Birthday Interview with the boy who is 5 years old (2015)

I’ve forgotten the birthday interview again, so just squeaking it in at the end of the birthday month!

birthday boy 5

What would you like to be when you grow up?

A train driver

What’s your favourite colour?

Red

What’s your favourite flower? (An extra question he suggested himself!)

The red ones – what are they called?  Poppies!

What’s your favourite book?

A pirate book

What’s your favourite film?

Thomas

What are your favourite toys?

Cars

What is your favourite food?

Fish and chips

What is your favourite thing to wear?

Shirts

What do you like doing with mummy?

Cuddling

What do you like doing with daddy?

Helping him cook supper

What makes you happy?

Cuddling with my soft toys

Tell me a joke

Why did the doctor go to the doctor’s?  Because he was hurt!

 

Baby Boy’s first day

This is how tired I am.  I few days ago I felt a great sense of achievement at finally having made photo collages of baby boy’s first 24 hours and I published them here.  Today I look in my drafts and find out I had already done it but not published it some time ago.  So here is an ever so slightly different and yet basically the same set of pictures… sigh.

baby boy first day 1

baby boy first day 2

baby boy first day 3

baby boy first day 4

baby boy first day 5

baby boy first day 6

 

Baby boy: the first 24 hours

So, this post was going to be entitled Baby Boy: the first three months, but as it’s taken me about a month to organise photo collages of his first day I think I’d better publish it now and hope to do better with the rest another time.  I don’t know how serious baby bloggers do it – I have barely managed to open my laptop in the last four months, but I will try to add some more photo posts over the next few weeks.  I was recently reminded that when I wrote baby boy’s birth story I promised a follow-up post about the rest of our hospital stay.  Too much time has passed now and I can’t think of anything intelligent to say about it, so the pictures will have to do.  Pure self-indulgent baby spam, but I want them here on the blog to look back on.

baby boy 1 one

baby boy 2  two

baby boy 3 three

baby boy 4 four

baby boy 5 five

baby boy six 6

baby boy 7 seven

baby boy 8 eight

baby boy 10 ten

Birthday Interview with the girl who is 7 years old (2015)

It’s been a while since her birthday, but we suddenly realised we hadn’t done it, and it is still her birthday month!

beautiful girl

What would you like to be when you grow up?

An inventor

What’s your favourite colour?

Blue

What’s your favourite book?

Frozen

What’s your favourite film?

Frozen

What’s your favourite song?

Let it Go

What are your favourite toys?

Frozen toys

What is your favourite food?

Prawn curry, fish and chips, mint choc chip ice cream, chocolate cake and Frozen cupcakes

What is your favourite thing to wear?

Elsa dress, Anna dress, Frozen pyjamas and Frozen T-shirt

What do you like doing with mummy?

Reading, knitting and shopping

What do you like doing with daddy?

Cuddling and talking

What makes you happy?

Frozen

Tell me a joke

What’s brown and sticky?  A stick

Birthday Interview with the boy who is 9 Years Old (2015)

The title of this post is deliberately missing the blog name of the child who doesn’t like his blog name any more.  Need to rethink the nicknames or else use their real names and I’m not sure which yet.  So for now the birthday boy is He Who Must Not Be Named and he is nine years old today!

nat nine years old

What would you like to be when you grow up?

A Lego designer.

What’s your favourite colour?

Yellow.

What’s your favourite book?

The Beano.

What are your favourite toys?

My Minecraft figures.

What is your favourite food?

Haribos.

What is your favourite thing to wear?

Swimming shorts, but only when I’m in the swimming pool or on the way to it.

What do you like doing with mummy?

Reading Harry Potter.

What do you like doing with daddy?

Stuff.

What makes you happy?

Today.

Tell me a joke

What’s made of chocolate and found on the seabed?  An oyster egg.

