time flies when you're being a mum


Pregnancy week by week

01 Sep, 2012

It’s three weeks since my due date and that gorgeous last date with Mike. I literally can’t believe how upside down our world has been turned by this little fella and not just practical things, like making sure I eat or being able to go to the toilet in piece and quiet, but emotional things too. I spent at least the first week feeling completely overwhelmed by how gorgeous he was. I’d look at him and start crying just because I thought he was beautiful, or I’d be singing him a song and cry during the nice bits!

Other than being totally knackered and crying at the slightest thing, I’m generally amazed at how little time I have. When he’s asleep the first thing I do is sleep too. If I’m not bothered about sleeping (which is hardly ever), I’m cleaning the breast pump, bottles and nipple shields (I’ll fill you in on my breast feeding success/failure in my next post) or trying to eat something. In the space of 3 weeks I’ve gone from eating like a normal person to a race horse. It’s bizarre.

I thought I’d have time/energy to start working out again! Pah! I thought I’d be able to manage my diet- lots of healthy protein, juices, etc. Double pah!

What has happened though is the bump (i.e. I wouldn’t go so far as to say my baby weight!) has started to go.

Here it is after 4days …

…and here it is after 2 and a half weeks.

And, today, complete with muffin top and camel’s toe, I have squeezed myself back into my topshop Jamie jeans (they’re a size 10 but they’re long and super stretchy so I think they’re more like a size 12 – plus in my hay day they were too big!)

Finally, now he’s safely here I can answer the big question…did I get any stretch marks?! No. Hooray!

Now I need to work on getting some muscle tone back in my belly and losing the baby weight. I’ve just got on the scales and I’m 10 kg lighter than I was 3 weeks ago, which is a result. But… I’ve got about 12kg left to lose to be at my ideal weigh, which is 8kg less than I was before I got pregnant! Something tells me it’s going to take considerably longer than another 3 weeks, especially since my cartoon boobs seem to be growing before our eyes. I should probably stop drinking whole milk too…But it tastes soooo good!

Other posts on stretch marks you might be interested in…

How to prevent stretch marks

Prevent stretch marks shopping list

The labour post


19 Aug, 2012

This time last week my little Reuben had just been born…Are you ready for this? Warts and all?!

Reuben Parker was born on Sunday morning at 9:47am, weighing 7lbs and 11 oz. He is the most perfect thing I have ever seen and I am completely overwhelmed by his loveliness!

I’ve been working on this all week, when I get chance and I’m going to be honest about what the birth was like (while I can still remember – I’ll need Mike to fill in some of the details as I’m already forgetting!) but for anyone pregnant with their first baby I want to remind you that I actively avoided detailed stories of birth in order to keep positive and help prepare myself in the way I felt best. So, I want to highlight the following before you read on:

1. It was the most amazing experience of my life (and already I’m thinking I could do it again – Mother Nature is a cruel mistress!)

2. I’m glad I planned and hoped for a positive birth experience – I should have spent more time visualising the birth pool and pina coladas though! – I will do that again. I did feel a bit down about the way things panned out. I’m a healthy woman surely I could have done it naturally? Yes, is the answer Mike believes but it would have been longer and hurt a lot more. When you’re in the throws of it you stop giving a shit and just want the baby out. There were some lonely times when we were just left to it to suffer and there was nothing Mike could do while I paced around. I feel that if we had hired a Doula, she might have made the experience much more bearable for both of us.

3. I feel so in love with Mike and our baby

4. I have already begun to forget everything (apart from the good bits that make me cry when I think of them)

So, on our due date we followed the midwife’s prescription and 3 more bonks after my sweep, being out and about all day on Friday, and having a bit of quiet time on my bed with Gabriella telling the baby he could come out now, my waters broke at 20:15 on Friday evening while Gabby was having her supper. I was stood in the kitchen (thankfully not the new carpets!) when I thought I’d wet myself. Once it continued to keep coming out, I knew it was my waters. I was so excited that it was starting!

We called the Birthing Centre and I expected them to say “have a glass of wine and get to bed” but they wanted me to come in and get checked over. There was an air of optimism about the house as we rushed around packing bags (of course I never did get my hospital bag packed up in advance!), making dinner (I needed to get my strength up!) and sorting Gabriella out to go to Grandma and Grandad’s. I was sure it wouldn’t be long, I was already thinking BIG thoughts. Plus, once my mum’s waters had been broken (for her at hospital) both my older brother and I came quickly…we packed the car up to the brim not expecting to come home (even the space hopper and car seat made it in the back).

