Monday, 2 March 2015

PREGNANCY: Week 34 Update

Tom surprised me with a long weekend break for my birthday last weekend, which was just perfect. We tend to take each other away for our birthdays but as mine is in March and I'd be 36 weeks pregnant, Tom decided to take me away a little bit earlier than usual. It came at the perfect time, we both needed a break from working on our house every weekend and it's important that we spend quality time together before our baby arrives. Later on in the weekend we were joined by a group of university friends, which was a complete surprise! It was lovely to catch up and for them to see my bump before it turns into a baby. 

Pregnancy wise this week has bought badly swollen feet, ankles and hands. It's something that has suddenly come on this week, so I'm monitoring it, as it can be a sign of pre-eclampsia.  The swelling has made wearing shoes extremely difficult, I'm almost sure I'll have to crack out the flip flops before the end of this pregnancy! The skin is consequently so much tighter in those areas, which can be uncomfortable. I've been trying to raise my feet above my heart level, but not being able to lie on my back has made that harder.

Baby has also decided that my bladder is a dance floor this week, which is pretty late in to pregnancy so I'm counting myself lucky! I can literally feel her kick my bladder, resulting in me needing to do some pretty effective pelvic floor excercises.  Despite this, I haven't needed to go to the toilet during the night yet (since moving house and not having an en-suite, I think I've scared my body into not wanting to leave our bedroom at night!) 

Stretch marks have started to make an appearance this week, only a couple, just on either side of the bump. I still don't have any on the actual bump itself, which I'm seriously surprised about.

I had my 34 week midwife appointment this week. Quick low down - blood pressure is fine, bump is measuring bang on what it should at 34cm, baby is now head down and curved around my left hand side and I've been told to write my birth plan ready for my 36 week appointment. Gulp. I know a lot of what's going to go on my birth plan but writing it down makes the whole 'giving birth' thing a lot more real!! 

I've mentioned in a couple of my past weekly updates that we attended an NCT antenatal course back in January. It was invaluable for many reasons - we learnt so much but we also met some truely lovely people too. This week saw a Whatsapp group set up by the women of the group (the men finally set up a group later in the week too), so that we can chat easily and frequently. Having that support network of other pregnant ladies has been (and will continue to be) invaluable for us all. We have each other to ask for advice, share milestones, share good and bad news, share the exciting news of babies being born and just to chat in the middle of the night makes you feel  like you're not alone. I can't recommend setting up that network of people, in the same situation as yourself, enough. It wouldn't have to be through NCT courses, there are free NHS ones or Twitter is great for chatting to other pregnant/new Mummy bloggers. 

This week I'm definitely starting to look forward to getting our baby out - she's just SO big and heavy now! Every time she turns I can feel it so strongly, which is both magical and slightly painful. I think I'll miss being pregnant, and having a bump, so I'm trying not to wish the time away too much. 

How has your week been?

Feel free to leave me a comment :)

Helen x

Friday, 27 February 2015

PREGNANCY: A Message To Everyone Who Has Compromised My Personal Space...

I have enjoyed watching my bump grow week on week, the process of our baby growing inside me has given me a whole new level of respect for my body. I just keep wishing I had known how inspiring my body would be when I was a self conscious teenager, hating everything about my body! If you're lacking respect for your body right now, just think one day it could produce another human being. That's pretty wonderful if you ask me!

Becoming pregnant is such a magical time of your life - a journey you will inevitably learn a lot about yourself and your body - but unfortunately (in my opinion) you somehow become public property. Or at least a lot of people think so.

Pregnant women and baby bumps have always fascinated me - what did it feel like to have a baby inside you? What does it feel like when the baby kicks? How do you sleep with such a big bump? When do you adopt the pregnant waddle? - so many questions and intrigue but I didn't start stroking random women's bumps or asking inappropriate questions. Not everybody I've come across during my pregnancy follows this usual social etiquette though, for some people I can now be seen as public property. All because my husband and I decided to have a baby - a decision WE made and a journey WE are sharing. Not a decision or journey that everyone and their dog needs to be or should be involved in. Don't get me wrong, I love sharing some aspects of my pregnancy, baby kicks and growing bump with the people I love (and all your lovely blog readers!) but surely it's up to ME what/when/where/how/who I want to share things with? No?

