Showing posts with label pregnancy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pregnancy. Show all posts

Saturday, 21 January 2017

A Letter to my Pregnant Self

Dear Me, 6 years ago,

You will be fine.

Everything is about to change, and you won't really appreciate just how much until it does.  People have tried to tell you, but you are so focused on pregnancy and the birth that anything beyond seems too far off still.  You may not know what to do at times, but that is fine, parenthood is about learning and all those people doling out advice had to learn once upon a time too.

It is all going to matter so incredibly much, and then suddenly it isn't, but the things that will be important to you are important.  You will become obsessed with breastfeeding, the contents of your baby's nappy, first foods, the average crawling age and what brand of babywipes to buy.  You will chat for hours about these things without getting even a little bit bored because that is your everyday.  You will find friends who find these things just as fascinating, who can debate baby led weaning vs puree all afternoon over a cup of luke warm tea.  And then one day none of it will matter again, you will move on and find it strange how you were ever so fascinated.  Parenthood goes in cycles and this baby stage that you are about to dive headfirst into is so incredibly intense but so short too.

Make the most of it, as much as you can of course.  You don't have to appreciate every moment, nobody ever will, but try to stop sometimes and sniff his little head.  When he falls asleep, watch his chest rise and fall and think about how you feel.  When you feed him lying down in your bed, take the time to appreciate how well he seems to slot in, how your body curves around him so naturally.  When he sleeps, and the house is silent, drink your freshly made cup of tea and just sit.  It won't always be this hard, it won't always be this easy.


The best piece of advice I can give you is not to worry so much about 'the book'.  You will try and do everything 'right', but your baby is unique.  You will learn over time to parent your child not 'a child', accept that he will be faster and slower than average, that he will sleep through when he is ready, he will drink until he is full and he will eventually crawl and walk.  Stop and listen to him, listen to yourself and do what feels natural, chances are it is the right thing.

Some people will tell you that there are things you can't do once you have a child - it isn't true.  It might not be as easy, but you are going to be the Mum, you get to make the rules.  If you want to go out for dinner late then take a pram for him to sleep in.  If you want to climb a mountain then get a good sling to wear him on your back.  If you want to travel and see the world then you can, and you get to see it through a child's eyes too, it will be magical.  Don't let having children hold you back from achieving what you want, but equally know that being a Mummy is more than enough.  Don't judge yourself against others, just be the best version of you that you can be.

You may wonder what the future holds but I am not going to give anything away.  It will be full of surprises, it will challenge you, make you question yourself but ultimately you will end up richer -your heart and home will be overflowing with love and you will be happy.  Take each day as it comes, appreciate the small things, let your baby be little whilst you still can.  Take a deep breath, count your blessings and enjoy the adventures of parenthood.

Love from Me, now.

p.s Make sure you always check out baby events to find the best deals - nobody will warn you quite how satisfying saving money on the necessities is! Tesco have one on at the moment and there is still a week left to grab some savings.



Disclaimer : In association with Tesco




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Sunday, 16 October 2016

Hello in There

Cora arrived four days early, wailing loudly and already aware that she was born into a mad house.  Throughout the pregnancy she had heard me talking and singing, her Daddy's low tones and her brothers' loud ones.  It felt like she recognised us all, and she probably did as it is now known that babies can hear in the womb.  The experts say it sounds muffled, like you are talking underwater, but she will still have heard the intonation, the difference in tones, the squeaks and sqwarks of the three boys and my wonderfully tuneful (of course) singing.  I didn't talk to Cora before she was born as much as I did with Dylan, but she probably heard me more as I was naturally reading books and singing songs throughout the day.

I recently took part in some videos with Aptaclub to highlight the importance of talking to your growing bump and they are now live on the website.  They were filmed only a few days before Cora arrived and looking at my bump is already making me broody! 


With Dylan I felt that I naturally talked to him as a bump and the same songs I used to sing whilst painting the nursery were the ones that comforted him when he arrived.  After the first it definitely doesn't come as naturally but with a toddler (or two, or three) around I was singing and talking all day anyway.


My babies have such a wonderful bond and I always wonder whether Cora is so calm around the rather heavy handed Finn because she recognises his voice as a comfort - something she has always known.  


In some ways giving birth is the first time that you get to meet your baby, but in other ways it feels like you have known them forever - all those one sided conversations, the kicks and rolls and the dreams of what he or she will look like.  Pregnancy is the perfect time to start bonding with your baby. 

Disclosure : This post is in collaboration with Aptaclub
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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Full Term - Feeling heavy and crazy hormones

I have reached week 37 which means that I am full term.  It feels like a period of limbo, this five weeks that are considered the 'right' time to have a baby - knowing that very soon everything will change, but for now we are just waiting.  Nobody knows when this little girl is going to arrive, it could be tomorrow, it could be that I have another month of carrying her safely inside, but she is coming.

I feel completely torn, physically I don't feel ready for another baby but emotionally this pregnancy is taking its toll.  We don't have everything ready for her yet and whilst this pregnancy has been tougher than the others, I don't feel ready to give up my bump, to share my baby with the world and to never be pregnant again.  I know that even when I am struggling physically I have it easier than most women, at 37 weeks I can still scramble around soft play, still power walk a double school run when I leave it too late to do comfortably (again) and still care easily for three young boys.  I have plenty of aches though, I was told with fourth babies they can engage and pop out several times a day and I am pretty sure that Britney bump is playing that game.  Sometimes I waddle, sometimes I am taken aback by the power of her kicks and sometimes I just really want to find a comfortable position to sleep in.

