things to do at 4am

I wrote a version of this post for my Evening Chronicle column this week but was limited by my word count (and the fact that Jake had gone back to sleep so I did too). Here’s a fuller version. What do you get up to during the obligatory night feeds?

You join me in the wee small hours of the morning, which you could do regularly if you also have a small person who doesn’t appreciate that adults prefer to be asleep between midnight and 6am. However, if you’re optimistic like me, you could see it as extra time in your day to get some essential jobs done. Realistically though, here’s what you’re probably doing if you’re awake at 4am waiting for a milk-drunk baby to nod off again:

  • Watching unbelievably addictive reality TV – I must spend 90% of my time during a night feed glued to trashy fly-on-the-wall programmes that require little to no brain activity to watch. My current personal favourites are the Border Security type shows where people have their bananas confiscated before they’re allowed into Australia, and whimsical traffic cop documentary Road Wars. They’re still showing the same ten year old episodes on a continual loop and they’re all essentially the same but it’s perfect for the early hours when anything you have to concentrate on is out of the question. Consisting of the odd car chase through a housing estate, a few incidents involving an idiot with a blurred-out face and no road tax, and grainy dash-cam footage of a Ford Fiesta with 14 passengers in the back being pulled over on the M4, you will find yourself inexplicably glued to the screen until your little one has drifted back off to peaceful slumber.
  • Catching up on your ‘correspondence’ – which essentially means scrolling through your Twitter timeline for 45 minutes and liking a couple of cat videos on Facebook. If you’re lucky there will be some other lonely soul doing exactly the same thing – why not send out a Tweet of despair and see who answers? The best online friendships are maintained through mutual sleep deprivation. Also, don’t bother checking your emails at this hour, unless you are desperate to know how some dubious organisation can help you with your blog’s Google ranking.
  • Playing whatever mobile game has taken over your life – you will have a puzzle game on your phone that once you start, you can’t stop, and find yourself ‘just doing one more level’ even after you could have gone back to bed. You may have a problem. My personal addiction is ‘Two Dots’ – install it and curse me later. Its only saving grace is that you only have five lives before you have to wait for them to regenerate after an hour and a half, so you can’t play it into infinity, but it’s infuriating nonetheless.
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Dribble bibs will buy you some time before the next inevitable outfit change (this lovely example is from The Essential One!)

  • Mopping up milky vomit – you know that clean, dry sleepsuit you put on your just-fed baby? It’s not clean and dry anymore. You quickly realise when you have a newborn that if you changed their clothes every time they spit up milk on them you would run out of clothes within about four hours. As a result, I think most parents set their own acceptable vomit saturation point before they feel they absolutely have to put on a new babygro. Just acknowledge that the best you can do is to try and stem the milky tide with a muslin and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.
  • Eating – because you just fancy a little something. And that something will be either cereal or whatever you can pick at in the fridge that requires no cooking. For the love of God, don’t trust yourself with the hob at this time of night. Oh, and don’t keep a chocolate stash in the house so you won’t be tempted – scoffing a Twirl and a King Size Twix in the middle of the night is a sure fire way to pile on more ‘baby weight’.
  • Doing some housework – actually, no. I’ve never done this. It rarely gets done during the day, never mind when I’d rather be asleep. Perhaps you could use some of your ‘correspondence’ time to trawl Google for a cleaner instead. Of course, if your baby is soothed by white noise, multitasking by getting the Hoovering done might actually be doubly beneficial.
  • Marvelling at how beautiful your baby is – of course this depends on the amount of milky vomit, but if you’re lucky enough to have them nod off in your arms, there are few better ways to spend the night. Everything else can wait.
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Zzzzzzz

#Miles4MAMA – the challenge is on!

I mentioned in my recent post about my difficult postnatal recovery that I was planning an exciting fitness challenge to raise awareness and hopefully funds for MAMA Academy, the charity I volunteer for as General Manager and trustee. MAMA Academy aims to help more babies arrive safely by supporting mums through pregnancy and providing up to date resources for midwives to facilitate best practice in maternity care. It is an absolute privilege to work for such a brilliant little (but growing!) charity, and I wanted to take on a bit of a personal challenge to help a cause I am so passionate about, but that would also help me get back into shape after my own pregnancy.

