How to be an organised Mummy (and why I am still not quite there yet!) + Pacapod Changing Bag Review.

How to be an organised Mummy (and why I am still not quite there yet!) + Pacapod Changing Bag Review.

(Please read this in light of my tongue in cheeky satire. I would never profess to being a font of knowledge. I think we are all just trying to do the best job that we can to help our little ones thrive… there are many, many, in-exhaustive paths to Mummy Nivarna! But if there is advice along the way I try to exert as less energy and stress as possible by utilising tried and tested methods. This is not to say every way will work for your little person as they are an individual but if trial and error is involved it may be worth considering tips and tricks that you may not have thought of yet!)

This blog post includes affiliate links so if you chose to purchase one of the ace products I am talking about (and independently fully endorse) at no extra cost to yourself I can earn commission to keep bringing you the best content!

 

I think one of the biggest shocks (not including things directly linked to all things Baby: including my premature labour, the first poo’splotion and that time Bea had an anal prolapse!) of Motherhood was the significant drop in income from regular working wage, to 90% of wage (which was but a dip of the toe into the money management struggles to follow), down to Statutory Maternity Pay which is, as we can all agree; peanuts!

When under £800 is coming into your account (not including Child Benefit payment), you realise that you are going to have to cut your cloth accordingly. Part of my organisation has been pushed by the very real and noticeable money plummet! It wasn’t as if I was the most extravagant spender pre baby, but the Hubster and I would indulged in a weekly  meal out (of some description) and if there was money to spare I was a “Treat Yo’Self” kinda gal…

But… Baby Times have forced me to very quickly learn to budget. It was actually terrifying the first time I sat down to draft our budget with my meagre Mummy Money in the mix. However, the key to better living is full, transparent honesty. It certainly made me re evaluate my priorities (I have not had my eyebrows waxed at a beauty place since Bea’s arrival and have had but one salon haircut!)

On paper, after all bills were paid it looked as though we would have £380 left to play with but that didn’t seem to work out with a new baby in tow and the fact that Daddy G is a car salesman so his pay fluctuates month by month. I think it has certainly helped paying our bills by direct debit. We have recently just had our Smart Metre fitted so I hope this will make a positive different to the outgoings as it has certainly made me acutely aware of not wasting as much energy in the day by switching off plugs at the wall. It’s a mixture of both amazement and dread that this little box is recording our energy useage and you literally see the money leaving your pocket! #GameChanger!

Its all about cutting costs where you can and changing your materialistic mindset. Yes it’s nice to have Netflix/Amazon/Now TV but do you NEED all these paid services? (I would love to follow my own advice here as we have only been able to let go of Now TV as we keep rationalising keeping Netflix and Amazon! Here is the first reason that I am not organised or thrifty for that matter. Though dropping one out of three for me is a good starting point!) I think that having less to binge watch would force me into finding alternatives to occupy spare time which could include more time planning, tackling the ever present laundry piles or getting crafty to save money!

With revised budget came a new Food Shopping spend and a revision to weekly as oppose to monthly shop which has saved approximately £30 overall! In all honesty, most shops I have been “winging it” to pick up as close to my budget as possible and sometimes it is hard not to be swayed off course by attractive looking ‘deals’, so my next goal is to write & STICK to a weekly meal plan!

I have learnt that batch cooking is a Momma’s best friend! Forget diamonds… after a full day of childcare it is nice to know that you have still managed to “Wife” and have food to fill the Hubsters belly. It’s great to do it the lazy way! I pick out our favourite dinners and cook up quantities to feed 6 that I then divvy our into freezable bags. In the microwave they go and that is one less chore to consider. It’s difficult to motivate yourself to do the batch cook initially and it does require a certain level of organisation but the output is certainly greater than just one day a week having to plan the babba’s  naps around your cooking as best as possible.

I found that in the early days if I didn’t get myself up and at em the whole day ahead was a no go. To get organised I would highly recommend that you start the day by getting yourself ready first. If you set an alarm half an hour before your little one is due to get up then you can at least have a shower and try to present yourself.

