Sunday, 31 October 2010

A night out in Brighton!

We travelled down to Brighton this weekend for our friend Jenny's 30th birthday.
Unbelievably the way down took slightly longer due to toilet stops, and it wasn't pregnant girl who was calling the shots. When G Kisby asked if there was anything in the water bottle it wasn't because he was thinking of drinking it! I had to put my foot down then pull in at the next services, there was no way I was being a part of that.

We had a really lovely night, it was a long way to go for one evening out but Jen & Ben had been really good coming up for Gaz's birthday (not to mention coming back from India early for our wedding) so a 5 hour drive didn't seem quite so bad in context. I was worried about staying awake / upright all night but actually it was absolutely fine. I managed to wear my high red shoes for at least an hour or so (first time wearing really high shoes for a while, did think I might topple over, cream pumps were pulled out the bag to save me) and some gold jewellery helped to make my otherwise plain outfit (how could I ever forget how accessories doth make an outfit). 'George' has a load of jewellery in the sale so was able to stock up. The pub played some great, but quite load, music which meant that Mav was going crazy with his kicking and moving for most of the night. At midnight Gaz and I called it a night and head back up the hill to Jen's flat whilst everyone else headed for some dancing. Very much appreciative of my lovely husband who wouldn't hear of carrying on without me despite the fact that I did encourage it. 'Our' pregnancy feels much nicer together!

However, we did do something else last night of which neither of us are proud. The 'I won't eat animals that haven't had happy lives / must eat healthy food for the sake of both baby and thighs' girl did something very bad and hypocritical. I can only defend myself on the grounds that it was a 'craving'. I can hardly bear to write it down...

We went to Mcdonalds. That's right I fed our unborn child a cheeseburger from the golden arches. What's worse - it was really nice. If it makes it any better I had a super healthy low fat granola and cherry yoghurt from M&S on the way home vs. G Kisby who followed up his Big Mac meal with a service station full english. Bad times. Mav was quiet this morning too which made me slightly nervous, the odd kick but just faint. However, I think it may have just been a case of too much hard partying since after a sleep on the way home he is back on form kicking the laptop as I write this. As Katie and I discussed, you curse the kicks but when they go you don't half panic and want them back!

We did a big shop on route home and stocked up on fish, fruit and veg for the week ahead. Sorry Mav.

On a slightly more positive note our friends Phil and Claire had their 3rd baby last night. A little girl, as yet unnamed. We are so thrilled for them. Will hopefully have some pictures soon, we'll no doubt try and go to Nottingham and visit before Christmas.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Snowdonia bliss...

Doing our usual commute of an hour sat in traffic tonight was harder than usual. It always seems to feel worse when you have been away from it all, and Snowdonia was literally that.
Lovely converted barn in 700 acres of countryside. Loads for the boys to do outside from toasting 'damper bread' on the campfire (dough with chocolate in the middle) to playing in streams. We did a few short walks (still keeping up, just, but getting out of breath quite quickly), read the papers and lurched from one meal to the next.
Fee cooked an amazing traditional minestrone soup (will post the receipe when they get back) and Gaz as usual pulled out all the stops with a lamb roast. With no signal or tv there was plenty of chatting and general chilling out - bliss. As for the surroundings - just gorgeous - autumn colours, frosty with brilliant sunshine, amazing mountains.
As would be the case, Mav decided not to perform this weekend and on Saturday was as quiet as he/she has been for a while. Just as I had a captive audience ready to feel some movements. By Sunday he/she was back on form so Chloe and Hannah both got some good kicks. See below for picture of Mav at 27 weeks old with his cousin Kenzie:
I think that he may be facing my back and lying sideways since a strange bump keeps coming out rather than kicks, which is a bit uncomfortable and doesn't seem keen to go back in even when 'nudged' slightly. Think it may be a bum?
Mav also had his first go on a rope swing, hours of fun and dizziness. Slightly worried that he may have still been spinning in there for about an hour after I stopped...?

