38 weeks, and a very pregnant Christmas 

You’ll be relived to hear that this isn’t going to be the big old moan that my 36 week update was. That doesn’t mean I’m feeling much better or more relaxed, just that I can’t be bothered to moan anymore. I can’t be bothered to get upset with how unprepared I feel. What the point?

Being very heavily pregnant at Christmas is a very strange thing. I was pregnant through a Christmas with Iris too, but I was only 16 weeks and only just had a tiny bump. It wasn’t the same. This year I am HUGE. Emormous. Absolutely massive. Well that’s how I feel anyway. The midwives keep measuring my bump as slightly small for my gestation so I can’t be that big, but I definitely feel it.

I’ve missed alcohol this festive season. Really missed it. I’d kill for a G&T.

It’s been fun though, and busy. I’ve kept going and going through the hip pain that makes me want to curl up and stay still. There have been periods of rest too though, thankfully. Having Trevor at home has meant I’ve been able to sneak off for the odd nap. Those naps have saved me. They’ve meant I can get through to the evenings with the kids and still have a little bit of energy left.

The hip pain is severe now. The very pointless physiotherapist appointment I had a while ago informed me that I’d likely end up on crutches towards the end, and I’m pleased that I haven’t. It hasn’t got as bad as I’d feared. I’m reluctant to talk about the pain too much with any medical professionals now. They’ve made it very clear there is no help available for me, and I’m scared they’ll find any reason to talk me into a hospital birth. I do not want a hospital birth. That’s my biggest fear. No doctors unless absolutely necessary.

My plan is still to go to the birth centre and have a relaxed water birth. Trevor is sorting out an iPod docking station and I’ll sort out some relaxing music. My bag is packed. Loose plans are in place for the care of Iris while I’m there. We’re done. We’re basically ready. I feel anything but ready! I’m slightly nervous about staffing now. The midwife pointed out that I may have to go to hospital simply because there may not be the staff to open the birth centre. I told her that they’d have to drag me kicking and screaming then. I’m not going.

I had my 38 week appointment yesterday. It went ok. As usual it was brief and formal. Wee sample check, blood pressure check, listen to the heart beat, have a feel of baby’s position. Apparently she’s back to back in there, which I kind of guessed. Her position has felt weird for the last week or so, with feet sticking out of my belly where I wouldn’t expect feet to be.  I was advised to get down on my hands and knees and scrub the kitchen floor. I won’t be doing that. Instead I’m going to have a good read of the Spinning Babies website and some other links shared with me on Twitter. Trevor and Iris blew the birthing ball up for me last night too. Hopefully a good bounce will help her move around. I can feel her head grinding down low in my pelvis so I’m not sure she actually has the space to move around! Is it such a big deal? Does it really matter if she doesn’t move? I always worry that the midwives are trying to frighten me for no real reason, like they did a thousand times when I was pregnant with Iris. I’ve come to not trust them very much, which really is a shame.

The appointment ended with the midwife trying to book me in for a stretch and sweep next week, and then getting annoyed when I refused it. Baby will come when baby is ready. I want that to be sooner rather than later, but I don’t think trying to make it happen earlier is a good idea. I won’t be having a sweep the week after either, which she didn’t seem impressed about. “Well how exactly do you expect to avoid going overdue?” I don’t. Some pregnancies are longer than 40 weeks.

My next appointment with her is at 40 weeks and 3 days. Hopefully I won’t make it that far because I really don’t want to see them again.

Still, this isn’t actually the big old moan I said it wouldn’t be, despite appearances. Because I am ok. I’m happy and I’m excited. Not ready but excited! I’ve been washing and folding tiny little baby clothes and wondering how Iris can ever have been that small. Trevor keeps grinning at me and telling me he’s excited, Iris keeps kissing my belly and saying ‘baby’. Having a little tiny one around again is going to be lovely.

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Our week (and Christmas) in pictures #6 

It’s Wednesday now, so almost a whole week later than I usually like to do these updates! Christmas is like that though, isn’t it? Especially this bit between Christmas and new year. If you don’t have a job to be at its difficult to remember what day it is. I’m not even sure if it’s the weekend or not half the time anymore.

