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BABY ON BOARD Pregnancy updates

31 Weeks


I’m seriously not going to miss taking photos of myself every week

I’m 31 weeks today! There’s definitely something about passing the 30-week mark that makes you think that from now on, EVERYTHING has to be about the baby. I’m sure this is also because I’m now on maternity leave, so I’ve got very little in the way of day-job-work to distract me. Anyway, being 31 weeks has suddenly got me all in a flap about the fact that the baby will be full-term and therefore may be born at any time in only SIX WEEKS. Squeak!

Everyone I’ve spoken to has said that first-time babies are always born late, so I had almost resigned myself to not having Chip until September. But then I googled it and discovered that statistically first-time babies are as likely to be early as they are late, so that’s a load of nonsense. Also, with my placenta issue, if I haven’t had him/her by 41 weeks they will induce me, which means that he/she will definitely be born by 2 September! A very strange thought.

I’ve had mixed reactions about my August due date, with some people saying they hope I’ll hang on so the baby is born in the next school year so that he/she isn’t the least developed (read: most stupid) in their class, and others pointing out that an August baby means one year less of childcare for me (as the baby will be going to school almost a year earlier than babies born a week later). Truth is I actually don’t care at all when Chip is born. I just want him/her to be healthy and for me not to rip in half during labour. Oh and for my feet to go back to normal after (more on that later).

Anyway, my first week of maternity leave has been lovely, and basically felt like a mini holiday. I’ve been out seeing friends a lot for lunches, brunches and dinners, and generally just pottering about. I even went back to John Lewis’s baby department again, but this time with my Mum. Sadly it was no more successful than my previous trip. In fact the only difference was this time it was my Mum saying ‘Oh it’s all a bit overwhelming’ as we wandered around marvelling at all the baby nail scissors and bibs and stuff. Again we left empty-handed, save for a helpful ‘John Lewis Baby’ brochure of ALL THE THINGS I WILL NEED. It’s on the coffee table. Progress.


We did also go to JoJo Maman Bebe however, where I found it impossible to resist this little rattle. Despite my Mum saying ‘Charlotte, people will BUY you things like that, you shouldn’t buy them yourself!’ But… where’s the fun in that?

I’ll probably do a separate post on the bits we have bought so far, but suffice to say that I feel we’re getting there on the clothing front – the only part of baby shopping that doesn’t freak me out. Although who knows if August babies need long or short sleeved baby grows? I’ve got a mixture of both just in case… (I’m also still slightly confused as to the difference between a sleep suit and a baby grow but hopefully all will become clear at some point).


Proper bump pic + podgy pregnancy face

But enough about the baby, back to ME. I’ve had some new symptoms again this week, which I shall now moan about for your reading pleasure and my future self’s nostalgia:

1) Crazy dreams. This may be due to us finally beginning to watch Game of Thrones (yes yes, I know, eighty years late to the party) but my dreams are so far off the sane-scale these days that I’m starting to become concerned. They don’t make any sense at all. Last night I was in a 4×4 being washed through a tsunami in the Devonshire countryside on my way to an interiors photoshoot. I think this may be a weird hybrid of issues in my life at the moment: the possible need for a new safer car (although I hate 4x4s with a passion), the possibility of moving out of London (although Devon is certainly not on the list of potentials, much as I’d love it to be), the fact the house we had an offer accepted on last week has flooding issues (we’ve pulled out), and well, me missing a big photoshoot for one of our clients due to being on mat leave. Just weird. Every morning I’ve woken up and gabbled, all excited like a five-year-old, ‘I had the weirdest dream!’ to Oli, who this morning made me laugh by replying ‘Yes, well tell me after I’ve been to the gym’. Message received loud and clear: other people’s dreams are BORING. Ahem. Moving on then…

2) For the last three days, my hands and feet have been really stiff and puffy when I wake up in the morning. I googled this and apparently I have rheumatoid arthritis. Of course, I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis because I’m pregnant, and so instead I have carpal tunnel syndrome. Not nice. I have to flex my hands and wrists for a good few minutes to try to get them to loosen up after I wake up – I literally have no grip otherwise. Annoying. And much sympathy now for those who do have rheumatoid arthritis.

