Birth story – welcome to the world Aria Lilley Smith

Aria - one day old

Aria – one day old

Aria - 7 weeks old

Aria – 7 weeks old

It’s been seven weeks since I gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Aria Lilley Smith, and I thought it was about time to share my birth story.

To be honest I don’t think I’ve felt ready to write about my birth experience in any great detail before now, and talking about it still makes me feel emotional.

When I was pregnant I loved reading other people’s birth stories and I had what I now realise was a naive idea in my head about what labour would be like. During our antenatal classes we’d heard the worst case scenarios regarding first time births, including assisted deliveries and babies in the ‘wrong’ position. I never thought that would be the way my labour would go – how wrong could I be!

We had planned to go to our closest birthing centre for a natural water birth, and I’d been practicing hypnobirthing in the weeks leading up to my due date. I hadn’t planned on having any pain relief except gas and air and imagined my daughter coming into the world without a problem.

I was due on the 3rd February and honestly thought I would go into labour early, but as the 3rd came and went the birthing centre where I’d planned to have my baby started to talk about induction dates. I was determined this wouldn’t happen as, firstly, it would mean going into hospital to have my baby rather than the birthing centre and, secondly, it was likely this would mean my labour would involve more intervention and pain.

My induction was booked for Saturday 15th February and up until then I was doing everything I could to encourage our little one – walks, curry, bouncing on my exercise ball…everything! Nothing seemed to be working but I was convinced she would come on her own, and so asked for my induction to be moved to the Monday 17th February – the last day I would be able to go up to within guidelines.

On Valentine’s Day at around 10pm I was laying on the sofa when my waters broke. I’d read this would most likely be a trickle and not a gush like you see in films, well mine was the latter! Not to be too graphic but it would not stop flowing. and my husband had to get towels to put underneath me as I stood in the living room unable to move!

We called the birthing centre who asked me a series of questions to confirm my waters had broken. They advised us to remain at home until my contractions started and this happened during the night. Gradually they became more and more intense as I bounced on my exercise ball, using my friend’s TENS machine, until I felt it was time to go to the birthing centre. We arrived there at about 10am and were eventually led to our own room with a birthing pool, as my contractions became more and more intense. At this point I was still only using the TENS machine but I could feel the contractions becoming more and more painful, particularly in my back. I just kept thinking over and over – “she’ll soon be here, it’ll soon be over.”

A few hours later I was examined and the midwife informed me I was only 3cm dilated. It felt like hours since my waters had broken and I couldn’t believe I was only 3cm dilated. The midwife also discovered Aria was back to back, which would explain why the contractions were so painful in my back and she advised that I move into the birthing pool to see if I could encourage her to turn.

It was such a relief to move into the warm water and at this point I gladly accepted gas and air. It did help but the pain was getting worse and was mostly in my lower back. I honestly never thought it would be so painful and I didn’t know how much longer I could go through it.

After what felt like hours, the midwife examined me again and confirmed Aria had not turned and I was no further dilated. Because of her position the contractions were not being effective. As it was now 6.30pm she advised I move to hospital, as they couldn’t keep me in the birthing centre for much longer.

By this point I felt almost delirious from the pain and couldn’t bear the thought of having to move to hospital, which was a 4o minute drive away. I kept asking if an ambulance could take me, as walking to the car felt like an impossibility! This wasn’t an option and so my poor husband had to help me into the back seat of the car and drive me to the hospital.

With me laying on the back seat moaning in pain, I can’t imagine what he must have been feeling as he drove us to the hospital. But he was amazing and managed to stay calm, letting me know how far away we were every so often to keep me going.

As soon as we arrived at the hospital all thoughts of a natural birth went out of my head and I wanted the drugs! Whatever the strongest drug was that they could offer me, I wanted it.

We were led into a room where I doubled over the bed whilst a midwife massaged my back. When people say you moo like a cow during labour, believe it!

I asked for an epidural and this was administered fairly quickly. I felt such a relief to be out of pain and just wanted the whole thing to be over as soon as possible.

I was then given oxytocin to make my contractions more effective and hours seemed to pass as various people came in to monitor me, and I was told by a doctor I would be examined every four hours. This felt like forever but seemed to go quite quickly. On the third occasion I was examined about 9 hours later, at about 3.30am Sunday morning, I was fully dilated. However Aria’s head still hadn’t moved down fully and I was told we would have to move into theatre as forceps would have to be used to deliver her. If this failed, my only option was a caesarean. The sudden rush was due to the fact my waters had broken hours ago. They also thought Aria was in distress as her heart rate had increased and her oxygen levels were dropping.

