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Love from Poppy-Liz. Xxx 

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Sorry I was late, Love From Poppy.

Despite what it was starting to feel like, I was not going to stay pregnant forever. My baby had to come out some time. I was totally convinced that she would be born at 37 weeks; nice and early. Perhaps we would spend five or six hours in the hospital, then I’d get out of bed, get dressed and skip back home in one of my pre-pregnancy dresses. The labour was bound to start nice and early, so I wouldn’t get too big, so that my baby would be easier to push out, so that it would be such a surprise for our family.

Weeks 37 and 38 passed. Several mornings in a row I sat across the breakfast table and announced to Oliver “It’s today. It definitely feels like she might come today”. However, by week 39 I had stopped feeling like it was the start of the end; all twinges and niggles had stopped. My baby was stuck inside forever. I even booked to take the next stage of my dance teaching exams on 27th July, my due date!

Due date came and went, exam went fine, and my baby was not born in the dance studio (thank-you, baby Jesus), much to the examiner’s (and my) relief.

I prepared myself meticulously for the straightforward birth that a young, fitter than average, healthier than average, stronger than average mother-to-be deserves. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have been less prepared for what was to come. It was awful, disgusting and actually quite embarrassing (though I didn’t care a bit at the time).

Now, I have given the birth-part of my blog some pondering. Should I write it absolutely truthfully, with every detail? Or, should I gloss over it, and fast forward to “Congratulations, it’s a girl!”? I have decided to aim for a nice, comfy middle-ground. So, if you don’t want to know, please don’t read on.

I woke at exactly 3am on Friday morning with back ache and a lot of bleeding. I had no idea that bleeding would happen. No one pre-warned me of bleeding, I had no clue what was going on. I phoned the number for the hospital and a kind midwife reassured me that it was totally normal, that it’s labour getting started, and it just means that my baby will be arriving soon! I suddenly felt fantastic, the back ache was nothing I couldn’t deal with, and the midwife had said “soon”. That meant I would be finished by about 4 or 5 that afternoon, right? Wrong!

We decided that Oliver would go to work as normal, but that I would phone him straight away if there were any developments. I didn’t want to be like one of those poor ladies on ‘One Born Every Minute’, who jump to conclusions early on and get sent home from the hospital, so I wanted to stick it out as long as possible. Also, the Tesco delivery was coming tonight. Perhaps I would just wait for that and then we would have a nice calm drive to the hospital. I spent the day doing strange stretches, lunge-walking backwards and forwards on the landing, and bouncing on the gym ball. I started timing my contractions, which were nothing like I was expecting. Did you know that you feel them in lots of places: stomach, back, bottom, legs, sides? I definitely did not know that! We decided not to have any dinner that evening (bad decision) as I just didn’t feel hungry. For hours, I shrugged off Oliver’s advice to think about setting off, persisting with the ball and my stopwatch.

When the contractions got to four minutes apart, lasting 45 seconds, and I couldn’t speak at the same time, it was definitely time to go. My good mood had disappeared (sod off Tesco, I am going), and I was starting to feel really panicky. It was quite a task getting into the car, I couldn’t sit down. I ended up laying the seat all the way down, sitting bolt upright on the very edge. I got my seat belt on (what was the point, really?), and… the Tesco van arrived.

At the hospital we were directed to a waiting room. I was furious. I started speaking loudly about not being able to sit down and insisted we pace the corridor instead. I felt so indignant about being expected to wait with all these calm ladies who obviously were no where near the being-unable-to-sit-down stage. Didn’t they know I was probably 7cm by now?! A nurse came and took my blood pressure. She insisted I sit down to do this, didn’t she realise?!

Looking back I must have been the patient from hell. I point blank refused the waiting room, and was leaning with my hands on the wall in the corridor when the most lovely midwife came to take me to a room. She examined me (I wasn’t even close to 7cm) and gave me some gas and air. Twins were arriving in the room next door, so she had to keep popping out. The gas and air definitely worked. Suddenly I was slurring my words and blinking very slowly. It made me have flashbacks to the drunkest nights out I have had. I remembered things I had totally forgotten (let’s not go into that, I blocked them out for a reason).

