So I've got my head around the fact that I'm pregnant, that bit was quite quick, although the bump does sometimes still take me by surprise. However, after a recent Yogabellies session, when our teacher Nicki asked "what thoughts or worries do you have around becoming a mum?" I suddenly realised I hadn't yet processed that! Wait, what!? Me, a mum, a mother, a mamma?
So now time to think about this, I understand that for the next six months to a year I'll be a milk machine and tired that bit I've comes to terms with - I know I'll struggle at times and amaze myself at others, but then after that.... When our little Pickle becomes someone that will be moulded by us, by what I do and how we raise them? What sort of a mum will I be and how will I know what to do?
I'm a lucky one, I have an amazing mum, I know a lot of people will say that - which is good! I can't remember us not getting on, I know we've had our little arguments and a few raised words but it's never been unfriendly. I've always respected her and looked up to her. I can't remember how she did it or if I ever truly tested her - I've been told I was a good child - but I know that she has always been there for me and supported me. They even supported (and funded) my array of extra curricular activities: ballet, modern, tap, jazz, figure ice skating, singing, drums, guitar, piano lessons, drama club, hockey and track competitions for county! Gosh that is a ridiculous list, it wasn't all at once though! I hope Pickle doesn’t want to do all these!
Now as an adult, I consider my mum a friend, not only can she party harder than I can (I'm referring to pre-pregnancy) but she is that friend I can always turn to, as my mum and my friend, she is often my go to girl!
I guess she got some of that from her mum, my Gardy (name made up by me, moving on...) who was also supportive and funny, having a firm but fair way about her.
This photo is of my parents and grandparents (mum's side) bringing me home from the hospital, we shall be recreating this photo when we bring Pickle home. I miss my grandparents so much and wish they could meet what would be their first great grandchild. Pickle's four grandparents have a lot to live up to, but I know they'll surpass all expectations.
I guess I just have to do what I think it right as a new mum, Robbie and I are a team and we are on the same wavelength in terms of most things. We have the same views on the initial stages of raising and keeping a tiny human alive, so I see that continuing to Pickle becoming a toddler and beyond. Having a great network of amazing mums in the friends around me and those going through the same things we be a great help.
It's such a big job - being a mum - but I have the best support around me, an unconditional love for this bump and am willing and open to all advise, send it my way.
As we approach the third and final trimester (yay) I’ve been thinking back to the exciting, but scary first trimester. I know that the whole journey to parenthood, however its done, has its ups and downs but those first 12 weeks are tough, well they were for me.
We found out we were pregnant at five weeks, so that was already a good chunk of the way through, but those following weeks were hard. Robbie and I had decided not to tell anyone until after the 12 week scan, it was our little secret, which made it even harder but we knew it was the right decision for us. After getting our positive test results on the Saturday, I called the doctors early on Monday morning and then had to wait another two weeks for my appointment, week seven! I’d hoped they would do another test, just to be sure but nope! The nurse took some information and arranged my booking appointment for another two weeks later. I was beginning to see that being pregnant was going to involve lots of waiting!
The booking appointment was great, Debbie our midwife came to the house, she was lovely and I felt relaxed with her. We went through our relevant medical history and that of our families, she explained a little more about what appointments we would be having and took some bloods. Now usually I’m fine with this, but in my excitement I’d forgotten to eat breakfast so ended up laying on the sofa, looking all shades of pale. A banana and some water later I was fine - now I take some sweets with me to each appointment and have them in the car beforehand, just in case. Debbie left our folder, a now very important and always growing file, which travels with me at all times.
Now the countdown really begins, all eyes on the prize - the 12 week scan.
I had a big blip at the end of week 10, I’d been feeling sick, had sore boobs and was asleep on the sofa by 7pm for the past few months and then it all stopped, I didn’t feel pregnant and I was terrified. I was on the train to London for an early morning meeting and I couldn’t stop thinking the worse, I was just trying not to cry. At 8.02am I thought this was a reasonable time to message Debbie, telling her of my worries and apologising for being a pain - I hated the thought of be the annoying mum to be on her rota, but I was scared and need reassurance. She replied quickly, saying that it was very common for early pregnancy symptoms to subside as the second trimester gets closer. I felt relieved for a while but the pangs of dread returned every now and again, talking to Robbie always made me feel better but I didn’t was to go full on crazy pregnant lady just yet - I hoped to have many months left to do this. I just had to stay positive and be patient.
