Category Archives: Being a Mum

The long road home.

So, we’re home! To be precise we got home at 22:40 on Sunday night, and since then it’s been a tiring blur of washing, tidying, shopping and play group this morning. Figured I’d give you a run down of our journey home today, and then shall do a rough overview of our holiday in another post. So, Sunday…

We’d set our alarms for 4am, with the aim of leaving the house by 5. The ferry wasn’t due to leave till 2pm, with boarding from 12:30, but with a 5 hour drive ahead of us we wanted to give ourselves an extra 2 hours for stops or traffic, and in the end it was a good decision. The family we were currently staying with, Kibas mum, her husband, 3 of Kibas sisters and one of his brothers, had all decided to get up to say goodbye so we attempted an earlyish night, which probably did not end up as early as we’d have hoped. 

I was rudely awoken at around 2am by a breeze coming from the previously closed window above my head. As I awoke I realised Kiba was standing there and as I asked what was up he replied with the short answer “I need to pee.” Ah. At his Mums to go to the loo at night meant going downstairs and getting through a room full of dogs that didn’t particularly like our night wandering, as we’d previously found out with many growls and barking, so I could see his predicament. I heard him attempt to get down only to retreat with the growls following him. After a bit more muttering and pacing he decided to pee out of the window, much to my amusement. It still makes me want to giggle thinking about it. 

4am came, and the final preparations were sorted. The goodbyes were hard and came with a lot of tears from Kibas mum and sisters, the hugs were long, no one wanting to let go. But 5am soon turned up and we set off, not long before the sun began to rise. I’ll admit that this time on the 5hr leg of our journey my tiredness got the better of me and I drifted in and out of sleep in between admiring the views, hoping it wouldn’t be too long before we were back. We took two stops along the way, first so Kiba could pee, and I could give Taya some milk, and the second as Taya was crying as she wanted to breastfeed again, and was getting quite upset. Luckily we’d allowed for extra time. 

We got close to the Hook of Holland before Kiba needed the toilet again, and we decided to get some food, so used my Google maps to find the closest McDonald’s. Now, if you haven’t driven over in Holland let me tell you now, the roads can be quite confusing! On a roundabout in most places you can go round and exit, in your lane, but if really need be you can change when safe to do so. In Holland you have one chance at choosing the right lane, as they are all separate, so we did go wrong a couple of times admittedly. Eventually we got to McDonald’s for around 11am, so we decided on an early lunch and quick play in their play area for the kids. By 12 we decided to head to the ferry. 

After checking in we surprisingly were allowed on straight away, no waiting about whatsoever. We were right near the front and this time remembered to take a photo of deck and coloured stairs so we wouldn’t forget. The only bad thing of boarding early meant we had a fair wait until setting sail, although even that was slightly early. We settled on the sun deck at first, after Taya had walked in to a post on the way there, (she has a tendency to not look where she is going) and Logan was thrilled that there was a ball available to play in the basketball/football cage. Taya was thrilled that she could open and shut the door of said cage. Taya then fell off the bench getting down off my lap, so wasn’t in the happiest of moods. We set sail and she wanted to breastfeed, so I ended up missing one of times I think is most exciting to watch overboard, leaving the port. It soon got quite windy and chilly, so we decided to venture inside and made our way to the playroom. I’m pretty sure Kiba had a good nap on the floor in there, Logan either played on his DS or watched the Curious George cartoons that they had on. Taya happily played. I chatted briefly on messenger and played with Taya. We stayed a good while before going for another wander, only to head back shortly for the children’s entertainment. 

This time it was an older gentleman called Adrian. He did a mix of magic, Punch & Judy (and the Dutch equivalent) and balloon modelling. He was a very interesting character who spoke his mind, knew his facts, and was very engaging with his audience. Logan once again managed to get picked, and came away with a pretty awesome balloon t-rex hat! Taya slept through the whole thing, she only fell asleep as she was hiding from Adrian, so it was worth going to see for both kids! 

We spent the rest of the trip in a space next to the stairs, as there were yet again no inside seats available. The kids thought this was great though as they could crawl under the stairs! They had fun chasing each other, looking through their books/magazines and playing with the playdoh grab bag I had bought them, and I also finally got Logan to write his postcards, better late than never! As we started to come in to port I took the kids for a walk on the sundeck, and let Logan have a quick kick about before heading to the play area, while waiting near the top of our stairs. Soon we were allowed down and we packed up in the car. It took forever to get off the ferry, for being nearly the first on we were left nearly till last to get off. And that’s where we began our wait. 45 minutes. It took 45 minutes to get through UK border control. Taya was miserable for most of it, and Logan fell asleep in that time! We were within the last 10 vehicles to leave the port. It was slightly ridiculous. 

