Friday, 30 October 2009

Attack of the Nanny State

This story about Watford Council banning parents from adventure playgrounds really takes the cake.  Mix Ofsted's regulation that only adults with cleared criminal background checks can be allowed near children with over-literal and over protective local government and wah-la!, an inane and impracticable policy such as this is born.

Sadly our world has some sick people out there that prey on children and while we should all be aware and take care, we can't become immobilized by these unsavories by introducing disproportionate laws like this that suggest we're all potential paedophiles.  Limiting supervision to a couple of licensed carers could confuse kids, limits one on one supervision and takes away the simple delight of a parent's day out at the playground with their kid.

I hope this law gets canned in Watford and doesn't spread because I don't want to miss out on pushing my daughter on a swing or helping her climb a jungle gym because of the rise of the nanny state.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Childbirth Fever

I'm a pretty empathetic person with a tendency to worry unneccessarily if tempted. For those that have been reading from the start of my pregnancy journey, you may remember that I stepped off the Google crazy brigade fairly early on before I drove myself nuts. I'm not saying I don't read up on pregnancy and birth risks and warning signs, but rather that I'm aware but not overly focused on them and am more selective on those I choose to highlight on this blog.

I came across the charity Jessica's Trust in my local NCT newsletter and think the cause and its focus is well worth sharing. Jessica's Trust is a charity that raises awareness and aims to influence UK policy on childbed fever or puerperal sepsis. The charity quotes childbed fever as responsible for 14% of maternal deaths in the UK, though the condition is fortunately treatable if caught early and addressed.

An infection of the uterus following the birth of a child, childbirth fever could spread into the bloodstream to cause septicaemia and death if left untreated but knowing the symptoms could save lives.

While I've heard about GBS (group B streptococcus) and other risk factors to look out for in newborns, I hadn't considered what warning signs I should keep an eye out for in myself. Though this condition is thankfully quite rare, it does pose a serious threat if left untreated so do read more read more about its background and symptoms on the Jessica's Trust site.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Want to Stay Dry, Sexy & Together? Respect your Kegels!

Picture this. I’m almost home after a long day of work. I climb the steps of my train station and start my 8 minute walk home. I’m hungry, I’m a little tired, but aside from that, it’s all good. Then BAM, it hits me like a bolt of lightening or like a blow-torch at my behind and I start power walking like a champ. I’m breathing steadily, trying to stay focused and probably mumbling my own pep talk. I look like a total nut but I don't care! My front door suddenly seems 5 miles away, and when I finally reach it and curse myself as I rummage through my bag for my keys I cross my legs and bounce to the music - except there is no music except for the rising crescendo of desperation in my head! I tumble through the door, shed my coat and bag and make a run for the bathroom. I need to PEE and NOW!

Even before I got pregnant the above scenario ensued all too frequently. Maybe I have an extra small bladder? Maybe I just stay a little too hydrated during the day? All I know is that after sitting or standing in one position on the train journey home, once I start moving my urine does too - without forgiveness!

Considering my non-pregnant predicament, I listened when the pregnancy websites, books and midwives gave me the "Kegels Speech." If you are or have been pregnant, you’ll most likely have heard someone wax lyrical about the importance of kegels, or pelvic floor exercises, probably near the start of your 9 month journey – I did.

The gist of the message – carrying a growing baby for 9 months with a system chock full of pregnancy hormones will put extra pressure on your pelvic floor muscles that is exacerbated when you stretch these muscles at birth. Your pelvic floor must stay toned and “in shape,” otherwise you can expect incontinence in all its forms from leakage to full fledged accidents during pregnancy and post birth.

But don’t worry say the fonts of wisdom. This is just another side effect of pregnancy! Plus, kegels are at your service. Performing your kegels daily will help you maintain a healthy pelvic floor and prevent incontinence. And even better, when you sign up to the kegels club you don’t do so just for pregnancy but for the rest of your life!

