31 December 2012

2012


2012 has passed in the blink of an eye. It's the 31st of December, the year is ending, imminently, and guess what? I'm still way back at the beginning of December. I'm still Christmas shopping, I still need to get the rest of our Christmas decorations out of the loft and I'm definitely still planning this year's gift wrap style....how can it being new year's eve?

I have so much catching up to do, I'm so far behind that mentally I'm still in hospital about to push the greatest being on the planet out from inside my body.

2012 has been a year full of things to process and adjust to, so it makes sense (to me) that my mind should be way back in April still, being that April was the month that my life changed. For ever. Irrevocably. Beautifully. Naturally.

True to form 2012 has been another year where I have procrastinated the days away (to be fair this year is the first year that I have had a pretty good excuse). I have not achieved any of my new year's resolutions from Christmases past. I haven't managed to achieve the minimalist lifestyle I so crave for (with a baby on the way, what the heck was I thinking?) but I have gotten much better at hiding stuff.. nor have I crafted a single thing (shame on me). I have achieved a big fat zero on the resolution front.

Ho hum.

BUT here's what I have achieved in 2012 -

I gave birth (naturally and at record speed, which came as a bit of a surprise to me) to a gorgeous creature. A baby boy. My baby boy.

I finally bagged the job I've always dreamed of; I became a mother. And what's more, I love it. Sounds like an obvious statement but while I always dreamed of having a family, I didn't really have any idea what it would be like. How I would cope, or if I would enjoy submitting my entire life to a child. But submit I have. Totally and completely. Knowingly and willingly. It seems this isn't a parenting style that everyone adopts. And it came as a bit of a surprise to me but when Chuck arrived my entire world perspective changed. It did a big fat upturn and landed up on its head. Suddenly 'my life' subsided and merged with Chuck's. He's the driving force in my life. Everything begins (and ends) with him. 'I' can wait. Or at least, my life has a new focus, a new meaning and a direction that it did not have before. I'm not sad to wave goodbye to the old me. I'm thrilled to say hello to the new me. The one with serious purpose in life and a new found understanding of love and humility (the who wears sweatpants constantly without shame), all thanks to my little boy.

I've had my eyes opened this year. I was blessed with a life full of love before Chuck arrived but now it's gone galactic. The amount of love that MB and I have for this little boy is unreal. It seeps from every pore and we (sickeningly) gush, daily.

He has shown me the true meaning of what it is to be and feel blessed and he has brought me closer to 'god', if only in my heart.

2012 has been a momentous year. We became a family. The little boy we had been waiting for arrived and brightened our every day. We are truly grateful for this and I for one, am super excited to see what 2013 has in store for our little family. I am cherishing every moment I have with this baby boy because 2013 will him him change quicker than I could have ever thought possible, into a little* boy. These moments are precious but I'm giddy to think about the things I'll be reliving come December 31st 2013. The list of 'firsts' will be huge and I can't wait to share!

To my boy - thank you for choosing us. Mama loves you. Always.

And to all of you out there; HAPPY NEW YEAR. May 2013 be all you can ever hope for and more.

xoxo

*A word little often associated with my boy.


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30 November 2012

Confessions of a [bad] mother


When I started this blog I always intended for it to be an honest account of my journey into, and beyond, motherhood. Even if that means - with a heavy heart - that I have to confess to letting my poor son down, not once, but twice, in one week.

Sure, every parent makes mistakes. How else can we learn to be parents, these kiddies dont come with instructions and the manuals that exist for us 'adults' aren't exactly a one-size-applies-to-all jobby. But when a parent makes a mistake, we're usually pretty quick to learn from it and make sure it doesn't happen again. Not me..it seems.

In the space of a week I have taken my eye off my son for that split second which was long enough for him to fall, first from his high hair and onto the kitchen floor, and second off his changing mat and down onto the nursery floor.

SHIT.

My heart is in my mouth and, obviously, I feel dreadful. How could I let this happen (twice). To watch him, in slow motion, tumbling down onto the floor while trying to fly over to catch him in time, and failing. I've never scooped him up into my arms so fast, or held him so tight. Heart racing while trying to convince him that 'everything's ok'. How could I let him get into those situations?

I know these things happen, and I know as a fairly burly boy he is going to get into much bigger scrapes during his life, but to be the one responsible for it - when I should be doing everything I can to protect him. God, I'm an idiot that doesn't deserve such a brave, beautiful boy.

Thankfully he hasn't come to any harm during his tumbles (no thanks to me), except maybe a new inbuilt fear of heights. I have certainly learned a few things from this horrid experience; eyes, eyes, eyes. It literally takes a split second for your child to get into trouble. Always clip your baby into its high chair, and never, NEVER leave your baby sat up on their own on a high surface. Because, yes, your baby can sit up perfectly well, and will sit upright by himself on the carpet all-day-long, but as soon that surface is raised off the ground they get wobbly. Very quickly. I mean, I literally turned away and back again and just as quick as that, he was on the floor..

It's not going to happen again. Not to me. Not to him. Not on my watch.

My baby, my poor boy, I love you with all my heart and I cannot apologise enough to you for letting you down. I promise it won't happen again. You sweet, brave, beautiful boy.