Finally we were on the final stretch, less than 2 hours till home. We did stop off to grab a baguette and drink for Kiba and I. The kids had eaten all our snacks On-board the ferry, and we weren’t going to pay €5 for a sandwich! So we’d waited, and even though they weren’t the best, it was food and it was good. It gave us the final energy boost for the drive, before then I’d been struggling to stay awake again, but now I could keep Kiba company in the drive in to recognisable known territory. The light quickly faded, and we arrived home in the dark, just as we had left it. We got everything inside and it really didn’t take long before we all collapsed in to bed, deep sleeps all round.

Two days later and I still feel tired, and unorganised, but we’re slowly getting there, hopefully regular posts will also be back to normal soon. If you’ve got this far in yet another long post then thank you. 

A quick snap, I took a lot of photos, shall share some another time, so keep an eye out!

Road Trip to Germany 

So on Saturday we made the 15 plus hour trip to Germany, and I can say that it was pretty tiring, but very exciting all the same, and the destination was worth it. I’m glad we chose the route we did as it allowed the kids maximum time out of the car, and wasn’t as boring as sitting in your seat for all that time. Before I forget all the small details I wanted to share the day with you, although I know I’ve forgotten some already, but simply haven’t had time to write up sooner. Sorry it’s a long one, but it was a long day! 

Our alarm was set for 4:15am, we wanted to leave the house at 5:45 at the very, very latest, so were aiming to leave at 5:30. I’d had (another) unsettled night with Taya, but woke before the alarm along with Kiba. We both got up and sorted ourselves out and finish packing as much as possible before waking Logan. I’d made a list of what I needed to pack and do the night before so just worked on autopilot mainly. I also made myself a Klean Kanteen full of tea, an essential for such an early morning start. Once Logan was up and dressed he started to get quite excited, which helped us get a bit excited, although I think anxiety ruled the emotions of the day ahead. The last job once the car was packed was to get Taya up and in the car. She awoke, but didn’t take too long to drop back off, so, then began our 2 hour drive down to Harwich. It went smoothly, and we made good time. My tea helped a lot. As usual my guts played up a bit as they “woke up” but this time luckily it was just a bit of uncomfortable rumbling, darn IBS, could of been worse though. As we made it with time to spare we stopped off at Morrisons which was next to the International Docks. Taya had woken up and was eager to get out of her seat. There’s something very cute about a 2yr old wandering across a car park in her bees and ladybugs sleepsuit! We did a nappy change and toilet stop before Kiba grabbed some breakfast for the kids and himself. I really didn’t fancy anything, and if I did we had a coolbag full of snacks. Afterwards we headed to the ferry.

The ferry was huge, Logan was so excited, and I think even Kiba hadn’t realised it was going to be so big. We joined the queue to check in, of course we chose the slowest moving one, and Taya does not like being in a carseat and not moving. Thankfully it didn’t take too long, and after a quick check that everyone was who they said they were on the passports (honestly, Taya has grown so, so much since hers was done I’m not sure how they can say it’s valid!) we got given our boarding passes, and sent to lane number 5. We pulled up among the many, many cars, behind a car from Hannover, which if you don’t know, isn’t too far from our destination! (If you didn’t know, German cars all have an identification letter/s so you know where they’re from, for example H is Hannover, GÖ is Göttingen) Again we had a bit of a wait, so this time we let the kids come out to stand in front of the car. Taya kept shouting “cars!” as if she’d never seen any before. A pretty cool vehicle came in soon after us, I can only say it must have been some cross between a campervan/army reinforced vehicle, it was very big and loud! Soon the first queues started to move, so we popped the kids back in the car, or in Tayas case fighted to get a protesting small person restrained in her seat, which is not an easy task. It didn’t take us long to move though and the boys got very excited about entering the ferry. We followed the car in front and got directed in to a side space. I took a photo of the number area we were in to remind us, then started to unpack everything we’d need. My rucksack, bag each for the kids, and a coolbag. With those in hand and the kids, we followed the crowd and made our way up from deck 4, to deck 9, which would be our home for the next 7 or so hours. 

