Tuesday 30 June 2015

Me and Mine June

June has been the month it turns from Spring to Summer, and it really has this year.  We started the month tentatively digging out our shorts and we have ended it by optimistically packing away our jeans.  We have spend most of the month outdoors - picnics at the park, ice creams on the beach and anything in between running around in the garden.  

These photos are pretty last minute as always, this was two days ago, when we popped to Whitstable for the day - a local seaside town with a pebble beach as opposed to our usual sand.  The town is full of beautiful boutiques and stalls selling fresh fish.  The boys don't need their buckets and spades here, it is amazing how long they can entertain themselves with just pebbles and the sea!

Archie really wasn't interested in having a photo taken
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Monday 29 June 2015

4 Months Old

Finn is now 4 months old, and he has slotted into our little family like he was always here.  His personality is starting to show, and his brothers are getting rewarded with smiles and coos for their hard work entertaining him.

This month Finn has learned to roll from his front to his back, and from his back onto his side.  He seemed as shocked as me the first time he managed it and I wondered whether it was a bit of a fluke, but he has rolled several times over the last two weeks, so I think it is safe to say he is rolling. 

He is getting stronger every day, and when he has tummy time he is now bending from nearer the waist rather than the shoulders.  He can prop himself up and look around for a couple of minutes and his head control is getting so much better.  He is still nowhere near as strong as his brothers were at this age, but then he is nowhere near the size they were either, and he has had a pretty rocky start.

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Sunday 28 June 2015

Bike Rides and Beach Fronts

There is nothing better than sending my children to bed at night completely worn out and with the days getting warmer and the beach on our doorstep, it is becoming a daily occurance.  Rather than playing on the sand, we took the boys on their bikes down to the prom and they loved zooming up and down.

Dylan has had his Kiddimoto balance bike for nearly a year, and we have had to raise the seat and handles again.  He is getting speedier and more confident on it, although he is still a cautious child

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Friday 26 June 2015

What the Boys Wore - National History Museum Dinosaurs

kids fashion blogger, personalised clothes, natural history museum, dinosaur baby clothes

You may have noticed that a lot of my photos recently are taken on my bed.  I much prefer photographing the boys outside, where I can use the natural light and capture them in motion, but it is proving rather difficult at the moment.  Somehow the sun seems to bring out the messy side of a certain mop headed blondie and when you add in a baby with reflux and therefore several outfit changes per day, things get harder.

For this reason, I often take the photos first thing in the morning, after I have got them all dressed for the day, and before they have been anywhere near paint/glue/food/drink/mud.  It can work well as we have big bay windows in our bedroom, but it does mean you catch that early morning energy which my camera can't always keep up with.
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Wednesday 24 June 2015

Finn and I

It began with a struggle, coming to terms with a third baby growing inside me, a baby so so wanted, but so so unplanned as well.  The bond wasn't instant, I felt tiredness more than love, and it took a while for it to sink in that this was a third little person growing inside of me.

I worried throughout the pregnancy that I hadn't spent enough time enjoying the moment, but that is what happens when you have two small toddlers running around.  With my first, I would relax in the bath every evening, telling my growing bump about my day, singing songs that he heard so often they calmed him instantly as a newborn and getting to know the tiny soul.  With Finn, my baths at the end of the day were to calm me down and help me sleep, he heard my voice and my songs as I sung to his brothers, but little attention was his own.

I found out at twenty weeks that I was growing a third little boy, and I started to plan for him,  thinking  of names, choosing clothes and things for his room, but still I didn't feel as connected as I had the first time.

When labour began, I went into my own little zone, suddenly it was just me and him, and everything seemed so real.  I was excited, exhausted, in pain and in love all at the same time.  It wasn't long until I was holding this child in my arms, so much smaller and more fragile than I remember the other boys being, so perfect and beautiful, a surprise that we had been anticipating for months.  I loved him from the beginning, I always had, but now it was different, he was so real and I was smitten.

I acted the same way all new parents do, counting those tiny digits, watching his face screw up to scream and relax as he was comforted.  I didn't want to let go, to put him down, he snuggled into me and I stayed awake as he slept on my chest, the bloke snoring away next to us after a sleepless night.  I counted my blessings, longing to see my other babies, to have our family complete and  together, to see the wonder in their little faces, to see their reactions.

We had to stay in overnight, and as much as I was desperate to take my baby home, I looked at it as time to bond, without anyone else to disrupt us.  We had a private room and whilst conditions were not ideal as Finn had to stay in the billibag to help with his jaundice it was just us two.  The night was difficult, with my baby boy so unsettled away from my side and in the morning he was taken to SCBU to find out what was wrong.  I was still a patient in the maternity ward, which meant he was wheeled away by the doctor as I waited to be discharged so I could follow him.

