Weeks 14 – 17

Only three weeks late with this one! *fistpump*

Here’s a round up on what’s been going on at the start of my second trimester. FYI, this is meant to be the good bit of the pregnancy, between oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-vom-in-a-bucket and oh-my-god-I’m-so-fat-I-can’t-get-my-shoes on.

Toddler vs Tuppaware cupboard

Toddler vs Tuppaware cupboard

Scans!

With Billy, I had my 12 week scan at 12w5ds, and they moved me forwards a week to 13w5ds. This time round, we had our scan at 12w5ds, and guess what? They moved me forwards to 13w5ds. I am consistent with my baby growin’. This time round I looked more closely at the centiles chart and a 8cm long foetus is 13w5ds if it follows the 50th centile line. However, if it’s following the 90th centile line, it’s 12w5ds. We all know this baby is going to be born the size of a toddler, so the 50th centile is probably a bit optimistic. In my eyes at least, they shouldn’t have moved me forwards a week. But still, everything else this pregnancy will be judged on those days, so I should probably stop ranting. Bored yet? OK, good.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, here’s the good stuff:

13 week 5 day scan

Would it be biased to say that’s a pretty cute foetus?

When I was pregnant with Billy, I became aware of a theory called “Angle of the Dangle/nub theory”. In a nutshell, babies around 12 weeks have the stub of their tail left over from when they’re all tadpole-ish. Sometime between now and then, I seem to have become a bit of an authority on sexing babies from their 12 week scans. My friend Lucy sends me pictures of her friend’s scan pics and informs me I have 100% success rate.

Kid has strong selfie game

Kid has strong selfie game

So I was pretty excited about seeing our scan and seeing if I could uphold my title. I kept my eyes peeled during the scan and on the photos but sod me if I couldn’t even FIND a tail, let alone judge the angle of it. Sad face.

Also this month, Neil took me out for dinner. I ate all of this, including the gravy boat of melted garlic butter.

Also this month, Neil took me out for dinner. I ate all of this, including the gravy boat of melted garlic butter.

Moans! (or lack of…)

This time, last pregnancy I did a LOT of moaning about my sore coccyx, general backache, nose bleeds, legs cramps and the like. BUT, this time round, I have precious little to moan about. Either I know how to hold my posture better, the little bits of pilates I’ve been doing have been doing their thing or the pregnancy gods have been particularly kind to me. I’m sure they’ll get there own back later.

AND, I only have to wash my hair twice a week! *does victory dance*

Yes, I ate all of this too

Yes, I ate all of this too

More scans!

We decided to get a private scan done at 16.5 weeks to have a sneaky peek at the baby and to see if it’s a boy or a girl. Now I just want to make our stance on this clear from the offset. From dipping into message boards, I know that ‘gender disappointment’ is a thing. This pisses me off on a number of levels:

1, Gender is a sliding scale between masculine and feminine. Sex is biologically male or female. DEFINITIONS, PEOPLE.

2. The fact that your child could disappoint you before they are born makes me really sad. The fact that children can be a disappointment to their parents full stop is pretty grim.

3. Last but not least, more often than not, this comes with some very loaded assumptions and value judgements about what it means to have a son or daughter.

*climbs back down off soapbox*

My favourite cocktail bar makes a mean Virgin Porn Star.

My favourite cocktail bar makes a mean Virgin Porn Star.

We didn’t want to find out because we hoped the outcome was one flavour or another, but we had broached the subject of the ‘baby in Mummy’s tummy’ to Master Bill and thought it might make more sense if it was a little boy or a little girl in mummy’s tummy. Turns out we shouldn’t have worried, because he also thinks there’s a baby in HIS tummy. Then I made the mistake of telling him the biscuits were in my tummy after I ate the last one. You could literally see the cogs whirring around his brain. Just to confirm if you ever read this Billy: I didn’t eat the baby.

Post-nap grumps

Post-nap grumps

My money was riding on team blue in any case, and it turns out my lady intuition was bang on the money. I’m well good at this stuff. Two little boys! How adorable. But fast forward a few years and we’ll have two stinky teenage boys, which is ultimately less adorable.