And this is what I came up with – the #Miles4MAMA challenge! In a nutshell:

Starting on 13th September, I’ve given myself 10 months to cover 1000 miles by Jake’s first birthday on 13th July next year. That’s around 100 miles a month! I’ll be counting miles walked, on our exercise bike, and from running, as I’ll hopefully be training for the Great Manchester 10k next May. My 1000 miles is in support of MAMA’s Made to Measure campaign to save 1000 babies’ lives through the nationwide uptake of customised growth charts, which can better detect growth restricted babies, a key early warning for stillbirth. Make no mistake – this will be a big challenge for me as I work to get my fitness back, but will hopefully be a lot of fun and will do a lot of good.

So where do you come in?

Basically I don’t want to do this alone! I’m calling on all bloggers who care about the cause of reducing baby loss and supporting positive pregnancies to take on their own #Miles4MAMA challenge. That’s not to say you have to do 1000 miles! I’d love for those who are interested in helping our charity while pushing yourselves to improve your own fitness, regardless of your current ability, to set yourself a target to achieve by next summer and we’ll achieve it together.

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Here’s how it will work:

  • If you’re interested in taking part in #Miles4MAMA, drop me an email at jenny@mamaacademy.org.uk and Tweet me @GreatNorthMum to say hello.
  • I’ll send you a #Miles4MAMA badge for your blog, and ask you to write a post to tell everyone what your personal challenge will be, and why you’re doing it. You can set any number of miles and you can walk, run, cycle, swim or any combination of these.
  • Share your post on social media and make sure you mention @MAMAAcademy and use the hashtag so that I can big you up and welcome you to the team!
  • Start your challenge on 13th September (or whenever is convenient for you!). You’ll need to keep track of your miles covered – I’ll be using an app called Map My Fitness to measure distance for walks and runs, but there are lots available.
  • I’d love for you to join in with Hannah’s #BloggingToJogging linky at Budding Smiles each week to share your progress and offer mutual support to others. Then on the 13th of every month I’ll be hosting the #Miles4MAMA linky on my blog for your monthly update of miles covered and how you’ve been getting on. There will be a monthly update on the MAMA Academy website to say thank you to all of you.
  • There will be a special #Miles4MAMA fundraising page set up on Virgin Money Giving which will be our communal fundraising hub – rather than everyone having separate pages, I would love for everyone taking part to share the link to the page with friends and family and encourage them to sponsor our challenges as a team effort. We can then see at a glance the impact our hard work is having!
  • Throughout the duration of the challenge, social media will be key to spreading awareness of the work of MAMA Academy and of #Miles4MAMA itself. Please use the hashtag as freely as you would like to share your blog posts, brag about a brilliant run, or keep us all updated on your mile count. I’ll be setting up a supportive Facebook group for everyone taking part for those who need some words of encouragement or to share your health and fitness tips. Perhaps like me you’ll be using the challenge as means to lose some baby weight or get back to fitness after some time off so hopefully you’ll find this of benefit.
  • It will never be too late to join in, so if you miss the September start date, don’t worry! You can set your own challenge at any time.

You’ve probably got questions…..

You can contact me at any time on Twitter @GreatNorthMum or by email jenny@mamaacademy.org.uk if you want to ask anything – I’m still in the process of thinking through some of the details myself so we’ll be ready to go on 13th September. Once you’ve contacted me to register your interest I’ll be able to keep you up to date when things are set up. I’ve got no idea at this point how much interest there might be so we’ll see how big our #Miles4MAMA team will be!

Please visit the MAMA Academy website to find out all about our charity and what your challenge will be supporting. You can also follow us on Twitter @MAMAAcademy and find us on Facebook /MAMAAcademy.

