Monday, 31 December 2012

this year

It's NYE, apparently. I wont be taking part in any of the boozy-party-times of years gone by. I hope to be fast asleep for the big countdown. But I am excited to be seeing in a new year with the though of everything to come. 2013 will be a big one - Rose's first food, steps and words are all on the horizon in the year ahead.

Rose will be 6 months old on 18th Jan. Wow. She has changed so much lately. She can sit up, with a hand hovering nearby for when she wobbles over. She likes to play on her own, engrossed by toys she can scrunch with her hands, but not for too long - she loves mummy and daddy joining in with her and doing lots of singing and dancing to prevent boredom. She is such a big girl now, rapidly growing out of yet another set of clothes. She's been teething for weeks :( Poor little drooler. It's made sleep a massive stress again, but we've just started "controlled crying" - putting her down to cry herself to sleep, popping in every 10 mins to try to calm her/ feel like you're not a bad parent, and I'm basically really against it but we had no choice left - and it's working. She slept til 5am today, last week we'd have been lucky for her to get to 2am. I know that she knows that I love her, I kiss and cuddle her all day long, so I'm trying not to feel too bad about it.

Christmas was amazing. We had a lovely morning, just the 3 of us, opening a stocking in bed and then the big piles from santa downstairs. Rose was suffering a bit with sore gums, wanting to chew something all the time, but she got plenty of new chewable toys and loved her new highchair - sitting up where she could keep an eye on everyone like a big girl. She's so grabby now - always reaching out for whatever's out of reach and attempting to destroy her books. Unfortunately for other people, she only likes being held by me or Dan at the moment, so I got to be her protect her all day. I love her so much.

xxx

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

working mum

Rose is almost 4 months old. She's nuzzled into my chest right now asleep. Pretty soon she'll be too big to sleep there and I'll miss these snuggly naps. We can finally reply "yes" to the number 1 question from strangers; "does she sleep through the night?". Or at least "most of the time" (she was up at 2am again last night). She's somehow managing to get cuter by the day; babbling away to herself / us / the cat, usually with one or more fingers jammed in her mouth. She's desperate to sit up and is almost managing to balance... she'll be toddling around in no time! She's bursting out of her moses basket so we've got a cot set up ready for her to upgrade to once I feel that her sleeping through the night thing is a bit better established in a few days. She looks tiny in her big girl's cot!

Although Rose takes up 99% of my days, I am managing to continue with my craft stuff. I joined notonthehighstreet.com and this has kept me really busy. Almost too busy. On etsy I make a sale maybe once a month, more if I relist and put in lots of effort, but less if I don't. And on NOTHS (NotOnTheHighStreet) it's more like a sale every couple of days. It's great! I feel like I could sell more if I listed a few more items, especially things that can be personalised (the site seems to be obsessed with personalised gifts), but I don't think I'd be able to keep up with demand if I did that! It was expensive to join the site, but it's a one off fee and I'm hoping to pay it off this financial year so that next year I can start making some real profit. I put my prices up by £1 a few days ago, after long hard thoughts and worrying, and was pleased to make two sales later that same day. I think I worry far too much about over-pricing my work... when I totted up my profit after fees/ materials, I was paying myself less than £2 a brooch, which is just silly really. I need to stop feeling guilty about paying myself a reasonable amount for my hard work.

I also decided to try to do some christmas fairs. An arts event in Leeds at Temple Works asked if I'd like to take part, and it sounds like a really fun event, but I decided to pull out and just concentrate on one big fair...I'm dong the BUST London Craftactular. I've heard that this is a really great fair from people who've sold at it before, and I was really pleased to be accepted. I'm struggling to find time to make stock, but now that Rose is sleeping through the night (mostly!) I can try to get an hour of sewing in after she goes to bed. We're going to spend a weekend in London visiting Rose's cousins, exciting! I'd really love for this craft stuff to pay off enough for me to stay home with Rose long-term, or to only have to work a day or two a week. Dream life!

x x x x x

Friday, 12 October 2012

three months

Rose is almost 3 months old. Wow, how did that happen. I keep meaning to blog but never seem to find the time. Rose is in her bouncy chair, with my foot bouncing her, slowly giving in to sleep. I've become a queen of multi-tasking. Multi-tasking feats include eating while breastfeeding, reading while breastfeeding, showering while entertaining Rose, singing while doing everything, hanging washing while swaying baby strapped on to me. The list is endless. Every task needs planning out. Nothing is easy anymore. Even going to the toilet involves deciding what the baby is doing and if I can combine going to the loo with other jobs like taking things up or down stairs or changing Rose's nappy. Life has changed completely. I put Rose in her bouncy chair in the bathroom while I have a shower, poking my head out every few minutes to see her little face. I've added to the multi-tasking fun by opening a notonthehighstreet.com shop for my crafts, so have to fit sewing into my days somewhere.

