This was originally the blog of a first-time Mum to remember the ups and downs of my pregnancy - and chart the first year of my daughter's life. But I've kept it going, and am now a mother of two! More than anything, it helps me to get to sleep once I've emptied my brain of issues and concerns and emotions onto the laptop.
If you're reading this and also a mum- or dad-to-be, first time parent, or just someone who's thinking about it - I hope it gives a little insight into one person's experiences - good and bad....

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


James had his tongue tie clipped yesterday. I found it pretty traumatic because they took him away to do it, so I couldn't see what was going on. But I fed him as soon as they brought him back, which stopped the small amount of bleeding straight away - and the feeding seemed a bit better.

It seems to have had an effect already - the afternoon/early evening feeds seemed a lot more successful, though I'm still having issues with having him awake enough at night for the night feeds. With any luck though, we'll soon be able to reduce the amount of bottle top-ups (and therefore expressing) we're giving him.

But that seems to have brought his weight up over the past week. He put on 120g between Tuesday and Friday, and 110g since Friday to bring him to 8lb3oz, which is fantastic. No doubt helped by the top ups, but hopefully that weight gain will continue with more efficient feeding now.

One thing we're really lucky with is that he seems to know night from day. After his 9/10pm-ish feed (after a fussy couple of hours where's on and off the breast) he's mostly been settling himself to sleep for the longest of his sleeps (or it would be if I wasn't still waking him after 3-4 hours for a feed). And will go back down after his nightfeeds for nice long stretches until 8.30-9am-ish.

Still early days for getting him to go down easily for a nap - that's the only time we're using a dummy at the moment, when it's not feasible to take him out in the pram or we're not in the car. And he'll often wake after 25 minutes - just as Charlotte always used to do - but unlike her, mostly goes back down with a bit of help.


At a time when we're still surviving each day and ticking off each week with a newborn, we had a really good day on Saturday: Charlotte had a nap, James had a poo, I had a bath and we made it out of the house!

In my book, that's quite a successful day in between feeding, expressing, and trying to get both kids to sleep. I think I even managed to put the hoover round. It helped that I wasn't worrying that my OH wasn't getting any work done. He is such a massive help during the week, but it's an added stress when I think he's not getting his work done.

And we're even convinced we might have seen a glimpse of a few very early smiles :)
Nearly four weeks in and we're starting to think about getting James on a bit of a routine. Nothing rigid - we'll give the EASY (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You Time) routine a go as we did with Charlotte. It really helps to give us a clue as to whether he's hungry or tired. Plus, the biggest thing we ever learnt from the early months with Charlotte was to watch for the tired signs as early as possible, because she was so difficult to calm and get to sleep once she got to overtired/over-stimulated.
The only down side of the past few days has been Charlotte's waking in the night. She just cries and cries for cuddles - often woken by James crying when he's up for a night feed. It means while I'm feeding, my OH has to deal with her, so neither of us are getting any sleep to relieve the other the following day.

On Sunday night my OH ended up sleeping on the floor in her room because she just would not settle without one of us in there. I know it must be a reaction to the big change in her life, so we're trying not to get angry about it. But we did jump at the offer from her Grandma to have her stay there for two nights this week - mostly so I can get James' feeding back on track and catch up on some rest.

Thursday, 21 February 2013


We've been really struggling with breastfeeding this week. It had all been going so well for the first couple of weeks with James putting on weight and having plenty of dirty nappies. But since the weekend he's really struggled to feed properly which in turn is affecting my milk supply. And he's dipped below his birth weight - which is heartbreaking and totally demoralising.

I had a lactation consultant come round today and she says James has tongue tie which is affecting his latch. Although I don't know why that wasn't an issue in the first two weeks. On top of the feeding problems Charlotte and my OH have been suffering with a vomiting and diarrhoea bug since Saturday. All adding to the stress, lack of sleep and me probably not eating enough either.

Even when he seems to have had a decent feed from me, James just doesn't seem content and settled. And those decent feeds are becoming few and far between. I think it's a vicious circle of poor latch, not stimulating milk supply, making me worried, also affecting milk supply, and if he can't get what milk there is there from his latch then it all affects each other in turn.

For the past couple of days I have been expressing after every feed and giving James a top up of that or formula when I really don't think he'll take anymore from me. But that  means a continual cycle of trying to feed, offer a bottle, express - all while trying to occupy and look after a 20-month old. No wonder I'm tired and anxious. And it's stirred up all those conflicting feelings about giving him formula/bottles. 

