"In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony."

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Been a very busy girl

What a busy couple of months.  I have gone from mum on maternity leave to 'antenatal educator', 'event organiser' and 'caterer'.

I spent 6 days in Ipswich away from my lovely children but enjoying the delights of a hotel cleaning fairy.  I just wish I could have met her because I may have packed her in my suitcase and taken her home to sort out my house.  It was such a luxury to leave the room in a small mess and come back to find it immaculate.

But I managed to achieve the status of 'Antenatal Educator'.  Which was fabulous news as I already had ladies booked in for my first course.  I have now taught 3 weeks of classes in two venues and it feels brilliant.  I am loving every minute of it.  Can't wait to hear some positive birth stories now from the ladies in the classes.  And as my first mum is due in 6 weeks time, I may not have too long to wait.

I also, with the help of my husband, children and two lovely friends, ran my first Baby and Children's Market, with 21 stalls and 120 visitors on the day.  Everyone seemed happy and I was just so relieved that it all came together and worked.  A lot of hard work but worth it on the day.  Next one is just over a month away and I have started working on the advertising and promoting this week.

The other development is that I now have my own website up and running.   It has taken a bit longer than I wanted as I started it in August but having practically scrapped the original and started again, I have now published it.  Got to work out how to get up the Google rankings now and get some links to the site.  On my New Year to-do list!  If you fancy a look, the website address is www.yourbabyandyou.co.uk

I have also had my five minutes of fame with a lovely article in the local paper (http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/Busy-mum-finds-time-businesses/story-14143559-detail/story.html) which should (hopefully) generate some interest in both business ventures.

I can't believe how my life has changed so much and how lucky that I am to be running businesses that I totally believe in as I can help people to have positive births and provide a way to sell and buy baby goods.  I just have lots more ideas so we will see how 2012 pans out :)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Frustrations

I have always had ideas of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do.  And I have always had the thinking that if you want it, and you work hard enough at it, you can achieve it.  Those who know me, will know that I have always driven myself on with these beliefs.

But, things have recently changed.  Why?  Because for the first time, I can't have see how I can achieve what I want, no matter how much I work at it, and that is incredibly frustrating.

As you know, I am currently on maternity leave from my teaching job and have decided to start a couple of businesses while I have been off - 'Daisy Birthing' and 'Baby and Children's Markets'.  I am also going to be adding 'Daisy Baby' to the list in April 2012.  But the training that I am doing to teach 'Daisy Birthing' antenatal classes has sparked off so many other ideas that I am so excited and passionate about.  So what are these ideas?  Well, here are some:

  • Birth doula
  • Postnatal doula
  • New Mum's support group/network
  • Pregnancy support group/network
  • Cafe for mums to meet
  • Independent baby shop
  • Hire shop
  • Local magazine for mums
  • Business mums network
You see my problem?  All of these involve time and money yet I am going back to work for 4 days a week and we have no savings.  These ideas are all so interlinked that one venue could house most (including my birthing classes) but, having looked at rental prices, it is way out of our reach and that's without pricing in gas, electric, water etc.  So there is the money factor.  Then there is the time factor - I couldn't do all of this and do employed work, yet need the employed work to pay the mortgage until the rest took off.

So, after going through all of the possibilities and options, I simply can't see a way around it and that is what is frustrating me.  Despite knowing in my heart that I could make these things work, help mums in Exeter and provide something so needed, it won't happen.  At least, not from me.  Probably someone with less passion and drive but money in the bank will make it happen.  

But, there again, being the forever optimist, maybe I will see a way to overcome the problems, that I haven't yet seen.  So, maybe one day....In the meantime, my Daisy Birthing training continues next week so that is something to smile about.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Routine update...

Five days in and I think we may be getting somewhere.  I have managed to extend his feeds from 3 hourly to (mostly) 4 hourly, and he has stopped catnapping and now sleeps for around 1.5-2 hours at a stretch (as per routine below).  So two successes there.

What is still being worked on is the self-settling but he has not used the breast to go to sleep for 3 days now.  Not that I can't say I haven't been tempted to let him have a little feed when he is screaming very loudly in objection at being put to bed.  The longest he has gone is 1 hour - quite a few times - but this morning it was 30 minutes and this afternoon it was 15 minutes.  I do not believe in controlled crying at this age so am trying a mixture of ssshhhhhing while patting and picking up if he gets really distressed but putting him back down still awake, which usually results in crying again but I am trying to break a habit not create a new one, so am sticking with him going into bed awake even if it takes me an hour sat there each time.  Am hoping that today's reduction in the time it has taken for Nathaniel to go to sleep is a turning point and he will be completely self-settling by next weekend.

The other difficulty that I have found with the routine is sticking to the times, which isn't the end of the world as he is mostly in a 4 hourly EASY (Baby Whisperer) routine but the problem is that I also need to be able to fit a toddler and her activities/clubs into the day, which is why timings are very helpful.  However, I am hopeful that once Nathaniel is sleeping as soon as he is put down and being more consistent in his feed times, the actual timings of the day can be more easily predicted and organised around activities of the day.  Give me a little longer (1-2 weeks) and we will be there.

In the meantime, I have another busy week but all in a good way - meeting friends and going to new baby/toddler groups - loving maternity leave!!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Time for a routine

The 'Back to School' day arrives and I have decided that after all the chaos (and fun) of the last six weeks, we now need to get back to the routine.  I am used to the working routine and getting the kids to all their various places on time, but I am currently a SAHM (Stay At Home Mum) and need a new routine.   More importantly, Nathaniel needs a routine as he is nearly 4 months old now.  Unfortunately, over the last 6 weeks, he (like the rest of us) has got used to the go-with-the-flow of the holidays, so it might come of a bit of a shock when nasty Mummy puts him into a routine.

I'm happy just as things are, thank you, Mummy

Where to start with the routine?  Well, for the first morning in quite a while, I had to set the alarm clock to ensure that my girls were up and ready to get to school on time, so I decided that Nathaniel could also get up with the alarm and that was my starting point.  I have since written a routine for him (and Hannah and I) and we will see how it fits in with daily life.  The great thing is that I can adapt it if it doesn't work but the essential thing is to have a routine so that we all know what we are doing when.

So this is what I have come up with and tomorrow we will see how it works (or doesn't!):


6.00
Nathaniel and Hannah up and feed
6.30
Nathaniel and Hannah dressed and have playtime
7.30
Girls go to school.  Housework
8.00
Nathaniel down for a sleep.  Playtime with Hannah.
9.45
Nathaniel awake and feed
10.00/10.30
Go out to baby clubs, friends, park etc
12.00
Nathaniel down for a sleep.  Hannah has lunch and play
13.30
Nathaniel awake and feed
14.00
Go out if weather good or playtime inside
16.30
Nathaniel short sleep.  Cook dinner
17.00
Nathaniel awake and feed
17.20
Dinner for everyone
17.50
Nathaniel and Hannah have bath
18.10
Hannah in bed
19.00
Nathaniel feed and down for night sleep
19.30
Janette does 2-3 hours work

On top of this, I have really got to get Nathaniel to self-settle to sleep quite quickly as I will be away from my little boy for three days next month while I am on a training course, and I don't think that any babysitter will want him chewing on their breast!  Going to be a tough week (at least) I think but so worth it in the long run.  Will let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Writing

Right, let's talk about writing!