3) My feet continue to upset me. My poor feet! My feet will never be the same again!! They are elephant feet. I hate them and they hate me. I miss my old, slightly bony, vein-riddled feet SO much. I miss my shoes! I’m actually praying to the god of feet that these fluid-filled bags of skin return to their normal size and shape after Chip is born because I can’t bear to spend the rest of my life looking down at such squidgy monstrosities.

4) And finally, I am definitely feeling BIGGER. I feel like a proper pregnant person now, and have started to wear my bump and my awkward waddle-walk with pride. I am using this as an excuse to eat more too (resistance to massive weight gain is now futile). My appetite is huge and seems to require at least two ice creams a day. A few weeks ago I discovered a wondrous thing known as ‘maternal fat stores’ which are apparently key to you having enough energy to breastfeed when your baby is first born. Basically I’m allowed around an extra 3kg of fat on my body by the time I’m full term. So now, whenever I sneak to the freezer for another Cornetto and Oli gives me a look, all I have to say to him is ‘maternal fat stores!’ and he rolls his eyes and leaves me alone. This bit of pregnancy I am getting on with quite well…

BABY ON BOARD Pregnancy updates

30 Weeks


Apologies for the pyjama bottoms, but I AM ON MATERNITY LEAVE! I SHALL NEVER GET DRESSED AGAIN!

As you may (or may not) have noticed, I didn’t manage to do a 29 week post last week. It was my last week at work, and everything was just rather crazy. So this post is going to be a bit of a double whammy, with random musings from the past fortnight.

So! I’m 30 weeks pregnant and Baby Chip is now the size of a cabbage. Don’t I know it. I think I look like I’ve swallowed a basketball today. It’s quite impressive. And more excitingly, yesterday a complete stranger asked me when I was due. I haven’t actually had anyone try and rub my stomach yet though, which is probably a good thing and means my resting bitch face continues to do its job.

Anyway it’s day three of maternity leave and I’m already twitchy – I don’t really like not having anywhere specific to ‘go’ in the mornings, and I’m thinking I need to get into some kind of routine. Exercise could be good, given that my love affair with prenatal yoga was rather short-lived (I kept missing classes because of various work/social life things – whoops). I thought swimming might be a good idea but first of all I need to get over my phobia of public swimming pools. I’m considering investing in a yoga DVD to do at home but my motivation to exercise at home has never been great so I can imagine this may be doomed to failure too.

Symptoms-wise, it’s been a mixed bag lately. The most annoying and most horrible thing are my swollen feet. At the end of the day they are just SO big now, and I can no longer fit into ANY of my shoes. Flip-flops are my only option. But of course flip-flops aren’t great for your back, so after a long time walking around in them I’m in quite a lot of pain. The swelling doesn’t really seem to improve much no matter what I do either. I had hoped that it was the sort of thing that would disappear the second I give birth, but one of my friends told me she still has one swollen foot eight months after her daughter was born! Eeek.

Other than that, I’ve been feeling really tired and not sleeping well at all – instead I’ve been having a weird half-sleep where I am sort of conscious but not fully. The weird dreams continue, but luckily I forget most of them by the time I wake up…


Some nicer things: Chip is moving about all the time these days and I can tell he/she is getting much stronger, which is lovely. I can also tell when he/she has changed positions. One of his/her favourite positions, it would seem, is sitting directly on my bladder, giving it random little kicks every so often and making me absolutely convinced that I’m about to wet myself. It’s a very weird feeling: being completely desperate for the loo all of a sudden, but only for a few seconds before he/she shifts out of the way and the sensation disappears.

Talking of going to the loo (sorry), I now do approximately six drops of wee every time I go. It’s like my bladder has shrunk to the size of a thimble. Weird.


But back to the good things: we have ordered the car seat, car seat fixer thing, bedside cot and buggy! I also bought my hospital bag this week – I was in town and saw this (not so) little beauty in Oliver Bonas and decided to treat myself, even though I thought it was probably a bit early. Ironically my 30-week pregnancy email from Bounty then informed me that now was a good time to start packing my hospital bag! So maybe not too early after all. I’m now watching endless hours of YouTube videos on ‘what’s in my hospital bag’ from other pregnant ladies – the list of things needed is pretty extensive. So far I have:

a battery-operated fan (randomly picked up for £1 in PC World, so no doubt will not work by August)
two baby grows
a dressing gown

So yes, still some progress to be made on that front methinks.

