time flies when you're being a mum

29 Jun, 2012

I think I’m losing the plot! I arrived in Olney yesterday to visit my best friend, Alex, and her boyfriend in their new, lovely house, and yet I have zero crack.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve just waved Mike off for his 2 week ‘work trip’ (he keeps accidentally referring to it as a holiday!) to Sri Lanka, you know the place with tsunamis, earth quakes, civil unrest, and food that could give you the shits? Or if it’s because I’m going to be living out of a suitcase for the next 2 weeks bunking at my parents, or if it’s the state of the house and the fact that when we get back there’s still 2 more weeks of living out of 3 of our 8 rooms (kitchen, bathroom, spare room). Equally it could be my self imposed deadline for a first draft of my work’s report, which now feels very unattainable because my head refuses to do any thinking.

Or it could be that I’ve just turned 34 weeks pregnant and I’ve literally no idea what I need to prepare, never mind prepared it, in time for the arrival of my first baby due in SIX WEEKS! I haven’t even got my perineum oil so I can start my massages – oh whoa is me!

I should of course just chill the hell out and accept things as and when they need to happen. Not likely. Despite pregnancy generally being alright for me physically, the thing I can’t do is switch my irrational head off.

My skill during pregnancy seems to be writing lists, and then writing lists of those lists so I can keep track. What I’m not so good at is actually ticking anything off the lists and because I lose the lists, I then get to procrastinate some more by re-writing my original lists.

I think I shall just have to write a list of good conversation topics and if I meet you tomorrow at the, apparently famous, Cherry Festival in Olney, I apologise in advance. I’m honestly not a pleb it’s just my pregnancy head…

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23 May, 2012

A few weeks ago I started my stretch mark panic…since apparently creams (and I’ve read a few academic papers about this since) are not proven to work, I started to think about how to prevent stretch marks with food and then put together this shopping list for the best foods to prevent stretch marks.

I’ve even asked my other Juice Guru, Jay Kordich (who looks 60 but is about 120), what he would recommend to prevent stretch marks and, despite getting a million questions a day, he’s always kind enough to get back to everyone and this is what he said:

Try to eat alkaline foods, and also rub your tummy with organic coconut oil. More important than that is to make sure to take a good dose of essential fatty acids. It’s the BEST way to keep the stretch marks from appearing. Get one from Omega Nutrition. It’s called: 3-6-9. Jay

I’d need to check with my midwife about actually taking a supplement, but I’d looked up the best sources of omega 3 after my first post and found a good website, called WHFoods, that gave a nice and in depth description of Omega 3 and where you can find it. Firstly, flax seeds are the daddy – you can get 139% of your recommended daily allowance from 75 calories (2 tbsp) worth of seeds. Close behind is walnuts and salmon. Another very interesting bit of research they talk about is a study of people eating fresh salmon verses cod liver oil and they found that people are better able to absorb omega 3 from food rather than supplements…now I’m more than happy to trust Jay on this one, there’s no harm doubling up (especially since we can’t really eat too much fish), but should you prefer to get your daily dose from food, that should work too.

As a result I’ve now been putting flax seeds on everything! And, I thought I’d put together some of the breakfasts I’ve been having that are full of the vitamins recommended for preventing stretch marks:

Porridge with nuts, seeds and fruit

Porridge is a good start to the day as, to put it bluntly, it will help keep everything moving (preventing constipation, piles, etc!). It’s also good for protein, essential for baby bean’s development. From a stretch mark fighting point of view, all you really have to do is add a selection of the following:

Seeds: flax seeds (of course), and sunflower seeds (for Vit D)

Nuts: almonds, hazelnuts (for Vit E), pecans (for Zinc), walnuts (Omega 3)

Fruit: Black current, strawberries (Vit C), apricot (Vit A), etc. I like to add banana because of its happy chemicals and I once read it had all the vital building blocks for life, so good if you’re working out (and one would presume, cooking a baby).

