Thursday, 30 December 2010

More purchases...

We are back on the path to parenthood. After 5 days of doing nothing but hanging out with our favourite people, eating stodge and chocolate and generally relaxing, despite being no-where near having a nursery ready, we are now back on track.

The pelvic 'floor' (yes that's right Fee, I actually did think it was a 'flaw') exercises are back in full swing, perineal massage has restarted (less than comfortable I find - seriously this area is going to need to stretch?) and I am back on the fruit / veg and high fibre.

I awoke this morning early thinking it was a work day and wanting to check the alarm was set. Think it was because we were back in our own house after our lovely Xmas jaunt. I then had really restless sleep with vivid work dreams, the absolute classic ones about forgetting to tell someone something / not having time to get things finished. Don't think it will really hit me that I am now finished for maternity leave until Gaz does get up to go to work next Tuesday. I will then no doubt have a second mini crisis.

We also made a couple more purchases for Mav - he/she now has a bouncer and a changing mat. We even hovered around the baby aisle in Asda tonight around the old wipes and creams but decided that this was a step too far, and Gaz made the valid comment, "we don't know what on earth we need, we need to look into it", which actually means, "lets see how it pans out" - fair enough.
I invested in some breast pad things (they look attractive) and some maternity sanitary towels. I may be willing to go into this unprepared but I don't want to lose any more of my dignity by having to ask for an NHS adult nappy contraption. I have tried to avoid thinking about why they need to be so dam thick.
We had a lovely trip over to Nottingham to see our friends Phil and Claire who have just had their third baby 8 weeks ago (very small and very cute) and on the way back we stopped by Mamas and Papas outlet store for a quick browse. Here I bought a reasonably nice jersey striped nighty for the whole birthing event. I am guessing that sweat pants are a little inpractical when trying to push out a baby but I would rather be wearing something than having my new heavy boobs flopping all over the place. The link below is good for summarising what you need to take, so really, I practically have a bag ready now, which I think is a major step forward!?!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Birthday sweepstake...

On Christmas day we did a sweep stake for Mav's birthday. So that we can be sure to recognise the rightful winner here are all the entries below. Some of them are now looking a little scarily close for my liking:

Boy or Girl
5th Jan
6th Jan
7th Jan
9th Jan
10th Jan
12th Jan
14th Jan
16th Jan (or 21st Jan)
Mark Bryce
17th Jan
18th Jan
19th Jan
23rd Jan
24th Jan
25th Jan

We added the weight and sex in as extras but the winner will be decided on the date. Interestingly most people have gone for earlier than the due date (21st) and also mostly girls. I was pleased to see the majority of guesses coming in around the 7lb mark, I'd imagine due to the size of my bump. Lets hope that is also about right (I fear not). 

Mav has still been pretty active over the Xmas period. In fact on one day I was worried he had  managed to wriggle himself round since I felt hiccups around the right hand side rather than in my pelvis as normal. Fee reckons he'd be hard pushed to do such a manoeuvre at this stage, I hope so. I am still feeling quite a large object pushing right under my ribs - could be a bum? Please not a head...
36 weeks and 4 days - nearly at full term - not long now!!!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Mav's First Christmas!

We absolutely love Christmas! Technically this wasn't Mav's first Christmas since his food options have been limited, he didn't get to play with any toys and has had to entertain himself largely. But in terms of being alive in the world, it was Mav's first Christmas. He did also receive a lovely kitsch knitted dog from family Bryce-Clegg and Mum bought him the wool for his first blanket so in terms of gifts, for an unborn child, he did pretty well.

We had a slightly alternative Christmas eve because we weren't able to do our normal cheese and bread buffet selection (harsh on me having cheddar 3 ways) and G Kisby didn't think he could down a bottle of champagne. Instead I had a lovely gin and tonic (G Kisby makes a great one) and some M&S hot party food.
We then had a gorgeous Christmas day morning (unfortunately did wake at 6 with the excitement) with hot blueberry and yoghurt pancakes. I received some fab gifts from G Kisby including a great craft book, some rum (it's been a craving), Accessorize slippers and an over shoulder brown leather bag. Mmmmm.

Our day was then spent at Cabbage Hall with all our family - great food, pass the parcel and more gifts. We have since moved into Fee & Al's for the week so headed back there at about 7pm. Mum too which is just lovely since in previous years we have only seen her for short periods.

I did feel slightly sick on Xmas day night and had to go to bed early. I think it was just all the rich food and tiredness since the next morning I felt absolutely fine.

Since then we have pretty much eaten (ham, egg and chips on boxing day - oh yes), knitted (Mum and I are making a blanket for Mav together), watched t.v and played games. Literally not leaving the house for days - so lovely and relaxing.

We may go back to the Hudd tomorrow so today cracked on with making some bunting and a peg for Mav's bedroom. We have gone for corals / light greens and greys since we obviously don't know if Mav is a boy or a girl yet.

Ah Christmas - just too much fun!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

I've not thought this through...

Tonight is the final night, potentially for 9 months, that will be a school night.
Just had that realisation and exclaimed to G Kisby, "Oh my God, I've not thought this through!"
"You never think anything through" was the response. Not quite sure how to take that.