Thank you :-)

a difficult postnatal recovery… and moving on

I don’t imagine there are many women who give birth to a 10lb+ baby and emerge completely unscathed. Despite having the birth experience I had wanted in the birthing pool, the quick progress of my labour and sheer size of Baby Jake at 10lb 2oz meant that I would have a much tougher time of it postnatally. And I have struggled. Jake is already a month old and I still feel as if I’m recovering, both physically and emotionally.

Perineal trauma: the shudder-inducing words that hold horrendous memories for so many women, yet nobody feels very comfortable talking about. Whether caused by a tear or episiotomy, the debilitating pain and discomfort of perineal trauma, with sometimes long-term effects for the worst injuries, can make the postnatal period unbearable for those suffering. I don’t want to not talk about how it has affected me for fear of embarrassment or because it makes people squeamish – I want others to know it’s ok to share their experiences, just as they might any other aspect of their birth story. Just don’t read on if you think it will bother you!

I was always afraid I would suffer a tear during my second labour, as I had with my first, but I don’t remember the physical recovery being quite so hard the last time. Maybe it was because Little Man was roughly half the size of his baby brother – only weighing 5lb 9oz – and although it was classed as a second degree tear, the damage was relatively superficial. This time though, there was very real concern after the delivery that I had suffered a third degree injury.

After I got out of the pool, my midwife examined me closely as I lay in lithotomy covered in surgical drapes, and said that she wanted a second opinion. Another midwife came in and I looked down at them discussing how serious or not the damage might be. They wanted a doctor to take a look. My midwife told me that if the tear had gone ‘all the way through’ then I would need to leave the birthing centre to be transferred upstairs to theatre, where an obstetrician would suture the wound under a spinal anaesthetic. The thought filled me with dread. I lay there with my legs in the air for what felt like an eternity waiting for the doctor. The midwife had already administered a local anaesthetic and used a catheter to empty my bladder for me – we just had to wait to see if she would be able to repair the damage herself or not.

Mercifully, the obstetrician confirmed upon examination that it was a bad second degree tear, not a third degree, and my midwife was finally able to stitch me up. I was given a suppository painkiller which would numb the worst of the pain for a few hours. I was encouraged to try and pass urine to make sure I could, and I did, with no small amount of wincing and mild cursing. I knew then that this would not be easy.

The first couple of weeks were unbearable. I dreaded having a wee as the stinging pain brought tears to my eyes every time. I kept a cup in the bathroom so that I could pour warm water on myself as I went, to try and dilute the urine and reduce the discomfort. In the early days it made little difference. Several times I sat there and sobbed and wondered how long I would have to put up with it. Then of course there was the absolute fear of having a bowel movement. After my first birth, I was so scared of going that I made myself constipated – this time I was careful not to allow this to happen and I managed it with a pad pressed against my stitches I was so afraid would burst. Obviously they don’t, but it certainly feels like it.

Even when I wasn’t making horrendous trips to the bathroom, just getting around was hard work enough. Every movement I made was with careful consideration of my limitations – I took small steps when walking, and had to psyche myself up to sit down or stand up. I had to explain to Little Man that I still couldn’t get down on the floor and play with him. I had to rely on my husband to do so much for me – as he is a teacher I have been so lucky to have him at home for the summer holidays. The disturbed sleep that is part and parcel of having a newborn in the house made the physical recovery feel ten times harder – I was weak, broken and exhausted.

All of this meant that I felt, and still feel to some extent, emotionally fragile. I was close to tears most of the time, and I still have my up and down moments. A month on, I know that the tear is healing well – I can now go to the loo with no issue, and the awful tiring ache of the healing muscle is lessening by the day – but my body feels like it has lost the strength it once had. I don’t feel like ‘myself’ yet, and that bothers me.

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Me and my boys

I know, though, that I need to be positive and move on from a month which has been one of the toughest of my life, but has also been filled with so much joy. We have spent some wonderful days together as a family of four, and Jake is an absolute star. I made a short-lived attempt at breastfeeding, which was never going to work out in the circumstances, and he has settled beautifully on formula, enabling us to get a bit more sleep at night. My husband has been patient and supportive and Joe has done his bit helping to look after me – “You should be relaxing Mummy!”. I can’t dwell on unpleasant memories when there is so much to be happy about.

