Tuesday, 30 August 2011

the other hospital checklist

As d-day is approaching fast, I've noticed that I seem to have another 'to do list' in preparation for the hospital, which quite literally involves preparing myself. I'm not talking about mental preparation or physical, in terms of pre-natal exercises etc. oh no, I'm far more shallow than that it would seem! For me this list involves preparing my body for whatever exposure I may come up against (and I hear there is lots of it!), closer to holiday prep than readying myself for the arrival of our little munchkin! This is what I've done so far ...

  • Manicure
  • Pedicure
  • Eyebrow wax
  • Full body scrub
  • Leg and bikini line hair removal
  • Intensive conditioning treatment

Pedi aside, what is great about this is that I have been able to do them all at home, indulging in a little me time while resting and nesting. Ok, I did have a go at the pedi but it's near impossible being this shape. The best I could do was reach and try my best to aim for a nail! Time permitting I would also like to have my eyelashes tinted but I would definitely need to go to a salon for that!

I know it's not necessary, and I'm sure that the midwifes wont care that my finger and toe nails match as the baby is coming. But it makes me feel better and a bit more confident going in to things!


Monday, 29 August 2011

38 weeks!

TODAY (yes I am being good this week ...) I am 38 weeks through my pregnancy ... and boy do I know it! I feel cumbersome and huge and have reached the point where I am ready for this baby to come. Thankfully the tooth (or lack of) is feeling better, thanks to some low dosage codeine that helped me through ... I have definitely been punished for eating all those cakes etc. over the past few months.

Where do I start? I have had a strange week, part spent in bed because I haven't been sleeping well and part making up for it by cleaning and ironing absolutely everything. I have been getting more and more sudden pains ... down there ... thanks to the baby 'headbutting' as we like to call it. One more thing which I have been experiencing is what a pain in the bum pregnancy is, literally! Sudden sharp shooting pains in that region, not good!! Nobody tells you about these things at the start, so when you start to experience them there is that panic of whether this is normal ... apparently it is, and very common too! I'm starting to think I might write my own 'warts and all' pregnancy book!!

So I've reached that point, as many women do, where I'm starting to think that trying the old wives tales of ways to bring on labour might not be such a bad idea, in the interest of science you see! It all started on Saturday when we went to the metro centre (shopping centre), the hubby wanted to get some new clothes and I never mind a spot of retail therapy even if it isn't for me, after the clothes shopping was done we headed to the newly opened wagamama restaurant where I ordered the katsu curry ... it was lovely but immediately afterwards I started to have really strong contraction like sensations, not painful but more intense than any I have had before. This accompanied by the fact I've been having constant dull aches in my lower back for the past few days made me think that this might be the start of something. By the end of the day the contractions had gone but the back ache was still there and a little stronger than before. Sunday I woke with the same back ache and regular but painless braxton hicks, we had also planned to go out for a belated birthday curry that night so I had my hopes high that the same thing might happen again, but to help things we decided to go out for a walk (something else that is supposed to help). The walk made sure we were hungry and the curry was beautiful, back ache was still there and I had some more painful tightenings but that was about it! I woke very early this morning and needed the loo, but I could barely get out of bed and when I did I felt like I couldn't walk because of the pains ... down there, I did eventually make it to the loo and the pains wore off! Today I have been absolutely exhausted, spending half the day in my PJs but determined to try some more remedies we went out again, this time for a shorter walk and for a hot and spicy pizza (according to babycentre forum these have proved successful for other people) so here I am, chronic heartburn and hoping that maybe this is what will have an effect!

So in summary, two curries have failed and hopes are currently riding on a hot and spicy cheesy bites pizza, if not I have stocked up on pineapple for tomorrows experiment, fresh pineapple is meant to help but you have to eat around 8! I have two large boxes of pre prepared fruit (which is probably all I would end up with if I was put in charge of preparing 8 of them!) which I plan to munch my way through tomorrow ... probably in between ironing and cleaning :)

I also have a midwife appointment tomorrow, hopefully the little rascal will have moved from back to back - I have been really good and done my exercises every day!


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

37 weeks!

On Monday I was 37 weeks through my pregnancy, which means that the baby is now classed as full term and could come any day now ...

Sunday was my 29th birthday, I had a lovely day with family, my mum even cooked a roast dinner which is unheard of. I have, however, stored my birthday bubbly allocation for use once the baby is here and has settled in to a feeding routine! Sunday was eventful for a whole other reason too ... I hadn't felt much movement throughout the day and despite trying the usual tricks, ice cold drinks and high sugar content food, I wasn't getting much of a response so that evening we decided to go to the hospital to be checked out. The midwifes were lovely and I was put on a tracker to monitor both me and the baby. Thankfully everything was fine, as junior decided to start jumping around as usual once the monitor was put on and we ended up with what was described as a textbook trace. Although nervous for obvious reasons to begin with, the whole experience really put me at ease, knowing that the staff are so friendly and supportive has certainly relieved some apprehension about when the actual time arrives!

