Time Out

9.5 Weeks / Borth Beach / 01.07.14 plottingJonny has taken Sam out for a walk to give me some time alone. It feels foreign. It’s hard to imagine a time when it was just me now. I’m still on half alert for his whimpers, not quite relaxed as I should be as I bathe in the unusual sunshine on a deserted Welsh beach. I can move freely. I can lie down. I can use both hands. I can shut my eyes and drift away.

Or else write down some of the things I’ve been meaning to over the last month. mama sollybaby  I do love my little limpet. The way that he needs me to reassure him and tend to his every need in this new and scary world. I just needed a little break. Some me time; it’s been a while. It’s not quite the same when J has him at home. If I’m attempting a nap upstairs, I’ll always have an ear out for the inconsolable squarks that will inevitably make their way back to my boobs. Either that, or it’ll be my boobs making their way back to him. Even after two and a half months, I don’t want to miss out on a second with my family. daddy2People call him the happy baby. In the supermarket and in Bumps and Babies – he totally charms the ladies with his gleeful eyes and gummy smile. He coos along with conversations and bursts with the most exuberant squeals of laughter. He loves his baby gym, his mobile and the knitted birds that fly above his changing mat. He’s beginning to bat at his toys and at five weeks rolled from his tum to his back. He’s a strong little guy, standing tall on his legs, his head always up and looking about, soaking up what he sees. We have the best conversations. Every morning we sing our song ‘today is going to be a lovely day’, clapping his hands and each evening we talk about what we’ve seen and done whilst I rub his belly dry. He never fails to laugh when I go ‘blululululula’, poking my tongue out at him. zzzzlegs He can also scream a lot too. Which incidentally seems to be what my family are mostly witness to although it changes from day to day. I’m still learning the balance between sleep and waking, and am not yet able to distinguish between cries. There are times when i find myself trying desperately to muster smiles of encouragement from somewhere in the depths of my exhaustion. It’s not easy. But I still can’t get over it. He’s ours. He’s real. I can feed him with my rubbish small boobies that stole the confidence of my teens and twenties. He nuzzles into me, his tiny dimpled hand clutching at my chest while his eyes (that have turned into deep pools of Guinness) fix on mine or stare intently ahead as he concentrates on the job in hand. He sounds so satisfied as he gulps, latching on with an intense little frown while his jaw works with an instant urgency. It’s just so damn sweet. Despite the night-drenched tops as I still can’t seem to get the supply right, I am savouring it all. face sleepy I have had quite a few soppy reality crashing down on my head moments of late. Tears a plenty. Lily’s second pregnancy in How I Met Your Mother set me right off. Then there was the time that Chris Evans played Travis ‘Why does it always rain on me’ as an ode to Glastonbury. I’ll always associate that song with the angsty coming of age GCSE summer – my dad bought me the album as a treat during the balmy evenings of revision. It was a hot summer, 1999 (in my memory at least). My window in the back bedroom always open to the scent of jasmine and cigarettes, the sound of my parent’s chatter and no doubt incessant MSN dings of some Dawson’s Creek fuelled over-inflated conversation on my PC.

I digress. Hearing that song hit me super hard as to how far I’ve come. How I’m actually doing what I was waiting for then. I was finding my way to the path that would lead to my baby in my arms. Fifteen years on, tears were falling upon his fluffy head whilst I sang a wobbly rendition and swayed barefoot around my bedroom. Call me over sentimental but hey. Blame it on Dawson’s Creek. family

Say cheese!

5.5 Weeks

On Friday I lay Sam down in his baby gym to see if we’d get any sort of reaction. We had tried it a few weeks previously and it didn’t make much of an impression. Low and behold, on seeing his menagerie of friends dance above him my little bubba’s face lit up with a big old grin.

1st smile

This, sammy, is how you melt my heart completely. He kicked his increasingly-chubby lil chicken legs, bashed the dangling monkey with the dexterity of a teeny blindfolded drunk man and cooed like he was having the time of his life. Maybe he was. Oh Sammy.

