This was originally the blog of a first-time Mum to remember the ups and downs of my pregnancy - and chart the first year of my daughter's life. But I've kept it going, and am now a mother of two! More than anything, it helps me to get to sleep once I've emptied my brain of issues and concerns and emotions onto the laptop.
If you're reading this and also a mum- or dad-to-be, first time parent, or just someone who's thinking about it - I hope it gives a little insight into one person's experiences - good and bad....

Friday, 20 May 2011


The Little Monkey is three-fifths engaged... it could (and hopefully will) still be weeks away, but everything's clearly heading in the right direction, according to my 36 week ante-natal check-up. My Mum reckons he/she won't hang around, so I am starting to be a little bit on tenterhooks, looking out for any possible signs that the start of labour might be imminent. All getting a bit close...!

A few final month niggles creeping in - but nothing major at all. Definitely feeling a bit more tired (not helped by builders digging up our street from 8am every morning, and being especially noisy just when I really feel I need an afternoon nap), and losing my appetite again, a bit like in the first trimester. The congested nose part of my rhinitis has also returned, making it harder to breath at night. And that odd sensation on my tongue that I also had near the start - where it feels a bit like I've burnt it and its unpleasantly tingly and rough.

Haemorrhoids aren't going away anytime soon either - I'm not constipated, so it's just the pressure of the Little Monkey as he/she slips further down (sorry if tmi!). He/she must have dropped a bit as I'm wearing my bras on a slightly tighter setting, as my rib-cage contracts.

Talking of which - I bought my nursing bras this week. I went for a proper fitting, which wasn't as traumatic as I feared. As I may have previously alluded to, being a rather 'unusual' size I usually get really upset and wound up when I have to buy new bras, and tend to get them delivered to sort out in the comfort of my own home. But the assistant was very pleasant, and has recommended going 'just' one more cup size up to accommodate for when my milk comes in, and stick with the same back size. So I've ended up with the same style bras as I've been wearing for most of my pregnancy - just the nursing version. Hope breastfeeding goes well now.

I also went swimming this week, to try to keep me fit and active. Was a bit self-conscious at first, but it felt pretty good, so will try to go again at least twice a week for the remaining few weeks.

All our nursery furniture (cot, mattress, changing unit) arrived this week - in three separate deliveries. From friends' experiences and reading around we weren't expecting a smooth ride from Mothercare, but - while it wasn't as straight-forward as it should have been and involved several phone calls to sort out - it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Busy weekend for my OH putting it all together! But I think he'll quite enjoy it, and feel he's finally making a contribution to the build-up. The thing is - he's been making an amazing contribution for the last 8 months anyway - with all his support in various forms.

Saturday, 14 May 2011


I don't know how I ever managed to fit work in - managing to fill my days quite happily! What with still sorting the flat out, washing (and buying more) bits of baby clothing, daytime TV, reading lots and generally relaxing and enjoying myself - quite enjoying being a lady of leisure... while it lasts.

Had one day when I felt completely wiped out, and ended up having a good sleep in the middle of the day - which I know is my body telling me to slow down (and my DP also telling me). Still managed to get everything done that I was planning to do that day, but I must learn not to feel guilty for doing next to nothing some days.

Last weekend we managed to get loads of baby stuff done, without especially planning to. I did my Birth Plan, packed most of my hospital bag (hard to know what to pack for 'going home' clothes as I'm still wearing anything I might pack), and we took another trip to Mothercare and Boots for bath stuff and plenty more odds and sods.

Also had a lovely lunch this week with my friend whose twins will be arriving sometime in the next 3 weeks. She's due the same week as me, but her hospital won't let her go beyond 38 weeks. It was a good chance to natter all things baby, labour and birth - which, apart from with our respective other halves - we don't do very much with other people.

DP and I did a 2-night First Aid course especially for babies and children this week, through the Red Cross. It was well worth doing - if only for gaining a bit of confidence if ever we find ourselves in an emergency situation. It wasn't just the thought of being prepared for our own Little Monkey, but we'll find ourselves surrounded by far more babies and toddlers as a result, and it's good to know we've got that little bit of knowledge on all sorts of medical emergencies if the worst ever (hopefully never) happens.