I’ve had a little break the last few days. I didn’t really intend to. I planned to write stuff here all of the way through, but it didn’t really happen like that, and the break has done me good.

In the last ‘Our week in pictures’ post I left you at last Monday, after just getting back from a few days at my mum’s. It’s was so good to be back and to see Trevor. Iris was so excited to be with her daddy and her Christmas tree! She did miss Nanny though, and talked about ‘Nimpty’ rather a lot. We did nothing on Tuesday. Nothing at all. I crocheted a bit with some beautiful yarn from Zanetto Yarns. My lovely Twitter friend Jo hand dyes the yarn in Bristol, and is inspired by the colours of my wonderful hometown. I came home to a parcel from her on Monday, and I can’t think of a better thing to come home to! I’m finding crochet very very soothing at the moment. Not so much Trevor’s cries of ‘there is yarn everywhere in this house!’ but I’m ignoring him.

On Tuesday night the big girls landed for Christmas with us, and Iris was so excited to see them I thought she might pop. Unfortunately Trevor had to work on Wednesday, so I took them all to Iris’s playgroup. Biggest kid wasn’t impressed with being 9 years older than most of the other kids there, but Iris enjoyed showing off one of her favourite places and liked having them dance with her during the songs. Afterwards we popped to the library, had lunch in the cafe and went to the park. Busy day! I’m so grateful to whoever came up with the smart idea to build a cafe within the park play area. Iris fell asleep in the pushchair so I drank hot chocolate and crocheted in the warm while watching the big kids go crazy outside knowing I could see them and they were perfectly safe. We then popped to the brand new Lidl store for some last minute pudding treats for Christmas before Trevor picked us up. We’d managed to fill his whole work day! I was absolutely exhausted though.

Thursday, Christmas Eve, was taken up with a drive over the bridge to Bristol to spend some quality time with my family and exchange gifts. This is one of the best bits of Christmas for me. I love hanging out with my little niece and nephew, but getting all of the kids together for a bit is just the best. They all got a bit overwhelmed and excited, but we had the long drive home to wind down. Unfortunately Iris suddenly seemed quite poorly, and it got worse as the night went on. She ended up fast asleep in bed but with a temperature of nearly 40 degrees. Regular Calpol doses through the night kept her temperature below the dangerous point, but I was too worried to sleep.

By 5am on Christmas morning I was bored and desperate for the kids to wake up and get on with their stockings! I’m sure my family were always up by 5 when I was a kid. This strange bunch slept til 8 though! 8!

We had a really fabulous Christmas morning. Stockings in our bed first. I’ve never seen Iris so happy! Then downstairs in pyjamas to open the other presents. We don’t take it slow on Christmas morning. The girls go back to their mum in the afternoon (we take it in turns to have them on Christmas morning) so we don’t actually have all day, and we like to squeeze in a visit to Trevor’s brothers and mum after dinner. We actually ate Christmas lunch in pyjamas too. Makes sense as Iris always ends up covered in food anyway. After more presents at Trevor’s brother’s house in the afternoon we dropped the girls off, and returned to what seemed like a very quiet empty house! Trevor spent the evening building Iris’s toy kitchen, which is such a hit. We’ve had constant tea parties here since!

Boxing Day was a quiet day at home, just the three of us. Much needed, actually. I was worn out!

Then my mum arrived the next day to stay as Trev had a birthday party to go to. We started sorting the baby clothes out a bit, and spent the next day doing a bit of shopping and getting some fresh air in the park.

Yesterday we picked the girls up again, but after a quick stroll around the shops came home to relax with a picnic tea and play dough fun.

This morning we were up and off to my 38 week midwife appointment. It was weird to have the whole family there to her the baby’s heartbeat. She could be here any day now!

It’s been such a great week and a bit. I definitely feel like it’s long past the point where I need to slow down, nap more, and do less though. I’m so weary I hurt all over!


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

  

Iris at 18 months

  
I usually write so much for these updates, and as it’s been a while since I’ve written one you’d think this one would be huge. 

It won’t be. 

Of course she’s changed and grown and developed and learnt loads of stuff. She does that constantly and amazes me every day. At eighteen months she’s learning faster than ever before and is even funnier than ever before.