I had my 28 week midwife check up last week, which was much better than expected actually. My blood pressure is back down to my normal levels (phew) and although I’m still measuring 2cm behind, the midwife said that this wasn’t anything to worry about. She did, however, worry me by introducing me to the world of the perineum massage, and suggesting that I might like to start doing this to myself. If you don’t know what it is, I suggest you google it. Or don’t google it, depending on your squeamishness levels.

An alternative to the perineum massage is even more alarming: the Epi-No. Here’s a picture:


I’ll leave your imagination to fill in the blanks about how this little device works. Not cheap at £90 (and clearly not something you can resale afterwards) the Epi-No sounds like a REALLY fun way to spend an hour or so every day, don’t you think? I guess once the baby’s born it might be useful for inflating their first birthday party balloons. Sarcasm aside, I am actually considering it, although can’t help fearing that I’ll blow myself up or something.

On a more vain front, I’ve finally had my roots done, and am feeling much more like my old self. I am not sure I’ve talked about this before, but since getting pregnant my skin is so much more sensitive. I’ve had to completely change my normal skincare routine, and then when I last had my hair done, I had an allergic reaction to the organic Aveda colour I’ve used for about eight months now, and developed some really attractive scabs on one side of my scalp.

So I put off getting my roots done for as long as I could bear it, and then decided to go back to my original chemical-laden L’Oreal dye when it all got too much. I had it done on Monday and so far, no reaction at all. I do genuinely believe that organic products are pretty bloody awful for your skin – I had a huge allergic reaction to Neal’s Yard skincare many years ago and clearly my body now also doesn’t like Aveda. Shame, because organic stuff smells much nicer, but I’ll be sticking to peroxide from now on.

On another note, did anyone notice their hair getting darker while they were pregnant? My roots this time seemed almost black, which was a little distressing. Am hoping it’s just a temporary change.

And finally: I have STILL not had any Braxton Hicks. I am feeling left out. If any other mothers hadn’t had any by the time they were 30 weeks, please do come forth and share. Apparently it doesn’t matter that I haven’t had any but it does make me wonder if I will be chronically underrehearsed for the big event at this rate…

BABY ON BOARD Pregnancy updates

27 Weeks


It feels like only yesterday I wrote my 26 weeks post – time is really flying! Yesterday I had exactly three months’ left until my due date, and by the end of my 27 weeks, I officially enter my third trimester. Which I may now rename ‘the finally looking pregnant trimester’.

On Saturday I had serious heartburn all day, and weird aches and pains all around my abdomen and stomach. Everytime I ate something I had to swig from my Gaviscon bottle (really nice that, the top is now encrusted with dried up bits of Gaviscon, which, unsurprisingly looks like little flakes of chalk and get stuck in your teeth/lipgloss). By the end of the day I was lying prostrate on the bed trying desperately to stretch my torso out somehow – it felt as though everything was being pushed around and together and rearranged when there simply wasn’t enough space for it all.

I thought maybe this was what everyone told me to expect and that it would now be like that until the baby is born. But then on Sunday I woke up feeling much more comfortable, and then I realised, I had POPPED.

My bump, to me at least, is suddenly huge. My tummy button is now being stretched sideways and looks a bit like an old man’s drooping mouth. Nice. We had a day out in Chiswick on Sunday and I spent the whole time walking around feeling a childish sense of pride in my bump. It’s a proper bump – look!


It’s a proper bump that also now moves of its own accord. I think I’m the only person related to this baby that likes this side of things, but you can very clearly now see decisive ripples and kicks appearing under the surface of my skin – much more so than before. I find it quite cute, and really reassuring. Oli is less convinced and my sister got completely freaked out when she saw my stomach rolling around in waves over the Bank Holiday.

I’m not quite at the stage yet where I can identify a hand or foot being flung outwards, but the other day I was lying down on the sofa and I noticed a very obvious dome shape on one side of my tummy – undoubtedly the head! That actually did freak me out a bit. It was so small, but then also not that small really. How can a 14-inch-long baby be living and (practising) breathing in my tum?! Mindblowing no matter how many times you think about it.