These have been, without any doubt, the longest three months of my adult life. Some days are never ending. Not to mention the nights. On a "bad" night, when Rose is refusing to sleep in her cot for more than an hour at a time, the only thing that keeps me going is that day will come again eventually, and I look forward to 5am when I can go downstairs and put another night behind me. I can't believe how much Rose has changed in such a relatively short time. She's gone from being a tiny little baby who could barely see or react to things, to a bright aware growing girl. Not that any strangers know she's a girl with her cute bald head! She laughs when I blow rasberrys at her and make funny faces, which melts my heart every time. She's just discovered that her hands belong to her, and has started using them to manouevre things into her mouth. She also loves sucking and chewing her hands. She's given me lovebites on my arm and chin, she's a sucky monster.

And I guess that I've grown and changed too. I feel like a better person with Rose in my life. She's brought out a confidence in me. Confidence to be silly mostly, but also a confidence that I (and Dan) know her better than anyone else, and therefore know what's best for her. I don't question my parenting skills at all, which is surprising really as I had no idea how to look after a baby...it must largely be instictual. The first few weeks of Rose's life I was super emotional, both happy and sad, and although this has calmed a lot I'm still definitely in a vulnerable emotional state. Any thought of Rose coming to harm makes me feel sick to my stomach; a wave of dread comes over me and my eyes fill with tears. This happens almost as readily when I hear of other children being harmed or having horrible illnesses. I didn't expect that to happen to me. I care very much about big picture things; I want Rose to live in a world where we care about the environment and where some people don't have to suffer for other people to live comfortable privileged lives, and I knew that having a baby would make me think about my role in the universe and who I am as a person. This has happened a bit, but at the same time it's also made me concentrate much more on little picture things; the day to day has become central to everything. And our little family being happy together is the most important thing of all. I care about her so much, and I suppose that must have made me a better person too. I'm hugely more patient than ever before, and most of the time when I notice a bad trait in myself - anger or inpatience - I'm able to stop it by remembering that she's more important than any of that sillyness.

I wonder what the next three months will bring.

cliche

All the clich├ęs are true.

She is the best thing that's ever happened to me. It is the hardest job ever. I do love her more than I thought possible. She is the most beautiful baby in the world. I can't remember life before her. I barely get any sleep. The days do escape me without any housework getting done. She is growing up so fast.

Monday, 3 September 2012

breast is best?!

I've been waiting for a day when breastfeeding has become a doddle to write this post, but I fear that day will never come. It's massively well known that breastfeeding is super good for baby, and when deciding how to feed Rose there was no question for me that breastfeeding was the way we'd go. Luckily I know people who'd struggled to breastfeed so I was prepared for it to be tough, otherwise I'd only have had the handful of NHS leaflets to go on which, although practical, fail to mention the world of pain I experienced.

For some reason it's a huge secret, but guess what....breastfeeding hurts. It really really hurts. In the first weeks it takes ages to latch her on right, so while my nipples were taking their time to toughen up I kept getting blisters on them. I cannot describe how painful it is to let a baby feed from a cracked red raw nipple. I nearly cried every time I latched her on. And then there's the days when one breast gets too full of milk and becomes "engorged". This happened quite a lot of times and each time it took days for it to sort itself out. If anything this was even more painful than my broken nip's. I'm squirming just thinking about it. It is starting to finally get easier after nearly 7 weeks, but almost every night I still go to bed saying that I give up because by that time she's always worn out my nipples and I gimace as I peel off my bra. I long for the day when I'll be able to get out of the shower and wrap a towel around myself without screaming and feeling like I've sand-papered my nipples.

I'm proud that I've lasted so long. For some of the last 7 weeks she's been feeding contantly, sometimes for hours at a time, and on the worst days I've been in just as much agony when she's off me as when she's on. We're only just at the point where we can leave the house for an hour or two, because she really was feeding relentlessly. 6 or 7 weeks doesn't sound that long, but when you think I've averaged about 10 feeds a day, that's a LOT of feeds, a lot of hours spent in pain and feeling like a crappy mum.

