Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Family life

Realising I have neglected my blog for the longest time, I just quickly wanted to share some pictures. Baby I is a wonderful little guy and V loves his brother. I hope to get back to blogging soon when I have the time to make a decent effort! But for now I'm completely absorbed in family life and our new baby, and totally loving it. Here are the lovely boys who are keeping me so busy. 

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Sublime Bump: 34 weeks

Only about 6 weeks to go! These posts have not been the regular record of my pregnancy that I had hoped, but I have been so wiped out that I can't do the regular evening blogging that I have in the past. Once V is in bed I need to pass out pretty quickly myself most nights. Toilet training is also keeping us extra busy at the moment. 

Anyway, getting back to the bump, things appear to be going fine. I have an antenatal appointment next week where hopefully my midwife will be happy with me and put my mind as ease about things as they usually do. It's great to think that our baby is actually due next month, as we just can't wait to meet him. Apparently he is now the size of a butternut squash, weighing between 4.2 and 5.8lbs. I imagine he's at the heavier end of this estimation particularly as V was over 9lbs and I'm feeling fairly big again this time. 

Cravings have been fun - apt for the warm weather I've been wanting lots of ice lollies, fruit juice, watermelon and nectarines. I have a much sweeter tooth than usual. I've also been trying to eat more iron rich foods to tackle my anaemia. I've indulged most of my cravings although I often start craving chocolate at night when it's too late to go out and buy any!

As for this summer weather, I am feeling the heat! It's lovely that we're having the opportunity for lots of picnics and summery outings, but I am usually looking for a bit of shade to sit in and keep cool. Dressing for the weather is also difficult when my wardrobe is limited and I keep getting too big for things. Strappy tops and short skirts are my current worst nightmare so I'm sticking mostly to jersey dresses. My favourite is a nice flattering maxi dress. When at home I'm straight into PJ bottoms and my husband's tshirts. 

I'm lucky to be feeling in reasonably good health at this point. I'm starting to get a bit more achey in my back and ribs, but it's nothing unbearable. I've just ordered a new birthing ball from Amazon as I find these are great for sitting on in the last weeks of pregnancy when no other seat is comfortable. I'm feeling lots of pressure on my pelvic floor and bathroom trips are frequent. And I'm really moving like an old lady whenever I need to stand up or bend down! My belly button is sticking out which V finds very amusing, while I'm fairly disturbed by it...

Here is the big old bump:

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Maternity essentials: Getting prepared

In recent weeks and months we've been ever so busy getting ready for the arrival of our exciting little bundle. As well as rejigging and organising our flat I've been trying to get myself physically and mentally ready for the actual labour. Eek! Last time around I discovered a few gems which helped me survive the early days of motherhood and recover from the birth. So I'm buying up the things I know I'll need and I thought I'd share some of the products that helped me get through it all.

Underworks post delivery girdle belt. I used one of these after V was born to help aid my physical recovery. I wore it for a few weeks until I felt my abdominal muscles were starting to work a bit better again, and by which point the belt had ceased to be tight around my waist. Understandably not everyone would choose to bind their belly after childbirth, but for me I felt it really aided my recovery and I felt comfortable with it on because it supported me and helped my posture when I was feeling a bit weak and wobbly around my middle. My tummy made a pretty good recovery and I don't know how much of that can be credited to the support belt and how much was just sheer good luck, but I will be using one again in the hope of a repeat experience.

Lansinoh HPA lanolin. Most mums and expectant mums probably know of this already, but the stuff is an absolute godsend for helping you to breastfeed. Breastfeeding did not go at all well for me, but without this stuff I know that I wouldn't have been able to do it at all because the pain was just excruciating. One day I will write a blog post on my experience of breastfeeding, but it is a very long (and painful) story so I won't go on about it now. Anyway this lanolin cream doesn't heal mental trauma but it is the best thing I found for healing damaged nipples!

Lansinoh ultra thin nursing pads. I preferred these type of thin yet absorbent breast pads with sticky strips on the back to adhere to the inside of your bra. They generally stay in place and keep you feeling dry for ages.

Nelsons Arnica pillules. My mum brought me arnica when I was recovering from childbirth last time around, as apparently it helps with the healing process. I was in a lot of pain for ages after the delivery and I had an episiotomy which took a long time to heal. But as I couldn't take much more than paracetamol due to breastfeeding etc, I figured that I would try anything that might help me recover quicker and I took the arnica religiously. Since then I've often used arnica in a topical form when V gets a bump or bruise, and it seems to be a bit of a miracle product for reducing bruising in particular. So I do believe it works and I'm prepared to use the pills again. This is a homeopathic remedy and you may wish to do some research or ask your doctor before trying it out.

