are you able to exclusively breastfeed Isla? just curious, with your decreased caloric intake, if you were able to keep up with Isla's demand. Thanks!
Yes I am.
I’ve had a lot if questions about this and I just want to clear it up that with both children I’ve breastfed exclusively. And with both children, as with my pregnancies I’ve worked with a nutritionist to maintain a balanced diet that helps me produce nutritious milk.
Why haven't you posted any YouTube videos in like forever?
Life with two kids is so hectic that keeping up with social media outside of quick, easy things like Instagram has taken a back seat.
It’s also partly because I rely on natural light a lot for decent lighting (my house is awful to light properly) and by the time I have a chance to make a video it’s dark.
I’m planning on making a catchup video over Christmas and posting all my half edited blog posts then hopefully keeping up to date in the new year.
Isla sleeps through the night now, or almost. I’d say six out of seven nights.
And she’ll sleep anywhere too.
So tell me why we’re still co-sleeping?
It took almost two years to get Dylan to sleep in his own bed, and in fairness he still ends up shoving me off my pillow at four am most nights.
Isla on the other hand just sleeps.
And yet I’m not moving her into her cot.
Why? Who knows.
Maybe I should.
The thing I’ve found with Isla is that she is just so different to Dylan.
In many respects they’re very similar, in the way they grow, their chilled out nature, teething early and being good feeders.
But in personalities, even now Isla is very different.
I remember thinking Dylan would never roll, or lift his head off the floor because he hated tummy time. He would scream bloody murder as soon as I put him on his stomach. Isla on the other hand loves being on her stomach and is constantly trying to roll.
She’s more determined. She wants to do things whereas Dylan was happy enough watching the toys and lights on his various mobiles.
She’s also a great sleeper. She goes down a little after Dylan and will wake up around midnight for a feed then sleep through till whenever we wake up.
Dylan was always a terrible sleeper during the night.
In contrast he was an amazing napper whereas Isla sleeps on and off throughout the day.
That could be due to a lack of routine. Dylan thrived on his routine, but after cutting his nap our routine fell away and our days are fluid now. Isla came into that fluidity. We’ve developed a bedtime routine for both of them that gets them bathed, ready for bed and asleep without any trauma, but apart from that routines aren’t part of our life.
This works for Isla in a way that would have been so disruptive for Dylan.
Being a parent you think you know what you’re doing, and to an extent you do. But really you only know the child you have. I’ve had to change what I thought I knew to suit Isla. Pack away things I thought if need because she has no interest.
It’s interesting learning with her as I learnt with Dylan and I’m so thankful that she is happy and content in her nature as she allows me to make mistakes and wrong assumptions based on what I thought I knew.
And while I’m learning it’s amazing to watch her learn, grow and change as well.
What's happening on the 20th? How did your job interview go too?
We’re having a meetup in London. I’m super excited because people from further out are travelling into town and I’m FINALLY getting to meet them :D.
The job position has been changed to something I don’t have the qualifications for (boo government funding limiting the number of positions available) but I’ve now been asked to be part of the interviewing panel for the other positions so that will be interesting.
There’s a possibility of something similar in the works but its still very much in the wind.
So after two years and almost four months I’ve stopped Dylan’s 365 blog.
I’m going to blame my mother as when she took him to the coast before I went up there she didn’t take a single photo of just Dylan.
I’m keeping the page. It shows him growing up, I just won’t post there anymore.
Instead I’m going to have a page of Dylan and Isla photos, although it’ll probably be linked to my blogger rather than here.
(If you guys have blogger come and find us: ringaring-roses.blogspot.co.uk)
This isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.
It’s entirely possible that my irrational fears of daily life with two children were so horrendous that anything isn’t too bad in comparison.
But actually we all seem to be adapting to out new life well and happily too.
I’m learning to be less rigid and neurotic and Dylan is learning a new kind of independence.
Bedtime is seven o clock every night so now Dylan is sleeping while I cook dishes for a party we’ve been invited to tomorrow, tidy the house and spend some alone time with Isla.
I’ve been recommended for a job. Almost the perfect job that I had no idea I wanted (or that it even existed) until the email popped up in my inbox offering me an interview if I was interested.
I’ll be working with the Family Nurse Partnership, a fairly new scheme that places professionals with young first time mothers/families in vulnerable positions to support them through pregnancy up to their child’s second birthday.
Without knowing this is the kind of work I’ve wanted to get into for a long time. With my degree being in psychology I suppose it was a given that I wanted to be able to work one to one with people to help them, but I’ve always backed away from taking the relevant steps to become a social worker or practicing psychiatrist. I’m fearful of the cases I would come across, the pain that I would witness.
I want to help, I always have. I just needed something else. Something more like this.
And of course, just because I’ve been offered this interview doesn’t mean I’ll get the job, but it’s certainly inspired me and opened my eyes to where I really want to be right now.
It’s perfect. And an amazing opportunity.
But the timing? Awful.
Weeks after I’ve had a new baby? I can’t begin to process the emotions that surround the prospect of having to leave her so soon.
And before Dylan is ready to start any of the day nurseries we’ve been looking at?
It’s almost a joke.
