Life with a new baby and toddler has been a whirlwind. I expected it to be easier this time around seen as we already had a baby. We had already gone through the grind. But low and behold, the baby arrived and I found myself bewildered. How do I get the baby to latch properly? Is it wind or is it colic? What routine did we use for Gabriel? Question after question after question. Though these questions were similar to the ones I had when Gabriel was born. I didn’t expect my bewilderment to take over me like it did when Lee went offshore for the first time.
HOW THE HELL DO I DO IT?
Holy crap! How do I bath and dry both kids? What do I do with Gabriel when I am feeding and putting Fabien to sleep ( which could take ages)? How do I cook dinner during the witching hour? I felt utterly useless. Luckily for me, the anticipation of being alone with both kids was harder than the reality. And I found that it was in fact a lot easier than I had thought. Though admittedly a challenge nonetheless.
So here is my little vlog documenting my first day solo parenting a baby and toddler while my husband was offshore. ( Equipped with the obligatory tired mum face and frantic running about that most family vloggers seem to all have in common 😂) I realised that keeping a balance between the baby’s routine and my toddlers routine was the biggest challenge of them all. And that being organised and prepared was going to be essential for me in the future if I was going to keep my sanity. However I am optimistic and feel that anything can be done with the right frame of mind. Even though at first it may be daunting. After all, women have been doing it for decades. So check out my lighthearted vlog and let me know your thoughts in the comments.
MY NEW CHANNEL
If you like my channel then please subscribe and give the video a thumbs up! You can also check out some of my other videos including our home water birth and our first week as a family of four.
NOTE: This video is a bit dated. Partly because I don’t know what I am doing with this vlogging thing. Also because I just didn’t get around to finishing the editing until not long ago. I am new to this side of social media and am dabbling as a small hobby so any advice or suggestions are always welcome.
My first experience of childbirth was a rather positive one. I really wanted to deliver my baby in a birthing pool. And with only one pool available for the whole of Aberdeen, I was extremely lucky to have done just that. For me, the sensation of being in water is a great way to ease the pain of labour. So for my second I was determined to do the same and I did. Except this time I opted for a Home Water Birth!
Why A Home Birth?
With all the funding cuts to the NHS and the continued lack of staff. I started to hear horror stories about people’s experiences in the ward. Overcrowding meant that some mums were turned away and/or asked to wait until a bed was available. Privacy was non-existent and my chances of nabbing the birthing pool seemed almost impossible. So after speaking to a few friends about their home births. I was intrigued and decided to look at my options.
As much as I wanted a water birth. It was more important for me that the health of my baby and myself came first. Previously whenever I thought about home births, my thoughts immediately drifted to Victorian times where mums to be had no other choice and were often at risk. However after gathering the experiences of other mums, doing my own research and having a low risk pregnancy. A home birth seemed ideal.
What To Expect
Here in Aberdeen, there is the possibility to hire out a fully functioning birthing pool in a box and accessories free of charge through the Grampian Home Birth Facebook page. The volunteer who runs it is amazing. The page is a small community of mothers who have all had home births or who want to know more about it.
After speaking to my midwife about my plans and given the all clear. I signed up for the pool scheme and reserved my pool. The pool is made available for collection from 37 weeks of pregnancy and is to be returned within a week of giving birth. (although Freya, the volunteer, is really helpful ).
My midwife came to inspect our house week 34 to make sure that it was suitable for a home birth and explained everything to me and my partner. We designated a room in the house for the birth and looked at places the midwifes could use to set up station. She explained that I would be designated two community midwives for the birth and they would stay with me until all was ok (and help to clear everything away afterwards) Once all was ok, she ordered a delivery for all of the medical equipment and we received 5 big boxes of gear including cylinders of gas and air for pain management.
The Big Day
The big day arrived and our little Fabien was born at 9:48am on Sunday 26th May in the birthing pool as planned. The whole experience was a great one and we (my husband and I ) believe that home births are the way forward if we were to continue having kids. I was relaxed and comfortable ( until a certain point 😂) and it was great to be in our own space and have control over my birthing experience. The NHS and midwives were fantastic and guided me through the birth even when I felt I was going to falter. They stayed after the birth to help clean up. Help me feed the baby and clean myself up and shower. At the end of it they felt like part of the family as we sat drinking tea and eating biscuits.