Chinese New Year Lapbook

If you have been home educating for a while, you have probably heard of lapbooks, which are a quick and easy way to produce a mini topic book.  I’ve been meaning to try it for a long time, and have finally got round to it with a little help from the twinkl website.

chinese lapbook 1

We decided to try the Chinese New Year one first.  We printed off the resource pack from twinkl, which contained lots of pictures and captions along with instructions on how to make the lapbook.

chinese lapbook 2

It’s really simple, and all you need (in addition to basic stationery supplies) is some large sheets of card (A3 or similar) – ours was thick blotting paper because that’s what we had but it was just as good!  The instructions were really clear and the children quickly got the idea, and produced their lapbooks with a minimal amount of help.

chinese lapbook 3

We enjoyed a very relaxing afternoon making the books, and using the internet to find out more about Chinese New Year.  It was a great success and we’ll definitely be heading back to the twinkl website for more lapbooks soon.

Baby Boy: Birth Story

Baby boy is nearly six weeks old so I think if I don’t get on and write his birth story now I might not get round to it at all.  I have written here about the week or so leading up to his arrival – this is what happened next.  After the weekend during which I became increasingly certain that the birth was imminent, I went to bed reasonably early on the Sunday but had an entirely sleepless night.  I was having mild contractions on and off, and then at five to six in the morning I had one which was unmistakably the real thing.  As my last labour had lasted under six hours, I thought that this one might be similar but it wasn’t at all.  The build up was very slow and though I was having quite a lot of contractions, they weren’t at all regular.  Paul took the children to his mum’s house, and then we went out to buy a car seat.  (First baby: spend weeks deliberating and researching options, then about an hour in the shop comparing models and fabrics before making a decision.  Fifth baby:  look in shed, discover a mouse has eaten the old one, drive to shop, make a dramatic entrance – “I’m in labour and I need a car seat right now!” – buy the brand you know is good in the colour they happen to have in stock and drive away ten minutes later.)  After that we spent most of the day doing housework to pass the time so by the end of it the house looked tidier than it has done for a while!  My friend Sarah came and kept me company too, and made some inroads into my enormous ironing pile.  As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I had asked her to be my birth partner because she always makes me feel calm in any situation and I knew if she was there I’d be okay whatever happened.  There’s lots of research to show that having a female birth partner improves outcomes, as summarised in this article from the Evidence Based Birth website.  It’s about having a doula, which can be a good option for many people, though I’d say that if you have a friend willing to stay with you that is even better.  The key thing seems to be the continuous support of someone who will not leave your side throughout your labour.

“Overall, women who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and C-sections. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth.”

But I digress!  Back to the story…

Towards the end of the day, as the contractions were not any more regular, Sarah went home and Paul and I had a curry which I hoped might help to speed things up.  At about 9pm I decided I might as well go to bed and see if I could sleep.  I didn’t have high hopes, but in fact I managed about four hours.  After that I was up for a while, then went back to bed and got about another hour of light sleep in the early morning.  So when I got up on Tuesday I felt a lot better than I had throughout Monday, and a lot more ready to get on with the business of having a baby!

I spent some time making arrangements for the children to be looked after as Paul’s mum couldn’t have them for a second night, and Sarah came round again once her children were in school.  Throughout the morning, the contractions became more intense and frequent, though still not regular and around the middle of the day we rang the labour ward.  I was fairly sure it was too early to go in and stay but I wanted some reassurance that baby was okay after more than 24 hours of labour.  So we went in, but as expected we were able to return home after a short period of monitoring because baby was fine.

At some point I decided it was time to start using the Tens machine which really helped as the contractions were getting stronger.  It was hard to know when to go back to the hospital.  I didn’t want a repeat of last time (when I had to go in an ambulance and baby was born 20 minutes after I arrived!) but I knew if I went in too early I would get stressed and everything would slow down.  Sarah went home for a while to see her children after school, and then came back a couple of hours later because I suddenly got the feeling I needed to go in straight away.  We left at 7pm (I know this because the Archers was starting on the radio as we set off) and I had several very strong contractions on the way there.

Once I arrived, my contractions slowed down a bit as is often the case in hospital.  I had to have continuous monitoring because of the gestational diabetes, which was a bit annoying but I knew I could work round it.  At first I felt better standing up and moving around, but after a while I was too tired and I just wanted to lie down for a while.  I definitely didn’t want to get stuck on my back, but I felt I needed to save my strength for the last bit so I managed for a while by turning onto my side every time I had a contraction.  By this time I was also using gas and air, which was very effective in combination with the Tens machine.

