*Some* sleep would be nice...

I have a 9-day-old who had to be woken after 6 hours for his next feed, and a 19-month-old who slept for 2 hours, woke at 10:30pm & refused sleep a wink after that. No, I'm not exaggerating. No, the 'PM' is NOT a typo. He's been up for 12 straight hours. What. Is. THAT. All. About....???
I really think it's time to talk to a sleep clinic.
C. xxx

Joshua William Connor is here!

Our latest beautiful son arrived last night (16th Nov) at 23:49. He weighed 4.8kg (10lb 9oz) and measured 53cm long.

It was a pretty easy delivery, just a small tear (4 stitches), active labour 4 hours total, pushing 24 minutes. I had a small bleed (1 to 1.5 liters) so stayed overnight for monitoring, but we're all at home just fine now & my iron count hardly fell at all! More detailed birth story will follow in the coming days.

He is gorgeous and so far very chilled-out & contented.
love C. xxx

Joshua has been given a 'nudge' in the right direction...

Joshua has been given a 'nudge' in the right direction just now - midwife Annemarieke has given me a stretch & sweep at 40w + 3d. 2 to 3 cm dilated already, she can touch his head!

She's the universally acknowledged 'sweep queen' at our midwife practice, with something like a 75% success rate at bringing on labour within 24 hours - that said, if she'd thought me at all unfavourable or my cervix wasn't 'ripe' she'd have had no problem at all telling me to bugger off & come back next week instead :-) (all right & proper in my opinion - too many midwives will try to 'sweep' you when you're actually not ready, often in response to pressure from ladies in too much of a hurry, and all it does is cause them a few days extra discomfort for no gain at all).

Remains to be seen if it does anything though... Don't start getting too excited just yet, it may still take another week! I am quietly hopeful though. She did a sweep for me with Daniel at 40+2 and he arrived the next day. His head wasn't anywhere near as low down either.

Speaking of Daniel, his sleeping has been ATTROCIOUS these last 3 weeks - regularly up & wide awake for a solid block of at least 3 or 4 hours in the middle of the night, from about 1am until about 5am. These last couple of nights I've been going in as soon as he wakes & sitting next to his bed on a chair til he settles, waiting a full 10 minutes before walking out again & so far it seems to be better though. Last night he was only up once at 3am and settled again within 15 minutes. The night before he was up 3 times (including one 'code brown' nappy - very unusual for him in the middle of the night!) and settled within half an hour or less each time. I'm hoping we can build on that, then gradually start to move the chair further away from his bed til we're no longer sitting with him (again). I think it's mainly a developmental thing - he's just so busy practising all the new words he's learning (we're getting something like 5 or 10 new active words every single day at the moment, it's phenomenal to watch!) that he doesn't want to sleep. That and the arrival of his canine teeth... fortunately 3 out of 4 are now through and the last one won't be long either.

Did have an amusing moment a couple of nights ago, conversation went like this:
"Mamma?"
"Shh Daniel. Be quiet now, it's sleepytime"
(Whispered) "Mamma! Door Open!!!"
I really had to fight with myself not to laugh. I'm impressed that he's learned about moderating his voice & whispering already (at 19 months!) but what a little monkey, he *knows* full well that wasn't quite what I meant when I said be quiet!

Anyhow... I'm off to mooch around the house & wait expectantly.
love C. xxx

Thinking of what might have been.

3 years. Crazy to think that much time has passed since our daughter Caitlin was born.

3 years ago exactly as I type this sentence, I was in Leiden LUMC having my waters broken. Filled with hope, anticipation and also concern. 3 years ago today I gave myself over to the doctors, the drip, the waves of contractions passing through my body. 3 years ago, we still had no idea what the outcome would be, Katie's chances of survival were rated around 50:50 by then. A balance that did not tip in our favour.

It seems strange to be almost as 'pregnant' again now. I'm pretty much exactly a month behind where I was, 3 years ago. Kicks & wriggles.

Happy birthday, darling. We won't ever forget you.

love C. xxx

Snicker-snap...

Traps - 3
Mice - 1 (bait stolen)
Cat - 0 (she's feeling the cold hard breath of industrialization!)

Grim, but if that's the body count after 2 resets (2 traps) & just 24 hours, I pretty much dread to think how many mice there *actually* are running around under our kitchen cupboards!!!!

Snickers bar seems to be the bait of champions. The 'super-cat' mousetraps caused us some inital hassle as they proved to be extremely hair-trigger... Steve & I spent about 20 minutes propelling small blobs of snickers bar around the kitchen before we managed to get them properly in situ.

love C. xxx

all went well with the scary scan!