I have always loved writing and had ambitions of being a writer.  A grand ambition?  Well, I suppose that depends on how you define a writer.  My personal ambition of being a writer isn't to be the author of a bestseller but to have something out there for others to read.  I always imagined this path to be full of rejection letters and years (if not decades) of frustration.  But, things look as if they are changing with the emergence of the kindle and my ambition of being a writer may not be as far away as I thought.

Years ago I wrote half of a novel in a month while working full time.   I have often thought about completing that story but after ten years, I am a different person and also a different writer.  I would have to almost re-write it to make it what I would be happy with so, for now, it can sit on my hard drive.

My new plot for a novel came to me back in March.  I wrote down my ideas, my characters and in my head it all started to come alive and it was so exhilarating.  Then, Ofsted arrived, my daughter was in hospital, I went into labour at work and generally, life has got in the way since.  But, this week, I realised that life will always be in the way if I let it and if I was going to write, it would have to be now.

I am on courses to get qualified for my new business in October to November and am starting the business in December. I also finish my maternity leave in April and go back to teaching.  So, if I am going to write, it has to be now!  Right this minute really!  I have 40 days and nights before my course and am aiming for 100,000 words ish, so need to write 2500 a day.  But not sure how realistic that is so have also calculated that I could do 1000 words a day for 100 days, which would mean that it would be completed before the business starts.

Right, I had better get cracking then.  Might be a bit busy for a while so if I am quiet, you know why.

Monday, 29 August 2011

August 25th - GCSE results day!!!

Four days ago was a major day in the Davey household.  For the last two years, Michael has been studying for his GCSEs and the 25th of August was verdict day.  I have spent the last two years watching (and nagging) Michael to complete his coursework, to meet the deadlines and do some studying.  In the weeks of the exams, I would remind him to revise instead of playing the XBox and was generally met with comments, such as "It's alright, if I don't know it by know, I never will, so there's no point in revising."

It was a worrying time.  Especially when, as a teacher, you know how hard GCSEs.  I know they say they are getting easier each year, but I honestly don't think they are.  When I did my English GCSE, it was 100% coursework and no exam.  Now students have to know at least 24 poems and a novel (without notes) plus be able to analyse unseen texts.  When I did my Drama GCSE, there was no exam - you just had to act.  Now they have to analyse a range of plays and their own abilities.  And that is just two examples.  It was definitely easier in my day.

I think I was more worried than Michael especially as there was so much riding on him getting a 'B' grade in English, when he was only predicted a C/D.  Fortunately, I am an English teacher and examiner, so I was able to help him at home on a one to one basis in the last few days - any more than helping in the last few days would have been too much for the mother/son relationship which I have always tried to separate from being a teacher.

So, the day came and off we drove to school.  Neither of us spoke on the way.  Opening the envelope, we were both a bag of nerves but we didn't need to be, for Michael surpassed my predictions and got 4 Bs (including the necessary English) and 6 Cs.  He was a little disappointed not to get an A grade in PE or RE but then he did better in other subjects than predicted and 10 GCSE passes for a child with dyslexia who needed a scribe for his exams was brilliant.

The following day, Michael went to college to enrol but found out that he was one point short of what was needed to do all 4 A Levels, so he has dropped Psychology but still going to do A Levels in Law, Philosophy and Media Studies.  That should keep him busy for a while!

So one year of nervous waiting for results done.  Just next year (for AS Level results) to do, the following year (for A Level results) to get through and then the following year, we will be awaiting Natasha's GCSE results and so it will continue.  Augusts are going to be very stressful for the next 7 years!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

35 today!

Eeeek. A birthday.  And a round number - 35.  For some reason, I am not a fan of birthdays.  Not sure why but if I could get away with ignoring it, I would.  Of course, I am grateful to those who have sent cards and presents but I just dread it each year.  Still, it is only for 24 hours and then it is over for another 364 days - thank goodness.

So, I am now 35 and apparently middle-aged.  I certainly don't feel it though.  Look like it maybe!  More like 21 most of the time.  Certainly don't feel mature enough to be responsible for five children and a mortgage.  Oh, and the cats (and husband).  Maybe one day, I will feel my age.  But then the older I get, the quicker time goes, so perhaps I will never catch it up.

I wonder what this year will bring?  Well, the first thing will be my son's GCSE exam results tomorrow.  I am not sure who is more worried - him or me.   And it only seems like yesterday that I was getting my own exam results.  Keeping everything crossed that he will be pleased and that it is enough to get onto the college courses that he wants to do.  If not, I am not sure what he will do (or what I can do to sort it out).

Other things this year?  Well, no more pregnancies, that is for sure.  I think five children is more than enough although I do enjoy being pregnant.  So, I am going to distract myself by throwing myself into running my own business and working hard in my employed status, as well as running around after my children and supporting them in their hobbies and interests.

I am also really hoping to write a book but that is on the back burner for now as I keep changing my mind about the topic and don't have the time at present anyway.  But I will do it!  I think the way forward is to make a decision, set the alarm for 5am every morning and just do it.  I have 7 months left of maternity leave so 1 month to decide and 6 months to write it.  Okay, realistically, maybe another couple of years but I might actually start this year.

I also would like to take up some form of fitness.  After all, I am middle-aged now and will need to start working at keeping myself trim.  Not sure what to do though.  I have never stepped into a gym in my life and don't fancy starting now with all of those fit and healthy 20 year olds.  Running is free but I am useless at it.  Maybe going back to dance classes is the answer, although I need a babysitter so that is also problematic.  The simple answer is to keep doing what I have been doing - nothing!

So halfway to retirement (well, I think it will be at least 70 by the time I get there) and am I happy in work?  Actually, yes. I wouldn't change my job although I wouldn't mind cutting the hours a little to have a bit more time for other interests in the week but wouldn't we all?  Unfortunately, the pay isn't the same for part-time as full-time and my mortgage is a long way to being paid off.  Still, I am in a job that I enjoy and not everyone can say that.

I also have a lot to be grateful for - friends in particular.  I am blessed by good friends and I don't know what I would do without them.  I also have five beautiful and healthy children.  They may not be angels (and no children or adult is) but I am proud of them all.  Well, I am today.  Ask me tomorrow when Michael gets his exam results and the answer might be different, but today they are all fantastic in my eyes.

Only two hours left and that will be another birthday over for another year and I have to remember another age.  Thirty-five.  When I was 15 years old, that seemed like an ancient age.  Now I have reached it and it seems far less ancient.  How our perspectives change with age.  I wonder what else will change before my next birthday?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Crying Game - can someone explain the rules please

A crying baby is one of the hardest things about motherhood.  They can’t tell you what is wrong and yet all you want to do is fix it.  You have fed, changed, winded and cuddled your baby, yet nothing seems to work.  All you can do is try to remain unstressed and get through it.

