Monday, 25 October 2010

Could it be tomorrow?

This time last pregnancy I was struggling my way through what seemed like a very long day.

Having left work the day before, I spent the morning of my first day's maternity leave putting together a stand for our moses basket which we hadn't yet bought(!) and in the afternoon, we did a bit of shopping for nursery furnishings. Well, we did a very small amount of shopping as I was way too tired and had to give up and come home.

Then, the next day, I gave birth. At 33weeks+6days gestation, over 6 weeks early.

So will I be repeating this premature birthing option tomorrow? I doubt it. Despite the extreme tiredness I am feeling today, there is no reason for me to give birth prematurely this time and I am nowhere near the size yet that I was last time. And, thankfully, neither are my ankles!! My tiredness today can be put down to a toddler who didn't sleep well last night and a big old shopping trip on Saturday. Well, we need to be prepared for Christmas early if anyone's to get any gifts this year!

So from 4pm tomorrow, I hope to be venturing into the unknown phase of late pregnancy. Given how huge and heavy I already feel most days, I'm not expecting to take much enjoyment from this, but it will be a new experience for me!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A Spanner in the Naming Work

We had a back up name for Felix... just in case he didn't look like a Felix when he was born (do babies look like any name?). So you'd think it would have been easy to choose a name for our second born having found out at the 20-week scan that it's another boy.

Well, it would have been easy, we still love the second name we chose, Elliot. Only, Felix has a friend called Elliot. Well, ok, I have a mummy friend who's little boy, Elliot is exactly a week younger than Felix and was also premature. We met through Sing and Sign classes and still see each other at least every fortnight with a couple of other mummy friends.

The thing is, we didn't feel the same way about any of the other names we came up with. There was one, but it just doesn't work with our surname. So we resolved to call the baby Elliot. I fully intended to mention this to Elliot's mummy before I give birth, but we haven't seen her for a couple of weeks now and at the weekend, I found out why.

She had been having contractions on and off all week... yes she's pregnant too and this time her due date is about 2 weeks ahead of mine. Yesterday, I got a text from her. She has given birth to a little girl, about the same prematurity as Elliot was. No name had yet been decided.

Today, I am told by a mutual friend that they have called their little baby girl Imogen.




So I have resolved that I can no longer be friends with her as I'll be 'copying' all her children's names. And that is the end of that. GAH!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Hospital Bag

I learnt from my first birth, which was 6 weeks premature, that if the baby comes early, you don’t necessarily need to provide anything for them in the first few days - the hospital will see you through (bless ‘em). So when thinking about what I need to have packed ready to go, it’s all about me, me me.

When (and if) I reach 35 weeks, I’ll pop some basic baby bits in a separate bag. Three vests/bodysuits, three sleepsuits, a cardigan, a hat, coat (do we have one? eek), travel blanket, three muslin cloths, a pack of nappies and a handful of cotton wool. That should do it for an overnight visit.

As for me, well... When heading into hospital to give birth, you need to pack as if you’re going to stay somewhere overnight (that’s pretty heavy packing in my book) and you also need to try to pre-empt what you will want, or need whilst in labour. Pretty difficult if you’ve never done it before and actually still pretty difficult if you have.

I had a pretty straight-forward first labour (apart from the prematurity aspect) and fully intend for this one to be the same (I’m sure I will now be punished for saying that). I’m going to attempt to list everything I will be packing, some items will undoubtedly be thrown in last minute, and then I’m going to actually go and pack most of it. Hopefully, my list may be of some help to any first-timers out there. Old-timers might also be able to point out anything I’ve stupidly forgotten.