***sorry honey***

:((
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23 November 2012

Things to look forward to

Charlie B @ 6 months old

Christmas. Oh god I can't wait for Christmasses.
Family times.
Snuggles under blankets.
Movie days.
Kisses from Charlie.
My boy telling me he loves me.
Baking together.
Letting him lick out the bowl.
Birthdays.
Family days out.
First trip to the beach.
Holidays.
Rubbing sun lotion into his back.
Scratching his back
Siblings
His first word
His voice
His first joke
His first step
Him sleeping through the night*


*A girl can dream right?
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15 November 2012

Things to be thankful for



Each night I lay in bed and I thank God for each and every blessing I'm lucky enough to have in my life.

My little prayer goes the same way each time, I don't really have much else to say to God but thank you. I say thanks for my son, my husband, our silly furry critters, my family and my friends. I even say thanks for our cute little house (even though I'd kill for a much bigger and much cuter house).

I'm not especially religious. But I have my beliefs and, whether God exists or not (a debate not meant for this stage), I believe in saying THANK YOU. Letting the cosmos know I am truly grateful. That my life is rich beyond my wildest dreams and that I'm thankful for this. Every. Single. Day.

I don't need, or ask, for much. Just the wellbeing of those I love. Before I got pregnant I was asking an awful lot for baby, who came along eventually. And when he did I prayed for a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. Then I prayed for a happy baby. I got that too (although I suspect he'd really rather I move away from the keyboard and back over to him). Then, when all of these things collided together to become Chuck, it was time to stop asking and start saying 'thanks'.

I'm the richest and luckiest girl alive. And I want to make sure whoever is 'out there'  knows I appreciate it.

MASSIVELY.

So. Thank you. For truly, I am. Blessed.

xoxo
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10 November 2012

Never been more in love..

.. I could drown in those eyes..

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5 November 2012

Catching up; A birth story...6 months on



Last week my little* baby boy turned 6 months' old so I thought it was high time I get my act together and finally finish [and post] our birth story... before all memories of it fade into mama-hood oblivion.

I can hardly believe that six months ago I was hulking**, butt-naked and dripping with blood, out of a hospital bathroom. This must have been a pretty daunting sight for the other ladies sat, patiently waiting in ward B10, to be induced. These ladies sat unified in the most surreal of environments, keeping their bubbling anxiety at bay, were suddenly faced with a scene that could have only looked like something from a zombie movie [so my husband tells me].

This scenario sounds pretty dramatic, and I may have hammed it up a bit, but I was only trying to quickly scuttle [yes.. butt naked and covered in blood..] to the delivery suite after hearing the words, "You're 6cm, you can go round to delivery suite now".

A little while after giving birth, I had time to evaluate the situation and realised that if you read between the lines, what the midwife was actually saying was, "Holy shit! She's fully dilated, this baby is coming...arghghh..." Or words to that effect.

But I already knew this. I tried to tell the staff at the hospital this since I hobbled through the door, heavily contracting, a couple of hours earlier. But my voice wasn't heard, or wasn't loud enough, and I think I was immediately categorised as a 'first-time-dramatic-mom' who was no where near delivery.

Wrong.

But let's start at the beginning.....

***

It was a miserable, soaking wet April day and I was two days past my due date. I'd had a feeling that things were about to commence for around a week but no obvious physical signals had surfaced. So, at around 11pm, I toddled off to bed thinking I was probably safe for another day.

Wrong.

As I laid in bed, catching up with the day's activities in blogland, I suddenly felt a rush of warm liquid. I froze and quietly called out to my husband;

"Bubba....my waters have just broke". No response....

"BUBBA...."......

"..what?"

"My waters have just broke."

What followed was a rather clueless conversation about 'are you sure' and 'what do we do now'...and in the end we called the hospital, like well-behaved-first-timers, and toddled in to 'make sure it's your waters'. Durrr.

The hospital confirmed my waters had broke and that there was no meconium present. Yay.

I started to get excited waiting for the onset of my contractions and could feel my water birth getting closer and closer until...BAM! The midwife informs me that they want me to come in at 10am the next morning to be induced.

WHAT THE?

I was totally bewildered, I was lucky enough to enjoy a completely complication-free pregnancy, I was low risk, my waters had broke - I was going into labour naturally. So, huh??

But woe-betide any woman who begins the process by nature's accord. Our hospital's policy dictated that, once a woman's waters have broken, she must deliver within 72 hours. Confused, I asked;

"So I have a bit of time to get things going myself then? I was hoping to have a water birth."

To which I was told;

"You can't have a water birth if you've been induced. Come in tomorrow morning at 10am."

WTF?


I was slayed and very confused. I could not comprehend why the hospital wanted to rush my baby out of my body when he had already started the process himself. Disappointed I went home to sleep on it - it just did not feel right. So, in the morning, I betrayed the hospital's request and went to see my midwife instead. I explained the situation to her and she called the hospital to try and buy me a little more time. After her discussion with the hospital she instructed me to call the hospital later in the afternoon (4pm), to go home and try and bring my labour on by having sex. Eh?! The whole argument to delivery my baby so quickly was due to the risk of infection, now that baby's barrier to the outside world had been broken - but it was ok to put THAT in there? UM?!

So I opted for their second suggestion. Ironing.