On that issue, this article and this one make interesting reading.

So the answer for me at the moment is: offer James the breast and really try to get that latch right; once I think he's either satisfied or really not getting anything, offer him a top up of expressed milk if I have it or formula if I haven't, until he's full. And hope the (what feels like constant) expressing and fenugreek supplements will increase my supply. Oh, in between all that, try to eat more and sleep and look after Charlotte!

Thankfully I've had an awful lot of help from Grandparents this week, which has taken a tiny bit of the pressure off.

And when I really think he's not interested in food, but won't still won't settle, I have caved in and tried him with a dummy. Seemed to work for a short nap this afternoon, but until we get the feeding and latch back on track I am a bit loath to keep using it.

On a positive note, if I do need to get anyone else to feed him, James seems more than happy to feed from a bottle, and no apparent aversion to formula in an emergency - both potential pitfalls I know others have had a problem with when trying to offer an alternative to the breast.

And Charlotte's virus seems to have finally gone - she's getting her appetite back a bit, but that also means she's back fighting or completely refusing her naps once again.... just when (on the rare occasion James is also down) I need to be able to nap more than ever!

Thursday, 14 February 2013


I'm kicking myself for worrying about how much James was sleeping - it's now a horrific battle to get him to settle and sleep.

All day he has been on and off the breast as it's been the only thing to calm him - and every time we put him down in his Moses basket he's awake and screaming his head off. We're desperate not to repeat the mistake we made of letting his older sister sleep on us, so persevering. And I'm also holding out on the hope that the past day of such unpredictable feeding and being so hard to settle may be his first of the dreaded growth spurts.

Having said that, he's asleep on me now. I'm desperate for him to get some sleep at least - and if that means one night of tag-teaming him sleeping on us, we may have to bite the bullet just this once (famous last words).

It also means his crying and screaming doesn't keep his sister up - who has been a bit of a nightmare herself this past week. Lots of waking in the night, mostly emotional - needing lots of cuddles. But two nights at her Grandmas seems to have helped, and she's slept much better the past couple of nights.

I'd forgotten quite how draining the unpredictability of a newborn was - the sooner we're into some kind of routine, the better - but that won't be for several more weeks at least, I don't think.

Saturday, 9 February 2013


The Baby Blues and/or the culmination of more than a week's sleeplessness is/are definitely kicking in.
Had a terrible day yesterday - very teary and worrying over everything from how much James is sleeping (lots) to how little he feeds for (often just a 5 or 10 minute 'snack') and not spending enough time with Charlotte. 

It was all compounded by the fact we were missed off the midwife's list of visits, so stayed in all day for no reason, when we had plenty of other things to be doing. After chasing them up, a midwife finally came round at 7pm, and thankfully put my mind at ease over most of my concerns. How different the day could have been if she'd come earlier.

James has put on a bit of weight - but not up to his birth weight yet, so we're getting another midwife visit on Tuesday before we're discharged. When he does feed properly he is just a much more efficient feeder than Charlotte ever was, but the 'snacking' is normal too. And some babies just sleep an awful lot more than others. He's just soooo different to Charlotte, I find it all a bit disconcerting. But we have had a bit more awake time in the last couple of days - and he seems a very chilled out, content little chap.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Charlotte has amazed me as to quite how good she's been with her new baby brother, James.

 When she very first came to see us in the hospital, she looked into his cot and said "Baby James. Silly James!" - with such affection and lent in to stroke him gently.

Since then, the first thing she says when she's come into the house from nursery, swimming or being out with Grandparents is "James". She's happy to give him kisses and stroke him, and when he cries she says "it's OK James".

She'll look on with concern and interest when we change his nappy (the only time he really, really cries), and only once or twice has she said "No James" when she's wanted my attention when I've been busy feeding him.

I think she's going to be a wonderful big sister... until (from personal experience) they hit the teenage years!


Oh my Goodness - what a difference having a newborn baby that actually sleeps in their Moses Basket makes! With Charlotte, she would only sleep on us for the first three weeks, which made doing anything virtually impossible. But James will - on most occasions, especially at night - sleep where he's "supposed" to.

In fact I can't believe quite how different he is to Charlotte. I know comparing the two of them isn't fair or helpful, but it's also natural to draw on our previous experience. Where she would feed for more than an hour most times - he seems happier with a good  15-20 minutes most feeds, but perhaps more frequently.

