Newborn days... life with 2 so far!

It's been 3 and a half weeks since Miss O was born and life with 2 kids began! What a whirlwind of emotions. I really had no idea how much life could change in such a short space of time. I actually didn't think I'd be writing a blog again so soon, because while they say 'the days are long but the years are short with kids,' I am actually finding the days are flying by because there just seems like so much to do! (I am able to write this now as Miss O is asleep, and Miss M is at the pool with Brendan).

Miss O's birth was a natural labour and even though it was shorter than Miss M's, it definitely didn't get any easier! I spent a week in hospital, even though I expected a shorter visit this time, but once again we had feeding issues. It's so hard having to recover from labour, and just wanting to sleep, or have a long shower, or a cup of tea in peace, but having a little one who wants and needs you at random hours of the day and night. Being sleep deprived would have to be one of the hardest things, especially when you have been used to having a good amount of sleep (Miss M hasn't been sleeping through for that long, but just long enough for me to forget how hard it is!) For both of the girls, I haven't felt an instant love or connection with them. That's really hard for me to admit, but it's the truth. It came a couple of weeks later with Miss M, and at least a week later with Miss O. As we hadn't found out Miss O's sex until she was born, I also felt a little bit disappointed because I had expected a boy (as my whole pregnancy was 100% different to Miss M's). Now I know that is the thing that you aren't supposed to say, but I've been reading Sarah Turner's book 'The Unmumsy Mum' and she felt the same after she had her second boy. Sarah talks about how people don't talk about being disappointed in your baby's sex, but that it's important to acknowledge those feelings, because they are real. It's refreshing to read other's experiences with these feelings, and actually her whole book really resonated with me, and I'd definitely recommend it, especially if you are keen for a good laugh!

On the flipside, I am so thankful that I have been blessed to be able to carry children; I am thankful that I have two healthy children, and I am [now] loving having two girls. I love referring to them as 'the girls' and I love that they will grow up having a sister, as I would have loved to have had a sister (I have two younger brothers).

Miss M absolutely loves her little sister, and as she can't say Miss O's name yet, she refers to her as 'the bubba.' She has really embraced her entry into our little family, and when she wakes up in the morning, she immediately asks 'Where bubba?' She has been acting out a little bit more than normal - she does this little fake cry - and I'm guessing it's because she isn't the centre of attention anymore, even though we have been trying really hard to include her when we give time to Miss O, and we have been able to still give her one-on-one time with both Brendan and myself. Either that or it could just be that she is 2 in less than 2 months!

Miss O was a healthy 9 pound 10 when she was born, and is already in 000 after 3 weeks! She feeds every 3 hours, even through the night, which I like because I love things being predictable and routine! Getting up at night was like torture for the first 2 weeks, but I've now been keeping myself awake by watching series that we've taped on our T-box, and Netflix, and reading. Is it weird that I half enjoy getting up and watching my shows in the middle of the night?! I would rather be asleep and get a full night's sleep, but I have to find some joy in those night feeds!

Looking back to life with just 1 child does now seem like a walk in the park, even though it certainly wasn't when I just had Miss M. The biggest challenge is how to leave the house on my own with 2 - I've only done this twice so far. There's certainly no rush, but now I'm reassessing whether I really need to leave the house at all! Though being stuck in our lounge room is getting a bit old. In time I know it will get easier. I certainly take my hat off to those with more than 2 kids!!

A big worry of mine prior to having Miss O is that the house would now be a bomb all the time, and that the dishes and washing piles would be overflowing. Brendan did an amazing job of cleaning and tidying before I came home from hospital, but unfortunately it didn't stay like that for long. Yes, that first week at home did resemble a scene out of Jumanji, but miraculously, when Miss M went to daycare, Miss O also happened to be very settled, and I somehow had the energy and motivation to tidy my house up, and since then I've just stayed on top of it, one day at a time. Looking around right now, there's a little more clutter than I'd like (you wouldn't think I did a big declutter when I was on maternity leave!) but the house is tidy, the dishes are done, and there's just one load of washing I plan to do tomorrow. How?! I have no idea. I've just been doing one load of laundry a day, I've been washing up a little more frequently so the sink stays clear, and I've managed to find 15 mins to do the bathrooms, and when Brendan is home, I've quickly vaccumed the floors while he occupies the girls. When Miss M has her nap between 12 and 2 each day, I make sure I eat lunch, and then I wash up, and then I tidy up her toys (all while attending to Miss O as well). I've been trying to fit in a 20-minute nap as well. It might take me 2 hours to do all these things, but that's ok. I guess I assumed I've have no time, and so anytime I get something done, it really is a little victory.

