Weeks 31 – 35

Right, what have I got to moan about this month?

London weekend
Well to start with, I tootled off down to the big smoke on the glamorous national express to stay with Stef and meet up with my friend Holly. We ate tapas, looked at dead things in jars (so much better than it sounds), Sky Gardened and ate steak.

At the Sky Garden

At the Sky Garden

Oxford weekend
A couple of weeks later, I had ANOTHER girly weekend, this time in Oxford with more steak (its for the anemia, yo), afternoon tea and dominoes. The non-pregnant amongst us (so everyone apart from me) also had a shit tonne of prosecco and a hot tub. Honestly, preggos miss out on all the fun.

Oxford

Oxford

On the Sunday, we went for a mooch around the grounds of Blenheim Palace, which was gorgeous. On the 5 minute drive back, I passed out twice and ended up having an ambulance called for me. I thankfully managed to avoid the public pooping this time, so be grateful for small mercies. My blood pressure was low but my blood sugars were fine, so its been put down to heat and dehydration. I think (with my extensive years of medical training) that diet played a part, as this weekend was more cookies and junk food than bran flakes and complex carbs. But I feel fine now, and I’m taking it easy, OK?

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

For the record, I did this last pregnancy as well, but that involved me being naked except a pair of knickers and some massage oil, leaving an imprint of my bum on the floor. 

Tits!

Around this time last pregnancy, I posted a blog about all the nursing bra research I’d done and which ones I bought.

Nursing bras, the PJs I bought to fit me in later pregnancy and the big boy-short pants I bought to wear after giving birth are the three items of my maternity wardrobe that never *quite* made it in to storage and stayed in my general clothes rotation. OK, so they might make your tits look like shit but hot damn, those things are so comfy I’ll forgive them. This does however mean that 2.5 years down the line, I have a lot of nursing bras which my boobs looked crap in when they were brand new, which have been washed and tumble dried and worn a million times, to the extent that there are patches where the lycra has given up the ghost and gone completely see-through. Not in a sexy way.

32 weeks

32 weeks

So, it was time to look for some alternatives.

It basically turns out that all the brands and types of bras I used to like have been discontinued, so I dropped a couple of hundred quid on figleaves and bought all the nursing bras I could get my hands on. Either DD+ nursing bras have come a long way in the last 2.5 years, or I made some terrible choices last time around, but I was pretty bloody impressed with my haul. Special shoutout to Cake’s underwired bras in particular for being pretty, supportive and not making ones tits look like a sack of spuds.

 

The “nursery” 

Seeing as we’re still calling “the nursery” the “junk room”, we’ve got a long way to go before it’s going to be on anyone’s pinterest inspiration board. This month, Neil did do a heroic 4 hour flatpack session to make the 8 drawer Hemnes unit so at least we have somewhere to put all the baby shit when we get it out of the loft.

Not that we’ve actually got to that bit, like.

34 weeks

34 weeks

 

Home Birth Meeting 

This pregnancy, my pre-natal care has been shared between community midwives and an obstetric consultant, what with the previous massive baby and all. This has culminated in the grand total of two 30 minute consultations (and a 3 hour wait each time) with a registrar in the consultant’s team who hummed and hawed about me having a home birth until I told them I had the express blessing of both the consultant AND the supervisor of midwives so HA.

Firstborn being all gorgeous

Firstborn being all gorgeous

Side note: I’m not being a crunchy militant home-birther for the sake of it, I love the NHS with all my heart and I know the suggestions I received from the registrars were done so with (what they perceived to be) my best interests at heart. What I do take offence to is consistently not being listened to, being given shoddy “facts” that don’t stand up to AIMS, NICE and NHS guidelines and being scare-mongered in to something for which there is no statistical evidence that the outcomes will be better for me or the baby. For the record: “…home birth is equally as safe as a midwife-led unit and traditional labour ward for the babies of low risk pregnant women who have already had at least 1 child previously”.