A caesarean was what I had been dreading and it felt so unfair after the hours of labour I’d been through, only to be told I may have to have one anyway. As the doctor brought in a form for me to sign I cried as I felt defeated, but knew it would have to happen if need be and all I wanted now was to have my baby here safely.

As my husband was led away to be changed into scrubs, I was taken into theatre. I can only imagine how he felt aswell, as this was not the experience we had expected at all.

Thankfully, after three pushes and the use of forceps Aria was delivered safely at 4.14am on Sunday 16th February. I was so thankful not to have had to have a caesarean, but as I waited for her to cry I was told they were worried she may have swallowed meconium and she was taken to special care.

Eight hours later she was brought to me on the ward and I was told she hadn’t swallowed meconium, thank goodness. As I looked at my girl I was just so thankful she was here and was healthy. Her birth wasn’t what I had expected at all and it just goes to show, no matter how much you want your labour to go a certain way, ultimately it’s out of your hands.

Although I had wanted to have Aria at the birthing centre, I’m so glad I went to hospital. It was closer to home and everyone there – from the midwives to the anesthetist – were absolutely amazing and so kind.

I think things like this also test your relationship to the limit, and I’m glad to say my husband was amazing. I couldn’t have got through it without him.

Welcome to the world Aria Lilley Smith.

Thanks for reading.

Em xx

Growing your own

Aside from a brief shower, today was a beautiful sunny Sunday, so we decided to take Aria to our allotment. Granted, she’s a little too young for her first shovel but our allotment needed a little love after a wet winter.

Aria at plot 55

Aria at plot 55

We took it on nearly a year ago now, as we wanted to grow our own fruit and veg, and it’s been so rewarding to eat what we’ve grown so far. From our first potatoes to strawberries and raspberries, there really is nothing like growing your own.

image_4

Hubby hard at work

On our visit today it looks like rhubarb and purple sprouting broccoli are making an appearance, and now we need to start thinking about what to sow for the coming months.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

 

Purple sprouting broccoli

Purple sprouting broccoli

I have to say, hubby is far more green fingered than I am but I try to do my bit with the weeding. At least I did before little one came along!

It’s so exciting to think we’ll be able to introduce Aria to growing things from scratch as she grows up, and we can’t wait to get her involved in caring for it all.

Do any other bloggers grow their own? Let me know!

Thanks for reading.

Em xx

New mummy, new blog

As any fellow mummy blogger will know, finding the time and energy to blog is often an impossibility. Especially with a newborn! It’s been nearly 5 weeks since my beautiful daughter made her way into the world and this is the first time I’ve felt like writing a post.

I also felt it was about time for a fresh new look for the blog too – as my blog is no longer solely about fashion, it was time for a change. So welcome to Running in Heels!

I originally started blogging to talk about fashion, but during my pregnancy I found blogging about my journey really therapeutic and a great way to communicate with fellow mums-to-be who were experiencing the same things. I now plan to blog about the experience of being a new mummy, as well as fashion, beauty and lifestyle related posts.

I hope you like the new look!

Em xx

What pregnancy has taught me

At nearly 42 weeks pregnant there’s not much more to report in terms of symptoms and progression, so in this post I wanted to tell you all what pregnancy has taught me so far.

