17 Feb 2018

The Hardest Thing About Being a New Mum


So, let's delve straight into it. The thing I'm struggling with most now I'm a mum.

It's not the sleepless nights, the bouts of inconsolable crying or when my little bundle of joy decides to do an explosive poo in the middle of a shopping centre. It's not the petty arguing with the hubby about who has it harder, nor is it the worry that my baby isn't growing and developing at the rate that he should be.

Nope, it's none of the above. Those were the things I was expecting to find the hardest. The things that I had been mentally preparing myself for since pregnancy, bar the poonami (nothing can quite prepare you for that, you've just got to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in). 

No, the single most thing that I am struggling to contend with is the loss of me. The loss of my former self.

To put it simply, I'm not 100% sure who I am anymore. I mean, I know the fundamentals of 'me' but I've kinda forgotten the nitty gritty details of what make me, me. Whilst entering into motherhood I have fallen victim to identity theft. I'm no longer Kirsty Burrage: foodie, marketer, hobby-blogger and loose follower of fashion. I am now Albie's mum: caffeine dependant, chief nappy-changer, wheels on the bus enthusiast who would forget her head if it wasn't screwed on.

The lifestyle change for me was massive. I went from being a typical working millennial, looking out for number one, to caring for this tiny, helpless baby around the clock. As I blindly waded my way through the first few months of motherhood, I lost sight of everything else. With no routine, no structure and no set rules, I found adapting to my new role harder than I had ever anticipated.

Now that I'm a mum, my child's needs and wants come first. And that's how it should be. I brought him into his world and it's my duty to ensure that he grows up to be a happy, healthy, well-rounded human being.

For the most part, I love being a mum. It's an absolute privilege and something that I will never take for granted. It's rewarding, it gives me a real sense of purpose and an overwhelming feeling of pride. Honestly, a little old lady peeked into Albie's buggy the other day and said what a gorgeous, smiley son I have. Day made.

I love him more than I ever thought possible. He is my absolute world. But, and here's the issue. He's starting to become my life. He's literally taken over. I cannot mentally detach myself from him.

If I'm not tending to Albie, I'm thinking about him (when did he last feed? It looks like he's about to go into meltdown mode, is that him that I can smell?)  or talking/boring someone senseless about him. I'm well aware that not everyone cares to hear my baby drivel but it's bloody hard to talk about much else when you don't, or can't do much else, y'know.

Catch-bloody-22.

I try to engage in normal activities and things I used to enjoy but it is hard. Sometimes (more so nowadays) I'm successful. I'm now able to watch a programme from start to finish without my brain diverting to thoughts of my offspring . I even managed to bake brownies for Valentine's Day (someone get this girl a medal).

As you can see, I'm also attempting to blog again - something I haven't contemplated for months. Ok, so I'm still waffling on about the baby but I hope that by writing my feelings, I can start to uncover a bit of the old me, underneath all the baby sick and soiled nappies. I want to continue being a good mum but I also want to feel like me again.

Here's to self re-discovery!


20 Dec 2017

6 Of The Best Baby Buys For A First-Time Mum


I'M BAAACK..

Not sure if anyone actually noticed that I took a rather lengthy break away from my blog but nevertheless, hi. I am back posting. YAY.

It will come as no surprise that what you're about to read is baby-related. Y'see, ever since Albie landed into my life, he has consumed 90% of my time, thoughts and energy. If not more. Whenever he is within a 100m radius, he is all I can focus on.

Seriously guys, the baby-brain struggle is real. Last week I popped into Morrisons to pick up all the essentials (mince pies, brandy cream and diet coke - in case you were wondering). I packed and paid for my shopping at the self scan tills, walked home pleased as punch with my little haul to only have it dawn on me that I'd fucking left it there.

I was MORTIFIED. I was so embarrassed that I refused to go back and retrieve my abandoned items. Ed had to swing by and pick them up on his way home from work.

My brain at the mo is all baby baby baby. And I've given up trying to fight it, or apologise for it. For now, this is my life.

With that said I'm gonna do a round-up of some - okay 6 - super useful things I've bought as a first-time mum.

Here goes. In no particular order..