If we do it again, I think we’d try and get a cabin. Mainly so we didn’t have to carry everything with us, and also so Kiba could nap in a bed with no distractions, ready for the drive ahead. But this time we didn’t. And it wasn’t too bad, a bit annoying carrying everything, and Kiba didn’t get to sleep, but it was a very enjoyable trip. First thing we did was find a baby change room to get Taya dressed and ready for the day, in her Maxomorra mermaids no less. Then we had a quick wander to orientate ourselves with where everything was, restaurant, children’s play area, lounge, cinema, shop, and sun deck. We stopped on the sun deck for a bit, which is where we spent most of our time. Fact, there was not enough indoor seating for the amount of people they had sailing with them. We never got to sit inside other than in the play area. People claimed their seats and never left, or left their belongings, so we never once got the comfort of a nice chair! But now we know what to expect next time. So most of the trip was spent on the sundeck, mainly as I wanted to look out for porpoises, and there was a large space for kids to run around in, which they certainly did! We wanted to keep them active as possible so that they’d hopefully sleep for the last leg of the journey. I’m not going to lie, there were moments of boredom, tiredness and generally grumpiness, but overall I think we managed to keep the kids happy. I’d planned it by seeing it as a day out, they both had a bag of goodies (magazines, activity and reading books, toys etc) but these were actually barely touched. Food went down well, and I’m glad we took our own as the ferry was very expensive. A couple of times Kiba tried to lay down and have a bit of a nap, but it didn’t really work out. We also ventured in to the play area a few times, a very small room with a couple of interactive screens, bead mazes, wall puzzle/toys, seesaw and a couple of soft play squishy things. Nothing special, and far too small for the amount of small children On-board. However they did have two large round windows, where you could sit in, and the lighting was just perfect for some gorgeous photos. 

Taya did enjoy the playroom, especially the beads. In the afternoon we happened to be in there when a magic show started! The man, Abraca-David, was one of these really over the top (slightly embarrassing) people, but also very good. He kept all the children engaged, remember plenty of them weren’t English, and got plenty of kids to help him, one of them being Logan! He didn’t get a choice, he just got asked to pop a ball in a box, which he was very pleased about! Whereas Taya was terrified, she did not like David, and she did not like his possum puppet that he got out! We sat and boobed in the back corner instead, where it got very hot from stuffing so many people in such a small space. A tin of sardines comes to mind. I had worries beforehand if they had sealegs, I 2as the only one of us 4 that’d been on a ferry before. It did get quite choppy, and Logan did say he felt seasick at times but it never really bothered him. Kiba did feel quite unwell at one point too, so it was a shame he didn’t have a nice comfy seat to relax in. There were times on board that time felt so, so slow, but other times it seemed to go quite quick, but eventually Holland came in to sight. As we came in to port, we stayed on deck as long as possible before the rain started and we wanted to be ready to go back to the car. We had a bit of an oops moment as we couldn’t remember which stairs we came up, but after a bit of walking between them we settled on the right one and were soon back at the car. 

Taya fell asleep before we’d even left the ferry, which took a while so we were thankful we’d worn her out. As we exited the ferry it was peeing it down! We joined a queue, again, the slowest moving one, to head towards passport control. We spotted a car from Göttingen and wondered if we could follow them, or if we’d even see them again (we didn’t, but I’m keeping an eye out!). We finally made it to passport control where they needed to open the windows to check we had the right children. Unfortunately it was Tayas window, and we weren’t under a cover, so the rain woke her up! We were soon on our way, it was Kibas first time driving in Europe so we took it slowly. Hollands roads are confusing! We had the sat nav (not updated in 6yrs though…) and Google maps on Kibas phone going and yet we still had to work it out ourselves! It also smells a lot. I’m guessing from all their waterways, which may look very pretty, but I couldn’t put up with that stink! As we hit the motorway the heaven’s decided we needed more rain and it was like a tsunami, haven’t seen that much rain in a long while. As we went round Rotterdam it slowly stopped, and as we journeyed on it cleared up and got warmer. By the time we were in Germany the temperature peaked at 26 degrees. It was a 5 hour journey from Holland to Göttingen and it seemed to take forever. The kids mainly slept, Logan did ask a few times if we were nearly there and was most disheartened when I’d say it was a couple more hours. Bums, legs and backs became rather sore, but we kept pressing on. As the light started to fade the sat nav took us the wrong way and Kiba made the executive decision to go with the directions his Dad had told him. I’d printed a map for Logan to show him the route, and we ended up using that as a rough idea of where we were headed! I started to struggle to keep awake as the hours dragged on, but was determined to stay awake for Kiba. I normally fall asleep quite quickly, my tablets I take for my Fibromyalgia make me dozy, so it was a surprise and a big achievement that I stayed awake! We neared Göttingen at close to 11pm, and we reached familiar territory, although Kiba had never driven here before, and a fair bit has changed in the 3 years since we’ve been here. Taya woke and was quite upset, but a quick head rub and she was off again, so we found an open kebab shop in one of the villages Kiba used to live in. Since he moved to the UK, Kiba has always yearned for a proper German kebab, and he most definitely deserved one! He grabbed 3, one for himself, myself and his Dad, then we headed towards his Dad’s house. Unfortunately in the dark on a hill, we were met with a closed road. A quick call later and confirmation of the route Kiba thought he should take we were off, and eventually, after midnight we arrived. After saying hello to everyone, and Taya getting quite excited by the horse in the yard, and the dogs, we sat down to eat our kebabs and have a good catch up. I say we, but my German is basically very simple, I can understand a fair bit, and can speak some, but am most definitely not very confident in my ability. Being tired my brain couldn’t even process their chatting especially at the speed they were talking! We then had to sort beds out before collapsing in to them, one camp bed (for Logan) and two mattresses for the rest of us with sleeping bags as quilts. It was half 1 by the time we all fell in to bed, a whole 21 hours after Kiba and I woke up. To say I was shattered would be an understatement. To say that I was so incredibly achey and sore would be an understatement. Bed was very, very welcoming, I was happy to stay there forever. Sleep was good. Until the kids woke at 7:30am. And that’s when the real fun and adventures began. 

