our first family photo shoot

A couple of weekends ago, we had the pleasure of working with Sheena Cooke Photography to capture some pictures of our new little family. I am entirely un-photogenic and not very comfortable in front of the camera but Sheena managed to make us all feel completely at ease.

Archer didn’t need much help looking gorgeous but he was extremely sleepy so Sheena had her work cut out for her keeping him awake long enough to get some of the shots. She was amazing and I am so grateful for her being able to capture some truly lovely moments with my little family.

Here are some of my favourites…

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Thanks again Sheena… some of these are going straight to the pool room.

xx A

dearest career….

To my darling career,

Today is the day that we have both been dreading. From here on out, we need to start spending some time apart. It’s a hard day for us both, but one that we knew was coming. We’ve had some time to prepare and as hard as it feels right now, you and I know that it’s for the best.

We’ve had some amazing times career. You’ve taken me around the world and allowed me to see things I never thought possible. Because of you, I’ve met some of the most amazing people and learnt things that no school book can teach.

It’s you that I’ve relied on and for the most part, you’ve been my maker. I have spent so many years immersed in you that sometimes I forgot about the rest of the world. We’ve had ups and downs and tears and laughter. Most of all, you have defined me. You’ve told the world who I am and through you, I’ve made a mark on my little part of the world.

I dressed up for you today. Put on a dress and heels (well, wedges, but let’s be serious – I’m about 10 months pregnant!). Maybe it was because I wanted to feel like I belonged in you one more time. Maybe it’s because I may not be able to leave the house without smelling like breast milk for the next few months. Either way, it was nice. I think you deserved one more day with my glad rags on.

CAREERPlease don’t desert me career. I only have to put you away for a little while. It’s not that I don’t love you, it’s just that I need to go away and be something else for a while. You and I will always have a special place to call our own and I promise I’ll think of you often.

My hopes my darling career is that in a few months time, my new job and you can work together in harmony. It may take some time for us all to figure each other out again but I know we can do it. There will be sacrifices and things will certainly be different but I promise I will come back to you – I hope you’ll take me.

So today, my dearest career, I put you in a box for safe keeping. I’m not sure what my definition is now that you are not it. I guess the coming weeks will teach me that.

I’ll see you soon.

Lovingly yours…

Xxx  A

that wasn’t in the brochure….

Before I got pregnant, I thought I knew a thing or two about the joys of being up the duff. I was by no means an expert but I had witnessed numerous friends and family go through the process, so I thought I was pretty up to speed on what to expect when expecting. And I was. Except for a few little things that people had magically left off of the list….

Here are some of the gems that I have learnt along the way.

  1. medium_6832566733You’ll miss your vagina. Seriously, I haven’t seen it in weeks, maybe months. I miss it. I’m pretty convinced it needs some “tending to” (mental note to book waxing appointment asap)
  2. You might want to consider buying a dog. Much easier to blame those stinky farts that will haunt you for 8 months on a dog than a partner who knows it wasn’t him.
  3. You’ll share things with people like never before. Something about having a pregnant belly makes you community property. Not only will everyone want to share their story with you, but also towards the end, you find yourself having no concerns at all sharing your bits with whoever will listen. In the last couple of weeks I’ve had in depth conversations with other women about the state of my vagina and what is/isn’t normal this far along in my pregnancy – conversations I never thought I’d have.
  4. The boobs you always wanted might just piss you off. This was a real disappointment for me. I had always looked forward to the perks of perky boobs during pregnancy. But when I found myself carrying around a set of double D’s, they were no where near as fun as I had imagined. Disappointing for N too… am sure he’s been dying to play with them the whole time. Poor bastard.
  5. medium_2685851866Heels WILL become the devil. As much as I thought I was going to be “different”, I’m not. I don’t care who you are, being 8 months pregnant and wearing heels to anything other than a super special occasion is insane. I look forward to welcoming stilettos back into my life in a few months time but for now, they are the devil.
  6. People will touch you. A lot. Not only doctors, family and friends (all of which are fine), total strangers will have a good old feel around too. Stranger Danger has been a pretty constant issue for me.
  7. You’ll miss the simple things. Putting on shoes with ease, bending over in general, eating ham. Oh how I miss thee.
  8. It is possible to want to vomit AND eat, at precisely the same time. I was very lucky in the early days of my pregnancy and didn’t suffer a lot from morning sickness. But, who knew that at precisely the same moment, you could have the strongest desire to scoff a bowl of carbs AND throw up. Lucky for me, the carbs usually won.
  9. You will learn the meaning of true patience…. From your partner. Those poor boys. Seriously, I have a newfound respect for the patience of my man. Putting up with me for the last 9 months is something I wouldn’t want to do. Must remember to thank him for that with afore mentioned waxed vagina in about 6 months time. 😉
  10. You’ll pretty much be petrified the entire time. From day dot, I’ve been scared about something. The first few days were pure terror from the realization Fearfulthat there was no way in the whole world that I was ready to be a mother. The next 12 weeks were full of fear about being able to hold onto the embryo that I didn’t realize I wanted so badly. The next 6 months have been a constant balance of irrational fears about eating the wrong food, my baby not moving enough or in the right way, an upcoming scan and basically everything and anything to do with the health of this little person I am carrying. Then there’s the birth bit – you can read about the fear associated with that here.

