Awesome jeans for mums to be!

Maternity jeans of awesomeness
Maternity jeans of awesomeness

Back at work! Second time this week. It’s so liberating to get back to ‘normal life’. To stave off the nausea, I’ve been eating carrots all day, which is slightly less normal but hey ho.

I also asked my husband out on a ‘date’ this evening as it’s my first time being in London on a Friday for a super long time. We’re going to go for a drink and some nibbles. I’m so excited! I get to do normal, fun things like normal, fun people do.

I have another maternity item of clothing that I want to rave about: these amazing jeans from Asos Maternity. I bought a few things from Asos so will discuss these in more detail but I feel the need to highlight these jeans (this post is in no way sponsored, I just love them THAT MUCH). They are SO soft and comfortable that I tried them on yesterday at home and ended up wearing them all day, instead of changing back into my jogging pants like I’d usually do. They’re under the bump (currently not a fan of anything over the bump) with a really soft jersey waistband which is stretchy and very comfortable. They are marked as ‘skinny’ on Asos but they aren’t super skinny like the vast majority of ‘skinny jeans’ are – they don’t stick to your legs like they’re trying to suffocate them. I’m 5’4” and they are slightly too long for me but I’ve just turned them up and they look quite cool (Mr Bug complimented me on them!).

I will definitely be wearing these after I give birth because they’re so comfy! I’ve sent the link to my sister-in-law and told her to get them as they’re better than normal jeans. They’re slightly more expensive than H&M but cheaper than the rubbish pair I bought in TopShop so bargainous in my opinion.

I’m usually an 8-10 and I bought these in 10 and they fit comfortably.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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Bump Envy

Your bump is better than my bump
Is your bump better than my bump?

Oh no, is this how my life as a parent is going to begin? I’m now 18+5 weeks according to my dates (19+3 according to the NHS but they are wrong, hah). Yesterday, I went into work and saw my colleague, K, who is a week ‘behind’ me in the Great Pregnancy Countdown. And yet, her bump is a Real Bump. It’s lovely, she looks actually pregnant as opposed to muggins here who looks sort-of-maybe-not-really-can’t-actually-tell-if-I’ve-just-eaten-a-massive-curry.

I was super envious* of K. It was made worse by the fact that she admitted to having had no pregnancy symptoms whatsoever except being ‘a little tired’.

She’s basically Doing Pregnancy a hell of a lot better than I am.

K was totally lovely and said my bump was small and perfect but, in that moment, I wanted a big I AM PREGNANT bump** and no symptoms and, basically, the complete opposite pregnancy to the one I’m actually having. It just didn’t seem FAIR. I wanted to have a proper little strop in protest and stamp my feet and maybe roll around on the floor in the way that Baby Bug is likely to do in a couple of years.

When do I start blooming? When will I feel like an earth mother, at one with nature and the world? When do I STOP feeling sick and bloated and rubbish?

Of course, the answer to all of that could very well be never. And, actually, I’m okay with that. I’ll deal with whatever; I already have. The nausea could last until I push and puke this baby out – and I’ll happily (well, I might swear) do that. But, every now and then, I want to take a moment where I get my moody face on and feel super sorry for myself.

*The other reason why I’m super envious of a proper bump is because I feel like a bit of a fraud wearing my “Baby on Board” badge on public transport. A lovely man gave me his seat on the train yesterday and I was so overwhelmed I legit nearly cried. IT WAS EMBARRASSING, I had to pretend I’d suddenly become long-sighted and shield my face with my “The Casual Vacancy” book. Thank goodness for JK Rowling.

**I am fully aware that I’m being a complete idiot and, once bump is properly here, I’ll probably whine and complain even more. Sorry.

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Mummuddlingthrough

Work and maternity workwear

A very quick post today because it’s my FIRST day back in the office since I got sick with Hyperemesis.

SUCCESS.

Well, it feels very much like success even though I only managed to make it in at 11:30am. Baby steps and all that. It was lovely to do my normal commute and fall back into a routine which I’ve missed without realising I missed it.

Being back in the office is nice; being able to see people, have chats, catch up on all the gossip I’ve missed. I have a half hour train commute followed by a trip on the tube, which was a bit difficult but I managed it. I feel ALMOST normal!

