Thursday, 30 May 2013

13 Weeks Pregnant

Last Thursday was my 12 Week NT Scan.

I was very good that morning and didn’t check baby's heartbeat with the Doppler. I had nothing to gain from doing so.  The scan was going to happen regardless and the result would be what it was.

The scan was at lunchtime and luckily the morning passed quite quickly.

We entered the hospital and checked in at the X Ray department to be directed to the correct ultrasound room.  We were directed to Foetal Medicine, the main department of the hospital where all things pre-labour are done.  We sat down at in the waiting room. It felt very strange to be back here. Last time I was sat there was 24th February 2012. I was waiting to be examined after my waters had unexpectedly broken at 35 weeks pregnant. What I did not know at the time was that less than 24 hours later I would be holding my little preterm baby in my arms. It was very surreal to be back.

Unlike the last visit, we did not have to wait long to be seen.  We were ushered into the ultrasound room and I made myself comfy on the table.  The sonographer put the wand to my stomach and there on the screen was baby bopping around.

Everything looked good and after a bit of wiggling on my part, the sonographer managed to get an NT length of 1.6mm.  She concluded that I was measuring not 12 weeks 4 days as per my normal cycle length, but 13 weeks 4 days! If I am honest I think the reality is probably somewhere in the middle.  I do not think it is possible for me to be a whole week ahead as I am pretty sure I know when I ovulated, give or take a couple of days.   Of course it doesn’t really matter.  This baby will arrive when he or she is ready. It just makes it more complicated when people ask how far along you are.  For the time being I have decided to go somewhere in the middle and say I was 13 weeks exactly on scan day.  This would give me an estimated due date of 27th/28th November.

We then went round to have my NT bloods taken.  Being lunchtime I expected it to be packed and have a long wait, however I was astonished to see the waiting area almost empty and when we took a ticket from the machine we were the next ones to be seen.  I must have been in and out within 5 minutes which is unheard of!

In the car, I could tell that hubby was unnerved by the change in my pregnancy dates.  As I have previously mentioned, he was convinced this baby was going to be another girl based on a variety of factors, including dates.  If my dates were wrong it would mean the odds of being a girl were considerably less.  I am not sure why the thought of having a boy terrifies him so much.  Maybe he feels there will be more responsibility on him with regards to his upbringing.  I really don't think this is the case as the majority of little girls I know are "daddy's girls" and the boys "mummy's boys".  In any case, what we be will be and we will find out at my 20 week scan in the middle of July.

Pushchair Ponderings

When the new baby arrives at the end of November, Celeste will be 21 months old. 

Although she is a brilliant little walker with plenty of stamina, I think it would be unrealistic to think we could get away without buying a double buggy.  Currently when we are out and about she has our undivided attention and we can follow her wherever she goes. This will be less practical with a second baby to look after therefore having them both in a buggy is as much for safety reasons as practicality.

I have looked into buggy boards and I think this is definitely something worth investing in; however I am sure there will be some occasions when Celeste would prefer to sit down or maybe even sleep.  I also am willing to consider having the new baby in a sling and Celeste in a single pushchair however I am sure there will be scenarios where this is not practical either.

Currently we have 3 single pushchairs

  • A Graco QuattroTour Deluxe. This was given to us second hand from a relative.  It’s a lovely buggy to push around but quite heavy to lift in and out of the car and does not fit in one of our cars (a Vauxhall Corsa) due to its size. This pushchair currently stays at my parents house as a spare.
  • A Bugaboo Bee.  This is the only pushchair we have bought new.  We initially bought it as we needed to take Celeste on an aeroplane when she was 10 weeks old and needed a lightweight buggy suitable for a newborn to take with us.  It is also great for around town and easily fits into both our cars.
  • A Quinny Speedi SX. I bought this second hand as my husband was keen to try out running with the buggy. To be honest Celeste wasn’t a fan of high speed travel however I find this an excellent all terrain buggy and use if regularly for country walks around where we live.

I currently use a pushchair for 3 main scenarios:

  • Buggy walks.  In an attempt to shake off the baby weight, I currently go on a weekly buggy walk with friends. The terrain of these walks can vary tremendously, from tarmac paths to muddy and uneven woodland trails. Currently I use my Quinny Speedi for these.
  • Walking into the village.  We live in the Kent countryside, about 1 mile from our village centre.  It is usually 50/50 whether we walk to the village or drive, depending on the weather and the time I have available.  The walk to the village is on narrow uneven pavements and again we use the Quinny Speedi for this.
  • Shopping.  When around town and in larger shopping centres like Bluewater the Quinny Speedi is a little bulky.  It also takes up a lot of room in the car.  We therefore use our Bugaboo Bee for this.

