The etiquette of visiting a newborn. 

A good friend of mine and his husband came to visit us a few weeks ago for the first time since we’d had Arthur. He surprised me by admitting that he’d googled the etiquette of visiting a newborn. At the time I laughed thinking “what an Owain thing to do!” But on reflection it was a bloody good idea! Owain had been itching to meet Arthur and see how we were all doing but wasn’t sure when is a suitable time to start nagging for a visit, and it occurs to me that lots of people probably wonder the same thing while others turn up unannounced on day two when the last thing you need or want is visitors! Here are my thoughts on what you should and shouldn’t do when visiting. 

1. Never turn up unannounced. No new parents want surprise visitors. I was very fortunate to have had a lovely, easy, straightforward birth. I was home the same day and feeling great but I still didn’t want people just turning up unannounced! Always call or text and ask if you can stop by. 

2. When you call or text make sure you give plenty of warning. “Can I come around in half an hour?” Is the most stressful text message I got as a frazzled new mum! I guess people forget how hard it is to be awake, dressed and not crying in a corner somewhere in those first few weeks! I tried to make sure all of our visitors planned their visits at least a week in advance. It meant I knew I had time in the lead up to said visit to make the house look less unloved, be showered and dressed and have my face on. Ideally I’d have Arthur fed and changed and ready for cuddles too if possible. These things may sound unimportant to you, but to be brutally honest, it isn’t about you. A new mum has been through a physically and emotionally traumatic time, and if being showered, dressed and having their make up on makes them feel better able to tackle the day then give them that. 

3. When you make a plan to visit, stick to it or let them know as much in advance as possible if you can no longer make it. As I mentioned in point number 2, it’s an epic mission to be ready for visitors. It isn’t just a case of throwing on some clothes and away we go. If I’ve spent a precious “free” hour cleaning the house for the sole purpose of your visit when I could’ve been sleeping or having a relaxing bath, and then you don’t turn up I will plot your death. 

4. Don’t leave it up to the new parents to invite you around. Mainly because that just won’t happen! Lots of people said to me “let us know when you’re up for visitors” and then backed off. While I appreciated the space, I never felt like I had a “good time” to invite people around and frankly, between the sleep deprivation and the steep learning curve of being a new mum I really didn’t have time to stop and think “right then, who do I need to text now and invite over”. Leave it a week or two and then drop a casual message to see how everyone is doing and if they’re free for a quick visit soon. It prompts us Mombies to remember we have friends who’d like to see us (always a nice feeling) without being pushy. 

5. When you do pop around, keep it brief. We’re Knackered and barely able to string a sentence together most of the time. We can manage an actual conversation for maybe half an hour but that’s your lot! There is nothing worse than having your routine (such as it is) disrupted when a visit you expected to last 30 minutes turns in to several hours of you painfully trying to drop hints while secretly plotting their deaths for not just buggering off already! 

6. Forgive us if we don’t offer you teas/coffees like we normally would. I try and remember to do this when people arrive, but honestly, sometimes it’s been a very sleepless night and I totally forget. It’s not that I’ve lost my manners, or can’t be bothered. Promise. Normal service will resume when we’re all getting a little more sleep. 

Arthur, 7 weeks and 4 days old. 


One year on. 

Yesterday marked one year since that horrible 12 week scan and what was to be the start of the worst week of my life. I try not to dwell on it, as dwelling does no good, so I spent the day doing normal everyday stuff. I went to the dentist, met some friends for coffee and had my hair done. And it was ok. 

I’d be lying if I said my mind didn’t wander, but I needed to be busy and wanted not to dwell on things that can’t be changed. I think I succeeded in that. 

So, a year on and a lot has changed. The miscarriage association are still plugging away doing a terrific job of helping and supporting those who suffer a loss, and I had the pleasure of an email from lovely Ruth (to use her full name) a couple of weeks ago updating me on the latest with the educational videos I talked about in a blog post months ago. The videos have been made and are being rolled out to GP’s, Ultrasound technicians and anyone else likely to come in to contact with a woman suffering a miscarriage, any time now. I’m really glad I was able to offer some insight for this project and so pleased that it’s come to fruition. I sincerely hope it has the effect we all hope it will. 

