Friday, 29 July 2011

Things you need....and things you don't

I've been convincing myself that I don't need to spend a fortune on baby equipment and have been keeping a keen eye on eBay. However, an NCT shopping catalogue popped through my door yesterday and I've been flicking through and now realise that I might have to buy things. Such as....

a baby carrier
A changing mat
Not a pushchair, but a "travel system"...
Breast feeding tops
A moses basket
a cot
a birthing ball (I actually had one of these for yoga and gave it away a couple of years ago on freecycle!)
a breast pump

and most amusingly, a £19.99 baby bath:

Am I a bad mum-to-be for thinking this looks suspiciously like a normal bucket?

Thursday, 28 July 2011

20 week scan

MrM and I were both strangely nervous, yet excited about today's scan. Excited as we wanted to see how the baby was getting on, but nervous as we really want it to be healthy and hope that it is growing as it should be.

I was slightly early as I'd come straight from a meeting and managed to find a parking space less than a mile from the hospital. MrM arranged to meet me in front of the maternity wing, so I sat there for an hour breathing in lots of smoke, alarmingly, quite a lot of it being smoked by pregnant women.

He turned up and we went in where we sat amongst women with bumps of differing sizes before we were called in by a very nice ultrasound technician. We had a look at the lil bean and could see the heart and the spine. The spine was particularly clear as the baby had its back to us.

The technician wanted to measure various things, but the baby - again - wouldn't turn the right way. Apparently, it was asleep with one hand in the air, the other on its chin and its little legs crossed, although it did move both legs, giving us a fabulous view of the bottom of its feet. It looks like its little toes are all there!

The baby wouldn't turn over as it looked pretty comfortable and was using its placenta as a pillow. That meant that I had to leap up and down and then go for a walk. "Eat some chocololate and drink some water", was the lady's advice.

We did that, happily, and when we returned the baby was a bit more co-operative, although we didn't get a good profile shot, which meant that the best photo we got was the one above. The baby looks a bit strange but it's just arching its back and leaning to the rear.

The placenta is low, and that's why I haven't felt any kicking yet so we've got another scan booked.

There was lots of traffic on the way home and the moment I arrived, MrM's mum called and asked if she could tell people now. I haven't really told many people as people keep doing it for me, but when you tell someone and they congratulate you (which hasn't happened very often), it all feels like a step nearer to being a family and gives me a happy glow. I thought it was our news to impart, but she was keen to get on the phone and tell her family - I'm a bit hurt but will put it down to her excitement!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


For the first four months of being pregnant, I kept dreaming of travelling to exotic locations - the classic loss of freedom dream. Now I'm moving into month five, I keep dreaming about the actual birth. In my dreams, the birth has been pain free and almost enjoyable- and last night I dreamt about the labour. I dreamt that MrM was away (as I fear he might be for the birth in real life!) so I was taken into a different room each time I dilated a centimetre, and each room had a person from university there to comfort me!

These were real people that I haven't actually given a thought to for more than 10 years! These are very comforting all the same, and perhaps my brain's way of being nice to me and relaxing me, as it's usually telling me what a loser I am!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


I haven't ever experienced cramp like this - I seem to be awoken every night with cramp in both calves! It's like my legs are trying to turn themselves around to face the other way!
It occurred to me that I might need potassium so placed an emergency banana by the bed, so when I got my attack of the the cramps, I was able to munch on the banana. The relief was almost instant.

However, I woke MrM up with my leaping around and I could see him looking at me as if he wasn't sure whether he was dreaming when he saw me bending over him in the night, eating a banana...

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Jools Oliver

I hardly recognise myself this week - I've read three celebrity baby books; Myleene Klass, Tess Daly and Jools Oliver! All surprisingly enjoyable (I think Myleene's was my favourite) and useful. I think that after a diet of baby manuals and medical books, they're quite refreshingly chatty. They're all honest as well - none of the three has held back any embarrassing info, and it's great to know that these three beautiful ladies have been through the lot; leaky boobs, doing poos during birth and getting grumpy with their menfolk!! (I've done none of these so far!)

