Plans For Baby 2: Feeding

Today I wanted to talk about my plans for feeding Baby 2. A quick recap of the Baby 1 feeding story is that when I was pregnant, I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself but ideally wanted to breastfeed. I breastfed Alexandra for almost a week after she was born. It was tough! The first issue we had was that she was hardly making any effort to feed, she would latch properly sometimes but then just sat there doing nothing – not particularly helpful! So we were topping up with expressed milk/formula from the second day I think and everyone at the hospital was spending an inordinate amount of time trying to help her start feeding properly. I’ve heard a lot of women say they didn’t feel supported to breastfeed while staying in hospital but I felt exactly the opposite, everyone spent so much time trying to help me.

I’d like to think we would have got over the first issue if it hadn’t been for the second: the fact that I was so poorly, trying to feed (or do anything) was horrendously painful. I had a scan which meant I had to express and throw all of my milk away for 24 hours which was the most disheartening thing ever – especially as I was expressing a ridiculous amount. It got to the point where I was crying every feed, which probably wasn’t helping Alex with her feeding issues (I’d probably be a bit weirded out if someone was crying at me every dinner time) and the midwives said to me they were concerned she wasn’t putting weight back on and could become jaundiced again.

So Dylan and I had a chat and we switched to formula and that was that. (I realise that was not a particularly quick summary!).

This time round, I would still like to give breastfeeding a go. I think it would be easy (and probably justified) for me to say let’s just formula feed and avoid adding any more stress on to the situation. But I know for me, I would feel incredibly guilty if Baby 2’s newborn days were less dramatic than Alex’s and we hadn’t at least tried to establish breastfeeding. I will still probably feel an element of guilt if we end up formula feeding, but at least I’d have given it a go.

Also I think there’s an element of ‘making it fair’ in my mind. I tried to breastfeed Alexandra, I want to at least give my second child that chance too! I know it’s ridiculous but they’ll never know, it’s not like he’s going to turn round to me in years to come and query why I fed his sister for a few days but didn’t with him, and equally it could work the opposite way. I could end up breastfeeding him for a year and then he would be treated differently to Alex.

I am firmly, firmly in the camp of ‘fed is best’ and really can’t stand the *minority* of breastfeeders who are so judgemental about formula feeders, as if they’re pouring vodka down their baby’s neck. But I do want to give it a go this time and it would be lovely for it to last a little longer than the first attempt.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Take Two: Week 28

28 weeks first time round and second time round.

If you’d like to read my summary of the second trimester of my pregnancy, you can do so here – I will be putting up other posts during my third trimester but intend to do a weekly update as I did with my first pregnancy.

Looking back on my Week 28 report with that pregnancy (available here), I was complaining of feeling huge and my back aching, we were halfway through our NCT antenatal classes and I’d just bought the blender I’d use when Alexandra was weaning. This time round, I don’t feel as huge (picture above for comparison!), some people have said I’m carrying around the same size, some have said I look a little smaller this time. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been this pregnant before (and I was 28 weeks with Alex in June 2015 so not really that long ago!) or perhaps because I weighed more last time (around the same when I got pregnant with Alexandra as I did at 24 weeks pregnant with Baby 2).

Either way, while I don’t physically feel massive, I’m definitely feeling the effects of carrying another low baby around all day. My back is really sore, I don’t remember it being so bad last time but maybe it was. Getting off the sofa and bending to do anything is a huge challenge and I’m looking forward to having a comfy night’s sleep at some point post partum. I’m really trying hard not too moan to much about it (apart from to Dylan who unfortunately has to put up with me yelping around the house a lot) because quite clearly there are bigger issues going on, both in pregnancy and more widely, than a sore back.

No NCT classes this time which is sad because I really can’t imagine having had Alexandra without the benefit of the classes and the friends which resulted from it, friends who we still keep in contact with and love dearly. But we figured we already knew what they were going to tell us this time, we’re still in touch with our course leader so could just ask her if we had any different questions, it would involve trying to sort childcare for Alex multiple times of an evening and we didn’t think we could like the new group as much as we liked our first group.

I had a midwife check on Monday – if I’m not at the hospital in any given week then I have to see the midwife for the blood pressure, wee and bump checks. All went well, I’m measuring fine, baby’s heartbeat is great and he’s very active, my blood pressure is reassuringly low and there’s no protein in my wee. Basically the second that BP starts creeping up and protein appears, then it’s a blood test and panic stations if my platelets have dropped.

