18 weeks: Bournemouth, removable bumps, special treatment and ebay purchases

This week has been mostly spent under a blanket, with a tissue in one hand and a hot drink in the other. Autumn has well and truly hit, and it’s bought all it’s bugs with it.

I did emerge from under the blanket long enough to spend a couple of days in Bournemouth for work. We caught the most amazing sunset from our balcony, and just as the sun dipped over the horizon, I remembered it was photo time.

18 week bump

In hindsight, it would have been better to have taken a photo when I hadn’t been on the road and on my feet from 5am to 7pm, or when my makeup wasn’t rubbed half way across my face, but there you go. Here’s a clothed version:

18 weeks in Bournemouth

I definitely feel that my shape has changed a lot this week although the comparison photo below would suggest this is largely in my head.  There is definitely a big difference between now and how I looked 6 weeks ago. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Of course, this bump looks rather pathetic in comparison to the one I tried on in Mamas & Pappas this week. I was looking for an over-the-bump pair of leggings, and they provide a handy removable-bump for you to see what the clothes might look like in a few months. Check out mah belleh:

Mamas & Pappas removable bump

On the proper care and feeding of preggos – This week, I’ve been pondering over the special attention pregnant women get. I think it’s amazing that pregnancy is given a special status in our society. We get preferential treatment on buses, all the gossip from women you hardly know about their pregnancies and all the hand-me-down books, clothes and other bits and bobs you can shake a stick at. Generally, people are looking out for you, and for the bump, and for the most part, that’s bloody lovely. I’ve heard people complain about how intrusive it is for people to ask you how far along you were, or how long til your due date, or whether it’s a boy or a girl. I personally wouldn’t be offended by that, but maybe that’s because only people that know I’m pregnant already have asked. The alternative is somewhere where pregnancy is ignored, people don’t care and have no interest what so ever, and I know which I’d prefer.

All that said, I found myself in a position this week where my boot was definitely on the other foot. [I wrote out a big long paragraph here, moaning about being treated differently in a work environment, when I would have rather have been treated as a professional who happened to be pregnant, but when I read it back, I wanted to give myself a quick slap and refer myself to the paragraph above. As you were.]

On ebay – since payday, I’ve made a few bargain purchases from ebay. My general principal is to buy stuff that I have a chance of wearing post-baby too, although everyone I speak to tells me this will categorically not happen.

What I will say is that for £70, I’ve pretty much doubled my maternity wardrobe, with three tops, three dresses, a maternity cardigan and a nursing bra from M&S (THE comfiest thing ever, I apologise for the sorry state of my bust from now on – this bad boy neither lifts nor separates). I’ve not paid more than £15 for anything, and most of it is new with tags. I spent just over £30 on two Jojo Maman Bebe dresses and a JMB top which if you were to buy from their website would cost well over £100. I’m very happy with my purchases, although slightly freaked out by the boob-holes that come in the wrap dress.

Next week: 20 (19) week scans, cake clubs, and lots of updates about how I’ve been really organised and finally sorted the box room out (yes I will, because I wrote it here, and that means I have to do it)


A few rambling thoughts on maternity jeans

I don’t think I’m ever going to go back to normal jeans, even when I (fingers crossed) return to my pre-pregnancy shape. Maternity jeans fit better, are more comfy, and don’t let you down when you’re having a particularly fat day. They were MADE for fat days. Never again will you have to unbutton your jeans after a big dinner, because GUESS WHAT? They don’t even HAVE freaking buttons!

Early on, I bought a couple of pairs of ‘Mama’ skinny jeans from H&M because frankly, I was too fat to fit in normal jeans, and too tight to buy jeans in a size up when I would only be needing them for a couple of months. I stumbled across them in the first store I came to, and was so impressed by the comfy-ness that I didn’t bother extending my search any further, even if the big bump band did make them fall down a bit. I was going to be blessed with a watermelon-belly any day now, right? WRONG.

H & M Mama Jeans (click through for link)

A few weeks later, a friend gave me her well loved pair of Topshop Leigh mid-blue maternity jeans it was then I realised the error of my ways. These have a narrower band which is made of thicker and more supportive material, not like H&M’s over-the-bump tshirt fabric band. They’re skinny, without cutting off the blood supply, and as they’ve been worn by two different preggy ladies already, the size 12 fit me like a dream! The H&M jeans have been banished to the drawer in the hope that the full belly band will become a better option the further along I get.

