Even Though I Know…..

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I still have these nagging, doubting, negative thoughts about the rest of this pregnancy and in fact the next phase of our lives from a family of 4 to a family of 6.

Even though I know…..

  • that these Braxton Hicks I get all the time is just my irritable uterus responding to the endless kicks and punches from 2 babies, I still wonder ‘is this the start of labour?’
  • that I won’t go into labour this week because the mind and body is so powerful I’m still working out how quickly my husband who is flying to Chicago tomorrow for 4 days can get back in time and who would be my birth partner?
  • that if they were born now at 30 weeks they will be fine but the thought of them being in an incubator in SCBU makes me feel sick
  • that if my Biles Acids are a bit high and my feet are itching at night I can’t change anything, yet I still feel a sense of feeling ‘let down’ by my liver if it does develop into OC again
  • that letting go of the things I can’t control is the best thing I can do for my state of mind, I still lie in bed at night going through ALL the possible birth scenarios
  • that Hypnobirthing does work and will help me remain calm and focussed no mater what birth I have, what if I forget everything we’ve learnt and practised and I end up screaming and losing the plot like some possessed woman?
  • that if I do need a c-section I will be well cared for by the best possible team of people, but the thought of lying there on a theatre table whilst someone cuts me open to deliver my babies feels so unnatural to what I’ve experienced before – it makes me want to weep
  • that there will be 2 brand new tiny humans joining our family, I still feel anxious how it will affect and change our current dynamics
  • that of course I will be able to expand my mothering love to the twins, but what if I have a favourite or bond with one and not the other?
  • that my older two girls will love their new sibling and adapt because that’s what children do but what if they feel so left out and jealous they blame us for the rest of their lives and end up in therapy?
  • that it doesn’t matter how I manage to feed them because they’ll thrive either way, but I know the guilt every new mother feels when breastfeeding doesn’t work and what if I get postnatal depression?
  • that the first few weeks/months will be exhausting but I’ll get through it but the memories of functioning on broken sleep and obsessing over routines makes me feel overwhelmed with fear and I wonder if I’ll ever leave the house again with clean hair?
  • that I have the most wonderful support network around me including my husband, my mum, my doula and amazing friends I still worry about feeling isolated and lonely and the thought of going to baby groups fills me with dread

Even though I know that all these thoughts sound irrational, perhaps even mental I have to trust my YESMUM card that everything will be ok. (goes to wash and fold tiny white babygrows and has a little weep)

Maternity Fashion – part 1

I love clothes and I love fashion. I’m a bit of a sucker for new trends, seem to buy a new Winter coat every year, and new boots oh and a new pair of trainers. Well let’s face it what girl doesn’t?

So when I became pregnant for the last (and final!) time in May I was as excited about the new clothes I could wear for the duration of my pregnancy as I was at the prospect of buying tiny white baby grows again. It had been 8 and 5 years since I was pregnant with my daughters and I was thrilled to see that things had moved on considerably in the world of maternity clothes.

The first 15 weeks was during the Summer and I felt horrendous, sick, bloated and so so tired. I kept things simple –  cotton lose dresses, stretchy shorts that were super comfortable on my tummy and a whole lot of Breton tops, all of which were my normal clothes I already owned. One of my favourite shops on the high street is Cos, it delivers simple yet stylish cuts which suited by expanding shape (not to mention bra size) and I know I’ll forever more wear these pieces season after season. I wore the navy dress below in August to a wedding but I’ll also be wearing it this Autumn with thick tights and boots.

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But then the bump literally popped out from no where, one day I looked normal the next I looked like I gauged on 17 bowels of pasta before mid day. Then I knew it was time to shop around and see what was on offer. I wanted to stay true to my  style, I was only  pregnant after all. I hadn’t had a personality transplant (yet) so looked at my favourite brands which I knew and trusted well.

Firstly was ASOS. Everyone is familiar with the wealth of choice on their website, not only do they produce their own brand ASOS Maternity but they also stock other maternity brands such as New Look, Isabella Oliver and Mamalicious. You can browse by colour, style and occasion and what’s more if you sign up to ASOS premier you can have your clothes delivered next day only for £9.99 a year! They update their clothes almost daily so be sure to keep checking their site for new added lines.