Monday, 25 October 2010

Weekend of fun in Wales...

Wo, what a hectic week. We have just got back from a weekend in Wales with our beautiful nephews and lovely family. Due to a late arrival home we convinced ourselves it was o.k to re-create a Saturday night with curry and X-Factor. G Kisby has even gone in for a beer (still claiming 'holiday' time).
In the run up to our weekend away we did food shopping, present buying (Al had his birthday whilst there) and also attempted to shop at Trafford for an outfit for Jen's 30th in Brighton next weekend. Neither of us were successful and I think Gaz was surprised to see just how slim the options were on the pregnancy front.
H&M probably offered the best selection (although still including some random summer dresses, no other range in the store would still hold such items during October). There was a leopard print shirt which was right on trend and some good shirt dresses for around £20. I did buy a brilliant black stretchy skirt which will be useful for both work and play, teemed with a vest and some heels. Couple of nice things online too:
Topshop have some bits in their midseason sale which are worth a look including vests for £1 which are always handy to stock up on.
However, all in all I am completely shocked at just how little there is if you want to dress for this season and not spend a fortune. Well actually not shocked, I do understand that you need to drive 'pounds per foot' of the shop floor and that maternity is only appealing to a tiny part of the population. But then, there must be plenty of women like me, who don't just want to wear black trousers and a v neck jersey top in 3 colour ways and the most basic of cardigans.
I am going to mix and match. Black 'above the knee' maternity skirt from H&M, black maternity vest top along with an item in leopard print (plenty available on the high street, an angora cardigan from Topshop is calling me) and my red 'dorothy' esq shoes. Lets see how long I manage to stand in those babies. Innnovation, I am finding, is the only answer!
Photos and memories of our great weekend to follow tomorrow (X Factor has finished and it is way past bed time on a school night, that's right G Kisby, a school night)...

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Attacked from the inside?

I think Mav is angry about something...either that or the calm and relaxed baby we are hoping for is really not in there.
All day today I have been attacked from the inside. And the kicks are not light flutters anymore. Normally Gaz seems to have the calming touch (as if we ever doubted that would be the case) - one hand firmly pressed on my tummy and all goes quiet (sometimes he will also do a wee lecture speaking into my tummy too - depending on the severity of the actions). Today, however, he got kicked in the mouth. And when he asked, "Er, what was that?" and listened for a response, he got another kick to the ear.
It really is quite distracting in work when sat in quite an important meeting only to have your hand jolted off where it was happily placed.
Perhaps the cramped surroundings really are starting to get annoying for him / her? Maybe he/she just has very good taste and the hospitality is not up to scratch? I sincerely hope there is nothing wrong - I honestly don't think all the exercise is helping with piling on the pounds.
Talking of piling on the pounds I got a side glance of myself in a mirror at the gym last night and was slightly peturbed. I've never seen a fat Hel before. Not sure I was a fan.
So I came home and ate a massive portion of cottage pie (constipation issue has been resolved for this week by two meals of lentil dahl) and a chocolate bar. Ah, and so it begins...

Monday, 18 October 2010

The maternity bra...

I had a conversation yesterday with my friend Katie, who is expecting twins around the same time as us, about the old maternity bra.
Now I have a couple of issues with this contraption. For a long time I have been avoiding taking it on, my boobs being more than happy (not to mention perky) in their normal structured bra. I did buy a couple of new basic bras from M&S in a larger size, but I was not ready to take the plunge (or lack of plunge as it may be).
I had vaguely heard something which I chose to ignore about milk and ducts and non underwired. Not for me I thought, happy as I am.
However, I then heard the words 'stretch marks' and 'sagging' and suddenly I was all ears.