  • Maternity notes, kind of vital.
  • Toiletries - handy tip for the shower, a 2in1 shampoo as there will be no time to relax. I’ll be in a rush to return to the baby. Hairbrush and tummy oil are included in this section.
  • Makeup - I didn’t bother with makeup last time, but as I hope to leave hospital the next day this time, I figure it might be nice to leave looking my normal self. Maybe.
  • Two pairs of pyjamas (in case I bleed all over the first pair), slippers and a dressing gown.
  • A Pillow for a better night’s sleep - not that you really sleep when you have a new baby to gaze at.
  • An oh-so-attractive hairband to keep my hair out of my face whilst I’m pushing. Who needs the distraction?
  • Snacks and drinks. For me and for my husband. Yes there’s a shop, but no, I do not want to be left on my own whilst you go and buy yourself a sandwich. And if the midwife is mean and says I can’t have a meal “just in case”, I’ll damn well be eating something the second she leaves the room.
  • Phone charger. I’ll be busy tweeting as well as texting all my friends and family. I don’t think I’d be happy if I had to wait until I got home to tell you all about it.
  • Camera. Obviously. Maybe not my professional one though as I won’t let my husband use it.
  • Disposable (or just old) pants and maternity pads.
  • Notepad and pen - for moments of boredom and to write down what items husband needs to bring me from home (and where he will find them).
  • Something to wear whilst giving birth. Not that I made it out of my normal clothes last time. Not until baby was out anyway.
  • Magazine or other entertainment, to help while away the hours if it’s not instant
  • Clean clothes. That’ll be maternity jeans, breastfeeding top and bra and something warm to wear over it all. And a few pairs of socks. No cold feet here thank you.
  • Gift for the toddler. The baby is going to be bringing a present for his big brother (straight from the womb) so I’ll be taking this to hospital in case he comes to visit.

Enough talking about it, I’m actually going to go and pack some of it now. About time too.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Time to get ready...

At 32 weeks pregnant, I've suddenly realised how unprepared I am for the arrival of a new baby.

I mean, if it happened now, I think I'd have to go to hospital alone and leave my husband behind, ravaging the loft for baby clothes and bedding.

Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't exactly ready first time round. When Felix turned up unexpectedly at 34 weeks, we had no bed for him, no car seat and the nursery was most definitely not ready. We got family sent off to buy the relevant items for us asap so we were ready when he finally left hospital 11 days later and the nursery possibly got decorated when he was about 6 months old. Could have been later.

I feel a little bit panicked at what I still have to do this time. And I probably shouldn't, but this is what I think needs sorting out:

- Last year's tax return. Cause I am NOT going to be able to concentrate on it with a new baby.
- Baby clothes need bringing out of the loft and washing.
- The nursery at least needs to be emptied of our rubbish and have a chest of drawers full of freshly laundered clothes, muslin cloths and nappies.
- Might be nice to paint the nursery too, but not essential pre-birth.
- Pushchair. I haven't yet decided if I will buy a double buggy, get a buggy board for the rubbish pushchair we have (which I'm sure isn't suitable from birth), make the toddler walk everywhere, use a baby sling, or just not go out full stop (this seems very likely).
- My hospital bag. I have old (i.e. disposable without being disposables) pants and maternity pads in a plastic bag. Erm, that's about it. I know I had an 'emergency' bag packed before this point last time, as I had to use the damn thing when my waters broke early.
- It might be an idea to speak to a few people about childcare. Make a note of what dates they're available so I'm not left ringing round various different people for an hour whilst trying to cope with early labour.
- Buy a new baby monitor... toddler broke ours and I don't think I'll be so happy to have the new baby downstairs with me all day with a toddler around to poke the baby awake.

There are other little jobs which I'd like to get done... but I'm realistic about my chances of getting enough peace and quiet from the toddler to actually do them. I guess it's about time I focussed on these bigger jobs and got them done. Or, at the very least, order the husband to get them done.

Anything you think I've forgotten?

Monday, 4 October 2010

My name is Rachael and I am a Twitterholic

I got asked on Twitter if I wanted to be tagged in a meme about being a Twitter addict. I'd like to think that I'm not a full on addict, but I did find I was easily able to answer all of the questions asked in this meme... so I thought maybe I should give in and admit it is a big part of my life. I have been known to get a bit distressed if I haven't been on for a few hours.

The original Twitterholic post was by Kate at The Five Fs and I was tagged by Garry at The Blog Up North - so go have a read of their addiction admission posts too.

I do enjoy using twitter. I think for someone who spends their day alone, or in the company of a small person who doesn't speak (or I suppose any small people as the conversation is never quite the same as with an adult) it's a fantastic social tool. I think it has many business benefits (although my own use is personal with only the odd bit of business thrown in) and has helped keep me in touch with a PR world I've pretty much left behind. The idea of Kate's meme is that she has posed 5 questions. So here goes...

When did you join twitter?
Using I can confirm that the date was February 4th 2009. Over 18 months ago. Eek!

Why did you join twitter?
My husband had already joined, he likes to think he's at the cutting edge of all things 'cool'. I'd heard bits and pieces and wasn't sure of the appeal of something that was "like the status updates on Facebook". But then Moyles started talking about it one morning on the radio and signed up that day. Does that make me too much of a Chris Moyles fan?

Anyway, Twitter is something you have to stick at for a while before it becomes your friend.