On a personal level, although my loss still at times feels very recent and very raw it was in actual fact a whole year ago now. In that year I’ve got a new house, new job, got engaged, and of course welcomed little Arthur in to the world safe and well. I’m thankful and very lucky to have all that I have, I know that, and I try very hard not to take any of it for granted. Do I still wonder what that baby would have looked like? Of course. Do I still long for him or her? Absolutely. But then I remind myself that I wouldn’t have had Arthur, and he is pretty awesome so I choose to focus on that on the tough days. 

Although this is a morbid anniversary, I felt I needed to mark it somehow. Just let the universe know that I haven’t forgotten. Will never forget. Here seems as good a place as any to do that since here is where my recovery began really. Here is where I found unending support and understanding, here I found friends accross the world. We dragged each other through those awful times, and celebrated together through the happy times. Let’s hope there are more happy times to come for all of us. 

Baby Shower! 

Last weekend was my baby shower which my gorgeous best friend Dee arranged for me and it honestly couldn’t have been more lovely. There was plenty of delicious food, lots of my favourite people, and an overwhelming amount of practical, thoughtful and beautiful gifts for our little man, as well as some for mum and dad too! Lucky us! It was exactly what I’d have chosen had I been arranging it myself – tasteful and elegant. Not that I ever doubt Dee’s ability to know exactly what I want. She’s good like that! 

It was such a lovely day (although I was completely exhausted by the end of it!) that left Paul and I feeling so thankful for all the wonderful people we have in our lives. It wasn’t just the overwhelming generosity of our family and friends, but also having those people there who’d seen us through our loss and are so thrilled and excited for us to be welcoming our little boy in just a matter of weeks now. It means a lot to know we have so much unwavering support during the bad times as well as the good, and reminds me how fortunate we are that we’re bringing this baby in to such a loving and supportive extended family. He is one lucky boy. 

Since the baby shower I’ve had my consultant referral. We’ve been measuring a week ahead since 28 weeks so we were referred by the midwife for a growth scan. I was ready to burst with the excitement of seeing him again…but he had other ideas and only showed us his bum!!! (He’s definitely going to be mischievous!) everything was totally normal though (thankfully!) and he already weighed 4lb 4oz at 32 weeks. I think it’s safe to assume he’ll be a real chunk by the time he arrives! 

So that’s my little update for you all, we’re all happy and healthy and just on countdown now to actually meeting the little man. 7 weeks to go! 😆 

Third trimester…meltdown city! 

My second trimester has been totally uneventful – which is great! It meant I felt better, had more energy, felt more like my old self again…but now as I enter the third trimester it’s really hit me. I’m having a baby. I know that sounds ridiculous and believe me, I spent most of last week feeling ridiculous and irrational and vaguely hysterical. (Poor Paul is all I can say!) The sad truth though, if I’m really honest is that I never really expected to get here. I never actually thought that being pregnant would result in a baby this time, because it didn’t last time. It’s only now that I realise I’ve been holding my breath and waiting for the thing I fear most to happen again. And then I passed the “viable” stage, and now with every week that passes the chances of my baby surviving even if he came early get stronger and stronger. 

And so of course I freaked out! 

All the things you’re supposed to think, worry and obsess about when you get pregnant I guess have kind of been on hold for me. Until now. But boy did I unleash them all last week! 

I’ve been suffering with SPD aka Pelvic Girdle Pain for most of the second trimester but it’s really ramped up pain wise in the last few weeks. As a result I’m not sleeping very well and I’m constantly in discomfort…these things combined with epic hormone surges and still working full time have made for a grumpy, emotional and irritable Cerian. It has not been a fun few weeks. Again I say, poor Paul! 

So last week it culminated in me convincing myself I was going to be a terrible mother, a failure to my son, and generally an all round useless human being. Now, with the love and support of Paul, my friends and family and the distance from last week’s hormonal mess I can see that while those worries are legitimate, they’re perfectly normal and as Paul pointed out while I was mid meltdown, the very fact that I worry about being a good mother means I’m already halfway there. He is very wise. So this week I’m feeling a lot better mentally. I’m still exhausted and grumpy, but I’m back to being impatient and excited to meet my little man, and I love all the little wriggles and kicks I feel – even when they are waking me up at 3am! 

