up in daily routines to pause for long enough to listen to the 3 biggest ones making plans for tomorrow….to listen to their laughter as they recall something funny that they all did together earlier…..  to see the quick kiss they give their little brother every time they walk past…. to listen to them sneaking into each other’s rooms for a cuddle before bed…

But days like today make me stop for long enough to realise that everything is fine, that they don’t all hate each other really, and gives me hope that in years to come they’ll always have each other’s backs….That the bond between them is so strong and despite all the bickering they love each other dearly… and when it matters the most the kind, caring little traits overcome the fighting… and we can all live happily ever after for at least a few hours!!

Maybe the importance of family we go on so much about is finally filtering through to them…. either way, whatever it is, today I am proud, and I don’t want to run away yet…. thats a small victory for being halfway through half term in my eyes!!

We must be doing something right 💙

growing up….

I seem to be finding less and less time to blog as littlest man is getting bigger….. he’s 9 weeks, and 11 pounds now! This week he seems to have been having a bit of a growth spurt and has been particularly clingy and feeding like crazy! I had 3 nights of very little sleep in a row which left me more zombie like than usual too! We’ve had a lovely weekend though and he slept much better last night so I’m back to fully functioning now – for a little while at least!!

As I type middle boy is on his first date – he will be 8 next week and he’s chosen as his birthday treat to go and watch the wrestling with his girlfriend – chaperoned by Daddy – they really are ridiculously cute – though I feel a bit sorry for hubby 😂

theyre just growing up way too fast for my liking!!

biggest boy is at his dads, so it’s just me and littlest man for the evening for the first time – we’re enjoying the peace and watching rubbish tv together and eating mini eggs in bed at 7.30pm!

Im getting an early night in preparation for half term starting tomorrow – a whole week of no school runs though – and hubby is off for 4 days at the end of the week too for some much needed family time – I can’t wait! 💙

2 months

Our little man is 2 months old today…. 2 whole amazing, tiring, rewarding, lovely months….he even blessed me with a whole 4 hour stretch of sleep last night to celebrate!!

i have to say I have learnt more in this past 2 months than I probably have ever before, in fact I’ve possibly learnt more about myself in this past 2 months than I ever have before too!

As I type I have 2 books open next to me, one of them being that’s not my dragon 😂 the other one being one which I borrowed from my local LLL meeting this morning…..

I’ve spent the past half an hour reading through some of it whilst eating lunch, and one paragraph jumped out at me and put into words exactly how I’ve been feeling lately….

The section was subheaded “magnetic mothering” and described how any tension disappears when mother and baby are attached…. this is exactly how parenting has been for me this time around, I’ve talked in my recent blog posts about how different things have been, and how much happier and easier I’ve found motherhood this time around, and this notion of magnetic mothering definitely rings true for me….

the confidence I have found within myself is immense, I sat and chatted to several ladies this morning and told a couple of them (briefly) about our journey to get here…. i would never have been able to do that in the past….

i am really honestly loving life right now, even the several hours long bedtime for middle boy last night, and the teenage attitude from biggest boy can’t bring me down…. after all I’ve spent my morning surrounded by amazing women, deep in conversation and cake…. and I’m now sat at home eating biscuits with a sleepy baby half feeding and half sleeping on my chest, in half an hour biggest boy will be home begging for cuddles with his brother, shortly afterwards we will go to collect middle boy who will undoubtedly run straight over to kiss his baby brother and tell him about his day….

In reality I’ll then referee at least 5 arguments between teatime and bedtime and probably tend to someone’s tears/tantrum because “he did…..to me”….

BUT then they’ll all want cuddles, and to kiss each other goodnight (usually when they’re meant to be in bed!!) and I’ll know, amidst all the chaos, arguments and tears that they love each other dearly, and deep down we must be doing something right….

heres hoping the next 2 months pass as happily as these first 2 have…. see I’m already forgetting about all the tough bits!

 

That fine line between laughing and crying….

