10 Reasons I DON’T Miss Being Pregnant

It’s no secret that I’m ‘done at one’. I only ever wanted one child, but I fully expected to enjoy that one pregnancy. But for the most part I didn’t. I just can’t relate to my friends who tell me how much they miss being pregnant, or posts listing the great things about pregnancy. So I decided to compile my own list; things I don’t miss about about being pregnant. Enjoy!

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1 The scans

Or more specifically the waiting room at the RSCH Antenatal Clinic. As I was under a consultant throughout my pregnancy, I had to attend her clinic at the hospital for regular scans. This in itself was OK (although it was a feat of logistical engineering to ensure both Ben and I had the time off every time). The thing that drove me bonkers was the waiting. I never once had a scan on time. One time we were even forgotten, and waited over three hours!

2 Not sleeping on my front.

I sleep on my front. Always have. But being pregnant meant I was told not to, by a physio, from 12 weeks. Trouble was I couldn’t get comfy for love nor money and so I slept badly from much earlier on than maybe I should have. If I knew how much it would affect me I’d have continued to sleep on my front until I physically couldn’t manage it any more!

3 Boob pain.

I know everyone’s boobs change when they’re pregnant, but I don’t know anyone else who went through months of daily excruciating boob pain, before they had the baby. I would wake up in agony some nights and many times it was so painful I had to go and sit downstairs to cry so I didn’t wake Ben. It was a like someone was pushing a sword through my boobs, from my nipple to my ribs, on both sides. The pain would come on suddenly and last varying amounts of time, and finish just as suddenly. It didn’t subside until I was well into my 3rd trimester. None of the doctors or midwives had a clue what was causing the pain and nothing I did seemed to help!

4 Not being able to wear contact lenses

I read about your eyes changing shape during pregnancy, but I didn’t expect it to mean I couldn’t wear my contact lenses any more. But it did. They were so uncomfortable from about five months I couldn’t even wear them for short periods of time. Hence why I had to wear glasses while being my sister’s bridesmaid, something I would never have done otherwise!

5 Decaf Coffee

I mean seriously, what is the point? I continued to have one full fat caffeinated coffee a day, throughout my pregnancy, and spent the rest of the day drinking insipid decaf and quietly resenting every mouthful!

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6 Eating and drinking

To be honest my tastes changed quite a bit during my pregnancy. I didn’t want my favourite Diet Coke and the amount I could eat reduced significantly. It was all OK, I just hated having to think about what I could or couldn’t or should or shouldn’t eat, all the time. And as the guidance as to what is acceptable for pregnant women to ingest keeps changing, mothers of older children felt the need to tell me all the time what they ate and drank and how it did them no harm! Whatever! I did stick to the ‘rules’ for the most part, although there was no way I was eating well done steak or over cooked eggs!

7 Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

I spent most of my third trimester in deep discomfort, not least because I developed Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in my wrists. It was worst in my left hand and some mornings I’d wake up to no feeling in my hand at all. Physio and a splint did jack to lessen the pain and it didn’t ease until he was born.

8 4am Macarena parties

Sleep is a precious commodity now I have a child but that started waaaay before he was born. I slept so badly throughout my pregnancy and one of the other reasons for that was Oscar’s love of a good boogie at 4am. Always bloody 4am! I called it the Macarena Hour (and if you’re too young to know what the Macarena is, I hate you).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiBYM6g8Tck

9 Non Wired Bras

I cannot remember ever wearing non wired bras. I mean I probably did for about five minutes in my early teens, but I’ve needed the support of a wired bra since puberty. I hated wearing non wired bras. I just don’t have the er.. ‘shape’ for it and despite investing in the very best (by Hot Milk) and having a proper fitting, I still hated the shape and the feeling of the gave me. I started wearing non wired from 16 weeks and do you know, I think I could have worn wired for so much longer. I’d have been more comfortable that’s for sure! As soon as it transpired Oscar was not going to latch and breastfeeding wasn’t going to be for us I was straight back into the wired bras and my ladies breathed an uplifted sigh of relief!!