As if we pregnant ladies don’t have enough to think about before committing to a lifetime membership in the Kegels club. But alas, who wants to wear mama diapers because of an incontinent pelvic floor? I don’t, so I listened more about the art of kegels.

There are two main kegels exercises:
  • Engage your pelvic floor for a count of 10 and then slowly release it about 10-15 times, at several points during the day.
  • Engage your pelvic floor and then release it quickly about 10-15 times, at several points during the day.
My yoga teacher has been fantastic at explaining how to effectively DO these pelvic floor exercises, however for all the sources that TELL you to do them, many don't offer an easy or clear explanation of HOW to proceed. I'd heard engaging the pelvic floor was like holding in gas or stopping your pee midstream (though supposedly it's not healthy to do this frequently but more as a means of helping you id the correct muscles).  Then I read that the best test of "effective engagement" is to insert a finger in your vagina and see if you can feel yourself pulling your pelvic floor inward and upward.  Bet you can't wait to work that one into your daily routine!

After some digging, I found this Prenatal Yoga Center article, which gives a great all around explanation of how and why kegels are important, complete with diagram for those interested. It also details added benefits of a healthy pelvic floor including increased circulation to the pelvic area for better sex, a healthier back AND improved awareness of how to relax the pelvic floor when pushing in labor, reducing the chances of tearing. I'm sold!

Yes, kegels may be one more thing to accomplish during my busy days but they can be done on the sly from the office chair, train or in front of the TV and the all around benefits far outweigh any hassle involved.  In my opinion kegels are one piece of pregnancy advice that shouldn't be overlooked.  Ironically, I haven't had as many desperate power walks to the toilet since I got pregnant and started my kegels.....but then again, maybe I just religiously go to the bathroom more often.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Babymoon, Baby Steps


I think my 28 week photos were slightly deceptive in that they didn’t showcase my tub-like state in all its full glory. Here are a couple of 29 week pictures taken from Chris and my mini babymoon break near Oxford this past weekend – my red sweater definitely exposes my bump for what it really is!

This start of third trimester baby break was probably our last pre-baby hotel get-a-way and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We stayed a warm and toasty maze-like old hotel set in the heart of the countryside amongst quaint local villages. The water pressure in the hotel shower, unlike the water pressure in my own shower, was surprisingly amazing, and we ate, drank, ambled and explored at an easy pace. If you're ever in the area of Steeple Aston, check out White Lion pub where you can get freshly prepared food in a friendly, cosy and family oriented atmosphere.  The pub's owners were very attentive and we really hit it off when we discovered they'd lived in the USA for almost 20 years!  With baby’s due date quickly advancing, my head is full of “to do” lists and a break like for just Chris and me really did us good. I switched off from planning and feel refreshed for it. Much to my delight, we even fit in some National Trusting at Waddesdon Manor – you may remember that I love going trusting!

Back to real life, vacations complete, Chris and I are starting to take further baby steps towards preparing our home for our new arrival. We have a number of things we want to get accomplished and we’re trying strike a balance between taking on DIY (which truthfully means Chris taking on DIY since he’s more accomplished in this arena than I am) and having builders come in to help us with some final adjustments. We moved into our house in 2005 and it’s been a continual work in progress.

We’ve got a rough “plan of action” of what we want to achieve and we’re taking baby steps toward checking things off our list. Yes, my lists again! Chris tolerates the lists but he’s not as much of a fan – he’s happier to go with the flow but sometimes I get concerned if we do that we’ll flow into January and be rushing around like chickens with our heads cut off at the last minute. So he’s bearing with the lists and me, and I’m taking a baby steps, not unrealistically long list approach to getting prepared in an effort to not stress us out or inundate us.

Today we had new windows fitted in our Victorian terraced home, a major mission accomplished. We can now wave goodbye to pools of condensation on our sills and rest assured that baby will reside in a warm and draft excluded environment.

Chris is also in the process of building shelves in our hall closet so we have more and better storage space. When that job is complete, we plan to start to transfer some things out of what will be baby’s room and to our new closet shelving.

