Friday, 13 September 2019

Am I getting SPD again?

As you may know, my second pregnancy I suffered severely with symphis pubis dysfunction, otherwise known as SPD or pelvic girdle pain. In short, it’s a condition that up to 1/5 of pregnant women get and suffer with to varying degrees. Your pelvis itself becomes hyper mobile, and can misalign which is extremely painful and reduces your movement.

If you haven’t read about my past experience and why I was induced as a result, be sure to check it out here

It was around this stage of pregnancy I began to feel the pain last time. At 28 weeks I was on crutches and I was in a wheelchair by 32 weeks. Of course, because of this, I’ve been ridiculously worried and over cautious about doing everything I can to not get it again.  

It’s unavoidable really, if it happens it happens and nothing I do can stop it essentially, but I can stave it off and ensure I don’t just “soldier through” so I don’t cause myself more pain and reduction of mobility than necessary. 

Simple things like not hoovering, or pushing the pram often or standing at the sink for too long have helped so much. Jack has been an absolute star as of course, he’s very worried about it all happening again- it was very hard for him to work and come home to a toddler, and immobile wife, and messy house. 

I’ve chatted to the midwife and she’s given me these tips to try reduce my risk of getting too bad again, I thought I’d share them in case anyone who reads this is going through similar:

1. Knees Together 
Whenever I need to move, I try do it with my knees together. If I’m rolling over in bed- knees together. If I’m getting out of the car, I swivel around with my knees together instead of climbing out one leg at a time. You get the idea!

2. Short Walks
One of the biggest mistakes I made last time was trying to just push through the pain. It meant double the pain the next day- I just hated admitting I couldn’t do what I did before. Now I make sure I rest often and keep my distances short wherever possible. It’s a shame but it’ll help in the long run. 

3. Epsom Salts
If I feel the pain creeping in after a busy day, and begin dreading moving or climbing the stairs to bed, a warm bath filled with a cup of Epsom salts genuinely works magic. I don’t know how or why the salts work but they do! Plus free floating in the warm water helps get everything aligned again. The midwife said similar can happen just floating in a swimming pool. 

4. Maternity Support Belt
I have been using one of these for all three pregnancies. I had it with Isla initially as I couldn’t walk home after a long shift without crying in pain (in hindsight I probably had SPD with her too) and I relied on it with Archer by the third trimester! You can get them on Amazon or free from an NHS physio (your midwife or GP can arrange this appointment) and they’re easy to stick on under your clothes. They hold everything “up” a bit whic relieves the weight on your pelvis, and holding the bump in place stops it misaligning. 

I do think I have SPD again. It’s been clear it’s affected me for all three pregnancies at varying degrees.... I just hope with all my heart that it doesn’t get as bad as last time. 

Have you been affected by SPD/PGP in subsequent pregnancies? I’d love to hear your experiences. 

Monday, 9 September 2019

I’m not ready for her to start school.

I’ve just sat down, and had a little cry. Maybe it’s just my hormones, I told Jack. He said I’m being silly.

How can I explain how excited I am, but also very very sad? 

Tomorrow is the last day before Isla starts school. Yes, she’s done a whole school year at preschool already, five days a week- but that was only three hours a day. In reception, she will be in someone else’s hands from 8:45am till 3:30pm. 

Most mornings, by 8:30, she’s still parading around in her dressing gown, trying to swindle me out of more coco pops in exchange for cuddles under the blanket while we watch CBeebies with her little brother. Now, she will be running up the hill to school, stifling yawns as she spots her friends and disappears for the day. 

Lunchtime, I’d let her come into the kitchen to pick what she has. Archer wants a banana, she wants an apple. Sometimes if she was lucky I’d make noodles or pasta, and she could help me cook. 

She would go to preschool for a couple of hours. I’d relish in the quiet as it meant just chasing after one child for a while and getting some housework done. If she was tired, or had a sad day, at least it was only a couple of hours and she’d get to come home. 

We’ve had four years of long days together. Some days we made the most of every minute. Some days I swore I couldn’t wait for her to start school as we argued like we were both children- we are both strong willed and stubborn. Some days, I’d tell her I was too tired or too busy to play as I tried to keep up with the housework. 

It breaks my heart with regret to remember how often I said no to things. It’s impossible not to compare my parenting over the last years with those Pinterest perfect mums online who seem to have time for a trip, healthy lunch, educational craft activity and housework every day. I did my best for her, I have to keep telling myself we didn’t waste a moment. 

I feel so excited for her. School will help her grow and teach her things I never could. She will be permanently surrounded by all her little friends. She will flourish. 

I feel sad because the time with her felt so long, but now it’s done I feel like I really didn’t make the most of it. She will be in someone else’s hands most of her days now. 

I’m so so proud of our Isla, she’s grown so much and so fast- but it feels like it all went too fast. Isla is completely ready for school- more than ready. I think it’s just going to take me a little longer to stop seeing her as my baby. 