During the however many weeks I have been pregnant and people have known about it, I have been faced with a range of awkward situations that just wouldn't have been considered acceptable had I not been pregnant. Like the time that I was only 16 weeks pregnant (so barely had a bump) and someone lent over me saying "Oh you don't mind if I stroke your bump, do you?", while they were stroking my 'bump'. In other words they were stroking my slightly wobbly tummy, that I certainly didn't want people to be touching or stroking! But what can you say when they are already doing what they're asking is ok?! It's awkward. I shook the situation off with an unsure laughter, wishing that it wouldn't happen again. But it did, in fact it did later that day. I was saying goodbye to someone and they managed to wiggle their hand through my coat to stroke my tummy, I was shocked. I felt so uncomfortable and just scurried off - since when is it appropriate to put your hand under someone else's coat and touch their tummy? It seems since you announce your pregnancy, but that shouldn't be the case in my opinion. Just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean my body becomes public property. In fact my body is going through so many changes that I may or may not be feeling more self conscious than usual - making these inappropriate situations even more uncomfortable.

When I announced I was pregnant a lot of Mum's did warn me that this 'public property' situation would happen, but does that make it ok? Is it ok that women have come to expect it when they announce a pregnancy?

Personally, I don't think so.

A message to everyone who has compromised my personal space and privacy during this pregnancy, please remember:

It's my body, going through a journey my husband and I are sharing and if I/we want to share something with you then I/we will. If not then please keep your questions, advice, pressure and hands to yourself.

Thank you.

Did you struggle with this 'public property' aspect of being pregnant?

I'd love to hear your experiences too :)

Helen x

Thursday, 26 February 2015

BABY HAUL: Polka Dots, Dresses and Plenty of White

Late last year I won a £25 F&F Clothing voucher from the Tesco Twitter account, so when I spotted an offer for when you spend £50 online you get £10 off, I couldn't resist picking some pieces up for our baby! With the voucher and discount code all of these items only cost around £16 - not bad! We then picked up some really cute things from Marks and Spencer's (I'm literally obsessed with their baby range!), which I thought I'd share with you :)

F&F Clothing
Can't seem to find these on the website anymore - sorry!
Can't seem to find this online either but Tom bought it in store a couple of days ago, so should be available in store.

Marks and Spencer's
I can't find this online but we only bought it last weekend, so I'm not sure why. It was £14.

Have you picked up any nice baby clothes recently?

Feel free to leave me a comment :)

Helen x

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

INTRODUCING: Bath Time Fun with Kids Stuff Crazy

Kids Stuff Crazy know how to make bath time fun for both adults and children! They have a range of products that are fun, child friendly and offer a sensory experience for your little one. We all know that if you make bath times fun, they are not only easier for you but an all round happy experience for everyone involved! I remember bath time from my childhood being full of foam alphabet letters, plastic boats, bubble beards and colour changing bubble bath - my brothers and I loved it. Bath time fun has come a long way since I was young, with so many different ways of making bath water more interesting than just bubbly.  
This Kids Stuff Crazy Bathtime Foam and Wash Set* (£5) contains Crazy Soap, which is a pliable foam soap that can be shaped and bounced. It's PH balanced formula gently cleanses and moisturises delicate skin. As well as being SLES and Paraben free - peace of mind for parents. Crazy Soap has a fabulous fruity scent and is available in Original White (in this set) and Glorious Green. You also get a rather cute monkey wash sponge, to add to the fun!
This Kids Stuff Crazy Bathtime Colouring Book* (£5) includes 4 colouring crayons that can be used in the bath, who would have thought?! It is clearly one for slightly older children, as it requires the ability to hold a crayon. In fact they recommend that this product isn't suitable for children under 36 months. Your children can colour in all of their favourite crazy characters in the book, wash it off after use and use the crayons and book again and again. You can even use the crayons to colour yourself!
These three Kids Stuff Crazy Soap Bubble Baths all offer something different - the 'Shake & Splash' Green Bubble Bath* (£5.23) allows you to discuss which colours make green (the yellow and blue in the container) and then turns your bath water green too. The Colour Changing Bubble Bath* (£3.68) changes colour before your very eyes - from orange to blue - very magical! Finally, the 'Shake & Sparkle' Bubble Bath* (£5.25) adds sparkles to the bath water, really enhancing the sensory experience of bath time for children. The animal on the top of each bottle also doubles up as a finger puppet!

How do you like to make bath time fun for your little ones?

Feel free to leave me a comment :)

Helen x

Monday, 23 February 2015

PREGNANCY: Week 33 Update

I took this last week off work, which felt strange as I'm going on maternity leave in 3 weeks so part of me wanted to crack on with the big list of things I plan to do when I start maternity leave. However I restrained, which I'm glad of as I could have up to 5 weeks off before the little one arrives and I don't want to be just sitting around not making the most of the time.