Emotionally however, I am finding this time a lot more difficult.  I seem to go from full of energy, ready to run a marathon to needing to sleep for a week and barely able to get off the sofa - and I do this about 5 times a day.  I can be incredibly excited and happy one minute and really grumpy the next without any real cause and I get periods of feeling really anxious too.

My biggest craving right now is space, which of course isn't something I get a lot of with three young boys.  I can't go to the toilet without an audience and I think knowing how attached I will be to this baby once she arrives, how impossible it will be to leave her, makes me crave a bit of 'me time' now whilst I still can (in principal).  I can often tell what will help bring me out of a grumpy mood, but unfortunately the timing is always terrible.  I fancy a long walk just as dinner needs to be cooked, or I am desperate for a hot shower just as I have to go on the school run.  The bloke has understood that it is best to always have chocolate buttons in the house for these moments - if in doubt, sugar always helps.

I am not doing anything to try and bring on labour, I really believe that babies come when they are ready and I am feeling so torn between wanting her here so that I feel a little more hormonally balanced (well as much as you do with a newborn of course) and wanting her to stay put until I feel a bit more ready.  Having such a small age gap this time and the fact Finn is still just a baby, not yet walking, means that I probably won't ever feel really ready for her arrival and I know that whenever she comes we will be fine.  

These final weeks are such a strange time, I feel unsure making too many plans, but I know the best thing is to stay busy.  I want to treasure every moment as we are but I can't wait to meet this baby I have been growing for so long.  I am looking forward to the birth but wondering how I will cope with four under fives.  I want to enjoy my bump a little longer but I want to meet the final member of our family.  It really feels like we are in limbo now and I have a feeling there are a few more weeks to go.

and yes I am sitting on my birth ball in a Care Bear onesie

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Monday, 16 May 2016

7 Months Pregnant

This update was due a few days ago, but following the theme of this pregnancy, I am pretty laid back and disorganised so it is only just making it on to the blog.  There is now less than two months until my due date which means it is about time I started getting sorted!

I am pretty relaxed and by that I mean not ready in the slightest, but I know if the baby was to come now we wouldn't be bringing her straight home anyway so we still have time.  Even if I stay in this state (denial) until later on, newborns really don't need much, I have boobs, we have nappies and a few tiny clothes and I found for those first days my babies were not going to sleep anywhere but on me so we have time to build the Snuzpod crib.

32 weeks pregnant, 7 months pregnant, fourth baby, big bump

That said, my plan for the next week involves buying a chest of drawers so that I can organise this little girl's clothes rather than having them in random boxes and bags around the house and work out if there is anything we still need.  I need to wash all the material on the Snuzpod as well so that it is ready to be built once we reach full term.  The plan is still to have a homebirth so rather than a hospital bag I am planning a birthing basket - something I will share more about nearer the time.

Symptom wise I feel like my growth has really slowed down now and I don't look quite so different from other people reaching the seven month milestone.  I still get looks of horror when I mention I have 8 weeks left and that I am not due until July but I don't feel as big as I was.  I have the midwife again later this week so we will see how the bump is growing.

The aches and pains seem to be lessening since baby turned head down, although getting up from the sofa in the evening is definitely a challenge and I have to waddle a little while before my pelvis clicks back into place.  This past month has seen lots of outdoor adventures, big days out and long days on my feet which hasn't really been a problem, well until I sit down at the end of the day anyway.

My cravings can generally be summed up as 'food', but if I could live off of Pizza, Coca Cola and chocolate I definitely would.  The bloke isn't always convinced by my choice of toppings but they always taste great to me!

Heartburn is my new symptom and I don't think I have it bad as I haven't had to use medication yet.  I think mine is more down to not eating regularly rather than eating the wrong food as it tends to start up if I go longer than 3-4 hours without food.  Somehow I seem to have more energy at this point in pregnancy than I have all the way through so far but I am not expecting it to last as my due date gets closer. 

Dylan is asking a lot of questions about the baby, Archie is very curious and Finn is still completely oblivious to the fact his days of being the baby of the family are numbered.  In fact, Finn has suddenly become very clingy wanting to be in my arms all the time, I don't know whether he is starting to sense change or it is just a developmental thing.  I have a feeling my lap is going to be as full as my heart once this little one arrives!

32 weeks pregnant, 7 months pregnant, fourth pregnancy
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Monday, 2 May 2016

What Mama Wore - Tiffany Rose

I have got to the point in pregnancy where the most important aspect of an outfit is comfort.  I can still wiggle into my maternity jeans and put on some socks, but all I want to wear are dresses and slip on shoes with no waist bands and no reason to struggle and reach my feet.  The weather isn't quite warm enough to live in summer dresses yet, but we are well into Spring now so I am holding on to it warming up soon.

Luxury British designers Tiffany Rose sent me a couple of their maternity dresses and they are by far the most comfortable things in my wardrobe right now.  They specialise in occassionwear, but with nothing to dress up for on the horizon I opted for a couple of dresses that I could dress down enough to get away with as day wear.


Maxi dresses are the ultimate summer maternity item and this one is just beautiful.  It is lined which helps it hang well (and stops the white becoming see through), comfortable and amazing quality.  The cut is flattering throughout pregnancy and would last from a tiny bump until after baby arrives - I don't think I will be packing this away just because my bump has gone.  I often find that this style of dress comes up short as I am 5 foot 9, but this one is a great length that I am not tripping up over it, but it still is nice and long.  