The Spatone iron sachets are something I've actually never used before but I know my iron levels will be needing help after I give birth. My last blood test showed I was slightly anaemic so I'm currently taking the iron tablets prescribed by my doctor. I'm hoping that when my iron levels are higher I can switch to taking the Spatone to maintain my levels. The reason I'd prefer this is that many friends have told me the Spatone is much gentler on your system and pleasant to take compared to the usual iron tablets (which can play havoc with your digestive system!)

I've purchased all of the above from Amazon. I think the Lansinoh products and the Spatone were cheaper at Amazon than in the main big pharmacies. There are lots of support garments you can buy similar to the Underworks one, but I liked the reasonable price of this one as well as the fact that it seemed to work for me last time. I'd love to hear from other mums and expectant mums what your maternity essentials are, so please let me know if you have any top tips!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Maternity wear dilemmas: dressing up

When I'm pregnant I always find it that bit more challenging to dress up for special occasions. I like to show off my bump but not other parts of me which are less erm, svelte, than usual! The normal me likes short hemlines and high heels but when pregnant my priority is comfort.

Here's what I wore to the wedding we were at in Edinburgh recently. This maternity dress was bought on sale from Asos and I loved wearing it as it's the perfect length, and is feminine and flattering without revealing too much. The shrug came from John Lewis (non-maternity) and I bought my normal size so I can wear it after pregnancy. I can't fasten it just now but it looks nicer open anyway. And in the shoe department I went for some very comfy mid-heeled wedges from Debenhams. My feet were happy all day which was a great relief as I was also chasing a 2 year-old around!

For good measure I've thrown in a photo of R striking a pose in his kilt. If you've never ceilidh danced with a man in a kilt you should put it on your bucket list. Haha. truly one of my favourite things.

I'm linking up with Fashion Friday:

Friday, 18 April 2014

Easter catch-up

Wow, life gets busy at this time of year! Hence the lack of updates but I thought I'd check in with a general post about all things.

R was off work for the last few weeks so we spent some time getting away from it all, firstly in Perthshire and then in Edinburgh. I wasn't that familiar with Perthshire but I can now confirm what a breathtakingly beautiful part of Scotland it is, packed with scenic lochs, countryside and unspoilt villages. We stayed at a lovely lodge overlooking Loch Tay which was very comfortable and a great base for exploring the area.

Next we were in gorgeous Edinburgh for the wedding of some friends. It was a unique situation as my husband and I actually introduced the couple getting married a few years ago (not a deliberate matchmake but it worked out wonderfully all the same!) so it seemed as if most of the guests were old university friends either of my own or R's. It was such a fun day and a great chance to catch up with good friends, not to mention a beautiful wedding. R was best man and gave a hilarious and also rather touching speech.

Pregnancy has been going well and I'm feeling well most of the time. Bump is growing nicely! I took advantage of having R around a lot by taking naps when possible and letting him take on more of the parenting responsibilities. That was sheer bliss and I hope to get the chance again soon. Some exciting news about the baby is that we had our 20 week scan and found out that we are expecting another boy! I had my suspicions that this was the case and we are already imagining V and his little brother playing together. I'm almost 22 weeks pregnant and I'm amazed to already be beyond the halfway point.

Here are a few instagram snaps from the last few weeks. I hope everyone is having a great Easter break!

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Sublime Bump: 18 weeks

My ordinary clothes are being gradually shifted to the back of the wardrobe now that I have this big 18 week bump. My bump photo this week shows how tight my winter coat has become, and it's still a bit too chilly outside for wearing my coats unbuttoned. More sun please!

At 18 weeks, baby is about the size of a sweet potato/5.6 inches long. Symptoms wise I've been ok, but I did feel a bit unwell at the weekend. I had swollen glands and a sore throat, which thankfully didn't develop into anything too bad but I've been trying to take it easy because my immune system clearly isn't as great as usual. I've found myself having to get up slowly when I've been sitting or lying down as I can get dizzy. I think this is due to low blood pressure which I also had last time.

Pregnancy cravings have been getting more interesting. I've become absolutely mad for peanut butter. I want to put it on everything including cheese sandwiches and cucumber, which is definitely not something that would normally appeal to me! V has jumped on this bandwagon with me and we have our peanut-buttered toast together in the mornings for breakfast. I'm glad to be indulged by my little companion! Other food I'm craving is anything spicy, especially curries. This evening I tried a new Madhur Jaffrey recipe for green coriander chicken, interestingly a Kenyan curry recipe. I added extra chillies to give it the desired kick and it was a bit different and really delicious. I found a link here to the recipe on another blog if you're interested, and I can heartily recommend Madhur Jaffrey's Ultimate Curry Bible as a great recipe book. Oh and I'm also addicted to salt and vinegar flavoured rice cakes. And lemon! It's no wonder my son likes sharp and spicy flavours - these are what I really crave when pregnant and I was a real curry addict when I was carrying him.