It has finally hit me (better late than never) that I finish work tomorrow and it feels really weird. I have been doing handovers for the last week or so and although I have known it, I don't think I have really let go. We've been on countdown for weeks in the car journey of a morning, and every day this week, "final Monday" etc. But only tonight does it seem real.

We also visited Calderdale hospital tonight after work, where a group of around 12 couples were shown round the labour ward and birthing centre. The labour ward felt really quite clinical, lots of machines, the usual hospital beds and lighting - the odd birthing ball here and there but more token than anything else. The birthing centre felt better (but still a wee bit more clinical than I was hoping) and at least the lighting could be dimmed. The birthing pool looked good, nice and deep, I am still very much into that idea. There was also a Costa coffee and actually the hospital itself did feel much nicer than Hudds. Partners can't stay over but visiting times were really flexible which is good.

The only slight issue is that G Kisby sometimes doesn't take too well to hospitals and tonight that played out and he had to leave to tour for fear of fainting. Hmm - may be a bit of an issue. We are going to see how Huddersfield birthing centre feels when we visit in a few weeks then make a decision. I'm still not entirely against a home birth and I would much rather G Kisby was able to be there and feel comfortable than anything else, including the option of a water bath. Luckily have Fee on standby, I think she is up for the job...particularly if there is any sort of emergency c section going on, think I'd be well and truly on my own....

Woooo 2 more sleeps till Xmas eve. Can't wait, we absolutely love Christmas!!!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Real life birth film anyone...?

One of the things which Nicki, our NCT teacher, gave to us was a list of useful websites and reading materials. There were a number of good fact sheets etc. and in amongst the list were some links to live birth videos.

Now, I plan to ensure G Kisby updates our blog during the labour since it is a good way to inform all our friends and family without needing to text. Of course if I am lucky enough to have a quick fire labour and there isn't time then I won't be losing any sleep. But this will be Mav's first day in the world and we want to remember as much as possible about it (and so that he/she can look back on it too).

However, actually filming the birth itself - no. I am not having my hot, sweaty bad tempered self on any kind of video camera. But credit to those who do.

The question is, do you watch them? Is it better to go into it blind with a clear picture in your head of how you want your labour to pan out (though notably with images of labour from films ingrained in your mind - screaming, blood etc). Or, do you watch the films and hope that they actually show birth in a better light and make you feel more confident about the whole thing?

Without too much thought (and with G Kisby still in bed) a couple of weekends ago I watched one. And actually I can say that it was a good experience. Nicki had sent us a link (see below)
to some films which she said were well made and sympathetically edited. I would agree. I only watched one (Michelle's birth diary) and although I know it was edited she actually did a good job of showing a successful natural birth. I don't think I'll watch any others (wouldn't want to jinx it) but for now, still feeling good.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

"Excellent stomach tone" - that's right!

Last night we had our final NCT class. It has been a busy week since we have guests over for Christmas supper on Friday and the house is slightly in a state of disarray. Up until half an hour ago you couldn't get into the conservatory and while the baby room is waiting to be decorated everything was moved into the spare room. However, since guests are staying over G Kisby has had to move everything back, it has been a bit like a rubix cube.

The final class was another post natal one and we discussed changing nappies, dealing with inconsolable crying and slings etc for carrying. To be honest, since we have had some experience with our nephews this wasn't hugely useful, but since I guess some people have never changed a nappy I can see why it would be a good exercise.

We also considered what made the 'perfect mum' and 'perfect dad' then what the reality might look like. It was something I think Gaz and I will discuss again alone since there were some valid points. More around my expectations of myself than anything else but good to talk about how our relationship may change and how we can prepare / manage this. It is also good to remind me that I am not going to be able to just continue life as normal but take the baby along too. We both think it important not to completely run our lives around Mav and that a laid back approach is probably best for everyone. But that aside it is worth considering that some days there will be inconsolable crying, tiredness and grouchiness. 

On a separate note we also had a midwife appointment where she let G Kisby listen to Mav's heartbeat and did all the usual checks. Mav still on track size wise but when measuring my bump she did exclaim, "well, this is a neat bump", "you have excellent stomach tone - which is great for you but not easy for us to check where the baby is lying"
"Excellent stomach tone" - it made my day!
My day was also made by news that Mav has swivelled round and now has his back to my front - stay there Mav, no-one wants a 'long and painful labour'! I had odd period pains all day Monday, which I guessed were just my, now pretty regular, braxton hicks. I am now wondering if it was Mav on the move?

Pictures from the weekend - Mav at 34 weeks old...

Monday, 13 December 2010

Faux christmas fun...

We have just had a really lovely weekend. We head over to Manchester on Friday night for a weekend of fun at the Milton's including a group xmas meal and games on Saturday night.