Around 10pm we arrived at the Birth Centre, I was getting the odd little cramp but still feeling fine. I was checked over and had my pad checked to make sure my waters definitely had been broken, which they had. Then they told me that before going home I needed to choose which hospital I wanted to be induced in.

Er, what?

Turns out that if your waters break and you do not spontaneously go into labour you must be induced because the chance of infection for the baby increases the longer you go. For Newcastle RVI the time allowed is 12 hours after waters breaking and for Ashington’s Wansbeck Hospital it is 24 hours. At the time I was really torn because as you know I didn’t want to be induced – what was the point in all that bonking?! (only joking Mike!) And, I really wanted my ‘relaxed’ Birthing Centre experience with the pool and pina colada!

In the end we chose Wansbeck, it had originally been our first choice so we stuck with it. Plus, this gave me longer to go into labour naturally. Little did I know what would follow!

We headed home and I was already feeling tired so we didn’t bother with getting any wine, I had a bowl of cereal and some toast and was meant to get into bed when the pains started coming around 12am. I think we must have been watching some sort of East Enders omnibus and I remember crouching on all fours on the sofa making low groaning noises (or as Mike called them, Sex noises) into my maternity pillow (best thing I was given – I have a whole post dedicated to it coming up) and thinking my cervix big, while Mike kept track of the time between contractions. We got bored of this after a while and after speaking to the Birthing Centre again we were advised to run me a bath to see if it would calm the contractions down enough so I could go to bed.

Being impatient to just get on with it I didn’t want anything to calm down – I felt up against time as I didn’t want to be induced. In hindsight I wish I had tried to relax because the next day was LONG and I was exhausted. I did get in the bath and continued to monitor the contractions with my iPhone lap timer (bit confusing!). I didn’t do stay in the bath for long as I thought it was making things more uncomfortable but probably it was just me being impatient.

My contractions weren’t consistent but they were definitely coming 3 in every 10 minutes, and we had been instructed to come back in at this point. I got Mike back up and we made the journey back to the Birthing Centre. It was a lot more painful this time. I climbed in the back and tried to lie on my side while cuddling my maternity pillow.

When we got to the centre around 4am I got hooked up again to the machine (stood this time as I was in pain and didn’t want to sit) and then had an internal to check my dilation. I was feeling really positive about this as I’d been imagining my cervix expanding with every contraction and sure I’d be at least 5 cm by now. I was 2cms. Gutted is not the word.

So, despite being in pain for what had been hours I wasn’t officially in labour and would have to go home again. I could have cried and the journey was getting longer and longer as the pain set in.

When we got home I got into bed on all fours on my trusty maternity pillow and tried to sleep. Ha! I think I did manage little dozes in between contractions and probably stayed there for half an hour. Then made my way down to the bathroom floor then Gabriella’s bed, where I stayed groaning for more hours while Mike slept. I’ve no idea how long this took but the contractions felt stronger despite not getting closer together or in fact regular.  I was sure though that it must be time to go back to the centre so we made the painful journey again – at least if I was 4cm I could stay and get some pain relief.

To cut a long story short I was still only 3cm (at very most) and we were disappointingly sent home for the 3rd time to ‘wait it out’ until the contractions were either a lot stronger (seriously) or we it was 9pm when we could go into the Wansbeck (it was around 9am at this point). So depressing! I basically spent the day prowling from room to room like a trapped bear, mooing and trying to make low noises, which is supposed to help open your cervix, and imagining what I could remember from the hypnobirthing – my special beach, waves lapping, opening cervix, descending baby, breathing in golden light, etc.

This probably would have been an ideal opportunity to listen to my hypnobirthing CD or read some Ina May about how to progress labour but I couldn’t face doing ANYTHING. I couldn’t eat, sit, think. I couldn’t even get on all fours at this point because baby was back to back and the pain was excruciating! And, sitting on the loo? It would bring on a horrendous contraction. It took me a few days to be able to look a toilet in the eye again (I exaggerate of course, all was forgotten once babe came out). Basically all I could do was walk and as I walked my ankles got bigger and bigger.

