Category: Life

Baby Shower

I finished my last post telling you all how I had planned a nice relaxing weekend planned. Other than the essential jobs, I’d planned on doing very little. Well, my family and friends had other ideas. Over the last few months, they somehow managed to plan a surprise baby shower for me with such precision and secrecy that they could probably advise the government on covert operations.

I’d had a text from a friend in the week asking what I was doing Saturday, and as hubby was off on a jolly with the boys (not bad for some eh?), I thought she was planning on coffee/lunch or something. Still none the wiser, another text on Saturday morning asked me to be ready at 1400, wear something nice and put some make up on. Now, pre-pregnancy, this would have triggered a million suspicions but this time? Not a thing, nada. I swear my brain gets smaller as my bump gets bigger. Can someone please tell me that this will get better? Anyone?? So, 1400 comes and she pulls up outside the house in her car and we set off, a few minutes later stopping at a ‘charity bake sale’ before we went out for lunch. I walked into the room oblivious to everything, and there are a huge group of my friends and family. Not only had they managed to keep it a secret amongst my friends here, they’d also managed to get my immediate family, in-laws and friends from home. In shock, I turned around and hid at the door for a few seconds.

I think my first words were ‘You liars’… and then I was pretty much stunned into silence for the next hour. I’m never speechless, but hey there is a first time for everything. I was taking in everything around me, and it was about 10 minutes before I even spotted my dad. I was aware that there was someone filming my reaction but it didn’t click that it was my dad behind the phone. Probably because my dad and technology aren’t exactly the best of friends. Everything was planned meticulously, and I still can’t believe the effort they went to. There were pictures of me as a baby/child up on the walls (thankfully my parents were feeling kind and didn’t provide anything too embarrassing), they’d planned games, made sandwiches and cakes, brought presents… Literally everything.

I’ll admit, I’m not big on surprises. I like to surprise other people but when it comes to me, I like to know everything. But this was amazing, and I had the best afternoon (after I recovered from the shock). It was so touching knowing that so many people care about me and went out of their way to do something so special for me. Just for me. I just can’t believe how everyone managed to keep it secret. Turns out everyone was avoiding me in the week running up to the baby shower, but I was still working and had a few appointments, so I didn’t really notice. What a sneaky bunch!!

Maternity leave begins:

When I imagined maternity leave, I thought it would be all feet up and watching rubbish daytime TV. Totally not how it’s been so far, I’ve barely had a days rest since I finished work and I’m further behind in all the soaps than ever. I’ve had a lot going on and I’m struggling to concentrate long enough to put it all together. In the last week I’ve sat down to write 4 or 5 times, but my poor brain just doesn’t know where to begin so I’ll apologise now if I appear to be waffling.

Maternity leave kicked off with an afternoon in hospital for what was supposed to be my last scan and obstetrician appointment, but thanks to my stubborn child, I’ll be going back again next week. Baby is still breech so I’m having another scan at 37 weeks, and hopefully she will have turned herself around by then. Can’t believe my child isn’t even born yet and is already showing signs of being as stubborn as her parents. Go figure… Apparently by 37 weeks, only 8% of babies are still in the breech position, so I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that she will have moved around. I also saw an obstetrician, however it was a different doctor to the one I’ve been seeing throughout and I left the hospital feeling much more positive. She listened to my concerns, and agreed that because there have been no issues with me or the baby during my pregnancy, there is no need for me to be taken into the high dependency unit as a default setting.

I’m still going to the main hospital as opposed to the midwife led unit, but if everything goes to plan then I’ll be going into the low dependency unit where I can have the more natural experience I’d like. I’ll be able to move around, use my birthing ball, and potentially have a water birth if the facilities are available. Doctors will be on hand in the high dependency unit across the corridor should there be any complications.

Of course, this all hinges on little miss turning herself round, but I felt good leaving the hospital having been listened to. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know I was starting to feel disheartened about the experience, but I’d say its definitely worth persevering if you feel you aren’t being listened to. I’m not suggesting everything will go the way I want it, but its good to know my thoughts and feelings are being taken into consideration.

