How was I doing?

DSC01742

My next few days followed a routine of expressing, visiting and feeding T1 and T3, and resting. I wanted to get maximum milk so would express a lot, probably every three hours. I would put my alarm on to wake me up so I could express in the night and then wash all my pump bits and sterilise them ready for the next session (I had my own bottles, steriliser and pump in my room, brought from home). I would call the nurses who would take the milk down to the fridge in SCBU for me. The more often you express, the more milk you will get. It did take a good few days to get what I would call proper breast milk out so don’t be put off by this and think nothing is coming. Everything that comes out is brilliant for your baby.

I would visit T1 and T3 and sit with them, and if they were awake I would put them to my breast to see if they would latch on and sometimes they would and have a good feed, other times they were just too tired. I would telephone SCBU from my room in the night to see if they were awake and wanted me to feed them but often they were sleeping so the nurses would tube feed them. The nurses were feeding them every two hours. This was to progress to every three hours, then every four hours. They noted on their individual charts who had how much milk when, whether it was formula or breast milk, nappy changes (complete with content detail) and temperatures. They had their routines for dealing with the babies and I soon learned this and got involved when I could. (A later post will give you an overview of the levels of neo-natal units and what you can get involved with if your baby/babies has time in one). My husband would visit T2 in the morning, taking my freshly expressed milk with him, and then call to see me and the other babies in the afternoon.

DSC01720

And not only was I yearning for my new babies, I was also missing my first born. On my third day in hospital, my husband brought him in to visit me. We had decided he wouldn’t see his brothers until they were all together and in better working order. It was wonderful to see him and he suddenly looked HUGE. I had gifts and activities prepared for him (Thomas engines, Thomas magazine and sweets) and it was lovely to see him exploring my room. I missed him dearly but knew my other boys needed me here at the moment. He was fine anyway with his daddy and was having a great time when Nanny was looking after him.

As for my health, although I knew the process of a c-section and was prepared for this, I was honestly not prepared for feeling how I felt afterwards. With my natural labour, I was a bit uncomfortable for a few days, in the areas where you pretty much expect it to hurt.  After my c-section it took me days to even be able to stand up straight. I had terrible trapped wind which made it very difficult to stand up and move. I shuffled around the ward, bent over, holding onto the wall. My scar was healing well (and I was told on several occasions that it was ‘beautifully done’) and I do think my mesh pants (from NCT) which allowed my scar to ‘breathe’ helped this. But what really hurt was the weight of all the skin on top of it as I had stretched so much. (For weeks later as my tummy shrunk back, I remember having to hold my skin as I turned over in bed as the weight of it on my scar was so painful). I honestly remember feeling like I had been hit by a bus and my eyes lit up when I heard the jingle of the medicine trolley do its rounds so I could stock up on pain killers. I didn’t expect to feel like that.

I also had a particularly bad night the first night on my own, when T2 had been transferred to another hospital. I don’t really remember much about it, but I do remember hearing screams and nurses rushing around trying to find out what was happening. As I woke, I knocked my phone and water on the floor so pulled my alarm for assistance. It then dawned on me and the nurses that it had been me screaming. I was having one of those dreams where someone was trying to ‘get me’, and in this dream, I had actually been ‘got’. (I still remember the dream clearly now…I was scrambling around the utility room trying to get away….maybe it was a sign of how much time I was to spend in the utility room in the future, desperately trying to get out…).

Anyway, I know there were so many emotions in there, which just couldn’t come out because there were things to be doing – babies to feed, toddler boy to think about, milk to express, body to get better and in working order. And on top of all of this, I didn’t have one of my babies with me. I had not spent that much time with him since the day of his birth, not held him since the time he just howled at me and I was on the operating table with a screen under my armpits, and now he was in a different hospital. I still struggle with this. If I had had just one baby, which was taken away from me to another hospital for an operational procedure, it would have been so different, and I am sure I would have reacted differently. And you could expect a mother to crumble. But I had another two babies and a toddler to think about too.  So I didn’t crumble. Because I couldn’t. Because I had the others who needed me to do things. And it has always been like that. What I have said at the beginning, and have always said, and is that I just got on with it. Because that is what I had to do, and what we all do. And I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Because I am so thankful that I had it all to get on with.