My water broke while I was sat on the loo (convenient), and there was a moment that now seems really funny, where Oliver was sat on the edge of the bath with his face in shock (I had just made a noise like a champagne bottle uncorking, followed by a WHOOSH of water), and the midwife was looking to try and see what colour the water was. All the while I was wondering why on earth I was suddenly totally naked (I had forgot that I went in the bath…).

The pain got a lot worse after this. I asked for the epidural several times. A different midwife examined me and said of course I can have an epidural, but I need to wait for a doctor to be available to come and administer it. I also would need to move to another room at the other end of the corridor. I tried to focus on the fact that I had been promised to soon not feel anything at all, but by this point I was beside myself. The gas and air didn’t seem to be working anymore (I was told after that I was doing it wrong, you need to take four big breaths and I was only taking one, damn it), and I desperately wanted this pain to stop.

In the new room, the poor midwife started to explain the risks, and that I would have to sign a form. I remember rudely cutting her off with “I KNOW WHAT THE RISKS ARE”, and focussing my eyes very hard on a clear plastic bag that said ‘EPIDURAL’ on it. Any second that plastic bag would be linked up to me and I would feel nothing… and it would be perfect… and I don’t remember anything after this until everyone in the room seemed to stop what they were doing because I had said that I was going to push, and push I did. The next day I had a huge bruise on my arm. Oliver explained that I was told it was too late for the epidural after all, because I felt the need to push, and that I had ripped the drip needle out of my arm in rage, causing the bruise. I really should have kept my mouth shut.

I pushed for the next three and a half hours. She just was not moving. This is the best workout I have ever done; for a week after I felt every single muscle in my body, even my face was aching. My baby was not coming out, and I informed the midwife of this, several times. Eventually she told me that I need to think hard about if I could carry on on my own or if I needed help. I said I was too tired, wishing for a C-section.

Next thing, a doctor came and said that he was going to do a ‘Ventouse delivery’, as several more people came into the room. He went on to say that I need to put the gas and air down as I need to concentrate really hard and listen to what he was saying. The effects wore off within seconds and I was well aware that the two paracetamol I had were over 24 hours ago. I absolutely tried my hardest to concentrate and listen to the doctor. Unfortunately though, I kept waking up. I must have fainted at least three times, but no one seemed to notice as each time I woke up someone was part way through explaining something to me.

I have forgotten all this middle part, except that there was a lady in a flowery top with a clipboard (did she even work here?!), two extra midwives holding my legs (one of which kept calling me Kay-Leigh, instead of Kayleigh), and some nurses who were busying themselves with blue roll. By this point I was not thinking about a baby at all. I had forgotten why I was there, all I could think about was how painful it was. I do remember asking the doctor if he would amputate me from the waist down. He laughed, but I wasn’t joking.

I think I fainted again, because I was jerked back to consciousness by five people telling me to “stop pushing stop pushing stop pushing”. Now, that was a big ask. If I could have saved the Earth by stopping the pushing, I still wouldn’t have been able to, so I pushed anyway.

I was genuinely surprised the doctor handed a baby to me. I was genuinely surprised when the doctor put the anesthetic in the wrong place and I felt every single one of my stitches. I was genuinely surprised when the doctor said “I just need to check if you will be able to pass a stool…”.

I hope I never see that man again.

My baby had finally arrived, and it was perfect. Oliver’s reaction was just what I had hoped for, and it was all over. I phoned my mum and managed to tell her through my crying what had happened. The past 28 hours were finished. My perfect big baby was born at 06:48 on 2nd August weighing 8lb 4oz. My first words to her were “Hello Baby”. I was delighted with Poppy Elizabeth Leaver-Smith.

The following night was awful. I was kept in as, because of the delivery, they needed to check Poppy and I after 24 hours. Oliver wasn’t allowed to stay with us. The ward we stayed on was totally empty, except for my bed and the tiny plastic cot next to me. I daren’t stand up for fear of fainting, and how on Earth could I look after her alone? Two days of no food or sleep had taken its toll. What if I picked her up, and fainted? Again, I don’t remember much of this part, but written on my notes when I got home was: “Patient tearful / Patient asking for partner to come in to assist her, explained visiting hours / Patient not slept”. Baby Poppy looked at me through the clear plastic and just blinked at me for hours. I had a button that would fetch a nurse if I needed help, but I didn’t want to press a button so that someone else could come and look after my baby.