Second day of maternity leave was equally busy. Hubby and I went to collect the car seat and have it fitted. We’d been putting it off for long enough, saying we’d go tomorrow, we’d go next week etc…. well, there aren’t many weeks left so off we went on a sunny Thursday morning. Yeah that’s right, in the actual morning. I used to spend my days off sleeping the morning away, eating breakfast at lunchtime then I’d go to the gym in the afternoon. Now I get up and do more by lunchtime than I used to do most weeks. Apparently it’s my body preparing me for baby coming. Anyhow, we arrived at the store and I left hubby in the capable hands of the staff so he would know how to install and remove the car seat as I browsed around the store, making sure that I’ve got everything, checking things off the many, many lists I seem to have made for myself: things to do, things to buy, places to be. I’m starting to think I need to make a list of all the lists. I think I’m pretty much prepared now, well, I am according to the lists. But I absolutely was not prepared for how I’d feel seeing the seat all set up. Things all of a sudden, felt incredibly real. In just a few weeks there is going to be a baby in that seat. OUR baby!! It was quite emotional really, either that or it was the hormones. Who knows?

Emotions continued to run high as I set off for my leaving meal with my work colleagues. We went for curry in a local restaurant where they operate a bring your own bottle policy for alcohol. Obviously I wasn’t partaking in the wine drinking, so I took my own special bottle… of Gaviscon. Well, you have to be prepared don’t you? I really enjoyed the evening, what could be better than good food and good company? Everyone was so generous, and I went home with some lovely gifts and flowers.

After a busy week, I was all set for a relaxing weekend of doing absolutely nothing. I was ready to find out what maternity leave is all about. Hubby was off gallivanting in Warsaw with the boys, and I had nothing to do, and nowhere to be. Lets just say that didn’t go to plan, but I’ll tell you about that next time.

Don’t worry… be happy

Hi everyone, how are you all this week?

Everything is good here, other than feeling exhausted I’m doing really well. I’ve had a busy few days and I’ve really enjoyed it. Last week I talked about how I’ve been avoiding social situations, but I’ve had a little more energy this week and had fun seeing friends.

We had some beautiful Yorkshire weather on Thursday so I took advantage of that by heading out for a walk around the fields with my friend Kat and our dogs. If living in the UK has taught me anything, its that spring/summer only comes for a couple of days at a time, and I can confirm this is true as its raining again now… glad I got out when I did. A walk like that completely zaps my energy now though, so luckily I had a very relaxing afternoon planned. After the walk, we went to a lunchtime mindfulness session, which has recently started up on the base. I’ve tried mindfulness and meditation before, but I find it hard to do on my own so it was nice to be in a group where the meditation was guided. It was only a short 20-minute session, but I found it helpful just to switch off from the world for a short time. The relaxation continued with a massage from the fairy princess that is Carly (I’m not manic, don’t worry… anyone who knows her will understand what I mean). I go into her sanctuary and leave feeling calm and chilled out, like I’m floating on clouds. She fixes all my pregnancy aches and pains, as well as my mind. I don’t spend a lot of money on myself anymore, but this is my favourite monthly treat. The only problem is that time passes way too quickly when I’m there.

Saturday was another great day, and I got to catch up with more friends. I started off the day meeting a friend who I haven’t seen years and even then I didn’t know her that well, so I was quite nervous. It almost felt like going on a first date, but it was lovely to see her. We chatted over coffee and bagels, I’ll admit, I had to hit the real coffee instead of decaf as I needed some extra energy to carry me through the afternoon. We hugged as we left, and agreed to meet again soon. To some people this seems like a simple event, but for me it’s an achievement and reminds me how well I’m doing mentally. When I’m not feeling so well, I wouldn’t even consider putting myself in that situation so I’m kinda proud of myself. After this it was time to go home for a quick change of clothes, and off to Monika’s 30th birthday afternoon tea. Another situation I’d find it hard to be in when I’m not feeling my best. I really enjoyed seeing friends, and of course the sandwiches and cake.

I’ve also done my last shifts at work this week. Military life means a lot of moving around so I’m used to leaving people/jobs behind, and mostly, I’ve been happy to leave previous jobs but not this time. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m genuinely sad to be leaving. I haven’t been there long, but for the first time in a long time I enjoyed going to work and I made some great friends. It’s not like I’m not going to see them again, but still, I think I might even be in denial as I still have my leaving meal later in the week. I’ll probably get emotional, just need to make sure I don’t get too tearful. Don’t want to ruin my make up after all… (Just for the record, I’m joking).

Before I go, I want to remind everyone that it’s OK to be happy. We go through more than enough difficult times in life, and when we struggle with our mental health it doesn’t make things any easier. But sometimes, things just come together and we are happy. Try not to compare yourself to everyone else, because we are all going through different things. Take some time and notice what YOU are doing because what seems like a small, unimportant event to others might be a huge achievement for you. You got out of bed today? Be proud of yourself!!

And with that, BRING ON MATERNITY LEAVE.