Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Baby Blogging Weeks 29 - 33!

In writing this I can't believe we only have 7 weeks until due date.....7 weeks. Ever since the countdown hit single digits the reality of us having a baby has seemed crazily close.

As mentioned in our last Baby Blogging post week week 29 started with an Antenatel class, we had selected an all day option at Birmingham Women's Hospital. Turning up at 9.30am on a Saturday was not ideal (although we appreciate early mornings are a thing of our future) but we quickly found the education room and met the tutor who instantly put us at ease.

The session was informative, factual and insightful in a away that left us feeling like we understood what to expect without terrifying us. We got to see the various places you give birth in Birmingham Womens', the birthing suite has rooms that have birthing pools (and is our top choice), you then have the delivery suite if the birth isn't straightforward and then various other spaces based on whether you are induced, have a c-section or need additional care. It was an impressive set up.

The session ended at 3.30pm and after taking some time to reflect in the sunshine we headed home. We had been impressive that throughout she has only referred to 'birthing partner' and not 'father/Dad' - it was all very inclusive, although Laura was the only girl in her group when we were split into 'those giving birth' and 'birthing partners'.

One of the questions we were asked really struck us though: At what point do you think you will feel like parents? It's so strange as I guess you become parents the moment you get a positive result but at this point I don't feel like a parent, I just feel like I have a responsibility to keep our baby girl safe and healthy. It's a good question though!

On arrival home my Mum and Sister had arrived as we booked in a scan at Peek-a-baby so they could see our girl. It was a nice reward for my Mum who has been so helpful decorating the nursery with Laura and making sure we are well taken care off. My Mum had also kindly looked after Bisbee so we could relax and pay attention at the class.

Even before baby girl is here the support network she has around her has been fully mobilised. My sister is taking her aunt role seriously and my Mum and Dad have been in project mode getting their new house 'ready' so they can relax and focus on helping us. It's been so lovely.

Anyway back to the scan. We turned up and managed a few photos before being whisked into the scan room. Once I was in position they turned on the big screen so everyone could see and in no time at all there was our baby girl dancing on the screen. She was in such a great position that they said they could capture a few 4D images. We were so surprised as she has normally made sure her face is covered or she's been moving too much. In addition we thought all 4D scans kinda looked the same, that was until we saw her face. We had to eat our words, this was a face we had never seen before, this was our daughter. We cried, we all cried.

We stayed in our happy family bubble for the rest of the weekend, which included taking my Mum and sister to Ghetto Golf before they headed home.

Work on Monday had as back in reality, it started with a blood test at the midwife clinic - all was good - and then the week stepped up as I had interviews to do for my maternity cover and a new member of my team. Thankfully an existing team member had recommended a colleague from a previous role for my job and on meeting her she was a a great fit. It meant a late night train back from London but I was so relieved to have my role covered. The team member role proved a little more difficult with the first candidate being a no-show.

On Thursday we had our breast-feeding class that was a disappointment after the antenatal class. The room was packed so there was very little space for practical exercises and the class tutor was insistent that breast was best and dismissed questions about bottle feeding. We weren't impressed. While we hope to breastfeed we know that it doesn't always happen and wanted to be sure of other options. Thankfully I have been able to organise another class via my Birthfit group.

We were relived to get to the weekend and did not a lot to celebrate. We had printed off lists to start prepping the hospital bag but didn't get too far. We did make a trip to Kinver Edge though as we wanted to make the most of our National Trust membership before we give it up a part of our cost cutting measures. It was great to get fresh air, stretch our legs and visit somewhere new. I am also making the most of still being able to walk miles pretty easily.

When work arrived on Monday I felt determined that this would be the week I would find my new team member so I could shift my focus from recruitment to prepping handovers and downloading all the stuff flying around in my brain and start to focus on home life a bit more.

