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Mr Eli turns 2!

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I can hardly believe it. Our darling little boy turned 2 on Wednesday!

We had a wonderful day celebrating. We started off our day at 5:30am, (as we do most days!), we had lovely cuddles in bed before heading downstairs. We’d set the living room up the night before, ready for Eli to pounce bright and early the next day. We sauntered down the stairs and said a big “1, 2 3… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” as Eli entered the room. He stood completely still, mouth gaping, in utter shock! It was amazing. We must have stood there for a minute before he gathered that all these bright and exciting presents were actually for him! It was so sweet. He spent the entire morning overwhelmed, not quite sure where to look or where to run to next. It was amazing to see him opening presents this year, and even better when he realised what was actually beneath the wrapping paper. Just the best feeling in the world – I could have watched him all day,  as he was just enjoying EVERYTHING. He even blew out his candles himself this year! (I spent the day previous baking his cake – never have I ever been so stressed in the kitchen in all my life! Blog post on the cake to follow)

We went off to the Big Smoke a little later than anticipated due to the present-opening overload. The weather forecast was torrential rain for the day… but it was bright when we got to London Zoo; and swelteringly hot by mid-afternoon. We went to Colchester Zoo for Eli’s 1st birthday last year… think we may make a Zoo visit it an annual thing for Eli’s birthday as he absolutely LOVES the animals! To the extent that he cried when we would leave a section of the zoo to move onto the next area! His highlights were definitely the giraffe’s, hyena’s, goat’s (!!!) and all the different monkey’s (takes one to know one!).

We had a very full day at the zoo and Eli had TWO naps! TWO! We had a not-so-good experience at Strada in Camden and headed home – we didn’t get in until 10:30pm! Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun!

Eli is the happiest little boy who loves adventure’s. It’s incredible seeing him grow – I never thought we’d actually be able to see it happening before our very eyes, but he is developing every single day. He completed our lives he arrived on 6th August 2012 and we couldn’t be prouder parents. Eli is quite literally magic.

Our precious boy, always ask questions – always be curious. We love you to the moon and the stars and back!

Here are some snaps from Eli’s 2nd birthday celebrations!

#MrEliTurns2

MM.

x

#MrEliTurns2

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So there we have it. As of 21.43 on 6th August, we have our very own 2 year old human!

 

 

 

 

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Recipe | Banana Loaf? Banana Bread? Banana Cake? … whatever you like to call it!

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One of my favourite things to do is cook and cooking/baking with Eli is double the fun! Eli has Wednesday’s off from nursery, so Wednesday is OUR day. We usually do fun things like go to the local play group, paint or bake. Or as last Wednesday would have it, all three – and more!

I had 2 very over ripe banana’s – which is often the case. So one of my favourite things to do with those banana’s that are well ‘past it’, is to make this delicious Banana Loaf. I call it Banana Loaf, but I know people who fondly refer to it as Banana Cake or Banana Bread. Whatever your preference, this is a fail safe, incredibly yummy recipe! I have adapted the recipe, from Mary Berry’s “Baking Bible” and added a little secret ingredient at the end, which I know goes down very, very well with my family! There’s usually very little left after it’s been freshly baked… but it does have a good shelf life if you can resist the temptation of eating it all in one go!

Happy baking!

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BANANA LOAF*

Ingredients.
100g Softened Butter
175g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs (I used Medium, but Large is the preferred if you have them in!)
2 Ripe Bananas (mashed)
225g Self Raising Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
2 Tbsp. Milk

Optional.
Sea Salt (I use Maldon Sea Salt Flakes).

Method.
1) Preheat the oven to 180C / Fan 160C / Gas 4.
2) Lightly grease a 2lb loaf tin, then line the base and sides with baking parchment.
3) Measure all ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat for about 2 minutes, until well blended.
4) Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the surface.
5) Here comes my secret ingredient! I love to sprinkle sea salt flakes over the top before popping the tin into the oven. It adds texture and has such a nice contrasting taste to the crust. It’s very well received by those who have eaten this finished product!
6) Bake in the pre-heated over for about 1 hour, until well risen and golden brown. A fine skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean if the loaf is ready.
7) Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out, peel of the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.

