Friday Five 06/03/15 – Five Things I’ll be Packing in my Hospital Bag



I wanted to let you all know that I am trying to get more organised as due date looms up ahead. I’ve finally started to pack a bag for the hospital and start a little pile of baby clothes ready for hospital as well. 

I know I’ve found it helpful reading other people’s posts about what they’ve packed so I thought about doing the same. However, I also thought that might probably be a little boring too. So instead, I’ve decided to just list my top 5 items to take and why, based on my experiences from having my first baby boy.

1) A button down night shirt. 

Last time I seem to remember them wanting to get me cleaned up pretty sharpish after the birth, once all the doctors had left and we’d had a bit of bonding time. I couldn’t shower because I was losing blood and they were monitoring it, so instead I was given a bed bath by a lovely midwife and was able to change into the nightie I’d taken. 

The bed bath didn’t really bother me as you do pretty much forget all about your dignity when you’re in that position, but what was a pain was later on when I was trying to get feeding established and family came to visit because all w was doing was pulling down the top of my nightie for access, which left quite a lot of me exposed.

I think this time I’ll want to be covered up more but still allow easy access, so a night shirt is a good idea I’m hoping!

2) Disposable pants!

I know the idea sounds gross to those who haven’t given birth but seriously, you’re going to bleed and (if you’re anything like I was last time) bleed a lot. So why bother messing up your own underwear? Disposable pants work well and are fab for just chucking away and not worrying about. 

But remember not to get your old size, go up at least one! I know you’ll have pushed the baby out but you still won’t be your old shape again just yet! The best pants are the ones that hold everything in!

3) Maxi maternity pads.

I mean the ones that are basically like an adult nappy. You’ll need them. Function over fashion. That’s all.

4) Cheap slippers.

A few years ago, my husband and I went to Turkey and part of the hotel freebies we brought back were some of those cheap slippers like you get in spas. I’ve kept the two pairs for ages, but never been sure why. 

Now I know. This is what they’re for! Walking around a hospital to either keep labour going or to get up and use the bathroom, you’re going to need something on your feet. I’ll probably head up toy the hospital in my boots, so I’ll need something easy to slip on and off for those circumstances. And remember that they’ll probably get stained, wet in the shower rooms and generally hospital dirty. You’ll be glad to chuck the things away on your way out!

Plus, they’ll bring back happy memories when it’s the middle of the night and I’m struggling through the early hours with a little one!

5) A book.

This is something I didn’t take last time, and there were stretches of hours (after birth) where I could have done with something to zone out with. 

I haven’t actually packed this yet though as I don’t know what book I’ll be reading, but it’ll be on my list of last minute items. I’m so looking forward to a few hours uninterrupted (apart from the baby) reading, especially if I’m put on a ward where I don’t want to disturb other mums and babies. 

So they are my top 5 items to remember. What are yours? Maybe I’ve forgotten something and I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading! Come find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/mumwriting or on Twitter at @mumwriting for a natter. Please like, share, retweet and most of all… comment!! I love hearing your thoughts! Happy Friday 🙂

How to Dress Post-Baby

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Aside from the “Great Dress Debate” of the past week or so (don’t ask me what colour it is – I’ve seen it both ways!) fashion is always something people are talking about. Whether it’s what someone wore down the red carpet or the tracksuit a celebrity was spotted in when they popped out to get milk, you can pretty much tell that someone is always watching.

When you make the decision to start having kids, you almost have to accept straight away that your wardrobe will change and evolve with your role. To start, there are the short-shorts and the bikinis that you know will have to go away for at least a while (if not forever – as a mum of boys I feel I may have to re-evaluate some of my pre-baby clothes).

Whilst pregnant you will, of course, opt for comfort over fashion, though it is possible to achieve both. However, there will inevitably be times when you can’t be bothered to put together an outfit and instead you just want to pull on pyjamas or leggings and a t-shirt. Fair play, I think, in pregnancy. Just the other night I spent half the evening in actual trousers (comfy ones) but switched to leggings because the waistband was digging in where I think the baby’s head has dropped to. Comfort is the name of the game, especially at this late stage!

But after baby comes a choice – return to fashion, stick with function (especially if breastfeeding) or try to merge the two. Having been through that period once before, here’s how I plan to handle it this time around.

Strappy vests and floaty tops: I’m not shelling out £15 for a specific nursing vest top. Call me frugal but I would rather buy 6 or 7 cheap vest tops from (shock horror) Primark, knowing that they’ll probably get stained with milk or baby sick and I can throw them away afterwards. They pull down easily and, with a range of colours, you’ll always be able to at least match something with them. Over the top of a strappy vest, I would pick a floaty top. That way, if you are nursing, you can pull that top up and the vest down, giving you great cover to be discreet and not draw attention to yourself.

