Monday, March 31, 2008

I like this too...

Roll on Saturday...

Mind you, I think I said something similar last year about this time...

Nipple Antics

I have 2 things to say about squirty nipples and then I shall leave well alone as this probably falls squarely into the category of 'too much information.'

1. I appear to have a squirty nipple. I'm not really sure what sets it off, but often when Z takes a break in feeding, there is a definite vertical jet going on there. Only very small, but enough to soak his head, the cushion, or basically anything standing in its way! This has caused much hilarity to husbands and health visitors alike.

2. On her last visit, Mum told me a story of how supposedly my nan would think it a great lark after feeding my uncle (her youngest) to chase my Mum and auntie round the house squirting at them! God bless her, my nan's no longer with us, but she always appeared quite conservative in outlook - this was a woman who felt strongly that women should not wear trousers... I shall never think of her in the same way again.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Completely at his mercy

So far, we have been taking our sleeping cues from Zachary and working around his natural waking and sleeping pattern - which so far has tended to mean that he sleeps well during the day and then at around 9 at night when we're trying to get to bed for our sleep, he seems to be his most wide awake, just lying gazing around! Feels a bit mean then that we're not all enthusiastic about playing with him!

But all in all, we can't complain about the nights so far - I was speaking to a lady I know today who said that one of her sons, while an extremely happy baby, would wake 9 or 10 times a night and just would not sleep. We're only getting 3 or 4 wakes.

We have however been plagued by endless articles and advice about getting your baby into a sleep / bedtime routine so that they learn to distinguish between night and day, and also start to get used to sleeping for longer periods at night.

Although he's only 3 weeks old, we thought we'd have a go and start a routine for him from tonight, but not too stringent because we think it's too early for anything really strict. The plan was feed, change into sleepsuit, read story, put to bed upstairs. Start this whole thing at about half 7/8 and then try not to bring him down again - doing any other feeds upstairs. the feed in. Then he fell asleep so we decided not to change him in case it woke him. Put him to bed upstairs. We then spent an anxious 20 minutes or so with the baby monitor stuck to one or other of our ears to check he was okay. Could hear him grunting, gurgling and moving around. I went upstairs to check and he was fine, if a little jiggly. Then he got hiccups and we sat downstairs listening to him hiccup for a few minutes (no, of course we were not laughing!) before he began crying. We're complete suckers and went and brought him down basically straightaway and he's now lying on his daddy quite happily hiccuping away. He has also now been changed due to a sicking up incident in bed - he really needs a hairwash tomorrow...

Oh well, there's always another day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Enjoyed a great visit by my mum and sister today. Z had quite a disturbed night and although I'm very tired, it was great to catch up with them and hear all their news and gossip. One thing which struck me as amusing - my mum is a Methodist local preacher and since the rearrangement of the Circuits (like preaching districts) within the Church, she has been going out to a lot more smaller country churches which seem to have their own way of doing things. She went out to a church recently and was not impressed - amongst other things, the church was not opened until 10.57am for an 11am service! After the service apparently the steward came up to mum and said that it had been a good service and hadn't she felt the Spirit? Mum told me "No, I didn't feel the Spirit - felt incompetence more like it..."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Despite my skepticism and belief that yesterday's snow flurries might be it for the weekend, we have had lots of snow this morning! Seems to be confined mainly to the east side of the country and is less heavy here now than at 9 this morning...but still - it's nearly April!




Saturday, March 22, 2008


We have in fact had flurries of the white stuff today (despite my disbelief in the weather forecasts!) punctuated by periods of bright sunshine! Now need to wait and see what tomorrow holds to see if we are going to manage our trip to the seaside...

To boob or not to boob

As you may have gathered from previous posts we have decided to breastfeed Zachary - the key winners for this for us are the convenience and cheapness!! (as well of course of the health benefits for the both of us...) One of the downsides is that I am the only one who can do night feeds, but to be honest they haven't been too bad so far - there tends to be a feed sometime around 11 or 12, then again about 2ish, 4ish and then getting on for 7 which is kind of when we would be waking up anyway. Some nights the feeds have lasted about an hour in total (including nappy changes) but last night managed to get through all of them in about 25 minutes a piece! (I'm not really expecting it to last!)