*Recipe adapted from “The Baking Bible”, by Mary Berry.

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Honestly, one of the easiest recipes to bake. Always tasted. Always works! Perfect for using up those miserable looking banana’s to boot! You can of course always add sultana’s or even chocolate chips to the cake batter. It’s a very adaptable recipe!

Let me know how your’s works out!

MM.

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EVENT | Celebrating 80 years of iCandy.

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A few months ago I was contacted by iCandy; it was all a little bit secret. I was intrigued, excited. Then a few weeks ago I received the most wonderfully presented envelope, in the post, that I’d seen in a long time! Inside was even better, an invitation to the  iCandy 80th Anniversary event on Tuesday 10th September, at superb events venue, One Marylebone, London.

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I was thrilled to be invited and of course made that RSVP shortly after.

Looking forward to the event, I made my journey into London early so that I could meet my OH and he could then take Mr Eli for some lovely food and then home for bed. I arrived at One Marylebone just a little after 6:30pm, where I was greeted with the warm welcome of event staff, a red carpet and a truly eye-catching iCandy facade, laden with vibrantly coloured parasols!

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Upon ticking my name off the guest list, I was ushered upstairs; where I was promptly handed a glass of Moët & Chandon and walked around the show space that displayed all the beautiful iCandy designs to date.

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I paid particular attention to the newest model, the Apple2Pear, as I hadn’t yet seen it in real life. I was astonished at the versatility and function of the design. Coming in 7 different colours, I am drawn to the Chilli and Raspberry Blue colourways. This is definitely the perfect travel system for when your family grows.

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So as the drinks flowed and the very tasty canapés were devoured, the time had come to head downstairs for the show to really begin! I was shown to a magical room filled with all things ‘woodland’, including a huge tree.

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I was seated on front row, or FROW as you fashionista’s will refer to it these days 😉 Once everyone was seated we were treated to the most amazing sounds of Whinnie Williams – voice like an actual angel!

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Other familiar faces to FROW were Imogen Thomas, Grace Woodward, Jasmine Guinness and Jodie Kidd. We were then introduced to iCandy‘s Managing Director Martin Boyle and joint CEO’s the Appel Brother’s themselves. It was incredible listening to men with such passion for their work – and their teams. I was in literal tears during the speeches. A new partnership between iCandy and The Lullaby Trust was also formally announced; and a cheque of £5,000 was given to the trusts’ CEO, Francine Beats. iCandy have teamed up with ex-Mulberry designer, Janet Collin, who has created a special new changing bag; the Emilia bag. £10 from the sale of each bag, will be given to The Lullaby Trust.

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Following the speeches was a fashion show, previewing the 2014 collection. New flavour packs in bright colours, upgraded designs (including a black chassis) and fashion-conscious handbags.

The highlight for me was the big reveal of the forthcoming new model to the iCandy family, The iCandy Raspberry. Of which, I was in actual awe – both during the catwalk show and post-show, where I stood for a good 30 minutes watching the hands-on demonstration, showing us all the multitude of ways the pushchair can be flipped and changed around, as well as folded up. The iCandy Raspberry is a stunning piece of innovative design, in form and function. The design is very, very neat, lightweight and stylish. The iCandy Raspberry is suitable from birth, but does not have a carrycot! Brilliant! There is however a very snuggly newborn “Pod” that will keep your brand new arrival warm, cosy and most importantly, secure. This pushchair has been designed for the city-dweller, someone who needs a pram that is adept in crowds and along city streets, lightweight to get up stairs and on public transport, but it’s also pretty darn cool too! The best-looking pram I’ve EVER seen – and we’ve seen A LOT of prams! This design can lay completely flat, but also reclines for older children; it’s also forward and parent-facing. Bonus. I also want to mention that I was shocked at how small the Raspberry was when folded, it’s tiny. We currently have an iCandy Strawberry and although it folds down well, we do struggle to get it in and out of the car – and it does take up pretty much the entire boot of our VW Polo. The Raspberry would give you back your boot, if you’re in the same situation!