Obviously I would rather only buy one double/tandem pushchair that would cover all of these scenarios.  The key features I feel it needs to have are:

  • Multi terrain. It does not have to be able to cope with extreme conditions but has to be able to cope with a multitude of surfaces.
  • Size.  It has to be able to fit in the boot of my Kia Sportage.
  • Liftable.  I have to be able to lift it in and out of the car.
  • Car seat compatible.  I have to be able to use as a travel system and attached an ISO-FIX car seat.

From the research I have done so far the following pushchairs have been recommended to me:

  • Bugaboo Donkey. I have heard great things about this pushchair and one of my Buggy Walk friends has one therefore I often get to see it in action.  I like that it is narrower than a lot of double buggies and therefore more suitable for narrow pavements.  I have also been reliably informed that folded down it will fit in the back of not only my Kia Sportage but also my Vauxhall Corsa.  If true, this would be a huge advantage.  I also like that it can easily transfer to a single if Celeste wanted to walk or travel on the buggy board.  Finally I have seen that it is able to cope with a variety of terrains and would feel confident taking it out and about locally.  I do have a slight concern that any side by side double may be too wide for our narrow pavements.  I guess I will need to go up the road with a tape measure and measure the narrowest points :-).
  • iCandy Peach Blossom. Everyone I have come across who has one of these pushchairs, loves it.  I like that it is no wider than a single and that there is flexibility in the seating arrangements.  My reservations are my preferred seating arrangement would be to have the carrycot closest to me and facing me, and the toddler seat furthest away and facing forward.  This scenario isn’t shown on any of the pictures I have seen therefore I am not sure if it is possible.  Also I am also not sure how suitable the wheels would be on a variety of terrains.
  • iCandy Pear - The iCandy alternative to the Peach Blossom in the Pear.  I like that the wheels look more suitable to a variety of terrains and as with the Peach Blossom , I like that it is no wider than a single.  However, as with the Peach Blossom, I am not sure if I can have the seating configuration how I would prefer.
  • Britax B-Dual. I do not know anyone that currently has this pushchair but my husband is particularly keen on it from what he has seen online. I like that I can already see I could use it in the configuration I would most prefer, with the carrycot or car seat at the top facing me and the lower seat underneath facing forward.  My concerns are I am not sure how Celeste would feel about riding in a seat so low in the ground, and how suitable the wheels would be on a variety of terrains.

The next stage of my investigations is to visit a local pushchair retailer and test drive some of these out.  I need to check how comfortable they are for me to push but also for Celeste to ride in.  I also need to have a good look at the wheels and see if they are up to the job.

If anyone has any other double or tandem pushchair suggestions I’d be delighted to hear them.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Messy Play - A Birthday card for Daddy

Yesterday was Daddy's birthday. Unfortunately he was away on a business trip, but C and I spent some of the afternoon making him a birthday card.
I haven't done much messy play with C before today as she is not very keen on getting her hands dirty and we have not had a messy area where it has been safe to let her loose.
Luckily our new playroom (once our sophisticated sun lounge) is almost finished so while C was down for her lunchtime nap I put a plastic sheet down on the floor and set up the red, blue, green and yellow poster paints into trays.
Due to a slight oversight on my part we had no paint brushes however i cut up some kitchen sponges into a variety of shapes to use for printing, and of course there was always hands and feet!
Once C was awake I stripped her down to her nappy and led her into the playroom. She was immediately very interested in the items laid across the floor. We say down on the mat and i showed her how to do some printing. I then handed her a ready painted sponge and watched her press it to the paper.

Next, to my surprise, she reached for the tray of blue paint and stuck her hand right in. I suspect it was quite cold to the touch and she seemed very unsure about what she had done. I reassured her all was OK and showed her how to make hand prints on the paper. Unfortunately at this point C decided she did not like the sensation of paint on her hands any longer and strongly indicated she wanted to be cleaned up.  While cleaning up her blue left hand she then stuck out her right and stuck it straight in the tray of green paint. This was quickly followed by a howl as she did not like the feel of that either.  I quickly used up the paint on her hand by                                                                 making a couple of green hand prints, then cleaned her up.