Reaching week 30 felt like quite an achievement and other than mild panics about whether the baby was moving enough we seemed to get through it without too much drama. I am starting to notice that I am getting a pain in my right leg at night though, which on Goggling (I know you shouldn't but....) we found out it was Merealgia paresthetical:

'A condition characterized by tingling, numbness and burning pain in the outer part of your thigh. The condition is caused by compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which supplies sensation to your upper leg.

The worst thing is there is nothing that can be done about it. What it does mean is I spend a lot of the night tossing and turning as too long on my left side causes pins and needles yet leaning on my right size makes it feel like my leg is on fire. It eases up through the day but it does mean I am feeling more tired. I am trying not to complain as it really has been the only negative symptom.

The other strange thing is my weight is still fluctuating. It's the only time I have looked at the scales and been disappointed to lose weight. I am still within the safe range but it does cause panic.

I have mentioned before about panic being a familiar theme, a trip to the midwife didn't help either. My regular midwife was on holiday so I measured by a new midwife and her measurements showed no growth in two weeks. I was promptly sent to the hospital for a scan. At that appointment they measured different parts of baby girl and concluded the reason the midwife didn't track growth was because baby girl has turned herself breech! The reason made us feel better but now we just have to hope she turns again in time for delivery.

We head back at the end of this week for a follow up scan so they can measure the same parts - we have everything crossed that there are no problems.

After recovering from the roller-coaster of emotions of the week, that also included finding my new team member we rolled into the bank holiday weekend and week 31 ready to relax.

We spent Sunday of the bank holiday meeting a friends puppy, catching up and walking in the Oxford countryside, a perfect way to enjoy the sunny weather.

The work week flew by and ended up with us taking a trip to Bicester Village (post coming soon) to spend some vouchers I won a couple of years go. We had left Bisbee with my Mum and headed over for the day. The time spent together was my personal highlight and I was super glad that they had so many bathrooms! At the this stage in pregnancy it's the simple things :)

Week 32 included a long day in London and a lot of planning for my maternity cover, but it did mean hanging out in the city in the sunshine and that is always a good thing. It also highlighted how big I have got as people now can't pass me in train aisles or fit through doorways with me!

On Thursday evening I had another trip to ghetto Golf, this time with my netball team, and the photos that came out of that night show just how big I currently am...I think I'll stick to Laura's planed pics as at least then I can convince myself they are flattering.

Excuse me while I carry this basketball around
Leading into the weekend I was slightly concerned how I would handle our tourist trip to London we had planned as the heat definitely slows me down. The point I forgot was that when I head to London at weekend I have Laura with me and therefore things are different. She takes care off me, makes sure I have enough snacks, water and my current walking pace is much more her speed!

The trip was a re-do of a weekend that had been snowed off earlier in the year when we were meant to see 'Everyone's talking about Jamie' with our wonderful friends Sam and Sara. What had worked out in our favour was that the Royal wedding also just happened to be on the same day this time. We arrived in London for 11ish, got a tube straight to Leicester Square, watched the wedding on a large screen at St James Market (while sat on the floor - not particularly ideal) bathed in sunshine and surrounded by people in the party spirit. After the ceremony finished we headed to Shake Shack for lunch, doughnut time for snacks and then to the show. The show was brilliant and well worth seeing! From there we pit-stopped at Chipotle to pick up dinner for the train. We were heading back to Birmingham by 7pm and I have to say my worry was for nothing. I had barely walked 3 miles and everything had worked out perfectly.

If someone had told me at 33 weeks pregnant I would still be doing trips to London for pleasure I wouldn't have believed them. I am still in shock that my ankles aren't swelling, varicose veins aren't appearing and in general my fitness levels haven't changed. Although stairs are still a challenge and I am definitely slower getting places. Oh and getting of the couch is noisy affair that requires Laura almost sling-shotting me.