So far, so good though.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Take Two: Second Trimester Part Two

A growth scan at 26+6 showed Baby 2 flexing his guns!

Saturday marked a key point in my pregnancy: 28 weeks which is the start of the third (and final!) trimester. Although it feels like a significant date nothing actually happens – baby is still growing at the same rate and doesn’t magically have a spurt or start doing something fancy in there to celebrate. But still, the third trimester is when all the action happens ie getting the baby out at the end. If you’d like to read my Second Trimester round-up from my first pregnancy, you can do so here or you can read my summary of weeks 14-21 of this pregnancy here.

So how’s it been? Well, right now my main complaint is that the bottom of my back is absolute agony! I can rarely get into a comfortable position and when I do, manoeuvring myself out of it is just ridiculous. I remember my back aching when I was pregnant with Alexandra but I don’t think it was this bad – it’s probably not helping that I’m hefting a toddler in and out of her cot, in and out of the car and up and down from the table all day. I’m just counting down the days until such a time when I can actually do any of that without doing lots of swear words very loudly in my head.

I’m definitely feeling tired but as I mentioned in my previous update post, that’s fairly normal anyway with a toddler on the go all the time! If you compare it with Alex’s pregnancy too where I wasn’t getting up til late, then having a couple of hours’ nap in the afternoon then going to bed early, I’m doing pretty well.

I feel like we’re just in limbo now, we know 37 weeks is the end goal but every week we could be in a position where we need to get the baby out now. In a lot of ways I feel wholly unprepared for Baby 2’s arrival – like how the hell do you look after two small people at the same time? I took Alexandra and my nephew Zachary out for an hour on my own the other day and managed it fine although it takes SO long transferring two kids and their paraphernalia into a pushchair! But doing it full time? Help!

We’ve got most of the items you need for a baby like clothing, nappies etc and we’re picking up the car seat this week but I still have to finish my hospital bag and make sure all the plans are in place for Alex’s care while I’m in hospital.

As I did the first time round, I’ll probably update every week now until I have baby – which could be eight updates or could be a case of telling you next week that there’s a new arrival in town. Gulp.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Take Two: Second Trimester Part One

21 weeks pregnant with baby two.

If you’ve not yet read my Take Two: First Trimester post then you can find it here or if you want to read my summary at this point in my pregnancy with Alexandra, then click here.

I’m now a couple of weeks further on but when we actually announced our pregnancy online, I was 21 weeks which marks the halfway stage of the second trimester and the point where, even if you were to go overdue, you’d be halfway through the whole pregnancy. Being as we’re going to be delivered at 37 weeks if not before (post coming up soon on the medical side of things), we’re already past that point which is nice.

The second trimester has been fairly good for me, as had the first if you read that update. I haven’t had any sickness or nausea and I’ve been able to pretty much carry on doing all the things I was doing before in my normal day to day life. This is a huge relief as, although lots of women have it much worse than me, I was particularly exhausted throughout the whole pregnancy with Alexandra (we didn’t know then but my illness was working its magic on me!) so I think myself and Dylan were both concerned this one would be even harder with the added complications of a toddler to look after.

Yes I do feel tired, but I do anyway! And show me the mother of a toddler who feels perky and bright all the time! I’ve also been struggling a lot with my lower back/hips, more towards the end of the day if I’ve been doing lots of jobs or walking. Years of bad posture and spending a lot of time haunched in front of a computer has meant my back isn’t great even when I’m not pregnant, and having babies who like to sit as low in my belly as possible the whole time adds to it! But having had a few days with Alex where she’d lodged her bum in my ribs and I could barely breath, I would much rather them be low than high!

I’ve definitely been feeling very emotional and have had a few moments where I’ve had a small meltdown at the enormity of what we’re going through. But they’ve been few and far between and I think I’d be entirely subnormal if I didn’t have those times – most of the time I’m carrying on being upbeat and positive, every day we get through is a day closer to 24 weeks and viability, and every day after that is a day our little boy has got bigger and stronger ready for delivery whenever that needs to happen.

