37 weeks – pregnancy update

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So today is the day – I have reached full term and the baby is ‘cooked’. If I were to go into labour now (come on, Baby, you know you want to!) then he would not be considered premature. This is good.

So I thought to mark this occasion, I’d do a proper pregnancy update.

Weight gain:
12kg – although only 200g of that in the last 4 weeks. There are benefits to gestational diabetes!

Stretch marks:
Still none – I’m using some Neals Yard samples I was given at the moment at night which feel lovely – really thick and oily. It does feel a little bit like running marzipan into your belly though…and smells like it too!

Sleep:
Having felt very smug about how well I was sleeping, I’ve suddenly started finding it much more difficult. I’m currently only comfortable if I have 3 pillows and my dream genii pillow – it’s so bizarre as I’ve always been a 1 pillow person! I wake up at about 3 every night desperate for a wee, butthings have improved a bit as I’m not waking as regularly as I was earlier in the week now.

Maternity clothes:
I’ve bought a couple of thinner tops recently from H&M as most of my maternity clothes are for winter. I am really getting bored of my maternity clothes now and am starting to fantasise about clothes that have waistlines now though. Getting my old clothes out of the loft is going to feel like Christmas! I’m looking forward to having a bit more choice in the morning, anyway! I have started buying a few nursing bits and pieces. I’ve got some nursing vest tops and bought some loose shirts to wear over the top. Hopefully that should make breast feeding a bit easier – particularly in public.

Best moment this week:
Being told by my consultant that I’m doing really well with my gestational diabetes diet and that they’re happy for me to stay diet controlled. This is such a relief as I was really scared they would put me on metformin due to a few high readings. Also a lovely afternoon with two of the girls from my NCT class. I’m so glad that I did the classes as I think we’re going to have lots of fun once our babies arrive. And starting Lazy Daisy classes again – I absolutely love love love them. Ooh and reaching 37 weeks today – lots of ‘best’ moments this week!

Worst moment this week:
Saying goodbye to my mum for the last time before I have the baby – somehow that made it scary and real.

Miss anything:
Sugar, mainly. And being able to get off the sofa without a big heave and a groan! But really, just sugar. My mother in law has instructions to bring Cadbury’s Creme Eggs to the hospital once I’ve had the baby!

Movement:
Loads. Some days more than others, but it gets quite uncomfortable in the evenings. I have to sit up quite straight otherwise it feels like Baby is trying to break my ribs!

Food cravings:
Not really. I wouldn’t say I’m craving sugar. Although I had to rush out and catch the local Co-op before it shut tonight to get a bottle of diet coke as I just *had* to have it.

Anything making you queasy or sick:
Nope – and since changing my diet with gestational diabetes my heartburn has totally disappeared.

Gender:
A boy! So excited to meet him…

Labour signs:
Nothing really. My Braxton Hicks are stronger and much more frequent, but nothing else. My midwife said the baby’s head is low, but not engaged yet, so I’m doing lots of walking and bouncing on a birthing ball to try to encourage him downwards! At the scan this week he is measuring spot on where he should be – just slightly above the 50th percentile on the growth charts. Which is good, as my bump is measuring small – 33cm at 36 weeks. I’m having a cervical assessment next Tuesday and potentially a sweep that day, as well as booking my induction date, so it won’t be long!!

Symptoms:
Nesting a lot…still… I’ve stopped organising quite so manically but I’m still spending a lot of time washing things and getting the nursery sorted.

Looking forward to:
It all actually happening! It feels like you spend months preparing, but you can’t really know what it’ll be like. I’ll be so glad to have him here and start the next stage!

My Hospital Bag

My appointment at the hospital went well this morning – they’re happy with my blood sugar (even with the few little blips I’ve had) and the baby is still well within normal measurement ranges. Which is a relief. They want to see me in two weeks to do a cervical assessment and then potentially a sweep – the idea is that this will make me go into labour naturally, although I will also be booked in for induction some time before 40 weeks. I’m looking into acupuncture – more about that another time.
But as it’s all getting rather close, I thought I’d show you all my hospital bag. I had no idea what to take, so if you have any other suggestions then do let me know.

