Thursday, 27 April 2017

40 weeks pregnant: Could this be it?

I think every day is going to feel a bit like how I've felt today; thinking that it could be the last time I drink a coffee in relative peace, get a chance to have my eyebrows sorted, sleep in my bed without a newborn next to me; the last day of just the three of us.

I woke up at about 3 or 4am with period pain-like cramping; a little scared to move in case my waters had broken like last time. They hadn't, though, and eventually the cramping went away and I was able to catch a few more hours of sleep. Ruari had today off work, and after bringing me tea and a teacake in bed this morning (and a Joseph), I decided we needed to get Joseph's hair cut ASAP - so we booked an appointment for 10am.

Ruari had told Joseph yesterday that he'd take him swimming, so we went to the pool straight after the (apparently traumatic) hair cut (I just watched the boys this time), before heading to the shopping outlet for an eyebrow threading session for me and a play in the play park for Joseph, followed by Pizza Express for lunch.

All day, my stomach (uterus, rather) has been tightening and releasing, but not getting into a rhythm which makes me think it could be some time in the middle of the night or tomorrow. I just don't know as, after being induced last time around, I don't know what it feels like to go into natural labour or how much time you have before it escalates and you're at 1 minute contractions, 5 minutes apart. All I know is that I've passed a bit of blood and I'm getting this cramping and tightening, which are all signs that something is going to happen, according to what I've read. Not to mention that he feels soooo lowwwww dowwwwwnnn yet soooo farrrrr ouuuttttt.

Our childcare plans have had to change a little bit as Ruari's mum - who lives super close to the hospital - has had to fly to Ireland for a few days following the sudden, tragic and heart-breakingly sad death of one of her cousins who was one of the loveliest ladies you could have ever hoped to meet. So my brother (Oli) is going to stay at our house tonight so he can be with Joseph in case we need to go to the hospital in the night. We've taken the spare car seat out of Ruari's mum's car so Oli can bring Joseph to the hospital tomorrow if need be... or take him to nursery, as he's meant to be going there tomorrow. And I'm meant to be seeing my midwife tomorrow morning.

It's just so weird not knowing when it could be but having the distinct feeling it could be really soon... yet also not wanting to get my hopes up in case it's another 2 weeks. That being said; at least if today was our last day as a family of three, it has been pretty perfect.


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

38 & 39 weeks pregnant: Joseph's birthday, a false alarm and a little TMI

I am currently sitting in my PJs, watching Spring Watch in Japan - the cherry blossom edition - snaffling the last of Joseph's Easter chocolates! I feel kinda bad for not giving him any of the Easter Eggs he was given, but he turns into the actual devil when he has chocolate and there is never a good time of day to deal with it.

As I suspected, the last couple of weeks have been slightly manic with Easter, Joseph's 3rd birthday preparations and baby prep, but here's some of what's been happ'nin' lately. 

38 week check

My last midwife appointment, the day I turned 38 weeks, was delayed by an hour, and Joseph waited so patiently with me. He started losing his mind from tiredness toward the end of the wait- and it was coming up to lunch time - but he fell asleep 5 minutes before my midwife called me in, leaning against my arm. I carefully transferred him onto a cushion in her office whilst I had my check up and I couldn't believe he stayed asleep; it was so sweet. My appointment was super straightforward; everything was a-ok and my next appointment is booked for the Friday after my due date. Eep!

We have decking!

Giving it a whirl, the day before the deck was completed.

We had decking built in our garden outside our bi-folds and, along with the shift in weather to spring, it is a life-changer. No longer is the back of our house surrounded by sharp edges and rubble, and instead we have a lovely deck for Joseph to tootle around on. The day it was finished, Joseph had a friend over and we spent the entire afternoon outside. It's been like having an extra room, especially since Joseph's birthday as he got a couple of garden toys which have been keeping him very busy on sunny days. I'm so glad we got it done in time for baby's arrival. I'm hoping for bright days outside where baby and I are sitting on the bench and Joseph is happy playing. We just need to sort out some sort of shade either in the form of awnings or a parasol... and perhaps some furniture. 

