Taking the reusable nappy plunge

A few weeks ago, I was dipping a tiny toe in the world of reusable nappies- it appealed to my vague green credentials in that I might save a bit of space in a landfill, and appealed more to my tightfistedness in that it’s meant to save a good grand or so compared to disposable nappies.

At the time, I’d done nothing more than use some reusies that a friend had lent me but only when I had a full day in the house and not at night. Last week another helpful friend lent me some big old night time nappies, and I decided to take the plunge. Additional kit was purchased in the form of a toiletry bag to carry around the dirties when out of the house, and some baby flannels to use as reusable wet wipes- may as well go the whole hog, eh!

Dangerously, I also took to facebook and joined some second hand real nappy groups and bought myself one of the hallowed gnappies that I liked the look of. Oh and there were a couple of different brands on special in Tescos and Sainsburys, so I bought them too. And then took them back because I decided I didn’t like the look of them. So now my current collection consists of 1 pair of gpants (the outer bit of the gnappy), six new gcloths, the free bambino mios that I borrowed, three little lambs for night time, also on a loan and a bum genius pocket nappy that I’m not a massive fan of. And there are  three more pairs of gpants winging their way to me in the post (all second handers).

So how’s it going? Well, on the first day I had to deal with a poo while out of the house- it wasn’t so bad- it was a bit of a big one but amply contained by the bambino mio, although I will fess up- I did use disposable wetwipes to clean that bad boy up, and put the pooey inner cloth in a nappy bag to take home and rinse out there rather than having to contend with it at someone’s house. The second poo was at home but on the whole contained by the disposable liner, so I chucked that away, and as the nappy itself didn’t look too splattered, just chucked it straight in the nappy bin. That was a mistake as the bin smelled like death for a whole day. I’ve heard that rather than rinsing them in the sink you can hold your inners under the flush of a toilet. Sounds gross, but I’m willing to give it a try. For today’s poo, I confess I wussed out and put on a disposable- I knew it was brewing as it’d been three days with no movement, so it was likely to be (and indeed was) a bit of a beast.

Wee-wise, we’ve only had two leaks- one mystery one that I just think I went too long before I changed him- 12 hours overnight was obviously pushing it a bit- and one that Mark put on but left a bit of nappy sticking out the back of the wrap, so that just leaked out onto clothes- nothing too tragic.

I’m looking forward to building up my gnappy collection a bit more, as that’s what we’ve settled on. I’ve seen some pictures of people’s ‘stashes’ of hundreds of nappies and am confident I’ll never get to that stage, but in order to go full time on the reusables, but only wash every other day, I think I’ll need as a minimum six gpants, eighteen cloths plus my three night time nappies. I’m still not 100% confident of it working- you certainly need to change babies more frequently in cloth than disposables but I’m getting used to it. It’s really not difficult, only involves a little bit more washing/preparation and I’m looking forward to having a little bit of extra cash


Settling into the old routine

Still continuing with my over-immersion in baby stuff (babycentre.co.uk I’m looking at you), I read that by 8 or 9 weeks, you should be putting a bedtime routine in place. Woefully behind schedule, I floated the idea to Mark. It took a while to get our heads around the idea of Sid being upstairs in bed while we were downstairs watching TV- surely it sort of defeated the idea of him staying in our room for the first six months… and surely it was a bit pointless doing a lovely relaxing bedtime routine that culminated in him being asleep in the carry cot while the TV blared next to him, but I had a vague paranoia that if we didn’t start instilling good sleep habits early, it’d never happen- I read a story about a nine year old that wasn’t able to fall asleep unless it was on the sofa in front of the telly and it was enough to make me think ‘ok, lets give this a go’.

Sid, actually was and is a pretty good sleeper- he’ll happily have a nap in the daytime in noisy places, but it was admittedly getting trickier for him to fall asleep in the front room for any length of time, and with the ‘sleeping through the night’ goal forever in our sights, we thought that putting him to bed in a quieter place might make him sleep for longer.

