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PREGNANCY & ME // THE DUE WINDOW

As I sit  bounce on my birth ball and write this post, I am currently 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant.

The “Any news?” and the “How are you feeling today…. ?” and the “Any twinges?” and the “Any sign of movement?” and the “Do you think it’ll be today?” and even the “ARE YOU IN LABOUR?!” messages are coming in thick and fast. In fact, they’ve been coming in thick and fast since around 35 weeks. Granted, the influx of messages this past week isn’t helped by my stint on BBC Radio 1 with Scott Mills & Chris Stark; that was my bad. But also, imagine this, 5 weeks of daily messages that aren’t really helping with my precious Oxytocin* levels.

*Oxytocin is the ‘love hormone’. The hormone we release when we feel good. This exact same hormone is responsible for every single surge we experience during labour. The hormone that drives your labour is Oxytocin – so we want to ensure our body is filled with Oxytocin!

I know the messages are well meaning and I know they’re from a good place, mostly of excitement for us all, which is lovely! Even when its from the random ‘friend’ with whom you’re “friends” with on Facebook, but haven’t spoken to since you left school or the SECURITY GUARD in sodding Waitrose! I’ve been polite and responded with my favourite affirmation, “My baby will come when my baby is ready”. – Which I know has caused some annoyance, but it is a true statement and it’s my go-to affirmation! Let’s be honest though, we really aren’t going to forget to message or indeed announce the arrival of our little babe. Honestly, we won’t…. Unless the messages and calls and comments keep coming, in which case, maybe we won’t tell you anything  😉 (To say that, The First Fourty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing a New Mother is looking very favourable right now, would not be an understatement 😉 haha)

So, with this all in mind, my phone is either on silent or on Do Not Disturb…or perhaps I’m resting/nesting/napping/busy hanging with Eli. And if I do happen to open a message regarding the imminent arrival of our little one, even if its sent under the clever guise of “How are you doing today? Not as hot, which must be great for you!“, then I’m truthfully sorry, but I just cannot reply to these messages or comments any longer. James will update you instead. I’ve already taken myself away from social media (if you hadn’t noticed). The pressure of going into the later stages of my ‘due window’ and receiving daily communications like the above is driving me to distraction. I was tempted to switch my phone off completely… but I would assume that reaching the answer phone would only stir up additional excitement. So Do Not Disturb and having James monitor my messages it is. This might sound drastic or even dramatic, but in the most polite of terms, I have to put myself first now. I struggle with anxiety, and I’m dealing with all-sorts in me head as it is, so from my own personal perspective, this is just something that I need to do.

Being ‘overdue’ is exactly why we should be given a DUE WINDOW – or a ‘due month’. Every NHS provider here in the UK will allow a woman to reach 42 weeks before any medical assistance. And even then, we can decline intervention of any kind, unless there is a medical necessity of course. Therefore your ‘due window’ ranges from 37 weeks to 42 weeks. As my sister pointed out the other day, women have been giving birth for millions of years without assistance – they’ve also been giving birth without a specific time slot for the baby’s arrival too.

The obsession on due dates is mind-blowing. The pressure on women to give birth by an exact date is ridiculous. Dates can be wrong, really wrong. My cycle following my miscarriage went from being a standard 28 days to anything up to 35 days. I don’t know the exact moment I ovulated and I don’t know the exact moment I conceived this little babe. My body is not a robot, and neither is my baby. So how on earth is the baby meant to know when to arrive?! She doesn’t get an alarm clock in there that goes off at 40 weeks.  In actual fact, here in the UK, only 3-5% of babies are born on their ‘due date’. Thats potentially 97% of women going into the later stages of their own due window. This is quite commonplace. And even though I’ve been doing alllllllll of the old wives tales (Curry, Pineapple – of which has now severely blistered my tongue, x3 cups of Raspberry Leaf Tea a day, 6 dates a day etc), NOTHING will kickstart labour unless the mother is relaxed, calm and at ease. Any slight stress or apprehension, (darling family and friends, I am really sorry, but the messages are included here) WILL stop labour from starting. This most certainly happened with Eli so I have been doing EVERYTHING I can to avoid the trauma of Eli’s labour and birth happening a second time around – with Hypnobirthing playing the integral part here <<<< That will be my next post.

