Friday, 24 April 2015

Dear Baby - 30 Weeks

Dear Baby,

How is it possibly we're 3/4 of the way through this journey already?! Time is flying - you really will be here before we know it.

We're making progress - slowly - with preparations for your arrival. We've decided on a theme for the nursery, but due to the extent of work that needs doing in that room I doubt it will be finished before you arrive. That's OK though, since you'll be sleeping in our room for the first 6 months or so. There's no rush really, is there?

We had the Health Visitor come to meet us this week; she seems really lovely, and was very positive and reassuring about the cardiac team that will be looking after you. Somehow she managed to get our shortlist of names out of us - which we really haven't discussed with anyone up to now! - and she seemed to really like the name that's looking very likely to become yours. It turns out she looked after your cousin K when she was born, so she knows all of daddy's side of the family already.

Last weekend was an emotional one, for me in particular. Saturday was the anniversary of the passing of your grandad, and if that wasn't enough I also found out that Aunty Z had just lost her grandad. We've decided that April is just cursed, every year it seems that more and more sadness hits us all. We might just hibernate through April in future!

Next week, we've got a mate date with my American friend as she's started her maternity leave now. That is, unless she's done something drastic like gone into labour - entirely possible as she's now 39 weeks so it could be any day! I'm hoping we'll get to have one last catch up before her little girl arrives though. It's a scary (but lovely) thought that the next time I see her after that, she'll be a mummy to your future little friend, and I'll be on maternity leave myself eagerly awaiting your arrival!

Also next week, we've got another growth scan to look forward to. I can tell you're definitely getting really big now, so it will be nice to have an updated estimate of your weight. You should be over 3lbs by now!

Until next time, beautiful baby,

All my love, Mum xx

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Monday, 20 April 2015

Things I Don't Love About Being Pregnant

Last week, I wrote a list of things I love about being pregnant. I think we all know I'm all about balance, so it's only fair that I write about the less fantastic side too.
1. Sickness
I thought the constant nausea I suffered in the first trimester was bad, and then (naively) thought that, once I passed 13 weeks, I'd gotten off quite lightly. It was a huge shock to have hyperemesis gravidarum set in at 15 weeks, and I ended up signed off work for 8 weeks, got through 3 different types of meds, narrowly escaped being admitted to hospital, and lost a shed load of weight because I couldn't eat anything. Even now, at 30 weeks, I'm only just passing my pre-pregnancy weight.

2. Finding clothes
Seriously, it's as if no woman on the earth is ever actually pregnant - why don't stores stock their maternity range?! There are very, very few that do, and if they do it's very limited. Now more than ever I'd like to be able to try before I buy, and yet it seems that every single store in the whole wide world operates a policy of only providing maternity wear that is ordered online. Not cool, shops, not cool.

3. Not sleeping
I know my body is in training for when the baby arrives, and I know it's only going to get a whole lot worse and it'll be months years before I get a decent night's sleep again, but... Man, I'm tired. Insomnia, discomfort, and the simple act of rolling over becoming like an Olympic event all contribute to the opposite of a restful night.

4. The desperate need to pee
Having a tiny person playing trampoline on your bladder is not all that much fun, believe it or not. And it's utterly ridiculous how you can answer the call of nature, only to find it calling again as little as 10 minutes later. Oh, and it doesn't accelerate at a normal level of "hmm, I could go... I will have to go to soon... Give it another few minutes... OK, I may as well go now." Oh no. We're talking 0-100 in seconds - one moment you're fine, the next "I need to go RIGHT NOW!!!!"

5. Difficulty manoeuvring around the bump
Socks. Boots. Pedicures. These are things I struggle to take care of nowadays. Boy sometimes jokes about dropping things in front of me so he can laugh as I struggle to pick them up - this is usually met with The Look. Also, someone appears to have moved my sink without my consent - when I wash up, I can no longer reach anything that's at the back.

6. Bump touchers
I've heard and read about this phenomenon many times over the last few years, but Oh. My. Goodness. I don't know you, we've never met, GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY BUMP!!!