Once clean she was still very interested in everything that was on the mat and kept prodding and poking the sponges. I think there is some hope for our messy play in the future, once she realises that it is OK to get dirty as you can always be cleaned up afterwards.
After C had gone to bed that night and the paint had dried, i cut out the best of C's solo work and mounted it on a handmade card for Daddy. 
We hope he likes it! 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Knowledge is Power

Today the British Medical Journal published a new analysis of data from five previous studies which found that sharing a bed with your baby increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

The results have understandably provoked a passionate response from many on both sides on the co-sleeping fence.  Many Mother’s feel that their parenting choices are being invaded, and that more specific research is required before scaring Mothers with statements like these.

I don't want to comment specifically on this article as I have not read it in full.  I instead want to tackle the wider issue of when parental guidance becomes dictated rather than purely informative.

In the not so distant past, a mother's instinct was something that was admired.  No-one knew what was better for a child more than that child's mother.  Now there seems to be a trend towards dismissing an individual mother's opinion in lieu of medical statistics.  The needs of an individual child are overlooked in favour of generic guidelines.  A mother who makes her own decision is deemed irresponsible and is frowned upon.

This has already had the effect of mothers losing confidence in their own decisions.  I include myself in this.  My own Mother finds it highly amusing that I am unable to run my daughter a bath without checking the bath temperature with a digital thermometer, instead of trusting my own judgement about whether it is the correct temperature.   Along similar lines, if I am away from home and forget C’s room thermometer, I feel I don’t know what to dress her in at night.   If it’s 20.1’c then I know she needs a short sleeve vest, long sleeve sleepsuit and a 1.5 tog sleeping bag, yet at 21.3’c I know she needs just the sleepsuit and sleeping bag, no vest.  Without this information I feel lost.  I should have the confidence to be able to make these kind of decisions on my own!

Instead of being frowned upon, a Mother’s instinct should be embraced and used alongside medical knowledge to provide the safest environment possible for our children.  Where a child’s health is at risk, it is vitally important that medical research is continually carried out and widely circulated to help Mothers and Fathers provide the best care for their children.  The studies carried out into SIDS in the 1990s have proved invaluable in reducing the number of cot deaths in this country and further afield.  

What concerns many is the research often appears generalised and provides dumbed down advice to parents without giving them all the facts.  For example, it is simpler to tell parents not to bedshare at all rather than go through the more complicated process of explaining what variables have been taken into account in the research and more importantly which have not.  What seems to have been overlooked is giving parents the full picture allows them to make informed decisions. After all knowledge is power!  

Going one step further, there have been instances recently where decisions have been taken out of the parents hands completely.  It is my understanding all retailers selling amber teething necklaces within the UK were contacted by Trading Standards last year and asked to remove them from sale due to the potential safety of the necklaces and the questionable health benefits.  These items have been used for hundreds of years and many Mothers swear by the health benefits, yet apparently now Mothers are incapable of making their own decision on this matter.  Now I am not a particular advocate of this particular item however it frustrates me that it should not be down to the individual mother to decide whether or not to use them. 

As a parent we have to live with the choices we make therefore it is important we feel comfortable with them and not pressurised into doing something that does not feel right! As a nation we should be empowering Mothers with the knowledge and confidence to make the best decisions possible for our children; not dismissing our opinion.  It may be hard for some to accept but in some cases a Mother really can know best!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Why I am here

I felt compelled to write this, both after my blog post yesterday, and after a discussion on twitter this morning about how easy it is to offend people when you’re moaning about your life.  I was wanting to clarify (or maybe justify) why I am here.

In real life I am quiet, shy and unassuming. In the past I have surrounded myself with 2 or 3 really close friends rather than a number if acquaintances.  Unfortunately since university we have all got married, started families of our own and drifted apart.  Since C was born I have met lots of lovely new acquaintances but as yet do not really have any close friends. My soul mate and partner in crime is my husband. We do everything together, however sometimes I find him difficult to talk to, especially about issues close to home or things I feel he does not understand.  I do not feel there is anyone else in my life I can talk to about problems, no-one I trust not to judge me or gossip.  And people DO!  I see it all the time.  