Here are some of my favourite pieces (click the photos for the link)

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The black stretchy dungaree jumpsuit is a great example of how maternity clothes will work perfectly after you’ve had the baby especially for boob access. Remember that you don’t miraculously look how you did pre pregnancy so when shopping for clothes think ‘tummy and boobs’ . Boobs when breastfeeding need to be accessible at sometimes an hourly basis and you may feel self concious of your wobbly tummy so keeping it hidden is key. Also think of the type of material you’re buying – nothing silk or dry clean only for obvious reasons and you’re super sweaty and hot post birth with all the extra hormones pouring (literally) out of you, so try and steer clear from synthetic fabrics such as polyester.

So that’s a bit about what I’m wearing now, I’ve got some great jumper dresses to show you which I’ll post next week and what maternity bras I’m wearing at the mo, so keep your eyes peeled for more blog post. You can follow this blog by adding you email address in the top right hand box and I also put all my post on my Facebook page so be sure to like that too.

Disclaimer: Whilst I am a registered midwife, I do not endorse or promote any specific brand or product in a professional capacity. My opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences as a woman and a mother.

Bravo for Bravado!

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In my last blog post I mentioned that I’ve given up on underwired bras, they would dig in under my expanding ribcage and lets face it comfort is key in pregnancy. Some days it would be so uncomfortable I would unhook my bra in the car on the way home and whip it off, much to my children’s horror. Sorry girls but one day you’ll understand if you have big boobs like Mama.

In my previous pregnancies I continued to wear my normal bras (albeit a few sizes bigger) and then went into nursing bras once I was breastfeeding. I never found nursing bras that comfortable and being a lady of a fuller bust anyway, I always thought I’d need under wiring to give me support and a decent shape.

Things have really moved in since then and Bravado have come up with some super duper bras which are perfect for pregnancy and breastfeeding. I don’t see the point in buying maternity bras and then nursing bras (the only difference is the clip down feature) plus you’ll save a heap of money if you invest wisely now.

Bravado have created the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra which is cleverly designed to be worn during pregnancy and beyond. Win win! It combines faultless style with effortless comfort and it’s unique design moulds itself to every woman’s unique shape. Which is perfect if you’re like me and have big boobs. With cups that fully drop away and clips that lie flat under close-fitting clothing, easily opened and closed with one hand, the award winning bra is perfect for breastfeeding, offering babies full access for important skin-to-skin contact. This versatile maternity and nursing bra can also be cleverly transformed into a regular bra after feeding, making it a good investment and great value for money.

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WHY I LOVED IT :It’s comfortable, stylish, and functional. This bra is great because it has a wide comfortable band that doesn’t dig into my boobs/ribs as many others did, and it is cut low enough that it doesn’t stick out under vest tops or low-cut shirts. I love the removable foam pads that will prevent bulky nursing pads from showing through tighter fitting tops.

I’ve also started going to a local pregnancy yoga group which is doing wonders for my back ache and it’s really lovely to meet some other pregnant women in a non work environment. Bravado have come up trumps again with their Body Silk Seamless Yoga Bra, a maternity and nursing bra designed to offer the ultimate comfort and support for mums’ active lifestyle. The luxuriously soft Body Silk Seamless Yoga has been designed with patented Silverbreeze™ technology to support low impact activity such as yoga, pilates and walking as well as everyday activity, both during pregnancy and while adjusting to life as a new mum. The new Yoga bra is available in Charcoal or Bright Pink and features convertible criss-cross straps as well as an embroidered ‘B’ on the underband helping to give it both a stylish and sporty look.BSS-Yoga-HeatherPink-Ghost_5f2b09a4-9687-4722-93e6-ddeb9daedeb6

WHY I LOVED IT: The Yoga bra in pink was a great colour and it didn’t mater that it showed through my yoga top. Again the wide band was supportive around my rib cage and was so comfortable I wore it for the rest of the day. But the most important feature is it stood the ultimate test of time – during ‘cat pose’ in the class by boobs stayed firmly put and didn’t spill out!

Check out Bravado’s site, they’ve got a whole load of other bras all perfect for pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Disclaimer: Whilst I am a registered midwife, I do not endorse or promote any specific brand or product in a professional capacity. My opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences as a woman and a mother.

