Sunday, 16 October 2016

My 3rd Trimester Update

I usually write my trimester updates as I step into the next one but with baby girl's due date fast approaching I wanted to get this written before she arrives and I have no time to do anything! The third trimester is between 27 weeks and 40 weeks roughly so here is my update for you.
My little bump!


I had a fantastic start to the 3rd Trimester. My blood pressure picked up slightly, I had a lovely break away to Butlins with the boys and generally started to feel a lot more 'human'. I noticed that 'glow' that people talk about for the first time ever and my hair and nails have been super strong!

I found myself getting quite hormonal as the weeks went on, crying over the smallest of things and really struggling with pregnancy anxiety surrounding the birth and general day to day things. I have felt really quite isolated at times and it has affected relationships with friends and family. It is so hard to ask for help and but often that is when you need it the most.

Work began to get difficult with my hip pain and upon visiting the physio I was diagnosed with PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain) which really isn't much fun and has stayed with me for the rest of the pregnancy. I was given some exercises but really the physio confirmed that it will be uncomfortable for the rest of the pregnancy but should (fingers crossed) subside once baby has arrived. 

My belly has grown steadily but slowly, it is quite small in comparison to my bump with Ted and has made clothes shopping a little easier. Most of my old clothes still fit over my bump and luckily at 37 weeks I am only just struggling with my favourite Next maternity jeans fitting over the bump. I have embraced my bump by teaming up with the wonderful Secret Saviours to review their belly bands and anti-stretchmark creams. I may be a bit late to the game for stretch marks but the brand is so wonderful to work with and I will be writing up a review post of the products shortly.

Last but not least I had my baby shower a few weeks back which was fab and we went on holiday to Anglesey with friends. I was very relieved to make it home with baby still in my tum as giving birth in a remote location in Wales wasn't part of my birth plan!

Cot in place!


We had a 4D scan at 32 weeks which was just incredible. I meant to write a full post on our experience but just haven't had the time. Here is a little picture of baby girl for those of you that want to see it. She is so much like her brother and the scan has really helped us to bond with her. 

We decided to share her name with the world after our scan so I would like to introduce you to Callie Enid McDonald! This is something I know a lot of people frown upon but it really helped Ted to bond with his little sister and it is lovely going to midwife appointments and her having a name. 

We had a bit of a worry at 35 weeks that she was measuring in small but it turns out my bump is small but she is right on track to have a birth weight of 7-7.5lbs which I am happy with. She is healthy and happy, kicking away lots still and has stayed in the same position for weeks now. Head down, back on my left side and feet and arms pushing out of my right side.

I went on Maternity Leave from work early as I couldn't sit at a desk for 8 hours 3 days a week with the PGP. It has given me time to rest but the boredom is kicking in now. I need to embrace the peace before I am up to my eyeballs in bottles, nappies and sleepless nights! 

Enjoying being a family of 3 for a little while longer!

Birth Plans...

Following an appointment with the VBAC team I was quite positive I could have the birth centre birth I mentioned wanting so badly in my last update. I then went to see my consultant who was quite negative about the idea insisting that baby be continually monitored which meant no birth centre and pushed me to go for a labour ward (consultant lead) delivery. I then requested an appointment with the Matron of the birth centre which didn't go as well as I would have liked and I was told I couldn't have her in the midwife led birth centre.

I was really disappointed but accepted they had baby girl's best interests in mind. I decided to concentrate on ways to make the labour suite as comfortable as possible and insisted that I need the room with the birthing pool. That 'touch wood' should be available for me when I arrive at the hospital. 

For now it is a case of waiting it out. Staying at home for as long as possible once labour starts before heading to the delivery suite and avoiding induction as best I can.

I haven't totally ruled out all other forms of pain relief but my plan is to use the water and gas and air and see how I go. I am hoping to avoid an epidural if I can and hoping some relaxing music, low lighting and a nice warm birth pool will do the trick.

Not going to lie...I am totally bricking it!!! 

Eek! I actually have to give birth now!


Migraine - I had an awful migraine a few weeks back and started to panic about pre-eclampsia. Called the midwife who said it sounded like a common migraine and not to worry. 
Lower back ache
Toothache - literally felt like my teeth were going to fall out some days!
Lightening - Usually when I am trying to walk around the shops or something. Basically baby pushing right down into my pelvis, this is often accompanied with sharp shooting pains in my cervix which is fun...
Tiredness - and I mean the type I have never experienced before, just utter exhaustion.
Acid reflux - most days this one creeps up on me, managed to keep it at bay by taking Tums which neutralise the acid in your stomach.
Braxton Hicks - These bad boys have gotten increasingly frequent with some last week being 15 minutes apart for 2 hours then completely subsiding! Not painful just uncomfortable.

