Baby listmania

So I said I’d do a post for those who are interested on what we actually needed / have used for the baby (B) versus what I thought we would need. This has been sitting in my draft posts for ages so I’m going to post it! 

(I have about a million thoughts and feelings swirling around in my head that I need to blog about, but somehow don’t seem to be able to formulate much right now. Suffice to say we are really enjoying parenthood. It’s better than I’d hoped for. I really hope all my friends still in the trenches get to experience this. I’ll try and do a post on that stuff soon, if I ever get comprehensible.)

So, recommendations for Stuff. I know all babies are different yadda yadda and we are definitely not experts or the first people in the world to have a baby! So feel free to ignore!

In fact both T and I were amazed we didn’t really need a lot of stuff in the first place, although you do need to go out to the shops fairly early on. This was quite easy for us as we have shops onsite on our estate plus other larger shops just outside in the town, so it wasn’t difficult and was a good excuse to get out of the house in week 1. 

Anyway, I’ve broken it down into a few categories and we’ll see how it goes…

Hospital bag and antenatal stuff 

I really think we ended up bringing a lot of unnecessary stuff! But I had gone off lists from NCT (antenatal class) as we had no idea. I think they’re slightly into overstating it as we traveled fairly light and it was fine. 

What you need:

  • Hospital notes. (I kept forgetting these – best to leave them in your bag!) In the UK they ask you for these at every appointment and tire meant to carry them around with you so may as well stick them in your bag. 
  • Something to sleep in x2. You will probably labour in something else and you don’t want to sleep in that later. I took vest / shorts as that’s what I sleep in. I just got a couple of cheap sets in a larger size than pre pregnancy size. 
  • Something to labour in. I brought a swimsuit / tankini but didn’t end up using the birthing pool due to the birth not going according to plan. I just wore the t shirt I was wearing to the hospital and pants. I thought I would care what I was wearing but I really didn’t!
  • Pants! (Not trousers – knickers / panties) Ideally big enough to fit hospital pads in, which are huge. They give you disposable ones in hospital. I had also bought some disposable ones but they were awful – too big – so I preferred wearing my own normal pants, which are bikini style so can just about take a big pad. I later bought some “granny pants” (big knickers!) to wear during recovery… well, more (seamfree) boy shorts than anything else. I’m still wearing them five weeks on! They do help with healing after a c section as my normal bikini pants aggravated the scar. 
  • Maternity pads. They did provide some in hospital but the ones I brought myself were better – they had sticky on and the hospital ones didn’t, and were a better shape. NB In Boots (UK) they have two types. You need the big thick ones initially but then you can use the smaller thinner ones by week 2. TBH I have not been able to work out much difference between maternity pads and normal pads, except you want long ones. So Always Night are also fine. And eventually, pantyliners are fine (end of week 2 / beginning week 3 for me).  
  • Slippers. I brought some fold up ones shaped like mice that my best friend got me for Christmas!
  • Dressing gown. I brought a light maternity one which I got in the Mothercare sale for £7. Hospital was sooo hot so it was good I didn’t bring a heavy one but nice to wear rather than the open back hospital robes!
  • Nursing top and bra. Came in handy for when we had visitors. 
  • Something easy to slip on to sit around once you are up and to travel home in. I really didn’t want tight fitted stuff as I had a caesarean. I wore tracksuit trousers or maternity jeans, t shirt, coat / sweater, slip on shoes (I live in TOMS). 
  • Basic toiletries like toothbrush/toothpaste, hairbrush. 
  • Contact lenses if you wear them!
  • Bottles of water and bendy straws. This was a tip from the midwife and we drank the entire 12 pack. Straws definitely came in handy when I couldn’t easily sit up / was nursing. 
  • Camera. You’ll want to take pictures. Also camera phone but now is the time to take the proper pics. 
  • Chargers. All of the chargers for phone, etc. 
  • iPhone. I have become dependent on it. iPad is too big / heavy when dealing with baby!
  • Baby bag (see below). 
  • Car seat. Make sure you know how to fit it in the car and also how to put baby in! We almost didn’t and had a mini argument in hospital about how to do it!
  • Blanket. For baby in car seat and you can also use it in hospital if you’re staying in. I now leave that blanket in the car. I also have a collection of blankets like one on the sofa, one in the cot, one in the baby bag, pram, etc. 
  • Optional: Contraction counter app. I had this on my iPhone and used it linked to my Apple Watch to time contractions. It did help with this setup as it got to the point where I couldn’t really speak. 

What you don’t need that I took:

  • Breast pads. You don’t need them until your milk comes in which is Day 3ish and I didn’t stay in that long. But I guess you’d need them if you did. When you do need them – Lansinoh are far and away superior. The own brand ones didn’t stick properly and bunch up. 
  • Vast quantities of toiletries. I didn’t end up using them. Thought I would but waited until I got home for a shower as I didn’t want to leave B alone. Maybe a bit crazy as they had showers but it was fine for me to wait. 
  • Makeup – ha! Totally expected to want to wear it but don’t think I even thought about it until week 2. I felt fine. Must’ve been new mother glow! Confession: Didn’t brush my hair until day 2. Was needed after labour!
  • Snacks. They said we’d want them but I really didn’t bother with much.They have food at hospital and I was just too busy. It maybe depends how long you stay in but B was delivered late Sunday night and we just stayed in Monday then left on Tuesday so didn’t eat much. I had a bag of crisps plus the hospital food! I had some Haribo sweets the next day. 
  • Lots of clothes. Didn’t end up wearing them. Kind of slummed it in hospital and then just wore something light to go home in. 
  • Biscuits / chocolates for nurses / midwives. It’s a nice thought but because of what happened we didn’t really have continuity of care. So didn’t know who to give them to. I think we will send a thank you card when I get round to it. 
  • Champagne was suggested but wasn’t really in the mood as there was no fridge and who wants warm champagne?!
  • Mood lighting. They suggest battery tea lights and fairy lights for a natural birth but I had an emergency caesarean so it didn’t work out that way. T did get them out during my labour and I barely noticed them. Same goes for the music which I didn’t use despite having hypnobirthing tracks downloaded. I just never really got to that stage of having my own room to set up for birth, so it wasn’t really necessary. I also had photo books that T had made me as they suggest having something nice to focus on during birth, which was a lovely thought but never happened. The books are nice though!

Baby bag 

We took a separate bag for B which we’ve carried on using as his baby bag. We think we have it down to a fine art now and have streamlined it. It’s a rucksack which is for babies but is quite neutral just with lots of pockets and space. 

  • Baby clothes. We took quite a few for B for hospital and only just had enough. You need (in the UK, winter): 3 short sleeved bodysuit vests, 3 long sleeved bodysuits, 2-3 sleepsuits, hat, scratch mittens, jacket/cardigan, socks. Usually in his nappy bag I have one change of clothes for the day. 
  • Nappies. He wasn’t small so didn’t need mini, and he uses size 1 Pampers. We just brought a whole pack to the hospital. Usually in the bag I keep at least 4. (Update: This has sat in drafts so long he’s now in size 2!)
  • Wipes. We use Water Wipes as he seemed to get an irritated bum from anything else. I just take a whole pack. 
  • Nappy cream. We use Bepanthen and seems to work fine. I got travel size to go in the bag. 
  • Changing mat. Turns out he hates having his nappy changed and especially hates being on a changing mat. I guess it’s cold on his back. At home we use a towel which can be washed. Out and about we have a small fold up mat (Polar from Amazon, under £10) and also you can get disposable changing pads from Pampers which can be used a few times depending on if they get dirty. They are nice and soft. From hospital they give you bed pads so they also work as nappy changing pads, so take any spares! Also it turns out you can use puppy training pads as disposable changing mats! We have hundreds!
  • Dummies. Spare ones clipped into inside pocket. 
  • Muslins. They do come in handy although you can get away without them. They are cloths you use to wipe up baby milk / sick / drool. I tend to tuck one in the sling and a couple in the bag. 
  • Red book. In the U.K. all babies get a red book which is their medical records. We keep it in the nappy bag. 
  • For shorter trips I use the Skip Hop changing mat pack which is a mat and smaller case which holds a few wet wipes and nappies. It’s good if you don’t want to take the whole big bag out with you. 

Stuff for baby at home

What we needed in the beginning:

  • Sling. I have used this so much. The one we have is the Soohu sling from WeMadeMe. It was tricky to set up but now it is, it’s easy to plonk him in for toting about the place and you can even use it as a discreet breastfeeding cover. So works for me. I might even consider wraps later down the line now I’m feeling more adventurous!
  • Cot. We have the Snuzpod side sleeper cot which is joined on to our bed. Would I buy it again? Well my in laws bought it for us. It’s quite expensive but it’s a nice style. He is not keen on sleeping in it yet – he wants to sleep on a person! But hopefully he will get used to it. It suits him until six months and then we will have to figure something else out. TBH I can see us cosleeping (which is soooo bad) although may try to get him into a pack n play. He’ll be in our room for a while as we don’t have a spare room (it’s currently a walk in closet). Update: He now sleeps in his cot for longer during the night and we use it in conjunction with the Cosydream sleep nest. 
  • Newborn baby clothes. We totally didn’t appreciate that newborn size is different from 0-3 months. There’s even an in between size called Up to one month. So we ended up needing a load of newborn clothes which now at three weeks he’s kind of grown out of. For what it’s worth, I totally didn’t know what babies need clothing wise. In the UK, babies tend to wear shorty vests underneath (short sleeves and short legs). At night they wear a sleepsuit over that (long arms long legs, all enclosed). During the day they wear a long sleeved babygro (long arms short legs) over the vest, plus some trousers and socks or shoes. I guess girls maybe wear something different. Anyway I totally thought the vests were actual outfits but they’re not! And you need a few changes in case they get dirty, which happens! He moved to Up to one month size at about three weeks and I think he will move to 0-3 months in a couple of weeks. For me the best baby clothes for boys (as there seems generally less selection) are from M&S and baby Boden. 
  • Nappies and changing bag. See separate section!
  • Blankets. We used a baby blanket in the car seat that I just leave in the car. And tend to wrap him in soft blankets if we are on the sofa with him. Not baby blankets. But in bed we moved away from blankets to the sleeping bag and then the swaddle bag. It seems an easier way to get him to sleep. Blankets are handy when out and about too. I have a cute small one from Tobias and the Bear that I take with me in his baby bag and he can lie on when we are out and about. I’m also eyeing up one from Mori. 
  • Muslins. They say you can’t have too many. I got some half price in the sale and pop them all over the place. 
  • Nappies. They’re always on offer in various shops, up to half price. So it’s worth buying them in bulk!
  • Nappy disposal bin. I’ve had debates with friends over this. I think it depends if you live in a house or a flat. We live in a top floor apartment and so we don’t take rubbish out all the time. It definitely helps to have somewhere to leave stinky nappies which contains the smell! We have the Tommee Tippee Sangenic bin and it seems to be working fine. 
  • Room thermometer. We have the gro egg which is a glowing egg. It means you know how much clothing he should wear to sleep in. As a rule of thumb, it’s one layer more than you. 