Then we’ll be in a better position to start fashioning baby’s room/our guest room. I look through these baby catalogues and gape at the fully kitted out baby nurseries featured. They look cute, but expensive, particularly bearing in mind that their d├ęcor may fit an infant to toddler but not a growing child. We’re not opting for a full fledged nursery but instead a sturdy pine set of drawers (that we've yet to get - I’ve been scoping out charity shops/thrift stores for a more antique style pine set of drawers – many a little gem may be found in charity shops if you’re willing to hunt) that matches the desk we already have in the room and crib we received. I’m sure we’ll get some cute baby linens and paraphernalia but we’re not going for “ABC wallpaper” or a pinked themed room or a baby cd player since our ipod and/or computer can play music just as well. We've found a baby monitor with a night light and thermometer to kill three birds with one stone. We have limited space to start out with so we need to be selective with what items we opt for.  Again the endless choice available can wreak havoc with my mind but I'm learning to consider options and then say enough is enough.

What am I getting at? As we prepare for our little one, we seek advice on what to get and how to “child proof” our house but are trying to stay true to what works for us – our tastes, budget and home – rather than get roped into what’s on the market and what everyone else may or may not have done.  It's easy to stray from this approach but for me, it brings me home, sane, at the end of the day. Now we just need to keep moving and using one baby step at a time...

Saturday, 24 October 2009

29th Week Updates


One of my earlier postings on ebay shopping was just published yesterday on The Green Baby Guide!  It's a great site for discovering more about green pregnancy and parenting practices so do check it out after taking a peek at my article.

Yesterday I hit the 29 week mark; here's a snapshot of some developments:

Baby is now the size of a butternut squash - I am starting to wonder where these increasingly larger fruits/veg are going to fit inside my midsection!  My preg updates remind me to keep up with the healthy eating regime (was there ever a break from that?!) to fuel the rapid brain development of my girl, and her little bones now need lots of calcium since they are hardening!

I "officially" booked a home birth at my midwife appointment yesterday.  It didn't involve anything technical but it's now down in my "sacred" maternity notes, official notice that we plan to proceed in that direction!  I'm feeling very positive - slightly daunted - but overall pleased.  I know attempting a home birth doesn't necessarily mean we will have a home birth, but I hope we can.  I've done my research and feel as prepared as I can for someone that hasn't given birth already!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Dress to Impress – My Bump Essentials for Comfort and Style

At the start of my pregnancy I declared that I would not be splurging on expensive, short-term maternity clothes. I planned to get maximum mileage out of my regular wardrobe, and thanks to A-line shirts and dresses and my drawer of sweat pants aka jogging bottoms, I have.

But as I’m now learning at the outset of my third trimester, non-maternity clothes only go, or stretch, so far. Some of my dresses no longer zip up at the side or are pulled so taught across my belly that they’re riding up at the front and back and look a little too escort-like for my tastes. My swimming tankini stopped being practical when my bump protruded from the bottom and boobs spilled over the top. Many of my longer, looser shirts started looking tighter and exposed the line of the belly band beneath holding my jeans in place. In short, it wasn’t pretty, or comfortable.

I have no problem headlining a basketball bump at my front day in and day out but I want to do it with some style, comfort and grace. I’m no fashion guru – I like what I like and what fits my shape and frequently see my clothes come in and out of “style” – but I know when I am confident and comfortable in what I’m wearing I feel much better.

So what’s a girl to do when she doesn’t want to break the bank but simultaneously avoid the mad whirlwind panic that is getting dressed each morning when nothing seems to fit anymore?

Don’t lose faith in your non-maternity wardrobe – take time to try on your clothes and make a mental note of the larger pieces that still fit your bump.

Borrow maternity clothes off a post-pregnant friend of a similar size and shape to you – a green and cost saving route.

Expand your wardrobe, but buy smart. Who cares if you need to wear the same 5 outfits each week?– if you choose versatile items that compliment your bump shape, they'll actually fit you and you can wear them like superstar and in varied combinations!  