All noticeably had girls...(and unfortunately, all of them had errors in them, as if they hadn't been proof read - but that's just my work side escaping after reading so much baby stuff!).

I got the first two from the library, but the third one by Jools Oliver is here and I would gladly send it to anyone who would like it. Just leave me a message!

Monday, 18 July 2011


I finally set foot in a baby department! I didn't get freaked out but I did wonder if I was breaching some sort of superstition about buying baby clothes before the bean's arrival. Anyway, I dived in and bought a couple of little hats, a couple of vests and a few babygros, as well as some nappies for newborns and also, inexplicably some pants for me. In a size 10. Why I did that when I'm not a size 10 at the best of times is beyond me!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Tess and Myleene

Having overwhelmed myself with information from baby and pregnancy manuals, I set aside a whole afternoon to read a couple of celebrity diaries. Sleb culture is not my thing at all, but I had Myleene Klass' "My Bump and me" recommended, and while I was on the library catologue website, Tess Daly's "The baby diaries" came up too.

I was pleasantly surprised by both books. Myleene's book (I'm going to call her by her first name as she seemed so nice!) is a very frank and honest account which includes all her worries, which mirror mine, and doesn't exclude her raging hormones which made her argue and bicker with her partner. She also makes it clear that if you have drugs to ease the pain of the birth or bottle feed, you are not a failure! She mentions her highs and lows, says she has made loads of mistakes (I too have been beating myself up about these, from getting drunk before I realised I was expecting, to accidentally eating Hollandaise sauce and mayonnaise in restaurants), but then breeezes through the birth thanks to an epidural.

One of the things that stuck in my mind from the book was her advice on naming a baby; the name should suit a lawyer, a rock star and a poet!

Tess Daly's book was interesting too. She also shared honestly and again had the same worries as me. Whereas Myleene's book makes you feel like it's all doable, Tess spares no punches in how painful and tiring the birth is. This book is more about the early days of having a newborn, but a good read and I'm glad I set aside time to read these.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


"Farewell lovely jeans,
You've served me well
Who know whether we'll ever meet again

My jeans won't do up comfortably. Who knows if it's due to the baby growing or to one too many bits of homemade bread? These bad boys have served me almost every day since I've had them. I've very sadly been out on one last date, kissed them goodbye and wished them well in the vain hope that our relationship will rekindle after December....By then, they'll have changed a little, I will have changed a lot, but let's hope we can be happy again in the future....

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

My midwife crisis

It's with longing and yearning that I hear about other people's midwives who are mostly a combination of nurse, angel and mother. Mine is not. I asked MrM to come with me on my last appointment so he could see for himself just how little information I'm getting, how I've got to work everything out for myself and how anything that I am told is wound up so tightly that it's really confusing. The last straw was when I was due for my 16 week appointment but no-one told me. I forced my way into the surgery because I'd read about the appointment in a book. Wouldn't it make sense to have a checklist that every mother-to-be runs through, so you know where and when your next appointment is, as you leave your last one?

Anyway, I met a really nice lady today and she listened carefully to my moans about all of this. Fortunately she sympathised and she has now been appointed as my doula! In half an hour, she gave me more concrete information and support than anyone else has, and she has talked me through the basics and will be present throughout the birth. She's going to help with everything from putting me in touch with helpful practitioners to helping me write my birth plan.

This means that if I want music during the birth, that's what I get! If I want people to be quiet - they will! I could have done with her at our wedding to ask some of MrM's family to remove their screaming babies during the most important part of our wedding -the vows!

I loved how passionate she was about how much she enjoyed pregnancy, childbirth and children - once the pain hits, I'll need someone to remind me to keep my eye on the bigger picture. My other worry is for poor MrM who looks after me so well that I know it won't be pleasant for him to see me suffer. Mrs Doula will look after him too and if it's a long labour, has even offered to let him nap here and there...she's even promised to be there if the birth should be over Christmas. Now that's dedication....

