This week’s The Prompt immediately reminded me of when Monkey was a tiny baby and it has led me to thinking a lot about those days.
The Prompt, if you don’t already know, is a linky hosted by Mum Turned Mom, and this week’s prompt is the following quote:
Sweater, n. Garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly. Ambrose Bierce
This quote reminded me of what we were told by health visitors and midwives about dressing our Newborn Monkey. They said he should wear a vest – which we should count as his skin, then he should wear the same number of layers as us, plus an extra layer. So if I was wearing a t-shirt, he should wear a vest, a t-shirt, and then another layer. If I was wearing a tshirt and a jumper, Monkey should wear 4 layers. You get the idea.
In reality, we soon realised that for Monkey, this was completely wrong. I know it’s just a rule of thumb and that it is probably perfectly accurate for a lot of babies, but for Monkey this was waaaaay too many layers. He was one warm baby! Still is in truth.
In summers, especially the first summer when he was born, he was basically in nappies most of the time, slept with a fan in his room and actually his favourite thing on a hot day was to be positioned in front of a fan (at a safe distance) to get a nice breeze, he has always loved feeling the wind in his face!
Just found this cute clip of Monkey very much enjoying lying in front of the fan
Occasionally we have forgotten what a hot baby he is … with disastrous results.
For example, his first Christmas, we bought him a really cute fleecy baby-grow for him to sleep in with the idea that he would look really cute on Christmas morning. We forgot how warm he is naturally and oh. dear. lord. He went to bed fine, then about an hour and a half later he was screaming, we went upstairs and he was on fire, just completely overheating (cue us feeling like the worst parents in the world) so we had to strip him down to his nappy and basically held him up in front of the open window (and it was cold!) to cool him down. Thankfully this worked and he slept fine for the rest of the night in one of his normal baby-grows. But that pretty much put paid to our relaxed Christmas Eve! He still looked cute on Christmas morning though and we will never make that mistake again!
So, honestly, Monkey hardly ever wears sweaters (or Jumpers) because I know he would completely overheat in one. I can be really chilly and in a big jumper with a t-shirt under and he’ll be in two thin layers, perfectly happy. He is in a sleepy bag at the moment but he is still in the summer Tog one, we have bought a lovely winter one but it seems so thick and it just hasn’t been cold enough for him to wear it.
I really like the quote, but for us it is very much untrue!
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, we are starting to think about having another baby. This has got me thinking about pregnancy and taken me on a little trip down memory lane to what my first pregnancy was like. Before I got pregnant I have to admit that I was a bit judgemental about women who had difficult pregnancies and thought seriously how hard can it be? One of my best friends had such a smooth pregnancy and I naively thought that every pregnancy was the same and that it was a lovely happy healthy time where women bloom.
Then I got pregnant, and oh how wrong I was and how I regretted being so judgemental in the past!
It was difficult from the off as I had really terrible morning sickness (more like all day, every day sickness) and just crippling exhaustion that made me feel like the living dead. I was useless at work (not great when you have just been promoted) and had so much time off sick. I also had to stop driving after a while as this zombie-ness really made me feel unsafe on the roads, and after a few too-near misses I eventually stopped driving (and I love driving so I just wasn’t myself at all). This led to me feeling very depressed and in the end I was signed off work until my maternity leave began. I was already planning to leave at the very earliest point you can take maternity leave, but I finished a few weeks before that in the end as I was seriously struggling to cope.
As I started to feel a little less exhausted and sick, the slight nagging pain in my pelvis that I had ignored started to get steadily worse. I was diagnosed with SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction), which is due to the pregnancy hormone Relaxin. This is supposed to help your bones and ligaments make room for the baby, but unfortunately in some of us, this hormone causes our pelvis to relax too much, causing a lot of pain as the join at the front of your pelvis (the symphysis pubis) pulls too far apart. I saw a physio who told me to keep my knees together at all times during my pregnancy, and she even suggested I tie my knees together overnight so they didn’t come apart while I slept. Climbing stairs was a nightmare and soon just walking was agony, even at snail speed so I ended up on crutches. I wasn’t even allowed to go swimming as my pelvis was too unstable.
Monkey trying to get out the wrong way! Two days before birth
The other issue we had is that apparently I have a bicornuate uterus, which basically means I have a sort of heart shaped uterus and makes a breech birth much more likely. We didn’t know this at the time and did all sorts to try and turn Monkey (including the doctors trying to forcibly turn him, which we couldn’t possibly know would never work as he was stuck in one side of my uterus). So all plans of a nice water birth went out the window and we had a caesarean, which is how they saw that I have a bicornuate uterus.
Of course I know that in many ways we were very lucky, Monkey had no problems at all, and there was no scary risk factors in terms of either his life or mine and of course I would rather feel some discomfort than have any more serious problems. But from start to finish, it wasn’t great. I can truly say I never got the pregnancy glow that people talk about and I’m not looking forward to going through it again. Hopefully the nausea and exhaustion won’t be as bad next time. I won’t be working silly hours in a stressful job so I definitely have an advantage there. Plus that kind of thing can vary a lot from pregnancy to pregnancy so fingers crossed I won’t feel so bad second time round. Because of my strange uterus I have a 50/50 chance of another breech baby, which would definitely mean another caesarean, so we will just have to wait and see with that one and I guess what will be will be.
On crutches at a wedding – look at the size of me – approx 8 months pregnant.
But the SPD, by all accounts is likely to reappear. I have heard that not everyone gets it again, but in most cases if you have had it once you are apparently likely to get it again, with the symptoms appearing sooner and progressing faster, so I have that to look forward to! I still get the odd twinge every month before my period so I have to prepare myself for the worst I think (then I may get pleasantly surprised, who knows?), but I am doing everything I can to try and prepare for it though. I was a bit overweight before I even got pregnant last time, which can’t have helped, so I have been steadily trying to get healthy before we start trying again. I am quite a bit lighter than I was last time so hopefully that will help by putting less pressure on my pelvis.
My exercises, stuck on the wardrobe to make sure I do them!
I also know the exercises I need to do to strengthen the muscles supporting my pelvis (the transverse abdominus and pelvic floor) and my new year’s resolution is to start doing these exercises every day so that I am in the best shape possible before I even get pregnant to at least try and limit the damage! I will also know what it is next time, so unlike last time where I ignored it for a while, and then tried to push through the pain and carry on as normal (apparently completely the wrong thing to do!) I will listen to my body and take it easy when I need to. Even though I will hate to do it!
I am worried about what all this will mean for Monkey, as he is such an active child and loves going for walks or running about, and I love doing those things with him. My best Christmas present is a nice pair of winter boots to keep my feet warm as we spend so much time outdoors! How is that going to work if I end up on crutches again? How will I keep him safe if I can’t run after him should he make a dash near a road? He is pretty good but you can never be too careful. If I have to stop driving again because I don’t feel safe how will we get to baby groups and go on play-dates?
Both sets of grandparents have already offered their assistance and I know will help out as much as they can. Hubby has also said that he will work from home more if he needs to so that he can help out. But I know that no matter how much help I get, I will struggle with the fact that I am not able to be the mummy I want to be, even if only for a few short months.
But needs must, and it was worth all of the hardships last time to have such a gorgeous little man at the end of it, and I’m sure it will be worth it to have another gorgeous little baba in my arms one day. Fingers crossed that all goes as well as can be hoped for!