I love how this dress can work for so many different occassions, on its own it would look wonderful for a summer wedding or Christening, but paired with a denim jacket and flipflops it is casual enough for everyday wear.


The second dress was a shorter length but a similar style with the same crossed over top and empire line cut.  As the weather wasn't as nice I wore it with tights and flat shoes but my plan is to wear this with just sandals and a cardigan or jacket to dress it down in the summer, but maybe put on some low heels if I want to wear it out too.  It felt wonderful to wear and I had so many compliments.  The rich blue colour is really stunning and I found it incredibly flattering on my changing figure.


 Tiffany rose are proud to be designed and manufactured in the UK and their dresses are made to the highest quality and come beautifully packaged too.  These dresses are currently £84 and £89 which I think is great value considering the outstanding quality.



Thank you to Tiffany Rose for sending over these beautiful dresses.


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Thursday, 28 April 2016

When Pregnancy is Tough

I have spent three pregnancies feeling overwhelmingly happy.  I skipped the morning sickness, the heartburn and the strange cravings, I grew a bump perfectly round and all out front and managed to enjoy pretty much every moment.  Of course there were bits that were tough, I lost sight of my feet pretty early on, I got out of breath walking up hills and I got really tired.  Overall though, I sailed through those first three pregnancies, I loved the whole experience and couldn't wait to do it all again.

This fourth one though, it isn't the same at all.  From the beginning this pregnancy has been tough, there have been more tears and more pain than the other three combined.


I still don't have it bad, somehow I managed to skip the nausea and morning sickness for the fourth time and for that I am ever grateful, but the first trimester tiredness was just debilitating.  I could barely function as a human let alone a parent and our house descended into chaos as I thanked the TV gods that Blaze and the Monster Machines was on pretty much constantly on Nikolodeon.  Toys piled up, washing overflowed, dishes were left dirty for far too long and bed sheets were rarely washed.

I felt like I should be enjoying our little secret, this fourth and very much final baby I was growing, but instead I just felt tired, overwhelmingly tired.  The first trimester problems seemed to clear up slightly at around 16 weeks and I had a few weeks of respite, but way before I reached the final trimester, things started to get tough again.  I am not getting any younger, my body has carried four babies in four years, my pelvic floor muscles may not be as strong as they once were and this little madam I am growing is already rather large.  My back started to struggle first, and rather than taking it easy, I chose to power through, something I am now regretting.

Somedays I am fine, others I can barely walk by the evening, the bottom of my back aches, I feel bruised and heavy and this baby is nestled (breech) very low in my pelvis.  My body is struggling this time and things that I am so used to doing throughout pregnancy are getting harder.  My pace is slowing, my ability to lift my children comes with a sacrifice of an evening of pain, because quite frankly they are pretty heavy boys.

And on top of this, I really understand what people mean by pregnancy hormones.  I cry more than ever, but I also feel overwhelming love more often.  I need time to myself every day to be a tolerant person and that doesn't come easily with three small people who need me.  My moods can dip unexpectedly and nothing can pull me out and my patience wears thin very quickly.

I love pregnancy, and I still do, despite everything.  I am not ready for this little one to arrive, I want to grow bigger, to feel her kicking from the inside a little longer, to embrace my changing shape and watch this miracle happening.  I am still amazed every time I look down, I still smile and rest my hands on my tummy everytime she kicks and I want to savour each moment, each final week with her safely inside, and my three boys just the way they are.

But this pregnancy is tough both physically and emotionally.  I feel stressed and tired and achey and moody and I never expected it to be this difficult, especially not with 10 weeks still to go.

I wouldn't give up the chance to carry this baby for anything, I know how lucky we are to be adding another member to our team, I really do know how lucky I am, but it doesn't mean that pregnancy isn't tough sometimes.




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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My Boys


With only ten weeks to go (ish) until we add a sixth member to our team, that feeling of the end that is so familiar now has arrived.  I remember during my first pregnancy trying to get my head around the fact that things would change beyond anything I could possibly imagine and I spent those final weeks with my friends, going out in the evenings (and treating myself to an orange juice), going for long walks, going out for dinner and enjoying my social life.

When I was pregnant with baby number two, I couldn't possibly comprehend how I could fit a second little baby in my life and those 10 weeks were spent enjoying everything about my first born, living life at his pace, letting my newly mobile toddler walk, as we had nowhere to be, there was no rush and nobody but us.

During my third pregnancy, I wanted to make the most of me-time, and I went to the cinema at least once a week as I remembered all to well how little personal space you get with a baby around.  I went for walks on my own along the sea front in the evenings, sat in the hairdressers and just enjoyed peace whenever I could find it, as three was set to be loud, chaotic and always busy.

This time I have realised that the weeks with 'my boys' are soon to be over, there will be a little girl on our team, and everything will change all over again.  These boys have been a three for 14 months, they have such beautiful bonds, they are learning and growing together and they are just wonderful to watch.  My focus will shift, I will be more outnumbered than ever, and I will have to stop saying 'my boys' and start saying 'my children' or 'my family' when I refer to them all.

It seemed to hit as I turned 30 weeks, it is a milestone week and these photos make me a bit emotional.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have three amazing little boys in my life.  To be the one that gets to wake up to their smiles each morning, and tuck them up in bed with a story and a song each night.  I get to watch them grow into the men they will become, nurture friendships with each other, learn alongside one another and be a little team.

These next ten weeks are about them, about making memories, about getting out together, exploring and observing, because I love to just watch them.  I want to have adventures that are easier without a new baby in tow,  I want to capture them as they are now, whilst it is just the three of them, I want to prepare them for a sister without making them wish away the present, because the present is pretty awesome right now.  











