The unwanted effects of Pregnancy and Hyperemesis Gravidarum..

Excuse the long title, this is basically going to be a me ranting about how hard my life has been since first falling pregnant over two years ago, fueled by a lack of sleep and raging hormones.

I’ve taken myself out into the garden this afternoon whilst Adam is napping for some Vitamin D and rather than wallowing in my pit of misery I though I’d do something productive and write a post about things that I certainly wish I’d known before getting pregnant.

Now don’t get me wrong none of these things would have made me think twice about having a baby and he is, hands down, the best thing in my life but if I’d known a few of these things I feel I could have prepared for them a lot better.  Instead I was in this happy, finally got those two blue lines on my pregnancy test, bubble and so when shit hit the fan I just didn’t know what to do with myself at times.

Let’s start with the first and probably the biggest effect of pregnancy – Hyperemesis!  To most this is known as severe nausea and vomiting throughout pregnancy but it is actually a lot more than that.  There’s the fact you can’t go anywhere or do anything without having sick bags, countless packs of tissues and a bottle of water for those unexpected bouts of vomiting.  Team that with the dehydration and weekly trips to see the midwife, the fact I probably tested my own urine more times than I can count and the many sleepless nights I had worrying about how my baby was growing when I couldn’t keep anything in.  I lost so much weight in pregnancy that I actually weighed less at full term than I did at my first midwife check in and I spent countless nights in a hospital bed hooked up to IV lines and a baby monitor because I had dangerous levels of ketones in my urine.

All that throwing up wreaks havoc on your teeth! So just when I thought everything had mostly settled back to normal after having the baby a year and a half ago, I’m learning that there could be lasting damage to my teeth.  Vomiting introduce stomach acid and bile into the mouth which over time can really wear down the enamel of your teeth.  What I thought was the best thing to do was to brush my teeth everytime I was sick but I’ve actually just learnt today that it was the worst thing i could have done. I was just rubbing the acid over my teeth even more and helping it to wear down my teeth to the extent where they are now just cracking and breaking all over the place.  What I should have been doing is rinsing my mouth with plain water and waiting atleast an hour before brushing.  I’ve also been advised to use a high fluoride toothpaste which I get on prescription and to occasionally rinse with a fluoride mouthwash.  So if you’re suffering with Hyperemesis and brushing your teeth straight after being sick, DON’T.  Just rinse with water and wait an hour or so.  Chewing gum can also help regulate the PH of your mouth if you really want to get rid of that funky vomit breath!

I’ve always had issues with my body image and self esteem but little did I know I’d literally end up hating myself and my body after Adam was born.  I think this was also because after I’d had him I was able to eat again, and eating normally after being sick for 9 months meant that I instantly put on weight.  I’m learning to love the body that gave me my baby but I think this will take a lot longer to overcome.  All I can suggest it taking small steps into caring for yourself whether it’s popping out for a quick ten minute walk in the sun while somebody watches the baby, or getting your hair done or your nails painted.  I’ve left the sunshine to come upstairs and sit in a quiet space to finish this post whilst daddy looks after the whingey toddler because it’s a testing time for my patience and I’ve got a whole week ahead of me to tackle the tantrums while daddy is at work.

Raging hormones that never seem to end!  When I got pregnant I realised I was hormonal at times but what I didn’t expect, was that those hormones would be so much worse once I’d had the baby.  I remember spending days and nights just weeping at the stupidest things in those early weeks after bringing Adam home but along with the lows came the extreme highs and this hasn’t really settled down now that hes a year and a half older.  My husband said to me the other ‘I wish your moods would just stay level sometimes, you’re either really high or really low and there’s no inbetween’.  I do think he’s exaggerating a little but it’s definitely true around that time of the month!  I get crazy hormonal, tear at up the silliest things and become near impossible to be around because I just want to lock myself up and catch a break from the world and I can’t.  There’s a tiny dictator toddling around demanding food and naps and entertainment and all the things that I just don’t have the energy for around that time.  I’ve been looking into holistic remedies for helping to regulate hormonal imbalances and there will be a post on that coming soon but I’m a bit limited to what I can take at the moment as I’m still breastfeeding Adam.

