9 months in, 9 months out

My little man turns 9 months old tomorrow. I can’t believe it!

It only seems like yesterday that I was drinking cartons of pineapple juice, eating stupidly spicy foods and dragging my best buddy on a 4 mile walk in the very hot sunshine (she might deny it but I handled it better than she did!). Incidentally, my contractions started straight after that walk so any imminently due pregnant ladies out there, get out strolling!

The past 9 months have been the most amazing of my life. Also the most tiring but definitely the most amazing!

The little (9lb 8oz can still be classes as “little”, no?) bundle of loveliness that we used to stare at as he lay sleeping in his Moses basket (instead of catching up on our own sleep!) is now a much bigger bundle of loveliness. I still watch him sleeping, even though now he snores louder than his dad (which takes some beating, I recorded hubby’s snoring a few weeks ago and only when he heard it himself did he believe my decibel estimation!!), he is just the cutest sleeper I have ever seen.

He has changed so much already:

Little man at 1 hour and 9 months old

Check out that forcep mark! Poor little man, no wonder he had a bad headache!

He’s now a crawling, cruising, raspberry blowing, tantrum throwing (new this week!!) little person who already has such a cheeky personality (laughing his head off last week whilst kicking his legs all over the place to stop Daddy – who was already running late for their swimming class – from putting on his swimming nappy!). I love watching him grow and develop, he amazes me every day with new things he has taught himself.

Happy 9 month birthday Little Bear. Love you more than you could ever know.xx

I am a FitMama!

During my pregnancy, I was keen to keep up my fitness levels. That is, until morning sickness struck. Then I was keen to do anything to stop feeling sick – this was only achieved by eating multiple packets of crisps each and every day (I’m not normally a crisp fan) and steak and burgers as often as I could (pre-pregnancy I hardly ate any meat let alone a big fat juicy steak!). This could be the reason my weight gain was excessive..?

Once I had reached the half way mark, I was over the sickness, we’d been away on a Babymoon and I felt “Blooming” so I started to think about exercise (after all, studies show that exercise can help reduce the length of your labour, let alone increase your stamina for dealing with it!). The problem was, I didn’t have a clue about what was safe for myself and my bump. I turned to Google but post after post contradicted itself, in fact the only constant was that working your pelvic floor is a must! *starts exercising them whilst typing* It was during these hours of Googling that I stumbled across FitMama..

FitMama was founded by Marie Behenna whose fascination with pregnancy began when she was a small girl (when she would often walk past a local pregnancy exercise class on her way home from school) and evolved into The FitMama Method.

The FitMama Method book by Marie Behenna

The FitMama Method book by Marie Behenna

I liked the sound of FitMama so ordered The FitMama Method book from Amazon and loved it. So informative and written in such warm, friendly manor. It’s full of useful information on diet and fitness during pregnancy, breathing techniques and birthing positions.

I found out that Marie and her business partner Lola were teaching a weekly pregnancy class in my home town and the next class was timed perfectly for the rest of my pregnancy, so I signed up!

The classes started with an introduction from Marie and Lola, then each pregnant lady would take a turn in describing how far gone they were, how their week had been since the previous class, any thoughts or worries they had about their pregnancies and how they were feeling in general. Then on to some light exercise and/or a guest visitor in the form of reflexologist/chiropractor. Finally, classes would finish with a 5 minute relaxation to gentle music – the more pregnant I became, the harder I found it to stay awake!

FitMama's performing abdominal exercise in preparation for pushing during labour.

FitMama’s performing abdominal exercise in preparation for pushing during labour.

I really enjoyed the classes not only because of everything I learnt about labour positions (including the use of a swiss ball and the importance of gravity!) and breathing techniques. Or that I strengthened my pushing muscles, learnt to prepare my pelvic floor for labour (eek!) and met my Son’s amazing chiropractor (Verity Wills @ Hook Chiro). But also because I made some fab friends. Those FitMama friends will, I hope, be lifelong buddies for myself and their little boys for mine (myself and the 5 FitMama’s that I stayed in touch with from my class all had baby boys!!).

Both Marie and Lola are absolutely lovely and so supportive of not just their FitMama’s but of all women. They are devoted to empowering and developing confidence in women. Both use their own experiences to relate and help others. In fact, the lovely Lola has recently started a blog, a very honest and brave blog, discussing amongst other experiences, Antenatal Depression. Have a look at Lola’s blog here. It’s inspiring and really eye opening, especially if like me, you’re only really aware of postnatal depression.

