Birth Story Part 1

I’ve been wanting to get around to write my birth story for ages but life with a house, a husband, a 3 year old and a baby means it’s rare I’m not in demand. I’m writing it in parts to make it easier. It’s a completely different story and experience to Alfies birth story. Grab a cuppa and enjoy…

I had a relatively straight forward pregnancy – the odd bout of sickness, heartburn and SPD but compared to my pregnancy with Alfie, this one was a breeze. That’s not to say I wasn’t knackered though! By 40 weeks I’d had my fill of being pregnant. I had swollen ankles, a crippled pelvis thanks to SPD and heartburn that no amount of Gaviscon could cure and they were just the obvious ailments. I had forgotten just how hard work pregnancy is. I mean growing a human being isn’t easy! My due day reached and there was no signs of baby Lewis making an appearance. I was going to need a sweep, probably two! In fact, they’d probably need to induce me. I was booked in for a sweep a week after my due date and I was counting down the days.

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On Thursday 11th September, I’d woken up with horrible tummy ache. I’d held a wee for too long again because I was too lazy to get up to go to the toilet during the night, I ignored my bladder and held it until morning. Worst. Idea. Ever. I was just getting over a water infection as it was. Alan was working a day shift so I had no choice but to get up and take Alfie to nursery. I felt rubbish. I was having tightenings and I was convinced they were because of the water infection. It had happened before. The drive to and from nursery was awful, I couldn’t have drove any further. I got home, slumped on the sofa and messaged my bestie.

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I knew I wasn’t in labour but I was 5 days overdue and fed up. I called the hospital hoping they were quiet and would let me go up just to be checked. I needed to be told I wasn’t dilating or effacing at all. I needed to hear it for my sanity so I could stop wishing with every tiny twinge that, “this is it” because it never was and that was exhausting in itself. I spoke to a lovely midwife who told me they weren’t regular enough for me to come in and to try a bath as it’s likely the tightenings would calm down with a bath, if not go completely. She could hear the disappointment in my voice. “Call back if they get painful or become regular,” she said. I called Alan and told him that he could stay at work and he didn’t need to come home. He was relieved, it was his second shift back after 7 weeks off previously due to a minor operation he’d had.

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Sat in the bath, I fidgeted constantly. I couldn’t get comfortable but then I was 40 + 5 weeks pregnant, I hadn’t been comfortable for weeks, if not months! I timed myself on the contraction app I’d downloaded in preparation for the big day. The tightenings weren’t going anywhere they had made themselves very clear of that. I called Alan at 10:25 and asked him to come home just in case. His work is a 45 minute drive away in good traffic and although I knew I wasn’t in labour, I wanted to be safe not sorry. I got out of the bath, got myself dressed and went downstairs to wait for Alan. I leant over my birthing ball with the tens machine on. With every tightening I was willing them to be the real deal.

Alan arrived home earlier than I expected. We chatted between tightenings and at 11:15 I decided to call the hospital and ask to go in. I needed to hear that I was over reacting and certainly not in imminent labour, for my sanity sake. The midwife asked if I was struggling and although I knew I could have coped at home, I told her yes, I was struggling; I needed to know what was happening. On the way to the car, a neighbour asked, “Oooh is this it?!”. We brushed off her comments and said we were off out for lunch (my bags were already in the car so no tell tale signs!). I didn’t want the whole world knowing I was overreacting! It was bad enough my husband thought I was! At 11:30 we set off to the hospital.

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Letters to Lola: Happy 3 Months

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Dear Beautiful Girl,

I cannot believe how time has flown. My first letter to you and already you are three months old. Not wanting to sound cliche but it really does feel like yesterday you came into this world. You were born so chilled out but you have definitely found your lungs since then! You’re not really a crier, although you were when you were a few weeks old but that was down to reflux. You’re still on reflux medication but other than that, you’re thriving. Still exclusively breastfed, my proudest achievement after giving birth to you and your brother! Speaking of your brother, he absolutely adores you. He’s always telling us how cute and beautiful you are and how much he loves you. I really need to record this ready for when you’re both older and are winding each other up. He still doesn’t quite understand you don’t/can’t really do much! He still wants to play Lego with you. I’ll remind him of this in a couple of years.

You’re the newest addition to our family but it feels like you’ve always been here. I was worried how we’d adapt to being a family of four but it’s nothing short of amazing. You’ve been smiling for a while now and it literally melts my heart. You’re trying to make noises which completely amuses you when you make bursts of noises! I can’t wait for you to be full on babbling. You are an amazing sleeper (thank you!!!) I love the sleepy cuddles and the sleep you let me have.