I hope this will be of some use to some of you out there and if anybody has anything to add or any tips on coping with any of the issues I’ve mentioned I’d love to hear them in the comments.

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Reasoning with my anxiety…

When you value something, you take extra care of it.  You protect it and nurture it and hold it close because you value it’s very being and just how hard you worked to get it.  I think this is the reason for my anxiety.

The other day I’d been out to Sainsburys to do the food shop with Adam as we normally do every week. And when I’d packed the car full of the shopping, the child and myself I noticed that the first thing I did was check my bag to make sure my camera was in there.  It’s then that I realised that because I hold the camera quite highly in value compared to the other stuff in my bag I’m constantly checking to make sure it’s there and I even keep it wrapped in bubble wrap so it doesn’t get scratched.  If my fingers don’t happen to land on the camera as soon as I open my bag I begin to inwardly panic because I know how hard Ayaz worked to buy it for my birthday and he knows how long I banged on about the bloody camera in the first place.

Then it hit me like a tonne of bricks, the reason why I’m so anxious about Adam all the time.  It’s because he is THE most precious thing in my life.  As soon as I became a mum, he came first and I’m learning to be ok with that.  I look back at how hard we tried to have him (stop those dirty thoughts you perverts!).  I think of how hard I longed for him and how many days and nights I spent hunched over a toilet or sink throwing up while pregnant and the labour pains were just the beginning!

The real test began after he was born, the struggles with feeding, the endless mum guilt and the constant feeling of never being good enough for him.  It’s because I would move heaven and earth to give him the best in life and that is because I feel that when I took that step, and made the decision to be his mum, I took a silent vow to help nurture and grow him into the best that I physically can.

In discovering this I have moved on to the reality that I can’t possibly give him the best without being my best and Ayaz always says you wont be able to look after him if you’re dead! A bit of a harsh way of putting it babe but it’s true I guess!  I’ve written a post not long ago about how I’m putting a little more care in to myself here but now I’m taking a little more care than just eating well and drinking more water.  I’m learning to say no to things and people that don’t promote a happiness in my life or encourage me as a woman or a mother.  I found that people who criticised me on my life and parenting choices just caused unnecessary anxiety so I choose to stay away from them.

I’m taking more care of my emotions and my wellbeing, I will allow myself to feel low as long as I know I need to pick myself back up again for myself but also for my son.  I’m slowly realising that the more time I have to myself to sit and think, the more my thoughts turn to anxious ones.  Keeping busy and focusing on more physically challenging things allows me to become too tired to worry about the small worries and to focus that energy in to more positive tasks like taking photos for my Instagram which I’m really enjoying at the moment.  I’ve also signed up to Sara Tasker’s Bloom and Grow class and I’m really loving the positivity I’m gaining from focusing my energy on something other than constantly worrying.

I think the main thing I’ve come to accept about my anxiety is that I will never be able to rid myself of my maternal worries because it comes with the joys of being a mother.  Breathing life into a little human being you’ve helped to create means your children will always be your most prized possession and therefore worrying about them is part of the job description I’m afraid.  What I am learning is there are things that can wait to worry about and those that can’t, can be managed much better by focusing more on the positive aspects of being a mum.  The more time spent worrying about what may be, robs you of precious moments with your little one and those moments you will never get back.

 

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Adding some Glossier into my makeup and skincare…

I’m not going to lie it does feel a little strange doing a beauty related blog post but before I got pregnant this is all I blogged about and I forgot how much I enjoyed it but somewhere in all the craziness of sleepless nights and cluster feeds I moved away from beauty blogging and transitioned to blogging about motherhood.

Don’t get me wrong I love blogging about Motherhood and I couldn’t be happier with how my blogging has evolved over the years but the main reason for starting this new site and giving it a neutral name was to allow for that evolution without limiting its growth in any way.  My old blog was called Es-Jay Makeup and the name sort of gave it away with what the content would be based around but now I’m free to switch it up every now and then.

It’s safe to say my internet shopping spending definitely went up after giving birth!  I found that when I couldn’t muster the energy to get up and get dressed after a sleepless night, I could still pop online on my phone while breastfeeding and order things.  I’ve even memorized my Debit Card numbers so that I don’t even have to fish my card out of my purse whenever I found something online that I really wanted but was being pinned down by a hungry newborn.