 

 

The Births: The Multiple c-section approach

image

(Rockin’ the ‘beach ball up the jumper’ look…. Again, in brown…..)

After having a natural birth and a common aversion to the thought of a c-section, this was one of my main worries during the pregnancy – the risks to me and risks to my babies of having a c-section. But as I have said before, I had no option and have no criticism or complaints of why I was to follow this path. I can fully understand why this was the route I was to follow.

Elective c-sections are booked in advance and this was the case with me, however, the date I was booked in did not necessarily mean the day I may have the babies. For a hospital to deliver my three babies, they need to ensure they have three cots available in SCBU (the Special Care Baby Unit) as it was likely my babies would spend some time here on the arrival into the world, the appropriate number of doctors and midwives. Now a hospital cannot know when babies will be born so it could be that some deliveries in the days/nights before could be using those cots or babies could have been transferred in from other hospitals.

So when Mum waved us off one Monday morning in April,  I don’t think she expected to see us again in a few hours. Quite simply there was no longer any room at the inn, despite my calling before the trip. And, in fact, there was not to be any room at that inn for the rest of the week, so could I try a different inn on Wednesday? Right ok. So we popped along to another Birmingham hospital that afternoon for a pre-op assessment. This went well and the lady surgeon who would be delivering my babies was pleasant enough and it was all relaxed until my husband asked ‘So how many sets of triplets have you delivered before?’ I don’t really know what type of qualifications we were hoping for given that there are only roughly 180 sets born in the UK a year. It seemed she had delivered plenty of singletons and twins, and in her words, triplets is just another baby and bits to find and get out. All seems quite straight forward then.

The reasons for the change in hospital and due date is all quite understandable but the only thing that concerned me immensely was what happened if I went into labour on Monday night or Tuesday? Who would take me in? I was at home with all my hospital notes, no hospital was responsible for me and it seemed that no local hospital would have room for me and my brood for a few days time. It was somewhat daunting. Luckily I was still holding onto my bundles Wednesday morning and we tried our luck again. And the inn let us in. Relief.

We entered our consultation room sheepishly and awaited further instructions. In enter two midwives- ‘Ooh so you must be the triplet lady! It looks like you have a beach ball up your jumper!’. There was no escaping it. I breathed deeply and told myself I had no choice but to not get irritated with these ladies.

We progressed through to the operating theatre quite swimmingly. My husband got his scrubs on (Did I want to take a photo? No, can we just get on with it please) and I met with ‘the team’ – the lady surgeon and her assistant, the anaesthetist, my two new mid-wife BFFs, two trainee midwives, three paediatric doctors and three nurses. So how many does that get us? 13. That’s 15 with the prize turkey and ER George Clooney (aka my husband). You can’t blame me then when I said no when I was asked if three trainee doctors could come and watch. I know it would have been a wonderful training experience for them and something they may not get the chance to see again, but in the words of the surgeon, it’s only a few more babies and bits to get out than with a singleton.

I just loved my anaesthetist. Isn’t it convenient that when your life is so dependent on someone, like an anaesthetist about to insert the biggest needle ever into your spine for an epidural, that you develop a sudden love for them and become all pleasant and nice. I think you want to give off the right ‘vibes’ to them as you certainly don’t want them to think you are a bit irritating.

So with the good old Take That appropriately singing Never Forget on the radio, everyone set to work.

At 11.02am, Triplet 1 (T1) was extracted, 11.03am Triplet 2 (T2) and at 11.04am Triplet 3 (T3) (with all the bits that came with them).

I felt the relief of weight immediately, particularly T1 who had been so so low down, right at the bottom of my belly. After all three babies were out, one of my new BFFs immediately said ‘Ooh look at the tiny waist, how can you get that back so quickly?’ Well, you have just taken 3 babies out of me. She was forgiven for her earlier ‘beach ball up the jumper’ comment.