In saying that, Harrison’s change in job has given him the freedom to work when he wants to and make his own rota (as long as he clocks up his hours), he could technically arrange some of his work around mine so we’d have a balance with child care.
And this is an opportunity I may not get again. Even if a job came up, the likelihood that I would know someone high up in the department who would recommend me for a position is second to none.
And anyway, just because I have the opportunity to interview doesn’t mean I’ll get the job.
Needless to say I’m going for my interview on Friday.
I’m actually also going for a briefing on Monday.
Nervous, but excited.
I hope this question isn't too nosy, but I was wondering, how do you cope financially? I just think it must be tricky with two littles now.
I’m extremely fortunate in that I inherited money from my family that I’ve been able to fall back on.
However Harrison works full time as a general manager of a health club and I work for the Body Shop at home so we’re both earning good money anyway.
I think we'd all agree that Dylan seems such a chilled well behaved child. What parenting style did you go for? How is he so lovely? Is it pure loving him?
I’d never say I’ve used a parenting style at all. We just live in a way that suits us which means we constantly adapt to what our family needs.
I like to listen to and watch what Dylan needs and try to give him that while sticking to my own boundaries.
I think I’m lucky that he’s naturally got a pretty awesome attitude.
I have so many unfinished posts saved as drafts on here and my blogger.
Posts that I can’t publish because the words aren’t good enough or don’t flow enough to be what I want them to he right now.
Dylan is going away with my mum this week, I might get around to publishing those posts.
There is a lot in my head and my heart right now.
I hope you dont think I'm rude for asking, but do you worry about passing on your anorexia to Isla? My mum passed on her body and food issues to me and i worry about doing the same if I have kids. I just wondered if you have some kind of plan on how to prevent it? Again sorry if you think Im being rude.
I don’t think that’s rude at all. I worry a lot about both of my children, there’s enough pressure around them to look a certain way without having to also deal with my anorexia.
I’m hoping that ill be done with treatment and in a good place by the time they’re more in tune with those pressures but obviously nothing is certain.
I plan to be open and honest with them as soon as I can. Teach them healthy attitudes towards food and teach them to understand healthy eating and not to fear foods. But I’ll be honest with them about my appearance and attitude towards food. Let them know that I’m not normal and I am not something to aspire to. Even when I’m (hopefully) fully recovered ill be honest in telling them that I was ill and very unhealthy when we look back at photos.
I honestly think openness and a willingness to share information is the best tool we have to combat eating disorders.
Are you finding it hard to find clothes that fit Isla? How long is the little angel?
I am! She’s so long and skinny that nothing fits properly.
She was 56cm at birth and in guessing even longer now. She’s too long for everything that (almost) fits her round the middle and everything that fits her length wise is huge.
I wanted to tell you how happy I am that you've coped so well through two pregnancies. It takes a lot of courage to raise a child, and tons more to do so while living with an eating disorder. I've been following you for a while and waited far too long to message you. Your children are both as beautiful as their mother!
Thank you :) I’m so awful with lovely comments, I have no idea what to say. But it genuinely means a lot that you’d take the time to message me xx
Your birth story was so interesting and I'm glad everything (pain aside) went well for you both. I'm super nervous about labor so was inspired by your rendition. Also Isla has a beautiful head of hair! I've been following you since before Dylan was born but can't for the life of me remember if he had so much hair at birth... Did he? Anyway I hope all is well and your journey with Isla is going well. Also curious how breast feeding is going this time?
Thank you so much.
I think the most helpful thing as far as labor is concerned is to try and not be to anxious about it. It’s an inevitability of pregnancy and our bodies are made to grow and birth babies. You’re doing crazy yoga for a pregnant woman, your body is strong. Those are massive positives for when it comes to giving birth.
Dylan had a lot if hair but nowhere near this much. In comparison he was pretty much bald.
Breastfeeding is going really well, thankfully. I’m producing crazy amounts of milk so it’s a good thing she’s feeding so well :)
Our midwife came to do Isla’s ten day visit.
The blocked tear ducts that had been a part if her first few days have completely cleared up thanks to the magic of breastmilk and as that was the only thing we’d been told to keep an eye on everyone is happy.
Her cord fell off on the morning of day five and its healing really well, far better than Dylan’s did (fingers crossed it stays like that).
When we had our five day midwife visit she was weighed and had lost 2oz taking her down to 5lb4oz. Our aim was to get back up to her birth weight by day seven and hopefully add another ounce or two by day ten. Her nappies have been a good indication that she’s feeding really well so we seemed like we were on the right track. It’s important for her to gain weight quite quickly at first because she was on the brink of having a low birth weight that would be a cause of concern. Also due to her length and head circumference being above average it pushed her bmi down.
We didn’t expect her to have gained a sopping 12oz from her day five weight, taking her up to 5lb15oz. Nine ounces more than her birth weight!
We’ve got another midwife visit on day seventeen and we’re meeting our health visitor on Tuesday which is day fourteen.
All of our team, including my doctor and physiotherapist are happy with the pair of us. Even my bloods have stayed relatively stable (although in fairness I’m still taking double doses of my pre-natal vitamins and my biotin). We’re just waiting for her PKU results to come back, but so far so good.