I am pretty sure in the blur of attempting to Mum there was an almost five day period that I enveloped my hair in another layer of dry shampoo each day and maybe only brushed my teeth twice where Bea decided to get herself comfy in a routine of 6am breastfeed/bottle, then we would dress her for the day ahead, play with her then she would go back to sleep ON me so I was held hostage from 8am anywhere up to 11am! This was not conducive to getting anything done!

I have since revised this routine to ensure that we make it downstairs to start the day. Bea is what I would describe as a somewhat “needy baby”- I am sure she would prefer to be held at all times if that was an option. So many people said that I was “going to make a rod for my back” with the way I would allow her to sleep on me. I guess they were right. It is hard to be organised when you have a tiny human being clinging to you. We found that the only way to get things done was to babywear so about eight weeks into the parenting journey we finally started utilising the Hana wrap that allowed for  some kind of semblance of order to the day. I could strap Bea in and wash the dishes and put the washing on the line.

Talking of washing, don’t put it off! The best washing policy is to do it as a daily task. I never realised quite how much washing such a tiny person could go through! Also a top tip is to get a washing basket for each member of the family as it makes it so much easier for drying then sorting. In all honesty I started out dividing the piles and attempting to do washes for each of us, but because I am still not an organised Mummy I ended up reverting to the bung & load method again where I would just grab whatever was closest to hand, like an arcade claw, indiscriminate and only successful perhaps one in one hundred attempts! This “method” does not make for happy sorting so do as I say….not as I do (hopefully this will not be a parenting mantra I settle on…) and for your own sanity keep on top of the washing and have enough self respect that you maybe take fifteen minutes longer before the task to save the heartache and utter annoyance the other side!

I feel as though the key is balance and routine, you can have everything if you put the steps in that achieve the goal of organisation. Real talk: I am probably too lazy to be an organised mum and I maybe don’t herald organisation as “up there” in

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Grab your Hartland today!

my own personal Mom Priorities. I should probably revise this… but the Un Routined Routine seems to be working just fine for Bea and I.

I don’t believe you can ever fully control the world around you, and certainly not a mini person. Ultimately they dictate the course of the day. I guess there are pockets you can influence through your own action for that illusion of control! But I quite like to be surprised on the daily- “let’s see what today brings!” There is certainly value in organisation (for other Moms!) I have started changing habits that cultivate success and promote order. But they are baby steps, which is why organised is not an adjective that would appear in a Top 20 list to describe my parenting style! From the outside other Mummy friends have said it looks like we have our shit together (but does any Mummy though?!!) I think a big part of that is making the effort to look as good as you make your baby look. You may not feel like it, but a lick of mascara and tinted lip balm can go a long way to making you look more “put together”. That is why I have found having a Pacapod changing bag is a nice (stylish and functional) stepping stone into organisation.

I was lucky enough to win the Pacapod Hartland Pewter Acorn on a competition hosted by Mummy and Little Me. To say I was thrilled was an understatement as I have followed the #MyPacapod hashtag on Instagram since my first pregnancy. I was, however, always sat on the fence as to whether it was just marketing magic that had me on board and was the cost of the bag outweighed by the utility or vice versa? The miser in me felt like I would need some solid reviews from people I knew in order to invest the quite costly price tag, in my humble opinion.

So upon my win, I could be that person I knew to put the bag through rigorous testing! Would it’s design improve my organisation? Is it worth the hype? Most recently the brand has been winning awards again (gold in the Made For Mums Awards 2018) and there are more designs than you can shake a stick at for all kinds of Mummy Bears. What’s a real plus about the brand is that every design works but doesn’t compromise the “looking good” aspect. Because the Pacapod has been designed by a mum for other mums the bags offer a slick transition between work and home if you are a working mother, because let’s face it… who wants to spend any extra time packing seperate bags for you and the LO?!!

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I love the comfort of a backpack style changing bag – perfect for days out.

When I received my bag the first thing I did notice was the superior quality of the bag compared to other brands that I have personally used. Amazingly each bag is handcrafted out of 257 individual pieces! This quantity blew my mind. This is why 1) the cost may seem higher than other brands but 2) the longevity of the bag far exceeds other makes and accompanies you and your child on your journey for a longer time!

