Deciding to have a second child

Is the decision to have a child one made with, logic or love?

If you haven’t seen the clip of Michael McIntyre talking about couples wanting children - you need to see it! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFQfylQ2Jgg

With the first child it is definitely a decision of love and logic comes second. I remember seeing Luke with our puppy that we got shortly after we started seeing each other made me envision him as a Dad, he was so sweet with the puppy it made me see a completely new side to him. This is exactly how Michael McIntyre describes it, “Oh Darling, wouldn’t it be lovely to start a family, little versions of me and you running around, it would be so sweet, what a little fairytale” - this is exactly how people without children think. The wool is pulled over their eyes by every parent with an Instagram posting photos of all the good bits. 

Deciding to have a second child is definitely logic first, it goes a little more like “Holy shit, are we ready for this again? Well, we’re still alive after the first and that’s the main thing, so why not”. Don’t get me wrong there have been moments of hysteria where I’ve really panicked about whether having a second so soon was the right thing to do and thinking we’re totally screwed, but for the most part, especially now she’s nearly here - it’s really exciting and I think it will be worth it even if it’s tough. 

Without further ado here are my reasons of LOGIC towards why I’m knocked the F up:

First things first I’m 25 this year… and what gets worse with age? Well, pretty much everything but wine and cheese. But more importantly: being tired. A 25 year old can cope a hell of a lot easier with a sleepless night than a 30 year old. I’m sorry but it’s true. I could still be out till 6 and getting up for work at 7 at this age and living that wild party life - I mean, I don’t in any way shape or form wish I was but I think I could pretty much still hack it. With two children having had their first years of horrendous sleep over and done with by the time I’m 26 sounds fabulous. Under eye bags aren't a good look on anyone but I can guarantee they’ll look better on me at 26 than 30. 

The sooner they're born the sooner it’s over. I know that sounds terrible and having children isn’t something to get over and done with but the sooner both children are grown up and at school and having sleepovers, the sooner we get to live our life. I want to throw myself into my work and have so many ideas for my business but I kept thinking, well what’s the point in advertising and building a substantial amount of regular clients if I’m inevitably going to take time off and let them all down! I’d rather smash the kids out now, completely dedicate myself to them while they need me the most and then focus on work when they’re at school. This also goes for our relationship as a couple, I don’t have it in me to go on long weekends away and leave them but eventually it would be nice to. And the sooner both kids are old enough where we feel comfortable going away for a few days the better! This also goes for date nights - Oscar was at a perfect age to have sleepovers and has been having them here or there, so I’d like to have another soon so the day they’re old enough for sleepovers comes around sooner! I think date nights are really important and we had one last blow out before trying for another and went out for dinners, had a few cocktails, went to the casino - just enjoyed ourselves before we started the whole journey again! (More so for me, because my fat ass can’t drink while pregnant and Mama misses the booze)

Speaking of trips away, another huge plus for me to have two close together was for the sake of trips. Disney. Centre Parcs. Family holidays. I think most families wait until their kids are of a good age where they’ll enjoy a holiday to Disney, tolerate the flight to Florida, enjoy the rollercoasters and more importantly be old enough to remember the holiday! I’m already feeling impatient enough as it is to take Oscar to Disney and the thought of having another child with a big age gap meant we would have to wait even longer until that one was old enough. And I’m not waiting 10+ years to go to the most magical place on Earth!!! I want them to both be able to go on the same rides and enjoy the same things. Not one parent stay with the young one on the baby rides and the other splits up and goes on the big ones. I want them both to ride bikes around Centre Parcs and be able to swim together on the rapids. I’m impatient as hell because those were the best memories of my childhood and I don’t want to wait longer than I have to to do them!! 

Toys. Sharing toys. (Lol who am I kidding they won’t share they’ll be tantrums and snatching and whinging - but nonetheless) The multicoloured, musical, moving, shaking, dancing, noisy toys kids love and adults hate... will be out the house far sooner. Playmats and walkers, Jumperoos and highchairs. Get out my house! Go! Go! Take your cheap plastic coloured toys and go! Not only that but imagine storing that crap for three, four years waiting for your second child to use it all. Ours will be gonzo. Vamoosh. Outta here. Think of all the garage space. (LOL) Plus it’s all still in excellent condition and is still ‘the latest gadgets’. We haven’t got old, useless junk from the first baby and need to buy brand new walking, talking shiny, electronics for the second baby. It’s all here, modern, clean, working, high-tech! We haven’t had to buy anything! This bub just needs some nappies! 

She also needs milk. Ahh breastfeeding. Assuming everything goes smoothly I’ll be breastfeeding this baby too. And maaaaaan does that not excite me one bit. I have loved and really appreciated having my body back since I stopped breastfeeding. 100% personal preference but I like having my boobs to myself. I can’t imagine now having Oscar grabbing at me and feeding still. I’m already excited for January 2020 to stop breastfeeding for the second time. Not so excited for the saggy state they’ll be in - but to have my body back. I’m so not buzzing to be bitten on my nipples by teething babies, feeding while I can barely stay awake at 3am for the millionth feed that night and trying to navigate lifting my shirt up to feed with pervy old men looking in cafes. I personally think the biggest motivation for me to breastfeed aside from the obvious health reasons for me and the baby- is to be lazy. It’s the best way for a lazy person to feed their baby. And I love being lazy. Other than that, it doesn’t overly excite me. Since stopping, I now so much more prefer cuddling Oscar and getting all cosy under a duvet or just having the biggest hug, or him running towards me shouting Mummy Mummy after a day at nursery. To me, those moments have meant more to me and been 10x more special than I’ve ever felt breastfeeding. It was sweet don’t get me wrong but I’ve since felt stronger emotions towards bonding with a toddler than feeding a baby! 

I’m also excited never to be pregnant again (maybe... we’ll see). I mean yes it’s magical but the kicks (the nice gentle kicks) are probably the only part of being pregnant I enjoy. I feel fat, lethargic, unfit, tired. I can’t wait for it to be done and dusted and (I think) no more babies for me. No more births, c sections, being uncomfortable, looking enormous. I can focus on getting fit and healthy knowing this is the final body I have to work with. That it’s my own again and I can get slim and eat sensibly. I never saw the point in exercising and getting slim when I knew I was only going to get fat again with another child. And here we are, fat again. But so ready to get into shape when it’s all over. 

Lastly, everything’s still fresh in my mind. I know how to care for a baby and what my game plan is going to be. When the sleep regressions are and how soon to buy this and when to do that. I won’t be left wondering ‘what I did with the last one because it was so long ago’ as I know exactly what happened because it was only two years ago. I’m still in baby-mode. I can still remember when to start weaning, what to do if a baby chokes, how to do baby led weaning, how to get your baby to sleep, how to stop breastfeeding. Granted, I can’t expect everything to be the same as they’ll be completely different babies but I’ll have a more than rough idea what the hell I’m doing! 

I’m going to stop now with the cold hearted logic of a second child and bring us all to the love of a second child. Without the logic of a second child, I don’t think I’d be able to relax and enjoy a second child. If we weren’t in a position to have another and the timing was all wrong I’d be nervous for their arrival but due to the logic in our decision I’m nothing but excited! I’m prepared and have so many up-sides to the age gap that I’m feeling ready to power through and smash it! 

I can not wait to have another child. I have never been so obsessed with anyone or anything in my life than I am with Oscar and I have no fears of that love changing for Oscar when another comes along as I’m so confident it will only grow. 

It may sound like I’ve hated the baby years and can’t wait to get them over and done with but that’s coming from me as a selfish adults point of view, wanting to be human again. But me as a Mum, wow I can’t wait for so much. The exciting first moments all over again, weaning and the mess of baby led weaning. The cute outfits and little squeaks and noises newborns make. The feeling when it all starts to get better and your routine settles and you have the glimmer of hope that everything’s working out and you’re doing a good job.

Being a family. A big, happy, crazy family. My friend said to me the other day- you’ve got it all. The mum and dad, older boy, younger girl and the perfect little Labrador. And I thought God- I think she’s right! This is everything I’ve ever dreamt of and I’ve got it all by the time I’m 25. How rare is that? How lucky am I? Yes it will be difficult sometimes (stay tuned for a post listing the bits I’m bricking it about!!) but so, so rewarding.

I'M PREGNANT! (Again)

Hello readers, its been 6 months! What’s new I hear you ask, well, I’m 7 months pregnant! Kept that one quiet didn’t I! Actually, I didn’t - trying to keep your second pregnancy a secret for the first 12 weeks is near impossible. I’m pregnant became my word vomit, along with actual vomit. Five long months of vomit. Morning sickness - you bitch. 

I’m over the moon to share with you that we’re having a little girl (I’ve had it triple checked) and believe it or not she is due on exactly Oscar’s second birthday. For what could be a week, a day, an hour, I will have two under two. And then once that’s over I assume the sympathy stops and you have to get on with just like any Tom, Dick and Harry with two kids.

Before you ask, NO we didn’t plan for the baby to be due on Oscar’s birthday (oh, and the week before Christmas - what on earth were we thinking) it just so happened that we felt we were ready and fell pregnant on the second month of trying which coincidentally meant a baby due around the end of December. I’ve had more than a handful of people make jokes about what happens 9 months before December 19th that we keep ‘celebrating’ and making babies on - but if you remember rightly, Oscar was due on the 22nd of January he just came early, so no, March 19th isn’t an annual thing for us (Oh crap - Luke’s birthday is the 12th… maybe it is) 

It took a lot of umm-ing and arr-ing about an age gap and deciding to have a second. I will look to blame my three friends with small age gaps for persuading me into it if it all goes to pot. I knew I wanted two kids, two for me is the perfect number. I was in a position to have a second maternity leave (in fact, for a wedding make-up artist, winter couldn’t be a more perfect time to have another maternity leave), our house was already littered with multi-coloured, annoying toys and nappies left right and centre and I’d stopped breastfeeding and lost the baby weight and felt like why not go again, better now when I’m young and can evidently get back to the old me. We had survived the first year and hey - they say if you can survive that you can survive anything. Even shark attacks.

I had a few brutally honest comments saying I was mad and not to do it (I mean really, who gets involved in someone else’s decision to have children) and honestly it just spurred me on more to prove them wrong. Just kidding - it installed total fear and anxiety. But hey - I love being a Mum, I’ve never felt more meant to do anything in my life, nothing else I’ve put my hand to has come as naturally as motherhood. I’m so lucky to have enough family around me that are happy and able to help us with childcare and we’re even luckier to be finically ready for two children (well kind of, we just kept everything from Oscar’s first year so we just need nappies for this whipper snapper - that counts right?)

So here we are, 7 months deep. It’s taken a long ass time to feel human again and this pregnancy has honestly put me off having any more children. Having to look after a toddler part/full time and be heavily pregnant is tough, and getting tougher everyday not to mention. I cannot imagine being pregnant again only to have TWO children to look after. The sickness was a bitch and this time I was greeted by mine and several others fair share of migraines. I would seriously rather be glued to a toilet than have a migraine - atleast if one or both of your ends is exploding you still have time to check Facebook. With a migraine you just want to curl up into a ball and wither away into the darkness as quickly as possible.

This pregnancy is going so quickly, life is flashing by and within no time she will be here. We have a mere few months until Christmas so why not cram some posts in before life gets that much more chaotic? This blog will be a place for someone considering two children to find tips, truths and my honest experience. Or someone without kids to read while they sip their chilled Pinot Grigio after a relaxing day of wiping only their own butt - relishing in the glory that is ‘life before kids.’ You smug bastards!

Preparing your house for a newborn

Cluster feeding Netflix/Snack corner

I will handsdown admit now I know nothing about bottle feeding, so this applies to breastfeeding. To make life easier, research cluster feeding. I'll go over it and my experience in a breastfeeding post in more detail, but basically the baby feeds like crazy. A baby that normally feeds for 20 minutes and falls asleep could fall asleep at the breast and be put down 4, 5, 6 times in a row, each time wanting to feed again. If you are prepared it's no problem, if you are unprepared it is stressful and exhausting. It might seem ridiculous and over the top but who are you hurting by being a little extravagant. I would make sure in both my favourite corner of the lounge and on my side of the bed that I had a survival pack for cluster feeding. (This survival kit would also be a good baby shower present for a New Mum) This, for me, would include: The TV remote, a phone charger with a long cable, oat snack bars (also boost your supply), bottles of water (HUGE bottles), comfy pillows, blanket at arms reach incase it gets cold, plenty of TV downloaded/series lined up on Netflix, your phone, fruit/chocolate bars (depending how glutinous you're feeling), muslins/burp cloth, nipple cream (if you're struggling with sore nipples from a poor latch). I actually read a good tip today that if you have more than the one baby, to pack lunches for other kids the night before even though you're just staying at home so you can get them to help themselves/parter easily feed them which I thought was a really good tip so that you can just sit and veg out with the newborn! When I had Oscar we watched Orphan Black (Netflix), Power (Netflix), Banshee (Sky), The Night Of (Sky), Sex and the City (DVD) and, of course, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (my favourites).

Changing table

A newborn poops like craaaaaaazy yo'. Legit prepare yourself for some insane poops. I think a few times I've been through three new nappies in the space of a minute. Changing the dirty one, he weed all over the new one, I'd put the new nappy on and he would poo again before I had even put him down. I found it SO helpful to have the changing table in our bedroom for the first few months as you will be up so much in the night changing nappies, it would be exhausting walking to the nursery (even if it's just next door). A few changing table essentials: Nappies - I found Oscar moved up in nappy sizes so fast, in the early days there is no point buying the packs with 70 nappies in so save yourself money and buy in small packs like 30. Wipes - Water Wipes for a newborn as they are just water and 0.001% fruit juice so really gentle for newborn skin, and once they're a few months old, I really like Tesco extra sensitive wipes, they're so much cheaper than Water Wipes. I think they're like 5 packs for £2.50 or something! They are the only brand out of a possible five I've tried that still stay wet. Hand sanitiser - in a pump if you can find one, so much easier to just pump from a dispenser than fiddling around with a bottle. Two bins  - one for poopie nappies and one for everything else. For other items, check out my YouTube video on my Changing Table: How to organize your baby changing | OSCARSMUM.COM 

Pram in car/house?

We keep our car seat in the house. It has it's own place by the front door and I always keep a teether/dummy, a hat and a blanket in it (if it's summer it would be a cellular blanket and a cap, in the winter we used a really nice thick blanket that was a gift from Ted Baker and a fluffy winter hat) I keep the blanket, teether/dummy and hat in the carseat as it means I can put Oscar in the seat and everything he needs for a car journey in seconds. For me, it's worth having a spare teether and dummy for the car/car seat as it means you're not traipsing a dummy/teether around the house getting it dirty by moving it about all the time. Plus, then it's always where you last had it and you spend a lot less time running around like a headless chicken before you leave the house because you're late. I keep the wheels for the pram and the pram seat in the car at all times. 80% of the time I use the pram it is because I have driven somewhere and now need to walk. For the 20% I am leaving the house, whether it's to walk to the shops/local library, I can simply get the pram out of the car. I keep a pack of large Dettol wipes in the car and use them to wipe down the wheels to keep the pram nice and clean and also make sure the car doesn't get covered in crap. In the summer I have loved having a 'Buggy Buddy Shade' (http://www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk/my-buggy-buddy-buggy-sun-shade-d4518.html?gclid=Cj0KEQjw4cLKBRCZmNTvyovvj-4BEiQAl_sgQsZnOaoxghlw3VWx0m1djo0W_5blfO4guByp9cdy5IYaAuno8P8HAQ) which shields the baby from the sun where the 'roof' of the pram doesn't cover. Recent research has shown that if you drape a muslin over the pram to protect from sunlight you can increase the temperature inside the pram and your baby can get really hot so this handy mini-parasol is really handy and keeps baby cool but protected. I have two carabiner climbing hooks on the pram as its handy to carry shopping bags. Even if it is blistering sunshine, I ALWAYS take the rain/wind cover for the pram as you never know with this English weather and it is always better to be safe than sorry as I couldn't imagine the guilt I'd feel if I got caught in the rain without it.