Our boys were all whisked to their ‘baby bases’ which were labelled Triplet 1, Triplet 2 and Triplet 3 surprisingly enough and weighed, wiped down and given the all important initial inspection.

We were given T1 first, who looked like a little mouse (and still does) but surprisingly alert. I held him in an awkward position as one could only do whilst lying down on an operating table with a screen under ones armpits. My husband held T3, who to be honest just looked too cool to be a baby, a cross between Brad Pitt and Jack Bauer, slight jaundice tan and wavy hair. I was then greeted with T2 who quite frankly just howled at me and I found this difficult as I was not in a physical position to do anything comforting about this. I did feel particular useless and overwhelmed by it all.

The weights were called as 5lb 7oz, 6 lb 3oz and 5 lbs, and I was overjoyed that my body had allowed me to get my babies so big. The ability to carry these babies to that weight has honestly been the greatest achievement in my life. I always used to struggle with the ‘So what has been your greatest achievement?’ question in interviews, and if I was ever faced with this again, I have a new answer. Relevant to the job or not, you can’t knock a woman for that.

So 16 lbs 10oz of baby plus three placentas is not bad going, and when I moan about the state of my stomach now, I really don’t mind (ok, well, sometimes I do – that’s the thing with skin you see, once it’s stretched, it’s well, stretched).

During the initial check-ups, it was soon realised that T2 was ‘grunting’, and was to go to the SCBU for more oxygen, so just four of us progressed to the post-op room.

We were told that T1 and T3 could stay with us and would be moving up to the maternity ward with me. Their weights were good enough and the doctor’s assessment did not see any reason why they need to spend time in SCBU. We had never expected this, assuming that they would automatically be whisked away and were overjoyed. I set about breastfeeding T1 and T3 whilst my husband followed T2 into SCBU.

Next came the naming discussion. We had already decided on our three names. So now we just had to allocate these out. Some people decide what the first out, second out and so on are to be called. I wanted to see what they looked like. I had been looking at T1 and T3 whilst feeding them (which they were doing surprisingly well at, latching on and having a go which is all a mother could ask for at this stage) and thinking what they looked like. My husband had been doing the same with T2. It seemed that one name had been allocated twice. After a bit of negotiation, we soon allocated out our names, first and middle.

At 3pm the four of us were transferred up to the ward where I was given my own room (with en-suite). I cannot imagine having to be on a ward with others. Can you imagine all the looks and questioning. My room was very spacious with a nice view and we started to settle in. We did the calls to the anxious close family, (yes really, three boys) who had to set pen to paper to jot down the names and weights in the right order so they could liaise with the rest of those in waiting of the news.

And away we went. A baby each and one to pop and see in SCBU….. Surely we could manage that.

The Births: The Natural Singleton Approach

image

Now I feel that I have been very lucky in that I have experienced two very different births – medically, practically and emotionally. I don’t feel I would be giving a complete picture and sharing my experiences if I didn’t tell you about both, but that said, I am not going to go into the medical details of the whole birthing process on the basis that I am not qualified to do such things and there are some great pregnancy and birthing bibles out there that do a great job for this.

The natural singleton approach

The birth of my singleton followed what I would consider a straight forward natural labour with no complications during or after. I honestly remember this experience fondly and have always maintained I would do it all again (and said that immediately after the birth too) so I consider myself very lucky in this respect.

So one sunny day in June 2007, four days past my due date, I awoke at 5am feeling not quite right and that something was going on. As my husband was commuting to London to work on a daily basis I decided that I did not want him to go on this particular day. My contractions started in way that I identified them as such during an episode of the Weakest Link. My husband (spot the accountants here) rushed to get a pad and paper and we noted down the frequency of my contractions and length for a very very long time. This progressed for a good few hours and saw us through to the end of Season 5 of 24 (when we realised it was indeed President Logan who was the baddie, although I am not convinced this was the best television viewing as I had visions of President Logan throughout my advanced stages of labour).

Mid afternoon I started to consider the rush hour impact on my impending visit to local Maternity Unit and decided I could hold off, until I could no longer take the pain of the contractions anymore and we headed off at 7pm in search of medical attention and pain relief.