So yea, we’re here, and better prepared for the trip home on Sunday. But for now we’re having a great time. I hope to do a post for each day, perhaps a couple days, we shall see. I’m taking a ton of photos, and shall add some to this post when I get them on my laptop. If anyone is put off by roadtripping with small children, don’t be, it is a great adventure! 😀 

T-minus 1 week until 15hr+ roadtrip!

So, yea, you read that right. In one week, on Saturday, we’ll be setting off to visit family over in Germany for a week. We’ve decided to drive, for different reasons, but that does include a 15 hour plus trip. 2 hours driving, 8 hours on the ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland, and then another 5 hours in Europe, but that doesn’t include breaks, or leaving extra time so we won’t be late for the ferry! So next Saturday could end up being very interesting. Wish us luck. 

We’ll be spending the first part of the week with Kibas Dad and his family, then move on to Kibas Mums. They live pretty close anyway, but we wanted to spend some time at each. We haven’t been over there in 3 years. They’ve not met Taya, and we’ve not met their youngest member, the kids cousin, who is half a year older than Taya. Kibas Dad has visited us in this time, but he unfortunately is now terminally ill, and we’re not sure how much longer he has, so it shall be a bittersweet visit, especially as Logan doesn’t know, he only knows he is very, very poorly. This enough upsets him greatly. This does make me quite nervous on how Logan will react, as he is such a sensitive little soul, but, I’m glad there will be many distractions and exciting times and experiences while we’re over there. If they leave my side that is. You know kids with people they don’t really know that well, they’re like little limpets. I’m hopeful that my two will have their shy moments, but then warm up quickly, I mean, there is lots of kids and animals to be around, what’s not to love? They’ll be the centre of attention though I’m sure. They’ll probably love it. 

This trip has really snuck up on me, I suddenly feel that it’s upon us before I’m ready, and I like to be prepared for things. Although I don’t think we’ll have to worry as much as I need to, with visiting family I don’t need to take towels, all our toiletries (shampoo etc), and we’ll have access to a washing machine if need be. With going in our own car I don’t have to worry about weight limits, car seats etc. So I’m lucky in those respects, but with the summer holidays started I’m going to be fitting getting ready around activities with the kids and their friends, and also have to have the heads up on clothes washing. I’ll have to put aside the clothes I want to take, to stop Logan wearing them, or putting Taya in them! When this comes to me we may have a problem. I have such a small selection of clothes I actually like to wear and think I look decent in that I may struggle on using the same technique. Luckily I’ll be seeing my mum the two days before we depart so some emergency last minute washing/tumble drying may occur! 
Now, how do you go keeping two children happy for 15 hours? Well, you tell me as I have no idea really! Personally I hope they sleep as much as possible when in the car. However I have started to get things together to help ease any boredom. First off there will be snacks, plenty of snacks, although I’m not a fan of them in the car due to the choking risk they’ll be a back up solution (and eaten on the ferry where I’m sure food will be expensive!). For Logan I’ve got a few activity and sticker books. I’ve also printed out loads of free printables and colouring pages that I found off pinterest. We have an I spy bingo game, and he’ll have a couple of books. Taya is slightly more difficult to cater for, she’ll be happy drawing or colouring on paper, and I’ve got to find a cheap sticker book that’ll be ruined (I’m a bit OCD about things like that!) and we’ll also be taking her magnetic drawing boards. Again, I’m hoping she’ll sleep mostly in the car. The ferry will be easier, as although we’re on there for 8 hours (eek!!) there is lots to do. On-board they have a cinema and play areas, shops, and lots of places to wander round and tire them out. Logan is looking forward to looking out for dolphins and basking sharks (let’s see how quickly he’ll get bored of that!). We’re not constrained to a seat so this is our biggest trump card, and the one reason we chose this route. Fingers crossed it’s a smooth crossing and they’re not sea sick, I’m the only one who’s been on a ferry before, so I’m sure they’ll all be very excited! 

