Preparing your first child for baby number 2

One of the questions I am constantly asked since giving birth is “what’s it like transitioning from one to two children”.

I always wanted to have my children close in age as I loved the idea of my first born having a ready made best friend to experience life with and share memories. So when I fell pregnant with my second it was no surprise. I had it all planned out in my head and imagined exactly how it would be. However when I fell pregnant reality hit me like a ton of bricks and I began to consider things that didn’t even cross my mind before conceiving. My first emotion was “Mum Guilt” how could I do this to my first born, he will feel like I’m replacing him! That alone made me teary and over emotional in the first trimester of pregnancy. The second emotion was how could I possibly bond and love this child as much as I do my first born. What was supposed to be a happy and exciting time turned into a period of worry and apprehension.

The general consensus between both hubby and I was, “have we made the right decision”. However as time passed and I progressed through my pregnancy I began to overcome the reality that I would be a mother of two and responsible for two little humans (FOREVER).

One thing I remember vividly is kissing my first born son good bye knowing that the next time I saw him he would no longer be an only child and our world would change forever.

Because I was so conscious about the If, buts and maybes of having baby number two, I honestly did everything in my power to ensure that my first son was involved in the process to eliminate any sense of jealousy or isolation. I would love to share a list of tips that I used with my first born to help him with the transition into a big brother. And I can honestly say that these tips worked, my first born is an absolutely AMAZING big brother.

Ultrasounds

I took my son to every single ultrasound, the reason for this was that I spoke to him so much about the baby that was in my tummy, I wanted him to be able to see his unborn brother which prepared him that this was real. He loved the ultrasounds, he would help the sonogramer pick the out the different body parts. I think at this point he was aware that something was happening but he wasn’t exactly sure when it would happen. That being said he loved coming with me to the ultra sounds and kept all the pictures in his room.

Speak to your child’s school or nursery

I have a brilliant relationship with my sons nursery nurse. So when I found out I was pregnant I sat down with her and expressed my anxieties of having a newborn and how it may make him feel. She then put a plan together and did sessions with him to help him to prepare to be a big brother, this included drawing pictures, speaking about his role as a big brother, and giving him different activities and scenarios to help him prepare. I can not thank the nursery enough, as they were able to pick up where I left off, ensuring that there was consistency.

Story book

After a few months of talking to him about being a big brother, I ordered him a personalised book. The book was great as we were able to personalise names and ages. The personalised book was a child friendly guide to becoming a big brother. I really feel that it empowered him and gave him a sense of belonging. He loved the fact that it had his name in there. His reply to the book was “when my baby brother is born I’m going to teach him everything”.

Gift from his baby brother

As Christmas was approaching, I thought it would be a great idea to incorporate a gift from his baby brother. So on Christmas Eve I wrapped up the toy that was number one on his wish list with a label on it that read. “To the best big brother in the world, love from you baby bro”. Every single time he plays with the toy he remembers that he is the best big brother and that his baby brother brought it for him.

“Best Big bro” T-shirt

I bought my son a best big brother t-shirt, there are are so many cute ones to choose from, you can even have them personalised. I did this to make him feel special and to remind him that he had a big role to play as a big brother. He was so happy with his t-shirt and couldn’t wait to show all his friends at nursery.

Drawing pictures.

My sons father and I would draw pictures with him but also include his brother in the pictures. The pictures we tended to focus on were ones where we were in the house together to prepare him that the baby would be living with us. Eventually my son started to draw pictures of them both lying on the bed together and playing together. It actually got to the point where he was drawing around 5 pictures a day. When we got to around the 50th picture I started throwing them away hoping that he didn’t ask for them all back one day LOL.

Talking and Role-play

Incorporating his brother into our family life. “When your big brother comes you can teach him this.” Using his baby brother as a character during imaginative play really helped him to visualise how the family dynamics would change when the new baby came.

I hope you’ve found this guide as helpful as we have.

C-sections: what they don’t tell you

Before having my C-section , I will admit that I was a believer of the old anecdote that women who had C-sections were to posh to push, which often made c-section mothers feel inadequate in comparison to the mothers who gave birth naturally. The stigma attached to having C-sections is so prevalent that when I learned I was going to be a ‘C-section mother’ I felt like a failure.