1. Baby grows with fold over mitts
These are bloody brilliant. No more faffing around with mitts to stop them scratching themselves accidentally at night. They're also good for keeping their little hands toasty at this time of year. Especially good if your sprog insists in sticking their hands out of the buggy at any given opportunity.

2. U-shaped nursing pillow
This is by far my most used purchase. It was a dream in pregnancy for supporting my bump or my back, depending on where it was wedged. When I was breastfeeding it helped me get Albie in the correct position, allowing me to keep my hands free. Nowadays it's Albie's cosy nest to nap in. I can also see it being useful to provide him with extra support when he learns to sit up unaided.

3. Sleeping bags 
Sticking your little one in a sleeping bag at bedtime is so much easier than having to wrap them up in blankets. They can't be pulled up over the babies head, they are so easy to put on and take off (I just managed to put Albie in his when he was already sparko) and they even have tog ratings, so you can ensure they aren't going to get too hot or cold.

Oh and they're bloody amazing for those middle of the night feeds and nappy changes as you can put them in it before settling them back down. Genius.

4. baby changing bag
I know a lot of mums just use a normal bag and stuff in a few nappies, wipes and be done with it but not me. I'm a disorganised person so having a bag that has been specifically designed to carry everything but the kitchen sink that I could possibly need whilst out and about with the baby has been a godsend. My Melobaby Melotote changing bag is a winner. It hangs perfectly on my pushchair, it has compartments for everything and its wipeable monochrome design has been complimented on numerous times by other mums.

It also comes with a matching nappy wallet and changing mat. V.useful.

5. Muslin cloths
You can never have too many, they are literally dotted about in every room in our house. They're perfect for protecting furniture/yourself/the baby from milky spit up and mopping up any dribble.

6. Dummies 
Whether you should allow your baby to have a dummy or not is a controversial topic, and one I don't wish to go into. I'm very much pro-dummy (I mean hey, whatever works to calm your screaming infant) so I felt like had to include them in my best-buys.

And there you have it, my 6 favourite baby purchases, so far.

Fellow parents, what have been your most useful baby buys? What should I be throwing my money at next?

23 Oct 2017

Introducing Baby Burrage || The Birth Story


Everyone, meet the center of my universe, baby Albie. The tiny human I nurtured and grew inside me for 9 long months, only for him to come out looking exactly like his Dad.

Bloody typical. Seriously, if I hadn't given birth to the little critter I'd question if he was mine.

Albie 'popped' (ha) into the world on 4th September 2017 at 19:23, weighing a chunky 8lb 7oz. He was born 6 days over his due date, but with a labour that lasted little longer than 5 hours, he definitely made up for it.

Here's his birth story.

There I was, day 10 of maternity leave, fed up beyond belief with waiting. Fed up of thinking 'this is it' every time I experienced a new sensation, a new ache, pain, or anything that could be an indicator that labour was imminent.

I'd started to accept that I was destined to be like Bonnie in Family Guy - preggo forever.

It was around 2pm when I started experiencing short bursts of sharp pain in my lower back. Initially I put it down as one of those annoying pregnancy niggles that I was overfamiliar with. I'd had similar pains the night before and they had eased off to nothing, much to our disappointment.

However, by 2:40pm they were occuring every 5 minutes, lasting approx 30 seconds a pop. They were becoming extremely painful, especially at their peak.

Luckily in my antenatal class I was made aware that contractions aren't always felt in the abdomen, with approx 1/4 women experiencing it in their lower backs and/or hips.

Yup, I was experiencing true labour contractions in the bottom of my back, and my god, they were all-consuming: each time I felt one on it's way I had to stop whatever I was doing to focus on breathing through the pain. I even bit my arm a few times in a desperate bid to distract myself.

By 15:15 I told Ed to make his way home as the contractions were occurring every few minutes and were around a minute long each.

Ed waltzed in some 30-40 minutes later to find me on the landing, hunched up on all fours like some primal animal. The look on his face was priceless. Y'see, they like to make you believe, especially as a first-timer, that your labour will be a slow, gruelling process that will span on for many hours.

It was obvious at that this wasn't going to be the case for me. I wasn't gonna be waddling up and down the hospital corridor for hours. Nor would I be in the corner of the labour suite bouncing on one of those balls in a bid to get things moving.

Albie wanted out, and fast.