Hannah used to cry a lot when she was little but only when she was put down.  It was hard to do anything as she was in your arms all day but then with three other children at school, it wasn’t the end of the world to sit and cuddle her all day (and evening). 

Nathaniel on the other hand, is a completely different baby.  For the last six weeks (he hardly cried at first), it seems that he has done one of three activities – sleeping, eating or crying – and nothing in between.  Thus, this blog has been a bit neglected as it was a lower priority than five children, housework, shopping, business research, getting out of the house to health visitors etc.

The one thing that has made the crying bearable is that Nathaniel sleeps well, both in the day and night, which gives time to recharge my batteries.  However, I would still love to spend my time with Nathaniel being happy rather than being distressed.  


You would have thought that having four babies already, I would have all the answers but this goes to show that every baby is so different and that you have to learn from your baby what he/she needs.  I am still learning about Nathaniel - who he is, what his likes and dislikes are, his different cries etc.  And as soon as I feel we have reached that point of understanding, I know something will change and I will be on that learning journey again.  I know this because I have done it four times before.  So while having five children doesn't give me all the answers, it does give me the knowledge that each new baby is different and individual - from the moment he/she is born.  To me, this is amazing - that babies have their own unique personality and needs from birth (or, as I believe, from the womb).


So, while I don't have all the answers, I am prepared to listen and hope that I can understand Nathaniel over time.  Already, I know there are toys he strongly dislikes and ways that he doesn't like to be held.  Finding out what he doesn't like seems to be easier than what he does like though as he tells me (loudly) when something doesn't meet his expectations.  


My Mum tells me that I was a demanding baby (as I didn't stop crying) yet I feel that I have always been determined and independent.  My crying was just an aspect of my personality.  In the same way, I believe that Nathaniel is strong-willed, energetic and  resilient- traits that can be positive in today's world.  I will try to remind myself of these positives when he is having a long crying spell - easier said than done but I will try.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

My Business

I am so excited to be writing this.  I have been getting itchy feet for some time now and wanting to do something more.  I know what you will say to this – “Janette, you have five children, a husband who works shifts so is often not there and a job (which involves working from home as well as going out to work), so why would you want to take more on?”  I guess, it is just something in me that loves a challenge and loves to keep busy. 

In April, I was lucky enough to inherit some money and it got me thinking – I could do one of two things, either put it in the bank in case something happens to the house etc in the future, or, I could use it now.  To be honest, it was a hard decision as we have no savings but I started to look at franchises on the internet.  My search revealed that there are lots of bad ones out there that I could not see making back the money that you pay for them and that want a high annual fee on top.  But, finally, I found one that looked right up my street and for which I had the main skills for already.

Finally, I realized that if I didn’t go for it, then I would regret it.  So I rang up the founder/owner and on discovering that we both have five children, are the same age and love dance, decided that it was meant to be and within 24 hours of this telephone conversation, I had bought a franchise!

So what is this franchise?  It is a company called Lazy Daisy and it provides birthing classes that are different to anything else out there but which fit in perfectly with my beliefs and experience of childbirth.  And of course, I am a bit of an expert in giving birth.  But just having experience isn’t enough as you also need to do 100 hours training to be registered an insured with FEDANT.  So, I am off on two training courses – one in October and one in November.  The training was the only doubt that I had as it means sorting out childcare and possibly even leaving Nathaniel for a few days both times.  I still need to sort this out and also the childcare while I am teaching (due to Laurie working weekends and evenings) but there are options that I am exploring.

For now, I am already impatient and can’t wait to start my new venture.  I have found and booked a venue (well, two if there is the demand) and it is just perfect – very yummy mummy and a popular location for shopping and eating so mums-to-be can combine my lessons with other fun activities.  I have also got a facebook page to begin advertising and hope to start getting business cards and flyers produced over the next two months ready for when I start advertising around Exeter.  My first class will be on the 3rd of December, which means August/September is the perfect time to target mums due in early 2012.  Not sure if I can wait until then though!!

I can’t ever see the business replacing my teaching as I love teaching children (and like the guaranteed monthly wage) but it will be great to use my teaching skills in a new way and to be able to talk pregnancy and birth as much as I like (while being paid!).  I hope to expand the business into the Daisy Babies in the future though but I feel that this will be another year or two down the line.  For now, I am going to keep busy while on maternity leave and juggle a few more things.


To support my business, go to my facebook page (see link on the left).

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Seven weeks old already!

I simply can not believe that my little boy is 7 weeks old now.  The time has gone by far too quickly.  He is no longer that tiny wrinkly, curled up baby anymore.  He has filled out and definitely grown longer in the last 7 weeks, well, the last 4 and a half weeks really as it took him 2 and a half to get back up to his 7lb 5oz birth weight.  I was just beginning to think that he would never put it back on as he was only gaining an ounce or so every other day, when he suddenly put on 8 ounces in 4 days.  Since then, there has been no stopping him and he is now a bouncing 9lb 12oz boy.



At one week old and tiny - being cuddled by big sister


Three weeks old and starting to fill out


Six weeks old and a lot bigger

So, apart from feeding Nathaniel lots to get this large weight gain, what have the last 7 weeks involved?

Two days before Nathaniel was born, the car dramatically broke down and a week after he was born, we found out that it would cost too much to repair due to the nearest part being in Japan!  So, we had to find another car, and quickly due to me already taking my car off the road as we couldn’t afford to run two cars while I was on maternity leave.  Amazingly, two friends of ours were thinking of selling their eight seater people carrier and by the end of the day, we had a car sat outside our house.  Please note, that it wasn’t on the driveway as we had two cars on there already – one SORN and one broken.  We looked very greedy with three cars!

My other son, Michael, has been taking his GCSE exams since Nathaniel has been born.  It has been a little strange to have one son finishing his secondary education while my other son is a newborn.  It certainly emphasised the age gap between them and made me feel both old and young at the same time – after all, there are not many 34 year olds with a 15 (nearly 16) year old and a newborn.  Things are certainly different from when I had Michael though but that is a whole blog by itself.

Nathaniel’s early arrival messed up our paternity leave plans as it meant that Laurie went back to work at the start of half-term when he should have been off for that week to help me out.  It was a difficult week with five children, the youngest being only two weeks and without a car to get out and about.  But we all survived and used our legs and a double pushchair to get fresh air.  In fact, there is nothing more therapeutic than fresh air and sunshine.  Of course, it would have been better to see the sun more over the half-term but did I really expect good weather during a school holiday?!

One weird thing that happened in the first couple of weeks after Nathaniel was born was that the nesting instinct kicked in.  There I was, supposed to be resting, when all I had the urge to do was scrub floors and clean cupboards.  My house sparkled!  Unfortunately, with five children and a husband, the house never stayed clean and tidy for long.  And, unfortunately for whoever made the mess, my ‘new mum’ hormones and sleep deprivation meant that I would certainly let them know that I wasn’t happy.