Two-ish weeks in, if we’re in the house, at about half 7 or so, one of us gives Sid a bath and gets him ready for bed, while the other one tidies up and sorts things for the morning. Then we switch and the other one does a story, lots of songs, and a snuggle on our bed until he drops off. It’s amazing how few songs I know all the words to- Poor kid has heard a LOT of Wham in the last couple of weeks! I guess as time goes on, we’ll be trying to get into more of a habit of putting the boy wonder down in his cot before he falls asleep, but at the moment, I’m loving a little night time cuddle and he certainly seems to settle better that way so I say hush to the ‘making a rod for your own back’ doubters.

So has it worked? Well, yeah, sort of- He’s generally sparko until well after midnight and will wake up between 1 and 3 for a bottle, and then again at about 6ish when Mark brings him into our bed for a snuggy and another hour of snoozing until the ‘breakfast bottle’ at 7. So although we get a longer stretch of sleep at the start of the night, which is awesome, we still have to get up once each before the alarm goes off. He’s definitely sleeping more at night and less in the day though, so that’s one thing cracked and I’d imagine that as time goes on, he’ll eventually drop the middle of the night feed but I’m not going to worry about that until it just sort of happens.

My spangly changing bag

Never did I ever thing I would be so proud of a glorified handbag, but I am!

Before Sid was born, I looked and looked at change bags, but everything I saw seemed either stupidly expensive, or just wasn’t very nice… or both.

I was a bit of a fan of a pacapod, which were both quite cool looking, and appealed to my organised side, as they have these groovy pod thingys in them, to organise your changing and feeding paraphernalia, but were pretty pricey- the cheapest I found was about £60, which seemed like a ludicrous amount to spend on a bag. So I hit upon the idea of getting a massive handbag (9 quid from Primark, thankyouverymuch), and some see-through makeup bags from Boots, which I used to arrange everything in – one for bottles and formula, one for a spare change of clothes, one for nappies and wipes. A fold out changing mat and I was all set, and pretty pleased with my budget pacapod. The only downside was that the bag wasn’t quite the right shape for the makeup bags so everything kind of bulged out the top, and the handles weren’t long enough to hang over the buggy, still, for under fifteen quid, it fulfilled a purpose and my mum said it was the most organised change bag she’d ever seen (insert proud face).

Anyway, we had quite a lot of stuff that we wanted to take back to Mothercare (after a lot of very generous gift giving from friends and family, we had something of a surplus of babygro’s), plus some gift vouchers and while we were mooching around, I happened across the Pacapod again. It was a pretty non-descript dark looking pattern, which Mark said he’d be happy to carry around, and after much umming and aahing, we decided to go for it, using the money for our returns and gift vouchers, and thinking we’d just put a little bit extra in ourselves.

In a fit of brilliantness, Mothercare had put their changing bags on sale but forgotten to tell anyone, so when we got to the tills, it was reduced to £30, and after bringing back the stuff we wanted to exchange, we ended up getting a spangly changing bag for a grand total of 49p!

I’m ridiculously chuffed with it- as well as the aforementioned changing and feeding pods, it’s got loads of handy pockets for things, and is one hell of a lot easier to attach to the buggy when we’re out and about with inbuilt hooks. Another useful thing is if I’m just nipping out and don’t need the whole bag, you can just grab out the feed and change pods, and they have their own handles for hanging over the buggy too (also useful if you’ve put too much other crap in the bag itself, I would imagine).

Officially entering babyland

I can’t believe it, but I have a tiny weeny week-and-a-bit old baby!

I’ve a hell of a lot to update you on, but let’s start with an introduction- Sidney John was born on Monday 9th February 2015, at 1:26am, weighing 6lb 10oz.


I’ll be honest, it’s been a bit of a crazy first week, so plenty to update, but I’m going to start off with LABOUR DAY before it fades into oblivion- the memories are already becoming hazy!

So, look away if you are squeamish- here’s the timeline.