Changing bag

I have the Silver Cross changing bag. Not particularly glamorous at all, but what can you do. It has two inside pockets that I store a packet of wipes and four nappies in. I then have a fold up changing mat that came with the bag, a handful of nappy bags, Oscar's Red Book with his medical notes, spare vest, trousers, t-shirt, mittens, socks, slip on cotton/knitted hat and baby grow. (Handy to have spare clothes in case of poo explosions and a baby grow incase you find yourself out near bedtime, you can change and feed them and then no drama if they fall asleep in the pram as you can just put them straight to bed as they're already in PJs!) I then have a bag for 'my bits'. For this you could use a make-up bag or a wash bag. I have: breast pads, hand sanitizer, a cheap mascara, roll on deodorant, a diary, notepad and pen, gloves (in the winter), tinted lip balm, bottle of water, sanitary pads, fold-up hair brush/tangle teaser and chewing gum. When I get home from going anywhere, I like to get into the routine of making sure that the bag is exactly how I left the house, so will always make sure I leave the house with the bag having 4 nappies, a full outfit change and a baby grow in so that I am never left out wishing I had. Plus, by keeping on top of making sure you always have what you need, it wont have been left a month and you go to change the baby and they have totally grown out of the clothes and nappies packed because it's been so long since you packed it. There is nothing worse than being unprepared. I once forgot scratch mittens at my Mum's house, so we had to open an early Christmas present for him that was finger puppets, stretch the fabric and he wore them over his hands to stop him trying to claw his eyes out. I have also been out without a nappy, and created a make-shift nappy by putting one breast pad over his privates and one over his bum and tucking them into his vest until I got to the nearest shop to buy nappies!!! Improvisation much?

Bathtime

The bathroom I would advise having two sponges, plenty of hooded baby towels, wipes (you may need to wipe a pooey bum before putting them in the bath), a bath insert, body wash/shampoo and the Lion King soundtrack (my favourite album for bathtime anthems). For when YOU want a shower, I would place Oscar in his chair, in the bathroom, only when he was in a good mood. The chair vibrates and plays music, so I would just shower with him in the room and talk to him the whole time singing and saying his name so he knew I was there. I've gotten into a good routine of getting dry first before moving the baby as it's not worth risking trying to pick the baby up if there's any chance of a slippy floor or you having wet feet as the last thing you want is to slip and fall.

Things for you

I would keep a go-to basket of 'freshen up' items by your toothbrush in the bathroom. So that when you ask someone to watch the baby while you go for a wee, you can do a five minute spruce up - brush your teeth, roll-on deodorant, face wipes, mascara, creamy concealer you can blend in with your fingers and a hairbrush. Rather than running about trying to get ready and look after the baby. You'll be surprised how fast you can perfect this five minute routine any time of the day, the more you practice. It will make you feel one hundred times more human. 

Laundry

For the first few months I used a really gentle detergent. (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earth-Friendly-Products-Laundry-Detergent/dp/B001AQM2DQ/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1498508894&sr=8-1&keywords=baby+detergent) Once that ran out I use Fairy Non-Bio to wash baby clothes. A lot of baby clothes I have are white so would do a colour wash and a white wash and use a Glowhite sachet so they stay nice and white. I keep a basket for dirty laundry at the top of the stairs and like to keep on top of the washing because it does get ontop of you if you leave it too long! I use Microfibre towels over the top half of anything Oscar sits or lies in so that I can regularly wash it/change it if he spits up, rather than washing an entire cover. Anything that falls victim to a poo explosion I immediately bin - vests are the most likely culprits so don't fork out on expensive vests - ASDA multipacks all the way! If it's a particular item you want to keep, hand wash the poop out, then stick it on a hot wash and hang it in the sunshine (even if its a cloudy day) as sunlight gets out 99% of stains! Magic!

Kitchen and Lounge

The vibrating chair previously mentioned, we keep on the dining table, that means Oscar is up off the floor from the dogs and is eye level if I am cooking or cleaning in the kitchen. He will happily play with his toys or sleep. In the lounge we have a toy box that keeps a playmat and his toys that we can pack up at the end of the evening and have the lounge as an adult room again! In this box I also keep a packet of sanitising wipes in case any toys look grimy or the dogs touch. When Oscar was a newborn he would sleep a lot and the Sleepyhead pod was perfect to put on the breakfast bar while I was in the kitchen. There was absolutely no chance he was strong enough to move it, I could never put him in there now at 6 months but as a sleepy newborn it was perfect.

What I Miss

Feeling your baby kick; it was so exciting to get whoever I was with to rush over and try to feel the baby kick. I remember spending an evening with my best friend just lying down on the sofa both watching the baby roll and kick, getting videos and photos where you can see so clearly a little hand or foot reaching through. It was also so special to get something back from the baby growing inside you. I know that may sound silly, but it would be a pretty dull 9 months if it was just like having a beach ball under your shirt. Having the baby kick was the first form of communication a mother ever has with their baby. I poke you: you kick me. It was also so interesting to see a pattern forming and to know that the baby was going to sleep inside your tummy and when he was up and ready to play. I loved thinking, "I wonder if he can hear the music I'm listening to" or "I wonder if he can hear me and Luke talking and recognises our voices" 

Midwife appointments; it sounds daft but I felt so reassured to have regular check-ups and have someone making sure I was okay and someone I could ask the strange questions I was wondering. It felt like when you become really close with one of your friends Mum's. You have a second Mum. They're always so happy to see you and you feel like they genuinely care when they ask how you are. It's always lovely to say 'See you next time!' and by the time that day comes your bump is a bit bigger, something new has happened, you check the heartbeat together and you just have a connection. My midwife was the best kind, the plump, chirpy Midwife that's so lovely and you just want to hug with a really calm and 'Mumsy' voice. I was really lucky to be able to have straight-forward and positive midwife appointments and definitely don't take it for granted that my pregnancy was low risk. 

The lifestyle; this may sound ridiculous but the lifestyle of eating for two, taking naps, getting smiles from strangers, swanning around buying babygrows, telling everyone 'how far along you are' and only having to worry about yourself and your schedule, is something I miss and will never get back! I wish I had napped every single day, whenever I liked, for as long as I wanted. More importantly, I miss not being allowed to carry the food shopping in. (that shit is heavy!)

The attention; OK, OK, not the most modest thing to admit but I did love being the centre of attention. Oscar is now the centre of attention and everyone wants to cuddle him and gush over how cute he is - he stole my thunder! When you're pregnant, particularly if you're the first of your friends to get pregnant, the whole ordeal is so alien to your group that it does become all about you. The conversation is so different and new from talking about nights out and reality TV to the human growing inside you and what it feels like and how you can't believe it's all happening. I remember reading a tip that suggested not to buy too much for yourself until you have a baby shower, and I remember thinking that's crazy I'm sure we'll just get a few cards and a few cute teddies! Not that I thought my friends and family weren't generous but just that I didn't think that much of myself to expected to be showered with gifts! I never knew how generous, thoughtful and kind my friends could be! We got the sweetest presents and not just at one occasion. We were literally spoilt with gifts at our gender reveal, when Oscar was born and when I had a belated baby shower. 

The anticipation; ignorance is bliss, as they say. I will miss the unknown of what it's like to have a c-section or be in hospital and have a baby. Although I never went into labour, I will now fear all of the above when I have my next child. It will be at the back of my mind that a baby can come anytime and this time I'll really believe it. I will worry my baby won't be coming home with me on Day 1 and that we will end up in NICU again. I will miss the feeling of being sat, wondering what my baby will look like, what his laugh will sound like, what colour his eyes will be. It's such an exciting feeling of wonderment. When you are pregnant it feels like you have been pregnant for years, but looking back now it feels like it all happened in the blink of an eye. I will miss not knowing what was coming next and not knowing what it feels like to have that first kick, or what a baby's heartbeat sounds like, not knowing what it feels like to be 8 months pregnant and enormous. My next pregnancy I will know exactly what to expect and although my memory may be a little hazy when it comes down to it, I wonder if the kicks will be as exciting? I will miss being pregnant for the first time.

Being big; it felt so good to just BE big because you were allowed to be. I really liked having a bump - something to stroke, admire, gaze over. I loved not having to worry about looking skinny, that I could just let it all hang out. I loved wearing baggy clothes and not caring, wearing tight clothes and embracing it. I miss my bump so much and honestly can't wait to be pregnant again!

Checking my app every week; I loved checking my app every week seeing how big the baby was and what bizarre things it compared it to this week. I loved reading the progress of how the baby was growing and how 'today the baby is able to hiccup' - it was so unreal that what I was reading was actually happening inside me. I will miss being fascinated by the smallest feature just because it allowed me to get to know my baby that little bit more. 

 

 

Weight Gain and the Third Trimester

Before getting pregnant I weighed 9 stone and 10lbs (138lbs/62kg). In terms of my weight I would always creep up to 10 stone, hit the gym and eat right so I lost a few pounds and stayed there until it happened again. I have always hated the gym and never really stuck to a diet, I love ham and cheese sandwiches too much. Before getting pregnant I was happy with my weight but would say that my 'love handles' could do with not being around. I think as I got older and my body became curvier, love handles was just part of that package and wasn't necessarily fat but 'womanly curves' - or at least that's what I would tell myself. I loved how pregnancy made all that round out and that my love handles disappeared into my baby bump. 

At the end of my pregnancy, baring in mind I only made it to 35 weeks, I weighed 12 stone and 3lbs. Almost 3 stone of weight gain!! I definitely didn't feel 3 stone heavier, other than of course the giant baby bump. I never realised how much weight I gained in my face until I look back on photos of me at my babyshower and any photos I took while I was heavily pregnant, from the front. I had a really, round, puffy face. 

I would apply bio oil and body butter to my boobs and my bump as these were the two parts of my body growing at an alarming rate. I've been told stretch marks are genetic and creams can reduce the severity of stretch marks but not prevent them all together. Despite this, I didn't get a single stretch mark on my boobs or my stomach! I was so happy. Until I looked in the mirror a couple of weeks postpartum and saw the stretch marks I'd gained at the top of my bum!! I must've grown myself a Kim K ass during pregnancy without realising.        

I think weight gain is really alarming during pregnancy but it all came into context when I saw this diagram on Pinterest: 

   The last trimester there is no other way to describe it, other than you feel BIG. You feel uncomfortable, everything you wear makes you look huge, picking things up off the floor requires so much effort, you need to pee a hundred times a day and all through the night. It takes so long to get comfortable at night because you're twice the size you used to be and can't curl up in the fetal position anymore. In the middle of Winter I was sleeping in my underwear because my body temperature was on fire. During pregnancy you have so much more blood regulating in your body you become a human oven.

When it was mentioned at my midwife appointments that the baby's head was engaged, I got a really soft pocket of skin, it looked like pure flab, just above my pant line. I remember thinking 'Oh my God, that's the bit that will stay when the baby's come out and I'll have this flab there forever.' But, after posting on my Facebook group saying did anyone else have it, it's just where theres a dip between muscle and baby as the baby has engaged. Rest assured, that flabby bit has gone. I never knew to expect that or what it was.

Can you see the saggy skin just above my pant line? It was totally bizzare!

Can you see the saggy skin just above my pant line? It was totally bizzare!

I had a really obvious 'linea nigra' which is a random brown pigmented line that runs down the centre of your bump. My belly button had gone completely flat. My boobs were spilling out of every bra I owned. Jeans became so uncomfortable as the denim would hug all the wrong places. 

The final weeks the baby moves so much it can be so off-putting. I remember being at a few meals with friends and family and just wanting to go home because I was being stabbed in the ribs by the baby kicking. Suddenly, your belly becomes really uncomfortable to sit up right as your boobs are basically balancing on your bump and the way you naturally slouch your back while sitting on a dining chair, everything feels so smashed down and compressed. All you want is to be at home starfishing in your bed. My face in this picture is exactly how I felt - BLEUGH.

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I also had a crazy huge vein that appeared in my leg that stayed throughout my pregnancy which was totally random. It never caused me any pain but was such a bright blue in colour and really dominated my whole leg!!! 

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After having Oscar I was really impressed with the way I looked which is something I think I can hand to my age. The photos above are when he was a week old. I still looked about 16 weeks pregnant. The bit I HATED was the consistency of my stomach. Lying down it looked pretty normal but standing up I was able to grab handfuls of flab that wobbled like jelly and had serious stomach cellulite. It was so much loose skin. 

For some reason, after I had the baby, my stomach was SO brown. I had gotten a tan whilst on holiday pregnant and my theory is that it tanned the skin whilst it was stretched to a light tan, and when that skin was realised and condensed it became a much more concentrated area of pigment so was really dark. My belly button also sank right back in and MAN, did it need a clean! There was so much dirt in there it was horrendous! 

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6 months later and through breastfeeding, housework, having an un quenchable thirst and no appetite, I now weigh less than I did before I got pregnant. I have my age and breastfeeding to thank for that. I still have stretch marks at the top of my bum that have faded from a dark purple to white and the jelly belly has gone! You can definitely tell my hips have gotten so much wider since becoming pregnant so I don't think the muffin top will be going anywhere soon - I think that's just me now!

Hips before pregnancy vs hips after pregnancy

Hips before pregnancy vs hips after pregnancy

I think the timing of my pregnancy was coincidentally perfect. It is just coming into bikini season as Oscar turns 6 months old meaning I had a few months of cold to hide under my maternity leggings and big jumpers. I managed to squeeze into my old jeans 6 weeks later but definitely not well enough that I could wear them out as I had literally sucked myself in using the zip and the high-waisted fabric was too tight on my tender c-section area. But I got them on and wore them for 5 seconds which was an achievement for me! 

4 weeks postpartum vs 23 weeks postpartum

4 weeks postpartum vs 23 weeks postpartum

4 weeks postpartum vs 23 weeks postpartum  (Note the linea nigra has disappeared- the line down my stomach)

4 weeks postpartum vs 23 weeks postpartum

(Note the linea nigra has disappeared- the line down my stomach)

I think this post is very specific to perhaps my age or someone of my original frame. I definitely cannot speak for everyone as all women are different and gain and lose weight totally different. My dietician has recently told me I need to eat more cheese and yoghurts to replace the lack of dairy I consume as I don't drink cow's milk. I am happy to do so as not only do I love cheese, but I would do anything to make sure Oscar is getting the best milk. Just remember, your baby comes first, your stretch marks mark your journey and what's a little extra weight on your bones when it brought you the most precious gift of your life?

I definitely count myself lucky that I am able to feel good in my skin and the only stretch marks I gained lie under a bikini. Even when I was feeling low about my jelly belly, Oscar was definitely worth it. I think had I not 'bounced back' I would probably just become a baby machine and have another straight away as I wouldn't have much to lose. I'm dubious I won't be so lucky with baby number 2 and may ruin my body and still be unmarried. I'm desperate to walk down the aisle in the shape that I am incase baby number 2 takes over with a vengeance and I never get my size 10 wedding day.

Whatever happens with your weight, get out there and don't let it stop you from doing anything. There are all shapes and sizes when it comes to Mums and no Mum will judge another as she knows exactly what her body has been through. So, join a baby swimming class, go walking with the stroller in a summer dress. Flaunt it sister, your body created a human being. 

 

An Open Letter for Mums and Mums-to-be

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A few words of reassurance from a first time Mum.

To someone I was just six months ago: pregnant and full of anticipation. Or to the First Time, second time or third time Mum, I'm right there with you.

To the Mum reading this that's worried about getting her body back. To the Mum that's reading this that doesn't have the money to buy the luxuries for their baby they wish they could. To the Mum that's reading this that is worried they won't have a life after having a baby.