But first, here’s Baby Smith bump at 41 weeks -

Week 41 bump

Week 41 bump

So, onto what pregnancy has taught me…

  1. Everyone has an opinion - From commenting on the size of your baby bump to what you should be eating, anyone and everyone seems to have an opinion on your pregnancy. During my pregnancy I’ve had perfect strangers comment on how my baby bump is big/small/high/low at various stages, and what I’d say to any other pregnant woman is – ignore whatever people say! As difficult as this is, especially when you feel over-sensitive most of the time, everyone’s body develops differently. We are all different shapes and sizes, and at only 5 foot my bump really had nowhere to hide from early on! Whatever shape you are is right for you.
  2. Pregnancy is hard - This may seem obvious, but before I was pregnant I had no idea how difficult pregnancy was to go through. I have a whole new respect for women who have experienced it because it’s no easy ride. Sure, everyone is different and some women seem to breeze through pregnancy without a hint of morning sickness or drama. From bleeding at six weeks, horrendous morning sickness from six to fourteen weeks and developing PUPPP at 37 weeks, it certainly hasn’t been easy. Your body and emotions go through so many changes and I honestly don’t think anything can prepare you for it. But, leading onto number 3…
  3. You’re stronger than you think – I thought my morning sickness would never end and I often had days where I couldn’t even keep down water without being sick. Sitting on the bathroom floor feeling I couldn’t take any more is still fresh in my mind BUT I got through it. With support from my husband and the thought that this was a sign my baby was developing I got through.
  4. Not all midwives are the caring type - Before I was pregnant I always had an image of midwives being nurturing, kind women who were considerate and caring. This is certainly the case with the majority I’ve seen during the past nine months but there are some that make you wonder whether they’re really suited to the position. During some of my appointments I’ve felt like ‘just another patient’ they want to get in and out in a time slot, and some are just plain blunt. Telling a pregnant woman her baby is in the ‘wrong’ position (possibly oblique), which is worse than having a breech baby and would likely lead to a caesarean is just one of the comments I encountered this week. After a presentation scan it was confirmed my baby is, as she has been since 36 weeks, lying head down with her head engaged. Obviously this is a huge relief, but telling a woman bluntly she may need a caesarean as if it was nothing left me devastated and in tears. Luckily the majority of midwives I have seen have been nothing but kind and personable so here’s to them!
  5. There’s no such thing as a ‘due date’ – I’d never considered this before, but the idea of a ‘due date’ seems rather ridiculous. I think during my pregnancy my so called ‘due date’ has changed twice with about three days between each one, with the hospital settling on the earliest date – the 3rd February. I had no idea before, but since reading my Hypnobirthing and Pregnancy book ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, a pregnancy in the UK is considered full term from 37 weeks to 40 weeks. Just like anything, every pregnancy is different and there’s is no such thing really as ‘overdue.’ In France a full-term pregnancy is considered to be 41 weeks and in Kenya it is 43 weeks. One thing I read recently was that several women have told their friends and relatives their due date is 10 days over the predicted ‘due date’, and I have to say that’s not a bad idea!

    Maybe my next post will be a birth announcement – here’s hoping!

    Thanks for reading, Stay Chic!

 

 

Pregnancy diary: week 40

So Baby Smith’s due date was yesterday…and we’re still waiting for her arrival! I have to say I really thought she would be early, but it turns out she’s far too comfortable to come out just yet.

As my due date came and went yesterday I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. I know that it’s quite rare for a baby to come on their actual due date, but I had my fingers crossed – especially after a false alarm early Sunday morning.

After experiencing painful contractions for a number of hours, we arrived at the birthing centre at about 4am on Sunday morning, only for everything to completely slow down and ease off. The midwife confirmed something was happening but at only 1cm dilated it wasn’t time yet. Since then I’ve been experiencing Braxton Hicks more frequently and had quite a heavy feeling in my stomach, but nothing is progressing just yet!

Week 40 bump

Week 40 bump

Needless to say hubby and I had a sleepless night on Sunday, especially as we were then referred to our local hospital for a blood test as our midwife was concerned about a rash I had developed on my stomach, the tops of my legs and arms. She was concerned it could be related to something called Obstetric cholestasis – a potentially serious liver disorder that can develop in pregnancy.

After waiting in A&E for over two hours, due to the fact there was a complete lack of communication between the maternity ward and A&E, we were eventually seen and told it was unlikely to be related to Obstetric cholestasis as this rarely causes a rash – only severe itching. A blood test confirmed this was not related to Obstetric cholestasis and I was given some Aqueous cream to ease the itching for what is called a PUPPP rash. Just when you think you’ve experienced everything pregnancy can throw at you!

I’d never heard of PUPPP before but it’s described as – “PUPPP stands for “pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy.” In plain English, PUPPP is an itchy, bumpy rash — annoying but benign — that usually develops on the abdomen near the umbilical area and spreads to the thighs and extremities. It’s most common in first-time mothers and those carrying multiples.”

My description? A rash that makes you want to tear your skin off. It is literally the worst itching I have ever experienced. The Aqueous cream has done little but temporarily relieve the itching and I’m instead now using an Aloe Vera gel – this seems to help more but unfortunately the rash will not clear up until after delivery.

