Lifesavers

Several blogging award ceremonies are now upon us. Every year, we nominate and then vote for our favourite bloggers – sometimes spending hours on one category because the category has three of your favourite blogs in it.

But where would we be without the little parenting lifesavers that have got us through the day so we could carry on blogging?

So without further ado, I present my Top 10 parenting lifesavers.

Breakfast biscuits – For when a proper breakfast is not going to happen. Without them, I would likely go hungry thanks to a mis-timed feed.

Bottle of water – ‘Nuff said.

Coffee creamer / whitener – For when a hot, milky coffee is not going to happen as soon as you’d like it. This stuff keeps hot drinks warmer for longer.

Nipple cream – In the early days, this stuff was liquid gold, especially the ones that didn’t need to be washed off before a feed.

Twitter – I’ve kept my sanity chatting to the lovely ladies and gents of Twitter. There’s either someone having the same day as you, or someone who just fancies a chat. I’ve spent many feeds stuck in the sofa with just the company of Twitter. It’s great.

Frozen meals – During the first few weeks we saved up left over portions of dinners so that if I was having a hectic day, I could just whack a meal in the oven. This has been a huge help with zero effort as all it took was cooking a larger lasagne, for example. This also saved our wallets (and waistlines) from buying takeaways!

Vanish – For those white to yellow vest days. I need to take out shares in this stuff.

Nursing Pillow – Apart from it’s obvious use, it’s also good for being a neck pillow for a last minute nap after a feed and T is on my chest. No more cricks in your neck.

Baby TV – Not my proudest life-saver, and when I caught myself letting him watch the TV I cried a little bit, but within the ten minutes I let him watch the telly during a challenging day I got to go the toilet and prepare some (decent) food. Although it is only ten minutes I still feel guilty about doing it, trust me.

My stretchy wrap – Probably my biggest life-saver. For when T doesn’t want to be put down, and I want to cook dinner. It also means I can nip to the shops without packing up the pram.

What are your parenting life savers?

K

Hunger With a Side of Insecurity

As mentioned recently, I’ve had a bounty of questions come my way during pregnancy, the worst ones coming from women I rarely know – women who probably only found my name out a few weeks ago. During said week of stupid questions, I got this whopper:-

Her: “So how much weight have you gained?”

Inner monologue me: HOW MUCH WEIGHT HAVE I GAINED?! Seriously? 

That’s right.

To be honest, I expected this question a lot sooner, so 22w3d isn’t bad. I’d also like to think that any weight I have gained isn’t noticeable (apart from the bump) which is why they’ve asked, but for all they know I could have one hell of a bump band on that nicely conceals everything.

S will tell you that since about 12w, I’ve been quite self-conscious about my weight. I would ask her whether I looked pregnant yet and whether I had this “bit” before. See, I lost 3-4 stone last year and I aimed to keep it off until I fell pregnant at least, and even then I wouldn’t be gorging under the pre-tense of “well I’m going to get fat anyway”. I aimed to eat normally albeit make some small changes for the sake of beansprout. However, an unexpected hunger where I want to rip my arm off and eat it, that attacks every few hours, has meant that I eat a lot more than I would have done previously. It’s very frustrating as whatever I eat sometimes is not enough and I have to raid the kitchen for more!

Early on, I started with dried fruit and nuts, fresh fruit, or popcorn as snacks between meals but they now don’t cut it – I’m hungry an hour or so later despite drinking a regular intake of water on top of eating. So, I’ve now moved onto snack pieces of cheese, rice crackers, and cereal bars (Nak’d bars are one of my faves but can be quite expensive) as snacks in addition to the current snackage – which is helping in comparison to before, but I now can’t avoid and think how much of a difference they it’s making to my general waistline, especially as I can’t do anything about it.

