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My baby girl is here! {Part 2 – Emilia’s Song + Being a parent}

Is anyone feeling festive yet?  I should be, especially with this being Emilia’s first Christmas…but this year I am a slow starter.  As I’m sitting here, surrounded by all the Christmas decorations, proof-reading this blog which I started about two months ago (Emilia is now 4 and a half months old!!), I am also making home-made fudge in the slow cooker – another attempt to get this Christmas excitement started!  I will let you know how it turns out!
IMG_5558As promised, you finally get a listen to the song I wrote for Emilia when I was around 3 months pregnant.  I was full of excitement and apprehension about the months ahead.  I simply couldn’t wait to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl and what they would look like.  As you may remember too, if you read my previous blogs, I struggled coming to terms with being a good mum, and my own feelings of inadequacy and past experiences, and the lines “we’ll do what it takes to keep you from all harm, you’ll always know that you belong” capture those moments of my own experience, and what I promise Emilia won’t go through.  I hope that Emilia will cherish this song for a long time – my gift to her straight from my heart.

One of my friends, Ian Oakley, who is a very talented composer and pianist did the music arrangement, and my awesome husband mixed it all.  I hope you enjoy listening to it while you read this blog entry.  Yes, I know I am not the greatest singer and songwriter out there – so don’t judge me too much!

 

Tiny fingers, tiny toes

I’ll keep you warm, I’ll keep you close

Before you’ve opened up your eyes

I’ll be right here right by your side

 

Silky skin, a button nose

With every day, excitement grows

Before you’ve taken your first breath

I’ve given you my all, my best

 

Will you have green eyes or brown?

Will your hair be curly and dark like mine?

I can’t wait to hold, hold you

With a mother’s love and a father’s heart

We’ll do what it takes to keep you free from all harm

You’ll always know that you belong

 

You stole my heart, effortlessly

The moment God gave you to me

Keep it safe and keep it close

My love for you, so fierce and strong

 

Just quickly, before you get stuck in, I feel obliged to give you a little heads up..

[WARNING : This blog contains some content which you may find a little gross.  Although my writing is very honest, as usual, I have no intention of putting anyone off becoming a mum.  However, if you’re not a mum yet and more of a sensitive type, maybe just skip till the last two paragraphs!  May only the brave, or those that have done this before continue….]

And now, let me take you back two months ago when I started writing this blog entry…

I’m sitting here feeling like a kangaroo.  What?!  Well, I am wearing Emilia in a sling, and she’s all curled up, snug and asleep 🙂  Now all I need is a mug of decaf coffee….“Paul??  Are you awake?'”  I make terrible coffee.  Paul is the barrista in this household…he’s very proud of his skills too!  I guess, I will need to soldier on for now, and go back and re-write everything once the placebo of my decaf coffee kicks in!

So there we were, finally out of the hospital with a jolly “Welcome to the parents club, have fun”!  The weight of this new responsibility hit me hard even before we got to the car.  (Some of that was probably the wave of heat as well!  We chose the hottest time of the year to welcome little Emilia into the world!)  The first struggle was just figuring out how get her into the car seat…and this set the tone for the next 5 weeks or so!  To say we felt unprepared and out of our depths would be an understatement.  Google became our best friend.  We googled everything from “what colour should a baby’s poo look like” to “how to distinguish a baby’s cry” to “when will I sleep again”!  It was all SO NEW.  Exciting, yet also completely scary!

Here’s a brief description of what Paul and I encountered on our journey as new parents…

Ain’t nobody got time for this

When I used to hear new parents talk about how busy a newborn kept them, I used to think “How is that possible?  Surely they sleep ALL the time??”  This was one of many naive thoughts I had, which was quickly proven wrong!  If I were to explain to you why and how we had NO TIME to do anything but keep Emilia alive, I wouldn’t be able to…but somehow she was ALL we had time for.  The first few days were literally spent in bed with Emilia.  We would wake up at what-ever time and as the day went on suddenly realise it was 6pm and neither of us had showered or even brushed our teeth!!!!  Yup, we were hit by the “new parent virus”.  Paul was absolutely fantastic, and was a huge help.  He used to make sure I ate (I just didn’t feel like eating but desperately needed to, to keep my strength up to feed little Emilia).  He also did the cleaning and reminded me of all the meds I had to take, etc etc.  I was just so out of it, I had no grasp of time or day or anything.  We were running purely on adrenaline.  One thing that was a massive help to us was the daily dinners we were provided with!  Paul and I go to a really great church (www.comchurch.org.uk – check it out!) and they organise for someone to bring round dinner each night, for over a week.  Without it, we probably would have lived on toast!

Jump aboard the e-m-o-t-i-o-n-a-l rollercoaster

Nothing could have prepared me for the emotional rollercoaster I was about to embark on.  I was warned about these so-called “baby blues”, a time most mum’s go through which can be very emotional due to hormone levels regulating, and redundant hormones clocking out.  Yet it still caught me totally off guard.  One minute I was on top of the world, the next minute I’m standing in front of my wardrobe crying my eyes out because I couldn’t find a top to fit (the joys of breastfeeding!).

Ouchy ouchy ouch

…and speaking of breastfeeding….oh boy…that was THE biggest shock of all!!!!  So, you think to yourself “phew, the worst bit is over, I survived labour” and then you enthusiastically start breastfeeding when the smiles quickly fade and reality sinks in.  Now, not everyone has these kinds of stories, by the way, some people found breastfeeding a walk in the park from day one, but I was not one of those lucky people!  I just assumed that because I was shown how to do it properly it was going to be pain-free (because I was told it would only hurt if you were doing it wrong) but I didn’t really take into consideration that 50% of the success rate relied on Emilia being able to latch on.  The pain was extremely unpleasant…I constantly dosed myself up on ibuprofen and burst into tears as soon as Emilia latched on.  I tried so many things to ease the pain, including sticking a cooled cabbage leaf down my bra (more uncomfortable than soothing!) and a variety of creams.  Although some of it helped in a small way, it didn’t stop me from getting Mastitis twice (an infection caused by blocked milk ducts) which was very painful and gave me a fever leaving me bed-bound.  Oh, and not to forget to mention cracked nipples :/  My advice to anyone wishing to breastfeed for the first time, make sure you have help getting started and seek help immediately as soon as you are experiencing pain – don’t wait as long as I did!!!  I finally sought out advice and was able to get the right help.  It did take a good six weeks until I was able to breastfeed without any pain but I am so glad I stuck with it.  I absolutely love the closeness of nursing Emilia in this way, it’s a very special thing for both of us.

A few more ouchy’s

Unfortunately there was a little bit more pain for me to endure…stitches healing up, going for number two’s (reliving labour!) and just my body needing to recover from childbirth.  There were also a few other uh, undesirable things to go through like the non-stop bleeding (Lochia) which, for me, lasted four weeks.

What is this crazy thing you speak of…sleep?

Oh we were warned, “you will get no sleep”, but how do you know what that feels like until it happens?  The other day, I read that your body exerts itself to the same level as running a marathon during labour, and that’s not even taking the pain into consideration!  Bearing that in mind, you get NO break whatsoever afterwards, no time to recover…and you have to launch straight into sleepless nights and restless days!   A newborn has to feed every two hours around the clock – it was beyond tiring!!  My wonderful husband was so supportive again, and would wake up with me during the night and pass Emilia to me and put her back down after feeds (I was still struggling so much just sitting on my behind due to the stitches, so scooching out of bed with Emilia in my arms was almost impossible!).  I couldn’t really get the hang of expressing (pumping breastmilk into bottles) so Paul couldn’t help with the actual feeding.

Pass me the earplugs…and a box of tissues!

I have to chuckle when I think back to when Paul and I were still in hospital and our precious, still slightly-dosed-up-from-the-pethidine, daughter was the perfect newborn.  She didn’t cry, not even when she had to have her heel pricked to have blood taken.  We boldly and proudly told our parents, “Oh she’s just wonderful, she doesn’t even cry!” and they just smiled politely.  I have to chuckle even more when I remember the day dreams I used to have about what my first few weeks with Emilia would be like!!  I used to think that as it was the summer, I would just take her outside to a park somewhere and we would both lie on a picnic blanket – she would be peacefully asleep, and I would be basking in the sunshine, reading a book and munching on sweet chilli crisps!  Hahahaha….oh dear!