In the bag for me:

– A cheap dark coloured nightdress to give birth in – with buttons to open for skin to skin contact after birth
– A nicer nightdress in case I have to stay in longer – suitable for breast feeding
– A thin dark coloured dressing gown
– cheap slippers that can be thrown away
– Flip flops
– An eye mask – to try to help me get some sleep!
– A cheap primark bikini in case I’m allowed in a bath or birthing pool
– Cheap knickers in two different styles (low rise ones and high waisted)

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– A pack of maternity towels
– A pack of breast pads
– A razor
– A toothbrush
– My shampoo, conditioner and shower gel decanted into small bottles
– Dry shampoo
– Lip balm
– Deodorant
– Cooling face spray
– Hairbands
– Hairbrush

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– Dark coloured bath towel
– Face cloths
– 2 pairs of yoga pants
– A nursing vest
– A long sleeve nursing top
– A nursing bra

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– A book to read
– A book of logic problems (I love these!)
– A notebook and pen
– A packet of sugar free hard sweets

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I will pack my phone and charger as we’re leaving, as this has all of my music on it as well.

I will also pack my wash bag and make up bag just before we go – I couldn’t be bothered to duplicate all of my stuff!

In the bag for the baby:

– 23 newborn size nappies
– Cotton wool
– Sudocrem
– Ready made formula, in case I can’t breast feed
– 2 bibs
– A pair of socks (I’ve heard GD babies can have poor circulation at first)
– 2 pairs of scratch mits
– A cuddly toy – to make the hospital crib more homely!

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– 3 small muslins
– A swaddling muslin
– A swaddle blanket
– A cellular blanket

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– 2 newborn size white vests (up to 7.5lbs)
– 2 newborn size white sleepsuits
– 2 ‘up to 1 month’ size vests (up to 10lbs)
– 2 ‘up to 1 month’ sleepsuits

These are in plastic bags and labelled – I have no idea how big Baby will be, so wanted to have the right size clothing for him!

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– A going home outfit in each size. These are just slightly more interesting sleepsuits. In up to 7.5lbs there is a pale blue stars sleepsuit, and in up to 10lbs there is a dark blue little birds sleepsuit. I also have a gorgeous little blue cardigan with rabbits on – complete with pompom tails- which I hope he will wear to leave the hospital.

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So that’s it! I haven’t packed anything for Mark yet, as if the worst comes to the worst he can do that himself! It’s a relief having it all ready.

I’d be interested to know if you had anything else in yours or if you can think of anything I’ve left out!

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A never ending list of ‘stuff’

When I first found out that I was pregnant, I had no idea how much ‘stuff’ I would have to accumulate. We are not particularly struggling for money, but we have to be careful having just bought a house, so I had to do quite a lot of baby collecting rather thriftily. A friend at school who has had two babies in the last three years and was getting rid of everything proved incredibly useful. She gave me a huge stash of maternity clothes, as well as lots of baby essentials such as sleepsuits and vests for free, and sold me a vast array of baby items for absolute bargain prices. I think most things I have came from her!

My cousin has also been very helpful – giving me a few things, such as a cot mobile, a couple of baby carriers and a door frame bouncer thing. She had just given the majority of her baby things to a friend about a week before I announced my pregnancy – typical!

And luckily a family friend is moving and wanted to get rid of lots of big things, so we were more than happy to take them off his hands!

But we are starting to get organised now.

So far we have got the following all either free or bought second hand:

  • A cot and cot-top changer – given to us by a family friend. Very lucky with this as it’s a really good quality Mamas and Papas one
  • A Moses basket and stand – bought for £20 from my friend
  • A crib – a total bargain on ebay. M thinks I’ve gone overboard on sleeping arrangements – he might be right!
  • A travel cot –from family friend again (seems to be a Hauck all singing-all dancing one too!)
  • A travel carrycot – £5 from my friend – packs up ridiculously small – very useful!
  • 2 stairgates – from the family friend
  • A Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix car seat and isofix base bought for £50 from a friend
  • A Baby Bjorn carrier, bought from a friend for £15
  • A Mamas and Papas bouncer/rocker thing which is adorable – bought from a friend
  • A baby gym and a separate play mat bought very cheaply from a friend
  • A Bababing changing bag – £5 from a friend
  • A baby bath seat to go in the normal bath – from a friend, although not sure how much we’ll use this
  • A car mirror to see the baby in the back – £3 from a friend
  • A cot mobile free from my cousin
  • A baby donut – to sit the baby in before he can sit up – £5 from a friend
  • A huge array of clothes, all either free, or about £5 for a bundle of 10 things
  • 2 Mamas and Papas sleeping bags for £5
  • A wide collection of towels, muslins and flannels for free