I had this idea in my head before we went for the private scan that it was going to be a bit like going to a spa. There’d be plinky music playing, scented candles lit and it would be all serene and stuff. It was actually like a soul-destroying office with brown carpets and creepy 4D baby pics all over the wall. The scan itself was cool, although they wouldn’t answer any of my questions because they aren’t allowed to as it’s not a medical scan, which was a bit annoying. Not as annoying as the woman who ACTUALLY said “Now wipe that goopy stuff off your tum-tum” in a baby voice without an ounce of irony. I rolled my eyes so hard I gave myself a headache. For the record: just because I’m gestating a baby doesn’t mean you can talk to me like I’M a baby!

Don’t get me started on the 4D scan bit I didn’t really want. The baby was obviously very comfy tucked in to my placenta, so I do have a 4D picture of him, but it looks exactly like melted cheese.

Next time: even more bloody scans! probably some moaning about new stuff!

Weeks 9 – 13

Here’s a round up of all the stuff that’s been going down, and only 1 month late! *fistpump*

Same as last time:

1. I booked in with the midwife.
Only difference was that the midwife didn’t want to book me in until 10.5 weeks rather than 8 weeks like last time. Other than that, this was incredibly uninteresting, except the part where she stole all my blood, confirmed I weigh exactly the same as I did at this point last time and told me I would get extra scans and be referred for a gestational diabetes test because Billy was such a fat shit.

Aldi's light up bath toys. Good fun but a bugger to photograph on your phone.

Aldi’s light up bath toys. Good fun but a bugger to photograph on your phone.

Gestational diabetes tests appear to be pregnant lady torture. No food from 6pm the night before, then a blood test at 9am, a pint of lucozade, then another blood test at 11am and then you finally get some grub, which you have to bring with you on the day. Cruel cruel world. The 6pm bit is fine, but the no breakfast bit is going to turn me in to an angry angry bear. I have apologised to Neil in advance for my behaviour on that day because I am going to be a freaking nightmare.

2. All the sleep and no booze makes Kate a thin girl
OK, so not strictly true. Bloat and re-organised organs has meant I’ve been in my maternity jeans since I was approximately 1 week pregnant. But in a bid to keep an eye on my health and nutrition, the scales tell me I’m currently 3 lbs down in the first trimester. That’s 3lbs lighter than I was on my wedding day. Looking back through what I wrote first time round, it’s a similar story to then. Don’t worry though, I’ll make up for it AND SOME in a few months.

Shortly after I took this photo, he threw the food at the ducks with such gusto that he did a 180 off the bench and landed in the duck poo.

Shortly after I took this photo, he threw the food at the ducks with such gusto that he did a 180 off the bench and landed in the duck poo.

3. Neil is still my night in shining armour
Don’t mean to turn into a right soppy sod or owt, but I am a very lucky woman. Wanting to make sure I was getting all my nutrients, Neil bought a badass blender type thing (but not one of those superwhizzy vitamix ones I see mummybloggers talking about – I thought they looked pretty good until I realised they cost twice as much as my first car did) and has proceeded to make me a smoothie every morning since. I get my smoothie, a cup of tea and a slice of toast in bed, as well as a lie in, despite the fact he works some ridiculous hours and doesn’t go to bed at 7pm like *some* of us.

Have I posted this one before? If so, soz and all that. Toddlers wearing sunglasses are my new favourite thing. Less so when he snaps my favourite pair in half, but y'know.

Have I posted this one before? If so, soz and all that. Toddlers wearing sunglasses are my new favourite thing. Less so when he snaps my favourite pair in half, but y’know.

In a campaign to be the world’s best husband, for my birthday, he also bought me:
– a Snoogle pregnancy pillow type thing (think this was a bid to avoid losing his half of the bed to a pregnancy bed nest like last time), but goddamn, that thing is comfy.
– 100 polaroid / instagram prints from the past couple of years which are now pride of place on our lounge wall

The new addition to our lounge

The new addition to our lounge

– a stunning stone and armour necklace. Yep, I know, he’s a keeper.

Different this time round:

1. Meat doesn’t taste like death
Last time round, I went virtually vegetarian. To the point that I emailed the sandwhich shop I bought my lunch from every day to tell them their ham was off. It wasn’t. My stupid preggo tastebuds were. All meat tasted like it was rotten, and made me heave at the smell. This meant getting enough protein was difficult, but clearly didn’t do Billy a world of harm as he’s currently a contender for world’s strongest toddler.