Do not worry for a second, it will be amazing. YOU will be amazing! For all your worries and concerns, don't let them consume you. It's a rollercoaster ride but an amazing, thrilling, exhilarating one at that.

There will be times where you are feeling stressed, tired, overwhelmed, guilty. There will be times when you feel low for no reason and times when you've read so much conflicting advice online you don't know what to do. There will be times when you feel helpless, times when you feel exhausted and would do anything to just SLEEP! But believe me when I say, there isn't anything you won't sacrifice for the tiny human you brought into this world. They are above and beyond, worth it.

For every time you have to peel your eyes open at 4, 5, and 6AM I promise you that little face makes it worth it. For every time you pee a little when you laugh because your body carried a human inside and things aren't like they used to be, I promise you, when they grab your finger with their tiny hands, it's worth it. For every single stupid argument you have with your partner because you're both so tired, when you snuggle as a family in the mornings, it's all worth it.

Whether you started as a size 8 and you're now a 14, I promise you, your baby loves you. Whether they're in a limited edition Silver Cross pram with a fur lining or a Gumtree second hand scuffed round the edges pram, I promise you, your baby loves you. Whether you had time to shower this morning or wipe off yesterday's smudged mascara or not, I promise you, your baby loves you.

Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, your baby will grow, learn, strive and succeed regardless. Whether your baby sleeps through the night or doesn't sleep a wink, your baby will laugh, play and adore you. Whether you co-sleep, bed-share or they sleep in their own room, your baby will feel loved and nurtured. Whether your baby is chubby, fat, tall, thin, small for his age he is your baby and he is perfection. If he's not crawling yet for his age, not smiling yet for his age- his time will come when he is ready and it will be so worth the wait.

If you go back to work straight away, if you're a full time Mum, or just do what you can on the side, you're doing the best you can do your baby. Whether you can't let them go and can't stand the thought of being apart, you're doing what's best for you and your baby, whether you have date night once a week and Grandparents babysitting you're doing what's best for you and your baby. Whether you go to a baby club every day, you're doing an amazing job, or whether you stay in all day just you and your baby and laugh and play, you're doing an amazing job.

To the Mum that's overdue, it's worth it. To the Mum that's scared to death in the premature unit, it's worth it. To the Mum that's scared of surgery, it's worth it. To the Mum that can't stand needles, it's worth it.

To the Mum that's never felt true love, you wait. To the Mum that's always put themselves first, you wait. To the Mum that's always, always wanted a baby, you wait. To the Mum that never thought she'd have a baby so soon, you wait.

You wait til your baby first opens their eyes. You wait til your baby really sees you for the first time. You wait til your baby smiles and laughs. You wait til nothing in your entire life compares to this tiny, innocent bundle of perfection consumes your entire life in the best and most chaotic way.

Never fear you will not be enough for your baby because YOU ARE. Never fear your body wasn't what it once was because IT MADE A LIFE. Never fear it won't be worth it because IT IS.

Enjoy the early days because they go so fast. Hold your baby, rock them to sleep despite every book telling you not to. Hug them tight, let them sleep on you, spend your days doing exciting things and making memories, meeting other Mum's and talking about nappies like you promised yourself you wouldn't!!

Good luck for every aspect of his journey you are about to take. If you ever feel lost just know your baby doesn't know your flaws, your baby doesn't know your fears. Your baby sees their Mum. Their amazing, selfless, cuddly Mum and to them, you are perfect.

What's in my Hospital bag?

My hospital bag being packed early was the smartest thing I ever did during my pregnancy. I saw so many women posting in the Facebook group that I was in saying that they had left their hospital bag so late and couldn't be bothered to pack it. I really couldn't see the logic in this, I always think it's better to be prepared... what is the worst that can happen? You inevitably have to pack it so why not do it early so that worse comes to worst you have everything you need to make you feel at home and comfortable in hospital.

I think I got a bit delusional at one point when picturing my labour and delivery. I got a bit caught up in the whole 'it's not going to hurt, I'll have a really spiritual, relaxing birth and will feel so incredible afterwards'. I genuinely went to Primark and bought one set of pyjamas for if I felt crap after birth and one set of pyjamas for if I felt great after birth. I pictured having a gruesome birth, a freshen up shower after, apply some make-up and my nice pyjamas and have some photos taken as though nothing had ever happened, holding my newborn baby oh so sweetly. HA! I soon realised I was literally losing the plot and that who cared what I looked like and would probably look back and wish I had some raw photos of that precious moment and that life's not all about looking glamorous for the gram.

I packed the following:

A black cotton nighty:  I predicted wearing this while in labour so that they could perform checks down below and I could possibly keep it on for the birth, meaning I could lift it up when needed but still have something full lengthed on if I needed to dash to the toilet at any point and not have my bum out. I got a larger size than fit me and could imagine having skin on skin after the birth and being able to breastfeed straight away as I could just pull the straps down.

A dark towel: There's nothing better than a humongous, fluffy towel being wrapped around you to make you feel better. I'm not positive that the hospital would provide a towel, but can't imagine it would compare to a luxurious Dunelm Mill towel that smells like home. Dark in colour because of the blood, the last thing you need is a white towel covered in blood. 

HUGE PANTS: I still have these and seriously need to throw them away because they are ridiculous to wear 6 months postpartum but were exactly what I needed at the time. I bought really big, really elasticated, soft cotton, highwaisted granny pants. Obviously, these aren't going to come in a pretty lace so the prints on the fabrics aren't the height of fashion. I had a c-section so I couldn't imagine having a tight pair of pants sitting right across where my incision lies so these were absolutely perfect.

A HUGE BRA: I got a big sized, loose fitting, cotton, t-shirt bra from H&M. You won't want anything else other than your boobs to feel ever so supported, but comfortable at the same time. They will be tender and while in hospital your milk may come in which makes your boobs rock hard so a padded, thick bra is the last thing you need.

Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, gentle unscented body wash, loofah, razor for underarms if you're in hospital a while, tissues, face wipes, breast pads, toothbrush toothpaste, deodorant (you'll have a baby glued to you so would advise a roll on so you can apply whenever and not have to worry about fumes/noise from an aerosol) hairbrush, hair grips, hairbands, makeup, nipple cream (not necessary but better to have just incase), chapstick, stool softeners, soothing bum wipes) and... a hand mirror... for applying make-up, not to give yourself an examination afterwards. I shouldn't have listed hand mirror after bum wipes... 

Fluffy socks &/ Slippers

Maternity pads: without being too explicit, I didn't need the 20 pack of maternity pads I bought. I used, perhaps, 4 of them and then switched to normal pads as didn't find the blood loss that much after day 2 and hated the feeling of wearing a big thick nappy-like pad

Disposable pants: these are maybe needed for the first few days but not an essential by any means. I would just throw away normal pants afterwards instead of wearing paper pants just because they're branded as disposable. 

iPhone charger, iPad with films on, iPad charger, headphones, a small extension cable- incase you need more plugs than provided, change for parking, camera, GoPro, GoPro charger, snacks and drinks (cereal bars, lucozades, water) 

Comfy clothes to wear home: I would suggest trackies with a loose waistband and a hoody (unless you're due in a heatwave)

Pyjamas: it was winter when I had Oscar so I packed two sets of long sleeved, buttoned up shirts and long pyjama bottoms. These were perfect because I was able to stay warm, the waistband was loose and I could unbutton what I needed to breastfeed. Any clothing you pack just ensure its loose around the waist and you can get your boobies out.

Dressing gown: because who can feel comfy and snuggly without a dressing gown? 

While I thought it was a really good idea to take my own pillow, and I did end up doing this as I stayed in hospital a lot longer, at the time, my bag started to get enormous and a pillow just seemed so excessive and I got paranoid I would turn up and someone would make the daft joke 'Oh when are you moving in?' and I'd feel stupid. I usually slept on one side with a huge pillow to hug and two underneath my head but it's rare you'll feel comfortable in a hospital bed anyway, you sleep upright (well I did anyway as this is what hurt my stitches the least) so a big pillow is the last thing you need if you're sat upright. Therefore I wouldn't say a pillow is a necessity.

FOR BABY: Baby grows in Newborn size. I would advise it matches this criteria: scratch mittens, poppers down the centre of the babygrow (not poppers to one side of a baby grow that goes over the head). I had a set of 'tiny baby' sized clothes 'just-in-case' - I think I may have been so prepared that I tempted fate and jinxed it! But I am glad I had some tiny baby outfits for Oscar. Vests and a hat. Nappies, cotton wool/water wipes. Cellular blankets. Muslins.

Carseat. And fitted to the car/you know how to fit it in the car. We had to go out and buy a premature insert for our carseat because Oscar was too small for our normal carseat so wouldn't necessarily advise getting one just in case as if your baby is premature you will have time for your partner to nip out and get that. We had one from Mothercare that was £17 so not something you want to buy unless you really need it. 

 

I was in hospital for 4 days, then went home for 3 and stayed for 3 nights in NICU so my hospital bag contents got repeated multiple times, people doing trips home for me and bringing fresh PJs and underwear. I am so glad I packed it when I did, (30 weeks) WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOSE! Even if you are 20 weeks - pack your bag. So what if it sits in the corner of your room untouched for 20 weeks - better safe than sorry!

NCT Class

NCT is a term I now use frequently assuming everyone knows what it means - they don't. "Oh I met up with my NCT Mums" I say as I get blank stares back. I don't know what NCT stands for, let me Google it right now... National Childbirth Trust... there you go, learn something new everyday.

So as you approach the end of your pregnancy your midwife will ask you if you have booked your place on the NHS course. I got told by a friend that they were a bit crap and that a lot of her friends really enjoyed the NCT class and stayed in touch with all their NCT friends. The NHS class is free and the NCT class is a three day course that is £200 for both you and your partner to attend. It's a group of 8 couples all first time parents wanting to learn about birth and childcare. 

The course is split into three days, two Saturday's in a row 9-4 with a lunch break and then a Breastfeeding session in the evening 6-9. I actually didn't make it to the breastfeeding class so I can't comment as I had Oscar on the Sunday after the second class. It's safe to say I shocked/scared the other Mums. 

When I was pregnant I said to myself and would also tell others that I couldn't see myself being friends with someone I had nothing in common with other than a baby. I envisaged still having young Mum friends with similar interests to me, into their make-up, used to be a party girl blah blah blah. But this course has totally changed my mind - there's now nothing more I love than to sit down and talk non-stop about babies. I enjoy having Mum-friends to chat about sleep regressions and pregnancy with and normal friends to keep me sane/young and hear about their crazy stories and reminisce on old times.  

When we went to the first session everyone was quite shy and we sat around learning rather than getting to know one another. We first sat around in groups of the men and the women and all brainstormed topics on a big sheet of paper of the things we wanted to learn about and had questions on. I was a bit of a know-it-all as I had read so much and also been on one of my hypnobirthing taster sessions already that had talked about the stages of labour and how birth works so I was already clued up on that but knew very little about C-Sections and medical interventions during labour (forceps or ventouse) so I couldn't be more glad that I went to this course in time for my c-section as they explained the step by step procedure, how it all worked and what to expect and without that I would have been so terrified.

We had a few activities that really put things into perspective with regards to what a woman expects from the whole experience and what a man expects. We had to order laminated 'activities' that a couple would go through after having a baby and the men of course but they wanted to have sex a few weeks after and then women put it months after so this was a good ice-breaker for the group. 

We did practical activities like how to bath the baby, how to change a nappy, how to dress the baby, what to put the baby in to sleep in, even just the basics like how to hold a baby. It was really good to have someone there to ask as many questions as you wanted, knowing they would take the time to explain. There was a lot of talk on a natural birth and it was definitely encouraged. Ironically, our group out of 8 only had 2 natural births. 

There was a lot of talk on questioning medical intervention. They spoke about how the typical birthing 'scene' is a woman lying on her back, but then demonstrated with a fake pelvis and a baby doll how the baby naturally comes down the birthing canal and how being sat on your bum conflicts totally with the way the baby should naturally come out. They said to question the midwife on shift at the time why you need to be on your back and could you try other positions such as on all fours. They said to question whether you need to be lying in bed having the baby's heartbeat monitored constantly or whether you were allowed to have intermittent monitoring so that you were able to walk around the room as this helps the baby move down the birth canal, again, naturally.

The course went over what would happen after labour and how you can repair with soothing pads and aftercare. The teacher went over tears and episiotomies (where the baby's head comes out too fast and the area splits or is surgically cut to make more room) and what to expect when it came to bleeding and how to stay comfortable with big pads and big pants!! I think talking about labour and having a baby is something you expect but talking about what happens to your body after made it so so real. The bit after having a baby is something you never really hear about as they don't include the gorey details in films and it's just cute cuddles with the baby.

I would definitely recommend the NCT course but take it with a pinch of salt. I'm not sure if all the courses are the same but ours definitely left us all feeling like if we didn't have a natural birth that we were doing it wrong, like a c-section was a failure. I think I am quite a strong minded person and know that I still have an incredible bond with Oscar regardless of how he came into this world. 

The NCT Mums have a Whatsapp group chat and we've all stayed in contact and have had so many good meet ups since. The men haven't stayed in contact so it's definitely more of a comfort thing for the Mums to have someone else going through the same thing. The babies were all due at the same time so we were all ready to pop. It's been interesting for me to have babies to compare Oscar too as even though he came 5 weeks early, he is huge compared to babies that were born when he should have been which means he's been growing more outside the womb than he would have been inside which is interesting to see! 

I also attended an NCT Waterbirth class which I thought was good but not essential. A lot about water births you can find out online and this class was only 9-12 and just went over the basics. I remember feeling like the class could have been an hour long but they dragged it out by splitting us into two teams and making us write down our thoughts and then sit and talk about our thoughts and then she confirmed our thoughts. There was a lot of team building activities which I thought was utterly pointless as I would never see these people again, benefitted nothing from being in a great team with these strangers and was just there to find out about waterbirths. In my opinion, a waterbirth would be great for a straight-forward birth, but if there were complications and you needed to get out the water but was in a lot of pain it could all go pear shaped very quickly. After having an emergency c-section and knowing they got me into surgery and Oscar out in 45 minutes, I was glad not to have been in a bikini in a pool surrounded by whale music only to be told to get out, get dry and be wheeled off for a c-section. A waterbirth can also increase the risk of tearing as the baby can come out very fast. Otherwise, a water birth had so many advantages that I think could give a woman the perfect birth but the likelyhood of it going smoothly, and the woman giving birth in the water, was statistically was low.

Geeking out online during Pregnancy

I thought I would share things I thought were helpful during my pregnancy and things I saved to my computer that I've actually found really useful now I've had a baby and put it all into practice. Towards the end of your pregnancy when you're sat, bored and staring at your humongous bump wondering how your body has possibly stretched to such a large size, you can check them out to entertain or inform yourself!

Apps -

Pregnancy +
I found Pregnancy + had everything I needed to know. It updated me as the baby grew, had a ton of pictures of what it would look like in a 2D scan, 3D scan and a cute picture of the baby's face/body at that age. It had plenty of detail about symptoms I might be feeling around that time and Luke could download it too and it would talk to him as a Dad and gave tips as being the partner and what their Baby Mama is going through.

Ovia Pregnancy
This one I just liked because instead of the classic 'What fruit is my baby the same size as' it gave funnier alternatives like ukulele or baseball glove. The full chart is on Pinterest but this app was fun to check every week.

Baby Pics & Tiny Memories
Two both similar but equally as good apps to add text to your images that are baby related and have themes like Baby's First Christmas/Halloween/Easter etc etc. They had the overlays with the size of the baby on them.


Baby Centre
Generally good app for Baby information. Still proving to be very helpful now I have had the baby as tracks baby's development.