So looking ahead, I need to focus on getting ‘me’ back. I have been given the opportunity to review an online postnatal Pilates programme which will help me get some strength back so that I can eventually start running again. I am aiming to be fit to take part in the Great Manchester Run next May, a 10k I have done a couple of times before. I’m going to be setting myself a running challenge for MAMA Academy which I’d love for some blogging friends to get involved in and I’m quite excited about. And I need to lose the baby weight, which before you all say doesn’t matter yet, I know is a longer process, but I am making it one of my goals.

I am incredibly lucky to have supportive family and friends, both local and virtual (you know who you are!), who will help me feel like myself once again. And of course I have my two beautiful boys – and that is enough.

I’m privileged to be part of the Editorial Team for the Maternity Matters website with my good friend Susanne of Ghostwriter Mummy. If you’ve got a pregnancy, birth or postnatal experience you would like to share, we’d love to hear from you. Pop on over to Maternity Matters to find out more.

Maternity Matters

review: bravado essential nursing tank

With Jake already being three weeks old, I have quickly discovered which items I would class as ‘essential’ for new mums and babies to make these early days easier to cope with. The Essential Nursing Tank from Bravado has proved itself to be one of them – and not just because the word ‘essential’ is in its name! I have even found it to be a must-have as a mum who has not been exclusively breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding and I have never had a straightforward relationship. When Little Man was born five years ago, growth restricted due to pre-eclampsia and delivered at 37 weeks, he only weighed 5lb 9oz. During our four day stay on the postnatal ward, my attempted breastfeeding did not work out well for either of us, and he was supplemented with formula before we were even discharged home. He was bottle-fed from then on, and I only put him to the breast for mutual comfort – we were both happier for it.

Fast forward to this July, and Baby Jake was born at 40+2, with no complications, tipping the scales at an eye-watering 10lb 2oz – getting on for double his big brother’s birth weight. Being born in the early hours, we had a successful first breastfeed in the hospital and we were allowed home later the same day. It was a world away from my first birth experience, but a we had very similar problem when it came to feeding. Whereas Joe was so small he needed help when I was struggling to satisfy him, Jake was so big and hungry, by the time he was 24 hours old I was giving him nothing and he was screaming for food. Having successfully bottle fed before, we turned to formula once again – not as I had planned, but I refused to beat myself up about it. Too many women do.

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This photo of a clearly-not-just-had-a-baby model shows the clever built-in bra support of the Bravado Nursing Tank

However, as with Joe, I have still found it beneficial to latch Jake on to settle him at times – he still gets a little milk from me and we both enjoy the closeness. This is where the Bravado Nursing Tank has proved its worth. A simple vest top from the outside, there is some clever scaffolding going on inside which provides a supportive built-in nursing bra, with clips on the straps to enable easy access for feeding. I had chosen a lovely dark plum colour, and the soft cotton fabric feels extremely comfortable to wear. It has certainly made the bit of breastfeeding I am doing much easier to manage.

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In an extremely unflattering pic, you can see how flattering the Essential Nursing Tank is to my postnatal tummy.

Around postnatal day five when my milk really came in, the top was an absolute godsend. As I wasn’t giving Jake full breastfeeds, my boobs became so huge and sore that I was in agony. I wondered if they would actually pop under the pressure at one point. I thought it would be the perfect time to try out the Nursing Tank properly. The first time I pulled it on, I struggled somewhat to get the built-in bra over my boobs, as it is more like putting on a crop top than a bra, although I think this was mostly due to me feeling so uncomfortably huge. Usually a bra size 34C, I had asked for a 34D/E to allow for some expansion, but I think that a larger back size might have fit better to start with. After a couple of washes though, and now my breasts have decreased in mass somewhat, it is much more comfortable. The relief I felt from being properly and comfortably supported by the top though was wonderful.