Last time, I celebrated the end of my enforced vegetarianism by eating steak and broccoli 3 times a week for the first 4 months of Billy’s life (anemic, whatevs). THIS time, meat still tastes pretty darn good, which makes not being able to eat rare steak a complete pisser.

This kid has strong pout game

This kid has strong pout game

2. I only need to wee once a night
Good news! Unlike last time, I only get up for a wee once a night! Bad news! I wake up when Neil comes to bed, when the cat jumps on my head and when Billy decides 5am is morning anyway, so I might as well be up weeing.

3. My luscious non-greasy pregnancy hair is nowhere to be seen
Not going to lie. This was a major perk last time. I only had to wash my hair once every 4 days, from washing it every day. It was thick and generally looked ACE. It almost made up for the bit where it all fell out 3 months post-partum and I ended up with bald spots, then it all grew back at the same time and I ended up with wispy facial pubes I had no idea what to do with. Having kids is 100% glamour, 100% of the time.

I’m sure I’ll have to go through all the hair loss this time round as well, so can we hurry up with the bit where my hair looks excellent to compensate plz? Ta.

Not bragging or owt but got a sneaking suspicion our son is an artistic genius.

Not bragging or owt but got a sneaking suspicion our son is an artistic genius.

4. I have SPOTS on my BACK
Yep, this particular symptom is not cool either. I have zits. Big old zits I’ve not had since I was 15. I ORDERED 9 months of flawless complexion, so where is it?

Next time: Scans! More moaning! Swears!

Weeks 4-8

At approximately (exactly) 4 weeks and 4 days pregnant, all those nauseous, gassy feelings I’d forgotten all about came rushing back and I took to quietly retching into a sick bowl without waking Billy at night or muffling my heaves with coughs during the day to avoid alerting my colleagues to my new-found up-duffness.

Toddler walking Jack Russel

I haven’t taken any photos of me yet, so you’ll have to put up with pictures of first born doing adorable things. Like walking the dog with my brother.

 

Here are some of the best bits I’d forgotten about in weeks 4 – 8:

1. Holy mother of bloat
I adopted high waisted jeans post Billy and I’ve never looked back. It’s been a relevation! They stay up of their own accord and slim down all your lumps and bumps. I <3 high waisted jeans.

…Until I was approximately 4 weeks 4 days and 6 hours pregnant when the bloat hit. Seriously, what’s that about? Now my high waisted jeans make me look like a michellin man and my jeans drawer has been replaced with old-worn in maternity jeans. Zero fucks given. I’m getting my money’s worth this time.

Things I've done when I've not been asleep: carrying a 3 tonne toddler across a cold and windy beach

Things I’ve done when I’ve not been asleep: carrying a 3 tonne toddler across a cold and windy beach

2. Bottomless-pit hunger
Between having Billy and now, I’d made some decisions about things I’d do differently this time around. I would meditate, I wouldn’t drink diet coke, I would do more pilates and I DEFINITELY wouldn’t gain *whispers* 45lb in the process. I was to be bona fide, carrot stick eating earth mother who was always refreshed, didn’t have back ache and wouldn’t dream of eating half a packet of hobnobs in one sitting.

So. About that.

I am so goddamn hungry. I wake up hungry. I go to sleep hungry. Two hours after an evening meal, I will be hungry. This is some next level hunger that just can’t be satisfied. And, not hungry in a ‘ooh I fancy one of those’ kind of way. This is like, “if I don’t eat in the next 3 minutes, I’m going to collapse on the floor”. So I’ve stocked up on the bananas and apples, I’ve boiled up some eggs and bought some remotely healthy nuts, seeds, dried apricots and cereal bars and filled my handbag with snacks.I have managed to quit the diet coke habit, and I think I’ve gone off chocolate. Hopefully it’s just a phase.

Tennis ball-sized snowballs

Tennis ball-sized snowballs

3. Pilates
I found a couple of early pregnancy pilates videos on Youtube in a bid to avoid the crippling coccyx pain I had last time round and to have a pelvic floor of steel by the time the whole giving birth thing came around. I’ve done these a grand total of twice in a month, largely due to the fact that the second Billy goes to bed, I’m ready to hit the sack too.