28 Weeks – Warts and All

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*Warning, this blog post may contain a bit of TMI but it’s all true and sometimes you’ve just got to share this stuff because lets face it, sharing it caring (or so I try to teach my children when I want some of their chips).*

 

I often get asked how this pregnancy compares to my previous singleton pregnancies, so far it’s been kind of the same minus the extra scans and the same repetitive questions from people (are they identical, do you know the sex, are there twins in your family etc etc) but OH MY GOD something has seriously shifted in the Hooper uterus because in the past week I have noticed some seriously weird goings on in there!

  • Firstly the movements, they still feel like a bag of dancing squirrels but both babies are breech at the moment and the kicks down onto my cervix and vagina are UNREAL! I swear the other night if I had examined myself internally I would have discovered 2 sets of wriggling feet in there (I know logically this is impossible but still) #fanydaggers
  • And whilst we’re on the subject of ‘down there’ let’s a just say it’s a good thing I can’t actually see it any more because by the end of the day I feel like I’m smuggling plums in my pants. I did in fact get my poor husband to have a check to make sure nothing more sinister is going on, he reassured me there wasn’t but did ask if I was ever going to wax again……
  • Which leads me onto the ‘to wax/or not wax question’. I’m not sure I want to expose that area unnecessarily and lets face it I’m not getting my bikini on ANY TIME soon maybe I’ll leave it au naturale, I always tell my women anyway that midwives don’t bat an eyelid
  • The feeling of two hard heads under my ribs is so uncomfortable. I’m no longer able to wear underwired bras, I’m living in this one at the moment and in all honestly I’m most likely to be found braless by 6pm by my husband when he gets home from work
  • I’m moisturising  my bump like a crazy lady with Bio Oil but my skin this week feels like it’s really being stretched to its maximum capacity, if I get to the end of this pregnancy without one single stretch mark it will be nothing short of a miracle
  • My back is an absolute killer especially when driving. I’m spending lots of time in the deepest, hottest bath I can tolerate but I’m also seeing my Doula Beccy ‘magic’ Hands for regular massages. She’s seriously the best in the biz check her out here  and yes Hands is her actual surname, amazing
  • My boobs resemble a road map with the veins that have sprung up in the past few weeks and I’m already noticing a few drops of colostrum on my pyjama top when I wake up in the morning. All good stuff for the bubbas I guess
  • My husband made me laugh so hard the other night I wet myself. Yup. First I thought my waters had broken but luckily it was just a sign that my pelvic floor has given up entirely on it’s main function, Tenna Lady anyone?
  • Iron is not my friend or my bowels friend for that matter. I’m taking Pregnacare and extra iron (a recommendation for twin pregnancies) but I’m seriously bunged up. Flax seeds are being sprinkled on just about anything I eat but nothing is really helping. And anyone who has experienced constipation when pregnant knows how awful it is. There’s nothing worse, and straining on the loo ain’t pretty, nuff said
  • I did do the unthinkable at the weekend and weighed myself which surprisingly wasn’t as horrifying as I imagined –  just short of a stone heavier than my usual weight which I guess is ok considering there’s 2 of everything in there (but I doubt I’ll weigh myself again, not even for lolz)

BUT on a positive note to end with, we had our first Hypnobirthing session last week with the incredible Hollie de Cruz. She is literally something else. I know I’ve banged on about the amazing tools hypnobirthing teaches women but SERIOUSLY after one session we both felt so calm and connected and learnt all about breathing. Yes breathing, the simple thing we do totally subconsciously but it’s so important for labour and birth.  And my slightly sceptical husband has totally taken it on board, he’s put my positive affirmations around the house and has been doing the breathing exercises with me before I go to sleep. We are hooked!

Disclaimer: Whilst I am a registered midwife, I do not endorse or promote any specific brand or product in a professional capacity. My opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences as a woman and a mother.

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Just Polly Maternity Clothes

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Nothing excites me more than discovering a new brand of maternity clothes, especially as I’m pregnant myself and Just Polly is just hitting all the right spots for me. Set up by Polly Hayward, she was inspired by seeing her sister struggle to wear stylish breastfeeding friendly outfits at various weddings one summer. With a background in the fashion industry as a Stylist and Art Director, Just Polly was born and the results are brilliant.