I wasn’t sure whether to post this blog…I worried it would come across as me being ungrateful for being pregnant, moaning that pregnancy is hard when I know first hand how awful it is to want to still be pregnant and be able to do nothing about it, but when I started this blog it was all about being honest and talking candidly about my experience. So in the end I decided that I should continue with that honesty, and say out loud that yes; I have lost a baby and yes it was awful, and yes; of course I’m thankful that I was able to get pregnant again and sustain this pregnancy…but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy, and I shouldn’t have to plaster a smile on and pretend it is out of some sort of misplaced guilt, should I? 

I hope that in being bold enough to say “I’ve had a wobble” other women who may be feeling the same will feel less alone. I felt ashamed that I was feeling so overwhelmed, scared and anxious and yeah, I felt ungrateful. And that just exacerbated all the feelings of being a failure that I already had so it was a vicious cycle that had me sobbing hysterically for about three days straight. 

Pregnancy is an amazing thing, and most of the time I love and enjoy it but some weeks are really bloody hard. Maybe that’s ok though. Maybe it’s ok to find it hard. Maybe it’s ok to have a wobble. Does it make me a bad person? A bad mother? A bad woman? Probably not. It just makes me human. 

As I lie here watching my little boy wriggling around, oblivious to how crazy his mother is, I feel content and at peace. So in the grand scheme of things, I think we’re probably going to be ok. I have no doubt that it’ll continue to be hard sometimes, but more than anything I think it’ll always be a miraculous, wonderful, amazing thing. Worth a little bit of crazy any day. 

It’s a funny old life 

Today I got chatting to someone at work,  someone I don’t really know all that well, even though I’ve always chatted to her and always liked her, we just don’t work closely together so don’t have the opportunity to chat much. My guess is that a mutual friend of ours has mentioned that I suffered a miscarriage, because the chat we had today wasn’t exactly light hearted “weather’s nice” chatter! 

This lady confessed to me that she’s going for IVF a week today. Or her first appointment anyway. She told me that her chances of getting pregnant are just 15%. She then told me that she’d lost a baby at 12 weeks back in 2014. So I shared my story too. We had a brief, relatively unemotional chat about it, in a way that only two relative strangers who’ve shared the same awful experience can do. It’s stayed with me all day, the thought that she’s got this 15% chance of having a baby. I remember how desperate I was to be pregnant again after the miscarriage, how unbearable not being pregnant was, and I think if I’d had a percentage put on it, the pressure would’ve been just too much to handle. So I think this woman is kind of amazing. 

I’ve been a total mardy cow this week! Miserable, tearful, angry, irritable…I’ve been pretty horrible to live with if I’m honest, and I know it’s hormones and I can’t actually control it (I have tried and it resulted in a major meltdown! The kind where you cry so much you can’t catch a breath and there’s snot everywhere!) but hearing about other women struggling to have their babies, it just makes me sit back and realise how bloody lucky I am. I’m lucky to have the crippling back ache, and I’m lucky to have the constant headache and the sore boobs and the crazy mood swings. Because at the end of it, I’ll have my baby. And that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? 

We’ve got our 16 week midwife appointment on Wednesday, and I’m both excited and terrified for it. Excited because we get to hear bub’s heartbeat for the first time…and terrified because a tiny part at the back of my brain keeps niggling at me, what if there isn’t a heartbeat. That first ever scan experience where there was no heartbeat has stayed with me. It hangs over me every time I have an appointment now. I think it always will. 

I’ve thought about it, and I think I’m going to give the woman at work my number. Because whether she gets pregnant or not, I understand partially what she’s gone through, and I understand that overwhelming need to be pregnant. I also understand the anxiety that a pregnancy after a miscarriage can bring. So maybe in some small way I can help. Even if she never uses my number, at least if she’s got it then the option is there? I know for me it was so much easier to talk to the “anonymous” friends I made through this blog than it was to talk to my friends and family, and certainly talking to others in the same situation has been, and continues to be a big help. 

Funny old life isn’t it. 

Only 5 weeks in and I’m already a mess 

I found out a week ago that I’m pregnant. Based on my last period I’m five weeks and I’ve already written one blog which is yet to be published about this. But that post was all about being cautiously excited. This one is all about anxiety. My goodness I am anxious. It seems to have hit me all of a sudden today. I’ve had a backache for the last week and a bit and it’s just throwing my mind in to the whirlpool of “am I having another miscarriage” worry. That’s how it started last time. With a backache. 

