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Baby Family Milestones Motherhood Pregnancy

39 Weeks of a Little Bump and Me


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family lifeGood news – it turns out I had a cold!  And that ought to go down in the list of phrases I never thought I’d write, but when the sneezing and snuffles and itchy eyes turned into a cough and achy legs at the end of last week and I took a very tired version of me off to bed as soon as the girls were asleep on Friday night I knew (a) it wasn’t just a pregnancy thing and (b) that meant that by Sunday, or a conservative estimate, Monday I’d be feeling better.

And so it proved.  I’m not completely over it but I’m feeling so much better than I was and while I’m not bursting at the seams with extra energy, the things that really felt like a struggle last week, like going to the supermarket and the butchers on the same day, are manageable this week.  The only residual feeling is auntie-guilt; the small nephew has started sneezing and feeling sorry for himself – sorry lovely, Auntie Carie promises to give you a big non-contagious hug the next time she sees you.

So aside from infecting beloved one year olds, how are we?

The Little Bump and I went to see the midwife last week, we’re on weekly visits now until I’m holding him or her in my arms.  According to the tape measure of great accuracy and the growth chart of destiny the baby right now is bigger than either of my elder two were at birth, at which point I decided not to convert that weight into anything that I can actually comprehend and my lovely midwife (obviously spotting the slightly worried expression) reassured me that she’s measuring the whole kit and caboodle; baby, water and all, and while I’ve not exactly set up an Olympic sized swimming pool in there, the Little Bump still has plenty of space to play with.

Which is good because he or she has some rotating to do; Little Bump was sat nicely back to back to me all through the appointment, presenting a rapid fire of feet and elbows to the doppler.

This week I don’t feel like I’ve got too much bigger, and the pictures seem to back that up, although today’s is a morning shot whereas last week’s is from the evening, and I always seem to be a bit bigger at the end of the day.  I don’t think the bump’s got any lower anyway, which is probably a good thing, Little Bump was quite nicely engaged last week so there really isn’t very much lower to get and not be born yet.

But apparently that time is not yet nye.  I’ve tried scrubbing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees, and pin basting Kitty’s birthday quilt in a similar position and while both were very satisfying activities in themselves (right up until the point that the mop bucket broke), I don’t feel like I’m any nearer actually having a baby.

I’m still having Braxton Hicks, some of which I notice and some of which I can only tell by prodding my bump and finding it solid, but nothing that suggests I’m going into labour any time soon.  Right now I’ll confidently expect to see 40 weeks, and very probably 41 too.  I categorically refuse to write a 42 week update that doesn’t include a baby in the picture though!

Although having said that, when I added a few nutritious and healthy snacks to the hospital bag this week (Oreos, Chocolate Hobnobs and Eccles Cakes) I did check all of the best before dates to be the far side of 1 September.  We can but hope and book acupuncture that I get to eat them before then!



Baby Elma Family Milestones Motherhood Pregnancy

38 Weeks of a Little Bump and Me


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

We’re full term. Well sort of.  I may be confidently predicting that I’ve got at least another two weeks of pregnancy and at least one acupuncture session before this little baby makes an appearance, but whenever he or she does, we’ll be considered full term.

It’s quite the milestone. And quite the reality check.

So how are we?

Well the baby is doing whatever it fancies really, but with enough kicks and wriggles to keep me happy that everything is as it should be.  As far as I know and as far as I can tell it’s still head down and we’re looking good to keep playing the waiting game.

It’s also clearly still growing, and no amount of slathering on nice skin softening, collagen boosting, stretch mark avoiding oils and potions has prevented the spread of a nice full set of  new tiger stripes across the top of the bump.  My bump smells rather nice though!  It’s actually quite funny in a strange sort of way; there have been times when I’ve seen a kick or felt a kick with my hand resting on my bump but not actually felt it with my skin, simply I think because the baby has kicked a stretch point and I don’t have any nerve endings there.

