Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Are naps over?

I was told that newborns sleep 20 hours a day. At the late stages of my pregnancy, unable to sleep comfortably, constantly getting kicked from the inside, anxious when the labour will finally start, I was really looking forward to this. I knew it will be hard. But I was so looking forward napping alongside my newborn! No matter that it will only be for 30 minutes, an hour, maybe 2, it will still be a nap.
Ha. My child NEVER slept unless hanging on my boob, lying in our arms or snuggling in the middle or our chest on top of our heart, bless.... There was no putting it down after a feed and nodding off - not for me at least. Exceptions to that sleeping arrangements were: in a car seat in a moving car and occasionally in the pram.
It didn't get better for a long time. There was no 'me' time  and I could only nap when my husband took mercy of me and went for a walk or a drive with the child, or, when I was trembling and crying, spent 4 hours late in the evening downstairs watching tv with the baby comfortably in its favorite sleeping position... These rare moments of being left alone in bed were no naps, it was more like a coma. Gradually, the night sleep got slightly better. Then we started teething and our child decided it will not sleep in the cot any longer. Ever. I can not remember how many middays I spent two hours reclining on a sofa with my child sleeping on top of me, watching stupid day time tv, congratulating myself for the peace and quiet. Because the alternative of me putting my child away would be a grumpy tired needy awake child.

Sometimes this year I managed to slid my child on the bed after a midday feed. We had proper real naps! I had time for myself. It was so great. The new ritual of us going into the bedroom, getting a feed, child falling a sleep for something between 40 and 90 minutes was so great. I remember the sense of freedom, the pleasure combined with a pressure of what to do first? Exercise, read, have a cup of tea, do the laundry, clean, sort emails, write.... Sometimes I was very efficient. Some days I day dreamed. Some days were all about house work which left me grumpy. Some, very few days, I slept, too!

Am I saying goodbye to this? During the last 3 weeks I am keeping up the routine but my child falls a sleep only 2 or 3 times in a week. I am feeling very exhausted because somehow I don't know how to cope with my new day structure. Again, I am the last one to get any needs met so there is not much exercise, writing, reading or generally talking to people who have nothing to do with me being a mother, I believe they are called friends? Every milestone takes some getting used to but I will forever miss these precious few hours of the day when I could stretch and do whatever. Is 18 months too early for no naps? I don't have time or energy to consult clever books. The usual message is 'every child is different' anyway and our child seems very very happy. Maybe we will have free evenings thanks to earlier bedtime from now on? Fingers crossed.

Monday, 20 October 2014


Sometimes I feel an undeserved satisfaction. I assume that I am in control of my life. I have a good day, child cooperates with me, sleeps reasonably and I manage most (never all) of my tasks. I might even have a moment to myself. I start to plan. I dare to dream about all the things I could do, all the projects, and I hope I will catch up with all missed things, important and unimportant.

Because the reality is I am behind with everything. I can not manage to do everything I want to or even need to do. When I was pregnant I expected my life to stop for a while. I knew that the newborn baby will take over and I will have to accommodate my child. It was natural and right. I also expected that it will get better. I assumed I will get in control of things, I will learn how to do mothering and have my life.

What I didn't realize was that a child is an ongoing project. That once the 20 hours days are over it doesn't mean that it gets any less demanding. It just gets different. And always when mothering seems to get simpler and I sense a pattern of a routine and start to plan some other activities than playing, feeding, washing, tidying,  something happens, a new milestone comes and I am back at square one. And no matter how many times that happened during last 18 months, I am still so naive that I hope there will be a routine, an undisturbed sleep, a time for myself.

Couple of weeks ago I thought I will be able to do nanowrimo this year. I assumed I will be able to commit to the daily writing. Yet I can not even blog once a week or compose a daily tweet. There was a glimpse of times getting better and then it changed again.

My child is developing so fast at 18 months and keeping me so busy and so awake that I actually think about the first very exhausting weeks with nostalgia. Because there are so many more needs now. But at the same time I am rewarded with a healthy strong and very happy little person. If she only kept on napping every day! The child assumes naps are for smaller people and fights it off few days each week. It is becoming very regular. And my precious me time (or cleaning time, whichever is more pressing) is disappearing. Plus I am facing a full day with an increasingly tired and clingy toddler. Yes, child might go to sleep early, but I can not function after 7 pm. I am left as a zombie in front of i player and decide to count it as a quality time before I fall into a coma. Until child decides to demand some more space on my pillow.