7. Aches and pains
There are a whole lot of these that accompany a pregnancy. At the moment I'm struggling with my overstretched abdominal muscles - they burn and really limit what I can actually do. Vacuuming is not so much an activity I can undertake, unless I want to end up sobbing in pain. I know this from trying it. Also, leg cramps - especially at night - can be really painful.

8. Memory loss
Typical conversations between Boy and I will often involve me saying things like "Where did we put the doodah that we got from thingymabob? Is it with the whatsit?" I really can't remember names of things, or places, or people... Or sometimes, even what I'm talking about while I'm mid-sentence. It has also become apparent in the last couple of days that I am completely forgetting events and conversations that have taken place - at least 3 times this weekend Boy has informed me that we've already had a conversation about the thing we were currently conversing about, but I have absolutely zero memory of any of these things. I had to ask if I was actually conscious at the time.

It's not so bad though, these are (mostly) temporary and absolutely worth putting up with for a little while. I'm sure they'll be even more worthwhile once our precious little bundle arrives!

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Friday, 17 April 2015

Things I Love About Being Pregnant

1. I'm pregnant!
Just the simple fact of being pregnant, after over 3 and a half years of trying, and a failed IVF cycle, is something I am unbelievably grateful for. I am so, so happy that I finally get to say the words "I am pregnant" - not that I need to say it these days, the ginormobelly says it all!

2. Feeling a life growing inside me.
In the early stages, it was quite hard to believe there really was anything going on in there - I had no evidence that I could see or feel (except sickness, headaches, etc - but they could just as easily have been illness). Once I started feeling the baby's movements at 20 weeks, it all started to feel so much more real. It's impossible to describe what it's like feeling a tiny person moving around inside you; it's surreal and magical and wonderful, and feels like a special secret between me and Baby T because nobody else will ever know them the way I do.

3. My pregnant figure.
Like a lot of women, before pregnancy I had my own body image issues. I'd put on weight, I felt like I couldn't wear certain clothes, all the usual kind of things. But pregnant, I love the way I look. I love my bump. I don't feel fat or wobbly, I feel happy and confident.

4. Watching my belly move.
A few weeks after I started feeling the movements, I was able to see them. The first time, I was sitting in a team briefing at work - and believe me, I soon switched off from whatever the content of the brief was and was focused solely on watching the twitching of my belly! When baby is having a good wriggle, I can spend ages watching the movements.

5. Always having something to talk to others about.
Pregnancy seems to be a great conversation starter! At work, people who I've never really spoken to before will engage in a conversation about children and pregnancy and their own experiences. Even random strangers on the street come up to me for a chat!

6. The kindness and generosity of others.
We've been absolutely bowled over by how generous people have been towards us and Baby T. My best friend has been collecting together so much to give to us - we're talking pretty much all the big, expensive stuff; cotbed, travel cot, pram, car seat, sterilisers (plural!), bottles, clothes, highchair, blankets, toys... the list goes on. We've also had a few people asking if they can knit or crochet blankets for us - we're hardly going to decline! We're so touched by the kindness people have shown us.

7. Looking at baby things.
Who doesn't love looking at newborn baby clothes and cooing over how small they are?! Seriously, there are some adorably cute things out there. We've had a ball buying a few little outfits for Baby T, and can't wait to see the little munchkin wearing them.

8. Thinking about the future.
Although we've got lots of unknowns ahead due to baby's congenital heart defect, it's exciting to be able to think about how our lives are going to change with the arrival of this little person and the possibilities that the future holds. More than anything, I can't wait to see Boy embracing his new role as Dad.

9. Writing letters to baby.
Although I talk to baby all the time, I really love writing letters because I can share those when the baby is older - I'll never be able to replay all the chats I've had! They're a great way to make the memories last, and make me feel so much closer to the little person inside me.