And as for me I’m still feeling very tired, partly due to the hot weather, partly due to chasing around after two little ones, and a good bit because my old friend, the end of pregnancy stuffy nose has returned.  It’s like having allergies or hay fever or something like that as far as I can see; I keep thinking I must be getting a cold and it never turns into anything more than sneezing, hot itchy eyes, and a runny nose – sounds attractive doesn’t it.  I’m don’t think there’s really anything I can do about it, except know that it doesn’t last forever; and hope that if I’m lucky and it is a cold at least it should clear up soon; but if anyone has any top tips please do share!

My lovely sister and the small nephew came up yesterday while the girls were in nursery; she brought me purple velvet blackberry cupcakes and worked herself to the bone as we blitzed our way through a bit of a pre-baby to do list – I think I definitely got the better end of the deal – and we’re now sort of organised.  The house isn’t at nesting level perfection (but with three other residents it may never actually get there this time) but we organised and hoovered, sorted out five bags of superfluous stuff which I have duly delivered to the charity shop, pulled out the moses basket and the newborn high chair nest and washed, dried and refitted the covers, successfully managed to put the buggy up in its double combination, found the newborn insert to the baby car seat, and, while the small nephew chilled and snoozed in his cousin’s cot, sorted through a veritable avalanche of clothes for the under 5 brigade, including an overhaul of Kitty and Elma’s current wardrobes and the packing and storing of everything else.

In my bedroom there is a nice clean moses basket, laid out with a sheet and blanket, and next to it the hospital bag now contains a complete outfit for the Little Bump (minus hat, I must remember to add a hat), a postnatal ward outfit for me (nursing vest and a pair of H’s oldest sports shorts because those wards are hotter than the face of the sun), a towel (which I completely forgot last time), various sundries and toiletries and the TENS machine which I hired on Tuesday (blessed piece of machinery that it is).

I’m not in that ‘so ready I’m bored waiting’ phase, but if I went into labour anytime soon I know I wouldn’t need to panic about the state of the house, and everything’s sort of ready, more or less.

But next week; next week I will buy food to put in the hospital bag, and that’s really a sign that things are getting close – and in the meantime it turns out I’m great at hiding small children!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Baby Family Milestones Pregnancy

37 Weeks of a Little Bump and Me


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Remember how I thought I was doing OK with the heat. It turned out it was a big fib.

I’m not going to go all ranty and complaining on you don’t worry (I don’t want to write wingeing and I can’t imagine who on earth would want to read it) but in the spirit of reality I can say with some degree of certainty that last Saturday broke me.  It was the kind of hot humid day where you just want to take your skin off and sit in your bones.  With wall to wall thick cloud of that palest grey that looks and feels like you’re being smothered in a blanket of stuffed toy filling, even sitting still was just too hot.  My fingers and toes and ankles all started to impersonate hot air balloons and a happier girl you never did find on Sunday morning when we woke up to the familiar rustle of the wind rippling through the trees behind the house.

Even the baby seemed to feel it; for those few trying days the over-excited hops and kicks turned into more languid rolls and prods, although I’m sure at least some of that must be due to the Little Bump starting to run out of space.

Please let him or her be starting to run out of space; I really thought I couldn’t have got much bigger in one week and yet the camera doesn’t lie (well not unless I tell it to) and I think that bump might just have got bigger again.  I’ve not seen the midwife this week so I don’t have an updated estimate weight, and to be honest I think I might have to start ignoring estimated weights in the interest of maintaining a little calm aura of optimism about the birth.  What I do know is that even H thinks it’s (a) bigger and (b) lower than last week.  The pictures suggest he’s right about (a), as does the appearance of a whole new set of bright red stretch marks across the top of the bump, and (b) is rather verified by my inability to sit in a ladylike manner!