The bit I was most concerned about before having Zachary was the whole feeding in public thing, and had thought that I would not really be keen. One of my school friends had a baby in September and is very gung ho about it - I get the feeling that she would be most strident in putting her view across if she ws ever told it was "not appropriate" for her to be feeding in a particular place. After all, most of the changing areas for babies are in toilets - if you are expected to feed in there as well, that's not really on - how many people do you know who would like to eat their meals on the toilet?!!

But...since giving birth and getting settled into the feeding, my attitude has changed somewhat. My boobs have now been on display for nursing staff at the hospital, the midwife, the health visitor and all my in-laws, so I'm really not feeling all that fussed about whipping one out in a public place. And if the boy's hungry (demonstrated by use of his "hungry mouth" - ie open mouth which he waves around vaguely in the hope it will land on a nipple, and into which he jams anything he can get hold of for a good suck - hands, cardigans, shoulders...)

To try and be slightly modest about the whole thing though, I've also splashed out and bought some new "nursing" tops from various maternity/baby catalogues. Most of them have been pretty good - working on the discreet boob peep-hole idea, which basically keeps most of me covered up while still allowing Zachary full access. One I bought though just has a line of poppers underneath my bust which allow the top to basically divide in two to create access. It has to be the most fiddly, awkward top in the world!!! Very nice as a top but sadly just too darn annoying to use again for feeding.

Friday, March 21, 2008


I am really sad. I'm sitting in the front room at home watching L battle with mystical beings on his PS3 having just fed the boy. Thought I would Google our names as I haven't done that for a while (!) - surprising results.

Of the Kathryn Caple entries, 3 of the top 4 are actually me - one for the STEP website and 2 from my employers, L appears in the list courtesy of a review he wrote for Board Game Geek and via Twitter. And if I put in Zachary's name, I find that he appears to be some kind of expert on zebra mussels! Bonus. And there's also an entry for him linking back to my Blog. It's a small world.

Overly optimistic...

Zachary awake and hungry again at about 6!! Fortunately Daddy took pity on Mummy and changed him before attaching him to feeding station Caple again.

Managed to get another hour or so when Z finally dropped off - he's snoozing contentedly upstairs, L's planning a trip to the tip and I'm girding my loins ready to clean the kitchen and make an Easter cake. Nanny Caple's coming for a visit this afternoon - we're hoping to make use of her babysitting skills to keep an eye on him while we both get a nap later!

Were hoping to go across to Aldeburgh or Southwold over the weekend to give Z his first glimpse, smell and sound of the sea. Heard however that we're forecast cold weather and even snow on Sunday so that plan may be shelved for the time being - looks okay outside now though. Will keep fingers crossed.

So tired!

It's 0324, and I'm here typing this one-handed while I give my son his seond of the night feeds tonight. Computer had been left on for me if I wanted it and the screen mysteriously flashed up as I sat here so I thought I'd make use of it. Last feed was ar midnight - hopefully he'll now sleep until 7ish?....

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Woman

I'm really pleased with my progress in reducing my baby bump - clearly a large proportion of this disappeared on the happening of a certain event, but still it seems to be going down well. It was a nice surprise to me to get back into pre-pregnancy trousers this week and also to realise that I can now get into basically most of my old clothes again now! Hurrah.

38 weeks pregnant...


...and today 11 days after birth...


Baby Check up

Well, we've now had our alloted 2 visits from the midwife since coming home, both of which were fine. Zachary's now under the care of a Health Visitor until he makes it to school and he was weighed this afternoon - birth weight 8lb 4oz, weight today at 11 days 9lb 5oz!!! Hurrah! I must be doing the breastfeeding right! (and fortunately Zachary managed not to embarrass himself in front of the HV by pooing or weeing when on the scales...)

