Weeks 9 – 13

Here’s a round up of all the stuff that’s been going down, and only 1 month late! *fistpump*

Same as last time:

1. I booked in with the midwife.
Only difference was that the midwife didn’t want to book me in until 10.5 weeks rather than 8 weeks like last time. Other than that, this was incredibly uninteresting, except the part where she stole all my blood, confirmed I weigh exactly the same as I did at this point last time and told me I would get extra scans and be referred for a gestational diabetes test because Billy was such a fat shit.

Aldi's light up bath toys. Good fun but a bugger to photograph on your phone.

Aldi’s light up bath toys. Good fun but a bugger to photograph on your phone.

Gestational diabetes tests appear to be pregnant lady torture. No food from 6pm the night before, then a blood test at 9am, a pint of lucozade, then another blood test at 11am and then you finally get some grub, which you have to bring with you on the day. Cruel cruel world. The 6pm bit is fine, but the no breakfast bit is going to turn me in to an angry angry bear. I have apologised to Neil in advance for my behaviour on that day because I am going to be a freaking nightmare.

2. All the sleep and no booze makes Kate a thin girl
OK, so not strictly true. Bloat and re-organised organs has meant I’ve been in my maternity jeans since I was approximately 1 week pregnant. But in a bid to keep an eye on my health and nutrition, the scales tell me I’m currently 3 lbs down in the first trimester. That’s 3lbs lighter than I was on my wedding day. Looking back through what I wrote first time round, it’s a similar story to then. Don’t worry though, I’ll make up for it AND SOME in a few months.

Shortly after I took this photo, he threw the food at the ducks with such gusto that he did a 180 off the bench and landed in the duck poo.

Shortly after I took this photo, he threw the food at the ducks with such gusto that he did a 180 off the bench and landed in the duck poo.

3. Neil is still my night in shining armour
Don’t mean to turn into a right soppy sod or owt, but I am a very lucky woman. Wanting to make sure I was getting all my nutrients, Neil bought a badass blender type thing (but not one of those superwhizzy vitamix ones I see mummybloggers talking about – I thought they looked pretty good until I realised they cost twice as much as my first car did) and has proceeded to make me a smoothie every morning since. I get my smoothie, a cup of tea and a slice of toast in bed, as well as a lie in, despite the fact he works some ridiculous hours and doesn’t go to bed at 7pm like *some* of us.

Have I posted this one before? If so, soz and all that. Toddlers wearing sunglasses are my new favourite thing. Less so when he snaps my favourite pair in half, but y'know.

Have I posted this one before? If so, soz and all that. Toddlers wearing sunglasses are my new favourite thing. Less so when he snaps my favourite pair in half, but y’know.

In a campaign to be the world’s best husband, for my birthday, he also bought me:
– a Snoogle pregnancy pillow type thing (think this was a bid to avoid losing his half of the bed to a pregnancy bed nest like last time), but goddamn, that thing is comfy.
– 100 polaroid / instagram prints from the past couple of years which are now pride of place on our lounge wall

The new addition to our lounge

The new addition to our lounge

– a stunning stone and armour necklace. Yep, I know, he’s a keeper.

Different this time round:

1. Meat doesn’t taste like death
Last time round, I went virtually vegetarian. To the point that I emailed the sandwhich shop I bought my lunch from every day to tell them their ham was off. It wasn’t. My stupid preggo tastebuds were. All meat tasted like it was rotten, and made me heave at the smell. This meant getting enough protein was difficult, but clearly didn’t do Billy a world of harm as he’s currently a contender for world’s strongest toddler.

Last time, I celebrated the end of my enforced vegetarianism by eating steak and broccoli 3 times a week for the first 4 months of Billy’s life (anemic, whatevs). THIS time, meat still tastes pretty darn good, which makes not being able to eat rare steak a complete pisser.

This kid has strong pout game

This kid has strong pout game

2. I only need to wee once a night
Good news! Unlike last time, I only get up for a wee once a night! Bad news! I wake up when Neil comes to bed, when the cat jumps on my head and when Billy decides 5am is morning anyway, so I might as well be up weeing.