I’m not sure how it looked to others but at this point I still felt pretty calm.  But very tired, that’s the main thing I remember, and just hoping baby boy would come soon.  One thing I’ve learnt about giving birth though, is that when you get to the point that you suddenly feel you can’t go on any longer, that’s when you are really close to the end.  I suddenly knew I had to be in a more upright position, so I turned round and knelt on the bed.  Looking back it doesn’t seem that it was much longer after that, though I don’t know the exact timings.  After a little while my waters broke and with the next contraction I started to push.  I remember thinking that was a bit half-hearted, I need to do better than that.  So with one more contraction and a more coordinated push, baby boy was born at 9.08pm.

Baby boy birth day 1

After a rather frantic rush to get my clothes off and turn round I held him skin to skin as quickly as I could, and it was perfect.  He was perfect.  We waited until the cord stopped pulsating, and then Paul cut it.  I can’t remember exactly what happened in what order after that.  I delivered the placenta, and then I had to have stitches.  That’s always pretty unpleasant, but three things helped me get through it – gas and air, the calming presence of Paul and Sarah and cuddles from baby boy.  And I fed him very soon after the birth, and then on and off for about an hour.  Took lots of photos, enjoyed the best cup of tea ever (even if I had to drink it lukewarm because baby boy was attached) and ate lots of toast.  Eventually he stopped feeding for long enough to be weighed and he was 6lb 11oz.

Baby Boy Birth Day 2

I was very lucky to have a calm and peaceful birth and, although I would have liked to be at home, I’m grateful to the staff at St Helier who were, as always, excellent.  I had a lovely midwife and student who were a great team.  Sarah was a fantastic birth partner, as I knew she would be.  Afterwards, the midwife asked if we’d known each other for a long time because she noticed the communication between us was instinctive and we didn’t need to talk much.  That’s exactly why it worked so well.  And Paul was calm and supportive as always.  And I loved seeing the boy having his first cuddles with daddy who managed (for the first time in five babies) not to fall asleep in the chair after the birth.  I am thankful that it all went so well, even though I didn’t get to try out the Calm Birth School hypnobirthing techniques because baby boy arrived before I’d managed to go through the course.  If you’re a bit more organised than me, then you should definitely try it though because from what I have seen the course is brilliant and it provides a really good network of support too.

baby boy birth day 3

I’ve had this post in draft for too long thinking I would write about the rest of my 24 hours in hospital, but I think I’ll have to leave that part of the story for another day.

baby boy first feed

Welcome to the world baby boy!  We love you xx

 

 

The Calm Birth School

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was offered the opportunity to review The Calm Birth School, an online course teaching hypnobirthing techniques.  The course takes four weeks to complete, and I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t manage all of it as I was already about 35 weeks pregnant when I signed up.  In fact, a combination of my lack of organisation and baby boy’s early arrival meant that I didn’t get very far with it, but I have seen enough to know that is something I would definitely recommend.

The course includes video modules, digital handbooks, mp3s and online support from the course leaders and other members of the group.  I only got as far as watching the welcome video, and the first teaching video, so I didn’t get to the point of putting the techniques into practice, but my initial impressions were very positive.

In the welcome video, Suzy Ashworth and Hollie de Cruz, the founders of the Calm Birth School introduce themselves and explain what the course covers.  These are the key points:

  • no such thing as a perfect birth
  • no place for perfectionism
  • focus on creating a positive birth experience
  • trust your body and your baby
  • breathing techniques
  • the science of birth
  • release your fears
  • support from Suzy and Hollie

I also watched Class 1 Module 1 – Physiology and Psychology of Birth, but I was a little distracted as there was a lot of noise in the background from my other children who were needing some attention.  I got to the part where you are supposed to practise the breathing techniques, and I did try, but the noise level rose to the extent that I couldn’t hear the video so I gave up, thinking I would come back to it later.  Of course I didn’t, which is the story of my life, so all I got was a tantalising glimpse of how useful the course could be if I’d managed to devote some time to it.