Long cardigans: Again, great for nursing and gives you fantastic cover, but they are also great for your figure. Post-baby there’s always bits that you’d rather hide and long cardigans do a great job of that. Not only do they elongate your figure (especially if they come down past your bum!) but they will make whatever’s inside the cardigan seem smaller, so that post-baby tummy is buried beneath the woollen layers!

Tight bottom halves: whether it’s leggings, jeans or skirts, figure hugging bottoms can do wonders. For a start, wherever you’ve put weight on, you’ll lose it first off those places it wouldn’t normally be, like your face and/or legs. So choosing slim-fitting bottoms evens out the whole image, especially if you’re going for the layered look on top. If you feel stuck between your pre-pregnancy jeans and your maternity pair, think about borrowing or investing in a pair that feel good now, rather than ones that used to fit or ones that you’re aiming to fit into. You’ll always feel good if you have a pair of jeans that fit well.

Flat shoes: Carrying a baby and all their paraphernalia can be tricky, even more so with a toddler in tow as well. Think flat, comfortable but stylish. I will probably continue to live in the flat shoes I’ve been wearing throughout pregnancy – boots, ballerina-style pumps and converse-esque trainers. All flat, comfy and still fashionable.

Jumpers: There will be some days when you’ll feel so down about your body that you will just want to hide away under a jumper. That’s OK, on some days. But these will be the days when your husband needs to step up his game, tell you that you’re beautiful, how proud he is of you and how he can’t believe his luck. It’s good to have a few cosy jumpers on hand, but it helps if they’re ones that you like, rather than ones that make you feel frumpy.

All in all ladies, post-baby, you have to do whatever you can to make yourself feel comfy and good. The two can mix, and when you hit the right combination not only do you feel more like yourself, but you can see that hint of yummy-mummy appearing. And the more you see that, the bigger it’ll get until you can give yourself that title and feel proud of it.

Because you are a yummy mummy – after all, someone found you attractive enough to put you in this position in the first place!!

That’s my fashion-plan for the next few months – what are your tips and tricks for a post-baby wardrobe?

Friday Five 27/02/15 – Five Things I Want My First Child to Know Before My Second Child Arrives

IMG_5474 - CopyIn just a few weeks we’ll be welcoming the arrival of our second little boy. As yet, he remains nameless but healthy and that’s all that matters! He has been a wonder to carry but it will be another nine months of health issues and anxiety that I’ll be happy to put behind me as we start the next chapter of our lives.

But in doing so I recognise that there are a few things I really want my first child to know before baby number two makes his appearance. After all, I doubt he’ll remember anything of these first two years with us before our family of one-two-three became four. 

It’s lovely that he’ll always think of us as having been a unit of four, a solid square that can withstand anything, but I guess in these first two years we’ve been more of a triangle. My husband and I have poured more love and energy into this boy than we ever did with anything before. No project was ever as big as this, no mountain was ever as tiring, no achievement was ever as rewarding. 

 So, baby boy (I won’t be able to call you that for much longer!), here are five things that I want you to know before your baby brother leaves the safe space of ‘Mummy’s Tummy’ and enters our world. 

 1) You were (and still are) so wanted.

We planned and prepared to change from a one-two into a three. We wanted you so much and were so sad when our first pregnancy ended in loss. But we know now that if that first baby had survived then we wouldn’t have had you. We would have loved that baby with as much ferocity as we love you, but he/she would not have been you

 Our tears shed on that day only served to lead us to the point of wanting you more. The fear when I started bleeding at 7 weeks, and then again at 11 weeks, of my pregnancy with you will never compare to the complete and utter love we felt when we saw your little face on the ultrasound screen – and even more so when we saw it on the day you were born. 

 2) The day you were born was hard.

I won’t lie. I generally don’t tell people about your birth, and will probably never tell you unless you ask. But it wasn’t an easy one. Nor was it easy for your dad who had to watch me go through so much pain. I steer clear of “birth story” sharing with other pregnant ladies because I don’t want to scare them. It was tough and probably (hopefully) the hardest day of my life. I pray every day that your baby brother comes out with more ease than you. 

 You are a fighter and a survivor and I am so thankful for that instinct in you. I hope and pray it grows to make you a resilient and dedicated man. Your wife and children will appreciate those qualities. 

 3) The day you were born was worth it.