Websites -

62 Sleeping Baby Tricks
I had this list saved to my Bookmarks since I was in the first trimester. Having read it once or twice I think that it just stuck in my brain and I have instinctively tried all or most of them and Oscar is an awesome sleeper

http://www.mightymoms.club/sleeping-baby-tricks/

30 Things to do before you have a baby
This made me laugh, I think it's a little bit drastic for a newborn as they just sleep (she says) but I think it will definitely resonate when Oscar is a toddler!

http://the-thud.com/30-things-you-need-to-do-before-you-have-a-baby/

PINTEREST!
Pinterest is really really great for baby articles, ideas, baby names, tips, hacks, facts - everything. I've made my Pinterest board Public for those of you that want to have a look. I think it's so funny to see the natural progression of my Pinterest Board as my pregnancy went along. It starts with pinning things about pregnancy symptoms, smoothies to stop morning sickness (didn't work) and then I became obsessed with the nursery and a baby shower and started pinning lots of both girls and boys things/nurseries (more girls). I then started looking at gender reveals and party decorations. Then things got serious and it was on to what to pack in my hospital bag and giving birth. And starting to pin things since having the baby such as newborn hacks, naptimes, 4 month sleep regression, weaning - oh the joys! For those of you that don't know how Pinterest work, you create your own mood board effectively, but some things you have pinned to your moodboard because you like the photo and want to remember it, like a photo of a cake, or a nursery, but then the photos also are a cover photo for a link, so everything has an external website like, how to bake a cake or how to get your baby to sleep. So it's a really great way to collate all your research and ideas without having a thousand bookmarks in your folder on your computer!

https://uk.pinterest.com/itsoscarsmum/baby/

Momspiration

My two ultimate fangirl moments go to Tammy Hembrow (@tammyhembrow) and Emily Norris (@mrsemilynorris). Tammy Hembrow just looks incredible, her body and her style even though she has two kids is insane.

 

Emily Norris I just love, she is such a good Mum and has 3 boys! Her YouTube videos are so addictive I could (and do) sit all day and just watch them over and over! She does such a wide range of videos such as vlogs, pregnancy updates, Mum Hacks, beauty videos and even did a video on her birth which really made me want a homebirth!! Perhaps if I didn't have two crazy dogs eh...

I also love Giovanna Fletcher and feel that she's so open and down to earth. And of course her announcement and pregnancy time lapse videos are amazing! I wish I had done something like that but I'm far too lazy. She has gone viral recently for being so honest about her Mum-tum and promotes a really good message to love your body!

 

Books
 

I really enjoyed Holly Willoughbys book. It was nice to read a book that just covered a few of the basics but in detail rather that too much information. It's rare in a baby book that you find schedules of your day laid out so clearly, as a rough guideline. I really wanted to know what I was in for when I was pregnant and was fed up of the books keep saying 'newborns sleep all the time' but then 'sleep when the baby sleeps' ... so I'm just sleeping all the time too am I? I wanted to know what time to start my day, what time to start bedtime and thought this book was really good to have a guideline, even if you don't follow it it's a good start to see what works for someone else and then adjust it to what suits you. 

The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy

I feel like this book just cut the crap - it was totally honest and I loved how it referred to pregnancy being 10 months long (even though I only did 8 and a bit) but I think that was a really great way to look at it instead of counting down the days to your due date as it's unlikely you'll make it there. It's written by a woman in first person so you really feel like you're getting genuine advice from someone who's been there done it!

Hypnobirthing

The Wise Hippo hypnobirthing is a programme that you can search the nearest teacher to you locally. It comes with a booklet full of hypnobirthing information and I absolutely loved it. I would write all about what I learnt about hypnobirthing but feel like I'd be ripping off the book I got as I'd just be regurgitating facts - so if you're interested, even in just the science of labour, definitely check out The Wise Hippo!

Facebook group

I joined about 4 months pregnant a group on Facebook called Babies Due Jan/Feb 2017 UK, it had roughly 300 women in it, about 200 that actually posted and about 50 that regularly posted. I honestly can say I'm not sure my pregnancy would have been the same if I wasn't in this group and has continued to be so helpful once you have the baby. Everyone is going through the same thing at the same time and there's always braver women in the group that aren't afraid to post questions you're too embarrassed to ask and that would never be on Google. During the time everyones babies were due there were a lot of 'What's this in my pants' as everyone started to loose their plugs. I wont go into detail - Google it (when you're not eating). So you're able to get all sorts of gross advice and ask about weird things happening to your body. I genuinely feel like I know the women and have made some true 'internet friends' and have such a laugh on the group and have gotten some really good advice too. It also feels really good to give someone advice and it genuinely helps them! I would probably advise you stay clear of the US groups as they do things so differently and their health care is so different its not all that relevant/helpful to have. I would 10/10 definitely recommend joining your UK one!

Birth Plan

Although I never made it to the midwife appointment to discuss my birth plan because Oscar came early, I still had written a draft of my birth wishes. I decided to call them birth wishes not a birth plan because it was unlikely to go as planned - and I was right! I found a few birth wishes online and took bits from each that I liked/wanted.

 

My birth wishes were as follows:

Yes to - a quiet, dimly lit room keep talking to a minimum and avoid asking questions during contractions

Ask permission before performing any checks or tests

Allow me to move around freely and try different positions

Only my partner (Luke) and my Mum (Sue) to be allowed in the room

Access to birthing ball and squat bar

Being in the birthing pool

Gas & Air

Wireless headphones for calming music

Being as mobile as much as possible during labour

Atleast a Go Pro in the corner of the room to film the day/birth

If in a good mood film as much as possible

Free use of food and water

Limited cervical checks

Intermittent monitoring of baby

Reminder to empty bladder before pushing

 

No to - Offering pain medications (I will ask if needed)

IV (heparin lock instead if necessary) - use water or ice for hydration

Male doctors in the room

No student nurses

Inducing labour unless medically necessary

 

Birth Wishes:

All fours for birth in pool as first attempt to push

Delayed cord clamping

Dad would like to cut the cord

Hold the baby while I deliver the placenta

Skin to skin contact & breastfeeding immediately

I did not get A SINGLE WISH but I still had a very smooth and straight-forward delivery and the medical staff were amazing so I can't complain under the circumstances - everything that was done was what was best for Oscar.

I think its a lot easier said than done to be demanding and fight for what you want when you're about to have your baby. I trusted the staff implicitly so in my mind, what they said, went. In that moment you just want what is best for your baby and whatever is going to be safest needs to be done, so I think it's all well and good to have birth wishes and I think you can understand the type of birth I wanted from the birth plan, but I can't imagine many births coincide with their birth wishes/plan.

Our prenatal class encouraged us to question the medical staff. If they said we needed to start pushing on our back, question, Why can't I push on all fours? (Gravity). I would have liked to of thought if I had been in labour and pushed Oscar, that I would've spoken up. But I think the fear of speaking up and something going wrong and it being my fault was too great. 

I really wanted a waterbirth and had looked up a ton of information about water births, I went to a water birth NCT class, watched a ton of water births on YouTube and considering my pregnancy was low risk throughout, I was certain I was going to get my water birth. I started a hypnobirthing class in the evenings but only had time to attend the first class. I found that the more information I knew about the science behind birth and how the human body changes and reacts in order to deliver a baby, the more comfortable I felt with trusting my body and being prepared for what was to come. I think that there was absolutely nothing to lose with the hypnobirthing classes. I wasn't certain the hypnosis part would work, tricking the mind into a state of relaxation by practicing breathing techniques and listening to tapes, but the mass amount of information I found out during the course was so fascinating and reassuring that it was worth it if just for that.

I had watched every single episode of One Born Every Minute in order to prepare myself and all the blood and guts in the world didn't put me off - just watching the needles pierce the skin is what made my stomach turn. I wept at every single birth as soon as the baby let out it's first cry. Being pregnant in general but more importantly thinking about labour feels like when you pluck up the courage to go on the biggest rollercoaster in the theme park, climb in, put your harness down and the ride starts to chug along, up and up the incline - there is NOTHING you can do to get off or avoid what is about to come, so you can either close your eyes and miss it, or enjoy the ride! (Oh man- that last bit was cheesy wasn't it?)

Midwife appointments & Growth Scan

I was really lucky and had a great midwife called Sandra. She was so lovely and really bubbly. I've never struggled with being open with health care professionals, if something's going on with my body I'm not shy to say so - but I can imagine if I was shy, she would make me feel at ease as she's so calm and sweet.

I found it so interesting that throughout my pregnancy, socially - I am a young Mum, but medically I am in the best shape possible to have a baby. Everytime I had a check up I had next to no complaints that were always met with, 'Ah yes well you're young!'. It seems crazy to me that some people look down on others for having a baby younger, but it's the older women that have more problems with their pregnancies and have high risk pregnancies. I was low risk throughout my pregnancy and even now people seem reluctant to congratulate you on getting your pre-baby body back as 'you're young' so it's as though the weight just falls off you (I won't lie - it has - don't hate me).

When you go to your first appointment you get a folder full of blank paper with graphs and tables and charts on and in no time the chart fills up so quickly. I can remember flicking through the empty pages when I was pregnant thinking how none of it meant anything and now to look back it's all so interesting. 


Every midwife session they require a wee sample which strangely enough they couldn't get rid of down their own sinks, so you have to take your wee home/pour it in their toilet afterwards and wash the pot out ready to bring back with a fresh sample at your next appointment. I had a student nurse on a few of my check ups and won't lie, I am so glad she didn't do the blood test at 28 weeks even though she offered. I am not great with needles and the thought of a beginner made me even more nervous! You have to have a blood test at 12 weeks and 28 weeks and I remember being so nervous on the day of both as I knew they were coming.

They listen for the baby's heartbeat using the doppler which as the weeks go on gets more and more difficult. It can be a tense moment when they put the doppler on your stomach and the heartbeat can't immediately be heard. When the baby is tiny it is easy to find the heartbeat as they just have to feel from left to right and find the baby. When the baby gets bigger they have to press the doppler in quite far and scoop it around the baby's shoulder to get to the heart. As the baby gets bigger it also moves far more so the doppler has to be moved around to get a steady heartbeat. 

You can buy dopplers online and a few ladies in my pregnancy Facebook group had some and would listen and there is also an app where you can place the microphone of your iPhone into your belly and it picks up on the heartbeat. Although I did download the app for fun, I was told to never ever, ever, reassure yourself that your baby is O.K. through one of these methods as it can be so inaccurate as you don't really know what you're doing. If you sense something is wrong with your baby ALWAYS get it checked by a healthcare professional or your midwife.

Once you reach 28 weeks I think it is, your check ups get more frequent and they also start to measure your bump. It can be quite uncomfortable as they have to push down hard on your pubic bone to check it's the correct point they're measuring from and then finish the measurement just under your ribs. They also push their hands INTO your stomach to place their hands either side of the baby's head and wiggle it around to check if the baby is engaged. When the baby is around 30 weeks the head and the bottom are of a similar size so can take a while to feel around to find out which is which. Oscar was engaged and head down everytime she had a routine check but it was the strangest feeling and really uncomfortable to have someone shove their hands into your bump but doesn't last long.

Since 2016 the regulations on being sent for a growth scan became a lot less lenient than they previously were. This meant that the measurements that were taken of your growing bump, if they didn't follow a smooth curve on the graph and were just a cm off either way you were sent for a growth scan to check the baby was growing ok. They also sent you for a growth scan if your baby was measuring too small or too big. It usually meant nothing and that the baby was fine, it could mean that one measurement was taken when the baby was lying in a certain direction that made the measurement larger, or that maybe you had a full bladder during another measurement. It's all just a guess, so they sent us for a scan as Oscar was measuring big at 30 weeks. It was hardly surprising as my bump was so huge, but the Midwife assured me she was almost positive it would be nothing and that we should just be excited that we have an excuse to see our baby again.

The scan went smoothly and was a male doctor this time. The start of the scan was really unexciting and was just him taking measurements on the screen of his body parts, brain and organs. And then he showed us Oscar's face as a side profile with one hand up. It was crazy to see how much he now filled up the screen as he was so big and you could hardly fit any of his body parts on the screen as he was so big! He then gave us 3 photos of Oscar's face for free which was nice!

 

Although it was quite daunting being sent for an extra scan, it was quite nice to be able to see him again before he was born. I never in a million years would have thought he'd have come along a month later (5 weeks early). It is the same waiting room at the same hospital where we had all our other scans so it was so strange seeing women without bumps but looking super nervous/excited thinking it literally feels like yesterday that that was us!

What not to buy

Burp cloth

I bought a 3 pack of burp cloths, thin strips of fabric that you place over your shoulder. I have probably burped Oscar a dozen times in his life (5 months) as he is breastfed and I guess just not very windy. I have not once used these burp cloths and have never thought to. I think if I was to wind a baby over my shoulder, I wouldn’t trust a thin piece of fabric to catch the sick as it can be unpredictable and spew all over the place. I would say 9/10 times Oscar has been sick whether I’ve bounced him around too soon after a feed or he’s just been fed on top of an air bubble, it is simply too unpredictable that you would have a cloth, it just goes all over you and everyone needs a change of clothes. 

Nursing wrap/cover

This is personal choice, but I breastfeed Oscar in public all the time and have definitely found that putting a huge cover or muslin over me simply draws more attention to what you’re doing. I’ve seen people breastfeeding where they bring their boob out the top of their top and feed that way but find that leaves the whole chest and boob exposed. I have nursing bras on that I unclip and then lift whatever t-shirt I’m wearing up and his head/body covers any skin I have exposed, you honestly can’t tell what I’m doing it just looks like I’m cuddling him. When I started feeding I tried putting a muslin over myself but the only colours I have are white (to blend in with the baby sick) and all the clothes I wear are mostly black (in the winter anyway) so it just sticks out like a sore thumb. I also think it’s not very fair or nice on the baby to have a cover over them while they feed. I would recommend to anyone nervous about feeding in public that the more you try to cover up the more people will look, I say nothing, do very little, carry on talking to whoever I’m talking to or doing whatever I’m doing and just have Oscar latch on under my t-shirt and no one bats an eyelid

Boots snot sucker/bulb suckers

Our dog chewed the Nose Freida one day so I bought a Boots own ‘snot-sucker’ in an emergency and the difference is ridiculous. I am a true advocate for the Nose Freida I can clear Oscar’s nose in no time and it gets so much snot out. It has a wide opening just smaller than his nostril, a long, wide pipe and is easy to clean. I also find bulbs that remove snot absolutely useless, the power of you sucking compared to a tiny bulb is incomparable. I also like being able to control the amount I can suck whereas with the bulb you have no idea how much force is going up babies nose. I have never succesfully gotten snot out of the bulb sucker either but I can imagine it is impossible to clean, the Nose Frieda just gets rinsed under the tap. (sometimes if it’s got particularly hard boogers stuck I use the end of a plastic toothpick to scrape it out! TMI - I’ll stop talking about snot now!) 

Wipe warmer

The wipe warmer has been a running joke between Luke and I as when I bought it on his Amazon account he thought I was ridiculous. I had read about the wipe warmer and also tips on how to make the sleepless nights easier. If a baby is kept warm, cosy, in the dark, soft voices, they are more likely to go back to sleep easier after a feed/change. So I thought the Wipe Warmer would be a brilliant purchase as surely a nice warm wipe on your behind is a lot more pleasant than a cold wipe in the middle of the night. Well, we set the Wipe Warmer up and my days, what a disappointment. I used water wipes and they were lovely and warm in the Wipe Warmer, but within seconds of hitting the cold air (it was winter) of our bedroom, it was cold again. The Wipe Warmer is also plugged into the mains, so after 8 hours of ‘warming wipes’ the Wipe Warmer was so hot, like when an iPhone gets hot. It definitely couldn’t be safe to keep it switched on all night. Another factor that makes the Wipe Warmer truly pointless is the fact that in the middle of the night if you have a sleepy baby that falls asleep easily after a short feed, you can use a nappy change to wake them up a bit so that they continue to feed on that side, or swap to the other side so you know they’re getting a full feed and may sleep that little bit longer! So a cool wipe was exactly what you needed! I remember seeing the Wipe Warmer on an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Kim was showing Rob the Wipe Warmer. Who knows, maybe its a nice feature to have in the summer with an older baby, but with a newborn in the winter, it definitely was utterly useless.