Monday was also an eventful day, as we spent another night at the hospital ... for non pregnancy related reasons! I've had a problem with one of my back teeth for a while that I have been putting off and putting off, at the weekend this really came to a head and I was in agony. Still being stubborn as a mule I didn't do anything about it other than mope about, take paracetamol and put bags of frozen anything on my face. I held out until Monday night when I gave in and went to the emergency dentist, who promptly removed the offending tooth. I had read somewhere that it wasn't recommended that you have dental work, like fillings, during the later stages of pregnancy. Obviously you can't leave cavities untreated either! I'm still in lots of pain from the extraction, which was difficult to say the least, and the only thing that we are allowed - paracetamol - wasn't even touching the pain I'm in. So today I contacted my GP who has prescribed me a low dose of codeine for the next couple of days to help as things settle down! Fingers crossed!!

Other than that I feel fine, I've got used to the braxton hicks and the babies 'headbutting' as we now like to call it. Lets see how the little one reacts to my current 'smooth food' diet!


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

paper balloons

I came across these a while back when decorating the nursery, they are irresistibly cute and may have to make an appearance at birthday parties in the future ... what do you think? They are £9.50 for five from notonthehighstreet.com.


36 weeks!

Well, 36 weeks +1, I'm getting terrible for posting on the actual day! Never mind ... only 4 weeks until my EDD.

At the end of this week the baby will be classed as full term, meaning everything should have developed properly and the baby could come any day. This is something that my body has been kindly reminding me of throughout the past week as the intensity of the braxton hicks became much stronger, to the point where I nearly contacted the hospital for advice on Friday, thankfully they eased off. I've read that this is quite common at this stage, as the baby gets itself ready and assumes position and the uterus drops this increases the pressure on the cervix. Not even resting seems to take the edge off so I have to pay attention to the timings (just to make sure its not the real thing) and wait while they go ...

I've been making the most of my time off, attempting to be a domestic goddess and visiting friends. Last week I was so lucky to spend two days with two fab babies ... lets me get a sneak peek into the future. I also got to spend some time with my mum, just me and her, which is something we don't get to do that often and might not in the near future - it was lovely, I just hope I'm half as good at being a mum as she is!

Me and the hubby have also been making the most of our last few weeks together as a twosome, having cosy nights in (he's even done quite a bit of the cooking) and of course going on our dates! On Sunday we took an impromptu trip to Newcastle and amazingly stayed away from most of the clothes shops, instead we did things that we don't normally do, like looking round the fab foodie stalls that were in the city centre, I spent ages looking at the gourmet cupcakes (sweet, satisfying and glittery ... what's not to like?!) and the hubby did the same with the artisan breads. In the end we came away with goodies from each! The funny thing was on the way home we both talked excitedly about how great it will be when we can take the little one along to things like that.

Over the past week, I have noticed that I am starting to get tired easier, the simplest things seem to require an enormous amount of energy. At the end of the day even climbing the stairs seems like a chore! I can't imagine what it feels like to go to 42 weeks (although I may find out), it must be exhausting! This paired with the fact that I'm not sleeping well means that I nap throughout the day, seriously I seem to get more sleep in between the hubby leaves to go to work and lunch than I do all night! It seems that this is just one of those things, I think I better start loading the bedside table with good reading material ...

I had a midwife appointment today, the baby is still 4/5ths engaged so no progress there despite the amount of braxton hicks and pressure I have been feeling. The midwife also thinks that the baby is now back to back, there is still time for the little one to move but I'm going to increase the amount of optimum birth position exercises I do just to help things along, after all they can't hurt! Other than that everything is fine so fingers crossed the little one manages to move again in time for the big day.

This is a picture of my fabulously glittery jammy dodger cupcake, part demolished! Afternoon tea and a day at the beach planned this week ...


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

35 weeks!

Only 5 weeks to go to my EDD!

My first official week off has gone in such a blur. Last Tuesday I had a midwife appointment, which was fine. She asked if I wanted her to come to the house to help write my birth plan, which I politely declined. Even though planning is in my blood, I know enough people with babies now to know nothing goes to plan. Those who wanted no medical assistance ending up with an epidural and emergency c-section, one wanting a hypno birth who can't praise diamorphine enough, one who was adamant that she was having an epidural only to be told there wasn't enough time, and another who had planned for a water birth only for the baby to have other ideas and arrive very quickly in the toilet as the birthing pool was being filled.