However, and this is a big however, everything is all down to Kibas car. We’ve discovered this week that there is a problem with the clutch. A problem which could put our whole trip down the pan. A problem we can’t afford to fix, so we’re just hoping that it gets us to Germany, and back. So please keep your fingers crossed, and everything else I think, that his car survives! I shall keep you updated, I’m hoping to do a couple of blog posts while we’re there, and shall be sharing photos/updates on both Instagram and Facebook, so make sure you’re following us!

Photo shows Logan and one of his cousins on a walk in 2014.

Kids Birthday Parties: Top tips! 

Everyone knows them, at some point everyone has either held one or been to one. For children they’re quite often an amazing couple of hours filled with excitement and hyperactivity. For parents they’re more likely to be a stressful occasion, or one of dread. You could be a parent who likes parties, although I don’t think I’ve found a parent who likes them all. I think it comes down to what the party entails, how long, what activities etc. As soon as your child starts attending a regular group of children placement, be it school, preschool, nursery etc the invitations start flooding in. In the 2 years Logan has been at school we’ve had a good amount of party invitations, most I’ve accepted, some we couldn’t make. He’s been to a great variety of parties, from soft play to Home, entertainers to pottery painting, and yesterday he attended a go kart party! Whatever the theme I’ve found most to be quite noisy, excitement inducing, and full of sugary snacks and drinks. He’s enjoyed each and every one of them though. I suppose that’s what counts. I’ve managed to avoid organising a party so far, but have almost done so until we convinced master Heberling otherwise, but here are a few tips for organising a party from my point of view:

  1. Cost. Parties can be ridiculously expensive. Consider working out a rough budget before deciding on what to do. Lots of different things will effect how much it’ll cost, where it’ll be, if you have entertainment or not, decorations, food, cake, party bags etc. If you do it all yourself at home or at a village hall you may save yourself some pennies. Pinterest may also come in use for money saving ideas, or how to do things yourself. Kids don’t need to have an expensive entertainer or soft play party, so don’t feel you need to go all out. It’s not a competition. 
  2. Who to invite. You may be on a limit of who you can invite, maybe by price, location or a certain activity you’re doing. Many people seem to invite the whole class, and this seems to work well if you’re not under a limit. No one gets left out, and it may be a good way to get to know classmates (and their parents!). If you’re under a limit ask your child, don’t go by people you like, sit down your child and ask who’d they’d like there. If they’re not sure on names you could always ask their teacher who their friends are. Please don’t leave just one or two children out when the rest of the class is invited. Just because you don’t like the parent or think the child’s a troublemaker doesn’t mean you should penalise the child. Remember the class will most likely talk about it, and that child would feel very left out. It’s not kind, don’t do it. 
  3. Party food. Food is a hard one I feel. When we were young it was all junk food and fizzy. Then there was a craze of healthy food. Personally I feel that you should provide a good selection of both healthy and junk food. Kids can be fussy, pizza and nuggets are always a winner. Fruit probably wouldn’t go down too well depending on age, but there are plenty of healthy alternatives out there. I’d much prefer fizzy to not be on offer until they’re much older. Avoid nuts, and consider if any child has any intolerances. Alternatively, avoid meal times, and just have drinks and cake! 
  4. Party bags/favours. Remember as a child you got a bag of tat? A mix of random little things that either broke very quickly or were pointless? These still exist. Don’t go there. There are plenty of other options. Most go for sweet cones these days, which are obviously always a hit, and fairly cheap to either buy or make yourself. Give a pot of playdoh and a cutter or two for younger kids. DIY science experiment kits can be a hit for older kids. One party we’ve been to gave out a book to each child which I think is a fantastic idea! Again, there’s loads on pinterest. Be creative and choose something that you’d also be happy to have at home, nothing annoying!
  5. Have fun. Don’t get stressed about it all, a party is supposed to be fun for everyone, organisers included. Your child will enjoy it more if you’re enjoying it too. Get help from family and friends if you’re doing it yourself. Take a moment to step back and watch your child having fun, take photos, join in. Birthday parties are there to remind you that your child is growing up. They’re only little once. Relish in the moment.

