36 Weeks and Counting

I can’t believe I’m actually posting about being 36 weeks pregnant. It feels crazy that we’ve got this far, and are so close to the end now!

We’ve been pretty busy, especially in the last week or so. Last weekend we moved house, from Milton Keynes back to Coventry. It was pretty stressful, possibly even more so because I wasn’t allowed near the move – Nathan sent me away to my mom’s house so that I wouldn’t stress out or lift anything too heavy. Which makes sense, I know, but I couldn’t help being stressed from afar!

Whilst at my mom’s I had a surprise baby shower, which was really lovely. It was just a little family thing, with my sisters and some aunts and cousins. We had food and played games and got some lovely little presents for both me and the Little Moore, and I was very touched.

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Fast forward a week and I was suddenly surprised with a second baby shower! This one was all my best friends, some who live quite close and others who travelled from where I used to live in Wales, which I really appreciated. Again, we got some adorable presents and just chatted and had a really lovely time. I’m so grateful to Nathan and my best friend Eli for organising it, and for keeping it secret all that time, as I really had no idea!

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Now we’re focussing on getting the house unpacked and ready for baby’s arrival. I only have 4 days left at work, which is pretty exciting. I’m preparing myself to expect birth from any day now really – my sister had hers 3 weeks early so I’m trying to be prepared and feel ready for anything!

This could be my last pregnancy update, depending on when Little Moore arrives. I’ve really enjoyed keeping these updates, for my sake more than anything else, as it’s like a little diary I can look back on šŸ™‚ I’d like to still post some baby related posts after birth, but we’ll see how it goes.

Baby Haul!

I see a lot of bloggers doing book hauls and similar, and I keep meaning to do one myself when I get books in, but time has just been running away from me lately. I really wanted to do a ‘baby haul’ post though as we got some amazing, homemade and family things the other week.

So before Christmas, Nathan and I went and spent a weekend with his Nan and her partner. She’s a wonderful woman who’s taken care of Nathan a lot throughout his life, and I have nothing but love and admiration for her. She is also incredibly generous and showered us with gifts while we were there, which made me feel very grateful and guilty at the same time. My favourite things by far were the ones she made for us, and I wanted to showcase some of them here.

We have a selection of beautiful knitted cardigans:

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And a load of adorable little hats and mittens:

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These remind me of the things my Nan used to make when I was a kid: it makes me a little sad that she’s too old to do that now, and my kids won’t know her the way I did (she’s 93 now and has severe dementia). I love the thought and effort that goes into these kind of clothes and can’t wait to see our baby all dressed up in clothes that Great Grandma knitted.

We alsoĀ have the crib that Nathan slept in when he was a baby, which I find a bit special. It’s just adorable and it’ll be perfect for newborn baby to sleep next to our bed in – which will be pretty soon now!

Dealing with Stretch Marks

Stretch marks seem to be something that a lot of people worry about during pregnancy. I have to say, it wasn’t something that bothered me in the beginning. My theory was that no one, aside from Nathan, saw my stomach pre-pregnancy anyway, so what did it matter what it looked like under my clothes? I think that was a pretty healthy attitude, but I have to admit it hasn’t really stuck throughout the pregnancy.

Despite my positive attitude, one of the first baby-related things I bought was a moisturiser aimed at reducing/preventing stretch marks. I went for Palmer’s Massage Lotion for Stretch MarksĀ Ā – because who doesn’t want their stomach to smell like chocolate?!

While I used the cream religiously for the first couple of weeks, I soon slacked off. Perhaps that was my mistake, because lo and behold, a couple of months down the line and I have plenty of stretch marks. I did dwell on it a little when I found the first one, and I was kind of disappointed in my reaction. I’d hoped I wouldn’t be bothered about it, and it annoyed me that I was annoyed by it.

A few weeks later I realised I had a lot more, right at the bottom of my bump. Again, I had a minor panic at seeing them, but I got over it fairly quickly. Like I said before, no one else sees my stomach anyway, and Nathan keeps saying they look pretty cool. I have to agree, I don’t think they’re really ugly or anything, and it’ll be interesting to see how they look when the bump has gone down.

The really bad thing about stretch marks was the discomfort they brought. My skin felt tight and sore, and having clothes brushing against them really irritated them. It reminded me of the kind of pain that comes with sunburn. I’ve started moisturising more now and it’s definitely helping with the discomfort. We’ll have to wait and see if it improves the stretch marks/prevents any new ones coming in.