The most valuable thing people dont tell you is that you are stronger than you think. Through all of the panic and sometimes uber uncomfortable parts of pregnancy, you’ll be fine. You’re tougher and more resilient than you ever gave yourself credit for. Mentally AND physically. That’s why women get to do this bit. Men would crumble.

What surprised you about your pregnancy journey? I’d love to hear from you.

Xx A

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/i-am-rebecca/6832566733/”>i.am.rebecca</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

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we’re ready!

I truly believe that sometimes life has a way of just coming together. A way of falling into place and making you feel that everything will work out just right. Its a clever thing life….

The last 8 months have been a blur of long to-do-lists, panicked thoughts, frantic planning and sleepless nights. Mostly due to my OCD kicking into high gear but also due to, the I’m sure standard issue, hormonal craziness that comes with finding out you’re making a human being.

Its scary knowing that a little person is going to come into your life and for me, a way of calming my mind is making sure that everything is as ready as possible for our little man. For those around me, it may have seemed like I was loosing my mind. A constant sense of urgency to get things done and working bees happening in our home at every spare moment. But its been worth it.

For today, I feel ready. Actually, we ARE ready.

Not only does our little guy now have his very own space in our home, we have a home which is almost complete and seriously, enough clothes and wraps to last him until his about 18. The car seat is here and his pram is assembled (not that I’ve figured out how to fold it down yet??!?). There are baby bottles in the kitchen and teeny tiny towels in the laundry. Theres a bottle of baby powder in the bathroom and baby wash in the drawer. He’s so close you can smell him (like literally – why does it smell like baby powder already? Its still sealed! – weird).

I know these are all material things and N keeps on reminding me that our little dude will have no idea that all of this has been done for him. And I know he is right. But in a weird way, all of this planning and prep, it isn’t really about our boy. Its about me. Its a way of calming myself and making sure that when he does arrive, everything is as it should be. A way of making sure the crazy OCD part of me can relax in the knowledge that everything is in its place.

There will be so much more to deal with (ie: tiny person!) that knowing we are ready in every other way, makes it all feel so much more do-able.

So today, we are ready and it feels lovely.

Here’s a sneak peak at the little guys room…..

xx A

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love these custom prints

my favourite words from Dr. Suess

wise man that Dr Suess…

some of my old bears and some new ones too

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all of these belonged to his daddy…

questions for my son….

What will you look like? What will you smell like? Will you have your daddy’s hair and my skin? I picture you with a mop of dark locks and big brown eyes. Handsome like your daddy and pale skinned like me. I think you will smell like pure joy and the occasional bit of vomit but that’s ok, we’ll take the good with the bad.

