Monthly Archives: September 2016

30th September 2016

Baby Mabel is nearly two weeks old – and time is passing so quickly…

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-14-48-38I’ve had a huge bruise on my hand for the last two weeks. Two failed cannula attempts in the hospital (when mine and Mabel’s heartbeats were racing too fast and I needed a glucose drip) and then a successful one by the resident anesthetist meant that my entire left hand, wrist and lower arm turned an angry purple, then impressive shade of bright blue, then a tender, throbbing brown.

It was a horrible bruise – but it became a reminder of what had happened so recently. If I felt wobbly or overwhelmed when we left the house, I’d glance down and be reminded that I had been in a hospital bed just a few days before.

‘Be kind to yourself’ whispered the bruise. ‘Take it easy. She’s still so very little.’

Nobody could see that it hurt whenever I sat down, nor that my legs shook with weakness when I walked with the buggy. Nobody knew that I had to brace myself for pain in the shower that morning as the water hit my sore nipples. Nor that going for a wee made me wince in pain.

But everyone commented on that angry bruise. It was like I was wearing a badge that read: ‘BIRTH CAN BE BRUTAL.’

But funnily enough, I haven’t minded having that bruise on my hand for the last two weeks. It has reminded me that we are still so early in that precious newborn bubble – and how we must enjoy every second, as it will pass all too soon. After all, it is sometimes hard to remember Mabel is only a few days old. Hard to believe that we were holed up in that hospital room just a week ago. Hard to believe now that we are out and about again, slotting back into our old routine. That bruise reminded me that she was still so little, still so recent. A reminder to slow down and enjoy it.

The bruise is now fading, with just a few faded patches lingering on my wrist. And soon, it will be gone.

The disappearing bruise isn’t the only thing reminding me that time is passing by so quickly. The sugar pink “IT’S A GIRL!” helium balloons that were bought to our apartment by my friend when Mabel was just a few days old are starting to crumple and drop one-by-one. The flowers my husband’s parents bought us when we returned from the hospital have been replaced by a new bunch as the petals started to fall. And at breakfast this morning, when the waitress asked how old Mabel was and we replied proudly ‘two weeks tomorrow!’ she didn’t give the familiar shocked face followed by doting smile – but instead replied “there’s a 10-day old baby on a table outside!”’ And just like that, she was no longer the new girl.

It’s all a reminder of how fast time passes when you have a newborn in the house. Time set to fast forward. Time that whizzes at such an alarming rate that you wish you could dig your heels in and enjoy it all for just a little longer.

Because when it isn’t your first baby, you know you will blink and suddenly she will be rolling, crawling, walking and talking. Moving onto weaning; no longer totally reliant on me. No longer jumping in shock when she hears a noise, no longer smelling like a newborn. No longer fitting her newborn clothes, as they are stashed away in a box.

It will be over in a flash.

But this time, I’m not letting myself feel sad about any of this. I can’t wait for Mabel to be running alongside her brothers. I can’t wait for her to follow them on her own scooter on a Friday morning alongside the beach. I can’t wait to see the person she will become, the way she will look, the things she will love and hate. I can’t wait to see her grow up and become a little person in her own right. I can’t wait to get to know her. I can’t wait to experience all of it.

And until then, I will enjoy every second of this precious time. I will drink in her newness. I will capture every second on camera. I will write blog posts to look back on in years to come. I will study her tiny hands and feet, still wrinkled and curled. I will commit it all to memory.

All of it.

Until time catches up.



18th September 2016

Dear Mabel, yesterday was your birthday.

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Dear Mabel,

Yesterday was your birthday.

We waited and waited for you to arrive, but you were so comfortable tucked up in the warm peace of my bump. But whilst you kicked and jabbed and hiccuped to your happy heart’s content, I was struggling. I didn’t know it at the time, but your sizeable weight was the reason I was in pain walking, lying or sitting. Turning over in bed made me yelp. Every step felt like my waters would break from the pressure. Contractions started and faltered. Every night I timed them with a mixture of nerves and excitement, only for them to stop as soon as I climbed into bed for the night.