So I ventured into Mothercare (that shop still makes me cringe) and over to the underwear dept. "Right," I thought, "let's not waste any more money on underwear. I will buy some nursing bras, preferably in a nice design / colour and have done with it"
Not so, according to the friendly sales assistant. She then went on to talk about 'going up another cup size' once you are feeding (your kidding?), that no, underwired was definitely not an option and yes, these were all the options.
So I have done it. I bought a pack of 2 non underwired, will only last me the next 13 weeks, maternity bras. They're not cheap and they're not clever. They look like 'mum' bras. They cover every available area of skin with a token strip of lace and a bow - as if that makes them more attractive. They don't push up (in fact the opposite) and they have straps the width of rulers.
What they are is comfy. Very comfy. But that does not make this acceptable.

I am going to keep an eye out for some more attractive nursing bras since by that point I think I may be in even more need of attracting my husband. G Kisby reassures me that they are not that bad. Katie tells me Colin washed hers within a coloured wash and they are now grey. I guess I have to be thankful for small mercies!!!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

26 weeks for a first shopping spree!

Today we went over to Wakefield to an NCT 'good as new' sale. G Kisby clearly didn't want to go - though he will deny this fact 'til the end. Comments such as: "So what is this thing again" (I have told him about 3 times); " Do you have directions? We have an early start as it is I don't want to get lost" (we needed to get up around 8) and; "We need go get cash out? Can't you pay on debit card? What is it some sort of car boot ?" all led me to what I believe was a pretty safe assumption.
However, we went anyway, for the start time of 10am.
When we arrived the carpark of the school in which it was being held seemed slightly busier than I expected. We got what I think may have been the last parking space and headed for the entrance, only to be met with a humongous queue. O oh. Gaz did not look impressed. The fact that they were giving out Ikea monster blue shopping bags and a magazine called 'Stork Talk' did not help. As we walked to the end of the queue Gaz uttered the words, "oh my God, this is horrific", which I had to tell him not to repeat. No number of comedy comments or arm squeezing seemed to help. I was slightly concerned that it was a 'Monica from friends at the wedding sale shop' scenario but that we were underprepared with no whistles (and with Gaz showing potential to be like Rachel as opposed to Phoebe).
There were also tons of kids in the queue - is it a worry that the crying and general noise made me feel slightly sick? At what point should you start liking kids???
Anyway, I needn't have worried. Although completely lost amongst the mayhem inside, G Kisby came good and was on form holding boxes so we could collect more between us. We got a baby bath (with some sort of mini bath within it - not sure what the hell we do with that), a donut 'sit your baby up' thing and a baby play gym, best described I think as 'one of those things you lie your baby under whilst you chat to your friends over a cup of tea' - all for just £12.00!
Bargain! Having had a taste for it I have now found another sale nearer to home in November and we'll be heading back - this time with our whistles in tact.

Another highlight of the day was that we have started stripping the hall, stairs and baby room. I spent the afternoon doing everything I could reach (or just a few steps up the ladder) and Gaz has made us a curry feast for dinner - mmmmm. Tomorrow we are going to swap roles and he is going to take on the ceiling - argh! A nice bubble bath followed (Mav never moves around much in water, maybe there is something to be said for a water birth?) and Gaz arrived with a warm glass of alcohol free mulled fruit punch. Bring on Christmas!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Gammon, egg and chips!

G Kisby and I are celebrating the end of a long week tonight with the inappropriate tea of gammon, egg and oven chips - yyuuuum! May well pop some peas on there oo - just for Mav's sake! Small glass of wine whilst it cooks too...

This week Mav appears to have accelerated his development. I have gone from 'potentially just eaten too many pies' to 'clearly pregnant'. There are both good and bad sides to this I have found.
On the positive front it gives people more confidence to randomly say, "ah when are you due" or " I didn't realise you were pregnant" - which brings into play the great come back of, "er no, I'm not, I'm just holding a bit of weight" - hours of fun. I am also quite pleased that it is clear so that it doesn't just look like I am a pie fan.
On the negative I am slightly more uncomfortable, particularly when Mav kicks so much. Nothing to complain about, I just need to re-adjust my position a little more and get ever so slightly out of breath when walking up the stairs. Am still managing my normal lengths quota at the pool though so that is good. 
Today in an interview for my mat leave cover I had to hold my hands over my tummy for fear that the guy could actually see the movement going on - it is really obvious, someone in work did comment that they could see it happening the other day. Think we have a gymnast in the making?