Overall, the last seven weeks have passed so fast that in many ways, I wish I could relive them, especially as Nathaniel is my last baby (despite what everyone else says).  We have had some lovely times, like all going to the zoo on Father’s Day, watching him playing on his playmate, sharing the bath with his sister and going for walks along the river.  Then there’s the cuddles that are unique to a newborn baby and the lovely smell.  If I could just stop time, it would be lovely but then I would miss out on him growing into a child with his own personality and that is just as enjoyable.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Nathaniel's first week

Having to write this all in retrospect as was too busy to write it at the time!  Can't imagine why!

Day 1


Woke up cuddling my tiny wee baby boy.  He is so gorgeous.  And he slept all night in his bed until 5am when he wanted a feed and cuddle, which Mummy was more than happy to give him.  I couldn't believe he was so good that night but I felt as though I didn't get a wink of sleep listening to him grunting and making funny noises.  had to keep peeping into the crib to check that he was ok.

We decided to spend a quiet day in but did have a couple of visitors, which was lovely.  Margaret and Syd came over (the children's honorary Grandparents) to have cuddles and bring gifts.  They were also refereeing our discussion on names.  I wanted Nathaniel and Laurie wanted Isaac.  The only thing that we had decided on was the middle name - Stephen after my Dad.

The only thing that made me feel a bit down today was that my parents couldn't see him yet as they were too far away and by the time they will see him, he will no longer be that tiny newborn baby.  We have no contact with Laurie's family, so it was a bit sad that at this special time when families normally visit a newborn baby, we didn't have either family.

Spent the evening setting cover work for my classes for the next day as I was supposed to be there for another week and nobody knows what to teach them.  Strangely felt as though I haven't left even though I was typing out my cover work while holding my day old baby.

Day 2


Decided on a name - Nathaniel Stephen.  It is longer than he is at the moment but he will grow into it.

Two lovely friends came around today to see Nathaniel although I think I was my normal self as felt a bit zoombie-fied from no sleep in 48 hours (plus).  I felt sad for one of those friends who I know is desperate for a baby but is struggling to have one and I wonder how she manages to be so happy for me and all smiles, when I know she wants it to be her.  I am not sure that I would have her strength.  I just wish I could give her a baby and she will make a fantastic mum.

Michael came home with a lovely present for me - two class worth of work to mark.  Why did I say I would do it?!


Day 3

A bit chaotic as we had my brother-in-law and two nephews over.  When the midwife turned up, you couldn't move for toys and children.  So, we had to chuck them out to the park and do a quick tidy so that she would check Nathaniel and I over.  He was weighed for the first time since birth and had dropped down to 6lb 10oz which meant he lost 11oz in three days.

I also went out for the first time since Nathaniel was born and took Natasha, Kaiya, Hannah and Nathaniel to Co-op to get a few essential foods in and drove back.  Felt good!

Day 4


Spent the morning marking Year 8 assessments while Nathaniel slept in my arms - it is a good job he is small and can curl up so I can have both him and my marking on my lap.  Two more close friends visited and it was lovely to show Nathaniel off again.

As it was a Sunday, it felt very strange to get the children's clothes ironed for the morning but not mine.  Still felt as though I was simply off sick for a couple of days. My body was at home but my mind was at work.  Even emailed my cover teacher to check she knew what I had taught and what still needed doing.


Day 5

My own midwife came over to do the heel prick.  It was lovely to see her and we joked that she missed another birth so I would have to do it again so that she could deliver one of my babies.  We also talked about the delivery and she made me feel much better about it.

It was not raining (for a change) so we took advantage of it and took both Hannah and Nathaniel to the park. Hannah had such a lovely time and the fresh air was very welcome as had felt a bit cooped in until then.

Day 6

First time that Nathaniel and I had been alone since he had been born, so what did I do?  Sat on the sofa and just cuddled him while watching those great house buying programmes that I love but never get to see because I am usually at work.  Nothing beats cuddling a newborn baby!  Didn't get a cup of tea until Laurie came home and made one for me, but that was a small price to pay for a lovely morning.  Began to feel as though I was on maternity leave at last!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The birth of Nathaniel - don't read if you don't like birth stories!

From Sunday 8th May, I was feeling poorly.  Tummy was sore, headaches, shivering, sore throat and generally not quite right.  But I had another week and a half at work so decided that it was just late pregnancy aches and pains and tried to keep going.  Have to say that I was in bed by 5pm on the Monday though as felt that I had flu - with hindsight, I know it was more hormones changing to wanting to give birth!


On Wednesday 11th May (38 weeks and 5 days pregnant), I woke up and couldn't walk properly - it felt as though there was a ball between my legs - and I thought that the baby had maybe dropped further or that I had slept funny so off I trundled to work.  Fortunately we had a special collapsed timetable day and I was down to do one-to-one work with C/D kids as their exam was on the following Monday so was not teaching full classes unlike the rest of the team. Was having mild pains all day but had had them for the last few days so wasn't worried. 

2.25pm - After lunch, I sat in department office to await first afternoon student, when I heard/felt a pop and a gush. Stood up quickly (because I was on a particular colleague's chair and I didn't want to get it wet) and Niagra Falls began. My trousers were stuck to me, my socks and shoes soaked and there was a puddle on the floor.  My first thught was that it couldn't be happening.  I had heard the jokes for the previous two weeks about my waters bursting at school but knew that statistically it was unlikely and was far more likely to happen when chilling out at the weekend.

In a panic, I waddled out to the corridor where fortunately a lovely female English teacher was and asked her to come over. She calmed me down, got me to the office and there I sat on a pile of towels and plastic bags awaiting my husband, while the admin staff tried to make jokes. Contractions were every 5 minutes but weren't long or painful.

3.45pm - Eventually got home - husband had to wait for the taxi driver as his car had broken down - what timing!!  Mad dash around the house ensued with me trying to get the dishes in the dishwasher (as we had all left for work/school in a hurry that morning), change out of damp clothes, get the heating on to warm the towels etc.


4.30pm - The midwife arrives and said that I was 5cm and very stretchy. Waters still gushing out. Began to think that they had it wrong about a big baby as never seen so much water. Plastic sheets all over the bed and floor and towels scattered around trying to soak it up.  Midwife got me walking up and down the stairs and got a second midwife there as she thought things were happening quickly. 

After 2 hours of walking up and down the stairs, pausing to breath through the contractions, I was feeling immense pressure in bottom so we thought I was 9cm ish. But contractions still only one in five minutes although a minute long and hurting so I couldn't talk through them. Although I was managing to laugh in between the contractions (goodness knows what was funny and no, I hadn't touched the gas and air!) - something which I have since read on my birth notes.

