Jessica

September 27, 2013

So our baby arrived!

Her name is Jessica and she is pretty amazing.

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You will have to excuse my absence for a little while, we are getting to know each other and she keeps me very busy!

xx

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I want to recommend a birth preparation class today… for those that are pregnant!

I have been attending Relaxed Birth and Parenting since I was 25 weeks pregnant and it has definitely helped me so much in terms of feeling ready mentally as well as a couple of hours of real me-time every week.

The class runs for just under two hours every week and for the first hour it’s a time to talk. Sometimes Jessica has invited someone to speak, such as a maternity acupuncture practitioner, sometimes she will give us a topic and ask the group questions and we often spilt into little groups to walk about how we are doing, choices we are making etc.
I honestly thought I would hate it, I am no good at talking to new people especially about topics that are quite private but it has been great.
I have opened up a lot more than I thought I would, but there is no pressure to talk at all if you don’t want to, but talking to people who are at similar stages and making similar choices has been so nice, and also talking to people who are making different choices too has been really interesting.

Just having space to think about myself and the baby every week has meant that I do it a lot more than I would have otherwise and I have learnt a lot about birth too, we don’t get into detail but alongside my reading and working with my Doula I have been able to plan my birth without going to ante-natal classes which I really didn’t want to do and it’s completely not what I thought I would want (and of course might not be the one I get!)

We also hear birth stories from others in the group so as people leave to have their baby they often come back to share what happened.

I didn’t watch any birthing tv shows, or go to classes or even read any stories so until I came to this class I had shut all of that out but the best thing has been seeing that no matter what everyone that has come back has been so positive about their birth that I cannot help feeling okay about it – which is a big transformation from how I felt at the start – terrified!
It has been amazing to hear about some natural easy births and also hear new Mama’s speak about their births that didn’t go to plan so positively and know that whatever happens as long as my baby is healthy I will not care.

The second half of the class is yoga. I have done yoga classes for years and used to really push myself in class and I did really miss exercise (I did nothing for the first 4 months as I was so ill) and although it is light stretching and I don’t push myself like I used to I always feel really good after the class and the next day too. As I have been getting bigger the day after yoga is the day I always feel lightest and walking around not as much of a struggle as it is at the end of the week. It has also been a nice surprise that I can still balance!

You don’t have to push yourself too hard in the class in either part you can just be there and take that time to listen and learn and think about your baby. That is the nicest part of it.

So a bit of a rambling essay I apologise.

My class is run by Jessica in the Southville Centre every Tuesday and there are spaces available from next month so I highly recommend if you are pregnant and around 20 weeks then book in. If you are elsewhere in Bristol there is also a class at the Relaxation Centre run by Dom who a few of my friends went to and they also love and highly recommend.

The sessions are £10 a week which sounds like a lot but I promise you are worth it.

You can find out more at Relaxed Birth and Parenting, they also have a network of doulas (some of whom I have met and are all amazing) and other classes and workshops available.

9 Months

August 30, 2013

So today I hit 37 weeks, which means I am at full term and our baby is fully grown and could arrive anytime from now…

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I don’t feel like it’s going to happen anytime soon though, I am certainly not quite ready with a few more days of work yet to go. I feel huge though so I hope she doesn’t wait too long.

I have spent the whole year so far being pregnant and growing our baby… it was a tough first four months but the rest has been easy… I am lucky.

It is tough again now… I find it hard to move about which is annoying, and I really miss walking more than a few minutes without pain.
I also have to really take it easy, it’s like the first trimester all over again, if I get a little too tired or hungry I am sick pretty quickly.

I think I’ll miss having the baby all to myself but I am so looking forward to meeting her. I think I’ll be kind of sad this stage is over so am trying to enjoy it but focus on the good things…

I am soooo looking forward to be able to just stand up with ease, walking a lot, then in time running, the gym, proper swimming and generally being active.
I am looking forward to drinking wine with abandon – and cocktails! (after breastfeeding of course)
I am cannot wait to getting my waist back, I really miss dresses and skirts which I live in normally, and heels! I cannot wait to wear heels again – it’s not been that long since I stopped but it was rare I bothered.

I could not get through the week without my weekly yoga class, swimming, my Mama and pregnancy buddies – for the sympathy and laughs, my daily coffee, the odd glass of chilled Chardonnay, cream crackers, cheese, yogurt, milk (we are getting through about 12 pints a week), but mostly my husband who has been amazing throughout – so very patient and doing anything he can to make me feel good.

I know my Baby

August 16, 2013

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This is kind of a get something off my chest post but I hope it is still positive…

One of the biggest moans I find amongst my friends who are also pregnant is the unsolicited ‘advice’. I say advice but it’s not always advice, advice is generally fine but a lot of the time it’s an opinion about something that person thinks you should or shouldn’t do for your baby and I have to say it is really annoying, and I think sometimes outright rude.

