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.

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Crib vs cot bed…which to choose?

The crib hunt was less full on than the travel system dilemma and, fortunately, we knew roughly what we were after and there aren’t that many options available! There was a lot of reading, but it was a far simpler question to answer. All it meant was researching and comparing 2 cribs carefully, once we had decided on crib vs cot bed…

A cot bed would be suitable right up until a full size bed is required, while a crib will only last a few months. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a cot bed is a better option – it might be, for you, but we didn’t have the space in our bedroom, which was a decision maker.

So, it depends on what sort of cot/crib you are looking for, but we decided that we would like a ‘co-sleeper’ one where the baby is at roughly the same height as our bed, is still in its own bed but allows for easy night feeds (of whatever form), checking during the night or simply for cuddles.

All set up

Snuzpod set up & ready

After a lot of reading, we have gone for the Snuzpod. It’s not the cheapest on the market at £200 (current offer, which includes mattress – we bought ours for £180 with an NCT code, so have a look for one), but the reviews all look excellent and for those who are considering a moses basket or similar, the top detaches for use as a bassinet during the day or when visiting family/friends. It also has a handy shelf underneath (which our cats will probably end up using as a bed).

The mesh side can be rolled down or zipped up to allow for almost co-sleeping (the crib can be attached to your bed for safety) and means it can also be used safely as a separate crib. Bedding-wise, the Mothercare fitted crib size sheets fit and we bought a mattress protector at the same time as the crib.

Below are links to a forum where 3 of the available co-sleeper cribs are compared (including the Chicco Next to Me, our original choice) and also The Little Green Sheep website . They’re all fairly new to the market. The Snuzpod is now out of stock until the end of March and when we ordered at the start of January it was out of stock until end of the month; it’s nothing if not popular!

Co-sleeper crib comparison

Buy the Snuzpod from Little Green Sheep

snuzpod

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!!

Thank you for the music

We all get told that the first sense an unborn baby develops is hearing. As someone who listens to music pretty much non-stop, this has shaped my music choices somewhat over the last few months. I realise that while it’s perfectly acceptable for me to love the 90s music I grew up with, I’m sure Carl would have something to say if he came home to find us both dancing away to Backstreet Boys (FYI, this will happen anyway).

Out of respect for Bud’s future music taste and Carl’s sanity, each day I put on a different playlist or genre while I get up and ready for the day. When downstairs, I put my whole iPod on shuffle and rediscover a lot of music that way. A well-rounded love of music will hopefully develop, especially since I will always be singing or listening to music after Bud is born (and during birth!). Classical, pop, rock, country, jazz, music by decade…I’ve been listening to it all.

Last night though, I realised this may all have be in vain. Carl’s party trick is taking to the dance-floor whenever LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” comes on. As we sat waiting for the TV ads to finish, this song came on in the new M&M advert. Bud went mad. I’m pretty sure I could feel him/her wiggling in time to the music, just as Carl does. Ad finished, movement stopped.

Nature vs nurture…. I might just have to revisit my old sociology essays and add in a paragraph about a love of wiggling being passed down through the genes and starting even before birth. I haven’t even heard that song for months and months.

Oh dear. There are two of them.

Song for this post:
‘What a Feeling’ – Flashdance

The hospital bag

How do you pack for the unknown? There are a plethora of lists available online, all different. There’s common sense, obviously, but I’m packing for something I’ve never done before. When I go to Wales for a long weekend to stay with family (something I’ve done more times than I can count), I pack for every eventuality and will likely take up to 4 or 5 pairs of boots/shoes ‘just in case’.

So, how on earth am I meant to fit everything I ‘might’ need into Carl’s carry on size case?

I’ve decided that the answer is quite simple really: you don’t actually need that much. Sure, massage oils, rescue remedy, an iPod, magazines, cozy slipper socks etc are all going to be nice to have…but not having any or all of them will not affect the birth or the health of you and baby. It just means that I might have to spend slightly longer listening to Carl’s jokes if I don’t have something to read or music to drown them out 😉.

