childrenswear · maternity wear · shopping

5 Reasons to Shop Small

Anyone who knows me, or follows me on Instagram, will know that I love to shop small.  But why do I do it? I thought I would collate my reasons to support ‘small businesses’ here for you.  Perhaps you’re also a small shop lover, or maybe you’ve never bought anything from a small business but you’ve been thinking about it.  Here are my ‘5 Reasons to Shop small’

1. A Unique Look

One of my most favourite things about shopping small, is that you find unique and unseen items.  I mostly shop small for my daughter, but slowly I am finding more and more to buy for myself and Rob too.  The amount of times people purposefully stop me to ask where something is from, or to compliment an item is unbelievable.  I love that I can take Ivy to a toddler group and know that no other toddlers will be wearing the same outfit, or even close to it.  I overhear people saying how lovely/cool she looks on a regular basis and that makes me smile.  I like the fact that she doesn’t look like all the other kids. Through the choices I make, she looks unique, just as she is!  I have a few small shop items in my own wardrobe, and again…it is a great feeling, walking down the street, knowing that no-one else will be wearing the same item.  Especially if it is a personalised item, in which case it is a total one of a kind.

2. Showing Support

By shopping with small businesses you are supporting those that need it.  The majority of small shops that I come across, celebrate every tiny order that is made.  They are usually being run from home and the people doing ALL the work are quite often doing it on their own, whilst also holding full time jobs or looking after small people! They work tirelessly into their free time to make their dream a reality.  These people don’t make a lot of profit from what they do, but they are doing what they love, and if I can support them in their journey then I want to do so.  It means you quite often pay slightly higher prices than you would on the high street, but you also know that all the money you pay is going directly to that small business and is helping them to continue offering their unique handmade items.  That said, there are certainly some high street shops, where people regularly shop, that are selling items at much higher prices!

3. Excellent Quality

I have been shopping small for the past two years, and I must say the quality of items is incredible.  The amount of time and effort that is put into each individual item is extraordinary and it shows.  I have rarely been disappointed by items that I have ordered.  The quality is another reason I shop again and again with small shops that I find and often become a regular customer.  The items available are often handmade to order, meaning that it takes slightly longer to receive your item, but when it arrives you know that it has been handmade just for you and that the person behind it all has done/made every little element of the item themselves.  They’ve set up their website to help you order easily.  They have chosen the fabrics and carefully cut them out to the exact size you need. They have spent their free time sewing/making your item until it is perfect, often choosing to add special unique touches that make their brand stand out.  And then, they have hand packaged your item beautifully and made the journey to the post office to post it out to you.  That moment when you receive the item and open it up is priceless as you realise it is perfect and the quality is outstanding.  Small shops often joke about doing a ‘happy dance’ when they get an order…but I do one when I receive an item and notice that it is perfect!  Because of this, I also find that these items tend to last a lot longer than high street options too.

4. The Sense of Community and Friendship

How often can you say you are on first name terms with the person that made your daughters dress? Or that you received a free gift from a shop owner for showing them support? Many of you will be aware that I rep for a few small businesses, and I love the community and friendships that I have built through these little company’s.  But I’m not just talking about these ones.  I’m also talking about the small shop that I just came across, inquired about one of their items and in turn started chatting to the ‘actual maker’.  Discovered that we have loads in common, and without even having to make an order became friends.  The support and love that is shown across social platforms is amazing.  It can also be hard going and some of these small shops face daily battles with staying open vs having to close.  So when I order an item and it arrives in perfect condition, better than I could have ever expected…I shout about it! Not because I have to, but because I choose to.  I know that in doing so, I will be helping that small shop to stay open and in business that little bit longer.

5.  Guilt-free Shopping

It is often very easy to feel a little (sometimes a lot!) guilty for a sudden/impromptu purchase that you just made whilst out and about.  It is easy to suddenly feel like you have over-indulged, and then you start to think about who your purchase benefited? Maybe you got an absolute bargain, but you can’t help feeling that the person that actually put in all the hard work didn’t benefit from your purchase at all?

I never feel guilty about shopping small, as I know that each time I do I am genuinely helping individuals to achieve their dreams.  I know that the money I spend on their items gets used appropriately and actually sometimes doesn’t even cover a wage for the person doing all the work.  But each purchase made means they are one step closer to making it on their small business journey.  And that makes me feel good, completely guilt-free and happy with my choices.

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I obviously don’t do ALL my shopping via small businesses and sometimes it is necessary to  shop the high street.  But I am slowly spending more time and more of my money supporting and helping small businesses rather than the big high street names.