Mostly I have been lucky I haven’t had a lot of this but when it has happened it has felt so very judgy, passive aggressive and sometimes un-considered – no-one else knows, how or why we have made the decision we have so how on earth do they feel they can tell me it’s wrong. Judging is one of the those things that drives me crazy.

The one phrase my friends have said to me over and over is that you have to do whats right for you. Makes sense right?

Without sounding like I know everything, because I am well aware I do not, every decision made for our baby is the best for our baby because she is our baby and we have her best interests at heart.
My husband and I decide on everything together, there are issues one of us feels more strongly on than the other, there have been things we don’t agree on but we will always made these decisions together. We always do what is right for us and our baby.
We have, for every decision made so far, researched for hours (not exaggerating) when necessary, agonised (seriously) over all of them but ultimately are happy every decision made so far.

I am told this is just the beginning… and then when she arrives it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

I am writing this so I can remember when I am a Mama and people around me have babies I will only give advice when asked, and when I am asked will tell them my experience but not try to influence their view with my own. My friends are good at this so I hope to follow their example!

What is it about parenthood that makes people think it’s okay to do this?

We were given a mantra at one of the classes I go to and mine was I know my baby better than anyone else, and it’s true. She is, at moment, with me and me alone. I know her and no-one else does, so how can anyone advise me on whats right for me or her. Even when she arrives and isn’t all mine anymore her Dad and I will be the ones that know her best.

Something to remember!

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Lately…

August 5, 2013

I have been a busy bee of late, no change there except that I don’t think I can handle it anymore! Most of it has been lovely things though so I am not complaining…

A week or so ago I went back to Ragdale… after last years trip we are going to try to take a girls trip together every year, it’s so nice to get away and have quiet time.

This year going quite heavily pregnant I think I appreciated it even more, it came at a time when I really needed to unwind, I spent lots of time quietly reading and swimming… as I couldn’t use of most of the spa facilities I read a lot of glossies.

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I also had a few amazing treatments, facials and pregnancy massage, which were amazing. I am starting to feel so heavy now so am looking into some pregnancy massage here at home. I know how good they make you feel, it’s so worth it.

I love the breakfast in bed at Ragdale… although one day I woke up so early by the time it arrived I was starving… luckily I took a few emergency snacks.

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It was so hot and humid so I really enjoying jumping into the outdoor pool for a cooler swim, even walking out in the evening to dip my hot feet in. We were glad when a storm arrived to cool us all down – even if the temperature didn’t drop that much. 

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There was also lots of eating… tea and cake in the garden is a must, normally I am too full as the meals at Ragdale are 3 courses every time but we decided to skip a few courses here and there to make room, so glad I did my rose cupcake was gorgeous, so was my sisters red velvet cake!

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The final preparations for Baby’s arrival are happening, and presents keep arriving – we feel so lucky. My Mama got us this beautiful Moses basket.

My Mr also brought me a beautiful dress to wear to my baby shower… I love every piece I have brought from Isabella Oliver and if you keep an eye on their offers and sales you can really get a bargain. Their clothes are well made and make you feel pulled together at a time when it’s really hard to do that. 

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I have been enjoying the last few weeks of quiet time with my husband, going out for breakfast and talking nothing but Baby, also eating and indulging when I can, I get full so very quickly so small snacks are me right now.  

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I had a lovely lunch in the sunshine near Bath with my Dad, I love the Cross Guns at Avoncliff, for the location alone it’s worth a visit. A real country pub with lots of ales on tap and proper pub food.  

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My gorgeous friends Sarah and Michele also threw me the  most wonderful baby shower… here is a little peak of my dress and a snippet of all the amazing gifts Baby was given. I have the best friends, and cannot wait to show you more when I get the photos, it was a supremely girly affair.

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This weekend is the start of trying to have more downtime, I am still working full-time which is becoming tough – any tips from other Mama’s on getting through my last month would be great! 

We met friends at a festival in a park near where I used to live… it’s easily one of the best parks in Bristol… I love this avenue of trees…

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Then we got BBQ take out and watching movies on the sofa… the first time I have managed to do so in forever.

Yesterday I made a breakfast favourite of creamy scrambled eggs and smoked salmon and did lots of tidying and organising in between sitting staring at my flowers and cards… it was a good weekend. 

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xx

Currently Reading…

July 10, 2013

I wanted to share some wonderful reads with you… pregnancy reads of course!

Great with Child was recommended by A Cup of Jo and is letters from a mother to her friend who was about to become a mother… such lovely thoughts and insights and anytime it is all becoming too much, or I am scared I read a letter from here and it gets me all happy and excited for my babes arrival…

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For all the Mamas out there I high recommend it, it’s a beautiful read so far.