It’s the middle of the night and my gorgeous contented happy little chilled out man has morphed into a clingy wailing monster…. the joys of having his first set of injections today are to blame… lots of extra cuddles are obviously the cure – (And calpol too of course!) I’m not complaining though… I’m still firmly in the “cherishing every moment” mindset…. even in the middle of the night!

So obviously today we went to the Drs for his injections, and his check up – everything was fine 😄

I also had my postnatal check…everything was fine, I had my iron levels rechecked, got retested for group b strep, my Caesarian scar is all healed… I’m allowed to hoover again woo hoo!! After looking at my scar etc the dr decided to refer me to a physiotherapist because of the dire state of my stomach muscles…. this is where that fine line between laughter and tears comes in!!

Only last week I was blogging about body image…. my stomach has been destroyed by pregnancies … polyhydramnios stretched it beyond repair…. no amount of dieting was ever going to fix it….

A few years ago I’d have cried even at the thought of the dr seeing the state of it…. today I laughed…. laughed that after nearly 13 years she’d decided it needs fixing, laughed that I actually no longer care what it looks like… who knows, physiotherapy might make a difference…. But if it doesn’t…. who cares??! My body has given me my 4 beautiful children…. Id sacrifice my stomach muscles a million times over for that!

Body image….

So, this morning I attended a meeting of my local LLL group, the subject being “breastfeeding and body image”…. my first thoughts on the subject when I saw the topic a few weeks back were that it’s not something I’d thought too much about until recently…… but the more I’ve thought about it since the more I’ve realised that that really isn’t the case….

i didn’t have the confidence to tell my whole story to the group today…. but listening to the other women in the room discussing issues around body image made me feel confident enough to come home and write…

Although I am now 100% confident breastfeeding smallest boy whenever and wherever we are, regardless of who may or may not be watching, it makes me a little sad to say that this is only a very recent occurrence, and that body image – or body confidence – is a huge part of why I didn’t breastfeed last time round…

I suppose I should start from the beginning….

I was only 19 years old when my daughter was born…. and even if  she had survived I wouldn’t have even attempted to breastfeed her….I can honestly say the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind throughout my pregnancy…. in my head babies had bottles and that was that….

we had bought bottles and formula very early on in my pregnancy and there wasn’t really ever any mention that I would do anything else….. as things worked out, in her incredibly short life she had neither breast nor bottle….

11 months later when my biggest boy was born, we still had all the things we had bought first time around….. my 20 year old head was still firmly bottles and formula – I knew nothing else…. my friends all used bottles, nothing else even crossed my mind….. this time though my baby was in neonatal intensive care and the nurses there told me that breastmilk was good for premature and sick babies and encouraged me to express for him….. of course I did, I’d have done anything to keep that boy alive…. but I’ll openly admit that I HATED every single minute of it. Sat attached to a pump every couple of hours day and night for a fortnight was not my idea of fun, I was home without my baby, and still up every 2 hours to express milk, then travelling for up to an hour at least twice a day with my cool bag to get it back to the hospital and to see my baby… I only got to actually breastfeed him twice… and that was with him covered in tubes and wires next to his incubator with a screen around us…. I had no idea what I was doing and there was no support available…. I didn’t exactly enjoy the experience… Needless to say, when the Drs told me after 2 weeks that he couldn’t have breast milk anymore, that he needed a specialised formula I wasn’t sad…. just relieved that I didn’t have to pump anymore….

my horrid experience of pumping, plus my lack of body confidence meant that once again 4 years later when having my next baby, aged 23,  I still didn’t contemplate breastfeeding. Although by then I saw it as a “normal” thing to do, I just didn’t have the confidence in myself to do it, the thought of getting my boob out in front of anyone made me want to run for the hills…. I used bottles and formula and never thought twice about it….

a lot has changed in the years that have passed since then though….

back then I hated my body. The stretch marks that covered my stomach from the polyhydramnios id suffered from with my first 2 hydropic pregnancies, and my huge 3rd baby…. I hated them with a passion…. If someone had offered me surgery to remove them I’d have taken it without question…. I hated the scars from my 3 Caesarian sections…. I just hated the way my body looked….

fast forward a few years and I hated my body even more…. not only had it created 2 such seriously ill babies, but now it had put me and hubby though 3 years of unexplained infertility, and subjected us to fertility drugs, and the the horror of 2 missed miscarriages and 2 lots of surgery afterwards….