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Following this...Zachary had another 3 clothes changes that day (first one due to mummy dropping chocolate on him, second and third due to pooing and weeing (Zachary that is!) during nappy changes!) - last one being about 2am with his feed!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I know it's an advert but...

Saw an advert in a baby magazine for Mothercare's Smart Nappies (which we have not yet been successful with...) which struck a chord with us!

"My Rights Pertaining to Nappy Changes

I reserve the right to fill my nappy just as you finish dressing me

I reserve the right to perform the 'crocodile roll' as you struggle to remove a very messy one

I reserve the right to claim phantom poos as an attention seeking strategy

(advert for the nappies)"


Zachary has had quite a few bouts of hiccups, and although it doesn't upset him (and it's quite funny to watch) I wondered whether there was anything I could do to ease them. Checked out a few internet sites which confirmed it's all completely normal in a new born and there's really nothing you can do except sit them out.

I did enjoy this piece of advice though...

"There isn’t a lot you can do to stop the hiccups in a newborn baby. Certainly the old wives-tale solutions for adults (such as standing on your head, breathing into a paper bag, getting a scare etc.,) should not be tried on your infant."

Since we've been home...

Here are some highlights of the last few days...

Having my first beer since being pregnant on Thursday evening but not being able to finish it due to a very hungry little boy keeping me busy until I was too tired to finish it...

When he's crying for a feed, Zachary quite often reaches out with his arms and grabs what he can - it's not nice when it's my nipple and he has quite sharp nails...

Enjoying the early morning feed in bed with both of us so that L can enjoy some skin to skin contact...and then watching Zachary spit up on Daddy's chest...

First trip out into the real world yesterday to The Range and first use of the pushchair - both successful...

Zachary managing to make it into his third set of clothes of the day by 2.45pm today - lots of weeing during nappy changes! We've also had some pooing while being changed accidents, although fortunately no projectile poo as yet...

Zachary's ability to multi-task - ie eat and poo/pump at the same time...

Being able to once again shave my legs without having a bump in the way, and the realisation that I can now fit into my entire wardrobe again!

He is constant source of amazement and wonder to me - how did he ever fit into my tummy?? I can't stop looking at him or wanting to hold him and am really enjoying my time with him and L together. It will be different when L goes back to work after Easter, but I'm making the most of now.

Welcome Zachary Thomas Caple!

It has truly been one of the most terrifying, traumatic and yet amazing weeks of my life and I can now say welcome home to my lovely little boy.


I make no apologies for the length of this blog, and have split it into days to try and break it up a bit. It all began last Wednesday...

Wednesday 5th

My waters broke at half-past midnight and, having woken Leigh up and stumbled down to the bathroom leaving a trail of devastation behind me, rang the hospital. I wasn't expecting to have to go in then - contractions didn't appear to have started and the antenatal classes had been saying there was no need to go in until they are regularly 5 minutes apart. Rang the hospital anyway to let them know and we were told to go in for an assessment at 9.

Once my waters broke, the baby's environment is no longer sterile and I knew that if nothing further happened I would be induced in 24 hours. Went back to bed but too excited and anxious to sleep (and making sure I could still feel the baby move!) - L put on some G&S which we listened to. Have no idea whether I slept at all that night, but must have done for a while.

Went to the hospital for 9 - I was now starting to feel contractions and they seemed to be about 10 minutes apart. The midwife we saw strapped me to a monitor which showed the baby's heartbeat (lovely and strong) and could also record my contractions, and further examination showed I was about 2cm dilated! I was really pleased with that - only 8 cm to go (which, according to one antenatal class could be timed at approx 1 cm per hour)... went home again with instructions to ring later when the contractions were about 5 minutes apart.

I had a bath and L made us lunch and attached the TENS machine, and we watched some TV - got through Murder Most Famous which I had been following earlier in the week and also Diagnosis Murder, but by this time the contractions were much closer together. Rang the hospital again and they said to wait until 3-4 minutes apart! This didn't seem to take too long at all, and we were back off to the hospital very shortly afterwards.