On a Monday, at the end of April our appointment we had our much longed for 12 week scan. It was booked in for midday, I told a little white lie to my boss (having an appointment for “girly stuff”) and met Robbie at the hospital. Having been at work all morning I hadn’t really had time to think about the scan, but sitting in the waiting room gave the excitement and nerves time to build. I laid there just staring at the ceiling as the sonographer got everything really, I was telling myself to be patient, it might take some time for them to find the baby, it will all be ok, don’t panic, breath... and then she said “well you can look at the screen, that’s your baby”. I couldn’t believe it, there it was our tiny baby, with its tiny heart, on a giant screen. I cried, I’m crying now, I just kept looking between the screen and Robbie. It was such a sense of relief, we’d done it. After a few more tears and lots of smiles she asked if we had any questions, Robbie asked if we could find out if the baby was going to have ginger hair, I thought this was hilarious but she thought it was a serious question and informed us that it wouldn’t be possible.
We weren’t yet ready to return to work, so went for a quick lunch to process what had just happened, we were so happy and we finally allowed ourselves to talk about our lives as parents to be. This was a huge milestone and we’d done it, together we’d got there. Now to work out how to tell everyone.
One of the things that concerned me even before we found out we were pregnant, was the way our cats Bruce and Eddie would deal with the introduction of a baby to the family. Our two boys really are part of the family, we love them, they have their own personalities and, despite what some people say, they are extremely affection and caring creatures. If I’m from work home ill, Eddie will always bring me food, to cheer me up. This will of course be in the form of a mouse, bird or in extreme circumstances a seagull wing, all at varying degrees of life but he means well. Bruce is cuddly in the morning, demanding we get up and play with him. Eddie is more of a mummy's boy. We used to let them sleep in our room occasionally but we stopped it since I became pregnant, Eddie likes to sleep around my head with one paw on my collar bone, so cute but in this weather just too hot!
Anyway, I need to get to the point.... I did a lot of research into the best ways to prepare your pets for a new human arrival, I’ve focused the below on cats, but many points relate to dogs as well. I’ve collected my findings from other blogs, articles, friends, family and my hairdresser. personally, we're going to give them all a try.
Before the new arrival:
The arrival and after:
These are just my recommendations and findings from others, but it all makes sense to me and will be implementing them all if it means our family have a happy integration.
I'll write an update after Pickle's arrival, hopefully it will be a lovely transition to a full family. x
Update - April 2019
I’m pleased to report that Bruce and Eddie welcomed baby Alfie into the family. They were a little timid particularly when Alfie moves but are fantastic big brothers. Alfie gets kisses, in the form of head buts and now the boys let him stroke them. I feel that all the things we implemented before Alfie’s arrival definitely helped. We have continued to use the plug in diffuser and will do for a little longer, especially as next door have some building work soon. The boys have cosy spots around the house where Alfie doesn’t go and we’ve stuck to their food and awake times to keep consistency. Every night when we do Alfie’s bedtime routine (nappy, massage, pjs) Eddie comes to help, he sits on the dresser next to Alfie’s changing table, it’s so lovely.
Once Alfie is in bed we turn our attention and affection to Bruce and Eddie, Bruce is usually upstairs in the dressing room asleep but Eddie comes downstairs for a cuddle on the sofa. I’m so pleased we were active in making Alfie’s arrival as smooth as possible for the cats.
Robbie I became an auntie and uncle to a beautiful baby girl just over a year ago. We watched her growing in her mummy’s tummy, but it wasn’t until we met her, held her and looked into her huge blue eyes, that we realised that we really did want a family - and quite soon! This wasn’t in our plan, well not for a while. I was looking to move careers after completing a School Business Mangers Diploma which would have put baby plans back for a year at least. But with our new realisation, we had to rethink and that was fine with us.