3. My luscious non-greasy pregnancy hair is nowhere to be seen
Not going to lie. This was a major perk last time. I only had to wash my hair once every 4 days, from washing it every day. It was thick and generally looked ACE. It almost made up for the bit where it all fell out 3 months post-partum and I ended up with bald spots, then it all grew back at the same time and I ended up with wispy facial pubes I had no idea what to do with. Having kids is 100% glamour, 100% of the time.

I’m sure I’ll have to go through all the hair loss this time round as well, so can we hurry up with the bit where my hair looks excellent to compensate plz? Ta.

Not bragging or owt but got a sneaking suspicion our son is an artistic genius.

Not bragging or owt but got a sneaking suspicion our son is an artistic genius.

4. I have SPOTS on my BACK
Yep, this particular symptom is not cool either. I have zits. Big old zits I’ve not had since I was 15. I ORDERED 9 months of flawless complexion, so where is it?

Next time: Scans! More moaning! Swears!



Somewhere between March 2013 February 2013 (being overdue sucks bad) and now, we decided it might be a good idea to think about Project “Get Billy a Little Brother/Sister”, because we’ve absolutely put our rose-tinted glasses on and decided the whole being pregnant/having a newborn/not sleeping for 18 months thing was really a piece of cake, wasn’t it?

Aaaaannd, pretty much as soon as I weed on a stick and saw those two pink lines, I suddenly remembered what being pregnant was like and realised this might not be such a good idea after all. You see, this time round, I know exactly what the pregnancy gods have in store for me, and I plan to complain about it, a lot.

Although, unlike first time round, I don’t have a job that you can leave at 5 on the dot, and I don’t have the benefit of being able to sneak in a nap between getting home and having my dinner because there’s a hysterical little boy who demands stuff like “Being fed” and “Reading stories” and for me to wear a footstool on my head like a pirate hat. It’s really tough.

That and the first trimester mega-sleeps go a little way to explaining why it’s taken almost 16 weeks for me to get my arse into gear to write this post. After ignoring the blog for almost 2 years, I’ve really enjoyed reading back over what I was worrying my ever-decreasing mind over as the baby-brain set in week by week, so for no reason other than nostalgia, I’ve decided to give it another shot.

Here goes…

On heat waves and sleep

sleeping baby

Pre-baby, the idea of heat waves sounded, well, pretty ideal if I’m honest. Your boss would decide it was too hot in the office, and would move your meeting to the park, or even better, the pub. Evenings and weekends would be spent in an endless cycle of pub/bbq/ice creams/more beer/more meat/sunshine naps. And those clothes that only really got an outing when I went abroad became my staple wardrobe.

Post-baby, heat waves SUUUCK. Suck. For a start, I AM the boss, and the park is too hot. So is the buggy. And the car. And clothes. And the house. And pretty much everywhere. I spend my days fretting over the weather forecast and checking the temperature in Billy’s room. Despite open windows, black out blinds permanently in place and a massive fan, it his 30’C in there the other day. You know the whoosh of hot air that hits you in the face when you open the oven? It was a lot like that.

If I had a Gina Ford baby that sauntered up to bed by himself at 6pm or whatever she suggests, he might be better equipped to deal with the heat. But, although putting him down for naps awake is a work-in-progress, the evening routine usually involves a bath, then milk/story/cuddle in our arms. If I thought the transition of a sleeping babe from my arms to the cot was difficult before, achieving this with an infant stuck to your skin with sweat is a whole new level.

napping baby

Up until a week ago, Billy slept in a Sleepyhead sleep pod thing that he could nuzzle in to when he woke up at 3am. We had it pretty good. We put him down at 7pm, dream fed him at 11pm, and he sometimes got us up from about 4am for a dummy or a cuddle. He was usually awake by 6:30am, and the first feed was at 7am.

On realising the Sleepyhead was the equivalent of sleeping on a duvet that was ON FIRE (and the fact that we are categorically NOT packing it in our suitcase when we go to Spain in a few weeks), we decided to go cold turkey. Between this, the weather, a summer cold (or hayfever, who knows?) and probably a bit of 4 month sleep regression and teething chucked in for good measure, we’ve had disastrous consequences on all of our sleep quotas. Every night, he gets a bit better, but if we’re up once an hour from 1am-5am, and if he’s not in our bed before 7am, it’s been a bloody good night.

