Month Two. The Horror.

We’re in it.
The horror.
The exhaustion.
The inconsolable crying. Fussing. Feeding.
Life is blurry.
Awake time and sleep time are mere words.
I get, on average, 5 hours of broken sleep every night. On a good night 6 hours. On a bad night 3.
My day is filled with activities, trying to keep Bert occupied and trying to keep Magnus at peace. Caffeine is my new best friend.

Magnus is as any newborn is.
They wake when they’re hungry which is all the time because they are growing so much. They cry when they aren’t feeding or sleeping because they want to be feeding or sleeping. They want to be close to you at all points and moving around because that is what they’re used to when in the womb. Evenings are the worst because nature has a fucked up sense of humour.
Inconsolable crying
+ exhausted parents
= mental devastation.
FACT.

Bert is continuing to be an active, curious, toddler of habit. On a bad day, he’s throwing full blown wailing, physical tantrums at the slightest smear on his fun and if he’s not got your continued attention he’s destroying something or whining at you. On a good day he occupies himself happily with his toys and talks to you a lot.

Together they are very, very tough.
I must be awake most of the night, energetic all day, tend to two little people’s ever changing demands whilst finding time to eat, wash, piss, sleep. All the basics I took for granted pre children. These two little people can not comprehend other people’s needs and often I find myself under an enormous wave of pressure.
I have cracked.
On a number of occasions.
The storm has engulfed me.
However, my parents and my in laws are keeping me and the boys (all three of them) a float. A float in this tempest of newborn/toddler chaos.

I knew this would be the hardest time in regards to having another child. The late stages of pregnancy, the birth, the newborn period. Dealing with the physical and emotional side of those things whilst having to care for another dependant who doesn’t have a vast emotional understanding.

My body is still not right from the birth. It takes time to level out. Piles, constipation, bleeding, pain. All a part of day to day life currently.

However, when life is really miserable, all I need to remember is how bad Albert was in these first months. Ten times worse than Magnus and we managed to get through it. They get through it and become these gorgeous, inquisitive little people who you just can’t get enough of. It feels like an eternity when you’re in it but looking back it’s like it took no time at all. Over in a flash.

Magnus is two months old. The peak stage for all these crying fits and such. My desperate hope is that we are at the top of the mountain, the absolute worst point, but in the next couple of weeks he’ll start to settle quicker, sleep more, fuss less. We’re only down hill from here.

I wanted to end positively. It’s not all shit.
These two little boys have stolen not just my soul but every part of me. These pictures don’t carry the raw emotions of these terrible weeks, only their beautiful innocent faces. When looking back that’s all I’ll see too and that’s what’s important.
Chin up to any other parents out there struggling. We are legion.
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Where Did That Month Go?!