Rocking chair

I have to say I did use our Rocking chair a lot and it was really lovely to feed in, but I definitely wouldn’t say it was an essential. As I am breastfeeding, in the night I would just feed Oscar sat in bed. In the daytimes, when a newborn naps a lot, I would say it’s handy as I was using his crib a lot so that I could get things done around the house. So would feed him in the chair (that was in his nursery) and then place him in his crib that had his Sleepyhead in. We moved house when Oscar was 4 months old but our previous house was all one level so it was possible to have the nursery door open and get on with things in the kitchen and be able to listen out for him. Had we lived in the house we live in now, I think I would have definitely used his nursery a lot less, if at all, and would have just had something for him to sleep in downstairs. Therefore, the nursing chair was only useful because I was using his crib for him to nap in. Since moving I haven’t used it at all. I did think it would come in handy when Oscar started sleeping in his own room as I would have somewhere to sit and feed, but the size he is now, to feed him in a standard nursing chair (with arms and it rocks) he is simply too long and impossible to comfortably curl around my body as the arms get in the way. I think a chair without arms, but with really comfy back support would be better in a Nursery. It’s also impossible not to rock in the chairs as it is so relaxing and I do worry that rocking him would become a sleep association and he would only be able to fall asleep if he is being rocked. So all in all, if you want a chair for the nursery I wouldn’t say you needed one until your baby sleeps in their own room and perhaps wouldn’t recommend a nursing chair. 

Crib (crib sheets, bedding, bumper)

Similarly to the previous reasons why not to get a nursing chair, a crib is also not essential (for a newborn). By crib I mean, wooden bars, mattress, big boy crib. For me it was the most exciting item to buy, I knew we didn’t need it but I was too excited not to buy it. Choosing a crib, building a crib, choosing the theme of the nursery, choosing bedding for the crib to match - it is all so exciting and amazing to have it all finished before the baby comes. Realistically, for us anyway, we didn’t need a nursery for the first 6 months. It was especially annoying, moving house and having to take apart the crib, after having put it together when pregnant, to move it to the new house, put it back together only to not use it. Having had bedding out on the bed for five months now (Winnie the Pooh theme) it is just collecting dust and will need to be washed before he uses it - baring in mind babies aren’t supposed to use duvets so it is purely decorative, makes bedding even more unnecessary. By not having a crib we could have saved so much more room and money. Some parents use moses baskets that their babies grow out of around 16-20 weeks so move into a crib a lot faster however, we have the Chico Next2Me co-sleeper which Oscar still fits in now at 5 months so there is no need for a crib until Oscar sleeps in his own room.

Night light/projector

We bought a projector that looks like a small globe that rotates, projecting stars and moons in various colours onto the ceiling. When we lived at our old house I got into doing a bedtime routine in his Nursery with the lights off and the projector on and doing baby massage before bed but upon Googling what colours were best to soothe the baby before bed, I read an article about how lights actually stimulate a baby so are counter productive at bedtime and won’t wind a baby down but will just stimulate them, similarly if a baby watched TV all night. Thus said, I haven’t used the projector since. I suppose I could use it for a bit of baby sensory but it never occurs to me in the middle of the day to go upstairs and sit in the dark with some shapes on the walls.

Baby bath

I mentioned this in my previous post, how filling up a baby bath and walking it as it sloshes side to side through the hallway to put into the lounge. To then have a 10 minute wash and empty the bath down the sink. It is so much easier to put the baby in a normal bath so that when you’re done you can pull the plug and walk off. (Make sure the baby is out first of course)

Muslins

For some reason Muslins, as a pregnant woman, is brainwashed into your mind that these are an essential and you need a million. I will admit I do use them but haven’t been blown away by the qualities of a muslin. I use microfibre towels as they absorb much better, are quicker to dry and softer on baby’s skin. As previously mentioned, I don’t use nursing covers but a muslin could be used for this so maybe why I haven’t used them so much. I like to have a muslin to put down over things I don’t want to directly lay Oscar down on like the grass, but then use microfibre towels on his skin as why use the same muslin for both… he could get bird shit in his mouth. Not ideal.

Bibs

For some reason, I seemed to buy a set of bibs every time I went to a supermarket that had a baby section. It seems like there are so many different types of bibs, large, waterproof, small, silicone… the list goes on. I have only ever used a bib if i have to give Oscar Calpol after his injections because it dribbles down him so much and ruins whatever he’s wearing. Apart from that, he has never been much of an excessive dribbler enough to need a bib. I even think now, the more I look into Baby Led Weaning, I’m going to get the IKEA full coverage bibs, basically a long sleeved apron as BLW gets messy! So the bibs I bought (33 to be specific - I know, what planet am I on) probably won’t be used as I won’t be doing purees!!

Flannels

A few of the baby towels I bought came with flannels, either loose cloth flannels or ones like mittens that fit over your hand. I find flannels much too rough on a baby’s skin and prefer to use sponges. I also bought a cheap 10 pack of flannels from Mothercare. I must admit, the only time I have used those flannels is when Oscar has been sick down my chest and I can’t afford to have a shower so just give myself a flannel wash!! 

Baby Back support

I bought this before I knew about or had bought the Sleepyhead pod. I tried Oscar in it a few nights ago and he absolutely hated it. I can’t see how a bumpy, foam support with a hole for his head can even compare to the soft smooth halo that is the Sleepyhead. It also keeps his legs up in the air which must be ok otherwise they wouldn’t be able to sell them, but for me as an adult I wouldn’t want my legs like that so don’t really like him in it.

Disposable changing mats

These are sticky pads that are basically the same as Puppy Pads. I have a waterproof/wipe down changing mat on the changing table so presume it’s for out of the house use as they are disposable. When I change Oscar out the house I use the fold out-wipe down changing mat that came with the Silver Cross Nappy Bag. When you’re changing a baby in a Baby Changing station in a public place, your hands are FULL. You do not need another thing to put out, fiddle about with, flail around with, get covered in poo, only to try to dispose of, probably covering yourself in poo and the bin and the wipes and it just goes downhill from there. I can’t see how or when you would use disposable changing mats, but I do have two packets because I see things in the baby aisle and presume I need them.

Electric swing chair

We got an electric swinging chair from a friend of ours whose baby had outgrown theirs. Oscar looked like he liked it, but it was a rather large contraption to have your baby in and definitely not something you could leave them unattended in. I couldn’t see the practicality of it, it had a lovely swaying motion and you could play music in it, but you couldn’t leave a baby unattended in it, so unless you wanted them to fall asleep in it and then were staying in the same room with them, I couldn’t see how it would be practical. I also didn’t want Oscar to get a sleep assosiation with being swayed by this chair. I didn’t want to be one of the Mums that says, "He only sleeps in his swaying chair!” like it’s the baby’s fault, no you just let them fall asleep in it too many times and now they can’t sleep without it! Oscar used it once and we kindly returned it.

Snowsuit

I bought a blue, all in one snowsuit for Oscar with matching mittens and thought it would be perfect to keep him snug in the winter. We didn’t walk anywhere in the winter so everywhere we went was in the car. New research has recommended that you don’t put babies or even kids in the car with a padded coat on as it means the straps can’t go as tight as necessary against the skin, giving the most protection possible in the event of a car crash. So if we were going everywhere in winter it is in the car, thus, the snowsuit can’t be worn. And there’s no point taking a snowsuit in the car, travelling somewhere to then put him in it for the novelty of it.

Dressing gown

Both dressing gowns Oscar has have been gifts from my friends, and they are both so so cute and he looks adorable in them. However, they do not really have a function. A dressing gown would be after bath time or in the morning while still in PJs. We keep the house warm enough in the day that just a vest and baby grow keeps him warm enough so a dressing gown would therefore make him too hot and to put his dressing gown on after bath time would be pointless as he is going straight to bed. Definitely in love with both his dressing gowns but as a new mum or pregnant person I wouldn’t (and didn’t) go out my way to buy one! I will definitely get one when he’s a little older and able to play after bath time before its time for bed.

Shoes

I bought a couple of cute pairs of shoes, nothing expensive, but the amount a newborn is in and out of nappies, that’s a lot of shoes to be taking on and off, and socks, and trousers. The less faffing during a nappy change the better and while shoes do look adorable and are a great gift/novelty they are definitely not an essential!

Swaddling pod/blanket

I bought a cosy ‘Swaddle blanket’ from Mothercare that had a strip of velcro on the blanket and a structured hood to the blanket that was designed for swaddling. However, the label says do not leave baby asleep in this blanket. So for what other reason would you put a baby in a swaddle blanket, being swaddled is a known method to help baby’s sleep, they wouldn’t hang out wide awake swaddled as the blanket suggests.

Bath temperature 

I bought a duck that has the temperature on it, that in all honestly doesn’t even properly work as its a strange display for the numbers that you can barely make out. I was surprised how hot the water was for Oscar’s first bath in NICU that the midwife ran for him. I definitely now am sure to stir the bath water so that the temperature is even as I have found sometimes I can run both taps and one end of the bath will be hot and one cold, meaning you could take the wrong reading depending on the end of the bath. Now, I just make sure the bath is nice and warm but not too hot. No need to obsess over the exact temperature, hopefully you can use your common sense of what would be too hot for your baby!

Angel care monitor / Owl sock

We got one of these as a gift upon leaving NICU as we were so used to having Oscar on monitors and it was quite daunting taking a premature baby home. However, the midwives told us that they sound the alarm so frequently when nothing’s actually wrong that it’s not worth the panic it sends you into. You also can’t use the motion sensor in the Chico Next2Me bed as there is no solid base so we returned it and just got a normal video monitor. A baby shouldn’t sleep alone until 6 months old as recommended to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) so realistically if you’re sleeping next to your baby while they are that young, and are getting up every few hours, you’re able to keep an eye on them without the need for monitors.

The 20 week scan

The 20 week scan was probably the most magical moment during my entire pregnancy. We knew we wanted to know the gender and had been told that the NHS 20 week scan is mainly checking all the organs are forming properly so if they can't clearly see the gender, they don't waste time trying to get the baby to move so that they can see whether it's a girl or a boy as it's the least of their concerns. With that being said, we paid for a Gender scan at the local ultrasound place just incase the NHS scan couldn't clearly see.

The NHS scan we spent the first half having no idea what was on the screen as they zoom in on the organs and spend an indepth amount of time checking the brain, kidneys, stomach etc etc. They change the colour of the screen and check the umbilical cord that shows that blood is pumping to the baby - it was similar looking to a string of DNA and was red and blue (or green and red - I can't remember). And then they show you the cute parts. We got photos of his feet, his huge legs and a few side shots of his profile, including a strange one of his mouth open so we saw his jaw parting!

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The NHS scan we asked to know the sex but to have it written down on a piece of paper and had already booked and paid for the private scan so asked them to do the same, just to double check! The lady that performed our NHS scan we were chatting to and said that we had been warned this NHS scan was very straight forward and for a medical purpose entirely and she said that it was and that she much more enjoyed her part-time job doing private scans as it's less strict. To my surprise, it was the same lady that performed the private scan! She confirmed that she saw exactly the same sex as she did on the first scan at the hospital. Thinking about it now, I'm not sure what we would have done at our gender reveal if one scan said girl and one scan said boy! We were really lucky as all of Oscar's scans came out really clear and we were able to get some amazing photos!

When I was sat in the waiting room for the private scan, as Luke was at work I was on my own, I was asked to fill out a form and at the bottom it said if I wanted it on a disc, USB, extra photos, frames etc etc. The woman on the reception desk told me I didn't have to decide that now and I could once I'd been in there.

The difference between the NHS scan and the private scan was crazy. The NHS scan took about 10 minutes, we were in and out. The private scan I was in there for about half an hour. I think 20 weeks is the perfect age to have a scan as the baby is small enough to have room to flip about but big enough to see facial features and make out body parts really clearly. I never, ever imagined that he was flipping around in my stomach that much. It was really, really magical. At this point I had had a few kicks in my pregnancy so putting two and two together that the legs on the screen were those that were kicking me! At the end of the scan I was so amazed by what I had seen I asked for it on DVD as it was so special - and I was told I had to say when I went in so that she could hit record!!!! I was so gutted, the woman at the desk said I could decide after if I wanted a hard copy of anything.



The photos that I got afterwards too were much bigger and she said she had no limit on how many she could print so I got about 20, whereas the NHS scan was 5 for £10, three of which were the same photo. The private scan was £40 so considering I was in there for half an hour and got 20 photos twice the size of the NHS photos I would definitely say it was worth the money, I just wish I had got the DVD! (Ah well, I will get one on the next baby!)

It's definitely a much less nerve wracking scan, the 12 week scan you have the possibility of bad news but the 20 week scan you're able to relax a bit more. We decided we didn't want to do a 4D scan as to know the sex of the baby but to also know what the baby looked like, we both felt didn't really leave much to surprise for the big day. We were happy enough seeing just the side profile of him. Despite the Nurse saying that for an ultrasound to have any effect on a baby it would have to stay on the same spot for over an hour, but all scans move about and are never longer than half an hour, I was still dubious about a 4D scan because to me it seemed so much more invasive being able to make out that much detail from inside your body. I know they wouldn't let you have it done if there was any risk to the baby, but personally I didn't like the idea of it. 

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We have two frames of both scans in Oscar's Nursery that I love, it brings back so many memories of being so excited and not knowing what was to come. Looking at the photos now, his side profile is exactly the same as the scan photos. 

Oscar's photos from his newborn photoshoot are on the left and the two frames on the right are the 12 and 20 week scan!

Oscar's photos from his newborn photoshoot are on the left and the two frames on the right are the 12 and 20 week scan!

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This photo creeps me out!! If you can't quite make it out... the black circle is his right eye and it's almost as if he is giving a thumbs up to the camera, then there is a black mark for his nose and mouth. 

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Having a bump & baby kicks

I really miss my bump. There wasn't one day where I found it annoying, painful, in the way or inconvenient and think I was so lucky, as you can get bad back/hip pain. I never knew much about 'having a bump'. I thought that a baby kicked once or twice during an entire pregnancy and it was really exciting and a rare moment. I also thought every other pregnant person could see baby kicks as clearly as I did throughout my pregnancy. Turns out you can have an anterior or posterior placenta. I had a posterior placenta which meant that my placenta had attached to the back wall of my uterus, so when the baby kicked he was kicking right against the skin of my bump. He was easy to feel and his bum would stick out all the time. Not only this but he would kick like crazy. It was like watching an alien moving around in my belly. Oscar used to kick a little bit in the mornings, a few kicks around lunch and in the afternoon and then between 7 and 10pm EVERY NIGHT from about 30 weeks, he would kick like no tomorrow.

If you have an anterior placenta, when the baby kicks it just kicks the placenta - if this is you, you may be able to feel the kicks but because the placenta is between the baby and the wall of the uterus against the skin, but they aren't really visible. I quickly learnt not to brag about watching the huge kicks I could see as some Mums/Dads didn't have the same experience to be excited about. (Your notes from the 12 week scan should say anterior/posterior placenta but they don't point it out to you or explain.)

It's really important to try to figure out the daily routine of your baby, when they're asleep, when they kick the most. So many women posted on my baby Facebook group saying 'Haven't felt the baby kick all day - should I call the hospital?' YES - no matter how small or insignificant your doubts may seem why risk it, the worse thing that can happen is you go into hospital to be monitored to check the baby's heartbeat and that everything is ok and they send you home. The reason Oscar came early was because I felt reduced movements and went into hospital to be monitored and had an emergency c-section, imagine if I had just gone to bed instead thinking it would be O.K. in the morning? I can't even think what could have happened. 