On Saturday G Kisby and I took our beautiful nephews Luca and Sonny for a walk to the park. I had said to Gaz that I would be fine to do this task alone but he seemed to disagree. To be honest I was pretty pleased - wouldn't want to be blatant about my lack of ability to look after children whilst heavily pregnant (although to be fair there isn't much he could do at this stage) but lets be honest, I've got nothing. Someone in work told me a story about their nephew needing 3 nappy changes in 20 minutes whilst they were babysitting. I asked why you would bother changing it, wouldn't it be both cost and time effective to wait and just do it once. They looked at me in a way that suggested I shouldn't ask those sorts of question out loud.

Anyway, we then met up with the group late afternoon in the pub where they were having christmas cocktails. I had half a guinness to celebrate - yum.
The night was then spent making Christmas dinner, chatting, eating and playing pass the parcel. We also did secret santa. Unfortunately I had Ben who had forgotten whose his was but was pretty certain it was a boy so went for a bottle of whisky. Couldn't have been more inappropriate really (particularly since due to a teenage incident even the one adult who can currently drink in our household nearly heaves when he as much as looks at whisky).

Poor Kate was really suffering with 'fankles' (some of the largest ankles I have ever seen) and a very full tummy. They have booked her cesarean in for the same time as our due date - so we could have our babies at the same time. Although I really can't see her getting that far.

The night finished nicely (in true faux christmas style) with everyone falling asleep in front of the fire watching tv. Everyone that is except the girl who is 34 weeks pregnant - Mav and I did good!

On Sunday after lunch we helped Mum do some removals then nipped to see family Bryce-Clegg where Fee pretty much turned nothing into a full meal (fried cabbage, potatos, green beans and pancetta- domestic goddess - I have so much to live up to. Particularly as I secretly think Gaz is holding out for some improvements from me over the nxt 6 months).

What a lovely weekend.

It was back to work though today with a bump. I have also had very strange gripping feelings all day which are really uncomfortable. I'm trying not to be unduly concerned since Mav is still moving away but I will ask the midwife tomorrow just in case. I walked to the shops on my lunch today and think i did so a bit fast since my abdomen muscles were really aching down the left side on the way back. Think my body is finally telling me to slow down a bit so I will take it a bit easier this last few weeks. I keep getting braxton hicks which just feels like my tummy is going to pop it goes so tight, I am hoping this is just my body now preparing for the big day.

Talking of which I now have about 5 things to do daily - pelvic flaw exercises, couple of yoga moves to try and get Mav to turn so he isn't posterior, perennial massage, breathing practise. There is a lot to remember...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Hypnobirthing for men...

I mentioned a week or so ago that our 'Hypnobirthing' cd and book arrived in the post.
We are now about half way through so I thought it may be worth an update on progress.

We are now on the 'practical' section of the book which involves learning the 'skills' you'll need for a more relaxed, quick and straightforward birth. The first part is all about breathing. Notably hypnobirthing is about both the mother and the 'birthing companion' working together, so Gaz has had to take part. Over the weekend we started by practising our 'sleep' and 'slow' breathing. We trialled this following the papers and breakfast in bed on Sunday morning (we've got to get these little luxuries in while we can). So, I read the book out loud, Gaz has a go, then we practise together - it has to be this way since I am a visual learner and can't take anything in which is audio only.

It took a while to get going.
Gaz couldn't stop laughing at the American terminology and then when supposedly practising his relaxed breathing did a huge trump (apparently as he was, "so relaxed he couldn't help it") which meant I had to leave the room, not conducive to relaxed breathing practise. However, eventually we got into it and found our favourite relaxing positions (which apparently can also be used as birthing positions) - Gaz going for the side based 'lateral' position, me a more sat up one. So far so good. We need to practise our breathing now every day so that it becomes natural and easy to pick up at short notice (presumably when a large baby starts to come out of a small area). The next step is visualisation but Gaz says we can't move on to that until we have got the breathing sorted. Half a job Hel just wants to crack on.

We also went to NCT last night which was a session all about post natal. It was slightly dull to be honest. We talked about what to expect once the baby has arrived (to have very little of your usual life remaining by the sound of it), ways to bond and what to expect around post natal health care. The main positive was that it finished earlier than planned - I'm actually pretty sure we could have combined this session with our last one, which I believe is more of the same next week. It was good to consider how things may change with a premature baby or a baby that needs to stay in hospital - again just so you have thought of all the scenarios, but I'm not sure how much we learnt that was new. Nice to see some of the other couples again though...

When we got home I suggested we move on with our book since we were home early. Gaz was looking for some nutella on bread, a glass of milk and the cricket highlights but in response to my disappointment (he has been doing some strange sleeping all week with the cricket, lets hope the cricket is on when the baby is approx 6 weeks old, up all night and can be fed with a bottle!) he came up and agreed we should move on with the book.

As I finished brushing my teeth I returned to the bedroom to find Gaz looking particularly sleepy,
"Oh my God, are you asleep?"
"No. You will find I am in the lateral position doing my breathing" was the return (I'm so proud).
So I started with the next chapter. After about 2 minutes of reading I heard what sounded surprisingly like the start of a snore,
"You are asleep!"
No answer. Unbelievable. So I turned off the light and snuggled in,
"Night babe. Love you."
"I thought we were doing breathing?"
"We are, you keep doing that breathing.."
"I am doing, you should be too"
Yes babe, if you say so. You can't kid a kidder. You are very clearly asleep. G Kisby has invented his own hypnobirthing which combines the lateral position with napping position.