By the time I became pregnant for the 6th time aged 30 its safe to say I didn’t have a positive thought left about my body, there were times when I was so consumed in hatred for it, for it “not working properly” and for it looking so hideous….

my hubby would constantly tell me that I was wrong, that my body was beautiful, that it had given me my children, that I should be proud of it etc etc but his words fell upon deaf ears, I didn’t want to hear them, as far as I was concerned my body was broken, and I hated it.

fast forward to now….only 9 months have passed since that positive pregnancy test and I honestly couldn’t be prouder of my body… I said to hubby over the weekend – every time I look at our smallest little man I am amazed that he has grown so much and that it’s all down to me…. that my body is doing what it should be and feeding this little man everything he needs….

breastfeeding has given me back confidence in my body, in a physical sense that I’m happy to just get out a boob and feed him, that I’m past caring about my body image, past caring what anyone else thinks…. when he’s hungry all that matters is that he is being fed…. it doesn’t even cross my mind to be self conscious!

but also mentally…. it’s proven to me that my body isn’t broken after all…. it’s carried a perfectly healthy little boy, and it’s feeding him and helping him grow…. I feel a massive sense of achievement, like a weight has been lifted from me… I’m no longer wasting energy hating my body, I no longer care what anyone else thinks about me feeding my baby…. my body is doing everything right…. and although I still don’t like what I see in the mirror (though I’m pretty sure nobody does 7 weeks after birth!) and my stretch marks and scars are always going to be there hidden away, for the first time in 13 years (wow Ellie would be almost 13 now….) finally at the age of 31 I can honestly say I am proud of my body and what it has achieved…. afterall it has given me 4 beautiful children, and right now as I type it is feeding one of them….. I have every reason to be proud of it….. (just don’t ever ask me to uncover my belly!!)

 

 

Honesty…

I’ve been trying to find the time and the headspace to write this for a while now, but have been so wrapped up in my new little man to contemplate it….

im well aware that my blog recently has all been very happy and “look at my wonderful life” and that’s all completely true….. BUT all of the happiness I’m experiencing  right now of course hasnt erased any of the past, and all of the really shite things that have been in it.

After reading/hearing a few stories this week about baby loss and the stigma around it I thought I’d make some time to write about some of the stuff that’s gone on in the background this past few weeks….

First of all is the (Very bittersweet) fact that our newest addition is the absolute image of his big sister…. within a few minutes of him being born all I could see was her….. he has the exact same colour and amount of hair – completely different to the other 2 boys – the same colouring and the same little nose and chubby cheeks…. the first thing my mum said when she saw him was that he was the image of her too…. I have to admit it took me by surprise, and knocked me sideways slightly, but I now LOVE the fact he looks so much like his big sister 😍

I’ve also been asked many times – as I was many hundreds of times whilst I was pregnant – did I not want a girl…..

most of the people who have asked that question are people who don’t know my past…. so I guess I should forgive them…. but still…. REALLY?! I don’t understand why anybody would ask such a question…. I am over the moon with our new little man, and ecstatic that we have another little boy in our lives….. I’d have loved a little girl…. exactly the same as I’d have loved a little boy…. and in all honesty upon knowing we had a little boy I was GLAD…. GLAD that my special beautiful girl will always be just that…. my only daughter. Glad that I won’t be seeing all of those “firsts” that I missed with her with another little girl…. I’m not sure how I’d have coped with a baby girl …. especially as littlest man looks so like his big sister, I think a little girl looking like her might’ve been much harder….