10. Knowing that Boy and I have created a life together.
OK, so we may have had the help of a few doctors, nurses, an embryologist... But the fact is, this person living within me is half me, half Boy, and is a product of our love - and that thought makes my heart swell within my chest. I am so excited to see what traits of each of us our child inherits, and who they look like. I am so hoping they have daddy's temperament - he was every mother's dream, I was a nightmare!

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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Middle Name Debate

To give or not to give, that is the question?

I can’t help wondering if this is even an issue for most people. I would guess that the vast majority of people have a middle name, consider middle names “the norm”, and would therefore pretty much automatically bestow one upon their offspring.

Neither Boy nor I have a middle name. I know, weird right? I promise you, I’m not lying. (At school when I’d tell people I didn’t have a middle name, I was always accused of hiding something!) Not having one doesn’t bother me, nor does it bother Boy, and yet I’m still undecided about whether we should give one to Baby T. Boy isn’t particularly fussed either way – he’d happily not, but if I wanted to enough I don’t think he’d object.

The thing is, we’re working with a ridiculously common surname. Until I got married, I was one of only a handful of people across the world with my first name/surname combo, and I was unlikely to ever run into someone with the same name as me. Now, with my married name, I am one of lots of people with the same name. There’s someone who works at our local railway station with the same name as Boy – that was a weird day for him when they met! Our nephew (same surname) has a very popular first name, and I actually know someone who has a son with the exact same name.

I posted a little while ago about how I wouldn’t choose a first name that was overly popular, but I’m still not convinced that’s enough to differentiate our child and reduce the risk of being one of thousands. Just the other week, my best friend was telling me about her recent stay in hospital, and another lady with the same name was on the same ward as her – and I wouldn’t say she’s got a hugely common first name or surname! They had differing middle names, which was the only way that the medical staff could tell them apart (and still their notes kept getting mixed up!)

So, say we did go down the middle name route… The next thing is, how would we choose? I’d want something meaningful, but the problem there is that there are no family names that are names we’d go for. Or rather, there are, but other family members and friends who have produced offspring before us have already gotten in first. It’s a tricky one!

What are your thoughts on middle names? Do you have one? Have/would you give them to your children?

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Friday, 10 April 2015

Dear Baby - 28 Weeks

Dear Baby,

Can you believe we're into the third trimester already?! I know I can't. Time is running away so fast, you'll be here before we know it. Please don't hurry though, stay there and cook a little longer!

You're the size of an aubergine now, and you're still growing perfectly. At our growth scan last week you were an estimated 2lb 5oz. You made us laugh when you decided to put your foot up on the 'roof'!

We've had a busy couple of weeks with lots of exciting developments where you're concerned. Over Easter we had my best friend and her littlest staying with us, as we'd finally got around to transferring all the baby stuff she's been saving for us from her house to ours. We now have a cotbed, pram, car seat, two sterilisers, lots of bottles, a baby bath, highchair, three big bags of clothes, two bags of toys, and probably a whole host of other things that I can't remember right now. Little S was very funny - he's 17 months now and a real little character. One evening he climbed up on to the sofa and wanted to sit on me, only he seemed to think that my bump was a cushion! You didn't seem to mind though.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've noticed you having hiccups quite often. I've got to say, it's a weird sensation! The first time it happened, I rang Daddy to tell him and he thought I was joking. I had to send him a link to a website to prove that baby hiccups in the uterus do really happen!

We've got a quiet couple of weeks ahead; the only appointment we've got with a health care professional is when the Health Visitor comes to meet us at home in just over a week's time. Soon after that, though, I'll have appointments coming out of my ears!

Oh, before I forget, I should probably mention Daddy's overwhelming joy last weekend when Sunderland won the derby game against Newcastle - that's the 5th victory in a row in the derby ties for Sunderland. You should probably know that you are going to be raised to be a SAFC fan, we've already bought you a few bits and pieces so it will be instilled in you from birth. Daddy would be the first to apologise when things aren't going particularly well, but that's just the way it is, little one. Apparently it's the dad's right to pass on their team to their child, so I don't get a look in.

Mummy xx

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