Our Maternity Photoshoot

A few weeks ago, we met with Megan from Gold and Glitter Photography, to take pictures of us and bump.

How it was arranged went something like this; Megan got retweeted by graze.com when she tweeted a picture of her beautiful rabbit Athena munching on an empty graze box, I tweeted Megan commenting on said cute Athena, and from there we started chatting!

During the conversation, we got to know that Megan is a photographer and is always looking for new innovative projects for her portfolio. At this point Megan asked whether we would be interested in letting her take some pictures of us as she was really keen to have a same sex-couple in her portfolio – a pregnant couple was a bonus! Straight away, without even considering whether she may have been an axe-murderer*, we said yes. *Megan, of course, isn’t an axe-murderer and is a lovely, bubbly person who clearly enjoys her work. 

Bump/maternity photos were always something we had wanted to do, as we think it’s a nice way of capturing the time (but more professionally) but never thought we’d be able to afford it, so we weren’t going to miss this opportunity – plus I’m all for promoting all things same-sex. One snag was that Megan was based in Manchester (a long long way from Brighton!) so we wondered how this was going to work however that quickly became irrelevant as Megan was more than happy to come down to Brighton! Perfect!

So after a few more email exchanges we met one cold and wet afternoon in Brighton, had a coffee, and then created a good 300 photos around Brighton. Here are a handful of some of our favourites:-

When we sat down and viewed them I was struck speechless. I couldn’t believe how amazing they looked – not because of anything Megan would do but more so because of me. I enjoy photos being taken (more so than S) but unless I take 20 or so pictures around the one I’m happy with, I often up looking like this…

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Or this…

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Plus, the weather in Brighton that day was miserable pretty much all day until about 20 minutes before we were meant to finish, so with this in mind I didn’t know whether gloomy weather would work out, but it really did.
To say we are happy with Megan’s work, is an understatement! You don’t have to agree, but we think they’re absolutely amazing.

Megan does everything from maternity to baby photoshoots, as well as a bump to baby package which is a package made up of 5 photoshoots that captures photos from bump, through to newborn, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month and 12 month (something we will definitely be purchasing one fidget arrives).

Also, one of the most impressive things about Megan as a photographer is that she is one of the only photographers I know to give the customers full rights to the photos, ie. Not having an annoying watermark on the photos you get back from the photographer (of course until you purchase them). This is something I rarely see in the photography world.

If you’re thinking of getting bump photos done, I’d highly recommend having a look at her website – she is generally willing to travel and will definitely make the day special!

K

*We were given the opportunity for a free bump/maternity photoshoot for the purpose of adding to Megan’s portfolio, however regardless of this this review has come from the bottom of our hearts and is an honest one.

Megan also took a long time to create these beautiful pictures, so please do not copy or reproduce these photos without our permission.

Thank you.

The Visit From My Health Visitor

On Tuesday, I had my introductory visit from the Health Visitor. For those that aren’t familiar with what one is, a Health Visitor is a person from the NHS who conducts regular visits from the time when baby is born to when they reach school age. To me, they’re in between a midwife and someone from social services. They’re there to make sure you as a mother are coping physically and mentally, as well as to make sure baby is ok.

They used to arrive after baby was born, but guidelines have changed so that they now visit before baby arrives so they can meet with mum and go through everything a health visitor does. I think in regards to changes, this is one of the better changes that have been made by the NHS – I think it’s a crazy idea thinking a HV’s can get a good picture of someone and whether they’re coping by meeting them for the first time at a stage when their world has been turned upside down. At least if a HV meets you before hand they’ll be able to meet you at your most calm, create somewhat of a baseline, and then be able to make a good comparison at the next visit as to whether you’re ok.


 

Ever since I’ve known about health visitors I couldn’t help but be skeptical about their intentions. I know they’re there just to make sure everything is ok during various stages of baby and child’s life, but at the same time I’ve heard several stories about how interfering and pushy they can be.
I guess it felt alien knowing someone like this will visit me on a regular basis even though I hadn’t been “referred” to them following a concern or because something was wrong – like you would expect from a visit from social services. It was a bizarre feeling.

The HV arrived dead on 10am – impressive (I wasn’t used to anyone from the NHS being on time). After interactions, we sat down and began. It felt like an interview at first as she was asking a lot of questions and typing away on her laptop; ticking lots of boxes, about me including; general health, family history, employment (no idea), etc. She also briefly went into S’s family history so she could create this weird family-tree like diagram. I guess this part was so that they could see who was local to me and whether I had a good support network – who knows. You know when you just trust a professional and forget to ask why they’re doing something? Yeah, that. 