So, until I’m stress-free and relaxed, my baby will not release the hormone, Fibronectin. Yes, this is getting very Science, but as I said, this is not down to me, this is all precise science. Fibronectin is the protein produced by the baby which is released into the amniotic sac. This protein is then picked up by the cervix and given the go ahead to start labour. My baby quite literally knows when and how to be born.

Here is a list of things keeping me busy in the meantime:

  • “My baby will come when my baby is ready” – by literal means, as mentioned above. I trust that my baby and my body will work together when the time is right. My baby is cosy and healthy and safe in there right now. She’s still kicking the crap out of my ribs and undercarriage. So thats the main thing!
  • Napping.
  • Cleaning and tidying, again.
  • Probably re-packing my hospital bags for the 100th time.
  • Waking every hour during the night to empty what appears to be a full bladder that comes from god only knows where.
  • Ordering a take away because its too hot and I’m too tired to cook.
  • Enjoying the final days/weeks of my pregnancy – I feel so lucky to have had these last 9 months with my bump (despite the sickness, the additional appointments, the SPD and despite the hot, hot heat!). If this is the last time I’m pregnant, I really want to treasure it in the final stages.
  • Practicing my Hypnobirthing affirmations and Up/Down breathing.
  • Over-using my birth ball.
Bathing in Clary Sage, eating all the chocolate and drinking all the faux-prosecco!

 

  • Likely to be nagging delegating jobs to James.
  • Most importantly of all, I’m cherishing being able to hang out with our nearly 7 year old boy who’s life is also about to be turned upside down when his little sister finally decides to arrive. The Summer holidays have fallen at just the right time for us – so I’m treating these final days, just us two, as a real luxury.

I know and understand its difficult to be patient when you’re excited for us – we’re desperately trying to be patient too! And also please know, that this post isn’t meant to cause offence, its more just a way to update you all with were we’re at. I apologise profusely if this does offend; this is sincerely not my intention and I really hope you can all understand. We honestly appreciate all of the kind words and messages; I will look back over everything when the babe is here 🙂 James will also be in touch when anything of significance happens. And we promise we won’t forget to let you know when she does to decide to arrive Earthside.

Which you never know, could always be sooner than we think 🙂

C
✖️✖️✖️

 

 

 

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Brand In Focus | Southwood Stores.

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Southwood Stores is an online concept store by Hayley Southwood, where you will find handpicked, quirky, Scandinavian influenced gifts and homewares. Hayley believes passionately about empowering women and has recently launched her own in-house label GRAY, celebrating strong women.

I first came across Hayley and her online shop back in 2013. (I can’t believe it was 3 years ago?! Time sure does fly with a toddler in tow!) At that time, Hayley was the only UK stockist of Hello Apparel; and I went straight ahead and ordered a HELLO Jumper from her, along with one of our most loved prints that sat in Eli’s bedroom, The Mountain Print by Clare Nicholson. I always loved parcels from Hayley, with the attention to detail of packaging and customer care; with some treats even winging their way over to Berlin!

Watching Hayley, via Instagram, over the past few years has been wonderful. Seeing how her little shop has grown and expanded with wicked new products and new brands, through to the launch of her very own clothing label: GRAY By Southwood Stores.  The ethos of Hayley and her shop is to be brave and follow your dreams. And she’s definitely succeeding there – having now opened her very own Southwood Stores showroom – where you can not only have a cuppa with the lady herself, but from here she also offers Social Media / Branding services with sessions operating on-site.

Details of showroom opening times are as follows:

Monday 10am-2.30pm
Wednesday 10am-2.30pm
Friday 10am-2.30pm
First Saturday of the month 11am-2pm

I could buy everything that Southwood Stores have in stock, but here are some of my current favourites hitting the top of my #MoMWishlist:

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WIRE MESH MEMO-BOARD (BLUE) – £55.00

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VINTAGE SCHOOL CHAIRS – £60.00

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PALM LEAVES – £55.00

Back to GRAY By Southwood Stores. Hayley worked really hard to find the right garments for her label – high quality and responsibly made. The slogan graphic prints are also locally screen-printed by a “woman owned business”. I think it’s fantastic that Hayley has stuck to her local roots here too – there’s nothing better than championing your local business community and spreading the love even further afield.