What we didn’t need in the beginning: 

  • Pushchair / stroller. It’s week 3 and we still don’t need it. Although I guess I’ll start using it at some point soon. We got the Stokke Scoot. (Edited to add: We have started using this at 5 weeks. It’s great, but we definitely didn’t need it earlier and it’s still easy to use the sling on public transport. It’s nicer for strolls as B is getting heavy now!)
  • Dummies / pacifiers. I started using these around week three. They say not to until later in case it interferes with breastfeeding but I can’t see that happening as he loves to feed. I also got the clips that mean if it drops out of his mouth then it doesn’t fall on the floor. I have one clipped on the sling, one in the changing bag, one in his cot, etc. The only ones he will currently take are Tommee Tippee. (Update: Philips Avent are the currrnt winners.)
  • Older clothes. Like I said, 0-3 months is too big for a newborn. He’s three weeks now and has put on almost a kilo since birth but still isn’t in those yet. He’s sort of grown out of newborn but now in Up to 1 month clothes which are slightly bigger. Also, we got loads of hats as presents and they’re still way too big. One month on, my favourite clothes for boys are from (UK shops) Mini Boden, JoJo Maman Bébé, the Little White Company, Mark’s & Spencer. Also I got some cute clothes from Europe in Bruges and Italy, and when I was in the US, I loved the store Janie and Jack. I think it’s sort of harder to find cool boys’ clothes but I enjoy the challenge! I like him to wear funky / classic and animal stuff, not so much cartoony stuff that seems to be everywhere for boys. I’m sure he won’t care!
  • Mobile. We haven’t fitted it to the cot yet. We do have Whisbear (white noise teddy) which we’ve used although I’m not sure whether it works. He doesn’t stay in the cot for stimulation so we don’t use the mobile yet. 
  • Bouncy chair. We thought he could use it for when I need a shower etc but he hates it so far! I had high hopes for the vibrations but he just screams. Hope it works in future. (Edited to add: He is only now getting used to it at just over a month. It’s handy for when I want to shower!)
  • Baby carrier for Dad. We got a proper carrier from Stokke but he’s only just started using it. T felt B was too small for it initially even though it says suitable from birth. It was a lot more expensive. I’m thinking the sling has more ROI. (Edited to add: T started using this at around a month old and it is working well but definitely more fiddly than the sling.)
  • Sleeping bag. We got a cheap one in the sale and he did use it a while, as he really didn’t seem to take to the cot blanket and it caused him less trouble. Then I decided to try swaddling so got him a swaddle bag (I got one from MORI for newborns to 3 month olds) which seems to help as long as he doesn’t realise he’s in it. I use a mix of the swaddle sack until he wakes up and gets mad he’s in it, early morning, and then switch to the blanket. I have a bunch of nice blankets but use the Snuz branded ones in the Snuzpod because it looks cute. 
  • Bath stuff. The midwives said not to bathe him for at least a month! You wipe them down to clean them but apparently they don’t need it and the natural fluids from childbirth are apparently good for them! Have to say I felt a bit squeamish about this but he was fine. We bathed him for his one month birthday! We used the Angel soft touch bath support which is like a reclining seat the baby can lie in whilst you bathe him. It worked great. Also a Nuby turtle bath thermometer which helped get the water to the right temperature. It’s cute! And we used Burts Bees baby bath which I received as a baby shower gift. I felt like it was nice but left quite a strong smell. I was glad when he got back his new baby smell!


So that’s it for now! This has gone through a few edits as some stuff has become more useful as time has gone on, but it’s a representation of what we used in the first month. We are now at 5 and a half weeks. I can’t believe it! We seem to spend our days doing a lot and not very much at the same time. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m already dreading going back to work as I only get four months off, but trying to focus on the good stuff right now. 

I’m so enjoying motherhood and I can barely believe it has finally happened for me. B is a lovely baby and even though he’s a bit nocturnal, we have all settled in really well. It’s hard to believe that just over a month ago he was still inside me, and this time last year he didn’t even exist as we contemplated our second IVF cycle (and I was hugely pessimistic). In fact during February 2016 I was at an all time low as we passed the due date for our first baby, PB. 

I’ll never forget the pain of infertility and loss. It was something that went on for so long, over 10 years for me. And yet now, with baby B snuffling on my chest, Dog snoring and T snoozing beside me, I can feel the pain recede into memory. I feel at peace. I am hoping for others that they can find their peace. 

Bad things come in threes!

This is something my usually not superstitious dad always says. Bad things come in threes. So after B’s hospitalisation with bronchiolitis and the subsequent fire at the hospital, I should have expected something more. (Assuming my infected caesarean scar didn’t count, gah!)

So on Friday I woke up feeling ill. Really ill. The kind of moaning crying kind of ill. I’m hardly ever ill and definitely not motivated to be ill on Friday as we’d already had a rough week with the hospitalisation and I was due to catch up with some friends which I was really looking forward to but… I was ill. 

First sign was feeling sick. I do not cope well with nausea. I’m hardly ever sick. Like I have to be super ill to be sick. 

Then came the stomach pain. And diarrhoea. And fever. 


It was awful. 

I lost count of how many times I dragged myself out of my sickbed to the toilet, to have awful diarrhoea (sorry, TMI) and back to bed to moan and cry with pain. I also probably sweated buckets whilst also feeling cold or too hot intermittently. Miserable!

Luckily T was able to stay home from work as I seriously don’t know what I would have done. It was so scary. I thought I wouldn’t be able to feed B but I just managed. T even helped me to express one bottle so he could feed B. (I am so not looking forward to expressing when I go back to work. It’s not fun.) He brought me water and paracetamol but I gave up the antibiotics as I could barely stomach anything, even water. 

T changed B and looked after me and walked Dog. I seriously don’t know how single mothers cope. I felt like I was dying. I didn’t get out of bed for two days and nights other than to go to the bathroom because I couldn’t. I don’t think I could have kept up breastfeeding if T hadn’t been on hand to help place B by me in bed. I felt so listless I could barely move or even sit up in bed. 

Also, B was still ill with bronchiolitis too. So was struggling to feed. He can’t breathe very well. So it was all in all miserable. Luckily it was the weekend otherwise T would have had to have three days off work instead of just one. 

I’ve no idea what the illness I had was. Either diarrhoea, food poisoning, norovirus or something else. We’d had a dominos pizza the night before (as it was national pizza day and prior to pregnancy I loved pizza) so I wonder if it was that. But T was fine and he has a sensitive stomach! And also I wondered whether it was all the time we’ve spent in hospital lately. Who knows. It was awful either way. 

Today is the first day I’ve felt vaguely human. Day 3. So glad it seems to have passed. Although it means I have to restart the antibiotics for my wound and the UTI (yay). Hoping they clear up. B is slowly getting better but still really snotty. My research showed the best thing for him whilst ill (and me also ill) was to continue to breastfeed so I’m relieved I managed to continue that. 

B is definitely out of sorts and wanting to nurse pretty much constantly and fussing if he’s not on me. I don’t know if that’s just because he’s sick or because I was sick or something, or a growth spurt. It’s definitely more often than the 8-12 times a day that’s apparently normal! He’s more like 20! But he seems to be growing well so hopefully he’s okay. 

Today I felt slightly better in the morning so T brought me a bagel in bed. (He asked me what I felt like eating and I said a sesame bagel toasted with butter so that’s exactly what I got. Man is a saint!) I also decided I could crack open the gigantic box of Guylian chocolates our friends had got us before Christmas as they might give me some energy (and I love chocolate). That made me feel a bit better so I had another bagel in bed for lunch and finally had a shower this afternoon (healing!) and even came downstairs for dinner. So hopefully this sickness is over!

Anyway, so that’s the latest. I really hope that’s the last bit of bad stuff for a while! I’m just grateful that little B seems to be getting better. 

It never rains…

So a quick update because you can’t even imagine what has happened in the past 24 hours. Thank you to everyone who sent get well wishes for B. He does seem slightly better. 

Story update (cut and pasted so you know some of this!)

After much faffing (GP to make an appointment then the actual appointment then told to go to A&E then referred to paediatrics) we got admitted to hospital last night for observations so have been in overnight. 

They think he’s okay – suspected bronchiolitis – it’s just because he had a lot of snorting and snuffling and he’s only three weeks old. 

Anyway as luck (or not!) would have it, we were evacuated from the ward about 07:45 due to a fire! Which is nuts. We were inside in another place but as you can imagine it was kind of chaotic. The staff were amazing. They all pulled together and spent the whole time trying to reassure us. Imagine how scary it must be evacuating a ward full of babies, let alone the older kids. 

I felt sorry for other people as they had sicker kids and B was just in for observation and did seem better overnight because they sucked out his snot using a machine! He really didn’t enjoy it but it seemed to settle him quickly. I need to get one of the mouth sucking snot suckers as apparently they’re the best. The things you do for your baby!