Topshop Leigh Maternity Jeans – image courtesy of Topshop site (click through to be taken to the page)

In the meantime, I’ve caved and bought another pair of the Leigh maternity jeans, in black and a size 14. I’m totally planning to wear them tucked in to boots at work even though the thought of wearing denim in the office feels decidedly against the rules. In fact, it probably definitely is. I’m sure there’s a policy on it somewhere. Whatevs, I’ll flaunt the pregnancy card.

So the moral of the story (if there is one) is don’t buy the first maternity jeans you find. Definitely don’t buy two pairs of them. Shop around. If you have any similarly-sized friends who have cast offs they can send your way, accept them graciously. Previously-loved (read stretched) jeans are the holy grail of maternity comfort.

Lastly, a bit of advice for future-self me, don’t assume the same pair of jeans are going to work for the whole time your pregnant, because I’m sure that is definitely not going to be the case.




17 weeks

So long, summer – This week, I’ve mostly been having a serious case of the can’t-be-arsed’s. We’re back from holiday, my tan’s faded already, but the bags are still not unpacked. It’s entirely mental, but I’m having some pretty strong ‘anti-nesting’ urges. All the mess can wait. So can the box room (which is actually filled with boxes). I’ve got 15 episodes of Celebrity Masterchef in HD to catch up on, which in my books counts as SERIOUS BIZNIZ. It’s actually got so bad, I’ve begun to get a sense of achievement from seeing the ‘percentage full’ bit on my Tivo box go down by a couple of numbers. I officially need to get out more.

Thankfully, I don’t think I’m alone in this. The whole country seems to have gone in to semi-hibernation mode. No longer is Twitter (which acts as my barometer for most things) discussing beer gardens, home grown tomatoes and gin and tonics. We’re now in woolly tights, putting the heating on and making-a-bloody-casserole-territory. Autumn, I welcome you with open arms, you are my spiritual home. The maxi-dresses might yet to be packed away, but the cardis, tshirt dresses, knee length boots and comfy scarves have definitely made an appearance.

My social life, or lack thereof – This week, I had high hopes for my social life. I had a leaving do planned with a friend who’s swanning off around the world for 6 months, I was going to go to prenatal yoga, now I’m past the allocated 16 weeks pregnant, and I was going to make the most of my tan whilst it lasted by doing some laps in the local swimming pool with a friend. I’ve bailed on that too, in favour of a hot water bottle, a cat and some medicinal chocolate biscuits, thanks to this bloody dry cough, hourly sneezing fits, sinus pain and cold.

Not only do the pregnancy gods make pregnant folk more likely to get colds and flu, but then they make it so you can’t have any cold or flu medicine to help you though it. Yes, I know I can stick my head over a bowl of water and drink honey and lemon. I would prefer Drowsy Benilyn and a handful of Max Strength Cold & Flu tablets, if it’s all the same with you.

The midwife – Saw the midwife this week, test results from the first scan are all aces, and I’ve  put on the grand total of 1kg since getting pregnant, which doesn’t quite tally up with the number of biscuits I’ve consumed of late. She suggested my blossoming bump (or distinct lack, thereof) was down to my ‘strong core’ (ha) and stature (nice way of saying I’m a BFG). Still. I’d probably find something to complain about if I was the size of a house already.

Photographic evidence of my 17 week 6 day ‘bump’

The temporary stretchmarks – This week, I also threw what can only be described as a ‘right wobbler’ over ‘the discovery’ of ‘stretch marks’ which had made their way down my side from my bra to my waistband. I did a lot of moaning about barely having a bump, yet still being blessed with evil stretchmarks, and fearfully contemplated what I might look like in another 4 months time whilst furiously rubbing Clarins body oil all over my midriff.

Of course, the next morning, I woke up to find that the ‘stretch marks’ had magically disappeared. Turns out it was where a seam on a t-shirt had marked my skin from slobbing on the  sofa wallowing in snot and sneezes. Lesson learned; rant retracted.

New this week! Leg aches – My right leg, specifically from the knee down, bloody hurts. It’s not a ‘CRAMP-CRAMP-CRAMP-CRAMP’ kind of pain, more a dull, constant pain that makes you want to rub it. The only thing I’ve ever felt that was similar was the feeling of a broken bone, but I’m fairly sure I’ve not broken my leg. The Google-powers-that-be suggest that yes, this is another common pregnancy complaint, no, they don’t know why it happens, and the only way to get rid of it is to, you know, give birth. Lovely.