I ironed for four hours straight - I've never had such well laundered bed linen - and with each stroke of the iron I felt my contractions get stronger and stronger. Things were progressing well and after timing my contractions until they were 2-3 minutes apart, it was time to call the hospital back. Things were really beginning to happen and I was thrilled that my body was cracking-on with the job. I was beginning to feel hopeful that the hospital might relinquish their threat of an induction. I mean, why induce a lady who is close to established labour. Right? I was feeling positive and the chance of a water birth was creeping back into being a possibility again. After a quick call to the hospital I was told to come into hospital at 6pm.

Great! Even more time to get things going...

6pm arrived and we drove casually up to the hospital, feeling a little anxious, but calm. And ready. I was told to get comfortable in my poky little bay and wait for someone to come and see me.

My midwife arrived a few minutes later and I was excited to see she that she was pregnant - so she'd understand my situation. Right? She'd empathise with my birthing desires. And to her credit she did. She knew all about my desire to have a drug-free water birth and that I wanted to avoid being induced at all reasonable costs. She knew that really all I wanted, was to be left to my own devices, as long as it was safe to do so. She got it, she was on my side. Phew. What a relief.

Belly-button!!



But hospital protocol came first and I was promptly hooked up to a fetal heart rate monitor and left, marooned on a hospital bed, for what felt like an eternity. We lay there, as instructed, watching each contraction pass by on the monitor. A quick check by the midwife after the first hour confirmed I was contracting about 3 times every 10 minutes. Good progress..I would be examined after an hour to see how many cm dilated I was....

During this time the midwives changed shift and I was presented with a new midwife; a young lady who appeared to have immediately labelled me a 'drama queen' very quickly. She wasn't interested in my birthing desires, she didn't even ask about them, and she definitely didn't believe me when I was saying that with each extra minute I laid on that bed my contractions were slowing down. In her mind I was not in labour - I was there to be induced.

After the second hour on the monitor had nearly passed I decided I couldn't cope with lying there any more. My bladder was full to the brim and was being squeezed to within an inch of its life with each new contraction. My bladder was literally about to pop. So, dutifully, my husband set off to tell the midwives I was going to the toilet - whether they liked it or not.

The moment my feet touched the floor - BANG - it all hit me. Two hours of laying still, on my back had all but ground my contractions to a halt, but as soon as I stood up they hit me hard and fast. I stopped dead in my tracks while the first contraction passed and in the time it took me to walk 30 yards to the bathroom, I must have had another 3 contractions. Things had ramped up a gear and I swear the moment I sat down on that toilet I thought to myself..."Holy shit. I'm going to have this baby on the loo..."

I hobbled back to the ward and told the midwife I thought things were moving along so she examined me to see how far along I was. To say I was disappointed when she nonchalantly announced I was "only 2cm dilated", would be the understatement of the decade. Surely not. I had to be further along than that...

I had been hoping that I was closer to 4 or 5cm dilated so that they would class me as being in established labour. That way I could have avoided being induced; but this news wasn't in my favour. Before I even had a chance speak the midwife appeared with an instrument of some kind and before I knew what was happening she'd placed stage one of an induction right where the sun don't shine. Goodbye natural water birth!

She informed us that she'd put a slow releasing hormone onto my cervix, not to expect much to happen within the next 24 hours, and that my husband had to leave me on my own - in labour - as visiting hours were over. WTF.

By now my contractions were coming thick and fast and I was starting to feel anxious. The pain was pretty intense and I found it hard to accept that I would be in this much pain for some time to come. Alone.

So after she'd left us to 'say our goodbyes' I lent over to my husband and told him, in no uncertain terms, that he wasn't going ANYWHERE. She didn't know it yet, but our baby was coming. I could feel him coming. FAST.

We broke the news to the midwife that my husband wasn't leaving and that I felt like things were progressing and we were then moved into our own room [I know right? Imagine sharing all of this with a room of other women all at varying stages of labour]. I'm pretty sure we were ushered in there to stop me from causing mass-panic among the other ladies in the ward... I was definitely starting to get agitated and the pain was beginning to test me.


Once in our private room I was left alone for a wee time, while my husband went to sort out the hospital parking, and was given some cocodamol tablets to ease the pain [whatevs]. I took the opportunity to calm things down a little, get my headphones on, and finally listen to my hypnobirthing CD.

Things start to get a little hazy for me from this point on, and whether that was the effect of the hypnobirthing or otherwise, I don't know. All I know is that things got serious around this time and my ability to cope was waning. With each contraction I was writhing around the bed and, as a method of pain relief, I started to hit myself in the face with [an empty] bedpan. There may also have been a little bit of arm biting going on, much to my husband's discomfort. Oops. It's funny the things you do to try and cope..

Another 45 minutes or so passed and I requested some assistance from the midwife. I needed something to help me cope - the thought of getting from 2cm to 10cm was daunting, it would take hours, possibly days [right?] and I was starting to believe I didn't have the strength to get there on my own.

I was offered pethidine [a form of morphine], or a bath. No middle ground, no gas and air, no nothin'. A bath or morphine.

Boy was I tempted to take the morphine. The lure of a drowsy, numbing sensation was appealing to me. But I contemplated the options and decided that I would try a bath. The natural birth I had hoped for had been slipping away from me from the moment I walked through the hospital doors. There was a  pattern of events emerging, and if I took the drugs, I could see my control slipping away from me. I did not want these guys to intervene. I just didn't see that it was required. I didn't want my pure little baby to come out into the world drugged-up and drowsy. I was trying to delay the inevitable - I did not want an epidural. I did not want to give birth, laying on my back being told when to push. I wanted to embrace the event and let my baby come to me as he wished. As he knew how. And as scary as it seems, I wanted to feel him coming to me.