After completing Project 14 (through 'Organising the Four of Us') earlier this year (I'm currently doing Project 14 2.0, although it's hard to be fully committed with a newborn), I realised just how important self care is, and I've been making sure each day, for my own sanity and mental health, to do a few little things that make a massive difference. I make sure I get dressed (I do love pyjama days but you don't feel great if every day is a pyjama day), I make sure I eat, sit down for a hot cup of tea, and have a shower. Yes some days this is going to be impossible. But having these little goals, and doing these on most days has really helped. I have a history of mental health issues, so I truly believe that you cannot pour from an empty cup, and I need to look after myself, as well as the kids. I cried most days in the first 2 weeks of Miss O's life, but after we sorted out the feeding issues, and I made sure I was looking after myself as well, I have felt much better. I've also had a ton of support from family and friends, and that has been invaluable - I really couldn't have done this on my own!

So there's a little insight into these last couple of weeks - some wins, but some really, really challenging times as well. The things that are really worth it are never easy though, are they?

Miss O smiled at me for the first time yesterday, and it absolutely melted my heart. She is so different to Miss M - a head full of dark brown hair, compared to Miss M's blonde hair. I already love her so much. I guess most second-time parents worry that they won't be able to love a second child as much as the first, but your heart really does expand and even after 3 and a half weeks, I cannot imagine life without her. She is absolutely beautiful and such a joy. I am trying to enjoy and embrace the newborn stage, but I cannot wait to see her little personality emerge. For now though, how wonderful are newborn cuddles?! Nothing compares :)


Welcome to the world!

Brendan, Miss M and I are very pleased to announce the safe arrival of our second beautiful daughter, Miss O!

She was born after a 5-hour labour on Wednesday, 5th October, 2016 (which is also my Dad's birthday!) at 12:58pm.

Miss O weighed a healthy 9 pound 10, and was 53.5cm in length, with a head circumference of 36cm.

Miss M is smitten with her little sister, and we are loving being a family of 4!


Pregnancy Diary Weeks 36-41

The last 6 weeks...! Here we go!

The end of week 35 was horrible! I began work again on the Thursday for my last 5 days before maternity leave, but by the end of period 1 at school, I was sweating, felt nauseous and sick and didn't know how I was going to get through the rest of the day. I thought it was just being heavily pregnant. I went home from school and at midday began vomiting. I again assumed it must have been a pregnancy thing, but it turns out I had gastro again! I was still vomiting 9 hours later and rang the hospital for the 2nd time but they weren't worried, even though I couldn't even keep a sip of water down. I went to bed and thankfully I didn't vomit overnight. I stayed home from school the next day as I was so weak and spent the day in bed. I was pretty weak over the weekend too, and all up was unwell for a good 4 days.

I am so thankful that Brendan and Miss M didn't get the gastro bug, and I was able to return to school for my last 3 days in week 36. Actually, my last 3 days were great - I had lots of energy, the kids were excellent and I just felt really good. My faculty shouted me afternoon tea at a cafĂ© on the Monday afternoon in place of a meeting after school, so that was lovely. When Wednesday afternoon at 3:20pm arrived, I was actually a tiny bit sad to leave! I'm sure I'll be back at some stage to do casual, but maternity leave had begun!

Unfortunately Brendan had to work on the Wednesday afternoon, but on the Tuesday (the day before), we went down to a park with some milkshakes and let Miss M have a play, and then got Thai takeaway for dinner as a bit of a celebration that I had finished work.

On my first day of maternity leave, I split my long list of things to do into about 21 days, as I have just over 3 weeks until my due date (assuming this little one comes on time - Miss M was 6 days over!) Each day I completed one big task, and a few smaller ones (as I really only have the time that Miss M naps during the day [about 2 hours, between 12 and 2pm] to complete them without distraction).

My list included:
 - packing my hospital bag
 - packing the baby's bag
 - vacuuming the car and putting the new car seat in
 - working out the double pram
 - catching up on phone calls and school things
 - completing my August photobook
 - organising my school reunion (which is the end of Sept/start of Oct!)
 - sorting out my photos on my computer
 - organising my Mum's old hardcopy photos into albums (I have been meaning to do this for 2 years!)
 - baking lactation cookies
 - cooking freezer meals
 - watching a series I taped two years ago called 'Anzac Girls'
 - taking a trip with my sister-in-law to a town nearby to visit Kmart
 - getting my nails done as a bit of a treat
 - completing 'The Organised Housewife's 20 days to organise your home' (I printed this off 4 years ago when Kat offered it for free)
 - stocking up on grocery essentials, e.g. loo paper for when the baby arrives
 - having a date night with Brendan, and getting my Mum to have Miss M for the night so I can get a full night sleep before the baby comes!
 - completely cleaning every room in the house, including detail cleaning in each room (most rooms are now decluttered, but obviously this has to be maintained and is an ongoing process!)
 - wash the baby's clothes, blankets and inserts for the bassinet and rocker
 - putting the bassinet up in the guest room
 - decluttering a few spaces around the house: bedside tables, bathroom cupboards, office desk (plus information folder), laundry cupboards, pantry, stationery trolley in the guest room & craft basket in the linen cupboard
 - giving the kitchen a really good deep clean