Without boring you with detail, I eat quite healthy meals – not too big, not too small – but I know I now have to eat a little extra to compensate for beansprout as they’re taking everything from me first. With this, I eat a lot more bread than before (although it is still wholegrain) as it holds me a lot longer, as well as a lot more dairy (which has been changed from skimmed to semi-skimmed). I’ve moved back to white pasta and rice from brown, as the taste of brown is now disgusting to me, and I’m eating lean red meat more regularly than before. On top of this, I’m not as active anymore as I get out of breath, become tired, or my sciatic pain kicks in, so with all this it’s expected that I will put on a bit of weight but I can’t help but worry at the same time.

It’s getting me down, I’m not going to lie – and I really don’t want this to come off as a moan as I have wanted this more than anything in the world. I really do enjoy being pregnant and in comparison to other people I’ve spoken to, I’m having quite a nice pregnancy apparently, but there are some things I didn’t count on during pregnancy – and this hunger with insecurity on the side is one of them. I don’t want it to be there – I want to have fun and go “what the hell” but at the same time, I worked hard to lose the weight, I don’t want to put it all back on.

I’m sure this is a normal feeling, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I doubt there is anything that can be said or done to help – I just need to deal with it and reassure myself that what I’m doing is fine as long as I’m gaining weight at a steady rate (I really do need to get on those scales) but I can’t help but feel insecure about the changes in my body. Beansprout won’t give a monkey’s what I look like, and S sure as hell doesn’t – so why should I?

K

Wellbeing Wallets by MAMA Academy – Review

A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet from @mamaacademy asking for pregnant bloggers to review a new product they were releasing. I don’t usually do this sort of thing, as I can’t always commit my time what with work, but I thought I’d give it a go just incase it was something useful.

The product they were releasing were their “Wellbeing Wallets”. The wallets are a bit bigger than say an A4 piece of paper and made of plastic, and made for carrying maternity notes around with you. I was over the moon as I had just spoken to S about getting a new wallet for my notes as my Bounty envelope was getting a bit worn and bent at the opening.

So a few days after agreeing, my wallet arrived in the post and I have to say that I was really impressed.

The wallet is made of a really strong plastic that looks extremely waterproof and there’s even a zip at the top. I’ve been caught out a few times in the rain now and its really held up – the ink hasn’t run and my notes are perfectly dry. I’ve also spilt drinks on it a few times (I’m currently a clumsy fool) and again, it’s held up so much that it didn’t even stain when I spilt coffee on it.

On one side of the wallet there are boxes with useful hints and tips to having a healthy pregnancy such as; foods to avoid during pregnancy, how to look after yourself and ways to keep active during pregnancy.

On the other side, there were more serious notes in relation to your baby such as; when to call your midwife, what to ask your midwife during appointments, as well as a reminder to monitor baby’s movements. There were also links to their website for further help and advice.

What I think I liked most about the way the available space was used on the wallets was that there was even a space to write your relevant contacts, such as midwife or the hospital, so that you don’t have to get your maternity notes out of the wallet. Personally, mine are in my phone but if you’re out of signal or battery you still have access to your midwife’s number – perfect.

The pictures used to advertise the wallets really do not do them justice as they look really thin and flimsy – very similar to a bounty envelope – but they’re not at all. The only thing that may hold some ladies back is the sheer size of them if you don’t have a handbag or rucksack – but then the notes are hardly small so there’s no excuse.

I would highly recommend getting one – they’re really comfortable to carry (no sharp edges) and really colourful. There’s plenty of room in the wallet, even when you have your maternity notes in them, to put extra bits in them such as spare pee pots or even a pen. I really do like these wallets.

IMG_5649

*We were sent our wellbeing wallet for the purpose of this review. All opinions on our wallet are our own.

K

My First Midwife Appointment

I arrived at the local children’s centre waaaaaay too early (as usual). We only live about 10 minutes walking distance from the place, but for some reason I left at least 30 minutes prior to wanting to be 10 minutes early incase they were running early – so I was at least 45 minutes early.

