Second time around…

I’ve realised that I haven’t written anything about being pregnant this time around, (who am I kidding, I’m not writing anything about anything really, blame the nesting!) so thought it was time I did! I’m well into my third trimester and I’m not going to lie, pregnancy has really taken it out of me this time. In all honesty last time I can say that I barely noticed I was pregnant. This time has been so much harder and I’m sure that 90% of that is going through it with a toddler thrown into the mix too. I became pregnant about a month before Bea turned 2 and whilst it’s a lovely and fun age, it’s certainly one you could do with being on your toes for!

Third trimester! #babybump #thirdtrimester #icarriedawatermelon #bigsister

A photo posted by Rebecca Norris (@rebecca_norris) on

Physically, I feel the same as with Bea. I had very little nausea, and a problem free first trimester for which I still feel very lucky! I definitely ‘popped out’ earlier – I think it was only by about 20 weeks I had a is-she, isn’t-she type bump last time and this time it was fairly convincing at least a month earlier. I blame the lack of effort I put into core exercises last time… nothing to do with the cake. ;) Seriously speaking though, this time around I have definitely put less weight on. I haven’t given myself quite the same license to eat EVERYTHING as I did last time, though I’m by no means resisting much! I actually haven’t been as hungry I think and I have certainly reached the feeling ‘full of baby’ stage much earlier.

26 weeks and feeling massive! I'm sure I wasn't this big with Bea! #26weeks

A photo posted by Rebecca Norris (@rebecca_norris) on

Last time I never experienced any braxton hicks (practice contractions when the womb gets tight and hard briefly) and this time they started around 20 weeks. It actually took me a few weeks to work out what was going on then I’ve had a good few weeks with none again and now they are back. Hopefully it’s all getting my body ready for labour as I plan to try and have a natural delivery this time (Bea was a planned C-Section as she was Breech.) Unfortunately the main thing that has bothered me has been my back and pelvis. My back has always been a bit iffy if I don’t take care of it and I do tend to over do things. Towards the end of my last pregnancy my sacro-iliac joints (lower back) were a bit sore but I blamed too much DIY as we were completing work on our kitchen and guest room. In all honesty it never really recovered as I think the pregnancy hormone relaxin affected me quite a lot, then it’s effects were perpetuated by breast feeding for so long – I only stopped when I was pregnant again this time. Going straight into another pregnancy clearly hasn’t helped and picking Bea up a lot still really takes its toll. Added to that I’ve had some very strange Pelvic Girdle Pain (the new name for what was formerly known as SPD or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) which has been really unpleasant at times. Thankfully it seems to come and go without warning and has mainly cleared up but I’ve had to take a massive reality check on what its sensible for me to keep doing.

27weeks: having 'cuddles on the sofa' with 'my baby'. Me too Bea, me too.

A photo posted by Rebecca Norris (@rebecca_norris) on

The funny thing about this pregnancy has been that it is at once more real and more distant than last time. This time around I’m excited and desperate to meet this baby in a way I never was with Bea because I had no idea how amazing it was going to be. My placenta is at the back this time which means I’ve had loads of fun with amazing big movements and many a happy hour with Pete talking about the future whilst we feel our next little love wriggling in there. But at the same time it’s flown by with barely a thought towards preparation or time to think much about ‘being pregnant’. The weeks blur into months and compared to my weekly bump watch last time I have about a handful of photos this time – I keep having to remind myself to take one! Its bittersweet too. Bea is so excited about ‘the baby’ but I’m starting to really worry how she will cope with sharing me. I know she will gain so much from having a sibling but I don’t think there’s any denying she will find it tough for a while first. And it will break my heart I know.

I’d love to hear from any of you readers who are preparing for a second baby or who have already crossed that bridge. Was it the same for you?

Love, Rebecca.

Capturing the bump…

I never planned to do a ‘bump shoot’, thinking I would have lots of selfie style bump shots to suffice and Pete would have taken plenty too. Whilst the former is true, the latter hasn’t been – we have been far to busy in the house to be anywhere worthy of dressing up and taking photos of late. Maybe it’s also the looming end to my pregnancy that has made me cherish it more, I will certainly miss this bump and shifting baby inside, but I hope the reality in my arms will be infinitely better. :)

I had planned to have a newborn shoot, when baby is fresh and still scrunched up and small, to capture that newborn bubble the three of us will hopefully be in (read: chaotic, sleep derived blur,) and so at the last minute last week I decided to ask our good friends Laura and Peter Lawson to do a bump shoot too. They made us feel so at ease in front of the camera and I knew they would ‘get’ how blessed out together we both are just now, as they had their little boy Albert only 7 months ago.

