With Marlowe fast approaching 6 months young I felt I needed to mark this milestone with an entry and as I have yet to pen a 3 month post I figured a week early is perfect timing!
I haven’t shared her birth story so I will cover that too (look away now for anyone who is squeamish) as I wont be holding back. I would never describe myself as an ‘over sharer’ not consistently anyways but i do have a certain catalogue of subject matter that I go all out on every detail with or at least open up and share the facts that I think are important/might help someone else reading it feel like they’re not alone!
Thats what i find great about reading blogs and having open chats with people anyway, and I often think its our duty to share birth stories with other women because too much is left unsaid and kept in some 1920’s virtual box marked “ladies don’t talk like that” which to me is utter bullshit, it doesn’t make you ‘classy’ because you’re too prude to admit that these horrors are real!!!! Yes there’s always a time and a place and knowing your audience is always a bonus too but it really does make me wonder what must be going on inside peoples minds when they keep their birth/motherhood stories secret!
People only ever really think of the physical aspects when considering pregnancy and labour but often Birth and being and or becoming a mother is a major adjustment mentally, its often a turbulent time with some massive anxiety fuelled moments, so being that it was world mental health week this past week i felt what better time to share!
I’ll also share why we chose her name as i’m a bit of a hippy at heart and things don’t get by without some kind of meaning, I think its puzzled some people as I don’t always go into the full story (see theres that selective over sharing again lol)
She is still in our room next to me where i think she will stay for another month, we’ll get her room looking like a room first and not a dumping ground half way to a nursery, I’m going to post some pictures of little areas of progress within this revamp too as although our house is far from insta worthy at best with its military carpets, curtains and 70’s sinks in the bedrooms charm… If I photo those elements out, the content is on point… I promise 😉 We’ve been in this house the longest so far in our ‘military patch career’ and I think thats why I have tried to make it more like the home I would have if we lived in our own, its hard to really want to lay down roots when you know you will be moving. The first posting we had I only lived in for 9 months and had to relocate alone with a baby…. the struggle is real !
I will at some point do a blog post based around some products I have found really useful this time around and not just for babies and mums, some beauty bits too as i updated my make up bag recently with some ‘drug store’ winners for a quick full face. I find this is vital to my day as without it I just feel blurghhh and it sets the mood off to a good start if you’re game face on and ready to crack on (even if its just a day of feeding and house chores!)
I know life coaches put a lot of emphasis on making your bed in the morning when you get out of it, well I’d like to add to that a full face of make up and a pint of water (before the coffee…..always coffee)
Marlowe’s birth story:
I had an elective c section booked in for Marlowes birth as having had an emergency section with Luna who weighed 9lbs 10oz and was back to back in labour I just didn’t fancy my chances of success a second time around (i’m 5 ft 3.5” just of note…)
My labour with Luna was very very painful being that she was back to back, very large and very active and I went into a hypnobirthing state (i’d never practised hypnobirthing i just found this naturally was the only way I could focus past the pain) so knowing what that was like and what the outcome would most likely be I couldn’t get in the right head space to remain positive about birth the second time around. For me if the heads not in the right place you’ve lost before you’ve even begun.
I am very lucky to have a wonderful sister who happens to be a midwife who has looked after me throughout both pregnancies with my gorgeous girls and has been there to hold my hand quite literally through surgery and hand over her nieces to mummy and daddy. I realise how lucky I am in this not least because all our friends and family call upon her services in their time of need but because she truly is the best and I am at my worst for feeling out of control, vulnerable and anxious in a hospital environment.
Although we are super close we have always been chalk and cheese in this area, she was always destined for this career … I was not!
When I found out I was pregnant I went for an early scan and found out I had a 9cm ovarian cyst that was apparently not of concern as it was fluid filled and not tethered (creeped me out to know it was a floating orb!!) I had had some pains that felt like period cramps or muscular aches that I was telling myself was nothing until I found out why!
Again lucky enough to have had an amazing consultant offer to do the c section herself, she said she would if possible remove the cyst at the same time. win win … no outpatients app for me a few months after the birth!!