One of those purchases included a cheeky little order from Glossier.  I’ve made it no secret that my skin did go a little bit crazy after giving birth.  I think the hormones were just too much to handle for not just my mind but my entire body!

So I picked up the infamous Milky Jelly Cleanser and I feel like this is exactly what my skin needed, just a simple gentle cleanser that wasn’t too harsh or chemically for my poor sensitive post natal skin.  I wasn’t really wearing makeup for a good few weeks after giving birth as I was too busy adjusting to that newborn life.

For my dry cracked post birth lips I picked up the Balm Dot Com Trio in Coconut, Birthday and Rose and these were an absolute lifesaver for my lips.  The final thing I picked up was the Stretch concealer and this is the thing I’m not totally sold on.  When it comes to concealer I need the big guns for these bags!  I like a full, full coverage and something that wont crease in my many mum wrinkles and this just doesn’t provide me with enough coverage.  It is lovely and creamy though and my skin has really calmed down since first having the baby so I’m going to put this away for days when I’m getting a bit more sleep and don’t need as much coverage.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.  I didn’t realise just how much I missed beauty blogging until I sat down to do it so stay tuned for more.

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Self Care is so Simple…

A few days a go I was scrolling through Instagram, as you do, and I came across this post from Anna Mathur aka Mamas_scrapbook.  It totally hit the nail on the head for me when I thought about exactly how much self care I practice throughout the day.

She mentioned just how much love and care we put into our children and used drinking water as an example.  You wouldn’t allow your children to become dehydrated yet you will happily bustle through the day running around after the kids and go the whole day without drinking any water yourself.

Now this is me! This is what I do and I do it so well.  A few months back when Adam was so poorly he refused to eat or drink anything I spent my entire day running around after him with syringes of water, soup, juice, Calpol! Basically anything to keep him from becoming dehydrated yet now I sit here and think back to the last time I drank a glass of water I actually cant remember.

It’s frightening how little we do for ourselves in our race to do everything for our babies and to some extent that just comes with the job description.  From the second you see those two little blue lines on that pregnancy test, your body is no longer yours but isn’t it funny how when we’re carrying our babies we will nourish our bodies meticulously yet once they’re here in the world we take the last seat at the table and stand at the back of the queue because keeping another human alive takes all priority and rightly so!

I used to moan about how much my life had changed since becoming a mum.  I hated that suddenly I didn’t come first, all phone calls started with ‘How’s the baby doing?’.  Even when I was stopped on the street, the old ladies coo’d over his hair or his eyes and everything revolved around this little 6 pound bundle of joy.  That was until I realised that this wasn’t a bad thing because as his mum I have the most important job in the world and that’s pretty special.  I’m his primary carer, he is solely dependent on me for the majority of his day and when  people compliment me on his hair, or his eyelashes or how well he’s grown that truly is a testament to me.  I brush his beautiful little head everyday, he gets his eyelashes from me and I’m the one who feeds him, changes him, plays with him and nurtures him so the fact that he’s growing into a beautiful happy little boy is down to me for the majority.

It’s taken me quite some time to realise that if I don’t look after myself, I’m going to be no use to my son who depends on me A LOT!  so I’ve begun practicing a little bit of self care. Nothing major, I mean I’ve not booked 14 nights in the Bahamas just for me but I’ve started with a few simple changes.

1. Hydrating myself, not just my child. I will have a glass of water everytime I offer my baby a drink and I keep a bottle by my bed so that I can have a drink before I go to sleep and when I wake up in the morning.

2. Feeding myself when I feed my child. Obviously I’m not eating as often as I feed the baby and I’m trying not to pick at his leftovers but I’d gotten very good at skipping meals or waiting until he was napping so that I could have breakfast. This was a recipe for disaster as what ended up happening is I’d get to 5pm and realise all I’d fuelled myself on was coffee all day and therefore I’d feed my overly, tired, hungry self all the junk I could find and that my friends is why I still look pregnant…

3. Show myself a little more love. Now don’t get me wrong, I will probably never be my own biggest fan even though I should be but I’m definitely cutting myself some slack. I will do more things for me. If I want to read a book I’ll do it instead of worrying about the million and one odd jobs that need doing around the house and every now and then if I want a piece of chocolate I’ll have it. That way I won’t be tempted to have ten pieces in the evening after I’ve been thinking about it all day.  I won’t beat myself up over the millions of things I could have done better today and I won’t allow my self to wallow in the Mum guilt for too long.

