Tuesday, 26 July 2011

33 weeks!

So yesterday I was 33 weeks through my pregnancy ... and on day one of my last week of work!

Over the last week I've been so busy at work that I haven't really had time to sit back and take in the fact that I haven't got long to go at all. I'm busy making sure that everything is up to date and what can be is handed over properly. To be honest I'm looking forward to next week and taking time to relax and mentally prepare (or at least that is what I'll say I'm doing!). I'm planning to meet up with friends who have babies just so I can have a sneak peek into what their routine is like now ... it will be great having people on maternity leave the same time as me!

That said, I'll be leaving my lovely team who have been great over the past few months ... putting up with mood swings and looking after me. I've just been to the shops tonight and put some goody bags together for each of them as a way of saying thank you.

I'm actually feeling great, the iron supplements have really helped out with the tiredness and have also eased some of the other pregnancy related issues (sorry for TMI but I'm referring to constipation!). I do have lots of energy and I'm not feeling weighed down by my bump at the moment. I'm also starting to make lists (a favourite pastime of mine) and collect things that I will be taking to the hospital with me ... like I've said before though, I'm not one to pack lightly so I can see this going terribly wrong and poor hubby ending up like a pack horse in the middle of the night!

I've finally brought myself up to speed with technology and traded my cheap and cheerful mobile for a snazzy fandagled one (sony ericsson experia arc). I'm still getting up to speed with it but I was desperate for a phone with a decent camera, so I can share baby photos and videos quickly. Hopefully I'll be using it to post soon ... watch this space! Seriously, you would never think that I work for an IT provider!

Sorry for the light update! Hopefully will have more for you next Monday when I'll be 34 weeks and have had my scan to see the position of the placenta. Fingers crossed it's moved :)


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

32 weeks!

I'm playing catch up a little this week so you'll have to bear with me! I'm late posting this week because we were at the cinema on the Sunday, I was being transformed on Monday (I'm now a brunette) and I went out for dinner for phase 1 of my leaving do from work last night.

On Monday I was officially 32 weeks through my pregnancy, or entering my 33rd week however you prefer to count.

I had my midwife appointment on Tuesday, which was interesting, on my records it showed that I had been prescribed iron as my levels from the previous blood tests were borderline low ... however someone had failed to tell me! Everything else in the appointment was fine, I told her about my unscheduled trip to the ante natal department and she reiterated what had been said there regarding the change of position and the SPD. I also picked up my prescription for iron supplements on my way out and have been taking them since to combat the tiredness associated with lower iron levels.

After the previous week, and the issues around my SPD I have to say I have been a lot more comfortable, as the baby has changed position my bump is sitting quiet a bit lower, I'm not going to say it's dropped as I still think that is a way off. This has meant that simple thinks like moving around and sitting at my desk have become a lot easier, not that they were impossible before it's just I've noticed a great improvement in how comfortable I am ... plus I'm not getting short of breath (again I hadn't really noticed this until the baby changed positions but its much better now!). I've also enforced a 'no long meetings' rule at work which is really helping me, at least I don't have to dread sitting in stuffy meeting rooms with torture devices for chairs for hours on end. Plus, I've also been able to get on with the long list of things I need to get done or handed over before I leave - which is next Friday!

I think getting through one list of to do's has also got me starting another, me and the hubby are making an effort to go on a date a week before the baby arrives, something I don't think we'll have a lot of time for in the first few months. This week we went to see the final Harry Potter film at the cinema ... a heavily pregnant lady in a darkened room normally means one thing - sleep! but I managed to stay awake thoughout and thoroughly enjoyed it. I love going to the cinema with hubby, we went to see a film on our first date and it always brings back lovely memories.

The braxton hicks contractions have well and truly kicked in, and while I could think of a million ways to describe them painless is not one word that I would use! For me, they are worse on a morning and during the day, when I'm resting or during the evening they don't seem to bother me as much. I'm drinking plenty of water and resting as much as I can when they come - apparently this helps. Uncomfortable as they are I think it's fascinating the way in which your body prepares for the pending arrival!


Monday, 11 July 2011

bag lady

Shopper, hold all, hobo, clutch, messenger ... I've been totally confused at to what is the perfect changing bag. Being a first time mum I wasn't too sure what to look out for and once the search began I just got more and more confused.

I know I would want something with plenty of room for all the 'essentials', which from what I've read is everything but the kitchen sink for a newborn. I also want something with plenty of pockets to keep everything organised and me sane. Ideally I wanted something that I could put on the pram, so it wouldn't have to be carried everywhere. But, ultimately I wanted something pretty! These are the some options I came up with ...

Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack - Tea on the Thames £130. This is beautiful and well made, ultimately I couldn't justify the cost so this one was ruled out.

Skip Hop Dash Deluxe - Blossom £52. I really like the striking pattern of this bag, and it's a great price but it just wasn't me when I tried it.

OiOi Tote - Ikat Tapestry £69. Lovely bag!

Pink Lining Yummy Mummy - Grey Bows £75. For each sale of this limited edition bag, pink lining will give a donation to the NSPCC. Unfortunately it's sold out ... and I don't think I could carry round something that said Yummy Mummy!

