A labour of love…

I am no baker by any stretch of the imagination. Fairy cakes and your usual sponge is about my limit. Every year, however, without fail I am determined to make my kiddiewinks a cake. Kiddiewink 1 has always put in requests, and always likes me to make it. Kiddiewink 2 on the other hand, couldn’t give a monkeys. Despite this, I set myself my biggest challenge yet… A deep sea diver cake.

After lots of searching I came across one on a cake blog, it had instructions for some bits which made it much easier. For the sea creatures, I printed a template and then cut around it.

I am so proud of my scuba diver, I gave him a name… I had to make him a few days ago so he could harden, and I christened him ‘Sid’. Nobody is eating him ever!

Covering the cake was a nightmare, and due to not having enough hands it broke, some folded onto the chocolate buttercream and there was very nearly tears from me. Luckily, with a lot of delicate jiggery pockery, I covered it. I had no more so I was determined to try and salvage it. I am still a bit gutted about how that bit turned out but I am really pleased with the rest of it. To be honest, I am pretty useless with arts and crafty things, so this really was a challenge, and although by no means perfect, I am convinced and happy that Kiddiewink 2 will love it. ( He better had do, it cost enough time and money to make haha)

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When you don’t get the birth you hope for…

This happened to me with Kiddiewink 1 and 2 and despite being 4 years ago, I am only just coming to terms with the traumatic delivery of KW2. I suppose I better start at the beginning but bear with me as it will be quite lengthy.

With Kiddiewink 1, I hoped for a relaxed water birth with limited intervention and only gas and air. My waters broke on 16th July at 7am (being due on the 17th I thought we would definitely be parents before the due date). Little did I know that the rule for inducing after Membranes ruptured was 72 hours at the time. The next 4 days consisted of lots of walking and bouncing on my ball, I even had to miss my best friends wedding and still no baby. Late on on the 19th they decided to put me on the syntocinon drip (or the drip of pain as my midwives referred to it); despite being offered an epidural prior to this I refused, feeling I was coping quite well. However, I was not prepared for the constant horrific contraction the drip created; a rest between them, you must be joking it just went on and on and on. Eventually I asked for an epidural, but on examination, despite being on the highest setting for the longest possible time, my cervix had started to close, I had gone from 4cm, to 3cm to 2cm! Thanks body, I really appreciated that! The baby had been bouncing on my cervix so much, it had started to swell, essentially making the opening smaller. A c section was the only way forward so I was prepped for theatre, after 4 days in early labour, I was gutted it was going this way but I was so relieved the pain would soon be over and I would be a mummy! The c section itself was a breeze compared to the drip, although deep down I was pretty gutted as I felt my body imagehad failed me! My hubby videoed the moment our baby girl was born and I am so pleased he did, as it is all a bit hazy due to the copious amounts of gas and air! I say on the video “I don’t care how she came out” which in my world is code for I am gutted! I accepted the birth as it was just eh way it was, recovery was good and breastfeeding went very well indeed.”, which helped with immediate bonding! Despite being long and a bit traumatic, the birth was what it was and we just got on with our new life as a family. Granted when friends had perfect water births, I did get a little pang of “why couldn’t my body do that?

With KW2 I was encouraged to try a VBAC and read up lots about how to have a successfully one; key to my birth plan was no drip! I also wanted a section earlier if my labour headed the same way as with number 1. This was all agree with and I felt positive about things….
Little did I know, during my 5 day painful labour, each midwife would have a different perception on ways forward. One would say “we may think about a section”, they would finish their shift and someone else would suggest waiting another day etc. Eventually I was accepted into the labour ward and was introduced to my midwife (a lady I hope never to meet again). Her opening line was “why did you have a section last time”, when I told her it was for failure to progress, she stated “in my experience, once a section for failure to progress, always a c section”. Cracking- exactly what I wanted to hear, thanks for that , I It was such an exhausting emotional roller coaster and after five days, I just wanted the baby out or an epidural! To which I was told “You can only have the epidural if you have the drip”, I was so tempted as I was in so much pain but despite 5 medical professionals lining up in my room to convince me, I refused the drip! (I knew this increased the chance of a uterine rupture dramatically). My lovely midwife then said “well how on earth do you intend to get the baby out” to which I replied “a c section”. After another few hours passed it was agreed I would be allowed a c section. In the meantime my contractions were once again constant and I was bleeding with every peak (blood running down my legs)! There was no break between them. I felt something was very wrong but was dismissed by the midwife who told me the blood was probably down to the number of internals I had had! She then insisted if I was having a c section she might as well put in a catheter ready, I asked her to wait until I had had an epidural, she refused to it wait and brutally attempted to get it in, on the fourth try with me crying please wait, my hubby got cross and told her to please stop.
Finally I was taken to theatre and I still thank the Lord that my midwives shift ended and a new wonderful midwife took over!
My gorgeous baby boy was born not crying or moving and needed oxygen to wake him up, it seems I was right and my uterus had indeed started to tear. Once I had been sewn up, the obsterician made me look him in the eyes and firmly told me that I had made the right decision, and had I had the epidural and drip, our story would have most likely been an extremely sad one! The bonding was not as quick with my little boy, yes I loved him but I was definitely a little detached, I was obsessed with my birth and could not stop thinking about what happened. In hindsight I had some form of Post traumatic stress syndrome/ post natal depression, this didn’t lift until Kiddiewink 2 was 4/5 months and I shared how I was feeling with a few friends. This seemed to help the fog to lift, but I am still angry with the hospital and what they put me through. I have since had an apology from the Supervisor of midwives and I was reassured to hear they would look into the training regarding VBACS, but I never chased this up, I hope it happened but I couldn’t face continuing anymore, I had answers and subsequently some closure… Although, I still find it tough thinking, if I had listened to the hospital and hadn’t read up on VBACs my son and I might not be here today.image