Apparently bronchiolitis goes away on its own and they don’t treat it in newborns unless they need oxygen – he doesn’t at the moment as he can breathe but is just snuffly. We were discharged and the more serious cases have been transferred to another local hospital. 

Then I went to the midwife unit to get my scar checked out as I got given antibiotics on Sunday and they told me to come back today. I got referred to the doctor as it’s worse than it was. She confirmed it is a bit worse and apparently I also have another urinary tract infection so I now have two lots of antibiotics and two lots of painkillers! Argh. I had a few UTIs during pregnancy and never really noticed them but it was worrying for the baby.  

We are just waiting on the prescription and can then go home and rest. Luckily B is just sleeping after being awake early this morning! Unfortunately it’s the hospital pharmacy which has a 1.5hr wait and we finally got to the front of the queue to be told they don’t stock that drug so they’re trying to get in touch with the doctor. Bearing in mind there’s been a fire in this hospital so they’re all a bit overstaffed. For certain meds you have to get them from the hospital pharmacy so can’t go somewhere else to get them. So we are stuck waiting… I last left the house yesterday. I want to get home and relax and feed B and snuggle with Dog! And poor T has to get to work having missed half the work day already. 

Agh, another update: They don’t stock breastfeeding safe antibiotics for what I need so I now have a note to take to the GP… who typically has a 3 day wait time for prescriptions. They have written urgent at least… agh. So we are on way home and then I have to go and ask the GP! 

It never rains but it pours! 

(Don’t get me wrong. I am massively grateful to the NHS for everything. And the fire and B’s sickness… Everything could have been so much worse.)

Kind of can’t believe B is having such drama and he’s only 25 days old!

The first trial…

Poor little B is in hospital. It started with snuffles last night and he cried all through the night. It sounded like he had a blocked nose so was having difficulty feeding which is what usually settles him. 

Also the night before I ended up starting antibiotics as my caesarean scar seems to have gotten infected, so he seemed unsettled then as well – I googled it and apparently antibiotics can give them tummy ache. I felt really bad but was told to continue to take the antibiotics. But this was nothing compared with his blocked nose and crying. 

So between us we are in the wars. I don’t feel terrible with the scar, but it was starting to hurt when it previously hadn’t hurt, and was making me worried it might get worse. So I ended up waiting a long time in hospital to get it checked out and they gave me antibiotics. 

Then yesterday T had a routine endoscopy so we waited another long time in hospital. He has one once a year to check out his digestion. It was all clear but he has a big bruise from the IV. 

Then today I decided to take B to the GP as he was still snorting and snuffling in the morning. I figured it was a cold but don’t know what you can do for a three week old baby so thought I would ask. 

The GP reception said to come back in the afternoon so I duly took B to the coffee shop where I had some breakfast, and then home for a brief sojourn with Dog, and then back to the GP. 

After waiting a longer time, I then saw the GP and he was quite abrupt, verging on rude. Mainly because I didn’t hear him calling for us and apparently he called five times. Well I think they call B’s name rather than mine so I’m not clued in to answer to it. And also he was over the other side of the room. Anyway. 

He was horrified when he saw the video I’d taken of B snuffling. I did a few so I could show them what was going on. He said to take him to A&E. I was surprised as I had thought it was a cold and not too serious but he told me to go to the hospital. 

So… I got the bus to the hospital. (T is back at work and I’m not allowed to drive post c section.) Waited at A&E and then went to children’s triage. Then got sent to the children’s ward. Got B hooked up to the monitor where they check his heart rate. It was a little high for their liking but his temperature was okay. T arrived from work. 

They kept him on the monitor for a few hours. T went home to walk Dog. (Poor Dog! I felt so guilty as only expected to be at the GP for about an hour.)

The doc said she thought he had bronchiolitis which is apparently very common. It means he has some swelling or fluid in the lungs. Because they can’t blow their nose or whatever it makes them miserable and can interfere with feeding. 

Anyway as B had been in the sling since the morning, he was less snuffly, I think because he was more upright. The doc said she could discharge him or keep him in overnight and monitor him. That he doesn’t need treatment now but if anything gets worse then to bring him in. 

Apparently they weren’t too worried as he was feeding well. She asked about sleeping and I said he had not slept well last night. Also that he prefers to sleep on my chest. But obviously I know co sleeping can be dangerous. She said when he has this that co sleeping was the most dangerous and definitely not to do it. 

Also I asked as I was really worried it might be an allergy to Dog. Which would just kill me. But she said it was most likely a viral infection and unlikely to be dog allergy. Thank goodness. I figure he didn’t have it when he came home for the first three weeks so hopefully we won’t have to deal with that. 

I wasn’t sure what to do but in the end we decided that it was probably better to monitor him. T agreed and he came back to drop some stuff off for me and stayed a while until we got transferred. We are now on the children’s ward and have a private room with a cot for B and a single bed for me to sleep in. His bed is slightly tilted at least so hopefully more comfortable for him. 

B looks so tiny. He’s hooked up to the monitor and so I feel slightly better that I’ll hear it go off if his heart rate goes too high or low. It does beep periodically but the nurse said it would be constant if anything bad happened, which they were not expecting. I have a call button and also an emergency all hands on deck button so I figure B is in the best place. He’s been weirdly completely settled and sleeping peacefully. Perhaps as he slept hardly at all last night. 

It’s B’s 24th night in the outside world and he’s spending it in hospital. 

Protected: Introducing B…

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The time of our lives

It’s been 16 days since B was born and our lives changed gear. (*Eek, three weeks since I started writing this blog post a few days ago!) And yet it feels like he’s always been here. I guess he’s been in existence for 9 and a half months, and in our minds and wishes for years before that. A year ago I couldn’t even imagine him and yet right now I have a two week old baby on my lap, breastfeeding, whilst I try and type out a blog post on the laptop! (Multitasking!)

I started writing this post in my head about a million times but it’s taken me until now (the day after T went back to work after his two weeks paternity leave) to start writing it. We’ve just been having the most amazing time. If I tried to put it all into words I don’t think I could do it justice so I’ll probably end up babbling incoherently. Sorry! I have loads of thoughts whirling around in my head so I’ll try just to put down some first impressions of parenthood.

Proper planning does not prevent p*** poor performance

You can’t really plan for how stuff is going to be (see my birth story, last post). And also you can’t plan for how you’re going to feel. I absolutely haven’t felt like I thought I would. 

For example, I really cared about the birth experience before it happened, and as soon as it did – I didn’t. And I also was really anti having visitors in the first few days – but we ended up having plenty in the first few weeks, and I was totally okay with it. 

The whole thing made me realise that the best laid plans… well, they help, as long as you’re okay with changing them as different things happen. I’m actually glad I went through the thought process of what would happen with the birth, because even though it didn’t happen as I’d planned it, I was able to adjust okay when it did. 

It’s not as hard as people say it is

This is my recurring mantra. I honestly can’t believe how much people drone on about how hard having a baby is, and that hasn’t been my experience at all. Maybe because B was so wanted, or maybe I’ve just adjusted really well, but I haven’t found it hard at all. 

Luckily my healing from the caesarean was pretty easy and I was able to walk the day after (albeit gingerly!) and I was very motivated to get out and about so I was pretty much back to normal by week two. 

And I never expected this but breastfeeding came really naturally to both of us. He definitely has a preference for one boob over the other (I think I have a more difficult angled one!) but he fed as soon as he was able and fortunately I had no pain or issues with giving him milk. I think that has had a huge impact on how I feel about everything because I’m sure if you have problems with it then that can be really stressful. 

The sleep deprivation everyone goes on about isn’t really that bad at all. I am not getting up early for work so it’s not a big deal. I can sleep in for longer in the mornings (when he wants to sleep!) and go to bed later. I am sure it will kick in when I go back to work but right now it’s a fairly straightforward thing – he wakes up, I feed him and/or change him, and we both go back to sleep. 

So really the whole thing has been way more enjoyable than I thought. I’m really loving this part – I think I had really low expectations of sleepless nights and crying babies and it’s really not that bad. And I kind of figure this it is the worst bit so generally I feel really positive about it. 

The funny thing is people always ask how you’re coping like they expect you to be having a terrible time. People can’t believe I was up and about so soon after having a c section. B just sits in the sling and we go all over the place. He is very portable! I think once you get over the nerves of breastfeeding in public, the world is your oyster!

It’s strange how people want to talk about how awful they say / imagine having a baby is. You instantly get people talking about sleepless nights, nappies and endless feeding. And the thing is, they are right. You do have sleep, but it’s just on a different schedule. You do have to change nappies but I have mainly outsourced that to the proud dad, who has taken it as a point of pride to get a clean baby bum! You do get woken up randomly (especially if you have the boobs!) but you don’t really care. 

The thing is, when you’ve waited and hoped this long… You love every moment of it. 

We are family (sing it!)

It feels so awesome to be a family. We already were, with Dog, but I think having a baby just cements that. Dog does not really know what to make of his little brother so far. We’ve done our best to make sure he feels happy, but he’s definitely a bit cautious and subdued. On the plus side for him, we have been at home a lot more than usual and he’s had a lot of extra treats. I am hoping he feels happier soon and he knows he’s still my best dog. 

As soon as I got back to the ward after recovery, T presented me with my “push present”. This was something we had discussed in a kind of jokey way because none of the guys in our NCT (antenatal class) really knew about it. Anyway I told him that it’s traditional to have an eternity ring for your first child, and there so happened to be one I liked… which he duly produced as soon as I was back on the ward!

I’m really happy with it. It’s funny but I’m not even bothered about getting married, as I’ve been married before and I think we are more committed anyway. It is just nice to have a little symbol of our commitment and also obviously our little B as well! (And Dog!)