Birthing companion anyone?

(I joke obviously. I know how lucky I am to have a husband who even entertains lateral position)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Bravo bravissimo!

Today I made my way into Leeds on my lunch to try and resolve my bra issues. When I hoike up my current one to keep my bosoms at a reasonable level, the band at the back ends up rising and digging in. It also gave me a bit of much needed exercise, since aside from a brisk Sunday walk with G Kisby yesterday we haven't been swimming due to snow.

Our NCT lady recommended Bravisimo and said that for a nursing bra I should be getting one around 34 weeks (so that near enough that they won't grow any more prior to when the milk comes in - apparently!)

Anyway, 33 weeks and 3 days worked for me so in I went. The service was really good. The shop felt lovely and welcoming and every person I spoke to made me feel completely at ease. I would definitely recommend it for any ladies with a larger bosom searching for the right size bra -pregnant or otherwise. It was the first time I had been properly fitted and my god does it make a difference. Not just with hoisting these bad boys up but with comfort and appearance under clothes also. The lovely sales assistant has left some 'space in the cup' for milk arrival (can they seriously get any bigger?) and ensured that there are plenty of hooks left at the back to move it in once my ribs return to their usual position. Clearly that is all they sell and all they do, so the expertise is definitely there.
The only down side is the appearance. Now G Kisby assures me they aren't as bad as I say, and to be fair they are quite simple and unoffensive, but for £28 a piece I was just hoping for a little more. The conversation went,
"Oooh yes this feels really comfortable, really supportive, and I will take your word for it and not be alarmed that it is a 32E"
"Great, well it comes in a couple of colours"
"Colours you say, I'm thinking more styles, can you bring me a few to see, you choose"
"Er not really, with nursing bras you don't have a huge number of options"
"O.k well what do you have in more of a balcony style? And I'm thinking less fabric, perhaps a polka dot or a less 'mum' like look?"
"Er, we have black, cream or sugar pink"
"Really? No others I can see, are you sure?"
"Er yeah unfortunately. The light pink one is nice..."
"Definitely nothing?"
"No. I can show you them in the brochure if you like"
"O.k, but just so I'm clear, they are exactly the same as this one?"
"I'll take black and ivory"
It's not even so much the fabric, it is a basic cotton bra with some black lace. It's the way they look all big and tucked in that bothers me. I'm used to Fern Cotton, I'm moving towards Fern Britton. They also said to keep the tags on and bring them back if I changed my mind or if they weren't as comfy in a few weeks and they could re-measure me. What worries me most is that I then actually uttered the words to Gaz, "I could wait until Mav is born and see, but I think I'll keep them anyway, you see they are just so comfy..."
On no!!!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Christmas take two!

Today we headed out to see the birthing centre at Huddersfield for a tour. Unfortunately there were too many babies being born so we had to re-arrange for another date! We did however nip to our second home B&Q and buy paint for both the baby room and hall. Horrendously busy but we did get sorted. We also visited another large supermarket chain in a bid to find some pure rasperry leaf tea. Apparently it is known to be good for toning those all important muscles you use during labour but you have to drink a decent amount at least 6 weeks before to have any effect. Needless to say I
managed to get some flavoured tea but nothing pure enough. Think I'll need a visit to Neals Yard
in Leeds on Monday. Upon our return home we then continued to launch Christmas at Bourn View Heights. We tested out the mistletoe with Mav starting to make me look rotund at 33 weeks. G Kisby absolutely loves Christmas and had to
be reigned in when he asked the question, "can you ever have too many fairy lights?" As promised above you can see Gaz getting frustrated with the tree. On the other hand here he is on the left feeling very pleased with his now upright tree (we bought another stand). He is seriously excited about introducing Mav to Christmas...

Friday, 3 December 2010

Christmas arrives in the Hudd!

After 3 days working from home trapped inside we finally left the house today since we had a days holiday.

Our plans for a lovely afternoon of Christmas shopping in York followed by a meal out were slightly scuppered by the weather so instead we did a weekly shop at Asda followed by a couple of hours in Leeds. Not quite as glamourous or as fun.
However, we did manage to get a few bits and a hot chocolate before returning to the safety of our nest.

On our way home we stopped at a garden centre and got a tree. Yes I know it is slightly early but we are both big fans of Christmas and since we will spend most of Christmas week with family Bryce-Clegg we want to have as long as possible with our new purchase.
G Kisby quickly sprang into action with the mulled fruit punch, Christmas music and decorations out of the loft. We have hung up our stockings, recognising the fact that next year we'll need 3! Also acknowledging that next year we'll have a toddler and therefore probably won't be able to have a tree freestanding in the bay window. Ah the highs and lows. We then had a lovely hour or so lighting candles and writing cards until it came to putting the tree up...