8.15pm - still nothing and time for shift change of midwives. I was tired and disheartened and kept saying that I couldn't understand why baby wasn't coming but that it felt there was something stopping him. The new midwife was a matron and straight away insisted on an internal, suggesting that I had another bag of waters preventing the baby coming down. I argued that I really couldn't have any more waters.  How wrong was I?!  

8.30pm - On examination, I was only 7cm and I promptly burst into tears thinking I had hours and hours to go as had only gone 2cm in all that time. But then she explained that she was able to stretch it to 9-10cm and that the waters had stopped the pressure of the head needed to dilate and stay there.  She broke the waters and there was so much of it (again!) and soaked everywhere (again). The next contraction was instant and absolute agony. The midwife said I had to get to the birthing area on the floor where I instantly had another contraction and tried the gas and air but couldn't get it to work so screamed the house down. Never had pain like it. The next contraction, was so painful that I bit the gas and air nozzle off and threw it across the floor and then found myself biting down on my arm as it was the only thing available. 

At this point I sunk to the floor but the midwife insisted I kneel up as the head was crowning and he couldn't get out with me sat on his head - shame as I was much more comfortable sat there even if he wasn't. Then the heartbeat dropped to 60 and the two midwives and my husband forced me to kneeling and I was told to push hard. Without having a contraction or urge to push I argued that I couldn't but she said I had to get him out now! So I pushed and somehow got his head out without a break and then his body at 8.45pm. He screamed straight away and was fine, and so was I. We were just a bit shocked by the events of the previous fifteen minutes.

So all in all, I was 5cm with no pain or problems, then took 3 and a half hours to get to 7cm , then ten minutes to get to 10cm and delivery a baby. 

Afterwards, she said I was very lucky that the waters were stuck there because if those waters had also broken at school, I would have probably had a 30 minute labour and had him at work! But that large bag blocked everything and meant a slow 5-7cm instead.

After the birth, I was helped back into my bed and sat there and fed him.  He opened his eyes and just looked up - the best moment ever!  The other children then came up and the midwives discreetly disappeared to leave us to have some 'family time'.  Everyone had cuddles and photos and it was just so lovely - something that you can't have in a hospital.


10.00pm - midwives had left us, I had had a bath, the girls had been packed off to bed and I was sat on the sofa cuddling my newborn son and thinking what a surreal day - gone to work as normal, managed practically a full day, waters broke at work, home to give birth, had a baby and sat in front of the TV by 10pm.
He is 7lb 3oz and 45cm (the shortest one so far) and absolutely gorgeous!




Saturday, 7 May 2011

13 days to go!!!

Of course I know that babies don't usually arrive on their due date (although 2 of mine have) but even so, the thought that I could have a baby in 13 days doesn't seem very far away at all now.  Everything is ready although I don't start my maternity leave for another 12 days.  I am fine at work - better keeping busy than sat around all day - but it does mean that I get comments all day from lots of teenage children about my ever increasing size and their worry that I will spontaneously give birth while standing at the whiteboard.  Now that would be a story to tell in the future!

Not sure how Hannah is going to react to the new arrival.  She spends a lot of time kissing my tummy and telling the baby to come out, which is cute, but she has no idea what life will be like when she has to share the attention.  

This week, Hannah has perfected the 'Sorry Mummy' when she is naughty.  She says it so beautifully and sincerely that you simply can't stay cross with her.  Although I am not sure she understands what it means as more often than not, she will then go back to whatever mischievous deed she was doing, promptly followed by another 'Sorry Mummy.'

Having a homebirth has one major advantage - you are compelled to keep the house tidy just in case labour starts and the midwife comes before you have a chance to clean up!  So I am becoming a little obsessive at ensuring everything is spotless.  I now can't walk into a room without inspecting it for something not in its place or a bit of dust.  My house has never been so tidy or clean.  Hope the midwife notices now!!

I also have some lovely laminate in my lounge, dining room and kitchen which my husband, friend and children lay last weekend.  I decided Hannah and I were best not there with the mess and chaos so escaped for the day. Left the house with bare floors and furniture everywhere and came home ten hours later to three new looking rooms.  Now I have my sights set on a shower room and garden make over.  Not sure that they will get done before the baby arrives though.  Still, Laurie will have two weeks paternity leave to get them done soon.  Just got to make sure that the midwife doesn't see the shower room in the meantime or my image of a tidy, clean and organised house will be destroyed!

Friday, 29 April 2011

37 weeks today!

37 weeks today!  Not sure where the last 8 months have gone but am so excited to be officially full-term.  Feels very real now.  And after feeling panicky about getting the baby out before he grows too large (after the midwife told me to expect an 8-8 1/2 pounder) I am now feeling far more chilled about it all.  Partly helped by three lovely ladies coming up to me, while I was in the park with Hannah yesterday, to tell me that my bump was perfectly formed and shaped.  Very weird strangers coming up to me to comment on my body but as they said kind things, I really didn't mind!  So while I was feeling fat and uncomfortable, I suddenly realised that actually I will miss my bump when the baby comes.  After all, I know what the bump turns into after the birth.  So maybe I don't mind being pregnant a little longer and enjoying my shape.  



37 weeks today with my boy bump!!!

In the meantime, I realised this morning that my medicine cabinet is bursting with my potions for this baby.  I think the drugs companies are making a fortune from pregnant women.  I have raspberry leaf tea bags, raspberry leaf tablets, pregnacare tablets, iron supplements, and clary sage.  Then there is the after birth drugs ready and waiting.  Paracetamol, ibuprofen and arnica.  And I keep wondering if I have missed anything out.

Well, a day off thanks to the Royal couple and I am very glad for the long weekend.  Lots to do in the house as well as school work but am feeling a lot less tired than I was over the Easter holidays, so am hoping to get things done.  I might even get that last bit of skirting board glossed.  

After this weekend, I still have three weeks work (well, two and a half) until my maternity leave so I think I may be a little less energetic.  But on the good side, it takes my mind off watching for every little sign of labour beginning and that has to be a good thing!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Homebirth visit - good and bad points

Well, the midwife came over after work today to bring over the stuff I need for my homebirth and go through the paperwork involved and am now feeling apprehensive but also excited.  Apprehensive because this baby has grown a LOT in the last two weeks and is now at the top of the chart.  So rather than an estimated average 7-7 and a half pound baby, I am now looking at a 8-8 and a half pound baby.  Maybe not big for everyone but I am only 5 foot 1 inch and if the baby is late, I could even be looking at 9lb plus!

On the positive side, the baby is now well engaged (3/5 in the pelvis which is what the others were before I went into labour) and apparently the head is not moving at all - good that it is very unlikely to disengage but also could mean a big head (ouch!).  Hoping that the head being so low is a sign that baby is ready to come out in the next two weeks!  The head being engaged does explain the pelvic pain that I have been suffering in the last week too.  Good to know that it isn't in my head (but my pelvis - lol).