As well as being thankful, I’m also happy that my boys got what they wished for, a little brother to create even more chaos and mischief!!!

So yes, I am happy that I have 3 boys, in fact I’m more than happy!!

The next thing that’s happened over the past few weeks….. alongside the laughter and eye rolling at the amount of “breastfeeding” their dolls my nieces have been doing lately…. whenever we’re all together I can often be found sat feeding little man with a row of 2/3/4 little girls sat alongside me with dolls up their jumpers 😂…. im loving how normal they all think it is…..

BUT there has also been more than one occasion over this past few weeks my 5 year old niece has asked me about or commented on babyloss….

in fact I’m pretty sure her exact words were “you’ve had 2 babies that died in your belly….. ewwww yuk!! And Ellie….so you’ve had 3 babies that died?”

There’s also been “did you kill ellie?”

And “did a bad man shoot you in the belly and kill her?”

Many people might cringe at the thought of all these questions and wonder how on earth I could deal with them … but in all honesty I am glad she asked them…. and I’m at a point where I can answer them honestly and laugh about it….

I’m GLAD that in a world where there’s so much stigma attached to baby loss, a world where people just don’t want to talk about it, that that 5 year old little girl can speak so openly about it, that she can ask questions, that she can want to understand…. in fact I’m proud that all of the children in my family know so much about it, because I hope that in time, they will grow into adults that aren’t afraid to talk about it either…. that should there be a time in their lives where someone they know or love experiences anything similar (I seriously hope not) that they will not shy away from them,that they will be able to speak about loss as openly as they do now….  That all of these little people will grow into compassionate big people…. that I’m not fighting this battle to break the taboo on my own, I have this whole army of small people normalising it with me!!

So, yes my reality right now amazing, yes our family is finally complete, and yes I am incredibly blessed and really am happier than I’ve been in such a long time……. BUT below the surface there is still SO much going on, my past experiences are not something that’ll ever go away, babyloss is a part of me, it has made me who I am today and although at the moment grief is not at the forefront of my mind, although at the moment I really am happy and contented and enjoying life, that doesn’t mean I’m healed or that I’ve forgotten….. I still have a daughter, I’ve still had 2 miscarriages…. I’ve been pregnant 6 times to get to this point…. and I’ll never forget any of them, nor do I want to

💗💙💙💜💜💙

 

6 weeks

Our gorgeous little boy is 6 weeks old! The health visitor came to see us yesterday and seemed genuinely surprised that I was still exclusively breastfeeding him…. a chat with a friend last night left me stunned how low the breastfeeding rates are in our local area… it’s no wonder the health visitor was so surprised!!

It did make me proud though, I honestly never thought we would make it this far…. before he was born I was setting myself goals of doing it for the first few days…. then for 2 weeks etc…. and now I just can’t believe how easy it has been, and I cant even put into words how much easier motherhood is this time round…. and although obviously I’m a very different (and much happier) person this time round, I put a lot of that down to the choice we made to breastfeed…. all that’s before I even begin to think about how much time were saving not sterilising and making bottles – I clearly remember how exhausting I found that last time round…. and how money we’re saving not buying formula!! (Which obviously justifies spending money on new breastfeeding friendly clothes …. oh and chocolate….(note to self to go buy some more when I do the school run later….. I’m burning extra calories after all 😂)

This week I’ve also resorted to daytime tv… in fact loose women is on as I type 🙈…. this has made me determined that from next week we’re going to start getting out of the house more – I’ve found a couple of local groups that we are going to brave – and of course I need to try out my new breastfeeding hoody in public to justify the money I’ve spent 😂

we’re trying to find our new normal, finding things to do to fill our days together, as lovely as it is spending all of our days cuddled up and feeding I’m beginning to need some adult conversation, and this gorgeous boy needs to show of his newly learnt smiles to the world…. though the selfish part of me quite likes having them all to myself!! (another perk of breastfeeding I guess…. hes never out of my arms for long!) 😍