Sunday 8th February

10:00- Just a normal day in our house, plans are made to go to Mark’s mum and dad’s for dinner, to take a load of cardboard to the dump, do a bit of tidying and go to Tescos. You know, normal Sunday stuff

12:00- Dump run completed, we walk around Tescos with me feeling increasingly uncomfortable and in need of getting back to the sofa. Once we’re home, we faff about tidying up, I do the dusting (was getting a bit paranoid about going into labour, and a midwife coming over and judging me on my messy house!), fit the car seat base in the car, put the pram up and then realise that the car seat itself (a loaner from my sister) is a bit grubby, so wash the covers out in the bath. Have a couple of ‘shows’ of blood tinged mucus. Feel a little bit excited- offer to show Mark. He declines.  This could be it- the shows usually mean something’s going to start happening in the next few days

17:00- Still feeling pretty uncomfortable, I decide not to go to the inlaws for dinner, and Mark pops over for an hour to pick up a couple of plates of food for us. While he’s out, I start thinking ‘is this it’?’ as I’d been increasingly feeling ok, then a bit rubbish on and off all day. I download a contraction timing app for my phone and tell myself it’s probably Braxton Hicks, rather than the real deal, as up to then I’d had no pains or warning signs, but lo and behold, every six minutes or so for a whole hour, there are waves of something… not quite pain- discomfort is the best word I have.

18:00- Mark comes back, I tell him I think this maybe possibly could be go time, but I’m not sure, so we settle down on the sofa to watch an episode of the Last Leg that we’d recorded, and I practice one of the hypnobirthing breathing techniques that I’d learned every time the discomfort came: In for 4, out for 7 which helps give me something to concentrate on and seemed to do the trick. I leave Mark in charge of the app, just so someone else could confirm that I’ve not been making the whole thing up and spend a lot of time in the loo after every wave

19:30- Admitting to myself something may be happening we call the hospital to find out what we need to do. The community midwives are only available on their phone until 6, so after that, you call triage, and they find out who should be coming out to you for home births… I wait with baited breath while they faff about trying to find out what the procedure is. I’m not overly convinced they know what to do!

19:50- A lovely midwife calls- she lives about 20 minutes away, but is the person on call for home births. I seem to be doing OK-the contraction timer is being switched on every five minutes or so, but I’m still feeling pretty calm and sure there is loads of time, so tell her I’ll give her a call when I want her to come out.

20:10- Another wave, another trip to the loo… and oh my goodness, that looks like quite a lot of blood. I’m sure its not a show, this is proper blood. I call the midwife back, sounding calmer than I feel, and she says to pop over to triage at the nearby hospital (a mere five minutes from our house), and if all is well, they’ll let me come back home, but it’s best to be on the safe side, right?

20:30- After a fair amount of faffing from Mark (who was just about to put his apple crumble in the microwave, and looked at it longingly as we left… I meanwhile never had bothered to eat my dinner!) we get to triage, I wee in a pot, and wait in a waiting room, standing up and leaning on my forearms on a handily placed stretch of wall as the waves came. Mark plays a blinder, reminding me to carry on with the breathing techniques and rubbing my back, which really really helps. After a bit of a wait, we are seen, I have a trace, which has to be repeated because I was so uncomfortable lying on my back, that I moved, which meant the trace didn’t pick the baby up properly. Mark and I play boggle on my phone as a distraction from what’s going on. I lose twice- most unusual! A helpful midwife tells me she doesn’t think I’m in proper labour yet as the trace isn’t showing that I’m in enough pain… not sure how the trace knows this…

21:30- A more helpful doctor comes and examines me- and finds me to be four centimetres dilated. Whoop! I finally admit to myself that I’m really actually in labour, we’re turfed out of the cubicle to the waiting room again, and I call my mum to tell her that I’m not going to be able to baby sit my niece and nephew tomorrow! I enquire as to whether I’ll be able to go home for home birth as planned. The doctor doesn’t seem to think it’s a problem, but the midwife has other ideas, and after a bit of a battle between them, they advise me to stay put. I weigh it up and decide to stay. Talk is made of going up to the swanky midwife led unit upstairs

22:30- We’re still in the corridor. I’m feeling increadingly uncomfortable, am doing a lot of pacing of the corridor, feeling extremely self conscious as I lean against the wall, whimpering for my back to be rubbed, while Mark repeatedly asks if we’re going to be admitted. A final threat that we’re just going to go home and call out the midwife to there seems to perk them up a bit and I’m taken to a side room for another exam. 6ish centimetres dilated now. New doctor informs me she’s just given me a sweep, which I’m a bit miffed about- is there really any reason to give a sweep to someone who is already 6cm down the line??!