But there are signs of me getting used to the life style. Instead of trying to change it, I am embracing it. After six weeks of rigorous exercise and experiments with 5:2 diet I found myself weighing exactly the same as at the start of my experiment but leaner looking and stronger. I must say the number on my scales was disappointing, no matter how much better I felt.
I didn't step up my challenge. There were some sleepless nights with our child, some bad family news, few trips and visits, I started to go to child groups which changed my morning exercise routines.... So I slipped again.
But on the other hand last month was the first month I felt my is husband completely on board with our trying for a new child. We argued less, made time for each other (actually sneaking away from our own bedroom once our child fell a sleep in our bed, very funny), something shifted and although we weren't successful this month, I am feeling very confident that we will be. We are nicer to each other and it is actually so important and good.

With all the demands, lack of sleep, lots of things to accept and take care of, I gave myself much easier challenge. For a month I tried to pay more attention to the way I present myself. I picked a colour each day and did my makeup, took care of my hair, tried to wear some child proof accessories. Some mums are always made up. I wasn't one of them. But I must say that it felt good going out of the house with nice make up and some little touch to my outfit. Specially with meeting new people through baby groups, I felt much more confident. And taking extra time in front of the mirror each morning wasn't as impossible as I thought. After my little challenge passed I slipped again, but I hope I will keep it up - just not for home days. Although, was that the secret to the new spark in our relationship? Will report later.

So, maybe, in a very small way, I am making progress and maybe, just as putting on make up and brushing my hair each day, I will elbow in some more time for simple things like reading or writing or meeting friends. Maybe I will even sleep undisturbed one day.... Can not wait.....


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Raining babies

It really is raining babies, isn't it? Well not in our household. As usually I am feeling left out.

So there is another royal baby on the way. Of course it is, why wouldn't it be? I thought the agreement was that we go first!!!! When I was watching the wedding on TV couple of years ago, we were already trying for a baby. Everyone kept having second babies, or first babies, we had nothing. I remember joking with my husband: who will be first - Will and Kate or us? Will they beat us to  it, too?
They didn't, we got pregnant few month earlier. And now they clearly broke their agreement.

The same day husband comes home with the news that one of our friends is expecting. She is married for few years but only during this year did she discover that her husband doesn't actually want to have kids! I suppose they never had the chat. Or he did make himself clear, but she, being a woman, assumed that she will change him. I don't know. There were talks of therapy, keeping things as they are and staying bitter, or going the separate ways. I expected it to be a long process. But no, they are pregnant and apparently he is over the roof, happy and excited, changed man. No idea how they did it but good for them.

Our neighbors had their second baby two weeks ago, we met the little boy for the first time couple of days ago and I could finally see husband getting excited about tiny little baby. Hopefully he is broody.

We are busy - I am taking care of our child who is seventeen months old today and the house, he is back with work plus searching for a new job as he needs a change and a move in his career. Summer with all visits, trips and get togethers was a little bit hectic. Plus my husband was fighting off airport flu (apparently plain flu isn't enough, just going to the airport means being attacked by air conditioned blow which is full of bugs!), cold from our child (we both had it so he couldn't cherish it too much and it only lasted three days), and last couple of days he is coughing again. Apparently it is chest cold, whatever it means. I can not understand how anybody can have a form of cold through most of the summer, but there we go. The point is we are not having sex. He is tired. He isn't well. He has to prepare for work. I am pressuring him too much!!!

I am trying my best but in last two days I ate more than in last two weeks. No 5:2 diet this week! I think my frustrations are taking over me. I simply feel hungry all the time. I don't sleep well because our child is taking too much space in our bed and bad sleep brings cravings. I am keeping up with my exercises but keep forgetting simple things like tracking good days in my cycle and temperatures. I bought special womb tea and ovulation tests but forgot to make the tea every day so far and didn't remember to use the tests when I was supposed to. I am so overwhelmed with it all. Trying for our first child was hard, but to  keep up with it the second time around is almost impossible. No matter how demanding motherhood is I am sure the most difficult part is getting pregnant. Pregnancy, labour, baby care - all doable. And I want it all again.

So I sat down with husband and we set our priorities straight. We do want another child and we can work together as a team. Yes, it is raining babies again but we have been through it already and now we at least know that we can do it, miracles do happen. There will be sparkles soon.... In the next cycle......