Despite my prayers of an easier second birth, I would go through that day every day if it meant keeping you safe and well. It may not have been easy but it was so worth it. We have one photo from not too long after your birth where I am holding you and there are smears of blood on my hand – I love it. It encapsulates everything from that morning. As does the photo of you asleep, cradled in the curve of my arm with the cannula in the background, transfusing blood into me so that we could go home as soon as possible.

They tell the story of you, me and your Daddy – and I would do it all again every day if it meant keeping you safe and well. 

You, and the life ahead of you, were worth every moment. Never forget that. When a kid trips you up or a girl turns you down, when your grades aren’t great or an employer says no – remember that you are worth so much and always will be to me and your Daddy. 

 4) Our family of three was great.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with our little family of three. I know you’re probably too young to understand a lot of what is going on, and maybe we’ll be lucky and skip the sibling jealousy, but we’re not having your baby brother because three wasn’t enough. There were nights we lay in bed and marvelled at the fact that we were a three, and how lucky we were that the third was you.

Your baby brother will enhance our family. He is not coming to fix us, but to improve us. Had we forever been a three we would have been just as happy with our lot. 

God granted us a little number four and we know that the experience of having a sibling was and is something we want for you because we had that experience ourselves. One day we may well find ourselves a one-two-three-four-five, but there are no plans for that. Your baby brother will make your life even better, the way you made our lives so much better. Our one-two-three was amazing – never doubt that. 

 5) There will always be time for you.

Life with a newborn can be hectic and foggy. Sleepless nights, tiring days, visitors who come all at once and then go, leaving the four of us to muddle through the best we can until we find our rhythm. But know this – there will always be time for you. Though there will be feedings and more nappies and maybe a baby who won’t sleep anywhere other than on Mummy or Daddy, there will always be time for you. Whatever you want to tell us will be heard, whatever you want to show us will be seen, whatever you want to do with us will be done (within reason, baby boy – I’m not eating Cheerios off the carpet with you!) 

 We are fortunate enough to be surrounded by family. Your grandparents will always have time for you. Your extended family will always have time for you. Our friends who have become like family will always be there for you. Whether it’s a drum lesson or some cuddles you’re after, a kick around or a place to crash when you’re mad at us… both we and they will provide that space and time for you – for your beautiful little face and your amazing big personality. 

 Our love for you will not split with the arrival of your brother. Rather, our hearts will grow to accommodate extra love, extra time, extra vitality and strength. Your space will not get squashed. Our triangle becomes a square. Our one-two-three becomes a four. You were a fantastic only child but you’ll be an even better big brother. 

Thanks so much for reading! Please like, share, comment and retweet – your encouragement means so much. Come and find me on Facebook at facebook.com/mumwriting or Twitter at @mumwriting. Have a lovely weekend 🙂

Honestly?

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It’s late on a Sunday night and this post will be published in the morning. Why am I writing so late? Because I currently ache, can’t sleep and am generally feeling a bit rubbish. So I write while my husband snores away beside me and my son snuffles on the monitor and my baby kicks away inside me. So forgive any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Third trimester and perfection do not generally go together!

One of the things I have learnt this time around in pregnancy is that being honest with people about how I’m feeling is largely a better way to handle things. First time round I think I tried to be all “glowing” and pretend that pregnancy was lovely. But if I’m honest, both times have been pretty rough. I’m of the opinion that being pregnant suits some women and not others. I’m one of the latter. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, or that it makes me any less womanly, it’s just how my body handles certain things. So this time round when people have asked how I am I’ve been honest with them.

And you know what? I get pretty good responses. Sympathy and cups of tea, cake and tips on where to go for massages. I can’t say it’s all bad, this honesty thing.

In all my life I’ve never been as straight and open with people as I am now. That’s why it was so refreshing when, at a friend’s house the other night, she asked me and my husband some pretty straight-talking questions. And we were able to answer them truthfully, openly and in a place where judgement didn’t exist.

That’s how friendships are formed. Especially in adulthood where friends can seemingly be won or lost so quickly and without notice.

Kids tell the truth. My son tells me when he’s ripping up books or drawing on the walls. He’s not yet reached the age of realising he probably shouldn’t tell me when he’s being naughty. It’s why people find him endearing and loveable.

Am I endearing and loveable when I complain about my aches? Probably not. But you know what? When I’m honest and open I seem to make friends quicker, keep friends longer and make friendships that are deeper.

So no, I’m not glowing. But if you fancy a real chat about how life is all you have to do is ask. These days, I’ll be pretty open and honest with you about anything! And my friends love it.