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I also loved the large shopping basket on the iCandy Raspberry, which features a ‘glove compartment’ as I fondly like to call it. The hard case could house your raincover, keys, phone etc, great for keeping your valuables out of sight. The iCandy Raspberry will come in around 7 new colour flavour packs, names to be confirmed. But the colours that were displayed were just stunning. I want them ALL! I love that you can swap and change the colours around – so versatile.

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After the demonstration I headed over to the cupcake table, passing the very lovely ’80’ cake and took 2 cupcakes home. One for me with a midnight cup of tea and one for OH, who’d had a tough evening with Mr Eli. We both really appreciated those delicious cup cakes, believe me! I also thoroughly enjoyed my lovely iCandy goodie bag filled with lots of lovely catalogues, magazine, leather-bound note book, mug, pen and yummy chocolates!

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What an absolutely amazing evening was had by all. I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to iCandy for inviting me to the event. It was wonderful to meet the brains behind the brand and to experience the passion of everyone involved.

MM.

 

PS – Apologies for the rubbish quality of some of the photos. The show was very quick-paced and the lighting changed frequently. Plus, to be fair, I need a new phone!

 

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Mr Eli’s 1st Birthday!

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This weekend we celebrated Mr Eli’s first birthday with party at our (newly moved into!) home. All his friends came and the sun even made an appearance too! Here are some snaps from the day 🙂

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Dj Boy!

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Eli’s AMAZING cake! Made by Lady H Bakes, Essex.

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Eli wearing his amazing cake!

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I ADORE Belle & Boo, I used their party pieces as a kind of theme for the party.

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Ball pool fun!

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Eli and some of his buddies.

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A worn out birthday boy, ready for bed!

We had a wonderful day, with wonderful company and wonderful food. Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated Eli’s very first birthday with us!

MM.

xx

WHATELIWORE: Ralph Lauren Oxford Shirt, Ralph Lauren Shorts, Red Converse Hi-Top Trainers. Blog post coming soon. 

 

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Weekly Update: 41 Weeks Pregnant // We’re overdue!

Well, I definitely DID NOT think I would be writing a weekly pregnancy update at 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant, that is for sure!

But it’s been quite a week so here is my update, thus far.

I had the first of my two ‘Sweeps’ on Wednesday. During my appointment at Broomfield, I met with my lovely Midwife, Caroline and Consultant. Both parties were concerned about the size of Boy – obviously, he’d measured up large for dates since Week 28. But on Wednesday I measured at 44cm (44 weeks pregnant). SO! They both agreed that I should not go past Sunday without having Boy as he’s looking too large now. So another Sweep was also organised for Friday (yesterday), incase the first one didn’t work. I was also tested for MRSA and given the usual checks, all of which were fine.

The first sweep did not work, despite me having really painful period pains and contractions for 10 hours! So feeling a little despondent, back to the hospital we went again yesterday. A second sweep was performed and the Midwife really gave it a good go – she even tickled Boy’s head – which was a bit strange! When we got home I was convinced the sweep had worked! So we had yet ANOTHER curry and bounced on my ball as we watched more Olympic’s 🙂

But no, the second sweep doesn’t appear to have worked either! BOO 🙁

I also just wanted to point out that a sweep really doesn’t hurt. Yes, it was uncomfortable – but it’s going to be. I can honestly not believe that people have said this procedure is painful on forums and other blogs.

So, it looks like we’ll be going back to the hospital tomorrow to have the induction kick-started. I have to call in advance to ensure we have a bed and will be given a Propess Pessary when ready. We’ll be staying in the hospital for at least 6 hours and will be sent home if nothing happens. Then we have to go back within 24 hours for assessment and if nothing else happens, we’ll be having my waters broken and placed on a drip. Which I’m REALLY hoping won’t happen as I desperately wanted a water birth. Water has helped so so much during my pregnancy – I’ve literally not been out the bath! It’s been so helpful for my SPD pains.

So keep your fingers and toes crossed that Boy decides he wants to come naturally tonight, so we don’t have all the hassle tomorrow!