4. Meditation
I did some Mindful Mamas meditation last time round, and quite liked it, despite the fact that no-matter what time of day I did it, I often woke myself up snoring at the end. This time round, I downloaded Maggie Howell’s “Overcoming Morning Sickness” MP3 and listened to it a few times. I like the sound of her voice and the music isn’t too annoying, so I think I’ll give the others a listen too.

First time sledging: big fan

First time sledging: big fan

5. So tired. So very tired.
I pretty smugly thought I could DO tired. Working full time from 8 months and having a child that only slept through consistently from 1 year (unless he was ill, teething, we were getting rid of the dummy, it was a full moon etc) had prepared me for that, so I thought. But pregnancy tired is a different kind of tired, and rightly so, I suppose, because you are growing a human inside you. So, to ease the baby-growing load, weekends are now designated ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ zones, despite the fact that this baby weighs 3 stone and has a better vocabularly than me.

Also, people that tell you pregnancy goes faster second time around are dirty dirty liars. Longest 4 weeks of my entire life.

DING DING DING: Round 2

Somewhere between March 2013 February 2013 (being overdue sucks bad) and now, we decided it might be a good idea to think about Project “Get Billy a Little Brother/Sister”, because we’ve absolutely put our rose-tinted glasses on and decided the whole being pregnant/having a newborn/not sleeping for 18 months thing was really a piece of cake, wasn’t it?

Aaaaannd, pretty much as soon as I weed on a stick and saw those two pink lines, I suddenly remembered what being pregnant was like and realised this might not be such a good idea after all. You see, this time round, I know exactly what the pregnancy gods have in store for me, and I plan to complain about it, a lot.

Although, unlike first time round, I don’t have a job that you can leave at 5 on the dot, and I don’t have the benefit of being able to sneak in a nap between getting home and having my dinner because there’s a hysterical little boy who demands stuff like “Being fed” and “Reading stories” and for me to wear a footstool on my head like a pirate hat. It’s really tough.

That and the first trimester mega-sleeps go a little way to explaining why it’s taken almost 16 weeks for me to get my arse into gear to write this post. After ignoring the blog for almost 2 years, I’ve really enjoyed reading back over what I was worrying my ever-decreasing mind over as the baby-brain set in week by week, so for no reason other than nostalgia, I’ve decided to give it another shot.

Here goes…

On working full time

Hey! Did you notice I’d gone? I’ve been somewhat absent since ..oooh, July. I lost my mojo for a while. I wrote a few posts, but they were a bit crap, so they’re still sat in my drafts folder, then I mentally wrote a few more, but never really got my arse in to gear to write them down, then before I knew it, it’s freaking February. FEBRUARY.

None of these photos have anything to do with going back to work. Cute though.

None of these photos have anything to do with going back to work. Cute though.

I’ve been back at work for 3 months. Maternity leave is a distant memory. Billy has a busy social life these days: swimming with Neil on a Monday morning, a couple of days with his Nana, one day with a childminder and two days at a local nursery. It keeps us on our toes remembering what to pack and where to drop him off, but MOST of the time, I get it right. OK, so I did send him to the childminders with one spare nappy and no coat on a particularly cold February. But still, we’re doing OK.

Maternity leave and becoming a new parent is this fantastically weird time. For a start off, after spending my entire life getting a qualifications and building a career, I went ‘…HOLD UP, I’m going to go spend the next few months playing with this hilarious little boy’. I switched off from work entirely. Completely and utterly. I even forgot my email address. At some points, I feared that growing/giving birth to/looking after a baby had made me a bit thick, but I realise now I was wrong. I was just operating on an entirely different wavelength, making mental records of time slept, nappies changed, latest developments and ounces of milk consumed.

Before Billy was born, I assumed that something wholesome and all encompassing would take over and I would feel weepy-eyed at the prospect of leaving my baby and going back to work, but the reality was a bit different. I had no comprehension of how much entertaining a 6 month old child needs. By the time I went to work when he was 8.5 months old, it made for quite a nice break.