I wanted to include this in this post as I just don’t think there’s enough information about this condition, and the fact there’s nothing to clear it up is the most frustrating thing when you’re already so uncomfortable during pregnancy. I have read online that something called pine tar soap is supposed to be very effective for this rash, and so have ordered some to try – fingers crossed!

I’m hoping this will be my last pregnancy diary entry and our little one will be making an appearance soon. As soon as she does I will let you know!

Thanks for reading, Stay Chic!

 

Pregnancy diary: weeks 34 – 36

As I write this it’s just dawned on me that I am now in my ninth month of pregnancy! By now, I have to say, I feel like I’ve been pregnant for so long it’s hard to remember what it feels like not to be.

I’m now at that stage where I feel so uncomfortable I’m more than ready for it to be over. Even though the thought of giving birth is very daunting, between pregnancy insomnia and being unable to get comfortable in any position except sitting upright on an exercise ball, I’m finding this last stage a real struggle.

At around week 33/34 I found even walking for more than about twenty minutes is a real struggle. Having to stop to catch my breath is making me feel frustrated, and I can’t wait to be able to exercise properly again (although I know that won’t be for quite a while yet!).

Week 36 bump

Week 36 bump

But enough moaning – it’s not all doom and gloom. We are after all getting closer each day to meeting out little girl and this is all for her.

In the past few weeks we’ve completed our purchases such as a baby swing, items for mine and Baby Smith’s hospital bag, a steriliser etc. and have to say this has made me feel a lot calmer and more prepared.

We also had our first appointment this week with one of the lovely midwives at the Crowborough Birthing Centre, who confirmed that our baby is head down (although not in the pelvis quite yet). This is such a relief as at our last appointment at the hospital, we were told she was in an oblique position and may need to be turned. I’ve been bouncing on my exercise ball every day so hopefully this has helped!

At the end of this week our baby will be considered full term and could potentially arrive any day. It’s such an exciting thought and hubby and I have had many conversations recently along the lines of ‘our lives are going to change forever!’ We can’t wait to start our little family and introduce our girl to all our friends and family. Come on Baby Smith – we can’t wait to meet you!

I also wanted to say huge congratulations to some fellow bloggers on the arrival of their precious little bundles of joy in the past few weeks – Hannah Maggs and The London Mum . Congrats ladies – I can’t wait to join you!

Thanks for reading, Stay Chic!

Top 20 tracks of 2013

I don’t know whether I’m just getting older but I feel like it’s been a strange year for music. There still seems to be a craze for folky pop and British singers adopting an American twang…naming no names.

I’ve always loved music by real artists who write about real experiences, and while they don’t perhaps always get played on Radio 1 that’s the reason I love them even more.

With that in mind, as we approach the end of another year (where has this year gone?!), I wanted to share twenty of my favourite tracks of 2013 with you.

1. Rachael Yamagata – Even If I Don’t

Ever since the release of her first EP in 2003, Rachael Yamagata has held a special place in my heart. Her heartfelt lyrics and gravelly vocals stand out more than many female artists at the moment, plus she has a great sense of humour (see her Twitter feed!)

This track from her second to last release, Chesapeake is probably one of the ‘poppiest’ on the album but I love the piano accompaniment and arrangement of the whole song. The video is cute too!

2. Sky Ferreira – Everything is Embarassing

You may remember Sky Ferreira from the electro-pop sounding ‘One’ in 2010, but ‘Everything is Embarassing’ is pure pop perfection.

Back with a mature look and sound, this year Sky really stood out with this track. The 80s beat and summer vibes made it one of my track of the year. Expect big things in 2014.

3. MS MR – Hurricane

MS MR’s vocals and sound have been compared to Florence and The Machine but I actually think they’re less pop and more Indie.

‘Hurricane’ oozes cool and it’s one of those tracks that sticks in your head, in a good way.

4. Duke Dumont feat. A*M*E - Need U (100%)

As soon as I heard this track I loved it. It’s so catchy and has such a great beat you can’t help but move to it, which is why I think the video is so great too as it represents exactly how it makes you feel!

I also think this is a track that will definitely stand the test of time, and be played year after year during Summer months.

5. Lana Del Rey – Ride

Ah, Lana Del Rey –  the singer I can’t get enough of. Everything she does makes you take notice. Her videos aren’t just videos, they’re mini films, and I for one can’t wait for a new album in 2014.