I must say now that although I’ve said my head wasn’t in the game to convince me I could try for a vaginal birth I didn’t ‘want’ a c section, it just seemed like the best possible outcome for me with my specific case as the evidence. The lesser of two evils if you like but in all honesty a total catch 22… I was so sure I would end up with a baby getting stuck and having to have a section anyway if I tried for a vaginal birth and the trauma that that brings again primarily mentally to me wasn’t viable, but then I had been absolutely gutted to be told I would be having a c section with Luna and the recovery was long, difficult and painful. I’d had a lot people say that from experience their recovery with an elective was really very good so I was open minded that maybe second time around it might not be so bad but the sort of person I am i was preparing for the worst.
My husband had actually been hoping that his ACL surgery was around the same time as my section so that he could be ‘home’ more…. he realises now just how insane this thought process was!! luckily his surgery happened 3 and a bit months later!
So anyway I made the final call of an elective section after some interesting attempts to persuade me out of it by some consultant midwife who couldn’t give me stats relevant to me, just textbook stuff which was disappointing to say the least.
As the day approached I found it useful and bizarre in equal measure that there was quite literally a day marked in the diary that we knew ultimately our baby would be born. The ease of being able to sort childcare for luna was the silver lining really, we don’t have anyone in our family who doesn’t work so being able to organise work around this date was actually pretty amazing.
in the weeks running up to the date I remember being very concerned with how luna would take to not being the only one anymore and having to share mummy and Daddy, she had been so desperate for a sibling and so thoughtful and caring of the ‘BUMP” but at three the reality can be something altogether different cant it! She’s a very confident child but she is a homebod too and she likes to know whats what in every detail in order to be happy.
I did all the standard issue things bought her a gift from us and from the baby, we stayed at my mums the night before as its closer to the hospital and that way mum could bring her in to meet the baby when all was good to do so.
Cap’n, Sis and I had to be at the hospital at 7am and at that time Luna wasn’t waking up before then so i left her a note on the dining room table with her new toy… my nerves at this point had calmed a little i think adrenaline was already starting to take over because I had been worried sick that I might die and leave her in this world alone. Thats a harsh and stark statement and thought process I know and although I know technically she wouldn’t have been alone, as a mother and the primary carer thats how is feels and you’ll know if you’ve ever felt this fear. This had never entered my head when I was having her as before you become a parent you feel sure that everyone can cope without you (or most people do!) but thats the thing with being a mum, the never ending guilt and worry.
I’d been quite poorly throughout the pregnancy nothing major just anaemic (which i had been with luna too), antibiotics for a chest infection and then some more for an eye infection. I seemed to be a magnet for whatever was floating around so spent a lot of the 9 months feeling really pretty shitty and now the sudden fear of death in child birth!!
I’d spoken to my sister who had said it was because we had lost our father suddenly in between having luna and this baby so it was all the more heightened awareness, and that to be honest was all encompassing. My fear of hospitals as an entirety i felt was, if possible worse at the start of this pregnancy. But anyways, I wrote the note to leave with a gift for luna, we left and on it went …. along with the sexy surgery stockings!!
We were given a room to wait in and I got changed out of my clothes and into the even sexier gown, for what seemed like an eternity as I didn’t know which order I would be going in out of the 4 women due to have their sections that morning. (they were busier than usual so had one more lady… not music to my ears at all already on tenterhooks!)
Various people came in and out for chats and I was drifting in and out of sleep when i heard that some poor sod had forgotten we weren’t allowed to eat and had had a full english that morning so I had jumped the que.
I go into mute mode when I am nervous and I had fully committed to this as we headed down to theatre, the anaesthetist who had already added to my worry was making small talk and all i could manage was a forced smile, nod and or shake of the head. Old school elton john was playing on the radio as I watched them all scrub up thinking in my head OMG its happening I’m going to be a mum of two in less than an hour!!!!
The spinal was something I had been the most nervous about in terms of the surgery because with luna I had been in labour for over 24 hours at the point at which that occurred and just remember being exhausted, sick and too out of it to really think laterally. This time I would be completely ‘fine’ and it would be, in a sense, a serene atmosphere. Sis had said not to worry as this time it would be a spinal as opposed to the epidural and thus not as big a needle etc etc.. so I was focussed and away we went, obviously it did hurt but the part I found the worst was trying to slouch and push my back out when your natural reflex is to jolt up straight.
