35 weeks

This whole having a baby thing is very novel, but having your unborn child’s limbs jumping on your bladder and taking up vital space in your lungs at the same time is getting real old, real quick. I could do with another 5 inches on my torso, please. Or, you know, fast forward to my due date and get the baby out, either would be fine.

We did our Parent Education workshops in our local hospital this weekend, which I suppose means we’re as well educated as we’re going to be about the whole ‘being parents’ stuff. I’m not sure I’m any the wiser now than I was before I did the classes, I was too busy avoiding the cold hard glares from the possessed looking dolls she was using to show us breastfeeding techniques *shudders*. Also, a lot of people told me that they chose to do the NCT classes because they attracted a nicer clientele than the NHS ones. Don’t get me wrong, I think the NCT classes probably go in to more detail than the NHS ones, and you get the benefit of a circle of potential friends that are at the same stage of their pregnancy as you are, but – in the defence of the NHS, the classes were well organised, the teacher was knowledgeable and the other people on the course were friendly, didn’t resemble the people you might normally see on Jeremy Kyle, and no-one punched each other.

Well, the snowpocalypse never really emerged did it? We measured about 3-4 inches in our garden, but being 35 weeks pregnant somewhat impedes ones aerodynamicness when it comes to sledging, so I’ve mostly been enjoying it from the comfort of our sofa. And, by enjoying it, I mean watching the cat freaking out and trying to eat all the snow.

As of this week, Baby R’s hearing is now fully formed, so we should probably do more talking to it and stuff. So far, this has largely involved Neil shouting ‘HELLO BABY’ at my tummy and me occasionally wibbling the belly with requests to ‘get the hell out of my lungs, baby’. All this counts as bonding, right?

I angered the pregnancy gods early on this week by telling my best friend that I’d been sleeping well, had more energy than I had done in ages and was generally feeling pretty good. Within 48 hours of muttering those words, I was back to getting up four or five times a night to wee, tossing and turning constantly and had developed a very bruised feeling in my solar plexus around where my diaphragm used to keep my lungs in place. This space now appears to be filled with pointy baby joints and, (I’m assuming by the gurgling sounds that keep coming from it) some vital organs including my stomach. Last night was the worst of the lot. Sore bones, sore and itchy skin, restless brain and phantom 3am hunger/acid reflux all made an appearance. This led to me admitting defeat around 2:30am and heading to the sofa in search of a change of scenery. At 4:30am, I admitted defeat there too and headed back off to bed, where I finally dropped off, only to be woken two hours later by my BLOODY alarm.

I’d often wondered why so many people I knew went on maternity leave around 35/36 weeks. This might be the pregnancy grumps talking because I didn’t sleep well last night, but all of a sudden, it feels like something has changed. Braxton Hicks went from being novel and a teensy bit cool to happening every time I picked up a basket of laundry and very annoying. Getting out of bed has gone from something mildly resembling a weeble to something that takes 20 minutes and a lot of mental willpower to work up to. I’m ready to spend a few days in my pyjamas, taking regular naps and doing little jobs off my to do list in between.

…of course, that isn’t going to happen. I have two weeks left at work, and am Matron of Honour at my best friends Hen Do in York this weekend. Ah well.

So, bump shots for the week:

35 weeks bump

Exhibit A: Evidence of my rapidly disappearing jawline

35 weeks

Exhibit B: Evidence of my rapidly expanding waistline.

And then, because I stood the wrong way round for this photo, I had to flip it in photoshop to put it in the bump progression rogues gallery. It appears I had a bigger and lower bump 5 weeks ago, but I’m definitely more massive now than I was then, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

6 16 23 30 35 weeks

Also, in celebration of the fact that my Nana turned 91, here’s a bonus of me, my little brother, Momma Bear and Nana in the pub on her birthday.

Nana's birthday


34 weeks

I kicked off week 34 with a visit from our best friends Laura and Pete. We headed to Las Iguanas for food, where, rather embarrasingly, the table had to be moved so that I could squeeze in behind it. This situation was not helped by the three courses of delicious South American food that followed. Nom.