Part of it was nerves (if you haven’t got that already) and part of it was sheer excitement. I was going to a MIDWIFE appointment. You only see these people when you’re Pregnant which means I had to be pregnant.

We had our godson over that week, so we couldn’t leave him at home whilst we went to the appointment – so although S came with me, with the godson and dog in tow, she had to wait outside. I was a bit saddened by this as I wanted her there, but never mind – there would be plenty for S to see later on. So whilst I was at the appointment, S took the opportunity to take the dog for a walk with the godson.

When the appointment came round, I finally met my midwife… both of them. Mine are both part time midwives, so job share. I already like one more than the other, although both are just as lovely. The one I like is Irish, frank, honest, and to the point (MW1). I can already tell I will be able to ask her anything. The other one is very fairy like (MW2), speaking very softly, which is calming and cuddly but I like the other one who is ballsy.

They explained that this appointment will be about gathering my information, filling in my pregnancy notes (PREGNANCY NOTES!) and generally explaining the process throughout pregnancy. The next appointment, which I mentioned a few posts ago, will be about taking my blood for various tests. Usually, upon speaking to other mums, they combine all this together, but understandably, it’s a lot to go thorough, so my midwives split the two which I felt was very thorough, organised, and considerate of mum who will be clearly in a daze still.

The appointment went as well as I could have imagined. I found out I was a low risk pregnancy and my BMI was out of the overweight section (WHOO HOO!). I’ve never been out of the overweight section. I apparently awed MW1 with our TTC journey as well as opened her eyes about Kinesiology (see, this is why MW1 is my favourite as she was more interested about Kinesiology than anything else. She explained straight away that she always promotes alternative medicine but hadn’t heard about Kinesiology – I love her). We got on so well.

The only thing I was shocked about was that I never had anything to confirm I actually was pregnant. Although I had pretty much taken a test a day until my midwife appointment, so I knew I was pregnant, I totally expected a blood or urine test to be taken to confirm for the midwife’s benefit. For all she knew, I could have been lying or very unwell. A lot of time would have been wasted on their part, not to mention paper (have you SEEN those pregnancy notes?). I was just expecting to confirm my pregnancy during the appointment (mainly for my own sanity) but apparently that’s not done anymore.

So apart from that, it all went swimmingly. They confirmed that they will be sending off my details to request a scan and that the date would come in the post within the next few weeks. She congratulated me and I went on my way. I then floated home and then went for a long nap.

K

This post was written when I was approx 7 weeks pregnant.

Bleugh!

I’m now over the half way mark in regards to my Vitamin taking and it’s not been too bad, actually. The only trouble I’ve had is when I’m working late shifts and I have to come back to the office just to take a quick shot. It’s been hard as I’ve sometimes been in the middle of something, but thankfully I’ve only been late the once. The handful of colleagues who know what I’m going through have been great and have worked our shift around when I have to take my shots – I couldn’t have asked for better.

At around 2 weeks, Vitamin B3 started to taste rather disgusting just before I was due to stop taking it, now the NADH is starting to taste like weak squash. Apparently, I will start to taste every mineral once my body has got enough of it.
More interestingly though, an overload in Vitamin B3 is what brings on morning sickness, so when I started to feel icky after taking the shot it was reassuring to know that there was now copious amounts of B3 running through my system. It was also interesting to know what morning sickness felt like!

IMG_3853

I’m due to completely finish taking the main minerals in about a weeks time, but I will still have to take Iodides for a further 2 weeks after that. Once I’ve finished, we can then start trying again – which is really really exciting as I thought the day would never come when Kate told us the duration was to be 6 weeks! This meant that we would completely miss one cycle and possibly another.

When I found out that we had to stop trying during the duration of Vitamin taking, I was really peeved off – we had just started with our new donor,  but now we had to put things on hold! I know that there was a medical reasoning behind it, but I still got into my impatient-have-a-tantrum-I-want-it-now mood. 6 weeks felt like a lifetime. I used to work my months out by paydays, but now it’s by my cycles.