16 Weeks

This week’s update comes to you from the sunny island of Crete. The weather’s hot, the company’s good, and they serve tzatziki with everything. I think I’m in heaven. Here’s a few photos:

This is how we spent our days (image stolen from my mate Laura)

This is how we spent our nights

My best friend Laura, my handsome husband and me (with teeny, tiny bump)

Our apartment also came with the hardest mattress known to mankind, which was a blessing in disguise, as after weeks of crippling lower back ache (which wasn’t helped by 4 hours driving and a 4 hour easyjet flight), I woke up on day two completely cured. It may have been something to do with the exercises I’d been doing, or the fact I wasn’t sat in an office chair all day, but either way, I was officially a happy bunny.

I’m also going to get back on with the bump shots, so here’s this weeks:

Warning: slightly NSFW / slightly embarrassing bikini shot below.

My “12 week” scan changed me from 12 weeks to nearly 14 weeks, so my lovely fortnightly bump shot schedule was screwed. Here’s an 8 week / 16 week comparison instead:

Also, I have new found respect for these ladies who manage to take weekly bump shots in the same place with the same proportions. the angles, distance and pose is bloody difficult to replicate between photos, short of having a permanent tripod and an X on the floor set up in the lounge. These will have to do.

I wasn’t sure whether holidaying when pregnant would be much fun. Turns out, it’s pretty excellent. You get to sleep in, take afternoon naps every day, eat whatever you fancy, lounge about, and generally take it easy. I find I was unwilling/unable to sit in the sun for any stretch of time, and mostly sat under a parasol. I also got a bit dizzy a few times walking around in the midday sun, but as long as I had a sit down in the shade with a cool drink and ate regularly, I’m fine. I thought I would miss the lovely holiday boozing, but as we use the hire car most days/evenings, I wasn’t the only person abstaining. I also haven’t beat myself up over having a couple of weak sprite-shandies whilst I’ve been away (shock horror).

New this week: Nosebleeds!

Having escaped the first two and a half decades of my life nosebleed-free, I have had 2 nosebleeds in the space of a week. Thankfully, I’d read about this particular odd pregnancy side effect, otherwise, you can be sure I would be freaking the hell out.

The first happened quite innocently when we were chilling out in our apartment. I must have got up too fast or something, very boring.

The second happened quite spectacularly when my husband turned and picked me up in his arms in the sea. I thought he was being all romantic, until 5 seconds later when he dunked me quite spectacularly off the end of a rock in to the ocean. Cue me taking on a couple of litres of seawater, choking pretty loudly then glamorously heaving in his direction. When I thought couldn’t look any more cool, he told me I was having a nosebleed to boot. I tried to clean myself up as well as I could, and then something even more gross than all of that happened. A fish swam up and ate the blood/bogeys out of the water. Time to get out of the water.

Also this week: kicks!

The little one has made his presence known by giving me some pretty adorable and very undeniable kicks this week. I can no longer pretend it’s trapped wind. They are feet and hands and DEAR GOD THERE’S ACTUALLY A BABY IN MY TUMMY.

Next week: back to work, an appointment with the midwife and the start of prenatal yoga. 

15 weeks

This week was mostly characterised by backache, early nights, my husband rocking even more 16 hour days and me getting ready for our holidays.

It was also the week that I got a bit brave and told my boss I was pregnant. To cut a very long, dull story short, we’re in the process of a big restructure at work, and am currently working out a fixed term contract which is due to end just before the baby is scheduled to make an appearance. Applying for your own job doesn’t sound like much fun, but it sounds even less fun when you’re 8 months pregnant at the time.

I was incredibly nervous about telling her, which is probably why I put it off for weeks beforehand. I’m a loud person, I’m confident and I’m not at all shy, but for some reason, this had me crippled. I physically had to work myself up to saying the words to her, and promptly burst in to tears straight afterwards. Not that there was any need to, as soon as I told her, she shrieked with joy and burst in to tears too. She’d assumed I was so nervous because I was handing my notice in, so she was jointly happy for us we were having a little one, and pleased that I wasn’t leaving!