Moments later we were escourted to the hospital bathroom and, as I somehow, managed to undress myself, I noticed the pessary had come loose. Suddenly something in me took over and I decided; 'to hell with it, I'm doing things my way'. I grabbed that thing and slung it across the room... :-/

I plonked myself, backwards, into the bath and sat there on my knees for a few moments until my husband came to re-arrange me. I'm pretty sure we were both thinking 'what now?'. I instructed MB to swish water over my belly while I was contracting to try and ease the pain - he looked at me like I was a loon but obliged all the same - and minutes later....SWOOSH.... a red liquid bullet shot out of me. We looked at each other shocked and clueless.

What was that? Neither of us knew what was going on, my waters had already broke, and by now I was pretty sure this baby was coming. Like. NOW.

MB scurried away to hunt down a midwife to see what the blummin' 'eck was going on and upon entering the room she said "Oh, that's just your hind waters going" [read: nothing much going on here]. But after seeing me wriggling around the bath, like I was laid on hot coals, she offered me another examination.

And this is where we began this tale, at 6cm** dilated trying to escape a hospital bathroom so I could go and deliver this baby. Who wasn't waiting around. For no-one.

My husband chased after me as I skulked through the bathroom door, clothes and towels in hand and ushered me onto a hospital bed where I was wheeled, pretty quickly, round to the delivery suite. And in the 2 or 3 minutes it took to get from "You're 6cm dilated" to the delivery suite, I had started pushing. I had zero control over this. My body had completely taken over. The sheer force my body was putting behind each purge was immense and very impressive. My moaning, from the pain of the contractions, had turned very suddenly into a deeper, guttural grunt.  My husband likened this to the noise a camel might make - though I'm pretty sure that for the most part, my labour was pretty quiet. There was no screaming. No shouting. No swearing. Just the odd bit of grunting as my body powered on to push out baby out. As much as I wanted a nice relaxing hypno-birth, where I could breathe my baby down and out quietly and peacefully, my body had other ideas.

The midwife that took over for the delivery recognised the sound I was making. She examined me immediately and concluded that I was, as I suspected all along, fully dilated and about to GIVE BIRTH.

Finally I was allowed some gas and air. Hallelujah.  Gas and air. Entinox. My sweet, mouth drying friend. You will see me through this....for all of ten minutes, when it was swiftly taken away from me and I was forced to go it alone.

My beautiful baby boy @ 2 minutes of age

The big weigh-in. All 7lbs 10oz of pure Barker power.

My gorgeous boy enjoying some skin-to-skin time with mama.

I spent close to an hour turning myself inside out and suddenly my little baby boy slipped out from his dark and warm home and came flying into the cold, bright light of the hospital room. At 00.02am on the 26th April, 2012, his grey, slippery body was placed on my chest and I greeted him for the first time, "hello baby". My husband cut the cord that kept us as one and our baby finally became his own little person, my little Charles Henry Buddy.

***

From the moment I was classed as being in 'established labour' to the second my son was born, little over an hour had passed. I'd walked through the hospital doors 6 hours earlier convinced my labour was progressing well, and quickly. My inexperience allowed the medical professionals to take over and intervene - albeit only slightly - which only slowed us down. I'll never know how quickly Charles would have been born if I hadn't been made to lay on a bed for two hours; I think all things considered, he came quickly enough. Even with the slight set back.

I trusted my boy and my body all along to do the 'right thing' and get him here well. I didn't expect it to be so fast - who does - but this enabled me to, at the very least, have my drug-free birth [forgive me if I don't include two cocodamol tablets as 'drugs']. And while I didn't get to calmly splish-splash around in a water pool, gently breathing through each contraction, I did get a beautiful healthy baby boy in record time for a first-time-mama. And to the young midwife who didn't believe me, pah, egg on your face! I think midwives would do well to pay more attention to the women they are caring for. Some of us really are in tune with our bodies/babies and perhaps many more women could deliver their babies safely and positively if these women are heard better!

But what an experience. What an absolute honour to have part-created this amazing little person and be trusted with the responsibility of keeping him safe and well for 9 months as he prepared to come and join us. And then to hand over wholly to my body, to trust my body to bring him to me safely; such a humbling and life-affirming experience.

I know not everyone has such a straightforward labour but I totally trusted my body and had positive thoughts all through my pregnancy and I really believe that this went a long way to allowing me to enjoy the experience. I would highly recommend hypnobirthing for that reason alone. My labour wasn't easy and it hurt [of course it hurt!] but I am lucky enough to be able to look back on the experience fondly and with buckets full of pride.

Believe in yourself. Believe in the power of your body. Believe in nature. Believe in your child.

Happy half year birthday my sweet angel. Mama loves you. She loves you bad.

*Term used loosely..
**The fabulously graphic term my husband used to describe this moment..


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9 October 2012

Catching up; Round 2

Way back in August, my family and I took a trip out to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to celebrate my mother's birthday. It really has taken me this long to pull my finger out my a*se and edit the pictures and post them...somewhere along the way I got massively sidetracked! I wonder what/who by??