I remembered the rest of the process from last time as it was happening, the inflatable socks… even the speech about how if you could feel it you’d probably like it cos they massage your legs yada yada. Anyways the checks to see when the spray got ice cold were taking a while longer than usual so I was thinking I bet cap’n is wondering whats going on (they don’t let partners in until you’re ready to roll)
When they got icy up to boob height we got the green light and in he came, then the lovely consultant made the first incision and boom there it was …. the fact that I could not only feel everything but was in absolute agony as the spinal hadn’t in fact numbed my abdomen what so ever. I remember bringing my legs up to my chest and wondering how the hell I was able to do this but who cares because this seriously hurt like hell, the weirdest thing though that i am still a little amazed by even if i do say so myself was that my quick evaluation of this situation (and i’m talking instant) was that I just needed to grizz it out and try and dumb down the agony because the only option from here would be general anaesthetic and that to me wasn’t an option. There was no way I was being put under and missing my baby being born, now i mentioned earlier the adrenaline … yea so this is basically what carried me through the next 20 minutes. I did actually feel sorry for the anaesthetist at this point because she kept saying ‘i really think we need to go for a general’ and in between gasps I just kept saying no get on with it, then squeezing my eyes shut, groaning and willing them to get the baby out quick.
So after again what felt like forever but roughly 20 odd mins, out she came! I heard her crying and my sis handed her over for skin to skin, she seemed absolutely tiny compared to her big sis at birth (6lbs 15.5oz) we had some lovely pictures of us taken with the view that these pictures could be how we remember this event and not the way i’m telling you it happened!! I’m as glad as i am amused about this now because they are beautiful photographs but they portray such a false impression its hilarious and just goes to show you can mask anything you like in a still image…. the only thing giving it away was that in one image the entinox mask is in the background near my head!
So baby was out, pictures of family taken and then they started again to remove the cyst… it was at this point that I couldn’t focus through the pain any longer, the drive was lost as my beautiful baby girl was safely here and I had kissed her little face. I remember agreeing to have a general at this point and crying but it all happened so fast the next thing i remember was being wheeled to recovery. I remember being concerned with holding things up the other women even though there wasn’t really much i could have done about this!
Needless to say they got the cyst out too (it had grown to 10cm!!!!) and we were now proud parents of not just one little lady but two!!
Mum brought Luna in to meet her new baby sister and they brought a gift that luna had chosen at the shops on route (a softer than soft jellycat cat) Luna had already been planning that she would tell the baby she loved him or her when she would meet them for the first time and this was exactly what she said.
With elective sections they have a faster recovery plan to leave hospital sooner than may be necessary with an emergency section. This is a 24 hour leave time so when visiting hours were over they all had to head home and luna was understandably upset to leave me and the baby there alone. I was sad to see them all go too to be honest! the recovery ward in the hospital last time had been the worst experience ever for me personally. I found being so close to two other women, one with a particularly distressing situation with a baby coming off whatever drugs she had been on during pregnancy I found really impossibly difficult. Not only that but on this particular ward the staff seemed to be non existent and if and when you rang the bell for assistance it was met by what i felt to be annoyance that you’d disturbed them somehow asking for help! Now I am a huge supporter of the NHS its a wonderful privilege that we have and i do not take it for granted, I am proud of my sister and the service and level of care that she offers women of all ages, walks of life etc, but as with all large establishments you get your good eggs and bad eggs and I think for me the recovery ward in the hospital that I had my girls needs some attention. The staffing levels within the NHS as a whole are dire yea I know this but that wasn’t the issue here it was the attitude of more than one of the people working the night shift on this ward that make this part of labour and recovery harder than it need be. I filled in my feed back questionnaire stating as much because particularly with Luna is stayed with me for a long time mentally.
The first night alone with your baby after birth is hard enough as it is,without feeling like you are putting people out when its their chosen vocation to be right there helping you!!!
But anyways I’d experienced it once before so I was prepped for what awaited and sure enough the same detail.
As far as Marlowe was concerned she was ‘a typical’ just like big sis, fed, fed, cried, fed and fed some more so I spent the night holding her, willing myself not to fall asleep and feeding her. unlike last time when I refused the morphine based pain relief because it was making feel out of it (then wondered why i felt like i had been run over by three trucks) I kept up to regular pain killers and braved moving about overnight more. Keen to get home the next day as planned.
We had a long list of names again but again didn’t feel like we could instantly chose one that suited. I felt a strong affiliation with two and cap’n was keen on two others.. his choices were Rebel Rae… but I just didn’t feel this dinky little babe was a rebel. I remember the look in her eyes when she was handed over to me just being very intense, she has a look about her that is how they say “all knowing” a thinker, not a rebel.