Unfortunately the tree stand has a spike to hold it up. Our tree has no hole for a spike.
For the last hour or so G Kisby has been trying to drill (we have a couple of snapped bits), chisel and hammer the tree into its slot. Funny at first, not so now. In fact he wouldn't even pose for photo for the blog. The hoover is on standby, I have brought through a pint of ale to try and calm the situation. Currently we are using old beer bottles to try and wedge the tree into its stand? Hmmm not sure about that but I don't think now is a good time to comment. Oh no, the jumper has now come off and it has gone quiet. Nope...the drill is back out.
Maybe I stop blogging and offer some more moral support...

Poor Gaz - joy of Christmas has been put on hold.

P.s For the record I have managed to get a picture...

Thursday, 2 December 2010

No josticks jokes allowed...

That includes you G Kisby.

This week our 'Hypnobirthing' book and CD arrived. We couldn't decide between hypnobirthing and nct classes earlier on in our pregnancy. Both were similarly expensive and had mixed reviews. However, because it was our first baby, and therefore we were looking for more than just 'birthing' classes (i.e something on breastfeeding, chance to meet other couples etc) we went for NCT, which I think was the right thing to do.

Anyhow, I did then order the hypnobirthing book instead, since a friend of ours Kirsty swears by it and had all 3 of her children very quickly with the aid of a  mere paracetamol. You can see why I was interested...

I am reading the book and G Kisby is receiving snippets and commentary. Notably during a very dull Liverpool match tonight, can't quite believe we are now having a conversation during such an event.
The book is good and easy to read. The premise is based around the fact that fear, in its very nature, increases pain. That birth is a completely natural process which can be achieved without the need for medical intervention in most cases. And that using the power of the mind you can achieve a completely natural, calm and relaxed birth.
Lots of it makes complete sense and there is a good mix of practical advice (questions to ask when visiting the hospital or making the decision on where to have your baby) alongside breathing and relaxation exercises. I do completely buy in to the idea of mind over matter, remaining in control and using the power of positive thought to visualise the outcome you want.
I'm only half way through so will keep reading and add a further update, so far so good.

If nothing else, as a result of both NCT and the book I'm not feeling scared about labour anymore. I have had such a healthy and straightforward pregnancy so far I have no reason to worry. And if it doesn't go to plan then ultimately we have choices and know our options. But rather than focus on what could go wrong - we are going to focus on what we want to happen and keep using positive language.
The main feeling I have about the whole thing is excitement - we can't wait to meet our new baby!

Oh, and to celebrate we are having a 'coming out party' for Mav on the day when my labour starts. So far for the event we have:
a) One of my favourite foods - cereal with full fat jersey cream milk
b) One of Gazs favourite foods - smoked salmon and scrambled egg
c) Mad men series 4 - both of our favourite tv programmes of recent times, new series
d) Maltesers - the lighter way to enjoy chocolate

We have also agreed that humour is much needed during the process so have started a labour playlist which currently includes:
"Stand and deliver" - Adam Ant
"Push it" - Salt and Pepper
"Born free" - not sure who that is by
All suggestions welcome (although Fee - 'Ring of fire' by Johnny Cash takes it too far) x

Tuesday, 30 November 2010 snow!

Ah it is that most joyous time of year when we don't get our car anywhere near our house for weeks on end. Only this time not nearly as fun as G Kisby says, "careful" an awful lot and refuses to pull me along the slippy bits.

We woke up this morning to masses of the stuff (snow that is) so had to work from home. Once the car is stuck, it is stuck, and there was no way as a fat lass I was walking to the bus / train, particularly when we needed to be back this afternoon for the midwife. I'm also trying to be more sensible and accepting of the fact that falling over might not be as funny this year (twice last year - although managing to save a full open flask of coffee on one occasion by holding it above my head!!! Regretted that move later when the bruising came up on my hip bone)

We did manage to get to the docs though and see the midwife. Full marks for Mav who is still perfectly on track on the growth chart and is head down, legs up, ready to go. All organised and sorted before time (not sure where that comes from - definitely isn't me- as I write this Gaz has skipped off to do a big clean, he hasn't done one for a while and was apparently really looking forward to a decent big clean. I'd like to see how he big cleans up that exposed brickwork and dust in the hall).
Plasterer has confirmed he is coming on 13th Dec so I have officially given up on getting the baby room sorted before Xmas. Mark Bryce has offered us a moses basket though so now feel fine about the fact that Mav will sleep in our room with us for a while anyway. Janet and Mark also gave us a HUGE bag of baby clothes for newborns. Freaked us out a bit, even just having them in the house. Teeny tiny vests and socks - can't actually get my head round the fact that we will need them in around 6/8 weeks. We were also grateful for some newborn nappies and a snowsuit - definitely be needing that!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

NCT update

We have had 2 more NCT sessions since my last update. They were the final 2 sessions talking about antenatal and labour since next week we move on to post natal.