We hit 28 weeks and the third trimester on Saturday, February 4, so I’ll be back to provide an update around then but of course will be posting in between.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Great Things About Being Pregnant

Exploring Wales

I feel like when I was pregnant with Alex, I focused a lot on the negatives. Mainly because I was fat and tired and grumpy. This time round I’m trying to embrace it a little more, although still ticking all three of those boxes. So I decided to list some of the good things about pregnancy:

FOOD. I don’t care that you’re not meant to eat any extra calories til the third trimester. I don’t care if there’s probably some study showing your kid will get better GCSE grades if you eat a diet of lettuce and grapes. I will spend the next nine months gleefully eating anything and everything that takes my fancy. I will without any regret send Dylan out to the shop for food when I want something we don’t have in (although I’m always very thankful!). I will not care about the scales one jot while I grow a child.

TOP TRUMPS. Nope I’m not talking about wind, I’m talking about the fact ‘because I’m growing a whole human inside me’ is enough to win any argument. It’s a valid reason why you should get the last cake or be excused from doing anything boring and/or tiring. Try as they might, your partner will never be able to better ‘but I’m carrying around your child for nine months AND THEN pushing it out my hoo ha’.

KICKS. There aren’t many times when I appreciate being kicked but being pregnant is one of them. I’m not gonna get all slushy here but there’s something a little bit magical about being the only other person in the world who knows when your baby’s moving around. It’s an incredible bond to have with another human.

HUSBAND. I like to think I appreciate Dylan and all he does for us most days but I think when you’re pregnant and you need a little extra help or perhaps a back rub or just someone who understands that you’ve gone absolutely mental because hormones and just lets you cry for utterly no reason and doesn’t back out of the room and/or leave you, that’s when you most appreciate that you live with someone utterly lovely.

SEATING. People always let you sit down when you’re pregnant. If they don’t then you need to get some new friends.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Growing Another Bump

Baby 2

This is the post I thought I’d never write.

I have talked pretty openly and honestly on a number of occasions on this blog about the medical advice not to have another child. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find the positives in having one child, relishing the fact we were even able to have Alexandra and trying to come to terms with the massive, massive things that happened last year.

I was almost getting to the point where it wasn’t such a big thing every day anymore. Sometimes I could go a day or two without thinking about it. But now our whole world has spun on its axis again!

I’m writing this on September 5, three days after finding out I’m pregnant again. Although it will be a lot longer before I actually post this, I wanted to get down some of the raw feelings and immediate reaction. We hadn’t been trying for a baby, in fact quite the opposite, based on the advice we had been given. Even though I was nine days late and feeling as sick as a dog, I was pretty sure the pregnancy test would come back negative and we’d all go on with our lives as normal. But it wasn’t. And then the next one came back positive too.

It was days after we’d thrown away our bouncer and high chair. All Alex’s 9-12m clothes had just sold on eBay that morning. I’d given away her playmat the week before. We had absolutely no reason to think we’d ever be in this situation. I was on the same method of contraception as I’d used seven years prior to trying to conceive Alex with no problems. I know nothing is 100 per cent but we hadn’t even considered a shock pregnancy.

Because that’s what it’s been – a shock, a panic, a crazy surreal dream. We have a very long and probably very challenging road ahead of us before we can hopefully bring a healthy baby (and a semi-healthy me!) back home. We know this is going to be a very hard ride.

The medical side of it started straight away with many calls to make and appointments to arrange. My medication has to be completely swapped while I’m pregnant and I’ll have daily Clexane injections (oh what a bitch they are!) until six weeks after baby is born. As I write this I’m due to go to hospital in two days, firstly for an appointment with my haematologist (who specialises in my condition) and haematology midwife (who I met a couple of times while I was in hospital about eight weeks post partum, she was great and spoke to me a little about bonding with Alex and all the other things I was worried about at the time) at the hospital where I’ll give birth (not surprisingly I’ll be a high risk case!). Then it’s over to the hospital opposite to see a cardiologist who specialises in obstetrics, who will look after the heart side of things while I’m pregnant. She’s a colleague of the cardiologist I was under immediately after my heart attack.

Of course, the absolute aim is for me not to have another episode of CAPS and, although we know my heart function may deteriorate during the pregnancy, for me to come out the other side without having a trip to intensive care! The other, just as important aim, is a healthy baby. When we were pregnant with Alex I, of course, worried about the possibility of miscarriage – as any expectant parent does. This time round it’s at the forefront of my mind. We were so incredibly lucky to have a healthy baby born after 37 weeks with no problems. Will we get that lucky again? Will we get to hold another precious little parcel and take them home and watch them both grow up together?