Polly has created some staple wardrobe pieces for the fashion concious woman who doesn’t want to compromise just because she’s growing a human for 9 months. And what’s more, all their pieces in the collection has been put together with breastfeeding in mind – with button down shirts and hidden pockets, boob access has never been so conveniently designed.

WHY I LOVE IT: If you’re like me and love the minimal yet luxury style of COS, Whistles and Folk, Just Polly has bridged that gap for maternity fashion which other high street brands aren’t doing. The pieces are versatile so can be dressed up or down, perfect for your work wardrobe, party outfit or weekend lounge wear. None of the items look like ‘maternity wear’ so you won’t mind wearing them longafter you’ve had your baby when you’re trying to dress your postnatal figure.

MY FAVOURITE PIECES:

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The Kimmy Skirt

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The Ellie Shirt

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The Charlie Trouser

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The Fran Striped Tee

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The Daisy Dress

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The Betty Lace Dress

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The Alexia 2 In 1 Dress

 

M&S Maternity Clothes – Who Knew?

A few months ago I was approached by the lovely Maggie Davis Kidswear and Lingerie editor for M&S (who also blogs over at Chic Little Baby) to see if I’d be interested in being interviewed for Marks and Spencer’s ‘In the Moment’ section on their website. Plus I would get to wear their new maternity clothes collection and have some gorgeous photos taken. Now I have to admit I’d never considered M&S as a shop to go to when buying maternity clothes, underwear, kids school unifrom, food yes! But once I’d seen their stunning collection I was sold! They have really captured a fabulous selection of great pieces all with the M&S high quality you’d expect and at high street prices.

You can read the entire interview here on the M&S website, but here’s a collection of the photos from the day and shop the collection here.

I was really impressed with the clothing, they were soft, comfy, well cut and had really been designed well for a growing and changing shape. Lots of the items I wore are also meant to be for after you’ve had your baby, which is always a must for me as your postnatal body and style takes some thinking through.

“You can’t go wrong with a good Breton top. This one is really soft and stretchy, so you can wear it long or short”

“You can’t go wrong with a good Breton top. This one is really soft and stretchy, so you can wear it long or short”


“You can’t have enough pairs of leggings. They’re great for every day and you can dress them up with a smart top and low heels”

“You can’t have enough pairs of leggings. They’re great for every day and you can dress them up with a smart top and low heels”


“Go for soft, natural fibres like cotton and  cashmere where possible – comfort is key and you get much hotter than usual during pregnancy”

“Go for soft, natural fibres like cotton and cashmere where possible – comfort is key and you get much hotter than usual during pregnancy”


“Invest in two to three pairs of good maternity jeans, including a skinny cut and a boyfriend style – they go with everything”

“Invest in two to three pairs of good maternity jeans, including a skinny cut and a boyfriend style – they go with everything”


“There’s no need to buy a special maternity coat as you’ll probably overheat – a long cardigan like this one is perfect”

“There’s no need to buy a special maternity coat as you’ll probably overheat – a long cardigan like this one is perfect”


“It’s all about comfort. Invest in a good pair of flat shoes; they will last you once you’ve had the baby and you’re pacing the streets with the buggy”

“It’s all about comfort. Invest in a good pair of flat shoes; they will last you once you’ve had the baby and you’re pacing the streets with the buggy”

Thanks so much to Maggie and the M&S team for featuring me on your site.

Disclaimer: Whilst I am a registered midwife, I do not endorse or promote any specific brand or product in a professional capacity. My opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences as a woman and a mother.

Food For Thought – Guest Post

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Food for thought: second trimester nutrition.

The nausea is waning. You’ve got your capsule maternity wardrobe sussed. Hell, you might even be starting to glow! You’ve only gone and made it to your second trimester. This is allegedly the good ‘middle bit’ before you start dealing with piles, gargantuan nipples and uncontrollable wind (You’ve got that already? Totally normal). It’s also the bit where your baby starts noticeably growing. Nutrition is the cornerstone of a healthy pregnancy, but we all know the last thing any mother-to-be wants is more sodding advice. Consider the tips below as suggestions rather than the law:

* Try starting the day with hot water and lemon. It’s a good alternative to caffeine, alkalises the  body’s PH levels and jumpstarts your digestive juices.