What I also realised is that most of the items you need are very small! Vests, babygros, nappies, mittens, maternity pads, breast pads (let’s not forget the ever-present attractive side of all this!) don’t take up much room, even if you pack loads of them. As someone who travelled the world with far too many clothes (very few of which made it home because I didn’t need them), I am a master of rolling clothes up small.

By 37 weeks pregnant, my bag should really have been packed for a week or so, but I just hadn’t finished. I had some bits in the bag, but it wasn’t until today that I thought “right, this needs packing now”. Maybe it’s because I have – in theory – less than 3 weeks to go, or maybe it’s the fact that 2 of 8 couples in my NCT class have now had their babies….both early…that’s finally kicked me into action! So, the baby clothes were all washed this morning and are just finishing in the tumbler, ready to go straight into the case.

Now we just need to check that we know how to install the car seat…and the crib needs to show up…and I think we’re as ready as we can be for our new addition!

NEW feature: Corresponding song as chosen by my friend Jon after reading the intro paragraph…
‘The Final Countdown’ – Europe

You know you’re heavily pregnant when you…

– can’t recall a time when putting on lace up boots wasn’t a big ordeal;
– start looking forward to doing sit ups (or simply be able to sit up);
– fondly remember the crippling heels you’re unable to walk in;
– are so used to hearing your tummy rumble up by your ribs that you’re starting to forget basic human anatomy;
– count managing to eat a 2 course meal as a major achievement;
– can no longer remember how to shave your legs;
– are eyeing up your pre-pregnancy wardrobe with greedy eyes, while secretly knowing you’ll spend weeks in pjs or trackies even when your other clothes fit again;
– can’t recall a time when you could paint your toenails, or what colour still partially remains on them;
– roll out of bed to avoid pulling yet another muscle;
– accept but slightly resent being woken up by a foot or bottom in your ribs…then realise this will likely still be your wakeup call after the baby is born;
– start counting down the days until you can have a rare steak followed by a plate of Brie;
– feel like you’re being crushed by gravity when getting out of the swimming pool…or bath…or bed;
– realise that idly rubbing your belly has become so normal that you’ll have to remind yourself not to after the baby is born because it will look a bit odd;

and finally…

– although you’re looking forward to meeting your baby, you realise that you’ll really miss feeling them growing, wriggling around, hiccuping and kicking. You haven’t spent a moment alone for 9 months and you’ll miss the confidence that being pregnant gives you.

Uh oh, the 2 week blip

After nearly 2 weeks at home, today is the first day that I’ve thought “would it REALLY matter if I just stayed in my pjs today and didn’t bother to have a shower?”.

In the grand scheme of things, no, it wouldn’t matter at all. However, I promised myself that I would stick to some kind of routine until Bud is born and it’s a slippery slope once you start slobbing out!

Fortunately, I was half way through trying to make a decision when the postman rang the bell. Once you’ve managed to get out of bed and dressed in 5 seconds flat…well, you might as well just get up and shower.

Still, it is hard to motivate myself today; especially when my house job for the day is doing our filing. Hardly the most stimulating task! Also, I was meant to be meeting a friend for lunch in London today but the train station was flooded so no trains were stopping. I’ve been looking forward to it all week so it put me at a bit of a loss.

On the other hand, I just won a gorgeous little all in one suit on eBay, our pram arrived last night (and was immediately claimed by the cat) and the crib bedding has just arrived!

Well, there’s no putting it off…time to do some filing. Or maybe I’ll have a cuppa first….x

"A new bed for me? Thank you!"

“A new bed for me? Thank you!”

eBay bargain of the day

eBay bargain of the day

Choices

Having never given birth, I am no expert on the subject. However, thanks to our NCT classes, what I do know is the kind of labour and birth I hope to have.

I don’t mean that I hope I will go to sleep and wake up with a baby in my arms, having been dropped off by a rainbow-dwelling unicorn during the night – although that would be nice, wouldn’t it?

No, what I mean is that we’ve looked into the available options and decided what our preference is, all being well. What has surprised me is that some mothers have all but laughed at my ideas while launching into yet another labour horror story. What happened to women looking out for one another?