I’m in no way omniscient in this area, but here are my top 11 maternity must-haves, all of which are available in high street to designer ranges depending on your budget.  It's taken me some time to sift through the maternity clothes mire to arrive at this list and hope it saves you some time and hassle if you're bump calls for a maternity wardrobe:
  • Belly Band: These bands will prolong the life of your jeans and work trousers and save you buying an arsenal of bump jeans etc. I used mine from around 20 weeks onwards. Yes, they can be slightly fiddly and you may need to fold them over but they’ll save you money and they hold up your pants. I bought a couple of Baby Be Mine Belly Bands off Amazon but Topshop also sells them for a fiver.
  • Bump Jeans: I invested in one pair of over the bump jeans from Mothercare so I don’t always have to mess around with my belly band. They weren’t overly pricey and there is no chance that they might slip down. The only drawback to them is that the elastic at the top of the band sometimes digs into my stomach, a problem I only see being exacerbated as bump grows. Folding the top elastic part over once minimizes the “rub.”
  • Bump Black Trousers: I just got one pair of these in the USA. My belly bands still work but I found a soft, stretchy, lightweight and relatively inexpensive pair that looks stylish and is just really comfortable and effortless, particularly with bump on the rise!
  • Sweat pants (jogging bottoms) or loose PJ bottoms: Anything with tight elastic at the top won’t suit but soft, stretchy, cotton numbers already in your closet are free and work like a charm. They fit over bump without leaving too much of an indentation on your stomach and you don’t get the feeling you’re stretching them out because they were already loose and stretchy pre-pregnancy anyway. 
  • Black Maternity Leggings: I’m still wearing a lot of my old tights but they recently started to feel like a bump corset. I just picked up black, opaque maternity leggings that ease over my bump and can be worn with a dress or long top without looking too skimpy. And unlike skinny jeans I don’t have to make any effort to tuck them into my boots.
  • A Maternity Bra that Fits (or a few): I’ve heard that boobs only get bigger when breastfeeding so it’s best not to splurge on bras too soon in pregnancy. Then again, bra spillage just isn’t on! Until now I managed to get by with some of my larger pre-pregnancy bras (but only about 3 still fit) and a couple of maternity bras from Mothercare. Last week in the USA I also picked up a Pea in the Pod nursing bra that I can wear now and hopefully to nurse when baby arrives, giving bigger bang for the buck! Mama E also suggested Bravissimo, whose lingerie is really pretty!
  • A Cute Dress: Look for a dress, maternity or non-maternity that can be "dressed up" for work or an evening out or "down" for daily use. To me dresses equal feminine style and comfort all around but watch out for cuts that are too loose and bag-like or that have funny seams at the middle. I picked up an A-line £15 dress in the Brick Lane Market that works and have my eye on pieces like this from Jo Jo Maman Bebe and New Look.
  • Long Sweater or Cardigan that covers your bump: My mom just bought me two of these (thank you mom) and they are amazing! I will now retire my hot "short cardigan with long shirt hanging out the back" look; these maternity sweaters are better fitting, warmer and much more flattering. They can be layered with almost anything and I've already worn both a few times and only got them last week.  There are tons going on Ebay - don't overlook the power of recycled mat-wear!
  • Night gown: I tend to be a shorts and tank top or PJs kind of girl but my regular bed-wear is no longer fitting plus my bump feels like an inbuilt radiator. I just got a cute red night dress that is also an easy access nursing gown for when the little lady arrives.  It’s cooler and more comfortable through the night and also great to pad around the house in! It wasn't the cheapest on the market but I plan to get a lot of use out of it now and with baby.
  • Long top (or two): You have many a store, online auction, cut and style to choose from but look for a couple of pieces that go with your jeans, your black pants and your leggings and can be layered with your long cardigan. Don’t overlook long, loose or A-line tops that you might already have but if they stop fitting, a small but smart investment in a maternity top can go a long way.
  • Maternity Swimsuit: Only helpful if you’re going to actually swim, but since I do I now can without looking scary a la a swimsuit from Vertbaudet. (If you sign up to their mailing list you'll be inundated with coupons but I got £10 off this purchase so they're worth sifting through).