IMG_5591While there are definitely those enviable angelic newborns out there that simply just sleep and feed for the first few weeks….yup, you’ve guessed it…Emilia was absolutely not one of them!  A few days into it, she started screaming for hours on end for no apparent reason.  We were besides ourselves trying to find out what caused her crying and how to help her.  After speaking to our doctor and health visitors, they told us she had colic (which really is just a fancy way of saying she has stomach issues but they can’t pinpoint exactly what the issues are).  So we took her to a cranial osteopath (this is a treatment which helps release stresses and tensions in the body) as a few of our friends recommended it.  It seemed to help Emilia settle a little, but the screaming continued.  This made it impossible to take her anywhere as we couldn’t predict when the screaming would start and how long it would go on for.  It was really horrible, and I used to just hold Emilia and cry with her.  Having to watch her like that actually made my body “feel her pain” – I realised then just how strong my bond with Emilia is.  Eventually, we were able to diagnose Emilia with silent reflux (where the milk would come back up and irritate and sometimes burn her throat) and struggling to bring up wind after feeds.  Armed with that new knowledge, and as her digestive system matured over time, we started seeing massive improvements and now she is a very happy and content little girl 🙂

Now, before you stop reading, and turn away in despair dear mummy-to-be, please don’t panic!  Yes, I mentioned a lot of horrible bits, but the good stuff outweighs all of those by FAR!  I was only describing my experience so that you might not be as naive and shocked as I was.  I always think that the key to handle situations well is to get “into the zone”, be mentally prepared, and you will be absolutely fine.  The mind is a powerful thing!  Let me share two more points that are tremendously positive and encouraging 🙂

Winter, spring, summer or fall…all you’ve got to do is call

During those first few weeks, we felt so much support from our family and friends, who without, we would have really struggled!  Everyone was quick to help and to give us good advice and encouragement.  We realised what amazing people we had in our lives.  The amount of cards, flowers, presents and well wishes we received was overwhelming!!!  Our lounge looked like a flower shop!  It was so lovely to know that we weren’t the only ones excited about our daughter’s arrival, and that she already had so many special people in her life caring for her and loving her.

‘There are really places in your heart that you don’t know exist until you love a child.’ – Ann Lamott

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I can honestly say that becoming a mother is the best thing I have EVER done.  Emilia brings us so much joy and laughter, and she has given me such fulfilment as a mother.  An added purpose to my life.  I can’t even put into words just how much I love her, and how I would do anything for her.  She has completely “stolen” my heart, like the song says.  With each smile, my heart melts, and with each cuddle, I know that I have made the best decision of my life.  I love Paul even more than I thought possible.  He has given me the most beautiful gift, and watching him with Emilia is a constant reminder of what a wonderfully loving, caring and supportive husband he is.  Life will always have its ups and downs, but the special ones in our lives bring sunshine, rain or shine 🙂

Now, I really should let you get on with your busy lives!  Feel free to leave me comment and share any tips you have for expectant mums.

[The fudge smells divine, by the way, and tastes pretty scrumptious…the hard bit will be leaving it to cool overnight!]

Until next time…I have LOADS more ramblings to share with you! Xx

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My baby girl is here! {Part 1 – The birth story}

Howdy ho!!

Yes, I know, it’s been a LONG time since I last posted – but this time I actually have a valid excuse!  For those of you that haven’t already heard, my beautiful princess Emilia Marie Douglas was born on 18th July at 11:42 am weighing 6lb 9oz (2980g).  She is absolutely perfect 🙂

IMG_4055IMG_4087FBNow, I’m sure you are all desperate to hear all the gory details (I have actually kept this ”man-friendly”, so it’s a very mild and clean version haha), but let me start by re-capping my last few days before the birth.

So here I was, feeling HUGE and uncomfortable and so so impatient – and I wasn’t even due yet!  The problem was that the first due date we were given was a week before the revised one and so in the back of my mind I was always going with the original one because it actually made more sense date wise.  This made me overdue and uber-ready!  My fears and worries about labour didn’t matter so much anymore as all I wanted was to meet our baby!

The key was just to stay busy to keep my mind off it, and to do as much physical exercise as possible to hopefully encourage labour along.  (I knew that Emilia would come out when she was ready, so I didn’t want to rush her either and try too many labour-inducing methods!)  I also started wondering if I was having a boy again!  I subconsciously started calling the bump “he” again, and looking at boys clothes etc!  No idea why!  Paul and I also finally had a productive discussion about names.  We came up with a list of four girls names and four boys names we liked and once the baby was born we would choose the name that most suited them.  Now all we had to do was wait….

…this leads us to the big day…

Paul was working a night shift the night it all started.  He had briefed me on who to call when the time comes (as he’s not allowed to have his phone on him) along with ten other names and numbers in case I couldn’t get through!  I felt reassured :/  Just before going to sleep, I was messaging my sister telling her how frustrated I was that the baby hadn’t arrived yet.  I was crying my hormonal heart out!  I was even shouting at my bump, telling the baby to hurry up!!  Well, she heard me…as soon as I turned off the light and settled into bed, I heard a “pop” and with that my waters had gone!  I remember thinking, “wow, this is just like in the movies!” except there was no almighty gush, just a steady trickle!  With this being my first baby, I knew to expect a long labour and for everything to escalate at a fairly slow pace so I wasn’t sure whether to call Paul straight away or wait until the contractions started.  Luckily I did call, as by the time he got home, I was having contractions every 6 minutes.  They were still bearable, just like very strong period cramps.  I was super relaxed, packing last minute items into my hospital bag, doing my make up (!?), while Paul was leisurely having a midnight microwave meal! {I have to mention that the microwave meal contained A LOT of garlic and Paul stunk of it for the entirety of my labour!  With my garlic issues, this was not good.  Thanks baby!}  When I called the hospital they told us to come in just to make sure that my waters had broken.

I got a bit scared, while we were waiting to be seen because there was a woman wailing away in the corner and crying out in pain every few minutes.  Finally I was seen to and they confirmed that my waters had broken (I could have spared them the hassle!).  They advised me that as I am a first-timer, it would be a long while yet and to come back by 7pm the following evening if nothing had progressed.  We were told not to come back before then unless my contractions were coming every 4 minutes or less.  So off we went, and I was starting to get pretty uncomfortable.  By the time we got through the door, my contractions were starting to feel pretty painful and when we started timing them they were only 4 minutes apart.  We waited an hour, to make sure the contractions remained steady, and went back to the hospital.  {There was a storm that night, and lightening was going off everywhere as we drove back.  It actually really put me at ease – I love storms.  Yeah I’m sad like that!}  The staff were surprised to see us again so quickly!  The midwife reluctantly agreed to check how far I was dilated, and I was at 3cm.  (You are fully dilated at 10cm)  I burst into tears because I felt like I had such a long way to go and I was already struggling so much!  I didn’t think I could do this and really started panicking, wanting to request an epidural there and then!  Paul was great and really encouraged me, and I was able to “get in the zone” and get myself together.  Again, we were reminded that it can take ages and were strongly advised to go home again, but I refused.  I was in a lot of pain by then and I just knew that it wouldn’t be much longer.  She gave me two hours to get to 4cm, otherwise I would have to go back home.  Well, after two hours I was already at 7cm!!

I was led to the Midwife-led unit which was interesting!  I must have looked a right state!  I had a blood stained bed sheet wrapped around me, and with each contraction I had to crouch down waiting for it to pass – NOT a pretty sight!  My ideal birth plan was to have a water birth with as little intervention and pain relief as possible.  Sadly, there were no water pools available so I couldn’t have my water birth.  However, I didn’t care at this point, I just wanted this baby already!  I was given some gas & air which didn’t do anything.  I know what it should feel like as I have used it a few years ago to have some stitches removed, so I got Paul to check that it was on and he said that the dials on the machine weren’t moving at all! (Why we didn’t think to tell the midwife I don’t know!)  So I soldiered on for an hour until I was SO exhausted and really struggling with the pain, that I was offered Pethidine and I eagerly accepted!  Pethidine is the medical name for Opium!  Although you can still feel the pain, you are so out of it that you don’t really care!  And yes, I was out of it!  Paul said he found it so hard not to laugh as I kept saying really random stuff!  I also remember asking him constantly if he was ok and if he needed a break or food, haha!  Sadly, due to the Pethidine, I don’t remember some parts of the latter part of the labour, but I was able to sleep between each contraction (3 minutes apart) and it gave me the strength to carry on!  {Paul actually had to check that I was still breathing at times, because I would be completely out of it after each contraction!}  I liked the fact that there was only one midwife in the room with us, and she just sat back and let me get on with it.  In a strange way, it felt like a very relaxed atmosphere.