Everything that can be seen on an ultrasound is present & correct. All of Joshua is fitted together correctly, as far as anyone can possibly tell.

Huge relief for all of us.

Last night somebody tried the front door again (the 'clonk' of them rattling the letter box & pushing on the door woke Steve up) but obviously cos it was dead-bolted, they couldn't get in & went away again. Hopefully they'll now give it a rest & stop trying to burgle us!!!

love C. xxx

'Six' is definitely a boy!

And his name is Joshua William Connor - 'Josh'.

Next week Tuesday we have the dreaded extended 20 week scan at Leiden LUMC. We do know though from checks yesterday with our own midwife here in Hilversum, that there are no major problems with his heart (classic 4-chamber view easily seen. All chambers present & correct size, heart walls look intact, flow in & out via the major vessels has also been seen, coming & going from the right places in the right amounts - whilst obviously this doesn't rule out 100% of congenital heart defects, it does rule out anything extremely serious). we also know there are 2 kidneys, present & correct, of good size & filled with fluid to indicate function. The spine is closed, the brain looks fine, etc etc etc. This means we can go off to Leiden on Tuesday & be reasonably confident that we won't receive any nasty surprises.

Being pregnant when you already have a toddler is a totally different experience. In general, I just don't have the time or energy left over for fretting about it! I actually feel a bit guilty, like I'm short-changing Josh. There simply aren't the hours for sitting around stroking my belly, for talking directly to him, for eagerly reading through the pregnancy books & imagining his current size & shape - comparing him to the items in the fruit bowl as he grows. Bizzarely, despite the fact that Daniel's sleep could still best be described as 'erratic' (although a whole world of better than it was a few months back!) and running around after him takes a lot of energy I actually feel LESS tired this time around. I put this down to 2 things. Firstly, I think my weight has a huge role to play here. My weight at conception with Josh was at the lowest it had been for 10 or 15 years, and even now at nearly 20 weeks along, I'm still pretty lightweight in recent historical terms. Simply not having to move my own extra bulk around means for a much easier time of it in general. Secondly, I think I've adjusted & simply gotten used to funtioning with a lot less sleep.

Other news - last night someone broke into our house whilst we were sleeping. Fortunately our floors make such a racket when you walk on them, I was awake within seconds & Steve calling out caused them to scarper straightaway. They hadn't even made it through the hallway - our keys, phones & wallets were still sitting on the living room table, nothing was missing or disturbed at all.

In direct contrast to previous experience in other countries (*cough* UK) the police were here within 20 minutes of our call to the (non-emergency) number this morning. In fact, we were gently chastised for not calling the emergency number at 4:15am this morning when the break-in happened! They showed us just how easy it was for the burgler to open our front door, and just how easy it is to prevent that happening again. They believe it was a opportunistic attack - there are apparently a lot of them at the moment, and our street is currently a a good target as there are roadworks at both ends of it so through traffic is virtually non-existant.

At some point I might get around to writing up our lovely week's holiday in Skye (returned on Sunday) but to be honest, probably not! The short version - weather was FANTASTIC, Steve got sunburnt! Scenery amazing. Much ambling/pottering/driving & also several decent walks/scrambles were had. Daniel throughly enjoyed himself. Steve & I likewise, and we even managed to go out for an evening meal, just the two of us, for the first time since before he was born (as we were also staying with my aunt, uncle & grandfather).

So, there we are. I think that's all the news for the moment. I'm gonna sign off & make some lunch now.
love C. xxx

***EDIT 3pm**** Have just had a visit from the locksmith 'van Cleef' of Hilversum. The guy was super helpful, looked at the lock & informed us that it's actually a very good & secure one (provided we actually LOCK it instead of just pulling the door closed!) and he wouldn't advise changing it at this time. Probably the quickest & cheapest (free!) advice I ever got from a tradesman round here. I have to put it down for posterity that, should we ever require the services of a locksmith whilst we're here, these guys will DEFINITELY be getting our business.

12 week scan - still so far so good!

"Six" is still doing well. The 12 week combi test (Nucal fold & bloodwork) came back low risk. We could clearly see 'him' (Steve is still convinced it's a boy, for me the jury is still out on this one) moving about, swallowing down his amniotic fluid, sucking his thumb & generally waving & kicking 'his' legs.

'He's' got all the right bits, attached in the right places. The only comment back was that the blood result for Papp-A protein is a little on the high side, but as all other indicators are well within normal range, this is nothing to worry about.

So, keep on trucking. I've just contacted Leiden University hospital (LUMC) to book in for my detailed 20 week scan & extra checks, these will be on 26th June at 14:30. Here's hoping everything is still fine then... although there is no reason to suspect otherwise.

love C. xxx