Hi everyone, Lauren here. I thought I’d do a quick update about how we are doing following the arrival of baby number 5, our wonderful, little man, Atlas.
A House Move…
Not the wisest of decisions whilst 37 weeks pregnant, admittedly. And fast becoming a big regret, even though the location and the potential of what the house will be after extending and renovating are both great. It’s not really evening out the balance at the moment of how chaotic the very old, scraggy, spider nest infested house is feeling with a newborn and 4 other children.
We are finding the layout a nightmare, and I guess it’s just been feeling very hard and making the base of everything else we do feel off before we’ve even started.
I can’t explain to you how off kilter it made me feel to move home and out of the nest at such a late gestation. I spent most days prior to delivering crying my heart out that I didn’t feel okay in the house. There’s something to be said for nesting. It means you’re feeling secure and ‘held’ in your space for bringing in a newborn. I really didn’t feel that this time, and boy has it made everything feel wrong.
Labour… **trigger warning – baby loss**
6th pregnancy. 6th labour. I should have this by now, right? I should know what niggles are ‘real’ and which are practice labour. I should.
As it turns out, I do not. My babies have all been back to back, which meant labour was stop start for EVER prior to true labour. This time was my longest pregnancy. The girls all arrived at 39 weeks. Atlas was at almost 41, and I don’t actually think he would have come out then had it not been for a mega scare at 40+5 where he decided to not move at all for hours. As someone who has been through late baby loss before, this was horrendous. HORR-EN-DOUS.
I had a fully fledged panic attack because I thought he was gone. I started to weigh up in my head whether, if he had gone, I actually wanted to go to the hospital, because it would mean seeing a dead baby on an ultrasound again, and believe me when I say that was a horror I saw previously that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
Can you imagine having to have this conversation with yourself in your mind? Is my baby moving? What if my this baby has died too?! I don’t want to find out. I can’t find out I don’t want to have to see that. I don’t want to have to deliver a dead baby again. I can’t do it.
Needless to say, I was in a total spin by this point. When I felt a small movement I took a breath and called labour ward. They told me to get in ASAP.
They were absolutely wonderful with me. When I arrived they saw me straight away, pretty much said that weighing up the potential risk of reduced movements, being on the brink of 41 weeks and my history, that they would be happy to break my waters (which were bulging anyway), and I was already contracting regularly (I had been for 3 weeks *eye roll*).
So I’d arrived, been monitored (baby wasn’t playing ball for a good 30 mins when I first arrived too, which didn’t help the worry, but he did eventually calm down), and then was booked to break my waters all within a few hours. I had antibiotics this time to prevent group B strep affecting baby, so had to wait the few hours for those to do their job before they could break my waters, as I labour FAST once my waters have gone.
1 hour and 48 minutes from my waters being broken, Mr Atlas Oresti Heaton graced us with his presence.
My labours at that point are so fast, and so traumatic. I had just gas and air, and my goodness, I don’t want to do it again, ever.
I am 1000% sure that Atlas will be the last baby Heats for us. I didn’t think I’d ever feel done, I’m someone who forever felt broody, but I feel like something has changed this time. I don’t feel like I want to do it all again. Pregnancy, labour, the post natal period. The worry. The worry.
I become so much more aware of my mortality with each baby too. I want to be here for my other babies, and pregnancy is a LOT.
I just feel ready to move forward to the next stage with all of my babies.
Gosh man. Toddlers man. They are HARD.
Don’t get me wrong, I know in all my gentle parenting wisdom that they’re not giving you a hard time, they’re having a hard time. But it doesn’t change the fact that it is a HARD period of parenting. I struggle with sensory stuff, and the yelling and screaming really gets to me. I’m moving through this period in survival mode. It’s all I can do. I can try my best, breathe and wait it out until it passes.
The big kids…
They’re still all glorious little humans. Each with their own challenges, interests, passions and needs.