Although it was always exciting when we tried each cycle, there was always a little niggle at the back of my head that told me it wasn’t going to work again as I had already seen so many BFN’s. This time, however, with the reassurance from Kate that I am “fixable”, I am feeling super super excited to try again – almost as excited as our first time.

K

OCD Awareness Week (17th – 23rd Feb 2014).

I don’t usually take part in “So-and-So” weeks as a lot of the time they don’t relate to me and I certainly wouldn’t want to try and understand something I have no comprehension about. However, following a few emails, tweets and blog posts about this particular subject, and because I’m a sufferer too, I thought I’d bring awareness to the subject as well. There are more of us than you think!

OCD, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, is an anxiety disorder that can produce heavy anxiety, fear, apprehension or worry; brought on by thoughts or obsessions deep within the brain. It can be seen in many forms, from being excessively (in some people’s eyes) clean, to the way someone walks down the road, to how many times something is done to even just “feeling” right. For some, it controls their life; for others they control it to a degree, but it will always linger – especially on bad days. OCD isn’t a phobia of something, it is an anxiety disorder. An OCD sufferer is not afraid of dirt, they just can’t manage being in the same room as it – they may want to clean it.

As a sufferer, my OCD is “order” and cleanliness. By this, everything has it’s place and everything has to be specifically placed. My house has to be a certain limit of clean and there cannot be “stuff” like receipts or pieces of paper hanging around. It sounds silly, I can even recognise how it looks from the outside, but I can’t help it. I often try and joke about how similar I am to Monica from Friends, but even when I try to just dump something, such as my phone on the sofa, I simply can’t and I end up having to go back to my phone and neatly place it on the coffee table, in line with the edge of the table, or in my pocket. I’ve often had to go back downstairs as I know an empty glass was sitting on the side waiting to be washed up (all the washing up has to be done before bed). A friend of mine can’t walk on large cracks in the pavement and can only walk on 2/3 of those BT covers.

OCD Bad

Over the years, I have dealt with it and simply forced myself to ignore something that others would think was silly, such as the way I put food on my plate, and it’s worked – however there still things today that irk me and I cannot ignore. Things like, where things are placed in the fridge and cupboards, how the curtains have to crease a certain way when they’re opened, how my desk is organised,  the volume on a stereo  and how it has to be on an even number or multiple of 5 are but a few daemons, but I deal with them. Some things cannot be described, as I just “feel” out of place somewhere on my body.

OCD Good

When I was a child, I never knew that what I was doing in the supermarket, such as reorganising the cheese into size order or removing the one can from the empty box onto the shelf and disposing of the card was weird, but apparently it was and my mum just took it was little quirk. It never did anyone any harm but I would become obsessed. Thankfully since meeting S, she has helped me through issues and embraced it. She has never once told me to stop doing something but, in turn, she would reassure me that there was nothing I could do about a certain something, or someone would just mess it up again anyway – and this would help. She never complains that I may be late coming up stairs to bed or that I may have to re park the car a few times to get it perfect – she’s just there and waits for my brain to finish boiling over.

Over the years, I have met people with OCD – some worse sufferers than others. Thankfully, many sufferers have received help or are coping with their anxiety on their own, but others aren’t. So if you know someone who suffers, don’t joke around with it, as it’s likely to be causing them stress. Simply ignore what they’re doing; rather than bringing attention to it by telling them to “stop being silly” – as more often than not they don’t want to be doing what they’re doing. Better yet, ask them if they need any help or assistance.

There are tons of places you can visit if you’re a sufferer or need help in assisting others. If you’re not that confident, then there are places online. Both sites below offer a variety of tools for those suffering and those supporting.

OCD UK – http://www.ocduk.org/awareness

OCD Action – http://www.ocdaction.org.uk

There is also a Twitter conversation happening this week, you can join in by using the hashtag #OCDWOA.

K