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How we became a family of 4:
Hi, I’m Jamie; I’m a mummy of 2: Ava, who is nearly 3, and Rafe, who is 5 months. Geoff, my husband, and I are both teachers, and we live in Nottingham, England, with our kids and 2 cats, Millie and Zak.
This blog is written from both our and the kid’s point of views and all the things that have changed and everything parenthood brings, with a few specific genre blogs thrown in.
We long ago decided that having kids was like one long gangster movie, coincidently the only movies Geoff will watch. Our lives are filled with corruption, bribery and extortion and we spend our days dodging bullets. As with all Hollywood movies, everything has a happy ending…well except American Gangster, everyone died in that, and Titanic, and Romeo and Juliet…hmm never mind! And on that note, I just watched Disney’s Tarzan (1999) with Ava; I’m traumatised.
I’ll start with the back story to get you up to speed…
Where our journey to become a family began:
It starts (most of the time) with a conversation with your other half. Ours went like this…
Jamie: It’s time…
Geoff: Really? But what about cocktails, and prawns, how can you live without prawns?
Jamie: We can do that too. We’re not going to be those parents who lose their lives just because they have a kid. They will fit around us. And you can have those again when you’ve got kids, that’s just a rubbish pregnancy thing.
Geoff: Yeah, ok, if you’re sure.
Jamie: Just think of all the free time I’ll have on maternity leave, I could decorate the whole house, it’ll look amazing. We’ll be like those people on Instagram with the perfect kids, house, family and lives, and we can share it with the world and have them hate us with all of our smugness.
Geoff: Ok, let’s do it. How do we start?
Jamie: Sex Ed lesson needed?
Geoff: No, but Gladys (name changed, obviously, because who knows a Gladys at childbearing age?!) says there is an APP to see when your fertile window is.
Jamie: Great, let’s get the app.
>>>Fast forward 5 months<<<
Slightly slimmer, slightly more toned, non-mum tum Jamie: Let’s go on the treadmill. Ouch, my boobs hurt.
***Positive pregnancy test***
Geoff: what machines can Jamie go on while pregnant? (Because remember we were under the impression that nothing has to change with kids!)
Gym man: the world is your oyster.
Jamie: Really? Even the heavy lifting ones?
Gym man: well not them, or that, or that, well, or that…
Jamie: so, nothing?
Geoff was rather disappointed that a scantily clad gorgeous lady, Chandler from Friends style, didn’t try and stop us from leaving. I pointed out we’re not desirable enough as we do pay as you go, as a £65 a month contract is much better suited towards other things, like Dairy Milk.
Hmm, the ‘nothing changing’ plan is not going well so far!
Ava was our first pregnancy (now nearly 3 years old). I was glowing, a lovely pregnancy hue, people complimenting me left, right and centre on my beautiful, contained baby bump. Or so I read is meant to happen! The glow was nausea (although I only threw up 3 times in total), the hue was lack of sleep paleness, the compliments were lies…I had love handles spurting out in all directions; and my neck, where did that go? I ended up buying a piles cushion (an arse doughnut) as my coccyx bone was so painful so everyone thought I had piles (this was the one thing I got away with.) So I couldn’t sit down properly for the next 5 months.
I picked up a paintbrush to start my ‘decorate the whole house and submit it for an award’ mission. I put down the paintbrush to lie down.
The three times I threw up were comical. Number 1 was on the way to our friend’s wedding. I had wolfed down cream of mushroom soup as we were late, and half way up the motorway Geoff had to do a manoeuvre that would make Lewis Hamilton proud. Brakes screeching, tyres skidding, we pulled in, I threw my door open and made it just in time. Cream of mushroom soup the wrong way is not pleasant and has not been eaten since. Number 2 time was another food mistake. Popcorn. It really helped to take the nausea away so I didn’t think there was a problem, until it came up the wrong way, all those little bits – horrid! But I have eaten popcorn since because…well, popcorn! Number 3 time was the most annoying. My gorgeous (yet to have children and will feature again on my blog) friend, Rebecca*, had her birthday party at a very expensive restaurant (I will help her reminisce over such times when she does have children). When we arrived home, £90 worth of sick went down the loo! Tracey Emin could probably sell it. The worse part…it was red, I panicked, Geoff panicked, Doctor Google was consulted to what throwing up red could be…Doctor Google said his usual…you’re already dead, sorry for your loss. Ah shit, now what…wait a minute…wasn’t my pudding a blackberry soufflé…yes, yes it was. Phew! I’m not dead!