Mothercare Ponte Zip Maternity Leggings
Mothercare Ponte Zip Maternity Leggings

Today, I’m wearing these awesome black Maternity leggings from Blooming Marvelous / Mothercare. I wouldn’t actually call them leggings as they’re a lot thicker and are more like trousers – definitely work appropriate, which was my Big Thing. They are SUPER soft and elasticated at the top – they also have a cute zip detail at the bottom which I really like. I’ve been wearing them all day and they are so comfortable! I don’t think the photos on Mothercare do them justice, they’re very flattering and also the right length for the ‘average’ women (they fit me and I’m 5’4″ but I think they would fit women up to 5’7″ at a push).

I’m thrilled with these as I bought a pair of TopShop maternity jeans and didn’t get on with them at all. The legs were far too tight but the elasticated waist band was too loose and kept falling down. I had to hitch them up so often that my hands were quite sore by the end of the day!

Now to find a skirt that I like…

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It’s my birthday!

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Let’s face it, when you hit adulthood, birthdays start to become slightly less exciting. I can’t say that I’ve been particularly looking forward to mine but it’s here now so I should try and make the most of it. Despite sounding like a moody b*gger, I do have a lot of things that I’m super grateful for and, as my Mum said in her text to me earlier, this birthday is special as I’m sharing it with Baby Bug. My next birthday will be even more special – my first as a Mum myself. So here’s a list of things making me happy and moody today:

  • George Osborne is a twat.
  • Hyperemesis doesn’t seem to realise it’s my birthday which is very rude.
  • My house is messy and I really need to clean it up.
  • We bought a pram/stroller/travel system thing. We went for the Silver Cross Wayfarer and I’ll do a post on that and my initial thoughts soon.
  • I’ve had lovely messages wishing me a happy birthday from friends and family.
  • Tonight, Mr Bug may be taking me out for a quick meal. This will be the first time since I got sick which means the first time since we got married!
  • My birthday always signifies Halloween is here and then BOOM suddenly we’re on countdown to Christmas. I love Christmas so this is a good thing.

I hope everyone has a lovely Tuesday, cuddles up with their loved ones and takes some time out today. That’s my plan.

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Avoiding stretch marks

Magic or marketing?
Magic or marketing?

I’m not going to lie, I feel a bit unnerved about what being pregnant is doing/will do to my body. I quite like my body. It’s been useful over the past 30-odd years. I don’t think I’d put much thought or consideration into the effects of pregnancy until the hyperemesis started. It’s such a strange situation to suffer so badly from something but for that something to actually be a good thing. It’s odd to want something to continue even though it’s the worst thing that you’ve ever been put through in your life. A strange juxtaposition but, I think, a useful one at the beginning of the path to becoming a parent.

Therefore, in the grand scheme of things, stretch marks aren’t really that high on my agenda of shitty things about pregnancy and parenting. But they are somewhere on that list, and therefore worth talking about – so here we go.

Do I think that slathering myself in creams will stop me from getting stretch marks?

No.

That’s the premise I’m starting with so please bear that in mind! I’ve done a bit of research around the subject and I am definitely of the opinion that each of us has skin that either is or isn’t predisposed to getting stretch marks.

That said: you can help yourself. I do believe that. Stretch marks occur when your body grows faster than the skin around it – meaning that it gets stretched and can break (this is not a technical definition). The more elastic your skin, the less likely this is to happen. But, also, the more supple and hydrated your skin is, the less likely this is to happen.

To help keep my skin oiled, hydrated and more likely to deal well with stretching, I’ve been using:

  1. Bio-Oil – it claims it is “highly effective in helping to maintain elasticity“.
  2. Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Body Cream – this doesn’t claim to specifically help stretch marks but my Mum is from the Pacific where everyone uses coconut oil to sort EVERYTHING (burns, stings, bad hair days etc) so I’m sold.

At the moment, I’m using the Bio-Oil on my waist/bump and the Palmer’s Coconut Oil on my boobs.

I also want to get Kokoso Baby Coconut Oil because I’ve heard rave reviews – yes, it’s just 100% coconut oil which I could pick up in Tesco for a tenth of the price but I’m sensitive to the methods they use to process, package and get the stuff to our door. The fact Kokoso is marketed for babies tells me that they are likely to be hyper aware of this and hopefully would not allow nasties into their product.

I’ll do some before/after pics once bub comes although I don’t think this will prove/disprove anything about the efficacy of oils and creams in preventing stretch marks. All I can say is that moisturising your body is a Good Thing so, if you can be bothered, do it.