Friday, 22 August 2014


I kicked off my healthier life style last week with a bang. Exercise three times a week, 5:2 diet on top of that. My week days suddenly had a whole new rhythm. I didn't realized how preoccupied I can get with food. On normal days there is too much of it, on 500 kal days there is the constant thinking of what can I have, when, if I can squeeze a cup of tea in and what would I fancy to eat if I could.
It is doable though. And it feels good. Aching muscles feel good. I forgot how great it feels. To have a hungry day and go to sleep knowing that I did it is great.
Sweets are my weakness. I have to work my way through the rest of the stuff I still have in the house (I don't throw away food - specially not my favorite biscuit!) and make sure I don't bring home anymore.

So only one week in and I feel better. Until before yesterday. Dear child got a cold, symptoms started on Monday, by Wednesday afternoon husband and I started to feel funny, too. It is the first time of family sniffles, usually it goes from one member to the next one and husband tends to deal with it for about two months while the child is better in a week and I am allowed about of two days of official misery. So we all walk around with runny noses, snore together during the night, cough and  sneeze non stop and clear away tons of tissues. And I have got no energy left to exercise. And to plan special meals (or no meals) feels like too much effort.

I will have to take couple of days to recover and start afresh. Because I like it. Husband needs to feel ashamed by my crazy fitness and get motivated, he could do with some proper life style kick, but so far he just observes me and assumes it will past. Well, I am not him. I stick to things!

I am also writing a page a day and summarize an idea for nanowrimo in my head. It is interesting, once I have got one thing in my life moving, the other issues start to shift, too. It seems that the summer is over, our long weekend will not be spent camping, I can catch up on all my to do lists, kick away my sniffles and get going! There is no stopping me.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Lean and Mean -

It's time to get lean and mean. I slipped. My summer holidays aren't exactly hyperactive. I do lots of meeting over food and wine, crave sweets a lot and overcompensate every little emotional issue by eating. After a year of keeping a good figure I started putting on weight. It is scary, although I am still considered slim.

I do not breastfeed much these days so there is no need to get extra energy and we sleep much better, too (all in one bed....). I am settled in a rhythm as a mother and I enjoy distractions which usually mean more food and drink.

Over and over, it is time to work out. I do the occasional yoga stretch to release and relax but it does not count as a whole proper lesson. And I am still not able to make it to a class, evenings are hectic, husband busy....

So I started working out three times a week in the mornings. I am also considering 5:2 diet, I used to fast when I was younger about twice a month, but I am not ready to give up all food for a day yet, so this lifestyle sounds about right. Plus I can have some occasional treat every now and then. It isn't a diet, it is a lifestyle and I like it.

All of this gives me some new project, a way to regain control and focus on something else than being pregnant. Because this month, with two visits, one camping trip and husband's birthday celebration there is officially no trying in our household. No romance, no planning, no trying. Seriously... are people really that keen on sex as they seem and say to be and are we not normal or are most people making it up???? No energy left by the end of the day and not much desire, too.

Maybe doing some workouts and feeling better will help me to gather the energy and spark. Maybe I will even inspire husband to join me in all above mentioned activities. I read somewhere that partners pick up each others bad habits easily. I used to be much more active and drank much less wine before I moved in with husband. But I am not blaming him. It is only I who decides to have the chocolate or wine - well not anymore!!!!! Wish me luck.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Get out of my bed!!!

My child, the genius it is, discovered our secret plan. We slept again through the nights. Too many nights. There seemed to be less and less space for the three of us. Child is growing fast and some nights the child sleeps across the bed, wants to share our pillows, kicks. Besides, the desperate times of constant crying and teething are a fading memory. Child has got plenty of teeth, surely we will not suffer so much again?

A plan was hatched. We will return child to the cot. I started familiarizing child with it again. It is standing in the room all alone, sheet slightly dusty, blankets in the closet. When child fell a sleep I took it to the cot. Sleeping child opens eyes and wakes in terror: you put me where???? And screams and screams and screams. We try to calm it. We bring toys. We end up taking child out. The next day I try to put child in the cot with some toys. Screams. Out. Husband tries later. Child plays for a little while but only to fool us. When we try the trick with sleeping again the scenario is the same and we give in.