    Obviously there’s lots more to parties than that, but I think they’re some important things to think about. Now, if you are a parent of an attendee there is also a couple of things to consider:

    1. Presents. I’m sure this is at the front of most people’s minds once the invitations have been sent out. For some kids you know exactly what you’ll get them, but other kids you may not know so well, or at all, so what do you get them? Whatever you do, don’t go overboard. Set a limit on what you’ll spend. Ask your child what you think the birthday child would like. Consider the age of the child and how well your child knows them. Personally, I go for a book for most parties, if Logan knows them well and is a really good friend then I’d get them something more, but I think books are perfect, there’s always a book to fit the birthday child’s needs. If you’re really unsure, or don’t want to spend much then rally together with a couple of other parents and buy something between you. Remember, don’t feel you have to spend a lot, never forget presence over presents. 
    2. Don’t force your child to join in. Parties can be quite overwhelming, loud and down right scary places to be, especially for small children. There may be people they’ve never met before there. There may be an entertainer who is a bit too much for your child. They may not want to run around with the other children, kicking balloons. Don’t force them to join in if they do not want to. Parties can be unsettling and new. Let your child soak it all in, let it be their decision on when to join in. Stay with them, and point things out, explain things, encourage but don’t push, experience it with them. Most kids will warm up, some don’t, and that’s okay. If it’s a drop off party then explain to the birthday parent, they should let you settle them before leaving or even stay the whole time. If your child isn’t a party animal don’t ever feel the need to apologise about them, don’t worry about if you leave early or even not attend the party. Everyone has to enjoy themselves and if you have to make that decision for the better of your child then you are doing a great job knowing their needs.

    Hope you can take something away from this, or maybe you feel I’m not qualified to tell you how to organise a party due to never actually doing so myself. However I’ve attended a fair few (two for this week!) and discussed it a lot with other parents, so feel I’ve had a good insight. Happy party planning, and remember, if you’re attending a party, don’t forget to have something to hand for that inevitable headache you get from the shrill shrieks of a group of small children. 

    Photo shows a cake that Mr Heberling made for logans 4th birthday, it did have dinosaurs on, but we took them off for the eruption! 

    Bringing Taya in to the world 

    Today Taya turns 2. At 9:56pm to be precise. As a Mum I feel that birthdays come with very mixed emotions. I love watching them grow, meeting milestones and joining in on the adventures in life. Then on the otherhand no Mum wants her baby to grow up. Each year they become more independent, less snuggly, and as a Mum you never forget that tiny bundle in your arms, completely dependant on you, and it’s hard to imagine that one day they won’t need you. So on this day that I sit here reminiscing over the past 2 years, I’m going to share the story of bringing Taya in to this world. I’ll never tire of my birth stories, I’ll share Logans another time, but for now back to Taya. I apologise, this shall be a long one.

    Just before I go on, please be aware that I tend to tell it completely uncensored. Birth is messy. Or in my case, afterbirth.

    I found out I was pregnant very early in to my pregnancy. Very early. I remember going for what I thought would be close to 12 weeks, but no, I think I was around 5 or 6 weeks. I felt slightly crushed to be honest. I was going through a hard time already, my so called mummy friends turned on me, and abandoned both Logan and I, which at the time was devastating, I didn’t understand why, but now I’m glad. I now have the best friends anyone could think of. But back then I was also struggling with constant nausea, which is so debilitating, and now I had what felt like a lifetime till my 12 week scan, to know everything was going to be okay. Finally it came and seeing the squiggling baby on screen confirmed I could actually already feel her! We shared our news, after Logans preschool had already found out, as he’d got excited, and then the wait for the next scan came. I got bigger a lot quicker second time round, your body remembers being pregnant which is just kind of amazing. The nausea did ease once I was in the second trimester and I started to enjoy myself. Guessing the gender of “Jelly” (Logan named her!) before the scan is always on everyone’s minds. So many ways to “tell”, but my cravings were different this time round, with Logan it was pom bears, and salty stuff. With Taya it was sweet stuff, particularly frozen yoghurt. I know everyone just wants a healthy baby, but the urge to have a girl was very overwhelming at times, so when the 20 week scan I was on tenterhooks as the sonographer tried to make this wiggly awkward baby open her legs! Finally at the end just before they gave up theu were certain they saw girl bits! Happy is an understatement. In between my 20 week scan and birth I got to have a 3D scan, which is such an amazing experience, even though we didn’t get the greatest shots as she had her hands over her face, and was hiding tightly up against the placenta. Amazing all the same.

    Kiba had always said he didn’t particularly want to be at the birth, and I respected his decision, not all men do, and I felt he’d be better with Logan. With Logan I had Kiba and my mum as support, but for Taya I asked my sister Sophie. She was thrilled. I was planning for a water birth at the midwife led birthing unit, a part of the hospital in case things went wrong, but more homely. I had a lovely midwife throughout pregnancy, and as things went on I got more and more excited about our new arrival. My due date, and zoo trip, came and went. On the 10th July we were invited out for a fish and chips lunch, it was lovely, but I was having more Braxton hicks than normal, however I didn’t think too much about it so carried on the day. Logans bedtime came, and as I was getting him ready the contractions started. I used breathing techniques to try and carry on in case they came to nothing, but soon came to the conclusion that this was it, that there was no point putting Logan to bed. I took him downstairs and told Kiba she was on her way. I phoned up the MLBU when contractions were 5 minutes about, which wasn’t particularly long after I had started! After explaining I was 45 minutes away and had to drop off Logan/pick up Sophie they told me to head to mums and then wait there until they were 3 minutes apart. They were 3 minutes apart as I got to mums.