This week I'm extra happy because my husband is now off work for a few weeks. Relaxation and pampering time is mine at last while R takes over some of the parental and domestic duties! Bliss.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Sublime Bump: 17 weeks

Another week, another bump selfie.

I'm counting down the 3 weeks until my next scan. It's been a while since my last scan and at this point I am so keen just to see that everything is going ok and also hopefully to find out the sex of this little one. I'm currently thinking boy but only time will tell!

What's new this week is that I've been getting very hungry during the night! At around 3/4 am generally I'll wake up hungry and if it's extreme to the point that I can't get back to sleep then I have to have a small snack. Apart from that my symptoms haven't been much different this week.

At 17 weeks, baby is apparently about the size of an onion or about 5.1 inches long. V is increasingly aware of my growing tummy and the baby within! He seems quite happy about the idea so far so that's a promising sign. He also thinks there is a baby in his tummy, and yesterday I found him 'breastfeeding' a toy tiger after his bath. So clearly his maternal instincts are kicking in too :)

My current main food craving is for pomegranate, so I'm happy to find my cravings becoming healthier. V and I will sit at the kitchen table and chat while we dismantle and devour a whole fruit together, so that's a nice little ritual we have been enjoying together.

In the photos I'm wearing Topshop Leigh maternity jeans (again!) and T shirt also from Topshop (but non-maternity).

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The sublime bump: 16 weeks

This post is a bit late. But I've not had much time to myself as trying to sleep more has meant going to bed at 9pm when I get the chance!

So I am about 4 months pregnant now, and since I've been feeling better the time has really seemed to fly by! I've been reading up on hypnobirthing a bit in the last week, and this time around I'm feeling more excited about the birth itself. I suppose that's probably because I have a better idea of what to expect now.

The bump is so obvious now which is great. It's nice to be congratulated when people notice it! I'm rediscovering maternity clothes from last time which are so nice and comfortable to wear again. This dress is from Topshop maternity.

At 16 weeks baby is about the size of an avocado, or 4.6 inches long. Symptoms-wise I've still been feeling quite good, only getting nauseous when I'm hungry or tired. I'm not sleeping quite as well as usual but it's not too bad if I go to bed very early! I've been using coconut oil or almond oil as a body moisturiser each morning to help my skin as it stretches.

Can anyone share with me experiences of using hypnobirthing techniques? I didn't look into it last time but I'm becoming interested in some of the principles. If it worked/didn't work for you I would love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Sublime Bump: 15 weeks

15 weeks pregnant! The last week has been a bit exhausting because our whole family was struck down with a dreadful tummy bug and now V has a cough. But I am so relieved to be over that bug, if a bit tired from getting up in the night with V!

At 15 weeks baby will be around the size of a navel orange. That seems big - no wonder my bump is getting so pronounced. I've been feeling movement since about 11 weeks, which is much earlier than I felt it in my first pregnancy. I'm having an antenatal check up tomorrow and I'm hoping I might get to hear baby's heartbeat then.

Symptoms wise I'm feeling pretty good at the moment. I'm having some nausea particularly when I'm tired, and I am feeling the need for more sleep than usual, but not really getting it at the moment as my little guy is a bit ill and not sleeping well. I feel hungry all the time so I'm eating a lot more than usual. The things I'm eating are fairly healthy but I do have the urge to eat a lot of things with cheese in them! Toasted sandwiches, baked potatoes and quesadillas have been big cravings recently.

Another symptom I tend to have when pregnant is restless legs, and here's where I can give a top tip to fellow sufferers: I find that eating bananas really helps lessen this irritating problem. I craved bananas a lot in my first pregnancy which helped me discover the connection!

I'm afraid I didn't manage to take the clearest photos but you can see that my bump is growing. This week I'd be grateful for any advice on how not to overeat in pregnancy as this is something I am struggling with!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Sublime Bump: 14 weeks!

Welcome to a new series of pregnancy updates. This pregnancy has not exactly been what I can call 'sublime' so far, but I'm hoping that this week I've hit a turning point: yesterday and today I feel as if I've been emerging from the fog of morning sickness. I'm feeling very excited and hopeful!

A lot of expectant mum bloggers chart their weight gain on their blogs which I think is very brave! But I have made the conscious decision not to weigh myself during both of my pregnancies. This is just because I don't want to stress myself about what I'm gaining or not gaining. As long as I feel I'm eating right and my midwives are happy with my weight, I take that as a good sign! And I seem to have big babies (judging by last time) so I think that's a decent excuse for becoming pretty massive!