On arrival I was inspected and it was announced I was about 1cm dilated. Now the cervix needs to dilate to 10cm, and to be normally be admitted one has to be about 3cm. I could not believe it. How could this be. I was in incredible pain from the contractions. They sent me away with the advice of to have some paracetamol and a hot bath. All very well but really. I struggle to see how a nine month pregnant woman can have any kind of relaxing or pain relieving experience in a standard sized bath. I was feeling very sorry for myself until about 11.30pm when we decided to give it another shot.

This time I was inspected and it was announced I was 3cm dilated and was invited to stay. Yippee! Woo hoo! The midwife was Wendy and I just loved her. The relief of knowing that the process moving along coupled with the ‘Right, I am now here where I need to be and will be having a baby soon and have all the medical attention I will need’ was immense. I remember using one of the grey cardboard sick bucket/potty things as a party hat and having a good old bounce on the birthing ball whilst feeling the welcome relief of gas and air. I even tucked into my Haribo Star Mix. This was it. Bring it on.

Anyway it all progressed in the same slow fashion for a few hours and come 3am I was a bit tired of it all so had a welcome shot of pethadine to give me a few hours sleep to prepare me for the hours ahead. I could sleep through my contractions no longer at 8am and went into advanced labour. This next hour was not to be my finest as I forgot everything I had been told at antenatal classes and had read about and basically lost the plot. I had no routine or process on how to deal with the pain of the contractions. I sent my husband out because quite frankly he didn’t really know what to do with me and I had to get my mind on track and I was the only one who could do that. And I managed to pull it all back and get into a nice rhythm again. Two Property Ladder episodes later, my husband was welcomed back into the room. The pushing bit was all over quite quickly and after what I can only describe and can still feel now is a football then a pack of sausages all tumbling out of me, we were met with ‘it’s a boy’ and greeted our little bundle. Wonderful wonderful wonderful.

After a bit more pushing for the placenta (I never expected that bit), I was soon bathed, tucked into toast and tea, and transferred up to the maternity ward where I spent a night getting used to my little boy.

So that is my experience of a natural singleton birth which I consider to be quite a pleasant one.

As you can imagine, the next birth was somewhat different.

Hello, from your Mother’s side…..Alternative Adele lyrics

image

My latest preferred lyrics (for the chorus bit), sometimes sung, sometimes shouted….

Hello from your mother’s side

I can not count the times I’ve tried

To tell you to not hit*, cos it’s not what we do

When will you listen, when will it get through

HELLO??? from your mothers side

I must have asked a thousand times

For you to answer, or to listen to me

Oh please just tell me, what do you want for your tea?

Agggghhhh Aghhhhhhhh Help me God

Aggggghhhhh Agggggghhhh F’luv of God

* substitute with latest phase in your madhouse at the moment – bite, throw, pinch, kick, scream…..

(Sorry if I have ruined the song for you now……I do actually have full lyrics from a ‘sometimes this is hard but it’s for your own good’ mummy perspective, which maybe one day I will post)

Preparing the Madhouse….and Hospital lists….

image

Preparing the madhouse

Depending on how your pregnancy is progressing and how many babies you are carrying, you may want to start preparing for your madhouse well before any suggested due date. As I have previously mentioned, I was told that it was unlikely I would be ‘allowed’ past 32 weeks (however with my ‘Go-Gadget’ tummy, the regular scans showed that my babies were still growing fine so I was allowed to go to 35). Full term is normally considered at 40 weeks for a singleton, with twins considered full term at 37 weeks, triplets at 34 weeks and quads at 31 weeks.

In terms of keeping on top of the house, we did have a short spurt of cleaners when I worked part-time with my first child but I put an end to that into my second pregnancy. I found it all to stressful being in or being out, being in which room when, and then when they had left I ran around the house seeing what kind of job they had done and always being disappointed that something hadn’t been done or it wasn’t to my standard. So between us we decided we could do it alone, and if it didn’t get done, well it would one day.