That's not to say I'm not still concerned about how much he's getting - all the wet/pooey nappies and weigh-ins in the world won't stop my anxiety over that. And I've started wondering if he's sleeping too much? Never happy, me!

James is also far more like a newborn baby than Charlotte ever was. Six days in and he's only really just starting to open his eyes and focus on things. He's still mostly quite curled up in the foetal position, and his cries are still very "mew-ing" as opposed to the much more powerful wails of his big sister at the same stage.

I'm sure we're much more relaxed having been through it before... in the middle of the night, I just have to think about the 19-month old in the next room to know we'll get through these tough first weeks/months, and things will get easier. But they feel easier already - partly because we're in a much more conducive environment (a nice big house rather than a poky little flat), and partly because he's seemingly eating and sleeping well.

Or he's just lulling us into a false sense of security....


Here he is - introducing James Ramsay. In the first couple of hours after he was born, we couldn't believe how much he looked like his big sister. But it wasn't very long before he looked much more like his Dad than she did to start with - and he's certainly a totally different personality. More on that in a later blog.

But his arrival into the world started off much the same as Charlotte's. I had a sweep on Tuesday, and my midwife told me my cervix was very soft and already a couple of centimetres dilated, so labour was likely to be only a few days away - if that. 

But then she couldn't properly find a heartbeat, and when she did it had slowed right down, so she told us to get to the hospital immediately. All very panicky - thankfully Charlotte was being looked after at our house by her Grandad, so we headed straight to the hospital and were seen straight away. They got his heartbeat on the monitor seemingly fine, and I was hooked up for about an hour and a half - during which time it only slowed slightly when he was having a sleep.

But the trace also showed I was having very small contractions every 10 minutes or so. So we were confident he/she was on his way. But after resting in the car to get Charlotte to her Grandma's everything seemed to stop. We went out for dinner (during which time we agreed on a name if it turned out to be a boy - we'd already decided on a girl's name a week or two ago), came home and had a really early night because we were shattered, not because we thought anything was imminent.

But I woke at 0430 with mild back ache and the odd cramp. Very quickly that escalated to full on contractions and I had the 'show' at 0520. But the contractions were really irregular - 2minutes apart, then 6 minutes and of varying degrees of pain. So we rang the hospital anyway and they said to go in just to check where we were at just in case things were progressing quickly.

By the time we got there - with the aid of a TENS machine for pain relief - I was actually 6cm dilated and was told to make myself comfortable in a delivery room. It was all so different to our experience in London. The room had soft lighting and a really low, non-hospital-type bed, and we only saw one midwife the whole way through. And I was only monitored every now and then instead of constantly, which I was pleased about.

In fact my birth plan pretty much ended up going to plan. I used TENS right up to the pushing part - and gas and air in very late stage of labour. The midwife had to break my waters when, after 4 hours, I'd only dilated a further 1cm. But after that it didn't take much longer at all - especially the more I got up and moved around. Things really slowed down everytime I lay down and rested.

And within about 8 massive pushes on my hands and knees on the bed, James was out. We'd got to the hospital just before 7am, and less than six hours later, my son was in my arms having his first feed :) Things were going so well, I was told once we'd both been checked over we may be heading home in a couple of hours.

Unfortunately when they checked me over, it turned out I had a third degree tear, and I needed stitching up in the operating theatre as it was too tricky for the maternity staff. So my elation quickly turned to fear, as I'd never been anywhere near surgery for anything before (my episiotomy last time was stitched up in the delivery suite), and it meant having a spinal block.

It took the anaesthetist several attempts to do the spinal, but once it was done it was the most strange sensation - seeing my legs being moved without any feeling in them, for example. It also meant I had to stay in hospital overnight. But I ended up having a post-natal ward to myself until the following day, and the staff were all so nice, I didn't mind quite so much as I had done in London.

James seemed to feed and sleep well that first night - and we all went home as a family on the Thursday afternoon :)

Monday, 4 February 2013


Charlotte is now a big sister! Or more importantly, James Ramsay came safely into this world at 1243 on Wednesday 30th January, weighing 7lb 10oz.

I will update my blog properly with the birth story and how the early days have been (and a picture) once he's not almost permanently attached to my breast and I can use something other than my mobile.

But so far, so good really - and Charlotte has been a star in accepting her baby brother into the family. :)