I do get to see my baby again tomorrow, just to check the presentation as I am having a homebirth.  This means that I get to see my baby once more before he is born.  And I get to check that 'he' is actually a boy!  The 20 week scan had better be right or I will be having a girl wearing boy clothes for the first three months.

The only other news from the midwife visit was that I have ketones, meaning that I am not eating enough.  Bit of a joke when I have a giant baby making my stomach so small that I haven't felt hungry in two weeks and yet the baby has grown loads.  How big he would be if I was eating normally is anyone's guess.

The reality is that I am having a baby!  And it is finally feeling real.  I have drugs delivered by the midwife in the fridge and the cupboard for baby and me.  My notes and birth plan have been written by the midwife.  The essential equipment has been dropped off in a big yellow bag.  And more importantly, my baby seems fully cooked now.  Or at least he will be in 72 hours!  While I don't think he will be a 37 weeker, a 38 weeker would be rather good considering his size and my comfort.  So lots of long walks, curries and bouncing on my ball from the 6th of May.  Or maybe earlier if the aches and pains get too much!!

Oh, forgot to mention that I went back to work today.  A five lesson day to keep me busy.  Wasn't as bad as I thought though and at least I have a long weekend to look forward to.  Am just surprised that my blood pressure wasn't raised with the long and tiring day but actually it was the lowest one to date (106/60).  Is that a sign of impending labour?  May have to research that one.

Lastly, and still work related, I handed in a letter to my Headteacher today informing him that I will be taking 6 weeks more maternity leave than I previously stated.  This means that I will be off from the 19th May 2011 (if baby not here before due date) until the middle of April 2012.  Yippee!!

Monday, 25 April 2011

A busy last day

Last day of the holidays and it is a manic day.  Partly my fault though as decided we needed to secure more of the garden for Hannah and so a trip to B&Q was in order.  So off we headed with our list and budget and I may have well chucked them both away.  Walking towards the garden area, I spotted some laminate reduced to £10 for 2.2 sqm.  On asking the sales assistant how much he had in stock, he said that he wanted to get rid of it and offered to reduce it to £8 a pack (£3.63 sqm).  So we bought enough for 40sqm!  Definitely blown the budget but a bargain.  Now Laurie has got to find the time to get the garden sorted so it is safer for Hannah as well as laying a laminate floor, which needs to be done before the baby arrives due to the dust and mess.  Oh, and the shower room needs doing but maybe I will wait a month a two for that!

So what else have I done this morning (apart from buying lots from B&Q)?  I have written a letter to my Head stating that I am going to take an extra 6 weeks maternity leave (unpaid though).  This means that I will be off until the beginning of April 2012.  Can't wait!!  Although I will miss my wages, especially with my purchases today!  But, in the meantime, I have four weeks of work to plan for and get through.  To be honest, I am not looking forward to it - am tired and aching - but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the thought of being able to take a decent amount of time off with my new baby (and Hannah of course) is fantastic.  It was tough going returning to work after 6 months last time, especially with breastfeeding and Hannah still waking in the night, so hoping that it will be easier this time and I won't spend my maternity leave worrying about how I will cope going back.

Right, well better go as I now have to take my girls out to a majorette display this afternoon.  On my return, I will have to face the dreaded task of getting the school uniforms ironed, packed lunches made and some last minute planning.  Then an early night, ready for a 6am start tomorrow.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

One month to go but am enjoying the weather

It is the 20th of April today which means that it is a month until my due date.  Please can anyone tell me where the last 8 months went?  (Or rather 7 and a half since getting that positive test result.)  Some days I feel totally ready - I have the bag packed, the baby clothes washed and am now fed up of the fat waddling look - but then I try to imagine another baby in our house and I feel totally unprepared.  But it doesn't matter how ready I am or not as at some time in the next 6 weeks (if he is two weeks late), I will have my fifth baby.  A baby with no name!

In the meantime, I am enjoying this absolutely gorgeous weather that I can't believe is here as it is a school holiday and usually the weather is terrible when the children are off.  I have lost count of the miles that I have walked while trying to enjoy this beautiful sunshine but it has been great.  Family days out on the beach or at the park in the sun is what Summer is all about.  Just keeping everything crossed that it lasts until at least the end of the holidays.

With two weeks off and this sun, I am feeling more relaxed now than I have in months and simply don't want it to end.  Can I press the pause button please and make the most of the simple life without the stresses of work and dashing about?  I could really get used to this.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sunny Sunday and am pondering names

Well, it is 7am on a Sunday morning and I have been up since 6am to get my two eldest girls across town for the coach to take them to their majorettes competition.  Back home now and the sun is out and the day is full of promise.  What to do with myself?  Now, I have some time and energy, I don't know.

One thing that I ought to be doing is trying to sort out a name for our baby boy.  We have always chosen a name by now and with less than 5 weeks until due date, I guess we really ought to start making a decision.  There are lots that we like but I am not sure that I love them.  And don't want to go with a second best name.  The main problem is that there are many names with negative connotations due to working in four different schools over the years.  Plus, we have to decide between us and that isn't easy either.  Then the three older children give their opinions and they are not shy about saying what they think.

So what type of name do I want?  One that will suit both a child and an adult. One that isn't currently in the top 10 or 20 names as to common but equally isn't too unusual.  We like a lot of the popular Biblical names but am not sure that I love them.  Guess I am waiting for inspiration to hit me like a thunderbolt but am running out of time.  Maybe we will just wait until he arrives, then decide what name he looks like.  Unless anyone can suggest a great name in the meantime.

In the meantime, the sun is shining and I want to see some of it.  But where to go at 8 months pregnant with a two year old?  Maybe a walk down by the quay to feed the ducks and swans.  Bit early at the moment though so maybe another cup of tea first.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

35 weeks tomorrow

Am shattered.  That says it all really.  So much to do in the next 11 days and now I have to add insomnia to my list.  Getting to sleep is no problem at all but in the wee hours in the morning, when I am struggling to roll over and baby has decided it is a good time to roll about and kick me as much as possible, I am awake and unable to get back to sleep.  Spent two hours in the night this morning trying to decide whether to get up and do something or continue to try and get back to sleep.  Fortunately, at 4.30am I must have gone to sleep because the next time I looked at the clock, it was 7.45!  A lie in!

After seeing the midwife today, I did at least find out what all the wriggling was about.  After being in the same left-hand position for the last 6 weeks, he has decided to go back-to-back.  This means more backache and limbs more able to kick/punch my stomach.  Hope he moves back to where he was soon.

Sadly, my midwife is off sick and isn't likely to return before my baby is born, which I am really disappointed about as I really like her.  Now I will have different ones each time which I don't like.  However, she asked if I had a homebirth last time and when I explained I did, she said that she thought she recognised the surname - I am famous after my last birth!!