Before you were born, I worried in secret about how I would feel about you. Would I love you as much as I loved Alfie? How could I love anyone as much as I love Alfie? It turns out I needn’t have worried because I love you both equally. You are both amazing. You both light up my life. You both make my days brighter. I love you both more than words could ever express and as I tell you every day and night, I love you all the stars in the sky.

Happy 3 months beautiful girl.

Love, mummy x

Catching up with Elvis: Elf Takeover

Well he’s officially been here a week and what a week it’s been in the Lewis household. Fun, games and mischief aplenty! Elvis has well and truly settled in. He waltzes around the house like he owns it when Alfie isn’t around. I dare say he sometimes thinks he owns the place! In fact he told me I buy rubbish biscuits after he polished off a few shortbread biscuits! Cheeky begger! For the record, I eat all the best biscuits before anyone else gets a look in…elves included!

Alfie is certainly enjoying having Elvis around. We have to look for him first thing in the morning and when we get in from nursery in the afternoon. He’s completely in awe of Elvis’ elfie magic! He keeps telling us not to touch Elvis for fear of him losing his magic. An elf without magic simply won’t do you see! As much as I love like tolerate having an elf about the house, I really wish he’d start using his bloody manners when asking for a cuppa! It’d be even better if he made the brews for a change!

So here’s what he got up to this week!

Monday 1st

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Tuesday 2nd

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Wednesday 3rd

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Thursday 4th

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Friday 5th
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Saturday 6th

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Sunday 7th

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Breastfeeding Advent: Week 1

The lovely Chelle at The Mumington Post started off a breastfeeding advent for December! Breast or bottle fed, Chelle welcomes all mammas (and papas) to join in with the advent! Just use the hashtag #breastfeedingadvent or #bottlefeedingadvent to join in on Twitter, Instagram or your blog! Here’s my week 1:

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What I wore Wednesday: The Baby Edition

Inspired by Chelle at The Mumington Post I thought I’d join in on the What I’m Wearing Wednesday: The Baby Edition.

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Lola’s elf jumper is from F&F at Tesco. It was a gift from Elvis the Elf. It’s brilliant quality and ridiculously cute! I love F&F clothing!

Shorts are from Next and were a gift from my brother and sister in law. I love the detailing on them – butterfly’s on the buttons and chunky stitching. I love the shorts with tights look – cute and comfy! Win win!

Stripey tights – handed down to us by my sister in law. They actually have a ladybird on the bottom but I thought they’d go fab with her little elf jumper! She’s definitely rocking it as a baby elf!

I’m loving all the outfit choices now I have a little girl! There seems to be so much more variety out there!

What’s your little one wearing today? Tweet me at @mammalewis or shown me on Instagram @mamalewis

Introducing Elvis

It was the 1st December yesterday, our tree was already up and windows adorned with homemade decoration and lights! At about at 10:30pm on Sunday 30th November I heard a jingle and a twinkle at the door. The cat maybe? No she doesn’t wear a collar. I opened the door and in waltzes an elf! Not content with shocking me that an elf had just arrived at my door but he asked me if I was ever going to “put the bloody kettle on” as apparently the North Pole is a long journey!

His name is Elvis Elf and apparently he is chief supervisor in the Naughty or Nice department. He perched himself on my tree guarding a “very special PRIVATE” letter. For me? Oh no! Not the bill payer! The letter was for the attention of Alfie and Lola! Elvis explained he has been sent by the big man himself (Santa) to come and live with us until Christmas. Thanks for that Santa! He’s going to check that they are being good and nice and he’s going to bring lots of festive cheer to the house in little ways. Elvis cannot be touched and he won’t move or talk when the kids are about. That’s all good and well but it means he doesn’t half yabber on when they are in bed.

I left Elvis to it and yesterday morning, sure enough he didn’t speak or move! Alfie noticed him straight away and asked to open the letter. He was rather impressed that Santa had taken the time to write to us! With the letter was a certificate of adoption for Elvis so it looks like it’s official! He’s our elf for Christmas! He played it easy on us this morning and has just moved to a picture frame on the wall. Alfie was really impressed!

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Really looking forward to what Elvis has planned for us!