Because I couldn’t face the 20 min journey in the car going back to the Birth Centre, the day became a waiting game trying to calm down the contractions so I could cope until 8pm when we could leave to the Hospital. I didn’t give a shit anymore about being induced. I was disappointed about not going to the birth centre and I was worried that I would end up having a c-section but I needed pain relief and a rest. I was also so upset that I hadn’t decided to go to the RVI as I would have been induced hours earlier and this might have all been over!

Every hour was like a year but the time finally came when we could leave for the hospital – we had asked if we could go in earlier but they were so busy 9pm was the earliest point I would be seen so it was better to stick it out at home.

One painful last ride later Mike dropped me off outside the hospital. And, this was not my finest moment. I was still wearing the lace summer dress I’d been wearing on Friday afternoon to Mike’s Godson’s 3rd Birthday party, I had a pair of white ankle socks, my slippers and to top it off my fluffy dressing gown. I huffed and puffed down the hallway ever so slightly slower than a snail, stopping every few steps to have a contraction and make sex noises in the hallway (and I won’t mention that we went half a mile (to a snail) out of our way to the wrong unit first!).

Fortunately, they were expecting us and we went straight into the delivery room – which was very pleasant! Unfortunately, because of my waters breaking, I had to be monitored for the remainder of my labour and was therefore bedbound (something I really hadn’t wanted as I wanted an active labour to help progression – since pacing my house for 20 hours had done little to help anything other than the mother of all cankles dilate, it didn’t really matter).

I had another internal and guess what? 2-3cms. Are you freaking kidding me? I must be the biggest whimp known to man! Nonetheless, I demanded the drugs, and they put me straight on gas and air (nice but I have no idea why you want this in Ibiza!) and then decided to put me on Diamophine so I could get some rest. And, that’s just what we did, for the next 2 hours I was able to sleep! Mike curled up with my maternity pillow in a really uncomfortable looking seat and did the same.

We’re in the final straight now, although it took another 9 hours and because Reuben was back to back there was generally more pain (so I tell myself!), but it was pretty much a blur of just getting on with it. After my 2 hours kip I was 4cm dilated. Serious progress! But not enough for the hospital’s liking so I was put on a hormone drip to speed up the progression and because Reuben was back to back his heartbeat kept slipping off the radar so the midwife had to keep coming in and pressing the pad on my now hugely disfigured stomach – it was made up of 2 distinct lumps, most probably arms and legs.

What started to happen from then on was I got the urge to push. Bearing in mind that I was still only 4cm it was going to be like pushing a camel through the eye of a needle and the sensations were so painful I was now uncontrollably shouting the house down. I spent ages trying to resist this urge to push, sometimes managing it other times really not! This went on for ages and as the drugs were beginning to wear off I started asking about the heavy stuff…when the four hours were up I was able to have more Diamophine but it wasn’t taking the edge off this new pushing pain so I kept asking for an Epidural. The (one) anaesthetist was very busy that night (or so my midwife told me – maybe she thought I’d be better off without it…?) so it wasn’t possible but the midwife gave me a glimmer hope saying if I could stick with the gas and air for the next hour I might be ready to push. I have no sense of time so it might have been hours but I stuck with it and I’m really glad I did because I really wasn’t sure I’d be able to push him out if I did have an epidural, who knows?

Anyway, the time finally came when the midwife’s shift finished and I was fully dilated – she berated me for not hurrying up so she could see my baby and I said good-bye to my new best friend. The new midwife was just as lovely and I felt really comfortable with her (fortunately, because the first thing she did was stick her fingers up my fanny and then had to catheterise about 2 ltrs of urine out of my bladder. She told me that the baby had managed to turn itself around – so all those urges to push was most likely strong contractions that were repositioning the baby. Mental! Good job too as she thought I might have had to have a c-section if he stayed back-to-back, especially as I then began to push for a full hour with the baby’s head just crowning and disappearing again.

After the hour the doctors were brought in as Reuben’s heart rate was dropping, they started talking about vacuuming him out and rushed off to get the tools. In the meantime my midwife informed me that there was no way he was being sucked out and I could do it if she gave me a little cut. The other thing I really didn’t want!! Well, one little snip later, me apologising for wetting myself (it was actually just the final gush of my waters), 4 massive pushes (in which I must have looked like, I can’t even imagine actually, but really really bad!!), “he’s coming, he’s coming, PUUUUUSH!”