If stretch marks are something that bothers you then I’d recommend using a good moisturiser as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. It’ll keep your skin supple and help with the stretching, though I think whether or not you get stretch marks really can depend on genetics and luck more than anything else.

But my real advice isĀ to learn to love them. I know it can be easier said than done, and I don’t always feel great about them, but I like to try and focus on the positives instead. Obviously you’re getting a baby at the end of all this, which is incredible on it’s own. I also think it’s amazing what your body is doing, and you should love it for the hard work it’s doing in growing your baby!

Highs and Lows of Pregnancy

I have to say that overall, I really love being pregnant. It’s probably because I’ve had such an easy ride with it – no morning sickness, no food aversions or pregnancy mask or any of the other, weirder pregnancy symptoms. I’m not saying it’s all peachy perfect though, so I wanted to share my 5 highs and lows of pregnancy.

I’m starting with the lows, so I can end on a positive later šŸ˜‰

  1. Food restrictionsĀ – I have to say, the no alcohol thing hasn’t really bothered me at all. And while the food thing isn’t too bad as I know it’s what’s best for baby, I will admit there is one thing that I really miss, and that is eggs. Sure, I can still eat them if they’re cooked through, but who seriously wants to eat a hard yolk? I can’t wait to have a runny poached egg sandwich as soon as I’m able!
  2. Caffeine restrictions – Similarly, limiting my caffeine intake has been hard. Before pregnancy I drank a lot of coffee, especially on writing days. I know it was mostly habit rather than needing the boost, but it felt like a real part of my writing routine. It seems cruel having to limit your caffeine intake when pregnancy makes you so tired too. I pretty much cut coffee out completely as I thought that’d be easier than letting myself have a limited amount. I’ve been really good and only had 1 proper coffee since I’ve been pregnant (at Christmas, as a treat).
  3. The aches and painsĀ – I won’t lie: the further I go on, the more of these I’m getting. Pain in my back is probably the worst, along with aching feet too. I find it harder to walk a lot, especially at my usual kind of pace. I spent a couple of days Christmas shopping in Manchester and London and then the rest of the weekend recovering from the agony the walking caused. I do look forward to being able to walk like a normal person!
  4. Stretch marksĀ – Not in a superficial way, but man they are awful. I’ll probably post about this properly at some point but I have a fair few below my bump and sometimes they feel horrible. The skin can feel really tight and sore, a bit like sunburn sometimes, and it just adds to the overall discomfort.
  5. Baby talkĀ – I do sometimes get tired about talking about it all. That probably sounds a bit awful, but sometimes I just want to have conversations about other things. I find that family and colleagues tend to be very focused now – luckily my partner and friends can still talk about other things!

And now on to the positives šŸ™‚

  1. Baby talkĀ – definitely a pro sometimes too, as it means there’s always something to talk about. At our Christmas work do I was sat with strangers and the baby meant we had something to talk about, whereas otherwise I think I would have struggled for small talk.
  2. MovementsĀ – I really love feeling the baby moving inside me. It can be a bit bizarre at times – trying to concentrate on a conference call at work when you’re being kicked in the stomach isn’t always easy! – but I love knowing that the baby is alive and kicking in there. It’s also great that Nathan can feel it too and other as well: my mom and one of my sisters felt it kicking on Christmas Day and were really excited.
  3. Special treatment – I know that’s probably bad to say but I have enjoyed some of the perks of pregnancy. Whether it’s people making sure I get a seat on the train/tube, or my special chair at work (seriously it’s amazing, it has inflatable back support and everything!) I figure I might as well make the most of things while it lasts! I’m including having no periods in this too, as that’s pretty awesome.
  4. Body imageĀ – I feel like I’m more confident in my body at the moment, mostly because there’s no pressure to be thin. I don’t miss trying to hold my stomach in to look skinny, or worrying about eating too much. I am obviously trying to eat healthily for myself and the baby, but I’m also not letting myself go hungry, which I might have done a bit of in the past.
  5. NathanĀ  – a bit soppy but I just love the way he’s been about everything. I know he loves seeing my stomach growing with our child inside and he’s forever touching it. He talks to the bump and I think baby will definitely recognise his voice when it comes out. I knew he’d be brilliant about everything because he always is, but it’s so lovely to see still.

As I said, overall pregnancy has been an amazing experience for me, and it feels weird that it’ll be over soon. I feel like I’ve just gotten used to being pregnant, but I’m not quite ready for the idea that it’ll end soon, and we’ll have an actual baby instead. I guess I’ve still got a few weeks to get ready for it yet!