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Another mentor session

We had our second mentoring session this week ('we' being myself and Kirsten, another girl on the people floor). This time we talked about our hopes and vision for the next 12 months.
I wasn't very helpful since I am still struggling to see past what I'm having for lunch, or at the furthest my extended christmas break. I do think it was a good thing to consider though, particularly as Kirsten and I are both having babies for the first time. Clearly she was more advanced in her thinking and was able to articulate both the type of 'mum' she wants to be and how she sees things changing. I was still flinching at the term 'mum' and was more concerned about what won't change (our meals out - baby in car seat discretely under table). So it was good for me to stop and try and reflect a bit more on some questions I had clearly missed.

We have some homework for next time (love it - I wanted to know if it would be marked, apparently not) which is to reflect on a couple of topics and either write or draw our responses.
The topics were:
Family life
Work life (balance etc)
Social / community
Idea being that we have the opportunity to shape the next 12 months and that things are more likely to happen the way we would like them to if we are proactive. Agreed.
So I shall do so and blog my thoughts at a later stage.
Nicki also printed us out a load of info from NCT on returning to work and finances (main topics we discussed at our last session) for us to read. I think there is a gap currently around planning financially since although there are websites to help understand what you can receive e.g tax credits, in other areas (e.g childcare) I don't have a clue what to budget for.

Also had 'bump club' this week at work - a session with the people team to talk over policies and processes around mat leave etc. Was good to clarify what I will receive - all now becoming very real. I am interviewing for my mat leave cover tomorrow which is a really strange feeling. I was talking to G Kisby about how strange it is to be thinking about letting someone else do your job. He started in a mat cover role so was trying to reassure me that the person will be really supportive and understand that it isn't a permanent position. That was until I reminded him that he was really hoping they didn't return, "Yeah well there was that" he replied!

We have the option of going in for 'keeping in touch' days which seem a good idea (and are paid), particularly towards the end of mat leave so you can start to feel vaguely involved again. However, I was then thinking that you don't want the person covering the role to feel uncomfortable about you being there - but then it is still my job!?!
Finally there is the thought, new to me, that actually they may be brilliant and do the job better than you did - ooh don't like that idea.
Decided that I'm going to up my game for the last 10 weeks, just a glimmer of competition and I can't help but get all ambitious again!!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Finally back online

Just as the laptop was broke again. We got it back from the laptop doctor last night so hopefully now all o.k.
So what have I missed?
Well there was the midwife appointment last Tue. She wasn't massively pleasant, telling me I mustn't miss appointments (it was only a week late and my scan had been later which was totally out of my hands) and that I mustn't ever forget my notes (that was my  fault admittedly). Apparently I must now take my notes every where with me in case I suddenly go into labour. What with her stern attitude I didn't feel it wise to say that should I suddenly go in to labour at this stage, finding my pesky notes would be the last thing on my mind.
Mavs is slightly smaller than he/she should be on the graph but the midwife said not to worry at this stage (all the same I have committed to eating less cereal based lunches and being ever so slightly less pleased with my compact bump).
There was a great night of food and comedy in Sheffield with Amy and Matt, who are newly engaged. Seats were small though and did worry I was starting to overheat - we were very high up.
I also had another session of mentoring at work - will update blog tomorrow - since in the meantime another interesting incident took place.

