Friday, 26 August 2016

Dear Baby (42 + 2)

6:37pm Friday 26 August 2016

Dear Baby,  

It feels like I have been waiting to meet you for a lifetime. 40 weeks was long enough but the extra 16 days have been excruciating. 

I'm writing this from my hospital bed, a place I'm keen to leave if only you would make an appearance. I never expected to get this late in the month without seeing your face. 

Already so different to your big sister, you have thrown our plans into chaos and left us wondering if your birthday will ever actually arrive.

I am desperate to meet you. I have spent countless hours trying to imagine what you will look like, what you will be like and how it will feel to finally hold you in my arms. Whenever I try to imagine meeting you for the first time, all I can see is your big sister's face staring back at me all those years ago when she crashed into my world and made me a mother. But I already know you'll be nothing like he. I couldn't have had two more different pregnancies and I'm sure the same will be said about your personalities. 

And she is so desperate to meet you. She has been waiting patiently since December, counting down the weeks until your arrival. Only you didn't arrive, instead you decided to stay put a little longer, stretching out my tummy more with each passing day as you let me know you're happy in there with your kicks and nudges. So now your big sister has stopped counting down the days, instead she tells me each day how much she hopes you'll be born today. She wants to meet you, she wants to become a big sister and, most of all, she wants all of her family together at home at long last. 

Everything is already so different to how I imagined it. I thought you'd arrive weeks ago, born into a pool at home under the loving gaze of your big sister. But instead I'm awaiting your arrival in hospital. You seem to want a little longer in there, you're not quite ready to take your place in the world just yet. And that's ok. I'm trying to give you the time you need. It's not easy, the days pass slowly in hospital and sometimes it feels like it will never happen. I have to work hard to remind myself that it will, that one day soon I'll be holding you, brand new little you, in my arms and you'll gaze into my eyes and my heart will swell and nothing will ever be quite the same again. I keep trying to focus on that moment, imagining what it will feel like and telling myself it will be soon. 

It won't be long until you wrap your little hand tightly around my finger. It won't be long until I can marvel at your eyelashes, hold you close and share you with the world. 

Every night I go to bed hoping that this is it, that I'll wake up in labour and meet you hours later. I can't wait to meet you. I know you'll be worth the wait. 

Love always, even from my hospital bed,

Thursday, 18 August 2016

A Postpartum Wardrobe with Lyst

I’ve been wearing maternity clothes for months. If it looks like a tent, I’ve been wearing it. I can’t wait to get back into normal clothes and start wearing things I really love again. Pregnancy is all about comfort, so I’m looking forward to getting to wear pretty dresses again.

Lyst is an online shopping portal that brings together clothes from some of your favourite brands. They invited me to take a look through their website and compile a list of my favourites. I decided to focus on postpartum fashion because that’s what I’ll be wearing for the next few months. I’ll be looking for clothes that hide a deflated bump and allow easy access for breastfeeding, so that’s what I’ve picked out.

For those long days trapped under a sleeping baby on the sofa, comfort is key. When my daughter was born, I picked up some simple t-shirts and long sleeved tops to wear. I imagine I’ll do the same again this time because sometimes it’s just nice to feel snug, especially as autumn is approaching. I picked out a simple maroon top from Mango for this.

I really love this striped skirt from Mango. It can easily be paired with a vest top or shirt to allow for easy breastfeeding access. I love the stripes and the shape of the skirt, it’s a simple way of dressing up without too much hassle. I don’t usually wear shirts but they make breastfeeding in public so easy. You can get easy access without having to expose too much of yourself. I love the star print on this shirt from Oasis. It would work with jeans or a skirt, making it a great choice for somebody who is likely to spend a lot of time changing outfits thanks to baby sick.

I have always been a huge fan of the dresses in Warehouse. They have so much choice and I always manage to find something I love. With shirt dresses being in at the moment, I figured this would make a good must-have for a postpartum wardrobe. The fit of a shirt dress will hide any number of sins, namely that slowly deflating bump and extra few pounds. And, of course, the button down front allows for easy access when you’re out and about with a hungry baby.