30 Weeks and Counting

It’s weird: when I did my 25 Weeks and Counting post, it felt like we had plenty of time left. 5 weeks down the line, however, and I really feel like time is running out and going by so fast!

I am a little worried as I don’t think we’re really prepared yet. For a start, we’ll be moving house (again!) before the end of January, so that’s what’s taking up most of my focus right now. It’s probably not our brightest idea, doing it so close to the birth, but it’s the right move for us for now and I am excited to get settled in a new house. We’re moving for work reasons, again, and will be going back to the West Midlands. This will be cheaper for us, but also mean we’re closer to both our families, so I think it’s a good move all round.

I think another reason the pressure is on is because my sister kind of got caught short recently. Her baby was due in mid January, and they were expecting it then: before Christmas was about finishing the house, so they had a lot of decorating on the go and everything was a bit of a mess. Of course, babies and due dates are unpredictable, and her baby decided to come three weeks early and surprise everyone. While it’s not what they expected and they probably weren’t as prepared as they would have like to be, it’s good to see that they coped and just got on with it – I know we can do the same if that happens to us.

The new baby is a little boy called Leo and is a good size, despite being three weeks early. They had an extended stay in the hospital due to him being a little jaundiced, but mother and baby are both home now and doing great. It’s really exciting seeing their little family come together and I can’t wait for the same for us.

I’m sure the next few weeks are going to fly by, and baby could come at any time really, but I know whatever happens we’ll just tackle it head on and get by just fine.

Work and Pregnancy

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a long time and I’m finally getting round to it now. Apologies and all for the delay, but maybe once you’ve read you’ll understand where all my time has been going!

I was pretty nervy about telling work I was pregnant. At the time my job was temporary. I took it last year as a six month temp contract, and it just kept getting extended. I fitted in well with the team, worked hard and knew I was needed, so never really worried about being let off. But once a baby was thrown into the equation, it did start to worry me.

Because I worked through an agency, I had to do the ‘telling work I’m pregnant’ thing twice – once with my agent and then again with my boss. The agent was pretty nice about it and explained how things would work with antenatal appointments and such, but she did sound a little annoyed to me (though that could all be in my head). I was worried that the news would just be a burden to employers, which is understandable but hey, these things happen.

I was even more worried about telling my actual boss. I shouldn’t have been, because she’s only ever been lovely and supportive, but I’m a worrier so that’s all I do! She’d arranged a private one-to-one for us one day so I was going to tell her then, which is when she dropped her own bombshell first – there was another job opening in a different department which she thought I should go for. It would be full time, permanent work, much better money and did I want to go for it?

As you can imagine, my initial reaction was OMGyespleaseIwouldloveto (I kind of fell into the temping thing and it’s not the best of careers in my opinion – too much instability/uncertainty for my liking). But then, of course, I had to tell her my own news, and I was pretty sure that was going to ruin everything. Who wants to hire someone who’s planning to take a six month baby-holiday soon?

Well, my new boss did, apparently šŸ™‚

I was lucky in that she was very keen to have me, and thought the work I could do between then (September) and my maternity leave (February) was worth any kind of hassle that might occur during the months I was off. It showed a lot of faith in me and I’m really grateful that I got the opportunity. It’s a relief to have a secure job, especially with a baby on the way.

The only problem really was that Nathan and I had just moved house to be nearer his job, which means I’ve been commuting for between 4 and 5 hours a day (hence where all my time goes – on trains and buses!) The plan before was to stick it out until the baby arrived, and then find a new job after maternity – with childcare and travel costs, my temp wage just wasn’t going to cut it. But this new job threw a bit of a spanner in the works.

So now I’m learning to drive, in the hopes that this will make the travelling a bit easier. I’m hoping once I’m not so worn out by the pregnancy things will be a little easier too – it’s hard enough being pregnant and tired all the time, but when you’re up before 5 every day and not sleeping through the night as it is, it definitely takes it toll.

I find I can’t do much when travelling except read, and often not even that (travel time is often nap time now!) This is why my blogging has been a bit more sporadic of late, and why I’ve barely even looked at my WIP (a fact that makes me feel both guilty and sad)

I keep reminding myself that it’s just for a few more weeks really, what with Christmas and some other holiday time to take as well. We have some plans for the future that I won’t mention here just yet, but hopefully when I return to work near the end of next year, things will be a little easier, I’ll be travelling less, and I’ll have a lot more time for blogging and writing šŸ™‚

25 Weeks and Counting

So, we hit 25 weeks this week. It feels like the further along we get, the faster things seem to go!