The only ironing that had to be done was my husband’s work shirts (although I did suggest this could be speeded up by just ironing the front bit if he didn’t take his jacket off for the day – I am not looking forward to the hormonal teenage school boys days when in addition to husband, I could be looking at 25 shirts a week). Anyway, my husband helpfully took it upon himself to take his dirty shirts to a local dry cleaner on a weekly basis that washed and ironed them for a £1 each. Perfect. Job done.

Lots of people advise to fill up your freezer with nice homemade meals before having a baby. Also consider filling it up with your toddler’s meals too if necessary. You may not have time to make these up for a while so get a few batches in the freezer so you can relax that he/she is eating well.

Get into the habit of internet shopping, if you don’t already do it. Set up the accounts you think you will need. Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Boots, Mothercare. You may not have time to pop out but you can always click away and answer the door. Make sure you sign up for loyalty cards – Tesco, Sainsbury Nectar, and Boots – and join their parenting clubs. You will need to shop around for the best offers when buying nappies etc, so good to have your accounts set up. When internet shopping, always look for a promotional voucher first (myvoucherscodes.co.uk; vouchercodes.co.uk) and use a cash back site (topcashback.co.uk; kidstart.co.uk). Don’t forget to check the TAMBA website too for member discounts.

The Hospital list

It’s a good idea to get your bag ready well in advance, with a little list on top of what else needs to go in it, to help your partner in case of an emergency.

I have included my hospital list which I had for my first child (singleton) and there really isn’t anything different for a multiple labour, except quantity.

The Singleton Hospital List

For Mummy

Clothing

2-3 x maternity/feeding nightie (don’t take your favourite for the actual labour part – you won’t want to bring it home to wash)

1-2 x feeding bras (buy as late as possible to ensure appropriate size)

Dressing gown (don’t take anything nice as you won’t want to wear it again)

Slippers (as above)

Flip-flops (for showers)

Bed socks (just a me thing)

Clothes to come home in (comfy and roomy)

Pants (proper pants for maternity pads; also consider mesh pants (available from the NCT on-line shop) which promote healing of a c-section scar)

Personal items

Old towel (for bath/showers)

Toiletries & basic make-up, hairbrush, hair bands, lipsalve

Hot water bottle (no idea how this ended up on my list and in hindsight what I was hoping I would do with it)

Breast pads, maternity pads & nipple cream (you will need a good supply of maternity pads for either a vaginal or c-section delivery. I don’t think I really appreciated this for a c-section,  but it still all has to come out).

Ear plugs

Other

Pregnancy notes & birth plan

Name list or book (in case of any last minute changes – Timothy may just not look like a Timothy)

Drinks – bottled water, juice

Snacks – muesli bars, sweets, chocolate (don’t tell the NCT teacher that is on your list)

Camera

Mobile & charger

Vitamins (and any other prescribed medication)

Anti-bacterial wipes

Small amount of money (including change for the car park)

Entertainment

CDs (this was 2007 – during my first labour there was a CD player in the labour room so I listened to Norah Jones in the early stages of labour. How very sophisticated and pleasant).

Games (cards and Yahtzee – I think me and my husband must have thought it would be like waiting around for a flight)

Books, magazines (more sensible, but again, really?)

For the small person

Vests, baby-gros (all washed, and the first time round when I obviously had too much time on my hands, ironed)

Hat, scratch mitts, coat/jacket (for coming home in), bibs, muslins

Nappies (newborn or premature size), nappy bags, cotton wool balls, Sudacrem

Extras for second multiple labour

Little soft toys to personalise cots (if/when in neo-natal unit)

Partner’s extras (clean shirt, pants, toothbrush, phone & charger)

(Breast pump, steriliser and bottles – these don’t need to be packed ready to go, but it may be useful to have them at home ready. As you will come on to read, with my multiple birth, I was in hospital for a fair few days so my husband brought these things in so I could express away in the comfort of my own room).

Right, so house prepared, bags packed…check, and cross check….