Another thing I’ve noticed more is that because we aren’t married, B was referred to as “Baby [my surname]” in the hospital. He is taking T’s surname so his surname has effectively changed. It does feel slightly weird him having a different surname to mine, but I feel okay about it. He looks way more like me, and my brother’s kids have our family surname, so it’s not like it’s dying out. He’s the first grandchild on T’s side and probably the only one, so it feels okay that he takes their name. 

The other big thing for us is that B is the child of two adoptees. Which is kind of more crazy for me because T has met his birth mother, whereas I have never met any of my birth family since I was adopted as a baby. It is crazy that B looks so much like me because he’s my first blood relative I’ve ever known. It’s sort of a sad thing and it’s sort of a happy thing. 

You probably don’t need the stuff you think you need

I think it probably is hard to imagine beforehand how you’ll feel. I know I really couldn’t imagine it. Anyway I took all this stuff in to the hospital with me and ended up using hardly any of it! The makeup was extremely optimistic, haha. And I waited until I got home to have a shower. 

I really thought I would care about how I looked but when it came down to it, I didn’t really have the chance to worry too much. After the birth, I said to T that I must look a state but he said no, you look beautiful. I can confirm that I checked later in the bathroom mirror and my hair was sticking up in a matted mess, and I looked absolutely knackered, but I’ll take it!

The other thing is how much stuff you maybe think you need for the baby but you probably don’t need. We haven’t even used the buggy yet and he’s three weeks old! Although he’s quite light now and I can imagine I won’t want to carry him forever! Also, you pretty much just need some basics like nappies, clothes and a sling for the baby and the other stuff can wait… I may do another post for anyone who’s interested!

Also, you will get a lot of stuff you definitely don’t need when you have a baby! I have been well and truly told by T, who laughs his head off at me every time we get another doudou. The backstory is, my go to present for all friends who have babies is a doudou. It is a small animal toy holding a blanket. Now, I was always very proud of this present as one friend I got it for told me that it was his kid’s favourite toy. 

How many doudou have we received?

About five so far. And counting…

Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful. I really am. I just find it funny that I thought I’d come up with a super original present that everyone likes, and really they are probably thinking, “Oh god, it’s another bloody doudou!” 😂

People are so happy for us, which means they’ve been super generous with the gifts, but thank you cards are hard to get round to. I mean it’s three weeks down and I’ve been sort of writing this post in the background and I have hardly got halfway through the thank you cards! It’s nuts. I’m hoping people don’t expect too much of us!

To tell or not to tell

As followers of my blog may know, aside from this (relatively anonymous) blog, I kept my pregnancy off social media. There were lots of reasons for this but mainly it was down to pregnancy after loss and not wanting to count chickens or have to deal with pregnancy discussions when I wasn’t ready for them. 

So aside from people who were invited to my baby shower or who had seen my not inconsiderable bump in real life, most people didn’t know I was pregnant. Which meant that any announcement would come out of the blue. 

T and I debated it and he agreed it was okay for me to announce B’s birth on Facebook. Facebook has an option to add a child to your profile and you also specify the parents so both of you are tagged. T is a lot more private on social media than I am, so we even debated whether he was happy for me to post about B, but we decided it was okay for me to do it and tag him, as long as it went to my subset of friends (as I tend to post just to about a quarter of my friends and not all of them). 

In the end, I made a brief post with a photo of B and it was really nice. We immediately had tonnes of congratulations pouring in. It just felt great after so many years of it never being me, and obviously it’s nice to be celebrating something you are really happy about anyway. So it was kind of awesome and I didn’t really feel like I had missed out on pregnancy congratulations or anything. 

The one thing I did have a bit of an internal debate about was whether to make any comment about our journey to get here. The infertility and operations and ivf and treatment… I’ve seen other announcements referencing these and always kind of thought I would want to highlight this if we ever had our own announcement. Mainly because it’s always hard to see new baby announcements as if it is yet another super fertile couple with an oopsie pregnancy. 

But… in the end I decided not to. It’s hard to explain but I just really want this part of B’s life to be about celebrating and not anything more complicated. I have to respect T’s preference for privacy also. I feel that all my close friends know already about my medical history and also if I discuss it in real life, I always mention how B happened – with a lot of intervention. So I guess it’s a balance of privacy and openness. I want to shout it from the rooftops… but I also want to respect T’s and B’s privacy. 

Speaking of which… I really want to share some photos but with my blog readers rather than the general public. So I’m going to put some photos – for a limited time! I’ll delete them shortly! – on another post, which will be password protected. And I’ve kind of hidden it in the thick of this post so only people who read it will know the password, which is [redacted – mail me and ask nicely!], so please feel free to check them out before they are deleted! 🙂

A final thought… (for now!)

In these halcyon days of B’s early existence in the outside world, I’ve been thinking how long the journey has been to meet him. In my last post, I referenced my very first post where I wondered – way back in April 2015 – whethere we would ever be parents. And that’s nothing compared to the years and years of infertility and operations and pain we had to get here. 

I’ve been working out the stats. I’m not sure exactly what they are and one day when I have time, I will try and work out the exact numbers. But here is (approximately) what it took for us to have B. 

  • 16+ years of infertility
  • 3 operations 
  • 6 hospitals
  • 10 doctors
  • 2 cycles of IVF
  • 19 eggs retrieved
  • 2 transferred embryos
  • 2 pregnancies
  • 1 loss
  • 200 injections
  • 6 intralipid infusions
  • 11 medications
  • 1 caesarean section 

(I was going to add in all the attempts to get pregnant but thought that might be somewhat boastful, haha.)

It’s sort of mind boggling. I don’t believe in religion but I do feel like B is a miracle baby! And I’m so happy he is here. T and I are completely in love. And Dog is getting there! I just feel so lucky and still can’t really imagine this is real.

And here’s the big thought that makes everything worthwhile…

T said the other day that if we hadn’t had all the other attempts then B wouldn’t be B. Any of those other eggs that didn’t get fertilised, or the embryos that didn’t make it, and even our baby we lost were different potential humans. 

And our little baby B who we’ve already come to know and love is a perfect accident of biology, who was helped along by science, and he’s wonderful. 

I didn’t enjoy the waiting and hoping and heartache and wondering if it would never happen, but it has, and life is good. 

He’s here!

Or: The long and the short of it 

The short:


So B is finally here! Born last Sunday eve 19:36. Weight 3.61kg, just under 8lb. Apgar scores 9, 10, 10. He’s perfect.


Birth definitely did not go according to plan but he’s here safe and sound and we are all well! (Although dad is recovering from the most traumatic day of his life. 😉) 


Ended up having an emergency caesarean… Surprisingly not as bad as the 64hrs labour that preceded it and was up and walking the next day. 


It was about 2 days of contractions, the big ol’ waters breaking at 02:30 and then about 14hrs hard labour in hospital… Contractions never got frequent enough and dilation only got to 5cm after all that time, and baby’s heart rate kept dropping with every contraction so they advised us to have a caesarean even though we tried everything to avoid it. 


The long:


So pretty much nothing went according to plan! Had contractions of varying severity and frequency for 2 days, but never enough to actually go into hospital. (They wanted us to have 3-4 in 10 min, regularly for an hour – never happened.) 


Waters broke mid contraction in bed at 02:30 Sunday morning. There was a lot! 3 bath towels worth! Quite alarming! We were told to go to hospital as soon as they broke by the high risk doctor so headed over after cleaning up and arrived around 03:30. We were both really excited at this point. 


I wasn’t allowed in the birth pool at all, or the delivery room for ages, so had to go through first stages of labour in triage. It was really upsetting as they basically left us alone whilst they waited for me to progress enough to warrant a delivery room but I wasn’t allowed to do anything in the birth plan. 


T was really supportive and kept helping me try to breathe as the contractions got stronger and more painful. It was hard for him as he felt helpless as he couldn’t do anything to take the pain away. I remember he was breathing with me although my deep breaths turned into moans and groans!


Had continuous monitoring which meant I had to stay in one position, which was sitting/reclining, which didn’t help the pain at all. Baby’s trace was irregular from the start and never regulated so I wasn’t allowed to move. Triage was bright lights, hospital trolley type setup so not at all conducive to progressing.


I had checked myself at home and was at least 2cm dilated prior to waters breaking. When the consultant came in, he gave me a horrible rough speculum exam (I was crying out in pain and he was just shoving it in) and declared I was only 1-2cm and 50% effaced. I’m sure the environment didn’t help and probably delayed the contractions because I was so uncomfortable.


At some point (it got to be a blur with all the pain) I was moved to a side ward (about four beds divided by curtains). Again it was really strange. At least it was dark and at first we were the only ones there, but then there were other people I could hear behind the curtains and I felt really strange moaning (then screaming) in pain when I knew other women were there. 


Initially they were quiet and I even heard their partners laughing which made me feel that I was doing something wrong. I tried to be quiet as I had really wanted a zenlike birth but I couldn’t help myself. There’s something primal about feeling you’re being ripped in half! Towards the end the other women started making noise too so at least I didn’t feel like such a freak. I really feel that you want privacy when you’re in labour, though.


I resisted pain relief for hours, then eventually had gas and air. It was quite funny as it makes you feel stoned and is actually quite enjoyable! I made T take some photos with me doing the peace sign! However it didn’t help at the peak of contractions and I was in so much pain! I’ve never felt anything like it. It pretty much renders you incapable of rational thought. I kept trying to visualise my baby arriving safely and tried to do the hypnobirthing techniques but the environment wasn’t conducive and the pain was too intense for it to make much difference. 


The whole environment was awful and really medicalised. The whole time they mainly left me to it whilst periodically checking the trace. It kind of felt like we had no support – just monitoring. I had gone into it thinking I would be all zen but I was screaming with pain. I couldn’t help it!


My midwife arrived at around 13:00 and I was finally taken to a delivery room. It was a much better environment and I’d been promised the birth pool which I was really hoping would help with positioning more upright. But then they decided I couldn’t use it because by then I was in too much pain and they thought I needed a cannula because I was dehydrated, plus they felt they might have to intervene due to baby’s trace. And they thought I needed an epidural. 