I feel bad whinging about this, but there's so much positive stuff said about breast being best, and a belief that it'll be a magical bond between mother and baby, that I think it's important to be honest and realistic. I feel a magical mother-baby bond with her anyway, I don't think that it'd be any different if I'd chosen to bottle feed her. We've just started introducing one bottle a day so that I can get a couple of hours break, and because my milk seems to have finally properly come in if she cries during that time then the milk leaks out!

I'm really glad that I chose to breastfeed, but I'm also really really glad that the last 7 weeks are over. I felt a huge pressure to do it and I just wish that people realised how hard it is so that I didn't feel so upset when I've thought about giving up. Rose is growing really well and I'm proud that I've done that, well done boobs.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Labour Day

This post will probably be fairly graphic, please don't read if you have a low pain tolerence or ever want children.

I read a lot of "labour stories" on websites like mumsnet while I was waiting for Rose to come, and I feel like I should write mine down. For the first week after birth I wanted to stop dwelling on how traumatic labour was, we had a pretty rough one, but now I don't want to completely forget how it went so it seems a good time to get it out.

So on the Monday evening I started getting pains a lot like strong period pains, which had been happening on and off for weeks, so although I wanted it to be the start of something more I didn't get my hopes up too much. By 11pm I knew it was the start of labour; the pains were really bad and coming quite often. I spent the night sitting around, having a bath, and generally writhing around in agony. We went to hospital in the morning, I think maybe about 6am, and a midwife (who we recognised from One Born Every Minute, woo!) examined me. I wasn't enough cm to go into the delivery suite, I think about 3cm, so she asked us to wait an hour to be examined again for them to decide where I should go next. We walked around the hospital to try and help her push down, which was really hard as the contractions were really painful and had me doubled over every 5 minutes. When I got re-examined I still wasn't ready for the delivery suite but the midwife sent me to a ward for 3 hours to wait to see if things would progress. I was so tired by this point, I'd had no sleep and the contractions were really exhausting, so I had a lie-down for an hour or so before walking around again. I can still remember how bad the pain was when contractions came, I'd have to stop and hold onto something and try to breathe while I waited for it to pass. At the end of the 3 hours a midwife said that she didn't think the contractions were strong enough because I wasn't screaming, but I asked her to examine me any way. I was 5 and a half cm, you can go to the delivery suite at 4cm, so I just had to wait for a free bed and I could go and get some real pain relief. That felt such a relief. In the delivery suite I decided to have some diamorphine, after I found the gas and air didn't give me enough relief. I think some people might think that diamorphine and similar pain relief is to take the pain away and make labour easier right until birth, but it's really not. It's good for giving you a break, as although you feel the contractions you feel like you can cope, and feel spaced out so you can have a rest...exactly what I needed. But you can't have it within an hour of giving birth, so it's not for the last stages of labour really (because it passes over to baby and she'd be born all groggy and stuggle to breastfeed). So that slowed things down a bit, but gave me a chance to close my eyes. And then came the longest few hours EVER. I don't know what time I'd gone into the delivery suite, probably around 3pm, and Rose was eventually born at 5.30am the next morning...so this bit took a LONG time. Contractions were really really bad, and the midwife told me that my waters were bulging right under her head but despite standing and kneeling trying to help them to break they just wouldn't burst. I could feel a horrible pressure as well as the contractions, and gas and air was making me throw up. After hours and hours of this and finding out that things weren't really progressing I decided the time had come to have an epidural. I couldn't cope with it any longer. The epidural obviously took away the pain of the contractions, and I couldn't feel any urge to push because I was numb, but the midwives tell you when to push and after an hour of pushing (HARD WORK) they brought in a doctor. Rose's head was swollen from pushing and they had a good feel around and decided that she was facing back to back. This was why contractions were so bad and why it was taking so long. They had to turn her around, which meant going into theatre and them making a cut so that they could use forceps to turn her. This was so scary, after such a long and tiring labour I was exhausted and lying numb on a bed with people stood over me in scrubs in an operating theatre was terrorfying. Well obviously the ending is happy, Rose was safely pulled out of me(!) and plonked on my chest. It was emotional! It turned out that my cervix was torn by the forceps, which meant that I lost a lot of blood, which was a really odd feeling seeing the doctors looking a bit worried and stitching me up, without being able to feel anything. I was quite poorly from loosing all the blood, and the lack of sleep, and was barely able to feed her right at the start, but I got better pretty quickly.