‘Ride’, released as part of the ‘Paradise’ edition of her debut album, is Lana at her best – hauntingly beautiful vocals, lyrics that tell a story and music that projects an old Hollywood vibe. She can do no wrong in my eyes.

6. Sia – Kill and Run

Although Sia is an artist that tends to shy away from the spotlight nowadays, preferring to lend her songwriting skills to other artists such as Beyonce, this track showcases Sia’s vocals beautifully.

Although not officially released as a single, this was one of the stand out tracks for me on The Great Gatsby film soundtrack. Its majestic and swooping strings fit the film perfectly, and the vibe is reminiscent of Sia’s early work such as ‘Breathe.’

If Sia is an artist you haven’t heard of before, I can’t recommend checking out her albums enough. She is an amazing and talented individual.

7. Daughter – Still

‘Still’ is such a hauntingly beautiful and sad song, I dare you to listen without feeling emotional! Although it starts slow, once the beat kicks in this track is irresistible. A firm favourite of mine from this year.

8. Camera Obscura – Do It Again

From their fifth studio album, ‘Desire Lines’ released in June, ‘Do It Again’ is such a feel good song.

Synthy-pop mixed with vocals that don’t try to hard but are full of beautiful melody, make this a welcome return from the band.

9. The Killers – Shot At The Night

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly ten years since the release of The Killers’ debut album, ‘Hot Fuss,’ but with the release this year of their greatest hits album came a new track showcasing Brandon’s vocals at their best.

‘Shot At The Night’ is another catchy track from the band proving they’ve still got what it takes to stand out from other bands at the moment, not least because they’ve honed and developed their own sound over the last 10 years – no banjo, country-esque offerings from this band!

10. Alice Russell – I Loved You

After seeing Alice Russell live at the Union Chapel a few years ago, I can confirm she is one of the UK’s most talented female vocalists. I’m amazed she doesn’t get more recognition, but unfortunately not all artists have a massive PR push behind them.

‘I Loved You’ is from Alice’s latest album ‘To Dust’ and definitely one of the stand out tracks on the album. I love soul music and this track has a real old school vibe to it, with Alice’s vocals sounding effortlessly soulful over a catchy beat and gospel-esque backing vocals.

11. Sam Smith – Lay Me Down

Sam Smith has to be one of my stand out artists of the year,  and to hear he’ll be awarded the Critic’s Choice award at 2014′s Brit Awards is great news.

Although Sam has released a few tracks this year, ‘Lay Me Down’ has to be my favourite. It feels like we’ve been lacking a talented male vocalist in the UK for a while now, and Sam couldn’t have come along soon enough to inject some raw, soulful talent into the UK music scene.

12. Foxes – Beauty Queen

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you may remember my post from last year regarding ‘Ones to watch’ in 2013. Louisa Rose Allen aka Foxes was one of those artists I featured and she’s certainly gained more recognition this year.

With the release of several singles including ‘Echo’ and featuring on Zedd’s track ‘Clarity’, this is one lady making a name for herself.

‘Beauty Queen’ has to be one of the best tracks Foxes has released so far and the video, although not an official one, cleverly pieces together clips that represent the song perfectly.

13. Janelle Monae – Q.U.E.E.N. feat. Erykah Badu

This year saw the return of the fantastic Janelle Monae. Still rocking her trademark monochrome look, ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’ featuring Erykah Badu is as catchy as ‘Tightrope’ was with extra sass.

14. John Legend – Made To Love

Another of my favourite artists released a new album towards the end of this year, John Legend. The first single, ‘Made To Love’ was a welcome return of John’s raw vocals and perfect musical arrangement.

15. Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home

Although I loved Drake’s collaboration with Rihanna, ‘Take Care’ I haven’t been a huge fan of his other music. When I first heard ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home,’ I didn’t even know who it was and was actually quite surprised it was Drake.

I love the vibe of this track, from the strong beat intro that pulls you in to the synth and smooth vocals, it’s just so catchy.

16. Birdy – Wings

I’ve been a fan of Birdy since her cover of ‘Skinny Love’, and when she released her second album of original tracks this year I couldn’t wait to hear it.

The first single to be taken from the album, ‘Wings’ is Birdy at her best. Hauntingly beautiful vocals, swooping strings and beautiful piano arrangement. This is one track you don’t get fed up of hearing.

