What we did for Pippin’s Birthday

It has only taken me three weeks to write about what we did for Pip’s birthday.

As you’re only one once she actually had a four day long birthday spectacular, and I am pretty sure she loved it. I am also equally sure she had absolutely no idea what was going on at all.

I had been hoping to have a little party for Pippin and her friends, but the weather and the house renovation had other ideas. So we all got together at my friends and destroyed her house with cake and paint. Which was lovely, and they enjoyed themselves. Pippin’s particular trick is to stroke her friends faces whilst saying “awh”. This is what we taught her to do to the dogs. I’m not yet sure if she thinks her friends are dogs or the dogs are her friends…

 

On her actual birthday we took a trip to the zoo. It was absolutely boiling and very busy. But we had a really nice day, and Pip loved seeing all the ‘Ack Acks’ (Ducks), Dogs and ‘Oooow’ (Cats). Currently anything with wings is a duck, and cat and dog are used interchangeably for anything with four legs. She really liked the big dogs with a horn.

We then went to Zizzi’s for tea. We love eating there, it is one of the few places you can get a dairy free, gluten free pizza. They also do a children’s menu which can be adapted for allergies, and they even do a pasta and garlic bread for really tiny tummys. Of course she never wants her own meal and always wants mine, but the option is there at least. Allergy mummies, if you haven’t been already then I urge you to check it out.

On the bank holiday Monday we went out with family for a birthday tea and Pip had her second birthday cake. She put her toes in it, which is clearly what chocolate cake is for.

Then for her final birthday day she saw the family that couldn’t make it to her birthday meal and had her third birthday cake, and got more presents.

Birthday Photo Shoot with Milk and Cuddles Photography

For Pippin’s birthday I wanted to have some photos taken. I adore photographs, I love taking them, I love having them and I love looking back at them and remembering the time they immortalise, and when a friend shared the photos take for her daughter’s first birthday I knew I wanted Lauren from Milk and Cuddles photography to take them.

She didn’t disappoint.

We didn’t want to do a cake smash, and initially we were going to have a studio shoot that took elements of our wedding. But then Lauren suggested we go to Dunham Massey and it was perfect. We have been to Dunham quite a few times since Pippin was born, we’re National Trust members and we love exploring with her.

The weather wasn’t brilliant, and we nearly moved everything to the studio at the eleventh hour, but Lauren was really flexible and we pushed things back to the afternoon and, luckily, the rain held off. Although I did have to do some last minute outfit changes because the little romper I had picked out was a definite no go!

Lauren was divine with Pippin, she made her feel comfortable and I think she made a friend for life after presenting her with a pink balloon (or ‘Baaaaall’ as she calls them)! Pip doesn’t warm to people easily, but she acted like Lauren was an old friend, which led to some really beautiful photos.

Oh and she did all of this whilst being heavily pregnant.

My only problem now is picking only a few to put up around the house.

One year of Pippin

I didn’t think I’d feel so emotional about Pippin turning one. I was ok until I looked at the clock at 10pm on the 25th and had a vivid flashback to leaning over the windowsill on the maternity ward breathing through a contraction. An artificially induced one mind as the second pessary began to do its work. I wouldn’t be in full blow labour until the 26th.

I still don’t like thinking about the birth. It leaves me feeling a little sick, and I struggle looking at the pictures of those first few days, which is sad because I should have been happy. Birth isn’t always easy though, it can be traumatic for mum and baby. I didn’t expect to become a mum, and sometimes I still look at Pippin and can’t quite believe I am one, but I couldn’t be without her. I’m glad she unexpectedly appeared in our lives.

 

I feel like I’m writing a lot of sad things at the moment, and if I’m honest I am the happiest and most stable I’ve been in a long time.

It is hard to know what to write about Pippin. I couldn’t be prouder of how well she is doing, not just because of her achievements – but also because of her little personality. She’s bright and bubbly, she’s caring and happy and she’s independent and fierce too. She’s fearless, determined and loving. She delights us every day.

I can really put into words how I’m feeling. I haven’t found parenting easy, but I’m pretty sure it has made me a better me. Pippin has pushed me to do things I struggled to do before.

As a family we’ve had a lot going on over the past few years. With bereavements, and buying a house, getting married, graduating, having a baby and now renovating our house. These are big life events and in some respects it feels like I’ve not stopped.

I’m looking forward to spending the day with my two favourite people, and just spending time in the moment.

I am sad that it is going so quickly, but I’m excited about the future.

Particularly about the fact that she can walk!!!

8 and a bit months in – 8 and a bit months out: and my (abridged) Birth story

SONY DSCPippin never actually spent the full nine months inside, but for comparison reasons, here’s my big girl at 37 weeks old with a picture of my giant bump at 37 weeks pregnant:

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Obviously, I never made it to the full 40 weeks. As I had Gestational Diabetes I was having growth scans every couple of weeks, and at 34 weeks the Dr’s felt Pippin had had a bit of a growth spurt. They felt that if the growth spurt had continued at my 36-week scan it would be best if they scheduled an elective section for 39 weeks.

Gestational Diabetes is Diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It is usually diagnosed during a screening between 24 and 28 weeks, called an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). Basically, they take a blood sample, make you drink and sugary drink before waiting and taking another sample. Usually, you’ll only have this screening if you’re having symptoms or considered to be in a high-risk group for developing Gestational Diabetes. I was high-risk, because of my weight and because I have a family history of Type 2 Diabetes.

I managed the Diabetes through my pregnancy just by diet, and I had to take my blood sugar levels either before or after meals, dependant on the day. I carried around my little kit and book and couldn’t indulge in all the sugary snacks I really wanted to. C’est la vie.