I’m so glad we did it now and Pete loves the results too. This was too special a time in our lives not to make some memories to treasure and now I just have to pick some for the wall!





Have a great weekend readers, see you next week!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

34 – 38 weeks…

I can’t quite believe that I am writing the conclusion post to my pregnancy diary. Back in November when we found out I was pregnant, the end of July seemed very far off indeed but it has completely flown past. I’m sure this is in part due to the non-stop pace we set ourselves on doing the house renovations. Since moving out of our bedroom in December, we have completed the bedroom, dressing room, kitchen, outside deck, ‘face lifted’ the dining room, one of our attic bedrooms and most recently, the nursery. It has been exhausting, but it has certainly kept my mind off being pregnant, which at the time didn’t bother me, but now I look back and feel I should have savoured it more – I certainly should have taken more time out to relax and spoil myself – I haven’t even had time to do pregnancy yoga but I’m making up for it now with full on baby-focus now I’m on maternity leave.

This part of my pregnancy has definitely been the hardest, physically, although it’s pretty much all self inflicted. I’m still well and not that uncomfortable although I have been feeling very ‘full’ particularly when I’m sitting down so finishing work at 37 weeks was a good decision. The bump certainly hasn’t ‘dropped’ (but more on that in a minute…) I had been debating up until a week or so before whether to keep going as I’m not really tired, but because I postponed everything until my mat leave, I was definitely in need of the baby time. My back has been my main pregnancy gripe and anything involving lifting or using my back much is giving me pretty bad pain and stiffness. All this lead to Pete reading me the riot act after moving some furniture myself last week and then having to stop about 6 times on a short walk of less than 10 minutes. I’ve been on strict R&R since and have felt so much better for it. I think I needed permission to slow down!

The last week hasn’t been without it’s stresses though. At my 36 week antenatal appointment they booked me for a presentation scan as there was some concern baby Norris was not playing ball and might be the wrong way up. Sure enough on scan day last Tuesday, the hard round lump I had been feeling in my ribs for weeks and weeks is in fact a head and baby is breech. Cue some soul searching and the choice whether to have an ECV (where they try to turn the baby,) or book an elective caesarean section. I won’t go into my reasons here as it’s a very personal choice and one I’m still not happy about, but I have chosen not to have an ECV and so now I’m booked for a Caesarean. (On an evidence based medical level though I will say, the chance of success would have been very poor, maybe 30%)

So, after all my thoughts on how to prepare for labour, (not that I had actually made much progress on doing the required reading,) and deciding I wanted a natural, hopefully drug-free delivery (although I’m not silly enough to say that without an open mind for when the time came, having never been in that position before,) I’m now getting the works; spinal anaesthetic, all the drugs and the bit I am most upset about, the recovery period afterwards. I was so looking forward to being active again and able to do things around the house. There are no guarantees in life so I’m just trying to remind myself that I could have had an ECV, then a horrible labour, wanted all the drugs and then ended up with a section after all, who knows, but I still feel upset about the way things are turning out. I know it’s silly but I feel like I have meddled with fate by choosing babies birthday, I feel a bit disappointed that I (and Pete) won’t have that birth experience and honestly I’m terrified of being a patient rather than the one performing the caesarean as I have in the past. It feels clinical and I can hardly believe that I will wake up one morning, go to hospital and have baby taken out of me, instead of doing it myself. And the poor baby is going to get the shock of it’s life going from where it is perfectly happy to being yanked out into the bright cold world without any warning. However, I know this is infinitely safer than a vaginal breech delivery (at least for a first baby,) so I am also reminding myself to be grateful that there is a safe way to delivery this baby for both of us, which is ultimately all that matters. And for whatever reason, this baby is very happy being one of the 3 in 100 babies that are breech at term as it has been in this position for a long time and has shown no signs of budging. I just wish I had known sooner.

So now I’ve also lost a week of my maternity leave and the last week has been spent flapping about like a headless chicken trying to get things done and bought. As a result it has been very productive but a bit panic inducing too. I feel like I would have felt more mentally prepared if I had had to go through the process of labour, instead of what feels like going to pick up the baby via click and collect. The reality of having a baby now has a date on it. Life changes then. All the old questions of ‘Am I ready’ and ‘How will we still make time for each other and our life,’ have resurfaced, but now I also find myself stroking this little head as it bobs with hiccups or shifts position and feeling increasingly maternal and protective towards this little thing we created.