So that was labour. The midwives who helped both pre and post labour were all amazing, I felt really well looked after and they calmed what should have been a much more upsetting situation. I couldn't wait to go home, and luckily they said that my iron levels before labour were great otherwise I'd have had to have a blood transfusion (go me and and my iron rich veggie pregnancy diet!), so I only stayed one night.

We're okay now.

x x x x

Saturday, 4 August 2012

A Rose

Rose is here. She was almost two weeks late, born Wednesday 18th July at 5.30am. Labour was horrific, I think I'll do a post about that seperately as now that a few weeks have past it's not too upsetting to talk about. She's perfect. Nothing could have prepared me for how much I love her. Here she is in hospital...



In an adorable outfit looking like a gremlin...



And with her mum...



Motherhood is the hardest thing I've ever been through. She sleeps in dribs and drabs, paying no attention to the time of day, and at night it's incredibly hard to join in with her blase attitude to time and not get upset. But every time we have a "good night", with her sleeping in her cot for a few hours, it feels like a huge success. The emotional rolercoaster is hard to describe, and to be honest the first week of tears and fears is already difficult to remember. I can't get enough of her and kiss her head all day long. I love picking her up and remembering how delicious she smells. I could look at her forever. Breastfeeding is infinitely harder than I could have prepared for, I might do a post about it because I want to always remember how proud I should be that I've stuck with it despite the pain and relentlessness. She's sometimes feeding for hours at the moment, which means that doing anything is impossible...I have become the queen of multi-tasking eating meals with one hand while she's attached to my chest. She's growing and changing by the day, it's so mind blowing to watch. Our mantra has become "it'll get easier".

x x x x x x

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

bump diary

I'm 39 weeks and 5 days.

I hoped she'd be here by now! I'm sure that every first mum probably feels the same... for a while I felt like it'd be any day, but that feeling seems to have gone and now I wouldn't be suprised if she hangs on for at least another week. But still hoping for any day now and constantly sitting on a birthing ball/walking around/doing yoga stuff to try to help her find the exit. I'm SO READY.

Here's week 36 - week 39. I think you can see when she dropped down from week 37 - 38, the bump's really low now. That's a good sign!









Monday, 25 June 2012

you need an upgrade...to a new face!

I'm 38 weeks and 4 days.

I upgraded my phone. For the past 5 or 6 years I've used the cheapest pay-as-you-go model going after loosing a contract phone and not really trusting myself on the phone to t-mobile (last time I phoned to cancel my contract I somehow found myself agreeing to 16 months at £5 more a month), and I've found the brick-like reliability of an old school phone reassuring. But I decided to get a phone with a camera on for the sole reason that I know friends/relatives might like to get a text of pictures of the baby. Turns out that I could get a cheap "smartphone" for £10 less a month than I was paying. Which is good. But it doesn't have any buttons and I don't trust it. I've turned off all internet capabilities out of fear, although I did download an "app". I've been slowly getting to grips with sending texts, tapping my big pregnant fingers on the screen and pressing two of three letters at a time. I need a stick for dialling, like Homer does on the Simpsons (I could also do with one of his mumu's). I don't understand if I can put photos onto the laptop without using the internet on the phone, but I'm sure there'll be a way involving wires. So now I can take photos of my baby that look like polaroids and she'll be hip.

21st Century mum.

x x x x

Friday, 15 June 2012

nap

I forgot to say in that last post that I've just got up from a sickeningly Waltons-esque nap-time with the cat and the bump. I was talking to baby about her imminent arrival and the cat came and joined us before we all fell asleep in a heap. sigh.

nursing clothes

I'm 37 weeks and a day.

I really feel like I could have a baby any day now. Yesterday I started having quite bad stomach cramps in town and thought my time had come. But alas no. They've yet to build up into anything more than something resembling bad period pains. Which could go on for weeks. I'm so ready now! BUT we're going away for the weekend to my nephew's christening so she's not allowed to arrive til at least next week. You hear that baby? She knows.

So, I've bought a few tops to wear for nursing (i.e. with buttons down the front). It was pretty awkward buying stuff that I can't try on because I'm too MASSIVE, but I know I wont want to go shopping for months once she's here. I don't really like shopping at the best of times, and as all the books seem to warn me I'm probably going to be a bit disappointed by my body for a while. There'll be saggy bits. So I bought stuff about a size bigger than I'd usually wear, stuff that fits me now but doesn't quite accomodate the bump. Just hoping that once the milk "comes in" I don't burst out of them in other areas! Hopefully the baby will magically suck out all the excess weight I've put on. I'm really looking forward to being able to bend down and tie my shoe-laces again, I feel prettttty big right now. I feel a new sympathy for obese people; especially when I'm drinking a cola or eating a magnum in the street and feel all the judgemental eyes on me saying "should you really be eating/drinking that"...I think fat/pregnant people get judged big-time for eating things thin people are allowed to.