 

Some of my Favourites

I find most of the small shops that I use, through Instagram.  The ones I rep for, who often provide a ‘Friends & Family’ discount code, which can be found in the highlights on my page are:

@purlandme, @milanarosekidswear, @little_bowhemians, @garlandsgalore_, @littleliddicoats, @little.wild.tribe @leshylamb and @wilfandwildlings

Some of the others I highly recommend for childrenswear and accessories are:

@Jennywrencraft, @featherstone_bloom, @_eviemichelle, @birdies_and_bearcubs, @littlelovescornwall and @mother_of_pearl_handmade

and for Breastfeeding friendly clothing:

@chicojacks_, @lilyandribbonmaternity and @milkyteeco

Why not head over and see what you can discover? There is a small shop for anything and everything you can think of. There are so many more I could have listed and even more that I am yet to find.

Happy Shopping!

**This blog post is not affiliated with any of the shops mentioned and it is all my own opinion.**

childhood · motherhood · parenting

Ivy Turned Two!

On Wednesday, Ivy turned two!

How is it even possible that my tiny little Cherry Baba has upgraded from a non-verbal, immobile baby into a walking, talking toddler…let alone a two year old!! It just seems crazy that two years have passed since she was brought into this world and at the same time it’s hard to remember a time without her.  It feels like she has always been here.

She has grown from this cute little newborn into an intelligent, creative, independent, adventurous and loving child…

Over the past two years she has hit milestone after milestone, and each time it’s hard to remember what she was like before learning each new skill.  It’s hard to remember an Ivy that spoke no words.  It’s hard to remember an Ivy that couldn’t follow simple instructions.  In fact, it scares me how quickly we adapt to each new skill and how it is so easily forgotten what she was like before.  Which is why I am so grateful to myself for taking so many photos, for documenting our days and keeping an on-going record of life with Ivy on my Instagram account.

Just look at the difference one year makes…

 

We are so proud of the way our beautiful girl is growing and how much character she shows.  She is smart…sometimes too smart!! Her ability to pick up on other people’s emotions and feelings is incredible and she shows love and care through her actions and words to show empathy.  She is beginning to develop an imagination and will regularly offer Rob and I cups of tea and biscuits, which she quickly whips up in her kitchen.  Her speech has improved greatly over the past two months.  I remember not too long ago, I started a list of all the words she could say because I was beginning to worry after inadvertently comparing her to her peers…something I try really hard not to do, but sometimes completely unavoidable.  I soon gave up on the list as I realised she could say more than I had thought, and now it would be near impossible to list all her words because she will attempt anything and EVERYTHING we say! To the point that we have had to start taking care with our language around her and on a few occasions she has muttered the word ‘shit’- oops!!  Whilst playing and eating she shows excellent fine motor skills, and through the regular activities we attend each week she is developing great gross motor skills too.

Ivy has a strong network of family and friends, with whom she is nurturing excellent relationships and she talks about them all often.

She is gentle and caring, yet adventurous and resilient.  She is brave and strong, yet cautious and careful.  She is loud and ambitious, yet calm and reflective.  In general I believe we have done well to help nurture a very well rounded little lady.

 

Here’s to another fabulous year- and fingers crossed we have a little time before the ‘terrible two’s’ really kick in!!!

HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY IVY

motherhood · parenting · pregnancy · Uncategorized

Hospital Bag Must Haves

A subject that always raises lots of questions with ‘soon to be mama’s’ is the bewildering hospital bag.  What is needed?  What is necessary? Which items are completely pointless?

I turned to my gorgeous friend Jamie, from Mama Bear Of One, to help me, and together we have have collated our ‘Hospital Bag Must Haves’. We have each written our top 10 to try and help answer that all important question…

What should you pack in your hospital bag?

First of all, I would advise that you actually pack two bags, not one.  One for you (Mama) and one for the baby.  This way, when someone else is rummaging around your things looking for the all important something that you’ve just requested, they will have a slightly better chance of getting hold of it pronto.

Mama’s Bag

Ok, so what is needed in this bag? What do I think is all important? Well, let me tell you first of all that my bag (which is packed and ready, patiently waiting for it’s shining moment!) has been packed very differently to how it was when I had Ivy.  When I had Ivy, I was clueless as to what I needed.  Sure, I asked people and googled countless lists…but if you packed all the suggestions and for every possible scenario, well you’d need more than a small bag, in fact you’d probably struggle to fit it all in a 20kg suitcase.