The creator behind the Pacapod Jacqueline Waggett used to design for a well known outdoor lifestyle company, and her love of travel is evident in the designs of the bags and more specifically in my Hartland: the limited edition world map print of the Feeder Pod! I love the whimsical print, it reminds me of my pre Momma zest for jet setting! Now that I mention travel, the Hartland bag would be just perfect as a cabin bag! It is compact (42cmx31cmx18cm with a 36 litre capacity at just 1.03kgs!) and allows you to go handsfree with the backpack design. It is also super easy to transform it into a messenger bag. I love its multi 56016BF4-FBE1-4B14-8066-E9F2B334BF8Afunctionality and with the ingenious 3-in-1 organisation system, it has increased the time (I would actually guess three fold) of accessing the baby bits and bobs you need to hand.

I am a big fan of the collapsible pods for easy wipe-down cleaning and storage and each “pod” can be used independently, as they can be clipped onto your pram handle. The attention to detail is everything. The new map print is also utilised on the mini dummy pouch. I just love the continuity aspect and that no design feature is half baked. Everything has its purpose and it’s place.

You can use both pods, one pod or no pods at all! The main bag can be used for just “Mum Things” and can easily transport a laptop. It really paves the way for you finding your own best practice for organisation. The Hartland comes from the new Travel Light range and on the Pacapod website it is described as:

“the travel seekers ultimate baby bag”

and it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

We live in sunny Devon so I couldn’t wait to get the Hartland out and about. So I prepped two bottles for the feeding pod (cool bag) which perfectly insulated the milk and kept it at a Bea-Approved warm temperature. We went for a walk on Dartmoor, managed to feed Bea then comfortably change her back at the car on the padded changing mat for maximum comfort and utility because for a luxurious looking mat it also follows closely the lightweight credentials of the Hartland and its pods! (Excuse the windswept and “interesting” look of the photos… we seemed to pick the windiest day in Devon for our outdoor adventures!)

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I liked the fun acorn print. The more serious MumReviewer seems to opt for the tan version…. but the quirky design piqued my interest and I felt it was the perfect representation of what “Bea & Me” is about as a team and direction of our blog style!

I have used the bag daily and it has improved my organisation to a degree, though I am not going to lie… I am still guilty of throwing a nappy or two in the main compartment! One step at a time…

Hey Pacapod!… if you ever fancy gifting me a new design to review please do not hesitate to get in contact and I will happily spend time with Bea and your bag!

How have you ensured that you are an organised Mummy? Have you also used a Pacapod changing bag and did you find that it improved your organisation too?

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy

 

I am part of the Amazon Affiliate UK scheme, as such I may get commission on the links to products that I list in my reviews. My reviews are honest and my own and I will only link products that I have used/have found useful.

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Ain’t no Shame in my Combi Feeding Game!

Ain’t no Shame in my Combi Feeding Game!

I was adamant that I would embark on the breastfeeding journey & nourish our little lady with my golden elixir of life. I thought it would be easy… I thought it would be idyllic and beautiful, and I thought I would enjoy it…

There is so much misinformation out there and more agendas than you can shake a stick at in a hospital environment (which is where I ended up being held hostage very much against my own will for eighteen long days) and mine and Bea’s start was very rocky with a punishing routine, very little support for breastfeeding (staff were pro breastfeeding in their discourse but not in action) and my extreme exhaustion.

The circumstances of Bea’s arrival into the world meant that my body was not yet ready to produce its own brand milk and in all honesty, in the whirlwind and shock of coming into hospital to deliver my child seven weeks early I had not even considered the possibility that I would not be ready to breastfeed!

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Amazingly my milk did come in the day following Bea’s birth. She was being looked after in the NICU and was being fed through an IV. This meant that there wasn’t the opportunity for the medical staff to attempt to enforce a formula policy on me because I was able to provide for my child as soon as she fought herself off the drip and blipping machines.

It was gruelling though and so soul destroying on Day 0 (Bea’s Birth day), as I hand expressed to no avail. I questioned why my body continues to let me down (I had now not gone to full term in two out of two pregnancies!) and because of the very early arrival I may have had to wait up to five days for my milk to come in!! After every unsuccessful hand expressing session I wondered if I was even cut out to be a Mum (crazy thoughts whizz through your mind when you have so much time to kill without your baby in your arms!)