17. John Newman – Losing Sleep

I wasn’t really a fan of John Newman, even though he’d been tipped for big things. That was until I heard ‘Losing Sleep.’

Like Sam Smith, John has an amazing vocal talent that the UK has long been waiting for. Although this song is quite “pop”, it’s catchy as hell and has a cool edge that makes it stand out – even when played on commercial radio.

18. Lady Gaga feat. R. Kelly – Do What U Want

The world’s craziest pop star was back to her best this year with the release of a new album, and in particular this slice of pop perfection featuring R.Kelly.

19. Jessie Ware – Imagine It Was Us

Another artist from my ‘Ones to watch’ post last year, Jessie Ware has had an amazing year since the release of her debut album ‘Devotion.’

‘Imagine It Was Us’ has a real disco feel which accompanied by Jessie’s subtly soulful vocals make it one of her best tracks to date.

20. Beyoncé – Blow (Preview)

I couldn’t write this post without a mention to Queen B. After breaking records with the release of her visual album out of the blue earlier this month, Beyonce is in a league of her own.

Although there’s no official single release from her latest self-titled album, I thought I’d pick one of my favourite tracks ‘Blow’ to share with you. Above is a 30 second clip of the video which, similarly to Jessie Ware’s track ‘Imagine It Was Us’ has a real disco vibe which is also represented in the video.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about twenty of my favourite tracks from this year. Are any of yours listed above? If not. let me know which have been your favourite tracks this year and who you’re tipping to be big in 2014.

Thanks for reading, Stay Chic!

Pregnancy diary: week 33

Now I’m on maternity leave I thought I would have more time than I knew what to do with. It turns out I was wrong! With Christmas just a few days away the past week or so has been full of prep –  from wrapping (rather difficult with an eight month bump!) to food shopping, dessert making, antenatal classes and visiting the birthing centre we’d like to use, the last week has been manic!

As I write I’m sitting on my newly pumped up exercise ball as, as of Thursday, my midwife has confirmed Baby Smith is currently oblique. As I’m now 34 weeks, I know there’s still time for our little girl to move into the right position, but when my midwife started to talk about having to turn her at my next appointment at 36 weeks if she hadn’t moved, I thought the ball was worth a try! I don’t know much about the process of turning a baby, but to be honest it worries me a little and I’d much rather things happen naturally – especially as this can apparently start labour!

Week 33 bump

Week 33 bump

This week has also included two antenatal classes – the third and final one of our regular classes plus an additional class about water birth – plus getting my whooping cough vaccine. The first of our antenatal classes on Monday was basically giving us an insight into what to expect after birth and breastfeeding. I found this really useful, especially in terms of the correct way to hold your baby so they latch on properly to feed.

On Thursday we attended a water birth class which I was really looking forward to as, fingers crossed, this is the route I want to go down. It was a really busy class and obviously a really popular choice for lots of mum-to-be, but it was surprising that only something like one in three women will actually be able to have this type of birth when it comes to it. This hit home that the birth is actually out of my hands and that’s quite frightening as I like to feel in control!

We watched a video of a water birth (cue some of the men turning a shade of green!) which I actually found really helpful, as it made me realise that, yes, I can do this, it is possible! The body is an amazing thing and womens’ bodies were made to give birth naturally. I’m hoping this positive thinking will help in labour!

These classes have really helped my husband Dave too as I think, especially during labour, it can be difficult for men to know what to do to try and comfort their other half. Just having him there to tell me it is possible will be an amazing support.

We also visited the Crowborough Birthing Centre, which is my first choice to give birth. It’s run solely by experienced midwives and just feels like such a warm and relaxed environment. They will only take on low risk pregnancies, which touch wood I will continue to be in the lead up to birth, and are totally supportive of helping women have as natural a birth as possible. It definitely feels likes the right decision for us.

Today has consisted of making napkin rings, buying last minute food bits for Christmas day and flowers for a centre piece, making a Christmas pudding and icing our Christmas cake. I’ve left hubby making a lasagne for our tea so am signing off a tired preggo lady!

Have a lovely Christmas all and there will be another post very soon.

Thanks for reading, Stay Chic!

Pregnancy diary: week 32

Wow, I’m at the end of week 32! It’s unbelievable how fast the past few weeks have gone. I’m now on maternity leave, as my last day at work was on Friday, and it’s making everything seem much more real  - our little girl will be with us very soon!