I am also reading Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth, slightly more specific here, I am going to try to have as natural a birth as possible (in a hospital – mix and match!) and this book is providing me with a lot of positive birth stories – the only kind you need to hear in the run up to your own in my opinion – and then further along there are techniques to help with contractions and the pain and tiredness etc. It’s a really great book and although I have no idea what lies ahead for me and my birth I am feeling so prepared already.

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Recommended by my doula and my yoga teacher and a ton of friends, everyone agrees this book is wonderful.

A book that has kept me sane from the beginning of my pregnancy is The Rough Guide – Pregnancy and Birth, leant to me by a friend it is funny and sarcastic, with little week by week diaries from a lady who makes my own pregnancy seem like a piece of cake as hers progresses and she suffers from every little thing you could think of, it made me feel better about any ‘fun’ side effects I had. It’s also very real, there is no pushing of one point of view and gives you all options.

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I also have What to Expect when you are expecting which is great to have on hand as it is very comprehensive, however it is a little patronising in places (the chapter for your partner is hilarious) but as a book to turn to if something a little strange is happening it’s great as it has ALL the information you could possibly need.

I also have the app on my friend which gives you fun updates on what size fruit or vegetable your baby is as they grow, and a little advice page every day, plus a week by week run down of your baby’s development, which is lovely to read.

If anyone has any other baby reads for later on I’d love to hear them!

Last Week…

July 2, 2013

Last week was a busy one…

We headed to a friend’s wedding on the first weekend, at Clevedon Hall which has the most beautiful grounds, it made for some amazing portraits. My friend is the wedding planner there so I can highly recommend it!

My bump is growing all the time, luckily a friend lent me a pretty maternity dress to wear… I love the colour, hopefully I will get to wear it again…

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I had a marathon cleaning and sorting session at home, one of my favourite things to do is to sort through things and get rid of things I no longer need. Then I filled the house with peonies…

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I am currently obsessed with my new perfume from Paris and this Elemis oil… little pampering treats are so important, as is red lipstick, as I grow bigger and bigger. 

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We have finally had some sun, there are still cloudy days and the odd rainy one but the sunny days are making up for it… I am taking strolls when I can, slowly of course… 

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One particularly grumpy day I decided to go to Harts Bakery near my office and treat myself, I had an awesome Moroccan spiced sweet potato and feta pie and spied some poppies by the side of the road on my way back… which actually cheered me up, of course the pie helped.

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Friday I picked up some new wheels, a Pashley Little Black Bike… which I love already and must try to get out more this week before I can’t ride it for a while… then that evening stayed in for Mexican bowls and movies… 

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Then at the weekend we took it easy, I haven’t been sleeping well and my energy levels are quite low at the moment but it’s so important to still get out and do things, and see people.

Saturday we mooched down our local high street to buy our Sunday roast meat at Rare Butchers, and pick up freshly grown herbs… they were setting up for a street party so the road was closed and the bunting was up, love that.

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We visited a little flower stall where the flowers are picked from local gardens, and had a coffee in the sunshine.

Then we got in the car and headed to the Cotswolds for a friend’s birthday lunch, the pub we visited was amazing. The garden was huge but all sectioned off in little areas by flowers beds so it felt so secluded.

We went to The Wheatshef in Northleach, which I can highly recommend… the drinks selections, for those boozing and those not was immense, service good, food even better. The garden is beautiful and I so want to go and stay there!

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I wasn’t the only preggo which was lush, and meant I didn’t bore everyone (I hope) by not being able to talk about anything else, and being able to compare experiences with someone pretty close to due dates as me was great… makes everything a little less scary and easier to laugh at. The barman also made us delicious elderflower and mint carafes which made us both very happy.

The best thing though was the ridiculous portion of fries, it turned out this was for two people but when pretty much the whole table had ordered some we still had a lot. A lot, a lot, a lot. I was pretty happy with the situation.

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Happily I am craving normal healthy food again as well, Sunday I wanted juice so my husband made me this amazing pink lady apple, pineapple and kiwi juice. So. Good.

Then we had a friend over for a summery roast chicken which we served with roasted Jersey royals, home-made ratatouille and steamed asparagus. So simple and delicious. 

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I also had the most amazing present for the Baby arrive, in the shape of a quilt from my Godmother… it’s so beautiful it went straight into the cot. She is getting quite the collection now.

We also finally finished my chocolate from Paris… which was quite upsetting, I need more of those!

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And now it is Tuesday already, I wasn’t quite ready for the week to start yesterday… but I am looking forward to a yoga class and going shopping for a big list of Baby needs this week.

xx