It was a sweet day, although I got massively stressed about Chuck not getting a nap... we had lunch together and then a stroll around the grounds and paid a visit to their awesome gift shop. So many sweet things in there for kiddies along with some pretty badass pieces of artwork. One day I'll make some purchases and will spend A. LOT. OF. MONEY.

The sweetest part of the day, for me, was that it was almost exactly a year ago to the day that my husband and I came to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to get our latest Rob Ryan acquisition signed by the lovely guy himself. It was our first gift to our unborn child and we met my sister and her boyfriend here on that day too. But what made this latest visit sweet was knowing that this time it was my sister who was about to embark on the most adventurous journey of all as she was at about the same gestation as I was on my visit the very year before. Knowing a little about the road ahead I was feeling very excited, humbled and a little emotional for her.










It's pretty awesome looking back at these pictures. It makes me realise how many things slip by you in the blink of an eye when you become a parent. I mean, how did I not notice my son was going completely bald?? He's been very busy since then, working hard on growing it back. That boy will have one badass head of hair. Eventually. You mark my words!!

xoxo

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19 September 2012

The return of... Whingy Wednesdays

CHBB at 20 weeks looking rather special. Something for him to complain about when he is old enough..

I thought it was high time I brought this old feature back into play. I needed a place to air my grievances during my pregnancy - pregnancy made me a little angry at times - so I created Whingy Wednesday's in order to contain my complaints and stop me from getting carried away. I decided to stop the feature after a few posts as I calmed down considerably once I was well into my second trimester but I've found as a new mama I can do what i do best again and find a couple of things to whinge about; mostly sleep deprivation and sore boobs.

This time I'll try to strike a balance between complaining about motherhood and highlighting the sheer joys too, because let's face it they far outweigh the negatives. I'm thinking a Marvellous Monday, or Fabulous Thursday... Or something along those lines might be in order to keep the equilibrium.

You can remind yourself of just how miserable I can be by catching up on my previous WW below, enjoy! ;)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
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8 years on..


8 years ago today I embarked on a new, and in my opinion risky, relationship.... I started dating my best friend. This was a big decision for me as I was terrified of ruining of brilliant friendship; little did I know that 6 years later we'd be walking down the aisle together, hand in hand, as husband and wife.


We've been pretty busy having fun during those 8 years and for the last year or so we've been working very hard on creating and enjoying our new family. 


We're having to make quite a few adjustments but this little man has slipped very comfortably into our new life.


Life is good. Life is beautiful.

Happy anniversary MB. I love you.

xoxo


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18 September 2012

.. All in a day's work..


.. ..these are the tools I'm having to employ to get through breastfeeding these days. It seems my breastfeeding issues just won't subside. From recurrent mastitis, to nipple blisters and more; I'm struggling to make it through the day on little/no sleep whilst enduring the side effects of defunct breasts.

I'm blaming myself, a mother's prerogative, for this for no real reason other than the fact that I'm the one doing the feeding. I'm feeling like I'm failing Charlie in some way because I can't seem to get through a month without another breastfeeding problem and his lack of sleeping through the night only exasperates the issue. And this too, is obviously my fault. Or at least that's how I feel. Surely there's something I should be doing? If only I knew what it was....

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31 August 2012

Charlie B @ 4 months

Look how busy my boy has been! Unbelievably he is now 4 months old. I haven't been great at documenting our journey here but I have been busy snapping as many moments as I can [much to his annoyance] on my phone.


Charlie is whizzing through his 4th month of life and is picking up new skills left, right and centre and it's been exhausting. The growth spurt/developmental leap that babies go through at this stage of life is pretty mega. They are learning and changing fast and it has a huge impact on their temperament and sleep pattern for several weeks and all of these changes come at a cost. 

To me. 

Mostly because so much change makes for an unsettled baby which makes for a lot of long nights and early mornings and if I am honest; I AM TOTALLY AND UTTERLY KNACKERED. 


The sleep deprivation has started to take its toll on me and whilst I'm hoping the worst of it will pass quickly, the exhaustion is beginning to effect my ability to enjoy my time with my boy. Thankfully we are headed off on holiday in 7 days' time and, as we will have some family and friends with us, I'm hoping I can sneak off for a few 'catch-up' naps because enjoying my little boy is my number 1 priority.

Sleep deprivation aside though, it is incredible to witness this little boy figuring out his ever-changing world. With the ground and boundaries constantly shifting beneath his very feet; it's been a tough few weeks [for us both]. But each day the little man cracks a new skill. Bouncing, rolling, grabbing, pulling, twisting and turning. This little boy is getting to grips with his body and he is working out just what he can do with each of the chubby fingers, arms, legs and toes he has been blessed with. He is working on his voice -perfecting his high-pitched screech - ready to put into place once he reaches tantrum phase no doubt.

All of these achievements make me one heck of a proud mama. He is learning about the world and faces a new challenge each day and my heart swells when I see him tick another one off his list of achievements. But most of all to see him happy and smiling and so chilled [most days] makes me feel a sense of achievement. All I want is for my boy to be happy and pleasant and so far, he's just that. I cant take all the credit for this but I like to think I have played a part in it somewhere.

He is my proudest achievement to date. It is worth every sleepless night, every tear of exhaustion shed & every curse word muttered under my breath at 4am.

xoxo
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19 August 2012

This day last year...

..I found out I was going to become a mother. What an incredible journey we've had.