I was advised on Day 1 (the day following Bea’s Birth) that I could use the industrial Madela pump to encourage my milk to come in. It certainly was an odd experience as it tugged roughly at my mamories, set to initiate status. The pump almost moo’ed in sympathy with me as I felt like a prize milker! It was so depressing and hilarious all at once as I sat eating my breakfast; toast in one hand and pump in the other.

Truly when you have a child any shred of dignity disappears, and eventually it came to pass that I would just sit there in my room (no shroud, not hiding away) with breasts fully exposed at various points of the day! One poor Midwife didn’t meet me fully clothed and without a breast out until the end of the first week of our stay & he joked upon that meeting “well it’s nice to meet you and not just your boobs!”

The expressing was a great success and by Day 1 I had collected colostrum (that precious liquid gold) to feed my child. It was only 2ml per session (I pumped every 2-4 hours in between the 4 hourly feeds) but I could not have been more proud of myself! I would run into the NICU and deliver my premium commodity to the nurse on duty! I would squeal in excitement “Special Delivery!” (I am sure this probably wore thin after a few days but each time the lovely lady on duty would humor me!)

By Day 2 Bea was being topped up with my milk and amazingly was out of NICU Care by the third day! This was when I was first allowed to feed her through her tube and felt on top of the world as the liquid disappeared inside our beautiful baby! I knew it was my milk that fortified her body and made her strong.

It was amazing to see the increase in milk supply over the first week and its change in consistency and colour to ensure it was delivering all my babies needs. To this day I find it incredible that our milk provides exactly what our babies solicit and changes to meet these requirements! There is a reason that “breast is best” scientifically- there is no use in denying that as “fed” is the minimum standard, but there is already such a body of work on this topic that for this post I do not aim to get into debate. The purpose of this post is to highlight the positives of combination feeding as there seems to be far less conversation about it!

For my almost 3 weeks in hospital I had to solely express as Bea was unable to latch due to a myriad of issues and circumstances from her own biology to the nurture (or lack there of) aspect. I have so much respect for those Mothers who express/pump to feed because I was shattered from this lifestyle by a month and a half in. I continued expressing until Bea finally took to the boob in June but still had my expressed breast milk as “back up” in the fridge and found time to express here and there, where possible.

Due to my utter exhaustion I had to battle through low supply not once, not twice but THREE times in hospital. Each time I pumped and could not seem to exceed 50ml it felt like a punch to my gut and I nearly gave up. The one thing that kept me going was Bea and her recovery. It was unlikely that I would be getting out of the hospital with her fully breastfeeding but I was going stir crazy after week 2 and just wanted to get our family home and back to some sort of normality.

The caviat for escaping was Bea to be drinking at least 50% of her bottle 50% of the daily feed schedule. An “easy way out” was to leave hospital with her feeding tube in which was NO option for me. She may not have been breastfeeding but I was determined she would be feeding well enough that she could sustain herself and would not need any further hospital care.

Essentially a bottle was the first experience Bea had of eating food in a normal capacity ie: not straight into her tummy. In one respect bottle feeding was so much easier in the hospital setting than ‘real life’ because all the equipment was ready to use- no sterilising bottles or waiting for formula to cool. I would just express into a sterile bottle but then I had the added dimension of tube feeding (which I had to get medically signed off on). It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. On minimal sleep I had to ensure our baby was fed safely.

Tube feeding also involves an element where you have to extract your own child’s stomach contents to test the ph levels and ensure it is safe to feed. Before every feed I would have to syringe Bea’s feeding tube and test it on litmus papers. It would have to present itself the correct colouration before I could proceed with her feed and sometimes where the milk was absorbed from the last feed it could take two to four attempts.

Bea’s condition was improving after a mystery viral infection (which was never actually solved as to what it was, having had the medical staff mention possible herpes or sepsis!) She had finally had a chest X-ray after badgering the medical staff to get it booked in. This took over five days to complete, and in that time I was beside myself, trying to convince myself that she didn’t have a clot on her lung after a preliminary X-Ray had shown a dark spot clinging on somewhere between her vital organs (heart and lungs).