When Ebony was born, I walked miles each day going to baby groups and meeting up with friends. She slept happily in the sling whilst I worked off some of that extra pregnancy weight, it was perfect. I’m hoping I’ll get to do that again this time, so will need to think of some clothes to make it work. This summer has been pretty erratic weather wise so I think a waterproof coat is in order. Not only will it protect me, but if I get a slightly bigger size, I’ll be able to use it to keep the baby dry as well. I’d love one that could be easily packed away small so I can carry it in the changing bag and only get it out when I need it.

After falling head over heels in love with my maternity dungarees dress, I’ll definitely need to invest in another pinafore for after the baby is born. Admittedly, this may not be easiest in terms of breastfeeding access, but I love how they look so it will have to be done. I love this black one from ASOS  and think it is a must-have for autumn. There’s nothing nicer than long sleeved tops under pinafore dresses, is there?

What items would make it into your postpartum wardrobe?

This is a collaborative post.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Time I Tiled a Bathroom

We’ve done a lot of work on the house this year. That’s what happens when you’re pregnant, isn’t it? You can’t drink so you spend your free time making plans and spending money you don’t have. We somehow managed to get quite a lot of the house decorated in a short space of time and it has made such a huge difference.

When we bought the house, I was excited to see there was a downstairs toilet. I envisaged sitting in the garden whilst Ebony played and her being able to run in for a wee whenever she needed. I’ve never lived in a house with a downstairs cloakroom before but I imagined it would make family life so much easier. My parents had an outdoor toilet when I was growing up but it had truly huge and terrifying spiders living in there so it wasn’t as fun place to pee.

When we moved in, we quickly discovered that the downstairs toilet didn’t actually work. And neither did the sink. Great. So the room because a dumping ground for tools and wood and other things that had no home. And it stayed that way for two years until we finally decided to decorate that room. It had a crazily hideous toilet and sink in there, bright blue and very very large. And the walls were decorated in garish white and black heavily patterned wallpaper. It was a weird room.

Laurie and my dad took out the toilet and sink and temporarily blocked up the pipes so we could decorate the room. We got a professional tiler to come and fit some huge white floor tiles in the bathroom, utility room and conservatory. This made such a huge difference to the back of the house and I absolutely love how it looks, especially when the sunlight reflects through the rooms.

In-keeping with my overwhelming love of white, we decided to have white metro tiles in the bathroom. Instead of forking out for a professional, I decided to try my hand at tiling. I was five months pregnant at the time and sitting on the floor for long periods wasn’t the best of ideas, but I’m really proud that I managed to do it myself. It took me quite a while and is far from perfect, but I get a rush of pride every time I go in there. There’s something really gratifying about getting your hands dirty and trying something new.

Once the tiles were in and the walls were painted blue, it was Laurie’s turn to throw himself into some DIY. He fitted the toilet and sink himself which was pretty impressive for someone who hasn’t tried plumbing before. We managed to get it finished just in time for my birthday party in May, though there is still the odd snag job to do in there. I’m hopefully we’ll manage to get the room 100% finished soon so I can share some more photos. I’ll also be sharing some more posts about the DIY and decorating we’ve done this year, I’m really pleased with how it all turned out.

This is a collaborative post.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Why am I still pregnant?

I thought this baby was going to arrive early. I had a feeling. I was convinced this baby would arrive during week 39. Why? Oh, no reason, I just didn’t want it to be massive and was hoping mother nature would step in and help me out. Well, she didn’t because she’s a knob and she doesn’t care how huge this baby is, it’s not her fanny it’s entering the world through, is it?

Yesterday was my due date. I woke up furious, as I do every morning, angrily wondering why the hell I was still pregnant. Did I do something terrible in another life? Am I being punished for some unknown crimes? Is this some kind of joke?

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I know that being pregnant is wonderful. And, I swear, I have been really grateful throughout this pregnancy. I have kept my moaning to a minimum (compared to last time at least, I was super miserable then), I have been positive and happy and now I’m ready for it to be over. So why isn’t it over?

