Pregnancy Diary: 14 weeks

Sunday, 13 April 2014

This week has been such a lovely week, it's difficult to know where to start. It's also difficult to tell whether my general happiness has been brought on by goings on in everyday life or a shift in hormones. Nevertheless, not complaining!

My husband and I have both been off work this week and been really productive. I've been filled with an energy from somewhere. Again it's hard to tell- I think not being at work makes a big difference, not just because work is obviously tiring but also it just brings me down so much emotionally. I've definitely got some second trimester energy though. We had a meeting with our builder at the start of the week which we were nervous about as we needed to stand our ground on a few things- and everything worked out the way we wanted. The loft conversion is really nearly finished and I'm filled with this excitement now about turning this house into our home. Once we're up in the new
bedroom we can decorate Ollie and the new baby's rooms and start to get more excited about that too in a sense. After the loft conversion we are doing a big ground floor extension so not out the woods yet with regards dust and noise! We have ordered our new kitchen though which could not be more lovely or exciting.

Symptoms wise like I said I've had much more energy. I don't really feel sick anymore, definitely not regularly, just the occasional wave, and I'm a bit off green veg but making up for it elsewhere. Boobs are enormous and firm but not sore, which is the best stage! And bump is finally taking shape. I feel a lot more pregnant to look at but less in terms of yuck symptoms so that's lifted my mood. In fact I'm really revelling in how good I feel. (Sorry, sickening gloat).  I just never ever had this with Ollie. I felt run down and ill and weird and tired until I was 28 weeks. So this is great.

Still getting vivid crazy dreams every single night, and a bit of baby brain where I keep calling everything wrong, like breakfast dinner etc. I'm not weighing myself so can't update on weight gain because we went to our best friends wedding yesterday and I ate my weight in cheese! Look at the starter!

I also had my first cup of caffeinated tea in over 14 weeks as I am a stickler for following pregnancy foods to avoid but desperately wanted a hot drink and there were no other options. 

The wedding was a total joy. I did the wedding makeup and also played the piano for the ceremony which was nice to be involved, but it was just so special seeing our friends we love and celebrating with them. Ollie's best friend is their daughter Ava, who was there and helpfully ran up during a Debussy piano piece and placed her biscuits on the piano keys!!

Getting glammed up for the occasion and wearing a ton of makeup and fake tan also made me happy!

How has your week been?

As and when we make more progress and start decorating the house would you like to see interior design update type posts?

Thanks for reading!



Monday, 7 April 2014

When you become a mother it changes your soul.

You understand love more than it is possible to do so before.

You understand the bond between mother and child.

You understand how very precious life is because every second is a moment with your child, a moment to love them, to think of them, an opportunity to make them laugh, to feel safe.

Today a mummy has been taken from her children.

Two little boys who will never see their mummy again.

Two little boys who will grow up missing her every day.

A young woman who will miss out on seeing them grow, on being the mother she had reported so loved being.

I never met her, never knew her, yet my heart breaks for her family.

I don't know why I feel so affected by it. 

But I am crying for all of them.

A father who lost a daughter.

A husband who lost a wife.

But rightly or wrongly my heart feels most sad, most shocked, most torn and raw,

For those two little boys.

I lost my Daddy.

And they have lost their Mummy.

There is very little more awful than that.

I hope their family can be left in peace and allowed to grieve.

I am so very sad and so very sorry.

Two little boys.


My Bilingual Boy?

Monday, 31 March 2014

I have been doing a lot of research lately about language development in toddlers and billingual children. This sudden interest has stemmed from Ollie's very rapid language development, which has taken over since he hit about 14 months.

My husband is Polish. He moved over to this country in his early twenties, speaks fluent English but has a strong accent. It was important to us that when we started a family that our children should (hopefully) speak both languages. Part of this importance was due to the fact that otherwise Ollie would not be able to communicate with Maciek's family in Poland and his paternal grandmother who speaks no English. It was for this same reason that I spent the first four years of our relationship studying Polish, at University and abroad in Poland, which I now speak reasonably well. Depending on the topic I have anywhere from little clue to fluency in communicating. In terms of general conversation I would say I am about a post-intermediate level, but I understand a lot more than I have the confidence to say, and my spoken grammar is muddled.

When Ollie was born the advice was to speak your mother tongue to your child and bilingualism would develop naturally. For this reason I have been at pains to only speak English and my husband has tried very hard to speak only Polish to Ollie, even though he is used to speaking English now at home. We were warned that Ollie's general language development might be slower, on average three months slower, due to his efforts absorbing two languages. Also because he is a boy. "He won't read and he won't speak, he'll just dash around all over the place". 