Last Sunday one of my best friends, Amy arranged a surprise baby shower for me at her house. It was a complete surprise and I couldn’t believe she’d organised it for me. There was pink bunting, tasty treats and gifts and amazing cupcakes and chocolate lollies made by my friend Bekka – it was a truly special afternoon.

In terms of symptoms, the past few weeks have felt quite uncomfortable as I’m feeling so heavy now, and even putting socks on has become difficult as there’s no room to bend. Living in leggings is also becoming very boring – I can’t wait to get back into my old clothes! I’m really craving fresh food – fruit and vegetables – and have a real thing about anything orange flavoured at the moment!

Week 32 bump

Week 32 bump

We’ve had two of our three antenatal classes, with the last one tomorrow night. I thought these would make me feel more relaxed about preparing for birth but in truth it made me feel quite anxious. A natural birth is dependent on so many things, such as the baby turning and being in the right position, and it made me realise how easily things can go wrong. I hate the thought of the situation being taken out of my hands, but I think the most important thing to do will be to remain as calm as possible – we’ll see how I get on when it actually comes to the labour!

I am surprised that we haven’t focused on any breathing techniques in our classes, as the focus so far has been on what to expect and what could potentially go wrong. Tomorrow’s class focuses on life after birth i.e. breastfeeding, changing, how our lives will change etc., so I’m looking into ways to remain calm in labour including looking at hypnotherapy.

The tiredness is definitely creeping back in and I feel ready to crash in the afternoons now, but I’m still trying to stay as active as possible. I’m now doing month 8 of the Tracy Anderson Pregnancy Project DVDs and I feel so much more energised when I have done a workout, so it must be doing some good!

Now that I am on maternity leave I’m hoping I can spend more time on my blog, and can’t wait to do some posts on Baby Smith’s clothes and nursery as well as focusing on some fashion posts of course!

Until next time…thanks for reading, Stay Chic!

Pregnancy diary: weeks 29 – 31

I’ve been very slack with my blog posts lately, but I’ve just been so tired I haven’t been able to summon the energy to do anything but crash on the sofa most evenings! As soon as I hit the third trimester I just felt absolutely shattered by about 3pm most days. I think the fact I can’t sleep for more than a few hours at a time doesn’t help either, as I’m having to change position so often. This is also making me tetchy – not good!

I’ve got 6 working days left until I go on maternity leave and I have to say I can’t wait. Baby Smith is feeling increasingly heavy and I am definitely a waddling pregnant lady now – delightful!

On the plus side our little girl has been kicking up a storm, with her punches, kicks and wriggles. It’s such a strange but lovely feeling to watch little feet or hands poking out and moving around, but still very surreal to think there’s a baby making those movements. I honestly don’t think it will feel real until she is here.

Here is the bump at week 31:

Week 31 bump

Week 31 bump

Last week hubby had the week off work and painted the nursery. Her furniture also arrived from Mamas & Papas and looks absolutely perfect – it’s even better than I remember it at the Baby & Toddler Show. All her little clothes and outfits are hanging in her wardrobe and waiting in her drawers. I can’t believe anything will be so tiny as to fit in them!

I can’t wait to write a post and show you the complete room. We just need to get a few more bits for the walls to complete it.

This week was another first, as we had our first antenatal appointment. I didn’t really know what to expect and I don’t think the nine other couples in the room did either! I thought it would make me feel better about the impending labour, but in truth, I actually feel more nervous!

Listening to the midwife explain the process, which is so reliant on the baby turning and being in a good position, and the various stages of labour left me feeling exhausted at the thought of it. The stats that two thirds of first time births have some sort of complication – be that requiring assisted delivery, a caesarean etc. – made me apprehensive I will get the natural water birth I’m hoping for. BUT I’m trying to remain positive. One thing the midwife did say is the more support you have and the more relaxed you feel, the more likely things will run smoothly.

We have two more appointments to attend and are also planning to attend the water birth class in a few weeks, which I’m hoping will help me feel more relaxed. I can’t wait to go and visit the birthing centre in Crowborough as I still feel this is going to be the best option for me.

I also wanted to say a huge congratulations to fellow blogger Lucie of Lucie & The Bump, who gave birth to her gorgeous little boy Harry on the 28th November.

Are any other mums-to-be due early next year? I’d love to hear how you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing.

Thanks for reading, Stay Chic!