Still, all seems to be going well and am on track for a 7-7.5 pound baby (they think).  Head very slightly down but nothing to get excited about especially as they can pop in and out.  All else is well and they are doing a home visit in 11 days to drop off the stuff for my homebirth!  Seems very odd that I am technically labelled full-term and allowed to have a homebirth in as little as 15 days.  Not that any of mine have been 37 weekers and so it is highly unlikely but even so, only 15 days is a scary thought.  Knowing this little monkey, I will go to 42 weeks and so still have 7 weeks and a day to go,

Have managed to get everything for the baby and me now and packed my bag so feeling happy that I am finally ready for when he decides to arrive.  Still got the painting, diy and gardening to do, but the main thing is that I have nappies, breast pads etc as these are sort of essential.  Even had my haircut so I don't need to worry about that in the first few weeks.  Starting to relax now I know that most of the stuff is done.  Just need to start my maternity leave in 5 weeks time to properly relax.

Monday, 11 April 2011

A busy two weeks ahead

It is officially the start of the holidays and I am so relieved that I now have two weeks off.  I seem to have exploded in the last week and have reached the 'uncomfortable whatever I do' stage.  I never got that with Hannah so I had forgotten what it was like.  So while I am happy to be off work, I am not sure that I will be working harder at home with four children and a very long list of jobs to do.

My husband keeps saying that I am nesting but I am not!!  I am simply being practical.  There are things that need doing before the baby arrives and as I am working until a day before this little one is due, there is no way that I will have the energy to work, run kids around and also this long list.  So it is a case of now or never (well, a very long time anyway).

Here is the list so far (keep adding to it) and it isn't too bad, as I have already painted the kitchen (finished the second coat at 7.10 this morning), bought Kaiya's shoes, washed the baby clothes, folded and put them away, and spring cleaned over half of the house.

  • Spring clean house 
  •  Wash baby stuff   
  •  Paint kitchen 
  •  Paint lounge   
  • Gloss woodwork throughout house
  • Paint hallways
  • De-weed and tidy garden
  •  Haircut 
  • Midwife appointment
  •  Shopping for hospital bag 
  • Pack hospital bag  
  •  Buy Hannah's shoes 
  •  Buy Kaiya's shoes 
  •  Get baby stuff ready     
  •  School work               
  •  Clean and hoover car 
  • Clean carpets
  • Grout bathroom
Today, I am trying to decide between painting the hallways or the lounge plus gloss work.  Decisions, decisions...

Saturday, 26 March 2011

32 weeks and time is flying by

I feel as though I have reached an important milestone - 32 weeks or rather 8 weeks to go.  Saying that, he may not be an on time baby (and I actually hope he is late) so I have a maximum of 10 weeks left.  Very scary!

With Ofsted observing me at work and a daughter being rushed to hospital in an ambulance twice this week, I can honestly say that despite the growing bump, I forgot I was pregnant most of the week.  The only times I remembered was when I got a wriggle and I thought, "Oh, what was that?  Wind?  Dicky tummy?  Oh, that's right, there's a baby in there."  Hope I am not this forgetful after he is born!

I did see my midwife this week though and explained the stressful week but, after a thorough check-up, I (and baby) were given the all clear.  Blood pressure up but not dangerously and everything else is ok.  Good news is that he is now head down, so has turned in the last four weeks.  Measuring my tummy, I am at 30cm for 32 weeks so he is growing, although I am not surprised with the comfort sweets and biscuits that I have been eating this week to get me through it.

Took a photo of my bump yesterday in the same clothes and at the same stage as with Hannah for a comparison as everyone is saying that I am bigger than I was last time, and here are the results:

Me yesterday at 32 weeks.



Me at 32 weeks with Hannah.

Anyway, today I popped to a baby sale in aid of the CLIC charity and made a hormonal-spur-of-the-moment purchase.  I bought 17 reusable nappies.  Always been against them in the past as couldn't see how you would save money buy the time you bought all the stuff and spent more money on the washing machine but just decided to go for it.  No idea what I was doing though so bought them and hoped they were the right ones!  Now just need to work out how to use them!  Oh dear!

I must admit that I am not my bouncy energetic self this weekend and am irritable and tired.  Not even the physical type of tiredness but the 'leave-me-alone' and 'I-want-to curl-up-on-the-sofa-all-day-and-do-nothing' tiredness.  Unfortunately, with a working husband and four children at home, as well as jobs to do, this is not an option, so feel even more fed up.  I have a pile of 50 Year 11 essays looking at me and have lessons to plan, but am not sure whether any of it will happen.

Still, things could be worse and I only have two weeks until the Easter holidays when I will be definitely be chilling out a bit.  (Or doing all those things that I haven't had time for!)  I am definitely going to treat myself to a haircut and meeting some friends for some 'me' time.  And I have just realised that by the time the Easter holidays is over, this baby will be due in just four weeks!  Eeek.  Can I please stop time?!

Monday, 21 March 2011

What else can happen...

After yesterday's post (and bit of a moan) about how life is manic at the moment, it got even worse today.  There I was in the middle of a lesson, when I am told to ring my husband urgently.  What drama could be happening now?

An eleven year old daughter who collapsed at school and was still unconscious and awaiting an ambulance.

Fortunately, work and my work colleagues were fantastic.  By the time I had put down the phone and promptly burst into tears, five of my colleagues were there to ask what they could do to help me.  One got my bag from my room, another drove me to the hospital and my HOD told me to stay off and miss Ofsted.  Walking down the corridor, I found out that news travels fast as bumped into two members of SLT, both of whom already knew what had happened.  It made it much easier, knowing that I didn't have to worry about work.

We beat the ambulance to the hospital but, after what seemed an age, it pulled up and I jumped in to see how my daughter was.  Glassy eyed, unfocused, grey and not speaking.  A very scary sight.  The paramedics admitted that they didn't know what was wrong, which wasn't very reassuring as I just wanted a diagnosis.

By the time we got into a cubicle, Kaiya was slightly more with it and able to whisper single word answers although she had no idea what month it was or what had happened.  by this time it was about 45 minutes since she collapsed and she still was not all with us.  Fortunately, every minute that passed showed a bit more colour and a bit more of Kaiya returning.  I knew then that she would be alright.

After three hours, she had recovered enough to eat, drink, laugh at jokes and even start being naughty - she would be fine.  The medical staff never found a reason for her sudden and dramatic collapse when she was normally so healthy but they let her go home and I decided that I had better get back to work as had so much to do for Ofsted in the morning.

So, the stress and adrenalin of a hospital dash today.  What can happen tomorrow?  Oh yes, Ofsted.  If they dare criticise me, I am not sure I will keep my cool with them.  Do they know how hard it has been this last week?  Do they know anything about me?  No, they just see a 30 minute snapshot and make a judgement.  Well, I can do no more.  I am shattered - physically, mentally and emotionally - and have nothing more to give them.  Take it or leave it - this is me - Mum, wife, teacher.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

31 weeks and life just gets busier

Got a spare five minutes - just time for a little update.

Am now 31 weeks but instead of life slowing down as I am in my seventh month of pregnancy, it just gets more and more mad.  At the start of the week, I went to work on four hours sleep as Hannah has a bad cold that kept her (and subsequently me) awake until the wee hours.Then, on no sleep, I am informed that Ofsted will be paying us a little visit next week.  The panic starts!