After 6 and half hours of active labour, I finally got to 8cm and the midwife said that if I felt the urge to push, and I was unable to stop it, to go for it.  After a while, I felt this strong sensation, like I needed to do a massive poo (sorry, a bit TMI!  Still “men-friendly” though because they love a bit of poo-talk!  Haha) and I started pushing with all my might.  Nothing.  Nothing was happening.  I started panicking again, and was worried that they may end up using forceps or ventuose to get baby out!  In my drugged up state I felt like it had been ages, although the pushing part only lasted a total of 8 minutes which is really quick.  I thought that Paul and the midwife must be getting impatient and bored by now, and told myself that I had to get on with it!  With one final push of fierce determination, the head emerged.  One more push and Emilia plopped out!  {Paul found it it so funny how I was frantically removing my top so that I could have “skin to skin” with Emilia!}  The first thing I asked was, “Is she still a girl?”  The midwife must have thought I was mad!  I also tried to count her fingers and toes and kept re-starting and getting confused (obviously still under the influence)!  When they handed me Emilia, and she looked at me with her beautiful eyes, it was the most special and surreal moment of my life.  There she was.  Finally.

When I was pregnant, I remember wondering whether I would “recognise” Emilia and feel like I had always known her.  Although, I didn’t “recognise” her from the way she looked, I immediately knew this was my girl by the way she moved and kicked!  We had a lovely cuddle and then I couldn’t fight sleep any longer and Paul took Emilia while I slept off the Pethidine!  I remember waking a few times and just looking over at Paul and Emilia.  Paul was looking at Emilia with sheer wonder and love, and it melted my heart.  During one of my brief moments of consciousness, I asked him which name out of our four choices suited her most.  He said that he had been looking at her for a long time, and Emilia felt right.  I completely agreed.  Paul had been very anti-middle names this whole time, but after seeing me go through labour, he couldn’t refuse letting me give her Marie as a middle name.  Someone had briefed me on when to ask about giving Emilia a middle name, and it worked!  {Marie was the shortened version of my Oma’s (German grandma).  She was one of the most remarkable and inspirational women in my life, and I really wanted her to “live on” and be remembered.}

Unfortunately I had to have stitches, yuck, and had a few grazes but all in all it was a very positive labour experience.  {Especially for Paul as I only squeezed his arm once, quite hard!} 

So that, lovely readers, is how little Emilia came into the world 🙂

For any mums-to-be who have been wondering about labour and might even be a bit frightened of it…my number 1 tip is to “get in the zone”.  Don’t even worry about how long it’s taking, or how long it’s been.  Try not to focus on the pain and what’s going on around you.  Just give yourself a pep talk, and tell yourself to be strong!  There is a reason women are the ones who give birth…you are stronger and braver than you think!  There is a fierceness and determination in women that sets them up to become those wonderful mothers who will do anything and everything for their children.  Women, we should be proud of ourselves – we may not always be the best at parking (or maybe that’s just me!), but we can grow humans – that’s not to be sniffed at!!

PAUL’S THOUGHTS…

How was your first experience of labour?

Crazy!! There are no real words to describe it and it was really tough seeing Daisy in so much pain and not being able to do anything to help. You experience such a huge range of emotions all at the same time. Excitement, fear, amazement, anger (at the customary L&D maternity ward parking ticket!), pride, worry, joy and complete happiness! For anyone that’s been to Alton Towers recently, it’s like a rollercoaster of emotions when the rollercoaster is Smiler!

Tell us honestly, did you purposely eat garlic so Daisy wouldn’t squeeze your hand as that would have been within smelling range?

It was a strategy that I had planned weeks in advance and I would like to thank the microwave chinese meal for its vital role! Haha only joking! I just panicked because I didn’t know when I would get a chance to eat next!!

Any tips for other dads-to-be?

Just to try and do everything you can to make things a bit easier for your partner, give her lots of encouragement and support, and accept that you will feel helpless!…..oh and avoid microwave meals!

Which end were you at?

The head, the whole head and nothing but the head!! Some things you can’t un-see and I thought it would be better if I just give emotional support and hand holding! I once saw an interview with Robbie Williams where he talked about being at the business end of things during the birth of his child and he described it as watching you favourite pub burn down!

Did you get emotional?  What was it like seeing Emilia for the first time?

I am not one for getting emotional and Daisy is still desperately waiting to see me cry for the first time, but I did get a bit emotional when Emilia plopped out and let out her first little cry. It suddenly became very real that there was a tiny little baby that was ours and it was such a cute, tiny cry….but I quickly regained my composure!

Thanks Paul!  Not so sure I like this “pub burning down” analogy though…but then it’s Robbie Williams, you can’t expect anything better!  Lol!

In Part 2 I’ll be sharing a bit about what it’s been like adjusting to parenthood and a newborn baby – absolutely NOT what I was expecting!

To end this blog post, this photo collage sums up the whole bump to baby journey very well.  You may remember seeing the top photo in one my earlier blogs posts.  It was taken moments after we got a positive pregnancy test result!  My sister and her husband were living with us at the time and they were eagerly waiting outside the bathroom to hear the results!

The photo on the bottom is a “spot the difference” photo 🙂

Nine long, crazy, emotional, tough, exhilarating, life-changing, body-changing, beautiful months…and that was just the start of our new adventure 🙂

I’m off to get some sleep in before the 4am feed…ZzzzZzzz

 

 

 

 

 

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Slinky vests + more thoughts from Paul

I’m sitting outside in the glorious sunshine, typing away to the sound of rustling leaves and cheerful bird song….and a vacuum cleaner.  (Paul is busy cleaning his old car so he can sell it.)  I am now in my 9th month of pregnancy and officially on maternity leave!  According to my mum, my bump has dropped since yesterday.  I can’t really see a difference but have definitely noticed less rib-kicking, so she’s probably right.  Also, I think the “pregnant waddle” is setting in…making me walk EVEN slower than I have been!

It’s been a busy past few weeks….and I am truly sorry for neglecting this blog as a result!  Let me fill you in on what’s been going on, starting with, oh you know it, our weekly comparisons!

Weeks 31 – 32  |  Honeydew melon  |  A loaf of bread…..what!? Yup, baby is already that big!!

Week 33 – 36  |  Cantaloupe  |  Oh you know, just the modest size of a …..Ukelele!!!!!

Week 37  |  Watermelon  |  Baby is now considered “full term”!  She’s now fully developed “baby size”…whatever that may be!  If she takes after me, we might be in trouble :/

While my husband is off work this week, I have written us an extremely detailed and organised “To Do” and “To Buy” list. The goal is to be completely baby-ready by the end of the week.  This includes hospital bags being packed, nursery done, flat spring-cleaned, right down to maternity pads being purchased!  Paul and I even managed to buy more suitable, family-safe cars in the last few weeks.  He’s now cruising around in a Merc as opposed to his previous, sporty Celica which looked like Kit from Knightrider and I have FINALLY managed to get rid of my death-trap of a car, a very old and battered Peugot, and bought a very sensible and reliable Toyota Corollla 🙂  (Yawn, this car talk is even boring me half to death, you must be falling asleep!!!!)

We had a very wonderful Babymoon in Dorset a few weeks ago!  We stayed in a very secluded spot just outside of Poole, and spent the week exploring a few local attractions like Monkey World (it’s amazing!) and Lulworth Cove (which involved a 4k hike along steep costal paths!), and of course, had a few beach days.  It was the perfect break, yet also a little surreal because it will be our last child-free holiday for a while!  Oh, I just thought of a funny story I can share.  When we were packing for the holiday, I thought I saw Paul pack one of his slinky vest tops.  I really am not a fan, but he likes to wear them on the beach for maximum sun exposure!  I was already dreading the moment this vest top would make an appearance but didn’t want to be a kill-joy so kept my mouth shut.  After all, I’d much rather Paul get a more even tan, than the usual farmer’s tan.  Anyway, beach day arrived and it was absolutely scorching hot outside.  I was mentally preparing myself for Paul’s feast-for-the-eyes vest top display, only to find Paul looking rather confused and handing me this said piece of a garment.  He said he put it on, and it fit kind of weird, was it mine by any chance?  I looked at the label, and God bless his soul, he managed to pack one of my strappy maternity vests!!!!!!!  What I would have given to see him in it just for laughs!!!  Poor Paul must have had such a shock, seeing his abs look suddenly a lot more accentuated than usual and pronouncing a non-existent belly with it’s figure hugging, biased cut!  I couldn’t stop laughing for the rest of the day!!!