Since my pregnancy class, I have stayed in touch with Marie & Lola, and have seen FitMama grow even more. The FitMama Studio, based in Basingstoke, Hampshire, has been open for 9 months now and offers many different training sessions. From the pregnancy classes, to postnatal exercise and education. As well as functional classes and personal training. There is something for all wannabe FitMama’s!

For more details on FitMama, visit their website – www.thefitmamastudio.com.

To read Lola’s blog, visit – truthofafitmama.blogspot.co.uk.

Holiday weight..

WE’RE GOING ON HOLIDAY!! Can you tell I’m excited?! I could really do with a holiday. It feels like forEVER since we went away, when really, it’s only been a year.. And during that year, I’ve actually only spent a few months at work, the majority of that time I have been on maternity leave with my little bear. Details, details! We’re going on holiday and I can’t wait!

Only one reservation…heavy luggage. Not real issues like flying with a 9 month old or how he’ll cope with the heat (we’re going abroad – obviously heat would not be an issue if we were staying in the UK!). No, none of these things. Just luggage.

I’m normally quite a light traveller anyway, I’ve been known to go away for a week with hand-luggage only. CHECK ME OUT! However, now I have the pressure of packing for a baby too. I tend to over-pack for him just for a day out so how am I going to go about fitting all of his essentials within our luggage allowance?! I normally laugh in the face of pressure but right now, all I can muster is a nervous giggle!

We’re flying with Thomson so the Hubster and I have 20kg each and little man has 10kg all to himself. Sounds like a lot, huh? And Austin’s clothes are only small, they can’t take up that much room or be too weighty. It’ll be fine. But then you need to add nappies, milk (ready mixed formula – I figure that’ll be better than faffing with cooling boiled water?), suntan lotion, toys, Eeyore – heaven forbid we forget Eeyore (I’ll blog about him another time. Let’s just say he is ESSENTIAL!)! Hmmmmm. Sounds heavy to me. I’ll let you know how I get on…

When is a handbag, not a handbag…

…when it’s actually a changing bag in a beautiful disguise!

As a lover of many many handbags, choosing a changing bag was always going to be a BIG deal. I knew what I wanted, something that didn’t look like it was carrying nappies, wipes and formula. And nothing too ‘mumsy’! Finding my perfect match was going to be hard.

There are so many changing bags on the market, like handbags, there’s something for everyone…

Babymel are a really popular brand www.babymel.co.uk and they have a great range of all different colours and styles, from rucksacks to messengers to toolbelts! The prices are affordable too.

There’s also the very cute Pink Lining www.pinklining.com/uk/changing-bags who make gorgeous bags that are definitely a favourite amongst my friends. Pink Lining also have a fab range of bags for mummy’s of twins, which are ‘Twice as Nice’ with double the number of compartments for double the amount of stuff. A fab idea! They also make cute kids bags – satchels, wheelie cases, lunch boxes. An amazing range.

The bag I decided on in the end was The Babybag from Lin & Leo www.linandleo.com and I bloomin’ love it!

At £175 it was slightly more expensive than I had planned but in my eyes, it’s well worth every penny. “It’s an investment!” I announced to hubby when I found it. Ordinarily, statutory maternity pay wouldn’t stretch to such luxuries but luckily, as I’d saved my butt off since becoming pregnant I was able to treat myself to my own “Push Present”!

The gorgeous Lin & Leo BabyBag in tan

The gorgeous Lin & Leo BabyBag in tan

I went for this lovely tan colour but The Babybag is also available in black, red and turquoise – a colour to match every outfit! I ordered online and when it arrived and I opened the box, o00hh the smell of the leather was amazing!

The bag comes with a changing mat, removable adjustable shoulder strap (which I use to hang over the buggy), and it has two pockets on the outside, three large pockets on the inside, plus two bottle pockets. Pockets galore!! It’s very roomy which means I can fit nappies, food, wipes, change of clothes etc AND my own bits and bobs so I don’t need to take a separate bag for myself.

The thing I love the most though, is that it doesn’t look like a changing bag. It’s so well made that I am sure I will use it long after it’s required for baby duties. In fact I took it to work for one of my ‘KIT’ days and it was the perfect size for my laptop and work papers! What more could an oh-so stylish, working Mum want!