What did I choose I hear you ask? I absolutely fell in love with the prettiness of the pink lining range, but I also had in my head my list of criteria - space, pockets, carrying etc. So I went for ...

Their messenger style in 'grey doves', I love the mint green background which keeps the bag nice and neutral. The fabric has prints of pairs of grey doves, hearts and daisys ... how pretty! The hubby would say that the best thing is I had a discount code which meant I got 25% off the usual price tag of £75! It hasn't arrived yet but I'm tempted to pack it as soon as it does!


31 weeks!

Today I'm 31 weeks through my pregnancy, which means we can expect our little bundle within the next 7 to 11 weeks.

To be honest, I've not had a great week. The tiredness has set back in and I've been really uncomfortable. I mentioned that at 29 weeks the baby was transverse and I think this is starting to cause me some problems now, as the baby tries to move around and get in the right position. I was waking up in the morning with a really sore pubic bone and 'pressure' down below. It got so bad that on Friday, when I couldn't get hold of my usual midwife, I had to visit the ante natal department of a local hospital to be checked out. It was for peace of mind really, I just wanted to be reassured that either what I was experiencing was normal or if not what exactly it was. Turns out my SPD has flared up again as the baby is trying to turn and putting more pressure on my pelvis. It's is quite common but some women experience SPD during pregnancy and it is not diagnosed or dimsissed as just another symptom - I thought I would use this post to give you a bit more information about the condition and what I think has helped me ease the pain.

What is SPD?

SPD, or symphysis pubis dyfunction, is a condition mostly associated with pregnancy and childbirth, it affects the front connection of the pelvis called the sympysis pubis (or pubic bone).During pregnancy a hormone called relaxin is released to relax the ligaments holding the joints together to allow these joints to move more easliy when delivering the baby. These joints can sometimes become too loose during pregnancy, causing pain and inflamation, this is known as SPD.

SPD is most likely to occur mid pregnancy, if you have experienced SPD with a previous pregnancy you are more than likely to have it again with any further pregnancies.

What are the symptoms?

Pubic area and groin pain are most common, but the pain can manifest itself elsewhere including the lower back, lower abdomen, legs and (like me) hip joints. In fact, I could also hear the joints of my hips clicking as they moved.

The pain can get worse when doing activities which stretch the joints, including walking, getting in and out of cars, bed, baths etc. Pain can also worsen at night when more pressure is on the joints as you lie down.

Some women experience mild discomfort, while for others it can be a really debilitating condition where the use of crutches to support walking is required.

How long does it last?

Generally (I'm told) as the condition is pregnancy related symptoms should reduce and dissapear shortly after having the baby - around 6 weeks. However, some women require further treatment or even surgery to treat the condition following birth. I've read lots of stories and been told varying advice on this one so I think I'm best off to leave it there and let you know how I get on! 

What is the treatment?

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of SPD go and see your midwife or doctor, don't leave it too late as the symptoms can get worse and really uncomfortable, they should refer you to a physio who will assess you further and advise on the best treatment for you. I was referred to a physio who gave me a number of exercises specific to the areas I was experiencing pain and also a support band which helps to tighten the joints together, almost like a girdle.

These are some of the other things I think have really helped me -

  • Make sure you do your pelvic floor exercises, this will strengthen the muscles which will add extra support to the baby when it drops, reducing the amount of pressure on the pelvis.
  • Keep active, take short walks on even terrain which will help to strengthen your core muscles and ease any pains.
  • Crawl! No seriously, spending time on your hands and knees each day releives the pressure on the pelvis. Apparently it also helps the baby get into the correct position for birth ...
  • If like me you seem to attend meeting after meeting at work, start saying no. Sitting in uncomfortable meeting chairs for extended periods of time will do you no good ... and you should be taking it easy!
  • If you can manage it have a long soak in a nice warm bath, the heat helps with the pain and the bath itself will relax you, easing any tension in the joints. Just make sure you have someone to help you in or out if it is quite painful. If it is too painful a good old hot water bottle where you experience the pain should help.
  • Sleep on your left hand side and use pillows in between your legs to reduce the pressure on your joints. I swear by my dream genii pillow which is specifically designed to help you sleep in this position.
  • Finally, sit down when getting dressed and putting on shoes (I honestly can't say I follow this one 100% of the time myself!).
I'm so glad I went to the hospital, the staff were so friendly and helpful and really did put my mind to rest. I think if you have any queries, no matter how silly it may seem you should always contact the professionals. Better safe than sorry and afterall that is what they are there for!

More about this baby moving and causing these problems - well it wasn't transverse anymore, now its oblique! At least it's a move in the right direction. Although who knows what position it will be in for my next appointment, if the movement from last night is anything to go by the baby seems to be doing somersaults!! We'll just have to see what tomorrow brings.


Sunday, 10 July 2011

sun, sea and stretch marks ...

I know I've mentioned before that I keep fantasising about a summer holiday, somewhere warm and a nice place to relax ... then I think about what warm means and the fact that I haven't been coping too well with the warmer weather we've had here in blighty.

