Alexandra’s Half Birthday

Pretending to be a grown up and standing up and stuff!

Pretending to be a grown up and standing up and stuff!

Yesterday, my lovely baby turned six months old. Jeez, a whole half year (if that’s not too much of an oxymoron!) Where has the time gone?

Alexandra can…

Roll over (when she feels like it)

Make a whole load of noises which sound like words (she has a brilliant habit of saying ‘hi’ repeatedly to people)

Hold her own bottle (again when she feels like it)

Gnaw on a range of veggies (more on her introduction to weaning soon)

Pull her socks off and chew them until they’re soggy

Kick her legs in the swimming pool or when she’s on her tummy to try and move herself along

Reach the floor in her jumparoo now without anything placed underneath it

Alexandra loves…

Her daddy, her little friends and just spending time with people in general!

Putting everything in her mouth

Bath time and swimming

Going out in the pram

An afternoon nap

Miss Polly Had a Dolly, Wheels On The Bus and Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Alexandra is…

Well over 15lb

68cm long at last measure

Using her new ‘big girl’ car seat which she’ll be in til she’s four

Still in our room but likely to move into the nursery very soon

Always being praised for being so content and such a happy little girly!

Harriet and Alexandra x

Having A Baby! My Birth Story

I can only describe my look here as 'relief'!

I can only describe my look here as ‘relief’!

My last post announced the arrival of my baby daughter Alexandra but I wanted to go into more detail for those who want to know what happened during the birth and afterwards. Warning: I will be fairly graphic about it all so maybe don’t read during dinner or if you don’t like (a small amount of) gore.

So I made it to 37+3 and other than the headaches I’d been experiencing for weeks, everything seemed to be running fairly smoothly. I went for a routine appointment with my midwife who said my blood pressure had gone up (it had been low throughout my pregnant) and there was some protein in my wee. The blood tests I’d had done at the hospital a couple of weeks previously had shown that my platelets were slightly lower than they’d like so she made the decision to do another blood test and see what was going on.

The following morning I had a call from her saying my platelets had dropped even further and I needed to go in to see the consultant at the hospital as I was showing a lot of the signs of preeclampsia. That afternoon I had my appointment where it was confirmed that’s what I had and decided I’d go in every other day for monitoring. If my blood pressure went up any further he said they’d induce me but they wanted to try and get me to 38 weeks if possible (this was the Thursday and I’d be 38 weeks on the Sunday).

The following day I didn’t feel very well at all so I went into the day assessment unit with my mom and as soon as they hooked me up to the blood pressure monitor I knew I wasn’t coming out of there without a baby – it had gone up even further and the consultant on that day said actually he was more concerned about my platelets so let’s induce!

I was transferred up to the antenatal ward where I was checked (cervix was soft at this point) and given the first lot of gel. They said it might take two or three to get me going but within an hour I was having regular tightenings and wondering how the hell I was going to get through labour if this first bit was so bad.

Dylan managed to finish up everything he had to do at work and home and then come down for what was a long night! I had a little walk around and a bath but neither of us got much sleep as he was sat in a chair for the night – although we managed to fit in the bed together for an hour’s nap near morning. Fast forward to 2pm and we’d sent him home to sleep and my mom had come back in, I was examined again and it was decided I was 1.5cm and my cervix was ready enough that my waters could be broken.

I was taken upstairs to the labour ward and my waters broken and put on a drip to get things going a bit more. Immediately I felt very out of control – like the midwives were controlling my labour not me (not because of what they were doing, they were great, I’d just got into a weird mindset about it all) and felt quite distressed. Dyl came back and my mom left for a while although she was back for the pushing bit (we hadn’t intended to have her there but things just worked out that way as we both wanted the extra support).

I went on the birth ball and Dylan encouraged me to keep mobile and do all the things we’d learned at our antenatal classes – although apparently I was moving round on the ball so violently I was in danger of knocking everything over. I was using solely gas and air at this point for pain relief and I didn’t feel like it was working but the midwife said I’d tell the difference if I didn’t use it for a contraction. We had a slightly comedy moment when the mouthpiece of the gas and air came off and we both completely panicked but luckily I got it back on again really quickly and could carry on using it through the contraction I was having.

I wasn’t meant to be examined for four hours but I begged them to do it an hour early at 5pm which I’m glad I did as it turned out I was 5cm dilated and could have some pain relief, although my options were limited cause of the platelets and blood pressure, so I had pethadine. I then can’t really remember anything until what must have been about twenty to seven.

In the meantime baby’s heart rate had started dropping and the midwife had pressed the buzzer prompting more medical staff to come in. I had my legs up in stirrups and could hear the doctor talked about EP which I knew meant episiotomy and it turned out they were going to use the ventouse to get her out. I really wasn’t very good at pushing at first but thankfully got myself a bit together in the end – although we had a slight mishap when the ventouse slipped off her head. Thankfully second time round it worked and less than a couple of minutes later our baby daughter was born!