After a brief discussion it looks like they might not admit me to the midwife led unit, as they think I’m too small. Thankfully, I’m still feeling coherent enough to explain that if they look in my notes, I’m still under midwife-led care, having been discharged by a doctor twice because although I’m measuring small the baby is fine. They believe me and we’re taken up to the mecca that is the midwife led unit by Kelsey, who I’m told will be in charge of things.

23:00- Mark pops back out to the car to get the bags. I panic quietly to myself the whole time he’s gone, try for my 25th wee of the day and find I can’t go. Another midwife rubs my back a bit too hard, and I pray that Mark will return imminently so he can do the job instead. ‘Will you want to get in the pool?’ they ask. Yeah, why not, thinks I, so that’s filled up. Because I’d only bought my ’emergency transfer’ bag, and had never planned to be going in a pool, I realise I’d have to just go in in my bra. I incomprehensibly announce I could wear my knickers too, but am sensibly told that it might make it a bit tricky to do examinations.

The room is just as swanky as promised- low lighting, a vague smell of lavender, comfy chairs and this weird s-shaped sofa thing. I switch between a gym ball, leaning over the bed, up against the wall, slumping in the chair, curling up on the sofa. I move about a lot! I accept a cup of tea from someone that was offering one. I am nothing if not British and always accept tea in times of crisis. This doesn’t get drunk. I ask for fizzy drinks instead, so Mark pops off to get me a bottle from the machine in the corridor. Things really start to hot up, and I just can’t get comfortable. Kelsey points out I’m in labour… Comfortable probably isnt going to come into it for a while! Carry on breathing- in for 4, out for 7… Mark reminds me when I forget. I forget quite a bit! I threaten to throw up. A little paper bowl thingy is bought, but in spite of a bit of retching, no sick is forthcoming. Am told I’m doing amazingly repeatedly, and hear various people commenting on how well i’m doing… Wonder vaguely if they say that to everyone

Monday 9th February
00:25- Am leaning up against the wall when my waters go with a loud pop. I tell the midwives ‘wow that was a really loud pop’… they smile and humour me, strip off my wet clothes and tell me the pool’s ready. I practically run to it in my bra and hop in. Oh my god, it’s awesome- water is an amazing pain killer! I feel immediately more comfortable. They get me to try out some different positions, and eventually I settle on being on all fours. Pains are coming pretty thick and fast now, but just fade to nothing in between- it’s really weird!

01:01- (I can be quite specific, it’s in my notes!). The urge to push comes on. I crap myself (in the mental sense… but yes, also in the literal sense)- surely I’ve not been in labour for long enough- first labours are meant to be long… what’s all that about?! The midwives reassure me that that’s fine, I can push, but also, stop thrashing about in the pool, woman, you’re going to throw all the water out, and we can’t examine you if you’re creating tidal waves. I realise I’m panicking and manage to claw back some of my composure with more breathing.

Then commences a mere 25 minutes of pushing (And swearing, and making mad gutteral noises). Nothing at all really- some people have to go through hours of that. In an act of true love, when I say ‘Mark, my back’s cold and it hurts… could you splash the water on my back’, he unflinchingly obliges and I later realise he’s had to put his hands in the pooey water.

I spend a lot of time with my head down, resting my forehead on a towel on the side of the pool, pausing in the brief gaps between contractions for sips of coke through a straw. I can remember my face getting hot because of the steam from the pool, and wiping my nose on the towel. Subtle! I look up at some point and my two midwives have magically transformed into four. It was a really quiet night in the unit, so I’m sure most people wouldn’t have had four midwives on hand!

For the last month of pregnancy, I’d been listening to a hypnobirthing ‘affirmations’ MP3 every day, and had written down the ones that I’d really liked. The one that resonated the most was the only one I remember in the end- ‘my surges cannot be stronger than me, because they are me’- I took a hell of a lot of comfort from that in the pushing bit.

I tell the midwives to shout at me if I was trying to push the head out too fast, because I really really didn’t want to tear, and they oblige. I think I breathe it out pretty slowly. The whole process feels like pooing fire.  Mark, after a bit of encouragement, goes down to the business end to watch the head coming out, and I can remember a lot of midwives cooing because my boy had so much blonde hair- must be pretty rare in newborn babies!