For those, that actually want some details on how the pregnancy is going…while we were away, I got a call from the midwife informing me that my iron levels had significantly dropped and I’m anaemic.  This wasn’t a shock, because due to being a vegetarian, my iron levels have always been on the low side.  I had started getting really bad dizzy spells, where I had to lie down to avoid collapsing!  Thankfully I have taken to the iron tablets well, and they have helped tremendously.  Other than that, I am feeling great and healthy and the baby is developing just the way she should.  She’s not engaged yet, so her legs are coming up to my rib cage and she has taken full advantage of that.  My ribs are SOOOO sore, and actually feel bruised.  I can’t even put my hand over that area without being in pain.  She’s immensely active most of the time and it can get quite exhausting and is very uncomfortable!  Now that the bump is supposed to have dropped though, I am hoping my ribs will get a bit of a chance to recover!  Unlike I was imagining, my bump is not yet at humungous proportions and I can still see my feet which helps climbing up and down the 3 flights of stairs to our flat!  I am also not at the stage yet where I can use my bump as a tray, but it does serve as a nice book rest in the bath!  I really do love having a bump most of the time, but I really am looking forward to having my body back and being able to sleep on my stomach!  I miss that soooo much!

I thought to change the blog up a bit this week, and give you another interview style entry.  Instead of just having Paul answer the questions, I wanted to join in too 🙂  Here’s a list of questions we get asked a lot, or people wish they could ask us, and our responses.  Enjoy!

1) With just 3 weeks to go, give or take, how are you feeling?

Paul:  I’m feeling excited and as ready as I think you can be when you don’t really know what is ahead of you! I just can’t wait for our little one to be here now after such a long build up.

Daisy:  Sooooooo excited!!!!! She can’t come soon enough….I literally can’t sleep at night because l just think about finally meeting our little nugget….eek!!!!!

2) What final preparations do you still need to do?

Paul: We are pretty much there now. There are just a few minor little things to do and the finishing touches to baby’s room. We have made sure that we were ready ahead of time so it wouldn’t become an added stress!

Daisy:  As Paul said, we’re pretty much there! Although I’m not so sure organising a nursery at 37 weeks can be classed “ahead of time” unless you’re Paul!!!  The only important preparations left to do now are briefing Paul about labour and discussing a birth plan….scary!

3) Have you decided on a name?

Paul:  No I haven’t…..but Daisy has! Well, she has about 2 options that she’s set on. I feel this might be something she will bring up in the middle of labour when I won’t be able to say no!

Daisy:  After hours and hours of research I do have 2 names that I really love and then a list of about 5 others I also like. I also have some boys names on reserve just in case (it was way easier choosing those!).  Now Paul and I just need to agree on one!! I have a feeling it will be a looooong discussion! Although, thanks for the tip Paul, I might just use the labour card 😀

4) What are some things you still want to do before becoming a parent?

Paul:  I would like to catch up on a bit more sleep before the baby comes, if possible! I want to get as good a foundation of sleep in as I can!

Daisy:  Go on lots of fun dates!!! 😀 It might be a while till we can both go to the cinema together again!

5) Have there been any arguments or things you struggle to agree on?

Paul:  Names is a subject that I wouldn’t say we argue about but it is the source of a lot of discussions…..always initiated by Daisy!! Other than that we tend to agree on most things, helped by the fact that we both had fairly similar upbringings.

Daisy:  Can I just say here that I initiate the names conversation a lot because someone hasn’t even got any to share yet!!!!! Other than that, we are pretty much on the same page which is a massive relief!! Just wait till I tell him I want to raise our child a vegetarian…..!! Haha! I actually don’t so nobody panic!

6) How did you agree on which way you wanted to decorate the nursery? Did someone make all the decisions, or was it an equal effort?

Paul:  I think we decided on the design and all things nursery together, we are pretty good at coming up with these things together…..well I think we are, unless Daisy is using clever tricks to make me think I’m contributing!

Daisy:  Other than being set on using the most adorable bird fabric from IKEA (you can see a photo of it in my “Holiday adventures and turning into Shamu” blog), I was pretty relaxed about how to decorate it (which is very surprising for me!) I think it helped that Paul has proven himself as a bit of a designer a few times and I have been pleasantly surprised on many occasions by his creativity! He chose the paint and feature wallpaper for our lounge and I love it! So I wasn’t too worried about us both being very involved with the nursery.  That’s not to say that there are moments when I’m speechless by some of the suggestions Paul brings to the table….!!! Haha

7) Strangest advice you’ve been given so far?

Paul:  I’m not sure about this one, I haven’t really been given that much advice, most people just give the classic, “ohhhhh your life’s about to change now” etc etc, which I had pretty much worked out by myself! 🙂

Daisy:  I’ve had quite a bit of interesting advice but the one that stands out is some advice I read about in a book about coping during labour. The author wrote that apparently mooing like a cow can help you relax more!  Yeah you read that correctly!!!  I can’t even remember what the science behind it is, but I would love to hear from you if you mooed during labour and it helped!!!!

8) Which physical features do you wish you daughter will inherit from your spouse?

Paul:  I hope she will get Daisy’s smile and her skin tone. Hopefully she won’t get most of my features as I think they would detract from her cuteness!

Daisy:  I hope she will get Paul’s green eyes and his hair, which is much thicker and healthier than mine!

9) Which one of your spouse’s characteristics do you wish your daughter will take on? And which do you hope they avoid?

Paul:  I hope our baby gets Daisy’s kind heart. She always feels compassion towards so many people. On what I don’t want her to inherit….Daisy was quite a naughty child!!

Daisy:  Paul is incredibly easy going and I would love our daughter to have some of that. However on the flip side, I hope it won’t make her too laid back…Paul is laid back enough for the whole family!!

10) Who will be the “softer” one and give in more? Who’ll be stricter?

Paul:  Personally, I think I will be the stricter one because Daisy is too soft and gives in too easy especially with Becks (our rabbit) but she does have a stubborn side too so I guess we will see……

Daisy:  Hmmm….tough one!!! I think we might be softer than the other person on different things. For example, I think Paul will be really tough in that once he’s made a decision it’s final and he won’t change his mind (I speak from experience! Haha)  I will be more tough on making sure she won’t ever become as fussy of an eater as myself!

11) What’s the most important lesson you want to instil in your daughter?

Paul:  To stay away from boys! There’s not much more I can say about that!

Daisy:  I would like to teach our daughter never to stop dreaming big and not to let anything stop her from what she wants to do.

12) Who will end up changing the most nappies?

Paul:  Probably Daisy but only because I will be at work a lot of the time, but when I am around we will probably share it out pretty evenly. We both had a lot of practice having lots of younger siblings! There is also the likelihood that Daisy will dig out some kind of German style rota!!

Daisy:  Uh, Paul clearly needs to check his emails! He’ll find a nappy changing rota waiting for him 😛

Well, with that I should probably be on my way.  The pressure washer has emerged (this car cleaning business is serious stuff) and water + laptop is not the smartest combination!

In the next blog, I am hoping to share a song with you that I have written for our little nugget! 🙂  OR I could be sharing my birth story!  Anything can happen at this point, she says, desperately shoving pineapples in her face (which is supposed to bring on labour) …

Until the next time,

Daisy Xx

PS:  Since working in this blog my bump has definitely dropped and our baby is 2/5th engaged. The midwife also estimated her at around 7lb already!!!!!!  That’s already bigger than Paul was when he was born!  I was around 8lb…I’m scared! Haha

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Let’s talk Bump Issues!

Those of you that have been pregnant before…have you ever felt so massive, and yet completely invisible at the same time?  Have you ever felt like people just talk to your bump for which you have merely become a transportation device?  And how quickly did it take you to realise that when someone asks you “How are you?” it’s not meant for you but for the bump?  Yup, I hear you.

In this blog we will be discussing these, and other, so-called Bump Issues!  Don’t worry I AM NOT a Bump hater, I LOVE my bump to pieces but I also like to keep it real and say it how it is….after all, this blog is supposed to be a collection of my honest opinions and observations about pregnancy…

By the way…Hello!  Great to have you back!  I got a bit carried away this week, launching straight in!  Well, you know what to do (as my blogs can get rather lengthy!), grab yourself that drink, get cosy and enjoy the read 🙂

I’m now well over 30 weeks pregnant and still loving it!  I remember being 7 or 8 weeks pregnant and thinking it will be forever until I reach 30 weeks, it seems soooooo far away, but all of a sudden it’s there.  You’ll wake up one morning and instead of simply just getting out of bed, you find yourself having to build up momentum to launch into the roll-out-of-bed manoeuvre!  That’s when you realise – you’re in the final countdown!  And everyone, let’s sing it together now, “It’s the final countdown…”  Here’s this week’s size comparison…

Week 30  |  A head of lettuce  |  Have you ever seen a 40cm head of lettuce?  That’s just silly! The size of Conchita’s gob as she won Eurovision is probably more accurate! Lol

Right, enough of that, let’s go back to how we started…let’s discuss this whole Bump Issue.  The first issue I want to address is the issue of suddenly becoming completely invisible to people, as all they can see and talk about is the bump.  I don’t really remember at what point exactly in my pregnancy, my very precious bump started to eclipse my existence and took centre stage.  It must have been when it started to show more, in all its glory, blissfully unaware of what this meant for me!  Mums always talk about a sense of “loosing their identity” somewhat once they have children and although I don’t understand this struggle fully yet, I am starting to get an idea of what they mean by it.  I really don’t mind that all most people seem to talk to me about now is the bump and when I’m due, because luckily I have friends and family in my life that still genuinely want to know how I’m doing, but it has been very eye-opening to experience this new “invisibility” (despite feeling like a hippo!).