We were getting married a few months later in June, then had our honeymoon to Italy in August, then had Tough Mudder - which I had really been training for. So that took us to October and I wanted one last “it’s ok to be hungover” Christmas. The plan was (you might have already realised I like plans) to start trying in January, I was expecting it to take us quite a while to be successful. My mum had struggled to get pregnant with me and again later when they wanted to get me a little sibling, James arrived seven years later! So with this in mind I tried not to get my hopes up! Well that didn’t happen, I cried when we did almost all of the four negative pregnancy tests, even saying to myself “it’s going be negative” as we turned it over. By the time my body decided to confirm that we weren’t pregnant first time round, I had a little bit of panic, but talked it through with Robbie and we knew it was going to be unlikely for the very first time we tried.
When I turned the pregnancy test over for month two I tried to have the same low expectations. Robbie was however more positive. Standing in the hallway early on a Saturday morning I looked in total confusion to Robbie and ran to the bathroom to collect the instructions for the test. We had already looked at the results diagram so many times we knew what it meant, but the shock of seeing a little blue cross had astonished and confused me! I was shaking and crying and just looking at Robbie. It was positive and it was amazing!
Robbie then had to go and get his haircut, both of us feeling very strange and I didn't want him to leave. I just walked around the house, telling Bruce and Eddie our news. I decided I'd do another test, this one clearly stated PREGNANT even telling me 2-3 weeks. Trying to keep as calm as possible I had a normal few hours until Robbie returned and I showed him the two tests side by side, it was excitement all over again.
That evening we went to see Joe Lycett's stand up in Worthing, having diner and drinks beforehand. For the first time I was totally fine with driving, not drinking and not eating the medium cooked amazing steak burger I'd planned to enjoy. I was pregnant, growing a little human inside me and I didn't care what I had to avoid eating and drinking. We discussed the fact that we wouldn't tell anyone until we were 12 weeks. I remember feeling almost naughty talking about the fact I was pregnant in the restaurant.
We were on such a high - we were growing our family - we were pregnant!
For me choosing my bridesmaids this was quick, I could have easily had 10+ but always knew it was going to be my two best friends from high school, Laura and Ellie, and my sister-in-law Jasmine.
I wanted to give them some beautiful gifts that were going to be useful on the wedding day and as keepsakes after. I brought them pearl earrings and matching necklaces to wear on the day which complimented the pearl detail on their bridesmaids dresses, I also found silver, forever knot bracelets that matched (all from Etsy).
Useful items for the day included a compact mirror with their names on, a cat shaped nail file (it had to be a cat!) and Impulse body spray - I’m allergic to perfume so asked the girls not to wear too much in case I had a reaction (red, puffy, flaky eyes isn’t the wedding day look I was going for) this meant they could smell lovely all day without fear of aggravating my skin.
I got them a few bits for home; a candle with their initial on, a little metal heart with a personal quote on and a coaster, again personalised to each of them, warning others to stay away from their prosecco!
I also found dove grey satin robes to match their bridesmaids dresses.
To present it all I filled large boxes from Paperchase with tissue paper, carefully arranged the gifts in the box and popped in my thank you cards. I had photos printed for each of them in the style of old Polaroid’s and used my label printer to add their names.
I was really pleased with the outcome, the girls liked their gifts and wore all the jewellery on the wedding day.
After months and months of planning, preparation and hard work, Peggy has her grand reveal at our wedding in June. For those that have followed her story (thank you) she has been a labour of love for us and we feel she is well worth it. This is what we did:
We had a lot of people asking where we got her from, we were like proud parents explaining that she was ours! She was a great hit, so many people going in to have a look around and take photos. We even found a couple of my girlfriends in there having a nap in the afternoon!
She now tucked up for the winter in her dulux storage cover! We’re looking forward to many more adventures for our little Peggy. x
I love prosecco! We agreed early on that we were going to have a “pimping station” at the wedding and the idea grew from there.