I also had a look at the GAP sale today, they have some really cute baby clothes we've been eying up for a while, and although I resisted all the clothes I did get a cute blanket. Can never have too many blankets. Here's a picture, it's got circus animals on it, so cute...


Any way, I thought I'd post this interview I did for a blog because I mostly talk about baby stuff. It's pretty gross. They gave away one of my fox brooches, but it's too late to enter now, sorry! The interview with photos is here, but this is all the text any way....

Y: What is your favorite children's book? AP: Eeek it's so hard choosing a favourite, there are so many gems! Picture books are definitely my favourite type of children's book, but if I had to choose an all-time best-ever it would have to be Tove Jansson's Moomin books. The stories are so whimsical and lovely, and the versions with Jansson's original illustrations are all the more magical. I have been known to read them aloud to myself when feeling glum, and I can't wait to share them with the new arrival...I predict many a bedtime in Moominvalley! But if I'm allowed a quick mention of a second favourite it's got to be the hilarious "I want My Hat Back" by Jon Klassen. It only came out last year but has quickly topped my favourite books chart; it's beautifully printed with dead cute animal pictures, and the story is irresistably funny...we've already read it to the bump and it's proved itself the perfect book to keep us amused just as well as a child, I just hope that baby likes it too otherwise we'll have to read it on our own!

Y: During your pregnancy what is the one food you craved the most? AP: I haven't had an weird and wonderful food cravings, disappointingly! I have lost all willpower when it comes to chocolate and cake, at times I've feared that she'll come out addicted to the stuff! I did have a period of craving pineapple all the time, so hopefully that'll balance out the dark moments when I loose resistance to the bad stuff. I did wonder if I'd crave meat as I'm a vegetarian, but thankfully burgers have never even sprung to mind. I've actually really enjoyed being (fairly) healthy throughtout the pregnancy and thinking about getting all the necessary goodness for baby, so I don't feel too bad about my chocolate splurges!

Y: What are you most looking forward to about being a mom? AP: I couldn't be more excited about being a mum. It's hard to choose something that I'm looking forward to most, as I think my idea of what's important has changed a lot over the time I've been pregnant. At the start I thought stuff like making things for her, and watching her learn and grow, would be amazing, and I am still massively looking forward to these things, but I think I've been reduced to a hormonal stereotypical mum who thinks that talking about nappies and baby-sick is acceptable conversation. As soppy as it sounds I'm mostly just looking forward to caring for this tiny person who loves me, and for her to complete a little triangle of love with me and my partner (a position which the cat currently holds and will be peeved to loose!). I'm already so proud to be pregnant, and can only imagine how good the feeling is once she's out!

Y: What animal do you think you are most like? AP: A few years ago I was absolutely obsessed with pandas. I used "amypanda" as my craft name, and I still love those hapless black and white bears. But I'm probably more of a cat enthusiast now, and they're the animals most like me. Naps, whining for meals, laying out in the sun...they know where it's at. I've got a slightly troublesome black and white cat called Sullivan, and love watching him playing out with his street-friends.

Y: Do you have any new design ideas you're going to introduce to the shop post baby? AP: I do have a few ideas for designs I'd like to try out. I'm really happy to let having a baby influence my work, and have enjoyed looking at all the baby-bits on the market and thinking about things that I could make. I've been thinking about using my brooch designs for mobiles for a while, and I think that I'll probably try out a few designs in my own nursery before selling them to the public. The mallard duck, seagull and fox brooches are fairly new, as is the woodland creature set of finger puppets, and I'd like to continue on this vein with lots more animals, I especially like the idea of making items to help kids learn animals that they're likely to see outside. "The dream" project which I keep putting off is to develop some handmade children's books, they'd probably involve finger puppets and I hope to test them on my little one before I unleash them on the world!


x x x x x

Friday, 8 June 2012

dream life

I'm 36 weeks and a day.