That’s not to say that I escaped the tears completely though. When I hit the ‘one week to go’ deadline, I got a bit misty eyed about the weirdest of things, like emptying the toybox in our PJs at 10am on a Wednesday and going for a walk around the park any time we liked. The big kicker was the maternal guilts though. Me and Billy had been together for a really long time. He’d never spent that long being looked after by other people. He was still only so little (HA, have you SEEN the size of him?), and I was clearly a terrible mother for abandoning him.

First day at nursery

First day at nursery

In the first couple of weeks, getting out of the house on time was like a military operation. Lists were written, bags were packed the night before, diary pages from nursery were studied with frightening attention to detail. I enquired about every nap time, every nappy, activities, mood, I called every lunch to make sure he was OK, fretted when he teethed and generally acted like a helicopter parent.

After a couple of weeks, the ‘getting out of the house’ bit got easier (or slacker, hence forgetting coats and nappies), but emotionally, it got a lot tougher. He was ‘great’ at my mums, ‘OK’ at the childminders and ‘bloody miserable’ at nursery. He wouldn’t sleep, he wailed when we left, I could hear him crying at lunchtime when I called and he was crying when I picked him up. On one particularly bad day, I sat in the meeting room and sobbed my heart out for half an hour, wondering whether to jack it all in and go pick him up. Eventually, I got my arse in to gear and walked back in to the office, vowing to look at other nurseries or childminders as this nursery clearly wasn’t working out.

Then we broke for Christmas. I enjoyed every second of those two weeks with Billy, and really made the most of our time. We went to see a nursery close to where we live (as opposed to close to the office). It was purpose built and state of the art, it even had an organic fruit basket for you to help yourself to. I’d made my mind up when we walked in the front door that we would be moving Billy here, until the point that we were handed a price list and I realised it was £15 a day more than we were currently spending. Cue parental guilts about how much you love your child and what price you put on their happiness. That one sucked pretty bad. But seriously. If there’s a little brother or sister in the picture in the next couple of years, £100 a day on nursery fees would mean there was very little point in me going to work at all. For some people that would be living the dream. The same prospect puts me in to a bit of a cold sweat.

Toddler eating Yo! Sushi

We took a look at another nursery that was in our price range but left us feeling a bit ‘meh’ and then, one day, he went to nursery and didn’t cry. He blew us a kiss as he left, slept well and was happy and smiling when we picked him up. I’d love to offer words of wisdom about the struggles we faced and how we overcame them, but I have literally not a bloody clue what changed, other than the fact that he learnt to crawl (I SAY crawl, I mean dragging-his-belly-along-the-floor-commando-crawl-style-crawl) over Christmas. But in any case, something just clicked with him. He became a big fan of his key worker and started enjoying playing with other babies, and all of a sudden, finding another nursery became less of a priority because we didn’t want to unsettle him where he was.

The thing I wasn’t expecting to realise was: all maternity leave and no work makes Kate a dull girl. I love Billy. I love Neil. I love work and I love my leisure time. Going back to work has given me a bit more of a balance between all these things have made me appreciate each one more. I’m pretty lucky in that I can pretty much choose my own hours. I generally work 8am-4pm and don’t really take a lunch. If I don’t finish by 4pm, I’ll take it home and work in to the evening, but that doesn’t happen too much.  My favourite time of day is walking in to my Mums/child minder/nursery, scooping him up and taking him home for a toddle around the house, a rootle around the tuppaware cupboard (favourite place ever), dinner, bath and a story. 

And to stop being all “me, me, me” for a second: Billy gets the best of both worlds. Neil takes him swimming on a Monday morning which they both LOVE, he (Billy, not Neil) terrorizes my mum’s dog and has one-on-one time with my Mum, spends time in small groups at the childminders and experiences things on the busier/noisier end of the scale at nursery. His movement has come on leaps and bounds, he has a cracking sense of humour and he’s so tired from a day of activities, he’s quite happy to curl up with us and read a stack of books before bed.

Toddler at Pizza Express

I’m not sure where this post is going, other than I know I needed to get my arse in to gear and post something before this blog died a slow and certain death. So there you go. In summary: I went back to work. It was a bit shit for a bit, but it got much better than I’d ever imagined. I regained a bit of balance in my life and activated a bit of my brain that was redundant for a while. I am WAY more efficient with my working day than I’ve ever been pre-Billy, and I enjoy my time with Billy more when we are together because we’ve been apart all day. And when he goes to bed and I cook dinner with Neil? We bloody deserve that beer.