It was hoped that the second time around I would deliver naturally, however due to my narrow pelvis and previous complications, It was assessed that a c-section would be most suitable to deliver my unborn son.

That being said, I thought it may be a good idea to do “A things no one told me about a c-section”. And my ultimate c-section guide for managing a C-section.

I wish would have known half of this stuff before having a c section!

That you’ll have to inject yourself at home for a whole week after.

The purpose of these injections are to thin your blood to avoid blood clots. I think I found this more traumatising than the actual C-section itself. It was literally like a circus act me running away from my other half while he chased me to inject my stomach. However, they are so important at so a make sure to take them religiously.

You will have a catheter for up to 24 hours post c-section.

The reason for the catheter is to collect urine following the surgical procedure, as the bottom half of your body will be numb. You won’t feel the urge to use the toilet and this is where the catheter comes in. It collects all your urine until you are able to use the toilet independently.

After surgery it takes a while to be sewn up.

Once baby is born it is a while before you actually leave surgery as they have to sew each layer back up one by one and in my case they had to remove old scar tissue so it took a little longer. However time goes so quick as you’re so busy admiring you little bundle of joy.

Getting in the shower for the first time will be difficult

When the Nurse told me to have a shower after my c section I was terrified. It took me around an hour to pysch myself up for it. The reason being that you have a fresh wound and normally when you wet a new wound it stings. However I want to reassure you that it was absolutely fine and didn’t sting at all bonus. I think the most difficult thing was getting in and out the shower without help. My tip would be to take your time and ask for help if you need it.

There will be a lot of people in the room.

Although it was daunting to see so many medical professionals in one room. It was comforting to know that they were all there to make sure my baby was delivered safely. There will be:

1. A midwife to do checks on your baby

2. A Obstetrician, who carries out the surgery

3. Anaesthetist who gives you you spinal to numb the bottom half of your body.

4. A paediatrician in case baby needs help immediately.

5. A nurse who will help the obstetrician with instruments or surgery.

It feels as though some one is washing up in your stomach.

It’s such a crazy feeling, and that’s the only way to explain it! It is not painful in anyway but it does feel as though your body isn’t yours. You will feel intense pressure and a tugging sensation while they’re taking your baby out.

The hospital won’t let you leave until you poo

You must empty your bowels. I was terrified to poo after as I thought my scar would open and all my insides would fall out. It was fine but make sure you use a cushion or pillow and hold it against your incision.

Your stomach will be numb

The anaesthetist will give you a spinal injection to prevent you from feeling any pain during your c-section. I remember a tingling feeling followed by the inability to use my legs. Following the c section my incision and part of my stomach was completely numb. This is due to the nerves being cut during the c-section.

The numbness of your incision might never go, it took around 3 years for my numbing to completely go, then guess what.. I went and had another baby now it’s back again.

You may not be insured to drive

My insurance company did not allow me to drive for the first 6 weeks after your C-section. So please check your policy. I know this is a nightmare as us mothers like to get things done. This is because your mobility and ability to emergency stop in a car accident is limited.

You will bleed

You should still wear sanitary towels, although you haven’t given birth vaginally it still has the same affect on your down below and may bleed for weeks so stock up. In my case it was for a whole month.

The car journey home is so painful.

I remember shouting at my other half to slow the heck down on the humps and pot holes in the road as it was agonising. Again holding a cushion against your incision will help greatly.

You won’t be able to feel your legs.

The spinal block numbs you from your stomach down so you lose total control. In my case I weed myself without even realising. But it’s ok as they advised that they’ve seen worse. I’m just glad I didn’t poo LOL.

Stool Softeners are everything

As you can’t leave the hospital until you’ve pooped, stool softeners will help the process, they will also give you some to take home.. BONUS

Sexy socks

They don’t tell you that you have to wear these extremely sexy socks before during and after your c-section to help your circulation. These are designed to avoid blood clots so be sure to wear them.

Post C-section tips

1. Please take it easy, my c section scar opened in 4 places on two separate occasions as I was up doing house work, hoovering and cleaning when I should have been resting! It’s so important that you rest as you’ve had major surgery.