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Vitamin E is my friend


Today I owe a big shout out to good old Vitamin E. It's long established that Vitamin E is linked to healthy skin care (anti-ageing benefits; prevention and treatment of sunburn; reduction of stretch mark appearance) but I've truly seen its magic in action this last week. The side of my lip cracked while flossing my teeth in the midst of my cold (yes, gross) and my Vitamin E chapstick has helped it stay moisturized and heal rapidly. If anyone else is suffering chapped or split lips, definitely give good old Vitamin E a whirl. It might look like a plain Jane compared to the many fancy schmancy chapsticks on the market but don't be fooled!

I've also noticed that it's an active ingredient in my stretch mark fighting Palmer's Cocoa Butter and recently purchased Burts Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter. I was discussing this latter product with LH and decided to pick up a jar of it in the USA. It's thicker, more tacky and takes a bit more effort to rub in than the Palmer's lotion and similarly doesn't have a great smell, but it's chalk full of Vitamin E and I'm all for that this week. I don't have a preference between these two products (though the Burts Bees cream comes at a higher price tag)and will probably carry on with both for the sake of variety. I know they say that stretch marks can't be beat if they're coming, but if anything can help fend them off, I'm sold on introducing "E" power!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Traveled, Troubled but Triumphant!!

Sorry for my silence – I fell off the blogging bandwagon a bit while in New York.

Last time I wrote I was fighting a nasty cold and sore throat. Following that posting I started to feel a lot better, though I did and still continue to battle with a scratchy almost laryngitis-like voice. It’s been far from the end of the world, but still extremely frustrating for me not to be able to talk freely, particularly when with family and friends that I don’t see all that often.

But anyway – the rest of my week was fantastic but flew by, as usual, too fast. I ventured out of the house for the first time on Wednesday for some retail therapy with mom for baby and me. Chris flew into NY on Thursday, and we got to spend some quality down time with my parents and sister. My friends from school and I had our traditional pre-wedding girls night out and then came the K&S’s rehearsal dinner and wedding! Everything came off really well and I even managed to eek out my wedding toast to K&S with the help of a powerful mic and large glass of water. I was also proud to dance the night away and make it through the whole reception in my 3-4 inch heels! After a week of much R&R, I really wanted to let loose though I was mindful not to talk too much or to overdo it as regularly reminded by my mom and Chris. Then, on the day we flew back to London, my friends surprised me with a baby shower lunch – thanks ladies, it was amazing!!

I’m sharing some 28 week pictures from the wedding and baby shower since I never quite got it together and posted a 27 week pic. Our little lady is now the size of a Chinese cabbage – a cabbage with little baby eyelashes - and I’ve read that I can expect to grow about a pound/week from forward as she fattens up and fills out before she makes her January appearance.

My bump isn’t feeling too burdensome but just prominent and I’m getting kicked and walloped left, right and center. In many ways this is really exciting and a huge relief, but at times while I’ve been feeling less than 100% and post plane when I felt exhausted, I wished she would chill out a little and take a nap. Then again, if she takes after me sleep will not be her forte! Still, the prospect of carrying another pound/week is a little daunting. Today I told Chris I felt like I had a snake in my stomach and he said I shouldn’t refer to our daughter as snake!

My cold and husky voice run have given me renewed appreciation that I’ve had a relatively issue free pregnancy thus far. In the wake of my postings about Blooming Fit and staying active, it’s also made me realize that I need to slow down and chill out a little if I’m not feeling up to scratch. It seems logical but my pregnant mind and active persona don’t always “do” logic. Sometimes I need these reality checks.

