Finding out

So it’s took me a little time to write this post and this is the umpteenth revision, but it’s definitely a post I wanted to write before Baby Sims 2 arrives and as I’m still waiting at 9 days overdue I thought I best get it finally published. So here goes!

As this is my second pregnancy I seemed to have a different approach to all the appointments that come your way. Well we knew what to expect from the first time around right? Unlike last time where I counted down to each appointment, and was quite anxious for each event, I took the midwife appointment, 12 week scan and 20 week scan in my stride – it was all just part of the journey. Until that day when I felt like my whole world fell apart.

It was an 9.00 Monday morning appointment in early March for our 20 week scan and we were all ready to see our growing little baby, and had decided to keep the flavour of our new addition a surprise. We were with the sonographer for quite a while, trying various positions and movements, as she was struggling to see the face and heart. We even went for a walk down to the hospital bakery in the hope 3 flights of stairs would wake baby up and it would move and cooperate. On returning to the diagnostics unit, we were ushered into a different room with a different sonographer … ooh I joked, “Are you our  good luck charm”? As I lay with my 5th application of the gel on my tummy, she calmly turned to me and said …. your baby has a cleft lip.

My world and images of a perfect healthy baby crumpled around me and I felt sick, hot and unable to believe what I was hearing. As the tears welled up inside me, she went on to explain it was unilateral (on one side of baby’s lip) and that we would be referred to Birmingham Women’s Hospital for further diagnosis.

I didn’t cope with hearing the news very well, feeling very nauseous and faint.  I felt I couldn’t breathe, all I wanted was fresh air and to be out of there. But before that,  I made the decision I needed to know if it was a boy or girl, I needed something else to focus on. Back on the bed and the sonographer applied another load of gel and told us … we were having a boy!

Then, as we left the unit, I was hanging onto hubby’s arm for support, legs like jelly. The next thing I knew I woke up on a seat in the corridor, surrounded by doctors and my hubby. It appears my body didn’t want to deal with the news and shut down in a fit. After a couple of hours in the delivery suite (the very same room I gave birth to Little Miss Chief in!!) being monitored, we finally left the hospital and headed home.

I felt tired, drained and unable to understand why this had to happen to us? Having been told not to google Cleft lip for fear of scaring myself, my mind was still filled with images of Third World children with deformed faces. Hubby rang the news through to close family members as I couldn’t bare to talk about it.

As I lay in bed that night, with everything whirring round my head, I felt the very first baby movement. The tears flowed as I realised it was his way of letting me know we will be ok, and that he needs me to be strong and not worry! Ok son, I’ll do my best!


Food and Family – Part 3

Following the growing up of Baby G has really taught me to appreciate the here and now. There is so much development and change in each month of a baby’s first year that miss a bit and it’s like missing a whole decade! Thinking about her relationship with food and how that has developed is just one thing that makes me realise how quickly time passes.

In the few weeks since I last posted about Food and Family, so much has changed. During early December I completely gave up breastfeeding as her demand got less, my supply reduced and it became a pointless exercise, leading to frustration for both of us. Whilst I do miss that special bond we have had for 10 months I love the freedom it gives me, and the opportunity to drink a glass or two of wine might have been slightly abused over the festive period!

She still refuses formula (apart from one evening where she drank a cupful) but after several further attempts I have now given up completely on the milk front. I hope that her diet gives her all the calcium and nutrients she needs and will try again at the age of 1 with cows milk. Whilst this did cause me much stress and worry during her early months as my fellow mummy tweeters will know, I have now come to accept the fact that some babies do just fine without milk. Now it’s nice to be able to pass on advice and support to other mum’s who go through the same thing.

The worry of dehydration faded as slowly but surely she has come to love her cup and now will happily drink water from it all day, not only when offered to her, but crawling over to it and helping herself.

Here she is having a well earned drink after wolfing down her ratatouille for tea. Apologies for the quality of the photo but whilst I continue with my Project 366, many photographs will be taken on the quick with my IPhone. I won’t be posting all my photo’s here for fear of boring you to death with my project, but you can pop over to see my complete project here.

Salud! / Cheers!

