Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Final Countdown - 2 weeks to go!!!

Gestation: 37 weeks

I'm feeling: Tired! It's been a crazy week. In fact, it's been a crazy couple of weeks! Loads going on here, between school meetings, Daisy's cheerleading competitions, appointments, dog grooming...there has hardly been a single day without lots of things happening, and often we're on the go from 6.30am and don't get a chance to sit down until after 9pm. At this stage of pregnancy, it's an exhausting pace to keep up with, but we manage.
Thursday was a difficult day, because I had to take Charlie's bike to school in the car (dragging a heavy bike in and out of the car is not pleasant when you're this big and sore), and I had to take the dogs to the groomers and back, cook dinner, do the usual housework, pick the kids (and bike) up again, take Daisy to cheerleading and Charlie to cubs....all in gale force winds with freezing cold driving rain. 
Thank goodness for Steve, who just jumps right into dad mode when he comes home from work and helps out with the evening routine! To be fair, he did most of the cheerleading and cubs runs, while I stayed home and tidied up after dinner. It was just one of those days where as soon as one job was done, we had to immediately go out and do something else, so by 9pm, I was pretty tired and tearful.
Luckily, I'm pretty good at adopting the "Just do it" attitude, so I sucked it up, got on with it, and reminded myself that in a few weeks, it'll be the summer holidays and we won't have to be in a million places at once!
As I said to my mum though, this busy lifestyle is actually an advantage, because when baby comes, getting into a routine won't be a hassle. I well remember sitting in my pyjamas all day long when Charlie was tiny, wondering how on earth people managed to get out of the house! Nowadays, I have no choice but to be organised and get to several places over the course of a day, so I won't have a chance to sit around feeling tired when baby comes, it'll be the same routine, just with an extra tiny person strapped to my chest!
Having said all that, I'm looking forward to tonight, the kids are off to their dad's overnight, and although I really miss them when they go, it'll be nice for Steve and I to just flump and relax after our hectic week. He's incredibly busy and overstretched at work, so I'm looking forward to a nice evening of loveliness, we both deserve a rest!
17 days today until Baby Widders is here, and then our days and nights will be even busier! Best enjoy the peace while we still can...

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Final Countdown - 3 weeks to go!!!

Gestation: 36 weeks

I'm feeling: Pretty good! Turns out we have slightly longer to wait, however, boo! We had originally been given a provisional delivery date of Friday 7th June, but it couldn't officially be booked until I was 36 weeks. Yesterday, at our booking in appointment, it turned out that our date was already fully booked, and so was the following Monday, so our delivery date is now Tuesday, 11th June.
I'll be honest, we were a little disappointed, because we have to wait longer, and also, the way it had been planned meant that I'd have delivered on the Friday, been home from hospital on the Sunday and Steve would have had two full weeks off work to be at home with us.
This way, I'll deliver on the Tuesday and be home on the Thursday/Friday, which means that the whole first week of his paternity leave will be used up while I'm in hospital, and he'll only have one week at home with us afterwards. Dammit!
However, I'm well aware that babies are not designed to work to schedules, and all that matters is that our little one is delivered safe and healthy, rather than on a convenient date! We'll sort something out, I'm sure.
We will have to do something extra nice on 7th June, to stop the inevitable "Baby should be here NOW!!!" hormone-apocalypse ;)
I'm very cheered by the fact that we have a date though, and that's the absolute latest that our baby will be here. I'm on a birth board on FB where lots of women are already well overdue, and I well remember how crazy it drives you when you have literally no idea when things might start. I've known people whose husbands/partners work offshore or abroad, and face the very real possibility of missing their own baby's birth due to work commitments. It must be a nightmare knowing your husband is going away on a certain date, and your due date comes and goes with no sign of baby.
So, yes, counting my blessings here, my dilemma is absolutely nothing compared to some people's!