01:26- after a bit of bobbing in and out at the entrance, I finally manage to push him out. I’d been told earlier on that in waterbirths, the midwives don’t really touch you, save for checking the baby’s heart beat periodically (they check what’s happening down there with the aid of a torch and a mirror, I later found out), so I was given the option to be the first person to touch my baby- It was pretty freaking amazing, actually- I give birth to him into the water, and after scrabbling around and nearly sitting on him (nothing graceful in my world, unfortunately), manage to pluck him out and we sit together in the goo-filled water for a cuddle until the cord stops pulsing. My main man has a little cry, but nothing major, and looks out at the world as happy as larry.

Cord cut, I ask if it might be easier to have the injection to do the ‘third stage’ of placenta delivery. Kathy, midwife number three, points out that I’d done the whole thing without any drugs, so what was the point of slinging some artificial hormones into the mix now? I take her point, and proceed au naturel. It takes about half an hour, probably could have been quicker, but I keep expecting my body to tell me what to do, or to push or something, but my body does bugger all, and it turns out you need to kind of poo out your placenta. We get there in the end, and Kelsey flicks a faceful of blood at herself- it’s the second time in as many days that has happened to her, apparently.

Mark, meanwhile, is indulging in a bit of father-son skin to skin time.

01:57- It’s all over… well, almost. I waddle over to the bed for a cuddle and an inspection of my nethers. My son’s first act of love is to enter the world with one hand up to his face and I end up with a second degree tear. Hooray! An hour wait is mooted before they can stitch me up, so after a brief bit of baby weighing and some initial tests I have another cuddle and Sarah helps me with the dark art of breast feeding. I’m not sure we get it… Sid, as he’s been formally named by this point doesn’t really seem to be that up on it either… We eventually get him latched on and me and Mark stare at him for ages feeling a little bit awestruck

03:00- Kathy returns with another midwife, Laura, and a syringe of anaesthetic. Time to stitch me up. I’m really not looking forward to that and oh dear lord the anaesthetic going in HURTS! I make a lot of ‘nyarg’ noises, and Kathy encourages me breathe through it. In the end the actual stitching bit was fine though. As a final flourish, I have some painkillers pushed up my bum and go off for a shower.

03:30- We’re installed in a little room of our own, with tea and toast, our son is sound asleep in one of those weird plastic crib thingys and I call my mum to give her the news, while Mark does the same to his parents. Its all a little bit weird, but eventually we drift off for a brief hour of shut-eye (Mark has a mad, non-comfortable fold out chair bed thing, me a surprisingly comfortable hospital bed- hospital pillows are brilliant!).

08:00-12:00- A bit of a flurry of activity- Sid has his initial check over by a midwife- our hearts were in our mouths when she seemed to spend an inordinately long amount of time listening to his heart- one ear’s worth of hearing test is done, and a clinic appointment booked for the second ear (nothing to worry about, apparently), more tea and toast is served, and the first poo is cleaned up – not as bad as everyone was making out, to be honest- it was like marmite. Sid’s core temperature isn’t high enough, so I indulge in a little more skin to skin, while having another go at breast feeding. He’s pretty uninterested again, and I’m shown how to hand express, which we collect up and syringe into him.

At about midday we’re told we’re able to go home, but in true NHS stylee, the printer breaks, and for some reason I have been given two hospital numbers, so until IT sort their shit out we’re going nowhere

14:00- I have a power nap, and eventually at two, we are discharged and set free into the world. Feel a bit wobbly walking through the corridors, but so glad to be going home to start our new life as three.

Week 22- getting organised

This week was basically a week of spending… 20 week scan over, I felt brave enough to buy some stuff!

-I bought my first practical items of baby stuff- a multi pack of tshirty things with the poppers underneath and two packets of wet wipes. The glamour!

-We picked up the new car (well,  the new old car) – it’s lovely, and the boot is fricking huge. Plus it has a rear view mirror, a feature sadly lacking in our last automobile

-With the new car and is massive boot we high tailed it to mothercare to buy bedroom furniture that was in the sale,  only to be told that it was delivery only.  Meaning the boot didn’t get used and we’ve already missed the delivery driver with the mattress twice what with WORKING 9-5 MONDAY TO FRIDAY. So now we have to drive past bloody mothercare to collect it from the citylink depot. Beginning to think mothercare are are load of idiots.