Well, Ollie is not your average boy it seems. He was very disinterested in books and had only a handful of words until about Christmas when all of a sudden he became book mad and started rapidly developing his vocabulary. Without wanting to sound like a bragging mother, (sorry) he has fifty English words (yes I write them down), which he speaks clearly and accurately at nearly 18 months. He is constantly babbling at me, often fairly coherently, and he spends a huge amount of time reading, both by himself and curled up with me, repeating over and over all the words he knows, pointing at the pictures. Most words are nouns (farmyard animals and food are the favourites), although he has a few adjectives, such as "hot", (which he says whilst trying to reach up and touch the bloody stove), so I am now working on repeating verbs to him and also two word phrases. His favourite is "oh dear" which he screams in delight every time he gets up to mischief. 

Whilst I would still think him the most delicious thing ever even if he was mute and only wanted to climb the furniture, I do think it's lovely that he has taken to language and reading so much. As an avid bookworm since childhood I have hope that he will get the same joy from books as I do, for as long as possible.

However despite being pleased and obviously proud of him, it has made me start to wonder if he really is absorbing two languages. I wonder if this strength is a sign that he is not actually going to develop into a billingual child. He responds to Polish, follows Polish instructions, but only has about five Polish words and says only "tak" (yes) regularly when speaking to his Daddy. Since researching the issue I have found that the advice has now changed, and studies show that children often don't get enough contact with the "foreign" language (ie Polish in this case), especially if it is spoken by the parent they spend less time with. Ollie has so much contact with English, it far outweighs the Polish. It is now advised that the foreign language be spoken exclusively at home to counteract this problem.

So now I am facing the prospect of trying to speak Polish myself at home to help boost his contact. When we have cuddles before his afternoon nap we tended to watch something like In the Night Garden but now I am only playing him childrens programmes in Polish on YouTube. He has a lot of Polish books which I am now reading him in Polish, rather than translating as I was before, but he still shouts out the words in English as he follows the pictures and never repeats Polish vocabulary back to me. Apparently children his age struggle to accept that one object has more than one word assigned to it, so the word they learn first is the one they use. I guess I might be too late as he knows most of the basics in English. His mother is quite the chatterbox, you see.

Do you have any experience of this? Or any advice? It's an interesting one I think. Ultimately, whatever happens, we want Ollie to be comfortable, and to be proud of his Polish roots even if he doesn't gain fluency. I don't want him to feel under any kind of pressure. This is far from an academic 'achievement' we are after as pushy parents. It would just be a shame to let the opportunity of a second language and the ability to speak with his "baba" slip away. 

Thanks for reading xxx

Pregnancy Diary: 12-13 weeks

Sunday, 30 March 2014

12-13 weeks

This fortnight began with our nuchal scan; the first time we had seen the baby and the first confirmation that things were okay. 

Based on my LMP it was calculated that I would be exactly 12 weeks pregnant on the day, but I was convinced that I has ovulated late that month and wasn't as far along, maybe 11 2 or 3. As it turned out, the baby measured bang on 12, which was good as otherwise it would have been too early to take the neck measurements as part of the Down's syndrome check.

To say I was nervous before the scan would be the understatement of the year. I think I have been plagued with a disbelief throughout this pregnancy. Maybe because I can't believe it happened again so easily for us. Maybe because of the very faint tests at the beginning. Maybe because I'm so distracted with everything else. 

Hearing the sonographer tell me "one baby, a strong heartbeat" put to rest weeks of doubt and anxiety, and was the most wonderful thing to hear. I cried, which I didn't last time. The scan was odd actually as it was so very different. 

With Ollies first scan we were both so completely blown away that there was a baby on the screen that we just gazed in adoration. It was probably the most uplifting and magical moment of my life. This time, aside from all the relief washing over me, I didn't experience the same feelings of wonder. I suppose because it's all more real this time. I can actually
fathom that I am carrying a baby because I've done it before. I know what it feels like when they move inside you. I know what it's like when they come out (gasp). So less wonder and magic and more relief. But so much happiness too. A baby who already looks so beautiful to us.

The rest of week 12 was spent telling people and battling against some recurring sickness at night. The sickness was the easy part. I find it difficult telling people. I still carry this unease. It is still early. Work was interesting- because I am so enormous I was convinced that it would have been a topic of gossip and speculation but to be met with complete astonishment from my closest colleagues was cringingly awkward. Also to be repeatedly told that I was mad to be having a two year age gap was helpful. Especially when, you know, the deed is very much done.