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In praise of friends and family

Honeymoon before Hyperemesis
Honeymoon before Hyperemesis

I’m not sure if they say that it takes a community to have a baby but if they don’t then they should. In my experience so far, it definitely takes more than two people and I’m only 17 weeks pregnant.

When I first got sick with Hyperemesis, I was on honeymoon. We had just had the most amazing, three day wedding weekend in Tuscany with all of our nearest and dearest. We were on the highest of highs and our 10 day trip to the Maldives was meant to be the cherry on the cake. Instead, by day 3, I was curled up in bed, unable to move. Mr Bug was fantastic. He looked after me, comforted me when I cried about how unfair everything was and didn’t once even hint that this wasn’t the honeymoon he had been hoping for.

Once we got home, my parents – who live abroad – became my full-time carers. Together, we worked out what I could and couldn’t eat; what was staying down and what was coming up. They ran my baths, helped me wash my hair, rubbed my back when I was throwing up and, most importantly, just sat with me when I was sad so I wouldn’t be alone. They stayed with us for about three weeks until it seemed like I was improving, so they went home (a 9 hour flight away).

I then had a relapse and my Mum got back on a plane and looked after me for a further three weeks, leaving my Dad on his own. I felt guilty and I worried about my Dad being lonely but they were adamant. Mr Bug was also amazing and having my Mum around meant that he could still go to work every day without leaving me on my own. On the weekend, he’d try different things for me to eat and we’d sit on the sofa and watch silly TV to take my mind off things. He was worried and he was stressed but he kept smiling and giving me cuddles and telling me to keep going.

During this time, my brother and his wife, H, came to see us whenever they possibly could, keeping me company, making me laugh, gossiping, chatting and just being there. These are people that I didn’t need to pretend with; I didn’t need to put a brave face on or act as though I was feeling better than I was. I could just lie on the couch or run off to vomit without having to explain anything. Their presence honestly helped me from going absolutely crazy and I hope that each of them know how important and special they were to me at what was the worst time of my life.

Having a baby is hard. I have no doubt that when Baby Bug comes along, it’ll be tough. Amazing, but tough. This whole experience has taught me that reaching out and telling people that you need help is okay. With my friends and work colleagues, I’ve always tried to make things sound better than they are but I’ve tried hard not to do this here because we should be honest about things and tell the truth about the reality of what we’re going through. If we don’t, not only are we isolating ourselves but we’re also making it harder for others going through the same thing.

So, tell people how crappy things really are (if they are!) and ask if you need help. Finally: appreciate the help you get. Those are my three takeaways.
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Mums' Days

Work life

My office
My office

It was with quite a lot of trepidation that I started this week. This WORK week. For the past 9 weeks, I’ve been signed off with hyperemesis and generally living in a world of pain, but, given my symptoms have lessened quite a bit, I thought it was time to try easing back into the world of work again.

My company have been really great and very understanding. They agreed that a phased return made more sense and so we agreed that I would start by working from home and just doing afternoons. My worst times are usually mornings and late evenings so this suited me.

Our study is on the top of our house’s three floors and I’m not quite up to doing that trek every day, so Husband brought our large computer screen, which I’ve linked up to my work laptop, into the dining room. I’ve got lots of natural light (which you can’t very well see in my awful iPhone photo, sorry) from the double doors out to the garden as well as both the kitchen (for food) and toilet (for vomming) within easy reach. I’ve also got my trusty tupperware box for when the toilet isn’t quite reachable!

So far, it’s been difficult but manageable:

  • Not having to commute the hour into London on the train and tube is an absolute godsend.
  • Vomming and feeling nauseous are really personal things and I’m SO glad I’ve got my own space where I can do/feel both without others watching.
  • Working from home means quite a lot of phone calls. This can be tough when my nausea is bad as opening my mouth/throat can make things worse.
  • I’m still getting tired really quickly. A couple of hours in front of a screen and I feel like a need a lie down. So far, I have avoided that – although both yesterday and the day before, I went straight upstairs and had an hour nap at 5:45pm.

I’m hoping I can continue to keep this up so fingers crossed!

It’s a boy!

Baby Bug at 16 weeks
Baby Bug at 16 weeks

On Saturday, we had an appointment at Babybond in Ashford for a gender scan. I could (should) have waited but being stuck at home sick means I don’t have much else to think about, so I have been desperate to find out!