I can’t wait to hold this baby, take it home and introduce it to our families. I can’t wait to see who he or she resembles, if baby has my dark hair or is blonde as Pete was as a child. But the finality of having a definite date is also terrifying.

So readers, have any of you had a caesarean? How did you find it? And did any of you get pre-baby jitters like me? Now more than ever, I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

25-33 weeks…

The last 10 weeks of pregnancy has absolutely flown by and I feel bad that I have let these updates slip, not because I think you’re hanging on my every pregnancy related word, but because I use this as a record for myself too. I even have a little note book of pregnancy milestones and haven’t recorded anything in it since before 20 weeks.

The truth is, so far (touch wood,) I have been very lucky and pregnancy hasn’t really stopped me at all. That is definitely changing now (more in my next update,) but up to 34 weeks things have been pretty normal. That coupled with all the things we have been having done to the house has been a massive distraction and I speak no word of a lie when I say aside from the pram, we are no more prepared for a baby now than we were at my last update.

I feel kind of sad about this. I know my second pregnancy (again, touch wood,) won’t be the same as my first, with a small one around to run around after I doubt it will be given much attention and I wish I had had time to indulge in pregnancy related treats like Yoga. I haven’t done a single jot of regular exercise since becoming pregnant and never made it swimming as I intended. But, I guess the physical activity in the house has more than made up for that and whilst I now feel huge, I’ve only just hit the 2 stone weight gain mark. And health wise, it’s only really been working hard in the house that has phased me – my lower back has been really stiff and sore if I over do the cleaning or decorating. Oh that and tennis…

28 weeks seemed like a good time to suggest a game of tennis with Pete and whilst we took it easy – I wasn’t sprinting for any long shots, it was fab to be active again. I more than paid for it however and had terrible back pain for about three days, even sleeping propped up one night, then fortunately it passed. Lesson learned. We also went to a wedding at 28 weeks (I posted my outfit here,) and I felt fantastic. One of the lovely things about pregnancy has been how happy people are for you. Everyone is interested and wants to talk about the baby, and whilst it’s not helping me get my patients seen on schedule at work at all, it feels really special.

At 31-32 weeks we travelled to Italy for our friends wedding, a little over the recommended time limit for flying but I paid for a fit to fly note from my GP and had no problems at all. I wasn’t going to not go ‘just in case’ when in all likelihood baby’s arrival was another 10 weeks off. As a side note here, if you do intend to fly with a visible bump, it’s well worth getting a note – I didn’t think I looked that big but was asked for my note on both legs of the journey at check in and although I don’t know what would have happened if I had simply said I was under the 28 week limit most airlines impose, it was good to have the back up and no stress. Travelling was fine – I made sure I stayed hydrated and did leg exercises but it was a short 3 hour flight and all felt pretty normal. We did make concessions to our usual style of travel – after Barcelona I knew an all day sight seeing walking tour wasn’t for me and we had a lot of ice cream stops but I was still fine cycling all around Florence for the day. Tuscan hill top towns were another matter and I felt like a steam train much of the time puffing around!

We went away mid kitchen renovation and came back to the final weeks of it which have since passed in a blur of project managing electricians, buying and returning lights, co-ordinating flooring fitters, painters (for the kitchen units) and marble installation, whilst actually decorating ourselves. In the midst of this we thought we had better get on with one of the attic guest rooms as Francesca is still with us due to hold ups in her purchase and so we need somewhere for relatives to stay when the baby is here. So that has been stripped, re-plastered, a new window is being fitted as I type and carpet coming later today. And before you ask… no, the nursery isn’t even partially started. Although the wallpaper did arrive yesterday!

All in all I had so many people scare-mongering about the third trimester and how awful pregnancy is/was that I hope a positive account of it is a balancing post for those of you contemplating making the leap. I know when I was planning to get pregnant (I promise, more on that too soon,) I had seen so many people struggle with it that I wondered how I would even manage to work, but even now I’m doing fine, so don’t worry before you have to! I’m hoping I can squeeze in another 2 updates before baby arrives, more for myself than anything so I’ll keep you posted, but we’ll see… ;)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. My pregnancy so far…
The first three months…
14 – 20 weeks
20 – 25 weeks

The Baby Name Game

I’m 29 weeks tomorrow and starting to suddenly feel the pressure of time ticking on and things that must be done. Truth be told, although I am loving being pregnant (apart from the back pain I had early this week and kept me up all night, which has fortunately now disappeared,) I don’t really feel like I am getting much time to think about it or the baby. I’m still working just as hard and long, then when I get home there are a million house decisions to be made. As I type I can hear banging and crashing as the builders knock out the exterior kitchen wall for our bifold doors and I am hiding in the bedroom.


image via

One of the many things that we need to think about are names. It’s like there is a sequence when people ask you about your pregnancy… ‘How far along are you,’ is always first, then ‘Do you know what you are having,’ and the third question is often, ‘Have you got any names picked out?’ Of course I don’t say – made easier by the fact that we still haven’t opened the envelope, and I wouldn’t anyway, I like babies to be announced with their name, as I think it adds to the excitement, but the bottom line is, I don’t really know what we are going to call him or her.