Our #movementsmatter campaign challenges dangerous myths about baby movement during pregnancy, and gives mums-to-be the facts about what to do when they experience reduced fetal movements. Please share our film, it could save a baby's life Find out more: www.tommys.org/movementsmatter


The first kick was at 18 weeks. I was wondering why I hadn't felt any kicks yet as a few people asked if the baby had yet - I searched #babykicks on Instagram and found a bunch of videos of peoples babies kicking at 18 weeks. So I lifted my shirt up and began to poke my belly wondering if something was wrong and why the baby wasn't kicking. And then one little kick popped out my stomach. It was so magical, I couldn't believe it. I then tried all afternoon to get a video of this little kick but had no such luck. Babies definitely know when you have the camera out. My camera roll would have rows and rows of videos of my stomach doing nothing. It was only at about 22 weeks that I started to have frequent kicks and was able to get a few on video. They would still only be darts of the skin moving at a second like it was a kick or a punch. In the third trimester when the baby is much bigger, the kicks turned to entire limbs rolling up and out the skin. I would sit in front of the TV for hours and watch him tumble and turn, over and over.

As a Mum-to-be, it's so exciting being able to almost have the first point of communication by being able to tap your belly with two fingers and have a reply back with a kick or a hand poking you back. At first, and so many Mums I'm sure will agree with, it was so difficult to get Luke to feel a kick, there was no way of knowing when the baby was going to kick early on so it would just be a matter of, 'Quick!!!! The baby's kicking!' only for him to then hold his hand on my belly for five minutes and feel nothing, for him to then stop and he would kick 10 seconds after!

Me at 20ish weeks, in Oscars Nursery with all his unpackaged baby things! I can't believe I thought I was 'huge' in this photo - boy was I in for a treat!

Me at 20ish weeks, in Oscars Nursery with all his unpackaged baby things! I can't believe I thought I was 'huge' in this photo - boy was I in for a treat!

I took so many photos myself of my bump and how big it got and loved the baby apps that put how big the baby was as an overlay. I got to 35 weeks which was as big as a bunch of carrots or a coconut. I knew when I was only a few weeks pregnant that it seemed pointless taking pictures as I didn't have a bump or certainly not a noticeable bump and just looked bloated for a bit - but those pictures are so good to look back on and compare how big your bump gets, so I'm glad I took them. No matter how small or insignificant you think your bump or lack of bump is, take a photo anyway because it all counts! I made a few videos of a full 360 view and can't believe the times I thought I was big - I really had no idea what was in store. I definitely had a big bump which I guess was lucky as Oscar came out a healthy size for 35 weeks.

If you're brave enough or bothered about how your body is going to look after having a baby, take a few photos of your body without a bump from a few angles. You might want them as a goal to get back to your pre-baby weight. I don't think it would make much sense to find a photo of a random fitness model and say this is my goal weight as that person isn't you and probably hasn't had a baby. So I'm working towards exactly how I was before I had Oscar and then if I want to go even further I can. But I see no point trying to get a six pack and be super skinny - I never looked like that before so what makes me think this time around I'm magically going to love exercise and eating healthy - because I don't!

At 26 weeks pregnant and with a pretty huge bump, I had some maternity photos taken as I had been a makeup artist for a local photographer Simon Ackerman on some of his shoots, who had very little maternity photos in his portfolio and asked if I wanted some. I agreed because I always think it's better to do something and wish you hadn't than to wonder or regret having never done it. Part of me wanted to wear the most incredible outfits like something out of a magazine or a celebrity photoshoot, and take it really seriously. And part of me thought 'Who was I kidding' and would just wear a maxi dress or something and smile sweetly. I knew I wanted them to be tasteful shots that showed off my bump without looking like I was doing a half naked underwear shoot - which in reality I was. I had seen some pretty lame maternity shoots that just made me cringe and I had no idea how I would look on camera as I am no model so I went with my expectations pretty low.

I had a flower wreath made for my hair and went with it down and curled. I took a few outfits, one that I made myself from white lace and a bandeau as I had seen dresses that split and draped either side of your bump but that were £50 on Etsy so knew I could make one myself much cheaper, especially since it was just for a set of photos so didn't want to spend a fortune. I'm really happy with the photos, although I think I would've liked some smiley ones as all the ones we took/I got back were the serious pouty ones, as Simon is a Fashion Photographer so understandably they were more serious than sweet. I was a little dubious about posting them to social media as I didn't want people to think I did the photos because I was full of myself - but posted them anyway as I really like them. I wont lie I did request my double chin be Photoshopped out of one just because I was looking down and it doubled over - so embarrassing!!

 

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Your Changing Body

These changes definitely won't apply to everyone, but hopefully if you're reading this and it's happening/happened to you too then you may find some comfort in knowing it happened to me too.

First things first - BOOBS!

I have never been blessed with the boobs I want, until I got pregnant! I always wore push up bras and looked crap in a bikini (just my opinion, no offense to anyone in the Itty Bitty Titty Committee and loving it) but around month 4 I started to spill out my normal bras. I opted to wear looser bras because not only did they get bigger but they got a ton more sensitive and tender so a rock hard bra full of padding was so uncomfortable. I liked Peacocks £3 slightly padded sports bras as they were super comfy but still had a bit of shape to them. I think anything with cups was a waste of money as it soon wouldn't fit. I haven't ever had my boobs measured but I would say I went from a 32A at best to a full 32C over the last year. Of course it came at a price - dark nipples. (TMI) a very common pregnancy side-effect (if not a guaranteed side-effect). The nipples darken so that the baby can find them better in the dark - how hilarious is that. Since breastfeeding they have definitely got a lot bigger too. It's not so much of a big deal as the breast grows too so the 'ratio' if you will, stays the same. I'm not suggesting you end up with enormous burger nips on some 32AAs don't worry, it all stays in proportion.

Skin

Throughout my teenage years I always had bad skin. I don't think I would ever tell someone with actual bad skin/acne that I thought my skin was bad, but I'm the type of person to get one or two spots, spend an hour trying to cover it, decide it looks too hideous and not leave the house. When in retrospect you probably couldn't even see it in the first place. I always had spots on my chin which Google always told me was 'hormonal' which meant it had nothing to do with how well I was washing my face or taking my make-up off, it was a chemical in balance internally, so creams and treatments never really worked. ALAS, I came off contraception and got pregnant and not a single spot! In hindsight, I think it may have also been coming OFF my contraception and that perhaps it was my contraception (the implant) in the first place that may have been giving me bad skin as I have had the implant put back in and have had a few blemishes, granted not like before, but was nowhere near the perfect skin I had while pregnant.

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Having a bump and gaining weight

Having a bump is the strangest thing. As it happens so gradually you don't notice how big you're getting. I remember taking photos at 20 weeks and posting it on Instagram with hashtags saying how huge I was - little did I know I would become ENORMOUS and I didn't even go full term! Around month 4/5 my belly button was flat as it had been pushed out by the baby and boy did it need a serious clean ha ha - gross right?

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I gained just under 3 stone during my pregnancy. Before I got pregnant I weighed 9 stone 10 lbs and when I had Oscar (at only 35 weeks) I was 12 stone 3 lbs. Our scales at home tell you your weight in KG and this means nothing to me as I've always weighed myself in stone so I used to ask Siri on my iPhone 'how many stone is 65kg' and hearing it said outloud back to me was probably the worst bit. I have never been more than 10 stone in my life and as soon as I creep up to 9 stone 12 lbs I hit the gym hard and get back down to my safe zone at 9 stone 10 lbs!! I definitely would consider my pregnancy to be 'all bump'. Now that I've had Oscar, my body 6 weeks later looked the same as before I was pregnant but the consistency of a jelly belly is simply bizarre. It looked flat and toned but if you grab it, it has so much loose skin it's unreal! The jelly belly started to shift around 3 months post partum and I am now exactly the same as I was before having Oscar. (I will do another post on baby weight!) I currently weigh 10 stone 2 lbs and can't see myself getting down to my pre-baby weight as I now have the weight of my new boobs!

Having a huge bump started to get really inconvenient around 30-32 weeks. I had to squat like a ballerina to pick things up off the floor, getting off the sofa required a lot of grunting and shimmying, driving became really quite nerve wracking as my belly was so close to the wheel and I was really aware there was a tiny person in there and if I crashed he would definitely be squashed to say the least! Shaving became a distant memory. Although it is fun having a bath and your bump poking out the water and having something to look at in the bath, shaving is SO difficult. I gave up shaving anything but my underarms from about 30/32 weeks after admitting defeat. I booked a wax in for the big day but obviously Oscar came early, and let me tell you in Theatre there are about 10-12 people staring at your naked body so bush or no bush you're not going to be looking great nor does anyone care or will you ever see them again.

I have a tattoo of a rose on my hip and was really worried that would stretch but I think it was perfectly placed that it just grew ever so slightly as my skin stretched and did so at such a slow rate that there was no difference during pregnancy or after which I'm so pleased about! After having the baby it has gone exactly back to the way it was so I'm really lucky. My c-section scar is really faint where they had to cut under one of the leaves of the tattoo and has healed differently to the rest of the scar as I think where they cut under the tattoo, the skin there is scar tissue so has healed white and the rest of the scar is pink (for now).

My least favourite thing about being so big or having a bump in general was how much I missed sleeping on my front. I used to fall asleep in seconds and had mastered the perfect position on my front. Sleeping on my side I found really uncomfortable - but now I love it, funny how you get used to things. I bought a 'hugging pillow' for £8-10 from Dunelm and would literally hug it to stop me from trying to creep onto my front and found that it just felt like I was my normal size but hugging a huge pillow and my bump seemed non existent.

Bleeding Gums
During my pregnancy, which I only realised after having Oscar, was a pregnancy symptom/side effect, was how bad my gums got. I only realise this now as I've had the baby and they are 100 times better and have healed so well. My front two teeth on the bottom row, the gum line got so incredibly low down that the strip of gum between the two teeth in fact came away and was like a 'flap'. It bothered me every day and I would stare at my teeth in the mirror every time I brushed my teeth and would be so scared to go to the dentist and I presumed they'd give me some lecture about not flossing, that I just avoided the situation completely and hoped it would get better. I tried all sorts of mouthwashes and toothpastes and would endlessly Google bad gums and talk to Luke saying I needed surgery to fix my gums and would have to skin graft from inside my mouth. He thought I was crazy, quite rightly. I used to watch the adverts about the woman waking up with no teeth and panic that that was what was happening to me. But sore gums is a recognised pregnancy side effect - so just take care of your teeth as much as you can, go to the dentist and don't panic it all goes back to normal!

Foods
Not being able to eat certain foods is a bummer. I didn't mind not drinking, but definitely missed rare steak, blue cheese, pate and boiled eggs. It was only around 30 weeks that someone posted an article saying you could eat boiled eggs if you were pregnant as long as the packet had the Red Lion stamp on. I had one coffee every now and again but didn't mind not drinking one everyday, I didn't need coffee anyhow, I was able to nap anytime I liked. On the day I had an emergency c-section to have Oscar I had had a roast dinner with a red wine jus and actually asked the Midwife if that could have been the reason he came early. I'd like to say she didn't laugh but I guess it was a stupid question. I did have any cravings whatsoever during my pregnancy but got kind of sad when people asked and I had no reply. I tried convincing myself I craved tuna as I happened to fancy a tuna sandwich for lunch 3 days in a row. But lets be honest, that's not a craving that's just fancying a tuna sandwich 3 days in a row.

Being 'the pregnant one'
I found it frustrating that nobody lets you do anything or lift anything heavy because you're pregnant. I know its for the best but the small stuff I could still do people were still fussing over me! I felt useless and didn't like depending on other people to do incredibly simple tasks for me. (I won't lie, I did enjoy leaving the weekly shop in the car and getting Luke to bring it in! Simply because our front door was miles away from our driveway). On the other hand, I was shocked how little people actually give you their seat or let you push in. I remember doing a carboot sale with my friend and going to the queue for the portaloo, there was about 6 people queuing and I was desperate, I was about 5 months so wasn't enormous but was still quite clearly pregnant and nobody let me push in!!! I even stuck my belly out more and tried to look like I was in some discomfort and nobody gave a toss! I didn't need to push in but I wanted to feel like royalty and not queue.

Strangers asking you a thousand questions is something you quickly get used to and commenting on your body and hearing everyones "MY friend once went into labour and..." Why is it word vomit for people to share their horrific labour stories? You only ever hear about the ones whose babies that just slip out in an hour or the ones that are in labour for 4 days. People commenting on your bump, mostly elderly women, is also something you constantly get. "That bump is so low, it must be a boy" "You're all bump, you don't even look pregnant from the back" "You're huge!" "How long to go? You're low! He's ready! Is his head down? Have you felt him kick?" You almost want to wear a t-shirt saying 'Yes I'm pregnant, it's a boy, yes my bump is big, yes its low."

I remember one day in the space of 20 minutes I got two women make snap judgements of me while I was shopping in Matalan and then Dunelm. I had to sign up for a Matalan card and she asked me if I was a student, I said no and her reply, "It's never too late! Maybe when little one comes out you can go back and study!" Errr... Thanks, I already have a degree. For then ten minutes later for a women to say I must be hot in the sun with a bump that big, to then explain, "Well I planned my babies you see, so I was able to make sure I was at my heaviest in the winter" Thanks very much, this baby is planned to! 

 

The Musthaves!

I have to admit, this process I was obsessed with. I had THE biggest Pinterest board, read so many blogs, books, articles, forums - you name it. I wanted to be so overly prepared - plus I had a lot of time on my hands as I wasnt working. I used Pinterest and typed in Baby Shopping list/Registry and collated a few different lists in order to make one big list. I was in two minds about whether to buy bits and bobs for breastfeeding or bottle feeding as I wasn't sure how I would feed the baby. I really wanted to breastfeed but didn't want to spend money on things I may not use. Similarly with bottle feeding, I didn't want to buy formula just in case as firstly it may have been tempting at 4am to prepare formula if I was really struggling with breastfeeding and secondly just because it would be a waste of money to have formula sitting in the cupboard if breastfeeding was faultless. So I decided to buy neither.

The items that I am so glad we got are as follows:

(NB- for a newborn)

Wubbanubs - these have been our saving grace AND the worlds biggest pain in the arse! While Oscar was in NICU they asked if he had a dummy as it would settle him, I guess as he was in an incubator he couldn't find comfort from being cuddled so he sucked on his dummy. It has done such a good job in soothing him, he used to cry when I changed his nappy and the dummy would make him happy again. When he is milk drunk and put into his bed, he has a little suckle on his dummy and is asleep in minutes. When he had blood tests his dummy would calm him - he just becomes so content when he has it. I think its also a good indicator of when he wants to suckle for comfort and when he is hungry - he will suck for dear life on his dummy when he is hungry which is an easy way to know when to feed him! As for the Wubbanub brand - it has a teddy attached with weighted feet so that the dummy sits on their chest, so when the dummy falls out his mouth, it's still somewhere around his mouth and he is able to pop it back in his mouth by himself. It also makes it a lot more difficult to lose them as opposed to a normal dummy. Although they have been a pain due to our greedy Wubbanub thief of a dog, Milo. He has chewed the dummy off SEVEN Wubbanubs!! And they are not cheap! Luckily I have been able to buy replacement dummies, wash the Wubbanub teddy in the washing machine, and attach a new dummy.



Nappy bin - The Tommee Tippee Nappy bin is revolutionary - O.K. maybe not but I think it's pretty cool (you will need to buy the specific bin liners that go in here too). It allows us to have a nappy bin in our bedroom without any nasty smells as each nappy is individually wrapped in a bag by twisting the dial to knot the bag. It probably fills about 30 nappies so lasts a few days but my gosh are they heavy when you take them out!!