On Wednesday we discussed pain relief and where to have your baby. It was actually really useful to hear about the pros and cons of each option. I think it's good to be informed so that when you make a decision at the time (and it really is individual to every person and there isn't any right or wrong) you know all the consequences. I doubt otherwise, mid labour when offered an injection of drugs to help with the pain, I would either be in a good place to think about it or the midwife would be in a good place to start discussing options in any great depth.
It has helped us to think about a birth plan which at least is a first start in taking control of the process. We are going to go for as natural a birth as possible, a little bit of hypnosis hopefully (we received our very American looking book and CD in the post - G Kisby is really concerned that at 6am in the morning on the way to work I am going to have it on..."you are a strong and confident woman...take control of your world" etc etc) mixed with gas / air and potentially some water bath action. Obviously that is just a plan. Also think it is important to be open to alternatives and I'm not going to be precious or think myself a failure if it all goes to pot and I end up taking every un-natural option available.

We also talked about where to give birth. NCT are very pro home birth and actually I can absolutely see the benefits. Apparently much quicker labours, statistically just as safe as hospital (if not more, thinking about the lack of germs in your own home, particularly ours) and loads of facts around less women needing stitches etc.
Think it is a step too far for us with our first baby and I'm also not sure that I'd see my front room the same after it has been covered in blood and stuff. But all the same really interesting. And if nothing else it has made me less worried about the baby coming quickly and having to give birth at home (with a midwife obviously - I trust Gaz implicitly but I'm not sure about him in a nursing capacity).

Today was a day session (which was a bit annoying since a weekend is so precious) and we took our lunch along. Again it was good - although think could reduce down the time if we cracked on straight away and sped things up slightly. We covered second and third stage labour (I genuinely didn't know there was a third stage) and the various complications or issues that can arise - including cesarean, forceps etc.
The placenta is roughly the size of a dinner plate you say - what the hell? I was thinking it would fit in your palm. I also learnt that no, you can't just pull the cord and get that bad boy out. It is still very much attached to your body at first and that can cause blood loss.

Aside from NCT I did have another slight moment of panic yesterday. Caused by someone in work who genuinely couldn't believe that we hadn't bought anything yet and were no-where near having the baby room decorated. They said it was "amazing we were so laid back when the baby could come early". Hmmmm, yeah. They asked whether Gaz was as laid back, to which I answered, "are you kidding - Gaz is the main instigator of this approach". Anyway last night we had a cheese, olives and crusty bread tea whilst doing some research into best prams etc. (for the record I didn't eat any of the stilton or goats cheese). It isn't that I feel worried about things being finished as much as feeling sad for Mav that his parents haven't got anything ready for him / her arriving. I want Mav to know that we love him/her and are looking forward to him / her arriving. Our friend Kirsty has offered us some fab second hand things at really good prices and when we looked them up last night they also get great reviews.

So, to end on an absolute positive, we have now bought a car seat, baby carrier thing and pram - woooo! We love you Mav x

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Hormonal tears...

We were meant to be seeing the midwife this week but a small incident involving the car and a clutch got in the way. The clutch has been very heavy for a while and making a large squeak- G Kisby had been reassuring me that there was nothing wrong.
So as I drove into Huddersfield, about 10 mins early for my appointment for once, I wasn't surprised to hear a large snap and the clutch pedal go completely loose. My lack of surprise did not mean a lack of distress as I tried to roll away from the junction to a semi safe spot (which happened to be a bus stop).

Curses that we went for that cheaper insurance policy that doesn't give us a courtesy car and means you get through to some nowty woman who won't accept that you can't give her an exact street name. A bus driver then shouted at me for being in a bus stop and a parking ticket attendant started to try and give me a ticket. Poor guy was then faced with a waddling pregnant girl on the verge of tears explaining that she really needed to wee and her car had just broken down. He literally backed off.
Then I cried. Can't recall the last time I cried in public, had to call Gaz who was clearly at his desk and trying desperately to move away from anyone before consoling his crazy hormonal wife (as if I cried!) Weirdly Mav went a little bit crazy and did a load of kicking. I have read somewhere that unborn babies do react to a change in emotions (I think the study was done though on earthquake victims though so not sure it would be strictly right to compare the two).

Eventually I was towed to a garage and given a hefty bill for a car that couldn't actually be fixed. Why are cars so expensive to run?
On the positive, the peddle box was apparently close to snapping which would have meant brakes and all so could have actually been dangerous. And as I was waiting for the unfixable car to be fixed I did pop over to Matalan in the retail park across the road and pick up a great door mat for project porch for just £5. So every cloud...

Gaz went back to Manchester so that Mum could save the day for us again by lending us her car. I can't tell you how grateful I am that in the freezing cold this week we are not having to wait at a bus stop to get to work.

Mav's movements have changed noticably the last week or so. Much less kicking and full on turning. Now there is just an uncomfortable pushing of limbs which creates hard lumps that come out in random places. Can't actually see which limb it may be, when I try to grab one or prod it there is immediate withdrawal. G Kisby has started actually campaigning for the name Mav for real by the way.

Anyway will update on NCT class tomorrow. For now it is time for a hot water bottle in bed with the apprentice...

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Time for a good old list!

How does time seem to speed up over a weekend - I can't believe it is Sunday already.
We've had a productive weekend of work between G Kisby and I. Project porch has been completed and a neat row of enamel tins sit along what was a grotty chipped shelf. Gaz has finished stripping both the hall / stairs and the baby room - great work (to be fair the paper came off in massive strips in the baby room so only took an hour or so - but I won't dwell on this point since on the opposite side one of the walls up the stairs is now back to bare bricks!)