This week’s big event (at least in baby planning terms) was our visit from the Health Visitor.  It’s something our Health Visiting team starting doing when I was expecting Elma, they come out for a visit a few weeks before your due date for a half hour chat; usually about what the Health Visitors do, when they’ll take over from the midwives, when clinic is and things like that.  The idea behind it is really excellent; you get to meet your Health Visitor so they’re a familiar face when they turn up at your door in the middle of the sleep deprived baby haze, and they get to see you when you’re not sleep deprived and baby hazy which I suspect gives them quite a nice benchmark for your particular version of normal to help them assess you for any non-verbal signs of post natal depression etc.

If the effect was somewhat spoiled by our visitor being a temporary summer cover; well at least we all tried; she was lovely and we had a nice chat.

I have also pulled out from the drawer my hospital bag and put it on the bench in our bedroom.  It’s funny, it’s a bag I was given as a birthday present the year we had Kitty (it’s a squish it and fold away Cath Kidston holdall) and I’ve used it as my hospital bag for all the children; I just always seem to forget about its existence when I’m packing to go anywhere else.  Right now it contains the Little Bump’s mama-made cardigan, a packet of newborn nappies and a packet of Water Wipes so I’m not sure I could claim that I’m completely packed, but I have at least started to acknowledge that I may need some of these bits and bobs at some time in the next three to five weeks.

And speaking of the next three to five weeks – any signs of labour? No.  The baby may be lower and I’m getting a few runs of Braxton-Hicks with a fairly strong correlation to Elma nursing but they aren’t painful, just noticeable so I think we’ve still got some way to go!

Baby Baby Knitting Family Handmade Handmade for Baby Knitting Pregnancy Work in Progress

In which we steek {handmade for Baby}


I think the de-working is working.  I’ve stopped checking my blackberry, and I think it may have run out of juice; the house looks much as it always does (occasionally tidy and mostly marauded by toddlers); I’ve not yet got to the obsessive cleaning out of my car, or felt a pressing need to pre-cook lots of meals for the freezer (which would be a largely futile exercise at the moment seeing as it’s full to the brim with ice lollies), and my hospital bag remains precisely that; a bag.

But all this isn’t to say that I haven’t been preparing for the arrival of tiny sir or madam, at least in my own way.  I’ve had two blissful days this week where I spent the afternoon sat in my nice comfy armchair, with my feet up on a footstool, iced freezer blocks balanced on the very top of the bump and between my knees for optimum cooling while I knit away and watched a whole heap of sessions from the Blogtacular Virtual Conference on the iPad (all wonderful) and The Great Gatsby (fabulous sets and costumes but somehow slightly lacking the punch of the book).  And the result, aside from more than once questioning just why I think an August baby is going to need a nice warm Shetland blanket, was that I finished the centre panel.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And that means it’s time to steek.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Readers of a nervous disposition, who fear the interaction of scissors and knitting, or perhaps had a similar childhood experience to my grandmother, who once carefully pinned and cut out the pattern pieces for the latest couture garment for her dolly, only discovering that she’s cut them out of both the chosen fabric and her best Sunday dress after the deed was done, should scroll hurriedly through averting their gaze.

Because the traditional way, and the easiest way, to make a fairisle blanket is to knit the whole thing as a giant tube.  It means you knit every stitch which for most people is faster than purling (has anyone ever come across anyone who can purl faster than they knit?), and I find that working with one colour in each hand I’m if not quite as fast as knitting with just one ball of wool at a time, certainly not that much slower, and much much faster than if I were trying to purl with different colours, not tangle myself up, and keep an accurate track of the pattern.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

When you reach the end of the row you work a little band of alternating stitches (that would be the steek) until you’ve reached the top of the blanket, and then it’s time for those scissors.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Straight up the middle of the steek, and what was once a long tall tube of knitting, suddenly becomes a blanket, albeit one with fluffy edges.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And with that there’s no undoing, no going back.  If there are any mistakes in the pattern they’re going to stay mistakes now.  It’s time to move on to the border; just 900 or so stitches in a round, and then if there’s any yarn left I’ll work little facings to tidy up and tuck in the cut edges so we’ve still got some way to go before it’s finished.  But if memory and the internet serves me right I didn’t finish Elma’s blanket until the day before her due date so I’m still ahead (I’m not counting the fact that Kitty’s was finished at least two months before she arrived – I’m clocking that one up to new parent excitement and a lot more knitting time!).