Another Bump Issue is the size of the bump.  I never realised how much of a deal people make of how small or large your bump is, and how many opinions people seem to have on the subject!  Wow, they should offer a degree course on the topic!  You do feel like you are judged all the time…is my bump too big/small? Am I carrying it well?  Is the bump too high or too low?  How do I compare to other women at the same stage?  Arrrgghhh!!  It can drive you crazy, and it’s made worse because you are already on a hormonal rollercoaster which makes everything seem so much more intense than it is.  Again, people don’t mean any harm by it, but it is just a whole new reality for me.

This brings me to a more delicate, and more challenging Bump Issue.  Watching my body go through so many changes, and seeing this bump getting bigger and bigger, without having any control over it, does, from time to time bring up some self image struggles I thought I had long left behind.  As I like to keep it real with this blog, and I always aspire to help others who have, or are going through similar things, I want to share this specific Bump Issue with you.  I was never a very confident child growing up, and used to have a severely low self-esteem.  I couldn’t accept myself the way I was, especially in terms of body image, and this, along with some other issues, eventually resulted in an eating disorder a number of years ago.  It was one of the darkest times in my life.  Although it made me “feel” powerful and in control (which is obviously not the case), it left me feeling completely dead inside.  It’s a feeling that is hard to describe, but I wouldn’t wish for anyone to go through it.  Thankfully, one of my sisters realised what was going on, and despite my denial (and lies), she was able to “snap me out” of this horrible episode and helped me to recover.  However, as with many things in life that we have to overcome and work through, the memories will always remain.  They try to reawaken the past, and tempt you back into old patterns.  This started happening with me.  My bump kept growing, people kept commenting on how big I was getting, and I started to become more and more anxious.  Craving that sense of power and control.  (Just to reassure you, I have never acted on it again thankfully.)  How do I deal with these rekindlings of the past?  Well, let me share some important pieces of advice that have tremendously helped me.  Firstly, being a Christian, God will always be and has always been my main source of help in any situation.  He gives me the strength that I need to move on, and He has never once left me on my own.  Secondly, realise that you can’t cope with this on your own.  Tell someone that you trust about your struggles, so that if an episode tries to emerge they can step in and talk you out of it.  Paul is very good at seeing the “signs” and keeping an eye on me.  And lastly, don’t loose perspective.  Think about what matters, keep focused on what is actually important.  In this case, it’s the health and well-being of my baby!  What is more important than making sure she is safe and cared for?  Love is a powerful healer.  (Please get in touch with me, if you have gone or are going through similar things and want someone to talk to.  Don’t go it alone)

Ok, that’s definitely enough of the heavy stuff…now for some fun Bump Issues!  I really adore my bump!  It makes me so happy just looking at it, knowing that inside is the most beautiful, wonderful, adorable baby!!  I love watching the bump move and change shape depending on how the baby lies, it’s so cute seeing wobbles and kicks!  I also love singing to our sweetie pie, and playing “Hide and Seek” by way of tapping…it’s all so unbelievably amazing!  Here are just a few positive Bump Issues:

– Strangers smile at you more!  Unfortunately, the pervs are still smiling at you too but nothing seems to deter them I’ve learnt!

– A reduced maternity wardrobe means less faffing about choosing what to wear!  It’s great, I actually quite like my outfit decisions being made very simple for me!

– Although I do enjoy being an independent person, every now and again it’s nice to play the “vulnerable card”.  A quick flash of the bump and suddenly, doors fly open, chairs get pulled out for you, bags are snatched out of your hand, crowds part like the Red Sea….

– You save money on water.  As your body mass is greater, less bath water is needed and therefore you are saving a few pennies…this is fantastic news when you are married to a half-Scot! (For those of you, probably just my Mum!, that have breathed through life without learning this powerful stereotype about Scottish people, let me enlighten you.  Scots are said to be quite stingy and tight with their money.  Another saying is, they have short arms and deep pockets! Haha)

– Speaking of my husband, he has definitely been so supportive and helpful, and feels more in touch with the pregnancy now that he can clearly “see” the evidence!

– Oh, and I can’t forget this last one I’m going to mention, the bump could save your life in water by acting as a flotation device!  It’s not to be sniffed at!

Those of you with a bump, I hope you go out with new appreciation and pride!  Those of you that have all this to come, you are going to love it!  And those of you that have left the bump days behind….well, you have hopefully enjoyed a trip down memory lane!  Any wisdom or comments from any of you are always welcome, I’d love to hear your thoughts, so make sure you get in touch every once in a while 🙂

In closing, I do have a confession to make….I am feeling a bit ill.  Do you want to know why?  Because I have a weakness for Thai Sensation crisps, and once I start munching there’s no stopping me!  I have literally nibbled most of my way through this blog!  Why can’t they be my pregnancy craving?  I would be able to feel a bit more justified…Xx

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How to write a Pregnancy Symptoms Wish-List

Hey awesome blog-readers!

I’m going to start by appreciating how wonderful you guys are!  You should take a moment and feel truly proud of yourself…why?  I have been so overwhelmed by all the positive feedback and comments on my blogs so far, and it’s so appreciated!  Please keep reading, commenting and sharing 🙂  If you can reach, this would be a good time to pat yourself on the back…or if you can’t reach your back, any kind of reward in the form of chocolate should do the trick nicely.  You deserve it!

At 28 weeks, I have started the third trimester and have less than 80-something days to go till B-Day!!  I have safely passed V-Day point and am racing towards July!  Let’s see where we’re up to on the non-fruit comparisons.  (See the “Scans and Fruit” blog for an explanation!)

Week 25  |  Courgette  | And again as with some of the fruit used in previous weeks, this courgette is obviously from giant land again!  Let’s go with the length of a beer bottle

Week 26  |  Coconut  |  A 750ml Innocent juice carton (seriously, if you haven’t tried the “Pomegranates, Blueberries and Acai” one, you’re missing out!)

Week 27  |  Acorn Squash  |  A can of Pantene hairspray

Week 28  |  Butternut Squash  |  Just short of an A4 piece of paper, or if you prefer the length of an average wine bottle!  Getting big now!

Our little princess is already showing a few consistent traits, some of which are cute, and others which are not as appreciated!  For example, she seems to be synced to another time zone.  As soon as my head hits the pillow, well these days the bump leads (!), she thinks it’s time to wake up and loves to kick and spin around ALL through the night.  It’s not even the gentle, cute kicks, but big blows that make my whole belly wobble and shift!  She has also got her favourite place to rest her little feet, right between my ribs and also at the end of my sternum (the bit between the two rib cages).  She LOVES to get right in there and it can get pretty painful!  When that happens, I gently, sometimes not so gently, press my fingers on the spot where she is drilling away and I can feel her kicking back in protest!  Cheeky monkey!  Those are the kind of party tricks that I am not too fond of, however this next one is kind of funny!

Somehow, the baby seems to be able to sense when someone is desperate to feel her kicking and so even when she is right in the middle of one of her big work-out sessions, she will suddenly go completely still as soon as that “desperate hand” lands on the bump!!!!  I find this hilarious, but my sisters aren’t too impressed!  They are on such a mission to feel the kicks, they sat there for a good half an hour recently waiting patiently, hands on the bump….and nothing.  She will not perform on demand it seems.  She may get that from me :S   For her sweet daddy, she will go crazy though!  When she feels his hand on my bump there is always a welcoming thud ready for him! 🙂

Everyone keeps telling me to really enjoy this stage in my pregnancy as it’s the most comfortable time and I absolutely agree.  I am loving being pregnant SOO much at the moment!!  The morning sickness has well and truly done a runner, and the bump’s a manageable size and finally fits into my maternity tops!  I love showing it off now that it’s definitely obvious I’m pregnant, and it’s a great way to get people to move out of your way in a busy shop or street!  I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE pregnancy hair!!!!!!  I have never liked my hair because contrary to what people think, it’s actually really fine and there isn’t much of it and it never seems to grow past a certain length.  However, these days my hair is getting so long and looks much fuller and healthier, it’s great!  I could almost give Nicole Scherzinger a run for her money…yeah, ok…I won’t get carried away!  The other day, I thought I was having yet another great hair day, when someone kindly informed me that my ends were looking dry and a bit untidy, so that quickly brought me back to reality (and I went home and ripped up my application form to be in the next Herbal Essence advert)….