This week the baby finally opens his/her eyes, and he/she can very definitely hear now, so I’ve been trying to play lots of music to it (mostly Oli’s of course) and have been singing along quite vociferously. Not that I’m trying to hothouse the little mite or anything but, ahem, he/she is clearly destined for musical stardom, what with my Grade 6 in clarinet too. I have yet to get Oli to give the bump its own recital but I’m still working on it, so watch this space…

Other than that, this week has been relatively non-eventful. I’ve been more tired than usual but I’m not sure if that’s normal post-holiday work stress. The situation that was stressing me out before is now in limbo for a while, so I’ve been trying not to think about it, which is working out alright so far (touch wood).

More excitingly, when it comes to buying baby things, we had always said we would hold off until the beginning of June, which means that next week is officially shopping time! Squeak. I’m very bloody excited, I have to say. We’ve been proper grown ups and opened a joint bank account just for the baby, which we’ve been putting money into every month, so that all the baby stuff doesn’t come as a huge shock financially. I’m a little overwhelmed about exactly how much there is to buy, but shopping has always been one of my strong points, so I think I’ll cope…

BABY ON BOARD Pregnancy updates

26 Weeks


I was meant to write this post on the flight home from our trip to Greece, but as has been the case quite often lately, I was too lazy. So here is my 26 weeks post, a little late.

It turns out, in fact, that 26 weeks is actually six months after all. You’d think, with an A in Maths GCSE that I might have been able to work that one out before, (52 weeks in a year, 26 weeks being half of 52 – DUH) but clearly I read somewhere that 24 weeks was six months’ pregnant and got muddled again. In my defence, I reckon no one actually knows what the hell is going on with pregnancy dating, so you can make it up as you go along if you like. Cos apparently 24 weeks is ‘in your sixth month’, if not six months exactly. Or something.


Anyway, here I am, having been carrying around Chip (as we have nicknamed the baby) for exactly half a year. I know, my bump looks still piddling doesn’t it? I’m not entirely sure it’s growing at all, but have been measuring its circumference with a tape measure weekly (not sure how scientific that is) and can confirm that something in there is getting bigger! My new refrain to Oli in the mornings is ‘do I look pregnant today or fat?’ and he’s mostly answered ‘pregnant’ recently so I feel somewhat reassured.

Apart from my lovely holiday, which was beset by a strange sort of grieving process whereby a voice in my head kept saying things like ‘this is the last time we’ll get on a plane just the two of us’, ‘this is the last time we’ll go out for dinner on holiday alone’, ‘this is the last time we’ll doze by the pool’, life has been pretty awful lately. For reasons I can’t go into, but that have involved lots of serious grown-up meetings and questions about the future. The stress of this situation actually resulted in my blood pressure going through the roof, and so at my 24 week check up, I was told by the GP that, seeing as my bump was also measuring small for my dates, I should go and have an emergency scan straight away to check everything was OK.


Thankfully, everything was OK. The baby measured perfectly for the dates and was bouncing around quite happily in my apparently diminutive bump, seemingly oblivious to my woes. The baby was even ‘practising breathing’ as we watched. Who knew they did this?! They ‘breathe’ in amniotic fluid and blow bubbles as they exhale it – as you can see in the pic. Very cool.

Unfortunately, the baby still has my nose, but you know, you can’t have everything. It was a relief that he/she was healthy, but I have been advised to minimise stress (not particularly easy, I have to say) and so I’m trying really hard to take it easy. Thank god for all the bank holidays in May.

In other pregnancy whinges, I have some new symptoms to report. First off, my feet. I should have known, because even pre-up-the-duff my feet used to swell up on aeroplanes, but my feet at the moment (two days post-flight) are huge. Huge and puffy and hot and throbbing. Yesterday I wore normal shoes to work and by the end of the day apparently my feet had decided to go up an entire size, making my shoes unbearably painful. Today I’m in flip-flops and my feet are covered with blisters from yesterday. My mum says this will only get worse (she had my sister in August) as the weather warms up, so that’s something to look forward to *prays for a washout summer*. I never imagined I would lie in bed moaning and whimpering about how painfully HOT my feet were – tis a new one, and a weird one.

The other final symptom has been somewhat disturbing. Upon removing my bra while in Greece, I noticed two tiny yellow stains in the middle of each cup. Yep, I am officially morphing into a human cow. Yet again, who knew? There’s no baby yet, why is there stuff coming out of my nipples already? And also, where the hell does it actually come from? I still don’t exactly understand where the holes are in nipples.

And these are the things that, pre-pregnancy, you never have to even THINK about. Oh those blissful days…

BABY ON BOARD Pregnancy updates

20 weeks


Bum and bump now nearly of equal size. Er… result?!