The past 2 days have been a bit of a struggle for me. I have had a really upset tummy with diarrhoea for 24 hours and generally feeling exhausted. My hips hurt more than they ever have and I feel so out of sorts. I have been obsessing over the house being a mess and have been really irritable and tearful. I convinced myself that they were all signs baby will be making an appearance soon but as I write this she is still quite content in there and I may have to face the fact that she won't be here until her due date. 

3 weeks to go! 


Friday, 14 October 2016

Baby Shower Gift Idea's


I recently had the pleasure of celebrating my second Baby Shower! We had a wonderful afternoon surrounded by family and friends and made some lovely memories!

I am really not one to specify presents that I 'want' from people when it comes to having a baby as I know everyone's budget is totally different but I started to think what I would buy if I was attending a baby shower. I thought about some of my favourite brands/items we use a lot and some new product's I have spotted that would make perfect gifts. 

It's always important to consider the person/family you are buying these gifts for. If you are close to them you will know if they are planning to breast or bottle feed, use dummies, prefer certain colours or even favourite clothing lines. These things all help when choosing a gift but if you don't know the answers to those things it is often best to be cautious and avoid nappies, bottles, dummies etc just in case and a top tip....always ask for a gift receipt!

When we had Ted's baby shower I was so grateful for all of the lovely things we got and everyone chose really thoughtful gifts. Some of the best ones were the most practical, the items we would use every day, so I have tried to include a few of these in my suggestions as well as the pretty things!

Here are my gift ideas for a range of budgets!

1. Nana Knits! -These don't have to be something you have knitted yourself although if you can knit then hey you get bonus points from me! I adore hand knitted booties and cardigans on babies and my Mum got this little pair for us recently. You can pick them up at craft fairs, charity shops or local WI groups. They are usually super cheap but a lot of love has gone into making them and if your friend is expecting a Winter baby I am sure a pair of snug booties will be appreciated.

2. The Cuddledry Apron £29.99 - We had one of these gorgeous aprons with Ted and they were so practical. I am a Cuddledry Ambassador but in no way does that make me bias, I just love the brand! I am not going to lie they are a bit pricier than your average towel but 100% worth the money. Our original apron is still going strong but Cuddledry have recently released the grey and white stars design which is very on trend and still a perfect gift for new parents.

3. Unique Cuddly Toys - This one is a bit of a risk popping in here as I know most parents will agree that cuddly toys are the single most annoying thing a child has. They literally multiply on their own don't they?! However, my Sister picked this beauty up from Malaysia while she was on holiday and I think it is adorable. I always think it is lovely for a new baby to have a buddy to play with and soft toys are also great to get those newborn photo's with. Try to be original though and pick something that stands out from the cuddly toy crowd. Ted's Finding Nemo comforter has been his best buddy since day 1 and although not so unique now Finding Dory has come out, he really was a special toy in 2012!

4. Dotty Fish Taggie £8.49 -These beautiful little tag blankets are very sweet and come in a range of designs. I love this one with the Cath Kidston print and hopefully it will be something baby girl can treasure. They are a great little gift and really special as far as comfort blankets go.

5. Toys - Something that can be put away for the child to grow into. These Hape building block  puzzles are great as they are always going to be fun for little hands to play with and the bright colours and simple patterns make for great learning games. I love that the Hape range varies in budget with these blocks being around £10.00.

6. A personalised blanket - We had no idea what our baby girl was going to be called when she was here but when I won this gorgeous blanket a few years back (before we were planning another baby) I knew our future children would be McDonald's so got this made up. This amazing blanket is from My 1st Years and is really big and so soft. I have packed it in my hospital bag and I am sure any parent would cherish a personalised blanket! This one is £35.00.

7. Teether from NibBling £10.00- This colourful teether is great for little hands to grip onto and comes in so many colour combinations. Sooner or later those teeth are going to make an appearance and this will be appreciated. This one is also a rattle so great for tiny ones to play with in those early months too.

8. Bottles - This is a gift that would be on my list because we are choosing to formula feed but like I mentioned it won't be for everyone and I only recommend these if you know the parents well. These Tommee Tippee bottles are a favourite of ours and I know there are some pretty designs as part of the range that would make fab gifts if bottles are what your friends need. 

So there are some of my suggestions for great baby shower gifts. Some of the lovely bits I got included lots and lots of clothes, blankets, cot bedding, nappies, wipes and even a little bracelet for baby girl to wear for special occasions!