She was put on my stomach for a while – the first thing I asked was whether she was really a girl! They got me to check and yes she was!’ – but then she needed a little bit of oxygen to get going, they said because of the shock of being born so quickly. I’d gone from 5cm to fully dilated (10cm) in an hour and a half and she was born half an hour later, so my recorded established labour is actually just under two hours.

I can’t remember where she went then but I think she was either with me or Dylan during the time I was getting stitched up – I asked how many stitches I was having and the doctor said ’20 but it’s only really one’ as it’s all in a row. I’m claiming 20 though! That was slightly painful and felt like he was stitching up my leg! So I had some gas and air during that which helped a little. After that (the placenta delivery I hadn’t even noticed!) the whole ‘birth’ business was done and it was time to start being a family and recovering from the labour.

Now there is a whole lot of drama to come but I’m going to have to split up the posts otherwise it’ll be the longest read ever! So I’ll grab some time soon to write up the first part of the post-birth story.

Harriet and Alexandra x

The Week That Was: Week 36

Bump at 36+4

Bump at 36+4

Time really is racing on now and I feel like these posts come much quicker than once a week! Today I’m excitingly classed as term although we could still have another five weeks to wait. I’ve still not been feeling 100% with headaches and problems with my ears but thankfully haven’t had to go back to hospital and the issue does seem to be getting better. Really hoping by next week it will all be a distant memory!

I had my 36 week appointment with the midwife this Wednesday and she’s happy with the way everything is going – bump is measuring 37cm (thankfully the 32cm measured by one of the midwives at the hospital last weekend seems to have been an anomaly!) and she is still head down and is now 4/5ths engaged. I’m very pleased she’s still in the right position as it would be pretty annoying for her to have moved now having been head down for the last few months.

As to whether being engaged will mean she’ll make an early appearance, no one can really tell – but (and a massive part of this is due to the wedding being less than two weeks away now!) I’m more than happy for her to stay put for the time being. I’ve seen lots of expectant mothers get to 37 weeks (considered ‘term’) and then start doing everything they can from gulping down whole pineapples to walking miles to get the baby out. But right now my focus is on having an amazing wedding day! I think it’s an excellent distraction from just how massively pregnant I am. Of course I’m not saying that come 39 weeks when I’ll be a married lady that I won’t then be desperate to induce labour and not go overdue!

Physically I’m still feeling tired and very cumbersome at the moment but I wouldn’t say it’s got any worse in the last couple of weeks. I have been having all sorts of odd sensations though – which I believe are as a result of her dropping down and engaging. I could definitely tell she was lower down and there’s a lot of pressure and movement which sometimes isn’t fun. It’s got to the point where some of the kicks and rolls are quite painful as she’s got a fair amount of weight behind her now! But it’s not long to go until I’ll be watching her kick and move around outside my belly and not inside!

Harriet and bump x

Massive Milestones


These baby milestone cards seem to be all the rage these days – with people getting them so they can document not only age milestones (one week old, one month old etc) but also other events like first smile, sitting up unaided and so on. We haven’t got any yet although I think they’d be really lovely to have for photos – but seeing them so often got me thinking a little bit about what milestones I’m most looking forward to in the first weeks of our baby’s life.

First daddy cuddle – I absolutely cannot wait to see Dylan hold our little girl for the first time! I think I’m almost as excited to see that as I am to cuddle her myself. I just think it’s going to be one of those magical moments you remember forever.

First night at home – I’m actually dreading having to stay in hospital after the birth, even though loads of people have told me they really benefitted from being there for a couple of days. Maybe I’ll feel differently when she’s here and really want that professional support on hand but right now I’m looking forward to her coming home for that first night where it’s the three of us together – no matter how exhausting it might be!

Meeting my goddaughter – Of course I can’t wait for her to meet my entire family and all my friends too, but my goddaughter is almost four and the way she talks about the baby is so cute! Seeing them meet for the first time is definitely going to melt my heart.

First swim – Both myself and Dylan are definitely water fans – we love swimming, both have sailing qualifications and Dyl is also a regular diver. So for us it’s important to take our little one swimming and get her used to the water as soon as possible! We hope she’s going to be a little water baby and as she already has three swimming costumes she’s definitely got the gear already!

Harriet and bump x

The Week That Was: Week 28


As promised, I’m going to be reporting weekly on the goings-on during my third trimester. I am now officially 29 weeks pregnant so just looking back on week 28 today. If you want to see what happened during the last bit of my second trimester, click here!