From this;


To this;



To this;


It really has been remarkable and a complete pleasure. My son is a joy [and an immense challenge] to behold, despite the utter exhaustion you feel as a new* parent, I wouldn't change a thing.

Chuck - you are my everything my sweet little boy. I love you.


*from what I hear, this exhaustion thing might last a little longer than 'new' parenthood. ho hum.
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9 August 2012

Catching up..

..while my little one sleeps a lot [during the day only] I thought I'd try and catch up on the last 3 month's worth of fun. it'll be sporadic and random - we have 1000s of images in some kind of crazy order to sift through - but you should be able to get an idea of the kind of fun and frolics we've been having together. I'm starting with a couple of snaps from father's day. Hopefully I'll be able to expand on this visually as I know there are some images that are mysteriously missing..namely ones of my two boys together enjoying the day..but for now a couple of snaps of the gift that my boy got his father for his very first father's day.....




MB was lucky enough to have a son who knew about his penchant for spicy, sticky, flavoured meat. So CB was very pleased to have stumbled upon the California Rancher range, found via the ever popular NOT ON THE HIGH STREET

Mummy helped out a little by getting a card for CB to dictate a message into, she might have helped a little with the wrapping and purchase of the gift too!

Needless to say we didn't waste any time enjoying the rich flavours of this box of goodies. A meat feast was enjoyed by all that evening.

nom nom.

We think Papa Bear enjoyed his first father's day.

xoxo

ps my favourite is the oaky & smoky. Makes a bad-ass chilli...mmmn
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8 August 2012

Today's the day my little boy became a...

....British citizen. How proud am I?


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25 July 2012

Happy birth-day

I can hardly believe that 12 13 weeks ago my little boy, Charles Henry Buddy Barker, arrived into our world turning everything on its head. During that time I've really wanted to share more about our journey here but, as any new mama will testify, life with a baby has a different pace to the one you become accustomed to as a child-free-adult. Even now, as I'm writing this post, I know I wont get it finished before my sweet child wakes and demands to take my* time off me - and this post will go and join the several other posts that have been gathering dust in my 'drafts' folder since 'Scrobble' was born...


Charles Henry Buddy @ 5 minutes of age


Not that I mind. I don't mind. At all. In fact, sometimes I secretly want him to wake up so he can entertain me. But getting used to the changes that a baby brings does take some getting accustomed to.


For the last 12 [now 13] weeks Charlie and I have been finding our feet, both together and individually in our new roles. We're both still learning but we've gotten ourselves to a nice place**. One where we understand and respect each other. We know what each other needs. Just about most of the time.


Charles Henry Buddy @ 12 weeks of age


I'm very lucky in that I have a super pleasant, happy little boy***. He's head strong though and knows his mind. He's impatient and has an insatiable appetite. He loves his sleep [even though he hasn't quite gotten to grips with sleeping through the night. Yet.]

He is rather like his mother. Aside from the sleeping through the night thing. Before Charlie arrived that was something I had on lock-down!

He is strong, a fast learner and grower. He is most certainly in a hurry to grow up. He surprises me and makes me smile each and every day. He is a total chatterbox. And a very clever little boy.


Happy birthday my sweetheart! Mama loves you. xoxo

And what a wonderful day it is to be celebrating my little boy's 12th week, the very same day that my sister receives this life-changing picture...



...of her 12 week old baby, the one that's nestled inside her body. She's following in my recent footsteps and is now on the journey to become a mother. I'm so excited for her. No-one can say it'll be easy but you can be sure it will be one damn fine and rewarding experience. Motherhood is all I dreamt it would be and more and my little Charlie-boy will have a little friend to play with sometime in February 2013.

Life is sweet.


Life is beautiful.

*a none existent phenomena 
**man alive I spoke TOO soon. From the conception of this post, to the eventual completion of it, things have changed! Drastically. The tardy arrival of the British summer, teething and a growth spurt put us to the test. My boy has been so out of sorts as a result and it's been very upsetting. There have been tears [from both parties] and sleepless nights. We're trying our best to plough through to the other side and get back on track.
***gah. See above.
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4 July 2012

Feelings of inadequacy

Chuck @ 10 weeks

Is it normal to feel as though you're not enough for your child? I've been wondering lately if I am providing enough of what Charlie needs. Am I providing him with enough stimulation? Am I interesting enough for him? Am I teaching him the right things? Why don't I know more nursery rhymes? Am I helping him to develop in the right way?

I can't really answer the questions above, and I guess it's common for new-moms to question themselves. I just hope that my boy is happy.

Here's what I do know;

I am providing Charlie with more milk than he could ever wish for.
am allowing my boy to sleep whenever he so desires [hopefully this is a good thing].
am giving him cuddles and kisses in the bucket load.
I do love him more than anything.
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22 June 2012

A letter to my boy.


Dear Charlie,

My sweet boy. I wanted to tell you how I feel about you. The shortest way to tell you how I feel about you is simply; I love you. But this doesn't do you enough justice, the way I feel is so much more than loving you.

For the last 8 weeks - and for 9 sweet months before that - I have been with you. 24/7. Getting to know you. I've watched you sleep and fretted when you've cried. I've marvelled at the speed of which you're learning new skills and I feel so proud of you each time you accomplish each of the challenges you have to overcome each day in your tiny, tiny world.

Each day my heart has begun to swell more and more with love and affection towards you. I think about you all the time and I miss the feel of your warm little body while you're sleeping. Your smile and laugh is infectious and they make mine and Papa's heart bounce around with joy inside our chests.