MM.

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Weekly Update: 40 Weeks Pregnant // Today is our DUE DATE.

Last Saturday we went to a wedding! This is us at 39+1 weeks.

Baby size at 40 weeks: 50 cm long.

Baby weight at 40 weeks:  7.6 + lbs

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Well, here we are. The day I didn’t think we’d actually get to! Today is our DUE DATE. Actually cannot believe that Boy hasn’t arrived before now!

I’d convinced ourselves that I’ve been in “slow labour” since Monday of this week. I’ve either been going to bed with VERY regular and quite intense contractions… or waking up at 3:30am with the pains. The pains start off as period style cramps (front and back) and nausea, then I get the tightening across my tummy. I’ve also had the most excruciating stabbing pains in my undercarriage at the same time. It’s been the most frustrating thing EVER. Every night we’ve gone to bed thinking “THIS IS IT!!!”. Last night felt like Christmas Eve and we went to bed incredibly excited! But Christmas hasn’t arrived so far today 🙁

BOOO!

Now I’m going to have a little rant – please excuse me! 🙂

I went for my final Midwife check up yesterday and have to say I wasn’t (and still aren’t!) happy with how it went. Firstly, there was a student midwife left in charge. No other help at all! I’d normally have my assigned midwife, and then a student if she had one that week. So I was really very shocked. Now, I do not mind students or trainee’s to do the usual checks – I’m all for it! How else will people learn, without practical case studies!? But yesterday was my last appointment, I had lots of questions and frankly the midwife just wasn’t experienced enough!

Firstly, she did my blood pressure and it came out as 110/80. Which is about usual for me, as per my notes (which, she did look through after checking each and . She said my blood pressure was HIGH? But this blood pressure is ‘optimal’ if anything! I ignored it.

Then it came to measuring me. Now I’ve measured big the entire time. Last Thursday I measured 42cm (by two different people!). Now I know this is not an exact science and normally don’t read anything into the fundal measurements – especially since we had our growth scan a fortnight ago! But she measured me at *just* 38 weeks. So obviously, I was dubious. I asked her to re-measure me as I can’t have lost 4cm in the space of a week – I’m usually growing 3cm a week! She re-measured me and said “Oh yes, about 40cm”. Whatever.

THEN she went to check Boy’s heart rate. But nothing was registering on the doppler. She started to panic, pulling the probe across my tummy. I showed her where to locate his heart beat. But it still wasn’t registering on the monitor… She blamed the machine and said it must be broken. But it wasn’t broken, SHE HADN’T PUT GEL ON THE PROBE! Struth.

THEN! I asked if she was going to examine me. Especially considering the contractions and pains I’ve been experiencing. She said she wasn’t allowed due to “policy”. I was completely under the illusion that you were given an internal at 40 weeks, to check your cervix/dilation?! Apparently not at my hospital! Or was it the case that she wasn’t supervised?! So frustrated!! And it’s doing nothing for my Oxytocin levels!

So I’m not very happy. At all.

My next appointment will be for my sweep at Broomfield Hospital on Wednesday 1st August. But hey, Boy is DEFINITELY coming this weekend, so we won’t be attending that appointment 😉

 

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/40weeks/

After months of anticipation, your due date has been and gone, and… you’re still pregnant. It’s frustrating, but lots of women find themselves in this situation. Your baby continues to shed the greasy, white substance (vernix caseosa) which has been protecting his skin. If he shows no sign of making an appearance after another week, he may have slightly dry skin when he arrives.

Your baby has mastered all the skills he’ll need after he’s born. He can instinctively search for his thumb and suck it, just as he will search for your breast for a feed soon after birth.

 

MM.

 

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Weekly Update: 39 Weeks Pregnant.

Here we are at 38 + 1 weeks pregnant at the Day Assessment Unit in Broomfield Hospital.

Baby size at 39 weeks: 50 cm long.

