Babymoon!

So, we just came back from our Babymoon:

“babymoon
ˈbeɪbɪmuːn/
noun

informal
noun: babymoon; plural noun: babymoons; noun: baby-moon; plural noun: baby-moons
  1. a relaxing or romantic holiday taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born.”

I had not heard the term until a couple of weeks ago when my ever-so-educated wife said something and upon hearing this particular word my ears pricked up concerned about what I was getting myself into!

pillows

I insisted on the pregnancy pillow coming – I’m a sensible person.

We decided a long time ago that money and biology meant we’d not be going on a ‘proper’ holiday this year but we knew something was required or we’d go mad. Also, it dawned on us that all being well, in a few months we’ll not have a holiday to ourselves for quite some time. Oh my.

So we decided a nice bank holiday weekend away in the UK somewhere was called for. I did some basic searching and decided the Cotswolds worked – we went there last year and it was ace. It was close. It was easy to get to. Yay me!

lowerslaughter

Lower Slaughter (means muddy, not the other thing)

I then had to help find where in the Cotswolds. That took some effort. Found some places, we took our time and half had gone. Tried again – and booked somewhere. Only to be told they would have events on 2/3 nights and this would be noisy. Hardly what a ~20-week pregnant lady needs! Nor her erstwhile husband…

Third time lucky we got somewhere. It was aces. Nice room, great food, very quiet. In Cheltenham which was simple to get to on Friday evening. We used it as our base from which we travelled to the Slaughters and Stow-on-the-Wold Saturday; Bourton-on-the-water Sunday and Burford on the way home Monday.

dogicecream

Dogs all love ice-cream, and the cone. Mine does too!!!

 

The Slaughters were lovely and peaceful. Rivers, short walks and dogs all over the place. Stow was more busy but it had fudge-making, a Ploughman’s lunch for me and some funky shops to gaze at. Dinner at the hotel was a awesome burger, some prawns, a belly of pork for the wife and some chocolate goodness for pudding. Some nice red wine and Belgian beer for me, too. Drinking for two, wasn’t I? Both the place we had lunch and the hotel were understanding in helping us work out what was in all the food so we knew we were ok from a baby point of view. It’s hard eating at the best of times, but when hamstrung by not actually being the one cooking it…

Bourton was great fun! We went to Birdland, which of course meant PENGUINS!!! And some other birds too. The rest of the day was walking, dog-watching, sitting and cream-tea eating. Some dogs we saw were lucky enough to get ice-cream from their owners too, which was aces.

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Blooming awesome, no?

Today was mainly the journey home. We’re both exhausted, but refreshed after a lovely couple of days away. So ends our Babymoon. Phew. Is the real thing as tiring ;)?

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It’s been a little while…

…and for that I’m sorry. But I haven’t had anything really to share and there’s no point writing a post about nothing. Is there?

No, the last couple of weeks have been remarkably normal/good/as expected. My wife’s getting cramps and back pain. This is not good, but explainable by becoming ever-more heavily pregnant, and doing Yoga. She loves her pregnancy pillow and dislikes vigorously that she can’t lie properly on her back. She’s eating – quite a bit – and putting on weight. The baby is moving a lot and today I felt it for the first time too! Now that’s cool.

pillows

The pillow is kinda peculiar, but the wife likes it so you know! P.S. This is not my wife. Duh.

But otherwise, remarkably normal. She went to a 80s gig on Saturday and I visited a festival of beer with a good chum. It was fun, for us both. But tiring the next day! We have chosen our new internal doors and they’ve been ordered. I’ve picked a fridge and need it to be okayed, or rejected. I’ve started a new role in work and we have our 20 week scan next week.