The only downside of a home birth is the limitation of pain medication. You have the choice to have morphine stored on site however you are responsible for getting the prescription and collecting it. I opted for gas and air only..something i regretted half way through labour. However pain aside it was a great experience and our little family feels complete with our new addition.
If a water birth or home birth is of interest to you then check out my Youtube channel to see my Birth Vlog. At first I struggled with sharing something so personal online and wasn’t sure I would do it. But other mothers airing their birthing videos really helped and inspired me when I was planning my birth. It is a magical moment and if it can help another mum then I am happy to share it.
I have a love hate relationship with maternity wear. I get that it is essential for the pregnant woman to be able to wear something comfortable that accommodates her growing bump. What I don’t get is why all of a sudden you go from chic in trend fashion options to frumpy bin bag dresses and flowery prints. It is almost like the world is telling you. ‘You have crossed over into the land of motherhood, you can no longer wear anything that compliments your figure or makes you look attractive. You are officially out of service and now must adhere to the frumpy mum cliche”. *Eye Roll* 🙄 Totally not happening. I refuse to age 20 years just because I am pregnant! So I set out to search the net for some fashionable complimentary maternity outfits options. That don’t cost your whole months statutory pay and are of course practical and comfortable.
The Oversized Jumper
This is probably my favourite look both outside and inside the house. A good jumper can go a long way. It can be super easy and comfy to wear while mooching around the house AND can be very stylish when paired with the right accessories..Hello fedora hat! I personally tended to buying normal jumpers and just sized up but the jumper in the below photo is my first and only maternity jumper which I got from ASOS. And which is my favourite of all my jumpers at the moment.
Get The Look
Bring On The Leggings
Legging have become my new best friend since i started outgrowing my normal jeans. I love that they are stretchy, ultra comfy and can actually make your legs look really shaped and slim (even when they are not). I have a few different designs which are all in the colour black just because I prefer that. However if you love colour then go crazy! I bought a maternity pack from Boohoo that had a basic black legging as well as a leather look which I absolutely adore! I also have a snake skin pair that I bought from Primark a long time ago and is still going strong. Despite being stretched out to the max!
Over the Bump or Under the Bump?
There will come a time when you will need to ask yourself this question. It really is personal choice. I do think over the bump can be more comfortable when you are nearing the end of your pregnancy. However being rather petite, I found they were often ridiculously high and I felt like I could pull it over my head if I tried! At the moment I have one over the bump trouser pant and one under the bump jean that is still rather comfortable despite me being 33 weeks. We will see how I feel at 38 weeks.
Get The Look
Maternity Shirts or not?
A good loose shirt is alway a winner whether you are pregnant or not. Lucking I had some nice oversized shirts in my closet from Zara that are so ‘oversized’ that they manage to fit me still even with my belly. I also bought a checkered maternity shirt from Boohoo for my housemaid days.
Get The Look
Sized up Tee & Basics
I would recommend buying a few basics t-shirts and tops. I bought a pack of 2 long sleeve tops from boohoo which were super cheap and have lasted me right through my pregnancy. You can pair basic tops with just about anything so for me these are an essential part of your maternity wardrobe. Boohoo and Asos both sell packs of Tee’s or long sleeve tops at reasonable prices in different colours. I have also started wearing my husbands t-shirts, (much to his dismay 😂) as I am so close to the end I do not want to spend money on clothes I may not wear again. So if you are stuff with maternity option try buying a size up or hit the mens section.
Get The Look
Another way to get more bang for your buck is to scour eBay for some second hand maternity clothes. I am of the mindset that I don’t want to spend too much on items I know I will not wear again. Unless I have another baby which is very unlikely. I would rather keep some dosh to update my wardrobe properly after baby is born. That is why places like Boohoo, Asos and H&M are great to get your hands on some cheap items while still looking like yourself for the next 9 months. Hope this has been helpful!