I would suggest, that you pack you’re bag anticipating at least a two night hospital stay.  You may be lucky and get sent home sooner than this, or you may, like me, end up having to stay a lot longer.  But my main advice here is that if you do have to stay longer, chances are your birth partner won’t be able to stay.  Therefore they can be sent home with a list of all the things you need them to bring for the next day.  When I had Ivy, Rob actually ended up taking home all sorts out of my bag and swapping it for the things I actually needed but hadn’t packed, as well as extras!

So here goes…’My 10 Hospital Bag Must Haves’ (for Mama)

  • Labour Outfit This will be dependent on your birth plan and what you are hoping for.  You may also find this doubles up with something else already on the list…WINNING! Personally I am hoping for a water birth, therefore I have packed a plain black simple bikini top to wear in the pool.  Now anything could happen and there is a a high chance I’ll just jump in starkers- but good to have the option, should I suddenly feel prudish.
  • Dressing Gown Always a handy item to have to hand.  I actually wore a dressing gown for my labour with Ivy and it was perfect.  Rob then whipped it away ASAP, got it home and cleaned up ready to bring back to hospital as he knew I’d want it again. Amazing!
  • Big Knickers (at least 3 pairs) Regardless of the type of birth you have, Big Knickers are not just for C-Section mamas.  This was something I didn’t pack when I had Ivy, and I had to send my mum out to the shops as soon as possible.  It doesn’t matter how you have brought your little bundle of joy into the world, no one is going to want to wear anything tight, low fitting and uncomfortable.  Bridget Jones all the way!
  • Tena Lady Pants/Maternity Pads I have both of these packed.  If you haven’t heard of Tena Lady pants, they are essentially incontinence pants that look like a huge adult sized nappies.  These are amazing and I highly recommend them.  No need for knickers and worrying about pads, just stick on a pair of these and when you need to change them, you just tear down the sides and stick them in the bin like you would a pad.  They are also really big and pull up high over any scars that you may have acquired.  The pads are then for when you transition back to knickers (another reason for wanting BIG knickers- maternity pads are HUGE!)
  • Wash Bag, including flip flops Chances are, you’re going to want a really good wash pretty soon after having your baby.  My wash bag includes: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, sponge and flip flops.  Nothing fancy or over the top and in a hope to save space I have purchased minis.
  • Nipple Cream Absolutely essential for anyone planning on breastfeeding.  I recommend ‘Lansinoh Lanolin’ as it works a dream and doesn’t need to be removed before baby latches as it is completely safe for both mum and baby.
  • Breast Pads Whether you are breastfeeding or not, you’re going to find yourself leaking milk and in need of breast pads.  If you are planning to breastfeed then I recommend investing in some re-usable ones.  I always found them much more comfortable and they stay in place well.  When they need changing you just put them through the washing machine and they are good as new again.  I have opted for ‘Curve’ breast pads.
  • Nursing Bra/Vests These will again depend on your feeding choices.  If you are planning on breastfeeding then easy access clothing is going to help you hugely.  The last thing you want when you have a hungry baby is a stressful outfit malfunction.  I have listed both Bra and Vest as I found I quite often found myself with just one or the other on.  Either a Nursing bra with a tee slipped over the top.  Or no bra, and just a Vest- this for me was a comfier option as I love to be bra-less.
  • Comfy Clothes and Slippers I don’t see the point in packing lovely clothes to wear after the birth of your baby.  Give me a pair of sweatpants and a loose fitting jumper any day.  I have just that packed, alongside a couple of plain maternity tee’s.  These combined with the nursing vests will provide me with comfortable outfits for both night and day.  Just switch around combinations as necessary.  And the slippers are for walking around the ward in- if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to be up and moving as soon as possible. None of this stuff needs to be new or fancy in any way.  But sometimes it’s nice (especially after having a baby) to have something new and clean to wear.
  • Water bottle During my labour and for a fair while afterwards too (I’m talking weeks) I drank like a fish!!! So always handy to have a water bottle that you like to hand.  I would recommend something that is easy to drink from.  I personally like a sports cap.

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A few Extras (Not necessary, but may be helpful):

  • Phone charger
  • Camera (with battery charged)
  • Sweets- Great energy boost!
  • Lavender oil- This can be used in all sorts of ways, but one way that has always been recommended to me, is to put a couple of drops in a jug of water, and pour it over yourself when you have that first pee.
  • Arnica tablets- These help with healing
  • Hairbands

Baba’s Bag

Baba’s bag is a little simpler, and much smaller….phew!