Anyhoo ... if I was to go on holiday there is some great summer maternity clothing out there so I thought I would bring a collection together of items I would pack for this fantasy summer holiday, just for fun!

So I'm thinking of stretches of lovely white sandy beaches with the odd pair of sun loungers here and there, a perfect place to relax and catch up on some reading.

Maternity Beach

Shirt, tankini, sunglasses and nail varnish from Topshop. Mascara from Benefit - there is a reason why this is a classic. Sandals from Dorothy Perkins and Bag from River Island. I've made sure to include my essentials in there too - the bible (as it is known when pregnant) what to expect when you are expecting, factor 50 sun protection and a big bottle of water.

I'd like to go somewhere historic, preferably with plenty of sightseeing opportunities.

summer maternity2

Dress, hat and earrings from Topshop (as above). Bag and shoes from ASOS. I love easy to use, practical products. The last time we were away we bought some sport sun protection in an aerosol. It's so easy to apply and transport, feels really light when you put it on, and because it's designed for sports withstands those 'glowing' moments. As I seem to melt in the heat I've also included two great products - water face mist to cool down and the long lasting NARS multiple, to make sure you are camera ready.

One thing I love about being away is the lovely fresh food. I'm imagining a small restaurant by a harbour at night, with plenty of outdoor seating.

maternity summer1

Top, earrings, bag and sandals from Topshop (as above). Sunglasses and palazzo pants from Dorothy Perkins (as above). Bangle from River Island (as above). I love the nude and muted colours that are in all the shops at the moment, but being me I have to bring in some shots of colour. This time it's coral, introduced through the shoes and earrings and continued through the makeup. It's a lovely strong colour and works really well with a tan. I always like to treat myself to a new scent when we go away - preferably on the way there and then I wear it while away which means when you get back to reality the smell transports you back on holiday (for a brief moment) - this year it has to be Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh. It is so light and refreshing, and more importantly my heightened sense of smell still loves it!

What a lovely fantasy holiday. The reality is, when not at work or out and about I'm far more comfortable in a pair of lounge pants and an oversized t-shirt. I'm using a gradual tanner to get that sin kissed look (garnier summer body is the best for my ridiculously pale skin) and have filled the house (and office) with fans to ensure there is always a breeze! Oh well, there is always next year ...


Monday, 4 July 2011

30 weeks!

Three quarters of the way through! If I had a penny for every time I hear the words 'not long now!' ...

Last week, with our antenatal class, we went for the tour of the hospital (University Hospital North Durham). I have to say I was really impressed. The delivery rooms are lovely, spacious, and because everything is hidden behind cupboards hotel stylee, calming. We also got to look round the ward (or the recovery zone) where we were privileged to share a couples 1 day old baby being bathed. The whole process really brought home how 'real' this is and how close we actually are. What I was really impressed with was the staff, there were loads of them and they all seemed lovely ... something which I'm sure will make a massive difference on the day. After our dose of reality I have started getting things together for my hospital bag, after all there have been babies born already from my online September 2011 birth group ... the issue is you get told what you need, the essentials, the nice to haves and the why didn't I think of packing one of those, while trying to balance the mantra of travel light. This is definitely going to be a tricky one for me which is probably why its a good thing that I'm starting now, maybe by the time comes round I will have perfected the birthing equivalent of a capsule wardrobe (not that I have been able to achieve one of those in my 28 years!).

This week has also seen the strengthening of my mood swings, or mummy moments. One moment I'm elated, the next frantic the next silent (which the husband would probably say is a good thing). On Saturday I was reduced to tears at the sight of horses being led across the road ... with their foals following close behind. Looking at the tiny foals, all legs and just getting the hang of walking, instinctively following their mummy was lovely, so lovely in fact that I could do nothing but sob for the next ten minutes. God help me if I see some ducklings!

Loads of my friends and colleagues have been jetting away on their holidays recently. Seeing them come back with that healthy glow that does not come out of a bottle, and listening to stories about life in the villa or dinner at the taverna makes me want to jet away too. I could think of nothing nicer than lazing by a pool, eating beautiful local dishes and taking in the scenery ... and then I wake up, I'm fantasizing about this from within my air conditioned office and the minute I set out side in this balmy British weather I start to melt, fast. there is no way I could be in temperatures of 38 and upwards. Oh well, it's nice to dream! I'll stick to my gradual tanner, keeping my skin soft and giving a gentle glow without the heat stroke.

This week has also seen the official arrival of the stretch marks, I knew they were coming (my mum has them and I already had some from previous weight loss) but now my poor tummy is starting to look like a mound of raspberry ripple ice cream. Mmmm ice cream - the sweet tooth is still here!

What with emotions like a rollercoaster, melting in the heat and the onset of scar tissue my treat this week has been to tackle those beautification tasks that I've been putting off. That means a full head to toe body scrub, conditioning mask for the hair, purifying mask for the face, manicure, pedicure and eyebrow wax. I managed (with great difficulty) to this by myself but something tells me that I may have to leave the pedi (the bodged job might be the giveaway) to the professionals from now on!

I only have 19 working days left at work, not long now! Oh ... I owe myself a penny :)