The final few weeks

I know my blog says that it’s all about parenthood, but there is still so much I want to talk about from pregnancy. One thing in particular, is the final stretch. Most people would consider this the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, but I mean the last 2 or 3. As soon as a woman hits the 37 week mark (which although not due until 40 weeks, is deemed full term), women go crazy. I mean really crazy. Anything they can do to get that baby out, will be done. Hell, I’ve even heard of women walking up and down the stairs sideways in an attempt to bring on labour?! (I won’t say whether or not I tried that…)

Anyway, one thing that helped keep me going was my 2 week countdown bag, prepared for me by my marvellous sister-in-law. This works very much like a calendar, and each day during the last 2 weeks, I had a gift to unwrap. And at the risk of sounding like a big kid, I bloody loved it. The gifts don’t need to be mega expensive, super high tech, shiny things; but little gifts, gifts that will prove useful. My sister-in-law wrapped up bits that would help with the hospital bag (deodorants, creams, body wash etc), bits to pamper myself with (like bubble bath – I’m sure any pregnant woman will agree, a bath when you’re that uncomfortable is like heaven in a tub), and useful bits for the baby. One of my favourites was a travel steriliser for dummies!

My reason for posting this is because I really enjoyed it, so any future mum’s may do too. So if you’re pregnant, maybe ask your partner to prepare something for you as a treat? Or, if you know a pregnant woman, why not prepare a little something as a surprise to make her last 2 weeks a little bit more exciting.

Pregnancy gifts

Here’s an example of some things that might be handy

If you don’t think I’m an arse for insinuating you should buy things, the below might be handy as ideas to treat for the mumma-to-be:

  • Dry shampoo (trust me, she’ll need it)
  • Breast pads (again, she’ll need it. See my previous post here for back up)
  • Nipple cream (I highly recommend Lansinoh)
  • Bubble bath
  • Travel body wash/shampoos for the hospital
  • Cotton wool
  • Infacol
  • Chocolate
  • … More chocolate
  • Puzzle books (only if catering to a nerd, like me)
  • A travel steriliser
  • A book
  • A baby grow

I feel like I’m stating the obvious, and they’re just ideas. But you never know, it could help. I think it’s a wonderful idea – each morning I woke up still pregnant (note the frustration), it gave me just a little something to get excited for.

The hospital bag

In the last 2 months of pregnancy, it’s time to get the hospital bag packed. After all, baby could come at any time. Some people say that packing too early will jinx you, and will make baby come late – and if that’s true, oh well, everyone loves a chunky baby! And you can never be too prepared, right? I couldn’t even speak during my contractions, let alone faff about packing a hospital bag.

I started with a list, that way I wouldn’t accidentally forget anything when it came to it. But what to pack? If you ask my good friend, Google, “what to pack in my hospital bag” you’ll be inundated with lists upon lists as long as your arm, with ‘essentials’ that you’ll need for your hospital bag.

I remember going shopping with my Nan and Aunty for the remaining bits on my list, and my list was long. I blindly followed these online guides to a T, without once questioning them. I was asked what I needed some of the items for, and I genuinely had no idea. I couldn’t answer. I’d just copied everything down that I saw – I mean, the internet’s always right, isn’t it? I still don’t know what a ‘baby flannel’ is, but I was convinced I needed one.

When it came down to it, there was very little I actually used. I didn’t have hours upon hours to spend chatting, doing puzzles (yes, I’m a massive puzzle nerd) or snacking to keep me occupied. From my list (I won’t bore you with the actual one), I must have only used:

For me:

  • Change of clothes
  • PJ’s
  • Bikini (I attempted a water birth)
  • Lots of big granny pants
  • A nursing bra
  • Maternity pads
  • Shampoo & body wash
  • List of people to call (after you’ve pushed a baby out, there’s a good chance you’ll forget someone important)
  • Lucozade sports drinks (with straw of course, gotta stay classy)

For baby:

  • 2 x baby grows
  • 2 x vests
  • A blanket
  • A hat
  • 2 x muslin cloths
  • Many nappies (although we only used maybe 4 or 5)
  • Cotton wool for changing nappies (you can use wet wipes, but be prepared for frowning midwives…)
Hospital Bag

This was actually our second, smaller bag. The main one was about twice the size. See what I mean?