It’s my favourite part of parenting I think, to witness the differences between them all. We now have a teenager, an almost tween, a child, a toddler and a newborn. It’s all of the stages. There’s a lot of arguments and challenges for sure, but it’s also fun to watch just how much they all fire up with different things.
Home education this year…
We are heading towards September now, which of course for us means lots of planning!
Nola is going back to using Oxford Homeschooling for English and Maths for Year 9, and a Business GCSE. The business GCSE course was one she picked herself, but she chose to do maths and English with them again this year because she enjoyed the format in Year 7. And for us it’s great to see her take on more of the responsibility of contacting her tutors and being in control of time studying etc. She’s also choosing to continue on with her kickboxing, would like to get a rock climbing qualification and will be joining me at a Pilates class.
She’s taking part in an animal care qualification at a wildlife park soon too, which is 2 days long and she’s going to absolutely love!
Maya will be using the Nessy programmes for a lot of her independent English skills learning, as she thrives with this. She devours books on her kindle, and I’ve been searching World of Books for Barrington Stoke books, which she loves and are set out so she can read them without a problem. She will use the CGP English, Maths and Science books for KS2. Maya will be doing forest school, horse riding, trying a Montessori class, swimming lessons and Italian lessons, as that’s what she was interested in this year!
Ridley will be using Reading Eggs to progress with her phonics skills, and CGP English, Maths and Science books for KS1. She is really excelling at art and story writing, her handwriting is stunning, and the activities she will be doing this year are forest school, swimming lessons and gymnastics.
We will actually all be learning Italian together with a tutor! How exciting!
Scout is starting stay and play at forest school, baby ballet and gymnastics and honestly I don’t think she’s ever been so excited about something, ever! Haha!
Don’t worry, we call this the September overbooking. We tend to drop off a few activities as we get overwhelmed haha, but we do it EVERY September. My fellow home edders usually understand.
Busy busy busy. Work work work.
Sometimes we forget what he looks like. It’s wonderful to know that we have an income again after Covid, but my goodness… He’s working a LOT.
How am I doing?
Oooo now there’s a question. This postnatal period has been hard. We shouldn’t have moved so late into the game, it means without anything else taken into consideration it’s already all upside down and feels hard. And then there’s the toddler + newborn equation. Atlas isn’t difficult at all, he’s a breeze and he’s slotted right in, but getting into a routine with a toddler having a hard time, a newborn, one pair of boobs, a new house and a husband who is always working has been a lot. And I’ll be quite honest, I have’t enjoyed it… This time in my life.
I LOVE the baby. I LOVE the toddler. I LOVE my kids. I don’t love the move, the house and the stress of everything feeling chaotic.
I very recently (within the last couple of weeks) made the decision to switch to formula for the baby. You may find this shocking if you follow me and know that I have exclusively breastfed Scout for 3+ years, but really it’s not so shocking. I had ZERO down time between Atlas needing to feed and Scout wanting to feed. I was touched 100% of the day and I started to dread it. Dread it like toe curling, want to run away kind of dread.
I was getting touched out, angry and needed it to just stop. So, I made the decision to close the boobs down, and I don’t regret it for a second.
Scout has accepted there’s no more boobs at all now.
…and honestly I feel elated. I feel like I can get through the day. There’s no medals for how you feed your babies, you do what you need to do. Just make sure you’re informed and feel supported no matter what you do. I breastfed Nola for 7 weeks then switched to formula. I breastfed Maya for about a week before I switched. I mixed fed Ridley. I exclusively breastfed Scout who was still feeding at 3+ years, and now with Atlas I have another journey.
There’s no singular path for individual experiences. There’s no medals. There’s survival, and ENJOYMENT.
So that’s me. Up then down, then up… I’m starting to find my feet again now the weather is cooling slightly.
So that was my ‘quick’ update haha. So much all at once, and my brain may explode soon.
How are you all doing?
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