2. Drink plenty of water, as this will help going to the toilet and will help to minimise constipation.

3. Make sure you keep on top of your pain killers, I can’t stress how important this one is. I remember thinking I didn’t need to take them as I wasn’t in any form of pain.. BOY, was I wrong! I was In agony! Pain killers were my best friend.

4. Keep your incision clean and dry to avoid infection. If you feel any redness or an usual substance leaking from it, please call your healthcare provider. It is possible that it may be infected.

5. Use the stool softener that they give you! This will help for when you go for a number 2 and eliminate the need to strain which may cause pressure to your c section incision.

6. Get emotional support (if needed) having a C section can be a traumatic experience, particularly if it was an emerging C section so please seek support if you’re feeling upset or disappointed.

7. Pack highwaisted pants for the hospital. High waist pants are great as it will prevent anything rub against your c-section scary.

C-section birth experience

So let me start by telling you that this was my second C-section!

My first birth, I was totally oblivious to the process that is labour and delivery! I wrote a beautiful birth plan which consisted of a water birth, for the entire experience to be captured on camera as I figured it would be like sitting in a field of beautiful roses while having a back massage 😂 I also asked that I’d be home the same day as I had read loads of stories which told me so. I even brought my make up bag with me.. hilarious!

BOY OH BOY was I wrong, after what felt like I was dying for 24 hours, I attended the hospital to be told I was only 3 cms dilated as the midwife rolled her eyes at my pathetic excuse of a pain threshold! WTF 3 cms! “If I get to 10 cm going to die” I shouted! I was sent over for examination due to the intense pain I was experiencing to be informed that my baby was struggling to breath due to the shape of my pelvic canal, hence the pain at 3 cms! A short while later in flood a dozen nurses and doctors, at this point I knew s#@t was going to hit the fan!

The doctor, informed that I would need to have an emergency c section and quick if I wanted my poor baby to survive! At this point I was experiencing a range of emotions. The main one being FAILURE. Why me, I almost felt as though I had let myself and my family down and that I no longer qualified as a woman! Secondly, I google absolutely everything and I did not prepare AT ALL for what a c section would bring! With that being said I had been stuck in labour for what felt like 3 months, and experiencing yet another contraction where I knew that my baby could potentially lose his life. So I told the doctor “TO CUT ME OPEN AND GET THIS BABY OUT NOW”.

The adrenaline I felt was crazy, so much so that I didn’t even feel the spinal injection they gave me (I am terrified of injections so I was super proud)! I would say that the only down side was that my partner wasn’t able to come in for the spinal as I was informed that he may “contaminate” the area! (I could see him pacing up and down the room outside) After the spinal I couldn’t feel my legs, or the bottom half of my body! Although it was a weird feeling, I didn’t experience any pain, what I did experience was trickling down my leg. When I asked the midwife what was going on she stated “Oh don’t worry, you’ve weed yourself” 😂😂. My dignity was officially gone!

Through all the madness I was able to call the doctor over and politely ask if he could make my scar as neat as possible! How shallow of me LOL!

I remember feeling the knife cut into me but feeling absolutely no pain what so ever, such a crazy feeling. The only way I can describe the feeling of a c-section is like some one washing up in your stomach it’s so bizzare. I must say the only pain I felt was when the applied intense force to get my little man out! I remember squeezing my other half’s and the midwifes hand for dear life as the tugged away at my poor baby.

Within 15 minutes of being told I required a c section my baby was born. Healthy and beautiful.

C-Section Number 2

My second c section was scheduled and when I say scheduled I mean, I actually got to pick my baby’s birthday! I decided that I didn’t want him to be an Aries so I picked the 14th March so he would be Pieces lol!

The morning of my c-section was crazy, kissing my first born good bye knowing the next time I saw him, he would no longer be an only child was super emotional! We arrived at the hospital and was greeted by a midwife who would be looking after us ‘Danielle’ was her name, such an amazing woman. Both my other half an I were given clothes to change into and one by one different doctors, anaesthetist, pedestrian and midwives came to see us to explain the procedure and complete paperwork! 9:30 I went into theatre.. I was so apprehensive, more so because I knew what to expect and had time to think about the procedure, this time I was extremely terrified of the spinal injection, and the fact that my other half couldn’t be present increased my anxiety! I feel that this time round the spinal hurt little more, however I think a lot of this was in my head!

in comparison to my last c-section experience, This time was so relaxing. We were to play our own music. I chose Lauryn Hill “The sweetest thing”. We were also able to take pictures and record it. So of course my partner has loads of footage of the whole experience! Every time I watch I cry. Not only that, they allowed us to have the screen lowered to see our baby’s big debut! The icing on the cake for me was being able to hold my baby immediately after surgery as in my previous c section my son was gone for 15 minutes due to the complications with his breathing. The experience was AMAZING so relaxed and so calm. Who’d have thought major surgery would be so “perfect”!