Eventually, Poppy closed her eyes and I cried and cried and cried.

At 8am the next morning I was desperate for the bathroom. I hadn’t eaten since a few bites of toast at 7am the day before. I couldn’t wait any longer so I bravely picked her up and looked outside the ward for someone to help me. I handed my baby to a smiley lady who promised to cuddle her for two minutes while went to the loo. I was washing my hands when my blood suddenly went cold: WHO had I just given my baby to? Was she even in uniform? Oh my God I am going to be on the news. All I could remember was that she had a smile on her face and Crocs on her feet. Thankfully, Poppy was safe and sound with a nurse.

I have never been so pleased to see Oliver as I was when visitor time started at 9am. I still hadn’t slept (how could I, what if she needed me?), and needed a cuddle. At 2pm we were allowed home. We tucked Poppy into her new car seat and drove her home.

People say that knowing how to take care of your baby comes naturally, but I honestly do not believe that it did for me. We had to get to know each other, and I had to learn some lessons the hard way. The first week home I cried more than she did. I nearly fainted when her belly-button came off. I didn’t want visitors to come and see that I didn’t really know how to look after my baby yet, and no, you can’t just text your neighbour and invite her round too. But following a few days of persistent reassurance from Oliver, my confidence grew. I know exactly what my baby needs before she cries and we seem to have fitted into our new life perfectly.

I don’t know what else to say except that I am having the best time.

 

37 Weeks: Dear 37-Weeks-Pregnant-Me.

First of all, I am writing this in hindsight. Poppy is twelve days old today! (14th August 2014) I am going to try my best to write up what I was doing and feeling back at week 37, but I have the added bonus of knowing exactly what is going to happen.

So second of all, Hello 37-Weeks-Pregnant-Me! Now, please pay attention:

1. Stop wasting your life drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea. You have given Holland & Barrett quite enough money. Don’t go back and buy those Raspberry Leaf Capsules, they smell like pets and are more trouble to swallow than they are worth.
2. Stop worrying about the size of your baby. She is actually on the large side. Your tummy is normal sized and the different midwifes must have different measure tapes, it has not shrunk!
3. Don’t kill yourself eating pineapples. They don’t encourage your baby to arrive; they will only give you heartburn and make a stain on the settee.
4. Your baby will not be early, she will be late. Prepare yourself for the long haul. Eat dinner on Friday 1st August; don’t settle for those snacks you think will suffice at the time. Put some energy drinks in the hospital bag.
5. For Goodness Sake, cancel the Tesco delivery that is due at 10pm Friday 1st August.
6. Stop applying the St Tropez. Get on the sunbed. All the blood later on will make your skin take on a tye-dye effect. You wont be able to get it off until 11th August.
7. Bottle-feed from the get-go.
8. Ask for the epidural on the way in the door. Don’t brave it out. You have been too confident up to now. It’s going to be hard, sweaty and long. Get your notes and fill in that ‘birth plan’ page. Don’t leave them blank and breeze about with the “as long as she gets out safely” attitude. Yes you have done every exercise recommended, plus more, you have eaten like a saint and practised all kinds of relaxation. It probably did (a bit) help, but…just ask for the epidural (straight away).

At 37 weeks I was feeling fantastic. Full of energy, convinced that baby would be arriving at any second. After all, I had had a bit of tummy ache. I’m sure that these funny feelings was what they’ve been calling ‘lightening’, and she felt like she might just fall out at any second. I cancelled plans, got my haircut and did a hundred ‘last-minute’ tasks.

I followed every textbook. I spent hours bouncing on my ball; I’d barely sat on a normal seat for about five weeks. I unpacked and re-packed my hospital bag every few days, decorated the living room, noted down every feeling/twinge/ache I had that may have indicated the start of something. I would stand at the sink cleaning my teeth, and add in 50 squats (this will get definitely get her started). I learnt the next stage of the ballet for my teaching exams (surely those Grande Plies will fetch her out?). I looked after myself as if training for the Olympics. In all honesty I expected my baby to arrive on the Tour De France day. I printed off maps and planned routes to the hospital should she make a move on this particular Sunday. She didn’t.