For some reason that I can’t quite fathom it has really mattered to me that the blankets are finished before the babies.  I find I want that far more right now than I crave a perfectly organised nursery, or precision folded muslins and nappies.  And if there’s one thing I know about having children it’s that you never argue with the inner rationale of a heavily pregnant girl who can only tell that her toes have turned into tiny sausages by how they feel, not because she can actually see them; and so I’m going to go and sit in my comfy chair, pack myself around with ice blocks again, and knit.  And occasionally purl.


Baby Family Milestones Pregnancy

36 Weeks of a Little Bump and Me


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

I’ve been looking back at the photos I took at 34 weeks and trying to convince myself that the baby hasn’t really got that much bigger since the last picture but who am I kidding; random strangers in supermarkets have started coming up to me telling me I look uncomfortable and asking how I’m coping with ‘The Heat’ so I think it’s officially official: the Little Bump and I have made it to huge!

Welcome to the first bump update from maternity leave!  Well technically I’m on holiday for another few weeks and then I kick into maternity leave either as soon as the baby is born, or a couple of days before my due date but it feels like maternity leave, at least between 9 and 5 three days a week when the girls are in nursery.  The rest of the time it’s life as normal.  And having achieved this feat by taking only three days annual leave since Christmas I can tell you I’m craving a little rest.

Technically I was off part of last week as well but as that involved rushing around for family graduations, catching up with old friends, and cheering for H, his brother and sister in law as they ran the Leeds 10k, I’m not sure it counts as relaxing!

So how are we?

Well the Little Bump went to have a kicking and thumping conversation with the midwife this week.  He or she is not only still head down but at the time was starting to engage.  Given that Kitty didn’t engage until pretty late on, and Elma I think only when I was in labour, this is an encouraging sign, although it’s more than likely that he or she will pop in and out a few times over the next few weeks.

My midwife likes to have a bit of a guess at what variety of baby is on its way; she was also my midwife with Elma and she was wrong that time, but only time will tell whether this apparently choo choo train sounding baby is going to even up the stats.  H has a theory that she just guesses boy every time on the basis of being right about half the time but we may never know!  For the record, Kitty, Elma and H all still think girl, and I have absolutely no idea; and don’t mind either way!

By the tape measure of wonder this baby is an estimated 7lb right now (please picture me doing a double take when I waddled into the kitchen just now to consult my kitchen scales and turn the chart weight back into English), which might explain why the supermarket strangers think I’m going to give birth any second, and predicts me a 9lb or more baby at 40 weeks.  I’m thinking fondly of the adorable newborn size baby outfit that I have tucked away in my top drawer waiting to go in the hospital bag, and wondering whether it might just be sensible to add another outfit in the next size up as well.  Alternatively I shall just keep telling myself that tape measuring is an inexact science and can definitely be influenced by how many ice lollies I’ve eaten as well as the baby’s size!

And as for me, well I rather like this bit of pregnancy.  Now that I’ve finished work I can just really focus on the baby, and starting to get things finished off and organised, and of course having my all important afternoon nap.  Each time I’ve gone on maternity leave my blood pressure has dropped by about 10 points at the next midwife appointment (this time it went from 130/60 to 120/60), proof if ever there was that a stressful job has an impact on your physical wellbeing!

It is hot true, but I own a freezer and a stack of ice lollies that used to be almost as big as Elma, I can’t always exactly walk at the end of the day, but that’s what looking pleadingly at your husband is all about, and if sleeping comfortably involves wedging a pillow under the bump, it’s hardly a major problem.

And best of all, H took an extra day off work, ostensibly to help with some sorting out while the girls were in nursery.  When we were expecting Elma we did something similar and went to see Skyfall at the cinema, this time we went to Ikea and bought a new bookcase.  What can I say, we must be getting old!