Debut

How do you fancy meeting the newest member of our family?

Allow me to introduce you to Baxter Andrew Cameron.

Born 9th January, 2015 at 11.32 pm which incidentally was his due date. Apparently I also arrived on my due date.

Somehow, he weighed 9lbs and half an ounce at birth. Two pounds heavier than either of his siblings. A bouncing baby boy indeed.

He arrived speedily with a quiet, forceful determination and is enjoying the adoration of his big brother and sister, smitten parents, grandparents, great grandparents, aunties, uncles and friends. Excuse me while I retreat back into our baby bubble and try to soak up every last bit of his newborn sweetness with the fervered determination of a mummy who has just birthed her last baby.

Welcome Baxter.


Due

(Nearly)

Helloooo from the ever expansive world of black lycra clothing. I'm down to two outfits and one of those is pyjamas.

Today marks my being 39 days and 5 days pregnant. Which is the most pregnant I've ever been. Here is photographic proof.

Before I go on I should just clarify that I'm not complaining. Well I am, but not without the deep appreciative understanding that expecting a baby is perhaps the most wonderful place to be. So please don't think I don't realise how lucky we are.

However, I keep banging into things. I've given myself matching grazes on each side of the bump because I clearly have no idea how big it actually is. My ribs are so painful, the sensation veers between distinctly uncomfortable and excruciatingly painful. I keep surprising myself with how loud my footsteps sound as I make my way around the house. I sound like a giant.

I want to live in the bath. Getting my own socks and shoes on is nigh on impossible.

The stretchmarks left over from carrying babies one and two are unzipping as we speak. After Brodie I realised I had stretchmarks but they only came up to my belly button. With Grier I was left with a higher tidemark and this time I suspect I'll have a tiger striped chin soon enough.

I'm bored of my own thoughts. I keep dreaming that I've 'missed' the baby, like I've missed my chance to bring my newborn home but I've no idea where he/she's gone.

I'm not even past my due date yet it's just that I never expected to be here. Having two babies come in weeks 38 and 39 has completely messed with me. I'm not sure why I'm finding this so hard to compute. Rationally this seems ridiculous but emotionally it's wringing me out.

I suspect if you've been there yourself you'll be nodding sagely and perhaps chuckling at my naivety. You'll be full of advice about the fact that babies come when they are good and ready. Which of course I know. If you're a man you may be busy working out the 'worse case scenario' ie, one cannot remain pregnant forever. If this is you Genius I'd like to offer you this fork in order that you may stick it in your eye.

I'm kind of shooting myself in the foot here but I wonder if the reason the baby hasn't made their appearance is because I'm not quite prepared. I mean physically I'm as prepared as I can be - with major renovation work due to begin on our house, space and organisation are sort of second in line to 'making do' and 'getting through' but that's fine, we'll deal with it.

Emotionally I feel a bit fragile though. Brodie is due to have the (routine, straightforward) operation on his ears in the next few weeks and I'm willing to admit to major anxiety around the general anaesthetic. He's asthmatic and he's my (5 year old) baby. Not to mention I'm going to have an actual newborn baby to consider.

I've been having regular irregular contractions since Friday. I actually asked Greig to take kids to Granny's overnight because I thought they were starting to come closer and more intensely but by about 3am they had petered out. Since then I've had a couple of hours of contractions most evenings but they don't seem to be actually doing anything.  They do make sleep difficult though and did I mention I'm bored of myself yet?

This time around I haven't been as worried about going from 2 to 3 offspring. Last time I was a basket case but 2 year old Brodie adapted to his sister without skipping a beat. There was always more than enough love to go around and there will be this time too I'm sure.  Plain sailing is never likely with kids but I'm thrilled that we are adding another person to our family.  So, what I'm saying Baby 3 is that from the outside your family may look chaotic and disorganised and messy but it's exactly where you need to be. Come on out, it's lovely I promise....




Speak Up

I don't know. I might have mentioned this once or twice recently. I'm pregnant.

I've been thinking about giving birth times 1 and 2 and how that all happened.

I've thinking about birth plans and hopes and dreams and all that stuff.

I've spoken before about how how my control freakery contrasts with a desire for an unmedicated, natural birth. I think I'm probably pretty normal in that respect. The scariest thing about giving birth for me was being scared of giving birth. It's scary. It's messy and it's at least in parts going to be painful. A bit like life itself then.

I was worried about losing control about being out of control and let's call a spade a spade making a tit of myself when it all got too much. I didn't want to embarrass myself or my husband or anyone else who happened to be around. Which is ironic because as I discovered quite quickly none of the health professionals who are likely to be around when you are giving birth are remotely surprised by anything you can do or say, they have quite literally seen and heard it all before.

