If you go overdue, find a project

This is true when you’re on maternity leave anyway, but even more so when you go over your due date. It’ll keep you occupied and relaxed, and can even be fun!

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A selection of pages – 12 week scan to be added!

My lovely friend Holly gave us a scrapbook as our wedding gift, so I’ve spent time putting in key moments from our wedding, honeymoon and pregnancy. I need to print out some photos to put in, but otherwise I’m pretty pleased with how it’s going.

I can’t wait to fit in the missing photos and to have some very exciting ones to add in the next 2 weeks! Until then, I will spend this time (while I have it spare!) getting these sort of projects up to date. I have a bump to baby journal which I’ve been keeping since week 12, I want to find some photos to put up round the house and make into canvases. These sort of tasks will take a while but are pretty simple, which make them perfect jobs for now!

Therefore, I will be focussing on staying busy and ignoring the texts I receive every day asking for news!

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On-going support

imageOne of the most important things you can have during pregnancy is a support network; from your partner, friends, family, or whoever you would turn to… On the hard days they will be the people who pick you up again. On the good days, they’ll be the ones you want to tell.

A major positive we gained from our NCT classes was that additional support group. We all knew what the others were going through and had the same questions. Now that a few of the group have had their babies, we all get together weekly for lunch to have baby cuddles and spend hours chatting about any and everything.

Jude, as our teacher, was (and is) a great resource of information and encouragement. We bumped into her today and her continuing positivity, advice and upbeat personality was – as ever – incredibly helpful. She is always happy for us to call or email with concerns or for advice; she has gone above and beyond what I expected to gain from an NCT teacher.

No matter what sort of pregnancy you have, make sure you surround yourself with people you can talk to. I mentioned making pregnant friends where possible in an earlier blog post, which is also worth reading: ‘Make pregnant friends…who are due both before and after you‘.

For more information on NCT classes, see my earlier blog post ‘To NCT or not to NCT…that is the question‘ and the official NCT website, along with Jude’s page.

Being sensitive of due dates

imageDid you know that only 3-4% of babies are actually born on their due date? I’m of the opinion that parents-to-be should be given a due week or even month…! It’s always a guess (albeit an educated one) by the health professionals and most babies don’t get the memo about when they’re expected!

Whenever friends of mine reach their due date, I pretty much leave them alone until I receive news that their little one has been born. It’s not that I don’t care or that I’m not thinking of them; I am simply aware that they will have many people asking if there is news or how they’re getting on. I’ve always imagined this can be pretty frustrating. Now I’m very nearly in that position myself, I believe it could be pretty soul destroying (a direct quote from a friend who was 9 days overdue). Pregnancy lasts a long time and most women (and men!) are more than ready to meet their baby by the time their due date rolls around.

So, my advice (and plea) to my friends is as follows… I know you’re thinking of us and we know you want to hear positive news, but we would really appreciate it if you held off the ‘any update?’ texts tomorrow… When we have news, we’ll shout it from the rooftops. If I don’t reply immediately to a message, this is likely because I’m fairly terrible at replying, so no need to start speculating! Have no doubt, we’re very keen to announce news…so just bear with us until Bud decides to show up.

Thank you for all of your support, just remember we have up to another 2 weeks to go so just say hi or let us know what you’re up to!

Morning sickness is normal…but not easy

When I was in the early stages of pregnancy, it felt like every other pregnant person was coasting through; no sickness, no tiredness, quite literally dancing their way through it all. Having spoken to them since, I believe this was true for 1 or 2 of the pregnant women I knew…but certainly not all or even most.

The thing with morning sickness and the hard side of pregnancy is that it’s behind closed doors. Why would you post on facebook or tell everyone that you’re feeling awful or have spent the last week either crying or trying not to? When you’re in that place you don’t need others knowing. My opinion was that I would far rather that everyone imagined I was glowing.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have a lot of time for self pity or people asking to be asked how they are (‘sad face’ statuses drive me mad), but it’s a private time and I only needed Carl as we made our way through those days. Every day, from weeks 12 to 24, I got up and threw up, before going to work and nibbled crackers to get through each day. Most nights, I cried and asked Carl (my rock) why it was so difficult. I think we both struggled through those weeks. However, if we went out or saw friends, this was all shoved in a closet and we would laugh the time away. Most of them had no idea.