Also, looking towards the actual delivery, I'm feeling very fortunate to be having an elective c-section. I've read some very scary birth stories lately, and remembering the traumatic deliveries of Charlie and Daisy, I'm delighted that I won't have to go through that again. I know some people really feel like they're missing out by having to have a c-section, but I'm more than happy to just get my baby out quickly, safely and calmly. 24 days and counting!

Baby Prep: We have prepped all we can prep, we're absolutely ready! All essential furniture, blankets, bedding, nappy changing bits, bags, pram and anything else we need are all here and ready to go. Just need a baby now!

So yes, all in all, it's been a good week. As expected at this stage, I'm getting pretty darned uncomfortable, heavy and sore. Not sleeping due to peeing every two mins, constant heartburn, occasional unexplained hormonal meltdowns, getting out of breath when I walk, finding pretty much everything tiring and slow, etc etc.
Having said all that, I'm so incredibly lucky. I'm 36 weeks pregnant, conceived within a month of trying, have been pretty healthy throughout, and at this stage, baby is a good size and gestation, and if s/he was born today, s/he would no longer be considered premature and probably wouldn't need special care.
Every time I catch sight of my wedding ring or feel my baby wriggle, I am filled with love and gratitude for how much my life has changed for the better and how unbelievably lucky we are, so moaning and hormonal meltdowns aside, I am counting my blessings all the time, and there are MANY.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Hormones, hysterics and hilarity...

Aren't hormones fun? I think I can safely say that pretty much every woman alive has had a ridiculous hormonal outburst for absolutely no good reason at some point in her life, and pregnancy just throws that whole hot mess into a completely new level of craziness!

I'm a cheery, happy, level headed person, but when I think back to some of the hormonal outbursts I've had during pregnancy, I have to laugh! Once, when I was expecting Daisy, I was washing dishes in the kitchen and I burst into tears. My mum was there and asked what was wrong.
I said "It's not bubbly"
She replied, "What's not bubbly?"
I threw a cup into the water and shouted "The WATER!!! It's not BUBBLY ENOUGH!!!!!", then burst into big snotty sobs and sat on the floor crying uncontrollably. Because my dishwater wasn't bubbly enough.

Last night, I had an epic hormonal outburst because we were watching a programme about a really poor council estate, and Steve joked (Joked - I knew he was joking!) that it made our town look posh. Cue me in floods of tears because I didn't want him thinking I'd ruined his life by not living in a super posh town and having loads of money! I know for a fact that none of that matters to either of us, but Crazy Lady hormones made me ridiculously upset over a harmless joke. Honestly, I feel sorry for blokes sometimes....

This morning, I woke up feeling absolutely fine and decided to ask on my pregnancy FB group for other women's stories about hormonal outbursts, just to prove to myself that I'm not the only one who turns into a basket case towards the end of pregnancy! Well, mission accomplished. Here are the results....

" My oh came in from work and I'd said we needed to go shopping and I wasn't going on my own and he was like, 'what we doing then? C'mon you're not even ready!' And I was sat there ready to go with my bag right next to me, I of course took this as he didnt want to go an I was expected to do it all myself so I said as much whilst bursting into tears and slamming all the doors on my way out saying 'I'd do it myself and carry all the shopping on my own then!' "

"I  was going out for tea and OH told me I hadn't blended bronzer in, then said I had something on my tooth. Cue me shouting that he didn't need to pick up on all these imperfections and throwing my hand bag across car at him. He laughed for ages!"

I've had a few outrageously hormonal moments since being pregnant which i look back on with pure embarrassment now!
- Throwing the remote control at hubby as i screamed and cried at him that if he went to a pub quiz with his friends where "that whore" 
would be then i would divorce him... (that whore is actually a good friend of ours who is no threat to me at all, and is very happily engaged to her fiance. I had literally no reason for my tantrum, my poor husband was SO confused)

-When i sat and cried on DHs shoulder because i discovered that all my comfy pants were in the wash, the world was clearly against me and wanted me to suffer in my lesser comfy pants.