So, I have spent several days preparing for this visit.  Getting spangling lesson plans and resources at the ready and having some disconcerting dreams about Ofsted inspectors.  Typically, the weather is gorgeous as though it is mocking the fact that I am sat at a computer trying to feel inspired to create an amazing lesson that both the children and inspectors will love.

As well as working from home (as well as work), I have obviously looked after my children, done the housework and shopping.  Yesterday, I was pleased to find the time to get to the park with the girls and enjoy the fresh air to remind myself that work is only work and not my entire life - even though it is even impacting on my sleep at the moment.  Fortunately, the evening's television was only rugby so no temptation to chill out in front of the box.

Today, I decided to get down the car boot sale (as I love them so much and realised that my council tax bill doesn't need paying this month so I have a bit of spare money!).  So, off Hannah and I went at 7.30am and came back with loads of bargains!  Not sure that my husband thinks buying a double buggy when we already have a lovely one is a bargain though!  I tried to tell him it was a good idea to have a spare, but he fails to be convinced.  I also managed to get loads of baby boy clothes (again, not really needed as we were given loads but at 10p-20p each and so sweet, I couldn't resist).  Also purchased a nursing pillow, two dresses for Hannah and some coasters.  I dread to think what it all would have cost new so am pleased.  Hoping for a few more sunny Sundays before this baby arrives.  Which reminds me that there are only 8 more Sundays before due date!!!  Not many!!!

The bump (as he is still called as can't decide on a name yet) is generally being good.  Started getting back ache and pelvis pain the last couple of weeks which is getting steadily worse but it isn't really unexpected.  Bump now seems huge and has definitely grown in the last week.  In fact, I think I am the same size now as I was at 9 months with Hannah.  Mind you, bump size doesn't equate to baby size as I know from having four already.  The amount I am eating, may have more to do with it.  In which case, I had better expect an elephant!  I think the baby is also a lot lower than it was and it feels as though it is running out of room already.  he does have a habit of sticking a foot out on my right hand side and you can actually see and feel it from the outside.  That foot seems to be measuring about 3cm and gives me a lot of pain when he decides to have a stretch.  Strange that he always pushes it out in the same place though but that's what makes me think that there isn't much room left as he doesn't change position really, just stretches outwards every now and again.

Right, well better sort out the dinner and try and brace myself for Ofsted week.  I keep saying things will get easier but I really shouldn't as something else happens, so I won't say it, just hope that I can survive another 9 weeks without going mad.  Am beginning to hope that this baby is late so I can have some down time before he arrives.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Business ideas

Following on from my reducing outgoings blog, I have been thinking about the other end of the spectrum - how to increase our income.

Currently, I work four days a week as a secondary teacher but that does leave me with three days a week off.  Now clearly, I don't want to stretch myself too thin as the focus of me working part-time was to spend more time at home with my children, but with prices going up and incomes staying static, I have been thinking about my options.

My first idea was to do some childminding.  After all, if I am home with two children on my weekday off, one more will be fine.  It won't make me a fortune (probably around £30 a day before tax and NI) but I think I would enjoy it and be good at it.  I would need around a £400 outlay to do my first aid course and a few bits around the house etc, so that is one of the negative points.  The main one though is wondering whether anyone will want a childminder for just one day a week.  If there is no market there, then I have done the courses and outlay for nothing.

My second idea is to do buying and selling.  How many working parents out there have lots of unused baby items but don't have the energy to go the boot sale or ebay them?  Wouldn't it be easier for someone to come to their house, give them cash and take the item away?  Of course, I would then need to sell it on for a profit, which would probably be via an ebay shop.  This would mean I would need space to store items and I would need to hope that everything I bought, has profit potential.

My third idea is to run a parent and baby/child club on Thursdays and Saturdays.  Recently, some of my friends with young children have been looking into activities, such as gym, music or dance but have been restricted by the days and times.  All of these activities for pre-school age children happen in the week when many mums now work.  Personally, I think there would be a huge market out there for something like this for working parents.  I could also do one on a Thursday for non-working parents or part-time workers.  Ideas include, drama and dance, craft sessions, baby massage/relaxation etc.  The downside is that I would probably need some training (especially for the massage idea) and premises but it is a definite possibility.

My fourth idea is to do with muffins and cakes.  Recently, I have enjoyed doing some baking at home and have shared with others who have made some very positive comments - of course, they may just be being polite - which has given me the idea of doing some baking and then selling them to small local cafes etc to sell on.  Would clearly have to contact cafes to see if this is a viable idea at all though.

My fifth idea is to either become a tutor, for a company or independently, or even more exciting, to run my own local tutor company.  I know of a couple of English teachers who would be interested in tutoring too so maybe a small company is the way to go.   Trouble is that the next 2 months are the peak time as the exams are in May and I haven't even got the idea properly formed yet. On a positive note, there are few outlays (or even none) so no/little risk involved.  There are some companies around here that do tutoring but they are all national companies and I think the local touch is sometimes more valued.

The final idea is one that I have had floating around for the last 18 years (ish) but is totally impractical and certainly not going to bring in much (if any) money and that idea is to write a book.  Maybe one day....

Any comments on what you think I should do?

Saturday, 12 March 2011

My Maths!!

I must have done a bit of a calculator typo on my blog explaining how much I had saved because it should have added up to saving £480 not £380.  Anyway, have corrected now and also remembered another £20 saved so a lovely round figure of £500 a month.

Pregnancy and family life do not always mix

After hobbling around yesterday and taking my first day off in this pregnancy, I am feeling more mobile today - thank goodness.  Not sure what I did but yesterday my back and pelvis was agony and only relieved by lying on my side on the sofa.  This morning, I am able to move around a little quicker, which is just as well as I have four children here and no husband (as he is at work).

I also need to be able to drive today as have three children who have to be in the same place at different times - why couldn't they have arranged it with their friends a little better?!  So a fun afternoon driving around, dropping off children and picking them up again.  And this is my weekend.  Um, no.  This is why I only work four days a week to give me that one day a week that is mine (and Hannah's) and not constricted by my older children's social lives.

Today, I suppose I also ought to do some housework as lying on the sofa for a day meant that no washing up, hovering or tidying was done. If I can do the housework and baking before the running around this afternoon, I may have the evening to do my school work though.  Then I can have Sunday off!  Well, as off as a day is with four children to look after.

I am not complaining - after all, I would be bored if I wasn't busy - but every now and again, I wouldn't mind a housework or taxi fairy to help out so I could do something for me.  Then again, I am not sure what I would for me if I did have the time.  In the meantime, I am just trying to get my head around the fact that I will have another baby in ten weeks (give or take a few days either side).  I still don't think it has sunk in yet and ten weeks isn't that long to go really.  Will fit in sorting things out for our new arrival at Easter.

Right, well off now to tidy up, do the washing up and get a cake in the oven.