But still, we waited.

Your cot sat in our room, ready for us to swaddle you inside. The hospital bag lay ready on the floor,  ready to pick up in a hurry. Your clothes washed and folded in your new chest of drawers.

We were ready. So ready. And so excited.

At my last obstetrician’s appointment, we made a decision. If you hadn’t arrived by Friday, we would check into the hospital at midnight to be induced. I wanted you to come naturally, but you were big. My body was getting to the end of what it could do. I needed to sleep again, to walk without pain, and to deliver you naturally without complications. You would be born on Saturday 17th September. We had a date.

And as the day drew closer, our excitement grew.

The 3rd January seemed such a long time ago; the day we found out you were growing inside me. We’d had so long to get ready, yet it still seemed surreal that we would be meeting you within days. A girl baby. Our last baby. The last pregnancy. And the beginning of our future as a family of five.

Friday arrived and I knew it was the last time I’d kiss your brothers goodnight as a mother of two. As a mother of just boys. As I kissed them, I inhaled their sleepy scent and was taken straight back to the day each of them was born. Both induced births, we had waited for them too – and it had been so worth it. So very worth it.

As I kissed them, I was reminded about the fluidity of time. About how i would soon be kissing you goodnight as a two year old, as a four year old, as a little person excited about their next day at school – a person that seemed so far removed from the jabbing, kicking, hiccuper in my womb.

We sat down to dinner and I could barely eat from excitement. Fireworks started up on the beach for Eid – the last session of five nights. And for the first time, your brothers heard and came running out their room. We watched the night sky light up, sparkle, boom and crackle together – together, as a family of four, but so nearly five. A celebration of you nearly being here.

And then it was time to throw those last things into the suitcase, climb into a bath to watch my bump dance for the last time, and then make our way to hospital. Joining the traffic as just another car – but wanting to shout in excitement ‘we’re off to have a baby!’ as we pulled away from our car park. Not just another car – but in our eyes, the very most important car on the road.

And so, it began.

I will save your birth story for another time – but you are here now.

Yesterday was your birthday.

You are here, with your beautiful chubby cheeks, scarlet bow lips, and warm, milky newborn smell that we are drinking in like a drug. Your brothers have already come to meet you twice and stroked you in awe, in amazement that the giant bump strapped to their Mummy’s front really did turn into a baby sister. Just like we always promised.

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They blinked in amazement, they smiled with twinkling eyes, they stroked you affectionately, and then they pressed buttons on my hospital bed and wailed with hilarity when I was nearly thrown off it with force.

Chaotic, but wonderful – as we were together, for the very first time, as a family of five.

My beautiful Mabel; yesterday was your birthday.

And how special and truly precious that seems right now.

Now we are beginning our life together, as a family of five.

Mummy xx

Photos by Natalie Robinson Photographer



6th September 2016

These last few days of pregnancy…

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 13.27.59As I sit here with a giant bump, switching between bouncing on a birthing ball, trying to do some last minute work, and day-dreaming into thin air, it has occurred to me that I am approaching the very last few days of pregnancy.

The very last days that I will feel a baby beneath my ribs.

The very last days that I will heave myself out of bed and waddle to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

The very last days that I will have to say ‘decaffeinated, please’ or cover my glass with my hand when a waiter approaches the table with a bottle of wine.

The very last days that I will have to pull a maternity dress out of a wardrobe, while wishing I could just climb back into my pyjamas.

An era of my life, which I have enjoyed so very much, is coming to an end.

I will probably never carry another baby (I say probably, because the husband occasionally mutters something about a fourth and I am not entirely convinced he’s joking) – and the truth is that it feels a bit strange.

I will no longer need a drawer where I stash my pregnancy things ‘for the next time’ like a doppler, a support belt, and a TENS machine that has never even been taken out the box. I can pass it onto another lady who is about to start her journey or add them to the ever-growing pile of baby things that I intend to sell.