Here’s my must haves:

  • 3 x Newborn outfits Pack these in individual sandwich bags, each bag should contain:
    • Vest
    • Baby grow
    • Hat

The sandwich bags can be labelled up and make it easy for anyone (in my case, Rob) to find exactly what you require quickly.  By having a whole set of what you will need in each it will save time and you always know you have everything you need for a full change.

  • Spare Vests Again you can pack these in a sandwich bag.  Should you need some different sizes for chances of a large/small baby etc.
  • Blanket The hospital will usually provide blankets etc. for wrapping baby and keeping them warm, but it’s nice to have something that is yours for the baby.  And you will likely want it for taking baby home when the time comes.
  • Nappies  You don’t need a huge amount.  I’m packing just one bag of size 1’s and then have a few bags waiting at home.  These can be easily purchased by anyone visiting should you run out due to a long stay.
  • Cotton Wool For cleaning baby’s little bottom.
  • Muslin cloths These are so handy for all sorts of different occasions.  I have included 3 but have a whole pile at home that can be grabbed as necessary should more be needed.

Some people also like to include a ‘Going Home Outfit‘.  For us we don’t feel it’s very important and will happily bring our baby home in one of the baby grows already packed.  Depending on the weather at the time of birth, you may also want a warm ‘Snow Suit’ for the car journey home…but you may find your blanket is enough to do the job.

Last But Not Least…

You may want to have one last bag packed and ready in the car…but not for you, or for baby.  This one is for your ‘Birth Partner‘.  Quite often these things can happen over night or you may be in the hospital for long periods of time and it is likely that your Birth Partner will want to freshen up at some point.  So in our case, Rob will have a spare set of underwear, a fresh t-shirt, deodorant and a toothbrush.

Is there anything you think I’ve missed? Anything you found completely invaluable?

Happy Packing!

motherhood · parenting · pregnancy

Ivy’s Birth Story (Part 2)

…Continued.  If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can find it here.

So, we were ready to go and have my waters broken.  Only delivery suite was really busy, so we were told we would need to wait and they would take us down ASAP.  This was at 3/4 pm on Sunday 9th October.  Come 8pm we were still waiting and unfortunately it was getting close to that time when Rob was no longer welcome on the ward.

Luckily the midwife on duty was very understanding of our circumstances and she was reluctant to send Rob home, knowing that I could be called down to delivery at any point to have my waters broken and get things progressing.  So, very kindly they offered us the use of the disabled bathroom, glamorous I know!  We obviously jumped at this offer.  She told us there was a large bath in there and that we were more than welcome to stay in there until we were called for on delivery.  It doesn’t sound perfect, but it was perfect for us, in that moment.

Rob and I settled ourselves into the bathroom and ran a deep, hot bath, which I gladly climbed into and welcomed the warm water on to my now tired, aching body.  My contractions at this point were strong and getting closer together, but still not regular in any way.  Rob settled down in a chair next to the bath and we just chatted…we chatted about anything and everything, and it was pure bliss.  He held my hand through each contraction and we laughed with each other.  It was honestly one of the most serene and beautiful moments, and we both look back on this time together as a great memory.  We were both suddenly much more relaxed about the whole situation.  Knowing that Rob didn’t have to go home was a huge relief for me…and we were both so ready for our baby to join us.

After we had debated boy’s names (for about the hundredth time that day!) and finally settled on a choice of two…I felt my waters break at around 11pm.  Yes, that’s right, they broke without intervention and I am to this day convinced it was due to our relaxed demeanor and most definitely due to the water.  I had always wanted a water birth, but had that choice taken away when given an induction, so this bath was a happy compromise that we were very grateful for.

I told Rob that I was pretty certain my waters had broken, and after us laughing about not being able to truly tell because I was surrounded by water, we called the midwife to let her know.  The only way for her to confirm my waters were broken was to examine me, so we agreed that I would get out of the bath and head back to the ward where she could examine me and see what happens next.  As soon as I got out of the bath, my contractions seemed to worsen, a sure sign to me that water is amazing…but also that something was definitely happening now!  I had a quick loo stop, and found I had now lost my mucus plug too.  I struggled back to the ward with Rob assisting me and as the midwife examined me, she told us that I was 5cm, my waters had definitely broken and that our baby had a full head of hair! The emotions that rushed over me in that moment are incomprehensible, I just cannot tell you how I felt at that time, there are no words that do it justice.  I then threw up!