So, 37-Weeks-Pregnant-Me, go to sleep, watch TV and eat normally. Stop setting alarms for when you nap, stop walking for miles and miles, and for heavens sake, stop forcing down ten of your 5 a day. It feels like she is stuck inside forever. Chillax, she will come.

(But you never could take advice very well, could you…?)

32 Weeks – Parent Craft, Decorating and Scans.

Last Saturday we attended a ‘Parent Craft’ class. We had been invited by my midwife who had given a gushing speech about how useful they are. Not knowing what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised and had a lovely day. The class was held at the hospital, and was a ‘take it in turns to introduce yourself’ affair. There were ten couples in total, and all were totally different. One couple refused to wear their name labels, and sat with their arms folded throughout the first half of the session. They didn’t speak a word to the rest of the group, except “we are worried about incompetent medical staff”, which caused a bit of an awkward silence, and then didn’t come back from their lunch break for the second half. The leader took us through subjects that we decided we wanted to cover as a group, touching on baby bathing, baby sleeping, baby feeding and things like different approaches to parenting and what to remember at the birth etc.

The weekend was also spent decorating the nursery. Still fixed on ‘Tiffany Box Blue’, we trawled B&Q for the perfect paint shade. I had never painted a room before, except for once when I was very little: I had insisted on a half green, half orange bedroom (don’t ask why) and was probably more hindering than helping the grown ups. As our home is a new build, the nursery room had four white walls. One wall has our tall-mirrored wardrobes, and now the window-wall is painted in ‘Up Beat’! It only took one coat of paint and looks so much better than I was expecting! The other two walls are staying white, but we are adding wall stickers next week, after we have added the cot and the changing table. We are going for trees on the white-walls. Photos to follow- work in progress. I cannot wait for the finished result, and suddenly feel like painting the whole house.

ImageImageImage

Sunday we had booked a 4D scan, following the recommendations of friends. Unfortunately baby was in a difficult position and so the scan had to be re-booked for next weekend. But we did get some perfect 2Dphotos of her face and feet and a DVD of her. Why can’t I watch this DVD without crying?! I just wish she would hurry up so that we can meet her! We could have only five weeks to go if baby arrived the early side of on time, and I have begun packing the hospital bag today.

Poppy

(Baby’s face is on the right with her right hand and arm lifted to the side of her head)

Poppy's foot

(Baby’s left foot and ankle)

In other news, I have done my dance exam the weekend before last and I finish work in twelve shifts-its so nearly time for a big rest!!

Also, this article is really interesting, about how professional dancers carry on practice during pregnancy: http://www.behindballet.com/waiting-for-baby-what-our-dancers-do-while-theyre-pregnant/

 

30 Weeks – I’m Feeling Lucky.

Upon discovering our happy news, one of my first decisions was “we’ll go private”. I didn’t mind paying, and after all the recent headlines slating NHS services and lack-lustre nurses my mind was temporarily made up. An awkward phone call to my GP minutes after the positive result appeared backed up my decision, and I still feel today that who ever I spoke to should have had the words ready to make me feel at ease. Perhaps this man should have been a mechanic, and not a doctor? Had he been speaking about my catalytic converter I would have trusted him implicitly.

I have since changed my mind, as unusually for me, I developed a “lets see how it goes” approach. I have been thrilled with the service I have been issued from the NHS since December. I have had a better experience in certain examination rooms than I have had on some airlines, and I can’t say I have ever flown budget. I can honestly say, absolute hand on heart that I have been cared for with the utmost vigilance. Whooping cough vaccination? Flu Jab? I had no idea that I needed these. Luckily these clever people wrote to me and invited me-free of charge- to receive said treatment at a time that suited my work-schedule. I have a midwife who warms her hands before she touches me, who has given me her personal mobile number, who has asked me a thousand questions to double-check that I am happy and doing OK. If I do ever get a worry or concern, I have been given a contact number for a 24 hour line to speak directly to a midwife or doctor. This number has been sent to me through to post, it has been texted to me, it has been emailed to me, it has been printed on my care record notes, it has been put into my hand bag on a handy credit card type thingy, it is re-issued to me at each and every appointment. I could not misplace this number if I wanted to. I have phoned this number once. I was given advice from a professional over the phone, and then a call back three hours later to check my symptoms had calmed. They had. I had a brief spell in hospital where I was given a room and as many snacks as I could have possibly wanted, as well as re-assuring smiley faces and test results. I have a home visit booked in so that they can check I am in a safe environment and to check that I have everything I need to look after a baby. I have folders full of leaflets/postcards/free samples. I have been totally awed, and am so pleased that I decided to stay with the NHS baby service. How lucky we are!