  • Focus on the quality, rather than the quantity, of food that you choose (unfortunately the school of thought that says you should be eating for two has closed down).
  • Try and make better choices, rather than perfect ones. We all know fresh, unprocessed food is best but if you accidentally inhaled a box of doughnuts, don’t beat yourself up.
  • Omega 3s are your best friends and great for brain health – yours and your baby’s. Find them in pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, eggs and dark leafy vegetables, as well as low mercury fish sources such as sardines, mackerel and wild salmon.
  • You’re using a lot of iron to make all that extra blood for your baby. Up your intake with green, leafy veg such as spinach or kale, good quality (preferably organic) lean meat, beans, lentils, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds. Try a watercress and baby spinach salad with lightly fried halloumi and ripe papaya (vitamin C aids iron absorption).
  • Drink lots of water. Constipation is the LAST thing you need right now.
  • Chew your food really well and eat slowly. Heartburn and indigestion are common in pregnancy and often get worse as your growing baby starts putting the squeeze on your internal organs.
  • Try taking a good probiotic or add a natural source such as kefir (fermented yoghurt) to your diet. Good gut health is all-important.
  • Fill your fridge with healthy, easy prep foods such as avocados, quinoa, CoYo or Greek yoghurt, fresh berries, nori wraps, energy bombs (recipe below), eggs, salads, juices, smoothies (good practice for all that pureeing you’re going to do later down the line), sweetcorn cobs and almond butter (delicious with slices of apple).

Here are a few quick and easy, nutritionally-loaded recipes that will hopefully inspire and give you time to focus on the more important things in life, like poring over F&B charts for the perfect ‘greige’ to paint the nursery.

Easy Breakfast:

Chia pudding (protein, iron, calcium, vitamin C)

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In a bowl or mason jar, mix 4 tablespoons of chia seeds with 250ml of almond milk . Add a blob of yoghurt, a tsp of vanilla paste, some desiccated coconut and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning add fresh berries, pomegranate, nuts, goji berries, seeds, nut butter – whatever you have – to make a delicious breakfast or snack that you can easily take to work or eat on the go.

Something to keep you going:

Green Smoothie (fibre, iron, vitamin C and E, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc)

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A handful of kale, a handful of spinach, juice of half a lemon, a cup of almond milk, half a pear, half a banana, a tablespoon of almond butter. Blitz the lot and enjoy.

Quick lunch or supper:

 

Pea and feta frittatas (omega 3, calcium, fibre, vitamin D, B6, B12, folate, choline)

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120g defrosted peas, 2 eggs, 30g rice flour, 125g of red pepper*, 60g feta crumbled, 1 finely chopped red chilli, 3 spring onions, small bunch of parsley, salt and pepper to taste.

  • Alternatively use peppers, mushrooms, ham, bacon – whatever you have in the fridge.

Blitz the peas and eggs in a food processor. Add the rice flour and fold in, being careful not to over mix. Add remaining ingredients and combine gently to form your batter. Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a frying pan and spoon a large dollop of mixture into the pan, use a spatula to form a round patty shape. Heat gently til it starts browning and firming up, then flip over and cook the other side.

Urgent snack attack:

Raw chocolate love bombs (EFAs, fibre, folate, vitamin E, fibre, iron, potassium) – makes about 12 bombs

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100g hazelnuts, 100g desiccated coconut, 100g fresh dates, 50g raw cacao, 3 tbsp coconut oil, tiny pinch of salt.

Blitz the nuts in a processor, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend thoroughly. Roll into balls then freeze for 20 minutes to ‘set’ them. Will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Emma Bardwell is a freelance writer and health & nutrition blogger for Active In Style. She’s currently studying nutrition at CNM (where Deliciously Ella studies) and is a staunch believer in all things in moderation. Follower her on Instagram @eightypercentclean

 

 

15 Weeks…..

Always match your nails to your dress

Always match your nails to your dress

And not counting. But it’s hard not to isn’t it? I’m just rejoicing in the fact that I don’t feel sick any more. I’m still completely terrified that it will come back and haunt me and I hear it can rear it’s ugly head again in the 3rd trimester but lets not speculate shall we.