Porridge with flaked almonds, banana and a teaspoon of manuka honey

Yoghurt with nuts, seeds and fruit

You’ll see there’s a bit of theme running here but it makes sense, plus, according to Women’s Health Magazine, greek yoghurt is the best way to get protein from a dairy product. I’ve used zero fat yoghurt for this and melted a teaspoon of manuka honey in the microwave for 10 seconds and then combined the lot with a little selection of, you guessed it, nuts seeds and fruit – see list above!

Greek yoghurt with manuka honey, blueberries, red grapes, sunflower seeds and flax seeds

Scrambled eggs with tomatoes and mushrooms

I really fancied this this morning, as I could tell it was going to a hungry day and eggs are meant to fill you up for longer (still hungry by 10:30! But imagine if I hadn’t had a decent breakfast?!). They are also full of Vitamin D, so an anti-stretch mark tick. I wanted to add tomatoes as they’re a bit of a super-stretch mark food containing Vitamins C and E and silica. Finally I added mushrooms because we had them and I fancied it. Pile it on toast and finish off with some flax seeds. Oh, and a decaf tea.

Scrabbled eggs with tomatoes, mushrooms and flax seeds on granary toast

Smoked Kippers are also a bit of a breakfast favourite up here (what with the famous Craster Kipper smokeries just up the road) and would also be ideal but remember to watch your fish intake.

Have you got any breakfast suggestions that utilise the stretch mark shopping list? – please share (I also still have a pack of untouched Kale – for vitamins A and C – in my fridge so suggestions for what to do with that would be most welcome!). Happy Breakfasting xxx

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20 May, 2012

Right, no one told me this could happen. You might think I’d have come across this as part of all my ‘research’ for this blog, but no. It may surprise you to know that I tend to write about things as they happen to me…And, when it comes to leaking nipples I thought that was surely the domain of the breast feeder.

Yesterday I stayed back at Mike’s Mum and Dad’s while everyone else went out for a walk. I decided I’d have a little nap and actually went into what felt like a coma, and I got rudely awaken by everyone as they trooped back into the house. I wondered around in a daze for a little while until Mike pointed out that I had something ominous looking on my t-shirt directly above my left nipple. It turned out it came from my nipple and it was sore for quite some time afterwards. And, everyone would have seen it. Mint.

After washing my t-shirt so I had a huge wet patch for a boob (rather than a weird little blob of…something), I found out what the hell is going on – just in case it’s a sign I’m about to go into labour. You never know.

I went to my go-to for all things medical, Baby Center, and after they assured me it was perfectly normal to leak (or not leak) something delightfully known as ‘premilk’ (or colostrum), this is what they had to say:

Colostrum is a thick, yellowish fluid that contains antibodies that help protect new babies from infections. If you choose to breastfeed, this precious liquid will nourish your baby until your milk comes in. Colostrum has more protein, but less carbohydrate and fat than mature breast milk. It’s easy to digest and has just the right amount of nutrients a baby needs in the first few days after birth.

Apart from the ‘thick, yellowish fluid’, which sounds rank, the rest sounds very good and I sincerely hope that I’ll be able to breast feed my baby for this reason. In the mean time, there seems to be more embarrassing pregnancy symptoms to get to know every week. What a joy.

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16 May, 2012

Last week I said that I would take my back pain (over the pelvic issue) any day of the week…while this is still true, I am soooooo miserable! I have a pain on the left hand side of my lower back and sometimes it doesn’t hurt too bad, for example if I’m sitting or lying down. If I try to walk somewhere within about 15 minutes the pain becomes excruciating. There’s so much I want to do so this is really getting me down that I can’t do it – exercise is pretty much out of the question and even trying to figure out the logistics of getting to work (where I have to do the least amount of walking) is hurting my head. What I really want to do is work from my bed, but that isn’t possible at the moment, and as my time on this project is slowly winding down, I’m beginning to worry about how much I still have to do (not that that’s motivating me to get my arse in gear)!

So what’s the solution…is there any relief or will I have to spend the next 3 months more or less miserable and bed bound? I thought what I had was sciatica, which is where the baby and/or expanding uterus is sitting on your sciatic nerve. As a result, I’ve spent the last week lying on my right side trying to coax the baby to move.