Oh and the hospital bag is almost complete, my Mum has helpfully washed all the clothes so we can start to pack them - there is something about the way she washes things that has them smelling amazing and feeling way softer then when we do it. It's on the list of 'Mum' things we'll need to practise.

I think Birthfit is helping keep me fit and making sure I walk Bisbee at least a mile or two a day, I also need to thank Laura for her wonderful cooking skills making sure that baby girl and I get a healthy diet - in balance to the doughnuts and white chocolate buttons that I seem to keep buying.

According to the baby App our baby girls is the size of a cauliflower....not long now to the watermelon stage! Scary times ahead but each step is a step closer to meeting the little face we stare at so often in the 4D pictures.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Queen Of Hearts Cocktail with Chambord!

As you know Laura and I are a fan of cocktails and they tend to be our go-to choice when celebrating. A few years ago Barefoot suggested we tried a Pride cocktail (recipe here) and with the Royal Wedding tomorrow Chambord have come up with the 'Queen of Hearts' cocktail.

As Chambord fans we couldn't wait to try their suggested cocktail, well the non-pregnant one of us couldn't wait :)


  • 25ml Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur
  • 25ml Premium Gin
  • 25ml fresh grapefruit juice
  • 10ml fresh lemon juice
  • 2 sage leaves
  • Dash of soda water
  • Raspberry Jam

  • Add the Chamord, gin, grapefuit juice, lemon juice and sage leaves to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake
  • Paint the inside of a chilled glass with raspberry jam and strain the liquid into it, finish with soda water
  • You can then decorate for effect
  • Simples - right!
To be honest our biggest challenge was getting the measurements right and we aren't 100% sure we did but it was still delicious. 

Also our raspberry jam painting involved us getting more on us than the glass.....something that we need to work on!

If you haven't got any Chambord you can pick it up from most supermarkets for around £8 - and it's a great addition to so many cocktails. We add it to a Christmas cocktail I call the 'blushing polar bear' that has vodka, Chambord, sparkling raspberry juice and a dash of blackcurrant and apple juice - yummy!

If you haven't heard of Chambord it is a French black raspberry liqueur with raspberry and vanilla notes. According to legend it was inspired by a luxurious liquer produced by French royalty - how appropriate for the Royal Wedding!

Enjoy and remember: 

And if you are watching the Royal Wedding, enjoy!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Are you #TeamHarry or #TeamMeghan?

Okay, okay so it's not really a team thing - after all whenever love is involved don't we all just want the happily ever after?!

What did make us smile though was being sent this quiz:
The content was created by language study specialists, LSI. 

The reason it made us smile was because it brought back some funny memories from past posts when 
we identified the differences between UK and USA weddings here

Or when we acknowledge the trails and tribulations of being a transatlantic couple here

And how marrying an American made me consider how aggressive the letter Z can be here

Anyway which team did you end up on? Even after 9 years together S is still Team Harry and L is a mixture of the two. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

National Doughnut Week!

That's right in the UK it is National Doughnut Week this week! From the 12th to the 19th of May the UK is being encouraged to indulge in this delicious treat for a great reason: The Children's Trust.

Across the UK bakeries, cafes, offices - basically anywhere you can get doughnuts, are selling the treats and donating a percentage of the sale to charity.

You can find out more about what The Children's Trust do by clicking here, they focus on supporting children with brain injury and neurodisability. Providing education, therapy and care- a much needed service to those families in need.

If you are based in the UK you can find the places taking part by using this doughnut finder map here!

Seriously wishing I had a trip to Liverpool or Manchester planned this week- look at how much choice they have up there. For some sad reason Birmingham doesn't have any options so we had to pick our doughnuts up else where - we couldn't miss out on the opportunity after all.

And you know, I'm pregnant so it's not as if a few doughnuts will add to the waist line...or if they do I won't notice right now :D

If you are any near Reading Warings has a special menu tying in the other big occasion this week....

On that note did you ever see our post about UK and USA wedding differences (it's a side note but made me smile reading through it here)

Enjoy your doughnuts if you come across a place taking part.....it's all for a good cause after all!

Or eat and then burn them off.....

Or if you want to avoid the actual eating of doughnuts but want to enjoy picking doughnuts have a  go at this Buzzfeed quiz: the-hardest-game-of-which-doughnut-must-go-youll-ever-play?

Happy Doughnut Week

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Kinver Edge - National Trust - UK

The UK is beautiful and so full of surprises. It was why I asked for a National Trust membership for my birthday last year and it has been a gift that has continued to give.

Even with the best will in world, local knowledge and Googling skills you can still miss out on local areas to visit, the National Trust is a great way of discovering such delights.

Check out the website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ for suggestions on places to visit, or like us narrow your search by typing in your postcode to see your local area.

It was through this tool that we discovered Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses a 40 minute drive away.

It ticked all our boxes for a day out: dog friendly, stunning location, a bit of history and not something we'd do/see everyday. Oh and not too far away.

Can you spot the houses?
With the dog packed we headed off to Kinver Edge and were grateful to find a parking space on arrival. It was just gone 11am but the area seemed fairly quiet. We made a quick climb to the rock houses and were greeted by a lovely National Trust guide who advised us that if we carried Bisbee we could take her into the houses - a win for us as we had planned to take it in turns to visit them while the other waited outside with Bisbee.

The rock houses are exactly what you would expect, houses carved out of rock. The interesting thing at Kinver is that the houses have been restored to how previous owners would have set them up before they were left in the 1960's. There are radios playing stories of people who used to live there and guides to tell you about how the inhabitants made a living and entertained themselves. Including how they sold treats and cakes to tourists who came to see the houses way back when. 

While the rock houses are worth a visit you do have to pay entry fee. However they aren't the only attraction in the area. In fact Kinver Edge is a great place to stretch your legs and let your furry friends run free. There are suggested walks or you can create your route. We followed the red route that took around an hour. 

The walks were a mixture of flat and hills but the good news was that it was almost all paved. Depending on the route you were met with spectacular views or beautiful fields filled with flowers. 

As you can probably tell the weather wasn't the best but there was enough to see and enjoy that it didn't make a difference. We would recommend paying the area a visit if you are looking for somewhere to explore - especially with a dog. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Out Of My Comfort Zone!

Do you remember almost 3 years ago when I started netball? I wrote this post about confronting my fear of social situations: Did I Do The Right Thing?! 

Those who have followed us from that time will know that netball turned out really well. In fact, if I wasn't pregnant I would still be playing. The team has remained pretty unchanged, are a great group of girls, and I am so glad I confronted my fear. I actually really miss it. I am looking forward to getting back to it post-baby. In the meantime, I have had to confront my fear again.

This time, the fear of social situations is compounded by the addition of pregnancy/ mummy activities.

Let me explain.

Just before I hit 30 weeks pregnant, Laura and I attended an antenatal class - more about that in a future blog post - and at that class we were told about how active mums-to-be usually have easier and quicker labours and healthier babies. Not rocket science, but a wake up call for me. For a start, I would do anything to make the impending activity of giving birth possibly easier and quicker - and of course anything that benefits baby is important.

The wake up call had me turn to Laura and announce that I needed to find a away of increasing my fitness over the next 10 weeks. Another girl in the class had overheard my announcement and suggested Birthfit classes run by frombumpstobabies.co.uk.

When I mention 'the fear of social situations is compounded by the addition of pregnancy/mummy activities' this is why. It's not my world. I know that sounds strange, but as I don't know anyone close who has had a baby, or even know any children, my current pregnancy predicament is opening up a whole new world - one I am at times uncomfortable with.

For almost all of my pregnancy so far, my life has barely changed. Of course there is the influx of baby stuff into the house, and more food being consumed, but as I have been lucky enough to feel good so far, I haven't really slowed down (although staircases are a challenge now!). But on the whole, my day to day life hasn't really changed. I still travel to London to work during the week, Laura and I still spend our weekends with friends or exploring new places and not much has really become 'all about the baby' yet.

However, when I step into certain situations I am suddenly confronted by the massive life change that is a few short weeks away. From how often babies need to be feed - up to 10 times in 24 hours - what!!!! - to all the things you need to do to keep this new life safe, it all becomes very real, very quickly. It's almost as if reaching 30 weeks pregnant means you suddenly have to face the information overload that is out there (and the reality that you will have a baby soon!).

Image: Keep calm and carry on

These situations are foreign to me and yet as I start the countdown I realise that I need to start learning this new foreign language, take on board the information. Alongside the fitness, I need to embrace the opportunity to talk to people in the same situation. That's the fear I need to face. I have previously been worried that everyone will know much more than me, or that I won't have anything in common with the other mothers (besides babies!), or the worst nightmare of ending up in a competitive mum's group. I need to be social AND I need to do it in a world of which I have very little understanding.

The way I have faced pregnancy so far is to focus on the practical things, the things I feel like I can control. With the help of Laura I am eating all the right foods, I am getting rest whenever possible, avoiding stress as much as possible and buying in key items. The time seems to have come, though, that I have to step out of my comfort zone.

Meeting other first time mums at the antenatal and Birthfit classes has confirmed one thing - a lot of other people feel like I do. While some people know friends or family who have had babies, most first time mothers know very little. Surprisingly, like me, they have often also avoided finding out too much too early. In a world where you can Google everything, it turns out pregnant women want to avoid the overload of information - I mean, we are told our bodies know what they are doing so we can rely on that right?!

Anyway back to Birthfit.

True to my word, after the antenatal class I reached out to the frombumps2babies team and asked when I could come to check out a class. I got a quick response from Kerry and was told I could head to a class in Bournville or Harbourne. I picked the Bournville class as it was closer. (Only downside is that I have to drive past Cadbury World....resisting temptation).

At 7.30pm on Monday I walked into the Dame Elizabeth Cadbury sports hall, took a big breath and met the ladies gathered for class. Kerry was quick to welcome me and talkative so my nerves could subside as we waited for others. In the end there were 6 ladies, all at varying stages of pregnancy.

The first part of the class was an intro session, who we are, how many weeks pregnant and how we currently feel. From there it was straight into a warm up. It felt good to do exercise - although Laura and my weekend trip to Kinver Edge had involved a 4 mile hike, this exercise felt like I was working out more than just my legs.

From warm up into cardio, from cardio to circuits, there was no messing around. The circuits included a lot of squats, a lot of 'holding your pelvic floor' and arm exercises. By the end of circuit one I felt like my self-assessment of being in 'good health' was maybe a little ambitious. By the end of circuit two I was glad to still be upright! If anything, it cemented my feeling that starting a class was a good idea.

Thankfully the next part was more of a yoga style warm down. A lot of stretching on the floor and focusing on breathing. We then gathered our mats in a circle for 'discussion time'. This was the part I feared. I'm not a sharer. The discussion was on 'hospital bags' and what to bring, it was led by Kerry who had invited one of the 'further along' pregnant girls to bring in her bag so we could have a look through.

Despite my initial fear, the discussion was actually really good. I picked up a few tips and things to remember.

It looks like facing my fear didn't end too badly this time either.

I just know that this is the start of 'saying yes' to a lot of other things that will benefit our baby girl and will force me to confront my fear of social situations. Hopefully our girl will take after her Mama and Bisbee and walk into a room with confidence and walk out with everyone loving her.

If you are Midlands based and pregnant or are looking for classes as a new mum, check out the from bumps2babies website for all their services.

Or their Facebook page for tips, advice and insight.

*This is not an advertisement of any kind, I just genuinely enjoyed the class and thought others should know about it!*