The bump is well and truly out there’s no hiding it now, I’ve bought a few essential maternity clothes including black TopShop dungarees, skinny jeans, a pink shirt and a dress from ASOS for my best friends wedding tomorrow. I’m trying not to buy too much and will just see what I can use in my already expanding wardrobe through the Autumn and Winter months. I met my good friend and amazing fashion guru Zoe from Dress Like a Mum  yesterday for lunch and she gave me some great ideas for dressing the bump without breaking the bank. Do check her website out for brilliant fashion tips pre and post baby.

I’ve already been inundated with questions, usually the same 4 each time

  1. Was it IVF?
  2. Are there twins in the family?
  3. Are they identical?
  4. Will you find out the sex?

No, no, no, yes probably. I too have been guilty in the past of asking these same questions to other twin mums so I’m fully prepared for this up until the babies are 18.

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I’m still tired most of the time, I’ve been drinking Spatone in a glass of orange juice every morning but I’m also taking 3 iron tablets a week just to keep my levels up as you’re more likely to be iron deficient with twins. The round ligament pain at night seems to have eased up thank god, it was so painful I thought I was going into labour! I know the hormone relaxin will be working wonders for labour but my pelvis is not too grateful at the moment. But I’m trying not too moan about any aches and pains as I know it will only get worse.

Swotting up

Swotting up

I had a great first meeting with my consultant this week, we talked about my birth preferences and my wishes to use water for labour. She was really supportive and I left feeling positive and empowered. Right now I’m just focussing on the now as being a midwife I know a bit too much. My amazing colleagues are taking good care of me and I’m trying to get as much of my book written as possible before the twins arrive.

So that’s all from me, keep the birth stories coming you can email them to gasandairblog@gmail.com photos too please!

Expecting The Unexpected

A few months ago Charlotte Philby from Motherland asked me if I’d like to write a reflective piece about making the most life changing decision of my young life, having a baby at 23. Here I openly discuss the highs and lows of what it really feels like to be caught somewhere in the middle of motherhood – too old for the teenage groups but too young for NCT.

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Photo by Philippa James

“September 2006: My boyfriend and I had been living in our rented flat in Bristol for just six weeks when it happened. Like all couples who had just moved in together, we found ourselves doing the obligatory trip to Ikea. We wondered around staring at all the mock kitchens and bathrooms, fantasising of what we would like our own ‘dream home’ to look like. We took the short cut through the kids’ department, heading for the checkout, when it suddenly dawned on me. I was late. Like, really late. Whether it was the Ikea nursery equipment that jogged my memory or the overwhelming smell of Ikea meatballs that made me heave, I just knew there and then I was pregnant.

We had left university three months previously. My boyfriend had a degree in Business Management and was working in recruitment; I was a newly qualified midwife about to start my first job. We were doing what most 22 and 24 year olds would be doing… going out, having fun, planning our future together. It was just the start of our lives.

Once I did a test later that evening, my suspicions were confirmed. Two bright red lines standing side by side staring at me on that plastic stick. I felt devastated, and really angry. Devastated because I knew from that moment on, my life with this man who I was madly in love with was going to change forever. And angry because I thought we were being careful. As a newly qualified midwife I should have known better. I had to tell him, he knew something was wrong the moment I came out of the bathroom. He turned a ghastly shade of white, sat down and said ‘what do you want to do?’

I didn’t want to be pregnant but I didn’t want to make the decision not to be pregnant. It was eating us alive, this huge secret neither of us seemed able to face.

I had no idea, I didn’t want to make either decision, I didn’t want to be pregnant but I didn’t want to make the decision not to be pregnant. We carried on for another week, not really talking about it, acting as if everything was fine. But it was eating us alive, this huge secret neither of us seemed able to face. Until one evening I said “I’m going to see the girls” and walked out. The ‘girls’ were in their final year at uni and lived around the corner from us. He knew I would tell them, I needed someone else to know, to share this heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The girls were amazing, they hugged me which is exactly what I needed; I don’t think since I had found out I was pregnant my boyfriend and I had hugged once. They all reassured me that whatever decision I made they would support me and be there for me. I suddenly didn’t feel so alone and was able to talk about it openly and honestly.