Oddly my sense of “normality” became tied up with my Express/Feed routine which I had altered to a more on demand basis (keen to move toward some kind of routine that would be more breastfeeding compatible.) As previously mentioned Express Feeding is difficult. I barely had time in the day to look after myself, I had however been put off bathing after the clot that joined me in the tub the day after giving birth! (People tell you that you will bleed but not the full extent…) I was starting to feel like a dairy cow more and more as they days passed in a blur.

I had soon realised that the staff were not going to come to me when I wanted to attempt breastfeeding Bea so my mum came to look after us for a week, taking the time to help me get Bea latching. Bea was defying all odds and the usual conventions of a premmie baby (medical marvel. The trainee doctors even used her as a medical case study and would come and visit us every morning as part of the doctors rounds to note her progress!) I was thrilled when we both managed a five minute feed. It felt like such a breakthrough and made me feel like I was capable of feeding her how I wanted to! I would tell the Outreach Team that I would still be breastfeeding Bea and not having to rely on expressing.

With sheer determination Bea was feeding without her nose tube around the 27th April and I reckon I was getting on the last nerve of a few of the ladies on the Ward, who I think found me difficult with my constant questions and stubbornness about how I wanted to feed. I was almost militant that Bea would not be fed formula unless completely necessary to her survival. It crushed my the first time I had to top her up with SMA milk when my supply had dwindled.

When we were finally released on 5th May, the light at the end of our long hospital tunnel otherwise known as our Outreach Team fully supported my Boob Mission! On their weekly visits they would support my breastfeeding endeavours and helped me formulate Bea and I’s best practice for feeding! (We did not get on with the regular feeding positions.)

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I was exclusively breastfeeding by June, but found I had a very love/hate relationship with it. When it was going well I was on top of the world but then those leaps would change everything. Just when I thought we had cracked it we would experience a set back such as the sweltering Summer heat, cluster feeding, low supply (again) & extended fussy periods of time!

I threatened to stop breastfeeding almost every week… but didn’t because I honestly had found such a sense of pride in being able to exclusively provide everything my child needed to thrive.

My favourite feeds are the first and last of the day because they are in sync, quiet and stress free. I call them our “Sleepy Feeds” and we both pretty much doze through them and our bodies just do what they are meant to do. I started to find that my supply dipped around 3pm & 7pm feeds and we believed that Bea had “Intellectual Collic” (we had never heard of it either before wondering why she was being a Tinker every evening between 6pm-8pm). This is where I started introducing a formula bottle feed and that quickly improved our evening routine and seemed to “fix” the crying/fussy issue.

By no means was this an “easy way out” because I was wracked with guilt each time Bea had “fake milk” instead of mine. I battled with feelings of not being good enough but my husband reminded me that I had been breastfeeding three times longer than he had anticipated. I think in all honesty a lot of people either didn’t think I would end up breastfeeding at all or I would maybe do a few weeks then pack it in!

I had expressed for over a month, then exclusively breastfed for over two months. I will admit that I didn’t love breastfeeding most the time but any time I was close to quitting I would remind myself of the benefits to both Bea and I and how close it made me feel to Bea when she was feeding well.

Going into her fifth month we have a few more formula bottles in the day now. Some days I still feel such guilt that I couldn’t fully sustain her on my breastmilk… but I guess “Mum Guilt” is felt from all angles. Mums are pressured in all capacities. Everyone has their opinion on what is “the right way” but really you have to find your own best lives and live it and let other mums do the same!!! Never try to shame them for their choices when all we are all trying to do is bring up healthy and happy little people.

I am confident in the fact that Bea will never enjoy formula as much as my breast milk so it makes our feeds so much more special as I see her excitement in coming to me for comfort and her meal! There’s not that much information readily given about combination feeding so Bea and I have pretty much just worked it out for ourselves.

I believe that there isn’t such a side effect as “nipple confusion” because Bea KNOWS where the ‘Good Stuff’ comes from. She can just be somewhat lazy and prefer the convenience of a bottle at times. I feel that I continued with breastfeeding because I ended up relaxing on the “all-or-nothing” approach to it.

Instead of fighting with Bea to breastfeed her, I know that she can quite happily have a prepared bottle and I am no less of a breastfeeding Momma for it! I am sure the very militant breastfeeders would disagree with me. I feel that combi/mixed feeders are perhaps judged the most and judgement of any kind, of any Mother needs to stop now because sometimes we just need a little bit of support.