Here's where it gets a little TMI and gross..

I felt a slight warm, wet sensation 'downstairs', so in between contractions I dared to take a peek. There was blood -  a fair bit of thick fresh blood - that had managed to seep through onto my leggings.

This triggered alarm bells. Was I ok? More importantly, was the baby ok? Shit, I never expected this to happen here, at home. I made Ed call the hospital to let them know we would be coming in shortly.

After he had answered the midwife's questions, she asked to speak to me - only to ask me the same bloody questions. Her advice? After everything I'd told her? To stay at home, RELAX (if the patronising woman had been in front of me at the time my fist would have met her nose) and take some, wait for it, paracetemol.

Now I'm no medical expert, and I'm aware that midwives are over stretched and probably get women turning up way before the main event but I knew my time was limited.

Unless I wanted to give birth on my bathroom floor, I needed to get to that hospital, pronto.

Trusting my gut, I rang back and forcefully told them I was on my way.

After a v. slow, stop-start-stop-start walk down the winding corridors of the hospital (why we used the main entrance to go to the labour ward I'll never know) I was met by a midwife who was expecting me.

Because of the bleed, I was taken into an examination room where I was strapped up to a fetal heart rate monitor and given a button to push each time I felt the baby move.

After 30 mins they came back to read the results. From the graph that had been produced they told me that a) I was in active labour and b) baby's heart rate wasn't consistent. It had dropped once within the half hour. This meant I had to be monitored for another 20 minutes or so.

Unfortunately, the same thing happened again so they called in the doctor to examine me and find out how things were progressing 'down there'. Why they didn't do this in the first place still baffles me.

So yeah, after a quick prod and poke in and around my hoohah the doctor told me I was already 7cm dilated and that he'd be surprised if the baby wasn't here in less than 2 hours.

...And then went my waters.

This is where things get a little fuzzy around the edges. I vaguely recall being escorted into the delivery room where I was asked if I wanted any gas and air (erm, does a bear shit in the woods?) I was then told that nope, no time for my planned water birth. Gutted.

My Mum arrived shortly after I'd aquainted myself with the hospital bed. This is when Ed made a mad dash out to renew his parking ticket - I know right?!

Anyway, had he been gone any longer he would have missed the arrival of his son. Shortly after he left the building I announced that I wanted to push, hard. Well no, my actual words were that it felt like I needed a really big poo, lovely...

The next stage, the actual pushing the baby out stage lasted only 7 minutes. I actually found the pain of pushing less intense then the late stage contractions, which felt like my back was on fire. I just felt a slight burning - where my nether regions were stretching to allow baby out - and a dull ache in my pelvis.

Unfortunately Albie's heart ratedropped below the safe level again so extra measures had to be taken to get him out as quickly as possible. So, alongside my pushing a suction cup (kiwi) was placed on his head. I also had a second degree episiotomy (I was given a local anesthetic and then cut to make more room, lol) and was joined by a whole host of medical professionals, all on standby ready to intervene if needed. It was quite scary.

As soon as the head was visible I was told to take short, panting breaths to allow the rest of the body to pass slowly, to avoid more damage - to me, not him. This bit was a breeze compared to what I'd experienced in the hours before.

And that was it. Baby Albie was born.

As the warm, slimy newborn was placed on my chest I felt an immense, indescribable sense of relief. The pain immediatelystopped and was replaced by a feeling of overwhelming love and pride.

I'd just birthed a baby. Nothing compares.

Ed then cut the cord and everything else between then and bringing our little bundle of joy home was a blur of emotions.

Yes the birth didn't go to plan and the were a bugger to heal but on the whole it was a positive experience and we were lucky things went as smoothly as they did.

I'm also extremely grateful that it all happened so fast. Ok, so it was a shock for both me and Albie (they reckon the speed at which the labour progressed is what caused his dips in heart rate) but it meant that it was over quickly and that I wasn't completely drained of energy.

In fact, we were all signed off as healthy and ready to go home in less than 24 hours. Incredible when you think about it.


Now, 7 weeks on I can say, hand on heart that I could do the whole labour thing again. My mum had told me that giving birth is a different sort of pain and as it turns out, she was 100% right.

Besides, the fun really begins when you bring them home. More on that coming soon.

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