These photos are from the weekend and they may be my favourite ever, they capture so much of who they all are, they capture them together, they were in their element, outdoors, exploring, having adventures and you can see that in their smiles, in the way they are so relaxed.  I took my camera out only a couple of times, I wanted some special photos of  'my boys' as they are now, but the rest of the time I got stuck in with them all, I searched for the Gruffalo and got excited when we found the snake's log pile house.  I squelched in the mud, marveled at sticks, and came home with muddy feet.






It feels so strange that my time with just these boys is numbered, that things are going to change all over again, the dynamic, the pace of life, the size of my heart, and whilst I am confident we will adapt and find space and it will soon become our new normal, I am excited for the final 10 weeks, our final adventures just as we are and that I get to watch them just as a three for a little longer.





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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

6 Months Pregnant

I am now 6 months pregnant and the third trimester isn't far off.  Considering how slowly pregnancy is meant to go, this past month has flown by and whilst in my head I still have months and months left, full term is only 10 weeks away which isn't all that long.

I am definitely finding this pregnancy tougher than the other three, physically and mentally.  I am finding if I overdo it (which is very easy with three small children around) then I can barely walk by the end of the day and I have mastered the pregnancy waddle early.  I have a repeat GTT (glucose tolerance test) this week as both baby and myself are still measuring very big, but I am hoping I just make chunky babies and have very relaxed stomach muscles.


This month the little kicks have turned into something stronger that the bloke can really feel and that you can sometimes see.  My anterior placenta means I still don't feel as much movement as I did in Archie's pregnancy but baby seems to be in quite a routine with party time being late evening (10-12 specifically).  

Mentally I am definitely more hormonal this time, I snap easier, cry easier and am much more likely to be drawn into arguments than usual.  I can see the way the hormones affect me but can't seem to do much about it.  I don't know if this is a girl thing, but I will be happy to go back to calm once she arrives. (well as calm as life gets with four under fives!)

This month I have tried to curb the shopping as I have a feeling she is going to be a big baby and not get to wear half her clothes otherwise!  I have given in to a few things though and I love finding girly bits without being pink and frilly.  We haven't started thinking about the big things yet, but we are pretty sorted having had a newborn not that long ago.

This month has started with Dylan asking questions about how the baby will come out and I know I will have to satisfy his curiousity more as I get bigger so I have a couple of books ready.  My tactic is to answer just enough, but not give him too much information and it seems to be working although every now and again he comes back with a new question so I know he must be thinking about it still.

I am seeing the midwife much more often this pregnancy due to bump/baby size which means an appointment every 3 weeks on top of seeing the consultant and April brings two midwife appointments, one consultant one, a GTT, Whopping cough vaccination and a growth scan (unless they want to throw in anything extra over the coming weeks!).

And finally here is Britney bump, measuring a little too big but completely wonderful.



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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

My Pregnancy Skin

This pregnancy has been so different from my previous three and whilst I felt like I was really 'glowing' with the others during the second trimester, this time I have dry grey skin that I seem to pour moisturisers and oils on each night only to wake up peeling again.

Vital Touch saw my struggles and sent me some of their facial skincare range designed for pregnancy and beyond.  Whether you are glowing or grey, chances are your skin is going through some pretty big changes just like the rest of you during pregnancy and I have found some of my usual products aren't working the same or are even causing a reaction whereas before they were fine.  I never knew there were face care products designed specifically for this period, but it makes sense now!

The Natalia Radiance Replenishing range is gentle even on sensitive skin and is designed to balance and brighten.  I am becoming much more conscious of the chemicals involved in every day life so the fact that it is free from parabens, SLS, artificial perfumes and petrochemicals is important to me too.

pregnancy skincare, vital touch, radiance replenish

The range consists of a cleanser, exfoliator and moisturiser.

The cleanser is easy to use, leaves my skin feeling fresh and has a simple smell.  The exfoliator left my skin feeling moisturised which surprised me as often it feels very dry straight afterwards and it didn't feel as harsh as my usual one.  The moisturiser soaked in quickly, and whilst it felt a little sticky the first time I used it, that sensation was gone pretty quickly.  I have been slathering it on in a bid to stop my face from peeling and it is definitely making a difference.  I have found that the best combination for me is an oil based moisturiser before I go to bed and using this as a daytime one.

pregnancy skincare, exfoliator

My skin is still far from glowing and I think the grey tone may not vanish until Finn starts sleeping through the night, but I am finding my skin more manageable now and I will be sticking with these products until the end of pregnancy (and beyond if they last).  

The cleanser costs £12.50 for 100ml, the moisturiser is £16.50 for 50ml and the exfoliator is £15.50 for 50ml.

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Thursday, 17 March 2016

Newborn Baby Wishlist

This is now my fourth baby and I have worked out what I really want and use, and what I don't.  Some of the things I thought were 'essentials' when I was pregnant with Dylan were never used and things I had never thought of became the bits I couldn't live without.

I am so excited to be carrying a baby girl this time, but I have found that for those very newborn purchases, most of the things I like are pretty unisex anyway.  I adore colour on babies, but I love a newborn in white still and whilst I am not anti - pink at all, I am not desperate to be surrounded by it either.

I have put together a little wishlist for when our baby girl arrives, just things for those first weeks, the newborn stage.