Food and Family – Part 1

Oh my goodness …. where does the time go? I can’t believe it has been a month since I last posted; I have been so busy I don’t know where the weeks have gone. Last night though I managed some quality me time and reflected on the recent hectic times. (Apologies now for the rambling nature and length of this post!! ;-))

Since having Baby G my focus on food has changed completely. Gone are the days of spending hours in the kitchen preparing feasts for family and friends, or a romantic meal for two. The feeding of Baby G became the main priority.

For the first six months I was the main source of Baby G’s nourishment, I had wanted to breastfeed from the start and initially set myself the goal of her first 3 months. I loved the special bond this gave us but it sure does mean life revolves around feeding, leaving little time for anything else to begin with. The 3 month milestone came and went and we continued on with breastfeeding, though as we approached 5 months I began to try and get Baby G to feed from a bottle, something she had done when she was just a few weeks old when times had required it. Then we struck a problem, it would seem that as she was now “older and wiser” she just flat out refused it – breast was most certainly best in her eyes!

So followed a stressful, tense and emotional few weeks trying all manner of times, cups, bottles and techniques to get Baby G to drink from anything other than me, all resulting in crying fits from my little girl. With a night out looming I got so stressed out at the thought of her going without nourishment when she wasn’t with me to the point where I was in floods of tears ……. in the end I went out and she was fine. It seemed she learned how to do without and just stock up before and after my time away from her. So for a few weeks we muddled through and then it became time to wean onto solid foods.

As a foodie I was so looking forward to introducing food to Baby G. I read up on how best to introduce solids to her diet. The River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook, kindly given to me by Jo of Jo’s Kitchen as a present, gives you the information on all aspects of feeding including breast and bottle feeding, purees and Baby-led Weaning (BLW) in a clear and engaging way.

I was really interested in the Baby-led weaning method, where food is offered at “non-hungry” times and the baby literally feeds themselves. The benefits of this include allowing baby to experience a range of textures from day one, giving them control of how much they eat and aiding their development as they learn how to grip and pick up things. It sounded like the best way to develop Baby G’s relationship with food.

The first solid food Baby G tried was a piece of cucumber ….. mmmmm tasty!  Not so much a planned meal time for her, but she was sat on my knee whilst I was eating a salad and she just leant forward mouth open as I was eating …. a sure sign she was interested in food!

We tried a few other finger foods as per the BLW way, but at just 6 months old picking up food and hand to mouth co-ordination is certainly a challenge. The downside to this method is you never know exactly how much they eat, but because the fruit and veg have not been puréed their nutritional value is far greater. So we tried BLW but with the clock ticking for me to go back to work, it seemed impossible as it relies on milk as a back up and so with our current problem in getting Baby G to take milk from other sources I decided (and was advised by health visitors) to start introducing purées and spoon fed food so that Baby G would become less dependent on me, and dad, the childminder and grandparents could feed her whilst I was away from her.

We began with baby porridge and yoghurts and then introduced a variety of fruit and vegetable purées. The acceptance of these varied on a daily basis, one day pear might be devoured with glee, next time Baby G pulled a face like you were trying to feed her tripe! For a couple of weeks the only way we got her to eat fruit was by hiding it in her yoghurt – something she never refused. First a couple of spoonfuls of yoghurt, then a 70/30 mix with fruit purée, slowly reducing the amount of yoghurt on the spoon until we even sneaked a couple of spoonfuls of 100% fruit. Shhhhh … don’t tell Baby G!!

Spoon Feeding

It took a couple of weeks but soon we were in full flow with a range of fruit and veg purees without the need for a yoghurty disguise. And so began her foodie journey!

How did you find weaning? Any tips or tricks you’d like to pass on?

I’ll be back soon to tell you how we’ve progressed.

Hasta la proxima / until next time

Baby G’s Naming Day

Oh what to do ….. this was a question I pondered for quite some time. A Christening was not on the cards due to a lack of religious belief, but a Naming Day … well what was it and would it be suitable?

Naming ceremonies are secular (non-religious) ceremonies, yet their origin is from the Catholic faith which celebrate the day of the year associated with the Patron Saint of your name. I remember from my time in Spain that traditionally your name day was more important than your birthday. .Nowadays naming ceremonies can be organised like civil weddings, with a number of venues nationwide  able to hold a naming ceremony and The British Humanist Association (BHA) can arrange a special ceremony to welcome your child. But that all seemed a little over the top when in essence all I wanted was the chance to celebrate the safe arrival of Baby G and ask 3 special people to be “godparents” to her.