Thanks for reading! Every like, share, comment or retweet means a lot so please keep doing it! You can find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/mumwriting or twitter at @mumwriting. Happy Monday!

33 weeks and I’m wearing out!

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So this week I did not stick to any sort of blog writing schedule as I had planned. At 33 weeks pregnant, I succumbed to sleep! I slept when my little boy napped and I slept while he was with grandparents and basically just chilled for a good long while! And so begins the final leg of pregnancy where only about 3 outfits fit me properly, I ache and am in constant pain, and I start to wish away the days!

You would think with it being half term I would have had more time to write but instead my bed proved too comfortable and my body too uncomfortable. Anyone who has spoken to me about having “bump envy” or feeling broody again for these late stages of pregnancy has clearly forgotten the discomfort. That, alongside all the jobs that are still to do before baby arrives, are making life difficult.

BUT I have to say that I do feel incredibly blessed. I am relying more upon my beautiful family – my husband who has been and continues to be so caring and understanding about all my moans and gripes, and my son who is learning that sometimes Mummy can’t get down on the floor to roll around with him and occasionally he needs to play by himself. I would be in serious trouble without their patience!

Luckily they have each other to roll around on the floor with and have tickle fights with. I can’t wait until they day when there are two little boys doing all of that together.

For now I know I need to concentrate on staying comfortable, healthy and preparing for an imminent arrival. So, here’s what’s to come in the next few weeks…

– Packing a hospital bag.
– Moving my big boy into a big boy bed.
– Getting all the baby stuff down from the loft.
– Washing a lot of baby stuff.
– Sorting out clothes for post-birth.
– CHOOSING A NAME! Yes, this child still has no name. Poor boy.

Apparently baby is now the size of a honeydew melon so no wonder getting comfy is such a nightmare. Just got to hope for the best now – a safe, easy and preferably slightly early birth!!

So here’s to all the pregnant ladies struggling to get through the third trimester and hoping upon hope that their little one decides to appear at 38 weeks instead of 42, and the ones who can easily fall asleep at 2pm but struggle to sleep at 1am, and the ones who can’t find anything decent to wear except that one same outfit and damn it if I don’t get my money’s worth out of those Next Maternity Jeans!

We can do this ladies! We’ll get there. We’ll meet our little ones soon. In the words of Effie Trinket… “Eyes bright, chins up, smiles on.”

Thanks for reading! I’m also around on Facebook at Facebook.com/mumwriting and Twitter at @mumwriting. Come find me! Thanks for journeying along with me. Every like, share, retweet and comment means a lot!

Mums' Days

Friday Five 13/02/2015 – Five Reasons I Won’t be Seeing Fifty Shades of Grey this Weekend.

P0052_036Five Reasons I Won’t Be Seeing Fifty Shades of Grey This Weekend

So there’s this film coming out. You’ve probably heard about it. It’s based on a book written not too long ago. I know plenty of people who’ve read it. In fact, I started to read the first one because it came preloaded with some other best sellers on my Kindle. I think I probably read just under half of it.

And then I stopped. And despite “Mr Grey” being a Once Upon a Time actor whom I would have liked to have seen act in something else, Fifty Shades isn’t on our list of things to do this weekend. Why?

1) My husband and I already have Valentines plans.

They are to sit and watch the most recent episode of the Blacklist, to tick off another idea pulled out of our date night jar (which is to do a couples quiz and then discuss our answers), and to eat our favourite foods. That’s it, that’s all we have planned. Some may find that a bit sad. It’s not sad. Nor is it comfortable. We will be doing something we enjoy together, learning new things about each other and enjoying eating things without sharing them with our child!

We will be spending time together – time that matters in a busy life with a new-born on the way in a few weeks. What better Valentine gift to give than our time, that so easily slips away from us to other things?

2) I respect my husband and he respects me.

No one can escape the Fifty Shades articles that have been flying around recently, but I’ve done my best. Why? Because I’m not interested. I respect my husband too much to expect him to sit through what is essentially a film from a book written so that women can swoon and imagine what a different life would be like. I don’t need a different life.

Nor does my husband, and it’s not just the idea of the book/film, it’s the content. I think we’re all pretty clear where Fifty Shades goes. My husband respects me too much to want, need or expect me to act the way the characters in the book/film do. And I love that about him.

3) Things change when you have kids. Or maybe sons? I’m sure other mums can give their opinions on this, but I want to bring my sons up in such a way that I teach them to respect women. That will start with them learning to respect me and continue, eventually, with their future wives.