Cravings were interesting. They started pretty normally – fruit and juice. Got slightly stranger when I went off Dairy Milk….what?!!!! And then the weird one hit…laundrette smell. Clean washing. I just wanted to lie in it, even chewed a few flannels! Sat in a few laundrettes to have lunch. It was weird, but heavenly!
>>>Fast forward 4 months<<<
The paintbrush still laid on the side untouched, small patches of test colours everywhere. I could claim it was modern art but no one would believe me. But not to worry, I still had a month. Off I went to my midwife appointment to find out Ava was breach and a C-section was booked in; a month turned into a week. (C-section advice blog – coming soon). Paintbrush permanently put away. Ava arrived on the 11th February 2016. We cried, she cried, we hugged, she snuggled, the painful pregnancy was worth it. And I could eat Dairy Milk again. And eat prawns and drink cocktails of course.
Because I’d had a C-section, overnight in hospital was needed. To be allowed to leave you need to fill a dish with wee so the midwives bring you the Atlantic’s worth of water. I was dreading the first try as if I didn’t succeed then no going home, and I’d heard a horror story from a friend. She pooed! She couldn’t hold it in so into the dish it went and the Atlantic tsunami-ed. Luckily I succeeded and didn’t poo, step 1 of mission go home complete. Step 2 was mission failed. I needed to have a midwife unaided shower. I went with Geoff, got undressed, felt faint, and woke up back in bed. Asked Geoff how I got back in bed…I was wheeled, naked!! Through the ward. Definitely no dignity in childbirth. I had to stay in an extra night, but we went home the next day. And cue another 6 weeks of not being able to sit down properly while recovering from the C-section.
Once all the close family and friends had left, it dawned on us, we had this little life that we had no clue what to do with. NCT classes do not set you up for that first night alone! (blog for real world NCT class coming soon). We sat there looking at each other, looking at the baby…now what?! We did what came naturally, what we knew wouldn’t fail, the best thing for our daughter…we called my mum! She sorted us out.
Throughout all of this, we decided to give breastfeeding a go. After one night, Geoff went on a midnight emergency formula run. It hurts! So bad! Blood! How can there be blood, it’s meant to be milk! Luckily, in our area, there are breastfeeding support people that come out and she showed me what to do, and all was well. Well from one boob anyway, the other one was faulty, and don’t get me started on the rugby ball position, poor kid. Eventually I started to master it and we started daring doing things on our own, we even made it to Costa. We bought our drinks, burnt our throats drinking them quickly enough that we could leave before I had to feed again, as feeding in public was a whole other level.
>>>Fast forward 2 years<<<
Glutton for punishment, we decided to do it all over again.
Ava was very excited about getting a new baby sister or brother. She came to the scans with us. Told everyone she came across that mummy’s belly was made of baby and daddy’s was all muscle…it’s not…Daddy Pig from Peppa has a lot to answer for.
This pregnancy was very different. luckily not painful like before, but I was sick every day. And there was no relaxing as we had a 2-year-old running around. But my cravings were much more fun this time, much to Geoff’s horror and hit to the bank balance – steak and kale – yummy.
>>>Fast forward 9 months<<<
It’s a boy! Rafe was born but he didn’t want to make it easy. We had a C-section booked, this time elective, as we’d had one with Ava. My friend threw me a lovely baby shower but as we went to bed that night, at 3am, I woke Geoff as I was in labour 12 days early. Off we went to hospital having called my mum to watch Ava. I had to continue to be in labour for 2 days, as I needed steroid injections for the baby’s lungs as he was early, then at 10 days early, a healthy Rafe was born via C-section on 14th August 2018.
And here we are, with a nearly 3-year-old strong willed, crazy toddler and a 20-week-old baby. Through the lack of sleep haze, we can barely remember who we are or were so we have gone from Jamie and Geoff to mummy and daddy in the last 3 years, and our expectations of nothing changing is so far removed from our reality, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
*all names changed outside of the Curtis clan.
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This post contains affiliate links. See the bottom of each blog post for full details.