It may still seem like quite a lot, but this is about a third of what we actually packed. The reason I’m posting this is mainly an FYI for any pregnant women reading this, you might feel more comfortable packing more which is fine, but trust me, you won’t need it. A lot of things like towels will be provided by the hospital/birth centre, and if you’re bottle feeding most will provide you with formula. Hell, they tried to feed me mid pushing, so they definitely won’t let your baby go without.

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe other parents used the entirety of their ginormous  bags, or found other things that I haven’t mentioned, essential. If so, please do feel free to comment, you never know, it could help someone who’s starting to think about packing their bag :)

A woman’s worst nightmare

Today was a good day, I had a good baby today, I got lots done. Today felt good. I even had enough energy to get myself to Sainsbury’s once Neal got home, to pick up a few bits. For me to still be in normal clothes, decent enough to go out by the evening is a win in itself. But this was a mistake. I was casually minding my own business, got to the checkout, then I got that sweet smile I had grown so accustomed to whilst pregnant ….

“Are you all prepared yet? How long have you got to go?”

Now there was an awkward turtle moment if I’d ever seen one. I was a little shocked, I’d only thought of this as a joke you see on TV shows. Apparently not, apparently I’m still with child. I guess it was only yesterday I was saying how much I missed pregnancy, maybe I should embrace it? As soon as I informed her that I’d actually had my child, she quickly shut up.

I guess I needed someone to say this to me, for me to actually think about getting back into shape. I say back into shape, I’m hardly fat, but I do still have the jelly belly hanging around (quite literally actually… gross, huh?). I always used the excuse of, “well, the midwives told me I’m not to exercise until 6 weeks postpartum”. Well here it is, week 6 has reared it’s ugly head and I have no excuses to hide behind. Unless I don’t actually go for my checkup, then I’ll technically never get the all clear! I don’t think that’ll fly though…

I need to remember that I’m not a celebrity, I didn’t pull a Kate Middleton and leave my baby weight at the hospital door as I left.

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Doesn’t this make you sick? She looks far too good for just having given birth…

I recollect my tummy somewhat resembling Snoopy’s nose right after birth. His nose my tummy, the snout my belly button. Quite the picture, eh? I’m sure many pregnant women will have sported the extreme outie belly button like me, but I thought it would pop in just as Dominic popped out. Sadly not. I’d love to know where Kate is hiding her snoopy in that dress.

I imagine most mum’s feel like this postpartum, like they need to lose the weight pronto. Maybe some of you even got the dreaded question like me. What do you think is a good time to start losing the baby weight? A few weeks? A few months? Longer? I’d be interested to know other peoples stances, parent or not.

Why pregnancy is so damn good.

I can’t believe Dominic is over 6 weeks old now. I have absolutely no idea where those weeks went, it feels like yesterday I was big, fat and pregnant. I absolutely adore being a mum, but I also miss being pregnant (despite what I may have said towards the end of my pregnancy…)

Now that I’ve been pregnant, it seems that all I see are pregnant women. Shortly after birth I felt sorry for them (the first timers had no idea what was coming!), but now I can’t help but feel jealous. It’s made me very thoughtful about pregnancy, and the things I really miss:

  • The kicks – those little kicks (while sometimes painful) felt amazing. And nobody but me knew they were happening – unless of course I was asking people to feel them, which admittedly did happen often! I used to love just sitting down, giving my belly a rub and feeling his little feet kicking me (and the hiccups, can’t forget the hiccups). Maybe I don’t miss the kicks in the ribs, but the rest was wonderful.
  • An excuse to nap, ALL the time – being pregnant meant I was sleepy constantly, and gave me an excuse to nap whenever I wanted, judgement free. I guess I still can play the ‘baby card’, and nap when Dominic does. But realistically, it just doesn’t happen, nap time is chore time. I think I’ll change the above to “having time to nap, all the time”.
  • Special treatment – while I often declined extra help, it was nice to have it offered to me. The amount of times people would say to me “but you’re pregnant”, when offering me a seat, letting me use the toilet first, making me a cup of tea and so on. Again, some people will still offer it now to help me with the baby, but it’s only a matter of time before I’m meant to be used to motherhood, and that goes away. Booooo!
Bump photo

I’m fairly certain this was my big ol’ bump a few weeks before I popped. Although it seems awfully small looking back at it…