-Plans were made for the bathroom.  No money spent as yet,  but bloke to move boiler and electrician have been booked and we started looking at toilets and tiles, that sort of stuff

As well as the spending, Elvis (yeah, we’ve been calling the baby Elvis- even when I didn’t know is it was a boy, he was Elvis, mainly because we like nicknames) has been getting into a little routine of basically ignoring me for most of the morning, kicking a bit in the afternoon and evening,  but only when I’m not expecting it and never more than once in quick succession so if I get a hand down to see if I can feel anything from the outside he gets bored and hides, then curling up in a little ball for a snooze at night.  I know this because when I wake up for one of my many night time wees there’s always a weird hard lump there which I can only assume must be his bum sticking out.

Oh and Mark gave me his cold. Thanks Mark. It’s not properly kicked in yet,  but I can feel the sore throat and runny nose descending upon me. Time for some hot squash, I think.  Hot squash cures everything

A scantastic time

Last Friday was scan day.  Scan number 2 to be precise, aka the one where they can look for any ‘anomalies’ but also the one where you can maybe find out if you’re having a boy baby or a girl baby.

Off we went, bladder duly filled with 1 and a half pints of water, arriving bang on time for the appointment, only to have to wait over an hour to be seen. I was getting rather jiggly in the leg department by the end, to try and make all that fluid stay inside me!

Feeling like a seasoned scanning professional, I hopped on the bed, whipped my top up and prepared for the scanning goo. A good thing about my local hospital is they warm the gel up so there’s no sudden intake of breath when it hits you, although it does mean it has the consistency of spunk. Delightful.  A slightly boo point about my local health authority is they only provide one screen at scans- jo at work said she got her own one so she could still have a look while the sonographer was doing her thing.  Mark got to have a good gander too but I got nothing apart from 30 seconds at the start :(. Within that 30 seconds though, I saw a pair of balls go floating past, five seconds before it was announced that we are indeed expecting a boy baby.

The scan continued, everything seemed to be in the right place, I let a student have a go with the equipment (she got a LOT of that gel stuff in my belly button) and finally, blessedly, I got to have a wee, before releasing the news to various relatives.

I was a bit shell shocked to be honest- glad everything was ok, obviously, but if i’m bring truthful I had totally got it into my head that I was having a girl. We had an awesome girls name (two actually- spoiled for choice!), I had seen a cool bedroom colour scheme in the window of mamas and papas that I was intending on replicating in the bedroom and had basically planned that my girl baby and my youngest niece were going to be best mates.  And then I was wrong!

I wasn’t sad, well ok perhaps I was a little bit sad that my carefully laid plans wouldn’t come to fruition- but I fully accept I was being a bit mental in having the plans in the first place- youngest niece might have hated her new lady cousin- how on earth was I expecting to enforce this  friendship exactly? – but I did spend a few days being a bit flummoxed- looking at girl baby clothes in mothercare and vaguely thinking ‘that’ll be me soon’ whenever I saw someone pushing a buggy with a little girl in it and then realising actually it wouldn’t,  and boy baby might look a bit silly in a sparkly pink hat.

I’m still minutely miffed that I wont get to use my awesome girl name.  Seriously, it was brilliant- the right balance of unusual, but not ‘quirky’, and easy to spell but I think I’ve got over myself now- a more boy appropriate colour scheme had been picked, I bought my first item of clothing-  it had flying mooses on it!  Flying mooses I tell you! Names are another matter, no decision there,  but I think I’ve just learned my first parent lesson- don’t try and plan too much because it will generally come and bite you in the arse.

Pram wars

The search for a pram has occupied far more of my time than I care to admit in the last few weeks. So far, I’ve taken no less than three trips to mothercare and two to mamas and papas, spent three hours last Sunday making a spreadsheet comparing size, price and weight of about 20 different options, and most of my time outside perving at other parents’ pushchairs in case theres something I’ve not considered.