So we gave it a few days and in the end agreed on Marlowe. Marlowe means driftwood and sometimes I just tell people this part and leave it there, enjoying the confused look of “why the hell is that a selling point… calling your child driftwood” but the longer story is that I had two miscarriages before she came along and to me driftwood is the treasure gifted by the sea after a storm……as she is ours.
We call her Mars for short sometimes and although it was never intended to be so, Luna and Mars has a ring to it for sure.
I feel like her character has remained that of someone who is a thinker like i say, she investigates things intently especially now that she can grasp things you offer her she will hold cuddle cloths and fixate on every part with intent that i don’t recall luna ever having.
Some of my oldest friends who knew my Dad said when they first met Marlowe that she looks like my Dad and I do see myself as a baby in her, saying that, I see her Daddy too, more so than I ever did luna at this age. Its just fascinating isn’t it how they change and morph and become themselves, I love it.
Theres certain cliches that people have down pat referring to newborns or babies in general and the one I’m stuck on at the moment is not wanting her to grow, I whisper to her all the time stay small mars, mostly in the mornings when I pick her up from her nap and she’s warm and smells so amazing (that baby smell that cant be matched) I cuddle her and wonder if this is the last time I’ll have a little one. The rate that she is growing seems faster than it ever did with luna but she’s racing after her big sis everyday so it always will i guess.
Things have been easier this time around for sure, for starters my recovery from the section was miles better than the first time, we didn’t have any trips back into hospital with a 2 day old baby for an overnight stay! Yea she’s been just as much a ‘sicky’ baby with potential reflux/milk intolerance that made breast feeding hard in the early days. I had the ‘one better boob’ that i know is very common but with a potential hard and fast let down it was making feeding uncomfortable painful and just humiliating as one side was permanently at least 2 cup sizes bigger than the other. I was having to express fore milk off before every feed on that one side otherwise Mars would just throw it straight back up or have an explosive nappy due to the milk protein in the fore milk. This made it quite hard to leave the house for any length of time in the early weeks but actually we had nowhere to be and that suited us down to the ground!
I definitely didn’t run around like a headless chicken this time, moving into a new house with a two week old baby last time was probably not great (though unavoidable as anyone else military will appreciate) Having the luxury of already being settled at home meant we could just chill out this time and adjust to becoming a family of four in our own time.
I would never refer to myself as a ‘routine mum’ but I do like to follow a rough pattern of eat play sleep if time and schedule allows for this to happen (best at home) if we have a day where we don’t have to be anywhere past the school run then Marlowe will nap in her cot while I get on with household stuff, and jewellery work, I never really had this with Luna for one reason or another I spent a lot of her early months dreaming of having a cleaner!!
Adjusting to a family of four has been better than I could have ever dreamt and I know how lucky and blessed we are to be in this family. Marlowe absolutely adores her big sister and visa versa, I swell with pride when I see this everyday and feel comforted that its a relationship I know and understand like second nature as I too am lucky to have a sister.The girls have a close bond in their wider squad also, having three cousins whom they are as thick as thieves with and nothing makes me happier than this.
Marlowe is such a joy, she’s a happy, chatty, giggly little doll and although I don’t want her to grow up and stop being my littlest baby at the same time I cant wait to see more of her character as she explores the world.
Six months in from my personal and physical perspective the changes are:
that I have hair regrowth where I had lots of loss and looked like I was going bald/heavily receding right on the temples which is great when you have long hair that is worn in a top knot lets face it 98% of the time to keep it out of the way of the small people! My skin dare I say seems to be evening out a bit… I had terrible spots and oily skin this time around which I couldn’t recall from post partum with Luna. I still have about a stone of mum weight to lose before I am back to being ‘me’ but I’m not in any wild hurry to get back to that. I would love to return to my beloved pilates reformer classes but time and energy doesn’t really allow for that at the moment. I know I will do it as it is something that is important to me but whilst breast feeding my body tells me I need things and I listen to it!!
I need to start respecting sleep a little more seen as Marlowe is usually sleeping through I need to start going to bed earlier than I do but i often find myself in the awful cycle of ‘evenings are the time to get shit done not sleep’ mindset. We live very busy lives and although we wouldn’t change it as its ingrained in our make up, there are times when we could do with a break!