The TENS machine was really helping with the contractions - it works by stimulating your nerve endings with pulses of electricity, helping to release endorphins and also by blocking the pain signals to the brain.

In the hospital saw another midwife - again the monitor showed every seemed fine with the baby and further examination showed that in the 6 or 7 hours which had passed since we were last in I had progressed to...3cm dilated! How annoying!!! Went home again.

Rested more, watched Torchwood and the first episode of Cranford and then tried to go to bed. Contractions now coming thick and fast and even with the breathing exercises (ably assisted by L) and TENS the pain was getting worse and I couldn't sleep. About half past midnight I decided I needed more pain relief, so woke L up and we journeyed to the hospital for what we hoped would be the last time!

Thursday 6th

This time got straight into a delivery room where I was assessed again. Turns out I am now about 5 cm dilated, and we're looking at 4 or 5am before I will be ready to deliver! The midwife also noticed that when my waters broke only the hind waters broke and the fore waters were still in tact so she broke those in order to move things along a bit.

I realised that there was no way I'd go another 4 hours with my contractions the way they were and talked about pain relief with the midwife. I had been planning to try and manage with just the TENS and entinox, but the midwife was very clear that entinox was really only appropriate for the transition stage of labour and I could not have any now! We talked about using pethidine and/or an epidural and although I was initially reluctant, knew that I needed more than the TENS and agreed to pethidine. It made me feel incredibly woozy and light headed, but also let me get some rest as the effect of the contractions was much more muffled. The midwife set up a foldout bed for L and we both managed to doze for a few hours.

Probably around half 4, the contractions changed and I knew that I needed to push. It was then all systems go and I suspect that L's hand got a bit squashed! And let's just say that the position the midwife was getting me in to push was less than dignified! L was great throughout it all, keeping me encouraged and motivated and being so supportive re choice of pain relief. It was very hard work needless to say and at some point, the contractions dropped off a bit so that my pushing wasn't as effective. The doctor came in to assess me as it had been so long since my waters had broken and started to talk to us about possibly having to have an assisted delivery (ventouse or forceps). The midwife was confident we'd get through though - she set me up with a syntocin drip to help strengthen the contractions and finally Zachary was born at 7.14am! All 8lb 4oz and 53cm of him!

He was put on my tummy immediately and my heart melted. He was absolutely perfect.

Zachary was whisked away for measuring and a bit of cleaning up and it appeared that as well as an episiotomy, I had also suffered a tear during labour which would need to be stitched in theatre. I had one final cuddle with my boys, some photos and was then nipped off to theatre.

Was given a spinal anesthetic for the procedure and it is a completely odd sensation to be aware and to see your legs being moved (enter the stirrups...) but to not feel them at all. The main topic of conversation among the theatre staff appeared to be the new shoes which had been ordered - which apparently are fastened by velcro and did not find favour with the female members of staff!!!

I was taken to the recovery ward for a half hour or so after the procedure and then eventually down to the maternity ward where I finally caught up with L and Zachary again. With some help (!) I managed to give Zachary his first feed and it was then time to relax!

Zachary was great all day, and I managed to get the feeling back in my legs by mid-afternoon, so could eventually sit up properly! By the evening though, the staff were getting a little concerned about Zachary as he hadn't fed again and didn't really seem interested in doing so - there was a possibility that he'd picked up an infection after my waters broke and a doctor was called down to see him.

L had gone home by this time and the doctor decided that there might be something wrong and Zachary should go up to the Special Care Baby Unit. This was really quite scary.

The nurses on the SCBU were absolutely brilliant though and very reassuring, although because he wasn't feeding well they had to put a tube down his nose which was not nice at all, and it meant that he had to be fed with formula. On the plus side, because it wasn't a bottle it shouldn't interfere with the breastfeeding, but it was very upsetting. He also had to have a canula fitted so that he could received antibiotics - I guess that the fact that he barely murmured when the needle was being inserted showed that he really was not feeling well.