To top it up I decided to drop morning breast feeds. It was our ritual, we wake up, child gets the feed and then one for a nap, few for the night. I will have to figure out how to get the sleeping sorted but to start with, lets stop the morning feed, lets offer a drink instead. Child likes rooibos tea with milk. It worked for couple of days, we just have to be fast, make sure that the tea is the first thing we make when we get out of bed. No more lazy lounging with a child on my boob. We think our child doesn't mind the change.

But then child throws few famous all nighters. Not falling a sleep till almost midnight. Waking at 3 am. Waking at 5 am keen to play, refusing to sleep again. And finally the all time favorite: teething. The little pointy teeth so important for vampires are starting to show, one after another. Where are the granules? Do we have Nurofen? Our routines and plans are forgotten. We go back to more feeds. We co sleep without even questioning. it. Will we win our own territory again? Who runs the house?

I looked into my old diary. There were days I congratulated ourselves for sleeping whole 4 hours. I thought it was great. Now we moan when we get only 6 hours without disturbance.  How did we cope? And yet we do so much want to do it all over again. I feel very tired when we don't sleep properly because our days are much more busy now. I also heard co sleeping is more controversial than ever. Apparently it is no recommended till the child is older than a year, if that. It is considered dangerous. I didn't want to co sleep. It was a desperate solution when our child simply wouldn't stop crying no matter what we tried. And since then the cot was refused. We have a big comfy bed, we are careful and it works for us. And there is something very primal and reassuring about all of us in one nest, sleeping together, breathing, all cosy and warm. I will always remember it as good time. But I do look forward to the time when our bed is ours again.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Needing my friends

I have to react to the appeal from Mumsnet to write about miscarriage. I did experience it four years ago, it was my first pregnancy and it ended in the 12th week. I was told it happens to one in four women (or couples) and I was the fourth one, because three other couples we knew were expecting, two of them pretty much at the same time as us.
I got pregnant within half year of getting married, it felt like such a natural progression. Life was as it should be: we met, fell in love, moved in together (which in our case meant leaving different continents and countries and settling in a 'neutral base' in Britain), he proposed, we got married and now we were pregnant. We told everybody straight away, well, everybody close enough to us. Parents were pressuring us for grandchildren since we moved in together ('You are not getting any younger!!!!), all our friends were already settled and had their first children, we were catching up with them while they did their 'round two'.
When I talk about friends I mean mostly friends of my husband. He is a peoples' person and he has got a strong base of friends, some of them live here in Britain, too and few of them are now in our close circle, they are the ones we see most often. I spent too much time traveling to manage building such strong and lasting friendships, plus I am very comfortable on my own. So I joined the group and we shared our experiences together.
Until I miscarried. I know the point of this campaign is to get better care from healthcare professionals for women who experience miscarriage. But I can not say the care was too bad. I would say it was average. We visited the A&E early Sunday morning because I was bleeding all night. I had bit cramps few days before and then a discharge for few days. I had a bed feeling about all of it but hoped it was just because it was my first pregnancy. Otherwise, apart from being tired, I felt OK until then. My urine test was positive, blood test was taken and a tired looking obstetrician came to see me, clearly wanted to send me home but at the end he did bring the small scan machine, warned us it may not show anything as it wasn't the proper scan machine and then we saw a baby with a heartbeat. Husband was happy with it and felt reassured, I had mixed feelings. We left with an appointment for a scan the next day.
My bleeding didn't stop and the next day the scan show only tissues, there was no baby, no heart beat. Another blood test was made. We did wait in a separate room and the nurse who took care of us on the day was great, she had very strong empathy. She called me the next day. Both blood tests showed my pregnancy hormones were dropping. I was told to rest, let the nature to take its course and return in a week time for another scan. I was told I can go to the hospital if I feel I needed it but I wanted to be left alone, like an animal, I wanted to go, stay in bed and sleep it through.
So I can not say there was anything wrong. I didn't know what to expect and I didn't demand much. It just happened so fast and I felt so horrible, I didn't think anyone could help me.