Who was your first follower? Who did you follow first?
My first follower was my husband, thanks love. My second was Stephen Fry. Slightly more interesting. And my third, an old friend from the PR world. So should I tell you all about my husband? Nah, boring.

I'm surprised to find that the first person I followed was actually Jonathan Ross. Then my husband, Chris Moyles and Stephen Fry. Again, not a lot I can tell you about any of them. It is fair to say that to begin with it was largely only celebs that I followed. I don't read celeb mags and have always been 'the last to know'... but not anymore. I'm way ahead of my friends finding out the gossip these days and usually in a far more accurate manner as I've had it straight from the horse's mouth (or fingertips).

I don't follow many people. I like to keep up to date with what's going on in my twitter world, and the more people you follow the more impossible this is. I'm not really using it to try to make friends so I don't feel the need to follow back. If someone's tweets look entertaining and like they might brighten an otherwise dull day, then I'll follow. If they stop tweeting regularly or get boring, I stop following. Some people might find this offensive, but it suits my usage.

Do you have any celebrities following you or have you ever had a DM from a celebrity?
Wooooh yay, chance to show off. As already mentioned, Stephen Fry follows me. In the early days I saw him asking that people who wanted him to follow them use a certain hashtag or phrase, so I tried it. And lo, the next day, I had a new follower! Shortly after this, he was talking about the Kindle and how it won't replace books when I challenged him and said that the DVD had replaced video, video had replaced that beta wotnot and CDs had replaced tapes (now CDs are also becoming a thing of the past). He responded to this, but not with an @reply, so although I will take it that he was engaging in a conversation directly with me, it could be that many people challenged him on the subject at the same time. Obviously, mine would have been the best tweet though.

Other followers you may have heard of include Annabel Karmel and Jamie Oliver. I do work for Jamie Oliver (sort of) so it's only fair he follows me really. When I did my first Jamie at Home party, I tweeted him to let him know how I got on (like he cares) and he tweeted me back saying "Well done babe...". I was a bit over-excited by this, mainly cause he called me babe. Ha ha!

Davina McCall has tweeted me a few times but has also sent me a DM. She reported that she was going to see Tap Dogs and I asked her when and told her which performance I was going to that weekend. Her DM simply said "me too, but don't tell". I didn't tell a soul (except hubby) until the day when I told my girlfriends that we had to keep our eyes peeled!

Have also had a couple of tweets from Sara Cox. I didn't favourite these (stupid) and am suffering from baby brain so can't remember what they were about or what she said. Suffice to say, I surprised her in some way and she responded with a real Cox-ism. Loved it!

If you could follow anyone (alive, dead, fictional) on Twitter, who would it be?
I'm not really one for answering this kind of question. But I'll have a good think for you. There are a few celebrities who it would be nice to follow if they actually tweeted themselves. Having official updates is handy for business, but twitter is a way to get personal with the public and it'd be great if they got in on the act.

Fictional - well, wouldn't Harry Potter's tweets be the most interesting read ever? There are a few soap characters who's lives are so full of drama I'm sure they'd be entertaining, although maybe a little too depressing? I don't really watch any soaps so I couldn't choose a favourite. Obviously I'm obsessed with the life of Elizabeth Bennet... but suspect her tweets would be pretty dull most of the time. "Practising the piano whilst Darcy's out shooting", "Reading a novel", "dining with neighbours this evening". Ok, actually I found those quite interesting. Twitter would certainly help to pass the time for her!

It would also be nice if some of my best friends tweeted as I'd feel a bit more in the loop with their daily lives. But then it's also nice to be able to vent about them somewhere knowing they're not going to read it. So bit of a double-edged sword, that one.

Which came first Twitter or Blog?
Easy. Twitter did. That PR friend I mentioned in my first 3 followers, @howard_jones, he did a #ff for me recommending that I follow Sally Whittle. She writes a mummy blog Who's The Mummy and it made me chuckle so much that I started to think about writing my own blog. I missed writing and thought it'd be a nice way to help me remember the early years of motherhood. I finally started the blog when I suspected I was pregnant for the second time. I wrote a pregnancy diary first time around for a friend who was living abroad and I liked the idea of doing something similar.

And here we are.

I am supposed to tag other people to take on this meme, but as I'm not sure I could call anyone I know a twitterholic (other than those of you who have already been tagged), I think I will leave it to you, dear readers, if you want to continue the theme. Do post a link to your meme here if you take up the challenge. And do try to keep it a little shorter than mine. I go on a bit, don't I?