New regime

So I’m four days into Maternity Leave & the honeymoon period is over. I am living under a new regime in preparation for the big day.

Each day now consists of:

  1. 30mins of yoga
  2. 15mins positive visualisation exercises
  3. 20-30mins of relaxation exercises
  4. 100 pelvic floor exercises
  5. 5-10 mins of other exercises for the ‘lower regions’ that we won’t go into detail about
  6. 5-10 mins practising breathing exercises
  7. 1 hour of reading baby books – the post birth bits

The healthy eating continues as per always, lack of caffeine, no red red meat, yadda yadda yadda.

There’s so much more to this birthing business than I ever dreamt. It’s not just a case of ‘buy some bits & bobs then wait it out’. The early weeks are filled discomfort, nausea, headaches, worry. The middle section is ok; there’s still discomfort but you start yoga classes & relaxation exercises two or three times a week. The final stretch is filled with discomfort, shopping, appointments every other week & a variety of daily exercises. (For those who haven’t been pregnant, I look forward to seeing your faces when you reach the page in the baby book that talks you through no. 5 above. For those who don’t ever experience it, no need to scare yourselves. Ignorance is bliss my friends.)

However, the regime is off to a slow start after being up half the night feeling sick & shooting pains running from my hip to my middle back. I think some berry tea is in order first.

Unhappy midwife

I saw the midwife today. We were off to a fantastic start: when I sat down she said, “Where have you been? We have no record of you existing. Where are your notes?” So I explained that I had moved three times, got caught in the system & finally that I’d lost my maternity file while moving house so had lost all my notes, for which I was very, very sorry.

She was not happy. I was that patient.

But all is well. Bump is engaging (head dropping into pelvis ready for the big day) & by the end of the appointment she was even laughing at how strong his kicks are.

Tonight has seen Bump’s dad ‘being a man’ & putting the pushchair together and trying to figure out how to secure a baby into said pushchair by strapping a teddy bear in. It’s been really quite amusing to watch! We got there in the end. But safe to say after a few practise rounds I never ever intend to fold the pushchair up again. Far too much effort.

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We are good to go!

Our order from Mothercare has arrived, including everything from our sunshine yellow pushchair to teeny tiny socks. I feel more excited than on Christmas morning!

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I’ve been very well behaved & only bought what we need. Though Bump’s dad isn’t convinced when he sees how much stuff is piling up in Bump’s room… but I promise I have been very frugal.

I am very pleased to report, however, we are now ready for whenever Bump arrives. In the last week I’ve started to panic as other moms-to-be I know had already bought loads & were all prepared. You see, you’re legally not allowed to leave the hospital without a car seat (even if you don’t own a car!) so I’ve had visions of Bump arriving early & not being allowed to go home & having nothing but a towel to clothe him in.

But I can sleep easy tonight. Bump, we’re ready & waiting.

Unless in the rush to get to the hospital we forget the car seat. That would be a blow.

Counting sheep ain’t cutting it

First Monday on maternity leave tomorrow. And thank god because it’s 1am & I’m lying here with insomnia.

We’ve done about 15 hours of antenatal (NCT) classes this weekend & another seven last Saturday too. It’s all just swimming round & round in my head. Oxytocin, skin-to-skin, optimum nipple position for breastfeeding, what to pack in the hospital bag…

While we are now completely babied out, I have to say, they were brilliant. Informative, not patronising, interesting & really helpful. The classes included everything from hormones during pregnancy & birth to possible pain relief (or not) options; to getting the dad’s walking round with heavy backpacks on their fronts doing chores to emulate life with a bump & practising massage techniques to help mum-to-be through contractions. The classes weren’t cheap, but Bump’s dad & I both said it was worth every penny.

We’ve also now met another 4 couples all due within a month of Bump who live within walking distance. This is great as we know no one with kids or who’s pregnant or who’s remotely close to having kids.

Feeling on a roll, we started sorting through the spare room / nursery this evening. This started off well. We put baby books on the side, removed the dressing table. We even put the cot together. This felt like a huge thing, a massive step… And then my world came crashing down as we discovered the bedding we’d bought doesn’t fit & the mobile can’t be attached to the cot. And to add insult to injury, I’d bought bumpers to then find out at NCT that they’re now really frowned upon. Then realised we have no way of attaching them to the cot anyway!

You see, in an attempt to be sensible, we opted for a second hand travel cot with bassinet & changing mat fixture. Saves space (& money) while we figure out where we’ll be more long term after this summer & means Bump doesn’t have to worry about getting used to a new cot once he’s outgrown his cradle as we simply lower him further into the cot. Job done.