Sunday, 8 September 2019

28 Weeks- Pregnancy Update

I did it, I’ve made it to the third trimester with only some moaning. Okay- that’s a lie, I’ve moaned an awful lot. Of course I’m grateful to be having a healthy baby and after two miscarriages I know how special each successful pregnancy is... but it’s bloody exhausting.

The great thing about hitting the third trimester is, despite there being anywhere between 9-12 weeks till I should give birth, I feel like the end is in sight. It’s the home stretch, and of course I’ll be getting much fatter and much more sore but there isn’t another stage after this where it’ll happen again!

I have been getting sore. I don’t know if it’s just inevitable after having SPD so severe I was induced (read about that here) last time. I’ve been trying to take it easy but the wincing pain is creeping back every time I roll over or walk further than normal- if I do push myself I find I’m useless for a day or so after. Epsom salt baths and general rest are helping, I just hope I can carry on staving it off till I’m full term and avoid induction. 

Other than that, I do feel really well in myself. I’ve started having a lot of dreams about when he’s here and what he may look like- and a whole lot of crazy dreams with enough drama and details as a blockbuster movie! 

My cravings are also moving on from vinegar and sweeties- I’ve been obsessed with green grapes! The only issue is, some strains of green grapes taste sort of leafy and grassy and I want the specific strain with that crunch and tart/sour taste. I’ve bought the “wrong” grapes home from Tesco twice and promptly left them in the fridge to be neglected or eaten by someone else. Nothing has felt more disappointing in my life. 

We’re going for a 4D scan this week and I am so excited to see baby boy again. He’s gaining baby fat and should look nice and squashy and like a real baby! I think it will be a lovely experience as we get to bring Isla and Archer to see him!

He does have a name by the way, we just aren’t sharing it with the whole world till he’s here. I shared Archer’s name with a lot of people before he was born, and even though it was definite, people took it as an invitation to offer alternatives. 

Overall, nothing has really changed this week. Baby is as big as a coconut apparently and I don’t want to think about pushing a coconut out of my foof right now so I’m avoiding the fruit comparisons from now on!


Friday, 6 September 2019

The Ultimate Softplay Survival Guide

On a rainy day, with an empty schedule, you may find yourself wondering- should we take the little ones to the soft play? Even the name is suggestive of a warm, padded area in which a parent can set their little mite free to burn off energy in a lovely safe environment perfectly suited to them, while they enjoy a coffee and some peace.

It’s all a bloody lie. 

The truth about softplay is that it is a sticky, noisy battlefield that the inexperienced parent will leave in a hurry with the changing bag and child being dragged unceremoniously to the car, undoubtedly covered in someone else’s snot and tears. 

Want to survive? Keep reading. 

Socks are required for hygiene. Never assume this is an unnecessary rule, I guarantee the day you forget socks is the day someone steps in something disgusting underneath the ballpit balls. 

Of course, if you’re heading into softplay without prior planning, I can guarantee the only pair (or “close enough” pair) you can find will have a hole in, perfectly placed for a toe to pop out. Embrace it. Don’t let the tutty mums judge you and attempt to hide your feet under an infant- act like you MEANT to give that toe some air. Own it, and you’ll feel like you can do anything. 

If you’re interested in sitting around and watching your baby “try” to play by rolling near something vaguely resembling a padded slide, head to the baby section. Usually reserved for under 4’s, you can rest assured that they’re out of harms way for a while and finally have that hot cup of tea you’ve wanted for months. 

Until the “I don’t care” mums who are far too distracted by their phones and having a chat arrive along with a rambunctious and rather large child. Of course, no matter how close to adulthood that child is, they’re going to be clambering all over the baby section. If you glare and mumble loud enough, the child is usually embarrassed enough to leave and go to the (apparently) less appealing section for children their age. 

3. LIE
Of course, the best thing to do is lie. Don’t want to go? The soft play is closed. 

Don’t want to buy a snack or drink and you’ve been caught sneaking in 10p cartons of juice too many times to risk it again? The cafe section is closed. 

Don’t want to pay full child price for your newly turned one year old who hasn’t magically gained the ability to play like a big kid? Lie about their age for as long as possible!

As much as softplay does suck, and as hard as it is to survive at times, my children love it. They’ve just got to the magical stage where they bugger off and play alone for at least 15 minutes at a time and I trust they’re okay on quiet days. 

Even after the worst experience, something about being a parent makes you forget and you’ll be back- and now you’ll be ready.


Wednesday, 4 September 2019

The Second Trimester was NOT easier

Today, I come to the end of the second trimester. Tomorrow I am in the third! The final stage, the one where I’ll be allowed to moan again because as everyone knows, the second trimester is a “breeze”. It’s the easy middle part where you are glowing and full of a strange magical energy and you can achieve anything!

That’s what all the books say, and it’s a lie. 

Sure my first trimester wasn’t hard- I wasn’t sick at all this time and I wasn’t actually that tired a lot of the time... so maybe the second didn’t seem magically better because I didn’t have anything bad to improve from? There were some little improvements- I didn’t want to remove my boobs because they hurt so much and the cramps and ligament pains stopped. But mostly, it’s been worse, and here’s why. 