Newborn Baby Wishlist



ELIZABETH Tan / White Rainbow Sleepsuits Three Pack (0mths-2yrs) / Buy John Lewis Baby Safari Animals Print Dress, Teal | John Lewis / The Little Green Sheep / Snuz Crib Bedding Set Cloud Nine The Little Green Sheep / Playsuit romper / Hot Air Balloon Tula Baby Carrier / TotsBots Teenyfit V4 Treasure / Swoon motion / celebration bamboo swaddles / Choose a Bundle - Poddle Pod UK / bugaboo-donkey-duo-black-off-white-f.jpg (600×600) / Wine Maroon Wrap Sling

With a small age gap this time (16 months) I will be alternating between a double buggy and a sling and single.  I love the Bugaboo donkey as I can have a carrycot and still have Finn facing me and for a newborn I will use mostly a stretchy wrap.  I will be using my Snuzpod again whch got carefully stored away after Finn outgrew it and I love the new collection of bedding, especially the grey and yellow.

For first clothes, I love Next sleepsuits and these rainbows are top of my list. I have added in a beautiful muslin romper for those hot summer days and a little dress too - after all this is the first girl after three boys.

The poddle pod looks great for keeping baby snug, as do the swaddle muslins, and if baby isn't keen on being swaddled then I find you can never have enough muslins, the larger ones are perfect to use as sheets in the carrycot too.

I fancy a nice changing bag again and mine broke very recently.  After three babies I definitely prefer a less baby and more Mama style and this looks elegant and practical.

What would you put on a wishlist, is there anything essential I have forgotten about?
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Sunday, 13 March 2016

Planning a Homebirth

I know that you can't plan your birth.  I know that my body will go into labour spontaneously whenever it is ready and this labour may last 20 minutes or 20 hours.  I have come up with my ideal situation though and I am choosing to be positive,  but with a back up plan. 

One of my babies was born in the hospital, two in the midwife led unit and at the moment I am planning a homebirth for baby number four.  If you had asked me in any of my other pregnancies I would have told you that I would absolutely not have a baby at home.  I really didn't want a homebirth, I didn't think it was right for me or for us and it was never an option.  With this baby though, I can't help feeling that it is the right place.

My three labours so far all started just before midnight with the active stage getting shorter with each subsequent birth.  I am hoping that this baby follows the pattern and that everything happens at night whilst the boys are asleep.  My best case scenario plan means the boys go to bed with a calm mama and wake up to find a little baby asleep in the bed beside me, the midwives gone, the house cleaned up.  I know that should this not happen I have family and friends who can help out with the childcare though, just as they would if we were in a hospital.

I love the idea of sitting in my own bed after the ordeal of birth, with a cup of tea.  Curling up in my own bed with my brand new little person.  My shower is hands down better than any hospital one, my snacks are right there. I don't have to worry about moving again a few hours later when we get sent home, about getting dressed when I have only just given birth and about not remembering enough vests/nappies/muslins.



With all the time we have spent in hospital over the past year, I think part of my decision is the fact I have had enough of the place! I no longer feel as relaxed there as I used to as my memories have changed from wonderful births to weeks in scbu, uncertainty and fear.  I have so much trust in my body after it has birthed three babies already and I am confident and hopeful that it will know what to do a fourth time without needing to be in the hospital.

My labours have been quite quick and I know that at home I can just let it progress without having to go to the car, talk through any notes or see anybody.  I will have midwives here that will stay with me, dedicated care - something that isn't possible in a busy ward or midwife unit.  I would love to use a birthing pool at home, to have another water birth like I did with Archie.

I know that things don't always go to plan so I will have a hospital bag packed incase we need it.  I am planning to follow the same hypnobirthing course I used with Finn and I know what I want with this pregnancy and birth so even if we do get transfered to the hospital I will be planning as natural a birth as I can.  I am going to try and use cord ties again and will be asking for delayed cord clamping and a natural third stage as I did with the others as well as immediate skin to skin.

Birth is such a personal thing, no two are the same and we all have a different idea of our perfect scenario.  Despite everything I thought in my last three pregnancies I think this is the right path for me.  I am seeing a consultant this pregnancy (something new), but at the moment everything is still low risk and the birth I want is looking possible.

Have you had a homebirth before or would you consider one in the future?  I love hearing positive stories
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Friday, 5 February 2016

Going on a Ski Holiday when Pregnant

So it may not be the first holiday you plan once you see those two blue lines, but it may be that you booked it before you knew you were pregnant or maybe you want to go on a family ski trip but don't actually fancy skiing yourself.   Either way a ski trip can be a wonderful week even with a bump, as I got to find out last month when the boys and I headed over to the alps with Snowbizz.

I knew a whole week of snow without being able to ski would be hard and I wasn't wrong, after having such an amazing experience two years ago I knew exactly what I was missing out on.  I looked up skiing pregnant, spoke to friends and my midwife, but for a beginner like me it just didn't feel worth the risk.  I hired a ski jacket and salloppetes as my expanding waistline meant nothing fit anymore and prepared for a week of fun.


One of the best things about my week away was the peace.  As a mother to three under fives I don't get a whole lot of time to myself.  I have the children every day and I work most evenings.  Whilst we were away I would drop the three boys at the creche every morning at nine and soon after the bloke would head out for his lesson.  The first day it felt strange, I felt a little lost but it didn't take long to start making the most of my quiet mornings and I took my book down to one of the cafe's on the snow's edge, enjoyed some syrup or a hot chocolate, watched the world go by and managed to read a whole book in the first three days.  After a really tough first trimester it was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries, and despite having three small dependent people and a bump I came away from the holiday feeling rested (not something I have said for a long time!).