I would wholeheartedly recommend wearing the top to sleep in to give protective support in bed, and enable easy nighttime feeding. I have also taken to wearing it during the day, layered under a non-maternity top, to hide my postnatal tummy! The longer length covers all you would want it to, and the cut fits flatteringly without clinging too tightly. I can certainly see me continuing to wear it in the coming months as I start to exercise again as it would provide ideal support for non-impact activities like Pilates or yoga. Just be aware of the nursing clips – nobody wants to come unclipped in the middle of yoga class!

I was sent an Essential Nursing Tank by Bravado free of charge for the purpose of this review. You can browse the selection of colours available, priced at £36, on the Bravado website http://www.bravadodesigns.eu/shop/uk-en/the-essential-nursing-tank

welcome baby jake

So, I’ve had an eventful couple of weeks! Those following my blog and copious Tweets will know I was expecting our second baby boy, due to arrive on the 11th July. Of course the 11th came and went without incident and in my late pregnancy fatigue I resigned myself to an extended wait to greet our newest family member. Friends and family who had been running an informal pool on when Bump would make an appearance were one by one disappointed, until only my Dad’s bet of Sunday 12th remained.

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40 week bump!

We spent that Sunday evening casually watching TV as I commented on the occasional Braxton Hicks contraction, which I had been experiencing more frequently over the previous 24 hours or so but were still completely painless and barely uncomfortable. I was convinced I still had days to go. At around 10.30pm we went up to bed, and I suddenly felt a small contraction that was noticeably more unnerving – this was not painless. Then I felt another, and another. Something was happening.

Despite knowing what they would tell me, I rang the Newcastle Birthing Centre (the midwife-led unit at our local hospital) in a mild panic for a bit of advice, and as anticipated the midwife on the phone advised me to take some paracetamol and have a warm bath, and to simply wait for the contractions to become more regular. It’s ok, I told myself. This could go on until morning; try to relax.

Even as I ran my bath though, now past midnight, I could not relax. I downloaded a contraction timer app and started keeping track as I felt the pain steadily get worse with each one. The paracetamol had literally no effect. Within the space of half an hour the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and lasting a full minute, and I writhed in excruciating discomfort in the bath, trying and failing to keep relatively quiet so I didn’t wake Little Man. Things were progressing much faster than I had expected!

I rang the Birthing Centre again and breathlessly explained to the midwife how much pain I was now in – I think she was convinced by me having a contraction whilst on the phone and I couldn’t talk to her for 60 seconds. I must have sounded sufficiently laborious that I was asked to come in. I then rang my mum who was prepared yet surprised to actually get ‘the call’, and my parents dashed round to the house so we could go to the hospital. I was still attempting to get dressed and get my things together when they arrived. I started to panic more as I had a bit of a show and I knew we had to get a move on. Andy rushed around gathering our bags and shoving in last minute items I thought I would have been in a more composed state to sort out myself.

After managing to get in the car, we drove on mercifully deserted roads to the hospital – a journey which only took ten minutes but felt like a lifetime. I grabbed onto the handle above the door as if I would wrench it off with each contraction. Fortunately, as the hospital provides maternity parking bays we were able to pull up right outside the doors but I still had three contractions between getting out of the car and making it to the Birthing Centre entrance. A couple of paramedics outside offered me a wheelchair but I was so focused on getting myself there I declined and staggered on.

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The pool room at Newcastle Birthing Centre where Jake arrived

We were welcomed into the Birthing Centre about 1.30am by a smiling midwife who ushered us into a room and waited patiently through a couple of contractions before she asked to examine me ‘to check I was in established labour’. I think we all knew that I was, but I certainly wasn’t expecting her to say I was at 9cm already only three hours after the first uncomfortable contraction. She asked if I wanted to try using a birthing pool, which I did, and suddenly all the wheels were in motion, literally, as she went to get a wheelchair to move me down the corridor to a pool room. I clambered off the bed and as I stood up my waters went with such a huge gush all over the floor that Andy had to leap back to avoid getting his shoes soaked. “I think we’re going to have a baby soon!” said the midwife as I was wheeled along. No kidding.