I’m also well aware that there are a million and one reasons that might mean we have to transfer in to the hospital, and if that happens, I won’t have failed, or done a bad job. Basically, if there’s a chance I could have this baby in my front room and then get in my own bed with a cup of tea and a packet of biscuits, then that sounds pretty ideal to me.

Important Baby Related Purchases this month

Important Baby Related Purchases this month

Anyway, that all got a bit serious for a minute, but what I was actually trying to say is that my community midwife and the supervisor of midwives popped round to meet with me and Neil and discuss our plans. They were on board with everything we said and were refreshingly straightforward about the whole thing. My community midwife has also typed up the notes from our meeting for the benefit of the midwives who attend when I’m in labour and has generally been a bloody star. SHOUT OUT TO JEAN FOR BEING AWESOME.

My maternity cover started at work

This month, an amazing lass called Kerry started with us at Fat Free Media to take over from me when I leave. Last time I went on maternity leave, my employer took so long to organise my maternity cover, that it never bloody happened, so this is a bit of unchartered territory for me. I’m used to being the person who knows everything, who has their fingers on all the pulses, all of the time, so it wa’ a bit bloody weird to hand over the reins to someone else. At first, we seemed to awkwardly be working on the same thing at the same time. Then we’ve transitioned to her doing some things and me doing the others, and we’re now working towards her doing pretty much all of it, and me solving problems/being there for back up if and when she needs it. Soon, I will be entirely surplus to requirements, which is probably a good thing, especially as, at one point, I had very real concerns about being back at work with a week old baby in a moses basket under the desk.

Battle of the bellies with Neil's best friend's wife

Battle of the bellies with Neil’s best friend’s wife

What this process has taught me, is that I bloody love my job. So that’s good, isn’t it?

Hospital bags

The little pregnancy app on my phone I like to largely ignore and occasionally roll my eyes at keeps reminding me that I should have packed a hospital bag by now, and to make sure I remember to pack warm socks and fluffy slippers because people’s feet get cold when they’re in labour. HAHA FUCK OFF, I wouldn’t have even known I had feet when I was in labour.

So far, have only packed biscuits and sanitary towels. On two occasions, I’ve taken the designated hospital biscuits out of the bag due to an unforseen emergency* (*hungry) and had to repack them a couple of days later.

That’s pretty much all my bases covered, right?

Disclaimer: I will at some point actually pack my hospital bags, I just probably won’t be so organised and smug about it as I was last time. Don’t believe me? See “On Hospital Bags” and the slightly less naive “On Hospital Bags…reloaded” if you want a quick lol.

Next month: Who knows what new and exciting things I’ll find to moan about next month. Probably the fact I’m finishing work, I’m too sweaty, I can’t sleep and that crocheted blanket I thought I would leave until I was spending more time sat on the sofa when heavily pregnant is really fucking hot and definitely not a good idea to have on your lap when it’s 34′ outside.

Progress

Progress

Weeks 22 – 26

I am now an impressive 3 months late with this post. I’m not sure entirely what I’ve been faffing about at, especially as it’s been written in it’s entirety and sat in my drafts since I was 26 weeks. I’m very lazy. Soz.

Moving House

At 22 weeks 6 days pregnant, we moved house. Massive shout out to the 4 men, 3 trucks, 2 parents and 1 tireless husband who helped us get out of the old house, and in and settled in to the new house in one day. I say “settled”, I mean “there’s space for me to walk from the front door to the sofa”. The rest of the boxes can wait.

Since then, Neil and I have been a dream team whereby I shop for new stuff for the house online, then when it arrives, Neil gets tasked within an inch of his life to do the DIY. I did hang two sets of curtains on my own though, so that’s pretty good.

How many living things can you fit within half a meter squared?

How many living things can you fit within half a meter squared?

I wish I was the type of instagrammer who could take smug little pics of corners of the new house and make them look all stylish and stuff, but I’m not, so consider yourself spared some excruciatingly dull pics of our new sofa cushions. Basically, you’ll just have to imagine them. They’ve got triangles on, it’s pretty exciting.