Baby weight at 39 weeks:  7.2 + lbs

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Me and the internet have been having a somewhat long distance relationship the last fortnight! I’ve been absolutely EXHAUSTED. I’ve been getting up around 4-5 times a night for a wee (HOW?!) and been snoozing throughout the day. Aside from when I’ve been having hospital appointments and meeting the girls from my NCT group!

So, I’m just a week away from my due date. I REALLY thought Boy would have arrived by now. Considering how big he is! But clearly, he’s just far too cosy in there.

Last week I went to the doctors about my rash (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy) who was beyond blasé about the whole thing. By Saturday of last week, I’d scratched myself so badly I was drawing blood. I was also struggling with my SPD, so we took a trip up to the Day Assessment Unit at Broomfield to seek their advice. I was taken to an assessment room and hooked up to a monitor for 45 mins. I had lots and lots of tests done. But the doctors were not concerned about my rash – it’s quite common and will disappear after Boy arrives. What they were concerned about was the fact I’m still measuring big! I was measuring just over 41 weeks. So went for a growth scan on Wednesday of this week while we awaited results for late onset Gestational Diabetes. Boy is measuring correctly for 39 weeks… apart from his tummy! He’s a little bit on the chunky side 😀 To us, he sounds absolutely SCRUMMY! The scan, at so far into my pregnancy, was incredible! You could see his spiky hair at the back of his head! But because he was so big and squashed, you really couldn’t see as much as on earlier scans. SO, it’s back to the waiting game!

Boy is still head down (good boy) and is 2/5th palpable – which means only 2/5th’s of his head can now be felt above my pelvis. So that’s good.

We REALLY hope he arrives soon – we’re beyond impatient! 🙁

 

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/39weeks/

It’s all about watching and waiting now, as your baby could arrive any day. Your baby could be up to 50cm long, and weigh about 3kg.

The hair on your baby’s head may now be thick, and his fingernails extend beyond his fingertips. They may look long when he’s born. Your baby’s skull bones are not yet fused, which allows them to overlap as he passes through the birth canal during labour. This is the reason your baby’s head may look cone-shaped after birth.

 

MM.

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Weekly Update: 37 Weeks Pregnant // Full Term!

Here we are at 36 + 3 weeks pregnant! Not long now!

Baby size at 37 weeks: 49 cm long.

Baby weight at 37 weeks:  6.1+ lbs

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This week we are FULL TERM! Absolutely ecstatic 😀

So this weekly update comes to you late, again. I had to give the interw3bz the old ‘heave ho’ this last week as I was ACTUALLY resting up! I’m finally listening to what my body wants… Well, I gave in more like.

This week I have somehow managed to develop PUPPP (pruritic uticarial pupules and placques of pregnancy or also known as, polymorphic eruption of pregnancy). With me being small and petite before my pregnancy, my tummy has had a good old stretch into my third trimester, where I started getting stretch marks to my hips, upper thighs and some under my belly button. But that was it…. I had my pregnancy massage last week and noted that some of the stretch marks under my belly button were sore and itchy. Since then, they became REALLY itchy. To point where I have zero self-control and have itched them to the point of bleeding. The stretch marks formed bumpy rashes that have since developed into ‘hive’ like spots. The rashes have spread to my upper and lower (inside) arms, behind my knees and my chest. It’s the most uncomfortable thing ever. PUPPP mixed with SPD has been horrendous. Through false labour into the equation and you have my week pretty much wrapped up!

So what could be causing the PUPPP? Well, PUPPP is more common in mothers with large fundal measurements and/or those who are carrying large babies, twins, and triplets. Certain studies reveal that this condition is more frequent in women carrying boys, although no formal research has been conducted. Statistics cite that 70% percent of PUPPP sufferers deliver boys.

Well, as I have documented throughout my updates, baby boy bump has always measured large (around 5 weeks bigger than the average measurements). In fact, at my last midwife appointment he was described as “larger than average”. So this all adds up. I’ve only been able to lather myself in E45 cream and continued to take Piriton which I was prescribed for my Hayfever. I’ve also tried E45 oil in luke-warm baths (hot water can irritate the rash and make you even more itchy!). It doesn’t seem to be getting any better to be quite truthful, but allegedly it’s another one of those pregnancy ailments that just magically disappear when you finally pop! So fingers crossed!