In the pool room the midwife I had spoken to on the phone was busy running the taps and I was desperate to get in. The lights were dimmed, the water was warm, and the gas and air was on offer – if I wasn’t in excruciating pain it would have been very relaxing! As soon as I got in the water I felt the weight of my bump melt away and I leant over the side clutching the entonox mouthpiece for dear life.

The next 45 minutes or so were everything I wanted but didn’t get in my first labour, when I was induced to deliver Joe three weeks early due to pre-eclampsia. That highly medicalised experience was equally fast progressing but infinitely more stressful and frightening as I felt so out of control of the situation. I have only patchy memories of the sequence of events and don’t clearly recall the moment of his birth as I felt like I was in shock.

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Jake’s first picture

By merciful contrast, every second I was in that water, I felt in control. I was in touch with what was happening and spent the entire time with my eyes closed focused on getting my baby out by myself. Andy stayed by my side giving encouragement and reassurance, and had the all important job of passing the gas and air when I needed it. The wonderful midwives who were caring for me gave me gentle support throughout, intervening only occasionally to check the baby’s heartbeat, and disturbing me as little as possible. I was aware only of the voice of the midwife I had spoken to on the phone, quietly guiding me to listen to my body and do what it was telling me. It was telling me to push.

With advice from the midwives on changing position in the water a couple of times to encourage Bump to work his way down, I began to feel him making progress. This was something I don’t remember from my first birth, but I was acutely aware of him moving down the birth canal, and it gave me the strength to keep going. I was doing it! He emerged into the water at 2.42am, a little over 4 hours since I first thought something might be happening. The midwife lifted him out and onto my chest and I just sobbed in relief and gratitude, thanking them over and over for giving me the experience I had always wanted. It had been a lot quicker than I was expecting though!

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Jake at 8 days old

He did look like a big boy – the last growth scan we had at 37 weeks had estimated his weight at 7lb 11oz. I had expected him to be maybe a pound or so heavier than that. Then came the shock weigh-in: 10lb 2oz. How did I do that?! Had I known beforehand how big he was going to be I think I would have thought twice about my ability to actually get him out of my body but in blissful ignorance I never doubted it for a second. Needless to say I did not escape completely unscathed from giving birth to such a large baby, but that’s a subject for another post. He was just perfect though – more long-bodied and gangly-limbed than chubby and round. We named him Jacob.

And Dad was almost right – he was only out by about three hours so I think he’s claiming victory anyway.

Coming up in part two…. my difficult postnatal recovery

I’m privileged to be a part of the editorial team for the newly relaunched Maternity Matters website, along with my good friend Susanne of Ghostwriter Mummy, and Chelle from Mumington Post, current host of the #BlogBumpClub linky. This month we are asking for your birth story posts – which has worked out conveniently for me! Head on over to Maternity Matters to find out more about the project and to add your post links.

Maternity Matters

the curse of the tv hashtag

A little rant from my column in the Evening Chronicle this week. Please tell me I’m not alone in being incensed by this….

Still waiting for baby to arrive, I sat with my feet up on Monday lunchtime to watch the opening coverage of the Wimbledon fortnight. Ah, Wimbledon – that great British tradition. Overpriced strawberries and cream, polite applause, the ‘Today at Wimbledon’ highlights show…. but wait a minute! What on earth is this? As Sue Barker went through the running order for the coverage, she told the viewers to catch up on the day’s play by watching something called ‘Wimbledon 2day’.

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Even Claire Balding looks entirely embarrassed by the Wimbledon 2day fiasco

Even something as traditional as ‘Today at Wimbledon’ is not safe from the insistence of modern TV producers to make everything an assault on the senses. We essentially had Claire Balding presenting TFI Wimbledon in an outdoor bar set-up complete with awkward-looking studio audience who’d had too much sun, to show how much fun everyone was having. Oh, and there were some highlights of some tennis matches as well, but that was all secondary to John McEnroe rambling on incoherently as if he’d had one Pimm’s too many. And of course, we were all being encouraged to share our unimportant opinions using the obligatory #Wimbledon2day hashtag.