Dan's had a 6 day stretch off work, so I've enjoyed having some company for a change. We went for a day out to Hebden Bridge which was suprisingly sunny. We had a lovely walk through the woods, although somehow managed to do the extreme route scrambling up and down steps alongside the water, which was amazing but in retrospect may have been a bit much in my "condition". Hebden Bridge is pretty much my dream place to live, and hopefully Dan's work permitting we'll be able to move there in the next year or two, and raise our little one in idyllic surroundings. I've only been to Hebden a couple of times now, but I'm completely sold! It even has the best toy shop called The Old Treehouse, which has lots of really cute clothes and wooden toys. I somehow managed to resist buying anything, but if we move there I'm sure the nursery/house/child will be decked out with some of their treasures.

I'm in the final few weeks of pregnancy now, can't quite believe it! In case you didn't realise how vague the due date is (I didn't), only a tiny percentage of babies come on that day, so she could come any day two weeks before or after the date. She's actually considered "full term" at 37 weeks, which is next Thursday, although she's unlikely to come until much nearer the date (5th July). In fact she's probably going to be a bit late, as most first babies are, but who knows. Eeek! Braxton Hicks (warm-up contractions) have already begun, but they just feel like bad period pains and could go on for a month yet. It makes sense that it takes a while for your body to get ready for birth, it's crazy that pregnancy is so smooth really when I think about all the things that're going on in my body. The pains come and go at the moment, but I'm guessing that the very beginning of labour will start with these and build up. My energy levels are pretty unpredictable, so I'm trying to get things done when I'm feeling up to it, and napping when I start flagging. I'm so glad I'm not at work, I have no idea how people manage to work right up to the last minute.

x x x x

Thursday, 31 May 2012

baby brain

Silly stuff I've done while pregnant:

poured orange juice on my cereal
locked myself out of the house
gone to the men's toilet at the hospital and not realised until I was washing my hands

and the rest I forget...

And in other news the cat gets excited every time I decide to sit on the sofa instead of my birthing ball for a while, so that he can come for a cuddle, but then realises how big the bump is and that he can't fit properly and has a big sulk. Boy is he going to be jealous when the baby actually arrives. Poor Sulli.

x x x x x

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

bump diary

Weeks 32 - 34.

I'm almost as big as I'll get now, thank goodness!





x x x x

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

In Position!

I'm 34 weeks and 4 days.

I've just got back from an appointment with the midwife, and I'm happy to say that baby's head is facing down. Yay! I just hope that she stays like the until the big day! At this stage the baby takes up most of the room in my tummy so she doesn't really do somersaults anymore, so it's pretty likely that she'll stay that way. It's more important that she's in position by 36 weeks, in a fortnight's time, so nice to know that she already knows which way is out. I've found the midwife appointments a blur, they last about 5 minutes and consist of me sitting and nodding while the midwife ticks things off on forms. Because I've read up on everything a lot on my own, I haven't really had to ask any advice from the midwife, and the pregnancy has been (touch wood) really smooth, so I haven't needed her as much as I'm sure a lot of mums-to-be do. At each appointment the midwife takes your blood pressure, checks your wee, and listens to the baby's heartbeat, and since about 28 weeks she's also been measuring my bump to check that it's growing. And everything's fine. They stopped weighing pregnant women a few years ago because it's not healthy to obsess about how much weight you're gaining, which seems sensible. I'm happy that I've been eating well and that the bump is growing, and that's all that really matters.

We had our "parentcraft" session at the hospital last night, so in theory I now know how to get her out and how to take care of her. It was all quite basic but reassuring to know what to do/where to go as things progress. 37 weeks is technically full-term, so in 3 weeks she could come any time. Wow! I'm as ready as I'll ever be, and SO hot in this weather, so I'd be happy for her to come early!

x x x

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Hot stuff

I'm 33 weeks and 6 days.

So, the past two days have been a glipse of what it means to be heavily pregnant in hot weather. It's really nice to be able to get out and absorb some vitamin D, but I fear that it's going to get old fast. My waddle-walk is slower than ever, and with baby sitting right under my ribs I'm out of breath on even the slightest of inclines. Plus there's the issue of clothing to think of; I'm wearing some knee-length leggins with a t-shirt today and I feel a bit naked, but most of my maternity dresses are polyester so I dread to think of the sweating which'd ensue. I'm super proud of my bump so not bothered about wearing clothes that show it off, but I am quite conscious of my thicker arms and legs and not particularly keen on having them out on show. Vanity.

At around 36 weeks (in a fortnight) baby might drop lower into place, which would mean that I've got much more room to breathe. I hope she does. I think about half of first babies do around that time. I think her legs and bum are lying under my right rib, and her head is down under my belly-button and to the left. She's pretty active so I feel her pushing around those areas lots of times every day, and about twice a day she'll have a wild half hour jiggling around my whole tummy. It's the best thing ever.