  • The big bump – bloated? Who cares, nobody can tell! I remember being out with friends would would complain that they were bloated (no bread or pasta for them!), and just feeling secretly smug because I could have what I wanted and pass mine as baby.
  • An excuse to eat more – nobody judges a woman stuffing her face when she’s pregnant. Seconds? Thirds? Sure, I’m pregnant! It’s a shame that near the end Dom squashed my stomach so much that I couldn’t fit half as much in.
  • The excitement of what’s to come – especially if you’re a first time mum, you have absolutely no idea what to expect. I spent most of my time dreaming about this lovely little baby that was going to come into my life. The waiting felt very much like Christmas. And I love Christmas.

I’m curious as to what other mums enjoyed most about pregnancy (or maybe even disliked). Please feel free to share below :)

It’s the little things…

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt during my (very short) time as a mum, it’s that it really is the simple things in life that we take for granted. People say it all the time, but I’ve never truly understood it until now.

Here are a few things I wish I had appreciated more before becoming a parent:

  1. Hot food – this is something nobody warned me about. My darling little boy seems to have a ‘mummy’s dinner time’ radar built into him, for every time my food is ready, or I’m mid-eating, the waterworks start. I’m not one to leave him grumbling, so food is always left to go cold. I recently saw something online that definitely rings true nowadays. It said:

“Papa bears porridge was too hot. Baby bears porridge was just right. Mumma bears was too cold…. I get it now.”

And I do finally get it now!

2. The obvious one… SLEEP! – this one I did know was coming, but I still took it for granted. I remember when I was pregnant everyone kept telling me, “relax”, “the cleaning can wait, take a nap”, “go to bed” and so on. I of course ignored everyone, what did they know? Pfft. I want to slap my pregnant self. Twice.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love cuddling with Dominic in the night when he wakes, it feels like our special time together. But, the lack of sleep does build up, and leave you feeling like a walking zombie.

3. Cleaning – yep, you heard right. I hate cleaning, but at the same I do get totally crazy and annoyed when I see the house untidy, or the kitchen hasn’t been cleaned, or anything like that. It instantly puts me in a bad mood. Especially the laundry, God, I see red when the laundry piles up. But now I have a little one, I can only do bits here and there whenever he sleeps in the day. I’m gonna have to look into getting a sling or something so that I can multi-task.

4. Popping out – I always knew that it would be harder to go out for a meal or something with Neal, but I didn’t think of the little things like going to the shops. To be fair, it would probably be easier if I wasn’t a complete clutz when it comes to putting the pram together, using the car seat and remembering things I need to take with me. Practice makes perfect I guess – at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

BUT …. all the above is outweighed by the joys of parenthood. 

I never knew how much I could love such a tiny little person. He really is my world. Contrary to the above, there are little, ever so simple things that fill my heart up with so much love, I’m scared it’s gonna explode all over the walls (now there’s a picture!)

  1. Smiles – Oh. My. God. Do they not just fill you up with so much joy? I’ve started singing to my son quite frequently, the poor thing. Until today he’d just watched me like I was a total crazy person. But today it seems I’ve found that magic song. ‘Rock a bye baby’. This song makes him smile every time. At first I thought he must have had gas, so I kept singing it every now and again. 5 times to be exact. And each time he smiled. I’m taking that one as a win. :)

2. Breastfeeding – I know it’s just feeding, but feeding him is just so lovely. It’s so relaxing, and it really feels like I’m bonding with him. It’s that special time, just him and I, and it feels nice to know that it’s only me that can do it. And that face! Their little eyes and face when they’re feeding (I’m sure any mum will know), are absolutely gorgeous!

3. Sleeping – no, not for the reason you’re thinking. I just like to watch Dominic sleeping. Is that weird? I hope not. There’s something about their calm, angelic little selves just sleeping that really pulls you in, you really do lose yourself in it. I must have lost hours just watching him.

4. Squeals – I still haven’t worked out what these mean. But my God are they cute. At first I thought it was him getting excited and playing, but then I read that babies make these noises when they are trying to get your attention. Both are fine, but I definitely hope it’s the former. They’re definitely a step up from crying.

There are so much more I could add to this list, but I think it would probably get a bit boring (if it isn’t already!) so I’ll contain myself.