Joseph's birthday

I felt bad for not throwing Joseph a big party and inviting his friends over, but with his birthday being so close to my due date I didn't want to stress myself out... Not to mention he doesn't have a close circle of friends yet, partly due to the absolute ball-ache that is his nursery set-up, which constantly plays on my mind / is a constant source of guilt. It also turns out that he's adopted mine and Ruari's introvert tendencies and doesn't like being the centre of attention. So much so that when the handful of us that did gather for his birthday sung Happy Birthday to him, we found him hidden behind our kitchen island and wouldn't come out to blow out his candles until they were almost stumps and the wax had covered the cake!

He had a great day though; just the three of us in the morning until Grandma, Granny, Grandad, Ruari's cousin Paul and his partner Martina came over (they were over visiting from Ireland) and we went to the pub for lunch, followed by aforementioned cake and tea. It was a low-key affair, but he was so happy, and Ruari took him to the park before we had dinner.

Gift-wise, Ruari and I only bought him an Optimus Prime RescueBot, a Spiderman T-shirt and a Busy Book (I love Busy Books and they're always cheaper in supermarkets than online, in my experience). Granny & Grandad bought him an outdoor bench that doubles up as a sand and water pit with a few tools and toys to play with in it, my dad got him a little plastic wendy-house kinda thing, and my mum got him some Star Wars paraphernalia and a couple more RescueBots. He also got a My First Scalectrix from his uncle and auntie, and has something on the way from my brother. He got an awesome Emma Bridgewater dinosaur dining set and personalised colouring pencils and a game. We made sure - as much as we could - that he wasn't tooooo too spoilt, and everything was age appropriate, and as a result he's loved and played with and enjoyed everything he's been given - even the clothes and dining set. He was so lovely in the few days following his birthday, as he had so much to keep him busy, that we began to think that he was a changed child and the Terrible Twos were behind us, but he was back to his old ways yesterday where every sentence began with 'I want...' and I wanted to combust. Today he was back to being lovely, so I guess as always there'll be ups and downs and he is not a magically changed boy now he's three! Ha!

False alarm

On Friday morning, I woke up with cramping and Braxton Hicks (after having a dream that I'd given birth, weirdly) and I seriously thought Friday was going to be the day. I started trying to practice my surge and relaxation breathing and trying not to curl myself up into a ball. Ruari took Joseph to nursery and I stayed at home, convinced that if it carried on all day then he'd be out that night; but around 30 minutes after Ruari left the house, I couldn't have felt less like anything was happening. It all just stopped. I might add, after a bowel movement. I often get sharp cramping pains when I need to use the loo, but this was not that. So I'm a little perplexed as it's not like it was a dodgy tummy kinda movement, so all I can put it down to is a false alarm. 

Baby preparation

Everything is laundered (and laundered again, thanks to a little visitor (a mouse) we had which left some droppings on our spare bed). Today I finally applied some Lansinoh nipple cream after my shower to start preparing my boobs as I've heard it can be helpful to start applying it before baby's arrival, which I didn't do last time around. I haven't done any perineal massage - I just can't bring myself to, and Ruari has had nothing to do with with that area in MONTHS (my choice rather than his), so I'm not about to ask him for help. I just about managed to de-fuzz slightly, but it's not looking great down there! I've been doing some breathing exercises and bouncing on my birth ball... but mostly I've been carrying on as usual - having to take it easy here 'n' there - and just trying to enjoy the relative calm, peace and Joseph-cuddles. 

I wonder if this will be my last update, or whether I'll make it to 40 weeks and far enough past it that I actually get around to blogging about it. Who knowwwwwsss!!

[edit: I had some tech issues around posting this blog post and I can confirm that I have made it to 40 weeks with no sign of baby!]

Links to some of Joseph's presents, FYI...

Play house from B&Q: £50
Sand & Water table by Plum: £89.99 (this has gone up by £10 since we ordered!)

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

37 weeks pregnant: Life lately

I've lost my marbles! I've lost track of which week I'm writing about - so I'm just going to bang on about what's been going on and what we've been up to lately - nothing to do with pregnancy really as I don't have much to report aside from having been signed off by the consultant - hurrah! I turn 38 weeks pregnant tomorrow, I've got my midwife in the morning, and feel hyper aware that I am entering the drop zone!!! And the house isn't ready!