So, I’m in bed at 7:30pm because I feel sleepy, and because I feel like if I rest enough maybe it’ll all be ok. That’s stupid I know. But hey, if it gets me through then it’s worth a shot right? Other than the back ache and sleepiness, I can’t really say I’m feeling particularly pregnant right now. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. On the one hand, anything that feels different to last time must surely be a good thing? But on the other hand, not feeling pregnant at all is worrying. 

We’re planning on having an early scan at 8 weeks with a private clinic because if this level of anxiety is set to last 9 whole months my head will explode. Even waiting the next three weeks is going to be tough. And then, having the scan itself isn’t going to be easy either, because as much as I tell myself to be positive and not to worry, of course I’m worried. Of course after last time I’m going to prepare myself for the worst. 

You know it’s funny, last time I cried tears of happiness when I found out I was pregnant, and I was in a sort of dreamlike state for weeks. This time when I found out I smiled and then instantly stopped myself. I was so happy for a few days, and now I’m just really anxious. And that’s the reality of a pregnancy after a miscarriage. For every feeling of happiness and hope, 7 feelings of anxiety and fear rush in. I’m trying so hard to fight that because I so want to be able to enjoy this pregnancy, the way I did with my first until it all fell apart. I’m naturally a very positive person, so it doesn’t come easily to me to be so pessimistic, but I feel like if I let myself believe it’s all going to work out this time then what happens if it doesn’t?! I swear the pain of the loss I felt last time nearly killed me. I’ve never felt so low in my life as I did in the weeks that followed the miscarriage. I don’t want to be there again. I don’t want to think about taking myself away from it all. That isn’t me. It scares me that I got that close to being so selfish, so desperate. That isn’t me. 

I’m trying to be hopeful, but I guess some days that’s going to be harder than others. And today is one of the hard ones. 

I’m not posting this blog yet either. It’s important to me to write it as I feel it, because I’ve based this whole blog on being honest about miscarriage, and all its aftermath. I don’t want to hide anything from any of you, and I feel torn that I want to share my news with my friends here, and at the same time terrified that once I post it and it’s out there it’s real, because if it’s real then I have to accept that it’s all beyond my control. 

Ultimately when I do post all of these pieces, I know you’ll be happy for me (hey look, there’s that hope again) and I know you’ll all understand why I couldn’t publicly share my news straight away. The support I get from all of you is amazing and has helped me through everything so far. I know that if the worst happens, I’ve got a fantastic support network, but my lovely ladies, what I’d really love is that in 7 weeks time I can post all of this and a new post with a scan picture of my beautiful, perfect, healthy baby for you all to see. We’ve gone through each others pain, and each other’s hope. I’d love to be able to share with you my happiness. Fingers crossed eh? 


Let’s hope 2016 kicks 2015’s stupid fat ass! 

Yup! That pretty much sums up what I think about 2015. It started off well, but took a serious nose dive for the last quarter and honestly, that nose dive was so shitty it took the shine off all the good things that happened prior to it. 

Needless to say, I’m hoping for a better year for us all next year. Not that I want to be all doom and gloom. I am an eternal optimist after all, and a natural born fighter to boot, so I’ll keep plodding along being thankful for the things I do have. With that in mind, I’m really wishing my amazingly supportive friends and family all the luck, love and happiness in the world for the coming year. They deserve so many good things. They’re always there and always awesome but never was that truer than in September when my whole world crumbled. I seriously wouldn’t have survived it without my amazing man and family by my side, and that handful of truly fantastic friends who just let me be. Whether I was happy or sad or crying or screaming, they just let me be. They have been and still are so understanding even when I’ve been an antisocial, miserable hermit! They lost the Cerian they knew and loved for a while there, but I think she’s breaking through the surface now. For their unending patience, I can’t thank them enough. They will never know how much they helped me or how thankful I am to have them in my life because there just aren’t enough words to explain it. 

I go in to this new year with a feeling of being at peace. Life is messed up and chaotic and sometimes really really shitty but if it wasn’t then maybe we wouldn’t be the people we are today. I hate that I, and so many of my friends, old and new, have had to know the pain of losing a child, but it has shown me that I’m capable of such all consuming love that the loss of it is utterly devastating. So, if I’m looking for a positive here then that has to be it. Because what could be more amazing than knowing you have that much love inside you? 

So here’s to a better 2016. A happy, healthy one full of happy tears not sad ones. Here’s to a fresh start. X