She’s also hard work. In a way she never has been before. Iris has always been reliably portable. I take her everywhere and she loves it. Only lately she doesn’t want to put her shoes on or put her coat on or get on the bus or do anything I need her to do. Everything is a battle. Her first few tantrums have appeared and the timing is awful. I’m too tired. I’m handling them the way I planned to so far. I’m calm and rational and I try to talk to her about what she’s feeling. It’s tricky to stay patient but so far I’m doing it. I won’t ever ignore her or leave her or put her on time out. I don’t believe in that stuff. However I can see myself losing patience and not staying calm, so I’m having to work on that. 

She’s a doer. She doesn’t watch. She doesn’t sit still and observe. She’s busy. She never stops. 

I’m feeling guilty because I can’t keep up. I feel bad because we aren’t outdoors.  We aren’t tearing around the park anymore. We haven’t been to playgroup much. Home has become the place to spend our days and she is as frustrated as me. 

We’ve been poorly. Just the usual winter bugs, but one after another. Just another reason to stay at home. Life has slowed to a snail’s pace and it doesn’t suit her or me. 

The new words come thick and fast. Animal sounds, body parts, foods. The names of favourite people. Please and thank you. She knows there’s a baby in my tummy. She tells me several times a day. She calls her daddy sweetly from the other side of the house because she knows it melts his heart. 

She loves to throw a ball, to dance, to run. She just loves to move. 

She adores animals. She quite likes people too. She’s affectionate and gives kisses and cuddles freely to those that she loves. 

She’s mesmerised by all the Christmas things, the lights and baubles and children singing carols on the high street. 

She knows her own mind and knows what she wants. She doesn’t give up until she gets the outcome she was looking for. 

She has at least 12 teeth. Probably more. It’s hard to have a look without getting bitten. 

She often asks for cake. She gets that from me. 

Her hair has suddenly started growing rapidly but I still can’t decide what colour it is. 

She tells me when her nappy needs changing and asks to use the potty, which she likes to sit on but hasn’t actually done anything on yet. I’m so not ready for this. 

She’s amazing. A tiny miniture female version of Trevor.  A loud, strong willed, busy, impatient toddler. 

She’s still obsessed with yellow welly boots. 

I’m terrified of the impact a baby sister will have on her life. I hope it isn’t too hard for her. I keep telling her she’s my baby too. She always will be. 

She made me a mother. 

36 weeks

I wrote this last week, feeling pretty terrible. Things have got worse and then a lot better since then, and I don’t feel like this anymore. I still feel the need to share it though, if only for myself. To have it to look back on. Pregnancy is wonderful and beautiful. It’s also a huge thing to put your body through and even when it’s fairly uncomplicated, it’s still bloody hard work. I’m 37 weeks and 2 days pregnant now, and feel much much better. 

There’s only one way to describe how I’m feeling now, at 36 weeks and 3 days pregnant.

FED UP.

Although, it’s mostly not the pregnancy itself making me feel like that. It’s everything else. I’m not ready for Christmas, and I so want to be ready because it’s so close and because I love Christmas. I’m not ready for the baby either. All of the baby clothes were packed away as Iris grew out of them, and all of them are all jumbled up in big bags of various sizes and are in various locations all around my absolute dump of a house.

Which leads me nicely on to another thing that is really getting to me. This house. This mess. I’m too big and too sore to do too much now, but the whole place needs a good sort out from top to bottom. A serious sort out. The kind where you actually throw tons of stuff out. Not the kind where you say ‘oh this old broken useless thing, lets put it away for another 2 years in a weird location and reconsider our options then even though nobody will use this piece of crap in the meantime’. Which is exactly how we usually do clearing out.

Oh the laundry! It gets washed and dried and folded, but it NEVER gets put away. It’s virtually impossible. Iris likes drawers. As I’m putting clothes in one she’s pulling them out of another. So it just gets put into piles that grow and grow. I say ‘piles’ and not ‘pile’ because that’s exactly how it is. Not even in the same room. The cot (that nobody has ever slept in) is full, as is the spare room and both of the big girl’s beds are covered in it too. I have no idea where they will sleep at the weekend, and I definitely don’t know if I can find the inclination to clear the spare room before my mum is supposed to come and stay after Christmas.