- When i didn't have the energy to brush my wet hair after a shower, so threw myself on the bed and cried into a pillow until he came upstairs and brushed it for me, while he made the similar sort of coo-ing "there there" sounds that you would usually only make to a wild animal in distress.

As i said, ridiculous! x"

 "When I was about 20 weeks pregnant I called my husband while he was working away in hysterics because the smoke alarm was beeping and needed the battery changing and I had managed to change it and it still wouldn't stop! Drove me absolutely mental! He panicked and thought I was in pain as I couldn't actually talk to him, i just cried and snivelled, haha! x"

I got a gorgeous roast dinner ready. Took me ages and was a lot of effort as I was really tired and sore. Got it into the oven and cooked for 1hr when I discovered we'd run out of gas for the cooker. Dinner couldnt be saved and I cried as I ate sandwiches instead."

I think the worst for me was when I was in the car (DH was driving) and in the middle of nowhere I decided I wanted Costa coffee. As there I was no where to get one from I started wailing 'I want my mummy!' (I'm 38)!!! DH just looked at me and said 'oh not now!'"

"I had a bit of a cry in bakers as they had no chicken bakes left  haven't been back since!"

Ahh, so glad I'm not the only one! Poor, poor men having to put up with us randomly going mental over nothing. Feel free to share your stories of Crazy Lady moments, I'm off to sob into my tea because it's not sweet enough....

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Final Countdown - 4 weeks to go!!!

Gestation: 35 weeks

I'm feeling: Physically? Sore, heavy and tired.
                    Emotionally? Brilliant! I'm very happy and excited right now. I know this is a prime time for starting to get impatient and wishing for the baby to be here NOW, but I'm avoiding that kind of thinking this time around. I think it helps that I'm having an elective c-section, because what actually drives you nuts in the last few weeks is not knowing when things will happen. That anticipation, fear and the feeling that every twinge might be "it" is what makes you incredibly fed up in the later stages.
This time, I'll have an actual delivery date, and if things happen before then, fair dos, but I'm not expecting that! I do get twinges and pains, but I'm more able to write them off as normal pregnancy related aches and pains, whereas the last two times I was back and forth to the hospital every time, and that's not good for you. Lots of hanging around followed by being sent home will drive anyone crazy!
I went to breastfeeding group on friday, and that was awesome. Everyone there is so nice and similar in outlook to me. Lots of babywearing, breastfeeding, cloth nappy using and general supportiveness, it's brilliant and I always leave there full of enthusiasm and excitement. Last time I joined baby groups, most of the other mums were more interested in immaculate houses, designer clothes and training their babies to "behave". There would often be knowing smirks between them if I chatted about natural parenting or picked up my crying child, along with tuts of "You're making a rod for your own back", "You'll regret that when he's older", or my personal favourite, "Put that bloody baby down! He needs to learn that you've got cleaning to do, you can't scrub your bathroom and hold a baby at the same time. Put him down to cry, it'll be the making of him!"
Um, yeah. It's hardly surprising that I didn't exactly fit in there, and my PND meant that I took the comments as a failure and felt pretty awful as a mum. It's no refreshing to meet mums who have the same parenting philosophies as me this time round, coupled with the confidence of being a bit older, knowing what worked for me and being more comfortable with following my own instincts. Feeling extremely positive that this time round, I'll be absolutely fine, and having a social circle of like minded mums makes me even more excited!

I'm eating: Still lots of mango and ice lollies, I'm always hot and thirsty at the moment!

Baby Prep: We got our cot mattress this week, so the cot looks brilliant with bedding on it, instead of a holding pen for baby equipment! Also bought a nappy box and a Mombo feeding pillow, and inspired by the mums at breastfeeding group, I'm going to look into getting some more washable baby wipes and natural baby washes. Might also look into getting some breastfeeding tea as well.