*this blog post features some sample items sent for my honest review. As always all opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Buying baby clothes on a budget - Charity Shops

I have always tried where possible in life to spend as little money as I can on things. Be it the weekly food shop, meals out or clothes. In my mind I think what could I be doing with the extra money we spend on these things and begrudge paying more than necessary. Of course we have the odd splurge and I am far from tight but I try my best to make our money go as far as I can. 

When it comes to buying clothes I am a huge advocate for scouring the sales and charity shops are some of my favourite places to find a bargain. I know some people feel uncomfortable about wearing second hand clothing as you don't know where it has come from but I tell them to think about shopping in Primark. How many people could have tried that dress on before you and you wouldn't even know! 

My charity shopping doesn't really stop with me as I see no reason why my children can't be dressed in second hand clothing as long as it is in good condition and is washed before they wear it (sometimes I skip this part with Ted as I know the shop always wash things before they even make it onto the rails).

So when it came to buying clothes for our baby girl I wasn't afraid to shop secondhand and I have found her some beautiful clothes I may have not been able to justify at full price. Here are some of my favourites...

Here are my top 5 tips for Charity Shop spree's....

1. Get to know your local area- I know certain shops in Northampton are more expensive than others. For some reason Oxfam shops seem to price things up a lot higher than other charities so check out what you have in your local town. Some of the best are Barnardo's, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research stores. 

2. Pop in regularly. Most stores will have a changeover of stock every week or so and people donate all the time.

3. If there is anything specific you are after then ask. Often stock is kept out the back and a member of staff may be able to find what you are looking for.

4. Know your prices. Always consider how much something would cost full price. I have seen charity shops trying to sell second hand Primark clothing for more than it would cost originally!

5. Rummage. Don't be afraid to dig to the bottom of baskets, a lot of baby girls clothes were found in a 50p basket full of clothes so I had a good scramble around and dug out the best bits.

Happy Hunting!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Making Happy Memories with Willow - Our Special Days at Butlins

Those of you that have been following our journey will know that 2016 has been a tough year. We have been through more than we ever thought was possible and we have memories of times we wish we hadn't had to go through. 

Despite all of this we have kept going and learnt to replace these bad memories with lots more good ones. With the help of an amazing charity called Willow we were able to go on a much needed break away recently to make some extra special memories and bond as a family after a rocky few months. 

Willow are an amazing charity who work with young people aged 16 to 40 who have been unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with serious illnesses. They work to put smiles back on their faces during some of the hardest moments they will ever have too face and we are so grateful for their support. 

When Joe was asked what he would like to do for his special experience he instantly knew it had to be something for the whole family. After all despite Joe being the one who was unwell, his cancer had such an impact on us as a family that we all needed a pick me up. Willow suggested a weekend away in Butlins might be nice. We agreed, a break away was just what we needed. They booked everything for us and took all of the stress of planning a break away from me which was so helpful.

Our Holiday

We arrived at Butlins Bognor Regis after a reasonably stress free journey, despite being held up on the dual carriageway by a stray swan which the police had to chaperone to the edge of the road...I know it was totally Hot Fuzz territory! I haven't been to Butlins since I was about 6 and a lot has changed since then. I am planning on writing up a full review post soon of our Butlins experience but for now this post will be about the memories.

Arriving in the Pavillion we were all in awe at how big it was and Ted's little face lit up, there were arcades, sweet shops, rides, stages for big shows, an epic swimming pool and activities galore. 

We went for a lovely lunch when we arrived and the staff were brilliant with Ted, talking to him about Pokemon and giving him a colouring sheet. Joe got a beer and I enjoyed a delicious mocktail. We were beginning to relax already. After lunch we were able to check in to our apartment which was the perfect size for the 3 of us and Ted had the choice from two beds in his twin room. It felt so good to be alone with my boys without any stresses and just concentrate on spending a few days as the McDonald's.

During our break we spent so much time walking around the site and along the beach catching Pokemon (which made the boys very happy!). We went swimming, watched a few shows, drank lots of Costa coffee, spent too much on the arcades and ate fish and chips and donuts on the seafront. My heart felt like it was going to explode and on the final night I was so emotional about returning home, in my hormonal preggers state I sat and cried because I wanted so badly to stay there in that Butlins bubble with my boys.

It was amazing to see the smile on Ted's face having both his parents well and happy again. He slept so peacefully every night, despite being woken by the odd seagull 'screaming' in the morning. That little boy has understood more about the past few months than we gave him credit for and although we always reassured him that Daddy would be ok it has taken months for him to feel like Daddy is going to be staying with him for the long haul. I hope that those 3 nights away and all the joy we shared will be something for him to treasure and hold on to. Something that when he looks back on being a toddler his little brain will remember over the sadness and worry he had to see when Daddy was in and out of hospital.