Positive Birth Group

This month, I did a couple of things that were actually to do with babies, and not to do with working, or moving house or watching True Detective (although I did a lot of those things too). When everyone else was looking up at the solar eclipse through welding masks, I tootled off to a Home Birth/Positive Birth group in Nottingham.

I didn’t really go with any expectations, or any agenda, but it was bloody lovely and I’d definitely go again. Two women bought their babies who were less than a month old, and told their birth stories (one 2nd baby home birth at 14 days overdue, one first time mum hospital birth, two happy mums), and within 4 days of the meeting, two other women who were very pregnant when I met them, shared their birth stories with the facebook group (one VBAC homebirth for baby 3, one with Gestational Diabetes, a homebirth that transferred in, two happy mums). I found the whole thing, of meeting real people and hearing real stories that were all different, but all great experiences really cool and very empowering.

Pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to carries some kind of trauma from their birth experience, and it’s such a pity that it’s that bit we tend to focus on, and not the good bits. I’ve done some good thinking about Billy’s birth, I know I was incredibly lucky to have a relatively uncomplicated birth and a healthy baby, but there’s definitely some things I’d do differently this time around. The biggest thing by far would be to have confidence in my self, and my body’s ability to do its own thing – rather than where, when, or how overdue I am when it happens and what song is playing on my birthing playlist, lolz. Can you remind me of this when I get to 41 weeks and am jogging round the block whilst eating pineapple in an attempt to kick start labour? Ta.

Good face, kiddo

Good face, kiddo

When Billy was born, we got about an inch of water in the birth pool at home before the midwife decided we had to go to our local hospital for a scan to rule out what they thought might be Vasa Previa. In the process, my waters were broken and it all kicked off so fast there was no time to get home and fill the pool. So the home birth was out of the window, which I didn’t mind. The bit I did mind was being stuck on a maternity ward with low tolerance levels for everything, an inability to use my own legs and having to wait all day for a prescription to be filled. So this time, we’re planning for another home birth. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, but if I get the opportunity to have a baby, then curl up in my own bed with my own duvet, and my lovely husband, then I can’t really think of anything better than that.

Pregnancy Yoga

This month, I also started attending pregnancy yoga. I say “started” because a week after I started, I missed a class, and the week after, classes weren’t on because of Easter, so to date, I’ve done ONE yoga class. That means I’m a bona fide yogi now, right?

So off I trot to yoga with a mat under one arm and a pillow under another. When I was pregnant with Billy, the pilates and yoga classes both required you to bring a pillow, so I was pretty smug about remembering to take one this time round. Got there, was the ONLY dickhead with a pillow. Everyone else had bottles of water and blankets. Looked like a complete n00b.

Two paintbrushes and "magic paint" (water). Hours of fun for two identically dressed toddlers.

Two paintbrushes and “magic paint” (water). Hours of fun for two identically dressed toddlers.

Not only that, but there were BLOKES there. In fact, I walked in to the room, and walked straight out again because surely the whole being pregnant thing hadn’t changed THAT much in the last 2 years had it? Answer: yes. Of a group of 12 women, three had their partners with them. I felt a bit bad that Neil was at home wrangling a small boy into his batman PJs rather than with me doing what was clearly going to be some smug bonding yoga type stuff, but as the lesson went on, I was more and more glad Neil wasn’t there. There was no smug couple bonding stuff. There was three men who spent a lot of time with their hands on their stomachs connecting with their “babies” whilst a yoga teacher talked about pelvic floor muscles and how remarkable vaginas really are. Might take Neil with me next time, just for the lolz.

Weddings
I used to think kids running around at weddings were adorable. When we got married, we invited kids as standard and was pretty shocked when everyone except family declined the offer to bring kids with them. Now? I totally get it. Weddings with toddlers involve a lot of running around and trying in vain to keep your kid out of the soil/wedding cake/dj booth (delete as appropriate).