The only downside was that in the middle of the procedure I heard one of the doctors say to his colleague “Do you think you should cut there” it’s only after when I queried it I was told that I also had a student operating on me in theatre! My jaw completely dropped! So ladies If you have a csection always enquire about the doctors! Thankfully I came out in one piece.

Food for thought: For all, a lot of woman feel that they have let themselves down when their beautiful birth plan ends in a c-section. I heard a lot of “to posh to push” comments, however this is so far from the truth! It’s is major surgery and the recovery can be rough, so c-section mothers, you’re AMAZING!

I also hear a lot of c-section horror stories, I’m here to tell you that on both occasions it was not as bad as I thought it would be. In fact my second C-section was perfect I really couldn’t have asked for anything more. Although this is isn’t the case for all woman I want you to know that it’s not all bad!

The irresponsible mother

So, as some of you may know I am 2 months post baby and as mentioned in my last blog, I’ve really struggled with the concept of “Me time” and accepting help from others. So much so that my friends started to worry about me. They have witnessed how much hard work my new born is and have seen a side to me they are unfamiliar with. I think I’ve been quite worried about myself and have come to the conclusion that I’ve had baby blues for the last month or so, which I’ve brushed off as lack of sleep.

In my group of friends I am the one who plans all the girly outings, dinner dates and holidays.. so it comes as no suprise that my girls are keen for me to get back to my old self. But I thank them dearly for putting up with my ass for the last 2 months, actually make that 11 months as I was a total bitch during pregnancy too 😂

Anyway one of my girls managed to get me out last night.. I was bit sceptical as I didn’t feel even slightly ready to get ‘dressed up’ and go out! I felt like I’d be the fat friend amongst a group of Victoria secret models, I felt as though all the pressure of sucking in my stomach would result in me passing out in the middle of the dance floor 😂 it just all seemed too much.. BUT I agreed!

Of course my next dilemma was what to wear..

Here I stood in my bedroom, in just my underwear with heaps of clothes around me. With the boys (my 2 month, 3 year old and hubby) all lined up on their stomachs on the bed ready to commentate on my choices of outfits. Accept they didn’t say one word, I think for fear that I may bite their heads off, stomp around the house and refuse to go out. So Instead they smiled sweetly and told me how beautiful I looked in every single outfit. (Bullsh&*t I thought in my head). 7 outfits later, 3 pairs of heels and 4 (yes 4) make up adjustments, I was ready! I had my cutest LBD (little black dress) and some killer heels

When I arrived at the venue I was overwhelmed by the amount of adults and grown up conversation, probably because I had spent the last 2 months watching Paw patrol, teletubies and being excited when the post man arrived to have a quick conversation, while I signed for my parcel! I knew it was bad when I started waiting at the window for my other half to get back from work! (Anyway I digress).

Meanwhile I could hear my embarrassing friend saying “Look how good my friend looks she just has a baby two months ago” each time I would suck my stomach In and lose my breath that little bit more!

But honestly I had an amazing night, I danced the night away, had a couple of glasses of wine, I laughed, I smiled, I sung my little heart out.. It dawned on me that it was exactly what I needed, I felt myself again.. “Just what the doctor ordered”

What was meant to be a 2 hour outing turned into me returning home at 3:30 am in the morning! (Some-one call the Mummy police) I swanned in with shoes in my right hand and purse in the other. I didn’t feel guilty about it, one bit! I felt GREAT!

Well that was until reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I woke up to a less than impressed newborn and a 3 year old who decided to run around like lunatic shouting “Catch me if you can” I have a banging headache and I am absolutely knackered.

Well…. back to Mummy mode!