So then we moved to yet another delivery room without a pool. My midwife did help but by then I think I was too far gone and in too much pain. Also it was so far from what I’d prepared for that it was difficult to deal with. It really dwarfs any other pain I’ve ever felt in my life!


Eventually after hours of painful labour (I was delirious!) I had an epidural. After that I could finally rest, but the contractions never picked up pace to open the cervix efficiently and I didn’t get further than 5cm dilated. 


To be honest, the epidural was the least of my worries in terms of pain. They have to inject it into your spine and people say it hurts but I can honestly say I never noticed the pain during the pain of labour! Given the awful labour I went through, if I had my time again I would have the epidural sooner! So much for mindful hypnobirthing!


They were going to offer me the option to induce, but baby’s trace was getting worse – his heart rate kept dropping with every contraction. They said they thought his cord was getting squeezed and they strongly advised I take the caesarean as they were worried about his heart rate.


By that time I had been in labour a really long time and I didn’t feel up to fighting doctors’ recommendations. And actually the idea of this finally being over did appeal! I also knew that my contractions didn’t seem to be progressing my cervical dilation. It’s weird with an epidural as you can feel the contractions but the pain isn’t there. I was pretty out of it but I think the contractions actually slowed down after the epidural so there was no hope of getting him out the natural way. 


So we agreed that I should have an emergency caesarean. This was really the most distressing part – I knew that it was the right choice for my baby but I was overcome with disappointment that I hadn’t been able to birth him naturally and also that I’d gone through so much pain for nothing!


The experience of the emergency caesarean was pretty horrible as I was separated from T as I went for pre-op whilst he had to wait to be called in. First I had to sign consent forms which is funny as I question how much consent you can really give when drugged up and in immense pain!


Then I was wheeled to the operating theatre where about a million people were bustling about. This was not the calm relaxed entry I’d hoped for as a first experience of the outside world for my baby! Also laying flat on my back was really painful and uncomfortable so I was really distressed. 


My midwife was there and calmed me down a bit but the dosed up epidural was really quite horrible. It gave me the shakes which is apparently a normal side effect but meant I couldn’t stop shivering. They put me on the operating table and shone bright lights on me whilst dosing me up with anaesthetic and testing with cold spray up and down my body to see if it had worked. They also erected a big screen across my middle so I couldn’t see the blood and gore!


Eventually we were ready and T was shown in, wearing his scrubs. Fetching! He was really supportive (as he was throughout labour) and kept reassuring me. I’d told him to try and take lots of photos so even if I couldn’t remember it all there would be some record of it. I can only describe the intense labour part as being in a fog of pain. 


They started cutting and it was really weird as you can feel everything but the pain. And they really cut a lot more than you imagine! Then they started digging around inside and that feels so surreal! It’s like someone’s rummaging around in your abdomen and then they’re bracing against your chest and pulling something out. As they did stuff, they described what they were doing so I knew they were pulling him out, but I couldn’t see anything because of the screen. 


And then: a cry!


I’ve heard that cry so many times since, this week, and yet it was the most amazing beautiful thing. Our son’s cry! T and I looked at each other and I started crying. 


They had to cut the cord and they took away the placenta for testing. Apparently it looked abnormal in some way with fatty deposits. The surgeon said they’d never seen one like it before… I had consented to donate cord blood and stem cells so I was disappointed we couldn’t do that, but relieved that whatever was weird about it hadn’t affected B being brought into the world. 


And then there he was. Someone handed him to us and he was there on my chest and he was beautiful and breathing and it was over and yet it had just begun. 


* * *


B couldn’t feed right away even though he clearly wanted to, because he had some liquid in his stomach that needed pumping. So we had skin to skin for a while as I was in recovery. And then they took him off to get his stomach pumped. Poor T had to wait whilst we were in recovery and then go and see his baby son have a tube down his nose. But then as soon as he was back, B was desperate to feed and he took to it like a duck to water. And he’s been feeding ever since!


So week 1 was a week of firsts. A short stay in the hospital – he was born Sunday eve and so we stayed Sunday and Monday nights. We were in wonder at everything. The grandparents rushed to meet him on Monday. Tuesday we got to come home and he met his big brother, Dog. And now, a week later, it seems like he’s always been here. Even though it’s only been a week. 


The whole birth experience was pretty distressing at the time but I feel kind of fine about it because B is healthy and I’m recovering well from the caesarean. It’s kind of funny in a way that I’d initially asked for an elective caesarean and been talked out of it! 


I can honestly say I don’t feel in the least bit bad or stressed about it any more. I’m so utterly giddy that my baby is here and I relish every moment of being a mother. I guess it helps he’s a champion breastfeeder so I feel at least there’s one thing I’m giving him and he’s doing well. But the other discomforts – like the healing scar and the being woken up at night – don’t bother me. I guess I had an expectation it would be hard, and I find it’s easier than I thought. 


It’s really easy to wake up during the night when it’s your own baby who needs you and wants the comfort of being with you. I don’t resent it in the least. I relish the fact that he wants me and only me a lot of the time, and I love the fact that he is so cute when snuggled up to his father and that T is so in love with him. (T has done all the nappy changes! I do IN and he does OUT!) I love that we are a bigger little family now with Dog and B. It just feels like I have everything I ever wanted. 


It’s so surreal to realise he’s the only one in the whole world I’ve ever met (that I can remember) who is biologically related to me. And also weird to think he’s not yet the age at which I went home with my adoptive parents. So my first mother must have had me and cared for me when I was this tiny and helpless. It’s a thought. There is something sad about it but there’s also a lot of happiness. My parents are absolutely over the moon obsessed with him. Even though he’s “only” grandchild #3, they are super excited and keep wanting to FaceTime with him even when he’s asleep!


And this week has been amazing for all the experiences we’ve had. We’ve been out every single day. I’ve even breastfed in public! I never thought I’d be that person, but when the kid’s gotta eat, he’s gotta eat! I really thought my healing would be worse but I seem lucky. It definitely hurts but it’s a good pain that got me my baby here safely and it is decreasing every day. It mainly hurts getting up and down but T has rigged up a rope by the bed so I can pull myself upright! And he is being super helpful with everything. He is an amazing dad already as well as an amazing partner. Dog is also a caring big brother who’s especially interested in the contents of nappies! I just feel so happy when I’m surrounded by my three boys: T, Dog and B. 


So… We are sort of in a love bubble right now. And it feels like everything good.  


Feeling strangely fine

Showing my age as a “geriatric mother” with that title, but when I was thinking about how to sum up this blog post, those were the words that sprang to mind.


Today I am 39 weeks pregnant. Which is a sentence I never thought I’d say. We are now out of the waiting game and into the OMG IT COULD HAPPEN ANY TIME game. In part, I feel completely unprepared and in part I feel pretty zen. I think a large part of feeling okay with all the various things that could or might or maybe are going to happen is I feel insanely grateful to be pregnant and to possibly be in the home stretch of actually having a baby. It’s hard to describe because I had 16 years of always being the one without the baby. So yeah, I always have in the back of my mind that the aches and pains and inconveniences are a means of my body doing something that I never thought I’d ever have the opportunity to do.
After the last blog post where I had a mini meltdown about last minute changes of birth plan, I have done a bit of Jedi mind trickage and I think I am pretty okay with it. This is partly because I had a meeting with my midwife L (the amazing Best Midwife In The World) and we talked through everything and agreed it. Long story short, I had meetings with various medical professionals prior to L – the diabetic midwives (“Computer says no”), the diabetologist (“I agree, I don’t think you are diabetic as such – if you weren’t pregnant, we’d say you had signs of being pre-diabetic”) and the diabetic obstetrician (“I can completely understand why you don’t think you’re diabetic – I think you’re low risk and I don’t think you need continuous monitoring during birth”).
Basically, the diabetic doctor said I was fine for the birth centre. And then I saw L and she said unless I was actually categorically not diabetic, she wouldn’t feel comfortable with me not having the monitoring… and then she brought in my original doctor, who deals with high risk patients, and he said he really recommended I had continuous monitoring because of XYZ “soft risk factors” and I thought, well I’ve pushed back, got a diabetic doc to agree I probably don’t have diabetes, and they still want me to be monitored, so maybe I should just accept it.
So I have. It sounds a bit like another U turn but there you have it – I’m the master of U turns and mind tricks; I just need a few days to get my head around things. I am disappointed for sure that I won’t get to give birth in the birth centre, but ultimately the important thing is that B gets here safely. And if the head midwife and high risk doc would prefer it if I’m continuously monitored then I need to go with that. I mean for all I know, my zen birth could end up being an emergency caesarian. Also, both of them (L and high risk doc) were very respectful of my wishes and said that they’d allow me to use the birthing pool etc and suggested we do the lights and music and whatnot so ultimately it will be as similar as possible to the birth centre, just in a more hospital-like room with less nice furniture and decor. (I guess I would have felt better about the whole thing if I’d never have seen the birth centre! Ha.)
In other news, the annoying one from my NCT group had her baby! Which is actually good news because she was seeing my midwife (a late referral due to her general cray cray-ness) and I had a concern that I’d end up going into labour and find out that L was delivering her baby instead of mine! Anyway, she seems completely happy about it and so maybe this is a sign that she will be chilled out from now on. She was probably getting to me because (apart from the strange borderline stalky behaviour) she was always so down about everything to do with pregnancy. And given my history, I just didn’t want to be around someone who constantly whinged about pregnancy and was so obviously scared of childbirth. It turns out that she is one of those “OMG it was fine, I forgot all the pain!” people so I’m hoping that this bodes well for future interactions! Which I’ll still be limiting until she proves not to be a stalking psycho!
I’m now on hospital bag v2, which means I brought it back up from the car and repacked it with some additional stuff. I’m feeling pretty prepped in that way, although I still feel if there were a way to smuggle Dog into the delivery suite then I’d feel a lot better about everything! Poor little thing. I’ve been working from home this week and told him many times that he’s still my #1 dog, and always will be my first boy. Although I’m going to have to get out of the habit of calling him “My best boy” which is what I usually call him. Bless him. I am sure he won’t know what hit him. We keep having long lie ins together now that I am working from home (*cough cough*) and so I’m not sure how he’ll take to some screaming baby. But… I’m comforted by the fact that he loves most humans, and especially males! I’m hoping they turn into the best of buddies.
We also constructed the cot, by which I mean, T built it and Dog and I watched. It is the Snuzpod which is very cute. It’s meant to last until 6 months. T’s parents bought it for us, which is nice. It’s a bedside sleeper if you want it to be, although it’s not attached to the bed right now – I’ll probably attach it. It’s right by my side of the bed which is quite odd as when I turn on that side I’m just staring at it and thinking, wowsers, there might be a little person in there in a while. T told me last night, OMG, it could happen in the next week!! What a thought!