Month one. Complete.
Breast feeding. Established. Tremendously proud of myself for pushing through mastitis and thrush. Thrush alone is very painful and mastitis is absolutely horrific. It felt like Magnus was ripping off my nipple every time he sucked. It felt like needles running under my skin. It gave me a fever and ached all around my torso. However, I persevered and I’m currently writing this, one handed whilst he feeds comfortably.
Bert is napping. I have roughly half an hour to an hour on a good day to pursue something other than childcare.
The Mighty Viking has been back at work now for a week. Flying this baby ship solo has had its ups and downs. The cuddles on the sofa with my boys have been delicious. Its been so satisfying being responsible for these two little lives, making sure they are fed, clean(ish), warm and happy. The tandem poo-pocolypse has been interesting. The collective, sometimes hourly, tantrums have been challenging. I am in constant demand.
Magnus is asleep for two/three hours and awake for one/two hours around the clock. So I am, thankfully, getting some sleep.
However, things are changing again. As of three days ago, he’s crying and unsettled in the evening and spending longer periods of time awake.
Albert is obsessed with Magnus. He wants to touch him and be with him all the time.
This is so sweet, the problem is, is that toddlers don’t know their own strength. Nothing is gentle. A pat on the head is more like a whack, and a whack to a newborns extremely fragile soft spot can be detrimental. I’m constantly on my guard.
Emotionally, everything is more relaxed. I am stressed but relaxed at the same time.
When Magnus cries in the evening, my whole being doesn’t go into melt down. When The Mighty Viking and I are unable to have a cuddle or anytime to each other, I don’t feel like my relationship has been robbed from me. When I only get three hours of sleep or I’m kept from eating or I haven’t showered in days or I can’t do anything for myself because I must tend to my newborn, it’s okay, I don’t feel hopeless, like it’ll be like that forever. I don’t feel like I want to run away or hate myself for wanting to run away.
In short, I don’t feel like I did when Albert was a newborn. Everything, this time, is easier to cope with. Probably because I’ve been through it before, I have passed my mother test and got my screaming first born through his first year undamaged. Perhaps also because Magnus seems more laid back. He isn’t as distressed as Albert was (yet!) He sleeps longer (so far!) He is okay to be left for a moment in his moses basket whilst I run around after his brother. Thank you universe!
With Bert, I remember feeling like the first few months would never end. With Magnus I can’t believe a month has gone already. It’s going too quickly. I must savour every moment before it disappears forever.
Don’t get me wrong, juggling a hyperactive, destructive toddler and a hungry, fragile, immobile newborn is hard work. My house is a shit hole and I’m always covered in someone else’s bodily fluids. However, my day to day life is a luxury I will never stop being thankful for. Life is constantly changing but my feelings remain the same. It’s a wonderful life and I owe it all to these two cheeky chaps…

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Albert and Magnus

Not only does the 22nd of March 2019 coincide with an asteroid that passed earth and was closer to us than the already close, Super Worm Moon but it was also the spring Equinox, the cusp of two star signs and of tremendous tides in Lynmouth which has the second largest tidal range in the world (and is also our home).
Not just that but also, it is the day that follows both my parents in law’s birthdays and is the same day, 4 years ago that the family lost Grandpa John.

To say that this day is significant would be an understatement.

It is also, now, the day Pig was born.
The Pig missed full watermelon status by two days.
The Pig is actually a Magnus, a 9lb 2oz Magnus with reddish hair and the same nose as his brother and his Queenie (grandmother).

His birth was an opposite to Bert’s.
Bert’s = 24 hr labour, 3 hrs of pushing, failed forceps, emergency C-section, diamorphine and a spinal. Bert and I were in distress the whole time.
I stayed in the hospital for three days, both Bert and I had a temperatures. What followed was four months of anxiety and depression.

Magnus’s = 8 hr labour, 1.45 hrs pushing, kiwi vontuse and a small episiotomy, two paracetamol at the beginning.
Magnus was okay. I could listen to direction because I wasn’t off my tits on painkillers. I pushed the beast out. I was out of the hospital by that afternoon with Magnus. Fully showered and walking around.

Insane.

We are all now settling in. Working our new family dynamic out. Recovering. The Mighty Viking and I are over the moon, totally in love, ready for round two, with our new baby Viking. Bert is trying to sit on his brothers head a lot. I am terrified by every fart. The Mighty Viking spent the morning cleaning … (Shocking!) Magnus is already cluster feeding, my nipples are raw and blistered, I can’t sit down properly. Life is already 100% different to two days ago. We are now a family of four and tomorrow we’ll hopefully be a bit more copious mentis. We may even venture into the big wide world. Maybe.
For now, we are locked into our baby bubble. Long may it continue.

Welcome to the world Magnus Adam Frederick Collier.