…and out popped my gorgeous little boy!

Mike was beside himself. As soon as he saw him, he told me he was a boy (although we’d been calling him a boy all the way through the pushing stages, so it didn’t feel like a surprise!) with big, lovely tears rolling down his face. He was kissing me and telling me how much he loved me, and it was the most beautiful moment of my life.


I then whipped my boobs out (still covered by lace dress!) and Reuben got placed straight onto me so we could have some skin-to-skin time (apparently very important for initial bonding) so he could have a route around to find my boobs while we waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing – we actually saw it still pumping blood into his little body. Finally the cord was cut, I had two loads of injections to get the placenta out, I gave birth to that too (I don’t think I actually saw it though), and I had my newly designer vagina sown up. All the while I just gazed at my baby and cuddled him in.

Here he is now 1 week old.

How things change from final flings to typing one handed and expressing with the other! Magic.

17 Aug, 2012

So, I think many of you will have heard that the super gorgeous baby Reuben was finally born on Sunday morning. He is just amazing and I plan to fill you in on all the gory details of the what felt like the world’s longest labour soon (it’s taking a while and very difficult with a new born and therefore very limited sleep!)…

Before that I wanted to tell you about our due-date date (I believe I refered to this as our final fling in my last post) on the anniversary of me turning 40 weeks pregnant – we decided that to celebrate each other and enjoy potentially our last opportunity we would have to go out for a meal together for a while (in theory), we would take the Labourmobile out for a spin to a gorgeous restaurant in Jesmond called Firenze for a romantic meal.

with the soon to be Labourmobile (Hyundai i30, Benfield Motors) feeling MASSIVE – still got my heels on though!

At Firenze in Jesmond being romantic

At Firenze in Jesmond being even more romantic watching the Usain Bolt 200m race

Tempaura Prawns and anti-pasta starters (Mike said it was the best he’d ever had!)

 Lamb and Salad – not a classic combo but I needed to get my vitamins up so no chips for me!

Gorgeous pasta – you can’t beat this for comfort food

Now we’re talking – this in itself probably released all the Oxytocin I needed!

I was so convinced that there would be no chance the baby would come, in fact I thought he would be 2 weeks late – as you know I was worried about being induced (more to come on this). Plus, literally everyone I bumped into would say “you’re sitting really high, I think it’ll be another week or so”. So disheartening!!

However, we were still trying to do those natural induction techniques I mentioned – I’d had my sweep, the midwife had recommended 3 bonks a day, and we were being romantic to try and release lots of Oxytosin (the birth hormone). Something must have worked because my waters broke the very next day!



09 Aug, 2012

You may find this appalling but I pride myself on my ability to avoid paying any attention to the news – yes, this sometimes means I have no idea what’s going on BUT it means I get to filter what I do find out about, thus avoiding things that’ll upset me, particularly with my current delicate constitution.

However, I can’t control what other people tell me and recently I’ve been caught out a few times. A few weeks ago I mentioned I was getting neurotic (37 weeks pregnant – neurotic) and this was after I was told about a blogger in Fife who lost her newborn baby a day after she was born. I have been worrying about this ever since. Then yesterday, I had managed to avoid the news that Gary Barlow’s 4th child had been still born until some pals came over. Despite my double plea for them not to tell me whatever sad thing they were going to tell me, they did anyway.

I woke up this morning 40 weeks pregnant on my due date, with a weird feeling. Kind of like it was my Birthday, but also apprehensive. And, after watching the Australian men win some kind of boat race on the Olympics, that was it I was in floods of tears and thoughts of Gary Barlow and Blogger Debbie filled my head with fear. The fear was mainly about the baby being still born but also that the birth would be horrendous, I wouldn’t be able to cope with the pain, I couldn’t see my image of Mike and I being really close and working through it together, etc. etc. Perhaps a C-section would be better after all? And, all this time worrying about stretch marks and perennials and not putting on weight, how selfish am I?! – I just want my baby out safely!

Thankfully Mike had been up all night working so he was still in bed so I had a good cry with him and he calmed me down and decided to stay at home with me today (which felt like the nicest thing he could ever do!), then I listened to my Hypnobirthing CD and by mid-day I was feeling spritely, happy and positively excited about my sweep!