I can’t carry this weight around anymore. It is too much. My feet hurt by the end of the day just from standing up because there is so much weight pressing down on them. I can’t get out of bed anymore, I just flail around like a fallen beetle, trying desperately not to piss myself, grunting loudly until Laurie eventually stirs and gives me the shove I need to get vertical.

I can’t sleep anymore. I wake up All The Time. And when I wake up, I can’t help but hold my breath and hope it was a contracting that woke me up. It wasn’t, of course, it was the tardy baby punching me in the bladder. Again. And every time I wake up, I am angry. It is tiring to be angry all the time. And it is tiring to be punched in the bladder all the time. I am very tired. I cannot give birth when I am this tired. What if that is why the baby hasn’t been born yet? How can I rectify this dilemma when I cannot stop the baby from punching me in the bladder?

I cannot take any more baths. I have had enough baths now. Sometimes two a day. It is too much bath. I’m really for the baby now. The baby will poop in the bath and make me never bathe again. I’m ready for that. I have had enough baths. I have had so many baths that I have rubbed my face raw with a flannel. This is not a normal problem, I’m sure, I think maybe the tardy baby is forcing me to lose my mind.

I can’t eat any more curries. I’ve eaten so many curries. And they’re so spicy. I can’t do it anymore. I have had enough curry, thank you. I want to go back to eating salad, or whatever. I don’t want to get any more text messages asking if I’ve had any signs yet. I HAVE HAD NO SIGNS. I AM NOT IN LABOUR. THERE IS NO BABY. That’s what I want to say to everyone. Maybe I’m not even pregnant, maybe I just drank so much sparkling water that I have the appearance of a heavily pregnant woman but really it is all bubbles.

I have reached a stage of pregnancy where I am attracting the sympathy of strangers. This is basically impossible and simply proves how huge I am. Usually, people are not sympathetic. They laugh at me waddling around on hot days, shouting over helpful comments about the heat. You know, in case I hadn’t noticed. They ask me if it’s twins. They tell me I look fed up (always a helpful thing to say to someone who is fed up, so thanks for that council worker chopping down trees. May tree sap get in your eyes!). But now, now that the baby is officially late, they offer me sympathy. They reassure me, promising it will happen soon, they tell me it’s exciting, they are kind. You know your life is a bag of crap when strangers start being kind to you.

I can’t do anything useful because I spend literally all of my time wondering why the hell I am still pregnant. And yet I still have not found the answer. I just am. I just am still pregnant and probably always will be. I have a midwife appointment tomorrow morning. I really don’t want to go. Not least because it is very hard to piss accurately in a small pot when you are gestating an adult elephant. But also because I only have to go if I am still pregnant. Please don’t let me still be pregnant then. Please.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

A Changing Table Tour

I sort of already feel bad for this baby. When I was pregnant with Ebony, we decorated a nursery for her. She never slept in it, of course, but it was a room in the house just for her. Or for nappy changes at least. I’m not making that mistake again. Our house is bigger now, but I don’t want to dedicate an entire room for changing nappies in. It just seems a bit ridiculous. I’m not going to put up a cot that will probably never get slept in. Instead, we’ve made room for the baby in our bedroom. We have a drawer full of baby clothes and a huge bed that will fit us all in.

And so the baby has no nursery which I feel a little mean about. Of course, one day the baby will have their very own bedroom, but for now, there is nowhere. We talked early on in the pregnancy about getting a changing table so I decided to make that the baby’s little corner of the house. I bought a changing table second hand from Gumtree. I decided to put it in my office. I’ll have writing to do when the baby is little, so I think we might end up spending quite a bit of time together in there. It’s the smallest room in the house but is a place I love because it’s mine all mine. Well, and the babies now. So, behind the desk where I sit to write is a changing table filled with all the things I’ve acquired for this baby. Some of it is second-hand, passed down from Ebony, and other bits are new, my way of compensating for the lack of nursery.

One of my favourite items is the mobile which dangles above the changing table. Ebony drew pictures of our family and I made a simple mobile for the baby, I wrote about it in more detail here. I think it’s such a lovely personal touch and it’s something Ebony is really proud of. I’ve been doing lots of little things to get her involved in preparing for her new baby brother or sister but this was definitely one of my favourite activities.