We’ve all been ill. Mostly Iris, but me and Trevor too. Being ill when heavily pregnant sucks, but having a poorly toddler at the same time sucks even more. I need to get out of this house. We’ve barely left it in weeks and weeks and I just can’t take it anymore.

I AM SO LONELY.

Trevor works in renewable energy, and our current government are doing just about everything they can to abolish anything green so he’s working crazy hours to try to fight back. He’s off early and home late, gone for hours and hours and hours, and in the meantime I often don’t even manage to get dressed. It’s ridiculous. Iris is fantastic company and I love her dearly, but I NEED GROWN UPS. I need them now more than ever. I need other kids too, to entertain Iris so that I can watch her play for a bit instead of playing with her.

Most of all, I need some time off. This side of the baby coming. And this is not going to happen.

Yesterday I dragged poor Iris out on the bus to the supermarket. I wanted to buy Trevor’s little nephew a Christmas present and get lunch in the cafe with the kiddo. Oh, and we need toothpaste. The bus ride there was hell. I got my grumpy toddler out of her pushchair to prevent a screaming fit, but then I couldn’t convince her that jumping up and down on Mummy’s big belly was a bad idea. Ouch. She wanted to look for birdies out of the bus window, but it was raining and all of our feathery friends had hidden. Apparently that was my fault. I had a headache. I should have stayed at home.

To cut a long story short, I felt sick and dizzy and had to lean on the pushchair in the shampoo aisle for a bit to stop myself falling over. Iris screamed. Then I hid in the loo for a bit, but I still didn’t feel better. So I decided to just catch the bus straight back home, but the bloody driver saw me approaching the stop in a distressed hurry and drove off. 4 minutes early. I cried. A lot. There were people around but everybody ignored the heavily pregnant crying woman with the screaming toddler. People are so nice. Not.

Generally, I don’t feel too bad. Not physically anyway. I ache and it’s a struggle to get down on the floor with Iris, but that’s to be expected. The bugs we’ve been passing between us have hit me hard, but in between them I feel ok. Just very tired. Emotionally I’m a bit of a wreck. Probably because of the tiredness. I just can’t cope with anything. I want my mum! Iris knows I’m not myself, and has responded by clinging to me. Even poor Trevor can’t do anything with her, and she just shouts at him when he tries.

What we both need is a good dose of fresh air.

The pregnancy insomnia has reached a point where I just don’t bother trying. Iris goes to bed, and then Trevor goes to bed, and I just sit on the sofa doing some crochet or watching rubbish TV. There is just no point. If I’m not right on the verge of dropping off I know I’ll lie there arranging pillows and wishing I could stop Trevor from snoring. My hips ache like mad when I’m still and there is no place more uncomfortable than bed right now. So I sit and wait until my eyes get heavy and I’m struggling to do whatever I’m doing, and then I go up. I’m getting about 4 hours a night which is nowhere near enough. The only perk to not getting out of the house much is that I often nap with Iris. An extra hour in the afternoon makes all the difference.

I feel slightly better about the actual birth since going to visit the birthing centre last week. I’m still terrified, but at least I don’t have to go back to the horrible hospital where Iris was born. The birth centre only has room for 3 women, but rarely even has 2 at a time. The walls and corridors still look like a hospital, but the main birthing room is pretty nice. The lights dim, there are lamps and candles, a birthing pool, and lots of space. The main benefit is there are no doctors! They were so rude when I was in labour with Iris, wandering in and out constantly and disturbing me. I do not want them near me unless it is very necessary this time. I have my in-labour phone number stored, and we know the way there. I feel better.

I don’t have a bag packed, which is freaking me out a lot. I need to do some shopping and some packing, but I just can’t find the energy. I need to sort through the enormous mountain of baby clothes and find the newborn stuff. Help?

 

Our week (and a bit) in pictures #5

I normally post these updates on a Friday, but I completely missed it last week because I’ve been at my mum’s house without my laptop and the pictures wouldn’t upload. Also, I’m tired. I’ve been trying to do less and sleep more and I’ve sort-of succeeded. I haven’t much felt like writing. Or reading. Or anything really.

Last Friday was a disaster for most of the day. Iris was clearly unwell and spent much of the day under a blanket not moving much. I was reluctant to take her out, but I bundled her up anyway and we took her to see her 2 big sisters in their school play. She loved it and seeing the girls really perked her up so I’m glad we took her out!