They got me a wheelchair and whizzed us down to delivery ASAP at that point, Rob laden with all the bags and we were directed into a little room with a very friendly midwife called Jackie and a student doctor, who we agreed could stay.   This next part of my labour is all a bit of a blur to be completely honest.  The contractions, since my waters broke were much more intense and getting stronger all the time.  I was sat in a chair and given the gas & air, which I loved!! Jackie offered me some other drugs, I had always said I would like to avoid them if possible, however she suggested some diamorphine and assured me it would wear off by the time the baby was ready to come.  At the time it was incredible and it really helped.  To the point though, in which I actually can’t remember the next part of my labour.  I have a blank of about 2-4 hours in which I was so drugged up that I cannot piece together what was happening.  It was a great pain relief but unfortunately for me, it also numbed my sense of control.  Rob tells me that during this time I was like a different person and that I was talking absolute nonsense, at one point I was even talking about Donald Trump! Now he is definitely not someone that anyone should be talking about whilst in labour.  I won’t go as far as saying I regret having the drug, but I do wish I had had more control and memory of such a huge part of my labour.

Come roughly 7am, Jackie confirmed that I was fully dilated and that it was time to start pushing.  There was still some confusion as my contractions were still not regular, but there was absolutely no doubt that they were strong and this baby was ready to make his/her appearance.  Or so we thought anyway!

During this next part of my labour I got sent to attempt to empty my bladder, something that only a women who has been there would understand is near impossible at this point.  I just could not get myself into a position on the toilet to be able to have a wee.  The pain of moving into this position was unbearable and I definitely did not want my baby being born on the loo!!  Rob attempted to help me as best he could, but it was just not happening and I was becoming quite distressed about the situation.  Jackie decided to fix a catheter and emptied my bladder for me.  It was also apparent that I had developed a high temperature during my labour, so I was put onto antibiotics to help bring this down.

After 2 hours of pushing and not getting anywhere more and more people started creeping into the room.  My legs were in stirrups and my vision was just straight forward the whole time…it was a case of people’s heads just appearing between my legs and talking to me at different times.  I was of course exhausted at this point and the more people who seemed to be joining us in the room, the more anxious I was beginning to feel about what was happening.  Finally it was confirmed that the baby’s heart rate was dropping, likely due to stress and that he/she had done a poo, again due to stress.  This was a concern for them and so they wanted to move me to theatre.

How could I say no, they just told me that my baby was getting distressed and I was exhausted.  When I agreed I had been pushing for a total of 2.5 hours and I just couldn’t keep it up any longer.

We were taken to theatre, Rob was provided with scrubs and I had to sit on the side of the operating table to have the spinal block administered.  This, for Rob, was the worst part of the whole event.  He said the needle was huge and it suddenly all felt extremely scary and much more serious.  He was suddenly scared for our baby’s life, but also for mine.  Well, only our baby could then make the whole experience even more difficult.  Whilst lying without any feeling from my torso down, surrounded by about 20 people, they manually turned our baby, it turns out the little monkey was back to back.  They got the forceps out the packet and as they went to attach them, our baby turned back meaning they could no longer by attached.  They quickly re-assessed and decided without any further delay to perform an emergency c-section.

At 10:31am our baby was born via c-section, it was my biggest wish that Rob was the first to know what we had, boy or girl, and that he would be the one to tell me.  He looked me in the eyes and told me we had a beautiful baby girl.  We both welled up and agreed at that moment that we had a beautiful baby girl called ‘Ivy’.  All the chaos happening around us at that moment seemed so insignificant as they placed Ivy on my chest for the first time and I got to hold our baby girl.  That moment was absolutely priceless and one that I will never ever forget.  We had our baby, she was perfect and happy and we couldn’t have been any happier if we tried.  We were on cloud 9.

Because of the high temp I had run during my labour, this meant that Ivy had to be taken off and fully examined very soon after her birth.  But not before I had been moved and given the chance to offer her first feed.  She latched on beautifully, first time and I felt every sense of achievement as I fed my baby…and then she was taken, for almost 2 hours and we didn’t realise, but would have a long week stay in hospital because of it.  But none of that mattered, our baby was here, our little Ivy had made it into the world and she was ours; perfect, beautiful, everything we had dreamed of…and she was ours!

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I have found it so therapeutic to finally write this all down, hopefully you enjoyed the read.  If anyone has any questions about Ivy’s birth, please do get in contact.

xx

motherhood · pregnancy

Ivy’s Birth Story (Part 1)

It was only last night when I was immersed in writing another blog post, that I realised I have never shared Ivy’s birth story.  I then spent my day with a friend talking all about birth and my experiences from having Ivy, and it has made me want to get it written down.  And in doing so, hopefully you will enjoy reading it too…I know I love reading a birth story.