Eek I cannot believe I am 30 weeks pregnant already. This time around seems to have flown by and before we know it we will be a family of four! I have not really been updating a lot about my pregnancy mostly because there hasn’t been much to report. Unlike my previous pregnancy with Gabriel, I feel completely normal and must confess that if it wasn’t for my massive bump. I would forget I was even pregnant. With that said now that we are a handful of weeks away until he or she will arrive. The excitement and fear of the unknown is rearing its head and I can’t help but ask myself. How am I going to manage? 30 Weeks Pregnant & My Fears of Life With Two
As the time gets closer, I have started to feel a sense of guilt when I look at my little boy. I am not as energetic or as patient as I would like to be. And to be frank I just don’t want to be on the floor all day playing trains. So lately Gabriel has had to learn to play more independently and give me some peace. Which though i feel is a necessary step, makes me feel rather guilty. He is at an age where he wants my undivided attention. He wants to play non stop and vocalises his desires throughout the day. No matter how annoying it is. So I ask myself how am I going to split my time with two? How am I going to make sure that he does not feel neglected or replaced? While still tending to the needs of our newborn?
The Threenager and The Newborn
Gabriel has just recently turned 3 and WOW what an age this is. He is amazing in the sense that he can communicate very well and generally makes us laugh from the cute and cheeky little things he says. The downside? Is that he now argues back? Say what?
Everything now is a battle of wits and he is now asserting his own personality and independence. It is great that he is growing and learning how to be himself. It is not so great that he refuses to do even the most simple things. I fear how I will handle this while my husband is offshore AND I am feeding a newborn! As I am already at my wits end with his new found adolescent attitude. With lack of sleep and breastfeeding I just hope I do not snap.
No More Freedom?
Does this mean the end of our freedom and babysitting options? Babysitting one child is one thing, but looking after two is another? With all of my family in Australia and half of Lee’s in Harlow and Glasgow. I fear that our days as just a couple are over and that we may struggle to have those ever needed date nights. Or god forbid…a weekend away? So how do we make sure our marriage doesn’t take the hit? How do we still make sure to tend to each others needs?
So the questions about managing time between my two children as well as my husband were on the top of my anxiety list. But then I though what about time for myself? Will I have the time to work out and get back into shape after baby number two? Will I still be able to juggle studying full time while keeping house and looking after the kids? How do I make sure that I do not lose myself and sabotage my mental health in the process?
All of these questions have been entering my mind. And though I know everything will be ok (after all people do it all the time all over the world). I cannot help but wonder. I guess time will tell and all I can do is try to prepare myself and my little family as much as possible. I am going to have to as organised as ever to make sure nothing/ no-one is neglected. It is such a strange thing to feel completely excited about something and yet terrified at the same time. Bring on May! We have a hell of a year ahead of us!
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I am sure that a few of you have noticed the unscheduled absence on my blog and social media posts of late. Though I had been talking about new exciting projects, life had other plans for me. If you follow me on Instagram you would have found out why during the Christmas period. For those who don’t follow me (and seriously why aren’t you following me??) then ……..Ta da, I am pregnant and expecting our second born in May 2019.
Not As Blissful As I Had Hoped
Although now I am stable and happy with the progress of our little bean. I will admit that the start was a nightmare. I wish I could pretend to be like all those stylish beautiful mamas to be on instagram. Telling you about how #Blessed I am and how it is such a miracle. All while posing in gorgeous figure hugging dresses and high heels. But the reality for me was that I felt and looked like death for the first 4 months. Not only had i never experienced exhaustion to the point of not being able to lift myself off the couch. But my own body was literally starving me to death. Unfortunately I was one of the lucky few that was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
If you followed my journey from my first pregnancy. Then you would know I suffered a similar fate with my first born. 6 months of nausea, extreme sensitivity to smells and vomiting at the time, felt like the worse thing in the world. It never occurred to me that it could be worse. To be fair a part of me is unsure if my sickness was actually worse. Or if it was made to feel worse because this time around I had a toddler to care for. I couldn’t sit and binge watch Netflix while snacking on crisps all day and napping when I needed to. All I know is that it was torture, and was one of the first times I let go of my pride and called my husband offshore to plead for help as I couldn’t cope.
More Than Morning Sickness
This time around I got to really understand how horrible this syndrome is and can be. I literally felt like my body was starving me. Everything I consumed was thrown up minutes later and the feeling of dehydration and being so thirsty was the worst I have ever experienced. I wanted water so badly but just could not keep it down. It got to the point where I woke with blood on my pillow as my lips were so chapped the skin was ripping and bleeding. Despite my stomach getting bigger the number on the scales decreased and I finally let go of my anti medication stance and went to the doctors.