There are so many circumstances and what ifs to take into consideration that I don't think you could possibly plan for all of them. The most important thing to me is that the baby arrives in the safest way possible and isn't put at risk because of what I may had 'planned'. I think I have reached this point because I had to get my head round the fact that I may have needed a planned c-section due to the position of the placenta, not what I would have planned but so what ... at the end of the day it would have been the safest thing for both me and the baby. Also, because I have SPD (which is coping very well at the moment touch wood) I know that even getting into some of the birthing positions might be quite painful so I have to keep an open mind about pain relief.

My 'plan' is to give birth in hospital, I would feel more comfortable knowing that if required I have immediate access to consultant led care. I have heard wonderful things about our local midwife led centre and, if all is straightforward with this birth, I would definitely consider it for any future children. But with this being our first we don't know what to expect. For the same reason I never really considered a home birth, although I can only assume that it is a beautiful experience for those that do choose them. And as mentioned above I want to keep an open mind about pain relief, letting my body tell me what it needs, also I don't think there is much point in going straight for an epidural when you don't know what relief the other options can offer, who knows gas and air could be enough!

I added a birthing ball to my previous post on packing, I want to try to stay as active as possible throughout the labour just to help things along. I would also like Mark to be the one to tell me what sex the baby is and if he is up to it, cut the cord.

The most important thing to me is the safe arrival of our baby, if that means the use of forceps or an emergency section so be it.

So that's it, my birth plan! Not so much a plan but a set of principles which I think can be applied to many of the situations that can arise during birth.

Other than thinking about these preferences, over the past week I have been packing my hospital bag and visiting friends with babies, who I don't get a chance to visit that often because of their new routines. It's been lovely to catch up with people and see how well, and differently, they are getting on with being parents.

The midwife also noted that the babies head has started to engage, so rather than it being 'free' which means it hasn't started the descent into the pelvis and is still moving freely, it is now 4/5ths engaged ... not what it sounds as I soon found out, I thought that this would mean that the head only had one fifth to go until it was fully engaged, in midwife terms this is quite the opposite, one fifth is in place and we have 4 more to go! The movement of the baby from transverse to oblique and now head down will help explain the pain I was experiencing with the braxton hicks, as significant pressure is now on my cervix and pelvis. However, at this stage the baby can still move it's head out of this position and become free again ... interesting to see where we are at my next appointment!

Also, as the baby has started to engage I've noticed that my bump has dropped quite a bit, creating a whole new colony of the beloved stretch marks! I honestly don't mind them, it's like a little story about our baby, but what I do mind is the itching! Not very attractive walking round the shops having a good old scratch of ones large belly : )

I'm feeling great to be honest, I think I needed to slow the pace a bit and get some rest ... might as well make the most of it before the baby arrives.


Sunday, 7 August 2011

lamp lust - update ...

I gave into my greed today and purchased the lovely lamp, I know it won't make my life amazingly better and I shouldn't be spending money on things like that with our new arrival imminent ... but gosh it makes my living room look lovely and more importantly it makes me smile every time I see it! I'm looking forward to when the baby is a little older and watching disney films - it will be like we have our own giant pixar lamp in the house.

Not sure where the final position will be but right now it's next to our Florence-Knoll-esque sofas and in front of the obligatory ikea Audrey Hepburn canvas. Next on the list of greed and 'in the style of' furniture is the ikea docksta dining table, a pocket friendly version of the classic tulip table, here it is looking lovely as ever over at apartment therapy.


Saturday, 6 August 2011

should i??

The hubby and I had a quick dash to the lovely b&q this morning to pick up some essentials for weeding taming the garden ... his idea, not mine! When we were there I spied their tecton lamp, a version of the iconic giant anglepoise lamp, in chrome and in the sale for £55 (usual selling price is around £99). The original retails for quite a bit more than that, I've just found an orange one online for around £2000!!!

I stood in front of the display model, drooling for what felt like an eternity, but in the end left it to 'have a think' now I really don't know what to do ... it is beautiful and would compliment the rest of our retro modern furniture in the living room but hubby has got me thinking about the hinges etc and how baby friendly they would be ... aaaargh!

While I continue to contemplate life with and without the lamp, this is a picture of it in black, yummy!


Thursday, 4 August 2011

autumn shades

I feel a bit ridiculous posting with this title as we are still having really humid weather here in Durham but I just can't help it. I'm the type of person that gets attracted to the new season rails as soon as the sales start, and this year it has been especially the case given that these are the clothes that I'll be wearing when I'm done with the maternity clothes.