Today is 30 weeks. A full term birth can happen anytime between 37 and 42 weeks. This means there could be as little as 7 weeks remaining. My recent days off have been filled with tiny little laundry, and actually my baby has a pretty healthy wardrobe! Why is it so much more enjoyable when you’re washing and ironing tiny little sleeves and hems? We have bought our own stuff, but then have had kind gifts from friends and family too. Our next big-buy will be a changing table and a cot. Babies do not require a cot until 6 months old but we want to buy it now so that we can complete the nursery. Next stage will be to decorate the nursery and then we are almost finished-phew!

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29 Weeks – You’re never fully dressed without a smile.

I have a bad habit with dresses. After the first ‘wear’ I fall totally out of love with them and do not want to wear again. This makes things hard because it means that I need a new dress for each and every occasion that warrants a dress. This is a lot of occasions, I am not a jeans girl-They just don’t fit me. Particularly, if I have had my photo taken in one particular dress I also cannot and will not wear it again until I have forgotten about it. I feel that people will think I cannot afford new clothes if they see me in the same thing over and over! I do know this is ridiculous, but people do judge, no matter what they say. Over the past three or so years (when I reached the sensible stage of realizing I simply can’t keep throwing money into department stores-after all, I had a wedding to pay for), I have developed a fail-safe solution: the dress is worn, washed, ironed and then put carefully away for several months, or until the next season, somewhere I can’t see it by accident. This means that by the time I come back to this dress it has been forgotten about and brings the same elation as when it was brand new! Some might call that type of behavior thrifty!

I have hit a wall with my dress-recycling system. My expanding circumference means I have no chance of getting into these recycled dresses, and so I have had to start the whole cycle again, except with maternity sizes. Maternity clothes are rubbish. There is only about six shops in the whole of Meadowhall that actually stocks any maternity wear, and even then most of it is jeans with a leggings-tummy panel or an embarrassing T-shirt with a caption like “Does my bump look big in this?!”, or something else equally as cringe-y. I will not be wearing anything with cheeky slogans emblazoned (Thank-you very much). I have tried two sizes bigger than normal; a size 14 is about appropriate just now, and with certain cuts of dress (tunic with a thin waist belt) looks very nice. Other cuts (skater, pinafore, cap-sleeve, shift) look huge everywhere except the tummy, and fall inappropriately down or roll unflatteringly up.

I just knew this would turn into a fashion blog.

I love Kate Middleton and everything that she wears is gorgeous. I don’t know where she found her maternity clothes but she must have needed an ordinance-survey map and a compass.

big tummy

This weekend marks 29 weeks. I have a suspicion that baby will arrive early and so this means there is only ten weeks to go! We still have a few bits and bobs to buy, but I am feeling all-together very prepared. I am finding the whole experience much more enjoyable now (must be my second wind!), the attention I am getting is fantastic! My tummy is rubbed by curious hands at least three times each day, one girl at work insisted she was feeling what was unmistakably a leg, I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was my leggings elastic… I have also had my first instance of a stranger having a feel too. It was at a cash point in town, I jumped to the conclusion that he was going to steal my handbag, and there was an awkward moment of eye contact as I snatched my belongings into my other hand. In my defence he was wearing a baseball cap with three stripes on it, but I wont be so quick to judge in future, and not just because I nearly gave myself whiplash. Anyway, he had placed his hand on me for about a fifth of a second and said “awww” before snatching it away and moving on, probably more embarrassed than I was.