However, yesterday I went to see my new best friend, Duncan, who is a chiropractor. He gave me an assessment and after pointing out that it was unlikely to be sciatica because the pain doesn’t run down the back of my leg or even into my bottom, he could see that my pelvis isn’t really aligned. So, therefore, the pain I’m feeling in my back is likely to be related to the same pain I had in my fanny last week (not his words). At this stage of pregnancy, the ligaments in the pelvis are really relaxing and, therefore, the extra weight is putting pressure on my tilted pelvis, namely at the top of my bum where it hurts, and sort of causing Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction.

Pretty in Pink has it right there…ouch indeed.

Aside from the chiropractic work he’s going to do to try and realign my pelvis, in the mean time he has give me the following advice for while I’m going about my business, which looks suspiciously like a list of things I’ve shouldn’t have been doing but have:

– Sit with pelvis aligned i.e. not leaning on one side or the other with legs curled up or with legs crossed (whoops)

– Don’t wearing heels (whoops – although I’m going to take that with spinach of salt, naturally. Surely if my pelvis is still aligned…?)

– Don’t do superman or donkey kicks or any other exercises that rely on your pelvis to keep you balanced (whoops)

– Try to sleep on your side with your pelvis, you guessed it, aligned using a pillow between your knees (whoops – I’ve been sleeping wonky as you like – hunched up and curled around my pregnancy pillow, almost on my front)

So, all in all, I’ve been doing completely the wrong thing and poor little baby has been continuously prodded and encouraged to move for no real reason. I also asked Duncan about exercise (hence no superman moves, etc.) and providing it doesn’t hurt, I should still be able to do exercise including swimming (but not breast stroke), and I’ll keep doing the cross trainer as, unlike walking, it doesn’t hurt. Very strange, if only I could move around town via cross trainer, shopping would be much more fun. Oh, and lunges are off limits too. Tried it yesterday and it hurt like buggery.

Duncan did say there was a chance that after my treatment I wouldn’t be able to move the next day but, so far so good, so I sincerely hope everything gets back to normal-ish soon.

If anyone else out there is also feeling miserable with your pregnancy symptoms, feel free to have a good moan in the comments below without  judgement – I have sympathy at the ready! xxx

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10 May, 2012

So a quick update – I’m almost certain that what I experienced when pushing the pain barrier in the name of ‘curing my back pain’ on Tuesday at the gym was SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction).

Baby Centre have a very useful post about SPD and here’s what they say it is:

The two halves of your pelvis are connected at the front by a stiff joint called the symphysis pubis. This joint is strengthened by a dense network of tough, flexible tissues, called ligaments. To help your baby pass through your pelvis as easily as possible, your body produces a hormone called relaxin, which softens the ligaments.

As a result, these joints move more during and just after pregnancy, causing inflammation and pain, known as symphysis pubis dysfunction or SPD.

It’s another of those pesky pregnancy symptoms that seem able to strike at any time during pregnancy. Baby Centre say that it rears its ugly head through the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the pubic area and groin (most common and what I was experiencing)
  • Back painpelvic girdle pain or hip pain
  • A grinding or clicking sensation in your pubic area (also have this a bit when moving at night – youch)
  • Pain down the inside of your thighs or between your legs. It can be made worse by parting your legs, walking, going up or down stairs or moving around in bed
  • Worse pain at night. It can stop you sleeping well and getting up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night can be especially painful

One of the ways to cure this is through physiotherapy but I unfortunately missed the boat with the NHS one in my area by about 15 minutes. Fortunately my instinct of consigning myself to bed for 36 hours has paid off because I feel infinitely better and even managed a wee bit of light exercise this evening. I would highly recommend reading the Baby Center article if you are concerned about this, as it covers how to cure it (most of which you’d probably have to pay for), and more importantly how to prevent it (our friend, the pelvic floor exercise, comes in here!).

And, as I said yesterday…if you feel even the slightest twinge in your special place DO NOT PUSH IT! No more donkey kicks for me, and the back pain? Still there but I’d rather have that any day of the week.

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