I can delete the files on my laptop instructing me what to pack in a hospital bag, along with the documents I saved from my antenatal class five years ago about delightful things like perineal massage. I won’t need those things anymore. Better to save space on my laptop for school reports, photos of children splashing in the sea, and packing check-lists for our next long-haul adventure.

It is nearly over now.

And when the time comes, I will waddle into that hospital ward a pregnant mother, feeling youthful and fertile and full of excitement – and if all goes to plan (god willing), I will waddle out again a few days later with a newborn baby and the chapter of my life that was all about growing babies finally shut for business.

Shut.

For good.

I don’t know how I’ll feel on that day – but at the moment, I don’t think I’ll feel any sorrow. How could I? Not when I have the fruits of nine months of pregnancy sleeping in a car seat next to me, as we make our way back home to plant big kisses on our waiting boys.

I know how lucky I am to have my two – and nearly three – little people in my life and I don’t take it for granted for a second. But pregnancy is hard and my body is finished – and despite feeling kind of sad that I will never again feel a baby prod and kick and squirm inside me, I feel it is time to say goodbye to that.

I am ready for it to be over.

And the future fills me with excitement. Two boys and their little sister, growing up before my eyes. Time to focus on them, without having to say: “Mummy is tired today, can we just watch another episode of Max and Ruby?” The ability to jump out of bed during the night at a moment’s notice if they need me – and not have to kick the husband awake to run to their aid. The energy to take them outside and let them play, knowing I can chase my spirited middle child if he decided to do a runner.

I am ready to be myself again.

And enjoy them.

The three of them.

So pregnancy; you have been so very good to me. You have given me things I always dreamt about – and so much more. I have loved growing, feeling, and waiting.

But I am ready for it to be over.

I am ready to meet her.

I think, at least.



1st September 2016

Questions to ask yourself before you plan a third baby….

14159943_10157427272385607_1192498732_n1. Where will the child sleep?

Remember when you spent hours planning and decorating that nursery for your first child? Oh the pastel colours, the wall décor, the personalised prints, and the pretty bedding! Lucky first born. And then you did the same for your second, albeit on a smaller scale (or at least planned to re-arrange the furniture so they could share a room). But get that positive pregnancy test with your third – and one of the first thoughts to flash through your mind is ‘do you think the baby would mind sleeping in the airing cupboard?” And 9 months on, you’re still wondering…

2. Do you want to drive a bus?

It is feasible to fit three car / booster seats across the back seat of some cars, of course – but if you don’t want to play referee to fist fights as you drive in the fast lane of the motorway, it makes sense to buy a bus. Well, I say a bus, but that’s mainly because I’m still convincing my eldest child that it’s all fun and games in the back row and is exactly like a bus journey. And thank goodness for parking sensors now I am a bus driver. Thank goodness for that.

3. Do you want to be outnumbered?

Two adults. Three kids. I can’t get my head around how that will work. Not yet. I need more time.

4. Are you prepared to be heavily pregnant with two crazy humans running around?

You’ve done it before with a toddler / small child and remember it being brutal towards the end – but you managed, right? What you didn’t consider is that with double the fun at home, the exhaustion is also doubled. Especially when the oldest one no longer naps and thinks it’s funny to poke you in the eyes when you nod off on the sofa at lunchtime.

5. Have you checked the hand-me-downs?

Having a third baby seems like it won’t be an expensive thing, as you have hand-me-downs, right? Until that is, you check through the boxes in late pregnancy and realise the vests are now yellow, the trousers have holes in the knees, and the moses basket has been squashed under a box for the last 3 years and is now flat as a pancake. Oh and so many lovely new things have gone on sale since you last shopped for a baby – so an entire new wardrobe, stroller, cot, and bouncer won’t harm anyone, will it? (ker-ching).

6. Do you like holidays?

It’s a while until we attempt to travel as a five-some – but I recently did some investigations into the additional costs of another bum on an airline seat (not that she’ll put her bum on a seat for a while, but you get my gist). Let’s just say that after snorting my cup of coffee in shock, I have decided we will probably won’t be travelling again until at least a couple of the children have left home (and that’s not even taking into consideration the extra luggage…)