I am keeping active and can’t bear to be sitting for too long. I have my dancing exam in a couple of weeks and so practise is keeping me fit without having to do too much. I have put on nine pounds already; I don’t mind really, it is a treat look in the mirror without willing myself to look smaller. Davina McCall said of ‘post-baby-bodies’ that there is no rush to lose weight: “Nine months up…nine months down”. I am feeling very lucky that everything is going so smoothly. I did have a very brief spell in hospital a couple of weeks ago, but testing confirmed that everything was normal and no need to worry (It also meant I got an extra scan which was a treat). I haven’t blogged for a while because I did not want to focus on the negative. I have had a few weeks of worry, nothing at all serious, just my own self doubt, but I am feeling so much better now and am full of excitement. My energy is totally up. I have 26 working days to go and am so ready to start this new chapter.

new look dressnewlook dress

This emerald dress is from New Look and is their maternity range. I like the pleated neck. The cardigan is Debenhams and is not maternity-wear.

deb dress

This one is Red Herring at Debenhams. A t-shirt shape with elastic waist. I think my favourite thing in the world is an elastic waist!

23 Weeks: “You’ll get a second wind.”

I am nothing less than grumpy. 

This constant headache is getting me down and I am sick of having to bend over to do up my jeans. My skin is dry no matter how much time I spend moisturising, and my hair is ridiculously thick but still coming out in handfuls. When I sit down for a long while my tummy makes the top of my legs all hot and I have to stand up…that’s if I haven’t already got up for yet another wee. When I lie on my back my tummy squashes me, but I am too tired to stay up past eight pm. My shoes leave indentations on my feet and you can’t get dancewear in maternity sizes. My hips feel like they might just slip out of their sockets and my fingers have got too chubby for my wedding ring. If I stand for too long my tummy feels like it might just fall off.  If a doctor saw me trying to find something to wear each morning they would probably offer counselling.

 I have no desire to do anything more athletic than putting my own socks on. I spend half of the day feeling absolutely starving and the other half feeling absolutely sick. People keep trying to give me unwelcome advice: “Take this vitamin/lie on your side/eat sardines/go for walks/try yoga/wear a sports bra/don’t wash your hair/put Vaseline on it/put your feet up/sleep more/sleep less”. I want to respond with “stop speaking to me, you ridiculous person”, but I can’t because that would be rude and socially unacceptable. I seem to have got pregnant at the same time as the most flawless celebrities who don’t seem to be having and trouble tripping about in their high heels with their hair all blow-dried. I am too tired after washing my hair to even lift my hairdryer. I am not even going to address the high heels. How did Victoria Beckham manage this four times?

 It is safe to say that I am getting pretty tired of this now, and I’m not even that big yet. I really, really can’t wait to have my body back. Last night I slept a good ten hours, had a bath this morning and then could jolly well have slept another ten hours. I am truly exhausted. My eyelashes ache (how can eyelashes ache?). I turned to Facebook this morning to vent. A friend replied to my post: “It does (get easier)! You’ll get a second wind!” I hope she is right.

 I cannot wait for my second wind. I wish I could fast-forward to my second wind. Here’s to my second wind. Please hurry up second wind. I hope that my second wind makes me want to blow dry my hair and wear high heels.

 

I am holding out for my second wind.

 

 

Twenty-One Weeks – Its a Girl!

She is a girl! I knew she was a girl all along! 

It’s a good job really; Oliver and I have been bickering relentlessly, unable to settle on boys’ names. I have always loved George for a name, based on it being unusual and traditional. I have also always loved Kate Middleton, but fallen out with her for the name of her baby Prince. Hundreds of baby Georges are sure to follow. So that was George written off. I also liked Charlie. But ‘Hello my name is Charlie Leaver-Smith’ is hard work for even the most well spoken child. We definitely need to avoid the double ‘L’ sound. Max was another possibility, but seemingly impossible to find a middle name to match both that and the surname. Who knew this would be so hard?