Last time, we had a fancy changing mat from Mamas and Papas, it even came with a little pillow. It was very lovely but always covered in pee. The pillow and changing mat cover spent most of their time in the washing machine. They only ever seemed to be in the nursery for a few minutes before they got peed on again. So, this time, I decided to get a simple patterned changing mat that will look nice even when it’s soaked in urine. I chose this turquoise chevron mat for £7.99 from Kiddicare.

I wanted some brightly coloured storage for under the changing table and fell in love with the designs from Minene. I chose this huge fabric navy box for £30 from John Lewis. It fills almost a whole shelf and is big enough to house all the washable nappies. I currently have 21 nappies, a load of extra liners, nappy bags and spare wipes in there and there’s still room for more. I also bought the smaller box in red for £11.50 from Amazon. I love the vibrant red and the huge stars, it looks lovely. I’m currently using it to store a pack of disposable nappies, some disposable wipes and a beautiful blue towel I bought for when the baby’s born.

And finally, because I didn’t seem able to stop buying Minene storage, I got this beautiful cloud storage bag for £14.00 from Amazon. It is the perfect size to slot onto the shelf and looks great next to the other Minene storage. I’m currently using it to store muslin cloths. I have these brightly patterned muslin cloths for £12 from JoJo Maman Bébé (although I actually got ours second hand and much cheaper from eBay) and a packet of these Bright Bots muslin cloths for £12.95 from Amazon. I have 11 muslin cloths which I guess may not be enough, but I figured it would do for now. Last time we borrowed muslin cloths from a friend and we must have had at least 30 so I have no idea how many we’ll actually need.

We’re using washable nappies again so will be using the same ones we had with Ebony. We bought a BumGenius birth to potty kit when I was pregnant with Ebony (sort of like this one for £396 from The Cotton Nappy Company). I seem to remember it costing closer to £300 at the time but my in-laws very kindly paid so I might be mistaken. I loved using cloth nappies and am really looking forward to doing so again. We have replaced the velcro tabs on the nappies because ours were wearing out (this cost £30 at our local tailors). Ebony helped me sort through the nappies and put all the liners in over the weekend so we’re all ready for the baby to be born now (hint hint, baby).

I took Ebony into Manchester a few weeks ago to choose a first outfit for the new baby. This is another of the little activities we’ve done to make her feel involved in the new baby. Obviously, it backfired terribly because Ebony couldn’t choose anything unisex and insisted that I buy the pink rompers because boys can wear pink too. Which is, of course true, but I don’t know whether this baby would forgive me if he happens to be a boy forever haunted by a Facebook birth announcement of him wearing a pink floral romper. And so, we decided to buy two sets of rompers, one for a boy and one for a girl. Ebony’s in charge of going to select the right romper when the baby is born. I have a feeling she will choose the pink regardless of the baby’s genitalia.

The blanket waiting patiently on top of the changing mat is the blanket I knitted for the new baby. I’m quite proud of it because I actually managed to finish it. I only finished Ebony’s last week and I started that when she was still in my tummy. So, whilst this baby may not have a bedroom, I did actually finish knitting a blanket and I feel like that proves my love. I’m really looking forward to snuggling down on the bed with my new baby in my arms enjoying some skin-to-skin under the blanket I knitted.

As well as using washable nappies, we’re also going to be using washable wipes. The lovely people at Cheeky Wipes have very kindly sent us a kit to try out. I’m really pleased because we used Cheeky Wipes with Ebony and I loved them. It’s much kinder on their skin that many of the disposable wipes on the shelves. There are no harsh chemicals, there’s no waste and hardly any nappy rash. You can buy a complete kit of Cheeky Wipes for £40.97 from Amazon.

So, the baby may not have a bedroom, but I think this changing area will do for now. And, since it’s all so nicely set out and the rompers are waiting patiently on the hangers, erm, do you think maybe it would be possible for the baby to be born sometime soon? Please?


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