Suddenly the reason for the unnecessary use of text-speak in a genuine BBC programme title became clear. Apparently actual English words are no longer required when basing the name of a show entirely around a social media hashtag. Sooner or later programmes won’t even have proper names anymore and we’ll all be watching #MOTD or #GBBO forgetting what they actually stood for in the first place.

At the risk of sounding like an old person complaining about the youth of today, it’s no wonder that so many kids struggle with writing coherently when they’ve been born and raised in the digital age. With everything being so fast-moving and number of characters at a premium, why should they pay attention to whether what they post online is grammatically correct or not? Why write ‘I know’ when inexplicably ‘a no’ apparently says the same thing? (Hint – it doesn’t).

As someone who studied Linguistics at university, I appreciate how language naturally evolves over time, but I can’t help but feel that the more we dumb things down on purpose, the more we lose the ability to use English properly. But then I always run out of characters in a Tweet because I am loath to abbreviate anything. Maybe I’m the one doing it wrong. I’m still going to call it ‘Today at Wimbledon’ though.

37 weeks: into uncharted territory

This week’s Baby size as fruit or vegetable: Bunch of Swiss chard (who has EVER bought Swiss chard?)

Pregnancy symptom of the week: Most importantly, no pre-eclampsia

So now I’ve hit a milestone I wondered if I’d ever reach – passing the point in my first pregnancy when I developed pre-eclampsia and had to be induced before I was ready. Little Man was forced out into the world at 37+3 after I had already spent a week in hospital, unprepared and unwilling to accept what was happening to me. My precious boy weighed only 5lb 9oz.

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37 week bump – hang in there baby!

Fast-forward the best part of 5 years and I went into the ultrasound room this week for my final growth scan of this pregnancy at 37+4, already an achievement in itself. Reassured by the fact that my blood pressure has remained normal throughout, and with no additional signs of anything untoward developing, I was just keen to know how my second beautiful boy was growing. IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) could still have been a concern even without pre-eclampsia – but I needn’t have worried. Bump’s estimated weight was (what seemed to me) a whopping 7lb 11oz. My new concern is how much bigger he is going to get before he does arrive! It served as a stark reminder of just how tiny Little Man was – a whole 2lbs smaller than his little brother at the same point.

I then had a chat with one of the obstetricians who after checking with the consultant who originally saw me, confirmed that all being well I still have the choice to labour in the on-site Birthing Centre rather than the Delivery Suite. I made her write it in my notes so that the midwives at the Birthing Centre will know that despite my initial label of ‘high risk’, my baby has grown well and I am fit and healthy and ready to go!

We were taken on a quick tour of both the Birthing Centre and the Delivery Suite at the ‘Preparing for Labour and Birth’ session I attended last week (just for a refresher!) and was surprised at the flood of negative emotions I felt as we walked into one of the delivery rooms on the maternity unit. I realised I couldn’t quite remember which room I had given birth in, but everything was horribly familiar – the hospital bed, the BP monitors, the CTG machine, the clinical lighting and cold floors. I came away more adamant than ever that I would avoid a repeat of last time and that I would welcome number two into the world in the homely, safe environment of the Birthing Centre – with the added reassurance that help will be at hand from the consultant unit if necessary.

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Little Man is getting ready to welcome ‘Baby’ to the family

Of course, my BP will be monitored perhaps more often than normal while I am in labour, and in the meantime I need to see my community midwife for weekly check-ups until delivery. I’ve also got another scan booked for 40+4 in case Bump decides to make himself a bit too comfy, but I’m hoping it won’t be necessary. The last thing I want is to have to be induced again – this time for being overdue!

As I’m now very much on the home straight, it seemed like a good time to hand over the #BlogBumpClub baton to another mama – step forward Chelle! As someone I’ve worked with at both MAMA Academy and on the Mumington Post, I am so pleased Chelle will be taking the reins as she prepares to welcome baby number three later this year. Look out for the linky on the Mumington Post from next week – but for the last time here (*sniff*) please add your own pregnancy updates below!

 

I’m linking up to Maternity Matters with Ghostwriter Mummy

Maternity Matters~ Ghostwritermummy