I had a rather large sense of achievement over this – although putting a fitted sheet on a tiny mattress is significantly harder than it looks!

We also tried out the sling which it turns out is a bit more complicated than I first thought. I’m hoping it becomes more obvious when you’re trying it with a baby and not a dog! Dog was not particularly impressed but it’s nice to realise it fits him!
It’s my last day of work today – although I’ve been working from home for the whole new year. Unfortunately yesterday we had a bunch of bad news landed on my account which is really annoying and probably affects my bonus. Fortunately, I am leaving the account for four months (yay!) and won’t be thinking about work for a while (yay! yay!) and also I have not depended on my bonus for anything. I kind of don’t understand people who do, because it’s not guaranteed. But, it’s really disappointing because basically we were on track to meet our targets and now something outside of my control has completely screwed not just our December numbers but it’s so bad that it’s brought down the average for the entire year, which means we narrowly miss our target. It’s kind of aggravating and if I wasn’t going off, I’d probably be a bit more angry about it… but I’m hoping my boss will appreciate it was outside of my control. (It’s down to another team outside of the country – and I’ve already heard he gave them a huge b*llocking this morning after speaking with me – eek.)
My sister had her second scan and everything was fine! So I’m sooo hopeful that it’s going to work out. If everything goes according to plan with B’s arrival, his arrival will coincide roughly with her 12 week scan and whilst I know that everything is not hunky dory in people’s minds when they’ve experienced a loss, 12 weeks is a big milestone. I guess selfishly I want her to be able to celebrate B’s arrival and not feel terrible about it. In my more selfish moments I think, I don’t want her to be a downer because if everything goes right with hers, everyone will celebrate hers whereas my B will be overshadowed by other worries. But then I think that is completely selfish, and I know how bad I felt when my brother had his baby around the same time as we were getting over our loss, and I remember that pregnancy after loss is a screwed up mind**** and makes normally rational people go a bit irrational (and my sister isn’t even a normal level of anxious to start with!) so I need to let her do whatever she feels capable of doing. I sort of feel she has been supportive from afar (buying presents etc but avoiding me in person) which I can understand, but I’m hoping if they get past 12 weeks that she can start to feel better about things.
My brother has been having a hard time lately, and this is the one I’ve posted about before who nothing bad ever happens to. And what has happened is life changingly bad. I don’t really feel right posting about it just now in detail because I haven’t even spoken with him about it as he’s made it clear he’s not ready to discuss it. But it has made me feel a great deal of compassion for him, which is not something I am used to feeling about him. (It’s usually jealousy/resentment due to his perfect life.) Thing is, he has had the most amazing cushy easy life and of course I’ve envied him that. But what’s happened to his family (to do with his child’s health) is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. So I’m doing my best to be supportive and open, and although we haven’t talked about it at all, we had a good long Facetime session at Christmas and I feel hopeful that maybe B’s arrival will help us to build some bridges and strengthen our relationship. It’s not that we have a bad relationship – it’s just we aren’t overly close, and that’s probably both of our faults because I found it hard with the kids and he is a man, who makes almost zero effort to stay in touch! We like each other when we see each other but we are kind of casual texters when we really could make more effort to stay in touch. So I’m really hoping that 2017 brings some good news for them, and also that we can become closer during this year. (It already happened with my sister a few years ago – we went from hardly speaking to being pretty close, so it can happen!)
Another thing I’ve been wondering about is the blog. Like I see how it often happens in blogland, where people blog for a year or two or three about trying to have a baby. And then they have a baby and stop posting, or they have a baby and it turns into a “mom-blog”. I am really not sure how I feel about that. And I don’t think I’ll know until it happens. I have no previous experience of having a child to compare it with and although I can imagine it in the abstract, I have no idea what it’ll actually be like having a baby. (I keep talking with Dog about it but he doesn’t seem to have much insight!) I’m in that pre-baby state of mind where it seems within touching distance but my day to day emotional life is pretty much the same – I’m still childless, even though there are many indications that will change within the next week or two.
I initially set up my blog to talk about the IVF process, so in that sense I think it has been a good outlet for that experience. I’ve been through two IVF cycles and have no plans for any more. From my own perspective, I think it’s important to share the whole story, including the miscarriage from cycle 1 and the emotional recovery from that… and also, whilst thinking about infertility, my mind naturally wandered to adoption, because I’m adopted. So I’ve shared thoughts about that. And also I just blog when I have something on my mind even if it’s not related to either of those things. (Work, or friendship, I think.) It’s always been that sort of 3 category blog: Infertility, Adoption, and random thoughts. Also I have blogged out of the infertility into the pregnancy after loss. I realise that must be triggering to some people who start to follow an infertility blog and then it becomes a pregnancy blog, but equally I feel like my pregnancy came out of that infertility. So I understand that readership probably ebbs and flows over time.
So yeah, not sure what’s next. I guess I’ll know in a week or two when B is here. The main thing on my mind right now is hoping that he gets here safely. The rest is just cosmetic…
Excerpt from my first blog post:
So that’s what I’m going to tell you about. The journey. What it’s like and the thoughts and ideas I had about it. Maybe this will never be read by anyone. Or maybe, just maybe… in 15 years or so, when the mythology of his/her being is slipping into the mundane, I’ll knock on the door of my adolescent’s bedroom and I’ll say “There’s a story I have to tell you…” 

A change of [birth] plan…

As we say in the UK, there’s been a slight technical hitch…

No sooner had I gotten my head to that zenlike state of pre-birth blissful ignorance calm excitement (based on doing it all naturally, or as far as possible, pending any surprises) but I had a hard knock back down to earth.

Long story short: Turns out I’m not going to get to give birth in the lovely Birth Centre, which just about broke my heart (if it wasn’t a stone cold British heart). 

Damn you, gestational diabetes!

The way I found out was particularly shocking. By which I mean, it wasn’t really that shocking but now I’m on wind down from the professional world of work, I’m sort of in a state of blissful relaxation and it was a bit of a shock to discover that everything I’d been visualising in my head wasn’t actually going to happen.

The basic problem is that if you have diabetes (including gestational, including diet-controlled and not insulin-dependent or medicated in any way), you have to be treated by a consultant. And if you’re under consultant care, you have to give birth on the delivery ward. The reason is, if you have diabetes then the protocol during birth is to be monitored continuously. They can’t monitor continuously in the Birth Centre as it’s a midwife led unit.

So instead of giving birth in the place I’d envisaged (huge, softly lit, nicely paint-jobbed pseudo hotel room), I have to give birth in a standard hospital room – with a bed with bars on, and medical equipment beeping and nasty bright light white roomed paper curtained yuckiness.

Now, someone could have told me this weeks ago when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes but they didn’t. Mainly because the diabetes people are a bit sh*t and don’t operate in a joined up way at all. (I really do not see eye to eye with the diabetes people and now I especially don’t.) So the way I found out was from my midwife (the lovely, lifesaving L) when I asked if I could take a picture of the birth suite for T, as he hasn’t seen it (he figures he’ll see enough of it by the time I’ve given birth and I’m inclined to agree) and instead of being led to the lovely hotel-room-like birth centre room, she led me down the horrible hospital corridor to a yucky hospital room with wires and stuff hanging all over the place.

Naturally, I didn’t look happy at this – L realised there’d been a massive misunderstanding and told me I should have been told there was no frickin’ way I could use the Birth Centre if I was “diabetic”, and clearly I was beginning to change my mind about the whole thing and considering how I could do a home birth! And swiftly took me to the hospital cafe to talk it all out…

The thing is, it’s taken a vast amount of psychic energy and general emotional thought to get myself to a space where I felt okay with the idea of childbirth and was largely managing my emotions and anxieties concerning pregnancy loss fears and fear of pain etc. I was actually completely fine about the whole thing, and now I feel like I have to unravel all of my mental preparations and change my idea of what the birth is actually going to be like. And this is all for something that could happen any time.

It’s frustrating, for sure. And thing is, I realise that everything could change on the day and I was prepared for that (eg If I have to have a caesarian rather than vaginal birth) but this is changing the entire birth plan I’d envisaged before my waters have even broken.

I asked if there was anything I could do, but L said that the protocol at our hospital for those who’ve been diagnosed as diabetic (using the goddamn Glucose Tolerance Test) even if well controlled by diet mean that patients have to have continuous monitoring during birth. This is because of the NICE guidelines which say that for controlled diabetics, they should be allowed only to get to 40+6 (ie 41 weeks gestation, one week overdue) before being induced, and they should also be subject to continuous monitoring during birth because apparently they’re more at risk of the baby being in distress.