All in all, a brilliant week, and the coming week should be good too! I'm seeing one of the mums from BF group on monday, my pram arrives on tuesday, getting the dog groomed on wednesday, having a day of rest and reading on thursday, and friday is my 36 week scan and consultant appointment, so by next week's blog, I'll have a definite section date, yay!!!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Dear Baby...

Well, yesterday was eventful!
Baby Widders, you were so still when I woke up in the morning, and my mothering instinct told me that something wasn't right, or at least wasn't as it usually is. I know I'm asleep all night, but I must be unconsciously aware of your movements, because as soon as I opened my eyes, my first thought was "Why hasn't baby moved since last night?"
I lay for twenty minutes, switching sides, to see if I could feel anything, but nope, you were perfectly still, and that made my heart feel a little bit panicky.
I phoned the hospital, and Daddy and I went in to see what was going on. After an hour of waiting, we finally got strapped to a monitor to measure your heartbeats. Everything was fine, but the midwife thought that my bump was a bit too small for dates, and told me I would need a scan to make sure you hadn't stopped growing. Unfortunately, I had no idea when the scan would be and we just had to wait.
Poor Daddy had to take the whole day off work, which was good because he wasn't feeling well anyway, but bad because he is SO busy at work and knew it would mean being twice as busy today!
Anyway, we had a long wait ahead, so we snuggled up on the hospital bed together and had a snooze until it was finally time for the scan.
Well, after five hours of waiting, we were called through, and this is what we saw...

The most beautiful little face ever! Oh my goodness baby, you are absolutely stunning. You were opening and closing your big eyes, sticking out your tongue, smacking your gorgeous rosebud lips together and waving your lovely little hands around. Your measurements are fine, you are right on time and there are no worries about your growth.You are absolutely perfect. Seriously, you're amazing.
I've always been in love with you, but I struggled to imagine exactly what you'd look like. When I saw you yesterday, I fell even more in love. I can't wait to see your face for real, to kiss your little nose and look into those amazing big eyes. You are going to look just like your daddy, which is lucky, because believe me, he is absolutely gorgeous!
It was worth the scare to see you on screen. I know that you're okay, and that's worth far more than a whole day of waiting around. I promise you baby, that I will always protect you, I'll always trust my instincts, and no matter how many false alarms you might give us, I will never take any chances or worry about wasting people's time. As daddy said, you are our priority, and if making sure you're okay means taking time off work, sitting around for hours on end waiting for doctors or being scared to bits, we will do it all for you.
We love you Baby Widders, and we'll see you for real very very soon xxxxxxx

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Unicorn moments

Okay, I'm telling the absolute truth when I say that parenting is the best job in the world.
Rewarding? Very.
Fun? Absolutely?
Worthwhile? Of course!
Hard? Like, earth shatteringly, exhaustingly, ridiculously hard? Oh hells yes!
If only we were all honest about that part!

Things have been very slightly more challenging than usual here this week. Daisy hasn't been well, she's been full of the cold and not sleeping brilliantly, giving me a bit of a reminder of what it's like to be up with a crying child all night. I've also been really sore, whether it's the baby getting ready to "assume the position" or not, I'm not sure, but I've had a few days of pain and struggling to do, well, anything!

It's sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees when you're tired. You get snappy, impatient, feel a little sorry for yourself and things can get on top of you.
Mummy guilt comes with the territory, but sometimes, it's good to just take a deep breath, count to ten, and try to salvage a unicorn moment.

Okay, so we're exhausted, we can't be bothered to even shower...let's make salt dough in our pyjamas;

Dust if you must, but try to laugh it off if your child reminds you that it's been a while;

If you're exhausted and the house is falling apart, open a pack of whoopie pie mix. Homemade (even from a packet) cake fixes everything...

Dogs don't care how tidy the house is, how much money is in the bank or how horribly rainy and cold it is outside. Dogs are the definition of big, furry unicorns, the whole world is a magical place to them! Doggie cuddles solve everything...