When we booked to go back, I was really excited about the outdoor pool and I loved going for a swim again this year.  The pool was open in the afternoons (3-7) and I felt like I needed a swim after all the cheesy French food I was consuming.  The pool is outdoors, but the water is wonderfully warm and you get in and out of the pool inside.  I could float around, swim lengths and feel weightless even when I am getting heavier by the minute on dry land.  There seems something so luxurious about being outside in a bikini when it is -7 degrees outside and you are surrounded by snow and I would defintiely recommend you take a dip!

Puy St Vincent, snowbizz, ski holiday, pregnant skiing

Let's be honest and admit that one of the most enjoyable things you can do when pregnant is eat and the French do food well.  From freshly bakes croissants in the morning that are hands down better than any I have ever tasted in the UK to cheese fondue, raclette, creme brulee and my favourite tartiflette (a mixture of potato, onion, bacon, cheese and cream).  I may have over indulged just a little but you have the excuse of wanting to keep warm and of course, what baby wants . . .   

Getting to watch the children learn to ski was an amazing experience.  I hid behind pillars so that they wouldn't spot me and get distracted but twice during the week I crept up to the nursery slopes during their lesson and watched them skiing.  Archie is not yet three and Dylan is naturally a cautious and not a particularly physical child and I couldn't believe how well they took to the snow, how supportive their instructors and the nannies that accompanied them were and that they were actually skiing.  They loved the lessons and I know that had I been skiing myself I would have had to rely on their reports of the day.  This way I got to see it all and I couldn't have been prouder of my big little guys.

ski lessons for kids, snowbizz
The March of the Totons

Snowbizz is a small and cosy resort and I met so many wonderful families, bonded with other parents and we marvelled together at how well our children were doing on the slopes.  I went for walks, I went up in the chairlift as a 'walker' to take in the views from higher up the mountain and to dine at the restaraunt set in the middle of the snow.  I took the children out of the creche to build snowmen and to go sledging and on occassion so that we could all curl up back in the apartment and have a cuddle and a film (and a snooze) as the week was rather busy and exhausting for them.  I got to experience the wonders of a family holiday alongside rest, relaxation and plenty of cheese.


For a busy mama like me, this holiday was exactly what I needed to recharge, enjoy and indulge, but I am desperate to get back on my skis next time!



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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Our Gender Reveal

When we found out that we were expecting baby number 4, two thoughts went through my head,

'What if it is another boy?'
'What if it is a girl???'

I quite honestly didn't mind, we were either going to have the wonder of a fourth baby boy or a new baby girl.  I know boys, I love raising boys and I could see my house full of them.  A daughter would be the unknown but a new challenge.  Either way I felt far more impatient to find out this time and I ended up booking an early private scan to try and determine the gender. 

At our previous scan, the sonographer thought she knew the sex based on the nub theory, but I wanted a better look to know for certain.  Last Saturday we went down to a local place and saw our little Britney bump on screen and we got confirmation.

We are expecting a . . .





We are so excited to be welcoming our sixth and final member of the team in July this year!

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Monday, 11 January 2016

Baby Boy or Baby Girl?

With three boys already I am sure you can imagine the comments I am getting as I announce this pregnancy.  Wouldn't it be lovely if this were to be a girl, surely we must want a girl after three boys, were we trying for a girl?  The truth is we would love a baby girl, although the concept seems alien to me after four years of raising boys.  We would love a fourth boy just as much, although yes, maybe it would be a shame to have never known any different.

I really had no preference when I was pregnant the first time, it didn't even occur to me to want one or the other, but when we found out we were pregnant with number two I was secretly hoping it was a second little boy - with the close age gap I could imagine myself with two little boys, driving trains around the living room, kicking a football together at the park and sitting under a blanket together watching films one day.  

Finding out about our third little baby was a shock, and what I wanted more than a choice of gender was a baby who would stay small that bit longer.  Dylan grew so fast and Archie grew up so fast, I wanted a baby.  I got my wish, maybe too much as Finn took so long to grow, but at 10 months he still feels very much like a baby.  He still fits perfectly in my arms, still sleeps cosily on my chest and he has the calmness of a baby much younger than himself at times.

After having Finn, with this baby, my one wish if I was to be granted one is that he or she is born healthy.  That I can spend those precious first weeks enjoying my little bundle rather than worrying whether he would survive and what quality of life he would have.  I want a baby I can have at home with me, who can settle straight into his or her place in our new bigger family.  Whether this baby is a girl or boy really isn't my priority, I fully understand the fact that healthy is the most important thing.

Somedays I think I would really like a little girl, I spot something adorable that a boy just couldn't pull off, I think about my favourite girls names that we have never had an opportunity to use and I wonder what life with a daughter would be like.  Other days I think a little boy would complete our family, a little buddy for Finn, a quad of boys that will grow up so close together.  I naturally gravitate towards the boys section in shops, I love my sons and another would be amazing.

I don't feel like I 'know' as much as I did with the other three.  I was so certain they were boys, and whilst my head still tells me this is another, I haven't bought anything yet, I don't have the same conviction.  In many ways this pregnancy is very much the same.  I have escaped the nausea and sickness again and my biggest symptoms are tiredness and a rapidly expanding waistline.  My cravings are still a mix of sweet, salty and dairy with macaroni cheese, ready salted crisps and flake bars coming top of the list - very similar to the others.  There are differences though, noticeably in that the tiredness this time has been exhaustion and debilitating at times.  I have had my first tastes of heartburn (probably because I lay down for most of the day) and the skin on my face is suddenly incredibly dry.