Babybond was great, the Sonographer was very patient and took lots of time showing us all the various parts (head, feet, stomach, bladder etc). Baby Bug was quite wriggly which was brilliant to see on screen. So we are 100% sure we are having a boy! Very exciting. I was pretty sure it was going to be a boy but I was basing that on zero actual evidence so it was nice to have confirmation.

We stopped by a Mothercare and picked up a blue sleep suit to surprise our families with as we had kept the scan a secret. Of course, one of the first questions was, “What name will you pick?”. Why are boy names so much harder to choose than girl names? Also, why is my husband so picky about boy names? He keeps calling Baby Bug Hercules and I’m hoping it’s a joke.

What’s Hyperemesis Gravidarum like? Part 3

What made HG a million times worse was the lack of support from GPs and nurses that I came across at the start. I’ve since met a GP who took HG, and me, seriously but I know from other HG sufferers that unsympathetic healthcare practitioners are more common than they should be. My first GP signed me off but kept saying “Morning sickness is hard”. This was not morning sickness and the majority of pregnancy women thankfully do not have to go through this. But for the ones that do, a little more understanding is needed.

There is medication HG sufferers can take – most to either help the nausea, vomiting or both. But, like EVERYTHING you do as a pregnant woman, the whole world will have an opinion on it and condemn you somehow. I had begun to take medication at 8 weeks until my symptoms worsened and I found myself at my healthcare centre talking to a nurse who was VERY disapproving of medication during pregnancy and asked me if I had ever heard of thalidomide. Frightened out of my wits that I was going to have a two-headed baby, I stopped the medication and didn’t try any again until I met a much more sensible GP when I was 14 weeks. Unfortunately, this meant that during the worst period of HG, I wasn’t on medication that could have helped me.

My lifeline during HG was found online. In particular, I found a very active thread on mumsnet for women suffering from HG. I went from feeling like the only person in the world suffering like this to realising there were lots of us. And there is strength in numbers. During my darkest days, it was a comfort to know that other people understood and had been through this. I wasn’t alone. Realising this gave me strength when I most needed it and, to all of those women, I can’t thank you enough. They are one of the reasons why I am blogging about this now – I don’t want anyone else to feel alone and isolated with HG. That’s not fun and it’s not necessary. You are part of a group of awesome fighters. Welcome.

For more posts on my experience with HG, check out my Hyperemesis Gravidarum tag. Thanks for reading!

What’s Hyperemesis Gravidarum like? Part 2

As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to shed some light into what having HG is actually like, as I’ve noticed a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about the condition. Everyone’s experience of it is individual and I’d love to hear from some fellow sufferers too. The below are my key takeaways.

  • HG is like having the worst hangover in your life coupled with food poisoning. But it never stops, it just goes on and on and no matter how many times you throw up, the nausea doesn’t go away and you never feel better.
  • HG is hugely, horrendously isolating. At my worst, all I could do was lie in my bed because moving, talking, watching TV made me vomit. I couldn’t tell my friends because I was so early in my pregnancy (although with close friends, I had to) and I couldn’t go to work. I didn’t leave the house for about 6 weeks except to go to the hospital/GP. I had no social life, no work life, basically no life and the only people I saw were my wonderful family who kept me sane.
  • The vomiting is crap. Crap is an understatement. The worst are the days when you’re SO exhausted that getting to the bathroom – dizzy, ill, knackered – seems like a mission to Mars and, once you’re there, your stomach heaves with nothing but bile and you can’t hold your head up because it’s too heavy. Vom in hair is gross, trust me.
  • The nausea is also debilitating because, on the days when I wasn’t vomiting as much, the sickness was so bad that I physically couldn’t push food past my throat. I was STARVING but everything made me retch.
  • Not eating and drinking properly means I was exhausted. I couldn’t stand up or walk around on my own because I was so dizzy and weak.
  • My relationship with food became a total nightmare. Every day was a challenge of trying to figure out either (1) what food I was likely to keep down or (2) what I wouldn’t mind throwing up again. I would wake up in the morning and feel a sickening sense of dread that, today, the whole cycle of drama would repeat itself again.

It’s a nightmare. It does, slowly, get better but those weeks when the symptoms are bad are a constant battle of endurance and, also, mental strength. I was very lucky in that my Mum, who lives abroad, stayed and looked after me throughout the worst of it. Between her and my husband, I had people to keep me company, a real lifeline when you have HG.

Today, I am 15+6. The nausea is bad today but I haven’t thrown up for a couple of days. Take that, HG.