...and if you really need to give yourself a shake, put on the sparkliest, happiest, cheesiest, gayest music you can imagine. Sing. Loudly. Dance like an idiot, and remember that it's really not that bad;

Sometimes the challenges of everyday life do make us grumpy, tired and generally pissed off. It's easy to forget how good we have it, but that's when it's most important to take yourself to one side, give yourself a shake and try to salvage your day with a bit of unicorn magic. Even if it's just laughing at yourself, dancing madly or writing your name in the dust.
I try to not have "bad days", just bad parts of days. It's never too late to turn a bad day round, just try to find something to make you smile. Deep breaths, all will be well.

Friday, 3 May 2013

The Final Countdown - 5 weeks to go!

Gestation: 34 weeks

I'm feeling: It's been a good week, I had one day where I had a really bad headache and was feeling rubbish, but I keep overdoing things - trying to declutter and generally taking on more than I need to!
Baby has wedged itself under my ribcage, so I'm pretty short of breath at the moment, late pregnancy joys! Apart from that, general tiredness and feeling a bit slow and heavy, but it's all to be expected!
Emotionally, doing really well, no hormonal outbursts this week, thank goodness! I haven't reached that crazy-lady, fed up, get-this-child-out-of-my-body stage yet, I'm still enjoying being pregnant and happy to wait a while longer!

I'm eating: Lots of ice lollies - feeling very hot and thirsty most of the time, despite the fact that we're still in the longest winter ever and it's mostly freezing outside! It's a worry if I'm down to my last Twister in the freezer, need a constant supply!

Baby prep: Hospital bag is nearly packed, the only thing I still need is a jacket or cardigan for Baby Widders, but I want to find out whether I need a pink or blue one, so buying a going home outfit can be a job for Steve after the little one makes an appearance! We still don't have a cot mattress yet, oops!
Our pram is due to be delivered in two weeks, and the very lovely Grandma and Grandad Widden have ordered us a Sleepyhead Pod, which we can't wait to use, it looks amazing!
Also this week, I bought breastmilk storage bags, lanolin cream, a snugglebundl blanket and this amazing changing bag...

Busy shopping week!
I've also been busy crocheting, and I've made a blanket for the pram. Our pram is purple, so I made a purple, blue and white stripy pram blanket...
I'm really proud of it! Now I need a new project, what to make next? I'll have to get online today and see what I can find to make, it's so addictive and a great way to fill the next few weeks!
Any suggestions for cool crochet projects will be most welcome :)

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Smugness vs. gratitude

Almost every morning without fail, Daisy flies into a panic before school because she doesn't want to be late. She adores her teacher and disappointing her by being late would devastate Daisy. She seems to have inherited my people pleasing qualities, and while it's not a terrible thing, it can be difficult to always live in fear of being told off or criticised.
If there's one thing I've learned though, it's that trying to please everyone is the quickest way to fail - it just can't be done. Writing publicly, such as keeping a blog, means that no matter how carefully you word things, eventually somebody will take your words in a way they weren't intended. This has been a hard lesson for me, but I'm pretty much getting there!
In the past, I've found it difficult to accept criticism, especially if I feel I've been misunderstood. I've left forums, deleted people from Facebook, and even recently deleted my entire Facebook account when my words were taken wrongly and I was pretty much lynched for it. I think though, if you want to share your views, and you're brave enough to do it online, you have to be prepared to be criticised and disagreed with.

The one thing I have been very hurt by online though, is the accusation of being "smug". On Facebook especially, I've always been extremely positive and sparkly, but I never for one second believed that anyone would think I was being smug.
One day, however, not terribly long ago, I had put up a generic positive FB post about friendship, and had a massive backlash from a friend who was having a hard time. I was accused of being insensitive to other people's pain, up my own arse, full of myself, and one person (who had never met me before) replied saying that I had clearly lived a sheltered, privileged life, and had didn't know what it was like to have problems!