This is why it looks like everyone coasts through – every pregnant women perpetuates the same myth. It is totally normal though and if you are feeling awful or not enjoying pregnancy, this is ok.

Although not 100% relevant in this context, this quote by Laura Stavoe remains as true as ever:
“There is a secret in our culture and it is not that birth is painful but that women are strong.”

Eviction notice…you’ve been served!

imageRight Bud, listen to me, you have 5 days to get out so that I can meet you and that’s an order.

The last days of pregnancy are the longest. I was told this, but I never realised how true it is. January flew by, but since getting to February…well, the days have slowed to a snail’s pace. Even the weeks of morning sickness went faster.

My advice is to ensure you have some small projects to do, or something you can focus on that doesn’t take too much energy. In an attempt to ward off ‘pregnancy brain’, I have started doing sudoku puzzles! Since I can do the migraine level ones with a bit of concentration, they keep my mind working.

Every now and then I have a burst of energy and I use it to get on with whatever house jobs need doing…before retreating to the sofa for a rest; which generally means I’m immediately sat on by one of the cats.

Come on Bud, you have 5 days.

Date nights, keep the habit going

Carl and I traditionally enjoy ‘jacket potato and film night’ on Fridays – loosely translated as us spending an evening together, even if we deviate from the obvious menu choice.

We have been advised by my Mum to ensure that we still get out for date nights and spend dedicated time together – after all, just because we are about to become parents does not cancel out our previous relationship(s) as husband and wife / a couple / best friends. It’s important we still make time for each other and remember that we have conversation topics other than pregnancy/children. Mum reminded me that she and Dad always made time to go out together, even when we were small. When we went on a family holiday to Center Parcs, we would spend time in the kindergarten while they had some time together. If they went away for a mini break or holiday without us, we would have a blast with our grandparents in Pembrokeshire enjoying having our own holiday and adventures without them!

Last Friday Carl and I had an impromptu date night meal out at The Plough, Coldharbour, which I would highly recommend. Beautiful food and a decent food portion along with being a friendly pub, certainly more welcoming than our local!

IMG_0379Last night we stayed in and enjoyed a film together (while I fidgeted every 2 minutes trying to get/stay comfortable); it isn’t always about going out and spending money. Just because we eat together every evening, there’s something slightly different about the nights when you actually spend time together. Carl made some amazing pork kebabs using our new handmade bespoke skewers, courtesy of Swann Forge, and we chilled out.

No iPads or iPhones, just hanging out watching a film and having a laugh.

I’m sure this will become a bit trickier when Bud is born (and require more preparation!) but we’ve always had our little nights out and we are determined not to let these stop – what are future grandparents and aunts/uncles for if not to babysit (sorry, I mean ‘bond’…)!

When you become parent, you are still the people you were before, just plus one (or more!). Don’t stop making time for each other or you’ll be sitting there in 20 years, when the children have left home, going “umm, hi….I don’t believe we’ve spoken about anything else in the last 2 decades…who are you?”, when you should be going “right, we’ve done our job and they’ve spread their wings, let’s continue discovering the world together!!”.

imageSwann Forge pages:
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Keeping active

I am tired. So tired. I slept on and off for the best part of 11 hours last night, after 2 days of doing very little. Today, I decided to get back outside and walking again. I was given a Fitbit for Christmas so I set that up this morning as a bit of extra motivation.

imageI don’t aim to walk a marathon, just a brisk mile is good enough for me. Having achieved this goal today (a whopping 1.1 mile walk), I realised just how tired I am; it felt like I’d just done a 5k run! I know women who walked 2 miles+ at 40 weeks pregnant, but I’m not sure I can manage that right now.

Tomorrow us NCT girls (plus 2 babies) are meeting up for tea and cake, but I plan to get back out on Friday and as often as I can after that. Hopefully Bud will start dropping soon…finally!

Keep active, or as much as you can, get some music on and get outside.

Oh, and then treat yourself to a hot chocolate when you get home.

Do what you feel is right for you

38 weeks

38 weeks

Now just over 38 weeks, we had a midwife appointment booked for tomorrow. However, after our uninspiring visit last time (when we were wrongly told our baby was Breech and sent for a scan she hadn’t actually booked us in for), we were less than keen to see her again.