I've been a bit lazy updating this blog because I'm not really doing much, just enjoying my maternity leave and getting the last few things sorted for when she's born. But I do read-up on pregnancy/birth/childcare almost every day, so maybe I should blog about some of the things that I'm learning. I've very quickly become one of those mums who thinks of NOTHING apart from baby. I fear that I've become massively boring to anyone who isn't particularly interested in the subject. I always thought that I'd want to make loads of cute/useless things for her, but I've found that I don't really care about that anymore and instead I'm too busy thinking about breastfeeding, child-birth and nappies.

I've written out a rough copy of my birth plan. It's a bit misleading to call it a "plan" because it's more like a list of things that could happen in order of preference; i.e. I'll try to use breathing/"active birth" positions as long as possible in labour (I've been practicing some yoga for this, but don't see myself holding out for long on d-day), then I'd like to use gas and air, and if that's not enough then I'd like one of the morphine based painkillers, and finally I'd turn to an epidural. But you just don't know what's going to happen, so it's impossible to really "plan", and probably best that I'm not too precious about it going how I want it to go, I'll just do whatever's best at the time. It is useful to think it all through though, especially the little things I hadn't really thought of as choices, like using drugs to help out the placenta (sorry!) and if you'd like the baby given straight to you or cleaned up first. It's all getting a bit graphic so I'll stop there.

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Monday, 21 May 2012

Bibliotheque

Baby's bookshelf is something which I'm massively excited about. I know that it seems a bit early to be stocking up on picture books, she wont be able to read for YEARS, but they're lovely things to own and look at, and we'll be reading bedtime stories from pretty early on for our own pleasure. I'm a HUGE fan of children's books, particularly picture books, and I'm fairly knowledgeable on the subject after a stint as a children's bookseller. Here are some of my favourites which I either already have or will be sure to buy soon...

It's an obvious one, but Eric Carle is wonderful. The Hungry Caterpillar is one of the many "classics" we'll have to get, but I like some of his other stories more...the bear books are really simple and his animal illustrations are so good in them...


My all time favourite children's author is Tove Jansson. Her magical world in the moomin stories is so whimsical and lovely, I really could never get tired of reading all the moomin stories aloud. And until baby is big enough for the tales from moominvalley we can introduce her to moomin loveliness with some of Jansson's illustrated books. There were some moomin books aimed at babies and toddlers brought out a couple of year's ago. They've got nothing on Jansson's original illustrations, but there is a story about buttons I don't know if I can resist...

A lot of my favourite pictures books are ABC books, because the illustrations are often amazing. I love these flashcards by Julie Morstead, but I think they've gone out of print so I might have to get some second hand. I remember putting some to one side at work years ago to buy, but I never got round to it, dammit! F is for Fort in this sweet collection of flashcards.


Another favourite ABC illustrator is Bruno Munari. I like his Zoo book too, but it's the ABC book I'll probably get for the baby's bookshelves. The colours and simple lines mean that it should be interesting to her even when she's too small to know her abc's.


I bought the Tilly and Friends set of Polly Dunbar books as soon as I knew we were having a girl. The stories are so so sweet, especially Where's Tumpty about an elephant playing hide-and-seek, and they're really nicely printed with a red and white polka dot pattern on the insides of the cover. I'm looking forward to using them for bedtime stories, and enjoying the traditional illustrations together. They are slightly grossly obvious in their heartwarming messages of friendship/sharing/etc, but I can't help but love them.


I love Dick Bruna. I know the Miffy stories are easy to snub, but I love his simple images and the colours he uses, and if nothing else I'll be framing a few images for the nursery. I'd love a print of one of his "zwarte beertjes" (black bear) designs for a German book publisher in the 1960's, but they're hundreds of pounds, so I'll probably settle for a few brightly coloured postcards of Miffy n crew. I did just find this poster though, it'd look cute in the nursery...



I've long been a big fan of Shaun Tan. His illustrations, and stories, are fairly dark, so I'm not sure that a tiny little child would really appreciate them, but I do already own a few so I look forward to baby being old enough for Tales from Outer Suburbia.



Emily Gravett has some great picture books, my favourite is the simple "Orange Pear Apple Bear", which uses those four words repeating throughout the book to help the little one learn through wordplay. The watercolour pictures are whimsical and should make baby smile, I might even get this one as a board book for her to hold and drool over in her first few years.