Breastfeeding is NOT easy, despite it being natural. Expressing is certainly NOT easy, exclusively bottle feeding is NOT easy. I feel that combi feeding offers Bea and I a sense of flexibility and a safety net for me knowing that in one way or another my child will be getting enough to eat over the course of the day and she is happy. As with most things now Bea dictates how she wants to be fed at the time. I just make sure I have a sterilised bottle ready to go then we make our decision there and then as the need to feed kicks in.

I enjoy the freedom to feed in the best possible way. I do feel bad to admit it but I don’t think I was fully cut out for exclusively breastfeeding (I am too impatient!) but that’s okay. Just feed your child and love your child. I know that Bea doesn’t just love me because I feed her… it’s all the other things too! Combi feeding affords you the opportunity to continue breastfeeding if you perhaps thought the intensity wasn’t for you.

I think there needs to be more infotnation about the mixed feeding method to give Mums another way. Feeding is not a “us and them” game and I traverse between the two worlds. I was a loud and proud breastfeeder for 4 months (as I count the expressing method too) and now I am a breastfeeder with some back up.

Have you ever felt singled out as a combi feeder? Is mixed feeding an option that your health visitor discussed with you? Did you have an issue with breastfeeding when you wanted to feed in this way? I look forward to your opinions on MIXED FEEDING only- no attack’s on breast of formula feeding please!

 

#StaySweet

Love Bea’s Mummy x

Bea & I: The Buzz.

Bea & I: The Buzz.

There is nothing better in life than seeing those big, blue eyes stare up at me full of wonder and love. You wonder how you could love this little person more each day, but somehow you can and it defies all laws of nature, space and the universe. With every ounce of my being I am in utter love with this little girl. She is a gift!

No really she is. I do not hyperbolise (yet!) The things my mind and body have had to endure (how can nature be both so amazing and cruel in one swift blow?) on this journey toward Motherhood. I will not beat about the bush. Like 1 in 4 pregnancies our first son came into the corporeal world as a sleeping child. It was traumatic and shattered my heart into a million shards. “But why me?” I questioned everything about myself as I had failed to carry our little boy safely into the world. I blamed my body, every little thing I had done, and did so until the pathology results came back with the conclusion of Placenta Abruption.

I went into spontaneous labour with our little Mylo on 3rd June 2017 and I honestly have never felt so much pain in my life, as I delivered our boy in our bathroom, the only reason I think I survived was because of the support of my husband who held my shaking body until the paramedics arrived.

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Mylo Patrick Raymond Goddard was 21 weeks gestation and he was beautiful. So fragile, so tiny. I cradled him like any other child but I would never hear his cries, watch him take his first breath (and all those first moments disappeared from my life which is quite a big thing to get your head around- especially on a cocktail of meds to keep you alive & heal the physical trauma!) and I would never see his beautiful eyes full of wonder at the world around him. I do always wonder what colour his eyes would have been and whether they would be as brilliant blue as Bea’s. (If you would like to read my guest blog about Mylo and childloss click here.)

Needless to say when we had our BFP (Big fat positive) in October of 2017 we were terrified to go through it all again but ever the optimist, I was determined to enjoy this pregnancy and celebrate each day as a day closer to welcoming Mylo’s sibling into the world. 24 weeks seemed so far away – this being the point at which a child is “viable” (urrrggghh such a clinical world) and their personage is medically recognised. After everything that had previously happened I had learnt the sobering lesson that there is no “safe point” in pregnancy.

Unlike my first pregnancy I was hit with terrible Morning (elevenses, afternoon, supper & nighttime) sickness!! Some days it was crippling. My body had not been my own for half a year and after the loss it had taken longer than I expected to heal. I was always exhausted and the fear stuck in my throat like microscopic but deadly daggers or a thousand Crunchy Nature Valley bars!!

I was consultant lead due to my previous circumstances so I was lucky to see our baby grow and move and live within me a few extra times. These moments were previous to me. We got to the 12 week scan and I couldn’t help but think how similar it looked to our precious little Mylo… then my next thought was “oh god this baby is going to be the spitting image of their Father again!!!”  (When Mylo was born all I saw in his features was Daddy. Only my pouty lips bore genetic resemblence to me, of which I was pretty pissed about having been the one to carry him and didn’t really feel like there was a 50/50 aesthetic split!!!)