Microfibre towels - I bought so many muslins as I was told they were an absolute essential however, I definitely prefer Microfibre towels. I use them for everything. We got a pack of 12 from Amazon for £24. I use them to drape over the top half of Oscar's bed so that if he spits up, I can just change the towel instead of the bedding. I use them in the bath to get wet and drape over him so he stays warm. I use them to have handy around the house to wipe spit up. I use them on any toys he has such as the playmat or his chair and place the towel, again, where his head is in case of spit up. I find that they're a lot softer than muslins so I don't mind wiping his face with them.
 


Water wipes - as far as wipes go these are great, they have no chemicals in them just 99.9% water and 0.01% fruit extract. They stay really wet and do a terrific job at cleaning up the poo explosions.

ASDA Little Angel nappies - I bought these upon recommendation but also bought Pampers just in case. I started using Pampers as we had to buy Micro size nappies while Oscar was in the NICU and once we were both out of hospital and he was in 1's I couldn't believe how much softer Little Angels from ASDA were. I haven't had any issues with them (apart from the odd unavoidable poocano) and now that he is in size 4's and only pooing once a day, I am able to put him in their size 3 Comfort Dry nappies that stay dry for 12 hours which are great for overnight. (They are also blue and have whales on which really excited me - how sad!)

Nose Frieda and saline drops - This contraption looks like you would end up with a mouthful of snot, but I've found it works really well. I did have one of the snot suckers in the bulb form but I didn't like not knowing how much force was being put up his nose - so with the Nose Frieda (A long tube that you suck one end and the other end goes up babes nose) I am able to control how hard I suck. To be honest, when Oscar sounds congested and starts snorting like a pig, I will put a few saline drops in (remember this has to be thrown away 4 weeks after opening) so that his snot becomes wet and loose, and I will lightly blow/suck around his nose which normally tickles him enough to sneeze which jets out his bogies anyway. If that doesn't work I will gently suck around his nose moving the pipe to the walls of his nose so I am sucking snot rather than right up his nose and into his damn brain! It works everytime and Oscar is always so relieved when his nose is clear, sleeps so much better and I don't have to worry about him not breathing when he breastfeeds.

Chicco Next 2 Me crib - This crib has been really good. When we brought Oscar home we didn't have the Sleepyhead pod that he sleeps in, nor did we have an extra mattress. We just had the Chicco crib. It is huge - and he looked so tiny compared to it. The matress it comes with is also hard as nails, so I would reccomend getting a matress insert thats a lot comfier. The Next 2 Me crib is great to prop up to the bed so when he needs feeding I can scoop him out and onto my lap to feed him. I also think that with a baby sleeping so close to you, as oposed to a moses basket in the corner of the room, I can hear him much more easily. Which means I can catch his early hunger queues and grumbles and feed him as quickly as possible, instead of waiting for him to cry uncontrolably and get himself worked up and not to mention wide awake. This way Oscar stays in his sleepy state and settles back down a lot faster. (I also just keep the bathroom light on and the door ajar to light the room which I find helps a lot instead of turning on a light and startling him and waking him up)



Sleepyhead 0-8 months pod - This has been a lifesaver product I think and I definitely think it's worth the money, despite when it arrived thinking - well its just a big cushion. If you look into a concept called the 'forth trimester' it is all about replicating the conditions of the womb to make your baby feel safer and sleep better. The Sleepyhead has a nice comfy, flat cushion base and a padded pod around their head and body in a U shape. Although it says 0-8 months, Oscar is filling it out pretty quickly even now, so I will have to see how/if it lasts him til 8 months! I love how it is transportable, so Oscar can nap in the daytime in his nursery with the Sleepyhead inside his big boy crib, and he wouldn't even know the difference. We can also take it to friends and family's houses and he can nap on the floor/on tables or kitchen worktops (big kitchen islands, not just the side of the kitchen sink!!) and on the sofa. All of the above of course under supervision - I would never leave him to sleep in this anywhere other than a safe and wide surface.

Sleepyhead bed covers - This is a no brainer, anything that you can buy a cover for that a baby uses you should. We bought a pack of three, theyre really soft and ever so slightly larger than the Sleepyhead which I think works better as it allows the cover to dip down in the same way the Sleepyhead does rather than the sheet being taught due to the high sides. I do, as previously mentioned, use a Microfibre towel under where his head sleeps so that I can just change that if he spits up. The Microfibre towels are long enough that they run no risk of being on his face in the middle of the night - they drape well over each side of the Sleepyhead so stay put no matter what.

Bath insert and sponges - We bought an individual baby bath as my Mum suggested you may not always want to bath the baby in your bath but maybe bath him in the lounge. I can say that for us, it is not convinient at all to bath a baby in the lounge. We have two dogs, wooden flooring in the lounge so not the cosiest and to fill the bath with water then walk down the hallway whilst it sloshes about, only to have to walk back to tip it away - PLUS getting all the bath bits into the lounge and then put them back in their place is JUST a nightmare. It may work for you but it doesn't for us. So the baby bath has been used all of one time. The bath insert is really good. It's so simple to just run a shallow bath while you undress the baby (we keep a packet of wipes in the bathroom and a spare babychanging mat) and then pop him in. As I said before, I also drape a Microfibre towel thats wet with warm water over his body and it keeps him warm throughout. We also have sponges that we use to continuously squeeze warm water over his body to keep him nice and snug. The insert also works if you want to get in the bath too and you can play together. It allows them to lie at an angle, have their bum supported so they don't slip down/off and has holes in so that they are half submerged in water. It's really easy to clean and Oscar seems pretty content in it.

Arbonne Baby range - Nappy cream, Body Lotion, Body wash and SPF for when he is 6 months old. (http://www.arbonne.com/PWS/OliviaAmes/store/AMUK/product/ABC-Arbonne-Baby-Care-Set-1149,2258.aspx) - I don't use products on Oscar everyday but when I do, its reassuring to use a product that is all natural and gentle on the skin. The body wash/shampoo gets nice and bubbly in the bath if I do want to put some bubbles on his head for comedic value, and the moisturiser is nice as sometimes he gets dry legs. The brand is so pure it's so reassuring to use something 100% safe for your baby and worth spending the extra so you know exactly what's going on your baby's skin.



Breastfeeding pillow - Although I don't use this pillow for breastfeeding, I do find it really good to sit Oscar up in if he's awake and sat next to me, and it's also really good for tummy time. I like to put a mirror the other side so he's arched over the pillow and looking at his reflection. He doesn't love it everytime, but much prefers it to lying on the ground while he builds his neck strength. It also doesn't run the risk of him face planting the ground.

 

Various chairs/play mat - we have a Rock and Play bed from a friend that oscar would sit in in the lounge, a vibrating chair that sits on the dining table in the kitchen and a playmat upstairs, I've found it really handy to have somewhere in each of the main rooms you use to have somewhere to put the baby. Alternatively, if the wheels of your pram don't get muddy you could keep the pram inside and count this as somewhere to put the baby. When we brought Oscar home we didn't have anything so he slept in his pram a lot of the time, even next to me in it in bed for the first week.

Gro Egg - I love the Gro Egg as it gives you peace of mind that the temperature of the room is good. When we first brought Oscar home I was a bit obsessive with it, checking the exact temperature of it and then taking his temperature and making sure he had the correct amount of layers on and was making sure far too often that he wasn't too hot or cold. Now I just make sure the egg glows orange rather than blue or red and make sure he has a few layers on and it's great peace of mind. It has only glowed blue once, so I was able to get up in the night and turn the heating on and put an extra blanket on him until it glowed orange again.

Sleepsuits with mittens - I never noticed how much I valued sleepsuits with mittens until he was in one without them. When he was a newborn he used to try and gouge his own eyes out and scratched his face a lot. I took him to my parents one day and he didn't have anything to cover his hands and had to end up stretching out a few finger puppet toys my Mum had bought me for bathtime and putting them over his hands! Now that he's older he doesn't scratch his face anywhere near as much but I would definitely recommend sleepsuits with mittens for a brand new baby.

Warm button up coats - As Oscar was born in winter, I was having to dress him up in a lot of layers if we were leaving the house. Not so much now, but when he was a newborn he would hate being changed and anything put over his head would really upset him. So I found coats that were button up as opposed to over the head jumpers meant he was a lot more settled and didn't have to disturb or upset him by forcing a jumper over his head.

Blankets - cellular and normal - I use cellular blankets for Oscar and put them up to his armpits when he sleeps, so that if for any reason they get pulled up, he can still breathe through the holes, and then I use thick fluffy blankets about 10cm down just to keep the heat in at the bottom of him. The normal blankets are also great to put around his legs in the carseat and keep him nice and snug. I like to use lots of thin blankets so it's easy to build up layers and take layers down if he gets too hot.

Grobag - The only Grobag I bought Oscar was a very thin togged, 0-3 month size. I used it when he had a little more meat on his bones and didn't run the risk of slipping down and inside it. It has four poppers that go two on either shoulder but I just attach one popper furthest from his face as I worry it's too tight on his neck. They are slightly a pain as they are so high up they always seem to end up with milk on from him feeding or spit up on. So I do find that it is in the wash a lot, I put it on a 15 minute wash just to take the edge off the smell. I also like to keep it on the radiator while I do bathtime and then it's a good part of the bedtime routine to put him in his sleeping bag all warm and cosy. I find that it keeps him in his sleepy state while feeding him at night as I'm not taking him out of every blanket keeping him warm, so the warmth stays with him when I pick him up. Its then a lot easier for him to fall back asleep as he doesnt have to get cosy or adjust to the temperature of his bed if it has dropped - as he is already in his sleeping bag of warmth.

Carseat with adapter for pram wheels and Isofix Base - I didn't like to keep Oscar in his car seat for days out when he was younger as the carseat was quite big for him and he couldn't hold his head up properly in it so it wasn't ideal for him to breathe very well. However now he is over 10lbs he fills it out a lot better and is able to sleep in there a lot more comfortably. It is so much easier popping in and out of shops to put Oscar straight from the car onto a set of clip in wheels. I would also really recommend the Isofix Base as it takes two seconds to clip the carseat in - times I have taken him in other peoples cars without them you have to climb over and fiddle around with the seatbelt every time you want to get in and out. The Isofix base is also safer in case of an emergency as the base is attached to the carseat so less movement. It also has an indicator that goes green when the car seat is in correctly.

Multipack boring, cheap vests - Oscar was born in the winter. I have so many vests with designs on, sayings, brands, characters. It is absolutely pointless as they are never seen. If I had thought this through when I was pregnant (as I had no concept of dressing a baby) - I would have simply gone to ASDA and bought various sized, white vests and be done with it. If you have a poo explosion the vest just goes straight in the bin so no point buying expensive or branded vests and spit up usually only gets on the top layer (sleepsuit/tshirt) so you're unlikely to need to change a vest as much as you do sleepsuits or outfits so no need to buy a million.

If breastfeeding - 

Lanisol Breastpads in bulk - I actually bought a bulk order of Breast pads by accident and was so shocked when a huge box of 100+ turned up but BOY do you need them. I hadn't really ever read what happens, how often or why you leak so didn't know what to expect. But let me tell you - you need breast pads and you need a fresh pair for the daytime and a fresh pair for bed. While you feed on the left side, the right side will 'let down' which just means a few drops come out automatically. I also like to rest Oscars face on the breast pad under the side he's feeding, as a lot of milk dribbles down the side of his face - so instead of making my clothes/bra wet, it just soaks into the breast pad. If you are due a feed, your boobs can go rock hard and start to leak as they are so full. I also found that while using a breastpump, sometimes if you don't have the suction cups at the right angle, the milk just dribbles down you, so again, placing the pads just by folding them down over your bra, they can save you from embarrassing wet clothes.

Amazon Nursing bras - These bras I wear in the day. They aren't padded in the sense to give you cleavage by pushing your boobs up, but they are thick enough to give you a nice rounded shape under clothes when you don't want to wear a really unflattering loose sports bra. I've slept in these bras a couple of times by accident/laziness and they are uncomfortable so you will need a looser nursing bra for bed. They are spongy enough to fold down well and not get in the way when you do want to feed and are a nice pillowy surface for Oscar to rest his head on! They're also really cheap - I have four in black as I wear one everyday and they can end up smelling quite milky so good to have them on rotation in and out the wash. Black is definitely the best colour as doesn't show any possible wet patches and goes with most things you'll want to be wearing.

H&M Nursing bras - These bras I bought in a large which are really big for me, which I'm now really glad they are. I wouldn't wear them under normal clothing as they come up quite high and are really loose and unflattering. Its suggested that you don't wear a bra at all at night as your boobs are producing milk while you sleep so a tight bra wouldn't do you any favours and you would also wake up quite sore. I have tried going braless and just in a pyjama top but as I said before, you need (well I definitely need) breast pads as my top was soaking wet! I bought these bras in white, pink, black and grey although given the chance again I would buy them in all black. The white bra has turned a dingy off-cream colour and the grey shows wet patches really badly as the fabric gets darker in comparison.

My Maternity Style

I will start by saying, hands down, maternity jeans are the diggity boom - why I haven't owned these all my life and worn them out when I planned on eating half a cow at dinner, I'll never know. They are so good at looking like 'normal jeans' and are super comfy. I found the best maternity jeans were from H&M - they also do good maternity leggings and nursing bras. Topshop Maternity also do good black leggings that are thicker and have a thick waistband, they were less comfy but in places where you couldn't wear the thin H&M leggings that you can see white pants through, the Topshop ones were best. I was 4/5 months pregnant during summer and I loved wearing tight maxi dresses to show off my bump. I have always had 'love handles', and the more my bump grew the less obvious they were as I just rounded out - so I loved being able to wear tight things and blame it all on the baby as my figure actually looked pretty decent! A lot of people said 'Oh you're all bump!' - Ah yes, that is because the baby has absorbed my love handles and we are all now as one, but thankyou!

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I found that for a winter coat I knew I wanted a long coat so that the coat would go over the bump and then back down so that it looked like a baby bump rather than me just being fat. For this I found a good Superdry coat that was puffa style but extra long. All winter I dreamed of wearing the cute bomber jackets with the fur hoods but I would genuinely look like a pumpkin with legs - that style just wasn't made for a pregnant woman. After having Oscar, this coat now absolutely swallows me up but its so difficult not to wear it because it's so snug and would be a shame to waste it as it was quite a lot of money! At first when you've still got the baby weight to lose its good to have things that cover you up but at some point you have to step away from the enormous clothing, I was still wearing the jeans, leggings and tops I had bought when pregnant just out of pure habit, but after I had lost the baby weight when Oscar was around 3 months, I treated myself to all new clothes that fit and it made me feel so much better instead of hiding under these baggy clothes! Granted the jeans were a size bigger than they were pre-baby but I'm still feeling good!

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Shopping for bras became super fun because I had these fantastic new boobs. I had always had crap small boobs but pregnancy sure did sort me out. I found wearing lightweight (and for the first time) unpadded sports bras from Peacocks that were £3 were the most comfortable. It definitely wasn't worth buying expensive bra's as the rate they were growing they wouldn't fit within a few weeks. Padding and underwire also quickly became really uncomfortable as your boobs become quite tender to touch. My old bra's were also out of the question as with the amount of padding I used to wear combined with my new super boobs, they would be under my chin!!

I wore thongs throughout my pregnancy, the string tiny ones. I found that these dug in the least as they are really stretchy and at the moment they began not to fit, it was just a single string that dug into your hips and made you realise that you needed a new pair, rather than a pair of bigger pants that would stretch on the ass, hips - everywhere, making you realise just how big you were getting which was never great for your self confidence! The amount of times I tried wearing cute Calvin Klein pants like Abbey Clancey but they were simply exploding at the seams and made me feel so much worse. I also liked wearing lace pants as they didn't have a thick hem either so less 'digging in'. Ah the joys of getting fat!

At the start of my pregnancy I was able to choose between showing my bump or hiding it. These two photos are taken the same day. I was about 15 weeks pregnant. 