Truth be told, I felt nervous getting back on another “germ infested” plane to London after feeling ill post plane journey to NY, but I didn’t have a choice. Aside from feeling pretty warm throughout the flight, I fortunately made it through this journey feeling no worse for wear. I followed the same tips I received on the trip to the US, sans wearing the flight socks which I’d found really hot and uncomfortable on the trip out. I also drank two rounds of hot water, one with lemon. Aside from being soothing, hot drinks also apparently are medicinal in that they “sterilize” your throat and wash germs down into your stomach where they can’t survive – my mom read me a really useful article on this so I wanted to share the tip in case you or anyone you know is flying in the midst of winter flu season – mom, if you read this, can you post that article link as a comment please?

So last trimester – here I am! Bump is blooming, labor is looming and parenthood is less than 3 months around the corner – eek! As alluded to, I’ve been so tuned into pregnancy that I haven’t given great thought to how I’m going to morph from pregnant girl to mom pretty much overnight.

There is a lot to learn and there are a lot of opinions. For example, I arrived back to read this Times article on cot death being a risk by parents that co-sleep with their infants. Now I’d never imagine going to bed drunk with my baby but what if you’re breastfeeding and doze off together?…..and what about all the babies that die of cot death from being in their actual cots?…..and are blankets and sheets really a no go and baby sleeping bags the safer option or is it worth having both?!

I think I better stop this stream of consciousness before this posting gets any longer or I overwhelm myself. I just want to be a safe parent and I want to informed but I don’t want to be a pawn to scare stories….

Ultimately, I’m all about knowledge being power and I want to make educated decisions. Still, I suspect a lot parenting know-how is going to come through actual experience, exchanging wisdoms with fellow parents, trial and error, informed judgement calls and fingers crossed, ahem ahem, Chris and my natural instinct….!

Now, goodnight!

Fruit Photo Credit: Babycenter.com

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Ahhh, My Voice....

Whenever I get aches and pains now, I've taken to doing my "in for four, out for four" yoga breathing, reminding myself that whatever the issue it can't be worse than labor!  Since I'm preparing myself to be a "natural birthing warrior," I realize I need to be tough and have a sturdy pain threshold.

Saying that, this cold is really getting to me!  After I posted Sunday I did come down with a light fever, which fortunately passed, but I've been battling a bad cold and sore throat since Sunday morning and it's not fun.  I've been house bound in an effort to stay rested and get the better of these germs but it's frustrating all the same.  I think the main thing driving me nuts is my throat - it hurts every time I swallow and makes sleeping a challenge.  Unlike contractions where each brings me one step closer to my baby, this raw feeling each time I swallow doesn't seem to be bringing me closer to anything but a scratchier, hoarser voice - ahhh how hard it is for me not to be able to talk freely!

That's my rant of the night - I'm hoping if I keep powering through I can kick this thing soon.  For the time being, I've been jacked up on natural remedies like gargling warm salt water, drinking hot water with apple cider vinegar and honey, eating chicken soup and sitting/sleeping with a warm microwavable compress on my neck (which actually really helps soothe an aching throat).  I'm never one to pop pills and take a lot of medicines but I'm used to my body bouncing back a little quicker than it's doing this time.  Maybe I take that for granted.  I've looked up the symptoms of strep throat and I don't think I've got that, but if this doesn't shift in the next 24 hours I may need to go to the doctor.

Aside from laying on the couch or in front of the computer, I've had visits from Aunt G and Uncle S, my sis and the vibrant NLD who have kept me smiling.  Mom also bought us a "Dreamland Lullabies and Soothing Songs" cd which I've been playing for baby.  The songs are in a range of languages so I don't have a clue what they mean but they are calming and calming is good!  I do think she likes them also - I can feel her kicking away, safe in her uterine home and that is inspiration to keep my chin up!  I really need to be back to scratch for K&S's wedding on Saturday but the sooner I kick this, the better.  Please let me know if anyone has any other cold-kicking remedies to try!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Flight of Fancy turned Plane of Pestilence

I'm in New York! I flew in yesterday evening, ripe with anticipation for an exciting week ahead of down time, meeting up with family and friends and celebrating K&S's wedding next Saturday. This will be my last trip abroad during this pregnancy since I'm now at 27 weeks with baby almost 2 pounds, the size of a cauliflower!