With number three, I had to have a planned section ( no choice in the matter). I was so nervous in the lead up to the event, convinced something would go wrong! I kept the c-section date a secret from everyone, I loved sending the text message when my previous two kiddiewinks had been born, and wanted to surprise people again. With me having to deliver at 38-39 weeks, no one was expecting my text, which was brilliant. The night before then section was surreal. We delivered the big two to my mum’s and then we headed out for a meal. Not much sleep was had; nervously anticipating the day we had ahead. Again, the walk through the hospital doors was totally bizarre and I was brimming over with emotion. Luckily, due to my section not being completely straightforward, I was first in, so by 9.00am I was walking down to theatre (again a surreal experience. Staff were amazing and really helped to make you feel at ease. For the first time, everything went the way I planned ( nearly couldnt get spinal in (45mins) but avoided general in the end). I was eating toast and tea in recovery within an hour of my munchkin being born, and she latched on amazingly. Recovery was quick and it has really helped me accept my births. I guess my body just doesn’t cope with labour and that is just the way the cookie crumbles.

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I now have three gorgeous kiddiewinks who all came out of the sunroof  : ) lovely to have videos of all three being lifted out and sex announced.  Makes it all less surreal…

Reflections on the eve of my return to being a working mummy…

The day has finally come for my return to work and although I know this is the way it has to be; this is what ultimately works for my family at the moment,  I will miss my babies so much! I will miss doing the things I always envisaged I would do when I became a mummy. The school runs, the after school activities, the play dates (for mummy and Kiddiewinks), walks to the park, homework and dinner before 6.30pm at night!
I want to be the one getting the smiles when The youngest wakes from a nap, the little conversations we have, the kisses and the cuddles. Not to mention the fact, I am still breastfeeding Kiddiewink 3 and she is not keen to take a bottle or cup of formula…
All of this has become a much cherished part of my life for 9 months and tomorrow it ends.

My heart aches when I think of leaving behind this new life. But I guess what I have to remember is, we are merely entering a new chapter of our family life, new exciting challenges…

Loving my job makes this next chapter a whole lot easier; not to mention the fact I am very happy with the childcare my kiddiewinks will get in my absence ( a combination of much loved Granny, after school clubs and or wonderful childminder.) They will flourish and that all makes the transitions easier. Domestic Goddess I am definitely not, cleaning is not something I do as often as I should and I am pretty good at productive avoidance tactics- this blog, the book being two of them. Now I get to sit and do school work on the sofa in the evening, while my brilliant husband cleans- win win on this score!
The main thing that will keep me going during the day is that I get to spend my day with 30 awesome kiddiewinks all with their own special personality. Encouraging their inquisitive minds and fostering a life long love of learning is such a cool thing to be doing and I love getting to know every single child in my school. My day will be a whirlwind of teaching, marking, little chats with children, displays, meetings, duties, clubs… I love the craziness and I actually think the craziness loves me too. I do think my job makes me a better person and ultimately a better mummy.

Every moment I have with them becomes special, I look forward to bed and bath time for a whole different reason. That becomes our quality time, it isn’t much during the week but it becomes our special time of giggles, cuddles, tickles, stories… It is no longer the ‘thank goodness I can get these monkeys in bed ‘ time.

So tomorrow morning, instead of doing the school run and getting stressed with parking, I will be tearful at leaving my babies during an inevitably chaotic morning(how ever organised I think I am). The kids will also inevitably not want to get up, having been up before seven all half term.
Maternity leave you have been amazing and now the juggling begins!

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