I have had loads of fun finding really nice maternity clothes, and experimenting with items in my pre-pregnancy wardrobe, but as d day approaches I'm really looking forward to getting some new non maternity wear! I'm particularly coveting the lovely knitwear that is hitting the shelves, especially in my favourite autumnal hues of chocolate brown, dusky pink and rust. With that in mind these are two looks I've come up with ...

Autumn shades - relaxed

The first is more relaxed, something that I would like to wear when we have visitors or for that first and short trip out. I have these jeans, they are skinny indigo maternity jeans from new look and they are fab. As they don't have an over the bump panel I think they will be great for the transition as everything (more or less) returns to normal. I've also bought some looser fit basic tees, this one is from topshop, I think they will be great to have on over a nursing vest while I'm still tummy conscious. The lovely cardi is from dorothy perkins and is top of my shopping list at the moment. In the house I would team this outfit with some trusty slipper socks, outside I'd still go for comfort and opt for some pretty ballet flats, these are lovely and a bargain from garage shoes (I love garage shoes!). I'm planning to keep makeup very simple and have added a lovely tinted balm from topshop and good old falsies mascara, also some dry shampoo might come in handy! Now this watch is well out of my reach at the minute, it's Marc by Marc Jacobs ... one can only dream! I do have a lovely gold watch but had to put this one in the pic because it is just so pretty!!

Autumn Shades

This outfit looks like you've made more of an effort, even though the emphasis is still on comfort. I love the style and colour of this knitted dress, again from dotty p's, they seem to have got it spot on so far with their new season collection for me! I would team this with some fab riding boots, these are another bargain from the fabulous garage shoes (look past the naff gladiators and stripper shoes and you too will see the genius of this shop). The knitted dress would be quite forgiving on a mummy tummy and as I regain my waistline I'll be making the most of it, emphasising the new shape with a skinny belt like this one from dorothy perkins. To save the outfit from becoming too drab in hues of rust and tan, I'd bring some colour in. These earrings from topshop are lovely, as is the sunny yellow/mustard nail varnish. Again I would keep the makeup light and fresh, tinted balm and lashings of mascara will suffice.

I'm practically salivating at the thought of a shopping spree for non-maternity wear but I suppose the next spree for clothes won't be for me! We've saved money so that we can splash out on a fab new wardrobe for the baby once we know whether we are shopping for blue or pink ...


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

packing - stage 1

Isn't it always the fun part that gets done first?!

to pack or not to pack??

Today I am packing my hospital bag, I had been putting this off until I knew what type of delivery I would be packing for, as everything went well at my scan on Monday I'm planning for a natural birth ... and packing everything I think I'll need for that. I know I've mentioned before that I'm not a light packer so this is going to be an interesting one! I've done some research around and compiled the following list ... I love a good list!

During Labour
  • birth plan (I still need to work on this but to be honest I'm pretty open to everything, until Monday a planned cesarean was one option that I had to get my head round so after that anything goes!)
  • night shirt/dress (I'm going to pack two for this stage in case I get too hot and need to change for comfort)
  • light dressing gown (in case I'm one of the women who paces the corridor to help things along, this will also be handy in the post natal ward)
  • flip flops (rather than slippers for me, I find them more comfortable)
  • socks (apparently while the rest of you is boiling your feet can get cold)
  • lip balm/vaseline (I wouldn't go anywhere without it!)
  • cooling spray (I think I would get rather annoyed with one of those little fans)
  • hairbrush, hairband and bobbles (to keep my hair out of my face)
  • dream genii (not sure about this one but I've seen women being told to rest many a time on OBEM so I might just put it in the car and hubby can retrieve if needed)
  • magazines (just in case I get a chance to read, could be a good opportunity to read all the back issues of marie clare that are stacking up!)
  • phone charger (so I don't run out of juice the minute the baby arrives)
  • lucozade (for that much needed energy boost)
  • cereal bars/dried fruit (not too heavy but packed full of energy releasing goodness)
In addition to all this I'll also be bringing a birthing ball, and stocking up my phone with good (some would say that was questionable given my taste) music to play.