I remember back when we first found out, I couldn’t wait for things to get moving. It’s kind of weird knowing you’re pregnant and having nothing to show for it: I was the same size as ever, I had no morning sickness or other typical symptoms, and no one knew about the baby – it often felt like I wasn’t pregnant at all.

These days it’s a little different. While I’m not exactly huge, I am more obviously pregnant now. Enough that strangers or people that don’t know I’m pregnant, Ā feel confident in saying things to me now – at work I’ve learnt that when someone asks “How are you?” they’re actually saying “I know you’re pregnant, how’s all that going for you?” It’s quite nice being approached like that though. I know Nathan enjoyed it when someone at the supermarket asked us if there was a baby in there when they saw us touching my stomach!

My sister is about 7 weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy, and the difference between us is pretty huge. She looks massive in comparison! I have to say, I’m pretty excited at the thought of getting bigger, which is not something I thought I’d say before!

We’re feeling a lot more movement now, and can tell the difference between them too. I can recognise the small, rhythmic movements that indicate hiccoughs and the bigger ones that are actual kicks. It’s good to feel and know that baby’s still in there and everything’s okay.

It’s hard to believe we’re well over half way now, and it feels like there’s a billion things to do before we’re ready for our little arrival, and not enough time to do it in! I’m sure everyone feels like that though. And there’s a big part of me that wants the next 15 weeks to fly by so we can finally meet the little one!

20 Weeks and Counting

So, we are now at 20 weeks, which is half way through the pregnancy and is all kinds of scary! It does feel like things are speeding up now, which is both exciting and terrifying all at once.

We had our 20 week scan, which was a really incredible experience. As we moved house recently, we were at a different hospital and we noticed a lot of differences between the two places.

Our first scan was at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry and it wasn’t the same kind of magical experience as the recent one. For a start, there was different advice on how much water to drink before the scan – Coventry suggested twice as much as Milton Keynes – and as a result I was really uncomfortable in the waiting room. I’d drank a litre and a half of water, and they were running behind schedule by about half an hour and I honestly thought my bladder was going to explode!

With the first scan, the ultrasound technician was very brisk and it all felt a little rushed. I understand they’re just doing their job and, as I mentioned they were running quite behind, but it felt like that special moment of seeing our child for the first time was just rushed through. There was one screen which she used to check on the baby, and turned it round to us briefly to see one time. It really wasn’t like the magical moment in the movies!

This being our first child, I don’t know if the second scan is always this different, but for us it really was. The ultrasound technician was very friendly and chatty, which put us at ease straight away. She had her own screen where she did her checks and measurements, and there was another opposite us so we could see the whole thing. She pointed out the heart beating and other organs, and prodded around my stomach a bit to get the baby moving and show us all the tiny hands and feet and things. It was really incredible to see.

The other difference was the price of the photos. I know we really wanted to have a photo of the first scan and we also had requests from family members. At Walsgrave hospital, it was Ā£10 per photo, for a flimsy little print out. At Milton Keynes, the same style photo cost Ā£3 and a better quality digital photo cost Ā£5. The ultrasound technician said we were ripped off in Coventry!

All that aside, everything is going well. All the checks and measurements came back fine and baby is growing nicely. It also has very long legs apparently, so it looks like it’s taking after me! And to end things, here’s our scan picture. We’re very much looking forward to meeting this little one when it finally arrives.

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5 Questions You Get Asked When You’re Pregnant

There’s a few questions that always seem to pop up when people find out you’re pregnant, so I thought I’d list them here and provide some answers while I’m at it šŸ™‚

1. Do you know what you’re having/do you want a boy or a girl?

I’m surprised how many people have asked this so early on, especially ones who’ve had kids of their own. You don’t usually find out the sex of the baby (if you want to) until the 20 week scan, which for us is next week. But people were always asking me, even much further back.

As for the second part, I find it kind of awkward. I don’t think I could declare myself for one side or the other, because I’d hate anyone to think I was disappointed if it turned out to be the opposite. There’s also the cliche answer of “doesn’t matter, as long as it’s healthy” which I’m always tempted to give (see my favourite pregnancy song below).

My honest answer is that I don’t mind. I can imagine both, and I would of course be happy with either. I do say that I have more experience with girls: we have a very female heavy family – I have 3 sisters, and my mom is one of 6. But, as I say, either would go down well with me.