We simply don’t know right now. It’s absolutely terrifying and I have a huge knot in my stomach 24/7. All these months of worry, injections, heart scans, appointments, more appointments and everything else we have ahead of us will be oh so worth it if we get that second chance at being parents together. How lucky we’ll be this time I just don’t know. The medical experts can’t tell us. It feels like betting your whole life on the toss of a coin.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

A Labour Of Love


I want to start this post by saying a massive congratulations to my sister Henrietta and her other half Ben on the birth of their son Zachary. He made his grand entrance last Friday and I could not be prouder or happier! I am so excited to be an aunty and to watch the relationship between Alexandra and Zachary as the cousins grow up together.

Henrietta being in labour has reminded me of something: I am terrible at waiting. Even more so when it’s for something as important as a baby.

I’m the kind of person who is always early, I’ll get the train before the train before the one I need to be on, I’ll hang around for ages waiting for people, I’ll set my alarm super early if I know I need to be out (this is counterbalanced by Dylan who lives in a different time zone to anyone else in the world, his family actually look puzzled and shocked if he manages to get somewhere on time). If someone’s coming round I hover by the window waiting for them. I can’t help it.

So transfer that knowledge about me to the situation last week: Henrietta went into hospital on Tuesday morning, Zachary was born on Friday morning. A whole three days. Now clearly this experience was about three gazillion times worse for her than me as she actually had to do the whole ‘pushing a baby out your hoo har’ business. But at some points I genuinely felt like I’d rather go through labour again than be waiting for the news! At least during my own labour I knew what was going on (most the time. Pethadine is wonderful). During this one I had no clue.

I tried not to be that person that texts and calls every three seconds for an update because clearly that’s about the most annoying thing you could do. But I couldn’t help myself. If I hadn’t heard anything for a few hours I normally ended up messaging my mom who was one of her birthing partners.

I spent the whole three days jumping every time the phone went and then getting sorely disappointed when it was only Pizza Hut texting me about their latest deals (it’s always damn Pizza Hut even when you’ve opted out of their messages a dozen times and you have no clue how they even have your number). Then when I knew she was in active labour it was even worse! Having been through a labour myself it made it all the more nerve wracking for me, knowing much more than I ever did pre-Alexandra about all the potential pitfalls and complications.

But I guess those three days of being on edge made the good news even more sweet and all of a sudden I felt like the whole world had lifted off my shoulders! And getting to see him on his first day in the world was amazing, plus he was born on our nan’s 84th birthday so that is truly special indeed. It’s like it was meant to be.

Harriet and Alexandra x




My favourite pregnancy picture, nine days before I gave birth.

Tomorrow, Alexandra is 37 weeks and six days old. What’s the significance in that, you ask? (Well I hope you’re asking because I’m about to tell you so it would be a bit awkward if you didn’t want to know.) Well, I was pregnant for 37 weeks and six days so that means in a few hours she’ll have been in the world for as long as she was cooking for.

I mean technically that doesn’t work out right because you’re not actually pregnant for the first couple of weeks and because she was early the whole phrase I could have used of ‘nine months in, nine months out’ doesn’t apply – she’s not nine months til the 29th. But still, it’s quite weird to think about it.

In all the time I was carrying her, her little body was forming: her fingers, her toes (even the adorable one that bends behind the others, her organs, her skin, that perfect haircut she was born with! And yet really, despite all that growing she was a blank canvas at birth. It’s only in the last 37 weeks and five days that she’s developed a little personality (very nosey, smiley, boisterous around other babies (yeah she’s a bully!), loves her daddy). She’s learned to roll over, sit up, eat, laugh, make a variety of wonderful noises and so many other things in between.

It’s crazy to think back to my pregnancy, from that first day back in January 2015 when we found out Alex existed, through the extreme first trimester tiredness (poor Dylan sat on his own night after night while I slept from early evening til morning), the barfing, the first signs of a bump. Then it was an expectation things would be amazing in the second trimester (they weren’t!), finding out she was a girl, going off to Thailand six months gone! Then the final few weeks of waddling like a duck, having a persistent headache and then going into the hospital one morning to have my blood pressure checked and ending up having my newborn baby handed to me the following day.