All good at the moment then – long may it continue. I’ll also not be as long with the next post or two. I have more to tell…

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Beer Fest. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Our First Antenatal Class – ‘Earlybird’

So this past week my wife and I attended an NHS antenatal class, named Earlybird, for first-time parents to let them know what to expect. First thing’s first – I did not get surprised, blindsided or shocked by what we covered. This is a good thing. It shows I have some grasp on the reality and gravity of the matter, but also have done some decent reading and research despite the fact I haven’t a pile of Dad books on my desk. The internet wins clear to all 😉

It was a useful couple of hours to be honest. A bit of biology which did help me better understand the organ movement my wife is going through, in relation to the baby’s position and so on. How this can vary from Mum to Mum was quite intriguing as a scientist.

tummy.jpg

This is antenatal. It also fits with my wife’s expectation that her tummy button will flip. Cool, no?

There were a few Mums and not quite so many Dads there. But we were split up at one point to see what the Mums needed to be comfortable, and what the Dads could do to make the Mums comfortable. We came up with an amazing list. We win. Here’s what I can remember from it:

  1. Pregnancy pillows
  2. Reach for stuff / lift heavy stuff
  3. Listen, nod and say yes a lot
  4. Do housework
  5. Comprehensive catering
  6. Don’t try and fix things
  7. Emotional support
  8. Body image concern alleviation
  9. Massages
  10. Leave space as needed
  11. Man time (to refresh ourselves to ensure tip-top condition for our wives)
  12. Placeholder for when I recall the other 3…
awesome

Us Dads-to-be were. Honestly, every Mum is. Especially my Mum-to-be.

All good stuff, huh? We were awesome. The lady running the class was very impressed. It was a good morning. Makes me eager for the proper NCT course closer to birth. But let’s not rush things, huh? Lots to think about between now and then 🙂

Pregnancy is Hard

I am pretty sure I don’t need to tell anyone that. It’s obvious, right? What the wonderful, strong Mother has to go through is amazing. Yet they do it. Often, time and time again. My wife is working on our first right now and I know she’s finding it tough but you know what? She’s not complaining. Yes she lets me know what’s going on, but not once has she complained about it, rather than just let me know so I can hopefully tell her it’s ok, I understand or at the very least not try and find a solution (this is hard, too). She’s awesome.

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That’s a nice way to look at it 🙂 – now, earn that promotion!

I’m going to say something perhaps a little provocative now. Pregnancy is hard for the Dad, too. Yes, that’s right. It is. It really is. Not Mother-hard of course, that would be a clear lie. But in its own way it is hard. The Dad can’t really help with any of the pregnancy. Yes we can buy stuff, cook food, research travel systems and bigger fridges but we can’t actually turn ourselves into a little human factory. Arnold Schwarzenegger once did but I think that was fiction.

What’s hard about it from a Dad’s perspective is that we see what brilliant things the Mother is doing, often with quite a penalty (painful legs, unfitting wardrobe, lack of sleep, extreme tiredness, morning sickness, emotional ups and downs and so on), but can only nod and listen attentively. It’s hard seeing all that.

junior.jpg

Such a weird film now you look back on it.

What you both need to remind each other is that it’s worth it. There’s a reason why we walked knowingly into this and it’s getting closer. One last point too – enjoy the pregnancy. It’s not something either of you will experience that often in life so remember the good days, the fun bits – the quickening or the day it really is obvious bump has arrived. Make the hard pregnancy as easy as you can.

P.S. It might be hard, but it’s awesome 🙂

The Reality of Pregnancy

So my wife is now 17 weeks pregnant. And you can tell. She’s really started to show in the past couple of weeks. To me it’s pretty cool, and shows things are progressing the way they should. I think she is the same, but she’s also surprised at how big she is right now.

It’s possible she’s also started to feel some kicks from the little one. It’s a little early for someone normally to feel this in their first pregnancy. But it does happen. This is also very cool. What’s a little off-putting for me is when my wife called it the Quickening. And yes, that is it’s widely-used term. It just made me think of the Highlander film series.

quickening

The Quickening. The Highlander version.

We’re hoping to take a break somewhere in the UK for late May bank holiday weekend. This will be our holiday for the year, and also our last one before we become parents. It’s crazy to think about that. Later this year our lives will change massively, in a good way. After 17 years together and 6 of them married we’ll not be the only ones in this family and any holiday thereafter will have a very different focus.