2. Have you had any cravings?

Everyone wants to hear that I’ve been craving candle wax or custard on toast, but sadly I have nothing that exciting to tell. I hesitate to call things cravings, as I’m not sure I always know the difference between that and just something I fancy to eat.

I have had two that have stood out though. The first was for olives – more specifically, the olives we ate in Paris last December. Normal olives in a jar or from a supermarket just wouldn’t do apparently.Ā Which is a pretty impossible craving to satisfy! But Nathan, bless him, did his best, and got me some very fancy olives from the place he was working from at the time. Sadly I only ate a couple, but I appreciated the effort!

Secondly, was cheese. Which might seem like a fairly normal one, but I’ve never been much of a cheese fan, and am quite picky on how I eat it. I’m fine with it melted on things (pizza, jacket potato, etc) and occasionally grated. It also has to be very mild, and either cheddar or Edam. But, when grating cheese one day for dinner, I cut off a huge chunk of cheddar and ate it all, and then had another. It actually reminded me of being a kid: when my mom used to buy cheese in the supermarket she’d ask them to cut off a slice for me and my sister to eat while we finished the shopping.

The origin of cravings isn’t always known, but they do say it can be because your body is lacking some important nutrient. I definitely think this is true with me and cheese: I don’t normally eat it, I don’t drink milk, I don’t like yoghurt or cream, so I do tend to run low on calcium. It’s something I’m very conscious of now it’s not just me I’m feeding.

3. Have you had any morning sickness?

Morning sickness seems to be thing everyone knows about pregnancy symptoms, and I’m always being asked if I had much or how bad it was. Luckily for me, the answer is no, I didn’t have any sickness, in the morning or otherwise (because it’s rather misnamed and can happen at any time of the day). I was very lucky in this sense, as I think it would have been a lot harder to hide it from my parents/work if I was throwing up every day.

4. Do you have any names picked?

The honest answer is that we do have a few that we like, but we’re not going to tell anyone yet (see video above, it’s another ‘annoying pregnant woman’ thing). It just feels like a bit of a private thing when there’s a selection of names your child may or may not be called. Plus (thinking way in the future here) we might want to use names that don’t make the cut this time, so I want to keep them to myself!

5. Are you excited?

Yes, obviously, is the answer to that! I don’t think it comes across when I talk about it, but I think that’s just down to my general awkwardness. But trust me, both Nathan and I are super excited and can’t wait to meet our little one.

Anyone else have any ‘obvious’ pregnancy questions they get asked?

Pregnancy Announcements – Fun or Awkward?

Before becoming pregnant, I’d seen my fair share of fun pregnancy announcements and maybe dreamt a little of doing my own some day. But that’s not really how it worked out for me.

I’ve actually found the whole experience of announcing my pregnancy pretty awkward. I think there’s a few reasons for that, the main one probably being that I’m a pretty awkward person as it is – the attention and questions pregnancy brings probably doesn’t help!

I think the fact that our pregnancy wasn’t planned made me feel awkward too – I didn’t want anyone to think we were unhappy about this, as we’re not – both of us are so happy, even if it was a little surprising!

Then there was the family reaction. Just a week before I found out I was pregnant, my older sister announced she was expecting. Obviously brilliant news and I was very happy for her, but there was a little voice in the back of my mind reminding me that I might also be pregnant, and wondering what the reactions to that would be.

I mostly worried that my sister would be angry and that I would be taking away from her happiness. Obviously that didn’t happen, she was one of the first people I told and she was really happy for us and has been just great. But I did worry.

And that worry was multiplied by about a billion when I thought about telling my mom. It actually put a dampener on the first few weeks because I was so afraid about what she would say. Deep down I knew that she couldn’t really do anything awful – the worst that could happen would be her being angry/disappointed, and that would be her problem, not mine. But still, I did so want her to be happy.

I knew the problem in her eyes would be that we weren’t ready. I know most parents probably feel like that about their children, and she had some valid points – my job at the time wasn’t great, Nathan was just started a new job and we’d only just moved out of her house. I felt it was easier for my mom to be happy for her, which was upsetting.

I’m a little sad I didn’t get to announce my pregnancy in some fun, cute way and have everyone overjoyed for me. Maybe that’ll happen next time, who knows? But I do know that it doesn’t really matter what everyone else’s reactions are, because it’s me and Nathan and the baby that really matter šŸ™‚