L came back to the hospital, but apart from the initial admission procedures, there was nothing else we could do until the morning and we were sent away to get some rest.

Friday 7th

We spent a lot of Friday up in the SCBU watching over Zachary. He was being well looked after, but was still not right. The tests they ran showed that he did have an infection, although they were unable to tell exactly what it was.

He was receiving 2 hourly feeds, extended to three hourly during the day and I was also trying to breast feed him to keep that going. We would go up to the nursery in time for a feed, change Zachary and then I'd try to give him a feed, which was then topped up through the tube. I was not convinced either he was taking anything or my body was giving him anything.

We had been hoping that Zachary would only need the initial 48 hours antibiotics and be able to go home on Monday, but unfortunately the latest set of tests didn't show improvement and we were told he'd need 5 days worth. This was a bit of a blow.

The next stage was for a lumbar puncture to be taken to rule out the more serious infections like meningitis, but the doctors weren't able to take a sample from him that evening. L had driven home but came back again to see his boy. Zachary was also put on a "billi" bed in his cot as he was slightly jaundiced. The billi bed provides phototherapy for babies with jaundice - Zachary only needed the bottom section and his jaundice was not severe, but I did see a baby with the top section as well on the ward a couple of days later. The baby looked as though it had its own little sunbed, complete with goggles!

During the day I was also moved down to another ward because my health was improving and I could go onto the ward where there had been no issues or difficulties with the birth or mother's health.

Saturday 8th

This was my worst morning and I was really weepy for ages. Had been moved into a single room, which although was great in the end, was awful to start with as I felt on my own and didn't even have Zachary with me. Breakfast was difficult seeing all the other mothers on the ward with their babies and I didn't think I'd cope with my mum and sister visiting later on. I had also tried to express the previous evening so that although I wouldn't be specifically doing a feed during the night, I kept my boobs active! The expressing was really dispiriting though as very little seemed to be produced.

But...we had a breakthrough that morning. I tried to give Zachary a feed - he seemed to be sucking much more strongly and the nurse was able to show us that he had taken milk from me! It was such a huge relief for both of us and reassurance that he was improving. He was also getting more active and we were confident that things were getting better. From that point, I was able to establish full feeding for Zachary and the feeding tube was removed altogether later that day. That did however mean the start of night feeds...

Because of the success with the feeding, and as Zachary had been moved onto 4 hourly feeds, we were able to bring him back down to my ward for my family's visit in the afternoon, which was great and much better than having to take them up to SCBU, as we managed to sneak all 3 visitors into my room (see, I told you it worked out all right in the end!). I think the sight of Zachary having a tube in his nose and being on the special bed upset my mum a bit, but L and I were both feeling much brighter by now.

The lumbar puncture was tried again and again without success, but the other tests they were running all seemed to show improvement, and the feeding was a big bonus.

Sunday 9th

Had a good night feeding Zachary - SCBU would ring down to my ward everytime he needed feeding during the night and I would drag my tired old bones up there! I also had my first experience of the joy of leaking boobs!!

Today was to be the visit of the Caple clan. I was discharged from my ward, but as I was by then feeding Zachary myself, was a priority for one of the Rainbow rooms they have on SCBU. These are mini flats which can be used by mothers and families for accommodation while their babies are in SCBU. It's a bit like university rooms - there are a pair of bedrooms with a wardrobe and cabinets (so more like a 'real' room than a ward bed) and a shared sitting room, bathroom and kitchen area. This was a complete godsend as we had been preparing ourselves to go home and then drive back to the hospital when he needed feeding.

Having the room meant that I could have Zachary in there with me all the time, except for when he needed the next dose of antibiotics (every 12 hours), so feeding at night was much easier!

The Caple visit went well, and again because of the arrangements we managed to squeeze in an extra visitor again!

Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th

The next couple of days saw us taking care of Zachary in the Blue Room, feeding going really well, and learning how to top and tail him (it's washing him!) and how to wash his hair. The latest tests showed his infection level had dropped significantly and the doctor confirmed that he would be able to come home on Wednesday - at long last! He had his Guthrie test, hearing tested and a new baby check over by the doctors to make sure that he was physically all in order. No problems there at all.

Wednesday 12th

Home today! Spent most of the morning getting ready, attending the last ward round and going through all the discharge papers and procedures. The nurse had to escort us from the building, checking that the car seat was properly and safely fitted, but by just after lunchtime we were at home.

It was such a relief to be back home and to be able to come back with Zachary - I had been dreading having to come home without him.

We're all adjusting and settling into life with 3 of us at home, but so far (and fingers crossed) things seem to be going really well. The night feeds aren't too bad, and I'm certainly sleeping better in my own bed than I was in hospital! One of the other best things about coming home (apart from L's cooking!) is having my own things around, being able to use a hairdryer again and finally getting out of disposable pants!

And because I just can't get enough of him, here's a piccie of my two lovely boys!


Monday, March 03, 2008

Leigh in print!

This isn't the only one he's done, but the most recent - game review of Pandemic.

Sometimes that's God's way of telling you to think on and look sharp...

...been watching a bit of Victoria Wood this weekend!!

Had a really good weekend and it really helped going to see my sister and brother-in-law, getting out of the house and Ipswich for a bit.

Watched "Stardust" on Friday evening which we both really enjoyed (Robert de Niro very funny) - so much so that I've now bought the book to try out as well! Finished off the cupcakes - these needed cream cheese frosting according to the recipe. Sadly, although I had been efficient and checked we had all the ingredients needed for the cakes themselves, I didn't check the icing sugar situation! The recipe called for three cups of it - I managed to cobble together nearly two cups from the rest of the normal icing sugar we had and the end of a box of golden icing sugar (which will never be bought again!). The golden icing sugar had got a bit damp so I spent a good few minutes scraping that through a sieve and the icing still came out lumpy! Because of the lack of icing sugar, the frosting is still pretty liquid even two days later...but tastes pretty good somehow!

Overall the cakes came out quite moist - whether that's a slight undercooking on my part, or the use of the very wet pineapple, or a combination of both, who knows??

Headed off to Norwich Saturday morning and had lunch at a department store called Jarrolds. I had the obligatory cheese scone from Jarrolds. This harks back to my days as a child when going shopping in Norwich was a real treat - half an hour away on the train was a long journey for us then! We always stopped at Jarrolds for tea and a scone to boost ourselves on arrival before starting to shop.

Did well in town - L managed not to buy any more board games, although I was unable to resist the pick 'n' mix stall in the Mall. Went back to my sister's house where they are in the middle of refitting the kitchen (impressively Ralph is doing most of the work himself) so it was an Indian takeaway for dinner - yummy, and most importantly, didn't set off any contractions! We played lots of board games that evening and Sunday morning - a couple of games of Ticket to Ride during both of which I was soundly thrashed (Ralph is getting far too good at that game!), a games of Thebes (which fortunately I won) some card games and a bonanza of Pandemic.

Pandemic is a new cooperative game which L has recently bought - it's basically the players teaming up against the game trying to find cures for 4 diseases spreading quickly across the globe. L and I had played a couple of times on our own - one to us and one to the game. We played 5 times over the weekend - game won 3 but we won the last 2. It felt as though we were getting more organised as the last game seemed to be won much more easily, but then part of the fun of the game relies on collecting special cards from the pack and avoiding Epidemic cards. As these are drawn randomly perhaps we were just lucky! I like to think we were just great!!

Have to mention L's poor puns at this point - Bangkok is one of the cities in the game and twice L followed up the announcement of the city's name with "ouch..." Sadly it took my sister some time to catch on...both times....

Back home on Sunday to enjoy a Nobbly Bobbly in front of the Gavin & Stacey reruns we recorded on Saturday. Plenty of bobbles down my cleavage - a great end to a really good weekend.