After the cat was out of the bag, I was surprised to find out that my husband wanted to share the news with friends on facebook. We’d previously decided not to post anything on facebook, and I think this was largely down to not wanting to be another couple who post wedding photos, only to post scan photos a few months later. Still, seeing as I’d become so inherently shy about spilling the beans, we thought it might be the quickest and easiest way of letting folks know our news, which lead to lots of lovely messages from people we’d not told face to face yet.

I’ve got mixed views about facebook and the way people use it. I think, used right, it’s a great tool to keep in touch with your nearest and dearest, so don’t understand why it gets so much flack. On the other hand, it’s difficult to navigate politics around ove-rsharing, un-friending, not accepting requests and sharing different content with different people. I’ve not come up with a coherent argument yet, but when I do, it’ll be the subject of another blog post.

Next week: HOLIDAYS!

Notes on the first trimester

So, at the end of this week, whether you base it on my calculations or the ultrasounds, I’ll be officially out of the first trimester. Despite the fact that I was already ‘4 weeks’ in to it when I got those 2 lines, it felt like an actual lifetime. In the spirit of sharing, and considering I learnt the most about this strange process our bodies go through from friends and people who’ve been there, done that and worn the tshirt, here are my nuggets of wisdom:

1. You might not need a pregnancy test to tell you you’re pregnant

So many people I’ve spoken to knew they were pregnant before the test confirmed it. The moment I knew it, I was in Falmouth, scraping burny bits off a piece of toast when the smell went up my nose and I suspected that I (as a non-vomity person) might just throw up all over the poor piece of toast. At that point, I cut down on the wine and waited for the pregnancy test a week later to confirm what I already knew.

2. Eating helps with nausea

My pre-pregnancy experience of feeling sick involved abstaining from everything except water, lying down in a dark place and feeling sorry for myself. Eventually, when I felt better, trying a slice of bread and butter to test the waters. Nope. Does not work with pregnancy. Being too hungry makes you feel sick. Being too full makes you feel sick. Being too hot makes you feel sick. The thought of cleaning the bathroom makes you feel sick, etc. So, you gradually learn to leave the house with enough snacks to last a fortnight, and slowly graze throughout the day on whatever you can stomach, even though eating might be literally the last thing on the planet you want to do. If that means that toast forms most of your daily intake of food, then so be it. You can eat some carrots when you’re feeling more human.

3. Do all the sleeps

At first, I fought the urge to nap because it was a bit…predictable. But sooner rather than later, I went over to the dark side and have never looked back. There has to be some kickback from getting up 28 times a night for a wee. I only wish there was somewhere at work I could get my head down for 20 minutes, then I would be quite literally, living the dream.

The fatigue is allegedly going to go away in the second trimester. Yep, still waiting for that one. Yawn.

4. Holy mother of bloat

I’ve been rocking the baggy top look since week 4, and maternity jeans from week 10. I have no regrets. I might not have a bump to put in them, but there’s no doubting I’ve become all thick about my middle. Now I’ve made the leap, I’m not sure I’m ever going to go back to normal trousers. Buttons and jeans are SUCH a FAFF.

5. You will not have a bump like they do on the internet

Each week on reddit, people post pictures of their adorable bumps. I’m most interested in the people who are closest in gestation to me. Why do they have a perfectly formed bump? Where is mine? Why is the world so unfair? etc. My bump grows and shrinks depending on:

  • how much food I’ve eaten
  • how much I need a wee
  • how much I stick it out

I’ve come to the conclusion that these people with their actual round bellies might JUST be sticking it out a tad.

6. Pregnancy rears her ugly head in some weird and wonderful ways

Pretty much anything that happens to you during pregnancy can be blamed on the bump. Great skin? Pregnancy glow. Terrible skin? Blame the pregnancy hormones. Eating Maltesers for breakfast? Baby’s craving them. Looking a bit porky? It doesn’t matter if you are the grand total of 4 weeks pregnant, that is BABY WEIGHT DAMNIT.

7. They give you an ACTUAL ‘get out of jail free’ card

Somewhere around week 10, the lovely people at the NHS sent me a little credit card shaped thing that says three beautiful little words ‘Maternity’, ‘Exemption’, ‘Card’. This magical thing gives you free prescriptions and dentists appointment, but I find it more beneficial to whop it out in times of desperate need, e.g.

  • Ran out of biscuits
  • Missed the bus to work
  • Need moar pillows
  • Don’t want to do [insert task here]

And the great news is, it’s valid for a year after you give birth! *rubs hands together with glee*