I’m also seriously starting to think about the items we need to buy. Specifically travel systems and car seats. I have no idea what I’m doing. I do know if you ask for opinions everyone has a good one but I must remember that their choice was based on what they needed. They did the research and took the plunge. They then have a reference point from which to speak, but in the majority of cases no second reference point. In summary, take onboard the info but remember to use it to make a choice, not be the choice.

noidea

This is me. So very true.

Auntie Dee? Nope, Anti-D

I pretty much assumed I hadn’t heard correctly the first time. I knew I didn’t have an Auntie Dee (I could have misheard about my Auntie P.. to be fair) but couldn’t quite believe that Anti-D was what they were calling it. This essential thing for pregnant women with a particular blood result. Anti-D, it sounds like the kind of thing made up for film or games.

But no, it’s very real and very, very important. My wife’s early-stage pregnancy blood test results confirmed she is Rhesus negative. Being Rhesus negative is far less likely than being Rhesus positive. Being Rhesus negative can lead to your baby suffering from Rhesus disease. This means the baby could be aneamic or jaundiced at birth. Not good.

rhesus

Being Rhesus positive does not mean you’ll turn into this happy chappy

As it is less likely you’re Rhesus negative than positive, it’s most likely the baby will be Rhesus positive. This in itself isn’t a problem but it can lead to sensitisation of the mother, which in turn leads to her blood producing antibodies which can cross the placenta and cause the aforementioned Rhesus disease.

As mentioned, sensitisation needs to occur first. So this issue is more of a problem on second and third pregnancies (and so on) but it’s best to avoid the issue. Hence the injection of Anti-D.

bigneedle

Look at the size of that thing (that’s what she said)

Anti-D is an immunoglobulin, or antibody. It’s basically a chunk of protein critical in any immune response. So fairly common for all of us. But this one’s special. Anti-D helps remove any Rhesus positive blood cells before they can cause sensitisation. How awesome is that? It’s like sending in the top marines to take out the baddies before they’re even an issue.

Anti-D is given routinely to Rhesus negative ladies at or around the 28-weeks mark but also if any bleeding is experienced, or invasive procedures carried out. So if you had amniocentesis you’d get some, or if – like my wife – you have some problems which upon investigation show a small haematoma present, you’ll get it. Spoiler: It hurts!

A Tale of Two Midwives and a Heartbeat

So, on Friday my wife had a midwife appointment as we’re at the 16 weeks mark now. Somehow. We still don’t have a midwife yet as the local one is on long-term sick leave and right now our NHS district is covering her workload with a variety of other midwives.

We had to wait a while – as you do – but eventually were lucky enough to have two midwives, oddly. Both were very nice and each was helpful in any way they could. A ten or so minute appointment easily stretched to thirty minutes or more whilst they did the necessary checks and answered the list of questions we’d built up over time. Well, my wife had built it up but I supported it strongly.

cute-puppy-pictures-it-is-a-perfect-day-for-the-puppy-with-the-stick

I was struggling with pics for this post so here you go – let’s make it a purfect day 😀

We got a bit more information about what’s to come. Specifically the consult my wife needs (as due to her suffering from ME we need to see if we need midwife or consultant led care) – which as it turns out hadn’t been booked as it was meant to have been – is now sorted. We were reminded of our 20 week scan towards the end of May and we were told to get my wife some blood tests in a while ahead of the 28 week anti-D injection she needs. I think that’s right anyway – she was taking notes and I’m doing this all from my memory!

listening

The midwives actually used a machine but it was nearly as funny as this would have been

Most excitingly on the day midwife number one decided to listen for the baby’s heartbeat. She couldn’t find it. She told us not to panic but obviously leaving like that wouldn’t have been great. Fortunately she invited midwife number two to have a go, and she was able to locate it. It was awesome hearing that. Each day brings something new, and each day makes it more exciting. And a little more scary :). 147 bpm by the way, in case you’re interested. Normal range right now is 110-160 so baby done good.