Note to Self……Dear Father Christmas

image

Dear Father Christmas (aka over the years Farmer ClipClips)

Now I know you try your hardest each year to make 4 little boys very very happy on Christmas Day, and whilst I am not sure yet that they appreciate all your efforts and stresses, I certainly do.

And whilst you normally do an outstanding job each year, if you don’t mind me saying, there are a few times when you have got it wrong.

So I just wanted to remind you before you and your little elves go off on one.

  1. Never ever bring those little wooden model kits again. I know you were thrilled when you found them, and excited that you could get 4 different designs which were suitable for little boys (Owl, Dinosaur, Helicopter and Crocodile), but me and my husband did not appreciate them at 5.30am last year when we were working on 2 each, with frustrated little boys who couldn’t do them themselves (because you, as you so often do, failed to consider the appropriate age suitability) and the little pieces just didn’t fit together at all, and well, it was hell.
  1. If you decide to bring a new computer console, please can you pop over on Christmas Eve to set it up. You do need to think ahead a bit more sometimes. The Wii U you delivered last year needed a 2 hour update before it was ready for action, which resulted in alternative pain (please see little wooden kits in 1)
  1. Plastic toys. Over the years, we have had more than our fair share of plastic toys. With 4 boys pretty much the same age and all into the same things, we really do not need lots of toys. Just because you may see something that is on offer and you have a voucher for it (obviously if it can not be made by the elves), it DOES NOT mean you need to buy it.
  1. Selection boxes and other chocolate/sweets tubes type things. Yes these are great, and just what the children want, but they are always on offer and everyone else buys them at least 2, so we do end up with a mountain which normally keeps us going til Easter. I know you will find this hard to resist, as after all, stuffing in as much as you can on Christmas Day is what it is all about, but please remember that sometimes I have to also put up with any associated sugar highs, which after (1) and (2) are sometimes difficult to take.
  1. Please remember one different roll of wrapping paper per child. And allocate presents accordingly to named sack. No excuses. I don’t care how much wine you have been drinking on Christmas Eve. I will not have the fighting again over the rogue present wrapped in the wrong paper in the wrong sack.
  1. Musical Toys . These are no longer accepted after the Zingzilla Guitar fiasco, Saxophone and Trumpet (which were unhygienically the most popular toys on play dates for years until I saw the light), recorders or drum kits. I have 4 boys. I do not need more noise.
  1. Children’s toy versions of tablets, mobile phones, remote controls. These just don’t do the same thing as the real thing, so please just don’t waste your time or money, so unless it is a real one, don’t bother.
  1. Big box.  I know you feel that each child needs to get an equal number of big presents and that each boy has to have one really big box, but I don’t think they ever notice (however leave that with me as I am not sure yet whether I am ready to take the risk).
  1. Things like jigsaws, fuzzy felts, games – yes all very nice and we will sometimes do these with our boys if we can sneak off alone with one or two of them, which is rare, so please consider a bit more. And we really don’t want or need 4 of each.
  1. Lego. Oh Lego. Please no more. It makes my heart sink when I think how much has been spent on it over the years, and now it just sits in rooms, with footballs or cricket balls slowly bashing the once perfect castles, police stations, haunted mansions, bat caves, fire stations (I think we have it all), and no one cares anymore. But I still have to dust it.

Right. That’s you done. Time to move on to the Grandparents. Now, which side gave us those 4 cake pop kits last year……

‘What pushchair will you get?!’…. ‘What car have you got?!’

Answers to another two popular questions below…

What pushchair will you get?!’

image

(Not one of my best photos – I blame it on the beige parker- but felt I had to include it so you could see the ‘side car’ option)….

Here is my preferred photo of the pushchair, with the single stroller option for when you have help….

image

(Yes, it does have a steering wheel…)

This was one of the most important things we needed to buy so I have detailed out my considerations and key attributes I required. After all, over years, what kind of pushchair I have has been asked by many. Or rather ‘Oh my goodness what kind of pushchair do you have? I bet it had to be custom made’ – No.

We needed something to hold three newborns and a toddler, and be practical and tick all my boxes. As you would imagine, there are not many pushchairs like this around. TAMBA do a great buggy guide which is available to members on their website so it is worth taking a look at this to start you off.