Food for thought: As mothers, society teaches us that we must stay in with our children 24/7 cook, clean and dress in a particular way. I say forget all of that, be who YOU want to be, live and enjoy your life.

A message to mothers with young children, please schedule yourself some “me time” I promise you’ll feel a whole lot better, (although you’ll probably call home 10,000 times to check on baby). So wipe that baby sick from your top and swap the nappies for a glass of wine.. And NEVER feel guilty for giving yourself the time you deserve!

Surviving the first 3 months of motherhood

As I sit here 8 weeks post baby, I have a range of emotions going round in my head! It’s only now, I’ve had the chance to actually reflect on life with two. I’ve been so busy adjusting to life particularly with a baby who is high maintenance due to his colic and acid reflux!

I have felt happy, emotional, impatient, agitated, bursting with pride, tired and overwhelmed with responsibility! I’m not ashamed to say that their were times that I felt all this responsibility of caring for and nurturing little people was beyond my capability!

The period after having my little man was both physically and emotional draining. My body went through so many changes, it almost felt as though it was no longer mine, Particularly as I was breastfeeding. While learning how to manage all these adjustments to my own body, I was also having to meet the needs of my new little human. (And a 3 year old in tow😂) . *Tired just thinking about it LOL*

I had all these ideas and plans for when I had baby, (play dates, girly trips, coffee dates, the gym) in reality this hasn’t happened yet as I am still adjusting to life with two. I had so many expectations of how life would be but in reality things can be so different. I think I based a lot of my experiences off my first born who was an amazing baby, HOWEVER! This one……. he is the cutest, most beautiful crying, winging and moaning little monster.

It’s so important that mothers WORLDWIDE know that the feeling of being overwhelmed is so normal! While we worry about all the things we may not be doing, our beautiful bundles of joys love us dearly and don’t even bat an eyelid at the things we worry about! That being said I would love to share 8 important tips that I hope will help you survive the first three months after baby.

Please accept help

There will be so many people around you once you’ve had baby who want to help and be there for you through this transition! Use this time to get your bearings and get as much rest as you can. Honestly, I am so Pig-headed and HATE admitting that I need help. However this experience really taught me that “it takes a village to raise a child”

It’s ok to cry

Although 90% of time we wear our pants over our tights as they say it’s ok to show emotion! I’ve cried about the things that haven’t even happened yet, like him growing up, going to school, being a good mother, giving him the world (it sounds ridiculous, I know) but I always feel better after I’ve had a little cry.

Don’t neglect yourself

Motherhood can be emotionally and physically draining. This is one I’ve only learnt the last couple of days. “Looking after yourself is looking after your children” Please take time out for yourself recharge your battery! What I found was that It was GO GO GO for days on end and when I actually ‘relaxed’ I realised how drained I was! You don’t want to get to a point where you have nothing left to give so please take a break!

Treat yourself

We spend so much money and time on these little humans that we can often neglect ourselves! This could be something as simple as having a hot bath with candles, going to get a manicure and pedicure, or treating yourself to a new top! YOU DESERVE IT!

Communicate with your partner

This is so important, I often feel that fathers get overlooked during this process and they can sometimes feel like a spare part! Don’t forget that he to will be experiencing a range of emotions! Talk and support each other through the process.. Having a baby can test the strongest of relationship if there is a lack of communication.

Cherish every moment

I spent so much time stressing about my newborns colic whether he was getting enough milk, and then of course his issues with feeding and acid Reflux that I didn’t even get to enjoy the time as much as I would have liked to. It’s only now that he is 8 weeks I am grasping his personality, his needs, his likes and dislikes. So please take a deep breath and enjoy.

Get organised

So, I found that writing a to-do list and preparing things from the night before was so much easier (clothes, bottles and the baby bag). The first couple of weeks were a total mess as I was sorting my little ones bag and and clothes out in the morning when I was scheduled to take my first born to nursery. It just makes the entire house hold stress free as everyone knows what they’re doing and we actually have a schedule.

Your baby, is your baby

No matter how many books you read, they will not give you the answer you need about your own baby. A mothers instinct is extremely strong, so always follow your gut feeling! People will often tell you what YOUR baby needs or what’s wrong with YOUR baby, you’ll learn to ignore the critiques because I’m not sure they ever disappear, you just get used to them LOL.

And finally….