If you don't mind me asking... did you tear this time? I'm pregnant with my second and had a 1st degree first time round (which really wasn't that bad) and am a bit nervous about this time (although I know everyone and every labour is different) xxx
I didn’t, I was extremely lucky given how quickly my labor progressed.
I always thought people saying every labor is different was a bit if a cop out (because surely your body would handle things in a similar way right?) but honestly just because you’ve torn once don’t assume it’ll happen again because it could be SO different.
Also worrying about tearing can have you going into labor stressed. The more stressed you are the more tense you are and the harder the pushing would be. Relaxing and trusting your body is the best way for you to try and avoid tearing.
We were at the hospital by ten to nine on Monday morning. The plan being that I would be monitored for an hour then induced by eleven. Hospitals being hospitals, things happened and we ended up waiting around till 3pm for the process to start.
After being checked it was decided that I would have the twenty four hour slow release pessary as my cervix was still so thick and far back. Like with Dylan we were told not to expect anything and yet within ten minutes I was contracting. I stayed hooked up to the monitor for just over an hour to make sure my uterus wasn’t suddenly hyper stimulated. Eventually we wandered off labor ward to meet my mum and Dylan in the hospital cafe for a drink. They left in time and went for a walk, searching for an ice lolly that we never ended up finding. Ninety minutes later we were back on labor ward, I was contracting six times in every ten minutes (about every ninety seconds for forty seconds per contraction) and had started to feel minor pressure.
They checked me for the first time at 9pm. I was just about 1cm. I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed, I’d been contracting well and my body felt like it was progressing but apparently it wasn’t making much headway. We went for another walk around nine, three laps around the hospital. By the final lap I had to stop walking every time a contraction hit me. They were lasting for a minute each time and hitting me every ninety seconds. We got back to labor ward and waited another hour while they got stronger. When I reached the point that I couldn’t ride out the contractions in one position we called my midwife. Moving around through contractions was essential not helpful, it didn’t ease any pain I just couldn’t stay still. I’d loaded the Harry Potter audiobooks onto my phone so I was pushing myself to handle the contractions silently, using the audiobooks as a way to focus. After watching me for a few contractions my midwife decided to monitor me. I was moving around so much that most of my contractions weren’t picked up, those that were were measure the strength of the contractions of someone pushing. I wasn’t pushing though, not even close. It was 2.45am when they checked me and I was 2cm dilated. This time I was genuinely devastated. The pain was hitting me in waves of agony and I was exhausted. So against using pain relief, I wanted an epidural. I couldn’t go through hours and hours of this pain. I needed to sleep and I needed to keep focused. Until I reached 4cm all I could have was codeine. The doctor prescribed it at 3am. It takes an hour to kick in, I checked the time every contraction waiting for time to pass, waiting for the possibility of a break. Harrison fell asleep in the recliner and I went to the bathroom.
Sitting in there I realised that my contractions we coming faster and with each contraction I was pushing. I couldn’t stop. It was just about to turn 3.15am, I was in the tiny bathroom of our room on labor ward. I staggered out the bathroom and doubled up over a chair, shouting at Harrison that I couldn’t stop pushing. He called our midwife while I contracted and pushed and panicked. It felt like such a long time but in reality it can’t have been long at all before Harrison decided that in lieu of the midwife turning up he needed to get someone. He came back with a doctor who started asking me about my induction, whether my waters had broken and how things felt. Contractions were coming twenty seconds apart, my answers didn’t make much sense they were so disjointed. She checked me over and everything changed, I had to get in the bed NOW. “Your baby is coming and I cannot deliver her next to a bin”. I protested, arguing that I was only 2cm dilated so this couldn’t possibly be happening, yet my body was pushing and I couldn’t control it. I had my first contraction on the bed at 3.27am. Suddenly my mind was focused again and I could make sense of things, as bewildering as they were, through the pain. I don’t know if it was genuine or not but the pain lifted, only slightly, but I could control it unlike before when it felt like it was tearing me apart. The doctor had to reach and pull out the pessary between contractions. My waters hadn’t broken, I could feel feel them surrounding her like they were preventing her from coming out. At 3.30am mid contraction they burst (all over my strawberries) and I felt her almost slip further down as if they really had been obstructing her. Three more contractions. One, I reached down and felt her head. Two, I could feel her moving around, stretching her arms up to her face. Three, she was born, face up with get hands by her ears. At 3.40am. She was straight onto my chest while we left her cord intact till she’d got all the blood then Harrison cut it. All around me people were walking in, talking and cleaning, my midwife came back from her break, another midwife trying to clean the room that was never meant for labor and another bringing in the equipment to weigh Isla and perform the first newborn tests. But all I could focus on was her. This new life on my chest. And I was so amazed. Not even an hour before I was broken and then suddenly she was here. Living, moving, breathing and perfect. And so much like her brother. And the pain that had been washing over me for hours and hours had gone. Cliches aside, the light, weightless sensation I felt was so alien after months of pain. And I couldn’t believe that this tiny human had moments before been inside me. I’d grown and nourished her for months and suddenly she was in my arms.