I booked an appointment at the Marie Stopes clinic for the following week, just to have something to aim towards. Not really knowing if I would even go, I think my boyfriend was relieved that I had made the decision and not him. In all honestly I hadn’t made any decision.

Two days before the appointment I started bleeding, quite heavily. I called my boyfriend from work and we went to the early pregnancy unit, a place where I had spent many weeks during my midwifery training. And here I was on the other side. I felt really guilty, I kept thinking ‘maybe the baby knows it wasn’t meant to be here so that’s why my body was trying to get rid of it’. I was being punished. We asked for the monitor to be turned around so we couldn’t see. We both felt it would be better that way. I had already decided I was having a miscarriage, so when the sonographer said the baby was still alive, I couldn’t believe it. My boyfriend and I just looked at each other, we were both crying.

We drove home via his parent’s house to tell them. I’ve never seen my boyfriend look so scared. There were more tears, lots of hugs and his Dad opened a bottle of champagne. It finally felt like we could celebrate this pregnancy, it also felt so surreal. We were going to be parents.

It took longer for my family to accept what was happening, I think they were more protective of me – their youngest daughter of three – but the decision was made. I asked my Mum to tell the extended family before we planned to spend Christmas together. I was already beginning to show by then and I didn’t want to make anyone feel awkward. I’m sure deep down they thought it was a bad idea and probably thought my boyfriend and I wouldn’t last. Not because we weren’t right for each other, but more realistically that the odds were stacked against us.

I had a relatively easy pregnancy, maybe being young helped. I continued to work 12-hour shifts on the labour ward right up until 37 weeks. I actually found being a midwife somewhat reassuring whilst pregnant. It made me feel totally normal, as I was surrounded by other pregnant women of all ages and background. I think that’s what I yearned for throughout this whole period: normality. I was a woman and my boyfriend and I were having a baby together.

We had some help with buying things for the baby from family; it’s funny looking back on that time as we hardly had any money yet it didn’t seem to matter. I was so focused on meeting our baby and making everything be OK.

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I went into labour five days after my estimated due date and gave birth in a midwife-led suite where I had been working prior to finishing for maternity leave. I had a natural birth with the help of some gas and air and lots of help from two amazing midwives and, of course, my wonderful boyfriend.

We moved to London six weeks after our daughter was born and my husband took a new job which meant he travelled to Holland four days a week, leaving me holding the baby. All my friends were living their lives to the max, living together in London, starting new jobs and earning their first real income since graduating. I felt so out of the loop, joining baby groups trying to meet other mums, but everyone was in their late 30’s and I never really felt like I fitted in – too old for the teenage groups but too young for NCT groups.

I longed for the life I should have been having as I watched my girlfriends having what seemed to be the best time of their lives, but on the other hand I adored my baby daughter so much I never wanted to contemplate her not being here. I almost felt that because I had made this huge decision to have a baby in my early twenties, I had to do it right and I should never appear to not be coping or enjoying it.

Eventually, I met a few great mums, who to this day I still consider some of my best friends. And it really is thanks to meeting these mums which have got me through some of the best and worst times of being a mother. It’s made me realise it doesn’t matter what age you are when you become a mum or how much money you’ve got in the bank, because we’re all in this together. Broken sleep, teething, weaning, potty training and toddler demands, we all know how amazing it feels one minute and how shit the next.

That baby girl turned 8 two months ago, we now have another daughter who is four and have just found out we’re expecting twins early next year! And I’m now proud to call my wonderful boyfriend my wonderful husband. If someone had told me I would be a married mother-of-two at the age of 30, I would have laughed in their face. But sometimes laughing in the face of it all is the only way to get through the weekly Sainsbury’s shop with two kids, scraping dried porridge off the ridiculously expensive wooden high chair you fell for buying because it looks nice, and the lack of sleep, which never gets any easier.

I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved. We certainly had doubts about the choices we made along the way, but we made choices that felt right at the time and we made them work. People often say having a baby changes your life no matter what. But weirdly for us we didn’t really have that life, we only had a year and a half together before our daughter was born. Maybe that made it easier somehow.”