What I want to write about are the people around me, the people I needed most. The bad thing about telling everyone the moment you have a positive test is that then you have to tell everyone that you lost the child. The more people know, the more people you have to call and explain. My husband did most of the calls, luckily.
My mother straight away started to speculate what I did wrong. She was great on the phone when I spoke to her and glad that I reached up to her almost immediately (we don't have an all sharing relationship), but in the weeks and months that followed she kept questioning my decisions and abilities, lifestyle choices, and of course my age. I miscarried in July and when we came for Christmas she asked me why don't we try IVF. As if the fact I wasn't pregnant again meant all was lost for me. It took us more then two years to have a baby and during the time she didn't question the health of my husband or his sperm once, it was always me that had something wrong and she even confessed to my sister that husband may leave me if I don't give him a child. The fact that people may live a happy life without having children or that they may adopt didn't cross her mind. Now I am the mother of her first grandchild but it doesn't mean I am any better. When child was six month old she mentioned: 'I was pregnant already when your sister was that old.' and of course I don't do anything right. But that's my mother, I am used to it and, luckily, she lives faraway.
Husband was supportive and great. As much as a man can be. Because I don't think a man can understand the feeling of loosing a child that wasn't even visible. I didn't have a bump, he didn't feel a kick, he was excited about becoming a dad but he wasn't a dad when it happened, whereas I already was a mum. The day we were told it was all over he told me: 'OK, that's it, I accept it. It happened. Lets move on.' But I couldn't. I needed to grieve, recover and accept. But first I needed to loose that child. The baby came out few days later during the night. I woke up, went to the toilet and there it was on the pad. It broke my heart. It was an alien looking thing but it was a confirmation that the 'tissue' which was seen on the ultrasound came out and nature took its cause. I came to the kitchen where my husband was with a wrapped pad in my hand. There was a bin in our bathroom but I couldn't just put it there. 'The baby just came out,' I told him.
'What do you mean? What are you taking about? The baby is already gone.'
'But I just found it. It came out.' I was crying and shaking.
'The baby was already gone,' he insisted and seemed annoyed. I don't think he was ready to go to the very details of miscarriage. For him it was over for few days already, he only needed me to get back to normal. And it didn't go according to his plans, clearly. I felt too confused and hurt to argue. At the end I did put the pad into the bin and went back to bed. He would make me tea, feed me and be nice but I will never forget his reaction. He couldn't deal with THAT, the physical presence of the miscarriage so he left me in it. I don't blame him. Some things are really too alien for our men. In the coming days and weeks he was surprised I wasn't ready to be normal again. He realized I need much more time then he thought.
I can accept his reaction and behavior or my mother's because I know them both. But what really hurt me was our friends. The lot of them acted as if nothing have happened. Apart from one - the pregnant lady from one of us four almost parents who came to me with tears in her eyes and said: 'I am so very sorry Lucinda,' they all acted as if nothing have happened. I was ready for questions, I was prepared for sympathy and unwanted hugs but I wasn't ready for that. So I sat there while they all behaved as per normal and fought tears. I really wanted to cry and I felt hurt. Later husband explained to me that people feel uncomfortable and they are not used to talk about it. Miscarriage isn't something you talk about, end of story. He told me to understand and it really pissed me off and it is still pissing me off today that he expected  me to respect them. Who will respect me? To be honest what hurts me most about this maybe stupid episode is that by being silent our friends denied the very existence of our lost child. So by never being born this child wasn't acknowledged as existing. It wasn't about me, it was about my child. It existed and it was lost. To be honest I still remember that the people who are sort of family replacement in a country we all chose to live in didn't acknowledge my miscarriage and it shapes my relationship with them. I respect them and see them when we meet but there is a barrier between us.
They all went on with their lives, had their second babies and kept asking if we are pregnant yet and pretending they have an idea what we are going through although they didn't because they never miscarried and never struggled to conceive. Before I was pregnant I tried to avoid them as much as I could because they only talked about their kids and it was frustrating when I was supposed to sit through all that while enjoying yet another period. And thanks to their miscarriage denial I really didn't feel I could talk to them so I isolated myself. I went for yoga and meditation workshops or had work to catch up on the weekends they made some plans. Husband wasn't happy about it but he understood that they were his friends, not mine.
At the end we did get pregnant and this time I insisted we will wait with the news. Husband agreed but found it very hard because people kept asking and he didn't know how to swiftly change the subject. So for a while there was a funny situation when everyone knew but pretended they didn't, husband pretended he had no idea of anything and I knew that they all knew and didn't give a monkey. I enjoyed that secret part of pregnancy a lot. Before all the advise and questions. Suddenly everybody had something to say to me.

I am going for quite a while now and I don't want to sound pathetic. But please if you know somebody who went through a miscarriage or is going through it now, please acknowledge it. And make your husband (if you friend knows him) to give her a hug and say he is sorry. You don't have to do much. Just be there. It happens to one in four of us. And it isn't the end.