So as you can probably tell, I am not a happy bunny all-in-all.

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/37weeks/

Your baby is now considered to be “full term”. That means they are capable of feeding and breathing outside the womb without any medical assistance. Your baby is starting to look nice and plump, and will continue putting weight on steadily until they’re born. The new fat stores are keeping their body temperature about 0.3-0.5°C above yours. They’ll need to be wrapped up warmly after they’re born though, otherwise their bare wet skin will lose heat rapidly. Your baby is also showing all the reflexes they will have as a newborn, curling their fingers and toes tightly around objects (grasp reflex) and turning their head and opening their mouth when something touches their cheek (rooting reflex). They’ll need this last reflex to find your nipple once they’re born.
Your baby’s head is now cradled in your pelvic cavity – surrounded and protected by your pelvic bones. This position clears some much-needed space for his growing legs and buttocks. Many babies now have a full head of hair, with locks up to 3.5cm long. And then, of course, some babies don’t have any hair at all. Speaking of hair, most of the downy coat of lanugo that covered your baby from 26 weeks has disappeared, and so has most of the vernix caseosa, the protective whitish substance that also covered him.

 

MM.

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Weekly Update: 36 Weeks Pregnant

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/36weeks/

Baby size at 36 weeks: 47 cm long.
Baby weight at 36weeks:  5.9+ lbs

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So this has been my first week away from work… it’s been strange. It feels like I’m just on holiday at the minute and have to go back next week! Very surreal.

I’ve had a busy week this week, despite trying to relax. On Monday I went to see a Physio regarding my SPD. There’s literally nothing we can do. I just have to suck it up basically. But the Physio did say that because of the way my coccyx has moved, it’s actually in a better position for labour – along with the fact that all of my ligaments have softened early. It should all make for a more comfortable birth (FINGERS CROSSED!!).

On Tuesday I had a Mummy-To-Be massage! It was incredible! I will be writing a separate post on this.

Wednesday we had a tumble dryer delivered! Considering the weather, we can’t really use the whirlygig (as much as I’d love to!) and we just won’t have the space to hang the laundry to dry around the house soon – so it made sense! Especially as I’ll be washing A LOT more soon!

Yesterday I had my standard Midwife appointment. Baby boy is still measuring up big – 38 and half weeks! The Midwife also pointed out that Baby Boy feels “larger than average”. OH DEAR. She also said that she thinks he may weigh something in the region of 9 and half lbs at full term. OUCH. I’m only 5 ft 1, so it’s absolutely no wonder I’ve been in agony with my pelvis! He’s a heavy boy! Baby Boy has also slid further into my pelvis and is sitting “low”. Aside from that, everything is absolutely normal.

I then met up with some of the lovely ladies from my NCT group and we went along to a session called ‘Bumps and Babes’ in Brentwood. The four of us were the only bumps there… but there were lots of babes! It was so so nice to catch up with the girls from my group, outside of the group and without partners! But it was also great to observe new mum’s and their beautiful babies for the afternoon. It was a great insight into how babies behave and react in the early early months… and made us all feel a lot more positive about taking our brand new baba’s out. Added bonus was coffee and cake! Yummy. Will hopefully be able to go next week too.

Feeling-wise, I’m still suffering with my SPD. It’s really painful after walking… and when I get up first thing. I’ve had another increase in Braxton Hicks and been getting stabbing pains in my undercarriage – apparently all normal.

 

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Any time now, your baby might start to move down lower in the pelvis, getting ready to be born. This is called ‘lightening’. Your little one weighs around 6lb this week and is about 47cm long.

MM.

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Merry Easter!

Wishing you all a very merry Easter!

I’m not a massive chocolate fan, so didn’t receive any chocolate or sweetie related Easter gifts. I did buy OH a Creme Egg Easter egg and obligatory Lindt chocolate bunny of course 🙂

I am currently roasting up a lovely piece of lamb with rosemary and garlic instead, while OH bakes a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Apple and almond pudding cake.

MM.