It’s the first ‘proper’ milestone I suppose. Getting him to take his first bottle last week was pretty special, especially for papa to be able to feed him. As was his first bath and the time I got him to hold on to his rattle (proud mama sent photo straight to Nain). Smiles are different though. They come from him. From inside his mysterious little mind, he’s showing us that the time he’s having with us isn’t so scary. In fact it’s pretty fun. It’s a special feeling to get feedback.

The smiles since have been limited. It’s been a tricky week and any waking time seems to have been spent crying (incidentally, we saw his first and only solitary tear roll down his cheek on Tuesday. We very nearly joined him it was so cute and devastatingly sad at the same time. My heart strings…). Thank goodness for dummies (tut tut) and pram rides to calm him down. This tetchy time fell over both our birthdays and Sam conveniently slept his way through Jamie’s Italian, Kew Gardens and the Tate Modern.

 

cutouts

 

sun

stpauls

hayward

ice cream

 

kew1

mirror bushes

For the last two days, between the squawking, he’s wanted to feed constantly. I’m not complaining. Although it can be testing at times, snuggling on the sofa all day long, stroking his furry head of rapidly receding hair is a pretty fair swap for going to work in my book. When the evenings beckon, bringing with them the fearful prospect of another sleepless night, I pinch myself and remember what it is I’m getting to do. The chance to cuddle this needy little marmoset all night long will be over far too soon. So I’m enjoying it while I can.

hugs

Saying that, I was particularly afraid and exhausted last night. Ten o’clock rolled around and he’d fed nonstop all day, I had no milk to express for his 11.30 bottle. That meant me staying up and probably waking up at numerous times over the night with the lack of a full tummy. However, after feeding him briefly before midnight, he slept soundly until the sun came up. Well done samsam. After four hours of solid sleep, there was no way I could be mad when the little face that looked up at me from his crib was all gummy grin and crescent eyes. It’s now 7.30 and from the sofa where we’ve decamped to let papa sleep, I can see blue skies behind the curtains. Any sort of routine we were attempting to start is out of that window but my little boy is a happy one. I’ll take it all thank you.

I am Sammy’s Mummy

Yesterday I had a voicemail from the doctor whilst pushing my sleeping baby round H&M. “Hello” it said, ” This is a message for Samuel’s Mummy”. Woah. I listened to it again and my chest inflated for the millionth time this month with a giant bubble of this-can’t-be-real. That’s me.

It’s been three and a half weeks since our incredible little boy arrived with the dawn chorus. Not a day has passed when I haven’t asked if this is really happening. I’m not going to wake up. He’s ours to keep. He came from nowhere and he’s ours. To keep.

 

Home from hospital

Home from hospital

sleeping

His minature face we could stare at forever more. This tiny person is so loved. When his Daddy had to go back to work last week, he described the painful clock watching as waiting for the all the best Christmasses rolled into one, when you know you’re going to get the present you always wanted. This bubba has turned us into a soppy pool of sugar coated besottedness. But I think that’s to be expected. We were pretty soppy anyway.

jonny

First family outing

First family outing

The days are flying by. Far too fast. It’s a little bit like when we went to Japan. But on steroids. That desperate need to soak up and  squeeze every single moment and each dainty hair on his fuzzy shoulders into any remaining crevices of our saturated memories. I don’t want to lose a thing. To be honest, the poor chickpea has had my iphone waved in his face for a shameful percentage of his life thus far. I am pretty grateful for instagram for allowing me to bottle just a few of these moments (I’ve tried to restrict it to one post a day but sometimes this proves tricky. He’s too damn cute).

We’ve learnt a lot so far. At first Sam wouldn’t sleep on his own. It’s still not often that he’ll let us release him from our warmth. The Mothercare swaddle blanket has been our saviour, repaying us with at least a few stretches of overdue slumber. Other times at night he’ll lie next to me, which, with his warm little whisps of milky breath and farmyard squarks against my cheek is fine by me.

Snuggles at dawn

Snuggles at dawn

Those noises though. Sam will grunt and strain louder than I thought possible from such a tiny creature. In a screeching competition with the local foxes, he wins hands down. Coupled with the teeny little whimpers, each sound makes me melt a little bit more.