I'll be honest, that hurt. I was shocked, I was very very upset and the more people who jumped on this bandwagon and threw insults around, the more devastated I became, and the more I almost let myself believe that they were right. After all, it wasn't the first time I had been criticised for rubbing my happiness in people's faces or asked to consider that not everyone is as happy as I am before posting things.

It made me think back to the end of 2011, a time when I thought I might never be truly happy again. I'd faced many difficult times before, including my beloved brother's tragic sudden death just 3 days after my 18th birthday, my dear dad's death, a seemingly insurmountable debt crisis and the eventual breakdown of a long and unhappy marriage. This, however, threatened to break me completely.
I'd been single for several months and was working full time nights in a house for disabled people. The work was lonely, I was there alone for every shift, most of which were at weekends. The kids stayed with their dad at weekends and I often found myself alone for days at a time, a huge difference from a few months before.
One night, during a shift, I found that my wrist was very sore and my hand didn't have much power. I was determined to not phone anyone and just keep working, as I'd just returned to work after being off with a flu virus. By the end of the shift, I could barely use either of my hands, and both wrists were agony. I couldn't even drive, and had to take a taxi to A&E, where I had an x-ray. They concluded that there was nothing to be found and I must have just sprained myself. However, within two days, I couldn't even get out of bed. Every joint, from my neck to my ankles, had completely seized up.
The local GP took several blood tests, and it was discovered that both my liver function and rheumatoid levels were completely out of sync. I was diagnosed with suspected Rheumatoid Arthtitis, and my entire life changed in a heartbeat. I had to give up my job and was suddenly unable to do the things I'd normally taken for granted, like getting myself dressed in the morning and driving my kids to school.
Suddenly, life looked very bleak indeed. The kids struggled to understand that I just wasn't able to do things with them, they found it hard that I had no money to take them places, and I panicked that I might not even be able to give them a christmas. I had bills to pay, a debt looming over me, and no income.
I wondered if I might ever be able to work again, and as for my personal life, I was incredibly sad. Would I be alone for the rest of my life? Would anyone want to be with a skint, unemployed, disabled single mum?

Still, when I look back to my Facebook posts at the time, I somehow managed to be chirpy. I didn't complain, I posted about silly jokes the kids had told, enjoying a delicious dinner, discovering a brilliant new song on the radio, anything I could find to be grateful for. I never posted about the fact that I cried myself to sleep every night.

As the months went by, I started to feel better. I became more mobile and although I believed it was possibly the calm before the storm, I was happy for any day that was pain free. I was shocked when I went for a routine check at the hospital and was told my rheumatoid levels had returned to normal. It transpired that I'd had a particularly bad virus, a strain of glandular fever, that had affected my joints and sent my bloods out of whack. I couldn't have been happier to discover that I didn't have this lifelong disability at all, and I was going to be fine!
To cut a very (very!) long story short, I wasted no time in getting a job as a chef (which I'd always wanted to do but been too scared in the past), saving hard, paying off my debt and giving sincere thanks every single day for my health, my family, and most importantly, my future.

Gratitude is a habit for me now. It always was, but even more so now. These are just a tiny few of the things I've been grateful for in the past year...



Sunny days

Beautiful evenings

The best wedding ever

I'm not richer than anyone, better looking than anyone, or luckier than anyone. I just wake up every day, look around me and give sincere thanks for all the blessings in my life. I'm not smug, and certainly not insensitive to anyone else's pain. I'm just extremely grateful, and will never apologise for appreciating every little joy in my life.
A wise friend once said that her motto for dealing with criticism is "It's none of my business what you think of me", and it's good advice. There will always be someone willing to rain on your parade, but not me. I'll be there, waving my rainbow coloured flag and giving thanks for your happiness, as well as my own. We've all had our crosses to bear, but as long as we have something to give thanks for at the end of each day, we can consider ourselves truly blessed.