They took my baby away, he was only hours old and I was devastated - that I couldn't comfort him, that something was wrong, that he wasn't by my side.  We were told that it wasn't normal, that his liver was struggling and that he would need to undergo numerous tests to get to the bottom of it.

It was then that I realised how fierce my love for him was.  How intense and all consuming it was, there was nothing in the world but my baby boy and I.  I didn't see other mums as I walked the corridors to find him, I didn't hear any of the other newborn cries, I knew they weren't my newborn and I needed to be with him.

I barely left his side for the 19 days we spent in special care.  The unit was not set up for parents to stay, but I made it clear that I wasn't leaving and they adapted.  I love my other children, but my baby was the one that needed me most right then and I needed him right back.  Every moment I could hold him, I did, every piece of care I was allowed, I took, until he and I were living alone together, seeing the nurses only when he needed his drugs.  It was intense, we were alone in one room all day and night, we had visitors, but it was just us, no long walks, social groups, distractions, just us.  

Even now, I sometimes feel like it is just Finn and I, despite only having a few hours on a Tuesday when his big brothers are at nursery and it really is just us.  We went through so much in those early hours, in those first weeks and I feel a love so intense for him, that I can't comprehend how I ever doubted it.  Every night when he wakes up for a feed, I feel tired, exhausted even, resentful sometimes and then at peace, as we snuggle up together. I see his angry, hungry face settle into a contentment and I know that even though he is drinking from a bottle rather than a breast, this is something only I can do for him, only I can comfort him like a mother, wake up at the slightest noise, because we are still so in tune with each other, and stay up even once he has fallen back asleep just to watch his chest rise and fall as I know how fast this period of his life will go.

Finn and I have something special, a mother and son bond, what we have been through these past 4 months, we have been through together.  I love him no more and no less than I do Dylan and Archie, but differently.  He is our last, my baby and him and I, well we are snuggled up as I type this and I just don't want to put him down.

cCMV, CMV baby, mother and son, parent blogger, mummy blogger, CMV virus baby

Did you know I am a finalist in the MAD awards in the best pregnancy category?  I loved recording my pregnancy with Finn and if you can spare 30 seconds I would love for you to vote for The Mummy Adventure - you can do it here
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Monday 22 June 2015

BabyMoov Physiological Carrier

My absolute essential item for surviving three under four is a sling or carrier.  Two toddlers are demanding enough, but when you add in a baby, you end up with more children than you have hands.  Having Finn in a sling has made getting out and about much easier, it has meant that life doesn't have to change as much for the big two, as I can still run around with them, and you can't beat having a tiny hot water bottle strapped to your front.

As part of our role as BabyMoov ambassadors, we were sent their physiological carrier, and I am really impressed.  I have used a variety of carriers before, but this offered something new, with an inbuild newborn insert, making it suitable from birth without paying for any extras, and a uv cover hidden away to keep baby protected in the summer sun.

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Sunday 21 June 2015

What the Boys Wore - Boots Mini Club

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Whilst I now buy most of the boys' wardrobe online, I love finding great clothes on the high street, and Boots Mini Club is one of my favourite places to go.  I discovered their baby range when I was trying to find a new baby present for a friend's little girl - she had specified no pink and it turns out that baby girl clothes come almost exclusively in that colour.  Boots baby range is colourful and fun whilst being comfortable and practical too.

Finn now has several of their summer rompers, as they are only £6 each and come in bright prints perfect for summer days.  There is no pastel blue, but there are frogs, dinosaurs, airplanes and all sorts. (In the little video before he is wearing one of my favourites - the rainbow stripes)
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Sunday 14 June 2015

Learning to Play

Finn is now 3 months and he has started showing more of an interest in playing.  He still isn't particularly strong or co-ordinated, but he is starting to reach out to touch the toys on his bouncer chair and when he is lying on the floor he is drawn towards colourful shapes.  We are working with Ambi Toys this year, a company who sell traditional baby toys, perfect for little hands to explore, and hard wearing enough to pass down to your grandchildren eventually. 

We were sent a few bits that are from 3 months + so they have no small parts and are big enough for babies to grasp. All three are suitable for Finn now, but should hold his attention for months as he explores them and learns to do more himself.

