t’s been a year … a YEAR … since I posted last. I’ve not have the energy, I admit. It’s tough being pregnant (even if you have a relatively easy pregnancy) and even tougher once you have a baby. Kole has kept me busy these nearly nine months! Here is the Reader’s Digest version of the last year, for those of you who have been wondering.
End of Pregnancy and Delivery
As I have said, my pregnancy was pretty laid back really despite the issues I was having. Early in pregnancy, I begun to notice thyroid symptoms (hyper – or over active – thyroid) and contacted the GP. By the time I’d figured it out, my thyroid was hypo – under active. I was started on T4 replacement and continued on but I’d started also having a lot of pelvic pain right from the start. Once I got to late pregnancy, most things got better and I felt pretty good despite being almost 37 weeks pregnant. I didn’t get very big at all and actually, after delivery, I weighed less than when I got pregnant! This was NOT intentional and I did not make any attempt to diet during my pregnancy (which is of course not a good idea, do not diet for weight loss in pregnancy). My weight loss was likely due to thyroid, being on insulin for Gestational Diabetes, and my food aversions which lasted all throughout my pregnancy.
Kole Owen Tague was born by Cesarian section on Friday, December 13th 2013 at 12:21 pm, weighing 6 lbs 11 oz. They don’t measure babies length here (I guess?) so we were not given a length (though at 8 weeks he was about 22 inches I believe). He was healthy and screaming. Ken says Kole didn’t breathe right away and it seemed like it took quite some time for him to start but as I recalled it happening, it seemed like he started screaming pretty quickly after delivery. I guess it depends on perspective? I was a bit wrapped up in having my insides returned to their rightful homes while Ken probably was focusing more on Kole breathing. Not to say I wasn’t but it’s hard to focus on both things at the same time and I was confident he would be well. I guess you just get a feeling either way.
We were lucky that Kole took to the breast pretty quickly and he seemed to latch alright in my estimation but of course I was (and still am not) an expert on breast feeding. After his initial breast experience, we were lead to the maternity ward where we stayed for two days. I was pretty keen to get out of there so I wasted no time in getting up early the next morning and showering/peeing and demonstrating I was well and ready. We took Kole home on Sunday and proceeded as normally. But, as our luck would have it, Kole had lost a lot of weight since birth. Babies do loose a bit of weight due to swelling and fluid retained from being in the womb but he lost almost 13% which is verging on dangerous. We weren’t sure why (and still aren’t sure) so Kole was taken back to the hospital for observation and spent the night in the incubator. By the next day, he was much improved and they were happy to let him come home but that started months of worry about weight gain and breast feeding.
Because I wasn’t able to breast feed while he was in the incubator, we lost several feedings and that contact needed to help establish feeding. When he got home, he wouldn’t latch properly. That started about six weeks of breast pumping and trying to get him back on the breast. That time period sucked beyond belief! I don’t envy Moms who have to get up with a newborn repeated in the night and make bottles. I had to do that with breast milk and honestly, it is so much easier to just latch a baby and then go back to sleep. We were lucky that after a “re-birthing” session in the tub (you just got in the bath with warm water and let the baby naturally try to latch), he was able to get back to the breast! Not to say that was the end of problems as I also had supply issues and then at about 4 months, Kole decided he didn’t like being held so I had to breast feed him side-lying exclusively until recently (not that he’s almost 9 months). But it has been a rewarding and worthwhile journey both for his health, mine, bonding ,and the sense of accomplishment.
Life with Baby
We are truly blessed that Kole is a laid back and generally really happy little guy. He is full of smiles and laughs which is great! He sleeps pretty well, eats better than I had imagined (but we still have some struggles), and is good as gold wherever we go. Not to say that even with a very chilled out baby there aren’t struggles. Babies cry, get cranky, have problems napping, etc. Those are all Herculean challenges for a new Mum (Mom) like me who has zero baby experience. Also, not feeling my best makes some days extremely hard. All that aside, we make it through each day minute by minute, watching lots of Your Baby Can Read, playing on the floor (trying) to take naps together (because he won’t sleep without me), and finding creative and nutritious things to eat.
Kole is an extremely active little person. He was sitting up with very little assistance at about 3 months. Then around 5 months he was taking steps with help. At 7 months he begun to pull himself up on objects and stand. Now he refuses to sit or lie down for any reason, even breast feeding. There is no convincing him that breasts are not portable.