Saturday was the day for our annual trip to Puxton Park near Weston Super Mare with my family. It’s the 3rd year we’ve done this, and we always have an amazing time. It felt Christmassy mainly because it was cold! It hasn’t been cold at all yet this winter. Just warm and damp. Not festive weather! We were a bit let down by the Santa experience this year. Usually it’s really very good, but this time we stood in the queue, in a cramped room, for over an hour. The kids were all fed up and I ached so bad I had to sit on the floor. Not cool. Still, we had a lot of fun in the soft play and saw all of the farm animals. The kids had a tractor ride. We compared the kids this year to the kids last year and were shocked by how much they’ve all grown and changed.

Sunday morning was spent decorating for Christmas. Trev and the kids went to pick a tree, and then Iris got excited and went a bit tinsel mad. She loved putting the fairy on top of the tree! It was all a bit rushed as we had tickets for the local panto at 2.

The panto was just amazing! Iris refused to sit on a chair, but we blocked her in and she was fine. We all had a good laugh and a dance! More about the panto here. 

The weekend was ace, but things kind of went down hill from there. Monday and Tuesday were written off as Iris was hit with another bug and I was so exhausted I couldn’t cope. The housework was building up, there were piles of clutter everywhere, my hospital bag still wasn’t packed and I was panicking. I did actually take Iris out of the house on Tuesday but only to the supermarket, where I felt too poorly to do anything except leave straight away and get back on the bus. The bus driver saw me coming and drove off (3 minutes early!) which resulted in public crying. Urgh. I hate pregnancy hormones.

Wednesday was the Christmas party at Iris’s playgroup and I was determined we’d have a better day. We didn’t. We were an hour late because Iris didn’t want to get ready, meaning we missed most of it. The party was followed by my midwife appointment. These appointments are upstairs in a building with no lift and two flights of stairs. Each appointment nearly kills me. I can’t carry Iris and all of her stuff upstairs anymore. I’m too sore. But there’s no choice. There’s also no baby changing facilities there. I ended up missing my appointment while trying to change an angry Iris on the floor of a tiny cubicle. They did eventually find a space to see me and the appointment was fine but I left so very very stressed out.

To cut a long story short, I finally completely lost my shit outside of the cafe a bunch of my mum mates were sitting inside. I really lost it. Trev had to come and get me, but not until lots of people had seen me and I’d made myself look ridiculous.

I stayed up until 3am that night trying to get the house together. Daft idea. I was already too tired to cope.

Thursday came, Trev went to work, Iris had tantrums and I was too exhausted and poorly to deal with anything. So my mum came to collect me (from an hour away across the bridge, bless her) and off me and Iris went for a much needed pre-Christmas break.

It’s been great and I feel so much better. We slept in my old single bed which is ridiculously uncomfortable, but it felt like returning home for a bit. We visited my grandfather who I haven’t seen in ages, spent a day with my sister and niece and nephew, hung out with my brother a bit and my mum loads, did some Christmas shopping, saw my bestest buddies and spent some time splashing in puddles.

Iris doesn’t see much of my mum, and as my mum is coming to take care of her while I’m giving birth I’ve been worrying about this. They’ve really bonded over this weekend though, and are really close. In fact much of the time Iris would have rather played with her than me! Phew.

Tonight Trevor picked us up and we’re back home. I’ve missed him like crazy, but going away means I haven’t shouted at him when none of what has been bothering me is his fault. It’s all mine. Instead we’ve both had some peace and some space and it’s been good for us. I’m lying in a hot bath as I write this, soaking a very sore hip and feeling glad to be home.


  

     


 
  
  
  
 

Cheese Posties Review @CheesePosties

I’m addicted to Internet shopping. I’ve got better in recent years, but when I had a disposable income I just couldn’t stop. The poor postman came weighed down with parcels almost daily. I’ve got a lot of strange stuff in the post because I’ve been too lazy to actually go and buy it from a shop. The strangest thing I’ve ever got in the post was this cheese sandwich.