Will you be as big as you feel inside my belly right now? You feel strong and long limbed. You’ve been trying to break my ribs for weeks now I’m sure of it. The doctors think you’ll be a very healthy sized baby but looking at your daddy’s build, that’s no surprise. Long legged like me and broad-shouldered like dad.

What will you be like? Calm like your daddy, slightly eccentric like me? A night owl with him or an early riser with me? My sister insists you will be a night owl, based on the series of kicks you give me from 7pm every night. A sign of things to come she says – an active baby belly at nighttime means trouble for your sleeping pattern. I think I’m ready either way. You haven’t let me sleep properly in weeks now, so my body feels prepared for late nights, early mornings and catching a nap wherever I can.

What will we do? My days will be so different to those I have now. I’ll have you to look after and I’m not sure exactly how that’s supposed to go. I see us taking some time to figure each other out but slowing falling into a routine that’s just for us. I think we’ll take walks to the beach and I’ll watch you sleep and when daddy comes home you’ll make him smile like no one else can. I know I won’t do all of it right every day. I’ll mess up along the way. There will be tears from the both of us but I promise I’ll do my best. I’m new at this too, but we’ll figure it out.

Where will you go? I bought a picture for your bedroom the other day. It’s a quote by Dr Seuss. “Oh, the places you’ll go” Dr Seuss proclaims. I know you’ll go far. You’ll have the drive of your mummy and the travel bug like your daddy, I’m sure of it. I don’t see you being a wallflower. Not with our genes. You’ll be bold and brave and want to challenge yourself and the world. Go everywhere. Do everything. Just make sure I know where you are.

What will you be? Whatever you want is the answer! If poppy gets his way, you’ll be the captain of the Tottenham Hotspur’s. If daddy teaches you well enough, you may be a famous guitarist. I think you’ll be creative and smart. I think you’ll leave your mark on the world as well as our hearts. I think you’ll be amazing at whatever you choose. I think you’ll always be yourself and that is perfection to me.

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What will I be like? Being your mum is a pretty big deal. I still can’t quite believe that I get to meet you soon and that you chose us to be your family. I feel full of something I can’t quite describe. It’s a fear of the unknown mixed with an almighty sense of joy and excitement about what our future holds. I never knew that I wanted you so badly, but now you are on your way, I have never been so sure of anything in my life.

I don’t know what I’ll be like as your mum. I know that I’ll work harder at this than I have ever worked on anything in my life. I know I wont be perfect but that I will give you the best I possibly can. I know that I will make sure you never go without and that you know you are loved every single day. I know that I’ll kiss you too often and probably embarrass you along the way. I know one day you’ll be taller than me but that I’ll still call you my baby. I know that I’ll be proud of you no matter what and that whoever you become I will support you. I know that from now until forever, you will be my son and I will be your mum. I know that I love you to the moon and back and you’re not even here yet.

I can’t wait to meet you.

Love your mummy. x

xx A

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/crissy/1077946/”>CrissyAlright</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

taking away the fear

Yesterday was antenatal class day. A day that I had predicted was going to be painfully tedious and awkward and that was a little frightening, as it signifies how close to the end of this journey we are getting (ie: holy crap, we’re actually having a baby – soon!)

Up until this point in my pregnancy, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted my birth to play out.

Healthy baby. Save my vagina. Don’t shit the bed.

I had no grand birth plan or divine script of how I wanted labour to be, except for one thing. Epidural – GET. IN. ME.

medium_3289103242My thoughts on the matter hadn’t come from any research or reading on childbirth. It hadn’t come from any drawn out thought on pros and cons. I think they had come purely from FEAR. The fear of the unknown and the fear of the pain that is obviously going to come with pushing a watermelon out of your body.

Couple that with my allergy to a quite a lot of pain relief and anti nausea drugs, the thought of going epidural from the get go was quite appealing.

Then I did the class.

Now I have a plan. A real plan. One that makes me feel strong and ready and most importantly, prepared for what is going to happen at some point over the coming weeks.