Unfortunately our plasterer has now said he can't come for another few weeks - argh! Bit annoying since we still have a couple of weekends blocked out before xmas to finish everything. Can't be helped though and we would rather wait for him to do it than take a risk with someone we don't know. Gaz, as laid back as ever, happy to see how things pan out. I would normally be exactly the same but just have a slight issue with the fact we have nowhere for the baby to sleep. Mum reckons it is a nesting instinct kicking in. On the one hand I know that Mav will sleep in our room for a while anyway but on the other, it would be nice just to have somewhere to put his/her stuff and not to still have the issue of decorating over what I now realise will be a pretty tough first few months.
We have agreed to compromise. If the baby room isn't plastered before weekend of 17th Dec then we will wallpaper that room. Keep yourself comfy Mav - we still have a lot to do before you arrive!!! (I found a few good sites when looking for wallpaper: for tips on saving money and things like Cath Kidson style paper at a lower price and for fab original 70's print vintage decal cut outs of birds and elephants etc.)

To make us feel better about what we still have to do we turned to a list.
Showing just how much we don't know and our complete naivety, see below our attempt at thinking through what we need to buy for a baby:
  • Car seat
  • Pram
  • Cot
  • Carrier thing (sling or the like)
  • Expressing machine, a few bottles (and a steriliser)
  • Bed linen
  • Clothes - 6 vests, 6 babygros (white), 2 x socks, hat and cardigan
  • Bibs (few?)
  • Blanket
  • Nappies (will go back to the reusable thing)
  • Wipes, sudacrem (that kind of thing?)
  • Changing mat
  • Wash stuff (we weren't sure what you wash a baby with but figured you do wash one)
  • 'Sleeping' bag
Currently we have a baby bath and a play mat. So we will have a very clean baby who is well entertained if nothing else?
Plan to show the list to trusty family (Mum / Fee) to review then will get buying...

Friday, 19 November 2010

Breast is best?

We only just made our NCT class without being late. Turns out Kedgeree takes slightly longer to make than we envisaged (although it was lovely- Yorkshire farm shop smoked kippers - yum and great omega 3 for our developing baby).

Turns out 2.5 hours of breastfeeding is a pretty long time and by the last half hour I really was ready to go. On the whole it was an o.k session. G Kisby remained positive and even showed an interest in knowing where the 'knitted' breast we used for a demo came from. It is probably just me / us but I can't help but want to give some advice on what good facilitation looks like and bring these sessions a bit more up to date. The doll looked about 20 years old and flip charting in groups appears to be the only 'activity'. All this taking place in a slightly cold church hall on plastic chairs means I often feel I have regressed to the early 90's.

Mmmm, my lovely husband has just brought me a large glass of mulled fruit punch as I lounge on the sofa wearing my comfiest maternity leggings and a huge chunky knit.

Anyhow, we did learn something. We were given a pack showing all the benefits to breast feeding as long as possible (something we didn't need to be sold on but good to reaffirm). We also talked through best positions to feed and how best to get the baby to feed for the first time. I thought you had to literally pick up a boob and shove it in, apparently not.
Interestingly if you placed a baby on your tummy straight after birth it would wriggle, using its instincts to get to your boob within an hour. Apparently the best way to start is using that position, you laid slightly back with the baby vertical lying onto you, waiting for the baby to start rooting then it will latch on. It was also reassuring to know that 98% of women can breastfeed, physically, if they choose to.
We were given lots of numbers and contact details for if we need support, but I think it is also imp to note that every baby is different and it may be completely straightforward or a bit of an ordeal but that it is worth sticking with, which we do plan to.

One thing I had completely not seen coming was how often they feed at first. So I am thinking, up once in the night, twice max. Quick go on a boob then back to sleep. I had fully planned to go to our friends 30th birthday parties (both of which happen within a few weeks of our due date) and to get expressing into a bottle asap so I can drink occasionally and get Gaz onto the night feeds.
Apparently this is slightly optimistic (although Gaz is of the thinking that naivety, sorry optimism, is always preferable).
For the first 6 weeks they recommend no expressing since during this time you establish your 'flow' and quantity of milk. Also, it may well be every 2 hours at first. Wo man. How am I supposed to get out and about with those facts looming? On a positive, you can drink 3 times the legal drink drive limit and still breastfeed without it harming the baby - result. Considering I won't have really drank for 9 months I kind of feel twice the legal drink driving limit may have me on the floor?

Anyhow, Mum then arrived to stay for a few nights so it was a quick drive home after I had left a considerable amount of feedback on the form at the end.
Always a pleasure having the Granny over, it even allowed us to justify a Thursday night curry which was great (and involved a toilet trip for me even before we had left the building - I'm not wasting money on milk of magnesia anymore, curry is clearly the answer).

Bring on the weekend...

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Mav learns Riverdance!