While labour seems to be a rite of passage, the medieval practice of the women standing round telling horrible stories throughout the labour doesn’t seem to have gone away. In an age when women are continually encouraged to stand by one another and support each other…labour and birth seem to be an area where this often forgotten.

I would, if all goes smoothly, like to give birth in the midwife-led birth centre at Epsom Hospital. This means a birthing pool, gas & air and Carl’s jokes will be my painkillers; no epidural, no pethidine, no cesarean. OF COURSE, if the midwives tell me that the best course of action for my baby and I involves medical intervention, then we are open to that. Carl knows my thoughts on everything and will be able to handle this on the day, depending on how it goes. We’ll go with the flow.

Having a plan for the day is important, because you know what you’re aiming for. I think we just need to be prepared for this all to change should the situation require it.

I hope for a straightforward labour and birth but, if not, I can only hope that I won’t join in the scaremongering practice in the future. x

Pushchairs, travel systems, strollers and your sanity

I read an article today about buying your first pushchair (generic term I’ll use for all types of wheeled baby moving machines) and how much fun this is. 6 weeks ago this would have made me smile. Today, I nearly threw my iPad out of the window (I’m 35 weeks pregnant, I have ‘moments’).

In my experience it can be fun, but also mixed with a potentially large dose of frustration, confusion and leaves you generally feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Buying a pushchair is a classic example of where too much information and too many opinions can be a real hindrance – and you will experience both of these. The market is flooded with options and everyone has a favourite…which someone else hates and wouldn’t use if they were paid to.

When visiting Purley Way in December on a sofa buying mission (a piece of cake!), we decided to pop into Mothercare and Mamas & Papas to have a look at pushchairs. After a few minutes of simply staring overawed at all the options surrounding us, we thought best to ‘have a go’ with a couple. Number 1. Couldn’t work out how to turn the brake off. Number 2. Couldn’t get the seat off. Number 3. Didn’t like it. Hmm.

While Carl continued looking round, I made my way to the more expensive Bugaboo and Stokke pushchairs just to see if more expensive travel systems were more intuitive. Not so, I couldn’t even FIND the brake on the first I checked!

We needed help.

Luckily, at this point I was saved by a helpful assistant who gave a bit of advice on the options available and their tyre types (I.e. some are good for cities – light and small for getting on/off buses – some are good for pavements only, some are great all-rounders and so on). She also showed Carl and I how to take some of the travel systems apart…although, when she left us, collapsing one of them took us a few minutes of blank staring until we spotted the one button we hadn’t yet touched.

We both liked the Cosatto Giggle 2 3-1 travel system, but wanted to look at a range of options. Over the next few weeks, we played with more in shops, read more reviews and forums than I can count, asked for advice from everyone with prams….and, today, purchased…..the Cosatto Giggle 2 3-1 travel system, albeit in a different colour. It has a carry cot, upright seat, car seat which currently comes with it in the sale (although we have purchased a Maxi Cosi Pebble car seat and Maxi Cosi Cabriofix Easy Base 2 already*) and other bits all viewable on the website.

* Purchased for a bargain £6 from the baby/children’s charity shop Beatitudes in Dorking!

There is SO much information out there and in the end it became really draining. We were keen to find something with good reviews (obviously) but I am yet to find any pushchair or travel system that doesn’t have completely opposing reviews. Cost is not an indicator of how ‘good’ a pushchair is. One person’s perfect system is another person’s worst nightmare! I’ve found that many people go through multiple pushchairs in their time; maybe our little one will be born and we’ll decide we don’t get on with the Cosatto, but maybe – hopefully – we’ll continue loving it and find no faults.

My advice, from limited experience, is to try a few different options in shops and see what YOU like. No one else can tell you what weight/height/style will work for you. Set a budget and read a few reviews, but (unless they’re all horrendous!) take them with a pinch of salt and follow your instincts.

I’ll be back with a shorter post in the next day or so. x

Cosatto Giggle 2

Cosatto Giggle 2