I had a lovely week - mixing being very productive with resting and socialising too. I met up with a friend for tea and cake on Tuesday, I'm trying to meet up with as many people as possible before she arrives because it will be hard to for a while after. I also visited my auntie, cousin and cousins baby this week, which was well overdue! My cousin gave birth last September, so there'll only be 8 months between our babies. I've barely seen them during my pregnancy and it was really nice catching up, picking up any hints and tips and having baby cuddles (though it's harder now my bump is bigger). I also painted our bathroom (one step closer to having a bathroom at home), tidied the house, did lots of work and wrote/photographed many blog posts. All in all a productive week :)

Pregnancy wise it had been a good week - barely any back ache, acid reflux has been a lot better and seeing our baby move inside me has been as magical as ever. The main issue had been swollen ankles and feet by the end of the day, but being at home more has meant I was been able to put my feet up for longer periods of time.

But as the week progressed I started getting really uncomfortable, especially with period like pains. Now I knew that they can be a sign of labour, so I rang my midwife and she recommended ringing the hospital. They said that it didn't sound like I was in labour and that I should ring them back if the pain continued. I had the period like pains across my tummy and bad lower backache for 2 days, which was worse at night (to the point of tears - but my pain threshold is awfully low!). It then magically disappeared at the end of week 33, so I'm not sure what it was and why I had it but I'm glad it's gone!

I bought a lot of things ready to pack into my hospital bag this week, though it's still not packed! I've been struggling to find a thin dressing gown that isn't white - does anybody know of anywhere that sells them for a reasonable price? We also need to buy some newborn sized vests and baby grows, other than that I'm getting there. I can't wait to have the hospital bag all packed and sitting next to the front door, one less thing to worry about getting done in time.

I've started wearing a nursing bra every now and again, just so I can get used to them and practice undoing/doing them up again. I've found it to be quite an art, so I'm definitely in need of more practice before I have to do it when our baby arrives!

My dreams have become so vivid recently and because I wake up so many times during the night I have so many of them! They haven't been too related to having the baby yet, I'm sure they will come though.

Emotionally, I've felt a lot more 'on edge' and irritable, much to the enjoyment of Tom! I can feel that my hormones are in over drive. I know when I'm being unreasonable or irrational but I can't stop myself, which has been frustrating!

Did you start feeling more emotional nearing the end of your pregnancy?

Feel free to leave me a comment :)

Helen x

Friday, 20 February 2015

WISH LIST: Well, Marks and Spencers have done it again!

Why are Marks and Spencer's just so good at everything? - their clothes are fantastic quality, their home section is incredible and their food, well their food is just delicious! So when I was catching up with one of my favourite blogs at the moment - Oh So Amelia - and in one of her latest post she mentioned the new baby section on the M&S website. Naturally, I  just had to see what they had to offer and was instantly blown away. I had to make this wish list, not only so I could share the delights with you but also so I could remember all of the items I would love to purchase in between now and my due date...
(Ok, so I definitely won't be buying everything but a girl can dream!)
Three Pack Girls Nautical Themed Sleepsuit 
Three Pack Unisex Elephant Print Sleepsuits
7 Pack Girls Elephant Print Short Sleeved Bodysuit
3 Piece Cotton Rich Spotted Corduroy Dress, Bodysuit & Tights Outfit
2 Piece Pure Cotton Mock Layer Top & Leggings Outfit
2 Piece Cotton Rich Floral Dungaree & Bodysuit Outfit
2 Piece Pure Cotton Floral Tunic & Leggings Outfit
3 Piece Cotton Rich Corduroy Pinafore Dress, Bodysuit & Tights Outfit
3 Piece Cotton Rich Velour Dress, Bodysuit & Tights Outfit
Five Pack Nautical Themed Girls Muslins
2 Pack Large Owl & Plain Muslin Squares
M&S Exclusive Deluxe Blue Pinpoint
Pure Cotton Owl Print 2.1 Tog Sleeping Bag
Star Print Pencil Pleat Curtains
Precious Little One Cloud Print Framed Wall Art
2 Pack Pure Cotton Cloud Print Boys Bundler
Bunny Soft Toy
5 Pack Pure Cotton Assorted Bibs
3 Pack Pure Cotton Nautical Assorted Dribble Bibs
Pure Cotton Chunky Striped Shawl

Which are your favourite items from the Marks and Spencer's new baby collection?

Feel free to leave me a comment below :)

Helen x