I should also mention, because I am sure you have been wondering about this endlessly, I don’t have any cravings.  Yes, I do feel like I am letting you all down.  I definitely feel the burden that I should have some really exotic or strange craving, but I’m afraid I can’t share any fascinating news on that front.  During many polite pregnancy chats, it’s usually once this question has been asked that the conversation abruptly stops.  The other person’s inquisitive smile turns into a disappointed and perplexed frown and for them there is nothing left to say. They walk away, feeling sorry for me and looking for someone more interesting to talk to!  Yes, I do feel a bit sad and disappointed, because I was quite looking forward to the whole craving thing, but on the other hand, I am sure Paul is relieved!  Cravings usually mean trips to the supermarket at what-ever-hour!  And I do have friends that talk to me about other stuff too!  Haha!  But I haven’t quite given up hope yet, it could still happen….we have three months to go…

As great as I am feeling these days, there is always a certain underlying dread.  Dread of what? I hear you ask, with a slight nervousness in your voice… Well, this brings me to the crux of this blog…the unpredictability of pregnancy symptoms.

Sometimes it feels like you are playing a game of bingo, and you are given specific symptoms that you have to cross off, but you have no idea what these symptoms are going to be from day to day!  And every pregnant lady has her unique bingo card with different symptoms! It can feel quite scary not knowing what symptoms will hit you next and what symptoms you will be lucky enough to escape!  This is when I wish we were all allowed to write a Pregnancy Symptoms Wish-List at the start our pregnancy!  You would get to choose say, 5 nice symptoms that you would like and 5 not-so-nice symptoms that you want to avoid.  That way you can at least prepare for what’s to come and be ready for it!

This would be my ideal Pregnancy Symptoms Wish-List in order of preference:

NICE SYMPTOMS

Thick, shiny hair

Rosy complexion

Slow leg hair growth

An interesting craving (preferably low in calories)

An increased surge of, uh, how should I put this more politely, cuddle hormones (If you know what I mean…)

NOT-SO-NICE SYMPTOMS

Sickness and nausea

Stretch marks

Back pain

Frequent pee-ing

Bigger boobs (some of you may beg to differ, but when you’re already quite “blessed” in that area, getting any bigger is a real nightmare!)

Some of these items I am experiencing and/or have escaped (so far), but there are sooooooo many more lovely symptoms that can come my way.  Here are a few that I am a little bit fearful of: (I won’t mention too many, because the point of this blog is not to put you of becoming pregnant!  The positives, and eventual outcome of the pregnancy FAR outweigh these silly symptoms, most of which I simply dread because, let’s face it we can all be a bit vain sometimes!!!)

SCARY / STRANGE SYMPTOMS

Varicose veins

Belly button popping out!

Skin tags (small flesh-coloured or brown growths that hang off the skin)

Those of you that have been pregnant, I wonder if you would have liked to have been able to write a Wish-List, and what would you have had on yours?  I would be very surprised if you hadn’t!  Feel free to leave a comment and let us all know!

While mulling all this over, I do think that not having control over what your body is doing, and having to take each day as it comes, must prepare you for motherhood in a much more realistic way.  When I think of what it will be like to look after a baby and learn how to raise a child, “control” and “predictability” are not two words that spring to mind!  Better to learn to relinquish these traits as much as possible (and is wise), and learn to go with the flow, embrace each experience and remember that it’s all sooooooo worth it in the end!

{Learning Section}

Here’s a quick pregnancy update on other things…(All you mother’s you may find this a bit boring as it’s quite detailed and you will already know all about what these different tests are!  It’s written more for those of you who are still to experience pregnancy, so you can learn about some of the things you may expect to go through when you do fall pregnant)

I recently had to take a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT).  The purpose of this test is to check how your body regulates sugar levels so that it can be determined whether you are likely to/or have developed Gestational Diabetes (this type of diabetes is only present during pregnancy).  You will only get offered this test if you are at a risk of developing this type of diabetes, i.e. if someone in your family has diabetes, if you are overweight, or if you’ve had it before, etc.  I qualified to have it because diabetes runs in both Paul’s and my families.  The test is pretty boring!  You have to fast from 10pm the day before until after the test.  The first thing that happens when you go in is they take your blood (in my case, they tried several different veins until they succeeded, fun!) and you have to down this very sweet liquid which tastes like chalky squash.  You then have to sit around for 2 hours (it feels like a lifetime!) before going back for another round of blood-taking (Twilight springs to mind!).  You are then free to crawl back to your car, ravenous, dizzy and bored to death!  If they find that you are at risk, you will be notified within a few days.  Fortunately, my results came back negative!

I will also have to have an Anti-D injection, because once again I qualify for it!  This time because I have a negative blood type (A-).  Basically, when you have a negative blood type, and for some reason a bit of your baby’s blood mixes with your blood, your body will treat the baby as a foreign invader and create antibodies to destroy it.  Those antibodies won’t harm your unborn baby in your first pregnancy, but should you become pregnant again, it could be a problem as the antibodies that were created will fight to get rid of the baby.  The purpose of the injection is to prevent the antibodies from forming in the first place, thus avoiding any nasty issues down the line!  I’ve heard it takes quite a long time for the anti-D to be injected :/  I just hope they can find a vein straight away and don’t go poking around all over my arm again!

So, there you go!  Little bits of interesting stuff mixed in with my random thoughts!

Before I leave you to get on with your day, I just thought I’d paint you a wonderful, mental picture of me in my pregnant, un-ladylike state….I’m sitting here, burping away at random intervals (it comes with no warning and I can’t suppress it!), legs apart to give the bump space (very manly I know!  Paul told me the other day I make him feel emasculated!  Haha) and a pillow propping me up (like a fragile old lady) so I can reach the keyboard, all while trying to deceive my bladder into thinking it’s empty and telling myself to stop crying over a previous TV show, “Modern Family is not real”…

….at least my hair is long and thick…

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I changed my mind about babies + other deep stuff…

Well hello there, sunshine! Good to see you back so soon 🙂

I just can’t believe this GORGEOUS weather we’ve been having these last couple of weeks! I feel like I’m in the wrong country, haha!  I really hope it carries on…sunshine just makes everything so much more fun!  I keep hearing rumours that we are going to be in for one of the hottest summers on record?  That would be awesome, as long as it will start after I have given birth or else I will just need to move into someone’s pool until baby’s arrival!!

I am now 23 weeks, only one more week till “V-Day”!  Did you know that babies are now deemed viable at 24 weeks and have a chance of survival?  That’s basically what V-Day means.  To be honest, yes, I will be relieved to reach V-Day, but I CANNOT wait until the actual B-Day!  I am terrified of the whole labour and birth thing, and refuse to watch “One born every minute” because of it.  I feel like I am counting down to torture day, and it can’t be avoided!  BUT on the flip side, that day will be one of the most exciting of my life!  I try to imagine what it will be like to meet our daughter and to get to hold her for the first time.  I get so excited, it feels like when I was a little girl, the night before Christmas or my birthday, but times a hundred!

Now, I’m actually going to let you into a little secret that might surprise you quite a lot…

I NEVER, EVER wanted children

That’s quite the statement I know, but it’s completely true.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved and adored children, but I just never wanted my own.

Those of you that know me really well, will know that I used to be THE biggest advocate for living a child-free life! I swore to myself that I would never, ever have children and I made one of my sisters promise that if I ever tell her I am changing my mind, she would have to talk me out of it. Well luckily, she never did, and obviously I changed my view about all this quite some time ago!

I can just imagine the concerned look on your face, your inner psychologist trying to come out and diagnose me!  I had actually completely forgotten about this until one of my sisters reminded me and asked me about it.  Thanks to her, I decided it was time to do some self-assessment and thought why not let you join me.  Time to get out your psychologist glasses, worn on the tip of your nose, and make some space for me on the chaise lounge!

“So, Daisy, what did eventually cause you to change your mind about kids? And why were you so anti-having-children in the first place?”