So far, we’ve been spoilt by having a pretty easy to decipher baby who is easy to pacify. If he cries, he’s hungry, thirsty, tired or bored, which is why these recent rocky nights have been so difficult to cope with. He doesn’t want milk, or a cuddle, or a dummy, he’s just awake, and he’s damn well grumpy about it. How can we fix that?

baby sleeping thumbs up

Tonight, it’s much cooler. I can tell because the monitor in his room tells me so, but also because I’ve not spent the evening swearing and lying on the floor trying to fan myself with the cat. So far, we’ve had a 20 minute paddy pre-bedtime and three trips upstairs to shush Billy back to the land of nod. In the back of my mind, I’m a teensy bit terrified. I’ve spent the last few days saying phrases like ‘oh, Billy’s not coping well with the heat at all’, ‘it’s really affecting his sleep’…what happens if we have a bad night tonight and I can’t blame the weather for a change? What happens if this is our life for the next decade? BRB, having a quick panic attack.

I think half the problem for me is, I like logic. I like to see progress, and I like having a plan. However, as I’m learning, parenting and logic don’t always go hand in hand. But logic dictates that things WILL change. In a few weeks (months?) time, I’ll look back on this post and laugh merrily about how far we’ve come when I’m nailing a bottle of wine in front of re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy, safe in the knowledge that Billy won’t wake up until 7am.

Until then, I’ll try to store up the way he tries to get my attention at 3am when he’s wide awake and wants to play, and the smell of his hair when he nuzzles in to my neck to get back to sleep. I’m sure they’ll come in handy when he’s a grumpy teenager and I’m complaining that sleeps through the best part of the day and never gets out of bed.

Billy at 3 months

Three months have gone by and I’ve yet to put pen to paper (err…finger to keyboard) to write anything about the hilarious little lump that is our son. I grew up surrounded by babies, so I knew they came out with their own little personalities, but each day since Billy’s been here, I’ve been continually flabbergasted at how much of a little person he is.

! week old baby

Feeding – He has the appetite of a 15 year old boy. He weighed in at a huge 10lb 8oz at birth, and he’s been doing the best he can to keep up that trend ever since. Those first two weeks of breastfeeding were the toughest of my life, both physically and mentally, but I’ve got a half formulated blog post in my head, so I’ll save that for another time.

We’ve been combination feeding from the start, then got down to 2 bottles of formula a day, and since then, have been slowly increasing the amount of formula milk, with a view to completely weaning him on to formula at some distant stage in the future. When he has a bottle, he seems satisfied for longer, happier, more talkative and sleeps better. When I put him on the boob, he seems frustrated, either that there’s not enough of it, or he’s not getting it fast enough. An hour later, he’s hungry again. I feel like he would be happier if he was 100% formula fed, but then, maybe that’s because I think I would be happier if he was bottle fed. A couple of weeks ago, I considered chucking in the towel completely, mulled it over in my head for 24 hours and was then consumed by all encompassing guilt that I’d be letting him down, and sadness at contemplating our last ever breastfeed. I concluded I wasn’t ready to give it up just yet, and Billy seems completely unaware of the whole situation, and happy to consume whatever he is given.

4 week old baby

Sleeping – In the first couple of weeks, I used to get this sinking feeling in my belly when it got to about 7pm. Billy was, as was to be expected, nowhere near a routine, and it would be difficult to predict whether he would sleep for a 4 hour stint, or whether he would be up every 30 minutes or so. In fact, although I’ve banished the memory to a part of my brain never to be accessed again, those first few days, he wouldn’t sleep anywhere but our chests. This led to: slight deliriousness, a swift change in our opinions on co-sleeping, very bad backs and the purchase of a £90 pillow (I still cringe thinking about the price) from John Lewis, which just about revolutionised our lives.

Slowly but surely he started to sleep for longer periods of time, going to bed around 9-10pm, waking at 3am, and waking again at 5am. Billy, keen to prove his genetic links to his parents, is a bloody noisy sleeper. He squeaks, grunts, dream cries and chuckles his way through his sleeping hours. From 6 weeks, we moved him in to his own room, and we all got a better night’s sleep. We discovered that you can turn the sensitivity down on our baby monitor. If he makes the odd grunt or squeak, the monitor doesn’t kick in. If he makes another noise within a few seconds, the lights on the monitor flash.