This week I suddenly feel hugely, ridiculously pregnant. I feel like I don’t fit into spaces (like doorways) anymore, like there might be a fully-grown adult in there not a baby. This is ridiculous when I consider I still have up to 13 weeks left if she decides to hang on til she’s overdue. I know I’ve been growing at a ‘normal’ rate and I’ve felt the effects of a stretching tummy for a long time now so it doesn’t really make sense. Perhaps it’s just because I know I’m in the third trimester, the home straight if you will, and this is the time when I’m going to potentially start falling over because I’m so front-heavy.

Baby is still very low and very helpfully pressing on all sorts of nerves in my back. This combined with how big I am (remind me of this when I’m writing week 40’s blog and I am probably seven times as large as right now) means every movement I make is now accompanied with an old woman groan or moan. There is now no way to turn over in bed without uttering an ‘ow’ or similar – and don’t even get me started on those numerous walks to the toilet in the night, which involve rolling to the side of the bed, getting out the bed, walking all the way there, sitting down, standing up and then making the (less than ten metre) journey back into bed.

We’re halfway through our NCT classes (but I’m going to talk about how they’re going on Tuesday so pop back then if you’re interested!) and have now also dipped under 80 days left til the due date – scary and exciting stuff! I had an appointment with the health visitor on Wednesday who just popped round to meet me so the first time I see her isn’t after baby’s arrival. She asked a few questions, told me a few things and then that’ll be it until between ten and 14 days after birth. It’s apparently a new thing they’re doing to ensure people feel more comfortable than if they just pitch up when you’re already dealing with a newborn.

The (slightly less baby related) news of the week is that months ago we bought one of these super duper smoothie makers/blenders/juicers etc that basically change the consistency of any food for you. The idea was we’d use it regularly and then once little one is ready for weaning we could make our own purees rather than splashing out on jars of baby food. Until Monday it was sat in the kitchen looking slightly lonely and completely unused – but now I’ve got into smoothie making in a big way! I figure it’s good for baby to up my fruit intake, plus it means by the time she’s here I’ll be a pro at using this machine.

Anyway, that’s about all for this week. Tune in next Sunday when I’ll be (eek!) 30 weeks and looking back on the last week of my 20s!

Harriet and bump x

The Worries

I’ve officially got the worries! I don’t know if this is normal but I’m going to assume it’s just part of the process of the journey to motherhood which is itself obviously a worrying time – there’s a whole host of things from the minor scraped knees to the really serious shit which can go wrong.

When I got pregnant I worried for the first trimester that we’d get to the scan date and there’d be nothing there, that despite a positive pregnancy test which was reaffirmed by a test at the doctor’s I might not have even ever been pregnant. I assumed when the time came for the scan it would reassure me – not so. Obviously I was absolutely thrilled to not only discover there was a live baby in there but that seven weeks later she looked to be growing and thriving as she should be. Obviously I’m delighted the pregnancy hasn’t been plagued by medical complications, trips to hospital or bleeding.

But every day I feel more acutely aware of all the things which can go wrong from here on in. Now entering my third trimester, I worry greatly about the prospect of a premature birth and what that might mean for the little one. In a way I feel absolutely foolish for even thinking about it so much, there’s no indication to say she will arrive any earlier than the time she’s due. But equally it can and does happen with no warning.

I also find as we near her due date I’m more worried about the process of actually bringing up a child. At the start she was almost an abstract to me, an idea (albeit an idea which was making me feel sick all the time). Now I can see her move and I know in three months or less she’ll be here. Now I’ve started to think beyond those first few whirlwind days of hospital care and then coming home with an entirely new human who you’ve been trusted to look after. Now my concerns can focus on anywhere between the present day (at 28 weeks pregnant) and our baby being all grown up. The simple fact of the matter is there’s lot of ways to mess up a kid’s life and, although clearly I have the best of intentions, I know the basics, I definitely love her already and I’m not entirely stupid so some of it should just be common sense, what if I simply am not a good mother?

Really there are no answers anyone can provide. It’s a case of waiting to see when she arrives and then riding out the bad bits which will inevitably happen at some point and enjoying the good and hopefully coming out of it bigger and better. My worries could all be unfounded and it could all feel very natural. I know a lot of it is simply my personality – even if I’ve done something 100 times before I would still worry about it, even more so if it’s something new and even more on top of that if it’s so important!

Apologies this has been a bit of a thought-dump post! But I always wanted to document my pregnancy honestly and at the moment I feel worry is a big part of it!

Harriet and bump x

A Man’s World?

Girl bump

Girl bump

Since finding out in April we were having a daughter, I’ve thought a few times about what this means and whether, in 2015, there really is any difference between bringing a girl into the world and having a boy. Certainly, in the advanced age we live in there’s far fewer differences between the genders than there ever was and my girl isn’t going to be consigned to a life of learning to sew and cook and then being married off in her teens and producing child after child for years on end. But I think it would be foolish to think there aren’t difference prospects for her than if she was a boy.

