And then there were four….

A while ago I wrote a short post just in case anyone was missing me on here, because I knew I wasn’t writing as often as I once was. I talked about a couple of projects – one was my editorial work for my local NCT branch magazine, and the other wasn’t quite ready to be announced back then. Well the time has finally come when I’d like to share with you our news (in case you hadn’t guessed already from my not-so-cryptic clue, or seen on Facebook)….. I’m pregnant! That’s right, at the end of October, our three-person family will expand to four 🙂 We’re very excited, and very much looking forward to the new arrival.

Isn't he/she cute?!
Baby Cumming (2) at 13 weeks and 2 days

This scan photo was taken earlier this week, at 13 weeks and 2 days (according to size estimations from the scan itself), giving us a due date of 30th October. As I remember feeling at our first scan with Andrew, this was an amazing experience, because it was the first time we saw a proper picture of our baby (I say proper, since we actually had a scan at 9 weeks this time – but baby still looked like a prawn then – because of a mix up with dates and communication between our community midwife and the hospital ultrasound department procedures…. gotta love the NHS!) Until this week, all I had to ‘prove’ I really did have a real, live and kicking baby growing inside me were a couple of pregnancy tests (we did two just to really believe them) and awful sickness. Seeing baby move on screen, and its little heart beating, was a lovely reassurance that all was fine.

I’m going to try and write a kind of pregnancy diary on the blog, hopefully weekly or thereabouts, to keep anyone interested up to date with how things are going. I’ve even created a new category called ‘pregnancy and breastfeeding’. Although I’ve talked about breastfeeding before on here, it’s always just come under ‘mum-hood’. But as it is one of the biggest things on my mind in this pregnancy so far, I feel it could really do with its own space. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot I want to share on that front – all the things I know now having struggled through the first 6 months of breastfeeding Andrew, but having come out the other side feeling very positive, making it to toddler breastfeeding, and now even breastfeeding in pregnancy! Eek, how did I ever get to be doing that?! (I feel that needs a post in its own right some time.)

So, as a first addition to this pregnancy diary, how would I summarise the first 13 weeks? That’s pretty easy really: sickness, nausea and exhaustion. Not very positive, sorry! As many of you will know from your own or friends’ experience, the first trimester (and beyond) of pregnancy can be pretty awful for mum, and leave you feeling rubbish at a time when you expected to be feeling over the moon. Since about week six, I’ve been feeling constantly nauseous, and been sick several times a day, although this week less often, so I’m hoping that actually being sick is wearing off, and that at some point the constant nausea will too (it did at about 20 weeks with Andrew).

This time round I can’t say that it’s been any easier than last, even though I now have Andrew as living proof that all the sickness really will be worth it in the end. In some ways it’s been even harder than last, probably because I’ve been more tired through looking after Andrew, and I can’t just take things at my own pace. It did help that I had a (totally co-incidental, not planned that way) week of annual leave from work in March just as I started to be really sick, and another week and a half at Easter, when I was very grateful to our amazing families who gave us a week of rest when we all went on holiday together.

Like last time, I’ve learned coping strategies for getting through the day, like what to try and eat when, and what to do and avoid doing (for example, rest as much as possible and not be near any food that’s being cooked!) If anyone wants to suggest ginger – been there, done that, doesn’t help. I’m wearing seabands – not that I think they make much (any?!) difference, but I don’t want to take them off and potentially feel even worse than I do, it’s just not worth the risk. My bedtime has ranged from about 5.30pm when Tom gets in from work, to 8pm when Andrew is asleep; even if I don’t get to sleep straight away due to the nausea, at least I’m lying down in a darkened room.

Maybe this is all a bit too much information? Well the reason I decided to be so up front about this is that I think pregnancy sickness is something that there could be more support for, rather than something mums-to-be feel they just have to ‘put up with’ alone. A friend of mine and fellow blogger, Amanda over at the Family Patch, is doing great things to promote awareness of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP), and its most severe form, Hyperemesis gravidarum, which she suffered from whilst carrying her son. I totally agree with her that more can be done to support mums who are battling with feeling so awful and isolated, and also to research what causes NVP and how best to help. It is so good to know that I’m not alone in this, and although that doesn’t get rid of the NVP problem, it does help to try and deal with it on a daily basis. I’m also very grateful that Tom is very supportive, not only by keeping on top of all the housework that I haven’t been able to do, but also listening to me whinge about how rubbish I’m feeling.