Saturday, 7 May 2011


Aren't people nice? Took my car in for its MOT and service this week - and the lovely lady at Volkswagen had obviously clocked my bump, and when I went to pick my car up - she handed over a bottle of (not cheap) champagne to wish me luck! How lovely - was really surprised. NB - car is now also fully equipped with car seat and base, generously donated by my best friend. Baby stuff gradually infiltrating all our space!

Had to pop back into work too, to tie up a few loose ends and have an appraisal. After the unusual circumstances of leaving after a mammoth shift on Royal Wedding day last week, I was given a Good Luck card and gift voucher from everyone, which was also lovely. Didn't feel remotely strange to walking out of the building for who knows how long - I think I'm definitely ready to put my feet up for a few weeks now.

Been busy though - done all sorts of bits and bobs like sorting my car, eye test, ante-natal checkups (all good), last ante-natal class, breastfeeding class etc,  so it's not exactly felt like a week off. 

DP and I also did a tour of the Birth Centre and Labour ward at the hospital where we'll be having the Little Monkey. I thought I'd pretty much made up my mind about all that - I thought  I was all set for the Birth Centre. But when it came to it, I felt much more comfortable in the Labour ward. The rooms reminded me of a Travelodge - albeit with plenty of amenities and all the pain relief/operating theatre closer to hand. The Labour ward has one birthing pool available (so long as there are enough midwives to monitor it), so I could hopefully still use that. The Birth Centre just seemed a bit older, more 'hippy', and nothing like a 'home from home' they bill it as. So I think for the first one, I'll be much happier in more of a hospital environment - not that it felt too 'hospitally'.

Annoyingly, the  midwife showing us round was giving us conflicting information to things we'd been told by the midwife at our ante-natal classes (all from the same hospital) - about things like which ward I'd be on after the birth. I got quite frustrated and angry at what seems to be emerging as a pattern of no one really knowing what's going on, and constant conflicting information from within the same NHS trust.

I'm also getting a bit wound up by the constant negative messages from people like my GP. Things like "oh, you'll feel like a whale soon" and "no one's birth ever goes to plan". Not true. I've had plenty of friends whose births have - and, while it may change in my last month, I'm constantly surprised by how NOT big I feel at the moment. I know I have to keep realistic about everything that might or might not happen at the end of my pregnancy and during labour/birth - and I am - but a few positive messages wouldn't go amiss...

Monday, 2 May 2011


I have finished work. A very odd feeling, especially as my last day was the Royal Wedding, and as a journalist it was one of the busiest days EVER. And most of my colleagues were out of the office reporting from location, so when I finally left there wasn't really anyone to say goodbye to (other than the two people I'm very good friends with at work, and I was seeing the following day anyway!).
My actual maternity leave doesn't start until May16th - the first two weeks are annual leave -  so perhaps that's why it doesn't really feel like I've left. I thought I'd feel a bit more emotional after 10 years at the same place, and not having a clue when I'll be going back, but it really doesn't feel like anything at all. I have wondered whether I've taken time off too early, but with the long, anti-social hours that I work, I decided I could just do without the stress and enjoy as much relaxation time as possible.

All my friends with kids say that's definitely the right thing to do. One of them has even sent me some books that I was planning to buy - and told me put my feet up and relax as much as possible. It really blew me away that she was so thoughtful - and I intend to do lots of reading and DVD watching in the 6-weeks or so until the Little Monkey puts in their appearance.

There is a sign that I am ready to finish work - a few pregnancy niggles are starting to creep in. Had quite painful and irritating piles in the last week (nice - but had them years ago quite severely so doesn't concern me too much). And more frequent disturbed nights sleeps from not being able to get comfortable, or the Little  Monkey giving me a right hammering as he/she decides to do an Irish jig in the middle of the night. But seeing as I'm so near the end I'm not surprised, and I'm also very grateful the little niggles have taken this long to appear. I know how lucky I am that they're so minor and not been throughout my pregnancy.

We've ordered and paid for the pram (Bugaboo Bee) finally. And we're still buying odds and sods - bottle stuff (although planning to exclusively breastfeed at the start), a few sleepsuits and baby-gros. Also picked up the car seat and base that we're borrowing from my best friend - so the car is now baby-ready! That also meant another brief visit to my parents - and they'd had another mooch around  Mothercare, and bought some hooded baby towels and bath stuff... stuff that I really wanted to buy myself, but of course I was grateful to them. Mum's done a great job of knitting a couple of cardigans too - a particularly lovely arun one (shame it will be the height of summer).