We will definitely be finding out, I don't have the patience not to, and I am tempted to book a private scan and find out early this time,  This is most definitely our last pregnancy (I know I said that last time but it really is now) and so I almost feel like I want to try a new experience - a private gender scan and finding out early.  We don't have a great nub shot and Britney seems to fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to skull theory.  Opinion seems to be split as do the old wives tales.  I still think this is our fourth baby boy but the bloke thinks it is a girl - we will be finding out in the next few weeks.


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Thursday, 7 January 2016

Family Planning - The First 12 Weeks

This pregnancy has been by far the hardest.  Whilst I felt tired with the others, this time it has been complete exhaustion, where staying awake for longer than a couple of hours at a time can be a challenge.  I spent most of those early weeks in hibernation as I didn't have the energy for much else and everytime I thought it was easing, I would be hit again.  I am 14 weeks now and it is definitely easing, but I still need a nap every day and still spend most of every day feeling shattered.

I intended to write regularly in the early weeks, but as you can imagine it dropped down my list of priorities.  I managed four little entries though that sum up how the first trimester went.




4/11/15

Despite the fact I had never felt more nervous, I couldn't help laughing to myself as I walked into the 'family planning' section in Boots as my family has been anything but planned.  

The bloke and I met just over five years ago and our first little surprise was born less than a year later.  One planned baby and one more surprise later, and I found myself wondering whether my body had taken matters into its own hands yet again despite the contraception.  

Those two little lines appeared almost automatically, and in such a dark shade of pink I knew there was no doubt about it.  Baby number four is due in July 2016, and will be the youngest of four under fives!

It isn't the first time I have had to come to terms with a huge life change that I wasn't expecting, but it seems only to get harder each time.  I made no secret of the fact I would have loved a fourth little person to complete our family, but I never thought that would happen now.

15/11/15

7 Weeks (ish) - The tiredness is so overwhelming, I can't physically get through the day without a nap now.  Whilst we used to be out doing so much, I am finding I need more time at home where I can lie on the sofa 'supervising' the smallest two.  I feel so guilty as Archie brings me puzzles and games and asks me to play, but there are days I struggle with just the school runs.  I am finding that being out is the best way to get through the day, it is just the temptation to stay in is overwhelming.  When I am out I can't nap, when I am in I can't stay awake.

My dreams have definitely become more vivid and I wake up remembering them so clearly.  People and places that haven't been part of my life for years have reappeared in my sleep despite not having thought about them recently.

I am definitely starting to show, although I know it is only bloat at this stage.  My jeans no longer do up, and whilst I may squeeze them shut before, I now find it too uncomfortable.  Maternity jeans aren't yet staying up so the hairband trick is getting me through, but I think I might be turning to trusty leggings for a few weeks until I am ready for the big reveal.

13/12/15

As I move closer to the 12 week safety point, this growing baby is getting harder to hide.  The impatience is kicking in and I want to scream it to the world. The wonders of winter are that baggy jumpers can hide most things, and with all the extra layers I am wearing, I don't think the bump is so noticeable - on the other hand, the lead up to Christmas is full of events that involve wearing nice dresses, and occasions where I have to pretend my coke has some alcohol hidden in the bottom.  The fact I have a baby who still wakes up in the night helps as my excuse for keeping the party nights mild, but I am looking forward to the freedom of being able to explain properly.

The tiredness is still pretty bad, although like most things, you learn how to manage it better the longer it goes on.  I can get through some days without a nap now, but I know a long day or a big night is followed by a day where I feel so ridiculously hungover and ill despite the lack of alcohol.  My diet consists mostly of mashed potato and flake bars and I am suffering from heartburn some evenings - a sensation I am experiencing for the very first time.

21.12.15

The bulging stomach is getting harder to hide and the fact I haven't been drinking at any of the Christmas parties is making people start to question.  Our NHS scan isn't until after Christmas so we decided to book a private 12 week scan to make sure our little Britney is growing well in there.  Thankfully, he or she is and as we took the boys in with us, the sonographer turned over to a 4d screen to show them our little bean looking more like a real baby.  It was amazing seeing him wave at the screen and even sweeter when Archie waved back.  We had pictures printed in 3d and I have never seen anything like it before.  I never knew it was possible this early, but those four perfect little limbs, a bud that will turn into an ear, little fingers and toes and everything else is visible.  Our baby is growing and I have started to tell family and friends.  With Finn we made an announcement almost straight away, but this time I have decided to have Christmas and the new year to ourselves, to tell people at our own pace before it all becomes public and online.

Symptom wise, I am still feeling pretty tired, although I think things are starting to ease up now.  My skin is still dry and spotty, my hair is looking limp and I am so far from 'glowing', I am not convinced I will ever get there this time.  The bloating seemed to subside a little although I still have a very definite bump.

pregnancy announcement, creative pregnancy announcement, painted bump

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Monday, 4 January 2016

Oops I Did It Again

Life has a way of not going to plan, and that isn't always a bad thing.  I often feel like my life is one big adventure, full of moments you can really feel it, like when I went skydiving or white water rafting, as well as the moments that don't seem quite so exciting but are part of it all the same, like cuddling a teething baby at 3am or watching How to Train your Dragon for the tenth time time that week.  

If you had asked me at 21 as I backpacked across the world where I would be 18 months from then, pregnant would certainly not have been a word you would have heard and if you had asked me to describe life at 28 then the life I am living would not be it.  The twists in this adventure have led me to this place though and I couldn't be happier.  