I spoke to the wonderful Jude (our NCT teacher) who calmed me after the whole fiasco and advised that we go with what we feel is right. After a great deal of thought – since all the appointments are drummed into you – we have cancelled. Bud is still happily moving around, I feel fine and I will be straight on the phone to the hospital if I have any queries.

Yes, I’ve heard that movements aren’t everything, obviously the heartbeat is checked too along with measurements, but we have decided to go with our instincts. With (in theory) less than 2 weeks to go, if I feel that anything is amiss, we will be straight on the phone or heading to hospital. We are ready. Missing an appointment and (probably) a large amount of stress will not affect our baby’s health. I’m not the only person to have had these exact issues with this same midwife, so I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility that tomorrow’s appointment will be a repeat of the 36 week one. Bud is in the same position, for one!

Do what you feel is right for you.

Disclaimer: My post ‘Nearly into the breech’ created quite a discussion on my opinion of midwives, so I feel I should point this out…

I am not knocking midwives in any way, shape or form. This one specific midwife just fills us with doubts and her ‘bedside manner’ leaves a lot to be desired. I have the upmost faith in midwives, or I wouldn’t be hoping to make use of the midwife-led birth centre at Epsom.

A good night’s sleep….all but a distant memory

No one tells you that when you get to the final weeks, you will physically feel that baby has no room. At times, my belly feels so tight that I can’t believe there are still a couple of weeks (or so) to go. I’ve had multiple dreams about hands and feet bursting out of my bump, or a particularly stressful one where I could hear Bud crying because there was no space but I couldn’t do anything to help. That dream was the most traumatising I’ve had.

Bud has a habit of stretching his/her long legs out – they are generally crossed over – which means the feet stick out of my side. Believe me, this really hurts, especially if they get caught under your rib cage! Fortunately, I can usually give the feet a little tickle and they’ll move back in quickly enough.

At night however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a comfortable way to sleep. I don’t know what was going on last night, but Bud seemed to be simultaneously stretching legs and feet one way, bottom pushing back the other way and head pushed down…with a furious bout of hiccups. A particularly uncomfortable moment!

After hours of lying awake, I gave up and retired downstairs to the sofa so my continual tossing and turning wouldn’t wake Carl up. Realising I didn’t know where our blanket is (I keep one downstairs for chilly winter nights), I huddled in my massive dressing gown and kept Percy company; he was more than happy with the unexpected hugs! Not the best night I’ve had. Fortunately, once Carl got up for work, I was able to return, rearrange my stack of pillows to be semi-comfortable and get snuggled in.

I am so lucky to have such a supportive husband; his offer of breakfast (after telling me off for not sending him downstairs) was amazing, so I had some toast with a hot Manuka honey drink, before all but passing out until 11.

For those bad nights, a supportive partner or friend is vital. Make sure you talk to someone rather than getting frustrated or angry. My advice is that if you can’t sleep, get up or move somewhere else. Lying in bed awake all night will just drive you insane.

Looking forward to the fast approaching future

With less than 3 weeks to go, I have now been home for just over 3 weeks…scary isn’t it; in less than the amount of time I’ve been home, we will have a baby!

While I still miss the routine of a working day, my thoughts have very much turned forward to after Bud is born. I haven’t thought about my daily calendars and spreadsheets in 2 weeks, so I must be adjusting!

Our preparations are coming along well, all we need to do is wash (and find…) the crib sheets and check we know how to fit the car seat. The nursery is yet to be furnished and decorated, but Bud won’t be in there for months so it’s not urgent. It’s all pearly white and ready to be dressed beautifully.

The crib arrived yesterday, so we’ll get that put up tonight ready for the big moment! Along with the travel system dilemma, which crib to buy took a lot of research and discussion. I’m going to dedicate my next blog post to this decision making process…there are so many options.

My dreams have started to include elements of what our life might be like, although I am sure they’re just wishful thinking! I am well ready to meet our little one now and every little twinge I feel makes me go “ooh, are we going now?”. What surprises me is that I have (at this moment) no fear of this moment, I’m excited about being there. 9 months is a long time to grow a person and look after someone you haven’t met yet!!