Having written this, I don’t want to detract from what is a very positive and exciting time for us. Despite the sickness, I’m feeling very happy that I’m soon going to be a mum of two little ones 🙂 This really is a dream come true, and something that I didn’t take for granted would just happen. Since I gave birth to Andrew, I have felt increasingly as though my main role in life is being mum; although I returned to work part-time when he was 9 months old, I have known since then that I would take a break from paid work either at the end of my contract, or if and when we were blessed with another baby (which turns out to be 2 months before the end of my contract), to look after our family. I’m looking forward to sharing more about how things progress with this pregnancy over the weeks, and I’m sure future diary posts will be full of good times. Exciting!

Let it snow

There must be hundreds of mummy bloggers out there in England who are posting about their baby’s/toddler’s first taste of snow (figuratively as well as maybe literally?!) I thought I’d hop on the bandwagon and share our first family experience of snow.

In recent years I’ve come to a state of annoyance and frustration whenever snow is forecast, because it’s usually meant disrupted travel plans and worrying about whether we will make it to see family at Christmas. Having spent quite a lot of time working in Switzerland for my PhD, where they not only ‘cope with’ but positively ‘know how to get on with’ snow as part of everyday life in winter, I often moan about England’s pathetic malfunctioning when a few flakes of the white stuff fall on her green and pleasant land. It’s not that I’m against snow in general – give me a skiing holiday and I’m as happy as they come (anyone offering?!….thought not), but when I have to go somewhere or do something that’s goodness knows how many times more dangerous because of the snow, that’s when I get annoyed with it.

But this year’s snow has softened me a little, and changed my perspective. Well, it’s not the snow itself that’s changed me (I’m not letting it have too much credit), but rather the fact that I have a toddler to enjoy it with now, of course. When we first lowered him down onto the crunchy white layer covering my parents’ drive yesterday, he didn’t quite know what to make of it. After a few gingerly steps came the inevitable fall on the bum, nicely cushioned by his many layers of clothing and the fluffy stuff itself. Then came the inevitable exploration with bare hands (he won’t keep gloves on for more than about 10 seconds), leading to the inevitable tasting trial. Sorbet, lovely! With our help he managed to walk all the way to the front door, leaving a trail of oh-so-cute footprints.

That was yesterday; this morning was even more exciting, waking up to see a thick (for this country) covering as far as our eyes could see. I’m glad we’re staying in a house with a big garden, I couldn’t wait to get togged up and step out into the pristine snow. Andrew wasn’t too sure, but then again the snow did come up to almost his knees, and for someone who’s only just mastered walking in general, it was no easy task trudging through the sticky crunchy snow. Plus he was a bit tired, in need of his morning nap. It wasn’t long before the covering was no longer pristine, covered in footprints from Daddy- to toddler-sized, and a snowman was making his way into existence. While Andrew looked on hesitantly, Granny and I built him up, which was so easy because the snow was lovely and sticky – perfect for snowman making! A few sticks, stones, and a carrot later, and ta-dah, Mr Snowman was complete. Sorry, almost complete – just a hat (of course a Blues one – Birmingham City Football Club) was needed to finish him off.

Although I was somewhat stressed about the drive west to my parents, seeing the sky getting greyer with every mile, in the end I was pleasantly surprised about how excited I was by waking up to lots of snow, and how much I enjoyed playing in the snow. I loved watching my newly walking boy become fascinated by a new experience. It made me think back to my childhood memories of snow, and how much fun I had, and therefore I temporarily forgot all the adult anxiety and annoyance that has dominated snowy days since I had to actually get stuff done. Let it snow I say! (Just not on our journey back home today, please.)