Only, seeing it all up & not as I wanted with the lovely bedding we’d chosen & mobile we’d been given at the shower made me, for the first time in 8 months, feel we couldn’t offer Bump what we would have wanted. Because if we were doing all this in a few years, settled in our ‘proper’ apartment with time & planning on out side, we wouldn’t need to think about temporary solutions or make shift nurseries. Bump would have his own room, properly decked out just for him.

It seems silly really to get upset over some bedding. Bump’s dad said I was tired & so everything seemed worse than it really was. But I think I just really, really liked the bedding.

Bump is getting ready…

I had what basically felt like period pains for about 30mins this evening (as every girl knows, makes for a great start to any Friday night & dinner with friends. But I can assure you, it’s an odd sensation after 8 months without a period!) but gradually it went off.

They say pain is the body’s way of signalling something to your conscious mind. Although it is usually associated with something bad happening (thanks society) it can be a good or indifferent change. E.g., when you’re six & have a wobbly tooth, it can be sensitive but it’s not bad. It’s just your body saying, ‘oi, be aware.’

Well, in that vein, I’ve got home & realised Bump has descended another inch or so. There’s now a definite 3-4 inches between Bump & my boobs. It’s slightly unnerving after having had him sat practically in my diaphragm for so long.

Also feels like eeep! He’s getting ready! 4 weeks 2 days. I’m keeping my legs firmly closed.

It’s nap time

The clock strikes 1 & ding! It’s official. I am on Maternity Leave. This feels rather momentous. It’s the final stretch now. Exactly one month to go until Bump’s due date.

To be frank, I’m ready to finish work. I feel rather heavy & the running for trains at Paddington was starting to be less of an annoyance (mainly at myself for perpetually leaving my commute to the final second & not giving myself any breathing space – I’ll never change) & more of an incapability. But no more. It’s over. No more jostling on the tube at rush hour, no more one & a half to two hour commutes. And naps. So many naps are planned. It’ll be naps galore! A very welcome change of pace fo’ sho’. Hello Maternity Leave!

Work have spoiled Bump & I rotten. Baby grows, books, gift vouchers, cupcakes – mmmm the cupcakes. They were delish. Nothing makes a grey & dreary day in Slough (yes, I work in the armpit of the South East) better like the Hummingbird Bakery.

It’s been a hectic final few weeks but the last few days have been lovely with words of joy, encouragement & excitement coming from every direction. (And surprise from one woman who didn’t actually know I was pregnant!) Thank you all for your generous gifts & I hope our paths will cross again.

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Thank you all so much!

 

duh Duh DUUUH!

It’s 11am on a grey, rather chilly Wednesday morning. You’re at the ad agency, sipping water by a large glass window looking out over Victoria, waiting for a meeting to start. And then. The horror! You realise you’ve left your Gaviscon in your other bag.

The camera zooms out, blurring the surroundings & the violins do that one, long, single crescendo note signalling doom & detestation.

Only I’m not in a film. And there’s no violins. And this is the sorry state my life has become. Addicted to peppermint flavoured Gaviscon, not knowing how to get through the day without my next hit as what feels like a firey put of hell fills me chest & consumes me.

And they say pregnancy is a special time. Woe is me.

Thank god the future is a mystery

5 years ago, I was in Oceana in Nottingham celebrating the end of January exams & my 20th birthday. It was the usual Uni night of drunken debauchary. However, this particular evening was to be extra special.

Bump’s dad & I were best friends from the second week of Uni. And from approximately the fourth week, I knew I wasn’t going to settle for us being just friends. But it wasn’t until about the eighth week that I got fed up of waiting for him to cotton on. So (after much vodka) I filled him in on what everyone else in our halls had already realised. Now, forgive me, this next bit is rather hazey but I believe it was along the lines that, clearly, we were made for each other & he needed to stop faffing around & ask me out already… I wish I’d stopped there & that I could claim to have sounded that rational & coherent… But from what he’s told me since, it’s safe to say obviously I was right as no one in their right mind would have been friends with the drunken, demanding, wailing banshee he paints me out to be that night unless he was actually in love with me & just didn’t realise it.

However, he politely declined. And claimed we were better off as friends. Cue a month and a half of slowly chipping away at this preposterous idea (again, usually rather a lot of vodka was involved) until the new term, when I decided I’d let things go. If he had resisted my oh-so-polite-not-at-all-over-the-top advances this far, clearly it was time to throw in the towel.

And then, on January 20th, 2009, he finally saw the light (after angrily accusing me of kissing someone else, which I did not. If I’d known I just had to make him jealous from the off that would have saved me a lot of time… & vodka.)

I have to say. It’s a good job we can’t tell the future. I may really have been fighting a losing battle if he’d known he’d be a daddy a mere 5 years down the line, dealing with a hormonal, demanding, wailing banshee!