I think it started way back when…growing up the the 4th oldest in a family, or more appropriately-named a tribe, consisting of 7 girls and 2 boys….it was crazy, chaotic, fun, never boring, adventurous and at times a little overwhelming!  Being one of the older ones in such a large family naturally comes with a lot of responsibility. I changed my first nappy when I was 5 and babysat not long after that. During the school holidays I used to put on a “Kids club” to keep the little ones entertained.  There was always a guaranteed show for the family at the end of it, which they were forced to endure like it or not!  I absolutely loved my siblings to bits but I definitely felt like a mum and by the time I grew up, I was exhausted and in desperate need for some me-time!

So I went travelling to Mexico and it was amazing!  I ended up living there for a total of two years, and it was just what I needed to finally learn to live care-free, without too much responsibility and people depending on you!

Shortly after I returned home, I married the most amazing man I had ever met (although it took us forever to just get it together and make that commitment)!  I look at him every day and think “wow, I am seriously SO lucky to have landed this one!!”  As it turned out, Paul was so perfect for me, he even came complete with his own tribe of a family…5 sisters and 2 brothers!  Please don’t faint on me now!  Yes, these big families still exist….but the chances that they intertwine is just a bit of humour on God’s part!  We were both on the same page about waiting to have kids, Paul’s the second oldest in his family and definitely had his share of babysitting!  I was still secretly hoping at this point that we would never get to that stage where Paul would start hinting at us having kids!  I certainly wasn’t ever going to bring it up…

“Thanks for all that background info Daisy, but I charge more an hour than you earn a month, so for your sake let me hurry you along….so you were simply exhausted and needed a break from kids?  Or, were there more underlying issues?”  [Well done readers, you guys are really getting into character! Haha]

Well, there was that reason that I felt like I had already fulfilled my duty as a mum but there were far deeper issues that I needed to face.  The main reasons why I didn’t want to have my own kids.  Reasons I didn’t want to admit because I didn’t know how I would deal with them once I acknowledged them.

I was scared that I wouldn’t be a good enough mum.

I was scared that I wouldn’t love my kids as much as I had loved my siblings, and the kids I nannied for.

I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to cope with being a mum, that it would all get too much for me and I would end up hurting my kids because of it.

Basically, I was scared that I wasn’t going to do my kids justice, and that I wasn’t meant to be a mum.

I am sure that there are many of us that have had to face these tough questions, but these fears were SO strong and felt so justified that they became truths that I believed.  Paul was my rock, as ALWAYS, and he helped me to start seeing the real truth.  He helped me to realise that I had the power to change the future.  That just because I had witnessed and experienced certain things, I didn’t have to follow the same patterns.  I wasn’t alone, we were a team, and together we would help each other and remind each other that it was up to us to choose the destiny we wanted.

Little by little, I realised Paul was right.  As I watched families and friends that inspired me, I saw that they too had to make the same choices – whether they realised it or not.  Once I started to let the real truth sink in, my walls that I had built up around me to “protect me from facing reality” started to come crumbling down.  My heart was free to choose to love without fear.

I knew that I had come a long way, when it was ME that started to suggest that Paul and I start trying for kids.  I started to get broody around my friends with their newborn babies.  I hadn’t felt broody in like…ever!  Paul, who had been so patient and understanding in all of it was thrilled!  He did desperately try to keep me from going to baby showers though, because I would always end up coming home after hearing yet more horror stories about births and labour, and tell him, “That’s just added an extra year on until we can start trying!”

Sitting here now with my growing bump getting in the way of my laptop, I can’t even remember what it was like NOT to want my own children and family.  I couldn’t feel happier about this little miracle growing inside of me.  This little girl has already completely stolen my heart.  She deserves a mummy that will never stop loving her, that will be there for her no matter what, that will keep her safe and protected and that will do tons of fun stuff with her…and that’s what she’s going to get 🙂

So now, when parents come up to me and say , “Enjoy your last few months on your own, you won’t sleep again”, or “It is sooooooo tough”, or “You will never stop worrying from here-on in”…I just smile at them politely.  Sure, I can appreciate that it won’t always be easy, but Paul and I are about to given the most precious gift and we won’t let anyone take away our joy!  These kinds of comments just remind me of the time before Paul and I got married and people would tell us things like, “You will loose your freedom forever”, “Get out while you can..hahaha”  It used to really get to me, but I can assure you that it has been the BEST THING I have ever done!  Now, I am not having a dig at “those people”, I can understand that they mean well and just want me to be prepared.  I get that.

Let’s just try not to take life for granted – our understanding partners, your beautiful children, that upcoming holiday, those incredible friends!  Yes, life has its ups and downs, but you get what you focus on, and I, for one, am going to focus on all the amazing things in life!

There.  I’m done.  You can take the chaise lounge back 🙂  I hope this helps someone else which is why I shared it, and I hope my sister (it’s all your fault! Hehe) appreciates this very, detailed answer!

Do come back next week, I will be back to my funny, light-hearted self 🙂

2

Holiday adventures and turning into Shamu

Hello Blog-readers!!!!!

Yes, I am still alive and well….I am sorry for my absence and I promise to make it up to you in this blog entry!  Better grab yourself a drink and a biscuit (cheeky!) and sit back for a looooong read!

The last time I wrote, I was at 16 weeks, I am now 22 weeks!  Time to give you all another non-fruit comparison I think!

Week 16  |  Avocado  |  Ok, I’ll admit this is getting a bit harder to do now!  Uh, let’s say the length of my pointy finger just loads fatter!!

Week 17  |  Orange  |  Gosh, I’m really struggling to think of objects!  Here’s a random one, simply because he’s lying right in front of me…Beck’s (our house rabbit) head!!!

Week 18  |  Bell Pepper  |  Ah, I’ve got one…a body buff!  Standard size, nothing fancy, you know the ones that last you like two showers but you keep buying them because they’re only 99p!  Haha

Week 19  |  Grapefruit  | The size of a DVD (disc not box!)

[Now here’s the bit in the chart where instead of counting the baby’s size from head to bum, they start counting from head to heel, so you’ll notice quite a dramatic change in size!!]

Week 20  |  Mango (from giant land obviously, because I have not yet seen a mango 25cm long!)  |  Does this count; the height of a box of Ritz crackers with the flaps slightly open??  Lol.  Ooh…I quite fancy some now…

Week 21  |  Cantaloupe (Net Melon)  |  Um, the height of a box of Ritz crackers with the flaps open all the way??  Lol…can’t think of anything other than Ritz now!

Week 22 – 24  |  Aubergine  |  10 Ritz biscuits in a row?  Haha, just messing now…  How about the length of a 30cm ruler!  That’s pretty long!

So one of the reasons I have been a bit quiet on the blog-side of things is because I was on holiday, yay!  One of my best friends and his girlfriend, came over from the States.  My friend was flying over to photograph a wedding here, so we decided he should make a holiday out of it.  It was the girlfriend’s first time on this side of the world so we decided we will pack in as much as we can and make it a trip to remember!  We spent the first few days in London, seeing the sights and shopping in Topshop (which is a must for every American apparently!).  The weather wasn’t very kind to us, it rained pretty much for the entirety of the trip and it was freezing, but we were troopers and let nothing stop us!

After my friend finished shooting the wedding and we had explored London enough, we drove to Scotland!  We stayed in this gorgeous little B&B by the seaside in Ayr.  The weather was still horrific, but at least we were expecting it going to Scotland!  We spend three days there, exploring a local castle, getting a ferry across to the Isle of Arran and spending the day there.  That was a super fun day!  We just hired a car and drove around the island stopping here and there to explore more castles, check out a whiskey distillery, take loads of photos and to find the mysterious King’s Caves.  Now, that’s a story!  We thought we would just be able to park up and the caves would be right in front of us, staring us in the face, ready to be photographed to death.  No.  That did not happen!  We ended up having to hike there!  A local told us it was a really easy trek and would take about an hour, and upon telling him I was 4 months pregnant he was like, “Oh you’ll be fine, there are only a few steep bits”.  So we set off, the sunshine on our side, brimming with optimism and munching on some trailmix (a stereotypical American road-trip snack that consists of nuts mixed with chocolates, like M&M’s, and sometimes raisins…it’s really yummy actually, I was going to start making my own, I need to get on it!)  We soon realised this local had no real sense of reality and was a LOT fitter than he looked!  The path was getting steeper and narrower, and at points were were sliding down muddy cliff sides, holding onto the sides for dear life!  Eventually we arrived at the caves, they were amazing and did make the hike worth it.  They were right on the beach, and had all sorts of carvings on them.  Very interesting.  When we left the caves to carry on the path which would take us back to the car, we saw the sky darkening in the distance and it was coming straight towards us!  We were walking along the cliff side, when suddenly the storm hit and we were bombarded by hail stones, icy wind and rain!!!  Needless to say, we pretty much ran to get out of the open space to get some cover and the storm eventually passed, phew!  After speed-walking for about an hour and a half we made it back.  We looked at the map in the car park and it turns out we had walked 5k!!!