So after a little look on the internet in parenting forums I found that many people decided to host a party at home and then speak a few words or read a poem to express their thoughts on their new addition to the family. Perfect I thought …. just what I wanted!

So we invited close family and friends round for a small and intimate party which actually coincided with Baby G’s six month birthday, not that she’ll be getting two birthday parties every year you understand! ;-) Though she did get spoilt rotten by those who came and clearly loved her new toy!

Obviously the gorgeous pretty dress from Mama’s and Papa’s was perfect for riding around on. We found a poem and prepared some words to say to the godparents together with 3 small gifts.

I opted for a cold buffet so we could enjoy the party rather than spend time serving food. It featured all the usual suspects – ham boiled in the Hairy Bikers style, home smoked salmon (more of this on another post!), homemade quiche and scotch eggs courtesy of the in-laws, pizzas from my sis-in-law, salad and bread rolls and a cheese board featuring a range of English cheeses.

The pièce de résistance was a cake I had specially made by Nouskie Noo’s. They are a local funky cake company who make occasions cakes specific to your requirements. I wanted the cake to feature Baby G’s name, birth date and asked for the design to feature the Zeddy and Parsnip characters from the nursery range we have from Mama’s and Papa’s.

The cake was a rich chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream, but you can opt for all kinds of combinations. Vanilla, Lemon, Carrot, Coffee, Fruit cakes plus many more, with all kinds of buttercream – chocolate, caramel, or maple syrup to name a few.

 It was a lovely memorable day with many special moments and one that we will always remember. I’m so glad I chose to celebrate it in this particular way and spend time with close family and friends. Surprisingly Baby G even managed to last the whole party in one outfit – so she obviously approved too!

Thanks to Nouskie Noo’s for doing such an amazing job with the cake. You can find them on Facebook or Twitter too.

6 Months of Motherhood

For a foodie related post see the recent Freedom Brewery tour or come back soon for another bit of Comida!

Livin la vida loca …… well that could be how many people describe the first few months of motherhood, and to a certain extent I can see where they are coming from. With sleep deprivation and the steep learning curve of trying to understand what your baby wants and needs, it can get a little hair-raising.

However, for me it has been an amazing experience, hard work but amazing nonetheless. I adore being Baby G’s mum and feel that as we approach her 6 month birthday it is a good time to reflect on the time since her arrival. I won’t go into details of my labour story here (that may well be a later post!) but I thought I would share a few of the highlights of my 6 months of motherhood in a little post to my baby girl:

Dear Baby G, thank you for the most amazing 6 months.

  • The moment you arrived will be forever etched on my memory. We hadn’t found out whether you were to be a boy or a girl so when the midwife asked Daddy if he wanted to find out for himself, he looked at you and the biggest smile came across his face and it was at that very moment that I knew we had our baby girl. Daddy had often said he would prefer a girl, and whilst I hadn’t originally minded which you were as it drew closer to the day of finally meeting you I knew I wanted you to be a girl. Now here you are, our beautiful baby girl, Grace Ava.

  • We may have struggled for the first 24 hours of breastfeeding but once home we soon got the hang of it. It was hard work in those early weeks and I must admit I nearly gave up at the 3 week growth feed when you fed from 5pm to 12am constantly for several nights in a row and I barely had enough strength to hold you, but I’m so glad we persevered. I love the special bond we have from this and the time I get just to sit and hold you, watch you and cuddle you.

  • You were not many days old when I remember walking into the living room and as you were being cuddled by Daddy I spoke and you turned your head to look for me. This made my day!
  • Now we all know Daddy can be a bit silly sometimes (cough, cough!!) and I’ll always remember the first time he made you giggle, a proper little belly laugh. It was one of his infamous made up songs and now not a day go by without us having lots of giggles.

  • You were only 9 weeks old when we decided to move you into your own room. Those first few nights I woke at the slightest murmur. I felt like I had lost something as up to then we had never been apart. Though you seemed to love being in your own room, after the 3am feed, you would sit, gaze around and smile at all the cuddly toys on your shelves as though they were your friends. Nowadays I love going in each morning and being greeted with the biggest smile and a little flutter of feet kicking in excitement. What a way to start each day!

Dulces sueños / sweet dreams my little one.