I flew to the US at the end of my first trimester and more recently took a short haul flight to Prague. I didn't give flying a second thought for either trip, jet setter that I am - I've done the New York to London trip so many times now that it's my equivalent of jumping in our car and driving to Cornwall, just a lot more expensive.

This time, however, was a bit different. I'm conscious that I'm just entering my third trimester and I have a healthy bump in tow. Where I didn't previously consider the circulatory or respiratory "risks" of flying, at 27 weeks in the midst of the flu season and swine flu scare stories, I gave both more thought. When I obtained my doctor's note authorizing me to fly, I asked her advice for staying healthy during a long haul flight. Her general advice wasn't anything too revolutionary:
  • Drinks lots of water and stay hydrated; limit caffeine and stay away from alcohol (like you weren't already!)
  • Walk around when you can; circle your legs in place while sitting to increase circulation
  • Wear support socks or tights to minimize risks of varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis
  • Stay healthy in the run up to the trip - eat right, exercise, i.e. bolster immune system to the extent that you can when it's already not working at optimum
I probably do all of the above anyway as a matter of course, aside from the support socks since I don't suffer from any vein or clotting issues.  In the end, however, I bought a pair of sexy black knee high compression socks from Boots, which were really tight and made my legs feel hot throughout the flight but were a small price to pay for peace of mind and safety.

So I was ready and this was, after all, another routine journey for me.  So what's the rub?

On the day that I flew, I woke up with the early stages of a sore throat and stuffy nose.  "Why now," I asked the heavens?!  I've thus far been able to ward off all the London nasties I'm certain to have encountered during my daily commute and in my office where there have been several cases of swine flu.  Yet the prospect of being cooped up in a plane cabin with stale air and poor ventilation for 7 hours when I wasn't feeling bad but not 100% either made me a little nervous.

So I flew, dressed in comfy sweats, armed with tissues, pregnancy friendly throat drops, chapstick, lotion and anti-bacterial hand gel purchased once I cleared security.  The flight was 8 hours due to uncooperative wind streams and despite all my efforts to stay hydrated and moisturized, I got off the plane feeling like a dried apricot and sounding like a sultry temptress with a voice 3 tones lower than my norm.....or maybe I just sounded like I'd been smoking a couple of packs or like sandpaper scraping against a wall, you get the picture....

So I'm in New York - and I'm thrilled to be here, but I have a cold.  Not a fever, which I'm wishing my lucky stars I don't develop (particularly as this is when cold and sore throat start to sound more like flu) but with a stinking head cold and more annoyingly, a sore throat that burns when I swallow.  Sigh.  Particularly over the next couple of days I have things to do and people to see and I don't want a cold cramping my style but it looks like I may need to be taking it a easier to start off with then planned......I'll keep you posted....

Photo Credit: Babycenter.com

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Blooming Fit


I just picked this image off BuzzFeed and, I'm sorry, but isn't this just wrong?! I'm all about childbirth education and explaining to the wee ones that "No, storks don't actually deliver babies," but there is something crude and unsavory about this knitted creation that makes my stomach turn. It's the kind of thing that could make a person choke on their dinner if caught unawares!

I've been meaning to share this Guardian article on "athletic supermoms" for a few weeks now. The lovely SH passed it on to me, and though I can't liken my commitment to fitness through pregnancy to that of these decorated athletes, the article brings up some interesting points around returning to your pre-pregnancy routine gradually and with proper calorie intake. It also sceptically considers the view that the surge in blood circulation and hormones in a pregnant woman's body may lead to improved athletic performance after birth, an idea I'd heard of but also never thought seemed all that kosher.