Sat having a lovely tea of Kipper Carbonara, in front of the t.v (football was on) when G Kisby suddenly puts his plate down and scrambles to what can only be described as a foetal position on the couch.
I quickly realise the issue, a spider is making its way across the lounge,
"O.k, lets be sensible, we're both adults" shouts G Kisby from his child like position practically now on the back of the couch,
"It's fine, I'll get it, calm down" I reply, whilst trying really hard to remember that this is a phobia so unfair to ridicule,
"Not with your hands, not with your hands, get a glass and trap it quick or it will have to die" shouts my now slightly crazy sounding husband. No. I can't help it. It is just too funny,
"Stop being so scared, it's just a spider, I'll get a glass" I respond walking to the door,
"Careful! Don't alarm it" comes the response.
I get a glass and swiftly trap said spider thinking that will be the end,
"Right, where are you putting it" questions the crazy,"outside, it has to go outside, I need to actually see you put it outside"
"O.k", I say (stopping myself from mentioning that a house spider really shouldn't be put outside),
"I am going to follow you, you back up to the other side of the room, I'll get the door and go ahead" commands crazy,
"Riiiight, o.k babe, you go ahead!"
We both eventually go outside. I am made to walk down away from the door and release the bemused spider from the glass.
"Phew, glad we could be sensible there" G Kisby laughs, sitting back down and scanning the room for spider mates,
"Yeah babe, really sensible!"

Friday, 8 October 2010

Broken again...

So the old laptop has broken again. V.irritating. Something about wireless Internet connection? So again using the iPhone.
We stayed in a hotel in leeds last night as gaz out with work. Was planning a lie in till at least seven and a good nights sleep but that was not to be. As I checked in I asked the girl on reception to leave a key for gaz to pick up but she had obviously finished by the time gaz rocked up at 2am. Unfortunately his 'claim' to need a key was not wholly believed which meant I was woken by a polite voice, "madam, can I confirm that you have a gentleman to visit your room". I laughed and said it must be my husband to which he replied, "very well" clearly not believing me. Instead of a hot blonde gaz found a knackered fat ginger preggers girl with roots. Unlucky.

Monday, 4 October 2010

O oh- broken laptop

Last night the laptop started doing something very strange then suddenly died. A trip to Pc world gave us a nice £60 bill to fix some sort of corrupt file. I hate that, they could tell u anything and there is nothing you can do. I blame pesky ITunes which was the thing open at the time.
Anyhow means blogging from G Kisby's phone which is not easy or fun.
Mav seems to have had a growth spurt this week and become a funny pointed shape. I am also amazed at just how much movement you can see, it doesn't stop being fascinating. Midwife visit tomorrow, not sure what to do but will pop along all the same.
One thing we do need to have a good think about, which would be easier if had Internet, is nct. We had signed up and paid for classes in hudd but had an email saying it was cancelled and moved to much further away. Since the main reason for going was to meet people this is a bit annoying. Also Sean and Sally were telling us there was very little about actually giving birth and I'm pretty interested in hypno birth but we can't afford to do both... Tricky one. More research required I think!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

A designer bump!

Today we drove to Matlock to meet our Birmingham friends Sean and Sally.

Sally is due to have a baby in 5 weeks and as you can see is sporting a wonderfully designer bump - all front, compact, I liked it a lot. In fact it is exactly the look I am going for so I was pleased to be able to show that to Maverick in person so he was clear on how much growing to do. They also spurred us into action on the home front and we nipped to B&Q to buy some ladders so that we can start to clear the baby room tomorrow.

We had fish and chips, a nice walk down the front of Matlock Bath and bought some old style sweets (of course, for once I managed to resist fudge). Finally before leaving for home we sat and had a drink in a pub where a very funny incident took place. So Gaz has been repeatedly telling me that my belly button is not that prominent. A lady walked over to us and exclaimed, "Oh look, you're both pregnant", followed by the explaination, "Wow look at you belly button". That's right - across the pub she could see my God dam belly button. No more am I listening to Gaz, the alien must be restrained.
On a more positive note, see Maverick at 24 weeks exactly on the right - he/she is now 'viable' to be born, how very exciting!!!