1. Sleep
What sleep? I’ve been absolutely exhausted the entire second trimester and I fully call it on the rumour that you get your energy back. I have not had my energy back and I’ve got so big this trimester I’ve been far too uncomfortable to sleep through the night. Add in how often I get up to pee...

2. Peeing
The urge to go to the toilet every hour or more was supposed to lessen during the second trimester, as baby moves up in your body and takes the pressure off your pelvis and bladder. Well... tell that to my uncontrollable need to go two times every night for the last 10 weeks nearly!

3. Glowing
While a pregnancy is barely there in the first trimester, and by the third you are large and swollen and exhausted, the second trimester is meant to be a time of glowing and clear skin for most. Not me. The only glowing I have is the heat coming off my skin because I’ve been non stop sweating and too hot for the last few months! I feel like a radiator. If this is my peak I dread to think what state I’ll be in over the next two months. 

4. Sex drive 
Hello? Sex drive? You were supposed to reappear and I think my husband has been expecting you any time now? Honestly it is the last thing I want or can comfortably manage by the time I collapse grunting into bed and spend ten minutes huffing and trying to arrange the pillow fort that has become the only thing I cuddle at night. Sorry Jack, this one was a big fat lie and I probably smell anyway even though I showered ten minutes ago - all that sweating. 

Honestly, it hasn’t been all bad but it definitely wasn’t the massive improvement that I was promised. I can’t imagine how I’ll moan for my third trimester. 

Looking at my post history it may seem like I’m complaining about being pregnant a lot, but it’s not all serious. I’m so grateful and I’m trying to take in every moment and every annoyance and just remember it all. But the second trimester DID suck..!


Monday, 2 September 2019

Top Tips & Tricks for Meeting Characters at Disneyland Paris

When you’ve spent all your money booking, and spent hours planning for a trip to Disneyland Paris, there’s nothing more disappointing than missing your favourite characters!

When we went, we managed to meet just about everyone that was available as well as some surprise meet and greets, so I’m sharing my top tips for meeting characters at Disneyland Paris. 

1. Check the programme
You will either receive this at your Disney hotel if staying in one, or you can pick it up at the park entrance. It has a list and location for daily regular meet ups- arrive early if you don’t want to queue and plan a route from each meet to the next. We managed to be first in line a lot of time by keeping an eye on the times!

2. Green/Cream Umbrellas
Dotted around the park, you’ll notice large green or cream parasols/umbrellas. They seem insignificant but these are where either surprise or organised meet and greets take place! Take note of them and if you see a character on a “walk” towards or near one, head over just in case! You’ll likely catch an unscheduled surprise photo opportunity! We managed to catch some princesses by heading towards them, as you can see below.

3. Extra Magic Hours
If you’re staying in one of the Disney hotels that offer extra magic, when you enter the park you can queue to meet Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and others on Main Street before their advertised slot, saving hours. They often come out early for the extra magic guests! It’s also worth checking who is at the princess pavilion every morning to either wait and save on queue time, or skip and come back later if you have already met that princess. 

4. Lineberty App
We didn’t realise the first time we wanted to meet Buzz in his advertised slot, but you need to book a place via this free app! There are other characters on it too. The places go fast so we missed out but we stood and waited anyway and because not all the booked people showed up and buzz had some time left, they fit us in at the end anyway. If you’re nearby it’s always worth a shot.

5. Closed the meet line?
Sometimes you’re late to a popular meet, or the line fills up too fast. If it isn’t too crowded, and you hover at the end, the character will still say a quick hello to your little ones waiting as they pass. It isn’t as good or long as a proper meet but if they get a high five and you’re quick with the camera it’s still worth it. Just remember to let the character leave for their break and not hassle them too much! 

6. Pick a clever lunch spot 
We realised from eating our lunch at Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost in adventure land, that the tables on the left of the outside area are next to the bridge the characters walk along when taking a quick break. In just one hour of sitting eating our lunch (and it was very tasty and reasonably priced!) we managed to say hi to and meet every character working that park section! Some multiple times per meal, so they began to remember us and say hi if they saw us out and about.

Aladdin & Jasmine were regular passer-by's at this restaurant spot!

The bridge where characters passed us by as we ate!

7. Get a good parade spot
We were exceptionally lucky that our children didn’t mind waiting up to an hour to guarantee a front row place for the parade every day. We were also very lucky that because we took the time to attend meet ups, the characters that took place in the parade remembered our children and ran to say hi to them when they had a chance. We did lots of very happy, loud shouting to our favourite characters on our children’s behalf which often drew them in when they picked who to come and see in the parade!

8. Don’t want to queue for Mickey?
Mickey is the most popular and most famous character and he does have a building specifically for his meet and greets, but understandably it gets very busy. If you head towards the phantom manor instead, you can often see him with a 10-15 minute line maximum in a slightly different outfit under the gazebo! It isn’t in the programme so it’s definitely worth remembering. 

Do you have any more tips for meeting characters? Let me know and I can add them with credit! I hope you have the best holiday!
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