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And we have bought the following things new (although the first two were bought for us):

  • A Baby Jogger City Mini GT pushchair – bought by my mum from John Lewis – I’m in love with it already.
  • A Baby Jogger Compact Plus Carrycot. The pushchair is forward facing and has a huge seat, so I wanted something for the early months when he’s really small. It was tough to get hold of, but a very important 3cms wider than their standard compact carrycot
  • A mattress for the Moses basket – I had no idea you had to buy new mattresses! From Kiddicare
  • A new mattress for the crib – from Mothercare
  • A steriliser and breast pump set – half price in Mothercare
  • A changing mat
  • A baby bath
  • A collection of sleepsuits, vests, a few ‘outfits’, some leggings and T-shirts and a few bigger things like snowsuits in sales ready for next winter
  • Some swaddling muslins from Aden and Anais
  • 2 gro-bags
  • 1 gro swaddle

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We still need to get

  • A baby monitor – I think I’m going to go for the Angelcare sensor mat one. Unless anyone has any suggestions of a better one! I got a John Lewis voucher from my department at school when I went on maternity leave, so that will cover most of it.
  • Decorating things for the nursery – some curtains, a cot set, a lampshade and some wall stickers. My mother in law wants to buy all of this, so we should be able to get it in the next week or so.

I obviously haven’t included all of the maternity bits and pieces and hospital bag items that I’ve bought. I’m also now starting to collect some clothes that I can breastfeed in – some nursing tops and some vests with buttons down the front. I’d like to get a few loose shirts to go over the top, although I think the big muslin swaddles will be really useful for discreet breastfeeding. If I can be bothered to be discreet!

Looking back at this list, I’m actually pretty pleased with myself. I don’t think I’ve actually spent that much and have succeeded in keeping the costs right down. It helps having very generous friends, but I know NCT sales and ebay are also great for picking things up really cheaply. It does mean that over the next few weeks I have a lot of cleaning and washing to do. I’ve done most of the clothes, but all of the baby equipment that’s second hand will need wiping down with Milton fluid and the fabric on things like the bouncer will need to be washed.

I haven’t included things that we’ve been given as presents, and we actually don’t have very many toys at all – I’m kind of hoping that if people want to give us things when he’s born then toys might be the thing!

Can you think of anything else that we will need? I am starting to collect nappies and cotton wool when I go shopping, and have got a few bathing bits, although I don’t really know which are good makes so not getting too much of this.

If you have any products or items that you could not have lived without in the first few months, I’d love to hear them.

Review: Pregnancy+ App

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I’d like to try the Pregnancy+ app for my phone from Health & Parenting. I spend a ridiculous amount of time on my phone and also a ridiculous amount of time reading about babies and learning about what’s in store, so it seemed like a no-brainer! I jumped at the chance!

I do already have a few pregnancy apps and one in particular has been my go-to place throughout my whole pregnancy. So, although I was looking forward to trying it, I didn’t know if I needed a new one, per se. I’d give it a go, but wasn’t sure I’d get into the habit of checking it daily.

But I did. I really like this app. There are so many features that I haven’t found on others I’ve tried. I like that the welcome page immediately tells you how many days you have left and that the most useful links are all there on the first page. There are the usual pages that tell you how big your baby is and what it’s up to this week – and of course the obligatory fruit/vegetable comparison! But the feature I like best is the daily blog. These seem really relevant and are always well written and interesting. I genuinely go to the app each day to read the blog; they are personal, well-researched and entertaining. I haven’t found that on any other site – they so often seem a bit generic and dull.

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The app also has a calendar function where you can input any important appointments and events – I’ve found this really useful as it helps me remember when my various midwife and hospital appointments are. Since getting gestational diabetes, I have had a lot more appointments, so the fact that it has reminders that come up to tell you when they are is great. I can be pretty disorganised and this just gives another layer of organisation to help me out!

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I like the weight gain chart (although dislike seeing it rise so rapidly!) and there’s a feature for looking up baby names and recording your favourites in a short list, which is really useful. I also really like the movement counter, as if I’m concerned at all that I haven’t been feeling as much movement one day, I put that on and just reassure myself. There is a contraction timer too – obviously I haven’t had to use that yet, but it might be useful!