Las Iguanas Nottingham

On Saturday, I had a little birthday party! As I appear to be inching closer and closer towards my due date, I wanted to get people together for a little lunch followed by cake in case my anti-socialness went off the scale and I didn’t resurface until a few weeks after little-un is born. Fifteen of us hit my local pub for lunch, then an ungodly amount of cake was consumed back at my house. I also got some bloody lovely gifts, including peanut butter cookie/cheesecake slices from Kerry, and some special chocolate just for little old preggo me from Erin. 

Pregnancy Chocolate

When I’ve not been busy extending my birthday celebrations over the course of two weeks, I’ve noticed that I have become a complete clutz of late. I think the change in my centre of gravity, coupled with the basketball up my jumper and my profound lack of spatial awareness has meant that I get myself in situations where I’m stuck or my belly gets wedged in something far more often than I’d like to admit (teeny tiny toilet cubicles, I’m looking at you). This is not, of course helped by the snow, or the slush, or the ice that followed it, which subsequently put a halt on fun stuff like the WI Book Club at Malt Cross. Sad panda.

The snowy weather did make for some excellent sunsets though, and we all know how much I love a good sunset.

nottingham snowy sunset

I’ve also been doing some more excellent nesting. I’ve cajoled our landlords in to getting us a new back door, finally (don’t think this technically counts, but whevs). Net curtains have gone up in our room and the baby’s room (my mum might have had a lot to do with this), a blind has been purchased for the bathroom (next step, installing it), new fluffy towels have been purchased and washed (I managed this bit all by myself), loo roll and toiletries have been stockpiled and cupboards have been emptied.

In pregnancy related news, I also experienced Braxton Hicks contractions that were actually painful (rather than just involving a rock hard stomach which is fun to prod) for the first tiem. Basically, I overdid it with the nesting. A weekend trip around Dunelm Mill, Mamas & Papas and Ikea, followed by tidying the house, unloading the dishwasher and putting away every item clothing I own now consists of ‘overdoing it’. It was actually quite interesting to feel the pain as a bit of a reference point for the beginning stages of labour (YES I KNOW LABOUR CONTRACTIONS ARE DIFFERENT), just to know a little bit about what to expect. However, unlike labour, with a pint of water and a lie down, these contractions went away. Hurrah.

Snow in Nottingham January 2013

This week, I also gained a new-found respect for the marvel that is central heating, especially as we were treated to several inches of the white stuff. Our boiler died an undignified death and we were left quite literally in the cold. I did what every sensible pregnant woman would do. I went to bed at 6o’clock with my kindle and the electric blanket on full blast. Two pairs of leggings, three pairs of socks, four jumpers and 24 hours later, the nice British Gas engineer replaced a ‘hamster wheel’ (his words, not mine) and the heating and hot water is back up and running. Related: I also learned that our central heating system is run by hamsters. Clever little buggers.

Also: to the 5 people who found my blog using the search terms ‘blog cake nachos pregnant’, I hope you found everything you were looking for and more.

A few rambling thoughts on underwear

On Boobs

I used to like bras. They made your boobs look rounder, higher, and generally better than they look without them. That was, until I got pregnant and my skin got all over sensitive. All of a sudden, my bras felt like they were made out of sandpaper and the first thing I did when I got in the house was to take it off.

Then I found this bad boy, the Bravado Silk Seamless Nursing Bra. This bra doesn’t make your boobs look round, or high, or good in any way shape or form. It doesn’t even come in bra sizes, it just does small, medium and large. Sometimes, I don’t even undo the bra clasps at the back and put it on over my head instead. It is soft and stretchy and BLOODY COMFORTABLE. Oh, and it has clasps so you can whop out a boob to breastfeed when the baby is here. I’m sure it’ll be good for that and stuff as well.
Bravado Silk Seamless Maternity Bra

*Update 22/02/13* I’ve got a new favourite. It’s the same as the bra above, but for us, ahem, larger ladies. It’s way more supportive, and I have found myself on several occasions wearing it out in public without the fear that the ladies are going to make a bid for freedom if I bend over too far. Plus, it’s £22. Here are the details

Sophie Nursing Bra by Panache

Around 34 weeks, I went to Bravissimo get fitted for a nursing bra, and was told that I needed to come back around 38 weeks to be fitted properly. I told them that at 38 weeks, there was very little chance I was going to be traipsing around town buying bras, as I had a 3 week long date with the sofa and the Tivo box, and asked if I could just take my chances now. The woman who fitted me was a) bloody lovely, b) pregnant herself with her third child in 5 years and c) a massive breastfeeding advocate, which was pretty ideal as I got to get a lot of my stupid nursing bra/breastfeeding questions out of the way.