Now, the NICE guidelines apply to insulin controlled diabetics. I am not on insulin or metformin. Quite frankly I am not inclined to believe I am diabetic but allegedly because I “failed” the glucose tolerance test, I am now classed as diabetic. (Based on my body’s ability to metabolise a syrupy glucose drink over two hours of inactivity. Which is something I do every day… NOT.) By all accounts it’s likely it’ll go away after the baby’s born, and anyway, my private doctor said these tests do not account for racial differences (I am not white) and in his opinion, the normal glucose levels for different races are different and it should be expected that my race has a higher baseline level of blood sugar and can still be healthy / non-diabetic. Which just makes my blood boil. (I’m already mad that the diabetic dietician tried to make me eat more carbs that I don’t even usually eat – such as diet fizzy drinks, more bread – so they could then put me on metformin. WTF?)

The frustrating thing is, it is not a decision for me or for L and I don’t have much choice. Basically that’s my hospital’s protocol so unless I start looking for someone else to give birth (bearing in mind this could happen any day now – I’m now at 38 weeks) I have to accept that. L said this was just how it worked in this hospital and whilst she sympathised with me, she would not feel comfortable looking after me (as my dedicated midwife) against the consultant advice / hospital protocol (for continuous monitoring). Which I can completely understand from her point of view.

My only option really is to appeal to the diabetic obstetrician (who is very nice and an advocate of natural childbirth and minimal intervention) to see if she thinks I need continuous monitoring. But… I also feel like things like this make us doubt our own opinions. I mean, if doctors tell me my baby needs continuous monitoring and this is my first baby to make it to childbirth then I don’t feel in a confident position to tell them I don’t want that. (In a midwife led unit, the most monitoring they can do is doppler in between contractions, which doesn’t tell you if the baby’s in distress during the contraction, during which the oxygen is cut off and he’s relying on oxygenated blood reserves in the placenta, from what L explained to me. Which are apparently considered lower in certain groups of people including diabetics.)

In short, I’m not in a position of confidence to say, “I don’t want continuous monitoring” because we are made to feel we are basically endangering our baby if we don’t have it. And I don’t want to endanger my baby. Of course. I can have a feeling that it’s not necessary but then a voice in the back of my mind says, what if it is necessary? What if you refuse it and he dies? So of course I’m not going to go against what they say.

L thinks it’s just about me wanting “the nice paint job” (her words) and it’s true, the Birth Centre room is like a hundred times nicer than the delivery suite room. But it’s not just some stupid vanity or whatever or wanting to be in a hotel room. It’s the difference between wanting a relaxed home-type birth versus a medicalised, all white bright-light smelling-of-hospital whilst other women scream in the background birth. I mean I really don’t like hospitals and the only reason I was so chilled out about the birth was specifically because I’d seen the Birth Centre, which is totally un-hospital-like.

Argh. So L tried to make me feel better. She said she would “de-medicalise” the room. We could turn the lights off and have fairy lights / tea lights (all battery operated of course) and I could use the birth pool and also use the continuous monitoring that is wireless so I could move around and get in and out of the pool. So I wouldn’t be tethered to the bed, which is completely what I don’t want. (I know this sounds odd when I had initially wanted an elective caesarian but it’s precisely because of my fears about lack of control which are now coming true!) I am also absolutely averse to going on the ward after birth. It’s like my worst nightmare. I don’t want to be around other people. I want it to be just us.

L also said that she would make a concession and other than trying to de-medicalise the delivery room – and also that she would be the gatekeeper and not let anyone in without agreeing it with me (and I refused the consent for the medical student to be there as well) – that if I have a “normal” vaginal delivery without intervention or complication, that I can go recover in the Birth Centre. So if I don’t lose loads of blood and need further treatment or whatever, or have a caesarian, I can go to the original place I wanted to be rather than on the ward.

I’m getting my head around it, and T thought I was doing well as he said they should have told me ages ago so I’d have had time to get accustomed to the idea. I feel like I don’t have much choice in the matter. I mean, realistically I can’t have a home birth (and I don’t feel up to that, quite aside from our flat is tiny) and if I want to be looked after in hospital, I have to go along with what they say. I appreciate L trying to make it better for me, but it’s quite a big shift in what I’ve been gearing up to. So I’m just going to have to work on being all zen and accepting and stuff.

I think one of the big things is that I’ve done a lot of work on myself to get to this calm state, so when there are things that are knocking me out of it, they make it difficult for me to stay so relaxed. Actually one of the things completely doing my head in is one girl in my NCT group. We have a Whatsapp group and she always posts about how anxious she is and how much pain she’s in yadda yadda and I just want to tell her to shut up. She’s like super insipid and whines about everything and keeps talking about how she wants it to be over. I actually said to her today that she should try and enjoy it because some people (like me) are grateful for being pregnant as we never thought we would be. 

Also, she’s a bit creepy towards me… We are the same race and I kind of feel a bit like she is a potential stalker. She has no family in this country, which I’m sympathetic about, but she really annoys me so out of everyone in the group she’s the one I least want to be friends with. (I did on first meeting until I realised how whiney she is. As an example she’s usually the last person to post on Whatsapp chats because she’ll write a load of stuff and nobody will respond.)

For example re the creepiness: she lives the closest to me out of the others in the group, but not on my estate, but pretends to everyone she lives on the estate (which is more upmarket than where she lives – outside – just to sound snobby!). She’s already told me she walks past our block of flats every day and “wonders which one yours is?” (Ummmm creepy. Glad there’s a big gate around it and she can’t get in.) She is always hanging around our estate and making out she lives there and posting on the Facebook group, like she doesn’t get that she doesn’t actually live here. 

Other creepiness is she literally keeps on buying the same stuff as I have bought for our baby. Like we discuss stuff on the group and people ask what others have got and then she just buys the exact same thing I’ve already bought. It’s like she wants us to be the same race and have the exact same stuff for our babies?! I am just not comfortable with her ways. I think she wants to keep emphasising similarities or something and we are not similar!

And also doesn’t seem to take the hint that I am never inviting her round, and keeps angling for an invitation. The other day she even posted to the group, addressing me: “I think I want to get a sling like yours – do you know where I could try it out?” Clearly asking if she could come round and try mine out. Umm no. I am one of those people (British!) who don’t invite people round unless we are friends friends. And why would she think I’m going to open my brand new sling and let her try it on? Just nope. Why can’t she go to a shop and make up her own mind? She even said it again in person when we met up as a group (I tried to sit far away from her and not talk with her) and I was just like, that’s nice. I mean, if you want to buy it, buy it. Don’t expect me to use my new stuff for you!

Hmm maybe I’m just getting to grouchy pregnant state? Weird thing is, apart from this annoying girl and the whole “You have to give birth in a nasty hospital environment” thing I’m super chilled out. The others in our group were saying how I seem to be the most okay with everything and calm and stuff. I honestly think it’s because I never thought I’d get to this stage and I am grateful. I can remember this time last year feeling hopeless and depressed and thinking I’ll never get to have a child, so I’m not going to feel bad about this, or whine about the pregnancy aches and pains (okay, not that much!) and so on. I’m feeling much better now I don’t have to go into work again until after maternity leave. I’m working from home and lying around with Dog and nesting with T and I am just not going to feel bad about that, because whatever happens, everything’s going to change in a few weeks (or less!).

Anyway the next steps are that L has even had to book me in provisionally for an induction at 40+6. This is something I did know about as with GD the doc said she wouldn’t let me go past 41 weeks. L said it’s better to get a slot rather than wait until the time and then have to fit in around the availability. I’m hoping it won’t be necessary and B will arrive before then (but not early! Ideally on time / a couple of days late!). I see various docs the week of my due date and so there’s the opportunity then to revisit their recommendations around induction, delivery location etc… I’m thinking the most likely outcome is going to be a fairly medicalised birth at 41 weeks though. 

We went through all the birth plan questions (which mainly consisted of me saying I don’t want intervention if I can do it naturally) so L and I are meeting next week to go through the plan. And also she said she’d try and de-medicalise a room for me to try and talk me round and get me feeling better about it! I can be kind of upset about it but ultimately I just have to accept it I think and try and get myself in a good headspace to have the kind of birth I want (even if in a nasty hospital room).

In other news, my sister had her 9+ week scan today and it was great! So I’m feeling hopeful for her. It means by the time I give birth (all being well), she will be around 12 weeks. Maybe this will be easier on her. I know it took a long time for my anxieties to reduce, but equally I feel some selfishness creeping in and wanting to be able to be happy. I feel like for the first half of my pregnancy I was anxious and worried, and then for this latter part, it’s almost been hard to feel happy because of stuff going on with my sister and my brother (which I haven’t talked about on the blog but he’s dealing with something huge). So just to be able to celebrate B’s safe arrival, that would be a big thing. My main thing is I want him to get here safely. And the second thing is I want my family to be able to be happy for me. And not in a way that negates what they are going through – I want them to be happy because they are genuinely happy… I hope that is possible.

Into the light

Happy 2017!

I keep thinking about starting a new blog post but have been in hibernation the past while, unsure of what to say. I think it’s maybe analysis paralysis because there are almost too many things. So – an update as I emerge from my hibernation into the light. (Well, more of a fog around London.)

Happy (quiet) new year!

We spent last night not in a state of partying but in a state of semi-hibernation as seems to have become my default since stopping work on 16 December. In my defence, I am in the end stages of gestating an actual human and it seems to be more and more unlikely that I’ll ever get up off the sofa during the day… but I think secretly I quite enjoyed not having to schlep out for New Year. 

I’ve always thought New Year was a bit of an anticlimax / weirdly arbitrary date to celebrate. Fortunately, T (and Dog) feels the same so the past few years we haven’t really done much. The last couple of years we went round to the neighbours which is the ultimate no effort party. (It’s so nice not to worry about getting home in the wee hours of the morning!) And this time we went one step further which was to stay in, eat leftover comfort food (home made bolognese sauce from the previous day on a baked potato with cheese – amazing, plus discounted christmas pudding – we really know how to live!) and watching a new series on Sky (The Young Pope – weird) and enjoying the free fireworks display from our window. Fortunately Dog is not the type to get upset at fireworks, although holding him up to view them when he was clearly uninterested was possibly a step too far!