The class was not what I had expected at all. I had gone there thinking it was going to be a huff and puff class. You know the ones, sitting in a circle with your partner learning how to breathe through the process, huffing and puffing as if it was the real thing.

It wasn’t. It was a day full of empowering information about choices and about truly explaining the process my body is about to embark on. It was extremely liberating and calming and to be honest, is probably the most valuable thing I’ve done since being pregnant.

The midwife running the class was neither for nor against drugs or no drugs during labour. She provided equal information about both options and remained extremely vigilant in making sure we knew what our options were and that either way, we would be supported. She made sure that we understood the stages of labour and what our body was going to do.

Most importantly, she reminded me that our bodies are meant to do this. I can do this. I am designed to do this. This is not as scary as I thought.6081060-plan-a-and-plan-b-on-a-blackboard

Now I’m not saying that I’m going all “earth mother” and taking a no drug stance during labour. Not at all. It’s just that my friend the epidural is now a last resort as opposed to a first resort. An “if I need it” rather than an “I’m definitely going to need it”.

Thanks to the education of the lovely midwife Gaye, I now have the right information to make an informed choice. I now know, with some degree of certainty, how I want this labour to play out… it’s simple and short and it goes a little like this…..

  • Stay at home as long as possible (within reason!) by using a Tens machine to distract some of the pain.
  • Once in hospital, pop myself in a nice warm bath in our room and add some gas and air into the mix.
  • If needed, jump on board the pain killer wagon and see how I go. Add in a new anti nausea drug that I have discovered I’m not allergic to (miracle!) and hopefully I am almost ready to meet my little guy.
  • As a LAST resort, an epidural is there as an option.

All sounds a bit more mature and thought about than “don’t shit the bed” right?

The biggest take away from the class for me was options. How empowering it feels to have options presented and to feel informed about something that was previously so unknown. Take away the unknown, take away the fear.

I know it’s going to hurt like a bitch. I know its probably going to be one of the hardest things my body ever has to do. But I know now I can do it. I know I have choices and I know what I can do to help my body do its job.

I have a plan.

A birth plan.

And it feels better.

xx A

(Disclaimer: I’d still like to save my vagina and not shit the bed…. Any tips welcome)

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turning into a secret softie?

Those who read my blog often, know that I’m not the type of pregnant woman who gushes over her bump and finds the process of growing a baby to be some sort of divine experience. I’m more from the school of “can’t wait for the end product but could do without the being pregnant bit”.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be having a baby and cant wait to meet our little guy, but the whole being pregnant bit isn’t something I have really loved.

But I may have found one little part of it that I love.

It usually happens around 8.30pm each night.

I’ve usually had a busy day, running around for work and renovations and probably pushing myself harder than I should. I’ve usually just finished a quick dinner and finally sat down for the night to relax.

Within about 10 minutes or so, I feel it. It starts as a little nudge, usually on my right 5769573400_a7bdbf4f9f_zside. Then turns into an evening of rumble and tumble. My little dude trying to get comfy or find a way out through my belly button. Throughout the night he shifts and turns, occasionally kicking but mainly gently nudging, responding to the jingle of my harmony ball or the voice of his daddy through my belly.

Before I was pregnant, if another mother had spoken of being kicked in the belly by her unborn baby, I was a little grossed out. Even as my belly started to grow and I felt those first few kicks, I was a little freaked out by the soft flutters I would feel.  But soon, they became a part of my day; a lovely reassurance that my baby was doing well and getting strong. Going longer than a few hours without feeling a little nudge suddenly felt quite frightening.

Now, those moments at night when he rolls and rumbles inside my belly are some of my favourite moments of the day.

There’s something immensely connective about feeling your baby move, something that I didn’t quite understand before. It’s selfish, but also very warming to know that its something only you will ever feel. In a way, it’s the first real conversations you have with your child; a private moment that no one else can interrupt and take away.

So the hard woman in me may be softening. I wouldn’t say I’m going all “earth mother” on anyone anytime soon but I have definitely found one little aspect of pregnancy which turns me into a bit of a softie.

Sshhh… don’t tell anyone….

xx A