We want to thank everyone at Willow for making this weekend happen. We are so thankful for all of their help and support, they are an amazing charity and I hope so many more families will be able to replace any sad memories with wonderfully happy ones just as we have.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Sometimes It's Tough!

I have decided to share this picture because sometimes pregnancy is hard. It is exhausting having a surge of strange hormones in your body, not knowing how you might react to every day issues and being totally out of control of your own emotions at times. 

Pregnancy Hormones Motherhood

This week I have cried because our holiday was over and tonight I cried over everything and nothing. People don't always understand that sometimes it is possible to cry even without anything actually being wrong with you. 

I am not depressed, I don't have much to be sad about and I have a beautiful family and life. I am pregnant...hormonal and sometimes it isn't easy. I am the woman on the left loving her life and embracing her bump and pregnancy glow but I am also the lady on the right who feels emotional, achey and a little bit scared about everything all at once...and that is ok!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

2nd Trimester Catch Up and VBAC Update

I cannot believe I am writing this but I have just entered my 3rd Trimester!

I have no idea where the past few weeks have gone but now at 27 weeks we are only a few short months away from meeting our baby!


I am relieved to say the sickness has well and truly worn off. I think it went at about 18 weeks and I have gone back to being able to eat most food again, obviously avoiding the pregnancy no no's. It is such a change from the HG I suffered with in my first pregnancy and it feels great to be able to function without the underlying nausea of all day sickness lingering. 

I have slight sciatica symptoms with sore hips making sleeping a bit difficult at the moment so keeping an eye on that. I also have the pleasure of weird pregnancy dreams coming back, not something I missed from last time round so night times are a bit of a struggle. I also have consistent low blood pressure of 90/60 which is pretty normal for me but drops sometimes making me feel really dizzy and out of breath. I plan to get my iron levels checked when I have my 28 weeks bloods too just in case I need a top up as some days just climbing the stairs is a killer! 

No cravings yet, I didn't have any with Ted either and am making sure I eat a nice balanced diet and treat myself when I feel like it. 


Baby girl seems to be developing well with her 20 week scan measurements all perfect, she has short legs like her Mama and a chubby little tummy like her big bro but all that could change. She is a strong baby, a lot more active than Ted ever was and I am enjoying all those kicks, perhaps not in the middle of the night though! 

She has lots of beautiful clothes already and I am planning a baby shower for September with lots of pastel colours and a hot air balloon theme. She also has a name which we love and it is really nice to be able to talk about her with close friends and family. 

Birth plans...

I have had 1 appointment with the VBAC team at our local hospital and am in discussions about possibly giving birth in a birth centre which is attached to the hospital but this will be a big fight on our behalf to persuade them I am not as high risk as I look on paper. 

The VBAC team went through a debrief from Ted's birth and despite me being under the impression that his shoulder got stuck and they 'had' to do the emergency c-section that was far from the story. My notes don't mention his shoulder getting stuck or him being under any stress which was what I always thought happened. It turns out that they were probably being overly cautious as they thought he was going to be bigger than he was and if he was bigger he 'may' have got stuck. So essentially the VBAC midwife told me that had it been her choice she would have let me go on my own a bit longer as I was labouring well. Therefore I may have been able to have a vaginal birth but that wasn't the outcome. 

So where does this leave me now? She said that I am actually a great candidate for a VBAC as I have shown I can labour well but the birth centre where I want to have the baby sees me as a 'high risk' because I have a scar. The next step is to meet with the matron who is in charge of the midwife led unit to see if she will consider accepting me there. 

My main reasons for wanting to have the baby there is that they have 3 birthing pools and I want to try for either a water birth or at least use it for pain relief. It also has a much more homely atmosphere and given our experience this past year and Ted's birth being quite traumatic I want to avoid that clinical hospital environment unless truly necessary.

Other symptoms...

Round ligament pains - lots of stretching as my bump gets bigger

Swollen feet after long days
Gone up 2 bra sizes!
Super shiny hair
Strong nails
Glowing skin
Drinking more water

We have a couple of holidays planned before baby arrives and are enjoying spending time as a family of 3. Ted is excited about baby but has no interest in feeling her kicks (he has a short attention span!). 

Hopefully I will be able to update you a few more times before she arrives and I have a Baby Shower Gift Guide coming up soon with lots of lovely products for you to check out! 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

It's a Girl!

I realised that I forgot to share the news over here from a few weeks back. Sorry guys I think life just got a bit busy but here is our gender reveal! We are having a baby girl! 

Ted is over the moon and we are loving the excitement of having one of each. I got stuck into buying lots of pretty girlie things and Joe is looking forward to having a little princess to spoil!