Swimming, lunch & park fun in Tenderden

I joined the boys for a swim and we had a hoot. We then went to Prezzo for lunch but Joseph seemed to be a bit tired and silly after swimming so he didn't eat much, but found energy at the park afterwards. It was such a nice day - all three of us + bump - and the sun was shining.


A week after our fun in the park, we went to Legoland. I didn't realise at the time of booking that it was half-bloody-term, and the dates weren't changeable, so I was pretty annoyed with myself as, obviously, we're not restricted by term times due to Joseph's age. I'd have been more upset if I'd paid full price - as Joseph isn't three, he didn't need a ticket and I had collected coupons from The Times newspapers to get two adult tickets for £10 + £1.50 booking fee. I booked a local guest house for the night before for £60 and bought us sandwiches and snacks from Tesco in the morning so we didn't spend much in the park itself aside from essentials like ice creams and coffees.... oh and a pirate hat, sword and shield for Joseph! So all in all it wasn't too expensive, and I think it'll be a day that Joseph will remember. He told me that he'd told his nursery pals about Legoland, and he's freakily aware of the Lego logo on things now. As am I. Who knew they did so many collabs.

The day itself was lovely - the sun was shining again - and it felt really special to be spending time as a family of three. Despite the carpark being rammed by 10am, the park itself must be huge because once we got past the entrance area it wasn't crowded at all. Joseph was keen to go to the Star Wars exhibit though he got scared almost immediately and wanted to get out.... then go back in again. He then had a little play in a play park with Ruari before going on our first ride. I actually found the ride a bit fast - I usually love rides - and was slightly concerned it could induce labour! After gathering ourselves (Joseph seemed a bit stunned too), we wandered around a bit more and Joseph went sifting for gold whilst I had a sit down and ate my sandwich. (Writing this has made me realise just how much Joseph played with Ruari whilst I sat down in various areas!) We actually only made it onto three rides (the submarine being the best), but the day went so quickly and it was 5pm (closing time) before we knew it. We had dinner at Cobham services as there was traffic on the M25, plus it was tea time. We got Joseph ready for bed there, expecting him to go to sleep, but he stayed awake the whole way home and I think it was gone 9pm by the time he crashed out.

Easter egg hunt

Joseph was supposed to go to nursery on the Friday, but two of his pals were visiting Kent for a couple of days on their Easter breaks so we went to see them in the afternoon after a slow morning together and a 'magic bath' (I chopped an Intergalactic Lush bath bomb in half and shared it with him.... that is true love!) Ruari's mum did an Easter Egg hunt for them all, and Joseph ate his body weight in sweets, cake and chocolate as I didn't realise the kids had ALL THE SNACKS in a little den they had made! I'll add some photos from the day as I took a few on my DSLR but haven't got round to editing them. On the 'magic bath' note; I'm planning to point Lush out to Joseph when we're in town next time so that he can start asking Ruari to go in there when they go to town together (= bath bombs for me) mwahaha!

Preparing myself, resting and nesting

The past couple of weeks have gone so quickly. Last week I spent the majority of my 'me time' getting my hair sorted out whilst I still had the chance, however it threw me way off my blogging course. I was happy to keep my roots and get the blonde bits mega whitened and toned to grey, but the stylist wanted the transition from root to grey to be a little more subtle so she hand-brushed some bleach on the dark part of my hair. After four hours in the salon, the colour hadn't lifted enough and the stylist wasn't happy (nor was I to be honest) so she asked me to come back in the next day for a re-do. Luckily Ruari's mum was able to keep Joseph overnight and I returned in the morning thinking it'd be a couple of hours, max, but I ended up spending six more hours there! The dark part lifted further, but none of my hair took the bleach enough to lift to a white enough base to take they grey toner - and now after subsequent washes - it's just blonde. I'm glad to have had it done though as I now know for sure that grey just ain't ever going to happen for me until nature takes its course so I can put that dream to bed!

I also bought a new pair of specs as I suspected my brown specs would clash with my hair colour and it turned out to be good timing as a couple of days after I'd ordered them, Joseph trod on and broke my current pair... it was my fault for leaving them on the bathroom floor whilst I had a shower though.