As expected, I got a ton of information about breastfeeding (even though we didn’t really discuss it thoroughly which I thought would happen as the NHS love breastfeeding) as well as leaflets about services local to me and vaccinations. It was certainly a well informed first meet. I also got fidget’s little red book – now things were getting real!

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I’m sure these books and their variants are worldwide, but if not these books record everything about your baby from vacations received, first-times, health-checks, the lot. Looking through it, it was quite surprising to read how many vaccinations and check ups they actually have within their first year – at one stage I’ll be having appointments every two weeks!


 

One relief did come as a surprise when there was not one mention or question about our Donor. From the start, it was pretty obvious that S was my wife and this was our baby but I still expected 1001 questions about “the father” and I’m not going to lie, I had prepared several sentences/arguments in my head to the dozens of questions that I’d created in my head about our donors; health, history, method of insemination, etc. but all of that was pointless as nothing was mentioned whatsoever. It was strange. Am I right to be surprised by this?

Maybe it’ll get brought up later on – I can’t believe that it won’t as they’re surely going to want to know about, to be blunt, what’s inside the baby health wise, but I would have thought that if it needed to be brought up that it would have been at the very start so that they can get to know me and baby.

Nevertheless, the meeting overall went well, although I didn’t know what I expected. I imagined I would have a pompous woman in a nurses uniform talking to me about the do’s and don’t of being a mum before it had even started, but instead I got this nice, gentle lady (who still probably wouldn’t have qualms about saying what they think but, nonetheless, nice) who made me feel at ease about not only who they were but that their visits aren’t anything to be worried about.

K

37w

I am officially full term according to most baby apps and sites, however I’m not going to put my hopes up and expect them to be on time so I expect I’ll be cooking this baby for another 3-5 weeks.

The biggest update I have is that I am now on maternity leave! I never thought the day would come and I would forever be going to work, but it’s come – I am off on leave awaiting the arrival of beansprout/fidget (we’ve come to calling baby this as they don’t ever seem to stop moving, apart from after meals).

As well as my last day, I can report the following:-

SPD
I went to the midwife the other week complaining about pain in where I can only describe the public bone, y’know the bone right at the front. The pain comes and goes, appears at random, and feels like the bone is breaking or at least having a lot of pressure applied to it – I can only compare it to when I cracked my coccyx snowboarding but at the front instead. I didn’t know what it was, and at times it scared me as it often stopped me dead in my tracks, however the midwife said it’s likely that I now have SPD. Great. This has, however, replaced the sciatic pain I had.

Moans and Groans
Everything now requires an accompaniment of huffs, puffs, moans, and groans. I now can’t help but make a noise when I climb stairs, put shoes on, get out of the car, or even get off the sofa. I actually feel a physical weight on my front that I have to prepare myself to lift.

Baby’s Position
Baby is apparently “head down” although not engaged. This could apparently change daily but midwife is feeling positive that that can get themselves into that position.

All of the Leaks
Boobs are regularly leaking clear liquid now – I really hope this is a good sign and that I’ll be able to breastfeed. I’m going to wait until at least 38w before I start fiddling, as this can apparently bring on labour, but I won’t work them too much as I don’t want to lose any important nutrients saved for fidget.

Sleep
Sleep is still a mystical being that I get to see every now and again. After my spate of hip pain, I actually went back to normal and slept through the night, however out of nowhere I suddenly went back to sleepless nights where my hip pain returned and my bladder requite regular emptying. I only imagine that this was down to a change in fidget’s position.

Finally… the 37w Bump
Bump is a life of it’s own and often doesn’t stop moving. I also now have to wash up at an angle as I can’t properly reach the sink without getting it wet if I stand head on with the sink.

Bump Photo
I haven’t really done bump photos apart from when it’s snuck in a random photo, plus I wanted to combine them all as one giant timeline once fidget arrives, however I can’t help but share this. I imagine it’s only going to get bigger, but incase it doesn’t seeing as I’m apparently “full term” here’s a comparison between 9w and now (37w)…


I don’t have a zip line going up my belly, nor do I have an outie but I still think it’s a pretty awesome bump, and kudos to my stretch maternity vest. I think I’m actually going to miss having a bump.

K

31w

8 weeks to go, people! 8 WEEKS! As I was reminded this week by the lovely Andie over at The Gayby Project, we’re in single digit weeks! The third trimester is in full swing and, as Andie has mentioned, there’s no line being crossed now but at the same time, this single little figure is what now stands between us and beansprout. I don’t know where these last few weeks/months have gone but they sure have flown by – I still remember waiting, like it was yesterday, for our 12w scan. If 12w can pass relatively quick then so will these 8 weeks! That is not long!