How the character in this story acts is not how I want my sons to act. It’s not how I want them to treat women, so why set that example for them now by going to see this film that’s whole intention is to make me want to be treated that way?

4) I am heavily pregnant and the girl in this film is a stick.

Nothing against skinny people – I used to be one! (Isn’t the word skinny awful? Slim, I should say.) But at 32 and a half weeks pregnant, I’m not sure seeing a tiny girl writhing around is going to make me feel any better about how I feel right now. My aching back and pelvis, the extra weight I’ve put on my face, my daily changing body shape is all a hugely amazing gift from God because it means I’m carrying a tiny (pretty big) boy.

But that doesn’t mean I want to be reminded of it by seeing a slim (see, that’s better) brunette, in gorgeous clothes who’s had her hair and make up done by a skilled team of professionals, being seduced in front of me. Because it reminds me that right now I am huge, aching constantly, dealing with Braxton Hicks regularly and feeling feet digging into my ribs. Happy Valentines Day (not)!

5) For me, Valentines Day means something else.

From a very young age, my sister and I both received Valentines cards. Every year. I’m not being big headed – they were from our dad. We knew that and he knew that we knew. But it made the day special. We went to school with smiles on our faces. Ever since then, Valentines day has meant reminding someone just how wonderful they are.

It’s a day to feel loved, to be made to feel special and wanted – just like every other day of the year. But people forget in the day to day chaos of life how special they are and sometimes need reminding. So that’s what Valentines day does. In the whirlwind of life that gets us all stressed, emotional and constantly bombarded with real life, this is one day, maybe one card, perhaps even one person or picture or greeting as you walk into work that says “Happy Valentines Day” and reminds you that you’re special. You’re someone to be remembered and treasured and valued. I’ll write one card for the one person who, above everyone else, makes me feel valued to remind him just how valuable he is to me.

So why would I spoil that intimacy with a film about a book that was written to satisfy millions?

Thanks for reading! I know there are a lot of opinions on this topic, so from this I’ll keep my mouth shut, but if you agree with anything I’ve written please like, share, retweet or comment. Your opinions matter. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/mumwriting or Twitter at @mumwriting

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Reality Setting In – 32 weeks and counting…

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I’m registered with the What to Expect website, have the book and use the app when I forget how many weeks I am (apparently with baby number two it’s less “counting down the days” and more “where did the days go?”) Every so often I get an email from them. I usually delete it without reading them – after all, I read them all meticulously with the first. However, recently things have started to catch my eye.

Other mums due in April are packing hospital bags. If I’m 100% honest, packing a hospital bag hadn’t even crossed my mind yet. I mean, I haven’t been out to buy maternity pads yet or washed any baby clothes in readiness.

All of our baby clothes are in the loft.

The ridiculous amount of preparation that was a part of the build up to baby number one has drifted with baby number two. We said we were going to get our big kid in a bed before the baby arrived… no bed yet. Infant car seat? Loft. Pram attachment for pushchair? Loft.

The one thing I have done is ordered baby nappies – there was an offer. But only size 2 so we’ll probably want some smaller ones first anyway. I bought a nursing top to take into hospital with me. But only because it was on offer in Aldi. And now people are packing hospital bags.

Who are these people? And do they have two toothbrushes? Do they have special “hospital wear” that they can pack now and know they won’t need until then? Do they have an extra comb?

The other thing that I noticed the other day? Pain in my pelvis. Not in my ribs anymore, as has been the case for the past couple of months. Pain at the bottom, not the top. We’re moving downwards folks!

I got the gym ball out because it eases so much of the achiness and, when I can get it off my child who thinks it’s hilarious to throw around a giant ball, it’s really helpful. But I don’t think we actually bought the gym ball the first time around until at least 35 weeks and my stomach is definitely bigger now than it was at this stage last time.

“Have you got everything ready?” is the question people like to ask at the moment. “No!” The answer is no, because in my head I’m still somewhere between 12 and 20 weeks pregnant and think I have all the time in the world. I don’t even have anywhere for the baby to sleep yet. We could use the Moses basket from last time but if he’s another whopper he won’t fit in it very long and I’m not putting a 12 week old in a room with a two year old! I’ve been looking at BedNests but haven’t ordered one.

In fact, I’ve done nothing.

32 weeks and counting…

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read – take a look around to find posts on other parenting issues like the “Mummy Tummy” or how your friendships change when you have children. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/mumwriting or on Twitter at @mumwriting. All of your likes, shares, comments and retweets are appreciated – you’re stars!

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