I’m serious. There is now a subscription postal service that delivers cheese toasties to your door. It sounds quite strange. It’s actually genius. Head on over to CheesePosties.com for more information, or to sign up to receive a weekly or monthly cheese toastie in the post. It costs just £3.99 per week, or less if you opt to pay monthly. You can opt for veggie, gluten and nut free options, and there are even sweet fillings such as chocolate and fruit. Each box includes everything you need, including the bread, cheese, butter, other fillings and a sandwich bag for putting it all in the toaster.

I wasn’t convinced about sending cheese in the post. I was concerned it might be sweaty or horrible by the time it arrived, but it arrived the morning after it was dispatched and I just popped the fillings in the fridge until we were ready for them. The sandwich we received was a cheesy garlic one, which is right up our family street. We’re all a bit hooked on garlic bread here, and little Iris loves anything that contains melted stretchy cheese. Trevor took some persuading, and didn’t believe it’d fit in the toaster in it’s little bag, but once it was all assembled it fit perfectly. Minutes later the house filled with the smell of garlicky melted cheese. Yum!

We ended up sharing one sandwich around all 5 of us as everybody was keen to have a taste. The 10 year old in particular was very eager, and actually she ate most of it. It was very garlicky!  Everybody really enjoyed their share, and we were all left wishing there was more.

I kind of wish I hadn’t finished our Christmas shopping, because a gift subscription would make the most amazing and unusual Christmas present.  I know quite a few cheese lovers who would appreciate it. Plus, who doesn’t love getting weird stuff in the post?

*CheesePosties.com gifted me this sandwich for the purpose of this review, but all words, pictures and opinions belong to me and the family*

Cinderella pantomime review @RCTCouncil

We really really got lucky when Rhondda Cynon Taf Council invited us along to see this year’s pantomime, Cinderella, at The Coliseum Theatre in Aberdare. I’ll be honest, the main reason I was excited was because The Fairy Godmother is played by Claire Hingott who plays Nurse Cheryl in Stella, one of our favourite TV shows! In fact she mentioned her Sidekick in Stella, Mrs Wong, several times during the panto which really had us laughing!

I know panto isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I’ve always rather enjoyed it for what it is – a lot of fun! The best part of this particular one for me was how local the whole thing is. It’s like Cinderella set in the Valleys, with loads of mentions for local places. I’m still pretty new here,  but that didn’t matter and I got all of the local jokes.

I’m so glad we managed to go on a weekend when the big stepkids were with us, as they probably got the most out of it. Biggest kid is ten, and calls herself ‘the TENager’ so I wasn’t sure she’d admit to enjoying it but she lapped it up. Both big kids were quite taken with Buttons (played by Kit Orton who is soon to play Tom in the Tom Jones Musical!), and so was I. He was lively and hilarious, and had us all roaring over and over. He also had the best songs, according to the kids. The whole panto included lots of their favourite tunes actually, and I caught them dancing and singing along several times! Iris spent much of the first half dancing some questionable moves as well as stroking the poor man sat in front of her. She somehow slept through most of the second half, but as she’s rather poorly I’ll let her off.

The costumes were really something. I particularly liked Prince Charming’s tights and wondered if I could squeeze Trevor into a pair. The Fairy Godmother and Cinderella had wonderful sparkly gowns, but of course the best costumes went to the ugly sisters (played by Frank Vickery and Richard Tunley).  Biggest kid was gobsmacked by some of the things they wore, and said ‘Where do you even buy stuff like that???’ in disbelief! My favourite costume though, was one of Cinderella’s, that changed from rags to ball gown in one strange turning-inside-out sort of movement in the middle of a song and in the middle of the stage!

From start to finish, we danced and laughed and sang along. That is exactly what you want from a pantomime. Cinderella hits the nail on the head. The jokes were cheesy but funny, the dancing was perfect, and the songs were just right.

I’m finally starting to feel the Christmas joy now, thanks to this magical afternoon of fun and laughing. It’s a great big merry Christmas show, and it’s not to be missed!

There are only a couple more shows at The Coliseum in Aberdare before it moves over to The Park and Dare where lots of the performances are already sold out. A family ticket costs £48 and tickets can be purchased from the RCT Council website.

*Rhondda Cynon Taf Council gifted us some free press tickets for the purposes of this review, but all words and opinions belong to me and my family.*