Ivy’s birth was a complicated one.  However, through all of it’s complications it is still a time that I look back on in fondness and my memories of it are of happy times and amazing empowerment.

The due date I was given was the 24th September, A date I very much had fixed in my head and regardless of what happened I always had the idea of a September baby firmly etched in my mind.  I didn’t have a September baby.  I actually had an October baby and never went into labour naturally.

On Saturday 8th October 2016 I was booked in for induction at 42 weeks pregnant.  I was told to call the hospital at 8am and they would tell me to come in.  At 8am I was all set, Rob and I had everything ready, the car was packed and we were excited to finally be having our baby.  Only, when I called at 8am, I was told to call back at 12pm as they were busy.  Those 4 hours dragged horrendously.  The anticipation and the waiting were just too much and 12pm couldn’t come quick enough.  Eventually it did.  I rang at 12pm on the dot, only to be told that they could take me at 3pm another 3 hours of waiting!!! But I couldn’t complain, it was at least still happening and come 3pm I would be in the hospital ready for the adventure that we had been so eagerly awaiting for so long.  I mean it wasn’t just the 7 hours that had passed since 8 am that morning, we’d been waiting 9.5 long months for this moment to happen.

When we arrived at the hospital and I was all settled in on the induction ward, I was hooked up to the monitors and given a pessary induction.  For anyone that doesn’t know what this is, it is a bit like a tampon that administers a hormone to try to encourage your cervix to soften and your body to begin labour.  Once administered I was free to wander the hospital corridors and do as I please, just as long as I stayed on the premises.  They planned on leaving the pessary for 24 hours and therefore wouldn’t be examining me again until the following afternoon.  More waiting!

Rob and I walked around again and again waiting for things to happen, knowing that it was likely to take its time and feeling a little deflated but still excited.  We were both positive that things would happen within those 24 hours.

Come the evening, unfortunately Rob wasn’t allowed to stay.  He wasn’t allowed on the ward any longer and was therefore sent home to wait it out whilst I was left to ‘get some rest’.  That night was the worst part of the entire experience.  I was suddenly all alone.  I know that technically I was on a ward with a number of other women all in very similar situations but it wasn’t a friendly environment with open curtains and the chance to make friends.  It was clinical, closed off and noisy.  I felt like Rachel in friends, when everyone keeps coming and going before her.  I was frustrated, scared and beginning to feel anxious…because I was alone.  I no longer had my support system there to keep me going, to keep me positive, to help me through a really big deal.  That night was probably the hardest night of my life.  I was emotional, and even as I write this now, almost 2 years later I can still feel all those emotions washing over me.  I cried, a lot that night.

During the night I was beginning to get twinges and the idea of sleep had completely gone out the window.  Unfortunately I did not feel very supported by the ward midwife on duty that night and it is definitely safe to say that I didn’t like her very much.  Not something I say about many people.  And I understand that my situation to her, was just another night on the job.  I was just another women coming to terms with the beginnings of labour.  But when I called her in to say:

‘I think my contractions have started!’

and she responded with:

‘You think?  Believe me love, you’d know if they had.  Go back to sleep.’

I was, as I’m sure you can imagine, hugely deflated and angered by her response.  I was in a place of care, yet I felt anything but cared for.  I felt brushed off and ignored.  I cried to myself for the rest of that night, trying not to be heard by the other women around me.  Trying to stay strong.  Trying to not let her words impact on me too much, although with my already wobbling state of emotions this was a very hard task.  I remember laying their just wishing and hoping that 8 am would come quickly so that A) I could see Rob again, and B) the shift change would take place.

I am pleased to say that come 8am things did improve and I was greeted by a lovely midwife doing the rounds, coming to say good morning.  Straight away she noticed how upset and anxious I was looking.  She showed more care in those 10 minutes than anyone else had in the last 12 hours and I was so grateful for her support and love at that time.  Rob soon arrived too and I felt instantly happier.  I pulled myself together, and knew that it was only going to get better.  It had to get better, because in my eyes it couldn’t get much worse.

Rob and I got up and about and we wandered the corridors aimlessly for a while, stopped off for a coffee in the coffee shop and took all the stairs we could find!  It was about 11am and I needed the loo, so popped into the nearest toilets.  To my surprise whilst I was doing my business, my pessary fell out! I couldn’t believe it.  What do you even do in that situation?  I decided, having seen it sitting at the bottom of the toilet, that it was a total goner and so I flushed it.