    With Logan at mums, Sophie and I in the back of the car, Kiba drove us to the hospital. If you’ve been a labouring woman in the car you know that it is the longest drive you’ll ever experience in your life. You’ll get every red light possible. You cannot get comfortable at all. Anyway, we finally got there, Sophie and I took it slowly up to the MLBU, Kiba met us up there with our bags, and I asked him to stay, although I knew what are plans were. He left and the midwife wanted to do my observations, weight etc, but I got the sudden urge to push, so she decided to take us over to the birth pool. By this point I was in my “zone” I can’t say I took any notice of the people around me (I never noticed the student midwife!) or my surroundings, I think the room may of been a pink colour? They had the lights dimmed, and the pool ready. I’m sure I got in in just my bra, but it annoyed me, so I took it off. I went with my bodies urges and pushed. I remember panicking a bit as Taya never stopped wiggling. I couldn’t remember Logan doing so, so it was a bit of a shock and didn’t feel great to be honest. I remember Sophie with a flannel. I remember encouraging words. I remember I’d taught myself to repeat over and over “I can do this” while I pushed, and it helped, it really did. I held my breath through the worst pain. I liked to duck my head in the warm water, it felt calming. Shortly before the crowning I felt my waters pop. Such an odd sensation. Then came the crowning. For anyone who doesn’t know, this is when the head starts to come out. This is when most mums panic a little, myself included, only briefly before I remembered I could do this, and this meant she was close. Crowning is also the worst pain personally. Your vagina is a ring of fire. You can then feel your own baby with your hands for the first time, but this is a weird sensation personally, something I don’t think I can describe.

     A few powerful pushes and she was out. My beautiful baby girl was here. The euphoria of that moment is truly indescribable, a moment you can never, ever forget. I’d love to witness it, not just live it, it must be magical, maybe one day I shall. I was granted my golden hour, skin to skin cuddles, and breastfeeds, in the water. Sophie phoned Kiba, he had only just got home with Logan, 45mind after he’d left us! Others were informed, as I birthed the placenta naturally and got to have delayed cord clamping, both things that I was worried about as they hadn’t gone well with Logan (I shall tell you his story another day) but it all seemed to go so smoothly. I’d done it completely pain relief free, I didn’t think I’d be able to, but I did, and in the water! Dreams come true! From first pain to her arrival it was between 3 and 4 hours. Time is fuzzy now.

    We then moved back to the other room, Taya was weighed (7lbs 8oz) etc, and then it was my turn to be checked down below, you know, to see how it had coped. By the midwifes grimace, and the “Oh…” I knew it hadn’t fared well. I’d torn. I was swollen, very swollen. The midwife admitted she wouldn’t be able to do the stitches so went in search of a surgeon. I forgot about it as I cuddled my bundle of joy. Then the surgeon came in and I got an even bigger grimace and another “Oh…” and by this point Sophie was interested and asked if she could have a look, she’d just watch me give birth so why not? “Oh…” So it turns out I was in a bit of a mess down there. The surgeon said she’d try but it could be tricky with the swelling. I was given gas and air to cope. Now, I’ve never done drugs, but oh God, I’m guessing that’s what it’s like on drugs. Everything goes out of focus, I can’t see anything, can only just hear things and I go silly. I’m sure it was hilarious. It was still painful for me though. She did her work and said she’d come check later. Fast forward through more cuddles, breastfeeds, sisterly chats and bonding. Surgeon comes back and there are even more grimaces. 

    It turns out that the swelling had caused her to stitch me up wrong. Yea.. So, my options were to have her cut it and retry with gas and air but keep perfectly still (apparently I kept jumping with the pain before…), or, have a spinal and go to theatre to have it done. It was a horrible decision. I didn’t want to leave my baby and end up staying in. However I didn’t think I could cope with the gas and air again. I’m sure I cried. In the end I chose theatre. I knew Sophie would look after Taya. I am terrified of needles, but again I used my mantra of “I can do it”. We headed down and I coped surprisingly well with having the spinal. I suffer with anxiety around people I don’t know, but they were all very nice. It felt very, very odd not having control over my legs. A new surgeon came in and started work, commenting on the uniqueness of the situation, apparently. She then found a problem from the stitching after logans birth! So she offered me a “designer vagina” in her words, and I accepted. Once it was finally over and I was wheeled on to the ward I had to ask where Taya was, I started to panic a bit as I spent a good amount of time without anyone. Then she came, with Sophie, with Kiba, Logan and my mum. I was gutted. I’d missed both Kiba and Logan meeting Taya for the first time, something I was so excited for, and I still feel sad about now. 