Weddings WITHOUT kids on the other hand are excellent, and we went to two lovely weddings this month.

Pics or it didn’t happen:

Kerry and Matt's wedding

Kerry and Matt’s wedding

Laura and Tom's wedding

Laura and Tom’s wedding

Bump pics

Last time round, I took fornightly photos of my stomach, convinced that marginal changes in shape really proved I had “popped”. This time, my flab is staying under wraps, ta. At 23 weeks, right on cue as I did last time, a tiny bump appeared out of nowhere, and pretty much doubled in size on a weekly basis from that point.

23 weeks (and convinced I was massive, which on reflection, I definitely wasnt)

23 weeks (and convinced I was massive, which on reflection, I definitely wasnt)

And just to prove I’m not lying when it comes to my belly doubling in size week on week, here’s me 3 weeks later in a different, but very similar stripey top (seriously, what is it with maternity clothes manufacturers and stripes? So slimming):

26 weeks

26 weeks

Rainbow Blanket: Important updates
To round of this update, I have some very exciting news: crocheted blanket in “a bit longer than it was last month” shocker. I know. Truly mind bending stuff.

I AM pretty chuffed with myself that when I started this project (which has an alternative title of “the only thing I’m going to crochet, ever”) I eyeballed the length based on my memory of Billy’s star blanket that I was looking to replicate. Three months down the line, I get out the star blanket, and bugger me if I didn’t get the length EXACTLY right. It’s like my secret superpower or something.

Rainbow blanket progress

Rainbow blanket progress

Next month: Turkey! Fainting!Gestational diabetes tests!

24 weeks: bump growth, midwife appointments, and reminiscing about Indonesia

Let’s kick this week’s roundup with a bump shot, then shall we?

For the love of all things bump-shaped. Where did that come from?

After Neil took this, I asked to flip through all the photos, because I assumed this was just one taken at an angle that made me look a bit spectacularly pregnant. Nope. Turns out I just AM that spectacularly pregnant.

And, because I spent 20 minutes faffing about with it in photoshop, here’s a 18 week / 24 week comparison. I am also hereby forgiving myself for the sleeps and the biscuits over the past 6 weeks, because I’ve clearly been doing some excellent belly growing:

This week, I’ve made up for all the bustling around I did last week, by doing a lot of sitting, a lot of Professional Masterchef watching and book reading and by getting lots of beauty sleep.

I also went to see my midwife for a checkup, who told me that (surprise surprise) my fundal measurement (they measure the size of your belly from top to bottom to guess the size of your uterus) is coming up big, and that she thinks I’m going to have a tall baby. With me and Neil both being around 6ft tall, this didn’t come as much of a surprise.

She also tested my wee, which she said was EXCELLENT. I hopped on the scales and was told I’ve put on 2.5 kilos since I got pregnant, which is apparently also VERY GOOD. My blood pressure is the same as it always has been, which was fine in the first place, so ANOTHER BIG TICK THERE, and she got the doppler out to have a quick listen to baby. It sounded all good to me, but she looked at me a bit strangely when I suggested it sounded like there was a small galloping horse in my tummy. Whatevs. IT TOTALLY DID.

I would hereby like to put in a petition to press pause on this pregnancy for a bit. I’m sleeping good, my clothes look better with a bump in that they ever did with no bump, I can still run for the bus if needs be, and my boobs look good. Can someone arrange this for me PLZ THX?

This week also marked 6 and a half years since me and Neil got together, and six months since we said I do. I’m not really one for getting sentimental over little anniversaries, but I’m a bit flabbergasted by how much has changed in the last 6 months.

So, in honour of the fact that I’ve done some excellent eating (to the extent that I’ve put myself on a twitter ban until I can find something OTHER than food to talk about) and sleeping this week, but not a lot else, I thought I’d have a look at what I was up to 6 short months ago in Singapore, Bali and Lombok instead. And yes, there is food porn pics. What else did you expect of me?