This was apparently not the right thing to have done, as I found out when I returned to the ward and was asked to hand it over.  So apparently, I was meant to have fished that thing out of the toilet and walked back through the hospital holding it, ready to hand it over.  No chance! Unfortunately for me, this meant I had to wait…again.  They wanted to administer another pessary and even though I only had 4 hours until the end of those first 24 hours left, it would have to be left for a further 24 hours.  Well, 3 hours passed before they could get a doctor to sign off another pessary for me, and when they finally came to give me a new one it was a case of being back on the monitors and having an internal examination before administering.  This is where our luck changed for the better.  My examination confirmed that my early labour had started and I was 3 cm dilated.  This meant I didn’t need the second pessary, and it also meant I could be moved to delivery suite to have my waters broken. We were now feeling ecstatic and our excitement and positivity was beginning to return.

To be continued…

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Looking just a little fed up!!
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Rob loving life!!
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My poor swollen ankles
motherhood · parenting · pregnancy

Moving house at 38 weeks pregnant!

This weekend we moved house. Normally something that is reasonably stressful and hard work- but even more so when you are 38 weeks pregnant! Something we’d hoped we wouldn’t have to do. Especially as the last time we moved was when I was 38 weeks pregnant with Ivy.

As soon as we found out that I was pregnant, all the way back in January, we knew that a house move would need to be on the cards. We never anticipated though, that the move would happen when I was quite so heavily pregnant (again!) and that it wouldn’t be our last move.  We had really hoped that this would have been the final move.  How wrong we were.

Moving house is never easy is it? It’s never the simple task you think it will be. Our first problem came when trying to sell our little Cheltenham terraced house.  We always knew our house was too small for us if our family ever grew.  In fact we always knew it was too small for our little family of three really, but hey- sometimes you have to make sacrifices!  The size was one of them.  What it lacked in size though, it made up for with a large kitchen, a utility room and a whole load of gorgeous wooden floorboards.  It really was a lovely first family house and we had set about to make it a home, although we always knew it wasn’t our ‘forever home’.

Unfortunately due to a slowing market, high Cheltenham house prices and the fact our house was ‘small’ it took us a lot longer than anticipated to sell it.  We had months of viewings, which meant months of keeping our house immaculate for said viewings.  Now let me tell you, keeping an immaculate house is hard work, but keeping one with a toddler and when you are still in those first few months of pregnancy when absolutely everything is hard work and energy zapping- is near impossible.  That first trimester, or first 20 weeks in my case, is so difficult as it is, and in between naps, extra bathroom visits (multiple times a day) to be sick and looking after Ivy, I was making sure that the house was clutter free, spotlessly clean and looking at its ‘best’.  I of course wasn’t on my own, and luckily I have a very well trained husband who, having been taught well, is very domesticated and willing to get stuck into the house work. Phew!

We did, eventually have an offer on the house.  Nearing the end of June we had an offer that was quite frankly laughable.  The offer came in at considerably less than we had paid for the property just 18 months previously.  Luckily we were able to negotiate this offer and managed to push the buyer up to a more reasonable offer that gave us what we needed in order for it to work for us.  So that was that, first task complete.  We had sold our house.  But we all know that’s just one hurdle.

The next stage wasn’t too bad, we instantly started hunting the market in our desired location. It seemed like our search criteria was exactly the same as everyone else’s- and there was a ridiculous amount of competition for properties we liked, some of which we loved and lost because of it.  So when our ‘dream home’ came on the market we jumped at it as quickly as possible and made sure we had the first viewing.  We tried our hardest to give each other some sneaky looks and thumbs up for approval, and then whilst stood in the garden we made our offer, right there and then.  We were straight away told not to hold our breath as this property still had another 14 viewings booked in over the next few days and likelihood was that the seller would go ahead with these to see if she received any other offers before reviewing them.  Well this time, luck was on our side.  She cancelled all viewings and accepted our offer.  We were over the moon, and honestly couldn’t have asked for a better situation.

So where’s the catch I hear you asking!  Well, to cut a long story short, the chain was incomplete.  The seller we are purchasing from was apparently actively looking for a property, however it ended up taking her almost 4 months to find somewhere.  In this time, we were having pressure added from our buyer and therefore started looking into ways of splitting our sale and purchase and we decided to continue with them both independently.  In doing this, we have taken on a redemption fee from our mortgage provider and we are now the proud owners of…NOTHING!