I spent the hottest day of the year so far (Sunday) cleaning and doing laundry. Yesterday I bought some more bits and bobs for Joseph and the baby (a Buzz Lightyear onesie is essential to match Joseph's jammies), muslins and a couple of Little Bird body suits that were in the sale. Today, Joseph's been with his Granny whilst I have been sorting through the spare room downstairs. I've cleared it all out and cleaned it - all ready for baby to either sleep in there with me or just nap there during the day time (please be a napper!!)

Oh! Joseph now sleeps in a proper single bed; we had to take his book shelves down to fit it in the space where his cot bed used to be, but I'll take some pics and add them on here once we've got it all nice again. His old cot bed is now in our room - and I ended up buying a Sleepyhead pod after hearing so much good stuff about it. We have a travel cot as well which I'm going to set up in the room downstairs so if he does end up sleeping in there I'll put him in the Sleepyhead in the travel cot. The trouble with living in a converted bungalow is that we have two upstairs bedrooms and one downstairs one (and still only one bathroom/loo which is downstairs) so it's a bit of a logistical nightmare. Where we'll end up actually sleeping, I don't know.

So that's about it really. I'm not sure when I'll get to blog again seeing as it's bank holiday, thus no nursery, plus Ruari doesn't have his usual day off this week as they're a man down at his work but I will do my best to keep this regular as I seem to get really frustrated when I don't get around to posting.

Hope you're all well; anyone else entering the drop zone this week?!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Review: Green Toys Ferry Boat

Joseph loves bath toys. The more toys the better. He also loves having a bath with me - in fact sometimes the only way I can get him to have a bath, if it's been a couple of days and he's a bit stinky - is to tell him that I'll get in with him. Not gonna lie; with a 36 week old baby bump in tow, it's getting pretty crowded in the tub and I'm always at the tap end. I suppose the tap end has its pros as I can keep my end of the bath a bit hotter than Joseph end, using my body as a dam! Ha!

Our latest bath time addition is the ferry boat by Green Toys which we were kindly sent to review by Bigjigs toys. Joseph's been playing with it every bath time for the last week now and it has become a staple, sometimes coming up to bed afterwards too, which means it's pretty special in Joseph's books. 

The boat itself feels sturdy and well made - it comes with two cars and a ramp that can be pulled down. It feels lighter than other plastic toys; perhaps because it's obviously a boat that's designed to float, but perhaps because all Green Toys are made from recycled milk bottles rather than whatever else it is that other plastic toys are made from. It does make me wonder why all plastic toys can't be made from recycled plastics if it's possible. (Same with flushable wet wipes; why aren't they all flushable, and presumable biodegradable, if they can be made to be?)

The Ferry Boat is suitable for children aged 3+ but, even though Joseph isn't quite three, I'm more than comfortable for him to be playing with it and would have been happy for him to have it at the younger end of two as well.

Joseph loves that it floats and can carry not only the two cars it came with, but lots of his other toys too. He enjoys making it sink, too!

The packaging is cardboard and recyclable, with a couple of factoids on the side.... Every pound of plastic used to make Green Toys saves the same amount of energy as it takes to run a laptop for a month, or a TV for 3 weeks.

Overall, Joseph really enjoys playing with the ferry boat - he loves the novelty of the fact it floats and he also likes the two cars it came with. I also think he'll enjoy it for a while to come. 

It is available to buy from the Bigjigs website for £21.99 which, honestly, I think is a bit expensive, but I have come to expect to pay a little more for anything eco, frustratingly.

Do you own any toys by Green Toys? Would you consider buying the Ferry Boat for your little one?

This was not a sponsored post, but we were kindly sent the Green Toys Ferry Boat to review as part of the Big Jigs Toys Play Patrol. Thank you to Big Jigs and Green Toys!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

36 weeks pregnant: Preparing for a hypnobirth

This week I finished listening to the Hypnobirthing home study audiobook I'd downloaded from Audible; which, despite the incredibly grating voice of the narrator, was really informative.

As with any Audible audiobook, it's a bit annoying that you can't see chapter details, literally just the chapter numbers, so it's hard to know what to expect to listen to next, or skip to bits that you particularly want to listen to - but I downloaded a free sample and mp3 from the respective website (Hypnobirthing Hub) and found the chapter outline. With some Audible books it says that any accompanying resources - e.g. worksheets - for the books you buy can be found somewhere or other, but I've yet to locate them!