I was really pleased to go for my sweep as firstly it meant we could check that the baby was OK and secondly, find out how close I am…once my midwife did the sweep (not as uncomfortable as I was expecting but still not amazingly pleasant) she informed me that my cervix is only half thinned (she probably used some kind of medical lingo that I can’t remember) and she did have a bit of a sweep round but she’s prescribed me sex THREE TIMES A DAY. You heard! Unfortunately, so did Mike, and by the look on his face he’s going to take this ‘duty’ very seriously!

So that’s how my due date has gone so far – from utter despair to sex 3 times a day. This pregnancy lark is a roller coaster but the nice thing is that I now feel relaxed and calm. I’m not stressed that the sweep hasn’t started anything off yet and I’ve had a lovely day with my husband, which will be finished off tonight (not like that, you lot! Actually, it probably will, doctor’s orders…) with a romantic meal for 2 (at Firenze in Jesmond) – our final fling with freedom. You watch this baby be 2 weeks late now!

There I am: 40 weeks pregnant; post-sweep; baby looks settled for now!

07 Aug, 2012

Well, I’ve gone and got myself a babymobile! Not be confused with the cute thing that plays music above the (not yet bought or assembled) cot, this is a luxurious family car that I’ve been asked to test drive for 5 weeks by Benfield Motor Group with my soon-to-be-bigger family!

It’s a Hyundai i30 and it has my blog details on it and everything! The only problem now is that I’ll have to stop driving like a crazed pregnant woman, lest I should start getting angry comments on my blog/twitter/facebook (and as a newly appointed ambassador for Benfield, they probably wouldn’t appreciate it either)…

The funny thing is that I was asked to do this with another blogger (the lovely Hannah Layford from Raspberry Kitch – read her post about the car) who got the cute little Kia to bomb around in as ‘the girl-about-town’ … 9 months ago I was the girl-about-town, now I am bonafide ‘mum-blogger’ with a family car and I’ll be taking my new baby on it’s first trip in this car hopefully in the next week or so!

With the oh so stylish Hannah from Raspberry Kitch I’m the chunk on the left! 

I’ve already managed to rack up quite a few miles already taking Gabby back up the coast to her mum’s in Alnwick and then down the coast to Whitley Bay to meet the NCT mum’s for Aqua Aerobics (which was hilarious and harder work than you think), and it is a smooth drive! Plus both Projects Fuel Fill Up and Meeting the Boot went quite nicely. I managed to get the fuel cap open with relatively little issue and put in the right fuel (Gabby kept asking me about the Basil, “Have you put the Basil in the car OK?” I later discovered she meant Diesel, hehee) – big tick as fuel filling up is often my nemesis. And, the boot… I must say I was dubious as this looks like quite a nippy little car and the buggy we’ve been given (a Silver Cross, no less) is massive! I’m confident but I might have to give it the proper buggy test drive tomorrow just to be sure.

Someone foolishly gave me the keys and we are ready for our roadtrip!

Gabriella enjoying the treat of sitting in the front

Along with all this I have finally defrosted the freezer today! The little things that make a pregnant woman happy. Although I wasn’t happy at the time as I really couldn’t be arsed and I had simultaneous heartburn and hunger pangs. I’m hoping to fill it up, now the drawers open and close like a dream, with lots of lovely things before the baby arrives. All we’ll have to do is open the freezer, pop something in the microwave and, Bob’s your uncle, healthy food (which has been sorely missed over the last week while there was a piano and sofa in the kitchen).

So, I’ll be test driving both the boot and my ability to handle a big shop in the next couple of days. However, as I’m 39 weeks pregnant (plus 5 days!) and, therefore, the car is currently a pre-babymobile, or labourmobile if you prefer, I probably won’t go too crazy with the journeys… I guess I should also probably sit on a towel or plastic bag, just in case I go over a speed bump too fast and my waters break! Having said that, we are off to my parents’ in Durham  tonight to see my brother, who lives in Japan, and boyfriend for the one evening they are up in the North East – so I shall be putting the i30 to the ultimate test. Can a giant space hopper fit in the back seat? To be continued…


To follow my exploits with my Benfield Babymobile (to include exciting things such as ‘a big shop’ and ‘will the buggy fit?’ – What? These are important things to a mum-blogger!), you can search for #enjoythejourney on twitter, and I’ll also be posting photos on my Pinterest board “I’m blogging for Benfield” too. If you have any suggestions for road trips we should try, let me know!
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