The week finished with Mothers Day and I decided to post the scan photo on Facebook and officially 'out' the news. I wasn't actually going to do this, sometimes it comes across as a little gloating and excessive, but then I got caught up in the emotion of Mothers Day and my guilt (I know, already), that this pregnancy has had less of a circus and celebration around it. I posted the scan photo of Ollie the same day we had the scan, so exuberant I was and so desperate for the whole world to share my joy, so this baby shall have a similar audience, albeit a toned down reaction I expect. I shall definitely not be putting bump updates or talking about the pregnancy anymore for a good while. My blog shall serve it's purpose as being my little outlet! 

Week 13 has been remarkably different, all of a sudden I felt very much in second trimester mode, which of course, I now am. I really feel so big, when I wake up in the morning with a full bladder my bump is rock hard and I can literally feel my uterus so clearly. I've also started to experience some extremely gentle sensations of baby movement but am telling myself it's a bit early. My placenta is posterior though and this is second baby- both indicators that I will feel movement much earlier. My boobs have changed this week, I think early milk production is very much at hand, but I've noticed positives like thicker hair and thank goodness clear skin. I found out a couple of people I know including a friend who has been TTC for FIVE years are expecting early October too which is lovely news. I'm started to get a little more excited...

I also got my blood screening tests back and it was confirmed that I am low risk for Downs Syndrome, as the neck measurement also suggested.

I hope you will enjoy reading these updates and please let me know if there is anything else you want me to include. I'm not going to get too technical with listing symptoms because I'm pretty much experiencing all of them and think this won't change much week to week, but if they do I'll let you know.

Thank you for reading xx

The First Trimester

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

I suppose in documenting my pregnancy I should talk about the first part of it. The first trimester that is so often only discussed retrospectively because no one, at the time, knows about the pregnancy. 

I have found it quite hard not to compare everything to my pregnancy with Ollie. Afterall, it's all I know. This time round has been very different.

My first trimester with Ollie was psychologically and emotionally challenging. Having just miscarried I was a total nervous wreck. I developed these obsessive compulsive tendencies to try and contain my anxiety, like saying a prayer, crossing my fingers and holding my breath every time I went to the loo, in case...

I felt absolutely terrible. Like I was coming down with the flu. This exhaustion that hung over me, crushed me, made me struggle to function. Because of it, I had to tell work I was pregnant early on, as I wasn't coping and desperately needed support and understanding. When the opposite was delivered, it hit me hard.

This time round has been so different. I knew I was pregnant straight away and had some of the classic symptoms, sore boobs, frequent urination, night sweats, extremely vivid dreams. They all seemed a lot stronger than last time. But then the sickness came. Sickness I never experienced with Ollie. It hit me during my sixth week and the waves of nausea were so strong I felt like I had to hold on to something. This was about a week after the storm ripped our roof off. So, homeless, pregnant, sick, in sole charge of a toddler. I felt a bit overwhelmed. But I also found this strength from somewhere. 

Once a mother, you are changed totally. I am a completely different person. I'm so much stronger. I had to fight this sickness and look after my baby boy. I had to hold my head up at work and make subtle excuses to leave the room when I couldn't stop myself retching because I was damned if I was going to tell anyone anything before I was ready and put up with any shit. The sickness was not the same as the exhaustion I had before. I haven't had that sort of tiredness. The run down, "ill" feeling. Which I'm grateful for. With Ollie I just hated being pregnant. And hated myself for being so damn ungrateful.

And as I've mentioned in another post, the strength of the sickness actually gave me strength too, as I knew it was a sign of a healthy pregnancy. I battled through, kept my head high, and told myself to stay positive. 

It has gone a lot more quickly, because life is quicker nowadays. Because rather than spending hours dwelling on every little niggle or twitch I've had to log a squirming toddler around on my hips, scrape him up off the floor, wrestle and tickle him to the point of hysteria and cart him in and out of the car. Because rather than having the time to think too much about it all, I've had more important things to worry about, like what's for tea and how many times I am going to be begged to read Hairy McClary whilst desperately holding in the wee I needed half an hour ago.

My life is happy and full and very busy and so my pregnancy has just fitted round that. The dreadful nausea lasted consistently for five weeks, all of which were spent at our friends house as we repaired ours. I was unsettled but had to get on with it. I still get waves of nausea in the evenings, normally when I lie down to go to bed, but it is less intense and lasts for less long than before. 

Unlike last time I continue to have vivid dreams every night which wake me in a state of utter wonder at how crazy my subconscious has become. My boobs are enormous. I'm showing, about as much as I was at 16 weeks with Ollie. I've put on 4lbs because all I want to eat is bread and cheese, but I'm trying not to care because I've lost it before and lIl lose it again.

I'm just looking to the future now, and am determined to make the most of this, as I am so lucky to be having another one.

Thanks for reading xx
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