Albert and the Pumpkin

1 Year, 6 Months
I was talking to my sister the other day and describing what had recently happened in the land of Bert and thought, you can’t make this stuff up.
It’s hard to convey just how many humorous, rediculous moments life consists of now having a toddler. Currently my front room is covered in orange peel and empty saucepans… The half hour before writing this he was tipping the peel from the pan on to my lap, over and over again, then after he got bored of that started to chew up the peel and wipe it off onto my arm.
Earlier he was climbing into his trike, buckling himself in and then crying because he was buckled in and couldn’t get out. You think he’d learn pretty quick that if he did it again the same outcome would happen but low and behold I spent almost an hour unbuckling him only for him to do it again.
I wish I could record 24 hours bit by bit just to prove the wall to wall madness of a toddler, but time is taken up by said toddler so it would be impossible.
He’s gone now, trying to open the toilet door so he can chew on the toilet brush or the door into our room so he can eat my make up… He can’t open our doors yet, thank Christ. So, I figure I have another minute or two before he runs back in here screaming at the top of his voice and tripping over a saucepan.

Oh, he’s back in already. Instead of falling over he’s decided to stand next to me, with his face buried into the sofa and is laughing between what I can only assume are poo strains… it certainly smells like it. It’s because I fed him orange… Orange seems to be a laxative for him. An immediate laxative.

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38 1/2 Weeks
The Pig is in-between the size of a Marrow and a Pumpkin.
Every part of my body feels like it’s the size of a pumpkin. Soon, with any luck, we’ll be meeting it.

It is fully formed, there is nothing left to add to the cake. It is now just waiting for my hormones to tell my body it’s time to start labour. No one actually knows for sure what it is that tells those hormones to do so which means that there are a plethora of bizarre and fun activities I can partake in to try and get the ball rolling.
For now looking after my insane bag of fun (and constantly sick and not sleeping) toddler is more than enough. We go out walking a lot.

I either have days where I am convinced it’ll be early, or days I’m convinced it’ll late. There is no in-between. There is no grey area. My emotions and my body is a thing of extremes now. I am preparing for the birth/newborn stage ahead. I feel like am going into battle.
My hormones are kind though. They are doing what they are meant to do, relax me, give me positive vibes and make me feel so excited.
Thank you hormones. You can be real cunts sometimes but currently I’m surfing a wave of nostalgia and love. Long may it continue.

Albert and The Honeydew Melon

Albert is 18 months. The Pig is 37 weeks and roughly the size of a Honeydew melon.

The differences between my two pregnancies become more apparent the closer to the due date I get. 

Last time, with less than three weeks to go, I was painting rainbows on Bert’s bedroom walls and setting up a beautiful corner for his Moses Basket in our room. I was thinking about the colour my nails would be whilst giving birth and thinking of what flavour sandwich The Mighty Viking could make to take to the hospital. I wouldn’t even contemplate bending over or lifting things up.

… this time round, I’m nearly as flexible as I was pre-pregnancy (I even shaved my legs, with ease, yesterday). I haven’t the luxury to sit on my arse or paint rainbows for 85% of the day. I must bend, lift, shuffle quickly after my toddler (because running is definitely out of the question). I’m still somewhat vexed about how many days I should pack my hospital bag for let alone if there will be food in it. Last time I was there for three/four days… should I pack for that many just in case? I can’t answer that question so I’m just not packing it. Fuck it. 

Albert is attached to me like a tick, he can sense the coming change. Friends and family are beginning to check up on me more. ‘Just seeing how you are.’ That behaviour annoyed me in the first pregnancy, this time round I welcome it. It’s nice to know how much they care and I don’t feel pressured to give birth.  

Any time from yesterday is considered to be on time now. We are truly on the count down. It is imminent.

I’ve been getting awful sleep, intense Braxton Hicks, lower spine melting aches and period pains, the need for the toilet even though I’ve just been, flaming indigestion, total forgetfulness, uncontrollable mood swings. All of this on some days, less on others. It’s very disconcerting. The midwife said that with the first pregnancy the baby usually engages and stays put until labour. The second pregnancy however, the baby goes head down and because there is more room it bobs up and down for a while, hitting your pelvis, creating a vicious stabbing pain in your vagina. It makes me think I’m going into labour. 

Some days I’m convinced I’m going to give birth early and then I get a day where the symptoms ease and I’m back to my due date, or later. 

Exhausting. 