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Christmas Traditions Old and New

Last week I wrote about my childhood Christmas memories and how much I love Christmas so following on from that, I thought it would be appropriate to write about Christmas traditions. To be honest, we haven’t adopted many traditions from our parents. My mum always put the tree up 12 days before Christmas but we can never wait that long, even before we had kids! In fact, our tree was put up on 24th November this year! I have noticed a few others have also trimmed up before we’ve reached December! I think having young children brings more magic and excitement to the season!

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The detangling of the lights before putting on the tree!

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Mr L putting the lights on the tree before Alfie came home to decorate it!

I know some people prefer to decorate the tree themselves and do it when the kids are in bed. For us, we do it as a family. Alfie (and eventually Lola) decorates the bottom and directs us where to put what at the top of the tree. He loves decorating the tree and it definitely gets us into the Christmas spirit! I even love that he puts decorations too close together or even on the same branch though I know for some people that would frustrate the hell out of them! For us, decorating the tree is all about family time and having fun. As a child, I also took it in turns to put the angel/star on top of the tree with my sister so we will do the same with Alfie and Lola. This year obviously was Alfies turn which he loved!

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My favourite tree decorations. Alfie said they needed to be next to each other as they match!

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Alfie putting the star on the tree.

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Mr L trying to put our little angel Lola on top of the tree.

We’ve never done elf on the shelf before but after following the series that Life with Munchers hosted last year, we’ve decided to give it a go ourselves as it looks like so much fun! I’m not a fan of the traditional elf on the shelf elves though, they look a little creepy to me so we bought a beautiful crocheted one from Button Beautiful (also on facebook). I can’t wait to introduce our Elf to Alfie on December 1st! It’s going to be so much fun!

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Our lovely handmade amigurumi elf who is yet to be named!

On Christmas Eve, we’ll be opening Christmas Eve boxes left by the Christmas elf as a reward for good behaviour. We started this last year and although he was a little too young to completely understand, Alfie enjoyed it nonetheless. We’ll be including new pjs, cosy socks, treats, a new book, a Christmassy dvd, hot chocolate and a key for Santa as we don’t have a chimney. We’ll also be leaving a plate out for Santa with a mince pie and glass of milk. We’ll leave Rudolph a carrot and some reindeer food we got from an elf party we went to recently. There will be no presents under the tree until the children are in bed. When I was a child there were never any presents under the tree until Christmas morning, not even presents that people had brought early!

I have no routine for the day, the kids can open their presents all in one go or bits at a time during the day – whatever they feel like! I’m so excited! Next year I’d like to do the book advent that I’ve seen a few people do. I haven’t been organised enough this year! What traditions do you have? Are they old or new?

Review: Ohyo the collapsabottle

When I was pregnant I was sent a couple of Ohyo bottles to try. They were the perfect thing for my hospital bag. I packed both in my bag – one for me and one for Mr L. I’ve always hated the plasticy cups you get with jugs of water in the hospital and similarly, I’m not a fan of buying bottled water because it’s not great for the environment and it seems like a pointless waste of money when water (that I already pay for) comes from a tap! So, in they went into my bag ready for the “big day”.

When the time came to go to hospital I wasn’t in labour but I was given the choice to stay to for an hour to see if things progressed. I was shown to a private room and this is where the bottles came out! I was given the standard plastic hospital cup and jug of water. I don’t know about you but for me, contracting and labouring is thirsty work! I seemed to constantly be asking Mr L to top me up! I love the sports type spout the bottle has that folds down when not in use and you simply flick up when you need a drink.

The bottles saw me through an entire labour and actually we use them daily now! Alfie has taken a liking to them – I definitely think the quirky design is appealing to him; it looks very fun! He now uses one of the bottles for school. We pop it in his nursery bag (compressed) and when we get to nursery, he has great fun in opening it up and filling it from their “water station”. I always fill up a bottle and pop it in my bag when I’m going out as breastfeeding is thirsty work! Once it’s gone, the bottle collapses down and hey presto – more room in my bag! It’s great for taking on picnics, days out, hospital appointments, long car journeys or even just for little ones in the house to avoid spillages.

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I love the compact design of the bottle – it’s a concertina that you expand when filling the bottle and collapse when not in use. The spout clicks into place for drinking then folds back down into the lid when not in use. It took Alfie a while to work out that if the spout wasn’t clicked into place correctly, the fluid dribbled all over him! Unfortunately as the bottle is designed to be compact, the capacity isn’t massive but then the beauty is it can be refilled over and over again! The 500ml bottle is 14cm high (4.5cm when collapsed) and has a diameter of 8.5cm. Ohyo have recently introduced their new 1000ml bottle which I think would be better suited for adult use. The bottles are BPA free and so have no nasty chemicals lurking within them. It is also dishwasher friendly!