You are a living, breathing source of ultimate happiness for us both.

As each day passes I watch your hair thicken and darken; your eyelashes growing longer by the day and I wait to see what colour your eyes will be. Brown like daddy's, or blue like mummy's? I'll put my neck on the line and say they'll stay blue - like your mama's. I listen to your slow and soft breath as you sleep; your angry cry as you tell me you're hungry and your snuffles and sniffles as you feed. We especially like the goose noise you make during a feed.

You are already displaying some of your future personality traits and I sometimes get glimpses of what you may be like as a little boy. You have an insatiable appetite just like your mummy and you are impatient and slightly grumpy from time to time (something else you'll have picked up from me). You are easy going and happy. You are determined and brave (like your daddy). I predict you will be a very happy, giggly little boy. You are strong. You are bright. You are gorgeous.

There will come a day when you're too busy living your life to be thinking about your gushing mummy, but I can promise you that I will always be thinking of you. You won't fully understand what I'm trying to tell you for a very long time, perhaps not until you have a boy or girl of your own.

I'm blessed beyond belief to have such a delightful boy. A son. My son.

But you are so much more than a child to me. You are an extension of me, you are part of me and you carry my heart with you wherever you go. You have made two very happy people happier than they ever thought possible.

You are one loved child.

All my love & more,
Mama Bear.
xoxo
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4 May 2012

May I introduce to you...

...a very special little boy.

Please welcome my little boy; Charles Henry Buddy Barker.

Chuck Barker @ 6 days old

Our little darling child was born at 00.02am on 26th April 2012 weighing 7lb 10oz (addaboy). The birth was quite the experience but it went very well with no complications and he was born very, very fast. It took a little while to sink in but I'm pleased with how it went and very VERY proud of my body and my boy for working so well together to bring him to us safely. If it were left to my brain then who knows how it would have gone.

I'll be doing a birth story and a week in the life of my boy post very soon, once we've got the bank holiday masses out of the waym, and maybe after starting to get to grips with being a mama. Life certainly isn't the same.

I've never felt so full of love and terror at the same time. This is going to be one helluva ride.

I'm in love with another Barker boy.

xoxo
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24 April 2012

Dear Scrobble...

mr. fox & sock monkey eagerly await the arrival of bebe b.


...where are you my love? we're now two days past the day you were due* to come meet us.

mama thought you might have been beginning to make your journey to us this morning. i woke at 5am to interesting pains in all the right places, they kept me awake [and reconsidering my natural birth plan] for a few hours. i was nervous but excited!! but a few hours later you went all quiet again. you settled back down and carried on with your busy, wriggling day as normal.

oh well. papa and i are happy to wait for you. you do seem pretty happy in my belly and we know you'll be worth the wait.

just get here safe and sound, we have two little cuddlies waiting to meet you! they're sat in your bed keeping it warm and safe from naughty little kitties. sock monkey and mr. fox have asked me to tell you they're very excited to meet you too.

we can't wait to play. all of us.

p.s your papa tells me he can't wait to see your squidgy little face and i cannot wait to see his face when you arrive. you guys make my heart melt.

xoxo

*please don't be quite as tardy as your mama was....i made nana p wait three extra weeks for me. that's 10 whole months of pregnancy :-/ woops. naughty mama..
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22 April 2012

Due date

I know due dates come and go, and it seems mine is no exception. Today is our little bebe's due date and so far, bebe b is still tucked up all cosy inside my body. Who knows when that will change, or how quickly, but needless to say, papa bear and I are very excited and more than ready to meet and greet you.

I don't quite know what to expect so I understand any hesitation on scrobble's part. We promise to look after you though bebe; no need to worry about that.

I wonder how long it will be before i'm posting a picture of your little face on here......

We're ready for you sweetie.

xoxo
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18 April 2012

what mama & papa did before bebe b - part I

photo courtesy of my girl hazel at thinkfoto. taken at 33 weeks pregnant.


a little over a year ago my boy and i lost one of our best friends [read more about that here]. his name [one of many] was bigdog.

he was a cat.

the most superlative, beast of a creature you've ever seen. he had the build of a black bear and the heart of an angel. he was our boy and we loved him dearly. his death was sudden and tragic - his departure was unexpected and terribly painful to us.

bigdog had been with me for a long time before he became part of our family. i'd been best friends with him since the tender age of 14. half my life. so when i lost him i really felt like i'd lost a part of myself. i was totally bereaved and i felt like i'd had a part of my heart had been cut from me and tossed in the ground. or the chest freezer - but that's another part of the story. one we wont go into here...

it took me a long time to heal from this loss and to begin to feel whole again. and back in june i decided to convert some of that emotional pain into physical pain. by getting a tattoo that nodded towards my unending love towards this animal. the permanence of which a symbol for my love and pain at his passing.

no. i didn't do a Miami or LA Ink and get a cat tattoo!

this tattoo was planned. i had been planning on getting a new tattoo to cover an old, tired tattoo for many, many years. but i'd struggled for an age to settle on the subject matter and style. i just wasn't inspired enough by anything to actually go for it. until bigdog went away. then i had a reason to do this. by turning my emotional pain into a transient, physical pain i [unintentionally] helped myself heal. the pain literally bled out of me and as soon as the appointment was over i started to move on.