The key attributes I wanted my pushchair to have were as follows:

  • Space for three newborns to lie flat;
  • Space for a toddler;
  • Would fit ‘easily’ into my car; and
  • Had the option of using car seats on the chassis, making it easier to transport babies and taking up less space in the car. This purchase was key as this was to be my escape route out of the house for the next three years.

So we went for a Peg Perego Triplette. This suited us for the following reasons:

  •  All babies could lie flat from birth;
  • Car seats could be attached to chassis;
  • It was a train-like format with all the seats in a line so I was only ever ‘one’ wide so could get through the front door if all babies were asleep and could leave them sleeping in the hall; and
  • Was compatible with a Buggypod Smorph which was a side seat I attached to the side for my toddler. This folded in and out so I could still make it through the front door, just.

So there we have it. It was great and allowed me some freedom with my brood. Physically finding it was not that easy and I ended up buying it from Classie Chassis (www.pegperego.co.uk), who were wonderfully helpful (although they did think they were helping a childminder – oops I lied again). However, as they were based in Southend, Essex and we were in the Midlands, there was no chance of a test drive first. There are many pushchairs for triplets around but you may struggle to try before you buy. The Peg Perego Triplette was a wonderful pushchair and gave me my freedom and my boys a happy ride up to the age of three and half before I sadly waved it farewell and it is now used by the local childminder. I would highly recommend it, although as it is long, it is very noticeable so be prepared for the flurry of comments you will get – ‘I have never seen one of those before’, ‘I suppose you had to get that custom made’, ‘Do you need a HGV licence for one of those’ – (we got that one A LOT).

When my babies were about 18 months, I decided it was time to try an alternative pushchair. This was the O’baby Triple and was a stroller style.  I thought this would be easier to transport than the Peg Perego, and whilst it was, I found it difficult to push as the wheels are tiny, it was difficult to fit on pavements and didn’t fit through the front door. And I found that the boys couldn’t resist hitting each other or the occasional bite in it as they were just too close to each other, so I only used it a few times before I sold it on through eBay.

image

‘Oh my god what kind of car are we going to get’

Now this was a biggie. And another common question we got asked. When I found out I was pregnant, we had a MPV, which seats five, and a hatchback, which seats five. Hmm. We needed a six seater. But not just any six seater. We needed one that would fit four car seats in and the biggest pushchair you ever did see.

Luckily the company which ran my work car scheme allowed me to swap my hatchback for a Chrysler Grand Voyager as, according to the scheme rules, I was having a ‘lifestyle change’ (to put it mildly). This was great and we loved it, until in February I suggested we put in the car seats in our efforts to get prepared. And we hit a problem late at night in the dark on the drive. The seatbelts on the ‘back bench’ would not go around the car seats. Hmm. Not good. We needed those particular car seats as they fitted to the chassis of the pushchair and no others would do if I was to get out and about with as much ease as possible.

So on that evening when we were snuggled down to watch the latest Iron Man film, I could take the anxiety no longer. I set upon a massive internet stress and search operation to see if one could change the seat belts to make them longer. No. But you can get extending bits to put on seatbelts but then this was just going down the all too difficult route and do we really want to be messing around with the seatbelt safety issue. So there was nothing else for it. We would need a different car. Luckily my work car scheme surrendered and recognised there was nothing they could do to help me as the Chrsyler Grand Voyager was the biggest car they could offer, so bid me farewell.

And with open arms we welcomed my new best friend, the Hyundai i800,which was just the best thing ever and I loved it to bits.

Hyundai i800 Grey UK 08

(Vroom… look at her go….)

It was really really huge. An eight seater (so even room for twin girls I teased, well sort of, up to the day we traded it for a seven seater when the boys were three and five and we wanted a bit more ‘luxury’ in a family car) and the pushchair fitted into the back with such ease you just wanted to jump in too, which was better than the previous vehicle as I would have had to take wheels and bits off to squeeze the pushchair in. So in March we were ready. Phew.