Of course there are contenders, I have a girls name I have loved for years, unfortunately Pete doesn’t feel the same. We also have a possible boys name, which again has been on the cards for a long time, but now I’m not so sure. Boys names I find much easier… I like strong traditional names like William or Thomas, but not too proper like George or Henry. There are still a few more hipster names on the list though and with girls I love traditional old fashioned names. I have less qualms about giving a baby girl a more ‘individual’ name than a boy for some reason. Pete leans much towards the softer side of names for girls, like Emily or Sophie, but I don’t feel they are strong enough, and several of the top 50 for boys.

So what are my criteria? I really don’t have any (I’ve heard people want to incorporate family names, use biblical names, floral names, royal/traditional names,) and it’s really about something I like. I think the problem will be Pete and I agreeing on something and I don’t know how we will ever solve that! There’s is always the will it suit an older person dilemma and what will it be shortened to (- one of my favourites is shortened to a name I don’t love at all.) I also read a NY Times article a while back saying that ‘The once-simple task of coming up with a monogram for the baby blanket has evolved into a high-stakes exercise in personal “branding.” ‘ and whilst I don’t want a name that every other child also has, I wouldn’t be put off a beautiful classic name for that reason. I know plenty of Rebecca‘s but feel no less of an individual as a result.

So today I need your suggestions readers! Please let me know what you or your friends called your babies, the names you have always loved and the secret favourites. I think it’s time to gather some inspiration that I can mull over through the third trimester! I just don’t want to end up jumping at something when he or she is born because we still haven’t decided!

Thanks guys!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. Have you heard of Nameberry? It’s a US site where you can see how the popularity of a name fared over the years (amongst other things about it,) and see if you are choosing a name that is suddenly super popular or not.

Preparation for labour…

Apologies for the late post today readers, I had something all ready to go and it didn’t publish so I’ve brought tomorrows post forwards. I hope you can help. :) All the beautiful images are by Peter Lawson, of Laura Lawson labouring with their gorgeous little man Albert late last year. Thanks for the images guys!


Image Credit: Lawson Photography

Now that I’m over the 6 months pregnant milestone, the thought of giving birth seems to be looming even more. I have to say, I have all my life wondered why women want to have children if they have to go through childbirth to achieve it, but then that’s a very short term outlook and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised it’s just a means to an end. As part of my job I’ve seen the whole spectrum of deliveries, from highly medicalised traumatic events to beautifully calm natural labours. We joke that medics never get a calm birth and everything always go wrong, but equally I know medical friends who have had straightforward deliveries. From a totally natural perspective, I wonder how much fear of things going wrong affects a woman’s labour and if the flight or flight adrenaline response can (I know it does,) slow things down or cause delays and complications.


Image Credit: Lawson Photography

All this has lead me to think about how I should prepare for baby Norris’s delivery. Don’t shout at me, but I don’t believe in birth plans. I have rarely seen them come to fruition and it always seemed when I was working that the more of a plan there was made, the higher the chance there was of something going wrong. I also feel strongly that women are lead to believe that they can plan their delivery, which I believe is largely predetermined by anatomy, the baby and luck. I hate that so many women feel disappointed by their labour or that they failed in some way because they went on to need help or intervention.


Image Credit: Lawson Photography

All that said, I don’t want to regret not preparing or to feel out of control when the time comes. I do believe that (if all is proceeding normally,) that being in the right frame of mind and working with your body can be a powerful thing. It is after all what we are designed to do. We are not doing NCT classes so I’ve been considering if we should do a preparation for birth class. I have read a little bit about hyponobirthing so that is another option, but Pete is sceptical. Partly I want him to have some input as to how to support me and to stop him feeling afraid of the process. And like everybody does I suppose, I want to have as calm and normal a labour and delivery as possible.


Image Credit: Lawson Photography

So the point of all this is that I want to know what you guys think. Is there anything that helped you prepare for labour, books or classes? Is there anything you are glad you spent the time or money on or wished you had? I’d love to hear your advice and thoughts, so I can decide what I should put my time and effort into.

Thank you!

Rebecca
xo