It’s the turn of the lovely Louise at Little Hearts Big Love to tell me what was right for her from pregnancy and beyond.
I will hand you over…
A bit About the Blog and the Family
I first started my blog as a place for me to write down some of my thoughts and feelings about being a mummy to a child with a congenital heart defect. I’d been sharing my daughter’s journey since diagnosis in her own blog but wanted a space of my own to reflect. While I still blog regularly about life as a heart family, my blog has evolved to become more of a general parenting blog – featuring reviews, crafts, days out and the little milestones in the life of our family.
I’m a mummy to two beautiful girls. My eldest daughter Jessica is nearly four and was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome which basically means that she has half a working heart. She has needed several open heart surgeries to help improve how her heart works and had her first surgery while she was still in the womb. My youngest daughter Sophie is almost two and is, thankfully, heart-healthy.
Did you drink any alcohol before and during your pregnancy?
I completely avoided it from a few months before we started trying for a baby and throughout both my pregnancies.
Did you find out the gender of your baby?
We weren’t planning on finding out either time but when we found out about Jessica’s heart condition at our 20 week scan and how severe it was, wedecided to find out her gender so we could bond with her as much as possible
during my pregnancy. With my pregnancy with Sophie, we decided not to find out until she was born.
Did you have a 4D scan?
Did you exercise during pregnancy?
I did tap-dancing during the first trimester when I was pregnant with Jessica and took my tap exam at 12 weeks.
Most of the guidance I read advised giving up at 16 weeks although I thought I could probably manage to continue dancing for longer but at 16 weeks exactly, I suddenly started getting pelvic pain when dancing and had to give it
up. Second-time round, I didn’t do any specific exercise other than running around after a toddler!
During labour – pain relief?
I used a TENS machine in the early stages and self-hypnosis throughout with both my labours. I tried gas and air briefly during my labour with Jessica and hated it – I didn’t like the sensation of being unable to verbalise what I was feeling. Jessica was back to back which gave me a lot of back pain and an uncontrollable urge to push a long time before she was ready to be born, and so I chose to have an epidural which made it bearable again.
For Sophie’s birth, I just used the birth pool and no other pain relief.
Out through the twinkle (please insert your own word here) or the sun-roof?
I had a vaginal birth both times – Jessica’s birth was assisted by forceps but Sophie didn’t need any extra assistance.
Breast or bottle feeding?
Jessica was mostly breastfed with top-ups of a high calorie formula called Infatrini as she needed extra calories due to her heart condition. She developed a complication called chylothorax a couple of times after her heart surgeries which meant that she was only allowed a fat-free formula called Monogen for six weeks at a time and
was mostly tube-fed during these times. She did manage to go back to breastfeeding both times and we managed to
keep going with a mixture of breast and bottle until she was 17 months old. Sophie was exclusively breastfed for the first six months and is still breastfeeding at almost 2.
Co-sleeping or solo sleeping?
I co-slept a lot with Jessica at home when she was a baby although in the hospital she slept in her own cot. From about a year onwards she mostly slept in her own cot but since converting it into a bed has preferred to co-sleep with us. I’m happy with that – we all sleep well and eventually I’m sure she’ll go back to sleeping in her own bed.
Sophie, on the other hand, has always seemed to settle better on her own. We’ve co-slept a handful of times but she tends to sleep better in her cot.
Did you use a sling?
Yes both times and loved it. With Jessica, I used a Kari-Me stretchy wrap until she was about 15 months old. Sophie became too heavy for it at about six months when we started using a Colimacon et Cie woven wrap. I now mostly use a Tula toddler carrier and can carry both girls in it very comfortably (not at the same time though!)
When did your baby move to their own room?
Jessica was 18 months old when she moved into her own room. Sophie is still sleeping in with us at the
moment. We’re planning to redecorate the spare room and put the girls in together, we just haven’t got around to it yet!
Dummy or no dummy?
Jessica had a dummy until she was three – it really helped settle her when she was recovering from surgeries and not able to have cuddles. Sophie has never had a dummy.
Baby-led weaning or the purees?
A mixture of the two. I think baby-led is great for encouraging babies to explore food and help develop fine
motor skills but it’s a lot of mess for very little food going in! Purees gave me the reassurance that they were eating something too!
Pink and blue or gender neutral?
I definitely lean more towards the pink stuff! I love pretty little dresses on my girls (not necessarily in pink, I love lots of colours!) and they do have quite a few matching outfits!
Are you a SAHM or back to work?
I’m a full-time SAHM, but I also work part-time from home.
Have you lost the Mum-tum?
No although I have lost most of my baby weight.
When did you first leave your baby overnight if at all?
I’ve only ever left Jessica overnight when she’s been in the hospital and I’ve been unable to stay. Once was
because there were no beds in the Ronald McDonald rooms next to the intensive care unit (although I was able to stay in the parents’ house just off-site) and the other time was when I had Sophie with me and so hubby stayed overnight with Jessica and I stayed with Sophie at a friend’s house nearby. I’ve yet to leave Sophie overnight.