One of the features of the course which I particularly liked was the online support available, in the form of a facebook group, and direct contact with the Suzy and Hollie if needed.  Again I’ve been somewhat on the sidelines, but I’ve been observing the group and it is lovely and positive, and I believe the support and encouragement could make all the difference particularly to first time mothers who may be getting more negative messages about birth from other sources.  As with the course as a whole, the group clearly promotes the idea that it is possible to achieve a calm birth but it’s not about perfection, and giving birth is not something you can fail at.

baby boy first feed

As for my own experience, I had a lovely calm birth this time round, which I will be writing about separately.  After a difficult birth the first time, and a moderately difficult one the second time, I’ve had three really positive experiences thanks to the support of friends and things I have learnt along the way.  But I do wish I’d had something like the Calm Birth School to help me prepare during my first pregnancy, and I highly recommend it to anyone, particularly first time parents or those who have had a difficult birth before.  I’d like to say thank you to Suzy and Hollie for letting me access the course and join the group.  I’m sorry I didn’t make more use of it but I think you are doing a brilliant job and I will be recommending you to every pregnant person I meet!

I was given free access to The Calm Birth School course materials and support group for the purpose of this review.

 

 

 

Pregnancy Diary: the Last Week

The last pregnancy diary post I published was at 36 weeks and 2 days.  Just over a week later I went into labour, and baby boy was born at 37 weeks and 4 days.  In the last post I wrote that I was “hoping that the increase in intensity and frequency of the Braxton Hicks contractions doesn’t mean baby is going to come too soon.  A bit early would be okay, but not this early please baby, I am so not organised.”  I never really did get organised, but I think what was most worrying me was the idea of giving birth before 37 weeks.

The first couple of days of the last week of the pregnancy were quite difficult, because the Braxton Hicks were really painful and frequent, and I was just exhausted.  I felt a bit better on the Wednesday as we had the final growth scan which was lovely.  It was very reassuring to see baby boy, and know he was okay, and a very normal weight of approximately 6lbs at that point.

I remember saying to a few people the weekend before that I wouldn’t mind giving birth early, but not before I’d had my pre-baby hair appointment!  That was on the Thursday, and was very relaxing.  It also marked the end of week 36, as I was exactly 37 weeks on the Friday.

Pre-baby hairdo

Hair Done – baby can come now!

37 weeks

37 weeks

I would have been very glad to know, when I took those photos, that I only had to wait four more days before meeting baby boy.  There was just one more obligation that had to be fulfilled first and that was Messy Church, which Paul and I were running on the Saturday.  The theme was the Nativity, and the children were hoping that the baby would be born in time to be Jesus, but I wasn’t quite so keen on that idea!

After Messy Church was over, I went home thoroughly exhausted but feeling that now baby could come when he was ready, and even though we weren’t organised it wouldn’t really matter that much.  So when I had a show that evening, and realised that my instinct was right that he really was coming soon, I felt reasonably calm about it.  I went to church on Sunday in a positive mood, wearing my favourite maternity dress and feeling rather fabulous.  I was also pretty sure I was showing off the bump for the last time, and it turns out I was right.  (I’m not counting the following two days spent in scruffy but comfortable clothes while I was in labour!)  After the service I mentioned to a couple of people that I thought baby was imminent, and later that day I finally got round to packing my hospital bag.  Once that was done I tried to go to bed early, but unfortunately couldn’t sleep at all.  I had contractions on and off throughout the night, and though they weren’t distinctly different from the Braxton Hicks, I had the feeling that they were gradually changing.  At five to six in the morning I had a contraction that was much more intense, and I knew from that point that I was definitely in labour, though still in the early stages.

And now, baby boy is demanding my attention so I will have to save his birth story for another day.

Baby Boy – Birth Day

Baby boy arrived at 9.08 pm on Tuesday 16th December, two and a half weeks before his due date, weighing 6lb 11oz.  I have lots more to say, and thousands more photos to choose from, but for now here are a few photos from his birth day.

Baby boy birth day 1

Baby Boy Birth Day 2

baby boy birth day 3