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Ohyo care about the environment and they support the find a fountain campaign.

You can purchase your Ohyo bottle online here. The 500 ml bottle costs £5.99 plus p&p. The 1000ml bottle costs £12.99 plus p&p. You can also buy the 500ml bottles in packs of 10 for £44.90 with free delivery. The bottles come in an array of funky colours – something to suit everyone!

Childhood Christmas Memories

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Christmas is by far my favourite time of the year. I love everything about the season; the weather, the presents, the food, the festivities and even the encounters with Uncle Knobhead who’s had too much mulled wine! My love for Christmas definitely stems from my childhood. My mum made an enormous effort at Christmas and no matter how skint she was as a single parent of four it was always mega special and exciting. I’m not overly close with my family but Christmas is definitely the one time where we come together and genuinely
enjoy each other’s company.

Every year my mum bought us an advent calendar – she still does it now much to Mr Ls enjoyment because he gets one too! It was a huge treat for me as I’m actually allergic to chocolate (I get an itchy skin rash but thankfully it’s gotten better with age!) but the advent chocolates were small enough not to affect me too badly. She would feed jars of mince meat for weeks and weeks ready for making mince pies. Back then my mum loved baking and she was a dab hand at it too – she was professionally trained in the art of baking! Mince pies weren’t the only sweet treat she’d make – there were lemon and jam tarts, beautifully decorated Christmas cakes, chocolate logs and gingerbread biscuits were always found in our house at Christmas time.

The tree and mountains of decorations went up exactly 12 days before Christmas. No earlier and no later. This was always my favourite part of Christmas as a child – aside from the actual day of course! Boxes upon boxes of decorations were brought down from the loft – vintage tree ornaments she’d had that were older than me, enough tinsel to wrap around the entire house and those God awful tacky ceiling trimmings were just a few of the decorations! My little sister and I would help put the tree up – my brother and sister are much older so didn’t live with us at this point. Each year we would argue about who would put the angel on the top both arguing that the other had done it the previous year. We would go to bed satisfied with our handy work and the next morning we would come down to a grotto that Santa would envy! Tinsel, lights, trimmings and all our childhood handmade decorations would adorn every nook and cranny of the lounge. Musical ornaments would be filled with brand new batteries ready for our enjoyment, chocolates, candy canes and crackers all added to the tree and the only “traditional” decoration my mum owned – a nativity scene mobile I had made in reception class would be hanging from the light fitting on the ceiling. The only thing we never had at Christmas was snow spray on the windows (we even had window stickers!) much to our disappointment. It’s only now as an adult I understand my mothers loathe for snow spray but I had to find that out the hard way!

Family we hardly ever saw would come and visit us bringing presents that Santa had accidentally delivered to their house. Actually he was a bit flaky back then old Santa because he used to deliver other people’s presents to our house by mistake too! I loved seeing my family at Christmas as I grew up without my dad (my siblings saw their fathers) so it was lovely to feel part of a big family once a year. I quite liked the presents they brought with them too!

Left to right: My cousins Grace, Laura then me and my little sister.

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As a single parent family, Christmas was always tight for my mum but we never knew this until we were much older. When we wrote to Santa we asked for one “big” present and some smaller presents. One year I got a bright red Raleigh bike with a seat on the back for my doll. It was the best present ever! It took my mum months to save up for it but of course I was completely oblivious. We always seemed to have mountains of presents to open no matter how tight money was for my mum. Looking back now amazes me at how she managed on a part time bar job but she always did. We always put out a mince pie and glass of milk for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph on Christmas Eve before we went to bed and it was always the first thing we checked on after making sure Santa had been of course! I remember the amazement that nothing but crumbs, a stub of carrot and a mouthful of milk would be left of our offerings. Delivering presents was hungry work! It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realised Santa had milk at our house because my mum didn’t drink!

Christmas dinner was always at 2 and it was always enough to feed an army. We had pork rather than Turkey because my mum doesn’t like poultry. Everything was made to perfection. We always had sprouts and I was always made to eat them! It was pretty liberating the year I was allowed to decide for myself that I didn’t want them on my plate. This year will be the first year my mum won’t be making a Christmas dinner which I think is a complete injustice to the world* (*Me!).

I’m excited that I have my own family and I can start our own Christmas traditions and rituals. What were your Christmases like as a child? Do you have any Christmas traditions or rituals?