the tattoo you see in the image above is my new tattoo. each element of the tattoo has a different significance but it all comes together as my ode to my husband, our marriage and our love for, and memories of, our favourite furry boy.

the tattoo isn't actually finished. i wimped out after 3 hours of outline and shading... i left the appointment feeling positive about coming back in a little over two months to have the tattoo finished. BUT, someone else had plans and a matter of weeks before i was due to go back to the tattooist and have it completed, i found out i was going to have a baby!!!

now, hopefully common sense tells you that it's not the best idea to have a tattoo whilst pregnant. this meant postponing the completion of the tattoo for at least 9 months. at that time i had no clue what effect pregnancy would have on my physically, or even if the tattoo would survive the barrage of stretching and pulling on my skin. or if i'd even ever be able to have it finished!

thankfully i can say that there hasn't been any changes in that department so when i do go back for it filling in it should still be in pretty good nick..

the only difference being that i'll have a baby. with me. out of my body and here in this world. our little child, the one that is about to become a person separate to myself. and you know what, if you've seen my pinterest pages, you'll have got the sense that one tattoo isn't going to be enough for me - it's clear to me that there will be a scrobble addition in ink to my person. eventually.

****

if anyone is interested, my tattoo was done by the talented dave @ black crown tattoo in leeds. if you're tempted by some ink. get in touch with him - he's a pretty popular guy though so booking in advance will be required. man's got a waiting list and you better get in line cos i'm going back there as soon as i can!!


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teaching bebe to be a good person #1


People of the world can be so disappointing.


Sounds pessimistic doesn't it? I'm well aware of how down beat that sounds and I'm not one for negativity, least of all imparting that feeling onto my child-to-be. But as you may have seen from my earlier posts -  the things they dont tell you about pregnancy part I and  part II, I've been pretty disappointed with the complete lack of consideration that the public emit in the direction of pregnant women.

I'm not talking a general lack of chivalrous behavior from a gentleman, or unfounded expectations of having doors held open for me and coats thrown over puddles for me to step over. I realise I'm only pregnant & I don't need special treatment - as such - but a little bit of common courtesy wouldn't go amiss. So those who 'barge past', 'walk into' & 'cut up' really blummin well annoy me. They could be excused for having not realised, esp when I complained about this earlier in my pregnancy. However, with 5 days* left to my due date, my bebe bump is no longer inconspicuous. SEE PICTURE ABOVE**

It's pretty damn noticeable PLUS the amount of people that LOOK at your bump, then decide you're moving too slow to le.

Just to have enough manners to not walk, with shopping bags in hand, right into your stomach is would be a start...

The point of this moan though is that this experience has made me realize how ignorant the world is and I don't just mean towards pregnant woman. I've noticed this time & time again for all kinds of people; elderly, disabled, families with prams or small children. The list probably goes on.

It's made me so much more concious of my surroundings and as a result I'm deliberately making an effort to be more polite & considerate and it is THIS information I want to pass onto to Scrobble***.

So, my dearest child, you'll probably get fed up to the back teeth of your mama getting at you about being aware of your surroundings and to be courteous - at all times, to ALL people. But it's an important lesson, one that will make you a nicer, happier and more deserving person. I apologise now bebe-child if mama bangs on about this to you too much!

* F.I.V.E D.A.Y.S - what the?
**How could you not see THAT coming at you!? I ask you.
***Another learning from this experience is that I should probably stay well AWAY from shopping malls whilst pregnant. I cannot be trusted not to lash out with my tongue or fists in my current state.
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15 April 2012

im your biggest fan


with only 8 days left till my due date* i thought i ought to come good on my promise to scrobble and write his/her very first note. it's a short and sweet note to my bebe - one of many more to come. i plan on saving up all my notes to give to scrobble when he/she is older. i'm keeping what's inside to myself until i pass these onto scrobble but the sentiment on the front of the card should give you a general idea of the kind of words that will sit inside this notecard, unread, for many years.

i was actually lucky enough to win this card on the 'lucky friday' giveaway from hello lucky - the awesome letterpress studio, founded by Sabrina and Eunice in the US. i've long been a fan of their work and have ordered a few bits [like this fabulous book & this terribly cute onesie for the birth of my friend's daughter] from their site previously. they have a branch based in the uk thankfully [the US is so far away...] and i have to say, the service i received was pretty-damn-awesome so i was as pleased as punch to win one of their giveaways. i think it may be one of the very few things i've ever won!

scrobble - i really hope you will like your card and note from mama b. i canny wait to give it to you.

xoxo

*i have long predicted [hoped] that scrobble will be born before the estimated due date [22nd april]. we had a mini sweepstake between myself and MB's parents and my guess was for bebe to be born tomorrow [15th]. that's looking increasingly unlikely now as we're one minute into this day and there isn't a great deal going on in the labour department. that said things have started to change; a sudden increase in boob-age for one, along with many a twinge, tweak and moan [mostly from my husband due to my ever increasing bad-mood. sorry honey!] so you never know! bebe may be making its journey into this world.

then again, maybe not. BUT i have been pretty sharp on my bebe gender predictions in the past and my husband always accuses me of making it up as i never SAY IT OUT LOUD. least, not whilst he's listening! ;)

so, i am saying it now. i think this bebe will come before the 22nd april.

if i'm wrong. i'm wrong. s'all good.

we'll see.
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