At 20 weeks, my baby is a banana! I wouldn’t be surprised if I was actually having a banana, as I have certainly eaten more than my fair share of them since finding out I’m pregnant. Bananas are, of course, thinner than mangoes (19 weeks), so in my head it means the baby’s gone anorexic, but eventually I’ll accept it’s all about length and not girth and shut up about the fruit and veg thing.

Apparently, at 20 weeks, I’m halfway through my pregnancy. Which would be somewhat of a milestone if it meant that I now have just as long to go as I have already been through, but, as with all pregnancy things, nothing is as it seems. In fact, for the first 2 weeks of my ‘pregnancy’ I wasn’t actually pregnant at all, because pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last period. Confusing much?

A few interesting things happened this week. I finally plucked up the courage to weigh myself. I have put on 8.5lb since becoming pregnant, which is very average, despite feeling rather traumatic. I am the heaviest I have ever been (and I know, I have a long way still to go…) and I feel it! My legs are achingly heavy at the end of the day. The veins in my left leg particularly keep me awake at night in worry – are they on their way to varicose already?

As my bump is still quite small, a lot of this weight must have gone on my boobs, which are quite frankly, impressive. Last week while at work they threatened to escape my vest top and I couldn’t help but squeak:

‘My boobs are almost touching!’

‘Touching what?’ my bemused business partner asked.

‘Each other!’ I said, marvelling at the sight. I have never had cleavage in my life.

From now on, apparently I’m supposed to put on 1lb per week. I told my mum this while merrily stuffing my face over Easter lunch and she told me not to be so ridiculous, because that would mean I would end up putting on another 20lbs, which would make me clinically obese. When she had me and my sister, she apparently put on about half a stone in total and lost it all within three weeks.

I don’t think my mum has read the baby books.

I indignantly Googled it in front of her and proved to her that in fact, I am RIGHT and that I could even put on 2lb a week should I feel like it and still be perfectly within the healthy limits. Her reply to this: ‘Well, it was all different in my day.’ Hmmm.

Bless my mum, but apparently ‘in her day’, no one needed pregnancy pillows or pregnancy anything really, she wore her normal clothes quite happily until she was about six months’ gone, there was no need for prenatal yoga or any of that nonsense, you didn’t even go to the doctor till you’d missed two periods (!!), women were TOUGHER godammit, and certainly NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND had a home birth. My mum has made her pregnancies sound like nothing more remarkable than having a bit of a cold, and I fear we may fall out before I come to full term, when I fully expect to be reclining in a wheelchair groaning about my ‘condition’.

This week, I diagnosed myself, with the help of Dr Google, with Pelvic Girdle Pain. At first I thought I had a bit of sciatica (told my mum this and she told me that she got a ‘touch of it’ but not, of course, until she was overdue) but Dr Google said no, it was a unique pregnancy affliction, whereby your hips hurt because they are basically stretching apart. And they really are! It’s so weird how your body can get wider without putting on any fat in the area – but for once the proof’s not in the pudding (I’ve mostly gone off them) but in the fact it’s now quite a struggle to yank my pyjamas above my thighs. Sniff.

Anyway Dr Google prescribed a exercise ball, and so this has been added to the list of random new things in my home, along with the pregnancy pillow, a Lush massage bar designed for pregnant women, some soothing leg cream and a new yoga mat. The yoga mat was technically unnecessary as I already had one but matches the exercise ball. So y’know. I have been bouncing about on my exercise ball quite happily and think it may even play a role in the birth.


Pregnancy: carte blanche to wear pyjamas 95% of the time. And put embarrassing photos of yourself on t’internet

I suppose, more than anything else, this pregnancy lark has taught me how utterly vain I am. It’s all me me me at the moment – how I’m feeling, what I look like… I feel a bit ashamed, but I find myself preoccupied with all the physical twinges and changes and not thinking much about the baby itself.

I hope that after the next scan (mine’s a bit late, at nearly 22 weeks) I will stop worrying about the fact that I just look podgy really, not pregnant, and instead focus on the poor wee mite who’s busy drinking its own amniotic fluid and learning how to breathe and forming its first poo and growing teeth buds and doing all sorts of miraculous things like that.

And I thought I was having a hard time. As O said, it’s a good thing we don’t remember anything that happens to us when in the womb…