10 Patronising attitude

A plus size pregnancy can come with all sorts of additional challenges. Just like any pregnancy, things can get complicated. I mean mine didn’t. Until the end of the third trimester mine was pretty much standard and no more or less challenging than anyone else’s. However, I was looked at and talked to differently. I know I was. Assumptions were openly made about what would happen in my pregnancy, none of which did. I didn’t get diabetes, I didn’t have a huge baby. I don’t miss the patronising generalisations that were made about my ability to carry my baby and keep him safe just because of my weight. A plus size mother is no more or less a mother than anyone else, and I don’t miss the ‘attitude’ I got from certain healthcare professionals that would suggest that this isn’t the case!

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Was he worth it? Totally. Would I do it again? Hell no!

 

Peanut Booster Bars for the sustenance of pregnant ladies

All my fellow bloggers appear to be pregnant at the moment, so pregnancy talk is everywhere on my social media! Swollen ankles, back ache, sciatica, the lot! And then the other day someone mentioned how hungry she is all the time and that took me right back! In my first two trimesters I ate much less than usual. I just wasn’t as hungry at all. But then in the third trimester I was ravenous constantly. Particularly in the mornings. At the time I worked an hour and a half away and to keep me going on the train I started taking a cereal bar with me. And then it was two. And by the end I was packing a picnic! And eventually shop bought cereal bars just weren’t doing it for me any more. So I found a recipe to make my own. Packed with much more goodness than commercially produced ones, they (along with the satsumas I was craving), kept me going until I got into work. Just!

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Me at 34 weeks pregnant. Already very swollen and very hungry!

And I hadn’t thought about them for aaaaaaaages, until talking to my hungry pregnant friend the other day. So I thought I’d share the recipe with you. They’re based on a River Cottage recipe, are utterly addictive and not just for pregnant ladies!

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Peanut Booster Bars for the sustenance of hungry pregnant ladies

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 125g no-sugar-added crunchy peanut butter (I use Meridian)
  • 75g honey, plus a little more to finish
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 200g porridge oats
  • 150g dried fruit. I used half raisins, half sultanas, but you could use whatever you like or have going spare
  • 150g mixed seeds. I used 1/3 pumpkin, 1/3 sunflower and 1/3 sesame, but again you can use whatever you fancy and in whatever ratio
  1. Line a square baking tin. Put the butter, sugar, peanut butter, honey and grated citrus zests in a deep saucepan over a very low heat. Leave until melted, stirring from time to time.
  2. Stir the oats, dried fruit and three-quarters of the mixed seeds into the melted butter mixture until thoroughly combined.
  3. Spread the mixture out evenly in the baking tin, smoothing the top as you go.
  4. Scatter the remaining seeds over the surface and trickle with a little more honey.
  5. Place in an oven preheated to 160°C/Gas Mark 3 and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden in the centre and golden brown at the edges.
  6. Leave to cool completely in the tin (be patient – it cuts much better when cold, in fact I used to keep mine in the fridge), then turn out and cut into squares (or in my case great big wodges) with a sharp knife.
  7. These bars will apparently keep for 5-7 days in an airtight tin. Or in our house, a couple of days. Ish.
    imageYes they have some sugar in them, but do you know what, these little beauties did me a real solid in what was a pretty difficult time in my life. So I can’t help but love them. Give them a go and let me know what you think!

Make You Feel My Love

When I was pregnant I worked in a job I didn’t really enjoy all that much. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t really what I thought I’d end up doing. A lot of it was working with data, both written and digital, so for large parts of the day I would wear headphones and listen to music so I was able to concentrate and to block out the noise of the office. There are a couple of albums I can’t hear now without thinking of that time. The Glee soundtracks (1&2, despite never seeing a single episode of Glee!), Florence and the Machines: Ceremonials, Christina Perri: Lovestrong.

I’d get my music freak on, probably silently sing the words and look like a muppet but I didn’t care. It got me through the day. And believe me they were long days.

There was however, one artist I listened to more than any other. Remember we’re talking 2011/2012. Any guesses? A bun to anyone who said Adele! I adored both of her albums at the time, 19 and 21 and listened to them an inordinate amount. I don’t know what it touched in me but every song struck a chord somewhere. But none more so than the cover of the Bob Dylan track ‘Make You Feel My Love’.

I hadn’t listened to the album in a while, until I was listening to Hello on Spotify this weekend. I like it. Much more polished than before, but more powerful for it. Then I listened to a few old faves and remembered how much I loved them. Then ‘Make You Feel My Love’ came on and I cried and cried. Because it took me straight back and made me remember how scared I was throughout my pregnancy. I haven’t really spoken about this but I spent my entire pregnancy scared he wasn’t going to make it. That song was my plea to my unborn child. I would do anything, anything, if he would just choose me.