5 photo’s about me…

I love photo’s but I have never taken enough of them. Until now! Now, my iPhone is full of photos of Austin and occassional pics of my cats or new chocolate bars. I could bore you senseless with photo’s of my gorgeous little bear (I make no apologies that my Instagram is like a photo diary of Austin’s life!). Instead, I have chosen just 5 photo’s from the past few years, 5 photo’s about me…

Our wedding day:
Our wedding was just THE best day. We were surrounded by our closest friends and family, the whole day went without a hitch, even the weather was glorious – good job too because we’d arranged a BBQ and an ice cream cart for the reception. I love this photo, it was taken just after we were announced as married, before alcohol had been consumed, the band had started playing and the inflatable instruments had been handed out! I also love my Nan and Grandma stood having a natter in the background with umbrellas sticking out of their heads..!

The day after our wedding, we took the Eurostar to Paris. Neither of us are particularly romantic but, when in Rome…or Paris! This photo reminds me of how amazing our little minimoon was, while we were still living in our wedding bubble. It’s not the best pic of me but Steve looks so happy that my dodgy make-up (where are my lips and why is my nose so much browner than my face?!) can almost be forgiven!

We were married in June and we honeymooned in September, spending two weeks doing absolutely nothing in the idyllic Caribbean. Bliss! I like photo’s that show a unique part of the place where they’re taken (otherwise this one could just be of Milford-on-Sea!) and this pic is of me with Hugo, a famous palm tree in our Antiguan resort who was knocked over in Hurricane Hugo in the 80’s but undeterred, continued to grow. A little wonky.

Daddy, Mummy and Bert the Bump:
Halfway through my pregnancy, we went to the wedding of Steve’s best friend. There aren’t many photo’s of me and my bump (I didn’t feel particularly photogenic!), especially not with Steve too, but this one I love (taken by my lovely friend and fellow new mum Stacey)! Steve was Best Man and was about to do his speech (he went on to be fab and had everyone in stitches!) so was feeling a little nervous. Bert was so wriggly this day, possibly because of the heat but more than likely due to the Mama Spanx I was wearing under my dress!

My Little Bear:
Ohhh I just love him so much!! This photo is so special, Austin was born on the Sunday, we left hospital on the Tuesday and this was the moment we wrapped him up ready to take him home. He seemed so small, so delicate and we still couldn’t believe he was ours. And that they were going to let us out of the hospital to look after him all by ourselves! We had made him, we already loved him indescribably, I had carried and looked after him, felt him wriggling and kicking inside my tummy and now he was here for us to show off, as proud parents, to the rest of the world. For months it hadn’t seemed real but now, he was coming home. Wrapped up in a little bear suit.x

Bert the Bump

When I was pregnant, my bump was called Bert. I was never a fan of “the baby” or “Bean”, it had to have a name.
At about 5 weeks gone, I asked my husband Steve what we should call the bump. “Bert” he said without a second thought. So from then on, it was.
Everybody referred to the baby/bump as Bert. So much so that we were a little concerned Bert might stick and whatever name we chose for his life outside the bump, wouldn’t work and he’d be forever sharing his name with Ernie’s other half.

I was lucky, my pregnancy was good. The only time I really suffered wasnt until the final trimester, when I was diagnosed with SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) – or pelvic pain to you and me – and was signed off work two weeks before my maternity leave was due to start. Even then I still managed to do most things. In fact turning over in bed was the worst pain EVER, everthing else was bearable!

I didn’t do NCT classes, I read up on them but quickly decided they weren’t for me. Instead I went to FitMama classes (I’ll blog separately about these) where I met some amazing friends. During the FitMama classes I remember learning that “your body knows how to give birth and your baby knows how to be born” which really helped me in the lead up to the birth and the thought of gong through labour didn’t actually worry me at all.

My labour wasn’t too bad (!) although, despite what I had been told at FitMama, it turned out that although my body did seem to know how to give birth, Bert didn’t seem to know how to be born. Bless him. He changed postion and was lying back to back and had his head facing in the wrong direction. So in the end, it took a little intervention to get him out. But baby Austin arrived safe and sound, if a little bruised, on September 30th weighing a chunky 9lb 8oz (no wonder Bert the Bump was so big!).

Austin, 1 day old, showing off his little forcep scar.

After he was born he suffered quite badly as his head was hurt from the forceps. So much so that he was treated by an amazing chiropractor (Verity Wills @ http://www.hookchiro.co.uk) whose treatment turned him from a poorly baby with horrible colic like symptoms, to the amazing happy little man he is today.

His existence has changed our lives completely and it is the most amazing experience ever being his mum. I’ve loved him so much from the moment I saw his gorgeous little screaming face. In fact, from the moment I ‘had a feeling’ I was pregnant and went home to see the little blue line on the test.