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The sweatshirts are super soft, wash well and have a really flattering fit. I went for the WARRIOR sweatshirt. Because, well, we’re all WARRIORS. “The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about”. This is something that resonated deeply with me – and I do feel like a proper WARRIOR when I’m wearing my sweatshirt. It’s more than just words, isn’t it? It’s about how these things make you FEEL.

On top of alllllll this, Hayley is also hosting a series of Conversational Meet-Up’s, of like-minded Women. The recent one looked brilliant so look forward to the next Event’s being scheduled. You can find the latest details and tickets, here. 

Hayley is a true inspiration and I look forward to seeing how Southwood Stores continues to grow and evolve! (Oh, and I can’t wait to have a cuppa with her in person at the new showroom soon!). Keep doing what you’re doing Hayley, everything about your being is amazing. Just remember to BREATHE (and get the kettle on!).

 

MM.

*NB: This is in no way a sponsored post. I just wanted to big up a Mama who I think is frikkin amazing*. 

 

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THANK YOU to John Lewis + iCandy.

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Mr Eli was so happy to be back in his iCandy Strawberry!

As I have previously documented, I’m a huge fan of iCandy. No-less because they’re a British brand with eye-catching, yet hardwaring products. It’s also very well documented that as a family, we’re HUGE fans of John Lewis. Again, another British brand with an amazing ethos for quality products and a company that prides itself in looking after its customers; and it’s partners (general staff!).

So, you can imagine my horror when one day I couldn’t remove the safety bar on my iCandy Strawberry pram. Eli was wearing his Ponseti Boots so it made it awkward to get him out. Eli had only been riding in the stroller/seat unit for about 5 weeks. So it was still pretty much brand new. I can’t say that this travel system was on the cheap side either; all in all it did cost nearly £900. BUT as I walk everywhere, the iCandy Strawberry was a definite investment – and I absolutely LOVE it.

As a Social Media wizard, my first point of call was to message the iCandy Facebook page. I left a comment on their wall and got a lovely response soon after. The iCandy Facebook assistant advised I contact John Lewis. So I did just that.

Unfortunately, you can’t call a store directly. You go through to the John Lewis central customer service centre, even if you have a direct number for the store you wish to contact. This however, is not a bother. The customer service advisors are so astute and just want to help you out. So jolly (but not annoyingly jolly!) and helpful they all are. This also means that all discussions are kept under a reference number so everything is kept organised and each advisor you speak to already know everything there is to know about the nature of your call.

I was advised that someone from the Stratford store would contact me with regards to having the seat unit fixed.

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Our iCandy Peach loan, soon after it arrived!

Someone called me from the Nursery department at Stratford about an hour later. After a few discussions it was decided that someone from the Stratford store would personally come to my home, on the train, with an iCandy Peach loan. Then they would take my iCandy Strawberry seat unit back to the store, where it would be sent away to be fixed. I cannot drive and now I’m working from home it makes it difficult to take a whole day off – plus it would mean paying for the cost of trains to and from Stratford, twice. I thought this was just incredible.

After the weekend sure enough, a lovely chap called Calvin from the Nursery department turned up, bang on time, with my iCandy Peach loan.

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Our replacement iCandy Strawberry seat unit came back in just over a week!

A week later, Calvin came back with my new iCandy Strawberry seat unit and collected the iCandy Peach loan.

Absolutely above and beyond. Just simply wonderful service from start to finish. I can’t think iCandy and especially, John Lewis enough. I’ve never ever heard of a retailer doing that for anyone. Retailers just aren’t like that these days. John Lewis have completely set the standard in retail customer service and they should be extremely proud of all who work for them! That kind of service is just off the scale. Unheard of. Exceptional.

THANK YOU JOHN LEWIS AND iCANDY! Just superb.

MM.

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I know, I know…

…it’s been longer than I said. But it just took AGES to hang this washing out.

I am RUBBISH. But I swear, this time it’s different. This time we have ROUTINE! Hurrah. So I PROMISE there will be regular posts, here, from now on.

Also, in other news. I am now Self-Employed – another reason for why I’ve just been so busy. Aside from the mountains of laundry of course. I’m a Freelance Social Media and Digital Communications Specialist. If you need me, I can work part-time, from home, around Mr Eli’s routine.

You can find more about how to employ me, here: LinkedIn.

It’s all been working really well thus far!

RIGHT, better get posting then!

MM.