I love the way his little inky eyes seem to be taking in so much. He’s a calm baby so far. He can be so still (apart from when we strip off his nappy). With just his little peepers darting about drinking up what little he can see. I’ve never felt a love like it. Total infatuation. When said peepers settle on my besotted gaze, I honestly feel like I’ve been picked out of an enormous crowd by a super-celebrity. Like, this perfect little guy knows who I am. Me! I hope he likes what he sees.

me pocky

First bath

First bath

Sam loves a bath so far. I hope he will be a water baby like his daddy. His skin is so soft. J described it something like a marshmallow having a baby with a cloud. No, really. It is.

toes

sammy1

He’s good at eating. I am so fortunate to be able to breastfeed this warm little bundle. I was so sure I wouldn’t be able to and to have him snuggled up and dependent on my care is like nothing else. Jon was an immense help when it came to it. Turns out he had listened intently on that breastfeeding NCT session (far better than me) and was able to gently direct me in my exhausted cluelessness. I will be forever grateful. It’s the little things like that, along with the endless supply of support, sweet words and glasses of water that make me so appreciative of my husband. This man has been amazing, working tirelessly keeping the house spic and span when I am unable, knowing that it would make me happy. Watching him with Sam it’s obvious that there couldn’t be a better Papa. His patience knows no bounds and I have surely tested that of late.

Sad Sammy

Exhaustion and elation cohabit in this house. Naturally we’ve snapped at each other from time to time and the three of us have shared tears on the bed when the overwhelming emotions got too much.  The enjoyment I get from caring for my dolly rise far above the bleary eyed haze of jet lag wobbles that occasionally show their face though. It’s hard, yes. But I’ve never felt more confident and comfortable doing something in my whole life. At last, Sammy. Taking care of you alongside your daddy is what I was made for. I’m completely in love with my family. I really am complete.

 

Due Date!

40 week sausage fingers

40 week sausage fingers

We’ve made it!! Today I am 40+1 weeks. It’s a funny old feeling, playing the waiting game after so long. A definite state of limbo. I want to keep myself busy and take my mind off the fact that Pocky is showing no signs of arriving any time soon. Yet at the same time, I’m exhausted and the thought of doing anything isn’t very appealing. Doh.

There seems to be a pattern. I’ll find my energy one day, go to the shops, do house things and keep busy all day and then the next I’ll be wiped out and incapable of moving. I think I need to find a balance.

Yesterday, 23rd April, the big day when everyone expects the baby to promptly make it’s grand entrance to the world, was a bit of a right off. I don’t know if it’s the hormones or the anticlimax of the day coming round without a peep. I’ve always been convinced that this little bubba will be late; I’m sure it will be well into May before we see its sweetly wrinkled face. With parents like Jonny and I, it’s hardly likely to be the most forthcoming little bean. Why move from the familiar quiet and cosiness of the nest?

So the DD came around after nine months of anticipation. I’m lucky to say it’s been nine months of excitement and steady happiness. I’ve loved being pregnant. Yesterday however, the hormones decided to do a u-turn. The tears were switched on throughout the day. I woke with swollen wisdom tooth (I’m nearly 31. Why now?) which makes opening my mouth a chore. Following this I had to resend a past Etsy order that had gone missing somewhere between here and California. Whilst wrestling with the new printer, the washing machine decided to malfunction and I found myself on all fours with pots and towels trying to avert the flood on our new floor. Thankfully, my dear mum and dad came swooping in to save me armed with a sandwich and orders to lie down after a pathetic cry for help.

My 40 week appointment with the Midwife was at two thirty (every one of my appointments has been at this time, I can’t help but but be suspicious of my current dental issues). I wasn’t too keen on this lady, with her abrupt and passive manner. She informed me with no hint of a smile that Pocky wasn’t yet engaged which was highly abnormal for a first time mother and that if my waters break I must immediately go on all fours and call an ambulance. Slightly scary. After listening to the heart beat without saying anything for rather a long time, she declared that I must be transferred upstairs to be monitored as it was a little fast for her liking.