I think, despite having been complete baby novices, that Ken and I have adapted pretty well. There are surely days where I feel like a complete failure. There are days I don’t even resemble myself and wonder who this grey haired basket case with a baby is but in the end, I think that we have a nice routine and we make things work in amazing ways. We didn’t have a lot during my pregnancy or for the first 7 months as Ken had been made redundant at work but we made cloth nappies work, we were kindly given a lot of clothing from Lin (Ken’s sister) and my folks, and we raked in plenty of cash from family and friends which ultimately bought most of his clothes up to 6 months. We have managed to do a lot with very little financially and I’m proud of us. It was tough times emotionally and mentally, adjusting to marriage, a new baby, and poverty but we’ve done it brilliantly (but with a few cross words … eek).
The World and Everything Else
I am adjusting every day to my new life in England. I am often surprised by things, confused by things, or left feeling totally alien. It’s a huge adjustment even though so many things are so similar. But it’s hard to adjust to not being able to buy Noxema, Kool-Aid, and pretty much many of the products I grew up with. It’s tough to overcome the cultural and language gaps at times, which leaves me feeling silly because I some times struggle to understand what the heck people are talking about! (Mooching, that’s a weird one! It means window shopping here! WTF?)
And if separation by a common language isn’t enough, there is life in a rural village as well. It’s quiet. It’s a bit out of the way. Everybody really DOES know your name. Things frequently smell like cow shit and there is muddy patches every where. Mud. So much mud.
Some days, when it’s just quiet and the two of us, I forget about missing foods, I forget about my previous stash of awesome clothes, I forget about make-up and looking “good”, and I focus on just being with Kole. I focus on just being here, in the quiet countryside and living life daily. That’s got it’s plus points for sure. I can’t say it’s 100% stress free but sometimes after stressing over something which I later realise is stupid, I remember that tomorrow when I wake up, it’s just us here in the quiet countryside and everything else in life will be manageable. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not become a Zen-like guru of some English country lifestyle but I have totally changed my diet, almost totally stopped wearing make-up (except to visit family but sadly I realise I am allergic to my cosmetics), and I’ve learned to just BE sometimes. Just BE. Just. Be.
What’s in the Future?
Man, if you know TELL ME?! Second thought, no don’t tell me.
I have no idea. Will I return to work? I hope not. Even thought taking care of a tiny human can be maddening at times and drive you completely insane, I’d rather stay with Kole and work on nurturing the awesome person he is than go back to work. Sure, I don’t get a lot done apart from watching baby educational videos, playing on the floor, washing cloth nappies, and trying to get Kole to nap but I feel like we have a strong bond and that in the future, he will have benefited from this time together. I want him to feel loved and nurtured so if I have to give up personal time, showers, and sanity sometimes, that’s cool.
Will we continue to live in the UK? I think the answer, for now, is yes. We had thought of coming back to the US but recently due to some concerns here in the UK, we have decided to stay. We also ultimately feel this is a safer environment for Kole to grow up in. I also feel we would have more support through his formative years socially with the social programs that support families, the free healthcare, and the opportunity to provide him with educational opportunities that may be better here than in AZ.
Does this mean we will never return? No not necessarily. Not in the short term. We may reconsider in 3 or 4 years. Who knows. For now, this is the right place to be for many reasons and we are comfortable with that for now. Would it be nice to have a big house and a great paying job in the US? You bet it would! But those aren’t our priorities at the end of the day. Right now we are just taking things a day at a time.
This hasn’t been the best update honestly. It’s been written while keeping Kole from strangling cats or falling off furniture. He is trying to climb the couch today. He’s 8 months old and he’s almost climbing steps and onto couches. God help me. I’d like to update more but right now, my biggest priorities are keeping Kole fed and from doing himself bodily harm in his travels around the living room and crib. He hates the damn crib and he does what he can to try to escape. He does not sleep in it. So yeah, kind of got the hands full, but I would like to update more and perhaps get back to daily updates if only to ensure I retain some ability to read, write, and think creatively. It’s hard at times to do creative things. I’ve tried taking up sewing but because it requires some preparation and time to execute, Kole hates it and screams non-stop until the machine stops and all materials are put away (except the other day, he cried until the machine came on, then cried when I stopped sewing … weird). Using my die cut machine has also proven to be tough because Kole hates the crib so if I put him in there, he screams bloody murder and tries to climb out.
In any event, we shall see how the future goes! I hope as he gets a bit older and things hold his attention more (and he eventually naps without me) that I can do more writing, general crafting, and keeping up with the Human race. So, yeah.
love – k