I have three beautiful boys, my first born, the one who made me a mama, who teaches me every day and asks the questions I struggle to answer.  My wild one who makes his own rules, he explores life with his whole body and who shows his love so fiercely.  My dinky one, who is getting less dinky by the day, who has taught me my own strength and who needs me so much.

This summer our three babies will become four.  A new twist in this adventure we are living, a new chapter in our story and a new child to love.  A final sibling for my three boys, the final piece in our puzzle.  We have lovingly nicknamed him (or her) Britney, as in ' Oops I did it again' as his entrance will mean 4 children under 5 years old and a new challenge for us all.

Who has got something in their tummy?

Mummy has!

Due in July 2016

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Best Pregnancy Blog

When I started blogging over three and a half years ago, I had no idea what would come of it.  I needed to use my brain after five months talking to a baby and my love of writing meant a blog seemed the obvious thing to do.  I was a first time mum looking to have my say.

I had no idea at the time that blogs could become commercial, I didn't knowing that rankings and awards existed and I wrote in my own little bubble for the first few months.  I joined twitter, set up a facebook page and started discovered other mums like me.  I felt a connection to people across the country who were sharing my sleepless nights, weaning messes and love of prams.

It has been nearly four years since I wrote those first words and I have never looked back.  Blogging has become such an important part of my life, I have made many new friends, had amazing opportunities and found a hobby that I have finally stuck at!

It seemed only natural to share my pregnancy with Finn and I loved coming up with a unique way to share our happy news.  I recorded a fortnightly diary about my growing bump and baby and shared our gender reveal.  At 39 weeks my little Pretzel became my baby Finn and I wrote my birth story and about our struggled in SCBU.  I was over the moon to be nominated in the MAD blog awards for my pregnancy writings and amazed to find myself one of six finalists amongst some of my favourite blogs.

On Friday night I attended the MAD blog awards ceremony at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington and I am finally starting to get over the shock of winning my category!  I picked up the award for Best Pregnancy Blog 2015!

I want to say a huge Thank You to everyone that reads my blog, that follows me on social media and that voted for me - I couldn't have done it without you. 


Now I need to work out where to put my award that my little monkeys can't reach!
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Sunday, 15 February 2015

37 Weeks Pregnant


I have made it to full term, which means in the next 5 weeks my little Pretzel will no longer be in my tummy, but in my arms.  It seems crazy to think how fast 37 weeks have flown and I still can't get my head around the fact he could arrive any day now.

I am mostly still quite comfortable with this pregnancy, although I am getting a lot of Braxton hicks, they really aren't painful.  At my 37 week check up, the baby was head down but not engaged at all, which is probably how I am managing to avoid the familiar waddle at the moment.  The midwife wasn't bothered as their heads can pop in and out quite frequently by the third baby.  All was looking well and I am not measuring too many weeks ahead so they aren't worried about his size (although they did confirm that he feels big still).

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Baby Box Company Review

The Baby Box Company make lovely gift boxes for new babies and we were lucky enough to be sent one to review.  I chose the 'really useful' medium box as I loved the contents and it arrived beautifully packaged.  Unfortunately, I left the box, thinking I would photograph it in the morning when the light was better and two small boys found it first, so you don't get to see it looking lovingly wrapped but I can show you what is inside.

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Monday, 9 February 2015

Us Three


There is not much time left as a family of four, as I head towards my due date at a rate I am not completely comfortable with, I know that my days with the two boys alone are numbered.  Preschool already takes two and working another one, giving us two days to do what we please, to not get dressed until lunch time, to go on adventures, to enjoy the quiet places whilst other adults are at work and other children at school.

These are the days we love, where we do things at our own pace, with no rush to be out the door, no set times to eat and sleep and usually quite a simple plan.  I like having a day close to home, to get things done, for the boys to play together as they love to do.  A day where we all nap on the sofa together watching a film and we do playdough, painting or baking.  On the other day, we love to get out, to stay out and to enjoy each others company. It doesn't have to be far, but it is usually outdoors and accompanied by a pushchair loaded with jumpers, scarves and hats.

Soon there will be an extra little person - probably in a sling or carrycot for most of ours days out, but with his own unique needs and plenty more snacking stops.  I like to think our days will carry on much the same, but the subtle changes may seem bigger when you are one and three.

I can't wait to see how a new baby changes things, but I love watching the boys the way they are too.  I hope they never lose the bond they have now, but I want Pretzel to be part of it as well.  

Archie is a bundle of mischief, he is fearless, an explorer and perfectly willing to cover his clothes in mud, but demands a wipe at the smallest speck on his fingers.  He is learning about the world and his language is changing every day as he puts more complex sentences together and learns new words.

Dylan is growing up fast, his interests are changing and Preschool is playing a big part in his life.  He wants to tell jokes and pull silly faces, but he also wants to be my baby and remind me that he is still only three.  He is excited about a new baby and so so curious and his memory amazes me when he talks about Archie being small with such clarity.

Together they are inseparable.  They love rough and tumble, playing games together, talking about everything and of course squabbling as only siblings can.  They ask for each other as soon as they wake up and they chat together as they fall asleep.  They understand that a baby is coming, and I hope they accept him into their little gang of two as well.

I am getting bigger and less able to throw them around at the park.  I am more tired than I want to be and get easily stressed.  They are learning how to look after me as I do my best to look after them and they are accepting my limitations as my tummy grows.

Together we are a three during the week, we navigate the world together, and let the bloke join in when he is home.  We are not yet complete, but we have our hands and hearts full already.


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