Thursday, 7 July 2011


I drink a lot of tea. A lot.

So I was not remotely amused to hear this morning that my tea-drinking habit is apparently stopping my body from absorbing the iron tablets that I've been prescribed to increase my haemoglobin levels.

I have managed to give up booze no problem. But tea???? At least I gave the midwife a laugh this morning when I told her that it was tea that I used to take the tablets with.

However, despite this massive setback, our trip to the midwife this morning involved having a listen to the baby's heartbeat which was astonishing, and very, very noisy!

The midwife asked MrM if he wanted to record the noise on his phone, but he said no. This wasn't because he didn't want to, but because both he and I are both terrible with technology and weren't 100% sure how to. He ended up pretending in the end, holding up his phone to my belly for a minute or two.

Had he been successful, the noise would have just sounded like standing in St Pancras station. The heartbeat is loud and fast, like a train running over the tracks, while the gurgling and digestion from me makes a sound like noisy commuters and general station noise.

So, no tea. I got home and without thinking, switched the kettle on. I remembered and then mournfully made my husband a cup of tea and watched him drink it, like a hungry dog watching its owner eat pork chops in the hope of being thrown a morsel.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

"The secret diary of a new mum aged 43 1/4"

I am absolutely swamped with baby books and feel like it's information overload. The books that take you through the pregnancy week-by-week are particuarly useful for me, but I still feel that there's something missing.

So lighter fiction has been the way forward recently - starting with "The secret diary of a new mum aged 43 1/4". I ordered this because I identified with the sentiment of being slighter older when having a first child. When I had my scan at the hospital, MrM and I were definitely the only couple there in our 30s, and I would put money on it that only one of the other mums-to-be was in her 20s. I was a bit busy with larking around listening to the Levellers when I was in my teens and indulging my long-gone passion for football, so am way behind the times.

Dare I say it, 35 seems to be a bit of a cut off point. When I mentioned that I was quite old to the midwife, she said: "Thirty-five isn't old for your first child." Before adding: "Thirty-six is though".

Anyway, the book I read deals with this humourously and made me feel a lot better. I like the gentle humour and the most important message that I learned was that if you try your best, your child will love you for it anyway and that even if you are an older mum, it's all worth the wait.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

NHS letters

Today is the 63rd birthday of the NHS - Happy Birthday to this wonderful service that we're blessed to have in this country! I am a huge fan of the NHS - the problems that people have with it are not down to the service but can be attributed to the misrunning of it and the influx of managers that appeared during Thatcher's time. It is a wonderful thing to have - just ask anyone who DOESN'T live in the UK what they think about free (at the point of delivery) healthcare.

Talking of deliveries, I should have sent a card, but in fact, the NHS beat me to it and sent me three letters today. One was to let me know that the blood test plus the other factors that they run through some statistical computer (and do Spearman's Rank Correlation on, no doubt) have come back with the result that the baby is unlikely to have Down's Syndrome. A massive relief. However, I hesitate to get too excited as when you start looking at the development of a baby human, there are myriad things that could go wrong - it's a miracle that most of us are born healthy!!

After congratulating myself on faffing about for a week but ending up saving a couple of quid on my iron tablets, I now find out that pregnant women are exempt from prescription charges as the second letter was a letter enclosing an "exemption certificate". Nobody mentioned that, so for once I now wish I'd faffed about a bit longer and taken advantage of the first free thing I've had in years. I did know that you got free dental care, which I must take up, so I guess I should have worked out the prescription thing!

Letter number three was to tell me that I am "not immune to rubella (german measles)". It goes on to say that rubella is very dangerous to unborn babies in the first three months as it can damage the baby's sight, hearing, heart and brain, but then says that if you're more than 20 weeks pregnant, it's unlikely that the baby will be affected. "In order to protect your next baby, we recommend that you have a vaccination soon after this one is born"....

Er...what is this "next baby" business????