6 week old baby

From about 8 weeks, we started a proper bedtime routine, with a big splash in the bath tub, followed by PJs, a story, a bottle, and in bed by 7pm. The first time he went down at 7pm, I felt positively giddy, and I had no idea what to do with my evening (if you’re interested, this involved 2 loads of laundry and eating dinner with both hands for a change). These days, it’s something we’ve started to take for granted, with me heading to bed around 9:30pm and Neil getting a couple of hours work done. Neil did the next feed before he went to bed around 11pm, and I did any wake ups after that. We had the last breastfeed of the day just after bathtime, I pumped before bed, and in the middle of the night. We had a something vaguely resembling a ROUTINE. I was happy.

8 week old baby

When he was 11 weeks old, I stopped using the monitor altogether when we are in bed. I’ve developed superpowers where I seem to wake just as he starts to grumble, and I hear him before the monitor kicks in. It’s more annoying than useful to have to move the monitor out of our room to avoid waking Neil up, so I just stopped bothering.

When it came to nightfeeds, I wrongly assumed that a big bottle at 3am or so would hopefully induce a lovely milky coma so I could get back in bed for a couple more hours’ shut eye. I didn’t think about eventually trying to drop the feed, and the problem with getting him used to a massive feed at 3am. I read a book that suggested capping the nightfeed at 4oz, and gradually reducing the ratio of milk to water, with a view that eventually, he would stop waking up for the feed altogether. Well, Billy was already used to 5 or 6 oz, so I capped it at 5, and over a couple of weeks, reduced it down to 4oz. I used expressed milk in a bottle so I could monitor how much he was having (control freak tendencies, much?). One day, he woke up around 4am, but he just wasn’t hungry. He just wanted to play and have a cuddle until around 7am. Then, 4am wakeups became 5am wakeups, and I was secretly convinced he’d be sleeping through til 6am within a matter of days.

…Then we went on holiday with my family. I’m not sure whether it is the heat, the noise, the fact that we’re all in the same room, or the change of scenery, but we’re back to being starving hungry at 3am, and 5am, and 7am, with a few extra wake ups thrown in for good measure. My inner control freak is in turmoil, but the practical mother in me knows it’ll all change again next week, so I’m just riding the storm.

Playing – Billy is a complete chatter box. He has a limited repertoire of words, but he likes to use them. A lot. “Ah-GEEEE’, ‘Ning’ and ‘Guuuu’ are amongst his favourite words. Once he added an ‘s’ sound to the end of a ‘Guuu’. I’m going to go right ahead and say he said his first word, “Goose” at 12 weeks old. Miracle child, I tell ye.

10 week old baby

Other favourite things include:

  • Drenching anyone within a mile radius of our bathroom at bath time with various kicks and flailing arms.
  • An Octopus Lamaze toy with crackly feet from his non-godmother Laura
  • A muslin blanket tied to the handle of his carseat (who said babies were expensive?)
  • His jungle bouncy chair
  • Bouncing in his door bouncer
  • Waiting til you’ve taken his nappy off to do a poo. Thanks, kid.
  • Anyone who will blow raspberries on his tummy for any length of time

Billy loves to have your undivided attention, and will talk to you for hours with various coos and gurgles. He’s not a big fan of loud places, including mother and baby groups, where he prefers to stick his head in my armpit and fall asleep. He’s not remotely interested in other babies yet, and prefers adult company and ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’. Baby has televisual taste.

He’s just started reaching for toys and grabbing anything within reach, whilst simultaneously trying to shove it in his mouth. This goes for: boobs (not just my boobs, anyone’s will do), cats tails, toys and blankets. In his buggy or on his changing mat, he tenses his tummy muscles in an attempt to sit forward. I think this might be a pre-cursor to rolling, so I’m enjoying the time where he stays where you put him whilst it lasts.

12 week old baby

So I might be a little bit biased, but I think he’s an awesome baby. He’s chilled out, content and smiley, he has us in fits of laughter and I’m just a teensy bit smitten.