Cheers to HappyBabyProject for the inspiration to write stuff down.

Microbirth

There’s an interesting new documentary on the way from the people that created “Freedom for Birth” which calls for us to take a closer scientific look at the impact that routine intervention and artificial hormones in childbirth might have on children when they grow up, and potentially, entire generations.

Find out more: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/microbirth

On heat waves and sleep

sleeping baby

Pre-baby, the idea of heat waves sounded, well, pretty ideal if I’m honest. Your boss would decide it was too hot in the office, and would move your meeting to the park, or even better, the pub. Evenings and weekends would be spent in an endless cycle of pub/bbq/ice creams/more beer/more meat/sunshine naps. And those clothes that only really got an outing when I went abroad became my staple wardrobe.

Post-baby, heat waves SUUUCK. Suck. For a start, I AM the boss, and the park is too hot. So is the buggy. And the car. And clothes. And the house. And pretty much everywhere. I spend my days fretting over the weather forecast and checking the temperature in Billy’s room. Despite open windows, black out blinds permanently in place and a massive fan, it his 30’C in there the other day. You know the whoosh of hot air that hits you in the face when you open the oven? It was a lot like that.

If I had a Gina Ford baby that sauntered up to bed by himself at 6pm or whatever she suggests, he might be better equipped to deal with the heat. But, although putting him down for naps awake is a work-in-progress, the evening routine usually involves a bath, then milk/story/cuddle in our arms. If I thought the transition of a sleeping babe from my arms to the cot was difficult before, achieving this with an infant stuck to your skin with sweat is a whole new level.

napping baby

Up until a week ago, Billy slept in a Sleepyhead sleep pod thing that he could nuzzle in to when he woke up at 3am. We had it pretty good. We put him down at 7pm, dream fed him at 11pm, and he sometimes got us up from about 4am for a dummy or a cuddle. He was usually awake by 6:30am, and the first feed was at 7am.

On realising the Sleepyhead was the equivalent of sleeping on a duvet that was ON FIRE (and the fact that we are categorically NOT packing it in our suitcase when we go to Spain in a few weeks), we decided to go cold turkey. Between this, the weather, a summer cold (or hayfever, who knows?) and probably a bit of 4 month sleep regression and teething chucked in for good measure, we’ve had disastrous consequences on all of our sleep quotas. Every night, he gets a bit better, but if we’re up once an hour from 1am-5am, and if he’s not in our bed before 7am, it’s been a bloody good night.

So far, we’ve been spoilt by having a pretty easy to decipher baby who is easy to pacify. If he cries, he’s hungry, thirsty, tired or bored, which is why these recent rocky nights have been so difficult to cope with. He doesn’t want milk, or a cuddle, or a dummy, he’s just awake, and he’s damn well grumpy about it. How can we fix that?

baby sleeping thumbs up

Tonight, it’s much cooler. I can tell because the monitor in his room tells me so, but also because I’ve not spent the evening swearing and lying on the floor trying to fan myself with the cat. So far, we’ve had a 20 minute paddy pre-bedtime and three trips upstairs to shush Billy back to the land of nod. In the back of my mind, I’m a teensy bit terrified. I’ve spent the last few days saying phrases like ‘oh, Billy’s not coping well with the heat at all’, ‘it’s really affecting his sleep’…what happens if we have a bad night tonight and I can’t blame the weather for a change? What happens if this is our life for the next decade? BRB, having a quick panic attack.

I think half the problem for me is, I like logic. I like to see progress, and I like having a plan. However, as I’m learning, parenting and logic don’t always go hand in hand. But logic dictates that things WILL change. In a few weeks (months?) time, I’ll look back on this post and laugh merrily about how far we’ve come when I’m nailing a bottle of wine in front of re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy, safe in the knowledge that Billy won’t wake up until 7am.

Until then, I’ll try to store up the way he tries to get my attention at 3am when he’s wide awake and wants to play, and the smell of his hair when he nuzzles in to my neck to get back to sleep. I’m sure they’ll come in handy when he’s a grumpy teenager and I’m complaining that sleeps through the best part of the day and never gets out of bed.