As my bump grows, I have to slow down at the gym and reconsider exercises like the leg press that feel uncomfortable with my growing bump. I've still been running once a week, though I haven't been for about a week now so I'll have to see if I'm still comfortable next time I attempt it. Moving toward my third trimester, I've read that it's safer for me to lift free weights while sitting on a bench or gym ball to avoid blood pooling in my lower extremities. Pregnancy yoga is helping me keep my body in healthy alignment and busy mind at rest. I try to stay informed and do my body good.

Exercise comes in many forms and while pregnancy isn't the time to start a new ambitious routine, whether you take a quick walk on your lunch break of go for a 30 minute gym session, I've found that every little bit helps. I may not have the energy I had pre-pregnancy, but I still have stamina, and I'm sure I'll need as much of that as I can get as my bump keeps on blooming!

Photo Credit

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

It's PummelTime!


In the late 1980s we had HammerTime and now at 26.5 weeks pregnant, I have PummelTime, which is pretty much like being hammered from within by baby arms and feet.

What to Expect When You're Expecting informs me that fetal movement peaks between 24-28 weeks when the baby is still small enough for acrobatics and kickboxing but big enough to really pack some punch!  This advice is proving true in my case; over the last week I've felt more fetal movement than probably all the previous weeks of my pregnancy put together.

This week baby is the size of and English ""hothouse" cucumber....I didn't know a cuke could be described as such but our little lady is certainly her own little hothouse of activity.  I love feeling her squirm and knowing that she's well and kicking in there, though at times the movement can be slightly uncomfortable if she's in a particular position.

This morning I got a strange, consistent pressurized feeling on the front of my bump....it lasted for about 20 minutes and wasn't really painful but more of a long, dull ache so it couldn't have been a Braxton Hicks contraction (sporadic uterine contractions that are inconsistent in nature and normal as pregnancy progresses).  It slightly worried me at first - my over active imagination questioned whether she was caught up in the umbilical cord and pressing on me as a result - but then the ache faded, as did my concern when I could feel her squirming around again.

Since this is my first time pregnant, I'm definitely sensitive to each new twist and turn, though Chris reminds me it's important to monitor what feels out of the ordinary but not freak myself out.  Maybe what I felt was just ligament stretching.....maybe she was using my front as a footrest....?  If anyone can shed any light on this, please do!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Goodbye "Gaga Googoo" - Hello 'Real' Baby Talk

I love to talk and always have.  I'll never forget one of my old school friends explaining to me that "when you ask Tanya how her day is, you don't get a simple good or bad but instead a blow by blow account of her recent activity/feelings in response to it/etc."  Yes, I can be long winded and sometimes dish out TMI (too much information) - many of you no doubt have first hand experience with that. Overall though, I'm happy I have the gift of the gab.  I'm comfortable expressing myself, I'm interested in language and its infinite possibilities and I love interesting conversation (yes, the listening bit too).

Talking was a defining characteristic of mine from an early age - thanks mom and dad.  As an infant they used to talk to me - not just in the "nanny poo poo baby bubba boo" way but in the "look at that red bird in tall tree" kind of way - and I listened.  I listened so well, that I started talking early and used to repeat everything my mom said.  I think it drove her a little crazy.  Then one day when I was two or three we were conversing in the changing room of a department store when a fellow shopper stopped my mom and asked her my age.  She then said she was a teacher and had never heard a child of my age with such an extensive vocabulary.

I'm not sharing this to blow smoke up my ass but to paint a picture - my parents communicated with me about the world around me and it rubbed off to good effect.  As this New York Times article, shared by new mama E, points out, this is engaging, constructive communication between mothers and baby is becoming too rare an occurrence in our 'rush rush' society of digital distraction.

I plan on talking to my baby, surprise surprise; I already do.  I want her to get used to the sound of my voice and once she's out of my belly, I want to teach her in the same way my parents taught me.  Sometimes I feel silly talking to "myself," particularly with baby in utero, but this article reminds me that I'm doing more good than the harm I get from any skeptical looks thrown my way.

Yes, I'm the 26 week pregnant lady talking to my baby in the 6th floor bathroom stall and I'm proud as punch!