After an adventurous time in Scotland, we weren’t quite done.  We had quite a dangerous journey back to England, getting stuck in a snow storm in the mountains, and then finding ourselves on the motorway during a severe weather warning, advising people to stay at home!  It called for a day of rest, especially for my hero of a husband who had done all the driving!  However, that same evening, we were off again…this time to…Paris!!  My friend and his girlfriend really wanted to be spend Valentines Day in Paris, so we thought why not?!  We had left it too late to get a decent price on Eurostar tickets, and we weren’t going to drive again, so our only option was to get a 9-hour coach ride.  It was overnight, and pretty brutal!  None of us got much sleep!  Once we got to Paris, we were on a busy schedule as we were used to by now.  We spent all day seeing the sights, in the rain, and then finished our time at the Eiffel Tower doing photoshoots.  I really wanted a maternity shoot, but at that time I had only just about “popped” and my bump was still quite small, so I just stuck it out a bit more and I think the baguette I had for lunch helped with some extra bloating!  Haha.  That evening we got the coach back to London, another extremely uncomfortable journey, and arrived in London at 4.30am.

Then, we went home and slept for 3 days….not!  Yeah, that would have been the sensible option but we did the opposite!  We had decided to stay in London for that morning so that we could squeeze one more shopping trip in.  My friend is obsessed with Ben Sherman and we didn’t have the chance to go any other time.  So we waited until 5.30am for the tube lines to open, went back to our car, got changed, and went for breakfast in Soho, as you do.  We didn’t realise what a gem we had found, being one of the first customers there, until this massive line of people started forming outside the restaurant waiting for tables!!!  It was an amazing breakfast, but to queue up in the freezing cold is quite dedicated!  After clearing out Ben Sherman, we were finally homeward bound, but we could barely drag ourselves back to the car.  Again, Paul was the hero driving us back while we were all snoring our heads off!

And that completed our hectic, busy but super fun trip!  It took us all a few days to recover!  I have to say, though, that was one of the hardest things physically I had done in a long, long time!  Being pregnant makes you so much more tired, and everything is that much harder!  There were points I thought I couldn’t carry on, but I felt quite proud of myself for what I achieved and that I managed to keep up.  I battled through not only hail storms and rain, but nausea and the occasional vomiting, but it was all worth it in the end.  The mind is a powerful thing!  Now don’t worry, I wasn’t reckless and baby was well looked after and safe 🙂

Once I hit 20 weeks, I started feeling soooooo much better.  I am a bit worried writing this because every time I had mentioned feeling better in previous blog entries, I would throw up :/  I will take the risk!  I have been able to eat normally again and even started cooking again after 4 months of not being able to!  The nausea only very rarely comes for a visit, and only to warn me that I need to take it easy! Lol.  It’s great to feel a little more human again!  There are, however, a few things that I’m not allowed, or can’t do anymore now…

– I am not allowed to sleep on my back, so I don’t squash my organs and restrict my breathing, I think.  So they say you should try and sleep on your left side.  That’s easier said than done!  I think I need to invest in a maternity pillow soon that will wedge me in so that I can’t roll over!

– I can’t carry heavy shopping and manage four flights of stairs anymore!  Just simply walking up the stairs gets me majorly out of breath!  Apparently my walk has changed too, the boys at work have kindly informed me.  Not yet a waddle, but it has significantly slowed!

– I can’t get out of Paul’s car without assistance!  Before you laugh too hard, his car is kind of like a sports car in that it’s really low and the seats are super low, so once I’m in, I can’t pull myself out anymore :0  At least it makes Paul look like a proper gentleman, opening the door for me and yanking me out!  Lol.

– I am not allowed to do a lot of the exercises at my Legs, Bums & Tums class.  This is a plus actually!  While everyone else sweats their butt off, I get to do easier exercises and smile sweetly at them!  Anytime I fancy a break, I just clutch my bump and try to look tired…hehehe

Ooh, I need to tell you about our 20-week Anomaly scan!  That was fun!  This time the scan was longer than the last time, as they need to thoroughly check that there aren’t any anomalies and that the baby is looking healthy and its heart beat is regular, etc.  The detail we were able to see was incredible!  You could see each single rib!  The heart was really clear too, and you could clearly see it beating.  Paul and I both wanted to know the gender of the baby, so we asked the Sonographer to write the result in a card for us.  I wanted it to be bit more special than them just blurting it out.  So the plan was to go for a coffee after and open the card together (and I would cry guaranteed!)  So, in the scan, the Sonographer quickly looked between the legs but swiftly moved on and didn’t really comment.  The baby was a lot more temperamental than last time.  It was wriggling around and moving its arm and kicking out its legs.  At one point it look directly at us, it was sooooo cute!!!  After an amazing scan, and being informed that the baby was healthy, we went off for coffee, card in hand.  Now, I will tell you that up until this point I was convinced I knew what we were having…a boy.  I had dreams, and just thought I had this sense.  I was so adamant I was right, I almost went out and bought blue things!  Paul was the realist again, and he didn’t let me influence him!

Here is Baby Douglas in mid leg kick, hand to her head!

Here is Baby Douglas in mid leg kick, hand to her head!

Here she is, pretending to be a calm baby :)

Here she is, pretending to be a calm baby 🙂

When we opened the card (which was really nerve-wracking for some reason!), it said “It looks like a girl” you should have seen how far my jaw dropped open!  It pretty much stayed like that the rest of the day!!!!  I was in utter shock, because I had convinced myself it was a boy, that the possibility it could be a girl just hadn’t even occurred to me!  Please don’t get me wrong, I had NO preference and didn’t want one or the other more, I was just so stunned to be wrong!  Hahaha.  When it started to sink in a little that we were having a girl, the tears came as predicted!  Paul had a moment of realising what having a girl meant, that in a few years time she would be a teenager who would most likely have lots of male admirers, and said jokingly, “A boy would have been easier!”  Haha.  Both of us are sooooo thrilled to be having this little girl, and we cannot wait to meet her!  She is already loved to bits, and will no doubt have her daddy wrapped around her little finger 😉

During the scan I found out that I had an anterior placenta, which means that the placenta lies in front of the baby, just behind my bump.  This doesn’t cause any complications, but it meant that feeling her kick would take a little longer.  From about 20 weeks I could feel little flutters here and there, and it has been steadily getting stronger.  It’s a really strange sensation and hard to explain, but at the moment it just feels like little pulses.  At first, you’re not even sure if it’s the baby or just wind, or indigestion!!!  It’s the sweetest thing, knowing she is kicking away in there and I couldn’t wait for Paul to get to feel it too!  Then, finally, at 21 weeks, Paul and I were cuddling on the couch and he put his hand on my bump.  As soon as he did, she started moving around and all of a sudden there was a strong kick!  Paul moved his hand, as he couldn’t feel anything, and we just watched my tummy and sure enough, another strong kick and you could see my bump moving!!!!  It was so crazy!!!  Paul put his hand back over the bump and he got to feel it, and have his first encounter with his little daughter 🙂  It was an absolutely priceless moment.  He had no idea that you could actually see the bump move, you should have seen his face!  It was similar to my face when we found out we were having a girl!  Hahaha.

Bump status update:  Well, as you know I finally “popped” at around 17/18 weeks and since then the bump has not stopped growing!  It was still fairly neat at 20 weeks, but I feel that it has doubled already since then!  I am definitely starting to turn into Shamu, especially if this doubling thing carries on!

Let's hope Baby Douglas likes birds as much as me!

Let’s hope Baby Douglas likes birds as much as me!

Now that we’re halfway through, we realised we should probably start buying few bits and get a start on the nursery, yippee!!!!  I bought THE CUTEST fabric in Ikea, months before we even knew I was pregnant, because I simply had to have it for the future nursery!  We will have it made into curtains, and pillow covers and some other bits.  Don’t worry I will post photos of the finished nursery, but so you can admire the fabric here’s a little sneak preview 🙂  Isn’t the upside-down birdy the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?!!!!!  Lol

Our friends and family have been SO incredibly generous and have given us quite a bit of stuff already!  So we don’t really have too much to buy, which is great.  There’s something special about having a baby, because as they say, “they bring their own blessing” and she certainly has!  I think it’s very easy to get really panicky about things that still need to be organised, and preparing for something that you have never experienced, but then you get to enjoy all these little blessings along the way, and it’s like God’s way of saying, “Just breathe, calm down and enjoy the journey.  Everything will be taken care of in due time.”  Amazing huh?

Now to find a name we can both agree on…. 🙂