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Check out who Motherland who featured Gas&Air in their best parenting blogs online!

Twinning is Winning

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At around 5 weeks pregnant I felt sick, really sick and really tired. We were in France at a friend’s wedding and I did my best impression of someone trying to pretend to be drunk. Which by the way is very difficult. (Oh and a drunk sweaty husband when you’re stone cold sober is soooo unattractive, you’d rather he slept on the sofa)

And there was so much gooey soft smelly cheese going around and an oyster bar at the wedding and endless champagne. But nausea and a hangover have very similar characteristics so I fooled the friends we were with for 4 days.

“It’s probably twins” a colleague said to me while I gagged at the smell of the coffee she was drinking. “Ha ha very funny” I thought, but somehow I couldn’t shake off this feeling that maybe it was. Maybe.

A few weeks later I had some heavy bleeding so went to the Early Pregnancy Unit for a quick reassurance scan. I had already convinced myself that I was probably having a miscarriage so prepared myself for missing my brothers 40th birthday the next day and felt remarkably calm about the whole thing.

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“You have two in there, and both have healthy strong heartbeats”. I was beyond shocked. I was naked from the waist down with my legs in those stirrup things and a long probe with a condom on it up my foof. Not the most dignified of positions to be in. There was swear words, and utter disbelief and then the tears came. I left clutching the scan photo dreading how I was going to tell my husband.

But now 5 weeks later and a lovely normal reassuring Nuchal scan yesterday, we are in a much better place. Me, both physically and mentally and my husband, well he keeps weeping at the thought of selling the Audi and looking at 7 seater cars.

What nightmares are made of

What nightmares are made of

So now I’m almost 13 weeks pregnant and the all day constant nausea and all evening vomiting has *almost* gone. I have to say weeks 6-9 were unbearable and I began to question if I could really get through this pregnancy at all. (I was once sick 17 times in one day). I had some amazing people around me, supporting me and making me realise that everything was indeed going to be ok.

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Things that really helped when I could barely lift my head off the toilet seat

  • Tropicana (smooth) don’t ask but the combination of the sweet and sour taste meant I was getting some Vitamin C into my system
  • Peanut butter (again smooth) on a buttered bagel
  • Salt and Vinegar crisps BY THE TONNE
  • Nutrimum Bars – these were great in between meal times and  I just kept a stash in my car
  • Hypnobirthing – well technically relaxation MP3s. As you know I’m a massive fan of everything Hollie does and some evenings when my mind was racing with worry and fear I’d pop on her track and within minutes I’d find myself drifting off into a calm sleep
  • Acupuncture – I popped my cherry around week 6 and MY GOD it really did make the most difference to my nausea. Maisie Hill is like some kind of magical mystical Goddess who really understood my body and what was going on. I hardly had to say anything (mainly because I felt so rough) and she just popped needles into certain points on my body. I left feeling floaty and vomit free. She’s also a Doula and an amazing one at that. Check out her website for a wealth of information on all things fertility, pregnancy and birth
  • I treated myself around week 10 to a pregnancy massage as my lower back and pelvis was really beginning to ache. And there’s only woman who I’ll happily strip down to my oldest granny pants for…. Beccy Hands (yes her real name) is also a kick ass Doula and specialises in pregnancy and labour massage. She’s so good she can tell me which shoulder I carry my heavy rucksack on and how I stand/lean when attending births
  • And finally SLEEP. Like mega naps, any time any place. During my lunch break I’d find myself having a quick doze before starting a clinic, around kids tea time (there was a lot of eating in front of the tv whilst I snoozed) and then heading off to bed as soon as my husband was home and sleeping all night. Sleep really did help with the nausea.

So there you have it, the secret is out (I even managed to fool my white witch of a mother at my brother’s 40th by pouring my wine into my sisters glass). I’m already embracing the maternity clothes (Topshop dungarees are amazing) and our house is buzzing with who can come up with the most ridiculous baby names. As if I didn’t have enough to do with writing my book, I’ll be blogging about this pregnancy at regular intervals, so please join me on this exciting journey.

xx