30 weeks and 3 days it has taken Mav to learn Riverdance. Good timing I'd say since he / she now hasn't really got the space to practise. Twice today I have had to get up and walk around to try and get some settling down and a bit of comfort (and also to make my way to the cake sale for Children in Need of course - doing my bit - it's all for the kids man).

We have had such a busy weekend that I haven't got round to updating our blog. G Kisby has continued to strip the hall and stairs - now with some urgency since the plasterers (and baby?) are imminent. I, in the meantime, took on 'project porch' which involved clearing, cleaning and painting the entrance to our house. It has been annoying me for ages since you walk into a lovely kitchen through mess. It took slightly longer than I'd hoped, partly due to second coats of paint being required, but I also did stop late afternoon so I didn't leave myself completely exhausted (looking for some praise). It is nearly finished and looks much better.

We are at NCT tonight for 2.5 hours of breastfeeding. Gaz has re-checked the schedule twice as he is quite bemused how we can spend so long on the subject. I will blog again tomorrow -there are sure to be tales to tell.

Oh and lastly, our Birmingham friends who featured on the blog earlier, had baby Freya at the weekend after a 'marathon' labour. Looking forward to one of those. So pleased for them (and a little more nervous still for us!)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

NCT classes start...

I had a quick trip to the hospital yesterday to get an Anti D injection. No real hassle, just a quick stop in and not at all painful.
Then it was off to our first NCT class. For once it wasn't me who wanted to leave at the last minute and by 7pm (the start time) we were still driving up and down a dark road in Brighouse looking for the right address. We finally both tumbled into a room with around 6 couples sat in a circle introducing themselves and quickly gave our apologies.

It was an interesting first session. We talked about what wanted to do over the next 6 weeks then the men went into another room whilst us girls looked at some of the biological aspects of pregnancy up to this point. The good thing is that, bar two couples, we are all due around mid Jan to mid Feb, so can talk through things happening to us at this moment. It was interesting to hear about how your intestines can move up to a ft to make space for your baby and how raspberry leaf has been shown to 'tone' those important muscles used within labour.
Finally we went through 7 cards showing the stages of labour (there are stages!?!) We learnt about a 'show' and some of the decisions to be made along the way. It was more of an introduction than anything else but actually really interesting. We agreed on the way home that we are both pretty laid back about the whole thing (and that G Kisby is lucky to have such a low maintanence pregnant wife).  It was also good that Nicki, our trainer, really doesn't preech about any particular type of labour and is keen to stress that everyone is different and makes their own mind up on which direction to take. We'll no doubt have some more thinking to do at some stage - in fact I then woke up in the night with a busy head full of baby things. Not labour, just I think an ongoing realisation that we are about to have a living baby for whom we are responsible. The group are really nice and hopefully we'll make some new friends.

Today I over did it. As a HR floor we were painting a youth centre in the centre of Bradford as part of us building community links and giving something back. I wasn't sure whether to go or not but decided in the end to drive (rather than get the coach) so I could leave early (as if). I was on refreshments and created 'Hel's caf'. It was good fun but I did pretty much make tea, clear rubbish and then make tea again for 8 hours. I didn't feel it at the time but tonight I am tiiirrred. My legs and shoulders ache so I have had a nice bath and am heading for an early night - hoping that I am feeling better in the morning so can go swimming (need to prove I can still do the same number of lengths!)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Mav gets his/her first toy whilst Nelly gets grouchy!

I've been grouchy today. Which, according to G Kisby, is o.k since it is a rarity and not the norm. For the first time I have complained about feeling fat and sluggish and winged about not being able to get comfy. I'm sure it is just a blip not helped by 2 long days in work and lots going on.

On a much more positive note, Mav received a gift from his/her Granny on Sunday, which is the very first toy we have had in the house. It is a little bird which squeeks when it bounces. It is very cute, although I still find it a little alarming when I notice it on the dressing table. Are we really about to have toys lying around the place?
We have been excited talking about our new baby this week. G Kisb is fascinated by us not knowing what he/she will look like whilst I realised that we would have a little warm bundle to hold and love and look after. Surprisingly something I hadn't really thought about previously. Mav has had a move around and is now lying vertically, not sure if head down or legs. Either way, with his new size, this is not particularly comfy. A hard foot or elbow keeps popping out above my belly button and today, when he did a particularly big kick, I swear a small amount of wee came out without me having any control of my own bladder. Not a good sign. I have upped my pelvic exercises to twice a day since Fee tells me this is just the start.

We go to our first NCT class tomorrow. Gaz suggested we needed to prepare physically and mentally. He had a point, I had fully planned to dig out the address 10 mins before we were due to be there. Unfortunately we have no idea of the topics or themes of the meetings (which G Kisby is keen to know in order that we formulate / agree our opinions). 
I am worried that my 'in denial' / beauty is pain / 'birth, what birth?' approach is neither widely shared nor encouraged. We have agreed to chat in the car about what I need to not say in order that we retain some credibility as future parents.  
In the meantime G Kisby's main worry was what he should wear. One option was work clothes (pretend to be a high flying business man) - we decided 'the Chill' would undermine this approach. I can't believe we are even having this conversation!!!