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This pregnancy we decided that we would find out the gender of our Baby Rainbow 🌈- I think in part this was so that I could feel as much atratchment to this little person as possible because one of my most nagging worries was that following a loss I would struggle to love this tiny human being as much as I loved our son (it sounds very silly but parents of loss definitely think very differently – see my post on How to Deal with Parents of Childloss).

The way that my body felt that it had done the rounds with Mike Tyson on the daily and the all too often debilitating heart burn I was 100% certain that we had a little lady on the way.

Loss takes its toll on all those close family members that surround you (they lose a nephew & grandson too!) so my Mother in particular having lost her FIRST grandchild wanted to throw her whole being into the lead up of welcoming our little Rainbow. At 16 weeks we had gone in for a growth scan and the sonographer asked whether we wanted her to reveal the gender. It was decided that Daddy Bear and I would not be informed but Nannie H would be the first to learn the gender so she could throw us a Gender Reveal event (see post on My Favourite Moments of Pregnancy.)

Turns out a Mummy Bear is super in sync with their baby and body and I was right. A little girl!!! I knew she would lift up our lives and as the term Rainbow Baby suggests would add the colour back into our grey, stormy worlds. I vowed though that I would love this little lady not just as the sister to her Angel Brother but inspite of that as her own person; never in the shadow of Mylo.

Piece by piece & Bump Photo by Bump Photo she filled up my world and I planned (though not fast enough it would seem!) in between moments of serious panic. Remember when the whole of Britain came to a snowy standstill in March?! I had faux contractions and was sure that I was going into early labour again!! “Not now!” I willed my body as 1) I was only 26 weeks pregnant and b) I wasn’t sure we would have even been able to safely make the journey to the hospital. I wasn’t! I breathed a sigh of relief and congratulated my body for managing to keep this little lady in place.

The calm was short lived as just two weeks later I was back at the hospital Triage Ward having lost my plug!!! I was terrified and on countdown to D-Day (Delivery Day!!!) as I was all too aware that our child could be making her appearance in a matter of weeks.

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The nursery was not complete and we threw my Baby Shower at the end of March. I knew my body was coming closer to birth. I practiced my pelvic floor exercises and ate healthily to nourish myself and the baby until the end. I knew that I was unlikely to make it to Week 38 (where they had said I would need to be induced because of my gestational diabetes- oh yes all the fun!) but I don’t think anyone would have predicted the Birth Day commencing in week 33!!!

Just the previous day I had been hooked up to a machine because of reduced movements (ALWAYS GO TO THE HOSPITAL IF YOU NOTICE REDUCED MOVEMENTS. IT IS A MISNOMER THAT THE BABIES MOVEMENTS SLOW DOWN TOWARDS BIRTH – THEY SHOULD HOLD TO THE PATTERN THAT YOU HAVE NOTED ALL ALONG!) My hospital had been so patient with me. I had been in with reduced movements twice before. I practically lived at the hospital during my very short lived third trimester! But they always echoed “If you ever feel that something is different/wrong come up to the hospital. You can come up every day”.

So there I was starting to show signs of contractions on the 16th April… not that they told me that. All I knew was that the baby had a strong heartbeat so I just continued on as normal. I was back at work the next day and smashing our targets and providing the best customer service all whilst in labour! I never realised that I had such a high pain threshold. I thought I just had a bad back. But all of a sudden I felt the internal workings which echoed my delivery of Mylo. That’s when we hot footed to the hospital. I was 33 + 3 and foolishly had not even packed my hospital bag in preparation for an early labour. She was seven weeks early!!!

As far as my labour went, it was textbook. It was just the circumstances surrounding it that were unusual! The staff didn’t seem to think I was in labour as I was handling myself so well and tried to pass my labour signs off as a UTI!!! I was having none of it, but there was a ward of screaming ladies who were making it quite obvious they were in labour… (it turns out the loudest screamer actually delivered her baby hours after me!!!) After a slight pester because I now felt what I assumed were my contractions, the speculum confirmed that I was in fact in active labour, I was 5cm dilated & they could feel my babies grad behind my waters which incidentally broke naturally whilst I was on the bed. It really is one of the weirdest but best feelings in the world! I think it surprised my husband how far it shot off the end of the bed!!!