After Labour
  • toiletries (I've been and stocked up on miniatures - toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo and conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, moisturiser and deodorant)
  • 2 packs of maternity pads (yuck!)
  • breast pads (I've had to start using these already!)
  • big cheap knickers (less glamour more comfort)
  • nursing bras
  • sleep wear (I think I'm going to get some new bottoms and wear the dressing gown from above for easy breast feeding)
  • towels (not sure if the hospital will provide so I'll check this one!)
  • comfy going home outfit (I am under no illusion that I will be back to my pre-pregnancy shape instantly so I'll make sure to pack comfortable trousers, a loose top and some flat shoes)

Birth Partner

Best not forget the hubby in all this!
  • change of t-shirt, pants and socks (I will not be letting him out of my sight even if home is only 10 minutes away from the hospital!)
  • snacks and drinks (I know they are available at the hospital but it would be nice to have something there for him to save him having to hunt for food)
  • phone charger (as above)
We'll be updating our contacts on the phones to make sure we have everyone ... that said given the size of our families we may have to adopt a phone tree! I'm sure Mark will download some games for his phone to keep him occupied should the scenario arise ...

New Arrival

The best bit! When we toured the hospital the wards were very warm, and historically so has September (queue flashback to our glorious wedding nearly three years ago!) so this list tries to cover both warm and cool scenarios ...
  • 3 vests & 2 sleepsuits (see both warm and cool ... with spares!)
  • nappies (I'll pack a couple and have a whole pack in the car)
  • wipes (I know you're not supposed to but the midwife advised to use them to clean up the first bowel movement)
  • head to toe wash (we were told not to invest in the whole range of toiletries out there but a gentle wash like johnsons head to toe would be good if you wanted to use it)
  • small pack of cotton pads (again we have been advised against the balls or pleats just because they make more mess than they clean up)
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of scratch mitts
  • hat
  • cellular blanket
  • coming home outfit (we have too many to choose from so it may have to go to a vote!)
Of course we'll also have the car seat (cybex aton for us) in readiness for taking the little one home.

Now from my research this is generally what they recommend you take, it seems like a lot but I can genuinely see the point in everything on the list, knowing me I'll probably sneak some more items in too!!

Would love to hear your thoughts - did you pack way too much, or have I missed something that you couldn't have done without??


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

34 weeks!

Not long to go now! Yesterday I was 34 weeks through my first pregnancy...

What a week! I decided some time ago to take time off before the baby arrives, just to get everything including myself ready. What I wasn't prepared for was quite how emotional I would feel finishing work. I'm really lucky to have a job that I love and I work with some brilliant people. They certainly made sure I went out in style, I had a week full of treats including an 100% surprise baby shower. I was thoroughly spoilt. The week went by in such a blur of finishing tasks, handing over and receiving gifts ... I even contemplated staying on for an extra week (for like a minute!).

My body took the opportunity last week to remind me that I do need to slow things down and rest, I am after all carrying round another person! That's right - Braxton Hicks. I've read time and time again that on the whole they are pain free ... not mine. Last week they got so strong that I was almost double over in pain. Not good for the hubby's nerves bless him! I've found the best thing for me is to relax, drink plenty of water and if they still linger a nice hot water bottle tends to do the trick. But, just in case the next lot are not these pain free tests (?!!) that we hear so much about I've downloaded a contraction tracker app - technology is a wonderful thing!

We went to visit my dad and stepmum over the weekend, it was fab. We went o Lincoln on Saturday where there was a special Punch and Judy day - loads of P&J acts had come to the city for one day, raising money for charity. It was so nice to see all the kids enjoying something so traditional ... what made it even better was the weather, hot and sunny for a change! On Sunday we went out for breakfast to the Purple Cow in Cottingham, as the weather was even better we enjoyed it al fresco. It was halfway through my eggs benedict that I decided us brits don't 'do breakfast' enough, maybe when the baby arrives it's something we can do on a regular basis. I would thoroughly recommend the Purple Cow if you are in the area - fantastic food and a lovely atmosphere.

And finally, yesterday I went for my 34 week scan. Usually you would only have a scan at around 12 weeks and again at 20 weeks. I had this one because at my 20 week scan the placenta was low lying. I wasn't as nervous for this scan as the previous ones, I think because we have such an active baby I wasn't too concerned about that aspect. This was more about the logistics of how he/she would be delivered. As soon as the sonographer put the images on the screen my heart melted, you know that they are growing just by the size of the bump but to see how far they have come on is amazing. At this stage they are too big for the full body shots that you get at 20 weeks but, to be honest, the detail at this stage is far more mesmerizing. We got to see little chubby cheeks, a little button nose, tiny toes ... and our baby sticking it's fingers up at us, charming! Thankfully the placenta is well out of the way, I can plan for a natural delivery and pack my bag accordingly. Unfortunately we haven't got any photos of the scan to share, but it's not that long until we'll have photos of our little bundle to show you!

Looking forward to my first full week off work, although it's a busy one! Midwife appointment today, and visiting friends with babies for the rest of the week - yay!!