4. Treating my skin to some me time. I’d gotten into the horrible habit of just going to slee in my makes and waking up with mascara all down my face. So now I’m making a conscious effort to wash my makes up off and properly cleanse my skin. I’ve also started taking my hair,skin and nails supplements again and finally I feel like my skin is liking me again. We’re not in love just yet but we’re dating! We may even change our Facebook statuses from ‘it’s complicated’ to ‘In a relationship’

I could probably talk further on this topic as I really feel making these small changes have helped so much but this post will probably end up being a small novel. I’d love to know your self care tips however big or small. Leave me a comment letting me know what little thing you do to make yourself feel more like yourself after a hard day of running around after the kids.

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Adam’s sleep routine at 13 months…

So after listening to Adam scream himself to sleep because I’d stupidly decided to get in the bath once he’d gone down for his nap I decided why not write about his current sleep routine!  Now I’m sat here, hair still dripping wet and dressed in my pyjamas because I don’t want to now go in the room and risk disturbing him, feeling like the world’s shittest human being I’m thinking about his current sleep routine and how well it works for us.

It’s in no way, shape or form the best sleep routine and I’m not going to sit here and gloat about how amazing every night is because he sleeps through until morning as this isn’t always the case but I’ve read a lot of sleep related posts recently and figured why not write my own.

Adam turned one in January and so he’s coming up to 14 months in a week or two but we’ve been very consistent with his sleep routine from way back when he was about 4-5 months.  I do believe that’s helped us immensely when it’s come to how well he sleeps however every night is different and if you throw in a bit of teething or this nasty cold we’ve all been lovingly passing around to each other for about 8 weeks now, we have had a fair few sleepless nights of screams and tantrums.

What has taken me too long to understand is that no matter how wonderful your routine is and how amazing you think your parenting choices are, no one day will ever be the same as the next.  Something will always change and throw a huge spanner in your works and you have to learn to roll with that.  Now for somebody like me who likes her routine and freaks out at any deviation from that, this is a hard concept to comprehend sometimes when it’s the middle of the night and you’re screaming to yourself ‘But you slept all night last night?!’ ‘Why are you up at 3am?!’ But i’m slowly adapting to the fact that babies don’t come with instruction manuals and rule books, they just come with in built human instinct to rely solely on you for their physical and emotional nourishment and that should make you feel superhuman!

That’s not to say routines don’t work, I absolutely believe they do because with routine comes stability and the norm.  My baby knows that no matter how hectic our day has been once he goes up at 6.30pm for his bath he will be in bed soon after and I know he enjoys living in the knowledge that certain  events will eventually lead to sweet slumber in his own cot where GENERALLY he will sleep peacefully until the morning.  I know that he loves his routine as much as we do because whenever we do decide to cut out his bath in order to spend a bit more time in the evening or when daddy comes home late from work and wants to see him before he goes to bed, he never settles as well and I think the bath in the evening helps him unwind.

So just recently he’s cut out one of his day naps and only has the one nap during the mornings unless he’s in the car or out in his pushchair.  It’s hard to gauge whether he still needs that second nap because when he did he became a nightmare to wind down in the evenings and would basically chew my nipples off through share boredom because he wasn’t tired enough to fall asleep.  I still breastfeed him to sleep which isn’t ideal but he can be rocked to sleep or given a bottle if needs be.  Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to feed him to sleep but it works for us and he only has the one feed in the evening to send him off for the night.  Most nights I’ll feed him and have him in bed by 8pm and we won’t hear from him again until about 7.30-8am.

For now this is the routine that’s working for us and because I feel he still needs a milk feed before bed I guess this will continue for a little while yet, I mean if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right?! I think if he was still waking in the night for feeds I’d definitely be looking for other ways to put him to sleep but as he doesn’t I’m enjoying the evening feed and cuddle time.  Any advice for when we do decide to wean him from the breast? I’d love to hear your thoughts and sleep routine tips.

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