    On the ward I became “the lady from MLBU” as it seems it’s very uncommon for people to end up staying in. I hated staying in. I pushed to get us home as quick as possible. Taya was born Friday night, I was admitted to the ward on Saturday morning, and I got home Sunday afternoon, where we announced her birth to the world. 

    Everything went up from there, I healed well, and I manged to get breastfeeding established. We’re now at 2 years of breastfeeding, I couldn’t be prouder. These 2 years have gone so quickly. I often think of both my births. I love birth. I love to read about it, see photos of it. I’d love to witness it in the flesh. I’d love, and hope to train as a doula, to support women to get the births they want. If I could, I’d relive it all again, as despite the pain it truly is beautiful. 

    Due Date Anniversary & Mum Emotions 

    I’ve always been an emotional person, I’d say I was quite sensitive, but could handle or hide my emotions well, most of the time. Yet nothing quite prepares you for that initial rush of emotion when your child is born. Nothing hits you as strongly as the sudden emotional roller-coaster you’re thrown on to when you become a mother. Every mother will know what I’m talking about, you don’t know over-emotional until you become a mother. You never understand how mums can post such ‘soppy’ posts on Facebook, and I bet most people will promise themselves not to go mushy all over their own child. Nothing prepares you. 

    Today is my due date anniversary. Again, if you’re not a mother you’re probably wondering why on earth do I care? But I do. I get over emotional about a lot of things to do with my kids, but around birthdays it definitely goes in to over drive. 

    The emotional roller-coaster starts as soon as a baby is conceived, and you climb that hill until you peak at birth, and from then on it’s a crazy ride. Loop-the-loops and all. You can cry at anything, especially in pregnancy, any little thing can set you off, an advert, no ice cream in the freezer, a kind gesture. And you can forget about watching sad movies any time from now, unless you’re well prepared with tissues at hand. If you hear a baby/child cry, whether on screen or real life prepare for your heart strings to be well and truly tugged (and for those breastfeeding mummies, make sure you have breastpads on 😉). Yup, you truly did not know what emotional was before kids. 

    So, two years ago I reached my due date for Taya to be born. My guess date if you wish, as no one truly knows when a baby shall be born, they come in their own time. Only 4% of babies come on their due date. So with that in mind, 2 years ago I decided that I’d still go with Logan on his preschool trip to Banham Zoo! What better way to encourage little miss to make her exit than walk round a zoo all day?! The hospital was a half hour drive away, which was the same distance as our house to there, so I didn’t see the problem. I took my hospital bag and my birthing partner, my sister, with me just in case. Lots of people asked when I was due, the look of surprise on their faces when I answered with a cheery “Today!” I’m guessing most people thought I was utter crazy. However Logan had an amazing day with one of his best friends, and I had a great day with my Mum, sister, one of my best friends and future best friend of Taya! And the exercise must of helped, two days later and Taya was here! But I think I’ll save that story for her birthday. 

    Mums often get some slack for being over emotional, especially about our children, but why should we? We made them, we grew them, we birthed them, we have helped raise them, we are emotionally bound to them. I’ve heard a term before which I’ve always wanted to use. Wombfruit. They are our Wombfruit, our children, and quite often our everything. We should be proud! We should be emotional, it’s human nature. We don’t want our babies to grow up, but at the same time we want them to flourish in to a wonderful human being, with us every step of the way, guiding them, supporting them, loving them. 

    I’ve found this emotional journey a lot more extreme the second time round, maybe as I think Taya may possibly be the last baby I carry. The second, and probably every child after that, goes so, so much faster than you can imagine. Cherish every moment has so much more meaning as you try and cram everything in to daily life, as you try and balance the children’s wants and needs, and your partners wants and needs. Those moments in family life when time seems to go slowly are ever so precious, but very few and far between. No wonder people need time to unwind, to gather their emotions and sort though them. Life with kids can be so chaotic, so emotional, but is also the most rewarding job anyone can have. So what if we’re proud, so what if we’re upset of the changes, so what if wish time would stand still? Can you tell I’m in that “oh my God, my baby is another year older” stage? It’s real. It hits you hard. However it’s a time to celebrate, and that’s exactly what we shall be doing this week, especially as one of Tayas best friends is also turning 2 this week, so celebrations all round! I’ll leave you with my due date bump photo!