It was the line…

“I know you haven’t made your mind up yet”

…that got me the most. I spent nine months expecting him to change his mind. To make the decision not to join us. I was convinced I’d lose him and so I begged. Begged him to stay and sang to him every day. Promised that I would ‘go to the ends of the Earth for you’. When our days are hard, and it feels like his autism is taking over and and I’m not sure I can do this any more, I just need to listen to that track and remember. Remember, that I promised “you aint seen nothing like me yet”.

When the rain is blowing in your face,
And the whole world is on your case,
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love.

When the evening shadows and the stars appear,
And there is no one there to dry your tears,
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love.

I know you haven’t made your mind up yet,
But I will never do you wrong.
I’ve known it from the moment that we met,
No doubt in my mind where you belong.

I’d go hungry; I’d go black and blue,
I’d go crawling down the avenue.
No, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
To make you feel my love.

The storms are raging on the rolling sea
And on the highway of regret.
The winds of change are blowing wild and free,
You ain’t seen nothing like me yet.

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true.
Nothing that I wouldn’t do.
Go to the ends of the Earth for you,
To make you feel my love

To make you feel my love

Make you feel my Love

Bob Dylan 1997

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The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback
A Cornish Mum

As long it it’s healthy?

Hands up any of you who, when pregnant were asked “what are you hoping for, boy or girl?”. It’s a pretty regular question and one I know I was asked myself. I mean it’s also a pretty rubbish question. If anyone asked Ben while I was pregnant, what he was hoping for, he’d always say ‘errr.. a baby’. But in reality, no matter how daft, it’s probably a question we’ve asked expectant mothers ourselves.

So, hands up who answered “I don’t care”? And keep your hand up if you added the caveat, “as long as it’s healthy”? Quite a few of you I see.

I didn’t. Well not quite. I knew, knew, knew I wanted a boy. I was actually quite petrified at the thought of having a girl. Girls are so, well, difficult. Boys, much simpler. And I wasn’t shy about telling the truth. When I found out, quite late on, we were indeed having a boy, I couldn’t have been any happier. But for all my honesty, I know I also used the caveat “as long as they’re healthy”.

What a stupid thing to say.

Was I really saying I wouldn’t love my child if they weren’t healthy? And what did I mean by healthy anyway? It’s such an broad sweeping and vague term. Did I in fact mean, “as long as they’re normal”. I’m horrified to think back to the ignorant me and wonder whether this is the case, but I think it is. I want to scream at her and say don’t be so bloody arrogant and oh by the way, you should know this right now THERE IS NO NORMAL.

So yeah, I got what I asked for. I wanted a boy. I got a boy. And boys are not simple. They are just as complex and difficult and hard work as girls. And I wanted him to be ‘healthy’ and physically he is. I mean he really is. He’s never had antibiotics in his life, not because I don’t agree with them, just he’s never needed them. He gets the occasional cold and has had D&V maybe two or three times in his life. Physically my little dude is an ox. But ‘normal’?

Oscar’s autism is classed as a disability. I have a disabled son. This is not what I hoped for. This is not what I wanted all those years ago when I was flippantly remarking on the life of a child yet to be born. No, I think it’s fair to say, I am not in a place yet where I can see his autism as a gift or a positive in our lives. I also think it’s safe to say if I was asked if I wanted to give his autism back, I would. It’s hard. Some days too hard to explain. But if someone could have told me, when he was born, that this is who he is, would I have done anything differently? Would I have loved him any less, despite him not being the paragon of “normal child” I had held in my head for the previous nine months (and, let’s be honest, beyond)?

I didn’t want this for my son. I didn’t want autism to ever be a part of my life. But it is. And I love him no more or less than I would have done with or without it. To say you don’t care what you have as long as it’s healthy implies you will only love a child if it meets your expectations. I’m pretty sure that that’s bull shit. I’m pretty sure you’d love you child regardless. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that’s just me. But maybe we need to stop using such thoughtless phrases, from some kind of maternity script. Maybe we could just change the lines a little.

Q: What are you hoping to have, boy or girl?