Early on in my first pregnancy I took to twitter to share my fears and anxieties and to look for support.  I kept my account anonymous so that no-one I knew could find and read my tweets.  This allowed me to feel free to express how I was feeling. However, there is only one side of me on twitter, the side that doesn’t exist well in real life and therefore should not be taken as a true reflection of my personality.

If I am having a bad day I might try and talk to my husband if he is around, however frequently at the moment he is away.  Failing that I turn to twitter.  There really is no-one else.  If I say I am having a bad day, then please do not think that does not mean I do not appreciate what I have.  It is presumptuous to think that I have just forgotten my infertility journey.  Every day I count my lucky stars that I am where I am, but that does not make every day a bed of roses or that I am an ungrateful person for finding those days hard.  

I learnt early on that the best way to make myself feel better and move on was to talk.  Failing having no-one within earshot, I “talk” on twitter or on my blog, and get things out of my system.  If things that I write offend you then please do not follow me!  I need to be able to have this release for my own sanity.  I am not here to please an audience.  That was never why I joined twitter.

I also try and give back, offering advice and reassurance to others going through stressful pregnancies or with a similar medical background.  Twitter is great for that and I love the community that I have become part of.  I really really appreciate all the support I have had on here over the past (almost 2 years), some of you I feel I have become particularly close to.  

I am sure people on here have assumptions on the kind of person I am from what I have written in the past.  I am sure I would be guilty of the same in reverse.  The difference here is, it doesn’t matter, or probably more correctly, it matters less.  I care about how my friends, acquaintances and family see me.  Maybe even overly self-conscious about it.  I care less about what people think on here because I know they are not seeing the full picture, just the anonymous ramblings of a tired mum, out of context of reality.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

How to Cope with Pregnancy and a Toddler?

I am now 11 weeks pregnant with my second child and C is 14 months old.  Today has been a tough day.  Partially self-inflicted I feel, as I made the mistake of going to my usual baby friendly fitness class on a Tuesday morning which exhausted me before the day even started.  

Things started to go wrong after C woke from her lunchtime nap. Having used her nap to eat my lunch and grab a shower, in an ideal world I was about ready for a siesta, while C of course was refreshed and raring to go.  She is currently going through the rather testing toddler phase of wanting everything repeated. I find this hard work when I’m at my best so this afternoon it was more than I could deal with.  First of all she wanted to sit on the sofa, then she wanted to be on the floor, then she wanted to be back on the sofa again. Obviously each time required me to lift her on and off. After the third or fourth time I distracted her by offering to read a book.  She then wanted it read again, and again. After the second time I refused which of course resulted in a full on meltdown. Argh!!!!!!!!!! And so things went on for the rest of the afternoon. I was so short tempered with her. Too exhausted to play and engage.

I felt so guilty about today that I just hugged C at bedtime and cried. I am being a bad Mummy. She is just being a typical toddler. Maybe tomorrow will be better…. Something tells me it probably won’t though.

I knew having another baby would be tough, both before and after he/she arrived but I just told myself thousands of women are currently going through the same thing and are coping and millions of women have done it before me.   Hubby is currently away 3-4 days a week and I am just constantly exhausted at the moment.  If he was here he would have given me a 10 minute break to compose myself by taking C into the garden to see the chickens or upstairs so she could bounce around on the bed.  But he's not. It's just C and I, muddling our way through the world. Me and my precious little girl who I feel I am failing.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

A Mile in Memory of Matilda Mae


Today I watched a Mummy walk a mile
No Mummy should have to tread
A mile in memory of her daughter
Who is now 3 months dead.

It was a beautiful walk through the bluebells
With family and friends at her side
But a walk underpinned with sadness
For a baby girl who died.

Today i watched many others walk a mile
Braving the threat of rain
To raise valuable funds for more research
In the hope this never happens again.

They sang and blew bubble kisses
Which floated away up high
To show that they'd not forgotten
The brightest new star in the sky.

Today I walked a mile
To also show this Mummy I care
To show her that through the weeks and months ahead
I will continue to be there.

Our children are such a precious gift
Cherish them every minute of every day
And please take a few moments
To remember beautiful Matilda Mae.


Jennie and her fellow mummy bloggers have organised an online auction to raise funds for The Lullaby Trust in Matilda's memory.  The auction started at 11am today and will run for 9 days.  Further details can be found here and a direct link to the items in Ebay can be found here