While searching the internet for any bit of advice I realised just how bad it can be for some women. With some of them being starved so badly they go into organ failure and some have to eventually terminate their pregnancies. Reading some of the stories I felt somewhat blessed to not be as bad as others which helped perk me up and be grateful.
What broke my heart the most was my poor wee baby Gabriel. He began to understand very quickly that something was wrong and that I was not well enough to play and entertain him as usual. He would come and check on me, see my throwing up and would then go and play by himself for long periods of time, giving me no trouble at all.
I Am Now 22 Weeks Pregnant
Now I am 22 weeks and I thank god that it has subsided. I actually feel normal while being pregnant. Something I never thought I would experience, and can now enjoy the journey with my husband and little boy. We have decided to keep the sex a surprise for the big day and I look forward to getting back into my blog and sharing this journey with you.
Thank you to all of you who reached out and asked where I was during this time. It really meant a lot!
I remember when I was little. I had just assumed that once you turned a certain age you officially became an adult. It was like a switch. Turn 21 and the knowledge of the world was bestowed to you and you would then be a reliable self sufficient human being. However as I got older I quickly realised that no matter what age I seemed to reach there were no revelations. That I was still the same goofy kid laughing at fart jokes at the age of 30. Even when I become a mum nothing changed. I just had a lot more responsibility. How can I raise another human being when I still feel like I have a lot to learn. But I realised that that is is part of the journey and now instead of trying to be the perfect adult I embrace my childishness. So here are my things I still haven’t learnt at 30 (technically I am 32 but……..shut up)
How to do things in moderation.
I have always been a bit of a pig as a kid. I blame it on our Asian upbringing where the more you ate the better. But even as an adult I cannot seem to shake the bingeing. I cannot eat just a handful of crisps, I need to eat the whole packet. Or I cannot just watch one episode on Netflix I need to finish the series. It is a trait that I had hoped to have lost as I grew older and wiser but apparently not….
How to wipe someone else’s bum without dry retching
I have been a mother for approximate 2 and a half years. You would think I would get used to the nappy changing and bum wipes by now. Especially when you have a son that averages about 4 turds a day. But I am not used to it. I very often have to fight the urge to vomit as I frantically try and wipe the mess away trying not to get it on my fingers. Who said motherhood was glamourous??
How to cook the right amount of rice/ pasta
I seriously thought that I would be the Australia/ Asian version of Betty Crocker by now. The amazing mum who knows how to cook up the perfect storm. But one trick that I can’t seem to master is the art of cooking to perfect amount of rice or pasta. I either cook too little leaving everyone wanting more. Or cook enough to feed my family plus the whole of Africa.
How to NOT burn my face, hand or other body part while styling my hair
If you follow me on facebook then you might remember my post about burning the whole side of my face with a curling iron. And trust me that was not the first time. I have burnt my forehead, cheek, hands and fingers and had marks on face that lasted over a year! But somehow I do not seem to learn and continue to curl my hair and burn myself. How do you all do it??
How to understand directions like ‘Go west’ or “walk about 200 yards/metres”
When I ask for directions I want simple layman terms or for you to walk me there. However if you start using phrases like “go west” or ‘take a right turn in 200 yards”. chances are I am going to be lost forever. The worse part is that I will be too embarrassed to tell you I don’t know which way is west or I don’t know how far a yard is. And I will smile and nod like a understand while I am panicking like crazy in the inside.
How to have to will power to ‘get fit’
I often have the prep talk with myself. I think I have had it ever since I was born. Be healthy, go to the gym, get a six pack. I say it at every new year and on a lot of Mondays but one thing I have been consistent with is not doing it. I am yet to experience what it is like to have a six pack. And now will the baby weight still lingering I am not sure I will….I will start on Monday.
So there you have it. Even though I am technically an adult. That I am a mother and raising a little man (god help him). I still have not quite mastered the whole adulting thing. I am not the perfect picture of a mature lady. The perfect ‘in the box’ mother that I feel I am meant to be. I sometimes don’t even know how to be my own gender (cue in fart jokes and boy like behaviour). But I am ok with that. I am learning to be the perfect version of myself and that person is not perfect at all and you don’t have to be either.