Whether it is in five hours, five days or five weeks, I know Pig is ready. I am ready. The Mighty Viking is ready. Albert is, well, a toddler and whilst aware of change hasn’t the foggiest really. The entire family seems to be ready, especially my mum whose life seems to have paused because she is looking after me, Bert and the Pig… all at the same time. She is the perfect example that you never stop being a mother, however old your children get! I’ll touch more on that subject though in my Mother’s Day blogpost yet to come. 

For now I’m going to leave you on a picture of Bert’s first baby grow next to his most current one. The mind boggles to how quickly they grow… soon the little one will be filled again, so exciting! 

dav

My Pregnancy Journey

In my first pregnancy I was so over come with everything that was happening. Every single thing changed. My brain, my body, my working life, my time off, how people treated me, my relationship with family, friends, The Mighty Viking. It was overwhelming. I barely had time to address each change before Albert was born. When he was born it all changed again and everything was even greater an adjustment. 

Within all of the chaos I lost a lot of precious moments. Moments I’ve come to understand in my second pregnancy. I’m thankful every day, every moment that I’m pregnant again, that I’ve been given a second time. There is so much to celebrate and enjoy. 

Not least is the change my body makes. How it changes to accommodate growing life, sustaining life and bringing it into the world. However misanthropic our civilisation can be we still manage to find the unique beauty of childbearing and birth. With that said, I wanted to share my bodies journey through Pig’s pregnancy via pictures taken over the last few months. 

My body is incredible. Awe inspiring, I look at how it has adapted and changed and appreciate every stretch mark and vein. The strain it is under is tremendous. Not only is it growing a life almost from scratch but it is also doing everything is can for Albert who is still attached bodily in many ways. If he isn’t trying to sit on my head constantly, he’s asking to be picked up all the time. Close and warm. Picking up and carrying around my 12 kilo plus toddler whilst carrying my 8 month old foetus is so extremely exhausting but my body just does it. My mind just gets on with it. It is strong. It is powerful and I want to celebrate it. A miraculous achievement (regardless of how many times it’s been done before by other people around the globe!)

Just to prepare readers, my last picture is in the nip. I’ve booked in a still life nude drawing with an artist to capture the late stages of my pregnancy. Whilst taking pictures to send to them I realised that the best way to honour my body is to strip back the clothes and let people see what’s happening to it from the flesh. No make up, no clothes, no digital filter. The most natural it can be and therefore my truest form.

If you don’t want to see me naked, then DO NOT READ ON and certainly do not report it. It’s taken me time to pluck up the courage to put it online. I am aware it could be copied and used as abuse but I’d rather be brave and hope unashamed, positive body image shines through instead. I simply am doing it from the point of view of childbearing and certainly not of something sexual. It is an evocative picture considering my tits are RIGHT THERE but it isn’t meant to be in anyway smutty. So proceed with maturity please, or, bugger off. 

3-4 months… 

5-6 months… 

7-8 months… WARNING: nudity. 

The Mighty Viking

I care not what others say, that Valentine’s day is for the consumer guppy’s out there… (in fact I have been known to say this frequently). However, when it comes to a couple of days before I always seem to find myself looking at something The Mighty Viking would like and then I make a card and hay presto, I am a guppy.

I guess even if it is an expensive mini break to Venice, or a surprise trip to the zoo, or some delicious home cooking, or even a little heart of fudge and a homemade card, it’s a gesture. A token of love. We should honour and love our partners all year round and not just on an anniversary or special day but sometimes the gestures and tokens are lost in the day to day chaos of life. I know The Mighty Viking and I have put aside our intimacy and open affections for the most immediate times. Babies, pregnancy, toddlers, they do that to you. We instead are delving further into our friendship. A different but still important part of companionship and marriage.

Here, at this stage, the trust, the patience, the tolerance and humour root deep and blossom wide.

So this week, it’s all about my live in chef, my husband, my love muffin, daddy of the house, my best friend, The Mighty Viking. I never want to live without you. We are the bread to a delicious sandwich. A really, really delicious sandwich.

dav