A: My baby

 

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Life with Baby Kicks

PCOS – My Story

If you’ve read my blog before you will know I am 1) a mother and 2) have struggled with my weight all my adult life. What you may not realise is that I have something in my life that touches both of these subjects. This is my story.

In 2010, we’d been married nearly two years and happily living in Swansea with no intentions of having children yet. One day, I went to the doctors about a cough and whilst I was there also asked whether a 32 year old should still be getting acne. I say still; as it happens I didn’t actually start getting acne til I was in my 20’s. Anyway the doctor looked at me and said “erm, have you ever been diagnosed with PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome)?” My heart sank. I hadn’t but a friend had and I knew what it meant, or could mean. Poly Cystic Ovaries are the most common endocrine condition, and one of the leading causes of fertility problems, in women. It can lead to all sorts of health problems, including weight gain and associated metabolic complications, such as diabetes etc. If you’re really interested you can find out more about it here.

The doctor immediately booked me in for blood tests and an ultrasound, during which the sonographer told me I definitely had the tell tale ‘string of pearl’ cysts in both ovaries. Just like that. I left the hospital in a daze, not really sure what it meant for me. When I next saw the doctor, she told me my blood tests indicated I was not ovulating, at all, and that it was unlikely I would be able to conceive without some ‘medical intervention’.

My world fell inwards just a tiny bit. You don’t grow up thinking you will ever have problems conceiving. In fact you are bombarded with messages about how easy it is (condom anyone?). Being a mum was just something I knew I would be really good at (in the way women without children assume they will be 😉 ). It’s fair to say I was just a bit heartbroken, without really knowing what the diagnosis would actually mean for me. For us.

So I did what any good 21st Century gal would do in this situation. I got on the internet and did some research. I learnt that a woman with PCOS processes sugars differently to a woman without, meaning I could eat the same as someone without PCOS, but my body would store more fat than hers. Brilliant! I was advised to follow a low GI, low fat, low sugar diet. Which I roundly ignored. As we had no plans for children yet I pushed all thoughts of it, roughly, to the back of my mind. And had some more cake.

It was only after we moved back to Surrey in 2011, that we decided I should start to look into what this meant for me, for my health and for our future. What kind of medical intervention were we talking about here? I made an appointment to see my new doctor to talk about going on a drug called Metformin, primarily used to help with the metabolism but can also help with a lack of ovulation. In the meantime I suggested to Ben that we stop using contraception just so we could say we had. A week later, I woke up in the night with the most appalling metallic taste in my mouth. It didn’t go away over the next few days, so I Googled it. All that came back was pregnancy, pregnancy, pregnancy. But that couldn’t be the case. Could it?

I couldn’t shake the thought from my mind. So I bought a pregnancy test, more to put the thought to bed than anything. I honestly can’t make it clear enough now much I expected that stick to say Not Pregnant. Had I expected it to say anything else I would have involved Ben, or at least told him! As it happened I got home from work, peed on a stick in our ensuite and casually glanced at it while I washed my hands. I can’t tell you just how much (or how loud!) I screamed when I saw the word Pregnant, staring up at me from the edge of the sink. I remember running into the bedroom, falling to my knees and begging and begging (who or what I’m not sure) for this to be true. I remember crying (at the top of my voice!) “please let this work out”.

And, as you know, it was and it did. All I ever wanted was a baby boy with blonde hair. I got everything I asked for. His conception was so much easier than it should have been according to the medical profession, and whilst carrying him wasn’t always straightforward, despite my high BMI, no real harm came to either of us. And while I know every baby is a tiny miracle, I really feel like he’s mine. A medical marvel as Ben calls him. And I’m so grateful for him, every day.

After I won the Greatest Loser Award at SW last March, I had to complete a questionnaire about the changes I’d experienced since losing weight. Aside from the obvious, it made me think about my body’s capacity to cope. I realised how badly I’d previously treated my body. I fuelled it with crap, I never considered it’s welfare, I hated it’s failings and yet it quietly went about providing a safe and strong home for my baby. It carried him full term and bought him into the world. I guess it’s as stubborn as I am when being told it can’t do something!

I still have PCOS. There is no cure. Only proper management can reduce the symptoms. Good food, exercise, a bit of TLC. I’m indebted to my body for giving me my son. I can only try and express my gratitude with these small gifts. Every day.

 

My miracle

My miracle