The units are broken out into:

Body - Talking about how other mammals birth, how birth became something to fear, and how hypnobirthing came around and how to prepare your body for birth.

Mind - Explaining how Hypnobirthing works and how the mind (and body) works together, including info about  the law of attraction and motivation, the power of self talk, and speaking and thinking positively.

Tools - Explaining breathing techniques for during and in between surges and relaxation techniques and visualisations. Again, found this bit quite hard without visuals.

Knowledge - Going through the physiology of birth, the stages of birth, hormones (hypnobirthing seems to be all about the Oxytocin and avoiding Adrenaline as much as poss), info about pain relief and interventions.

Practice - Tracks for visualisation / guided meditation during the different stages of labour. It's quite funny because the narrator's voice is semi-soothing for the meditations themselves, but they're then bookmarked by her saying the title of the next one in her more harsh voice - so it kind of gets you abruptly out of the zone (if you've managed to actually stay awake).

I've found the Hypnobirthing Hub to have quite a few useful resources, including an editable birth plan, which I started editing but found it was a little bit too much. I am not a brilliant planner, of anything, and I'm a little bit reluctant to start planning in so much detail something that I'm going to have such little control over. All I can do is have control over my state of mind and try to compose myself if things go off chart. I think I did pretty well last time round to stay calm, despite not having done any formal preparation, as I didn't have the water birth I wanted and ended up being induced with the pessary and a drip and having narcotics which, after a bit of a cry, was ok. In hindsight  - I know I mentioned this last week - wasn't at all ideal, but I really hadn't informed myself on pain medication or inductions (all I knew is that I definitely didn't want an epidural and I wanted as little pain relief as possible.) I didn't know about Pethidine until the morning when I was handed a leaflet on pain relief and even still just dismissed it as something I wouldn't want. But when the midwife said that things weren't progressing after all day of various inductions and that I'd be in for the long haul, she said that Pethidine would allow me to relax and get some sleep. But it just sped things up. I don't want to feel drunk for this birth, or hungover the next day, so I really hope I'll just be able to avoid pain relief. And I'll always wonder why breastfeeding didn't work out, and part of me thinks that the Pethidine and anti-biotics combo could have been a factor. And due to me being whacked out, I don't know how long it was until I was given Joseph to hold. I think it was within the hour but I don't think it was immediate.

Anyway, due to the lack of visuals on the audiobook, I also looked at The Calm Birth School website and found the free videos quite helpful, and the information wasn't contradictory to what I'd learnt via the audiobook - so a nice little accompaniment.

So the main thing I want to do for the next four or so weeks is practice the breathing techniques and listen to the visualisations / meditations. And perhaps re-listen to the audiobook in its entirety. It's 11 hours long, but I spend so much time in my car that I can get through that in around two weeks.

Oh, I had my scan, as requested by the consultant, and baby seems fine, measuring at 5lb 10 which is 4oz less than Joseph's birth weight, so we're expecting a bigger baby this time... possibly 8lb 2 according to my chart. The sonographer was slightly concerned by a large cyst I have on my ovary but it's fluid filled, rather than looking sinister, so they weren't too worried and it's just something to mention to the consultant in my follow up next week - in which I'm hoping I'll be discharged from her care as I don't think consultant-led births can take place in the midwife led birthing unit.
I stated a few birth preferences in my appointment with the community midwife; water birth, avoiding intervention and pain relief unless it's unsafe, immediate skin to skin, delaying cord clamping and natural delivery of the placenta. I said about not cutting the cord until the pulsing had stopped, which she was ok with, but she said that the midwife on the day may not be ok with it and that there's some research to suggest that delaying it gives the baby too much stuff. I think I will ask for a midwife that's most comfortable with Hypnobirthing practices, but I'm not sure how lucky I'll be on the day.

Just a short one today as Joseph is currently flipping out over the fact I am using my computer and it's not being used for him to watch a Pixar film. [See my last blog post!!]

P.S. In the name of TMI and lolz... the main bane of my life this week has been the combination of hayfever (loads of coughing rather than sneezing actually) and a weak bladder. You can imagine the outcome. Not cool!