Also, despite none of my old bras fitting me around the ribs any more, she measured me at a 32GG from a 34G. Not quite sure how that works, but the 34Gs didn’t fit, and the 32GGs did, so can’t argue with FACTZ.

I tried a few different styles on, some which made my boobs all pointy, others that made them resemble udders, and finally settled on this one:

Sophie Nursing Bra by Panache

She recommended not wearing this yet and trying it on after my milk comes in. If I need a bigger size, I can always send Neil in to town to swap it for a bigger one, lucky chap.

[as a side note, how come these women are always having a quick chuckle at their boob when they model these bras?]

The lovely Bravissimo lady who fitted me also highly recommended the Mothercare Blooming Marvellous cross-over sleep bra for, well, sleeping, and those days you don’t really get out of your PJs.

Once I have more of an idea of how big the bazongas are going to get, I’m also eyeing up the Elomi Beatrice Soft Cup Nursing Bra and the Elomi Smoothing Underwired Nursing Bra.

On Bums

When I first got in the family way and was in the phase of endlessly searching online for nuggets of wisdom and products I couldn’t live without, I was a bit perplexed by the existance of maternity pants. I could understand pre-pregnancy saucy knickers and post-baby grannypants, but surely the bit in the middle didn’t warrant a whole genre of knickers?

I was right. It’s a complete false-need to make you buy more pants. OK, so some of my pants stopped fitting right, but that was more to do with my ever expanding arse than a need for a specific kind of pregnancy-undergarment. All I needed was pants that were low in the rise, generous in the arse and (as I have a new-found sensitivity to anything rough touching the skin over my hips) made of a nice soft material.

Introducing…John Lewis 5 Pack Shorts. OK, so they might not have a very catchy name, and are definitely not going to be seen gracing the bumcheeks of a Page 3 model any time soon, but at £2 a pair, they rival Pradamark in the price stakes, are much higher quality, and won’t magically stop fitting when I find myself with child instead of with bump.

John Lewis 5 Pack Cotton Shorts

On PJs

One thing that didn’t feature on my radar at all at the beginning, but definitely does now is how inadequate my pre-pregnancy PJ collection was once my bump got past about 25 weeks. The support vests I favoured from Bravissimo ended up bunched under my boobs leaving my belly exposed, both lounging on the sofa and between wee-breaks when I actually slept at night.

So, given the amount of time spent on the sofa in recent months, I did find myself investing in a couple of cheap PJ tops to keep my midriff covered. I got a non-maternity LOGG top in XL from H&M with poppers to the waist which does the job nicely, as well as a button down grandad shirt from H&M Mama which isn’t online any more and one like this from New Look. One was specifically maternity wear, none were pyjama tops, all of them can be worn post-birth and all definitely cost me less than a tenner.

I also treated myself to some PJ bottoms in the January sale with some money from my Nana. At nearly 6ft tall, all women’s PJs are NEVER long enough in the leg, never warm enough and are usually made out of thin, scratchy material. Blokes PJ bottoms, and especially those from Fat Face are definitely wear it’s at. I bought these in red check for £20 in the sale. The elasticated waistband can be rolled down under the bump so they still stay up, and despite buying an XL, they fit like a dream (oh God). As soon as I can get my bloody husband to take them off for longer than 5 minutes, I might actually be able to wear them.

P.S. my altogether favourite pair of PJ bottoms are yoga pants from Asquith London. I bought them about 5 years ago and have lived in them ever since. They are made from the softest bamboo fabric known to man, wash like a dream and more importantly, don’t get stolen by Neil.

33 weeks

This week, I turned the grand old age of 27. When I was a kid, 27 was the age that I thought you became properly grown up. Twenty-seven year olds had savings, and made grown up purchases, and were all domesticated and stuff.

Fast forward to actually being 27, and I feel a bit different. I had to get my mum to help us hang some curtains, as we did such a comically bad job on the first attempt. My bedroom is still a mess. I can count the times I’ve ironed an outfit before wearing it in the last year on one hand – a grown up I am not.

But then again, I’m married, own a cat and a skillet pan, I’m 8 and a half months pregnant and I seriously considered buying new towels with my birthday vouchers, so maybe I’m half way there.