I got through my list by the end of 39 weeks which was a great feeling! The house had never felt so clean and decluttered. I actually love making a long list and just working through it slowly over a few weeks - it feels like the list will never get done, but eventually it does!

I think harder than getting through my list was maintaining my now clean house - each night from about 39 weeks I would think: 'Ok, it could be tonight that I go into labour; what do I want to have done?' It meant that rather than leaving a few washing up items until morning, I'd preserve and get them washed up, which isn't unusual for me, but being heavily pregnant and much more tired than normal, I would normally cut myself some slack and just go to bed (plus being on maternity leave means I can go a bit slower in the mornings and have time to finish up jobs from the night before). What I have also discovered, which I hope to continue with once baby #2 arrives is going back to Leanne from 'Organising the Four of Us' list of 3, where you make a list of 3 things that you want to achieve each day, has been invaluable for making sure my days are productive. It is so easy for each day to blend into the next when you don't work, but having 3 things done by the end of the day (and getting out of the house each day) is a great feeling! I've been taking Miss M to daycare on Tuesdays, library on Wednesdays, playgroup on Thursdays and church on Sundays, plus we visit my mum at least twice a week, and I try and organise a playdate once a week too. Even just an hour or two out of the house has been great for both of us.

At 37 weeks, I began weekly doctors appointments. The baby was measuring 35cm's, my blood pressure was normal, the baby was 2/5 engaged and was in the right position for only 3 weeks to go. At 38 & 39 weeks, my stats were almost exactly the same! At my 40 week appointment, I was still only 2/5 engaged, but the baby was in a really good position for labour. At 40 weeks with Miss M I was actually 1cm dilated (but still took 6 days to have any contractions), so I had no idea when anything would happen this time, and I expected to go at least a week over again.

A due date I have discovered is always exciting, even though apparently only 5% of babies are born on their 'due date!' The weird feeling I can't shake is that at about 38 weeks I started thinking 'It could be tonight, but it could be in 4 weeks time that I have this baby!' If everything is going well my doctor will let you go 12 days over, which is a good thing, but it certainly was frustrating waiting for Miss M to come (who was 6 days 'over'). This time however, I actually want baby #2 to come late as I have my 10-year school reunion (that I've been organising this year!) on the weekend following my 'due date' and it would be handy if it stayed in just so I wouldn't have to worry about breastfeeding a newborn, or even still being in hospital post-labour. I was in hospital for a week with Miss M as my milk wouldn't come in, so I'm hoping for less time in hospital this time (though I shamelessly LOVE hospital food - I reckon it tastes pretty good, there's no clean-up and it's brought to you on a tray - what's not to love!!) as I find it hard to sleep with all the noises and lights etc. We are very blessed in my town to have a private room in our maternity ward (in a public hospital) where you only have to share a bathroom with one other person if the 6 rooms are full.

I was able to attend my 10-year school reunion which was the weekend following my due date (which was a Monday). I was very happy to still be pregnant and not have to juggle feeding a newborn! As I organised the weekend (3 separate events!) I was SO exhausted by the time it was all done on the Sunday afternoon, but it was an excellent weekend and it was so good to catch up with everyone!

By the Monday (1 week over), I was absolutely done. On the night of Tuesday, 4th October, I began having some contractions. I called out to Brendan, 'I think this is it!' and proceeded to finish packing my hospital bag and called my mum to be on standby, assuming they'd get closer together. They were very irregular, about 20-30 mins apart. I ended up going to bed and falling asleep, but the next day, it was go time! See my next post to see what we had!

I'll leave you with some pics!

36 weeks

37 weeks

38 weeks

39 weeks

40 weeks

Just to compare:
On the left is when I was 40 weeks with Miss M, and on the right is 40 weeks this time. Excuse the bad filter on the left pic! It's interesting to see the differences/similarities!

[Off to my school reunion!]

41 weeks

[Hospital bags all packed and ready to go!]

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