There’s been several changes in my body, some in this week alone…

Hips
I really don’t look forward to bed time now thanks to the awful pain in my hips. I get to bed and end up waking a few hours later with pain on the side I’ve been laying on. I turn over, go back to sleep (after a wee break) but then wake almost an hour or so later with same pain but on the side I turned over to! Sometimes, if I wake a few times the pain from the first side hasn’t subdued yet. I don’t sleep on my back as this hurts my back so I have to put up with it.

My pregnancy pillow has certainly helped with getting used to sleeping on my side (I was a tummy sleeper) and it’s kept my belly supported, but there doesn’t seem to be anything for my hips. I know it’s due to the sheer weight of beansprout now, not to mention my hips getting ready for birth, but its really frustrating.

Dreams
When people told me that you’ll have funky dreams when pregnant I didn’t think too much of it as I’m a pretty vivid dreamer and can often recall a dream several hours after waking. I didn’t think my dreams could get any funkier or any more vivid – but they can. The dreams don’t link in to that day or even anything I’ve seen recently, they are completely random. On top of this, I then wake up feeling exhausted because my brain has been working overdrive running from something or just being in a state of shock throughout the dream. I will get round to recalling my top 5 sometime as some have been hilarious, some not so. I just wish I’d put a pad of paper nearby to write all of them down – they really have been a whole new world.

Sudden pain
Whether it’s at the base of my spine, my rump, or even round the front (if you know what I mean) – I’m getting random shooting pains striking when it bloody well feels like it. I don’t do anything to bring it on, it just happens. In the shower, when I’m washing up, and even when I’m out, it just happens. I was out in town this weekend with S when my back suddenly went. After a loud cry and everyone turning to look at me like my waters had gone, it went away and I managed to walk on by. It was so embarrassing!

Boobs
My boobs have officially started leaking. I noticed this morning before showering that my nips seems rather shiny. Thinking it was just water from the shower I dried them only to find more liquid appearing. It’s certainly nothing milky yet but it’s certainly starting.

Kicks
Not a new thing, I know, but kicks are now full on thumps and often turn my whole belly into a disco. I get more “rubbing” sensations now as if beansprout is turning over and their elbow/head/bum is rubbing against the inside of my belly. It means I often see a lump move across my belly like a wave as apposed to sudden little jolts. It’s pretty awesome.

On top of this, I also see limbs appear when applying my bump cream. All I have to do is gently lift my belly skin to apply the cream and out of nowhere will be a little limb. Releasing my belly then flops my skin over the limb – it makes all this seem very real.

Nesting
I’m in full nesting mode now. I don’t just want to clean (although I do this too), I want to do the little odd jobs around the house like clear out old CD’s and DVD’s for charity, sort out photo albums that needed sorting, even shred old paperwork. If it’s not perfect, it’s being attacked.

So thats where I am at the moment. S is hoping to write a few posts about how things have been for her during this pregnancy, which I imagine will be a funny story.
I’m also planning to review a couple of pregnancy-related items for the sake of assisting others with their purchases or certainly letting people know what I thought of them – they’re not sponsored posts by any means, I’m just thinking of different things to write about; especially if it means helping others decide what to buy.

K

One of Those Days

I don’t know about you, but when I have a day off or two I like to feel like I’ve accomplished something. Whether it’s completing the washing, giving the house a good clean or simply clearing some films off the Sky Box – I like to feel like I’ve done something productive. It doesn’t need to be memorable or life changing, but I need to feel like I’ve achieved something with my day. I hate wasting time with nothing.

In brief, it stems from the fact that over the past twenty-something years I’ve lost a lot of family members, family members who were quite young, in my opinion – so somewhere along the line something has been instilled into me telling me not to waste time. Now, I know doing all the washing or cleaning the house isn’t what you would call “making the most of time” but at the same time, neither is sitting on my back side playing Clash of Clans – at least with the washing it’ll then be done, or the house will be clean.

I guess the point of this post is that I had one of those days today where everything I had planned to accomplish went down the toilet. I planned to organise our Civil Ceremony photos only to find that we’d run out of ink in the printer. I planned to start editing a video we recently made, but couldn’t find the cable to connect the camera to the Mac. I planned to sell some stuff on eBay only to find my account is locked. I also planned to walk the pooch but it started raining just as I started getting him ready.
In the end, I organised all the photos on the Mac, watched some films and cooked S a nice meal for when she got home. Sure I did something, but it wasn’t good enough, especially for a day off.

S tells me just to relax, especially now and as it’s my day off, but I can’t just sit around – I need to do something. I know part of this is probably related to nesting and how I want even the smallest of tasks done around the house, but S will likely tell you I’ve always been like this. I’m quite proud that I have this mentality but at the same time I wish I could just do nothing without having to justify it.