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Friday 12 June 2015

What the Boys Wore - Little Bird at Mothercare

One of my favourite places to shop on the high street is Mothercare, and more specifically the Little Bird range.  The collection from Jools Oliver embodies exactly what I want from my children's clothes - colour, comfort, practicality and fun.  The seventies inspired unisex designs are perfect for active kids, everything we have had has washed well, stood out and most importantly my boys want to wear it.

They have recently launched a newborn line of the range, and I bought a few pieces before Finn was born ready for him to grow into.  We were sent some more last month, and they are some of my favourite things he has.  In fact, I love these dungarees so much, that he has the red in three sizes and the blue in two!

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Wednesday 10 June 2015

Our Feeding Journey

It is fair to say that Finn's first three months have been rocky.  After being born with a virus, he has undergone all sorts of tests and procedures, and we have found a second home in the hospital. We seem to finally be coming out the other side of the newborn blur though, and I have discovered that we are going to have to do things Finn's way rather than mine.

I knew way before Finn was born that I wanted to breastfeed.  I had fed both of his brothers, for 9 months and 16 months and it was what felt natural to me.  I had enjoyed it, both my children were born already seeming to know how and it was certainly easy, especially once you got past those first few weeks.  Finn latched on well after birth, and we had 48 hours of breastfeeding on demand.

After his admission to special care, the testing started, and to rule out a rare disease called galactosaemia, we were told Finn must stop breastfeeding, and instead have a soya based formula until we had the all clear.  I was so determined that we should do everything we could to establish breastfeeding, that the nurses and I decided he would be cup fed, to avoid the nipple confusion of a bottle, and I was set up with an electric pump and a space in the freezer.  The results took far longer to come back than we expected and it wasn't until 8 days later that I was finally allowed to breastfeed again.  Finn was 10 days old, the freezer was so full after 8 days of expressing every 3 hours and I didn't realise how hard it would be to teach a baby to breastfeed again.

We struggled, and he was topped up via his nasogastric tube when he didn't seem to be taking enough, but after 12 hours a lovely nurse told me he could come into my room, and we would stop topping him up for 24 hours to give him a chance to really 'get it'.  He seemed to get back into feeding, and I prioritised getting milk into him over anything else.  I ended up very sore, but after 3 days and lots of work his latch started to right itself and he was putting on weight.

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Thursday 4 June 2015

What the Boys Wore - Mini Rodini

Despite the fact these boys refused point blank to wear hats as babies, they seem to love them now, and apparently are never fully dressed without one.  The weather for thick winter hats is over, and it isn't always sunny enough to need their sun hats, so these Mini Rodini beanies we were sent are perfect.

We have never bought Mini Rodini before but I am really impressed with the quality and design of these hats, and have seen some beautiful prints on their website too (check out the crocodiles!).  I love the fact that they run one print through lots of different items, meaning it is great to co-ordinate siblings without completely matching them (I don't get to do this enough!)

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Wednesday 3 June 2015

Sleep and the Snuzpod

Sleep is one of the big topics of conversation for new parents, more specifically the lack of it.  It makes sense that babies don't sleep for long, they are born with tummies the size of a cherry but as adults who are more than capable of a good eight hour stretch, it is pretty tough.

Sleep was a big conversation for us before Finn even arrived though, as I had decided I wanted a co-sleeper cot.  After having both the other boys in bed with me for large parts of those early months I recognised that they often need that closeness, especially in the fourth trimester as they adapt to life in this big scary world, and with two other children to run around after during the day, I wanted to make night times as easy as possible.

snuzpod, co-sleeper crib
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Tuesday 2 June 2015

3 Months Old

3 months is meant to signal the end of that newborn phase and the beginning of just being a 'baby', but I think Finn is reluctant to leave behind the term new baby.  

That is Dylan holding his hand
After another hospital admission due to his weight we seem to be back on track and at 13 weeks he weighs 10lb 11oz.  He has been diagnosed as dairy intolerant and cutting out cow's milk has made such a difference to our dinky dude.  He is like a new baby, so much happier and more content now that he doesn't have what must have been a constant tummy ache.

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Monday 1 June 2015

My cCMV Baby

On February 25th I gave birth to a baby boy.  He was perfect.  His bright dark eyes immediately found me, his lips formed a sweet pout and knew they wanted milk before I knew I wanted to feed him and his tiny nose connected him to his brothers straight away.  His feet were soft and smooth having never born his weight and his little hands curled into fists in anger at entering a cold and scary world.

Our baby boy was born with a virus called Congenital Cytomegalovirus or cCMV, a virus so common yet so rare.  At 12 hours old he was found to be jaundiced and at 24 hours old he was admitted to SCBU.  His blood results showed us he was fighting something massive, and he had every possible to test to try and determine what.
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