The choice is absolutely baffling and even the cheaper end of the market aren’t coming in at much under £300 (which leads to more problems- why are they so cheap? Will all the wheels fall off on the first outing?), which means that I’m pretty terrified that we’ll make the wrong choice, but be stuck with a lot of crap that we can’t afford to replace

Happily price isn’t actually too much of an issue at the moment, thanks to some generous input from my mum and the in laws, but then I worry that the expensive ones are going to be just as crap as the cheap ones but the annoyance of a picking a crap but expensive one will be magnified!

I realised that the spreadsheet wasn’t really helping and took my mum, sister, nephew and niece off shopping for a bit of real-life experience road testing what I thought were the top choices so far. Lauren is a bit of an expert in getting prams up and down, so she dealt with the reversing of seats, fitting of carry cots and flapping of flaps, while I tried to wrestle Lyla (18 months) in to various options for a push around to assess handling, while she screamed and cried. Eventually we gave up and persuaded Fin to have a go. At 3 and a half, he was clearly too big but i think he quite got into his role as chief tester in the end.

We tried out…

Mamas and Papas Sola City- it looked really cool, went up and down really easily, but was an absolute sod to push round corners

Mamas and Papas Sola2- Handled much better than the city (admittedly with nobody actually in it, although my mum held Lylas hand while pushing it one-handed and said it was easier than doing the same with Lauren’s Bugaboo Cameleon), but looked a bit plasticky and unfinshed in spite of it being the more expensive option than the City

Icandy Peach- this had actually been our ‘oh my goodness its expensive but I like it’ choice and indeed it did handle very well (with screaming Lyla in the driving seat) but i wasn’t sure if it wasn’t a bit small, although i didn’t really get a good look because Lyla was so desperate to make a quick exit from it). May need to steal another baby as a tester.

Mothercare Orb- we put Fin in this one, and while, yes, he was a bit on the big side, he still fitted and actually, it went around the shop really quite easily, in spite of the extra weight, including with the one- hander test! The one thing I thought was that it was a bit wibbly wobbly when stood still- the Orb has this rotating seat thing that just seemed to be a bit shakey, although as it wasnt mentioned at all in any of the reviews I read, i wonder if it was just a particularly well-used demo model. One thing the reviews did say though is that the carry cot was a bit slim. It did look pretty cool though- I was a bit of a fan of the teal colour.

So basically, I’m still no closer to making a decision! We’re going to meet our friends later for the Invictus Games closing ceremony (Foo Fighters, whoop!) and I can guess what we’ll be doing on our way through Westfield shopping centre!

Week 16

A week in which I went to see a midwife, possibly developed a bump and tried out maternity tights

Week 16 commenced on Saturday. I can still fit in my jeans and when I was dressed, really thought I was looking no different to normal.  Apparently not- popped round to see my mum who wasted no time in giving my tum a rub, while I flapped my arms around and whinged ‘stoppit now’ in increasingly desparate tones. The same thing happened when I saw my sister’s mum in law, but politeness stopped me from flapping even though I really wanted to. Had a lovely old time with my sister and mum discussing the merits of various prams and working out what stuff I might need to buy

Sunday saw what I believe could be termed as ‘extreme nesting’. Me and Mr Mark cleared out all our wardrobes, followed by the spare bedroom, followed by the study (which had been designated the baby’s room). After a mammoth trip to the recycling centre we decided to have a quick look in mothercare at prams.  Utterly baffling- I’m going to need to create some kind of matrix to weigh up the pros and cons of the relative types. Mark, meanwhile looked on the situation as am excuse to start looking at new cars as ‘surely ours is on its way out’ (it probably is- it’s about 15 years old,  but I am anti this mentality that when you have babies you must but a ‘family car’. Ugh).