You know all those things you’re ‘meant’ to do when you go to Singapore? Raffles? River Cruises? Shopping? We did none of them.
When we arrived, we ditched our cases in our hotel room and left in search of food. We got as far as the end of the road when we realised we’d massively underestimated how much water we would need in the heat, and how far away the centre of Singapore suddenly felt. We did the only thing we could think of, which was to sit down and eat our bodyweight in unidentified Singapore cuisine.

Absolutely nothing about this photo portrays how hot and sticky Sinapore was. 42’C and 90% humidity came as a bit of a shock to the system after a standard 10’C May wedding.
Shortly after this photo was taken, we jumped in to an (air conditioned) taxi and went back to the hotel for a jet lagged nap which went down in the record books as one of my top 5 naps of all time.

I naively thought the heat might get a little easier to bear when the night came. I was grossly mistaken, ’twas still hot as hell. We went for dinner in Chinatown and took a walk down to the marina to see this cool hotel with a boat on top that people had told us so much about.
…No-one had factored in quite how jetlagged/sweaty/grumpy we would be at this point. I may/may not have uttered something about not giving a crap about a freaking boat hotel at the time, but looking back on the pictures, it was pretty bloody awesome.
There were some actual photos of us in Singapore, but to be honest, that amount of frizz doesn’t need to be seen by anyone.

By the time we arrived in Lombok, we were JUST about getting acclimatised to the heat. I had also realised what a grave mistake I had made bringing hair straighteners, make up, scarves and the odd cardigan with me in my suitcase. They all went out the window, and a uniform of hair scraped back in to a bun, no make-up, shorts and t-shirt quickly ensued.
This is the view that greeted us as we walked out of our room and on to the beach. Oh, and a two course dinner and all the Bintang you could drink never cost us more than £15 in total, a night. It was tough. Real tough.

After we took the last photo, we wandered round the bay, and I pointed out the weird mountain shaped cloud in the distance. It took us a while to work out that this was the same mountain in Bali that we’d arranged to trek up. At night. Suddenly, my ideas about a romantic stroll up a mountain in the dark, and of watching the sun rise together didn’t seem quite so appealing.

We went on a boat trip to do some rather amazing snorkling over some incredible reefs. I’ll spare you the photos of me in a snorkle and mask, because no-one has EVER pulled that off as a good look. Instead, here’s a picture of the tiny island they dropped us off at for lunch. A fisherman arrived and showed us the squid, barracuda and snapper he’d just caught and asked us which one we wanted for lunch. Neil proved he was the one for me by replying ‘all three’.
We sat and had a beer on the beach as we dried off.

This was our lunch, cooked on the beach. It was as awesome as it looks and we ate every last bit.

I thought it was only proper to include some pictures of something other than sunsets and food, so here’s a shot of some paddy fields in Bali. I was probably asleep in the back of the car when this was taken.

Ubud in Bali is probably my favourite place in the world. We did lots of beer drinkin’ and food eatin’ and poking around in markets and temples. We had, also, vaguely acclimatised to the heat by that point, but still not enough to look half way presentable in any of the photos. I had also, by this point, admitted defeat with my holiday wardrobe and bought some cheap cotton kaftan type things from the local market which looked ridiculous in all photos except this one.

We got lost for approximately 36 hours in Ubud Market. There is seriously nothing you can’t buy there, and there’s some great haggling to be done. Except if your name is Neil, in which case, there is lots of getting-ripped-off to be done. My new husband has lots of impressive skills. Bartering is definitely not one of them.

One of the benefits of the sun rising at 6am and setting at 6pm is that the prospect of running down to the beach to watch the sun come up over the sea isn’t too much of a daunting prospect. And, as Neil’s feet was bruised and swollen to the point he couldn’t get his walking boots on (from a spectacular bail off a surfboard), this was probably the closest we were going to get to trekking in the dark to watch the sunset from the top of a mountain.