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For my birthday, which fell when I was 5/6 months pregnant - Luke and I went to London and had dinner and spent the day shopping. For dinner I had brought a pink, very stretchy fabric dress that I bought but never wore before I was pregnant. I felt amazing in it! I looked the right amount of pregnant - that I was big enough that it was obvious it was a baby and not just too many donuts, and small enough that I could still get away with looking 'sexy' dare I say. I didn't look grossly huge or massive. I wore heels for all of two hours and walked maybe 50 steps from the hotel to the taxi, from the taxi to the restaurant, to our table, and then back to the taxi, and back in the hotel. We were both knackered by 10 so were in bed by 10:30 - so much for our last wild night while we can without a baby!! I won't lie I did feel like a boss ass bitch posting the photo on Instagram of me in the dress as I very rarely looked that good - I spent most of my pregnancy in my pyjamas, but it felt good to look that good again! 

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I also went for a birthday meal with my friends and wanted to dress up. I wore a simple black cotton dress, off the shoulder, that I've had for years. I wanted to wear flats so badly but the dress just didn't look as glam without heels - so I braved it! It was actually so funny watching me try to walk, I had everybody holding my arms tightly so I didnt fall! I don't know how celebrities wear heels pregnant day in day out!! 

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For my holiday I spent most of the day in a bikini which was great as the bottoms were string ties either end so my bikinis still fit. And then for dinners out I wore my long black maxi dress and a crop top for one of nights which was probably my favourite outfit. I wore a lot of tight cotton dresses that showed off my bump and had a lot of maxi dresses both tight and flowy. I did find being on holiday I got a lot hotter than usual and was pretty much wiped out a lot of the time, so it helped to have flowy items on and of course PLENTY of water!!

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For the majority of my pregnancy I wore mainly black with one item coloured as I felt this is what slimmed me out. I liked wearing sleeveless blazers that I just got from eBay for about £8. And found that if I wore black vest tops underneath tops, they blended into the black waistband of the maternity jeans I had. This tip is useless for those pregnant in summer but I was huge at the peak of winter so was able to wrap up! I loved the big casual tshirts from Topshop as shown below in white, I also bought it in Khaki and Black and still wear these now as I think they are a size 10. Throughout my pregnancy I didn't buy anything bigger than a size 12 as I just knew it would make me feel worse to be in something so big compared to a usual 8-10 and plus, if I bought clothes that were a 10 and simply just stretchy, I could wear them when I wasn't pregnant. The most part of my wardrobe when I was pregnant (apart from the maternity jeans/leggings, a winter coat and a few tops) was mostly my existing wardrobe as I was simply able to stretch them! 

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Keeping it secret

I chose to keep my pregnancy to myself until the 12 week scan. I told two friends and of course, Luke knew. For me, this was the perfect amount. I knew neither of my friends would tell other people so I didn't have to worry about it 'getting out' and I knew they wouldn't any preconceptions about my decision to have a baby.

As I'm sure you will gather throughout these blog posts - I am a massive other thinker. I thought that maybe some of my other close friends may think it was too soon in my relationship or that I was too young or that I should have been married first but if you live your life based on what others will or may not even think, you will not be living the life you want. I knew I wanted a baby, I knew we were ready and I knew being married didn't make you a better Mother or your relationship any stronger. Over the past year I had tested the waters with friends by mentioning that we definitely wanted kids together some day and the overwhelming response was that I was too young and had 'too much partying that I would miss out on'. A few friends pointed out how kids was not on their mind at all and was years and years in the future for them as though that meant the same applied to me. Despite this, every single friend has been so happy for me. Those who I were nervous to tell the most - actually happened to be the most excited. I'm so glad I chose to trust myself and my relationship. I know that this was the right time for us and am so happy with our decision to start a family. Friends will come and go but family is forever.

Over the first 12 weeks it is constantly on your mind whether your baby is okay, as miscarriages are most common in the first trimester. So as something could still happen, a part of me wanted to tell as few people as possible so that if anything were to happen it wouldn't become 'gossip' but something that I could grieve/deal with privately with the support of Luke and my two close friends that knew. It was really difficult keeping it from a lot of my friends as I have a large number of friends I consider close, but to tell one meant to tell the other so I thought it only fair to tell two and just hope that the others didn't take it personally. A lot of friends live far away and only keep in contract through Facetiming/Skype or messaging and the thought of explaining I had lost the baby over the Internet was an unbearable thought and I also thought it would put them in a difficult position as some are a million miles away and wouldn't be able to be there to give me a hug if needed!

After the 12 week scan I then chose to tell those that were close to me our news as the baby was healthy and everything looked good. It had also taken me this long to pluck up the courage to tell my parents, as they had no idea we were trying. We went to theirs the day of the scan and simply took the ultrasound photos out my purse and let them do the talking. Of course it went really well but there was still a part of me that pictured them being so shocked they didn't show any happiness. Of course I knew that would never happen but I always let the mind wonder!

I chose to tell my close friends that lived away from me by Facetiming them and instead of my face appearing on their screen, the baby scan did. That was so exciting as all I could hear were screams and them losing their minds! It was honestly so exciting telling people the news as I found it so funny watching all their reactions. Most friends I met up with and told over dinner, admittedly it took me until the end of the dinner to tell them. Firstly, because I couldn't find the time to slip it into conversation - how to you mention you're having a baby amongst normal conversation? And secondly, because I already knew I didn't want to be that friend that never shut up about babies and never asked about what was going on in their friends lives - so I spent the whole dinner catching up on their news so they felt important too and then shared my news. There were loads of tears shed and excited hugs.

For the Facebook announcement, for some reason I wanted to wait a few more weeks, just to give the baby a better chance at being okay, as I was quite terrified that once it went on Facebook and hundreds of people saw it, we then couldn't take that news back. Plus, everyone is so attentive on social media these days, people always ask questions if you don't post regularly and moan if you do! I would have to have posted that we were expecting and then had something happened, I obviously then wouldn't be posting photos - so the whole world (well, our Facebook world) would be wondering why! We took a photo of both our dogs with chalk board saying 'We are getting a human' which when we posted the photo - our phones both went crazy! We were sat on the sofa watching TV and every five or so minutes would say - how many likes now? It was so exciting and we got so many messages from people saying 'Congratulations' and all our friends shared the post saying how excited they were too. From what I gathered, I don't think there was anybody that seemed upset that they had found out the way that they did. Everyone close to me knew before hand so it was just 'acquaintances' and old friends that found out via Facebook.


It was then that my friends started to piece things together about why I wasn't drinking or going out and just generally being boring. As I was always one for a drink beforehand, I knew it would be tricky to hide - especially at birthdays when the girls were going 'out out'! A few ways I hid it from them were as follows:  At one meal I ordered a cider with ice so nobody was suspicious, I then pretended to forget about it so all the ice melted. I think someone then asked why I hadn't drunk it and I said 'Oh I forgot I ordered that!' Took a sip and said, 'Bleugh! All the ice has melted it tastes gross, I can't be bothered to order another one now I'll just have water!' Another time we were at a Caribbean restaurant, when they asked what drinks we wanted I said I'll have tap water and choose a cocktail later. I then ordered spicy prawns for a starter, so when the waitress came back to check on the food, I said it was so spicy I needed something milky as my mouth was on fire - and ordered just a vanilla shake. Then said I was amazed it tasted exactly like a Pina Colada but was £4.50 cheaper - so I ordered another one! As I said before, at the BBQ the day I found out I was pregnant, the girls had Pimms and chopped fruit and I ran inside, tipped mine down the sink and had a Ribena, lemonade and chopped fruit instead!

 In terms of not going out, even if I wasn't pregnant I had gone off going out anyway as the nights were getting repetitive and I was sick of hangovers so it wasn't as though I suddenly stopped going out - I had already stopped showing my face in town! But it was tricky getting out of birthday nights out as these are always a big deal, so I made lame excuses like not feeling very well and felt like a totally crap friend! Sometimes I would go out for an hour or so and just drink lemonade then make my excuses and go home, but I generally didn't like doing that as I always worried there would be a bar fight and someone would shove into me and I would fall and lose the baby - so I definitely didn't go anywhere too busy!! All in all it was quite fun being sneaky. I remember the evening I told one of my friends, we went for a steak dinner and I ordered mine Medium-Well Done. I was a rare girl through and through so she knew something was up but didn't say anything, then when I told her the news she said 'I wondered why you ordered your steak medium!!!!' 

It was crazy keeping it from my parents, I know they'll read this so, WHOOPS Ma'bad! I remember my Mum doing my nails and saying my natural nails had gotten long and it was so tempting to just blurt out - 'Yes! Common side effect of PREGNANCY' I had so many ideas and attempts to tell but ultimately I just chickened out every single time. I had bought, and written in, a card on Father's day saying Happy Grandfathers Day and was going to give it to my Dad, but was a complete wuss and just left it in the car. I, also, bought a frame with the same type of wood that matched the existing frames on their mantelpiece, and put an image of a baby holding its hands in a heart shape, and wrote 'due in January' in the frame. That, again, is just sat in a draw. 

A few of Luke's friends found out before the 12 weeks. I had put the pregnancy test packet in a random pile of rubbish in the garden thinking that if I put it in the normal rubbish someone would see it. But, unsurprisingly, Milo our naughty dog fished it out and dropped it at one of Luke's friends feet at a BBQ. Then and there, two of his friends found out. He told a couple of his good friends but I definitely think the reaction amongst a group of 23 year old women that one of us is pregnant definitely got a lot more attention than a group of older guys, a few of which already have kids!

 

The 12 week scan

The 12 week scan is when sh*t gets real. Oh boy, is it surreal. You don't have a bump, you haven't felt the baby kick, nothing much has really happen so you expect it to look like a little blob. But the fact that there is already tiny hands, tiny arms, tiny feet, a heart pumping, a brain - it is insane. We even got the best picture of him waving. I will never forget the 12 week scan. It was the first time I ever saw my baby. It was just as exciting as it was scary and I prayed everything was going to look okay.

The date of the 12 week scan is calculated by your last period and will be a rough estimate at the baby being 12 weeks old. By the measurements they made at our 12 week scan we were actually 13 weeks and 1 day, this then gives you your due date - ours was 22nd January! This is based on 40 weeks of pregnancy, the start date being when the egg was released, not when the egg was fertilized. I have been told that when it's your first baby you literally count down the days until your due date thinking that's the exact day the baby will come (I did exactly this), but by your second baby you know this baby is coming whenever the hell it wants so you pay no attention to the due date and just take a rough estimate that it'll be some time that month.

I had read in a book that you get a clearer image if you go to the scan with a full bladder, which doesn't make sitting in the waiting room any fun! The waiting room is full of women at all different stages of their pregnancy. Some are sat with their scan photos kissing their partner and taking photos of the scan to send to friends and family. Some are sat not talking to their partner as they wait for the scan. Some have bumps, some you couldn't tell were pregnant at all. Some, I believe, must have been waiting to have their baby's heartbeat monitored for reduced movements as this is where I sat and waited the two times I did, though both were at 11pm so the waiting room was nearly empty.Tiny newborn babies in prams and exhausted looking mums were walking in and out. We were called after about 15 minutes waiting and went into the room to have the scan.

When we walked in we were so excited but both quite nervous as we didn't want to get our hopes up that everything was perfect. Up until this point, the only 'proof' I had that I was pregnant for the last 2 and a half months was a test from Tescos, a Clear Blue test, some vomcano's and feeling tired. It's crazy to think that they let you go on for 3 months having no idea whether your baby even exists, is okay, is growing, is twins... the list is endless. I know it's possible to get an 8 week scan, but this wasn't offered with our hospital so it was a long wait to find out.

To think, I could have referred myself to have a scan, gone to a family history appointment and be ready for my scan 12 weeks later, despite no professional, medical confirmation that I was pregnant before this point. I could have in fact just made it up out of thin air but managed to 'trap my boyfriend' for another 13 weeks. Just kidding. (You technically could though!?)

The specialist didn't crack a smile when we walked in and was very straight-forward with us. I got the impression that with her job, if she greeted couples with a huge grin and a bubbly personality and then had to deliver news they weren't expecting, the change in her tone would have made the news all that more upsetting. I was expecting the gel to be cold as it always is on TV, but they had warmed it up so it was like a really hot syrup. You lie down on the bed and on the wall in front of you is the screen. As soon as she put the doppler on my stomach the baby appeared straight away. For some reason we both thought it would take some fiddling around and it would appear bit by bit but within seconds this baby was on the screen. Huge head with an arched back, arms and some short curled up legs. It was so surreal, it doesn't register that that is the image the doppler is creating inside your belly. As soon as the baby appeared it was like a different woman was performing the scan, she immediately beamed 'OK!!!!! We've got two legs, two arms, a lovely big head and one healthy baby. Heart is looking good, brain too' it was so amazing we were both so speechless. AND IT WASN'T TWINS!!!! (Me and my lady end let out a big sigh of relief) Throughout my entire pregnancy watching other people receive good news and have their babies I would be in tears, but when it's your own you're just in total shock that you don't register quite what's going on.

We then got the photos printed 5 for £10 and sat back in the waiting room so I could wait to have my blood test. We couldn't believe we were sat looking at photographs of our baby. Luke's parents already knew so he messaged them over and they were so happy. It was then off to my parents straight away to tell them as I could not wait any longer!!! I was so excited the next day I went to Tescos and got 10 more bundle copies of the prints... I'm not sure why I thought I knew 10 people that wanted these photos. I gave one to my Granny who then brought them over the next week and said 'You left your photos at my house'. I think with social media these days and everyone has a picture phone, I definitely got over excited with the copies! (My bad!)

After the scan you have to go back to the waiting room and collect a number and wait to be called to go for your bloodwork. As explained in my previous blog post, I had never had a blood test before and was crapping my little pantaloons. We then waited a whole hour for the blood test. By this point I was a nervous wreck. I was sat, in hospital, with the photographs of my unborn child, thinking how the f*ck I was going to tell my parents and sat panicking about the needle that was about to go in my arm. Anyway, I went in the room (finally) and led down on the bed. It had stirrups for your legs like it was some kind of birthing chair but whatever, I just sat normally. It went fine and I was of course being a huge baby. I had to lie down for a while as I got myself so worked up that I felt really faint and lightheaded so had to take a second to compose my self. After the blood test I then sat down with the same nurse as we went over some details. 

The conversation went as follows:

Nurse "Would you like to take a Chlamydia test?"
Me "Do I have to? I know that I don't have it, I'm in a relationship"
N: "No you don't have to but would you like to?"
M: "Well do I need to, does it need to say on my form that I don't have it?"
N: "No, but would you like to take a test?"
M: "No... should I?"
N: "Not if you don't want to"
M: "Ok just give me the test." 

What the bloody hell was that all about? Why would anyone in a (healthy) relationship randomly want to know for their own peace of mind that they don't have it, if it doesn't need to be in your medical records? Surely you would do that off your own back if you had any concerns. Why was it my decision whether I needed to be tested? Why were we even talking about it if she didn't need to know? When I met with my Midwife for the first time I informed her that I got the text with the negative results back and she couldn't care less, and to be honest looked a little confused as to why I was telling her. What a confusing world of Chlamydia politics. 

After the scan you get this big white folder with a big white file inside and you must take this to everything you do when you're pregnant so they can get to know your pregnancy history. It gets pretty bulky. I remember flicking through the pages and seeing the last section was details of your 'Labour and Baby'. Baby's birthweight, length... I couldn't believe that in 6 months there would be details of MY baby and MY labour, but now they were just blank sheets of paper.

NB: I've heard of plenty of women going to their scan and not being able to see much so I think we were really lucky that we got such good pictures! They often ask people to drink something, go for a walk around the hospital and come back, and others are just asked to come back another day. And our hospital allows us to buy 2 for £5 or 5 for £10 which isn't a guarantee at every hospital so glad they didn't try to rip us off!