None of that matters now anyway because she is a girl!! The midwife who scanned me was called Neil. He showed us all the important parts on the screen, confirmed that baby had two of everything she needed two of, and ten of everything she needed ten of. His exact words regarding the gender were “there is nothing obvious between the legs” (so she will be sorry if she does turn out a boy). We pressed for a more definitive answer and he concluded that he was “85% sure it’s a girl”. He printed us a photo, which showed a perfect side profile of her face. The progression from the first scan photo is massive; she has grown loads and looks a little bit squashed as a result Neil assured us she has plenty of room), and is now looking like a person, with distinctive facial features. I am sure that based on the picture I would recognise her if she was mixed up with other babies-even without seeing her for real.

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From the scan photo we have decided that she definitely suits the name Poppy. We talked about Poppy from the beginning, and so it really feels that it wouldn’t be right to call her anything else. I have always loved the name Scarlett for a girl, but she just looks like a Poppy. We are keeping both names in mind for now, and decided to name her officially when we get to see her on her Birthday. If she comes out looking all haughty and posh then Scarlett will be her name, all cute and upturned-nosey like her scan photo and it will be Poppy. For a middle name we like Rose.

We have finally chosen to go for the Cosatto Giggle model of pram and car seat. The car seat has arrived and is gorgeous. We were very sensible and waited until we knew the sex of baby to choose the pattern. Now we know she is a little girl we ordered our favourite design, called ‘Golightly’.  It is navy and white nautical stripes with a huge red bow to decorate.

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Twenty-One is a winning number. I only have nineteen weeks left and am officially over ‘the hump’. I want to eat all the time but can only manage small amounts. I also want nothing more than to stay in bed all day. I have been sleeping most nights for 8-9 hours, and then napping in the car whilst Oliver drives me to work only 90 mins later! Time is ticking on, and I only have three weeks left to get my maternity leave booked in with work. My work is not physically demanding and so I intend to stay at work as long as I can. The latest I could possibly start my leave would be 12th July. This means I only have only about 80 working days left!

 The shopping is progressing nicely: we have the car seat all ready to be fitted. Oliver’s Mum and Dad said that they would buy us the baby bouncy seat, I have ordered the baby carrier harness thing, and we have had the crib a few weeks now. Poppy’s/Scarlett’s wardrobe is getting very well stocked; people have been so kind and keep buying me little tiny outfits that they “just couldn’t resist”.

 

Shopping List

Crib basket and stand

Blankets for Crib

Baby Bath and bath stand

Bottles and dummies

Steriliser Unit

Pram

Car Seat

Baby carrier harness thingy

Changing mat

Changing Table

Cot and bedding

Bouncer seat

Changing Bag

Baby monitors

Bedroom Lamp

High Chair

Play mat

19 Weeks : Coconut

“Your baby is the size of a coconut.”

 I can’t remember the last time I came across a coconut, but I know I needed two hands to hold it. It seems that a lot of growing is happening in a very short time! Thank goodness for my stretchy jeans and my skater dresses.

Our next scan is March 7th, and we are going to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl. I am convinced that she is a girl. I can just feel that she is a girl! Some people say that if you get sickness at the beginning then its usually indicative that you are having a girl- the extra oestrogen makes you poorly. I was quite sick. I had pictured myself with a baby boy right from being small and playing with Tiny Tears. I had the girl Tiny Tears, but I desperately wanted the boy dolly.  (I did eventually get the boy Tiny Tears, but I didn’t like him as much because his legs were too stiff). If she does turn out to be a boy, of course I will be delighted (stiff legs or not), but it will be such a shock! Oliver and I made up our minds to find out the gender weeks ago, I am still undecided if we are going to share this information with family and friends or keep it as a surprise for them. It might be a little bit obvious when we start buying clothes and things though…

Tiny Tears

The baby heart listener we bought is fantastic. There was some initial concern (“why is her heart going so slowly?!”), but we quickly learned that we could hear my own heart in my stomach as well as the baby’s! It is useful to listen to and helps to pinpoint her positioning. It is slightly worrying when you can’t find the clear heartbeat immediately though, it definitely takes practise and patience.

I didn’t really plan to write this week. It is getting more and more clear that we have a lot of shopping and buying and spending to do, and I really don’t have time for things like sitting at a desk and typing! I thought it might be useful for me to write a list, and to cross off each time we buy items from it. That way we wont forget anything vital!