I am hopped up on Gas and Air and the staff are trying to slow my labour as I had only managed to have one of the steroid shots for the babies lungs. I remember worrying that because the second could not be administered that our baby would have terrible breathing problems.

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**** SPOILERS!**** She didn’t because after just seven pushes she entered the world and made her first war cry to the world! This fierce Warrior Girl was loud and perfect. Tiny. But perfect. She lay on my chest and I fell in love. We shared a moment of reassurance and bliss- everything was going to be okay! I needn’t  have worried that she wasn’t going to make it. She was promptly whisked off to be hooked up to machines to ensure that she made a prompt recovery from the trauma of being too early!!!

Our little Beatrice Carys Bow Goddard spent just two days in the NICU, being treated for jaundice under the phototherapy lights then moved on to Special Care for a further day before coming to me on the Transitional Ward where we stayed for a further 15 days of utter stir-crazy inducing time. It was much like a work camp with the intense routine of expressing milk, changing the babies nappy, feeding the baby, feeding myself then repeating Express/change/feed for a 4 hourly routine day and night! Through my sleep deprivation, tube feeding and tears (mainly mine!!) Bea thrived when I cared for her.

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Sadly the care on the ward was very hit or miss (mostly miss!) and there were so many contending staff agendas and very little cohesive help and frustratingly very little breastfeeding support. Oh yeah… I forgot to mention I had to feed my child mum expresses breast milk through a nose tube for 12 days which involves syringing samples from her stomach to test her ph levels to make sure her tube was able to be used for feeding. Any incorrect move, particularly in terms of feeding could have had disastrous consequences!! Couple this with caring for such a tiny baby (she was only 4lbs 8.5oz at birth then dropped after this!!!) the first few weeks of her life were quite miserable for me.

Despite the tough start she inspired me to fight on and be the best Mother I could be because she was kicking ass at Person-ing!!! It was the least I could do for her!!!

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Fast forward 5 months and our girl has thrived and brought us so much happiness! She now weighs in at 10lbs2oz at the last weight check (03.09.18) and is hitting all her milestones! It is often disconcerting for people out and about to see such a tiny baby doing all the things she is because she still only looks a few months old if that!! I am forever having people saying “oh she most be a new one?!” and then I launch into our Premmie story. There is no denying she is a bit of a special baby and of course even more special to those of us who know exactly why!

She certainly has done and continues to do things HER way! Which is fine, it keeps me on my toes and I count my blessings that she has made me the Mother I am today.

I suppose I should introduce myself a little?!! I am Bea’s Mummy as I am mostly known now. Or Amber. I have worked various jobs which have failed to rock my world quite as much as being a Mummy! This is my favourite job to date and it is something that I am now going to be doing for the rest of my life.

Other than Bea, I have a passion for writing, travelling & cooking. My love of creating saw me attain a degree in English Literature, Philosophy and Ethics and an elective in Education. Biggest waste of time and money in all honesty. People have been pestering me to take my writing further for years and years and years but I have previously been “too busy”. A terrible attitude I realise having now thrown myself into Motherhood. I am now Mum Busy… and that is the busiest I have ever been but because it is the most important part of my identity now I thought I would silence the nagging by charting mine & Bea’s Adventures together.

I refer to it as bumbling through the hoods together. By Hoods I mean Motherhood/Childhood. I hope it is something that we can both look back on and smile and for her to know that she saved my life and for that I will be eternally thankful. I loved her from the start and I will until the end.

I hope this blog will be a useful resource for other Momma Bears and plan to review relevant brands and products that will make #TheMomLife that little bit easier to navigate. We are in this together!!

If you have any ideas about what you would like to see please do contact me. As I love to put word into the world I also guest blog (see my interview with Rhubarb The Bird with whom Bea represents.)

Lets be a MumBrigade. Keep Calm! You’re a Mum and may the odds be forever in your favour!

#StaySweet

-Bea’s Mummy.