I grew up in the 90s, when ‘girl power’ was horrendously fashionable thanks to the Spice Girls (yes I have just put the whole feminism movement down to them!) and I was also lucky enough to have a really strong female influence in the form of my mom who has done really well in her chosen sector and has always inspired us to do the best we can. But the facts speak for themselves: following this month’s election it was widely reported around 29 per cent of our 650 MPs in the House of Commons are female (up from 23 per cent last time round) – so an increase certainly but it’s still not 50/50. The Guardian reported in March this year the pay gap between the genders will not close for another 70 years if change continues at the current rate (according to the UN).

And probably the biggest one of them all: they still haven’t found a way to get men to have babies. At some point in her life, my daughter is going to have to choose whether she wants to have children and if there’s any career setbacks because of that, it will be her not her partner who is likely to experience them. Maybe one day in the future childcare will be truly split half and half between the genders and more men will take advantage of new paternity leave rules, maybe one day no employer will disadvantage a woman simply because she’s of child-bearing age. But I don’t think it’s happening now while I’m having children and I’m not hugely hopeful it will have happened by the time my baby’s my age.

Another, slightly more imminent, thing for me is the issue of safety. I’ve got no brothers and one sister but having spent a lot of time with friends who have brothers or just generally walking around with my eyes open, it’s apparent that boys get a lot more freedom than girls. A teenage boy wants to go for a walk in the dark, not a problem. Teenage girl, slightly more worry and risk associated there. Girls are seen as more vulnerable, not just from people they know (I think I’ll be a nervous wreck when she starts dating!) but also from the wider world.

But there are so many advantages to being a girl too. I hope to teach my daughter to embrace the fact in my opinion girls enjoy a closeness with their friends which simply doesn’t exist with boy friendships, girls will always have a circle round them ready to help them eat lots of ice cream, watch films and cry/moan/gossip. Girls get to dress so much more inventively. Girls get to grow up and bring new life into the world, which is pretty special! But now they’re also able to access the best of both worlds growing up – want a Barbie and an Action Man/digger/Lego etc? Go for it!

In the title of this blog post, I posed the question of whether it’s a man’s world and in the intro I wondered if bringing a girl into it was different. My answer is yes it might be a man’s world but my daughter will be one generation nearer to an equal world. And yes having a girl is different, but not worse!

Harriet and bump x



Thanks to all the new and exciting technological advances since our grandmothers (and in some cases mothers) had bumps, it’s now possible to find out whether you’re having a boy or a girl from around week 16 of your pregnancy (although if you’re waiting on an NHS scan that doesn’t happen until around 20 weeks so anyone finding out earlier than will have had to book a private gender scan). I’m really pointing out the obvious here but some parents-to-be decide they’d rather not know until the both – thus opting to stay ‘Team Yellow’.

I get that there are a whole host of delightful reasons why you’d want it to remain a surprise – perhaps you want baby daddy to tell you if you’ve got a Harry or a Sally, perhaps you think it’ll help you through the birth knowing the end of pushing also signifies the end of not knowing, perhaps you just genuinely don’t mind which it is and want to keep everything neutral anyway so what’s the point in finding out?

I however, am not one of those people who could wait a whole 40 weeks without knowing. I’m one of those people who will see a chocolate bar in front of me and HAVE to eat it now, regardless of whether I’m full or whether I might enjoy it more later. If there’s some sort of news or gossip going round it pains me not to know it! (I was a journalist…!) so I guess nosiness and impatience is a massive reason for me in wanting to find out bumpy’s gender. However, there are some other, probably more valid, reasons:

  • I feel like the day I give birth to my first child will be such a momentous occasion and one I’ll remember forever anyway, so having the ‘added extra’ of the gender surprise doesn’t really seem necessary.
  • A few very kind people have offered us things they’re no longer using for their kids and much of it is gender-specific so it would be nice to be able to let people know if their stuff will actually come in handy.
  • We’ve decorated the nursery in very neutral tones and the furniture is all very plain and white/cream too – but we desperately want to add some accent tones in which would be gender-specific. Arguably we could wait to do this until baby’s here as he/she won’t be sleeping in the nursery for a while anyway, but I’m super organised and want to have everything ready before the birth so there’s no need to worry about decorating afterwards. I’m sure we’ll have plenty else to occupy ourselves!
  • I want to get used to using the name we’ve chosen – we’ve had this inkling it’s a boy and so have generally called the bump ‘he’ but it would be nice to have those few months being able to be definite about that and getting used to the name, being absolutely sure we want it before baby arrives.
  • Have you seen baby clothes?! We’ve bought some white/cream bits and bobs but I am itching for the wardrobe to be full of blues, pinks, greens, whatever it may be!

Harriet and bump x