I was looking for something a little different to a standard table for this, then on eBay I found an old school desk for 99p. Usually when I find amazing things on eBay they end up being the other end of the country, but this was just 20mins drive from work! I ended up paying a whole £10 and the guy I picked it up from when very confused as to why I wanted it, it was in pretty bad condition. It was covered in glittery fairy stickers and a few dinosaur ones (which I couldn’t get off so painted over) and it had been left in a shed for a year, so was looking a little sad for itself.
So after removing as many stickers as possible, I sanded it down and cleaned it up. I then turned to my trusty Annie Sloane chalk paint. After two coats of paint, which dries very quickly and then added a layer of clear wax with a lint free cloth, this protects the paint and stops the chalk going everywhere.
I did a few trials of how we wanted it to look on the wedding day - apologies for the messy garage. We filled the two big Kilmer jars with, as the labels show - gin! The terecotta pot had a mint plant I it which my dad picked up the morning of the wedding so it was fresh. We filled the three small jars with strawberries, raspberries, lemon and lime slices, again purchased the morning of the wedding. We chose a few chordials and Chambord raspberry liquor, they all fit nicely in the old school desk.
It was such a hit on the day of the wedding! And almost all the gin went!
I don’t have particularly nice handwriting, Robbie has the art of beautiful script writing as he has to teach five year olds, but I spend my days typing and scribbling illegible notes that only I can read. However Pinterest has shown me the beauties of chalkboards and I wanted to be able to achieve that look. So I set about finding how I could do it, I found a tutorial online and gave it a go.
Step one: Print onto paper that you want to write and the size that you want it.
Step two: Using a piece of chalk cover the back of the paper, the side that will go onto the board.
Step three: Position and tape down the paper.
Step four: Using something pointed, but that won’t rip the paper (I used a blunt pencil) trace the outline of all the words.
Step five: Remove the paper and you should have a faint outline of the words you want.
Step six: Trace the outline and fill it in. I used a chalk pen which is water resistant, so it we have rain all this hard work won’t wash away.
I’m rather chuffed with myself - I know I cheated a little, but I did it with my own fair hands.
So all of that fun and work in the lead up to our wedding paid off - we had the most amazing day. I know that everyone says it is the best day of your lives and it’s true it really was. Everything went really well, we were even lucky enough to have amazing weather, it was so sunny, we were able to have drinks outside in the courtyard, it was perfect!
There are a million photos, our photographer Danni was just amazing, she was there the entire day and captured beautiful photos, I don’t even remember her being there for some of the wedding, she was like a lovely tiny stealth photo pixie. We can’t recommend her highly enough, we were very lucky to find her.
Peggy looked stunning! Everyone went inside and got photos, people couldn’t believe that we (Robbie, my mum and I) did it all and that we own her, we’re very proud and so glad that we could make her perfect for us - she has her own little personality.
The confetti that Clare and I made was an outstanding success, it looks brilliant in the photos, the colours worked really well and there as sooooo much that my brother took his confetti last and filled his giant hands and drowned us in petals = it was hilarious! All captured in photos.
The cranes worked so well, I know that the guys had some issues putting up the 800+ cranes behind the top table. They were heavier than expected and it was bowing in the middle. Apparently my dad found some wood in his car and fashioned a support that wasn’t visible! Luckily they weren’t all tangled, that was my main worry but we laid them down on Peggy’s seats for the trip to the venue and it worked.
The “Pimp your Drink” was a hit! Although a few people did think that the gin was water. We did offer an large array of alcohol. Prosecco, gin and ale for the drinks reception. We actually did the speeches before dinner, I didn’t want my dad, Robbie and Jon (Robbie’s best man and brother) to worry through dinner. So we had bread and olives on the table for people to have while we did the speeches. In place of champagne for Robbie’s speech we collected vintage shot glasses for everyone and on the tables we had different drinks (port, sherry, limoncello and jagermeister for our party friends).
I could talk about the wedding all day/year but hopefully the photos do it justice.
I'm a happily married 30 something who has a fondness for planning and organising, an appreciation for spreadsheets, a love of all things wedding, a passion for DIY and am totally smitten with our two cats Bruce and Eddie.