And finally, we've already been reading this one to the bump at bedtime, it's the hilarious "I want my hat back". Best children's picture book last year by a MILE, this book is beautifully printed and so darkly funny. I laugh every time.


Oh, following his recent death I will add Maurice Sendak to this list. He seemed like such a brilliant guy, I love that he was such a grumpy old man and have enjoyed reading his views on things, namely the art of writing stories for children, over the years. It saddened me that Julia Donaldson was a go-to for interviews following his death, she pretty much represents to me the exact opposite Sendak...commercial dummed down children's stories with a load of disney-like merchandise to secure her brand. Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are has stunning illustrations, but the best story is probably In the Night Kitchen, I'll have to add that to the "to buy" list.



x

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

parcels

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. I'm 32 weeks and 4 days now. Final Stretch.

I'm on maternity leave from work, so it's all feeling very real. The ailments are mounting up, I wont talk about it because I feel like all I do is moan about aches and pains at the moment, and my tummy is rapidly rounding. It feels like the majority of space in my belly is taken up by baby now, and I can spend all day watching my tummy move as she wriggles around. I've ticked off almost everything on the "stuff to buy baby" list, and have been getting some exciting parcels from shopping for stuff online. I say exciting but they're mostly just very practical things...buggy, car seat, re-usable nappies and a second hand breast pump (fun!).

I had handmade craft fair last Saturday which took up a lot of my time, but now that's over I'm 100% all about baby. Bit scary! So far days have consisted of small amounts of house cleaning (I can only manage half an hour at a time, silly back-ache), a bit of yoga in preperation for birth (argh) and more sewing for etsy (I've recently seen pretty good sales so it'd be a shame to let that drop when I've got all this time on my hands).

I'm packing my hospital bag this week, just in case she's early. Advice is fairly wide ranging from "don't even pack nappies, they give you some for free" to "pack everything, and spares of everything in case you're in hospital for weeks". I'll go for somewhere in between. I need to buy a cheap nightie for giving birth...I have been considering wearing one of the many massive t-shirts I've built up over time from work, namely a Jaqueline Wilson one as it's the biggest, but now that bump's grown I don't think it's long enough to walk around in and I'd like an "active birth" - lying down as little as possible - so need something a bit longer. Yoga is helping me to gain a bit of confidence that I can cope with birth, and I'm trying to build up strength in my arms so that I can try to be on my hands and knees for a lot of the labour because it's much better for my back. It's all pretty embarassing though. I'll probably just chicken out and ask for an epidural as soon as we get to hospital.
x

Sunday, 6 May 2012

bump diary

Weeks 29 - 31. I measured a little bit small at my last midwife's appointment at 28 weeks, but I've grown loads and she's moving around all the time so I'm sure she's growing like a good 'un. If she's on time then yesterday was the 2 month final countdown!




x

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

F is for Fort

I can remember how happy building, and sitting in, dens made me when I was a kid. I like the word den more than fort, as it makes me think of foxes, but since "den" seems to mean living room in American it's better to use the word fort online. Ours mostly consisted of a couple of sheets strung over chairs or a table, and yet once inside it felt so cozy and safe. Since booooooom.com did a forts competition a while ago, before the Where the Wild Things Are film came out (most disappointing film ever), I've been aching to build more. I know they're not stictly baby-related, but it's something to look forward to! When we have a proper nursery/kids room I'd like her to have some kind of indoor wendy house/fort. These are some of my favourite forts from the Wild Things project, and some of my favourite kids' forts/play-houses I've seen online...

all the above are from booooooom.com
from kickcanandconkers.com
from thebooandtheboy.com
via pinterest link here
fun times ahead! x

Monday, 16 April 2012

bump diary

27 weeks - today (28 weeks and 3 days).

Hey big belly! And hello sensible black maternity dresses (I now have THREE! Seems a bit frivolous but they'll all fit me for at least a few weeks post-baby while I'm rocking a big jelly belly). The salmon pink skirt is from ASOS, I ordered a selection of their maternity wear and had fun trying it all on...I kept 3 or 4 things and sent the rest back. I even got a pair of stretchy maternity jeans! They're an "under the bump" kind without the big belly band, they just have stretchy bit around the pockets, so I think I'll wear them post-pregnancy too. The black dress in the last picture was from ebay and I really like it, I feel much less dumpy than I do in a lot of the maternity stuff I've tried on (most of it drowns me and makes me look as fat as I feel). I've not bought so many clothes since I was a student (I probably buy about 5 items of clothing a year), but I think I've got enough to last me now and I can always sell them on ebay once baby comes.









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