Here is my list:

Crib basket and stand

Blankets for Crib

Baby Bath and bath stand

Bottles and dummies

Steriliser Unit

Pram and Car Seat

Baby carrier harness thingy

Changing mat

Changing Table

Cot and bedding

Bouncer seat

Changing Bag

Baby monitors

Bedroom Lamp

High Chair

Play mat

No doubt I have forgotten loads of stuff, but these are the items that we have agreed are essential and cannot-live-without. Anyway, best to get cracking, I plan to get one item each week. I can’t believe we only have on item from the list! Failure to prepare is to prepare to fail! Bye!

17 Weeks: Avocado Baby

It is quite shocking for me when I consider that I am (almost) half way through the baby-growing process. It has gone by in a heartbeat. There is so much to think about and so many shopping lists to make that I am so much busier than before. In reflection, I have had such a lovely time so far. The sickness was awful, but even then I knew it for all for a good cause, rather than ill health. My brother has been so funny as he has taken to hugging me at arm’s-length “so as not to hurt the baby”.

This last week has been particularly exciting as I have started to feel movement. Before I felt activity, it felt like popcorn popping in a microwave, but now it’s a definite movement. An intermittent reminder and reassurance. At 17 weeks the baby can hear sounds from outside. This is a bit of a wake-up call as I have started skipping the songs on my iPod that have swearing in them. Oliver has been reading stories to my tummy some evenings after dinner. I am sure she likes his voice because the movement quickens when he speaks to my middle! When he fetched me from work one day last week, I got in the car and he said “Hello” quite loud, I felt her turn all the way around to look at him-how funny! I have also been playing her the music from ‘Swan Lake’ in secret, I have my fingers crossed for a ballerina. I really wish it was time to rush out and by pink baby tutus and satin ballet shoes.

baby ballet 2

Yesterday was a little bit worrying as I had some alarming symptoms that Google said needed checking immediately. I went to the doctors and everything was fine after all, thank goodness. She said that I had nothing to worry about as long as the movements do not stop. The Doctor checked the baby’s heartbeat and let me listen to it. It was the first time I had heard her heart and it sounded so tiny and bouncy. Oliver missed out on this as he was working that day, but he found a baby heart monitor, called a Doppler, on Amazon and has ordered it so that we can listen ourselves.

crib

We ordered the crib and it arrived last week. I started to build it whilst Oliver was at work, but it turns out I am not the Flat-Pack-Princess I thought I was. Oliver finished it when he came home and it is beautiful. We chose cream to match the carpet and the blinds in the nursery room, and it is an old-fashioned style with frills and a hood. It reminds me of Baby Prince George’s Christening gown. I had a good tidy up in the nursery and it is looking very nice so far. She has the new crib to sleep in, my dressing table is in there and a nice tall mirror. The wardrobes are floor to ceiling mirrors just like ours and we also have an upholstered ‘Louis Chair’ in there too. The light shade is a gorgeous crystal design that makes sun-shine patterns all around the walls. We were going to paint the window-wall in a unisex bluey-green colour (I have been calling it ‘Tiffany Box Blue’), but we decided against it when we saw it with the crib. The cream walls and carpet give a nice clean look, and we have seen a ‘baby disco’ light in IKEA that makes the room all colourful like a very slow and calming disco! We still need to get a changing table and a cot, and then the nursery will be complete.

chair

The next big-buy will be the pram. We have lots of models in mind so still not set on a particular one, but we want a nice bright colour. So many mums have black and navy, so we are going for sunshine yellow or something equally as bright.

Today is Valentine’s Day and Oliver has planned for us to go away for the weekend to York. This will be our first trip since we found out about the baby and since we moved house. It is well-deserved as we had to cancel our holiday to Tunisia which was booked for June. So we are having what is commonly known in the pregnancy world as a ‘baby-moon’. I have a new pale pink dress (only one size bigger!) to wear and am looking forward to it; we haven’t been away in ages.

This week our baby is the size of an avocado (!), learning this reminded me of a story book my Year One teacher used to read to us called ‘Avocado Baby’. About a baby who loves avocados and eats nothing but. The baby boy gets really strong and does ridiculous things. I must look this up!!

avocado