It was sort of like an out of body experience when I was in active labour. I could hear the noises I was making, obviously, but I couldn't quite believe they were coming out of me. They sounded animal like and when they came out of me I felt transparent. Like my very soul was visible and the pain and fear I was on full show. Whoah, even reading that back was a bit intense.

Giving birth is intense. It's liberating and empowering and you literally turn yourself inside out in order that you can give your child safe passage into the world. I asked Greig if I was scary in labour or if I made him feel uncomfortable. He said I didn't, that he knew I was there but not there and that it was just my way of coping. I was surprised at how 'altered' I felt during and after the birth. Like I was slipping in and out of some other state. I'm aware of how bizarre that sounds.

And it made me wonder if sometimes women feel they shouldn't be transparent giving birth. They shouldn't make strange, animal noises which might shock others. They shouldn't cry or swear and do whatever is necessary to get it done. I hope no woman feels that they should quieten down or give birth neatly or tidily or with less fuss. I hope you speak up and say what you need to say, whether that be actual words or just a strange mooing/baaing/shrieking hybrid (just me then?).


The First Time......

As I sank into a warm bubble bath on Friday evening - blissful - I cursed myself for leaving the tv on. The kids were with Granny and Granda and I was making the most of my time but I get a bit jumpy when it's too quiet so I left the news on for some background noise. And then I heard Nigel Farage giving his views on the breastfeeding story which dominated the news last week.

And I reaffirmed my belief that I never, ever need to know what Nigel Farage's views on anything are. I feel quite passionately that not knowing what he thinks of anything ever again would be for the best. Forgive my foray into politics.

I don't feel I need to comment and what he did or didn't say. Whether he was right or wrong, or whether his views are representative of more than a handful of UK citizens (I doubt it) but it did remind me that I'd started this blog post a few weeks ago and I should really get around to finishing it.

The first time in the title refers to the first time I breastfed my first baby outwith our home or the home of a close family member. I have quite clear memories of the occasion and the way I felt.

Brodie was about two weeks old. I would hesistate to say breastfeeding was 'going well' because it was still awkward and stressful and painful. But I quite strongly felt the urge for us to get out and about (with Greig there for support) and as tiny babies cannot go long between feedings that meant feeding outwith our own home. I could have fed him in the car, or in the toilets I suppose or even with a giant napkin over one or both of our heads, but I didn't.

We went to a coffee shop in a retail park. I scouted the free seats and decided - ironically - on a seat in the corner. As a new mum I instinctively looked for somewhere a little bit sheltered. Not because I necessarily wanted to save any other customer's discomfort or embarrassment but because I had a newborn infant and the lioness instinct was strong and close to the surface.

I got the pram into position - absolute nightmare - and Greig went to get the drinks. Then I set about getting the baby out of his snowsuit and hat and getting myself in the right position to feed - not at all easy or straigtforward for a mother and baby new to the whole thing. By now Brodie was awake and coming around to the idea of some milk. Which meant I had a few seconds to get him latched on before his screaming reached hysterical levels.

Ok he's latched on. It's painful. The arm I'm using to hold his body is already aching. The deeply weird let down feeling is making me tingle - not in a good way. The sweat is pouring down my back and dripping off the end of my nose. That's when I realise that far from being in a secluded corner of the coffee shop I'm actually sitting right behind the little station where people stop for semi - skimmed or to pick up a little wooden stirrer thing. That's right, I've inadvertently parked my breastfeeding self in the busiest part of the whole place.

But by that point I was pretty happy, euphoric even. I was feeding my baby, nourishing him, keeping him alive if you will, in a public place. Go me.

And guess what, not on that day or any other day out of the 25 months I've spent breastfeeding has anyone given me a strange look, or commented or told me to cover up. I'm almost certain this is because I have super powers. Just kidding, I'm almost certain it's because 95% off the people I've fed in front of didn't notice I was breastfeeding. The other 5% didn't care or were not suitably offended or embarrassed enough to pass remark. So if you are considering breastfeeding where there are other people around, take heart in my story.

It won't make what's often a difficult thing to master - for mums and babies - any easier. The fact you are protected by law probably won't bolster you with reassurance. I'm not saying you have to feed in front of anyone or in public at all if you are not comfortable doing so but don't imagine that if you do, you'll be subject to discrimination from waiters in posh hotels, patrons of coffee shops or chihuahua like political figures. It's quite possible that like me, as a woman who also happens to be feeding her hungry child you'll be left in peace to get on with the task in hand.