This app doesn’t do anything (that I’ve found) that other apps don’t do, but I like that it’s all in one place. I have a baby names app, a baby size app, a daily progress app and a weight gain app already, but the fact that this records everything very accessibly and clearly, all in one place is great. There is a check list for virtually everything, including what to pack in hospital bags, much of which I hadn’t thought of or seen on various other lists there are. It seems to take you right through labour too, with different positions suggested and breathing techniques. There really isn’t room in a blog post to tell you everything the app does – it’s really very impressive and seems to cover everything you could possibly want.

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I don’t think it will entirely replace the app that has been my favourite all along. I like the forum feature on that other app, where you are immediately in touch with everyone due in the same month as you, and Pregnancy+ doesn’t have this. But it’s a shame that the other app doesn’t take a few lessons in user-friendly design and functionality from Pregnancy+ – it’s so easy to navigate and feels intuitive and simple, with all the features easy to find and exactly where you would expect them to be.

I was given the app free to try, but would definitely spend the money on it. The iTunes link is here. It really does give you all the information you need right from day one of your pregnancy.

Week 36 (eek!)

I used to find it really irritating when blogs that I read began with ‘I can’t believe I’m ‘x number’ of weeks already – that’s crazy’! But I definitely feel that way now. I always thought pregnancy would go slowly and would really drag. The first 12 weeks did and perhaps it was in those weeks, where I watched endless youtube vlogs and read lots of pregnancy blogs, that I couldn’t imagine it going fast. But fast it has gone.

I am now 35+2 weeks and have finished work. We broke up for Easter on Friday, so I have three weeks of Easter holidays, then my maternity leave starts on the 22nd April. It is very odd to think that I won’t be going back after the holidays. Particularly when I think about my A level students preparing for their exams!

My gestational diabetes means that I will probably be induced on or around my due date. As my due date is a Sunday, it is likely to be before the weekend, as it’s a bank holiday weekend and it might be leaving it too long to wait until after that. So in my head, I’m preparing myself to be induced on around the 1st or 2nd of May. This may change, and I have another scan and appointment with my consultant and obstetrician next week, where I am really hoping they might be able to give me a few more concrete details. After last time, I won’t get my hopes up. It was so incredibly vague and not terribly helpful.

I’m getting on alright with the diabetes though – last week I made this lemon drizzle cake, which was surprisingly good. I could tell it was genuinely good and not just ‘I have diabetes and am so deprived of sugar that I’ll eat anything’ good, as Mark ate it – voluntarily!

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At my midwife appointment on Monday last week, the midwife scared me a little by telling me the baby’s head is very low down. As Mark has gone skiing for a week this weekend, it made me a little nervous. So I packed my hospital bags and got contingency plans in place in case baby decides to put in a (very) early appearance before Mark’s back from the school ski trip.

I’ve been getting a few symptoms this last week too – my Braxton Hicks seem to have intensified and can be really uncomfortable at times, particularly when I have a full bladder! I’ve been feeling quite a lot of pressure too, which I guess is to be expected if the baby’s head is engaged, as the midwife said. I have also been nesting like a maniac – washing and ironing all the baby’s clothes up to 3 months, then organising them into his drawers (after obsessively scrubbing these within an inch of their lives!) and getting the room a bit more ready.

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My pram has arrived, which is ridiculously exciting, and apparently the carrycot has now come too – although I haven’t seen it yet, as I’ve come up to my parents’ house for a few days’ relaxation (to get me away from the nesting!) and will have to wait until I get home to play with that! I did put the pram up the other day though – obviously to check that it was all there and all worked (not at all to get uber excited and push it round my kitchen with a teddy in it!)

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And next week we are getting a few bits to decorate the nursery. I don’t want to go overboard, but we’re getting some curtains and a cot set, with a matching lamp shade and perhaps some wall stickers to liven it up a little. I can’t wait now – I absolutely love spending time in the room, imagining what it will be like to be in there with our baby. It shouldn’t be too long!

So here is my 35+2 week bump – I feel enormous now! I’ve gone from everyone telling me how tiny I am, to everyone saying ‘Gosh, you’ve really grown!’ I have lots of posts to come in the next few days – including a review of an amazing pregnancy app I’ve been using, and a review of my Lazy Daisy hypnobirthing classes I’ve been going to. I start them again next week and am so glad. The NCT classes have been great, but all the technical details are quite alarming; I’m looking forward to relaxing about the whole process again.

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