To celebrate my birthday, and my new maternity dress from H&M, here’s a bump shot at 33 weeks.

33 weeks pregnant bump

On my birthday, my Mum cooked homemade pizzas and I literally ate until my knee length boots didn’t fit any more. Either that, or I experienced leg swelling for the first time. Either way, calves the same width as your thighs and having boots that have an inch space around the calf at mid afternoon, and having the same boots not do up by 9pm is SO NOT COOL.

Like the Queen, I also had a fake birthday two days later. I booked a day off work and Neil surprised me with a pre-natal massage. We had a double room at the spa, and my bed was covered in these heated water pads which felt lovely on my sore bones. Everything was going swimmingly until I realised the ringing in my ears was not part of the relaxing soundtrack, and I desperately needed to get off the hot bed and on to the cold floor before I was sick on myself or passed out. I sat my ass on the floor in a very unglamorous manner (which wasn’t helped by the fact that A) I was only wearing my knickers and a blanket and B) I was covered in massage oil which may or may not have left an imprint of my knicker-clad bum on the cold hard floor).

After a few minutes, I felt OK enough to give it another go with the heat pads turned off, but the same thing happened again, so we cut the massage short and admitted defeat. I’m going to put it down to sod’s law, low blood sugar due to a breakfast of hastily consumed banana, and lying on my back for any length of time. But mostly sod’s law.

So, what does a pregnant girl do when she’s feeling flaky and is too weak to lie down in a dark room and have a massage?

She goes for pancakes.

We’ve been meaning to go to Warsaw Diner for ages, and the need for a substantial breakfast seemed like the ideal excuse. It was also bloody lovely to spend some time with Neil without a to do list in hand or one of us having to work. Look at that face. Isn’t he lovely?

Warsaw Diner, Nottingham

After ‘breakfast’, we mooched around town, stopped every 5 minutes for another wee, spent birthday vouchers and generally walked v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. Before we knew it, it was time for Afternoon Tea at Larder on Goosegate to top up our calorie intake for the day.

Larder at Goosegate, Nottingham - Afternoon Tea

Neil got in to the swing of afternoon tea. I looked like a bufoon as usual.

Afternoon Tea, Larder at Goosegate, NottinghamI can confirm that afternoon tea was every bit as yummy as it looked

Also this week, we went to an ‘Active Vision, Active Birth’ class at the hospital. It was refreshing to hear the midwives talk about normal birth and active birth in such passionate ways, as I think in my head, you were given an epidural and episiotomy as you walked through the doors of the labour ward whether you wanted one or not. It certainly did a lot to calm my nerves about being in hospital, although I am still suitably terrified of ending up on a ward with 7 other women and babies, especially with my ability to tolerate people being knobheads being at an all time low.

If you’re not all up on your active birth knowledge, basically, a lot of maternity units seem to have recently stocked up on snazzy birthing stools, hammocks, birthing balls and beanbags for you to use to help nature take its course. Sounds very sensible to me, but can’t help but wonder whether some accountant has worked out that the cost of a normal, active birth is significantly lower than a birth full of interventions and can therefore save the NHS a few quid. Still, works for me.

I’ve also found my nesting urge. However, it comes more in the form of micro-managing Neil and roping my mum in to doing stuff around the house that I’ve been meaning to do for months. Although I didn’t do any of the heavy lifting, or curtain hanging, I did an impressive amount of baby laundry and folding. The cupboards are full, the nappies are organised in to size order and the bedding is on the crib. I’ve even started my hospital bag, if putting a 5 pack of massive granny pants, a Dairy Milk, a top with boob-holes for breastfeeding and a botttle of moisturiser in a bag counts. I won’t need much else, right?

Maternity/Nursing Clothes

Way back, just as my bump started to show and I needed all the help I could get to look pregnant rather than porky, I went on a bit of an ebay shopping spree. I got some great bargains that I’ve lived in, and saved myself a small fortune on buying them brand new.

But I made a couple of purchases based on what I thought pregnant women should wear, with very little regard to my shape, and the clothes I already had in the wardrobe, which is a massive pity because they’re bloody lovely, just not on me. And, fast forwarding 4 months, if I’ve not worn them yet, I’m probably not going to. So. Back on ebay they’ve gone. 

Here’s what I’m selling: