The great big pregnancy worry

So. Here we are. Baby number two is en route. After much deliberation about sibling age gaps, impact on my return to work, future house moves etc…We decided I should have the implant removed in September (thinking it would probably take 6 months or so before it happened). Wasn’t the case. After only one full cycle, we got a positive pregnancy test in the middle of November.

And so today I am 16 weeks. It’s flown over in a flurry of anxiety and confusion.

From the day we got the positive test, I didn’t believe it. I was sure that the midwife’s blood test would come back negative. It didn’t. I spent the first 12 weeks waiting for a miscarriage to happen. It didn’t. I was convinced that the 12 week scan would bring bad news. It didn’t. So surely at that point, I got over the fear that all was not well. I didn’t. I’m dreading my 16 week midwife appointment on Friday, still sure that she won’t be able to find a heartbeat.

We haven’t bought anything baby related, by 16 weeks first time round we had purchased most of our baby list. We haven’t even made a baby list this time due to my fear of tempting fate. I’ve not even looked at my pinterest board filled with all the pregnancy photos I wanted to get this time round (you know the ones, me standing next to a chalkboard with ’10 weeks, baby is the size of a…’) I haven’t allowed myself to indulge in the pregnancy week by week info which I so loved last time round. I haven’t even dared blog about it.

I don’t think there’s one reason I feel this way this time, I think the problem is there are many.

Firstly. This time round it was planned. Last time we didn’t find out until around 9 weeks and after that spent next few months getting used to the idea of becoming a mummy. Before we knew it we were right in the throes of pregnancy and felt nothing other than pure, naive excitement.

Secondly. I have been witness to numerous other peoples pregnancy heartbreak, from early miscarriages, to late miscarriages to stillbirths. Last time, even though I was aware these things were possibilities I don’t think I entertained them happening to us. This time I am sure we will be some of the unlucky ones.

Thirdly. No symptoms this time. I never thought I’d wish for morning sickness. Or food aversions. Or the horrible metal mouth taste. Or relentless back ache. Or an un-hideable bump from 12 weeks. But awful though they all were the first time round, they were reassuring signs of pregnancy. Not this time, I’ve had none of them. All I’ve had is ridiculous tiredness (which could be attributed to the impact of having a missed miscarriage or just general life with a toddler) and bleeding every day from 11 weeks. Which I’m assured by many different midwives is fine as its not fresh red and not accompanied by pain and as shown by the scan, baby is fine, but it’s more and more disconcerting to me each day it happens.

Lastly. I am ‘high risk’ this time. As I have been diagnosed with coeliacs since the last time I was pregnant. Unfortunately, my midwife neglected to complete the referral form so instead of having a consultant appointment within the first few weeks and possibly one every few weeks since, I am yet to have my first one, it’s not for another few weeks. I’m hoping I’ll go and they’ll say as long as my diet is under control, which it is, then all should be fine. But as I haven’t been yet, I don’t dare believe things will be that simple.

So. When will the constant feeling that this pregnancy is going to go wrong end? My midwife appointment on Friday? If I hear the heartbeat? Unlikely, the heartbeat alone doesn’t show all is well. The consultant appointment? If I get my wish and they say I can be low risk? Probably not, I’ll still be worried this will change as the pregnancy progresses. The 20 week scan? When they can check that the baby doesn’t seem to have suffered with any of the conditions it is more susceptible to as I have coeliacs and when we hopefully get to see it flipping and kicking again? I doubt it. I’ll convince myself they could have missed something and remind myself of the poor lady I know that lost her little one at 7 months pregnant. When I get further on and baby is moving consistently and I have a nice, growing bump to console myself with? Not even then, I’ll be sh*****g it about birth complications at that point.

So that’ll be when I’ve given birth and we have a healthy newborn at home increasing our family from three to four? No. Then I’ll remember that the real worrying begins when they’re born…. 

Advice to an Expectant Father…..Labour and Birth

Following from Part One

http://anygivenmummy.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/advice-to-an-expectant-father-pregnancy/

Well, 25 days until Jamin’s  little man is due to make his entrance into the world.

From what I can gather my friend has done a good job of being the best expectant father he c an be during the pregnancy stage (although admittedly, I do mostly only hear his side….).

So what’s next? Oh, just the small matter of labour and birth. I’ve heard of some Daddy’s to be saying ‘Well, this isn’t my area, there’s nothing I can do here, afterwards is when I need to step up’ but this is soooo not the case. So what can you do to be a good birth partner?

Knowledge is Power

I appreciate that this is not the approach that lots of couples take, but if your partner is reading up on the birth then you should probably do some swotting of your own. Personally, I’m a big advocate of the ‘forewarned is forearmed’ method, especially when it comes to labour and birth. The things a woman’s body goes through in order to deliver a baby are unbelievable and in my opinion, the more you understand about what is going on inside, the better able you are to support your partner. 

It’s not just what’s going on inside your partner’s body that is handy to know. You will hear an awful lot of new medical terminology during your baby’s birth that you haven’t heard before and in the heat of the moment you may not feel comfortable asking what an episiotomy is or there may not be time to ask. If you understand what’s going on, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed and therefore better placed to fully support your partner.

Also, reading up helps to manage your own expectations about the birth and may stop you from saying something infuriating to your partner like “Wow, does it usually take this long?”!!

Get to grips with the Birth Plan

If your partner has one, you should make sure that you get her to talk the birth plan through with you or even better, write it up together. In the middle of labour your partner is unlikely to want to remind you of everything on the plan and most of the time she will probably be unable to. If she is unable to communicate with you then it’s probable that the same will apply to the midwife so you may need to be the one that does the majority of talking with the midwife about your partners wishes.  It may sound like a minor detail, but helping your partner out in this way can make a big difference during labour.

Become saintly patient!

When I walked into the delivery room, my midwife said to me ‘Leave your bags and your dignity at the door!’ At this point, it would seem that as I was leaving those things, my husband was stocking up on his patience levels!! And you’ll need to too. Labour will test  your partner even if she is usually the most relaxed person you could ever meet and you are likely to bear the brunt of that. I surprised myself, as usually I am not relaxed in the slightest and anticipated myself being a nightmare during labour but I wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I’d thought I would be so it could be that you have a pleasant surprise but even so, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!

Take an Active Role

Try to remember that whilst your partner is the one labouring, it is your baby too and you should try to be as involved as your partner wishes you to be. Don’t be scared to ask the midwife if there’s anything you can help with and let her know if there’s anything specific you’d like to do. If your partner complains of a bad back, make suggestions and try and help to ease her pain. You might get your head bitten off but ultimately your partner will appreciate you trying to care for her. If she wants something, get it for her. If she asks you to do something for her, do it. Remember that she’s asking you because she can’t actually get it or do it herself so she really needs you to step up and be there for her.

Respect her Wishes 

Labour isn’t the time to try to wind your partner up, she won’t appreciate it, it won’t help and it will end up making her labour worse. This isn’t to say you can’t be your normal self, my husband is quite a winder upper himself but during my labour he didn’t push me too far. If your partner says she doesn’t want her photo taking, don’t take it. If she asks you not to do something, don’t do it. It may seem like you’re pandering to her but frankly, you should, she’s having a baby!!!!!

Be thoughtful 

Of course, during labour you will need to think about yourself at times. But just be sure to take care with your decisions. If your partner is feeling nauseous or she isn’t allowed to eat, it might not be the kindest thing to eat in front of her.  Similarly, your partner may not appreciate you complaining about a headache whilst she is attempting to labour!!!

Encourage and Support

You will be your partners main one to one support during labour. Of course your midwife will be there to oversee but they will have numerous other women labouring at the same time so it is only you who will be present with your partner for every minute of her labour. And who better to do it? Admittedly you may not have medical knowledge but arguably you have something a whole load more valuable. Knowledge of your partner. You will know best how to comfort her and how to encourage her effectively and therefore your support could easily be the difference between a good and bad labour and birth, this was certainly the case for me.

Pay Attention!!! 

This isn’t stating the obvious. One thing that blew my mind during my labour was how in tune my husband was with how I was doing. Toward the very late stages of my labour, I couldn’t bear being my midwife checking me during contractions and  I remember at one point the midwife saying “After that contraction, I’m going to check your baby’s heartbeat.” After a minute or two, she said ‘Ok? Can I check now?’ I said she could and my husband interrupted and said that my contraction wasn’t over and he was right. He knew because he had been watching and listening carefully right the way through my labour and was fully aware of how I was doing at any given moment. This was priceless for me because by doing this, he was able to pre-empt when was a good time to offer me a drink or when I might just need him to be quiet for a few minutes to concentrate on getting through the contraction.

Every woman will handle labour differently but no one is better placed to understand how your partner needs to get through it than you. So put your phone down and focus on your partner!!

 

In conclusion, the role that you play in the birth of your baby may not be as essential to that of your partners. But to your partner, the way that you step up during this time can make or break her labour. Honestly, it wasn’t something that I’d given much thought to before I gave birth, but now I know how important a role hubchin played during the birth of our little girlie and it’s not to be underestimated. There’s not a chance my labour and birth would have been even a fraction of the calm and positive experience that it was without him. Good Job Hubchin.

And so Jamin and all the other Daddy’s to be…. Now it’s your time to shine…..

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Third and Final Part Coming Soon.

 

 

 

 

Silent Sunday 18th August 2013

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#SilentSunday

Silent Sunday 28th July 2013

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Poor Kate…… And her battle with the Mother in Law from Hell.

I should probably start by saying that I know very little about what goes on within the Monarchy. Possibly less than even the average person. I am neither a diehard Royalist nor Anti-Royal. If I was pushed to give my view on The Royal Family, I think it would be that I like that we have one in this country, and as people,  from what I’ve seen of them, I like most of them. Like most people, I very much like the young generation (William, Kate, Harry etc.) for many reasons.

Even being aware of this, I surprised myself with my supreme interest in the Royal Birth. Totally unanticipated, on hearing the news that labour had begun, Little Bean and I devoted pretty much two whole days to ‘Lindo Door Watch’ and became firm imaginary friends with Kay Burley and Paul Harrison.

I saw the many references to Princess Diana, Kate’s real mother in law, whom she tragically has never met, and who based on her wonderful affection for her two boys would have been a fantastic grandmother and tremendous support for Kate. And also the references or rather lack of references to her step mother in law, Camilla, who apparently isn’t important enough to be counted as one of the future heirs Grandparents.

I listened to the Royal expert people, the historians, the doctors, the photographers, the people who ‘know’ the couple and the general public. And what struck me as I listened was something that I’d never really contemplated before.

I saw an obsession overcome the nation as we waited for news from inside St. Marys, the culmination of a pregnancy dowsed in speculation.

On Monday, I heard the unborn baby be referred to as ‘ours’. I saw people were truly desperate to know what was going on inside the hospital, angered by the lack of news, as if they should be kept in the loop as to what was going on inside. Others moaning that they wanted Kate to ‘get a move on’. All casting aspersions as to what kind of parents Kate and William were going to make.

On Tuesday, People impatiently waiting, urging the Duke and Duchess to ‘hurry up’ and show us their newborn, even though he wasn’t yet 24 hours old. Expressing opinions on his name, what it should or shouldn’t be. Desperate for a glimpse and a photo of the little man. Wanting to know where they would go on leaving hospital and who was going to get to spend time with them.

And then we saw them, their first appearance as a family of three. Not one journalist who was given the chance to ask Kate a question queried if she was ok. She was apparently, a means to an end, everyone reporting that she’s ‘provided’ a future king. Her appearance under scrutiny. Their parenting already criticized regarding the car seat saga. They could have gone out the back way and escaped unseen. They could have stood on the steps and not answered questions. They could have done it many different ways but instead they obliged, in an attempt to satisfy the curiosity of the people.

Then, they left. Moments later, everyone was already discussing when we would see them again. When will the christening be? Then there’s OK magazine with their disgusting baby weight cover. People immediately wanted to know what their plans are, eager for the next fix of ‘our baby’. And then went off to celebrate, not to celebrate Kate and William’s Baby, instead celebrate ‘our baby’. The Nation’s baby. And that nation, that overbearing, intrusive and assuming nation is the mother in law that poor Kate has to endure for the rest of her life.

As her son grows, that nation and indeed the rest of the world will be watching, scrutinising, always too eager to offer an opinion. Never satisfied with what they are given, always wanting more. Taking a mile when an inch is offered. Showing little to no concern for her now she has fulfilled her use of providing a baby. Judging Kate and how she does things. And somehow assuming to ‘know’ the little prince better than his own parents do. All characteristics of the infamous ‘Mother in Law from Hell’, but for want of a better quantification, times infinity.

Yet Kate cannot reduce contact with her Mother in Law of things get too much, she cannot get her husband to have a word to rein her in, nor can she ever really escape her. Kate undisputedly has future filled with privileges, free from a lot of the worries that lots of Great Britain face every day and undoubtedly envied by many. But having experienced the misery that one problematic mother in law can inflict upon your life, I don’t envy Kate for one second and wouldn’t change places with her for the world, for her mother in law is far, far worse than I could even imagine.

 

The fish finger revolution……

In my albeit limited experience, every first time mummy has their particular area of fussiness. For some its cleanliness, others protectiveness, others development…for me, it’s nutrition.

ever since Little Bean was a mere flutter in my tummy, keeping her properly nourished has been one of my number one priorities. Early on in my pregnancy I began thinking about how we were going to make sure that we kept her as healthy and strong as possible and food was one of the main contributing factors towards this.

It began by making sure I ate all the right things while she was still in my tummy and more often than that  making sure that I didn’t eat or drink any of the many forbbiden things. So I religiously took my daily pregnacare tablets, got my 5 a day, avoided all alcohol, didn’t eat too much tuna and so on and so on.

Then she was born and to my joy I was able to breastfeed her. Having watched a close friend almost slump into postnatal depression because she’d set her heart on breastfeeding and then been unable to do it, I was keen not to take for granted that it would work for us. But thankfully, from her first ever feed at an hour or so old, little bean and I made a great breastfeeding team. That’s not to say our breastfeeding journey passed entirely without a hitch,(hitches included a blocked duct, thrush in bean’s mouth and the dreaded growth spurt periods, filled with cluster feeding and the like) but on the whole I found it a lovely, calming, positive experience. Obviously there’s monetary benefits and the ease of not sterilising and making up feeds, but my main reason for breastfeeding was the health and nutrition aspects for Little Bean.

When it was time to introduce solids, we decided baby led weaning wasn’t for us. As a stay at home first time mummy, making up batches of puree wasn’t a problem for me time wise, so that’s what I did. We started with the usual pears, apples, carrots and parsnips. But keen to ensure bean didn’t become a picky eater I soon started to experiment with lots of different combos and we added herbs and seasonings from very early on (obviously no salt). Before each new concoction, I’d do extensive research about possible ingredients, checking they were safe for Bean. Not wanting her to get bored I’d make up 3 or 4 different options of savory and 2 or 3 of sweet then freeze to last us the week. Favourites were peas, green beans, basil & mint or carrots, parsnips, garlic and ginger. I swear I kept boots baby stock cube line in business over those first few months! Thankfully, shes a fantastic eater and on the odd occasion she refuses to eat what I’ve made for her, its been because shes genuinely not hungry.

I never wanted to deny her of treats or make her into one of those kids who steals her friends sweets greedily because she never gets them, so she’s always been allowed chocolate in moderation. If a visitor came bearing sweet treats, I’d never deny her, if her cousins were eating ice cream or junk food she’s allowed to join in. She has her own pack of biscuits  and ‘sweet box’ at home and is allowed to indulge often. But I have rules of always giving a proper breakfast, lunch and tea, no snacks in the 1.5  hours before main meals and no chocolate or sweets until after 3pm.

After the pureeing stage, she started to have her own mini, adapted portions of whatever hubchin and I were having, still minus salt and usually chopped into manageable mouthful sizes. Because of this, I rapidly became obsessed with her not having anything that I didn’t understand the ingredients of, so since cooking for her I’ve made every meal from scratch, no bought jars of pasta sauce in our house! The only purpose made bought baby food shes ever had are the little organix fruit pots,  which she still has daily at 18 months old!

If hubchin and I were having a take away later in the evening or having a tea I knew she didnt like, then I’d prepare her a pasta dish or something of the like for her tea, which often required more work than what we were having!!

Bean is 18 months now and hubchin and I are out of the little baby daze enough to have started to think about normal things like exercise again and hubchin has started to do the ‘insanity’ work out plan. This means hubchin and I are having salad for tea 5 nights a week and eating much later after his exercise session. This combined with the lovely weather we’ve been having, means that time isn’t is abundant as it has been over the winter months (basically last September to this may!) And recently I’ve found that sometimes its 5pm before I know it and I have 15 minutes to get beans tea down in front of her before she gets too tired to eat it properly. So two or three times in the last 2 weeks, for tea, bean has had……fish fingers!!! Anything like this has been previously unheard of. Of course there have been times we’ve been out for a meal and she’s had to have some of the classic ‘kids menu’ gems like these or chicken strips…but never at home. And I try to keep her diet as varied and fun as possible, so from time to time she’ll have pizza or burgers but just always of the homemade kind!! I haven’t totally sold out, her plate was 1/3 fish fingers and 2/3 broccoli,  peas etc so I consoled myself that it wasn’t too bad. And I suppose as far as bad stuff goes, fish fingers aren’t really up there, they were the premium ‘omega’ kind!

Emboldened by this fast food revelation, for the odd occasion when time is short, yesterday I found myself in the ‘kids meal’ fridge in m&s buying a few options to pop in the freezer. And last night she has one of their chicken and sweet potato pies. Even as I write this, all joking aside I’m not sure how I feel about for the first time since she’s been with us, having been too lazy to make her something proper to eat on more than one occasion in the last few weeks.

Could it be that her new found vigor for throwing tantrums is down to this? Or is it just her age? Will she suddenly stop being happy to eat so healthily now she’s tasted the dark side? Or will it make no difference at all? Other than to mean that once or twice a week or fortnight, she gets half an hour longer ‘playing with mummy’ time as opposed to ‘mummys making tea’ time. And as she’s growing so fast, and everyday she changes more from a baby to a big girl, will I actually look back and be pleased to have sold out every now and again to give me half an hour extra to enjoy my time with her? I think so.

That being said, I can’t stray too far from my Bean nutrition obsession and in light of the M&S meal last night, tonight she’s having pasta with a lovingly prepared homemade sauce packed full of goodness…..

Puree Stash

Puree Stash

All for Love

On May the 24th, my sister got married in cyprus. We couldn’t go over for the wedding, so I sent an iPod with this speech on for a surprise…

Hi everyone, for anyone who doesn’t know who this is, Im Helens sister and a while ago I asked Helen if there would be speeches at the wedding, she replied “If anyone feels compelled to then they can”. Well guess what big sister, I feel compelled!! Bet you wish you’d gone for a blanket “No, no speeches” now!!

I’m not sure how Helen will feel about me doing this, because we don’t often shout or even talk quietly about things like this. I don’t suppose we need to really. But if I can’t say it on your wedding day, when can you?

When I started to write the notes for this I was fresh out of a disagreement with my husband, a recurring disagreement I might add. We have it every Wednesday night without fail. Because every Wednesday we watch OBEM and it forces me to raise the topic of more children with Tom. The disagreement we have is this. I want two more, Tom on the other hand wants one more. I f we have one more and it’s a boy he wants to leave it there. I want two more because I think that stands me the best chance of getting another girl. Anyway, that’s probably enough about my marriage, now I should get on with my amazing speech.

I told someone recently that Helen and Andrew were getting married, when I said I wasn’t going to the wedding they replied “Oh, aren’t you close to her?”. Now, I understand that assumption, I do, but its wrong. That’s not to say that we always see eye to eye but if you don’t understand how you can both love your sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time then you obviously don’t have a sister.

Another common misconception that is frequently made when it comes to me and Helen is that were different. Again, this is wrong. Obviously were not carbon copies of each other but the idea that were opposite ends of the spectrum is entirely false, we’re a lot more alike than people realise.

The first thing we have in common is our roots. We had the same start in life, we were brought up with the same morals and rules and we have the same parents, and what amazing parents they are. Truly, we would both be lost without them and owe so much to them. From them we learnt our strength and a lot of our best points and a lot of that makes us the same, not different. Yes, we have our roots in common and they say were sisters, but our hearts, our hearts say were friends.

And as sisters and friends we’ve been through quite abit. We’ve laughed louder, we’ve cried softer and we’ve lived stronger because we’ve stood together.

When I went out and got drunk when I was a teenager and I came home and got in major trouble from our parents, Helen got me a bowl to be sick in, laughed at me and then fought my corner with mam and Dad. Through the break ups she knew me, she supported me and she told me the truth, not what I wanted to hear. Because you might be able to kid the world, but you can’t kid your sister. As soon as I had my baby girl, I felt an overwhelming desperation to introduce her to my sister and when they met I saw them fall in love. In the same way that I fell in love with Caitlin and Ryan. And whenever one of the troublesome three causes some trouble or more likely than that, does something ridiculously clever, the first thing Helen & I do is ring each other- because what’s the point of news if you haven’t a sister to share it with? We could ring each other anytime, for any reason, tell each other anything and never be judged or thought of differently.

So to those who think we aren’t close, I’ll say it again, they’re wrong.

All of this brings me back to the One Born Every Minute, two or three children dilemma. I don’t want more children because two or three is the magic number. I want my daughter to have a sister because I couldn’t imagine my life without the unfaltering , unconditional support and love of my sister.

And some years ago now, my sister met her Andrew and she got everything and more that she had planned. Andrew truly is her man of good faith and I know that they can stand up to the test together. It’s a phrase too commonly used but in this case its true, he is her rock and I am so grateful they found each other and wish you the lifetime of happiness that you both deserve.

Ok, that’s about it from me. Thank you all for your very kind attention. Let’s make it all for one, and all for love and raise your glasses to Andrew and Helen.

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A Mummy's View

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JACK MONROE

Anti-poverty campaigner for Oxfam and Child POverty Action Group, and supporting the Trussell Trust. Guardian recipe columnist. Mother. Food blogger. Cookbook author. Twitter@ :MsJackMonroe

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