I tried not to worry during the hour long wait to be seen upstairs. This time though, the midwife was full of warmth and reassurance that it was perfectly fine not to be engaged. It was a massive relief to hear that Pocky had just been playing and the new readings were fine. Phewee. Whilst strapped to the chair my hero of a husband walked through the door having left work early (incidentally sending pocky’s heartrate right up again). He gathered me up and took me home to the sofa, where I was supplied with an easter egg in front of The Help. With Buddy joining us for snuggles, it was just what I needed.

Pineapple time

Pineapple time

Today the tears and patheticness seem to have passed. Hooray! I will drink all the fresh pineapple smoothies I can, starting in bed. I will bounce on that birthing ball and take some short walks whilst the skies are clear and the birds are singing. Pocky is ok, thank goodness and will come in his/her own sweet time. I must learn my first lesson of mamahood: patience.

Nine months

It’s been nearly nine months. A long and busy winter has passed and the blossom is in bloom. We’ve prepped and moved into our family nest, we’ve eaten more carbs and chocolate than ever before and we’ve completed the entirety of Breaking Bad. What do we do now? We wait. We enjoy our time together - the calm before the storm. And we finish that nest. Although there are surely no more shelves for Jonny to build.

nest

nest2

We found out late last August. Managing to get through five positive pee-sticks before allowing ourselves any amount of confidence in the answer. We stood together in my childhood bedroom, my head on J’s shoulder, squeezing hands and occasionally peeling away to sneak a peek at the emerging line. It was indisputable. Time and time again.

I was a heady mixture of stunned, ecstatic and petrified of what people’s reactions would be. We were living in my parent’s house at the time, I’m a freelancer, a worrier and I still look (and often feel) about 15. I’m also prone to doubting myself. I also couldn’t allow myself to digest it in case it wasn’t true. It is all I’ve ever wanted. Ever. Our tiny poppy seed growing my tummy.

We had one evening of it being our little secret. A date night in Chinatown. A perfect bubble of joy and disbelief. Grinning at each other, me asking Jon if it was real over and over. I remember that evening to be basked in a golden glow of summer, pink lipstick and London in its best light. We strolled through the streets, stopping to look at the wallpapered packaging in the oriental supermarket windows. With the bursting anticipation shared between us, it felt like we were right back on our travels again. As happy as can be.

Where Pocky got it's name

Where Pocky got it’s name

happy

southbank

I plucked up the courage to tell my Mum and Dad the next morning, after a few hours of coaxing and reassurance that I was being an idiot by Jonny. Of course they were over the moon. Another grandchild to add to their bundle. I cried. Mum went straight upstairs to fetch the knitted treasures she’d been saving for this very occasion. She even brought a Mother & Baby magazine back from Tesco to celebrate.

It does seem like an eternity ago. We’ve crammed a lot in, including about fifty litres of white emulsion. Luckily, I escaped with minimal sickness and despite a few worries (this baby is not a wriggler), we’ve almost made it. Here’s hoping and hoping that the rest of it goes okay. Whilst the impending labour doesn’t frighten me, I just want to know that our Pocky is safe.

A new adventure

Jonny and Sarah

Jonny and Sarah

The last blog we wrote together was about an adventure; a shared journey into our unknown. We were finding our way from country to country and working things out as we went. Trying our best to collect the experiences before they slipped away from our distracted memories.

In about a week and a half (possibly two weeks after that, or maybe even before) a new one will begin. Once more, we’ve read guide upon guide, spent probably too much money on ‘essential’ supplies, packed and repacked the bags in anticipation. This time though, we’ll be taking someone else along for the ride.

Pocky!

The little companion who reassuringly wriggles in my belly, pushing the laptop away as I type. It’s impossible to believe that soon we will meet the bubba, whose name we still can’t find (we’re pretty sure you’re a boy though, Pocky).

It’s our biggest adventure yet, one I’ve waited for my entire life and cannot wait to share with Jonny. Together. I hear things will change like nothing else. But that’s okay! Hurry up, tiny* baby. We’re ready for you :)

*I hope