Despite pregnancy seeming like the – longest – thing – ever while it was happening, it definitely feels like she’s been here with us for a lot longer than I was expecting her for. I can’t even imagine what life will be like and what she’ll be up to after another 37 weeks and six days have passed!

Harriet and Alexandra x

Now My Sister Is Growing The Bump

Alex looks just like Aunty Henrietta as a baby!

Alex looks just like Aunty Henrietta as a baby!

I think I may have mentioned in a previous post that my little sister is having a baby! I am very excited about having a teeny tiny nephew in May (or June if he stays in there after his due date!). I asked her a few questions about her pregnancy for today’s blog post and shall keep you updated as things progress:

I guessed I was pregnant while I was on holiday at the start of October, really early on. It wasn’t confirmed until we got back.

My reaction at first was shock, even though we suspected it. Now I’m excited!

I’m due on May 30 but I think the baby will be late.
When we went for our 20 week scan I thought it would be a girl as I’d dreamed I was having a boy and everything I’d read said you’d have the opposite to what you’d dreamed about.
I’ve always wanted a boy and a girl so I would have been happy either way.
I was excited when we found out it was a boy and glad to finally know as I can’t understand how people don’t find out!
We’ve already bought the travel system, some clothes, steriliser and perfect prep machine. We bought some things early on after finding them on offer.
Next we’ll buy the cot and a co-sleeper crib as well as sorting the nursery out.
I think my boyfriend Ben will be a fun dad and he’ll want to take him to football all the time.
He’s already thinking about teaching the baby chat up lines and techniques to get all the girls!
Because I’m only 20 I think people treat you differently. Although I’m not that young to have a baby, certain people when you go to places and even midwives can be a bit patronising.
But I’ve moved out of home and have a stable relationship so I’m not reliant on anyone like my parents, which most people assume if they see me on my own without Ben.
The first thing people always ask me is ‘what did your mom say?’ Or ‘were you parents upset?’
It’s been helpful having Harriet only recently going through pregnancy, although hers was very different to mine.
I’m around a baby (Alexandra) a lot more often than I was before but I’ve always been confident with them so it wouldn’t have bothered me if I hadn’t been.
My advice to anyone else would be don’t listen to the old wives’ tales and don’t get yourself worked up. I was getting really worried at first about everything but there was no need.
Harriet and Alexandra and Henrietta x

Body Talk

The last ever photo of me with a bump!

The last ever photo of me with a bump!

I, like pretty much most of the female population, have never been happy with my body. I spent 24 and a half years picking faults with it – but never do you think more about your body than when you’re pregnant. In a way it’s a miraculous thing – you’re growing an actual human being inside you! Sometimes I look at Alexandra and wonder how the hell I (with a little help from Dylan!) managed to create a little bundle of cells with eyes, a nose, mouth, a heart, lungs etc. It actually blows your mind when you think too hard about it.

But as astounding as the task your body undertakes when pregnant is, it also tries its best to wreck every part of you! That lovely thick shiny hair, now falling out in clumps every day. That stomach you didn’t like much anyway, now lined with stretch marks. Let’s not even talk about post-pregnancy boobs!

I’m very lucky in that my ‘ITU diet’ as I dubbed it got me down lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight and back down to pretty much what I normally weigh. Apparently there’s not a lot of chocolate and cake in that stuff they tube feed you with! I know not everyone’s in that situation (I was about to write ‘I know not everyone’s that lucky’ but then I realised how wrong that is – fat is definitely better than nearly dead!). But despite weighing the same my body looks hugely different. I didn’t like the shape it was in before but it weighed X stone by going to the gym and trying to be careful about what I ate. The same X stone reached by giving birth and then being critically ill does not come in the same shape package at all!

I would never want my pre-pregnancy body back, the body which hadn’t grown a child and then somehow managed to give birth to it, the body which had never had a tiny newborn placed upon it, the body which had never produced food for a baby even though she wasn’t very good at actually taking that food, the body which was actually functioning properly inside with all organs intact, the body which wasn’t a mother’s body. For I can work on this body and, although I’m pretty sure I will never be 100 per cent happy with it, I can teach my daughter that this is ‘normal’, this is ‘real life’ and that if one day she becomes a mother she too may come to love her lumps, bumps, marks and sags.

Harriet and Alexandra X