Yesterday we moved house, whilst 38 weeks pregnant, but not into our house!  We have moved into a rented property until our purchase is ready to go through.  If we can manage this within 3 months, then we will be able to claim back the huge redemption fee and hopefully (keep everything crossed!) be in the ‘dream house’ before Christmas.

This is obviously not the ideal situation- but what it does mean, is that we have moved house before the babies arrival.  Even this was a little touch and go on the day, I kept it pretty quiet, not wanting to alarm anyone, but I actually had a terrible night before the move and at about 5am on moving day I had convinced myself the baby was going to come! It didn’t, luckily, but I did spend the day enduring quite strong braxton hicks and constantly thinking ‘please just hold on until this evening’.  And we’re still waiting…I’m going to blame stress for that one!

My advice to anyone else thinking of moving so close to their due date:

  • Be prepared- we got hold of a load of boxes and started packing weeks in advance.
  • Label everything-  we initially started by packing up all the ‘stuff’ that we all have in our homes, that is not necessarily needed like; photo frames, music, books etc.
  • Take the help- Family and friends are always offering in times of need, and it’s very easy to say ‘No, we’ll manage’. Well this is one of those times when you should most definitely say ‘YES PLEASE’ and if no one offers….ASK THEM!

and the last one…the one I always find the hardest…

  • Don’t overdo it! Utilise the help you’ve got, be part of it so that you can make sure things happen like you want them to, so that you can make sure boxes get put in the correct place etc. But let others do the work for you.  Just supervise.

And so our next hurdle, will inevitably be moving with a newborn!!!!

Any hints and tips will be gratefully received…

Here are some photos of the house, it’s a mess and the decor is questionable, haha but it’s a house and it’s doing a really important job!

maternity wear · motherhood · nursing · pregnancy

Fashionable, Good Quality Maternity Wear

Everyone knows that finding fashionable, good quality maternity wear can sometimes feel impossible.

When I was pregnant with Ivy, just two years ago, I shopped mainly on the high street and found I was limited to just a few shops. They had very limited stock available and I ended up wearing clothes that I didn’t necessarily feel comfortable in, items that I wouldn’t normally have chosen. But due to the lack of maternity clothing available, there was no other choice.

This time around my pregnancy wardrobe has been very different. When I was just 3 months pregnant and starting to realise that my normal wardrobe was all getting a bit tight and uncomfortable, I discovered Lily & Ribbon.

I found them via their Instagram account and instantly fell in love with their style and the options available on their website.

I made a purchase very quickly and I was not disappointed. In fact, since then, over the last 6 months I have made several purchases from them and I have never been let down. The customer service is brilliant and Tanya, the lady behind it all, has been so helpful and accommodating, no question or query is ever too much for her.

Whenever I am wearing Lily & Ribbon clothing, I feel great and when you feel great you ooze confidence. Well, I certainly do anyway! I certainly never feel uncomfortable, or unsure of my outfit choices because the clothes fit great and look great too. I never thought I would feel this way about maternity wear!

The clothes are always of the highest quality and the designs are gorgeous- I mean have you seen the new autumn range? It makes me wish I wasn’t due to give birth!! Luckily they do a whole range of nursing wear too, so I can continue to shop at Lily & Ribbon for some time still.

In fact, I love Lily & Ribbon so much that I have teamed up with them to offer you 10% off all of your purchases. You just need to use this code to claim your discount at the checkout:

As well as maternity and nursing wear, Lily & Ribbon also sell ‘Award winning breast pads‘. These Curve nursing pads are ultra-absorbent and ergonomic, fitting perfectly to mums silhouette and remaining discreet under clothing. They are antibacterial and anti-odour – which is an essential need for breast pads in my opinion! What’s even better, is that they are eco-friendly, just pop them in the machine washable and wear them again and again. This ‘breastfeeding starter kit‘ is a great price and includes everything you need to get started, including a padded nursing bra in either black or nude.

So whether you are after gorgeous maternity clothing; including stunning underwear and fabulous swimwear or stylish nursing friendly outfits and reusable breast pads…

then www.lilyandribbon.com have it all!

My next purchase will most definitely be the Flori Maternity & Nursing Jumpsuit– it will be perfect for the Christmas season and easy to dress up and down with different accessories. No longer will I worry about what to wear so that I can feed my baby confidently and look good at the same time! 🙌🏻

What will your first/next purchase be?

*This is an affiliated link with www.lilyandribbon.com, however, all words and opinions are my own.