I think you’re meant to have some sort of reflection on the past year and goals for the next year but I’m not really into all that. I try not to predicate what my next year will look like too much, as I think happiness is the main thing rather than any specific tasks or achievements. 

I will say – as I think silently to myself, most days – I am damned lucky. And not just because of B (the tiny human wriggling his way around inside me – I still can’t get over the idea there’s an actual person inside me – so weird) but because of T, who I love more than anyone, and Dog, who I love about a millimetre less than T. It’s easy to say now that B is almost cooked, but I like to think I could see how lucky I am and feel happy even if B wasn’t on the way.


Pregnancy update: 37 weeks – TERM!! EEK!

So today I’m 37+4 weeks pregnant, which is utterly mind blowing. I just reread my entry from 20 weeks and it’s really weird to think how everything has changed. Our doc said as of 37 weeks, the baby is considered “term” so could come at any time. What the…???!

I have a huge bump. It’s covered in stretch marks (weirdly, more on one side) and I affectionately call them tiger stripes. I can’t say I love them, but considering I never thought I’d have a baby, the tiger stripes and the destruction of my once moderately perky boobs is a small price to pay. 

My latest bumpie… taken in a changing room! We have no full length mirrors in our flat! This was at 36 weeks.

B (baby) keeps wriggling about. Occasionally he’ll stop and I’ll get a bit worried but a prod and he moves again. I am wondering if he will come early or late. Like, I always assumed he’d be late but what with the gestational diabetes and his alleged large size, there’s a chance it could be early. I got referred to the diabetic doctor and she was really nice. She said because I’m keeping the GD under control with diet, she’d let me go to 40+6 before discussing induction (in line with NICE guidelines). We had a slight worry last week as they said I had slightly more amniotic fluid than the normal range, but I had a follow up scan this week and it was fine.

Generally I feel fine health wise although I’m definitely feeling more tired and less mobile. The 8 flights of stairs to/from our apartment is a joy! I tend to stop every second flight and pretend it’s for Dog’s benefit (I give him a treat if he waits) but really I’m just knackered. Also in the past week it’s become really hard to sleep because every position results in back/shoulder pain. Fortunately I’m off work so I don’t have to do anything with my awake time.

Our NCT group has a few of us due around the same time. I’m the third (out of seven) in terms of due dates but there are only a few days between us, so we’re all wondering when the first one’s going to happen. I do feel it’s nice in a way to have a group of people to chat with about pregnancy who are all in the same boat. We have a Whatsapp group and it’s quite active. Although there is one girl on there who I find kind of irritating (who keeps angling for an invitation round our place as she lives the closest… I keep ignoring it). I suppose you can’t get on with everyone! She’s not nasty or anything but just really babyish. Probably me being a grumpy “geriatric mother”! It does mean there’s a group of people who can discuss buggies and baby clothes and things that are boring to everyone else, so it serves a purpose.

We had a group photo before Christmas. The most pregnant of us were 36 weeks and I think the least pregnant are about 31-32 weeks. We were all very smiley!


I love Christmas!

We had an understated but nice Christmas. Just as I’d hoped really. We went round to my parents’ place and my mum cooked – we’ve hosted both sets of parents the last couple of years, but it reminded me how nice my mum’s christmas is. (Let’s just say she’s much more domesticated than I am so Christmas dinner is not delayed two hours whilst I try and get the potatoes to roast!) Hilariously my dad managed to spill potato gratin all over my lap, thereby terminating the run of my one and only pregnancy Christmas dress before I’d managed to get a nice picture! Luckily I’d already thought ahead that I might want to lounge in jeans for the later hours, so I had a change of clothes!

We took Dog round and so there was some funny slapstick routines with us opening and closing doors so that Dog and my parents’ cat would remain separated. Don’t feel sorry for the cat. Seriously he’s a grumpy b*stard. When Dog was little, he thought he and Cat would be friends – Cat hissed and scratched him in the face. Dog’s first experience of “Not everyone thinks you are the cutest thing on earth”! Second time, he scratched Dog’s ass as he chased him upstairs. So yeah, it was funny. Dog was very well behaved though, which was nice as he had his own Christmas dinner, painstakingly chopped up by me. (I swear the baby will have no impact on the babying I already do to Dog.)

Also brilliantly, my sibling who lives overseas decided to come for Christmas at short notice. So it was awesome to spend Christmas together. A proper family Christmas! We went to see T’s parents a few days after Christmas so we actually ended up having two Christmases. It was great.

We had lots of nice presents too. Quite a few were baby related. I kind of always thought I’d mind, but I really don’t. It’s nice to have little presents for B. I realised that we needed actual newborn clothes instead of 0-3 months for the first week or two, so it was nice that my sister got us some cute onesies. The great news is, she’s still pregnant! They had their first scan (7 weeks) and baby looked healthy. Their second is in a few days which will be around 9 weeks. I’m feeling really hopeful for her and trying not to ask too many questions. 

We got a Polaroid camera which should be fun for visitors so they can take a picture with B, and also it prints pictures that are about the right size for his baby book. And as a present to ourselves we bought a proper “posh” camera which takes much better pictures than the iPhone! T is under orders to take plenty of pictures at the birth – even if we later censor them!

T got me some photo books with lots of pictures of us in them. It was really sweet and not what I had expected at all. Especially as I’d been having a go at him for spending so much time on the computer! It turns out he was making me 2 volumes of photo books. It’s really nice, with lots of pictures of us at Disney and of Dog! He said that they should help during labour (apparently looking at photos of loved ones / happy things helps release oxytocin) so I’ve packed Volume 1 in the hospital bag.


Christmas season in pictures…

Carnaby Street – my favourite place to go (Christmas) shopping. Another favourite, Liberty, is right by Carnaby Street. It’s a great place to shop and go out so if you’re ever in London, I recommend checking it out rather than the usual tourist spots which are usually insanely busy!

Giant christmas tree in Covent Garden. You can see the buildings for scale!

We went to see Motown: The Musical. It was great, apart from The Tallest Man In The Universe who ended up sitting right in front of me! Argh!

Christmas TOMS. You can never have too many TOMS. These are supposed to glow in the dark, but I haven’t managed to see how that works – it’s probably not dark enough, or something. Anyway, TOMS. I love TOMS.

Last work do. I had a work away day at a posh hotel. It was very Christmassy! The best thing is, my best bud at work was the one organising it and she made sure I had a GIANT room… Very luxurious! Technically it was the disabled room so I had remote controlled lights and a bathroom the size of our apartment, but hey, I wasn’t going to complain… I had a nice bath but my belly wouldn’t even fit under the water!

T, Dog and I went for a little Christmas meal at the pub. It was great! We were supposed to go with our friends but unfortunately the one who was having chemo wasn’t feeling well enough. We went to see them on Christmas Eve so we delivered all the presents then. We are hopeful she’s getting better.

And some more food… I went for my traditional pre-Christmas meal with my BFF. She loves French food so we went to Balthazar. It was tasty!

London by night.

My Christmas present from my folks! Made me laugh.

My Christmas present from my friend with the American fiancé – Cheetos. And the large bag of gifts I got for my nephew / niece with my hand to scale!

We went to the cinema on a movie marathon (because we still have the unlimited cards and we figured we should get it all done before baby arrives). We saw Passengers, which was great, very silly. And Collateral Beauty which was a bit weird. And we had some Tex Mex street food in between. Healthy! (Probably not!)

And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the red cups! I’ll miss them when they’ve gone!


Ready or not…

So the focus of the past few days was to get ourselves “hospital ready” in case I went into labour early. (Here’s hoping it doesn’t happen!) Yesterday we spent ages getting the car seat installed. It was quite easy but then we couldn’t figure out how to remove it! Hilariously the instruction books are actually in a pocket under the seat, on the base. So you could only access them if you took the seat out… Anyway we finally managed to remove it. Phew! It is compatible with our buggy, which also got delivered… Crazy to think that all being well, there will be a little person in it in a few weeks.

We got a bunch of Amazon deliveries too so we are pretty much all ready in terms of equipment, apart from the cot. T is still working on a major DIY project (a built in wardrobe) so we will clear some space once that is usable. I guess if B comes early, we can have him in bed with us for a day whilst the cot is delivered! 

I packed my hospital bag which has all my stuff and everything for B. It was quite weird doing it, thinking of all the stuff I’d need and that he would need. T will have a bag too. We managed to keep it quite small. It feels so strange to think we might be coming home with a little human any time over the next month or so. We looked at each other yesterday and said, WTF?! There should be some sort of licence!!

Anyway, pending B’s arrival I’m due to go back to work on Tuesday for a week or so. In theory I’m working until 39 weeks. This was based on my pre pregnancy assumption that babies come late as everyone I knew who had first babies had them late… Also I needed to maximise my leave because I don’t have much. 

I guess we are “nesting” in our own way. As in, a rather physically chaotic but mentally prepared way! Hilariously after all my ranting and raving about “hippy dippy ****” I seem to have come full circle. I no longer want an elective Caesarian – I want to have a natural childbirth with minimal intervention if possible. And I’ve even read and semi-digested the hypnobirthing book. I’m still not convinced you can actually self-hypnotise but I’m more talking it as having a calm, positive approach to childbirth. T has been reading it too! I have the accompanying tracks downloaded to my iPhone so it remains to be seen if the weirdly toned voice helps!

I keep looking at Dog and thinking, everything is going to change for you, little man. We are trying to make him feel very secure and I keep thinking that I don’t want him to get upset. But he’s a very chilled out Dog so hopefully he will adjust and be buddies with B. I bought him a bandana that says Big Brother! I just love him so much and want him to be happy and not feel neglected. I suppose it’s like when you have an older child! Fortunately he’s probably easier to please than a child – a few treats and he’s anyone’s! I’m really enjoying these days of lying on the sofa with him. The calm before the storm!

The last couple of days I’ve felt something different – like B has maybe moved lower or something. So maybe the first few days of 2017 will be more active than we anticipated! 

Watch this space!