At 14 weeks baby is about the size of a lemon. My placenta should have taken over production of hormones for baby by now, which is a big reason for me starting to feel better. You can see in the lower picture that I'm starting to develop a bump, which is always a nice stage because the fact of your pregnancy starts to feel even more real when it becomes visible to the world. I'm definitely feeling most comfortable in my maternity jeans now and in the pictures I'm wearing Topshop Leigh maternity jeans.

Symptoms I'm having are just minor things like waking up in the night to go to the loo and slightly restless legs. I'm also needing to eat snacks regularly to stave off nausea.

Generally I am just feeling so happy and excited about this pregnancy. I feel like I'll really be able to enjoy this second trimester and I can't wait to get out and see my friends again now that things are improving.

Friday, 21 February 2014

My Maternity Wardrobe Essentials

Because of the way a woman's body changes so rapidly and unpredictably during pregnancy, it can be difficult to choose clothes that are practical, comfortable and also look good on us in this period of our lives! Now that I'm on my second pregnancy and am reminded just what a challenge this is, I wanted to share some of my tips for building a good maternity wardrobe.

  • Find a comfortable pair of jeans in a style you like. I like wearing dark skinnies and thanks to a tip from Laura of the wonderful Liparazzi blog, I discovered Topshop's Leigh maternity jeans. I might not have tried these on otherwise, as Topshop jeans don't usually fit me well, but these are by far the most flattering and comfy maternity jeans I've tried on. I bought them in black to go with most things and I hope one pair will be all I need. Click on images for links to the products!
Image 1 of ASOS Maternity Exclusive Kate Dress With Belt And Scoop Neck
  • Dresses are the easiest thing for me to wear as I get bigger. I had an enormous bump last time and it wasn't long before I couldn't bear to wear anything with a normal waistband! Dresses which are cinched in or tie under the bust are nice and flattering for pregnant women, plus they show off your bump nicely. I like soft jersey fabrics which are comfortable and stretch as you grow. I've bought this green dress from Asos which is lovely in person and I can't wait to wear it as an everyday dress. Kate Middleton had this dress in navy blue and she always looked immaculate with her bump!
  • Leggings! I have been wearing leggings since about week six of my pregnancy as I was gaining a bit of weight, feeling ill and generally needed maximum comfort/slouchiness from my clothes. Normal leggings will last you for a while but when your bump starts to get bigger I'd recommend over-the-bump maternity leggings. Last time around my favourites were from Dorothy Perkins but they seem to have discontinued their maternity line. Sad face :( If anyone can recommend me a good alternative I would be very grateful (my legs are a teeny bit on the short side)! In the early stages I'm wearing my leggings with loose tops from my normal wardrobe and as my bump expands I'll wear them under maternity dresses and tunics.
Image 1 of Panache D-J Sophie Maternity Nursing Bra
  • Maternity bras. I must admit that I've been through hell with maternity bras, even to the point that in the latter part of my first pregnancy I ended up crying in a department store because they had nothing that would fit me! My normal size is a fairly standard 32D but boobs grow massively during pregnancy and I really feel for the larger-chested women who are just not catered for with suitable bras for pregnancy and nursing. My problem was that it was near impossible to find bras in the shops which had a 32 inch back and my eventual cup size which was F. Going up a back size and down a cup size just meant that my bra rode up and didn't support me properly. I'm currently wearing a Panache bra similar to this Sophie style from Asos in 32E, which is fairly comfortable to wear for most of the day. The best bra I found for later in my pregnancy last time was one from Miriam Stoppard Nurture at Debenhams. It was a t-shirt style with good support and very soft cups, so I bought a few and hope they will last me for this time too. They were also very good for breastfeeding. I think also this time I'll shop for bras online as there seems to be a better selection of sizes.
  • Outerwear. I don't have too much to say on this as I haven't been heavily pregnant during the winter. I've found that wearing my normal coats, jackets and cardigans unbuttoned over the bump has been sufficient for my needs. I have got a zip-up maternity hoodie which was much loved in my last pregnancy, and almost became my comfort blanket when I got huge and full of aches and pains towards the end. That was from H&M Mama and I'm sure it will appear again later in this pregnancy!
I'll stop now as this post is getting long! But I do hope to show you some of what I'm wearing over the coming months as I grow ever larger. Do you have any maternity style tips? I'd particularly love some recommendations for decent tights and leggings :)

After a little hiatus I'm linking up again to the lovely Fashion Friday! 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

I'm back...with some news!

The blog has been quiet for a couple of months, but now I'm happy to announce the news that our family is growing!

I've been unable to blog due to the severe morning sickness which has dominated my life since the New Year began. Many of my fellow mums will know what that can be like. I just have to thank the wonderful friends and family members who have rallied round to support me in a difficult couple of months. I honestly don't know what I would do without them. 

Now I am just looking forward to feeling better and eventually welcoming this amazing little person! Our due date is 24 August. I hope to get back into the swing of my blogging with lots of pregnancy-related posts soon!