Theoretically managing your blood sugar levels well should help reduce complications, but there are increased risks such as macrosomia (a large baby, which can lead to birth complications), perinatal death and neonatal glycemia (baby having low blood sugar).

What developing Gestational Diabetes had meant for me was that they were unwilling to let me go ahead with a home birth, as Pippin would have to be monitored after the birth to check that the blood sugar levels were normal.

So, at the 36-week scan, they decided that Pippin was well on track for an 11lbs birth weight, and there was absolutely no way they were willing to let me go to full term. In the end I was booked in to be induced on the 25th August. They didn’t want to leave it any later in case I went into labour ahead of schedule.

So I went in to be induced on the 25th. This is where I am going to be fairly brief. Frankly, the whole experience was a hell, and not something I have come to terms will yet.

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I had my first pessary at about lunchtime on the 25th,  and I think my waters were broken at about 3 pm on the 26th.

I had more monitors than I care to think about attached to me, and I was pretty much immobile. I managed the pain quite well, at first, by just breathing. I then had gas and air and then diamorphine.

After fourteen hours they decided that 4cm was probably as dilated as I would get, and I was prepped for a C-section. Pippin came out crying and was an 8lbs13 little girl, which is pretty much what they estimated she would be at that gestation.

Unfortunately, I had quite a bit of blood loss, and we both had infection markers. I got given some antibiotics, and Pippin got taken away to have a cannula fitted for her medication. Then they were still unhappy with her breathing, so they took her away and put her on oxygen and a nasogastric tube. She wasn’t allowed to feed because they were concerned she might aspirate some of her milk.

After three days she was allowed back on the main ward with me, and after a further two, we were allowed to go home. Which was nice.

Although, those first few weeks are a whirl of medication and injections. I was on lots of tablets for pain relief and for infections, and I had one injection a day for six weeks after the birth to stop blood clots.

The birth wasn’t ideal, but we got through it relatively unscathed. But it still feels pretty raw, and I don’t much like talking about it – even eight months on. I know that I’m dealing with some negative emotions around the birth, emotions I will probably have to face at some point. I’m not there yet though, I’m just not ready to relive it. Not right now.

8 month update – late again!

I am seriously no good at getting these updates in on time, I missed seven entirely and Pippin has been eight months for three weeks now. It is because these months are going far too quickly, I can’t get my head around the fact that she’s fast approaching one whole year old. Pretty soon she will have been in the world longer than she was growing in my tummy (37+6 weeks!).

We’re very, very proud of her.

As we’re biased and her parents we’re pretty sure she’s talking already. She regularly says Da-Da, and she says “Ca” whenever she sees the cat. Clearly first words over here. And of course the moment she stole a piece of dairy free Easter egg was a proud one, she has inherited one thing from me at least.

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She can properly crawl, she surprised us with it 7 months and a week. Now its all about pulling herself up on furniture, and she is just starting to move along. This is more than a bit scary, I can hardly cope with the fact that she can get around on all fours, I don’t know what I will do when she’s walking.

Two teeth are through, and she manages a surprising amount of food considering she has basically nothing to chew with. Bagels are a particular favourite, especially spread with Vegan Cream ‘Cheese’, she also likes curry and stir fry. Her tastes seem to change from day to day: I can get her to eat a tangerine one day, the next she spits it out like poison. I’ve managed to re-introduce Soya to my diet without causing her problems, so the aim at some point between now and her first birthday will be for me to have some hard cheese.

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She saw the consultant and, because she was gaining weight, they were ok for us to continue managing her intolerances as we were doing. So that’s what we have done.

Just this last week she has started sitting still to be read to. Her favourite book is “Dinosaur Roar”, and it makes me all emotional when she laughs along.

She hates being dressed and tooth brushing and anything really that someone has to do for her. She is fiercely independent, and incredibly wilful.

Sleeping is gradually improving. She will go in her cot for a couple of hours, but I am still breastfeeding throughout the night. However she is starting to self-soothe more. I’m just following her lead really.

In other words we’re still just winging it. But she seems to be doing just fine, so it must be working.

Pippin’s (Completely Overdue) Six Month Update

This is cliche, and probably said by every parent ever, but it has gone so quickly. I can’t believe my tiny little baby is six months, well, nearly seven now! And it is really bad, but  I find myself looking at newborns and getting a tiny pang of “ooo, I want another”. Before I remember that pregnancy is not fun, and labour hurts.

Quickly, a little run down of the last six months with my little girl.

It has been an eventful six months.

Pippin has been to one wedding, had one holiday aboard and one in the UK, she’s had her first Christmas and Halloween and has had more cuddles that I can count. Currently she’s trying her first few foods, avocado was a success, broccoli less so. She’s pushing herself to crawl, managing to get onto all fours and rock, before either pulling her feet up flat on the floor and bunny hopping or throwing herself forward and dragging herself wherever she wants to go.

She has a few favourites at the moment, baths are fun and water gets everywhere as she splashes her arms and tries to stand up. We’re getting a lot of arm flapping now too, especially when excited. Despite being unable to crawl yet she absolutely loves pulling herself up to standing and climbing everywhere.

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Sleeping is still not going well, we don’t get an unbroken night of sleep yet and we very rarely get a few hours to ourselves, but when she puts her arms up for me to pick her up and cuddle her it is all forgotten.

She’s a wonderful, wilful little girl, with a smile that charms everyone she meets and I couldn’t be more exhausted, overwhelmed and proud of her.