As soon as beansprout arrives, I’m looking forward to the days when all this won’t matter, and all that will matter will be beansprout. I know there will still be days when it’ll all go wrong and things I’ve planned will have to wait, but I can accept that because I will have been looking after a baby all day, and those are the days when I know I’ll definitely be accomplishing something!

K

Organising a Nursery with OCD

Last weekend, S built the nursery furniture for Beansprout whilst I got on with washing all the clothes ready to be put away.

Clothes piles

It was a mountain of a task, but we did it! Apart from the Cot, it’s practically done!

Nursery 1 Nursery 2

The washing and the building was actually the least of my worries as I was the one who was eventually going to have to organise putting all the clothes away. I knew it would take me a while and S knew it was no good trying to assist me as she knew I would have to get everything just “right”.

As you may know from previous posts, I suffer with OCD. It’s not the OCD that people jest about when their rooms are a little tidy, or the OCD that means their work is always perfect – it’s the OCD that means a simple task of putting children’s clothes away can take hours due to the fact that the organisation of it all has to be just right otherwise it’ll look untidy, and not right. If not right, the mistakes will then scream at you from a closed door like a fire alarm running out of batteries.

I am fully aware that the way I arrange the drawers and wardrobe won’t last long, and you would think this would assist in how much effort I put into organising them now, however it doesn’t. For the little time that it will stay organised I’m happy –  at least it was tidy at one time. MY brain will just accept that the baby is more important and as long as the clothes are clean then thats what will matter. I don’t know why my brain will of a sudden change but it will – I guess I’ve sold it a good argument. At the moment, however, that room has to be presentable to a standard so that if Prince George fancied popping over to play, he could – just as long as he didn’t touch anything.

So, here’s how my brain works…

I have 3 drawers available to me. In the first drawer will be accessories like socks, mittens, hats, and booties, all organised thanks to drawer dividers from IKEA. Perfect. In the second drawer I will have all the baby grows and sleep-suits (we have that many). In the third, all clothes like t-shirts, leggings, and jogging bottoms.

In the second drawer, I will have 3 categories: 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12 in one drawer. Simple. No. The trouble with the baby clothes we have is that they’re not just in categories of 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12. Thanks to H&M we have 0-3, 1-2 (H&M), 2-4 (H&M), 3-6, 4-6 (H&M), 6-9 (H&M), and 6-12 so trying to organise the clothes into piles was very difficult (for me anyway).

The 1-2 can also sit amongst the 0-3, and the 4-6 can sit amongst the 3-6. But where does the 2-4 sit? In the 0-3 or the 3-6? Brain overload. On top of this, the 0-3 pile is a huge pile and doesn’t fit as one pile in the drawers so I then have to organise the 0-3 into correct “catgegories” so that I can justify why they’re in separate piles. Thankfully, I was able to organise the 0-3 sleep-suits into 3 separate piles: White, White with pattern/logo, and colour. Simple.

The other drawers pretty much went along like the above, except that because there was less physcial clothing it went in a lot easier.

You may laugh, or think I’m crazy but I can’t help it. I don’t like being like this, it drives me mad.

I was exhausted after completing this.

First Drawer

See how the socks have even been split??

Second Drawer

 

It took me hours, literally hours, just because I couldn’t make my bloody head accept anything else other than what was “right”. Everything had to have a place, everything had to make sense. If it didn’t, I didn’t feel right. Sure, the room looks spotless and everything is neat and tidy but it took me a long time – time I don’t have (although in reality I did have the time as I had to make time knowing full well what I’d be like). I should have been able to fold things way, put into relatively good piles so that you can find something easily and move on. No. I had to get it into categories.

S tries so hard in making me feel better about my OCD; she tells me how amazing everything always looks after I’ve given it the once over, and how all the effort I put into everything will be a good message for beansprout and how they’ll take pride in making everything perfect, but I can’t help that it will one day it’ll actually reflect badly on beansprout. I don’t want them picking these little neurotic tendencies up and having to organise their alphabet spaghetti into alphabetical order before eating it, for example (I don’t do that, by the way). I will try hard to hide it and act “normal” but I may not be able to hide the things I don’t know I’m doing.

I know I am getting better as I’m now more tolerant when things go wrong or if something hasn’t “fit” but it’s little things at the moment – there’s no way I could have not organised the nursery drawers the way I did.

Over time I’m training myself knowing that having a baby will mean that days won’t go to plan and that pile of washing will have to wait, but it still hurts knowing I have to do this at all.

Anyone else in the same boat? How have you coped with your OCD when having a baby?

K