Monday saw me at midwife appointment number 2. Only 40 minutes into the clinic and they were already inexplicably running half an hour late. I ended up being in there about 5 minutes- tick tick tick, blood test results all fine, blood pressure dandy, wee in pot, write on notes ‘ask if any questions’ without actually asking me if I had any (I didn’t, but still!), wave bye bye. Granted if I had any issue or problems the midwife appointments would be brilliant but seeing as my first two have been entirely problem free and felt like a bit of a tick box exercise,  I’m feeling vaguely resentful of having to take time off at the moment

This was also the week when I tried out maternity tights. They arrived in the bag of clothes that my sister provided a few weeks back and while very comfy in the bumpal area (normal tights were digging in and falling down all over the show), they had massive seams down about 6 inches of inner thigh, which wasn’t good in any way shape or form! Surely they can’t all be like that… I sense some intensive research coming on

Week 14- Sciatica Strikes

Still determined to get through everything with minimum fuss and maximum normality, I was brushing off anyone that said ‘ooh you shouldn’t be lifting that’- after copious amounts of time on Google I just couldn’t find much of anything to support the theory that lifting things=bad.

So after a few days of well, normal stuff, carrying shopping in from the car, picking up the odd box of stuff at work and at one point, getting annoyed with someone because they tried to stop me from picking up a patio chair, I was starting to get a pain in the bum.

I’ve had sciatica in the past before, usually after a week long conference which involves lots of mega heavy lifting and dragging around a lot of luggage, but it tends to disappear after a few stretches and, obviously, a week off of lumping boxes around.

Now,  however, even my handbag was giving me gyp! I was turning into a delicate little pregnant flower. Bah!

I turned to Mr Mark, his encyclopaedic knowledge of things that are good for a bad back and basic knowledge of yoga and I tried out a few moves- cat and cow, and this one where you lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent, put your foot on the opposite knee, in a sort of triangle,  then reach through the gap, around your thigh and stretch gently.  A bit hard to explain, but I think it’s called a periformus stretch if you want to look it up.  As a caveat, I don’t think lying in your back is good for all pregnant women so don’t do if you feel faint or dizzy!

Happily a week of stretches have seemed to set me straight and I’ll be watching for any niggles… and as much as I hate it, promise faithfully I will ask for help in lifting anything heavier than a can of sprite.

A new arrival

Two days ago heralded the arrival of a new niece- One Lyla Mary Tolan- here she is with her big brother Fin. Strange coincidence number one- Lyla and Fin share a birthday. Strange coincidence number two- so do their mum (my little sister Lauren), and I!- Seriously, what are the odds?! We should have put some money on it

Yesterday Mark and I  made our way over to see Lauren and her hubby Jordan, and the kids, decked out with flowers, birthday presents, and belated shrove tuesday pancakes.

A bit of dinner, a bit of pancake eating and some football later, when they were just getting Fin into his pyjamas, disaster strikes- The sort of vomming not seen since the Exorcist. Poor old Jordan (my brother in law) got covered and Fin was having a right old mare, so they trooped off upstairs for a clean up session.

Now, me and Mark are not what you would call responsible adults, preferring to spend the majority of our down time watching cartoons and eating pizza, and so were more than happy to spend some time hosing all the lumps out of the front room carpet, while trying not to gag too much, rather than having to worry about calming down a distraught two year old, so were quietly congratulating ourselves on getting the better deal, when we realised that we’d been left in charge of Lyla, who was merrily snoozing on the sofa. Cue five minutes of standing over her suspiciously and a conversation that went thus:
mark’is she cold?
me-‘how can you tell?’
mark-‘i have no idea’
me- ‘well lets get a blanket’
mark-‘but the blankets are covered in sick’
me-‘errrm, ok lets use a teatowel’

then a bit later
mark-‘she looks ridiculous in that teatowel…maybe you should pick her up
‘me- ‘no, you pick her up’
mark- ‘okay okay’… deep breath
me-‘aren’t you meant to support the head?’

followed by
mark- ‘oh bugger, she’s been sick on me’
me-‘errrm, there are some baby wipes down here- it says theyre sensitive ones…
mark- ‘I don’t think you can use them on babies faces’
me- ‘errrmmm….ok, well lets take her sicky clothes off
then 30 seconds of chuckle brothers-esque to me-to-you-ing, by which point we were no further forward and Lyla was looking at us wondering what the hell was going on

Thankfully, my sister came back downstairs then and relieved us from our inept pseudo-parenting. I honestly don’t know how parents do it- It must just be a 24-7 panic that you’re doing something wrong and blagging your way through it- Do they deliver an instruction manual with the placenta, perhaps? Here’s hoping, or I might never know what to do!